Tuesday, 29 July 2014


Savannah was nothing that I was expecting but much better than I could ever have expected!!!!

I was a little nervous as I got on my first plane to begin my trip to Savannah. I can be very quiet and reserved when surrounded by strangers and well with the exception of Jen I had never met anyone else before. We had interacted by email, twitter, facebook and of course our blogs but I was about to spend a whole weekend with people I had simply met online.

My journey to Savannah was great, I got upgraded to first class on my flight into New Jersey. Does that not say a great time ahead?

Savannah/Hilton Head airport has a staff that is super friendly and helpful. I don't see a lot of payphones at home (read: can't remember the last time I saw one) I don't know why I was expecting to see them in Savannah but hey. I asked one of the ladies at the information desk to point me to the pay phone so I could just let Jen know where I was. They were both really sweet they helped me make my call right from the desk all without laughing in my face for thinking payphones still exist.

I did some people watching while I waited for Jen to pick me up all the while thinking "yes it's finally happening". I was in Savannah, it was Friday and I was just a few short hours away from meeting everyone!!!!!!!

Jen and I got to the house first, it was a little surreal to realise that this was really happening. We did a little mini tour, dropped our bags upstairs and then I was banned to the downstairs while Jen worked on a surprise upstairs. I didn't mind, I got a chance to myself to just take it all in and take a couple pictures.

Beth Anne came not long after. We checked out the chicken coop and Jen saw an egg and wanted to get a closer look. I think one of the chickens tried to stop the paparazzi moment and another just wanted to get out.
The bodyguard

The escape artists
Got it!!!!

Going in for the shot

The others were running a little late so we just hung out. Jen finished up with her surprise and we got a very mini sneak peak in that it was just there to torture us :). We could look in or touch but Jen hung the totes (our surprise) in the hall but I was just so excited for everyone else to get there. Tweets and 'grams were posted, texts were sent and finally we were all together.

I was not quiet or reserved, in all the excitement I was just happy to see and meet everyone. Hugs, hellos and introductions were just going around. As I type this I wonder what the neighbours were thinking all these crazy women all happy and excited on the sidewalk. I think "10 passenger van Dave" was hopeful.

We let the long travellers get some precious A/C while we checked out our totes, discussed our adventures in getting to Savannah and decided what to do for dinner.

Stop on the totes for a minute. Jen and Morgan did an amazing job on these things. I wasn't expecting anything and it was so sweet of them to even think of doing this for us.

The design was done by Rakhi from Pitter Patter Diaries and Rakstar Designs and I love it. Inside we had a lovely bracelet from Cindy over at The Veil of Chastity, it was super sweet of her to think of us. It's beautiful and the verse from Prv 3:5 is just perfect. Cindy, thank you for being such a great inspiration and encouragement to us. There were some other goodies that were in the bags as well, Jen and Morgan are having a giveaway for an extra bag that so  check them out for your chance to win.

Back to Savannah.....

We had a dinner at this great hole-in-the-wall BBQ place. We had mostly all met less than 2 hours and there we were having dinner, talking and laughing like old friends. It was amazing.

Our group split in two for a little while as a few of us went to the grocery store. I have never had such an luxurious experience at the supermarket, gotta be a southern thing. Seriously we need to live closer to each other.

The most luxurious supermarket in all of Savannah

Back at the house we played balderdash and talked and ate M&Ms. The imagination on these people, I don't think I've laughed like that in a while. I have to get that game.

Sharing the bathroom and getting ready for bed felt perfectly natural. Talking to Rachel while brushing my teeth, scooting over to give Joan some counter space. It was hard to believe we had just met that evening. I felt totally at ease and relaxed.

Saturday we had tentatively decided the night before we would check out the beach but I think that would have requires us to leave the house before 1 p.m. No, we didn't oversleep. We talked. Around 7 we all started coming down grabbing coffee and breakfast, just filing into the living room. No plan, no outline we just started talking to each other, everyone just fit in and joined in as they come in. At some point we said we should get ready to go out yet somehow we ended up talking even more this time in Jen and Morgan's room. It was awesome!!!!!

We finally headed out, had lunch and enjoyed the riverfront and downtown. It was great exploring Savannah, goofing off and having fun.

All of us on the Historic Steps
Joan and I

The Waving Girl

Morgan and Jen

Later we went to Vigil Mass at the Cathedral of St John. It was really special to attend Mass with everyone.

We got kicked out of the church for a wedding, unfortunately we didn't get to see the bride. We had to hightail it out of there before the rain came down. We were able to take refuge in a little coffee/wine shop. I loved our time there, no one would believe that we had only met in person the day before. One of the highlights of the trip for me. Of course we talked some more, we laughed, it was the most natural thing, friends just hanging out waiting out the rain.

At the suggestion of one or a couple of the coffee shop guys we went to Chive for a seafood dinner. Live music, great atmosphere and yummy food. The company of course was top notch. I'll just say we enjoyed a walk back to the parking garage the long way.

We got back home, talked some more and prayed our St Anne novena before bed.

Sunday, the last day, a sad day. We had to leave by 10 but we still had breakfast and some small talk. Morgan made us breakfast from the eggs our chickens laid. We had six of them.

Goodbyes are sad. We raced to get everything cleaned up and packed so we could leave on time. We took a few last minute pictures and hugged goodbye. We prayed the St Anne novena out in the driveway. We hugged each other goodbye again before heading off in different directions.

Jen, Joan and I were headed to Florida where Joan and I would spend an extra night before heading home. It was sad saying goodbye to everyone else but it was nice that we got that extra time together.

We did a little tourist thing stopping off at Peach World. It was a learning experience the things you can make with peaches. We stopped off at Cracker Barrel for lunch, my first time and it was delicious. We also rocked out in the car to some 80's music, some Whitney Houston and some more modern hits. Of course we talked some more. I could talk to these girls forever.

We hit up the beach on Monday morning. Joan tried paddle boarding, so brave. Joan and I had Chick-Fil-A for the first time for lunch before heading to the airport where we had to say yet another sad goodbye to Jen.

Luckily Joan and I were in the same terminal so we got to stay and hang out until Joan's flight.

Even as I was excited for this trip and really looking forward to it I really didn't know what to expect but this was exactly what I needed. I loved the conversations I had with these girls. I loved meeting them and really getting to know them beyond their blogs and Mary Grace who does not blog.

Since the beginning I have loved the community that NAS has given me, now to meet people in person, spend the weekend with them, have them share their hearts with me and to share my heart with them. It was a truly blessed and priceless weekend. I love how comfortable it all felt. How easy and natural it was. How real and genuine friendships were made.

Thank you Jen and Morgan for organising this, for getting us all together. Thank you Joan, Katie, Beth Anne, Rachel and Mary Grace for coming and making this the great weekend that it was. Thank you for the laughs, the conversations and being there to pray with.

You guys who couldn't make it you were missed, we thought of you and I look forward to meeting you all sometime.

Check out the experiences of all who made it to Savannah. Visit Jen for the link-up.

Friday, 18 July 2014

7 Quick Takes Friday #60

--- 1 ---
It's actually Monday as I write this take but as you read it I should be in Savannah for the beginning of an awesome weekend. Really looking forward to spending time with some great ladies.

--- 2 ---
My uncle asked me on Tuesday to drive my grandmother around for a few errands on Wednesday and I felt like a deer in headlights. Now I don't mind driving my grandmother or running errands with her but have you ever seen the ad with the dad talking to a little girl in the drivers seat and then finally we see a teenager who is old enough to drive. My grandmother makes me feel like that.

--- 3 ---
Retreat planning is going well so far. There is quite a bit still to get done but have an initial plan and a direction for execution is so helpful.

--- 4 ---
Praying the St Anne Novena with the NAS ladies

--- 5 ---
On the Not Alone Series we shared our Summer Reading List. Some great books were shared and I see quite a few more hours spent reading in my future.  Come check out the link up.

--- 6 ---
Please keep our Savannah crew in prayer. Some of us are driving long distances.

--- 7 ---
A song to end the week.

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

Thursday, 17 July 2014

Just Say Thank You

I have a really bad habit. It's not really intentional, it happens automatically and then I'm like .... Nooooooo.

I am very bad at receiving compliments. Worse I tend to point out every flaw I believe I have that makes the compliment untrue. Sometimes there is the awkward silence after I finish my tirade of flaws and oppositions then I feel awful because here is this person being genuinely nice and I'm shoving it back in their face. Poor people don't know what to say next

I used to tell myself it was humility but it's just downright humiliating to me and the poor kind soul who noticed something about good/nice about me and commented on it.

Thank you. I don't know why that is so hard.

It's like every negative comment I have ever heard about myself rushes up and I just have to correct this poor misguided soul who dares try to see something different in me.

I'm trying to change that. I am trying to just say thank you.

Wednesday, 16 July 2014

Not Alone Series: Summer Reading List

Share your favorite book recommendations! Beach reads, deep novels, anything! Share share share!

My not so secret love - books. I can spend hours upon uninterrupted hours reading. In fact my eyes adjust seamlessly to fading like if I am reading, only if I get interrupted to do I notice it got dark and then I can't read any more. My grandmother says I'm like a cat, also that I'll go blind and then what will I do.

Young adult fiction. My heart belongs in this section of the library, after a very deep book I need a YA or younger book to recover. Just something fluffy or familiar. This time of year I don't even need that excuse. This year I have Anne of Green Gables by L.M Montgomery in my sights. I love Anne, Gilbert, Marilla and Matthew. I love that the harder she tries not to get into scrapes the more she gets into them. Her imagination definitely rivals my own and I love a girl with a good imagination. I have read Anne of Avonlea but I've never read Anne of the Islands or Anne's House of Dreams and it would be great if I could get through some of those this year as well.

When Comes Spring by Janette Oke. There is actually a series by hallmark based on the book. It was an enjoyable read. It's the first in a series and I am actually looking forward to reading the others

Screwtape Letters by C. S. Lewis. I was having a discussion with a friend not too long ago about this book. I have found myself easily distracted alot lately, then I saw that my library had it available for digital lending so I decided a little catching up with Wormwood and Uncle Screwtape were in order.

A Broken Kind of Beautiful by Katie Ganshert. This is a christian romance novel but it is more than just the girl meets boy, girl and boy find themselves attracted, hates each then loves each, misunderstanding then making up to live happily ever after. I'm not saying that the book doesn't have some of that but it is so much more. The main character Ivy doesn't think she is worth much, she is a washed up model at 24 and is very damaged. Don't want to give away any spoilers but it was a good book.

Father, Forgive Me, for I am Frustrated by Fr Mitch Pacwa. I am only just starting this, it is my book for my flights and layovers. I got it mainly because I like most books by Fr Pacwa so when I saw it I thought why not. The tagline "Growing in Faith when you don't find it easy being Catholic" definitely caught my eye and I was sold.

Something Other Than God by Jennifer Fulwiler. Written by a fellow blogger. Great book, read it for the NAS book club and cannot wait to discuss it. I loved the flow of this book, I could genuinely see and recognise Jen from the blog in the book. I know many people are reading it but if you haven't get it.

Others on my to read list are:

The Prayer Box by Lisa Wingate

Where There's Smoke by Jodi Picoult

The Swan House by Elizabeth Musser

The Discovery by Dan Walsh

Orphan Train by Christina Baker Kline

Keeping Faith by Jodi Picoult

The Memory Thief by Emily Colin

Reconstructing Amelia by Kimberly McCreight

I am always looking for new authors and books to try so feel free to make suggestions.

What are you reading? See what everyone else is visit Morgan for the link up.

Friday, 11 July 2014

7 Quick Takes Friday #59

--- 1 ---
I have been asked to lead a women's group. I said yes. It would really have been futile to say no because, and I say this with great love, these people do not take no for an answer. I tried to dodge, suggested someone else who would be so much more suited. AKA more vocal, more outgoing, more not me. It's a group that I have been in for a while but it has gotten to big for the currently so it was suggested that we split the group and somehow I ended up on the short list for leadership. I'm not totally on my own though, we've decided to keep the two groups together at least for a while so I'm easing my way into this.

--- 2 ---
World Cup finals are this Sunday, after which life will go back to normal around here. I'm not much of a football fan (we don't say soccer) but around here cricket and football are king so World Cup has taken over for the last month. We ordered some t-shirts printed for a family day at church but some were not ready on time (not the printer's fault, the wrong sizes were ordered) so new ones were re-ordered to be ready last Friday when the person responsible called the printer to ask what the delay was she was asked if she didn't realise world cup is going on. We are never using that printer again.

--- 3 ---
Retreat planning starts tonight for me. Our annual retreat is coming up in September and I am getting together with the rest of the committee for Adoration as we begin pulling everything together. This is my third year being on the committee and I actually enjoy it, it doesn't hurt that I have first dibs on a single room at the retreat but I love seeing it all come together. We were actually supposed to start planning last month but life happened but at least we have the venue booked and a tentative theme going.

--- 4 ---
Does getting ready to travel turn anyone else into a super nutty clean freak? Just me?! I am not a natural housekeeper, I do the basics and I try to keep everything as clean as possible, my room doesn't count. However every time I get ready to travel I just start deep cleaning, this weekend I did the bathroom and the kitchen, the living room was done a little earlier but I'll probably do it again before I leave next week.

--- 5 ---
One week from now I will be in Savannah with a great group of bloggers. Can't wait to see Jen again and meet the others for the first time. When I first started blogging I never thought of meeting anyone in real life but here I am and I can't wait. Gorgeous accommodations, great company and a weekend of untold possibilities. Yay!!!

--- 6 ---
I have travel list that I usually use so I don't forget the little things. There's nothing like being a million miles away from home without your favourite moisturiser or worse yet credit card. I have to finish working on that and hopefully start packing on Sunday after I get back from a world cup party (Go Argentina!!!). Not the biggest fan of packing so I like spreading it out over a few days.

--- 7 ---
A song to end the week.

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

Wednesday, 9 July 2014

Hello Summer, Goodbye T.V

I'm not giving my t.v away, I am not THAT enlightened. I'm not even really going to stop watching t.v over the summer. I am however not going to let it dictate my life for a while.

I don't watch that much t.v but I do have specific shows that have been known to make me decide not to do some things or stay up much later than I really should because I HAVE to know what is happening. The thought of other people watching and knowing what is happening and I'm not even though I could probably watch it online the next day was sometimes to much to bear.

The regular season is out and the summer season of shows have started but I am not letting myself get attached to any of the shows. I will NOT be trapped to my couch.

What am I going to do with all this freedom????

I am taking (doing?) a bible study on Mary. I have been interested in doing one for a while now but the timing never quite worked out. I'm glad I get to do this one on Mary although the other topics were great too but I have really been wanting to get more insight on Our Blessed Mother for a while now so this works out great.

I'm hanging out with friends. A couple weeks ago I went to a party at church, it's an annual thing but I've been skipping it for a while now because on a Friday after work this introvert does not want to socialise I want to veg in front of the t.v and read. I wouldn't mind if it's just my friends but having to make small talk with everyone else, I'd rather not. I went this year and it was so much fun. One of my friends got an electric slide going and then a conga line. I have such extroverted friends it's a wonder but we go so well together.

I'm sleeping more. I am a night owl even without the t.v and I have to get up early for 6:30 Daily Mass before work. This habit has been in me from all my late night study sessions back in the day, stay up late to study then up again early to do more studying. I'm okay with it but since I'm no longer staying up to watch that show until 11 I'm going to sleep earlier some nights. My night owl habit did not completely disappear I'm still up late a lot but when I am truly tired I'm not forcing myself to stay up to watch something.

I know come September/October Parenthood and all my other vices will return but hopefully I will have learnt how not to be so attached and can say "it's okay, I can't watch you right now I'll catch up on the weekend".