Monday, August 3, 2015

readers questions and a broken lawnmower...

Y'all asked and Ma Significant Otter and I answered. 

These videos we recorded this weekend are unscripted and unedited. I will share one every day this week. The first four are Jerry and I and the final one is just me and Jonathan. 

There is a lot of laughter and at times a tear or two. We answer honestly so enjoy. Thanks for taking the time to visit us in our kitchen. 

Let's get to it... 



Answering readers questions...#1 from Mary Lenaburg on Vimeo.
I answer readers questions from my personal blog Passionate Perseverance.
This is video #1

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help pay off medical debt from caring for our beautiful Courtney  

Our new goal is $3,209.00 which will eliminate the balance on a credit card used for Courtney's PT, OT and Feeding therapies and supplies used over the last five years. We have raised $780 of it so far. Only $2429.00 to go to pay this one off. If we can raise the full amount, we can pay it off and be that much closer to our larger goal. One thing at a time. Thank you so much for your help. 

The entire medical debt is extensive, now approx. $67,3000. It's a lot and will take years to whittle down. Anything helps. Anything. So, I will keep it at the bottom of my posts for awhile. You all have already given so much to our family. Our prayers are with you and we are so very grateful. We can never repay that kindness. So thank you...just thank you. If you would like our mailing address, please just email me at mary_romance@cox.net and I will send it.

Sunday, August 2, 2015

what i wore ~ basic black splattered with color...


Happy Sunday Y'all! 

It's a beautiful summer day here in NoVa. Jerry and I served as Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion at Mass this morning. It always amazes me that I have the privilege of participating in such a manner with the distribution of Our Lord during Mass. 

I always make sure I look my best when I am an EM. I love what Kendra had to say about why dressing up is important.
 I could not agree more with her observations. I to have spent more than enough time in yoga pants shlepping around. These days I take a little more time and pay closer attention to what I wear and how it affects how I feel. There is definitely a correlation between the two. 

This week I wore a Calvin Kline number what reminds me of a Jackson Pollack painting. Not an exact match mind you but in my mind, close enough. I have had this little number for a bit of time, but this was the first time I actually wore it. By that I mean, I have lost enough weight to actually zip the sucker. WoohOO!


 Today I accessorized in basic black but you can imagine all the colors I could use with a dress like this one. It can also be worn year round since the base color is black. Add sweater, necklace, earrings and shoes and bam...we are ready to go. The classic cut of the dress with it's empire waist and flared skirt, it is easy to dress up or down. All in all a good choice from the Lord and Taylor sale rack. 


The shoes are Rag and Bone, probably purchased at DSW at some point in the last three years. I have no idea. I just know that they are chic and comfy. My disco ball toes have been with me for a month now. Gotta love a pedicure that stays. 

Last but not least what I wore last Sunday before heading off to NYC. Again, in my closet, nothing new, just new here in this space. It's a cotton knit jersey dress that has spaghetti straps, so for Mass I added a sweater. Orange flats that mimic the orange leaves on the dress and done and done. Off to Jesus we go. 

I hope you come back tomorrow because this week we have FIVE days of videos answering your questions. There will be laughter aplenty. On Friday, my son Jonathan makes a rare appearance on this blog answering your questions as well so you don't want to miss it. 

See you then!

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help pay off medical debt from caring for our beautiful Courtney  

Our new goal is $3,209.00 which will eliminate the balance on a credit card used for Courtney's PT, OT and Feeding therapies and supplies used over the last five years. We have raised $780 of it so far. Only $2429.00 to go to pay this one off. If we can raise the full amount, we can pay it off and be that much closer to our larger goal. One thing at a time. Thank you so much for your help. 

The entire medical debt is extensive, now approx. $67,3000. It's a lot and will take years to whittle down. Anything helps. Anything. So, I will keep it at the bottom of my posts for awhile. You all have already given so much to our family. Our prayers are with you and we are so very grateful. We can never repay that kindness. So thank you...just thank you. If you would like our mailing address, please just email me at mary_romance@cox.net and I will send it.

Saturday, August 1, 2015

conference wardrobe 101...

 
I have been on two trips in the last month, both of which required a particular wardrobe. #Edel15 required a cocktail outfit and a few comfy yet stylish outfits that could stand up on the Charleston heat and humidity. New York City required a professional look for the day, sightseeing outfits, and two spectacular black tie/cocktail dresses. 

All of this needed to be done without spending a dime. I was already counting my pennies to even get to NYC, so spending money on my wardrobe was out of the question.

The other factor was that it all needed to fit into two very small bags. I was taking the bus with my writing pal and we were going to be schlepping whatever we took with through NYC to our hotel from the drop off point. 

So I had to look deep into the back of my closet to come up with what I wore. Thank goodness I have not gained a lot of weight since Court died or I would have been up a creek without a paddle. 


First a travel outfit that was comfy and casual and would take me through my first afternoon of sightseeing in the city. I have had the t-shirt for awhile now and new when I saw it in the drawer it would be perfect for an afternoon in the shoe capital of the world. I added a cami to make it long enough for me. The denim shorts are from Lane Bryant, two seasons ago I think. Nice and cozy for the four hour bus ride. 


Once we arrived, schleped our bags to the taxi stand, got a taxi and found our way to the center of Times Square and our hotel, it was time to change shirts and hit the town, since I had spilled coffee on my other one. 

Packing tip #1 - always roll and extra top or two that coordinates with a few of your other outfits in case of spillage stains or abhorent summer perspiration. You will not regret it.  

After we strolled through the city, got a cupcake at Magnolias, one of my bucket list bakeries to visit, we headed toward Bryant Park. After watching so many seasons of Project Runway and seeing a billion photos of fashion week (which takes place in the park) it was a thrill to get to see it in person. 

That evening we had a dinner date with a mutual friend at a fabulous Italian restaurant. It required a quick change into a maxi dress and I was all set. 


I added some JCrew jewelry (there sales are awesome!!) and wore the same beaded sandals I traveled in. The maxi dress is from DressBarn. The last three seasons they have had some very cute dresses for under $50. I have been checking out their fall line and it looks promising. Luckily I had the dress in my closet so no shopping was involved. It also rolled up easily without wrinkling wich is a plus when traveling light. 

The next day I had lunch with an old Navy friend who came in from NJ to meet up. I knew we would be walking to our restaurant so flats would work better. I had packed my sunshine yellow pair from Talbots. I wore a yellow and white striped cotton top from Lands End and a chambray denim skirt with pockets for the hotel key card. 

Cza Cza and me on a stoop in NYC

I also wore a special piece of jewelry from my friend Kathryn that commemorates my sweet Courtney. It is a leather cuff with a copper heart stamped with the phrase "Love always wins".  It has become a favorite. Every time I wear it I think of my Courtney and say a pray for Kathryn and her family. 


The next day there were two events to attend, so a dress was required. I went for a classic summer white cotton eyelet with green accessories. It was cool and I love the cut of the dress. Once again it's from Dress Barn. I have had it since Easter and have worn it multiple times. 


That night there was a cocktail party my critique partner and I were slated to attend. It was time to bring out the bling. This dress was a real bargain. I found it on sale at Lord and Taylor, 60% off the original price. That's my kind of sale.  It's a Ralph Lauren, a black  lace knit with sequins and a nude lining. With the cap sleeves and a classic princess cut, it will be with me for years. 

Add in a pair of sparkling gold heels and we have a winning combo

The next day was another opportunity to sight see. It was another day of my denim shorts, beaded sandals and this fabulous grey knit t-shirt. The pearls make it a bit dressier than a typical t-shirt which is perfect for the city. Again, rolled up and fit right into the small suitcase like a dream. 



Our final day in the city I got to have breakfast with a sweet internet friend who I am thrilled to call a in real life friend. It was the best start to my day. 

It was also the day of the big gala. My critique partner, Sharon (seen above), was up for a Golden Heart Award. In the romance writing world, these are the Oscars for unpublished authors. The are paired with the RITA awards which are the Oscars for published romance writers like Kristin Higgins and Nora Roberts. 


This gala is a black tie event. When I was packing for it, I was nervous because I don't live a black tie life. I had one dress in my closet that might work but it was cocktail length. So I got out my style and etiquette manual and did a little research. Given that my dress was beaded, I thought I could get away with it. After consulting with  few friends who do live black tie lives, I packed the dress with confidence. 

 
It was a great evening even though Sharon didn't win. There were beautiful dresses, fabulously awesome women in those dresses and the shoes were beyond. I was in my glittery happy place. This dress weighed ten pounds but it was so worth it. The cut, color and style worked as did my awesome shoes.

After a late night, including pizza in Time Square at midnight in our fabulous dresses, we went to bed and slept through the alarm the next day. Thank goodness we had already packed the afternoon before. I wore my denim skirt and another cotton t-shirt home. 

Packing tip #2 - luggage with wheels will be worth more than their weight in gold. I don't have any luggage like that. After this trip to NYC, I have dreamed of nothing else but luggage with wheels. 

Packing tip #3 - if you group your clothing by color, creating several interchangeable outfits, adding a splash of color when you can, it makes the decision making process at the hotel so much easier. I tried this with NYC and I know I can do better. I relied way too much on dresses. I need to slim the packing list down a bit. 

Packing tip #4 - keep your toiletries to a minimum. Use a basic palette for your makeup and then add in a pop of glitter for your eyes and a deeper color of lipstick for evening. The hotel usually has shampoo, soap and a blow dryer so you can skip those items if you are looking to save room. 

Traveling is a new thing for me. We have one more quick trip to OK for my in-laws 60th Wedding Anniversary in mid August. That will be one carry on bag for each of us. A challenge for this shoe hog for sure. But it can be done. 

Thanks for all your encouragement and good wishes during my trips to #Edel15 and NYC. You guys are the best readers. Truly. Cheering me on from all over the interwebs. You're just the best!!

Hugs,

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help pay off medical debt from caring for our beautiful Courtney  

Our new goal is $3,209.00 which will eliminate the balance on a credit card used for Courtney's PT, OT and Feeding therapies and supplies used over the last five years. We have raised $780 of it so far. Only $2429.00 to go to pay this one off. If we can raise the full amount, we can pay it off and be that much closer to our larger goal. One thing at a time. Thank you so much for your help. 

The entire medical debt is extensive, now approx. $67,3000. It's a lot and will take years to whittle down. Anything helps. Anything. So, I will keep it at the bottom of my posts for awhile. You all have already given so much to our family. Our prayers are with you and we are so very grateful. We can never repay that kindness. So thank you...just thank you. If you would like our mailing address, please just email me at mary_romance@cox.net and I will send it.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

ask away...anything at all...go for it...


ask us anything...so Jerry Lenaburg​ and I are doing a vlog this weekend and we thought we would ask you good people if you had any questions for us or anything you wanted us to share about. So ask away...suggest away...no fear people...just ask/suggest...

Monday, July 27, 2015

seven months...


It's been seven months since Courtney took her last breath. 

Where has the time gone? 

The days fly by so fast. I feel like I am trying to gather leaves in the fall as the wind blows them from the trees. Running, jumping, lunging to grab that moment in time before it's forever gone. 

I thought about Courtney all day today. 

Not a tear has fallen. I have felt such a peace today. I smiled and talked about her with friends and family. There were Courtney stories shared all day. Our spicy little number left behind quite a legacy of laughter and joy. 

I can't help but feel happiness when I think of my daughter. I know the tears will come, grieving takes time. But for this day, the seven moth anniversary of Courtney's death, there was joy.

I love you girly. I miss your face. I know you are experiencing nothing but joy and the eternal love of Jesus. I am so happy to know where you are, that your safe, loved and no longer feeling pain or fear. 

Until we meet again my love...run, sing, dance and praise your Beloved Lord. 



help pay off medical debt from caring for our beautiful Courtney  

Our new goal is $3,209.00 which will eliminate the balance on a credit card used for Courtney's PT, OT and Feeding therapies and supplies used over the last five years. We have raised $720 of it so far. Only $2489.00 to go to pay this first one off. If we can raise the full amount, we can pay it off and be that much closer to our larger goal. One thing at a time. Thank you so much for your help. 

The entire medical debt is extensive, now approx. $67,3000. It's a lot and will take years to whittle down. Anything helps. Anything. So, I will keep it at the bottom of my posts for awhile. You all have already given so much to our family. Our prayers are with you and we are so very grateful. We can never repay that kindness. So thank you...just thank you. If you would like our mailing address, please just email me at mary_romance@cox.net and I will send it.

answer me this ~ summer finale...

I am home from NYC happy to be reunited with my peeps. They missed me and I them. I thought I would jump back into this space with a fun little post, the final answer me this post of the summer, hosted by the lovely Kendra @ Catholic All Year. 




1. What's your favorite grocery store splurge?

I go to the local Wegmen's for my weekly grocery trip. I love the veggies and bakery selection. I stick to the house brands of things and I avoid the prepared foods aisle. Way too many temptations there. Must stick to the budget...must. 

Since Courtney's death, no only has our grocery bill lessened seeing as we do not need as many fresh items to make her daily blended diet, I don't need to go more than once a week. We eat a pretty varied diet with some international food every now and again. Anyway, if I splurge, then I usually get a tray of sushi from the sushi bar. Jerry calls it bait, I call it delish. My favorite is the coconut shrimp sushi roll. Crunchy, spicy with a hit os sweetness. 

2. How's your penmanship?

I have decent penmanship. I love to write notes and letters, so I stay in practice. I would love to take a calligraphy class someday. I just love a handwritten note in the mail. Love it.

3. Do you have a "Summer Bucket" List? 

Not really. I am trying to be open to new experiences this summer, especially as we approach Courtney's birthday in August. It's a good distraction for me. I just got back from NYC and Charleston, SC. and am happy to be home for now.


My BFF Sharon and I heading out to a cocktail party in NYC...such fun. 
We go to OK in August to celebrate my in-laws 60th Wedding Anniversary. That will be a good trip. So happy to join in the celebration.  


so.many.people.
4. What's the best thing on the radio right now?

Everything that Kendra shared...I love. I would add in this gem as well. My kids sang it all week during work camp. 




I am also a fan of Taylor Swift. "Shake it Off" helps get the vacuuming done in a timely manner. Plus the video is funny.



5. Ice cream or frozen yogurt?

Without a moments hesitation...ice cream. My favorite is a soft serve vanilla cone covered with rainbow sprinkles served at Jimmy Cone in Damascus, MD. It is divine. I love it! Every time I go see my mom, we swing by and have a little treat. 





Sunday, July 19, 2015

progress in grieving...


I have been thinking of my Courtney all day long. There have been no tears. No dread. Just joy in seeing her smiling face as she looks at me through a computer screen. 

Progress in grieving. I miss her. Deeply. Everyday. I miss her smile, her laughter, her humming, her flinging off her shoes, her snuggles and the weight of her next to me in the rocking chair. 

I sit in these moments and instead of crying, I smile and I talk to her. 

What a gift you were Courtney, everyday, here with us, doing the best we could for you and you just loving. Always loving. We tried to make your life and your brothers a happy one. We didn't always succeed as a matter of fact, we often failed. But we tried, really, really hard. Forgive us for when we failed baby girl. 

You continue to be a blessing to us, even though you are beyond the veil. Oh my sweet girl, you are changing the world one prayer petition at a time. You are one powerful intercessor, oh daughter of mine. 

I am so honored that God gave you to me. So damn honored and to be honest, humbled that God thought your Daddy and I could do this. I know I only got to hold you and love you for twenty-two years this side of heaven, but I want you to know, I wouldn't change a thing. Not one thing. You know why? Because God gave us so much grace in loving and caring for you and your brother. So many miracles happened during your lifetime here on earth and continue to happen through your intersession. 

I miss you baby girl. I miss you so much but a funny thing started to happen in the last few days. Instead of tears, I felt joy when I thought of you. I smiled and laughed when recounting stories. Gratitude. Just so much gratitude for having that time with you. SO much joy in sharing your story, my story, our families story. 

God is so good my girl. 

But then, you already know that. You stand at in constant praise of worship at His throne. I love you Courtney Elizabeth. I love you more everyday and I didn't know that was possible. My heart continues to make room for more. More of you, more people to love, more room for God. Thank you for making that possible. Thank you for saying yes and doing what God asked you do to with your life. Thank you for loving us and letting us love you. 

Keep doing your thing baby girl. Daddy, Jonathan and I will be OK. With you, Jesus and His Blessed Mother watching out for us, how could we not be. 

Progress. Slow and steady. One day at a time. Hearts will heal and God's mercy will continue to reign. 


help pay off medical debt from caring for our beautiful Courtney  

Our new goal is $3,209.00 which will eliminate the balance on a credit card used for Courtney's PT, OT and Feeding therapies and supplies used over the last five years. We have raised $720 of it so far. Only $2489.00 to go to pay this first one off. If we can raise the full amount, we can pay it off and be that much closer to our larger goal. One thing at a time. Thank you so much for your help. 

The entire medical debt is extensive, now approx. $67,3000. It's a lot and will take years to whittle down. Anything helps. Anything. So, I will keep it at the bottom of my posts for awhile. You all have already given so much to our family. Our prayers are with you and we are so very grateful. We can never repay that kindness. So thank you...just thank you. If you would like our mailing address, please just email me at mary_romance@cox.net and I will send it.
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