Friday, February 5, 2016

life is full...sometimes bursting...


Hello Friends,

I know it's been a week since I have been here. So very sorry. Sometimes real life get very, very busy and I run out of hours in the day to come and share. 

This new life of mine is very full. Some days like today, it feels full to bursting. For example I was up at 6 am, at work by 7 am, meeting at 8 am, set up for Mass at 8:45 am and then Mass and Adoration. By 10:30 I am at the Historic Church prepping for a visitation at 11 am and then the funeral Mass at 1 pm. Internment followed. Back at my office by 3:15 then there was paperwork, putting out a fire or three, prepping for Scout Sunday, BLA commitment weekend and so on. By 5:15 my dogs are barking big time and there are still five phone calls to return before I can consider leaving. At 5:43 I am out the door. Home by 6:30, twelve hours after I left. Then there is dinner prep and putting on my pj's. Small talk with hubby over dinner and then sofa time watching Blacklist on the DVR. 

Next up bed time. So excited for bed time. 

Please do not think for one moment I am complaining. Not for a second. I LOVE my job. I love my parish. I love the people I get to help in their darkest moments when everything is confusing and painful. I love the challenge of all the moving parts of the liturgy and how, in the end, it all comes together beautifully to celebrate, honor and glorify Our Lord. 

I am challenged every single day. I amazed at the grace that pours forth and covers me and all my faults everyday. I am grateful for the fullness of my day knowing that it is worth something. I am doing something of value. I am honoring my daughter and my God doing what I do best. 

Taking care of people.   

Yes, life is busy and full. Yes, it feels like I might loose my mind some days with all the details I am required to inhale and exhale without skipping a beat. No, this is not even close to what I had in mind for my life twenty years ago.

But I am happy y'all. So happy

There is joy after grieving so deeply my friends. There truly is. The grief over my Courtney will come and go as it needs to, it will always be there. My heart will always be broken and that's OK.  I will enter into it as I need to, but in the end, life is for the living.  

There is hope. There is joy. There is chocolate. 

Hope comes in ALL forms my peeps.  

Life is full, full to bursting and it is very, very good.   

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

wednesday musings...a tired spirit...


tonight i am tired ... just so tired ... i love the snow but seriously ... 30 inches ... all at once ... just a little too much ... it's been a tough few weeks ... two car accidents ... praise God no one was hurt ... then insurance claims ... deductibles to pay ... phone calls upon phone calls to make and receive ... aches and pains from muscle strain from said accidents ... body shops ... rental cars ... doctors appointments canceled ... rescheduled ... canceled and rescheduled again ... then there was the grocery trip from hell ... followed by two more for good measure ... at least those people were nice the second time around ... then came the snow ... and more snow ... and then more snow ... then came the shoveling ... and more shoveling ... then I feel and hit my knee at just the right angle to give me the most spectacular goosegg ... along with some lovely purple bruising ... it hurts like hell ... another co-pay at urgent care ... hard to bend but nothing is broken ... I can get to work now ... the world continues on ... God calls people home ... their families grieve ... i help as much as i can ... i  create a plan with them ... we celebrate their lives with the Eucharist ... god is forever ... the beginning and the end ... the alpha and omega ... and the sun goes down ... and the sun goes up ... i am tired ... my heart is heavy and i know why ... i need god ... i need him something fierce ... i haven't been spending as much time with him as i should have ... and it shows ... i am tired ... and i need him to carry me ... to lay my burdens down and rest ... but my mind races and worries ... it's hard to sleep ... it's hard to lay those troubles down ... it's these times i miss courtney the most ... i miss holding her and loving her ... i miss our simple life together ... yes there was drama and worry ... but somehow we were stronger together ... i know she intercedes for me everyday ... i know she does for many ... but it's not the same as holding her ... looking into her eyes and knowing we had each other ... i feel like the cars above ... buried and struggling to figure it all out ... to make it all work right ... there is a new medical condition for me that needs attending ... it requires more change in my life ... i am tired of change ... so much new ... no more new ... even if the new is good and wonderful ... i want my girl in my arms ... surrounded in flannel and love ... just us and the blessed mother ... having a little chat ... knowing it will all be ok ... it's hard to lose a child ... it's really, really hard ... survivable yes ... but damn what i wouldn't give for one more look into courtney's eyes ... one more smile ... one more laugh ... i am so tired of the new ... of the change ... of the challenge to live without her ... not depressed friends ... just sad ... change is hard ... missing her is hard ... handling lots of stress and change at once is hard ... but jesus ... he got it all figured out ... now to seek him and hold on ...

Monday, January 25, 2016

lent...time to restore...


https://gumroad.com/l/nWGqh
https://gumroad.com/l/nWGqh

As we continue to dig ourselves out of lovely Boris the Blizzard, my mind is filled with thoughts of the upcoming liturgical season of Lent. Yes. My job as a liturgist really has invaded every aspect of my life. Living the liturgical year is serious business my friends. 

Lent is a biggy.  

In my liturgist world preparation begins early in the summer with a discussion of what the pastor wants to do as far as making materials available to our parishioners (i.e. The Lenten Magnificat, or other materials), then there is a penance service to plan, a parish mission and finally we tackle The Triduum. One thing at a time.

What do I do for my personal Lenten Study? Well typically I do two things. I have really enjoyed the Blessed is She studies as well as Nell's @WholeParenting. They are short and make me think. But I like to mix things up and I get bored very easily.

So this year I am really looking forward to Elizabeth Foss's "Restore: A Lenten Journey to Restore the Hearts of Women" I don't know about you but I need a little rest and restoration at this point. 

I started a new job, survived the Christmas season in this new job and have come through the first anniversary of Courtney's death, survived my husband and son starting new jobs, had a car accident, survived my husband having one as well, and we have come thorugh Boris the Blizzard. 

I am tired. I need to make some changes in my daily routine for my health and my sanity. Most importantly though, I need to continue to enter into that sacred conversation with my God. The more I pray and read scripture and listen to his prompting, the closer we become. 

If I am willing to spend so much time building up human relationships than shouldn't I spend even more time with My Savior. 

https://gumroad.com/l/nWGqh
https://gumroad.com/l/nWGqh

Elizabeth has a way with words. It's her gift. It's part of her vocation to softly sit, listen and encourage women in their journey's. I look forward to walking this Lenten journey with her and some of her good friends. A few you know well since I have shared their goodness here many times. 

Ann, Ginny, Colleen, Danielle, Aimee, Sarah and Anne are joining in on the fun with Elizabeth to provide a wonderful, gentle and productive Lenten journey. I am so looking forward to this. I really am. I want you to join in the fun with me if you can.  

I know, I know, money is tight for many of us, myself included. It is well worth it I promise. If you can't take advantage of the full bundle with printables, e-books and podcasts for $49 not to worry, Elizabeth has made a bargain bundle available for only $15 with two e-books, two printables and two awesome podcasts

Y'all really don't want to miss this. 

This is my very first time doing anything with an affiliate link but this is something I feel very strongly about so  I am happy to be a part of Elizabeth's efforts to help women everywhere. 

https://gumroad.com/elizabethfoss
https://gumroad.com/elizabethfoss

So if you are looking for a little more interactive lenten study, join me with "Restore: A Lenten Journey to Restore the Hearts of Women". You will not be disappointed. Just follow the links at the bottom of each photo to register.

May there be joy in your journey,

Sunday, January 24, 2016

digging out...



Hello from the frozen tundra known as Northern Virginia. Thirty inches of snow on the ground, a travel ban in place, the power still on (thank you Jesus) and plenty of football to watch. Not bad for a blizzard if you ask me. We have certainly experienced worse situations. 

I started my day with a little winter fun. I went outside and made an epic snow angel. You can check out the video on my FB page, twitter or Periscope (@marylenaburg). It was very cold. Never have I loved a hot shower more after that little adventure.


I had ambitious plans to re-organize and work in the house while it snowed and so far I have done none of it. Not one darn thing. I have however watched three movies, made some awesome beef stew and mashed potatoes and enjoyed hours of conversation with my guys, since all three of us are actually being in the same place at the same time. Such a rarity these days. 

Today calls for lots of hot tea, some great football games, homemade Macaroni and Cheese for my hard working boys who have spent at least three hours trying to shovel us out. Jonathan has to work tomorrow but Jerry and I are home thanks to some prudent calls from the local county government. 


It will be a few days before things return to normal here but we are on out way for sure. Jerry is not a fan of the snow for the simple fact that he has to shovel it. Jonathan thinks everything is an opportunity for movie quotes. For example his Braveheart "Freedom" stance. Those are my guys and I am blessed beyond measure that they care for me so. 

Miss Courtney made her presence known as well during this storm, the first one since she died. Jerry and I were lying in bed last night as the snow continued to come down and we talked about how different things would be with our girl here. We reminisced about how different our storm prep used to be. Heck three year ago we were in the hospital for the first snow of the season. 

This morning she was on my heart as I went out to look at the winter wonderland the Lord had provided. I looked over at our snow covered cars and noticed a beautiful snow drift. 


It was like Courtney was reaching down to us, offering a hand up. There is beauty to be seen even in the midst of a blizzard.

I just stood there for a few moments and talked to my girl, thanking her for her intersession time and time again since she went home to the Lord. I miss her. I don't miss the the worry and the panic when things went awry, but boy howdy do I miss the snuggles and the laughter.  

That's what's happening in our neck of the woods. Digging, digging and more digging

How about you?

Saturday, January 23, 2016

jonas? no boris i think...




Hi Ho, Hi Ho, it's off to shovel we go. Or maybe not. At least not until the snow stops coming down which could be a day away. 

Welcome to #winterstormjonas2016. 

Yep. I was underwhelmed with the name as well, so Jerry and I have renamed it #boristheblizzard. Much better don't you think? This storm is not taking any prisoners. I love snow and winter but this is a wee bit cray cray even for me. 

Six inches? No problem. Twenty-four inches and counting? Cray Cray for sure. Thank goodness we still have power. So very grateful for electricity.  More hot chocolate please...

Jerry and Jonathan had to climb up to unblock the main vent pipe on the roof which allows us to flush the toilets. They handled it well and I fed them a hot breakfast when they came back in. Thank you Lord for two strong men in my world. 


I have beef stew going in the crock-pot. I will serve it over horseradish mashed potatoes for dinner. Again so very grateful for electricity. My hope is that it will stay on. We are prepped with candles, blankets and peanut butter and jelly if it doesn't. 

I do wish we had a fireplace or a wood stove. I really do miss it from our time in Maine. Maybe one day I can convince my hubby to put one in. Until then it's fuzzy blankets, warm socks and layers of flannel. 

Speaking of which,here is a look at my Boris Blizzard attire:


Sexy no? I mean talk about pattern mixing? LOL! I keep it simple and warm when home. The leggings were a special order from Nell @wholeparenting. She is awesomesauce. I am usually always wearing an apron when I am home, being in and out of the kitchen so much. This beauty was made for me by the fabulously talented Kristin Foss. It's one of my favs. 

So that's what's happening here in Boris Blizzard land. What's happening in your neck of the woods? Are you in the midst of this insanity? Is it sunny and warm where you are? 

Check out updates on Periscope, Twitter and Instagram. You can follow me @marylenaburg

Stay safe and keep warm, 

Thursday, January 21, 2016

hangry? eat more...then you might smile...




Oh what a day. 

Apparently a blizzard is on the way in the next 36 hours and people around here have gone absolutely cray cray. I made the determination that I had to go to the grocery store yesterday. It couldn't be avoided. I needed a few fresh items and laundry detergent. This way I could do ALL the laundry before we lose power during the blizzard. 

Clean underwear and I, we have a very close relationship. 

Anyhoo, I made my list and headed out to not one, but TWO different stores. I know, I know, I am a few months behind on my mental health check. 

Wegmans was busy and packed but everyone was courteous and there were even a few smiles given. I mean smiling shoppers AND staff?? Sheesh who did they think they were?? Didn't they understand that rudeness and impatience are all the rage??

After loading my car with detergent, toilet paper and a few other items, I headed over to the pretentious mecca known as Whole Foods. Now don't get me wrong. I like their store. They have things I need that I cannot find anywhere else, unless I can find them on-line. I needed to get some beef marrow bones to make more bone broth while I had the time. 

As I made my way through the extremely packed produce department, I got stuck between two shoppers and the naval oranges. I needed to get around said oranges and get to the fennel. As I was trying to manuver my cart, a petite blond, well-dressed in her North Face faux fur lined coat, Tory Burch flats and Kate spade purse (yes, I notice), stared me down and as she bulldozed her way past me looked at me and said "fat ass" storming over to the organic grass fed eggs. 

She looked at me...in the eye...and said "fat ass"...and walked away. 

First I was shocked. Seriously lady?  Then I murdered her twelve different ways in my mind, then my mouth opened and shut like a fish, then my brain kicked in. I came very close to walking over to confront her. My inner Xena Irish Princess Warrior Street Fighter I Know How to Box, like serious legit boxing (six brothers and all) was begging to be released to show this little twig what I thought of her remark. 


Amazingly enough, I kept my feet firmly planted and started an inner dialogue with myself. It went a little like this: 

"oh no she didn't (with finger snaps). who do you think you are you skinny little...please please Lord help me to control my temper. Courtney your Mama needs your intercession right now honey. I am about to do something very stupid. What crawled up your spiralized veggies and died? Maybe you need to eat more pasta lady. I mean for realz. I could snap you like a twig. Oh Father God help me. Allow me to take this humiliation for someone who needs the help right now. Courtney girl, intercede for this woman. She is angry. She needs the Lord. She needs to feel love. Such nastiness. Such rudeness. Get a grip Mary. You are strong. You are beautiful. The Lord delights in you. You are a daughter of the King. All is well with my soul. Deep breaths girlfriend. Deep breaths. Lady I don't have a "fat ass". I have no ass. I have the belly of Santa Claus though, so if you are going to insult me, at least get the body part right. After all, Santa was always jolly cuz he had cookies....you nasty little chocolate chip...wait, I shouldn't insult chocolate that way..Father God I am choosing to love right now. I choose YOU Lord. I choose YOU! Breathing in...breathing out...The Lord is my stronghold, my deliverer, my strength." 

It took me a moment or two as all of this was spinning in my mind before I realized my hands had a death grip on my cart, my face felt hot and I was shaking. 

Words have power and even though I know who I am and am very comfortable in my own skin, stretch marked as it is, it still stung. I thought about her saying that to someone who wasn't as thick skinned and confident. How devastated would they have been? What would that moment have done to them?

I remembered what my Mama used to say when I was struggling in high school with my ever changing body "You have to love yourself before you can love another." I looked up and the blond---my "fat ass" that's real---breathe in---and out---had moved on, so I decided to do the same. 

Even though I didn't need anything else, I walked up and down every.single.aisle. of that store and prayed. I smiled and nodded, picked a box of rice off the high shelf for a petite little Mama who was having a hard time reaching it. I prayed all the way through that store. 

By the time I made it back to the car, I was filled with joy. I did it. Well, God did it, but I listened and followed His lead. I still need to go to confession. I still need to continue to lift all these little annoyances to the Lord, but I felt good. I felt strong. I felt sorry for that woman who had nothing but hatred to spread. 

I thought "Eat some more pasta sweetie. Pasta makes everything better." Hangry doesn't look good on anyone. 

pretty, happy, funny, flowers...2016...vol.1...

In an effort to get back into a blogging routine, it's time to jump back onto the {p,h,f,r} bandwagon. It has been waaaaayyyy to long. Let's get this party started my friends. 

Christmas Eve 2015 ~ SMOS Fairfax
 {pretty, happy, funny, real} 

Part of my job as the liturgist for my parish is to handle ALL the decorations within the sanctuary. This past Christmas I took my time in finding the right floral team to work with. With each liturgist our parish has had, they have brought some of their own "style" shall we say to the decor. 

I immediately thought of the florist I used for Courtney's funeral. I made an appointment (which was free since we had purchased small altar arrangements from them in the past) and had their design team come to the church, walk around and basically had a brainstorming session about what we could do. I have a very strict budget, so I wanted to make the most of it. 

It was awesome. We had a great discussion and came up with some wonderful ideas. I wrote them all down and we took measurements and I told them I would get back with them once I made my desicion.

Next I spoke to two friends who have some serious mad design skilz. One is an architect/interior designer and the other is a floral designer/couture wedding dress designer/interior designer. Yes, I am blessed with some wonderfully talented friends. Thank you Lord or I would be lost in this world. 

SMOS 2015
 They are both Catholic and so they understood the specific parameters of what was allowed and what wasn't. We discussed the fact that I attend a Marian church in which Our Lady is the patron. We talked about incorporating Marian flowers into the designs. I wanted everything in the sanctuary to have a story. Something that would tie it into Our Lady's story. 

I have to say, this is one of my favorite things to do as a liturgist. To evangelize and tell a story using flowers. I decided on using ivy, holly and red berries to incorporate the Passion of Our Lord. Poinsettias were a given (hello Our Lady of Guadalupe) as well as evergreen trees. The final component were small rosemary bushes. Haven't heard of the Legend of the Rosemary? Check it out. 

SMOS 2015
Some of my favorite memories of this past Christmas were the times I got to explain to the little ones what all the flowers and trees represented. They would look up at me and just be amazed. It was so lovely. I will never forget this little four year old swishing her hand through the rosemary bush telling her Mommy about how Mary hung the Baby Jesus clothing on the bush and how he must have smelled so nice when his Mama snuggled him that night. 

I do love my job. I seriously do. 

Now my mind has turned to Lent and the Triduum. It's a HUGE honking big deal as you well know. The HIGHEST Solemnity in the Church and my greatest desire is to make that sanctuary sing with beauty. I mean we will have Jesus back so I really can't compete but I do want him to be surrounded by beauty. 

Here is where y'all come in...

I need a little inspiration. I know there will be Easter Lillie's, Roses and Gladiolas. I need to have some green in there since it grounds the arrangements and gives them dome depth. What colors? Any special Marian flowers come to mind? Any legends or stories that go with them? 

These are a few arrangements that have caught my eye online...


This one is very traditional. White color palette, with lilies, roses, carnations and greenery. Beautiful but a little boring to me.

This one (below) has a very Easter Bonnet feel to it. It reminds me of every corsage and hat I have ever worn in my life. I do love the spring feel and bright colors represented. It's certainly happy looking.


This one is my favorite though and more along the lines of what I am going for. The colors are richer and it is easy to add in some white lilies to bring it into balance with all the other flowers that will be chosen. It reminds me of an Easter sunrise. I also love that there is a violet component, bringing in that Marian blue I love. 


So what do y'all think? You see the altar in the first picture so you know the area I am dealing with. Let your inner designer go and talk to me about what you would love to see. What would help you feel closer to the Lord in a sacred space? What would distract you? 

Help a liturgist out what do you say?

Comments and emails welcome. Bring it on.


~ Capturing the context of contentment in everyday life ~


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