Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Happy to Have Mad Goat

Happy Tuesday!

Nothing major today...just a simple quick note.

Many times this summer, I have taken my scooter wheelchair up to a new local business, Mad Goat Coffee.  I'm not even a big coffee drinker!  However, I really believe supporting local businesses is an important thing to do, so I have been visiting this little shop as much as I can.  Usually, I come on Tuesdays, so I even started a hashtag... #MadGoatTuesday.  Does that make me trendy, or weird?

I usually bring a book, sometimes my laptop, and sit for quite a while.  Some days I run into friends and colleagues.  It's such a nice relaxing place to go!

Oh...and this is big for me...the bathroom is wheelchair accessible, even large enough for my scooter!  WooHoo!  That may sound silly, but wow!  *wink*

Whether I get a smoothie (the strawberry banana one is the BEST) or actual coffee, I almost always pair it with a muffin.  Yum.  My pastry weakness.  Today, a latte and blueberry muffin.  I also reviewed some of my Dominican formation information.

I met one of the co-owners through the ministry of Women's Care Clinic.  Hannah is a birth doula...very cool! (WCC doesn't have doulas...yet...but she attended some of our events.)  She is due to have baby #4 very soon.  I love her view of motherhood, pregnancy, and birth.

So, yep...I am happy to have this small local business to support.  Hopefully, it won't be too small for too long!

Cheers...and Blessings,

Friday, July 11, 2014

Another 7 Quick Takes

I had every intention to write this post up in advance to go "live" this morning.  Well, apparently not every intention, because I didn't get it done.  Now, I am writing it up quickly because I have company coming this afternoon!  WooHoo!


Over the last several days, I have been busy making cards for the Color Challenges on Splitcoaststampers.  It is a bit of an obsession for me, but a fun one!  Last year, I tried to do each of the challenges (posted every Tuesday) but I missed quite a few.   So trying it again for 2014.  I think there are times when we fall short of a goal that we need to try again.  Clearly color challenges for card making are not earth-shattering, but practicing perseverance (or diligence) can bring about fantastic results! 


My dear husband, Bruce has been working lots of overtime recently.  Sometimes it drives me nuts, other times I am grateful.  In these economic times, I have to remind myself that Bruce has a job...with benefits...and a short commute...and good pay.  We are REMARKABLY blessed!  I am also glad he has a great work ethic.  Sometimes I just need to take a deep breath and thank God in my heart and mind, but also out loud, for all He has done for us!  Deo Gratias!


Last weekend, Bruce & I attended the graduation party for 2 of our nephews, Daniel & Sam.  They are not twins, but Daniel graduated from college and Sam from high school.  Their family lives in a fabulously large, yet very comfortable home.  My sister-in-law, Laura, loves to entertain.  One of the big traditions at their home is hours of karaoke.  They have the same karaoke people come to their parties...they're like family!  And speaking of family, Bruce (on the right) always sings with one of his brothers, George.  I don't remember what they were singing here...it was, well, interesting.  Don't quit your day jobs, guys!  {{Mwah!}}


So, last week I began telling more people about the fact that I left my job in May.  I received so much encouragement and support!  I am still adjusting to this big change...and inevitably I will feel weird about it off and on.  Again, I am at peace with my decision.  But as various events come up, I will be mindful of the various tasks that kept me busy.  Ultimately, God will lead me in new tasks and on new "adventures."  It will just be an up and down journey!

Photo credit: tanbooks.benedictpress.com
At my Lay Dominican meeting last weekend, our formation director said we should do some light reading over the next month.  Our August meeting will be delayed a bit, and we will be celebrating the Feast of St. Dominic.  So, we are going to read through Butler's Lives of the Saints..well July and half of August.  This is a very famous book, and I can hardly believe we don't own it here.  So, I will go online to order the short version (I think there is a multi-volume set somewhere) and learn more about heroes of the Faith.  From what I understand, there are many listed who are not very "famous" these days...but their fidelity to Christ and His Church make them important role models.  Should be fun and interesting reading!

Ok, I am running out of time and ideas.  This is just filler.  Ha!


So now, I need to get ready for my guests!  Friends, who used to live here in Danville but now live in Georgia, are up in Illinois for their annual family reunion.  After hanging with the family, they take time to see others in town...and we will be blessed tonight by their visit.  Becky & Wally sang in church choir with us for years, and we watched their 4 kids grow up.  Their oldest still lives in town, and we see him from time to time.  We'll be talking, laughing, and eating pizza!  (Oh, and we'll be sharing pictures from Italy!)  Friends, fellowship, food.  I love simple pleasures!

Be sure to check out the original 7 Quick Takes over at Conversion Diary.  Jennifer Fulwiler always has fun things to share!


Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Those Silly Online Quizzes

It seems I have learned a lot about myself lately, all thanks to Facebook, PlayBuzz, and some other sites I cannot remember.

  • The movie that is based on my life?  "Brave," because I have found my passion in life and will do anything to pursue it.  That would be prolife work!
  • Which Disney song is my anthem?  "Be Our Guest" (Beauty & the Beast)...well I do like to entertain.
  • What natural phenomenon am I?  A storm.  Oh boy!  I do believe that one is pretty accurate...some people love me, some people are scared of me.
  • I should have been born in the 1950's...since my creativity and innovations would be so helpful.  Hmmm, not sure about that one.
  • Which children's book is about me?  "The Giving Tree" by Shel Silverstein.  I sure hope so!
  • Which Star Wars character am I?  I honestly don't remember.  It wasn't Jar-Jar Binks, which is, apparently, a good thing.
  • Which leading man should I marry?  Sidney Poitier.  As wonderful as he is, I'm quite smitten with my real-life husband, Bruce.
  • What should my career be?  Writing...hmmm.  I better get to work on that.

Now, of course, I do not put much stock in these silly things.  I doubt anyone does.  They are fun, quirky time-fillers.  Change one answer, and you could come up with a completely different result.  I just saw that anyone can create any of these quizzes.  No wonder there are so many!

banner from eCatholicwebsites.com

I did take one quiz that asked which Bible character am I most like.  My result was the Virgin Mary, Mother of Jesus.  Ummm, wow.  I am almost embarrassed to write that here, because I can't even come close!  Mary had remarkable faith and patience.  Me?  Well, I'm working on it!  I certainly believe Mary is an important role model for all of us.  When the Angel Gabriel came to her, she said "Let it be done to me according to your word."  As she visited Elizabeth, she sang her heart out in praise to God: "My soul rejoices in the Lord!"  And as she was talking with people at the wedding feast in Cana, she pointed everyone to her Son, "Do whatever He tells you to do."

For me, I find myself saying "Do whatever You want with my life Lord...but can I put in a few requests?"  I do, often, sing and speak the praises of God to anyone who will listen.  But I am also all too quick to gripe to anyone who will listen.  Arthritic pain?  Job stress?  Cafeteria Catholics?  Yep, I am passionate, but unfortunately that just means I am very expressive about positive and negative things.  (Remember that storm reference above?)  I need to learn to keep some things quiet!  And when it comes to complete submission to Jesus, I'd like to think I would do whatever He tells me to do.  But let's face it.  I am painfully human, and I mess up.  We all are. Thank God, literally, that He loves us any way!

Painting by Julius Schnorr Von Carolsfeld

All this to say, that those goofy quizzes are just that...goofy.  If any of us really want to get to know ourselves, it won't happen through a series of 12 questions which include celebrity faces we don't recognize.  It must come through prayer and quiet time alone with God.  It will come through the inspiration of the Saints who have gone before us...found in Scripture and two thousand years of heroic men and women from around the world.  I may not feel like I measure up, but that doesn't mean I shouldn't try.  I'll start by stepping away from PlayBuzz, and into Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John!


Friday, July 4, 2014

7 Quick Takes...It's Been a While!

Hello and Happy Independence Day!!!

If I am going to get back into blogging, I need to write more often, so here I am again.  Two days in a row.  Ha!

Last fall, I started getting into "7 Quick Takes" as featured on the blog Conversion Diary.  It's Friday, so it's time to jump in again!

1.  Happy Birthday, USA!!
Despite all of the garbage our nation is experiencing, I firmly believe that this is the greatest nation on the planet!  We can debate policies and politics...but we can do so without being thrown in jail or beheaded.  That's nothing to take for granted.  So on this Fourth of July, I thank God for the many freedoms and blessings we have.  I thank God for the men and women who serve in the military to ensure our safety, and to promote democracy around the world.  Fly your flags today, and celebrate with as many fireworks as you can get!  

2.  Great Book!!
Last month, I read Something Other Than God by Jennifer Fulwiler.  Wow!  Great book!  I have passed it along to a couple of friends.  I have another copy at home, which I will hopefully share with a certain person who could really benefit from it.  At least, I think so...but I need to pray for the right time to share it.  

3.  Book Inspired Card
So, one of my obsessions, or hobbies, is card making.  In June, I participated in a series of challenges hosted on my favorite craft website Splitcoaststampers.  The  overall theme was summer vacation, and one specific challenge asked us to make a card inspired by a book...whether it was the plot, a character, or even the cover.  I chose the cover of Jennifer's book.  How fun is that?  HERE is my post about the materials I used to make the card...in case you're curious.

4.  Organizing...I still don't like it
Since I am not currently employed, I have had time to work on my home clutter.  Bruce & I hosted 2 young women for a week, while they assisted with a catechism program at our church called Totus Tuus.  Nothing like having company to get me to clean up!  Sadly, I piled some things on a shelf...not too bad.  Except yesterday I needed a notebook from the bottom of that pile.  I now have a new mess that I need to take care of...after the holiday weekend!

5.  Weight Loss?  Me?
I noticed that one of my posts earlier was bemoaning my heaviness, with the hope that I would get moving again.  It's been nearly 5 months, and I have continued to neglect my exercises.  But now that my exercise mat is cleared off, that should change...right??

6.  Appliances...Ugh
Our home dryer gave out on us a couple of weeks ago.  We bought a new one, but our current pedestal isn't compatible.  Why weren't we told this before?  We bought a new pedestal, it was delayed a week (not in stock, of course.)  We reschedule installation...they never show.  I called only to find out the date was changed...but we weren't told.  I nearly lost it with the call center!  Now, we have a different dryer from a different retailer scheduled to arrive Monday, and the other dryer (which is on the back porch) will be returned to the retailer that couldn't handle basic installation or scheduling.  As much as I hate doing laundry, I am looking forward to drying a load of sheets and towels very soon!

7.  Good Friends
One thing I have seen since I left my position at WCC, is how many wonderful friends I have.  I have received phone calls, email and text messages, even little notes on Facebook.  People are surprised about my situation, but they know me well enough to believe it must be what I truly needed to do.  I recently had a call from one of the church secretaries.  She said that she and her pastor had been thinking about me quite a bit, and wanted me to know that they care about me and support me.  Another area pastor called me with words of comfort and reassurance, plus he invited me to help with a special project for the Advent season.  It came at a VERY good time, because I was beginning to feel discouragement creeping in.  Isn't it amazing how God will use people in your life to send messages of His love?  I am BLESSED!

That's my Quick Takes for this week.  Be sure to check out posts on Conversion Diary.  I love reading what other people find inspiring or funny in their lives.


Thursday, July 3, 2014

A New Chapter for Me...

Hello to anyone who stops by this dusty blog.

Funny thing is, some people have come by...but there have been no posts here for months.  I have been posting on my card making blog Stamping for LIFE!, but since this was the first blog I set up on blogger, many of my fellow paper crafters end up here.  I guess it is a bit confusing, but it hasn't been earth shattering.  Both of these blogs are just an outlet for me.  If they inspire someone...that's a special perk!

Photo Credit: emilysfilms.wordpress.com

Sometimes, when a blogger falls off the edge of the earth, it is because she has been ill, or she has been extraordinarily busy, or she just had a major life change that made blogging the last thing on her mind.

That last one is me...sort of.  It's not that I haven't thought about blogging.  I just haven't figured out how to start up again.  In fact, I have at least 2 posts sitting in my drafts.  Sigh.

So here goes...again.  What is up, you ask?  Well, in early May, after over 11 years,  I left my position as Executive Director of Women's Care Clinic in Danville.  Done.  And here I am, nearly two months later, still a bit dazed from the change.

I am not going to discuss why I left, as that is between me, God, my husband, my pastor, the board, and some very close family & friends.  That sounds like a lot, I suppose.  I will say that as quick as this change occurred, and as emotional as it was to walk away, I do feel a sense of peace.  Not as though everything is peachy  keen...I am still grieving quite a bit...but peace in the sense that I know and trust God has me in His hands.  He also has Women's Care Clinic in His hands.

Local ministry supporters have been so kind to me.  Many have been concerned if my health was the reason for my resignation.  I told one woman, "Nope, my health is no worse and no better than it was just a few months ago!"  We both laughed, since we both have a plethora of physical ailments.  Many other supporters expressed concern because the ministry recently acquired a much larger building. At the Banquet for Life in April, I described this building as "a DIY project on steroids."  Yes, it needs a lot of work.  Yes, I had been praying for a larger space for years.  But the building isn't mine; the ministry isn't mine.  It all belongs to God!

I am mindful of the ministry's founding Executive Director, Linda O.  She dreamt of the day that the ministry would have ultrasound and a nurse on staff.  And it happened...just not on "her watch."  She passed the baton off to Deni; then Deni to Tammy; then Tammy to me.  Now, I believe God has released me, and told me to hand the baton off to new leadership.  Sometimes we are the ones called to plant the seeds, but someone else brings in the harvest.  A beautiful woman of God, April, has joined the ministry team.  I pray for her, I support her efforts.  I want her to succeed, because that means the ministry succeeds...which means more babies will be saved!

Photo Credit:  Facebook/Students for Life of America
And that's the bottom line.

One of the ministry volunteers asked if I will be volunteering at the clinic.  I told her no, because I imagine that would be so awkward!  At least initially.  Besides, people need to connect with April.  She will do some things the same, and some things differently. However, Bruce and I are still financially supporting the ministry...because the mission continues to be Creating a Culture of Life.  SAVE the babies!  Reach the mothers and fathers with love and compassion.  Do everything in the Name of Jesus!

We will also sponsor a couple of kids from St Paul's for the Walk for Life.  My home church was #2 last fall; barely beating Catlin Church of Christ by just $50.  I am certain that their pastor, Darren, is developing a plan to topple us.  Must. Not. Happen!  *wink*

So, what have I been doing lately?  I have been sleeping in...making cards...MAILING cards...reading books...having lunch with friends...and reorganizing my home office/craft room.  Bruce and I also hosted some college kids for a week, as they facilitated a catechism program at our church.

Photo Credit:  My Dear Husband, Bruce Padan!

But now, I am praying about my next steps...I have wanted to pursue keynote speaking for years.  I have been encouraged by many friends and colleagues to do this as well...but I never had the energy to dig deep into this venture.  Now is the time.  Between my experience at Women's Care Clinic and my personal experience with Gabriel, I believe I have much to offer.  This little blog will hopefully grow, as I write more.  I will be working with a website developer to have something more polished.  I will be contacting men and women whom I have met over the years at conferences and online.  My dear husband is so supportive of this, even though it will mean more travel.  (Have I mentioned, I LOVE to travel??)

So, I ask for your prayers, as I pursue this long-held dream.  I think about Mr. Clark...my speech team coach from Rochelle Township High School.  He took a shy, awkward teen and encouraged her to share ideas in front of people with confidence.  Now, God is saying it's time to get out more and use those speaking skills!  After all, every part of my story, my testimony, features HIM!!

The new chapter has begun...it's going to be good!

Until next time...

Friday, January 17, 2014

7 Quick Takes...Volume 5


Hello, and Happy Friday!  This may be my quickest 7 Quick Takes.  Still sick...blech!  But I am trying to get into the habit of writing/blogging regularly...so here goes!

- 1. -

It snowed heavily, but briefly, yesterday morning.  The forecast had been for a small amount of flurries, so the big flakes and strong wind gusts were surprising.  One of my friends had posted on Facebook that she felt like she was inside a snow globe in the hands of an excited 3 year old!  What a perfectly delightful image!  I was grateful that I did not have to go anywhere (lots of accidents reported in rural areas).  But I have to admit, it was a beautiful snowfall!  Brings to mind the canticle in the third chapter of the Book of Daniel... "All you winds, bless the Lord...Cold and chill, bless the Lord...Hoarfrost and snow, bless the Lord...Praise and exalt Him above all forever!"

- 2. -

While typing this, I took a break to peek in on Facebook.  People were participating in a quirky quiz, to see what Star Wars character they most resembled.  I took the bait.  I am Obi-Wan Kenobi!  Ha!  I think I would like to resemble him most, and some days I do...but I am not nearly so level-headed!

- 3. -

This Sunday is the March for Life in Chicago.  I would love to go, but probably won't.  Unless something changes, I just cannot see myself spending hours in the cold.  But if you are in the Midwest, and cannot travel all the way to DC for the big event on Wednesday, this is a great option!  Check it out here for more info

- 4. -

I went back to the doctor earlier this week, and when I was weighed, I reached my highest weight since I was pregnant nearly 20 years ago.  Oh. No.  I have been well aware of my weight going up, and I thought I was motivated to lose weight before my trip to Italy last year...but I just maintained my weight instead.  I hope this ugly number on the scale will shake me up.  I know I need to exercise, but I hate exercise!  If you have ANY tips for getting motivated, please fill me in!  (*Update...I weighed myself this morning, and I weigh 5 pounds less.  I prefer my scale at home!)

- 5. -

Last Sunday, as I mentioned in a previous post, we had one of our former foster kids over with her husband and three kids for a late Christmas dinner.  It was the feast of the Baptism of the Lord, so liturgically, we were still in the Christmas season.  Bruce made enchiladas, and we exchanged gifts.  All three of the kids pounded on the piano at least a little bit!  Lots of fun!  I only mention the "foster" title because some people get confused when I talk about my daughter...  "Kim, I didn't think you had kids other than Gabriel."  Bruce and I welcomed 41 kids into our home over 8 years.  Some were just here for a weekend, some, like Jamie, were here for much longer (she was here over 3 years).  I often referred to this as "my other pro-life ministry."  It was some of the hardest stuff we ever did...very intense and emotional...but very worthwhile.  Romans 12:13 says, "Share with God's people who are in need.  Practice hospitality."  While this verse is talking about reaching out specifically to other Christians, there is no doubt in my mind that God would love more Christian families to become foster and adoptive parents!! 

- 6. -

Our party was NOT the last of our Christmas celebrations!  This weekend some long-time friends of ours are hosting their annual "Procrastinator's Christmas Party," and I truly hope we can go!  For one thing, how fun is that party title?  It is a great reason to get together during the doldrums of winter.  Plus, the party always features a fantastic white elephant gift exchange.  Here's hoping my new medicines kick in! 

- 7. -

Well, this was longer than I expected, but I cannot think of a Number 7.  My brain is done.  Time for some more medicine and a cup of tea.  By God's grace, I will be feeling better soon!

So that's it for this Friday!  For more quick takes, check out Jennifer's Conversion Diary blog here.  I have found several blogs that I will be adding to my blog roll...LOTS of inspiration!

Thanks for stopping by...and feel free to leave a comment.  I would love to hear from you!


Wednesday, January 15, 2014

2 weeks into the New Year...How's It Going?

Happy Wednesday, everyone!

I am sitting in a waiting room at a local clinic, while my husband is getting some kidney stones zapped.  As I am here, I am wearing a mask over my mouth, because I am still coughing a lot with my bronchitis.  In fact, I went to a different clinic already this morning to get checked out again.  Sometime, after Bruce’s surgery, I will have to go back for a chest x-ray.  What a day!

I actually decided on today’s post title quite a few days ago.  I figured it would be good to touch base on my New Year’s resolutions.   Oh my.

As the first paragraph indicates, life has started a little bit on the bad side at the Padan house, at least in terms of physical health.  Bruce had surgery last month also, but not all of his kidney stones have passed.  The good news is that he has still been able to go to work.  Me, not so much.  I have been trying to work from home, with varying levels of success.  I am not able to talk much, and right now, I need to be making lots of thank you calls.  Sigh.

So, when it comes to my resolution to make more cards, I could be doing okay…if I could keep my focus.  After all, I have been at home…plenty of time to stamp.  But no creative juices are flowing.

I have been reading a little more…I have also been doing my Divine Office prayers more…so that is good.  But I also have had the silly TV on too much. Hard to ignore that crutch when I am sitting on the couch so much. 

And yet…is that a reasonable excuse?   I’m not trying to get all self-righteous here, and I realize that I should cut myself some slack…I have been sick.   But perhaps this time was meant for me to use for prayer and reading.  Something to consider.

I’ll admit that one reason I am thinking about this is because of the book I have just started reading: a biography of St. Catherine of Siena (by Sigrid Undset).  What an amazing woman!  I am less than 100 pages into my book, and I am deeply moved by St. Catherine’s devotion to Christ, even as a young girl.  Her prayer life was focused, committed, and fruitful.  Of course, one doesn’t get the title “Doctor of the Church” for twiddling your thumbs!

One of the stories shared in the book tells of St. Catherine’s desire to take care of the poor in her community.  She came from a well-to-do family; her father was a successful wool-dyer, a master craftsman.  Catherine had approached her father, asking if she could give some things away to the poor, and he gave his blessing.  It was not uncommon for Catherine to take things from her father’s shop…even from her family’s own belongings.   One night, Catherine was in bed…very sick, barely able to move…and she became overwhelmed with thoughts of helping a local widow with several children.  She prayed to God, that He would give her the strength to get up, gather some food, and be able to deliver it, in secret, to this needy family.  

No self-pity.  No cranky “leave me alone!”  Instead, she was filled with authentic love and compassion for someone else.  This is what holiness looks like!

St. Catherine saw a need, and realized that she could address that need…with God’s help.  At that time, she was physically incapable of doing anything, let alone walk up and down stairs, gather food, oil, and wine, and walk on the steep streets of Siena with her generous bundle.  She actually lived as one who believes “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”  She was totally dependent upon God to complete that task…a task He most certainly gave to her.  How often are we given tasks by God and we refuse them?  We excuse ourselves…I don’t have time…I don’t have the right skills…I’m not feeling well.

I don't expect any mission to come to me in the middle of the night...probably not even tomorrow.  I realize God wants me to rest up and get well, so I can return with renewed strength to my work at Women's Care Clinic.  But I do see the importance of taking the mission of each day more seriously...more intentionally.  I love the quote of this great Saint, which I included at the top of this post:  Be who you were created to be, and you will set the world on fire!

Great words to live by...from one of the greatest women and Christ-followers of all time!

So...how are you doing on your resolutions?  Got any tips for me?

Thanks for stopping by!

(Cough, cough)