Friday, July 26, 2013


Webster's defines Providence as:
1 a) often capitalized : divine guidance or care 
b) capitalized : God conceived as the power sustaining and guiding human destiny
2 : the quality or state of being provident

The Oxford Dictionary defines it as:
1. the protective care of God or of nature as a spiritual power:
they found their trust in divine providence to be a source of comfort
(Providence) God or nature as providing protective care:
I live out my life as Providence decrees 
2. timely preparation for future eventualities:
it was considered a duty to encourage providence

Who would think that Providence would guide my life. I went for a run today and got lost in thought. My thoughts turned to Providence and I am not sure why…
I am only beginning to realize the role that providence has played in my life. I like the definition of "divine guidance or care" as well as the "protective care of God." It is my belief that God has a plan for me. I may not always like it, accept it, or understand it but I know that there is a divine purpose behind the events of my life. I look for the lessons in relationships and events but don't always 'get the message' and often times misunderstand the message.
 People tell me all the time I should do more and be more. I believe I am right where I belong,  doing right what I should be doing. I believe in Providence.  It never really made sense until this year.

In May, I decided to go to my college reunion for the first time in 25 years. When I was in high school making the decision to go to college was a huge one.  I went to visit the Woods just so they would stop calling me.  It was not even on my top 10 list but we went to visit anyway.    The moment we drove onto the campus I knew that I was in the right place.  I could feel it deep in my bones. At the time, I did not realize how that moment would impact my life forever.
The four years that I spent at St. Mary of the Woods changed me and marked me forever. Going back 25 years later and walking the campus took me back to a place and a peace I haven't felt in a long time. I was filled with an overwhelming sense of spirit. As I walked the campus and visited places I had long forgotten, I was flooded with memories and feelings that I have not had a long time.  I did not realize how the women of the Woods would change and shape me into the woman I am today. It is truly Providence.
People and family questioned my decision to attend the Woods… “Why don't you go to a Big Ten school?” they asked.  “Don't you want a bigger school?” they asked.  But I was confident in my decision. I made mistakes while I was at the Woods.  I had success while I was at the Woods.   Most importantly,  I grew. I grew as a woman and as a person. I found the most important thing ....which was me. Providence drove me there. Walking the campus after 25 years and looking in the review mirror of life, I realized it was not only Providence but Mother Theodore Guerin’s hand guiding me all along. She had waited for me to come and follow her lead. She longed for me to trust her and to trust God. 

People have questioned decisions I've made my whole life. Why did you choose that college?  Why do you want to be a teacher? Why don't you become an administrator? Don't you want more? Why don't you work where you can earn more money? Are you sure it's right for you? Are you sure you want another child? Are you sure that's the right house for your family. Questions and doubts. But I never doubted.  I have I've always had faith that Providence put me where I belong for a reason. The most important lessons I learned at the Woods were faith and trust… even though I didn't know it at the time. Faith and trust were cornerstone of my time at the Woods.   The teachers there taught me to be the woman I am today. They never once pushed or forced but they guided. They saw in me something that I didn’t, couldn't and wouldn't see in myself. They did all they could to just guide me to find myself all on my own.  Those educators never pushed too hard. They always walked step by step with me. We were on a journey together. Their job was just to inspire me and guide me in the right direction to find that hidden treasure which was myself. They needed to show me that I could trust myself and that I needed to have faith in myself. They were sharing  Providence.  They were sharing the message of Mother Theodore. 
What I have realized over the years is that this is the foundation of who I am as a wife, parent, friend, teacher, coach and human being. I want each person I come in contact with to have faith and trust in
themselves. I want them to see what I see…all the potential,  possibilities and the greatness they have inside. Mother Theodore, Momma Teddy, as she is affectionately known to Woodsies,  always saw the potential inside others. She had faith and she trusted in Providence.  I strive to follow her example as well as the example of the Woods Women.  I strive to help others to trust in themselves, in their faith and in Providence. Forward is a pace. Peace.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013


Miriam Webster defines saved as:

: to rescue or deliver from danger or harm

: to preserve or guard from injury, destruction, or loss

: maintain, preserve

I am not sure who saved who but I do know that my dogs have changed my life. I had dogs as a kid but they were never really MY dogs. They were family dogs. Dogs that were chosen for the family by others.

My first dog was Buddy. He was adopted from the Anti-Cruelty society of Chicago. I still remember walking past cages and cages of pups and older dogs never feeling that any one of them was the right dog until I walked into a small, rarely visited corner of the shelter only to lock eyes with a pup that would soon become my best fur-ever friend. Buddy came home with me later that week as our first child. We moved in, my soon to be husband, Buddy and me, to our first apartment 5 months before our wedding. I spent my time planning a wedding and training a dog. Buddy accompanied Dad to work and was trained by law enforcement as well. He was a great dog full of vim and vigor. He saved me from loneliness. He loved me and protected me. He kept me company, taught me things about myself, and helped me become a better mom. He really was (and I do call him this still) our first child. When our first daughter was born, he took to her as if it was his own, protective and gentle to a fault. We moved and had move kids but Buddy was always a constant. He loved each new home and each new child even more. We moved one last time and the stairs were too much for him. He was getting old and I would not admit that my pal was failing. After 11 years, the last moved proved too much for him. Within months, he deteriorated and soon could no longer walk. His last night, our oldest slept beside him as he whimpered and she cried. Making the decision to put him down was the most difficult, yet humane thing I have ever done. I took him alone and stayed with him until he took his last breath. I cried for weeks at the loss and still cry thinking about that day. I know he is healthy and eating as much meat as his belly can hold, watching over us.

Living without a dog was lonely and sad. I didn't feel completely safe at home at night with just the kids while my husband was at work. It began with a donation of Buddy's favorite bed back to his shelter. What a mistake! The kids saw the dogs and began to beg for a new pal. So we began the search for a new fur-ever friend right then and there. We looked at all the dogs and in the last cage was a dog that looked like a smaller version of Buddy. I could feel His paw in this chance meeting. This dog's name was Precious. I told the kids we had to wait. We had to talk to Dad and perhaps look at other shelters. I told them if she was there the following week and we had not found another dog, we would bring her home. Well, after looking at many shelters/websites/meeting dogs, the following week, she came home with us. Her name didn't fit her nor our family so the kids changed it to Wrigley. She was a high energy pup that needed constant exercise. I walked her and walked her hoping to lose a little baby weight. It didn't work. She wanted to run so we started running 1/2 a lap around our local park. That lead to a whole lap and then a challenge from a friend to train for and run a 5k. Wrigley soon became my favorite running buddy and we ran, albeit slowly, as I trained. I finished that first race and we ran many more miles together as I trained for many more races over the years. She was really the one that began my running addiction. She saved me from myself and a sedentary life. This winter was a sad one for my running buddy and I as at the age of 8, The vet told us Wrigley had arthritis and could no longer run with was just too painful for her. I see it and understand it but the sadness in her eyes each time I head out the door for a run is often too much to bear. She is still such a vital member of the family and now has a new job...big sister/mother figure to our newest fur-ever friend, Tank.

Tank was not a pup I was interested in adopting but one that the kids and my husband wanted. He was a gift from the kids to Dad for his 50th birthday. But in all honesty he was a gift to me. I knew that the work of the pup would be mine which is why I was not interested. I was done with potty training and chewing and midnight walks. I had come to terms with running alone. I was not in the mood for the expense of another dog. But the family over ruled me. So this summer has been dedicated to training and exhausting a playful pup. He saved Wrigley and me from boredom this summer. Wrigley keeps him in line and teaches him the ways of the pack. I marvel at the bond that has formed between them and worry what will happen down the line as Wrigley continues to age. Tank challenges me more than is necessary most days but I feel Buddy's paw and presence again. I know he is up there watching with those loving, playful eyes protecting me. As Tank grows by leaps and bounds every day, I am reminded of all that Buddy and Wrigley have taught me. I am reminded of the unconditional love that my fur-ever friends provide me. I am reminded that it is not us that saves or rescues our fur balls, but it is the fur balls the choose us...that love us.....that change us.....that rescue us....that save us.

Peace. Forward is a pace.