Friday, February 9, 2018

Danny’s the Scholarship Recipient

There are a number of awards and scholarships given out at Christ the King School throughout the various grades. One of the bigger ones, both in terms of money and prestige, is the Cullom Owings Scholarship. Given in memory of the son they’ve tragically lost in a car accident while he was in college, the Owings family chooses to have fifth graders nominate their peers as finalists, and then they choose the winners (one boy, one girl) from that select group. We are so proud that Danny was this year’s recipient!

Unfortunately, the award was presented while I was out of town at Shine. But Tim managed to rearrange his schedule in order to be there, and we are so glad he was.

Danny’s “competition” was a pair of boys who are really kind, smart boys, so it truly was an honor to be nominated. We are confident he will do Cullom and his family proud.

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Shine 2018

After the incredible experience at last year’s Shine conference, I was really looking forward to returning. And I got really nervous when 1) my broken pinky finger; 2) Tim’s travel; and 3) Danny’s health all threatened to get in the way. Fortunately none of them did, and it was worth the logistical gymnastics!

I think the highlight this time around was meeting so many of my team members in person, and truly develop friendships with them. Team dinners, sitting together at sessions and more was truly special.

Of course, hearing directly from, and speaking directly to, the artisans was also so special. This year I met Mercedes and Faustino from Peru, and Roopa from India. All of them are working so hard to create opportunities for so many in their communities, and it’s so inspiring!

My single regret from last year’s Shine was that I didn’t take a photo with Jessica Honegger, the founder and co-CEO of Noonday Collection who is every bit as beautiful on the inside as she is on the outside. If I’m being honest, I’d say it’s most likely her beauty that intimidated me enough last year to skip the photo request. This year she looked me in the eye and so genuinely thanked me for coming. A reminder that it’s *always* rewarding to be brave. She has challenged me to step out in imperfect courage this year, and I can’t wait!

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Seven is Super

Laura’s seventh birthday arrived on the heels of a bit of drama. Namely, on New Year’s Day her mom tripped and broke her pinky finger while out for a run, while her dad simultaneously got diagnosed with a case of strep throat. Fortunately, her amazing Grandma and Grandpa were on location and helped salvage the situation. So her highly-anticipated sleepover and day of fun with Meghan stayed on track.

Laura loves balloons and decorations, and I happily stocked up on those things on New Year’s Eve. She had luckily already decided she wanted a cookie cake from Publix, too, so my inability to decorate a cake was not an issue.

The only major change in plans was not being able to go ice skating, because the girls would have needed me on the ice with them. Laura swiftly came up with an alternate request: Build-A-Bear. You got it! Donna and I ventured to the mall with the girls and watched them happily pick out bears (or cats, as the case may be) and outfits for them. Our plan was to follow that up with a movie, but evidently that was a popular plan and the movie was sold out. Not to fear: he girls were more than content to get candy from the Dollar Store, lunch from McDonald’s and watch a movie back at our place. 

After that, they played before we trekked to Mellow Mushroom for dinner and back home for cake. In the end, the girls spent about 27 hours straight together, and though tired from a lack of sleep, they were sorry to see it end. A sweet friendship that kicked off Laura’s 7th year just right!

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Our Party of Five Christmas

After an action-packed November, Thanksgiving, and all of the various holiday events surrounding school and social lives, we have fully relished a quiet Christmas with our nuclear family. As Tim and I discussed over one of our leisurely dinners of late, such a holiday is quite rare for us, which is probably why we were able to enjoy it so much. I don’t think any of us would choose it year after year, but as a nice pause in the usual action? Yes.

We stayed with tradition, with evening mass (Tim sang again), our usual dinner of fried shrimp and twice-baked potatoes, and the rituals of stockings and placing Baby Jesus in the manger.

Christmas Day itself was gloriously lazy, with everyone fully enjoying their gifts (ok, Danny’s soccer equipment made for a less-lazy day for him!). The photo I snuck of Laura reading one of her new books might be my favorite image from the day.

Christmas comes with so much anticipation, and we are blessed that it never fails us. A “thrill of hope” indeed.

Saturday, December 23, 2017

Delightful Lights

I’ve lost track of exactly how many years it’s been, but once again we ventured to the Atlanta Botanical Garden’s annual holiday lights experience with the Francos (this year minus an ailing Isabella, sadly). It never disappoints - even if the majority of our crew was unimpressed with the special glasses that “enhanced” the view. Each year the garden adds more lights, and it’s always breathtaking.

We lucked out, too, as a rainy afternoon face way to a cool but pleasant evening. Laura was instantly smitten by the light-up necklace she saw on others and happily forked over some of her allowance for one. I feared it would quickly break, but she’s turning out to get her money’s worth, as evidenced by her ensemble the following day (complete with bed head):

It was a fun evening that reinforces how we are surrounded by light and love.

Friday, December 22, 2017

Laura the Songbird

Laura’s lovely piano teacher invited her to join a couple of fellow students and play Christmas carols at a nearby nursing home. I wasn’t really sure how Laura would react to this idea, because she does have her try moments. But from the get go she was enthusiastic about it, and was even willing to sing! This came about after she rather spontaneously sang “Silent Night” during one of her lessons, impressing her teacher - and me!

She really did a nice job, and clearly enjoyed herself. Best of all, the residents were clearly very appreciative. A lovely event that I hope becomes an annual tradition.
Here’s the link to her singing:

Saturday, December 16, 2017


One of the highlights of first grade at Christ the King is the nativity play. To Laura’s great joy, she was cast in one of the six coveted angel roles.She was also given a fairly extensive wine, which I am happy to say she knocked out of the park.

This was the third rendition of The First Christmas for our family, and it was every bit as special!