Making a YES for real.

dsc01316These days, there are so many things, places, and people to draw inspiration from, learn from, and follow. When the world is going at an increasingly fast pace and the “so much to do, so little time” mantra remains unchanged, the attention we pay to various things speaks volumes about the true value it holds in our life.

As my attempt at keeping up with the world, I have notes, lists, post-its – on my phone, on my fridge, on my desk – for literally everything I want to remember, for fear that I will lose out on a nugget of wisdom or a future million-dollar idea. It can really be quite the struggle to scale back. At some point, there ends up being way too many notes on notes on post-its with alllllll the ideas and to-do’s to keep track of and no work to show for it.

So what is the whole point to begin with?

When I started this journey almost two years ago, my inspiration and hunger was coming from a very similar place as today. It was the year of the olympics (and a leap year too). The first church that Alex and I have found and loved in Boston was closing. Thankfully, we had one more chance to step inside Our Lady of Victories, marvel at its beautiful stained glass windows and its rich history with the The Victorian Society in America New England Chapter before saying goodbye. It was a lovely moment, pushing me to reflect upon the many changes that have happened in my life up to that point and what I felt it was leading me towards at the time.

There must be something about February.

It could just be the winter blues. Maybe it’s because the new year is not so new anymore and the struggle to keep “resolutions” up is too real. Or, dare I say it, perhaps its the realization that although time is infinite, a lifetime in it is only so finite. There will always be things to try, to gain, to lose, and yet there’s only so much of life to have and enjoy.

This February, it’s also the sense that lent is coming (it’s here!), and now more than ever, I’m feeling the urge to really work on faithfaith in myself, faith in others, faith in the world, and faith, most important of all, in God. The fact that the day of love this year can mean much more than the love we can see, feel, or ever give is exciting and a challenge. One I hope to step into with more intention and the support of those who wish to take part in it.

And so, here we are.

To a YES in my life that is at the core of it all. The yes that has been resting in me, sitting with me and now nudging me, prodding me, and moving me in ways I have yet to understand. I have a feeling I’m bound for something I’ve been searching for a long time. Sometimes, I’m learning, saying YES for myself means saying NO to some things in the short term in order to focus on the important things requiring my best efforts first.

If you’d like to join me or follow along, I am getting ready for the Best Lent Ever. It will be nice to have a friend through it all – just let me know!

Meanwhile, the regular Always al Fresco programming will be starting back up too! It was a difficult few months of work, studying, and test-taking claiming the front seat for a little bit, but hey, we’ve got some good stuff on cue here for you.

Tell me, how has your February been?

Wishing you a love-filled Valentine’s/Galentine’s/Palentine’s Day!

Thanks for reading!

x,

Valerie

PS – Alex surprised me with quite the Valentine this year, which helped tie everything together for me and really jumpstart this journey (below). Let me know if you’d like to see more of that or if you have any questions and other thoughts. Feel free to link up with your related post or favorite related links as well!

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Leap Day

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Last night, I was sifting through the city’s calendar of events to see if there were anything notable happening for Leap Day. I mean, we get one extra full day only every four years. As a special event like the olympics, I thought it would be a bigger deal. Apparently not necessarily a universal take. Why was that so shocking to me?

I’m a sap, that’s true, or just a sucker for digging into the meaning of certain events in (my) life. Coincidentally, my Leap Day was made remarkable by the events of the weekend it followed. Alex and I attended Sunday mass in the morning for our regular dose of soul food from Fr. John at Saint Cecilia and satisfied our Mike and Patty’s brunch cravings before heading over to Our Lady of Victories for the church’s last hurrah before closing its doors to parishioners indefinitely. We found the announcement on our parish bulletin last Sunday thinking it was a small casual”open house” type event. Boy, were we in for even better.

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The Victorian Society in America New England Chapter hosted the event: An Afternoon Celebration of Our Lady of Victories Church (1891), the French Catholic Church of Boston to reveal the history of the church with respect to its time as colored by the Marist Fathers’ contributions, the architect’s work, the meticulous stained glass windows, and the magnificent organ.

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It started off with open organ music before expert speakers came up to the podium to highlight the stories contained within the beautiful walls of the sacred ground. In the end we are able to go up to the organ loft and truly immerse in the whole church experience! I was in complete awe throughout the whole commentary that, first of all, such a hands-on educational experience was available to the public and, second, there is Victorian Society with an office in Boston and it took me this long to learn about it. I left there partly daydreaming about what it would have been like back in the 1890s to be surrounded by such elaborate, artful structures, and partly mourning our first regular church’s (of 5 short but sweet months) end of days.

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It would seem that this Leap Day meant that I had one extra day to reflect on the meaning of goodbyes and some losses I have had this month and over the past year. Times I’ve had to take some monumental leaps – some for softer landing, and some for higher ground, whether I realized it at the time or not.

For instance, had it not been for the heartbreaking news of Our Lady of Victories closing, Alex and I would not have attended a mass by Fr. John at the church to introduce himself and his parish that would lead us into an even more invigorated faith journey through our new church at Saint Cecilia. We attended mass there the following Sunday (3 weeks ago?) and haven’t looked back since.

In my 7-month stay at my job alone, I’ve had a client request a change in service providers because they suspected their child was prejudiced to certain people of color. I had a few clients turn 3 years of age and/or transition from Early Intervention, to include a mother-son-sister combo who included me on their journey as an extension of their family with open arms, but are also hoping to rule out autism from their realm of possibilities. I had another client move to another state whose brief time with me and our program had been, from what I could tell from the mother’s accounts, a life-changing one. I have a little friend at my playgroup currently who, after 2 months of attendance, is still learning to say goodbye to mommy and daddy for longer periods of time. Every working day has challenged me as a professional and as an individual in ways I never would have experienced any other way.

On the flip side, looking back to February 2015 triggers a flash flood of emotions to the days I had to close my classroom to start a brand new pre-k classroom in a whole new school in the middle of the school year. Given that I barely had any time to even process the transition before jumping in, I’m proud to say now that I finished that school year strong and more confident in myself.

Between that time and today, I’ve changed zip codes, phone numbers, and cars among other things.  While the apprehension over changes don’t quite disappear completely, they do eventually get replaced by feelings of excitement over what’s to come. Change is good, after all. And even though I woke up this morning with a serious case of the Mondays and almost succumbing to the classic countdown to the weekend, I continue to make an effort to not “wish the days away,” refusing to take an excuse to take the easy way out rather than being proactive. Every moment has a purpose; everything has a place. Our days our finite, but we can learn from, cherish, make the memories we choose last forever.

 

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