Sunday, August 3, 2014

Children's Day Unraveled Part 4

If there is one thing I love in this life, it is the little town in which I live. There is no other time I like best than Children's Day. This is the day where the community converges to intertwine their time and talent to birth a production that rivals any other Americana town in the nation. The energy that exudes from our little hill is both amazing and contagious. As I was reflecting upon the loveliness of our amazing town, I revisited my previous blog entries about Children's Day and I noticed I was missing ONE thing. The Worship Service. Funny thing is, I run the dang thing and I did not mention it. Not even ONE word. My kids are even in it...not sure what I was thinking there.  Anyway, here I am; not only to tell you about how awesome this year's Children's Day was, but to fill you in on the last little piece of the Children's Day pie.

The Worship Service

Every year, from its inception, Children's Day weekend would end with the Worship Service. Let's face it, ours is a Methodist Community that has evolved into our beautifully eclectic community that is about as mixing pot as you are going to get. It is a precious little haven, full of talent, beauty, fun and a little bit of seclusion. Our little haven started as the Summer retreat in the "mountains" for the Methodists; the sister retreat place of Ocean Grove, by the sea. Back then, the occupants would leave, but today our neighbors live here year round.

Every year, our Worship Service takes place at the Tabernacle, now a non-religious place where others gather for community events and concerts.  We do have a sprinkling of the original service included, but for the most part, we aim to remain non denominational as to include all walks of faith. There are some traditional readings, a lot of singing, a great sermon by the local pastor, blessings, and even some dancing too! This year, we were blessed with a guest speaker, who took us WAY back to when the Methodist Church began (he even came in costume) it was awesome. He shared such great history with us, but one of my favorite things was how he shared about the love of song by the early Methodists and how he himself was drawn into the faith by the lure of a song.... quite interesting! I find it interesting since I am lover of song and enjoy being led to choose which songs to include each year. My most favorite song this year actually came to me at the pool. I was playing music on my iPad and a song came up, one of my favorites, calling Blessings, by Laura Story. It has always been one of my favorites, filled with soothing melodies accompanied by compassionate lyrics. My daughter got out of the pool to dry off and she joined me in singing the song. When it was through, I turned to her and said, "you should sing that song for Worship Service this year!" to which she replied, "ok!" with a shrug. Settled.  One less thing I had to plan for the lineup. This year was shorter than others, due to my crazy schedule, so I was content to know there was one less I had to worry about.  

At the Worship Service

It was almost 11am. Go time. All ready to go, except a lost shirt was not found for one of the girls. Minor glitch. Thankfully, there was not any fuss regarding the shirt and we moved on. Everything was in place, the mood was calm. The first song went well, an opening of Joyful Joyful (just the first verse) and the presentation of the court. Quick Call to Worship by the court and off to our 2nd song, Blessings; sung by my daughter, Rachael.  I quickly pulled out my phone to video tape her song; I stood as still as I could and started to settle into the beauty of the song, only to quickly realize that Rachael was singing a song about how the disappointments of life can be a blessing in disguise. I must share with you that Rachael was the only one out of her friends at the worship service that did not get picked to be on the Royal Court this year. She was really sad that she did not get a place, but it made the song all the more meaningful. Here she was, singing about how being disappointed in life only reminds us that there is a greater glory in heaven that we all long for, every last one of us and that whatever glory may come, it pales in comparison to what God has stored for us as blessings in the the next life. It was touching beyond words, especially since I know, she was so nervous, there was not a chance that any of what I just wrote was going through her mind. (and I asked her later, to which she said, "thanks for reminding me..." Ugh....maybe I will explain it to her later) 

I was very proud of my girl, for being brave enough to offer her talent and the sing that touching song. Even her mistake was so perfect. Just in the right spot. Sometimes like life, for every one of us. Beauty in the ashes. Good things that seem bad.

We had some readings from Holy Books by the court, which was followed by my other daughter, Vianne and her friend Lyla. They sang "What Faith Can Do" by Kutless.  That song was chosen by them and was special as well because of a great retreat I was able attend this weekend. (I know...don't even go there)  One of the main components of the weekend was the theme of faith and how our job is to have faith that when we put our lives in the hands of God and allow Him to flow through us, we will live a life that is fulfilled, more than we could ever provide by our own doing. Two songs that can easily be seen as the hand of God over the service. 

We were then treated to a special speaker Peyton Dixon, who was a complete delight, filled with amazing historical facts, delivered in a way that was delightful and witty.  You can find his site here:

Followed by an offering for the Mt Tabor Fire Department, a song, Congregational Prayer, a blessing, and our ending song, Jump, where anyone who wishes may join on the stage for the annual tradition. We have been dancing this song as a close for so many years that the kids who originally did it are now college grads with professional jobs. It's such a great way to end the weekend together. Outside, the very last thing we do is share some brunch on the patio...and oh....go home and take a nap!

Hope you enjoyed the tour!

All the best,
Loudly yours,


Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Our tour of PCTI, The Passaic County Technical Institure

Passaic County Technical Institute

This week, my Daughter and I went on a tour of PCTI to see if she would like to go to High School here. The School is amazing. It is a secure campus, set up on a mountain top in Wayne, NJ and it boasts its own Athletic Center, complete with indoor pool, a zip line and obstacle course, athletics, galore!  It's own restaurant, bank, printing shop, you name it! 

 Here, we are at the TV station by the green screen, interview set, control room....

 The most interesting thing to Rachael was the School of Communication and the art rooms.

Of course, I liked the Johnny Depp drawing! 

The school was like a city!
It took us about 2 hours to tour the school.

I was most impressed with the Criminal Justice room with the NJROTC and its Commanding Officer, who happened to be in the class I was visiting. She was an outstanding individual who is in charge of 300 students, along with Retired Naval Officers who guide them all. She just wanted to make me stand up and cheer (and sign all my kids up for the ROTC!!)

It was very impressive to see such a dedicated young woman with a passion for Leadership.

The classrooms were all busy and bustling, filled with each school's individual blend of tools needed for each concentration. You can see the hard work and dedication of each classroom and the energy that filled the halls of the institute. I look forward to hearing from admissions that she will officially a part of the Class of 2017!  

Loudly yours,


Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Gratitude Journal Days 13-15

Hmmmmm.. 9 things to be grateful for. That seems like a lot, but after watching the video at the end of this entry, 9 things to be grateful for is nothing.
1. I am grateful for my home. Is is warm and safe and dry.
2. I am grateful for my bed. It is where I rest in the evenings and dream great dreams. It is like sleeping on a cloud and I love it!
3. I am grateful that I have exercise equipment right in my bedroom that I get to use before I jump in the shower.  I love the time saved there!
4. I am grateful for my working van that gets me where I need to go. I did not have the van working during the storm and I was without it for about a week and it near killed me!!
5. I am grateful for my leader, Kim, who is doing such a great job as our Double Diamond! She is joy and a great teacher.
6. I am grateful for my music minister, Jim, who is soooo talented and giving. He is a treasure!
7.  I am grateful for my connections in the surrounding communities, especially Hurricane Sandy, Helping Hands, started through my good friend, Majella LoBello.  She has done some amazing work!!
8. I am grateful for the clergy in my life and their role in growing my life of faith. I can be a tricky student and they are doing all they can to guide my faith walk and I appreciate it.
9. I am grateful for my health. It goes without saying that health is one of the most important things to have in life and I am grateful that I am healthy as well as my family, thanks be to God.
Loudly yours,


Friday, December 7, 2012

Gratitude journal day 10 and 11

Today I am grateful for God's little messages to me in my life. 

I have been going for a pretty big goal in my business. I'm pushing hard for it making it a focus on my life lately... but I just seem kind of stuck. Well, this morning while I was dropping off my kids at the bus today, I got a little message with a big meaning.  As the kids were getting out of the car, my son who always love to be first, shoved his sister to get in line to be first on the bus. The bus driver witnessed this and did not open the bus door leaving him out in the cold for a little longer than he is usually used to. She wanted to make a point that he was not making the right decision by shoving to get on the bus first without thinking of others before him. As soon as it happened I knew that there was some kind of message for me, but it took awhile for me to understand. 

Later that morning, with the help of one of my leaders, I was able to decipher the message.The tugging at my heart was God trying to tell me not to be so quick to be first when it come to building g my business. That rushing to get to my goal was not most important and that just like my Son, I was going to be made to wait until I focused on others first. It made me stop and really think. My Mentor also guided me into understanding that I was making an idol of my goal and that I wanted it so badly that it would not come. I had to let go. Let others ahead of me. Be patient. 
Be patient.  Not. easy. 
I am a Red/ Blue personality and I have very little tolerance for waiting. Anyone who knows me, knows I am usually chomping at the bit to get to whatever goal there is. Even if it is to church on time. 

So, what I am grateful for this 10th day of the Gratitude Journal?

God's Messages
My Business Leader
The Ability to hear the message and understand.

DAY 11

Today, I am grateful for my cleaning help...some might say staff. They are the wonderful women who help me keep a handle on my home. One lady comes twice a month and the other, every day for about a little more than an hour to help me with light cleaning./straightening and laundry. I am so grateful for their help and I could not do it without them. I look forward to my business building up enough to have them around more often! :)

I am also grateful for extended family.  I have a cousin in town visiting that I have not seen in person in a long time and I am excited to see her!  I love having visits with family who I don't normally see. It is so much fun for me.  She will be married soon and I am excited to hear about her future plans. 

Lastly, I am grateful for Community Leaders, specifically those popping up on the Barrier Islands of NJ. It is so great to see the people who can and are willing to take charge and take matters into their hands. One of them is a 26 year old, who makes it happen for the people of Ortley Beach, NJ. It is so great to have someone so enthusiastic and willing to make a change.

Check out the video here:

Loudly yours,


Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Gratitude Journal Day 9

Today, I am grateful for Administrative Staff and those who answer the phone.  They are the ones, who usually have more patience than others and are there to answer questions. They are the guardians of their offices and the behind the scenes people who make things work.
I am also grateful for Professionals who do the jobs they do in our lives. Where might we be without them?  I especially appreciate those that are very practiced in their craft and who deliver quality work.  When anyone sees their work, they can truly appreciate them.  One person that comes to mind is the Music Minister at my Home Parish and the Funeral Director in the next town over from where I live. They both are excellent at what they do and it shows.
Finally, I am grateful for favor. Favor that comes from up above. I can see favor evident in my life and I am forever grateful. One little aside, though. I believe that you have to see yourself receiving that favor before you can get it. You have to feel as if you deserve good favor. If you cannot see yourself receiving favor, guess what? It will never come to you.   Believing that you deserve favor is the seed you must plant in order to receive the fruit that God’s favor brings.
Loudly yours,

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Gratitiude Journal Days 5 & 6

Today, my gratitude goes towards my faith based Community. I have been very lucky to have been given the gift of music and granted the opportunity to share the gift God gave me with a Congregation who is loving, appreciative and understanding when my delivery is not perfect. I have been blessed with talented musicians who make me sound even better than I would alone and who have been accommodating in many ways.

I am also grateful that I have been fed spiritually through song when I can feel the message of God pressing onto me in my own life when I am proclaiming the psalm or singing a hymn. It is revealing to feel as if the song is speaking to me in my own life while I am reaching out to others.

I am also grateful for the patience of my Husband and Family as I am continually leaning on them for free time to go and work within the church at Masses, Funerals, Weddings and such. It is a blessing to be able to provide for the family and feed my soul at the same time.
I am grateful for my friends and those relatives close enough to me to call friends. These are women who I can lean on in times of trouble and call on many of them for advice. I appreciate their wisdom and their listening ears.

I am also grateful for the Community in which I live and for all the things that are done to help us all get together and do fun things. Like tonight, we will be lighting the tree together, singing and sharing hot chocolate. I am grateful it is not too, too cold out, so I will not freeze to death out there!

Lastly, I am grateful for the ability to juggle my crazy, crazy life!  I have been running around a lot lately, trying to maintain my current job and my 2nd job all in one. It gets hard at times. but are both fulfilling in many ways.  Both help people and many are very happy when they are done meeting with me. I love my jobs! :)
Loudly yours.
ps- I have to share my interview with a beautiful young lady who I know is going to be a famous illustrator one day.  She was so sweet and I have fun interviewing her and getting to know her better.

Friday, November 30, 2012

Gratitude Journal Day 4

Today, I am grateful for my Cousin, Irene, who introduced me to my business. It has been so much fun working with her and seeing her on a regular basis. I have always been close to her, but being on her team and working together has been an entirely different experience, all for the good. WEDDING PARTY2012-11-30_1023
IMG_0007me and Irene
I am grateful today for Catholic Schools. My kids are getting a well rounded education with a Catholic flavor that I love, I love it when my kids come home singing church hymns and when they want to audition for the talent show using those songs. So sweet!!
Lastly, I am grateful for my baby birds. Yes, they are noisy, but they have been  fun companions and have taught my kids to love animals and to take care of them.2012-11-30_1036