Monday, April 21, 2014

My Catholic Confirmation - 39 Years in the Making

First, some background:

I was raised in the Catholic Church and received all prior sacraments to Confirmation, including Baptism, First Communion and Reconciliation (Confession). I served as an altar girl as a child and I worked in the church nursery.

I refused Confirmation as a teenager for a variety of reasons, but as the years went on, I felt the need for it. It became more apparent to me over the past few years as we approached lots of sacrament years for our own children. My need to set the right example and be thorough in my own dedication to the church became more important than ever. Just ahead we have:

2014 - Jack's First Communion and Reconciliation
2015 - Lainey's First Communion and Reconciliation
2016 - Carter's Confirmation

Most people receive Confirmation around the 9th grade. It just took a few more years for me to be ready. :)

So, I've been studying with a mentor since January and have met once a week with additional obligations, too. It has not been easy taking all of this on at such a busy time in our lives with work and a traveling husband and kids and school, etc. But, I'm so glad that I did.

Here are some photos from Holy Week at St. Margaret's Catholic Church:

(All of these photos were taken by the church volunteer photographer and they're amazing!)

Palm Sunday.

This is Father Cavanaugh. I adore him. He's Irish and old school and so immensely in love with the Eucharist. It's a joy to take part in his mass each week.

Holy Thursday.

12 men were selected from the congregation to have their feet washed by the priest as Jesus did so for his disciples. It was so moving to see. This was the first of many times I cried during Holy Week.

We left the church with candles, symbolically taking the light out of the church, as Jesus sacrificed his life and that very important light in the world went out.

This, too, was moving. We walked from the 'new' church back to the old parish hall by candlelight.

Good Friday included the congregation kissing or kneeling in front of the cross.

Saturday arrived with the Easter Vigil and a bonfire outside to signify the light returning. We carried candles into a completely dark church.

It was so beautiful.

This was a 3.5 hour ceremony mass that included Baptism for other catechumans and their First Communion, too. My part didn't come in until the actual Confirmation, but it was so awesome watching others initiate into these sacraments.

Here is the moment I was confirmed. That's my sponsor Mary behind me (in veil....our church is SUPER old school Catholic).

I can't accurately describe how moving this was for me, the tears the came and the immense love this experience has brought to my life. I've never felt stronger in my faith or more proud to be a Catholic. I love everything about our religion and feel so happy to finally 'be a member' of this special group of people.

Easter Sunday felt like a cake walk with only an hour and a half of mass. It, too, was lovely.

(Pay no attention to my hair. I was still soaked in oils from the Confirmation.)

And, here is why I love the Catholic Church:

We are deeply rooted in history and that part has always appealed to me. We are stripped down compared to most churches these days. You won't find big screens or bounce houses or other enticements. The Catholic Church, to me, is humble and sacramental and so beautifully authentic. 

It has brought many wonderful things to my life over the years and due to my recent Confirmation, I've never felt more at peace. I'm proud to be part of this religion and look forward to watching our children grow and thrive in it as well.


Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Field Trip and Padres Game

I joined the 2nd graders last week for a field trip to the awesome San Diego Wild Animal Park in Escondido, California. It was such a treat to experience it with them!

Last year's field trip was to Guajome Park and the most exciting part of it was when we found a dead duck.

This year? Fight Club with the goats. Pretty exciting.

We toured the park on our own, but with two obligations. The Butterfly Exhibit was one of them and it was awesome.

Out on the tram and into a 25 minute ride on safari-like land. The animals were amazing.

Such a fun trip!

This Monday, we got tickets to the Padres vs Rockies game at Petco Park in downtown San Diego. I love when stadiums are downtown. Denver had this, too. Feels different than out in the middle of nowhere.

We arrived early to tailgate and play our own game in the parking lot.

Lainey started it....and eventually each Starnes child perfected throwing down the glove in protest.

Proud mother here.

See that look on Carter's face? It matches a little girl's who shows up often on instgram memes. He thinks she's hilarious. (She is.)

Very light crowd due to a Monday night game.

We had a blast!

We're into Holy Week now with my Confirmation on Easter Vigil, this Saturday.

It's almost time!!!!!!!!

Tuesday, April 08, 2014


We are living the baseball life right now.

Jack has two games a week. Lainey has one. Both practice.

It's hectic, but fun!

Lainey and I took off last weekend for a girls' day. We shopped and ate lunch at the Cheesecake Factory and attended Alice in Wonderland at the Young Actors' Theatre.

We love our girl time!

Kids had an additional day for Spring Break and so we met Blake in San Diego at the gorgeous Catamaran Resort. He was working......and we barely got to see him.....but we enjoyed the hotel for a few days, spent the night and loved being there.

The grounds are beautiful. Reminded us of Mexico.

Back to the ball park! Kids are living off of the snack bar it seems. Luckily, they have healthy options. (Sometimes)

And, finally.....DLR Prep School is far surpassing the goals we had set. I couldn't be more thrilled and proud and excited for how it's developing. Stay tuned!

Also, I have been approached for a couple new writing jobs. I'm flattered and thrilled to be part of both options. I can't remember a time that I've been busier. Confirmation will be here soon and that will relieve me of some commitments, so that should help a bit, time-wise.

But, it's all good things. No complaints!

Oh, and 91 days until Disney World and the Florida Keys.

The Keys have the most beautiful water and I'm so excited to snorkel with our kids.

Cannot wait for island hopping, tropical drinks, and Bahama-like waters.

Off to plan!