Tag Archives: st rose

Grad Celebration

Megan’s graduation party was on June 28. I was so disappointed that morning as I hobbled around, still using my walker.

A quick update to an earlier post “I Give It Up“. The PET scan showed cancer cells in my pelvis that the doctors never thought was cancer. This was a huge find, because we had missed it the last couple of scans. So yes, my doctor was aggressive on this round, getting all of it! But in doing so, also froze my femoral nerve in the process. I woke up, completely unable to feel my leg. My doctor told me it would take 3-5 weeks to get my mobility back to full strength. Most of my leg came back while I was in the hospital, everything but my femoral nerve. So that means I can’t walk, because my knee buckles and I fall. Yesterday I hit four weeks, and I’m just beyond frustrated that I’m still on crutches. I’m having a hard time with it — mentally more than anything — my biggest fear is that my femoral nerve is not going to come back anytime soon. My doctor assures me that it can take longer, but will come back. Ugh, I’m so impatient, and I have so much going on at work — I need it back now. Physically it’s hard with three flights of steps at my office. And three flights at my home. 

So back to Megan’s party. I was so bummed out that I am still on crutches and not able to go around and visit all the relatives. I had planned to take photos of everyone! Tara took the outdoor photos for me. Thank you, Tara, you’re so good with the camera. It also rained the entire day. The entire week before and the Saturday before. Everything was saturated. But that didn’t phase Megan. They moved their tent to the driveway and everyone managed to stay dry.

For me, the best part of the day was seeing all my relatives. It started when my cousin Teresa, her husband Mike and their son Noah drove 12 hours from Charleston, SC for the party. They stayed with Tom and I. They drove through intense fog with a long backup in the mountains of West Virginia on Rt. 77, followed by rain, then hard rain, and through a tornado warning before reaching our house. I was so happy to see them!!! And it was great to spend time with them. We even managed to squeeze in a tour of Heinz Field on Monday, and they accommodated me with a wheelchair for the tour. They brought Tom and I “Charleston Strong” t-shirts in remembrance of the shooting at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church. The back said “Pray for Charleston.” It happened on June 17, so it was so real, so close and so fresh for them. I guess it’s personal when it’s in your own city. It caused me to pause and think about that. Teresa told me that the church turned the other cheek and is praying for peace and love — that the people of the entire city is standing behind them and praying for peace. They created a Unity Chain on the Ravenel Bridge where thousands turned out — hand in hand — stretching across the bridge. I couldn’t believe it when she told me that a group from the Ferguson shooting and riots came in to protest their peace and start screaming racism. The church ignored them and they soon went back to wherever they came from. That disgusted me that there are traveling hate groups with the goal of throwing the race card whenever they can, and trying to get riots started. They are the ones who continue the cycle of racism when in reality, the rest of us see everyone as equals. Are they so miserable that they fill the void with hatred? I just don’t get it and it’s just so ugly.

At the party, everyone was there. From the Miller side, I was happy to see my cousin Karen and her husband, Bill. I was bummed that I couldn’t go outside and sit with them for a while. I also saw my cousin Kathie and her husband, Ritch. And my cousins Patti and Dave. I didn’t get a picture of them either — what a bummer! Well, I did get one of Karen. Karen also brought her Dad, Uncle Jim — my Dad’s brother. And my Dad’s other brother, Uncle Frank was there with his wife, Aunt Ruth. I miss seeing Kathie, Patti and Aunt Ruth at bingo. If there were others, I probably missed them as I was stuck inside with my crutches.

From the Knowlson side, besides Teresa, Mike and Noah, there was my second cousin, Barbara and her husband Rod. Teresa and Noah were fascinated with her sixth sense stories. Noah couldn’t even sleep on Sunday evening — he said he fell asleep around 2 am, because he kept thinking about all the stuff Barbara had told them. My second cousin, Chris and her husband, Del also came, as well as Arlene and her husband, Jerry, and my second cousin, Nancy. I hope I didn’t miss anybody.

My Mom’s friend, Marcia came with her daughter, Nancy. And there were family from the Pettner side, including Tonya and her children, including Allison, Derek and Jason, Brenda and her Mom and her husband, Tom, and their children Katrina and Kyle. From the Pettner side there was also Fay and her husband, Frank and their son, Matt, and Val, Scott’s sister from Texas with her family, and others that I just don’t know very well, as well as Hookstown fair board members, Debbie and Scott’s card party friends, friends of Megan’s, and friends from MarketSpace, including Jen and her husband, Mike and daughter, Béla, as well as Trish and Dona with her husband, Greg and two daughters. And friends like Belinda and her husband, Ron who I knew well from St. Rose. There were probably 150 people that attended.

Of course the immediate family was there — all of us kids, myself and my husband, Tom, Father Bob, and Tommy and his fiancé, Gretchen. Debbie spent the entire day in the kitchen. Some of her friends came that were in her wedding. And Lori and Harold were there with their granddaughter, Brianna. And Brianna’s mother, Elaine and father, Greg. I loved holding Brianna, she’s such a cutie!

And food — there were roasters all over Debbie’s kitchen with stuff cabbage (my Mom makes the BEST), homemade meatballs, pulled pork, Pittsburgh potatoes, kielbasa, fried chicken, potatoes salad, linguini salad, homemade gnocchi spaghetti dish, fruit salad and six or seven desert salads. Megan made all the baked goods that included cake balls and cookies. And I made buckeyes, in honor of Megan attending Ohio State, but I forgot them!!! So I have 15 dozen of buckeyes in my freezer.

I can’t believe that Megan grew up so fast and is going to college this August. She is so excited. I know that everything will change from here. But it’s a good change, and I pray to God that he watches over her. I know my Dad will be watching over her.


It’s almost a week after the party and I’m still on my crutches. Please pray for me that I heal soon and can walk again very soon.

Celebrating 20 Years

Smiles of happiness

Smiles of happiness

Debbie and Scott celebrated 20 years of marriage on July 11, 2014. I can’t believe it’s been 20 years! It truly seems like yesterday — except fast forward to today — and see a happy family with my two beautiful nieces. It’s indeed been 20 years.

My Grandma Miller made Debbie’s custom gown. She used to be a seamstress at a bridal shop in Beaver Falls, PA for years and years. She made the gowns for all of my cousins on the Miller side of the family — and even my Mom’s wedding gown in 1963. Debbie’s gown was the last full gown she made (to my knowledge). By the time I got married in 2001, Grandma could no longer make gowns of this magnitude. I remember Debbie gave her a couple of pictures and they went shopping for fabric at a store in downtown Beaver Falls. There are no stores like that there anymore. Grandma also made her headpiece.

Hot pink bridal gowns

Hot pink bridal gowns

Now our dresses were another story. The dresses were true to the time — I could have played a part in the popular TV show Designing Women! The dresses were hot pink with a funky design off the shoulders. I think the late 80’s and early 90’s were all about how much fabric could be layered on your upper body to make you look at least 20 pounds heavier — that included those beloved shoulder pads! I never, ever, ever wore my hair up, and not only did I have it up for Debbie’s wedding, but it looked like a bird had built a nest in it! I have to admit that the color Debbie picked was something I would never have personally chosen, but it made such a beautiful wedding with the vibrant color to compliment the black.

Debbie and Scott were married at St. Rose church in Darlington, PA, our hometown parish. Our brother, Bob married them — it was one of his first weddings. He had been a priest almost two years now. The reception was held at the Jewish Community Center in Chippewa, PA. It was one of the hottest days of the year and something happened to the air conditioning and we had none for the evening!!! It was unbelievably hot. Debbie’s girlfriends Melissa and Lisa were also in the wedding and we all set up the hall earlier in the day. Debbie had designed the center pieces — using clear bowls, filled with water — and we floated hot pink flower-shaped candles on the water. They were gorgeous when burning.

Bird's nest hairdo

Bird’s nest hairdo and dancing with my friend, Cathie

I had designed Debbie’s program for the church and we tied hot pink ribbons around those. Randy Rastetter, a long-time friend, used to sell wedding invitations from a big book back then at his printing company. This was long before digital invitations. And those invitations were gorgeous — I remember Debbie’s had roses with opal foil stamping and embossing with hot pink accents on a heavy, uncoated cream paper with a deckled edge. The inside had a silver panel and silver foil stamping with their wedding details. You can’t find invites like that anymore. Times change and so does so much else.

Grandpap Knowlson died the same year of Debbie’s wedding — in August of 1994. I remember thinking at the time that she was so fortunate to have him there, as he had been slowing down for a year leading up to her wedding. It’s hard to believe that it will be 20 years since he passed as well. And now I think about how I feel so fortunate that my Dad was at mine — he died the following year in 2002. It makes me think a lot about life in general. It’s like a giant timeline of milestones that define who we are and how we fit into history — in our very own little story.

Debbie and Scott leading the locomotion

Debbie and Scott leading the locomotion

There are some things that never change — Debbie’s wedding had lots of alcohol, fabulous food and endless cookies. Exquisite cake. And lots of dancing from the polkas to the Hokey Pokey to the Electric Slide and the Locomotion. It’s a day we waited for with anticipation, because you know that you’ll soon be celebrating with all your family and all your friends at one time in one place.

If you take a few minutes to soak it all in, you’ll be able to witness history filling the pages of your own story. And those will get passed on 20 years later to your children who may laugh at your hair and your clothes, but have a little more insight to what life was like before them. Or maybe they’ll dream of their own wedding one day, when they start the next chapter in the story.

A L W A Y S  B E L I E V E !

St. Rose of Lima

My First Holy Communion at St. Rose of Lima Church in Darlington, PA (with Father Lemp)

My First Holy Communion at St. Rose of Lima Church in Darlington, PA (with Father Lemp), 1975.

If there is one parish that has touched my life more than any other, it’s St. Rose of Lima parish in Darlington, PA. I attended that church since I can remember — and it’s so special in so many ways.

I made my First Confession and First Holy Communion there in 1975. There were five girls and eight boys and we were all in the second grade. I actually went through all of my CCD classes with those same kids — until we were confirmed there in eighth grade. My Aunt Mary was my sponsor, and I can still remember the light purple dress I wore to make that sacrament — with Bishop Leonard and Father Lemp.

Debbie's First Holy Communion (with Father Lemp), 1980.

Debbie’s First Holy Communion (with Father Lemp), 1976.

Father Joseph Lemp. He was the pastor there for most of childhood and into my teens. And, he had a huge influence on my entire family. He was a kind man with a great smile and soft disposition. He was always interested in whatever you had to say. He attended many of the celebrations we had at our home — for all of us kids — for all of our sacraments — and even some of our other parties. There was always a Catholic presence in our home from the time I can remember. Father Lemp inspired us to have a simple and deep relationship with God.

Father Lemp’s family had a house on Martha’s Vineyard, and we vacationed there a couple of different years by staying at their home when I was in high school. He used to frequent the Wooden Angel in Beaver, PA and was a wine connoisseur. I’ve been to the Wooden Angel a couple times in my life, but preferred the Wooden Indian right next door.

Bob's First Mass, July 11, 1992 at St. Rose of Lima Catholic Church.

Bob’s First Mass, July 11, 1992 at St. Rose Catholic Church.

Father Lemp was very supportive in my brother Bob’s decision to become a priest. And when he got sick and passed in September of 2005 at the age of 75, he left his chalice to my brother. My brother cherishes it and uses it on his most special occasions.

St. Rose of Lima was our parish. Something wonderful happened there every single year of my childhood. We went to mass every weekend there. We never missed mass — hardly ever. We went to every holy day, every Christmas and every Easter there — well, sometimes we went to the sister church, St. Ann’s in New Galilee for some of the special masses. We all made our sacraments at St. Rose of Lima — our First Confessions, First Holy Communions, our Confirmations. My sister Debbie and her husband, Scott were married there in 1994, as were Tom and me in 2001. Tommy was baptized there and made his First Confession, First Holy Communion and Confirmation there. He was an altar boy since he was eight or nine years old. Both my brothers were altar boys there. I was a Eucharistic Minister until I moved out of Darlington in 1998. My nieces, Megan and Tara were baptized there and made all their sacraments there, too. Bob and I were Godparents for Megan there. Tara just made her confirmation there this past Saturday. Bob had his first mass there and Mom burned many a candle for me there. And, we buried my Dad from there.

Father Bob's sermon at our wedding in 2001.

Father Bob’s homily at our wedding in 2001.

We supported that parish. There were all kinds of fundraisers that my parents volunteered for and we helped at many of the events. My Dad was on the parish council and my Mom was part of the Ladies’ Guild for many, many years. I remember the card parties. We would set up folding card tables and people came and played card games all night. That was back in the days when people smoked in public and the hall was a complete cloud of cigarette smoke. As kids, we used to sell cans of pop and empty ash trays so people could continue to fill them back up. Mom worked in the kitchen making food — and Dad worked the door and sold tickets and raffles.

Megan's baptism at St. Rose (Father Bob and I are Godparents).

Megan’s baptism at St. Rose (Father Bob and I are Godparents).

There was a weekly bingo too, but Mom and Dad rarely took us back in those days — we were just too little to be allowed in the bingo hall. That was back in the days when they used hard cards with cork markers to cover your cards. But eventually, they started using the paper cards with ink daubers. My grandparents and Aunt Mary (when she was old enough) used to come and play every week. One week my Grandma had recycled her own dauber by filling an old one with red dye she made from pokeberries from her home. Well, as the night went on, the pokeberry juice started to expand in the dauber and it exploded with a huge bang right in the bingo hall — staining one of the brand new ceiling tiles as the bottle shot straight up and into the ceiling. My Dad told that story all the time, laughing as he did — telling us all how she scared the living daylights out of everyone. And then Grandpap would chime in that he was worried about the entire five gallon jug she had under the kitchen sink at home — he hoped it didn’t explode before they got home!!! That ceiling tile remain stained for many years.

We worked spaghetti dinners, flea markets, bake sales, dances (attended dances), funerals and all kinds of other events. Later, when I was in college, my parents resurrected the bingo and managed a weekly bingo every Thursday night. I rarely helped at that time in my life, but my parents were completely devoted.

We loved our church — we loved St. Rose of Lima parish. It was a place of faith, a place of community and friendship. So to say it holds a special place in my heart is an understatement.

The years have gone by and my Mom and sister still belong to St. Rose of Lima parish. I’ll go every once in a while with my Mom, but it’s hard for me to see all the changes that are being made, so I don’t go there that often. It’s so difficult, because for so many years going back to St. Rose was like coming home. But, today, in general, I feel that the parishioners are so disconnected from the pastors. Back in the day, Father Lemp was part of our family. He didn’t put himself above us. He was our equal, our friend, our confidant, yet a great disciple for Jesus — just knowing him made us better people. He didn’t put himself on a pedestal. 

I talked to my Mom for a long time on Sunday evening as she’s just as sad as me. St. Rose is joining with three other parishes and becoming one — St. Monica’s. Are you kidding me? To me it will always, always, always be St. Rose of Lima parish until the day they tear the building down — and even then that ground will always be a holy place in honor of Saint Rose of Lima. Whoever made this decision obviously had no love for these parishes — only quick solutions — that don’t make any sense at all.

Long live St. Rose Lima parish in the hearts of all us who love it dearly.

Always B E L I E V E !

Prayer to Saint Rose of Lima
O Saint Rose,
you were filled with
the love of God
who enabled you
to leave the world
and be free for
Him through the austerity
of penance.
Please help me to follow
in your footsteps on earth
so to enjoy the torrent
of God’s delights
in heaven with you.

A Few Simple Words

Well, we’re moving right along with our plans for my Mom’s retirement party on the 14th of April. I am now praying that we don’t have snow, since winter never seems to end (side note, though, I watched eight Robins in the front yard of my sister’s house today)! I have so much to do that I don’t want to have to worry about whether I’ll fall and break my hip on top of everything else!

Invite-Mom-FPeople have been sending me nice notes all week about how much they love the invitations for my Mom’s retirement party. I designed them especially for my Mom — something she would appreciate. It was designed around the entire theme — flowers — for my Mom’s favorite past-time, growing gardens. My Mom’s friend Corky said “Loved the invitations. The only surprise for us was the Bingo Diva. Who knew??!!!” And, today I opened my mail from last week and had received a handwritten note from a very close friend of my Mom’s, Marcia Campbell.

Let me tell you a little bit about Marcia. My Dad worked with her husband, Bo at Babcock & Wilcox. They were very good friends since I can remember. From the time I was a little kid until probably about age 16, my Mom, Dad, Marcia and Bo went ballroom dancing at the ballroom at Idora Park in Youngstown, Ohio until it burned down in 1984. Well, the ballroom didn’t burn down until 2001, but the devastating loss at the amusement park from the fire in 1984 closed the doors to the Saturday evening dancing.

But they did other things together too. Marcia and Bo worked on the Floral Committee with my Mom and Dad at the Hookstown Fair, among myself, my sister and two brothers, and my Mom’s other good friend, Patty Martin. Mom and Marcia were perfect at this job, because they both had beautiful flower gardens and both were experts at growing roses, although neither would ever admit that. It was the same every year — Marcia “ooed and awed” at the beautiful flower entries that came in to be showed at the fair. Dad and Bo never really did any work, they just sat in chairs and made us all laugh the entire day. When the two of them would get going, it was priceless.

They watched us grow up from babies to children to teenagers and adults. Marcia was an elementary schoolteacher by trade, and she always encouraged me to pursue an art career as she loved to see my drawings. She even gave me books that I could as reference to draw things from. And as I graduated from Art School, became a graphic designer, worked for a corporation, then moved to an advertising agency — and then started my own advertising agency — she’s followed me every step of the way. Both her and Bo were proud of me — and that meant as much to me as my own Mom and Dad being proud of me. Last year when I was awarded the Pittsburgh Business Times’ Diamond Award and had a full-page article in the paper, she showed it proudly to everyone. She even gave my dentist a copy of it, who pulled it out to show me when I went in for dental work! It touched my heart how much she really cared about me and how she openly expressed that.

Both Bo and Marcia were devastated when my Dad passed suddenly on May 23, 2002 as was everyone else. But, I’ll never forget the look on Bo’s face on the day my Dad was buried. I remember it distinctly. We had just finished the mass at St. Rose in Darlington, PA, and the family led the procession out of the church, pew by pew, much like a wedding exits the church from the front to the back. We were singing “On Eagle’s Wings” and I knew all the words, belting it out through my tears, because I knew my Dad’s soul was soaring to Heaven! He was with Jesus now, and God, the Father. He was in paradise. It was a moment of rejoicing! But as we walked down the aisle, I remember seeing Bo’s face, wrought with despair and tears. He took the loss very hard. And I had never seen him quite like before.

My Mom and Marcia are both widows now. I believe Marcia is in her late 80’s, maybe even close to 90 years old. She’s in incredibly good health, but has some trouble getting around these days. Her daughter, Nancy stops in to her home every day, as she lives alone. We know Nancy well too.

So, the note from Marcia — it touched my heart so deeply that I wanted to share it in it’s entirety:

Dear Pam,

Thank you for the invitation to the big party, and if anybody should be recognized and honored for their years of perseverance and complete devotion to their job — it is Ms. Carol. Nancy and I will be delighted to attend. As Nancy was leaving today, she brought my mail in to me. She said, “Here’s a letter from Pam, hurry up and open it before I go.” When she read it all, she said, “Where does Pam get such clever and unique ideas?” My answer — “Because she’s a genius and demand for her work is country-wide. If she had more hours in a week to do her work, it would be world-wide.”

I’ll have to watch myself and keep it secret from Carol.

With Love,

First I laughed out loud at her term “country-wide” instead of national, but then my eyes welled up in tears. So simply put, she believes in me so much. I’m not sure I ever received a more wonderful and sincere compliment in my entire career. It’s truly one of those moments — one that will be tucked in my heart for the rest of my life. It’s just amazing how one soul can touch another with just a few simple words — unexpected in an RSVP note.

Marcia continues to be a teacher. And while I never had her as a teacher, I imagine she inspired many of her students. She continues to teach me how I want to be on this earth while I am here. Her goodness glows all around her.

Time to Tally Up

It’s Sunday evening and I’m sitting here thinking about my whirlwind of a weekend and the pending snowstorm that could start at any time. So, I guess I was pretty wrong when I said we had one last blast a few weeks ago. I guess I was merely wishing winter away, and I thought if I wrote it, it would make it so! We’re predicted to get anywhere from five to 12 inches, depending on who you listen to.

I took half a day off on Friday as part of my “white space Fridays” — still trying to find a balance. I really feel like I need it, because things are busier since I’ve gotten back — and most definitely more stressful. But I don’t think it’s so much of either of those, but more of a change in me that makes it seem so. It’s as busy as it’s always been. And, I still say “the highs are really highs and the lows are really lows.” — or maybe that’s just the things I take notice of, and I miss all the humdrum, in-between moments. I had a good cry on Thursday when I got home from work and that night I put some things in God’s hands. And you know what? All those things worked themselves out on Friday with ease. Thank you, God for always listening and guiding me.

I got home about 1:30 on Friday, and I made a pierogi casserole for a friend of mine who is laid up right now. I figured she might need a good Lenten meal (I’ll post the recipe later on my blog). She missed the last step in her basement, severely injuring her ankle and had major surgery the next morning. Her recovery is slow, she’s understandingly frustrated and climbing the walls! She does so much for others, it was the least I could do. So I ask you all to say a prayer for my friend Sandy, that she recovers quickly and finds the patience to relax and take the time she needs to make a full recovery.

The weekend was Palm Sunday at church. I made Tom leave the house 10 minutes early, because I figured all the “Creasters” would be coming out for Easter. I have to get a seat, because I can’t stand for an hour and a half mass. Creasters is the term that practicing Catholics have for those other Catholics who only attend mass on Christmas and Easter. There are so many of them that we have to get to church 45 – 60 minutes before mass starts in order to get a seat. Today, we ended up going to 11:30 am mass, which is normally crowded to start with and not our regular mass — we’re usually Saturday evening. But we still saw a lot of people we knew. And even more that we had no idea who they were. There were so many people standing, and I really felt bad for those who are regular church goers. I can only imagine what Easter Sunday will bring next week. Today we read the passion narrative according to Luke.

Before we went to mass, I was singing “Jesus Christ is Risen Today…Alleluia!” to my cats. If you know the song, it’s beautiful and you can’t just sing it — you have to belt it out. Tom jokingly corrected me that “he is not risen today.” and I said, “I know that! — but today we should be singing ‘Were you there when they crucified my Lord?… were you there when they crucified my Lord? Oh, oh, oh, oh, sometimes it caused me to tremble… tremble… tremble… were you there when they crucified my Lord?” And he looked at me like I had three heads. I told him we sang that song at St. Rose every Palm Sunday since I could remember and that I knew every word to every verse. Of course, we didn’t sing any of the traditional Easter songs that I love at mass to day, much to my disappointment.

I can't believe my youngest niece turns 14 this week!

I can’t believe my youngest niece turns 14 this week!

From mass, we drove straight to my sister’s house for my niece, Tara’s 14th birthday party — about a 45 minute drive. It’s hard to believe she’ll be 14 on Tuesday. It was a nice party as we haven’t seen a lot of their relatives since Megan’s birthday back in October! Everyone had so much new going on in their lives — one was planning a wedding and honeymoon, another’s daughter was moving back from Connecticut and another was getting over a severe cold that was moving into Spring allergies. Tom and I got to check out Debbie’s new Lazy-Boy furniture and play with their kittens — oh, I mean “cats.” The food was great and we had a relaxing and enjoyable day. Oh — and Debbie confirmed that they indeed sang “Were You There When They Crucified My Lord?” at mass today. Ahhhh — sometimes I miss the good ole days.

And I certainly miss Father Bob at St. Gregory’s!!! It will never be the same. And I pray that FB gets moved to SF. God knows what that means. 

This week starts Holy Week. I’m traveling on Wednesday and Thursday, but will be home by Thursday evening. The season of Lent ends on Thursday evening and our church has all kinds of masses and special events planned for Holy Thursday, Good Friday, Easter Vigil and Easter Sunday. I always give the staff Good Friday off.

So as we begin this Holy Week, I pray that I am able to take the time to slow down and think about what this week really means. And, I guess I need to tally up the dollars in my rice bowl. I tried really hard, I really did — but I ended up with $35 in my bowl from what I kept track of. So double that and round up (because I know there’s more that I didn’t keep track of) — I’m going to give an extra $125 to charity, while I continue to work on my language.

It would help if:

  • I never had to talk about politics again
  • Political decisions didn’t so drastically impact my small business
  • I didn’t have to deal with unpleasant situations
  • My husband didn’t say it all the time (he says he doesn’t say it all the time)
  • Benny didn’t jump on my stomach in the middle of the night; among other things
  • I didn’t get so frustrated after mass every week, because things are different
  • I had less stress at work
  • I could sleep in until 10:00 every day
  • I never used the “F” word as an adjective and term of endearment in the first place (now I do it so often out of habit)

It would help if I put all my trust in God — so that I didn’t have the stress, frustrations and weak moments, because then there would be no reason to ever use it.

Have a great week everyone!  Always B E L I E V E !

St. Lucia — Here We Come!

Photo compliments of http://cbayresort.com.

Photo compliments of http://cbayresort.com.

So we booked our summer vacation yesterday. We decided on St. Lucia which wasn’t even part of the original poll. We’re staying at the Coconut Bay Resort and Spa on the southern, Atlantic side of St. Lucia. And we couldn’t be more excited!

The lazy river at the Coconut Bay & Spa Resort in St. Lucia

The lazy river at the Coconut Bay Resort & Spa in St. Lucia.

This resort looks awesome. It has a water park, complete with a meandering lazy river. Now that’s my speed and I can imagine spending hours in the lazy river alone! The beach looks just a beautiful.

The island is very mountainous and was formed from volcanoes like all of the other caribbean islands. We’re definitely planning to see the Pitons, the most famous volcanic mountains. There’s just so much to do and see and that’s what’s exciting, because we’ve never been here before. There’s banana plantations, fishing villages (which I personally want to visit), a tropical rainforest and more. We’re definitely going to the Sulphur Springs and Botanical Gardens where I see we can take a therapeutic mud bath before rinsing off in the waterfalls. Now how incredible does that sound?

There’s a Catamaran sail around the northern caribbean side of St. Lucia. We’ll have to see how far that is from our resort. I’d hate to spend 2 hours or more on a bus. There’s a Segway tour which sounds like fun — I have to first head to Station Square in Pittsburgh to see if I can actually maneuver one of those! There’s ziplining, which I know I’m not allowed to do, but they have an aerial cable car that goes through the rainforest. That will be my speed! And shopping galore! It sounds like they specialize in artisan jewelry and silk and batik fabrics. I definitely look forward to shopping here. There’s fishing tours, dolphin spotting and sunset cruises. I think the thing I’m most excited about is checking out their exotic flora in the rainforest. Any photos I’ve seen are just incredible and unlike anything I’ve ever seen.

Oh and there’s festivals during the summer. Their Feast of St. Rose De Lima is August 30. From what I’ve read, they celebrate the entire month of August, so I’m hoping something may be going on while we’re there. St. Rose of Lima is my hometown parish from Darlington, PA. She’s always depicted with a rose. I think this is a really cool tie to St. Lucia. They celebrate with parades through town where natives dress as kings and queens. There’s all kinds of heritage around this festival and I plan to research it more before we go.

And lastly, they have a casino. It’s small with only 250 slots and a few table games. They say it’s easy to take a ferry to Martinique to do some serious gambling. So I guess if we’re so inclined, we could check out a neighboring island. But I’m sure we’ll be content with the nightly entertainment at our resort for the most part.

So if you’ve ever been to St. Lucia, please let me know what you recommend we do and see. I’m anxious to hear from you!