Friday, February 26, 2010
Thursday, February 25, 2010
John-Paul around 20 months old being tickled by his cousins!
Wednesday, February 24, 2010
Tuesday, February 23, 2010
Friday, February 19, 2010
Thursday, February 18, 2010
By Martin Rogers, Yahoo! Sports
When Holum placed sixth in the 3,000 meters at one of the most grueling disciplines in the womens program, a lung-scraping four-minute bust of lactic acid torture: speedskating.
Kirstin Holum competes in the 500m race in Nagano, Japan.(Mike Powell /Allsport)
Like many of the longer distances, the 3,000 is regularly dominated by older athletes, as it can take years to build up the requisite reserves of aerobic capacity and deep-tissue resilience. At Nagano, 32-year-old Gunda Niemann-Stirnemann of Germany claimed the gold.
Holum was born into speedskating royalty. Her mother Dianne was a world-class speedskater who won Olympic gold in 1972 and reached even greater heights as a coach, mentoring the legendary Eric Heiden to his clean sweep at Lake Placid in 1980.
Despite an ongoing battle with exercise-induced asthma, Holum was a champion waiting to happen. Instead, Nagano would signal the final time she would pull on a pair of skates with competitive intent.From that point on, her life began an entirely different journey.
"Speedskating was such a huge part of my life", Holum said in a telephone interview with Yahoo! Sports. "I still loved the sport, but I had this incredibly strong calling that it was time to move on and take a different path in life."
There is no television and no internet at St. Joseph's Convent in Leeds, England, meaning Holum won't get to watch the Winter Olympics where she was supposed to become a star.
The peaceful surrounds of the convent is where Holum, now known as Sister Catherine, devotes her life to religious service as a Franciscan nun. That calling had begun on a trip to Our Lady of Fatima, a holy site in Portugal famed for a series of religious visions that appeared nearly a century ago. It was outside the Fatima basilica where Holum decided that a path of religious dedication, not frozen skating lanes, would be her destiny.
"It is funny now to think of how different my life is now", she said. "I had the wonderful privilege of being able to compete as an Olympian, and now I am blessed to able to serve God and help those less fortunate."
After completing an art degree, including a thesis on the Olympics at the Art Institute of Chicago, Holum joined the Franciscan Sisters of the Renewal, a faith whose mission is to work with the poor and homeless and evangelization.
Based first in New York, Sister Catherine and her fellow nuns stepped onto the mean streets of the Bronx to work with some of the Big Apple's most underprivileged children in areas steeped in gang culture. Such work and sacrifice in homeless shelters and soup kitchens gave her a deep-rooted sense of satisfaction that skating had never been able to provide.
She attacked each new project with the tenacity of an Olympian, and, according to Sister Lucille, who leads operations at the order's Bronx chapter, she has the compassion of an angel and it is wonderful to see people's faces light up when Sister Catherine shares her experiences of her time in speedskating, said Sister Lucille said. "She never boasts about it but she has come to realize that we are incredibly proud of her and are lucky to have her as part of our religious family. The sisters and the people we try to reach love hearing about what she accomplished."
"When I give my religious testimonies, it is fun to watch the reaction of the kids when I tell them I was in the Olympics," she laughed. "Their eyes get really big and they start paying a lot more attention. It is a great thing to share with them and it gives me a lot of pleasure to think back and talk about it."
"It is not exactly something you would normally expect from a sister. But I think it is good for people to see that members of the religious order can come from any background and any walk of life. It is all about your commitment to the message. It brings back so many memories and it is such a long time ago it sometimes feels like it happened to someone else. Skating was part of who I was for such a long time but having something to look ahead to made things very clear."
Despite her time away, the speedskating world has not forgotten Kirstin Holum. Shani Davis and Tucker Fredricks, both chasing gold for the United States here in Vancouver, grew up skating with her in junior competitions and asked to be remembered to her.
"I wish them all the very best too and I will be thinking of them when they compete," said Sister Catherine. "There is not really much opportunity for me to follow how things go but my thoughts and prayers are with them. It is strange for me to think that things could have been different for me and I could have been at the Olympics again, but it wasn't the Lord's path for me and I have no regrets."
Wednesday, February 17, 2010
So, as of today, my comments will be closed, merely for my own personal growth. Of course, I will continue reading your blogs, but will also be limiting my comments there, in order to free up some time for increasing my prayer life.
I love you all, and know you'll understand my decision. It's going to be tough for me, but not nearly as painful as what Christ went through for all of us.
Tuesday, February 16, 2010
Speaking of perseverance, did you all see Alexandre Bilodeau, the first Canadian gold medal winner of this Olympics?
Monday, February 15, 2010
Once the second baby came along, I couldn't devote as much time to each child, but as a stay-at-home-mom, I was still available to them all day and night, and we still played and read for hours each day.
When the third child came along, our budget was soooooo tight that it was necessary I go to work part-time. My sister was able to watch the kids for me while I worked, and I watched hers in return on the days she was in nursing school. So now, there were days when I wasn't even at home with my kids, and then on the days I was at home, I had even more children in the house, which made me feel like I wasn't giving anybody enough time and attention.
Then the fourth baby came 14 months after the third, and I was so busy with so many little people (the oldest being only 4). Never mind playtime with the kids, I was struggling just to change diapers, nurse babies, feed and clean all of them, and try to keep up my house. Then my work wanted me to work 3 days a week instead of 2, and Saturdays during tax season. For financial reasons, I had to do it.
This is the state of life I am still at, except that the boys are in school now and only Maggie is at home everyday. But I feel so guilty about sending little Eamon to preschool, and leaving Maggie at family or friend's houses. Then, when I'm actually at home, I have so many chores to do that we barely spend time just *being* together.
Just the other day, I had been complaining to Phil about how I used to read story after story to John-Paul, but can't remember that last time I really read a story to Maggie. And then, guess what I saw....John-Paul (6) reading a book to Maggie (2)!! It melted my heart and made me realize that if I am doing the best I can as a mother, God will send someone else to pick up the slack. Whether that be in the form of a helping husband, a friend who is willing to babysit, or a son who plays with his sister.
Will I still have Mom-Guilt? Of course! But I do know that one of the reasons I am stretched so thin is because I have so many kids, and it's precisely because I have been blessed with so many kids that someone is always around to pick up the slack.
Sunday, February 14, 2010
Friday, February 12, 2010
1) Phil got a day off from teaching on Wednesday when supposedly a snow storm was coming. I say supposedly, because the storm turned out to be a dud, but I got to spend the day at home with my hubby. Yay!
2) Got a note from John-Paul's teacher saying he is doing really well in school. She had called us a couple of weeks ago to tell us that he was having a little trouble controlling himself in class. Turns out he was speaking out of turn, and even correcting the teacher on occasion! He is totally a know-it-all type of boy, and he's very intelligent, so he thinks it's his job to correct people. He's not trying to be malicious, just useful. Anyway, rudeness and disrespect are not allowed at school or at home, and so we are glad to hear he is doing much better!
3) At the end of the school day today, it is officially February Vacation week. The kids are so excited to be at home for a whole week with Daddy also being off!!
4) My Giveaway ends tomorrow! To enter, just leave a comment on this post, or tell people about it and leave the link for an extra entry. Winner will be announced on Valentine's Day.
1) Been working a lot.
2) Please pray for something we are dealing with right now, I don't want to talk about it yet, but we would appreciate your prayers. Thanks!!
What are your highs and lows this week?
Thursday, February 11, 2010
Tuesday, February 9, 2010
Monday, February 8, 2010
What was your favorite commerical of the night?
Friday, February 5, 2010
Thursday, February 4, 2010
Wednesday, February 3, 2010
Tuesday, February 2, 2010
Maura's daughter, Abby, (and my Goddaughter) has been really sick lately. She's only 14 months old, and she's currently in the hospital for dehydration. She has lost a lot of weight and looks so sickly :( Please pray for her! Here's Maggie with Abby about 8 months ago:
C'mon, who doesn't?