reflection

Easter Through The Years…or Snippets of My Spiritual Journey

Over the years, Easter has become less and less of a big deal in my life, which is sad, because Christ’s resurrection is like THE CORNERSTONE of Christianity, right? My mom used to make a huge deal out of it. New dresses. Dyeing eggs. Church (except the year we stopped going), and big dinners that always involved ham. Don’t get me wrong. It’s still a pretty awesome holiday, but for me, it doesn’t have that same anticipation and specialness that Christmas does. And it should, and not just because of the chocolate.

Here’s a short pictorial trip down memory lane, where you can see how I celebrated Easter through the years, complete with retrotastic furniture and all.

Happy Easter, Little Ronica!
age two

Easter Basket
age three

Easter
age eight

When I was twenty, I was initiated into the Catholic Church through RCIA at the St. Thomas More Newman Center (Eee, Father Vinny is still there!). The ceremony took place during a three hour long Easter Vigil, during which I was baptized, confirmed, and had my first communion. It was pretty cool. After the ceremony we had a huge party and were given giant Easter baskets full of chocolate and a Pass The Pigs game. (We’d had too much fun playing Pass the Pigs at the RCIA retreat a few weeks earlier.)

Being Baptized
being baptized

Confirmation
being confirmed by Father Vinny

Neophyte
being a neophyte

Once I was a confirmed Catholic, I went nuts. I was a Eucharistic Minister. I was always involved in one thing or another. Student ministry. RCIA (this time as a sponsor). Volunteering. And I even worked on staff there as a part-time receptionist for a while after college. I very fond memories of that church and that community.

I am no longer a practicing Catholic, but I still find many aspects of the faith beautiful, and I still have a collection of all kinds of rosaries, including a few that I handmade. I was just thinking tonight about how I kind of wished I was at an Easter Vigil. Yes, it’s a long service, but the way my church did it? It didn’t seem that long at all. It was a beautiful, amazing service. I don’t know if I’d want to go to anywhere ele, but I kind of wish I was at Newman Center right now. I have this to keep me company though:

As I said, I drifted away from the Catholic Church and church in general. Until about 2004, when I became really involved in an evangelical community. This was Aidan’s Easter basket that year:

Aidan's Easter Basket

That Easter was pretty cool. I spent the night under the stars with a bunch of other young (or young at heart) people (I’m sure I was the oldest one there, but it was still fun) and we did a sunrise service that was amazing. I was SO HIGH from that.

2004 was a crazy year for me in so many ways. I made a lot of new friends (most of whom I no longer really talk to except for the occasional facebook stalk or facebook game spam), I became super involved in church activities: volunteering with the teen ministry (my FAVORITE!) and the young adult ministry, doing Power Point presentations, throwing parties, putting together newsletters, and even running a life group. There was a lot going on at home as well. I get exhausted when I read those entries–I was always going going going. No wonder I’m so content to just sit and read these days.

There was the Easter in 2006 where I was treated to a double rainbow.

Double Rainbow - Easter Morning

2006 is also the year my life changed in so many major ways that to think about everything that happened to lead me to where I am today is overwhelming and crazy. And also kind of amazing. Needless to say, my spirituality took some crazy twists and turns, and right now, it’s an ever growing and ever changing and ever winding journey. Maybe one day I’ll go more in depth.

Happy Easter!

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2011: A Year in Pictures

I was totally supposed to post this before my “Looking Ahead” post *points to post below this one* but I forgot that I had the Looking Ahead post scheduled already. So it posted and it took me a while to realize it had posted, and I wasn’t about to UNpost it because let’s face it, it’s a perfectly fine post.

And I used post WAY too many times in that last paragraph!

So, this one is a bit out of order, but I worked so hard on it that I decided not to trash it. So, without further ado, here is 2011 (and maybe a tiny bit of 2012) represented in pictures.

Adam, Mickey Mouse, and Me!
Disney World January 2011

Smooches in Magic Kingdom
Smooches in Magic Kingdom

Aidan and "Weird Al" Yankovic
Aidan and Weird Al Yankovic

Spring 2011 Blossoms
Spring Blossoms

Hanging with J and Rho
Hanging with my Plurk friends J and Rho

Sarah Dessen | Anderson's Bookshop Naperville
Meeting Sarah Dessen again!! :D

Ginger Doss
Ginger Doss. LOVE her music.

s00j, Me, Bekah
SJ Tucker, me, and Bekah Kelso.
Too much awesomeness for one photo.


Love getting my toe nails done.

It's Us!
Disney World June 2011

Rockin' Out With Phineas and Ferb
Rockin’ Out with Phineas and Ferb
(I know this one was posted before,
but it’s too awesome not to repeat!)

Three Generations
Three Generations
My mom, me, and Aidan

New toenail color! :)
Sparkly toes!

The Rosie Show Test Show
The Rosie Show taping #1

Horseback Riding!
Getting to know Jessy

Pumpkins Galore!
Amish Country in Ohio

Me & My Friend :)
Me and Claudia Gray.
How I’d missed her.
Why’d she have to move so far away?

Bright Orange Toes for Autumn
Orange toes!

Me and Suzanne Sterling
“Sing Yourself Awake” Workshop
with Suzanne Sterling

The Rosie Show Taping
The Rosie Show Taping #2

Family Pictures
Thanksmas in Georgia

Christmas Ornaments 2011
Christmas in Chicago

Happy Birthday Aidan!
Happy Birthday, Aidan!

Aidan & Me
Me and my favorite kid in the entire universe in all of space and time and dimensions.

Happy New Year!

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Looking Ahead…

Pink

“To dream anything that you want to dream.
That is the beauty of the human mind.
To do anything that you want to do.
That is the strength of the human will.
To trust yourself to test your limits.
That is the courage to succeed.”
— Bernard Edmonds

I don’t make resolutions, per se. But I do have hopes and dreams.
These are my hopes for 2012.

See Aidan more often
Write more, unabashedly and with excitement
Possibly write/complete a novel
Travel to another country
Get hard core with my yoga practice
Lose weight
Get enough work-at-home projects to be comfortable financially
Read 75 new books
Write more in my paper journal
Be more positive
Become more assertive and honest
Have more faith
Write and mail more handwritten letters

There is so much to look forward to in 2012! New music to discover, new books to read, new people to meet, new experiences to have, and new opportunities to pursue. Plus The Hunger Games movie!

You already know about our Disney World trip, but I’d love to visit my friend Amy in New Orleans. A trip to New York City wouldn’t make me sad, either. But that can wait until summer. Oh, and I’d love to hit a nice, warm beach. A resort where I do nothing but relax and drink juice while baking in the sun. Or under a beach umbrella. Whatever.

There are some online friends I hope to meet in person in 2012.

I hope to be ever so closer to doing this:


Source: google.com via Ronni on Pinterest

I’m still undecided as to what to do about yoga teacher training. The spring session begins March 8. Am I ready for that kind of commitment? I suppose I can wait til the summer session. But I don’t want to put it off too long…cause I can see myself doing that then going “It’s too late. I may as well not do it now.”

NOT OKAY, RONICA.
I know your tricks and manners.

…good Lord. I’m talking to myself on my blog.

I’d like to volunteer at PAWS Chicago, the no-kill animal shelter where we adopted Helena. I really want to work with the kitty cats. I should make it happen in 2012.

And of course, there is the usual workout more, eat better, blah ditty blah blah blah crap we all spew out. Will I be able to stick to it, is the thing?

I understand why people make resolutions. 365 (366 next year) days seem like a lot. But I think that most of us make these resolutions and expect to get them done right away (like within 30 days)… and well, when we don’t, we get discouraged. The weight isn’t dropping off all that quickly. Just can’t/won’t quit the Whatchamacallit bars. The winter is so gloomy and grey, and who wants to work out when it’s like that? Writing? It’s too hard, man.

I have to give myself time. That’s why I don’t make resolutions–cause then I’ll end up beating myself up for failing, when I really just need to ease myself into things rather than shock myself with ALL THESE LIFESTYLE CHANGES RIGHT NOW which will NEVER stick, not with that kind of pressure.

So, no pressure, right? :)

Source: inspirinquotes.tumblr.com via Ronni on Pinterest

Happy New Year!

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2011: A Year In Review

Autumn in The Morton Arboretum

I can’t complain. 2011 was a pretty good year for me. I got to do some neat things, go to neat places, and meet cool people (like Weird Al Yankovic!). I was introduced to new music, made some crazy life-changing choices, and did some neat things. I got to meet my Plurk friends Jon & Rho, I had the chance to see my favorite author Sarah Dessen (and she totally recognized me!), I got to see SJ Tucker loads of times, and I got to eat a lot of sushi!

The easiest way to recap is to do a survey. I know how much you guys love those. Feel free to steal and do it yourself.

Was 2011 a good year for you?
For the most part, yes!

What did you do in 2011 that you’d never done before?
– attended Musecon
– rode a horse

Horseback Riding!

– pet a giraffe

Awesome!

– purchased exercise equipment
– got a passport
– Pilates reformer
– Capeoira
– got a facial
– lipolaser

Did anyone close to you give birth?
A lot of my friends had babies or are pregnant,
but I can’t say anyone particularly close to me.

Did anyone close to you die?
My aunt Lue passed away during the summer.

What countries did you visit?
None.

What date from 2011 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
August 5, 2011. I took my life back.
…and a giant leap of faith.

What was your biggest achievement of the year?
Getting into better shape.

What was your biggest failure?
Didn’t complete writing a novel. Boo.
Also falling back out of shape. Ha.

Did you suffer illness or injury?
Mostly colds.
Had an incident in April that I thought might be gallbladder related,
but it was just gastritis.

Where did most of your money go?
Disney trips, dolls, clothes, sushi, gifts

What song will always remind you of 2011?
Nataraj (Dancing in the Flames) by Suzanne Sterling
Come Down by Ginger Doss

What do you wish you’d done more of?
– writing
– yoga

What do you wish you’d done less of?
Working. I worked way too many hours at Schawk.

What was your greatest musical discovery?
Ginger Doss
Bekah Kelso

What did you want and get?
– new camera
– Disney trips
– passport
– exercise bike
– books

What did you want and not get?
– MORE AIDAN TIME (there is never enough)
– a treadmill (our apartment is too small for such things)
– a trip out of the country

What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
I turned 37. I spent the day with my family and ate
food from Harold’s Chicken Shack.

What kept you sane?
Reading. Lots of reading.
My family. My kitty cats.
Jen and Amy and our email chain.

Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?
Matt Smith

What political issue stirred you the most?
Anything that had to do with women’s reproductive rights

Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2011:
Having a lot of money isn’t everything.
It HELPS.
But when making the money
is costing your health, family time,
and sanity,
then it’s time to rethink some things.
So I did.

How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2011?
Sweaters and jeans, or tee-shirts and jeans, or hoodies and jeans.
Grey long-sleeved tee-shirts.
Sometimes a cute skirt with boots.
Long, hippy skirts or dresses.

What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
I love that I can’t think of an answer to this question.

Quote a song lyric that sums up your year:
Magic touched my life again
in a single breath
shining in your eyes
like a firefly
and a moment of revelation
–Ginger Doss

Few Days Old Braidout

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MMC’s Got It Going On…Funky Style! (Long, Multimedia)

I know I have blogged about this before, but watching YouTube today brought it back to the forefront of my mind.

When I was in high school, I LOVED LOVED LOVED the all new Mickey Mouse Club. This is the show that spawned Britney Spears, Keri Russell, and Justin Timberlake. I was a fan from the beginning–well, once we got The Disney Channel installed in my house. Back then, I had to beg and plead for us to get cable in the first place, and The Disney Channel was a premium channel, like HBO or Showtime! My parents knew how important Disney was to me, so they sprang for the premium. Back then, my cable life revolved around The Disney Channel, MTV, BET, and VH1. I loved music videos and there was no shortage of them in the early 90s.

I started watching MMC when I saw the video for Summer Vacation by The Party on MTV. I thought Damon Pampolina was the hottest thing on TV. I was ready for a new crush–I was over my New Kids on the Block phase, Joey Lawrence and Kirk Cameron did nothing for me, and Dino and Glenn Medeiros were just too old. I am not sure how I figured out that The Party had to do with The Disney Channel, but once I realized that The Party was made up of Mouseketeers from MMC, I was hooked. My crush on Damon was short-lived, though. I started watching MMC in its third season, and that’s the season that Ricky Luna started. More on that later.

The show, to me, was so different from any other show. It wasn’t a typical multi-camera sitcom filmed in beta. It was a variety show, with skits, singing, and dancing. My favorite was the musical numbers. I liked learning the dance steps and I liked singing along. The cast members used their own names, and at the end of a taping, they let the audience come down and dance with them, which made them seem more approachable than say, the kids on Blossom. I really wanted to be friends with all of them.

My life back then mostly consisted of school (ugh), an after school job at the deli, marathon phone conversations with my best friends (our record: 13 hours), writing (mostly fanfic), and music. I wasn’t getting out much nor was I participating in a lot of school activities. My life was MMC and those kids. I wrote fan fiction about them before it was cool. If I wasn’t planted in front of the TV at 5:30pm Monday through Friday, then the VCR was recording the show. That show was the reason I got up some mornings, the reason I got dressed and did my hair. Maybe I was just going to be in front of the TV all day, frantically rewinding the VCR so I could learn yet another dance step, but I was up and moving. And that was a good thing.

There were two Mousketeers who inspired me the most. One was Mylin Brooks. I thought she was absolutely beautiful. She had this gorgeous dark hair, this beautiful face, and she was on a TV show that was filmed at Disney World. She was smart and talented and I desperately wanted to be her.

It was this video here that started my fascination with Mylin:

Please refresh if the videos aren’t showing up. YouTube is being a pain in the rear.

Ah yes, Disney Channel’s watered-down pop lyrics. I didn’t care. I watched the video all the time. I even learned the steps. I can still do most of the steps. I NEVER in a million years would have imagined that one day, this would happen:

Me and Mylin

Through the wonders of the Internet, I reached out and asked Mylin to be my friend on MySpace back when MySpace was cool. She accepted, and we began talking back and forth. When everyone moved to Facebook, she and I kept in touch on there. I was part of her “American Girl” street team back in 2006. It was amazing to get to work with her.

In July of 2010, I finally got to meet and spend the day with this woman, and let me tell you, she is just as sweet as she is beautiful. My mom is tickled pink because she knew how important MMC was to me, and she knew how important those kids were to me.

The other Mouseketeer that changed my life was Ricky Luna. I had an obscene crush on him when I was a teenager, and I didn’t care. Every single day from 5:20-6:00pm, I would sit in front of my TV, VCR remote in hand, ready to tape anything with Ricky in it.

When the MMC came on, the Mouseketeers would pop into a circle and say their names. He popped into his circle, yelled “Ricky!” and I was instantly head over heels. Well, as much as a girl can be with a guy whose first name is the only thing she knew about him. But we don’t need to worry about that. Look at this video:

He’s the one in the red shirt and the suspenders. I dare you to say you don’t understand how teenage me could have fallen for that total Mr. Hottyness.

I got to meet him for the first time in 1993, when MMC came to Cleveland to do a tour. Boy did I make a fool out of myself. I grabbed him and yelled “I’M IN LOVE WITH YOU.” Mortifying. Forgive me. I had no social skills and I was face-to-face with the object of my teenage fantasies OMG what was my life??? Don’t judge me.

Here are a couple of pix from that weekend:

MMC in Cleveland 1993 MMC in Cleveland 1993

Forgive the blurriness. I scanned these back in 1997 when I had no idea how to really work a scanner.

In late 1997, Geocities came out. I could make my own web page, what! So I did. I made a Ricky Luna fan site. If you google “Ronni’s Ricky Luna Fan Page” some old, old, old mirrors of that site will come up. Good times. I made that site in hopes that Ricky would do a search of his name and find it. He did. That site was the top hit in all the search engines. He contacted me and we kept in touch on and off over the next several years. MySpace and Facebook kept us even more in touch. Back in 2009, this happened:

Ricky Luna & Me

Yeah, it was pretty awesome. I got to hang out with him and his manager’s family. It was a really fun day. He lived up to the crush that 17-year old me had on him and then some because he’s just an awesome, kind, and warm human being. We laugh about my declaration of love for him at Tower City mall back in 1993. I still can’t believe I did that. Anyway, now he’s a super talented producer and he makes really good music, which you can download for free from his site. I recommend the Electro Bomba mini mix. You can get it here. :)

I’m proud to call him my friend.

I leave you with this video. I just watched it again and it gave me chills because I loved it so much back then. And as I belted along with it, remembering all the words, I realized that I still love it today.

If only The Disney Channel was still this awesome. Oh well. At least they have Phineas & Ferb.

This post is cross posted at my Disney blog. Feel free to visit and follow!

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