Okay, so last week we said we hoped that this week we would be more active here at TMWWBK. As you may have noticed, no blog posts have been written in the last seven days. However, that does not mean that nothing was done on this site. Ryan actually built
three new pages which will be up on Monday, in time for Lent. So stay tuned…
In the meantime, last weekend was busy. Really, really busy. We mentioned in the last Family Friday that Ryan and Kathleen were flying down to New Mexico to participate in a memorial ceremony for a fellow Green Beret. We were making a sort of half-business, half couple-time trip out of it.
Considering that Ryan spent Friday and Saturday largely doing rehearsals, and then Sunday was the ceremony, we still managed to get in a lot of site-seeing and just time together before we flew back home on Monday.
The ceremony itself was pretty emotionally intense. While we didn’t know Matt very well, Ryan and have been serving in different parts of the same units for a couple of years. Supporting the family is a top priority, and it called forth a singular effort from all those connected with the unit, whether they were close friends with him or not.
His family is well taken care of by the community and by extended family and by friends and teammates of Matt’s, but for those who might be looking for a way to contribute, you can go to my buddy Alex Wilson’s page and order some of his Rain City Spirit’s Special Forces Brew coffee beans. All proceeds over cost (approximately 75% of each bag purchased) go to support Matt’s family until this particular stock runs out.
As I said, we also did some sightseeing while we were down there. If anything, the reason for our visit made us more aware of the need to build the strongest couple and family bond possible while we can, and made us even more eager to take advantage of whatever time we could.
So we touristed around Old Town Albuquerque a bit…
We visited the church and convent of San Felipe de Neri.
Founded in 1706, it is still a fully functioning parish with daily and weekend Masses.
The convent is no longer home to a community of nuns, but the parish still boasts a Catholic school. It was a very beautiful church, and despite being a historic location and tourist attraction, the parish still maintains a quiet and prayerful atmosphere within the body of the building.
A great breakfast burrito and some delicious homemade pancakes from the Central Grill and Coffee House.
We attended Mass on Saturday and Sunday morning at the Church of the Immaculate Conception, a few blocks from the hotel.
We drove up to Santa Fe on Sunday after the memorial, and had supper at the Blue Corn Cafe.
Ryan also meditated with a stone elephant outside a closed shop.
In Santa Fe we were able to attend morning Mass on Monday at the Basilica de San Francisco. Morning Mass was in a side chapel since the main Cathedral building doesn’t open until 9:30, so after Mass we when back to the room for some breakfast. It had started to snow outside, but we had a fire in the fireplace and were nice and cozy.
As soon as things were open we sallied forth again! Monday was our big sight seeing day, and our first stop was the Loretto Chapel.
The chapel itself is a beautiful Gothic style structure, said to be the oldest such building West of the Mississippi river. However its centerpiece is undoubtedly its miraculous staircase. For those who don’t know the story of the staircase, this is the version taken from the official Loretto Chapel website:
When the Loretto Chapel was completed in 1878, there was no way to access the choir loft twenty-two feet above. Carpenters were called in to address the problem, but they all concluded access to the loft would have to be via ladder as a staircase would interfere with the interior space of the small Chapel. Legend says that to find a solution to the seating problem, the Sisters of the Chapel made a novena to St. Joseph, the patron saint of carpenters. On the ninth and final day of prayer, a man appeared at the Chapel with a donkey and a toolbox looking for work. Months later, the elegant circular staircase was completed, and the carpenter disappeared without pay or thanks. After searching for the man (an ad even ran in the local newspaper) and finding no trace of him, some concluded that he was St. Joseph himself, having come in answer to the sisters’ prayers. The stairway’s carpenter, whoever he was, built a magnificent structure. The design was innovative for the time and some of the design considerations still perplex experts today. The staircase has two 360 degree turns and no visible means of support. Also, it is said that the staircase was built without nails—only wooden pegs. Questions also surround the number of stair risers relative to the height of the choir loft and about the types of wood and other materials used in the stairway’s construction.
This is a picture of the staircase as it would have looked when it was constructed.As you can see, it is completely unsupported from the walls or the pillar. Only the almost unbelievable quality of its craftsmanship has kept it standing (at times with the entire school choir standing on it to sing) for almost 150 years.
A few years after its construction, the nuns hired a local carpenter to add a balustrade, which remains to this day.
Our next stop was the Basilica, which was now open.
A funeral was scheduled for 11:00 that day, but we were able to stop in and say our Rosary, and visit the gift shop prior to the funeral.
After that we had a wonderful early lunch at a delightful little shop called The French Pastry Shop. If you are ever in Santa Fe you must stop in there! The staff was very sweet and friendly and the decor was homey and cool.
They are geniuses when it comes to making breads!
And the food was delicious and very reasonably priced.
Around noon we drove back to Albuquerque. Our flight left a little after 4:00 so we had time to stop at Petroglyph National Monument!
The weather on Monday was not so nice, but we can’t stop life because of a little wind and hail and snow, can we?
Blue skies at first, but…
A pretty stiff snowstorm had just gone through.
Looking down at Kathleen from the top of the ridge, there were some definite bands of weather.
And this is why we should not be allowed to take selfies…
You may be asking yourself, what was Evie doing during all this time? She was staying with Grandma and Grandpa. That’s right! Evie stayed overnight away from Mommy and Daddy for the first time in her little short life.
(Sniffle, sniff, wipe away a tear… moving on then!)
She had a good time, but she was super happy to see Mommy and Daddy again.We missed our baby girl.
But our week’s adventures were not over yet. Tuesday and Wednesday Daddy was working. Mommy works nights this week, so during the day she cleaned up the front yard and garden, single-handedly filling the yard waste bin.
Last year when she did that she was 9 months pregnant, trying to convince Evie to head on out.
And then on Thursday, Mommy and Daddy went skiing at Crystal Mountain. It was Military appreciation day and tickets were half off. We love a good deal!
Ryan brought a box of soup for lunch and to shake it up he did an impromptu little dance at the table. Kathleen wanted to get a picture of it, but by the time she got her phone out, the soup was already shaken up and the dance was over.
“Do it again,” she said.
“But it’s already shaken up,” he protested.
The soup was so shaken up it was frothy, but still quite good.
And that’s all from us. Whoosh! That was a long post, the longest Family Friday we have written in a while. Hopefully you can have a great week yourself. Pray for us, pray for our family, and all families everywhere.