We had a remarkable weekend and I hope you all did too! While we did miss out on the Pizza Palooza event on Friday evening due to rain, rain that we desperately needed, the remainder of the weekend was gorgeous. Sunday was especially beautiful for Exclaim. What is Exclaim you ask? Well….
Three years ago the Toledo area Catholics decided to create a local event that would feature nationally prominent Christian musicians and family fun activities. The first year drew 4,000 and the second 7,000, making it one of the largest outdoor Christian music festivals in the region!
Exclaim is an event organized by Catholics but intended for the entire Christian community. One Faith. One Hope. One Lord. Exclaim is a FREE family friendly event. This year Exclaim featured….
Photo Booth Sponsored by The Blade.
Local band Canons played throughout the day.
National artist Josh Blakesley
The City Harmonic played
Followed by one of my favorites, Kutless!
There were workshops on various faith topics.
Inflatable games, kids’ corner, and Magic show for the children.
Nearly 40 organizations were onsite to offer faith related information.
Reconciliation and Eucharistic Adoration tents
The day culminated with a gorgeous evening mass outside. But before Mass things needed to be taken down and the kiddos got to sit on the cart with their Nana (possibly one of the highlights of their evening) then we tailgated dinner…
Mass was amazing. It was so fascinating to see so many Catholics gathered outdoors, the Mass was so moving between the awesome procession with the Bishop, the music by Josh Blakesely, the readings, Homily, and energy of the crowd the Holy Spirit was definitely present.
So many people put time, effort, energy, and sweat (literally sweat) into this event and it was amazing.
My parents and sister and brother helped this year and I would love to be a part of such a wonderful event next year. It is my hope that I can one day attend Exclaim with my grandchildren.
Of course none of this would have been made possible without the support and contributions from Medical Mutual, The Catholic Diocese of Toledo, and Catholic Youth Organization Athletics.
This weekend was amazing. It was one of those weekends where even though it was busy and full of activities I feel renewed and refreshed this morning. This past weekend I was fully submerged in my community and got to spend time with family and friends, through service and praise, what could be better than that?
It all started Friday evening. Our local playgroup sponsored pizza and movie night at the Beach House, a local family shelter. For the past two weeks moms in our group have been generous in donating money to go towards the pizza order, made cookies, made brownies, purchased juice and pop, donated napkins, cups, and plates, donated movies, and some even dropped off their own donations based upon the shelter’s wish list.
So on Friday evening two other moms met at my home and we loaded up one of the moms Jeeps (it was so kind of her to drive, I was initially supposed to drive but my driver’s side windshield wiper fell off and wouldn’t you know it just so happened to be raining. It was a little scary to say the least but everything has worked out) with the donations, picked up pizza, and dropped of everything at the Beach House. While there it reminded me to be thankful for all I have. Sure there are moments when I wish I had a new computer, a new phone, a new mattress but being there on Friday reminded me to count my blessings. I have a home, heat, clothing, shower, a bed, and so much more. It also reminded me that in a blink of the eye it could all be gone, and my family could be that family in the shelter. It felt good to know that I was part of a group of amazing mothers who saw an opportunity in their local community, to give families less fortunate the joy of a family bonding activity in an otherwise less than ideal circumstance, and they were willing to help.
I started listening to K-love, a Christian based radio station, about two years ago and then I took their 30 day challenge and have been listening to nothing but since January. I listen mostly in the car while driving the kiddos to and from school, after school activities, playgroup meetups, church, and weekly errands. My interest in Christian music all began at a local Mother of Preschoolers (MOPS) meeting. Two DJs from Yes FM came in and explained the influence music can have on our children (I will blog more about this in the future) and that was my “aha moment”. Up until that point I thought it was cute when my son sang a Lady Gaga song word for word, I didn’t make the connection between the music and the image that was being portrayed in/by the music. So we made the switch to listen to positive and encouraging music. Now my son sings Matthew West and Casting Crowns songs word for word. So when my family heard that the Come to the Well tour was heading to Toledo we were excited.
It should be known that my mother and extended family have been listening to Christian music for years, decades really. I always thought they were a little crazy or overly religious, what was the big deal? I thought church was just the motions. I thought Sunday mass was just what you did, just because. It didn’t sink in, the magnitude, the feeling of peace that comes with knowing that Christ loves you know matter what. I think I was ashamed, guilty, or felt like I didn’t deserve Christ love, or maybe just elementary in my thinking (I will address this more in a future blog). So, it was a crazy journey there but I have finally come to the well.
So the evening of the concert my family, my parents, sister, brother, grandfather (who turns 80 in a couple of weeks), uncles, aunts, cousins, my son, and I all met at Tony Packo’s for dinner before the concert.
It was a blast to catch up with everyone over Hungarian food at one of Toledo’s popular establishments.
Tony Packo’s has been serving Hungarian food since 1934 and is well-known for its buns signed by celebrities, M*A*S*H connections, and of course the delicious food.
So we had a few minutes before the concert, what to do, what to do? Hmm, shop! Off course! So we stopped into the Swan Creek Candle co. and enjoyed the amazing aromas and the cool antiques on the second floor.
I took a few pictures of some items I would like for Mother’s day (Hint…Hint for my hubby. No more grabbing the cheap, contents containing known carcinogens candles ten minutes before we have Mother’s Day brunch).
COME TO THE WELL concert was awesome. It was so much fun being with the extended family, having 4 generations present at such a moving concert was truly a gift from God (and my parents, thank you for the tickets), I felt so blessed and thankful for this night. The concert included, Lindsay McCaul, Matthew West, Royal Tailor, and Casting Crowns.
My 4-year-old thought Lindsay McCaul sang beautifully and wanted her CD. I agreed and yes, Nana got him the CD after the concert and we are so enjoying it.
I was really impressed with the group Royal Tailor, they are a great band for teens and tweens to listen to, I like the positive influence they can have on the younger generation.
Finally Casting Crowns came on stage. I had a difficult time explaining to our preschooler how a concert works. After every song prior to Casting Crowns he asked, “Are they next”?
All their songs are beautiful and moving but I got teary-eyed during Just Another Birthday.
Thankfully before I got to that point of sobbing, so others could hear, my little prince exclaimed, (and during a moment of silence for prayer), word for word…” I can’t hold it any longer. I have to go. I have to now. I have to go poop now!!” I guess God even knows when things are getting just a little to deep.
It was an amazing weekend.
Do you have a favorite song or Christian band that you enjoy listening to?