Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Moments - Holy Week

Em's DayBook -
Vol.9

Morning Offering: "The devotion to the Eucharist is the most noble, because it has God as its object; it is the most profitable for salvation, because it gives us the Author of Grace; it is the sweetest, because the Lord is Sweetness Itself."  — Pope St. Pius X

Happy Tuesday All!

This week is going well. I feel rushed, but truly - we are blessed to be busy. I have to keep remembering this. It's Holy Week and amidst the clamor of our daily lives, we must stop and remember the sacrifices of Our Lord AND all of the richness and beauty that his Passion has given us.

TODAY, I’M…

Thankful For (Counting my blessings)…

  • Gorgeous Weather
  • Friends, new & old
  • My husband.
  • My precious child.
  • Our precious Pope and his spirit of LOVE!
  • Mostly for the Sacrifices of Jesus and his Holy Parents.
Catching Up...

With homeschool, co-op, peg-painting, baseball starting, hubby traveling, my blog has been largely ignored. Let me just say, ALL IS WELL! I'm tired and busy, but I can't complain.

I will tell you something funny though... so Sunday I made cookie dough, for cookies I needed for Monday (to decorate with friends), and my husband said, "you need to stop volunteering for things, I'm going to have to cut you off!"  I looked at him pretty perplexed... and waited. You see, he volunteered me to be team mom for baseball, which means I have to be in the dugout with the boys.  AND at the parade for Opening day on Saturday, he told a parent (who's son is facing reconstructive digestive surgery) that I was great at fundraising and would help him out.   Let's just say - he got what I was looking perplexed for, and moved on. HA!

Later this week, we are going to visit a church and look at Relics. I hear they are a strand of Mary's hair, a piece of hay from the Manger (THE MANGER), a piece of THE Cross, and several others. HOW COOL IS THAT?

Thinking About…

Whether anyone reads my blog and if I can fix that during this crazy season of life.  Losing weight...  Finances.... our world and politics. Whether my child would be better off in public school or Catholic School. lol IF we homeschool next year, we will definitely be changing our curriculum. In fact, I wish my brain would calm down.

I am thrilled that my experiences help others. Do you ever wonder WHY bad things happen to you? Well, I have an answer... they happen because there will be a some day that your bad things help others... and miraculously they become good things.  So just keep that in mind when you are going through a lot.

Seems like I've been friend-counseling many women on how to deal with other women. It's not easy. But just in case you need something to think about, remember this... we do not have to be friends with everyone we meet. Being friendly and amicable is enough sometimes. So if you don't care for someone, continue to be nice, but don't worry about setting playdates, getting to know them, etc. Go with your gut. I should more. I'd have saved myself on many occassions.

God never said BE FRIENDS WITH EVERYONE. He said be nice and helpful, etc. (clearly those are my words, but you get the gist).

Reading…

I do not always have time to read. And that is just how it is. I need to pray for concentration, but I'm afraid if I do, I'd get a lesson on it and be even more baffled and lost. HA

Wifing…

There is no new post this week on Elizabeth's Blog. But last week's is here -  Marriage Monday: Project P31 ~ Rising While it is Yet Night {Link up} Here is what she says:

She also rises while it is yet night, and giveth meat to her household, and a portion to her maidens. ~ Proverbs 31:15

The excellent wife doesn't lay in bed until noon!  She rises early and wisely invests the most valuable hours of the day!
She rises before the sun, so she can start her day with the Son! She nourishes herself with physical and spiritual food, so she can share physical and spiritual nourishment with her family! Then she wisely plans her day, dividing up the tasks to be completed and assigning them to her servants.
I love how the Amplified Bible translates this verse:
She rises while it is yet night, and gets [spiritual] food for her household, and assigns her maids their tasks.

The virtuous woman realizes that she can't serve her family, manage her home, and be a shining light in her community without spending time in the presence of her Lord first! She has to prepare her heart to serve and strengthen herself for the day ahead. The joy of the Lord is her strength!

After being nourished spiritually, the virtuous woman is ready to nurture her family! In Biblical times, one of her daily responsibilities was to grind grain, then knead and bake the daily bread for her household. After spending time with the Bread of Life, she was up to the task!

Modern day P31s also need to learn the discipline of rising early, so we can spend time in the presence of our Lord, receiving spiritual nourishment and strength for the day's challenges. Since we are the Lord's bond servants, He may assign us our tasks for the day, just as the excellent wife assigned tasks to her servants!

Rising early provides a peaceful time to prayerfully plan our days, so we can be more productive and organized.  As we consider what must be done that day, we can assign tasks to our servants.  What? You don't have servants?  What about your vacuum cleaner, your washer and dryer, you mixer, your crock pot, your food processor and bread machine??  And what of the eager helpers in your home?  My children expect to see a job list most mornings! :)

Rising early and redeeming the time by starting our mornings in the Presence of the Lord, praying over our days, and planning our days based on our priorities, will help us be productive and peaceful! This proactive approach lends calmness and order to our days, making us feel more serene and prepared to tackle the unexpected.  (And every day has its share of surprises!)

I realize it was from last week, but OH HOW I NEEDED TO READ THIS! I am going to get my own alarm clock and start being better about meeting God first thing in the morning. My morning should go, God, Treadmill, breakfast, wake up my child, school.

How do you make time for God? What's your plan? I'd love to hear. And check out her post for homework. <3

In Our Kitchen…

This is Holy Week and it's all meatless all week. See my post from yesterday - Meatless Holy Week.

Yesterday, I rolled out my Grandma Helen's Holiday Cut-Out Cookie recipe and took them to a friends. A few of us brought out children and the decorated (and ate) them.


Faith Matters…

While reading today's Magnificat Lenten Companion, I couldn't help but smile. The story is about the night of betrayal of Jesus (by Judas and Peter). Here is a passage:
"This Holy Week, as we contemplate these dark days which the Father allowed, let us never forget that darkness does not have the victory. John the Evangelist reminds us, The light Shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it (Jn 1:5). So let us not be afraid as we contemplate this night, as we contemplate our own betrayals, because the darkness has been pierced by His mercy!

Even after the day of Resurrection, this night was never forgotten. It was preached by the Apostles, written down by the Evangelists, pondered by Christians in private prayer and in countless liturgies and reenactments down through the ages. Why? Because this night is part of Jesus' path and our path. Let us follow Him to Resurrection!"

We must not be afraid of dark times. The lead to the light. Embrace the LIGHT... search HIM out and embrace HIM!

Praying For…
  • Our Nation & World
  • Mental & Physical Welfare of friends & family.
  • Our Pope and Clergy.
  • For more JOY in the little things…
  • The softening of people’s hearts!
  • Local homeschool co-ops and parents/families!
Captured…

Boys in front of firetruck before parade.
Pegs from our swap.
I hope and pray your week goes well.

Love, Hugs & many blessings,

Em

Monday, March 30, 2015

Meatless Holy Week...

"Let nothing disturb you, let nothing frighten you. All things pass. God does not change. Patience achieves everything. Whoever has God lacks nothing; God alone suffices." — St. Teresa of Avila


Hi All,

Marque has been traveling a lot during Lent, and we decided we hadn't done enough "as a family" to keep Lent at the forefront. If I am being honest, we just haven't done enough. Life is busy in the Spring, and it is way too easy in our modern culture, to put God and our Faith aside.

It's as if we know He will be there and won't mind.  The first part is true, but I believe He does mind. We must keep our Lord's Suffering Alive as a reminder - always in our Hearts.

Sure, my son hates it when I say, "Our Lord suffered for hours on the cross, you can sit still for 45 minutes!" We know these things, yet we forget to act them out. You know?

Anyway... my point of this whole post is that we have decided to have a meatless Holy Week.  This is NOT easy for our meat-loving family, so I know it is the right thing. To help, we stopped by Costco and got some fantastic and fun meatless options.

Here is our basic menu plan.

Breakfast Menu: Cereal, Fruit, Yogurt, Eggs, Muffins

Lunch Menu: Meatless Soup, Sandwiches - egg salad or tuna, smoothies, shrimp rice bowls, hummus & pretzel packs.

Dinner Menu:

  • Sunday - Grilled Salmon & Veggies

  • Monday - Pollock Patty Burgers & Salads (Costco)

  • Tuesday - Leftovers or Egg Sandwich (baseball practice night)

  • Wednesday - Lobster Bisque Soup (Costco)

  • Thursday - Fish, Rice & Veggies (baseball practice night)

  • Friday - Cheese pizza and salad

  • Saturday - Grilled fish & veggies


I am so thankful to serve our precious Lord. He keeps us humble and on the right track.

I hope you enjoy your week and be blessed.

Emily

Monday, March 16, 2015

Moments - Blessings Abound

Em's DayBook - Vol. 8

"My prayer is that the good God may establish His absolute reign in your heart and in the hearts of all." — St. Julie Billiart

Happy Happy Monday All!

One of the things I've really been working on this Lenten season is not complaining AND truly counting my blessings. Oh sure, I've epically failed, but I'm trying hard and I've made great improvement.
I was up at 4:30am. Took a quick nap after Marque H Davis​ left. Then, we did a day's worth of school. I've got two loaves of rye bread rising and I've got to hit the treadmill. Christopher and I have started doing sit ups and push ups. I swear to ya'll I am so out of shape it would be AFV-worthy. You know you are out of shape when you either pull a muscle or get a muscle cramp, while doing sit-ups. Two c-section cuts have not been nice to my stomach muscles. We laughed and laughed... and now you can too. You're welcome!
And no, I did not have two children. I had a lovely cyst and almost lost an ovary long before I had a child.

TODAY, I’M…

Thankful For (Counting my blessings)...

  • Warm Sunshine.
  • Rain that helped raise the water level of some local lakes.
  • Friends who listen and advise.
  • The right to homeschool (or not).
  • Our precious Pope and his spirit of LOVE!
Thinking About…

How blessed we are.... AND how to position things so they don't sound like complaints. It's hard. I think possibly the hardest part about being a Christian is always trying to put yourself in someone else's shoes. There are things I can see CLEARLY... I have yelled "get out of the way of the train" to people who can't see it coming and don't get out of the way. But as a Christian, it really is my job to be there to help pick up the pieces. Charitably, some people just need to fall and pick themselves back up... and we have to be able to discern this without complaint/gossip. This past week, I have learned... when someone is rude to you or rude about you in front of others, you can ask about it, they may or may not be honest to you in response; however; you have to pray for them and charitably accept their apology. When someone continually takes and never gives, you have to pray for them and charitably help or just say "no" if they drain you. You have to encourage others to be helpful even when you feel they are being taken advantage of, because we aren't allowed to judge or complain. And isn't all gossip a form of complaint... so you can't say this person doesn't ___ or this person does ___ because you would be both complaining and gossiping.

And I have learned that you have to avoid toxic people.  Here are the top ten signs that people are toxic:
  1. They are Controlling - everyone they know is under their control or they are not close to that person.
  2. They are Jealous - when you share good news, they one-up you or talk about their own accomplishments.
  3. They Lie - large and small lies. They can't help it. It's who they are.
  4. They Play the Victim - everything is worse for them and about them. Everyone has to work to make them better.
  5. They Gossip - Someone once told me, "if your friendship is built on gossiping about others, she is not your friend". It was a long time ago. And they were right. Lose the gossipers.
  6. They Are Greedy - you will always be short-changed in your relationship. It gets old.
  7. They Always Come First - they usually only consider themselves and their needs.
  8. They Are Negative - overly negative and judgmental.
  9. They Are Arrogant - sees themselves as the smartest person in the room.
  10. They Are Always Right - they never consider your view point because theirs is the only one that matters because it's FACT (to them).
I am not complaining. I just think we sometimes, as we are trying to be more positive and peaceful, need to look for these things in people we are drawn to, and make sure we keep people who fit the above at arms length. It's changed my life. In fact, I told someone today, it can be lonely in some ways - but way more peaceful and soo much less draining. Try it!

Reading…

To be honest, bits and pieces of a few things. I need to get some reviews done. I am working on lesson plans and book reports with my son. So – my list is lame-ish at best.

Wifing…

First, I wanted to share this with you from Seton Magazine. Four Phrases every husband needs to hear:
  1. Thank you for everything you do for us!
  2. That's What I love about you!
  3. You are our hero!
  4. Everything will work out... it always does!
The article is awesome! Check it out.

Also - please check out Elizabeth's Post Marriage Monday: Project P31 ~ Bringing Your Food from Afar {Link up}. I am linking up with her. You should too. What I love is she also adds advice for single women who hope to marry some day. How awesome is that?
Today's verse: She is like the merchants' ships; she bringeth her food from afar. ~ Proverbs 31:14
What does this verse mean to you and me in our wifing? Well, to me, it means...

This verse describes the wife who goes the extra mile for her family. She doesn't complain. She is tired, but she gets up for her children or cooks a nice dinner. On a busy weekend, she invites friends over because we need camaraderie and enjoy company. She is lonely when her husband travels, but she doesn't burden others. She isn't harsh and demanding. She is loving and kind and a good example to her children and an unselfish help-mate to her husband. Above all, she is a light in her home... she follows God's plan.

Not to toot my own horn, but this morning I got up at 4:30am, and brought my husband coffee upstairs. The car service was picking him up at 5:30am, which really means 5:15am. Did I want to sleep? Yes I did....HOWEVER... this is a man who works hard, who cares for us when we are sick (like I was last weekend when he had to cook and clean and finish the laundry because I had 101+ fever for four days).  AND I want him to remember me fondly while he is gone, not lament that I am a dredge to him. Sure, he wouldn't do that... but that is how MY brain works. And so, I do what I can to make sure he knows I love him. Men need physical and visual evidence of love. You know?

I can tell you, I am fallible and I make mistakes. But my husband loves me through my mistakes as I love him. That is what makes a good marriage. We know our roles, the way we believe God intended.

In Our Kitchen…

In keeping with the P31 Theme above, here is the Project this week:
Project P31, Mission #5:

Our mission for this week is threefold.  First, it is to search out new sources for our food, so that we can buy healthy food at the best possible prices for our families!  Secondly, let's begin searching out and collecting simple, nourishing recipes to make preparing healthful meals "doable."  Thirdly, our mission includes serving our meals attractively and creatively for our families!  And, we get to practice doing all of this with joyfulness! Of course, there will be challenges. For me, my refrigerator decided to die yesterday, so I have my food in coolers all over my kitchen.  That doesn't really motivate me to get in the kitchen and prepare delicious, nourishing meals for my family!!  I'm sure you will face some challenges, too, but let's pray for one another that we overcome our challenges and go the extra mile in serving our families With Joy!

My husband is gone this week, but my son and I will eat a nice dinner, on the dining table. Yesterday, we had friends over for dinner and celebrated St. Patrick's Day.

Corned beef and Sauerkraut. Here is my easy recipe. Put the corned beef in a big pot, with about two inches of water over it. Fat side up! Put the spice packet that comes with the corned beef into the pot, extra mustard, peppercorn, minced garlic, kosher salt and a few extra mustard seeds. Puncture with knife or tong fork. Boil for two hours. Take out, surround with sauerkraut. Cover with brown mustard. Add juice and spices from water. Then bake @350 for 30 - 45 minutes depending on the size of the beef.


Colcannon - mashed potatoes, cabbage, onions, bacon.



Onion Rolls and basic garlic mashed potatoes for those who don't like colcannon. We had great wine, great company. Awesome.

Today is "bread day", so we made rye bread. We've taken to making two different loaves (colors) and swirling them. YUMMY! I thought I'd taken a picture but I can't find it. Sigh.

Here is our menu this week:
  • Sunday (last night) - see above.
  • Tonight - leftover beans & rice, fruit, etc.
  • Tuesday - St. Patrick's Day - chicken & leftover colcannon.
  • Wednesday night – Spinach Ravioli & Veggies
  • Thursday Night – Soup.
  • Friday – Fish
  • Saturday – Dinner with friends.
Praying For…

  • Our Nation & World
  • Mental & Physical Welfare of friends & family.
  • Our Pope and Clergy.
  • For more JOY in the little things…
  • The softening of people’s hearts!
  • Local homeschool co-ops and parents/families!
Captured…


Love my joy flexi-clip. Who doesn't need joy?

Fred ward wants to play with rabbits.
I hope and pray your week goes well. AND I hope to see you sooner than two weeks from now.

Love, Hugs & many blessings,

Em

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Moments - Thawing Out?

Em's DayBook - Vol. 7

"Act as if everything depended on you; trust as if everything depended on God."  — St. Ignatius of Loyola

Happy
Monday Tuesday All!

We are thawing out around here for the next day or so, and then we have promises of more winter weather. We'll see how it goes. My husband is picking up a few things on the way home this evening, in anticipation of being iced in. I'm praying he finds some fatwood because we need some fire starters around here.  Mama (me) likes a roaring fire if it is cold. Our order is not here yet. AACK!

TODAY, I’M…

Thankful For

  • the fact that we found firewood.
  • mail being delivered today
  • being chosen to be a guest designer on From the Heart Stamps.
  • the ability to take a mental health day and get things done.
  • the right to homeschool.
  • Our precious Pope and his spirit of LOVE!
Thinking About…

I'm thinking about people who judge. Oh we are all guilty from time to time. In case you don't know, I love Pope Francis. He makes sense and he loves the people. Here is what he said to a group of people about the readings of the day on Monday.
(Vatican Radio) It is easy to judge others, but we can only progress on our Christian journey in life if we are capable of judging ourselves first, said Pope Francis at Monday morning Mass in Casa Santa Marta.

The readings of the day focused on the subject of mercy. The Pope, recalling that "we are all sinners" - not "in theory" but in reality – said that the ability to judge oneself is "a Christian virtue, indeed more than a virtue", it is the first step for those who want to be Christian:

“We are all masters, professors of self-justification: ‘No it wasn’t me, it’s not my fault, maybe yes, but not so much…that’s not the way it is…’. We all have an alibi to explain away our shortcomings, our sins, and we are often to put on a face that says "I do not know," a face that says ‘I didn’t do it, maybe someone else did’ an innocent face. This is no way to lead a Christian life”.

"It’s easier to blame others" - observed the Pope - but "something strange happens if we try to behave differently: "If we begin to look at the things we are capable of doing, at first we “feel bad, we feel disgust ", yet this in turn "gives us peace and makes us healthy”.

Pope Francis continued, “when I feel envy in my heart and I know that this envy is capable of speaking ill of others and morally assassinating them”, this is “the wisdom of judging oneself”. "If we do not learn this first step in life, we will never, never be able to take other steps on the road of our Christian life, of our spiritual life":

“The first step is to judge ourselves.  Without saying anything out loud. Between you and your conscience. Walking down the street, I pass by a prison and say: "Well, they deserve it" - "Yet do you know that if it weren’t for the grace of God you would be there? Did you ever think that you are capable of doing the things that they have done, even worse?” This is what judging yourself means, not hiding from the roots of sin that are in all of us, the many things we are capable of doing, even if we cannot seen them”.

The Pope stressed another virtue: Shame before God, in a kind of dialogue in which we recognize the shame of our sin and the greatness of God's mercy:
"To You, Lord, our God, mercy and forgiveness. Shame on me and to You mercy and forgiveness". This Lent, it would do us all good to have this dialogue with the Lord: self-accusation. Let us ask for mercy. In the Gospel Jesus is clear: "Be merciful as your Father is merciful". When one learns to accuse oneself first then we are merciful to others: "But, who am I to judge, if I am able to do things that are worse?".

The phrase: "Who am I to judge another?" obeys Jesus’ exhortation: "Stop judging and you will not be judged. Stop condemning and you will not be condemned. Forgive and you will be forgiven". Instead, it highlights - "how we like to judge others, to speak ill of them”.

"May the Lord, in this Lent - said the Pontiff - give us the grace to learn to judge ourselves" in the knowledge that we are capable "of the most evil things" and say, "Have mercy on me, Lord, help me to be ashamed and grant me mercy, so I may be merciful to others".
This is a pet peeve of mine. I can't stand the constant judging. That is all!

Reading…

To be honest, bits and pieces of a few things. I need to get some reviews done. I am working on lesson plans and book reports with my son. So - my list is lame-ish at best.

Wifing…

Linking Up with Elizabeth’s Marriage Monday Post - Project P31 - Doing Your Husband Good . Here is a quote from her post:
I love what author Elizabeth George says about the good wife in her book, Beautiful in God's Eyes:
Hers is a heart of goodness! How refreshing in this day of selfishness -- of self-centeredness, self-esteem, self-image and self-assertion -- to come across a selfless spring of goodness. No wonder this woman is beautiful in God's eyes! But how is her heart of goodness demonstrated?  . . . She operates her life and his home in a way that routinely benefits him with good. Her waking prayer each day is to do her dear husband good -- to love him, serve him, honor him, advance him, spoil him, and ease his life.
Um. Hi, my name is Emily and I'm gonna say I routinely fail at this. I'm critical. I'm busy and critical... but I love him and I'm good to him. But I'm not selfless... and I'm not always "soft".   Well, I have some work to do then! I will say this... I am not critical in public. That has to count for something! lol
Project P31, Mission #3:

Our mission for this week to examine our actions and attitudes to determine if we are doing our husbands good or evil?  Are we practicing contentment and unselfishness or are we letting ourselves be ensnared by comparison, criticism, covetousness and contentiousness?  Are we building up our husbands and our homes or tearing them down? What good works characterize our lives? What about the words we speak?  Do our words do good or evil to our husband's reputation?

In Our Kitchen…

Currently my rye bread is rising. That's always a good thing. We like to bake our own bread and today, I made a dark loaf and a light loaf and twisted them up and let them rise together. I'll keep ya posted.

Marque is home this week. We are finally attempting a Shepherd's Pie

  • Sunday Night - Chicken Enchirritos (you'll see)
  • Last Night – Shepherd's Pie. We loosely followed a recipe I found on Epicurious.  The meat mixture was great. HOWEVER, I really should not have made a thin layer of biscuit for the bottom (in place of a pie crust) because it didn't bake well. In fact it semi-burned. But the good news is, we didn't eat the bread part.
  • Tonight – Leftovers & salad
  • Wednesday night – Chicken in the Crock Pot
  • Thursday Night – Leftovers
  • Friday – Shrimp & Pasta
  • Saturday – Soup
Chicken Enchirritos - linking up with Try A New Recipe Tuesday!



I baked Chicken the other night and Marque challenged me to use the chicken I'd made the next night. Here is what I grabbed ...

Zucchini, refried beans (1 can - 15 oz), chicken, onions, flour tortilla, enchilada sauce (small can), grated cheese, diced tomatoes (1 can - 15 oz) and I think that is all.

So, we mixed some diced tomatoes into the refried beans to soften them. mixed the rest of the diced tomatoes in with the enchilada sauce. Then we emulsified the tomato/enchilada sauce mix, and pours some in the pyrex dish. Here is how we put the enchilada-burrito type things together:


Flour tortilla (6+-inch in diameter), refried beans first, then sliced zucchini (long ways), Chicken (that Marque cut into small pieces), grated cheese, then rolled them up. THEN we added the rest of the chicken and the chopped white onion, and the rest of the beans, sauce and cheese. And baked it for 25 minutes @350 degrees..

You can change it up, make it all veggie, etc. We called it Enchirritos as a nod to both enchiladas and burritos. They are big enough that you only need one.

Faith Matters…

Yesterday was the 2nd Sunday in Lent. It's March, and I can't believe it's already here.

Praying For…
  • Our Nation & World
  • Mental & Physical Welfare of friends & family.
  • Our Pope and Clergy.
  • For more joy in the little things…
  • The softening of people’s hearts!
Captured…

Last night, Christopher layered the Shepherd's Pie.


I love my veils and rosaries from Silver Hill Treasures.



And this is my desk in the class/craft room... My computer desk is in the living room.


I hope and pray your week goes well.

Love, Hugs & many blessings,

Em