Friday, December 30, 2016

Repurposed Em- My Weight Loss Surgery Journey

RepurposedEm #1

I was going to take my WL Journey to a separate blog. I kind of was hiding it, I guess. But I've decided that I will fit it in here on my blog. I hope you will follow along and share your WL stories if you have them.

Here is my first and last post on the other blog. It was my intro and blog purpose.

Please look up Saint Margaret of Cortona. She is the Patron Saint of Weight Loss (her image is on my blog, and there is a link too).

I will do a weekly post about this and share the ups/downs/findings, etc.
Love and Hugs....
Em

****************************************************

Hi there,

Welcome to RepurposedEm. I thought I'd take a moment to introduce myself and share with you the purpose of this blog.

Intro:

My name is Em. I'm a fifty-three year old Catholic wife, mother and grandmother, and I have lived many places in the US and I also lived in England for a while. I have two degrees, and had a great career (one I hope to go back to in Fall 2017).

My life has been complicated and interesting, and through all the madness and chaos, I've found a great support system that I call family. We're a motley crew,  but we are awesome.

I currently homeschool our youngest son and have for five years now. He's in 7th grade. Our other children are grown and we have three beautiful grandsons. In my spare time, I volunteer at our Parish and make Cards (paper craft). I am also into Bible Journaling, and wish I had time to play.

I grew up a Navy brat and married an Army man.  My mother was a vicious alcoholic and my childhood and early adulthood bore many mental and physical scars. But, as always my GOD is bigger and He has blessed me so much.

When I was young, I thought I was fat. It's because I was told how fat I was... by my mother, sister, brothers, and several other relatives. People made comments about my broad shoulders or how short and "stocky" I was. What they didn't get was it equated to a poor self image. At my highest weight in high school, I wore a size 12. We now know that I was heavy - sure... but I wasn't fat.

When I look at the pictures below, I can see that I am thicker than some of the children in the pics. But FAT? To say I was always fat... what a number it did on my perception of self.  You can see that I was a pretty average size child/young adult. Sure, I gained and lost the same 20lbs here and there. LOL But I was completely average.

1965-66?
1966-67?
1967-68?
1973
1982
1986
1993
Wedding Day 1999
This is me two weeks ago.


Currently, I weigh approximately 115 more than I did in high school. Sigh. I feel like I've morphed into what I always thought I was. However, I don't want anyone to think that gaining weight was the fault of anything that happened to me. So, I am moving on... I mean, I could think of a zillion people and things to blame... but I prefer to take responsibility.

Alas, after I finally got and stayed pregnant... I gained 120lbs and weighed 270 when I delivered my child. I was so swollen and miserable. I got back down to about 175... and then we moved to Texas... and for the most part, I spent about 8 years completely depressed about being here. My husband was equally bummed... and we loved food - so we ate. I'm a great cook, so is he... and it was like I woke up one day and weighed 250 lbs and had health problems... sigh. NO BUENO.

What I don't think we talk about enough is our own choices. I made the choice to become sedentary and over-eat. Sure, I have spinal injury and arthritis, etc... but I should have stayed active and I should NOT have used food to fill the holes in my life. That was all my mistake. I take full responsibility. And I think until you do, you can not fix yourself!

After thinking about it for the past five years... about six months ago, we decided to move forward with Weight Loss Surgery for me. He is in it with me and will be drinking a shake for one meal a day and drastically cutting portions and eating much healthier - my child too. It's all in around here and I am so blessed with that.

My surgery will be the Gastric Sleeve (the link I shared is to my surgeon's site, where you can also find out about other surgical options if you so choose). And my date is January 30th. One month from today. I'm so excited.

I joined a fantastic group on FaceBook. if you are doing this, join Patricia @ My Bariatric Kitchen. I am learning all kinds of exciting things.  Oh, and she offers a Nutrition Class starting January 17th. Can't wait!

So let me share with you my blog's purpose.

Blog Purpose:

Over the next year or so, my plan is to share:

  • Why I chose the Gastric Sleeve Surgery.
  • Before & After Pics.
  • Process Info & Timeline.
  • My Goals
  • Nutrition Tips.
  • Support Group Info.
  • Physical Fitness Tips

This blog is going to be my WLS Journey Journal.

I hope you will be encouraged!

Hugs & Blessings,


Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Preparing Our Hearts.... Keeping Christ in Christmas

Happy Tuesday!  I pray you are well today.

In the hustle and bustle of the holidays, we have lists and lists of lists... we bake, we shop, we wrap, we decorate, we do for others, we do for ourselves (hopefully), we volunteer, we donate... we are exhausted.  These things aren't BAD. However.... we have to ask ourselves what are we really focused on? Or in our case WHO are we focused on?  Are we behaving like the rest of the world OR are we exuding Christ's love?

LOVE is the key to Christianity. John 3:16 ~ For God so loved the world, that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life.

Advent, to me, is about preparing our hearts to love as God loved us, as Jesus and Mary taught us to love, and in the spirit of all the Saints before us.  We must prepare our hearts to love as they all did.

I have to be honest, as a homeschooling mom, who's husband is often out of town, I can't promise that I focus or am even loving at all times. But this time of year, it's a great reorganization of typical priorities. I think the best way to keep the focus on the birth of Christ and all that has meant to us -- as the body of Christ, as a family, and as individual Catholics -- at the forefront is to start in Advent.

This year, because of the death of my father, it's been hard to concentrate, in general. We have scaled back quite a bit in terms of Advent Activities.... and to be honest, it's so much better. A few weeks ago, I posted Keep Calm...Advent is Coming and I have to say, that with the exception of weekly Adoration and Confession, we have been sticking to it. I know I know - we need to be better at that. I'm just keeping it honest.

There are so many prayers and things we Catholics do daily, that I really feel we have Christ at the forefront, so for my post, the point I would love to make, especially to young mamas and busy women (you know, all of us) is you do not have to do it all. When I first was converting, I was so confused because there were so many things to choose from, it was like the "squirrel" scene in UP, where the dog couldn't concentrate. It was miserable to try to keep up or change my plans every time I read something new. It may just be my personality... I just want you to know that whatever you do, however elaborate or simple - Advent Season reinvigorates our purpose to rejoice in the birth of Christ. We must walk the Advent path in a humble and purposeful way so that our hearts are in the right place to receive HIM!  Advent is a time of preparation.  And if you, sweet mamas can only do ONE or two things to prepare yourselves for Advent - then do not feel bad about that! It's counter productive. Just choose what you can do wisely, God knows your hearts.

That being said, my suggestions are simple. Small daily reminders of preparing my heart and mind, and that of my family:

Daily Readings. (I use my Magnificat and the Magificat Advent Companion).  This is my "me" time. My centering and peace for the day. I can't think of a better way to stay near Christ, than in the Advent Readings. It's the story of His coming. There is also a Daybreaks Book that we read in the evening before supper... this I torture my child with read so that my child can be in the conversation. It's so important that we speak about our faith with our children. p.s. he is 13... everything is torture. HA! But I digress.

Jesse Tree & O' Antiphon Readings. Thank you Jesse Tree Treasures for creating the best ornaments. We have had ours for five Christmases now (I think).


Advent Wreath. Sunday evenings, we read the readings and light our candles. We sit down for supper and discuss what we read. We actually have a pre-made wreath this year. It was in our boxes and is perfect.


Daily Books about the Spirit of Advent/Christmas. There are so many out there and reading with family lends to great conversations. I love this.



Gather Food for Food bank - we have a pile in our pantry.  We simply pick one or two items daily and add to the pile. We will take to the food bank or family in need before Christmas.  We normally do an Advent Calendar loaded with tasks of kindness, but we simply aren't this year. We are purposing to be kind while keeping our Advent simple.


Keeping Your Tree & Decor Christmas Centered. Consider decorating your tree later, maybe Gaudette Sunday weekend, and keeping it up at least through the Feast of the Epiphany. AND when you do decorate, make sure you have Angels, Nativities, and ornaments that represent your faith (we have Jesse Tree ornaments from a swap we did years ago and our Parish sells ornaments each year). We are not decorating our tree till Marque comes home, so it's going to be next weekend before we get it all done.

However, check out this scene I made for our living room table. Christ is represented through the Church.


Notice that the Baby Jesus is still inside Mary (until Christmas day) in our nesting doll Nativities. This is to signify WAITING on Jesus. I explain that to my child yearly when he asks WHY!


Advent/Christmas/December Feast Day Crafts. My son has largely outgrown wanting to craft. But he will help cook or decorate cookies. So I try to do what I can. But for those of you with littles, I would not try to do EVERY feast day or every craft. But pick a few, one/week or something that fits into your schedule. Tracy @Slice of Smith Life, Angie @Real Life at Home,  Lacy @Catholic Icing, and Monika +Monica McConkey Equipping Catholic Families are my go-to bloggers for fun Catholic things to do at a moment's notice. There are tons more, but these are my top four.

Birthday Cake for Jesus. About the time Christopher was three, he asked why we did not have a birthday cake if it was Jesus' birthday. And so, we made one. Now, we make it on Christmas Eve. This year it will be a vanilla cake with chocolate frosting. It changes every year. But it's a fun Christmas Eve tradition. This year I am directing the Live Children's Nativity at St. Patrick for the 5pm Mass. So the cake will be made before and iced after. But it will be done!

Two last things, and the things that I am most guilty of NOT doing often enough...

  1. Reconciliation/Confession. What better way to prepare our hearts and minds for Jesus' coming than to confess our sins as often as possible. 
  2. Adoration. Sigh. I have NEVER been. I know. There really is no excuse. As a convert, I find it so intimidating. But it's my goal to go this Advent, and pour my heart out to the Lord. Pray for me!

I hope in a small way that my post has been helpful to you. If you can't do it all, sisters, make what you can do COUNT!


I am joining up with Allison Gingras and crew for the CWBN Blog Hop: Making Him Room, Putting Christ in Christmas.  It's a monthly, blog post geared toward a pointed topic. And it's awesome.
This month's topic... Putting Christ in Christmas.  Please go to Allison's blog and check out all of the other bloggers. There is so much talent!

This is my first Christmas with no parents. Sigh. I know there are others who struggle with loss this time of year. Please know you are in my prayers. <3

Love, hugs & many blessings,
Emily

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Small Success Thursday - Advent is Coming Together

Happy First Thursday in Advent.
Happy Feast Day of Blessed Charles de Foucauld. Check out his story.
AND

Happy Small Success Thursday! I usually link up with Sherry and the ladies +CatholicMom.com for this post, but there is not one up for today. However... I am doing it anyway. <3 I'm a rebel. haha


Tonight I am having a sleep study. I'm not sure how they will study something that never happens. Honestly, the way my brain works, um - sleeping in a random bed, all wired up... doesn't sound very restful. HA! Pray for me.

I really try to blog on Thursdays regardless because I just love Small Success Thursday. It's intended to remind us mamas to look for small things that are successes instead of getting bogged down with the big picture.  And ya'll, my big picture right now is a little overwhelming, so I will take it day-by-day.

Small Successes...

Made it through.... It was our first Thanksgiving without my daddy. That was hard, but we did well. We kept it small - literally just us three. We slept in a little and had a leisurely day. We really are so blessed. We also had dinner at our friends N&J's house. Her parents were visiting, and her mama is from Italy (where my husband lived)... and she cooked us an authentic Italian dish... I made a cheesecake and other treats. It was awesome.

Kicked off Advent... We had been saving our pennies and went to the Movie Tavern for a movie & lunch after Mass. We still have not gotten everything out to decorate. We are going to work on it tonight. AND we have not done the daily family readings like we want. BUT - we did find our Advent Candle and will catch up with the Jesse Tree and a few other things tonight. Just being honest. We are kinda depressed around here... but working on it. Sigh. It is what it is.  This is the week of HOPE! I think that will be my word for 2017 - HOPE! Hold onto it.

Eating Healthier/Losing Weight... Since I have been cutting back on portions and cutting things out of my diet, I have lost seven pounds. My husband who is not even trying has lost ten. HA Isn't that always the way. BUT - he just found out he is pre-diabetic.... so we will be working harder.  As an aside, if you are looking for a sugar substitute that is natural, please check out the recipe at Joy Filled Eats - Sweetener. I had this in my coffee at her home. Ya'll... no bitter aftertaste. Just saying.  Oh - and if you have given up Caffeine, please share how you did it. I have to give it up for a while... I can have decaf. AACK But I will.

Making a Difference... I love volunteering at our Parish. It's infusing new life into me. As a mom and wife, we don't always feel thanked. I don't need anyone to gush, but you know - it's nice to be thanked. <3  The ladies are awesome, and I love it.  So thankful for my Faith.

Oh - and if you are not already, consider playing along with  +Allison Gingras and the crew for #SnapAdvent. Check out the picture below. I am @Mrsedavis99 on Instagram. Look me up!


Have a great rest of your day. Don't forget to look for the small successes! Some days, it could be that you washed your face and brushed your teeth and everyone lived through the day, relatively well-fed and clean! lol  Whatever it is, thank God for it. We are all so blessed.

Hugs & Blessings,

Em



Saturday, November 19, 2016

Keep Calm... Advent is Coming

Happy Saturday.
Happy Feast Day of Saint Agnes of Assisi! Pray for us, sister in Christ!

This weekend is the weekend we will start prepping our home for Advent. In the Catholic Church, we spend Advent preparing our hearts and our Domestic Churches (Homes) for the coming of Christ.  Though most of us are kind to one-another throughout the year, there is a strong and purposeful introspective renewing of virtues that engages our souls and literally pulls the body of Christ together in anticipation of the Infant Christ.

Pope Benedict XVI said,
"Advent watchfulness means living in God's presence and according to his criteria in order to prepare a worthy dwelling-place for the promised Saviour."
You can find the rest of his words here - Advent, Awaiting God's Justice.

We are all busy mamas. We must resist the temptation to be an over-achiever during Advent.

In years past, I have basically killed myself (ok, I'm alive and that was dramatic, but you get my meaning) to flit back and forth from blog to blog doing all the super cool crafts and baked goods and this, that and the other. It was fun mostly. But sometimes it got daunting.  I would feel like a huge failure when I didn't get things done. My perception was, "All the other cool blogger moms with way more children than me were getting it all done." or "All my homeschool mama friends are getting it all done, what is wrong with me?" And I don't like that feeling.

Because this is the first Thanksgiving and Advent/Christmas without my father, we have decided to keep calm and keep it simple. Most years, I am completely psyched for it, and this year, I am working on it (sigh).  Let me make clear - I am by no means telling you that you can not do whatever you put your mind to, I'm saying you don't have to overdo in order to please God. Do what you can... just don't beat yourselves up for not doing EVERYTHING.

Now that we only have one child at home, who is far too grown for some of the things we did when he was little (insert eyes rolling), for the first time, I was kind of stumped - in terms of a meaningful Advent for our little family.

What we will continue to do:
  • The Jesse Tree readings/hanging of ornaments.
2014
  • Advent Candle Readings on Sundays.
  • Something kind or fun daily using the Advent Cards I created or just random ideas.  
  • Read an Advent Book Daily. We love this.
    Some of our Books (2014)
Last but not least, we will still have a birthday cake for Jesus. We have since my then 3-year old boy said, "mom where's the cake?" And I said, "what cake?" And he said, "Jesus' birthday cake." HUMBLING MOMENT!

This Advent Season, we will bake cookies, decorate our home, go to Christmas Parties, buy presents, eat great food and a plethora of other things. And crazy me is directing both the Christmas Pageant and the Live Nativity at the Cathedral here in Fort Worth. And EVERY DAY we will be purposing to concentrate on the Coming of Our Lord Jesus, in everyday events.

What we will do differently:
  • Weekly Adoration & Confession - this is our add. Pray for us.
  • We will keep calm and concentrate on the true reason for the season.
Check out +Allison Gingras  and the ladies at the CWBN Blog Hop ~ Keeping Advent....well, Advent. If you want to flit back and forth between fantastical Advent Posts, this is the place to go.

I don't have any great advice for your perfect Advent, except - please do yourself and your family a favor and keep it calm and simple. You can't do everything. Pick and choose wisely. Above all, make it meaningful.

If you live local, and you want to borrow a book. If I can help you with coloring sheets or anything ... please let me know. I will do my best to help you out.

Happy Adventing Ya'll! It's one week from Tomorrow. Yes, Advent starts November 27th and lasts until December 25th, when we celebrate the Birth of Our Lord. Join me in keeping Advent WHOLY Advent!

Hugs, Blessings and MUCH LOVE!

Em

Friday, November 18, 2016

Davis Academy Weekly Wrap Up ~ Finally a Wrap Up!

Happy Friday All!

What a WhirlWind this year has been.

Every week, I think, "I need to do a weekly wrap up". Well - guess what, I haven't. And so... I will catch you up...

Today I am linking up with Kris & the ladies at the Weird Unsocialized Homeschoolers Weekly Wrap Up. I don't link up much, because I never seem to wrap up... but - I'm working on it. HA


We joined a co-op this year, and Christopher is taking Science. He was taking English and Art too. Well, really he has Art for a couple more weeks, but won't the 2nd semester.

The English teacher did what I wanted her to do, which was prove to myself and Christopher that he could write and it was an awesome class. The problem is, we are registered with Seton Homeschool and the work was overwhelming. In fact, DUPLICATE on reading/writing, etc.  We got a little behind in Seton, but are catching up.  But he did read some great short stories and weird poems (some poets are ODD people). And he read Tom Sawyer. In fact, I need to re-read it.  He even read Rikki Tikki Tavi. Remember that?  The class is called Lightening Literature and Composition. It's a decent program for sure. Check it out, if you are a homeschooler. The link is to the 7th grade program.

Art has been interesting. On one hand, he's learned some things and different mediums. But, the person teaching art is not an art teacher, and I feel I could do just as good here.  If I ask a question because I don't understand a concept, because my child was out of class for two weeks, you don't tell me to google it. That doesn't work for me. LOL That left a bad taste in my mouth. In the end, it was a lack of instruction and my student tuned out. So - we will hang in for this Semester and will be dropping. We are super happy about the decision.  Here are a couple samples of assignments:



Science is FANTASTIC! Truly. She is having them to Labs and keep a pretty detailed lab book. It's a lot of work. But the reasons we left him in this class are 1) She dissects and does cool labs and I don't. 2) It is the same class he is taking with Seton, so I have to add things she doesn't do, like she skipped a chapter and Seton didn't, so we will read and study it.  But mostly - it fits right in.

Here is an example of a lab and the lab book. If you want the rules for setting up a lab book, I am happy to send to you. It's easy peasy.

This particular experiment/lab is called Floating Egg




I love the social aspect for him. They go to Mass & Lunch too. So that is awesome. We continue to work in all the other subjects. I will share those soon on another wrap up. I'm just proud to be "Wrapping UP" and don't want to overwhelm ya.

Miscelleneous:

We missed two weeks of co-op because #1, we went to Washington State to visit Becky and her family for a wedding. We love it there.  We took work for co-op, but nothing got done (what was I thinking even taking books).

Christopher did get to sit on this tractor for a picture or two. This was at the farm where the wedding took place. So pretty there. WOW!


Here is a picture of some of the grounds. The little house is where the bridal party changed, and the green space is where the tent was that they got married under. How beautiful is that?


All in all, the school year is going well. I am yelling less, and we are getting along better. <3  Additionally my student has done the following:

Broken his toe and had to sit out the rest of the baseball season, as well as Karate. BOO.
At the Hospital.

6 Week Out Comparison. Original pic is on the right,
just a small chip left to heal in the left pic.
Made Straight A's (as usual, frankly).
Turned 13.

And that basically catches you up. More soon.
Love & Hugs,
Em

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Small Success Thursday...

Happy Thursday Ya'll!

Happy Feast Day of Saint Elizabeth of Hungary! Daughter of a Hungarian King, served the ultimate KING! She absolutely rocks. Look her up!

Today is one week from Thanksgiving. You're welcome. HAHA


More than most weeks, I need Small Success Thursday, if for nothing else, then to distract me from wading in the list of "TO DO's".  You all know the link up is one of my favorites, so check out all the posts HERE!

I keep apologizing for neglecting my blog. I'm done doing that. I pray to be here more often, writing meaningful and fun posts.  Like today. Small Success Thursday is such a great posts for all moms (or anyone really) because it reminds us to concentrate on the good.

As moms we do for so many people, don't we?  I have one child at home, but three grandsons, and three older children. Sure, I inherited the older three, but I love them just the same.  I hate the term STEP. It's so negative to me. They're my children. But I digress... It's a lot of work to DO for all of them AND the Church AND the.... you know? I have a personality that makes sure everyone else is ok. I make excuses for others bad behaviors and forget to protect myself. I'm busy... we all make mistakes, but I miss clues and have a habit of expending energy and time where I should not be.

After my father passed, I started down that path. And then with the negativity of the Presidential election, I felt like there was a perpetual black cloud. But I was quickly reminded that I needed to get back on track and concentrate on me. Not in an egotistical way, but in a practical, "need to survive this" way. You know? And so, I am...

And by Concentrating on me, I mean praying more... deeper in the word, purposely counting my blessings... and getting out of the house. It sounds random, but the last one - for this introvert - is oh, so important.

Doing for Me.  Today I am going to card group for the first time in months. I am so excited. These ladies welcome me and chat/create... it's a great two hours. My teen will go with me today and do some schoolwork there.   Additionally I am volunteering more at our parish? First, I love helping out, but I tell you - volunteering is about me too. It's so nice to hear "thank you", and "we appreciate you", from folks that are outside your family. We have truly found our Parish home and fell so blessed.

Alone Time. Well, not for me... Volunteering when Marque is gone means leaving my newly teenage child alone.  Thank God for modern technology. My husband and I were able to keep in touch with the boy and it worked out pretty well. Of course, he did not do as much school as I'd have liked, but he did pretty well. So I can't complain. I feel confident now that my child can stay alone for several hours and be fine. It's freeing in so many ways.

Diet Changes. Since I gave birth, I've been very heavy. And since I started talking about losing weight, I've gained 75. Sigh. But with all the doctors visits of late, I have a list of things I have to cut out.  Caffeine. Sugar. White Flour.  I'm not gluten free but I do understand it's easier on digestion all around and doesn't give the "I'm too full" effect. Just FYI! I'm also considering WL Surgery. I know I know - no one like to talk about it. But I am. I have been praying about it for so long. My cardiologist (who also has a degree in Internal Med (serious over achiever) and the bariatric surgeon know one-another. Things are happening really quickly psych evals, nutrition appointments, sleep apnea testing (it's because I'm heavy). It's all falling into place. I mean it, I prayed about it and then BAM. I'm being cautious. I promise.  And I know that people think "why can't she just lose weight?" I was the same way. But WL Surgery is a tool, I still have to work hard and adjust my lifestyle - a ton. And it won't be easy. I will do a big blog post about it... I am considering a WL Blog.

The most important successes are the spiritual ones.  I need to get to adoration. I need to read a zillion books. But I'm taking one day at a time and trying not to overwhelm myself with my "long to do lists", and "list of lists"- personality.

Sigh.

Folks,  I love reading your Small Successes. Would love to see some more of you link up. The bloggers who do are so inspiring.  Don't forget to check the posts out at Catholicmom.com's Small Success Thursday!

Because Laughter is the best medicine AND family can be chaotic:


Ya'll have a great rest of your day.
I'm off to shower and get ready for card group.
Love, Hugs & Blessings,

Em

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Advent Activity Pack - A Review


Happy Wednesday!
Happy Feast Day of Saint Margaret of Scotland and Saint Gertrude! Pray for us!

A couple months ago, Aleesa McCarthy asked a few bloggers/moms to review her fantastic Advent Activity Pack.

I love her art, ya'll, she is so talented. I have a few of her pieces,

a Rosary Hanger

A beautiful Crucifix

a backpack pull
So of course, I jumped at the chance to review this.

Well, I'm finally getting to it. Here is the front of the Advent Activity Pack.
 

The Link to the Pack is HERE!

Now, I've chosen to show you a few ways I would use it. I say "would" because I feel like this is geared to 5th grade and under. Definitely something middle-schoolers could help their children with, but my 13-year old thinks it is too "little kid" for him.   As for me, I love Catholic Coloring Books, and there are lots of things to color for this pack.

This is the Advent Calendar. I slipped it into a stand I have. The outside is plastic and you can add to it with dry-erase marker.


There is one page that has a BEAUTIFUL Advent Candle Set on it. And I thought it would be so fun for children to make their own. I cut out flames and the foliage, as well as the Chi-Rho Monogram. You can also see that I numbered the candles by week and the colors are purple and pink (and of course, white for the center).


Here is what the foliage looked like:


And here is what the first candle looked like:


By the end of Advent, you would have them all colored, all the flames on and decorated and it would be lots of fun for the littles.

If you don't know Aleesa's shop - Check out SaonJai on Etsy.
And please, tell her I sent you so she will know I finally did the review. LOL

Hugs & Blessings,

Em

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Try a New Recipe Tuesday ~ Spicy Sweet Potato and Chicken Stew

Happy Tuesday!
Happy Feast Day of Saint Albert the Great. Look him up, he's cool. Saint Albert - Pray for us!

We love new recipes. And in the world of lowering carbs and such, I thought this recipe sounded interesting.  Spicy Chicken & Sweet Potato Stew.

Taken from All Recipes. All Rights reserved.
This was a spur of the moment choice. I wanted to make soup, but money is tight (sigh - always), so I thought, I'm going to use what I have. I'm famous for needing two things and spending $200 at the grocery store, you know "it was on sale!" SOOOO I avoid it when things are tight. And so - I googled chicken and sweet potatoes.  This quote by the person who posted the recipe was enticing:
"With flavors reminiscent of Morocco and Mexico, this easy yet richly-flavored stew contains loads of chicken, vegetables and some surprising spices. If desired, pass lime wedges to squeeze over individual servings." ~ RC Kim
The whole day, my husband kept saying "I don't know if I will eat it because I only like sweet potatoes one way!" Of course, being the supportive wife I am, I said, "you're eating it because if you don't, the child won't AND it's what's for dinner!" HA! You're welcome!

Anywhoooo ~ I did not have the frozen corn, but I had a can of corn. I also had a bag of mixed frozen veggies (cauliflower and broccoli) that I used. Shockingly I was out of cocoa too...which really is shocking, but between birthdays and bake sales, I was tapped out! I used chocolate syrup - just a dash. My point? It's a forgiving recipe. So, use what you have and spice it to your liking. SO GOOD! I will add a little more water next time. Mine was kinda thick!

Oh - and I did not cook mine on the stove, I tossed it all in a crock pot. I did make it a little spicier than the recipe calls for too.  And guess what, they ate it and loved it. Christopher had some for lunch the next day and a couple days later.

Here is our dinner that night.



What new recipes have you tried lately? 
Hope all is well out there in the blogosphere.

Love, Hugs & Blessings,

Em

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Small Success Thursday - All About Perception!

Happy Thursday All!

I love Small Success Thursday. Check out the post at Catholicmom.com.



As I sat down to write about small successes the past few weeks, I just did not have the right perspective. I didn't FEEL successful.  You know? I've just been in a funk (said like Ross from Friends, when he told Rachel they were "on a break". LOL).

I'm way less funky today than I was yesterday... each day gets better.  Can I count that as a success? I think I will.

Today while I was on the treadmill, I was watching Catholic TV on the Roku Box. It's FREE! WOOHOO.  Anyway, I have never watched Catholic TV before because I typically listen to music while I walk on the treadmill or the Rosary Audio. Well, the Context with Lorna Dueck show was on, and the young black interviewer was talking with a girl who literally could have been me (although I never lived in Foster Care).   They were talking about being abused, turning away from God and coming back. More than that, they were talking about survival and she said her goal was to not be like her mom. To be a good and loving wife and mother. And that is all I've ever wanted.

I can not tell you how freeing it is to hear someone else say it - and on Catholic TV.  You see, I keep it low-key because I feel like Catholics, who honor the Ultimate Mother and every mother so much, would never understand statements like that - and there they were, understanding her.

And then Ms. Lorna, was talking to a gentleman from Focus on the Family, and he was saying, ultimately we believe in reparation. We want to heal past relationships, etc. (I'm not using his exact words).  Then he said, you always try to heal family, unless it's abusive.. unless it's not safe... unless it's unhealthy for you.  He said find people to be your Aunts and Uncles or siblings and parents... make your own family... the Church is your family... And I started crying.

Picture this... my poor child and his friend playing xbox in the other room, me on the treadmill walking and crying. HA Geez!  The good news, they didn't know it. And I wasn't boo-hoo-ing. I was just teary, because it felt so good to hear this all on Catholic TV.

God was speaking to me today and I was listening. He was saying to me - YOU ARE ENOUGH.
So my big success this week is that I heard God. Oddly I feel much better about myself. Like I gave myself permission to except that I am worthy. Not just say it, but believe it.

But also - I made it through my first birthday without my daddy! And to make ya'll laugh, I will share a picture my friend Stacey shared. We've known each other since I was 4. If you do the math, its 49 years. That's a heckuva friendship. <3

Top Left, her birthday, I was five, she was four. Bigger pic, circa 1978 or '79,
 me visiting California from Texas. Bottom, She and
I with her three children. The baby girl was a preemie.
They are all doing well still. Oh, that was 1991.
Pretty funny huh?
So I'm going to say my fourth success was making ya'll laugh. You see, success is about perception... and I perceive that things are looking up. Turn your days positive by counting your blessings and successes (they are one in the same).

Ya'll have a great rest of your week! AND - go check out the posts at Small Success Thursday.

Hugs & Blessings,

Em

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Giveaway - 500 Free Copies of The Catholic Mother's Guide to Spiritual Direction

Happy Tuesday Night.
I pray you have all had a great day.

Through the genius of technology I am setting this to go live at 8pm Central Time. Let's see if it works.

As a Catholic Convert, I've wondered for a while how on earth to find a Spiritual Director. I was not even sure what I thought it meant - for real! I mean - WHAT DOES IT MEAN?

Well, I am excited to tell you about a new book, Ms. Lis Luwia of CatholicMommyBlogs.com has written. Here is the description of the book from the website:

Have you ever wondered about spiritual direction? Whether the topic has been pestering you or you have never been introduced to the basics, this book will explore what spiritual direction is and whether it is right for you and your prayer life.
Some of the questions that will be answered:
  • What is Spiritual Direction?
  • Is Spiritual Direction Right for Me?
  • How Do You Find a Spiritual Director Who is a Good Fit for You?
  • What Do You Talk to a Spiritual Director About?
Join us in this relatable book that all Catholic mothers can enjoy as you learn more about this topic!
CLICK HERE to go to the link where you can win one of 500 copies of Lis Luwia's boo, The Catholic Mother's Guide to Spiritual Direction.

If you do not win, which I sincerely hope you do, please click HERE to buy the book. It's $3.00.

ENTER TO WIN!

This is going to be awesome. I can't wait to read it.

Blessings ALL!

Emily