Friday, February 26, 2016

Small Success Thursday....

Yes Yes... I know it's Friday.
AND?! haha



Seriously - I told someone today, when I sent them a package of cards (my friend has cancer and I make cards, so I sent her about 30 Thank You and Just Because kind of cards).... anyway, I said, "please forgive the fact there is no note. I have 30 minutes to shower and leave for Karate!" TRUTH!
Can I count that as a success? I sent the cards. That counts, right?

Small Successes, you say?


  • We got a lot of school done.
  • We went to everything we had planned - ON TIME!
  • I did leave a egg white, spinach & feta cheese wrap in my purse all morning one of the days.
  • I did let my big old 12 year old sleep in our bed because it was storming.
  • I wrote a Gospel Reflection for Catholicmom.com and yesterday was my day for it to post - HERE!
  • I even remembered not to eat meat today.
  • AND My house is reasonably presentable to my husband who is coming home today. Though, if I am being honest, I just remembered that our entire bed is covered in laundry that needs to be put away, but where do I sit - here, pretending I have everything done, because I haven't blogged all week, and I need to do something for me.


I mean, I did fill up the gas tank and do this, today...



The laundry would be bonus. But I do have coffee brewing. And dinner, well I am going to put the salmon in the oven in a moment. Sigh.

My week was not perfect, ladies...

But I meant what I said. AND, I was way better about not getting angry/full on yelling. And I even calmly sent the boy to his room when he wouldn't stop smart-mouthing, and left him there till I came upstairs, and put him to bed. I was kind of proud of that. Because I told him what I was going to do and DID IT! My child is awesome. But like many 12 year olds, there is this attitude and mouthiness. Except that he has always had it - ALWAYS! It's an Aspy thing. He loves to tell everyone else what to do, but hates to listen. Sigh.  Anywhooo.... lest I paint a bad picture of him... I should stop!

My husband will be home for a few weeks. My child goes to his first Middle School Rally tomorrow. Sunday we are having friends over for dinner.

So maybe, just maybe, I will have something interesting to say on Monday.

Be bless you all, and as you can see - Small Successes really do come in EVERY shape and size. Pat yourselves on the back, mamas. You deserve it!

Head over to Small Success Thursday at Catholicmom.com and check the other bloggers out. It's always a great read.

Blessings,
Em

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Small Success Thursday - Reaching Children

Happy Thursday!
Happy Feast Day of Blessed John of Fiesole.
Here's a quote to get your morning off on the right foot,
"The virtues remind us of the higher moral standard we are called to follow. This reminder should inspire us to give more of ourselves in the pursuit of virtue and live more like Christ, rather than living life enslaved by our passions." -from Men, Women, and the Mystery of Love  
Franciscan Media sends me gems like that in my email each morning. Live like Christ. Simple, but oh, so hard some days (or at least some moments). Love the reminders.


Today is Thursday... Not just ANY Thursday, but Small Success Thursday! HA You should head over to Catholicmom.com and check out the other bloggers posts. And honestly if you have a blog - you should participate. We are all busy moms. Many times, no one comments. But miss one Thursday and people will ask you if you are ok. That's how it works in the Mommy world. Go on... check it out - Small Success Thursday (SST).

I don't have a big readership. But if you are new, SST is a great series (IMHO), and encourages us moms to count each success, no matter how small - and sometimes they are as small as getting dressed daily and managing to keep everyone alive (ok, that sounds big, right!) to blog about our successes.  Count your blessings as successes too. Never give up. Whatever is going on, things will be OK. We serve an awesome God. I am confident that you have many successes, even if you don't feel great about your week.

And with that, I will tell you mine.

1) I survived another week as a single parent. OK, he was only gone a few days. But it's been - he comes home Friday, gone by Sunday/Monday, and back home Friday for months. And this week, he came home yesterday. But it's still a lot of single-parenting... and all is well. Truly!

2) I had my physical. Um - I've apparently been putting it off for a few years. HA. I'm no fan of doctors or needles. I've been avoiding it. But things are pretty good... I think. I need foot surgery. This I've known for 20+ years. It's unbearable now, so I will get it fixed. If you knew how many times I'd cancelled and rescheduled, you would know how big this was. Emily (me) does not like Doctors. PERIOD!

3) Doing Well with Lent. What does that mean? I am not stressed. I am reading devotions, managing to fast/abstain. Pretty much staying off FB except an hour/day. Getting a lot more done not being on FB so much. Life is good. Lent is good.

4) Going to a Make-n-Take @ Scrapbook Expo. You say WHAT is that? Well, I've been scrapbooking and making cards since the late 1990's. And for the past ten years I have been making cards. Anyway - one of the good things about all the travel is hotel and airline points that we save up. So, tonight (3pm - Midnight), I will go make cards and projects with friends... and my husband and son will hang out at the hotel pool and go eat dinner.... and spend some much-needed time together.  It's a win-win situation. After all, he leaves again... and p.s. I have a craft blog: EmsCraftCloset

MOST IMPORTANT SUCCESS:


5) Reaching the Children. Ya'll, I am so excited to tell you all how God is really working through me with the Religious Ed class I am teaching. It's not me I am bragging about, but our Lord. It's frustrating to teach RE at any Church, I'm sure. You have families that follow rules and some who don't. You have children who know about our Faith, but many don't. I spent the first part of this year frustrated (behind the scenes) with situations... but, I dug in my heels and took a different route with them. Most of my class of 3rd graders has not made their 1st Holy Communion yet. They don't go to Mass on a regular basis, have Sacramentals at home, know the normal Bible Stories. It's a class full of "we don't pray daily", "we only go to Mass on Christmas & New Year", kind of statements. Sigh.
Enter the Rosary...

Two weeks ago, I brought Rosaries (little plastic ones at first) and printed a packet for them to learn about the Rosary. And you guys - it's WORKING!  I challenged them to pray the Rosary at least once/week. Ya'll, one little boy did it. To be fair, I only have eight children, and only three were there on Sunday.   This past week, I brought out nice rosaries for them all, and this child was ecstatic. I'm so excited. I know, I want to reach the other seven too. But it's a start. It was such a great class this past Sunday. They listened and were engaged. We had a great discussion about the Eucharist. Pray for these eight children please. They want to learn our Faith and know Our Lord. May God continue to use me for His Glory!  I can tell our Lord and Blessed Mother are getting through to them. It's so exciting.

What are your successes today? Rejoice in them all!

Hugs & blessings ALL!

Em


Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Book Review Wednesday - Pictures of Me!

Happy Wednesday!
Happy Feast Day to the Seven Founders of the Servite Order! Like these seven saints, let us love our Blessed Mother, and ask her to help us in EVERY need.

I feel like this should be a Newspaper Lead...

EXTRA EXTRA READ ALL ABOUT IT!
Marilee Haynes has done it again!

What has she done again?  I'll tell you. She took a young character, a girl named Annie and her friends, and she made them REAL! I'm 52, and as I was reading the book, I remembered how awkward I was in upper elementary. There was a time in 4th Grade that I held on to this boys arm walking up the bleachers... only he didn't say I could, and he said, "what are you doing!" Oh dear. I am sure I thought he put his arm in just that position because he was helping me up the steps (sigh).

Anyway... Ms. Haynes has a way of bringing these characters to life and making them relatable.  It is such a gift to read these books. As a parent and older mom, I can live vicariously AND it's a great reminder of what children go through. Additionally, I know that children can relate to at least one of the characters in the book.

Pictures of Me, by Marilee Haynes is such a great book.  It's a book about how to deal with mean girls. It's a book about how to handle being self-conscious. It's a book about rising to the challenge. It's a book about family. It's a book about friendship and fitting in. Mostly, it's a book about being yourself and believing in the YOU God created you to be.

Perhaps the most genius thing about the book is the Discussion Questions Section. RIGHT ON, Ms. Haynes. Encouraging young girls (who I believe is the intended audience of this book) to talk about bullies (and how to handle them), and friendship, family, keeping secrets, hard assignments and thoughts about ourselves and others. GENIUS indeed!

From the very first time I read one of her books, I simply could not wait for another. I'm hooked. You should be too.  My son and I will read this together. Not because it was written for boys, but because I'm interested to hear how he will react to the discussion questions.

I will add this:  I have friends of many Christian Faiths. Because I do, it's important to say that the setting of this book is in a Catholic school, but this could be "Every-school, U.S.A." TRULY! The life-situations covered in this book are not inherent to Catholics, but humans. 

If you have not already done so, check out the book reviews for her a.k.a. Genius series. Gabe and his friends are in Middle School, and people - these are funny and meaningful and great family books. (And that was a run-on of sorts).


I highly recommend this book. Thank you Pauline Books & Media for sending me such great books to review. I love building my library this way.

Hugs & Blessings ALL!
Em

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Small Success Thursday... Lenten Peace

Happy First Thursday in Lent.
HAPPY feast Day of Our Lady of Lourdes.

This has been a great week. At times, I had to will it to be great. But that really is "how life goes"! This year's Lenten theme in the Blogosphere is all about not giving up things that don't matter. To me, this is common sense. If it is not something that leads you spiritually or requires some effort/suffering - it does not count, IMHO.  Further, don't try to "keep up with the Jones'", so to speak. Do what means something to you. Like I said the other day, I can not do every devotion out there, and I'm not going to try. I have chosen what works for me and for my family.

I hope you are spending your days finding JOY! I am.  And with that...

Happy Small Success Thursday. Check out the posts at Catholicmom.com. As always Sherry Antonelli leads the way in helping us see that every little thing we do counts. It really does. Thank you God!


Monday, Marque left again, this time to Georgia. Tuesday, I woke up with a super dry mouth and sinus issues. You know - the glamour-of-it-all! By Ash Wednesday I had a cold sore on my lip - which happens once in a blue moon, and I thought to myself - way to start Lent off suffering a allergies and cold sore. Good times. My point - it made me chuckle.

Yesterday, we drove to Mass and there was no parking downtown. We love the Cathedral, but parking is an issue. So we drove around for half an hour and had to come home. The whole time, my child is lamenting people who only come on Easter and Christmas.... blah blah blah But at least they come, right?!

Late yesterday afternoon, I texted a friend about parking at the Cathedral and she said they would save us a spot for evening Mass. We got there at 5:45pm for a 7pm Mass. We sat in the car playing "Catholic Words" matching game on my phone. And at 6pm, got out of the car. We joined our friends in Mass, and the dad took the boys across the street to ride in a glass elevator. I got to hold a baby and chat for a moment. Then we prayed and Mass started. We got PERFECT crosses, from Father Ambrose, and we had a great evening.


And, can I be honest with you, the greatest success of yesterday was that my husband took time out of his crazy schedule to find a Catholic Church and go to Mass. God is smiling  ya'll. You just do not know. Sigh.


Oh - and maybe the BEST Success and Praise is not mine, but God's.  Our dear friend Vicky's 7-year old daughter, Katelyn, got Great news yesterday. The tumor islow grade cancerous juvenile pilocytic astrocytoma. You can learn more about it HERE. It is extremely rare that it would be upgraded to malignant. We could not be more thankful. So many people prayed and sent her cards from all over the world. It was awesome!

Ok, today we have school and then the Flight Deck (trampoline place). I am jumping today. So that will be funny. Not sure bout successful, but funny indeed. 

Oh, I want to leave you with this:



It's good right?!!! And a reminder to me... I was doing great with not swearing and a few words have creeped back up. As for unjust criticism, that's not me. Oh I've been guilty in the past... Don't worry - I know. LOL

One thing I know for sure is, drawing closer to the Lord and fixing yourself, brings PEACE. I pray you find it!

Hugs & Blessings to you all,
Em

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

The Gospel of Matthew - Chapter 6 (Lenten Message)

Dear Readers,

I do not have a book review for you today.
But I will say this, if you have not picked up the book Sacred Reading - The 2016 Guide to Prayer, you are missing out. I am really loving it - and wish there was a children's version - hint hint.  Anyway - you can have it in a couple days or in moments (Kindle).

The Gospel Reading for today is Matthew 6: 1-6, 16-18.  Below you will find the entire chapter, because I think it is all relevant to Lent, and full of "how you should do it" messages.

Thank you BibleGateway.com:

Matthew 6New Revised Standard Version Catholic Edition (NRSVCE)Concerning Almsgiving“Beware of practicing your piety before others in order to be seen by them; for then you have no reward from your Father in heaven.“So whenever you give alms, do not sound a trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, so that they may be praised by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward. But when you give alms, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your alms may be done in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you.[a]Concerning Prayer“And whenever you pray, do not be like the hypocrites; for they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, so that they may be seen by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward. But whenever you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you.[b]“When you are praying, do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do; for they think that they will be heard because of their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.“Pray then in this way:Our Father in heaven,    hallowed be your name.10     Your kingdom come.    Your will be done,        on earth as it is in heaven.11     Give us this day our daily bread.[c]12     And forgive us our debts,        as we also have forgiven our debtors.13     And do not bring us to the time of trial,[d]        but rescue us from the evil one.[e]14 For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you; 15 but if you do not forgive others, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.Concerning Fasting16 “And whenever you fast, do not look dismal, like the hypocrites, for they disfigure their faces so as to show others that they are fasting. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward. 17 But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face, 18 so that your fasting may be seen not by others but by your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you.[f]Concerning Treasures19 “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust[g] consume and where thieves break in and steal; 20 but store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust[h] consumes and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.The Sound Eye22 “The eye is the lamp of the body. So, if your eye is healthy, your whole body will be full of light; 23 but if your eye is unhealthy, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light in you is darkness, how great is the darkness!Serving Two Masters24 “No one can serve two masters; for a slave will either hate the one and love the other, or be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and wealth.[i]Do Not Worry25 “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink,[j] or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? 26 Look at the birds of the air; they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? 27 And can any of you by worrying add a single hour to your span of life?[k] 28 And why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they neither toil nor spin, 29 yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not clothed like one of these. 30 But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? 31 Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What will we eat?’ or ‘What will we drink?’ or ‘What will we wear?’ 32 For it is the Gentiles who strive for all these things; and indeed your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. 33 But strive first for the kingdom of God[l] and his[m] righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.34 “So do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring worries of its own. Today’s trouble is enough for today.
May you have a blessed day.
Hugs & blessings,
Emily

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Lent Starts Tomorrow... Are you Ready?

Happy FAT Tuesday!
From Catholic.org
Happy Feast day of Saint Jerome Emiliani! Pray for us.

Dear Readers,

Don't you hate it when people ask you if you are ready for something? I never know what to say... because I never know how I'm going to change from one season to the next.

Lent is upon us. It's a spectacular time on our Church Calendar. A time in which we draw nearer to our Lord, by acknowledging that we are sinful and that He died for our sins.  It is a time in which we are called to sacrifice (give things up/fast/abstain) and to reach out/do for others (Almsgiving).  Many of us, in fact, most of the Catholic Women/Men I know, are close to the Lord all year. But this time of year, we have to dig deep and explore our faults and gifts. Like I told my son, there is nothing we can sacrifice or do that could ever match what Our Lord did for us. And so - we do our best. Lent is a time of PENANCE!


Read about Catholic Requirements for Lent, here:

  1. USCCB Statement on Penance and Abstinence 
  2. Pope's Lenten Message

As I think bout fasting and Pope Francis' message about Lent, he really wants us to understand that what we give up has to MEAN something. It has to be HARD for us. It can not be superficial. For instance, in our home, we are meatless all year long on Fridays. And so - it is NOT a sacrifice for us to abstain on that day. We must find another form of penance, like a family Rosary or Divine Mercy Chaplet. Sure, we don't TECHNICALLY have to. But we feel it is best.

Another thing... there are plenty of devotional books to buy. There are plenty of groups you can join "to have a better Lent". But I would encourage you to get your Bible out and pick one devotion that you will do this Lent. In my experience if you try to do to many different ones in an effort to please others (or the unwillingness to chose, just in case you miss something), you will not give any of them enough attention). Does that make sense?  Penance is PERSONAL.

What are my goals, you ask... well, I've recently learned that if you tell others about what you are giving up it takes away from it in some way. We are to give things up and do things for others - JOYFULLY - and so, I will give you the general idea, but I won't be going into detail.
  • At home, we will be stepping up our family prayer time and doing more family activities (which I hope and pray carries over throughout the year).  
  • We will be giving up a couple things too - both individually and as a family. 
  • We are also doing some things for others - as a family and with a group.  
FAMILY @ LENT

Here are a couple of ideas for you in terms of Devotions:
Here are a few places to go for Family Lenten Ideas:
  1. Catholic Icing - So many great ideas to help children understand sacrifice and almsgiving.
  2. Joe Poprocki's Lenten Activities - Again, fantastic ideas.
  3. Real Life @ Home - 40 Lenten Activities for 40 days (she also has a 10 activity one).
  4. And of course, most of the bloggers on my "Catholic Sites I love" page will post all kinds of Lenten things. Yes - I do need to update it.
MEATLESS MEALS

I think I say the same thing every year. But truly - meatless meals are not hard (to me). Let's not make them hard.

Italian Food -  Lasagna: Substitute the meat for squash or eggplant. In fact, you can also substitute the pasta using squash or eggplant (just don't boil beforehand).  Spaghetti sauce can easily be meatless, so can baked ziti. Again - add squash and other veggies to give it substance if you want.
Alfredo sauce is fantastic over veggies and pasta. Pizza: Veggie Pizza, Cheese Pizza... there are endless combos that don't include meat.

Mexican Food - Cheese, bean or veggies are all you really need in burritos, enchiladas, quesadillas, etc.

Seafood - Shrimp Tacos. YUM! Fish - baked, broiled or fried. Lobster, crab legs, clam chowder,  scallops, smoked salmon - honestly the possibilities here are endless.

Classic American - 
  • Grilled cheese & tomato soup. EASY! 
  • Breakfast for dinner 
  • Baked fish (or fried if you like or fish sticks) and fries or salad.
  • Loaded baked potatoes. 
  • Chili with squash & beans instead of meat 
  • Tuna Sandwich
  • Egg Salad Sandwich
  • Salad
  • Tuna Pasta Salad is a great Saturday Lunch (make your tuna for sandwiches a little crunchier, and add your favorite pasta (maybe a little more mayo) and serve with fruit.
Beans -  Beans get their own category and are your new best friend during Lent. Beans & rice and salad are an easy thing to make. PLUS - there are so many different kinds. Great bean and veggie soup recipes all over the Internet. You can buy veggie stock. LOVE

I don't know if it is because we live in Texas and we have such great produce options all year round, but Meatless meals do not scare this girl. And I hope they do not scare you either. I will be posting various sites that I use probably Friday... maybe I'll do a 7QT post about it - you just never know.

As a tease... this is my new favorite Veggie Site. LOVE! Oh My Veggies!

I hope you have a great week. My book review may be postponed to next Wednesday (instead of tomorrow), but I will be back this week - blogging more.

I would love it if ANYONE would leave a comment or two. Sigh.
I do love talking to myself, but it's always nice to hear from others.

Oh, I almost forgot... My husband is out of town. Once he gets home, I will show you how we decorate for Lent.

Be blessed ya'll!
Hugs & love,
Em


Thursday, February 4, 2016

Small Success Thursday - Praying The Rosary

Happy Thursday AND Happy Feast Day of Saint Joseph of Leonissa.
Picture from Marygildersleeve.com

Dear Friends,

Today I am linking up with the Small Success Thursday ladies @ Catholicmom.com. I don't need to tell you how much I love this link-up. I love that moms get together and share their successes.... it could be brushing your teeth, some days... when  you have littles - THAT is a success, for sure. You know? Go check it out.



I will admit that I have experienced such a rollercoaster and dry spell for this past year or so. My goodness. I really got to the point that I felt, 'what on earth am I doing all this praying and good-personing for anyway?'

Well, in January, I started participating in Scripture Writing and doodling (Bible Journaling). And I started being diligent about being in the word, DAILY.

So I read the book, A Single Bead, it's a teen book, but it spoke to me in ways you can not imagine. And it hit me - my Rosaries are lonely.... I have been neglecting this powerful prayer tool. And, I am happy to say I have prayed it almost daily for the past week.


The above picture is in our classroom/office/craft room. Naturally, the Saints are amongst us too... but that beautiful Rosary hanger can be found on Etsy @ SaongJai. She has several and they would be easy to make for personal use. I am thinking of making one to hang my veils on, but I digress. I love the peace and comfort praying The Rosary brings.

This week, I've been checking things off my list.... make cookies for a nephew as we celebrate him starting his last semester of his Bachelor's Degree (don't you all send chocolate chip cookies for that?). Box to my friend's daughter who is in the hospital - Check! Tonight and tomorrow night, I will be working on a keepsake box for some friends who are having their daughter Baptized on Saturday. Such a blessings.

And my last success this week is that this post is done.
Now you go and check out the other mom's Small Successes. It goes without saying they are not small at all.

Hugs & Blessings,
EM

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Book Review Wednesday - A Single Bead

Happy Wednesday!

Happy Feast Day of Saint Blaise.
“Through the intercession of St. Blaise, bishop and martyr, may God deliver you from ailments of the throat and from every other evil. In the Name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit” (Blessing of St. Blaise). (from the Franciscan Media)

From Catholic.org

Last week, I started this post and was overcome by events. So, I wanted to ask for your prayer. Here was my original Post.

       Before I get to my book review, I was wondering if you could do me a huge favor and pray for our sweet friend Vicky's daughter Katelyn?! I know many of you will.  She is at Children's right now, undergoing surgery (that will last all day) to get a big tumor out of her spine. She is 7. We are praying for the tumor to be benign and we are believing in 100% healing.  Here she is with Christopher in Fall of 2014, and last week.  Because of the tumor, she can't lift/move her neck/head. But the surgeon is fixing that now. God bless her.



A week later, the update is that the surgery went well and now today, the Pathology Report will come back. Katelyn is improving daily, it sounds like kind of a roller-coaster. I mean she is seven. She's not at home. Her mom is there and many people keep her busy. But the surgery and hospital stay are affecting her - as they would anyone.  Please continue to keep them in your prayers.

As I was writing the review, it occurred to me that I'm asking for prayers for our Katelyn, and the lead character in the book below is Kate (short for Katelyn). God is talking to me (and to you)!

Now, here's my book review.

A Single Bead, by Stephanie Engleman, is indeed a very powerful book. Written with teen girls in mind, I feel it is appropriate for the whole family, age 6th grade and up.  The story is about losing hope and faith, and finding a way back to the Church through a series of miraculous events.


The death of a parent or grandparent is devastating, to say the least. Kate, the leading character in the book, finds herself the target of her mother’s anger and depression since a plane crash took her grandmother’s life a year earlier. While Kate is at the Memorial marking the First Anniversary of her grandmother’s death, she feels the need to walk away from her family and, in her own words, 
“I keep walking toward the trees, and it's almost like I'm being drawn by some kind of invisible force. Stooping down to push the flowers aside, I discover a small, silver bead, and my heart flutters. I have to hold it, touch it-feel the ridges of the letters imprinted on three sides, and run my nail along the cross on the fourth. Everything I am zones into that tiny, little bead. . . . It's just a little fragment of a piece of jewelry, right? But it's not. It's a bead from Grandma's rosary. And not just any bead. My bead.”
Through a series of miraculous events, Kate talks to and meets other people who find her grandmother’s beads. Through their stories, which are true miracles, not only Kate, but her father (a non-Catholic) are growing closer to God. One of my favorite devotions is praying the Rosary and I am thrilled that the power of the Rosary is woven into this story.  Kate realizes how blessed she is to have a faith-filled family, and turns to the Rosary to calm and focus herself on the tasks ahead.

I think what appealed to me most was the honesty in the story. My mother suffered from mental illnesses and much of what this character feels, I have felt. Honesty may seem like an odd word here, but it is so important to me that the book acknowledges that people fall away from the Church and that they come back.... that we question our faith, and get great answers from the history and Tradition of Catholicsm… that people with mental illness can get help, and so can the people their illness affects…. That prayer REALLY comforts, inspires, and heals. In short, PRAYER WORKS!

Additionally, I can not tell you what it meant to me when I came into the Catholic Church and acknowledged our Blessed Mother Mary as MY Mother. I did not feel the loss I had for decades, and it was freeing. This book touched my heart, and lifted me up. For that I am so grateful.


Bravo to Mrs. Engleman. She is clearly a fantastic story-teller and I can not wait to read more of her books.

As always, thank you Cathy @ Pauline Books & Media, for sending me this book so that I could write a review.  I can tell you all, I have not met a Pauline Book that I did not love. I'm so blessed.

I hope you enjoyed this review.
Hugs & Blessings,
Emily

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

New Recipe's I've Tried

Hi all,
Happy Tuesday!

Today in our Catholic Faith, we celebrate the Feast of the Presentation of the Lord, also called Candlemas!
“Christ himself says, ‘I am the light of the world.’ And we are the light, we ourselves, if we receive it from him.... But how do we receive it, how do we make it shine? ...[T]he candle tells us: by burning, and being consumed in the burning. A spark of fire, a ray of love, an inevitable immolation are celebrated over that pure, straight candle, as, pouring forth its gift of light, it exhausts itself in silent sacrifice” (Paul VI).
After 40 days, children were presented in the Temple, back in Jesus' day. Though He did not have to be presented, as He is God's child, in order for people to learn and relate more... God submitted His Son for Presentation. Likewise, Mary - ever Virgin, did not have to be cleansed, as was the custom; however, she submitted as well.

I hope and pray your day is going well. We are having a great day. We love this beautiful and sunny weather, but Christopher is allergic to Cedar and is suffering. During this time, we start school later. So he's up, done his work out, and is currently in the shower. Next up - school!

But first, we have had a lot of fun trying new recipes.
I confess that sometimes we end up tossing produce, especially when we aren't sure if we will like it. However, as January is the month of The Pantry Challenge @ Good Cheap Eats (thank you Jessica), we do not waste ANYTHING!  And so, I set out to find recipes for Butternut Squash and Spaghetti Squash... AND I even tried and liked a radish. Christopher too. GO US!

ButterNut Squash:

We made Roasted Butternut Squash soup. SO YUMMY! It was easy to make. I actually roasted the squash the night before and let it sit in the fridge in all the garlic and spiced up goodness. We did put a piece of bacon in the actual soup. This made enough for the three of us and a pint canning jar full (so one more serving).


Spaghetti Squash:

We had Chicken Parm Spaghetti Squash. It was so good and so easy to make. There are many meatless recipes out there too. Check out Pinterest and other places.


Baguette Bread:

Original Recipe HERE. I did not put ice in my oven. But you can if you want and let me know how that goes. LOL


The Try A New Recipe Post is not live yet LIVE!  So I am going to link up. Check out the other bloggers here at Try A New Recipe Tuesday So I am unsure if I will be linking up anywhere. I hope to.
I actually got the blog post done. YIP to the EEE!

Have a great day all.
BE THE LIGHT!
Always choose JOY!

Blessings,
Em