Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Book Review Wednesday - Beautiful Leather Prayer Books.

Happy Book Review Wednesday!

Happy Feast Day of Saint Nicholas Owen!  "Nicholas was a clever builder and architect who used his skills to protect endangered priests. Without his help, hundreds of English Catholics would have been deprived of the sacraments. His gift for spotting unlikely places to hide priests was impressive, but more impressive was his habit of seeking support for his work in prayer and the Eucharist. If we follow his example, we may also discover surprising ways to put our skills to God’s service."

I love the Saints. But today, I want to talk to you about two beautiful Prayer Books I received from Pauline Books & Media to review. How lucky am I? These are not your typical storybooks. These are books meant to draw you closer to one or more beautiful devotions of the Catholic Church.

These two books are also so soft and easy to carry with you. 

The Holy Spirit Prayer Book, by Mary Mark Wickenhiser, FSP - is chock full of information and prayer. From EveryDay Prayers to the Holy Spirit Rosary - it really has everything you need at your fingertips. There is a chapter on Praying with the Holy Spirit, in Scripture. This book, I carry in my purse, because you just never know when you need His Intervention. I am older, and a convert and I really feel that this is a go-to source for me. From the Introduction to the Latin Prayers (which I need help saying and translating), it's beautifully written and so well thought out.  As a convert, I am still learning so much and my tongue gets tied! 

Here is the write up on they Pauline Books & Media Site (because I know I am not doing this little book justice in my words:

Deepen your devotion to the Holy Spirit through these beloved prayers honoring the third Person of the Holy Trinity, written and compiled by Sr. Mary Mark Wickenhiser, FSP, and including a small guide to lectio divina, praying with the Holy Spirit in Scripture. 
This beautiful treasury includes daily prayers, a novena for Pentecost, the litany of the Holy Spirit, the chaplet of the Holy Spirit, prayer for various occasions, Latin prayers and hymns, and suggested resources. Readers will discover the outpouring of spiritual gifts that the Holy Spirit wants to share with each one of them.
This is the perfect book for anyone looking to deepen their prayer life with traditional words handed down through generations of Catholics. 
Features & Benefits: 
  • Provides a handy comprehensive collection of prayers pertaining to a specific devotion
  • Makes a beautiful Confirmation present or gift for a couple getting married
  • Offers explanatory material on the devotions 
  • Provides a refreshed translation of the prayers 
  • One of very few prayer books pertaining specifically to the Holy Spirit
  • Beautiful elegant leatherette binding with gold edging on the pages
  • Section on everyday prayers: morning offering; acts of faith, hope, and love; the Angelus; the Regina Coeli; act of contrition; prayer of praise and thanksgiving; and more
  • Novena in preparation for the Feast of Pentecost
  • Praying with the Holy Spirit in Scripture
  • Suggested readings and further information

The second book is The Sacred Heart of Jesus Prayer Book, by Marianne Lorraine Trouve, FSP.  Again, starting with the Introduction and the explanations about the Devotions to the Sacred Heart of Jesus (and the Immaculate Heart of Mary), this is a very special book of prayer and devotion. The weekly devotions, the Novenas, the Prayers of the Saints - all so very beautiful. I have not spent as much time with this book as I am currently with the first one, but I know it is in my library and ready to help me, when I pick it back up. I love the thought of consecration to Mary and Jesus, through their Sacred Hearts. It's so beautiful.

Again, I will post the write up about this book from the Pauline Books & Media Site: 

Devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus is an ancient practice honoring Christ as the Merciful One who is Love. More than just a way of prayer, this devotion is based on the essence of the Gospel: to take on the heart of Jesus so as to live in his love and bring it to others. No matter what stage of spiritual growth you are experiencing, this book can help you grow more deeply in love with Jesus and experience the love of his Sacred Heart in your life.
The Sacred Heart of Jesus Prayer Book covers all aspects of this devotion, including its connection with the Holy Eucharist, Divine Mercy, the Precious Blood of Jesus, and the Immaculate Heart of Mary. Catholics of all ages will treasure this prayer book and find that it brings them closer to the Sacred Heart.
This unique devotion is all about love, growing more deeply in love and extending that love to others; these prayers will make all that-and more-possible in your life.
Written and compiled by Sr. Marianne Lorraine Trouvé, FSP, this soft leatherette edition will be a welcome companion to believers who seek the joy that comes from a deeper relationship with our Lord.
Features & Benefits: 
  • History of devotion to the Sacred Heart
  • Includes everyday prayers: morning offering; acts of faith, hope, and love; the Angelus; the Regina Coeli; act of contrition; prayer of praise and thanksgiving; and more
  • Prayers to the Sacred Heart of Jesus; novena to the Sacred Heart; weekly devotion to the Sacred Heart; chaplet to the Sacred Heart
  • Prayers to the Sacred Heart by some of our most beloved saints
  • First Friday devotion
  • Suggested readings and further information
These two books would make beautiful gifts for any Catholic from Confirmation to a "just because". I would buy one for yourselves too, because they are the kind of books you will pick up and use. I keep these types of books throughout my home because sometimes the Lord guides me to read a prayer when I am anxious or to share with a friend. I can't carry every book in my purse, because I have too many favorites... but I know these two books will be loved and used in my home.

I highly recommend them both.



Tuesday, March 21, 2017

CWBN Blog Hop - Confessions of an Over-Analyzing Mama...

Happy Tuesday All!

Happy Feast Day of Blessed John of Parma.

Today, I am joining up with Allison Gingras and crew for the CWBN Blog Hop. It's a monthly blog post geared toward a pointed topic. And It's awesome. This month's topic is My True Feelings About Confession. It's a loaded post ya'll! Please go to Allison's Blog and check out the other bloggers. There is so much talent. AND - if you like their posts, please let them know. Everyone likes to hear a compliment now and then. Likewise, if you have a question, please ask! ENJOY!

I planned on interviewing friends for this post and got some great responses about Confession, but it was not meant to be. The Holy Spirit said, "Google Scott Hahn on Confession". What I found has changed me (links later in the post). Here's the background of me and confession:

As a convert, it's always been hard for me.  In fact, I named my post, Confessions of an Over-Analyzing Mama, because I freak myself out so much before I get to confession, that it always seems like I didn't confess enough because I honesty am so nervous I can not remember what I say.  Sigh. It's scary to me and I know how undeserving I am.

How could something that is supposed to be as calming as this:

Really feel more like this:

As we are getting through Lent and my shortcomings are even more obvious, I can whole-heartedly say that Confession and I need to form a better relationship.

I am such an imperfect mom, wife, friend, sister, person...
  • I swear (not all the time, but when I do... oh ya'll).
  • I sometimes judge others and am impatient with them.
  • And I am so impatient with my child - who is just like me. But if he could do everything perfectly... Sigh (it's not that bad, but some days... MAYBE!).
  • I don't always do what I say I'm going to. I want to... it just doesn't happen.
  • I am way too self-conscious (as in egotistical, you know, everyone must notice how unclean my home is or how fat I am or how... WHATEVER... I drive myself crazy with thoughts of not being good enough....  NOT every day. But a lot of days.
  • I have dreams of being married to a man who picks up after himself - in total. Who never complains about being too tired after work. Who doesn't snore louder than three Harley Motorcycles. Who's in super good shape and who never struggles with money... 
  • Because I have been through so much in life, I tend not to trust easily...
  • I'll stop there, because my sins are way more involved than that. Sigh.
OK, I'm totally making myself sound bad, but I'm going out on a limb here. Please know, the flip side of the above is a loyal, loving, Catholic mom, wife, sister, friend, person... who would give anyone the shirt off her back.... and has done.  I'm just trying to be honest so another person like me will know they are not alone and that there is hope.

Let me tell you what happened the last time I went to confession...

The poor young Priest, Father Mike, here in Fort Worth. I walk in, kneel, say the Act of Contrition... and then I say, "I'm really not even sure where to start or what to say".... and I began to literally stutter. And I got so embarrassed, that I know my confession was not good enough. YOU know? He was very nice. And I did my penance. But I have to be honest, several things were crossing my mind:
  • How could this man possibly understand?
  • There is a HUGE line, I need to make this short, when really I could take, conservatively, well over an hour! Sigh. 
  • I am an idiot, stuttering through this. I wonder if I will make his worst confession list. (Yes, I know they don't make lists... I'm clearly irrational at this moment).
When my husband and I went through RCIA, Confession was not explained well. It just wasn't. I have read about confession, but now that I have listened to Dr. Scott Hahn's YouTube talks, The Healing Power of Confession, Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3I feel armed with the confidence I need to make a good confession and actually FEEL THE PEACE!  Please listen to these if you haven't. God really works through this awesome man as he shares his experiences on the subject.

The first thing Dr. Hahn says about confession is "The more you need it, the less you want it". So I know that my resisting this is a sin of pride/ego and I need to go more often.  I know this.
Logically, I know that examining my conscience helps me know myself better. It helps me uncover the things I need to work on (with God's help). I know that the benefits are overcoming sins/bad habits; bringing peace that only absolution can bring; helping us to behave more like Jesus and the Saints; and through the examination and confession - we become stronger people, more determined to  break our bad habits. Sigh. 

I want the peace that comes from confession and absolution. But ya'll... I'm not at peace when I leave.  I turn into the over analyzing person I am, and all I can think is - What did I forget? Did I say enough? I'm seriously THAT nervous. And I don't know why. Well, other than the evil one... he just does not want me to get it right. So I have decided I am going to Arm myself, like Dr. Hahn did, and get my relationship with this Sacrament sorted out.  Here are a few tools.

Prayer to the Holy Spirit for Confession:

Examination of Conscience:
This is the one I really love. There are others out there.

Act of Contrition:

One last thing... Dr. Hahn (in the 2nd YouTube video) tells a story about a beggar he meets in Italy, who used to be a Priest. You have to listen to what happens when this beggar (former Priest) ends up in a dinner with Pope John Paul II.  The Pope asked the beggar to walk outside with him, and he asked the beggar to hear his confession. And when this former Priests said, "I'm just a beggar, I'm not a Priest anymore, etc..." Pope John Paul II said, "So am I".  He reinstated the Priest and gave him an assignment... It's a beautiful and humbling story. 

Who am I not to confess my sins, if such a Holy Man confesses his sins. I love these Videos. They have given me confidence and changed my heart. And I will post about it when I get it right so that you will know YOU can do it too (if you aren't). 

Listen to all three parts, they are about 30 minutes each! 

I hope this post has helped or touched you. I can tell you that it made me very emotional. I would love to hear your comments too!

Love, Hugs & Blessings,



Friday, March 10, 2017

Repurposed Em - Lent, Suffering and Sickness...

RepurposedEm #7

Happy Friday All!

Today is the 2nd Friday in Lent. My child has been sick with the flu/upper respiratory for almost two weeks (it will be two weeks on Sunday). We have suffered together - him with his aches and pains, me with my lack of ability to eat what I want... and we offer it all up to the Lord.

You see, in Lent - we are called to suffer joyfully and we have really been trying. And yes... failing here and there. But God lead us here and we will get through it all.

Before I go on, beware of the flu this year, it's treacherous. And I thank God that we have not gotten it. The boy was on Tamiflu, Steroids and antibiotics.  The good news was, he was eating bland foods as well so it worked out for both of us. HA!

For those of you who are new here, I was writing a weekly post about WL Surgery. Now, I'm at a point where it's not that exciting... not much to report, so I believe I'll go to Monthly.  It is hard to believe that I am in my 5th week after Surgery. So much has changed since I've come home from the hospital.  I put this surgery off for YEARS! God had a hand in it, and it's GREAT!

I am finally in the stages of eating where I can actually eat real food (not pureed) - though I admit, I am sticking to the bland. For me, this just seems to work better.

I can not wait to start cooking all the recipes I have found on My Bariatric Kitchen. I also have a great cookbook that I plan to use. I can't wait to start cooking things I can eat to, for my family.

Let's talk about Questions People Ask...
  • Do you cook for your family?  Yes. I am the housewife and chief chef at Chez Davis!  My son and husband are capable of cooking, but I am back up to doing about 80% of the cooking, and I so enjoy it.  
  • Is it true that you don't like the same things?  Not so much for me. But I will be honest, I tried a ricotta bake because it sounded good, but it made me sick to my stomach, and I determined it was too rich. 
  • What is the hardest thing? EATING SLOWLY! Without doubt, this is the hardest for me.  I have had a few "episodes" because I was not paying attention and ate too quickly. THIS is no fun. I'll spare you the details.
  • Do you have Fears? I am not great about working out. And I need to ramp that up. But my biggest fear is hair loss. Many people who have bariatric surgery lose hair, some lose large amounts. I am having problems stomaching the vitamins and I just really don't want to lose my hair.  It's vain, I know. But it's a fear.  I fear not being able to tone my skin and needing surgery down the road. I know that God is with me and in charge and I promise I'm not sitting around freaking out... but it's a fear. I don't have any serious long-term fears because I know that God will lead me. About the hair, I know God will help with that too. It's irrational, I know.
I plan to lose only 2 lbs or so/week. I feel that is the healthiest way to go. I feel it also gives me a chance to tone things. And this makes me feel good.  I have seen pictures of skin-removal surgeries.... OUCHIE! I mean - I do anticipate perhaps a tummy tuck and a breast lift. But I'd like to keep it at that. I mean - I'm 53... and I don't think a lot of surgery is great at any age... you know?

Did I tell you we are turning our dining/front living room into a gym. I will post pics once it's done. We are also hoping to sell,  but I can't live here like I don't live here... you know? I hope people will still buy!

Back to what you need to know...

Let's talk about the psychology of it all... 

My advice, if you have a food addiction, deal with that before you have surgery, otherwise you will sabotage yourself. Talk to a counselor about how to control yourself. Don't get surgery and work to figure out how you can cheat on the new way of life you are supposed to be living. It's so counter productive. And it's hard to watch! Sigh. If you need help or accountability, seek it out.

I have learned in various Bariatric Groups that it is unhealthy for me to be in some groups. Why? Because I've noticed that some people go through all that surgery entails, and still push the limits of what they should eat.  I think I just don't understand where everyone else is coming from. For instance, I was never a food addict. My weight gain and inability to lose was due to problems with my health. I had been changing the way we eat for years. My mouth was hanging wide open the first time someone asked what they could have at a fast food restaurant.  Or if they can have a soda... Think about it... why would you eat fast food if you are trying to lose weight? Now listen before you get angry - I get that sometimes in our travels, we may have to choose a healthy option at a Chick-Fil-A, Panera, a diner or some other kind of restaurant. I totally get that. It's good to know how to read menus, etc. But it's strange that right after surgery this would be your question. Mine were, "how can I keep these vitamins down?" or things related to recovery.

Part of the process of my surgery was making sure I could psychologically handle all that was coming. Making sure I understood what I couldn't have and the kinds of changes I had to make. I will admit, I did not understand it as well then as I do now - walking through it.  But - I am also a rule follower.

The reality is that it is a little depressing that you can't eat what you want; that you can't eat what your family is eating. It's a bummer when you react to a food and gag.  But it is temporary.  And you will find your groove - or so I am told! I am holding on tight to that. AND there are so many good things to eat.

Let's talk about change in taste buds...

And Smells... and many other things, HA!

Yes - it's true. The yogurt I have always loved now tastes too sweet.  Sigh. I find that, for now, I have to stick with a more bland sort of diet because it's just easier for me. I eat a lot of cottage cheese, oatmeal, low-sodium soups, pork, chicken, refried beans, bananas, pears, shredded cheese, fish - you get the point. I'm going to start branching out though. I need to. Gotta get in the good nutrients.

Plus things smell strange. Or I gag when I try to eat them. If it is too fatty or spicy smelling - GAG. My poor husband! And ya'll, if your new tummy does not like what you put in her/him... you will know. HA

Let's talk about changes in body and how you see yourself...  I have not weighed this little in four or five years.  But I can't yet see what others see. Yes, my face is thinner and I am thinner... but I don't want to get in my head and be happy with where I am. I'm concerned it will make me complacent. And that is no bueno!

Let's talk about dressing appropriately... 

Losing weight is freeing,  and it feels good... but I intend to be the same modest person I am now, once I get to my goal. I tell you - it's everyone's right to dress as they will. But if I may --- Please reserve your private parts for your husband. I can not tell you how many pictures I've seen of weight loss results and the cleavage is downright scandalous. Girls - we don't need to see your breasts. We can tell you lost weight. And that is private.

My husband and I have talked out our guidelines for me and what will be my new body. But if you don't have a husband or significant other, I'd like to encourage you to have respect for yourself and stay modest in your dressing.  When we are heavy, we like to cover ourselves. It becomes about wearing clothing that fits or covers the rolls, etc. When you lose weight, the temptation is to show too much skin. I totally get it.

I guess what I am trying to say is celebrate being smaller and wearing smaller sizes! Don't celebrate by showing things no one else but your significant other needs to see.

Let's talk about getting a Nutrition Coach and Cultivate a Support Group.... Ya'll this is essential. The group at My Bariatric Kitchen and in the classes I took, are essential to me. The coach is my go-to. She would push me back towards my docs if she didn't feel comfy answering, BUT she
is cultivating and atmosphere of support and it's essential to my success. I believe that.  There are so many people who have surgery and don't have a surgeon who gives them nutritional guidelines and help. There are people who don't have supportive families or good self-esteem. We all need people who build us up; are honest with us; and care about our success. God made us this way.

This new walk I am on is NOT easy.  If not for God leading me in the right directions, I would never be successful. In five pounds, I will be under 200. I can not wait. I know - 200 and someone 5'1" is still big. I get it. But I've almost lost 50 lbs, so I'm going to concentrate on that.

Here I am this morning...

As you can see, I have a lot of work to do still. But I am happy with me! And that is something you can not put a price on. Sure, people thought I was happy before, but if I am being honest, I missed friends weddings, my class reunions and many other things because I was so embarrassed. It sounds silly - but I keep things real.

Can I just say that being Catholic works out with this surgery really well?! It does. I can't eat much meat in general, and certainly find it easier to give it up on Fridays. I just thought I'd share that. <3

OK - I am totally babbling. I hope my posts help you in some way. If you have questions - please ask.

Love, Hugs and Blessings,