Wednesday, May 17, 2017

CWBN Blog Hop - Far From Holy - But I Am On The Path...

Hiya Readers!

I pray your day is going well today. This May in Fort Worth has been ODD, weather wise. It was cooler than normal - THANK YOU GOD! But this week, it's hot (near 90) and rainy.  Mother's Day Weekend we had topsoil delivered because our ground is so hard and rocky here, and when we bought the house 11 years ago, we had no neighbors and lost a lot of our soil via deluges of rain. We re-seeded the lawn and when I woke up this morning it was a muddy mess. I'm sure our neighbors are so impressed. HA


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I am joining up with Allison Gingras and some fellow Catholic Women Bloggers for a monthly blog hop about one topic - and everyone gives you their opinions on that topic. This Month's Topic is: Holiness in Our Daily Lives, Different Ways to Pray. I've enjoyed being involved with these ladies. Lately it's the only day I blog. I mean - my poor neglected blog. Anyway - head on over to Allison's Blog and check out how these fellow Catholic Bloggers make time/find time to pray and are holy in their daily lives.


You know the time you had a whole post written and you did a little Bible Studying with a group and by yourself and felt compelled to re-write the post? SERIOUSLY!

It makes me laugh to think that my sarcastic brain (total defense mechanism) can settle down enough to be Holy. Y'all, I don't feel holy at all most days.  But I am reminded daily, and some days even hourly/moment by moment.. that God just wants me to do my best. When I fall, I get back up and try again... I have such great intentions. Sigh.

In our home, every room has God in it... represented by Artwork, Crucifixes, Books, Rosaries, Holy Water Fonts, etc.  We don't have them to show off to anyone how Catholic we are - OR - to make anyone uncomfortable. For me, they are reminders to think, to read, to pray. Here are a few pictures of the things we have around our home. Please excuse the mess in some places.

Living Area Altar.
Nook at Front Door
Coat Closet/Tornado Room.
Living Area.
Front room mantle
Living Area
Sink Altar Area (Above is a sign that says JOY and it lights up).
War Wall (I don't have a whole room)
My headboard.
Prayer book and Altar in my bedroom.
Wall behind my desk.
View over my computer.
To the right of me currently.
Those items (and more) are scattered throughout our home and so intertwined in what we see daily that we don't always notice them. Sigh. My point is, and I do have one, that if you have lots of things it's NOT enough. Do you know what rote prayers are? Do you know what ROTE means? It just means the ones we all know... the ones we memorized long ago that we say without thinking about the meaning. We know when to say them and we do.  Some of the items in my home became ROTE and I needed to revisit their meaning in my faith. I needed something more.

But there are days where I don't notice them in my rush to get things done. As a busy, stay home, homeschooling mom, with an active child (Karate, Guitar, baseball & football and piano starting in the Fall), life is busy.  Plus, I am an older mom (54 this year, thank you very much)... and I'm finally handling health issues that should have been handled long ago. Plus I volunteer...

I tell you these things because I KNOW. I know what you are up against, and I only have one child (on the spectrum) at home. You mamas with more children - my heart goes out to you. I'm jealous of you in many sincere ways... but your time crunch makes mine look mundane. I get it.

I mean... where do you find time for you to become holy, much less time for Bible study and prayer?

... when you can't go to the bathroom (or anything else) without interruption? Honestly when your child is young, you can't even sit through Mass uninterrupted. Right?
... when everything in life seems chaotic?
...when you have to much to do, you can't concentrate?
... when your spouse is always gone?
... when your family lives far away?
...insert your thoughts here...
In 2005, Transitioning to being a Housewife was hard on me. I was lonely, I missed my paycheck, and I was an angry and conflicted career woman, who had NO idea how to take care of a child and stay at home - successfully. There was not a lot of prayer during this time.... well, not meaningful. In fact, if I'm being honest... my life up until about ten years ago was so chaotic, that although I believed in God, and I prayed, the way I lived my life did not reflect a Christian, much less a woman striving to be holy. It's seriously an embarrassment... which I try to use for good.

As I came back to the Catholic Church, my prayer life picked up. I was really good at memorizing prayers. I prayed a lot... but they weren't DEEP prayers. You know? Meaningful, but not getting to my CORE the way they should.

In 2012 or 2013, I read Holiness for Housewives and Other Working Women. The premise of the book is to meet God where you are. So I set up al Altar above my sink and learned that maybe I couldn't get the whole Rosary in at one sitting, but I could do decades throughout the day.... even while I wash the dishes. Right? Since then I have read many books, and these days, I pray these ways and many more:
  • Going to Mass
    • Confession and Adoration - need to do more of. 
  • by starting a Catholic Bible Journaling group on Facebook.
  • by finding "My Tribe". Find your Tribe. Online, at your parish - wherever. Just find people who you know will pray for you when you don't even have the energy to pray... because you don't know where to start and are convinced, in your humanity, that Our Lord, Mary and all the Saints have long stopped listening to your silly prayer (ok, maybe that is just me). These people STEP UP!
  • by helping others.
  • by Praying the Rosary (Rosary Audio) while I put on my make up.
  • by Reading any number of books about prayer or about Saints, God, Catholic History... anything.
  • by surrounding myself with Faith and Faithful people. 
Life is about seasons. And Mama's I don't want you beating yourselves up if your dream prayer life doesn't seem present. God knows where you are. I don't do all of the above daily. I try to, but some days...

I leave you with this thought, from the Magnificat Readings today, May 17th.

New American Bible (Catholic Women's Bible) John 7:  37-On the last day of the greatest day of the feast, Jesus stood up and exclaimed, "Let Anyone who thirsts, come to me and drink." 38- Whoever believes in me as Scripture says; "Rivers of living water will flow from within him."

Here is what the author said, "branches severed, branches hanging tenuously from Christ the vine, wither. Branches firmly grafted into Christ the vine continue to be refreshed and renewed by the water of life, the Spirit of God, for whom all human beings thirst, knowingly or unknowingly."

The Gospel Reading is from John 15: 1-8:

Jesus said to his disciples: "I am the true vine, and my Father is the vine grower. He takes away every branch in me that does not bear fruit, and everyone that does, he prunes so that it bears more fruit. You are already pruned because of the word that I spoke to you. Remain in me, as I remain in you. Just as a branch cannot bear fruit on it's own unless it remains on the fine, so nighter can you unless you remain in me. I am the vine, you are the branches. Whoever remains in me and I in him will bear much fruit, because without me you can do nothing. Anyone who does not remain in me will be thrown out like a branch and wither; people will gather them and throw them into a fire and they will be burned. If you remain in me and my words remain n you, ask for whatever you want and it will be done for  you. By this is my Father glorified, that you bear much fruit and become my disciples." The Gospel of the Lord.

So that sounds daunting... but bear with me. The Meditation of the Day came to the rescue for me... I am going to share a picture in it's entirety so you can read it.


The paragraph that stands out is this:
It is not doing perfectly this or that particular work or exercising a particular profession that grafts us into union with the Church it is being so driven by Christ, wherever we are, that this small action of ours in the world is truly HIS!
I say to you... do what you can when you can. GOD knows... the rest of us and what we do... it's interesting, but don't get caught up in it. I won't judge you no matter what, none of us will... because WE GET IT!

Ladies, I do not claim to be holy, but I am on the path that I know will lead me there. Won't you join me. Tell me how you pray and what you do to make your lives holier.

You bless me so much.
Hugs to you,
Em

Thursday, April 13, 2017

It's Holy Thursday.....

... what are you doing?

I was thinking of the over-planned and disastrous Lent we have had here in the Davis household.
  • Christopher was sick for the first several weeks (flu/upper respiratory/strep).
  • Naturally he shared part of it with me and I was down for a week.
  • Marque has been out of town for probably 50% of it.
  • I have not kept up with the readings -- you know how you get behind and you never can catch up? Yeah, THAT!
  • Dealing with my father's will.
  • Trying to get all my calories and vitamins in.
I tell you - it's been a challenge.  I was so over the many things that went wrong this Lent, that the other day, I was in my office, screaming and crying. Scared my child. Sigh. I had to let it out... and I was wiped out and humbled after I was done. Of course - it sounds way more dramatic than it was, it didn't last long. No one has time for a big pity party... but a good cry - it's necessary sometimes.

Anyway - it got me thinking.  I really set myself up to fail sometimes. And I have to stop that. I over-volunteer, I have always been a "do-too-mucher". I'm still healing from major surgery, and learning how to manage all that it entailed. I need to be kinder to me. 

But that's not my point - the realization that NOTHING I have or ever will go through is as big as what Jesus did for us. I have many crosses to bear and He helps me carry them. Thank you Lord.

As we walk into the Triduum - Holy (Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, and the Easter Vigil Mass - the Washing of the Feet, the Veneration of the Cross and the Celebration that Jesus has Risen! None of the other stuff matters.... I can't let my beat up self NOT fully appreciate this weekend, because it's not what Jesus wants. He wants me there and present... not worrying about this or that. He wants me to take part in His Triumph over evil and darkness. And I want the Light... His Light! <3


The Triduum is a continuous event that lasts three days. Here is my simple explanation. I am not a Theologian, but I will also share some links to further feed your thirst for knowledge.

Holy Thursday - Celebrating the Lord's Supper. What always stands out to me is the washing of the Feet. When the Pope himself washes the feet of people in detention centers and poor people, he is symbolizing the small gestures that change people's lives and hearts. Jesus, OUR LORD, washed the feet of His disciples to humble himself and help all of us understand that our relationship is a meant to be a two-way street. Because the tables they sat at in Biblical times were low, feet had to be washed before dinner, because they were filthy from walking on dirt roads. Usually a lowly servant would do the job, but since there were none present, Jesus took on the job. It's just so moving to me, that our Lord showed us that He came to serve, not to be served. You know? It's a big deal! If Jesus, and the Pope are willing to do such tasks for others, we must humble ourselves to do that and more.

Good Friday - Jesus's Suffering/Passion & Death.  I always get overwhelmed when we venerate the cross. We will miss this, because my husband has the 2nd part of his Nuclear Stress Test right in the middle of Good Friday Mass. But Jesus knows my heart and I will be with Him in spirit.  We all know that Jesus came to reconcile the world with God. All of the suffering Jesus endures, the torture, the humility, carrying the heavy cross (our sins), it's almost too much for me, because I know my sins caused His pain. And the fact that He willingly died for all of our sins... endured all that pain for all of our sins - it's too much! He worked so hard for us. We must take responsibility and continually ask for forgiveness through Reconciliation (confession) and do our very best to make His continual/eternal burden lighter.

Holy Saturday is a quiet day of reflection... lamenting our Lord's death, spending time alone with our thoughts, and waiting for Him to rise again. Can you imagine what it would have been like that first Easter? Having witnessed all of the events we only read/hear about... having lost a dear friend and Lord that you knew - in the physical person that He was?  I can not imagine the pain they endured and questioning they did...  and the elation when He rose!

Easter Vigil (Saturday night or Sunday).YAY! We made it. We celebrate Our Lord's Resurrection and are reminded that we must be joyful. We are EASTER PEOPLE! We know Our Lord is always alive. We are so blessed. This is a time of welcoming converts and reverts and rejoicing with them as they join our Faith. It's a time of celebration.  We are so thankful.

Here are a few links that may give you more "meat":


If you want something child friendly to print out, check out the link HERE!

https://carfleo.com/2016/03/19/an-illustrated-guide-to-the-triduum/
I want to wish you all a very blessed Triduum and a Happy Happy Easter. I'm so thankful that you read my blog and am blessed by your comments.

Know that no matter what you have or have not done, Our Lord wants you there and present this weekend and every day. <3 I am but a lowly housewife... and if He wants me, he wants you too. Guaranteed!

Love, Hugs & Blessings,

Emily

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Book Review Wednesday - Simone of Cyrene and the Legend of the Easter Egg

Happy Book Review Wednesday!

Happy Feast Day of St. Teresa of the Andes. I love this picture of her. Read her story because she is inspiring!
Growing up in Chile, she always loved St. Therese of Lisieux and she took the name St. Teresa in her honor, when she became a nun at 19 years old.  HERE is her story!

The thing that strikes me the most is, it's lovely for young people to know that you don't have to have lived a long time or be old in order to be Saintly. We need our young people to know this.

Amen!

I hope your HOLY WEEK is going well. Now onto the book review.

One of the most beautiful things about being a writer is that you can take any given person, historical or fictional, and you can give them whatever personality or life that you want them to have.

Growing up, we all knew Simon of Cyrene as the man who helped carry Jesus' cross to Calvary. In the stories I've read or heard through The Gospels, it never sounded like it was something he wanted to do... like he was just a random person chosen by the guards. I had never heard that he was an egg merchant. And to be honest, I never even contemplated what he must have been thinking. Did he know that the man who's cross he carried was Jesus, his Lord and Savior? What did he think afterwards?  You have to wonder what was going through his mind.

The book is called Simon of Cyrene and the Legend of the Easter Egg, by Terri DeGezelle. Before I go into the review, I want to draw your attention to the Illustrator, Gabhor Utomo. He really brings the Simon to life, for me. If you want to see more of his illustrations, click on his name, above. I've provided the link to his website.

Like many Jewish people of the time period, Simon had heard of Jesus. So when he left his home in the countryside to go into the city to sell his eggs, I'm sure he never thought he would play a pivotal roll in the Passion of Our Lord. The soldiers selected Simon, at random, to carry Jesus' cross. I love the way that Ms. DeGezelle colorfully and in detail expresses how hard this was for Simon "the road to Calvary was long, and splinters from the wooden beam dug painfully into Simon's shoulder." This is such a great relatable phrase for children. Simon stayed on and interacted with John and Mary (our Blessed Mother), and listened to the stories the apostles told. He was there to witness that Jesus had intact risen from the dead.

The moment Simon met Jesus, his life changed. As he left, he picked up his eggs and returned home to his family, to tell them all about Jesus, and discovered his eggs were no longer white. He knew it was a gift from Jesus.  The last page of the story tells the meaning of the colors of the eggs. I love that part. It gives a parent the tools to speak about Jesus as we color our eggs.

I could not be more excited that this lovely book moves us away from The Easter Bunny and gives us such great tools for enjoying Easter in the right way, in our little Domestic Churches. Thank you Ms. DeGezelle for such an imaginative and relevant book to share with my son!

Pauline Books and Media provided me a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. By now you all know that I always seem to love their books. All must-haves for every Catholic home!

I hope you enjoyed this review.

Hugs & Blessings,
Emily

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.

Blessings,

Emily

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,

Emily


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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,


Monday, February 27, 2017

Dear Catholic Moms... Let Love Be Your Guide This Lent...



Hi Ladies,

Whether you have one child or many... you are a hard-working servant of God all year long... Every day, all day! Whether you work outside the house and come home to your babies/husband or you are a work inside the house mama.... you are everything God wants you to be - right now, in this season.

I have been thinking about all the posts of late with ALL the wonderful things we are all doing for Lent, and I thought - there is a mom out there struggling with trying to brush her teeth, because she has babies and is constantly interrupted.... the last thing she wants to do is feel bad about herself for not meeting a pretend standard. That's what it is, you know?  I love reading all the posts, but I would not even try to do everything I like. There has to be a balance, or nothing will get done.

And I want to say to those mamas especially - always do what you can. God knows! We love to blog about our traditions but none of us expects you to do them all. And it's ok!  It just needed to be said.

I hope you know we mamas have all been there and recognize there are different seasons. So please make sure you are taking care of you while you take care of your littles.  I have so many moms who's current season is raising 4 or more littles ... and I'm speaking especially to those moms who just need to know how valuable they are. You know?

I wanted to share with you something I wrote two years ago... just to remind you that Lent doesn't have to be complicated.

"I have been struggling with all the Lent Posts... Do this activity. Give this up. This one and that one till my head spins. And all along, I'm thinking - Dear God, I just need rest. I need to be WITH YOU! Then I read this post from Father Aidan Keiran ~ The Little Way of Fasting. God bless him. It's just what I needed. To be clear, whatever your heart tells you to do, whatever YOU want to do with your children to help them understand the message and season of Lent, please do it. But in our house, we just need simplicity and the peace it brings. Here is a quote from his post:
St Therese of Lisieux teaches us that the “Little things done out of love are those that charm the Heart of Christ… On the contrary, the most brilliant deeds, when done without love, are but nothingness.” These words made me realise that the way I had been approaching the Lenten fast in the past was wrong. Lent is not a test of endurance. It is not even a test of discipline (even though we gain discipline as a by-product). Lent is a little test of LOVE. It is quality the Lord is interested in – not quantity.
I don't have to do bazillions of things. I just have to do whatever I do - with Love. If that is one thing daily - then so be it. For the Love of God and all He has given up for me."

I hope you find a devotion to read that validates you and brings you closer to God. I hope you find some fun activities about the Lenten season for your children.  Whatever you do, do it in love, and that will be more than enough for Our Lord.

Blessed Lent to all you Mamas out there!

Hugs & Love,
Em