Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Failure is a Success

When I was a counselor at a girls' camp last summer, I was thrilled that our cabin was named after St. Philippine Duchesne. Although she is little known, the courageous Frenchwoman longed to become a missionary in the New World. When her dream finally was realized, she was an older woman. She never learned to speak any native languages in the Pottawatomie region of Kansas and Missouri where she built schools for Indian girls. In the eyes of many, this simple old woman was a failure.

She united her crosses with Our Lord's suffering as she once heard in the depths of her soul, “You are destined to please Me, not so much by success as by bearing failure.”

This is a lesson we would all do well to remember. Humble St. Philippine was known to her pupils as the "woman who prays always." The children put rocks on her habit as she was praying, and when they'd return hours later, the rocks were still there. The saint had not budged! What a prayerful woman. Even in our failures we may be a success in God's eyes. And sometimes it takes failure to keep us humble and to prompt us to call on God for help. 

As Lily and I heard on retreat once, "sometimes God gets more glory out of the battle than out of the victory."

Monday, May 30, 2011

Go Ask Your Father

Graduation is a time of extremes for most college grads these days. There's the initial excitement as one closes the chapter of one part of her life and looks forward to the next adventure...But that bit about the future can often plunge her into deep despair. It's no secret that the job market is rough right now.

As my fellow classmates are left discouraged and jobless, I have someone to thank: St. Joseph.

Today I accepted my first official teaching job. Not only that, but I actually had two job offers. I am incredibly blessed, and I have my foster father to thank for it. I would encourage anyone who is struggling with employment to "Go to Joseph."

Dear Saint Joseph, 
You were yourself once faced with the responsibility of providing the necessities of life for Jesus and Mary.  Look down with fatherly compassion upon me in my anxiety over my present inability to support [myself].  Please help me to find gainful employment very soon, so that this heavy burden of concern will be lifted from my heart and that I am soon able to provide for those whom God has entrusted to my care.

Help us to guard against bitterness and discouragement, so that we may emerge from this trial spiritually enriched and with even greater blessings from God.  Amen

Saturday, May 28, 2011

A Thousand Words


Huckleberry is very excited for graduation in two weeks (!!) because it means we'll have our bonding time back. For now-- he has to compete with my classwork for my attention.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Advice from Anne

Working with 10 year-olds everyday makes me appreciate this little saint's fortitude even more! I've had the following quote posted on my desk for the past 3 years of college. Adults can learn so much from the simplicity of children. If you haven't read the incredible story of her short life, check here.

"Our work is a present that we can give Jesus.
So when it seems hard, 
just think that now you have something for Him."

~ Venerable Anne de Guigne (1911-1922)

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

A Pressed Petal


Impatiens or Impatiens Wallerana have the honor of being known as  
Our Lady's Earrings or Mother Love

Your Marriage "Idea Jar"

Here's something my husband and I are just starting to implement into our Marriage.  So many times, there are days I'd love to do something special for my husband, something kind of out of the ordinary, yet something I know he'll enjoy and have really been wanting.  But with the day to day stresses that cloud a person's mind, it's not always easy to think of something practical!  So we've come up with our "Idea Jar". 
On separate sheets of color coded paper, or two different color index cards, write out ideas that you would love to have your husband/wife do for you. (yours on one color, your husbands on another) It may be something simple like, sweep the kitchen floor after dinner, or it might be something romantic like, bring home flowers one day after work.  Read them off to each other and discuss them so you both understand what that "idea" entails or means to the other.  Keep them in a jar and every now and then, draw the appropriate color card and...whaaallaaa!  you have an instant idea to do for your spouse!

Monday, May 23, 2011

The Kitchen Madonna

I remember many times, sneaking into the kitchen, maneuvering my way around my mother to avoid being seen, and quietly trying to snatch a freshly baked cookie from the counter.  However, as the saying goes, Moms tend to have eyes in the back of their head, and my mother was no different.  So anxiously, me and my sisters would wait while she continued transferring the cookies from the pan to the plate, praying against all odds that maybe at least one would break and would therefore be passed off to the drooling mouths that awaited it. 

After dinner, my sisters and I would be dubbed "Clean-up Duty" and we would all choose a particular task, as my parents would go off together to watch the News, or just catch up after a long day.  These are special memories for me, because, being the typical girls we were, "cleaning up" was never just "cleaning up".  It was a chance for conversation, joking, dancing, (including many times when the big band music would play, and we would all take turns swing dancing with our "Mr. Broom.")  The Kitchen was more than just another room of our house...it was a central place for gathering, connecting and conversing. 

Now a wife and mother myself, I have come to realize just how "dear" the Kitchen has become.  More often than not, that is the room I am found most often in.  Cooking, cleaning up, preparing a meal, cleaning up, baking, cleaning up....and as my little Lilybug continues to grow, I become anxious and excited about the upcoming years where together, we will sit at that Kitchen table, and pour over school books, activities, coloring pages, or other such activities.  The Kitchen is more than just a place to cook.  It's a place for a family to bond.  Meal time is more than just eating at a table.  It's a time for the family to connect and share.  And not only that, but to grow together.

So if the mother of the house is more often than not, found in the Kitchen, why not also invite the Ultimate Mother of all?  The Virgin Mother?  Our Kitchen Madonna?  It has been a mission of mine to find this beloved statue, and unfortunately I have remained unsuccessful in finding a suitable one.  But when I finally have, I will take this Queen of the Kitchen, and place her in my kitchen, and remember that no matter how crazy life may become, no matter how stressful I may be...no matter how messy my kitchen may appear; every time I stand in my Kitchen and gaze at my Mother, I will remember I am standing exactly where my family needs me to be.  Mary, Madonna of the Kitchen, help me fulfill all my duties with love and humility!

Lord of All Pots and Pans!

Lord of all pots and pans and things
Since I've no time to be
A saint by doing lovely things or
Watching late with Thee,
Or dreaming in the twilight of
Storming heaven's gates;
Make me a saint by getting meals or
Washing up the plates.

Although I must have Martha's hands
I have Mary's mind, and
While I black the boots and shoes
Thy sandals, Lord, I find.
I think of how they trod the earth
Each time I scrub the floor,
Accept this meditation, Lord,
I havent' time for more.

Warm all the kitchen with Thy love,
And light it with Thy peace,
Forgive me all my worrying
And make all grumbling cease.
Thou who didst love to give men food
In room or by the sea
Accept this service that I do
I do it unto Thee.
-Anonymous

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Virgin Mary, Undoer of Knots, pray for us!


Look at this image of Our Lady.  The angle on the right holds the ribbon of our life, filled with knots and tangles.  The angel on the left shows the ribbon smooth, and free of all knots...after it has passed through the loving and devoted hands of Our Lady, Queen and Mother.  Our lives are filled with confusions, temptations, trials, and many obstacles; we knot our ribbons so tightly that it becomes impossible to undo the knots we've created.  But Our Lord, dying upon the cross, gave us a special Gift.  "Behold your Mother."  No matter how big our worry, or how challenging our obstacles, Our Mother in Heaven CAN and WILL untie the knot for us, if only we bring our poor, pitifully knotted ribbon to her loving hands. 

Oh Mary, Virgin and Mother, untie our knotted lives, and lead us to Heaven!

Saturday, May 21, 2011

How to Become Resale Savvy

Summer vacation is coming, and for me that means one very important thing: time to go resale shopping!



In the summers, I have more free time to indulge one of my latest guilty pleasures-- library used book sales and consignment/resale stores. I recently started cruising the resale strip. It's like a treasure hunt-- you never know what you will find! Running across this book at the library got me interested in the world of resale, and I've been addicted ever since.

Along the way, I've learned some good tips to the "art of resale-ing":


  
1. Location, Location, Location 
(wealthier neighborhoods have nicer quality items-- check there first!)
2. If at First You Don't Succeed...
(Go back multiple times to the same store. Find out when they put out their new merchandise and be ready to pounce on those days!)
3.Check Tags 
(Look at the tags of clothing and handbags to see the manufacturer. If you're not well-versed in designer brands, simply check to see how much care has been put into the tag. i.e.- Target stamps a lot of clothes with their name while Banana Republic tends to have quality tags well-sewn into the fabric)
4. Patience is a Virtue 
(I've spend hours sitting on the floor of Goodwill looking through books-- my best finds have been the books that were on the bottom of the pile or shoved in the back)
5. Network 
(I've discovered that the resale world has its own culture! Resalers talk all the time and give each other recommendations and new stores. You might be surprised who resales in your life-- I was!)
6. Check for Deals 
(For example, Goodwill offers coupons via email and student discount days)
7. Cleanliness is Next to Godliness 
(Always wash any clothes you buy from a resale or consignment store. It was someone else's for awhile even if they never wore it. I keep a bottle of hand sanitizer in my glove compartment for in-between trips)
8. Try it On!
(Don't be afraid to try things on. Return policies can be tricky at resale places)
9. Spot Check
(Always give whatever you're buying a second look. There may be a REASON the previous owner gave it up. Look for stains, rips, etc... Does the zipper work?)
10. Have Fun!
(Part of the fun of resale-ing is the cheap factor. Always wanted a pair of red heels...now's your chance to try them for $4! If you wear them once, you can always "recycle" them back to another resale store)

Have any other tips to share? Let us know in the comments! :)

Friday, May 20, 2011

All in a Day's Work

For the past few weeks, every time I sit down in my livingroom, a little wave of spoilt milk, spit up, and baby drool keeps sailing by me.  After spraying down the rugs, scrubbing the kitchen, spraying down every bit of baby equipment we have...I still had not managed to get rid of the stench!  And tonight, I had had enough.  Now picture this---I'm sitting in my livingroom chair trying to relax.  My daughter is in her room screaming because she's not wanting to go to sleep. (despite the many multiple times I've been in to calm her), the guy living above me sounds like he owns an elephant, while the person below me...a dog pound.  And in addition to all this, the gross smell of spoilt milk floats through the air.  Well!  I've reached my limit.  Hopping on all fours, I'm now determined to find the source.  I smell the rug.  The baby gym.  The couch.  The chair.  The swing.......the swing.  Oh. my. goodness. saints. alive.  Look no further.  Apparently, milk had spilt below the cushion and had made a nice little home for itself all molding up in the seat!  Can we say disgusting??  So after cleaning that all out, I think I've solved my problem.  My daughter is now playing in front of me, smiling and laughing as if she's just won a battle; (little does she know, she has NOT won the war), the guy above me has put his elephant to sleep, while the dog pound below me have all gone for a potty walk...and I now sit here in my humble abode, indulging in a little satisfaction for a job well done.  It's all in a day's  Mommy's work.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Not-so-technical


We seem to be having some issues with our "Followers" not showing up on the right sidebar.  We're working on it, but in the meantime, feel free to subscribe by email to receive email updates!

Update

Here's an update regarding the man with the gunshot wound:

"My man with the gunshot wound passed away last night, but not uneventfully. Yesterday the family agreed to terminally extubate him. The family felt that he would not want to live with such a huge neurological handicap and they wanted to let him pass. I don't want to give you the wrong idea, its not as if this man is awake and interactive. He intermittently follows commands, but he certainly can't follow a conversation. His level of conciousness comes and goes, but mostly goes. He was extubated around 6pm. Gift of Life was called, and I learned some scary things about organ donation. I have always been extremely uncomfortable with organ donation. I have tried researching the Church's stance on it, but ended up confused and still not knowing the answer. It just seems like one of those cases where the ends don't justify the means. You may save a life, but you are taking the life of someone else, although they are "dying anyway." And organ transplants fail. Its not even a secure treatment. The plan was to do something called "donation after cardiac death." Typically organ donations come from "brain dead" people with a heartbeat. This man was not brain dead and probably never would be. The alternative is to extubate the person, give them HUGE doses of morphine, versed, and fentanyl, and hope their heart stops. Once they get to the operating room the law states if they do not die within 1 hour of receiving all the medicine you have to abort the procedure and you may not take the organs. Well... he didn't die! I was praying for this guy like crazy. I really didn't want them to take his organs. I walked by the operating room, peaked in the window, and was very excited to see his heart rate at 106!

Anyway, afterwards he was taken up to the ICU again. I asked the family's permission to call a priest so he could have last rights. I called the chaplain who said he "may" have already received last rights, but he would call the priest. I went and found a computer and googled every prayer for the dying I could find. He passed away an hour later. I do not know if he received last rites or not. The priest may not have arrived in time. I think I would have broken privacy laws if I contacted the priest on my own without the family's permission. Unfortunately I literally had to wait till the last hour before calling. I am amazed he lived through the the gunshot, he lived through the brain injury, he lived through the huge amount of medicine they gave him to facilitate death for an organ harvest, and died in his room with his family. I hope one day I find out what happened to his soul.
"

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

....

[site under "unintentional" construction ;)]

Monday, May 16, 2011

A Pressed Petal



Hawthorn is also known as Mary's Berry (May). The Crataegus Oxyacantha praecox variety is the plant of England's "Glastonbury Thorn" -- a plant of Mediterranean origin but which, in Somerset, blooms twice: at Easter and at Christmas. It, therefore, has become a symbol of Christmas. The Glastonbury Thorn is said to have arisen when St. Joseph of Arimathea thrust his hawthorn staff into the ground in Somersetshire. The original plant was destroyed by Puritans (the soldier who did the chopping is said to have been struck in the eye by a large splinter from the tree), but shoots from it were taken, and England's Glastonbury Thorn lives. Since 1929, blossoms from the Glastonbury Thorn are sent to England's Monarchs for their table on Christmas Day.

The Power of Prayer

A friend of mine who is a Physician Assistant and works in Trauma related this experience to me the other day:

"I have a story to tell you. At work last night a man was brought in who had shot himself in the head. It was a catastrophic non survivable injury. He essentially blew off half his head. He knocked out the blood supply to the entire front of his brain as well as one side. He also herniated his brain stem. He had bullet shards all through his brain, including his brain stem. He was about as dead as they get. I've recently taken up the practice of saying the chaplet of Divine Mercy at the bedside of all the patients I see who come in and are dying. I wasn't praying for his life, as that was obviously futile, I was just praying for his soul. Gift of Life had already been called to come in and harvest this man's organs. He was dead.

Shortly after I finished the prayers his nurse starts yelling that the man is waking up and moving his extremities. I was stunned. I ran over to examine him, and sure enough he is moving his legs and following commands. He has a breathing tube in so he can't speak or anything. I immediately call the trauma surgeon and the neurosurgeon to say this man woke up. Neither one really seemed to believe me. A minute or two later the man coded. Then he came back, on his own! he was not shocked. we did nothing to revive him. Right after that the neurosurgeon walked in. After he coded he went right back to being unresponsive. He was not following any commands. It was pretty clear this man was dying rapidly. The neurosurgeon saw him and said there was nothing to do, and probably thought I was a bit crazy as this man was clearly unresponsive. He was intubated without any sedation or paralytics, that is how unresponsive he was!

I said another chaplet when we took him up to the ICU. And he woke up again. This time there was about 8 people who witnessed it. I called the trauma surgeon and the neurosurgeon again. No one has any explanation. I have never seen someone with a herniated brain stem being awake. I have never even heard of such a thing! That is as fatal as your heart stopping. For him to be awake is completely senseless, especially once you factor in that he has no blood supply to almost his whole brain. I don't know if this is a coincidence between him waking up and the chaplet. But I am stunned. No one has any explanation. They are still saying he is dying and whatever is going on with him does not change the fact that his brain is destroyed.... yet he is awake.

I'm working again tonight. Honestly I wouldn't be surprised if he is dead by then. Clearly if he is following commands, he can think. I just hope that perhaps this bizarre period of lucidity will allow him to make some sort of internal confession for his sins. I'm not sure what that is worth without a priest, but we can only trust his soul to God, you know?
"

I don't believe there are coincidences when it comes to the power of prayer.  Prayer is the strongest tool we have, and we should never underestimate its strength.  The case however has become complicated as the doctors who are working with this man have decided that his condition is too severe to do anything about.  This friend told me when she returned to work the following night, she found he was still "responsive".  If you asked him how he was doing, he would give the "thumbs up" and he would cross his ankles.  Clearly there is a part of his brain that is STILL functioning.  However, the doctors have titled that mere "reflex" and have decided to let him progress to brain death.  Apparently its not worth their time to try and save this man because the results would not end up being "acceptable." 

This man may have done something horrible to himself in trying to take his own life, yes.  However, clearly through the power of prayer, he has been given a second chance.  Maybe it's just enough to obtain forgiveness, or maybe it will end up being enough to show medical professionals that they are not in control; whatever it is....its another example that God is the giver of Life, and He is the taker of Life...and no one else on this Earth has that right.  Please keep this man in your prayers....pray that through some miracle this man will be given at least the chance of survival.

Our Lady, Help of Christians, pray for us!

Friday, May 13, 2011

May 13, 1917

Consecrate Russia.  Say the Rosary.  Repent of your sins.  Spread devotion to My Immaculate Heart. 

How much clearer can Our Lady be?  We often complain that if only Our Lady would appear to the world, everyone would finally hit that "aha!" moment, and change their lives.  But She has come, and she has spoken so plainly, it can't be simplified any more than it already is! 



Consecrate Russia = Peace
Say the Rosary= Peace
Repent of your sins, avoid Hell= Peace
Devotion to My Immaculate Heart=Peace

So why are we STILL refusing to gratify Her pleas?  Why do we STILL remain in our ignorance, in our slothfulness, in our laziness?  Why do we STILL skip daily Rosaries, our greatest and most powerful weapon on this earth?

The soldier prepares for battle.  He's ready to fight, he's ready to lay down his life for his country.  When he's offered his sword, he laughs and say..."Oh! I don't need that...I'll be fine."  Unfortunate soul when he gets to the thick of battle and does not have his sword to fight with.

That's how we are.  How do we expect to survive in this battle against Satan, if we leave our most powerful and most necessary weapon behind us?  That Rosary should be in our car, in our pockets/purse, in our homes, near our bed...wherever we'll use it the most.  It should be on hand to grab at a moment's notice if temptation arises.  And not to be displayed as jewelry, or a "see how holy I am because i have a Rosary hanging from my car?"  It should be used.  It is our Spiritual Weapon handed directly from Our Lady, and MUST be an integral part of our day.

"I am the Lady of the Rosary" 

"In the end MY IMMACULATE HEART WILL TRIUMPH"
Our Lady of Fatima, Queen of the Holy Rosary, pray for us!


Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Tuesday's Treat

Since we are total Chocoholics, and I mean total! this is the perfect recipe for a Tuesday Treat!  If you like chocolate, sugar, more sugar, and more chocolate....this is for you!



Bon Appetite!

(I will warn you, when you begin to make this, it does start looking a little like a "science project" due to the baking soda....but trust me, it's delish!)

Today...

I am thankful that my beautiful little niece Gianna is being discharged from Children's Hospital on Thursday!  Praise be to God....she is truly a miracle child.  Only through the grace of God and prayer has her progress been so remarkable.  When she was first born they told my sister she probably wouldn't be able to come home for months!  And now....she's 5 1/2 weeks old and heading home! 

I am praying for my husband on his FINAL TOUR!  He left yesterday to go back out to sea for another 4 weeks, and this time, when he comes back.....he'll be done with this particular tour.  He'll then switch to Search and Rescue Command Center in CA which will be such a blessing for our family because he won't be going out to sea every few months.  He'll be working at a land job!  Today, I'm praying for his safety and strength to get through the next four weeks.  He definitely had a harder time leaving this time around because he's become so attached to our little Lilybug, now that she interacts so much more!  She is definitely "Daddy's Girl!"

I am feeling slightly overwhelmed about moving, but trying to trust that God is going to take care of everything and provide for a successful and smooth transition!  We have movers coming in to pack us up (courtesy of the Military....there are some perks!) so I'm trying to "weed" things out and organize a little beforehand.  But just the thought of everything that has to happen before, and after is overwhelming.  (Besides, I think its in my nature to just worry!)

At Morning Prayers I found the quote given by Cardinal Wolsey very interesting: "If I had served my God with half the love that I served myself...."  How true is that?  We spend 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year thinking, acting, doing for ourselves.  And yet we gripe and complain when we have to sit down for 15 mins to say our Rosary...or sit an extra 10 mins longer listening to a sermon during Mass.  At the hour of our death, we ought to have made it our goal that we can look at the face of God and say...."I loved Thee with my entire heart, and made loving Thee my entire goal."

Around the house Lily is in for her morning nap...she's been taking naps so much better lately.  And she's been going to sleep a little better.  She still wakes up every 2 hours after midnight, but at least I get a nice stretch of a break between 7pm-12am!  She was so cute this morning sitting in her little saucer.  I glanced up and she was just staring, smiling at me.  lol  She's such an imp.

Saint of the Day is St. Damien of MolokaiAn incredible example of compassion, humility, and self-sacrificing, this priest gave all he had (including his life!) to the poor and the sick lepers.  He truly imitated Our Lord in caring for those less fortunate. 

Outside my window is a bit gray actually.  I hear a few birds chirping and I'm not real sure about the temp yet...but it looks like we might get a little rain later today.  To be honest, I like a good rainstorm.  Not everyday naturally, but the smell of the earth after a good hard rainstorm is so refreshing!!  Saturday, my husband and I were driving to a family's house for dinner, and got caught in a tremendous lightning, thunder storm!  It even hailed a little which was so odd!  And then, it was like passing through a curtain.  One minute it was coming down hard, the next it was bright and sunny. :-/  That's New England for you!

My goal for today is to "hear the voice of God in all I do."  I've been reading from Small Steps for Catholic Moms in the morning and the theme for today was to listen and hear the voice of God in all you do.  Sometimes I think I get so caught up in things going on, I forget to take five minutes to just....be still.  God speaks through silence and in those rare moments I get of silent bliss!, I should be taking time to thank God and listen to Him.  So that's the goal for today!


Now! go grab yourself a little piece of chocolate, and start your Today!


Monday, May 9, 2011

Who Says??

We tend to think that a woman will only become a saint if she is a religious or a consecrated virgin.  There are so many wonderful saints that have followed this path, that we tend to forget....that's not the only path to holiness!  If that were so, Our Lord wouldn't have institued all the different vocations for women!  Especially the holy vocation of Motherhood.  So who says you can't be a saint just because you're a mother?  A wife?  A sister?  A daughter?  You can be a saint no matter WHO you are.  You MUST be a saint no matter who you are.  That's God's plan for you.  To fulfill your Catholic duty in whatever state of life He has created for you. 

Seeing how Mother's Day was just celebrated, (Happy Mother's Day to all the Mother's who read this blog!), let's focus on the many inspirational Mother Saints that so many of us can relate to:


St. Anne

With examples of strong, faithful, Catholic mother saints like these...how can we say that it's impossible for a married wife and mother to become a saint?  Who says we can't?? 

We absolutely can.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Roses for Mother


Castillion Roses are the Spanish roses that fell miraculously out of Juan Diego's tilma in Mexico. It's only fitting that we discuss them on Mother's Day. Here is what our Heavenly Mother spoke to the frightened visionary. Let it be a reminder to us all:


"Hear and let it penetrate into your heart, my dear little son: let nothing discourage you, nothing depress you: let nothing alter your heart or your countenance. Also do not fear any illness or vexation, anxiety or pain. Am I not here who am your Mother? Are you not under my shadow and protection? Am I not your fountain of life? Are you not in the folds of my mantle, in the crossing of my arms? Is there anything else that you need?" ~ Our Lady of Guadalupe


Friday, May 6, 2011

Blushing Beauties

“Blushing is the color of virtue.” ~ Matthew Henry

I just wish everyone else knew it was! Lily can confirm that I am indeed the Blushing Queen. Although my case of the Blushes is not as severe as it once was...blushing is still (as Dorcas Lane would say) my "one weakness." I read this quote the other day, and it brought me comfort to know that my rosy cheeks are actually indicators of my virtuous constitution. How do you like that?

Reading up a little on the science of blushing, I confirmed that the fear of blushing can be so strong that it triggers those glowing cheeks itself. "If we are obsessed, and worried about blushing, then our brain is focused on blushing and, therefore, it will happen to us much more frequently and for no real apparent reason. The anticipation or expectation of blushing can lead to further blushing." This sounds like proof enough to self-diagnose myself with a new syndrome: "Chronic Blusher."

I certainly don't need a legitimate reason to blush. I have found myself sometimes even blushing for other people! But is blushing really that bad? At least Dr. Alice von Hildebrand doesn't think so... She once said that "when women no longer know how to blush, it is an indication that a society is on the verge of moral collapse." It's true, many women in our generation don't know how to feel embarrassed anymore. Nothing shocks them. So, while many of our feminine comrades lost their "blush," we Chronic Blushers must stick together!

Top 3 Tips for a Chronic Blusher.
1.)  Accept it - 
There are a lot of websites out there that try to help CB's stop blushing. One of the best ways to stop blushing is to announce it. The only way to stop blushing is to "get over it." The more you think about how you are blushing, the more you turn red. Try to look at blushing as just another part of what makes you who you are. Make it work for you instead of thinking of it as a flaw.

2.) Relax--
Try relaxing your shoulder muscles and breathing deeply. This helps stop the rush of blood to your face.

3.) Smile--
Your cheeks turn naturally red when you smile, so a grin will help your blushing face look more natural!


Thursday, May 5, 2011

Amazing Grace-- Amazing Rhema

"Rhema sings to glorify God" is what it says on Rhema Marvanne's official website. "This is her calling and ministry. Please feel free to request her appearance so all can be blessed with God's gift." In 2008, Rhema's mother died from ovarian cancer, and this resilient little girl has kept her mother's passion for music alive by singing herself. An inspirational story of one child singer in a world of Miley Cyruses and American Idols... The powerful voice that comes out of this tiny body is ridiculous. Sure to brighten up your Thursday night blues! Enjoy!

Sarah's Bears

Looking for the perfect gift for a niece or nephew?  Don't know what to get that godchild of yours?  How about your daughter or son's birthday?  Here's the perfect gift! Sarah's Bears are absolutely adorable hand-crafted bears and dolls that one of our good friends from College has cleverly created!  Check them out!  We know you'll fall in love with them!


At the Cross, Her Station Keeping

No one knows how I feel.

No one understands me.

No one suffers as I do.

When I read these statements objectively, they remind me a little of that five year old standing in the grocery store, stomping his foot defiantly and refusing to obey his mother.  Or of that six year old child on the playground wailing because she has to share the toys in the sandbox.  And as I pass them by, I'm sure I've often thought to myself..."What a spoiled brat!"

That night, as I'm tucked warm and cozy in my bed, the clock strikes 2am, and I inevitably hear my daughter's cries coming from the next room.  At 5 months, I would think she wouldn't still be so unpredictable with her sleeping patterns; this getting up every 2 hours has to stop!  All the other babies I've seen don't do this!  Why is my child the only one that's fussy?  Couldn't I just have one night of peaceful sleep??  Don't I deserve that???  Afterall, I work hard enough all day long...aren't I entitled to a little sleep?????  Throwing back the sheets, and stomping into the other room, I continue to bemoan my misfortunes and my trials, and ultimately end with the very same conclusion of that little brat in the sandbox: my life just isn't fair. 

Oh how quickly I fall into this temptation.  How easy it is to see the devil offering his hand in pleasure and glee, and how often I accept it without giving it a second thought.  Before I know it, I am that little five year old stomping his way through the grocery store, or that selfish six year old in the sandbox.  Sure, sleep is a necessary thing, and I may be justified in complaining a little...but what a waste of virtue for me to spiral into the temptation of Me, Myself, and I.  Does it occur to me that my child is crying because she's afraid?  Or she's crying because she's uncomfortable and doesn't know how to fix whatever the problem is?  Does it occur to me that maybe she just wants the reassuring touch of her mother before she can gently fall back into a peaceful sleep?  No, I'm too quick to assume I deserve what I want.

Our Mother Mary kneels below the cross of her crucifed Son, tears pouring from her terror-stricken eyes.  Her Son is the Redeemer; Her Son is innocent, and Her Son has the power to make all these sufferings go away.  All this the Mother of Heaven knows, but does she kneel there screaming of the injustices?  Does she bewail her losses?  Does she charge at the soldiers and demand her rights as a mother?  No, she continues to kneel at the Cross, suffering in silence and offering it all to Her Son. 

Our Lady understands our trials and our challenges, even without us telling her of them.  She understands our weak nature, and how often we need the reassuring grace of a Mother's love.  She has suffered more than we will even suffer, but in doing so, she has shown us the way to act; the standard to reach for.  Overcome yourself.  I don't deserve what I want, I deserve what I get.  I deserve what Our Lord chooses to give to me.  And I deserve whatever suffering that comes with it.

Yet, despite this, Our Lord is a Merciful Father.  He not only has given us His Most Perfect Mother as our ultimate example, but He will never, ever give us any more than we can handle.  This is the most important reminder.  God knows what we can take, He knows our limits.  He won't give more than we are capable of handling.  (So if I feel He has given me quite a lot, at least I have the comfort of understanding that God thinks I'm pretty capable of handling a lot!)

Have courage.  Have faith.  Our Heavenly Mother will never abandon us.  Let us approach her at the foot of the Cross and kneel with her, joining with her all our sufferings, and having full confidence that God will take care of us, because He has an "everlasting love" for us.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Egg on Your Face

If you are like me, you have zero free time! With the stress of student teaching, I have noticed that my body has started to "express its frustration" and take it out on my skin. I've used this facial before and thought I'd pass it on to any interested readers. This is a great AND cheap AND fast facial for busy ladies. All you need is an egg and your face!

Resale Riches!

"Isn't it splendid to think of all the things there are to find out about? It just makes me feel glad to be alive--it's such an interesting world. It wouldn't be half so interesting if we know all about everything, would it? There'd be no scope for imagination then, would there?"
- Lucy Maud Montgomery, Anne of Green Gables


Let me first tell you....today was a very fun, successful day.  Why you ask??  It's simple, I relived my childhood through the magic of books. My husband and I stopped in at a resale shop to glance at their book section, and walked away with a 32 books...all children books.  At .69-.99  cents a book, how could we refuse?!  I'm so excited about my findings that I thought I would share a few favorites with you all and see if maybe it triggers a delightful walk down memory lane as well.






Chicka, Boom Boom by Bill Martin JR is a childhood favorite of mine.  It doesn't look like much from the outside, but the clever way in which the author attempts to teach the alphabet is very fun.  As the whole alphabet begins to climb up a tree, the tree unfortunately "chicka chicka boom booms!"  Poor "black eyed P" and "loose-toothed T"! 





Stone Soup by Marcia Brown is another classic. When three soldiers come to the village to find food, all the villagers are "mysteriously" unable to provide any extra food.  The soldiers cleverly offer to make "Stone Soup", the best tasting soup...and are able to persuade the villagers to offer all their missing food!  In this particular addition, I like the pictures because they aren't quite as modern as most books you find now a days, and I think its important for a child to see "color" through the eye of their imagination.






Hello, Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle by Betty MacDonald is not one I read as a child, but one my husband fondly remembers on his mother's bookshelf.  Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle apparently loves children and has a remedy for every bad habit there ever was.  A wonderful story aimed at teaching children to behave properly!









Strega Nona by the much beloved Tomie dePaola is magical as always.  Between his unique sketches, to his enchanting and charming writing story, this story captivated me as a child as the pasta grew and grew and grew!  A good lesson in listening and obeying too!









Abe Lincoln, the boy who loved books by Kay Winters is a nice little "history lesson" for children about our President, while at the same time giving them motivation to enjoy books!  Beautiful pictures too, and very easy to read.












Christmas Miracle for Jonathan Toomey by Susan Woichechowski is an excellent, excellent Christmas story!  There's also a movie out that is very cute as well.  This story shows the warmth and beauty of friendship, that stretches even beyond the limits of age.




A  few other favorites:

The Amelia Bedelia series
The Cordouroy series
The Happy Hollister series
The Bobbsey Twin series and The Curlytops (both of which are pretty hard to find now)
Caps for Sale
Blueberries for Sal
Make Way for Ducklings (this is actually a special book because I come from Boston, where the story takes place!)
The Story of Ferdinand the Bull
Alexander's Terrible Horrible No Good Very Bad Day (Absolute classic for when I was younger!)
Children's Books About....Lying, Teasing, Fighting etc. by Joy Berry  These are excellent books to use for teaching your children manners

These are just a few, and I'm sure there are so many others.  We're always looking for book recommendations, so feel free to share some!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Tuesday's Treat

In honor of our dear friend, "CherryBlossom's" Birthday!  Enjoy!


Indulge in this Cherry Delight Recipe!

Today...

I am thankful that Osama Bin Laden has been caught, however I think we all need to keep in mind the statement released by the Vatican regarding this issue, and continue to pray for God's will to be done regarding the closure of this war:

"Faced with the death of a man, a Christian never rejoices, but reflects on the serious responsibility of each and every one of us before God and before man, and hopes and commits himself so that no event be an opportunity for further growth of hatred, but for peace".

I am praying for a very special friend who's birthday is today!  Happy Birthday lovely "CherryBlossom"!

I am feeling tired. haha  There's really no other way of putting it.  Who would have thought having just one child could be so exhausting??  I can only imagine what it'll be like when I have more running around and an infant to boot!  But God never gives us more than we can handle and I need to just keep that in mind.  My hubby and I entered into the sacrament of Marriage willing and able to fulfill our vocation, regardless of how challenging that may be at times.  The other night Lilybug actually slept from midnight until 5:15am...straight!  It was a miracle, and the five hours of straight sleep was heavenly! 

At Morning Prayers I read a wonderful passage concerning how instrumental Our Lady is in obtaining graces for us from Her Son.  As Mediatrix of all Graces, no petition of man can come to Christ except through Mary, and likewise no grace comes to man from Christ except through Mary.  She is the "mediator" between the Members of the Church here on Earth, and Christ Himself.  All the more reason to strengthen our devotion to Her and beg her to guide us to our heavenly home.

Around the house My little Lilybug is down for her nap, all snug and cuddled in her crib, and I'm fighting the urge to climb back into that comfy, warm bed of mine and join her!  Thankfully, hubby and I were on our "A game" this weekend, getting all sorts of chores done, so I don't have a lot to do today.  How many husbands out there would help with the laundry, ironing, dusting etc??  He's pretty much the best.  So *technically* I COULD climb back in for a snooze...just a short one you know....maybe just close my eyes a wee bit....

On the menu tonight is Baked Ham with a Maple Glaze sauce.  I had bought it for Easter week and then realized we were going to have it for Easter Sunday AND Easter Monday at both our family's houses.  So rather than "ham ourselves out!" we carefully tucked it away in the freezer to have at a later date.  I think I'll serve it with some mashed sweet potato and some fresh green beans.  Both Hubby and I are trying to eat healthier.  We've been going out for walks after dinner, which has felt awesome with the nicer weather!  We tuck Lilybug all in her pjs and in her stroller, and off we go!  As we walk, we pray the Rosary and have a little conversation time.  It's been nice.  Although, tonight we'll be heading to friend's for desert to see their brand new baby boy!  Very excited about that.

Outside my window I see a little sun trying to poke its way through the clouds.  I'm not quite sure how warm it is currently, but I'm pretty sure its supposed to reach the high 50s at least.  Hopefully it'll get a little warmer than that too!  There's something about Springtime that is so refreshing and so rejuvenating.  You really do start to feel like a raisined prune after being cooped up during the winter months...and then with the dawning of Spring, the blossoming of the flowers, the warmer weather...its literally a breath of fresh air!

My goal for today is to FINALLY get my Social Security name changed.  (No, I'm not switching identities.) But after getting married, I never changed my last name and it was a pain in the neck trying to use different names for the taxes this year, so my husband offered to go down with me and help me switch it.  Maybe if its warm enough we'll also walk around downtown too.  Its a quaint little area and can be quite enjoyable!

Well, that's my Today....here's hoping your Today is just as grand!

Monday, May 2, 2011

Lovely Lady Dressed in Blue

I'll never forget my first experience at a Catholic elementary school assembly. Twenty-five rough and tumble little first grade boys took the stage and recited the following poem dedicated to the Blessed Mother. Something about hearing this poem uttered from the lips of children made it that much sweeter.It has continued to be one of my favorite prayer-poems to Our Lady.

Lovely Lady dressed in blue
Teach me how to pray!
God was just your little boy,
Tell me what to say!
Did you lift Him up, sometimes,
Gently on your knee?
Did you sing to Him the way
Mother does to me?
Did you hold His hand at night?
Did you ever try
Telling stories of the world?
O! And did He cry?
Do you really think He cares
If I tell Him things -------
Little things that happen? And
Do the Angels' wings
Make a noise? And can He hear
Me if I speak low?
Does He understand me now?
Tell me, for you know.
Lovely Lady dressed in blue
Teach me how to pray!
God was just your little boy,
And you know the way.


By: Mary Dixon Thayer (popularized in the 1950s by Archbishop Fulton Sheen)
Click here for a printable holy card of the prayer

The Story of the Two Paths



In every life, there is an encounter with Decision; a dawning of our realization that we have the ability to chose our OWN path in life.  Unfortunately, in many cases, these realizations are not in harmony with Reason.  Reason searches for Truth, Reason longs for Truth; without Truth, Reason whithers away and dies. 

At the dawn of Reason, we are met by a fork in the road.  There before us we see two paths; one dipping slightly downward, the other gently sloping up.  One is marked PLEASURE, while the other, TRUTH.  Neither appears very hard to follow, though our Reason has matured enough to tell us going up is more difficult than going down.  But they are not far apart, and at a quick glance, it seems rather easy to pass from one to the other.  However, just as Reason begins to peak, Adolescence causes a sharp turning in the road.  The roads, which up until this point had been easy to hop between PLEASURE and TRUTH, now jut away from each other; PLEASURE swiftly sliding downward, while TRUTH steeply looms upward.  We stop briefly to examine our options and discuss with our Reason.  Which path shall I take?  PLEASURE is so broad, so smooth, so well-travelled; there are so many people traveling it; surely if so many people are already treading it, it can not be so very dangerous!  With a quick glance at TRUTH, we feel intimidated by the long climb, and frightened by the loneliness that appears to accompany this deserted and narrow path.  Quickly we convince ourselves, the roads have been marked wrong!  It is on the wide road that I shall find my joy and my fortune.  I am too weak to climb that rocky, and rigid path.  It would never be expected of me!

So we begin to descend.  At first, there are a few small lanes marked "To TRUTH", but the going is so easy, we ignore them.  The slope becomes steeper, the momentum increases.  Though there are still lanes crossing to TRUTH, they are fewer now, and our ever increasing speed causes us to quickly pass them by.  After awhile, the path that once seemed so bright and smooth, now is becoming eerie, and dense.  Uneasiness grips our heart.  Downward, downward, faster and faster.  We wish we could turn back; we frantically look for the little lanes that would cross to TRUTH, but it is so dark now, we can not even see them.  Faster, faster, our speed ever increases.  Suddenly, the once broad and pleasant path ends abruptly at a precipice, and with a despairing cry we find we are going far too fast to stop, and we plunge into the bottomless abyss.  Our PLEASURE has led us to HELL.

But what if we had chosen the other path?  What if our Reason had been prepared for this life altering Decision?  The road from the beginning would have been difficult, it is true.  Yet, that slow and deliberate climb upwards would have prepared us for that steep and arduous climb to the summont, and we would not have thought the task quite so daunting.  And what of the loneliness we thought we saw?  What of that omnious fear of desertion we so dreaded?  What would have taken that away?  Perhaps if we had gazed long enough upon the path of TRUTH, or even if we had been brave enough to glance up the little lane crossing back to TRUTH, we would have seen a beautiful and enchanting Guide waiting there for us.  If we had only taken the time to gaze hard enough, we would have witnessed a Beauty and Grace unlike any offered along the path of PLEASURE.  And if we had taken the time to read the sign marking the path of TRUTH, perhaps we would have also noticed the small, gold lettering that was so carefully etched into the wood; "For though I should walk in the midst of the shadow of death, I will fear no evils, for thou art with me. (Ps 22:4
No fear.  No tedium.  No heartache.  No plunging precipice. 


But who is the lovely, and fair Guide that protects those who chose to travel the path of TRUTH, you ask?  It is none other than the Immaculate Virgin, Mother of God, Mary Most Holy.  She whom has already been through every dark tunnel and frightening wood, who already has climbed that steep and rocky incline, who offers Hope and Strength to reach the top of the mount.  "In me is all grace of the way and of the truth, in me is all hope of life and of virtue." (Eccles. 24: 25)  In Her we shall find the grace to attain Him who is the Way, the Truth, and the Life.  Through Her, we shall receive the grace to travel the path of TRUTH and reach our glorious home of HEAVEN.

But we must first find her.  We must first look to Her.  And in doing so, she will take care of the rest.


(Adapted from "Consecration to the Immaculate Heart of Mary" by Fr. Nicholas Norman)