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Saturday, November 26, 2011

Advent Begins!!!

Lets see a show of hands.  How many are SO EXCITED for Advent??!!  Count me as one with both hands raised!! :)


Tonight I located our Advent wreath.  My youngest daughter Robyn located the candles and put them in the wreath and got it in position on our dining room table.   This isn't the best picture, but it gives you some idea. :)




We also have the Advent "House" that I will post about and show later, as it is still hiding in the attic!   I need to find and cut out all the bible verses corresponding to each day in Advent, and put up our wee tree we'll be using as a Jesse tree, and I'm getting those ornaments ready within the next few days!  I am excited!!


Along with tomorrow being the First Sunday in Advent, it is also, as every Catholic knows, the first 'official' Sunday of the New Translation... closer and more beautiful to the original!!  Yes, that means learning the new responses and the new prayers, but if it deepens our faith and helps us draw closer to God and helps us in this, our faith journey, then I am ready to dive right in!  

Monday, November 21, 2011

Hope & Faith... Even When Your Voice Shakes..


Getting ready for Advent, for me, is like getting ready for a first date. :)   Nervous.  Excited. Wanting everything to be perfect.  Special.  Memorable.

Selecting the right music.  Making sure everything is at it's best.  Paying attention to details. 

At this point, I have part of our Christmas gifts bought, and several things on layaway.  For the remaining unbought items, I already know what I'm buying.. just have to do it.   Getting these head-achy nitpick things out of the way... so we can concentrate on the true reason for the season.. the coming of our Lord!

Amy is 18 this year.  I don't know how many more Christmas's she will be living here at home.. so I want to enjoy her here.. while I can.  

Robyn.. she is only 11.  Still young, innocent, and still with such a child's pure heart, untainted by the world.  I want her to be excited and happy and hopeful and joyful as only an innocent little girl can be.  

My children... my hubby.. making these beautiful memories that will live forever in my heart.  I want to try and remember every detail.  Thank God for cameras!  They are good at giving you that little glimpse back.  I love looking at old pictures of my girls when they were tiny.  Amy was the happiest child that ever drew breath. Pictures of her...brown eyes shining with happiness and mischief, all dimples and lit up face.  My Robyn... so quiet and serious, carefully examining anything and everything... and wondering the 'why' and the 'how' of everything.  My curious, snugly, loving, inquisitive Robyn. :)

I can't believe Advent starts in just a few days.  I've printed out prayers, recipes, activities, and anything I can find to make our Advent more special and wonderful.  Looking forward to my hubby being on vacation so he can spend more time with us.

I've lost track of how many nativities we have.  I have fond, beautiful memories of each of my girls, sitting under our Christmas tree, playing with the manger scene.. carefully examining Baby Jesus, and making the Holy family and the animals all 'talk' to each other.  

We have a clear, lead crystal Nativity on an end table... and one year.. Baby Jesus had disappeared.  We did find Him.. in Robyn's bed.  She was afraid He would be cold and lonely.  :)  Sweet.

So, I am preparing.. the best I can.   Candles.  Music.  And waiting for Him in joyful hope.  
It's going to be a good Advent this year. 

But.. mom's chemo started again. Today. She's had non-Hodgkins lymphoma for 14 years.  This is like.. the 4th time it's come back.  She started treatments, again, this morning.  She's not responding as well as any of us hoped.  At all.  So there's the fear... the quintessential monster lurking literally under the bed, and his name is Cancer, and he's as real as real can get.  So I'm trying, so hard, to focus on all the good and the joyful things and the blessings.  I don't want to think about losing my momma.  I hate that fear of the unknown.  That fear that they won't be able to force that 'monster' back under the bed.

The future... the unknown... scares the hell out of me.  But I have hope and faith... and no matter what happens...  Baby Jesus is still coming in a matter of weeks.  Jesus is Faith and Hope and Divine Mercy and Forgiveness and Joy and Holiness... Jesus is LOVE!! 

Thank God I have my faith.  Honestly, people who are without faith.. I cannot fathom how they get through anything.  Seriously.   I may be the worst Catholic on the planet.  I may epicly stink at the whole 'image of Jesus' thing.. I know I am horribly, horribly sinful and mean and selfish.. and the list goes on... but one thing I KNOW.... that Jesus's Mercy is infinite..  and I have faith in Him... even when I have no faith in myself and my voice shakes.  He is bigger than anything that stupid monster under the bed can dish out.


Saturday, November 19, 2011

Getting Ready....

Yesterday was a very, very bad day for me.. it was the sixth anniversary of my friend Stephanie's death.  Stephanie, who've I've blogged about before, was only 36 years old when she died.  I miss her so much.  After lots of weeping and anguish and fervent prayer, and a really good nights' sleep, I am in a much better frame of mind today.


So it's November.  All Saints Day has passed.  The season of Advent and of course St Nicholas Day are well on their way.  I can't wait!!  Advent is such a beautiful season. :)  I openly admit I've already started listening to Christmas music.  Now, mind you I don't like how retail has made such a Holy day something that's 'fake' and 'plastic' and the world seems bent on excess and greed and want... putting up Christmas stuff the day after Halloween.. I detest that.  For me, though, Christmas music is so joyous.. such a comfort.  "Oh Holy Night, the stars are shining brightly."  So beautiful  So holy.  And exactly where I want my heart and thoughts to be.  Focused on God.  Focused on my loved ones.  My family.  My children.


So to get myself more psyched and ready for the SEASON to begin.. (yes I am literally counting off!!) EIGHT DAYS Til Advent begins!!  So, to put myself in the spirit of things homey and lovely and old-fashioned and fun... today I am trying my hand at making home-made apple butter, starting it off by making home-made applesauce.  I got the recipes here:  http://www.pickyourown.org/applebutter.htm   I am going to add the Red Hot Candies, as suggested in one of the comments at the bottom of the page.  So exciting!  I have cinnamon raisin bread AND cinnamon raisin bagels in the freezer.  Plus I am pretty good at making homemade bread.  This stuff will NOT go to waste. :)  


I have an Advent "House" that I bought on clearance several years ago.  I went to this site for the printable advent chainhttp://catholicmom.com/wp/wp-content/uploads/2008/10/2010_advent_chain.pdf 
Inside our Advent house, there is a big wheel that we manually rotate around to the next day... and after doing that days activity or reading, you open the door and get out the candies.  Since I have two children, I find that Andes Mints are perfect.  We like both the mint and the cherry. :)  I will be getting other good stuff off of that site.  It's CatholicMom.com.  Seriously, go check it out. :)   Cool site!!


My friend Nancy (who, please allow me to link her here:  http://www.benotafraidnancy.blogspot.com)  has been talking about doing a Jesse Tree.  Since I'm a Convert, I've never done anything like that before, and have never done it with my kids.  So I am considering giving it a try this year.  This is the link I found for it.  http://www.catholicculture.org/culture/liturgicalyear/activities/view.cfm?id=545 


I realize I am a day late and a dollar short with this next link, but I wanted to post it before I forget to.  Did you know that Thanksgiving was Catholic?  Neither did I!  This was shared also by my dear friend Nancy, and so I am excited to share with all of you.  Personally, I am going to be printing it out!!  http://www.traditioninaction.org/History/B_005_Onate_Thanksgiving.html


Lastly, may I recommend checking this out.  Another blog I do recommend.  It's how to (possibly) get a holy card from the pope. :)  How cool is that?!!?  Even if you don't get anything back, how lovely to be able to send His Holiness a Christmas greeting!! :)  http://romans8v29.blogspot.com/2008/11/how-to-get-holy-card-from-pope.html   And yes, we are totally doing this. :)

Thursday, November 17, 2011

The Holy Father on our talents & mission in life

I can't help but share this. :) Wonderful!!


Pope Benedict XVI used his Sunday Angelus address Nov. 13 to remind people that God has given everybody both talents and a mission in life.

“God calls all men to life and bestows him with talents, while entrusting him with a mission to accomplish,” said the Pope from the window of his Apostolic Palace to the crowds gathered below in St. Peter’s Square.

“It would be foolish to think that these gifts are due to us, just as our failing to use them would be a dereliction of the goal of our very existence.”

The Pope drew his observations from Sunday’s Gospel passage from St. Matthew in which Jesus tells the parable of the master who goes on a long journey and gives talents to three servants. Upon his return, two have invested their talents and provide an enhanced return while the other does not and is condemned as “wicked and slothful.”

Pope Benedict said the passage should remind everybody of the “transience of earthy existence,” given that “our final destiny” and “meaning of life” is “death followed by Final Judgment.”

The third servant lost sight of this, he said, and “behaved as if his master would not to return, as if there was not a day when he would ask him to account for his activities.” To refuse to use our gifts or from embarking on our mission “would be a dereliction of the purpose of their (our talents’) existence.”

Given that the Apostle St. Paul reminds us that the Lord will call us to account “like a thief in the night,” the Pope advised that we should live “in an attitude of watchfulness,” waiting for the second coming of Christ “in the constant memory of his first coming.”

The Pope then quoted from his 6-7th century predecessor, Pope Gregory the Great, who said that the primary virtue that needs to be preserved and enhanced throughout life is love—both love of friends and enemies.

“If one lacks this virtue, he loses all good that he possessed he is deprived of the talent he received and is thrown out, in darkness,” warned Pope Gregory.

Pope Benedict said that “only by practicing charity, can we also take part the joy of our Lord,” adding that “the Virgin Mary is both an active and joyful teacher supervising our path to union with God.”

Summing up his thoughts in his address to English-speaking pilgrims after the Angelus, the Pope said that the words of Sunday’s Gospel call us to “an ever deeper conversion of mind and heart, and a more effective solidarity in the service of all our brothers and sisters.”

“Upon you and your families I invoke the Lord’s blessings of wisdom, joy and peace!”



Read more: http://www.ewtnnews.com/catholic-news/Vatican.php?id=4350#ixzz1dzH7Ib00

The Holy Father on our talents & mission in life

I can't help but share this. :) Wonderful!!


Pope Benedict XVI used his Sunday Angelus address Nov. 13 to remind people that God has given everybody both talents and a mission in life.

“God calls all men to life and bestows him with talents, while entrusting him with a mission to accomplish,” said the Pope from the window of his Apostolic Palace to the crowds gathered below in St. Peter’s Square.

“It would be foolish to think that these gifts are due to us, just as our failing to use them would be a dereliction of the goal of our very existence.”

The Pope drew his observations from Sunday’s Gospel passage from St. Matthew in which Jesus tells the parable of the master who goes on a long journey and gives talents to three servants. Upon his return, two have invested their talents and provide an enhanced return while the other does not and is condemned as “wicked and slothful.”

Pope Benedict said the passage should remind everybody of the “transience of earthy existence,” given that “our final destiny” and “meaning of life” is “death followed by Final Judgment.”

The third servant lost sight of this, he said, and “behaved as if his master would not to return, as if there was not a day when he would ask him to account for his activities.” To refuse to use our gifts or from embarking on our mission “would be a dereliction of the purpose of their (our talents’) existence.”

Given that the Apostle St. Paul reminds us that the Lord will call us to account “like a thief in the night,” the Pope advised that we should live “in an attitude of watchfulness,” waiting for the second coming of Christ “in the constant memory of his first coming.”

The Pope then quoted from his 6-7th century predecessor, Pope Gregory the Great, who said that the primary virtue that needs to be preserved and enhanced throughout life is love—both love of friends and enemies.

“If one lacks this virtue, he loses all good that he possessed he is deprived of the talent he received and is thrown out, in darkness,” warned Pope Gregory.

Pope Benedict said that “only by practicing charity, can we also take part the joy of our Lord,” adding that “the Virgin Mary is both an active and joyful teacher supervising our path to union with God.”

Summing up his thoughts in his address to English-speaking pilgrims after the Angelus, the Pope said that the words of Sunday’s Gospel call us to “an ever deeper conversion of mind and heart, and a more effective solidarity in the service of all our brothers and sisters.”

“Upon you and your families I invoke the Lord’s blessings of wisdom, joy and peace!”



Read more: http://www.ewtnnews.com/catholic-news/Vatican.php?id=4350#ixzz1dzH7Ib00

US archbishop explains use of new translation outside of Mass :: Catholic News Agency (CNA)

US archbishop explains use of new translation outside of Mass :: Catholic News Agency (CNA)

Friday, November 11, 2011

I’d have 20 babies if I could…

Okay. So I don't know if I'd have 20. But I would LOVE to have had more children. The Duggars are such a beautiful family. And the nasty things people have written is just shameful!! The blogger who wrote this expressed it perfectly!!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Christmas Plum Pudding and Figgy Pudding Recipes

Christmas Plum Pudding and Figgy Pudding Recipes:

'via Blog this'

Never Alone.. A Season of Changes...

So I've not posted in weeks.  We all have highs and lows...  and honestly I didn't think I had a blessed thing to say or tell anyone.  I still don't.  But this Autumn for me has been a season of changes.

I am not perfect.  No one is.  The only One who was ever perfect was Jesus, and they crucified Him!!   What I learned is that I cannot be every 'thing' to every person.  I can't live my life and make my family live their lives, (us a family unit), based on someone's else's not-so-humble opinion or ideas, or trying to make me feel that we just don't measure up... Baloney.  This isn't junior high.  I am a grown woman with my own home, husband, kids, pets, responsibilities..  my own problems, likes, dislikes, wants, needs, opinions, ways of doing things... and the list goes on.  I may not be holy enough to suit some people.  But I don't care... I am not going to try and please and "measure up" to what any other person thinks I ought to be, or be doing.  All I need, is to please God.  So if I am pleasing God, why do I care if someone else approves or not?

Looking for someone to share with... a place for us to 'fit' and have 'friends' who believe as we do was a simple as going to mass. :)  So we've changed from one mass to an earlier one.  More kids, more homeschoolers, more families with kids my youngest daughters age.  More like minded ladies who don't look at me funny for wearing a veil.

A while back, in desperation and loneliness, I joined us up with a secular homeschool group.  The group had wiccans in it, and people who were part of "alternative" "lifestyles".  And nearly all of them (most likely ALL of them actually) have a complete opposite belief system of what we have.  Such as pro-choice, etc.  I kidded myself into thinking that these families would accept us 'despite' our Catholic faith, and 'allow' us to participate in their field trips and outing.  So I signed us up. 

I thought over and over how I would react when my youngest wants to go over and play at a new friends house who is wiccan.  I considered how another family who could possibly end up friendly with us could inadvertently lead us away from God.  Maybe it would get ugly.  Maybe my daughters would meet these 'secular' kids and think they are 'cool', and want to be like them and 'hang out' with them.  So with these thoughts whirling in my head over many weeks, offers of field trips and so forth poured from this group.  And I found myself making excuses every single time as to why we 'couldn't' go.   The truth of the matter is that I knew in my heart of hearts that we didn't belong there, and I knew it was wrong.  So, yes... I unsubbed us from the group.  We had no business there in the first place.  I did know better.  I am hoping this will teach me not to choose that way again.. no matter how lonely I feel.

So now we are all signed up with a couple of local Catholic homeschool groups.  And we have field trips and play days coming up.  Loneliness gone.  

Now here's the funny part...

It's not the being in the homeschool group that's made us "not lonely" any more.  It's the sense that God knew what we/I needed... I tried to go it alone, and then He provided the perfect solution and laid it right in my lap, tied up in a fancy bow. :)   My goofy problem was not trusting Him.  Good thing that He has a sense of humor.  He'd have to, to make someone like me. :)

We are all earthen vessels.  "Cracked pots" is more like it. :)  But we all contain this beautiful, not-of-this-world treasure.  The Holy spirit!!  

Jesus is the best friend I ever had.  I don't know why I traipse out, looking and wondering.  I am such a dork sometimes!  All I need is to trust Him.  Because with Him, we are never alone.  

+JMJ+