Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Happy Feast of Saint Thomas Aquinas!

Found this on Catholic Vote's Facebook page, can't help but share:

I knew switching parishes (and patrons) back in April of 2011 was a fantastic idea!

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

NAS: All the Babies and Children!

Do you have children in your life? What is your relationship with them like? Do you have godchildren, and how do you form a relationship with them? Does having children in (or not in) your day-to-day life make you feel happy, wistful, or wary (of having your own someday)? 
Thanks to Lindsay!

love this pic from Jen, so borrowing for the day!
I've been looking forward to this topic since coming back from the break - and then I just chilled on the couch last night (and Monday) instead of writing because I'm tired of computers most of the time!  But anyway - the children are my favorite topic!

When I was a little girl all I wanted to be when I grew up was a mom or a teacher.  I was always playing house with my baby dolls (most of them are still in my parent's attic) and pretending to be a mommy.  I still look forward to the day when I can be a mom and have lots of little ones running around my house!

Lucy B, one of the many kiddos on my favorites list!
Until then though, I try to surround myself with lots of kiddos to hang out with.  I love hanging around Xavier, Thaddeus, Emma, Lucy, Silas, Shepherd, Riley, Landon, Mark, Luke, Rhett, Patrick, Isaac, and all of the little ones who come into my office.  I really enjoy being around little ones and these ones in particular like being around me.

It warms my soul when I go to Lisa's and see little ones waiting looking out the window.  Then they run to greet me out in the driveway and bring me inside.  The little ones can't wait to tell me about what their siblings are doing, how old they are, and cuddling while watching a movie or just hanging out.

I loved the month I spent living at Erica's with the twins.  Now they always give me the biggest smiles when I'm over for a visit.

Riley & Landon, their mom is
even a blogger!
And I have my godson, Shep, who is the cutest thing (and going to be a big brother soon!).  I can't believe Devon and J picked me to be his godmother (and godfather, it's just me).  We're working on traditions for his Baptism Day - this year was hard since it's just 15 months, but we did renew Baptismal Promises and light the candle!  Next year when words are on our side, we might get a shouting 'I DO'!!

Shep, of course!  He has a blog too!
Awhile ago I read an article from Verily about what married people can do to minister to single people and the reverse.  In an effort to take advantage of my life and have a servant's heart for my friends, I am making a great effort to offer my extraordinary (well, ordinary, really) baby-sitting services to my friends.  I love visiting with them and their kiddos.  I also know they don't get a lot of great nights out with their husbands, or even a chance to have an adult conversation with being interrupted or listening for the kids in bed.  It's literally the very least I can do - and I enjoy doing it so much.

For Christmas I sent an email to a friend offering 'a small gift' (ie: my baby-sitting).  She was so moved that I would offer free baby-sitting.  I wasn't able to deliver before Christmas because I got the flu (yuck) but made good on my offer last Saturday.  I had such a good time with her boys.  Her youngest is very attached to her, so I was a little worried, even as they were getting ready to leave that he would be put to bed and just have to 'cry it out' since momma wasn't there.  But as they walked out the door he nonchalantly said "bye momma."  To go to bed, I rocked him - sang a little, and was praying the rosary - asking Mary to be the mom he needed to settle down - and he went to sleep.  She said he asked for me in the morning.  The 17 month old who doesn't have that many words!  I'm no one special, and I see her boys so infrequently that I can't imagine they remember who I am - but they do.  

All of my friends who allow me to be part of their children's life are gifts from the Lord to fill this deep hole in my heart that wants to be a mother.  So I will continue to make an effort to offer myself as baby-sitter.  Next holiday is Valentine's Day - drawing names for who wins!

As always thanks to Jen and Morgan for hosting the Not Alone Series - check out Jen's for the link-up this week and all the other ladies!

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

NAS: Looking Into 2015

How are we going to make 2015 different than last year? What goals are you planning/making to be more YOU this year? These can be goals can be personal growth, spiritual life, physical/health, or even your love life! Maybe you don't have concrete ones yet, but it helps to talk them out and get motivated!

Well I don't have a ton of concrete 2015 goals and also feel like I've already discussed them on this little blog a few times (here and here), but not explicitly so I will outline a few things.

1. I want to make a greater effort in deepening my friendships.  Sometimes I can get kind of lazy in friendships and don't make a good effort in keeping in touch, getting together often, or sharing important things - keeping good friendships closer to the surface rather than revealing myself.  To help achieve this goal we are beginning First Saturday Dinners - a time for us all (ladies, spouses, and kiddos) to get together, catch up on the past month, enjoy some good food, and become better friends.

2. I want to eat better.  Not a fad diet (although I feel like that's what I've embarked on a little bit this January), but overall less processed food, minimum sugar (yes desserts but also processed sugar), and more well-rounded.  I'm on Day 9 of my first Whole30 and I feel great.  I haven't decided yet how I will integrate the Whole30 principals back into my regular diet, but cannot see myself going completely paleo.  If I'm hungry for a pancake, I'm going to eat a pancake, not an alternative version.  If you want to follow along with my journey of dinners, hop on over to Instagram!

3. I had two things on my list to accomplish before I turn 30 in just 2 months (literally from today) and I did one of them today!  First on the list was to buy new undergarments - my socks are pretty great, but the other garments all need to be replaced.  With today's order to Hanes that is being accomplished.  They will arrive in 2 to 3 days!  Second on the list is to replace a pair of brown clogs I have that are literally falling apart.  The soles are still in good condition, but the top fake leather is peeling off and makes them look just awful.  I think I've picked out my new pair though - so next month I will bite the bullet and embrace my new shoes!

4. Spiritually and in my "Love Life" (whatever that actually is) I want to trust more.  Trust more in the Lord, in the process, embrace the journey - all of those sort of cliche things, but true things.  I want to pray like I really believe God is answering, and recognizing how He is answering my prayers.  We will see how that goes...

Well that's it for me, check out Morgan's for more 2015 ideas from all the ladies and Jen for next week!  

Friday, January 9, 2015

7 Quick Takes Friday ... January 9th

The first week of work in 2015 has been long ... very long.  All of the problems we had before I left with the facilities are all still happening.  We cannot seem to solve our HVAC problems and intellectually I know that it's not my fault.  However, it feels like I just cannot get this problem solved and it's my failure.  So hopefully tomorrow when I get it it's nice and warm in our office and only one building is a problem child.

This Sunday (and Tuesday for that matter) we celebrated the Three Kings and the Epiphany!  It's such a fun day - usually I move my wise men closer and closer as this day comes closer, but this year I had all of my nativities around the house and since I was only home for a few days before the celebration, they all stayed put.  But having three sets of wise men is very exciting!

And yes, one of my wise men is missing his head,
has been for years!

I started my first Whole30 on Monday.  It's been going pretty great so far.  I did have a 'crumb cake' craving when a woman brought me a home made, traditional polish cranberry crumb cake.  I did resist even though it was on the kitchen table at work all day long!  So far I've had some pretty fun meals and interesting items. It's forcing me to be more creative that 'pasta, chicken, and salad' for dinner.  I appreciate that a lot and as I integrate the dairy, grains, and legumes back into my diet, I'm going to keep up the creative dinners - even more than before I started.

DINNERS (lunches are salads or left overs usually)
Day 1: Steak, Roasted Sweet Potatoes, Mushrooms & Tomatoes
Day 2: Sweet Potato Hash, Two Eggs, Greens & Chicken
Day 3: Butternut Squash & Cranberries roasted, Scrambled Eggs & Ground Beef, Avocado, Greens, Salsa, and Pea Sprouts
Day 4: Pork Chops, Applesauce, Roasted Cauliflower Rice, Avocado

All quite adventurous!

It was so much fun this week to read every one's post in the Not Alone Series about an average day.  I loved to see inside the lives of the girls who work in offices, are nurses, and how some get up at 4:08 in the AM!  Many are able to attend Daily Mass and all make time for prayer throughout the day.  I'm such a fan of this community that Morgan and Jen have helped us to create.  I feel supported by these ladies and am so grateful for them in my life!  Keep on writing ladies!  See you next week for 2015 goals and expectations.

I saw this video on this blog earlier today and just could not help but smile!  And nod in agreement with her reflection on the situation.  The right guy at the wrong time is the wrong guy.  Every time.  It's always good to get a reminder!

We had our FIRST First Saturday dinner at my place on Saturday and good times were had by all who came.  It was so much fun to eat, play games, enjoy the little kiddos, and just catch up!  I'm so looking forward to next month!

Someone posted this picture of some pretty fun bottles of wine - looking forward to searching for these ones after my Whole30 is over!

For more Quickity, Quick Takes, check out the gang with Kelly over at This Ain't the Lyceum!
See you next week, or stop by this week for more musings and antics!

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

NAS: A Day in the Life

It's 2015 and Tuesday so that means that we are back at the Not Alone Series!  A huge thanks to Jen and Morgan for hosting and for helping all of us ladies gather together to remember that we aren't broken, we aren't alone, and we are loved by God.

Let's get back in the swing by sharing what our typical day is like! Tell us however you like, minute by minute or a blurb about your day! Be sure to answer these questions: 
- What is your favorite part of your day?
- What is your least favorite part of your day?
- Are you making any changes to your daily routine now that the new year has begun?

Well my typical day use to be not so typical, but then I took a huge leap and got a new job that is a lot eaiser to have a routine that is pretty set.  I am someone who loves routine, I crave stability, and although I can make changes into my routine, they have to be determined by me to stick.  So a typical day?

I set my alarm to go off at 6:46am, I get out of bed to turn it off and crawl back in for two more snoozes before rolling out on my knees for morning prayer.  Usually my next step is coffee, but since I just started a Whole30 yesterday, this has become a morning tea.  Shower, getting ready, reading, praying, watching some tv, getting my lunch together and leaving the house around 8:50am.

I get to work by 9am, go to Daily Mass at 12:15pm, and work until 5pm.  

After work I basically do the same things, just sometimes in a different order.  Cook Dinner, do a few yoga videos, watch some tv, read...  In the evenings this year I have a Living Your Strengths Small Group on Tuesdays beginning tonight for 6 weeks.  On 1st & 3rd Wednesdays I lead a Spirituality Group for young adults at one of my favorite bakeries, Amelie's.  

I usually go to bed by 11, sometimes earlier, depends on how tired I am.  In the midst of all that, I try to take some time to be quiet, a rosary (usually in the car), and maybe some social media mixed in.

My favorite part of the day is from noon to 1pm when I get to attend Daily Mass.  This has been a pretty long habit of mine that I don't really remember why I began, but now I cannot even imagine stopping.  I think it began in college when I was the sacristan a few days a week one semester and then I just found that it was the only real way to keep some semblance of peace in my heart and soul.  I've been very blessed to work at places where this is possible, churches with good Mass times - the 12:15pm is a beautiful thing!

Is it bad to say "waking up" is my least favorite part of the day?  It's not that I don't want to get started on the day, but that my bed is so comfortable and lovely, I just love to snuggle up in there!

For the New Year, I am not really changing my routine except for the things that I'm eating.  With the Whole30, I'm trying to kick a pretty severe sugar addiction.  One cookie is never enough, I can always justify one more, just one more.  I'd also like to see if the lack of dairy helps with the acne on my face and the no gluten maybe gets me on a better track to eat more veggies and good for me things rather than filling up on pasta.  A nutritional re-set for my body.

We shall see - 2 days down, 28 days to go!  I'll have to choose which of these new habits will be staying and which foods I'll integrate back in to my diet after the 30 days are complete.

See you back here next week for a new topic, not sure what it is - but Jen's got the info since she's hosting, Morgan's supporting!

Happy Tuesday!

Friday, January 2, 2015

7 Quick Takes Friday ... January 2nd

SUPER excited about this logo ... since it was my entry that won!!! YEAH!  
Thanks for visiting over here if you're just checking out the girl with the cool graphic design (that about as awesome as I get)!  Hope you stay awhile!

It's been a rough couple of weeks, so I abandoned the blogging effort in loo of other exciting activities like sleeping, temperature reducing, nose blowing, medicine taking, funeral attending, and then the glorious time of family visiting sandwiched in between lots and lots of driving and Christmas & New Year's Celebrating!  So now that I'm healthy, it's 2015, and Friday, I'm back to link up with Kelly over at This Ain't the Lyceum for 7 Quick Takes.  I make no resolutions to be back on a regular basis, but I have a feeling that practicing my writing skills and showcasing my amazing photography are going to be habits I work on for 2015.  Maybe!

I was able to spend 10 days home in Saint Marys for Christmas with my family.  My little brother even spent most of that time at home with me as well.  I was happy to have the whole family together and even spent a lot of time with my older brother and sister as well.  It was good to be home, to share meals, laughter, and even a painting I made for my parents.

The leaves are maps from where we all live:
Charlotte, NYC, Pittsburgh, & Elk County.
Before we dropped him off at the bus stations, mom, Nate, and I went to one of my favorite restaurants ... The Cracker Barrel.

My home parish was our home for Mass this past week and being there at Christmastime is my favorite.  They have two beautiful Christmas Trees in the Sanctuary that are decorated the weekend before Christmas by the children of the parish.  They are absolutely beautiful!

And the manger is always gorgeous.  When I was a kid, the priest who was stationed there had an eye for art and created a manger scene that took up the entire back wall of the Church and even had flowing water and real fish.  Not sure how many fish were in the stream in the desert when Christ was born, but it was still amazing.  So many intricate details to see!  It's a little smaller now, but still beautiful and the memories of those days are revived each year.

There were so many fun gifts given out when Santa distributed gifts, but one of my favorites made these cute and delicious cookies!

My last full day in Saint Marys looked like this - frankly there was nothing resembling winter the entire time I was home except for some cold nights and one or two rainy evenings.  Then when I woke up, ready to leave on Wednesday, this greeted me.

For New Year's Eve, these lovely ladies and I had a great time out in Arlington!

A New Year filled with great friends is this gal's dream!  One of this year's resolutions / goals / will happens is going to be more friend get togethers.  We'll be doing dinner First Saturdays and the First one is this Saturday at my place, so that's pretty exciting!

Then to celebrate Mary, Mother of God and Consecration to Jesus through Mary day for me, we went to Mass at the National Basilica Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in DC (really close to where I lived in the summer of '06) for Mass, prayer time, and touring.  It's even more beautiful that I remembered!

All of the mosaics are amazing, but this ceiling was
quite striking. 
The Christmas Trees and poinsettias were
absolutely stunning!
Let us consecrate ourselves forever to your
Immaculate Heart
Our Lady of Missions, pray for us.
The grandeur of this Basilica in comparison
to the smallness of myself.

For more Quickity, Quick Takes, check out the gang with Kelly over at This Ain't the Lyceum!
See you next week, or stop by this week for more musings and antics!

Friday, December 12, 2014

7 Quick Takes Friday: December 12th

What this post was going to be called: "Things You Learned in 2nd Grade and then Forgot (probably)"

I think about these things a lot, probably more than I should.  Mostly every time I'm at Mass and am distributing communion.  Last week at our young adult Spirituality Group we were discussing something about how to receive communion regarding the communion rail at a neighboring parish we were going to be going to Adoration the following week.  It was then solidified that there are a LOT of things we were taught in 2nd grade when we first received communion that we were expected to retain!  There is no other time when this happens in our lives.  You're told something at the age of seven.  Then never reinforced again, not really.  Some Religious Education classes talk about the big things again, but since you learned it in 2nd grade, you don't need to really learn it again because there's more stuff to learn.

I'm reminded of these things each time I distribute communion during Sunday Mass.  So now I'm collecting my wisdom, passing it along, and using Kelly's SQT Link-Up as my platform, like always using the ole' blog and my four readers to Change the World!

As a note if you are thinking this is in any way being irreverent to the Eucharist, know that I have a great devotion to the Eucharist and am a Daily Communicant.  These are the practical things to laugh about and learn from - they will make a difference!

So here are my Seven Quick Takes for this week!

If you receive communion in the hand, put one hand on top of the other, creating a small table / altar to receive the Lord on. Do not, and I repeat, do NOT, grab the host with your fingers.  Let the Priest or EMC (Extraordinary Minister of Holy Communion) place the host in your hand.  Do not put both hands beside each other leaving the choice of which hand to use to the EMC, they will inevitably always choose the opposite one and the host will be thrown from one hand to the other in a feeble attempt to right the wrong.  So place your hands palms up, one on top of the other, typically the 'dominate hand' on bottom.  After the host is placed on your hand, use the bottom hand to place the host in your mouth.  Don't just raise your hands up to your mouth - you don't raise the plate to your mouth when you're eating at home, right?  Right!

If you receive communion on the tongue, be aware of a few things.  First, you should in fact stick your tongue out.  I know it might seem weird, but it's not - we are trying to in fact place a small wafer on your tongue without having to reach our fist into your mouth.  A priest in Brazil told us your tongue should extend past your lower lip.  Open your mouth, don't turn your head down so it's like trying to put a token up into a slot.  It'll be easier to everyone, I promise.

Remember it's your option / personal preference for you to receive on the tongue or in the hand except if you're at a Latin Mass in the Extraordinary Form.  Then all are to receive kneeling (if you're physically able to) at the Altar Rail (or kneeler provided) on the tongue.  And you don't have to say "AMEN", the priest distributing communion does that for you.  As a side note, when receiving communion at a Novus Ordo Mass, say "AMEN"!

Oh and also in the Vatican, all are expected to receive on the tongue, the more you know!

A little more serious for a second, you should fast for one hour before receiving communion.  One hour, every time - from all food and drink except that which is medically necessary.

This includes GUM, yes GUM!  You shouldn't be chewing it in Church, on your way to communion, or while you have Jesus in your mouth.  Yeah - I mean it, Jesus and Gum don't go together.  Spit it out before Mass - preferably at least one hour before communion!

At our parish we have really long pews, so this is even more important - you even have to go around a corner ... so be sure to put up your kneeler before going out of your pew to communion.  Otherwise, the person behind you will presume you did this small courtesy and practically break their shin on the way to receive Jesus or on the way back when they are trying to be all holy and pious.  So, thanks in advance for helping a gal out, not that I've ever had bruised shins or anything!  

Whenever you enter or exit the pew at the beginning and end of Mass (not every time during Mass) you should genuflect on your RIGHT knee.  That's right, your right knee!!!  Not your left.  Always your right!  If you're trying to be 'right' then you'll remember to genuflect on your 'right' knee to the one and right Jesus!

And while we're at it, we are genuflecting to Jesus in the Tabernacle, NOT to the back of the Church, your brother, the center of the Church.  But Jesus!  So face him when you go down, all the way down, to the right knee, not anywhere else.  It's SUPER awkward when you're just sitting there and all of a sudden someone genuflects facing you, right into your face - and I'm already a bit of a drama queen, no need to do anything to feed that ego!  Leave the genuflecting to Jesus and not the people!

Happy feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe!  Have an excellent Friday!

For more Quickity, Quick Takes, check out the gang with Kelly over at This Ain't the Lyceum!