Tuesday, January 10, 2017


Yesterday after many whispered fervent prayers...Instagram pointed me in the right direction.

This picture posted by one of my favorite bloggers, Meg, led me to pull the same book off my shelf.

It says...

I AM WITH YOU AND FOR YOU. When you decide on a course of action that is in line with My will, nothing in heaven or on earth can stop you. You may encounter many obstacle as you move toward your goal, but don't be discouraged---never give up! With My help, you can overcome any obstacle. Do not expect an easy path as you journey hand in hand with Me, but do remember that I, your very-present Helper, am omnipotent.

Much, much stress results from your wanting to make things happen before their times have come. Once of the main ways I assert My sovereignty is in the timing of events. If you want to stay close to Me and do things My way, ask Me to show you the path forward moment by moments. Instead of dashing headlong toward your goal, let Me set the pace. Slow down, and enjoy the journey in My Prescense.

ROMANS 8:31; PSALM 46:1; LUKE 1:37

Friday, October 14, 2016

October = Holy Rosary

I have the rosary on the brain.

October is the month of the Holy Rosary, but I was compelled to start praying the rosary for the first time before I knew of the coincidence. It started week before last. I suddenly felt like giving it a shot in the middle of the day. Digging through my big ol' bag of books and literature, I located a pamphlet I had snagged from the church months and months prior. It was very well laid out and made all five decades go very smoothly.

A few days later, the urge hit again. This time I completed the prayer on my drive to retrieve my kids from school. It hasn't stopped there. Over the past two and a half weeks I have prayed the rosary five times. I'm not one to have patience with repetitive tasks, so I surprised myself by looking forward to this prayer time and not finding it tedious. In fact, it seems to go by rather quickly.

There are rosaries all over our house. The kids each have several that have been gifted to them. I received some beautiful ones myself since my conversion. Last month some family members took a trip to Europe and brought me back more rosaries from Milan. Every rosary has a memory or a person or an intention attached to it.

This one I purchased for myself. It stays on my bedside table. The large diameter of the beads and the overall size
make it easy to pray in the dark while falling asleep.

A sweet simple and light rosary from Spain, brought back by my father in law.
It's current home is the dining room table.

Another one from Spain and my father in law.
Shades of blue are my favorite and my husband and daughter had that in mind
when they gifted me with this rosary last Valentine's Day. It's place of honor is the windowsill
of the kitchen sink. I spend a lot of time in the kitchen and its easy to grab when I am needing
a minute to find my peace again.
This sweet crystal beaded one came from Milan and was picked out for me
by my grandmother in law. She is in her 80's and greatly enjoyed her trip to Europe.

And finally, my favorite one. Gifted to me by one of the dearest holy women in my life at
my baptism last Easter. It stays with me either in my car or in my bag and is the most used by far.

I'm fond of just keeping a rosary in hand during my daily prayers. It helps to center and focus my mind and body. As Catholics we believe in praying with our entire being, and just having something tangible to hold on to or orient yourself towards can enhance your prayer life greatly.

 Long long before I believed in our Lord, I still found comfort from religious objects. That should have been an indication that I was to experience a great change of heart and life and find my way home eventually.

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Link and Books

I've spent the last week both adoring and despising the iOS 10 update. I love the ease of use and all the amazing improved features, especially the cool things you can do with your photos now. I can't stand having to use my home button to open it up. Anyone else feel like the home button is going to straight wear out way too quickly now? And not to mention the pesky fact that I am having issues sending and receiving texts from non iPhones. Here is where you tell me to be quiet and grateful that I even have such a handy device at my disposal...

I've been reading... well, a lot actually. After finishing up some very entertaining shows on Netflix (Jane the Virgin anyone?) I have been plowing through my reading stack and vowing not to add anymore to it until I have reached the surface of my bedside table. Basically, I've got to read fast because I'm pretty sure I bought a bunch of new books on Amazon last night after a few glasses of wine. Don't Drink and Prime y'all!

Here is what I've made it through:

All The Pretty Things by Edie Wadsworth - This is a must read! I've mentioned before that Edie's blog was a big source of inspiration and comfort when I was feeling so very lost spiritually. Her memoir shows the beauty and grace of a life that could have easily gone a very different way. Appalachia characters are much like the ones from my own life. She tells her story beautifully and honestly.

Shirt of Flame by Heather King - This is the first thing I have read from Heather, but I immediately ordered another book upon finishing this one. She spent a year attempting to walk with Saint Terese and the resulting story is heartwarming and heartbreaking all at the same time.

The Catholic Catalogue by Melissa Musick and Anna Keating - Are you a new convert? Are you a cradle Catholic? Are you just now rejoining the church? And most importantly, do you love the ritual and tradition of the liturgical year? If so, buy this book immediately.
(You never really finish The Catholic Catalogue. I read it once through but keep it on hand for reference.)

I also just purchased this planner (does that count as a book?) from Catholic Sistas. Its a liturgical calendar that you can pre-order now to be shipped out early November. I love that it has upcoming feast days and events so that you can plan ahead. I have high hopes of really celebrating the liturgical year to its fullest.

And lastly, a few links to share with you.

I need this clutch. You need this clutch. This is the ultimate clutch.

Awwwww...this warms my heart.

I always buy my kids books for birthdays and Christmas...this list helps cover the boys.

Also, I'm back on Twitter under a new handle. Find me!

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Rotisserie Chicken At Home

You know those nights when you just want to run in your local mega-grocer/pharmacist/home decor/appliance/hardware/tire shop oh the list goes on, to grab a rotisserie chicken and make dinner a bit easier on yourself? Yes. You know those nights. But what if you don't live near said mega giant superstore? Or possibly you may live near the store which must not be named but you refuse to darken their doors for ethical reasons you attempt to keep to yourself. Or maybe you had absolutely no intention of leaving the house at all to begin with and just want dinner to be easier because sometimes things just need to be easy!

If you happen to have the foresight to know its going to be one of those nights, or maybe you came across whole fryers on sale and said young chicken has been chilling in your fridge, here is a super simple way to turn it into a gorgeous golden rotisserie foul that can be used in a number of ways.

Here is what you need to gather:

-One whole fryer (I like Smart Chicken brand but to each their own)
- 3 tbsp. ghee or butter
- 1 tsp. smoked sea salt (regular will also work) plus a little more for the inside of the bird
- 1 tsp. fresh ground black pepper
- 1 tsp. garlic powder
- 1 1/2 tsp. smoked paprika
- 1 tbsp. herbs de provence
- 6 medium sized sheets of tinfoil
- slow cooker

Now depending on the bird you buy, you might have to remove any innards and truss it yourself. Smart Chicken brand makes it easy...nothing to dig out and they have done the trussing for you. Rinse the bird in cold water inside and out and pat dry. Salt the inside generously. Truss the bird with baker's twine if needed.

Take your 6 pieces of tinfoil and turn them into 6 balls of tinfoil. This is going to elevate the chicken in the slow cooker. Place the balls in the bottom of your slow cooker.

Melt the ghee or butter in a small bowl and add all the seasonings. Mix this and flip your bird over breast side down. Use a basting brush to coat the underside of the chicken. Move the fryer to the slow cooker, breast side up, position it atop the tinfoil balls so that it is not touching the bottom of crock. Continue to coat the bird until you have used all your seasoned ghee.

Set your slow cooker to low if you plan on being gone all day. 6-8 hours on low should do it. Otherwise if its lunch time or later and you just realized that you need to do something about feeding these people who also inhabit your home, set it on high for 4-6 hours.

Once done, move the chicken to a cutting board and let it rest for about 10 minutes. From here you can do whatever you would normally do with your mega-mart bought rotisserie chicken. Feel free to play around with the seasonings. Making enchiladas out of your bird? Take out the herbs de provence and halve the paprika. Add in some cumin, chili powder, onion salt, and cilantro. You get the idea.

On this particular night I had no immediate plans for my bird. It was a Thursday evening and I knew my kids would be in and out with various activities, so I cooked it and set aside the breasts and drumsticks for them to grab when they were ready. Everything else I de-boned and stored in the fridge to use for tomorrow night's meal. And I may have been snacking while I was cutting it up. I've taken to observing the Catholic practice of no meat on Friday so while my kids and husband will enjoy this chicken with dinner tomorrow, I had to sneak some in tonight.  I'm thinking of making a yummy looking soup I found from Edie over at Life in Grace. I just finished her memoir, All The Pretty Things, and I highly recommend it. I'm thinking her Chipolte Pumpkin Soup sounds perfect for a Friday evening in Fall.

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

The Feast of St. Francis

Yesterday was the feast day of one of my favorite patron saints, St. Francis of Assisi. Finding myself faced with a day full of errands in the big city with my eldest offspring tagging along, I searched for a Mass service that we could attend while we were there. Unfortunately the big city isn't really all that big and the available Mass times were either early morning or evening, neither of which we could make it too.

Instead we settled for stopping by Immaculate Conception to say our prayers and find a moment of peace and calm in the middle of an otherwise hectic day. My sidekick that day is also my most reverent child. He loves visiting churches, he never balks at going to Mass, and his sense of wonder and curiosity about our faith make for an always interesting time traveling with him.

We entered through the side door, and paused for a moment to speak with the woman who was cleaning the vestibule. As I waited for Eli to return from the restroom a young woman came through the door. Wearing sweats and a tank top, hair pulled back, very thin, stress written across her face. She stopped and looked at the woman who had returned to her cleaning and then she focused on me. She forcefully asked if there was church today. I responded that there had been an early morning service already. Looking a bit disappointed, she glanced through the door into the chapel and asked if it was okay to just go inside and sit down. I assured her that yes, it was perfectly fine. Thanking me, she tentatively made her way into the chapel.

A few moments later, Eli and I entered and took a seat at one of the front pews. Pulling out my prayer book, I withdrew my St. Francis metal prayer card that I had gifted to myself around the time of my baptism. Kneeling and reciting it, I suddenly felt a very very strong urge to give it to the young woman. I finished the prayer, got up and made my way to the back of the church where she was sitting. I knelt down beside her and explained to her that today was the feast day of St. Francis and that this prayer was one of my very favorite prayers. I put the card in her hands and told her that I felt like she needed it. I saw her eyes glisten and a smile flutter across her lips as she quietly said thank you. I returned to my pew and completed my prayers.

I've learned that the Holy Spirit is the force that drives us to do and say things that might not be in our normal character. I saw myself in this woman. I remembered nervously walking into St. Agnes in the middle of a weekday and just sitting down in the back pew by myself for quite sometime. I don't know what brought her to the church in the middle of the day, but I do know that I was brought there at that exact time to share something with her.

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Full Communion

In such a strange twist of fate (or more accurately God's will) I was granted a dispensation to receive the sacraments of Confirmation and First Holy Communion on September 21, 2016.

My eldest son accompanied me to Mass and sat alongside me in the pew with my beautiful friend and sponsor, Christi.

I almost always read the daily readings but that morning I ignored my email containing them and decided to wait until Mass to hear them. Of course, our Lord graced me with the most perfect readings possible for my day of full acceptance into the Catholic Church. As well as it being the Feast of St. Matthew...my eldest son's middle name and Matthew being quite the sinner (which I can relate too maybe a little to well).

Ephesians 4:1-7
I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, beg you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all lowliness and meekness, with patience, forbearing one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call, one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of us all, who is above all and through all and in all. But grace was given to each of us according to the measure of Christ's gift.
This entire passage from Ephesians corresponds exactly with the divine sacraments I received this day. I was called to walk with Him, not only to walk, but to walk in a certain manner. One worthy of the calling. Called to be little and humble, loving and patient, and always striving to maintain peace. The passage speaks directly of the Spirit. Confirmation strengthens you with the gifts of the Holy Spirit and obliges you to walk your faith more diligently. For a bit of information on the Sacrament of Confirmation please check this short article out.

And his gifts were that some should be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, some pastors and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, until we all attain to the unity of the faith and the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ
This refers back to the grace given to us and the gifts we receive and what we are to do with them. Mainly to build up the body of Christ and the unity of His church through living the gospel and sharing it with others. You never know, you could be raising a future saint!

Matthew 9:9-13 
As Jesus passed on from there, he saw a man called Matthew sitting at the tax office; and he said to him, "Follow me." And he rose and followed him. And as he sat at the table in the house, behold many tax collectors and sinners came and sat down with Jesus and his disciples. And when the Pharisees saw this, they said to his disciples, "Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?" But when he heard it, he said, "Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. Go and learn what this means, 'I desire mercy, and not sacrifice.' For I came not to call the righteous, but sinners."
Matthew listened. He did not say, "Hold on a second, I've got to put my money in the bank, or tell my friend where I am going, or grab a coffee." He got up and followed. We don't know much about Matthew but he as a tax collector is grouped with the sinners. He heard the call and he listened and his life was forever changed. I love where Jesus says that those who are well have no need of a physician when he is asked why he is hanging out with sinners. He has no need to call the righteous for they are already where they are supposed to be. It is the sinners he is calling to walk in that worthy manner.

I've hand written these readings in one of my numerous journals along with my experiences and meditations on the day. It is one I will never forget. I was finally able to join the feast and quench the thirst and hunger that I have experienced my entire life.

Blessed is she who comes to the table of the Lord.

Thursday, September 15, 2016

The Joke Is On Me

This morning while scrolling through my feed reader and scarfing my breakfast, I came across this post by Sara Wilson. Her mention of author Laura Munson's book This Is Not the Story You Think It Is reminded me that I had read that very book sometime last year. At the time it was just the beginning of the problems I was to experience in my life and my marriage over the next year and a half.  I remember thinking in relief that, thank goodness my marriage wasn't going through that and I marveled at the strength of self the author showed. I loved the book, retained a lot of valuable wisdom from it, but then promptly threw all that wisdom out the window when things got truly difficult. It then became about me me me and me being right right right and him being wrong wrong wrong. It's a daily struggle to remember to ask yourself the question, "Do you want to be right or do you want to love?"

Sara shares some widsom from Rumi,
"Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing, there is a field. I will meet you there."

I detest being lonely. Something to do with way back in my childhood has hardwired me to be attention seeking (whether negative or positive), needy, and nearly incapable of being alone. I'm prone to apologize even when I don't think I'm in the wrong just to retain closeness. Of course that in turn leads to resentment. Or I might practice what is termed as "proximity seeking". Meaning I will strategically place myself close to the person even if the vibe is strained or I know they want distance just so I don't feel the physical pain of solitude. When I say the person, I really mean my husband. For the most part I am capable of acting like a normal human being in most other relationships. Although honestly there are always exceptions.

I explain all this to say...I don't want to go sit in the field and wait. I want to ask a million questions...will there be snacks in the field? will there be distractions? is there wi-fi available? can someone come sit with me and keep me company? can I take a nap while I wait? And then when my questions run out I want to bargain...please don't make me go to the field. i'll be good. i'll be chill. i'll do what you want just don't make me go be by myself until you decide to come meet me. 

Over the past year and a half I have walked out to the field, waited in the cold, grown tired of waiting and run back home. Only to return to the field and repeat the process over and over and over. There have been times he has come out to the the field himself and we have sat there together for a time. But it has yet to happen that we have come out of the field side by side.

Laura's book shows that she possesses a level of patience and tolerance and love that I have yet to master. When I really examine my actions and behaviors closely I see that my ego is still alive and kicking. I thought it was dying, that it had actually died, but evidently catlike in its qualities it has nine lives and no regard for anyone's life but its own. I've asked that it be taken to the firing squad for a quick execution but instead it has been sentenced to the cross for a slow death. And I am front row for its pain and pleading. Wanting to save it only to save myself the agony. There is no love in that.

While my husband and I have been fighting our own private battles we have been waging war against each other. We are exhausted. Fighting off what you perceive as the enemy on all sides takes its toll. It's hard to be rational from a place of exhaustion. It's painful to love when you feel you are under attack. It's difficult to recognize wisdom when your supplies have run out and the troops have deserted you. They realized that the battle is pointless but you are still there, firing at yourself and calling it a win.

One thing I've come to realize during my conversion is that I am actually never truly alone. While in moments of weakness I might forget but it always comes back to me. God is always with me. He is there through the pain. He is there in my marriage. He is giving me support and letting me fall according to His plan. And the joker that He is, He is making sure that I understand good and well that things happen on His timeline and not mine. The final step of me being able to come into full communion with the Church has now been put in my husband's hands. That's right. We need to have our marriage convalidated before I can receive all the sacraments. Basically...we have to get married again.

Pray for me...

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Preserving Your Child's Baptism

This post is the first in a series on decorating and keeping a Catholic home...

This post is going to be very simple and straightforward. When you are coming into the Catholic church as a convert or as a newborn, its going to come with some stuff. Yes, forgiveness of sin, the indelible mark of baptism, and whole new host of family in the form of parish members and all the angels and saints in Heaven. But it also comes with actual stuff in the form of certificates, baptismal candles and garments, gifts from all those new family members.

You might be tempted to toss it all in a nice keepsake box (or shoebox whatever your style may be) and pack it away to give to the darling child when they are ready to move out of your house. But why not display it in such a way that they have a daily tangible reminder of their faith and the forgiveness we receive daily from our Father? My children were all baptized into the Catholic church earlier this year at Easter Vigil. They received many lovely gifts and we took some awesome pictures of them with their Godparents. These aren't things I want to see stuffed in a box, but it was a bit of a dilemma figuring out how to display a stole and a candle in their already cluttered rooms. The problem was solved with a shadow box.

I think my daughter's display turned out the best. She had the most room on her walls and we had to include the picture I took of her Godfather snapping a group selfie.

This arrangement might not work for you, but try and think outside of the box (pun totally intended). Dedicate a shelf in your child's room strictly to the mementos they receive at religious ceremonies. Or if you don't feel that you have the room to display, purchase a large keepsake box or trunk to put smaller containers inside that contain those things received at Baptism, First Communion, Confirmation, and when they get married.

Monday, September 5, 2016

The Grass Might Not Be Greener But Sand Isn't Green

Some days I just want to chuck it all and run away.

Preferably somewhere warm and sandy.

This woman had the right idea. Albeit much less responsibilities and commitments than I.

Of course I would take the kids and most days I would take the husband.

I stepped out on my back porch this morning. The cool crisp pre-Fall air raising bumps on my skin. Expecting to relax and enjoy my vast backyard and all its inhabitants, I was instead treated to Jake breaks from a semi truck on the major highway nearby. I've often mentioned that we live in what I like to call a hamlet. A tiny village of no more than 500 within its village limits. Many more live spread out through the surrounding countryside. Although we technically live in town its definitely country town. Just enough greenery and wildlife and star gazing to trick you into thinking you are far away from civilization. Then you witness all kind of craziness on the road in front of your house and remember that nope...you are smack dab in the middle of a town and this town is far from civilized.

At this point I'm seriously contemplating the logistics of relocating.

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Life Block

You know how some people get writer's block? I feel like I have life block. Most likely a small case of writer's block as well but most definitely I feel stuck in life. Like I'm sitting there staring at each day and struggling to find the actions to complete it. Ideas and good intentions all languish in my brain and fail to come out through my actions. Currently life feels like an ever revolving hamster wheel which only pauses long enough to let people on and off but none of them are me. I would really like an exit pass as I am becoming quite dizzy and nauseous.

I'm missing my friends. Yet its through my own actions that my relationships with them are now strained. How do you fix that? How do you say sorry over and over again before it doesn't even mean anything or matter anymore? I feel like this is just a constant of my personality, to push people away after a certain period of time. My therapist says its just bad communication but I think its my intuitive nature going into overdrive. I pick up on the little cues and bolt before I can be pushed away myself.

The grass is always greener mentality is constantly with me but I know better than to believe it. Still that longing for something different leaves me empty and short tempered. Some days I am just fine with my lot in life, grateful and happy for the generous life I lead. I mean really...what do I have to be unhappy about? Other days I just wish I could pick up my whole family and plop us down thousands of miles away from here. Melancholy is quickly taking over, motivation is waning. I'm tired of it. Very very tired of it. I pray for contentment and wisdom. And mercy. Always always mercy and forgiveness for my ungratefulness. I've got to start looking at this blank page of a day and filling it to the brim. I've got to start loving the way I want to be loved. No one is going to do it for me. The prayer to St. Francis is probably a good place to start...