Thursday, February 27, 2014

Meatless Lenten Meal Plan

In our house, we observe meatless Friday all throughout the year, so it's not hard for us to do during Lent. I mean, it's hard, because we love meat, but it doesn't take any extra effort during this season. I thought I'd share with you some of our favorite meatless meals. During Lent, there are 7 meatless days, so I have provided 7 meals.

Clam Chowder + French Bread

I had some homemade clam chowder at a friend's house and she forgot to send me the recipe before I found my own over at All Recipes.

3 (6.5oz) cans minced clams
1c minced onion
1c diced celery
2c cubed potatoes (I like them to be 1/2" or so)
1c diced carrots
3/4c butter
3/4c flour
1qt half & half
2T red wine vinegar
1 1/2t salt
1/2 loaf Safeway French bread

Place the onion, celery, carrots, and potatoes in a large skillet and drain the clam juice into it. Add water to cover the vegetables and cook over medium-ish heat until they are niiiiice and tender. While those are a'cookin', melt the butter in a large saucepan (stock pot!) over medium heat. Whisk in the flour until it's smooth, then whisk in the cream and constantly stir until it's nice and thick and smooth. Then pour in your skillet ingredients and heat it all the way through, careful not to boil. Throw in your minced clams just before serving, or they will get tough. Who likes tough clams? Heat until the clams are warm, then put in your vinegar, and season with salt and pepper if desired. We often will serve this in French bread bowls, but other times we'll just eat it with French bread and dip! So yum!

(My Instagram photo)

Cheesy Vegetable Chowder + French Bread

I found this recipe on Pinterest last year just in time for Lent and it has got to be our favorite meatless meal! It comes from Lulu the Baker's blog.

2T butter
1/2c chopped onion
1c finely chopped carrot
1 celery stick, finely chopped (I use 3-4 sticks)
1T minced garlic (a couple cloves will do)
4c chicken broth -- This is where it gets meatless-tricky, so I use vegetable stock instead!
2 lg baking potatoes, peeled & chopped into little cubes
1T flour
1/2c water
2/3c milk
2c chopped broccoli (I use fresh, not frozen, and it's usually more than 2c!)
2c-ish shredded cheddar cheese (we like cheese, so we use a lot!)

-Melt zee buttah in a large soup pot. Add zee onion, carrot, and celery, and saute over medium-high heat until zee vegetables are tender. Add zee garlic and cook 2ish more minutes. Add zee vegetable broth and zee potatoes, bring to a boil, and cook until zee potatoes are tender. Mix zee flour with zee water, add to zee pot, and simmer until zee soup is slightly thickened. Add zee milk and zee broccoli and cook until zee soup is heated through. Stir in zee cheese and allow it to melt, then serve. (Sorry for all the 'zee's hehehe) We love love love Safeway's French bread, so we serve it with a lot of meals, as you can tell!

(My Instagram photo)

Broccoli Quinoa Casserole

I got this recipe from my friend Haley. This recipe is so rich in protein and it's so so delicious! Sometimes I think I should 1.5 the recipe because I can eat a whole lot ;) The original recipe can be found over at Eating Well...Living Thin's blog.

10oz can cream of broccoli soup
1/3c mayonnaise (I usually don't use this much)
2T milk
1 1/4c shredded cheese (or more, if you like cheese like I do!)
1/2t sugar
1/4t black pepper
2c cooked broccoli (I use frozen because sometimes it's just easier)
1 1/2c cooked quinoa.
freshly grated Parmesan cheese, for topping

Preparation of quinoa:
Combine 3/4c dry quinoa (rinsed, if it isn't already), 1 1/2c water and 1/4t salt in a small-ish pot. Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce to low once it's boiling, cover it, and cook it 18-20 minutes, or until fluffy.

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees! (The oven is always ready before I am, go figure.)
Coat an 8x8 baking or casserole dish with a non-stick substance, like a spray. In a large bowl, combine the mayonnaise, soup, milk, cheese, sugar, and pepper. Stir in your cooked quinoa and cooked broccoli. Make sure it's nice and combined so the cheese is allllllll incorporated...yum! Transfer the goodness to your prepared dish and sprinkle it with your Parmesan. Bake for 35-40 minutes, until it's bubbly and golden around the edges. Enjoy!

(My Instagram photo)

Mom's Chili + Cornbread

This is my mom's kind of 'wing-it' chili recipe.

1 (16oz) can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 (16oz) can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1 (16oz) can white beans, drained and rinsed
1 (16oz) can corn, drained
1 (16oz) can diced tomatoes (I like petite diced, that way the chunks aren't too large)
1 (16oz) can water
1-2T homemade chili seasoning *
1pkg Marie Callender's cornbread mix

*Homemade Chili Seasoning

1T chili powder
1/4t onion powder
1/4t oregano
1 1/4t cumin
1/4t garlic powder
1/4t crushed red pepper
1/4t paprika
1t salt
1t pepper

Combine ingredients and store in an air-tight container.

Throw all this in the crock pot, set on low for 8 hours, and run away. Once the 8 hours is up, come back to the glorious smell of chili in house! Make the cornbread according to the package and enjoy!

During non-Friday meals, I like to add a chicken breast or two!

(My Instagram photo...disregard the chicken!)

Copycat Olive Garden Night In (Fettuccine Alfredo, Garlic Breadsticks, and Minestrone Soup)

I got the recipe for the Alfredo sauce on All Recipes once again.

1/4c butter
1c heavy cream
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 1/2c grated Parmesan cheese
1/2c chopped parsley, if you so choose (I don't choose)

Melt the butter in a medium-ish pot over medium-low-ish heat. Add the cream and simmer for about 5ish minutes, then add the garlic and the cheese, and whisk quickly, making sure to heat throughout. Pour over your cooked fettuccine noodles. Noms!

For the breadsticks, I usually buy the Seattle Baking Company pre-made ones. I brush melted butter on them and sprinkle with garlic powder/salt (whatever you call it) and bake according to the package.

The minestrone soup recipe came from Food Network. It's a slow cooker recipe, so it's automatically my friend!

3c (Are you kidding me? Just put in all 4 cups from the box!) vegetable stock
1 (28oz) can diced tomatoes
1 (15oz) can white beans, drained
2 carrots, peeled and chopped
1 celery stick, chopped
1c onion, chopped
1t dried thyme
1/2t dried sage
2 bay leaves
1 medium zucchini, chopped
2c coarsely chopped fresh or frozen spinach (you could also use kale!)
4T grated Parmesan (I almost always forget this, but it's just for topping anyway)
2c cooked ditalini pasta (say what?!) I use elbows
salt & pepper to taste

In your slow cooker, combine the broth, tomatoes, beads, carrots, celery, onion, thyme, sage, bay leaves, and 1/2t each of salt and pepper. Slap on the lid and cook on low for 6-8 hours (my usual) or on high for 3-4 hours. About 30 minutes before the soup is finished cooking, add the pasta, zucchini, and the spinach. Cook the remaining 30 minutes, then remove the bay leaves and serve.

(My Instagram photo, minus the minestrone)

Mia Rogers' Pumpkin Apple Pancakes

I snatched up this recipe from ABC's The Chew back in my heavy television-watching days. These pancakes are a family staple, especially during Autumn!

1c flour
1/4c brown sugar
1 1/2t baking powder
1/4t salt
1/2t cinnamon
1/4t nutmeg
1/8t ginger
1 egg, lightly beaten
1T butter, melted
1c buttermilk
1/2c pumpkin puree (My favorite it Libby's)
1/3c peeled, diced apple

For the caramelized apple topping (I usually double this recipe because it's soooo good!):
1 apple, thinly sliced
1T butter
2T brown sugar

In a medium-ish bowl, mix together (sifter? Don't have one!): flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, and spices. In a smaller bowl, combine the egg, the melted butter, the diced apples, the pumpkin puree, and the buttermilk. Stir the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and let that sit for about 5 minutes. While this is happening, make your caramelized apple topping, by melting ye ol' butter in a skillet, adding the brown sugar and apples, and cooking (stirring) until the apples are soft and slightly golden. It says it takes about 8 minutes, but I've never timed it.

Scoop up about 1/3c of your pancake batter and pour it onto a hot griddle. Turn, as usual, when they start to bubble. When they're all finished, plate 'em, top 'em, and enjoy 'em!

P.S. Sometimes I like to add maple syrup and even more brown sugar on top!

 (My Instagram photo)

Easy Ziti

I got this recipe from my friend Christine, when I was looking to spice up my meal plan. Sometimes the same meals over and over and over get old!

16oz jar spaghetti sauce
1/2c ricotta cheese
1lb box ziti
1/2c shredded cheese blend

Preheat your broiler! In a large-ish bowl, mix your spaghetti sauce and ricotta thoroughly, so it's nice and smooth. Cook your ziti! Drain and stir it into your sauce/cheese mix. Pour into a 9"x13" baking dish and sprinkle with the cheese blend. Broil until the cheese is melted. Seriously easy!

(I'm lacking a photo of this meal, so here's Nora eating a cupcake on her first birthday!)

If you can't tell, I'm a huge fan of food. I love to cook for my family and always try new recipes. What are your favorite Lenten Friday meals?

Joy Comes in the Morning? A Story About Poop

Yes, it does! Despite what I am about to tell you, there has been much joy this morning. It's not that I went to bed weeping or anything, just stressed out and tensed up.

Nora is known for crying when she wakes up. Hannah, as I remember, has always been happy in the morning, except when we wake her up to go to Mass on Sunday mornings. I took my time getting out of bed this morning to get to the crying Nora. When I got to her crib, I saw what I thought was more puke. *hangs head* "I thought this was over?" I said. Then I looked to Nora to grab her and noticed it wasn't puke. No, it was poop. All over her back. Her shirt. Her pants. Her blanket. Oh dear!

I scooped her up out of her crib and started to disrobe her and she wasn't happy. There ended up being poop all up her back and on her arms. She wanted to sit down, but thankfully I got her to remain standing until I could clean up her back with wipes. (Note: when a mom has to use more than 2 wipes, it's bad...I used about 10 wipes!) I drew up the bath and she splashed around for a little bit then I cleaned her up and got her dressed. Man was that gross!

As I was rinsing the clothes and blanket off in the tub, I realized that I forgot to remove the bath toys from the tub. Yeah...

(Bath toys, bathing in the kitchen sink)

The joyful part of this story? I wasn't once upset and I didn't lose my temper! All I could do was laugh, which is good, because I haven't been able to do a lot of that as of late. Even though I failed in my attempt at the Our Lady Undoer of Knots novena, AND have fallen behind yet again in my online Bible study, I am still feeling particularly close to Our Lord, through praying the rosary and reading random Scripture. I've also had fantastic friends praying for me during these trying times.

(My much needed coffee in my favorite mug: SBC Level 4 Medium-Dark Rich blend, Organic Fair Trade...because it was the same price as the other stuff. And my French press, because I still don't have coffee filters, but it's better anyway, so who cares!)

Hoping to continue the joyful trend today and maybe read a few Psalms, including my favorite:

Psalm 30
A psalm. A song for the dedication of the Temple. Of David.
"I praise you, Lord, for you raised me up
and did not let my enemies rejoice over me.
O Lord, my God,
I cried out to you for help and you healed me.
Lord, you brought my soul up from Sheol;
you let me live, from going down to the pit.
Sing praise to the Lord, you faithful,
give thanks to his holy memory.
For his anger lasts but a moment;
his favor a lifetime.
At dusk weeping comes for the night;
but at dawn there is rejoicing.
Complacent, I once said,
"I shall never be shaken."
Lord, you showed me favor,

established for me mountains of virtue.
But when you hid your face
I was struck with terror.
To you, Lord, I cried out;
with the Lord I pleaded for mercy:
"What gain is there from my lifeblood,

from my going down to the grave?
Does dust give you thanks
or declare your faithfulness?
Hear, O Lord, have mercy on me;

Lord, be my helper."

You changed my mourning into dancing;
you took off my sackcloth
and clothed me with gladness.
So that my glory may praise you
and not be silent.
O Lord, my God,
forever will I give you thanks."

And as I finish this post, Nora has puked twice. Have a good day, everyone!

Monday, February 24, 2014

Sick Toddler Day and a New Novena

Yesterday was SO good to be back at our home parish! We had been at other parishes for a few weeks but we were finally able to attend Mass at our parish...seriously felt so good!

Hannah, my three-year-old, started vomiting in the afternoon, and it didn't let up. It's one of the grossest things to clean up, in my opinion. She went through several outfits and we've done a few loads of laundry, including the coveted electric blanket (which is now not working!!!) and are still trying to catch up. She puked a few times in her bed, warranting more laundry of the sheet variety. I think the final load is in the dryer. Our poor girl. It's painful when you can't really do anything for them. She seems better today (Mom and Dad are dragging from lack of sleep) but still hasn't eaten much. If you could offer up some prayers for her so she will fully recover, that'd be so wonderful! <3

A few of my friends (Tiffany, Cristina, and Emmy) are doing a novena to Our Lady Undoer of Knots starting today, and ending on Fat Tuesday! It's been a while (December!) since I've done a novena, so I decided I needed to join them. I will be focusing my intentions on those climbing platelets, and for emotional healing from my miscarriage. How can I pray for you? Leave me a comment if you'd like me to pray for you for something specific. I'll be praying on my favorite 'Autumn Rosary' that I made after my hospitalization last year. :) I know Tiffany also has one of these ;) as does my friend Teresa! Such beautiful colors for Autumn!

I've got a similar one (in gold) for sale here in my Etsy shop!

Well, since Hannah is feeling better, she would like me to paint her toenails! Such a girly girl ;)

Until next time...

"This then is the commandment, the statutes and the ordinances, which the Lord, your God, has commanded that you be taught to observe in the land you are about to cross into to possess, so that you, that is, you, your child, and your grandchild, may fear the Lord, your God, by keeping, as long as you live, all his statutes and commandments which I enjoin on you, and thus have long life. Hear then, Israel, and be careful to observe them, that it may go well with you and that you may increase greatly; for the Lord, the God of your ancestors, promised you a land flowing with milk and honey. Hear, O Israel! The Lord is our God, the Lord alone! Therefore you shall love the Lord, your God, with your whole heart, and with your whole being, and with your whole strength. Take to heart these words which I command you today. Keep repeating them to your children. Recite them when you are at home and when you are away, when you lie down and when you get up. Bind them on your arm as a sign and let them be as a pendant on your forehead. Write them on your doorposts of your houses and on your gates." Deuteronomy 6:1-9

Friday, February 21, 2014

A Platelet Rise and More Fr. Deo Gratias

Last night I received an email back from my hematologist's office, only to find out she is out for the week. I emailed the doctor back asking if another doctor could release my lab results to me instead, but for some reason he couldn't get it to work. He did, however, let me know that they were at 58K. 58K! That is a 20K jump in two weeks! The Anointing of the Sick worked! Thank you to all who have prayed and have been praying for me since August of last year. I am praying that they continue to rise back into normal range. That would be spectacular!

This morning was my regular Bible study day. I hadn't prepared for the lesson but still felt like going so I could listen to what others thought, and I will eventually get to fill out all the questions, just for me. As we were in our circle to begin our opening prayer, Fr. Deo Gratias walked in the door! I had to do a double-take. I heard he was in Seattle yesterday and now he was back in Tacoma today. He opened us in prayer with Our Father, then prayed for us in his native Swahili! He joined us at our table and had a lot of good things to say about our study, and sort of gave us a homily, which was so great to hear! We discussed a lot about forgiveness even when it's hard to do. (More of Hebrews 4:14-16) After the study was over, he wanted to get a photo of all of us together with him, so he could take it back to Tanzania and show everyone the new friends he made. A lot of us gave our cell phones to one person and she snapped a photo with all of them. I'm not sure, but it sounded like he might be back next week. If that's the case, maybe I'll bring my camera and a tripod so we can get a better photo.

An abnormally small group today, but we were indeed blessed by the presence of Fr. Deo Gratias! God is good!

Also after the study, my friend and fellow convert Susan, gave me a St. Jude holy card. She let me know she has constantly prayed for me and that St. Jude (her Confirmation saint) has interceded on her behalf several times! Such a wonderful saint!

"To be a Christian means to forgive the inexcusable, because God has forgiven the inexcusable in you." --C.S. Lewis The Weight of Glory

"The Creed links "the forgiveness of sins" with its profession of faith in the Holy Spirit, for the risen Christ entrusted to the apostles the power to forgive sins when he gave them the Holy Spirit." --CCC 984

Thursday, February 20, 2014

A Poem For My Baby Saint

Will I Know You In Heaven?

Will I recognize you, my sweet third child,
and will you recognize me?

Will you look like your sisters,
with light hair and dimples?

Or will you look completely different,
with dark features like me?

Do you miss me, as much as I miss you,
and is your heart breaking like mine is?

Even though I miss you my sweet baby,
know that I love you ever so much.

I can't wait to meet you when I leave this earth,
and embrace you as I do your sisters. 

Until then, please pray for me,
that I can hold it together for everyone else.

Love, Momma

I purchased this gorgeous Boy Angel painting mounted on wood from Flor Larios on Etsy. I also created this pocket rosary with garnet Preciosa Czech glass beads (for the month I lost the baby) and one sapphire Preciosa Czech glass bead (for the month I was due).

I also received this gorgeous sterling silver wing with birthstone charms in the mail today from my friend Bonnie at Birth Designs. I think it's necessary to carry a memento with me. This baby IS one of my children and should be recognized as so. This wing accompanies the names of my girls on their own tiny tags with their birthstones. God willing, if I should have more children, Bonnie will definitely be getting a call. Her work is beautiful,  meticulous, and thoughtful. Bonnie's website can be found here and her Etsy shop can be found here.

"My Lord, the baby is dead!

Why, my Lord--dare I ask why? It will not hear the whisper of the wind or see the beauty of its parents' face--it will not see the beauty of Your creation or the flame of a sunrise. Why, my Lord?

"Why, my child--do you ask 'why'? Well, I will tell you why.

You see, the child lives. Instead of the wind he hears the sound of angels singing before My throne. Instead of the beauty that passes he sees everlasting Beauty--he sees My face. He was created and lived a short time so the image of his parents imprinted on his face may stand before Me as their personal intercessor. He knows the secrets of heaven unknown to men on earth. He laughs with a special joy that only the innocent possess. My ways are not the ways of man. I create for My Kingdom and each creature fills a place in that Kingdom that could not be filled by another. He was created for My joy and his parents' merits. He has never seen pain or sin. He has never felt hunger or pain. I breathed a soul into a seed, made it grow and called it forth."

I am humbled before you, my Lord, for questioning Your wisdom, goodness, and love. I speak as a fool--forgive me. I acknowledge Your sovereign rights over life and death. I thank You for the live that began for so short a time to enjoy so long an Eternity."
--Mother M. Angelica from the EWTN website

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

This Week {Feb 17-21}

After the long weekend in Spokane, it's so good to be home! It took us 8+ hours to drive home, with a stop to chain-up the tires, and a stop to take the chains off. Anyway, good to be back into a routine of sorts!

Such an adventure, driving over Snoqualmie Pass!

I got my blood drawn this morning and will likely have the numbers tomorrow (if I'm hopeful, today) and I am praying the platelets jumped! After this trip, we jumped over to Vercillo's again. I bought some crucifixes and centers for some rosaries that I am designing, and also met a young Tanzanian priest named Fr. Deo Gratias. This priest is very traditional, as he was wearing a cassock! He was a very nice man and is on a mission to build a hospital in his hometown in Tanzania, because the closest one is very far away.

Currently reading:

As I mentioned this weekend, I started The Devil's Cup by Stewart Lee Allen

I'm also still reading After Miscarriage and An Irish Country Village.

Rosaries currently working on:

Reversible St. Francis/St. Anthony with bright neon green Czech glass beads and cobalt Czech glass beads.

I finished up this one-decade rosary with matte emerald Czech glass beads and a reversible Mary/Divine Mercy center. It can be purchased here in my Etsy shop!

This is a custom order, a variation on one I did before. It's the Swarovski 'Beachy' mix but with round beads instead of bicones, it has platinum Swarovski pearls, and an Our Lady of Grace center.

Verses that are speaking to me this week:

With the Lenten season quickly approaching, this verse is a good reminder for all of us to get to Confession so we are able to receive the Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist at Easter!

"Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast to our confession. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who has similarly been tested in every way, yet without sin. So let us confidently approach the throne of grace to receive mercy and to find grace for timely help."
--Hebrews 4:14-16

Speaking of the Lenten season quickly approaching, I have decided I am going to post the Sorrowful Mysteries on Ash Wednesday (I know a billion people have already done so) and write out the Rosary prayers for everyone, since the rosary is so near and dear to my heart! Look for that soon! Also, I will be posting 6 meatless meal options, ones my family will be using on Ash Wednesday and the Fridays during Lent. I've tried to come up with other meaningful things to do during Lent, but this is what I have decided to do.

Quotes that touch me this week:

"She longed greatly to go back to those dear merry days when life was seen through a rosy most of hope and illusion, and possessed an indefinable something that had passed away forever. Where was it now -- the glory and the dream?"
--L.M. Montgomery Anne of the Island

"Mother! Call her with a loud voice. She I listening to you; she sees you in danger, perhaps, and she -- your holy mother Mary -- offers you, along with the grace of her son, the refuge of her arms, the tenderness of her embrace...and you will find yourself with added strength for the new battle." --St. Josemaría Escrivá The Way

Now I need to get back to assembling all the new rosary orders, so have a blessed day!

Monday, February 17, 2014

The Story of a Long Weekend Away and Longing to Blog

My husband's family lives east of the mountains, so when there is a long weekend, there is a possibility we will go visit. This weekend is extra long, because he took Friday and Tuesday off. Let me tell you, it's so much better to do it this way than not really be able to relax and enjoy ourselves.

Saturday we spent hanging out (and I read a lot, AND I started yet another book), Chris's grandparents came over for lunch and the girls got their Christmas gifts (in February!) and I got FOUR CUSTOM ROSARY REQUESTS! What?! I also got one on Friday, so that's five in two days. All the parts have been ordered and I'm excited to get them all assembled and off to their new owners.

I also got this weird craving to blog on Saturday. I guess the bug is in me now! I decided to hold off until I got home, maybe make a few notes in my phone, and blog when I got home. I sit here, listening to my family snore, writing this because I just can't wait to do so until I get home. Saturday was, let's day, lovely and relaxing.

In the book about miscarriage that I am reading, I had read about the Book of Life at the Church of the Holy Innocents so I went and entered Baby E's name and will receive a certificate. I read that on the first Monday of every month, the 12:15 Mass is said in honor of all babies who died before birth. This is extremely comforting to me, knowing that all these people are praying for all the babies, mine included. 

"Hear my prayer, O Lord;
let my cry come to you!
Do not hide your face from me
in the day of my distress!
Incline your ear to me;
answer me speedily in the day when I call!

For my days pass away like smoke,
and my bones burn like a furnace.
My heart is struck down like grass, and withered;
I forget to eat my bread.
Because of my loud groaning
my bones cling to my flesh."
--Psalm 102:1-5

Sunday arrived and, per usual, we were running late for Mass in the morning. We met my best friend Jane at her parish in Spokane, and to my wonderful surprise, her mama was there, too! So great to finally meet this sweet woman who raised my best friend. Since it was cold and super windy, Chris dropped off the girls and I off in front of the parish so we could run in, and he parked the car. I didn't miss any of the readings this time, thankfully! Last time, we walked in during the Gospel reading, which was kind of embarrassing, but oh well, I tried! After Mass, we headed to The Ultimate Bagel instead of our usual Starbucks. I had this delicious Eggcellent (Canadian bacon, egg, and Tillamook cheese) on a garlic bagel and I wanted to eat like 5 of them! We chatted and caught up and it was all things lovely and wonderful! I miss her already and can't wait until the next long weekend!

We gassed up and headed north to Chewelah after that to visit his dad and family. (There was a need for caffeine, so we did stop for that!) It was great to catch up with them as well! The girls' Aunt Lysi gave them some toys she had outgrown, one of which was a clock **(more on this later). We headed back toward Spokane and had pizza for dinner then played a board game that the Kinyon boys played when they were kids. It was...interesting. I liked it but it was really hard to understand and I relied on the help of everyone, so eventually I just quit! I'll stick to The Farming Game or even Rail Barron next time.

It's Monday morning, and we have one more full day with the family. I don't know what is planned, but I'm sure it will be relaxing and fun!

**So, about that clock! It's probably a 1' diameter clock with Strawberry Shortcake on it, I think. It is a standard clock with hands and one hand for an alarm. The alarm setting got turned on at some point during the day, and come about 3:45am it goes off! A loud, annoying ringing of the hammer hitting both of the bells! I'm pretty sure both girls stayed asleep somehow, thank God! I'm thinking I'll be keeping the batteries out is this thing for a while...

"You formed my inmost being;
you knit me in my mother’s womb.
I praise you, because I am wonderfully made;
wonderful are your works!
My very self you know.
My bones are not hidden from you,
When I was being made in secret,
fashioned in the depths of the earth.
Your eyes saw me unformed;
in your book all are written down;
my days were shaped,
before one came to be."
--Psalm 139:13-16

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Anointing of the Sick and a Trip to the Catholic Bookstore

I got a call from the priest at our parish yesterday so we could reschedule my Anointing. I have had a rare blood disorder called Idiopathic Thrombocytopenia Purpura (ITP) since middle of last year. Basically, my blood is mostly normal, except I have extremely low platelets. When I was first hospitalized, I had 9K platelets, with the normal range being 145-400K. I was discharged with 100K and have been hovering between 30-40K ever since. Biweekly blood draws to see where I'm at, and constant prednisone in my body. It's annoying, and can be very dangerous if they get too low (below 30K). Platelets help clot your blood, so you could bleed severely if cut or even bleed internally. I'm thankful that God protected me during the time I didn't know I had this autoimmune disease. I am thankful to him that I am alive!

Today's Mass was the regular 9:00 am Mass with the school children. The girls and I sat in the very back pew and got too many glances our way when one of the girls screeched or started crying. I'm pretty sure all the kids thought that mine were cute, but I still felt a judging eye toward me. It was good to have an adult that I knew nearby, and she reassured me that I was fine and had nothing to worry about. I had been to another Mass with the school children before, but lucked out and got to drop off the girls at the nursery downstairs, with the ladies who watch them during our Walking With Purpose Bible study. Well the girls weren't too bad, and I received the Eucharist and the girls were blessed by Fr. Seamus.

We met Father at the back of the church after Mass was over and I received Anointing of the Sick, the last possible Sacrament I can receive. (I wish I had grown up Catholic so I could have received all of the Sacraments as a Catholic, but I'm thankful that my parents had me baptized as a baby, and that Chris and I wed in a Christian ceremony.) He blessed me with the oil on my forehead and the palms of my hands, prayed over me, my sins were forgiven (now I don't have to go to Confession for a while...KIDDING!) and he blessed the girls again. I left feeling more awake and with a heart on fire for Jesus!

Hannah wanted to go to the Catholic bookstore, Vercillo's, after Mass, and I agreed it was a good idea. I wanted to get some more holy cards, the non-laminated ones, for my Bible, and some more medals to wear, because you can never have too many of either of these things! While browsing, I also found Pope Awesome and Other Stories by Cari Donaldson, with whom I interact on Twitter and Facebook. So in essence, I know the author. Heh! The girls were having a hay day in the children's book section, and Nora kept picking up a book on the Holy Family, so I got that for the girls, too. At checkout, Regina, the employee (whom I saw at Mass just before!) gave me free Holy Face medals for our family, and also Holy cards with the devotion on them. Such a wonderful thing, I hear, and so now I do research! St. Veronica was my Confirmation saint, so this was neat!

Back home, we are, and I can still smell the oil on my forehead! It reminds me of the Rite of Sending Mass and also Confirmation. Must get the toddlers some lunch, so off I go again!

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

This Week {Feb10-14}

Currently reading:

Rosaries currently working on:

A lot of 15 rosary bracelets. The colors are ruby, alexandrite, milky pink, and amethyst. I've got a few other rosaries I finished up this week and shipped out, and have some other rosaries I'm planning on putting in the Etsy shop! (P.S. I'm having a sale through Friday for 10% off! Use coupon code STVALENTINE10 at checkout!)

This week's memory verse (I don't have the brain power to memorize!) for my online Bible study:

"The Lord God said: It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suited to him." -Genesis 2:18 (NAB)

Other verses that are speaking to me this week:

"My life is deprived of peace,
I have forgotten what happiness is;
My enduring hope, I said,
has perished before the Lord.
But this I will call to mind;
therefore I will hope:
The Lord's acts of mercy are not exhausted,
his compassion is not spent;
They are renewed each morning--
great is your faithfulness!
The Lord is my portion, I tell myself,
therefore I will hope in him."
-Lamentations 3:17-18,21-24

This verse was given to me by my best friend Jane, in a card I received from her after I miscarried my precious third baby. It is so true for what I am going through right now, and cannot thank her enough for her constant loving support and prayer. I will be posting a lot about what I'm feeling after the miscarriage, because I haven't really opened up to everyone about it, even family. I've given subtle hints and some people know, but I guess it's not something I just want to shout to the world. Eventually I will be able to talk about it with more people, but for now, online it is.

Quotes that touch me this week:

"I wish to have a place to honor my children I cannot hold. So sweet, so dear, so worthy of His love. They are now part of the Church Triumphant. And I sense that these vulnerable little beings, who could not sustain life here on earth, are just so radiant, wise, joyous, and holy beyond anything I could even hope to be here on earth." -from After Miscarriage (p 35) It was originally taken from a blog that has now gone private. Whoever the author is, she hit the head on the nail perfectly with this. This chapter is also what prompted me to start journaling online. So I thank you, Karen Edmisten!

"No one ever told me that grief felt so like fear. I am not afraid, but the sensation is like being afraid. The same fluttering in the stomach, the same restlessness, the yawning. I keep on swallowing." -from A Grief Observed by C.S. Lewis  Such true words.

Coffee currently consuming this week:

SBC's #4 blend. It's a medium-dark organic fair-trade roast. I've also had a few Nespresso Kazaar coconut mochas here at home!

Okay, the three-year-old needs some spaghetti for lunch! I'm not sure how often I will be posting, but for now, have a blessed day!

New Blog for a New Outlet

I've decided to start this blog as a journal-type outlet, apart from my other co-owned blog. Writing isn't my forte, but I hope to be able to put down some words that make sense.

I hope to include items of my Faith, coffee, books, motherhood, and marriage.

Thanks for stopping by.