Thursday, April 17, 2014

{Pretty, Happy, Funny, Real} Holy Week 2014

round button chicken


This will likely be the last of the tree blossoms from Ogden.  They were at peak on Palm Sunday.  We  are still waiting on trees to bloom here in the valley.


My asparagus is up and nearly ready for some harvesting.  This is nearly a month earlier than last year, and because I did such a good job weeding last summer, I am able to see where each plant is this spring!


The Arbor Day Society offered me free trees for joining their "club".  My trees arrived this week and I was a little taken aback that they were not much more than 1/2 to 1 foot tall each!  I planted 9 Colorado Blue Spruce in a temporary "nursery".  It will two years before they are ready to be transplanted to their permanent location.  It's quite alright.  I really need to plan ahead before selecting a permanent spot for each tree.  2 years should be just enough time for me to figure it out.


Holy Week is upon us.  It's my favorite liturgical season.  We are hoping to attend the Triduum this year in full. Hope y'all have a very holy week.

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Wednesday, April 16, 2014

365 Project-April 16

Holy Week by Maurisa · 365 Project

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365 Project-April 15

Sleeping Boy by Maurisa · 365 Project

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365 Project-April 14

Bridge by Maurisa · 365 Project

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365 Project-April 13

Screen Lit by Maurisa · 365 Project

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365 Project-April 12

Blooming by Maurisa · 365 Project

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Tropical Banana Bread . . . and It's Healthy Too!

Don't expect this banana bread to be overly sweet, and if you have naughty little boys like mine, you may want to skip the nuts altogether.  Lil' Lamb picked his out and chucked them across the table.

Tropical Banana Bread

3 very ripe bananas
1/2 cup coconut sugar (white sugar will be fine if you can't find coconut sugar)
3 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup all purpose flour
3/4 cup whole wheat flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup canned coconut milk or 1/4 cup yogurt
14 cup pineapple juice
1/2 cup chopped macadamia nuts; toasted
3/4 cup coconut (unsweetened would make this a bit healthier)

In a large mixing bowl beat bananas and sugar until combined. Add the eggs one at a time and beat until incorporated.  Mix in vanilla.  In a medium bowl combine the dry ingredients and stir to combine.  Add half of the dry ingredients and the coconut milk (or yogurt) and mix until just incorporated.  Add remaining dry ingredients and the pineapple juice and mix until just combined.  Fold in macadamia nuts and 1/2 cup of coconut.  Pour into a greased loaf pan.  Sprinkle with remaining coconut.  Bake on center rack of oven preheated to 350 degrees for 50 to 60 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into center comes out clean.  Cool for 10-15 minutes and turn out onto a serving plater.  Cool until room temperature. Slice and serve.

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Monday, April 14, 2014

Trying to Make a Home

We have been truly blessed in finding the parish we belong to in Ogden.  Our priest, Father Richtsteig, is a fantastic priest and the Mass is said with great love and care.  Still, I'm having a hard time feeling we are truly home.

We were in our parish in Maryland for 11 years.  We put down roots.  Many of our children were baptized, received their First Holy Communion and First Penance, and were confirmed there.  We formed attachments not only to our priests and deacons, but to the people within our parish.  Our oldest son was a fixture within the Altar Boys and by the time we left, he served almost every single Mass we attended and was the Master for High Masses.  We have our lost baby buried there. I miss our Sacred Heart family deeply.

I know we've done what we should to make this parish our home.  Wingnut has joined the Knights and serves as financial secretary.  He joined the men's Saturday morning Bible study.  I've taught Blue Knights, joined the women's prayer group, joined the homeschool support group, joined the meals ministry, and have been a presence with the youth group.  We've had dinner parties and celebrations with new friends.

Still I feel isolated and not a part of our parish community as fully as I would like.  I think it really has to do with the fact that the four mothers of the families I have felt the strongest connection with have or are leaving Utah for one reason or another.  One moved to Canada last summer, two more are moving away this summer, and the fourth I cannot even think about without tearing up. My dear friend, Joyce, is in the last days of a long battle with cancer.  How can I even complain?  I really need to just buck up and make new friends.  Unfortunately, being an introvert, new friendships just take me forever to forge.

This spring, two of our children will receive sacraments in our new parish.  Lil' Wingnut will have his First Holy Communion and Skoshi A will be confirmed.  I have a firm belief, those two events will go a long way in solidifying our parish as our home.

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Saturday, April 12, 2014

Adoration Today from 3-4 pm Mountain Time

Joan de Joanes (1510-1579)

My girls and I are going to Adoration today during the Hour of Mercy.  If you have an intention we might offer you can leave it in the combox and I will check right before we enter the Sanctuary.

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Thursday, April 10, 2014

{Pretty, Happy, Funny, Real} Finally Spring

round button chicken


The trees are in full bloom in Ogden.  We have a few more weeks out here in the mountain valley before our trees burst into bloom.  These are on the trees surrounding our parish property.

I had a bit of fun with some post processing adding some light leak.  I love the ethereal effect.


This is the historic building of Ogden High School.  I have admired the art deco detailing since we moved here and have always wanted to photograph the building.  Have you ever seen such a beautiful school building?


My girls confiscated my camera and took a few candid and silly shots of each other.

I love how I'm in the background not oblivious to the girls snapping away.


Lil' Lamb was my little helper the other day.  Helping me plant 70+ bulbs and then watering for me.  He decided the veggie garden needed a soak too.  Unfortunately, there is nothing to water except the weeds so far.  I'm hoping we hook up the tiller to the Husqvarna this weekend and work the soil for early spring planting.

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Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Demo--Now We're Having Fun

The exterior guys arrived Saturday and began demo on the front of the house.  Oh, do I have tales to tell, but that will need to wait for a separate post.  Let's just say, these subcontractors left a lot to be desired and our main contractor will be hearing about it.

The front entrance--on Monday they removed the rock veneer beneath both windows as well as the rest of the stucco.  

You can see we have extensive water damage beneath the stucco and rock veneer.

All of the exterior sheeting needed to be removed due to the mold seen here.

East side of the entry.

West side of the entry.

We are down to 22 days for this project to be completed inside and out.  Insulation was blown in today and hopefully dry wall goes up Wednesday.  Our flooring guy delivers wood on Friday for install on Monday.  All the floors will need to be sanded and finished once before painting the walls and then again after painting.  I have no idea when the exterior guys return to replace rock and re-apply stucco.  This is a nail biter!

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Thursday, April 3, 2014

{Pretty, Happy, Funny, Real} Is it Really April?

round button chicken
Winter has returned with a vengeance.  It is bleak and gray and my photos this week really reflect that.  I am so looking forward to the return of the sun!


My pretty little boy loves to sit on the window sill.  I love black and white portraits.


Even though it is April, we've had snow everyday this week.  K didn't mind.  She very happily traipsed outside and built snowmen.


Here are her finished snowmen.  She very affectionately refers to the leaning one as "Bad Back Bessie"


We had managed to stay healthy all winter.  It figures that come April we'd all be hit by a nasty virus. It's been slowly making the rounds through the family.  My two little guys are still sputtering and coughing.

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Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Eternal Rest Grant Unto Him

Please pray for the repose of the soul of our friend Dave, who fought cancer so bravely. Pray for the comfort and consolation of Dave's wonderful wife, Maura, and their six young children.

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Monday, March 31, 2014

Sight Unseen

I'm a firm believer that one need not see a movie to be able to dismiss said movie, sight unseen.  One does need, in these cases, to depend on the knowledge and judgement of reliable sources with a similar world view.  I've read two full reviews of the movie Noah, both written by Christian reviewers with a similar world view to my own.

Steven Greydanus, is a highly respected Catholic blogger and reviewer.  He gave Noah a rave review for it's artistry and vision and attempted to allay the fears and criticisms of the many Christian voices warning Christians to stay away from this one.  He not only wrote a review of the film, but also a follow-up of sorts detailing and defending the most troubling aspects of the film. You can read his review and follow-up here and here.

Popular Christian blogger, Matt Walsh, had a completely different take on the movie and the questions he raised regarding the film led me to believe I certainly do not want to support the makers of Noah with my money or my time, regardless of the artistry, regardless of the intriguing theological questions it might provoke.  You can read his full review here.

There are many problems with this movie, but I'm only going to expound on three.  First, I found the way in which Russell Crowe and Aronofsky very publicly and bizarrely lobbied the Holy Father and the Vatican to screen the film to be odd and off-putting.  You can read part of Crowe's Twitter campaign and the controversy over the film makers meeting with Pope Francis here.  If you have the time, you can scroll through Crowe's Twitter feed and read the entire self aggrandizing, "Come on Holy Father, it's a wonderful movie" self promotion.  I have read it, and it turned my stomach and unfavorably colored my opinion of Crowe and the movie.

Secondly, the director Aronofsky, is a professed atheist. That being said, I don't believe his being an atheist is necessarily an impediment to his making a faithful Biblical film.  It is his unabashed bragging about being an atheist that calls this ability into question.  His own description of the film makes me question the film's value.  He was extremely proud of the fact that this film is an environmental crusade film, describing the wickedness of men leading to the deluge as being the  wasteful negligent destruction of God's good creation.  Don't get me wrong.  I am a firm believer in good stewardship of the earth, and that we should care for God's creation with prudence.  It's the constant Hollywood barrage of environmentalism that I find really annoying.  We get it already.  For goodness sake, I feel guilty if I throw something in the trash that can either be composted or recycled.  While the finished film is a bit more even handed with regard to environmentalism, it is the director's own promotion of the man Noah as being "the first environmentalist" and his proud declaration that his film is the "least biblical biblical film ever made."  Do we, as Christians, want to support this?

My final issue is the most significant for me, and has to do with the portrayal of Noah, himself.  As a Catholic, I am aware there are aspects of the Bible that should be taken literally, and aspects of the Bible that are more stylized and symbolic and are not to be taken literally.  The Biblical Noah story is one that has both literal and non-literal features.  One detail I believe should be taken absolutely literally is that God spoke directly to Noah and expressed his wishes to Noah for the Ark in a very clear way.  The film depicts God's revelation to Noah as a dream or hallucination left open to interpretation by Noah, leading to conflict and confusion.  The second important detail regarding Noah's character is the Bible clearly describes Noah as a righteous man; as the only righteous man on earth,  otherwise, why save any of humanity?  This does not mean Noah was flawless or unfallen, but that he lived his life according to God's Will to the best of his ability and righteously.  Aronofsky's Noah is a dark, angry, morose man, who at one point threatens to kill his unborn grandchild, if she is a girl. Neither of these aspects of the film reflect the Biblical Noah, and I find the depiction to be very troubling, bordering on sacrilege.

As a review by someone who has not seen the film, my recommendation is to stay away, if only to keep from financially supporting the makers of this film.  If you feel compelled to see Noah based on it's artistic appeal and to form your own opinions on it's merits or flaws, wait to see it on Netflix and please, let me know if I'm far off base.

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Thursday, March 27, 2014

{Pretty, Happy, Funny, Real} March 27

round button chicken


I post photos of the snow capped mountains fairly often.  These are the lovely green hills on the other side of our neighborhood.  They remind me of illustrations from one of Margret Wise Brown's books: The Diggers


Nothing makes me quite as happy as a beautifully brewed espresso for my cappuccino in the morning.


Wingnut Jr. is rarely serious.  What a little crack up.


It's getting time to plan out our garden this year.  I have started seed for pumpkin, zucchini, and butternut squash.  I'm hoping to directly sow spinach, kale, lettuce, and peas this weekend.

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Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Playing the Oppression Card

So, the Hobby Lobby Supreme Court case is all over my Facebook feed.  My liberal friends are decrying Hobby Lobby as oppressive, dictating how its employees must live, and holding their employees hostage.  It's really mind blowing.  When did America become like this?  When did Americans decide that whatever they want or need should be provided to them regardless of the cost; regardless of the religious beliefs of others?

One poster even claimed corporations should not be able to have religious or moral views of any kind.  Really?  Does she not get that every corporation makes all sorts of decisions based on some kind of ethical or moral standard.  Corporations are run by people and that is how people operate.  This decision making by CEOs goes both ways.  The CEO of Starbucks defended his decision to promote gay causes by saying, "It's a free country," and I agree with him. It is a free country, and corporations have just as much right to that freedom as individuals do, as long as their decisions and business practices remain within the law.

What is really freaky about this whole debate is the death grip these women have on contraception as being not only a right, but a right that should be paid for by their employer. If their employer won't provide it, their employer is an oppressive dictator holding their reproductive rights hostage.  It's downright creepy.

Don't be fooled, this case is important, not just for Hobby Lobby, but for all faith based companies and institutions that will be affected by the HHS Contraceptive Mandate.  This battle is not about contraception.  This battle is about religious freedom in America.  I believe it absolutely has the potential to bring down religious freedom in a domino effect.  Beware, there is a lot of false information going around about Hobby Lobby.  If you find yourself in a debate with a Hobby Lobby opponent, be sure to read this linked article that gives five misperceptions about the Hobby Lobby Case.

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365 Project-March 26

Crema Perfection by Maurisa · 365 Project Print Friendly and PDF

365 Project-March 23

Firecracker Salad by Maurisa · 365 Project Print Friendly and PDF

365 Project-March 24

Swing by Maurisa · 365 Project Print Friendly and PDF

365 Project-March 25

Beginnings by Maurisa · 365 Project Print Friendly and PDF