Saturday, March 30, 2013

Bible Verse Photo Challenge 1

One of my favorite blogs is back to posting and is currently hosting a once a month Bible verse photo challenge link up.  Check our Flowers Around the Cross and submit your photo.
"In the tender compassion of our God the dawn from on high shall break upon us to shine on those who dwell in darkness and the shadow of death and to guide our feet into the way of peace." Luke 1:78,79

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Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Why I Won't be Changing my Profile Picture to an Equal Sign

Chris and I will have been married for 23 years in June. We got married like most folks do, because we were two people in love and we wanted to be happy.  Somewhere along the matrimonial road, we realized marriage isn't just about being in love or about being happy.  When we chose to live our married lives as Catholics we chose to live our married lives in service, self-sacrifice, and obedience.  We don't use contraception, and have done our best to welcome each of our children with open hearts and open arms. We don't ever plan to divorce, knowing I am not the best wife in this world and that Chris and I don't always agree on things -- even important things -- but we keep plugging away at it as faithfully as possible.  And for the exact same reasons we do not use contraception or agree with divorce, we do not support gay marriage.

Sadly, the arguments made for gay marriage are the same ones most people accept for contraceptive use and divorce: that somehow these things are good for the "family" and especially children; that marriage is all about reducing stress and increasing the happiness of the husband and wife.  Let me tell you this:  there is a big difference between being holy and being happy.  Marriage (and all we do) should be about being holy.  And when you grow in holiness, you grow in true happiness.  The opposite is not true, especially if you are growing in a benighted happiness that eschews thinking about profound subjects for a go-along-to-get-along conclusion.

As a Catholic I know and I believe contraception damages marriage, family and society. It comes between husband and wife and God. As a Catholic I know and I believe divorce hurts marriage, family, and society. Divorce cries out, "I know better than You, God!" It is an act of despair, devoid of hope and people are only ever hurt by it. As a Catholic I know and I believe gay marriage hurts marriage, family, and society. It treats mothers and fathers as interchangeable, when they are not. There isn't a study out there that shows children are better off in households in which there is not both a mother and a father present. In fact, every study done has shown the exact opposite. I see the wisdom that has been taught by God through his Church. He loves us and wants us to love Him. His laws, if we obey them, protect us and others from our selfishness.

I can't help but picture mankind as bratty self-absorbed little children bargaining with the Father, "If you just let us have divorce/contraception/abortion/marriage to whomever we wish, we'll be happy."  Well folks, this life is not about being happy. Once again, it's about being holy.

I understand why many of our friends and family support gay marriage.  It is out of compassion, misplaced, but authentic all the same.  I hope they can see that the reasons I have for not supporting gay marriage are also out of compassion.  Being homosexual is a very hard life.  But take a look around, life is hard for us all. We all have personal desires that are self-seeking. We all want to find love and happiness.  It doesn't mean we get to stamp our feet and demand what we want regardless of consequences. As Catholics we believe marriage is a road to sanctity.  We can't place our own self serving demands on sanctity.

I won't be changing my profile photo to an equal sign.  I won't be cajoled by a mistaken sense of loyalty or compassion into accepting that what is evil is actually good. I hope my friends and family can understand that.

 Woe to you that call evil good, and good evil: that put darkness for light, and light for darkness: that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter. Isaiah 5:20 Print Friendly and PDF

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Snappy Book Reviews

Instead of gaming or perusing the web on my iPad all during Lent, I've been reading a ton.  I've done a bit of spiritual reading, including the Magnificat and The Daily Examen.  I've read a couple self-help books, most notably Beyond the Birds and the Bees--I still don't know how to broach that subject with my kids, sigh.  I've also read several novels.  Three in particular that will get some very short and snappy reviews here.

Have you discovered Wilkie Collins?  He was a contemporary of Charles Dickens and I finished one of his novels during Lent.  The Woman in White is regarded as the first in the genre of "sensation novels".  A mystery set in Victorian England that is written from the point of view of various characters.  Reminiscent of Dickens, yet a much easier read, I found the story and the mystery spellbinding and I absolutely loved it.

On the recommendation of another blogger, I picked up a couple of Maeve Binchy's novels.  Light a Penny Candle was depressing and disappointing and I personally would not recommend it to anyone.  I like quite a bit more redemption in my novels and redemption was exactly what Light a Penny Candle lacked.  I'd seen A Circle of Friends on video many years ago and remembered I enjoyed it.  I think the book is even better.  I especially loved the positive portrayal of religious sisters in the book, most notably Mother Francis.  I'm not sure if I enjoy Binchy's style of writing enough to read any of her other novels.

I apologize for such scanty reviews, but it is Holy Week and we are of course busy as bees preparing for our solemn observances, as well as getting our house as ready as possible for our two oldest daughters to be home for several days.  Have a most blessed Holy Week! Print Friendly and PDF

Monday, March 25, 2013

Today's Project

We are still working on our mini-remodel, which included redecorating the younger girls' room.  Today's project was to finish the fabric covered, padded, bulletin board.


Things are coming together slowly, but nicely.  We are waiting on the carpet and then we can add the finishing touches to their room. Print Friendly and PDF

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Frittelle Di San Giuseppe

I'm not always the best at observing the various feasts throughout the liturgical year, but we really made an effort for the Solemnity of Saint Joseph this year.  We celebrated Italian style with meatballs and gravy, pasta, peasant bread, salad and these lovely little fried fritters.  I'd never had these and obviously had never made them before so it was a bit of a risk, but it paid off.  These little confections were easy and delicious!  This is a recipe I adapted from A Continual Feast.

Rice Fritters for Solemnity of Saint Joseph
2 1/4 cups milk (I subbed So Delicious Coconut milk)
1 cup raw rice
pinch of alt
1/4 tsp vanilla
1/4 cup sugar
2 eggs; beaten
1 tbsp flour
1 tsp baking powder
zest of one lemon
zest of one orange
1 quart Oil for deep frying
Granulated sugar

Bring the milk to a boil in a medium saucepan.  Add the rice, salt, vanilla, and sugar.  Cover and bring to a gentle simmer.  Cook until rice is cooked and the milk is absorbed(I checked after about 20 minutes and then gave it about 5 more minutes to finish).  Cool the rice mixture for at least several hours.

Mix the rice thoroughly with the eggs, flour, baking powder, and zest.  Heat oil in a large heavy pot for deep frying to 375 degrees. Using a tablespoon or a small cookie disher (they work great for this application), drop mixture into oil several at a time and fry until golden brown.  Remove to a paper towel lined plate to drain and then roll in sugar (I added more zest to the granulated sugar and that was quite lovely too).  Serve immediately.  Makes 25 tablespoon servings or about 36 small disher servings.

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Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Rock Climber

Lil' Lamb loves to climb the giant boulders that are part of our landscape.  He's such a boy having to carry his stick as he climbs.  I think he may be a budding rock climber.

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Monday, March 18, 2013

One of Many Projects

Things have been hopping around here.  Our mini-remodel is well under way.  The wood floors are installed and finished.  They are quite lovely.  I have before and after photos on my good camera and I'll upload them and post them soon.  The girls room is a bright, cheery green tea color and once their carpet is replaced and I've hung the curtains I'll post a photo of that project too.

Wingnut's project has been to strip and refinish our two computer desks.  He's finished one and the other is currently a catch-all in our hall until he gets up the gumption to refinish it. It's a bit time consuming, but not too difficult to do.



Oh, and there's a glimpse of our lovely hickory floors, too.

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Friday, March 15, 2013

I Love Him Already

  It was an absolutely beautiful and humble moment when our new Holy Father asked for the prayers of the faithful and bowed his head to receive them.  I can't tell you how much I love him already.

There were several moments of stunned silence as I tried to decipher who had been announced as our new pope.  I scrolled through the names on New Advent's list of front runners until I found a George, as that was the only word I recognized and then I screamed in excitement:  "He's from South America! He's from Argentina!"  You see, there is a significance to his being from Argentina.  Our lovely daughter,  Ollie, has a connection to Argentina as that is the country from which the IVE and Sister Servants of the Lord originated.  The Sister Servants run the Aspirancy Oleander attends.  The Sister Servants are beyond excited to have a Holy Father from their homeland, as you might imagine.

During our Sede Vacante I posted some photos of our boys who've all been named after popes and postulated our new one might take the name Leo.  Of course, our kiddos were a bit disappointed Jorge Cardinal Bergoglio did not take the Leo, until we realized we also have a Francis, although he is now in heaven.  It was such an exciting afternoon.  Surprising, as Pope Francis seemed to break all the "rules" but still filled with jubilation.

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Friday, March 8, 2013

Drum Roll

The winner of my favorites giveaway is . . .

Congrats!  Please email your mailing address to mamamayerle at mac dot com!

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Thursday, March 7, 2013

Under Construction

Our house is going to be in an uproar for the next several weeks.  We are having hard wood floors installed in the living areas and dining room.  We went with unfinished hickory and there is definitely a "process" that needs to happen before completion.  Once the wood floors are installed, we'll be replacing the carpet in the two upstairs kid bedrooms and hallway, but before that can happen I need to finally repaint and finish the make-over of the girls room I began last year.  I'm really hoping to have all of this done before my two oldest girls come home for Easter.  Karate Kid is only here for 4 days and I don't want her short time home to be stressful.  She gets enough stress at school.  Time to go to good Saint Joseph to intercede for a quick and stress free mini-remodel!  I'll be sure to post after photos when we have completed our projects. Print Friendly and PDF

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Wishing Her a Happy Birthday from Far Away

Today is our dear Oleander's sweet 16th birthday.  We called her this morning and sang to her.  It wasn't the same as having her here.  It is hard having one so young be far from us on her special day.  The sister's have grand plans and consulted me on meal and cake choices.  I sure hope Oleander is happy with the ideas I gave them.  They are trying hard to make her sweet 16 a special day.  It will never be like it is at home, but it will be a wonderful effort and greatly appreciated on all accounts.  Before she blows out her 16 candles, we'll connect via FaceTime.  We may not be "together" tonight, but we'll be as close as we possibly can be, thanks to the wonderful world of technology!

{Ollie on one of the happiest days of her life; her confirmation day, with her godfather and sponsor}

Don't forget to enter my "favorites" giveaway.  The winner will be revealed on this blog on Friday. Print Friendly and PDF

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Italian Sausage Meatball Soup

Italian Sausage Meatball Soup

1 lb italian sausage
1 lb ground pork
1 cup panko bread crumbs
1/2 cup grated peccorino romano
1 egg; beaten

Soup Base

2 carrots; chopped
2 sticks celery; chopped
1 medium yellow onion; chopped
2 Tbsp olive oil
3 cloves garlic; minced
8 cups low sodium chicken broth
1 14 oz can roasted, diced tomatoes
4 cups baby spinach; roughly chopped
8 oz ditalini pasta; prepared according to package directions
several basil leaves chiffonade
grated peccorino romano

In a large bowl combine all the meatball ingredients and mix with your hands until completely homogeneous.  Line a sheet pan with foil and set a cooling rack on top.  Spray rack with cooking spray.  Using a medium sized disher, scoop meatball mixture and roll into balls--about the size of a walnut.  Place formed meatball on the cooling rack and bake in a 375 degree oven for 30-40 minutes, turning once to brown evenly.

While meatballs bake, heat oil in a large dutch oven over medium high heat.  Add carrots, celery and onions, salt and saute until soft and beginning to brown around edges, about 10 minutes.  Add garlic and saute for 30 seconds.  Add broth and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to a simmer and cook 30 minutes.  Add the meatballs and cook another 10 minutes. Add prepared diatlini and spinach and cook until spinach just begins to wilt, about 30 seconds.  Serve and garnish with a few drizzles of olive oil, chiffonade basil and grated peccorino.

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Monday, March 4, 2013

A New Day

We've had a John Paul

and a Benedict.

 Might we have a Leo, next?

As sad as it is to watch our former Holy Father go, a Papal Conclave is certainly exciting.  It is a new day for the Church.

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Saturday, March 2, 2013

Giveaway Reminder

If you haven't already, don't forget to enter my "favorites" giveaway, here.  I've really enjoyed reading about your best surprises received in the mail!

As a little bit of a tease here are some hints to what you will receive in your surprise package.

Gift Hint #1 -- You might describe me as an avid reader.  You'll often find reviews of new books I've read here on the blog.  I have a preference for historical fiction written by classical authors--The Bronte sisters, Dickens, Tolstoy, Jane Austen, Elizabeth Gaskell, Sigrid Undset, etc.

Gift Hint #2 -- I love Easter and it isn't just because it is the only time of year I can find these:

Gift Hint # 3 -- You might say this is one of my passions:

Gift Hint #4 -- I discovered this goody when we first moved here.  I actually have to hide it from one of my girls because it is also one of her "favorites".

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Friday, March 1, 2013

Mr. Eyebrow

No caption necessary.

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