Archive for the month “February, 2010”

amazement

me:

Lord Jesus, change my fear into amazement. help me to walk with You and be amazed, rather than behind You and be afraid.

listen to the Lord’s appeal:

“you may fear what is Divine, but why not love what is human? you may run away from Me as the Lord, but why not run to Me as your Father? perhaps you are filled with shame for causing My bitter passion. DO NOT BE AFRAID. this cross inflicts a mortal injury, not on Me, but on death. these nails no longer pain Me, but only deepen your love for Me. I do not cry out because of these wounds, but through them I draw you into My heart. My body was stretched on the cross as a symbol, not of how much I suffered, but of my all-embracing love. I count it no loss to shed blood: it is the price I have paid for your ransom.

come, then, return to Me and learn to know Me as your Father, Who repays good for evil, love for injury and boundless charity for piercing wounds.”

i wish i could remember where i got these words.

they are so beautiful.

and so is this sweet daffodil.

it bloomed.

and in my amazement i wanted to share these things with you!

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the here. the now.

 

life.

it all happens so fast. the morning rush. breakfast. dishes cluttering a clean sink. kids in and out. up and down. noise. laughter. sunlight. papers scattered everywhere. skateboards. shoes by the stairs.

a daddy long legs spider in someone’s bath towel. which becomes drama enough that he wants you to be in the bathroom with him while he bathes. just in case the spider crawls into said bath with him.

he’s no sooner out of the water and he wants to make a volcano.

but she needs her hair braided.

and then the big boys are making plans to go to boxing tonite.

but i had dinner plans with my mom.

my sister-in-law calls. she wants to go to dinner too.

two invitations for one night?

and i can’t do either.

because there is just too much to be done.

and all i really want to do is: sit in my favorite chair. enjoy my fruit salad. do a little embroidery. watch the little people play catch. and wait for my daffodil to bloom.

waiting for your first daffodil to bloom is a lot like waiting for a baby to be born. you know something beautiful is so close. but it’s just not quite ready yet.

we are such impatient creatures.

and life really is so beautiful. here. and now.

always.

happy week-ending, friends. enjoy your here. and now.

crab and cream cheese stuffed wontons

these are e.a.s.y.

things you need:

-wonton wrappers

-imitation crab meat

-1 pkg. cream cheese

-1 sm. bunch of green onions

-paprika

-ground pepper

-ground and/or fresh ginger

-salt to taste

-garlic powder and/or fresh garlic

-olive oil

what to do:

soften cream cheese in microwave. approx. 45 to 50 seconds. or on the stove. medium heat until soft. but not burnt!

mix softened cream cheese with a spatula.

add paprika. ginger. pepper. garlic powder. a pinch of salt.

dice crab and green onions.

on a cutting board assemble the won tons by adding approx. 1/2 t. (or more) of cream cheese mixture. a bit of crab and onions to the “paper”. pinch together-using the cream cheese as “glue” so that it is is snug, but not completely closed on top. you’ll see the ingredients peeking out a bit. avoid overstuffing.

(while you are assembling the wontons you can prep the pan with just enough of the olive oil to barely cover-but not completely-the bottom of the pan to fry them in, but be careful not to burn it!)

fry the wontons so they appear toasty/crisp in the olive oil. adding more garlic powder. ground ginger and pepper. to your desired taste. you can easily flip them over a few times to cook both sides.

the nice thing about prepping them in this assembly line way is that you can make them to suit the tastes of all the members of your household! we do different “fold” for the one that are made with or without something. my girl has her signature fold. they look like little dumplings.

picture repeat. just for the recipe’s sake!

places i don’t belong. and why. and celebrating pagan holidays with your catholic children during lent.

places i don’t belong and why:

dressing rooms because even in seemingly normal places like marshall’s. the music is too loud. and annoying. it’s hot. i get claustrophobic. and i have not lost enough weight for anything i’d really like to wear to look good on me.

facebook because i am not cool enough. i tried to go on there today and accept a bunch of friend requests that i had. mostly from family. a niece in college. a cousin out of town. my youngest son’s godmother. but there are still all these faces of people in high school. and their words. friends then. but there is really no connection now. so what is the point? all of the really cool people are still cool. and i am just sort of a ghost. not wanting to say anything for fear of sounding like a nerd.

i do hate that word. it’s not a grown up word.

but what can i say?

i guess that is why i love this little space here.

i belong here.

so those crab-green onion and cream cheese stuffed wontons (lightly fried in olive oil. garlic. ginger and black pepper) could be the reason i don’t do so well in fitting rooms. but we won’t discuss that at this time.

my kids love celebrating anything so of course we belatedly(is that even a word?) celebrated chinese new year. everyone wore red. my girl wore flowers in her hair. we ate oranges for wealth. beef and broccoli along with our wontons. read a cute little story that had a darling bald chinese baby that max just loved. made paper dragons from this printable.

i didn’t do all of the things i had planned. but sometimes a little impromptu celebration is good enough. they kept telling me how much fun they had. and it was fun.

but tomorrow we are back to our fasting.

and that, my dear friends is how you celebrate pagan holidays with your children during lent. with the intent of exposing them to just a little bit of another culture.

they might become missionaries someday.

one never knows.

oh! and we did pray for the chinese people who do not know the ONE TRUE GOD.

monday book

there is never anything very calm and sweet about my mondays. they tend to come rushing at me like a gust of strong wind. paperwork. bills. de-cluttering. mountains of laundry (i thought i had caught up?) what happens to this house during the weekend?

listening to: a little girl passionately reciting the gettysburg address while she draws a bath for her brother. the sound of bath water running. the clickety-clack of computer keys.

thinking about: ember days this week. and how beautiful our faith is. menu planning. and how i really want to make some red potatoes with roasted peppers and zuchini. doesn’t that sound like a yummy side dish.

weekend images:

girls in blue dresses.

wild. weedy daisies.

fresh flowers.

newly acquired heirloom silver that belonged to my great-grandmother.

a lovey snapshot from a saturday date i had with my husband. this ginormous statue is right by the u.s.s. midway which is located in san diego harbor. which is where we spent the afternoon. just the two of us. strolling around like lovebirds while my parents kept all of the children. we all need days like that, don’t we?

this is going to be a very busy week. baseball season starts on saturday for the little people and of course they need new gear. music lessons. stations of the cross on friday. i have a stack of papers to grade….all that makes me tired just thinking about it….

happy tuesday friends! what’s going on in your corner of the world?

first bud and lace lingo

garden: one of our bulbs has an actual bud. this our first bloom on something we have planted since we moved here at the end of may. i am crossing my fingers that the resident gopher doesn’t find his way to my bulbs before we “get” to him first.

learning notes: lots of stuff about president lincoln this past week. civil war ghost stories. biographical essays on lincoln. memorizing the gettysburg address. playing with lincoln logs. reading the red badge of courage. math. math. math. for everyone. if we stick to it they should all be done with their math books by june 11th. i know this doesn’t sound like a lot. but multiply it x’s four kids. and lent. and me being sick and really, this was a lot.

i have yet to write about all of my lesson plans in this space. but i might still do it. but don’t hold me to it.

i have very. little. stick-to-it-ivness. in fact. maybe i don’t have any at all.

ha! that is a lie. i have it where it counts. my faith. my marriage. raising children and not running away when things get tough.

knitting: i am learning lace lingo. i am even p2tog. wouldn’t you say that’s a good place for a beginner knitter to be? i have to laugh at myself when i lug around this 6 lb. reader’s digest book from the 80’s. teaching myself all the millions of things there are to learn about knitting. really there are millions. maybe even zillions of things to learn.

but i am so desperate for quiet time to do this very thing.

my husband usually takes the oldest to his wednesday afternoon guitar lesson, but this week i practically ran out of the house. my apron still on. that big book. a ball of yarn and two needles under my arm.

he got out of the shower and wondered where i was. i left early so i could be the one to go.

and i did. and i sat there for a blessed 35 mins. all by my lonesome. laughing quietly to myself as i remembered some of the things i read in this book. especially the part that said: you can do anything for a few rows….

so that is where i am at.

or actually where i was at.

right now i should be in bed.

and so…off i go.

happy week-ending friends.

it is raining here. again. so i’ll definitely be moody.

mud makes me moody.

and i so hate to bother you with that nonsense.

dying to self

“if the heart wanders or is distracted, bring it back to the point quite gently and replace it tenderly in its Master’s presence. and even if you did nothing during the whole of your hour but bring your heart back and place it again in Our Lord’s presence, though it went away every time you brought it back, your hour would be very well employed.” ~st. francis de sales

dying to self seems to be one of the biggest struggles for me. not just during lent. but always.

i am a housewife. and homeschooling mama. so i am quite often home. which works out nicely for one who has a myriad of hobbies that can be squeezed in here and there throughout the day. in between those thirty loads of laundry or while someone is “doing” their math with the help of a computer program.

squeezing those hobbies in is my sanity. but it can also be so tempting to let other things go.

then there’s that  bag of leftover valentine candy on top of the fridge. it’s not helping matters either.

but isn’t that just life? temptations big and small hiding around every corner. trying to make even the best of us fall.

Jesus fell. and He was tempted. but with the grace that came from being God’s Son, He got back up and He did not succumb to that awful devil.

i say that with the taste of chocolate still in my mouth.

a traitor.

like judas.

bitter. sweet. chocolate.

terrible. i know.

me. not the chocolate.

but thankfully  today had all of these redeeming moments (doesn’t every day?) where i was given opportunity upon opportunity to really do something for HIM. something that meant letting all of my plans go. something that meant dying to my selfish self. something that meant biting my tongue….i won’t go on and on.

my point is that i will continue to wander. and be distracted. because i am oh so flawed and wounded.

but i will also take my heart back to HIM. again and again. and place it. pitiful as it may be. in HIS presence. because something deep down inside of me isn’t content to remain far. and wounded for too long. because i have tasted HIS goodness. and it is sweeter than anything i have ever tasted.

my Jesus, i.love.you.

she no longer says alleluia

during lent the Church clothes herself in somber and dark colors. she no longer says alleluia.

~excerpt from the sermons of st. francis de sales for Lent given in 1622

a few frivolous pictures before the fast. a finished scarf for my girl. in simple garter stitch. and some new seeds with little pots. i am itching to get something planted. the weather is delightful. sorry cold weather friends. but this is CA we’re talking about.

today was anything but fat. i didn’t make any goodies like the kids wanted. being under the weather makes me less accommodating. it’s different when they are sick. i try really hard. but just getting school done is taking all my energy.

i am really looking forward to lent this year. the Church, in her infinite wisdom, has set these forty days during a time when the house needs cleaning right along with the soul. all the feasting from Christmas treats has added some extra pounds. new “things” make closets and toyboxes seem fuller and well, frankly, i could use some discipline.

especially right before spring.

it is my very favorite season. and it’s almost here. i can smell it. the doors and windows are open. yesterday and today we had such warm temps. i enjoy doing school outside. the fridge is filled with lots of fresh veggies and flowers are starting to bloom everywhere. for the past few days i’ve had bare feet. the cool wood floors feel so nice. we even did a bit of bird watching this afternoon. the trees are still naked so we can see our little visitors without any hindrance from the leaves.

it’s all a bit premature. this spring fling. i know. but it is so enjoyable.

it’s going to be so hard not to say alleluia.

i am going to try really hard to focus on those dark. somber colors. a good honest look deep within myself will surely give me plenty of reasons.

i want to fast well:

“entire and universal. with all the members of my body and powers of my soul. keeping my eyes lowered, or at least lower than ordinarily; keeping better silence, or at least keeping it more punctual than usual; mortifying hearing and the tongue so that i will no longer hear or speak of anything vain or useless; the understanding, in order to consider only holy and pious subjects, the memory, in filling it with remembrance of bitter and sorrowful things and avoiding joyous and gracious thoughts; keeping my will in check and my spirit at the foot of the crucifix with some holy and sorrowful thought. seeking to please God alone.”

three cheers!

i really wanted to write sweet notes to all of you for your kind comments. but unfortunately a nasty hay-fever-like cold has taken over my body. so i hope this will suffice…thank you ladies.

God is good to those who love Him and that is really what our love story taught me. i always wanted to live right in the eyes of God and my parents. i was not by nature a bad girl.

i am living proof that our redemption is right at our fingertips if we only reach for it. grasp it. and hold onto it like our very life depends upon it. because it does. 

our whole lives are this sort of love story with God as well and it can be so beautiful to watch Him work His miracles in us. if we let Him.

tonight i am so thankful for this faith that we share. the way it has brought me together with you my readers. the way we uplift one another. strangers in many ways yet friends across the miles.

i had the opportunity to spend a lot of time this weekend with real life friends and i haven’t done that in a while. some i haven’t seen in  ages and i am really overwhelmed by all of the blessings in my life.

so for friends. in real life and otherwise: three cheers! (can you tell i’ve been reading too much pooh and piglet?)

wishing you a happy fat tuesday and a very holy lent.

xo.

the story of us….

began many years ago. and in many ways it is not good or sweet. but it is what it is and God has really blessed us in spite of all that.

i was in the 9th grade. he was in 8th because his mother held him back in the 4th grade, so even though he was older than me, i was in a higher grade.

i had seen him on the bus a few times. he sat in the back with all of the troublemakers.

i, of course, sat towards the front like a good girl. i really was a good girl.

he caught my eye because he was always so well dressed. and he always had different. new. shoes.

interestingly enough his brother had “walked me home” a few times. he played football. he got good grades. but he was really quiet. and at 14 years old, quiet wasn’t really my thing.

so one day that cute troublemaker-every parents’ nightmare for their daughter- got into a fight at school and hurt his hand. i am sure he got expelled or suspended or something. but he also got my attention. because that’s how teenage attraction works. it has no rhyme or reason. it makes one do things out of character. like go and sit next to him. to ask about his hand, of course. and pretty much from that day on…we were an item. we began this passionate. dramatic. and in many ways sinful relationship.

we had way too much unsupervised contact and this was really the fuel that fed the fire.

we lived in the same small town. my parents were rarely home. and he was more than willing to give me the attention that most 13 year-old girls crave. he adored me and i adored the fact that he adored me.

of course the result of all that passion was that i ended up pregnant at 17. i finished up highschool at a school especially for pregnant teen mothers. i graduated a year later. and by the time our son turned one, “dad” was out of the picture. we just didn’t want the same things anymore.

with my heart broken into a million tiny pieces i went on to college and at nights i put myself through a paralegal program at a nearby law school. i earned my certificate and kept working towards my aa in administration of justice.

in one of my aoj classes i met a young man who had his eyes on a career with the border patrol. we became friends and eventually we started spending a lot of time together. his mom had been a single mother so he was really good with my son. he joined the military. we dated off and on when he came home. we wrote letters. talked on the phone a lot. and i even traveled to the east coast to see him graduate from the academy.

about a year later he proposed. he gave me the ring of my dreams.( i loved that ring). we began our marriage classes. the arrangements for the reception were beginning. white raw silk was chosen and my dress design was underway. i had my first few fittings with the dressmaker. i was all set to travel to germany for a visit where he was stationed. we would go to antique stores and IKEA to pick out some things for the apartment we’d have in germany. but about 2 weeks before my scheduled flight, i was still waiting for mine and my sons’ passports, someone came tumbling back into the picture.

it had been almost 4 years and there he was. that same troublemaker again.

he hadn’t changed much. he was a little taller.

but he was my baby daddy.

and that made me have such a soft spot for him. and that made taking him back so easy.

so i did.

i jilted the other guy. left him hanging. and i am not proud to say that because it wasn’t right to break his heart the way that i did.

but it also wasn’t right to marry someone that i didn’t passionately love.

and i passionately love this man who is my husband.

so i sent the ring back. finished paying for a dress i’d never wear. and much to everyone’s surprise we moved in together.

fast forward  20 YEARS.

here we are now. 4 kids later.

he still drives me insane. but he is my lid. every pot has its’ lid and he is mine.

and….like  barb said, with God as our witness, we got married.

a very simple but sweet ceremony. on the rainy-est. stormy-est day of the year.

my mom made my dress. cream-colored silk. i made my veil. my aunt did the flowers. we had lots of candles and white lights. we had two parties. the first was cozy and intimate. my dad toasted us. which is something he probably thought he’d never do. but he did. my grandma gave us an irish blessing. and then we were off to a big. festive. party with his family. which was outside. under a tent. we danced. we laughed. we ate more cake. and by the end of the evening i was exhausted. we went home and i cried myself to sleep.

that sacramental marriage changed everything.

it saved us. literally. and i knew it immediately.

in march we will celebrate 10 YEARs of marriage.

some days are better than others.

it’s still not all good nor sweet.

but what God has joined together….well, you know the rest.

and without any regrets: i so look forward to what the future holds for us in each chapter that is part of this journey we call our life. 

happy love day, friends…i do hope i did not disappoint you in this telling of the story of us.

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