Pieces of Heaven

Thursday, December 9, 2010


It's been a long week. Preparing for a parish Christmas Pageant, a Youth Liturgy, board meetings and CCD classes- dealing with a teething baby and a sick husband- and preparing for the homecoming of my youngest sister and her boyfriend has left me totally and utterly exhausted.

And the week is not yet over.

Tomorrow is my only "day off" from work this week- and my husband and I are going to the symphony with the Rectory staff. Saturday is the first Christmas Pageant rehearsal. Sunday night is CCD class plus Vespers and Adoration (which I AM looking forward to...) and Monday starts a week chock full of more stuff.

Needless to say- I'm tired.

Lately, I've been yearning to stay at home with my son. I've been praying for my husband to find employment. I've been trying to cook and clean and be wife, mother, daughter, sister and friend, DRE and youth minister and I know I'm too small to do it without God's grace. I know that God is planning something for my husband's employment- but I YEARN with everything in my being to be a stay at home mom and to have quiet time with God. I feel like Tantalus. I see the things that I want- but I'm just not able to grasp them.

I pray that I am able to unite these little things with Jesus' suffering on the Cross. Mother Mary, please intercede for me.

Saturday, November 27, 2010


I can't believe it's been almost a month since I've written. Between family, and a very demanding and time consuming job, I've been exhausted.
But, today is my birthday, and i wanted to MAKE TIME to write!
It has been a very busy time these past few months- and I don't believe I've really written much since Papere passed away. Today, I just wanted to write a few things for which i was thankful, as I didn't get to do so on Thanksgiving.

1. My amazing, godly, virtuous and handsome husband- who is a perfect model of St. Joseph and puts up with my shenanigans. :)

2. My "little" Joseph, who just celebrated his first year of life in October! It's amazing to me that time moves so quickly.

3. My family.

4. The infamous Charlie- who, despite his yowling, is always ready to cuddle.

5. My sister's cat Gabriel. He's the sweetest cat alive.

6. Friends.

7. My job. I've been so blessed that ever since I've graduated from college, I've had a Catholic job. I'm also blessed that I can go into the Church whenever I please because it's less than five steps away from my office.

8. That my parents are allowing us to stay in their house until my husband is hired and we find our own place.

9. That I taught myself how to cook. :)

10. In the same vein, I'm abundantly thankful for The Food Network.

11. P90X.

12. Literature, poetry and writing.

13. Learning how to give myself a French Manicure.

14. Mother Teresa. I've been reading a book by her for some time- (and I can never, ever remember the title..) but I'm continually moved by how she served the "poorest of the poor," and acknowledges that those who are lonely and have no one to love them are the poorest of all. This has touched my heart and I try to remember this on a daily basis.

15. The gift of my life- thanks to Mom and Dad for being pro-life! They prayed for ten years to have me, and I was to be born on Christmas Day, but was born a month early instead. What a blessing to be wanted. So many children in today's society aren't seen for the gift that they are.

16. That (despite my objections) God is teaching me flexibility (I have a feeling this will be an ongoing process) and patience.

17. The wonderful priests at my Church, particularly Fr. E, who is the most optimistic person I have ever met- and is SO very happy with his vocation! He will be a blessing to many.

18. For Vermont. Though I must admit, I miss Texas and it's warmth and hospitality so much!

19. My hair. After I was married, I cut off my hair. I highlighted my hair. I dyed my hair. I'm thankful that I've left it alone and it is NATURAL again, and that I'm growing it out- I've missed it!

20. My sister, Amanda and my grandfather, Papere, who are interceding for me continually and will be there to meet me should I make it to Heaven. I'm blessed to have two saints praying for me.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Happiness Abounds

It's a little after 10 PM and I should be in bed recovering...but I am just too ridiculously happy right now! For the past three days, I've felt as if I had a cement block on my chest due to the asthma/respitory infection...and not 20 minutes ago, I felt it lift off of my chest! Someone is praying for me. Thank You, Lord! Now, to finish my jasmine-lemon tea with honey and sleep. Tomorrow is Joseph's birthday, and I've got some serious cake baking and decorating that needs attention in the morning.

We are moving the party to Saturday, so I'm going to buy a small pre-made cake or cupcake for tomorrow- because the big cake will be reserved for the party. I can't wait!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

My Little Monkey

It's hard to believe I haven't had time to write and it's almost been a month!
Today, I'm ill, so I stayed home from work. I caught some sort of respitory infection that has activated my long dormant asthma- resulting in me puffing on my inhaler, taking Nyquil, and drinking absurd amounts of jasmine-lemon tea, slurping down honey to soothe a scratchy and sore throat and eating a lot of chicken soup. It seems that as long as I lie still in bed or I sit, I'm fine- but if I move at all I begin wheezing and coughing, and sinus pressure increases. However, I've never been very good at being sick. I don't like staying in bed and watching movies or reading when I feel like I should be playing with the baby or cooking or going to work...something besides lying in bed.
So, the past two hours, I've been looking up buttercream frosting recipes and daydreaming about streamers and birthday cake. Why? Because Friday is my little one's first birthday, and I don't want to be sick for it!
Last week, my husband and I (and baby) were running errands and I found the cutest monkey cake pan- and thus- we've decided to have a monkey-themed party.
Grant it, it's not going to be a big party- just family- but I want to make it special. It's so unbelievable to me that one year ago, the most amazing gift God has ever trusted me with, was born. Fred and I had wanted a little one for what seemed like such a long time- and then, miracles of miracles, he had arrived.
And in that moment when I first looked at that baby, the pain- the memories of his legs getting stuck under my ribs, being kicked all through the night, and the fear I had when he had been in distress just minutes before, vanished.
And there he was. Perfect.
It's been an amazing year- and Joseph has brought us such joy.
Anyway, that is why I'm going to attempt this monkey cake. It seems a little bit daunting (I don't consider myself to be a fantastic cake decorator) but I'm excited to do it. We decided we're going to go with a vanilla cake, and then we will need chocolate buttercream and plain buttercream frosting, and colors to tint the icing, as well. I even bought those frosting bags with the flower and star shaped tips on the end. This will certainly be an adventure, and I'll be sure to post pictures of my little monkey with his monkey cake, soon!
And, when things are a bit calmer, I'm hoping to blog on a more regular basis.

Saturday, September 18, 2010


Papere passed away tonight at 8:40 PM. Eternal rest grant unto him O Lord...

The "Hidden" Jesus

I've been reading an amazing book by Mother Teresa (the title escapes me now...) but she writes of how Jesus is hidden in the poor and suffering, and how she and others met Him during her work in Calcutta.

Today, I met Him, too.

At about 7 AM this morning, I awoke to a knock on the basement door. It was my sister, who tearfully explained that we had just received a call that Papere (my maternal grandfather) was moved from the nursing home to the Emergency Room. His heart rate was at 160, and he was unresponsive.

After dressing quickly and feeding Joseph, my husband and I, along with the rest of my family, piled into the car to go to the Emergency Room.

To make a very long story short, once we arrived at the Emergency Room, Papere's vitals had stabilized (as much as they could), but his white blood cell count was up and he was diagnosed with pneumonia.

After my parents and aunts and uncles had visited with him and Fr. R had arrived to give him the Anointing of the Sick, my husband and I went in to go see him.

When I first peered behind the curtain, I'm sure that I gasped. He was draped across the hospital bed, head tilted to one side, and looked just like the image of Christ in the Pieta. Pale skin just barely stretched over his bones and his blind eyes were cloudy. I held his hand, which seemed as delicate as a baby bird's wing.

While he wasn't sure who we were the entire time we visited, I could see that he was comforted by the touch of someone who cared for him. Several times, he called out, "Almighty God! Why won't you take me?" and my heart ached, remembering Jesus on the Cross, "My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?"

How I longed to comfort him- but realized my helplessness- and my littleness. It's humbling to realize that sometimes the only comfort one can really give is time and prayer.

Right now, he is being admitted to the hospital and my mother is with him.

I am so thankful I was able to be at the hospital today. Not only could I be with my grandfather, but I saw the "hidden" Jesus revealed in his suffering.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Big Shoes

10 Month Old Joseph and I...what a handsome boy!

When I accepted the position at my parish as DRE, I knew I was replacing a Titan. The lady that I had replaced formed the program from nothing and built it to where it is today- and, for the most part it runs like a well oiled machine.
I expected that after following someone who has been a parish fixture for thirteen years, that I would receive some resistance and comments. The comment that I hear almost daily is that I "have big shoes to fill." Needless to say- hearing this on a daily basis grates on my nerves.
When a lady I met told me this the other day, I replied with, "What? No I don't...I'm making my own shoes." and smiled at her. It went over well enough.
However, I've been reading a book by Mother Teresa, and this line just hit me, "If God could find someone more helpless and hopeless than me, I'm sure He could do greater things with her."
This line both humbles me, and reminds me that I am His instrument...and that HE decides how I am to be used. As long as I do my best, and it is for the glory of God, that is what matters. 'I' am not anything. 'I' should not try to fill anyone's shoes OR create my own- but merely do what is pleasing to Him.
Other than that- things have been going well. Joseph continues to amaze me daily with how much he's changing. He is so beautiful. Four teeth now, and walking! He has even started dancing in his high chair when he hears music.
My husband has been amazing as well. If anyone has a servant's humble heart, it is him. I am so blessed to have this man in my life.
Hopefully, I will write more often after the next two weeks are over- I have so much to share.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Divided and United

When I was in high school, and even into college it so happened that whenever my family had a party or cookout that my Dad would ask (well..."ask"...) my sisters and I to sing for our guests. Usually, after much reluctance, we would sing in four part harmony. We would sing anything- from songs that were currently playing on the radio to the "Hallelujah Chorus." As an introvert, I usually dreaded singing in front of a crowd. However, I did enjoy singing with my sisters, and listening to the beauty of an acapella four part harmony.

This past weekend, everyone from the parish staff at my church came over for the annual parish cookout at my father's house. This meant all of my co-workers, priests, nuns, deacons, and of course my own family. As soon as the last of the burgers had been claimed and the laughter had quieted, everyone turned their attention to the patio where my two sisters sat, prepared to entertain the guests.

They sang beautifully, accompanied by guitar. I sat at the picnic table with my husband and my son, hoping no one would urge me to join in- which of course they tried to do. I declined as gracefully as I was able and tried to be as inconspicous as possible.

As the tiki torches flickered against the darkness, and I listened to their voices charm the crowd, I could hear the two harmonies that were missing- that seemed to me to leave the song incomplete. I almost see her. See the four of us together again- and I felt my face warm and water fall from my eyes.

You see, I have a secret. I haven't sung since my sister died. I can go through my days normally- get up, coffee, work, pray, deal with the baby, deal with family, and everything is fine-
unless I am invited to sing with my sisters- or even sing in public. Once, I was flipping through channels on television and saw a family of Celtic vocalists singing and that was too much for me.

The only place I will sing is during Mass. I feel that while I am singing to my Beloved at the Eucharistic Table, I am united with her- that all of us are together again.

And sometimes, in those quiet moments during the Communion Meditation I can hear her- soft and gentle, weaving her voice in with the tapestry of voices from the congregation below. How good God is, to allow me this gift, especially in my unworthiness.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Silent Hours

Lately, silence has been something that I have been craving. Between being very busy with the Religious Ed. program at our parish, motherhood, and family life- there has been no time for reflection- making it more difficult to hear those whispers of love from the Lover of my soul.

I have been trying to rise early and go to bed later so I can savor a few precious (silent) moments with my Beloved. I know that if I do not take the time to thank Him, and do not take the time to BE with Him, I will be an empty vessel. I will have nothing to give to my husband, my son, or those to whom I am ministering. I cannot find the words to describe how much I yearn for this!

And yet, I know that in my vocation, I am to make my every action, every word, every deed, every sacrifice an act of love for Him. Every action should be a prayer. But in my sinfulness and in my littleness, I really don't know how to do this. It's so easy to forget that taking care of the baby is an act of love when I'm elbow deep in a dirty diaper...and so I yearn for silence, because in the silence, I feel that I'm giving Him my full attention.

I imagine that the Lord is allowing me to experience this so that I burn for Him, and Him alone, but it can be frustrating at times. Between answering telephones, starting a new youth ministry, recruiting CCD volunteers, board meetings, cooking, cleaning, wiping noses, bandaging boo-boos, mounds of laundry, dirty diapers, and living in a house with seven people (my parents, siblings, husband and son...not to mention the infamous Charlie, and my sister's pets...) where there is really no privacy- how can I maintain a few precious hours of silence so I can be with the Lord, and in turn, be Christ-like to everyone else? I'm open to any and all advice- I need to pencil the Lord in!

Sometimes, I really feel like more of a Martha than a Mary- so consumed by duties. But how I yearn for a chance to sit at His Feet!

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Versatile Blogger Award

When I began this blog, I decided that I wouldn't publicize it, but just write and see who decided to read- leaving it in God's hands. I believe I've only actually shared it's existence with about six friends. Imagine my surprise when I found I was awarded a Versatile Blogger Award from the lovely blogger at City Wife, Country Life! Thank you, Angele! (I don't know how to link back to your blog, as I'm still new to this blogging thing.)

I want to pass on the award to two bloggers that I regularly read.

1. Nicole at Cupcakes and Spriggles. She frequently writes about her family life, inparticularly about her adventures as a new mom, but also peppers her blog with cooking tips and prayerful meditations on Gospel readings. Very beautiful blog.

2. Adrien at On the Fly. Not a frequent blogger, but her posts are filled with anecdotes and tutorials of a Mom who is learning how to be a "stay at home mom" and loving every second of it. I love this blog, and it's very helpful!

Now, part of receiving this award is posting seven things that no one knows about you. As I feel that I'm an open book (for the most part) this may be difficult! However, here is my attempt:

1. Despite the fact that I am utterly terrified of rollercoasters and most wild rides, I have always dreamed of riding a motorcycle. Something about the speed and the wind blowing through one's hair is very appealing to me.

2. Even though I'm a flutist, I would love to learn how to play acoustic guitar. I'm putting this on my "bucket list."

3. I have only had once instance where I had to stay overnight in a hospital, and that was post-delivery of my little bambino.

4. If I could have any job in the world and money was not a factor, I would love to be a poet.

5. When my husband was first interested in dating me, I was contemplating graduate school and then missionary work in Chicago. However, God has a sense of humor. Every night, my dear husband would go to the chapel and ask God if he could have me. And every night, I went down to the chapel and TOLD God that even though I was attracted to this man, I wanted to remain single and pursue mission work. You can see who's faith was rewarded!

6. I love logic and puzzles, but I am an utter failure in the area of mathematics.

7. I have a deep love for Victorian houses. I would love to live in one and furnish it with period furniture and paintings. They are so beautiful, and make me feel very "refined" and feminine.

I suppos that's all for now- back to the "sacred hours" of wifely duties and motherhood. I am hoping for a post later this week concerning marriage- my husband and I just celebrated our four year anniversary!

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Canticle of Love


This song, based on the writings of St. Therese, has always been dear to my heart. I first heard it when I purchased "Songs for Life" by The Pierce Sisters. It was played at my wedding as the Entrance Hymn (Instrumental) and sung during the Communion Meditation. It was also played at my sister's funeral. Out of any piece of music I've ever heard, this song is the one that has played a crucial part in drawing me closer to Christ, and I wanted to share the lyrics. Wish I could share the actual music, but I'm not technologically savvy. :)

Saturday, July 10, 2010

"God doesn't call the qualified..."

"God doesn't call the qualified, but He qualifies the called." I cannot remember where I first heard this quote, but I have been mulling over it a lot lately, especially in light of my new job, and in light of being a mother. I find these words to be a comfort as I find myself thrown in the midst of administrative duties and being "on my own" for a week while my husband is in California.

When I think of these words, the Blessed Mother and St. Joseph always come to mind. A humble, poor fifteen year old girl called to be the Mother of Our Lord? A lowly carpenter called to be the protector of Our Lady and Our Savior? Surely, neither one of these seemed qualified for the roles God had planned for them- but He gave them the strength, wisdom, love and grace to fulfill their vocations.

When I remember this, I know that God can certainly help me to do the lowly tasks that I must fulfill in order to please Him.

Friday, June 11, 2010

My Vocation Is Love! -St. Therese of Liseux

I am praising God today that my sweet friend has entered the Carmelite monastary. She is a living saint who is in love with God and will be a strong intercessor for us. What an incredible blessing! (Of course, I had to wait until after she entered to post this, because she is so humble, and may have scolded me for writing it!)

The past few weeks have been abundant in blessings- both obvious and masked. My husband and my father arrived from Texas safely, and I have begun my new job as Director of Religious Education at my home parish. I am excited to do God's work, but worried because of the lack of youth in the parish. We need to intercede so the youth in the area become passionately in love with Our Lord and come back to the Church.

There are many other things I would like to write, but it will need to wait until a later time. Please pray for an abundance of young souls to return to the Church. How Jesus thirsts for them!

O God, You are my God, for You I long!

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Back In The Mountains...

It has been several days since Joseph and I made the trip to Vermont via airplane- and all is well! He did a wonderful job on the plane and I was blessed to have many fellow passengers (angels?) that were eager to help me with him.

I will need to write more later, but here are a few things that have transpired since we have been here:

1. I have become the cook in the house, and everyone loves my broccoli dish. It's become a frequent request.

2. We've visited Papere (my maternal grandfather) in the nursing home. There is a story which will come from this later.

3. We had a Memorial Day barbecue, which was delicious. However, during the barbecue my Mom received a phone call to let her know the block where her store is located was on fire. It's suspected that the fire was started intentionally. While her store didn't burn down, most of the inventory (bridal gowns, veils, prom dresses, summer dresses, tuxes...) were damaged by the smoke and needed to be thrown out. However, most of the bridal gowns that had been purchased and were being held for customers were saved.

4. Joseph is teething, again. But, he's returning to his schedule, which makes me happy.

There's a lot more to write about, but it will have to wait. What an eventful (and exciting) first week.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

A Model Baby?

At Mass, during the Sign of Peace, the man sitting behind us said, "I just love your son's plump little feet. They're just like the feet that Baby Jesus has in the paintings from the Italian Renaissance. They're great!"

Random, but funny!

Perhaps a future career in foot modeling is in order.

Monday, May 17, 2010

I've Been Schooled.

Turning the faucet in the bathroom sink, I stared in disbelief as the sink coughed and sputtered. That was at 9:00 in the morning.
All day, my husband and I were checking the faucets, hoping the water would return. Instead, we were met with more coughing and sputtering.
The dishes stacked in the sink stuck together and seemed to glare at me because I had been too tired to wash them the night before.
Finally, we just decided to leave the faucet on so we would hear the glorious moment when the water would come back. And so we waited.
And waited.
And waited some more.
Fred went to the store to buy water in case the water hadn't returned by nightfall.
Time passed.
We fed the baby. Joseph ate his Sweet Potatoes with such great gusto, that they not only found their way into his mouth, but into the folds of his neck, his nose, his eyes and his leg rolls.
And still, the water didn't return.
The humidity rose, and we wiped away beads of sweat.
And still, the water didn't return.
I made phone calls to find out if anyone else had their water shut off, and finally discovered that a pipe had broken in our apartment complex. I called the water company, and they said that they were waiting for the workers to call them so they could deliver the part that was needed to restore water. "It should be fixed by this evening," the employee said.
Night fell. And still, the water didn't return.
By this time, I had realized that the water probably was not going to come back for some time. The faucet was turned off and baby was put to bed (after being wiped down with baby wipes, of course). The sky darkened and the temperature cooled.
Finally, at about 11:30 P.M., I decided that it was time to go to bed. But, before I went to sleep, I decided to turn on the faucet one last time.
And fresh, cold water tinkled into the sink.

As I'm sure you can imagine, I was greatly annoyed that we had been deprived of water for an entire day. Dishes and laundry couldn't be washed, showers couldn't be taken, and meals couldn't be cooked- and the baby was irritable because he didn't get his nightly bath.
However, after my "poor me" pity party, I realized that God was trying to teach me something.
All day, I had been eagerly awaiting the water. EVERYTHING centered around the water coming back. After all, we need it to wash, cook, clean, and most importantly, to drink. I can't count the number of times I checked and double checked the faucets, making sure I had really turned on the faucet in the bathroom and didn't just imagine that I had.

And then, I heard a still, quiet voice within me say, "My child, how often are you this zealous about Me?" How often do we focus on living a Christocentric life? After all, He is the Living Water that nourishes our souls. He created us from nothing, and if He didn't think of us for even and instant, we would cease to exist. How little He is thought of daily, and yet, when He hides His Face from us, we realize how much we needed to rely on Him all along.

Lesson learned.

Monday, May 10, 2010

The Power of a Feminine Woman

I think that sometimes women, wives in particular; are oblivious to how much power that they have. A gentle smile can be comforting to a husband who has been at work all day, while a bitter remark may make him retreat into his cave, causing him to "walk on eggshells."

A woman who lashes out at her husband in a moment of stress and verbally tears him down risks emasculating him, while a woman who retreats into silence causes him to mull over all of his actions, wondering if he did something wrong- when he did it, and how he's going to make up for it.

Where then, is the balance? Why do women do these things? I think that part of the reason is because they have lost sight of their femininity, and that they don't understand how to be vulnerable anymore. In today's feminist society, vulnerability is equated with weakness, when in reality, vulnerability can be a woman's greatest strength. Not only does she fully live out her womanhood in the way God intended when she is vulnerable, but she enables her husband to embrace his masculinity, and causes him to want to become a better man, husband and father.

A feminine woman invites. She does not nag or order her husband to do something. In her softness and her sweetness she draws him to do what is good. Above all, she gives him respect.

Of course, Our Lady is the true model of femininity, and within her dwell all the virtues that we should strive to cultivate.

These are just a few of the many things I've been thinking about lately, in no particular order. What do you think are the attributes of a truly feminine woman?

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Charlie Pulls a MacGyver?

Monday night I was enjoying a "lazy night" with my husband after I put Joseph to bed. He had picked up some Subway for dinner and we were talking and getting things ready for the move. It was about eleven when we realized we hadn't seen Charlie for the past three or four hours.

Actually, I'm surprised we hadn't noticed this earlier. You see, Charlie is what is known as a "vocal" cat. That's putting it nicely. If you talk to him, he will meow a reply. If he feels we're paying too much attention to the baby, he will make his feelings known. And, if he sees something (or someone) outside on what he deems is his property, he will sound the alarm.

And so, realizing that it had been abnormally quiet, we searched the apartment. He was not under our bed, or under the crib- and he hadn't found his way into any of the closets or gotten stuck in the dresser. After about forty-five minutes of searching, I heard a muffled meow, but couldn't tell where it was coming from. Finally, in a last ditch effort, my husband suggested that we look outside. Lo and behold, when I opened the front door, Charlie was there, wailing. His left ear had been blackened and his back was wet.

We still can't figure out where he was or how he escaped outside. Charlie is an indoor cat because he has been declawed. Occasionally, I'll let him out on the patio (we live in a second story apartment) and he will sun himself or bask in the breeze before coming inside. Our theory is that he probably was shut outside on the patio and we couldn't hear him, and so he made a giant leap and then walked around the complex back up to our apartment.

Or, perhaps he has secret MacGyver skills that we don't know about. I guess we'll never know!

Friday, April 30, 2010

Golden Lines: Sports as a Means to Virtue

"Sports are not merely the exercise of muscles, but the school of moral virtues and training in courage, in perseverance and in overcoming laziness and carelessness. There is no doubt that these values are of the greatest interest for the formation of a personality which considers sports not an end in itself, but as a means to total physical and social development." -Pope John Paul II

How's THAT for motivation to work out? I love John Paul II!

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Confessions of a Wannabe Foodie on the Road to Fitness

The first year of marriage, the only thing that I really knew how to cook was scrambled eggs- and even that was debatable. Smoke and fire alarms beeping were common in my kitchen as I tried in vain to flip pancakes before they blackened. There was no attention to detail. I recall being somewhat satisfied that I had baked a Shepherd's Pie (with instant potatoes coating the top) before cutting into it and realizing it was a watery mess because I had forgotten to drain the canned corn before plopping it into the baking dish.

Long story short, it was a mess, and I knew it. And what's more, my husband knew it- but he didn't know I knew HE knew it. He very graciously ate whatever I piled on his plate with little to no comments. Browned ground beef with corn and taco seasonings became a weekly meal.

And then, one night I remembered that some optimistic soul had purchased a crock-pot for us as a wedding gift. What could be easier? I thought to myself, as I dumped in some chicken and sliced vegetables. You set the temperature, and just let it sit for eight hours. Easy and fool proof.

Wrong again.

We both came home from work, tired and exhausted (we were both teaching at the time) to find that my ingenious, fool-proof plan had been foiled. I hadn't pressed the temperature level twice, which meant that the meal never cooked. Needless to say, it was a night at Del Taco for us.

Happily, my cooking skills have grown considerably over the past three (going on four!) years, and I enjoy cooking for my husband- and he enjoys eating the food (usually). The last serious endeavor I undertook was making Rachel Ray's Mini Paella, which was glorious. I even felt exotic because I cooked with couscous.

So what's the problem? The problem is my husband and I have taken an interest in fitness and nutrition. My husband does a lot of lifting and running to train for a job in law enforcement, and I have been doing P90X to get down to my pre-pregnancy weight. (By the way, P90X is a GREAT program- love it!) We both want to eat healthier, but let's be honest, healthy food is not always palatable! I have been reading labels, reading calories, and searching websites in the attempt to find recipes that are tasty as well as nutritious- and quick to make. Having a baby and our crazy schedule does not leave much time for my culinary endeavors.

Is there anyone who has any great tips or recipes that are healthy? I would love to start a catalogue of "fit" recipes. A friend posted in her blog that "Eat This, Not That" is a great cookbook. Any other suggestions?

Wednesday, April 21, 2010


It's been three years since the last time my husband and I have moved, and now we're ready to go again- this time, with Joseph- (and the cat.)

When my husband is away for long hours at work, I've been spending time making lists and beginning to make preparations for the grand trek ahead of us. From Texas to Vermont is a long way! The baby and I; and perhaps the cat, will be flying to Vermont, while my Dad and my husband drive a moving truck with our few possessions.

Soon after my arrival with baby, I will begin my new job. I am excited about this, but at the same time I think I will have a very difficult time not being a stay at home mom. I thought I was going to have a hard time with it this year, but despite difficulties, I've ended up falling in love with it. I like running the household. I feel like it's where I'm supposed to be.

However, my employer is amazing and is allowing me to bring Joseph to work with me, which is a great thing. I don't think I could reconcile putting him in daycare, especially since he's a baby.

We're still waiting to hear back from places where my husband has applied- and there is another opportunity on the horizon for him. I'm hoping one will pull through.

I will have to write more later. This is one of those "brain dump" entries where I just splatter everything onto a page.

Monday, April 19, 2010

The Naughty List

I was just perusing some of the 'Blogs of Note.' Since they are specially set aside by Blogger and some have won awards, I thought they might be worth the read.
Some of them are, in fact, interesting. But then, some are just so crass. SO crass. Good writing shouldn't have to be sprinkled with four letter words in order to be entertaining. I probably won't be checking out many of those blogs anymore.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Golden Lines: Mother Angelica

Occasionally, I will be posting what I call "golden lines" in this blog. When I was teaching, I would often encourage the students to highlight or copy down lines from the literature we were studying that pertained to the novel's theme, or to copy down lines that particularly inspired them.

I was browsing through Mother Angelica's Little Book of Life Lessons today, and this line not only struck me, but gave me a good chuckle.

If you're experiencing stress or tension give it to Jesus. Tell Him, "I feel like crawling the wall, but I love You and I want to give this to You." Do you think our Lord wasn't tense living with those twelve screwball apostles? p. 127

This one struck me as well:

On Perfectionism

Don't let the perfect be the enemy of the good. p. 125

Wow. Great things to bring to prayer!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Modest is Hottest: Swimwear

Summer is just around the corner, and I've been searching for modest bathing suits. It seems like everywhere I look, the only option is to be scantily clad in a bikini- and that you end up paying for less fabric than it takes to make a real bathing suit.

I don't think so.

I'm a firm believer that even if you've got it, you shouldn't flaunt it. A lady should dress with respect for herself and for others, maintaining her beauty- and keeping an air of mystery.

Upon realizing this dilemma, on a whim I decided to google 'modest swimwear' and found this site.


Wow! I was so excited because they're cute and still leave just enough to the imagination.
I was also excited to learn that this site also sells other modest and stylish clothing. Guess
I better start saving my pennies!

My Knight

Babies are supposed to be cute. They have round faces with dimples that dent their creamy skin. Wide, innocent eyes, long lashes- soft, doughy bellies and legs with rolls upon rolls. Their giggles are contagious, and nothing brings a smile to a mother's lips like the sheer joy of watching her child sleep.

However, sometimes babies morph into little gremlins- wetting through diapers, causing fecal explosions that not only ooze out of said diaper, but travel up to the neckline of a nightie. But the worst gremlin behavior is choosing to vomit on the fresh top that you have put on after having washed up from the last vomiting episode. They will fume and cry until their little faces redden, leaving you to wonder if they are in pain or intent on causing you to have a meltdown.

Usually, my little angel belongs to the former category. However, for the past two weeks he has indulged in this 'gremlin-esque' behavior. To add to this odd behavior (complete with tantrums and hitting) he has become mobile. He's crawling (he's just about six months old) and terrorizing the cat by yanking on his fur, as well as pulling DVDs and books from their shelves and searching for electrical sockets. More than once, he has tried to wiggle his way under the recliner. He can not be left to his own devices for a fraction of a second. (Needless to say, my husband and I are going to purchase a Pack n' Play soon so we can have a few moments of peace!)

Yesterday, whilst Joseph decided to vomit for about the third time, my cell phone rang. It happened to be my husband who was at the pharmacy to pick up his medication as he was staying home from work due to an ear infection. "Do you need anything?" he asked

"What? No- yes- UGH. I don't know. Vitamins? Yes. Vitamins. UGH! BABY! Can I let you go? I love you."

My husband graciously let me go as I dealt with the mess. Joseph started wriggling and fussing, and I finally decided that it was going to be his designated nap time. After putting him down, with hair askew and covered in spit up, my husband walked through the door wearing a triumphant smile.

"I have something for you."

Just then, he pulled out a bouquet of half a dozen red roses- the most beautiful and fragrant roses I have ever seen. I stood there, dumbfounded. "What are these for?"

He only smiled and then proceeded to hand me one of my favorite chocolates.

I was not sure whether to cry or hug him, so I did both.

It was truly a 'knight in shining armor' moment. I love my husband!

Friday, April 9, 2010

Going From Classroom to Lab

While trying to soothe an irritated baby who was quite indignant about going to bed, and quiet a howling cat (whom I am beginning to sincerely believe God sent me in order to help me get into Purgatory)- I began to think about how God always answers our prayers, but not always in the manner that we hope for.

For example, there are many people who pray to become more holy- to become saints or martyrs. It can be easy to offer a fervent prayer on one's knees, but when God presents the opportunity, it can suddenly become very difficult. Some become angered by it, or even try to run away from it. I call this phenomenon "going from classroom to lab."

I realize this because I was presented with several opportunities this week- and most of them occurred during my "Sacred Hours." However, I regret to say that most of them ended in what my former students would coin as "epic fails."

And then, a dear friend happened to post an amazing sermon of Facebook by St. Leonard of Port Maurice entitled, "The Little Number of Those Who Are Saved." In it, he warns that there are many Catholics/Christians who won't make it to Heaven and gives several reasons and anecdotes that illustrate how these souls fall into Hell. (I could give an entire summary here, but my words could not do it justice- I highly suggest that you read it.)

With so many souls falling into Hell, it is vital to pray for opportunities to grow in holiness- to become saints- to search for little offerings and mortifications that can be offered as a balm to soothe the Wounds of Our Lord's Sacred Heart. Why should we run away from these opportunities, when they are poured from the fountain of Our Lord's Mercy? Embrace these things- these people. Be especially kind to the person who slanders you the most. Pick litter up off the street and throw it away and offer it as a sweet flower to Our Lord.

And if you are blessed enough to have a cat that was especially sent by God in order to launch you closer to Purgatory, endure his howls and imagine that he is singing praises to God. Much easier said than done, but I know this is something that I'm going to try! God in His Infinite Mercy has given me another week, I know I'm going to try and make the best of it. What about you?

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Womanhood Wednesday: Motherhood Musings

One of my New Year's Resolutions was to begin writing poetry again. I've always struggled writing poems in "form," but this one is okay. It is a prayer for my son, that I wrote after reading some beautiful poems that Yeats wrote for his children.

A Prayer For Joseph

(Inspired by Yeats)

Beneath the hood of the bassinet he sleeps
Lips dreaming of his bottle, he's swaddled tightly
Eyes are buttoned shut, lashes brush his cheeks.

Soft sighs drift from his tiny mouth
While he remains anchored by the weakness of
His new body, a house-

For the life-spark that blazes within.
And with every sigh, or gasp, or snore-
I leap from my bed and bend toward him.

And I think of You in Nazareth
Tiny, unable to form words You stayed
Close to your mother's breast, and wept.

God made Man and through Your pain-
You have experienced our weakness
Our frailty, Your Sacrifice- our gain.

While night envelops our house
And the stars sing Your nightly praise
Keep Joseph tucked into Your Sacred Heart
And never turn away from him Your Gaze.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Dignifying Dishwater

Growing up, my method of cleaning was taking all the hills of clothing on my floor and shoving them into my dresser, and then shoving whatever else I could under my bed. Needless to say, if one were to peer into the dismal abyss under my bed, a wide array of dust bunnies, clothing, books, papers, and perhaps another ecosystem(s), could probably have been found.

This pattern continued into college, where papers and notebooks constantly cluttered my dorm room. And then, I met HIM.

My future husband.

Opposites attract. My husband is one of the neatest people I know. Shirts are always neatly pressed and hung on his side of the closet- and even the medicine cabinet in his bathroom is immaculate and organized. He even enjoys the fine art of vacuuming. He is logical- a philosopher. He didn't believe that my messiness could be attributed to my artistic genius. (And lets be honest, I didn't quite believe this either!)

Needless to say, I've been striving to become neater since we have been married- and even more so since we've had our son. But lately, a sort of quasi-miracle has happened. I enjoy cleaning and organizing.

Now, for some reason, I've always found it easy to be organized in my professional life (when I was teaching...) But my home life was another story. I dreaded doing piles of laundry and scooping the litter-box. However, the chore that I have always detested the most was doing the dishes. Stacks of plates in the sink, bits of food that cling onto them and refuse to be scraped into the trash- you get the idea.

But lately, I've been thinking about the Blessed Mother and how she always completed the same tasks. How she cooked and cleaned everyday, and never complained- and what a gift this must have been to Our Lord and to St. Joseph. Little offerings of love given silently, and with humility. What a beautiful thing to contemplate- and how much sweeter it is when these things go unnoticed!

And so I'm thankful that I now have a little mortification to offer up to Jesus- and something I can do for my husband that will make him happy. It's amazing what an empty kitchen sink can accomplish, isn't it?

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Two Adorable Things To Share

Joseph is currently creeping...and soon to be crawling!

Also...I found this in my e-mail this morning, and thought that it was beautiful and so worth sharing!


Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Womanhood Wednesday (Modest it Hottest)

Before I actually write this post, I just have to say that I'm so happy that my son will be baptized on Easter Sunday. We had been hoping to have him baptized sooner, but this is a great day for it to happen. What a blessing!

A seasoned professor once stood amid a group of college freshmen who were scribbling down lecture notes from a dusty chalkboard in preparation to write their first research paper of the semester. As they were taking down these notes, one student raised her hand to ask the question that was on every student's mind.

"How long does the paper need to be?"

Removing his glasses and casually wiping them clean on his blazer, the professor smiled, "A good paper should be like a woman's dress: long enough to cover everything, but short enough to keep it interesting."

So, why am I sharing this small anecdote during Holy Week? Because even though we are supposed to be reflecting on Our Lord's life, death and resurrection, I'm also sure that many lovely ladies are trying to decide what to wear for Easter Sunday Mass.

When attending Sunday Mass, one can see people dressed in a wide array of clothing- ranging from sweats, to blue jeans, to strapless dresses to suits. What then, is the appropriate attire?

A good rule of thumb would be to dress up more for Mass than one would for work. After all, you're going receive the King of kings. What does this mean for ladies? Ideally, it means that we should wear something modest and feminine. (Not jeans and a jersey.)

In addition to this, it is also important to be respectful to men. The role of a godly woman is to help lead others to God, and since this includes men, dress in a way that encourages men to respect you, and not be distracted. A godly woman can draw a man to God by her beauty if done in a respectful, modest way.

Now, don't let the word "modest" frighten you. "Modest" does not mean "frumpy." While true beauty and holiness are on the inside, it is also important to remember that you are one of God's masterpieces and should dress as such! Remember, long enough to cover everything, short enough to keep it interesting. In other words, be certain to dress in a manner that is respectful not only to Our Lord, but to others.

I hope that everyone has a happy and HOLY Holy Week and Easter Triduum!

Friday, March 26, 2010


About a month ago, my husband, my son and I inched into a crowded room full of young families. Toddlers were scuttling across the white tiled floor while parents lined up to receive packets and pens from a cheerful looking woman in a flower print dress. After the woman had handed us our information, we ended up sitting down and waiting for baptism class to begin.

In order to have our son baptized, it was required that we attend a class that reviewed the meaning of sacraments, went over a little bit of Church history, and some other theology. We also ended up watching a video that captured my attention.

I can't remember the name of the video, but in it, an older woman began to tell a story about how her elementary school teacher, a nun, had always wanted her to enter the convent. The nun had told her student that she would be getting up at various times during the night to pray- one o'clock, three o'clock, five o'clock- etc. , and that because she consecrated these hours to prayer, they would be sacred.

After sharing that anecdote, the woman smiled at the screen and asked, "Now what do those times sound like to you?" Just about everyone in the room smiled as they answered, "Feeding times."

Two different vocations- and the same sacred hours are kept.

This blog will be filled with musings on marriage as a vocation, the gift of motherhood, the Blessed Mother, femininity, and personal stories as well. As a young wife and mother, these are topics that are very dear to my heart, and ones that I would like to discuss and share with others. Welcome to Sacred Hours.