3/31/2011

Comfortable

I have mentioned from time to time that I wasn't happy with the parish in the small town, and I had tried some other ones but just couldn't find "the one".  I am finally feeling comfortable in the parish in the small town, which is the parish in which I grew up.  I am actually starting to feel like I belong.
A few weeks ago there was an announcement that "Why Catholic" groups were starting back up.  "Why Catholic" is a kind of adult religious education where small groups get together and "explores Catholic teaching with direct quotes from Catechism of the Catholic  Church, scriptural references, and reflection questions."  So, I filled out the form with my information, and requesting the "Working Moms" group.  And then I started worrying:  What if the group doesn't want me?  What if the group is really for moms with young kids? What if I just don't fit in?
The first question stemmed from when we first moved back to the small town.  I called someone about getting involved in a group, only to be told that they were all full.  Talk about feeling unwelcomed.    I mentioned that to someone a while back, and that person said that I should have never been told that.  Ya think?  While I was waiting for the leader of the small group for Why Catholic to call, I was secretly hoping that she wouldn't be able to get in touch with me.  But, the lady over the whole program called and told me that the leader of the group would be getting in touch with me soon.  A couple of weeks after that, I got an e-mail from the leader.  I had no escape.  Last Wednesday was my first week with the group.  I hadn't met any of the ladies except one of them a few weeks previous to that.  And they welcomed me with open arms.  One lady is going to have a baby Monday (her 5th), and she has children up to 20 years old.  A couple of other moms have elementary school/middle school age children, another one has high school kids, and the other one has a son in the Army.  So, it's a nice mix, and it seems to work.  I can't believe how comfortable I feel with these women!  This is what I was missing from SC:  friends who share my religion, who I worship and socialize with.  Okay, so I'm not quite to the "socializing" part with them, but there is some socializing going on during our 1 1/2 hours.
Then there's Adoration.  I've met a couple of women who have the hour after mine.  We spend a couple of minutes in transition (as I'm leaving and they're getting there) to catch up.
Yesterday I got a really sweet birthday card from our priest from Africa.  My mom told him it was my birthday, and he brought her a card to give to me.  And, he wrote the sweetest message in it.  It really touched my heart that he would take the time to write that sweet, sweet message.  It's like he knows everything I'm struggling with, and he's telling me he's there for me.  He is simply amazing.
So, I think things are looking up!  This parish isn't perfect, but I don't know of one that is.

3/30/2011

April Fool's Hodgepodge


Joyce came up with some more great questions for this week.  I can't believe March is already (almost) over!

1. April rolls in at the end of this week and in celebration of that infamous date (April 1st) answer this question-What is something foolish you've done? 
1?  You only want 1 thing?  I'll go with this:  There is a bridge in the small town that everybody paints.  

During our rivalry week when I was a Junior in high school, I went to paint the bridge after band practice.  I used my car key to attempt to open the spraypaint can and it broke off.  Here's the thing:  I wasn't suppose to be at the bridge; I was suppose to go straight home after practice.  What did I tell my daddy?  I told him it broke off when I was trying to unlock the car door.  He didn't question it, but I have a feeling there's no way he believed me.  My daddy is a pretty smart man.

2. With April comes Easter and that classic edible treat known as Peeps...so tell me...what's your favorite way to fix/eat chicken? That wasn't what you were expecting, was it? I 'fooled' you. teehee.
I like chicken just about every way.  I don't know that I have a favorite.
 
3. What's the best museum you've ever visited? Or your favorite? Or the one you'd most like to visit?
The Holocaust Museum in DC.  Mindblowing.  I think that's the best one I've been to.  Although, the Museum of Natural History in NYC was pretty awesome, too.  There are a couple of museums in the big town next to us that are free that I need to explore.
 
4. You know what they say about April showers...what's your preference-a shower or a bath?
Shower.  When we lived in SC I would take bath every now and then, just to soak.  I've never even taken a bath in our current house.  Maybe after we get the tub refinished.
 
5. "Absence makes the heart grow fonder"...fact or fiction? Why?
I think it depends.  If it's true love and not just an infatuation, I think it does.  When CH was at Army Schools, it definitely made the heart grow fonder.  However, there have been a couple of guys that I dated that would make me think it's fiction.

6. What's your favorite product made/grown in your home state/province?
Hmmmmm.....Jack Daniels?  Just kidding, I don't drink the stuff.  I would've said Saturn cars, but they aren't making those here anymore, and I don't drive a Saturn anymore.  Here's my final answer:
 Of course it was going to be something that has to do with food!  CH is convinced that the oatmeal pies are keeping his cholesterol down!  My all time favorite is the Swiss Roll, but this new one is catching up:
 

7. What is going on in the world today that affects you the most?
All this stuff going on in the Middle East causing the gas prices to sky-rocket.  Ridiculous.  We don't even get most of our oil from there, so why in the world are the prices so high?  I couldn't believe how much it cost me to fill up my tank the other day.  Craziness...just pure craziness.
 
8. Insert your own random thought here.
This isn't a great picture, but this is what I saw yesterday afternoon when I took the girls out:
  I just happened to look up and see it.  I don't know if  it's really called a rainbow or something else, but it was pretty cool.
 
To see how everybody else answered or to join in and link up, go visit Joyce.

3/29/2011

Tomorrow

I have no idea how this happened.  Wait.  Yes I do.  I was in a hurry and didn't double check what I was doing.  That's how I managed to triple book myself with 3 IEP meetings tomorrow afternoon, all at 3:00.  Yes, I said triple book.  I thought I was supposed to have 1 meeting to place a student into Speech Therapy last Wednesday and the parent didn't show up.  For the 2nd time.  The teacher & I were scratching our heads, because this parent initiated the referral.  The next day I got the parent response in my box, saying he will attend on 30 March.  The teacher couldn't figure out how he got it back to us so quickly.  Uuuuuh, that would be because I'm an idiot and wrote the meeting down on the wrong date on my calendar.
So, what do you do when you've triple booked yourself?  Pray that one of the parents don't show up, of course!  I'm responsible for 2 of the meetings, and the special ed. teacher is responsible for the other one.  We will, at times, schedule meetings for the same day.  When that happens, I do what I need to do for my meeting, then rush down to her room for the other one.  It works for us.  It drives Mr. Principal crazy, I'm sure.
I have a feeling this will be the one time that both parents for my meetings will show up.  On time.  *sigh*
Tomorrow is going to be a crazy day.

3/28/2011

Meet Me on Monday:40th Edition



More questions from Java today so we can get to know each other just a little more!

1.  Crunchy or soft tacos?
Soft.

2.  Do you scrapbook?
No.  I have clippings from OS' & MS'  high school football days that are in bags in the closet.  I had/have good intentions of putting them in a frame, but they're just sitting there right now!

3.  Do you take any daily medications?
Just one prescription.

4.  What is your favorite sound?
Babies laughing; you know, the big belly laugh.

5.  Where were you born?
I was born in the big town next to the small town.  All 10 of us were born in the same hospital, although my youngest brother was almost born at a different one.  My mom insisted that they transport her to "our" hospital.  

3/26/2011

TSMSS


I think Stephen Curtis Chapman is one of the greatest songwriters of our time.  His songs reach into your soul and yank at your heart.  I watched this clip last night after I got home from Stations of the Cross...talk about incredibly moving.



You're invited to visit Amy and see what other songs are in people's hearts on this Saturday.

3/25/2011

Meatless Friday: Or Is It?

FEAST OF THE ANNUNCIATION
The following is the biblical background for this Feastday.


Luke 1:26-38
In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin's name was Mary. And he came to her and said, "Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with you!" But she was greatly troubled at the saying, and considered in her mind what sort of greeting this might be. And the angel said to her, "Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a Son, and you shall call His name Jesus. He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Most High; and the Lord God will give to Him the throne of His father David, and He will reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of His kingdom there will be no end." And Mary said to the angel, "How shall this be, since I have no husband?" And the angel said to her, "The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the Child to be born will be called holy, the Son of God. And behold, your kinswoman Elizabeth in her old age has also conceived a son; and this is the sixth month with her who was called barren. For with God nothing will be impossible." And Mary said, "Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord; let it be done to me according to your word." And the angel departed from her.

Some interesting facts about this Feastday:
~ The Annunciation has always been celebrated exactly 9 months before Christmas.
~  The Feast of the Annunciation is not a Holy Day of Obligation (days when Catholics are obligated to attend Mass).
~  25 March, in Western Countries, used to be the 1st day of the New Year, until 1752 when secular calendars used 1 January as New Year's Day.
~ This day was also called "the Feast of the Conception of Jesus", as well as "the Feast of the Last Judgement".

This was the day when Mary said "yes".  This was the day that Jesus became flesh in her womb.  This is the day when one of our most beloved prayers began:  "Hail Mary", which begins, "Hail, Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee."  The Annunciation is also the first Joyful Mystery of the Rosary. 

Could you imagine if this happened in modern times?  Would it be a reality show?  Would God find someone to say "yes"?  Would this happen in the USA or somewhere else in the world?  Something to think about, for sure.
 
I think I like this picture of The Annunciation the best out of all of the ones I looked at:

This is how I imagine Mary to feel; she has a scared look about her.  She must've been terrified when she first saw the angel, only to be comforted knowing that God would be with her.  It's just unimaginable, but I guess that's what faith is all about, right?

3/24/2011

Geniuses

I have geniuses for sons.  MS decides to go to the beach for spring break (without getting an okay from us).  He only had $49; they were going to be gone for a week.  CH gave him a check for $50, which MS said he was going to bring back just to show him it could be done.  He handed CH the check on Tuesday; however, his grandpa gave him $50, too.
YS made a gallon of Tang in an orange juice jug.  We didn't have a funnel to pour the powder in, so what did he use?
His response when I told him he was a genius:  "Yeah, I know."
Here's what OS has been up to:
Remember this picture from October?
Yeah, the boy knows how to make his mom's heart stop.
Boys...what are you going to do with 'em?

3/23/2011

Springtime Hodgepodge


It's time for the hodgepodge, so you know what that means:  Yep, we're halfway to the weekend!  Here are this week's questions, courtesy of Joyce:

1. Sunday was the first day of spring. So they say. Ahem.
What is your favorite outdoor springtime activity?
I love going to the mountains and seeing the flowers.  I don't do it enough!  
2. Who would you want to come into your kitchen to cook dinner for you?
YS...oh, wait.   He did that for us Monday night...without a recipe!  He did it again:  a good meal!
 Chicken Parmesan with Alfredo Sauce & Linguine
 If YS wasn't available, a dinner by Paula Deen might be nice...or Bobby Flay...or Carla from Top Chef.  I would have a blast if any of them showed up in my kitchen!
http://www.bravotv.com/top-chef/bio/carla-hall
 
3. When did you last fly a kite?
Oh, gosh.  I don't have any idea.

4. What topic puts you to sleep faster than anything?
Numbers.  Anything to do with numbers.  I get this glazed look in my eyes and will drift right off.

5. Which flowers do you associate with specific people, places, or events?
I've never thought about this one before.  I don't know that I associate any flowers with certain people, places, or events.  I know I'm going to kick myself after I read other's answers, though!

6. What significant historical events took place during your elementary school days?
I think integration was the biggest one that I can remember/think of.  I was in 3rd grade when the schools integrated.  I remember wondering how I was going to tell my friends apart.  And, when I accidentally touched the librarian's arm (she was black), I looked down at mine, and she said, "No, sweetie, it doesn't come off."   
I had to do a little (very little!) bit of research, but here are a couple of other historical events:  Vietnam War, Watergate, and the Kent State killings.

7. Do you swear? Do you pseudo-swear? (You know crap, shoot, friggin'?)
I'm really, really trying not to, but "pseudo-swear"?  You betcha!

8. Insert your own random thought here. 
I guess I need to clarify something from my yesterday's post:  We got rid of the aqua toilet when we moved in.  There was a pink one just like it in the master bathroom.  CH wanted to keep them...apparently they're worth a lot of money.  But, the plumber said to get rid of them...something was wrong with them!  I loved that man, God rest his soul!

3/22/2011

It's DONE!

It took a week longer than expected, but the bathroom remodel is done!  We are really, really pleased with how it turned out.  Here are the before & after pictures:
 BEFORE
AFTER

 BEFORE
AFTER

 BEFORE
 AFTER
The bathtub hopefully won't stay the same color.  CH is trying to get a guy who will sandblast and redo it to call him back.  Now I just have to figure out what to with the master bath, although I think CH has ideas!

3/21/2011

Meet Me on Monday


Java's back today with a new set of questions!

Questions:

1.  What jewelry do you wear 24/7?
My wedding rings and the earrings in the top hole of my double-pierced ears.
 
2.  Do you twirl your spaghetti or cut it?
When I cook it, I break it in thirds.  When I eat it, I twirl.
 
3.  How many siblings do you have?
9:  5 sisters & 4 brothers.  All from the same parents; there were no multiple births.
 
4.  Were you named after anyone?
Hmmmm...My name is Mary, so....I would say that I'm named after the Blessed Mother.
 
5.  Coke or Pepsi?
Coke.  Hands down.  No discussion needed!

Go visit Java to link up and see how your favorite bloggers answered today's questions! 

3/19/2011

TSMSS



I heard this song a couple of weeks ago. It was so new that there wasn't anything on youtube about it, except for a clip of the singer talking about the origins of the song. It is just beautiful.

3/18/2011

Meatless Friday 2011: Part 1

Stations of the Cross

When you walk into most Catholic Churches, if you look on the walls you will find 14 plaques depicting Jesus' path from his condemnation to death until his burial.  You may know the Stations of the Cross better as "the Way of the Cross".  The Stations of the Cross didn't start until the 17th Century; however, "The devotion originated, historians suggest, with late 4th century Byzantine pilgrims who visited Jerusalem and its holy places"

I hadn't been to the "Stations" since I was little.  I'm not real sure if we made to go or not; I barely remember going.  Last Friday was my first time attending as an adult; I was a little nervous going in because I couldn't remember the routine.  But, once it started, I felt very comfortable.

The Stations begin with the priest in front of the altar for the Gathering Prayer.  He then moves to each plaque, which depicts a  Station.  At each one, the priest introduces the Station then begins with "We adore you, O Christ and we bless you."  The congregation then responds by genuflecting (kneeling briefly on one knee) and responding with "Because by your holy cross you have redeemed the world."  The priest reads a passage from the Bible corresponding with the Station.  The congregation responds with another passage in the Bible corresponding with the passage just read.  (See, Catholics do read the Bible!)  The version that we use is just amazing.  It's a little longer than the ones I've seen online, but very meaningful and pertaining to today.  After the congregation responds with the Bible passage, a song is sung (Stabat Mater) as the priest and the servers move to the next station.  Our parish does a bilingual Stations of the Cross:  one station is in English, the next is Spanish.  After all 14 Stations have been "visited", the priest returns to the altar for the Resurrection. 

When you read the list of the Stations below, you may think, "Wait.  That's not in the Bible."  And, you'd be correct. These scenes probably came from the early pilgrims to Jerusalem.   We don't know that Jesus fell 3 times.  We don't know that Veronica wiped Jesus' face.  We don't know that Jesus talked with Mary, his mother.   The Bible certainly doesn't tell us those details.  But, the Bible does tell us that Jesus was weak carrying the cross.  Do you have any idea how much that thing must've weighed?  Since Simon's help was asked for, it only seems logical that Jesus would have fallen.   Mary was at the foot of the cross (John 19:25-27).  Wouldn't she have followed alongside her son?  Wouldn't Jesus have been allowed to speak to his mother for a few seconds?  As for Veronica:  Her story is told in 2nd century version of the Acts of Pilate.  Jesus cured her of a blood disorder, and she went to Pilate to plead Jesus' innocence at his trial. "Later versions of the story from the 4th or 5th century say that Veronica possessed a cloth imprinted with the face of Jesus. Western pilgrims returning to Europe passed her story on. As the Stations of the Cross developed in late medieval times, Veronica was remembered at the 6th Station: she wipes the face of Jesus on his way to Calvary and he leaves an image of his face on her veil. A healing relic, impressed with the image of Jesus' face, which came to be known as "Veronica's Veil," was honored in St. Peter's Church in Rome as early as the 8th century" .

This devotion is absolutely beautiful.  There is a lot of standing and kneeling, but it is just an awesome thing.  You feel Jesus' pain and the pain of his followers.  One of the few things I have of my maternal grandmother's is this plaque of the Stations:


The Stations of the Cross:

I      Jesus is condemned to death
II     Jesus takes up his cross
III    Jesus falls for the first time
IV    Jesus meets his mother
V     The Cyrenian helps Jesus carry the cross
VI    Veronica wipes the face of Jesus
VII   Jesus falls for the second time
VIII  Jesus meets the women of Jerusalem who weep for him
IX    Jesus falls for the third time
X     Jesus is stripped of his garments
XI    Jesus is nailed to the cross
XII   Jesus dies on the cross
XIII  Jesus is taken down from the cross and handed to his mother
XIV  Jesus is laid in the tomb

3/17/2011

Happy St. Paddy's Day!

Top o' the morning to ya!  I'm not Irish; I don't even have a speck of Irish in me, but on 17 March, everybody is Irish!
 http://www.saintpatricksdayparade.com/nyc/newyorkcity.htm
 St. Patrick was 16 years old when he was taken prisoner by Irish pirates.  The Roman Legions left Roman Britain, leaving the pirates to pillage and burn everything in sight.  He escaped after 6 years; with Ireland burning still etched in his memory, he went to France and became a priest, then a bishop.  He then returned to Ireland.  According to "the One Year Book of Saints" by Reverand Clifford Stevens, he "brought the light of the Catholic faith to the Irish, converted kings, founded churches, and set up his headquarters at Armagh."  His life was threatened many times...bishops resented him because of his lack of education, friends betrayed him, and other clergy in his home country criticized him.
Apparently he was well into his 100's when he died.  He died on 17 March, but the year is controversial, since his writings did not include a date.  Last Friday, someone asked about what Catholics do if St. Patrick's Day falls on a Friday during Lent.  What about the corned beef on that day?  Well, from what I can tell, the Pope has to give a special dispensation for meat to be eaten on that day.  I would say that it is hard to come by, so, my guess is that the corned beef has to be given up on that day.
One bit of trivia:  St. Patrick is not a canonized saint, rather, he is a saint in name only.  The reason:  during the 1st millennium , there wasn't a formal process for canonization.  The title "Saint" was given to martyrs, then to individuals recognized as being exceptionally holy during their lives.  (Iris Centrall)

3/16/2011

St. Patty's Hodgepodge

If you're looking for the March Recipe Challenge, click HERE.


1. What would you do if you found a pot of gold? Let's pretend this pot of gold is worth exactly $1500 (which would actually be more like a cup of gold at current values). Anyway, let's also pretend you have to spend it as opposed to making a donation someplace. Now tell me what you would do with that cup pot of gold?
Buy the flute I have my eye on.
2. Do you celebrate St. Patrick's Day in any way, shape, or form?
When the boys were little, I used to make their milk green.  Last year I made Slow Cooker Old World Corned Beef & Vegetables.  CH & I topped it off with a Nutty Irishman.  This year I'm making the Corned Beef again (it was really good) and am making some Frosted Irish Cream Brownies.  We like to do a lot of eating in the small town.
3. Have you been bitten by the Spring Cleaning bug? What spring cleaning job most needs doing at your house? What spring cleaning job are you most dreading?
Ha!  That is hilarious.  It's spring break and I have no thoughts of spring cleaning.  It'll be there tomorrow.
4. lime-shamrock-sage-forest...your favorite shade of green?
Sage.  To me it's very calming.

5. Thomas Jefferson once said, "I'm a great believer in luck, and I find the harder I work, the more I have of it." So...do you believe in luck or do you believe we make our own luck? 
I'm not so sure I believe in luck.  I think everything happens for a reason.

6. Monday (3/14) was Pi Day. Get it? Pi =3.14. Those math types are so clever aren't they? Since I'm not one of them tell me what's your favorite piE (the edible kind). 
I do love a good pecan pie.  There was a restaurant in the town in Ga. where we lived that made "Robert Redford Pie".  I don't remember what was in it, but it was TO.DIE.FOR.  They also had a good Praline Pie.  There was another place in town that had a really good Peanut Butter Pie.  I guess I don't really have a favorite.


7. That same date (3/14) happens to be the birthdate of the late physicist Albert Einstein. I bet he knew the value of Pi. So...what do you think is more important and or valuable in life... intelligence or common sense?
I've known people who are really intelligent that don't have a lot of common sense.  And, I know some people who have a lot of common sense who aren't that intelligent.  I'd say it's a draw.
8. Insert your own random thought here. 
 YS got back on Sunday from a weekend band trip to St. Louis.  They marched in the St. Patrick's Day Parade.    I asked YS if all the fundraising was worth it, and he said it would've been if they had had enough time to do a few more things.  The band director wants to start doing a big trip every other year, so the next trip will be YS' senior year (GULP!).  This year, most of the kids had most of their trip paid for through fundraising, which was an awesome thing!  YS already has over $300 credit for the big trip.
During the off years, the director wants to take just the seniors on a local weekend trip. I think that's an excellent idea as a send-off and thank you for their service and dedication to the band.  Band kids are the BEST!

March Recipe Challenge



I had actually planned on making this a few days ago, but forgot I had to marinate the chicken overnight.  I finally made it last night!  I thought it was pretty good; CH said it was just "so-so".  For some reason it came out kind of watery; I think when I make it again I'll only use 1/2 of the whipping cream and/or drain the tomatoes.  If you have any suggestions, let me know!
For new recipe ideas, visit:  http://www.kitchenbelleicious.com/.  It's not too late to join in and submit your recipe for next month!
Pioneer Woman's Butter Chicken

Ingredients

  • 4 pieces Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts (cut Into Bite Sized Pieces)
  • 5 cloves Garlic, Minced
  • 1 teaspoon Salt
  • ½ teaspoons Black Pepper
  • ½ teaspoons Cayenne Pepper
  • ¼ teaspoons Ground Coriander
  • ¼ teaspoons Cumin
  • ¼ teaspoons Cardamom
  • 1 whole Lime, Juiced
  • 1 whole Onion, Diced
  • ¼ cups Butter
  • 1 can (14.5 Oz. Can) Tomato Sauce
  • 1 can (14.5 Oz. Can) Petite Diced Tomatoes
  • 1 pint Whipping Cream
  • 1 bunch Chopped Cilantro, to taste
  • 2 cups Basmati Rice (or However Much You Want)

Preparation Instructions

Combine first 9 ingredients and marinate overnight.
Saute the onion in the butter until soft. Add marinated chicken and cook about 10 minutes. Add the tomato sauce and diced tomatoes. Cook for 30 minutes over medium-low heat with the lid on. Add the whipping cream (I have used light cream or half-and-half also) and cilantro just before serving over Basmati rice.

3/15/2011

Spring Break!

The first day of Spring Break was a good one.  It started with Daily Mass, breakfast at Chick-Fil-A with the "old people" (my parents, another couple, and another lady), then the grocery store.  My Adoration Hour flew by.
MS is also on Spring Break.  I talked to him on Friday night and asked when he was coming home, thinking he was going to spend the week at home.  With his mama.  Only he had other plans that he didn't tell us about. His plan was to go to the beach with some friends.  On $49.  This boy just goes with the flow and has a good time...always.  We made him sweat it out, but we did end up letting him go (and CH gave him a little extra money).   I did remind him that if he got into trouble there would be no calling his parents to come and get him since he's over 18.  Let's hope he knows how to behave!

Saturday I met Ashley, my bloggy friend (and IRL friend!) at Horse Haven.  This place is amazing!  They rehabilitate horses who have been abused and/or neglected.  Ashley wrote a post about a horse who got out of the fence; he had the sweetest face!  I had hoped to meet him, but he had been adopted and went home a few days earlier!   I had a good time watching the horses, hearing them talking to each other, and talking with Ashley. I've said this before, and I'll say it again:  She is an incredible young woman!  She volunteers every Saturday evening at Horse Haven.  I've never been around horses (I have ridden a couple of them, though), but if I had, this would definitely be a place to volunteer.  To me, horses are one of the most beautiful animals in the world.

One day last week, these were delivered from Schwanns:
Cinnamon Sugar Cake Donuts
This needs no caption.
I got an e-mail from Jessica at Belleicious saying that I had won a giveaway!  And it was my favorite:  DESSERT!  Thanks, Jessica!  If you're looking for some awesome recipes, Jessica is your girl!

Spring is busting out all over the place!  I love the beginning of Spring in East Tennessee!  Down the road from us, there are a bunch of forsythia that are blooming.  There is a long line of them, where there used to be front yards:
(That is just a small sampling of the bushes.)
The Bradford Pears are in full bloom....there is a long row of them in front of the airport that is just stunning.  Unfortunately, every time I go by a place to stop to take a picture, there are cars behind me or I'm going the wrong way.  Hopefully sometime before they lose their blooms I'll have the opportunity to share.  
Do you still have snow on the ground where you are, or is Spring beginning to arrive?

3/13/2011

Meet Me on Monday: Spring break edition


Java graciously gives us questions each week to answer so that we can get to know each other a little better.  Want to join in the fun?  Go to Never Growing Old and link up!

1.  Do you have a fireplace in your home?
We have 2: one in the kitchen area and one in the basement.  When we bought the house we thought about doing something to have one in the living room, but, it would be in a weird place (like it is in the basement).
 
2.  Can you drive a stick shift?
Yes.  I think that's something everybody should know how to do...just in case.  I love driving one...it makes me feel like Mario Andretti!
 
3.  How many computers are in your home?
Oh, my.  We each have one.
 
4.  Are your taxes done yet?  Do you do them yourself?
Thanks to CH, yes.  Had to get the FAFSA stuff done so the boys can get their $ for college!
 
5.  What is your favorite meal of the day?
Dinner.  Unless we go out.  Then it's that meal.

Don't forget to visit Java and see how everybody else answered!

Sunday Snippets- A Catholic Carnival

RAnn at This That and the Other Thing hosts "Sunday Snippets- A Catholic Carnival" every Sunday. Go check her out and see what others are highlighting this week. And, you don't have to be Catholic to check it out!
My post this week is my introduction to "Meatless Friday".  If you haven't already read it, go take a look!

3/12/2011

TSMSS



This is another song that is song during Mass.  It's just beautiful and is a wonderful reminder of why I love being Catholic.  This is a performance by St. Vitus High School in New Castle, Pa. (I hope that's right, anyway!)



3/11/2011

Meatless Friday 2011: Introduction


I've decided to bring back "Meatless Friday" as my Friday posts for Lent.  Why "Meatless Friday"?  During Lent, Catholics abstain from eating meat on Friday.  Pre-Vatican II, every Friday during the year was meatless.  Now, Catholics are "encouraged" to abstain from meat every Friday during the year, but it is "mandatory" during Lent.

Since Jesus suffered and died on Friday, that day has been held by the Catholic Church as a day of reverence; a day of fasting and abstinence.  Growing up, our Friday suppers consisted of some kind of fish.   Canon Law 1251 states "Abstinence from meat, or from some other food as determined by the Episcopal Conference (which is the Conference of Bishops), is to be observed on all Fridays, unless a solemnity should fall on a Friday. Abstinence and fasting are to be observed on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday."  However, the United States Conference of Bishops mitigated the obligation of meat on all Fridays; they then came out with  a statement indicating that it should be a Catholic's choice to abstain from meat on Fridays.  Catholics are still supposed to do some form of penance on Fridays throughout the year.  (This was news to me...wonder why no one ever told me that?)

Okay, so that's the background.  My posts on Fridays will be on my Catholic Faith.  If you aren't Catholic, please don't be turned off by them.  My purpose is to hopefully give you something to think about.  There are a lot of misconceptions about the Catholic Faith out there.  As I told Mom24, if I can dispel one misconception to one person, I'll be happy.
If you have a question, please either e-mail me or leave the question in the comment.  If I don't know the answer, I'll do my best to find out!  If you are Catholic and I haven't gotten something exactly right, please let me know.

Apparently McDonalds decided not to bring back this commercial this year, so I thought I'd give you a nice earworm for the day:



3/10/2011

Perturbed

Last night, at Ash Wednesday Mass, I was perturbed.  I had to do a lot of asking God for patience and tolerance.  Mass was crowded.  That was the most people I've seen at Mass in a long, long time.  It was almost like Midnight Mass.  The CCD kids (that's "Sunday School" for you Protestants!) and CYO (youth group) kids were all piled in the pews.  That was great...no problem there.

The 8:00 p.m. Mass was billed as a "bilingual" mass.  Okay, no problem, the church we attended in SC used to have bilingual masses a lot.  However, the Eucharistic Prayer (the most important part of the Mass) was always said in English so that the majority of attendees could understand what was being said.  Last night it was said in Spanish.  And, to make matters worse, the priest celebrating the Mass always says that part of the Mass so low that you can't hear it, and with there being so many people in the church, there was no way to hear it.  So...you've got a bunch of kids in Mass, hearing a language that they're not fluent, and a priest that can't be heard.  Amazingly they did a good job in trying to be quiet, but then you've got a bunch of babies talking and crying.

The beginning of the Mass was in English, then it switched over to Spanish during the readings.  No big deal, we all have English/Spanish books so we could follow along.  The Gospel:  in Spanish.  No homily, followed by the distribution of ashes.   Eucharistic Prayer:  Spanish.  The Lord's Prayer:  Spanish.  He switched back to English toward the end of the Mass.  I will have to say:  Hearing the Lord's Prayer being sung in Spanish was beautiful.  Knowing that, this one time, the Hispanic & English communities were in unison almost brought tears to my eyes.  In our parish, there isn't a whole lot of "mingling" of the two communities.  I don't know why, there just isn't.  I'm sure the "bilingual" Mass is one way to intertwine the two, but I had to work hard at not letting my emotions consume the reason I was at Mass last night.  It was hard, I'm not going to lie.  But. I think next year I'll take a half-day off and go to an earlier Mass.

3/09/2011

Ash Wednesday Hodgepodge


1. The season of Lent begins on March 9th this year...do you participate and if so, in what way?
We'll start off the Lenten season by going to Ash Wednesday Service.  In the past I've given something up, but the past couple of years I've tried to do a little something extra instead of giving something up.
When OS was about 4 or 5, we went up to get ashes on our forehead.  But, he was having none of it.  He wouldn't let the priest put the ashes on his forehead.  Seems like there was some yelling involved.  I don't know if he thought they were hot or what.  

2. Traditionally pancakes are eaten on the day known as Shrove Tuesday which is the last day before Lent (March 8th this year). So....butter and syrup? Blueberry? Chocolate chip? ewww, no thanks!! What's your pleasure when it comes to eating pancakes?
Danish pancakes are the favorite in our house.  It's really a crepe that we put peanut butter, nutella, and sometimes mashed bananas down the middle, roll it up, and put syrup over it.

3. Spring is coming. (It is coming, right?) What's your favorite springtime flower and do you suffer from seasonal allergies? Two questions I know, but they're lightweights.
Jonquils are my favorite, since they're the first flowers that pop up.  It's really neat to be driving down the road and just see a little clump out in the middle of a field.  
I don't have allergies; yep, I know I'm one of the lucky ones.

4. "Our opinion of people depends less upon what we see in them than upon what they make us see in ourselves." Author unknown. Agree or Disagree? Why?
Ah, that's a really deep question.  I can see how it would make sense, but honestly, I'm too tired to really think about it right now!
5. Since it's "March" and also the season of Mardi Gras....have you ever been in a parade? What's the best parade you've seen?
Oh, my.  How I hate parades.  Unless it's the parade at Epcot.  Or something professionally done, not the little hometown parades.  It drives me crazy how they'll let anybody in who will pay a fee, and it's all about them advertising for their business.  Oh...the answer to the question:  I was in the band, so I've been in quite a few parades.

6. You would jump up and down and shout for joy right now if someone told you___________?
I've won the lottery.  Or, Bravo called and asked me to guest star on the Real Housewives. (I'm kidding, people!)

7. How clean is your car on the outside? Inside? Is there junk in your trunk?
It's not too bad on the inside.  It needs to be dusted, and I tend to throw things in the backseat and then not take them out, but it's really not too bad.  But, we're not going to discuss the dish towels, dish rags, and the pump lids that have been in the trunk of my car since November.  They're clean, but haven't made their way back to the concession stand.

8. Insert your own random thought here.
I got this e-mail from a friend a couple of days ago:
Evening Prayer
Someone has said that if Christians really understood  the full extent of the power we have available through prayer, we might be speechless. Did you know that during WWII there was an advisor to Churchill who organized a group of people who dropped  what they were doing every  day at a prescribed hour  for one minute to collectively pray for the  safety of England , its people and peace? There is now a group of people organizing the same thing here in America . If you would like to participate: Every evening at 9:00 PM Eastern Time (8:00 PM Central) (7:00 PM Mountain) (6:00 PM Pacific), stop whatever you are doing and spend one minute praying for the safety of the United States, our troops, our citizens, and for a return to a Godly nation. If you know anyone else who would like to participate, please pass this along. Our prayers are the most powerful asset we have.    Please forward this to your praying friends.
 

3/08/2011

Incredible Weekend

What a great weekend!  Friday night I did laundry since I knew I was going to be busy on Saturday and Sunday.  (This isn't the incredible part, believe me!)
What better way to spend a Saturday than watching high school kids performing?  I'm talking percussion (winter drumline) and winterguard.
YS plays the baritone in band, trumpet in jazz band, and bass drum in drumline.  This was the first time they have performed, or even had a drumline.  There are 2 classifications for drumline:  1 does a choreographed show, the other doesn't.  YS' drumline didn't march.  There were only two drumlines in their class, and they got the higher score, which means they came in 1st!  They were pleasantly surprised, to say the least.
There were a couple of guards at this competition who were just amazing.  The guard that won the more advanced class had this werewolf theme going on.  Their showmanship was amazing; the way they carried themselves and their expressions were very dramatic.  And the equipment-work that they did!  They had flags and rifles flying all over the place!  There may have been a couple of drops, but not more than a couple.  I don't know if the picture will do them justice:
After the performances, while they were waiting for the judge's marks, music played and the kids danced:
That's my shy YS doing the worm.  In front of everybody.  And, he got lots of cheers.
Sunday morning I woke up to rain, then, when I was getting ready to leave for Mass, it started snowing:
(The white things in the picture are snow.)  The flakes were so big and heavy, that when I left for Mass, I could hear them hit the windshield.
After Mass, one of my sisters (the one who gives me "stuff") went into the big city to go to the "Women Today Expo".  Lots of vendors, lots of free stuff, and....look who I met:
If you don't watch the Real Housewives of Orange County, you won't recognize Gretchen.  Oh, y'all...she was so incredibly nice!  When she came out for the meet & greet, she had her coat on.  I told her that my sister & I figured she had her coat on because she was ready to get out of "hick city", and she laughed and said, "hick city...listen to you."  She went on to say that she really liked it here and that everybody was really nice.  She is even prettier in person, but when she stood sideways she just about disappeared.  She's so incredibly thin, but not in an anorexic kind of way.  As a bonus, here's who else we saw:
Yep, Gretchen's boyfriend, Slade!  I thought he'd be the biggest jerk alive, but he was also incredibly nice.  I told him I'd been watching since the beginning, and he said, "Sorry you've gotten sucked into it."   I think he said that just before this picture was taken.  My nephew's wife is a photographer and was taking pictures at the event, so this was taken with her camera...by my sister.  She was suppose to be in the picture (not my sister...she had no idea who they were), but my sis was having a little bit of trouble with the humongous big girl camera.  So, she didn't get a picture with Slade.  I hated it for her, but am so glad that mine turned out!  And, look:  He has his arm around me!
After the expo, my sister & I went up into the Sunsphere.  This sign was in the elevator:
Seriously?  They have to have a sign like this in the elevator?  The view was nice, but it could've been a lot better if the sky wasn't overcast.


Yep...all in all, a pretty good weekend!  Have a wonderful FAT TUESDAY!

3/06/2011

Meet Me on Monday


I had an awesome weekend, but you'll have to wait until tomorrow to hear about it because Monday Posts are set aside to join Java for Meet Me on Monday.

1.  What is your favorite way to eat potatoes?
French fries.

2.  What was the last package that was delivered to your house?
My King Cake!

3.  What is your favorite scent that you love to smell?
Goodies baking.

4.  Do you smoke?
Nope.

5.  Are your parents married or divorced?
My parents have been married for 57 years.
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