Wednesday, March 8, 2017

#WorthRevisit: Saint David's Day

The beginning of March was the beginning of Lent, also known as Ash Wednesday. What some may not have known, is that it was also Saint David's Day.His feast day is celebrated on March 1st so it is almost always within the Lenten Season. Here is my #WorthRevisit with Reconciled to You and Theology is a Verb.

Sunday, February 28, 2016


Saint David's Day

I have been making greater efforts to become more knowledgeable about Saints that I am not very acquainted. One of those Saints feast day is this Tuesday, March 1st. Saint David of Wales is a very intriguing Saint because there are many stories that are told of Saint David, including one about a sea monster and him standing on the ground as a small hill formed beneath him to raise him above a crowd with a dove on his shoulder! There is even another story about Saint David blessing poison bread and consuming it without being hurt. Being a mom of two boys I think these stories will be big enough to catch their attention while we celebrate this amazing man but insanely enough, there are even more stories. He is the patron saint of doves, poets and Wales. There are also a number of symbols used to represent Saint David such as the leek and daffodils! I think it would be a great experience to be in Wales on Saint David's Day to be included in the festivals and activities that are held on March 1st in his honor. 

SO... Here are a few of my thoughts on this feast day because I can honestly think of a million different things we could do to make this fun and memorable for my family!

Activities: 
Write a poem!! Saint David is the patron saint of poets and was known for the way he prayed, studied and wrote during his life. 
Only drink water today... Saint David only drank water and was even nicknamed "The Waterman". and never drank wine or beer! 
Plant some flowers because daffodils are a symbol of Saint David and his country of Wales. He was also a great laborer and said "every man is his own ox"... this would be the perfect day to start you Resurrection gardens too! There are still 3 weeks left in Lent for them to grow into beautiful displays for Easter.
Depending on your child's maturity, you could discuss Corpse Candles. Personally, my boys are a little too young but I am intrigued and may do some additional research on this subject for my own knowledge. 


Food:
Anything made with leeks or a vegetarian meal with some bread would be a great way to honor Saint David. 
Potato Leek Soup 
Spinach and Leek White Bean Soup
Rosemary Tomato Leek Soup

Some options other than soup:
Quiche with Tomato, Kale and Leek
Baked rice with leeks and bok choy
Vegetable Pot Pie (Including Parsnips, carrots, sweet potato and leeks)

I love to scroll through recipes on Catholic Cuisine and AllRecipes.com... AND Remember to drink some water with dinner :)

Tradition:
Obviously I won't be traveling on March 1st to Saint David's Cathedral but it is on my list of religious places I want to visit before I leave this world for the next but it is said that visiting the Cathedral of St Davids in Pembrokeshire where his remains are buried have become a popular place of pilgrimage. It was also said that two pilgrimages to St David's is equalled to one pilgrimage to Rome and three equalled one to Jerusalem. I am not sure of the validity of this statement but if anyone has some insight, I would appreciate it!


Prayer:
There are some prayers that you can start 9 days prior to the Feast of Saint David. I wish I would have done research on this really amazing Saint earlier so I could have done a Novena. Like I said earlier, he is a Saint I didn't know much about prior to my research I started the past few days. As a side note...The website linked to the Novenas is a great resource for any prayer you may want to find.

Video/ Audio:

There is a short YouTube Video that gives a short animation portrayal of how Saint David became a Saint. I think my boys will enjoy it. 
There is also a neat site called Storynory that has an audio on Saint David of Wales.

I really have enjoyed learning about Saint David as his Feast Day approaches. If you have any other information on Saint David or customs/ traditions used to honor this Saint, please let me know! Saint David is a great example of how to complete Lenten Sacrifices and reading about his life has inspired me to make this Lenten Season the best that it can be!

I leave you with with Saint David's last words...
"Be joyful, and keep your faith and your creed. Do those little things that you have seen me do and heard about."

Sunday, March 5, 2017

The Lenten Season and the Five Senses


If you read my previous post on Ash Wednesday then you already know that I am feeling behind on my Lenten preparations. Today is the First Sunday of Lent and I have challenged myself to get my home and plans solidified by the end of the day. I am feeling pretty confident that I will have everything accomplished but I am trying not to count my chickens before they hatch too. It is time to dive into the Lenten Season head first and be engulfed by the beautiful simplicity and meaningful moments that can come from fully participating.

First things first. How do you create an atmosphere for Lent? With Decorations? Music? Changing up your Family Meal Plans? I dapple in each of these areas since I like to immerse my family in the season and I have a sensory child that enjoys and understands the concepts more with his environment being overtaken with sights, sounds, touches, scents and tastes. What could be better than finding a way to entice your senses while on your journey to a closer relationship to God. After all, he created us with these senses, he surely wants us to use them!

SIGHT



Let's start with the sense of sight. The breathtaking colors of Violet and Purple and the rustic accents of branches, thorns and wilderness really make Lent come to life. Simplicity is key. So far I have adorned our fireplace mantle with a DIY board I created of the Stations of the Cross and flame-less votive candles. The twinkling flames against our Stations as they each go out one by one as we pray the Stations on Fridays, create a nice prayerful ambiance. I also have plain branches in a vase that is tied with a violet ribbon on our dining room table and a beautiful picture that represents Lent to my family on display. I also tied a grapevine wreath with the same purple ribbon as the vase on our front door. Our home altar has been cleaned and looks very simple with a purple cover, crown of thorns, sacrifice bean jar, our operation rice bowl and a beautiful purple rosary I won in a giveaway hosted by Mrs. Andy Anchored by Faith. This is one of the areas I just completed today and I am feeling quite proud of the Lenten feel that is in my home.

SOUND


Sounds are a little more difficult for me to chose during this season. When I think of a prayerful place, I think of quite, which is not something you will find in our crazy little home. So to embrace both Lent and the crazy that is happening in my home at all times, I thought some nice background music would be good or some nice calm prayers. My children and I are huge fans of Holy Heroes line of audio CDs. They offer the Stations of the Cross, the Rosary and Glory Stories about the Saints! and I was also given a great review about Music for Children's Liturgy of the Word by Christopher Walker that I purchased to add to our collection. I would love to hear what you consider a "sound of the season" for Lent.

TOUCH


The most difficult sense for me to decide on is always Touch. To satisfy the sense of touch, I have collected a nice amount of coloring pages. Once again, I have to mention Holy Heroes. They offer a FREE Lenten Adventure that send you coloring pages, word searches, cross words and much more that is relevant to the season of Lent. I also would like you to check out Life, Love and Sacred Art for some great coloring pages. In addition to coloring, there are some great crafts to have readily available. Burying the "ALLELUIA" is one of my children's absolute favorite crafts. We will also be creating a Resurrection Garden that you start during Lent so it is in bloom for Easter. Making Sacrifice Beads, Rosaries and Lenten Trees are also some fun and simple crafts you could do as a family.

Books are another touch that would be great to dive into during Lent. Devotionals and stories that explain the Lenten season and some of the feast days we celebrate during the 40 days. I was struggling with a Lenten devotional I wanted to focus on since I had already read a Walk in Her Sandals, I knew I would reread that during Holy Week but I was stumped about what to do the rest of the season. I decided I would read Rediscover Jesus: An Invitation and Resisting Happiness both written by Matthew Kelly. I am excited about these National Best-Sellers because there are questions in each section that allow me to ponder what I have read and how it relates to me so I can write in my prayer journal.

TASTE


When I think of tastes, the first thing that comes to mind is food and drink! The whole premise of the Lenten season is simplicity so simple meals, snacks and drinks are what I consider to captivate my family's sense of taste. I love baking pretzels and special meatless meals each Friday. The Crock pot is my lifeline during the incredibly busy season of Lent so it makes my home smell delicious and gets our taste-buds ready for our tasty meals. Here is a short list of Lenten recipe ideas below:

Shrimp Pasta
Shrimp Tacos
Tuna Sandwich
Vegetable Soups
Simple Salads
Spaghetti Squash and Marinara
Fruit Salad
Three Bean Salad
Homemade Pretzels
Macaroni and Cheese
Breakfast Bread

What are some of your go-to recipes? Do you prefer to cook out or go out? Are you active in the Knights of Columbus Spaghetti Dinners and Fish Frys? We are going to a Knights of Columbus Fish Fry this upcoming Friday!

Scents


What other scents do you think of for the Lenten Season? I think there could be an argument for incense and essential oils as an important aspect of your Lenten experience as well. Frankincense is a great option. Maybe purchase some candles made by monks or nun to keep in your home during seasons on extra prayer!

Let's also not forget the smells of Spring Cleaning! We use organic products in my home called Legacy of Clean and they smell amazing!


Still need more ideas to tingle your senses? Check out the CWBN Blog Hop! So many wonderful ideas and suggestions to bring the full season of Lent to your families with sacrifice, prayers and alms-giving.

It is important to remember that Lent is what you make it. You can make it simple or as complicated as you like and just like anything else in life, you will get out of it what you put into it.

Happy Lent and God Bless!

Saturday, March 4, 2017

Ash Wednesday: A Story You Won't Forget


I am struggling with this Lenten season already: I have not started a devotional yet, I have not set out our Lenten decor and I am feeling a little unmotivated. I feel like these are the very same reasons I need to get my butt in gear and finalize my late preparations and immerse myself in this blessed season as soon as possible and so this is the reason behind this post. I wanted to refocus on what is truly important and share all about my awesome experience this past Ash Wednesday.

Ash Wednesday is the official kick off day of the Lenten season and for Catholics means a day of fasting and abstinence (no eating meat). It is Day 1 in your Lenten sacrifice, additional prayers and alms-giving. Honestly, I have a deep love of Lent. It is always an enlightening experience and I feel that I make great strides in my vocation as a wife, mother and friend while growing closer in my relationship to God. 

Well, this Ash Wednesday was a little different and I can promise you that I will never forget it.

I have two children, Little Man (age 9) and Goalie (age 6). Little Man is old enough to receive Communion and often Altar Serves on a regular basis in our parish. Goalie on the other hand is too young to really participate in the Mass besides as a parishioner and he is often saddened that he cannot receive Communion or help as an Altar boy yet. In addition to Goalie's sadness about just getting to sit with mommy, he is developmentally delayed and undergoing autism testing (they are pretty sure he has Aspergers). I am sharing this background so you can truly understand my experience this past Wednesday.


Little Man was Altar Serving at the Ash Wednesday Mass we attended in the evening and Goalie and I were sitting in the front pew, as we always do, so we can see Little Man in action and Goalie can be close enough to the Choir to feel as if he is a part of it. Mass was going great! No real outbursts from Goalie and Little Man was doing an amazing job attending to his duties.

The ashes were blessed and we were in line to receive them on our foreheads. I can't even begin to describe Goalie's excitement to receive his ashes. He had made it seem like it would be the highlight of his life! We were blessed with our ashes and returned to our pew. 

Then it happened....

Goalie is holding his hands in front of him like he is fighting the urge to grab his face with both his hands and his face is contorted like he is in pain!

I ask him, "Are you Okay?" "What's wrong?"

He begins to shake his little hands and points at his head while exclaiming "My head is on fire!"

I was completely taken by surprise by this answer and obviously his head was not on fire but I think I sat there for a minute of two starring at my child while he was having a complete sensory meltdown. When I finally understood what was happening, I calmly explained that the ashes maybe felt strange but I assured Goalie he was not on fire and he was okay. This conversation about Goalie's head being on fire went on until right before the Consecration of the Eucharist. The poor little guy couldn't move past the idea that his forehead was on fire so in my desperation to make him feel better and screaming "My head is on fire!",  I allowed him to rub his ashes off. 

Looking back on this story now, it is actually quite funny, I mean it is the kind of story people joke about happening but I got to live it. 

If you think that's the end of my story you would be wrong, here's the icing on the cake.

After Goalie had calmed himself, I realized that I heard the bell ringing that is normally rung when the Eucharist is being blessed. But the Eucharist was not being held up by the priest yet. I looked up toward the Altar Servers to see Little Man ringing the bells like there is no tomorrow and he is just grinning from ear to ear. It was his first time getting the honor of ringing the bells and he obviously was excited and also had no clue what he was doing. One of the other servers was trying to get his attention to stop, but their efforts were in vain.

Between Little Man ringing the bells throughout the entire Consecration and Goalie's head "being on fire". It was quite the eventful Mass to say the least. 


 As promised I guaranteed you a story you would not forget! I can promise you that although this was the most hilarious Ash Wednesday, it was also one of the most special. Goalie was able to receive ashes for the first time (even though it was short lived) and Little Man had his first experience with more responsibility as an Altar Server and was extremely enthusiastic. We all made a memory we would never forget and found ourselves closer to God, that's what it is all about anyway right? The picture above is our #ashtag we shared in honor of Ash Wednesday.

Now, I want to hear from my readers! How is your start to Lent going? Are you feeling like me, behind and unorganized? Or have you already dove into this amazing season with two feet and feeling the blessings that come with a meaningful Lenten season? Have you had any experiences like me with burning heads and an excited Altar boy?

A Prayer for Ash Wednesday:

Gracious God, today begins a period of inner reflection and examination. The days stretch before me and invite me inward to that silent, holy space that holds your Spirit. This special time beckons me to see my life through Christ's eyes and the truth and reality of your love incarnate. Give me the grace to enter the space of these days with anticipation of our meeting. And, when I open my soul to your presence, let your loving kindness flow over me and seep into the pockets of my heart. I ask this for the sake of your love.

Amen.

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Shrove Tuesday: Feast Before You Fast


Today is the last day before we begin our 40 day journey into Lent. Ash Wednesday is tomorrow but before you begin your Lenten walk, make sure to feast on Shrove Tuesday, also known as Fat Tuesday. This day is meant to be the day for you to purge your home of the ingredients you should attempt to stay away from during the Lenten season such as butter, milk, sugar and eggs. You know... the tasty ingredients that make our foods full flavored. It is for this reason that pancakes are super popular on Shrove Tuesday and is sometimes referred to as Pancake Day! I know we have an annual Pancake dinner every Fat Tuesday. I also learned that there is another reason that pancakes are so popular on the day before Lent. They represent the four pillars of the Christian faith. Eggs symbolize creation, flour is the mainstay of the human diet, salt represents wholesomeness and milk is a symbol for purity.


In our home we spend this day enjoying our delicious pancakes and normally a king cake. I was unable to get a king cake this year so we settled on a beautiful cake decorated in a similar fashion. We also prepare for Lent by discussing the things that we will be fasting from during the upcoming 40 days.

I have to admit I am somewhat behind on having I need ready for Lent but I should have everything completed by tomorrow. Check out my post about the Lenten Season to get ideas on how to celebrate this amazing season of Lent with your families.I will be sharing more tomorrow on Ash Wednesday as well.

Do you have traditions for Shrove Tuesday? If so, I would love to hear all about them! What about Lenten activities too?


I hope you and your families were able to feast before fasting begins tomorrow. Honestly, Lent is one of my favorite times of the year. A time to embrace a positive change in faith, love and life. Get ready for an amazing journey and be ready to accept your Lenten adventure. I can't wait to see what is in store for us all.

Prayer for Shrove Tuesday:

Lord, give us grace to inaugurate with holy fasting the defenses of Christian warfare, so that we who are to fight against spiritual wickedness, may be helped and strengthened by self-denial.
Amen

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

#WorthRevisit: The Lenten Season

With the start of the Lenten Season right around the corner, I felt it would be great to share my plans from last year. Truth be told, I haven't even begun starting my Lenten preparations for this year besides starting a book club for A Walk in Her Sandals. I would love to hear what you have planned for yourself and your families. Lent is one of those seasons I always look forward too and I always feel renewed in my faith. Here is my #WorthRevisit with Reconciled for You and Theology is a Verb.

The Lenten Season


The Lenten Season is in full swing and I have already managed to get behind on some of the activities I was attempting to incorporate this year. In a way, this is what Lent is really about... simplifying our insanely crazy lives from all the distractions and learning to focus on what is really important. There are so many different ways to emphasize this special season of praying, fasting and alms giving. I love this season pf preparation because even though I often struggle to make changes, I am highly motivated and when I fail, I am able to refocus and try again with discouragement.

Lenten Promises: This was something new I added to our usual Lenten traditions. Everyone in the family wrote out their Lenten promises and displayed them on the mantel. We have two boys in need of writing practice and this gave us a great way to do it! I am still brainstorming but I think I could incorporate these Lenten Promise papers into our Family Command Center... just a thought.

Lenten tree: My boys love this tradition and we have done an "OK" job of keeping up with our daily evening of reading the scripture included on the ornament and hanging it on our Lenten Tree on the mantel place. We've had a couple nights were we had to double up on ornaments to catch up but I have all intentions of completing this on a nightly basis moving forward. If you click the link, you will have access to the same ornaments my family has used the past few years. On a side note: I am hoping that I can reprint these ornaments on card stock and laminate them so we can reuse them instead of me printing the ornaments each year and cutting them as we go. Or maybe transfer them onto wood...

40 Bags in 40 Days: This is my first year doing this and it is great! It is an awesome way to spring clean and reorganize your whole house.  It is a great way to jump start your alms giving as well. I even gave the kids each a bag to go through their toys.

Stations of the Cross: I created a display on a purple foam poster board with the printable Stations of the Cross I found at Family and Feast in Feria. This is still an art project *under construction* but it is displayed on our mantel and is coming together.

Sacrifice Beans: This is actually sad for me to admit but I still haven't bought any beans for my kids Sacrifice Beans... this is one of the areas I am lacking right now because my to-do list is overflowing. Throughout the day the boys do extra chores, prayers and acts of kindness so that they can add "sacrifice" beans to their jar that will turn into jelly beans on Easter Sunday!

Bury the Alleluia: We have an "ALLELUIA" banner that I made several years ago that we normally put inside a gift bag that says DO NOT OPEN UNTIL EASTER... however, this year it is folded under the plate that is holding our crown of thorns. No mater how you do it, the kids always love displaying the banner on Easter until the Easter season is complete.

Holy Heroes Lenten Adventure: This is my absolute FAVORITE activity to do with the children. To begin with the program is FREE, They have so many resources to accompany the program as well. You can purchase the activity books (which are cheaper than printing multiple copies of printables everyday) and audio CDs you can take on the go.

Resurrection Garden: There are many different variations of this craft but I am hoping to purchase the necessities to do this craft from the Dollar Tree and create some gardens with the boys this weekend!

Monday, February 20, 2017

Menu Plan Monday: President's Day Edition


I have been unable to participate in the past few weeks of Menu Plan Mondays due to some medical issues but I am ready to get organized and back into the rhythm of things. I was told by a physician that if I lost the weight I have gained from not working out as much, may alleviate some of the pressure on my back and hopefully help with the shooting pains, tingling and numbness problems from my Spina Bifida. I am excited to get healthier and hopefully register for some upcoming races. We have been having some BEAUTIFUL weather here and abnormally warm. It has been heavenly! Well here is our Menu for Menu Plan Monday

Monday: President's Day and Blessed Francisco and Jacinta Marto
Leftover Pizza

Tuesday: Feast of Saint Peter Damian
Turkey Burgers

Wednesday: Chair of Saint Peter
Dinner at Chick-Fil-A (Cub Scout Outing)

Thursday:
Chicken Fried Rice

Friday:
Soup and Salad

Saturday:
Spaghetti Squash and Meatballs

Sunday:
Chili and Cornbread

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Rocking Motherhood Challenge

Motherhood is crazy roller-coaster that is unique and amazing everyday, even with its moments of anxiety from the crazy momentum and scary turns that you never saw coming. I consider motherhood the biggest blessing to ever been given to me. I look back at my life and cringe with some of the crazy and nonsensical things I have done. Becoming a mom was the the absolute best thing that has ever happened to me. I have two beautiful little boys that know how to make the me the happiest woman on Earth but can also push me to the edge of insanity with a moments notice. Although there are times when I honestly have no clue what I am doing, I know that I am rocking motherhood in my own special little way. I have embraced the roller coaster ride and am excited to see what lies around the bend.

I was tagged by Hannah over at Lovely Little Lives to participate in the 10 Ways I'm Rocking Motherhood Challenge. Thank you Hannah for giving me the opportunity to look at motherhood through a positive perspective. You can check out her post in the link above and you can continue reading to see how I am rocking motherhood below:



I am a fighter.

 

Through my past ten years as a mommy I have had to battle many demons that I never imagined. I fought my way out of an abusive marriage. It took four long years but we all survived. I have fought with back pain for longer than I can remember. I fight depression and anxiety everyday. No matter what happens, I will continue to fight. My God is larger than anything that can come against me and my family and I want my children to know this from my example. I also want them to know that I am always in their corner just waiting for when they need me.

I am Patient. 


Little man is almost ten years old now, extremely intelligent and likes to act older than his age. Goalie is developmentally delayed and struggles with emotions, socializing and education. They are opposites in so many ways and sometimes it is hard to parent children that are so different. God has blessed me with a great deal of patience (most days) and I think that it helps me to be a better mom and wife. 



I cook home-made dinners almost every night. 


I really enjoy having a hot dinner ready for my family because it is one way that I like to show I care. It is also fun to make new recipes and have my boys help me cook. Creating healthy habits is important and the family time that comes with a hot dinner together doesn't get much better. There are some nights that I would rather pick up some takeout but it would create a completely different atmosphere in my home. These dinners are anticipated and loved by the entire family. 


I will NEVER allow my boys to quit. 


Dedication is an important character trait that I hope my children grasp with both hands. We discuss every extracurricular activity and sport prior to us registering or joining because there is always the understanding that we will be making a commitment that will not be broken. Cub Scouts, Soccer, Football, Boys on the Run and 100 Mile Club. These are all activities that my kids participate and they know they are expected to be a reliable team player. They will show up to practices and games and they will always be good sports, whether they win or lose. I am proud to say that they both have received awards for being a "Christ-like" player.


I am crafty. 


I have thrown together turkey shifts and ugly sweaters. I have crafted saint costumes from curtains, pillow cases and eyeliner. I am proud to say that last minute projects are one of those things I happen to excel.Taking the time and effort to make crafts and personalized items makes my boys feel special and I love to do it. I enjoy doing arts and crafts with the boys, in fact, we have coloring nights all the time! We pick out a movie, make some snacks and pull out all the crayons, colored pencils, markers and paper. We push play and it's a coloring-fest for the next few hours.


I am organized, at least I try to be organized. 


I utilize a planner, Cozi and bullet journal. With all the craziness that life throws at us schedule wise, I make it happen. Everyone knows the plan for the day each day and upcoming plans for the week. 


I am teaching them to be good Catholics.


This is the most important thing that I can do for my children. Dressing them in their Sunday Best every Sunday for Mass, teaching them the Commandments, Beatitudes, Acts of Mercy and following the Golden Rule. These are things that I am teaching them in their everyday life through examples and correcting them when they stray off the path of righteousness. 

I am a volunteer.


I volunteer to help at school functions, at our church, Cub Scouts and the kids' extracurricular activities. I want my children to have me by their sides and able to be a full participant in their achievements. This can sometimes be difficult since I work but I try my best and offer up the difficult times up to God.


Tag- You're it!

I am challenging these bloggers to join me in the #RockingMotherhood Challenge! Check them out!

Alicia from Sweeping Up Joy

Ginny from Not So Formulaic


Allison from Reconciled to You