Friday, March 11, 2011

7 Quick Takes Friday March 11, 2011



Now let me just state right at the outset, I no longer iron clothes. Are there people who still have to do that? Neither my husband’s nor my job requires it. When I was a kid  my mother trained me on pillow cases and handkerchiefs. To be honest, I have spent many an hour parked in front of some silly daytime TV show, young children underfoot, ironing away in a sort of mindless contentment. Anyway, I thought this was kind of funny, and who knows, perhaps actually useful: How to Iron 7 Shirts In Less Than 15 Minutes.


You probably need something else to read like you need another hole in your head, but I want to let you know that I publish an online newspaper called The Prime Daily. Content contributors are people I follow on Twitter—some real heavy weights like our own Conversion Diary Jennifer,  Elizabeth Scalia and Lisa Graas, among others. It covers news events, religion, politics and whatever else happens along. It’s short and sweet and you can read the latest edition here. Consider subscribing (it’s free)! Let me know what you think. 


Here’s today’s devotion for the current 40 Days For Life campaign. Please get involved in whatever way you can. It’s working!


I’ve found the perfect anecdote for my whininess and general dissatisfaction with the state of things in this country, and my tendency to want to shout and throw things at the TV when I watch the news. The remedy is called Generation Y, and it’s a blog written by a woman who lives in Cuba. The stark contrast between the state of things here and the state of things there makes me ashamed of my little tantrums, as well it should. Check out her blog, and you will most certainly join me in appreciating anew all that we take for granted here in the US.


  I was looking through my Evernote recipes (you DO use Evernote don’t you?) recently and am resurrecting (hah!) some meatless entrees suitable for Lent. I’ve made the folder public, so have a look. This week the emphasis is on the  frittata-which is an egg dish sort of like an omelette, easily scalable for any size group, and very flexible in a clean-out-the-fridge kind of way.  They are also very very tasty and cheap to make!


  You might have heard of it, but maybe haven’t tried it yet. I’m talking about The Grocery Game, a very effective way to save money on food and household goods. I’ve used it for years, and when I put in a couple of hours of effort a week, I can save an average of 50% on food and household products. That amount saved is way above my current pay scale. They have a free trial, so you might want to give it a try. Inflation is here and with so many struggling with job loss, it’s a resource that works. I use it, but have no other affiliation with it.


  If you’re still looking for a Lenten prayer observance, I came across Praying the Universal Prayer in Slow Motion. Very simple, very cool.

That’s it for me. Get your weekend off on the right foot, and head on over to Conversion Diary to soak up some more great Quick Takes goodness!.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

The Mystery Of Lent



I am not gifted with the ability to write. I use this blog as a place to collect the writings of others who inspire and teach me. The Lenten writings of the following offer rich treasure!

Here we read:

“We may be sure that a season so sacred as this of Lent is rich in mysteries. The Church has made it a time of recollection and penance, in preparation for the greatest of all her feasts; she would, therefore, bring into it everything that could excite the faith of her children, and encourage them to go through the arduous work of atonement for their sins.

And here:

Ash Wednesday is the clarion call to “Repent and believe the gospel” (Mk 1:15). For the next forty days, the faithful willingly submit to fasting and self-denial in imitation of Our Lord’s forty-day fast in the desert. It is in these dark and still nights, these desert-times, that the soul experiences its greatest growth.

And finally, from the Pope’s Message for Lent 2011:

…the Lenten journey, in which we are invited to contemplate the Mystery of the Cross, is meant to reproduce within us "the pattern of his death" (Ph 3: 10), so as to effect a deep conversion in our lives; that we may be transformed by the action of the Holy Spirit, like St. Paul on the road to Damascus; that we may firmly orient our existence according to the will of God; that we may be freed of our egoism, overcoming the instinct to dominate others and opening us to the love of Christ. The Lenten period is a favorable time to recognize our weakness and to accept, through a sincere inventory of our life, the renewing Grace of the Sacrament of Penance, and walk resolutely towards Christ.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

March 8th: Day of Preparation

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Tomorrow, March 9th, marks the beginning of the 40 Days of Life Campaign.

40 Days for Life is a community-based campaign that draws attention to the evil of abortion through the use of a three-point program:
  • Prayer and fasting
  • Constant vigil
  • Community outreach

This year the campaign is from March 9th through April 17th.  I’m not able to participate at an abortion center, so I’ll be offering prayers on my own. Read more about the campaign here. Please join me and participate in any way that you can. There are individual daily intentions we are asked to pray for during the 40 days. Today, we ask  for God’s blessing upon the coming 40 Days for Life Campaign.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

A Thousand Gifts #30: Pinochle



At first we did it because we didn’t want to spend much money, had small children, and lived in a town that didn’t have much to offer in the way of entertainment on Saturday nights. So we’d get a  pizza, some videos for the kids, and settle down for some riotous games of pinochle. Such laughs, noisy talk and fierce competition, and quite a bit of loose play with the rules. Oh but we had fun. We still do. We live in another state, the friends are different and our children are grown. But the card games are still the same. Sometimes we get so distracted talking that the game comes to a halt. Sometimes the wives win, sometimes the husbands win. Really though, we all win in the abundant graces of friendship. Thank you God for Pinochle. Of course, what I really mean is thank you God for many friendships over the years and the memories we made, and yes, the graces we received from them.

Friday, March 4, 2011

7 Quick Takes Friday March 4, 2011

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It’s been awhile since I’ve done the 7 quickies. I kept trying to make them quick, but it always seemed like I made  mountains out of molehills, and then it was too much time spent on something that was supposed to be simple. Good grief. Perfectionism always kicks my rear.  I’m trying again. I’m hoping for down and dirty, quick and cruddy. It will be good for me!
We just returned from our first visit to Hawaii (Maui), so I can check that off my list. Our daughter recently moved there, and we needed to attend her wedding, so it was a mandatory trip. She has married THE sweetest man, and he knows just how to deal with my headstrong but charming daughter. Her father has the same  talent. One of the young couple’s friends offered my new son-in-law the observation that, as far as he knew, no husband had ever been shot while doing the dishes. Good point.
Watching my daughter get married has made me feel a bit old and creaky, to say nothing of chubby and dowdy, so I will be starting a new diet and exercise regime (again) on Monday. Two of my sisters and a co-workers and I will be challenging each other for a gift card to Macy’s. We started a secret group on Facebook for our little weight-loss challenge, and delight in trash-talking each other most days, and offering real support on those days when we needs it. Wish me perseverance please!
I really think 7 Quick Takes needs to be changed to 5 Quick Takes because I’m already at the end of my Takes. The well is dry. Anyone else?
My sisters (who live far away) and I are always looking for any excuse to goof off and chat with each other, so we started an online book club (also on Facebook). Our selection for March is The Pioneer Woman: Black Heels To Tractor Wheels by Ree Drummond. Last April we met at my sister’s in Portland and attended Ree’s  signing for her first book – The Pioneer Woman Cooks: Recipes from an Accidental Country Girl. We had a blast cooking from the book and talking about old times from our childhood. My sisters and I grew up on a VERY isolated cattle ranch in eastern Oregon, and Ree’s books bring back so many great memories. We actually wax nostalgic about cow manure and old tractors and hay stacks, working cattle in the sage brush and isolation in the country. We are a bit kooky and I hope we never recover.
Someone near and very dear to me has decided to end his marriage. There are children involved. This is just awful.  Please please, stop right this minute and say a little  prayer for this family, and for all of those struggling in marriage. I’m certain that other people’s prayers helped my husband and I make it for this long. We so need good solid marriages and stable families in this country. Thanks for your prayers.
tulip festival
Soon it will be tulip festival season in these parts. I hardly ever go except for that time when my mother was visiting. The traffic just ruins it for me, because I’m so busy trying to avoid being crashed into by someone who’s looking at the tulips instead of the road. But I did attend a tulip festival in the Portland area when I was there for a book signing last April (see #5 above). Here’s a pic of me and my three sisters. I’m the young looking one. 
That’s it for me. Get your weekend off on the right foot, and head on over to see Hallie at Betty Beguiles to soak up some great Quick Takes goodness!

Thursday, March 3, 2011

A Thousand Gifts: #28 and #29

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Thanks for seasons, natural and spiritual.
From here we read: 
The whole season of Lent is a transforming mystery, a “sacrament”, during which our practices have consequential effects: they bring us into the mystery of the dying and rising Jesus.  This transforming bond with Christ is brought about through denial of self and good works for others, penitential mortification and works of mercy, both spiritual and corporal.  In Lent the words of the Baptist must ring in our ears daily, even hourly: “He must increase, I must decrease” (John 3:30).   When He increases in us, we are more who we are supposed to be.  Thus, we have to make “room” for Him by our self-denial.
Weary of winter, longing daily for signs of spring, I'm looking forward to Lent this year, and I long also for a closer, more intimate relationship with the Father. What a gift we have in Lent, the season that encourages us to delve into the mystery of Christ's passion, His love for us, His endless Mercy. We are immersed in images, homilies, readings and observances, all of the tools necessary to facilitate this growth. The Church sets aside time for us to 'go deep', to study, to contemplate, to offer sacrifice and to pray. What an incredible gift. May your Lent and mine be fruitful!
Lenten Links:

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

I Will Sing To The Lord


I will sing to the Lord all my life,

make music to my God while I live,

May my thoughts be pleasing to Him,

I find my joy in the Lord,

Bless the Lord, my soul

               -- from Psalm 104

Sunday, February 27, 2011

A Thousand Gifts # 27: Melting Snow

melting snow

The snow came down heavily on Wednesday, and we had just returned from the warmth of Maui on Monday night. With worn out tires on both vehicles, it was not safe to travel the streets. It’s not only our tires that are worn out, we are worn and weary of winter, as is everyone else. The winds have battered our little town, the temps have set record lows, and the darkness has invaded every cheerful disposition.
So it was with relief that we saw the temperature rise, and the snow begin to melt this morning. I made it to Mass with no trouble. The readings today were quite instructive to me. From Matthew chapter 6:
“Therefore I tell you do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink, or about your body, what you will wear…..Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be given you besides. Do not worry about tomorrow, tomorrow will take care of itself. Sufficient for a day is its own evil.”
I have for some time been worried in the back of my mind somewhere about our plans to board our boat and head for Mexico this coming August. I worry not about the adventure itself, but about what we will do when we come back. Where will we live? Will we be able to find work? What if our health begins to fail and we have no insurance? And on and on the nagging, niggling worries.
But from my copy of Magnificat comes this wise counsel and reminder, from Blosius the Venerable
"The servant of God must not lose hope on account of his exceeding instability, which causes him so quickly to sink down and become distracted, but persevering with an unconquered heart in this holy work, he must unceasingly gather up again his scattered spirit and turn it back again into God, his highest good. When once this holy custom has become confirmed within him, he will not find much difficulty in it; and at length, indeed, the habit becomes part of a man’s nature, and it is then almost as easy to remain intent on God and divine things as to breath and live."
Here is another homily for today-excellant.
Thank you God for melting snow, renewed hope and Blosius the Venerable.