Saturday, January 14, 2017

What Biscotti Can Teach Us About Marriage

Several weeks ago, I was hit with the sudden desire to make biscotti. I had never made biscotti before, and I had only eaten it a few times. But, thinking about how elegant and sophisticated it seems, I decided that I would make some during the Christmas season. I could give some away as a gift, and keep the rest for our household consumption. As I began mixing together ingredients for Double Chocolate Biscotti, I gleefully thought that the end result would be a tasty treat to munch on with my coffee and tea. Little did I realize that these cookies would teach me about marriage. 

Friday, January 13, 2017

Will You Take the Challenge of Bringing Your Family Closer to God? A Review of the Be Not Afraid Family Hour

Pursuing holiness is challenging, isn’t it? All sorts of obstacles, trials, and temptations can lead us to fumble around, fall, and sin. Furthermore, not only are we called to follow God, but we need to help others in their journey to Heaven! Choosing to follow God and seeking to be holy is tough, but so very important. Parents have a particularly pivotal role in helping their children grow closer to God. Pope Benedict XVI notes that,
“The Second Vatican Council speaks of parents as the first messengers of God, called to rediscover their mission, taking responsibility in educating…They are called to open small minds to the love of God as a fundamental service to their lives, being the first catechists and teachers of the faith to their children…” ~General Audience on November 28, 2012
If this isn’t a daunting task, I don’t know what is.

Thankfully, there are many fabulous resources to help parents as they bring their families closer to God. One such resource is the Be Not Afraid Family Hour, by the Apostolate for Family Consecration. This series provides a structured, approachable, simple, and profound way for families to grow in the Faith together.

~ Many thanks to the Apostolate for Family Consecration, for providing a copy of the Be Not Afraid Family Hour in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own. ~

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

How I Keep Baby Steps from becoming Stumbling Blocks

For most of my life, "take baby steps" has been a common mantra, a resolution for every problem.

Not as fit or active as I need to be? It's okay, I'll just take baby steps.
Not eating as healthy as I should? No worries, I'll try to eat healthier and take baby steps.
Is my spiritual life suffering? It's all right-I'm not perfect, so I'll just take baby steps and try to bring more prayer into my days.
Is my home/room messy to the point where I should declutter? I don't need to actually give away or toss things yet; I'll just take baby steps and work myself up to that point.

Giving myself the reassurance of "baby steps" has been a reminder to me that life is a process, a journey. Knowing that I can take "baby steps" keeps me from becoming discouraged if I don't automatically reach my desired state of being healthier, tidier, holier, and more fit. Taking "baby steps" can be important, and it's a practice that I encourage. Whether you want to eat healthier, become more fit, or grow in your relationship with the Blessed Mother, tiny steps can help you move slowly and steadily towards your goals. However, "baby steps" can easily become a stumbling block and, eventually, my downfall.

Friday, January 6, 2017

The Christmas Where I Failed at Making Chocolates

I love chocolate. I love eating chocolate, smelling chocolate, and looking at chocolate. And I really, really love making candies with chocolate. 

For most of my life, I've spent the holiday season making coconut  (and chocolate coconut!) filling, peanut butter filling, and peppermint filling, rolling these into different shapes, and dipping them into luscious melted chocolate. When I was a junior in high school, for our English class' business unit, we all had to do a mock interview for a job we'd like to have. I decided to interview for a position of "chocolatier," and brought a selection of candies to class with me. Let's just say I was one of the most popular girls in class that day ;) Last summer, just two days before giving birth, I hauled a tub of 300+ homemade chocolates into an art gallery, since a friend of mine had commissioned me to make them as refreshments for her art show. I really like working with chocolate. 

I was excited to spend Christmastime enveloped in all things chocolate, especially since I held myself back from chocolate-making during Advent. Well, I'm here to inform you all that I have been failing in my chocolate endeavors. Mishap after mishap has occurred, and the liturgical season of Christmas isn't even over yet!

Saturday, December 31, 2016

Three Ways That I'm Starting Off the New Year

Merry Christmas, everyone! 
The Christmas Octave has been flying by, and we've been having so much fun. Between flying out of state (and back!), having a friend from out of state visit us in Oklahoma for an afternoon, and unpacking/cleaning our living room before relatives come over in a few hours, it's been an epic whirlwind, full of joy and lots of peaceful relaxation. And while I've been mostly absent from the internet, I noticed that many bloggers have been focusing on their goals for the new year. I don't have anything super profound on that front, but there are a few ways that I'm choosing to greet the year 2017. 

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Children and the Mass

I love the Mass.
“The Mass is at the same time, and inseparably, the sacrificial memorial in which the sacrifice of the cross is perpetuated and the sacred banquet of communion with the Lord's body and blood.” (CCC 1382)
We come together as a community, and we are each invited to draw near to the Heart of Christ.
“…the celebration of the Eucharistic sacrifice is wholly directed toward the intimate union of the faithful with Christ through communion. To receive communion is to receive Christ himself who has offered himself for us.” (CCC 1382)
We adore, we worship, we petition, we offer thanksgiving. And we also forget.

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Six Months and Counting

The other day, when I was reading Ann-Marie's blog, I realized that I haven't provided any updates about my little guy recently. Last week, he hit the big six-month mark! So, for those of you who like baby updates, here's a bit of a ramble :) 

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Tough as They Come: A Review

When twenty-four-year-old Sergeant Travis Mills woke up on April 10, 2012, he did not realize how, within hours, his life would change dramatically. An IED (improvised explosive device) would go off, shredding parts of Mills’ body. In Tough as They Come, Sergeant Travis Mills recounts his story. He begins by presenting the seemingly normal “day off” as a soldier in Afghanistan, and then presents the scene of the explosion, which ultimately left him one of only five soldiers who survived quadruple amputee injuries in Afghanistan.

After presenting this shocking opening to his book, Mills reminisces about his childhood in the small town of Vassar, Michigan. He recounts his decision to join the army, the whirlwind romance and marriage to his wife, Kelsey, and the birth of their daughter. Then, after giving a clear image of his life and career, Mills continues to describe the impactful explosion of April 2012 and his subsequent recovery.  

Sunday, December 11, 2016

We're Halfway There!

Rejoice! Today is Gaudete Sunday (as well as Bambinelli Sunday). The priests wore pink-I mean, rose-at Mass, and a jubilant mood filled the church. The Lord is coming, and we rejoice. 

At Mass on Saturday morning, the priest mentioned that we are at the halfway point of Advent. This fact hadn't occurred to me, and I'm glad that he brought it up. There are only two weeks of Advent left-this is both exciting (Christmas will soon be here!) and intimidating (are we ready?). So, since Father mentioned the whole "we're halfway through Advent" reality, I've been thinking about how this Advent has been going over here. 

Thursday, December 8, 2016

On the Bookshelf: A Multitude of Random Books

I suppose this post could also be titled, "This is what teething does to me." My little guy has been very chompy, very drooly, and has bouts of crankiness. For many afternoons, over the past several weeks, he is happiest if he's nursing and/or snoozing in my lap. So, I've been unable to blog, but I have been reading quite a bit-and I've enjoyed a variety of books, both fiction and nonfiction. Let's talk literature! 

Friday, December 2, 2016

Six Disney Songs for Advent Dance Parties

I love the liturgical year, and I love celebrating according to the current season. So, during Advent, I really like to listen to Advent music. While Advent music is wonderful and awesome, a lot of my favorite Advent music happens to be chant. But, as much as I love chant, it's not my #1 pick for spontaneous dance parties while making dinner or cleaning the apartment. I happen to love listening to music from Disney movies, so I decided that I needed a special playlist of Disney music for Advent.  After all, if you're going to dance  while cooking pasta, why not put on music that can slightly fit some themes of the current liturgical season?