Feb 20, 2017

Read To Me Monday: Bringing Lent Home

Donna Marie Cooper O'Boyle is one of those older wiser women in the Catholic Faith, who has lived though many experiences and loved much along the way.  She is one we can look up to and gleam from her wisdom.  I own almost all her books!  She is such a blessing -both through her writing and being in touch with her on FB.  She is very gifted in encouragement and offering women and mothers inspiration on their faith journeys.  God love and bless her!!!

She offers four devotionals for families that can help guide them on their Lenten journeys.  Four to choose from - just buy whatever one speaks to you most and let that giant in our faith "walk with you" during Lent this year.  A huge plus about these books - is that they are well under $5!!!  For that price, buy a few and give some away!!  Each devotional starts on Ash Wednesday and ends on Easter Sunday.  Here are on the links on amazon where you can buy them...

Bringing Home Lent With St. Therese of Lisieux:  Prayers, Reflections, and Activities for Families

Bringing Home Lent With Mother Teresa:  Prayers, Reflections, and Activities for Families (who is not St Teresa!!  ++thank you, God!!++

Bringing Home Lent With St. John Paul II:  Prayers, Reflections, and Activities for Families

Bringing Home Lent With Pope Francis:  Prayers, Reflections, and Activities for Families 

Just a quick peek into these lovely books - each day includes....

  • Saintly Inspiration (or Papal Inspiration)
  • Parent Reflection
  • Family Prayer
  • A Story from the Saint's (or Pope's) Life
  • Fasting
  • Almsgiving
  • Prayer
Here's a sample of one of the days from the St. Therese devotional, to show you how simple and doable these are to follow....

++St. Therese of Lisieux, pray for us!++
++St. Teresa of Calcutta, pray for us!++
++Pope Saint John Paul II, pray for us!++

Linking this post up with Siena Sisters, which will have a Lenten Blog Hop (go live date 2/21)

Click on the image below to get more ideas for Lent this year!


Feb 17, 2017

Friday Feasting: Chicken with Sundried Tomatoes and Bacon (Instant Pot)

Chicken with Sundried Tomatoes and Bacon
(Instant Pot Recipe)


8-12 Chicken thighs, bone in
½ package bacon
1 shallot
1 tsp salt
1 tsp ground thyme
½ C white wine (or broth)
1 C chicken broth
¼ C Dried Tomatoes in oil, chopped
½ C heavy cream


1.  Turn on IP to saute. Once hot, add 8 ½ slices of bacon. Cook until done. Remove to papertowel lined plate and add shallots to bacon grease and stir.

2.  Season chicken with salt. Add 4 thighs to pot, pushing shallots over so chicken rests on the bottom of pan. Cook 3 minutes each side, or until brown. Remove to plate.

3.  Cook remaining chicken until all browned. Remove chicken and add in chopped dried tomatoes and cook for 1 minute, stirring.

4.  Add wine, cook for 5 minutes until reduced. Add in chicken broth and cook to reduce slightly, 3 minutes.

5.  Add chicken back to pot, seal and cook on manual for 7 minutes. Natural release for 10 minutes. Remove chicken to baking pan and broil for 5 minutes, or until skin is crisp and browned.

6.  Meanwhile, turn IP to saute and add heavy cream to sauce. Heat and stir until slightly thickened, 5 minutes.

7.  Crumble bacon and add to sauce.  Remove pan from IP.

8.  Spoon sauce over mashed cauliflower (or potatoes) and top with chicken thigh and serve with a side of steamed green beans.


Feb 13, 2017

Monday Meme: Messages with Love

Messages with Love
This morning I promise myself to be patient and loving. I will not yell.  I want a peaceful home. I will not yell.  Two minutes pass, and chaos surrounds me.  Kids want this, and husband needs that.  I just smile. 
I am armed with ammunition of love.  When faced with challenges of lost shoes or siblings arguing, I say nothing.  Instead, I give a heart.  Shooting a heart may be more appropriate in a house of five boys, but there are enough projectiles flying via their toys.  On the heart is the message, whatever the message needs to be.  The recipient reads it, thanks me kindly for the reminder, and we both move on.  Tranquility…
Reality is different.  If I give my kids candy hearts, they’d be on a sugar high.  They’d also learn quickly to misbehave so they could get candy.  However, this idea of candy hearts may not be all bad for me.  It’d remind me to speak with love, to ensure whatever I say is spoken to encourage or teach.  It could remind me to address just that issue and not drone on.  Too often, I yell at those I love dearly.  I react instantly instead of taking a moment to think.  A message on a heart from me reminds me to speak from the heart—with love and make that my reality.

Feb 11, 2017

Saturday with the Saints: St. Scholastica

St. Scholastica (480-547)

Feast day: February 10

Patron Saint of nuns, convulsive children, and is invoked against storms and rain

My daily routine involves a long commute anywhere between 45 minutes to one hour each way. I have found this commute to be instrumental in sustaining my daily prayer life. Don’t get me wrong… I long for the days of my small prayer groups with faithful women studying scripture while the babies played on the floor, but I live in a reality that I must work now – inside and outside of the home. And keeping my prayer life well fed is a task with the ensuring craziness! The time on the road, my favorite Laudate app (aided by my Wi-Fi in the car), and my local Catholic Radio Station, all keep me in tune to my faith and our Lord at the beginning of my busy day. I am in the car to take the littlest one to Kindergarten by 7am, which has been the perfect opportunity to tune in and listen to the EWTN celebration of the Holy Mass. I listen to the readings and the homily and then switch to my daily reflections on Laudate. I intentionally drive almost 8 miles out of the “direct route” and instead choose the “scenic route”. This route takes me in the early hours of the morning past fields with dew, cattle feeding, and the huge Texas sky looming ahead waiting to welcome the sun. The sunrises have been nothing short of spectacular that, at times, I pull to the side and take a picture (knowing that it shamefully won’t look as good in digits as it does in person.) It fires me up. It ignites my spirit and a peace consumes me. I thank the Lord for this gift of time, scenery, silence and space every morning. I honestly attribute it to my emotional sanity! I can watch the sunrise and listen to the Lord’s Word. It is truly a wonderful blessing!

Yesterday, as I listened to the Mass on the radio, I was pulled in deeply. I reflected on what Father was saying about the life of St. Scholastica and I began to imagine her perfect love and fervor for the Lord that was so strong it trickled out to touch everyone with whom she was in contact. I have always felt a certain affinity to her, as we share a unique trait (we both have twin brothers). Her brother, St. Benedict, shared Scholastica’s joy in faith. Even he was amazed by the intimate relationship his sister had with the Lord. Father relayed a story of the two beloved siblings:

Once a year, the two would meet in a farmhouse outside of her monastery, since men were not permitted inside the monastery. They enjoyed each other’s company and would spend hours contemplating God’s plans, creations, and blessings. The night would come quickly and St. Scholastica did not want to say farewell. St. Benedict was preparing to leave and St. Scholastica begged him not to go. Her brother was firm in his resolve to follow his Rule and return to the abbey. She wanted to continue the spiritually rich conversation through the night and sensed her death was close. She began to pray fervently to the Lord, that He would “make” her brother stay for a while longer. At once, lightning and thunder began and a great storm approached. Tradition tells us that St. Benedict himself was shocked at the swiftness of her answered prayers and said, “God forgive you, Sister. What have you done?” Scholastica replied, “I asked a favor of you and you refused, I asked of God and he granted it.” She conceded that he and his companions couldn’t travel in that weather and that they should stay dry in the house. They stayed chatting until the morning light. It was the last time the two would meet on earth. Within three short days, St.  Scholastica passed away. St. Benedict was praying and had a vision of her soul rising to Heaven in the form of a white dove. He brought her body to his monastery and laid it in a tomb he prepared for himself.

St. Gregory the Great tells us that St. Scholastica was able to do more because she loved more.  I imagine that the Lord “heard” her prayers because she listened to Him. I imagine that the Lord “answered” her prayers because she had faith in Him. And I imagine that same love that St. Scholastica poured out to her brother was a direct extension of the love she always felt around her. Their faith in God made brought them closer, even if their chosen vocations forced a separation.
May we all find this love in our lives. A love that can bring a powerful storm and a love that can create a beautiful sunrise. The same love that lives in the Scripture we read and hear, the Eucharist we consume, and the family that surrounds us – both by blood and by friendship. Daily, the Lord provides us so much opportunity to see Him, feel Him, and know Him. Even when time seems tight, short, and chaotic, He stands ready to comfort, nurture, and guide.

May we all be like St. Scholastica, eager to pray with our “brothers” and faithful to trust our whole being, our plans, our loved ones, and most of all our time, to the One who is the Creator. May we long for holy conversation and share that with our earthly neighbors.

St. Scholastica, pray for us!

Feb 10, 2017

Friday Feasting: Oatmeal Banana Muffins

"As a busy mom of a crew of kids, I will be the first to admit, we do serve cereal (from a box!) to our children on a regular basis.  But, there are days when the kids will awake to the aroma of something yummy baking in the oven.  I try to aim for a once a week surprise like this.  And, it's nice to throw in fruit and oats to make it a little more healthy.  Chocolate too, does that count for another health benefit?  We like to think so in our house!!  Served with yogurt and some orange juice, these muffins make for a great breakfast and lots of happy tummies"

**Makes 2 dozen muffins**


3 cups flour
2 cups oats
1 cup sugar
4 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
1-1/2 cups milk
2/3 cups applesauce
1 teaspoon vanilla
3-4 mashed bananas
chocolate chips


1.  Mix together all the dry ingredients: flour, oats, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.

2.  Mix together all the wet ingredients:  eggs (beaten), milk, applesauce, vanilla, and bananas.

3.  Stir together dry ingredients and wet ingredients until just combined.

4.  Add in chocolate chips and stir a few more times.

5.  Pour batter into greased muffin tins.

6.  Bake at 400 degrees for 18-20 minutes.