Feb 27, 2017

Monday Meme: Angelic Warriors

Angels comforted and strengthened Jesus.  In his weakness, Jesus prayed to his Father that the suffering pass. However, he also put his Father’s will above his own.

"And He withdrew from them about a stone’s throw, and He knelt down and began to pray, saying, “Father, if You are willing, remove this cup from Me; yet not My will, but Yours be done.” Now an angel from heaven appeared to Him, strengthening Him."
—Luke 22:41-43

In Christ’s humanity, he prayed, and his father answered by sending an angel to strengthen Christ.  This is a perfect example of how our Guardian Angels respond, when we ask.  Whether in weakness or temptation or whatever the case, if we ask, they will respond.  Their mission is to guide us.  They respect our free will, but if we ask for their help…  Our angels are waiting for us to ask…

Our Guardian Angels are formidable warriors.  Quite often, they are depicted as frail, pretty, and dainty, but they wield the strength of heaven behind them.  Why not use their spiritual prowess?  They just wait for our request!

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.


Feb 9, 2017

Nineveh 90 Challenge for Moms

Have you heard of Nineveh90 yet?  What is it exactly?
" Nineveh 90 – the 90 days from February 13 to May 13 – is inspired by the excellent program – Exodus 90 – designed exclusively for men by Fr. Brian Doerr and others. I strongly encourage men to sign-up for Exodus 90 (sign-up HERE), and use it for our 90-day journey.
For our Nineveh 90 journey, which includes both men and women, we are embracing the great values of mortification, a support system, and the research in the behavioral sciences that says 90 days is about the time needed to change bad habits. We will also be using some of the tried and true supernatural elements. Namely, the Brown Scapular, 54 Day Rosary Novena, and the 33 Day Preparation for Marian Consecration."
(taken from the Nineveh90 website

There are ten elements of the Nineveh 90 Challenge (check them out on the link listed above).  But, here's the kicker, it is super duper intense and scared me right away.  However, a friend of a friend opened my eyes (in a discussion on FB) that we, as moms, are already doing the Nineveh90 but in slightly different ways. For me in particular, I'm doing the Nineveh 9-kids. Ha!!  She is exactly right!

So I thought I'd come up with a list of sacrifices that many of us moms already do on a regular basis, but maybe grumble about more than we should, instead of accepting them more gracefully and putting in the love that we should.  Here's what I could come up with (and a huge "thank you" to my friends that helped me add to this list and complete it)...

Nineveh 90 Challenge for Moms:

  • Taking more time to snuggle my baby and enjoy her being little
  • Stop what I'm doing and watch and listen to kids play (stopping and slowing down to hear them jabbering and playing can be an opportunity of prayer and thanking God for them)
  • read aloud to kids (this snuggle and bonding time is priceless)
  • play with kids 
  • cook for and feed kids three meals a day

  • Trying harder to find joy in the everyday and in the littlest of things.
  • Having a schedule that is completely controlled by the demands and needs of these littles (ex: all our plans for today are canceled b/c stomach flu hit - ugh!)
  • sleep - huh? What's that? Sleep is for the birds! I play "whack a mole" all night with babies and toddlers that wake up at random times
  • accepting the un-done.... the messes, the laundry, the dust, the cleaning, the grading, etc.... you can't get to it all regularly. Accepting this as normal is huge. 
  •  accepting the "fluff" of carrying many babies that just seems to stick around and lack of time/energy to get rid of it 
  • making eye-contact with each child and smiling at them at least once a day 
  • finding little ways to let your husband know you love him and do not be offended when he doesn't return or notice your kindness
  • love our husband and tend to his needs
  • praying together as a family - seems more like a wrestling match. Definitely not the quiet serene moments you hope and long for. 
  • do stealth fasting...fast from whatever works well for you, but if you refrain from something and are invited into that thing, accept. Like give up sweets, but if a child offers you a bite of their cookie, accept (I actually had an opportunity to do some fasting last Lent - I wasn't pregnant and I wasn't nursing.  Here's what I did)
  • facing many struggles and feelings of inadequacy in parenting

And most important of all - do all this with JOY and a smile upon your face!

And, obviously, maybe some of these items do not apply to you.  Maybe you are already gifted in one of those areas and it isn't really a struggle for you.  I wanted to include many items - items that I do face on a regular basis and/or something I have had to wrestle with at one time or another.  Maybe you could pick a few of these items and work on doing them more cheerfully and lovingly, as if doing them for Christ himself.  
"And over all these put on love, that is, the bond of perfection."                 ~Col 3:14

What else would you add?  Please share in the comments!!

Feb 6, 2017

Monday Meme: Men and Women

The media bombard us with messages of how different we humans are, and we are to welcome all of these differences. Acceptance. Tolerance. Inclusion.   However, when it comes to men and women, the media give a contrary message.  Women can do anything men can do.  Women and men are the same.  We are to be treated the same, expect the same, do the same, think the same…

God made us men and women.  We have unique gifts and talents that complement each other.  We need to remind our sons and daughters that men and women are supposed to be different.  The Good Lord intentionally created us to be different. The differences are not mistakes.

So women and men should embrace our differences.  We should not be in competition of who is better; we should be working together to make each other better.

Feb 4, 2017

Saturday with the Saints: St Josephine Bakhita


In honor of Black History Month, we celebrate Saint Josephine Bakhita, whose feast day is on Wednesday, February 8th.

Saint Josephine writes...
I am definitively loved and whatever happens to me I am awaited by this Love. And so my life is good.

Catholic.org tells this story of Saint Josephine Bakhita's life... 
Saint Josephine Margaret Bakhita was born around 1869 in the village of Olgossa in the Darfur region of Sudan. She was a member of the Daju people and her uncle was a tribal chief. Due to her family lineage, she grew up happy and relatively prosperous, saying that as a child, she did not know suffering.
Historians believe that sometime in February 1877, Josephine was kidnapped by Arab slave traders. Although she was just a child, she was forced to walk barefoot over 600 miles to a slave market in El Obeid. She was bought and sold at least twice during the grueling journey.
For the next 12 years she would be bought, sold and given away over a dozen times. She spent so much time in captivity that she forgot her original name.
As a slave, her experiences varied from fair treatment to cruel. Her first owner, a wealthy Arab, gave her to his daughters as a maid. The assignment was easy until she offended her owner's son, possibly for the crime of breaking a vase. As punishment, she was beaten so severely she was incapacitated for a month. After that, she was sold.
One of her owners was a Turkish general who gave her to his wife and mother-in-law who both beat her daily. Josephine wrote that as soon as one wound would heal, they would inflict another.
She told about how the general's wife ordered her to be scarred. As her mistress 
watched, ready with a whip, another woman drew patterns on her skin with flour, then cut into her flesh with a blade. She rubbed the wounds with salt to make the scars permanent. She would suffer a total of 114 scars from this abuse.
In 1883, the Turkish general sold her to the Italian Vice Consul, Callisto Legani. He was a much kinder master and he did not beat her. When it was time for him to return to Italy, she begged to be taken with him, and he agreed.
After a long and dangerous journey across Sudan, the Red Sea, and the Mediterranean, they arrived in Italy. She was given away to another family as a gift and she served them as a nanny.
Her new family also had dealings in Sudan had when her mistress decided to travel to Sudan without Josephine, she placed her in the custody of the Canossian Sisters in Venice.
While she was in the custody of the sisters, she came to learn about God. According to Josephine, she had always known about God, who created all things, but she did not know who He was. The sisters answered her questions. She was deeply moved by her time with the sisters and discerned a call to follow Christ.
When her mistress returned from Sudan, Josephine refused to leave. Her mistress spent three days trying to persuade her to leave the sisters, but Josephine remained steadfast. This caused the superior of the institute for baptismal candidates among the sisters to complain to Italian authorities on Josephine's behalf.
The case went to court, and the court found that slavery had been outlawed in Sudan before Josephine was born, so she could not be lawfully made slave. She was declared free.
For the first time in her life, Josephine was free and could choose what to do with her life. She chose to remain with the Canossian Sisters.
She was baptized on January 9, 1890 and took the name Josephine Margaret and Fortunata. (Fortunata is the Latin translation for her Arabic name, Bakhita). She also received the sacraments of her first holy communion and confirmation on the same day. These three sacraments are the sacraments of initiation into the Church and were always given together in the early Church. The Archbishop who gave her the sacraments was none other than Giusseppe Sarto, the Cardinal Patriarch of Venice, who would later become Pope Pius X.
Josephine became a novice with the CanossianDaughters of Charity religious order on December 7, 1893, and took her final vows on December 8, 1896. She was eventually assigned to a convent in Schio, Vicenza.
For the next 42 years of her life, she worked as a cook and a doorkeeper at the convent. She also traveled and visited other convents telling her story to other sisters and preparing them for work in Africa.
She was known for her gentle voice and smile. She was gentle and charismatic, and was often referred to lovingly as the "little brown sister" or honorably as the "black mother."
When speaking of her enslavement, she often professed she would thank her kidnappers. For had she not been kidnapped, she might never have come to know Jesus Christ and entered His Church.
During World War II, the people of the village of Schio regarded her as their protector. And although bombs fell on their village, not one citizen died.
In her later years, she began to suffer physical pain and was forced to use a wheelchair. But she always remained cheerful. If anyone asked her how she was, she would reply, "As the master desires."
On the evening of February 8, 1947, Josephine spoke her last words, "Our Lady, Our Lady!" She then died. Her body lay on display for three days afterwards.
In 1958, the process of canonization began for Josephine under Pope John XXIII. On December 1st, 1978, Pope John Paul II declared her venerable. Sadly, the news of her beatification in 1992 was censored in Sudan. But just nine months later, Pope John Paul II visited Sudan and honored her publicly. He canonized her on October 1, 2000.
Saint Josephine Bakhita is the patron saint of Sudan and her feast day is celebrated on February 8.

Saint Josephine Bakhita, pray for us!

Feb 3, 2017

Friday Feasting: Thai Chicken with Spicy Peanut Sauce

Thai Chicken with Spicy Peanut Sauce (adapted from Wholefork.com)
Serves 6


Peanut Sauce
2 tsp minced garlic
2 tsp minced ginger
¼ C natural peanut butter (substitute Sunflower butter to be Whole30 compliant)
Juice of 1 lime
2 T sesame oil
½  tsp salt
½ tsp red pepper flakes
4 T olive oil
2 medium zucchinis, cut into long matchsticks
1 C chopped carrots
1 red bell peppers, thinly sliced
1 yellow bell pepper, thinly sliced
½ tsp salt
½ tsp pepper
4 chicken thighs, cooked and diced
sesame seeds (optional)
cilantro, chopped (optional)


1.  Bake chicken thighs, seasoned with salt and pepper for 35 minutes, or until done. Cool and dice.

2.  Meanwhile, in a small bowl whisk together garlic, ginger, peanut butter, lime juice, sesame oil, and salt. Add red pepper flakes and adjust to taste.

3.  Add oil to pan over med high heat until hot.  Add zucchini, carrot and sweet peppers to pan, stirring constantly. Cook 5-10 minutes, until desired doneness.

4.  Add in chicken and peanut sauce, stirring over med heat until heated through.

5. Garnish with sesame seeds and cilantro, if desired. Serve.