Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Happy Feast of the Annunciation!

"Behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall name him Jesus." ~ Luke 1:31

The Annunciation by Paolo de Matteis, 1712

The Feast of the Annunciation is probably my favorite mystery of the rosary.  Even before having my own son, and feeling life within me, The Annunciation always made me feel warm and fuzzy inside.  But the feast, to me, always interrupts the flow of the liturgical seasons.  We are well on our way in our Lenten journey, turning into grouchy people for giving up carbohydrates, sweets, or coffee bringing our bodies and our spiritual lives into submission with our sacrifices, and now we're talking about Mary being pregnant... again?  Wasn't Christ just born, and didn't we just feast our way through Christmas?  

Ah, but I learned something recently.  The Feast of the Annunciation is on March 25th... nine months before Christmas... December 25th.  Just when I'm thinking somebody goofed and was trying to slip this feast in anywhere.  But, that still doesn't explain the interruption of our Lenten journey.  

There is usually warmth and excitement and joy surrounding a baby's coming.  The placement of the feast in the middle of Lent is a reminder of the clear purpose for Christ's coming.  Christ came to die.  For us. He was born in to human life to give us eternal life.  

It is for this reason, we remember, that we make our Lenten sacrifices.  To remind ourselves of Christ's sacrifice for us, and hopefully, give us a greater understanding of the love from which that sacrifice flowed.  His love for us gave His sacrifice purpose.  Is your Lenten sacrifice just a burden for you?  If so, might I suggest giving it a purpose?  If you gave up Starbucks, add up the money from all the times you would have gotten coffee and give it to a charity.  Or stick it in a mailbox of a family in need.  If you gave up chocolate, send it all to me.  If you gave up social media, go have face-to-face time with a family member or friend who needs a pick-me-up.  Or write a letter to cheer someone up.  

Our sacrifices help us say no to something, and it opens us up to saying "yes" to something that God has for us.  What does God want you to say "yes" to?

Friday, March 21, 2014

7 Quick Takes: Dear Mr. Exercise Instructor


I started the True Beginner workout program on dailyburn(dot)com a few days ago.  I like it for several reasons, one being that they have "real" people in the videos.  By real,  I mean there is a 300 pound guy, a 200 pound woman, and a 55 year old woman doing the workout behind the instructor.  It gives you a "we're in this together" kind of feeling.  However, I've considered writing the instructor a letter.  It would read something like this:

Dear Mr. Exercise Instructor,
I'm thoroughly enjoying my prescribed workout program.  However, I think that the videos are a bit unrealistic, and I was wondering where I might purchase the real life workout videos.  You know, where the yoga mat is encircled with toys and books, and where there is a kid climbing on top of you every time you sit on your mat, and sticking his head between your legs when you stand, and throwing balls at you.  A video where the view from your yoga mat is not a finely toned hottie, but rather this - 

I also think that you're doing "child's pose" incorrectly.  The correct pose is as you show it, but with the addition of an actual child sitting on your head.  These additions to your videos would increase your audience, I believe, as this is how real people work out.  
The mom who will strive to accomplish her daily workout during nap time from now on

{2 and 3-7} 

If Matthan had a theme song for his life, "Happy" from Despicable Me 2 would be it.  

I now play it almost daily and dance around with him.  It beats a bad mood any day.  Hope your week was filled with happiness.

Go check out Conversion Diary for more 7 Quick Takes posts.

Friday, March 14, 2014

7 Quick Takes: Ashes and Shaving

I really wish I had a picture of the face Matthan gave me after the priest put ashes on my head on Ash Wednesday.  It was a deep frown that looked like "Momma, why you got ashes on yo' head?!"  But instead I leave you with internet sensation Grumpy Cat...

The Hubs decided that he was tired of the mountain man look and the beard just had to go.  Our friends had told us about how their child was scared out of his wits and would not go to his daddy after his daddy had shaved.  So their recommendation was to have Matthan present when Tim shaved.

Last moments as a mountain man

No turning back now

The first thing The Hubs said after shaving was "My face is cold!  I haven't felt wind on my face for a long time!".

The Hubs - clean cut version

Matthan didn't really care (although this could have been because we took our friends' advice and had Matthan there while Daddy shaved).

However, some of the teens that The Hubs works with at church were not so nonchalant.  Apparently we didn't realize that some of the young men had emotional attachment to said beard, and they voiced their disappointment to The Hubs the first chance they got.

Keeping up a house is hard work.  There are many ways to cope with this.  My choice on most days is turning a blind eye to things that don't "have to" get done... a subjective thing.  However there are days when I do get a move-on and prove myself a worthy housekeeper.  And my little guy is such a huge help.

While I sort mail and pay the bills, he sorts trash for me that I've already thrown away...

He organizes the clean laundry onto the floor biggest shelf in the house...

And on days where I'm really working hard and we have guests coming over, this is his contribution...

I chaperoned one of our youth group's retreats this weekend.  I'm sore from playing hard, exhausted from lack of sleep, queasy from eating candy and other food I don't normally consume, and I have a bruise on my head.  Oh, the bruise?  Yeah, I dinked myself in the head with a frisbee.  (dinked: to make contact with the tip of a frisbee causing it to bang into one's own face causing shame and laughter from others; the sound a frisbee makes when hitting one's face)

While waiting for cars to filter out of the parking lot on Ash Wednesday we went to go visit the youth group kids.  They were playing with a spiky, bouncy, light-up ball and Matthan finally got ahold of it right as we were leaving.  The Hubs told him to say "bye ball" and Matthan did in such a sad voice causing all the teens to say "aaawww".  The next day at Target I found the ball in the dollar section.
This picture was taken in mid-flail of excitement.

Current favorite toy (other than the bouncy ball)...

favorite playmate

I started "Conversations with Matthan" to try to keep up with things that Matthan is saying.  He tends to get shy when he's around other people so others don't believe me when I say he talks a lot.  I worked with him on saying "Happy Birthday Grandma Mary" for my mother-in-law's (or "Maga Mary", what M's cousins call her) birthday last Friday, but Matthan was being a real stinker that day so I couldn't get a good recording.  So, a little late, but this one is for you "Maga Mary" :)

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Lent, Smiles, and Automobiles, Oh My! ~ PHFR


I've really come to love the seasons of the liturgical year.  It's nice to have a rhythm and a flow, especially when the state of Georgia can't decide what season she's going to stick with... in one day.  Winter, Spring, or Summer??? Take your pick and stick with it!  My wardrobe is confused.

I always start out with great ambitions for seasons and feasts.  If only you knew the grand plans I have in my head.  And then something much more simple comes to fruition.  But that's sort of Lent anyway.  I've really come to appreciate simple and minimal this past year.  I've been purging clutter where I can, and I've found that to have a spiritual effect.  The less cluttered my environment, the more at peace I've felt.  And while I'm working on letting Jesus clean out the spiritual clutter, I'm trying to create a simple Lenten environment in our home, otherwise known as I made a trip to Hobby Lobby.

Our table decorations consist of a burlap table runner (I think it's a reference to sack cloth in the Bible, it just left my brain), "crown of thorns" wreath, purple (the color of penance), and a candle (for the light of Christ).

Cleaned and simplified family alter...

And a reminder that "unless a grain of wheat should fall upon the ground and die, it remains but a single grain with no life".  A good reminder to die to ourselves this Lent so that Jesus can grow something better.

Peppers, Parsley, wildflowers, Sweetpeas, Morning Glories, and Columbines


A day of sunshine before the temperature dropped again...



I gave Matthan some seven grain cereal the other day but I added too much milk and made it kind of runny.  It got all over him and while I was running a bath for him he went wall cruising leaving booger-like tracks on the walls.  Gross.


The Hubs and I earned one more merit badge on our way to being real adults this week.  I've only ever had one car.  I'm really attached to my car...I'm not really sure why.  But we needed the space and the safety and the reliability.  'Ole Bessie had started making a bad sound and it was either invest more money than we wanted into her to keep her going or invest money than we wanted to in a new car.  So we put 'Ole Bessie out to pasture.  I really can't believe how sad this had made me.

But we got a sunroof (cute kid not included with car)...

sunroof and cute kid

New car "selfie"

And now I have to name a new-to-us car (suggestions welcome).  Which is a great thing!  

But you'll have to forgive me... I'm still in mourning.

RIP 'Ole Bessie.  You were a great car!

'Ole Bessie

Now over to Like Mother, Like Daughter to see other bloggers posting with the theme Pretty, Happy, Funny, Real...

round button chicken

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Don't Eat The Baby -

- otherwise known as my first Mardi Gras party.

from Google images

I never say no to free food.  So when I was invited to a party that was all about food, and it was all free, I was in.  

The Mardi Gras party was just off campus at the Catholic student center.  I had heard of Mardi Gras in passing growing up, and assumed the celebration had to do with Bourbon Street in Louisiana.  So basically, I was pretty much oblivious to the religious affiliation, practices and customs connected to this day.  

The food was awesome, the atmosphere lively, and the company was warm and welcoming.  As the crowd dwindled, I sat down next to my boyfriend, who was chatting up the hostess of the event, to enjoy my piece of brightly colored cake.  

I stuck my fork into the cake to retrieve my next bite.  

And I saw it.  

The tiny baby doll protruding from the delectable dessert on my plate.  

My introvert brain was imploding trying to navigate the awkward social conundrum in which I had found myself.  Why is this here?  Is that supposed to be here? What if I had swallowed part of that? Did someone lose their baby doll decoration? Is this sanitary? My face is burning red. What do I do? 

I covertly slipped the doll into my napkin and held it under the table.  My opportune moment came when the hostess was distracted from the conversation by one of the kitchen volunteers. I poked my boyfriend to get his attention.  Still holding the doll at waist height under the table to obscure the view of anyone who might look over, I whispered, "Look what I found in my cake."  

My boyfriend looked at my flustered face and then down at the napkin wrapped baby doll in my outstretched cupped hands, and to my utter dismay - 


- burst out laughing!!

Come to find out, I was eating a piece of King's cake.  Once he was done having a good laugh at my expense, he explained to me the tradition of the King's cake: The person who receives the slice of cake with the baby is asked to continue the festivities by hosting the next King Cake party, but not to worry because I would not be expected to host the next party.  

All I could think was they really should warn people!!