"Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it done unto me according to thy will." ~ Luke 1:38

Thursday, June 27, 2013

{pretty, happy, funny, real} ~ Rome Sweet Home Edition

~ Capturing the context of contentment in everyday life ~

Every Thursday at Like Mother, Like Daughter

We did it!  We successfully travelled to Italy with 24 of our Altar Boys...

Several shook His Holiness' hand during the Papal Audience...all were blessed.

Here are several (out of thousands!!!) of pictures to share...

While walking along the streets of Assisi, I came across this exceptional artist...his hands creating the most gorgeous masterpieces (as you can see to the left).  Beautiful classical music was emanating from his work area...which had originally caught my attention.  I would have stayed for hours...
Happiness x 1,000,000!
This picture was taken a few seconds before he was right in front of our group...
this was his response when he saw all the boys in their cassocks and surplices...(of all my pictures, I prayed that this one shot was captured)  Just look at his reaction!

Pope Francis meets our Altar Boys...from California, USA!!!
He gave them all a beautiful blessing! 
Oh, the joy!
People stood for long periods of time watching and waiting to see if he would flinch...

Serving at the church of Santo Spirito - now dedicated to the Divine Mercy
Jezu Ufam Tobie

 Many miracles and blessings occurred in the two weeks of our pilgrimage.  Chance meeting and picture with Archbishop Donald Wuerl; private audience with Cardinal Raymond Burke...Holy Mass on the tomb of Pope John Paul II...and much, much, much more...
It was a spiritual pilgrimage.  It will take years to "unpack" and digest all that has happened.
It was trying at times, as well as heavenly.
It was life changing.
Go to Like Mother, Like Daughter to find more contentment...

Saturday, June 8, 2013

~ Lots of Locks ~

We ladies of the 'Hand-Maid...' household decided to get our hair cut...all of them!

Butterfly had 10+ inches cut...

Little Lamb...

and me makes three!

It feels like summer...

comment added:  notice how the 'shine' & 'luster' fades with age...{sigh}.

Friday, June 7, 2013

~ Sweet Hearts ~

Earlier today we enjoyed the Feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus...

We celebrated by attending First Friday Mass and Benediction, along with other home school families and my girls Children's Choir.

Tonight, in the spur of the moment, I decided to try Tiffany's Sacred Heart Fruit Dessert; with just one minor adjustment and one simple  shortcut...

Minor adjustment:  I substituted the suggested sugar cookie dough for (our family favorite) chocolate chip cookie dough.  (Also, I accidentally forgot to use powdered sugar & vanilla - that's what happens when I try to rely on memory). 

Simple shortcut:  I used my 'heart' dish, instead of the suggested paper template.

Boy was it SUPER EASY, and boy was it GOOD!

~ Hearts ~

A very blessed Sacred Heart of Jesus...
I hadn't planned to cook or bake anything special today, although,
I may be able to pull off Tiffany's Sacred & Immaculate Hearts Fruit Dessert, which look awesome & delicious and (can it be?) EASY!

My son just reminded me that today was also "National Donut Day"!
I'm going to have Butterfly make some donuts, too! In the shape of HEARTS.

Have a Blessed First Friday!
And a Blessed Sacred Heart of Jesus!

Thursday, June 6, 2013

~ pretty, happy, funny, real ~ Secret Garden & Carnival Edition

~ Capturing the context of contentment in everyday life ~

Every Thursday at Like Mother, Like Daughter

My husband and children have given me my very own 'Secret Garden'

The way the Morning Glory is wrapping its little arm around my candle post is {pretty}, as well as all the blooming lilies.  The lilies were from Easter and were once used to adorn the sanctuary at our church.  Another {pretty}.  There are lots of {pretties} going on inside my 'Secret Garden'...


Another Benefit & FUNdraiser for our Altar Boys Pilgrimage to Rome! 

St. Philip Neri Party and Children's Carnival
St. Neri is the Patron of Rome!

Cherry Tree...pick a blossom to win a lolly pop!

The young children were definitely {happy}.  And the adults were {happy} as they enjoyed a delicious Italian Breakfast
~ Italian Cornetti & Franchesco's Favorite - Argentine Cafe Con Leche ~ 

The children's games & prizes made a lot of littles very {happy}. 

The 'Carnival" included a Fish Cup Game, Duck Pond, Sidewalk Throw, Balloon Pop, Bowling, Ring Toss and much much more...

My favorite was the Cake Walk...but since I was well over the age limit, I sent my youngest to give it a go!  (winner-winner, chicken dinner! - the mint chocolate bark was excellent!)

The nursing mom (with six children) that organized this event is amazing!!!


Part of the Carnival "Big Top Show"...

Our pastor was a good-sport and humbled availed himself to help raise funds for the altar boys pilgrimage to Rome...Our very own St. John Vianney!  He grew his hair and we 'auctioned' off the viewing.  The audience was given a very {funny} treat as his hair was cut by someone that had absolutely no haircutting ability...me!  His only advice was that I didn't cut his ear off!  :o)  (Boy, was I nervous!!!)
I'm happy to report that he looks great and has both ears intact, plus we raised some great funds!   (whew!!!) 

"The Graveyard"
Back to my 'Secret Garden'...
I call this the 'graveyard'.  It's where all those discarded flowers that are not-doing-so-well, are placed.  I, then, nurse them back to health and plant them in the ground where they can (hopefully) thrive. 
I guess it would be appropriate to call this place a 'nursery', but they really look dead (and some are probably dead, with no chance of being revived.
The healthy looking purple calla-lily was very dead distressed looking; now it's ready to join the garden...see above in {pretty}.

More {real}

This hanging flower basket was also very {pretty} at one time. 

But every Spring the robins take their share of nest makings; now it looks so disheveled.  But I'm happy to provide some housing for these brother birds... 
(Maybe this is the reason why I took St. Francis as my Confirmation name over 34 years ago.)

It's also been a challenge keeping these baskets from drying out; I have to water them daily or they noticeably stress out!  I'm thinking of using a more drought resistant plant...although I do love my blooming flowers. 

Oh, yes - We have about three robin's nests with happy little families...
Go to Like Mother, Like Daughter to find more contentment...

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

~ Patience is a Virture...and REGAL! ~

Today, I'm forty-five minutes early to pick up my daughter from her orthodontics appointment...she informed me that they had cancelled her appointment and that I would have to call them to reschedule...I'm annoyed.  
Butterfly has waited 4 weeks since her last appointment to (possibly) have her braces removed.  We cannot make it back next week.  And on, and on, and on...go my thoughts & arguments (I can feel my blood start to boil).  Life is too busy right now...I don't have time for this nonsense.

Yesterday, at Little Lamb's dentist & retainer check, we waited 10 minutes (actually 20 minutes, because I was early)....I had to pick up my son from Mass...he was waiting for his ride.  Me!  I started to stress...

(Back to today) 
 Rather than getting in the car and driving home to my one million "things to do", I turned off the car's engine and made my way back to the orthodontics office.  I'm walking fast.  I'm walking with purpose.  My poor daughter is following me...trying to keep up.

I throw open the door and walk straight to the desk...they see me coming and guiltily cower.  All three of them.

(Side note:  I had gone to confession earlier this morning) 
I think my guardian angel, and grace from this morning's Mass & sacrament, took charge.  My  face actually broke into a sincere smile and out from my mouth came sweet salutations.  (I shocked them.  I shocked myself).

(The moral of the story)
We worked it out to get my sweet and patient Butterfly her long awaited ortho appointment, first thing tomorrow morning (or, day three at the dentist office); and, they apologized profusely and gave her complimentary tickets to the movie theatre...

The smile on her face made this mama very thankful that I had not given into my vice, that I had not taken the dark path.  Yet, it wasn't I, but God's good and amazing grace...
You see, patience really is a virtue.  And God is good.

Monday, June 3, 2013

~ Things I Did Today... ~

Sometimes I feel that I'm just running around in circles...not accomplishing what I NEED to do.  I  tackle things as they come at me...then at the end of the day, I'm exhausted.

When I was working, outside of the house, I used to write out my list of things to do for the day, or month.

Actually, I continued this practice of writing down my 'list' until just about 4 or 5 years ago.  Occasionally, I would would start this practice up again, but it wouldn't be long before it just petered out.

Writing my list kept me, I felt, from wasting time.  I was able to accomplish so much...I could see all my progress as I would check off all the items on my list.  What I didn't finish, I would transfer to the new day.  But it made me feel "in control".  I knew I wasn't missing anything.

Lately, I've been "dropping the ball".  Which is not a good feeling for me. 
Overwhelmed.  That is what I start to feel if things are not getting done...

So I've decided to start a list again, ONLY this time, I'm going to include one for my children...why should I have all the fun!?

One morning, I took out my pad and wrote down all the things I had just accomplished or Things I Did Today!

Morning Prayer
Make my son's lunch
Drop son off at Math tutor
Read a few Blogs & write a few comments
Let dogs out, feed, walk...
Clean up dog area (usually the kids do this job as well as care for all the animals, but I gave them a break)
Sweep up leaves/rose pedals
Pull some weeds
2 loads of laundry
Sweep porch & decks
Water plants
Make oatmeal for girls
Bring in Birthday decorations
Load & start dishwasher
Start school...

For myself, I'd really like to use Marcia's idea to "Jot It Down!"...a practice that will help me when I start to get too busy, pulled in too many directions, or just plain distracted (I do tend to procrastinate).
"This gave me the idea to make a list for my children.  A pre-written check off list of what I want need them to accomplish...EVERY DAY.  Weekend's excluded (or not).

I'm looking at it as a Life Skills lesson.  Something that will help them with organization, and take some of the stress out of my our lives.  I've tried a Chore Board in the past.  Now I'm ready to try something new.  Something that will work for the every changing and growing family...