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

Monday, March 31, 2014

~ Moments of Grace ~*~ Daybook 2014 No. Four ~

I'm joining hostess Jenny and Ladies over at Plain Grace

I am thankful...
+The sacrament of Confession
+The rain that we have received
+My husband...because, really, I am thankful for that man, everyday.
+Our health insurance
I am praying for...
+My friends intentions
+Continued rain
+The ability to stay focused to my daily tasks, and my primary vocation, being a mother (and teacher) to my children.
I am listening to...
+My dog whining (as she waits for her daily walk)
In the kitchen...
+ A cold oven and stove-top (I'm going to change that soon)
I am wearing...
+Pink fleece jacket, black exercise pants, hair in ponytail w/black mesh fitness cap
I am creating/working on...
+Plan meals for the week, Easter Menu; Easter plans; my eldest daughter's 15th B-day; FIFTEEN!  Fifteen. {sigh}
I am reading...
+The Holy Bible
+The Imitation of Christ
+A Man Cleansed by God
I am hoping...
+To get to all the phone calls I need to return :o(  By the end of this week???
I am looking forward to...
+My husband's Investiture
I am learning...
+To throw away or give away items BEFORE I bring them into the house; or to not accept, buy, or accumulate them to in the first place.
+To refrain from making "piles", which is just another form of procrastination; and from being too 'attached' to 'things'.
Around the house...
+Lots of activity...laundry going, children working, dogs playing, contractor & workers outside working on much needed exterior work...
+Catching up on spelling lessons for my fourth-grader
Inspirational Words for thought & reflection...
(From today's Gracelines)  "Be kind to one another, compassionate, and mutually forgiving, just as God has forgiven you in Christ.  Be imitators of God as his dear children."
~ Ephesians 4:32
One of my favorite things...
+Caramel Macchiato...I am going to make myself one today.  Sooner than later.
A few plans for the rest of the week...
+Trail Life, AHG, Appointments, First Friday Mass, Stations of the Crosss...
A healthy meal today...

+Although not a meal, it is one of the first things I have in the morning...1 cup water, zapped for 114 seconds, fresh squeeze of lemon (from the garden).  
A healthy activity...
+My 30 minute walk with my youngest daughter & two dogs
A peek into my day...
I still need to organize & simplify (and change bed sheets...) things around me.

Visit Plain Grace for more shared Moments of Grace Day-books...

Sunday, March 30, 2014

~ Backed Blogged - March Feasts & Goings On: p,h,f,r style ~

Linking up to Like Mother, Like Daughter to share some pretty, happy, funny and real times...

March is filled with more wonderful feast days...which fall during the Lenten Season. These feast days tend to be even more celebratory (in our home), because we are in a solemn time, focusing on the "dying to ourselves", so that He can be better known in our hearts and through our works.

Here are several every day happenings in our lives at the Hand-Maid Household:

Celebrating all the feast days makes for a pretty home...
Little Lamb waits patiently while her mother captures the moment via film :P


This typewriter used to belong to my dad when he was in high school.  He gifted it to my eldest daughter, my Butterfly.  She is a freshman in High School, and although she has her own laptop to participate in her online courses, she has always wanted an 'old-fashioned' typewriter.

One of the first things she wrote (on the well-used, ink depleted ribbon) was a thank you letter to her grandfather -my dad- for the typewriter.  
Secondly, she wrote a story, while playing a game she made up of taking turns writing a story with several people.  The first person writes a paragraph, then the next person continues with a paragraph and so forth...It goes like this:

"My Sister Wants a Story, so...here goes.

     Once upon a time (as all fictional stories start) there was a very beautiful princess with red-brown hair that went all the way down to her feet.  Every evening, she would walk in her magical garden which wasn't very magical!
     She was joined by her white unicorn, named Crystal.  Crystal was a very tame unicorn that loved to fly through the clouds and over rainbows.  Her favorite food was marshmallows and cotton candy.  Crystal had brought her friend Amethyst.  Amethyst was a purple unicorn that had just joined the unicorn herd, so Crystal had brought her to meet her favorite human, Princess Guiliana, the only human who was smart enough to be able to talk to unicorns.  One day, a young prince of Pulchra Unus walked besides the garden wall and heard her singing.  Her voice was like angels in choir.  When she sang, the birds would join her and all the animals would stop and listen.
     He asked his manservant who was it that was singing with the heavenly voice.  His manservant (another name for comic relief, sidekick) answered that they must have died and gone to paradise.  Then the Paige replied, "it is Princess Royal, Guiliana of Hardcastle".  The prince insisted that he be gotten an audience with the King of Hardcastle, but there was a large golden gate with a large lock!!!!!!!!! 
     The lock could not be removed, unless one as worthy as to take the princess' hand in marriage came forth.  The Prince was determined to see the Princess, so after he returned from hunting he....(to be continued)."

More happy, the Library Book Sale was this month...So many gems were found!

The growth of the chicks have been amazing.  I could take a picture everyday and see a change...

During Lent, many activities are taking place in our home and within our Parish life.  This is the first year that I am not teaching the First Holy Communion class; however, as the DRE, I continue to organize the Sacraments that our young parishioners receive.  Traditionally, during the Lenten season, the 1st Communion students receive the sacrament of Confession (Penance or Reconciliation).  They also receive a blessed crucifix from the Holy Land.  The candle cross below, represents all those that have made the Sacrament of Penance.

Candles are placed on a small table.  These candles will be lit once each child has made their First Confession.  The flame is taken from the Paschal Candle of last year.   It is a beautiful day...many souls are made clean and pure.

Also, as the years fly by, we turn from all the wonderful activities that we enjoyed while the children were younger and celebrate the feast days with food and books.  That is not to say we do not participate in any activities, but they are not as frequent or as needed.  Here are a few books that we enjoy during the March feasts...

We have enjoyed the traditional St. Joseph's table in the past, and we hope to enjoy it in years to come -

Annual St. Joseph's Table at The Shrine of St. Therese
However, this year, we settled for a day of Holy Mass and quiet prayer.  It was perfect!

Go to Like Mother, Like Daughter to find more contentment...

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

~ The Fiat of Mary ~

Mary, you are the New Arc of the Covenant; the New Tabernacle.  Thank you for your fiat...your, Yes!
Her simple words, "I am the hand-maid of the Lord, let it be done to me, according to thy word." would allow for the dual nature of Christ to be fulfilled...He was to become true man and true God.

And so, here in our hand-maid house-hold, we humbly celebrate this most wonderful day.

An extremely easy celebratory meal that is pleasing to the palate, with a dessert that is sweet and simple.

We arranged some fresh flowers so that we can show honor & love to the Mother of God...

It was a beautiful day.  It even rained...a very much needed rain.
Deo gratias!
Luke 1: 26 - 38

26In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth,
27to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin's name was Mary.
28And he came to her and said, "Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with you!"
29But she was greatly troubled at the saying, and considered in her mind what sort of greeting this might be.
30And the angel said to her, "Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God.
31And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus.
32He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Most High; and the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David,
33and he will reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there will be no end."
34And Mary said to the angel, "How shall this be, since I have no husband?"
35And the angel said to her, "The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be called holy, the Son of God.
36And behold, your kinswoman Elizabeth in her old age has also conceived a son; and this is the sixth month with her who was called barren.
37For with God nothing will be impossible."
And Mary said, "Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word." And the angel departed from her.


Joining Catholic Bloggers Network Link up Blitz
Family Journal
~ March ~

Thursday, March 20, 2014

~ phfr: Red & Black, Purple & Green ~

Linking up to Like Mother, Like Daughter to share some pretty, happy, funny and real times...


Lent can be pretty


Someone is really happy that they achieved their white/black belt, her eleventh belt and just one belt away from black belt.  I am SO PROUD OF YOU MY SWEET GIRL!
Butterfly went from red/black belt to white/black belt...


This reminds me of the bad witch in the Wizard of Oz when the house dropped on her and only her legs were showing...


My son (and eldest daughter) helped design these tee-shirts for our recent Youth Retreat...
I hope to post some pictures write a post about the retreat before the year is over!  :o)
Our full theme for the retreat was:
Get Connected - Encounter Christ:  To Know, Love, and Live the Faith
Designed by Conductor & Butterfly

Go to Like Mother, Like Daughter to find more contentment...

~ St. Patrick's Feast Day ~

Feast Day:  March 17th
St. Patrick's Feast Day at the Hand-Maid Household 2014

Captured by Irish raiders and sold as a slave in Ireland at the age of sixteen.  During his captivity, he had a spiritual conversion...
What a perfect saint story to meditate upon during this Lenten season as we strive for our own spiritual conversion.

St. Patrick certainly lived an extraordinary life, doing much to win souls for Christ.

To read his full story, visit here.

So how did we celebrate St. Patrick's Feast Day?

Well, St. Patrick's Day celebration is not complete without the traditional visit to the Fire-station to have the firemen serve us green pancakes (plus eggs, bacon & juice).  So, on Sunday we visited the Firehouse as we have for the past 12 years.  Everyone looks forward to this event.  I'm so glad the kids haven't tired of it...

Fancy centerpiece decorations:  Fire hose nozzles and boots with balloons attached.
Irish music playing in the background.  It's fun to sit inside the fire station and eat green pancakes.
Don't Forget:

For lunch, we thought we would celebrate St. Patrick's Feast Day by making Reuben (or as we call them, Faux Ruben) sandwiches, with a slight tweak...instead of Swiss cheese, we used pepper-jack.

After dinner, we enjoyed mint ice cream with brownie bits (I added a splash of Carolans Irish Cream on mine).  Little Lamb made some shamrock jigglers and helped to decorate a few festive drinking glasses.

My sister sharing a quick pic of St. Patrick festivities
from her neck of the woods.
We celebrate some feast days a lot differently these days...not a lot of crafts and activities.  It is mostly with special foods and decor and reading.  We really do enjoy celebrating the Church's calendar and feasts.  Everyday is a feast day...

"Christ shield me this day:  Christ with me, Christ before me, Christ behind me, Christ in me, Christ beneath me, Christ above me, Christ on my right, Christ on my left, Christ when I lie down, Christ when I arise, Christ in the heart of every person who thinks of me, Christ in the eye that sees me, Christ in the ear that hears me"  ~ Quote from The Breastplate of St. Patrick

The Breastplate of St. Patrick full version quote here.

Again, St. Patrick certainly lived an extraordinary life, doing much to win souls for Christ.

To read his full story, visit here.

Family Journal
~ March ~

Sunday, March 16, 2014

~ Spring has Sprung: phfr style ~

Linking up to Like Mother, Like Daughter to share some pretty, happy, funny and real times...

Although we are only in our second week of Lent, we are experiencing some 'Easter' type phenomenon.  Small and beautiful miracles.  We have had a little rain, but we are still in need of much more rain.  Nevertheless, things continue to grow around here in sunny California.


Pretty Before:
~ February ~

Pretty After:

~ March ~ 
All the caterpillars formed their chrysalis' ...

...and then, after some days, became these beautiful butterflies.  
Once their wings dried, they were ready to be set free...
Sunning their wings before flight

For years we have talked about raising chickens.  Having fresh eggs for a morning omelet or to bake some delicious fresh bread just sounds so wonderful to me.

But I put it off for years, because with chickens, come work.  And clean up.  And mess. And...cute little adorable fluffy chick chicks...that chirp so sweetly.  And...they like to fall asleep in the palm of your hand.  


We finally built a chicken coop as Little Lamb (and Conductor) convinced my husband and me that they would responsibly take care of these little creatures; (soon to turn big, turd-producing, garden scratching, noisy birds) -and that will lay me fresh eggs for my omelet and fresh baked breads...


After only a few days, these cute little creatures have shown exponential growth.  Already feathers have formed on their wings.  Amazing!

They have a heat lamp that stays on 24/7 and they eat lots of chick feed and drink lots of fresh water and need to have their bedding changed frequently, too.  

They know Little Lamb and immediately start to chirp when she comes around...they are very friendly and like to be held.  (I'm not sure if this is a good thing, or a bad thing, but either way - I have one happy little girl).


Around the garden in early March

Go to Like Mother, Like Daughter to find more contentment...

Saturday, March 8, 2014

~ Mystical Rose & Gardens ~

Linking up to Like Mother, Like Daughter to share some pretty, happy, funny and real times...


A wedding cake to celebrate Traditional Marriage in our Archdiocese.
Our Lady, full of grace...keep us in your motherly care.

A few weeks ago I took a small group of teens from our parish Youth Group to a Benefit Dinner in San Francisco.  P.L.M.R or Pro-Life of the Mystical Rose is a Catholic organization led by youth, advocating the pro-life cause.  Their aim is to educate and inspire other youth to make a difference in today's world, in regards to Life & Death issues in our society.  I posted about the 1st Pro-Life Youth Conference NorCal HERE.


Foods from around the world were served.  Afghanistan, France, India, Ireland, Marshal Islands, U.S.A., Philippines, Thailand, Mexico...to name a few!  I was in my happy place.

There was also a very nice array of auction items...
Interestingly, I took more pictures of the food rather than the auction items...

This was the first go 'round.  (My before Lent-type serving)  Eating like a gluttonous... there was no tomorrow.  The food was delicious!  And colorful...I love a spectacular presentation!  
I have no shame in photographing my plate.
50% of the pictures on my iPhone are of plates of food.  It is a problem.

Multiple projects, including building of chicken coop for my Little Lamb.
The lumpia are from the PLMR Benefit dinner...just thought I'd throw them in there!
This is my handsome 16 year old son, who I endearingly refer to as CONDUCTOR here on my (mostly private) family journal blog...and, by the way, he likes it that way.  Thank you very much! :D  
Conductor has taken this weed infested piece of land and turned it into an amazing garden with full irrigation and landscape equipped with a fully functioning train and rail road tracks.  G scale 1:20.3 ratio (for those who get it - I don't.  It's like another language).  
Here is another post on the work Conductor has done, because I often forget when I see progress as slow going.

Whatever you decide to do in life, son, may you do it for the Glory of God!
Even using a blowtorch can be reverent!
This is the same young man that loves serving as an Episcopal Server and who thoughtfully brought an entire church all the Liturgical Vestments, Sacred Vessels and other items needed for Holy Mass, Eucharistic Adoration, Benediction...to our recent 3 day Youth Retreat.    Which shall have a post of its very own.   
It was a bit rustic, but we certainly made do.
I am so proud of you, son!  Thank you!!!
Little Lamb's Chicken Coop is taking shape...her companions never leaving her side.

Little Lamb, has been insatiably reading books about 'chickens'.  She has figured out how many chicks she will need to feed our family and possibly sell some eggs for profit (or at least to pay for the chicken feed).  I keep telling myself there is a good life's lesson here...

Go to Like Mother, Like Daughter to find more contentment...

Thursday, March 6, 2014


I was tagged to follow this Lenten Meme...Do someone a good deed, Join!

This LENT MEME is very easy to follow. 


1   Copy paste this post on your Blog.

2   Contact as many other Bloggers as you like and leave them this comment: "You have been tagged for the LENT MEME on my Blog".

3   And now the difficult bit: Do someone a good deed. Anyone. Relative, friend or stranger. Any good deed. Saying a prayer for someone in need. Helping an old person with shopping, transport, gardening. Visiting a sick person. Giving some money to charity.

Just use your imagination and do any good deed.

If you are greedy you can do more than one good deed. To more than one person. You can do a good deed every day of Lent if you wish. The minimum is just one good deed.

4   That's it. I can't think of any other rules.

5   Thanx. God bless.


This is a re-post for quick ideas to Keep some Love in Lent

Living Lent, Loving Lent
That is what I say...

 Keep Love in Lent 2014
“I’m participating in the Keep LOVE in LENT Blog Link-Up 2014, hosted by the Catholic Bloggers Network,
We’ll be sharing different ways, tips, stories and real-life experiences that will help us focus on  Lenten sacrifices, prayer and good deeds
 and how to carry them out with LOVE instead of a GRUMBLE.
  Please visit any of these 6 hosts, to link your own Keep LOVE in LENT blog post!

I love our Lenten traditions and I am always looking for new ideas that keep our spiritual life moving towards sanctity.
My last years post can be found HERE, which covers:

I felt as if I did not have much time to savor the Ordinary Time season, although many wonderful activities were lived and enjoyed.  And while praying and searching for those few NEW ideas, I saw Lena's post over at Joy{filled Family}.  The Lent Calendar that she shares can be printed in three colors; but it was the Lenten Program Printable that really made me excited to try...the checklist format appeals to me in our particular 'family phase'.


There are certain things that I hope to do during this Lent:

Keep things Simple.   This includes (or excludes as appropriate):
+ prayers
+ devotions
+ meals
+ environment
+ activities
+ projects
+ goals
Spend more time Reading with my family.
Attend my Parish Lenten Retreat
Attend some part of my parish's 40 Hour Devotion
Participate in the LENT MEME over at Time For Reflections

I will personally be reading:
+ The Sacred Passion.  Luis De La Palma (Scepter)
+ Imitation of Christ - Thomas Kempis (H.M. Caldwell Co., Publishers. New York & Boston)

This year, I have asked my children to pick between 2 - 4 books to read during Lent. 

Little Lamb (Fourth Grade) chose the following:
+ The Re-Found Veronica - Story of the Holy Face - Friar Carmine Cucinelli (Rector of the Basilica of the Holy Face of Manoppello {This was a Christmas gift from to our daughter, from which we brought home from our Rome pilgrimage in June 2013).  I will have to share some of the illustrations as the pencils & Colours are magnificent and beautifully done!
+ The Purples are Coming! - Ilow & Sheri Roque (Rock House Press)
+ A Book of Gratitude  5-2 (Seton Press)
+ This Is Our Family 1-2 (Seton Press)
+ The Story Tree 3-3 (Seton Press)
+ A Book of Friendliness - A Collection of the Prose & Poetry Which Has Helped to Better the World - Sister Mary Charlotte, R.S.M.; Sister Mary Brendan, R.S.M; Mary Synon 8-2 (Ginn & Co)

Butterfly (Ninth Grade) chose:
+ The Sacred Passion  Luis De La Palma (Scepter)
+ Divine Mercy in My Soul - St. Maria Faustina Kowalska Diary  (Marian Press)
+ Daily Meditations with the Holy Spirit - Minute Meditations for Every Day Containing a Scripture Reading, A Reflection, and a Prayer - Rev. Jude Winkler, OFM Conv.  (Catholic Book Publishing)
+ Holy Bible - RSV - Catholic Edition (Ignatius)

Conductor (Tenth Grade) chose:
+ The Young Man's Guide - Counsels, Reflections and Prayers for Catholic Young Men - Rev. F.X. Lasance (Benziger Brothers, Inc.)

Here are two videos that would be appropriate for Lent (the 'I Was There' dvd is geared towards middle school and up; 'The Miracle Maker' is appropriate for younger children...although there is a short part in the very beginning where a demon is cast out of a women, which is kinda creepy for littles).
+ The Miracle Maker (Family Home Entertainment)
+ I Was There (EWTN series)

On the Menu for Friday: