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

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Something Pretty, Something Happy...

Joining Like Mother, Like Daughter for some pretty, happy, funny and real family fun!


I found this new plaid and floral print scarf.  It looks prettier in person.  I love the soft hues with the look of two scarves intertwined (minus the bulk).  


We enjoyed an exciting basketball game at Santa Clara University.  The Seminarians of St. Patrick's faced off against the Priests of the Diocese of San Jose.  We took a few of the teens from our Youth Group.  Happy Times!


I snapped a quick photo of this wild looking vegetable...I have never seen anything like it before.  Very funny looking!  What is it!?


These drinks have been part of my New Year's resolution...HEALTH via REAL food.  They are refreshing!  I will post the recipes of my favorites...

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

Wednesday, February 18, 2015


...and believe in the Gospel.

Remember that you are dust, and to dust you shall return.

Repent:  to turn back; to feel or express sincere regret; feeling remorseful about one's wrongdoing or sin. 

In Greek:  Metanoeo:  to change one's mind; to think again; think differently after; to change the inner man.

"O God, who are moved to acts of humility
and respond with forgiveness to works of penance,
lend your merciful ear to our prayers
and in your kindness pour out the grace
of your + blessing
on your servants who are marked with these ashes,
that, as they follow the Lenten observances,
they may be worthy to come with minds made pure
to celebrate the Paschal Mystery of your Son.
Through Christ our Lord.
Considering what Jesus did for me...

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

~ Carnival ~

Carne Vale...or, Farewell to the flesh!

Shrove Tuesday 2015
(Special) Made to order chocolate chip pancakes

Shrove Tuesday 2015

Shrove Tuesday...or Shrovetide;  It's not a party but it can sure feel like one...a week or two earlier, we start going through our pantry, refrigerator & freezer to use up items that will help us to keep our Lenten Commitments or Promises - as it relates to fasting or abstinence.  ~ Hand-Maid With Love...Shrove Tuesday 2012

Shrovetide is the English equivalent of what is known in the greater part of Southern Europe as the "Carnival", a word which, in spite of wild suggestions to the contrary, is undoubtedly to be derived from the "taking away of flesh" (carne levare) which marked the beginning of Lent. The English term "shrovetide" (from "to shrive", or hear confessions) is sufficiently explained by a sentence in the Anglo-Saxon "Ecclesiastical Institutes" translated from Theodulphus by Abbot Aelfric about A.D. 1000: "In the week immediately before Lent everyone shall go to his confessor and confess his deeds and the confessor shall so shrive him as he then may hear by his deeds what he is to do [in the way of penance]". In this name shrovetide the religious idea is uppermost, and the same is true of the German Fastnacht (the eve of the fast). It is intelligible enough that before a long period of deprivations human nature should allow itself some exceptional licence in the way of frolic and good cheer. No appeal to vague and often inconsistent traces of earlier pagan customs seems needed to explain the general observance of a carnival celebration. The only clear fact which does not seem to be adequately accounted for is the widespread tendency to include the preceding Thursday (called in French Jeudi gras and in German fetter Donnerstag — just as Shrove Tuesday is respectively called Mardi gras and fetter Dienstag) with the Monday and Tuesday which follow Quinquagesima. The English custom of eating pancakes was undoubtedly suggested by the need of using up the eggs and fat which were, originally at least, prohibited articles of diet during the forty days of Lent.

Give Ups for LENT

Monday, February 16, 2015

~ The TAU ~

When my family and I (and 24 of our parish Altar Boys) visited Assisi, I had the opportunity to learn more about the TAU or Sign of Redemption.

  TAU is the last letter in the Hebrew alphabet.  St. Francis of Assisi had an especially great love for this Hebrew mark.  

The First Christians used the Tau mark, as it was a prophecy of the Last Day, as in the Greek letter Omega.  Omega stands for the Risen Lord.

"I am Alpha and Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end."  ~ Revelation 22:13

And Christians adopted the TAU because its form evokes the cross upon which Christ sacrificed himself...for our salvation.  Our Redemption.

The TAU is a sign of redemption.

"Who his own self bore our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness:  by whose stripes ye were healed."  ~ 1 Peter 2:24

With Lent fast approaching, I decided to begin wearing my TAU to remind me of God's plan for my own redemption.  I hope, in some little way, it will help remind me to turn away from evil and sin.

"Be penitent, therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out."  ~ Acts 3:19

I happened to be cleaning out my closet and found my TAU hidden away with a holy card and bookmark.  These material treasures were among the pictures of the pilgrimage I took to Assisi and The Porziuncola at the Basilica of Santa Maria degli Angeli.  The visit to this holy place was the real treasure.

There is a Chapel...a National Shrine of St. Francis of Assisi, here in San Francisco, which I plan to make a pilgrimage to as part of my Lenten Journey.  For my visitors that live afar, you can take a virtual tour here.

I learned that St. Francis used to sign all his writings with the TAU sign.  It was his "seal", if you will.  St. Francis' great conviction of "the salvation of the world lies only in the cross of Christ" is apparent in how he lived his life.  

I like to think that I belong to this great Franciscan family...about thirty-six years ago I chose St. Francis of Assisi as my Confirmation saint and namesake.

It made me so happy when I heard that our current Pope (Francis) chose St. Francis of Assisi's name, too.  His reasons were more well formed than my 15 year old mind, but I related to his reasons totally:
"the man of poverty, the man of peace, the man who loves and protects creation".  That is the person that I wanted most to emulate.

May we all 'die to ourselves' this Lent.  May we all find peace and show peace to others from now on...may we continue to be good stewards, serving and sharing the love of Christ in all that we do.  

"Lord, make me an instrument of your peace
Where there is hatred, let me sow love.
Where there is injury, pardon.
Where there is discord, unity.
Where there is doubt, faith.
Where there is error, truth.
Where there is despair, hope.
Where there is sadness, joy.
Where there is darkness, light.

O Divine Master, grant that I many not so much seek 
To be consoled, as to console.
To be understood, as to understand.
To be loved, as to love.

It is in giving, that we receive.
It is in pardoning, that we are pardoned.
It is in dying, that we are born to eternal life."

~ Saint Francis of Assisi

Saturday, February 14, 2015

AHG: My Style

Joining Like Mother, Like Daughter for some pretty, happy, funny & real family fun!

We have been busy working away at several badges during our weekly meetings.  Most recently, the girls have achieved the My Style badge.  The girls had a lot of fun while learning about modesty, accessorizing, fashion through the ages, patterns & making garments, caring for clothing, study biblical verses about how a woman should dress and present herself...there are so many unique looks & styles!

{pretty} & {happy}


SHOES:  Church vs Park


One of our group leaders did a tremendous job leading the two meetings on My Style.  The girls were able to achieve their My Style badges!  Yay!!  

Mrs. L asked if I would give a demonstration on scarf tying.  I decided to focus on six basic styles:  The Classic Drape, The Bunny Ears, The Infinity, The Toss, The European Loop, and The Wrap.  This would give them a chance to really master the technique of tying a particular scarf and go from there.  
Practicing tying scarves, despite my crude drawings/examples

I also covered how to store scarves properly; whether hanging or boxing them, there really is a proper way to store scarves.
I hang a lot of my scarves on a scarf holder/hanger, similar to this one:
But I really find it helpful to keep the scarves rolled in a box and stored like this:
Easier storing, viewing, a great space saver, and very accessible.

I have been learning my own fashion tips this new year.  I thought I might be more productive if I Dressed for Success, rather than sport the usual sweat pants & gym outfit (other than when I really do aim to get in a workout).

I found this incredible over-40s blog on G+ and have really made some changes in my daily attire.  Cyndi gives tips for women over forty on the exterior (fashion, make-up, and healthy living) as well as focusing on the interior; because as we all know, true beauty comes from within.

I followed along on her 31 days of Winter Fashion posts...combining my style with whatever I found in my closet.  I searched through my closet to find similar outfits and was really quite pleased with all the clothes that I was able to use - clothes that have not seen the light of day in years in a long time! I really never knew how many outfits I had "hidden" away!  If you need a bit of inspiration and ensemble ideas, visit Walking in Grace & Beauty.  Here are a few of my takes...(I didn't "model" my outfits because I felt a little ridiculous shy posing..ha-ha...talk about awkward).

Here are a few random picks:

{funny} & {real}

DIY Infinity Style Scarf

The same scarf styled differently with different sweater - Stripes & Dots can mix

Green Jeans I found at Costco.  Shawl stylish but more importantly - snugly warm.

Well, there you go, my style.

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

~ Love is... ~

Butterfly created a Valentine for an assignment in her Spanish Class;
I thought it was lovely and very creative!
Can you see the message of Love...Charity...Caridad?

I thought I would create something for the day, too...

Blue Berry Muffins with Valentine Heart Icing...Healthy Heart with a taste of Sweetness.

Small things done with great LOVE

I added fresh blueberries, walnuts and Ghirardelli's 60% bittersweet cacao chips to the recipe...The muffins came out delicious!
The fresh roses were a gift, from my hubby...he always remembers. xoxoxox

For God so loVed the world
      That He gAve 
             his onLy begotten Son,
   that whosoEver
    believeth iN Him
     should noT
                  parIsh but have

~ John 3:16


Valentine's Days of the past...
2012:  The Language of Love & St. Valentine's Day
2013:  My Love  An Agreeably Argumentative Opinion
2014:  Happy St. Valentine's Day

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

~ Feeling Blue ~

Blue as in Marian Blue...

"The following month God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a village in Galilee, to a virgin, Mary, engaged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of King David.
Gabriel appeared to her and said, "Congratulations, favored lady! The Lord is with you!"
Confused and disturbed, Mary tried to think what the angel could mean.
"Don't be frightened, Mary," the angel told her, "for God has decided to wonderfully bless you!  Very soon now, you will become pregnant and have a baby boy, and you are to name him 'Jesus.'

~ Luke 1:26-31

Tuesday, February 10, 2015


Me:  Are you reading The Island of the Blue Dolphin?!? (Says I, in my excited voice)

Little Lamb:  Yes.  

Me:  I remember reading that book when I was in the fifth grade.

Little Lamb:  Is the book that old!?!

Me:  LOL (Whaaat!)

Saturday, February 7, 2015

2015...Year of


Pope Francis issued a letter for the Year of Consecrated Life to be observed from the 30th of November, 2014, through the 2nd of February 2016, the Feast of the Presentation of Jesus in the Temple.

This evening, our Bishop celebrated the occasion with a beautiful Holy Mass.
In his homily, he highlighted the Aims of the Year of Consecrated Life:

1.  Look to past with gratitude.
2.  Live the present with passion.
3.  Embrace the future with hope.

Conductor in procession for YOCL Mass

"I entrust this Year of Consecrated Life to Mary, the Virgin of listening and contemplation, the first disciple of her beloved Son.  Let us look to her, the highly beloved daughter of the Father, endowed with every gift of grace, as the unsurpassed model for all those who follow Christ in love of God and service to their neighbour."  
~ Pope Francis

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

~ Preparing for Lent ~

Making way for the Purple...

It seems like I just put away my Christmas decorations...hey, wait, I did just put away my Christmas decorations...

Now it is time to start thinking about Lent, which is only 15 days away!

Since my oldest two are now in high school, I have been searching for some "age appropriate" ideas for LIVING LENT.  

We will certainly turn to our Lenten Traditions of Fasting, Alms-giving and Prayer, however, I would like to find something that my oldest two will find meaningful...something that will "Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me." ~ Psalm 51:10.  

Station of the Cross 2013 project

We are a very close family, and we have always actively lived the liturgical seasons as a family.  Taking time out of our day to live and pray the season together, even for a moment, is a tradition that I would like to keep alive in my home.
We shouldn't outgrow traditions, not even if my children have grown taller than me!  lol.  Traditions give us a certain closeness or unity, they also create memories for us.
Traditions teach us our Faith.  As a family, we should live our Faith together.  
I believe that God's grace and peace resides in a home that keeps true to his Traditions.
"For I received from the Lord what I also handed on to you..." ~ 1Cor 11:23

So, I was thinking...maybe some Lenten Fireside Chats or BookClub style discussions or maybe viewing a DVD series (and engaging in a study program together) like Catholicism, which we have owned for several years.  Maybe it is time to revisit this beautiful work...

Sharing our Faith.  Growing in Faith.  
Living our Faith. 

Family style, if you will.

Last year's Shrove Tuesday King Cake

I know one tradition that my children still look forward to...
This year we will be using the King Arthur Gluten-Free version...it is my absolute favorite!