Thoughts on a Happy New Year!

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HAPPY NEW YEAR, EVERYONE!!
Or we certainly hope and pray so! Right?

Come the end of every calendar year, we all wish each other a Happy New Year!. Naturally, that truly is our wish for each other, and in fact, ourselves. And damn if it doesn’t feel good, to have that fresh new calendar year ahead of us! A clean slate. A new start, with new hope. 12 months, when all kinds of wonderful things, have the potential to happen!

But the fact is, we all know that life, is just not happy ALL of the time. And it certainly does not come about, with just hopes and wishes.

If we’re human, and I can only assume anyone reading this is, the truth of the matter is that no one ever has a 100% happy year. One free of very difficult unexpected events, failures, losses and rough days that just seem to go all wrong with the little things. Things that can sometimes just pile up and break us down. No, no one has ever had a year free of all of those things. Chances are, not a soul will have one this year, either! And I just feel it on my heart to share my thoughts with you all, a little bit, about that today. Not because I want to bring anyone down, to kick off your new year! Perhaps, so no one is overly disappointed when day 3, or any other brand new day of the new year, seems to go all wrong. 😉   But, more-so, my intention is to bring you some great hope and comfort about the matter!  In my own rambling kind of way, of course.

I’ve just been thinking, how people seem to be hardwired, to [Read more…]

Our Daughter’s Handmade Rosary, & the *Tuesday LINK-UP PARTY*/Features

& FEATURED Linkers !

 

Happy Tuesday, once again! Unless of course, it’s Monday Eve. Or Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, or Saturday. Because of course, we leave the party door open for you, hoping you’ll get to coming around at some point through the week, to link-up, and inspire us with your ideas!!  Sometimes, People are just ‘late to the party’. Right? We’ve been there. So we’d hate for you to miss out. Feel free to ‘bring a friend’ to the party anytime, too!  Invite them through Twitter, your blog, or any way you’d like.

I wanted to kick off the features this week, with a project by our very own 14 year old daughter, {A}.


It’s a Rosary, if by chance you didn’t know, because you’re not Catholic as we are.  She made it as a gift for her friend, Fr. Bob Reed.  The Rosary center is a metal of St. Therese of Lisieux, who is Fr. Reed’s favorite saint, also known as ‘St. Therese – The Little Flower’, thus the roses for the Our Father Beads.  Yellow roses, as many of us know, are symbolic of friendship. But yellow is also one of Fr. Reed’s favorite colors, as well as blue, in the Swarovski crystals, which serve as the Hail Mary prayer beads. So suffice it to say, being a Catholic priest, who loves saying the Rosary, Fr. Reed was very happy to receive this gift from {A}, that consisted of so many of his favorite things.  But from a creative standpoint, I am sure many of you can also appreciate the tedious work that went into this project, as well. {A} selected all of the beads, and special pieces of the Rosary in an eclectic manner, through Etsy searches as well as the craft stores, until she had all she needed to begin her project. Then using eye pins and crimping pliers, she created the Rosary.  I was really impressed with not only her handiwork, but her giving heart as well.

Here are our other features this week:


This rustic key holder from Thrifty Decorating, is just what we need around here! Not only do I love the look of it, but I was impressed that Nicole fired up a circular saw and used it, all by herself!  Those things scare the dickens of of me.

 

Let me tell you why we’re featuring these Banana Bites, from The Prudent Pantry.  Because the kids and I made them rather spontaneously the other day, and they are as gooood as Miss Prudent Pantry says they are. (I’m sorry, but I could not find her first name anywhere on her blog.) As quickly as we made them, and popped them all down, I did take photos along the way. So I’ll be doing a Vittles post on them as well, asap.

 

Well, you all know how much I love children’s story books. Especially those with fabulous illustrations, and encouraging or value-laden messages for children, through the imagination of great story tellers.  So I was smitten with this kid’s project that Crissy from Crissy’s Crafts linked us up to, inspired by the children’s story book, The Kissing Hand, by Audrey Penn. The story & the craft, come just in time to ease the worries and fears of any little ones you may have, who are a little anxious about going (back) to school this year.

 

Lastly, are these waaaaayyyyyy coooool tie-dye t-shirts, linked up by ChristyB, from christyB Photography Blog.   Her daughter made these from an easy, no mess kit, and she tells you where you can get it.I want that shirt on the right, in the worst way!!

Incidentally, the kids and I did a wicked cool & wicked fun t-shirt project of our own this week!!  It’s a twist, on the traditional tie-dye shirts.  It’s one of those projects you just want to keep doing. (My kids proved that!).  It’s really so cool, and so easy.  I took loads of photos (which I have not edited yet….yikes!), and that post is coming right up this week. Even if it kills me. And it might with my agenda this week!

That’s a Feature Wrap!

If YOU are ready to party with us, and possibly get featured yourself, grab a button or a link, and LET’S GO!!  We can’t wait to see what you’ve got!

 

 

 








Palm Cross

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With Palm Sunday almost upon us once again, we thought we would re-post this tutorial which we had in the Big Picture section last year, on how to make a nice cross for your home, with the blessed palms you bring home from mass on Palm Sunday.  We hope you find the instructions and photos helpful, and the craft enjoyable, in making a beautiful palm cross for the walls of your home.

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First, take 3 sets of 2 palms each, and at least one good palm wisp.

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In the area the intersection of the cross is, put the ends of one set of palms alternately layered in between 2 of the others, going in the opposite direction of course.

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Then takes the last set, and layers those for the other side.

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Pinching it all together at the intersection, take one side of the palms and makes a loop with them to the back of your cross.

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Securing that with your fingers to the middle as well, and then do the same with the other side.

With the formed cross in hand, take the wisp of palm you had set aside, and start wrapping the intersection of the crossed pieces, to secure them tightly.

The below collage, to be viewed left to right in rows top to bottom, is not every single move. It just gives you a general idea of how it is wrapped around, crisscrossing, and going up and down as well.

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When you only have about 2 inches left, turn the cross over,  place it on the table, and holding the wrap tightly, take the remaining end and feed it under the wrap a couple of times, and then just pull it tightly. The front of the middle of the cross then looks like the last square in the above collage.That’s it!

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We hope you have a happy and peace filled Palm Sunday !



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A New Crucifix for Our Home

We have a new crucifix for our home.

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  At Mass a couple of weeks ago, there was a guest speaker from  Bethlehem. He had 2 tables full of beautiful, hand crafted, religious wooden pieces for sale.  He explained to our parish how the families of Bethlehem make these items, as a means to support themselves.  Yet it seems that the town of Bethlehem is very poor now, because of a great decline in  tourists, which is due to the danger there now, such as war, violence, kidnappings and the persecution of being Christians. He had a very heavy accent, and so we could not understand all of what he said, but it seems people are afraid to travel and visit there these days.  So in an effort to bring in more income for the families, they are traveling and selling the items they make.

Honestly, I wanted so very many pieces there.  There were all kinds of statues, rosary beads, and this large, glorious nativity set. There was even a wooden star at the peak of the front of the manger, that you wound up to play music. Be still my heart!  We need a real nativity set, badly, too.  We never really had a place to put a nice one before, but we do now.  Frankly, now that our youngest are 6, the Little People Nativity Set we have isn’t cutting it anymore.  It served our little ones well, in it’s time though.  Unfortunately, the large nativity set I pined after, there on that display table that day, was way out of our budget.  Although the price was well worth the value of craftsmanship that went into it.

So, we decided on this crucifix, which we all really love.  The craftsmanship is so amazing, and the wood grain in this particular piece really adds to the beauty of it. We do still need to get it blessed.

There has been a crucifix hanging in every home I have ever lived in. Naturally, it is a very poignant symbol of Christian faith, and is meant have a place in every home where strong faith prevails.  So this crucifix represents that here in our home as well.

But when I look at this one now, hanging in a place of honor in my home, I am keenly aware of the new feelings I experience in the depths of my soul.  Perhaps it is heightened awareness of the reality of just what Christ went through, for us.  The way, as we grow older and gain the wisdom that comes with time, something we always knew is embraced in a whole new way-with greater appreciation, gratitude, and the gripping meaning of it all.  As we raise our children, and try to do so while teaching them in the light that all things, all actions, all lessons, all of LIFE, revolves around, and are tied, in every single way…our faith.  It is all sprung forth from God’s creation, and our purpose, as we live our lives, day by day, here on earth. Seeing this crucifix brings all of those things to mind and heart, in one impactful moment, at the very glimpse of Christ there, on that cross, on our wall.

More than that, it has already served me well in another way.  It’s been a reality check for me, when I really, really needed one.  A well-deserved slap in the face, if you will.  Because there was a day, or maybe 2, that I was having a bad day.  And by ‘bad day’, I mean one of those self-absorbed, not getting over-myself kind of days.  A day when I felt needless stress, for all I had to get done in that day, and the interruptions (blessings in transparent disguise that day…lol), that hindered me from getting it all done quickly. A day where, in this failing economy, I was feeling I had too much work and obligations, (I know…slap me now), and not enough time or focus to get it all done.  So on such a day as this, I once again caught glimpse of this crucifix hanging there. And it served that reality check:  “THAT, is a bad day”, I thought, looking at it. I recalled the truth of the matter:  Here was the Son of the living God, being called a liar for who He was, being tortured in ways that brought about pain none of us will ever truly understand, and giving up His life, after a slow and merciless death…………..not for Himself. But for US!  For all of us.  For all of mankind, or at least, for each of us who accept his sacrifice, and embrace salvation in our hearts, minds and souls, and live a life accordingly.

And yet here I was…in a bad mood over, ummm….what again?  A to-do list that wasn’t really that long. Certainly not painful.  And when I really looked at it honestly, it was all blessings, I chose to see in a selfish light that day. They were all, in the end, for good things for ME, when the purposes come full circle. I mentally complained that day because I was tired (though I slept in a cozy warm bed most of the night).  It irked me to see that basket of unfolded laundry, knowing deep inside some people must wear the same dirty rags every day.  I groaned because I had so much work to do – which brings in the income to support my family, through the gifts God Himself gave me, and of which is a passion (sometimes of service)I feel in my heart. Because I didn’t feel like taking the time, to prepare meals, forgetting to be grateful for answered prayer when we say “give us this day, or daily bread”.

Shame on me, and I meant it, and felt it, when my eyes landed on that cross.

I live a life focused on gratitude, most days.  I try to make a habit of starting each day in prayer ( a few times before noon), and counting our abundant blessings.  I know in my heart, and remember 95% of the time, that nothing comes to me, to us as a family, that which is not first through the Father. And I feel, and fear, that when you forget to be grateful, the Good Lord tends to get us back on track with a swift and difficult life lesson, which makes us appreciate what we should, once again.   Indeed, ALL GOOD comes through Him.  We know this to be true.  We have simple needs, as a family.  As individuals.  Yet we are very, very blessed.  I would even go so far as to say, we are rich,  really, when you consider what is really of value.  He provides for us.  He always does.  He even gave the life of his own Son, as Christ did for us as well, so that we could have MORE, and eternally. It reminds me of that hymn, Whatsoever You Do.  For we also know that what is ours, we must share with those in need.

So I think this cross will be hanging in our home for a long time to come. For all it means, for all it symbolizes, and just in case, for the reality check I may need someday again, when I am wrapped up in ME, and forget momentarily, that I have all I will ever need.  I have woken up and smelled the coffee, after my partial day of ridiculous, unjustifiable pity. There is work to be done, which we quite enjoy,  because work/income is coming our way, in a time some people can’t find a job, or despise their job, and in a time of a failing economy.  There are meals to prepare, because we have food.  There is laundry to fold, because we have clothing, and a washing machine in which to clean them. We have a home to clean, because we have a roof over our head. And beautiful, healthy children to tend to, because they are the very existence of our answered prayers, and joy of our life! They are just LOVE, making themselves known, all over the place. And all we need to do is remember to be thankful for such immense blessings, and sincerely follow a few other simple rules, and on top of all that we already have, we can then even enter into the home, of Our Father.

Amen, I say to you, Amen.

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Tea Time for Our Lady of Sorrows Feast Day

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Today is Our Lady of Sorrows Feast Day, so I’m be sharing a little special something I did with the kids, to learn a bit about it, and acknowledge it. Over the weekend, we decided to look around in The Christmas Tree Shops. If you don’t have one of those near you, I feel bad for you.  It’s such a great, affordable place, and I always come out with more than I planned on getting. So I try not to go in often. : )  But this time we all went in – and being the season to sell autumn decorations and goods, I had to control myself with every turn.  However…..we did let the kids each choose a mini loaf ceramic pan, with the intention of letting them bake some mini loaves on Sunday.

Sunday got away in terms of baking.  So then it got pushed to Monday…which is today. This morning, somehow we went way off track of our usual school morning routine.  We got into helping the kids put finishing touches on some paper crafts they had started yesterday ( I’ll be blogging about that soon), and then we had to clean up the mess made in a flurry of creativity. By the time we were done, we realized we really needed to get the kids to their schoolwork, so we decided to move family devotion to the afternoon (usually done first in the day). Since we were going to do that, and it was the Feast of Our Lady of Sorrows, we decided to whip up some Quick Bread first and let the mini loaves bake while we did our school work, and plan on having an afternoon ‘tea’ together, and discuss the Feast Day, after school and lunch.

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Boy did the house smell good while school work was getting done. Banana bread – one of our favorites.  Soon the timer went off, and  it was time for them to come out of the oven and cool for a bit.

The kids we so excited to have their own loaf (not to be eaten ALL at once) that they ate lunch a bit faster.

So we gathered in the sun room for Devotion, and discussion of the Feast Day while having a ‘tea’. We have had a ‘tea’ time a time or 2 before, but it was hot cocoa or something for them in the past.  We just called it tea, for the sake of a tea time.  But this time they tried some real tea.  It was apple cinnamon decaf, and the little ones were pretty excited to try it – even though {A} tried to let them know they may not care for it, since she had tried it before.  But she too was willing to try it again.  Turns out, she still didn’t like it, 2 others didn’t think they did either. and the last thought it was ‘ok he guessed’.  They sipped here and there as we chatted about the Blessed Mother, but not quite like they do hot cocoa. Their own little banana bread loaves, however, they were really enjoying.

For our discussion, first, we asked the kids how many times they could think of off the top of their head, when Mary, the mother of Jesus, might have experienced deep sorrow.  Naturally, they all guessed his crucifixion, and death on the cross. {A} also named the time when Mary searched for three days in Jerusalem for her son, who was missing, and later found Him in the temple, teaching. Once they were done throwing out their thoughts, we taught them the 7 times Mary experienced great suffering in her life. We talked quite a bit about it, and how hard many of those times must have been.  We can only try and imagine.  (And as a mother, I don’t even want to. But I must, to truly begin to appreciate her sacrifice, and reasoning for it.)

It was a lovely tea time, even if the tea itself wasn’t the hit they hoped.  There will be others, no doubt.  Probably many in the coming cold season.  We just leave the table with a warmer feeling inside.  Perhaps it’s the tea.  Perhaps it’s feeling a bit more in touch with our faith than when we sat.  Or maybe it’s just the time together. In any case, we find tea time is good for the soul.

On a somewhat unrelated note, we might mention how Sunday ‘got away’.  At some point, either while we were at mass, or picking up lumber at Home Depot, our little friend ‘Webington Ringaling’ broke free in the house…and we still haven’t found him.