Dear Diary

Dear Diary,

I’ve been sick… like all month and whenever that happens it takes me awhile to get back into the swing of things. 

I’m ready for winter to be over, but apparently we’re getting more snow tomorrow.  Dislike.

I’m ready for winter to be over in so many ways that aren’t related to weather – I’m ready for it to be spring in my life as a whole and have been having one too many pity-parties this week lamenting over lots of family stuff because I can’t seem to stop comparing my life to the Joneses – particularly all the internet versions that are out there.  I’m ready for us to be earning what we deserve and  I’m ready for those earnings to not have such a big impact on our plans for our families future. 

My husband asked me last night what he could do for me when I admitted I just needed a hug and I said “Win the lottery so I can quit my job and have more kids.” 

I don’t ask for much do I?

We’re close – we’re closer to our goals than we were last year – so I know we’re not moving backwards.  We just seem to be crawling forwards very, very slowly.

I guess you have to crawl before you can run.

In a month or so we’ll, hopefully all be well again, and the sun will be out again and there may even be little bits of green around the neighborhood.  We’ll make it.

Thanks for listening Diary… now I’m off to do things that might actually be interesting to the rest of the world.

Things I’ve Accomplished

A short list of things I accomplished this weekend

  • Coughing
  • Dr. Appt.
  • Coughing
  • Picked Up Prescription
  • Coughing
  • Sleep
  • Sleep
  • Coughing
  • Sleep
  • Woke up and ate a bowl of noodles while sitting in my bathroom with a hot shower running
  • Coughing
  • Sleep
  • Coughing
  • Awake for a few hours
  • Sleep
  • Coughing
  • About 30 minutes of Church
  • Coughing
  • Downton Abbey Catch Up
  • The Last 45 Minutes of the Rite
  • Coughing
  • Coughing
  • Rewatching Downton to make sure I didn’t miss anything good while Coughing
  • Coughing

What I was supposed to do this weekend –

  • Clean House
  • Host 2 year olds birthday party
  • RCIA Class, Church and special Mass for our Rite
  • And just about everything else one normally does on weekends.

A cold turned into the worst bronchitis I’ve probably ever had which resulted in my body deciding it needed sleep at around 11 a.m. on Saturday morning and finishing around 8 a.m on Sunday morning.  Luckily Henry had a great birthday party at Grandma’s without me and his Dad is wonderful and pretty much ran on single-dad fumes all weekend.

I hope to be back soon in regular posting mode….

::cough::

A Lenten (St.) Valentine’s Day Challenge + A Giveaway!

I hate to brake it to you all, but yes Lent starts before Valentine’s Day this year.  I know, what the hey right?  Romantic Day full of special dinners, wine and chocolate except that you just vowed three days ago that you were giving all of those up.  What are we to do?

I have a suggestion, and it’s little radical.

Skip Valentine’s Day.  Yep, you heard me – skip it.

I’ve probably lost a few of you already, but hear me out.  What I want you to skip is Valentine’s Day – that phony-baloney holiday they use to sell the last of the red colored Christmas Candy (but what about the green you say…. three words…. Saint Patrick’s Day).  I want you to give up that Valentine’s Day.

Instead, I want you to celebrate Saint Valentine’s Day… even if you’re not Catholic and even if you’re not Christian.

The early martyr whose feast day is February 14th is all about the love – legend has it that he was martyred because he arranged for secret marriages among Christian soldiers.  This was a guy who believed in love and marriage so much that he was willing to die for it.  (Take that, Ryan Adam’s 90’s hit song!)

Since Lent is a season of giving up – a time to purify your body and your soul – what better thing to give up than false love and affection.  Let go of all the silly notions of what your loved one needs to do to show you he or she loves you and take time to reflect on what you really have and not what someone thinks you should.

Now I’m not saying not to celebrate your undying love for each other on February 14th this year, but rather to take a moment and really think about what it is you’re doing and so I offer you a Lenten {St.} Valentine’s Day Challenge.

In honor this day and the person it is meant to celebrate I challenge you to:

  • Give Something Up For a Loved One
  • Do Something in Secret For a Loved One
  • Do Something To Strengthen a Marriage

The something you give up could be as simple as letting another choose the movie to watch or turning off the computer early.  The something you do in secret could be fresh sheets on the bed.  The something you do to strengthen a marriage could be for yours or for someone else.  There are endless possibilities to fulfill this Challenge.

This St. Valentine’s Day, even if you get jewelry or give large bouquets of flowers, take a step back and do something, even the littlest of somethings, to show that love is both a great sacrifice and a great gift.

 *************
I’m pleased to announce that Catholic Family Gifts has offered a copy of “A Continual Feast” one of my readers.
I’ve loved this book, mainly a cookbook with other little tidbits and quotes scattered throughout, since I received it as a gift for Christmas and was over the moon when offered a copy to my readers.
To enter this giveaway all you need to do is leave a comment (one comment per person, please) and tell me what you would do to fullfill my St. Valentine’s Day challenge (one of the challenges or all three!)  The giveaway will be open until when we close the link-up and the winner will be announced the following day.
The sponsor of this giveaway provided me with a free copy of another book to review (review coming in a few days), but the opinions stated are mine and mine alone.  Apart from the book given I will receive no other compensation for supporting this business.
If you would like a business to support for an upcoming baptism, christening or would just like to expand your reading please consider supporting our friends @

Catholicfamilygifts.com

We are three Catholic bloggers who love to observe the liturgical year to deepen our families’ faith and build up the domestic church. We would love to hear about your family’s traditions during this season of Lent! Please join us in “redeeming the time” in this Year of Faith by sharing your posts. 

Some topics we would be excited to read about during the Lenten season are (but not limited to!):

Observing Lent through Food: Simple or Vegetarian Lenten Meals/Recipes and Traditions

Lenten traditions, crafts and activities

Reflections on the liturgical seasons

Prayer, Fasting, and Almsgiving

Teaching and Learning about the Christian Year with Children

St. Valentine’s Day

Mardi Gras (Fat Tuesday/Shrove Tuesday)
This link up will be up until midnight on February 22nd.

We will highlight some of our favorite links on our blogs, FB, Twitter, and the Little HolyDays Pinboard.
This link up is a way in which we plan on exploring and deepening our Catholic faith, but we would really love to hear from bloggers of all denominations and practices.

We welcome you to share your own fasts, feasts, and celebrations that fall within this season.

As moderators of this link up, we will reserve the right to remove any offensive or off-topic posts as we see fit, in order to maintain a kind and positive atmosphere.

So, here’s what you do:

1. Click the linky below to add your post to the Little HolyDays link up.

2. Add the Little HolyDays Picture to your post, link back to one of the hosts and leave a comment telling us you’re joining in so we can find you.

We can’t wait to read your posts and get inspired by your traditions!

document.write(”);//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js

The Sacrifice Myth

Every culture has their myths.  These myths could be an inherent part of their religion or an ethereal part of their superstitions, but no matter what they are important.  Myths are created out of a desire to better understand and explain the world around us.  They are created to give us a common understanding of what makes the wind blow and the sun come up, but a myth is more than just a story about why the world is what it is.  It is something to make the world outside seem a little less frightening.

Different cultures create different mythologies because their experience in the world is different – their climate and environment is different, as is their definition of a gallant hero, a great beauty or a terrible monster.

Today we still live with our own myths, particularly when it comes to motherhood.  Now, that doesn’t mean that any one group of mothers are running around like feral wolves or sticking their collective heads in the sand against all truth and logic.  Rather, every mother’s mythology is different.  What scares them and strengthens them is different and the monster knocking at their doors are not the same.  The ideas that they believe in, that allow them to sleep soundly at night are different.

As a working mother I face other mother’s myths constantly.  I’m told both directly and indirectly that if I was willing to make more sacrifices then I could stay home with my children.  It is the Sacrifice Myth, and every culture of motherhood has one.  So, trying shamelessly to adapt to another persons ideals I pinch my pennies and rack my brain long into the night writing budget after budget in the hopes that I can find that special combination of sacrifices that will allow me the life I wish for with every fiber of my being, but it remains illusive.  It is a beautiful story, one that I carry with me and read often, but to me, at this exact moment in my life, with all the truths about our environment, with our own personal monsters to battle it remains just that, a story.

The truth is my motherhood mythology is different than yours no matter how much I wish it was the same.  My environment is different, my demons are different and so the stories I tell myself at night are different.  In less poetic terms my mythology is shaped by crime rates, utility rates, medical expenses, dietary needs, education of the past, present and future; it is shaped by everything and anything down to the cost of milk and it changes my mythology and it changes my definition of sacrifice.

The truth is that no, not every family can afford to be a single income family and it’s not for lack of sacrifice; many of us make the same type of sacrifices I see on every “how to be a stay at home mom” list – we pinch every penny, deny ourselves vacations, dinners out and new anything and no matter how much we try it won’t work for us, not now and maybe not ever.  Perhaps we are working just for the insurance because our family needs it, perhaps we are paying off medical bills, and perhaps our breadwinner has been victim to downsizing and layoffs or taken a paycut so that he too can enjoy time with his children.  All of these things change our notions of heroes and monsters and all of these things change our notions of sacrifice.

 My mythology has a Sacrifice Myth of it’s own – one in which a struggling heroine see’s that a paycut before the birth her first born left her breadwinner without enough to afford food after keeping a roof over their heads – a paycut chosen so that he might see the child he made more than a few hours a week.  In my Sacrifice Myth the heroine chooses to work, with all of it’s costs and downfalls, because the other options is assistance programs and stressful, depression racked nights – all of which can be avoided by a job.  The heroine chooses a job that gets her up while her child still sleeps so she can be home sooner, a job that is flexible and stable.  She chooses that her sacrifice will be her own desires for she has a great desire to never leave her children’s side, until things get better.

It is still a sacrifice.  It just might not be your sacrifice.

Working Mothers and Stay at Home Mothers are all judged based on others supposition of what their life should look like too often.  It is unfair to you and to me.  Unless we know the minute detail of a family’s needs and fears, unless we can see into the minds and their pocketbooks we cannot judge them for not making the right sacrifice.  We, as mothers, will only gain peace and understanding by accepting that what might but an unalterable truth for one family is only a fairy-story to another.

//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js

Beauty in Sadness

There is something special about taking a toddler to sad event.  
Even when you are so concerned about the ruckus they are making they give you beautiful moments.  
They can look at the person you’ve come to honor, throw their arms around you and tell you 
“Night, Night.  Night, Night.” 
as if to explain it all in the most basic and wonderful of ways 
and then run off in glee filled giggles.
“…To die to sleep,
To sleep, perchance to Dream; Aye, there’s the rub,
For in that sleep of death, what dreams may come,
When we have shuffled off this mortal coil,
Must give us pause.”
– Hamlet Act 3 Scene 1

Life as it is.

Floors that need sweeping, dishes need washing, laundry needs to doing, home needs cleaning.  All in preparation for loved ones that need loving.  I’ll be away from this space for a few days as we travel to celebrate the life of a dear Uncle, who bravely fought brain cancer for four years and went to his peaceful reward yesterday.

I’ll be back soon with so many great things to share and many new readers to share with.  Thank you all for being here.

“Death opens a door out of a little, dark room (that’s all the life we have known before it) into a great, real place where the true sun shines and we shall meet.”  

– C.S. Lewis

 

“End? No, the journey doesn’t end here. Death is just another path, one that we all must take. The grey rain-curtain of this world rolls back, and all turns to silver glass, and then you see it.”

– J.R.R. Tolkien


“At the hour of death when we come face-to-face with God, we are going to be judged on love; not how much we have done, but how much love we put into the doing.”

– Bl. Mother Teresa

Little Holydays: Feast of St. Brigid and Candlemas

January was a pretty holiday free time for us even though we tried to celebrate more of the Christmastide Season and Epiphany.  We’re now quickly approaching one of the other major “holidays” of the Christian year – the Lenten Season leading up to Easter.  Well it’s a little early to get into all of that and in the mean time there are still some great holy-days coming up.

Friday and Saturday will see the Feast of St.Brigid and Candlemas (respectively), both of which are very new to me so I’m not quite sure what to do for either of them.  However, both myself and my husband (for being the American mishmash of cultures we are) are both about 50% Irish when all is said and done, so connection with Saints from that area is always appealing and to find one who’s day isn’t claimed by binge drinkers is always a relief.

For tomorrow I’m think a nice dish of Colcannon might hit the spot – Here are a few versions from FishEaters and Allrecipes.  It will be very tempting not to add bacon or cook up some sausages to go along with it (technically the Feast Day falls on a Friday, so the whole “no meat” rule is supposed to be in effect – I’m still new to this and not very good at honoring it yet.  Not trying to be radical, just honest).  If I feel I just can’t have Colcannon without meat (which is like manna from heaven in my book) we might just wait and have it on Saturday instead. 

Oatbreads of various kinds are also traditional, so I might dig out the bread machine for a quick loaf.  It’s apparently traditional to leave a little of the loaf outside for St. Brigid as she visits the house at night.

While our little guy is a bit too little to make a St. Brigid’s Cross with I really like the simple blessing that goes along with it.

May the blessing of God, Father, Son and Holy Ghost be on this Cross 
and on the place where it hangs 
and on everyone who looks on it.

Candlemas will be the next day and Henry and I will probably go to Mass that evening (we’ll go the next morning anyways for RCIA class, etc.) because I’m interested to see if our church does anything special.  Other than that I really have nothing planned – it’s so new to me I really just want to sit back and observe this year.

Overall I’m thinking this weekend we’ll indulge in a little Irish Food and a nice warm fire – St. Brigid is Patron of many farm and food related things it only seems right and Candlemas is about Light.  What better way to spend the deep winter days?

Haley and Sarah have been busy with posts for St. Brigid’s Day and Candlemas –

P.S. A Little HolyDays Link Up is in the works for Mid-February, just before Lent begins.  We can’t wait to see your posts on St. Brigid’s Day, Candlemas, St. Valentines Day, Fat Tuesday, Ash Wednesday and so much  more!