Saturday, December 31, 2011

Looking back, looking forward

It seems as we get closer to the end of the year we tend to start thinking about next year and how we want it to be better, different, more of this, less of that than the one coming to a close.  At least I do.  And in doing so, I look at this last year and take stock.  What was good?  What could be better?

As I’m trying to think back over this last year, it all seems to be a blur.  New Year’s Day 2011 seems so far away.  How was this year?  Good, bad, indifferent?  I don’t know.  This has to have been the hardest year of my life in terms of job/career, finances, marriage, mental, emotional & physical fitness. 

What was good?  God.  What could be better?  Me.

I just printed a calendar for my desk at work, using some of my favorite photos.  Across the top of it I added “Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam” – “To the greater glory of God”.  It’s my reminder that, good, bad, indifferent, my life has one purpose – to glorify our Lord. 

All the rest will follow.


Friday, December 30, 2011

Quick Takes (18)

Happy 6th day of Christmas!  I am so grateful that the season lasts 12 days so I can still work on celebrating it properly. 

As I’m writing this I’m “plugged in” to my iPod listening to my all-time favorite Christmas tunes.  It saddens me that the radio stations stop playing them so soon.  But then again, they start playing them so early.

My patron saint for 2012 is Our Lady of Guadalupe.  I shouldn’t be surprised, considering how she’s figured prominently in my life, but I am.  Guess there’s no such thing as coincidences, huh?  Get your saint at Conversion Diary.

How are you bringing in the new year?  Do you do anything special?  We’ll be at home, spending it quietly together, most likely with a fire burning and a glass of wine.

I’m thinking of trying to do Project 365.   It  consists of taking one photo a day to document the year.  I’m not sure I have the persistence to do it consistently, but I’ll give it a try.  I’m going to create a separate blog for it, and maybe I’ll even convince Himself to post to it now and then.  After all, he is the real photographer in the house.

 Someone at work told me about this video.  I laughed until I cried.  So funny!

“The reformer is always right about what is wrong. He is generally wrong about what is right.”
– GKC (ILN, 10-28-22) 

Check out more Quick Takes at Conversion Diary.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Asking Forgiveness

For any number of reasons, this Advent/Christmas season hasn’t been what it should have been or what I wanted it to be.  I would like to think I’m immune to all the commercial and societal expectations, but apparently I am not.

Himself and I hosted the family Christmas Day celebration as we have done every year since we married.   Even with a couple of deaths in the family, it has grown.  Now it’s not only our immediate family, it includes my sister’s in-laws and my aunt and cousin.  There’s not a lot more people but just enough to somewhat complicate the gift giving.  And we’ve somehow have come to be known as gracious and generous hosts.  No pressure there!

Combine worrying about getting ready for that along with decorating responsibilities at church and a nasty cold that wiped me out for a couple of weeks, Jesus didn’t figure into my preparation.  Not at all.  No Advent wreath.  No daily prayers or extra masses.   Zilch.  Nada.  Nothing.

And you know what happens then.  Things get ugly. 

I started keeping track of all the annoyances Himself caused me.  Didn’t think about the good stuff.  Nope.  Just the bad.  Which in the whole scheme of things, weren’t really bad.  But keep track I did.  And boom.  Out it all came yesterday after work.  Not pretty at all.

And for that I am truly sorry.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Prayer Buddy Reveal

I had the privilege of praying for G and her family over at Jeremiah 29:11.  Her joyful exuberance for her husband and beautiful son are a delight to read.  Although this was a difficult Advent in many respects, I offered all my masses and daily prayers for G's generous intentions.  I continue to pray that that all come to fruition.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011


I recently ran into someone at this new job that I had worked with many years ago.  I had left that employer just after meeting my husband but before we were married.  Of course, in playing catch up, the inevitable question “Kids?” came up. 

I think I’m going to get some goats so I can say yes – Billy and Nanny.

And, no, I’m not kidding!

Monday, December 19, 2011

The Blessing of Clouds

Lately we have been blessed with the most glorious, stunningly beautiful sunrises.  The colors are so vivid that most times the photographs we take hardly do them any justice at all.  The colors vary from day to day, but are so awesome that I have to stop and look.  Today’s sunrise started with a vivid orange at the horizon that faded into a soft pink that merged into a violet that engulfed the rest of the sky. 

As beautiful as all these morning skies are, they have one thing in common – clouds.  The sun, as it peaks over the horizon, is reflected in the sky’s winter clouds.  The sunrise isn’t quite as beautiful in a clear sky.

It seems to me this is a picture of our lives and God’s love for us.  We are much more stunning when God’s love and the light of His Son are allowed to reflect off the clouds of sorrow and disappointment in our lives.   What we do with the pain and suffering are opportunities to glow and to grow.

During yesterday’s homily, our Deacon read a quote from Blessed John Henry Newman.  It spoke to me loudly about the “clouds”.

“God has created me to do Him some definite service. He has committed some work to me which He has not committed to another. I have my mission. I may never know it in this life, but I shall be told it in the next. I am a link in a chain, a bond of connection between persons. He has not created me for naught. I shall do good; I shall do His work.

I shall be an angel of peace, a preacher of truth in my own place, while not intending it if I do but keep His commandments.

Therefore, I will trust Him, whatever I am, I can never be thrown away. If I am in sickness, my sickness may serve Him, in perplexity, my perplexity may serve Him. If I am in sorrow, my sorrow may serve Him. He does nothing in vain. He knows what He is about. He may take away my friends. He may throw me among strangers. He may make me feel desolate, make my spirits sink, hide my future from me. Still, He knows what He is about.”

Lord, let us be a sunrise to all who look our way.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Quick Takes (17)

- 1-
And the winner is. . . .  everyone!  I asked Himself to give me a number between 1 and 7 since that's how many comments there were, and he said all of them.  So all of them it is.  If the following ladies could send me an e-mail with their choice from the Pretty Things tab, I get them in the mail ASAP. 
The Road Home
Amazing Life
Ask and It Will Be Given
All in His Perfect Timing
Joy Beyond the Cross
Gates Place
Faith makes things possible
Thank you all for your lovely comments! 

- 2 -
Of course I have to include the gratuitous dog picture.  One of the garden centers near us has photos with Santa for several weekends before Christmas each year.  And it's not just for kids, pets and adults are welcome too.  Jack really didn't care for the big guy but Santa was patient and eventually won him over.  This is last year's picture.   I'm not sure we'll make it there this weekend, but I don't think either Jack or Santa has changed all that much.

- 3 -
I 've been feeling a bit behind with our Christmas preparations and decorations so I decided to take the day off from work today.  Himself and I finally ventured out and got our Christmas tree.  We go to a local farm where you can either cut your own or choose one that's already been chopped.  We went with the latter, a Frasier Fir, and it smells so good.  I can't wait to see it with the light on.

- 4 -
I'm not doing any baking this year.  My dad usually makes about a dozen different kinds of cookies, my MIL bring strudel from the local ethnic bakery, and my sister's MIL usually brings goodies from her local NYC bakeries.  Seems like enough to me, no?

- 5 -
Last year at this time we were buried under mountains of snow, or at least it felt that way.  This year it's been unseasonably warm, but we've been getting lots of rain.  A lot of people are bemoaning that fact that it looks like were not going to have a white Christmas.  I'd much rather it this way.  We have family driving in from out of town so this is much safer.  And you don't have to shovel rain!

- 6 -
I just love listening to all the Christmas tunes on the radio and on my iPod at work.  My favorite by far is O Holy Night.  Do you have a favorite?  I wish the radio stations wouldn't stop playing them right after Christmas.  After all, Christmas Day is just the first day of Christmas. 

- 7 -
“The more we are proud that the Bethlehem story is plain enough to be understood by the shepherds, and almost by the sheep, the more do we let ourselves go, in dark and gorgeous imaginative frescoes or pageants about the mystery and majesty of the Three Magian Kings.”
Christendom in Dublin by GKC

Don't forget to check out more Quick Takes at Conversion Diary.

Have a great weekend!

Monday, December 12, 2011

Happy Blogiversary to me! (and a giveaway to celebrate)

I knew I was coming up on a year of writing this blog and when I looked at the date of my first post, I couldn't have been happier or more surprised - the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe!  It seems appropriate, as this image of Our Lady has become so important to Himself and me throughout our marriage. 

I've found writing is both easier and harder than I anticipated.  When I have something to say, the words just flow.  And then there are those days when as much as I know there is something I want to get across, I feel at a loss on how.

It was fun to look back on some of the things I wrote about - our IF journey, things that amuse me, relationships, dumb things I've done, finding joy in God's creation.  Hopefully this next year I have fewer dumb things to write about and more thoughts of goodness and hope and joy.  I'm certainly going to try.

It still boggles my mind that you read this, people for the most part I've never met.  And yet you seem like old friends.  And when we do meet, we are friends.  For all of you, I am grateful!

To celebrate, I'm going to give one lucky reader something from my Pretty Things tab.  Just leave a note in the comments.  Himself and Jack will randomly decide the winners on Thursday.

Happy Feast Day to all of you!  And Happy Blogiversary to me!

St. Juan Diego, pray for us!
Our Lady of Guadalupe, pray for us!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

What a fun surprise

Rebecca over at The Road Home passed on a Liebster award to me.  What fun - thanks Rebecca!  This award features up and coming bloggers (with less than 200 followers) and asks that it is passed on to 5 other deserving bloggers.  It's a great way to read someone new.  Here are 5 great blogs to go check out: