Thursday, February 19, 2015

Wonder Doubled: Marriage Maintenance

We have a new post up at the USCCB website For Your Marriage.

Maintenance. That was the first word the home inspector said to us as we prepared to move into our new home over a decade ago. We’ve done well in following that advice over the years. The little things were taken care of and the big things took care of themselves. Well, all the big things except the furnace, which died one winter on a bitterly cold Sunday morning!

I am now engaged in painting the laundry room, which has been the one exception to the regular maintenance schedule. The dust of a decade has been unearthed behind the dryer. I found an old baseball cap which disappeared a few years back. There are the usual nicks and dings that a laundry/mud room receives over the years. Some damage will take a little longer to patch, however. Allow me to introduce the other member of our household.

You can read the whole article here.


Sunday, February 15, 2015

Soup-er Sunday: Thai Coconut Chicken Soup

It's no secret that I need to lose a few (or more) pounds.  It isn't going as fast as I would like it to, but I think I am making better food choices.  While we are not eating true Paleo/Whole30/Gluten-free, I like to check out the various web sites and blogs for new recipes.  A great site is Paleo Leap.  The food pictured looks great and is mostly rather simple to make.
I found a soup recipe that I had wanted to make for a while.  I didn't have a few ingredients so I improvised and we loved the results.  This is a definite keeper of a recipe.
Back in December, Stephanie recommended Penzey's spices as one of the twenty gifts she likes to give and/or receive.  It turns out that there is a Penzey's store not all that far from us and when we were nearby we stopped in.  Wow!  I'm right there with her, I'm not going back to grocery store spices.  Just the difference in the aroma of these is so, so much better.  I can't help but think that the quality of the spices really boosted this soup's flavor.  Yum!
Thai Coconut Chicken Soup
1 good sized cooked chicken, shredded
1 can coconut milk
6 cups chicken broth
½ cup orange juice
3 medium carrots, shredded
2 stalks celery, finely diced
½ large sweet onion, finely diced
½ cup brown rice, cooked
½ tsp. curry powder
½ tsp. cinnamon
½ tsp. ginger
½ tsp. chili powder
½ tsp. paprika
½ tsp. salt
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.
Sauté onion and celery until softened.  Add the chicken broth, coconut milk, orange juice, seasonings, carrots and chicken pieces.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.  Bring the soup to a boil, then reduce the heat and let it simmer, covered, for 15 minutes or until the carrots are getting slightly tender.

Last Call: Lenten Prayer Buddies

With Ash Wednesday fast approaching, there is still time to sign up for Lenten Prayer Buddies.  See this post for details.  I'm pushing off the deadline until Monday evening.
Join us this Lent in praying for a specific blogger/reader's intentions!

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Wonder Doubled: Nothing Dull About It

We have a new post up at the USCCB website For Your Marriage.
A few days after the Epiphany, we started taking down the Christmas decorations. I looked at our fireplace mantel. It was now devoid of our stockings as well as those we hang for our extended family. It seemed barren and blah.
We often think of the liturgical season of Ordinary Time in this way, too, that it is rather melancholy and dull. That it is something to be expected in the normal order of events. After all, we just spent the holiday season entertaining, giving gifts, and attending parties. There was nothing dull about that.

You can read the whole article here.


Sunday, February 8, 2015

Lenten Prayer Buddies

Lent is right around the corner and it's time to start thinking about how we would like to spend those forty days.   When I first started blogging a number of years ago there was the practice of Prayer Buddies during the Advent and Lenten seasons.  We tried it again during Advent and had a great response. 

This Lent, you can say prayers, novenas, and rosaries, light candles, and offer up suffering for your secret Prayer Buddy and whatever intentions he or she specifies.

Those interested in participating, please email me at:
I will need from you is:
Your first name or first initial
Your blog address (or email address if you are not a blogger)
Your intentions
Your full name
Your address
(Address can be provided if your Prayer Buddy plans to send you a small gift at Easter)
DEADLINE FOR SIGN-UPS IS: Sunday, February 15th


Thursday, February 5, 2015

In This Together

Last month Pope Francis spoke of the importance of fathers in their children’s lives.  He reminded men not to let worldly distractions squander their opportunity to be good influences.
Tim and I recently wrote a column for another blog which was on a somewhat similar topic – the importance of men in girls’ and women’s lives.  Today’s feminists often mock and belittle this role.  They want the roles of men and women to be interchangeable.  This often results in poor substitutes for healthy relationships and self-destructive behavior.
Unfortunately, what we wrote did not get posted.  Instead, we decided to post it here.

In This Together: Reflections on the Fall, Then and Now

During Advent, we were driving home after Sunday Mass, discussing the readings.  The liturgy told the story of Adam and Eve as we prepared to celebrate the arrival of the New Adam on Christmas Day.  We both had heard this scripture passage many times before as well as the common homiletic take on it.  Most of the criticism our first parents usually receive centers on the finger-pointing which occurs when God asks them who is responsible for the mess in His garden.
We started to examine the responsibility of the man and the responsibility of the woman in the Fall.  Oddly enough, we didn’t descend into the stereotypical defenses of our own sex.  Instead, we each saw how our “side” could have done better to save us all a whole lot of grief.  The first thing we noted was that men and women are different.  This isn’t always something which is acknowledged or even allowed to be mentioned in post-modern polite society!
Adam did something far worse than say, “It was the woman you put here with me who did it.”  She did do it!  Adam’s contribution to this valley of tears was what he didn’t do.  This is where we start to see some of those flaws in human nature which, fairly I think, can be generalized as being dominant in one sex or the other.  Where was Adam when his wife was being lied to and manipulated?  One of the weaknesses I’ve observed in husbands and fathers is absenteeism.  This is not to say that any responsibility or interest outside the home is a sin against the family.  A little honesty and examination of conscience by us men, however, will reveal that we have squandered away time and energy which belonged to our family much like a compulsive gambler throws away the grocery money.
Adam was following his own agenda when Eve needed him.  She needed the protection and point of view only he could have provided.  There’s a reason the snake took Eve aside.  There’s a reason a predator cuts out a target from the herd.  Eve was vulnerable because she was lacking the support she should have been able to rely upon.
Snakes are still whispering into the ears of women today.  Again, these are generalities, but ones which can be supported by such means as election exit polling, television viewer demographics, and social welfare statistics.  The snake tells girls to send graphic images of themselves to friends and strangers.  The snake tells single women to support an ever increasing faceless bureaucracy which will take care of them if they are alone.  Older women hear the hiss of bitterness through the pain of disappointment and proudly celebrate their lifelong support for the right to choose who gets to be born and who doesn’t. 
Young girls are sending those pictures of themselves because too many of their fathers are spending the time they owe to their daughters on pornography.  Those single women are lonely and vulnerable because some young men would rather command a cartoon U-boat in a video game than paddle a real rowboat on a picnic with a pretty girl.  That old woman who is still proud of her abortion probably wasn’t as happy about it at the time as the irresponsible ambitious corporate climber who got her pregnant.
We came to the conclusion that when God asked Adam and Eve why they were hiding themselves, they shouldn’t have been afraid of not having anything to wear.  They should have jumped out of the bushes and surprised God with the cool new snakeskin headbands they made – together.

Sunday, February 1, 2015

First Photo: February 2015

Welcome to February.  What a difference a month makes!  The first this month looks much different than last, though I'd be willing to be the temperatures were quite similar.  Life feels that way, too, different but the same.