Thursday, December 31, 2009

Christmas Vacation

We always take two to two and a half weeks off of homeschooling for Christmas vacation. I always seem to have big plans of what I would like to do during that time. Christmas fun. Learning the faith through activities. I never seem to have enough time to get it all done. Though, maybe just doing life is learning, too.

Next week we will be back to the books again, but during this holiday time we have 3 birthdays to celebrate, one in which my son turned 13, besides celebrating Christmas and New Years.

During this holiday season my son and husband were able to adventure  on a winter scout camping trip. It was  a one night camp and most of the next day. They had alot of fun, did a lot of sledding, cooked over a wood stove, slept in bunk beds and just had fun.
Christmas time is a magical and busy time for us but we are enjoying it.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Happy New Year!

The other day I was shopping and remembered I needed to purchase a new calendar for 2010.  I purchased my calendar, brought it home and proceeded to take down the old one and hang up the new. What to do with the old calendar?  I threw it away.  As I did this I realized there were 366 days on that calendar.  I threw it away.  Hung up the new one. Old days were over. Time is past. New days are coming and each one a gift from God.
New Years is  a time to look back on the year past and reflect on our lives and our actions, behavior and spirituality but it is also a time to look forward.  A new year is beginning. We are getting older and becoming more mature, hopefully. We should always be working toward becoming a better person, getting rid of old bad habits and adding new good habits.
As the year is turning reflecting on our relationship with God should be of importance. What can we do in the new year to draw closer to Him, to better serve Him, our neighbor and family. Who in our lives needs us or needs help or just an ear to listen to them, how we can better serve others, to be there for them, to pray for their needs.
Frequently around this time of year people get a feeling of hope, like the turning of the New Year could bring in goodness and that pain and suffering might be over. It's a time to feel positive and optimistic.
I really don't do well with New Year's resolutions. I usually forget them soon after the year begins  but I hope to be always growing and changing and becoming a better person, wife, mother, daughter, child of God.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Ave Maria

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Thus starts the Twelve Days of Christmas

This doesn't work out so much numerically now. In the USA and other countries Epiphany is now celebrated the first Sunday after New Years. Epiphany is the Sunday the Churchcelebrates the coming of the magi. In times past the twelve days of Christmas referred to the eight days from December 25 to New Years Day and the four additional days up to and including the eve of January 6, the original date of the Epiphany.

Celebrating the birth of such a wonderful Savior should last a while. So it is celebrated until Epiphany. I love hearing the Christmas carols continued after Christmas. It's like a celebration that continues and continues in your heart long after presents have been opened and forgotten.

The song The Twelve Days of Christmas isn't exactly what you would call a Christmas carol but it has an interesting history. I recently realized that people sing that song and do not know what it means or is supposed to mean.  I also, recently realized that people make fun of that song frequently because they do not know what they are singing about..

The story behind the song The Twelve Days of Christmas  could be fact or fiction, there is a lot of controversy over the history of the song. I find it helps me if I can put meaning to the song when I am singing it, otherwise it does seem silly.  There is some belief of Catholic Christian persecution in the 1500's to the 1800's in England causing parents to create a way for their children to remember certain aspects of the faith.
There are those that disagree and say the song  was just something created fun to sing. Other places I read say it started as a French song and the words were later confused. Whether the song was started out to teach tenets of the faith or just a fun song  it still works out as a fun way to teach the faith to children. When later on they  hear the song they can remember to put meaning to what they are singing and remember God and the wonderful gifts he sends us. It could also be a fun way to count down to Epiphany.
The songs gifts have  hidden meanings related to  teachings of the faith. The "true love" mentioned in the song isn't referring to an earthly suitor, it refers to God the Father.  The "me" who is the receiver of the presents in the song refers to every person baptized.  The partridge in a pear tree is Jesus Christ, the Son of God. In The Twelve Days of Christmas, Christ is symbolically presented as a mother partridge which feigns injury to decoy predators from her helpless nesting babies, much like Christ's sadness over what would happen to Jerusalem: "Jerusalem! Jerusalem! How often would I have sheltered thee under my wings, as a hen does her chicks, but thou wouldst not have it so..."

The other symbols mean the following:

2 Turtle Doves = The Old and New Testaments

3 French Hens = Faith, Hope and Charity, the Theological Virtues

4 Calling Birds = the Four Gospels and/or the Four Evangelists

5 Golden Rings = The first Five Books of the Old Testament, the "Pentateuch", which gives the history of man's fall from grace.

6 Geese A-laying = the six days of creation

7 Swans A-swimming = the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit, the seven sacraments

8 Maids A-milking = the eight beatitudes

9 Ladies Dancing = the nine Fruits of the Holy Spirit

10 Lords A-leaping = the ten commandments

11 Pipers Piping = the eleven faithful apostles

12 Drummers Drumming = the twelve points of doctrine in the Apostle's Creed

Unto us a child is born

The Mighty God,
The Everlasting Father,
The Prince of Peace!!!

Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas

Christmas Eve Mass was beautiful. The Church was decorated with tons of pointsettas, wreaths and beautiful Christmas trees. There was a large manger scene and we heard awesome Christmas carols.
This morning I woke up to a wonderful Christmas with loving family that I am so blessed with and so grateful to our Lord for sending to me.

Today is the celebration of the birth of our Lord and Savior. I cherish this time and this day. I hope and pray that every one out there has an awesome Christmas. As one of my favorite hymns says,"Let there be peace on earth and let it begin with me."   Merry Christmas.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Fourth Sunday in Advent

This weekend is the fourth Sunday in Advent. Christmas is so close.  In the Gospel readings we hear Mary is going to visit Elizabeth. Elizabeth is pregnant with John. When Mary arrives  John leaps in Elizabeth's womb. Elizabeth knows she is the mother of the Lord.

Luke 1:43 - 45  And why is this granted me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me?

For behold, when the voice of your greeting came to my ears, the babe in my womb leaped for joy.
And blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfilment of what was spoken to her from the Lord."

Recently at a class at church we were talking about this reading. A comment was made that I really liked.
"Elizabeth was the one person who believed in Mary at first."

When we are burdened, down or moving in a direction in life we are not sure of and it seems no one believes in us or what we are doing  it is a great and wonderful thing to be able to seek out and  find that one person who who will believe and have faith in us. Sometimes all it takes is one person to nudge us on, one person  to keep us moving in the direction we need to go. Someone to say "keep on" when everyone else says "you can't."  Sometimes it is hard to find that person. We may  have to work hard to seek that person out. In Mary's case, during her time, she had Elizabeth.  Later it would be Joseph but he did not yet believe.   Elizabeth did.  Elizabeth believed what was going to happen to Mary because of what was happening to her and because of her faith in God.

Two women, cousins, friends, Mary and Elizabeth, knew something was going on. Mary went to help Elizabeth and during that time received companionship, friendship and encouragement. She, also, would give hope and encouragement to Elizabeth.  Two women, because of their great faith in God, could be the help and encouragement both of them needed.

God was at work in their lives and the lives of all those of the world. They were a part of something so great, so wonderful, bringing the Savior into the world and the prophet who would go before Him. John would be crying out, "Prepare the way of the Lord." Luke 3:4.

Why Nursing?

  Why did I become a nurse?

There are several reasons. One reason is nurses are always in demand. Just look in  the newspaper. There is almost always a need for nurses.  You will find  hundreds of different settings you can work in. I,  personally chose geriatrics. I work in a nursing home.  I love it. Elderly people need people to care for them and listen to them and just be there for them during a very scarey time in their lives. I have also worked in oncology (cancer)  and respiratory. Those are two difficult places to work, also.

There are other areas of nursing specialties besides elderly, such as;  children, maternity, cancer, respiratory, home care, hospice and there are many more.

Very few jobs out there that have lasting rewards, that you can go home feeling like you helped someone. Nursing has that reward.  Granted there are days when you don't feel that way and there are plenty of bad days just like any other job, but helping someone provides the greatest rewards.  When it gets hard and I don't feel like giving or doing for someone I try to picture our Lord on the cross when he said "I thirst." I imagine in my mind I am helping our Lord. It helps me to remember that what we do for someone else we do for the Lord.

The pay in nursing is good and there is  job security because there will always be sick people. I wish that weren't true but it is. Our world is filled with sickness and disease and nursing is a great way of giving of yourself to shed light into that darkness.

Many hospitals and medical centers today offer a variety of schedules so that you can set your own pace and hours. This is found especially, if you enter the field of  home nursing.  I did some home nursing but not very much. I have found that most places that I worked in allowed you to have a schedule suitable to your needs.

Nursing is hard work. You have to give of yourself all the time and it isn't always easy.  Touching other peoples lives is making a difference.

Watch thou dear Lord
with those who wake
or watch or weep tonight,
and give thine angels
charge over those who sleep,
Tend thy sick ones, O Lord Christ,
Rest thy weary  ones
Bless thy dying ones,
And all for thy loves sake.

Prayer of Saint Augustine

Saturday, December 19, 2009

The Simple Woman's Day Planner

I am starting The Simple Woman's Day Planner. You can find out more from the link below this blog.
Today is December 19th and this is how it starts.

For today... outside my window is snow. It is pretty.
I am thinking about... my blog.
I am thankful for... my family, Christmas and all of our blessings.
I am wearing... my pink comfy clothes.
I am remembering... last night's travel in the snow. I had to drive very late when snow was coming down making roads dangerous.
I am going to go... Christmas shopping and to a Christmas play tomorrow.
I am reading... Donna Marie Cooper O'Boyles book "The Domestic Church."
I am hoping for... a nice Christmas.
On my mind is... hoping to figure out how to work this blog.
Noticing... that my husband and son are having a good time playing a racing game.
Pondering these words... "Let there be peace on Earth.
From the kitchen... tonight shrimp scampi.
Around the house... lots of laundry is piling up.
One of my favorite things... is our Christmas tree.
Here is a picture... of Christmas:

For more day planners go to The Simple Woman's Blogspot

Cleaning out the frig

I hate cleaning out the refrigerater. It is amazing how messy it can get. Things get spilled, they leak, they drip.
This helpful hint is not going to help you organize your refrigerater but it does work great for cleaning up spills.  Along time ago, I saw someone, my mother-in-law, line her refrigerator with kitchen towels. It's a great idea. When it comes time to clean you just change the towels. End of hint. Just thought I would let you know in case you didn't already.

Cooking and a crockpot

I am not going to pretend that I am a good cook because I am not. I need a cookbook to cook just about everything or at least directions on a box, but I try.  About a month ago I purchased a new crockpot. Believe me, it was due to need. The previous one I was using was pretty old and finally gave out. 
I have been trying to clean out our freezer in preparation for purchasing some beef. We have family members that raise beef.  So, (and I have done this before so this is not new) I had several sirlion steaks and thawed them out, threw them in the crockpot, added water enough to cover and two packages of Hidden Valley Ranch buttermilk powdered seasoning. I let them cook for about 4-6 hours and it was delicious. Now, I know I have read that recipe somewhere I am sure, so don't get me wrong it is not an original idea.
There was plenty left over for several meals.

The point here is I really like my new crockpot. It is awesome. So easy to clean, compared to the older version.  This one the pot sits in a metal heater so all I have to do is lift the pot out of the heater to wash.

I am in search for new crockpot recipes.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Third week of Advent

It's the third week of Advent. Gaudete Sunday it what it is called. It means to rejoice, we are getting close to the coming of the Messiah.

A couple of weeks ago we celebrated St. Nicholas Day. My family woke up with candy and coins in their shoes. Candy tastes good and money is nice to have to spend but it doesn't compare to the joy we should feel knowing that we have a Savior. Some one who loves us so much he came to  us so we could spend eternity with Him.

I have started cookie baking. I have made cut-outs and chocolate chip cookies. The chocolate chip cookies were from scratch, the cut outs were a mix that you added butter and eggs.  I also made some mint chocolate chip cookies that my husband calls "wham" cookies because you do not have to do anything but take them out of the package and bake them. I have found that the cookies made from scratch were the best. They had the best flavor and rose the best in the oven. So, I think for the rest of the season if I bake anything I will try to bake from scratch because that tastes best.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Faith and Family Magazine

I just received the recent edition of Faith and Family Magazine. It has such great Christmas ideas and articles. It is a great magazine.  I highly recommend it.

Thursday, December 3, 2009


Advent, is the beginning of the new liturgical year. It's funny but I had heard the word liturgical a lot such as in liturgical year or a liturgical church but was never sure what it meant.  According to Pocket Catholic Dictionary the word liturgy means:  a public service, duty or work.... the official public worship of the Church.  So, when we start the liturgical year we are starting a new year of public or community  worship and since the liturgical year celebrates the birth, life death and resurrection of our Lord Advent is the beginning.  Advent is a time to prepare for the arrival of the Messiah.

Advent means coming. During this time we reflect back on the time of Christ's first coming and also remember and prepare for Christ's second coming..  Since the 900's Advent has been considered the beginning of the Church year. Traditionally the color of advent is purple, representing the penitential spirit. So, this is why the priest will wear purple and many decorations in the Church are purple.  This color also symbols hope.
An advent wreath is a beautiful way to celebrate the Advent season.  Four candles, 3 purple and one pink are encircled by evergreens. The advent wreath symbolizes the time of darkness when people were awaiting the Messiah. Some say the four candles represent 4000 years from Adam and Eve until the birth of the Savior, 1000 years per each candle. The 3 purple candles represent prayer, penance and good works. The rose candle is lit the third Sunday of Advent. It's meaning is that the faithful have made it  halfway through Advent and they rejoice that the Savior is near to coming.  Of course, the light from the candles represent Jesus, the light of the world.

                                                          Free Carolers Clipart

I love this time of the year. The songs sung are so beautiful, such as, O Come O Come Emmanuel.
Christmas music can be heard in stores and shops everywhere. It's a lovely time of the year and I love putting up the decorations around the house. I love seeing other peoples decorations.  While I have lately been very bothered by the lack of anything good on t.v. at Christmas time there are many Christmas shows and movies that we love to watch. Of course, one that has to be watched every year is Merry Christmas Charlie Brown. I watched it as a child and continue to enjoy it now. My family likes it, too. I haven't gotten in to It's a Wonderful Life too much but plan to watch it this year.
In enjoying this time of lights and music and decorations I sometimes procrastinate at purchasing Christmas presents.  Something I think I should work on.       

Dear Lord help us to educate our family for your glory.

"Since parents have conferred life on their children, they have a most solemn obligation to educate their offspring. Hence, parents must be acknowledged as the first and foremost educators of their children. Their role as educators is so decisive that scarcely anything can compensate for their failure in it. For it devolves on parents to create a family atmosphere so animated with love and reverence for God and others that a well-rounded personal and social development will be fostered among children. Hence, the family is the first school of those social virtues which every society needs."--Gravissimum Educationis (one of the documents of the Second Vatican Council)

Helping and Loving Our Neighbor

Corporal works of Mercy
Feed the hungry

Give drink to the thirsty

Clothe the naked

Shelter the homeless

Visit the sick

Visit the imprisoned

Bury the dead

The Spiritual Works of Mercy
Admonish the sinner

Instruct the ignorant

Counsel the doubtful

Comfort the sorrowful
Bear wrongs patiently

Forgive all injuries

Pray for the living and the dead

Good Samaritain