Sunday, November 22, 2009

Praises for Christ the King

I am way overdue for a Praises post! Thanks always to Jennifer for hosting, and encouraging us to count our blessings.

1 Praise God that Christ is our King! At last night's Vigil Mass, Father K. explained that the Solemnity of Christ the King was established as a feast day in 1925 by Pope Pius XI. At that time fascism was rampant in the world, and the Church needed a day to remind us that Jesus Christ is our one true King. Father K. went on to point out that today we need the Solemnity of Christ the King as much as ever. Praise God for the kingship of Christ!

2. Praise God for putting TWO altar servers in our family (so far)! Larry has been serving for a couple of years, and now Curly has joined the fold. This weekend Curly got to serve at the Saturday vigil Mass as well as the Friday morning Mass at school. Last night Father K, along with a teenage altar server with lots of experience, helped guide Curly and another new server through the steps during the Mass. He did a great job at both Masses. As our pastor, Father R., was distributing communion, Curly stood by his side with the paten. When Father R. presented me with the Host and said, "The Body of Christ," I thought I saw a twinkle in his eye. I'm so proud!

3. Praise God for the beautiful weather He has given us this weekend!

4. Praise God for our beautiful niece, who was baptized into the Body of Christ last weekend. I am grateful to God for giving me a second set of parents and another brother when I married my husband, a sister when my brother-in-law was married, a sweet nephew, and now a niece.

5. Praise be to Christ for giving us his mother, Mary.

6. Praise God for my husband, my best friend.

7. Praise God for our new computer! It's WAY faster than our old one, and it has tons more memory. I can fit LOTS AND LOTS of photos on it, and watch many hours of video (as if I had time, ha ha)! Yippee!

Saturday, November 21, 2009

7 Quick Takes, Volume 3--What I've Been Doing Instead of Blogging

1. Traveling and Celebrating. Last Friday we hopped in the car for the 9-hour trip South for our niece's baptism. She is the first female grandchild for my husband's parents, and on Saturday she was officially brought into the family of God. Another nine-hour trip on Sunday (during which time I did quite a lot of reading--more on that in Quick Take #4) brought us safely home from a wonderful, whirlwind weekend. Is it just me, or are "whirlwind trips" often the ones you have the fondest memories of?

2. Substitute Teaching. Actually, this isn't much of an excuse for neglecting my blog, since I've only substituted three days in the last two weeks. I'm happy to be earning a little income again, while keeping enough free time to still feel like a stay-at-home mother. The best part is I'm in school with my kids, getting to know their friends and the other families at the school.

3. Watching and Listening to Sarah Palin. I haven't read her book yet, only because it came in the mail two days after it was released, and I had already started another book that morning. I watched the Oprah interview, as well as the ones on Fox News with Sean Hannity and Bill O'Reilly. I recorded last night's "20/20," where she was to be interviewed by Barbara Walters, and I'm hoping to watch that this weekend.

On a side note, I am somewhat jealous of two cousins of mine (specifically, my first cousin's wife and her daughter-in-law--but I don't bother with technicalities; cousins they are, and therefore family) who attended her book signing yesterday in Cincinnati and had the privilege of meeting her. I hope they'll post pictures on Facebook--hear that girls?

4. Reading Books. So, what am I reading now instead of Going Rogue? This one:

I began following Elizabeth's blog recently, and it's fascinating and inspiring. Of course when I saw that she had written a book about her conversion from atheism to Catholicism, I went over to Amazon and ordered it (along with Sarah's book; Elizabeth's happened to arrive first). The other day while at the auto dealership waiting on some car repairs, I had a chance to read a significant chunk of it. Elizabeth has an incredible story, and I'm looking forward to reading the rest of the book.

Two other books I have read recently--most of it in the car last weekend-- are St. Louis DeMontfort's True Devotion to the Blessed Virgin (more on this in Quick Take #7) and Trial by Ordeal by Craig Parshall. If you enjoy John Grisham, I would recommend checking out Craig's books. He's a Christian attorney whose wife Janet, is a fairly well-known Christian radio host. Although he isn't Catholic, his books have Chritian themes (no sex or profanity, also a plus), and are as exciting and suspenseful as any national bestsellers.

5. Watching "V" and "Flash Forward," with a bit of reluctance. Truthfully I don't know how many more episodes of "V" I can endure. As much as I enjoy looking at Scott Wolf (Is he the reason I began watching? Maybe. Hubby remembers the show from the '80s, and that's why he was interested) the acting from him and almost all of the other players on the show is mediocre at best. Or maybe it's poor script writing. I'm also a little perplexed about the portrayal of one character, Father Jack, who is a Catholic priest but doesn't seem very priest-like. He has a strange friendship with a leading female character (played by Elizabeth Mitchell from "Lost"), and when the two met, he didn't tell her he was a priest. Now she calls him "Jack." Huh? Not Father Jack? It's not offensive, really; just strange, as if the writers don't quite know what the role of a Catholic priest really is. Plus the concept of aliens suddenly bearing down on the world and expecting everyone to kowtow to them seems a little icky.

As for "Flash Forward," at this point I have a kind of love-hate relationship with that show. In the first episode, everyone on earth blacked out for 2 minutes and 17 seconds, and during that time saw a vision of their own future. Or was it REALLY a vision of the future? Those that survived (after all, if you're driving a bus and you black out, you're going to crash and people will die) must decide whether to try to prevent their flash forwards from coming true, or live their lives in order to bring them to fruition. A number of things on the show have made me cringe, though, especially one episode that portrayed two women in a same-sex relationship. That part didn't bother me all that much; it was more the flippant and in-your-face way their relationship was portrayed. Particularly offensive was a conversation they had where lewd comments were made about two prominent American women (I won't say who--I have too much respect for both of them and their positions in our country today) that were in very bad taste and completely unnecessary. I've stuck with the show, though, and I will say that the most recent episode raised some interesting--and dare I say--even pro-life questions. The subject of a future blog? Maybe.

6. Washing Dishes By Hand, since our dishwasher went on the fritz this week. I've also been trying to catch up on some much-needed housework.

7. Praying More--but just a little. My women's Bible study group recently discussed "True Devotion to Mary," and Father L. has been talking to the group about making the Total Consecration to Jesus through Mary. I bought the book as well as the booklet that contains the meditations and prayers for the 33-day preparation, but I am not proud to admit that I have not been consistent with keeping up with the prayers. I have tried to say the Rosary almost every day, and followed the consecration preparations for several days, but slacked off; for a few days this week I tried to play catch-up, but sadly have let it slide once more. I missed most of Father L's talks because of sick kids and school activities, and I haven't attended any of the seminars offered by our church as well as a nearby parish. I haven't decided NOT to make the consecration, but I don't know if I will be prepared enough by December 8, the Feast of the Immaculate Conception. Admittedly, I haven't even talked to my family about it, either (Why? I'm not sure--but I guess I should now that I've put it on my blog); but it's something I have been drawn to consider doing, if not this time, possibly in the near future.

I wish I could list one more: Getting More Exercise. Sadly I can't because it's not true. I hope I will be able to include it in my next edition of "Seven Quick Takes!"

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Dazed and Confused--it's no wonder we keep going around in circles

Watch this video, and then CLICK HERE too see what Patrick Madrid has to say about it.

It's things like this (who's spewing hate-filled rhetoric??) that make it more difficult to defend the truths of the Catholic faith. I'm sure the person who made this means well, and hopefullly his (or her?) intention is to lead people to Christ. What he and others like him don't realize is that by leading others away from the Catholic Church, they are leading them farther from Christ.

I picked up a book recently called Handbook of Catholic Apologetics by Peter Kreeft and Ronald K. Tacelli. I hope it will be a good reference for me when those tough questions come up in my conversations with non-Catholics. I am thankful for people like Peter Kreeft, Patrick Madrid, Scott Hahn, Thomas Howard, and others who speak the truth and encourage seekers like me to learn more about my Faith and give me courage to share it with others.

I will pray for this person, and for all others who, because of their ignorance and misconceptions about the Church, lead others into confusion, however unintentionally.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Pro-Life Rosary: Sorrowful Mysteries

Today our thoughts and prayers are with the victims of the mass shooting at Ft. Hood, Texas today, their families, and also for the shooter. Pray for his conversion, and for Christ to comfort those who have lost their loved ones. And now there's been another shooting in Orlando; let's also pray for those victims, too.

There might be a vote tomorrow in the House of Representatives on Nancy Pelosi's 2,000+ page health care bill. If the bill is passed, it would mean you and I will be forced to pay for elective abortions, and the elderly and terminally ill might be under pressure to end their lives in order to save money. Lord help us. Please follow this link to contact your representative in Congress now.

Today is Friday, when the Sorrowful Mysteries of the Rosary are traditionally prayed. Here are the mysteries with pro-life meditations, posted on Priests For Life's web site.


The Agony in the Garden
Let us pray for mothers and fathers who are in agony because they are tempted to abort a child. May they be given the good news that there are alternatives, and may they make use of the help that is available.

The Scourging of Jesus
As Christ's flesh was torn by the instruments of those who scourged Him, so the bodies of babies in the womb are torn my the instruments of the abortionists. Let us pray that abortionists may repent of these acts of child-killing.

The Crowning with Thorns
Jesus suffered the pain of thorns in His head, and did so silently. We pray for the mothers and fathers of aborted children. So many of them suffer deep grief and regret over a choice they can never reverse. So many suffer in silence, because others tell them it's no big deal.

The Carrying of the Cross
Jesus was not condemned by the power of wicked people. He was condemned because of the silence of good people. Silence always helps the oppressor, never the victim. Let us pray that we may never be silent about abortion, but rather will clearly speak up to save babies from death.

The Crucifixion
As we ponder the death of Christ, let us remember the many women who have died from so-called "safe, legal" abortions. Let us ask forgiveness and mercy for them. May their memory save other women from making this tragic mistake.

Now, more than ever, we need to be united in prayer for the sacredness of life.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Recipe Swap Thursday: Easy Apple Cake

Growing up, I learned a lot about cooking from helping my mother and my grandmother. One of my mother's favorite cookbooks was (and maybe still is) The Joy of Cooking. When I started experimenting with making meals on my own, that was the cookbook I turned to. When I got married it was one of the first cookbooks I had.

Here's a recipe for a fruit cake that comes straight from The Joy of Cooking, and it's one of my family's favorites. Usually, I double the recipe and make two. It's a great one for dessert (yummy with ice cream on the side), but last weekend I made it for Sunday's breakfast because it's kind of like a fruity coffee cake.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
If the fruit is very juicy, reduce the liquid in the dough by at least 1 tablespoon. Sift together:
1 cup all-purpose flour 1 teaspoon double-acting baking powder 1/4 teaspoon salt 2 tablespoons sugar
1 1/2 to 3 tablespoons butter
Work these ingredients like pastry (cut in the butter until it resembles coarse crumbs). Beat well in a measuring cup:
1 egg* 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
Enough milk** to make a 1/2 cup mixture
Combine with the flour and butter to make a stiff dough. You may pat the dough into the greased pan with your floured palm, or spread it in part with a spoon and then distribute it evenly by pushing it with the fruit sections when you place them closely in overlapping rows. (I usually just spread all the dough with my fingers before I put the fruit on.) Use about:
4 cups sliced pared apples or peaches or sliced unpared plums, preferably freestone blue. (They also recommend guavas; I've never eaten them so I have no idea what they would taste like.)
Sprinkle with a mixture of:
1 cup white or brown sugar 2 teaspoons cinnamon 3 tablespoons melted butter
(I usually only put on half the amount of topping that the recipe calls for. If I double it, I just keep the topping measurements the same.)
Bake about 25 minutes.

For Moe, I make these changes due to his allergies:

*1 1/2 heaping tsp. Ener-G Egg Replacer beaten with 2 tablespoons water for one egg; 1 heaping tablespoon Egg Replacer to 1/4 cup water for two.

*I use soy, rice or oat milk (Moe's new favorite drink, and it works really well for baking!)

I've made this a lot lately because I've been buying quite a few apples from the farmer's market. I've made this with fresh peaches before, and it's delicious that way, too.

The cake dough kind of has the consistency of biscuit dough. If you're pressed for time, you might get away with using Bisquick and milk, maybe a little sugar, and calling it done. If you make it that way, leave a comment here and let us know how it turns out. Here's the finished product (with apples):
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