Monthly Archives: September 2012

7 Quick Takes Friday: Vol 3

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I’m thinking about renaming my blog. Nothing I write ever lives up to the awesomeness of that title. Then I realize I can never pick a name. Or a theme. And I’m barely hanging on by a thread here anyways. That’s when I remember why I chose the name and decide it’s perfect.

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I get to have a brain scan on Wednesday! Woo-hoo! Wait, I’m horrified of small spaces. Great. I’ve been to the doctor a few times about my leg going numb. Blood tests and X-Rays were not revealing, so next up, MRI. I’m very anxious about it. But you know, I swam in the ocean and didn’t freak out. I just want to make it clear: I’m not in any way trying to conquer my fears, here! I’m not that kinda gal. If I’m afraid of something, I want to just stay the truck away from it!

Oh, and regardless of what the MRI shows, it’s very likely that the next step will very probably be a spinal tap. Which I’ve had before. It’s not painful. It’s just a little horrifying to keep as still as humanly possible because ohgoodheavensifyousomuchascoughtheGIANTNEEDLEINYOURSPINEWILLPARALYZEYOU!!!!!!

Face your fears, eh? Who in their right mind thinks that’s a great idea? Why don’t I just lay down in a tub full of spiders?

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My Mother-in-Law is going back to Saudi Arabia today. It seems like just a few days ago I went to pick her up at the airport. My In-Laws have been living in Saudi Arabia for 3.5 years now and we miss them terribly when they’re not here. She and I have been hatching a plan for Scott and I to go visit them in Saudi sometime next year. Talk. About. An. Adventure! I sure hope we can work it out! They don’t live too far from a beach. For all my lifelong fears of the ocean, I’ve been aching to get back in!

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I planted a fall vegetable garden this week. I haven’t had a veggie garden in 4 years, and I’ve been dying to get back into it. I decided to do the square foot gardening method. I have cabbages, radishes, all sorts of lettuce, carrots and spinach in the ground. To keep birds out, I bought a 7$ decorative scarecrow from WalMart that I’m going to put out. I’ll bet it works!

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After an argument about grocery shopping at WalMart vs. Target, I stepped in to declare that I purchase all my groceries at Aldi and buy only non-grocery items at Walmart. Good food doesn’t need a brand name, right? And of course I use only earth-friendly reusable canvas bags. Suddenly, I had a severe panic attach because I thought I might actually be a hipster. Then I realized, with some relief, that since I purchase a fair amount of my clothes at WalMart, I am indeed not a hipster.

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Actual risque picture I sent Scott. Don’t worry, we’re married.

Scott and I never talk about anything. We have no communication left in our marriage. Since he’s working nights and I rarely see him, all we ever do when we’re together is snuggle. Our words for each other consist of “I love you!” and “Move closer so I can snuggle you!” I like to think that since our time together is short, we’re taking care of what’s important and cutting out the rest.

Everyone else must think we’re falling apart. Scott has no idea what’s going on with my doctor’s appointments, with work, and I couldn’t tell you a thing he did this week. We tend to find out that kind of stuff from….everyone else. While they give us odd looks like, “How do you not know this? Your marriage is falling apart!” Eh, whatever. I’d rather have cuddle time than talk time.

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40 Days for Life started Wednesday! I haven’t made it out to the clinic yet, but if you have a chance, stop by and offer a rosary. It can be a little scary–what if someone comes over to talk to me? But if someone does, pray that God will speak through you! Trust in Him!

And as always, better and brighter Quick Takes are available at Conversion Diary!

Categories: 7 Quick Takes Friday, Everything Else | Tags: , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Meditating on the Beatitudes: Blessed are they that mourn, for they will be comforted.

This is the second in a series of meditations on each of the Beatitudes.

Blessed are they that mourn, for they will be comforted.

I’ve got to admit, I wanted to have this up two days ago. However, I ended up typing out the Beatitude, staring at it, and wondering: what’s so great about mourning? I kept thinking about Aunt Sarah’s funeral. We kept saying it was wonderful that she was finally with God, at rest. Why is mourning a blessing?

So, I took advantage of a great technological advancement (which I highly recommend). I pulled up the Bible online and searched for the word “mourn.” I think this is a great way to get more information on a topic because you can literally see every instance the word is mentioned in the Bible. I know that sometimes a particular word isn’t used, so it’s not a definitive topical resource, but it’s pretty awesome!

For the word “mourn,” the #3 result was quite enlightening…

And the Lord said to Samuel: How long wilt thou mourn for Saul, whom I have rejected from reigning over Israel? –1 Samuel 16:1a

Ah-ha! I kept thinking of mourning as being about death. However, what if mourning isn’t about death, but about loss and love?

Samuel didn’t mourn because Saul was dead (he wasn’t), he mourned because he loved Saul. He believed in Saul’s ability to lead Israel as God’s chosen King. However, because  Saul chose to defy God, Saul was lost to Samuel. Samuel saw someone he loved turn his back on God. He watched Saul’s life spiral out of control.

Sound familiar? I’ve watched people I love deny God, renounce their faith, turn to drugs, consume themselves with chasing after wealth and other pleasures. As we go down separate paths, my heart aches. I mourn.

To mourn a loss, you have to love. There are no two ways about it. I certainly don’t mourn the loss of the job I hated or the apartment that was too small. Not all loss is mourned. It’s only when we are attached to someone that we mourn their exit from our lives, in whatever form that exit takes. When we mourn, it means we opened ourselves up, loved someone, believed in their potential, wanted the very best for them. We mourn because we’ve lost someone we held close to our heart.

This is why those who mourn are blessed. Because they have loved and hoped and believed despite the fact that the one they held so dear could and would be lost. You can never really lose what you haven’t loved. For those who open their hearts up, dare to love, see the best and greatest in another, even though they know they could very possibly be cast aside; when the one they loved and believed in chooses to walk away, they will be comforted.

Categories: Chasing After God, Everything Else, Meditations | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

40 Days for Life

I just wanted to correct my horrifying error in my 7 Quick Takes post. 40 Days for Life starts Wednesday, not today. I thought that was odd. There are so many things you can do to get involved. I’ll be posting some ideas and prayers throughout the campaign. Let me know what your ideas are!

Categories: Everything Else, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

Eat Better: Lessons Learned So Far

The primary purpose of this project is to be better stewards of what we have, to stop throwing food away. It would also be nice, I must say, to save some money and be able to give more to the Regional Food Bank. The message I keep getting is to SLOW DOWN. I throw things away without thinking twice, or even thinking about it at all, leading me to believe that perhaps we throw away a lot more food than I thought we did.

Money Matters

I thought I had slowed down and shown careful consideration. I suppose I was wrong. I made a meal plan, I went to the grocery store, and I quite painfully submitted to not getting anything that wasn’t on the list. Despite not buying any meat, aside from a package of bacon, I was shocked that my total was still $110. No bags of chicken breasts, no giant pot roasts, and still $110! And that’s on top of $30 I spent the night before at Walmart. Upon consulting my meal plan, I was even more shocked. I only planned 12 simple dinners and some soups for my lunches. Maybe it will just take a while for the savings to catch up with me.

The Tortilla Situation

I found a recipe online for Chicken Tortilla Soup from Souper Salad, a restaurant that used to be in this area and hopefully will be again! The recipe called for corn tortillas, which I considered replacing with chips, but decided to get the tortillas instead. The smallest pack of corn tortillas I could find was a 30 pack. I knew I wouldn’t need 30 tortillas but without a second thought (of course) I threw the 30 pack in my cart.

After fixing my soup and portioning it out into 7 freezable bowls, I started thinking about those leftover tortillas. I only used 8. That meant 22 were going in the trash. I kept telling myself I could freeze them, but would I? What else was I going to make with them? I have a few recipes, but that would involve getting a lot more ingredients. Within the first few days of my Eat Better Project, I’m already wasting food. I felt horrible.

I wandered around the kitchen, hoping inspiration would hit me and….taquitos! I could cook up some chicken breast, roll some taquitos and freeze them myself! Scott would love to have them in the freeze for quick lunches when he’s home alone.

My first round of attempts was very poor. It turns out, you do have to wrap corn tortillas in a damp paper towel and put them in the microwave for a few minutes before rolling them. The instructions on the package speak the truth. So, 7 tortillas went in the trash anyway. But we ended up with 15 taquitos! And since I didn’t have any taco seasoning on hand, I made my own. Without all the sodium.

Brisket Stew

I’ve had half a brisket in the freezer for some time now, and I decided to go ahead and fix it up in the crockpot and chop it up. I left some meat out for our meals for the next few days, but froze a few pounds for later. I figured it would be handy for days when I just don’t know what to cook. Once I was done chopping, I was left with a crockpot full of….flavor! I had filled the crockpot with water and boullion, which was now mixed with the stock from the brisket. I was a little antsy about all the chili powder I’d thrown in, but I grabbed a spoon, had a sip and after some debate decided it would be suitable for stew!

Potatoes, carrots, corn, peas, parsley, tomatoes, and about a cup of the brisket meat, and it made for one spicy stew! I was very heavy handed with my brisket seasoning when I put it in. I ended up having 2 bowls for supper, though! It was fantastic! And I had 7 more bowls of soup in the freezer for my lunches.

Stretching it Out

So, I’m on day 11 and I’ve still got 9 meals left from my original meal plan. We’ve been very good with leftovers and have found that we can get an extra meal or two out of a dish just by eating all of it. If there’s not much left, chop up some extra salad or put a slice of bread on the plate. We’ve also had a few suppers out of the soup that was supposed to be for my lunches. However, after making a batch of Potato Soup and Pumpkin Bisque (Yum!) in addition a few leftover bowls of Chicken Tortilla Soup and Brisket Stew, we still have about a dozen bowls of soup in the freezer. I did have to make a grocery trip for $30 because we we low on milk and bread and a few other things. While I was disappointed, if we continue to be diligent about not throwing food out and eating what we have, we should be able to make it until the first week of October before we have to do a full shopping trip again.

So far…

I’m slowly getting into the proper mindset. Rather than throwing something out (like the broth or the tortillas) I’m starting to see what I can do with it. But that’s not enough! As I learned with the tortillas, I need to have a plan for every ounce of food before I buy it to make sure nothing goes to waste. It was good fortune that I had everything I needed to make the Brisket Stew and the taquitos. Otherwise, I would have wasted it!

I actually started this post about a week ago. What I said about saving money at the beginning of the post? Here’s where the savings come in: we haven’t eaten out in 11 days. I wanted to get our eating out down to twice a month. We are well on our way! In July, we spent over $220 eating out and in August we spent over $130! August really hacks me off because we were trying so hard to save money for our trip and we still let $130 slip through our hands when we could have spent much less to eat at home. And while we were out spending that money, groceries we had bought were going bad at home and had to be thrown out.

Finally, I’d like to say how happy I am with making my own soups and freezing them rather than buying canned soups. I may get a pressure canner, or ask for one for Christmas so I can can my soups. I love being able to control what goes in. My recipes may need tweeking, but they don’t have to be perfect the first try, they still taste wonderful and I’m not picking out the things I don’t like. I’m also getting a lot less sodium and other preservatives. Well worth it.

Categories: Eat Better, Everything Else | Tags: , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

7 Quick Takes Friday: Vol 2

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Back in January, I made my 1 millionth pledge to lose weight and started doing The Biggest Loser Ultimate Workout on Xbox Kinect. I gradually added other workouts: on my Gazelle, my step deck, my bike, Zumba, and next thing you know, I’m running in the park! I lost 30 pounds in 5 months and was in the best shape of my life. I started training for my first 5k and then….things happened. We had illness in the family and things just got busy. I let myself go right around the beginning of June. I didn’t gain any weight back, but I stopped working out and I stopped losing weight. Almost 4 months later, I’ve decided to get back on track. So, I did my Kinect workout. I nearly died. That was two days ago and my legs are still screaming in pain. I keep telling myself I’m going to get in shape and stay in shape so I don’t have to go through this again. Maybe this time?

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It’s been 3 weeks since I stopped using the nicotine patch. I’m not going to lie, I’ve had a couple of cigarettes since then. Maybe 3? In  That’s a long way from smoking 25-40 a day! I’ve also cut my coffee consumption after learning that coffee can indeed cause anxiety. I went from about 5 or 6 cups a day to 2 cups a day. Mentally, I want a cup of coffee and a smoke right now. That’s a “break.” However, physically, I’m okay. I don’t feel anxious or jittery. Here in a little while, I’ll go do a decade on the rosary and feel right as rain. I’m going to make it.

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Scott and I are going to do a fast with 40 Days for Life starting Sunday. We have a few intentions we need to offer and it seems like a good time to regain some self discipline. Since we haven’t been smoking, we’ve been allowing ourselves to be lax in other things, but we can’t build new bad habits to replace old ones. This is the first time we’ve done anything like this together, so it should be interesting!

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I’ve learned that in order to find a new job, you have to look for one. This is where I lose interest. I hate and despise filling out endless applications, faxing, mailing, emailing my resume–hey, what’s the point of a resume when you’re going to make me give you all the same information again on the application? It’s so tedious. Would someone out there just like to hire me “as is?”

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I haven’t been reading a lot of books lately, so that’s yet another thing I’m trying to get back on track with. I just downloaded Bad Religion: How We Became a Nation of Heretics by Ross Gregory Douthat. So far, WOW. Expect a full book report soon! Better still, read along with me! For more info, here’s the review from the National Catholic Register.

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I now have all my favorite blogs set up on Google Reader. Yay! Now I can check all my blogs in one handy dandy feed. Bad news: it only takes 2 seconds for me to see that I have nothing new to read!

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About a month and a half ago, I deleted my Facebook, bid adieu to my 118 “friends,” and made a new page with just my immediate family, about 10 people. I was tired of election year shenanigans, specifically all the ugly things people had to post. No one, but no one posted anything good about their party or their candidate, it was all trash talk. It was difficult at first because I typically spend soooo much time on Facebook. Hours a day. Seriously. However, I’ve found it’s surprisingly wonderful to disconnect. In fact, the time I’ve been able to spend building this blog–as well as reading other Catholic blogs and websites–is the time I used to spend on Facebook. Going Faceless has been wonderful. I highly recommend.

Did my Quick Takes leave you longing for more? I always do, don’t I? Never fear. Head over to Conversion Diary for more Quick Takes!

Categories: 7 Quick Takes Friday, Everything Else | Tags: , , , , | 3 Comments

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