Posts Tagged With: Lent

A Quick Catch-Up

I had fully intended to post extensive reflections about Easter vigil and Easter Sunday because it was an AH-MAH-ZING weekend! Really fantastic, I tell ya. Despite staying up until 4:30AM cleaning the house in anticipation of the resurrection of my blessed Lord, (40 days and 40 nights I had to prepare and I wait until the night before) I went to bed Sunday night smiling and saying over and over again, “It was just a lovely Easter, wasn’t it?”

Well, due to a steady stream of circumstances, I never got around to doing it. In fact, it’s been almost 2 full weeks since I’ve been on here at all. I suppose I was meant to treasure my Easter blessings quietly in my heart instead of sharing them with the world.

So, how does one fail to post a single blog entry during Easter week when she took most of the week off? For one thing, I got myself a new job! It was quite unexpected. I had applied for a position at a commercial real estate zoning company a few weeks ago and had an absolutely tragic interview. I usually do pretty poorly at interviews, but this one took the cake. I was fighting back tears as I walked back to my car, repeating, “Jesus, I trust in You!” until I felt a little peace. It worked–I realized that if I failed in that interview, God didn’t want me at that job. If God did want me to be there, nothing could stand in my way.

Monday, I received an email asking me to fill out a formal application (they had just gone off of my resume before), Tuesday evening, I received a job offer, and Wednesday, I was up at the CellPhone Store putting in my notice! After 2 years of praying for a new job, after searching and searching, finding few prospects and getting even fewer responses, suddenly I’m starting a new adventure! I’m terrified and excited. It’s an 8-5 shift with weekends off, so no more retail hours for me. I’m the kind of person who needs a steady routine, so spending over 2 years on a constantly changing schedule has wreaked havoc on my productivity. The pay…is going to be a little less because I won’t have commission like I do now, but our store traffic is so low I’m hardly making any commission anymore anyway. Regardless, Scott and I have agreed that it will be better for both of us.

I received more good news on Easter Monday: I won Catholic Fiction’s facebook contest for March! I won a $100 Amazon gift card, which I promptly spent on a stand to hang my Topsy-Turvy tomato growers. Go and like their facebook page and maybe you’ll be next! 

Lent was just so stinking LENT this year, but it seems as if the clouds have lifted and the sun is shining through with more warmth than ever. Good news followed by good news. I was disappointed that I was unable to get my garden planted while I had time off, especially since I’ll be getting a lot fewer vacation days at my new job. I’ve been anxious to start growing so I can get some canning done this summer and fall. I was off work yesterday, and I got a lot of aerating and weeding done, but I still wasn’t able to get the planting done.

Just after I finished, a cold front moved in and we’ve had freezing rain all day. If I’d planted last week like I’d wanted to, or even last night, everything would be dead by the end of the day. Thank You, God, for Lent, the season of penance and ash. Without it, we wouldn’t clearly see the mercies You shower on us through Your death and resurrection.

 

 

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7 Quick Takes Friday, Vol 23

 

 

1: Nothing to Fear

I have some outstanding news this week! I officially have a new fear to add to the top 10 list! YES! Ever since I got over my fear of swimming in the ocean, I’ve been worried that an empty spot had been created that would never be filled. However, last Friday, Jennifer shared with us the details of having filters placed in her veins and it really struck a chord with me. I read the description, then read it again, then read it aloud to Scott. Then, I just sat on the couch with my Kindle Fire in my lap, put my hands over my face, and screamed and screamed. I certainly hope the procedure will help dear Jennifer not to have such dreadful issues with blood clots anymore, but I have to stop thinking about it now because my veins hurt and I want to cry.

2: Suffering, Schmuffering

Since Lent began, I have struggled with every one of my commitments, broken every one, and I’ve been hit with one attack after another. A few days ago, while working at The CellPhone Store, I was dealing with a particularly nasty customer. She made it a point to find error in everything I did, demanded that I adjust fees that I could not adjust, threatened to cancel her account if I didn’t do as she said, and stated that she would call in and complain about me for refusing to do everything she asked. I just wanted to bawl. I was running on 4 hours of sleep, so I was already exhausted, and after arguing with her for over an hour on every single step of her phone upgrade, I was ready to just walk out the door. Why? Why have I been chosen to suffer constantly like this??? As soon as I was finally able to get the customer out the door, I fixed myself a cup of coffee and sat down at my desk for a pout. Why does everything have to be so difficult? That’s when I pulled up facebook and…

 

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Point taken.

3: Put on Your Red Shoes and Dance the Blues

Dr. Taylor Marshall is one of my favorite people evah!  I read everything he posts, and I thank God for him, I really do. I don’t think I’ve ever learned so much from a blog. The time and effort Dr. Marshall puts into catechizing the masses can never be fully appreciated.

That being said, I must say he is absolutely obsessed with the Pope’s shoes. I mean, really, really obsessed.

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Can’t a man wear black shoes without causing a fiasco?!?!

 

4: It’s Not a Popularity Contest!

However, it is nice to be popular! And Pope Francis is, with 73% of American Catholics approving of our new Pontiff! The other 27% are apparently C&E Catholics who did not realize that being Catholic was the one qualifier for being elected. Well, that and being male (gender roles!).

See what I did there? I linked to a highly reputable Pew Survey, then in the next sentence, I linked to the highly satirical Eye of the Tiber. Most bloggers couldn’t get away with that, but I don’t know what I’m talking about half the time, so I can make it work.

5: Behind Barsfeet2

Pope Francis will be celebrating Holy Thursday by giving Mass at a juvenile prison.  I was delighted to hear such wonderful news! Until I read Simcha’s post which highlighted the ramifications of the pope’s actions.

You see, when we were hearing about the example he set by preparing his own meals, I said, “Yes! That’s something we all need to do!” When they said he lived in a small apartment, I said, “Yes! Downsize! Minimize! When we start looking for a house to buy, we’re going to get something modest and inexpensive!” Even when they said that he washed the feet of drug addicts, I said, “Yeah, I could send them some money I’m sure….”

But to embrace criminals? People who have hurt others? Raped others?
Killed others?

This is why we need Pope Francis. He’s determined to lead us out into the deep.

 

6: Follow the Leader

That leads me into my next pondering. How can I follow, not the mere footsteps of Pope Francis, but the deeper footsteps of Jesus? How can I reach out to the sick and the poor, the addict and the criminal? Within the confines of my constantly changing, completely unpredictable work schedule?

St. Therese????  What was that you were saying about a little way for little souls? Because I feel really tiny right now!

 

7: The Home Stretch!

Can you believe we only have a week left of Lent? It’s been a rough patch, and it hasn’t been at all like I wanted it to be. I gave up all the wrong things, but by doing so, I learned what I should have given up; the things that are coming between me and God. Once again, I’m wrapping up Lent full of regret for disciplines lost, and that’s fine. It’s regret that leads me to ask forgiveness, that drives me to chase after God with greater passion.

Have a blessed Holy Week!

And of course, check out Conversion Diary for more quick takes!

 

 

 

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7 Quick Takes Friday, Vol 21: Cat Lady Problems Edition


Once again, I’m way behind. Perhaps I should have given up blogging for Lent after all. It’s been…well, it’s been Lent around here, that’s all I can say. Sorry I’m so far behind. Here’s a meme to make up for it.

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1: Poor Penny!

We’ve had a trying week in the Fletcher home. Last Friday, our beloved cat, Penny Lane, went in for an appointment to check out a bruise on her belly and the vet found 2 tumors: 1 on one of her mammary glands and 1 in her armpit. Penny and I have been together for nearly 11 years, so I was crushed, to say the least. We set up an appointment to have the tumors removed Monday, and I proceeded to go home and bawl my eyes out….while Penny, Sylvia and I shared a Fish & More combo from Long John Silver’s.

Penny’s surgery went just fine, but she was miserable when she got home Monday afternoon! I couldn’t find our soft cone we bought when Sylvia chewed her stitches out, so I bought Penny a new one at PetCo. I have raved for years about the simple wonder that is the soft cone, so I didn’t mind paying $32 for an easy way to keep Penny from taking out her stitches. It wasn’t exactly like the one we had before, but I figured it was close enough.

2. The Cone of Shame

The cone I bought at PetCo was so darn complicated and downright HEAVY that I couldn’t get it on Penny without holding her down and hurting her. It didn’t take me long to give up on the new cone and start panicking. Visions of Penny Lane laying lifeless with her insides spilled out kept flying through my head and my chest started to tighten up.

Let me just take a moment to wonder why it is that anytime I worry these days, I go straight into flip-the-truck-out mode and turn into an asthmatic? Good grief!

So, anyway, I’m looking for the old cone again, even though we’ve scoured the house 3 times over, and I see my sewing machine cover in the closet.

Which makes me remember that my old sewing machine is still in my trunk, waiting to go to the thrift store. With its vinyl cover on it.

And here’s some sparkly pink princess fabric.

And a shoelace.

And these mad sewing skills of mine.

TA-DA!

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I know, I know! It’s so fabulous, you almost don’t notice the hideous wound where they scooped out a chunk of poor Penny’s belly!

But how does it compare to Sylvia’s cone?

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You may not believe this, but they both scowled like that on their own. I didn’t have to provoke them in any way to get them to glare at me like that. Aside from, you know, putting the cone on.

I also want to note that PetCo refunded the full amount of the cone with the receipt and packaging. I was afraid there would be a fuss since, well, the cones are only used temporarily and I wasn’t able to take it back until a few days later, but there were no questions asked. So, thank you, PetCo!

3: You can’t go to the casino during Lent!

But I sure thought about it when the vet called me with the results of Penny’s biopsy! A mammary tumor in a cat is pretty much a death sentence. They are very rarely benign, and even if you remove all of the cancer, they don’t typically live very long. Against all odds, Penny’s biopsy came back benign! However, because that is so rare, they’re going to run it again on another piece of the tumor just to be sure. So far, though, it looks REALLY good!

4: Is the Pope Catholic?

Now that Penny Lane is on the mend, I can get back to watching all of the news from the Vatican whilst doing this number…

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…while the media is incredibly confused as to why, with the conclave so near, we haven’t had a single televised debate. This is a fight for power, right?

Just kidding! I’ve been getting my papal news exclusively from….

5: Ray of SUNSHINE

Raymond Arroyo is my new favorite person. If you’re not getting your news from The World Over on EWTN, well, no wonder you’re disappointed. I’ve been catching up on my YouTube app on X-Box just every chance I get. Ray and crew are at the Vatican so that they can provide us with the very best coverage possible, and folks, that costs a little more money than usual. So, if you have a dollar or two to spare, maybe you could put EWTN between your gas and electric bill? It’s ever so nice to have news from a Catholic perspective, especially when it comes to the conclave!

Did you know that EWTN is provided 100% free of charge to cable companies? They operate exclusively on donations. Of course, that begs the question: why does my (former) cable company only include EWTN with their premium packages?

6: Giving Up

I’ve given up a fair few things for Lent. Adding additional meatless days to the week and going meatless for lunch hasn’t been too awful. I’ve messed up a few times, but made up for it for the most part. Avoiding alcohol and doing without my smartphone have been annoyances, but nothing that I’m having withdrawals from. I had considered having my nails removed (I keep them as perfectly manicured as I can) but decided not to. However, Scott was laid off this week (he’s an ironworker, it happens, we’re fine) and it just didn’t seem right to spend money on my nails right now, regardless of how bad they look. If we have some money left over, shouldn’t we be giving alms?

So, now we’re getting down to the things that matter. Alms-giving, prayer, fasting. Fasting from food–or the things that we gorge on. Such as TV, and I’m not talking about EWTN. I spend way too much time “relaxing” and watching my shows on Netflix. Giving up TV would mean so much more than giving up meat.

There’s only a few weeks of Lent left, but it’s not too late to get things right.

7: We Are Catholic

I saw this on Catholic Cravings the other day and thought it was worth sharing!

Have a great week and enjoy more quick takes at Conversion Diary!

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7 Quick Takes Friday, Vol 20


Yes, I’m running awfully late on this–it’s been a heck of a week!

1: Behind the Times

I use Chrome web browser at work because our work computers are currently still on Windows XP (nope, not joking). If you’re familiar with Chrome, you know that it gives you little mini screen-shots of your favorite pages so you can easily point to the one you want to visit next. What’s wrong with that. Well, the WordPress screen shot is from February 1, as evidenced by Simcha’s post in my feed. Pinterest updated yesterday, Facebook updated yesterday, based on the low number of digits on my checking account, I’d say that was week before last, around Tuesday, and Amazon offered to let me watch Downton Abbey for $Too.much about 2 or 3 weeks ago. OpenHouse OK and Douay-Rheims Catholic Bible don’t really update their home pages, so they’re all pretty current. Except Google. There in the upper left corner is Google, with a screen shot from HALLOWEEN!!! HALLOWEEN!!!! It was a haunted house interactive animation, and it was just as cute as it could be, but it’s LENT!!! Good grief, even Valentine’s has passed! HALLLOWEEN!!!! It’s been driving me crazy since the week before Thanksgiving!

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#firstworldproblems

2: Mmmmm, mmmmmm, LENT!

I was absolutely delighted to see this pop up on Pinterest a few days ago.

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Ever since we converted, my eyes have been opened to the “silent Lent” marketing campaigns that crop up everywhere this time of year. Well, either they’re catering to Catholics or they just happened to bring out a limited-time-only fish sandwich just in time for Lent. It’s nice to see an old ad where they just come out and say it: We want you to buy this because it’s Lent!

The pea soup is wonderful, by the by.

3: Andy is Dandy!

This week, I have discovered that I love and adore Andy Warhol! After seeing that wonderful Lent ad for Campbell’s Soup, I started looking for more, and, of course, Andy’s paintings of soup cans came up. I’ve seen them a million times before, but never gave them much thought before. After looking at some of the paintings, I Googled something along the lines of “What was up with Andy Warhol and all the soup paintings?” and discovered that there are several different tales as to why he painted soup cans over and over again. The one I believe is the simplest: he ate soup for lunch every day and had the cans laying around, so he started sketching and then painting them. I love it!

One more word about this topic and I’ll move onto something more irrational: If you haven’t read Bad Catholic’s piece on Andy Warhol, you need to go read it right meow!

4: I Keep Getting Crazier

I’ve been seeing a lot of knitting stuff on Pinterest lately, and knitting in general does not bother me. It’s “arm knitting” that’s driving me crazy. Maybe it’s part of my claustrophobia, but the thought…*gasp*…..of tying yarn around my arms….*gasp*….and trying….*gasp*….no, no, no, no, NO!!!!!!! Don’t get me wrong, the finished products look great, but, but,….I just can’t.

5: How is Lent Going?23ksubb

BAD. I’m not freaking out about swapping my smartphone out for a flip phone. Really not at all. It’s such a minor inconvenience, I’m upset with myself for feeling like I need a smartphone to begin with. Other than that…well, I’ve been saying my rosary almost every night. However, I’ve hit some major interference, which is certainly to be expected. Ash Wednesday, I was flying high, and spent the entire evening in prayer and study. A week later, I was as low as the dust and spent the entire evening sobbing and crying and praying that God would send me to a hermitage, anything to take me away from the constant attacks that were suddenly coming at me from every angle.

I was ready to give up altogether, but then I remembered something from Sunday’s Gospel Reading:

Filled with the Holy Spirit, Jesus returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit into the desert for forty days, to be tempted by the devil.  

–Luke 4:1

Jesus was led into the desert to be tempted by the devil. Not to tie-dye Easter eggs or work on His novel. Not for quiet reflection and meditation. To be tempted, to struggle, and to overcome. The same thing happens to us. If I’m downtrodden, it’s time to get on my knees. That’s been hard to do when all I want to do is curl up in bed, for, oh, FOREVER, but quitting won’t get you anywhere.

I fully intend to dive much deeper into this topic in a later post. Stay tuned. Worried about the quality of such a post? Share your thoughts in the comments or email me at patronsaintofindecisiveness@gmail.com and give me a hand!

6: Pintastic!

I’ve gone a little pin crazy lately. I’ve cleaned our microfiber couches with rubbing alcohol (the slight odor that goes away in 15-20 minutes is suffocating and lasts at least 12 hours, but the couches look great), made homemade “febreze,” which I am obsessed with spraying on the couches, and cleaned all my jewelry with a homemade solution in a foil-lined bowl. Turns out, I don’t need a new crucifix after all! The old one was just covered in Rebecca grease–ew!

7: Vatican II, Actually

For my final take, I’m going to simply link up to Pope Benedict XVI’s intimate and unscripted talk about Vatican II. It’s much better than anything I could say!

If you haven’t made it over to Conversion Diary, please stop by for more (and more timely) quick takes!

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Meatless Friday: Bean and Spinach Soup

For Lent, I’ve decided to feature a meatless recipe on my blog once a week. I may continue throughout the rest of the year since we’re doing meatless Friday every week now.

For my first pick, I chose a soup. I absolutely adore soup. It’s the perfect lunch, as far as I’m concerned, and it makes a darn good dinner, too. I originally found a similar recipe on Pinterest, but this is my own version of it. I like to make a large pot, then spoon it up into Ziploc bowls and freeze it so I have it on hand. So much tastier (and healthier) than buying canned soups with all that sodium!

Ingredients

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4 cups chicken broth (I use Wyler’s reduced sodium bouillon)
1 cup water
1 15-ounce can diced tomatoes
1 15-ounce can Great Northern beans
1/2 cup cooked rice
1/2 cup finely chopped onion 
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon parsley
1 teaspoon salt (I use kosher salt because it’s cooler)
1/2 teaspoon black pepper 
1 teaspoon garlic salt
4 cups coarsely chopped fresh spinach 
Finely shredded Parmesan cheese

Now, I used about twice as much rice as that when I made it and ended up with twice as much rice as I wanted. Also, I didn’t measure any of the seasonings, I just sprinkled and tasted until it was good. I suggest you do the same.

So, off we go.

First, you want to cook your onions in just a smidge of olive oil.

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Once that’s done, dump in your beans, tomatoes, and chicken broth. And yes, chicken broth is okay.

Now, for the seasonings.

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This is where it starts to smell just divine! Once you’ve got your seasonings where you want them, let it simmer for about 20 minutes. This would be a good time to cook your rice and chop up your spinach.

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After your soup has had a chance to simmer, stir in your rice and spinach and let it cook for about 5 minutes longer. It’s important not to put the rice in until the very end because it will split and take on a funky texture if it cooks too long!

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Don’t worry if it seems like too much spinach. Once it starts to cook, it shrinks up real fast!

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Now, spoon it up, sprinkle on a little Parmesan cheese and enjoy! This is very similar to a pasta e fagioli without meat, and with rice instead of noodles. Delicious, but not decadent, and a wonderful pick for a Lenten lunch or supper.

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Just remember, it’s Lent: Only one bowl!

 

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