Wednesday, April 30, 2008

May is Mary's Month

Immaculate Mary, your praises we sing.
You reign now in heaven with Jesus our King.
Ave, Ave, Ave Maria!
Ave, Ave Maria!

In Heaven the Blessed your glory proclaim;
On earth we your children invoke your fair name.
Ave, Ave, Ave Maria!
Ave, Ave Maria!

We pray for our Mother, the church here on earth,
And bless Holy Mother the land of our birth.
Ave, Ave, Ave Maria!
Ave, Ave Maria!

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Home Improvement

I should have remembered this from when we had the pool put in. Contractors have their own sense of time, different from the rest of the world. :o) When we hired our painter, he said that it would take about a week and a half to do the necessary repairs to the house and paint it. It's been a week today, and they've only worked a couple of days and are nowhere near ready to paint.

He's a nice guy, but has trouble with his workers being unreliable. He also has other jobs needing his attention. I assured him that we trust him to do a good job and that a little delay doesn't worry us. So this morning he is here with his full crew and they are hammering all over the house. :o)

A different contractor, recommended by our insurance company, was hired to do the new front door. The door was finally delivered last Friday and is beautiful! But the carpenter who will install it won't be here "until the end of the week." They are aiming for Thursday, but I won't hold my breath.

I just keep thinking of how the house will look when everything is done, and that keeps my spirits up. I'm off to take a "before" picture and take the workers some coffee.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Rogation Days

Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday of this week are Rogation Days, the three days before Ascension Thursday. Rogation days are days of prayer and penance, to remind us that even during the celebration of Easter, we must remember to ask for God's mercy in our lives. As our priest said today, "Even when things are going well for us, none of us escapes suffering."

The word "rogation" comes from the Latin word "rogare," which means "to ask." Rogation Monday we pray for fruitful seasons, Rogation Tuesday, for commerce and industry, and Rogation Wednesday for stewardship of creation.

The traditional prayers for Rogation Days include a Litany of the Saints, and it was the custom to have a procession walk the boundaries of the fields, blessing the four corners and praying for good crops.

You can read more about Rogation Days here.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Knitting for Baby

My new baby granddaughter is due June 20, so I only have a couple of months to knit a baby afghan for her. I bought a little book with 7 patterns, Leisure Arts Quick Knit Baby Afghans. The patterns are by Evelyn A. Clark, and all of them are so pretty.

The yarn I bought is lavender because I wanted to make #7 (the one in the center), but after looking at them for awhile, and reading through the patterns, I also really like #1 and #6. That's #6 in pink on the cover, and the yellow one is #1. They are all knitted with double yarn, one strand of white and one of colored yarn.

Ah, decisions, decisions. Which one would you pick? (Family, if you're reading, you don't have to have a blog to comment. You can comment anonymously).

Friday, April 25, 2008

The Economy

Gas prices have gotten so high that I'd like to have one of these little Zap electric cars. Their top speed is 40 miles an hour, so I couldn't drive it on the highway, but I could drive it around town. It will go 40 miles per charge, and you just plug it in when you get home. My grandson has a little battery powered race car, Home Depot #20, like Tony Stewart's. I guess the Zap is just like that, only for grown-ups. :o)

Not only are gas prices sky-high, but grocery prices are rising, too. We're paying over $4 a gallon for milk, and I saw an article that some Americans are hoarding food, such as flour and rice because they expect prices to go up so much, and that shortages may occur. All other goods are bound to rise, too, because the cost of getting them to us is so high.

Rather than be alarmed and upset, we need to have faith that our Heavenly Father will look after us. From Matthew, chapter 6:

26 Behold the birds of the air, for they neither sow, nor do they reap, nor gather into barns: and your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are not you of much more value than they? 27 And which of you by taking thought, can add to his stature by one cubit? 28 And for raiment why are you solicitous? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they labour not, neither do they spin. 29 But I say to you, that not even Solomon in all his glory was arrayed as one of these. 30 And if the grass of the field, which is today, and tomorrow is cast into the oven, God doth so clothe: how much more you, O ye of little faith?

31 Be not solicitous therefore, saying, What shall we eat: or what shall we drink, or wherewith shall we be clothed? 32 For after all these things do the heathens seek. For your Father knoweth that you have need of all these things. 33 Seek ye therefore first the kingdom of God, and his justice, and all these things shall be added unto you. 34 Be not therefore solicitous for tomorrow; for the morrow will be solicitous for itself. Sufficient for the day is the evil thereof.


Wednesday, April 23, 2008

I'm Excited!

The painters arrived this morning to begin painting our house. The color right now is a terra cotta brown. We are having it painted Sherwin Williams Network Gray for the body of the house, and Tricorn Black for the trim. We will eventually get white windows. I think it will be a very classic look.

We are also getting a new front door, since ours was damaged by the guys who broke into our house last month. Ron was able to do a temporary repair that is quite strong, but isn't very pretty. The new (pretty) door should arrive tomorrow, and be installed on Friday.

The contractor who is painting the house will also make any necessary repairs, such as nailing down loose boards, replacing worn out boards, shoring up our second story deck and redoing the floor of the deck.

It will look like a new house by the time everything is finished!

Monday, April 21, 2008

Menu Plan Monday

Monday: Spaghetti Chicken, peas, sliced tomatoes
Tuesday: Meat loaf, mashed potatoes, green beans
Wednesday: Cajun beans and rice
Thursday: Crock pot pork chops, potatoes, broccoli
Friday: Homemade mac and cheese, fruit salad, homemade bread
Saturday: Rosemary chicken w/roasted potatoes and carrots
Sunday: Out to dinner

7 Facts About Me

JoAnn at The Creamer Chronicles tagged me.

1. I love plants, flowers, gardening, but I don't have a green thumb.
2. Before it turned salt and pepper, my hair was deep auburn, and I have freckles to go with the red hair.
3. I never had a broken bone until I was in my 30s; then I fell and broke my wrist roller skating with my kids.
4. I love to cook, but hate to clean up afterwards.
5. I still have the teddy bear my uncle gave to me when I was a baby. His name? Teddy, of course.
6. I'm a nightowl.
7. I've always loved to read, but read more on the 'net now than in books.

I tag anyone who reads this who hasn't already done it. :o)

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Happy Anniversary, Dear Pope Benedict!

It was three years ago today that the world heard the words, "Habemus Papam!" We have a Pope! I remember seeing and hearing the bells ringing in St. Peter's Square on TV that day, and hoping against hope that our new Pope would be Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger. I was almost certain that the Cardinals would not choose him, because of the perception that he was very conservative and traditional. But God always knows what He is doing, and He gave us a great gift in this wonderful Pope, Benedict XVI.

It makes me happy to see how America has embraced Pope Benedict during his visit here. And I am grateful for his blessing of our country before he left.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Memories of Dad

My dad loved nature. Red cardinals were one of his favorite birds. Dad died of leukemia in 1992. I think of him every time I see a cardinal, and I see them everywhere I go. My sisters do, too. I think God sends them to us as reminders that we are still connected, that our relationship with Dad has not ended just because he died.

One of my earliest memories is of him climbing a tall old hollow tree trunk to trap an owl that lived there that had been eating our chickens. He put his hand over the top of the tree trunk and instead of catching the owl, the owl caught him! I remember him yelling, and my mom calling to him to let the owl go. My dad yelled back, "Let him go hell, he's got me!" I was probably about 3 years old when that happened, but I've never forgotten it.

I remember when I was about 5 years old, Dad took us fishing. I was sitting on a big log with a little cane pole when I caught something that started pulling me into the water! I started yelling, but didn't let go of the pole. Dad ran to me and grabbed me before I fell into the creek. Then he pulled in my catch, and it was a great big old turtle. I never did care too much for fishing after that. ;o) But I knew my dad would always be there if I needed him.

Dad had a way with kids and animals. They loved and trusted him. He was so patient. He once coaxed a wild squirrel to eat from his hand. She came back every day, and he named her Patty. Dad kept a box of nuts in the utility room, just inside the back door, and it wasn't long before Patty figured out where the nuts were coming from. She eventually got brave enough to go inside the house to get nuts out of the box. That's how much she trusted my dad.

He could whistle up quail. He would whistle just like them, and they would come closer and closer until you could see them. He loved all birds--mockingbirds, wrens, doves, whippoorwills, owls, finches, chickadees, meadowlarks, jays and hawks, and he knew them all by their songs. Hummingbirds enchanted him. He passed on that love of birds to his girls.

He had a basset hound named Greta. Greta had a litter of puppies, and Dad cared for them like a nurse. He had a bunch of old towels for their bedding, and every day he would wash their towels. He and Mom sold most of the puppies, but they kept two (Baby and Baggles), and gave one to my sister (Ruffles). Those dogs loved him so much. After he died, they howled underneath his bedroom window. They somehow knew that someone precious was gone from their lives.

Dad was crazy about Mom, his girls, and the grandkids that came along later. We were so blessed to have him in our lives, and I'm thankful to have had an earthly father who loved us so much. I remember telling him, "I love you, Dad." And he would reply, "I know. That makes me happy. I love you, too."

I still love you, Dad.

This is how I felt today.

I didn't see Reece until tonight and felt sad all day. But the kids brought him by this evening, and tomorrow night he will spend the night with us. Yay!

I came home from Mom's this afternoon, and the house was just so empty and lonely. :o( I do feel like a ghost in this house. I've got to do something to get past this.

BTW, don't you love Allison Krauss? What a perfect voice.

*edited on 6-10-08 The original video is no longer on YouTube. It was Allison singing the song live, and I liked it much better than this one. But the song is still beautiful. I'm not rattling around like a ghost so much now; I get to see the kids often, but I still miss having them here.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Baby Girl is doing well.

Our daughter-in-law had another ultrasound yesterday. The doctor was a bit concerned because she is 7 months pregnant, but still very small. He thought the baby might be smaller than average and wanted to check on her.

Well, it turns out that baby is a bit larger than average! Daughter-in-law is just very small, and is "all baby." The baby is quite active. They didn't get good pictures because her head was way down low, but by the time they got home, she had moved so that DIL could feel her head at the side of her tummy.

I'm getting more and more excited about meeting my 6th grandchild! Pink, frilly things in stores draw me like a magnet. I wonder what Reece will think of his new little sister. :o)

If you are reading this, please send up a prayer for baby and mommy, that all goes well. Thanks!

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

He's Here!

Our dear Pope Benedict XVI arrived in America today. Please pray for his safety during his visit, and that he will touch the hearts of Americans, Catholic and non-Catholic.

The Pope has stated about his visit, "The intention behind my to reach out spiritually to all Catholics in the United States. At the same time, I earnestly hope that my presence among you will be seen as a fraternal gesture toward every ecclesial community, and a sign of friendship for members of other religious traditions and all men and women of good will."

He will be in Washington DC April 15-17, and in New York from April 18-20. I would love to be able to see him in person, but since that is not possible, I'll be watching EWTN's live, commercial-free coverage of his visit.

Monday, April 14, 2008

My Chicks Have Flown.

Today was moving day, and my youngest son, his wife and my youngest grandbaby are in their own place tonight. I know that it was time, but I just feel so strange without them here.

We have a two story, four bedroom house, and now it's just me, Ron and Maggie Cat living here. Ron's not feeling well, so he went to bed early. There's no TV on downstairs, no squealing, laughing little boy, no sounds of anyone talking or getting a snack from the kitchen. Did I say it feels strange?

I was happy and excited for them today as we helped them move. And I still am. Tomorrow I will take more things over for them, and help put things away and get everything in order. They are only 10 minutes away. I thank God that they found a place so close, but right now I'm having Reece withdrawal. :o(

Thursday, April 10, 2008

SA Botanical Garden

Kelly, Mom and I had a fun afternoon--lunch at Two Peppers, then a visit to the Botanical Garden.

We enjoyed seeing the beautiful flowers and plants and birds. There are many different gardens there, everything from a formal rose garden to an old-fashioned garden. I especially enjoyed the Japanese garden, small but very pretty, with a lovely pool and red maple trees. Kelly took her camera, and I hope she got some good pictures of the things we saw.

It was hot; I think the high today was 93°. We took our time and went slowly, because Mom's legs get tired pretty quickly. She did great, though, and thoroughly enjoyed the Garden. I'd like to go back when they have one of their evening concerts under the stars.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008


This is my oldest granddaughter, Lyssa. She will be nine years old in July, but she's only 5 (nearly 6) in this picture. She was ready for Mass, wearing her Easter dress and Easter bonnet.

Lyssa lives 3 hours away, so I don't see her as often as I'd like, but every summer she comes to spend a week with us.

She is very artistic. She likes to draw and "do crafts." Her favorite room at my house is my craft room. I think she is very talented and creative. I'm looking forward to seeing where her creativity takes her.

When she visits she enjoys going hiking with her Aunt Kelly, making cookies, trips to the zoo, the thrift store and the children's museum, and most of all, swimming in the pool and making crafty things. I'm already planning things to do when she is here this summer, and I can hardly wait!

I love you Lys, and I thank God for you.

Blog Bouquet

Thank you for the flowers, Therese.
They're beautiful!

King Ranch Chicken

Therese, here's my King Ranch Chicken recipe:

King Ranch Chicken

1 whole chicken (or parts)

Boil the chicken in water and seasonings until done. Save the broth. Debone the chicken and cut into bite size pieces.

1 package of corn tortillas
1 medium onion, chopped fine
2 cups cheddar cheese, grated
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 can Rotel hot tomatoes
1 cup chicken broth (from the chicken you cooked, or canned)

Put 1/2 the chicken into a 9X13 baking dish. Put 1/2 the tortilla strips on chicken. Sprinkle on 1/2 of the onions, sprinkle on 1/2 grated cheese. Repeat all layers again.

Mix together the canned ingredients and chicken broth and pour over entire casserole. Bake at 350° for about 45 minutes to 1 hour.

This may be frozen before cooking for later use. Freeze the foil covered casserole. When ready to use, thaw in refrigerator overnight and bake the same way.

Serves 6 to 8

My friend Mary B, who grew up in Texas (in the Valley), gave me this recipe years ago. It's my favorite casserole ever. Enjoy!

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

The Stoning of St. Stephen

Acts 7:51-8:1
Stephen said to the people, the elders, and the scribes: "You stiff-necked people, uncircumcised in heart and ears, you always oppose the Holy Spirit; you are just like your ancestors. Which of the prophets did your ancestors not persecute? They put to death those who foretold the coming of the righteous one, whose betrayers and murderers you have now become. You received the law as transmitted by angels, but you did not observe it."

When they heard this, they were infuriated, and they ground their teeth at him. But Stephen, filled with the Holy Spirit, looked up intently to heaven and saw the glory of God and Jesus standing at the right hand of God, and Stephen said, "Behold, I see the heavens opened and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God."

But they cried out in a loud voice, covered their ears, and rushed upon him together. They threw him out of the city, and began to stone him. The witnesses laid down their cloaks at the feet of a young man named Saul. As they were stoning Stephen, he called out, "Lord Jesus, receive my spirit." Then he fell to his knees and cried out in a loud voice, "Lord, do not hold this sin against them;" and when he had said this, he fell asleep.

The painting is by Adam Elsheimer.

St. Stephen was our first Catholic martyr.

Monday, April 7, 2008

Menu Plan Monday

I'm not very good at this, am I? I keep forgetting to do my weekly menu plans.

I usually go to the grocery store with a list, which includes several kinds of meat, frozen veggies, produce, and staples such as milk, bread, butter, etc. During the week, I look in the pantry or freezer and decide what to make on the spur of the moment (sometimes the night before, sometimes 15 minutes before). Not a good plan. This week I will follow my menu plan and shop Monday morning.

Okay, let me begin anew. Here's my dinner menu plan for this week:

Monday: King Ranch Chicken, asparagus

Tuesday: Spaghetti w/meat sauce, garlic bread, tomato/feta/olive oil salad

Wednesday: Pork Roast, mashed potatoes, broccoli, yeast rolls

Thursday: Homemade pizza

Friday: Cheddar Cheese pie, rolls and salad

Saturday: Cheesy green enchiladas, mexican corn

Sunday: Out to dinner

I'm off to make a grocery list. ;o)

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Tantum Ergo

Tantum ergo Sacramentum
Veneremur cernui:
Et antiquum documentum
Novo cedat ritui:
Praestet fides supplementum
Sensuum defectui.

Genitori, Genitoque
Laus et iubilatio,
Salus, honor, virtus quoque
Sit et benedictio:
Procedenti ab utroque
Compar sit laudatio.

Down in adoration falling,
Lo! the sacred Host we hail,
Lo! oe'r ancient forms departing
Newer rites of grace prevail;
Faith for all defects supplying,
Where the feeble senses fail.

To the everlasting Father,
And the Son Who reigns on high
With the Holy Spirit proceeding
Forth from each eternally,
Be salvation, honor blessing,
Might and endless majesty.

This is what we sing after the TLM on Sunday.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Lunch After The Lecture

This is the Josephine Street Cafe, the little old ramshackle roadhouse where we had a very late lunch (or a very early supper) today. It is a San Antonio tradition. It was a meat market in the early 1900's and became the Jo Street Cafe in the 1970's. The wooden floor slants off to the west, and there is a 500 year old tree growing up through the roof.

The food is very good. I had chicken fried steak with mashed potatoes and cream gravy and a salad called the "Wilt." It is wilted lettuce with tomatoes, garlic and sliced green olives. Sounds weird, but it's quite good. Ron had grilled pork chops with mashed potatoes and cream gravy and a house salad. We shared a huge peach cobbler with ice cream for dessert. Neither of us had any whiskey today. Maybe next time. ;o)

Scott Hahn

Today Ron and I went to a lecture by Dr. Scott Hahn at the Oblate School of Theology in San Antonio. Dr. Hahn is a well-known Catholic convert and author. We have several of his books, and it was very interesting to hear him speak in person.

Dr. Hahn's book, Rome Sweet Home: Our Journey To Catholicism was loaned to us by our oldest son when he was going through RCIA. A year later, we followed him into the Church. The book, while not the reason for our conversion, certainly helped us along the road.

My favorite of Dr. Hahn's books is The Lamb's Supper: The Mass As Heaven On Earth. That was the subject of his first talk today. Easy to read, the book clearly and simply describes the Mass as shown in the Apocalypse. His conversion story and discussion of the New Testament hidden in the Old, and the Old Testament revealed in the New made for a very interesting lecture.

His second talk concerned the "new atheism," which he believes is more aggressive and in-your-face than atheism was in the past. He has written a book about the subject, of course. :o) He also talked about why we believe what we believe as Catholics, and how blessed we are to have the Sacraments. I know I'm making it sound much simpler than it was, but it's impossible to describe a three hour lecture in a short post.

His book about Mary, Hail, Holy Queen is another of my faves. For anyone who has questions or concerns about the Catholic Church's love for our Holy Mother, this book has the answers.

To learn more about Dr. Scott Hahn, you can visit his website here.

Friday, April 4, 2008

Fun with Mom and Reece

Earlier this week my mom mentioned that she wanted to go to some thrift stores, but one thing and another kept us from it until today.

Because my daughter-in-law had a doctor appointment we took my two year old grandson, Reece, with us. It is such a joy to see the two of them (Mom and Reece) together. She thinks everything he does is hilarious and brilliant, and he loves to make her laugh.

We drove to New Braunfels because I thought St. Peter and Paul Church had a thrift store. Well, they are in the process of renovating an old car dealership into a new thrift shop, but it isn't finished yet. They do have a beautiful grotto though, so I took them to see that while we were there. Then we went inside the church. It is beautiful, and has the most gorgeous stained glass windows! Reece was delighted to be there, and so were Mom and I.

After lunch at a Taco Bell, we went to a Goodwill store where Mom bought a cute cookie jar and two votive candle holders. She was distressed when Reece came to her place on Wednesday and kept asking for cookies, and she didn't have any. She said that she is going to keep cookies in her new jar, just for him. ;o) I bought a glass fish-shaped platter there, to serve our Friday fish.

Reece was very good and patient in the Goodwill, but we dropped him off at the house when we got back, since his mommy was home by then, and we thought his tolerance for shopping was probably wearing thin.

Then Mom and I set out for another Goodwill, where she bought a potpourri ball to hang in her closet, and I found five little sundae dishes for my grands, and a candleholder. Our last stop was at Texas Thrift, where I found a Wilton Armetale bread dish for $1.48, two really cute cafe-style saucers (now I have to find the cups to match) and a robot for Reece. He is absolutely delighted with it! He calls it "Bo-bot."

It was a fun, pleasant day. We enjoyed being together and got a few goodies for very little money.


Do you know about Freecycle? It's a great way to recycle. Find a group in your area and join, then start cleaning out your garage, attic, shed, etc. and posting the items on Freecycle. Other members receive your email, and if they want the item, they let you know by email. You can either give the item to the first one who responds, or wait until you get a few emails and give it to the person you choose. I've given away lots of clothes, stereo equipment, a dishwasher, wine bottles, canna lily bulbs and various other things.

It's also a good way to get an item that you may not have wanted to buy. I get several emails each day offering items. Most of them I don't want, but now and then I see something that I can use, or one of my kids can use. Some of the things I've gotten from Freecycle include an old-fashioned exercise bike, flower bulbs and plants, a dresser that I turned into a potting bench, a breadmaker, a dollhouse for my granddaughters, a scanner, two box valances for my daughter's living room windows and a box of old spindles from a porch railing to use for crafts.

People also post wanted items. I've seen many emails requesting everything from a car to baby strollers, kids clothes, household items, kitchen ware, etc. Most of them post that have received the item. (No one ever posted saying they had received the car, though). You are only allowed to post one "wanted" item per week.

Most people leave the items they are giving away on the porch, but it is possible to meet in a public place if you don't want people coming to your home. I have never had an uneasy moment either picking up or giving away items, but then I live in a very friendly place.

It's time for Spring cleaning. If you're decluttering, instead of filling up the landfill, why not offer your items to someone who can use them? Check out Freecycle.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Happy Anniversary!

Josh and Cyrise,
May God bless you and grant you joy.
May He deepen your love for each other.
May He bless you + in your family and friends,
And lead you to unending happiness in Heaven.

May Almighty God,
Father, Son, + and Holy Spirit,
Bless us all,
And keep us in His love for ever and ever.