Tuesday, 31 December 2013

Most Posts of 2013

As we count down to the end of 2013 I am joining with Sarah of amongst lovely things to take a look back at my most posts.

I am not very good at looking at my stats so some of these may come as a surprise to even me, so lets see what I like and others have liked about what I had to say this past year.

Post with the most clicks

The Seven Petitions of the Our Father
This is definitely a surprise to me. I really liked it when I wrote it and still do although there is so much that I could to it now. It wasn't new to me when I had written it since I had read and heard much of the message before but it really stuck with me then and even now it has changed the way that I not only pray the Our Father but how I pray in general. I believe that my pray time has really grown and continues to mature.

Post with the most comments

Not Alone Series: Patience
Not Alone Series: Preparing for My Vocation NOW
Not Alone Series: What I love About Being Single
The Gifts in My Little World
This one is a tie and most are from the Not Alone Series, this does not surprise me. I'm new to the blogging world and have not really been a high comment blog. I have gotten some great comments along the way but with the start of the Not Alone Series (thank you Jen and Morgan) I made some blogger friends, found topics that were close to my heart, some that I had previously been afraid to share. I found encouragement and support that has really allowed me to open up in ways I didn't think I was ready for. A few of the comments made me cry happy tears, many made me think and all made me feel encouraged in some way.

Post with the best picture

7 Quick Takes Friday #30
This is NOT a picture heavy blog so I am just going with the post with the most pictures. Most of my blog pictures are also taken on my phone so quality is not always max.

Post that was the hardest to write

I should probably say this one since I have been writing it for a week now but keep having to put it down before I could finish to do something else. I can't actually pick just one because quite a few have been hard to put down in black and white. I have quite a few post in drafts because I struggle with sharing them. So I'm just going to go with the whole Not Alone Series for expediency, where I really have to reach in, get personal and put it out there for others to read and judge, there have been a few.

Post that was my personal favourite

The Wedding At Cana
I love this scripture (even more since I read Walking with Mary) and it is one of my favourite rosary meditations. This January when I read it to write something on it I saw so many things that I had previously ignored or simply didn't notice. It was a great reflection to start my year with and it really stayed with throughout the year.

I look forward to what 2014 will bring to my life and to my writing. It has been fun and interesting looking back and I hope some of you will move forward me to see what will come in 2014.

Merry Christmas
Happy New Year
God Bless

Saturday, 28 December 2013

Hosting As A Single

Now usually couples and families host the big events but there is no reason a single cannot. This will be the third year I'll be hosting (with my sister) for New Year's and it continues to grow in the number of people who show up. The first year it was small just one aunt, her kids, a couple older teenage cousins, my grandmother and mother. Last year we included some friends with kids and another family friend, this year we are adding even more people.

Now don't think I have some grand abode with space to spare, not even in my simplest dreams. I have a good sized kitchen which helps but my house is small. My budget and my time are not excessive either so these are just a few tips that I have employed and learnt along the way.

This is so important. Something will likely go wrong or at least quite not how you want it. Do NOT  let it become the focus.

Decide Time or Money
Which do you want to save, when and where? Spend the money and save the time by buying a bag salad. Spend the time and save the money making rolls from scratch. This year I am spending the money on disposable plates after two years of spending the time washing dishes I am over it. there are perfectly cute or event appropriate disposable plates that can easily fit a theme.

 There were even plates that said happy New Year, Merry Christmas and 2014. These looked close to real.

Plan to do only one or two dishes well
I do not follow my own advice here but a week ago my friend hosted her single friends for a dinner, she did drinks and décor well, while leaving the rest to us. I did an amazing and well loved tiramisu for the dinner, everyone brought something and we had a great time. I like the cooking and baking part of hosting so I go all out with that and leave the other details to my sister. Know your strengths and go with it.

Have fun
Don't get so caught up in the details that you don't get a chance to mingle and be a part of the whole thing. My first year I spent most of my time in the kitchen and running all over. Last year I set things up, I got a chance to mingle and if I just had to spend some time in the kitchen I didn't go alone I took a cousin or two with me.

Don't be afraid to go casual
I don't have a dinning room table. I have a coffee table in the living room and some patio furniture outside with a table. Everything is served buffet style, everyone gets to freely move around and mingle as they like. At my friend's dinner (she has a dining table which we didn't use) and sometimes at mine, the board games come out, stories are told. We don't miss the sit down dinner that much and I don't feel self-conscious with the mismatched plates, what I own came in sets of four but we are close to 20 in people who show up. It also helps when someone unexpected shows up.

Even a well loved relative or friend can get on your last nerve at the wrong time. It is easy to get just a little overwhelmed even when you try to relax. Let God be a part of the party.

Christmas doesn't end until after the 6th January, invite a few people over and spread some cheers.

If anyone has any other ideas feel free to share them.

Merry Christmas to my readers!!!!!

Saturday, 14 December 2013

7 Quick Takes Friday #53

--- 1 ---
It's Saturday and I'm now getting to this. It has been a busy week, leaving my wonderful, relaxing vacation, coming home, wanting to go back but happy to be here.

--- 2 ---
Today is the first day that I have cooked since I have been back, Wednesday was my first full day back. I don't eat out a lot, a couple times a month or if I go out with friends a little bit more. My sister doesn't cook (although she can do simple meals) so for the whole time I was gone she didn't so there was nothing in the house and I was not feeling a grocery run, since I was planning to eat out Mexican on Thursday anyway I just decided to let the other two days slide as well.

--- 3 ---
Last Sunday I got to visit the lovely Jen of jumpinginpuddlesisfun and Martha of shinyhappycatholics. It was so great, I never really thought I would ever meet up with other bloggers in real life but when Jen heard that I would be in Florida and really close to her she said that we just had to meet up

--- 4 ---
I had my first ever Thanksgiving dinner last Sunday, cooked by the lovely Martha. Awesome cook, and very sweet, very welcoming.

--- 5 ---
While I was in Florida during the few days that I felt really cold (I'm from the Caribbean, don't judge), I promised myself that I would never complain that it was too hot ever again. Home for less than a week and I'm really glad I only promised myself

--- 6 ---
Monday is the start of the O Antiphons and the Christmas Novena

--- 7 ---
A song to end the week.

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

Friday, 6 December 2013

7 Quick Takes Friday #52

--- 1 ---
I wasn't sure I was going to do a QTs this week but it's my 1 year blogiversary week and 52 weeks of QTaking so I'm doing a quick QT, I am on vacation afterall.

--- 2 ---
I was really happy on Saturday when on take off my ears did not pop but that only lasted through the flight since my ears popped on landing. I got a little cocky from the take-off.

--- 3 ---
Today is the feast of St Nicholas, and I attended Mass with the kids from the school this morning. The kids, I think from 2nd grade put on a skit before Mass to explain St Nick it was very entertaining. They mostly remembered the words but the actions and movements they kind of forgot.

--- 4 ---
I have been adopted by an Italian grandmother, she is very entertaining. I met her at morning Mass on Monday and she has since made it her duty to to speak to me and check on me everyday. How I am doing, am I enjoying my visit and all that.

--- 5 ---
I am enjoying my vacation although it is colder sometime than I like. I have learnt not to go out without a coat or something even if when you leave when it is very hot. I have no idea how I will ever be able to handle snow.

--- 6 ---
I am really looking forward to Sunday. That's all for now.

--- 7 ---
A song to end the week.

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

Wednesday, 4 December 2013

Swords Into Plowshares

The first reading from the first Sunday of Advent came from Isaiah 2:1-5. Fr in his homily focused a bit on verse 4 "...they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks.

In the last few days I have really thought about what he said because it really stayed with me. There are many swords and spears that we wield to hurt others and ourselves. Weapons that we need to beat down and out of our lives. Vices that can be turned into virtues that can be useful tools for the Lord.

As we move along this Advent season as we prepare to welcome Jesus at Christmas lets do it without weapons.

Jealousy, bitterness, unforgiveness, unkindness, selfishness, lustfulness, pride, maliciousness, gossip.

Monday, 2 December 2013

It's Been A Year

Today marks one year since I have started blogging. It was the first Sunday of Advent and I was hopeful yet hesitant. I have always been a private and reserved person but I still wanted to share and connect. I also wasn't sure exactly who or what my demographic would be, I live in a country made up of two islands in the Caribbean that not many people has every heard of (show of hands all who have ever heard of Trinidad and Tobago before).

My very first post was part of a link-up although that was not part of my original plan but I discovered the little holy days link-up and it just fit my post. My very first comment was Molly of Molly Makes Do who was one of the three blogs hosting the link-up.

I've had lulls as I discovered what I wanted my voice to be and to say. Even though I had been blogging and knew that my Catholic Faith had to part of that voice I wasn't sure what else. I am a single, Catholic woman discerning my vocation so I was very happy to discover the Not Alone Series. It is a really great weekly link-up that was perfect for me. I didn't realise there were so many single, Catholic bloggers before, I knew there were a few and I read some of their blogs but many were new to me and I loved discovering them.

I have made connections and friends. I have discovered a few things about myself and have really grown in many areas of my life. This first year of blogging has been about learning, discovering and growing. I have learnt to balance blogging with other areas of my life which I didn't think would have been so hard but life gets hard, busy and overwhelming, blogging doesn't just get put on the back burner it get completely taken off the stove. Just to be put back on when the time was right.

It has been a great first year of blogging and I am looking for the next year to come.

Saturday, 30 November 2013

St Andrew

I am either currently trying to entertain myself at the airport, a.k.a people watching or reading whichever is more interesting today, or I am in flight to Florida. I will be praying the St Andrew Novena multiple times during this hours long ordeal which is great since the St Andrew Novena is prayed 15 times a day from his feast day (Nov 30) until Christmas Eve (some sources say till Christmas).

Who is St Andrew? St Andrew is the first apostle, he started following Jesus after John the Baptist declared "Behold the Lamb of God". He also introduced his brother Simon Peter to Jesus by announcing "We have found the Messiah". Did you catch that Andrew was the brother of the first Pope.

Andrew was a fisherman, like his brother and he went back to fishing after first meeting Jesus until they were called to be fishers of men. The Greeks refer to him as Protoclete  meaning First Called.

St Andrew went to Greece to preach the Gospel after the Resurrection and Ascension of Jesus. He was crucified on a decussate (X-shaped) cross, where he is said to have suffered for two days still preaching the Gospel to those who gathered. He is the patron saint of Russia and Scotland.

St Andrew is also the patron saint of marriage and fertility (did not know this until this year).

The St Andrew Christmas Novena
Hail and blessed be the hour and moment in which the Son of God was born of the most pure Virgin Mary, at midnight, in Bethlehem, in piercing cold. In that hour, vouchsafe, O my God! to hear my prayer and grant my desires (Mention your intentions here), through the merits of Our Saviour Jesus Christ, and of His Blessed Mother. Amen.

This my second year praying this novena.

Friday, 29 November 2013

7 Quick Takes Friday #51

--- 1 ---
I hate packing!!!!! How will I know how I feel about an outfit a few days from now or suppose I feel like wearing something that I didn't think to pack. I feel like I'm packing too much and then too little. I'm afraid of forgetting things. I hate packing!!!

--- 2 ---
I'm almost done packing for my trip on Saturday, just a few last minute things to put in. The number of chargers that need to be packed is ridiculous but I can't forget any of them, how did we ever survive before we had these these things that need charging.

--- 3 ---
I'll be praying the Immaculate Conception Novena beginning today with pray more novenas.

--- 4 ---
The nights around here has turned cold, I am not a fan. I'm happy to curl up on the couch with an afghan but I do not like cold. I'm headed to Florida which everyone is telling me is also cold.

--- 5 ---
I felt inspired this week so I posted almost everyday, only one was previously planned so all of these were just what I was feeling or thinking at the time.
--- 6 ---
Sunday is the first Sunday of Advent, last year I posted my very first blog post on the first Sunday of Advent. Monday is my blogiversary and it's been quite a year. Really hope to have a post up for it.

--- 7 ---
A song to end the week.

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

Wednesday, 27 November 2013

Advent Plans

Advent begins on Sunday. I love Advent, it is my favourite Liturgical season. Purple, candles, beautiful music. I love to slow down at this time when everyone else speeds up. So these are just a few ways that I'll use to remember what this season is all about.

First up is the Magnificat Advent Companion, I have been using this for a few years and I love it. It's

an easy way to pray and reflect through the Advent season on it's own. There are prayers for the blessing of the Advent wreath and the Christmas tree, just to name a few. It takes you from the first Sunday of Advent to Christmas day.

I want to mark in some small way some of the more notable feast days that fall during Advent
St Nicholas on the 6th with chocolate
The Immaculate Conception on the 8th with cake
Our Lady of Guadeloupe on the 12th with Mexican
St Lucy on the 13th with a candle lit throughout the day and cake

St Francis Xavier is on the 3rd but I don't have anything planned for that or St John of the Cross on the 16th but that may change.

I will be praying the St Andrew Novena again this year after I was successful last year, although technically I start that on Saturday it still runs through Advent so it counts.

I will also be praying the Immaculate Conception Novena which will begins on Friday.

I'll be doing candle without a wreath this year, I'll be gone for the first two weeks of Advent so I won't bother to take out the wreath especially since the candles that I got can't fit it anyway.

Most of all through this Advent season I want to prepare my heart for the coming of the king and to truly allow Him to be king of my life.

Tuesday, 26 November 2013


"This at last is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; this one shall be called Woman, for out of man this one was taken." Gen 2:23 (emphasis mine).

Adam did not cry in lament on meeting woman. He cried out in joy, "this at last". At last after all his searching. At last after all his waiting. At last....

I've heard the various jokes of "woe-to-man" and everything else that today's man throws out to share his feelings about women. Thankfully the first man did not think that way, neither does every man of today.

In God's eternal plan, woman is the one in whom the order of love in the created world of persons takes first root. Mulieris Dignitatem 29

Women are not an after thought in God's plan. We weren't an "oh shucks" man needs someone to keep him company. We were created out of love and for love. We were created to be desired, cherished and respected.

We were created with a heart, mind and a soul, not just a body. To be desired as a whole. To be cherished as a whole. To be respected as a whole.

A woman's dignity is closely connected with the love which she receives by the very reason of her femininity; it is likewise connected with the love she gives in return. Mulieris Dignitatem 29

Women are created in the image and likeness of God. Women were created to be fruitful, life giving, life empowering, life changing. Mother Theresa, Therese de Lisieux, Mary Magdalene, Elizabeth, Eve, Our Blessed Mother.

The life of one woman weaves into the lives of others, touching others, enriching the lives of others. When Adam cried out his delight, his joy at meeting woman it was not just for Eve but for every woman who comes after in the voice of every man who recognizes, accepts and delights in the dignity of a woman.

Monday, 25 November 2013

Breath of Life

"then the LORD God formed man from the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being" Gen 2:7

The Year of Faith has come to a close, however it does not go quietly just fizzling into the night over and out. No, just as God breathe life into man, He has once again breathe life into His faithful and we are living beings for Him filled with the new life that this past year has generated.

Thank you to Pope Emeritus Benedict for being inspired and giving us this Year of Faith. Thanks for your witness that many may have seen as weak, were unable or chose not to understand but was a life giving breath to your flock.

Thank you to Pope Francis, a beautiful, unexpected but so welcome breath, breathing life into the Church and those outside the church. His humility, servant-hood are witnesses that inspire and encourage.

Flocknote who gave us the catechism in a year, igniting the faith of many around the world with just an email a day. For the upcoming year they are doing it again as well as offering the gospels in a year.

The mothers and teachers who used this year to breath life into their kids. Exciting them, encouraging them, instructing them, throwing that rock into the water that will ripple for years to come.

Though the Year of Faith has come to a close our desire to renew, ignite and build on our Faith should not burn out also. We need to keep breathing life into our Faith and the Faith of others. We need to keep building on what was started, breathing life into this world.

Sunday, 24 November 2013

Christ Is King

The Church year guides us into inexhaustible mysteries. External riches are opened up to us and "in some way made present for all time." We "lay hold of them and are filled with saving grace" (Vatican II, Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy, 102).

Today the Last Sunday of the Liturgical Year, the Feast of Christ the King. The Feast of Christ the king is relatively new since it was only established in 1925 by Pope Pius XI. The feast is intended to proclaim in a striking and effective manner Christ's royalty over individuals, families, society, governments, and nations.

At the Crucifixion Pilate proclaimed Jesus King of the Jews by having the words affixed to His Cross. We see it today whenever we look at a Crucifix, INRI, Iēsus Nazarēnus, Rēx Iūdaeōrum, Jesus the Nazarene, King of the Jews. Pilate, a pagan ruler who had no use for Jews or Christians was able to proclaim Jesus as King. Do we?

Does Christ reign in our heart? "For where your treasure us, there your heart will be also." Matt 6:21

Does Christ reign in our mind? "Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your minds, so that you may discern what is the will of God." Rom 12:2

Does Christ reign in our wills? "Anyone who resolves to do the will of God will know weather the teaching is from God or whether I am speaking on my own" John 7:17

Does Christ reign in our bodies? "Now you are the body of Christ and individually members of it." 1 Car 12:27

So Pilate said to him, "Then you are a king?" Jesus answered, "You say I am a king. For this I was born and for this I came into the world,to testify to the truth (John 18:37).

Friday, 22 November 2013

7 Quick Takes Friday #50

--- 1 ---
My week started on Monday with my car not starting only to find out my battery is dead. Not good news especially since I do not need an unexpected expense right now. Then came the good news, the warranty on the battery was still good for 5 more days (5 extremely beautiful days) so I got a brand new battery absolutely free. God is so good. I was so grateful and happy I just went around singing His praises to everyone who wanted (or didn't want) to listen to my battery story.

--- 2 ---
Saturday I spent some time with a friend who was visiting Trinidad with her husband and 11 month old baby daughter. Her daughter is totally adorable, she wasn't too sure about me when I first walked in but she warmed up to me soon enough. Running all around me, climbing in my lap, she loved hugs and cuddles except

--- 3 ---
On Tuesday Cindy over at the veil of chastity wrote about a Sacramental Life in Christ, then on Wednesday Haille over at Moxie Wife posted as on her 5 Faves 50 Ways to Talk to God, while just Monday I was thinking about what I want to do during Advent to strengthen my Faith life and here I was gifted with two great resources to glean from. Thank God for these two wonderful women and their timely posts.

--- 4 ---
Sunday is the Feast of Christ the King, our Liturgical Year as well as the Year of Faith will be at an end. I always say this a lot coming to the close of every year but this year flew by. I was kept so busy with conferences, retreats, blogging, having social life and other commitments that I had very few moments to sit, be bored or complain that time is moving to slowly.

--- 5 ---
For The Not Alone Series this week we shared our tips for surviving the holidays.Some really great tips were shared but also Jen and Morgan had a great surprise announcement for us. Check it out!!!!!
--- 6 ---
Next week I hope to have a few posts up including one about my plans for Advent. My blogiversary is also right around the corner so I also want to write a post about that. I really want to post more for Advent.

--- 7 ---
A song to end the week.

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

Tuesday, 19 November 2013

Not Alone Series: Surviving Events/Parties as a Singleton

The holidays are coming up! Family parties, friend gatherings... and you're single. How do you "cope"? Any tips or tricks?

My quick answer, lock the doors, pull down the shades and don't come out until January 7th but since you mother knows where you live she'll probably come find you. No really though my relatives aren't all that bad.

Help, be of service. Those drinks are not going to refresh themselves and it's the perfect way to mingle and you have an automatic out when the conversation gets uncomfortable. Keep the kids company and entertained, everyone knows they are the life of the party anyway. The kitchen is where all those "remember when" conversations happen, you'll be so busy laughing and shocked that your mother did "that" you won't have time for those annoying questions.

Have a wing woman. You can't be the only single cousin/niece/granddaugther/neighbour/co-worker reach out. If you aren't already friends reach out, get together sometime outside of the parties and get to know each other. There is safety in numbers plus you really get to enjoy yourself with some good (maybe new) friends instead of feeling like you have to hide all the time.

Know the relative who is just happy to see you. Say hi to him/her first, the joy they have in just seeing you catching up and the joy you have from seeing them will start your day/night off right. Uncle Tony who will grab you, hug you and start singing your praises even if it's just remembering to call him on his birthday every year will put a smile on your face that nothing can take away.

You are AWESOME. Know it before hand, practice it if you need to but don't ever forget it.

The Not Alone Series has truly been a blessing my life these last few months. Reading all your blogs and getting to know you, seeing that I am not alone in this has been great. I am still going to be reading your blogs during the break and I look forward to starting back with this series in Jnauary. Happy Thanksgiving to those who celebrate it and Merry Christmas to all just in case I don't get to say it at a more appropriate time and Happy New Year as well.

Now that I've finished being mushy....be sure to read everyone in this last NAS post for the year. Check out Jen for the link up.

ETA just saw the surprise so be sure to check it out.

Friday, 15 November 2013

7 Quick Takes Friday #49

--- 1 ---
I am gleefully counting down the days until I am vacation. I am not even a little embarrassed at how joyful I am to have time away from work. This time next week I will be enjoying my time away and the following week I will taking a few day away.

--- 2 ---
I happened upon a comic-fest (comic book-fest) this past weekend, beside the Archie's which I loved as a kid and the marvels that I read with my cousins I didn't really get into it. I recognised some japenese comics that are read backwards that my cousin is always talking about but still I didn't get into it. Yet I spent almost an hour of my time because a friend of mine did, each section was carefully scrutinized and perused. I got to listen to nerd speak and a pseudo argument/discussion about an edition or the other of a comic that I had never hear of. I saw grown men practically salivate. It was an interesting people watching time if nothing else

--- 3 ---
I cleaned the kitchen sink on Sunday, really scrubbed and sparkled it. It is still clean today Friday. This is big in this house since my sister believes in "I'll do it later" but this week she has really made an effort to do her dishes right away and clean up. I am very proud of her.

--- 4 ---
Tomorrow I am going up to one of my favourite places, Mount St Benedict. It's a monastery, there is also a convent on the grounds, as well as a retreat centre, a fave bookstore of mine. It is also home to the church I attended for New Years day. Most years I get up there maybe twice, this will be probably my tenth time for 2013. I have to make a stop at the retreat centre but after that I am headed to the Blessed Sacrament for some quiet time and then the bookstore where my pockets hopes I buy nothing. The rest of me has other plans, we shall see who comes out on top.

--- 5 ---
For The Not Alone Series this week we talked about our being able to relate to non-single friends and vice versa. I know It is not always easy. So check it out.
--- 6 ---
Please pray for a retreat that I assist at that is hapening this weekend. I will not be there personally now that my part of registration is done but prayers are always welcome and needed

--- 7 ---
A song to end the week.

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

Tuesday, 12 November 2013

Not Alone Series: Vulnerability with friends

Do you find that your non-single friends struggle with relating to you or vice versa? If so, in what ways? How do you handle it? What is something that you would like them to know or understand that they just don't seem to get?

Recently I was on a retreat planning team and I was going through my phone lists trying to find friends, single friends, to invite to the retreat and I realised in the last two years quite a number of my friends have gotten married. I have a few that are very close to engagement and a few still who are engaged and in the middle of wedding planning, one of which is a guy who I thought would never be serious about anything.

I do have a married friend who I think I can relate to and be vulnerable to, her journey to love and marriage is nothing like what mine is turning out to be. She met her husband (or re-met since they when to university together) the day she left a discernment house. She had spent a year there, she had always thought she had a religious calling so there was no dating, no bemoaning being single, no anxiety about being alone or never having kids. She has never gone through anything I have (at least not to the extent) and yet I always feel at peace and easy with her. The bristles don't go up when she gives me the advice that I may think as condescending from someone else. It could be her calm outlook and presence or it could be that whenever she talks it doesn't go "Well when I stopped......finish the sentence".

Now don't get me wrong I have no problem with hearing other people's personal experience, it can be helpful and enlightening. However DO NOT give it to me in such a way that says because I did it this way therefore you should too because it was successful once it is going to be successful again, if it doesn't you're probably doing it wrong.

I have another friend who got married late in life, she gives me advice that doesn't come out as advice which I love. I also relate to her well by just being around her, I love to watch of she and her husband relate to each other that is the best testimony that I can get from anyone. While I'm contemplating how to borrow her son long-term I watch and I listen to them, they have a way of valuing me in simple ways that seem big just for who I am. She knows that I want to married and have a big family but doesn't give me a long list of to-do's or must try's (though I am not totally against all of them) she gives gentle and relevant support for the whole of me not just the want to get married part.

As I reflect back on these friends and the others who are non-single that I think I relate well too and those that I don't, I know there are things about me and my personality that may make relating awkward. I may take something innocently said the wrong way. They can't help their joy, they feel it and want to share it, I can try to take that into consideration when dealing with the newly engaged, newly married and newly pregnant especially. The "I'm dating the greatest guy ever"s need a little leeway also even if they are constantly trying to set you up with their ideal of a guy.

I love my friends, being around them, learning from them. We are not all in the same season of life and the paths we have taken do not all look the same but I think we all have something to teach the other as well as learn. We just need to take pride out of the equation as well as learn to be a little sensitive to each other.

See what everyone has to say on the topic. Visit Morgan for the link-up.

Saturday, 9 November 2013

7 Quick Takes Friday #48 The Saturday Version

--- 1 ---
It's Saturday night and I am now sitting down to finish write this although I started it way earlier in the week, I have just been restless and distracted which is not conducive to getting anything done that requires be still.

--- 2 ---
Thursday was my birthday. It was a great day. Pumpkin cheesecake, ice-cream, confession, a birthday blessing, quesadillas, linguine, shrimp. Birthday greetings in all shapes forms and sizes including a telephone serenade.

--- 3 ---
I made the pumpkin cheesecake from scratch so I'll just share a few pictures. I reverse order.

--- 4 ---
Just so this is not just about my birthday, I am very excited about my trip to Florida at the end of this month. It is just a trip to get away which is the best kind to have and because of the season and my inability to handle snow (cold really of which snow is) Florida is my destination of choice. I've been there before although not the exact area but I am looking forward to just getting away.

--- 5 ---
For The Not Alone Series this week we shared our fave single people sites/articles/posts. I know I discovered some I didn't know about, maybe you will too. So check it out.
--- 6 ---
I saw this sign today off the highway. I have never seen it before but I am not a very observant driver.

If you can't see the words this is the prayer:-
"Lord Jesus Christ, Son of the Father, send now Your Spirit over the earth. Let the Holy Spirit live in the hearts of all nations, that they may be preserved from degeneration, disaster and war. May the Lady of All Nations, who once was Mary, be our Advocate. Amen."
--- 7 ---
A song to end the week. This song is stuck in my head today.

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

Thursday, 7 November 2013

Another Year

Today is my birthday, the start of another year of life.

Thanks be to God that I have made it to yet another year of life and for all the blessings that I have been showered with over the last twelve months.

This is my second birthday within the Year of Faith and I can definitely say I have been blessed to grow in my Faith. I have grown in my understanding and deepened my love of being Catholic and all that it means. I have grown in confidence in speaking about my Faith (although I still have my moments when I want to hide in a corner and be invisible).

This my first birthday with a blog. Usually I'll just jot down some reflections in my journal after I've stuffed myself with cake and ice-cream as well as whatever was on the menu for my birthday meal (and I'll still do that). With a blog I can sit here the night before type up some thoughts to share with the world at large (or at least whoever reads this).

So I'm going to share my plans for the day......

Mass in the morning, start the day right. Hopefully I'll get a birthday blessing from one of my favourite priests. Then I get to spend some time in front of the Blessed Sacrament, some quiet time, some prayer time, some gratitude time. Later in the evening confession, what better gift to give myself.

I really want the new Kindle HDX which is being released on my birthday, it's just begging me to get it which I will soon but my birthday gift to myself is actually my tickets for my vacation to Florida. Ten beautiful, just because days away, no big plans just rest, relaxation and reflection.

And for the celebration portion of the day....

This year my cake is a home-made pumpkin cheesecake, the baker in me doesn't like ordinary, last year I did a lemon meringue marble cheesecake, this year I'm going through a pumpkin phase.

I'll be adding some whipped cream before serving because my sister thinks it needs a little something. I guess it does and I was originally thinking caramel but whipped cream with cinnamon sprinkled over sounds more fitting.

I have big bucket of kemps for the family and friends but just for me I got

I was minding my own business trolling the freezer isle when what do I see Champagne Truffle ice-cream it seemed like just the perfect celebration treat, the salted caramel is just an added bonus, it is my birthday after all.

I'm going to be enjoying some TGI Fridays as my meal of choice. I originally wanted Ruby Tuesday but TGI won out, even over an Italian place that I really love.

Well of to have a Happy and Blessed birthday!!!!!

Tuesday, 5 November 2013

Not Alone Series: Fave Single Person Website/Blog

Share your favorite single person websites or blogs!
Include post/articles that pertain to the single life, if you want, too!

I'm going to start off with Ignium Today, they have quite a few different categories of posts/articles geared towards everyone but I have found some great ones for single people that I just love and relate too. I'm just going to link up that last one that I really liked but you should really check out the site and everything else that they have. A singular Vocation by Emma Smith.

Seraphic Singles. Dorothy Cummings McLean, I stumbled upon this blog a couple of years ago and then I lost the link for a while and then someone I know suggested the site to me. She wrote a book with the same title. I think she's funny.

Veil of Chastity. Cindy like Dorothy is married but writes specifically for us single people. She just started a series "Dear Cindy" where she shares and answers readers questions. I really like the 3 date rule, yes if a guy asks me out on a date I will be beyond excited and want to shout it from the roof, tweet and facebook it but self-containment is very prudent. She is also very supportive of us NAS bloggers.

Jackie Francois. She recently got married, she wrote this great post for the chastity project blog that I loved.

Made In His Image. I really started following them on facebook and would just read the post from there. The founder Maura Byrnes has a really powerful story and the posts are very encouraging to women.

Check out what other blogs/articles/websites everyone else has found helpful. Visit Morgan for the link-up.

Friday, 1 November 2013

7 Quick Takes Friday #47

--- 1 ---
How can it be November already? Not that I'm complaining because my birthday is next week Thursday but really it's November already!!! Where did the time go?

--- 2 ---
Usually I have everything for my birthday planned way in advance but this year I have nothing. I think I am just going to make a pumpkin cheesecake but I have no idea what to do for dinner. I have a recipe for stuffed cabbage, I've never had that and I always like to try something new but this year I am supposed to go out since I usually do one year at home and the next year out to dinner. A friend wants to do Karaoke that might be fun.

--- 3 ---
I got the strangest penance when I went to Confession this past weekend, exercise (this is real penance for me since I don't). Fr did explain why, I have never gotten penance without explanation and it makes sense it is just still strange. This was a new to me priest, I liked him, he reminded me of my regular confessor just a little bit.

--- 4 ---
Heading to Adoration after work today, so looking forward to that. Anyone wants me to pray for them don't be afraid to ask.

--- 5 ---
For The Not Alone Series this week we looked at Settling. We shared our thoughts on settling in general so check them out.
--- 6 ---
The retreat was great, awesome, frustrating, uplifting, exhausting, renewing, heart-opening, humbling. Since I had two hats on this weekend I had about four different experiences. As a retreatant it was all things wonderful and a little bit surprising. As an organizing team member it was all things wonderful, exhausting, stressful and a little bit surprising. I would definitely do it again. In fact I am on the pre-registration team for another retreat happening this month but that just a small role.

--- 7 ---
A song to end the week.

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

Tuesday, 29 October 2013

Not Alone Series: Settling

No one would encourage you to "settle" in your relationships, but would you ever consider it?
What are your thoughts on settling in relationships in general?

This topic is proving hard for me to get started with, I have my opinions on this topic. In fact a few friends and I were having a discussion on this topic not too long ago. Just getting the words out is not as easy.

Women and men sometimes feel like this is never going to happen for me so I should just find someone, anyone who is willing to have me and move on. They stop trusting God. All those women who are telling themselves that they don't need a man to have kids and instead decide to "do it on their own".

I am worth it. I am worth the wait. I am worth getting to know. I am worth loving. I am worth standing in front of the Alter before God, family and friends as a life-long commitment is made. I had a conversation that turned into a fight with someone about her relationship with her boyfriend and one line she threw at me was very telling "Do you want me to be alone?" I can't speak to her heart or mind exactly but when she asked me that I realised that she was willing to settle because she probably didn't think she was worth much or could do better. I struggle with my own self-worth issues and I'd like to think I will stand strong but I know I can't do it alone.

I pray that I remain strong enough not to settle. I was playing with a friend's 9 month old son on Sunday, making him laugh and enjoying everything he was doing, my heart was aching for a baby of my own but I do not want one above God and everything He wants for me. It is very easy to make my desire for a husband and babies an idol, something that I want at all cost, above everything and everyone else. It will be very easy to tell myself I deserve this, compromise everything I believe to just settle into something that I think will give me everything I want.

I do know that there will be times that we may need or want to compromise just a little. That great, godly man who makes you heart skip a few beats doesn't attend Daily Mass or pray the Rosary daily but when he discusses Ven. Fulton Sheen (you have no idea who he is) with such passion you get goosebumps may just be worth something.

What are your thoughts on settling? Join or check out the link up on Jen's blog.

Friday, 25 October 2013

7 Quick Takes Friday #46

--- 1 ---
This week has been hard. I am exhausted between work and last minute running around for the retreat this weekend all I want to do is sleep, it is not helping that my sinuses are not co-operating.

--- 2 ---
I bought a new printer at the beginning of the month and I only opened it on Thursday, it took me over two hours to set up. It's an e-printer/wireless/3-in-one and needs a rocket scientist to set it up. Every time I send a print it asks me to align the printer which I have already done a few times already so I ignore it every time.I'll probably try to fix it tomorrow.

--- 3 ---
This is the last Friday in October. This year seems to have flown by so quickly, my birthday is in two weeks, then we have the Feast of Christ the King a couple weeks after that and then we're in Advent, preparing for Christmas. It feels like I was just doing that.

--- 4 ---
I still have to pack for my retreat which is not happening right now but hopefully I'll remember everything. Please pray for us this weekend and I will pray for anyone who wants as I'll be spending much time in Adoration.

--- 5 ---
For The Not Alone Series this week we looked at Patience. There were quite a few insightful thoughts so check them out.
--- 6 ---
It's retreat weekend!!!!

--- 7 ---
A song to end the week.

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

Tuesday, 22 October 2013

Not Alone Series: Patience

(when you find yourself becoming really impatient, or struggling with your life to "really" begin, how do you combat it? Do you do anything? How can we support one another in this area?)

I am not patient in the least, let's just get that out of the way. As a kid I read the last chapter of the book first. I like to know where I'm going and what steps I can cut out to get there faster. Unfortunately I have no sense of direction and I have friends who are chronically late so I find myself waiting a lot. God definitely has a sense of humour.

One of my favourite verses is Jer 29:11 "For I know the plans I have for you says the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, to give you a future with hope." This verse is both comforting and frustrating. I often find myself praying this verse asking God what is this plan and when does it start. I know where I want to go but I don't know the steps, God has the map and I don't know what I can cut out to get to my destination faster.

I've heard a story a few times of a child who saw a butterfly struggling to emerge from it's cocoon and decided to help. However because the butterfly wasn't allowed to struggle and go through every step, it was too weak, he wasn't fully formed. He couldn't fly.

"In God alone be at rest my soul." Ps 62:5. Trusting God, really trusting Him and being at peace with His plan. This is not easy, that is why I try to stay close to Him. Pray always even when it's hard, especially when it's hard. Adoration, sometimes it's enough just to be in His presence other times I have much more to say. His Word, my bible and I are not the best of bosom buddies at times but I know I can always find just the right verse, passage or even chapter when I need it.

Strong, faithful friends who will tell you the hard truths, stand by you, support and encourage you, let you cry pray for you and with, be there for you, in real life or online. Sometimes I don't even really need to bring up that I am feeling impatient or frustrated, a relevant conversation may just come up and the discussion may be just what I needed. I also need to work on being that kind of friend to others so that I can encourage and support them also.

Patience is a virtue and virtue is a grace. Even when I am sick of waiting, impatient with being patient I can see the graces that have gotten me to where I am now (stronger in my Faith, a better friend and person, more mature) and hopefully those graces will help me get to where I am going.

Be sure to check out what everyone else thinks in the link up on Morgan's blog.

Saturday, 19 October 2013

7 Quick Takes Friday #45

--- 1 ---
I actually started this on Thursday but it has become QT Saturday because I have so much that had to get done. Although the main culprit is the surprise birthday party that I attended Thursday night. I had told myself that I would leave at ten since I had to be at work on Friday and I have Mass at 6:30. I go home close to midnight but I had fun, my friend was surprised and I got up to go to Mass before work

--- 2 ---
Friday a worker from my department had her retirement function, it was actually a function for three retiring employees. It was very sad, she has been working at this company longer than I have been alive. The function was very nice and touching, there were laughs, memories and really good food.

--- 3 ---
Today Saturday I will be attending a anniversary/birthday Mass then heading out to hangout with the birthday girls. We have no idea where we are going, there is a great place that has a number of places to eat, drink and enjoy free entertainment on Saturday nights. Free live entertainment should be good since I am looking for an affordable night.

--- 4 ---
Today I start praying a St Jude Novena. St Jude is the name of my Church so I usually pray it but with everything going on I was going to skip it this year but since praymorenovenas.com is leading one this year I get my email reminders so I don't have worry about being distracted by everything else going on.

--- 5 ---
For The Not Alone Series this week we discussed Chastity. There were quite a few insightful thoughts so check them out.
--- 6 ---
Only one more week until my retreat. We have so much done yet sometimes it feels like we have so much still to do. We keep praying and working, God is good.

--- 7 ---
A song to end the week.

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

Tuesday, 15 October 2013

Not Alone Series: Chastity

Physical or Emotional. What are your struggles? How do you overcome them?

Chastity lets us live with upright and undivided hearts.

Chastity is NOT abstinence. Chastity comes from the Latin word castus meaning pure. Many of the internet definitions that I saw referenced not having sex before marriage but chastity is so much more. Chastity does not only direct what you do before marriage but also what comes after. In fact it can be argued that chastity can have nothing to do with sex and it is about so much more that just the physical act. Chastity is the difference between loving and using.

Emotional chastity, I'm not sure how wide spread the term is in secular culture but it is like the it phrase in the Christian world. Do we even know what it really is? I'm still not sure I can fully articulate a definition. We can be attracted to someone for the way they make us feel, think, act or even the idea of being with them and we can just as easily begin using them instead of building a true, authentic relationship.

This post is not however about the definitions of chastity but rather our struggles with it and how we overcome.

We are naturally predisposed to certain desires (it's why advertising is such big business) and while most of these desires are not wrong how we indulge them just might be. Just like ads heighten and sensitize us to crave that ice-cream, new car or juicy steak what we read, listen to and watch can affect our desires. I try to be very careful about about what I read and watch on t.v, I don't need to see every big buster that hits the big screen and I am particular about my listening choices.

Chastity takes discipline. Chastity also takes grace, lots and lots of grace. Every time I meet a great guy who shows interest (and even if he doesn't) I have to pray about it. My reactions, his reactions, my thoughts and his because if he's ringing all my bells it is very easy to picture him standing at the alter all decked out waiting for me. It will also be easy to go many places that we should not.

There are quite a few chastity resources, most in my opinion are geared towards teenagers but I believe that most of them should still be helpful.

A few useful resources
Audio Talks
Back to the Garden: Theology of the Body from Eden to Today by Dr. Edward Sri
Avoiding Fatal Attractions by Dr. Edward Sri
Getting it Right: The Foundation of Friendship by Dr. Edward Sri

Check out what everyone else has to say on the subject or join the link up over at Jen's blog

Friday, 11 October 2013

7 Quick Takes Friday #44

--- 1 ---
It's less than a month until my birthday. I love my birthday, I go all out for my birthday. Although I am a little behind in my planning, I haven't decided on what kind of cake I'm having this year or where I am having dinner. I usually have dinner out every other year, I also usually make my own cake, last year was a lemon curd cheesecake but I am coming up empty this year.

--- 2 ---
Less than a month after my birthday I am going on vacation. I always like to take Advent off, it's my favourite Liturgical season (I say that a lot but Advent really is) so I like to take my time through this season, no unnecessary rushing. I have already ordered my Magnificat Advent companion and I am looking at what other books I want to read through this period.

--- 3 ---
The best part of my vacation..... I am headed to Florida for 10 days. I have already hit up masstimes.org, picked a church, checked out their Daily Mass, Adoration and Confession schedule. This is not my first trip to Florida but my time to this particular area. I am really looking forward to 10 days of downtime.

--- 4 ---
I prayed the St Therese de Lisieux novena a week ago and since the first day that I started I have been seeing roses. I have also been having my prayers answered. I just had to share that because God is so good.

--- 5 ---
For The Not Alone Series this week we our favourite recipes for one. Check out what everyone likes to cook maybe you'll find a new favourite or at least something to add to your recipe box or pinterest.
--- 6 ---
Retreat planning is coming along well, making changes to logistics and schedule as needed but everything is starting to fall into place. There are still quite a few things that need to be finalised but I am like how everything is going. We keep praying and working, God is good.

--- 7 ---
A song to end the week.

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

Tuesday, 8 October 2013

Not Alone Series: Fave Recipes.......For One

Fave Recipes... for one!
(ok, or a small crowd!)

One is such a lonely number.

I love to cook and I have been cooking for just one and sometimes two (I live with my sister) for a while now and I am not the biggest fan of leftovers. Therefore I have mastered the art of single cooking, unfortunately I don't measure or re-write recipes when I make changes.

I do have a few tricks that I like to employ like this nifty chart for reducing a recipe

There are some recipes that cannot be reduced using this chart like choux pastry (learnt that one personally) or some cakes but as far as I know everything else is fair game.

If you don't measure like me but rather cook by sight, smaller cooking tools are great for helping to make smaller amounts.

I use that baking dish to make fruit crisp/cobblers as well as small cakes, souffle for one. I also have a small baking sheet, muffin/cup cake tin and a couple other baking stuff. I have regular sizes too but the small ones are great for when I want to make just enough.

"Re-purpose" your leftovers. Leftover rice then make fried rice, you can use any vege or meat (shredded or diced) along with it too. Leftover pasta, maybe try a cassetole. Meat and veges, try tacos or a wrap. Just because you eating the same thing twice in the same week doesn't mean you have to eat it the same way.

I like this cheese souffle, I made it and it's not too complicated just precise. It's kind of fancy without being difficult. It's perfect for one.

I make fruit crisps all the time for an easy desert, frozen fruit of choice, sugar (or sweetener of choice), oatmeal, butter. Mix about a cup or 2 of fruit with 1 tablespoon of flour(for thickening) and about 1.5 tablespoon of sugar (more if you like sweeter), pour into baking dish. Mix oats with butter (1.5 tablepsoons), a sprinkle sugar then spread over fruit mix. Bake in a pre-heated 350 oven for 30 minutes. Enjoy.
 either or not both

These Spinach Egg Cups freeze well and are great if I do say so myself.

See what everyone else is cooking, see Morgan for the link-up.