Thursday, 28 February 2013

Thank You Papa

..... for the last 8 years.Thank you for not trying to fill the shoes of the one who came before you but finding your own pair. Thank you for your Faith that inspire mine. Thank you for this Year of Faith. You for your lesson of strength in humility, of submission to God's will. Thank you for your life of prayer ahead, for praying for me, for the faithful, the not so faithful, the sometimes faithful, the want-to-be faithful and the lost. Thank for what I have forgotten as well as what I never knew. There is much that I don't even knew I should say thank you for

Auf Wiedersehen

Friday, 22 February 2013

7 Quick Takes Friday #12

--- 1 ---
Friday evening I got a text inviting me to Stations of the Cross and then dinner. I have some truly great and encouraging friends, this is the 3rd year I think that we have arranged to go to SOTC on the 1st Friday in Lent just a few more to go before it is a habit then a tradition.
--- 2 ---

Sunday I went to my friend's parish aka my boss's parish, awkward much. I looked to my right at some point during the 1st of 2nd reading and who should I see sitting 1 row over and 1 pew up. I didn't get a chance to interact with him because I have quite a few friends attending this parish who I haven't seen in a while and was overwhelmed with getting hugged and saying hi after Mass.
--- 3 ---
Work has been super busy this week which sucks because we are currently understaffed in our department which means that I am overworked. I am recently off a long weekend now I feel like I need another one which doesn't happen again until Good Friday/Easter Weekend.
--- 4 ---
Less than a week to go until the resignation of Pope Benedict XVI. I have managed to totally avoid all non-Catholic sources of "information", I have garnered a few interesting details about the upcoming Conclave. The second Conclave of my lifetime but the 1st that I will be paying total attention. I watched the last one play out and I knew I was looking for white smoke but not much else.
--- 5 ---
OSV is having free shipping on a few books by B16 I have identified two that I want to get, the last book I ordered from them got here last week after less than a week with free shipping and I am in another country so I am happy to choose them over amazon at this time.
--- 6 ---
Today is the last Friday of the month. I'm not ready for this month to end and all that it means but I guess I don't need to be ready.
--- 7 ---
A song to end the week.


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Wednesday, 20 February 2013

The Seven Petitions of the Our Father

At yesterday's Mass Fr gave a very inspiring homily that had me sitting up and taking notes. I have actually been thinking about part of this for a while since I had heard an episode of "Christ is the Answer" show

The Our Father is a hard prayer, if we are to mean everything that we ask in it then it is really and truly difficult. It is prayed at every Mass, it is prayed as part of the Rosary, it is one of if not the first prayer we learn as kids. It is often the go to when words fail but how often do we pray it by rote. I know there are times when I don't mean half of what I'm asking. What are we asking? Every time we pray the Our Father we make at least 7 petitions

1. Our Father who art in heaven hallowed be Thy name
   - that God's name be Holy
   - that God's name be Blessed
   - that the Lord's name be only used with reverence and honour
  - that His name is not taken in vain or blasphemed

2. Thy kingdom come
  - that Heaven, the kingdom of God may be in our hearts and in our lives
  - that God's kingdom will meet us here on earth
 - that God's kingdom will be welcomed, His Church, His Word

3. Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven
  - that He will help us submit our will to His
 - that just as the Angels and Saints cheerfully seek and do God's will in heaven so too will we here on earth

4. Give us this day our daily bread
 -that God will provide for us
 -that we will trust God to provide for us
 -that He will provide all that we need, not just physical but spiritual as well

5. And forgive us our we forgive those who trespass against us
 -that God will forgive us our sins
 -but only in so much as we forgive those who have sinned against us (that little fine print)

6. Lead us not into temptation
-to remove us from temptation
-away from the dangers of sin
-give us the graces we need to fight these temptations

7. But deliver us from evil
 - save us from what is dark in our lives
 - preserve us from evil and sin

The Our Father aka The Lord's Prayer is the prayer that Jesus taught His disciples, the prayer He taught to us. It's the prayer He left us because He loved us and knew we are capable and strong enough and brave enough to genuinely pray and mean every word. The Our Father is a simple prayer, it is a beautiful prayer and it is a gift.

Linking up with

Tuesday, 19 February 2013

Lenten Cooking: Spinach Egg Cups

I borrowed this recipe from Stacey and I made it my own.

1 Dozen Eggs
1 Cup of Heavy Cream (milk, half & Half are all fine)
I left out the salt because some of the other seasonings I used had
Frozen Chopped Spinach (3 or 4 balls thawed, drained and squeezed dry)
1/4 Cup Grated Cheese (I used what I had pepper-jack and cheddar mix)
a combo of seasonings that I like

I didn't turn on the oven to pre-heat until there was about 5 minutes more to go i.e before I started filling the muffin tins but after I had added all the ingredients.

Make sure that your spinach is squeezed of all it's water ( I often see Rachael Ray using a tea towel although I just used my hands). Add it to the eggs in a large bowl and the cream, seasons and cheese mix well, you want the cheese and spinach as distributed as possible.

I used cupcake paper in my tins and a 1/4 measure to fill the cups with the egg mixture. I got 18 cups. Bake for 25-30 minutes in a 325 oven, if you are using a convection oven you will of course reduce the time a little. They are done when the top are no longer wet and a knife or toothpick inserted comes out clean.

These things are delicious, I had 5 right our of the oven, it started with three (one from each tin to test for quality control and all that) and then I decided it made good sense to finish off the other 2 from the tin with 3 so they would feel odd.

 The 3 were baked in the convection oven, forgot to reduce the time. Tasted just great, we're actually burnt.

They freeze well just ensure they cool properly before putting them in ziplock bags and into the freezer. I've had a few reheated, just as great.

Great Lenten snack, or even breakfast for dinner with some waffles or pancakes as well as for a quick breakfast.

Friday, 15 February 2013

7 Quick Takes Friday #11

--- 1 ---
The Pope is resigning. I think I am still a little in shock cause I believe I have been to calm and accepting through this whole thing. I found out on Twitter and thought it was a joke, then I saw a post on facebook by one of my seminarian friends and then I saw it somewhere else on social media and I knew it had to be real. Finally after all that I heard it on traditional media, I am choosing to get all my update from Catholic sources to avoid whatever unnecessary commentary that I can avoid
--- 2 ---

I will be praying a Novena for Pope Benedict's last few days and then I'll be praying for the College of Cardinals as they make their decisions and then I'll be praying for our new Pope. I had already planned to make this an extra prayerful Lent, I'm getting my wish in spades.

--- 3 ---
Lent has started. Ash Wednesday started with getting to 6:30 morning Mass early yet I only managed to grab the last make-shift parking spot i.e one that was not blocking someone else and not easily hit.
--- 4 ---
Ash Wednesday a day of fasting and abstinence, a day spent in constant prayer to for Jesus to change my physical hunger into a hunger for Him. I have done this before but once again it seems God has taken my desire to be more prayerful to heart, I have never seen so many food ads in quick succession. Food at every turn 
--- 5 ---
My favourite link-up is back Little Holy Days (sorry Quick takes). I really enjoyed that link-up during Advent and am really looking forward to it for Lent.
--- 6 ---
I almost got to spend some time with a possibly great guy on Valentine's Day but the timing didn't work out. I'm of two minds about that. On one hand it would have been great to spend the day with someone on the other hand St Valentine's Day may be a dangerous day for possibly starting a relationship.
--- 7 ---
A song to end the week.


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Thursday, 14 February 2013

Valentine's Day Is Not A S.A.D Day

In recent years I have noticed Valentine's Day being referred to as Singles Awareness Day aka a SAD day.

As a single woman I do not need a holiday to make me aware that I am single. But most importantly Valentine's Day isn't a day to celebrate coupledom it is a day to celebrate love and I don't need to be in a romantic relationship to have love in my life. In fact if my life lacked love because I was not in a romantic relationship then not just the day but my life would be SAD.

Even if you live on a remote island all alone you are in at least one relationship, the relationship you have with God. God is love, He made us to love Him, He loves us. Hello we're in Lent, a time in the Liturgical Calendar that embodies love, a time that culminates in the greatest act of love just for you. So you're single and probably won't get candy this year, Jesus gave you an even better gift, He suffered and died on a Cross just for you. He thinks you're pretty special.

You're relationship with God isn't so hot, that's okay, as I said we're in Lent a great time for strengthening and building that relationship. Try praying daily, God wants to hear from you, he's been waiting to hear from you, just like the father in the prodigal son he's already racing to greet you. Confession, this is the best time of the year to get to confession, there really is no sin that the priest has not heard before it doesn't matter how long it's been since you've gone.  I had a period of years before I started going monthly

Once again I mention that it's Lent, The Church has a wide array of activities and events to help you build and strengthen your relationship with the Lord. Day retreats, Friday Stations of the Cross, Adoration, bible studies, Friday fish fries, check your local parish for what else is available, check your neighbouring parish to see what they have available, invite a friend to go with you.

So if you are single like me this Valentine don't be S.A.D, focus on the relationships that you do have especially the one with Our Lord.

Happy St. Valentine's Day.

Wednesday, 13 February 2013

Ash Wednesday

As this is being published I should be at Mass and hopefully I got there early enough to get a parking spot and a seat.

Today is the start of Lent and the last Mass for Pope Benedict. It is a day of fasting and abstinence.It's the day that "the Alleluia is buried" until it can be risen again with Christ on Easter Sunday. While it is not a Holy Day of Obligation many will make it to Mass at some point during the day. Those who make it to Mass will have a cross rubbed onto their foreheads using a mixture containing last year's palms.

While the ashes are being rubbed on the you will hear one of two sentences "Remember that thou art dust, and to dust thou shalt return." Genesis 3:19 or "Turn away from sin and be faithful to the Gospel." Mark 1:1, translations may differs.

Why ashes? Receiving of the ashes does not wipe away or absolve us of our sins, however it is a sign of our repentance. Remember all those times in the bible when people would tear their clothes, put on sack cloth and put ashes on their heads, this is like that on a smaller scale.

So today whether you make it to Mass or not, that although we aren't called to tear open our clothes and put on sack cloth we are called to tear open our hearts. To turn away from our sins, to be repentant. To grow closer to Jesus.

Tuesday, 12 February 2013

Ready For Lent

Lent start tomorrow and I believe I'm ready.

I picked up my copy of the Magnificat Lenten Companion a couple weeks ago. I have a meatless meal plan done to help me stay on track and not overwhelmed. I have my "game" plan together.

My goal for Lent is to get to KNOW God better, so that I can LOVE Him more and therefore SERVE Him better and more joyfully.

I ordered The Eucharist: A Bible Study Guide for Catholics by Fr. Mitch Pacwa last Friday it is currently available free shipping from Our Sunday Visitor.  
I was actually going to get Christopher West's new book for my Lenten reading
because I have been thinking about it for a while and it is already on my amazon wishlist. Then I had a thought that I wanted to do some reading on the Eucharist and then I saw a copy of Fr Pacwa's book. I told myself if it was offered free shipping I would order it otherwise I would try to get it locally whenever. Friday I got an email that it was being offered free shipping until April, I ordered it immediately.

I am currently praying the Seven Sundays of St Joseph and will start praying a 54 Day Rosary Novena from Ash Wednesday to Divine Mercy Sunday. In light of the Pope's I will be praying a Novena leading to his last day starting on February 19th and a St Joseph Novena leading up to the Feast of St Joseph on March 19th.

I will be praying the Stations of The Cross every Friday in Lent, I hope to be able to get to a church at least once, my friend's parish has it every Friday with Mass to follow but it is a long drive from my work and I will pray it once on my usual 1st Friday at Adoration.

I will continue with my daily reading of the Catechism and the Year of Faith 90 Bible Study. I have containers of books to donate to the library, there are about 3 or 4 of those white storage containers under my bed and a small box or two. I have a hard time letting go of books even if I am never going to read them again so I have quite a collection and it is time to let go.

The Year of Faith, losing a Pope in the midst of Lent, hopefully gaining a new one by Easter, I started this post before the announcement and now there are so many more reasons for us to pray during this Liturgical time and so many ways to grow in Faith and to stay Faithful.

Monday, 11 February 2013

Preparing For Lent

Every year I give up meat for the whole of Lent including the Sundays (my will power will not hold up to a "break" day) but every year half way through if that I am resentful and unhappy. I'm not very creative in cooking fish or straight vegetarian and my sister is allergic to shell fish so I cannot make that very often besides the clean up is a pain to keep her safe.

This year I am going in with a better attitude (I hope) and a better plan (thank you pinterest and blogs). I will be doing some freezer cooking on the weekend and 2 days leading up to Ash Wednesday since I have those days home anyway. I want to do some quick meals and snacks I can just grab and reheat in the evenings when I get home from work since those are the hardest anyway when I'm tired, hungry and the only things that sound good are things with meat in it.

I have more canned salmon than I hope I need (it's skinless and boneless couldn't pass that up) to make things like patties, "meat"balls, salmon loaf and empanadas or pockets. Tilapia fillets, shrimp and salmon are my usual go to proteins as they don't take much thought and are quick and versatile. Breakfast for dinner is great for those times when I need a change, while I can eat meat till my eyes turn red and still keep going, I do not have the same appreciation for fish. Canned tuna for ... well it's the chicken of the sea so I'm just hoping. Cheese because I can get through almost anything with cheese.

I'm organizing my recipes and pins, I'm working on offering it up, saying a Hail Mary or Our Father everytime I crave meat. Lent starts on Ash Wednesday and I'm getting ready.

It's Carnival Time

It's Carnival here in Trinidad, that time of the year just before Lent when some people get it all out before they give it all up.

Carnival is this

as well as this 

But it can also be this

People come from all over the world to party through the streets for two days. The kids get Saturday and Sunday, while the adults have at on Monday and Tuesday.

Carnival actually has its history in the Catholic Church, hence the reason it occurs before Lent. Carne - Meat and Val(e)- Festival. Farewell to meat. It was a big celebration to consume all the rich foods and drink that was off limits throughout Lent. Trinidad's Carnival has it's roots in the slaves imitating and making fun of the masters during their celebration of Carnival.

The ingenuity and talent of the people have transformed the time from mere mimicry to the festival of colour and artistry it is today that has people flocking to the islands year after year from start to finish (although Carnival is technically that four day period before Ash Wednesday in actuality it runs much longer).

Old Mass on Friday you get a taste of the past and all those traditional characters like Pierrot Grenade, Midnight Robber and Minstrels.

Saturday and Sunday afternoon the kids take to the streets in their costumes. Some of the bigger bands have their own music trucks but there are speakers lining most streets playing soca music for the revelers in costume as well as the spectators. Thousands of people line the streets or chip along as the kids have their fun.

Steelpan which was invented in Trinidad has it's final competition on Saturday night when the best of the best to emerge from earlier competitions vie for the title of Panorama Champion. These bands have players as young as 5 with foreigners as well as locals. These foreigners are regulars who have been coming for years and are real pan lovers.

Carnival is many things to many people. A time to get away from it all. A time to be "free" and do what you want. A time to experience the beauty of our culture and the talent of our people.

To quote our Archbishop in his message for this "weekend" "It is possible to celebrate cultural events of which Carnival is one, have fun and still be faithful to what God asks of us." Carnival is part of the Trinidad and Tobago culture and it is full of beauty, talent, togetherness and history. 

Friday, 8 February 2013

7 Quick Takes Friday #10

--- 1 ---
I went to Adoration on Friday and as I was leaving a lady said to me "It was wonderful being with Him wasn't it". It was and it was wonderful that she said that to me. I go there for Adoration every month but it is not my Parish just close to my work so I don't know the lady, she was so joy-filled that she had to share it with a stranger.
--- 2 ---

On Saturday the candles I was so proud of remembering to get, I forgot them at home. I got a free one at Mass but I was still disappointed that I forgot my own

--- 3 ---
Yesterday, Thursday I had a half day at work and since I didn't want to go home and then come back out again (I had to assist at evening Mass) I went to the Blessed Sacrament Chapel. It was just what I needed.
--- 4 ---
Today I'll likely have another half day, although I don't think I'll get to the Blessed Sacrament Chapel again today. It's Carnival Friday so there will be all kinds of going ons in preparation for the weekend so I might just come home.
--- 5 ---
It's Carnival weekend, that means a super long weekend, I won't be back at work until Wednesday. The kids take to the streets on Saturday and Sunday, while the adults have there turn on Monday and Tuesday. Costume pick up for the adults have been going on all week, the last of the tourists have been arriving, the schools have been having their events.
--- 6 ---
Lent starts on Wednesday and I am ready. I am going to enjoy my last few days of meat over this long weekend (not today since it's Friday). That's the original reason for Carnival, it was one big celebration to eat all the meat and get out all the "jitters" before the start of Lent. There is a bit more to it so that is just the quicktake version.
--- 7 ---
I'm rushing so no song this week, so I'll just wish everyone a great weekend.


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Monday, 4 February 2013

Seven Sundays of St Joseph

I prayed this last year and yesterday I started praying it for this year but I almost didn't.

I had forgotten about it or at least it wasn't on my mind and then last Thursday I believe it was I thought about it. I didn't think to much about it but it crossed my mind out of the blue and more than once during that day but I still didn't pay too much mind to it. Then Friday morning I thought about it again and this time I thought I would like to pray it again but couldn't remember when it would start so I would look it up. Friday turned out to be a very busy day at work so I didn't get to look it up and kind of forgot about it again.

Friday evening I thought about it on my drive from work to Adoration so I once again said I would look it up but when I got to church their wi-fi was being spotty (I got to church early and was waiting in the parking lot) and my 4g wouldn't turn on because it was reading a saved wi-fi signal so I let it go. When I got home I had a lot to do because Saturday was a busy day and I needed to get some things started so I didn't take any time to check and before I knew it I was sleeping on the couch with a load in the washing machine and my veges for the soup that I wanted to get started in the slow-cooker before leaving for 7a.m Mass wasn't even prepped. So yet again I did not look up.

Saturday morning was just a comedy of errors with finishing the laundry and the soup for lunch going and getting ready before racing out of the house with no time to spare to make it to Mass, I even forgot the candles that I was so proud for remember to get. They usually have candles for those who forgot and I just got one of those. I spent some time in the Blessed Sacrament Chapel after Mass and thought about the prayer again and promised myself that I would definitely look it up when I got home. I ran my Saturday errands got home just before lunch, started another load of laundry and finished up the soup, cleaned up the kitchen and called my grandmother over for lunch.

I had one more errand to run and when I came home there was a road crew in front of my house so I had to park lower down, blocking other cars and carry my load home. I had told someone where I was in case they needed my car move and just as I was almost finished doing everything they came for me to move my car. It was around 3 I think, maybe a little after and I had to meet a friend to hitch a ride to another friend's house for bible study, I needed to leave around 5. I was not in the best of moods and definitely didn't look up the prayer.

Sunday the road crew was back by the time I got home from church, but the Seven Sundays of St Joseph prayer was no where on my mind, at least not in the morning. Then Sunday evening as I was settling into my evening prayer-time I  thought about it again and I told myself that I would look it up after I was done. However I think the Holy Spirit was getting a little distressed with me and putting stuff off so I got an extra urge to look it up "now". The devotion occurs during the seven Sundays leading to the Feast of St Joseph on March 19th so I checked the calendar and lo and behold yesterday was that 7th Sunday.

Times like these when God is leading you and you know and see His hand definitely in your life always makes me feel special. This is not a regular devotion for me, and definitely not one I was thinking about doing this year but He wanted me to, so He put it in my mind and my heart and kept after me with it until I did it. I don't think it is any coincidence either that I kept forgetting and remembering or that I had all those obstacles when I did remember. He wanted me to have a visible look at His hand in my life at this time and I can't wait to see where He is leading me with this.

Friday, 1 February 2013

7 Quick Takes Friday #9

--- 1 ---
It's a new month. In someways it felt like January lasted forever and in others it went by too fast. It feels like it was just Christmas and now I'm preparing for Lent
--- 2 ---

A new month brings a new position at work, maybe just temporary maybe not. We have some staffing issues to work out and I'm not even sure I want the position to be temporary or not. I've had this position before and liked it when I had it but was very happy to move on.

--- 3 ---
A new month also brings a new attitude. Due to a big project at work as well as the ongoing upheaval I have been in mainly survival and existing mode for the month, it's time I move on from that.
--- 4 ---
Last Saturday I was supposed to meet some friends for prayer and study but quite a few people canceled and only three of us showed up, well two plus the host. We ended up watching a Mass at the Basillica in Washington D.C on EWTN and then had some really great conversations about single life and marriage expectations, compromise, sacrifice, etc. It was very enlightening to see how and what other people thought as well as get a perspective that you never had before.
--- 5 ---
Tourists have been streaming into Trinidad since the beginning of January and some from even before that for Carnival next weekend. Carnival is technically just Friday to Tuesday well actually Saturday to Tuesday with Fetes and events starting at the beginning of the year leading up but there are more events every year and tourists coming in earlier and earlier.
--- 6 ---
Tomorrow is Candelmas and I actually have candles this year. Every year I usually remember the evening before or the morning of and am unable to get candles but this year I am on top of it Yay me!!!
--- 7 ---
This is how I've felt throughout January and I'm looking forward to a better February.


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