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 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!