Thursday, March 31, 2011

Thankful Thursday, on Thursday!

So it has been a pretty fabulous, well week for me. I was blessed to be a part of a wonderful retreat called TEC, which here in Wisconsin is a retreat for anyone in high schooler or older. Growing up I attended and helped with some TEC's in IL, but they were just for High Schoolers. There were also retreats for late junior high and early high schoolers (Quest) and college students (Koinonia). Here everyone is thrown together, and I must say that I was a bit leary, but it ended up being such an amazing weekend. It was exactly what I needed (great how God spoils us like that). Our theme for the weekend was "Move with the Living Water", a good reminder to all of us that life is always changing and God is always pushing us along, we can't stay still. I'm a big music person and I love to listen to the lyrics of songs, to pray them as I sing along. The theme song for the weekend was "I will Follow" by Chris Tomlin, so feel free to sing along or pray along, it's a great song for both.

Yesterday I had the pleasure of being in charge of soup dinner that our parish holds every year before the high schoolers put on living stations of the cross. I've found that I love organizing events, working with volunteers, but most of all, watching as everything goes smoothly, people work together, and everyone enjoys themselves. It's a great feeling. This weekend I'm off to Chicago to visit my lovely brother, so hopefully I'll have pictures to share next week. Enjoy your Thursday, and the beutiful weather (if you have it :)

At this moment I am thankful for...
(1) Hugs. I absolutely love hugs and am thankful for all they represent. Confort. Excitement. Trust. Love
(2) Music. I know I say this alot, but I am thankful for music in its many forms. Music that brings people together. Stirs of fond memories. Helps us to say the words we can't on our own. Music to comfort.
(3) Spring. I'm seeing glimpses everywhere. The grass slowly starting to turn green. Birds singing. The bright sun warming my face :)
(4) Miracles. They happen everyday, we just don't always take the time to see them or appreciate them. I'm thankful for miracles big and small, in my life and in the people's I love.
(5) Good speakers who give fabulous presentation on great topics. If you ever have the chance to listen to Ryan Bomberger speak, go see him, and check out his site or or any of the other fabulous organizations that him and his wife run. Pretty amazing and needed.
(6) My creative ideas. I've got so many projects I'm working on , have figured out in my head, or would love to do. I'm just waiting for a bit of free time and a little warmer weather...
(7) Babies. I love them in all shapes and sizes, colors and ethnicities. Their trust, total reliance on their parents. Their loveable faces, expressions and smiles. Their potential. Thank God for little blessings.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Cooking and Climbing

I did a bit of cooking over ther weekend, surprise surprise :) Didn't get to any of the sewing, but I will eventually, atleast that's the plan... Oh! and I found a couple of great finds at a local thrift store that are just screaming for a bit of black paint, turquoise scrapbook paper and black board paint. Oh yes, it'll be great, but you'll have to wait for that. I found this recipe for "Best Ever Chewy Granola Bars" which of course I had to make and to tell you the truth, they were pretty darn fabulous, the jury is still out about the "best ever" part, but definitely worth keeping the recipe and adding some more goodies to.

Week 2 of my friend's Cooking Challenge introduced me to this wonderful recipe for Rigatoni alla Vodka which has some pretty fabulous flavor going on. Not such a fan of the Pancetta, but that could just be me and my nonexistent skill for cooking with it, or eating it all together.

I watched a lot of basketball on Saturday night. I suppose it is that time of year and one can't help but get caught-up in all the excitement, the anticipation, the nailbitters and all that jazz. I'm not usually one to watch basketball, but I must say that I loved the games that I've seen recently. They've all been really close well played games. Also on Saturday, I enjoyed a bit of rock climbing. Now let me clarify before I go any furthur. That's INDOOR rock climbing, with a rope, on a nice cushy floor. The perfect kind. I've been a few times before and love it, but think if I ever did it in real life, you know, out where I could actually fall and, well die, then I would have to take classes for, oh, at least 5 years. So for now, I'll enjoy my cushy climbing :)

Friday, March 18, 2011

Cooking and Thankful Friday

I missed my Thankful Thursday again :( so I'll have to do another Thankful Thursday on Friday.  I hope you all enjoyed St. Patrick's Day. I'm a bit Irish and have always loved Irish food, music and dance. I found a few fabulous recipes that you'll have to check out, no pictures, the food disappeared to fast. I made an Irish Soda Bread that was so easy and turned out fabulously. I altered the recipe just a little, so here's my version:

Irish Soda Bread
  • 4 cups All Pur­pose Flour
  • 2 Tablespoons White Sugar
  • 1 teaspoon Salt
  • 1 teaspoon Bak­ing Soda
  • 2 cups Buttermilk
  • ½ cups Butter (softened)
Sift all dry ingredients together. Cut in butter. Make a well and add buttermilk all at once. Mix together quickly. It won’t look like white bread with yeast. Instead, it will look more like bis­cuit dough. Knead it for no more than a minute it does not need to be worked to death (the dough is very sticky so don't be afraid to use lots of flour in your kneading process). Shape into a round cake (you could even bake it in a cake pan if you like, I used a pizza pan and it worked wonderfully). Put it onto a floured sheet pan (or in a cake/pizza pan) and carve a cross into the top of it. Bake in a pre­heated over at 425 degrees for 40 minutes. The end result is bread with a crunchy crust and soft moist center. Perfect!

This weekend will hopefully be full of cooking and finishing a few of the sewing projects that are laying around my room.  If you've got some time you should check out Jennifer's series on the Our Father over at Conversion Diary. During Lent she's doing a post on each word in the prayer. Pretty great reading for this season. Enjoy the weekend and pray for all those in Japan and the hardships they are facing. And here's my Thankful Friday list...

At this moment I am thankful for...
(1) My varied heritage. I'm German, Irish and Danish mainly with some varied English roots as well as a bit of French thrown and all these wonderful nationalities helped to shape who I am.
(2) My knowledge of computers and limited knowledge of design. 
(3) The season of Lent and all the challenges that brings.
(4) Good friends.
(5) Good beer. Hey, it was just St. Patrick's Day and I do live in Wisconsin...
(6) Live music and all the talented musicians that are willing to share their gift with others.
(7) That I live somewhere with minimal natural disasters. I am thankful for all the courageous people who daily risk their lives to help others in such disasters.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011


I've done a bit of cooking lately, which is always fun. Some thriftstore hunting, which was oh so successful. Spent some time with family, which is always enjoyable. And now have spring fever and so am working on a little spring craft project.

Friday I made this fabulous Hot Crab Dip from over at The Pioneer Woman. You should definitely check it out if you have any sort of gathering coming up that needs a killer appetizer.  Also, one of my friends is doing a little food challenge over at her blog (check it out!) so I whipped up some asparagus, which made me yearn for springtime and the farmer's market.

I found a delightful dropleaf sewing table at the thrift store, along with a coffee table. I've got grand plans for the coffee table, as well as a cabinet in my bathroom, but alas I must wait for warmer weather so I can paint them outside and let them dry. So for now, it's all in my head, we'll see how much things change from now until the time it's actually warm enough to paint outside...

I'm making some good ol' Irish food tonight, recipes and hopefully pictures to come soon.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Thankful Thursday

Is it really Thursday already? I've had a lot on my mind and heart over the past few days, so stayed tuned for more info. on that (I'll let you know what God's planning for me once I finalize it with Him ;)

At this moment I am thankful for...
(1) Email. It's fast and efficient and makes it a whole lot easier when organzing large groups of people.
(2) Pictures. I love love love pictures and am thankful for all the memories that they bring to mind.
(3) Friends. I am blessed with so many friends all over the country and I thank God for each of them and the influence that they have had on my life.
(4) Peace. I am thankful I can wake up in the morning and not worry about being killed in the cross-fire. I know there are places in this nation that don't have that same luxury, I pray that God will bring peace to them and to all those experiencing and causing violence across the world.
(5) Encouraging words. Whether from a book, a friend or even a stranger, I am thankful for the words that God speaks through others.
(6) The gift of Life. I am thankful for all my friends and family who are currently pregnant and for all those who chose life, no matter how hard that choice was.
(7) The adoption program (I know not all of them are good, but the majority of agencies are amazing). For all the successful adoptions, there are so many that I know about personally and you can see God's blessings in each family.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Ashes to Ashes

Happy Ash Wednesday! So begins our Lenten journey. I have a feeling that this is going to be a great Lent. "Great" in the sense that I'll hopefully grow in faith and virtue. "Great" in the sense that I will grow closer to Christ and more knowledgeable in my understanding of this important season. Last night I was at a wonderful concert put on by a local church (it was free, which made it all the better :) . The artist was Danielle Rose, a young Catholic recording artist with an amazing story of faith and trust in God. She was full of energy and Christ's love was easily visible in her songs, words and on her face. Here's one of her videos, I hope you enjoy, and hopefully it inspires you this Lent to become the Saint that you're called to be.

The Saint That is Just Me
by Danielle Rose

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Glimpses of Spring

I went south for the weekend. South as in Illinois south, I know that's not south to many people, but it was just south enough to see the first glimpses of spring. See the lovely flowers above? They were peaking out of my parents flower garden. Don't the first flowers of spring just make you smile? Besides going to my parents house and getting to spend a bit of time with them and my brother, I also had the sincere pleasure of attending a wonderful women's conference, the Behold Conference to be exact. I had many friends who helped out/ran the conference, so it was good to see all of them, but inadition to the many amazing women who participated in the conference, the talks were absolutely amazing as well. Jennifer Fulwiler from Conversion Diary gave a couple of amazing talks and two of the Sisters of Life from out in New York helped encourage us. It's rejuvinating to be around such strong women of faith and to hear their stories, their advice, their encouragement. It's truly beautiful. Below are a few pictures from the conference. 

A couple of my great girl friends from college.

Miss L. and me (my Godson's sibling)

No pictures of B., my Godson, he didn't think much of the idea of standing still long enough for a picture.  Hope you all had a fabulous weekend!

Friday, March 4, 2011


This week our parish has had the pleasure of hosting a Parish Mission, which was led by a wonderful Redemptorist priest out of St. Louis, Missouri. There have been months of preparation for this week and I can honestly say that it has all been worth it.  It's wonderful to see a big parish community come together to share and grow in their faith.  There was an energy that I haven't felt here for a while, so hopefully that energy will continue as we begin our Lenten journey next week. Since I was a little tied up yesterday and didn't get to put out my Thankful Thursday list, but since this week has so been full of blessings I didn't want to skip it entirely so here it is, just a little late.

At this moment I am thankful for...
(1) Perfect weather. Considering it was the end of February/begining of March the week has been, well pretty perfect.
(2) Family. 
(3) The Catholic Church. All it's history and traditions only add to the beauty and strength of this religion. 
(4) Volunteers. Volunteers that give freely and cheerfully make my life a whole lot easier and give me a glimpse of Christ in the everyday.
(5) Holidays. I grew-up celebrating any and every holiday. The year should be full of little celebrations. We really should enjoy life each and everyday we're here.
(6) Children. I love their innocence, their energy, their trust and joy.  We could all learn a lot from the children in our lives.
(7) The Saints. Their lives are amazing. Their journeys of faith, their trust in God, their love. I'm currently reading My Life with the Saints by James Martin (this is a link to a great interview with Martin) which is a great intro to a lot of wonderful Saints. 

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Life and Love

So I volunteer at a lovely organization called CareNet  (if you've never heard of it then you should definitely check it out and see if there's one in your area).  I've found that it helps me to keep things in perspective, gives me a glimpse of how God can work in any and every situation and is something that I've truly come to enjoy.  When I was at my parents' house over Christmas my dad asked me "What's your cause?"  I'm used to random questions from my father, but this was a bit deeper than usual.  At the time I wasn't sure, but I think at the moment, my causes are Life and Love.  These two SHOULD go hand in hand, I believe that all ProLifers should be motivated by not just a love for the helpless individual that may be hanging in the balance of this world and next, but also for the individuals who are making those decisions (check out this amazing interview by Jennifer over at Conversion Diary).  Christ calls us to love one another.  He calls it the greatest commandment, for if we truly love one another, ourselves and God, then we wouldn't be breaking any of the other commandments either.  Love is truly the root of all.  But anyways, back to Life and Love, I think that our world is in dire need of love.  Not a love that comes with strings attached, not a selfish love, a love that is pure, that does not judge. One that expects nothing in return.  So that's my goal, something I think we should all strive for, to truly love all those we come in contact with.  To leave all judgementalness behind and see everyone we meet as a child of God.  I know it's a pretty tall order, but we should all be striving for greatness, striving to "be the best version of yourself" as Matthew Kelly would say. So what's your cause?  How will you change the world?