Happy Sunday. I pray last week was great for you, and that this week brings great things. To you and your families!
I am excited to share with you that today’s Gospel Reflection over at Catholicmom.com was written by me! Go read it! It’s not bad if I do say so myself.
Here is part of my post: “When I was walking through miscarriages, I clung to the fact that Elizabeth had her son in “advanced maternal age”: Saint John the Baptist, cousin of Jesus, the man whose solitary purpose in life was to walk before our Lord, proclaiming Him as the one and only sacrificial Lamb that we must cling to. I clung to hope that God knew my heart and would give me a child of my own. Praise God, I carried my one and only living child, a son, while in advanced maternal age. While I don’t compare my son to Christ, or Saint John the Baptist, I know in my heart, the power of one! And I know that God has plans for my son (and all of our children)…” GO READ THE REST THERE! Lol and please leave a message there if you like it!
I will be back tomorrow with successes from last week’s pantry challenge and what we are doing this week. Also I have a few crafty posts that I haven’t shared, so I’m gonna.
Today is a family day. Yesterday we had a visit from our Bishop and a small potluck, where I made these:
Dear Ones, It’s cold here in Italy where there is no such thing as central heat in these cement buildings. I’m not complaining, mind you, just letting you know. Funny enough, when I dropped my son off at the bus stop (because God forbid he wear a coat on a 37 degree day – I mean it might clash with his outfit or something…), I forgot to pull off my fuzzy socks and crocs. I have on a slightly more orange than mustard yellow pants, navy tee, button-down shirt (same color as pants) with an ivory stripe in it, and a fuzzy sweater that is mustard colored. And then there is this:
Before I tell you my scooter story, let me also mention the Pantry Challenge… I blogged about it yesterday. I have these really good soup starter mixes I want to use up (I have one left, and it’s broccoli/cheese). What you are supposed to do is boil water, add the soup mix and serve it up. What I did was, took my potato cutter (pic below) and cut up zucchini, potatoes, and added chopped onion and garlic. I sautéed the mix in a little olive oil, added basil, garlic powder, and though it called for eight cups of water, I used chicken broth for half of that. After I sautéed the veggies, I added the water/broth… and then the mix… simmered for 20-25 minutes, and served it up. My guys crumpled bacon and cheese in it. It was so good.
I am loving the Pantry Challenge – I mean it’s the fourth day.. but we are doing well. LOL
Now on to my story… before we moved to Italy, our son was the 3rd member of our family to have have left ankle surgery by Dr. Cerniglia in Fort Worth – Best Group EVER! Christopher’s was the most extensive… and, because we were PCS-ing, and he was going to be off his foot/ankle for some time, we ordered a scooter and had it meet us in Italy. After a few months, he was done with it, and the hospital wasn’t allowed to take it or let folks know they could borrow it. Soooo, God started putting people in our path.
Mid Spring, I got a call from my son, saying “Can you bring the scooter to school, a kid needs to borrow it?! I didn’t know who it was going to, but I was happy it was going to be used. Later that night, I got a message from a lady I really didn’t know well. She told me she wanted to give me a big squeeze hug as her son was the person borrowing the Scooter. We had a conversation, and talked about it taking a village.. and one day, we got the scooter back. Her son was so appreciative.
Then, this past Fall, I was volunteering at the High School’s Christmas bazaar, and there was a little girl on crutches who looked miserable (as we all do when on those devil sticks), and I overheard her mom say they were traveling a few days later for Thanksgiving Holiday. So I said, “m’am I don’t know you, but we have this scooter, and we’d love for you to use it. It’s a bright green scooter, and this little red-head was thrilled. They came by the next day and got it. And I understand it made vacation so much easier for the child.
Funny enough, I got a message on FaceBook from a lady I didn’t know, that went something like this… My name is ____ and ____ is in my daughter’s class. My daughter just fractured her ankle and we were wondering if we can borrow the scooter when ___ is done with it. I said, of course…
And lastly, yesterday, there was a lady in the hospital “Ms. A”, that I remembered from several months ago. She was in a boot then. And she was still in a boot, using crutches, and her son is say – 15 months old. Sigh. At one point, she was in an appt. and her hubs took the child on a stroller ride around the floor, and she walked out with no crutches, so I offered to find him and bring them to her. And just like that…. I was telling her about the scooter and asking if she’d be interested in borrowing it, if the folks were done with it. She was astounded and happy to accept it if it was free. I called the the 3rd borrower’s mom and they had literally just gotten the cast off. We are currently making arrangements for the new person to borrow it. I have to say, I wish I’d gotten pics of all of them on it. ❤ I wonder…
If you’re thinking, “that’s a really great story lady, but what about Proof of God’s Providence?” Let me first share with you the definition of providence:
One of the last things Ms. A said to me was “God is good that’s for sure. He always makes things work just in the timing they need to!” I had been thinking it, but the clear theme of this scooter has been “helping God’s people who need it!” God has his hand in everything. He puts us in situations we don’t expect, and allows us – if we listen (tune in) to Him – to show his love and providence to others.
I am not a great person without God. I have too many flaws. I really can’t take credit for it. God is leading me. The scooter is really just a symbol of one of the ways God is helping me. come out of the fog of not trusting him because of everything that happened from Fall of 2016 – Summer of 2019 – when I started trusting God to get ME back on track.
I am happy to be the person God is using to spread love and joy. This year, as introverted as I have become, and as un-peoply as I tend to be – I am keeping my Volunteer Commitments, and trying harder to be the good person I innately am, through God…
even if people aren’t thankful.
even if something I lend gets broken or goes unreturned.
even to people who don’t like me or have proven themselves unworthy in human terms.
even when I am tired or weary.
even if I don’t understand why God wants ME to do it.
I leave you with a reading from Today’s Magnificat.
God’s providential love is powerful. I pray this post has blessed you.
Happy First week of January 2020! Are you a good steward of your money? Sadly – I suck at finances. 2020 is my year to be on a better path to fixing it. God has really laid people in my path to help. I am hoping to memorize Bible verses about self-restraint and being a good steward. I have to focus and live better within our means. Sigh.
One of the ways is with the Pantry Challenge. What is a pantry challenge? Well, Jessica over at Good Cheap Eats started doing these about 2008, or so.. You can read her explanation of the Pantry Challenge, and I’ll explain how I view it/use the challenge for our home! I have been doing it for 10+ years and it just feels comfy now.
If you’re like me, you need to purge your freezer/pantry shelves after six weeks of entertaining. First of all, January’s budget is always super tight… but more than that, since my hubs and I like to entertain, and typically cook for others from before Thanksgiving to after New Years. AND, in Italy, I’ve noticed that can mean you have way more extra than you need. Seriously! Because of where we are, we have learned to buy for “just in case”… because if ya see something and don’t buy it at the commissary, you may not get it. Bottom line, we have food for weeks… and we’re about to get creative!
For me, it represents, using what I have (aka minimal $$ spent on groceries); weeds out what I don’t normally keep as pantry basics (aka holiday entertainment items, extra flour, etc.) thus leaving room on our “pantry” (shelves we bought from IKEA) so that it’s not so unorganized looking; AND it allows me creative. Additionally, it allows me to really look at EVERY item in the pantry/fridge/freezer that may have expired, etc. (y’all do not want to know the science experiment-looking things I’ve found).
I typically start my challenge after my hub’s birthday (January 5th). This year, he turned the big 6-0! We had dinner with friends and ate leftovers. Y’all we’ve been eating so much he literally asked for no cake. HA – Serious business y’all.
So Monday, I spent the whole day in the kitchen prepping bento lunch items, and looking into creative ways to use leftovers. Here is what I did:
Cleaned and chopped carrots, celery, cucumber, onion, bell peppers.
Made stuffed bell peppers with beef, Italian sausage, chopped onion, and leftover rice and tomato sauce..
Made egg cups with the meat mixture that did not fit into the bell peppers.
Made chicken salad with leftover grilled chicken, boiled eggs and veggies.
For me, the rules are as follows:
Take stock of what I have using the worksheets Jess provides (Free). If this is your first time, buy the eBook. It’s the best $6 you will spend – trust me.
Use what I have.
Only buy needed items. Here it’s water (you can’t drink the water, though we do have a Berkey – and we use that for cooking), dairy, produce, and paper items.
No restocking till February 7th. We hit it super hard for a month.
After Feb. 7th, plug in more meatless meals and keep folks on track with lower carbs. We have weight to lose. BLAH!
To show what I mean about creativity, I took meat out of the freezer and create dinner and a week’s worth of breakfast with it. As a side note, I’m volunteering with the USO tonight, and my guys have choices for leftovers. BONUS!
It will never be my goal to lecture you about finances or show you what an idiot I’ve been. But when I find something good to share, and a lesson learned, I will do that from time to time. I pray you learn from this old lady’s mistakes.
I hope and pray your Tuesday is blessed. Join me in the pantry challenge if you want. I’d love to hear your tips too.
Life got busy and I haven’t been around much. I really do have so much to share with you. Recipes, Christmas pics, and a plethora of other things. But first – I wanted to talk to you about my pledge to not share my New Year’s Resolutions here. WHY? Uh – because when I don’t accomplish them (which – happens A LOT), I feel awful about me. And since I am the queen of putting pressure on myself, I Aint Doin It!
Let me wrap up my attitude about how 2020 is going to be in a few words:
Now, my prayer for 2020 is simply one by Saint Francis of Assisi. When you see the picture, as you are reading it, You WILL sing the song. Yes you will. I do it every time. And if you don’t know the song, I will find it for you – just ask.
Many of you know, but some don’t, that my friends and I started a Bible Journal group on Facebook. – Catholic Women’s Bible Journaling. We are hoping to grow it and make it more interactive, and have giveaways, etc. But for now, I’ve created a January Bible Prompts sheet to share. I have it in .pdf form AND in picture form. But because of my limited Tech Knowledge, I’ve placed it here as a picture. If you need it as a file, please email me. And if you want to join our little group – please click on the word Catholic above.
Because I love ya, I’m keeping this short. Here’s a picture of my family and I after Christmas Mass. And a couple other things.
May you have a blessed Celebration tonight. May our Lady’s Feast Day comfort you tomorrow.
Dear Ones… I have been meaning to hop on and say hi for several days. First – I sure hope your Thanksgiving was fantabulous (if you celebrate Thanksgiving).
Thanksgiving week, I had the honor of serving with the USO. I welcomed people to the Naples Base at Area Orientation, and I served the single and unaccompanied sailors on Thanksgiving Day. Then I came home and we hosted about 12 total people here at Casa Davis.
Friday, we drove to my favorite Winery – Cantina di Solopaca and bought some vino….. and then to a Christmas Market at Castello Limatola. The rain ruined the Christmas Market trip, but I’ll share a few pics…
But one of the most exciting things that happened this weekend was that Anni at A Beautiful, Camouflaged, Mess of a Life featured me in her Bold, Brave, Catholic series. I’m so excited. Check out the post here – Bold, Brave, Catholic — Focusing on Forward. As Catholic Women, we sometimes sugar coat things. But y’all, we need to tell our stories. So many people hurt, because they feel like others have it all together, or have perfect lives – and nothing could be further than the truth.
I pray your Advent is going well. We are reading a Chapter of the Gospel of Luke, and I will be all decorated by this weekend. It’s a long story, but things in Italy are a constant challenge. And so – I do what I can.
And to tell you the truth, I’m not bold and brave… some days, like today, as I’m having a small health issue (stupid kidney stone)… I am in sweats and I just stay determined. And I’m so thankful for my faith and for good people who lift me up. And who “see me” for me.
Many of you know I am a paper crafter. And recently I found a group that posts coffee/tea everything. And it’s encouraging me to make more cards. I was looking through my things for coffee and tea related stamps and I came across an old set called Living on Coffee, that I’d never even used, from a company called VERVE Stamps. They closed up shop, but I always loved their products.
Recipe for Cards: Paper Used: Cardstock is Navy, Tangerine, and Ivory – either from PaperTrey Ink or StampinUp. Design Paper is from the Orange Envy pack by The Paper Studio. Ink: Black Amalgam Ink by GinaK Designs. Copics to color images. Tangerine Tango sponged on the layers and inside the cards. Embellishments: I used a corner punch to make the inside layer pretty. And I used orange flowers and little sparkly embellishments on the flowers.
I hope you liked the cards. I’m having fun creating these days. It feels good.