November 25, 2013

Jesse Tree Ornament Exchange

If you ever get a chance to participate in a Jesse Tree Ornament exchange, go for it! I recently organized a swap in our community and it was a huge success! Each of the twenty nine ladies made one kind of ornament, then we gathered, exchanged and took home a whole set. The ornaments were beautiful and each one was made with love. I wanted to share pictures of all the ornaments, (because most of us got ideas from blogs just like this!) so you can see them too.

If you would like a little more information about what a Jesse Tree is, click over here. Most Jesse trees are about twenty four ornaments with the option of adding extra bible stories. I added five extra: Melchizedek, Aaron, Joshua, Ruth and Elizabeth. These are not necessary but I had enough ladies sign up so I added them in.

We each had a chance to talk about which story our ornament represented and how we made them. It was so much fun I would love to do it again someday!

Now for the ornaments:

From left to right we have the ornaments representing: Creation, Adam and Eve, The Fall of Man, Noah, Abraham, Melchizedek, Isaac, Jacob and Joseph

Here we have: Moses, Aaron, Joshua, Ruth and Boaz, Samuel, Jesse, David, Solomon and St. Joseph

 For the last of the Salvation History ornaments we have: The Blessed Mother, St. Elizabeth, John the Baptist and the Nativity. 

Now for the O Antiphons:

I found some more information about the O Antiphons on Father Z's blog, check it out if you are at all interested, I think it's fabulous. 

Here we have: Jesus is Lord, Jesus the Flower of Jesse, Jesus is the Key of David and Jesus is Radiant Dawn.

Now for the last O Antiphons:

 Jesus is King of the Gentiles, Jesus is Emmanuel and Jesus is the Light of the World.

I just want to give a big shout out to the WONDERFUL and beautiful ladies that made this all a possibility, especially to you, Gabi Karl for preparing your home and hosting all of us! I couldn't be happier with the way it turned out. Thank you, Thank you!

  ~ Sarah

"Advent is here. What a marvellous time in which to renew your desire, your nostalgia, your real longing for Christ to come — for him to come every day to your soul in the Eucharist. The Church encourages us: Ecce veniet! — He is about to arrive!"
- St Josemaria Escriva

October 14, 2013

Homemade Italian Spice Mix

I am working on a recipe for crockpot spaghetti sauce, but for now I wanted to share with you our homemade spice mix. I was in the habit of buying spaghetti sauce until I discovered how easy it was to make your own, not to mention cheaper! I love putting this mix together because of the aromatic spices, the smell is wonderful. Also, once you do this you'll never go back to buying expensive Italian Herb mixes!

Mix together in a jar:
  • 2 tbsp Basil
  • 1 tbsp Majoram
  • 1 tbsp Oregano
  • 1 tbsp Parsley
  • 1 tsp Thyme
  • 1 tsp Rosemary
  • 1 tsp Coriander

The great part about this mix is you decide which spices you like more of or which ones you don't like. Coriander is definitely optional - we like it in our sauce, but I also just happened to have it in my cupboard. Don't feel like you need all of the spices to make this mix, go ahead and make it anyway and see how you like it!

- Sarah

Linking up with Party Wave Wednesday

“You know well enough that Our Lord does not look so much at the greatness of our actions, nor even at their difficulty, but at the love with which we do them.”                                                            ~ St. Thérèse

October 8, 2013

Five Favorites: In which I show off my Bambinos . . .

Linking up today with Hallie from Moxie Wife. If you haven't seen her blog before, hop on over - you won't be disappointed!

Things have been sloooooow going over here for one main reason, which happens to be this:


Luke Vincent! Let me introduce to you our newest Baby Doll! Born on August 26th - 9lbs 8 oz. This picture was taken when he was a week old, he is now six weeks old and things are just starting to feel normal. Well, as normal is it gets with a newborn! He is now giving me smiles and coos - my heart is overflowing with love for this little guy. . .

We had the most lovely home birth a girl could dream for. I started labor shortly after noon and had sweet little Luke on my chest before dinner. I can't say I am looking forward to my next birth, but this experiences was so positive that I feel more optimistic than ever. Maybe the third time's the charm? In any case I am so grateful to Our Lord for a wonderful birth and healthy baby!

Stay tuned for his birth story, I need to get it written down before I forget all the details!



This is Peter.

This is how Peter walks around most of the day, with some sort of weapon in hand and a scowl on his face!

Ok, I don't give him enough credit, haha. He can be the most charming, sweet, loving and compassionate little boy I have ever been around. Things have been rough going since Luke was born, but he's coming around to his old self again and we get a kick out of things he says every day.

Peter has been hitting us with his sword lately so we put the sword in "time out" thinking he'd not have any weapons. Well, we watched Tangled the other night and this morning he was walking around getting all the bad guys with this frying pan!


Gianna has been the sweetest little Mommy to Luke. Every chance she gets she's kissing and playing with him. Even though she's only four, she's been a great help with Luke. I can see how it'll only get easier as she gets older! 

I love seeing how my children act towards Luke - it's so sweet to see other people love Luke as much as I do. I feel as if every baby we have there's more love to go around and our hearts become more generous.

We have been doing some preschool activities with Gianna this year - and I know she would like us do to more, but life is tough with three little ones! Hopefully things will be a little easier when we start homeschooling for kindergarten next year - because im not sure how im going to do it!


I put Gianna and Luke on opposite sides of my bed for a nap the other day and when I checked on them I found this. 

Heart melt. 


The majority of days around are hard. Really really hard. Im in survival mode and I think it'll be like this for awhile. 

The kids wear their pajamas most of the day and I am constantly frazzled, exhausted  and grumpy towards the older kids. Forget having dinner made. 

That being said, I hate dwelling on the negative. So in case someone thinks its all lovey dovey and roses around here - it's not. For my own sanity, I need to savor, capture and share the beautiful in order to get through the rough.

This particular moment melted my heart and I snuck a picture before the kids saw me. Reading is one of my absolute favorite activities and I beam with pride when I see my children enjoying a book together. 

LOVE it. 

Thanks for letting me share my kids with you, have a blessed day! 

~ Sarah

"Help me, O Lord, that my heart may be merciful so that I myself may feel all the sufferings  of my neighbor. I will refuse my heart to no one. I will be sincere even with those who, I know, will abuse my kindness. And I will lock myself up in the most merciful Heart of Jesus. I will bear my own suffering in silence. May Your mercy, O Lord, rest upon me."
- St. Faustina Kolwaska

October 3, 2013

Hot Buttered Cinnamon Tea

Now that the weather has turned and the days are chilly I long for a cup of hot tea in the morning. Coffee usually gives me the jitters and causes my blood sugar to dip - so black tea it is. I love it. I'm not sure any other word can describe my relationship with tea. There's something about savoring a few moments of quiet in the morning with my hot cup of tea and a brief prayer as I begin my day. Now, to be honest those moments hardly happen around here with three little ones, but a girl can dream, can't she? It gives me the boost to get going in the morning without the horrible crash later in the day, and it taste ooh so delicious.

A beautiful Tibetan woman drinking Yak Butter tea.
A few weeks back my sister told me she was drinking butter in her coffee. I immediately thought, "Eww!" But after some convincing, I had to try it, and maybe it was good after all? I was out of cream as usual so I made my tea, blended it with butter and honey and was immediately hooked. Thanks sis!

I looked up hot buttered coffee and found a bit of information on it, apparently it's an Ethiopian tradition to drink butter in your coffee and in Tibet they drink Yak butter in their tea. So I'm not crazy after all!

When I told my mother about my newest obsession she said, "Like hot buttered rum? Oh yeah!" Yes Mom, just like hot buttered rum. :)

According to a travel and leisure website it's considered one of the world's strangest street foods. "It's made by churning or shaking yak butter, black tea, and salt together in a covered container; the result is best consumed when it's hot and foamy." Locals usually drink dozens of cups a day and if you are a guest in their home local custom dictates that your cup is filled after every sip.

So interesting!

Now, I don't have yak butter, but I do have delicious Kerrygold butter made from cows grazing on green grass in Ireland. It's a slice of heaven if there ever was one and taste wonderful in tea. Here is my "recipe" if you are interested in trying it out:

Hot Buttered Cinnamon Tea

12 ounces hot black or Rooibos tea (or coffee if you prefer!)
1- 2 tbl butter
1 tbl honey
A dash of cinnamon

Blend your tea, butter and honey with an immersion blender or countertop blender. Blend till creamy and frothy. Pour into your favorite mug, top with a dash of cinnamon and enjoy!

Let me know what you think or if you have tried this before, I would love to know!

~ Sarah

"You learn about great food by finding the best there is . . . then you savor it, analyze it and discuss it with your companions . . ." - Julia Child

Linking up with Party Wave Wednesday and  Pennywise Platter

September 17, 2013

Mexican Style Brown Rice Casserole

This is another great meal to bring to a family in need or to freeze for later. I often make a double batch so that I have the luxury of a freezer meal. If you like Mexican food, you will love this. It's packed full of protein - so perfect for a mama who just had a baby.

This recipe is also very flexible. Substitute any ingredients you like or add more spices, if you don't care for spinach go ahead and add brocolli!

Happy cooking!

Mexican Style Brown Rice Casserole


4 cups cooked brown rice
16 oz. fresh salsa
1 pound ground beef, cooked
1 tsp ground cumin
15 oz of refried beans (the kind without hydrogenated lard in it)
10 oz frozen corn kernels, thawed
4 oz can mild diced green chilis
1 Tbsp chilli powder (homemade chilli powder recipe)
10 oz of chopped frozen spinach or collard greens, thawed and drained
Shredded cheese


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Coat a 2 quart dish with coconut oil or butter.

In a bowl, combine rice, salsa, cumin and cooked ground beef. Spoon half the mixture into a 9x13 baking dish and spread evenly. In another bowl, combine refried beans, corn, diced green chilis, and chili powder. Scrape bean mixture on top of rice layer and then add the drained spinach on top of bean layer. Sprinkle with cheese. Top with remaining rice mixture and sprinkle with more cheese. Bake until heated through and cheese is bubbling, about 30 minutes.

Linking up with Party Wave Wednesday

"In times of aridity when I am incapable of praying, of practicing virtue, I seek little opportunities, mere trifles, to give pleasure to Jesus; for instance a smile, a pleasant word when inclined to be silent and to show weariness. If I find no opportunities, I at least tell Him again and again that I love Him; that is not difficult and it keeps alive the fire in my heart. Even though this fire of love might seem extinct I would still throw little straws upon the embers and I am certain it would rekindle."  - St. Therese of the Child Jesus

September 11, 2013

German Potato Salad

Growing up my mother made a delicious German potato salad. All eleven of us children loved it and gobbled it up happily for dinner. This recipe is similar in taste, just the real food version. My mother's recipe was delicious, but was made with canola oil, white sugar and vinegar. Just as simple and tasty, the recipe will make you feel better about feeding your family a nourishing potato salad.

This makes a great side dish for chicken and an easy side salad for parties or meals for families in need. If you like vinegar potato salads with a little kick, you will love this recipe! It has been adapted from this recipe.

Here you go!

German Potato Salad

Serves 6-8 side servings


12-16 medium red potatoes
1/2 c. raw apple cider vinegar
1/2 c. extra virgin olive oil
2 tsp. sea salt
2 tsp. dry mustard
Freshly ground pepper
4 cloves of garlic, mashed
Pinch of red pepper flakes
Handful of fresh basil leaves, chopped


Wash and boil the potatoes until a knife jabbed in the middle meets little resistance. (you don't want the potatoes to be too mushy.) Drain the potatoes and allow them to cool.

Meanwhile, make the dressing by adding the  remaining ingredients in a bowl, mix thoroughly. When the potatoes are cooled, cube or slice into a bowl. Add the dressing and toss all together. Taste test and add more vinegar, olive oil or salt to taste.

The salad can be served warm or cold, depending on your taste. Serve and enjoy!

“Would that mortal men might know how wonderful is divine grace, how beautiful, how precious; what riches are hidden therein, what treasures, what joys, what delights. If they but knew, surely they would direct their energy with all care and diligence to procuring sufferings and afflictions for themselves. Instead of good fortune all men everywhere would seek out troubles, illness and suffering that they might obtain the inestimable treasure of grace. This is the final profit to be gained from patient endurance. No one would complain about the cross or about hardships coming seemingly by chance upon him, if he realized in what balance they are weighed before being distributed to men.”
- St. Rose of Lima

August 20, 2013

Favorite Cold Remedies

Growing up my mom would make us take an Echinacea tincture for our colds. She would give it to us strait from the dropper undiluted. It was SO gross, but I think it really helped!
Now that I am a mother I still use Echinacea for colds and immune boosting benefits, but it's not the most frugal option out there. It's not easy to get the kids to take it unless it's a children's formula, but one small bottle will run you about $15.

Echinacea is also more of an aid to boosting your immune system rather than a kicker for colds. What we have experimented with in our household are different frugal cold remedies that really kick the cold before it gets bad.

So here are our favorites:

Raw Garlic. As soon as I start to feel a cold coming on I chop up a few cloves of raw garlic and swallow it. This works best if you do it several times until you feel the cold going away. Garlic has very strong anti-bacterial, anti-viral and anti-fungal properties. It also boost your immune system among many other things. Not to mention this remedy cost cents and really works. It's a little spicy going down, but worth it!

Raw Ginger - this is another really potent food remedy for colds. Even spicier than garlic so it may be hard to swallow. A great way to ingest it is through making your own ginger tea. Finely chop a few tablespoon of ginger and add to your hot water to make ginger tea. After steeping for a bit, strain the tea and add raw honey to balance out the spicy ginger. It will feel great on your throat and help fight that cold. You can also buy quality ginger tea if you don't want to mess with it raw.

Raw Honey - honey is very soothing to the sore throat and has natural antibiotic properties. It also contains vitamins and minerals to help you heal faster. This mom uses  honey mixed with cinnamon for her children's colds.  If there is one remedy my children will readily take its raw honey, they love it!

Bone Broth - being sick depletes your system of much needed vitamins and minerals for healing. Homemade bone broth made into soups or sipped in a mug help the healing process move faster. This is a little more time consuming if you don't have some on hand, but I try to make a big batch and freeze the extra. There's nothing tastier than a chicken soup made with homemade bone broth, food for the soul! Here's a great tutorial on how to make it. 

Apple Cider Vinegar and Raw Honey

Raw Apple Cider Vinegar - last but certainly not least, this is my favorite remedy! Apple Cider Vinegar is considered the cure all remedy. It's the best I tell you!  You can read all about the uses here.  For our coughs and colds this remedy has been the best. I can mix it with raw honey and water and my children will drink it happily. I cannot praise it enough. In the winter we are going to take it daily to keep the colds away before they even come around.

Do you have a favorite cold remedy that's not listed here? Let me know in the comments!

I am linking up with Hallie's Five Favorites, Party Wave Wednesday, Real Food Wednesday and Pennywise platter. Make sure to check out all the other links for some great posts!

"I have no taste for corruptible food nor for the pleasures of this life. I desire the bread of God, which is the flesh of Jesus Christ, who was of the seed of David; and for drink I desire his blood, which is love incorruptible"
-St. Ignatius of Antioch

August 16, 2013

The Environment by Pope Benedict XVI

If there is anything I've learned from blogging it's that, 1) I'm not a writer, and 2) I'm so inconsistent! There are so many good writers out there who know how to articulate their thoughts, make people laugh, cry and ultimately bring people back to their blog for more. That's not me and I am OK with it. If I write a post, great! If I don't, I don't. I'm pretty sure I won't be missed. :)

That being said,  I have had this book to review for MONTHS, and maybe even a year?? It's been sitting on my bedside begging to be read and reviewed. SO here you finally go!

The Environment - Pope Benedict XVI

At first glance I thought, "Pope Benedict wrote a book about the Environment?? I gotta read this...." Well, he didn't, and I was a little silly to think so. This book is a compilation of Pope Benedict's speeches, homilies and addresses that have something to do with the environment.

The different speeches range from topics about the environment, ecology, the economy and even some things ecumenical. The Holy Father stated that he has "an inner obligation to struggle for the preservation of the environment and to oppose the destruction of creation." (Light of the World, p. 45).  He makes another point stating, "Experience shows that disregard for the environment always harms human existence, and visa versa." (Message, World Day of Peace 2007).

I wish I could say I was enthralled with the book the entire time, but I truthfully struggled through reading it. I think if I re-read it as a meditation book, slowly pondering each homily or speech, I would get a lot more out of it. That being said, there are plenty of gems inside and I want to share them with you.

Especially this quote on the family and the environment: "The family needs a home, a fit environment in which to develop its proper relationships. For the human family, this home is the earth, the environment that God the Creator has given us to inhabit with creativity and responsibility. We need to care the the environment: it has been entrusted to men and women to be protected and cultivated with responsible freedom, with the food of all as a constant guiding criterion."
Thank you Pope Benedict. We are stewards of the earth God has made for us and therefore we have to care for it. Of course, like most things we can make an idol out of caring for the earth, elevating it above God, but at the same time we cannot ignore it either.

Pope Benedict makes a strong connection between peace in the world and caring for the environment. "I readily encourage efforts to promote a greater sense of ecological responsibility which...would safeguard an authentic "human ecology" and thus forcefully reaffirm the inviolability of human life. at every stage and condition, the dignity of the person and the unique mission of the family, where one is trained in love of neighbor and respect for nature." He goes on to urge us, "If you want to cultivate peace, protect creation." (p. 133).

Overall, it was a great read and I highly recommend it. It opened up my understanding of environmental issues with the light of our faith.

This review was written as part of the Catholic book reviewer program from The Catholic Company. Visit The Catholic Company to find more information on The Environment. The Catholic Company is the best resource for all your seasonal needs such as First Communion gifts as well as ideas and gifts for the special papal Year of Faith.

Linking up with What We're Reading Wednesday at Housewifespice
"I willingly join in spirit all who are grateful to the Lord for the fruits of the earth and the work of human hands, renewing the pressing invitation to respect the natural environment, a precious resource entrusted to our stewardship." - Pope Benedict XVI (Angelus, November 15, 2009)

August 12, 2013

Crockpot Jamaican Beans and Rice

This recipe has been adapted from Sally Fallon's Nourishing Traditions cookbook. It has become one of our family staples because its nourishing, frugal, and so good! If I am making this recipe for a family who just had a baby I will double the portions so I can make dinner for both of us. OR, I just double it anyways and freeze the extras. It takes a bit of time to prepare but once you do the work in the morning, you're just about good to go.

If you don't care for the taste of coconut milk I would still give this a try as the coconut taste is very mild, and you get all the benefits of having coconut in your diet!

Crockpot Jamaican Beans and Rice

Serves 8 - 10


2 cups of dried red kidney or black beans
2 cups of dried brown rice
1 package of sausage (optional but we love it!)
2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar
2 cans of coconut milk. (We like this brand)
2 bunches of green onions
6 jalapeno peppers, seeded and chopped
6 cloves of garlic, mashed
4 teaspoons of dried thyme
4 teaspoons of sea salt
Pepper to taste


Place your beans and rice into separate containers, add water and 1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar to each and soak overnight. In the morning drain and rinse the brown rice. Cook rice separately on the stove (How to cook brown rice).

Next, drain and rinse the beans. Add beans to crockpot with enough water to cover the beans. Next, add coconut milk, green onions, jalapeno peppers, mashed garlic, thyme, salt and pepper. Cook on high for 6-7 hours. Cook sausage separately on the stove. When the beans are finished, add the rice and sausage to the crockpot. Serve and enjoy!

Linking up with Pennywise Platter and Real Food Wednesday.

"Our Lord and Savior lifted up His voice and said with incomparable majesty:

"Let all men know that grace comes after tribulation. Let them know that
without the burden of afflictions it is impossible to reach the heights of
grace. Let them know that the gifts of grace increase as the struggles
increase. Let them take care not to stray and be deceived. This is the only
true stairway to Paradise, and without the cross they find no road to climb to
-St. Rose of Lima

August 6, 2013

Simple and Natural Body Care Routine

Linking up with Hallie and her 5 Favorites today, make sure to pop on over and check out the other favorites. I will be discussing my favorite body products. 

Simple and Frugal Body Care Products

This little shelf in my 70's bathroom carries just about everything I need for day-to-day body care. I think I have finally found a routine with body care products that really work, are frugal and simple to make and/or use!

I used to buy the latest and greatest products, wasting so much money as they would end up collecting dust after awhile. I was also addicted to lotion for YEARS, I seriously couldn't live without it. After I made the switch to natural products, my skin and hair improved dramatically, it's also saved me a lot of money.

As I share these, I would also love to know what works for you? Have you tried a few a these items?

1. Hair Care

Now I wouldn't say I have luscious hair, or even cooperative hair, but lately I have been starting to actually like my hair. I've always had a problem with frizz, especially as my hair grew longer. My solution was to cut it short and keep it simple, and that worked, except now I am growing it out and I love how it's looking. These are the only two products that I use and I will tell you why I love them:

Shampoo Bar: I have used J.R Liggett's Shampoo bar and have also made a batch of my own. I also occasionally use apple cider vinegar to rinse my hair with and make it soft, but we don't need conditioner anymore. The whole family uses the bar and it will last more than a month. The cheapest place to get it is Vitacost, it typically runs $4 a bar.

Homemade Dry Shampoo: My sister introduced this to me a few months ago and I love it. On the days I don't wash my hair I use this to absorb the excess oil. My hair is not frizzy and WAY more cooperative when it's dirty, and with dry shampoo it doesn't have to look dirty! This is why I am excited to grow my hair out - dry shampoo has changed everything for me. It's also handy when you have to get out the door and don't have time for a shower. Wellness Mama has a great recipe that we use.

2. Face Wash

I have a problem with dry skin and occasionally acne. It seems like I have tried everything. I never liked how my face felt until I started the Oil Cleansing Method of washing my face. All you need is oil and water! It seems crazy but I dare you to try it, you will love it. It takes a little more time that simply washing your face, but I find it helps me relax before bed. And who doesn't have oil in their house? No need for expensive cleansers anymore. Here is the video tutorial:

3. Washing my Skin

Anna's Shop: Roots Soap Co
Besides the shampoo bar and apple cider vinegar, Anna's soap is the only other thing I have in the shower. I LOVE to keep things simple and this soap does the job. My husband loves it, it's gentle enough for the kids and it's great for shaving. It's also the most natural you can get. It lathers really well and doesn't dry out my skin. Not to mention, she's an awesome mama and I am very proud to support her business.

This is the only soap we use for washing hands as well, the bar last forever and always smells so good.

4. Oils/Lotions

As I mentioned, I was addicted to lotion. It took me forever to switch to using oil for my skin instead of lotion - and now? You won't find a single bottle of lotion in my house. You might ask, why would you not use lotion? Or why is it so addicting? Here's a good answer.

My skin feels SO much better and I don't use nearly the amount of oil as I did lotion. After the NOW's sweet almond oil. One bottle will last me a few months, at least. My skin does not itch from being dry anymore.
shower I apply almond oil or jojoba oil all over my body. I let it absorb for a few minutes so I don't get any oil on my skin and I usually only reapply the oil every 3-5 days. The cheapest option I have found is

Tallow Balm

For my face and hands I either use The Good Green Stuff or my homemade tallow lotion. This is the tutorial I used and I made it from the tallow that came with our quarter beef last year. THIS STUFF ROCKS!
Beef fat seems like a really gross thing to put on your skin - but it is the closest thing to the oil on our own skin, which causes it to absorb so well. I only have to use a  little bit and my hands/feet and face feel awesome. If there is anything you take away from this post, let it be to try tallow on your skin!! You can purchase some if you don't have tallow, but if you can get your hands on grassfed tallow - I say go for it. This lotion cost pennies for me compared to the lotion you buy in the store.

5. Deodorant

Passionate Homemaking
For a few years now I have been solely using homemade deodorant. I used to buy the extra strength
antiperspirant, and it still didn't do the trick! I now love my deodorant and it makes me pretty happy that I can make this on my own. It only requires a few ingredient and you aren't putting all those chemicals in your armpit. Of all homemade products this one is easy to make and you can test it right away, I highly recommend it!

Thanks for letting me share my natural body care routine with you, Currently, Im on the lookout for a good, tasty toothpaste recipe that my kids will use. If you have any suggestions, please send them my way!

Linking up with Party Wave Wednesday at Holistic Squid and  Pennywise Platter

"Life is beauty, admire it. Life is a dream, realize it. Life is a challenge, meet it. Life is a duty, complete it. Life is a game, play it. Life is a promise, fulfill it. Life is sorrow, overcome it. Life is a song, sing it. Life is a struggle, accept it. Life is a tragedy, confront it. Life is an adventure, dare it. Life is luck, make it. Life is too precious, do not destroy it. Life is life, fight for it."
-Blessed Mother Teresa 

July 29, 2013

Practice makes Perfect

This is a guest post written by one of the lovely mothers who writes for the Soul Gardening Journal, a ministry for mothers. If you like what you read, please sign up to receive a journal and make a donation if you can, it's a wonderful cause!

 Want to know a secret?  Sometimes I feel sorry for Judas. It’s like someone wrote a beautiful play, a tragedy, really (but with a happy ending), and needed an antagonist.  Scanning the candidates lined up, mostly bearded men competing for 12 lead roles, he makes the cut and gets a part, not the one he wanted, but hey, its got a lot of lines, and he even gets to throw some pieces of silver at people.

In all seriousness, I am grateful that the Church does not declare him or anyone in particular to be certainly in hell.  I am head over heels in love with the image of Divine Mercy, and juxtaposed  to Our Lady of Fatima’s message regarding the number of souls falling into hell; it makes my heart ache and my head spin… so much that I have almost become humble enough to stop trying to figure it out.  Almost.

A priest recently mentioned to me C.S. Lewis’ The Great Divorce, where Lewis makes the point that many people actually choose hell because they are so absorbed in themselves that they are not ready to spend eternity thinking about someone else (a.k.a. God).  Because in reality, heaven is probably less about the one million flavors of ice-cream and swimming with dolphins, and more about joining the choir of voices that will be singing the praises of the Lamb.  So as much as we want the peace, the joy, the painlessness of heaven, the glaring reality is that heaven is not all about you.

Are we ready to spend eternity NOT thinking about ourselves?  Honestly I am not so sure I am.  I am still too self-absorbed.  But God is a genius.-Really, He is. And He has come up with a genius way to get us there, and it starts with two pink lines on a test strip.  It ends with learning to put someone else’s needs before our own, and to do it so often that we don’t even realize we are doing it.  This plan comes fully equipped with a number of humiliating experiences, like tantrums in the grocery store, so as to protect the whole beautiful thing from crumbling down because of our pride.

All women are called to mother either in a physical or spiritual way and it is God’s plan to bring us to heaven by turning us into the kind of people we need to be to want heaven.  Each putting down of the book, blog, sewing project, whatever, to attend to someone else helps us to live a life where we become secondary, and another becomes primary.  A busy mother rarely has the time to think of herself, and before she knows it, a habit of selflessness is formed.  And you know what a good habit is called don’t you?  It’s called virtue.

When I was in Paris I remember seeing the incorrupt St. Catherine of Laboure, enclosed in a glass coffin.  She was a short little lady with a real french nose like my own, but what struck me about her the most were her shoes.  They were leather, with heavy creases across the front under the toe line, where the shoe had been flexed over and over again from her spending so much time on her knees.  Now those creases are encased forever and she is spending eternity with someone familiar.   

Christian life is Sacrifice.  And just as the bad we have done in this life cannot be undone, the good we have done cannot be undone either.  May our bodies lie in the grave wrinkled and tired and worn, like our dear St. Catherine’s shoes, and may our own creases, be they stretch marks, cesarean scars, varicose veins, or wrinkled smile lines, be our signs of virtue, that our good Lord loves us enough to save us from ourselves.

-Hope writes on a clear, starry night, with her windows open.

The images and articles in this article are property of Soul Gardening Journal.  Please respect the time and thought we have put into making them available to you.  If you would like to use any of these images or articles, you may email us for permission at 
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...