St Gabriel Windows

St Gabriel Windows
Photocopy c. 2013 Jamie Laubacher

Friday, January 25, 2008

Mid-Winter Slump........

It's true, I've been under the weather lately - maybe the mid-winter blues or slump or something. We have so much going on as a family; the schooling is keeping momentum, and we are seeing wonderful results in progress, and well, we are anxious for spring to arrive. I think I could use more sunshine - that's for sure. Being a born and raised southern Californian, this Ohio winter climate kind of gets to my bones after a while! I'm thinking of what helps are uplifting - you know, creating atmosphere - the special smell of a candle burning, a fresh scent of a favorite cologne or bath gel, some more comfort food.....a brisk walk, then a nice cup of just-the-right tea. I'd love to hear what your favorite things are for the mid-winter slump. Please share! I'll be back later to post some more of my favorite things.....

In the meantime, I'm grateful my husband and two older children arrived safely to the March for Life, in Washington D.C., and back home again. God protect and bless the unborn children!

Many Blessings!

Comfort, Joy and Soul Food

FYI: Re-posted from January of 2007, so some of the information contained herein is dated. (Don't you love this pooh and piglet image? One of my favorite!)

Here in northeastern Ohio we have finally had our first blast of real winter. I'm finally spying icicles hanging from our wooden awnings outside the kitchen window. The wind is fiercely blustery - nothing that Pooh-Bear or Piglet would care for in the Hundred Acre Wood....and the snowflakes are powdery and magical, falling in large doses one minute and lesser ones the next; even the sun pops out every now and then, but not to be mistaken, it is very cold out there! It's a day like this that makes me think of indoor comforts, cozy comforts....: an extra coat of Vita-Moist Facial Moisturizer (my favorite from Avon), to ward off dehydrated, sensitive skin, and a "mom-moment" with Seattle's Best Sleighbell coffee...And then: atmosphere: a warm glowing burning candle of Spiced Carmel or Buttercream Vanilla nestled near the stove, and my usual classical music station playing softly while I work up some comfort food in the kitchen. Just when I'm thinking of such soul food on a day such as this.....and really taking refuge and comfort in "home", I wander over to Meredith's blog to discover a Meal Planning Carnival starting this Saturday. How providential! Just when I was thinking of posting my favorite winter comfort meal for family and thinking of asking others for theirs. So you have it! Is the internet great or what?! Do all great minds think alike?! OK then..... my soul food for a wintry Ohio day .......

Cozy Chicken-Potato-Stuffing Bake

You've already baked at least 2 pounds of boneless, skinless chicken breasts and they are ready to be diced. Next, whether they are real mashed or boxed mashed potatoes, you whip them up (about 6 servings worth) and begin by spreading these mashed potatoes in the bottom of a 9 x 13 baking dish. Next, you layer the cut-up chicken on top of the potatoes. Now you take one can of Cream of Chicken soup, mix it with 8 ounces of sour cream, thin it out with just about 1/4 cup of milk, and spread it over the chicken. The final layer is stuffing -- lots and lots of good ole' bread stuffing - any kind you'd like to use - just make sure it covers the entire top nicely. Finally, you bake this casserole at 350 degrees for 30-40 minutes.

I usually serve this with a side of corn, and homemade Buttermilk biscuits. And to add some sweetness we finish with homemade brownies made with cocoa.

Piglet and Pooh image courtesy of: Parnell Brothers

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

The Saints Shine Like the Sun...... first post that started it all, a couple Januaries ago now. I missed the anniversary date of my blog debut by a couple weeks - but it goes with the territory! A busy mom life. I know my readers can appreciate that. Thank you for visiting and sharing with me. I pray for all of you! Enjoy this thoughtful essay from one of my favorite writers. God bless!

What we find ravishing in a small child is his transparency. He attracts us without our focusing on ourselves. In some way, he makes an infinite presence tangible to us and binds us again to the divine Source like a sacrament of light. For how many fathers were the tears welling up in their eyes in the presence of their grace-filled child the divine dew that made prayer rise in their heart.

At certain times, the child, in truth, enlightens and purifies us by making us permeable to this mysterious flux which invades the being in a state of openness. Works of art, in their own way, produce a similar effect, like everything that is truly transparent here below.

The proud hurt us because they are opaque. They lock up everything within themselves and imprison us within their own limitations.

Saints free us by allowing a divine light to shine within themselves. In each one of us there is a mystical vocation, most of the time unaware of itself. Our personal self crushes us and we need to be “healed” of ourselves. We are truly happy only when we lose sight of ourselves and disappear into what is beyond ourselves. We would like to have our bondage point in someone else. We are obscurely worked upon by this aspiration which drives saints to identify themselves with God by placing their true self in Him: “And now, it is no longer I who live, God is the one who lives in me.” That is, basically the motto for all of them and it is also ours inasmuch as we discover again this childlike quality of the soul beatified in the Gospel.

Father Maurice Zundel
(+1975) Swiss mystic, poet, philosopher, liturgist and author

Sunday, January 06, 2008

St. Melchior (1st century)

Melchior was one of the three magi that visited the newborn Savior in Bethlehem. He was the first Gentile to see the Word made flesh.

Visit this image, courtesy of: Ernst & Ernst Collectors Gallery