Halloween Liturgical Year Resurrection Uncategorized
Celebrating All Saints and All Souls Day
October 29, 2014
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We are just a few days away from the Feasts of All Saints and All Souls.  It’s times like this that I am reminded how much I love the Liturgical cadence of the year. November is the Month of Holy Souls. A time of change, darkness comes earlier, vibrant colors fade away, and animals head into hibernation. It also coincides with the end of the Church year and the reminder of our own mortal “end” and what lies ahead. Not usually something we like to think about! But, there is a certain beauty in honoring the souls that have touched our lives and paved the way before us.  Since it’s not something I wanted to just blow by in one day, I decided to start a little early to prepare as a family. Granted, this is about as simple as it gets, but I entrust the rest to the Holy Spirit. This is our little mantle for All Saints Day (Nov.1) and All Souls Day (Nov 2.):

FeastofAllSaintsAllSouls1

Here’s a breakdown of what we have displayed:

The candle:
We went around the table and wrote the names of the faithful departed. Those (mostly within the last year) that we have loved and lost, and want to remember in a special way. This was surprisingly emotional for me (although I’m always emotional, so that should’t be a surprise! ha). It was a very powerful time of recollection, joy and somber reflection after writing the names of each soul.

Anita Kennedy, Mr. Costanzi, Grandpa, Francois, Ruth Howser, Louis Zamperini, Abigail, and many others.

FeastofAllSaintsAllSouls

The clock. I included this as the centerpiece behind the crucifix as a tie-in to both All Souls and All Saints day. A reminder that our minutes are numbered, and we must love and serve God and others with the precious time we have. Inspired by the following story:

“Once there was a king who desired not to forget that, like other men, he must die, and he had a man whose duty it was to come before him each hour and repeat the words: “Remember thou art mortal!”
That is, every hour he had this man remind him that sometime he would have to die. Each time the man came in before the king, he was reminded that he had one hour less to live; so, each and every time that you hear the clock strike, you should be reminded of the fact that another hour has passed, and that you have one less to live. In this sense every clock has a tongue, and when it strikes it tells us that we will now have one hour less to live upon the earth.

Redeem the time: Ephesians v. 16

“Did you ever stop to think that a man who is thirty-five years old has had five solid years of Sundays? And the man who is seventy years old, has had ten solid years of Sundays? With the years given to worship and the study of God’s Word, a man at seventy ought know a great deal concerning the teachings of the Bible. May God teach us so to number our days that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom.”

-Sylvanus Stall

With that, I also printed out Psalm 90: 12:

“So teach us to number our days, That we may present to You a heart of wisdom.”

I also have my Dad’s memory card from his funeral service (Love that strong smile. Miss you, so much. xoxo). As well as holy cards of the Saints (the Church Triumphant) and a blessing cup chalice.

For All Saints Day, I purchased “Brother Francis presents The Saints Coloring and Activity Book”  for Mr. Gus (although this is probably better suited for 5-10 year olds).

AllSaintsColoringBookI’m hoping we can get to the cemetery over the weekend and pray the Rosary too. Oddly, it’s one of my favorite things to do as a family (I know that sounded weird, but it’s really not..trust me)! Lol. I love praying for the families as we stop at each grave stone. These are people we will never know this side of heaven, but the Lord hears the prayers and applies grace to the people/families who need it, and I just love that.

Do you celebrate the Feasts of All Saints and/or All Souls Day? I would love to hear how you observe them!

Finally, I wanted to share a “soul exercise” I ran across Fr. Ed Hays’ blog. He says the following:

Today the soul is commonly considered to be the totality of the self as a living conscious subject. But what are your thoughts about the soul? One thing for sure, talking about or to your soul would make you more conscious of its invisible mysterious existence. If you care to experiment, the following examples can be a beginning of your own Soul Language Lexicon.

*Coming home tired: “Oh, my poor weary soul, I’m dead on my feet.”
*During a long sermon: “My sorry soul aches for him to stop preaching.”
*Upon winning anything: “O my soul, dance with joy—I’ve won!”
*Finding place to park: “Look, my soul, an empty parking space. God is good!”
*Awakening at dawn: “O my soul—I’m alive! I’ve been gifted with another day.”

 -From the Haystack Blog.

May God bless your soul! xoxo

-Brooke

 

Birthday family Gus Uncategorized
Adios Dos!
October 27, 2014
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In 2007 I had a little idea with my son Grant to do an “Adios Dos” party (here).  The goal was to celebrate his birthday with a  “Goodbye TWO!” send-off party as we prepared to turn a proverbial new page. I can’t believe that little guy is now TEN!

AdiosDosGrant

Sweet Karolina missed out on her “Adios Dos” because it was the day my Dad died. So here we are, finally at our little caboose of the family. Today was Gus’ turn for Adios Dos!

AdiosDos

 

Gus is still a little too young to latch on to the full concept that it’s the last day he’s two in relation to the phrase “Adios Dos,” but that didn’t stop the fun!  We kept it simple but sweet. The two little crafts (pictured) were our only real tangible tie-ins. As you can see, they are pretty basic. For the hat, I traced his hand so I could always remember the size at this stage. Thankfully, the hat DID make it through the day unscathed (small victories, whoo!) and I plan to tuck it away in his little keepsake collection.

For his birthday, we got him a Strider bike and he LOVES it already!  They are efficient, lightweight, all-terrain, and help kids safely build balance coordination at an early age. He noticed right away that they didn’t have pedals, but then zipped down the street like a champ. They are a little pricey, but after seeing the success of Augustine’s maiden voyage, we are all smiles here!

AdiosDosbikeIn celebration of the gift of children in general, I wanted to share with you a little reflection I recently read in the book “The Mother” by Cardinal Jozsef Mindzenty. I pray the beauty of the words touch your heart as they did mine. Talking about the birth of a baby:

“When the tiny human bud reaches maturity, the Lord of life has ordained that he/she leave it’s place beneath the mother’s heart, and go out into the world. Immense is the joy of the mother over her newborn babe, which is truly blood of her blood, bone of her bone. This infant belongs to her more than anything else in the wild world. It has made it’s first move into the world, but in her arms, followed by her eyes, her anxious breath upon him. The loveliness so often dreamed about and sighed for now lies before her eyes. ‘Deep rest and humble silent joy fill my soul. All my life I have sighed for this moment, and now this great unutterable happiness is mine. My life, my dreams, my fears have been embodied in this small fragile human being.’ She makes the first sign of the cross on the little forehead. This is the first motherly blessing, and many more to follow. The pain is gone, a new life has begun, and love has been victorious.” 

Amen! God bless all mothers, and may the Lord bless and keep your little ones…and the ones who are not-so-little anymore!

Happy Birthday Augustine Lawrence! Adios Dos! xoxo

AdiosDosGusBirthday

cookies Fall rosary Weary
Weary Women’s Weekend ’14
October 23, 2014
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It’s been over two years since my friend Jennifer and I met for our first “Weary-Women’s Weekend.” We’ve always been long-distance friends (who sometimes text like teenagers)! Naturally, I always cherish the times we can actually see each other face-to-face. Our first getaway was in Savannah, GA, and truly a blessed experience. It was also just days after my father’s passing and (although I didn’t know at the time) days before my son Garrett’s stroke. I will always look back at those few days as a bubble of bliss that the Lord allowed me to experience as I walked through an otherwise very dark time. Since Jennifer and I have a combined ten children, and over 13-hundred miles between us, it’s not easy to find a way to see each other. So, I was SO excited when we were able to somehow miraculously plan a WWW this year. I have to be honest though, I was really skeptical that we would find another place that would rival the beauty, elegance, history (and climate!) of Savannah. But…thanks to Vicki and wonderful friends at the Carlisle Inn in Sugarcreek, OH, it was just what the Lord ordered! It’s hard to top Amish Country in the Fall, especially with a fireplace and fresh cookies in the evening! Once again, God’s grace freely seemed to flow through this blessed rest with my friend.

We hiked:

WearyWomensWeekendHike  We enjoyed Pumpkin Lattes:

WearyWomensweekendLattePraying the Rosary at sunset:

WearyWomensWeekendSkyAnd enjoying no dishes, cleanup, or laundry. Just quiet evenings and a beautiful fireplace!

WearyWomensWeekendRoom

 

It was like one big, long exhale for my soul. It was also a nice reminder that you don’t have to travel far to experience a beautiful retreat. The other added benefit was meaningful conversation about marriage, motherhood, faith, and chore charts. ;)  My life has drastically changed as a stay-home mom, in terms of how “out of touch” I probably am now with the world around me. Gathering and reporting the news and prepping for a morning show forced me to be plugged in ALL THE TIME,  which the news junkie inside of me loved. However, it’s a tough pace to maintain. Now, my life is the complete opposite. And since Karolina requires so much physical care, in addition to Gus and the general needs of the other kiddos, I’m just totally immersed in their “current events” and needs at hand. I do miss the fellowship of the listeners and the common walk of faith we shared, as well as the inspiring stories I was blessed to hear every day. I’m so very grateful to have had that experience! Which is why I think the WWW also came at a providential  time. Connecting with such a dear friend and fellow mom was just what my heart needed. I came home refreshed, re-invigorated, and probably a few pounds heavier…but oh so happy! If it’s possible, when it’s possible, I highly recommend a little mini-getaway, even if it’s just down the road. Thanks to my friend, the good Lord’s grace, and our husbands on the homefront for turning the “weary” into wonderful.

 

Fall Food pumpkin Uncategorized
Pumpkin Bread Recipe
October 14, 2014
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Over the weekend I bought a 3-pack of Libby’s canned pumpkin and since it was a Sam’s Club purchase, this wasn’t your average size canned pumpkin! It ended up being 3 enormous 1lb cans.  I love all things pumpkin and apple this time of year but then I remembered I don’t actually have that many pumpkin recipes!  Thank goodness for Pinterest. And, double loaves. I whipped up some fresh pumpkin bread X2 for the family, and after remembering how easy it was, thought I would post the recipe here. This is a GREAT go-to if you are looking for a cozy comfort food. Great as a side-dish for dinner, breakfast with coffee, and even dessert with pumpkin ice cream and caramel (yum)!

 

PumpkinBread

Double Loaf Pumpkin Bread

Ingredients
3 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1 tablespoon nutmeg
2 cups sugar
2 cups canned pumpkin
4 eggs, beaten
1 1/4 cup vegetable oil

Directions
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease and flour two 9×5-inch loaf pans.
Mix together the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg and sugar in a large bowl.
In a medium bowl, mix together the pumpkin, eggs and oil. Blend into the flour mixture. Mix the batter until stiff.
Place equal amount into the prepared pans.
Bake for 45 minutes- 1 hour. Testing the doneness by inserting a toothpick, starting at 45 minutes.

Whenever I make double of anything I always remind myself that I need to start doing it more often. My mind usually operates on making “just enough” because we don’t have a good track record of eating leftovers, but something like this just makes sense. I popped the other loaf in the freezer, but of course you could always give it to a friend/neighbor too!

Speaking of pumpkin, every year on the morning show I used to read “The Christian Jack-o-Lantern” It was a frequently requested segment every October. So, keep the annual tradition going, I brought it up from the archives for you.:) I love it for the little kids..and the big kids too! I hope you enjoy.:)

I am a Jack O’ Lantern
My light will shine so bright

For I am a Christian pumpkin
My symbols tell what’s right.

My nose is like the cross
on which our Savior died

To set us free from sin
We need no longer hide.

My mouth is like a fish
The whole wide world to show

That Christians live in this house
And love their Savior so!

The story starts at Christmas
My eyes are like the star

That shone on Baby Jesus
And wise men saw from far

My color it is orange
Just like the big bright sun

That rose on Easter Day
Along with Gods’ own Son.

And so on Halloween
Let’s set our pumpkins out

And tell the trick or treaters
What Gods’ love is all about!

Sending sweet greetings, from my pumpkin to yours!

MyPumpkinKarolina

Faith Fall Harvest Prayer Prayers Uncategorized
Autumn Prayer
October 10, 2014
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This week was particularly beautiful with the cornucopia of Fall colors. Here in Ohio, the sunrises and sunsets have been daily masterpieces. The burst of harvest shades on the trees are at their peak and the aroma of cider, apples and pumpkins is everywhere.  It’s such a banquet for the senses! Since the trees will be bare before we know it, Gus and I took advantage of the backdrop with an impromptu photo session this week:

Autumn Prayer

Love my buddy!

And, don’t forget apple picking!

IMG_1138In her apple dress, of course.:) To celebrate this time, I wanted to share a prayer I ran across thanking the Masterpiece-Maker for such a spectacular season. I pray you are able to enjoy leaf piles, warm cider, and cozy Cosby sweaters! God bless you, friends.

Prayer for Autumn Days
Sr. Joyce Rupp, OSM
God of the seasons,
there is a time for everything;
there is a time for dying and a time for rising.
We need courage to enter into
the transformation process.

God of autumn,
the trees are saying goodbye to their green,
letting go of what has been.
We, too, have our moments of surrender,
with all their insecurity and risk.
Help us to let go when we need to do so.

God of fallen leaves
lying in colored patterns on the ground,
our lives have their own patterns.
As we see the patterns of our own growth,
may we learn from them.

God of misty days and harvest moon nights,
there is always the dimension of mystery
and wonder in our lives.
We always need to recognize your power-filled presence.
May we gain strength from this.

God of harvest wagons and fields of ripened grain,
many gifts of growth lie within the season of our surrender.
We must wait for harvest in faith and hope.
Grant us patience when we do not see the blessings.

God of geese going south
for another season, your wisdom enables us
to know what needs to be left behind
and what needs to be carried into the future.
We yearn for insight and vision.

God of flowers
touched with frost and windows wearing white designs,
may your love keep our hearts
from growing cold in the empty seasons.

God of life,
you believe in us, you enrich us,
you entrust us with the freedom to choose life.
For all this, we are grateful.
Amen