Sunday, March 9, 2014

Following the Lenten-Brick Road with Catholic Sistas!

This year for Lent, I'm taking part in Catholic Sistas Instagram Photo a Day Challenge. It's been very thought provoking this far as I am supposed to take photos representing their word of the day. I've actually used some of David's photos too as he seems to have his phone at the ready more than I do. I want to also be sure to try to write some of my reflections this Lent, if for nothing else, to keep me thinking about more than myself and what's going on in my life.
So here's the first five days:

Day 1- Dust
Mary and I went to 7 a.m. Mass as she had school in the morning and I was going to work at my mom's. Father Holden imposed ashes on me. He did a pretty good job since they ended up lasting for the entire day, reminding me from dust I had come and to dust I would return (singing alleluia, alleluia).

Day 2-Virtue
David shaved his head into a mohawk for an Ash Wednesday penance. I know some people wouldn't think that's a big deal, but for a kid who can be a bit obsessive about how his hair looks, it made a difference for him.

Day 3-Test
This is a close up of a beautiful and tender print that Joshua owns. To me it shows the ultimate test of a mother's love. When I start to think of how much I love my kids, I realize it is nothing compared to the love our Blessed Mother had for her Son and how it really shows in this piece.

Day 4-Faith
Just a snippet of the collection we have amassed of amazing books by Catholic authors. We've got a whole bookshelf, but there are two more full up in the boys' room (I can't really claim them since they do belong to Josh and David, but I can read them). It's so much fun finding books that help us to grow in our Faith, and I'd love to have enough to fill up more shelves!

Day 5-Eucharist
David and 14 classmates from Christendom headed up to The Bronx yesterday for a week-long missions trip working with the Fransican Friars do the Renewal. This was a photo of David's he sent me today of their chapel. Please pray for the kids and the time they will be spending working alongside these amazing friars while helping some of our nation's poorest folks!

For more great photos, visit @CatholicSistas on Instagram!

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

A Couple of Amazing Couples

My parents celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary on Saturday! We were able to throw together a fun "Route 66" diner-food party for them. It was really great seeing my parents so happy. Instead of waxing on about it, I'm going to have you check out this amazing post from Cari at OregonicGirl. I will, however, share a couple of photos of the happy couple~

Mom and Dad, circa 1964...

 ...and Mom and Dad, 2014!
I often forget how rare anymore it is for couples to stay married for 50 years, but so many people were surprised and pleased about my folks. I know they've been through a lot of stuff (that would take more than a book or two worth of memoirs), and I am really happy they have not only stayed married, but remained friends. Way to go, Mom and Dad~ love ya both lots!

While I am writing on great marriages, I want to introduce you to another amazing couple, Blessed Emperor Karl Von Habsburg and Empress Zita, his beautiful wife, who has been declared a Servant of God. I had learned about them a while ago on Crisis Magazine in an article written by one of Joshua's professors at Thomas More, Dennis Kitzinger. I hadn't thought about them for a while, and then I came across another article about their amazing marriage  in The Imaginative Conservative. The articles are both outstanding, but what is even more awe-inspiring was their marriage. The love they had for each other as well as The Lord and the faith they kept during even during horribly tragic circumstances is just incredible. Their family legacy still continues in a story about Archduke Imre (one of the couple's great-grandsons) and his wife, Her Imperial and Royal Highness Kathleen on The Catholic Beat. I hope I've shared enough to get you to read their stories! 

Emperor Karl and Empress Zita on their wedding day, 1911

With marriages like those of my parents as well as  Blessed Karl and Servant of God Zita, those of us who are married today have something to strive for in our relationships. Thanks to all of you who have paved the way for all of us who want to have marriages that are also friendships, but even more so, marriages that glorify God and bring Him honor.

You Gotta Have Friends

After procrastinating for almost two weeks, I finally took the time to call my very dear friend, Debbie, who lives with her amazing husband and six terrific kids in a wonderful house settled in the picturesque Steilacoom, Washington. She and I haven't talked for probably a year, so we had some major catching up to do! What followed after she picked her phone up (thankfully; I thought she may not after I took so long) was an almost 3 hour long conversation filled with much laughter, oohs and ahs about how our respective kids are doing, and a bit of seriousness too. After finally hanging up, my heart was so full of gratefulness and love for our friendship that it has affected the rest of my day in a very positive way.

Virgin Martyrs- companions of Saint Ursula
Many of the great saints have had friends who were an integral part of their faith and their lives. Saints Perpetua and Felicity; Saints Francis and Clare; Saints Issac Jogues, Jean de Brebeuf and Companions; & Saints Paul Miki and Companions are just some of these. Of course, these saints were really holy people (as Josh would say, "That's why they're saints!"), so they took their friendships seriously. 

As I get closer to turning 50 49 next month, I am realizing how important it is to not only have good friends, but to be sure to stay caught up with each others' lives. These saints have inspired me to start taking my friendships a bit more seriously. I guess I've now said it, so my friends better be ready for me to work better on staying connected. When I tell a friend, "We need to get together for coffee.", I need to get out the calendar and pick a date instead of saying we'll do it, "when we've got some free time". It may be difficult at first, but I think once we actually do it, getting together will come a bit more easily.

As GK Chesterton said,“Because our expression is imperfect we need friendship to fill up the imperfections.” So do whatever it takes to get together with your friends. If they live far away, call, video chat, write an email or letter~ do something to stay caught up in their lives. As Donkey from shares with Shrek, "You gotta have friends!"

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Holiday Hangovers

The Keatley Kids and Ruby the Dog at
Lincoln City during our Holiday Trip!
    Well, the holidays are finally over at the Keatley home. As the boys both flew back Sunday to their respective schools~ Thomas More in NH and Christendom in VA, the house is getting back to its' quiet(er) state with just Brian, Mary and I at home, and, of course, Cari visiting on Sundays for weekly family dinner and free laundry day.We were blessed that Joshua and David got to be here for 4 weeks, and we were able to do many fun things and make some great family memories. As I was removing the last of the holiday vestiges around the house yesterday morning, I realized that having college kids who come home for a month means my "Christmas break" lasts for more than a few weeks ~ at least in our family. Having just the three of us at home has left me with a sort of "Holiday Hangover".
    It was in September that Mary and I decided to finally move stuff around upstairs thus starting to make a craft/sewing room that I have always wanted, painting the hallway a beautiful buttery yellow and turning David's room into the "boys' room". Josh is used to living in what he calls, his "cell" at school which is a small single dorm room, so I was concerned what he would think of coming home and sharing a room with his brother. David has two roommates at school, so I knew it wouldn't be a huge deal for him. They ended up enjoying sharing, and I know they had some good conversations that might not have happened if they had their own rooms.
    The second part of preparing for the boys being here had to do with all the extra baking/cooking I did. I had tried to fill the freezer with muffins, bread, cookies and other goodies along with some soups and easy breakfast items. This was partially to help our busy schedule as well as to satisfy their seemingly never-full appetites.
    With all of these projects, I was happy to have Pinterest to help with ideas. Most of my baking/cooking ideas were from there as were many of the homemade Christmas gifts I ended up sewing or making for not only our kids but friends and other family members as well.
If you don't follow me on Pinterest, here are some links to some of the recipes & craft projects I did:

Tastespotting's Turkish Semolina Cake
Alaska From Scratch's Peppermint Marshmallows
Proud Italian Cook's Limoncello Tart
A Cozy Kitchen's Coffee Marshmallows
Creative Juice's Sugared Pecans
Peppermint Bark Fudge from Lemons for Lulu
Turkish Delight from Tastes Really Good

Garlic Mashed Potato Knishes from What Jew Wanna Eat
Mongolian Beef from Just a Taste
Borrowed Heaven's Balsamic Pot Roast's Rici E Bisi
Oh So Yummy's Oatmeal Raisin Breakfast Cookies
Brats and Beer Cheddar Chowder from

Ear Warmers from Delia Creates
DIY Handwarmers from Armommy
Cat Toys from Catster
Christmas in a Jar from Dandee Designs

    I also made Alton Brown's Orange Marmalade for gifts as well as having extra for us. It has pretty much become our favorite spread of choice. I also realized how terrific it is to make jam & pickles throughout the summer because they also make wonderful (and easy) gifts! I made and gave plum jam from Gezellig-Girl, spicy tomato jam from Easyfoodsmith and bread & butter pickles from 52 Ways to Cook. The girls and I were talking last week, and we realized that we only bought a couple of gifts this year. Between the canning, baking, cooking and crafting, we gave homemade gifts to everyone on our list!
    I've also started a This Month's Menu board on Pinterest. It's been great to be able to put recipes on it that I make, or want to try making, during the month. Once I make something, I try to give it a rating then pop it over to my Got It Made, Recipes board. Even with the boys being back at school, we're pretty busy around here. I figured anything that can help us be a bit more organized is a good thing!
I know Christmas isn't for another 338 days, but I am going to try to do a little preparing every month so as not to overload my schedule come this fall. I'd love to hear what you might be planning on doing in the way of DIY gifts and goodies for this year!!