Monday, May 23, 2016

That's why we seek love

This is Pioneer Woman's peanut butter cake. It's delicious. I've made it before, but this time it turned out better because I halved the recipe. I just realized that all my cake recipes need to be halved if I want to make them in round cake pans. That way, they don't take as long to bake (just the suggested time on the recipe) and the frosting/cake ratio is better. If making the full amounts in the recipe, then it needs to be in a rectangular cake pan, like Pioneer Woman always suggests.

I made this cake because we finally invited our parish priest over for lunch. I've been meaning to do so ever since we moved here. He is really young and pretty new at this parish priest business, but he does such a good job. Having him over made us realize how hard a parish priest's life is, at least in Portugal. If single people and families have a hard time socializing and building community because of the way society is set up nowadays, diocesan priests even more. Parishioners are very elderly, people don't look for community in their parishes and with their priest, and most people that are practicing Catholics find their community in movements. So running a parish can be lonely and hard. But it's amazing to see people like our priest, who do their daily work very, very well and with little or no recognition.

The Sunday, Sunday, Sunday podcast we listen to every week was especially touching yesterday:

"Why do we love? Because we come from love. Because God, who is love, loves us and that's why we have the desire to love, that's why we search for love, that's why we seek love, that's why if you're not in love you want to be in love. And if you were once in love and you had someone break your heart and you're out of love, now you're a country music artist and that's just how it works."

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Selfies and having babies

Even though I tell her not to play with my camera, I almost always have some selfies by Addie on my camera. Sometimes I'm in another room and I hear her say "miii" (smile) or "sohiii" (sorri) and I evaluate if I need the time to finish something I'm doing (she could take selfies for hours...) or if I should just go and take it away.

I feel like I'm living at the high point of my life right now. It's kind of a lot of pressure. Everyone says they miss when their kids were babies, even though it was hard work. Looking back, I realize how much I dreamt about and acted out having babies when I was little. And even in my early twenties, how much I was fascinated by young families and especially young mothers. Maybe life will get better as it progresses, as Jesus promises with the new wine in the Cana wedding, but so far this is my favorite phase.

“That it will never come again is what makes life so sweet.”
― Emily Dickinson

Friday, May 13, 2016

Nesting, first installment

We have a month and a half to go before baby two is due and the nesting craziness has begun. This is an idea I got from Pinterest... of course... to get the diapers of the bed/floor and out of the plastic bag they come in. It was really easy: I glued a pretty fabric on a sturdy shoe box and made a hole on the back, in the middle and near the top. Then I hung it on the wall with an adhesive plastic hook.

I am happy with the (soon-to-be-two) kids' room, but there are still several more things I want to make and do. I am also super happy about the Ikea bookshelf we added a couple of months ago, which has lots of room for their growing book collection, a book basket which will hopefully rotate liturgical books in the future, and a frame with several pictures of Addie and people she knows. I like keeping toys in the living room and out of bedrooms, as Auntie Leila suggests in The Little Oratory.

Thursday, May 12, 2016

New article and new project

I have an article up at CatholicStand called  "Christian Projects: a Drop in the Ocean of Negativity" here:

In this article I talk about a project I am volunteering for. It's called "Protege o teu coração" (protect your heart) and it's a sexual education program for grades 5-12. I am doing the training this month to be able to go to schools next school year. I do not have loads of time on my hands, and hate having to leave Addie with my in-laws for extended periods of time, but I decided to take on this project for several reasons. Most of them were practical, and I felt God was clearly calling me to this, and some of them are because it's a good project and has good people working for it. I talk about what I consider characteristics of a good project in the article.

This program is basically Theology of the Body without talking about God and if you are a parent or teacher here in Portugal you can request it at your school. Or even parish or youth group. I've added a link to my side bar. <--

Saturday, May 07, 2016

A Little Mother

(Flowers for Mary in our prayer corner for the month of May...)

Happy Mother's Day tomorrow in the US of A. We celebrated it here in Portugal last Sunday, for whatever reason they picked the first Sunday of May here.

I really liked this article called "A Little Mother Prevents Big Brother" here. And here are some of my favorite quotes:

"Motherhood is the first and last line of defense against totalitarianism. If you think this statement sounds over the top, you ought to ponder why the family has always been the ultimate target of tyrannical systems of government such as communism. Advocates of cultural Marxism tend to view families as akin to subversive cells that get in the way of centralized state power."

"A mother begins this task as only a mother can: through the mysterious pull of love, by forging bonds of personal loyalty, and under cover of the hidden sphere of private life. Tyrants have openly targeted these positive forces at least since Karl Marx essentially declared them totally incompatible with socialism. Lately we see devoted mothers—particularly traditional, stay-at-home mothers—increasingly mocked and challenged as cultural throwbacks. Even President Obama has criticized them in policy speeches, including his 2015 State of the Union."

"Motherhood obviously goes way beyond the act of giving birth or providing legal guardianship. It works in mysterious ways, sowing the goodwill and self-reliance. It’s the stuff that real villages are made of."

"Real motherhood is an instinctive and spiritual call to arms against any force that would undermine the well-being of one’s children. That means combatting the forces of harm—physical, emotional, and especially spiritual—while a child is most vulnerable to them. It means having an instinctive distrust of those forces, with the instinctive ability to detect them, to preempt them, and to destroy them whenever she is confronted with them. As her children grow, the astute mother instills strength and battle-hardens her children so that they, in turn, can confront and destroy those forces in the future.
So civil society always starts with encouraging and respecting strong mother-child bonds. They are the source for cultivating a climate of trust. One-on-one and face-to-face conversations based in mutual trust will always have the greatest impact on our perspectives and our lives."