Friday, October 20, 2017

10 online resources

This is not a sponsored post in any way, but I would like to share with you some online resources that have been essential to my life. I prefer physical, paper books and live, flesh and blood, person-to-person advice, but in lieu of that here are some things online I find useful. It's also the age we live in I guess, where there is so much online stuff available.

This was the first blog I ever found (while watching Oprah!) and I am still inspired by it years later. It is a mormon mommy blog and when I first found it, I read it from the very beginning so I can say I've seen every post. I love Stephanie Nielson's love of the details of homelife, family traditions and celebrations of everything. I love her tight-knit community and extended family.

I found Auntie Leila's blog through her wonderful book, The Little Oratory, and it has been invaluable. I like her pracical suggestions and use her meal-planning techniques here

I am very inspired by Jessica's baking and liturgical living ideas. I am also inspired by her clean, spacious-looking house and her family prayer life. I love her book lists and recommendations.

Ever since I discovered abebooks will group shipping costs and amazon will not, I rarely use another site for ordering books.

Cassie Ho has free videos on this site and on youtube, but I especially love the app. It's a dollar something a month. They group four or five videos on each day by category (arms, legs, cardio, etc.) that are easy to click on. I was able to do this while pregnant with Davy because I could pick just arms, or just legs, and skip anything that involved tummy. You need ZERO equipment and they are so effective. (This pregnancy I'm just too... busy? :/)

I used this site when teaching English to kids, but now it is so useful for my kiddos. I personally love every song they make and look forward to watching new ones that come out.

All cakes by Pioneer Woman. Occasionally other things too.

Some recipes from Real Simple are wonderful and really simple, as the name implies. I especially like mud pie and Mexican chocolate cake.

I have listened to at least half of Bishop Barron's podcasts, starting from episode one, and I will be at a loss when I get through all of them and have to wait for one a week. My house has benefited because I look forward to cleaning bathrooms or washing dishes while they're sleeping if I can listen to podcast, whereas before I hated doing anything other than go online during their precious nap time.

I have yet to dedicate time to budgeting, but I found this site through a blog and I like their tips and basic concept. I hope it will help us with prospective budgeting... something we really need help with. 

What are your favorite online resources? Please share! 

Wednesday, October 18, 2017


Enjoying a corndog (pretty much his favorite food) made on the open fire, courtesy of our lovely neighbor. 

His little smile kills me. Anything he does kills me, I'm like putty in his hands. Even when he screams for food, throws himself on the floor crying when I won't let him open the freezer, wakes up at four in the morning and takes two hours to get back to sleep. It's those chubby cheeks and puppy dog eyes. Absolutely kill me. 

We've been crazy busy lately. It's hard to find balance between housework and activities, your own projects/formation and feeling like you're ignoring your kids, being productive and resting, being social and being responsible. Basically, I keep on seeing that any time I decide to do something good, millions of obstacles and difficulties pop up when I actually try to do it. Perseverance, wow it's hard. But it's worth it in the end. 

I've been listening to a new podcast called the Patrick Coffin Show, other than Bishop Barron's of course. It's so... smart... something hard to say about podcasts. And I learn so much. I've been baking bread at least once a week, which always turns out different, but edible. All four of us think it's worth it. I'm using a recipe from my new cookbook Mennonite Country Style,  which I was inspired to buy after reading this post. And of course the countdown to baby number three, expected in January, is getting closer and closer. And he still remains nameless, and the to-do list before he gets here is still untouched.  

Monday, October 16, 2017

The Power of Silence

Image result for the power of silenceI just finished reading Robert Cardinal Sarah's book, The Power of Silence: Against the Dictatorship of Noise, thanks to my wonderful book club. Although it was dense and pretty hard to discipline myself to get through, kind of like an encyclical, it was SO WORTH IT and SO GOOD. He is super clear and not vague or abstract at all. He speaks out about things I already had an inkling aren't so good, but that modern society holds up as gods. Within and without the Church. He points to another path and sheds light on things you would've never thought about. I gave it five starts on goodreads (on sidebar), something I reserve for clear favorites. Here are some of my favorite quotes. 

Man likes to travel, create, make great discoveries. But he remains outside himself, far from God, who is silently in his soul. (no. 3)

Silence is not an absence. On the contrary, it is the manifestation of a presence, the most intense of all presences. (12)

Indeed, although it is associated with solitude and the desert, silence is by no means self-absorption or muteness, just as true speech is not garrulousness but, rather, a condition for being present to God, to neighbor and to oneself. (27)

We must learn, Thomas Merton says, that "the inviolability of one's spiritual sanctuary, the center of the soul, depends on secrecy. Secrecy is the intelectual complemente of a pure intention... Keep all good things secret even from yourself. If we would find God in the depths of our souls, we have to leave everybody else outside, including ourselves." It is disastrous, if we want to find God in our souls and to remain there with him, to try to communicate him to others as we see him. We could do so later with the grace that he gives us in silence and by the influence and transparency of our life. True witness is expressed by the silent, pure, radiant exemple of the sanctity of our life. (28)

Silence of the heart consists of quieting little by little our miserable human sentiments so as to become capable of having the same sentiments as those of Jesus. Silence of the heart is the silence of the passions. It is necessary to die to self in order to joing the Son of God in silence. (52)

In the life of prayer, some support is necessary, because we always run the risk of going far from ourselves when we are invaded by noises, dreams, and memories. Reading the Bible silently and diligently is the best method. The Gospels place the reader in front of Christ, his life and his mind. (59)

How can we come to master our own interior silence? The only answer lies in asceticism, self-renunciation, and humility. If man oes not mortify himself, if he says as he is, he remains outside of God. (62)

Silence is more important than any other human work. Because it expresss God. The true revolution comes from silence; it leads us toward God and others so as to place us humbly and generously at their service. (68)

Our world no longer hears God because it is constantly speaking, at a devastating speed and volume, in order to say nothing. Modern civilization does not know how to be quiet. It holds forth in na unending monologue. Postmodern society rejects the past and loks at the presente as a cheap consumer object; it pictures the future in terms of na almost obsessive progress. (...) Quite often "truth" is nothing more than the pure and misleading creation of the media, corroborated by fabricated images and testimonies. (...) IN this hell of noise, man disintegrates and is lost; he is broken up into countless worries, fantasies and fears. (74)

Even in the schools, silence has disappeared. And yet how can anyone study in the midst of noise? How can you read in noise? How can you train your intellect in noise? (75)

In killing silence, man assassinates God. But who will help man to be quiet? His mobile phone is continually ringing; his fingers and mind are always busy sending messages... Developing a taste for prayer is probably the first and foremost battle of our age. (76)

The love that says nothing and asks for nothing leads to the greatest love, the silent love of God. (99)

Great things begin in the desert, in silence, in povert, in abandonment. Look at Moses, Elijah, John the Baptist, and Jesus himself. (104)

Silence requires absolutely availablility with respect to God's will. Man must be completely turned toward God and toward his brethren. Silence is a quest and a form of charity, in which God's eyes become our eyes and God's heart is grafted onto our heart. (116)

Finally, there are the houses of God that are our churches, if the priests and the faithful take care to respect their sacred character, so that they do not become museums, theaters, or concert halls, but remain places reserved for prayer and God alone. (121)

Despite his demanding ministry, and although he often had to deal with secular matters, Augustine found the time for silence and solitude in order to read, study, meditate on Sacred Scripture, pray for long hours, compose his dogmatic works, provide catechesis and teaching. (133)

It is necessary to protect precious silence from all parasitical noise. The noise of our "ego", which never stops claiming its rights, plunging us into na excessive preoccupation with ourselves. The noise of our memory, which draws us toward the past, that of our recollections or of our sins. The noise of temptations or of acedia, the spirit of gluttony, lust, avarice, anger, sadness, vanity, pride - in short: everything that makes up the spiritual combat that man must wage every day. (155)

Nevertheless, when we are lovers, we always notice the slightest gesture of the one whom we love. (174)

Jesus comes to this earth during a peaceful and silent night, while mankind is sleeping. Only the shepherds remain awake (Lk 2:8). His birth is surrounded by solitude and silence. (193)

The whole life of Jesus is wrapped in silence and mystery. If man wants to imitate Christ, it is enough for him to observe his silences. The silence of the crib, the silence of Nazareth, the silence of the Cross, and the silence of the sealed tomb are one. (196)

The blood of martyrs is a seed, a cry, and a silent prayer that rises up to God. (198)

In his final moments, nocturnal silence is Christ's companion. The faithful must get used to praying at night, like Jesus. God carries out his Works in the night. In the night, all movement is transformed and grows by God's strength. (200)

Easter marks the triumph of life over death, the victory of Christ's silence over the great roar of hatred and falsehood. (205)

As Christ was born in poverty, in the silence of the night, and by the power of the Spirit, so too the Church could not come into existence in the midst of glories and wordly noise. (219)

In order to preserve the mystery, it is necessary to protect it from profane banality. Silence performs this role admirably. A treasure must be placed out of reach; what is precious always remains veiled. (...) Do we not automatically lower our voice to say the most important things, words of love? (242)

I realize that theologians study this mystery and translate into human words the results of their research. But these words will be tolerable only if the study of them is rooted in silence and leads to silence. Otherwise, they will become vain chattering. (244)

But true silence is the silence of our passions, the heart purified of carnal impulses, washed of all our hatreds and resentments, oriented toward the holiness of God. (253)

In reality, true, good silence always belongs to someone who is willing to let others have his place, and especially the Completely-Other, God. (268)

Silence and prayer are not a form of defection. They are the strongest weapons against evil. Man wants to "do", but above all else he must "be". In silent prayer, man is fully human. He resembles David before Goliath. For prayer is the noblest, most sublime, and most vigorous act, which elevates man to the level of God. (287)

The social mission is fundamental, but the salvation of souls is more important than any other work. (304)

When we are ruined, humiliated, belittled, slandered, let us keep silence. Let us hide in the holy sepulcher of Our Lord Jesus Christ, far from the world. Then the power of the torturers no longer matters. The criminals can destroy everything in their fury, but it is impossible to break into the silence, the heart and the conscience of a man. (312)

Poverty is a test and an austerity that God imposes on those who claim to live in his company. He wants to know the truth of their heart and their fidelity to his commandments. Poverty is a sign of love. It unburdens us of all that is heavy and weights down our progress toward what is essential. It helps us in the great contemporary battle rediscover the true values of life. (325)

The tenderness of a look can bring God's consolation and comfort. In the presence of a suffering sick person, it is not necessary to speak. It is necessary to be compassionate silently, to love,and to pray, with the assurance that the only language that is appropriate for love is prayer and silence. (347)

When the soul is detached from the body of the departing person, it rises in an incomparable silence. The great silence of death is the silence of the soul that travels toward another homeland: the land of eternal life. (364)

All that is from God makes no noise. Nothing is sudden, everything is delicate, pure, and silent. (365)

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Nature plate

This is our nature plate. I decided we couldn't have a nature table, because it would be destroyed each day anew by our 15-month-old destruction machine, but this plate seems to be enough out of the way to survive. Addie already wanted to bring sticks and random things from outside home, but now I remind her even more. "Why don't you pick something nice to take home for our nature plate?" I'm pretty sure I am more excited about it than she is. It was a nice thing to have for the shells we collected on our trip. She saw an adult woman collecting shells at the beach and said, "Look, she's getting shells to put on her nature plate." I thought that was funny. 

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Beach weekend in October

You know it was a great vacation when you are a little sad coming back and your three-year-old just cries, "No, I don't want to go home!" We went back to the chain of hotels called Inatel for the third or fourth time now, and it seems to get better each time. This one we go to is in the Algarve, and five minutes walking distance from the beach, 20 minutes walking distance downtown. There is an adult pool and a shallow kiddie pool, which both kiddos thoroughly enjoyed. The first thing Addie asked when she woke up was, "I can't see the pool. When are we going to the pool?" But the best of all (at least for me!) is most certainly the buffet. We have breakfast, lunch and dinner there and I wish there were more meals in the day to enjoy there. There is something for each one of us. Addie would also always ask, "Are there french fries today?", even during breakfast. Even though we are in October, luckily our sunny, Portuguese weather held out and it was hot, but with a nice breeze. Couldn't have asked for more. Except for Addie to have slept her naps at the appropriate time at the hotel. But I guess you can't win them all.