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Amy M. Ink Slingers

Ah, St. Valentine’s Day…

Ah, St. Valentine's Day

 

What are you doing for Valentine’s Day?”  “What did you get for Valentine’s Day?”  “What did you give?”  Common questions this time of year.  It’s easy to be caught up in the moment and want to impress by the gift or what was received – or both.  However, love is more than one day.  Love is more than presents.
            Who was St. Valentine anyway?  He was a priest and bishop who lived in the mid-fourth century.  It was a time when an emperor named Claudius set forth an edict banning the marriage of young people.  He wanted his soldiers to be single-minded in battle.  St. Valentine secretly married many people.  He held true to his faith in prison, curing the judge’s daughter of her blindness, which caused the judge and his entire family to convert to Christianity!
            Love of God was his driving force.  Giving up his own life to be true to God.
            It’s been said and discussed in many forums that love is not only a feeling, it is an action and a call to live one’s life for another.  How do we do that?  How do we move past ourselves and our needs and our wants and look at another as more important than ourselves?
            Valentine’s Day as it is in the secular world today focuses on romantic love and outward gifts to show the world how much one person loves another.  With social media, it can become quite the contest.  How quickly we can go from being happy and content with our relationship to seeing the bouquets of flowers or candy or jewelry with the posts about, “I’m so lucky/blessed…” In comes the sting of rejection.  The disastrous “if-onlys.”
            My husband and I went anti-Valentine’s Day even before we were married.  It isn’t that we don’t like to give each other gifts or go out for dinner, but we both cringe at the inflated prices that going out on the day that we are SUPPOSED to go out if we really love each other (insert eye roll here) brings.  Oh the deals that can be found on candy and flowers the week AFTER Valentine’s Day!!  The pressure to put on a good show can be overwhelming and invites a failure to succeed without even trying.
            No, showing love and bringing love into our home needs to happen on a daily, even hourly, basis.  We’re human, and as such, we fail at love.  We fall down in our expectations – of ourselves and of each other.  
            As our children are getting closer to being adults and having relationships of their own, I am becoming increasingly aware of how our actions will affect their future relationships, how important modeling a healthy marriage relationship is.  Yet, see above.  We’re human, and we do not model a healthy relationship all the time.  We in turn need to look to the Holy Father and the Holy Family for our examples.  When we fail, we need to pick ourselves back up and try again, with God guiding us.
           We have been called to marriage and raising a large family.  Our goal in life is to raise our children to know love within marriage and family and to feel secure in being loved, living loved.  Our children need to know we love each other and they need to know they are loved, not because of what they do or achieve, but because of who they are.
           Again, this isn’t a one-time declaration.  Every day, multiple times a day, they need to see, hear, and feel that they are loved.  Not just from us, because we are flawed.  We will let them down.  When we do, we will seek forgiveness and try again.  However, they need to know that even though human love is flawed, God’s love is constant and perfect.  They were created in love, by God, for a purpose.  Each one unique.
           When we turn into ourselves and worry about whether we are receiving enough attention, affection, accolades, we turn away from this truth; we turn away from God.  Instead of growing in God’s love, we try to feel loved through other people’s reactions.  Almost a sure-fire way to find rejection.
           St. Valentine didn’t perform marriages because he was a hopeless romantic. He did so because he served God and not man.  His security wasn’t found in human laws or holidays, it was found in God’s will for his life.  
           So we pick ourselves up and try again. We resolve to be closer to God, to follow Him, and to lead our children to Him through our loving example.  When the ugly words start to come out, when we feel less than, we need to turn again to God.  We need to keep our eyes on Him.  He is always here for us, always loving us, with a perfect love that never ends.
           No, in all these things we conquer overwhelmingly through him who loved us.  For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor present things, nor future things, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. -Romans 8:37-39
 

Categories
Current Events Ink Slingers Martina Respect Life

The Economics of Sex

Friends of Catholic Sistas over at the Austin Institute have come up with something quite provocative – a series of “research animates” entitled The Economics of Sex that looks into the differences between men and women in the dating market and how each navigates it differently from a research standpoint. Pulled from their website, The Austin Institute is a team of scholars dedicated to social science research of the family, marriage, and contemporary relationships. This project is brought to the public through an infographic and a video that looks into the connection between data and everyday life. The video is ten minutes long and hits on quite a bit of information. While its focus is not intended to be a comprehensive look at the topic, the Institute does offer a resource guide for those who wish to learn more. With more videos on the horizon, it’s fair to say that this intro video will be expanded on in the near future. I invite you to bookmark, share on Facebook, tweet, or pin this new series to friends and family. Economics of Sex

Categories
Abortion Current Events Domestic Church Fasting I have a say campaign Ink Slingers Martina Offering your suffering Prayer Respect Life

#WhatWomenNeed

Cecile Richards is at it again, friends. What I wouldn’t give for a sit-down with her, given that she is often seen around my neck of the woods – Austin.

She says women need ABORTIONS for Valentine’s Day.

I realize it is the most commercialized holiday around, but its roots are still firmly placed in our Catholic faith. What would St. Valentine think of all of this nonsense?

StValentineabortion

I won’t go into the sketchy details that Planned Parenthood has touted that abortions should be “safe, legal, and rare.”

I won’t bore you by stating the obvious that abortions are {unfortunately} legal.

I won’t even bother pointing out the hypocrisy between PP wanting abortions to be rare and this photo, which is worth a thousand words.

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No, friends, I won’t bother and bore you with all those pointless words. Instead, I will ask you to download this picture, What Women Need, to counter Cecile’s slap in the face approach to telling women what we “need.” Don’t let her tell YOU what you need.

Screen Shot 2014-02-12 at 3.22.14 PM

 

LET’S TELL HER WHAT WOMEN REALLY NEED, OK?

Use the hashtag #whatwomenneed and be sure to tag us on Instagram, Pinterest, Facebook, Twitter. We want to see what YOU come up with.

Ready to ROCK? I thought so.

Cecile Richards doesn’t speak for me.

Does she speak for you?

**Please also consider offering up your sufferings and fast for the conversion of her soul. Anyone who is this vehemently in favor of abortion and will stop at nothing to campaign for the death of the unborn and pit mother against child needs every last prayer and suffering that we can muster. And our job as Catholics is to desire heaven for EVERYONE. Add her name to your prayers, friends. Let’s call on the Church Triumphant to join us in converting hearts and minds. 

Categories
Baptism BirgitJ Current Events Domestic Church Ink Slingers Marriage Motherhood Parenting Pro-Life Issues Sacraments Saints Vocations

Soul-Searching Valentine’s Day – Mourning Motherhood

loss of motherhood

I am in mourning. No, no one close to me has died, there has been no divorce – no loss of home or means of income. My loss relates to my vocation as a mother. The fervor – no need – for children resonates differently with the individual woman. Some seem not to feel the call at all while others experience an almost physical pull for nurturing little minds and souls and bodies. I am one of the later.

early motherhoodMotherhood came young for me. After having experienced a tragically unplanned pregnancy at almost 15 years of age, I found myself the oldest of a household of younger children. My child was adopted by my parents and he grew up as my brother. My early years revolved around pretending to teach and the reality of diapers and mashed bananas. When I married my high school sweetheart at age 17, we still periodically hijacked a sibling or two to feed this hunger. Our first child was born when I was a twenty year old senior in college. Three years later we were blessed with a daughter. I joke about how our next child was on ‘backorder’ because it took us eight years to conceive our youngest.

During all of this time, however, the need for babies in my life was fed in one way or another – whether by siblings or children of my own. The craziness of living far from the nearest Catholic school (commuting for athletic and gifted children is not for the faint of heart), gave me a distraction as my little brood grew up. When I was 30, my mother’s diagnosis with ovarian cancer, crept into my own reality when genetic counselors urgently suggested an oophorectomy for me. The resulting lack of hope for the large family I had dreamed of made for some tearful nights (and days). But I had my three children and the hope of nieces and nephews to console me.

motherhood through grandchildrenAs our children grew, we were blessed to be gifted with quite a few grandchildren (seven under the age of 9 to date). At one point, five of them lived on either side of us and were here to be nurtured, taught and loved each and every weekday. Nana’s Day School was vibrant with laughter, sloppy kisses, and tight squeezes! At another point, two of them moved in, along with their father, during a particularly contentious divorce. When they moved to their own home again, we simply moved back into regular visits. During that period this ‘empty nest’ (ha, ha) resonated with laughter, tumbling play fights, and loving.

As time went on the day to day activity settled into a more ‘normal’ routine. One family moved an hour away. Yet they continued to travel the two, 2-hour round trips – at least once per week, just to keep the connection alive. Happily fulfilled, this ‘stay-at-home’ Nana had at least two little ones four days per week, with visits and sleepovers to balance out the routine. Then came a drastic change. One of the mommies became a stay at home mom rather suddenly. This was the brood that came to Nana’s Day School three days per week (I was actually homeschooling them by then). Poof! The stay-at-home Nana had lost her bearings. Relegated down to a once per week house filled with little feet, demands for hugs, lap time and snuggles was a drastic step. For 48 years she had had her hands on children most every day. Now, as quickly as a death, that time was over.

I had been wondering at my stormy moods as of late and then, this morning – Eureka – I finally saw the cause with painful clarity!

I have raised these little ones from the beginning of their little lives – even to the point of having been present at two of their births. Foolishly, even as I fervently dreamed of the joy of being a stay-at-home mother for our daughter, I failed to realize what that would mean for me. I certainly can’t begrudge her the happiness that is in her future, yet the humanly frail side of me mourns my own loss just the same. Hopefully some equilibrium will eventually be found but, as of now, I have been set free against my will. I find myself once again yearning for a multitude of children even while I relish in the wonder of having raised so many more than the three gifted to us by God through our marriage. These little people, 7 little souls for which I am honored to be godmother, will always remain in our lives – the how of it has been changed but the reality has not. As I go through the mourning of my new-found position of an empty-nester, I must turn my heart toward the gift that they were and will continue to be. I have found a personal, deep respect for those who find themselves unwillingly childless. My pain cannot compare with theirs in intensity but yet I will pray more deeply for their loss. I also see the story of Moses in an entirely new light – I have relinquished the day to day care of these children and will have to seek out my new role. Lord help me to look to this new beginning of my life with a joy filled with You and a heart for giving what I can, when it is needed.

grand motherhood

*One of our little treasures turns 5 today – Valentine’s Day! Much love to you, Simon, from Nana and Papa.

Categories
Domestic Church Hannah Ink Slingers Recipes

I Love You! – Or – Homemade Samoas

This recipe is gluten free and dairy free if the chocolate you use falls into those categories.

I sent them to work with my husband yesterday and none came home.  The couple I kept for myself were pretty delicious as well!  You can easily swap a regular shortbread recipe for the base if you prefer.  I just wanted to experiment with coconut flour and it was a success.  Enjoy the step-by-step photos that follow the recipe.

Topping

  • 1½ Cups sugar
  • ½ Cup water
  • 2 Tbsp Lemon juice or 1Tbsp vinegar
  • ½ Cup thick coconut milk
  • 1 tsp Vanilla
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 3 Cups toasted coconut

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease 9×13 pan with coconut oil.

Toast coconut flakes on a cookie sheet until lightly browned.  Stir often to prevent burning.  (this can also be done on the stove top in a frying pan).

Mix together flour, baking powder and salt and set aside.

Cream butter, coconut oil and sugar. Add eggs one at a time, add vanilla. Add almonds followed by flour mixture, 1/2 cup at a time.

Pat dough into a 9×13 pan and bake for 12 minutes, or until lightly browned. Move to wire rack to cool.

Bring sugar, water and vinegar to a boil.  Cook until sugar just starts to caramelize.  Whisk in coconut milk, vanilla and salt.  Mixture will bubble up when cream is added so add it slowly and stir like crazy!  Stir in toasted coconut.

While base is still warm to the touch, spread topping over base.  When cooled to the touch, cut into squares or shapes.  Dip the bottoms into chocolate and drizzle melted chocolate over each square.  I melted my chocolate over a double boiler and then added a little more chopped chocolate to cool it quickly to prevent it from blooming.