Monday, February 27, 2012

Rainy Days and Mondays...German Pancake Rollups

As the old Carpenters song bemoaned (yes, I'm old), 'rainy days and Mondays always get me down'.
But with a little creativity and a dash of love, it doesn't have to be that way! I think I'll make my Rainy Days and Monday idea a regular post. Isn't it better to start the week with a bit of a smile in your heart - and in this case your tummy as well?

As a child, who spent her first 9 years of life in Germany, I have acquired both tastes and recipes from that culture. Isn't it funny, then, that I had never heard of 'German pancakes'?! My dear husband, and co-chef, surprised me one weekend morning (yes, I know I'm lucky) with this tasty recipe. Originally, the ingredients were intended to be mixed and then poured into a cast iron skillet and baked in the oven. The result was a thick, tasty egg dish that was great with syrup.

Of course, creative person that I am (who never found a recipe she couldn't change), I decided to make it into a 'fun food'! So without further ado, I present German Pancake Rollups!


INGREDIENTS

  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1 T sugar
  • 1 t vanilla
  • 1 pinch salt
  • Butter
  • Optional toppings







SIMPLE as PIE!

  • Break eggs into your blender and beat slightly.
  • Add all other ingredients (except butter) and blend.





  • Place a crepe pan (any small pan will do) onto medium heat and add about 1/3 pat of butter. Melt.
  • Add just enough of the mixture to cover bottom of pan and cook until it is solid enough to turn.
  • I make two at a time to speed up the process although it doesn't take long to cook these.




  • Flip over and immediately place onto plate.





NOW for the FUN PART!

  • Add the filling of your choice.

              Sugar and cinnamon
              Fruit preserves
              Nutella (yum)
              Pureed fruit (strawberries come to mind)

  • Spread  filling evenly, roll tightly and then slice into bite-sized pieces.



YUMMY Monday!


Sunday, February 26, 2012

Pro-life Corner: SUNDAY, February 26, 2012


BULLETIN INSERT:

The cleansing power of water

Today’s first reading speaks to us of Noah’s Ark. The flood that God sent upon the world in Noah’s day was a cleansing of evil. Now, God cleanses us not by floods, but by the waters of baptism, which bring to us a whole new kind of life: the life of God within us.

Our special efforts in Lent to come closer to God are a response to what has already happened to us! Because we have received the new life of God, we have to reform our lives and live as his sons and daughters. We have to become who we already are. The holy water we use when we come in and out of Church is a reminder of the cleansing waters of baptism, and a reminder of the new life we are called to live.

God is a God of life, and therefore we are the People of Life. This Lent, let’s look for ways to foster respect for life, especially the sick, the disabled, and the unborn.

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GENERAL INTERCESSIONS:
As you know, the US Bishops have asked us to include in the General intercessions at every Mass a petition for the building of the Culture of Life. Their words in the Pastoral Plan for Pro-life Activities read, "Parishes should include in the petitions at every Mass a prayer that ours will become a nation that respects and protects all human life, born and unborn, reflecting a true culture of life." (US Bishops, 2001, "A Campaign in Support of Life"). 
~Fr. Frank Pavone, Priests for Life
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Celebrant: As we embrace the sacrifices of Lent, let us present to God our needs and the needs of the world.

Deacon/Lector:
That the Church may show the world the way to God through repentance and prayer, we pray to the Lord…

That world leaders may work together to seek peace and justice for all, we pray to the Lord…

That as God made a covenant with all living things, so we His people may grow in our respect for life, and actively protect it, we pray to the Lord...

That those suffering from illness and old age may have gentle caregivers to attend to them and ease their pain, we pray to the Lord…

That the members of our parish family may renew our covenant with God through sacrifice, reconciliation, and prayer, we pray to the Lord…

That those who have died may rest in the loving presence of the saints and angels, we pray to the Lord…

Celebrant:
Gracious God, giver of all good gifts, receive these prayers.
Answer the needs of your people, and keep us in your care,
through Christ our Lord.  Amen.


HOMILY SUGGESTIONS: 
Gn 9:8-15
1 Pt 3:18-22
Mk 1:12-15

“This is the time of fulfillment.” The call to repentance, issued at the start of Lent, is a call to respond to something that has already happened. The promise of the covenant after the flood in the days of Noah has been fulfilled in the new and everlasting covenant of Christ. God has cleansed us by the waters of baptism, and given us new, eternal life. This is the fulfillment which brings an obligation: reform your lives, so that they will correspond to the new life that has been poured into you!

Repentance, therefore, is not a matter of something imposed from the outside, but rather a matter of being consistent with a gift already given.

This gift, essentially, is life. By the new and eternal covenant, renewed in each Mass, we become, ever more deeply, a people of Life. The repentance we undertake is expressed in the self-giving that Christ shows us on the altar. We give ourselves away to foster life in our families, our communities, and the world.

Putting ourselves aside to welcome the gift of life in the person of the unborn child is a particularly urgent aspect of the repentance needed in our nation today. Lent gives us the opportunity to echo that call:
Reform your lives, and put aside the doubt, fear, and selfishness that would destroy another human being in the name of “choice.” Reform your lives, and repent of the silence that keeps you from defending the helpless in your midst. Reform your lives, and work for the reformation of the laws and policies of the nation, that they may protect the rights that God has already given to all, born and unborn. Reform your lives, reject the covenant of death, and live the Covenant of Life!

First Sunday of Lent, Cycle B - February 26, 2012            ~Priests for Life
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Every Sunday, I post these pro-life materials, generously offered for distribution by Priests for Life. These posts coincide with the Church calendar and 'contain three elements: a one-paragraph bulletin insert, General Intercessions, and suggestions for drawing pro-life themes out of the Sunday reading for the homily'. This is my Sunday effort to help us all think with a pro-life heart.

As is the practice over at Catholic Sistas, a blog to which I contribute, Sunday posts will be scheduled ahead of time in order to leave that day for Church and family.


PS. Learn about Lady Ribbon’s Entry Into Our Lives… a ribbon that truly speaks to Catholic women with regard to breast cancer with a focus on pro-life awareness.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

President Obama, LET US BE CATHOLICS!

As this newly minted Lent marches toward its first Sunday, I am refreshed from these few days of following my Rehab PROMISES. Although it has been more of a struggle than I would have thought, my Friday was faithful in adherence to these self imposed rules. I did begin to appreciate the quiet that comes from leaving all things electronic behind - or at least only using them for moral obligations.

One thing that I will not let rest, however, is my pursuit of justice for the unborn. In that vein, one of my friends sent an email to me that contained a link to the following video. You would have to live under a rock not to be familiar with what the Obama Administration, guided by Kathleen Sebelius, a pseudo catholic, is trying to do to religious liberty under the guise of 'healthcare'. His unholy tyranny is truly a frightening thing to behold and solidifies our belief that the devil is certainly at play on this earth.

Our reassurance comes from finding that there are true warriors for the Gospel out there in our churches, who will stand ready to fight! One such Champion of our Mother Church is Father Sammie Maletta, who delivered a Homily at St. John the Evangelist Parish in St. John, Indiana. As the description on YouTube states, "(t)his Homily addressed how President Obama is threatening our Religious Freedom and declaring war with the Catholic Church."

I, for one, feel totally invigorated when I hear such a homily from one of our priests. It makes me proud and also brings an urgency to share and encourage more of this type of strong conviction! Give a listen and see if you don't feel the same...and then pass it on. Perhaps even to a priest, who might find this to be just the nudge to declare his passion as well!

God bless Fr. Maletta for standing strong!

‎"In the United States, religious liberty does not depend on the benevolence of who is regulating us. It is our 'first freedom' and respect for it must be broad and inclusive-not narrow and exclusive. Catholics and other people of faith and good will are not second class citizens. And it is not for the government to decide which of our ministries is 'religious enough' to warrant religious freedom protection."                                ~Cardinal Timothy Dolan
President Obama, LET US BE CATHOLICS!

On February 5, 2012 Father Sammie Maletta delivered a Homily at St. John the Evangelist Parish in St. John, Indiana.  Please take a few moments to listen. No one sums it up quite like Father Maletta.
Go to http://bit.ly/zPdgpw to fight the HHS Mandate.



RELATED LINKS:




Thursday, February 23, 2012

Settling In

Yesterday I outlined my Rehab PROMISES  for my Lenten Journey and how I'm attacking Lent with enthusiasm this year. Today finds me trying to get acclimated as I pull back from the electronics that have actually become an addiction for me. Yes, you might observe, I am posting this blog entry on a computer but that isn't the type of use I am focused on. Blogging will continue and may even become more fruitful, once I get over withdrawal from my true sources of addiction.

Much like dieting is so very difficult because one must still eat for nourishment - my addictions are a necessary part of my life as well. With food you can't simply go 'cold turkey' like you would from, say, cigarettes; drugs; or liquor. In the same way, I am tied to Facebook and Pinterest because I have committed to living the Holy Father's challenge of using electronic media for proclaiming the Gospel.

Facebook - not only have I made many great, Catholic friends during the past years but I have also committed to sharing what I learn from them. These friends of mine are a valuable source for many great articles and posts - I'd never have time to find them on my own. In return, I moderate two pro-life Facebook fan pages and distribute the information I find. I also help out on a couple other pages.

  • Right to Life of Owensboro, my first fan page creation, now boasts 1,431 fans - not bad for a group in a town of 56,000 or so people! This is a non-denominational group and I also serve on their board of directors. 
  • Gospel of Life Committee - Diocese of Owensboro is my new baby. I am proud to be a member of this Committee that serves our entire diocese. With only 181 fans, to date, I'm working hard to grow this little haven of unabashedly Catholic/Pro-life content. You don't have to be a Kentuckian (or Catholic) to join (hint, hint); we welcome anyone who appreciates what the Church is doing for the cause of life.
  • Catholic Bloggers Network - 'In acknowledgment of the Vatican's strong interest to embrace social media for evangelization, this Catholic Bloggers Network was created to enhance communication of Catholic social media users. Here Catholic bloggers can connect and share efforts to bring the Catholic faith into the social media discourse. By creating this webpage directory of Catholic bloggers and connecting the online portals they use, our Catholic community grows larger. Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam!' ~ Catholic Bloggers Network

    REMINDER: "Cutting out prayer time with God because you want to blog about Catholicism is like saving time on a long roadtrip by not stopping for gas: it may seem smart in the moment, but it won't end well." ~ words of wisdom from the creators of Catholic Bloggers Network


Pinterest - now don't laugh. This is actually a very good medium for the distribution of information. I am a contributing 'pinner' for several Catholic groups and you'd be surprised at how many blog posts receive increased traffic due to a 'pin'. I also work in a faith formation type of pursuit for ideas ranging from homeschooling to Church Seasons.

As you might imagine, though, since I do work within these addictive circles for my daily evangelization efforts, it's very tempting to stray - until my strained eyes tear up and I get that Zombie look of addiction. So my goal is to do virtuous posting and pinning while leaving the other 'stuff' behind for a time...it will always be there after Easter!

Yesterday evening was much more difficult than I would have imagined. This shows me that it was high time to address these addictions. My trusty iPhone makes it way too easy to constantly check things out - Facebook, text messages, email, Pinterest, television schedule, Netflix...these are my sins, laid bare for me to face, head on. With my small meal quickly consumed, I focused on some of my 'positive' activities for the day and called it an early night...and fell asleep feeling good about my choices.

Wishing you all a glorious, grace-filled Lent!


Tuesday, February 21, 2012

My Lenten Journey - REHAB PROMISES!

Well, Lent is officially upon us and I can't remember a time when I was more excited about the prospect. I don't know if it's all of the wonderful Catholic friends I've made during the past year or if I'm just getting a bit further along on my 'journey'. Maybe it's a bit of both. In any case, I have been compiling a list of sorts for my Lenten Journey and this post will make it official. I'm blessed to have married exactly the right man and as we were discussing Lent today, he told me that our plans for Lent are very similar. He's working out of town for the next week, so we will begin this journey apart from each other; that's why I promised him a post to read Ash Wednesday morning.

So here is a listing of the ideas that I have developed over the past few days. I've left off the obvious ones that we do every year, so this is a newly hatched list - a.k.a. REHAB PROMISES:

Rosary - there's an app for that! Rosary Audio says the prayers with you. Perfect for travel!
Electronics - I will use them smarter, by limiting myself to only worthy pursuits!
Health - not a diet, but a better attitude to strive for a healthy sense of physical well-being.
Activity - do something instead of being passive...get up out of that (computer) chair!
Blog about meatless dishes and other Lenten activities, prayers, and meditations.

Projects - sewing and crafting will become a more routine part of my life. No idle hands!
Relearn the art of writing cards and letters to those I love.
Organization - making an effort to minimize 'stuff' and then sharing it with those in need.
Make magnets for the refrigerator and then choose at least 3 of these activities per day.
iBreviary - Mass readings have never been easier to read. Make this a daily, shared experience!
Simplify my day with more quiet time - give myself a chance to hear the whispers of God.
Early to bed, early to rise promises to be a difficult, yet doable, objective for this night owl.
Start submitting Pro-life Corner posts for parish bulletins again.

Just for the fun of it, I ran the first letters of my list through one of those word descramblers. The result? You guessed it - REHAB PROMISES. I couldn't think of a better way to describe how I'm going to attack this list. Like a true addict of things of this world, I will try to stay 'clean' throughout these 40 Days and begin my 'new normal'! Stay tuned as I elaborate on my progress from time to time.

Happy Lent and let us all pray for one another!


Also check out my posts for children - My Lenten Journey for Kids and EGG-straordinary Lenten Rosary Project for Your Family




My Lenten Journey for Kids

This project evolved from a previous post - the EGG-straordinary Rosary Project for Lent . I simply used links to various coloring pages, Stations of the Cross carousels, and other ideas to create a Lenten Journey Book for Kids.

You will find the necessary links below:

Stations of the Cross coloring pages for all of the stations.

Stations of the Cross carousel - a great way to display the colored pages.

Lamb of God Lenten Calendar uses cotton balls on a cute lamb print-out.

Walk the Lenten Path  to countdown the days, put a sticker on each square every day.

Almsgiving Activity for Children During Lent fill this cross-shaped craft with coins.

Catholic Rosary coloring pages to print. Includes Luminous Mysteries and much more!

Catholic Rosary Diagram page to color.

Sign of the Cross diagram and coloring page.

Our Father - prayer coloring sheet.

Hail Mary - prayer coloring page.



The Materials for My Lenten Journey for Kids are few:

  • Purple construction paper
  • Coloring sheets printed from the various links
  • Crayons, markers, or chalk
  • Stickers
  • Stapler

Construction of the My Lenten Journey for Kids is simple:

  • Using one sheet of construction paper, design the cover of your book.
  • Print out the coloring pages and assemble into desired order
  • Construct book by stacking front cover, coloring pages and back cover.
  • Staple or bind together using ribbon. You could also place in a 3-ring binder and, using protective sheet covers,  assemble into a sturdy book where the pages are taken out to be colored and then placed back into the book.

The My Lenten Journey for Kids project will last all of Lent. Use it with the EGG-straordinary Rosary Project for Lent from a previous post, for added effect:

  • Use a Lenten countdown calendar to mark the days of Lent.
  • Learn the prayers of the rosary.
  • Concentrate on a single mystery every day - 20 days total.
  • Concentrate on the Stations of the Cross, coloring one per day.
  • Add a list of personal sacrifices, prayers, and alms giving.
+   +   +

UPDATE for Lent of 2014 - check out my Stations of the Cross Craft 




Monday, February 20, 2012

Let's Play With Our Food!


So the kids are bored and you are too. It's the kind of day when you just want to keep them happy (aka busy). What do you do for lunch on a day like today?

PLAY WITH YOUR FOOD!!!!

Start with a few hot dogs and some spaghetti. Cut the hot dogs into thirds and do the same with the spaghetti.




After making sure EVERYONE has clean hands, just let them do what kids do best.

Poke and prod and build...in other words, LET THEM PLAY WITH THEIR FOOD!



You'll get some sweet relief - to empty the dishwasher or make a side-dish.

And the kids will be so intent on this rule-breaking 'game' that you won't hear a peep out of them...

well, maybe a GIGGLE or two!


Soon you'll have a table full of funny-looking critters like this.

I don't quite see it, but evidently a couple of these are WOODPECKERS!

Imagination can be a wonderful thing!


Now put these creations into the water you have boiling on the stove. Oh, didn't I tell you to boil some water? Well, you should have known these needed cooking...RIGHT? ha, ha

Bring to a boil and cook for about 8 minutes. Then turn off the heat, cover and let set for about 5 minutes more. This allows the spaghetti inside to soften.

Look at that SMILE! Add a small portion of spaghetti sauce (or ketchup) and let the eating commence.

Kids will ALWAYS eat better when they have had a HAND in the preparation. ::grin::

When you actually let them PLAY with their FOOD, it's a WIN - WIN situation.



Inspired by Pinterest

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Pro-life Corner: SUNDAY, February 19, 2012

For several years, submitting a 'Pro-life Corner' post for the weekly bulletin in several churches has been a part of my pro-life efforts. It was only natural to carry this idea into the new pro-life direction of my blog. Priests for Life has been the source for Pro-life Corner posts. Their materials are generously offered  for distribution and they simply ask for credit. These pro-life posts coincide with the Church calendar and 'contain three elements: a one-paragraph bulletin insert, General Intercessions, and suggestions for drawing pro-life themes out of the Sunday reading for the homily'. I will share all three elements every Sunday in an effort help us all think with a pro-life heart.

As is the practice over at Catholic Sistas, a blog to which I contribute, Sunday posts will be scheduled ahead of time in order to leave that day for Church and family.

Seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time - Cycle B

BULLETIN INSERT:

Self-Sacrificing Love

Pope Benedict XVI’s encyclical “God is Love” teaches that “agape, which [is]…the typical expression for the biblical notion of love….expresses the experience of a love which involves a real discovery of the other, moving beyond the selfish character that prevailed earlier. Love now becomes concern and care for the other. No longer is it self-seeking, a sinking in the intoxication of happiness; instead it seeks the good of the beloved: it becomes renunciation and it is ready, and even willing, for sacrifice” (n. 6).
This kind of love is seen in a particular way when we care for the weak and defenseless, both born and unborn. May the Pope’s encyclical encourage us to build a culture of life! For more commentary on the document, visit www.priestsforlife.org/articles/godislovecommentary.htm.

GENERAL INTERCESSIONS:
As you know, the US Bishops have asked us to include in the General intercessions at every Mass a petition for the building of the Culture of Life. Their words in the Pastoral Plan for Pro-life Activities read, "Parishes should include in the petitions at every Mass a prayer that ours will become a nation that respects and protects all human life, born and unborn, reflecting a true culture of life." (US Bishops, 2001, "A Campaign in Support of Life").                   ~Fr. Frank Pavone, Priests for Life

  • That the Church may be a sign of the healing power of forgiveness and reconciliation, we pray to the Lord...  
  • That Church leaders may be sustained by God’s grace amidst challenges of spreading the Gospel throughout the world, we pray to the Lord...
  • That our President may be strengthened in his daily responsibilities by the example of the great presidents of the past, and by the teachings of Christ, we pray to the Lord...
  • That Christ, who is the "Yes" to the promises of God, may enable us to always say "Yes" to life, and welcome the poor, the vulnerable, and the unborn, we pray to the Lord...
  • That as we begin Lent this week, we may deepen our repentance from sin and our trust in God's mercy, we pray to the Lord...
  • That all who have died may live in the glory of God for all eternity, let us pray to the Lord...

HOMILY SUGGESTIONS: 

Is 43:18-19, 21-22, 24b-25/2
2 Cor 1:18-22
Mk 2:1-12

Memorial in the Garden of Hope, Brescia University - Owensboro, KY
The emphasis of the first reading and Gospel for this weekend on the forgiveness of sins suggests, of course, that as we speak about God’s mercy, we mention that the Church extends that mercy to all who have been involved in abortion. To the extent that the homilist may wish to develop this theme, the words of Evangelium Vitae 99 are worth reading, and are reproduced below. Likewise, a practical resource like the Silent No More Awareness Campaign (www.silentnomoreawareness.org) can be mentioned. Parishioners can find referrals to various ministries of post-abortion healing at that website. The gatherings, furthermore, in which women give their testimonies about how they regret their abortions, are occasions in which the mercy of God shines forth powerfully to the local community. It would be a powerful addition to this weekend’s message if a woman who has had an abortion and shares her testimony could give a 3-5 minute talk after Communion.

If the homilist wants to comment upon the second reading, the theme of Jesus Christ as the “Yes” is a powerful pro-life theme. “Yes” is what he says to human life, and in his “Yes” we find the strength to say “Yes.” Abortion and euthanasia, on the other hand, are the “No’s” to God’s plan. They are, by definition, negations of the promises God holds out to all whom he creates.

Excerpt from Evangelium Vitae 99:
“I would now like to say a special word to women who have had an abortion. The Church is aware of the many factors which may have influenced your decision, and she does not doubt that in many cases it was a painful and even shattering decision. The wound in your heart may not yet have healed. Certainly what happened was and remains terribly wrong. But do not give in to discouragement and do not lose hope. Try rather to understand what happened and face it honestly. If you have not already done so, give yourselves over with humility and trust to repentance. The Father of mercies is ready to give you his forgiveness and his peace in the Sacrament of Reconciliation. To the same Father and to his mercy you can with sure hope entrust your child. With the friendly and expert help and advice of other people, and as a result of your own painful experience, you can be among the most eloquent defenders of everyone's right to life. Through your commitment to life, whether by accepting the birth of other children or by welcoming and caring for those most in need of someone to be close to them, you will become promoters of a new way of looking at human life.”

Pro-Life Liturgical Resources: Fifth Sunday Ordinary Time, Cycle B, February 19 ~Priests for Life

Friday, February 17, 2012

Give Us This Day Our Daily Bread


The Lord’s Prayer, as taught to us by our Savior, seems simplistic on the surface – yet is profound and multi-faceted in its message. One of the petitioning lines of this prayer has always intrigued me: ‘Give us this day, our daily bread’. Although this sentence of supplication speaks to our daily, physical needs, it has a connotation of so much more. In response to our asking, not only does He care for us in this earthly life, but also in our eternal life. In this sense our ‘daily bread’ most certainly pertains to His Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity in the Eucharist. In asking for such a simple staple, we also accept His admonition to be like little children and to come to Him with a child-like innocence of spirit. We are to enter His presence with trust, faith, hope and love. As God’s children, we look to Him for our very basic needs as well – sustenance for our physical bodies.
Today I share a recipe for earthly bread. In baking it, I give Him the glory and marvel at His wonderful world in which I live. Simple ingredients –  water, flour, yeast, and salt – become sustenance for our earthly bodies as well as a source of great enjoyment!

So here goes:

I love baking bread so when I found this recipe for Artisan bread I was intrigued. First off, knowing that the root of the word is 'art', I had to do some research and find out exactly what it is (and how you say it)...I know, I'm a bit of a nerd that way ;-) Artisan bread is best described by thinking about the person who makes the bread. Compare an artisan baker to other familiar craftspersons. They know how to combine their materials to build something strong and at the same time delicate or elegant. You can tell a true hand crafted bread from one that is just called artisan by looking at the ingredients. There shouldn't be anything in bread besides flour, water salt and yeast. If the bread is made with a sourdough there may not even be yeast in the ingredients. It wasn't necessary to add chemicals to bread for centuries and it still isn't. As for the pronunciation, it's - ar' te zen

Now for the recipe:

This recipe makes enough for four 1-pound loaves and can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks, so you can have fresh bread any time you want. Bake it unadorned as a Crusty Boule, or roll ingredients into the refrigerated dough to create sweet and savory loaves.
3 1/2 cups lukewarm water
4 teaspoons active dry yeast
4 teaspoons coarse salt
7 1/4 cups (2 lb. 4 oz.; 1027.67 grams) unbleached all-purpose flour (measure using scoop and sweep method)


  1. 1. Combine water, yeast and salt in large bowl. With spoon (or mixer with paddle attachment), stir in flour (dough will be wet).
  2. 2. Place dough in 5-quart lidded container; cover with lid (do not snap airtight). Let rise at room temperature 2 hours. Refrigerate overnight or up to 14 days.
Makes enough dough for 4 (1-lb.) loaves.

Crusty Boule

(pronounced - bool, French for ball)
This classic European-style loaf has a crisp crust 
and hearty crumb. It’s perfect as an everyday bread to serve with soups and salads or just a slice of cheese.

Begin with a 1-lb. (grapefruit-size) portion of the Master Dough above.
  1. Hold dough and dust top with flour; quickly shape into ball by stretching surface of dough around to bottom on all four sides, rotating dough a quarter turn as you go.
  2. Place dough on pizza stonel or baking sheet liberally sprinkled with cornmeal or lined with parchment paper; cover loosely with lightly floured plastic wrap. Let stand in warm draft-free place 1 hour or until dough is slightly puffed and no longer chilled.
  3. Thirty minutes before baking, place baking stone on center oven rack; place empty broiler pan on bottom oven rack. Heat oven to 450°F.
  4. Dust loaf with flour. With serrated knife, make 2 or 3 (1/4-inch-deep) slashes in top of loaf. Slide loaf (with parchment paper, if using) onto baking stone. Immediately pour 1 cup hot water into broiler pan; quickly close oven door to trap steam.
  5. Bake 30 minutes or until deep golden brown and loaf sounds hollow when tapped on bottom. Cool completely on wire rack.
Nets 1  loaf of crusty bread...slice, spread with butter and enjoy - crunch!



For an alternate use for this dough check out What do You do on Sunday?, for a delicious Nutella Ring variation!

See more of my posts at Catholic Sistas


*Thanks to ''Cooking Club'' magazine for this wonderful recipe!

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Pro-life Corner: SUNDAY, February 12, 2012

For several years, submitting a 'Pro-life Corner' post for the weekly bulletin in several churches has been a part of my pro-life efforts. It was only natural to carry this idea into the new pro-life direction of my blog. Priests for Life has been the source for Pro-life Corner posts. Their materials are generously offered  for distribution and they simply ask for credit. These pro-life posts coincide with the Church calendar and 'contain three elements: a one-paragraph bulletin insert, General Intercessions, and suggestions for drawing pro-life themes out of the Sunday reading for the homily'. I will share all three elements every Sunday in an effort help us all think with a pro-life heart.

As is the practice over at Catholic Sistas, a blog to which I contribute, Sunday posts will be scheduled ahead of time in order to leave that day for Church and family.

Sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time - Cycle B

BULLETIN INSERT:

The Pope’s Encyclical "God is Love"
Pope Benedict XVI says the following words in his encyclical letter “God is Love”: “In sacramental communion I become one with the Lord, like all the other communicants. As Saint Paul says, “Because there is one bread, we who are many are one body, for we all partake of the one bread” (1 Cor 10:17). Union with Christ is also union with all those to whom he gives himself. I cannot possess Christ just for myself; I can belong to him only in union with all those who have become, or who will become, his own. … Love of God and love of neighbor are now truly united: God incarnate draws us all to himself. … Here the usual contraposition between worship and ethics simply falls apart. “Worship” itself, Eucharistic communion, includes the reality both of being loved and of loving others in turn. A Eucharist which does not pass over into the concrete practice of love is intrinsically fragmented” (n. 14). These words remind us of our calling to love all our neighbors, born and unborn.

GENERAL INTERCESSIONS:
As you know, the US Bishops have asked us to include in the General intercessions at every Mass a petition for the building of the Culture of Life. Their words in the Pastoral Plan for Pro-life Activities read, "Parishes should include in the petitions at every Mass a prayer that ours will become a nation that respects and protects all human life, born and unborn, reflecting a true culture of life." (US Bishops, 2001, "A Campaign in Support of Life"). 
~Fr. Frank Pavone, Priests for Life
  • That the Church may be an instrument of God’s mercy through her mission and outreach to those most in need, we pray to the Lord...
  • That world and local leaders may seek the poor and forsaken giving them the dignity and assistance they deserve as children of God, we pray to the Lord...
  • That we may imitate our Lord's compassionate care for the sick, and show them that their lives are just as precious and valuable as when they are healthy, we pray to the Lord...
  • That each of us may be vigilant against the sins of envy and jealousy and live in a way that reflects God’s love and care for all we meet, we pray to the Lord...
  • That those who have died may be received into the joy of God’s kingdom, we pray to the Lord...
HOMILY SUGGESTIONS: 
 Lv 13:1-2. 44-46
1 Cor 10:31—11:1
Mk 1:40-45

"I do will it. Be made clean.”

Jesus healed the lepers, who were outcasts to their community, as the first reading makes clear. The healing demonstrates two key lessons that relate to the Church’s stand on life.

First, Jesus is always on the side of human life. His healing of some represents his liberation of all from the power of sin and death. Ultimately, the healings described in the Gospels point to the overthrow of the entire kingdom of death, and the final triumph of life. Christ is life, and to stand with him is to stand with life and against whatever destroys it.

Second, the Lord always broke down false barriers between different classes of human beings. He saw their humanity, and the image of God inscribed on them from creation. This image is not obscured by the false distinctions people make by their prejudice or by the customs that deny the equal dignity of all people. The Lord’s determination to eliminate false barriers is seen in many other ways in the Gospels. We see Him reach out to children despite the efforts of the apostles to keep them away (Matthew 19:13-15); to tax collectors and sinners despite the objections of the Scribes (Mark 2:16); to the blind despite the warnings of the crowd (Matthew 20:29-34); to a foreign woman despite the utter surprise of the disciples and of the woman herself (John 4:9, 27); to Gentiles despite the anger of the Jews (Matthew 21:41-46); and to the lepers, despite their isolation from the rest of society (Luke 17:11-19).

When it comes to human dignity, Christ erases distinctions. St. Paul declares, "There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave or free person, there is not male and female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus" (Galatians 3:28).

We can likewise say, "There is neither born nor unborn." Using this distinction as a basis for the value of life or the protection one deserves is meaningless and offensive to all that Scripture teaches. The unborn are the segment of our society which is most neglected and discriminated against. Christ Himself surely has a special love for them.

Pro-Life Liturgical Resources: Fifth Sunday Ordinary Time, Cycle B, February 5 ~Priests for Life

Saturday, February 11, 2012

FIAT: Why Should We Care as "Catholics?"

Today I am sharing a wonderful, growing video company that is rich in its Catholicity. Thanks to Fr. Josh McCarty and his vision, they are growing by leaps and bounds. Just this week, news of their new video about the beauty of the journey to NFP by a local family, has made it to a local newspaper. Since I could never say it better myself, I will simply share their description of the video and allow your heart to burst with pride in our beautiful Church and her mission for us all!

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Why should we care as "Catholics?"
It is a stance often seen as an obsolete stronghold in a world that moves much faster than an antiquated church, ruled under the heavy hand of a bunch of old men.

Why would the Church care about this?
It's a plausible question, seeing as 98% of Catholic women have used some form of birth control.
The whole contraception controversy is shrouded in misunderstanding, yet the Church remains persistent in Her teaching about the life-giving purpose.

What is that teaching?
That every married couple have a dozen children? No, not at all. It is a much more endearing standard than that.
No matter if you are on the rocks financially or if you are trying to keep up with the Duggers, the teaching requires that a couple allow God to have the final say on the dimension of their family.

There are several ways to give God the power that is His-to be the Guide, Nurturer, Refuge and Creator of life. A couple invites God to their wedding to bless their commitment, and to hold them in love.
God is invited into their homes through daily prayer, love and sacrifice. God is invited into the bedroom when a couple gives of themselves totally, in the most vulnerable and beautiful way -- body, heart and soul.

Trust is difficult, especially when speaking of something as life-changing as having children. With all the implications, just a few of which include financial and emotional, only a fool would run headlong into sex blindly. But that is not an accurate depiction of the teaching.
Through the design of a woman's cycle, through her natural phases of fertility, through the natural attraction between a couple during a fertile time, through the firm and faithful decision of the couple to abstain from sex if they must, Natural Family Planning gives couples the ability to achieve or avoid pregnancy at a percentage of 99.5%. It is with that trust that a couple invites the Lord to put His seal on their life.

He is allowed His right as Creator and Designer. In their stunning trust, both husband and wife exude the beauty of Mary.
Fiat -- "Let is be done unto me according to your word."



Visit us on the web at http://lolekproductions.com

And on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Lolek-Productions/154759447935572

Friday, February 10, 2012

Why Age Doesn't Matter in Life


I used to give my sweet mother a birthday card for my birthday. I would tell her she should be the one to get credit for that day because all I had to do was show up; she did all the work! Of course, I never hesitated to accept cards, gifts, or sweets for myself either!

As a child of the late 50s, I didn't realize the entire weight of my mother's accomplishment of carrying me for nine months and then giving birth. It wasn't until years later, when Roe v. Wade was handed down, that I really appreciated what my mother had done for me. As much as a hero that mothers in years past were, today's mother may just give them a run for their money. After all, today there are "choices." Choices which aren't just easily obtained, but encouraged in many quarters. Motherhood is optional now. Life has become cheap--or expensive, depending on your perspective.

Nana and me
Motherhood is not the only aspect of life that has been greatly diminished, however. Again, I can't help but think about my relationship with my mother. As an immigrant from Germany in her thirties, my mother was in for a bit of culture shock when we moved to the United States. Our household in Germany had consisted of both immediate and extended family: her mother, uncle, and grandfather all lived with us from time to time. We even brought her uncle Joe over to the States with us and he remained in our home until he died of asthma a few years later.

Read more at Why Age Doesn't Matter in Life at Catholic Sistas.com 


Sunday, February 5, 2012

Pro-life Corner: SUNDAY, February 5, 2012

For several years, submitting a 'Pro-life Corner' post for the weekly bulletin in several churches has been a part of my pro-life efforts. It was only natural to carry this idea into the new pro-life direction of my blog. Priests for Life has been the source for Pro-life Corner posts. Their materials are generously offered  for distribution and they simply ask for credit. These pro-life posts coincide with the Church calendar and 'contain three elements: a one-paragraph bulletin insert, General Intercessions, and suggestions for drawing pro-life themes out of the Sunday reading for the homily'. I will share all three elements every Sunday in an effort help us all think with a pro-life heart.


As is the practice over at the Catholic Sistas, a blog to which I contribute, Sunday posts will be scheduled ahead of time in order to leave that day for Church and family.


Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time - Cycle B


BULLETIN INSERT:

Abortion Survivors 
Child psychiatrist Philip Ney relates, "A woman reported telling her nine year old son about her abortion, which had taken place years before he was born. He said, 'I knew, Mom, that there was something wrong. I always have nightmares about knives and my mother killing me. I have an imaginary brother who wants to kill me. If you had not aborted the other, would you have aborted me?'" (Abortion Survivors, p.36).

This is a story repeated more times than most people realize, and representing a societal and pastoral problem whose proportions are greater today than at any previous time in history: the phenomenon of tens of millions of abortion survivors.

It is clear that abortion's primary victim is the child who is killed. It has also become increasingly clear that to kill the child is to harm the mother and father as well. What is not always so well known, however, is that abortion makes its impact felt on those who have had a sibling aborted, and that this impact is felt in surprising and astonishing ways, which also have wider implications for the whole of society.

GENERAL INTERCESSIONS:

That the Church may be strengthened by the Spirit in its ministry of spreading the Good News of Jesus throughout the world, we pray to the Lord... 

That Church leaders may bear witness to God's gift and plan for marriage, and assist couples to live that vocation faithfully, we pray to the Lord...  

That our Christian lawmakers will actively promote justice through the legal means entrusted to them, we pray to the Lord...  

That all who despair because of a past abortion may open their hearts to repentance and the merciful forgiveness of the Lord, who heals the brokenhearted, we pray to the Lord...  

That the sick throughout the world may have the strength and wisdom to unite their sufferings to those of Christ, and obtain his peace and healing, we pray to the Lord...  

That the members of our parish community who have died may be welcomed into God’s kingdom, we pray to the Lord... 

Celebrant:
Almighty God, you are the source of our hope and strength.
As you answer our prayers, keep us always close to you, and bring us salvation. 
We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen.

HOMILY SUGGESTIONS:

Jb 7:1-4, 6-7
1 Cor 9:16-19, 22-23
Mk 1:29-39

Jesus loved the poor, the weak, the sick, and the demon-possessed. These individuals, and those who cared for them, knew that they could come to Jesus to find what they needed. What they needed, however, was often much more than what they thought they needed, because Jesus indicated by his words in today’s Gospel passage, and by his actions, that it was his purpose to preach the Word of God. The healing, in other words, flowed from something more fundamental. People need to hear the truth of God. By accepting it and being formed in it, they can establish right relationships with God and one another. They can conquer sin. They can have integral salvation, in body and soul.

As Jesus was the one to whom the people brought the ill and those possessed by demons, so the Church today is the place that people should be inclined to go first. The Church preaches integral salvation, as the recently issued “Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Catholic Church” so clearly explains. The feeding of the soul and the care given to temporal needs go hand in hand.

The Church, which teaches the truth that all life belongs to God, is reaching out each day to those who are tempted to take life by abortion. The thousands of pregnancy centers run by Christians across the nation bear witness to this fact. These centers provide medical help, financial assistance, legal advice, counseling, job and education opportunities, assistance to keep and raise the child or to make an adoption plan, and countless other needs. Some national hotlines, like the “Option Line” (1-800-395-HELP) and websites like www.pregnancycenters.org bring this concrete help to countless people daily. The members of each parish can extend the ministry of Jesus by referring people to this kind of help. It saves lives, spares people endless grief, and proclaims the Word of God about human life.

Pro-Life Liturgical Resources: Fifth Sunday Ordinary Time, Cycle B , February 5 ~Priests for Life

Thursday, February 2, 2012

When it’s 'Groundhog Day' - every day!

As Phil the weatherman (Bill Murray) discovers in the fanciful movie about living the same day over and over again, Groundhog Day...

                                             It’s 'Groundhog Day' - every day!

Happy Groundhog Day
Well that’s also how I feel on most any morning when I wake up!  In my blissful dreams I can fly by simply bouncing, visit with dearly departed loved ones and solve any crisis with the greatest of ease. But when my feet hit the floor I am brought back to reality and sometimes there doesn’t appear to be much to make me smile or to feel accomplished. But then, by rote, I begin the routine…

Brush teeth, smirk in mirror (whoa, look at that bed-head), put on my frumpy knit dress (the stay-at-home-Nana uniform of choice) and pad down the stairs.

                                                  There it begins.
  • Switch out the two-way light switches (I’m OCD and the little levers have to be in the correct position – up=on and down=off) – check.
  • Straighten all five bar stools at the counter (didn't I do this right before bed last night?) - check.
  • Cold coffee in coffee pot (yuck). Wash, rinse and fill with hot water (for my hot tea) – check.
  • Wash the tiny 'Whiskies' (Simon's word for whiskers) off the bathroom sink - check.
  • Fold Rick’s blanket and put away with his pillow (he 'naps' on the couch before going to bed) – check.
  • Fix breakfast for whichever kids are here today – check.
  • While they’re eating, load the dishwasher and clean out the sink (BTW, why am I the only one capable of rinsing a sink?) – check.


That's only the first 20 minutes...but you get the idea…right?

Sometimes this routine is almost comical - or is that a hysterical laugh escaping from my clenched lips? It never changes – EVER. But other times, when I’m moved to the pity partycompartment of the train of life, I have to mentally shake myself (maybe even plant a well placed mental slap) and realize that I am doing exactly what I am supposed to be doing. My vocation, after all, is important – even as it appears mundane. I keep the home fires burning, so to speak. My kiddies depend on me and so does my loving husband who works unbelievably long hours and sacrifices home time to travel for work. It’s the least I can do – and the most – if I do it correctly.

I’m an old-fashioned kind of gal. My perfect family scenario is husband/father working and wife/mother staying at home with kids – cooking, cleaning, teaching, sewing and nurturing (and blogging). That’s how I was raised and how we raised our family –  the first time. This second time is simply icing on the cake. I am blessed to be doing it all again because now my grandchildren are in my care. I am a stay-at-home-Nana.

As such, I’m often reminded of the Brother Lawrence book my mother gave to each of us siblings with this inscription.
‘Read at least once a year!
Love, Mama’.

"The Practice of the Presence of God" teaches just that. No matter what your lot in life. No matter how mundane the task. Place yourself in the Presence of Christ each and every day – all day! Much like St. Therese’ ‘little way’, this wise monk writes of offering up our daily life to God – all of it. Peeling potatoes? Do it for God as a prayer. Washing the spills off the kitchen floor for the umpteenth time? Do it for God as a prayer. When you begin to realize that there are two ways to do the same job, you are on your way to utilizing Br. Lawrence’s great advice. The task, after all, must be done. Do it with a frown and your day will be dark…plus you don’t get a ‘gold star’ from the Big Man Upstairs. Do the same task as a gift to Him…reap the reward of a pleasant day AND just perhaps some tangible good on this earth will come of it. If not there are eternal implications. There's also 'extra credit' if you do this without whining about it to anyone later!

I would be lying (so no ‘gold star’) if I said that I accomplish this goal every day. It is, however, my ultimate goal. And the benefits are many, because, not only do I feel a sense of having accomplished something great by doing something small, I have taught by example instead of by word. As Sunday Gospel a few months back exhorted, don’t live life like the Pharisees.
“So practice and observe whatever they tell you, but not what they do; for they preach, but do not practice.”  Matthew 23:3
 
So who's with me? Let’s resolve to do our best, no matter what the task, and reap the benefit of not only getting the ordinary done, but also of having ‘prayed by action’. Next time you feel like you’re reliving ‘Groundhog Day’ – smile in the mirror and laugh at the absurdity of cleaning poop off the floor and having it count as a prayer!

Potty Trainee
NOTE: Oh irony of ironies - as I was formatting this post, Rachel - one of the 23 month old potty trainees, decided to be an overachiever. She removed her diaper but forgot the part about sitting on the potty. I did, however, remember to smile and offer up my cleaning duties - I have yet to find where she stashed the unsoiled diaper she took off during her efforts but am glad to have found her offerings!
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 "I walk before God simply, in faith, with humility and with love; and I apply myself diligently to do nothing and think nothing which may displease Him."
~ Brother Lawrence
Read more about Brother Lawrence here.

This post originally appeared at Catholic Sistas last year but since it's Groundhog Day, I thought I'd recycle it!