Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Sometimes the Rosary is All You Need

As is the case in most lives, mine ebbs and flows with its own rhythm. Sometimes I just feel 'unwell', spiritually, and can't quite put my finger on what exactly ails me. With an internal checklist, I count down the possible reasons. Is there conflict with a loved one? Do I need to go to confession? Have I allowed some physical ill to color my spiritual wellness? How's my prayer life?

Ding, ding, ding - we have a winner! Many times when this malaise hits me, it's because I have let my prayer life and/or spiritual reading slide. In the busyness of life, I have failed to feed my soul - the very reason I was created. As is often the case, simply reciting the Holy Rosary is all I need to set things right. Saying it daily sets me on a steady course of 'wellness'. My life flows better; my heart feels lighter.

How does your prayer life affect you?

  • A great brief talk about the importance of the Rosary can be found here: The Holy Rosary

Say the Rosary with someone you love!

Train up a child in the way he should go, And even when he is old he will not depart from it. Proverbs 22:6

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Meatless Friday: Hearty Crock Pot Potato Soup

It's been a while since I added any recipes so I'd like to share another contender for meatless Fridays. We all know how difficult it can be to maintain this penitential practice and yet offer variety, so I created this recipe and tried it out on my son and daughter this week. This crock pot recipe can be prepared ahead of time, yet accommodate busy families with varied schedules and eating times. Give it a try and let me know what you think. FYI, I have submitted this original recipe to AllRecipes (dot) com. If you really like it you might leave me some ratings love as I wait for the test kitchen to give it a try.

  • ½ gallon milk
  • 1 stick butter
  • 1 can crème of celery soup
  • 1 c sour cream
  • 2/3 c shredded cheddar
  • ½ cup chopped carrots
  • ½ stalk celery
  • 1 medium onion
  • 2 t minced garlic
  • 1 c potato flakes
  • 5 medium potatoes
  • Lawry’s salt and pepper to taste

Fresh, chopped chives and extra shredded cheese for garnish (optional)

Pour milk into crock pot, set to high. Chop celery and onion finely and add. Add all other ingredients except potato flakes and potatoes. Bake potatoes at 350 for 1 hour and then coarsely chop. Add to crock pot along with potato flakes and stir thoroughly. Allow to simmer in crock pot for at least 2 more hours, stirring occasionally. Set to warm and serve as desired.

If you would like to add dessert to your menu, might I suggest my Easy Blackberry Cobbler, that recipe has been approved and can be found here or on this blog here. Again, ratings love would be much appreciated. Bon Appetit!

More recipes on Designs by Birgit:

Moses Basket Breakfast
Low Carb Broccoli Salad
Meatless Fridays: Garlic Alfredo Shrimp
Zesty Coleslaw for Barbecue
Meatless Pierogies Stroganoff
Crock Pot: Pork Cacciatore
Easy Pizza Pockets

 photo 9c2d3d39-9e5d-4351-b060-d6251ee13eaa_zpseda17cd5.jpg Also linked at a recipe share at Home to 4 Kiddos

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Living God's Messy Fire

Today’s Gospel (Luke 12:49-53) struck me with its insistence that we act. Never mind that we will cause conflict or that our words will be met with unrest and resentment and opposition. As long as we are using a fully formed conscience in acting on the word of God, we should expect to create a ‘mess’. Our Lord clearly tells us that He came, not to “give peace on earth”, but rather to cause “division”. This ‘messiness’ was also spoken of recently by the Holy Father at World Youth Day. To a secular ear, this might sound like an invitation to become a rabble rouser – creating havoc in our wake, as we tread on the toes of others in hapless fashion. But that isn't what is intended at all.

Jesus tells us, "I came to cast fire upon the earth; and would that it were already kindled!” So, if we are to burn with the fire of God’s inspiration, we must put His urgings into action by creating a spark in our own corner of the world – wherever that may be. It’s unreasonable to think that we are going to go out and completely change the world, all on our own, but we can create a ripple in our immediate surroundings. When we urgently go out and do our part – and give it our very best effort – we can help facilitate what God desires for His people. We aren't charged with being the entire solution but, if we perform our small part, the results will be amazing – because piece by piece and person by person, we will have become a tiny gear of the machine that is the Church Militant. It’s not ours to question whether or not we have created results – as long as we do all we can; the results are left up to God. We are simply His foot soldiers.

When we acknowledge ourselves as tiny parts of a larger picture, we are able to shake our desire for self gratification and vain glory. As each of us produces to the best of his ability, things will naturally (and supernaturally) fall into place. The result will be a world that broadcasts both the Corporal and Spiritual Works of Mercy – each of us in his own way, using his own gifts. Only then will we begin to realize success in our efforts to save the unborn, feed the hungry and direct the souls of others toward Eternity. As blessed Fulton Sheen said, "Who is going to save our Church? Don't look to the priests, don't look to the bishops. It's up to the laity to remind our priests to be priests and our bishops to be bishops". But as in all things - in charity. Let each of us seek to do all we can and leave the results up to God's glory!

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Let's Stop Nitpicking Abortion

Sometimes the forest is ignored because too much time has been spent concentrating on the trees. The big picture loses out to the nitpicking of the small details. This becomes apparent when taking a long, hard look at the issue of abortion. For over 40 years now, we have been subjected to the pro-abortion side of things: a Supreme Court who created an imaginary law out of a feigned right to privacy, incrementalism when it comes to which babies to save, and details that do nothing more than present yet another point over which to argue. These thoughts brought me to take a look at what’s at stake here.


The first step in unraveling our intricately knit pro-life journey is a basic biological fact. Even the pro-abortion side rarely argues against the humanity of the human product of conception any more. Furthermore, we know that it’s correct to call such an unborn human a baby. It’s not a puppy or kitten or fledgling — she’s a baby because she’s not an adult — yet. She does, however, contain everything needed to become a fully developed adult someday. Mincing our words at how we describe these little ones (fetuses) only serves to offer yet another micro-debatable topic. So stop being cautious about what it is that the Mom is carrying within her womb; it’s a baby, pure and simple. End of debate.


The Pain Capable Act that recently won passage in Texas is another example of micro-managing the pro-life issue. Yes, the pre-born baby feels pain. She feels pain at earlier than the widely accepted 20 weeks. As Maureen Condic, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Neurobiology and Anatomy at the University of Utah states: “The earliest ‘rudiment’ of the human nervous system forms by 28 days (four weeks) after sperm-egg fusion. At this stage, the primitive brain is already ‘patterned’; i.e. cells in different regions are specified to produce structures appropriate to their location in the nervous system as a whole.”

But is that really the issue at all? Is abortion only repugnant because the baby feels pain as she is dismembered, torn limb from limb? Or is there a much simpler reason to feel revulsion at the act of killing what was, just moments ago alive? Debating whether or not the baby feels pain is unnecessary when we acknowledge the first point: science proves she’s a baby. Any further delving into details creates yet another point of contention, and thus a distraction from the big picture. A child was present in the womb. She had the God-given right to live but it was taken from her without any consideration of her opinion of the matter.


There has been much talk about exceptions when it comes to the pro-life issue. Some will tell you that it’s okay to compromise, that babies born with defects, conceived by rape, or who endanger their mother’s health are somehow less worthy of being saved. They are expendable. Again, I direct you to the first point. Science proves she’s a baby. With that point being validly provable, no other circumstances can be validly argued to the contrary. Once there’s a life there, that life has God-given rights. It follows, then, that her humanity should be the prominent consideration. Anything else is weighing the worth of one life against another. This is something even society finds repugnant, at least in most cases, and certainly something a God-fearing Christian would not condone.


Instead of getting lost in the details, then, shouldn’t we consider the big picture? The humanity of the unborn, now irrefutably proven by science, is all the consideration we need to apply. The pro-life debate becomes simplified in that the little details don’t serve as distracting detours or points of contention. If we stick to the fact that the baby is indeed a human being, there is no need to argue and nitpick; doing so only distracts and sidelines the point. Maybe we just need to stick to the biology of life. A baby — even in her mother’s womb — is a human being. The fact that she feels pain, was conceived in less than ideal circumstances, and may not be the perfect specimen has absolutely nothing to do with her right to life. Her right to life began when she began, at fertilization.

© 2013. Birgit Jones. All Rights Reserved - First published on Catholic Stand

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Comfort Zone or Not - Some Things Remain the Same

A recent trip from KY to NY took me right out of my comfort zone - and it's a deeply entrenched comfort zone. I've been married since I was 17, my mom was my best friend, and now my daughter has taken that role. Along with our not so empty nest, what with a boomerang kid and grandchildren, I don't have much occasion to be alone. So there I was, in a Holiday Inn at Seneca Falls, NY, while my husband attended an expo for three days. With a Wal-mart at one side and a McDonald's at the other, I wasn't left completely without resources but, as someone who rarely goes it alone, I was feeling somewhat displaced. On the brief walk to WallyWorld, however, I was struck by how some things remain the same - no matter where you are:

Humidity still makes me feel like a guppy out of water but the miracle that is nature continues to intrigue me. Native flowers, the smell of freshly mowed grass, and the singing of birds is present everywhere - if you just take a moment to notice.

Prayer, chatting with a Facebook friend about Eucharistic Miracles, and the feeling of being watched over by my Guardian Angel - these things are still here with me.

Mothers' children, yelling 'Mama', and the subsequent response - yep, that's still there - even in a Wal-mart in NY. I also still get that warm feeling in my heart when I see a large family and their disorganized yet controlled dance at the checkout lane.

Strangers returning your smile also works here as does the occasional preoccupied glare.

I still have the security of knowing that my husband is only a few miles away - and will be home in time for dinner - and I like it that way!

I can find a Catholic Church (or two) even in a smallish town in NY, where weekday Mass and confession is offered. The same Mass that will be said at St. Elizabeth parish in Curdsville, KY.

We have so much to be thankful for - and so little time to appreciate it all. It's a gift to be pulled out of your little pond, if it causes you to rethink the wonder that is our life.

As we fall back into the routine of being home, may I never forget the beauty of each of our lives. There is so much to appreciate - so much that, sadly, goes unnoticed as we go about our routine. I pray that the Holy Spirit will inspire me to go out of my comfort zone - even if it's just to rethink a jealously guarded notion to which I have held onto for way too long. Let my mind, heart and soul be open to appreciating that with which I have been blessed. And let me find a kinder, more gentle way to share what I have found! God bless you friends!