His True Image
June 8, 2016

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Sanctify your day. 

Sanctify your day. 

Sanctify your day.

Inestimable words I think of — and pathetically try to act on — daily.  Unfortunately, I fail miserably.  

Being pregnant has left my house upside down.  Nothing has changed, besides this beautiful parasite I have in my tummy, but everything is different.  I’ve become quite an * awful * mother — and I’m being generous with my words here people — yet my children have strangely provided stability

The same unconditional love they offer to me.  The same smiles that make my  heart smile.  The same cacophony of bickering throughout the day.  The same hungry minds wanting mommy to read to them. 

These little souls have managed to provide stability, along with vivid illustrations of mercy, during this tumultuous time.  Imagine that.  They are teaching me how to be merciful. AMAZING and excruciatingly embarrassing upon reflecting on my behavior.

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I sit here writing and weeping, subjecting myself to a much needed examination of self and my reflections are quite horrendous!  It is shameful to admit that being merciful to those I am closest too and love the most, is the hardest thing to do.

How can I be so unmerciful to my own children? How can I portray such a lack of love to these innocent ones?  How can I constantly fail at flooding their daily lives with love and mercy?

No matter how many times I scowl at them, they love me.  No matter how many hours I lay on the couch dictating duties, they love me.  No matter how many times I bellow like an unruly animal, they love me.  They give me exactly what I do not deserve—mercy and love.

Being a mommy is the hardest, yet, most rewarding job I know.  My husband and I have been gifted these treasured souls until they are called home to their Heavenly Father.  I must demonstrate the love of Christ so that they too, may imitate what they have seen, heard, and lived. How else can we truly show love and mercy unless we are living in Love and Mercy, Himself.  

 

 

 

April 30, 2016

Hello everyone! This is Veronica’s husband taking over a little category on this blog called “homeschooling with papa”. When I married this blog host, I knew I had hit the lotto for my family: me1she’s super cute and an accomplished young woman with a post-graduate education and a love for her Roman Catholic faith. Our children were born to two teachers, and their mother gets to stay home to be their teacher.

This is a short post explaining why I started creating reading guides for The National Geographic Magazine and some background for how they work.

Background: We do our best to balance what we can (well, at least I do the dishes every night) and so when I come home from work, there is plenty to do to supplement the learning that the kids do during the day.

One resource that I’ve always wanted to introduce to my children was The National Geographic Magazine. As we end our oldest daughter’s second homeschooling year, I decided to take the Nat Geo and use it as a launching pad for exploring science, reading, geography, and the world that is academia.

March 2, 2016

So here I go. The truth. The whole truth. And noting but the TRUTH…so help me God!

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Baby #4 is on the way and this precious soul has kept his mommy on the couch these past 16 weeks!  Praise God, I’m starting to gain back my strength and see the light at the end of the tunnel.  Although this pattern of ‘all day’ sickness for the first 4-5 months is typical, I still have high hopes that one of my pregnancies will be oh so wonderful and full of sunshine and lollipops!

So, in honor of the ‘big reveal’ and my feeling better, I dragged the whole family out this past Sunday morning to take some cliché pregnancy announcement photos.  Yes, I am that mom and yes I shall embrace the cliché!  =)

So, on to the photo dump!

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This babe is already SO loved and wanted!! Baby Girl and Hermoso want a baby brother, to even out the score, and Chiquita has no idea that she’s about to be dethroned… life is grand!  Mommy and Daddy just want a safe and healthy pregnancy, delivery, and baby!  

Last year, I consecrated myself to Mary, through Jesus,  and felt compelled to do the same for this new life growing in me.  I admit, I had not done this for any of my other children, but the graces bestowed on me through my own consecration led me to consecrate all of my children during this pregnancy. I know. I know. Total mommy fail, but better late than never!

I found an awesome printable of the prayer I used and encourage you to consecrate your kiddos if you’ve not already done so!  I love the feeling of peace I gain from offering all of my cares, woes, and joys to my Mother, Mary.  It’s the least I can do for these beloved souls that have been entrusted to me here on earth.

So, it is with immense joy and excitement that I announce the coming of our newest bundle!!!

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December 8, 2015

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Grandma invited the family to breakfast! With mouths full of pancakes, the kids began asking grandma for some Lottery scratchers – a tradition when eating at this particular breakfast joint. Today, both kiddos won, and the smiles on their faces were priceless.  These.moments.

“‘Great’ holiness consists in carrying out the ‘little duties’ of each moment.” (Escriva, The Way #817)

Advent is a time of joyful hope and preparation for our Lord’s birth and for the Second Coming of our Lord. The latter has been on my mind, heavily. This particular theme of Advent forces me to focus on how I live and treat others, especially those I influence and affect the most – my family. As we begin this Holy Year of Mercy on the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception, I will focus on the ‘small things.’  I will live my day to day life in preparation for my eternal life.

“Do you really want to be a saint? Carry out the little duty of each moment: do what you ought and concentrate on what you are doing.” (Escriva, The Way #815)

The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines chronicle as: a description of events in the order that they happen. Sounds like a blogger’s ideal, right?!

I joyfully hope to dedicate more time to chronicling my random, simple, uneventful, and ordinary experiences, which are actually quite beautiful in the grand scheme of things. These experiences make up my days, which make up my life. These moments grant me the opportunity to grow in virtue as a mother and a wife. These daily adventures shape and mold my family into a God-fearing Domestic Church. These ‘small things’ are my stairs to heaven!

Simple posts – that is my goal. I just want to write. I want to chronicle this beautiful life that our Lord has blessed me with. No glamour, no glitter, no fanciness…just us!

“Have you noticed how human love consists of little things? Well, divine Love also consists of little things.” (Escriva, The Way #824)

May Mary, the Immaculate Conception, pray for us to open our hearts to the Holy Spirit and make our will one with our Lord’s. 

 

July 31, 2015

It has been one year since I started this blog and one year added to my marriage!  Praise God!

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As Mr. Handsome and I celebrate 11  years of marriage, I leave you with a treasury of the fruits of our labor and love…. our beautiful family!

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 “A garden enclosed, my sister, my bride, a garden enclosed, a fountain sealed!  Your branches are a grove of pomegranates, with fruits of choicest yield…” -Song of Songs 4:12-13″

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“Certainly sons are a gift from the LORD, the fruit of the womb, a reward.  Like arrows in the hand of a warrior are the sons born in one’s youth.  Blessed is the man who has filled his quiver with them. He will never be shamed for he will destroy his foes at the gate.” -Psalm 127:3-5

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And we lived happily.ever.after!
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May 6, 2015

I had the pleasure of attending the CWBN/CA 2015 conference hosted by Micaela from California to Korea and Kendra from Catholic All Year.  Along with these lovely ladies, speakers included Jenna from Blessed Is She, Kristin from This Inspired Life, and Andrea from Modern Catholic Mom.  It was a wonderful event that brought local (CA, AZ, and OR) Catholic women bloggers together to learn, laugh, and love.  Being there brought such a sense of community and re-energized me once more on my blogging endeavors. 

 

Photo by Jiza of Olives and Cypress

Photo by Jiza of Olives and Cypress

One of the speakers, in particular, kept asking us to remember the ‘why’ of our blog.  Why did we start the blog to begin with? It was a thought provoking question that settled on my heart.  This, my friends, is what has come out of it.

I dedicate this post to all of the women who attended the CWBN/CA Conference, 2015.  May God continue to grant you the grace to be bearers of the one, true Light.

  

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Pearls are a girl’s best friend! (Well, maybe not for Baby Girl.)

Since she was first pierced, we’ve had no problems with those darned earrings. Not until now, at age six, has she woken us up with a cry, followed by all the justifications as to why her ears are bare. Sometimes we find the casualties — missing the back, on the floor, or piercing the bottom of our soles. Ouch.

But,  I do love pearls.  So much so, that I made my now husband forgo the diamond and buy me a pearl wedding ring.  I am quite smitten with it.

“Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant searching for fine pearls.  When he finds a pearl of great price, he goes and sells all that he has and buys it.” (Matt 13:45-46)


In this verse from Matthew, pearls symbolize something extraordinarily special and precious — the kingdom of Heaven.  Our eternal goal.  How can anyone NOT love pearls after reading this?!

Since starting this blog (a whole 9 months ago), I have wanted to write a post about the wisdom of the saints and how their words are still so relevant to today’s society.  But how could I just write one post?!  There are endless pearls of wisdom to lean from and I refuse to be limited!  Thus, I bring to you my humble attempt at carving out a small space on the world wide web to read and reflect on the inspiring words of our beloved saints: Pearls of Wisdom.

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I love the power that one quote (not an essay, not a novel) can have on the soul.  Like a dagger that hits a target.  There have been numerous times, as I rush through my Facebook or Instagram feeds — amidst the cacophony of three adorable children vying for my attention— that I come across a saint quote that stops me dead in my tracks.

St. Josemaria Escriva is a brilliant man and priest, he lived in Spain and founded the personal prelature of Opus Dei.  He composed a myriad of spiritual writings which are widely read and respected.  One of my favorite books is a compilation of three of his works: The Way, Furrow, and The Forge.  The book contains hundreds of short prayers or reflections poignantly delivered by the author, to the reader.  A few of the topics covered include, but are not limited to: character, mortification, courage, peace, obedience, and simplicity.  Right up my alley!

My husband introduced me to St. Josemaria and the first time I read  his work, I fell to the floor.  Each sentence felt like a ‘punch’ to my soul, forcing me to confront myself and my shortcomings as a true Christian.  I loved it.  I had never read such powerful words, other than the Holy Bible, that shook me to the core and made me self-reflect instantly.

So, for my first installment I chose the first reflection from his book, The Way

“Don’t let your life be barren. Be useful. Make yourself felt. Shine forth with the torch of your faith and your love.  With your apostolic life, wipe out the trail of filth and slime left by the corrupt sowers of hatred. And set aflame all the ways of the earth with the fire of Christ that you bear in your heart.”

These were perfect words to read as I came home from the inspiring CWBC/CA conference.  I remember the ‘why’ of  my blog and how I created it with a zealous heart and the desire to share the Good News via my ordinary life.   As St. Josemaria nudges us forward, we must remember to not become lukewarm or slothful, lest we succumb to apathy of life.  Instead, he encourages us to be filled with that eternal light of Christ, blazing a trail for all to see.  Blazing a trail of LOVE.    

It will not be easy and this endeavor must be taken one day at a time, but this is exactly how we witness to his Love and Mercy.  In the small things — a gentle smile at a cranky toddler, stopping to pray a Hail Mary when life gets hectic, giving the husband a welcome home kiss as he walks in the door from work, and even consoling a girl who’s ‘lost her pearls’ — this is what we are ALL called to do. 

We must be constant.

We must be determined.

We must persevere.

 

April 21, 2015

If you read my previous post, you’ll know that my sweet Chiquita turned the big ONE–two weeks ago–and is now walking around the house like nobody’s business! I’m still in disbelief and have begun to lament just how fast time goes.  Please. Stop. Growing.

In case you missed it last time, here is my precious Chiquita in her birthday dress!

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Last weekend we celebrated her birthday and it was pretty awesome!  In our family, FIRST birthdays tends to be a big shindig and I (the crazy mommy) like to hand-make as many of the decorations as I can.  Now, I am NOT a crafty person, but I enjoy making cute and easy things that will make my kid’s party look cute too…make sense?!  

The husband and I like to tease each other about our many “Nailed It” moments in life.  We have many. If you’re not familiar with the Pinterest “Nailed It” reference, you must check it out.  Hysterical!  So, since I’m not the craftiest tool in the shed and I didn’t want to be tormented by my husband’s ‘Nailed It’ comments, I decided to scour the world wide web (aka Pinterest) and find some easy BUT cute ideas!

I decided on a simple, yet elegant, Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star birthday theme.  Can’t get any easier than stars, PEOPLE!  Of course, after making a monumental Pinterest board, I quickly came to my senses and realized I needed to choose a few projects and execute them.  So I did. And might I add, they came out fantabulous!

The most time consuming decoration I wanted was a ‘wall-o-streamers’ like this one!  We have a huge, ugly wall that is the backdrop of many party photos and I really wanted to cover it up with something awesome.  The husband thought I was crazy but he graciously acquiesced to help me make it the night before the party.  It took us about 2.5 hours, but totally worth it!

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Here’s the husband putting the finishing touches on the yard with the streamers in the background, hanging in all their glory. I LOVE how it turned out!  We have a Pineapple Guava tree in front of the wall that I adorned with pictures of my babe during her first year.  I also hung some glitter stars to add to the theme!

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The week before the party I was a busy bee working on the other decorations for the party.  I made a glitter star banner with large gold letters and ribbon to hang over the food table.  Easy.peasy.  I also saw this adorable month-to-month garland and had to recreate it.  The doilies give it a vintage look and I was able to find some navy blue doilies in the dollar bins at Michaels Craft Store. SCORE!!

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And now for the pièce de résistance. After combing through Etsy for ideas, I was determined to make a ribbon banner to beautify Chiquita’s high chair.  I bought ribbons of various size, texture, and color from Hobby Lobby and tied them onto a piece of twine.  Easy. Peasy.  The result was phenomenal!!  The colors were vibrant and it made her high chair look oh so adorable and elegant.  Using the same glitter paper and letters from the star banner, I made the ‘ONE’ sign to hang over the ribbon garland.  Too cute!

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So, there you have it people.  A simple Twinkle Twinkle Little Star birthday with easy peasy Pinterest ideas brought to fruition via moi.  And I think I totally NAILED IT!

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April 7, 2015

“You formed my inmost being; you knit me in my mother’s womb.  I praise you, because I am wonderfully made; wonderful are your works! My very self you know.” (Psalm 139:13-14)

Every time I read this beautiful verse I am reminded of just how unique and special each of my children are.  Today we celebrate my youngest daughter’s FIRST birthday. It’s true what they say: Time flies when you’re having fun!  Chiquita, you have been a joy and such as blessing to our family.  Your constant smile and tenacity amaze me daily.  Our Lord made you quite wonderfully and I praise and thank Him for your tender soul.

For those family and friends who have not been able to see Chiquita grow this year, in person, I present to you: YEAR ONE!

Enjoy!

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ONE year!

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Happy Birthday, my love.

March 25, 2015

This is my first Wordless Wednesday post and it was so much FUN!  Enjoy some pictures from last week’s adventures as we celebrated the feasts of St. Patrick and St. Joseph.  Have a blessed Feast of the Annunciation and may our souls always proclaim the greatness of the Lord!

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 THE END.

March 5, 2015

 

Cristo_de_las_Aguas._Catedral_de_Astorga LENT

Last year I spent most of my time scouring the internet for ideas on how to bring the Lenten Season to life in our home. What happened was a major FAIL.

Besides making myself feel completely inadequate and lacking in my planning and organization skills, I was intimidated and froze. Too. Many. Ideas.

Ash Wednesday came and went, and I rationalized the thought that since I did not have my ‘act together’ at the start of Lent, I should just let it go (in true Elsa fashion) and wait till next year. NOT my greatest moment.  BUT, I didn’t let this year pass me by. And, even though I didn’t have each activity planned and properly in place on Ash Wednesday, I sailed onward!

Below are just a few SIMPLE things I am doing this year to increase the penitential atmosphere around our house!

Lenten Altar

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One of the most important things for my kiddos is having a ‘visual’ in order to understand a concept. I can talk to my three year old until I’m blue in the face about Jesus’ suffering and death, but the minute he sees a picture of Christ crucified, he GETS it! He may not completely understand all of the details nor the meaning of alms giving and fasting, but to me, if he gets the MOST important part of Lent, then it’s a success.

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We have a large dresser in our living room which is adorned with our Lenten altar. It’s simple, yet beautiful and truly helps our family focus on our Lord’s passion and death. I primarily used the colors red (blood) and purple (penance and royal dignity) and created a mini-Calvary scene. It has turned out to be a helpful exposition of the meaning of Lent.

 

Sacrifice Cross

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One of the many ideas on my Lent Pinterest board from last year was this cross. Again, this is another fantastic image for the kids to encounter daily, during Lent. The idea is to offer small ‘sacrifices’ throughout the day, to our Lord, and place a flower on the cross each time you do. The kids LOVE it! I made the cross with brown card stock and taped it to their bedroom door. Then I punched out some colorful flowers to represent their sacrifices. Hopefully, once Easter comes, it will be full of sacrifices for our Lord. My oldest daughter (6 years) has really taken a liking to this activity. She actually goes into her room, throughout the day, to pray a decade of the Rosary! What a blessing and beautiful example she is!!

 

Burying the Alleluia

This idea can be found many places on the internet. You can check it out here. Another blog I had seen previously, which I cannot find at this time, explained about this tradition with the following excerpt from, Around the Year with the TRAPP FAMILY.

“In medieval times they used to “bury the Alleluia” solemnly in the cathedral and in the abbey churches. This custom was nearly forgotten, but we came across it again on the happy day when we were privileged to celebrate Holy Mass in the creative and inspired parish of our friend, Monsignor Martin Hellriegel. There, in a solemn procession, the school children carried a wooden tablet on which was engraved the word “Alleluia” through the main aisle of the church over to the altar of the Blessed Mother where they put it at her feet and covered it with a purple cloth. There it would remain until Easter, when, in a triumphant tone of voice, the priest would intone, for the first time after forty days, a three-fold Alleluia.”

This quote immediately grabbed my attention. I love me some TRADITION and couldn’t wait to incorporate it into our family’s Lenten traditions.

Unfortunately, I didn’t take any pictures of the kids burying their Alleluias but it was super simple and fun! I bought some unfinished wooden plaques from Hobby Lobby and wrote the word Alleluia on them with a marker. Easy. Peasy. The kids then decorated them before we headed into the dark backyard, green Ikea lanterns in hand, to dig and bury our Alleluias. They had a blast. We stood by the ‘grave,’ prayed, then headed in for bedtime.

In addition to these practices, we also celebrate the few feast days we have during Lent (St. Joseph, St. Patrick, and The Annunciation), read/study the Stations of the Cross, and veil our statues and crucifixes staring on Passion Sunday (the beginning of Passiontide) in preparation for Holy Week and Easter.

I love my Catholic faith and hope to embed it into my Domestic Church so that my kiddos grow to learn, know, and LOVE their beautiful faith, too!

In Christ,
Veronica