Abstaining from meat on Fridays is part of the Catholic Church’s emphasis on the sacrament of reconciliation.
In his blog, Cardinal Dolan discusses the issue of “meatless Fridays,” saying:
“What about us Catholics? For God’s sake, I trust we are recognized for our faith, worship, charity, and lives of virtue.
“What are the external markers that make us (Catholics) stand out? Lord knows, there used to be tons of them: Friday abstinence from meat was one of them, but we recall so many others: seriousness about Mass on Sundays and Holy Days of Obligation; fasting on the Ember Days; saints names for children; confession at least annually; loyal membership in the local parish; fasting for three hours before Holy Communion, just to name a few.
But, almost all of these external markers are now gone. Some applaud this; some mourn it. I guess some were helpful, while others were not. Besides the black smudge on our foreheads on Ash Wednesday, is there any way we Catholics “stand out” as distinctive?”
So David and I TRY to follow this the best we can. But I have to admit, sometimes I feel more compelled to add a meatless dish in our weekly menu just to avoid the cost of meat. Not always. But sometimes.
I have to add that this is a hard challenge at times because we LOVE meat. Period.
He and I are always perusing the Internet looking for some meatless meals. I thought I'd try them and share them with y'all only if they are deemed "blog worthy" by my personal food critics, the kids.
Cheese Quesadillas ~
(Served here with a dipping sauce and refried beans.)
What you'll need ::
Large flour tortillas, shredded cheese (I used Monterey Jack), sliced mushrooms, diced avocados, shredded lettuce, diced tomatoes, sliced black olives or ANYTHING else you desire to load the quesadilla up with!
Heat your large tortilla up in a pan and vegetable oil. (Just enough oil to lightly brown the tortilla). 10 seconds for one side. Then flip.
Once your tortilla starts to form air pockets inside, place your toppings on, starting with the cheese. Spread toppings around the tortilla. Don't layer it too thick because you have to fold it and it IS a quesadilla, not a taco.
After placing the toppings onto the tortilla, fold the tortilla in half, and fry it about 20-30 seconds. Flip it to the other side, and continue frying for another 20-30 seconds. Then remove it from pan and carefully cut it in wedges.
(You can fry it with any toppings you want.)
As I mentioned above, I just served with a ranch dressing to dip in and a side of refried beans. (But the options are endless.)
Pros :: Easy. Kid friendly since they can pick and choose their fillings. *Fry on a griddle so you can do at least two at a time.
Cons :: If you use a frying pan and have a big family, it is a long time before you can step away from the stove top and enjoy one yourself.
If God is calling you to a vocation that includes marriage, know that He will bring you to your spouse in His time. It is not as important where you meet your spouse as it is to start praying for him or her now. Even when you do not know him yet, he is out there and needs your prayers now.
So hear it goes...
I had moved out on my own for the first time, moving 60 miles away from my mama and papa bear, and I was so stinkin' excited to feel real freedom. Attending college 400 miles away from home (with NO car) does not count as a real freedom. The freedom I'm talking about is more like true independence which happens to include rent, utilities, food, car payment, car insurance, and school loans...but I was my own boss, a teacher, and totally on my own.
I had searched the for rent section of the newspapers, and moving to a college town, I soon found myself renting a town home with three other girls, (they were upper class college students), whom I had never met! We were all so different, but managed to get along except for the one. The one that would eat my hard-earned, meager groceries without my permission got under my skin pretty easily. There's one in every bunch, isn't there?
I was so thrilled and so completely broke, (what can I say, I had been a parochial school teacher), but I was "going to make it" come hell or high water. I was 24 years old, and even though I was madly in love with the notion of "love and marriage," I never seemed to find the same path my sisters and friends before me had found. The path that included a wedding within months of graduating from college. No. I was that perpetual bridesmaid. I'm talking 9 or 10 times (in about three or four years.) And all of those bridesmaids dresses? I donated to my High School drama club! Ha ha!
(In Chicago with old, college friends the night before our friends' wedding. I'm the blond.)
Don't feel bad for me. God just had a different path for me, and I needed to find it. My sisters had the science brains. I had the other type of brain. They were more shy and studious, where I was outgoing and ready to take on the world. They liked one steady beau, I preferred to mix it up a bit, (there were just too many cute ones, for Pete's sake!)
I have to admit, there were some odd beaus, too. I now realize how many years I had taken off of my parents' lives when they saw me come home with a few characters at one time or another. As God is my witness, I have no clue why I threw common sense out the window more times than I'd like to remember.
Maybe it was wanting to "keep up with" my sisters and friends when I thought getting engaged would be the right choice. So when the fella that did propose planted a diamond on my finger, my mom was...ahem...upset to say the least. Her mouth hit the floor, and I think she had a silent heart attack on the spot. I was 20 years old going on 13.
Thank God for guardian angels. Listening to the priest's homily during the wedding mass of a brother, a lightening bolt came out of no where and knocked common sense back in its rightful place. With every word the priest was saying, I was brought to realize just how wrong my "engagement" was. I came out of that wedding ceremony sweating like a mad woman, knowing exactly how close I came to dodging a bullet. Clearly seeing the whole picture at that point, I ended up leaving the wedding reception early with my fiance in order to break it off with him. He didn't take it easily. I, on the other hand, was never so relieved in all my life.
(Here I am, a bridesmaid at my brother's wedding reception, the night I called off my first engagement.)
But I regress...
Back to the ripe age of 24. I ended up having the best summer of my life experiencing the tastes of true freedom with only myself to report to. The roomies and I would hang out together, like room mates do, and I had the gym that I joined.
The gym. That's where I first saw David, who appeared to not take much notice in me. That entire summer I longed for the moment when I would go to the gym hoping to catch a glimpse of him, and maybe muster up the courage to say something other than a quick hello. There were days where I'd finish my exercise routine only to realize he was a no show. Sighing, I'd head to the door only to see his car pull up in the parking lot. On a dime, I'd spin my bum around and go have one more work out, hoping he'd finally see me!
I know how pathetic that must sound, but it wasn't all that bad. Even with that silly, untamed, boy craziness of a past, I never ever had the courage to go up to a boy first. Ever. I never knew what to say, and all attempts ended up in complete failure with my face turning bright red and some incoherent words tumbling out of my mouth. Beside, with all of those double work-outs, I was actually in the best shape of my life. Ever!
Desperate times call for desperate measures. It was the end of summer, and being a college town, the students were starting to come back creating a social scene buzz. I was out at a nightclub with one of my room mates one night when I laid my eyes on my dream guy. My heart skipped a beat only to have it completely crash seconds later. For what I saw put me in a state of panic. "My" David was on the dance floor with another girl, and she was a cute girl, and they appeared to be friendly with one another. As in girlfriend and boyfriend friendly. I needed a plan and fast.
I was pretty upset with my inability to "flirt". Waiting all summer to make my "move", only to find with one swift dance, this Jane Doe, took the lead. I needed to clear my head the next day, and even though I knew his work out days never included a weekend, I still went. I was so depressed and mad at my lack of courage.
It had to have been my guardian angel, on a directive from God, who got me to that gym at that moment. You could have knocked me over with a feather when I walked in the gym to find my dream boy there...and no one else. Just the two of us. He saw me, we smiled and exchanged our hello's. I tried to appear confident and poised, but the entire time my hands were sweating like crazy and I could tell I was turning beat red. I hate blushing!
In this perfect storm, I heard my guardian angel whisper, "Do or die time, girl." So I opened my mouth, and at this point I want you to visualize the character Phoebe from the sitcom F.R.I.E.N.D.S. and her running abilities. Remember that? Okay. Her physical abilities and my oral abilities paralleled one other. Well, somehow, I found myself in this out-of-body experience. I could hear myself saying something pathetic like, "I saw you dancing last night. You are a good dancer." Ugh! I still slap my hand over my eyes as I relive it. Pass me the puke bucket now, please! I think he smiled nicely, laughed a little (as though he was taken back) and said, "Thanks!" And that was it.
Years later, he told me he thought I was "cute" and "sweet" at the moment and had NO CLUE I was trying to even flirt. Ever. Seriously? I honestly don't remember much after that. I was too traumatized. My quest for David was nil. Finished. Done.
The following weekend, another room mate and I went to the same club. I had convinced myself that whatever chance I had with David was gone. We went out early that night to beat the crowd and found a great seat at the bar. Our dancing queen modes kicked in when one of our favorite songs came on, so we boogied our way out to the dance floor, relaxed and having fun. We had no cares in the world about how Elaine-ish (Elaine, from Seinfeld) we may have looked. Ha ha!
Weaving our way back through a growing crowd, we got to the bar only to find that our seats were taken up by none other than David and a bunch of his friends. My friend and I where stunned. I grabbed her shoulder to steady myself and said, "There is a God!" (Of course I have never doubted that! Ha ha!) Taking a very deep breath, mustering up all the courage and charm I could, I tapped him on the back, and before I could open my mouth, he jumped up and made some comment like, "Oh! We have your seats! Here you go!"
And I never had to speak. He did all the talking. Somewhere in there, I remembered to breathe!
As soon as he gave my seat back, I became engrossed in this amazing conversation with David. He never left my side, stood there talking and laughing with me while I miraculously eased into a mode of total relaxation and confidence. And the hours passed too quickly! We talked about so much.
I found out later that he had a plan. You see, years earlier, he had also been previously engaged, realized the seriousness of that mistake, and called it off. (Lucky me!) Over the course of time, he realized he didn't want to make that mistake again, and was enlightened on what he was looking for in that "one" he would eventually marry. Praise be to God!
David had his act together much sooner than I did. In the course of our conversation, he had realized that I met his three main criteria he had at the top of his "future wife" list. Don't laugh. He was mature and knew what he wanted. I was not at that level yet. In an inconspicuous way, he learned that I was Catholic (a must), that my parents were still married (the sacrament was not to be messed with), and that my political views were similar to his. Seriously. The man knew exactly what he wanted, and it was only through the course of our conversation that I realized, (duh), how important all that was. How lightly I had previously looked at it, even though my parents were fantastic Catholics and modeled the married life in such a wonderful way!
But back to that story...
My friend was ready to leave, (how dare she!) and I wasn't going to be driven home by some "dreamy" stranger :) Even though it would have been nice. He told me about this great air show party that he was having the following day at his house. (His house ran up to the airport property, and he had these great parties each year.) He wanted me to attend. He said it was "safe" since his parents would be there, and I already knew his parents would be perfectly wonderful to meet from the way he described them. And so we parted with me promising that I'd attend his party the next day.
I had never gone to a party by myself. Ever. That was always completely outside my comfort zone. (Unless it was just all girls.) Being caught up in this daring girl moment, emotional high from the night before, I gussied myself up and headed over to his side of town feeling totally liberated and free, and loving my guardian angel! And it turned out better than I had ever expected.
The party was safe and fun, just like he said it would be. I was introduced to his sweet, elderly parents (David is the baby in his family), and they were just like what I had imagined. Even better.
It was during our introduction that things took a huge twist. To this day I think it was God blessing me abundantly since He failed to gift me with the ability to communicate in a flirtatious way. Ha ha! In less than 24 hours, I had gone from thinking that my chance to know David was tossed out with the puke bucket to marriage talk! I kid you not.
It went like this... "Mom and Dad, this is Patty. She is Catholic, comes from a family of 9 kids, her parents are married, and she is conservative. Should I marry her?" He laughed hard, his dad laughed, his mom looked shocked for me and smiled nervously with me (knowing what I was probably thinking) as I turned 8 shades of red. Have I mentioned that I hate blushing?
He was only "partly" joking.
We began to date, and one month later I was yet another bridesmaid, ha ha!
(Another bridesmaid at the wedding of another brother, fall 1994.)
The word soul mate sounds strange to some, I realize that, but I would be less than honest if I told you we weren't. Actually, it would be a total lie. We saw God working in our relationship, clearly and methodically from the beginning. Where I was weak in my faith, David was strong and carried me spiritually. When he fell down, I was there to pick him up. Only through the grace of God did we grow in maturity together, loving and forgiving one another, and always being fans of good communication.
"First comes love, then comes marriage..." you know the old song. Well, seven months later in March, David proposed to me while on his boat fishing together. As you can imagine, I was so incredibly nervous to break the news to my folks being that they saw me go through that years before. But we knew. We knew we were suppose to be together. It wasn't the "in love with love and marriage" notion. Oh my goodness. No. We completely felt God's presence in our relationship.
(This was taken around the time of our engagement, at his parents' 40th wedding anniversary dinner, winter 1995.)
He had wanted to marry me, but the actual proposal was not actually planned out. His follow up plan, however, was a grand slam! He took me up to a little antique shop that a family friend owned, and together we picked out an antique diamond solitaire.
(Our parents meeting for the first time.)
We were married four months later on a very hot, humid Friday evening in mid-July, (eleven months after we started dating.)
(Exchanging our sacred vows, July 1995.)
(I was the recipient of a whopper, "You may kiss the bride" kiss! )
(The happy couple :)
Our home is inside our hearts. We are completely one. We are soul mates. Life's journey has taken us down so many roads, and even when we fall off the path, we always manage to come back to our faith. Our faith will always be the cornerstone of our marriage. Our faith is strong and steady and welcomes us home.
I read an inspirational quote on Facebook and it hit home ~
"Every time I count by blessings my love for God grows bigger...and every time I count my struggles my faith in God grows stronger!"
I pray for a long life with "my" David, and that our children, if called to a vocation of marriage, will pray for and find their soul mates that God has picked for them.
P.S. The Jane Do dancing with David? She was just that. Nothing more. And that entire summer he didn't think I'd be interested in him. Ugh!
"Running for 18 years on the original battery. At our wedding 18 years ago today my wife and I gave these travel clocks to all of our groomsman. This one is mine, it still works and I have never changed the battery. It is a great reminder of the strong marriage I have with my awesome wife!"
David posted that last Sunday on his Facebook page.
I LOVE how he thinks and how he puts his thoughts into words!
Had to share... :)
(Still working, mentally, on my love story that I really need to write down.)
The Hughes Academy begins a new school at the end of each July.
Where they may not like it at first, they always come around to see the plan unfold.
* We do 180 days of school per year.
* For the sake of my sanity, (I'm being real), I take 2weeks off at each quarter, 3weeks off in December, and finish by Mother's Day.
* Texas schools shut down for the entire week of Thanksgiving. (That's a BIG ditto in our house!)
* It can be too blazing hot in July and August to play outside. Sometimes it's too hot to even swim. **It is quite common to have 100 degree temp at 10:00 pm, and that's with the sun down!** Planning made easy ~
The first thing I do is mark the LAST day of school on the calendar.
Then I go BACKWARDS and mark off the weeks I plan to use as vacation time.
Our 2013-1014 will be finished on Friday, May 9, 2014. (God willing!)
I end up with my start date :: In this case, July 22, 2013. (Just days away....)
Except for Summer, Texas weather usually ranges from quite lovely to moderate during the seasons of fall, winter, and spring.
We neverever pack away flip flops or shorts. Once in awhile, we will even get snow.
(January 2011 - playing yard jarts and eating ice cream - outside!)
The plan works.
And you know what else?
Home school hours are not your typical 8 hour traditional school day.
We range (depending on child & grade level) from 1.5 hours - 4 hours each day.
Plenty of time to go for a swim while all the other traditional school kids are in their school desks!
It's been a pretty smooth system each year.
Why fix what is not broke, right?
My friend Jen, another home school mama, has an AMAZINGLY, AWESOME back-to-school give away for moms!
On top of that, she linked up to a GINORMOUS group of back-to-school give aways and shared it with us all!
I have a LOVE - HATE relationship with homeschooling.
I don't always feel all fuzzy and warm and giddy when I talk about it or think about it for that matter. There are plenty of moments when I down right dread it. When school is out, I don't want to even think about it.
Then there is the stress and tension. Oh my goodness...
But you know what? I can pile all the negative up, and still view it simply as my vocation, what God has called me to do.
So where does the love fest come in?
Girlfriend, the blessings are bountiful! And you know what the BIGGEST blessing is for me?
My faith has grown abundantly, in leaps and bounds, from teaching my own children the faith.
Up until then, I heard my faith saying "Don't do this...Don't do that" and I never understood the Why Notof it all. Which lead me to do things that I completely and utterly regret.
There's no one to blame but myself. I had great parents who set an awesome example. I received 16 years of Catholic education, graduating from Creighton University. For the most part, I had faith-filled nuns and priests. But something was missing.
God's plan is so awesome! He knew what I needed and just how to get it :)
He knew that if I started teaching the faith to my children I would find and understand the Why Not's!
And that's exactly what happened. It truly is God's calling.
But I still dislike, with GREAT disdain, the stress and tension it brings! ha ha!
As David put it, our goal is to give them enough Why Not's so they don't make the same mistakes we made.
The 2013-2014 school books arrived this past Thursday.
Some semesters are tougher than others and those tough ones can leave you tender.
But! I'm working on my attitude for this year, and I know I'll be excited come July 22.
I better be because my attitude directly affects their attitude!
And is it just me or does it seem once the Fourth of July passes, the rest of the summer goes by in a blink of an eye??
We started our morning at 8am Mass...LOVE! LOVE! LOVE! patriotic music at Mass :)....and then noshed on some yummy, peach, french toast, breakfast casserole.
Recipe found here. Oh! My! Goodness! This is so yummy!
Don't you just love fruit in the summer??
We hit the subdivision pool in the morning...hoping to beat the crowd.
I thought that swimsuit was so stinkin' cute...had to buy it as soon as I laid eyes on it. I had found it for $12.95 at Gymboree!
She gets loved on - all the time!
And Miss Ester has so much patience with her :) So sweet to watch.
We won't lose him in his neon gear!
She wishes she was a mermaid in another life! :)
I think she'd make a cute one! :)
Sally is allowed back into water to do basic strokes and flutter kicks. She's receiving physical therapy on her knee...trying to rid the meniscus cartilage of fluid and a nasty Baker's cyst.
Fingers crossed, she'll be back on the swim team by mid-August.
I think this next one is so funny! This is Ester's fun personality coming out :)
Dinner called for grillin' out and sweet corn (on the cob).
For dessert, I tried this...
Layered pound cake, home made whip cream, strawberries and blueberries. Totally blog-worthy, folks!!
I posted the link here. Instead of pudding, I substituted real whip cream!
Home Made Whip Cream ::
1 cup of heavy whipping cream
4 tbsp of powder sugar
Beat on high for 2-3 minutes until the cream stiffens and you can form peaks.
E.A.S.Y. and sweet!
Some of my family went over to our subdivision pool to watch the city's fireworks show. It beat driving in the nasty, traffic, and we had the place "almost" to ourselves PLUS the pool's chaise lounges made it very relaxing :)
A perfect ending to a great holiday.
Even though our Fourth of July holiday was close to perfect...nothing can beat the little fire cracker that arrived home for Lori and her family. Stop by to see the beautiful pictures of her little love!