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God Is Everywhere – Even in the Cinnamon Chips…

Happy Almost Thanksgiving ALL!

I just want to give you a little perspective.

Here in Italy, things are difficult. Some folks I talk to say “it’s just how it is here.”, and some folks I talk to say, “they won’t be after a while, once you get used to it!” I could list a litany of things that are awkward or odd… instead I will say this:

As you know, as Christians, we are called to trust God, in good and bad – praise HIM! If you know me, you know I struggle with being perfect and being very hard on myself… and I’m quite impatient to boot.

So when little things go wrong – I may or may not throw what could only be described as a temper tantrum. Usually I am alone, but God sees. And it’s embarrassing to me. But I am human and He loves me. Thank you Father.

YES – I’m getting to the cinnamon chips. Patience dear ones.

My husband and I love people and love entertaining. And for Thanksgiving and Christmas – it’s usually my job to bring the baked goods, whilst he cooks the meat. Well, this year, we are hosting Thanksgiving.  If you are in the Naples area… come on over! All are welcome.

10 am – Breakfast – Sausage, bacon, eggs, pancakes, grits…  Coffee, juice, mimosas/bloody Mary’s. It will All be there. 

6pm – Dinner – turkey and every trimming we can think of. Plus people are bringing things. And of course, I am baking. My zucchini bread with cinnamon chips (thank you @PreparedPantry) is a staple. People LOVE this bread.

On top of that – we made a ham, a couple sides, and baked goods for our Parish Pot luck.

Well, I nearly flipped my lid when I figured out I forgot to order cinnamon chips. Just so you know, my pantry was fully stocked in the US, but we are not allowed to ship any food items. Anyway… dejected… I went to the commissary to buy mini chocolate chips as a substitute. It was not going to be the same, but I was trying to be positive about it.

Here is what I posted: 
  • mrsedavis99

    God is everywhere. Yes, even in the Cinnamon Chips. So yesterday I was upset because I forgot to order my cinnamon chips for zucchini bread. I had to run get water and drinks for Thanksgiving… and I thought, “no one else makes them, but I will go down the baking aisle for mini chocolate chips.” And I am happy to say… someone else does make them AND there was exactly one bag.
    When you live in a strange land, where lots of little things go wrong. Even if you know they are #firstworldproblems you are so happy when you WIN even with something this small. I have been praying for a more appreciative attitude and the ability to rub off on others.
    #Godisinthecinnamonchipsyall #blessed#davislife #ladyemlivesinitaly#thanksgivingprep #praiseGodinallthings

I know, it sounds silly, maybe… but it’s so true. I mean, I just knew there was NO WAY I’d find them because I’ve only ever ordered them in bulk from a specialty store.  And I’m telling you, the only bag on the shelf – cinnamon chips. If that wasn’t God reaching out to me, I don’t know what is!

Various breads for Thanksgiving. Top of pic is the Zucchini bread.

Moral of the story – look for God in everything. He promised to be there for you and He is. FIND HIM! PRAISE GOD IN ALL THINGS! He will reward you… maybe with cinnamon chips. Just saying.

One of today’s Readings is 1 Samuel 15:22:

Does the Lord so delight in holocausts and sacrifices as in obedience to the command of the Lord? Obedience is better than scarce, and submission than the fat of rams

OBEDIENCE is hard for this stubborn girl. But I will keep seeking and perfecting and redirecting.

I took that WIN and thanked the Lord for it. That day, I found Him in the baking aisle in the commissary, and it was right where I needed to find Him. Where did you find God today? Don’t stop looking for Him. You will find Him!

Keep telling me to PRAISE HIM and I will tell you too.
Here are a couple verses that may help. Please share others in comments!

Jeremiah 29: 11 For surely I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord, plans for your welfare and not for harm, to give you a future with hope. 

Habakkuk 3: 17 – 19 Though the fig tree does not blossom,    and no fruit is on the vines; though the produce of the olive fails, and the fields yield no food; though the flock is cut off from the fold, and there is no herd in the stalls,  yet I will rejoice in the Lord; I will exult in the God of my salvation.  God, the Lord, is my strength; he makes my feet like the feet of a deer, and makes me tread upon the heights.

I am lonely here, and missing my family/friends terribly. We have made new friends and we have good food and wine.  We will Thank God for it.  We will praise Him with all we have. Because THAT is what He requires of us. We will be obedient. And I am thankful for His guidance and that of our Church.

May you all be blessed and share love this Thanksgiving.
Hugs, Love & Prayers,

Em

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Let’s Talk Lent – and K.I.S.S.

Happy Valentine’s Day!
Happy Ash Wednesday!

Today, Catholics everywhere are lining up to receive ashes and begin our Lenten Season.  Yep, today is the day we receive the sign of the cross on our heads, in ashes. The ashes symbolize our sins and the cross symbolizes our Savior (our Biggest Blessing).

Of course, I woke up with a painful pimple – in just the right spot where Ashes would go. Hello Father, don’t you want to touch that. HA I’m so sarcastic in my mind.

Anywhoooooo… Here’s some Saint Mother Teresa Love.

And here are my thoughts on Lent:

This past Sunday I taught the lesson of Lenten Preparation to the third graders in my Religious Ed Class. We talked about traditions and things. But one of the most striking statements from the lesson was the Proclamation about the lesson that I wrote on the board (per the book). To me, it’s the overarching theme of Lent:

During Lent, we prepare for Easter so that we may receive the new life of The Risen Christ. When we are Baptized, we receive new life. Lent is like Baptism, because during Lent we are born into new life.

We learned:

  • through sacrifice, we can actually learn to change our ways.
  • through prayer and fasting during Lent, we prepare our hearts to receive Jesus.
  • through Baptism and Lent, we receive new life.
  • by staying close to Jesus, in prayer, sacrifice and fasting, we can imitate Jesus (which is what we are called to do).

There was a time, when I was trying to live up to other’s standards of what Lent or any Catholic Season/Holiday/Holy Day should look like. No more. I had fun doing all the crafty and great things with friends and family, but currently, I am all about the simple and precious.  I set myself up to fail and it was no one’s fault but mine.

Pretend like this is an actual conversation:

Me: I’m going to do 475 different devotions, crafts and fun things this year.
Also Me: I can’t get it all done.
My Husband: Don’t get upset, cut something out.
Me: But all these people are doing hundreds of super human things for Lent and I’m only doing 20. HA

Do you recognize any part of that conversation?  Do you over-volunteer? Do you give too much or do too much, to the point you drive yourself and family crazy, then go stand in the corner and give yourself a time-out because you may or may not want to punch someone (namely yourself)?  — if so PLEASE, I implore you – FIND PEACE! You are enough. You don’t need to buy a fancy Lent journal or stress over which Catholic group you want to follow along in for Lent! You don’t have to do all 75000 fun craft projects your friends are doing or read every book, etc.

Hear me: GOD ONLY WANTS YOU!!!! He doesn’t care about fancy schmancy! He wants your heart and soul. Whatever you do will be GOOD ENOUGH! Sigh.

Ok  – end of lesson. HA

My New Motto: K.I.S.S. – Keep It Simple Silly! If it doesn’t bring peace and isn’t simple – it’s out for this year’s Lent!  Here is how I plan to (honestly and simply) live the three pillars of Lent this year.

1) Prayer – Prayer is simply a conversation with God. I talk to Him so much. I’m so thankful. But during Lent, we must purpose to pray clearer and seek the cleaning out of our hearts and souls. My prayer of choice this Lent, purposing to say the Rosary, daily.  I am not proud of the suffering and bad attitude I have suffered this past year or so. What I can do, is change ME. Praying the Rosary is medicine to my soul and I miss it. But when I got down, I decided I was forsaken and in exchange, I forsook. Sigh. The below picture, it used to be what I felt. And I am purposing to get back there. My Mother is calling me.

You can choose your own prayer. Call on the Saints. So many great Catholic Prayers. Also – get to Mass more. ❤ Get in front of Jesus y'all.

2) Almsgiving – during Lent, we purpose to help others. I don’t have a lot of extra cash this year, but we will focus on giving to our local food banks. We volunteer a lot at our Parish and are a giving family. When we can do more, we will.

3) Fasting/Abstinence – In the Catholic Church, Fasting on certain days of our Liturgical Calendar involves eating two small meals and one regular meal on any given day of Fasting. There are different rules for the sick, pregnant women and children, of course. There are only two days during Lent where Fasting is required – Ash Wednesday AND Good Friday.

All year, we must either Abstain from (give up/don’t eat) meat on Fridays or we have to perform another penance. However, during Lent, we must abstain from meat on Ash Wednesday, and all Fridays during Lent. If, for any reason you can not abstain, you must perform another penitential act. In my house, we like fish, so this is not hard for us. We will likely add one other day/week as meatless to further add to our sacrifice.

For me, personally, I am limiting my time on Social Media, and we have given up Starbucks as a family. This last one may sound silly to you. BUT if you knew how much we spent on Starbucks, and how budget conscious we are purposing to be, you’d know that we need to do this, along with a litany of other things.

There are other things we are sacrificing, but those are private.

Additionally, I wanted to make sure you all understand that Sundays ARE in fact included in Lent. Sigh. Here’s a helpful link to explain Sundays in Lent.

Some Helpful Links:

Message From Our Holy Father – Please read this if nothing else. Here is just a small portion. I love him. I truly love our Pope. Mostly because he is our leader AND he explains it so well.

Lent with Lucia – her instructions are simple. And I like simple these days.

Whatever you are doing this Lent, let it be something that draw you closer to Our Lord, Our Faith and  keeps you on your path toward Heaven! I’m so happy to have met you and crossed paths with you on our walk. ❤

God bless you and keep you this Lenten Season dear readers.

Hugs & blessings,
Emily

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Do You Have a Blessing Jar?

Happy Sunday Evening y’all.

I’ve been wanting to do this post since the beginning of the year. We don’t usually post things super late like this, BUT wanted to write it whilst I had a moment.

The picture below is our family Blessing Jar.

Does your family have one?  If not – I think you should. Ours is a big jar decorated with stickers. I’ve shown you a few sides. I cut pieces of paper out from construction paper and keep plenty of pens around.

WHAT IS IT?  It’s a vessel of JOY. Truly! Throughout the year, my family writes down the ways we bless each other.  New Year’s Eve (or if you are at a party, you could do it New Year’s Day) we traditionally are all together. We play games, eat snacky food, and read from the jar. We all take turns reading them, but here is a picture of my husband doing so:

The notes could say, “I appreciate having a mom who gives good advice.”; “I am blessed to watch my son serve the alter.” “We are glad to have a daddy who works hard and provides for us.”  Whatever complimentary statement by any ONE member of the family towards another member of the family.  The writer must identify themselves.

When the note it is written, it is folded so that no one can see the writing (If possible). Parents or older siblings can help younger children write. In a large family it would be important to have notes written about everyone in the family.

It’s a great help to get children thinking of blessings, and also encourages them to bless others.  It’s also a great way to end the year – Counting your blessings.

WHAT IT IS NOT… It is not an excuse to not tell your family members how much you appreciate them throughout the year. That has to happen. It’s not a joke or something to take lightly. Say what you mean – don’t be funny or sarcastic.

We love doing this.  It’s just a silly way to come together and thank one another on the last day of the year. The pics above are already blessings for this year. YAY!

Have a great night y’all. I hope this gave you some ideas.

Love, Hugs & Blessings,

Emily