Catholic Faith · COVID · Family · Italy · LadyEm · Saints

Happy Humbling Birthday!

Dear Ones,
Today, I am 57. Phew. We had plans to go out with friends, Covid-19 slayed that. Additionally, our son was supposed to have his wisdom teeth out on the 30th and it was moved up a couple weeks. There is a lot of fear we are moving into another lock down. It would not surprise me.

Anyway – I share my birthday with Saint Luke. As in The Gospel of Saint Luke, the Acts of the Apostles, not to mention he was one of Saint Paul’s companions. Read about him – HERE. He authored the Gospel of the Repentant sinners and Merciful Heart. I’m pretty sure he talked directly to Me in much of it. I’m not kidding. The Gospel of Saint Luke is my favorite Gospel, though I love them all. His name means “bringer of Light!”

When I found out bud was having surgery this weekend (10/16), I was like – BOO. I’ve gotta change all my plans. Sigh – you know, because in that split second it was all about me. But as a mother, there is no room for selfishness when it comes to our children’s health. No – I don’t say that because I was beating myself up. But I can’t make anyone feel badly – that’s NOT what Jesus would do. But seriously – my name means INDUSTRIOUS LIGHT (Emily Helen). And I truly aim to live up to that. I was faced with a choice… to be happy today in all it’s changes or to Sulk. And I chose happiness. I choose LIGHT. And that is NEVER a bad choice. I’ll get back to my birthday in a second.

Let me explain how things work in Italy. So – when you work for the Military, in a foreign country, you follow the Base Command’s directives as those directives are based on the laws/directives in the country you are in. If you follow my blog, you know we are in Italy. Our region was the first RED area in Italy this Fall (see Map & Link Below):

Additionally, the numbers are rising daily. In fact, if you look at the Campania Region, the numbers “Resting in Domicile” have doubled in the past three weeks. Below are yesterday’s Numbers. Todays have not come out yet.

So when the region or country changes rules about how they are approaching Covid, we have to follow suit. Further, the Command has requested we not dine out (we can do takeaway) and has given us other directives – all so we can thwart this thing and avoid another lockdown.

Why do I tell you the above? What you need to know is this… Happiness is a CHOICE. My family is here. My neighbors and friends in Italy are fantastic. My family and friends from home are showering me with love. My kitchen and home are all stocked up in case of a lock down. I could feed half the base LOL just kidding – but a lot of them. HA

I’ll admit, being here is lonely at times. But – this weekend has been quiet and full of family time. Bud is healing, though today is probably not his best day. My husband and I made a birthday cake. We took soup out of the freezer and will make some fried eggplant and zucchini later. We will have wine with our neighbors. And my 2020 birthday is NOT ruined… you know? Does it look different – YES.

Friday night, a friend brought us dinner. Veggie and Cheese pizza. AND sweet potato fries. Thanks Dawn. A few people sent cards and/or dropped off sweet presents. My husband bought flowers from he and our youngest… and I ordered a tan jacket with a burberry lining for my birthday. I mean it’s FAR from bad. I will share a few pics, then I will continue my story:

Marque is in fact a leprechaun! haha
Flowers from my guys.
From top left – Wine glasses from Dawn, cards from Kelly and Dawn, Gift bag from my friend Julie and her family, and Flamingo Assortment from my friend Gen.
Literally the best gift ever. Purple Playdoh from the heart of a 3 year old. #imnotsharing

But let me tell you what made me cry. You see that purple PlayDoh. That is from my bestie Ms. C. She is a 3 year old and I adore her. We have similar spirits – which should tell you something about my maturity. Her mama, my friend Julie, left me a bag by our gate, and When she told me that me that her sweet girl had sent me something too…… Y’all, this precious girl – she gave me her play doh. And that is something — you know? How humbling is that?

So I ask you – in the spirit of Light and Salt of the earth – I’m pretty dang blessed. the people I “let in” now, they mean something… And I’m humbled and thankful. Not because of the gift of things, but because of the awareness that I care for people and they care for me too. That, Dear Ones, — THAT is the best gift. Love of others is the gift worth cherishing.

Jesus is the true light! We are to emanate Him. So I say – be humble and shine your light.

Love, Hugs, & Blessings,
Lady Em

#Catholic Bible Journaling · #LadyEmCrafts · Book Review · Catholic Bible Journaling · Catholic Faith

Book Review Wednesday – Bible Journal

Dear Ones,

Happy Wednesday. Happy Feast Day of Saint Callistus I (Pope, Martyr)! Click his name to read more about him.
Today is a sunny day here in Italy. Will be stormy later. Doesn’t that just describe LIFE? I hope you are well, wherever you are. I’m praying for you.

I’m trying to bring some regular “segments” back to my blog. Things like – Monday – Meal Plans (where I share what we are eating for the week. I talk a lot about repurposed foods and Jessica over at Good Cheap Eats. I hope to post more cards and crafts… AND Small Success Thursdays. One of the things I have been REMISS on is not reviewing books. In fact, when I moved my blog back over here, I lost most pictures and so many things… And so I’m going to recreate some of it, and start posting more. I need to get out of my head with this one… and let it fall where it may… so to speak.

On with the Review.

I’m not sure if you know this, but in 2015 a few of us Catholic Ladies in Fort Worth, went to LifeWay Christian to a Bible Journaling class. I remember feeling sad and slightly resentful that the Protestants had so many Bibles to Journal in. We started a FaceBook Group called Catholic Women’s Bible Journaling (CWBJ)… And in 2016, I started writing various Catholic Publishers asking them to create a Catholic Journaling Bible, and Non-Catholic Publishers asking for them to create a Catholic Version of their Protestant Journaling Bibles. Long story short, not because of me, but because of many Catholic Women who worked to get it done, there are now many choices of Bibles to Journal in. Many I’ve reviewed, or received and given away.

Today I am reviewing the NRSV Catholic Bible, Journal Edition by Catholic Bible Press. In June, I was contacted by Bethany who works for Harper-Collins’ Bible Division. She asked if my team and I, from the CWBJ Group on FaceBook would like to have one. I couldn’t believe it. They sent them to our whole team and gave away six in our group on top of that. So exciting.

This Bible comes beautifully packaged. The leather is soft and the binding is sturdy. So beautiful.

I wanted to show you what a page looked like before art. This is one I will journal next. Whether you are a note taker, doodler, or full-blown artist in your Bible, the pages have a good thickness to them and are a mat page (not glossy or waxy at all).

Below, you will find my artwork. I love the Crucifix stamp from Catholic Rubber Stamps. I also used:

I didn’t treat the page with Gesso, and below you can see that it didn’t bleed too badly. I can still do great work on the back. I heated as I went with the Ranger Heat It Tool. Mine is American. But the one on the link above is showing as European. Go to Hobby Lobby or order from Amazon.

The verse I journaled is Philippians 1:19 – For I know that this shall turn to my salvation through your prayer, and the supply of the Spirit of Jesus Christ.

I wish I had more time to Bible Journal. Here is the Video of me making the page on a FB Live for the group. It’s on my YouTube Channel: Philippians 1:19 for CWBJ

My bottom line is this – I really like this Bible. The size, the sturdiness, and the room to write and draw. I think you will too. It’s a great price. It’s on Amazon.com too.

Please join our little group on FaceBook. Have a blessed rest of your day.

Hugs, Love & Blessings,
Lady Em

p.s. – here’s a tease…next Wednesday there will be another New Bible Journal review. Ignatius Press y’all. WOOHOOOOO

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Word of the Year…

Dear Ones,

Italy has broken me…

what do I mean?

Well, I had a pretty rough two years since my daddy died, surgeries, etc…. I became depressed and had to take meds on a regular basis. We thought Italy was going to be just what we needed… and we were very overwhelmed and disappointed in the beginning, to say the least.

If you knew me when I was working, you’d be in shock to know I’ve forgotten birthdays, been late or totally forgot about meetings… I forgot that I’d signed up to take visiting Deacon’s to breakfast. I accepted and then turned down a hospitality position at our little Military Parish. SERIOUSLY!

I really was falling further into the rabbit hole of self-doubt and depression, of feeling unloved by people and by God… it’s a strange place for a grown up Christian to be, one who prides herself in loving and following God.

And then it hit me, and I was believing the Father of lies and it was affecting my family. Broken, I turned back to God. I have promised him to stop letting the people and things of our world come between he and I. I have a lot of work to do… which is why it’s no coincidence when I went to @JenFullwiler’s link to choose my word of the year, it was… Are ya ready….

RISE!

No, I’m not joking.

You might be saying, “hey Catholic blogger who rarely blogs, shouldn’t you have shared this at the beginning of the year?” – to you I say – well, I thought about it, but I wanted to wait until I knew I could rise. You see, I have a monumental Ego (which you know) and I feared I would fail. But it turns out, the joke’s on me and I am RISING!

You might be wondering how I will rise? Well, I have committed to praying more, trusting God more, and allowing him to work through me more. It’s not easy because I love being in charge. HA. No, it’s not really funny… but I laugh when I am nervous or fearful. Oh and that brings me to getting rid of the fear.

And it’s amazing when you stay in the word more, how much you are inspired to RISE! Let me share two of the MANY things I have found lately to inspire me in my daily readings.

Life is a whirlwind y’all. Wear a twirly skirt so the wind makes ya look pretty! LOL No, but seriously, we are born to bear the storm. It’s NOT easy, with a capital N, NOT! We do it because God asks it of us.

Do you SEE the promises in this passage?  I WILL GIVE FULL COMFORT TO THEM – y’all God is talking to you and I. NO ONE is without turmoil. I love it when people say to me, “your life is so chaotic”. DUDE, I am no different than anyone else. Your life will be chaotic if it isn’t now… learn from me and my poor handling of things… my mistakes! Handle life’s turmoils with grace and trust in THE LORD!

What am I gonna do? For starters… I’m gonna:

  • Rise to the occasion.
  • Rise above the fray.
  • Rise up off the couch and get things done even if I don’t wanna!
Italy/hard times will NOT win. I will be whole again. I know this, because GOD said so. He is the ultimate Father. Amen!

What is your word of the year?
Share it with me. Link it in the comments if you are a blogger.

Let’s hold each other accountable.  I’m rising… what are you gonna do?

Love and hugs to all, and MANY blessings too!

LadyEm

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Silence IS NOT Always Golden…

Dear Ones,

When I was growing up, there was a saying I heard often, which was “silence is Golden”. As a mom, we wish for silence from time to time, in fact, we search it out.  As teachers, we want our students to be quiet and focus on what we are teaching them. Having lived in the hotel in Italy for almost three weeks, I am craving the peace and quiet of a craft room, in a villa, by the beach, AND a Catholic Church family to call my own… so far away from home.

When things get bad, I get quiet. It’s who I am. I have to think it out, process it. I have a fear of sounding like a lunatic whiner…. and I don’t like pity, because pity fades, and we want to be strong and show love and be loved… you know?

And then I read, Psalms 83:

Psalm 83

Prayer for Judgment on Israel’s Foes

A Song. A Psalm of Asaph.

O God, do not keep silence;
    do not hold your peace or be still, O God!
Even now your enemies are in tumult;
    those who hate you have raised their heads.
They lay crafty plans against your people;
    they consult together against those you protect.
They say, “Come, let us wipe them out as a nation;
    let the name of Israel be remembered no more.”
They conspire with one accord;
    against you they make a covenant—

You can find the rest of Psalms 83 by clicking on the link above.  I believe the Devil is after MY CHURCH and that crafty fallen angel has infiltrated it in an evil way. And we must call one one another and Our Lord, Our God to slay this enemy and rid our church of it.

TODAY, I can no longer be quiet…. I have been silenced long enough.

When I was in my early 20’s, sitting across from an older relative, I listened to this person say to my father, what a great job he’d done with us kids (he had custody because our mother was an abusive alcoholic).  In their conversation, I also heard this person say that they knew she was abusing us and that terrible things had gone on in our home, but they “didn’t know what to do about it”. Um, may I remind you these were adults – well into their 40’s or so when I was born.

What in the absolute hell do you mean that you KNEW and did nothing about it? is what I said, as I stood up. I said, “dad, we are leaving!” He was stunned. The whole room was quiet. I was shaking. I had to go. The enormity that someone could have helped us or “saved us” and didn’t… was too much for me while I was still in college. It’s really too much for me now, if I’m being honest.

So you will understand without my having to describe it… I will only say this once… my mother used me as bait for her boyfriends, mostly older married men, as young as the age of 8/9, that I can remember. I thankfully have gotten a lot of counseling, and have a strong faith. She was sick. Truly mentally ill. I forgave her, but I never went around her because in her mind, she blamed me. SICK!  It turns out, for the record, that no one knew things were THAT bad. They just knew she was abusive. But to me, it never excused their silence.

And then there are times when we are called to raise our voices.  Fast forward to recent headlines in the Catholic Church, and my heart breaks as I cringe in solidarity – a messed up solidarity – with these victims. I never persecuted my mother and her boyfriends, though I did know all their names. Back then, it would not have been appropriate and I didn’t want to hurt my grandmother and people who didn’t know… especially my siblings.

This current abuse is NOT about me. I know this. But my questions are the same…

  • How could anyone who purports to love God and children take advantage of and abuse them mentally, physically, sexually? WHY?!!! I will never, ever understand it.
  • How could ANYONE who knew these people were hurting children and others, and NOT DO ANYTHING ABOUT IT?

To me, both are equally wrong. But let’s say the person doing these bad things is mentally ill, because honestly, not me – it’s a disgusting illness that no right-minded person would partake in.  The other people,  the ones who cover it up – they are almost WORSE!

These accused Priests were shepherds of a flock. They are supposed to guide us and look for the lost 1 of 99… and show us the ways of God and be our example. May God have mercy on their souls.

I want to go to these victims in our church and hug them, cry with them, tell them they did nothing wrong, that I understand why they didn’t speak up until now… and that I love them all. They should not be embarrassed. They should not be shamed to silence. They should be applauded for standing up for themselves.  If you are a victim and you are reading this – I stand with you. I am praying for you. I am so sorry….and I understand… maybe not fully, my abuser was my mother, not my Priest.  I think no less of you. I love you. I really do. Reach out. Please… reach out.

Having said all that – I would love for you to join Catholic Bloggers and many Priests, and laypeople all over our country and world, who are praying and fasting for the victims, and for our Church, and yes, even for the perpetrators, for they are our brothers… we don’t have to like what they did to know God calls us to pray for them.

Protect one-another. Pray for each other. Show love and kindness. And please, don’t leave our Faith. As imperfect as leadership may be. Let’s take our responsibility and no longer be complacent, but reticent and watchful.

I’m going to stop talking now and upload pics.
Please join us in prayer. Share the pics, use the hashtag #sackclothandashes

I will add the hashtag #silenceisnotalwaysgolden.

Please join in.
Hugs, Love and Many Blessings,
LadyEm

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Pinterest Fail – Or Not?!

Happy Friday Y’all.

I’ve not been feeling great this week. I was kind of ignoring my symptoms on accounta I didn’t want to be sick. You know how we mamas do.

I want to thank Lacy @ Catholic Icing and Kristi & Rachel of HailMarry for mentioning the Catholic Bible Journal Group on recent blog posts.  Thanks ladies.

Anyway – so the other night, I went to Pinterest. You see I have a lofty goal of Bible Journaling One page from each book of the Bible this year.   Here is what I shared with the group @Catholic Women’s Bible Journaling:

Ladies, I wanted to share with you my plan for Bible Journaling this year. I’m hopeful I can do it. I am not promising to read the whole Bible in a year, but what I am going to do is…
Journaling One passage from each Book of the Bible.
Six Books per month (except 7 one month). That will equal 73 books of the Bible. This way, I can touch each book, at least.
Does that make sense?
For January:
Genesis
Exodus
Leviticus
Numbers
Dueteronomy
Joshua
Does anyone have a favorite passage in those books they’d like to throw out?

Anywhooooo…..

So I did January’s and now I’m working on February. Clearly I am WAY behind the goal I set for myself. But let me show you my Pinterest Fail.

First – here is my Bible Journaling Board on Pinterest.

Second, here is the Pinterest Page in Exodus, I decided to try to do:

This is as far as I’ve gotten on the one I did – on two pages, mind you.  I will add words or something and come back with the finished version, but boy am I laughing at myself.
The matting under each page is a vinyl art mat. I did not put down Gesso or any medium. I just watercolor painted. Oh  I did put MOLOTOW  over the verse, and take it off after I painted. You can see the yellow highlight in the below pic.

Anywhoooo…. the good news is, I am studying the Bible More. And I have enough Art supplies to get better – if I wanna. OR to be happy with what I am doing.  In the meanwhile – I’m laughing.

And that – it’s priceless.
I have strep and a sinus infection and am sipping lemon tea. And my outfit looks like this (nothing matches) because that’s how I roll today!

❤ Sigh.
So don’t be hard on me for making fun of myself.

Y’all have a great day now.

Hugs & blessings,

Lady Em

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