Catholic Faith · Conversion · Davis Family · Italy · LadyEm · PrayerLife · Saints · Word of the Year

Word & Saint of the Year…

Dear Ones,

Happy Monday! Happy 24th Day of 2021! I hope it’s going well so far, for you.

I’m sorry it’s been three weeks since I’ve blogged. What you need to know about me is – when I get worried or life gets busy, I don’t tend to come to my blog. Why? Because I don’t have a lot of nice things to say sometimes. The boredom of not working and being shut down in a foreign country, the lack of Mass and normalcy, and all the political and COVID news has stunted my brain. Our home is full of angst-ridden people. Sigh.

Take heart… there is so much HOPE! Today we celebrate the Conversion of Saint Paul. And I have to say, when I was reading this morning about him, I was reminded how awful he was to Christians. He sought out Christians to have them out to death for following Our Lord. And as I sat there reading about his conversion in The Acts of the Apostles, I thought to myself – “Look what God did with Saul/Paul! There is HOPE FOR ME!”

You know, my WORD OF THE YEAR is TRANSFORM (Thanks @Jennifer Fulwiler). And while I know it must seem lame to y’all that I just can’t get it together, I can assure you that it’s no joke to live it. When Mama is out of sorts – the house crumbles, y’all. Sigh. And while I am working hard to remain positive and get things done, I also keep things REAL!

PLEASE NOTE THE WORD CONVERT!

After much prayer… it’s clear that this is the year of ME. Now wait a minute – you know, if you follow my blog that I do many things for everyone else, to the point that I don’t always get done what I need to get done. I need to take a step back from humanity… and I need to get healthy mentally and physically and take back my life a little bit. In a way that may sound selfish but is completely necessary. God has really put on my heart that I need to transform the way I live… the way I think… the way I pray…. I need a conversion of heart and mind. In all the woes of life, I really have lost sight of my purpose. Which sounds entirely ridiculous. But it’s true. Things I am working on in my conversion…

  • Putting Catholicity First – Living Liturgically — in a way that we have not done here.
    • When we homeschooled and were super plugged in to our great Parish in Fort Worth, it was so easy. But the transient Military Catholic Church is not the same. Sigh.
    • Revamp my prayer life.
  • Get mentally and physically healthy
  • Get back to Blogging for the Lord
  • Get back to working a job (any job)
  • Get back to crafting more. I miss it.

I think part of my exasperation comes from feeling separated from Jesus in the form of the Eucharist… Yes, we do say the Spiritual Communion, but I feel like HE IS MISSING from the Mass when we watch from home. Because of our lack of Eucharist and Sacraments, I believe we ARE distant from our Faith – in a way that I can only describe as climbing a mountain that keeps getting taller. You just can’t reach the top. Sigh. We do go to Mass every couple weeks. And we count ourselves blessed to be able to receive Jesus. Pray for Us!

Funny enough, my SAINT OF THE YEAR is ST. TERESA OF AVILA. It is not lost on me that she is the patron of People in Need of Grace, amongst other things. People are always saying, “Emily, you need to give yourself grace!” Sigh. Part of my giving myself grace is transforming myself back into a more organized, self-healing kind of lady. I’m going to spend my year getting to know her.

Back to Saint Paul’s Conversion… if you are feeling low, and full of angst, anger, doubt about faith, our world, and other things. Put yourself on the path to Damascus with Saul (now Paul – Paul is the Greek translation of the Hebrew name Saul, fyi) and ask God to help you transform whilst you walk with Him. God took a murderous atheist that was hunting Christians and not only forgave him but converted him into one of the Apostles, and builder of His Church. And God will certainly come to us when we call on him as we walk our own continued conversions. But it’s up to us to listen for and act on God’s plans for us. We must learn to control our thoughts. We must put our pasts behind us. This is the hardest for me. But it hit me today that I am JUST AS FORGIVEN and malleable as Paul. And I am so thankful for the Saints before us and their great and HOLY examples.

I am hopeful and determined today, Dear Ones, and I hope you are too. No matter what – Jesus loves you. Walk with Him!

I’ll be back soon.
Love, Hugs & Blessings…
Lady Em

#LadyEmCrafts · Book Review · Catholic Bible Journaling · Catholic Book Reviews · COVID · Italy · Quarantine2020

Book Review Wednesday – Ignatius Press Bible Journal

Dear Ones,

I hope this post finds you well. It’s been two weeks since I posted, but y’all, I have had a busy two weeks.
I’m the PTSA President and I was at school nearly every day. Between Teacher/Staff Appreciation, our spirit gear coming in and needing distribution, “spirit week” – which I will show you later this week, and school pictures… it was a lot of fun! I’m so thankful we could bring fun into the school.

I meant to get this up early this morning but today’s been a rather long one. You see, we are about to be told we are closing till January and going to a Google Classroom setting. UGH. I’m heartbroken, and also relieved at the same time. Now, we know and we don’t have to deal with “is it happening” thoughts. Ya know? Here is the latest Italian Decree. It’s not great. But guides the command on how the Italians expect the rest of us to act. It’s their country, after all. If you open it in Google Chrome, you can see the fun… You’re welcome. HAHA

But you didn’t come here for that. You came to see the new Bible Journal I was sent to review. I love it in so many ways… there is just ONE thing I wish was different, but it won’t stop me from using it. I’ll explain. First and foremost, I have literally been praying that Ignatius Press would create a journaling Bible. And when my friend Monica told me about it, I knew I wanted to review it. So thrilled to have been sent this Bible. Because I’ve already given the last one I reviewed away – even though I said I wouldn’t. I’ve loved the Ignatius Bibles since I homeschooled through Seton. And I agree with Mr. Scott Hahn, who said that the NRSV Second Catholic Edition is the most beautiful translation of the Bible. Hands down – agree!

  • WHAT I LOVE:
    • This Ignatius Note-Taking and Journaling Bible a sturdy Bible- in fact, the leather is beautiful.
    • The pages are thicker than a regular Bible and easy to work on.
    • My artwork didn’t bleed through too much, but that doesn’t bother me anyway.
    • I love the off white color of the pages.
    • The maps are great too.
    • I love the size of the Bible – its 6.25×7.25 and maybe 2 inches or so thick. I have super small hands and it’s easy to hold.
  • ONE THING I WISH WAS DIFFERENT:
    • Font Size. 7 pt font is too small for this 57 year old.
    • It’s not their fault I wear trifocals like Mr. Magoo… But that is truly my only issue.
    • Luckily I have access to a bigger version so I am clear on the verses I am working with.

This is my new favorite. In the pictures below, you will see the cover, the comparison of size/font to the last Review from Catholic Bible Press, a blank page, and a page with artwork.

When I journal, I try to plan it out beforehand, and I always try to write a note.

On this page, I used:

  • Sharpie bright yellow highlighter
  • Various gel crayons, water, and paintbrushes.
  • Tim Holtz Sunrise Stencil.
  • Various Stamps from Sweet & Sassy Stamps. One item each from three sets.
  • Gina K Amalgam Ink
  • Distress Ink

The verses I journaled are Psalm 43:3-4 –

As always, I washi-taped a plastic mat under the page I worked on, so that the Bible wouldn’t get wet. I air dried this one, and then I stamped on it, and wrote out: Let Me bring light to the world through God, who’s light and love I share with others! Meet me on the Holy Hill! Walk with me, I am NOT alone!

Dear Ones, I have to hop off to go watch the explanation of the latest decree by our Command Staff. Pray for us over here.

Love, Hugs & Blessings,
LadyEm

Catholic Faith · Catholic Mom · Davis Family · Gospel Reflection · Italy

Blog Purpose & Gospel Reflection.

Dear Ones,

If you are here reading, I implore you to stick around. I have a lot to say, about the world and life. I’m just trying to find my purpose in blogging.

When I started blogging in 2005/2006, I had one blog – a crafty blog. I was on design teams for stamp companies and paper crafted daily. Now my craft stuff sits quietly waiting for me to play (for the most part). Then, in 2006 I started a family blog to inform my husband and father, both in Iraq, on different bases, about my son and I and our lives because it was easier for them to read my blog, than it was to email or talk. When I started homeschooling, I regularly blogged about that, and also linked up with other Catholic moms. But the link ups have largely gone away and I missed them. Anyway… I changed blog names a few times and platforms too. And with all the changes in the past few years I’ve gotten myself confused about my blog purpose. I will be back. It may just all look different. I’ve merged my blogs now and I’m trying to come up with a balance and goal/purpose.

I’ll tell ya what though, for the past few years a constant has been writing Gospel Reflections for Catholicmom.com and I’m so thankful they keep inviting me back. Today, my Gospel Reflection on the Exaltation of the Cross, today’s Gospel in John 3:13-17 was published, and as I read it, I’m hopeful it will touch you. Here is the Gospel reading from the Magnificat.

Here is an excerpt of my reflection on their post:
Join us as we reflect, ponder, and pray together inspired by today’s Gospel.

Reflection by Emily Davis

Today’s Gospel: John 3:13-17 – Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross

In today’s Gospel passage, Jesus asks us to believe in something that we cannot possibly understand, except through our relationship with Him.

Shortly before I wrote this, my husband and I had the opportunity to chaperone a confirmation retreat. We live in Naples, Italy, and were at a beautiful, 1600-year-old monastery, run by the Order of Saint Brigit of Sweden. The grounds and buildings were spectacular, and the views of the Bay of Naples breathtaking. But my photographer’s eye kept landing on the cross at the end of the path. 

I could see the cross almost the entire time we were outside, and there was something comforting about knowing it was there. As I was editing my pictures, I noticed there were many of this cross, some in the distance as I was taking pictures of other things. A simple metal cross, on a large cement stand, right at the end of the intersection of the paths, before the wall that protects you from falling down a mountain. 

We are called to keep our eyes on Jesus on the cross, living in the knowledge that if we obey and him and live our lives in the ways of our Catholic faith, of the Church He founded, we will one day be reunited in Heaven. God answered so many personal prayers on this retreat, and in the weeks after. I’m rejuvenated by Our Lord’s love and the way He trusts me, in spite of my humanity, to have blind faith in Him and the lessons He teaches us by His example.

I also wanted to share with you, the cross I speak of in the text above. The old Monastery is now run by the Order of Saint Bridget. You can read more by clicking on the link attached to her name.

Thank you for reading my post. Thank you for cheering me on. I promise I’ll be back soon with some semblance of regular blogging. I am being called to write and craft again. Pray for me.

Also – please subscribe to the Gospel Reflections. So many people write them. I love the perspectives and thought-provoking posts. We are truly blessed as Catholics.

Blessed Week to All.

God is great ALL THE TIME! 
Love and Hugs,
LadyEm

Fridge or Pantry · Fridge/Menu/Pantry/Recipes · Good Cheap Eats · HomeMaker · Homemaking · Pantry Challenge · Repurposed Food (Leftovers) · Uncategorized

New Year – New Pantry Challenge

Dear Ones,

Happy First week of January 2020! Are you a good steward of your money? Sadly – I suck at finances. 2020 is my year to be on a better path to fixing it. God has really laid people in my path to help. I am hoping to memorize Bible verses about self-restraint and being a good steward. I have to focus and live better within our means. Sigh.

This is from snailpacetransformations.com

One of the ways is with the Pantry Challenge. What is a pantry challenge? Well, Jessica over at Good Cheap Eats started doing these about 2008, or so.. You can read her explanation of the Pantry Challenge, and I’ll explain how I view it/use the challenge for our home! I have been doing it for 10+ years and it just feels comfy now.

If you’re like me, you need to purge your freezer/pantry shelves after six weeks of entertaining. First of all, January’s budget is always super tight… but more than that, since my hubs and I like to entertain, and typically cook for others from before Thanksgiving to after New Years. AND, in Italy, I’ve noticed that can mean you have way more extra than you need. Seriously! Because of where we are, we have learned to buy for “just in case”… because if ya see something and don’t buy it at the commissary, you may not get it. Bottom line, we have food for weeks… and we’re about to get creative!

For me, it represents, using what I have (aka minimal $$ spent on groceries); weeds out what I don’t normally keep as pantry basics (aka holiday entertainment items, extra flour, etc.) thus leaving room on our “pantry” (shelves we bought from IKEA) so that it’s not so unorganized looking; AND it allows me creative. Additionally, it allows me to really look at EVERY item in the pantry/fridge/freezer that may have expired, etc. (y’all do not want to know the science experiment-looking things I’ve found).

I typically start my challenge after my hub’s birthday (January 5th). This year, he turned the big 6-0! We had dinner with friends and ate leftovers. Y’all we’ve been eating so much he literally asked for no cake. HA – Serious business y’all.

So Monday, I spent the whole day in the kitchen prepping bento lunch items, and looking into creative ways to use leftovers. Here is what I did:

  • Cleaned and chopped carrots, celery, cucumber, onion, bell peppers.
  • Made stuffed bell peppers with beef, Italian sausage, chopped onion, and leftover rice and tomato sauce..
  • Made egg cups with the meat mixture that did not fit into the bell peppers.
  • Made chicken salad with leftover grilled chicken, boiled eggs and veggies.

For me, the rules are as follows:

  • Take stock of what I have using the worksheets Jess provides (Free). If this is your first time, buy the eBook. It’s the best $6 you will spend – trust me.
  • Use what I have.
  • Only buy needed items. Here it’s water (you can’t drink the water, though we do have a Berkey – and we use that for cooking), dairy, produce, and paper items.
  • No restocking till February 7th. We hit it super hard for a month.
  • After Feb. 7th, plug in more meatless meals and keep folks on track with lower carbs. We have weight to lose. BLAH!

To show what I mean about creativity, I took meat out of the freezer and create dinner and a week’s worth of breakfast with it. As a side note, I’m volunteering with the USO tonight, and my guys have choices for leftovers. BONUS!

It will never be my goal to lecture you about finances or show you what an idiot I’ve been. But when I find something good to share, and a lesson learned, I will do that from time to time. I pray you learn from this old lady’s mistakes.

I hope and pray your Tuesday is blessed. Join me in the pantry challenge if you want. I’d love to hear your tips too.

Love, Hugs, & Blessings,
LadyEm

PrayerLife · PrayMoreNovenas

We Pray, He Heals…

Happy August 1st y’all. Can you believe it’s already August? In 25 days, our youngest starts his first day of Sophomore year. In two days, we will have been in Italy for two years and are having friends over to celebrate.

Today starts a month of Holiday here in Italy, and much of Europe.

Ferragosto, the Italian name for the holiday, comes from the Latin Feriae Augusti (the festivals of the Emperor Augustus) which were introduced back in 18 BC, probably to celebrate a battle victory, and were celebrated alongside other ancient Roman summer festivals.

https://www.thelocal.it/20180815/everything-you-need-to-know-about-ferragosto-assumption-august-15th-italy-national-public-holiday-

Most small shops, restaurants, etc are closed in August. And if they are NOT closed the whole month, they are definitely closed the 14-18 (roughly). This is a largely Catholic country, and while I have noticed, Catholicism seems liberal around the Naples area, where we live, everything will close on August 14-15 at least! August 15th, we Catholics celebrate the Assumption of Our Blessed Mother. It’s a Feast Day and a Day of Obligation, where we celebrate Mary’s Assuption into Heaven. We will have to go to Mass out on town, as I’m not sure the Catholic Community will have Mass on Base – Sadly. But I digress.

The purpose of the Title of this post is to draw you to The Pray More Healing Retreat, put on by Pray More Novenas. You can find them on FaceBook and their Website. I have prayed Novenas along with many thousands of people for years. If I am not mistaken, this Apostolate was started by a young couple and has grown by leaps and bounds. I don’t always communicate it well, especially given the trauma of my last few years, but they have made so much difference in my holding on to my faith. They really just don’t know. And yes, I do agree that I should tell them.

In the spirit of all they do – which is to bring people to prayer and conversation with God, they are putting on a self-paced, pay if you can, retreat called The Pray More Healing Retreat. Have you ever or do you know anyone who struggles with the enormity of the bad that has happened in life? It sounds like an Ad, and I promise I’m not getting paid, but if you answered yes, you need to join us. It’s self-paced and in the privacy of your home. It starts up on August 6th. I hope you will join us. And please contact them if you have ANY questions.

Life breaks our hearts and leaves us wounded. We are so blessed in our Catholic Faith to have the Eucharist and to have so many Saints guiding us to the Lord. Please know that when you pray in a group your prayers are so much more powerful, because when we pray for one-another, God hears our prayers many times, and each one is counted. I’m probably not saying it right. But – I know that HE HEALS!

I placed a few Bible verses that mention Healing in this post. There are so many more. But I want to draw your attention to Exodus. Y’all – in the beginning of the Bible, before Christ, God – our Father God, promised healing. We know our Healing is through Christ.

Take it from this very broken lady on the other side of the keyboard. He wants to heal you. No matter what you’ve walked through. And I would be honored to pray for you, and with you, if you ever need it – there is NO requirement to join this Retreat – FOR SURE!

I pray your August is fantastic.
Love, Hugs & Prayers,
LadyEm