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Monday, December 31, 2012

threshold of hope

(image:  kids in Calcutta)

An old year is ending. We can't help but reflect over it and what it held for us, and how it affected us. Perhaps you lost someone achingly dear. Perhaps you held your child for the first time. Maybe you are happy professionally, or maybe not. Maybe you are in the midst of figuring things out..

But life is beautiful. No matter our circumstances, we have the power to chose who we will be in the end. So many have given us excellent examples of the human spirit. As long as there is life, there is hope.

So cheers, my friends, to the hope of a New Year!

Sunday, December 30, 2012

what's for dinner?

I am cooking dinner, smelling the red wine mingling with the ham and tomato paste and seeing the chunks of carrots and a feeling of satisfaction comes over me. I love Coq Au Vin ( I use the Cooking Light recipe) for the taste and hearty flavors and textures, but also for the way it looks. I am a chunky food girl. I think we all have our preferences for what we like to cook and eat. I am a baker by nature, so getting excited and finding time to cook things I like doesn't come as naturally for me.

Among other things, a good meal satisfies the soul. This kind of meal makes me feel like I'm here:

Thursday, December 27, 2012



Charm. We know it when we see it. And it's not something false or fake. Otherwise, we wouldn't call it that or be drawn to it. Charm draws us in and keeps us there.

I think so many of us would like our homes to be charming. At least, I do! Too fancy, and you loose something. The same goes for entertaining, for friendship, and for conversations.

                            ( photos snapped in the grocery isle, maybe from house and home? )

This last picture is perfection as far as a charming kitchen goes. The chair placement is perfect for a tete et tete or for the kids to chill while someone is cooking. I could see myself never wanting to leave those chairs, sipping coffee and reading or writing. They invite you to spend time comfortably in the heart of the home. I love that little fur bench throw, too. If there is a built in bookshelf behind the two armchairs, I am moving in! There is a reason why Audrey's fashion style never died and keeps getting honored. It is timeless. I hope you are having fun striking that balance in your life!

Have a wonderful day, friends!

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

let it be done

These words spoken by Mary to the angle Gabriel brought Jesus into our world as one of us. These  words usher in our salvation and give us much to ponder in the days following Chrismas. They are nothing short of abandoning her whole life and plans to God. And look at the outcome!

Do we trust in that same way? When we fully give ourselves to our present reality, our lives will be fully fruitful! What an excellent idea!

Have a wonderful day! 

Sunday, December 23, 2012


There are so many ideas filling my mind this morning. What to share? What to hold back? I hope you aren't tired of it all. Yes, we go through phases of that because it is HARD WORK! (Mom, you always made it look so relaxing!) On top of that, I have been sick, and nursing sick children. You too I am sure. My house is a disaster because of it. You too? :) I'm so very glad to have a day to do the best of things: listen to Classical Christmas music on pandora, bake cookies, have a present wrapping date with my husband tonight with wine! It reminds me of the song, People Look East one of my favorite Advent ( season before Christmas) songs. Yes, I prefer Classical music still, although I am in good company because I also love Feliz Navidad, a local favorite. :) I've been looking at house tours for Christmas and like to find people whose style I admire and see what they do. So, why not share some of mine? Luckily, close-ups don't show the toys I've moved aside. haha!

This is a wonderfully cool wooden puzzle and if you look closely, some of the pieces are carved into little figures like reindeer, a toy soldier and santa's sleigh.

My tweaked mantle. Wish me luck because we are doing the Nativity play at our friends' house for Christmas Eve with Carols intertwined and I have some practicing to do! :)

And lastly, a place to have sugar plums dance in my head.

But, the along with the mirth, I've been thinking of a present decorating trend. Words. Haven't you seen  more meaningful words framed, on pillows, for the home? St. John, the youngest Apostle, the one whom Jesus loved, writes, In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came to be through him... What came to be through him was life, and this life was the light of the human race ( Jn 1:1-4). So on Christmas, we will celebrate this everlasting Word, the first and last Word, the Alpha and the Omega, the definitive Word, the only one with meaning and truth in its completeness that illumines our minds and inflames our hearts. As we draw nearer to words that help to give meaning to our lives, we draw nearer to the Word, who became flesh, and dwelt among us ( Angelus, traditional Noontime Catholic prayer). What will the Word say to each of us on Christmas. Let's take time to listen.

Have a wonderful day and Merry Christmas friends!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

tale of two cities

Washington DC Capital Christmas


Beautiful, isn't it? I grew up with this pristine feeling of Christmas. For some reason, the buildings on The Mall of DC play so prominently in the experience. It is serious. It is stately. It is magnificent. But it has been two years since we will have spent Christmas there. 


It is absolutely different here. It is clean, simple, free, and wistful. I am so glad to soak up the feelings of both. They each have something to say, enriching the spirit of Christmas.

Hope you're hanging in there! 

Monday, December 17, 2012


I feel remiss at not having talked about the shootings on Friday. I am not really sure of what to say, nor do I have an answer I am confident in. I think we can all recognize that this is a trend in our country. We need to bravely recognize there is a sickness in our nation, in our culture, that is worth exploring. Love starts in the home, extends to all in our immediate community, and to the world. How are we doing in each of these areas? Let's get moving, with the help of the Christ Child.

Heartfelt prayers are accompanying those families.

needing rest

                                  ( image:

We are tired, am I right? My whole self was needing some major rest this past weekend, and even when I heard about the pasados party ( it is a traditional latin ( not the language, the culture;) Christmas song sung by 2 groups, one representing Joseph and Mary with child and one the innkeeper saying there is no room, go away), I didn't want to go. I just wasn't in the mood. In fact, I was thinking of how I was going to make the most of the craziness of this week with one last trip to the store for gifts, school plays and parties, and that I would write about it. But, off we went.

We sang some carols, both in Spanish and English, had some amazing food, including something wrapped in corn husk ( native to the Mayans (?) from Mexico) and tostadas. Masses of kids were running down hills and swinging a rickety rope swing over the lake as we watched the sun set. It reminded me of my childhood and the reckless abandon you feel when you are surrounded by a ton of kids you don't know but you're all having the time of your life. A priest friend did the honors of getting the kids to smash not one, not two, but three pinatas, fitting for the exuberance of Christmas!

I have a simple menu for the week based on the food served at the party. I'll take a picture of the ingredients for another post this week in case you feel inspired by Mexican cuisine that is SUPER easy.

I left the party last night no longer needing rest. It had found me.

Have a marvelous day! Here is one of my new favorite carols I heard for the first time yesterday. It is phenomenal! el burrito sabanero

Wednesday, December 12, 2012


Today is December 12th, or, the day that we celebrate Our Lady of Guadalupe, a pregnant Mary. It is a relevant feast to commemorate, no? It is a special day for me because it marks the 5th year of my treatment for cancer, a powerful dose of nuclear radiation given once. At the time I had two small children and placed myself under Mary's care. She took great care!

And this reminds me of all of the women I have seen pregnant lately. What is pregnancy after all? It's an intimate connection between two people, a pure gift on the part of one and ultimate reliance on the part of the other. It is a time of unhindered growth, of unhindered protection. It is the beginning of the passing on of what life is all about from one to another. The passing of traits and characteristics, but also of values and ideals. 

What a beautiful day to think of Mary carrying Jesus like the rest carry our children.

Have a wonderful day.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

christmas in seattle

Christmas isn't always cold and possibly snowy. It can be strange to shift gears when you grow up in that environment. Just like if you grow up going to the beach on Christmas and no longer live near it, it would feel different. In Miami, I don't want to create the feeling of being cozy by a fire because, well, it was around 75 degrees yesterday. So less is definitely more, here. And what if you live in a rainy place? Something needs to brighten the gloom. There's something we all crave about light... ahem.. the meaning of Christmas... the light came into the world... brilliant. This one is for my Latin friend in Seattle!

(       (Relaxing during a rainy Christmas season -- cat kitten rain pet kitty chat animal gato feline water drops droplets

Sweet Home Christmas Baubles - Christmas Wallpapers -  Little Rain shoes Christmas Gift Photo Wallpaper 19

Indonesia Christmas Pictures & Photos

The photos are from these sites, in order:,,,,

Have a wonderful day, friends!

Friday, December 7, 2012


I have two stories to share this morning. They concern my dear friends, Elena and Jenny. Here are their stories.

Elena gave birth to a son one year ago who literally has no muscles and is thus, very sick. She and her husband had to fight for proper treatment, treatment worthy of a human being. They did, they have, and they are enjoying the gift he is to their family and friends. Loving him is not especially easy, but love doesn't count the cost.

Jenny has a baby in her womb who also is very sick with a bleak prognosis. She is joyfully carrying him until it is time to give birth, and although they do not know what the future holds, she and her husband feel blessed.

I share these stories because these women and their families are beacons of hope in a world that measures people's worth so calculatingly. And I don't mean hope just for those who need it the most, but hope for all of us. Don't we all want to be loved so unconditionally? Wouldn't we be frightened to the core if we saw that no one loved without counting the cost? After all, no one is perfect.

This reminds me of a song by Whitney, rest in peace!, my love is your love.

Have a wonderful day, friends!

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

anna in the spotlight


You know I must. I can't let the release of Anna Karenina starring Keira Knightly go ignored because it is one of my all-time favorite novels. An interesting note is that once philosophy stopped being based on reality with the coming of the modern philosophers ( think "I think therefore I am"; that is, I only know I exist because of my ability to think. The problem? All of reality is then created by each individual, not reality studied by the individual so as to understand it and how one fits in.), the true philosophers turned to writing novels to explore reality. So we get great novelists like Tolstoy and Walker Percy (who I must admit is not one of my favorites. My husband loves him!). The digression is owed to a conversation between my husband and I a little while ago- so smart that man;)!

Why did I digress my friends? Because I think it is so vital to understand Tolstoy and what he is doing in Anna Karenina because otherwise, we get it so very wrong. Everyone thinks it is the ultimate love story. And yes, there is an element of attraction and passion between a man and a woman, written in the simplest and tasteful way possible, I might add. He doesn't want to distract us from the focus.

Anna is a woman torn by her upbringing and her lack of a fulfilling and mutually loving marriage. Going with a modernist approach, one would think she would find happiness once she is adored and starts over with her young officer, Vronsky. After all, she is creating her reality anew. But the reality is that she can't start over. She misses her son and she finds she cannot function as a mistress. They get tired of each other as unmarried lovers, and she looses all sense of self. 

Is that the ultimate love story, friends? Is that what we all long for? Or is it rather the kind of real and forgiving love between Kitty and Levin? These characters are directly juxtaposed to Anna and Vronsky.

I haven't seen the movie and will wait until it comes out on video. Another digression, but I have so many today I might as well add this one. It is necessary to filter what we see, even as adults. I am not a Peeping Tom, and watching this movie unfiltered would sure make me feel like one. And what happens to Peeping Toms? Do we find them fulfilled and psychologically sound...? It is time to reconsider what is normal in movie-going these days, my friends!

Lots of digressions today! My recommendations is to read the book, at least 2 or 3 times. Tolstoy's mind has so much more to offer than what meets the eye.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

as you like it

I love this arrangement for Christmas. I snapped a shot of it while I was standing in the grocery isle and think it came from House and Home. There are dark purple flowers or fruit of some sort in it as well. It isn't typical for a Christmas arrangement, but I like it, tweaking it a bit here and there. It is freeing and more relaxing to go with what I like and what will be festive for us for decorations! Here is my "mantle."

Enjoy what you are about this month! It is a beautiful time to reflect and await the coming of the Lord!

Have a wonderful day, friends!