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Friday, December 9, 2011

Five Minute Friday - Colour

Today I join the Gypsy Mama for 5 Minute Friday. Click on the link to join in the fun and see what others have written.

Today's prompt is the word COLOUR:


You colour my world gold, oh Father,
the richness and splendour of You, the strength of  Your arm
Your provision and protection...thank you my God.

You colour my world green...my husband, my strength
You are the sane and stable harbour I sail into from the storm, the one who walks beside me,
 my love and my life.

You colour my world blue... my first born...
So much like your mama, no parties for you, bursting with words inside, ready to pour out on paper Serious..too serious but inside a heart that's waiting for love to fill it up and make it blossom.

You colour my world red...
my second born... with your passion for life and love of people
Loud and exuberant, bursting with energy...the life of the party, your mama's right hand.

You colour my world yellow.. my third and once upon a time baby..
so introverted, your quietness hides a heart of gold, your compassion and caring for others, your love for art and animals...you are the ultimate sunshine child... you light the world with your bright star.

You colour my world orange, my last born daughter
even though your favourite colour is pink ;-)
A mixture of happy sunshine and endless energy
Everyone smiles when they see you
Joy bubbles up and spills all around you.

You colour me ... like a rainbow.. you are all my promise of better tomorrows, you show me the love that keeps me going.. that circle that comes right back to me.. I give and I take and the colours explode around me and fill me to overflowing with joy and pain, passion and love..fill me with life!


Thursday, December 8, 2011

The Immaculate Conception of Mary the Mother of God

The Annunciation by Fra Filippo Lippi c. 1450

Today the Catholic Church celebrates the feast day of the Immaculate Conception of Our Blessed Lady.

Not much is told of Mary in the bible and most of our knowledge of her comes from apostolic tradition...stories handed down through the ages. There have been, however, mystics and visionaries like the Venerable Anne Catherine Emmerich , St Bridget of Sweden, St Maria Faustina, St Elizabeth of Schoenau and Venerable Mary of Agreda who have been granted the privilege of seeing some of her life in visions.

I want to stress here that, though these women are saints of the Church,  the Holy Mother Church has not approved many of these accounts and, really, how can they be proven to be accurate.  I will here quote from the Introduction to 'The Life of Mary as seen by the Mystics' "Let them read (this book) as a religous novel but not as a fifth gospel". I would say that sums it up nicely.

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I love reading them and imagining that the graphic details recorded could be real. It is like reading a fascinating story of a famous, beloved person, knowing that, even if it is just a story, I am transported by the author's words to that place and time. Reading them have helped to develop my love and respect for Our Blessed Lady and Our Lord as they refer to details of the 'hidden life' of Jesus and Mary.

For instance, on Christmas Eve, after we attend Mass, my family and I gather around and read an account of the birth of Jesus from either the above-mentioned book or from Ven. Anne Catherine Emmerich's "The Life of Jesus Christ."  They  emphasize the humble and pitiable conditions that Our Lord suffered to come to us. It never fails to bring our hearts to the right place...of gratitude and a deep and abiding love for Him.

Today, though, I want to focus on the writings which refer to the Immaculate Conception of Our Lady. It is no secret that the Jews were longing for the coming of the Messiah. They also watched with hope and anticipation for the Virgin, the most holy vessel that prophecy foretold would bear Him.

According to the revelations found in the above mentioned books, the parents of Mary, Anne and Joachim were growing old and despairing of having a child. In those days, to be barrren was a sign of God's disfavour and they suffered cruel taunting.  They would make numerous offerings in the temple and pray for God to answer their prayers but to no avail. They trained themselves in continence and increased their charity and gifts to the poor, but eventually even the priest in the temple rebuked and insulted Joachim telling him that his offerings did not find favour with God.

For this reason St Joachim retreated with his flocks to do prayer and penance away from home. During this time St Anne, who had heard about the priest's treatment of her husband and hurt for him, also suffered the cruel taunts of her own servant girl who called her sterile and said that even her husband had abandoned her.

On this same evening, Anne went out and knelt beneath a tree praying earnestly to have Joachim return to her, for her own desire to have a child and for the coming of the Messiah. An angel appeared to her and told her to set her heart at rest for the Lord had heard her prayers. He told her that God had delayed answering them to give her much more than she was asking for. He then told her that God had chosen her to be the mother of a daughter who would give birth to the Redeemer of mankind. He told her to go to the Temple of Jerusalem and, there at the Golden Gate, she would meet Joachim.

Ven. Anne Catherine wrote many details of how she saw the couple being enveloped by holy light while separated and of anointing by an angel and that upon their meeting they embraced in holy ecstacy and were surrounded by angels and how the heavens opened and light shone done around them and at that moment the Immaculate Conception of Mary was accomplished. She wrote that she was made to understand that this is how conception would have been effected, were it not for the fall of man.

These details are too many to mention and we are warned not to get caught up in the details as God sometimes reveals different aspects in vision or revelation to different people. Please read here for an explanation of this.  What struck me though, was the account of how she was given an explanation of Mary's Immaculate Conception.  She saw that a Mystery for the restoration of fallen humanity was contained in the Ark of the Covenant. She wrote that she saw a shining vessel within Anne and could only describe it as a cradle or tabernacle which had once been closed but was now open and ready to receive a holy thing...that holy thing being  Mary  who was destined to  become the new Ark of the Covenant.

It is written that the Blessed Virgin said to St Bridget of Sweden "It is a truth that I was conceived without Original Sin and not in sin. A golden hour was my conception. My Son joined my father and my mother in a marriage of such chastity that a purer union has never been seen. Sensuality was extinguished in them. Thus my flesh was formed through divine charity."

As we continue into our season of Advent, many people are remembering the Virgin who gave birth to the Saviour. We contemplate her life and we reflect on her part in the Divine Plan for our salvation. We, Catholics, firmly believe that God created her unequal to other women and made her soul pure and free from the stain of original sin to be the pure vessel that would contain His Son.

We honour God  and give Him praise and thanks for the beautiful soul He created on this day, for the fulfillment of His promise through her. We thank Our Lady for surrendering to the will of God and thus becoming a mother to us all and the gate through which we received Jesus and Heaven.

Reflecting on the lives of the Saints of the Church inspires us to live holier lives, they encourage us when we read of their own trials and sufferings. No saint of the church ever was spared such and neither were the parents of Mary, Mary herself, or Our Saviour. May we, who read and reflect be inspired to live exemplary and holy lives that would give glory to God our Father.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Stuffed Eggplant

Today, I want to share a recipe that  my mother has been making forever and is one of our family's favourites.  This is  from a really old recipe book. Isn't it funny how some of the best stuff comes from vintage origins?

Someone else commented recently  that her favourite recipes are from a really old and battered copy of Better Homes & Gardens. I couldn't agree more.. you should see some of my recipe books! The worst one is my absolute go-to favourite, a 197? copy of  a Purity Flour cookbook that I stole borrowed from my mother a few years back and each time I return it I borrow it again. Its so tattered that I only know the recipes on some pages because I've memorised them. I've promised myself to hunt one up on Amazon so I could give it back to her (the new one of course ;)

 This recipe is from the cookbook my mother got  when she bought her first New World gas stove back in 1964 (which by the way, is still working!).

My children absolutely love eating eggplant this way (in fact for the majority, its the only way they eat it!) and I wanted to share it with you.. I'm pretty sure that, barring an allergy or an absolute hatred for eggplant, there aren't many people who wouldn't like it...all that yummy cheese and its light and fluffy, almost like a souffle. That's from the gentle folding in the of the egg whites at the end.


2 large eggplants
2 tbs butter or margarine
2 Tbs flour
1 cup milk
11/2 cups grated cheese
1 1/2 cups breadcrumbs
1 Tbs grated onion
1 Tbs ketchup
2 eggs, separated
salt, pepper 

Wash eggplant and cut lengthwise. Score around edges with a knife and make crosswise cuts then scoop out with a spoon, leaving shells intact. Cook pulp until tender in a small amount of water. You can add a little salt to the water (I omit this since we cut back on our sodium intake) Mash and drain pulp.

Melt butter and blend in flour, gradually add in milk, stirring constantly on a med-low fire. Add eggplant, cheese, onion,  breadcrumbs, ketchup and egg yolks. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Beat egg whites until stiff and gently fold into mixture. As mentioned before, this makes the eggplant puff up nice and light.

 Fill shells and bake at 350 F for about 1 hour. Oven times may vary, check by inserting toothpick, which should come out relatively clean. It should be nice and golden brown. Sorry I don't have any pics to show you.

BON APETIT!    Don't forget to let me know how you liked this one.

Reposted  to link up with:


Five Minute Friday - Tired

Today after reading  Lisa Jo's (The Gypsy Mama) post for Five Minute Friday, I couldn't help but agree with her opening paragraph. To quote her, this week "... just hiked up its skirt and belted outta there...". Since I also agree with her sentiment about not finding five minutes to write and being thankful for it being Five Minute Friday, I decided to participate this week. Its a topic that seems to be everyone's experience this time of year. Be sure to click on the link provided to check out  the rest of her very inspiring post and those of others.

Today's prompt is the word TIRED

Tired... so tired of the endless round of chores that never seem to get done. The more I do, the more there is to do. I feel that I don't have the strength for this job sometimes.

I'm so tired of this feeling of not being good enough. I look around and everyone else has their act together.. why not me? Why can't I be organised and efficient and look beautiful and put together?

I'm tired of the relentless beck and call of duty and ALWAYS putting the other first...so very tired of being overwhelmed, fatigued and a busyness that almost seems fruitless.

Yet, Lord your Word tells me that my strength is in you. Phil 4:13 "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me".

Your Word tells me that I am WORTHY, that you love me... just the way I am.  John 3:16 "For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life".

Your Word tells me that I shall overcome and I can give to others because you live in me. 1 John 4:4 "Greater is he that is in you than he that is in the world".

And Your Word tells me that you are with me always.. through every heartache, every trial, through my tiredness and discouragement, through loneliness and days when I feel abandoned. I am not abandoned by You. Isaiah 40:15 "Can a mother forget the baby at her breast, have no compassion for the child she has borne? Even if these were to forget, I shall not forget you".


Ok so I cheated a little... but I had to include the video above, because this beautiful song I've sung in church since a child,  sums up so well the very reason for this season.. God's awesome love for us. Let's not get so busy, tired and overwhelmed that we forget why He came in the first place.

Have a wonderful and blessed weekend and may God's grace be with you as we all prepare our hearts for His coming.