Thursday, August 25, 2016

pushed to the edge...



One of the biggest life lessons I have learned is that when God pushes the limits of my comfort zone He is getting ready to talk me into leaping off a cliff with him.

Y'all I am not a thrill seeker in life. I don't ride roller coasters or jump out of perfectly good airplanes. I do enjoy a good surprise from time to time but in general, NOT looking to leap without knowing where I will land.

Well the Lord has recently answered a few long standing prayer requests and ALL of the answers, every.single.one. involve leaping without knowing what is coming. He is asking me to trust him in a HUGE way with my future.

There are so many thing to share with you guys!! So much has happened in the last two week, but I need you to be patient for a few more days. If you would do me the honor of holding me and my family in prayer until then, I will be back on Monday with some fabulous news that I think you will be excited about.

Y'all are just the best!!

See you Monday!!

Monday, August 15, 2016

in the kitchen ~ mom's cold tuna salad...



I have eaten this salad as long as I can remember. Growing up in a family of ten, my Mom was always looking for ways to feed a crowd on the cheap. The most expensive part of this recipe back n the day was the Miracle Whip. Now I think the tuna's price point is higher.

Mom would whip this up on the hottest of summer days and it was a staple at any potluck that we attended. There were never any leftovers. 

This salad comes together in about 15 minutes. You can add chopped red pepper, celery or bread and butter pickles if you'd like to change up the flavor profile. Be adventurous and make this recipe your own. 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Mom's Cold Tuna Salad
recipe by Marianne Green, my Mom

Ingredients:
1 pound box elbow macaroni
1 bag frozen peas and carrots (thawed)
4 cans white albacore tuna, packed in water, drained

Dressing:
2 cups Miracle Whip
1 teaspoon celery seeds
2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
salt and peper to taste
(chopped celery and red pepper optional)

Bring a pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add macaroni, and cook for 8 to 10 minutes, until tender. Drain, and set aside to cool.

In a small bowl, stir together the salad dressing, apple cider vinegar, salt, pepper and celery seed. 

Pour over the the macaroni, add in bag of peas and carrots and stir until well blended. Remember to check your seasonings and make adjustments according to taste. More or less vinegar. More or less salt and pepper.  Cover and chill for at least 1 hour before serving.

Sunday, August 7, 2016

my sunday best ~ vol. 13, 14 and 15...


It's been a few weeks since I have chimed in for a fashion post. The weather is hot and very humid these days in NoVirginia. It must be August. 

For those who have been following me on the gram, you know I made a poor life chose last week in regards to my hair. Not only did I get it cut waaaayyyy too short but I strayed from my natural auburn color (with highlights of course) and went too dark. My new call sign - Vampire Mistress of the Dark. It;s been a huge lesson in impulse control and vanity. Thankfully, I will get the color fixed on Thursday. I cannot wait. 

This weekend I wore a blouse form eshakti with a long gold pencil skirt and navy heels. The only photo I have was taken in my office and I look horrid. Two blemishes on my face, the hair from hell and I only got about three hour sleep (darn Olympics). 

Rough. Really Rough. 

Moving on...

I have begun to wear white once more. When my sweet Courtney was alive, I would not dare. One sneeze while eating her favorite spinach soufflĂ© and stain removal became an olympic challenge. The color is slowly making it's way back into my closet. 



As y'all know, blue is my favorite color. I love any shade. It plays a prominent part in my wardrobe. This dress from eshakti has beautiful embroidery in shades of blue which pops off the crips white cotton. It has a four inch elastic waist that really helps me look slimmer. It cinch's me at the smallest part of my waist and then gently floats off my largest part. It's light, feminine and quite comfortable. We will ignore the lovely zits my non made up face. Always keeping real here my friends. 



Next up we have another dress in shades of blue. This one reminds me of water. I bought it at DressBarn two years ago I think. Again it's got that empire waist that is my go-to in the figure flattery department and then a gentle float away from the pufferfish belly. It's also wash and wear which for this working gal is key for ease of wear and care. 

I have truly embraced the sleeveless bodice this summer. I have never been comfortable with my east german swimmers arms but I am finally at a certain age that I know this is how it's going to be. So embrace it I shall and sweat I shall not. 



Next up is an outfit I wore to work this week. I love this longer sleeveless tunic. Vertical stripes are a plus size woman friend. The white slacks are just a dream to wear. They are a slim fit and so comfortable. I never thought I would wear white slacks and actually like them but I really do. Both pieces are the house brand from Nordstroms. Their twice yearly sale makes a clothes purchase of higher quality garments possible for me. 

There you have it my friends. I can't wait for Thursday so I can fix the great hair debacle of 2016. The lesson from this is when feeling a great need for change, call your best friend or your husband to chat about said change before entering the Vampire darkness of a horrid impulse move that will make you cry. 



Head on over to Rosie's a blog for my mom to check out some other fabulous women sharing their summer fashion choices. 

Have a great Sunday Y'all, 

Friday, August 5, 2016

28 years...





Greetings Blog Readers!

Saturday my lamby-pie and I celebrate 28 years of married bliss. Ok, maybe not ALL 28 were bliss. There were some days of “Holy crap what did I do?” and “Who the heck are you and what have you done with my sweet adoring life companion?” but for the most part we consider ourselves fortunate to have made it through the last 28 years still in love and with most of our marbles in one bag.

With that in mind, I thought I would inspire everyone with the wisdom gained from 28 years of married life. PAY attention men especially, as we used to say in the Navy, everything in a Navy flight manunal (we called them NATOPS) is written in blood, especially NOTES, WARNINGS, CAUTIONS.


In that spirit, here we go:

Notes: These are the little things that you should know

We shall start with the easy things. 

Men are always responsible for the position of the toilet seat. This is a mystery to me. Someone invented a hinged toilet seat for a purpose, you put it up if you’re a guy, you put it down if you’re not. Seems pretty straightforward to me.

However, this moves into a CAUTION status (where you could have severe aircraft damage or serious injury) if say, early in your marriage you left the seat up (or are accused of such) and your new bride has to use the bathroom at 3 am and say, sits down and experiences cold, cold water.


AND you could move into WARNING status (loss of life or an aircraft) if said wife shrieks at you that her butt is wet and cold and you roll on the floor laughing at her predicament. Not of course that this happened to a young Ensign in flight school or anything. Yup, not that it was stinkin’ hilarious. Not at all.

Ok, another NOTE

Somehow, men are expected in a marriage to perform three basic household tasks day or night, in all weather and flight conditions.



1) Smash large bugs. It is amazing to me that after 50 years of feminism, we still have to smash the huge hairy crawly things. Not that we mind, it is in our nature to hunt big game, but seriously honey, the spider the size of your finger-nail will not gnaw your leg off.

2) Open jars. This isn’t really a big deal, again, it’s an engineering thing, so we don’t mind doing it.

3) Take out the trash. I guess this goes back to removing the Wooly Mammoth carcass from the cave, but fine, whatever we can do that.

SO, I propose, based on my experience, that women should have three basic household chores to perform day or night:


1 ) Replace the stinkin’ toilet paper. 
Seriously, women use toilet paper twice as much as men, but somehow it’s our fault if the roll is empty? How does this work? I mean I always check toilet paper as a pre-flght rule, but somehow, my lamby-pie doesn’t and that’s my fault.

2) Remember ALL the family birthdays. 
Ok, this is a no-brainer. Men can reasonably be expected to remember that all those little people running around his house are his children and probably remember their names and well, shoot, their birthdays, BUT all the nieces, nephews, aunts, uncles, cousins., OYYYYY.. I have like 18 nieces and nephews (wife says 20) and there is no way I can remember all their birthdays…not even gonna try. Oh, and the wife should remember the parent’s anniversaries too, to avoid awkward phone calls.



3 ) This actually wonders into CAUTION territory sometimes, when it comes to date night, it’s ok to choose where to go to dinner. I mean after 28 years of marriage and 30 years of being together we still are like Laurel and Hardy (HA, if you don’t know who they are, you’re clearly not mature enough yet) “Where do you wanna eat?” “I don’t know where do you want to eat?” NOW, I have learned after 28 years to never go into WARNING territory and let my wife pick the movie as she tends to like sappy, emotionally laden movies where someone DIES tragically. So, I usually pick the movie and we do our schtick until we decided on the place we both really wanted to go to in the first place, but we’re being nice and letting our spouse come around to our point of view. Marriage Psycology 101….or as I like to say PSYOPS.

Now some real WARNINGS...

MEN, this is key…never, ever do this….TALK TO YOUR WIFE ABOUT HER BAD HAIR DAY. It’s like that movie Fight Club:

The first rule of Bad Hair Day is: you do not talk about Bad Hair Day. The second rule of Bad Hair Day is: you DO NOT talk about Bad Hair Day! Third rule of Bad Hair Day: if someone yells “stop!”, goes limp, or taps out, Bad Hair Day is over. Fourth rule: only one woman in the house can have a bad hair day on any given day.


DON’T mess this up men, women become strange flame spewing she dragons when you ask (or don’t ask) “Honey did you get your hair done?” This may also work in reverse if your sweety is having a GOOD hair day and you don’t compliment her on this. Basically men, it’s sort of a Kobiyahsi Maru scenario…you can’t win. Seriously, after 28 years of marriage, I’m happy to have one, yes (1), 1, uno, lone hair on my head.

Another important WARNING. Never ever, listen to your sweetie when she says, “Ok, if that’s what you want to do, then go ahead.” This is usually a clever trap where she knows you want to do something expensive, ill-advised, or something involving fireworks, so be very careful, after all, she will be the person who calls the paramedics….or not.

Finally, and on a good NOTE. Always be appreciative for your spouse. Our best line, which we always used in marriage mentoring is “Well, at a certain point, you know you married the right person, because they are the only one who can put up with your craziness. (Yea I toned that down a bit). Now this may seem a bit crass (especially the original sailor version) but in a way it is true.

Love is knowing everything about your spouse, the good, bad, and ugly, and loving them everyday anyway. Knowing they always have your six (have your back for you civilians) and that they will love you no matter what.


My lamby-pie have literally been through hell together and these last couple weeks have been PAINFUL, but we hang in there.

We are a team, now and always.

1986 - The Beginning...
I love you lamby-pie.

OH, AND I do want it publicly known that I made actual dinner reservations for our anniversary to avoid the Laurel and Hardy routine. SCORE!

Today- 2016 - She's still cute, a keeper for sure. Happy Anniversary Babe!


Monday, August 1, 2016

freedom...it's what God wants for ALL of us...



Freedom. 


Freedom from shame. 

Freedom from guilt. 

Freedom from past mistakes and sin. 

Sounds awesome doesn't it? 

You know it's possible, right? You know that God loves you more than your sin and your shame, right? You know that the war has already been won and the gates of hell shall not prevail, right? 

You know that Jesus died on the Cross for you and for me, then He rose three days later and opened the gates of heaven for all who know and love him, right?

You see, I ask these questions of you as I ask them of myself every single day. 

I spent much of my adult life weighed down in shame and un-forgiveness, of myself and others. I have had to learn how to "let go and let God". 

Recently during confession, I was walking through some intense shame and self-loathing I felt for mistakes I had made long ago that I was still carrying around. As Father guided me through this maze of pain, he helped me pray my way through asking God for forgiveness and thereby helping me to forgive those whom had hurt me. 

That day, I was struggling with the very idea that God died for ME, this wretched sinner who didn't deserve such an act of love. At one point I was asking my sweet Courtney for forgiveness over my perceived inadequacies of my mothering and caring for her. I desperately needed her to know I had tried my best even if I had failed along the way. I needed her forgiveness. 

I closed my eyes for a moment and for the first time since her death I saw my daughter clearly as if she was literally standing right in front of me. She simply put her hands on my cheeks, as I had done to her so often, looked into my eyes with her crystal clear blue ones and told me "I love you Mama. I love you always and forever." Words I had said to her every single day of her life.

I knew that God had sent her to me in that moment so that I would no longer be weighed down by worry or fear. Father shared with me later that in that moment he saw Our Lady leaning down and handing me a rose, to offer her complete understanding and love from one grieving mother to another.

In that moment, I felt a weight lift off of me. I mean I actually felt physically lighter. This was a first for me and it was way uncomfortable. After all, for the first time in a long time I was free. Truly free. 

This was not my typical confession experience. I had carried some things for so long I had actually grown afraid of laying them down because I didn't know how it felt to not have them with me all the time. 

Crazy right? I was more willing to carry that sin and shame than to lay it down at the Cross and ask forgiveness because I was afraid of how my world would be changed. That's just nuts and yet...I know I am not alone. 

God absolved me from my sin that day and many times since. He sent my daughter to me to make sure I really heard Him. He loved me enough to send His son to hang on a Cross, so the I might have life.

This freedom...I want it for you too.  





The weekend of August 19-20 I will be in Portland, Oregon to speak at the Catholic Women Rejoice Conference. The theme of the conference this year "Rejoice and be Free". My dear friend Heather Renshaw started this conference five years ago and each year to has grown and so many women have been blessed by it. 

This year will be no different. 

My sweet friend Hallie Lord will be joining me sharing the keynote duties. She will be speaking about fear and how to move beyond it. Jenna Guizar, the founder and creative director of Blessed is She will be sharing as well along with the indomitable Rebecca Frech  and Heather herself. Mass will be said by Bishop Sample. It promises to be an amazing conference and I pray you are able to join us. 

What will I be speaking about? 

Fortitude and perseverance through all the muck and mire that life throws at you. I will be concentrating on four words...Thy Will Be Done. These are the four words that freed me from bondage and pain and allowed me to love my special needs daughter Courtney for twenty-two years before God called her home. They are the words I cling to now when I am confused and uncertain of where God wants me to go or what He needs me to do. 

I know that God has great things in store for this conference  and those attending it because everything that could go wrong has. It's the devil trying to distract us from this incredibly important message that ALL women need to hear. 

Rejoice and be Free!! 

Thy Will Be Done!!

Guess what, this girl will not be shaken, or distracted or thrown aside. I will not give up or give in to discouragement or fear. If you can make it, click here and see what a special deal I worked out for my readers. This special pricing is only good until August 15 so go get those tickets. 

Rejoice and be Free!!

Thy Will Be Done!!

Join me in Portland won't you? I'd love to see you there. 


PS. If you are a crafter, writer, artist, small business owner or have an etsy shop and you would like to donate a door prize or purchase a business card ad in the program for some extra publicity among your Catholic peeps, PLEASE email me at mary_romance@cox.net and I will hook you up. I will also give you a personal shout out at the conference. Share your talents my friends. It's why God gave them to you. 

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

when the world goes crazy...fight back...


Is it just me, or has the world gone batshit crazy overnight. Pardon my language y'all but seriously the news these days is just cray cray insane. I don't even recognize my country anymore. Murder, mayhem, chaos and disorder are the new norm. I don't watch the news anymore and recently stopped reading the newspaper (on-line version) because I was getting seriously stressed out by all the really bad news.

I know, you probably think that's the wimps way out. I can hear my husband now "You can't just put your head in the sand Mary. You just have to learn to not let it affect you."

When Courtney was alive my life revolved around her daily care. I didn't have time or energy to invest in anything but keeping those details straight as well as being a mother to Jonathan and a wife to Jerry. Then she died and I went into a deep, dark hole for six months and slowly crawled my way out of it. I started a new job and began participating in the world again.

These days I'm thinking that deep dark hole I was in was pretty darn nice. Mind you, I am no wimp. Strong and sassy is my game but lately I just can't take it all in. Our world is so injured and there seems to be an abundance of hate and intolerance being broadcast daily to a town near you. Last week my heart broke again with another attack overseas combined with more shootings here at home, added to the current political climate and even closer to home there is strife in the life of friends and family.

I scarce can take it in. I felt the familiar pull of hopelessness that I had fought every moment of everyday when my sweet daughter was with me and suffering so with seizure after seizure, day after day. It actually took me by surprise. I thought I was done with that battle. Courtney is in heaven having completed her job here on earth with so much courage and love. What could possibly be as bad as that?

Hate.

Hate plus indoctrination.

Hate plus selfishness.

Hate plus lack of faith in the One True God.

Hate plus the breakdown of the family.

I reached a point I just couldn't take it anymore, so I turned it off and took along deep breath.

So much better. At least for a few days. Then I started to feel like a quitter and a wimp. I could hear my dad's voice in my head "Get back in the fight Mar. Use all the weapons you've got to fight the hate."

All the weapons you've got...

My first thought was of Our Lady of Fatima and the rosary. When the Blessed Mother appeared to three children in Portugal in 1917, the world was at war and people felt hopeless. There was chaos everywhere you looked. I sort of feel the same way today.

When Our Lady appeared she said "I am the lady of the Rosary." and encouraged the three children to pray the rosary daily. When she appeared again she encouraged the three children saying that if they prayed the rosary that  “My Immaculate Heart will triumph”


Pope Benedict XVI, when he was Cardinal Ratzinger, explains it this way “The Heart open to God, purified by contemplation of God, is stronger than guns and weapons of every kind. The fiat of Mary, the word of her heart, has changed the history of the world, because it brought the Saviour into the world—because, thanks to her Yes, God could become man in our world and remains so for all time. The Evil One has power in this world, as we see and experience continually; he has power because our freedom continually lets itself be led away from God. But since God himself took a human heart and has thus steered human freedom towards what is good, the freedom to choose evil no longer has the last word. From that time forth, the word that prevails is this: “In the world you will have tribulation, but take heart; I have overcome the world” (Jn 16:33). 

The message of Fatima invites us to trust in this promise. Again Pope Benedict XVI states “the exhortation to prayer as the path of “salvation for souls” and, likewise, the summons to penance and conversion.”

So how does this strong and sassy lady plan to take on the anxiety and uneasiness of living in today's world?

This chick is going seriously old school baby. 1917 old school. It's time to pound those beads one decade of the time. Our Lady said her Immaculate Heart will triumph and I am her newest daily warrior in that war. No more anxiety or panic. No more useless anger and shouting at the TV.

Just.No.More.

Instead this Mary got peace, hope and decades of love.

Care to join me?

Let's get our prayer on shall we?

Monday, July 18, 2016

monday - a love letter...


oh monday, how do I love thee, let me count the ways...

caffeine strong and bountiful

over ice is preferred in the heat and the haze

the heat and humidity turn my hair to frizzle frazzle 

making me unable to dazzle

dieting is difficult with the push and pull of ice cream galore

all my belly says is bring me more, more, more...

the phone calls begin bright and early

as Jesus has called home the delicate and the burly

planning liturgy after liturgy takes all my focus


by mid-morning I seek quite in the church 

breathing deeply while staring at Our Lady's vase of fading crocus. 

with a calmer spirit I finish the holy chore 

three funerals this week and next week maybe more

oh monday, I have survived thee, let me count the ways


with sangria and greek food providing leftovers for days

now on to Tuesday...

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