Saturday, April 28, 2012

St. Gianna Beretta Molla

Today is the feast day of Saint Gianna Beretta Molla, a saint, very near and dear to my heart.

I am assuming that you know who Saint Gianna is. In case you have never heard of her, I will tell you that this wonderful woman was a mother, wife and doctor who was very devoted to Jesus. At the age of 15, made a resolution and wrote in her journal saying, "I make note of doing all for Jesus. I offer him all my work, all my disappointments and sufferings. I promise You, Jesus to submit myself to all that You permit to happen to me. Let me only know Your will."

She later asked and prayed for direction in her studies. She asked Jesus how she should best serve Him. She studied very hard and became a doctor. She also prayed to Jesus for a good husband, if that is His will. He sent her Pietro Molla and they were married on September 24, 1955. They had three children and two others were miscarried. In September of 1961, while two months pregnant, a benign uterine tumor was found. She had the option of aborting the child. For her, this was not an option. If there was a chance that her child could be saved, she would do what it takes to save the child.

The doctors removed the tumor and she gave birth to Gianna Emanuella on Holy Saturday, April 21, 1961.  Days before the child was due, Gianna told her husband, "If you must decide between me and the child, do not hesitate: choose the child. I insist on it. Save the baby." Saint Gianna died on the morning of April 28th at the age of 39 years. While laying dying, Gianna repeatedly said, "Jesus, I love You! Jesus, I love You!"

In November of last year, I had an opportuntiy to hear a talk on Saint Gianna and touch her relics. At the time, I blogged about whether or not I should go. The presentation took place during bedtime and we ususally don't interrupt bedtime, if we can help it. If you have little ones, you know why. By the grace of God, we found a solution, I would attend with the two oldest and my husband would take the two little fidgety, wild and crazy ones to the library, come back an hour later and pick us up.

At the time, we were still mourning the loss of our last miscarriage. We miscarried in September, at home. I went to the hospital on the advice of our midwives hours later because the bleeding was still very heavy and showed no signs of stopping. The OB/GYN at the hospital told me very frankly that if we were to conceive again, there would be a 50/50 chance of us miscarrying again. My husband and I dreamt of a large family and felt a very heavy burden. Our of the seven times we conceived, we had four children on earth and three in heaven. We wondered how we could be open to life. We were afraid to conceive again. Honestly, scared.

On November 30th, we went to the presentation at our parish. We held Saint Gianna's relics in our hands. We received prayer cards and I personally prayed for her intercession. I prayed that I would be open to life. I also prayed for strength and courage. I prayed to conceive again. Little did I know, that I was already carrying a little one under my heart.

When Sascha came to pick Noah, Maria and I up, he was frustrated and overwhelmed by the two little ones. The line up to touch Saint Gianna's relics (gloves) was very long, but on the side of altar, by the ambo was a chasuble. This chasuble was made out of Saint Gianna's wedding gown, in the hopes that she would have a son who would become a priest. It too was a relic. There was no line up to touch this particular relic, so I insisted that the little boys and Sascha come and touch it and that we would pray together there. So we all did.

During the car ride home, I asked Sascha if he had experienced anything out of the ordinary while touching the chasuble. I was curious because of the stories we had heard during the presentation. There were stories of healing and extraordinary experiences while touching Saint Gianna's relics. We hadn't told him any stories yet, when he told me that his whole body became very hot. Saint Gianna had touched him, oh my goodness! I was freaking out inside. Really?!? I never felt anything. It was just like one of the stories we had just heard.

That night something in us changed. Peace came. I believe it is through the intercession of Saint Gianna, as well as Saint Gerard of Majella that we are now with child. I know that Saint Gianna interceded for me that night and continues to intercede for me throughout this pregancy.

Early in the pregnancy, I began spotting and bleeding. An ultrasound revealed that I had an ovarian cyst. It burst, thus causing pain and bleeding. Again I asked our Blessed Mother, Saint Gerard and Saint Gianna for their intercession.

Last evening, I watched "Love is a Choice" on EWTN, a film on the life of Saint Gianna. I balled. Hormones or not, the movie really touched me. Every mother should watch the documentary. I wanted to share with you the movie, but this is the best I could do. The documentary by Salt & Light Productions is longer than this, but the following excerpt was part of it. Please watch it and see why I love Saint Gianna so much.


While looking for the above mentioned video, I stumbled upon the following video. In it, Saint Gianna's daughter, Gianna Emanuela speaks about her parents, especially her Saint mommy. It moved me to tears. I just wanted to reach out and hug her and tell her how much her mom has done for me.


Happy Feast Day, my friends! The post is already quite long, but I wanted to also share that we are celebrating with a homemade pizza dinner, since pasta doesn't exist on a grain-free diet. I am curious to hear how you celebrate the feast of Saint Gianna Beretta Molla.

Saint Gianna, pray for us.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Thankful Thursday

Thankful for silly boys.
Thankful for little boys who like to bake....
yummy Peanut Butter cookies with mommy.
Thankful for a sweet daughter, the only one I've got. Also thankful that her Easter dress was finished on time and fits.
Thankful that the honeyberry bushes are budding and almost ready to blossom.
Thankful for lots of sunny weather that results in little boys actually getting tuckered. Thankful that he didn't wake up when I washed him up, unbuckled him and carry carried him to his bed.
Thankful for strawberry plants that arrived before I expected. Thankful that we had already bought a few hanging planters and soil.
Thankful that daddy bought us some more soil because we had more strawberry plants than we knew what to do with. Thankful that we still had money on one of the hardware store gift cards and that we only had to pay $8.34 for the soil instead of $17.58. Also thankful that my big boy did the heavy lifting and dumping of the above mentioned soil for his pregnant mommy, so that the rest of the strawberry plants could be saved planted.
Thankful that the kiddos did all of the planting and watering so that I thankfully didn't have to do all of the bending, squatting and wondering if I would make it up again. Thankful that my toddler has a great devotion to Mary. Not so thankful that he trampled the flower planted at her feet. Thankful that I have more of those that could easily replace the trampled one.
Thankful for little boys who clean up after themselves, or at least try.
Thankful for time to sew. Thankful to finally finish these devotional wallets for three special First Communicants. Thankful for the three special friends and their family.
And thankful for any comments you might want to leave (*hint*hint*).
Thankful that you stopped by. God Bless.

Simple Lives Thursday ~ Clipping the Onions

This is the first time that I have participated in Simple Lives Thursday hosted by Diana at A Little Bit of Spain in Iowa. I just stumbled upon this blog this morning and knew that I had to participate. Our family tries to live simply and it is our family motto.

So today, I wanted to share about our journey of growing onions from tiny seeds. We are growing some Organic Rossa Di Milano Onions from seed. We purchased our seeds from The Cottage Gardener way back when the snow was still flying. Before I go on, I want to mention that we have never grown onions from tiny seeds before. I have always bought them as little bulbs and planted them with success. So this is total uncharted territory for us.

We planted the seeds in little peat pellets on March 21st.

I have read that you should provide heat from under the seed tray to improve and encourage germination. Well, I don't have a heating mat and figured that I would have to do without. You should provide overhead lighting, which I also did not have and did without. We had a germination rate of about 80% and this is good enough for us considering the lack of heat and artificial lighting.

From there, we watch our little seedlings grow and clipped them back as soon as they got longer than four inches. We read about clipping the seedlings here. You clip them back so that the concentration is spent on root growth and not on the green growth. I think that we have clipped them back about three to four times so far. Our last frost date is still about a month away, so I set them out on nice days and bring them in and nurture them.

This morning, my gardening son, Owen reminded me that the onions needed to be clipped. I have always clipped the onions and hadn't let him do it yet. I explained to him what I was doing the last few times and this morning, he asked if he could do it. We are also participating in the 2nd Annual HSV Garden Challenge, so I thought I should let him try clipping the onions.

He did a great job. When the onions develop a third stem, we will transplant them into bigger pots. Please come back and see how our onions and the rest of the garden are coming along. If you are visiting us today for the first time, please check out our other gardening posts. We live in suburban Calgary, Alberta Canada. We are zone 3 gardeners, trying to produce some of our own food and live simply.

Don't forget to go to Diana's blog and see how others are taking part in Simple Lives Thursday .

God Bless friends,

Monday, April 23, 2012

More Garden Pictures

After math and grammar this morning, we needed a break. SO we went to the garden and  tinkered around.

Mia planting lettuce, mesclun mix and red dandelion.

Mia planting lettuce, mesclun mix and red dandelion con't.

Watering her newly planted seeds.

Noah transplanting the small sugar squash into the cold frame.
Noah watering the freshly planted purple kohrabi and spinach.

Patrick making sure evering is done right.

Patrick looking at what Mia transplanted into pots.
Patrick giving Mary his daily hug. He hugs her every chance he gets.


Mother Earth

by St. Francis of Assisi

Dear mother earth, who day by day

Unfolds rich blessing on our way,

O praise God! Alleluia!

The fruits and flowers that verdant grow,

Let them his praise abundant show.

O praise God, O praise God,

Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia.

God Bless, friends and thank you for stopping by.

Earth Day Weekend Gardening

Yesterday, was Earth Day! We don't usually celebrate Earth Day in any particular way. We try to recycle, reuse and make do on a regular basis. We pick-up garbage on that gets blown onto our yard as well as the neighbours yards, too. Although, I am not your regular tree hugger, I do my best to preserve God's creation.

I have mentioned many times, that we love to garden and that we are planning a potager. Well, this earth day weekend blessed us with beautiful weather and it also happened to be hubby's three day weekend. We ended up making two trips to the hardware store and buying the lumber and supplies needed. We still had gift cards and the cash we made selling our entertainment centre stand on our first trip. We also had a coupon. If you spent $75, you would get a $15 gift card. We went over my the cost of a rose stock and got the gift card. When we came home, we found three more gift cards in the mail box from our Visa points. This allowed us to go back and purchase the rest of the lumber. So all in all, we only spent a little over 9 dollars on the garden.

Owen's Garden. Under the dome is a bean plant that he started indoors and is protected against from because we didn't harden it off. He also has some red & white sweet peas (he calls them Jesus sweet peas) and he also planted lettuce, radishes, sunflowers and peas.

Where I intend to spend a lot of the rest of my pregnancy.

And we had lumber left over. Our plan was to build a bigger sandbox. We ripped out the swing set and I thought we ought to at least have room for a baby swing. So after we reworked the plans a few times, set some posts, I went to paint and behind my back daddy built this:

Some of the boards still need painting, but you can see that it is a simple boat. There is a platform with a steering wheel and underneath is a kitchen and hanging beside is my baby swing. The kids are thrilled. It is made of scraps, except for the main posts, which we planned and set in concrete. Everything else was made up as it was being built. For a man, who claims he can't build anything, I think he did a great job.

Now we have a garden, without garden soil. That will arrive next week. We ordered a cu. yard to fill the boxes and bought a few bags of pro-mix to fill the cold frame, Owen's box, some window boxes and planters. Earth Day weekend was a green weekend here. I can't wait for the first harvest and neither can my gardener buddy, Owen.

On another note, I received an email from a good Catholic friend, saying that Earth Day marks the day of St. Francis of Assisi's birthday. He was an enviromentalist of his time. Neat, huh?

I hope you had a great Earth Day and weekend. God Bless, Friends.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Yarn Along ~ April 18th

Today's yarn along was a quickie project. I started and finished on one day. Do you sometimes need to do a quick project to feel like you actually accomplished something? I do. I am trying to hone my crochet skills without using a lot of yarn.

I made a covered wooden hanger using the dottie angel pattern. I followed her directions, but only ended up with 12 shells instead of 13. I am not a great crocheter, but I thought I counted right. I used a size bigger hook because I crochet and knit very tight, so it worked out to my surprise.

I am reading a lot of shorter books right now. I don't get much time to curl up with a book these days. I am either reading the daily reading in Small Steps for Catholic Momsor Prayerfully Expecting: A Nine-Month Novena for Mothers to Beor any number of gardening books. One book that is a constant on my night stand is The Rosary: Keeping Company with Jesus and Mary. I find this little companion essential in keeping me focused on why I should pray the rosary. It prompts me gently to take Our Lady's beads and pray. I prayed the Rosary a lot until I miscarried in 2009. I prayed Rosary after Rosary that day and I still miscarried. I couldn't pray the rosary by myself for a very long time. This book has brought me back to the Rosary and am very blessed to have it.

To see what others are Yarning Along and reading, visit Ginny's blog. And if you so fancy, take a look at our other blog Dolly's Cedar Chest. We have been busy sewing and quilting things this week. You don't want to miss it.

Have a great day, friends.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Alles Liebe zum 85. Geburtstag Pabst Benedict XVI

Alles liebe und gesegnete zum heutigen Geburtstag, Papa Benedikt XVI. Moege die Segen Gottes strahle hinunter auf Ihnen heute und jeder Tag.

All the warmest wishes for a blessed and happy birthday. May the blessings of God shine upon you today and everyday.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Divine Mercy Sunday

Happy Divine Mercy Sunday, my friends!

This is a special day for our family, not just because of the fact that it is Divine Mercy Sunday, but because this day marks the 3rd anniversary of one of our children's accent into heaven. Today isn't the exact calendar date, but rather the feast of Divine Mercy is the day we lost our little one in 2009. Weeks later we became pregant again with our little Patrick. God has been very good to us and without his infinite mercy, we would not have him or any of our children.

So to mark today, we had a really really special 2nd breakfast (or brunch if you prefer). After Mass, we made a special breakfast with scrambled eggs, Spolumbo sausages, and Divine Mercy pancakes. Our Divine Mercy pancakes were our usual grain-free pancakes topped with some Chapman's Vanilla (gluten-free) ice cream and a homemade red and blue berry sauce. It doesn't look spectacular, but they tasted delicious. I don't think anyone will be bugging us for snacks this afternoon.

God Bless friends,

Saturday, April 14, 2012

More Indoor Gardening

It snowed again. It is a bit depressing, since the weather guy predicted nice weather for the weekend, last weekend.  I was looking forward to be out building more raised beds in anticipation for our upcoming gardening season. I guess I am learning more about patience. This was our backyard the other day.

The snow has since melted, but it continues to snow off and on. Snow is in the forcast for the next few days, too.

So, to pass some time and keep Patrick out of trouble, we transplanted some of our seedlings. The sugar squash has grown quite large, so too have some of the tomatoes and melons. This is our first year using those handy little peat pellets. They are worth their money, especially if you can't get them on sale. They are definitely something we will buy again.

Patrick did a great job of keeping me on my toes while transplanting. He was in charge of flooding watering the newly transplanted seedlings. He also did some thinning of the plants. All in all, he did a great job for a bouncy two year old.

Gardening with kids is fun and interesting, especially with the littlest ones. I hope they survive their transplantation (my fingers are crossed). I just hope that the snow goes away soon.

If you have a moment, please stop by our new crafty blog, Dolly's Cedar Chest. We have only one post so far, but plan on being busy making things for the blog. This blog is where we will showcase our handywork and hopefully add some tutorials soon. If you feel so inclined. Please grab our button and spread the word. One of my regulary readers will be receiving a special item from us, from our studio (as if we have a real studio), but I hope I can get it out of the house this week.

Have a great Divine Mercy Sunday, my friends. God Bless.
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