My Favorite Things: Pope Francis Edition

I cannot let this year pass without posting something about the new pope. If you are my facebook friend then you know that I am a HUGE fan of Pope Francis. Yes, I am Catholic and yes I believe this new pope Jorge Mario Bergolio is the exactly the right leader my church needs to move forward.

1) He is teaching acceptance. He had only been pope for 2 weeks and he went and washed the feet of 12 prisoners on Holy Thursday, which also included 2 women during this religious rite. When asked a question on the Catholic Church’s attitude towards gays and lesbians throughout history, he responded by saying, ” “Who am I to judge a gay person of goodwill who seeks the Lord?” On the topic of atheists he also gave a very similar jaw dropping (and by that I mean it is not the answer you’d expect from his position), God forgives those who do not believe and do not seek faith,” the pope responded, “Given that — and this is the key point — God’s mercy has no limits, if you go to him with a sincere and repentant heart, the issue for those who do not believe in God is to obey their conscience.”(huffington post)

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2) He has scaled back on the pomp and grandeur: Our new pope is one humble man. Right after being named pope, he tried to pay his bill at the hotel he was staying at. He has rejected the red shoes and has opted for more humble vestments. The cross he wears around his neck is iron and not the traditional gold. He isn’t living in the lavish papal apartments, but had chosen to stay in the more modest Vatican hotel. He has also has chosen to be driven in a simpler car a Ford Focus rather than the Mercedes we saw his predecessor drive around in. This to me is a huge statement. It shows that he practices what he preaches. I have always been bothered by all the excessive ostentation the Vatican has shown in the past, especially when there is so much poverty in the world.

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3) He is approachable and kind: He has been known to make cold calls to people who have written him letters, because he is genuinely touched by people’s troubles (huffington post). He enjoys to visit with the crowds of faithful that visit him at St. Peter Square during the Sunday audiences, and we especially saw this during his trip to Rio de Janiero. He doesn’t pass up to kiss a baby, pray over the sick, or just give a smile. Who can ever forget how kind he was to that little boy who made his way up to the altar.

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4) His commitment to the poor and sick: From the moment his papal name was announced as Francis, a saint that is well-known for his humble life and commitment to the poor, it was certain this pope was going to give importance to those less fortunate. Click here to read about St. Francis of Assisi.  One of the pope’s early tweets was  “The pope must serve all people, especially the poor, the weak, the vulnerable.” (huffington post). It has been rumored that he has disguised himself and goes out in the night giving food to the homeless. He has also invited homeless to come and dine at the Vatican. When a German Bishop was accused of using church funds on lavish spending for himself, he was suspended, and it is rumored his lavish residence will be turned into a soup kitchen. He has moved the world with his compassion for the sick. The images shown of him embracing the sick are just beautiful.

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5) He is taking the Church back to the basics: He has instructed that pastors get out of their comfort zone and take their ministry away from the pulpit, but to the streets, “This is what I am asking you,” he said with emphasis, looking up from his prepared text, “be shepherds with the smell of sheep,” so that people can sense the priest is not just concerned with his own congregation, but is also a fisher of men.” (Catholic Telegraph) When asked what the Church needs today he responds by saying,  “I see clearly that the thing the church needs most today is the ability to heal wounds and to warm the hearts of the faithful; it needs nearness, proximity. I see the church as a field hospital after battle. […] The church sometimes has locked itself up in small things, in small-minded rules. The most important thing is the first proclamation: Jesus Christ has saved you.” (aletiea).

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It is quite evident that this pope is very special. Not only is he kind and humble, but he isn’t afraid to shake things up. His presence will not only bring positive change to the Catholic Church, but to the entire world.

 

Fav Things July 15-19

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Let me start by saying that the above picture is NOT my laundry room. That is the laundry room I wish I had! So this week I starting adding a few drops of essential oil to my laundry soap when I run a linens load (towels, bed sheets). My friend Brit told me she did that and it would take away any musty smell, especially out of towels. It would add a nice subtle scent of whatever type of oil she used. Who doesn’t want to smell a little bit of lavender on their bed before they go to sleep? Just put about 3-4 drops of an essential oil (best to use one that is naturally antibacterial like lavender, peppermint, bergamot, lemon grass, tea tree). I used a blend (lavender and tea tree)I had from the California Baby line. If you haven’t tried this I suggest you do. It is especially a good way to get those pool and beach towels to smell fresher and cleaner.

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Old Bay Lemon and Herb Baked Shrimp (serves 4)

1 1/4lb of fresh shrimp (de-shelled and deveined), 5 garlic cloves sliced, olive oil, Old Bay Lemon and Herb (OBLH) seasoning (or any lemon seasoning) and lemon

1) De-shell and devein shrimp place in large mixing bowl. Add a couple of glugs of olive oil and the OBLH seasoning until shrimp are lightly covered (then a few more shakes for good measure). Finally mix in the garlic.

2) Let shrimp sit in fridge for an hour or so.

3) Preheat oven at 400 degrees. Spray cookie sheet with a little bit of cooking spray. Arrange shrimp on cookie sheet in one layer. Once oven is ready place shrimp in oven and cook for 8-10 minutes (no turning over required). Once they are pink juicy they are ready. Add a the juice of one lemon to the shrimp when they are right out of oven.

4) Enjoy!

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We became owners of an Apple TV this week. I love it because, it’s so cute and it is so much easier to navigate than our blu-ray is. It is a box that provides access to popular streaming services (Netflix, Hulu). If you already own iTunes products it enables you to stream everything through your Mac.

That is all for this week. I hope you all have a great weekend!

My Fav Things July 8-14

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I received a sample of Miss Jessie’s Jelly Soft Curls gel in my Birchbox last month. Over the past few years I have grown to embrace my curls, letting them loose more often (especially during the summer). Everyone’s curls are different and I normally don’t go the gel route; my curls are light and gel usually made them heavy and crunchy. Miss Jessie has changed that for me. This gel will leave your curls so light and shapely. I love it! To learn more about this product click here.

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The other day my husband brought these home from the grocery. I was at first skeptical. I love their other products (hot dogs and cold cuts), but every time I have bought a healthier version of chicken nuggets they don’t taste good, prompting a regrettable return  to the Yummy brand dino-shaped nuggets. I thought the Yummy brand was a healthier choice over Tysons and Perdue, but after reading this report, I am so glad I found the Applegate nuggets. The kids loved them! They are very tasty and have a lot of chicken meat. They really taste homemade. I have made homemade nuggets, but those have always been met with negative review from my boys.  During the summer, I feel like I am always in the kitchen making food. Weekday lunches have to be fast and easy, but somewhat nutritional. I urge you to change your home nuggets if you are buying the other crap (lets face it, its crap). If you aren’t making your own nuggets, give these a try. They are fantastic!

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Thank you to Vanessa for suggesting this show to us. During the summer, my hubby and I like to watch shows we didn’t discover in the regular season. I heard through the grape-vine that this show was great, so I am glad we have finally started to watch it. House of Cards is a political drama based off a BBC miniseries of the same name. Both are based off a novel by Michael Dobbs. House of Cards is set in modern-day Washington D.C. and follows the revenge path of scorned Congressman Frank Underwood, sublimely played by Kevin Spacey.  Along the way we meet his wife, Claire, played by Robin Penn Wright  who runs a non-profit; a young ambitious journalist Zoe, played by Kate Mara; and a down-on- his-luck Congressman Peter Russo, played by Corey Stoll. The acting is phenomenal. I encourage all of you who like political dramas to give this one a shot. You will not be surprised if you over stay your welcome in the House of Cards; you will leave wanting more! It is a Netflix original series, but I believe now you can get it on DVD. If you have Netflix streaming, you can access it with ease.

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I just love when you step out of your car when getting to the beach and getting that first whiff of sea salt air. I wish I could bottle that scent. This past Sunday my family spent a glorious day at Kure Beach in North Carolina. I would like to thank my friends (well, really they are like family) Vanessa and Matt and their families for opening up their beach house to us. There is nothing better than spending a day on the beach with loved ones, good food, drinks, and laughs.

This past week was a little hectic, so I am sorry I wasn’t able to post it on Friday. I hope you all have a great week! What some of your favorite things you have discovered recently?

My Favorite Things This Week 7/1-7/5

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I bought this sun cream in the fabulous Sephora Sun Safety Kit 2013 ( I am sorry, but I believe it has sold out; it quickly cleared the shelf.) I was wondering how I was going to get through all the enclosed products. I am trying one product at a time. I have been using this before I go outside for a prolong sun activity, such as the pool (I do wear a hat there), park, outdoor gatherings. I love love love it. Did I say that I love it! It is very creamy and light. I have found that a lot of facial sunscreen have a chalky texture to them sometimes and instead of moisturizing it immediately dries out my skin.  It is immediately absorbed by the skin. I love the light fragrance as well. It is a little reminder that you have it on. I have a few more facial sunscreens to try from the kit, but they really have big shoes to fill. Also, a lot goes a long way this might last through July. To learn more about this product click here.

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This summer I decided I was going to take a little break from cooking and doing some easier things for lunches and for dinners.  Welcome the art of making sub sandwiches at home! This is great, especially for spending the afternoon at pool. I take out all the fixin’s, and chop up the veggies on my big cutting board. Then everyone lines up and creates their own sandwich art. My favorite creation so far has been a garlic bologna, salami sandwich on a sesame seed Chicago roll with light Munster cheese, light mayo, spicy mustard, pickles, onions, lettuce, hot banana peppers, Aruba peppers, oregano, salt pepper and a dash of light Italian dressing. Not the healthiest choice, but damn it was soooo good.

monsters_university_2013-wideWe went and saw this last weekend with the boys and my bff Vanessa (Thank you to Matt and Vanessa for coming to visit last weekend!). The boys really enjoyed it.  I enjoyed it as well. If you were in a sorority or fraternity in college you will have extra chuckles as you can relate to a lot of the activity in the film.  The Scare Games reminded me of Greek Week or Derby Days.  This is a kid film that adults will throughly enjoy.

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Now that it is summer vacation, I decided to change my workout schedule around. The kids really don’t like going to the child care in the gym and with my oldest camp schedule getting to the gym in the morning would require rushing around. So I decided that at least for the first part of summer vacation I was going to take a break from my normal morning gym routine. So I have been running outside, doing Insanity and going to the gym on the weekends.  I ran a few times last week and an old injury started to flare up again. This week I decided to go to evening hot yoga classes. It has been so wonderful! It is a great way to end your day and you sleep like a baby. I am thankful my hubby has been supportive of this. I went three nights in a row and it was magical. The big plus is that my injury is healing and I can resume running soon.

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Finally, Happy Birthday USA! We might complain and belly ache all the time, but where else in the world can we have the freedoms we all enjoy? I hope you all had a happy 4th filled with love, laughter, fun and new memories!

My Favorite Things This Week 6/24-6/28

Summer is really in full swing in our household. We are going to the pool, kids are enjoying camps, bedtime is later and no alarm clocks.  A few things that I love about the summer is that I can wear less makeup, read more books and the new  summer TV shows.

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Thanks to being outside more often my skin gets a great summery glow. I do always wear SPF on my face. In my birch box this month I got a mineral powder. I have never used one. I normally just dabbed some press powder on my oily spots. Well, one swipe of this magical powder by Youngblood helps control the oiliness on your skin throughout the day. It seriously makes my fresh look so fresh. For everyday I just swipe some of this on, a little mascara and lip gloss and I’m good (Thanks mom for great skin genes!). You can also apply more on your face throughout the day to freshen your look. I have also used it when I am going out and have more make up on and it looks great I love it! To find out more about this great product click here.

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I am only on page 50 of this book and I am recommending it to the world. This is a must read for all teachers and parents. Especially for parents who have a special needs child. Kristine Barnett candidly and thoughtfully shares how her family has dealt with what God has put in their path. She is a pillar of strength and I cannot wait to read the rest! Click here to read more about this book.

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Under The Dome is a new 13 episode series produced by Steven Spielberg and Stephen King. It is based under Stephen King’s book of the same name. I have always enjoyed made for tv shows of his books. Who can ever forget It, (click here if you want to refresh your memory). I first like that it’s 13 episodes. Ever since Lost I have been weary of these types of shows, because I don’t want to invest that amount of time again in that kind of “high maintenance” (you miss an episode you missed so much or you watch an episode and you are more confused than before) type of show. The basic premise is that a small New England town all of a sudden gets shut out from the outside world in a dome force field. This invisible force field showed up out of nowhere, hurting those in its path and encasing those inside it’s parameters. The first episode was really good. It introduced the characters which are now going to have to decide how they are going to survive this situation. There was one subplot I could do without, but other than that this show holds promise for me. The daily beast has a good review. Click here to read, but beware it has spoilers. Click here to view the trailer.

I am going to try to make this a weekly post. Mention a new things that grab my fancy during the week. Hope you all have a great weekend!