Things You Didn’t Know I Did To Stay Busy While I Recuperate

So, I have been recovering from a broken leg for about two months now. The break seems to be healing well, but the other side of my leg up by my knee is in quite a bit of pain. I’m undergoing physical therapy and working on my exercises everyday. We’ll see.

So, what have I been doing? When you spend as much time as I have on a living room couch, you might think it would be so relaxing and fun. It was for about the first two days. Then I became restless. I watched so much TV and movies as to want to just turn it off. So, I turned to reading books that I hadn’t had time to read yet. It was great, but also grew old.

What to do? I decided, after I had recovered a bit, to paint. I had a few unfinished wooden pieces to paint and a large flower pot that I had started but never completed. It was a farm scene with two horses, a barn, trees, etc. It started out all brown. Then child #3 had painted one of the horses, some of the grass, and bushes. I finished it up, she painted the second horse, and we were done. Now, we just have to put a finish on it, fill it with dirt, and plant some flowers. Yay!

What else have I been up to? I have been communicating with my friends, sewing, praying, and basically doing anything to keep busy. It was awesome when I could finally hop outside on my crutches! The weather was amazing. My kids have been nice enough to bring me flowers and put them in a water-filled vase for me. A little bit of Spring inside my four boring walls!

Now that I am out for physical therapy it is exciting to leave the house! My big treat!

I’m excited to start getting back to life! I have been able to sleep in my own bed again, instead of on the couch, which is so wonderful! I missed it. Couch sleeping is great so that I can get to the bathroom easier. However, sleeping in my own bed is so fantastic! It’s the small things that make the biggest difference!

Apparitions: Our Lady of Mount Carmel

The Brown Scapular

First, where is Mount Carmel? I don’t know about you, but in all the times I’ve heard of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, I never knew where it was. So, I did what everyone does: I Googled it! Turns out it’s in Israel! Who knew? It is in a mountainous region where Catholic hermits, under the Carmelite tradition, lived, worked and prayed.

It was to St. Simon Stock, Prior General, that Mary appeared in 1251. He had been praying for the Virgin Mary to bless his order with a singular privilege. To him she gave the Brown Scapular. It has two approximately 1.5 inch by 1 inch wool felt pieces on the ends of two pieces of cord, thus making a sort of small apron that one wears around his neck, with one felt piece in front and one in back. The Carmelites who wear this Scapular, and do the work and prayers associated with it will be saved, according to what Our Lady told St. Simon.

Later, the Brown Scapular became a popular sacramental. Now, they are even cast as medals to be blessed and worn around the neck or in a becoming manner, such as a bracelet. This was decreed by Pope Pius X in 1910. In fact, I have one that I never take off.

A Metal Scapular

So, what is required to be saved while wearing the Scapular? Well, here is the list that I followed. Remember that you must do these for five months in a row and wear your Scapular at all times.

  1. You must attend Mass on the First Saturday (or Sunday if that’s all your Church has, as our tiny village Church does!)
  2. You must receive the Sacrament of Reconciliation prior to Mass (and do your penance!)
  3. You must receive Holy Communion
  4. You must pray the Rosary
  5. You must keep Our Lady company by spending an hour meditating on the Mysteries of the Rosary with her.

So, get your scapular medals, get them blessed, and start doing the work! Our Lord awaits!

A Dairy Vacation

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

As many of you know, I swore off dairy several months ago. It was making me not feel my best. So, out it went. My beloved chocolate ice cream, cream cheese, sharp cheddar, and a variety of other lovely treats.

However, when I was in a car accident earlier this Spring, and my leg was broken, I had to rethink my dairy fast. I wanted my leg to heal as quickly as possible, since I am the sole driver in my family and the only way we knew to get to the grocery store! I live in an area that is rather remote, and does not have the option of delivery. I learned quickly who my friends were! These were the people who would run to the store for me, after I had put in an order, pick it up at the store’s appointed time, and drop it off at my door. I can’t thank them enough!

But, I digress. What I was talking about was dairy. I learned quickly that I couldn’t do much for myself except hop on my crutches to the bathroom and back to the couch. This was extremely frustrating for me, as I am usually much more on the go! Gone was making dinner for my kiddos! Gone were the shopping trips to the grocery store or even just the pharmacy! Gone was the ability to even take a simple shower on my own! It was a humbling experience.

So, I decided to give up on giving up dairy for a while. At first it was because the pain relievers that were prescribed (and believe me when I tell you that I desperately needed them as the pain was intense!!!) bound me up. I was like, oh no you don’t! So, I started eating dairy to counteract that response. It worked. As an added benefit, I could also now eat Greek yogurt, which has a lot of protein (needed to rebuild bones) as well as calcium. It became my go-to breakfast/snack/whatever. I think it worked! My leg feels much stronger now. I am still not allowed to put weight on it and my muscles have atrophied something fierce (though I do have PT to reverse that!) but the pain is all but gone and I can do the exercises pretty easily.

On the upside of my injury, I have found more time (sometimes too much!) to think, to pray, to hand-sew some projects that I would have been hard-pressed to find the time for in the past. I am working to catalog all of our movies so that we have an adult list and a kid list and can find what we want to watch with ease. I have been able to take time to talk with my children that are still at home and really listen to their wants and needs. Truly, that is a blessing. I think, if we truly look, we can find the blessings in everything. God bless you and keep looking for those silver linings!

Ham and Potato Casserole

Yummy!

In our home everyone takes turns making dinner. A few days ago it was child #3’s turn. I realize she has many mental issues, but she is still capable of making a nice dinner with some direction. So, here I was, laid up on the couch, as I have been for the last over a month and she loses it. She is screaming and yelling, crying and threatening. Everything in her life is too much for her to handle. I finally was able to get her to listen to me to go to her room and take a breath. She went. The breath came later.

Finally she comes out of the room and I tell her to take the package of shredded potatoes out of the freezer and let them sit out for a while to defrost slightly. She does this and then goes back to her room. It takes quite a few small steps, but eventually she has prepared the casserole with my help in slicing onions, and slides it into the oven. It wasn’t difficult, just overwhelming when taken all at once. Here it is:

32 oz. bag of gluten free frozen shredded hash browns

2 lbs. leftover Easter ham (ours was a spiral-sliced wonder of deliciousness!) chopped into 1 inch pieces

2 Tbsp. butter

1 large, sweet onion

2 cups sour cream (or my special dip!)

1, 8 oz. package of cream cheese

1, 8 oz. brick of sharp cheddar cheese, shredded

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Take the hash browns out of the freezer and set them out to defrost slightly (20 minutes or so.) Mix in chopped ham. Place butter in a medium saucepan along with onion. Cook over medium heat until onion is soft and starts to caramelize. Add sour cream and cream cheese and stir until completely melted. Pour over ham and potato mixture, stirring in to break up potatoes. Top with shredded cheese and bake, uncovered for 1 hour.

Note: Yes. I realize there is dairy in this recipe. However, when necessity dictates that one must have dairy, then one must! Enjoy!

Apparitions: Our Lady of The Miraculous Medal

Our Lady twice appeared to St. Catherine Laboure in Paris of 1830. It was in the convent chapel of the Daughters of Charity, started by St. Vincent de Paul, that Mary appeared very late one night. She asked Catherine to have a medal cast as Mary described it for her.

It was Mary’s picture on one side with her hands extended down with what looked like beams of light, but rather were graces that she pours out on those who ask while she crushes the serpent. The words “O Mary conceived without sin pray for us who have recourse to thee” inscribed around the edges of the medal with “1830” at the bottom.

On the other side is the picture of an “M” and a cross. Underneath are pictures of the Immaculate Heart of Mary and the Sacred Heart of Jesus surrounded by twelve evenly placed stars around the outside the medal for the twelve tribes of Israel and the twelve apostles.

This medal became to be known as the Miraculous Medal because of the many miracles that occurred through Our Lady’s intercession and the medal. There have been healings in physical and mental form. The blind regain their sight; the sick regain their health; the mentally handicap regain mental cognizance.

Birdsong

Photo by Irina Babina Nature and Wildlife on Pexels.com The Red-winged Blackbird

Before the grass turns green with the Spring rains, I am on the lookout for red-winged blackbirds. Why? Because in our family these small black birds with the red and orange stripes on their wings were the earliest harbingers of the fairer season.

Most people look for robins in the Midwest. I always look for my little red-winged blackbird friends. By the end of February and definitely by the beginning of March I have been scanning nearby barren fields for their black bodies and colorful wings. The first one of the season always brings shouts of joy. Spring is on its way! Hooray!

This year, though I spotted my first red-winged blackbird around the end of February, I have not been able to celebrate Spring as I would have liked. A broken leg will definitely put a damper on that. So, instead, I have been listening for the song of the chickadee.

Photo by Jack Bulmer on Pexels.com The Chickadee

These have been very special to me ever since I was a child. They call in two different ways. There is the “chickadee-dee-dee-dee” and also, the “Ri-ti, Ri-ti.” I know people say that they are calling “fee-bee” or something similar, but my daddy told me that they are really calling my name.

Since dad passed away almost ten years ago, every time I hear a chickadee singing my special name, I am reminded of him. He was not a perfect dad, by anyone’s standards. He did the best he could. I cherish the good memories of him and try to forget the not-so-perfect ones. I think he would have wanted it that way. Love you, Dad!