Author Archives: Juli

Lenten Lunches – Week 6

I missed posting the past two weeks because we were away and then I had not too much in my fridge but I wanted to finish Lent out strong so I’m back!

My lunch for today is something that can easily be done at home, but I cheated a little bit and ordered it from Wawa. I only did this because I don’t keep eggs in the house because I don’t like them. I only like hard boiled eggs and the last time I hard boiled them they came out weird and it freaked me out. I’ll probably try my hand at it again soon so we can dye some eggs for Easter, but for now, I buy my egg salad at Wawa.

This sandwich is one of my favorites and is perfect for today. It’s egg salad, lettuce, tomato, and cheese on rye bread. Again, it could easily be made at home if you’re an egg salad fan, and it’s perfect for Friday during Lent.

*One thing to note, however, is that if you are ordering from Wawa you need to customize it because it comes standard with bacon.

Bon appetit!

❤ JuLi

What’s everyone having for lunch today?

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Lenten Lunches: week 3

Today’s lunch is a new twist on an old favorite. It’s not a Juli original and to my classmates it may look familiar. I decided to recreate one of my favorites from our college student center – the PB&J wrap.

Peanut butter, followed by cereal (I replaced ride crispies with Special K because that was what we have in the house), followed by the jelly (jam), and rolled into one delicious lunch!

What’s everyone else having today?

Pregnant & Posting, Juli

Lenten Lunches – week 2

I cheated a little bit this week. I wanted a very specific sandwich and for it I needed good think bread. For that I needed to go to the food store.

I’ll be honest, this week’s might be less what you’d find in your house, but I happened to have most of it in mine.

My grandma gave us this herbed olive oil at Christmas and I absolutely love it. My plan was to do a roasted red peppers and mozzarella sandwich with it and for it you need a really good bread so I headed to the store. I also ended up at the area where they have all the olives and stuff to purchase and ended up getting a few things there because they looked so good and that included some garlic. You don’t need to use garlic if you’re worried about offending people all afternoon but I don’t care that much so I did.

I also should note that we make pizza at our house so we tend to have mozzarella cheese on hand (especially during Lent) but if you don’t, you’ll need that too.

Anyway, this is one of my favorite sandwiches and I’m so happy to share it week 2 😁

Pregnant & Posting, Juli

Friendship with Christ During Lent and Beyond

My husband tends to comment about those homilies that really stick with you and talk about one from a few years ago. Normally the ones that stick with you are the ones you can relate to, the ones where it felt like your priest was talking directly to you. These are the homilies that make you think and reflect and might change your perspective or incite action.

This Sunday, my priest started talking about Lent and how if our busy schedules caused us to forget about Ash Wednesday, there was still time to decide on a Lenten sacrifice. I had already fully committed to my Lenten sacrifice (okay, confession time: feeling super guilty because Dom brought home soda for dinner on Friday and I felt bad saying “no”…) so I was ready to just listen and not really hear, but then my priest started talking about the apps on our phones.

This caught my attention because the day before I had been talking with my sister and husband about Candy Crush. My sister and I both started playing again a few months ago and my husband is against it. He sent us a video meme about how it was evil and makes fun of me for playing it so much. My sister was even shocked to learn what level I was on. So when the priest started talking about apps, I was listening. It was a quick mention about maybe taking time away from one app and downloading a scripture app or something like that but then he went on.

He began talking about how during Lent we should be looking to deepen our relationship, our friendship with Christ. And I started really thinking about how long it’s been since I sat with scripture. How long it’s been since I dissected Song of Songs and used different versions of the Bible to turn it into my own love letter. How it felt to really feel His Love and truly understand what it was to be close with God.

Lately I’ve just been living my busy life, not thinking much about God, just knowing that He’s there and not really working on building and nourishing our relationship. This promoted immediate action:

  • Step 1- stop an activity that is taking up a lot of time (playing Candy Crush)
  • Step 2- choose a prayerful activity to replace the one stopped to help build your friendship with Christ (reading scripture, Daily Mass, downloading a Christian app, there are a lot of possibilities here)
  • Step 3- really invest in the time you spend with Christ and focus only on that by being in the moment

It doesn’t seem like a difficult thing to do, but I’m already stuck on Step 2. Does anyone have any suggestions for apps? I have a book I can read when I’m at home, but I want something for those lunch breaks and other times during the day to transition me into prayer that can help me to silence everything else in my mind and focus on Christ. That might be a lot to ask but my goal is to really be able to do this more easily by the end of Lent. Let me know what you think!

Pregnant & Posting (& trying to be more Prayerful),

Juli

Lenten Lunches – Week 1

I know it’s sometimes difficult to get variety on Fridays during Lent when we’ve subtracted meat from our diet, especially for someone like me who rarely enjoys cooking and doesn’t take time to meal prep. I could honestly eat pizza every night and probably will have my fill of it during Lent so I wanted to add variety to my lunches.

My plan is to pack something different for lunch every Friday that may be unique, creative, or just a comfort food. It also will preferably be something I have regularly in my house.

Today’s lunch may sound like something only a pregnant woman would eat, but it is a sandwich I learned of in high school when I started reading (the late) Sue Grafton’s alphabet series. Those who know it, probably know where I’m going with this…

Peanut butter and pickle sandwiches!

I love peanut butter and I love pickles and I honestly love this sandwich – and not just because I’m pregnant. I started eating them my junior year of high school and convinced my best friend to try them too and I think I even made her a believer.

Either way, it’s a good start to my Lenten Lunches.

What did you pack for lunch today? What are some unique dishes I should try? Any vegetarians out there with some good recommendations?

Pregnant & Posting, Juli

The Lent I Didn’t Fast

Ash Wednesday

It’s Ash Wednesday and I’m not fasting. I mean, I was planning on it, up until last night over burgers and chocolate lava cake at Applebees when my husband so kindly pointed out – “you’re pregnant.”

Thanks. I wasn’t sure what was making my belly grow so big.

“You can’t deprive our baby of food.”

“Oh I didn’t mean fasting fasting.” (I’ll have to stop lying and be a good Catholic) “I meant I’d eat like small meals spread out throughout the day.” (Good idea, self) “When the baby’s hungry.” (Good save). “And I’ll still abstain from meat. I mean, I barely eat meat anyway right now.” (I have an aversion to chicken and eat mostly egg salad sandwiches, veggie paninis, or pizza. And, obviously, the occasional burger, which I will not be eating on Ash Wednesday or Fridays during Lent).

So anyway, it’s officially Lent and I’m Catholic and pregnant. Many of my friends have gone through this already and it’s strange to me that we never talked about it – the fasting bit anyway. But, I mean, look at the Gospel from today and I suppose you would see why. No one really talks about Fasting. We wear these ash crosses on our heads and silently acknowledge each other (or look at someone and suddenly go “Oh my gosh, I almost forgot that was today! I’ll have to go to Mass after work!” Which so often happens to me because I prefer morning Mass to evening Mass and have the ability to go before work) but we really don’t have much conversation around Fasting. Or, at least, I don’t.

IMG_20180214_103524I’m increasingly torn between spreading Catholicism by posting my “#AshTag” on Social Media and “going to my inner room, closing the door, and praying to God in secret” (paraphrasing Matthew 6:6). Every year I’m more confused about whether I should “wash my face so that I do not appear to be fasting” (paraphrasing again, Matthew 6:17) or if that is almost like I’m washing away the sign that keeps myself in line and reminds me that I’m fasting (or in my case this year, not fasting) and abstaining from meat. It reminds me of the reason for Lent. Although this whole 40 days is leading up to Jesus dying for us on the cross and then celebrating His Resurrection, Ash Wednesday is the time to begin that reflection. So maybe the cross on my head is a reminder to myself of Jesus’s death and resurrection and I should proudly show it off. So I suppose I’m somewhere in the middle. Keeping my head held high and showing off my Catholicism today while not pushing it on Social Media. Although, one could argue that I am posting on Social Media through this blog where I feel fairly anonymous (anyone reading this already is well aware that I am Catholic) but I really just needed to get the words out and on paper.

I’m not a Theological expert, college was pretty long ago now, so I welcome my friends to chime in on the matter. What are your thoughts on the public posts for Ash Wednesday? Should we be more open about fasting or not fasting? Do you use the cross as a reminder to yourself, or are you more interested in reminding others? What time of day do you go to Mass? And, most importantly, are you fasting and abstaining today?

Pregnant and Posting, Juli

P.S. Happy St. Valentine’s Day

Bible Study

I may have talked about this before, but I lead a Bible Study for young adults at my church. For the most recent lesson, I was preparing by reading 2 Kings and came to a realization that I wanted to share and ask anyone still reading to think about answers, answer themselves, whatever they want…

I threw down my Bible in frustration. Why were we still reading about how Israel continues to make mistakes in patterns…over and over again. Later I realized…God is reiterating this point because humans do that constantly–make the same mistakes over and over again. We are imperfect beings who are perfect in God’s eyes. He treats us like His children, forgiving, patient, kind, and sometimes punishing, and yet we still continue the cycle of sin. Is it easier to sin in today’s world? Maybe. If it is, it’s probably because we know God’s compassionate and forgiving nature.  If it isn’t, it’s because we know the repeating history of sinfulness. Many of the people of that time were unaware or unfamiliar with the consequences of sin because by the time they began to sin again, the previous generation of sinners was gone. We don’t have the luxury to make that mistake.  Maybe luxury is a bad word for it, but we do have the luxury of knowing and understanding the benefits of keeping God’s commands and the consequences of going against them. We have the Bible. Yet we still sin. Why is that?  “Human nature” isn’t a good enough answer anymore.

Thoughts?  Questions?  Concerns?

God Bless,
Juli

Mardi Gras

Bon Mardi Gras!

So tomorrow marks the beginning of Lent which means today is Mardi Gras (exact translation: Fat Tuesday).  Celebrating Mardi Gras for Catholics is more than just a party, it is a day in which we should all reflect on and determine what sacrifices we will be making this Lent.  While thinking about Lent, I remembered our 40 Post challenge from last year and how much has changed since then (I started slacking on the posting A LOT!).  This past winter I was a part of a Young Adult Book Club at my church and we read Blessed Are The Bored In Spirit by Mark Hart.  One of the chapters asked the questions “When have you been courageous in your faith this year?” and “In what ways have you personally answered the call to act from your heart?”  I had begun a response, but never finished it and now feel it is relevant to post today.

This past year has been such a wonderful year of my life. Last Lent I began attending daily mass, a choice that changed my faith life for the better.  This was a courageous choice for me because I had tried to do it the previous year and was disappointed by something that happened.  What had happened really put me off from attending mass at my church and so I stopped going during the week. When I made the decision to go again, God graced me with patience and love for others and enabled me to make daily mass a part of my life.  By going to mass daily, I began giving more over to God and growing in my faith life.  I met so many wonderful people and made quite a few new friends who are such an inspiration to me for my faith to grow and prosper as theirs has.  Additionally, it has helped me to make decisions in my life separate from just in church and gave me the courage to make another decision regarding my faith life.  I soon signed up to start reading at mass, something that scared me terribly.  Public speaking has always been a fear of mine, but I was feeling called to help out in another way. Soon after I signed up, I was approached by a friend of mine at daily mass and asked to read during the week. I began reading on Tuesdays every week and about two Sundays a quarter.  Although I was still a little anxious about reading on Sundays, on December 23rd I read and was told that I no longer seemed nervous at all. I also felt a lot less nervous.

Another way I think I have been courageous in my faith this year is through my young adult ministry – LIFT (Living In Faith Together).  We officially formed the group over the past summer and have met pretty much once a week since then.  In the fall we began a Bible Study and I was asked to lead it.  Although I had never done a Bible Study before and didn’t really know what to expect, no one else really wanted the role and I felt it was an important activity to take part in.  The program flows pretty easily and it is more of a facilitation role, but the study and reading of the Bible has really helped me to grow and understand more about the roots of my faith.  Although we’re not even through Genesis (I know, it’s a little drawn out), the depth of the study is such that the points that are made are ingrained in my mind.

Being called to facilitate and to read are both really awesome ways in which my faith life has grown, but something that I really value that God gave me this year is my Religious Education class.  Once a month I get to teach 6th graders religious ed through a program my church calls “Becoming Disciples”.  This program is family-integrated, which means they have three home lessons and one in-class lesson a month.  The kids that I get to teach are such a wonderful group and I enjoy every class I have with them.  More often than not we run out of time because there is so much I want to discuss.  The real blessing in teaching this program though, is that I get to relearn so many things and relate my own experiences to them as well as listen to the experiences of my 6th graders.  They are so talkative, but many of them show such an understanding and love for the Word and ask such wonderful questions!  What I am now looking forward to is helping revamp the 7th and 8th grade program with a friend of mine and continuing to teach next year 🙂  Teaching this class has been something I look forward to and get so excited in preparing for it that I almost feel as if it’s for me and not them.

This upcoming Lent, I look forward to letting more go to God and renewing my faith through sacrifice and service to attempt to become closer to Christ in His rising again.  I will try and post more this Lent since Lent is my time for reflection and what better way to reflect then to write about it.  If you so choose, maybe you can answer these questions this Lent.  They really helped me look back and see the good in my life (I am not going to bore you with all of it, I just wrote a short novel up there) and understand and respect how far I have come this year.  I’ll leave the questions for you again down here:

When have you been courageous in your faith this year?

In what ways have you personally answered the call to act from your heart?

God Bless, *JuLi*

Happy Belated Birthday!

So it seems that Cherie is the only one of us who posted on our 1st Birthday and I’m pretty disappointed in myself since I had been reminding myself all week to post.  Tonight I became inspired though, so better two days late than never.

Tonight was the first night of my young adult ministry’s book study.  While we only read the introduction to the book so far, I was already amazed at how inspiring the introduction was.  We are reading Blessed Are the Bored in Spirit By Mark Hart.  As we listened to the audio book and he spoke of his struggle, the struggle in society, and what we do about it, it inspired me to think about my own personal struggles.  After the introduction ended, I could feel a profound silence and feel the reflection going on within and around me.  We then delved into discussion (a little too early in my opinion, but it was fine) and I realized that we all have such similar struggles that take on different shapes and forms.  Lately I’ve been hearing all sorts of testimonies and amazing stories that have inspired me and made me want to change my sinful habits, but when it came down to it, I still couldn’t change my choice.  Not couldn’t…I guess it’s wouldn’t.  I could talk the talk–and I spoke it well–but I was having trouble walking the walk.  I would declare my changes and speak out to my friends, but when it came time to speak up where it mattered, I have been having a really tough time.  I’m trying to take little steps, but I’m realizing the only way to change is to change all the way.  It will have to be one extra large super sized step and I am terrified.  Mark Hart spoke about people wanting to be liked and not respected.  I fit in there perfectly.  All this time I’ve been wanting people to like me, smoothing things over where I feel I need to, that I forget that by being myself and standing up for what I believe, I may make enemies, but why would I want to be friends with anyone who doesn’t accept me as I am?  It’s going to be difficult, but I want to be brave.  Pray for me so that I may be a braver Catholic and act more confident and less like a coward.  It seems the closer I am to someone, the harder it is to potentially let them down.  But I don’t want to be let down so I’m going to change my life.  And if I don’t, you’ll all just have to keep praying for me.

Love you and God Bless!

Juli

Oh, and Happy Birthday C.C. 🙂

Daily Essentials Checklist

After having a wonderfully long conversation with Cherie this evening I realized that there are a few key components to our day that people tend to forget (myself included) and I got to thinking and have complied this list of essentials for daily life – aka things I believe are important to do/remember/think about during the day.

1. Pray.  I don’t think I could say this enough.  Prayer is the most powerful weapon we have in our lives and we need to remember to do it daily, especially on days when we don’t have time for it.  Think that’s contradictory?  It’s not.  When we are overwhelmed and stressed and don’t have time for anything we really need God the most.  God is the one who is in control and by reaching out to Him we will attain the peace we need in our day.  Which brings me to number 2…

2. God has a plan for each and every one of us.  This seems so matter of fact but you know the saying “If you want to make God laugh, make plans”?  It’s absolutely true.  Plans change; people change; things happen; we are never in control – God is.

3. We can do all things through Christ.  God has a plan for us.  Sometimes we may think we cannot handle His plan, but He would never give us anything we cannot handle.  He knows us better than we know ourselves which means He knows what we can handle.  But what He also knows is that we can’t handle it without Him.  We need to “let go and let God” a lot more.  Give Him our struggles, our insecurities, our crosses to bear.  He is so much better equipped to handle it which is why we need to remember to pray (see #1).

4. Take a breather.  We need to allow time for ourselves every once in awhile.  Find something that you can do to relieve the stresses of a busy day like painting,

painting really helps me

painting really helps me

or reading, or playing a game, or watching tv or singing, or dancing, or exercising…anything you love and that makes you happy that can bring you away from what you’re experiencing, but also helps you work through it.  This could also be prayer or spiritually related.  It can be anything you want it to be!  Get creative, think outside the box!  (leave suggestions in the comments)

5. Talk to a loved one.  Again, this can be God, prayer counts as talking to a loved one…NEVER forget that God loves YOU.  He gave up His only son for me and for you and nothing could ever replace that.  For some of us though, talking to a family member or friend can be extremely relaxing and helpful and a good way to relieve the stress of the day as well.

You Are Loved!

You Are Loved!

This is a short beginning to the list and I invite everyone to add other suggestions in the comments.  It is so important that we keep each other in our prayers as well and remember that God is there for us and we are there for each other.  Feel free to call or email me if you ever need to talk!!

God Bless, Juli

Confidently.Catholic@gmail.com