Monday, March 19, 2012

happy st. joseph's day!

St. Joseph is regarded as the Patron of the Catholic Church for the Church is the Holy Family extended in the course of centuries.  St. Joseph watches over children with a loving care as he guarded and cared for the Infant Savior. He protects families because he was the head of the greatest family that ever existed.  He also loves workers because even if he came from the royal house of David, he worked as a carpenter to support the Holy Family.  He protects virgins because he himself had a virginal heart, his wife was a Virgin.  He is also the patron of those who rejoice and suffer because his own heart experienced seven joys and seven sorrows.  He is even the patron of exiles since he spent seven years with Jesus and Mary in a foreign land.  He is invoked for a happy and holy death since he died in the arms of Jesus and Mary. 
A novena is often said to St. Joseph when someone is trying to sell a home.  This famous (and successful) ritual is said to aid in the swift sale of homes.  The procedure for this ritual is to obtain a small statue of St. Joseph (sold in most gift stores.)  Make a hole in the ground that is large enough to bury the statue vertically.  Place the statue upside down in the ground.  Face the upside down statue TOWARDS the home that is to be sold.  For nine consecutive days, pray the St. Joseph Novena.  Once the home is sold, remove the statue from the ground.  Display the statue in a place of honor in the new home.

In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen. 
Come to my aid, O God, O Lord, make haste to help me. 
Almighty God, Father of mercies and giver of all good gifts,
I come before you to honor you in your saints
and ask their help in my many needs.
You promised those who ask, would receive,
those who seek, would find,
those who knock, would have doors opened.
Hear the prayers of your church, grant my requests
and pardon my sins. 
St Joseph, just and true, with a father's care
you raised the child Jesus,
and with a husband's love,
you shared your life with Mary, his mother.
I entrust myself to your care and place in your hands
this request of mine (say request)
In quiet Nazareth, long ago, the Holy Spirit spoke to your heart
and you followed God's will with wonderful faith.
In the quiet of my days, and in the hard choices I must make,
help me follow the Spirit's guidance
and believe when I cannot see.

Day 1:  Oh God, guide of those who listen and helper of those who hear your voice, speak to me, as you did to St. Joseph, and help me accomplish the things you give me to do.

Day 2:  O God, you love your people and bless the ordinary lives we quietly live. As you blessed St. Joseph, bless what I do, however hidden and simple it may be, and let all I do be done with love.

Day 3:  O God, ever faithful, you remember us always and in time reveal your blessings.  Help me trust in you,  as St. Joseph faithfully trusted, and never let me lose faith in the wonderful gifts you promised me.

Day 4:  God of families, bless the family that's mine.  Keep us safe from harm, and never let evil come between us.  Let peace remain in our hearts.

Day 5:  O God, who loves children, be kind to our children today. Give them eyes of faith for seeing far, a loving heart for welcoming life, and a place always at your side.

Day 6:  God of our heavenly home, bless our home on earth. Let the spirit of Mary and Joseph rest at our table, shape our words and actions,and bring blessing to our children.

Day 7:  God, our Father, give your fatherly spirit to those who are fathers now. Like Joseph, give them hearts of devoted love for their wives and children and strength for forgiveness and patience.

Day 8:  Give shelter, O God, to those who need it, and bring together families divided. Give us enough to eat, and decent work to earn our bread. Care for us, O God.

Day 9:  Bless all families, O Lord, especially those in need. Remembering the life of Your Son, we pray for the poor, for those who lack a good home, for those in exile. Grant them a protector like Joseph, O God.

As with most novenas, conclude each day reciting Our Father, Hail May and Glory Be.
In the 1890s - 1930s, the waves of Polish and Italian immigrants were faced with a largely Irish Roman Catholic clergy that was unsympathic to a group of peoples they considered inferior, primitive and overly superstitious.  So Poles and Italians created their own Polish and Italian churches, importing priests from the old country and creating schools that preserved the language and traditions. 

Not to be outdone by the huge celebrations of St. Patrick's Day on March 17, St. Joseph's Day, just two days later on March 19, became a chance for Poles and Italians to express their ethnic pride with the wearing of the red, a color that appears in both countries' flags, and huge feasts known as St. Joseph's Tables. 

For Poles, many parishes hold these banquets in the church hall with tables decorated in red and white, a statue or holy cards of St. Joseph, flowers and a donation bowl for the needy. 
fava bean sprout

This is a big Feast for Italians because in the Middle Ages, God, through St. Joseph's intercessions, saved the Sicilians from a very serious drought.  After Mass, a big altar is laden with food contributed by everyone such as minestrone, pasta with breadcrumbs (the breadcrumbs symbolize the sawdust that would have covered St. Joseph's floor), Sfinge di San Giuseppe (St. Joseph's cream puffs);seafood; and always fava beans, which are considered lucky because during the drought, the fava thrived while other crops failed. 

The table, which is always blessed by a priest, will be in three tiers, symbolizing the Most Holy Trinity.  The top tier will hold a statue of St. Joseph surrounded by flowers and greenery.  The other tiers might hold the food; flowers (especially lilies); candles; figurines and symbolic breads and pastries shaped like chalices, fishes, doves, baskets, St. Joseph's staff, lilies, the Sacred and Immaculate Hearts, carpentry tools; 12 fishes symbolizing the 12 Apostles; wine symbolizing the miracle at Cana; pineapple symbolizing hospitality; lemons for luck; bread and wine symbolizing the Last Supper; and pictures of the dead.  There will also be a basket in which the faithful place prayer petitions. 

The cry "Viva la tavola di San Guise!" begins the feasting and is heard throughout the day.  When the eating is done, the St Joseph's altar is mashed and three children dressed as the Holy Family will knock on three doors asking for shelter.  They will be refused at the first two, and welcomed at the third, in memory of the Holy Family's seeking of hospitality just before Christ was born.  This re-enactment is called "Tupa Tupa"  meaning "Knock Knock."
The day ends with each participant taking home a bag that might be filled with bread, fruit, pastries, cookies, a medal of St. Joseph, a Holy Card and a blessed fava bean.  Keep your lucky bean and let it remind you to pray to St. Joseph. xo

Saturday, March 17, 2012

happy st. patty's day!

Everything turns green for this occasion and Mother Nature is really nudging things along sooner than later.  We have enjoyed gorgeous record-breaking weather after a mild winter in these here parts.  Everyone is smiling and good-natured, and happy to be out and about.  The jonquils and magnolias are already blooming as the robins frolock in the garden.  One can't help but smile and hold gratitude for these little blessings. 
We have much to be grateful for as the wedding of our firstborn swiftly approaches and tuxedos are being fitted, updos and airbrush appointments are secured and soon we will toast to another Mr. and Mrs. Wind.  As if that were not enough to celebrate, Dan and Darcy will enjoy living in their new digs on Bluebird within weeks and they are excitedly making preparations for the closing.  We decided to take a breather before all the hoopla and indulge in the beauty of Negril in Jamaica for a bit and visit Margaritaville and Rick's Cafe.  Steve is ardently promoting the upcoming release of the movie I Heart Shakey and tying up loose ends at school before he graduates, then finalize his living arrangements at DePaul in the fall. Some of the apartments are fabulous with fantastic views of our beloved city. Whew!  All our boys have milestones to beam about.  Soon we will have two checkmarks on our parental list. Actually, 2 1/2.  LOL.
I discovered a new-to-me recipe using Vienna corned beef for our annual St. Patrick's Day dish.  I wasn't sure how it would turn out so I made the old fashioned version as well, but to my delight, it is divine; hence, I share. 
This easy peasy recipe calls for Guinness beer and brown sugar. 
That is all!

Prep Time:  20 minutes
Cook Time:  3 hours
Serves:  4-5 people

4 lbs. whole vienna beef corned beef brisket
2 cups brown sugar
1 bottle Guinness beer

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.  Make sure corned beef is dry after you take it out of the package.  Place the brisket on a rack in an oven safe roasting pan.  Rub the brown sugar all over the brisket top and bottom ( I did this the night prior) Pour the beer into the roasting pan around the brisket, just slightly getting the sugar wet on the brisket.  Cover and place in preheated oven.  Bake for 2 hours. Add your favorite vegetables in the roasting pan.  Cover again and cook for 1 hour.  You may have to add more beer to cover the vegetables (I did not have to). Allow to rest 5 minutes before slicing. 

My old fashioned recipe is even simpler, for all you need to do is cut up and boil all the ingredients in a large stockpot for 3 hours.  As info, corned beef is made from a less-tender cut of beef, therefore, it requires long, moist cooking.  Place brisket fat side-up when cooking.  "Fork tender" is a good indication of doneness.  Note that corned beef may still be pink in color after cooking.  Allow the brisket to stand for about 5 minutes after removing from the heat to make it easier to slice.  It is best sliced diagonally across the grain of the meat.  Any corned beef left over from a meal should be refrigerated promptly and used within 3 to 4 days.

I cut 2 heads of cabbage into wedges, added bay leaves, peppercorns, one bag of carrots and one bag of red potatoes and the beef brisket, then simmered in enough water to cover everything for three hours, seasoning with salt and pepper to taste.  It is my preference to save the broth as cabbage soup is an excellent digestive cleanser. 
Instead of green beer, we'll have green river soda, a fond memory of days gone by.
Some of the kids in the neighborhood have been building this fort behind our house and it is so cute to watch them make their little nest.  It reminds me of our boys and how they spent many hours in the "echo." 

What is a blessing
but a rain of grace
falling generously
upon those who are in need;
And who among us is without need?
... May this day be a pathway strewn with blessings.
May your work this day be your love made visible.
May you breathe upon the wounds of those you live and work with.
May your breath be the breath of God.
May your own wounds feel the breath of God.
May you honor the flame of love that burns inside you.
May your voice this day be a voice of encouragement.
May your life be an answer to someone’s prayer.
May you own a grateful heart.
May you have enough joy to give you hope,
enough pain to make you wise.
May there be no room in your heart for hatred.
May you be free from violent thoughts.
When you look into the window of your soul
may you see the face of God.
May the lamp of your life shine kindly upon all who cross your path.
May you be a good memory in someone’s life today...xo

thanks to live, laugh, love and vienna beef recipes :)

Monday, March 5, 2012

I believe...

That just because two people argue,
it doesn’t mean they don’t love each other.
And just because they don’t argue,
 it doesn’t mean they do love each other.

I Believe…
That we don’t have to change friends if
we understand that friends change.
I Believe….
That no matter how good a friend is,
they’re going to hurt you every once in a while
and you must forgive them for that.
I Believe…
That true friendship continues to grow,
even over the longest distance.  
 Same goes for true love. 
  I Believe….
That you can do something in an instant
that will give you heartache for life..
I Believe…
That it’s taking me a long time
to become the person I want to be.
I Believe…
That you should always leave loved ones with loving words.
It may be the last time you see them..
I Believe…
That you can keep going
 long after you think you can’t.
I Believe…
That we are responsible for what we do,
no matter how we feel.
I Believe….
That either you control your attitude
 or it controls you.
I Believe…
That heroes are the people who do what has to be done
 when it needs to be done,
regardless of the consequences.
I Believe…
That money is a lousy way of keeping score.
I Believe…
That my best friend and I, can do anything,
 or nothing
and have the best time.
I Believe…
That sometimes the people you expect
 to kick you when you’re down,
 will be the ones to help you get back up..
I Believe…
That sometimes when I’m angry
I have the right to be angry,
but that doesn’t give me the right to be cruel.
I Believe…
That maturity has more to do with
what types of experiences you’ve had
and what you’ve learned from them
and less to do with how many birthdays you’ve celebrated.
I Believe…
That it isn’t always enough, to be forgiven by others.
Sometimes, you have to learn to forgive yourself.
I Believe…
That no matter how bad your heart is broken
the world doesn’t stop for your grief.
I Believe…
That our background and circumstances
 may have influenced who we are,
But, we are responsible for who we become.
I Believe…
That you shouldn’t be so eager to find out a secret.
 It could change your life Forever.
I Believe…
Two people can look at the exact same thing
and see something totally different.
I Believe…
That your life can be changed in a matter of hours
 by people who don’t even know you.
I Believe….
That even when you think you have no more to give,
when a friend cries out to you
– you will find the strength to help.
I Believe…
That credentials on the wall
do not make you a decent human being.
I Believe…
That the people you care about most in life
 are taken from you too soon.

I Believe…
The happiest of people don’t necessarily have the best of everything;
They just make the most of everything.
Thank you God for all the wonderful people who help us throughout our journey of life.

May Angels guard you and guide you...xo

thank you live laugh love