Friday, October 29, 2010

Our Church and Parish

While Kris was living here in Bradenton during his bachelor days he attended Mass at St. Martha in downtown Sarasota. The Church is small and close to his work which made it very convenient for him on a Sunday morning to fulfill his obligation and make it to work on time. When I finally moved to Bradenton after we were married, we prayerfully considered whether we would stay registered at St. Martha or find a Church that was closer to home. I had been to St. Martha several times during my many visits to Bradenton over the years. I loved the Church. It is a small intimate Church right in the middle of downtown Sarasota. It was filled with history and beauty. I loved the pastor, Fr. Fausto. I always loved his homilies and they way he drew in the children during Mass. The one thing that was missing were the ministries for me to get involved. Over the past few years I have had a devotion and commitment to fostering the faith of young adults in our Church. I knew that there was no young adult ministry at St. Martha and the one that was here in the area was no longer active. I had also been very active in the Catholic Charismatic Renewal through the Diocese of Orlando. I had an active prayer group at Holy Family the former parish where I was a member and where we were married. There was not a prayer group at St. Martha where I could praise and worship and pray on a weekly basis. I was longing to find a Church that had both active ministries that we both get involved in and eventually our whole family.

St. Martha Catholic Church, Sarasota, FL
St. Martha Catholic Church right in the heart of downtown Sarasota

During our first few months of marriage, we searched many different parishes in the area. We had tried to attend Mass at St. Martha regularly but searched other Church bulletins for ministries where we could get involved as a couple. I was able to find a couple of prayer groups at two different Churches. One prayer group was at Incarnation Church in Sarasota. The other prayer group was at St. Joseph Church in Bradenton. I attended both groups regularly for a few months but still had not found a parish to call home. I liked both groups but Incarnation was just too far and St. Joseph had a smaller group than what I was used to. We continued to pray and search for a Church that we both could call home.

We kept searching for young adult groups but did not see any information regarding young adult ministry in any of the bulletins. We were starting to consider becoming involved in youth ministry and hope that the young adults who led the youth would be interested in starting a young adult ministry. I was a bit hesitant on the idea as I had previously had an unfortunate experience when I was a youth minister. Unfortunately, it had left a bitter taste and I was not able to move past the experience. I was afraid it would happen again and I did not want that to leave another sour taste and lead me to draw away from Church and the ministries that I do love. We continued to try to attend Mass at St. Martha and search for the ministry that I was so in desperate need.

During our early months of marriage, we also had been researching NFP instructors so that we could learn the proper method and begin to practice it for times it is necessary to prevent pregnancy. I had called the diocese and they gave of the name of the couple in our diocese who teaches NFP. We were lucky enough that Ryan and Afra Beggy lived right here in Bradenton and we would not have to travel very far to learn about NFP. I was excited to make my first phone call to them. In my conversations with both Ryan and Afra, I learned that they were also the head of a young adult ministry at St. Joseph Church. I was so excited to hear that there was the ministry which I had been looking for since I moved to Bradenton. We had wanted to try and meet with them but had so many conflicts early on that we just could not coordinate our schedule. It was at this time we continued to prayerfully consider if St. Joseph was going to be the parish where we would finally call home. I had already been attending prayer group and now there was young adult and NFP through this parish. It was slowly becoming more evident that this was going to be the place where we would call home.

St. Joseph Catholic Church, Bradenton, FL
Over the next few months, I continued to attend prayer group at St. Joseph and we were able to meet a couple of times with the young adult group. We met several young married couples with young children in the young adult group. I was starting to get more and more excited just thinking of our children someday growing up with these other children and in this faith community. We even learned that St. Joseph offered Dave Ramsey's class Financial Peace University. This was yet another ministry we were hoping to get involved with during our marriage. After several weeks of attending Mass at St. Joseph, we finally decided that we would call it home.

St. Joseph young adult group t-shirt

After registering at St. Joseph, we learned of the Church mission on stewardship. I was eager to attend all three nights and learn more about what kind of ministries and stewardship our new parish had planned. During the mission, I became even more excited that St. Joseph was trying to ignite a new stewardship program in their parish. I finally had found a Church that we both could call home where we can become active members and raise our children in a loving Church family. We are both excited to get in on the ground level of St. Joseph's stewardship program. As young adults, we know that we will be the core of the Church in the future. We are excited as a young married couple to get our family involved in Church stewardship from the very start even before children. Twenty years from now I want our entire family active and excited about being stewards of our faith and Church.

We still love St. Martha Church. They offer 4 different times for daily Mass and Confession every day including two times on Saturday. We still go there for daily Mass at times before Kris has to be at work or for special occasions. We will always have a special place in our hearts for St. Martha Church and Fr. Fausto.

Thank you St. Joseph Church for being the Church family for us. We pray that we will grow as a couple and a family with your Church. We hope to be part of your family for a long time to come.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Lessons through cooking: Potato Pancakes

Before I got married I never thought of myself as a good cook. As a young child and teenager I even had difficulty cooking a simple frozen pizza without burning either the pizza or myself and sometimes even both. I often tried new recipes that just did not come out like the pictures I saw or the way I had seen others make them. I continued with my college food staples for a long time as they were simple and I had a decreased chance of burning the food, myself, and even the house down.

When Kris and I were engaged last year, I realized that my current food staples although filling and satisfying were not going to be a healthy choice in the long run to feed and take care of our family. I also realized that cooking for our family would become my responsibility. I had to start to make some changes in the way I ate and what I cooked. I did want to start cooking fancy meals as I knew Kris was not into fancy meals or even fancy dining. I knew he enjoyed more of the comfort foods so I became an expert at cooking comfort foods with a healthier twist. I tried to learn to make meals from a box without using the boxed meals.

I get my basic recipes from various Internet websites such as or Even websites such as offer simple and healthy alternatives to familiar comfort foods that we both enjoy. The recipes are simple and do not take much time to prepare or cook although it does take me some time to prepare recipes or meals I have never tried. They are not the fancy recipes found on other websites such as I am not opposed to using other sites but I find the recipes more complicated than what I need. I do not follow the recipes to the letter but I use them as a basic guideline. I tweak each recipe as needed every time I make it. Each dish comes out different every time I make it. I cannot seem to cook something the same way twice. I am very fortunate to have a willing guinea pig to try each new recipe with an open mind and heart. Kris loves that he gets a new dish every once in a while and he has not complained (much) since we have been married. I do not think he has eaten this well since his childhood days. There have been a lot of changes since eating frozen meals, Ramen noodles, or eating out during his bachelor days.

I often like to try new recipes when I have to use foods before they spoil. Kris is very big on not wasting any food. He makes sure to save or eat every bit of food on the table at every meal. He will even eat the last few bites on my plate so there is nothing that goes to waste. He likes to consider himself a bit of an environmentalist since reading an article online.

I decided on potato pancakes for today's recipe since we had a few potatoes that I was afraid might spoil in the next few days.They turned out to be more like potato cakes rather than pancakes but Kris enjoyed them. When Kris is happy then I am a happy wife.

Potato pancakes which came out more like flat potato cakes

I learned a few lessons today in making my potato (pan)cakes. Lessons that I think will make me a better cook and an even better wife and Mom someday.

Lessons learned through cooking:

1. A little flour goes a LONG way.
2. A little salt does NOT go a long way.
3. A big mess is not as a big mess that we think it is when it is all cleaned and put away.

I still do not consider myself a good cook but I know that I have a satisfied and happy husband who does not want for food.
Click the link to see basic recipe that I followed to make my potato (pan)cakes today.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010



Outside my window... It is an incredibly warm and sunny day. Highs are in the upper 80s and feels in the 90s. It certainly does not feel like a fall day at all.

I am thinking... about what the future has in store and the unknown. I am not sure I want to know what is to come in the near and not so distant future. There are so many uncertainties that I am not sure I want to know right now. I am not sure I am prepared for any heartache or heartbreak that may (or may not) be associated with the unknown.

I am thankful for...
the many blessings and graces in life that come from the old and new friends in our lives. They are such true blessings and I am grateful that each one is in my life.

From the kitchen... I can see that there is much tidying and cleaning needed to be done. I am blessed that there is always food on our table and we do not want for food to feed our physical hunger.

I am wearing... comfortable clothing. I am blessed that we have clothes on our back and do not want for clothing.

I am creating...
together with my husband a home. I am blessed that we have a sturdy roof over our heads and do not want for shelter.

I am going... to attend the Church mission on stewardship this week so I can learn how to be a better steward of God and our faith.

I am reading... The Song of Songs. I am fascinated by the love story portrayed in the Bible. It is a description from God of the sacredness and the depth of married union. It shows how our marriage to our Earthly spouse can prepare us for our marriage to the Lamb. It can be interpreted in terms of the union between Christ and the Church and even more specifically of the union of Christ and the individual soul.

I am hoping praying... for those who are hungry, for those who are naked, and for those who are homeless. May their prayers be joined with ours and they no longer know want for food, clothing, or shelter especially the children around the world who are lacking in the basic necessities to live.

I am hearing...
the sound of the branches from our Areca palms across our bedroom window and roof. And to think one of them appeared dead after last year’s winter freeze. They are both growing out of control and need much pruning.

Around the house... there are many things that need to be tidied and cleaned. There is still much work to be done to continue to make our house into a home but we are both working together (inside and outside the home) to make create a home.

One of my favorite things... All the aspects of the miracle of life -- the sound of babies laughing, the grip of babies hands, the calm of babies sleeping, the soft touch of babies cheeks, the joy of life living.

A few plans for the rest of the week:

Tuesday & Wednesday: Church mission
Thursday: Prayer group
This weekend: Early voting, First Halloween in our new home

Here is picture for thought I am sharing...

Our cat Gracie

This is our cat Gracie Mae K...

...being lazy.

...helping with the laundry.

...and taking care of Mommy when she is sick.
The Simple Woman's Daybook is a brief outline for women/mothers who blog to use as a way to compose thoughts, plan the week, and keep a grateful heart. It is typically published once a week on Tuesdays.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Prime examples

"I found him whom my heart loves. I took hold of him and would not let him go." - excerpt from Song of Songs 3: 4

Kris and I are so blessed to have not one but two prime examples of a good marriage. We are fortunate that both our parents have been married for over 30 years and shown us through their experiences what it takes to make a marriage work. Both of our families have endured many struggles over the years but they have worked through it all with the help of faith and trust in God. They love their spouses tenderly and completely. They give generously to their children and grandchildren. They continue to provide for their family when they are in need. They have taught us both how to be a better spouse. We are fortunate to have them in our lives as they continue to be the example to us.

Parents of the bride
Parents of the groom
Mom and Dad celebrated 39 years of marriage on  October 23
Mom and Dad celebrated 40 years of marriage on August 15
There is almost 120 years total of marriage experience between the three couples here. It is more than a lifetime but we are grateful for the example that they have shown us.
Thank you to our parents for being examples to us in our new marriage. We are so blessed to have both of your in our lives.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010


For Today

(Posted one day late on Wednesday)

Outside my window... is a very nice sunny day. A run your errands on your bike ride kind of day
I am thinking... Wow! What a very nice week it has been! I am so blessed that God has turned things around and things are looking positive again.

I am thankful for... a wonderful husband who loves me and takes care of me.

From the kitchen... new dishes are being made again.

I am wearing... comfortable biking clothing including comfy sweats, a tee shirt, and my Chucks. 

I am creating... the scrapbook of us again. I have only completed a few pages. It is so much fun to reminisce about our days together.

I am going went... to the post office nearby on my bike.

I am reading... my NFP workbook and Jodi Picoult House Rules.

I am hoping praying... blessings for my parents who celebrate 39 years of marriage on October 23 and healing for my Mom.

I am hearing... the stillness and quiet in the house and suspicious of what the cat might be up to.

Around the house... there is more work to be done but I feel no pressure to get it all done today or even this week. There is plenty of time for more housework. It all will get done eventually and then have to be done again.

One of my favorite things... nice bike rides where you can hear the wind rushing and see the beauty that God created.

A few plans for the rest of the week:

Thursday: A drive to St. Petersburg to visit with my brother-in-law Paul and my mother-in-law and father-in-law. I am looking forward to a competitive game of canasta with my in-laws (or in-loves as Valli Leone referred to them at the Charismatic conference on Saturday)
Friday: Cheap Date Night with my husband
Saturday: Scrapbooking
This weekend: Early voting

Here are picture for thoughts I am sharing...

 Pictures with my parents and family from our April wedding in honor of their 39th wedding anniversary on October 23.

The newlyweds with the Mendoza family
The newlyweds with Mom & Dad Mendoza
The bride and her parents
The bride and her dad
The bride and her Mom
A tender moment between the bride and her Dad
The Simple Woman's Daybook is a brief outline for women/mothers who blog to use as a way to compose thoughts, plan the week, and keep a grateful heart. It is typically published once a week on Tuesdays.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Personal Date Night

Sometimes in a marriage a husband and wife need some time away from one another. Time to do the things that they enjoy doing by themselves. I have hungered for this time alone since we have been married and I moved here. I have not found the time to take this needed break. Every time I have tried to plan such a date night for myself something has happened to hinder me from being able to do it. Today I really needed it and I finally made available time.

We are very fortunate to have a Starbucks close to our home. It is a very short drive. Instead of a short drive I decided on a nice bike ride.

My bike Serena
I gathered the things I needed. I packed some reading material and my phone. I geared up and hopped on my bike. It was a nice 10 minute bike ride down to the Starbucks nearby.

My bike packed and all ready to take me on my date
I purchased my cup of coffee and a small bite to eat.

My toffee mocha frappacino and blueberry streusel muffin
I set up my reading material.

My NFP workbook and a book by my one of my favorite authors
I hooked up my phone to the headphones.

My cellphone which doubles as an MP3 player
I was able to get a lot of reading done.

My date for the evening
Toward the end of the night just before sunset I was able to talk to a very good friend and talk about some things that have been on my heart and mind the last few days.

After the I got off the phone with her, I saw that the sun was setting to the west just behind me. It was such a beautiful sight to see. The weather was just perfect. I came out to the patio just at the right time.

The sun setting over SR 70
I could not think of a better way to end the night.

Watching the sunset
It was such a beautiful sight!

Thank you Lord for this time much needed time alone.

The orange glow shone on my books and phone was so beautiful.
An amazing sight to see



Outside my window... it appears to be a bright and sunny day. I wish it was just as bright and sunny inside and things were going better than they really are.

I am thinking... that it just has to get better soon. It has to get better sooner than later. It cannot be like this for too much longer. We have to have hit the very bottom of this particular cycle that we can start climbing up again very soon.

I am thankful for... great family and friends but so sad that they are too far. :-(

From the kitchen... there has not been much going on lately.

I am wearing... comfortable clothing in hopes that I can take a walk to clear my mind and release some of this stress.

I am creating... a blog to help me remember the events of our marriage even if they are not so good. I hope to remind myself of the hard times when times are good and the good times when times are not going as well as we want and hope. I hope that this gives me encouragement to keep on pushing forward and know that this too will pass.

I am (not) going... very far in the next few days.

I am reading...
not enough these days and wish I could get back into it. I find such peace and comfort when I get lost in the world of a book.

I am hoping praying... for a full recovery for my brother-in-law Paul and for brighter and better days for us all.

I am hearing... the sound of yard work being done several houses away and the cat’s meow.

Around the house... there is a lot of work to be done but I just do not have the energy and strength to get it all done.

One of my favorite things... is having a personal date night. It is just a book, a cup of coffee,  mobile Internet and me. We have the best time ever. I like to hear the sounds of people talking. I like going to a new place every time and seeing life through the eyes of each character when I read a book.

A few plans for the rest of the week:

I hope to find some personal time to enjoy a few of the things that I like to do by myself. I hope to find some time to rest and relax and relieve some of the unwanted and unneeded stress that has been building up.

Here is picture for thought I am sharing...

My last personal date nite with coffee, a book, and my mobile phone (July 2009, Borders Cafe, Ocoee, FL)

My book

My coffee (Frozen S'mores coffee drink)

My phone (and Internet access)

My date for the night
 I am looking forward to another date like this VERY soon!!!!!!!

Please pray that it gets better. Please pray for my brother-in-law Paul and his wife Nikki who are facing some very difficult challenges right now.
The Simple Woman's Daybook is a brief outline for women/mothers who blog to use as a way to compose thoughts, plan the week, and keep a grateful heart. It is typically published once a week on Tuesdays.

Monday, October 11, 2010


When the day seems to be going rough and you seemed to have lost all hope, remember to count your blessings rather than the trials and struggles you are facing. You will realize soon enough that the good always outweighs the bad.

Here are a few quotes I found to remind  and inspire us to count our daily blessings.

Count your blessings instead of your crosses;
Count your gains instead of your losses.
Count your joys instead of your woes;
Count your friends instead of your foes.
Count your smiles instead of your tears;
Count your courage instead of your fears.
Count your full years instead of your lean;
Count your kind deeds instead of your mean.
Count your health instead of your wealth;
Count on God instead of yourself.
Author Unknown

Reflect upon your present blessings, of which every man has plenty; not on your past misfortunes of which all men have some.
Charles Dickens

Every positive thing in your life represents a single unique blessing. Every negative thing in your life has the opportunity to become a double blessing. For when you turn a negative into a positive, you gain twice. You are no longer burdened with the negative situation, and in addition to that you are strengthened by a new positive force.
Ralph Marston

There are no mistakes, no coincidences, all events are blessings given to us to learn from.
Elisabeth Kubler-Ross

We need deliberately to call to mind the joys of our journey. Perhaps we should try to write down the blessings of one day. We might begin; we could never end; there are not pens or paper enough in all the world.
George A. Buttrick

The hardest arithmetic to master is that which enables us to count our blessings.
Eric Hoffer

Despite all the trial, struggles, and obstacles that have come our way today and throughout the last 6 months, I know that the blessings we have in our lives truly outweigh all the evils we have faced at any given point in time. We are grateful for the blessings of family and friends in our lives to get us through the rough spots.

Thank you Lord for giving us the strength, courage, and endurance to face and defeat all the evils that come our way. Keep watch over us and our Guardian Angels who work extra hard on days like today to keep us safe and protect us from harm. Amen.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

The best roller coaster ride

I have always been a pretty big fan of roller coasters. I love to sit in the very front so I am one of the first ones to see and experience what is to come next. I love when they creep up to the very top and then drop and turn the corner at super speeds. I love loops and turning upside down. The twists and turns get my adrenaline pumping. I love the fast speeds. After about a minute and  half when it is all said and done, I want to do it all over again.

One of my favorite roller coasters at Busch Gardens - The Montu

The last 6 months of marriage have been similar to some roller coasters I have ridden in the past. There have been some very high highs and some pretty low lows. We have done a few loops back and forth only to push forward to the next obstacle and twist and turn. We turned loops and thought we were heading the wrong way only to get turned around in the right direction again. We have hit lows and climbed back to the top so slowly that we never thought we would ever get there again. We could hear time passing like the clicking on a roller coaster. Once we hit the top, we plummeted again to very bottom only to turn the corner at a super high speed.

The (still) newlyweds 6 months later

We know that there are many twists, turns, loops, drops and climbs ahead of us in our marriage but we ride in the back row this time. We let God be the driver. He is there in front of us to show us and guide us along the way. There is no loop that He will not turn around for us. There is no drop too far that He cannot pull us to the top again. He takes each fall with us and pulls us quickly around the corners. As we twist and turn, He is there to make straight the path.

This is one roller coaster I never want to get off and one I surely will ride again and again with you my love.

Happy half anniversary my love!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Happy husband

Sirach 26: 1-4
1 Happy the husband of a good wife,
    twice-lengthened are his days;

2 A worthy wife brings joy to her husband,
   peaceful and full is his life.

3 A good wife is a generous gift
     upon him who fears the Lord;

4 Be he rich or poor, his heart is content,
    and a smile is ever on his face. 

I am proud to say that this is my happy husband. I just love that smile!

In the nine years we have been together, I have never seen him happier
It was a very long day but even after it was all said and done he was still happy!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Landscape Art

My husband had been asking me for several weeks to come and join in the yard. I would always find a reason not to go out. It was just way too hot to be out there for longer than 5 minutes in the blazing sun. I found myself extremely tired and exhausted after even just a short walk to the mailbox. I just could not see myself pulling weeds on my hands and knees. My husband had so kindly been taking care of all the yard work he could just about handle on his own. Things were looking better but it certainly has turned out to be more work than one can do by themselves. I knew eventually I would have to venture out in the sun to help him create our landscape.

Today could  not have been a better day to start. The weather was just perfect for yard work. The sun beat down but it remained nice and cool until almost noon. A cool 71 degrees and plenty of shade to pull some weeds in a couple of the flowerbeds in the front and along the walk. I was able to pull some of the weeds which had detracted from much of the beauty that had begun to bloom in our yard. I even decided to name some of the plants. Giving them a name has helped me to want to get out there and keep up with the yard work. Kris kept up with his edging and even pulled the weeds that had begun to grow in the cracks of the driveway.

It was a nice day to work on the landscaping alongside my husband. I am so glad we had this chance to work together to make the outside of our home start to look like a home.

Here are some pictures of the the plants out in our yard.

The Bougainvillea

The bougainvillea before it started to bloom
The bougainvillea after it started to bloom. I decided to name it Bogey.

Some of the blooms

Bogey in bloom

Unfortunately, something has started to eat the leaves
 The Allamanda

The allamanda before it started to bloom
The allamanda after it started to bloom. I decided to name it Amanda.

Some of the blooms.
Amanda in bloom.

The Queen Palms

Our queen palms. I decided to name them Regina and Reina.

The oak tree

The oak tree in our backyard behind the fence. His name is Oakley.