Friday, July 15, 2011

Wow! I'm a Top Blogger!

So, I'm a LITTLE late on the uptake, but thanks to one of my lovely readers who told me in a comment, I'm so excited to announce that I made the Top 30 Stay-at-Home Mom Blogs on, as did a few of my friends! I have to say, I was so surprised and SO HAPPY to be chosen! And I loved the way they described me: 
The Virginia foodie mama who writes under the pen name CA blogs about life with her husband and daughter Gemma and Catholic daily living interlaced with meals, recipes and snacks. Follow her obsession with food vs. her determined diet.

Insert insanely red, blushing cheeks. But for the record, CA really isn't a pen name! My full name is Carol Ann but I've always gone by my initials for as long as I can remember. 
Anyway, I'm heading back over to that list so I can check out more of those awesome blogs. You should all do the same! Hope you have a fantastic weekend :)

#ff63e0 Smart and Trendy Moms

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Let Us Be a Comfort to One Another

You ever notice how life tends to produce cycles? You get a call from a friend telling you she's engaged and then later on Facebook, you see seven other couples you know who recently got engaged. Same with babies. There's never just one woman you know who's pregnant. It's always in a cluster. I seriously know so many preggo mamas right now!

Sadly, though, another cycle life seems to be in right now is hardship and tragedy. It seems everywhere I look, I'm reading or hearing about some deeply upsetting tragedy or some seemingly unyielding hardship someone is going through. Not just on the news, but close to home as well... bloggy moms I know, acquaintances of mine, dear friends to me, and close family members. Whether it be murder, accidental death, terminal illness, financial distress, or various health-related burdens... it's clear that there is an abundance of suffering in our world.

I'm no great mystic or philosopher. Often, when someone shares their troubles with me, I feel so at a loss for words. Sometimes all I can do is just sit there and cry with that person, and hope that my tears are of some comfort to them; that they may at least know they aren't suffering alone. We have all had our share of difficulties in our lives, and I'm no different. I've been through all kinds of crazy things, and endured a lot of pain. But the key word in that sentence was 'through'. I've been through these difficulties, and each time I get over to the other side of them, I know that I am a stronger, wiser person because of it.
I think women in particular have a special way of reaching out to one another in hard times. It's ironic because we live in a society which is actually quite hostile towards authentic friendship, particularly female friendship. It seems our society would much rather portray the ideas and images of women in competition with one another, such as on The Bachelor, or women in conflict with one another, such as on the many versions of The Real Housewives. These images are sad to me, because they do so much damage to the truth and the beauty of authentic female friendship, which is such a rewarding and worthwhile type of relationship. 

So I think what I'm trying to say is, Women - let's take off our "petty-coats" and, in imitation of our sweet Lady, don a mantle of grace, love, and compassion. Let us be a comfort to one another. 
If you are experiencing some difficulty in your life right now, I know that it is so easy to despair and how tempting it may be to give in to the misery.But just know that you will come through this, and as you fight your way through to the other side of it, know that you are not alone.

I'll leave this post with the words from our beautiful sister and intercessor in Heaven.
May her words be a comfort to you in hard times, and a reminder to us all of what is truly important:

Let nothing disturb you.
Let nothing dismay you.
All thing are passing.
God never changes.
Patience attains all that it strives for.
He who has God finds he lacks nothing.
God alone suffices. 

- St. Teresa of Avila

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Things. Have. Happened!

Helllllllloooo!! (Mrs. Doubtfire voice). 
I dunno... I just felt like saying that.

Anyway, it is so totally update time. I'm going to make this fast though because honestly, details can be boring and my attention span is short. So, first of all, my surgery went as smoothly as we could have hoped for, and I am recovering really well. So in a few weeks, this will all be a distant memory! Thank you all so, so, so, so, so much for your prayers and support during that time. I am so grateful to God for seeing me through that.

Secondly, it's official. I am now a resident of Virginia!! The move went off without a hitch. Well, actually, we did need a hitch to tow our car. But other than that one necessary hitch, it was an otherwise totally hitchless event. Our new home is absolutely gorgeous, and every morning, when I look outside, I have to remind myself that I actually LIVE here. I keep thinking I'm just visiting or on vacation or something. We live right on the river, and yes, it's time for pictures. Pardon the mess... we just moved, people! ;)

Hubby and Gem outside the house. Back of the house.

Fam room area
Dining room area. Hubs working on his brand new computer. Kitchen in the background.

Okay, so now that you can see a little sneak-peak of the kitchen back there, let me just talk about that for a minute. I am .OBSESSED. with my new kitchen. Seriously. Sometimes I just go in there to hang out. Stare at the inside of my oven. Wash my hands. Caress the counter-top. Just kidding about that last part. ...not really. But anyway, it's a brand new kitchen. Fresh new tile. All new energy-efficient appliances. New cupboards. Granite counter-tops. Gigantic stainless steel sink. Seriously, you could probably give a baby elephant a bath in there. Possibly even an adolescent elephant. 

Yes, it's raining outside, but no one can rain on my parade of kitchen joy. It's just beautiful.

And it is a really huge room... I may add an island in here at some point. Right now, I just have some extra shelving and random stuff going on over there, but hey. At least there are sombreros.

I also really need to get curtains in this kitchen asap because it's so creepy at night when you can't see out and have a ridiculous imagination like I do. I'm pretty sure I've already envisioned roughly 17 different stalker/axe murderer/lunatic clown scenarios while standing in the kitchen at night.

Okay, so I've been holding out on you. As gorgeous as the kitchen is, it doesn't even come close to the beauty that is our backyard. Our backyard is a river. The Lafayette River to be exact. This is the view from the back door of our house. (Which is the kitchen door, which means I get to look out to the river a million times a day as I hang out in my awesome kitchen.)
Sunset. Picnic table compliments of my FIL.
The dock! And seriously, I'm not exaggerating... this picture was taken from the threshold of our back door. 

So it's almost impossible for me to stop taking pictures out here. Especially at sunset!! What's really cool about this is that the water is brackish which makes for extremely fertile breeding ground for all different types of fishes. We hear the fishing and crabbing off this dock is top notch. So operation buy a fishing pole will very soon commence. 

Lots of geese, ducks, and cranes out on this river.
Here comes a goose to say hi to my family!
I don't even have to edit these pictures, it's just that gorgeous out here.
Me and my little Gem. She's waving hi to all of you, beautiful readers!
So the other really cool thing about where we live on the river is that directly across from us is the zoo! Which is cool for a few different reasons:
1. No one will ever build a house over there so our view will always just be all those trees, which makes it look so awesome and naturey all the time.
2. Sometimes you can hear random animal noises and you get to play the game of guess which animal made that noise!
3. Maybe they will let me babysit an adolescent elephant some time so I can really see just how big my kitchen sink really is. Ya think?

Hope you all had a fantastic holiday weekend! I know Gemma enjoyed herself. Rocky and I were making s'mores, turned our backs on her for 5 seconds to roast our mallows, and I turned around to this glorious sight:
Of course I had to get a picture of her mischief before we hosed her sticky self off.
It was also 97 degrees out, so we justified this activity as serving a dual-purpose.
And Gemma loved every minute of it.
Once again, thank you all for your love and prayers for my family during this transition period. Praise God for bring us to this beautiful new home! We are so looking forward to our new life and ministry here.

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