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We now have a new site, along with our new home and new little family.  Get all the newest posts from us now at The Barkleys!


Wedding Planning Update (Finally!)

I have never been a consistent blogger.  Or a consistent anything, except maybe a consistent lover of chocolate?  And also Lucas?  Anyway, I bring you this post to say that Lucas and I are well into wedding planning now, thanks to my dear mother and “futuristic mother-in-law,” as Lucas’s mother likes to be called, and many friends who have dedicated their time, talent, and enthusiasm to bring me out of too-many-decisions paralysis.  Invitations have not gone out yet, but they will be sent out late next week.  We are keeping our wedding pretty small, with just family and close friends.  We’re really looking forward to it, while we try to focus on preparing for the rest of our lives, not just one day.  

Updates:   Continue reading

Hosanna, Filio David!

Hello again!  It’s currently late at night on Palm Sunday, April 1 here in Roma.  This morning (after a light breakfast and the best coffee I have ever tasted), we departed early for 9:30am Mass at St. Peter’s square.  I didn’t take many pictures of the Mass, of course, because I wanted to absorb as much of it as I could, spiritually.  Looking at the world through a camera is no way to do that.  Although, picture number four in the gallery below was pretty exciting to take!  After the Mass, we walked around a bit before arriving at our lunch at Rossopomodoro, which was excellent.  Then we made our way to the crypt of St. Josemaría, where there is no photography allowed.  In other news, my broken Italian-Spanish language combo is improving, and has been useful when I need things like a restroom or some gelati.
  1. My view at Mass in St. Peter’s this morning for Palm Sunday.
  2. The ever-stylish Swiss guard uniform.
  3. Swiss Guard shoes.
  4. This is how close I was to my beloved Papa!  Must have been five feet away when he processed through the aisle after Mass.  I got to see his kind, grandfatherly smile as he reached out his hand to us as he was passing by, just seconds before I took the shot.
  5. The Museo Nazionale di Castel Saint’Angelo
  6. Just the friendly neighborhood Roman Centurion. (Rory?)
  7. Me, down by the river in front of the Angelus bridge.
  8. One of those cool exterior wall art display things that are all over the city.
  9. Street sign on the way to the Villa Sacchetti (the women’s residence, above the crypt of St. Josemaria)
  10. A puppy we passed by on the way!  He was so nice, and very eager to say hi to me!
  11. The exterior of Santa Maria del Popolo, which looks like it is kind of falling apart, but is an absolute treasure trove on the inside.
  12. The main altar at S. Maria del Popolo, which was gorgeous, but is kind of outdone by its left side altar, where there was no photography allowed (but here’s one I found online), because it is home to two original Caravaggio paintings!  (The Crucifixion of St. Peter, and the Conversion of Saint Paul on the Road to Damascus)
  13. The obelisk with heiroglyphics in the center of the Piazza del Popolo
  14. Closer look at the Latin text at the base of the obelisk
  15. Entrance to the Piazza del Popolo, as seen from the center.
  16. The cobblestone streets, which are pretty, but kill your feet, and are probably slippery when it rains.

Initials of specific intentions I prayed for at the papal Mass and various chapels today:  TLS, KJS, SMS, LEB, DAF, JCF, SLS, JLS, AL, BSL, TL, CSJ, and all my deceased family members.

Getting Ready for Roma!

I’m leaving tomorrow for my pilgrimage to Rome!!  Right now I’m packing, which obviously includes packing for my physical and academic needs, but for this particular trip also means packing my spiritual “bags” with prayer intentions of my relatives and friends that I will take with me to all the Masses we will be attending.  If you have any intentions, don’t forget to email me, or text me, or comment here if you are comfortable doing that.  As long as I have it in some written medium, your intentions will make their way to my list, and to Rome during the holiest week of the year.  I’m hoping to be able to blog every night, with stories and pictures, and if I do, I’ll include at the bottom of each post the initials of people whose intentions were remembered at Mass that day.

It is hard to live in the present when you’re engaged.

If I ever needed the ability to  focus on just one day at a time, it is now.  And yet, it is even harder than ever.  That’s because being engaged is, by definition, a state of transition.  Nobody plans to be engaged permanently.  But right now there are so many things upcoming that are really exciting, which makes me appreciate the beauty of “normal” days much less.  So I’m writing now to remind myself that the drudgery of everyday life is so important, because it is in the ordinary things that we grow, achieve, become.  By remembering always that “God is in the details,” living our everyday life well is what can make us better, even holier.  That is much easier said than done, because everyday life is so BORING and things like an upcoming conference in Rome, graduation, and wedding are so attractive!  So now as I finish this short burst of inspiration, I have to turn to face much less appealing tasks… There are papers to write, emails to send, meetings to attend, books to read.  There are other good things I would rather be doing, like playing guitar and singing and spending time with friends, but I have to sometimes sacrifice these other good things for the less palatable, more urgent ones.

Life is a constant struggle.  Good luck to you, dear reader, in yours.

Music is a Blessing

I was at an amazing concert early this evening, given by my younger brother and his friends at a local coffeeshop.  I loved all the songs, both originals and covers, and I loved seeing how much they are growing as individual musicians and as a team.  It was a joy just to watch how much they loved playing and worked hard to use their talents to make a really enjoyable concert experience.  I sat there, singing along and tapping my toes and generally having a good time, and then I realized:  I’m sitting here listening to these amazing amateur musicians, while I am two months away from a degree in music.  I could totally be doing this too.  People all around me are having the time of their lives making music.  My brother, my mom, my cousin, my grandfather, my friends, my fiancé…  And I only make music when I have to (like in concert band for school), and then I complain about it.  What is wrong with this picture?  I used to really love it.  And there are moments, few and far between, when I do.  But for the most part, it has become a job, a chore.  I wouldn’t necessarily say I’m “burned out” with music…I just need to rediscover it.  Besides, I want to be in love with music to pass that on to my children someday.  From now on, I’m going to try to find more opportunities to make music with my friends and family.  This means more singing along while Lucas plays piano, trying to get in some more piano lessons with him, playing flute duets with my flute friends, practicing guitar more, and randomly playing in hallways and sidewalks more.  Maybe I should try forcing myself to carry it around everywhere with me for a week.  I’ll also try to make some videos and post them here.  There!  by telling you readers (if there are any of you yet), I have a promise to uphold.  :)  Here’s to more music making for a healthier life!

Practicing the Art of Planning and Cooking Dinner

Last night I did something I love very much to do: Cook dinner in my parents’ kitchen!  I especially love it because I usually have nothing but a fridge, a water boiler, and a French press to work with in my dorm room, bleh.  So I guess I could make Jell-O, if I really wanted to, but that’s about it.  But it is spring break!  And I can use a real kitchen.

Here’s what I did (Note: the only things I actually measured were the marinade ingredients.  I didn’t actually measure or time anything else).  First, I baked a pumpkin spice cake, with a box mix of spice cake and a can of pumpkin instead of the suggested liquid ingredients.  Then I marinated 2 large boneless/skinless chicken breasts (cut into bite sized pieces) in 2c red wine, 1c Italian dressing, and 1/3c white wine vinegar for about 3 hours. After 90 minutes, I kneaded them for a bit from the outside of the plastic bag.  Then I peeled, sliced, boiled, mashed, and seasoned 5 potatoes.  That was Lucas’s favorite part, I believe.  Then I chopped, rinsed, and steamed some fresh broccoli and prepared salads.  With 30 minutes to dinnertime, I poured the marinade into a pan and cooked it on medium about 10 minutes or so, until it reduced somewhat.  Then I added the chicken and chopped up about 3/4c white onion into the pan.  I kept stirring and checking the chicken until it was cooked through, then I reduced heat and added some flour to thicken up the sauce and a little bit of sugar to taste.  Everything was hot and ready to eat right on time for my wonderful family and fiancé!

If I were to cook this meal again, I would cut out the vinegar in the marinade and sauce.  I made a similar recipe once before, but I used sweet white wine instead of dry red wine.  The vinegar was fine with the sweet wine, but I don’t think the dry wine needed it.  And instead of making mashed potatoes, I’d serve the chicken and sauce over pasta.  There was too much sauce to go around.

Still, this was a really fun afternoon and evening.  I am very much looking forward to getting better at meal planning and execution, so I can be the best wife and mom I can be. :-)

Introibo ad altare Dei, ad Deum qui lætificat juventutem meam

It is thunderstorming here, and it’s quite beautiful.  I’m also a little under the weather and not focused on studying, so what better time to begin this new blog I’ve been meaning to start!  I have had a few other sites, most notably my Tumblr under the same username, and I read many blogs from afar, but I’ve decided it’s time that I join in with my fellow bloggers who inspire me and support me in many ways, from reflecting on the intersection of intellect and faith in University, teaching me many things (from Liturgy and Latin to cloth diapers and coconut oil), allowing me to live vicariously through their stories of parenting, and showing me an inside peek of a music therapist’s thoughts on the job.  A big “Thank You” is going out right now to all of you who share your voices boldly for anyone to hear!  And to anyone reading this, Welcome!  I don’t really know how this is going to go, but I guess you and I will figure that out as it unfolds.  That’s kind of how my whole life is right now, two months away from graduation and six months away from marriage.  Wooo!  It’s so scary and exciting.