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.