Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Grace of Yes:Eight Virtues for Generous Living ~ How Do We Say YES to God? #GraceofYesDay

If anyone had told me, even a handful of years ago......
that friendship can happens in the middle of the night,
or on a computer monitor 
or  that I'd consider  a true friend someone I'd
 never even "met" in person,
I don't know that I'd have believed it.
Well, as you know, it is true, this thing called friendship
 and its transcendence through the virtual world, 
across time zones and sustaining us year after year.
 I'm honored to call many friend who 
who  encourages and prays for me,
helps me through disappointments,
 cheerleads my kids through small victories 
from across the state or the other side of the continent

Well, for me, one of these very dear angels
 is also friend to so very many others.
The inspiring yet grounded and practical Lisa Hendey,
 who's without a doubt, touched and changed lives.
Lisa, who's known by so many around the globe
by her special quality of gospel interpretation at her
 warm and welcoming site, Catholic Mom.com,
who's penned the popular 
  Handbook for Catholic Moms
and A Book of Saints for Catholic Moms
 and who now offers a  brand new "guide" if you will,
to Eight Virtues for Generous Living  in her new title,
.The Grace of Yes

It's clear that I'd be a bit biased upon cracking open my
copy of Lisa's new title........
Of course I'm excited about my friend's
latest success and of course I share her enthusiasm for 
the New Evangelization.
But, wow, this book, friends.
I can guarantee yours will  be read, reread, dog eared and pondered.
Mine already is. 
It's a gold mine....
Once I delved  into The Grace of Yes, 
I was captured by the practical wisdom, personal anecdotes
and re-living of the Gospel messages  that Lisa weaves through her virtues.

Here are Lisa's own experiences which spoke to me,
called out to me and caused me to really live
 in the virtues she outlines in The Grace of Yes:
Chapter 1. The Grace of Belief
"Journeying toward a common spiritual goal with my spouse
 has also taught me to judge neither our family's domestic church nor my own holiness by anyone's measure."

Chapter 2: The Grace of Generativity
"Learning to give of myself generously in love is a skill that is as old as it is new."
and I looooove this:
"Today, my yes as a Mom means avoiding the urge to cyber-stalk, 
to make their decisions for them or to wish them back into the nest."

Chapter 3: The Grace of Creativity
"The smartest thing that I do work-wise every day is  include among
 my morning prayers  a plea to accurately hear  and respond 
to God's agenda for my work."

Chapter 4: The Grace of Integrity:
"On my best days, my avatar represents some of the aspects of my life
as I wish they were more consistently."

Chapter 5: The Grace of Humility
"Humility, like fame, rarely grows to full bloom overnight."

Chapter 6: The Grace of Vulnerability
"I'm also reminded to look  to mentors of my own and to 
increasingly hear and value their perspective."

Chapter 7: The Grace of No
"..the more I live in a yes mindset, the more I realize the mandatory
presence of a few well-timed no responses along the way."

Chapter 8: The Grace of Rebirth
"As weak as I am, God who is mighty and all-powerful has 
begun a  good work in me."

Lisa closes each chapter with a set of questions "To Ponder"
as well as a prayer relative to building and growing that specific virtue.
If there is anyone who exemplifies generous living to me,
  as her subtitle suggests, it is my friend Lisa.
It's been a privilege  for me to be introduced to The Grace of Yes
and to share it here with you and an honor to be have Lisa in my life,
to call her friend.
Here's how you can stay connected with
 Lisa's Catholic Mom.com  and The Grace of Yes on social media:

Would you like details on #GraceofYesDay??
and how we can all promote Ave Maria's campaign
on our own social media platforms and throughout the blogosphere!

Friends, as always,  
thank you for stopping over and 
spending some of your precious time 
here at my home on the web!

I'd love it if we could be in touch regularly.........
so please subscribe to Campfires and Cleats~!

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Until next time,


Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Walkin' in Memphis ~ Touring Graceland and a Reflection on All Things Elvis.......

This guy.

Are you lonesome tonight?
 Do you miss me tonight?
Are you sorry we drifted apart?
Does your memory stray to a bright sunny day?
When I kissed you and called you sweetheart?

Tell me dear, are you lonesome tonight?

One of a kind.

How do you remember him?
Young, carefree, riotous,
 emblematic of  1950s rock?

Or 1970s Vegas icon?

My memories are an ethereal combination of both.....
the young, carefree, genteel Southern boy,
and wow, what an accent,
to be taking the nation by storm 
the confident-in-front-of-a-hundred-thousand-screaming-fans
on a Vegas stage
rocking sideburns and a sequined polyester jumpsuit .
With tails. 
Would you call them tails?
Whatever...no one else could pull that off.
No. One.

One hot, sticky August night when I was 12,
we got the news...and I mean all of us kids on the block....
we all  heard.
Out playing in our Queens street...ringalevio, hide n seek,
running bases....I'm not sure by now what...but I do know for sure
we were captive to
the freedom, the heat, the laughs, the knowing that it would all
 end in a few weeks' time and 
we'd soon be sitting in row upon row
 in Sr Mary Alice's classroom.
Seventh grade? Eighth? 
It's hazy now.
Someone, somewhere, a parent, an older sibling heard, read, saw.
 News was received in those days at a snail's pace....
you remember, right?
Delivered by Walter Cronkite or every few minutes on the AM channels
and that was it. Not at lightning speed and from across the 
globe within seconds as it is now. 
So there it was. 
We came to a screeching halt.
Not  our game.
But a small part of each of us.
Because if you weren't an Elvis fan on August 16, 1977,
you fast became one. 
That's how it was.
That date became The Line between Then and Now.

Seen on Elvis Presley Blvd, Memphis

Legions of kids and adults everywhere seemed to recognize the
importance, like his music or not, of The King's presence........
 here one day and not, the next.
And at the tragic young age of only 42.

Fast forward a decade and "sightings" abound.
Now, four decades after his passing, given time and distance,
 we see with clarity not only Elvis's stamp on our culture
but his legacy of generosity.

So how about you??
Are you a fan??
Frankly, I don't see how anyone can not be......
but this, from someone who grew up with a pink Elvis clock,
swingin' hips and all in her room and 
knew all the lyrics to all the songs by the time
I entered kindergarten.
Well, this is our third time walkin' in Memphis,
first with our boys.

Let me take you along on our tour of the inimitable...Graceland......

What an address...............:

Here it is~
The one and only Graceland:
The boys were more excited about  them,
than  the Canyon, I think!

My little man, guitar  and music freak that he is, ( ! ) 
may or may not be gettin' a whole bunch of
Elvis paraphernalia come a certain birthday in December!

Here they are, 
up close and eager to head in  and stand amid The King's digs.

We took the audio tour, which
describes each room, almost each item, in scrupulous detail.
My family and I were, in fact, furnished with complimentary tickets to tour
Graceland as well as Elvis's airplane and his car collection 
in exchange for me bloggin' 'bout it.
Me? Small time blogging girl?
Yeah, they laughed, those sweethearts at Graceland.
Of course, you......we love Mommy bloggers, they said.
As if Elvis needs PR.
And from the likes of me.
But....they said...they aim to keep his legacy alive
across all cultures, all faiths, all generations.
And so...lucky us!
So, journey with us, won't you?
Let's start here in the formal living room:

Formal dining room

The "television room" in the basement!

I think the "jungle room" might be our favorite!

The gold album/costume building adjacent to Elvis's home:

We were awed.
These are just a sampling of his gold and platinum albums
and his Vegas costumes.
The rest are in another building.

~The Gardens of Graceland~

The backyard and the back of the main house:
 Pool area:
See the crowds toward the back of the picture?

That's Elvis's grave and graves of several people special in his life.....:

Despite the crowd, you could hear a pin drop here.

~Elvis's Car Collection~
Each of Elvis's cars has a "story" attached.

Whether it's taking it to visit friends for a holiday or birthday
or gifting it to a loved one, Elvis was sentimental about his possessions.
here are a few~

Elvis gave this  special pink car to his mother one Christmas:

I took these pictures:

outside the car museum specifically
for my friend Sue who has the coolest last name ever.
Hi Sue!

~The Lisa Marie~ 
On April 17, 1975 Elvis bought a Convair 880 Jet, 
recently taken out of service by Delta Airlines, 
for the then-substantial sum of $250,000.
He immediately rechristened it the Lisa Marie. - 
And here's the legendary jet~

~Elvis's  Legacy of Charity and Humility ~

Most people are in the dark when it comes to Elvis's extraordinary generosity.
Here's one small peek:

In addition, Elvis was a huge supporter of the March of Dimes

 In 1956, before appearing on The Ed Sullivan Show that evening, Elvis was not only inoculated with the new Salk polio vaccine, 
he also recorded a public service announcement for the March of Dimes. 

In January 1958, Elvis posed for photographs at Graceland
 with March of Dimes poster girl, eight-year-old Mary Kosloski. ~~
This photo hangs in Graceland:

Below, you can see the awards lining a hallway 
of a building adjacent to Graceland
which were presented to Elvis for his contributions,
benefit concerts and random acts of kindness.
It's said that Elvis could not hear of someone in need 
without writing a check,  and anonymously most of the time!

From St Jude's Children's Hospital,
to flowers gifted to Moms across Vegas hotels on Mother's Days
 of his performing years there,
to various individuals who needed groceries,
to the Marine Corps toy drive for impoverished  kids at Christmas,
to various children's hospitals all ove the country,
Elvis was driven to give.

Elvis and Dnnny Thomas, founder of the St Jude Children's Hospital, in 1961
One act of charity is perhaps the least known, 
and yet most generous of all.
 Elvis contributed much to
preserving our  great nation's history:
He  performed in 1962  at Honolulu’s Bloch Arena 
 for the USS Arizona Memorial in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. 
Over $62,000 was donated by The King
 to the monument upon the completion of this show!!
Photo of show, below, from Graceland wall:

And by the way, while in Hawaii in 1965 on location for
 Elvis and Colonel Parker visited the completed memorial 
to lay a bell-shaped wreath in honor of the servicemen killed aboard the Arizona.

Did YOU know that Elvis Presley donated so  very much
 ( in 1962 dollars!)
to the development of a memorial honoring
our US serviceman aboard the Arizona,
 bombed by the Japanese on December 7, 1941?

Can I tell you how happy I am to share our trip with you??
I'd like to, once again, thank the good people
of Graceland for offering complimentary passes to my family.
So generous.
Seems like an Elvis thing to do, no?
Other posts in my 
 Visions of the Southwest series~~ 
Here they are if you're interested:

 Journeying Through Time, Digging for Fossils at 
UDig Trilobite Quarry in Delta, Utah
( coming soon!)

Riding the Rapids with 
Mountain Waters Rafting

 Friends, as always,  
thank you for stopping over and 
spending some of your precious time 
here at my home on the web!

 Since the Christmas season is almost upon us,
if you find yourself  shopping at amazon
would you consider clicking through my link?
Here it is:
I'm an amazon affiliate and
in this way, I will receive a teeny tiny portion of purchases made 
when clicked through my blog.
If YOU are an amazon affiliate, please send me
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Until next time,


Sunday, November 9, 2014

Thanksgiving Dinner Shake Up! 25 Amazing Side Dish Recipes from Across the Blogosphere!

Welcome friends!
Thanks for stopping over for my round-up all things 
Thanksgiving sides!!
From beets, to cornbread, to stuffing, to gravy, to carrots....
with cheeses and sauces galore.... and more.....
I am SO happy to offer 25 pretty darn amazing and
unique dishes all in one spot!
You know, there are many blogs out there....
particularly mommy-blogs, homemaking and recipe blogs....
But truly folks, my blogging friends are The Best.
They've offered their tried and true kitchen experimentations,
saving us all that messy work so we can just get down and have fun
creating food and memories for our own Thanksgivings!

So let's enjoy and get started....
To  begin, here's  my friend, Kathe of Kathe with an E, 
sharing her savory and unique
Thank you, Kathe!
And wait until you click over for the simple how-to!
Jaine of Jaime Loves Stuff includes her delectable recipe for 
in a Thanksgiving reflection...go enjoy.
What a fantastic and clever combo!
Thank you Jaime~!

Jenny, of In the Kitchen with Jenny,
offers her Wild Rice Pilaf

Here are  a couple of my friend, Lisa's, side dish recipes~
Lisa hosts Try A New Recipe Tuesday at her home on the web
and puts together homemaking posts
and recipe shares that are amazing!
Plus, she's a sweetheart and her kids are cute.
So go visit and tell her I said HI!
Here's Lisa's 


They look delicious, no??
I'm looking forward to specifically trying out the spinach dish!
My little guy is a huge fan!
Thank you, Lisa!

Rebekah at Making Miracles shares a few of her goodies:
And I loooooove her step by step instructions on each.
Here are a few of Rebekah Rose's  awesome dishes:

Both of Rebekah's carrot recipes look delectable and easy!!
Wait til you see how easily  she explains the prep~~ 

Roasted Asparagus with Parmesan

Thank you, Rebekah!
You rock in the kitchen!!

Debbie from Country Girl Gourmet
Love it, Debbie!
Thank you.......

How unique is Tshamina's Pistachio Salad from Thrifty T?

Wow, amazing, Tshamina!
Thank you!

Melissa, of A Virtuous Woman, has shared numerous side dish
recipes...each one is  a creative twist on a traditional fave.
I'm not sure which I'd like to try first!!
Here are a few of Melissa's~

Who knew beets could be soooooo enticing??
Here are two of Melissa's offerings~~

There's no pic ( yet, anyway) with this one...but go see Melissa's
recipe.....it's easy and wow, so yummy sounding!

Jessie, of Moola saving Mom has a pretty cool variation
of the Thanksgiving dinner staple.
here, she shares her

Thanks Jessie.....
these look to-die-for... and oh so time - saving!

Tonya, of The Sunny Patch, offers her unique and tasty

Evelyn, of My Turn For Us, offers an  easy-as-pie recipe ....
my Mom was the go-to gravy maker for e-v-e-r-y-o-n-e
 and I'm so reminded of Mom's 
kitchen style  by Evelyn's gravy description and pics!
Thank you, Evelyn!
Here is her

Karen, of Somewhat Quirky Designs, shares her
Just click over and you'll know what I mean!
Really though, how terrific do these beans look??

Also, go check out Karen's Smoked Chili Scalloped Sweet Potatoes!

Seriously amazing chili/potatoes, right?
Looks right out of a magazine, Karen!
And I loooooove The Thanksgiving Commandments....!!
go check out Karen's witty and welcoming blog while you grab
her cool recipes!

Annette, of The Simple Home, shares Grandma's Sausage Stuffing
Go get the scoop on how to create Annette's grandma's Thanksgiving staple and
enjoy the visit to her lovely blog in the meantime!

Now this~~~
Seriously, this next recipe blew me away....
Pear Salad with Pistachio, Bacon and Maple Red Onion Vinaigrette
shared by Michelle of So Wonderful, So Marvelous is 
sooooooo wonderful and so marvelous!
Killer creative!
Here's what you need:

and here' the finished product ~

gorgeous, right!?
and yummy looking too!
Guys, go snag the how to and click around this ma-r-v-e-l-o-u-s blog!!
Michelle, thank you!

SO that's it!
Awesome, right?!?
I so look forward to trying MANY of these!
Thank you to all my wonderful friends across the blogosphere
who eagerly shared their kitchen expertise!
To you, my blogging friends,  and to you, my readers,
a Happy Thanksgiving!
I'm grateful  for you all!

 Friends, as always,  
thank you for stopping over and 
spending some of your precious time 
here at my home on the web!
And hey:

Have you signed up to receive my posts in your email inbox?
   If not, just enter your email address here
so we can be in touch regularly!

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Until next time,


Post dividers and general cuteness courtesy of 

I'm gratefully linking this to Claire's Thanksgiving recipe

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