#WorthRevisit: Anniversary Special

Hubs and I celebrate our 25th wedding anniversary today! In honor of the occasion, I have an Anniversary Special: snips from a couple of anniversary-related posts and a bonus recipe.

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Funniest moment of our wedding day: (from 2007)

We hadn’t arranged for limos since the church and reception were fairly close. So the guys in the wedding party took the girls in their cars. We never arranged for rides for OURSELVES! After the photo-ops were over, we were almost the only ones left in the church, and we had no way to get to the reception. So we hitched a ride with the neighbor who was responsible for getting us together.

How we met: (from 2007)

Blind date!! My father worked with Hubs’ neighbor. In fact, they’d worked together so long that she knew me first. When Hubs had broken up with his long-term girlfriend, she played Yenta the Matchmaker.

TheKid’s Scathingly Brilliant Idea: (from 2013)

TheKid is a soccer fan. This morning he announced, “Mom, the World Cup is going to be in Brazil next year! Can I go?”

Denied.

I thought his request was funny, so I was telling Daughter about it. She replied, “I’d love to go! I’d bring my friend. She speaks Portuguese. And I’ll learn how to ask where the bathroom is. I’m pretty sure it’s almost just like Spanish.”

“Right. The last thing I’m going to do is send the two of you and one other teenager to Brazil.”

TheKid, for whom Hope Springs Eternal, had a plan. “Wait! Aren’t you and Dad going to celebrate your 25th anniversary soon?”

christ-the-redeemer-statue-brazil“No. It’ll be 23 in January.”

“Oh. Well, I have an idea! You and Dad can go to Brazil on your honeymoon!”

“And I’m guessing that you and Daughter would be the chaperones?”

“Well, no. We would go to the soccer game, and you and Dad can go visit that big Jesus on the mountain. I thought of everything! It’s a great plan! What could possibly go wrong?”

Recipe for the Very First Meal I Served My Husband

(because when I love people, I cook for them)

This four-ingredient dish is easy to put together. It’s a great recipe to use when the kids want to help in the kitchen, because they can do all the prep work! Note that low-fat cream of chicken soup does not work well in this recipe.

Swiss chicken melt (1)Chicken Swiss Melt

4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves (about 6 oz. each)
1/4 lb. sliced Swiss cheese
1 can cream of chicken soup
1/4 cup seasoned bread crumbs for topping

Spread a little soup on the bottom of your casserole dish. A small offset spatula, like ones used for decorating cakes, is perfect for this.

Place chicken on top of soup. Cover with Swiss cheese slices (if cheese slices are thin, double up!) Spread the rest of the soup over the chicken and cheese.

Cover and bake at 350 for 35 minutes. Uncover, sprinkle bread crumbs over chicken and bake 5 minutes more. Serve over rice, and don’t skimp on the sauce!

Note:  Havarti cheese can be substituted for Swiss.

worth revisit

I’m linking up with Reconciled to You and Theology is a Verb for #WorthRevisit Wednesday, a place where you can come and bring a past & treasured post to share, and link up with fellow bloggers!

Tiber River Review: Style, Sex and Substance

Don’t let your pride get in the way of your reading this encouraging book. I’ll admit that mine did, for a while; I’m pretty sure that most of the 10 contributors are a good bit younger than I am. But after reading several excerpts of Style, Sex and Substance online, I was convinced that while the women whose essays are featured in this book may be younger than me, they’ve got plenty of wisdom to share. The writing is honest and real, and by the end of each chapter you’ll feel that its author is a new, trusted friend.

Don’t let the title fool you; I found that this book is a whole lot more about “substance” than sex. Yes, there are humorous, real-life stories (and I loved those!) There are also reflection questions at the end of each chapter that would work as well for small-group study as they do for individual reflection and journaling. A small sampling of these include:

  • sins vs. quirks
  • nurturing yourself
  • putting your schedule in order
  • fostering intimacy in marriage
  • personal holiness for single women
  • making rash judgements
  • healthy friendship
  • building your marriage
  • goals for motherhood
  • the Christian life and popular culture
Not all chapters are for every woman at every time, but this book doesn’t need to be read start-to-finish to be appreciated. Start with the introduction and chapter 1, then pick and choose as the Spirit moves you. You’ll be hooked, and you’ll want to keep this book around for encouragement in the various seasons of your life as a Catholic woman.
Style, Sex and Substance would be a great gift for a young woman just starting out on her own, a bride-to-be, a new mom or even a “woman of a certain age” like myself who’s in need of a new perspective.
After all, there’s always something new to be learned–even from women who are younger than you.

My compliments to editor Hallie Lord and all the contributors to this excellent book.

You can purchase this book here.

I wrote this review of Style, Sex and Substance for the Tiber River Blogger Review program, created by Aquinas and More Catholic Goods. For more information and to purchase, please visit Aquinas and More Catholic Goods. Tiber River is the first Catholic book review site, started in 2000 to help you make informed decisions about Catholic book purchases.

A review copy of the book was provided to me. I did not receive other compensation for this review.

Time to Celebrate

Thursday, TheDad and I celebrated our 20th wedding anniversary.

Whose brilliant idea was it to get married in January, anyway?

We wanted to enjoy our special day, but there were the kids to get off to school, and pick up from school, and a Cub Scout meeting, and all of that.

Plus, being January, there was plenty of snow on the ground and it was cold, too.

So we did the best we could with what we had. After everyone got on the school bus in the morning, except for Big Brother, who was enjoying his last few days to sleep late before college resumes again this week, we went to our favorite diner around the corner. Then we attended Mass together at our parish.

After church, we’re such exciting people that we dropped off my van to get some much-needed repairs (like putting the “magic” back in the “magic door” that doesn’t like cold weather–that automatic sliding door has to be fixed every single winter). Then we zipped over to Center City Philadelphia to have lunch at our favorite spot.

No, not The Four Seasons. Not Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse either. And not the latest gourmet Asian-Fusion-French-Barbecue place. In fact, we didn’t choose any place with huge prices and tiny portions.

We went to Reading Terminal Market, where I insisted on dragging TheDad up and down every last aisle of the place, inspecting all the options, before we chose what we’d have for lunch. Of course, each of us picked something from opposite ends of the market. We met at the tables in the middle and ate together.

Big Brother agreed to pick up his sister after track practice so TheDad and I could go out to eat. There’s a cafe in a nearby town that we enjoy–we usually celebrate our anniversary there, and we have a date there again in the neighborhood of Valentine’s Day. Because it’s always best to eat at places without parking lots during the winter, where you have to fight for spots on the street and step in giant snow piles. I always get the same thing when we go there, but this year the menu has changed (new owners) and I’ll admit that was a bit of a disappointment. But the food’s great and the atmosphere is nice too. You can’t beat dining with real silverware in a 30-seat restaurant that almost never contains someone else’s children. Let’s face it: I love kids and enjoy being around them. But when I’ve arranged for child care for my own kids so I can have an evening out with my husband, the last thing I want to hear is someone else’s kids.

Twenty years is a big deal. We didn’t commemorate those years with something big, but we did the best we could to take the day off (I didn’t even do any laundry!) and enjoy it with each other. At least until it was time for Cub Scouts. At that point, TheDad was on his own.

No Tacky Bridezillas Here

Last night when I was getting ready to go to sleep, I brushed my teeth and reached for my “days of the week” container to get my asthma medication. I almost opened the box marked “SUNDAY.”

Then I realized that this was because of how I spent the day. TheDad and I attended the wedding of one of his younger cousins. The ceremony was beautiful, with carefully-chosen readings and wonderful, reverent music. And the reception, full of family and friends who all noticed how very happy the newly-married couple, along with their parents, were on this very happy day.

I felt like it was Sunday, because I had been to church. This was no “well, we want a church wedding, but we don’t really want it to feel like church” kind of wedding. There was no grand-entrance dance down the aisle, like the Youtube video that’s been going around. There was a lot of prayer. Make no mistake about it, a sacrament took place yesterday.

Thank you, Mary and Christopher, for your witness at your wedding yesterday. May God richly bless you both.

Dear Chick-Fil-A:

A couple of weeks ago I tasted that new Southern Chicken sandwich at McDonald’s.

You have nothing to worry about. Yes, they’re imitating you. But they don’t even come close.

Not with the sandwich, not with the cleanliness of the restaurant, not with the politeness and helpfulness and friendliness of the employees, not with the quality of what they can’t call “milkshakes”….

They don’t come close with the kinds of causes they support either. We appreciate your family-friendly “closed on Sundays” policy and your sponsorship of sporting events and “Between the Lions,” among other things. We appreciate that you do not align yourself, as does McDonald’s, with the cause for same-sex marriage.

Just keep doing what you’re doing, because you do it very well. And families like mine appreciate that.

Passing on the Wisdom

The following was posted in Father Jay Toborowsky’s blog, Young Fogeys.

Mother’s Day (taken from Judy Grubaugh)

I recently attended a bridal shower that would have fulfilled the dreams of any young woman. The home was beautiful and the conversation among friends who had watched the bride-to-be grow up was warm and welcoming. Then the hostess asked me to share a few words about marriage. As the room quieted, I shared with this young bride-to-be five things I wish I’d known before I walked down the aisle, hoping she’d learn them quicker than I did.

One: I wish I’d known my husband is human, just like me. From the time we’re little girls, we dream of the day when a knight in shining armor will whisk us away to a life of happiness ever after; but even a prince will have days when nothing goes right and he’s just plain weary. At times like these, you will be a wise wife if you rise to the occasion and encourage your husband. Ask God to give you a tongue that has words to sustain him.

Two: I wish I’d known the value of respecting my husband: In Ephesians 5:33 God’s Word says men need respect. Surveys affirm that the most important thing needed by men is the respect of their wives, even though radical feminists discredit the idea. You can show respect in a million ways, but most important is to remind him often that you believe in him. If you do, you will walk hand in hand even when you don’t see eye to eye.

Three: I wish I’d known to make God my refuge, not my husband. Your husband should be your confidant, but God alone is your refuge. Your husband was not created to understand all your emotional needs; trying to force him to do so will cause turmoil in your relationship. God wants to be your refuge. If you go to Him first with your needs and concerns, your marriage will be richer.

Four: I wish I’d known fulfillment in life comes from God, not from my husband. Expecting to find complete fulfillment from your husband is a mistake. God tells us ultimate fulfillment comes through knowledge of Him. The better you get to know God, the more fulfilled you will be. If we put Him first, He will give us everything else we need. And it is important to develop and cultivate friendships with other women – especially those who can help you grow in the faith, provide wisdom for your marriage, and act as God’s hands in your life. As God meets you through your friends, you have more to offer your marriage and family. The support of other women is invaluable.

Five: I wish I’d known that the best gift I could give my husband is to pray for him. Ask God to pour favor upon this man you love, and ask God to give him an undivided heart – a heart that hungers to know God. The more devoted your husband is to God, the more devotion he will show you. God wants you to excel as a wife. If you know and understand these five things, you will be a contented wife, and your husband will be a better man for having married you.


Thanks, Father Jay, for posting this wonderful essay. I have been married to TheDad for 16+ years and there is plenty of room for me to improve. I appreciate the inspiration that this essay provides.