Sunday, March 31, 2013

What I Wore Easter Sunday...and Gluten Free Goodies

Camp Patton

Linking up again for a fun What I wore Easter post!

I spent the entire day yesterday baking goodies for this morning. I made brownies with chocolate butter cream frosting, peanut butter sandwich cookies with a cream frosting and coffee cake...everything gluten-free of course.

 And, guys...I going to spill a secret about gluten-free baking. It's not that hard. Honestly..it's not. For everything, except for breads and pizza crusts, I basically use any regular recipe and substitute a good gluten-free flour blend with xanthum gum or guar gum. I prefer Namaste Perfect Flour blend, because Whole Foods has it for a decent price and it already has xanthum gum in it..but Better Batter brand is also really good.

 I don't like the Bob's Red Mill GF flour blend though...it contains bean flours which aren't that great for baking...so don't buy it...unless of course you want to ignore the voice of experience.

..  

 For the brownies, I used a brownie recipe from The Good Housekeeping Illustrated Cookbook (subbing for the flour) and frosted them with a regular chocolate butter cream frosting (butter, powdered sugar, cocoa, vanilla and milk). 

 For the peanut butter sandwich cookies, I simply made flourless peanut butter cookies. The recipe is so easy..just 1 cup peanut butter, 1 cup sugar and 1 egg. Form into balls, flatten and bake at 350 degrees for 12 minutes. I filled them with cool whip mixed with melted chocolate chips. I was hoping to turn the cool whip into chocolate, but it didn't quite work out that way, the chocolate chips just hardened into little small bits..but it was still super, super good..almost like an oreo cream filling. I made sandwiches out of the cookies and used the cool whip in the middle. 

 For the coffee cake, I used a basic recipe for cinnamon coffee cake and just subbed the flour. We had that for breakfast (along with ice cream and the peanut butter sandwich cookies) after Mass. I took the brownies with me to a SUPER fun Easter gathering at a friend's house with a bunch of  other families, the kids had an eggs hunt and a good time was had by all! 

And, I don't know why I just spent the first several paragraphs of this post blathering on about food...other than the fact that I love to eat and love food and baking...and I wanted to talk about my goodies.
And, I probably subconsciously think that food is more interesting than clothes. 

So, now you all know where my priorities lie. 

 But, here is the actual point of this post. What I wore Easter.

   

 Dress: Thrifted from an awesome thrift store in Rhode Island. I bought it while I was pregnant with Elsa, even though it's not a maternity dress...but I hoped I could wear it as one. I couldn't..it looked terrible. But, it actually works pretty decent as a nursing dress...even though it's not one. I usually hate wearing dresses because they are hard to nurse in, but this one isn't so bad...although I do need to use a cover with it, because I have to come out over the top. I'm not a big nursing cover fan..but I did have one and it worked pretty well with this dress, and Elsa is at the age where the cover actually helps her nurse because she is easily distracted.

 Tank top: Wal-Mart 

 Belt: Amazon.com 


 Glasses: Zenni Optical (I have so many glasses from there..love that place). 

 And, here's a pic of the kids. I could NOT get a good one, before they started mutiny. They were especially uncooperative this morning. All their clothes are hand-me downs from others, except for Heidi's. She bought her skirt with her birthday money off Zulily (sob..my girl wants to spend birthday money on clothes?!?!?) and her shirt was bought from Wal-Mart (I think).

This one is a tiny, tiny bit better:

   

 But, not much.  

So, go check-out the better dressed families at the link-up and I'll be linking up with Fine Linen and Purple tomorrow. 

And have a wonderful and Blessed Easter and Easter Week Everyone!! Alleluia!!!
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Thursday, March 28, 2013

{Pretty, Happy, Funny, Real}..Celebrating our Patience

Good things come to those who wait. And, in our case, this good thing was free admittance to our local children's museum. Our town just opened up a children's museum a bit over a year ago. We hadn't been yet...because..well..we can't afford it. So I was wicked excited (did I just reveal my New England roots by using the word wicked?) when the library started offering free passes to the museum.

 So, I put a hold on a pass and waited...and waited...and waited..for SEVEN months. And, then yesterday I was rather surprised to FINALLY get an email that our pass was ready..and we only had 3 days to pick it up and then 7 days to use it.

So, today..it just happened to work out that we had NOTHING going on (a rare day for us) so I hopped on over to the library, picked up the pass and off to the museum we went. So, I'm joining this post up with Clan Donaldson Theme: Thursday Celebration because we celebrated that we FINALLY got to go (after hearing all our friends rave about it for the past year). Plus..I managed to get a somewhat, quarter-way decent family  just-the-kids portrait..using a few (okay..maybe just one) of Cari's tips..but it should count for something..right?


 Like this:

   

Ooops..sorry. Wrong family. 

 How about this?

:  

Okay..so only 2 out of 4 kids are looking at the camera.
Let's try this one.

:
Kinda cute I think! 
 or this
 

They're not all looking at the camera..but it's still pretty cute in my admittedly biased opinion.

{pretty and happy}


It was a pretty day..and they were so happy bouncing down this fake hill with fake grass.


Pretty girls doing pretty crafts which make them happy.


They look happy here!

{funny}


Fits perfectly..don't ya think?


Scary looking alligator with sharp teeth..no problem..John will save me.


I'll just hold his mouth shut.

{Real}


Really, I just like to pull John's hair.


Really cute.


John is working really hard.


Overall, it was a really fun time!

p.s. Please excuse the low-quality photos.  I don't have a fancy-schmancy camera.  I took these with our Ipod, which is HORRIBLE at taking pictures.


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Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Tinatella




This is the story of Tinatella (tin-a-tell-a). Tinatella is different. She has pink skin and polka dots on her face. The other girls think she is ugly and make fun of her, but I think she is beautiful. See her...she is so beautiful, with her beautiful pink skin and polka dot face. The other girls make fun of her and think she is ugly, because she is different..but she is really beautiful and I love her.

This is the story Greta told his afternoon while she was procrastinating doing her actual school and begging to finish this one drawing while I drink my milk.  Greta doesn't just draw pictures though...she tells stories about every picture.  And, this was the story she told this afternoon.   I found it very interesting...her choice of words and topic.  We haven't really talked about people who are "different."  They really only know one person who is "different"  or has a "disability"...my sister/their aunt, and they've always known her and her "difference" has nothing to do with her face (it has to do with her legs).

Yet, this was the story she told.  And, it got me thinking.  Last Thursday (on 3/21) was World Down Syndrome Day (see...told you, I'm always late to the game..just posting about it now).  Other than seeing a few random adults with Down Syndrome at church or stores, I've never really known any families affected by Down Syndrome until about 1 1/2 years ago when a family we knew through law gave birth to a beautiful baby girl with Down Syndrome.  They are 20-something and Abigail is their first child. The husband graduated from law school last year and they've moved out of Florida, but I've followed their lives and adventures through Jacqueline's blog, Journey Narrative.  Since knowing them and reading her blog, I've really learned a lot about Down Syndrome. 

I had already known that over 90% of all babies prenatally diagnosed with Down Syndrome are aborted (thanks to my mom and her book.)  Which is a tragedy...because EVERY person's life is valuable and important and worth living and worth fighting for.  So, this post is my small way of trying to bring awareness to this issue.  It's ALWAYS worth it to choose life, because LIFE is worth choosing.  No mother regrets the babies she has...only the ones she doesn't...so if you ever come across anyone dealing with an "adverse" prenatal diagnosis...send them this book and help them choose LIFE...because EVERY LIFE has value and worth.

And maybe, just maybe, Greta's story and drawing was more important than her spelling words this afternoon.


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Sunday, March 24, 2013

What I Wore Sunday..A Windy, Humid Palm Sunday


Linking up again for another WIWS. It's a windy, HUMID, HUMID, HUMID Palm Sunday here. The temperature isn't too bad, and the breeze feels nice, but the air is so thick you could slice it. And, the humidity wreaks havoc on my hair...I hate humidity. I can't complain too much though..it's been an AWESOME spring so far...not too hot and still lots of cool days. I think the same weather pattern that has been giving all my northeast friends tons of snow and cold weather...has been giving us a super, awesome, nice, cool, beautiful March, so I'm happy with it!. I'll go clean out my inbox for all the hate mail I'm sure to get now.

So, here's the pic.  Definitely not one of my favorites..,,but here it is. I prefer dressing for cooler/colder weather because I love wearing layers and boots and jeans...but I HATE to be hot..  And, today promises to be a hot, humid one.

Yeah..that tree looks a bit weird in the background...at first glance I seem to blend in with it..which is NOT a good look..makes me look HUGE.  Why doesn't my photographer point this these things out?  Oh yeah..because she's 11.





Tank Top: Thrifted
Shirt: No clue where I got it from?  I think it was in a bag of clothes someone once tossed my way.
Skirt:  You can't tell from the pic...but this skirt is actually really cute and has little white polka dots on it.  They don't show up well, though.   I think I bought this skirt several years ago..not sure where  possibly Wal-Mart???
Shoes:  Given to me by someone passing on a bunch of clothes.

As you can tell, I seem to be quite blessed with other people throwing clothes at me!  People are awesome!

In other nice things that happened today..at Mass an elderly, bossy lady gave the kids rosaries with St. Joseph prayer cards (St. Joe is our fav. saint) and  a young lad gave my kids palms-already turned into crosses. Which is great..because for the life of me, I can NEVER turn palms into crosses myself.  Never.  No matter how many instructionals I look at, the palm cross eludes me.


 No go visit FLAP to see what all the better dressed bloggers are wearing.
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Saturday, March 23, 2013

What I learned about housekeeping from watching Downton Abbey


I'm always late to the game. So, while everyone else was watching Downton Abbey when it first came out on Masterpiece Theatre, I didn't start watching it until recently.  I will admit it took me awhile to get into the first episode.  I kept trying to watch it on our Amazon Prime account and falling asleep midway through.  
I have this annoying habit of falling asleep while watching movies (or TV shows, or basically anything after 9:00 PM...except for Dr. Who.  Not even I can fall asleep during Dr. Who.)

But, everyone kept raving about Downton...so I persevered and persevered (oh the struggle) and finally one day while sick in bed, I watched several episodes in a row and discovered that I liked it.  I really, really liked it.

I've been doing some blog-reading on housekeeping lately (mostly on Like Mother, Like Daughter about how to have a reasonably clean home).  I'd actually settle for a somewhat clean home.  I have low expectations.  Anyway, the idea of housekeeping and cleaning has been on my mind, and I've actually been on a bit of cleaning streak today (try not to fall over and faint with shock, Mom).

Anyway, for anyone who might be unfamiliar with the show, Downton Abbey is basically a soap opera that takes place in England spanning the time from 1912-1921.  Actual historical events (the sinking of the Titanic, WWI and the Spanish Flu) play a significant role in the plot.



While watching last night, it occurred to me that the servants in Downton Abbey do less work than I do.   Oh, don't get me wrong..they work hard.  But they each have their own job and that is it.  There are the maids and the butler and the footmen and the cook and the kitchen maid and the chauffeur and the valet and they each do their own job.  The maids aren't expected to cook and the footmen aren't expected to also chauffeur.  If I recall correctly, there was even some scandal about maids having to serve in the dining room, which apparently was unheard of, but the household was short-staffed due to the war. 

While nowadays, everyone is basically expected to do/be all those things.  And, not only to do them all, but to do them well.   We're expected to cook and clean and chauffeur and child raise  (no doubt the daughters in Downton Abbey would have had nannies and tutors when they were young) and garden and even teach (for those who homeschool).  Granted, our home is much, much, much, much, much, much, much, much, much smaller and we have the advantage of modern conveniences they didn't have back then (like washing machines and electric stoves).

But, I still find it interesting, that not only is the modern parent expected to do all those things, but to do them well.  Not only do we have to cook, but we have to grow our own organic vegetables, cook everything from scratch using organic, free-range, cruelty-free ingredients and avoid anything processed or convenient or easy.   Not only are we supposed to bake our own bread, but we're supposed to grind our own grains and then soak them as well.   Not only are we expected to clean, but we're expected to keep our house, company-ready at all times.   And for those families that homeschool..you can add teaching/tutoring on top of that.

Now that any of those things are bad, or that we shouldn't be doing all those things.  Just pointing out that in times past...no ONE or TWO people were expected to both do and excel at ALL those things.   Even going further back in time and looking to a poor family, we see that most people didn't have all these multiple hats to wear.  Ma Ingalls certainly worked hard..no doubt about that.   And, way harder than we do nowadays...but she didn't have to wear all the different hats we do. She wasn't spending time driving Laura and Mary around to piano lessons and practices.  She didn't spend time scrubbing toilets..since they didn't even have toilets..just an outhouse.  While doing laundry was much, much harder back then, there was also much, much less of it, because they didn't have nearly as many clothes.   Cleaning a one-room log cabin was likely much simpler than cleaning a multi-room, larger home with A TON more stuff in it.

So, maybe it's time to cut ourselves some slack, if we can't do everything..  if we can't have a perfectly clean home and cook perfectly tasty, healthy meals, and grow our own organic food, while perfectly driving kids to a billion different activities and teaching them ourselves (or just helping with homework)...not to mention those parents who have significant commitments outside the home or at home (work or school or volunteering or ministry)..which is another added pressure and demand.  People in times past didn't do EVERYTHING, so how can we?

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Thursday, March 21, 2013

{Pretty, Happy, Funny, Real Mud}


I just LOVE link-ups.  So, I'm joining up again with Like Mother, Like Daughter for PHFR and Clan Donaldson for Theme Thursday: Mud

{pretty}



Pretty birdie, pretty birdie.  

This is Snowy..our pet parakeet.  For those of you don't know..I am an animal person.   I've always had pets and was the kid sneaking hamsters into my dorm room in college and guinea pigs/parakeets/rabbits into "pet-free" apartments.  So, almost 2 years ago, when our next door neighbors were moving and looking for a new home for their parakeet, naturally, I couldn't resist. 

He had some other name that I can't remember, but we re-named him Snowy, because he's white and we missed the snow.  Isn't he a pretty birdie?

{happy}

What else, but a picture of a smiling, happy Elsa?



{funny}


Just like mommy, Elsa is good at sticking her foot in her mouth.  Pun intended.

{real mud}

Joining up with Cari to post this dirty picture.  Ha, ha..more puns. I'm just cracking myself up over here.

Mud is actually pretty scarce in Florida this time of year.  It doesn't rain much in the spring, and the sun is so STRONG that everything tends to dry out SUPER quickly.   But, while there is a lack of mud outside, there is no lack of mud inside.

We've been studying animals in our homeschooling and learning about animal tracks.  These mud tracks were made by young homo sapiens.  Notice the 5 distinct toes and the way the mud pattern clearly shows the pressure points as the species walks upright with an arched foot.  Much can be learned from these tracks you see.   We can also use our powerful deductive skills to learn that this mud track was made from a right foot.    Oh..the learnin' just never ends.

See, my floors aren't just dirty..they're dirty in the name of science.

Don't worry Mom, I did actually clean the floor after taking pictures and studying these tracks.


Now, go visit the ladies at LMLD and Cari for more link-up fun.

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Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Five Favorites




Joining up with the lovely Hallie Lord at Moxie Wife for Five Favorites.

1. 

Bella Single Scoop Coffee Maker.  Around here, Kohl's sends out these $10 coupons every once in awhile, so between using that coupon and a store sale, I ended up paying less than $10 for it.  It is so nice.  Doesn't use coffee filters or anything, and I can use it for loose leaf tea or even loose, dried herb.    It's quick, it's simple and even Heidi knows how to use it..and there is just something so sweet about your 11-year old daughter making you a cup of coffee. 




2.

With Easter right around the corner and all....chocolate truffles are my absolutely, #1, top favorite candy.   Hint, hint..to anyone who wants to get me Easter candy!


3.


'Nuff said.  They have some great deals here!  

4.

These boots!  Probably because I'm in Fl and can't wear boots, 'cause you know it never gets colder than 70 degrees.  So, I'm super jealous of all these mom bloggers I see posting pictures of  them in their boots.

5.

Or these..'cause I've always wanted a pair of real cowgirl boots.  And, I love red!



Now, go visit Moxie Wife for my 5 Favorites!

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Monday, March 18, 2013

My 25 best excuses for always being late



Hi, my name is Amelia and I am punctuality-challenged.

It's so bad that when we pull into our destination, the first thing my kids always ask is "Are we late?".

I didn't used to be this way.   BK, before kids, I used to pretty much always be on time.    Even EARLY on occasion.

I know, I know...those of you who know me IRL, in real life, are probably picking yourself up off the floor right about now.   But, it's true. I used to be relatively, on time for things.

Then those pesky kids started popping out and demanding things and well..now, we're perpetually late.

Here's why..

 1. I can't find my keys.

 2. I can't find my cell phone.

 3. I can't find my glasses...which are sitting on top of my head.

 4. I remember at the last minute that we need to bring water bottles and have to fill them.

 5. ..or snacks, and I have to get them.
 
 6. ..or someone's homework/assignment and we have to find it.

 7. Someone can't find their shoes.

 8. ..or their piano books, or their binder, or their equipment, etc.,
etc., etc.

 9. No one heard me the first 50 times I yelled loudly called in a cheerful tone Time to go, put your shoes on.

 10. We walk outside and I realize for the first time that someone has their shirt on backwards

 11. ...or their shorts.

 12. And that same someone thinks wearing clothes the right way is just some silly custom and I spend 5 minutes arguing on why we shouldn't wear our shorts inside out and backwards.

 13. I realize as we are walking out the door that certain children have not yet brushed their hair today and it looks like a rat's nest and simply MUST be brushed before we venture out in public.

 14. A certain someone decides that the 15 minutes before we have to leave is the perfect time for a marathon nursing session.
 
 15  And then that same someone needs a diaper change after marathon nursing session.

16. Someone simply MUST finish whatever super, important, absolutely vital thing they are doing and if they don't finish it before we leave, THE WORLD WILL SURELY END.

17. Someone put on their dress shoes to walk to the park...or their sneakers to go to church.

18. Someone is suddenly STARVING and needs a snack.

19. As we're walking out the door, I realize that someone's clothes are dirty or stained and need to be changed.

20. We walk out the door and realize it is cooler than we thought and need sweaters/jackets.

21. We walk out the door and realize it is warmer than we thought and we will roast in jeans and long-sleeves.

22. Someone decides to ask A VERY IMPORTANT QUESTION, just as it's time to leave.

23. Everyone has to go to the bathroom, at the same time...and we only have 2 bathrooms.

24. We MUST check the mail before we leave. 'Cause, you never know...this just might be the day that we get a letter informing us that we've just inherited $100,000 dollars from a long-lost wealthy relative..but we have to make the reading of the will by tomorrow or we lose everything. Hey..it could happen.


25. I got lost...even though I've been there before...and even though I have a GPS...because I'm also directionally-challenged.

 So there you have it folks. If we show up late...pick one of these excuses and you'll have the reason why!


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Sunday, March 17, 2013

What I Wore Sunday... St. Patrick's Day Edition.







Welcome to WIWS...the St. Patrick's Day Edition.  Notice..that I AM wearing green.  So is Elsa.  I'm not Irish at all, but I grew up in RI, which is heavily Irish and Portuguese..and anyone who dared to venture out without wearing green on St. Patrick's Day was vulnerable to pinching.  And,  I hate being pinched...and pinching babies is just mean...so to protect ourselves, we all wear green!

Besides, Ben is partly Irish, so my kids are like 1/4 Irish or something...



Sorry, it's so dark.  Our camera was out of batteries, so Heidi used the Ipod. 

Guess how much this whole outfit cost!!!!!

Are you ready??

$2!!!

Shirt:  On clearance from Wal-Mart for $2.  Cha-ching!

Skirt:  Given to me from my sister when she joined the convent, many, many, many moons ago.  Like..back in 1998 or something.   So, yeah...that skirt is super old.  I've worn it when I was skinny and in college..and.also while .umm..not so skinny..due to pregnancy or being post-partum.  It's a great skirt..and has held up well to all the stretching.   It actually doesn't even look all that worn. I have no clue where my sister got it from.  Before she joined the convent, she was a shop-a-holic...so I inherited all sorts of great clothes when she entered.  Most of which no longer fit..at all.

Shoes:  Stolen from Payless.

Ha!  Gotcha!

They weren't really stolen.  Here is what happened.  Over a year ago, I ordered a pair of new shoes online.  Then like an hour later, I got Buyer's Remorse and felt guilty and was all we can't afford them so I called the company and cancelled the order.

Then 2 weeks later, this package, containing the shoes, shows up in my mail.  So, yet again, I find myself on the phone with customer service.  I was expecting them to send me a return packing slip so I could send them back, but they didn't.  They said that they did see the order as being cancelled, but since it was their mistake just to keep them or I could drop them off at a local store if it was convenient.  Since, the whole reason I had bought them online in the first place is that shopping at the local store is definitely NOT convenient, I kept them.

Elsa's Outfit:

Sundress:  Handmade and given to us by Aunt Alison!  Thanks Aunt Al!

Tights:  Not sure.. they might have been one of the few things I've kept from the older girls, or they might have been in a bag of clothes handed down to me.



And, that is What I Wore Sunday!  Go visit the ladies at Fine Linen and Purple for more What I Wore Sunday.


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Friday, March 15, 2013

7 Quick Takes Friday...in honor of Pope Francis

So, I realize I'm a little late to the party..but I just wanted to blog about how excited I am that the Church is no longer Popeless.  So, joining up with Jen at Conversion Diary, this 7 Quick Takes Friday is in honor of our new Pope!

1.

 And, not only do we have a pope...we have an AWESOME Pope, who took the name Francis! Francis! After St. Francis of Assisi. After one one of my favorite saints! Hooray! I come from a family of Franciscans...my sister is a real, actual, live, Franciscan Sister (she's not just my sister, but she is a Sister.)  Technically, she's not a nun..not sure why..but apparently there is some sort of difference between nuns and Sisters...so whatever..she is a Sister.

Future Franciscan Sisters in the making. ;)

 And, my parents are part of head of a lay Franciscan order...Franciscan-ness runs in the family. So, even though Pope Francis is *gasp* a Jesuit, we're all very excited about his chosen name.

2.

This guy is HUMBLE.  And humbleness is great.  And, humble people make the best leaders!  Stories abound..he rode the bus with the cardinals,   He went back to his hotel himself to settle his bill.  When he was living in Argentina as a cardinal, he took public transportation, lived in a tiny apartment and cooked his own meals.  

3.


This picture!   Which is from an Argentinian article about the Pope before he was Francis. And look..there is a mother, *gasp* breastfeeding in very close proximity to our future Pope.  And, he isn't horrified or disgusted..he's just sweetly kissing the feet of the the baby next door.   

And, while everyone always jokes about politicians kissing babies, I've never actually see a modern day one do so!

4.

And, he did this! 

In 2008, on the Holy Thursday, Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio(Pope Francis) washed the feet of 12 recovering drug addicts at a rehabilitation center in Buenos Aires, Argentina(in this Pic).
As Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio, he showed compassion for the victims of HIV-AIDS and in 2001, visited a hospice to kiss and wash the feet of 12 AIDS patients.

True disciple of Christ!!! To be more precise True Vicar of Christ!!! True Alter Christus!!! Catholic church, Feel proud of Pope Francis!!!

True disciple of Christ!!! To be more precise True Vicar of Christ!!! True Alter Christus!!! Catholic church, Feel proud of Pope Francis!!!

5.

And while he was Cardinal Bergoglio he said this:

 “In our ecclesiastical region there are priests who don’t baptize the children of single mothers because they weren’t conceived in the sanctity of marriage,” Bergoglio told his priests. “These are today’s hypocrites. Those who clericalize the Church. Those who separate the people of God from salvation. And this poor girl who, rather than returning the child to sender, had the courage to carry it into the world, must wander from parish to parish so that it’s baptized!”
Bergoglio compared this concept of Catholicism to the Pharisees of Christ’s time: people who congratulate themselves while condemning others.
“Jesus teaches us another way: Go out. Go out and share your testimony, go out and interact with your brothers, go out and share, go out and ask. Become the Word in body as well as spirit,” Bergoglio said.


6.

His Father was an Italian immigrant...which makes him a half-blood Italian.  Just like me!  But, he's from South America..our first American Pope!

7.

And, then of course, there is this meme..which is so, so popular on Facebook and always makes me smile.


God Bless Pope Francis!



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