Zucchini Roll-ups ~ Lasagna-style!

If you liked my Chicken Alfredo Zucchini Roll-ups, you will love these zucchini lasagna roll-ups!

Whenever I make meatballs, I always seem to make enough sauce for an army of people. Since it’s just Charlie and I (and I hate left-overs), that’s not a great thing. Because I loved the Chicken Alfredo Zucchini Roll-ups  I made a few weeks ago, I decided to make up some zucchini lasagna roll-ups using the additional sauce. I did look around Pinterest for recipes but in the end, I made up my own.

These little things are really tasty and you will not miss the pasta. However, be warned, they are a little bit of a pain in the butt to put together. This time I ended up doing them “assembly line style”, which meant I figured out how many I would need to fill a row (four for my little dish). I then laid my zucchini out across the counter top so I would be making four roll-ups at a time. It shaved off some time and made it easier to get them into the baking dish. Try it.

First make the zoodles and yes, if you follow my blog you’ve seen this photo before. I didn’t feel like taking a new one since a zoodle is a zoodle is a zoodle. They always look like this.

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Here are two of them before I spread the mixture out across the zoodles. I did four of these at a time.

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Here is what they looked like in the pan. The red flecks you see are sauteed red peppers I had leftover in the refrigerator. They were an after thought because I wanted the dish to look prettier. I did NOT include the peppers in the recipe below, but if you want to, feel free.

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At this point, I just filled in the empty spots with more sauce.

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Then the last step is the cheese. What you see here is just a thin layer. I wasn’t sure how much cheese I wanted at this point, so I baked it with a little bit, then I took it out and added more. (You don’t have to do what I did. I am a freak. I own this.)

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Poof. When it comes out of the oven, it smells spectacular and it looks like this:

And THEN, it looks like this:

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Ingredients:
5-6 medium zucchini
1 (15 oz.) can artichoke quarters, drained and chopped
10 oz. fresh spinach, sautéed. (Frozen works well too. Thaw and drain it.)
3-4 cups prepared marinara sauce
3 cups ricotta cheese
1 ½ cups freshly grated Parmesan cheese
2 eggs
2 Tbsp. Italian Seasoning
1 Teaspoon pepper (or to your taste)
½ Teaspoon salt (or to your taste)

Directions:
Preheat Oven to 375
Using a vegetable peeler, create the zucchini ribbons. (You can use a mandolin set on “thin”, but the peeler really works best for me.)

Drain and chop the artichokes and the sautéed spinach. Place both into a clean dish towel, twist tightly and smash out as much liquid as is humanly possible.

Mix together the ricotta, 1 cup Parmesan, 2 cups Mozzarella, 1 ½ cups of marinara sauce, eggs, and seasonings. Add the artichokes and spinach to the bowl and mix again. IF it is too wet, add a little bit more Parmesan & Mozzarella.

Spread about ¼” of sauce into your baking dish. Keep in mind that you will need this much sauce to support the roll ups vertically.

On a clean surface, lay 2-3 pieces of zucchini down slightly overlapping each other. I made mine to be about 2 & ½ inches across, so depending on the size of the zoodle, I either used two or three slices. Spoon & spread a thin layer of the ricotta mixture over the slices. Roll up tightly and place vertically in the prepared baking dish. Repeat with remaining zucchini.

Top with the remaining sauce and cheese.

Bake uncovered for 30 minutes or until the cheese has melted and is brown and bubbly.

NOTE: I had leftover sauteed red peppers and onions in my fridge, so I cut up some of the peppers and stuffed them into the tops of the rolls to make them look pretty. You do not have to be as crazy as I am OR you can make these rolls your own and add whatever else you like to them. They are very forgiving!

PS-If you like my recipes, I would love for you to please subscribe to my blog. Thank you in advance!

Blue Swallowtail Blessings

I can’t make this stuff up!

Usually while I’m having my cup of morning coffee, I am thinking about what I’d like to write about for the day. Because I’ve been contemplating starting this blog up again for a very long time, I have a lot of draft versions of blogs I’ve begun but not finished. So this morning without really thinking a great deal, I remembered a piece I wrote long ago entitled, “Metamorphosis”. I thought briefly about reprinting it, because this is how I”m currently feeling, but as soon as the thought entered my mind I decided not to. I’m trying not to go back in time to reprint blogs of days gone by. Besides this, I think of that blog as something to be posted during the Spring, because that’s when nature is re-birthing itself.

I finished my coffee, then pulled out my prayer journal. I sat for a moment, then wrote a few thoughts and ended with a five item gratitude list. One of the items I listed was this blog and how I am really enjoying writing on a regular basis. I’m thankful to God that I am able to express myself in this way and even happier when my words touch another person’s heart. Then I decided today would be the day I post my gratitude and invite others to do the same.

As usual, the drive to work brought more contemplation and my regular internal dialogue with heaven. I was expressing my gratitude for Charlie’s mother, for my mother, for my relationship with Mary, the Blessed Mother of Jesus, who is Mother to us all. I didn’t really verbalize it but that “Metamorphosis” blog was still in the back of my heart. Again, I think this is what I am feeling lately, so it makes sense for it to be there in my heart.

I pulled into the parking lot at work where I saw two of my favorite people, so I hopped out and chatted a bit. Afterward I walked around the corner towards the door. From out of nowhere appeared a beautiful little Blue Swallowtail butterfly*! She did circles around and around me and I squealed like a child with sheer joy! First of all, butterflies have always been special to me, but blues ones? They are my sign from the Blessed Mother! Hoping to get a photo, I dropped my bags just as she was flying off. I called to her (What? Did you expect me NOT to tell her to wait?) She actually landed and let me take this video! Look how CLOSE she let me get!

Then she posed for this photo! She wants you all to know how much you are loved, even when you aren’t feeling like it.

img_7220-1I walked through the door to my office knowing my first instinct was right. Someone out there needs to read about the journey to the cocoon. I could hardly wait to get home to deliver it!

*UPDATE: I just found out this isn’t a Swallowtail. It’s actually called a Red-Spotted Purple.  I don’t care. I still love it!


Metamorphosis

I am no fan of the caterpillar.

Funny, as children we joyfully grab them from the pavement, talk to them, pet them, let them crawl on us and even try to keep them in jars. Forty years later the mere site of one gives me the heebie jeebies. Gross!

Last week after watching hundreds of these slinky silken beings travel across my deck and front porch-each of them in search of a safe haven in which to transform- I had an epiphany.

Maybe as children we intrinsically recognize the caterpillar as part of our own selves. I can remember feeling a certain empathy for these creatures, which is probably why I used to pick them up and carry them across the parking lot, assuring them a safe journey to the woods. I didn’t want to see a single one meet an untimely and squishy death.

Today I ponder the fact that we are all a part of the caterpillar and vice versa. In a sense we are all trying to make our way across the asphalt jungle of life, trying to get to a place where we can finally feel free enough to release our inner beauty. I look back on my own life and recognize there have been a lot of little kid hands lifting me up and carrying me when I didn’t feel I could make it across the lot on my own.

Over the weekend I saw a caterpillar making his way up my front door. I didn’t stop long enough to see where he was trying to go, nor did I really care. I was busy with my list of tasks for the day. A little later on, after I’d been in and out a few more times, I noticed something interesting. He’d spun his cocoon and gone into his chrysalis right on my doorbell button! What a fitting symbol for me at this time in my life.

The butterfly has been a personal sign of mine for many years (I’m sure I am not alone in this). Throughout my life I’ve had many experiences of cocooning, hiding myself away from the rest of the world, spun into my own little nest, trying to transform and emerge anew. Maybe this is why I recoil when I see a caterpillar. Eek, bluck, and gross. Sometimes it’s not easy remembering the journey to the cocoon, even when we have already transformed into butterflies.

That caterpillar deliberately placed himself on my doorbell so I would see him every day and be reminded that I am Blessed beyond comprehension. In just a short while, he will emerge a transformed being to fly off and begin anew. In much the same manner, I will be opening the door to a new and wonderful life as well.

The doorbell? Well of course you do know that “every time a bell rings an angel gets its wings”? (Couldn’t resist that one, sorry. Cough.)

The butterfly is a universal symbol for the transformation of life. It is a symbol of great joy and great change. But most importantly, butterflies remind us that the power of metamorphosis is always within our reach.

May you find a caterpillar at your front door very soon!


My Dearest Lord:

What an incredible day this has been! From the depths of who I am, I thank you. I am still in total awe about the very unexpected beautiful butterfly who absolutely made my entire day!

Today I lift my prayers to you for anyone out there who needs to feel Your presence and love. I know there are those who are still tightly wrapped within their cocoons, perhaps feeling lost, hurt, afraid or lonely. Let them know that they are in my heart and that I wish to share my faith and love with them.  You are the great Universal healer. Please grant them courage to break free and emerge anew. 

Thank you for enabling me to see the beauty in this life and for allowing me the grace to finally accept the things I cannot change and to blossom where I can…and to remember… I always can.

I love you.


“For truly, I say to you, if you have faith like a grain of mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move, and nothing will be impossible for you.” Matthew 17:20

The Incredible Blah Lifting Egg!

Don’t Judge a blog by it’s title. (giggle)

It happens to all of us. Everything is going along smoothly and then something unexpected happens to knock you off your spiritual path. Usually these are the times when we’ve actually made the decision to start to be better about prayer or good deeds or service to others, etc. In my life, I’ve come to realize that when I am trying the hardest to be grounded, something always comes along to try to knock me down. When it happens, it’s easy to become more and more lazy about spirituality when in reality this is the time to fight harder.

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I don’t know about you, but in my life, things move along at a much happier pace when I am engaged and connected with God and the angels. The times where I am lazy or so consumed with things of this world, I more susceptible to feelings of depression and loneliness.

After several weeks of feeling completely happy inside, this morning I woke up feeling BLAH for no apparent reason. I slept really well and I had wonderful dreams about preparing food. (I meant it when I said I am obsessed with all things food related!) Still, I got out of bed feeling slightly off. Charlie said he felt the same way. We discussed how important prayer is to the both of us and affirmed together, that we must keep vigilant with our prayer armor.

Don’t ask me why, but I felt an odd compulsion to go right into the kitchen and whip up some bacon and eggs, so that’s what I did. Weekdays I usually skip breakfast and fast until lunch time. Today, it felt like the thing to do and so we dined on beautiful fried eggs, bacon, avocado slices, cilantro and yummy garden-fresh tomatoes. Afterward I felt so happy inside. Being productive really works to combat the blues. Listening to your intuition works even better!

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When I arrived at the office this morning, I made the phone calls I’ve been putting off. I prepared the reports that are not my favorites and in general, I chose to do the things that I usually am not thrilled about doing. Guess what? The blahs floated off into the atmosphere transformed as joy. I hope they land on top of someone who deserves a virtual hug and a ray of sunshine.

I am not advocating doing things you loath in order to feel better, but I am saying that knocking things off your To-Do list is a wonderful way to feel better. I’m very pleased that this morning I chose to do what I felt compelled to do. That’s why I persist in  preaching about tuning into your heart/gut/intuition. It will always steer in the right direction.

Admit it. You’re hungry for eggs now, aren’t you?

Love,

Bobbe


My Dearest Lord,

Today I want to express my gratitude for the happy feelings I have inside. I ask for continued help in the areas of self-reflection, following intuition and keeping You in the front of every aspect of my life. Additionally, I humbly ask these things for all who may discover this page today and in the days to come. 

Last week a social media acquaintance of mine lost her battle with cancer. I know she is with you today feeling restored and joyful and in the presence of the son she lost too soon. I know her friends and family are feeling sorrowful. Please give them the strength, peace and grace to carry on and the knowledge that they will see Lisa again. Until then, the highest tribute to her is a life well lived.

My sweet friend Angela has asked that I remember her husband in prayer as well.  I know you are already present in their lives as You are the greatest of all healers. Please add my prayers to theirs for relief for both of them. Caring for our ailing relatives takes a toll on the heart and the body. Let his spirits rise to meet yours so that his heart isn’t so heavy. Instill in him the knowledge that he IS going to get better.

For anyone who awoke this morning feeling the slightest bit, “Blah”, as Charlie and I did, I pray for relief. I pray for levity. I pray for the impulse to get up, move along and make today into something meaningful.

These days, Lord, I find I cannot stop expressing my gratitude. I feel Your hands on my heart every day. Thank You. Thank You. Thank You.

I love You.

Amen.

 


“No weapon that is formed against you will prosper; And every tongue that accuses you in judgment you will condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of the LORD, And their vindication is from Me,” declares the LORD. Isaiah 54:17


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Chicken Charlie Alfredo w/ Bacon & Sun-dried Tomatoes!

The recipe has ruined me for all other Alfredo dishes!

Okay people prepare to be dazzled. Prepare to have your spouses and your family and friends drop to their knees and bow their heads in your presence. This dish delivers everything but dollar bills from your Grandma’s purse. I promise!

By the way. Meet Charlie Alfredo. He really has nothing to do with this recipe. I just like to call him, “Charlie Alfredo” and share this photo whenever possible. (hee hee. HI CHARLIE!)

 

Charlie Tortellini

This recipe starts off in the most delicious way possible! Let’s fry some bacon! Six pieces will definitely do!

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While the bacon is cooking, I grate almost a full cup of Asiago cheese and chop up about 1/4 cup of sun-dried tomatoes. You may wish to add more tomatoes, but they have carbs, so I limited them in my recipe.

Once this bacon has delivered on making your home smell delightful and it’s reached the desired brownness, remove it from the pan and set aside but do NOT do a THING with that bacon grease! You want that!

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Here are my ingredients (bacon, cheese & sun-dried tomatoes) getting ready to be added to the pan. This is prior to my crumbling the bacon. I find if I do this at the last minute, it keeps the bacon crumbles from detouring to my mouth.

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To the grease, add in a couple of garlic cloves, minced. They will sizzle quickly, so be prepared to add the chicken almost immediately. Prior to cooking this chicken, you will want to rinse it and pat it dry, then season liberally with Salt and pepper and I also used Trader Joe’s “21 Season Salute” (I adore that stuff!), but you don’t have to. Here you are just aiming to brown the chicken on both sides. No need to try to cook it through. This takes about 2 or 3 minutes on each side. When it’s brown, remove it and set it aside.

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When the chicken is removed from the pan, add in 1/2 cup of chicken stock and with a wooden spoon or whisk, scrape up all the lovely bits of flavor. Here is where I cheated and used store-bought Alfredo sauce rather than make my own. Hey. This is a week night dish. Cutting corners is totally acceptable except for one thing. IF you are keto or low carb, you will want to read the label of your preferred sauce. Most of them have too many carbs for my taste, so I choose to use Rao’s because it doesn’t. (It’s not cheap, but it’s worth it to me.)roas

Whisk continually while you add in the sauce and then keep whisking as you add in the cheese, sun-dried tomatoes and all but one piece of chopped bacon. IF the sauce appears to be too thick, add in some more chicken stock. Bring up to a slow simmer.

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While your chicken is simmering, spiralize three zucchini. I pulled out another large cast iron skillet and sauteed the zoodles in butter, olive oil, salt, pepper and granulated garlic. Just as they were getting tender, I sprinkled in half a cup of Parmesan cheese to give it body.

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Lastly, season again with salt and pepper. Add the chicken back, cover and let simmer for twenty minutes. When you are ready to serve, stir in one Tablespoon of butter (use the real stuff!), sprinkle the remaining bacon and whatever fresh herb you prefer. Here I have added basil and parsley.

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All that’s left is to dish up your zoodles and top it with a piece of chicken and lots of sauce. I don’t add my zoodles to the sauce prior because I feel the zoodles get soggy. By all means, do what you like to do here. This would be delicious over Alfredo noodles, too.

Bonus: If you eat bread, a nice, crusty piece of garlic bread would be wonderful!


Chicken Charlie Alfredo with Bacon & Sun-dried Tomatoes

Serves 4

Ingredients:
4 large boneless, skinless chicken breasts.
3 cloves garlic, chopped
6 pieces of bacon, crumbled
1 15oz jar of Rao’s Alfredo Sauce
¾ cup freshly grated Asiago cheese
¼ cup sun-dried tomatoes (more if you don’t care about carbs)
1 cup chicken stock (possibly more if your sauce is too thick)
1 teaspoon freshly cracked pepper
½ teaspoon salt (Asiago cheese is very salty)
2 Tablespoons freshly chopped Basil
1 Tablespoon freshly chopped parsley
1 Tablespoons butter

Optional: If you have it, you can add additional seasoning your chicken with Trader Joe’s “21 Season Salute”, but it’s not necessary.

For the zoodles:
3 medium zucchini spiralized
2 Tablespoons butter
2 Tablespoons olive oil
1 Teaspoon granulated garlic
¼ cup freshly grated Parmesan

Directions:

Prepare the chicken by rinsing, patting dry and seasoning both sides with salt and pepper. Set aside.

Assemble the ingredients: grate the Asiago cheese, chop the sun-dried tomatoes, chop the garlic, chop the herbs and then set aside.

In a large cast iron skillet set to medium heat, cook the bacon until crispy, then remove and set aside. Quickly stir in the chopped garlic letting it sizzle only for about 30 seconds, then add in the chicken.

Cook until browned on both sides (about 2-3 minutes per side). No need to cook the chicken all the way through at this step. Brown it and remove it from the pan. Do NOT drain the bacon fat.

Deglaze the pan by whisking in ½ cup of chicken stock making certain to pick up the brown bits from the bottom of the pan. Whisk in the jar of Alfredo Sauce, then whisk in the cheese, tomatoes and all but one piece of the crumbled bacon. Bring up to a simmer and then add the chicken back to the pan making sure to coat both sides. Cover and let simmer for 20 minutes.

When the chicken is cooked through, just prior to service, stir in 1 tablespoon butter and the fresh herbs and then top it with the remaining bacon.

Serve over zoodles or pasta or alone with a side of lovely Asparagus!

 

 

 

Roman-ish Chicken

If you are like me and are not a fan of dark meat, this recipe will convert you. I promise.

My poor husband has to live with all of my silly food likes and dislikes. He is a guy who really loves all types of food and though I love to cook, I confess that I’m not a fan of some of the things he really loves. Dark meat happens to be one of his favorites. Each time we’re at the store together he gravitates to chicken thighs and suggests we make them. Stubbornly, I refuse because I hate dark meat. (Well I used to refuse until I found this recipe!)

Just look at that photo up there! With this cast of characters, how can anyone not like this recipe! The bonus is that it’s super easy (and cheap) to make!

First you lay out your chicken pieces making sure to pat them dry. After seasoning them with salt and pepper, brown them on both sides in a dutch oven. It isn’t necessary that they cook all the way through at this point. You are just looking for a nice color on both sides. When this is to your satisfaction, remove the pieces and set aside.

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Using the same pan, cook the bacon three quarters of the way to crisp, then add in the rest of the vegetables to saute until soft. Don’t forget to season and reseason every step of the way!

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Once your veggies have reached the desired consistency, add in a can of diced tomatoes, half of a cup of dry white wine, half of a cup of chicken stock, half of a cup of your favorite marinara (I use only Rao, because it’s Keto-approved. You may also make your own fresh marinara if you choose.) Here I threw in a whole bunch of fresh herbs from my garden and also more fresh cracked pepper and salt.

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I let this simmer for a few minutes to allow the flavors to marry and then I add back in the chicken. It’s not a beautiful picture, from here I let the chicken and the sauce simmer for about twenty minutes to allow the chicken to cook through. Charlie suggested last time that olives would be great in this. I agree. I also think artichokes would be tasty as well.

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Once it’s all cooked through, all that remains is to serve it over whatever your heart desires OR to serve it alone with a side of green vegetables. This will do well over rice, pasta, zoodles and even quinoa.


Roman-Ish Chicken
Serves 6

Ingredients:
4 boneless, skinless chicken thighs (you may use bone in, skin on if preferred)
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (you may use bone in, skin on preferred)
1/2 teaspoon salt, plus 1 teaspoon
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped or sliced (however you prefer)
1 red bell pepper, sliced
1 yellow bell pepper, sliced
6 pieces of bacon, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 (15-ounce) can diced tomatoes
1/2 cup white wine
1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
1 teaspoon fresh oregano leaves
1/2 cup chicken stock
2 tablespoons capers
1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves

Optional Ingredients:
¾ cup thinly sliced eggplant (I grow Japanese eggplant, so that’s what you are seeing in the photo)
½ cup sliced olives (whatever type you like)
¾ cup jarred quartered artichokes

Directions:
Season the chicken with 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. In a heavy, large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat. When the oil is hot, cook the chicken until browned on both sides. Remove from the pan and set aside.

Using the same pan over medium heat, add the bacon & cook it until it’s just about crisp, then add the onions and peppers (and whatever other fresh veggies you may decide to add), and cook until tender (about five minutes or so). Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add the tomatoes, wine, and herbs. Using a wooden spoon, scrape the browned bits off the bottom of the pan. Add the stock. Stir. Return the chicken to the pan and bring the mixture to a boil. IF you are adding jarred olives and/or artichokes, you would add them here. Reduce the heat and simmer, covered, until the chicken is cooked through, about 20 to 30 minutes.

Just prior to serving, stir in the parsley and capers.

 

Stupid Old Boyfriend-Near Life-Sized Signs

Here is the part where all of you question my sanity. I’m okay with that.

Once upon a time I had a boyfriend who made the frustrated declaration, “Oh Bobbe, you think everything is a sign. Not everything is a sign from God!” This was twenty nine years ago and I can still hear his words ringing in my ears. I know exactly where we were, what the weather was that day; I even remember what I was wearing.  I was completely flabbergasted. (Don’t you love that word?)

I have navigated my entire life by spiritual guideposts and feelings and I guess when he said that to me, it was the first time I realized that other people don’t. (I know there is more to life planning than floating about watching for signs. That’s not what I mean here.)

For instance. Last week was the first time in eons I started posting my spirituality blogs. I’d been feeling for some time that this is the direction I wanted and needed to take. I prayed a tremendous amount of time over it as well. I haven’t started talking about it here yet, but a strong part of my spiritual roots in later life, comes from my devotion to The Blessed Mother. (Yes, Mother Mary.)

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I am on Facebook every evening and in ten years not once have I ever seen a post from anyone (but me), regarding messages from The Blessed Mother. Yet, on Thursday evening, I ran into the following post from “The Medjugorje Web”:

Message to Mirjana Soldo of August 2nd, 2018.
Dear children,
With a motherly love I am calling you to open hearts to peace; to open hearts to my Son, so that in your hearts love for my Son may sing, because only out of that love peace comes in the soul. My children, I know that you have goodness, I know that you have love – a merciful love, but many of my children still have a closed heart. They think that they can do it without directing their thoughts towards the Heavenly Father who illuminates–towards my Son who is always with you anew in the Eucharist and who desires to listen to you. My children, why do you not speak to Him? The life of each of you is important and precious, because it is a gift from the Heavenly Father for eternity. Therefore, do not ever forget to keep on thanking Him: speak to Him. I know, my children, that what is to come afterwards is unknown to you, but when your hereafter comes you will receive all the answers. My motherly love desires that you be ready. My children, by your life keep putting good feelings in the hearts of the people whom you meet, feelings of peace, goodness, love and forgiveness. Through prayer, hearken to what My Son is saying and act accordingly. Anew, I am calling you to prayer for your shepherds, for those whom my Son has called. Remember that they need prayers and love. Thank you.

Why is this significant? Because earlier that very day, I shared some of my very personal conversion story with a dear friend of another faith. I don’t mind saying that every time I relate my  story, it’s a little bit frightening, because it’s so personal. She was so moved by it she encouraged me to pursue writing about it in depth. (Those closest to me know this has been a dream of mine for almost thirty years. It’s a dream I am currently, very seriously revisiting.)

Every part of that message up there speaks right to my heart and it’s what I’ve been putting in to practice daily for as long as I can recall. I saw it on Thursday. I saw it again on Friday. And on Saturday, an interesting thing happened on the way to the grocery.

Charlie and I wanted to go to visit Aldi’s to see if it’s a place we want to include in our regular shopping circuit. (It’s not, by the way.) We were driving along a beautiful street lined with pretty houses with well manicured lawns. I was enjoying the ride very much when we drove past a house with a huge picture window in the front. Imagine my glee when standing in that window I saw an almost life-sized statue of The Blessed Mother! I was so excited, I cried a little bit. I felt just like Mary herself had just given me Her nod of approval.

Blessings.  They are coming to us all every moment of every day. The secret is to keep an open heart and mind and to accept them for what they are. Remember when I was talking about tuning into the heart? This is part of it.

We are not alone here. Whatever it is you’re struggling with or need help with or want to share, open your heart and talk to God about it. You will be heard.

Ask. Believe. Receive. Say Thank you.


Dearest Lord:

Today I want to pray for those among us who are struggling in this life with issues regarding faith, hopelessness, courage, self worth and even direction. I know that there is never a time when You are not present with us, listening to our prayers and loving us. Please help us all to begin recognizing the multitude of signs of Your love, mercy and grace.

Thank you for the gift of Your Beautiful Mother, who I love, adore and hold so dear. 

Help us all to remember to practice putting good feelings in the hearts of the people we meet, feelings of peace, goodness, love and forgiveness and to pray for our Shepherds and Leaders, regardless of whether or not we agree with them.

I love you.

Amen.


 

“And a great sign appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars.” Revelation 12:1

Furball Blessings

Don’t you wish all the decisions that would yield great Blessings were easy to make? They are.

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A little over a year ago, Charlie and I welcomed this little dog-being into our home. We call him, “Sammy-the most interesting dog in the world.” (aka: #Sammythepeoplesdog)

One day I was popping around Facebook and I ran into a photo posted on a lifelong friend’s page. She was saying that she had just gone to the pet store and played with this precious, little guy and that, “Someone seriously needs to go get this little guy; he’s adorable.” She went on to say that she would have taken him in herself but he is so small, he’d be “hawk-bait” where she lives in the country.

I took one look at him and immediately clicked through the link she’d provided. We were not in the market for a new dog. Not one word had been spoken between hubs and I regarding wanting to add anything or anyone new to our recently rennovated home. I wasn’t sitting there gushing over how adorable this dog was; I just knew he was already mine. Before five minutes had passed, I’d filled out the application, texted with the Director of the Rescue place and committed to picking up the dog-site unseen. Then this conversation happened:

Me: “Cha Cha?

Charlie: “Yes, baby.”

Me: “We’re adopting another dog.”

Charlie: “No, we are not. We don’t want or need another dog. Maybe later, when Chinah has passed, but not right now. Nooooooo.”

Me: “Look at this photo.”

He looks.

Charlie: “When do we pick him up?”

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Two days later, 5.6 lb. Sammy was inspecting our home. Thankfully, we passed and we’ve been living, loving and laughing together ever since. He’s the brightest, funniest, most playful dog we’ve ever had. His presence in our life is an enormous daily Blessing.

sammy2

Don’t you wish all the decisions that would yield great Blessings were as easy to make? They are. It’s a matter of tuning into your heart and fearlessly following it’s direction.

Every mistake I have ever made occurred when I decided to steer away from what my heart told me to do. (Take a minute and think this through regarding your own life. I’ll wait… It’s truth, isn’t it?)

We’ve all got people in our lives who believe they know what’s best for us and those who are gifted in making sure to tell us where they think we are steering in the wrong direction. Let’s face it, there are people out there who appear to make it a mission to criticize and point out flaws.  And what do we do in response to these people? Sometimes we go against our better judgment just to please them OR just so we don’t have to hear about it from them. (Can I get an “Amen” here?) I can’t count the number of people out there who are living a life that someone else has dictated for them. When asked why they don’t or won’t pursue what they really want, the response is always the same. “I can’t because so-and-so won’t let me.” (Feel free to insert “…will be mad if I do”, “…says I’m not cut out for that”, “…wants me to stay this way”; the excuse list is endless, and I say this with love because I’ve been there, too. ♥)

So how does one begin the practice of tuning out the white noise of well-meaning friends and relatives in order to start listening to the contents of the heart? If you know anything about me you can predict what I’m about to say is the first step. (I can hear you, ya know. “God, this woman is a broken record. Doesn’t she ever say anything else!”)

The first step is in fact, prayer. I can already hear some of you saying, “But I pray and pray and pray and nothing different ever happens”. I challenge you on this one. There is never a time when earnest prayer doesn’t yield results. Part of the first step is committing to the realization that your prayers are in fact, being heard. You must stop expecting the answers to appear at the front door. It doesn’t work that way. (More on this later.)

The second step is action. You must give up the notion that you don’t have to be an active part in your life. In order to manifest anything new in one’s life, you must be willing to take a new and different step. It doesn’t have to be huge; just any little positive step that’s different and that moves you towards the direction of your heart.

Here’s mine. From the time I was a little girl, I have always expressed myself in writing. In later years, the one and only dream I have ever had for myself is to become a best selling author, but not just any best selling author. I want what I write to impact people on a soul level. I want to be a vessel of God’s love and I want my reach to be far and wide. I want to tell my own story, because it’s a doozy.

This morning I looked outside my front door and darned if there STILL wasn’t a throng of contract-yielding publishers all fighting to get to me first. (Whaaaat? Maybe tomorrow.)

You are reading one of many of the baby steps I am putting into action in order to get closer to manifesting my dream. I can’t expect to write a book if I am currently not writing a thing now can I? The other REALLY IMPORTANT step I started taking in earnest five months ago is my health. I haven’t been happy about my body in years, so I have stopped being mad at my image in the mirror and am now actively working on my diet and exercise. When I see progress, I feel happier. When I feel happier, I work harder. When I work harder, God always meets me half way.

The third step is to keep it quiet for now. You can’t tune into you heart if you are seeking accolades, approval or “go ahead’s” from others. (I know I’m not keeping quiet about what I’m doing, but I’m not the one seeking to learn to listen to my heart, now am I? ♥)

Let’s recap:

  1. Present your intentions before God by way of honest prayer.
  2. Commit to the understanding that your prayers are heard even if you don’t see or feel proof of it. (A lot of times in my own life, the greatest Blessings are those I don’t readily see or even know about.)
  3. Take some baby action steps.
  4. Keep your big mouth shut. Instead, feel how your heart feels when you are tip toeing towards your intentions. It might feel a little scary at first, but it still feels good, right? That’s your heart talking. Try to memorize what it feels like.
  5. Say thank you in advance for your Blessings.

Rest assured, I will be expanding on all of this soon. For right now, I’ve given you a very achievable mission. Should you decide to accept, your rewards are quite possibly infinite.

Love,

Bobbe


My Dearest Lord,

Today I want to take the time to thank you for all of the furball babies that have crossed my path.  There is so much to be learned by these creatures who offer us unconditional love and companionship. Thank you especially for our dog, Sammy, who makes us giggle on a daily basis. 

Jesus, for all of your children who feel trapped by life’s circumstances or who feel scared to break free of living under someone else’s expectations, I offer my prayers for your Blessings and courage. I know that we all have the capacity to become what our hearts desire and the first place for any of us is to start with You. 

Please join my prayers with the prayers of my friends, family, coworkers and readers. Thank you in advance for all of our Blessings, especially the ones we don’t readily see. Help us to trust with our whole hearts that when we place You in the lead of our lives, our rewards are often beyond our wildest dreams.

Let us all be proud to stand and call you, Father.

I love you.

Amen


 

1 John 5:14: “This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us.”