Ash Wednesday Thoughts

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And they will make their voice heard over you And will cry bitterly They will cast dust on their heads, They will wallow in ashes.-Ezekiel 27:30

This Valentine’s Day was a bit different for me. This year Valentine’s Day fell on Ash Wednesday marking the beginning of Lent. This morning I got up early to go to mass to receive the ashes that would mark my forehead. For the rest of the day there were people who were asking me about my ashes. Some people may find this to be offensive for me it was a reminder of God’s grace through humility and the blessing Jesus Christ bestowed on me when He died on the cross.

Every Ash Wednesday I am reminded by my priest that the ashes in a shape of a cross that we bear are a sign of humility. The ashes that were burned from the palms from last years Palm Sunday are brought back in the form of ash. When someone asks me about my ashes on my forehead I remind them that it is Ash Wednesday, the beginning of Lent. If someone asks why I didn’t wash off the ashes, I remind them that it is a part of my faith.

Wearing ashes on my forehead as part of my faith has not always been an easy thing. There were times when I went felt uncomfortable with wearing the ashes on my head. I was embarrassed to go out in public and I wished that I could just stay home for the rest of the day once I received the ashes on my forehead. As a teenager I was worried what everyone else would think of the ashes on my forehead. Even though mass would be at night and right after I would go home to take a shower to wash it off before school the next day, it wasn’t until I was truly easy. It was not until I was in college on an Ash Wednesday when I “got hit with the ashes” so to say, that I felt confident in wearing them. There were some people who forgot it was Ash Wednesday and they asked me what was on my forehead. On this day when I was either a freshmen or a sophomore I began to grow confident in my faith. Every time someone asked me the same question I began to feel better about wearing them. Each time I felt pride in my faith to show people that I was not afraid to be Catholic. Today I have no problem with answering the simple questions of the ashes I bear.

The more I thought about it as I wrote this blog post,  I began to realize that Ash Wednesday has been about to help me build confidence in my faith and to trust God and His son Jesus Christ. I feel pride in letting people know that I am not afraid to show my love for Him. For without God’s mercy and Jesus’s love there would be nothing. In a few Fridays from now it will be Good Friday and many people will post John 3:16 “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” On Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and other social media outlets this phrase will pop up. However, the real question is how many people actually understand the real meaning behind those words? The one lingering and sad question is the last thought I have on Ash Wednesday.

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The Magic Flute

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There is no opera quite like Mozart’s The Magic Flute. In his final opera he is able to bring you on a magical journey to a far off land where a prince goes on a journey to save a beloved princess. With the help of a powerful magic flute he is able to make this possible. All of this magic was brought to life at the Garde Arts Center in New London, CT.

Before the show started there were many anxious patrons waiting to see the show. Inside the lobby they admired posters for music acts Melissa Etheridge on December 15th and Andrew Bird on March 2nd. Others were asking questions about the upcoming shows The Wizard of Oz on May 3rd and Popovich: Comedy Pet Theater on March 16th. With many inquiring about these upcoming hit shows at the Garde they anxiously awaited for the show to start.

When the lights had flickered many had made it on the way into the theater where they saw a stage set with a white screen against three steps. Many were wondering about the family friendly show they were about to see. Yes, many families came from out of town to see Mozart’s final opera as it is very friendly family with a tale many children can enjoy. Children were excitedly waiting for the show to start, some of them asking their parents questions about the show they were about to see. Many others were reading the program about the talented cast.

When the theater lights turned off signaling the time for the show to begin. But, before the show started the actor who portrayed the character Papageno came on to wish an audience member a “Happy Birthday” as well as welcome everyone to the show. When the conductor came out to an applause he gave a slight pause instructing the music to start playing.

Shortly after this happened the audience was transported to a modern day city where prince was fighting off a lizard only to be saved by three mysterious women. From there we were brought to a far off land where a princess has been kidnapped. Using the white screen to portray the scenes for the different lands there was no leaving this magical place.

When the show had come to a close many were brought back to the Garde Arts Theater in New London, CT where everyone was on their feet applauding the cast. The night wasn’t quite over yet. When the show had ended, there was a reception held. Patrons enjoyed snacking on crackers and cheese while drinking fruit punch and wine. When the cast had made their way out they were posing for photos and making small talk with the patrons. With beaming smiles, the Garde Arts Center in New London, CT was able to make a magical night for all ages.

Cherish the Ladies: A Celtic Christmas

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Up until a few weeks ago, I had not heard of the Celtic band Cherish the Ladies. On December 1, 2017 at the Garde Arts Center they managed to put on a performance that made it hard to forget their name. Lead by the talented Joanie Madden these women put on a fantastic show complete with Irish step dancing.

At the Garde there were many people who were anxiously waiting to get inside the theater. By the time the doors opened the box office lobby was packed with people. As many made their way into the theater they talked about the upcoming shows at the Garde, specifically Melissa Etheridge on December 15th, and The Nutcracker on December 9th and 10th. Others admired posters for future shows like The Wizard of Oz and An Evening with Andrew Bird.

Once inside the theater many were entranced by the stage as it was set with many instruments. In the background there was a red screen adorned with Celtic symbols. When the show started Steve Sigel gave a word of welcome, even wishing a young girl in the audience a “Happy Birthday”. When he left the stage Joanie Madden came on stage along with the rest of her crew. All of the performers have musical families with many of them winning awards from around the world.

With a combination of a sense of humor, Irish step dancing, and singing there was nothing short of stopping this show. Alongside Joanie Madden, there was Don Stiffe a classic Irish folk singer and Julie Fitzgerald a renowned fiddle player from Canada who Irish step danced as well. Mary Coogan who has gained popularity as being a Celtic guitar playing. Nollaig Casey brought a bit of Ireland to New London by singing a classic Irish song in Gaelic. The accordion player Mirella Murray has managed to bring the instrument to the next generation by teaching a number of award winning players. Kathleen Boyle, who played the piano, sang and shared some of her family history with the crowd. Finally, the two Irish step dancers Jason Oremus and Garrett Coleman have won several championships with their talent.

During intermission several guests bougth CD’s and DVD’s that were on display. Many people were encouraged to like their page on Facebook. Those that commented were entered into a drawing to win a free CD. When intermission ended the fun began again. Yet, sadly the show ended too quickly.

After encouraging the audience to participate in singing songs like “O Come Ole Ye Faithful” and “Silent Night” the winners of the free CD’s were announced. Alongside that Joannie Madden announced she was going to be hosting two cruises in the coming year. After a couple more songs with dancing the group received a standing ovation.

When the show had ended the crowd was flocked around the merchandise table purchasing CD’s and DVD’s while anxiously awaiting the band. When the group came out there were lines for autographs and photos. Cherish the Ladies generously signed autographs, took photos, and partook in small talk with their fans. As many left the Garde Arts Center with smiles on their faces as they remarked on the memorable night they just had.

Buffalo Chicken Dip

Today is Super Bowl Sunday! Right now many supermarkets and grocery stores ALL over America have people buying chips, soda, dip and (if they are old enough) beer. All of this in anticipation for the New England Patriots and the Philadelphia Eagles to play in the most highly anticipated football game of the year. For the game, I am preparing by making buffalo chicken dip.

However, this buffalo chicken dip came from my mom’s head. When I asked her where the recipe was she said in my head before writing it down. Later she told me she combined two different recipes. So, here is the recipe for, to me, the best buffalo chicken dip.

2 cups of shredded boiled chicken

1 8 oz. package of low fat cream cheese

1/3 cup hot sauce

1/3 cup ranch dressing

1/3 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

1/3 cup shredded cheddar cheese

Instructions!

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Start by softening cream cheese in a medium size bowl. After cream cheese is soften stir in hot sauce, ranch dressing, and chicken. Make sure the mixture is stirred well together, then stir in the shredded mozzarella and shredded cheddar cheese. Once done stirring spread across a pie plate (that is what I use) then place in the preheated oven for 20-25 minutes. Turn oven OFF!!!! Once done let sit for 5-10 minutes before serving. Serve with celery and/or corn chips (I prefer Tostitos and Fritos).

Hope you enjoy this yummy recipe!

GO PATRIOTS!!!!

Unexpected Snow!!!

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Last night before I went to bed they said on the news that there would only be a dusting of snow. Well, this morning when I woke up for work I heard my parents downstairs.  I looked out the window to find that the so called “dusting” was actually four to seven inches of snow. The snow didn’t stop me from going into work. Although, I made it in a couple of hours late. There was much shock in the morning to this snow storm as it was not expected. Yet, it is winter in New England. Never the less, sometimes a dusting of snow turns your day upside down.

30th Phantom of the Opera Anniversary

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One of the most popular musicals of all time celebrated it’s 30th Anniversary on Broadway. Even though Andrew Lloyd Webbers famous musical Phantom of the Opera premiered in London in 1986, it was on January 24th, 1988. A couple of days ago the longest running Broadway show celebrated another milestone. Happy 30th Broadway Anniversary Phantom of the Opera!!

The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel Lesson

The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel. Timely and brilliant. Lots of inside references, like were in The Gilmore Girls. Lenny Bruce to Midge: “My advice to you; be your own lawyer.” Ha! Midge’s mom to Midge: “I tried to call you but you have so many nines in your number.” Big smile. More please.A couple of weeks ago the Amazon Prime series The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel won the Golden Globe for Best Actress in a Comedy and Best Television Series-Comedy. Spiking my curiosity, I decided to check out this new hit series. Watching the first episode about a housewife in the 1950’s who finds herself divorced finding her way in New York City with a new found feeling gave me a bit perspective on the life I have now with a lesson I needed.

Being an adult and living at home is not something I imagined. In fact if you were to ask me if I would be living at home ten years ago, I would have said no. At this point in life, I thought I would have my own house and either married with children or planning my own wedding. In the show, Midge Maisel married right out of college and ended up having children. Then she ended up divorced and having to move back in with her parents. The important lesson I learned from this is waiting patiently for the right guy is worth it. Midge thought she had everything going for her and she did. Instead by the time she was thirty and having to move back in wither parents.

Midge Maisel was able to find her voice after her husband left her by doing a comedic act in a local night club. The Gaslight Cafe was able to become a safe haven where she was able to express her anger at her current situation. Learning that she had a new career in comedy gave her an outlet, but it did not give her the money she needed to move away from her parents. Eventually, she decides to work in a department store. Now, this does sound bad like she was giving in. Yet, Midge chose happily to work in the store with a smile on her face. She was able to learn a new skill, make some new friends, and another outlet away from the troubles she has. When Midge was able to get this job, I believe, she was able to finally start to move on with her life from her tarnished marriage. Sure The Gaslight Cafe gave her the first outlet she needed, but having a career where she was able to make, at least some, decent money from the start was rare back then.

The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel Reveals All The Work Women Do To Look Effortless +#refinery29You see, Midge Maisel grew up in a time where once you were a woman and married you were expected to be the perfect housewife. You were expected to stay home to cook, clean, and raise the children while your husband went off to work. There was no reason for her to have a career as that was chosen for her the moment she said “I do”. Having to move back in with her parents along with her children was far from her plans on her wedding day. Yet, it ended up happening to her. Even though she was angry and disappointed with what had happened to her, as she was believed her husband was the one, was not in her plans. But, I was able to learn from The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel that waiting for the right time is important.

Watching Midge Maisel pick up the pieces from her broken marriage as she starts her life over is inspiring to me. In The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, I was able to find a source of happiness and comfort with the knowledge that I will be able to move on with my life when the timing is right. Midge Maisel lived in an era where it was expected of you to marry young and have children from a young age. I believe that there are many Midge Maisel’s living in the world right now who will end up finding happiness and joy when the time is right.

In no way this article a shame to anyone who has married young. I have seen couples who have married young living happily together. However, their timing was right with the right person. Everyone is different with their timing in life, for some people their time is earlier than others. 

Martin Luther King Jr. Day

Image result for Martin Luther King jr quotesThere are many people in the world who know who Martin Luther King Jr. is. The Civil Rights leader who advocated nonviolence and lead marches across Southern America became is still remembered today. When I had opened my computer I noticed there was a poll on msn.com asking about what Martin Luther King Jr. is most remembered for. There were four options: “I Have a Dream” speech, his role in the Civil Rights Movement, Selma to Montgomery March and his advocacy for nonviolence. The answer, to me, is all of them.

Martin Luther King Jr. did all of those things becoming a face of the Civil Rights Movement. Standing in front of thousands of people to deliver his famous “I Have a Dream” speech is still referenced today. Many children in school learn the words of his vision to make America a better country with out injustice. Martin Luther King Jr. faced intimidation from the Ku Klux Klan like getting his house bombed with his family inside. Never the less, he stood up for his rights showing that love is more powerful than hate.

Sadly, Martin Luther King Jr., was shot and killed in Memphis, Tennessee. Standing outside his hotel room he was shot down, but his message still resonates with many. Yes, we have come along way from the 1960’s. But, Martin Luther King Jr., is forever remembered for his true message of justice for all.

Brrrr!

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2018 has gotten off to a cold start! This cold snap has left temperatures below freezing with a windchill to make it even colder. Well, feel colder than it actually is. On Thursday, a snow storm came through adding snow, icy roads, and the responsibility of cleaning the car off in the morning to this wintry weather. All I can say is brrrrr at this point! Hopefully, it will warm up soon, at least above freezing.

2018 Blog

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This year, 2018, I am going to take a bit of a break from blogging on a daily basis. Don’t worry, I will still continue on with blogging. But, from time to time, probably once every other week. The reason for this is so I can get back to commenting and expanding my blog. I don’t want to continue on with writing a paragraph about one thing. When I started doing that, I thought I would have enough time to write something for “Music Monday” and “TV Tuesday” for this year, and last year for my movie every day. Instead, I started to find it a bit exhausting and unable to remain in contact with other bloggers. I hope for this year, I will be able to expand like I did three years ago when I started by taking time off in between posts and writing every now and then, not every day. Happy 2018!