Vegetable Stock and Easing Into Lent

Vegetable Stock Recipe and Lent, a Look at Liturgical living. Liturgy of Life.

We haven’t stopped running since before Christmas and it is already a scorching  90 degrees in the Rio Grande Valley.  The fact that we are a week into Lent seems impossible, I’m not getting any cues from my life my world that say, “it is time to slow down,” and making space for quiet meditation is the last thing I have time for.

But I suppose this is part of why we have Liturgical seasons. I may never stop hurrying and the seasons in south Texas may always feel out of sync with the rest of the country. Maybe a few times a year I need to be told to how feel because otherwise I would  continue to race tripping over my own numb legs.


This week in the Liturgy of Life Reading group we read a chapter about Lent, in Let us Keep the Feast.  This book offers a refreshing look at the ancient traditions  that we have in the Liturgical seasons and is helpful whether this is all new to you or if you have been doing it your whole life.


Lent also echoes the larger truth of the Christian life: that there are times when we will experience hardship and suffering, spiritual winters, and extended darkness. It enlivens us to the harder realities of lifelong faithfulness- that there will be times of absence, doubt, unfulfilled hunger, and unmet spiritual longing- and trains us to follow Christ in times of darkness.

In giving ourselves to a season of less, we learn that our personal comforts have little to do with greater love of Christ. We, like most of God’s creatures, are seasonal and should know that some seasons are harsher than others. There are different lessons to be learned, different habits to be employed in winter than in summer. This is as true in our spiritual lives as in  our gardens or the forests. Lent serves as a time to employ disciplines of self-denial and grow strong in them, rather than weakening ourselves in our constant pursuit of ease and joy. Lent assures us that joy will come later, and it will surely come.


One of the most common Lenten practices is a fast. For me growing up this meant giving up rich foods like meats.   So I thought  we would kicked off Lent this year by making a big pot of vegetable stock.  Here ya go.


I roughly followed this recipe. But made some changes based on what I had and the quantity I wanted to make.

Vegetable Stock:

Vegetable Stock Recipe and Lent, a Look at Liturgical living. Liturgy of Life.


These proportions are for 4 quarts of water, but can easily be increased or decreased

Vegetables: 2 Onions (skin on), 10 stalks of celery, 2 carrots (always peeled), 1 head of garlic (skin on),  and 6 parsley sprigs are a must. Then consider mushrooms, fennel bulb and others you may like. All washed and cut into halves.

Seasoning: 1 teaspoon salt, 1 teaspoon pepper, one bay leaf and then other herbs which you enjoy.

2 Tablespoons of olive oil or your favorite.


  1. Heat oil in a large stock pot and add onions, saute until softened, a few minutes and then add other vegetables. Saute another few minutes.
  2. Add water and bring to a boil. Then simmer for about 2 hours.
  3. Strain and discard vegetables.
  4. Let liquid cool and store in the fridge for 3 days or in the freezer for 3 months. You can also transfer into a pressure canner while still hot and follow the directions to can it and store it in the pantry.

Enjoy as a base for soups and stews during Lent and throughout the year.



This post is part of a series from the Liturgy of Life Reading Group we are currently reading, Let us Keep the Feast. I would love to hear from you. If you blog feel free to link up with us every Wednesday and share your thoughts on our latest book. You can also Like Liturgy of Life on facebook, join our facebook discussion group  or subscribe for a weekly update and special emails.


Thanks for being here.



From Dust to Dust

Another re-post, and a week late reflection on Ash Wednesday. It’s the best I can do, I swear I’ll get my head together at some point this month but that point is not today.



From dust you came and to dust you shall return.” The priest looked at me gravely and smudged my head with ashes.  It was reminiscent of my own funeral, as it is intended to be.  The meditation for Ash Wednesday is that I will die and so will everyone I love, we will be turned back into the earth that we were made from.


“From dust you came and to dust you shall return.


Honestly I had a miserable  day. It was one of those days where I was always in a hurry, constantly playing catch up. I burned the rice and spilled the beans. There was dog pee on the floor and toddler pee on the bed. My daughter caught cold and every time her nose began to drip she would shriek “Wipe my nose! Wipe my nose!” on another day it would have been endearing but today my heart was stone.

While I sat through the service tonight hearing the chorus over and over “from dust you came and from dust you shall return,” I longed to feel repentant. Even as we read the confessions “Lord forgive me for what I have done and what I have left undone, I have not loved you with my whole heart, I have not loved my neighbor as myself.” I mumbled along with empty words. I was grumpy  and self-absorbed.

And that is just it. That is who I am. Sure I have good days too, but today I was cold-hearted and selfish and  I couldn’t even bring myself to feel bad about it.

The Jesus Prayer that Bloom mentions is one that I learned as as child.  When I feel like I did today I cling to it. “Lord Jesus Christ, son of God, have mercy on me a sinner.”

Bloom goes on to say, “You can express to God your sorrow, your misery, your disgust with yourself, and you come back with the determined will to tell God what is true and that your will is united with His will. “

And that is what I did. I prayed for mercy and I thanked God that He asks me to be more than I am and that He is at work in me to do it.

I’m still selfish but every time I remember to cling to Jesus a tiny battle has been won. It is one more step towards God and away from a bitter heart. Honestly, I’m not over it. But I will go to bed with these two lines going through my head.

From dust you came and to dust you shall return.

Lord Jesus Christ, son of God, have mercy on me a sinner.”

Hoping that tomorrow I will be more than I was today.


This post is part of a series from the Liturgy of Life Reading Group. I would love to hear from you. If you blog feel free to link up with us every Wednesday and share your thoughts on our latest book. Like Liturgy of Life on facebook, join our facebook discussion group or subscribe for a weekly update and special emails.


Thanks for being here.



Walking Epiphany Brought to you by Tamara Murphy

Epiphany, Hope on the Border Liturgy of Life, Horse and cart clinic Reynosa Mexico


One of the best and most unexpected pleasures of blogging is all of the new friendships.  I am so grateful that despite all its failures, this crazy internet world can truly be used to foster meaningful relationships.  One of those that I am most grateful for is with Tamara Murphy who blogs at This Sacramental Life.  She has begun a blog series called Walking Epiphany and has been kind enough to invite me to participate.  I realized as I was choosing photos for this post that Tamara was helping me to see my own life with fresh eyes and for that I am abundantly thankful.

Check it out, this is the first in her series.


The Party has Just Begun A quick Intro to the 12 Days of Christmas

Introduction to the 12 days of Christmas, liturgy of life
We just finished these Christian Monogram Ornaments, one to add to the tree each day during the 12 days of Christmas. They each have a symbol of our ancient Christian faith, with a little history and explanation on the back.


If you have been at all interested in the liturgical calendar or Christian traditions this is great time of year to jump in.  Instead of spending the day packing up the Christmas tree you are looking at another week and a half of celebrating. Sounds awesome right?


I find it sort of ironic that our culture starts fussing about Christmas in October but has forgotten that in the Christian tradition Christmas went on for 12 days.


This twelve day celebration is fun time but it is also practical.  We have spent four weeks of advent meditating on hope and anticipation.  Christmas Day comes and goes so fast.  It can feel like a let down to have spent so much time and preparation for one exciting day only to wake up on the day after Christmas to piles of  dirty dishes and crumpled wrapping paper. For me having a few days to focus on celebrating joyfully helps me to reflect more thoughtfully on the coming of Christ and also gives me time to consider how His coming impacts my life everyday even when Christmas is long past.


So here are some ideas to keep the Christmas spirit for 12 Days (by the way, I’m a total amateur here, there is plenty more to know, this is really meant to be only a quick intro):

 Celebrate feast days:

There are several saints days during the Christmas season which also help to emphasize different aspects of the Christian faith.

  • December 26th- The Feast of St. Stephen. Stephen is known for being the first martyr of the Church. This day is also called Boxing day in England. It is a time to remember the poor and do some act of service.
  • December 27th- Feast of St. John. St John is the apostle known for teaching about Christian love. This is  a good time to read from John’s Gospel and also sip on some spiced St. John’s wine.
  • December 28th- Feast of the Holy Innocents.  This is a day to remember the babies that were killed by Herod as he sought to kill Jesus. It is a time to honor children and do something to protect at risk children around the world.
  • January 1st- Feast of the Holy Name of Jesus.  This day remembers Jesus’ name and circumcision on the 8th day.  Spend this day learning about the names of Jesus.
  • January 5th- The eve of 3 Kings Day. Christmas officially ends January 6th with Epiphany and we celebrate the coming of the Magi to visit the baby Jesus.  Often a party for the three kings is held the evening of January 5th. In some cultures gifts are exchanged this night to remember the gifts of the magi.  You can also bake a traditional King’s Cake.


Gift Giving:

This year I have become obsessed with these little peg dolls.

Peg people. A Introduction to the 12 days of Christmas. Liturgy of Life

On Christmas day we gave our daughter, Mary, Joseph and the Baby Jesus. On the second day she is getting the shepherds and sheep.  Then on Epiphany she will get the wise men. On the days in between she will get members of our family (I’m telling you, I am obsessed).

Consider giving a small gift everyday or saving three to open on Kings Day (to remember the three gifts that were brought to baby Jesus).

Find Your Own Special Tradition for each day:

Growing up our Yiayia used to take us out early in the morning on the day after Christmas. We would shop for Christmas ornaments at half price and each pick out one which would be set aside as our special ornament for the following Christmas. She would also take us out to breakfast. I have great memories from these outings and having this tradition always gave us something to look forward to on the day after Christmas.

Consider taking some of your favorite Christmas traditions and spreading them out over the 12 days. Or make each day into a celebration by preparing a favorite food or craft, or doing a special outing or act of service.

This year on the day after Christmas we are going to stay up and watch Little House on the Prairie Christmas episodes, eat popcorn and sleep in the living room under the Christmas tree.


Read a Favorite book:

A Child in Winter has reflections for Advent, Christmas and Epiphany.


Celebrating the Twelve Days of Christmas gives an Orthodox perspective on this time of year, it can be found here.


AContinual Feast is a Cookbook that features recipes from liturgical traditions from all around the world.


Or just read one of your favorite Christmas books each day.  Here are a few ideas:

Once again I’ll mention this book as a great resource for celebrating the church year at home.

(We will actually be reading this together throughout the year in the Liturgy of Life Reading group.)



Hope this helps, and I’d love to hear your ideas of how to celebrate this season.


Merry Christmas,





To learn more about Liturgy of Life click here, or join us in our reading group, where we are currently reading, The Art of The Commonplace by Wendell Berry. Feel free to comment here or join in the discussion on facebook.