Epiphany of the Lord

For Catholics (and a few other Christian traditions), Christmas isn’t over on Christmas day. We continue to celebrate for 12 days after, until the 6th of January, which is the Epiphany of the Lord, the celebration of the visit of the Magi to baby Jesus, as told in Matthew 2:1-12. (In the West, we celebrate on the Sunday between the 2-8th of January, which would of course be today.)

“Epiphany originally celebrated four different events, in the following order of importance: the Baptism of the Lord; Christ’s first miracle, the changing of water into wine at the wedding in Cana; the Nativity of Christ; and the visitation of the Wise Men or Magi. Each of these is a revelation of God to man: At Christ’s Baptism, the Holy Spirit descends and the voice of God the Father is heard, declaring that Jesus is His Son; at the wedding in Cana, the miracle reveals Christ’s divinity; at the Nativity, the angels bear witness to Christ, and the shepherds, representing the people of Israel, bow down before Him; and at the visitation of the Magi, Christ’s divinity is revealed to the Gentiles—the other nations of the earth.”

“The word epiphany means “manifestation” or “revelation” and is commonly linked in Western Christianity with the visit of the wise men (Magi) to the Christ child. Through the Magi, Christ revealed himself to the gentiles.”

“On the Feast of the Epiphany [in the West], the priest, wearing white vestments, will bless the Epiphany water, frankincense, gold, and chalk. Chalk is used to write the initials of the three magi over the doors of churches and homes. The letters stand for the initials of the Magi (traditionally named Caspar, Melchior, and Balthasar), and also the phrase Christus mansionem benedicat, which translates as “may Christ bless the house”.”

If you check out Wikipedia, you can read some of the more interesting Epiphany customs all over the world, such as in Bulgaria, where a priest throws a wooden cross into a body of water and men race to retrieve it. Because it’s so cold, it’s considered an honorable act – the home of the first to retrieve the cross is said to be blessed with good health.

Happy Twelfth Night!

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Christian Foundation for Children and Aging (CFCA)

Christian Foundation for Children and Aging

I want to introduce you to an organization I support, called the Christian Foundation for Children and Aging. CFCA is a child, youth, and aging adult sponsorship organization. I personally like CFCA because I believe in their community work; I like their family approach; and because CFCA is Catholic and I am also Catholic, I know then I can support any Christian education they do provide.

When you sponsor through them, the money goes toward: basic needs (food, clothing, health care), educational needs, recreational activities, and literacy training and livelihood programs for parents.

You can also write and receive letters, pictures and updates, but the neatest thing is that CFCA has something called Awareness Trips, where you can visit the country your child is from, see the local community projects, and meet the child you’re sponsoring! (I fully intend to do this amazing experience one day!)

I’m currently sponsoring a little girl, but I’m going to write about her in another post, because today I want to share two specific (more pressing) projects: birthday week and the Christmas fund!

Every month, CFCA features children that are having birthdays. December is almost over and three children still need sponsors! Please considering sponsoring one for $30 a month!

The CFCA also has a variety of special funds, one of them being the Christmas Fund, where you donate to help families have Christmas celebrations. If you can’t do an ongoing sponsorship, this is a great one-time donation!

Either one of these would be fantastic last minute Christmas presents!

There is a lot going on at CFCA, so please check out their website, blog, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter or YouTube accounts.

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Postcard: Warsaw, Poland

I received this postcard through Postcrossing from a student from Belarus studying tourism in Warsaw, Poland. The photo is the center of the city, with the Palace of the Kings on the right and the King Column in the middle.

Warsaw. Castle square by night.


See the rest of my postcard collection.

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Happy Thanksgiving!


Hope you had a wonderful day! We stayed home this year and did our own food, just because we wanted some time to ourselves, which is probably good anyway because I ended up not feeling well most of the day and throwing up this morning haha.

But the food turned out great – we had turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, gravy, corn, rolls, cranberry sauce (can-shaped, I will not apologize for the bestest thing ever!!), potato salad and there is still some pumpkin pie in there. Everything was made low-fat too, so I didn’t die. (Yay gallbladder problems.)

And we have enough to feed about 10 more people, even though there are just two of us. 😉 So, umm, does someone want to come over to get a take-out container?

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Welcome to My Niece, Lily Noelle

My sister had her baby on November 18th!

Just 8 more weeks until my turn. 😉




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Pregnancy: Baby Shower

I had my baby shower this past weekend in Pittsburgh with my extended family. It was really lovely and “Baby Girl Jones” (hehe) got lots of goodies – TONS of clothes, rocker/glider, pack n’ play, moses basket, a gliding sleeper thing (don’t know how to explain!), belly stickers (these are cool – they’re numbered 1-12 and you put on the front of the baby each month for taking photos of the first year!), and all kinds of little things (medicine dispensers, baby wash, etc..) ..a diaper cake with lots of receiving blankets.. and the cutest fox stuffed animal.

And that cake.. it was amazing!

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10 Random Facts About Me


So, the whole “give me a number and I’ll tell you facts about me” thing has been going around Facebook.. and since I actually have (more important) things to write about, it’s clearly time to do this post instead!

1. When I was little, I made up a language called “Sponge”, where every word was sponge – Sponge sponge sponge, sponge sponge! Sponge!

2. Some of my dream jobs: anthropologist, neuroscientist, librarian, working in a theater (not sure exactly what part), working for a non-profit, Andrew Zimmern’s job on Bizarre Foods – exploring cultures through eating food!

Ooo.. ooorrrr being a member of SG-1 on the tv show Stargate SG-1 – yes, that’s right, my dream job literally doesn’t exist. It’s literally unattainable.

3. I met my husband online on a small diary site (before blogging was a thing!).

4. I currently have red hair, and it’s going to be redder because I just ordered some Manic Panic in vampire red to add to my conditioner.

5. I understand other people’s perspectives really easily, and that comes with good and bad: indecisiveness, not knowing what I think, easily forgiving, not jumping to conclusions easily, sympathizing with the criminal, simultaneously holding bits and pieces of different views.. among other things.

6. In elementary school, we’d arm wrestle at recess and I could beat everyone (including the boys)!

7. To me, vacation means someplace new and exploration – I could never have a cabin or beachhouse or anything like that, where’d you revisit the same place every year and just “relax”. Sounds boring!

8. My reading goal this year is 175 books and I’m pretty much on target!

9. My favorite books: Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro, Speaker for the Dead by Orson Scott Card.

10. When I was around 11, I got an award for this poem I wrote:


The battlecry of freedom,
Oppressive cries of rage–
Longing for the life they miss,
Trapped in a timeless cage.

Family and friends taken away,
Never to experience peace.
Hunger, weak and dying,
Their will to live has ever ceased.

The few are left to wonder why,
They are the ones to pay.
What did they do to deserve
This path without a way?

“You don’t fit in!
You’re not the same!
You’ll work and slave,
Your life no gain!”

Why are they different,
With teary eyes they cry!
The love and hope they barely know
Is gone and they must die.

So, your turn, tell me.. three random facts about you.

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Postcard: Ukraine, “A Boy Model”

If you’ve been around awhile, you might remember that I used to share postcards weekly as part of Postcard Thursday. Well, I’d like to bring that back again.

I received this one from the Ukraine (through Postcrossing – check it out if you haven’t before!) The person who sent it to me also sent me a Ukrainian penny!

“A Boy Model”
Sepia and pencil on paper.

Postcard Ukraine

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Image Through Images

Some people are very consistent across the board, but I think a lot of us tend to show different aspects of ourselves to different people. And I think this image of ourselves can be captured in photos.


I see these photos and think this is how other people view me – both visually and in personality. They’re nice photos, I like them, I think they’re flattering enough – nothing bad, but they feel different than what I see as my essence. The person I portray in them seems.. a superficial version of me? I don’t relate to the person I see in them, but yet I am sure others see me this way.

But this second batch of photos I feel are more authentic to me, both personality and what I see when I see myself in the mirror. And I think they’re flattering as well – though it seems most people would prefer the first batch.

My theory is that the first batch is more consistent with what others may view as normal, appropriate or even pretty and that is why they like it better (the first photo being the most “tidy and socially appropriate”) – even if the person in the picture isn’t quite “normal”, “appropriate” and thinks she is “prettier” in the second batch.

(The last one is old, from high school, I think maybe around age 16, but it’s still one of my favorites.)

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I think they’re all aspects of me, but I think it’s interesting that they all seem different and that I relate to some better than others.

Do you look consistent in most of your photos or do you have any that just seem more “you” than others? Do other people see you differently than you see yourself?

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Pregnancy: Pregnant Sisters

Both my sister and I are pregnant and we (finally) got around to getting photos of ourselves, which is good because she is about to explode babies everywhere..

She is 38 weeks and I’m 29 weeks. Any guesses on our ages (if you don’t already know)? Just curious.

Don’t really know what’s going on in that second to last picture, but it’s funny. lol Husband says I was measuring our bellies..

(Anyone willing to attempt to get that car out of the first pic for me, haha? I exhausted my own amateur skills and can’t get anything that looks reasonable.)

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