April 20, 2015

Hello dear reader; we’re back!

We’re very sorry to have been away for so long – it certainly wasn’t a planned extended hiatus!  We had a thought about making some necessary changes to our look, and as neither of us (Sarah and Tess) know anything about, well, anything technological, a slight glitch turned into a derailment, which required a rethink and a reboot.

We found this lovely new template, and an extremely competent technologically-savvy person installed it for us, and while we may be working out a few kinks here and there over the next few days, this is essentially it: The Feminine Gift 3.0 (this is our third ‘look’).

The time away from regular posting has allowed for life to happen, for new topic ideas to percolate, and for the passion for our mission to be renewed – and all of the above were much needed.

We are very grateful for your patience and understanding, and for still being here.  As always, we’d love to hear from you: what do you think of the new look?  Can you find your way around? Is there something missing you’d like to see here?

Are there topics you’d like us to discuss?  And, here’s what we’d really like to know: have you ever thought you’d like to try your hand at writing? Is there an idea niggling away in the back of your mind that you’d like to put on paper and publish here at The Feminine Gift?

You can reach us through the comment box below this post, or email us at thefemininegift(at)gmail.com.

May the peace of our Risen Lord be with you!
Happy Easter,

Sarah and Tess
April 4, 2015
Caravaggio, The Entombment of Christ. Picture Credit

"What is happening? Today there is a great silence over the earth, a great silence, and stillness, a great silence because the King sleeps; the earth was in terror and was still, because God slept in the flesh and raised up those who were sleeping from the ages. God has died in the flesh, and the underworld has trembled.

Truly he goes to seek out our first parent like a lost sheep; he wishes to visit those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death. He goes to free the prisoner Adam and his fellow-prisoner Eve from their pains, he who is God, and Adam's son.

The Lord goes in to them holding his victorious weapon, his cross. When Adam, the first created man, sees him, he strikes his breast in terror and calls out to all: 'My Lord be with you all.' And Christ in reply says to Adam: ‘And with your spirit.’ And grasping his hand he raises him up, saying: ‘Awake, O sleeper, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give you light.

‘I am your God, who for your sake became your son, who for you and your descendants now speak and command with authority those in prison: Come forth, and those in darkness: Have light, and those who sleep: Rise.

‘I command you: Awake, sleeper, I have not made you to be held a prisoner in the underworld. Arise from the dead; I am the life of the dead. Arise, O man, work of my hands, arise, you who were fashioned in my image. Rise, let us go hence; for you in me and I in you, together we are one undivided person.

‘For you, I your God became your son; for you, I the Master took on your form; that of slave; for you, I who am above the heavens came on earth and under the earth; for you, man, I became as a man without help, free among the dead; for you, who left a garden, I was handed over to Jews from a garden and crucified in a garden.

‘Look at the spittle on my face, which I received because of you, in order to restore you to that first divine inbreathing at creation. See the blows on my cheeks, which I accepted in order to refashion your distorted form to my own image.

'See the scourging of my back, which I accepted in order to disperse the load of your sins which was laid upon your back. See my hands nailed to the tree for a good purpose, for you, who stretched out your hand to the tree for an evil one.

`I slept on the cross and a sword pierced my side, for you, who slept in paradise and brought forth Eve from your side. My side healed the pain of your side; my sleep will release you from your sleep in Hades; my sword has checked the sword which was turned against you.

‘But arise, let us go hence. The enemy brought you out of the land of paradise; I will reinstate you, no longer in paradise, but on the throne of heaven. I denied you the tree of life, which was a figure, but now I myself am united to you, I who am life. I posted the cherubim to guard you as they would slaves; now I make the cherubim worship you as they would God.

"The cherubim throne has been prepared, the bearers are ready and waiting, the bridal chamber is in order, the food is provided, the everlasting houses and rooms are in readiness; the treasures of good things have been opened; the kingdom of heaven has been prepared before the ages."

A reading from an ancient homily for Holy Saturday

Almighty, ever-living God, whose Only-begotten Son descended to the realm of the dead, and rose from there to glory, grant that your faithful people, who were buried with him in baptism, may, by his resurrection, obtain eternal life.
(We make our prayer) through our Lord.
(Through Christ our Lord.)
Prepared by Pontifical University Saint Thomas Aquinas

March 15, 2015
You wouldn't know it, but I changed 3 times this morning.  I've been working on a capsule wardrobe lately just to alleviate the  burden of matching new outfits but I'm not "there" yet and it sometimes takes me ages to get dressed in the morning.  How great would it be to have everything in your wardrobe match just about everything else?  All I would have to do is pick a colour and there would be several outfits at my disposal.  There would be much rejoicing (especially on this Laetare Sunday) if that were the case.  Incidentally, here is what I (finally) picked out this morning:

Skirt: Old Navy (thrifted)
Blouse: Kohls brand
Cardigan: Old Navy (thrifted)

Love this scarf, which I picked up Old Navy (I think) as well.

Boots (and the flannel-lined tights) were an after-Christmas, outlet mall purchase bought at G.H. Bass & Co.  They were both a steal.  

I hope you all enjoy these last couple of Lenten weeks.  Spring and Easter are definitely on their way, thank God!    

March 5, 2015

We're busy little (frozen) bees up here in the sub-zero Northern Hemisphere - working away at TFG blog update, and keeping up with our day jobs.  But while I've been working, I've come across a number of good links lately.  If you haven't given up the Internets for Lent, then allow me to provide you some interesting click-its:


I love Ann Voskamp.  She's a fellow Canadian, hailing from the area of farmland that I call home.  She's written a book called 1000 Gifts (which I've reviewed here before) and if words can slap a person (in a good way), her words do it.  In the face.  Like these words from this post:

You aren’t actually thankful for something if you think you actually earned it.  That’s pride, not gratitude.

BAM.  See what I mean?


So my prayer today is this. That I stop defining myself by my doing, and start defining myself by my being. That I stop measuring time by the clock on the wall, and start measuring it by the experiences I share with those around me. And that I stop seeing my life as "busy," and instead, see it for what it truly is.

Have you ever heard of St. Collette?  Neither had I.  Brandon Vogt had a little write up on this formidable woman this morning.


And an interesting post over at Mama Needs Coffee.   I have often thought that just because something is philosophically beautiful, that doesn't mean that the reality of it is any less difficult to live through.  Enter Natural Family Planning.  While my experience of NFP has been different from many others, I can really sympathize with those who have had to use it often.  In any case though, it does no good to anyone to sugarcoat NFP.


On a completely different note, February, for me at least, was a bomb in regards to writing and blogging.  I did next to none.  So I was a little bit excited when I came across these writing exercises…a few ideas to get the words flowing again.


I've been meal planning for a while now, mostly on a weekly basis.  I've been considering jumping from planning one week, to planning two weeks at a time, but have run into some snags.  I found this site informative and helpful in my planning (even though I still haven't tried two weeks yet!).


Nancy at The Cloistered Heart is always good.  So good.  If you ever want to stop, settle down and meditate, try Nancy's site.  It is so rich in meditation material.

"I even began to feel that a large part of the task of a "Cloistered Heart" is to carry the fire into darkness, as well as into areas of artificial light."


You may remember a few years ago Tess and I spoke at the Dynamic Women of Faith conference.  Since then Dorothy has started a blog for DWoF and I found this post about beauty lifting the soul and helping us to gain perspective particularly beautiful.


A while back I found out that my College friend Mary was a blogger.  Her blog Sometimes Martha Always Mary recently underwent a transformation and it looks just lovely.  Thought you might enjoy it,  her home, and her writing as well.


Delicious breakfast last week from Martha Stewart.  Take out the bread and you've got yourself a paleo breakfast alternative (although try and find some crunch to substitute for the bread in there.)


In researching a post last month I came across these 9 quotes on the dignity and value of women.  They were so good I've bookmarked them for later reference, and I thought I'd share the wealth.


And this post was perfectly timed.  As we're only two weeks into Lent (has it only been TWO WEEKS???) and I'm sure you're not at all like me…desperately attempting to justify a ham sandwich on friday or  remembering what you've decided to give up as it's half way down your throat?  Yeah.  Catherine Doherty makes it all better because apparently it's alright to be a failure.   Yessss!


What is a woman? What does it mean to be feminine? There is softness and hardness, compassion and ferocity. There is contentment and adventure, freedom and service. We're conundrums, especially to ourselves, but we all, in one way or another, possess beauty, creativity, intuition and love. We were made for love, and we are loved, cellulite and all. So come, sit a while and ponder the Feminine Gift.


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