It's New Year's Day.  The sun has hardly shown its face here in the Northeast in the past week.  Some would see a gloomy day... I see the hint of light that dispels the darkness.

(This story was originally published on January 1, 2016...)

As I prepared for my prayer session yesterday morning, I thought to myself, "I'm glad this year is almost over!" It has been a rough year...  But almost immediately, I began to thank God (which I do daily) for the good and also the not-so-good events of 2015.  There were plenty of both.  

On December 31, 1910, Servant of God Elisabeth Leseur wrote, "The last day of a year that has been filled with suffering, renunciation, sadness of every kind, and spiritually, with dryness, with the destitution of the manger, without the loving joys that make the divine dawning in us so radiant.  But God taught me a stronger, deeper love, stripped of conscious happiness, and I offer the year that is over and the one to come with a grateful heart.  I consecrate myself to God and accept in advance all that He wants of me, through me, or for me; joy or sorrow, health or illness, poverty or riches, and life or death, according to what will be for the greatest good of others and the Church.  For myself I ask one thing: let me love You, without joy or comfort if need be, and use me for the spreading of Your Kingdom, Jesus my Savior."

When I think back to the year which for me seemed to start with the Lenten commitment to "give up complaining", I didn't realize there could be so much to complain about!  Amid all the challenges, I realized that I am most grateful for the people in my life.  Family and friendships (and sometimes they're both) are a priceless gift.  Many of you were with me to celebrate the joys.  And many of you rallied around me to lift me up during the challenges. 

You brought me soup when I was sick.  You gave me a ride when my car was in the shop.  You bought my dinner at the restaurant.  You gave me a shoulder to lean on and carried me through the darkest moments.  You said the rights word at the right time.  You prayed over me, you prayed for me, and you prayed some more.  You forgave me.  There were countless little blessings, too numerous to mention them all.  I was even blessed by the stranger, who showed up on a dead end road with a snow plow (and wouldn't accept payment).  

While talking with some friends last year, I compared our mutual journey and our friendship to a tapestry, our lives interwoven as we walked down a part of our spiritual path, together.  It is such a blessing and a gift to know each one of you...

So I wanted to let you know that 
I thank God,

Angel of Light Tapestry 
Wall Hanging by Lena Liu

It's also a good day to reflect on what we've done, and what we want to do in 2016.  

It took almost two years, but I've made great strides with this web site and the new one,  Many of you know that Fresh Ingredients is the product of a personal calling.  When we hear the voice of the Lord (in whatever form) we need to stop and LISTEN.  

"Then the Lord came and stood and called, 'Samuel! Samuel!' And Samuel said, 'Speak, for Your servant is listening.'" (1 Samuel 3:10)  

"I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, 'Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?' Then I said, 'Here am I. Send me!'" (Isaiah 6:8)

In the spring I may have to pack.  But for now, I will just take one day at a time. To savor the precious moments in this, my little house of Divine Providence, treasure the moments of solitude with the Holy Family - my source of hope and inspiration - and focus on TODAY... so that each day I live, each breathe I take, each step I make, each word I write, each picture I take, each person I encounter, may give Glory to God Most High.  

All my inspiration comes from God; therefore, all the Glory goes to God.  "And the Word became flesh and lived among us, and we have seen his glory, the glory as of a father's only son, full of grace and truth." (John 1:14)

In a meditation by Servant of God 
Father Hyacinth Woroniecki, O.P., he wrote,

"'Let your mercy, O Lord, be upon us, as we have hoped in you'. (Psalm 33:22) Indeed, someone might inquire: 'How far can we count on God's mercy?'    

The above-quoted words of David... provide us with an answer: Let your mercy, O Lord, be upon us according to the measure of our hope in you.  In other words, the amount of mercy obtained by us from God corresponds to the greatness of our hope in him.  The more we trust in God, the more abundantly shall we draw from the treasures of his mercy.  The measure is, therefore, in our own hands since it depends on the hope we have in the Lord."

Therefore, my wish for you in 2016 is that you may receive abundant blessings and the treasures of his mercy, as He has promised.  He is our Hope.  

Finally, I conclude my New Year's Message to my friends with the Lord's Word to Moses, and to us...  

"The Lord bless you, and keep you;
The Lord make His face shine on you,
And be gracious to you;

The Lord lift up His countenance on you,
And give you peace.

So they shall invoke My name on the sons of Israel, and I then will bless them."

(Numbers 6:24-27)

With prayers for peace and hope and blessings in His Most Holy Name,


The above tapestry is known as the "Mystic Wine" tapestry, by Flanders, c. 1500-1522 (tapestry in wool and silk, with silver and silver-gilt threads) 

The subject is based upon the grape, symbol of the Passion and of the Eucharist. In the center are the Virgin and Child, before whom a woman kneels, holding a chalice in her right hand; the woman, who wears modern (16th century) clothing is an allegory of the Church. Jesus offer her a bunch of grapes from the chalice, symbolizing the Eucharistic wine.
The figure to the left is Simon, son of Onia, high priest of the Old Law, as the scroll inscription (VVE 50 - Vulgatae Ecclesiastes 50:15) indicates; he wears modern clothing.
The figure to the right is probably Isaiah according to the accompanying scroll (VSA 29 -Isaiah 24:9).
In the background, two singing angels are accompanying themselves on a a harp and a viola, while a third angel is watching them. A fourth angel listens and observes the action in the foreground; a typical Flemish landscape is visible behind him.
The tapestry, currently exhibited in Appartamento Pontificio, was probably commissioned by pope Julius II (1503-1512), whose uncle, pope Sixtus IV, published in 1472 a treatise entitled De Sanguine Christi (Of Christ's Blood).

Description taken from