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Let's just get one thing out in the open. I LOVE SWEET POTATOES. They are so good, so healthy, and so simple to use! The best part is they are super sweet and don't need much to dress them up! I was having some fun in the kitchen the other day and created this special and sugar-free holiday dish. It is the perfect combination of ginger spice, sweet, and tart.

Like many young Catholics who head to college, I quit attending Mass shortly after I arrived on campus. I was consumed with classes, making new friends, getting involved in various activities, and Mass just wasn’t that important to me. Sadly, this was the first step toward me leaving the Catholic Church. You might be wondering what would go through my mind on Sundays. Did I have any guilt about not going to Mass? A little bit. But the minute I felt that pang of guilt, I’d quickly justify my decision by saying to myself, “I deserve to sleep in. It’s been a stressful week.” Or, “Why do I need to go to a building to worship God?” Or better yet, “I have a non-reliable car. I better not go. It might break down on the way there.” Ha. The way we justify our sin can be so ridiculous sometimes.

This pang of guilt would pinch a bit harder when I was home for the holidays and we’d attend Mass as a family. I felt like a stranger in the pew, yet surprised at how well my muscle memory remembered the Creed and the other prayers and movements throughout the Mass. Strangely, even when I'd been away for so long, it felt like I was coming home.

As I kick off this blog, I’d like to tell you a bit about my faith journey. I hope this post will give you a better sense of who I am and the small role I’m playing in God’s bigger plan. This is my re-conversion story and it’s long-winded, so bear with me! I’m going to break it up into smaller parts so it’s not too dense.

I am what you’d call a “Cradle Catholic”. I was born to a Catholic family and as I grew up, my parents made sure that every good Catholic milestone was achieved. Baptism, check! Reconciliation, check! First Communion, check! Confirmation, check! While I think these Sacraments meant a lot to them, for me they felt like items on a check list to be crossed off. I was totally passive and just accepted them like I would take my vitamins at breakfast, because I had no idea what they really meant but trusted that my parents knew what was best for me. I think many Catholics from my generation experienced this during their childhoods; where the Sacraments and going to Mass were just accepted as a part of life.

cider2

 

How many of you are tired of being inundated with sugar at every turn of the holiday season? With the holidays fast-approaching, I thought I'd share a sugar-free way to make cider. I created this recipe because I'm a grazer and having this to sip on keeps me away from the snack table and my sweet tooth satisfied! For those of you with kids, this is also a great treat for them and helps you avoid the much-dreaded sugar rush! And say goodbye to those cheap cinnamon-scented candles. With this brewing, your house will smell ah-mazing!

jacob b

Our first blog interview guest is Jacob Boddicker, SJ. Jacob is a Jesuit Seminarian who is in his ninth year of seminary. He is currently pursuing his Masters of Divinity at the Jesuit School of Theology in Berkeley at Santa Clara University. He was born and raised in Eastern Iowa.

 

When did you first feel called to Holy Orders?

When I was in middle school, maybe around 7th or 8th grade, I was folding laundry at the dining room table. A cousin of mine named Eric had just returned from hunting turkeys with my dad. He stood in the doorway of the kitchen sipping on a beer, watching me fold laundry, and he said, “Jacob, you have the right attitude to be a priest.” I didn’t think anything of it; I wanted to be a father and a husband and being a priest wasn’t even on my mind. So I basically laughed it off.