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Catholic Family Vignettes

A collage of literary snapshots from the life of a large traditional Catholic family

Month

March 2008

Strategist?

h/t to The Family-Centered Life

Click to view my Personality Profile page

Hmm…very interesting. I’d never taken one of these before. I don’t think I would’ve labeled myself a “strategist”, but reading the description of the INTJ personality type, I have to admit it’s pretty accurate. But it sounds…very…boring. Couldn’t I be the “witty, creative, slightly-sarcastic, artist” type? Is that a choice? Check out the description on the INTJ:

INTJs are introspective, analytical, determined persons with natural leadership ability. Being reserved, they prefer to stay in the background while leading. Strategic, knowledgable and adaptable, INTJs are talented in bringing ideas from conception to reality. They expect perfection from themselves as well as others and are comfortable with the leadership of another so long as they are competent. INTJs can also be described as decisive, open-minded, self-confident, attentive, theoretical and pragmatic.

About the INTJ
Expert Quotes & Links

“…approach reality as they would a giant chess board, always seeking strategies that have a high payoff, and always devising contingency plans in case of error or adversity.”
The Portrait of the Mastermind Rational (iNTj) (Keirsey)

“…observer, values solitude, perfectionist, detached, private… does not talk about feelings, hard to impress, analytical, likes esoteric things…”
Jung Type Descriptions (INTJ) (similarminds.com)

“To outsiders, INTJs may appear to project an aura of “definiteness”, of self-confidence. This self-confidence, sometimes mistaken for simple arrogance by the less decisive, is actually of a very specific rather than a general nature; its source lies in the specialized knowledge systems that most INTJs start building at an early age. When it comes to their own areas of expertise — and INTJs can have several — they will be able to tell you almost immediately whether or not they can help you, and if so, how.”
INTJ Profile (TypeLogic)
“At work, INTJs use their conceptual strengths to analyze situations and then develop models to understand and anticipate through relentlessly to reach their goals. They will continue on with their plans, even in the face of adversity and data that might suggest to other more practical types that their goals are no longer feasible. By nature, INTJs are independent individualists.
INTJ – The Free-Thinker (Lifexplore)

“INTJs are natural leaders, although they usually choose to remain in the background until they see a real need to take over the lead. When they are in leadership roles, they are quite effective, because they are able to objectively see the reality of a situation, and are adaptable enough to change things which aren’t working well. They are the supreme strategists – always scanning available ideas and concepts and weighing them against their current strategy, to plan for every conceivable contingency. ”
Portrait of an INTJ (The Personality Page)

Requiescat In Pace…

Sister Mary Francis passed away this morning at 5:30 a.m.  Thank you for your prayers…

In your charity…


Dear friends: Please pray for Sr. Mary Francis Peters of Holy Family Catholic Church. Sr. Mary Francis had suffered a few setbacks following a recent hospitalization and following today’s surgery, is not expected to make it much longer. May God grant her mercy and peace…

Signs of spring…

Ah, spring! The greening of the grass, the budding of trees, birds chirping joyfully in great profusion, and…

SPIDERS! Three of the little devils were in my kitchen yesterday. Small, black and extremely fast.

I hate spiders. Hate them. Please don’t tell me how useful they are, how they keep the mosquito/fly/whateverbugisbuggingyoumost population under control. I just don’t like them. That whole creepy, skittering, eight-legged thing, you know?

When I was a child my father had this fascination with spiders and their usefulness. And so we lived in harmony with them (or at least he did!). In our house. Oh, he would occasionally take them outside, ever so gently depositing them upon a bush or flower, but this was only if they were sufficiently large enough to cause hysteria. Which for me would be, oh, slightly larger than the head of a pin.

I love insects…observing them, collecting them and have even allowed the children to keep a few. We have “hosted” a variety of creepy pets: praying mantis, rhinoceros beetle, centipedes, millipedes, even a scorpion.

Just. Not. Spiders.

The irony of this? I think the little guys are angry. I cleared out all their webs in the midst of our Easter cleaning. But I have a new weapon in my arsenal. Check this out:

Cobweb Eliminator. Safe. All natural. If the nasty little guys and gals can’t make a web, then they aren’t going to stay.

God willing.

On a slightly more humorous note: I wanted to post a picture of a spider and just looking at the images made me shiver. I just couldn’t do it. Does this qualify as a phobia? Do you think?

Making progress towards Pentecost…


A great big cyber-hug to Matilda for her post on Dawn’s unique way to mark the days to Pentecost. The children are quite delighted by the display and are anxious to begin opening the eggs. The premise? Each egg represents a day’s progress towards the holy feast of Pentecost. We’re getting a bit of a late start…so we’ve started with 43 plastic eggs with a neat little hole drilled in the top of each. A few bits of colored satin ribbon, a garland of greenery and a “surprise” tucked inside each egg and voilà! A daily treat as we make our way to the birthday of the Church. We’ve tacked a dove to represent the Holy Spirit at one end as per Dawn’s suggestion.

The surprises? A group hug, a story of your choice, family game night, pancake breakfast, you pick the movie, several scripture quotes for reflection…things like that.

God bless all the blogging moms for the way they help this family keep the liturgical year. Here’s to establishing a new tradition!

*the picture? My ballerina simply had to pose for this!

Exercising patience…

Preparing lunch in the kitchen…

Emily: “How much longer until our fwends get here? I want to go to the party now!”

Mommy: “Emily, I know you’re excited but you must exercise a little patience.”

Emily (pausing briefly, with a puzzled look): “Mommy…I don’t know that exercise!”

*me either, Emily…but I’m trying!

To skirt or not to skirt…

An insightful post by “Kitty” at Surprised By Lunch

Graveyard or haven?

YOUR BEDROOM IS NOT A GRAVEYARD FOR STUFF THAT HAS NO HOME!

Alas, in the midst of household de-cluttering, this is exactly what mine had become. So I’m in the process of reclaiming my “bridal chamber” with a few tips from the FlyLady. This insightful post hit particularly hard. I’ve spent so much time de-cluttering the common areas that I’ve neglected the most important area.

I love the questions that the FlyLady poses:

1. Do you sleep here?
2. Do you want the room to be restful and inviting?
3. Do you want to get up in the night and not bump into things?
4. Do you have trouble closing your drawers?
5. Can you find the clothes you are looking for?
6. Do things fall off the closet shelf and hit you?
7. Are you afraid to look under the bed?
8. Are clothes piled to the ceiling on the chair in the corner?
9. Is your cedar chest filled with stuff you will never wear again?
10. Can you walk between the bed and the wall or are there several piles of newspapers, books, trash and clothes?
11. Do you have to crawl into bed from the foot of the bed because there is no room to walk?
12. Is stuff piled so high on the dressers and nightstands you have forgotten what they look like?
13. Are the cobwebs becoming moth collectors?
14. Are the dust bunnies reproducing in the corners and under the bed?
15. Can you see out your bedroom windows?
16. Can you close your closet door?
17. Have the spiders decided to winter over behind your bed?
18. If you open the drapes does the room fog up from the dust in them?
19. Do you know what color your carpet really is?

Now, I can truly say that it’s not as bad as all that, but the laundry piled up in a corner…well, yeah. That would be correct. The master bedroom has become the laundry folding station. And the cluttered dresser top? Umhmmm. No more!

Four bags and two boxes of stuff…Gone! Goodbye graveyard, hello haven!

Putting out the welcome mat…


Well…they really wanted me to wait a bit, but I just can’t. Two of my very dearest friends have wandered into the blogosphere with two new blogs. Surprised By Lunch will have you laughing and crying. Simultaneously. The sweet musings of this young, Catholic mother are both touching and insightful. Instauratio Catholica is a scholarly and interesting blog with a growing list of readers and a wealth of information. Not to mention the fact that our writer is a true Catholic gentleman, in every sense of the word.

Would you help me put out the blogging world welcome mat and pay them a visit? They are the sweetest little couple, ever!

Eggs galore…

Oh yeah…they had a lot of fun! So did dad and big brother. We’re still missing a few eggs…

Seen and heard…

On this joyous Easter morn I saw:

~The happy smiles of boys and girls, donning their Easter finery in joyful anticipation of the great Feast of the Resurrection…

~A little girl, with a small, gloved hand clasped in the large warm hand of her father, gaily skipping into Church…

~My four young men, vested and eager to serve at the foot of the altar…

~The tomb of Our Lord decked in flowers, flowers, flowers…

~Little girls in pretty dresses gathered about the empty tomb of Our Lord…

On this same lovely morning I heard:

~The angelic strains of our choir praising God with their voices…

~The confident responses of the servers assisting at the altar…

~The congregation powerfully singing “Jesus Christ Has Risen Today…”

~My oldest son telling his two little sisters that from the altar they looked to him like “two little white diamonds…”

Such peace and joy. What a gift, to be part of the Body of Christ, to share in the mystery of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.  Happy Easter!

Easter Eggs

Holy Saturday…another day of fast, and yet in the midst of the gloomy and overcast Saturday afternoon a few “splashes” of color:




Even the oldest “kids” at home joined in the fun:



Lovely boxes of colored eggs, resting in the cold and darkness of the refrigerator, waiting for the Resurrection and the joy of Easter Sunday morning.

Happy Easter and God’s Blessings to you all!

To see God die…

“Who sees Gods face, that is self-life, must die ;
What a death were it then to see God die ?”

To see God die…thanking You, my dear Lord, for loving me, for ransoming me with Your Precious Blood! No posts for Good Friday. I leave you this Holy Thursday with the following reflection:

GOOD-FRIDAY, 1613, RIDING WESTWARD
by John Donne


LET man’s soul be a sphere, and then, in this,
Th’ intelligence that moves, devotion is ;
And as the other spheres, by being grown
Subject to foreign motion, lose their own,
And being by others hurried every day,
Scarce in a year their natural form obey ;
Pleasure or business, so, our souls admit
For their first mover, and are whirl’d by it.
Hence is’t, that I am carried towards the west,
This day, when my soul’s form bends to the East.
There I should see a Sun by rising set,
And by that setting endless day beget.
But that Christ on His cross did rise and fall,
Sin had eternally benighted all.
Yet dare I almost be glad, I do not see
That spectacle of too much weight for me.
Who sees Gods face, that is self-life, must die ;
What a death were it then to see God die ?
It made His own lieutenant, Nature, shrink,
It made His footstool crack, and the sun wink.
Could I behold those hands, which span the poles
And tune all spheres at once, pierced with those holes ?
Could I behold that endless height, which is
Zenith to us and our antipodes,
Humbled below us ? or that blood, which is
The seat of all our soul’s, if not of His,
Made dirt of dust, or that flesh which was worn
By God for His apparel, ragg’d and torn ?
If on these things I durst not look, durst I
On His distressed Mother cast mine eye,
Who was God’s partner here, and furnish’d thus
Half of that sacrifice which ransom’d us ?
Though these things as I ride be from mine eye,
They’re present yet unto my memory,
For that looks towards them ; and Thou look’st towards me,
O Saviour, as Thou hang’st upon the tree.
I turn my back to thee but to receive
Corrections till Thy mercies bid Thee leave.
O think me worth Thine anger, punish me,
Burn off my rust, and my deformity ;
Restore Thine image, so much, by Thy grace,
That Thou mayst know me, and I’ll turn my face.

Truce of God

A wonderful post from Mary Victrix, a blog dedicated to the promotion of Marian Chivalry. What a lovely ideal to pursue!

Look in what other face for understanding,
But hers who bore the Child that brought the Sword,
Hang in what other house, trophy and tribute,
The broken heart and unbroken word?

(G.K. Chesterton, In October)

Entering into the mystery of the Sacred Triduum…


Then he took the bread, said the blessing, broke it, and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body, which will be given for you; do this in memory of me.” And likewise the cup after they had eaten, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which will be shed for you.” (Luke 22:19-20)

And so the Sacred Triduum begins. Our Holy Father gives a wonderful explanation of the meaning of the Sacred Triduum in this address from April 12, 2006:

Dear Brothers and Sisters:

Tomorrow the Easter triduum begins, which is the fulcrum of the whole liturgical year. Aided by the sacred rites of Holy Thursday, Good Friday and the solemn Easter Vigil, we will relive the passion, death and resurrection of the Lord.

They are propitious days to reawaken in us a more intense desire to be united to Christ and follow him generously, conscious that he has loved us to the point of giving his life for us. The events that the sacred triduum again proposes to us are the sublime manifestation of this love of God for man.

Let us dispose ourselves, therefore, to celebrate the Easter triduum taking up St. Augustine’s exhortation: “Consider now attentively the three holy days of the crucifixion, burial and resurrection of the Lord. From these three mysteries we realize in the present life that of which the cross is symbol, while we realize through faith and hope, that of which the burial and resurrection is symbol” (Letter 55,14,24).

The Easter triduum begins tomorrow, Holy Thursday, with the evening Mass “in Cena Domini,” though in the morning another significant liturgical celebration is usually held, the Chrism Mass, during which, gathered around the bishop, the whole presbyterate of every diocese renews priestly promises, and takes part in the blessing of the oils of the catechumens, of the sick and of the chrism. This is what we will also do tomorrow here, in St. Peter’s.

In addition to the institution of the priesthood, on this holy day will be commemorated Christ’s total giving of himself to humanity in the sacrament of the Eucharist. On the very night he was betrayed, he left us, as sacred Scripture recalls, the “new commandment” — “mandatum novum” — of fraternal love by carrying out the striking gesture of the washing of the feet, which reminds us of the humble service of slaves. This singular day, evocative of the great mysteries, ends with Eucharistic adoration, in memory of the Lord’s agony in the Garden of Gethsemane. Feeling great anguish, recounts the Gospel, Jesus asked his own to watch with him, remaining in prayer: “Remain here, and watch with me.” And we see how also today, we, the disciples of today, often remain asleep. This was, for Jesus, the hour of abandonment and solitude, which was followed, in the middle of the night, by the arrest and beginning of the painful way to Calvary.

Good Friday, centered on the Passion, is a day of fast and abstinence, oriented to the contemplation of the cross. Proclaimed in the churches is the account of the Passion, and the words of the prophet Zechariah resound: “They shall look on him whom they have pierced” (John 19:37).

And on Good Friday we also wish to direct our gaze to the pierced heart of the Redeemer in whom, as St. Paul writes, “are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge” (Colossians 2:3), more than that, “in him the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily” (Colossians 2,9), for this reason, the Apostle can affirm his decision “to know nothing … except Jesus Christ and him crucified” (1 Corinthians 2:2). It is true: The cross reveals “the breadth and length and height and depth” — the cosmic dimensions, this is the meaning of a love that surpasses all knowledge — love goes beyond what is known and fills us with “all the fullness of God” (cf. Ephesians 3:18-19).

In the mystery of the Crucified is brought about that “turning of God against himself in order to raise man up and save him. This is love in its most radical form” (“Deus Caritas Est,” No. 12). The cross of Christ, wrote Pope St. Leo the Great in the fifth century, “is source of all blessings, and the cause of all blessings” (Discourse 8 on the Passion of the Lord, 6-8; PL 54, 340-342).

On Holy Saturday the Church, united spiritually to Mary, remains in prayer before the sepulcher, where the body of the Son of God lies inert in a state of repose after the creative work of redemption, realized with his death (cf. Hebrews 4:1-13). At night the solemn Easter Vigil will begin, during which the joyous Easter “Gloria” and “Alleluia” will rise from the hearts of the newly baptized and the whole Christian community, joyful because Christ has risen and conquered death.

Dear brothers and sisters, to be able to live a profitable celebration of Easter, the Church asks the faithful to draw near these days to the sacrament of penance, which is a kind of death and resurrection for each one of us. In the early Christian community, on Holy Thursday the rite of the Reconciliation of Penitents was celebrated, over which the bishop presided.

Of course the historical conditions have changed, but to prepare for Easter with a good confession continues to be a duty which must be fully appreciated, as it offers us the possibility to begin our life again and this new beginning is realized in the joy of the Risen One and in the communion of forgiveness that it gives us. Conscious that we are sinners, but trusting in divine mercy, let us allow ourselves to be reconciled by Christ to experience more intensely the joy that he communicates to us in his resurrection.

The forgiveness that Christ gives us in the sacrament of penance is source of interior and exterior peace and makes us apostles of peace in a world in which continue, unfortunately, divisions, sufferings and the tragedies of hatred and violence, of inability to be reconciled to begin again with a sincere pardon.

We know, however, that evil does not have the last word, as he who triumphs is Christ crucified and risen, and his victory is manifested with the force of merciful love. His resurrection gives us this certainty: Despite all the darkness in the world, evil does not have the last word. Supported by this truth, we will be able to commit ourselves with greater courage and enthusiasm to make a more just world come into being.

This is what I wish all of you from my heart, dear brothers and sisters, hoping that you will prepare with faith and devotion for the imminent Easter celebrations. May you be accompanied by Mary Most Holy, who, after having followed her divine Son in the hour of the passion and cross, shared the joy of his resurrection.

From Zenit

Lead me not into temptation…

Guess whose name was pulled out of the prayer jar this evening? Mommy.

That would be me. It was a bit odd to gather with the family to pray the rosary for oneself. Odder still was the speculation of the children as to why my “little red heart” was one of the last to be pulled:

“Maybe Mom’s going to face a really big temptation!” Arthur replied, gravely.

“Maybe we’re praying to keep her safe or from getting sick,” Emily said, rather worriedly.

“I think it’s because she has so much laundry…” said Galahad, with a knowing smile.

I think I’ll take door number 3. Suddenly, the laundry doesn’t seem quite so bad!

Nearly finished…

HERE lies a poor woman who was always tired,
She lived in a house where help wasn’t hired:
Her last words on earth were: ‘Dear friends, I am going
To where there’s no cooking, or washing, or sewing,
For everything there is exact to my wishes,
For where they don’t eat there’s no washing of dishes.
I’ll be where loud anthems will always be ringing,
But having no voice I’ll be quit of the singing.
Don’t mourn for me now, don’t mourn for me never,
I am going to do nothing for ever and ever.’

(Anonymous)

Or, perhaps, at least for the rest of the evening! I’m so very, very tired. Three days of cleaning have wearied this housewife. But what a sense of accomplishment! Though the laundry remains unfolded, as yet, I’m so encouraged by the many areas we’ve been able to clean and organize. The kitchen, mudroom, bathroom, diningroom, cabinets and drawers in the common areas are all neat and tidy. The rest of the house will have to simply settle for a little dusting and vacuuming. The classroom? Well…it’s a little messy, but I think the children can manage that one on their own…I’ll be folding laundry.

Spy Wednesday


The Son of Man betrayed for thirty pieces of silver…and so begins Spy Wednesday, the day of betrayal. The day which Judas Iscariot offered up his beloved Master and sealed His fate with a kiss.  How often it is that the world wants to portray Judas as misunderstood, pressured, well-intentioned, even noble. We are, once again, to be subjected to a docu-drama (h/t to Instauratio Catholica), which seeks to exonerate not only Judas, but Caiaphas and Pontius Pilate, as well. The BBC film even bears a title of such pathetic irony…The Passion.  Certainly not to be confused with The Passion Of The Christ, you can be sure His Passion will play only a very small part.

Let us offer a prayer of reparation, dear friends. On this day of betrayal, let us seek to offer our dear Lord consolation for the many outrages and offenses the world continues to mete out.

“Golden Arrow”

(This prayer is said to have been revealed by Jesus Himself to a Carmelite Nun of Tours in 1843 as a reparation for blasphemy. “This Golden Arrow will wound My Heart delightfully,” He said, “and heal the wounds inflicted by blasphemy.”)

May the most holy, most sacred, most adorable, most mysterious and unutterable Name of God be always praised, blessed, loved, adored and glorified in heaven on earth and under the earth, by all the creatures of God, and by the Sacred Heart of our Lord Jesus Christ in the most Holy Sacrament of the altar.

Making progress…

Day 2 in our pre-Triduum cleaning spree: Progress! Though it was a bit disheartening that it took an entire day to deep clean and organize the kitchen, great strides have been made today. The buffet has been completely reorganized: all china and glassware washed, drawers emptied, cleaned and organized and the entire buffet completely dusted and restocked; the sideboard has been thoroughly cleaned and dusted as well.

Before…dusty dishes and all manner of things!

After…clean dishes! Nice and neat!

And then there’s the mudroom…the name says it all, folks. Mud. Room. It’s a really great room, don’t get me wrong…you come in, dirty and muddy, strip down, throw your clothes in the wash, your muddy boots in the utility sink and take a shower. All in the same room. But it’s also the place where everyone throws their dirty clothes. Usually right beside the laundry bin. And we have nine people living in this house. Let’s just say that in the midst of all this cleaning, very little laundry is getting done. As a matter of fact, I haven’t done laundry in four days. So…I’m washing a lot of laundry. Despite the enormous mountain that nearly impeded my entry into said room, we finally managed to clear out the mudroom!!! Hurray!! The washer and dryer are no longer covered with heaven only knows what, the cabinets are organized, boots are on the shoe rack, and the shelf is nearly empty. See for yourself:

Before…nothing like “airing your dirty laundry” for the whole world!

After…is that the top of the washer and dryer?! And the shelf…there’s actually room to store Easter baskets!

And speaking of laundry…lest I fool you into thinking the work is done, check out what’s hiding in the corner:

Tomorrow: we tackle the bathroom, classroom and engage in general cleaning.  And fold a mountain of laundry.  I think we may actually finish on time…

A life-saving tip…

This is frightening…but it just might save a life!

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