Catholic Family Vignettes

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


May 2008

The Feast of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus

Happy Feast of the Sacred Heart!! I regret that my day will be so very busy…a 4 1/2 hr. drive is looming before me…not a great distance, but I can’t leave until at least 4:00 p.m. This afternoon we will dine on strawberries (which remind me very much of the Sacred Heart!) and heart shaped PBJ’s (except for the peanut sensitive son…he’ll have grilled cheese). We’ll deck the mantle with flowers, and last year’s First Holy Communicant will process in with the image of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus. We’ll then recite the enthronement prayers…we do this every year.

My prayers are with you all, on this most holy day. God bless the families that keep the Heart of Jesus in the heart of the home!

From EWTN:

Blessed be the Most Loving Heart and Sweet Name of Our Lord Jesus Christ and the most glorious Virgin Mary, His Mother, in eternity and forever. Amen.

….Only the Heart of Christ who knows the depths of his Father’s love could reveal to us the abyss of his mercy in so simple and beautiful a way —-From the Catechism. P:1439

From the depth of my nothingness, I prostrate myself before Thee, O Most Sacred, Divine and Adorable Heart of Jesus, to pay Thee all the homage of love, praise and adoration in my power.
– – St. Margaret Mary Alacoque

The prayer of the Church venerates and honors the Heart of Jesus just as it invokes his most holy name. It adores the incarnate Word and his Heart which, out of love for men, he allowed to be pierced by our sins. Christian prayer loves to follow the way of the cross in the Savior’s steps.– From the Catechism. P: 2669

My heart is broken…

When will it end?  How could they?  Dear God in heaven, have mercy on them!

The Holy Family Community Kitchen and Pantry has been shut down due to copper thieves…yes…copper thieves!  Our soup kitchen serves nearly 5000 families per week.  These thieves have robbed not only the Church, but the homeless and the poor. Two large refrigeration compressors, along with copper piping, were stolen over the Memorial Day weekend. The units were unbolted from concrete pads and hauled away. Food soon spoiled, and the kitchen had to close.  I’ve not heard whether the kitchen has been able to reopen.  Please pray!  The other community soup kitchens have been feeling the strain to help the families that Holy Family Community Kitchen has had to turn away.

The only good news:  the soup kitchen is attached to the Jubilee Museum.  Praise God, it seems the priceless artifacts, relics and vestments have not been disturbed.

All for copper tubing…how very, very sad.

You may read the entire article here.

Weekend shower…

I’ll be heading out of town for the next few days. Clementine, Emily, Charlotte and I will be attending a baby shower for Elizabeth. I’m sadly behind in my “Something About Mary” posts…please forgive me!

The past few days have been filled with laundry, knitting, sewing and cleaning. Preparing menus for the guys, making sure the cupboard is not bare, and packing for this weekend’s trip have taken up a lot of my time. I’m sure glad I finished these:

Now…I just need to finish that hat…

Have a blessed weekend!

Listen and read, then watch…

Are you in need of encouragement? Feeling pressure as the school year is approaching it’s end? Or perhaps you’re educating year round, and feel that this call is too much…

Listen to this…

Then re-read this essay…

Now for the shocker…should you fear that you’re still not up to the challenge, should you feel that perhaps a year or so in public school wouldn’t be too awful for your little ones…

WATCH THIS…make sure your children are not in the room. This is just one of the many horrors that our poor brothers and sisters who have their children in public schools will have to combat.

May God have mercy upon these educators…

Thanks to Hilaire for the links!

Laying it on the line…

The sky is a deep blue, no clouds in sight. Shirts, jeans, sheets and such perform a merry dance on the clothesline…what a pretty sight!

It has been a joy, for the first time in awhile, tackling the laundry. Standing barefoot, with the little girls handing pins and offering suggestions regarding the placement of a favorite skirt, is quite nice.

The past few days have been full of anxiety and stress. Everyone has been on edge. It was a struggle to get up this morning for the weekday Mass. I had a real “Martha moment” and nearly stayed home. Kneeling in prayer, wishing that Emily would stop squirming, stop asking questions and simply allow me to pray…I realized that sitting there with my children, well, that’s the only place I want to be. When Emily stops squirming and asking questions, then she no longer really needs me. She’ll be too big for my lap and I’ll have all the peace and quiet I can stand…and then some.

So Emily squirmed. And had the hiccups. And needed a tissue. And gave me many, many hugs. She loves Mass. She loves going to Church. God forbid should my desire for perfect peace ever make her feel unwelcome in a place she so dearly loves.

Returning home, breathing in the cool, spring air…I knew that most of the wash would be line-dried today. So I’ve washed. And washed.

I think I’ve been washing away a lot of the anxiety of the past few days, as well. In the meditative action of hanging the clothes to dry, I’ve felt at peace. I’ve been able to watch the little girls circle the driveway on their bikes, Charlotte reveling in the new found ability to ride without training wheels. I’ve listened to the domestic “squabbles” between a couple of robins. I’ve smelled the fresh, clean scent of my laundry, sun-warmed and ready for folding. I’ve had time to reflect and pray.

Perhaps this is why I’ve been so anxious. It’s really all about Martha and Mary.

Luke 10:38-42

Now it came to pass as they were on their journey, that He entered a certain village; and a woman named Martha welcomed Him to her house. And she had a sister called Mary, who also seated herself at the Lord’s feet, and listened to his word. But Martha was busy about much serving. And she came up and said,

“Lord, is it no concern of thine that my sister has left me to serve alone? Tell her therefore to help me.”

But the Lord answered and said to her, “Martha, Martha, thou art anxious and troubled about many things; and yet only one thing is needful. Mary has chosen the best part and it will not be taken away from her.”

Martha was always “anxious about many things”. Mary “chose the best part.” Our Lord tells us that “only one thing is needful.” Need I say what that one thing is? To receive Him, to worship, love and adore Him…that is what is needful.

It truly is all about priorities. The Martha part is always easier to accomplish, when we spend a little more time being Mary.

Emily’s tea party

Emily hosted her very first tea party today. The party was a small one, five little girls (including Emily), pretty flowers, a Pinkalicious cake shaped like a castle, finger sandwiches, fruit and of course, Harney and Sons Chocolate Mint Tea.

Emily and Charlotte had fun this morning, gathering peonies and irises to decorate the table, while mommy frosted the cake. The girls were all so very well behaved, though we learned that one of mommy’s vintage tea cups is a bit top heavy, as it tipped over twice on the nice, clean tablecloth!

The girls had a delightful afternoon and are slowly recovering from the sugary, sweet, pink castle cake. Little Emily has been flitting around, sporting a brand new pair of fairy wings and a nifty, new wand looking quite a bit like this:

Worthwhile distractions…

What a busy weekend! Two birthdays, a garden planted, a host of kittens discovered in the garage, the sunflower grotto planted, yard mowed and edged…and a tea party in the works for today!

Alas, all is not done, not even close! The laundry is piled to the ceiling in the mudroom, the upstairs is a disaster and I’m beginning to feel the pressure to accomplish everything before my parents and grandmother arrive in 10 days. Then there’s the big BBQ that we host annually. My biggest concern is readying the house for my grandmother. She’ll be staying with us for several weeks and I want her to be as comfortable as possible. It will be such an honor to have her here, to spoil her a bit and just enjoy having her as part of the immediate family. Say a little prayer for me, would you? It will be a challenge, but, oh so worth it!

Here are few pictures from the weekend:

Gareth learns to till:

Kittens come to call:

Little girls love kittens!

Guess what Galahad got for his birthday:

Target practice:

Yesterday evening’s rainbow:

Buddy poppy…

My father-in-law (may God rest his most precious soul!) was a veteran. Proud to have served his country during WWII, he was a great supporter of our men in uniform, a true patriot and a member of the VFW. He served his time in India, was injured in a “friendly fire” incident, and took great pleasure in regaling us all with tales of his time in the United States Army.

He drove a large blue Ford van…an American made car and would never drive anything else. Suspended over the visor were a multitude of these:

The Buddy Poppy. From the VFW:

The poppy movement was inspired by the poem “In Flanders Fields” written by Colonel John McCrae of the Canadian forces before the United States entered World War I. Distributing replicas of the original Flanders poppy originated in some of the allied countries immediately after the Armistice.

No definite organized distribution of poppies on a nationwide scale was conducted in America until 1921, when the Franco-American Children’s’ League distributed poppies ostensibly for the benefit of children in the devastated areas of France and Belgium.

Madam Guerin, who was recognized as the “Poppy Lady from France,” sought and received the cooperation of the veterans of Foreign Wars of the U.S. early in 1922, after the Franco-American Children’s’ League was dissolved. The VFW conducted a poppy campaign prior to Memorial Day, 1922, using only poppies that were made in France. In the 1923 poppy campaign, due to the difficulty and delay in getting poppies from France, the VFW made use of a surplus of French poppies that were on hand and the balance was provided by a firm in New York City manufacturing artificial flowers.

It was during the 1923 campaign that the VFW evolved the idea, which resulted in the VFW poppy fashioned by disabled and needy veterans who were paid for their work as a practical means of providing assistance for these comrades. This plan was formally presented for adoption to the 1923 encampment of the VFW at Norfolk, Virginia.

Some of the Buddy Poppies in my father-in-law’s van were very faded, some were slightly brighter, many were new. If this gentleman saw a member of the VFW selling the Buddy Poppy, he always made a donation to acquire a few, contributed generously and encouraged those around him to do the same.

This morning as I’m driving to Mass, I’ll be looking for the poppies. It’s a tradition in our family to purchase them on Memorial Day to honor our fallen heroes, but more importantly to us remember the service offered by this great man and all the other fathers, grandfathers, brothers and sons like him.

The Big 10

My Galahad…in double-digits. The big “10!” Happy Birthday, big guy!

What an amazing young man. So filled with compassion and good humor, generosity and creativity. A born inventor. This sweet boy has the most incredible connection with his guardian angel. He is convinced that St. Michael the Archangel is his personal guardian.

He wants to be a priest, God willing. Of all my children, he is without doubt, the most loving and physically demonstrative. He loves everyone…except during the daily battles which ensue in the backyard…all enemies must die!

I love boys…they certainly keep life interesting! Here’s a look at the past year with our dear boy:

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