Catholic Family Vignettes

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


July 2008

Happy Birthday, Clementine!


It’s hard to believe that my girl is 19. This beautiful young woman, so talented, so composed, so full of faith has been a joy to raise. Today she’ll travel to Kentucky to spend her birthday with her “young man” and his family. This will be the first year that I won’t be the one to bake her birthday cake. A rather poignant moment…

Happy Birthday, sweetheart! Hope this day and every day that follows is full of joy and adventure. God bless you and keep you!

*the photo above is a self-portrait. She’s an amazing photographer!

The horror of the unknown…

Eight stitches.

That’s what it took to repair my dear boy’s ear today, after it was nearly severed in a bizarre accident.

Galahad and Gawain were playing golf in the backyard.  Galahad had placed a ball on a makeshift tee, stepping away quickly to allow Gawain to swing.  The ball rolled off the tee.  Galahad ran back to place the ball back on the tee, while Gawain (unaware) continued to swing.  My poor boy was hit full force with the club, nearly ripping his ear off from the outer rim to mid lobe.

Much blood, excruciating pain and fear.  The ear was badly mangled.

The worst of it?

I wasn’t home when it happened.  Sitting in the doctor’s office, waiting for the ambulance to deliver Grandma for the consultation with the orthopedic surgeon, I received a call of pure panic from Arthur.  The synopsis:  Much blood.  Come home.

That’s all I heard.  Blood.  Come home.

I have no idea how I managed to make it home…the trip was a blur.  Literally.  I think I did no less than 85 mph the entire way.  It took ten minutes.  It felt like thirty.

Fear.  And prayer.  Then a strange sense of peace.  Then incredulity that I could dare feel peace while one of my children was bleeding.  Fear again.

Seeing the anxious face of my oldest son, the tears in the eyes of the injured child, and the worried faces of my little ones, I felt only relief.  I was home.  There was no longer the horror of the unknown.  Assessing the situation, I knew that the injury was serious, but not life threatening.  Next stop, the emergency room.

Five hours later: no broken jaw, no concussion.  The stitching process was rather horrific, as it was not a simple straight cut.  The doctor did his best to minimize the potential for scarring, but he will most likely come out the entire process with a pretty good “reminder.”

I don’t think any of us will forget this little accident for quite some time.  I held up pretty well until I saw my husband.  The stress of the day, the fear and finally the relief that all was well was enough to open the floodgates.  The unknown is one of my greatest fears.  Today, I had to once again acknowledge my weakness, my vulnerability, my inability to cope with that particular fear.  I think I’d rather face a lion in the daylight, than a mouse in the dark.  What I can’t see always scares me more than what I can.

So…I’m counting my blessings.  My daughter Elizabeth, shared a sad story regarding a tragedy in her community.   Another family is grieving the loss of their child, in an accident not too far removed from what we experienced today.  How easily we could’ve lost Galahad.  How fragile, the life of a child!

Praising God for His boundless mercy.  Thanking Him for life of my child…for all my children…Deo Gratias!

One more time…

Grandma has another fracture.  Right beside the repair work that was done three weeks ago.  It seems the simple act of standing was enough to trigger an additional crack.  All of this when we were getting so close…closer to healing and had even felt that we had an answer to increasing dementia.  Her current doctor had ordered an additional MRI to evaluate her for a condition called NPH.  I’d never heard of it until the night I was researching the location of the hospital that Mr. Domigan was staying in.  A banner flashed across the hospital website screen.  Does your loved one have NPH? The health issues outlined, the circumstances leading to this particular condition, all seemed to fit all the specifics of Grandma’s rapid decline over the past eight months.

We were so hopeful.  The MRI showed that Grandma had a sufficient level of ventricular swelling that could indicate NPH.  We just needed to get her through physical therapy and on the road to Kentucky so that we could schedule an appointment with a neuro-surgeon.

We’re back to square one.  Tomorrow, Grandma returns to the orthopedist and will be evaluated for another surgery.  This time, they may have to secure the fractured bone with wire, in addition to the large plates and screws that make up the greater part of her femur.  Needless to say, all the progress that had been made is lost, and we must trust that God is using this particular setback to our greater good and His greater glory.

I’m so thankful for having read When Bad Things Happen.  If you haven’t read it, or I haven’t emailed it to you, then do so immediately!!  It is such an encouragement and definitely helps put things in perspective when the inevitable “whys” rear their ugly heads…

Meanwhile, keep us in prayer…I try so hard not to “stress”, but I’m really struggling with the sheer amount of time I must spend away from the children.  If Grandma must have surgery again, that time will increase exponentially.

The Simple Woman’s Daybook

Visit Peggy at The Simple Woman for more Daybook entries!

FOR TODAY – July 28th, 2008

Outside my Window…the breeze is chilly and damp, the sky is a bit overcast. The sweet, earthy scent of the towering corn fills the air.

I am thinking…

I am thankful for…last night’s picnic. The best date in a very long time. My dear husband and I and several friends attended what had to be the most creative rendition of William Shakespeare’s Measure For Measure. Hysterically, raucously funny…I haven’t laughed that loud in quite awhile. I packed a very simple repast: lavash wraps, strawberries, melon and cheese. A couple of Strongbow Ciders, tea cups and a thermos full of Hot Cinnamon Spice tea. The crisp, clear evening, the twinkling stars, hot tea and good friends…and Shakespeare. When it comes to entertainment, it doesn’t get much better.

From the kitchen…strong, hot coffee with Sweet Italian Cream and English muffins with blackberry jam. This evening: Southwestern Chicken Casserole, coleslaw and spiced peaches.

I am creating…not there yet, friends! It may be awhile before I can do anything more creative than blogging…this is the least time consuming venue open to me at present!

I am going…to stay home and enjoy the day. Galahad wants to make more waffles for freezing. I’m more than happy to let him!

I am wearing…khaki capris, a brown surplice-style peasant blouse, hair hanging straight down. Finally…I don’t need that silly clip to hold back my bangs!

I am reading…How To Clean Practically Anything. Found it for .50 at the thrift store!

I am hoping…these cool days and nights last a bit longer. I feel positively renewed when the temperature drops. This has been a delightful summer.

I am hearing…birds of many kind singing outside my window. The tumbling dryer. All else is silent…the children are still sleeping!

Around the house…blooming sunflowers and morning glories, soon-to-ripen tomatoes and grass that needs to be mowed. It’s time to organize the classroom, though we don’t generally start school until after Labor Day.

One of my favorite things…pretty tea cups. Every morning I take secret delight in choosing the prettiest cup and saucer I have and serving myself coffee or tea. The presentation makes all the difference…

A Few Plans For The Rest Of The Week…visiting my Grandmother, planning for the upcoming school year, taking Gareth to his very first piano lesson and organizing my classroom.

Here is a picture thought I am sharing with you…

The Brandywine tomatoes will soon ripen:

The first sunflower in the Grotto has opened:

Freezing your assets…

Two crock pots, two large chickens each. A half pound of whole mushrooms in each, add a cup of sherry. Cook on “high” for eight hours.

One large skillet. Very large. Six pounds of ground round, 2 cups of onion. Cook until browned, drain, bag and let cool.

One ten pound center-cut pork loin. A bit of greek seasoning. Place in a large foil covered pan, roast for 2 1/2 hours. Let cool.

Chicken breasts, thinly sliced and marinated in teriyaki. Pork loin, thinly sliced and marinated in olive oil, garlic and herbs. Round steak, cut into strips and marinated in red wine, olive oil, rosemary and thyme.

Meatballs, pulled pork, shredded and chopped chicken. Marinated pork, beef and chicken packaged for individual meals. Chicken broth with mushrooms and sherry. Waffles ready for the toaster with bags of frozen blueberries and homemade blueberry syrup. Eggs McMom. Spaghetti sauce and soup bases.

What appears to be an extremely bizarre menu is in fact my rather modified approach to the phenomenon known as Once A Month Cooking.

My days are getting increasingly busy. Daily visits to the rehabilitation facility where my Grandmother is receiving treatment is eating into what little spare time I have. Top that off with the approach of the new school year and an additional student (I’ll be teaching six this year) and it’s easy to see that I need to streamline my approach to mealtimes.

I’m no stranger to OAMC. In my early homeschooling days it was one of the best ways for a mom who was teaching, nursing and/or pregnant to provide creative and nutritious meals without the constant shopping, planning and prepping that is necessary to feed a large family. I never really managed to prepare an entire month’s meals – I didn’t have a freezer and most often wasn’t able to afford all the provisions to stock the larder. So I improvised. A couple weeks of dinners, breakfast casseroles and sandwiches, soups and breads and I was a happier and much more efficient mommy.

And then I quit. I have no idea why…I just seemed to slip into writing the occasional menu, planning my grocery list according to this or that week’s whim. I do enjoy spontaneity, but it only works if you have the time and I don’t.

So…I hit the computer, opened up a few tabs and pulled every online grocery ad for my local stores. I quickly compared prices, noting the best buys and making sure all stores were within close proximity of one another. I decided to start with the main course and determined that to feed this family of nine for 30 days, we would need approximately 70 to 80 lbs. of meat. Sounds like a lot, doesn’t it? Actually, it’s less than 3 lbs. per day and allows for days of abstinence.

How did my comparison shopping fare? Amazingly!! By searching out the best prices, I was able to locate the best and leanest meats and spent an average of $1.60 per pound. The total cost? @ $120.00 (we ended up buying a bit more…sandwich meat and cheese at a local farmer’s market).

I spent the entire afternoon cooking, slicing, labeling and bagging. It feels really good to know that I’ve saved a tremendous amount of time and money and just need to round out the evening’s meals with fresh veggies from the garden, homemade bread and fresh fruit.

The freezer is stocked with a month of main courses, as well as several options for breakfast and lunch.  It was well worth the effort – a month of mealtime freedom purchased with a couple days labor.  Buying in bulk saves time and money.  This month’s grocery expenditure will be at least half of last month’s and that is a blessing!

Looking for ways to save money?  CouponMom has a lot of great ideas and is also an excellent resource for the discounts and coupons.  Frugal Mom and Mommy Savers also have quite a few suggestions to help stretch a dollar.

Well…off to pack a little picnic for this evening’s Shakespeare In The Park.  Measure for Measure…I can’t wait!

Heaven gains a saint…

Columbus, Ohio: Mr. Robert Domigan, Holy Martyr, passed away Friday evening. I apologize for his previous anonymity…this was done at the behest of legal counsel. The battle is over and may God be merciful to those who showed so little mercy to Bob. To quote one of the many warriors who fought valiantly to save his life: “We lost a battle but WE HAVE GAINED A SAINT! I feel a little bit like the early Christians witnessing the martyrdom in the coliseum. May God rest his soul.”

Thanking all of you for your prayers for this dear man. Additional information will be provided as available.

Isn’t he adorable?

The latest picture of our grandson, Benjamin, nearly six weeks old:

Ben weighs in at 6.5 lbs now…a whole pound gained since birth! Both mom and baby are doing quite well since his early arrival in June.

The right to live…

Somewhere a man is dying. I can’t tell you where, but I can tell you why. Lying in a hospital bed, he is being slowly starved and dehydrated to death. At the insistence of his loved ones.

In a supposedly Catholic hospital.

There are no reporters swarming the hospital, no protesters waving banners, crying and praying. There is no one by his bedside. Instead, a “No visitors allowed at the request of the patient’s family” sign is posted on the door.

I stood in the hall outside of his room, accompanied by a couple good friends. We had hoped to be allowed to at least sit by his bed and pray. Maybe swab his mouth, to ease the suffering caused by dehydration.


We were not allowed to comfort him. His family will not allow it.

We sat and prayed the rosary, outside the nurse’s station. It was very difficult. The nurses were laughing and talking with one another. Across the hall, a man lay dying. Suffering.

I can’t tell you who he is or where he is. Pro-life activists, priests and attorneys are working diligently to save his life, to turn the tide from malice to mercy.

Would you join us in prayer? Please pray for this dear, nameless, faceless man. Pray for his family, for God’s great mercy. Our prayers are the most effective tools for this battle…Believe!!

When fairies are your friends…

This is a fabric swatch. Actually, it’s what remains of Emily’s very favorite summer nightgown. Why did the little darling cut up her favorite nightie? Why for the fairies, of course!

“Why did you do this Emily? That was your favorite nightgown. Why would you cut it up?”

“For the fairies…they need clothes!”

“How are you going to make clothing out of such little pieces? Don’t the fairies have nice clothes of their own?”

“But this was my pretty nightgown, it has butterflies on it…and I don’t have to make them clothes. They make them themselves! I can’t sew…”

Ah…the logic of a five year old! I couldn’t bring myself to discipline her…she just wanted to give the best she had to her imaginary friends.

Perhaps we should find some new “friends…”

Why we attend the Traditional Latin Mass

On July 7, 2007 His Holiness, Pope Benedict XVI, issued his motu proprio, Summorum Pontificum effectively freeing the Extraordinary Form of the one Roman Rite. Prior to this historic document, the Extraordinary Form or TLM as most adherents prefer, had been implemented in only a very few parishes throughout the United States and indeed, the world. The purpose of this little essay is not to explore whether one form is better than the other…there are passionate supporters on both sides. I’d simply like to share how this exquisite Mass, this liturgy of antiquity has captivated the mind, heart and soul of every member of my family.

So here goes:

I’m a convert. Born and raised protestant, baptized in a Pentecostal Holiness Church (yep, that’s right folks…they speak in “tongues”, though I never did!). I spent the majority of my young life “church shopping”: Baptist, Pentecostal, Lutheran, Disciples of Christ, Methodist…you name it, I tried it. I memorized scripture, attended weekday fellowship meetings and competed with other little kids to see who could bring the most visitors to church. It was fun. The music was upbeat, everyone was “saved” and Sunday attendance was never mandatory.

The first time I ever visited a Catholic Church was with my Baptist grandmother. She had always loved the Church, but had never converted due to her staunchly Baptist parents and the fear of upsetting them. So she would pay friendly visits to Our Lord in the tabernacle and light candles. She needed no catechesis. She knew Who was there. From the very beginning I was mesmerized by the beauty, the mystery that surrounded me in that Church. Altar rails, pews with kneelers, hauntingly beautiful statuary and brutally rendered crucifixes provided a backdrop that filled the holes that existed in my “bible-believing” background. By the age of ten, I knew…knew that once saved always saved simply wasn’t true. It couldn’t be. The bible certainly didn’t confirm it, and I had memorized all the pertinent verses to help others on the road to salvation. The bible spoke of a Church that was the pillar and foundation of all truth. All truth…goodness the bible didn’t even make that claim for itself! What Church could this be? I’d been to so many…

It would be many more years, before I would receive that answer. I began reading, reading, reading. And pestering a Catholic friend. I peppered her with questions. In frustration, this same friend finally insisted that I attend an inquirer’s session at a local Catholic Church. I was 25 years old. The meeting was quite informal. I basically assaulted the priest with every question I could dream up…I’m quite sure that I monopolized that particular session. Satisfied with the answers I’d received, I quickly signed up for RCIA.

Now…here’s where the story gets interesting. The first time I entered my local Catholic Church, I was horrified! What happened? Where were the pews? The kneelers? The statues? The tabernacle…oh, there it is…in the corner…wait! Where’s the Crucifix? Why is there a large banner of a butterfly over the altar? This lovely Church had been wrecked…I saw the photos of the old Church in the vestibule. I imagine the purpose of that picture was to show everyone how the Church had been “modernized”, but what I saw was a Church “de-Catholicized”, in fact, it appeared far more protestant than the Methodist church I was attending with my husband and children.

Perhaps you’re wondering why I signed up for RCIA? Why hadn’t I attended Mass a few times to see if I “liked it?” Folks…this wasn’t about “like” or “love”, but about being right. The Catholic Church was the answer for me…the right one. And I needed to be right. Are you following this? I made a “head trip” not a “heart trip” into the Church. My real conversion wouldn’t occur for many years…a story in and of itself.

It took me two years to enter the Church. No annulments or messy things to clean up…I simply couldn’t reconcile a lot of the things I would hear in RCIA with the Catechism of the Catholic Church. The DRE (who was a Franciscan nun) told us many things that were irreconcilable with the faith. She basically negated the necessity of Confession, insisted that women would one day be priests and referred to God as Mother/Father.

I quit.

The Hound of Heaven is quite persistent. I had to persevere. After much suffering, many tears and the weekly agony of RCIA, I finally entered the Church. What a relief! I was so thankful that I had finished that I didn’t go back for at least two weeks. Shocking, isn’t it? Where was my fervor? I had received my Lord and my God into my very self. I was a member of His Body, and yet I never wanted to go back to that Church…I wanted to find out what happened to the Church that I had seen as a child, read about in books. I wanted to find the beauty of the faith that had been captured in centuries of art. I knew it existed. Somehow it had been misplaced.

So I searched. I visited other Catholic Churches. Many of them were very orthodox but none were close to home. By this time, my husband, grandmother (yes!!! The same grandma that always wanted to be a Catholic) and my mother had joined the Church. We had begun to attend regularly, and I must admit, that Mass was sometimes a near occasion of sin for me.  I was so angry at the liturgical abuses.  So angry that no one seemed to care.  Frustrated and feeling very much alone.   My husband, on the other hand, was the model Catholic…he always felt at home, no matter what kind of “hospitality” he received…how much I could learn from him!  Though he too lamented what our weekly Mass had become, he remained encouraging to me and the children.  His faith has always been one of the heart, a heart full of generosity and goodwill.

A few years later, I experienced a “Saul on the road to Damascus” kind of conversion. Sounds tantalizing and I promise to share it, but not now. It’s a long and mystical journey, better suited for another time…

My heart was on fire. Consumed with a burning love for my God, my Faith, my Church, I struggled to make the best of what was before me. For ten years we lived in a desert, one of constant battles to protect the innocence of our children when immoral materials were introduced in CCD, battles to obtain the sacrament of Penance before First Holy Communion, as dictated by the Catechism. My husband and I taught CCD, trying desperately to correct the errors that were being promoted in the classroom. We began homeschooling. We watched a succession of priests, with no essential change. None would stand up to the DRE. (*this DRE has since been reassigned to another country, and an orthodox Bishop is slowly but surely trying to turn the tide of modernism*)

We prayed for a miracle. And it happened.

In the midst of this desert, two friends arrived. They were our solace, our comfort and the “manna” that we desperately needed. And then they moved. My dear Sandra would write, telling me of the incredible new parish they had found, the Mass was in Latin, the priest was an angel…in other words, they had been lead out of Egypt and into the Promised Land.

At least that’s how it seemed to me. I was still in Egypt, wandering, looking for solace, reminding myself that my Lord is just as present at a badly handled Mass, as He is in the most orthodox ceremony.

But it was hard.

Back to the miracle! These wonderful friends invited us to check out their parish, with the offer of a rent-free dwelling if we were willing to chance a move. In other words, a whole new life. New home, new job, new parish. It was enticing, to say the least, but quite frightening for a family that owned a home and had lived in a community for more than 17 years. We scheduled a weekend off and paid our friends a visit. We loved the community, but were anxious for a visit to the Church, we decided that if God had something to tell us, we would best hear His Voice there.

I remember donning my veil for the first time. I’ve worn one ever since. There was something so beautiful, so humbling about approaching the doors of the Church, unfolding the mantilla, carefully situating it, even feeling a bit self-conscious. Those feelings soon passed as I entered Holy Family Catholic Church. Breathtakingly beautiful…the heady scent of incense filled the air. We were a bit late and had to sit in the back of the Church. No missal, no expectations…just the extraordinary beauty, the exquisitely lovely words that transcend time and space, the “smells and bells” as some would call them.

I wept. I needed no missal. I knew these words. I had heard them in my heart. This was the song, the beautiful love song that time had woven. “Organic development” is so unromantic, but that was exactly what this Mass was. Something natural, something that had grown, developed and yet still maintained the roots of its origin. There were no words necessary. Roger and I shared a single glance and we both knew, we had heard that Voice.

We moved. Stepping out in absolute trust and faith, believing firmly that this was what we were called to. There were ups and downs, but the blessings and graces were and continue to be, immeasurable. The faith life of this family has changed so completely. We long to go to Church, we hunger for it! Yes…even the children. When we first moved, we lived across the street from an amazingly beautiful Catholic Church. There were the inevitable days (bad weather, car troubles) that would require our attendance at this local church. The children would weep. Weep. They could sleep in two hours, didn’t have to travel a half hour into Columbus and didn’t have to sit for an hour and a half. They didn’t care. They wanted their Church.  They weren’t looking for friends and donuts.  We had all stumbled upon a beautiful mystery, a story of such historical depth…we’re all still waiting for the surprise ending!

The fervor remains. All four boys now serve on the altar, begging us to leave as early as possible every Sunday morning.  They sprint up the stairs of the sacristy, young knights ready to don their vestments to serve the King.  Every weekend, we watch the sanctuary fill with young men, seminarians and visiting priests. Twelve vocations in the past ten years from this small inner city parish…that is the fruit of this beautiful Mass. It is our prayer that our own family may be graced with a vocation or two. What an honor it would be to give back to God these children He has so generously placed in our care.

The Traditional Latin Mass is alive and well…large families, lots of babies and little ones, as Father says: “It’s my youngest and best attended Mass…I believe the average age is somewhere around 4.”

We still occasionally attend the Ordinary Form. It’s important that our children recognize the validity of this Mass as well as the rubrics. But it’s always different, everywhere we go. Ultimately, we recognize that the only continuity we will experience will be that which exists in the Traditional Latin Mass…there is no room improvement. None is needed.

If you have a chance to attend a Latin Mass, give it a try. It is lovely to remember what was, what is and what will always be…

The Simple Woman’s Daybook

Visit Peggy at The Simple Woman for more Daybook entries!

FOR TODAY – July 14th, 2008

Outside my Window…bright sunlight with very little haze. An occasional soft breeze wafts past the curtains. Angry crows dive and swoop over the corn as the morning song birds struggle for prominence over the noisy squawks.

I am thinking…about how much I love being a wife and mom. Life is good even when it’s bad…I wouldn’t trade places with anyone!

I am thankful for…Bactrim. Thank heavens for antibiotics. I’m beginning to get a little of my strength back and feeling not quite as tired.

From the kitchen…hot coffee with my favorite creamer, toasted bagels with strawberry Brummel and Brown spread. For supper: homemade meatballs and sauce with pasta, salad, grapes and a couple large loaves of crusty Italian bread.

I am creating…very little. It’s okay. I have more than enough to keep me occupied at present. And the blog does provide a creative outlet. I think that’s all I can manage right now.

I am going…to test the children this afternoon. I just couldn’t fit it in last week. Too much recuperating going on…

I am wearing…my white and aqua seer sucker pajamas. Moving slowly this morning…the children aren’t even awake yet!

I am reading…the e-books at Coupon Mom. Looking for ways to cut household expenses while we all continue to reel from the gas prices that are spiraling out of control…

I am hoping…that Grandma is not experiencing a setback. She seems a bit confused and withdrawn. Please continue to pray for her.

I am hearing…the morning song birds! It seems the crows have been defeated and have moved on…

Around the house…lush greenery from the gardens, freshly mowed grass and a lot of tidying to accomplish inside.

One of my favorite things…these quiet moments in the morning. The pervading since of peace that comes from being at home, relaxed and refreshed from a good night’s sleep.

A Few Plans For The Rest Of The Week…picking vegetables, canning and preserving. Visiting Grandma and planning the school year. And testing…

Here is a picture thought I am sharing with you…

A couple of Emily’s treasures from our latest visit to the creek.

Many and varied motives…

I’ve never really perceived the act of homeschooling as one of societal rebellion. The choice made by this family to home educate is a very private one, one that places no judgment upon those who choose a different road. Perhaps ours is the road less traveled, as it has made all the difference.

The following article is extremely interesting as I’ve not really considered too deeply what others think of our family and our choice to home educate. Those closest to us are the ones we care most about, though we simply don’t live our lives to please others, we live to please God. And homeschooling fits. We’ve tried other ways. This is what works for us. Those of you who are homeschooling will read the article, nodding and smiling in agreement. I’m not sure how the non-homeschoolers will feel…perhaps they’ll ring in with their own opinions.

h/t to Starry Sky Ranch:

SONNY SCOTT: Home-schoolers threaten our cultural comfort

6/8/2008 9:39:01 AM
Daily Journal

You see them at the grocery, or in a discount store.

It’s a big family by today’s standards – “just like stair steps,” as the old folks say. Freshly scrubbed boys with neatly trimmed hair and girls with braids, in clean but unfashionable clothes follow mom through the store as she fills her no-frills shopping list.

There’s no begging for gimcracks, no fretting, and no threats from mom. The older watch the younger, freeing mom to go peacefully about her task.

You are looking at some of the estimated 2 million children being home schooled in the U.S., and the number is growing. Their reputation for academic achievement has caused colleges to begin aggressively recruiting them. Savings to the taxpayers in instructional costs are conservatively estimated at $4 billion, and some place the figure as high as $9 billion. When you consider that these families pay taxes to support public schools, but demand nothing from them, it seems quite a deal for the public.

Home schooling parents are usually better educated than the norm, and are more likely to attend worship services. Their motives are many and varied. Some fear contagion from the anti-clericalism, coarse speech, suggestive behavior and hedonistic values that characterize secular schools. Others are concerned for their children’s safety. Some want their children to be challenged beyond the minimal competencies of the public schools. Concern for a theistic world view largely permeates the movement.

Indications are that home schooling is working well for the kids, and the parents are pleased with their choice, but the practice is coming under increasing suspicion, and even official attack, as in California.

Why do we hate (or at least distrust) these people so much? Continue reading “Many and varied motives…”

Laughing-out-loud funny…

The guys at Creative Minority report will keep you in stitches!! Check out their post on The Ten Worst Baby Products Ever. The picture and text below is just a taste of the hilarity!

The Zaky Infant Pillow is by far the creepiest baby product ever. Nothing screams I have no time for my baby like fake hands. This is for when your baby just needs to be cradled by cold lifeless hands.

The rest of the products are, believe it or not, even more whacked! Check ’em out!

Here comes the sun…

So…I’m wearing my favorite turquoise knit dress, a floppy straw hat, crocs, shades and a great big smile. Picking green beans. The breeze is cool and constant, the sun is shining brightly, no sound except for the occasional meow of one of the kittens.

Sounds perfect, doesn’t it?

Except for one thing. I’m taking Bactrim. I don’t have on any sunscreen. One of the primary side effects of Bactrim? Photosensitivity.

I now have a lovely speckled rash all over my arms, neck and face. And it itches.


Just when you think you’re getting ahead, you take three sliding steps backward…off to find the Benadryl…


An old fashioned summer…

My dear friend Hilaire sent this article from the archives of the Remnant Newspaper.  Definitely worth reading!

An Old Fashioned Summer – by Sherry Foster, Remnant Columnist

“Whosoever, therefore, will be the friend of this world, becometh an enemy of God.” James IV:4

Remember the old fashioned, home centered summer? A summer of picnics and ‘visiting’, homemade everything, back yard tent sleeping, veggie gardens, never ending board games, running though the sprinklers, makeshift nets for volleyball, badminton and ping pong, building go-carts from scraps, bonfires, s’mores, laying on the lawn staring up at the clouds, reading for hours, outdoor kitchens, picking berries, hide-and-go-seek, tree houses and forts, hiding between the clotheslines, sitting outside at night talking, and a hundred other wholesome memory building experiences.

When affluence, materialism and consumerism made its homerun slide into our modern lives the old fashioned summer was replaced almost overnight by a never ending kaleidoscope of flashy, cheap thrills in the form of fast food, amusement parks, movies, mall cruising, latté grabbing, and silly excitement seeking. All of these diversions (or rather perversions) are very tempting, especially because we are so mobile and frazzled; and we seem to have so much spending cash. The old fashioned summer is now reserved to the poor and blessed are they!

Temptations in summertime are many and although it requires grist to form virtues, rubbing against the coarseness of today’s summer world we find more than enough grist in the form of temptations in the areas of modesty, gluttony, sloth and otherwise dangerous occasions of sin to either weaken a virtue, or hopefully, help it develop a strong impenetrable skin. God allows us to be tempted in order to help us to rely on Him, and to practice real virtue by strengthening our self mastery and our humility.

During the summer, educating your children by example involves forming life long recreational habits by establishing wholesome family traditions for summer and leisure time. Children love routine and they cherish traditions (have you ever tried to change a traditional holiday meal after serving the same one for many years?) and they will almost certainly pass on to their families the summer time habits they learned while growing up.

This time of year the world attempts to corrupt us in two overarching areas; the first is by encouraging immodesty which causes sin, repels others from Christ and His Church and degrades us. The other area is by tempting us with ever-changing ‘new and exciting’ worldly activities which attempt to take our focus off of our Lord’s life by replacing His feasts days. Chasing after worldly summer attractions also turns our attention and care away from family life by encouraging each member to go their own way – this pulls the family home apart making it easier for our enemy to divide and conquer us.

The following ideas for replacing the world’s values and shallow amusements with rich and ancient Traditional Catholic devotions and wholesome activities, include a variety of books to use as references, however, you can adapt many of these suggestions to the books, music and recipes you already have.

Continue reading “An old fashioned summer…”

How does your garden grow?

Jade. Walla Walla.

Fairly exotic names for rather commonplace vegetables: green beans and sweet onions.

Picked fresh this afternoon and prepared for dinner, the freshness and flavor of the two combined was anything but commonplace!

Thinly sliced onions, sauteed in butter with fresh thyme and rosemary a bit of greek seasoning. Quickly stir in the green beans (stemmed but unbroken). Add a half cup of water to lightly steam them…5 minutes later, the best green beans, ever! Is there anything better than taking a vegetable straight from the garden to the table?

The gardens are just beginning to produce. The late frost and extremely cold spring made for a late planting season for zone 5b. The tomatoes are still green, though I expect we will have our first ripe Brandywine within the next week or so.

I love gardening. True, it’s not much fun weeding when the temperatures head towards the 90’s, but your efforts are well rewarded.

Here are a few pictures of the gardens:

Jade…by far my favorite green beans. So long, Kentucky Wonder!

The kitchen garden: onions, peppers, tomatoes, herbs…

The pantry garden: cabbage, green beans, tomatoes, zucchini, eggplant, peppers, squash, lettuce.

The Sunflower Grotto…a work in progress, but what fun!

Our very small Mary Garden: annuals, roses and herbs associated with Our Lady.

So…how does your garden grow? Are you canning and preserving the harvest? Still waiting? Do you have any favorite hybrids or heirloom vegetables? Just curious…

The Feast of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel

Happy Feast of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel! Looking for a few ideas to celebrate the day? Visit Catholic Cuisine for recipes and links to a truly lovely Scapular cake!

Here’s a great video to inspire you, as well:

In a word…

A one word meme??!!??  Egads…don’t know if it’s possible, but I’ll try!

h/t to Margaret and Jennifer

1. Where is your cell phone? Hubby
2. Your significant other? Roger
3. Your hair? Long
4. Your mother? Zany
5. Your father? Brainy
6. Your favorite thing? Knitting
7. Your dream last night? Snow
8. Your favorite drink? Tea
9. Your dream/goal? Flying
10. The room you’re in? Bedroom
11. Your church? Catholic
12. Your fear? Hell
13. Where do you want to be in 6 years? Holier
14. Where were you last night? Home
15. What you’re not?  Skinny ;-D
16. Muffins?  Please!
17. One of your wish list items?  Ultralight
18. Where you grew up? Florida
19. The last thing you did? Telephoned
20. What are you wearing? Capris
21. Your TV?  Polaroid
22. Your pets?  Cookie Monster
23. Your computer?  Fried
24. Your life?  Blessed
25. Your mood?  Upbeat
26. Missing someone?  Many
27. Your car?  Minivan
28. Something you’re not wearing?  Shoes
29. Favorite store?  Thrift
30. Your summer?  Pleasant
31. Like(love) someone?  Yes!
32. Your favorite color?  Pink
33. Last time you laughed?  Today
34. Last time you cried?  Yesterday
35. Who will re post this?  Allison

I did it!!  Amazing, I know…I tend towards verbosity!  Have at it…let me know if you want to play…I’d love to read your responses!

Goodbye, old friend…

It’s lovely, isn’t it? Majestic…branches spreading heavenward, shade spilling across the front lawn, obscuring the house and dramatically decreasing the temperature inside.

Appearances can be deceiving…

It’s dying. We’ve lost many branches over the past few weeks and the interior of the tree is rotting. One more big storm and it’s coming down. We’ve been parking closer to the barn…but we can’t move the house.

So…it must come down.

Is it silly to be so attached to a tree? I’ll probably cry when they cut it down. I know, I know…nothing compared to the tears I’d shed should it fall on the house, car or, God forbid, one of the children.

But I’ll miss the birds that nest in it’s branches. I’ll miss the shade that falls over my bedroom. I’ll miss the little fairy house that’s nestled at it’s base. I’ll miss the brightly hued leaves that decorate my lawn in the fall. I’ll miss the snow laden boughs in the winter.

It will be no small task to take down a tree this size. The roots run deep, the branches span many feet…given the many years this mighty giant has been growing, it will take more than a couple men to safely remove it. Sometime this week…

On Killing A Tree

It takes much time to kill a tree,
Not a simple jab of the knife
Will do it. It has grown
Slowly consuming the earth,
Rising out of it, feeding
Upon its crust, absorbing
Years of sunlight, air, water,
And out of its leprous hide
Sprouting leaves.

So hack and chop
But this alone won’t do it.
Not so much pain will do it.
The bleeding bark will heal
And from close to the ground
Will rise curled green twigs,
Miniature boughs
Which if unchecked will expand again
To former size.

The root is to be pulled out-
Out of the anchoring earth;
It is to be roped, tied,
And pulled out-snapped out
Or pulled out entirely,
Out from the earth-cave,
And the strength of the tree exposed,
The source, white and wet,
The most sensitive, hidden
For years inside the earth.

Then the matter
Of scorching and choking
In sun and air,
Browning, hardening,
Twisting, withering,

And then it is done.

-Gieve Patel

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