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Catholic Family Vignettes

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

Month

September 2008

The best-laid plans of mice and men often go awry…

Alas, the bonfire and feast await a better day.  My dear husband came down with a positively vile stomach bug and has been laid low all day.  It was perhaps a bit cruel to prepare the celebratory Michaelmas brunch while he languished, but the children were already fairly upset that we would have to forgo the evening’s festivities.

Tonight we dine on leftover turkey and rice.  Hubby is already feeling a bit better and is, God willing, on the mend.  Perhaps later this week we’ll serve the duck and light the fire.  Until then, happy Michaelmas and wash your hands thoroughly…

The Simple Woman’s Daybook

Visit Peggy at The Simple Woman for more Daybook entries!

FOR TODAY – September 29, 2008

Outside my Window…pitch dark.  It’s 5:41 a.m.  No wind, no birds…just silence.

I am thinking…about the busyness of today’s schedule.  We had so much wanted to attend the McCain-Palin rally at Capital University this morning, but the conflict with Mass required that we prioritize our schedule.  So we’ll attend  Mass this morning to celebrate the Feast of St. Michael the Archangel, have a celebration brunch following to kick-off our school year (I do believe this is the latest we’ve ever started!) and preparations for this evening’s celebration.  We may have to forgo the bonfire…we’re surrounded by 85 acres of extremely dry corn.  Perhaps the grill will be a safer bet…or we could prepare a firepit for a much smaller blaze…

I am thankful for…yesterday’s hike.  I was such a grump.  Shortly after Mass I became obsessed with getting everything in order for our first day of school.  There’s definitely a reason the Lord gave us the Sabbath as a day of rest!  A couple hours later I came to my senses, abandoned the tedium and took off for the woods with my dear husband and children.  What a glorious day and how much more joyful were we all when we sat down to dinner that evening tired from the long hike, yet refreshed.

From the kitchen…a Michaelmas brunch after Mass.  Waffles (St. Michael’s Guafres), eggs, sausage and monkey bread.  Dinner this evening:  roasted mallard breast in an orange sauce, rice, spiced pears, and Irish Bannock and salad.

In our school room…a new school year begins!  High school for Arthur, Jr. High for Gawain.  Six students this year and all of the challenges that entail educating so many at once!  Pray for me, dear friends…the first couple of weeks are always a bit stressful…

I am creating…nearly finished with our Alphabet of Saints, just three more to go.  I’ve been so delighted with this project that I’ve decided to make several additions to our alphabet.  All of our name saints and a few of our personal patrons!  Today I’m adding St. Michael the Archangel.  It’s his feast day, after all!

I am going…the fix a pot of espresso in just a couple minutes!

I am wearing…a long cotton nightgown, my coziest wool wrap and socks.  It’s c-c-c-c-cold!

I am reading…school books and lesson plans!

I am hoping…my parent’s will be able to visit in October.  They were coming last week, but had to change plans…

I am hearing…the hum of the computer and not much else.

Around the house…much to tidy, fold, put away, etc.

One of my favorite things…the month of October.  I love it!  The wonderful feast days, the exquisite weather, changing trees and the cool, crisp days.  I come to life in October…

A Few Plans For The Rest Of The Week…re-establishing the rhythm of the school day.  This break has been way, way too long…

Here is a picture thought I am sharing with you

Yesterday’s hike along the Sycamore Plains Trail…

Cradled in the arms of a majestic giant:

Gawain took this shot of his sister. Another photographer in the family? Could be!

Another lovely picture taken by Gawain:

The perfect resting spot!

Have a blessed week!

Celebrating Michaelmas

Ah, Michaelmas!  Such is the name of the traditional Feast of St. Michael the Archangel celebrated on September 29th.  Our family has a great devotion to St. Michael, most particularly due to the great devotion our young son, Galahad has shown since early childhood.

Galahad is convinced that St. Michael is his personal Guardian Angel. He speaks with such conviction, that we don’t question his belief.

Our celebration this year will incorporate the traditional Michaelmas bonfire.  The recent storm left us with a lot of downed branches that will feed our fire.  The cool temperatures and early dusk should make for a cozy evening around the fire.  Alas, I don’t have a goose for dinner, so it looks like we’ll be having those mallard breasts instead!  I’m trying my hand at an Irish Bannock this year…the rye and barley of the Michaelmas Bannock just doesn’t appeal to the little ones.

Don’t forget to check out Catholic Cuisine for additional recipes and traditions associated with the Holy Angels.

Here are a few of the more interesting quotes I’ve run across.  The traditions and folklore associated with this wonderful feast are simply fascinating…enjoy!

At Michaelmas time, or a little before,
Half an apple goes to the core;
At Christmas time, or a little after,
A crab in the hedge,
And thanks to the rafter.
Traditional English proverb

And when the tenauntes come
To paie their quarter’s rent,
They bring some fowle at Midsummer,
A dish of fish in Lent,
At Christmas a capon,
At Michaelmas, a goose,
And somewhat else at New-yere’s tide
For feare the lease flie loose.
George Gascoigne, English poet, 1575

So many days the moon is old on St Michael’s day, so many floods after.
Traditional English weather marker

Harvest comes as long before Michaelmas as dog roses bloom before Midsummer.
Traditional English weather marker

On Michaelmas Day the devil puts his foot on the blackberries.
Traditional northern Irish proverb

St Michael’s rain does not stay long in the sky.
Traditional French proverb

If it does not rain on St Michael’s and Gallus [Oct 16], a dry spring is indicated for the next year.
Traditional English proverb

If you eat goose on Michaelmas Day, you will not be short of money all year round.
Traditional English proverb

A Michaelmas rot comes ne’er in the pot.
Traditional English proverb

If St Michael brings many acorns, Christmas will cover the fields with snow.
Traditional English proverb

Michaelmas chickens and parsons’ daughters never come to good.
Traditional English proverb

Three things that never come to any good: Christmas pigs, Michaelmas fowls, and parsons’ daughters.
Traditional English proverb

Tavistock Goosey Fair Song

‘Tis just a month come Friday next,
Bill Champernowne and me,
Us went across old Dartymoor
The Goosey Fair to see.
Us made usselves right vitty,
Us shaved and grazed our hair,
And off us goes in our Zunday clothes
Behind Bill’s old grey mare.
Us smelt the zage and onion
‘Alf a mile from Whitchurch Down,
And didn’t us ‘ave a blow out
When us put up in the town,
And there us met Ned Hannaford,
Jan Steer and Nicky Square,
I think that all the world must be
At Tavistock Goosey Fair.
Chorus:
And its oh, and where be a-going,
And what be a-doing of there,
Heave down your prong and stamp along,
To Tavistock Goosey Fair.

2. Us went to see the ‘osses
And the ‘effers and the yaws,
Us went on all them roundabouts
And into all the shows,
And then it started raining
And blowing in our face,
So off us goes down to the Rose
To ‘ave a dish of tay.
And then us had a sing song
And the folks kept dropping in,
And what with one an’ t’other,
Well, us had a drop of gin,
And what with one an’ t’other,
Us didn’t seem to care,
Whether us was to Bellever Tor
Or Tavistock Goosey Fair.
Chorus:

3. ‘Twere raining streams and dark as pitch
When us trotted ‘ome that night,
An’ when us got past Merrivale Bridge,
Our mare, ‘er took a fright,
Says I to Bill, “Be careful,
You’ll ‘ave us in them drains,”
Says ‘e to me, “Cor bugger,” says ‘e,
“Why ‘aven’t you got the reins,”
Just then the mare ran slap against
A whacking gurt big stone,
‘Er kicked the trap to flibbits
And ‘er trotted off alone,
And when it come to reckoning,
‘Tweren’t no use standing there,
Us ‘ad to traipse ‘ome thirteen mile
From Tavistock Goosey Fair.
Chorus:

Country camo

Oh, my!  A moving bush…it seems to be…alive!

Nah…just a little “country camo” craftily assembled by Emily:

and Gareth:

Now I lay me down to sleep…

***The following post and slide show deal with sensitive subject matter.  Discretion for those with little ones who like to peek over mommy’s shoulder, but may be too sensitive for the video***

A little life lost, a family grieves.  What comfort are words, when the pain is still so new?  We hold onto each other, to our faith.  We remember the little life, the space occupied for so brief a time.  We fill the void with memories.

Many of you are aware that my dear friends, Jim and Lisa Ross recently experienced just such a loss.  In the midst of their grief, they were approached by a photographer from Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep, an organization of volunteer photographers who provide photographic memories, doing their very best to capture the love that transcends tragedy.  The slide show below is such an amazing compilation and serves as a poignant memorial to little Gabriel Alexander; much loved and taken much too soon.

How kind…

…that two dear blogging friends would give me this:

Thank you, Jessica and Mary Rose! I’d like to give this award right back to you, but will obediently pass it on to other equally worthy recipients. There are so many wonderful blogs and bloggers out there, so many who brighten my day and provide encouragement,  it seems unfair to limit myself to seven, but limit I must. Here goes:

Jennifer

Amy Caroline

Margaret

Esther

Allison

Elizabeth

Charlotte

I’m breaking the rules a bit on this one ladies…this award is unconditional.  You don’t have to do anything, unless of course you wish to “spread the love.”  In that case…nominate away!

Dishing it out…

Curly Locks

Curly Locks, Curly Locks,
Will you be mine?
You shall not wash dishes,
Nor feed the swine,
But sit on a cushion
And sew a fine seam,
And sup upon strawberries,
Sugar, and cream.

Ah, how I loved that nursery rhyme when I was a little girl!  “You shall not wash dishes” seemed such a fair promise for a young maiden.

My little girls, on the other hand, nearly engaged in hand-to-hand combat for the privilege of washing the last few plates in the sink.

Two little girls…both wanting to wash dishes…

Yes…wanting to wash dishes.  Obviously, neither of these children are over the age of twelve or the argument would’ve been entirely different!  Each had a turn soaping and scrubbing the same five or six plates, over and over and over again.  Our dishes have never been so clean…

I think I’ll keep these photos on hand as a reminder of more cooperative times.  If only I had the same enthusiasm now that the dishwasher is no more…

In the company of the Saints…

Emily is very excited and most anxious to begin “walking” Along the Alphabet Path, a fanciful phonics unit study from Elizabeth at Serendipity.  What a delightful way to introduce letters and sounds!  Fairies and the Saints…all bound together in a program that is extremely child-friendly.  In addition to the whimsy provided by the Flower Fairy books,  An Alphabet of Catholic Saints offers a healthy dose of faith along with the fun.  First grader Charlotte has begged to be allowed to participate, having watched mommy working on our very own wooden Alphabet of Saints.

It was quite enjoyable painting our little “Saints,” and Jessica at Shower of Roses deserves all the credit for this lovely idea.  These sweet, painted figures are just the perfect size for pudgy little hands to hold onto.  I still need to spray a bit of clear coat to protect them, and plan to label each bottom with the name of our Saint,  but I can already envision the creative play and exploration the two little girls will engage in with their new “friends.”

UPDATE:

Want to make your own?  A Child’s Dream Come True has the wooden doll forms in a few different sizes, as well as a lot of other Waldorf-inspired crafts.  Hobby Lobby, the retail craft chain also has the same hand dolls available, 8 for $2.99.  A big thank you to my dear friend Kitty for that tidbit!

The photo above shows the seven I enjoyed painting most:  St. Bernadette, St. Kateri, St. Therese, St. Ignatius, St. Lucy, St. Patrick and St. Cecilia.  Thus far, I’ve completed Saints Ann through Ursula.  Just four more to go…

The Simple Woman’s Daybook

Visit Peggy at The Simple Woman for more Daybook entries!

FOR TODAY – September 22, 2008

Outside my Window…blue skies, gentle breezes and fall-like temperatures.  Grass that needs mowing, tree branches that need clearing away and a garden that needs to be “turned.”

I am thinking…that there’s so much to be done today.  A week away from home has it’s price…

I am thankful for…the refuge of my mother-in-law’s home after the storm.  For time to read, knit and play with the children.  For the stroll down memory lane.  For the workers who repaired the roof, gutter and flashing.  For the guys who cleared away the largest part of the fallen tree…

From the kitchen…a nearly completely empty refrigerator.  A freezer that needs to be emptied.  Nothing much that is salvageable…

From the learning room…I’m painting a few of these at a time.  Thank you, Jessica, for the inspiration!  I was going to attempt to create little felt clothing for our “Alphabet of Saints” figures, but really like the simplicity of the painted ones…

I am creating…a pair of alpaca leg-warmers and painting a gazillion little wooden dolls…

I am going…to be working hard all day…

I am wearing…a brown micro-suede skirt, brown clogs, rusty-red t-shirt, cream cardigan, hair down.

I am reading…Oh, my goodness!!  I’ve been reading so much this week, but have fallen in love with A Haystack Full of Needles by Alice Gunther.  Tears, smiles and good deal of hope thanks to this precious book…

I am hoping…to pray more, worry less and laugh out loud a whole lot more…

I am hearing…silence.  The occasional footstep upon the stairs.  The children are surprisingly subdued…

Around the house…bags to unpack, laundry to wash…work, work, work…

One of my favorite things…running water.  I don’t mind living without electricity.  Living without running water, no flushing toilets…ugghhhh!

A Few Plans For The Rest Of The Week…prepare for our first day of school.  Next Monday, on Michaelmas!  We will most surely celebrate!!

Here is a picture thought I am sharing with you

knitting + reading = a very good morning

Home again, home again, jiggety jig…

We have electricity!!

Packing quickly, we kissed Grandma goodbye, arrived just in time for the 4:00 p.m. Traditional Latin Mass in Lexington, Kentucky and then quickly made our way back to Ohio.
What a mess…the refrigerator is a disaster!  Ah, well…we had emptied it as much as we could, looks like we’ll be cleaning it out thoroughly tomorrow.

Off to bed now…I’ve missed my comfy mattress, but I’m so thankful for the mini-vacation…

A patchwork of memories…

Is there anything more comforting than a homemade quilt?

Each morning, every member of this family awakens after being enfolded throughout the night in a patchwork of memories.  These lovely quilts represent only a fraction of the collection my dear mother-in-law has assembled.  They are lovely, but are by no means the loveliest she owns.  The precious quilts in this slideshow have a beauty that transcends appearances.  Many were crafted by my husband’s grandmother and the remainder by other family members.  Tiny scraps of fabric, small stitches sewn as time would allow…all culminating in history bound in fabric.

I sew, but haven’t yet been adventurous enough to piece a quilt.  I think I’ll try my hand at it.  Who knows…perhaps fifty years from now one of my grandchildren, having been hugged by these fabric-bound dreams, will reminisce and decide to stitch their own patchwork of memories.

The last Monarch…

All done…it looks like the last chrysalis is damaged and will not open.  Here’s the last one out:

Memory lane…

Today I took the children on a brief stroll down memory lane, giving them a glimpse of mom’s girlhood.  Would you like to come along?  Great!

We’re taking a little tour of Paris, Kentucky.  My father’s hometown, my husband’s hometown, and the town where I graduated from high school.   Here’s the picture that sums up Bourbon county…

Green pasture, black barns and fences and the very finest thoroughbreds. That’s why they call it the horse capital of the world:

This weekend the entire town will turn out to remember Triple Crown winner Secretariat. My mother has a picture of my brother and I sitting astride this legendary giant. I even have a few strands of his mane…

Let’s go to school. Here’s my high school. Paris High, home of the Greyhounds.

At this small independent school I received a top notch education, academically speaking. Three years of Latin, two years of French, and had the same homeroom teacher and English instructor that my father had. Mrs. Kenney Roseberry. God bless her…the finest teacher I ever knew.

See those Greek columns? I used to eat lunch there. We’d pick up a milkshake at Homer’s Tastee Freeze and congregate there in the shade. The building to the right is the Fine Arts center. Band class, the cafeteria and auditorium were located inside. I played the flute in that band for four years…I hated marching, but loved symphonic band.

Here’s the football field…Oh, how I loved that place! Crisp, cool evenings and the excitement of high school football. I was a cheerleader (briefly) and quickly discovered I enjoyed the part of spectator far more.

Did I mention that I actually prefer basketball? Here’s the gym…located directly across the street from my house. Extremely convenient for a dedicated fan!

The gym:

My old house:

Just down the street was my favorite haunt…pun intended! Welcome to the Paris Cemetery.

I have a rather interesting scar in a rather, ahem, interesting place thanks to the spikes on the gate. That’s what you get when you climb the gate after hours…a great big hole in the seat of your favorite Levi’s and a nasty reminder!

The cemetery has always been a place of great comfort for me. Most of my family and quite a few of my dearest friends are buried here. This particular grave is a rather poignant reminder from my girlhood:

At the age of sixteen, a beautiful blond haired, blue eyed boy was electrocuted in an athletic whirlpool bath.  His name was Ronnie Massie, may he rest in peace.  He had heroically saved the life of his best friend who was in the whirlpool with him, and lost his own in the process. He was my boyfriend.   A good, decent and honorable young man in every way. As saintly as teenagers come. Greater love than this no man has, than to lay down his life for his friends…

Another fallen hero lies here:

My father-in-law. A true gentleman. One of the finest men I’ve ever known. His death, sudden yet peaceful, has left a void in the lives of his children and grandchildren. Here are six who never had the privilege of meeting him, but can be sure he’s been following their progress:

And, finally…fun and games a Garrard Park:

I used to play tennis and flag football at this park.  I remember the tank…it was green.  The old tank provided quite a bit of amusement for the children.

It’s funny…how different things are and yet, still very much the same. Memories linger, the past creeps upon the heels of the present and the next generation relives those “days of yore…”

Thanks for walking down memory lane with me. I hope it wasn’t too tedious. I truly enjoyed it, but as much as the past calls to mind fond memories, I would rather live one moment of my present life, than relive all the years gone by…

Because we couldn’t leave them behind…

We brought them with us!! 

As we prepared to leave Monday afternoon, the children remembered the six Monarch cocoons in the jar on top of the refrigerator.

“We can’t leave them!” was the universal chorus.  Nestled at my feet for the four hour drive, our six little friends arrived safe and sound at Grandma’s.

And then we forgot them.  Until this morning…

Two beautiful butterflies, stretching their wings have now made a home on the Butterfly Bush in Grandma’s backyard.  We’re anxiously watching for the rest to emerge…we’ll keep you posted!

Here’s a slideshow of our new friends:

Safe and sound…and evacuated!

Wow…what else can I say…wow…

The wind storm that swept Kentucky, Ohio and Pennsylvania left in it’s wake a path of devastation and destruction.  Considering the intensity and duration of the storm, we were truly blessed.

The big barn took a good bit of roof damage.  We lost shingles, flashing, and guttering on the house.  We lost a good portion of one of the large maples and had fortunately moved the cars just thirty minutes before the tree fell in our parking area.

The power outage is the worst of it.  We live in the country.  We have well water.  The pump that brings us water is electric.

No electricity = no water.  That means no showers, no flushing toilets, no laundry and no drinking water!

The electric company is working night and day to solve this crisis, but quite frankly can’t promise us a return of service before Sunday, soooo…

Greetings from Paris, Kentucky!

What seemed a small tragedy yesterday, has turned into a big blessing.  My husband is blessed to have a position that allows him to work via computer anywhere he has access to the internet.  After packing all of our personal effects, as many frozen and refrigerated items as we could salvage from our fridge and freezer, and Roger’s computer;  we headed to Grandma Beckie’s house and what promises to be a delightful family vacation.

Grandma’s house is lovely.  An enormous house, chock-full of antiques, lots of play space and a super-fun Grandma, the children are delighted to have this time away from home.  So are mom and dad!

I’m not sure how long it will take to have power restored.  Clementine, who is working two jobs, has stayed behind and is periodically checking on the house and feeding the cats.  We’re hoping that power will be restored soon…but, hopefully, not too soon!

In the meantime, our prayers are with those who are not so fortunate.  May God bless those who are still recovering from this devastating storm and special blessings to the brave men and women who are working so hard to restore order in the midst of chaos.

I leave you with a few images from the storm and a couple happier shots from our time here with Grandma…

Blessings,

One of “those” days…

It’s 11:58 p.m.

My family is in bed and I can’t sleep.

It’s been one of “those” days…you know the one I’m talking about.  Everyone has been on edge.  Dad didn’t feel well, the humidity was positively horrible, no one wanted to go outside because everything was hot, sticky and wet, and no one wanted to play together inside because everything was hot, sticky and wet.

Attitudes quickly deteriorated and insults were on the rise.  Dinner was a sullen affair, a tasty meal served to a testy bunch of people.  I found myself longing for bedtime, just wanting the entire day to end.

Then it struck me.  We needed to pray.  For one another.  For peace and harmony in our family.  We have no right to expect peace within the world if we can’t have it at home.

Gathering the family in the living room, we began to pray the rosary.  I asked my dear husband if I could say a few words.  I said more than a few.  It went something like this:

We have a problem children.  We have become lazy with one another.  We, and I mean everyone of us, are taking the easy way out when we it comes to the way we treat each other.  Today, I’ve heard every single one of you insult someone in some way.  Saying “move over” instead of “excuse me” or “give me that” instead of “may I please have that back” and so on.  I can only think that my own frustration over the day has filtered down to you all, until what began as a trickle at the “top” formed a large puddle at the “bottom.”  I’m so sorry.  I want us to become better.  More loving and considerate of one another.  Mutually helpful and encouraging.  Respectful.  I want each of us to pull our weight instead of waiting for someone else to do the dirty work.  Let’s say you’re walking through the house and you noticed something on the floor, say, an apple core…do you yell and say “hey!  Someone left an apple core on the floor!” and then walk past it, or do you pick it up, thinking “I sure wouldn’t want to step on that!”  It’s such a small effort to make, but it’s something that needs to be done…

I had a few more brilliant and insightful statements to make but was briefly interrupted by my husband who asked our oldest son to open a window.  Having raised the window, Arthur returned to his seat…but not before he deposited an apple core at the foot of the statue of our Lady which we had set upon the table prior to prayer.

He did this so solemnly that we all paused in silence for a few seconds…and then he said:

“I sure wouldn’t want to step on that!”

Hysterical laughter erupted all around!!  It was ironic, but I suppose you’d have to had experienced this day to grasp it.  That apple core spoke volumes to this family and we lightened up considerably, amused that the example I had used just moments before served as Arthur’s test.

They are all sleeping peacefully now.  Prayers have been said, hugs have been given, Church clothes are laid out and shoes…all six pairs of them, are lined up and ready to go.

I’m still unwinding all the thoughts and emotions of the day, but with a much less troubled heart.  I’m sure there will be other bad days, but as always, the remedy is just a prayer away and a bad day can quickly be turned into a good night…

Good night!

The Democrat who became a Republican…

Today, for the first time in many generations, my husband has broken with a family tradition…

He has switched political parties and is now a registered Republican.

In the past, Roger has always identified himself with the principles of the “working man’s” party.  His father, his father’s father and so on, have all been blue collar laborers and farmers.  The Democratic party made sense and Roger, at the age of 18, registered to vote, joining the party of family tradition.

In 1992, things changed.  The Democratic party formally included in it’s platform it’s pro-death stance and called for abortion to be “safe, legal and rare…”

It has become anything but rare.

Since then, many registered Democrats have found themselves unable to vote for their party.  My husband is one them; hoping and praying for change, and seeing those hopes diminished as the Democratic party has continued to grow increasingly hostile to those within the party who will not comply with the platform.

As regards abortion, here is the Democratic National Platform – 2008:

The Democratic Party strongly and unequivocally supports Roe v. Wade and a woman’s
right to choose a safe and legal abortion, regardless of ability to pay, and we oppose any
and all efforts to weaken or undermine that right.

The Democratic Party also strongly supports access to affordable family planning  services and comprehensive age-appropriate sex education which empowers people to make informed choices and live healthy lives. We also recognize that such health care and education help reduce the number of unintended pregnancies and thereby also reduce the need for abortions.

How does a pro-life Catholic reconcile himself with that statement?  Pro-death, pro-eugenics, pro-contraception, pro-sex education…in other words, Planned Parenthood’s party of choice?

Roger can’t any longer.

Voting pro-life while maintaining affiliation with the Democratic party no longer makes sense.  There are some traditions that must, for the sake of good, be abandoned.

Though there are still serious questions as to whether the Republican party will effect any change regarding Roe v. Wade, the platform adopted by the Republican party is the one that best reflects this pro-life Catholic’s views:

The 2008 Republican Platform:

Faithful to the first guarantee of the Declaration of Independence, we assert the inherent dignity and sanctity of all human life and affirm that the unborn child has a fundamental individual right to life which cannot be infringed. We support a human life amendment to the Constitution, and we endorse legislation to make clear that the Fourteenth Amendment’s protections apply to unborn children. We oppose using public revenues to promote or perform abortion and will not fund organizations which advocate it. We support the appointment of judges who respect traditional family values and the sanctity and dignity of innocent human life.

We have made progress. The Supreme Court has upheld prohibitions against the barbaric practice of partial-birth abortion. States are now permitted to extend health-care coverage to children before birth. And the Born Alive Infants Protection Act has become law; this law ensures that infants who are born alive during an abortion receive all treatment and care that is provided to all newborn infants and are not neglected and left to die. We must protect girls from exploitation and statutory rape through a parental notification requirement. We all have a moral obligation to assist, not to penalize, women struggling with the challenges of an unplanned pregnancy. At its core, abortion is a fundamental assault on the sanctity of innocent human life. Women deserve better than abortion. Every effort should be made to work with women considering abortion to enable and empower them to choose life. We salute those who provide them alternatives, including pregnancy care centers, and we take pride in the tremendous increase in adoptions that has followed Republican legislative initiatives.

Respect for life requires efforts to include persons with disabilities in education, employment, the justice system, and civic participation. In keeping with that commitment, we oppose the non-consensual withholding of care or treatment from people with disabilities, as well as the elderly and infirm, just as we oppose euthanasia and assisted suicide, which endanger especially those on the margins of society…

This family votes pro-life.  The candidate that best supports that end, has our support.

Rejecting the Democratic party was a tough decision for Roger.  He’s such an optimist and so very loyal.  But those words, in black and white, are rather convincing.  In this election, sharing the same party designation as Barack Obama and the many others just like him, is an abomination that can no longer be reconciled.

Doing enough…

This post is featured in Touched By Grace at Catholic Exchange:

“I’m so discouraged…I just don’t feel like I’m doing enough! I talk to other mom’s and hear all these really great ideas. How do they have time for all this stuff? I can barely get through the day’s lessons, cook meals, nurse a baby…and the housework! I never have time for all the things I need to do, let alone the things I’d really like to do.”

Does this sound familiar? I’ve had more than a few conversations with other moms and everyone is saying the same thing:

I’m not doing enough…

But what is “enough?” We are daily expanding this definition to include more and more. It is certainly desirable to stretch one’s self. Look at the marathon runner: a jog around the block would never be “enough.” For the great artist, a coloring book wouldn’t be “enough.” A master chef wouldn’t consider a TV dinner a challenge and would even be insulted that he be asked to prepare one!  Most women I know are stretched to the limit, praying for grace and calling upon the many gifts God has given to assist in the fulfillment of the day’s work.

It can be so tempting, to read or hear what others are doing in the realm of academics, family life and home organization and feel that we don’t measure up.  Oftentimes, a young mom who is seeking encouragement and suggestions from one of her more experienced “sisters” can come away feeling inadequate, fearing that she is not as good a mother, wife, teacher, insert-title-here.  It’s easy to forget that we’ve all been given gifts suitable to our calling, and have also been endowed with the abilities to use them accordingly.   It’s also important to remember at these times that God alone is the Giver of all good gifts, that He endows us as He wills.   I receive such comfort when I contemplate the image St. Therese of Lisieux inspires, as she uses a floral analogy to show us that we are unique and have gifts all our own which glorify God:

Jesus opened the book of nature before me, and I saw that every flower He has created has a beauty of its own; that the splendor of the rose and the lily’s whiteness do not deprive the violet of its scent, nor make less ravishing the daisy’s charm. I saw that if every little flower wished to be a rose, nature would lose her Spring adornments, and the fields would be no longer enameled with their varied flowers.”

…every flower He has created has a beauty of its own…”  We are not “cookie cutter” people!  Some are called to be great scholars, others artists and philosophers, still others are called to live more hidden lives.  How blessed am I to have been adorned by God to serve my particular call!  If I listen closely, tuning out the discouraging message the world wishes to send, I will hear Him as He calls me  to holiness, to greater love of Himself and neighbor, loving service as befits my vocation and contentment in the gifts that I’ve been given.  God has equipped me (and you!) for these monumental tasks, no matter how arduous they may seem at times.     What a great gift to have the example of good friends and neighbors, to glean from others’ experience, inspiration to aid us in living lives of holiness.

Am I doing enough?

Though I’m always tempted to say “no,” I realize that my feelings of inadequacy most frequently surface as I continue to struggle to impose my definition of the vocation of wife and mother, rather than allowing God to mold me.  Focusing on the essentials, utilizing God’s gifts is paramount to peace and contentment.

Living a life of service and offering that service in love, is never in vain.  I have faith that God will help me make up for my deficiencies…

And that is enough.

Happy birthday, big guy!

My son…you are wonderful in so many ways:

You are adventurous

Faithful…

Studious…

Pensive…

Scientific…

Brotherly…

But, most of all…you are loved!! Happy birthday, big guy! Twelve blessed years. May God grant you many more!

Love, Mom

Kiddie economy

Charlotte:   Mommy…can we go to a restaurant for dinner, before we waste all our money on groceries?

That’s my girl…helping out the only way she knows how!

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