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Catholic Family Vignettes

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

Month

October 2008

Prayerful witness…

Mommy…why are we here?

Dressed in a parka, wearing her adorable pumpkin hat, battling the driving wind and temperatures in the 30s, little Emily asked what would seem to be an obvious question.

Sweetie…we’re here to help all the mommies who are in that building.  We’re here to pray for them, because that’s the best thing we can do for those mommies and their babies.  We’re also praying for all the people who work there.  So that they can learn to help mommies and babies. (I never give my young children the details of so heinous an act.  The innocence of the young must be protected at all times!)

Nodding in agreement and clutching her rose-scented rosary, little Emily and her other brothers and sisters happily joined mommy in a peaceful protest outside an abortion clinic.  No signs.  No slogans.  Just the prayerful presence of one mother and six children.

But it was so very, very cold.  An hour seems such a small contribution, but the discomfort of the children was great, though not as great as their fervent prayers, and I’m sure it was a pleasing sight from our Heavenly Father’s vantage.

How edifying that so many people honked and waved.  One gentleman even stopped his car to ask a question.  I must admit, I was fearful of approaching him.  He simply asked us why we were praying.  I told him.  His response:

Ohhh…abortion…God have mercy.  My prayers are with you and would you please pray for me?

We prayed.  Young voices, quavering with the cold, praying for the protection of mommies and babies…

It wasn’t long before Charlotte noticed that the very large building we were praying in front of had many windows, but all of them had been plastered over…not one bit of light from outside would be visible from within.

Why are the windows all blocked up, mommy?

Because of sin, Charlotte.  Do you remember when you took a cookie, and hid under the dining room table to eat it?  Why did you do that?

Because I knew it was wrong and I didn’t want you to see me.

Exactly.  There are sins happening in that building, Charlotte.  They don’t want anyone to see.  They are hiding.

But God sees them!  You can’t ever hide from God…

That’s right, Charlotte.  That’s why we’re here…we’re praying that God’s light will shine in their hearts.  It’s awful that they’re shutting out the Light, the real Light and that’s God…

We finished our prayers and bundled into the car, heading towards home and hot chocolate.   Six children and one mom, happy to have spent time in prayerful witness, praying that one day there will be no such need…

Touched…

…by this post from Mary Rose at Catholic Prodigal Daughter.

Here’s an excerpt from In Praise of Parenting:  It’s The Big Things That Count:

It doesn’t matter if you live in an apartment, a trailer, or a spacious home. It doesn’t matter if you drive an old 1995 Chevrolet or a 2008 Lexus. It doesn’t matter if you clothe your children with Abercrombie & Fitch or WalMart. What does matter is if you tell them you love them, listen to their hopes, dreams, and fears – and you’re there not just when they need you, but when they want you. What matters is being there but allowing them to fall, knowing it’s a part of life and you’ll be there to help dust them off and try again. What matters is that you believe in them.

Read the rest of this lovely post and give Mary Rose my love!

Rosary Novena starts today!!!


“That kind is only driven out by prayer and fasting”(Mark 9:29)

Catholic Family News urges you to join us in a

Nine-Day Rosary Novena
Prior to the US Election

From October 27 to November. 4.

Whether you plan to vote for John McCain, Chuck Baldwin, Ron Paul or no one at all.
Join us in the Rosary Novena and in the daily recitation of a special approved prayer against “revolutionary men”.

CONSIDER:

• Obama is the most pro-abortion candidate in history.
Catholic Bishop Arthur Serratelli ofPaterson,NJ, Obama, in a recent column on his diocesan website, effectively compared Obama to Herod. Obama has promised to pass the Freedom of Choice Act. Should Obama keep this promise, said Bishop Serratelli, “not only will many of our freedoms as Americans be taken from us, but the innocent and vulnerable will spill their blood.” The Freedom of Choice Act (FOCA), introduced in the United States Congress in 2004, would remove all restrictions on abortion in theUnited States, both on the state and federal level. “FOCA goes far beyond guaranteeing the right to an abortion throughout the nine months of pregnancy. It arrogantly prohibits any law or policy interfering with that right,” says Bishop Serratelli. This is the “dark reality” kept secret by propagandists for ‘choice’.”

• Obama vows to fight for the legalization of homosexual marriages and for hate crimes legislation.
In June, Obama sent a letter to the Alice B. Toklas Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender Democratic Club saying he supportsrepealingthe Defense of Marriage Act and the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” US military policy. In 2004, Obama sent a letter to a “gay” newspaper inChicago in which he called the Defense of Marriage Act “abhorrent” and said, “We must vigorously expand hate-crime legislation and be vigilant about how these laws are enacted.” Such pro-homosexual hate crimes legislation is being used around the world to persecute Christians. Last year, a Columbia bishop was jailed for refusing to allow a homosexual into his seminary. “Hate crimes” could also be used against churches that refuse to perform homosexual marriages; and used against schools that teach homosexuality is a sin.

• Even the Wall Street Journalis concerned about an Obama win.
AnWSJarticle entitled “The Coming Liberal Supermajority” warns of “one of the most profound political ideological shifts in US History. Liberals would dominate the entire government in a way they havent’s since 1965 or 1933” and warned that an Obama victory would unleash “a period of uncheck left-wing ascendency.” WSJ also noted that an Obama presidency would result in regulatory overkill in the business world; substantial tax hikes; a “green” tax to repel so-called “climate change”; and the “Fairness Doctrine” that would effectively silent conservative ralk radio and political opposition.

Catholics throughout the nation,such as Father John Corapi, are organizing Rosary novenas on the nine-days prior to election day. Let us unite all of our payers to the Immacualte Heart of Mary. The battle of Lepanto was won not so much by superior firepower, but by Catholics praying the rosary to defeat the enemies of God.

PLEASE ALSO RECITE ON EACH DAY OF THE NOVENA
THIS PRAYER APPROBED BY THE CHURCH

Prayer given by Our Lord to Sister Marie de Sainte Pierre (1816-1848 Apostle
of the Holy Face of Jesus), to divide and conquer revolutionary men.

Eternal Father, I offer Thee the Cross of Our Lord Jesus Christ, and all the instruments of His Holy Passionthat Thou mayest put division in the camp of Thine enemies,for as Thy beloved Son hath said, “a kingdom divided against itself shall fail”.

The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass(Tridentine) will be offered for – and in union with — all those who take part in the Novena on October 27 and November 4.

Please email to tell us you will take part in the Rosary Novena:cfnjv@localnet.com

Thank you.

In the Holy Family,

John Vennari
Editor,Catholic Family News

This page, along with the links containing documentation, can be accessed atwww.cfnews.org/RosaryNovena.htm

The Simple Woman’s Daybook

Visit Peggy at The Simple Woman for more Daybook entries!

FOR TODAY – October 27, 2008

Outside my Window…The sunrise was quite a sight to behold…pink and gold streaks illuminating the azure/indigo blue of the sky.  A fiery ball peeking between the clouds, bright rays of light filling the kitchen.  The clouds.  And darkness.  Today’s forecast:  chance of snow.  In October.

I am thinking…that I feel a bit better than I have over the past two days.  No headache today.

I am thankful for…many good friends, all sharing the same love of the Faith.  For fireside conversations and the laughter of children at play.  For hot coffee and iced tea.  For a refrigerator and cabinets that are significantly better stocked than they were a couple days ago.  For my warm sweater on this very cold October morning…

From the kitchen…bacon, over-easy eggs and toast.  Steaming hot espresso with my favorite creamer.  For dinner:  spiral sliced ham, mashed potatoes, corn and rolls.

In our school room…an enormous model train is occupying most of the floor!  Step gingerly…as for academics:  on track.  I’m quite pleased.  So many things are working for us…may we continue as well as we’ve begun!

I am creating…Let’s see…I’ve knit a tiara this week for a sweet little girl’s birthday.  I really need to finish Emily’s legwarmers.  One down, one to go.  Oh yes…I made two costumes for the little girls to wear for this week’s All Saint’s Day parties.  We have one party being hosted by our homeschooling group and the other on the feast day itself, by our parish Una Voce organization.  Fun, fun, fun!

I am going…to participate in a peaceful protest outside an abortion clinic tomorrow afternoon.  No signs, no slogans…just prayer.

I am wearing…black velvet lounging pants, knit t-shirt and a very warm polar fleece sweater.  And socks.  And a hairclip.

I am reading…I’m always picking up something, re-reading something, but I’m not currently “into” any particular piece of literature at present.  I need a good book…

I am hoping…to tackle the mountain of laundry in my mudroom.  Mountain.  Seriously…it’s frightening!  I’d take a picture, but it would be positively scandalous;)

I am hearing…silence.  The children are sleeping.  Yesterday’s activities were exhausting.  Dad, Arthur and Gawain traveled to West Virginia so that Arthur and his dear friend Patrick could teach a few altar boys the rubrics of the Traditional Latin Mass and then served that extremely well-attended Mass.  Gareth and Galahad spent the afternoon in Cleveland with our dear friend, Hilaire, and toured a fire department/museum.  Emily, Charlotte and I spent the afternoon with my dear friend, Sandra, and her sweet children.  It was quite a full day…

Around the house…laundry.  Laundry.  LAUNDRY!!!!

One of my favorite things…not laundry.  And definitely not folding and hanging laundry.  I like hanging wash on the clothesline.  No chance of that today…frigid, drizzly later and a chance of snow

A Few Plans For The Rest Of The Week…stay warm!!  Evenings will be in the 20’s.  Looks like we’re heading straight for winter…

Here is a picture thought I am sharing with you

Images from the costume party we attended this weekend:

St. Lucy and St. Cecilia:

A couple of Knights from the Crusades:

A lone knight:

Why is this chef so happy?  Check out his wife…she’s got a “bun” in the oven!!  The best costume ever!

Our delightful host and hostess:  Indiana Jones and his very own Christmas Elf!

It’s not a party unless there’s a bonfire:

Some of the best people you’d ever want to meet.  What a great crowd!

Fire gazing…what a great way to spend the evening!

Merry Tossmas…

Have you received yours yet? You know…all those high-gloss “holiday” catalogs wishing you “Happy Holidays,” encouraging you to “beat the holiday rush,” and purchase your “holiday greeting cards and gifts?”

Why can’t they just say it? Merry Christmas. Or for a real reminder as we approach the “holiday season”…Mary. Christ. Mass.

I’m with Stuart Shepherd. I think I’ll just toss them. I have to hide them anyway from the children, as the toy catalog has such capacity to bring out the “green-eyed monster” in my blue-eyed children. Little hearts and minds should never be seduced by slick advertising and yet they often are.

Probably?

There’s probably no God.  Now stop worrying and enjoy your life.

Probably? Probably?!?!?!?!!

This slogan is the brainchild of militant atheists and is being plastered on buses in London.

Honestly…doesn’t that statement sound agnostic rather than atheistic?

I mean, really…if you think there’s “probably” no God, shouldn’t you at least hedge your bets and live as though there is?

Words of comfort from our atheist friends during times of crisis…

It must annoy them greatly to know that we continue to pray for them!

October joy…

Happy Birthday to my darling Jane…

My firstborn and mother to my four granddaughters…celebrating her 27th birthday today!

Much joy to you, darling!  Kisses and hugs to all the girls…

Much love,

Mom

The very best days…

The very best days are the ones we spend with those who are nearest and dearest…

Wednesday.  I love Wednesday…it’s my “off” day.  Mass, piano and errands usually fill our morning, with the remainder of the day spent in the company of good friends.  Unfortunately, for the past three weeks my dear friend and her children have been quite ill.  I’d begun to despair that we’d never have more than an hour or two together and who knew when.  By God’s grace, they’ve all since recovered and we were finally able to have a whole afternoon together.

If you’ve read Haystack Full of Needles, then you, too, realize the necessity of these opportunities for fellowship and their importance in strengthening and affirming the homeschooling family.  These informal and only moderately structured get-togethers are so uplifting and, quite frankly, just plain ol’ fun!

While Sandra and I relished our conversation, sipping hot Chocolate Mint Tea and eating the most delicious apple cake ever, our children played outside, reveling in the briskness of a glorious October day.  The boys were busy with a very special project, and worked quickly while the girls ate lunch.  Following lunch, our little girls went on a quest…five fairies were hidden under brush and leaves, behind trees and barns.  Only the four boys knew the location of the fairies.  Their mission:  make a pictorial map for each one of the girls, leading them on a merry chase, and eventually, to their prize…a homemade flower fairy made quite simply using wooden doll forms and constructing the wings from the petals of silk flowers in varying colors.

What fun!  The girls truly enjoyed this treasure hunt;  Sandra’s eldest asked if Gareth would make another map so that she could look for her fairy again!

Five hours flew by and soon the flurry-hurry of goodbyes began.  Sandra’s girls changed into their dance gear, gathered coloring sheets and fairies and in a flash the five of them were gone…

Another day of beautiful memories.  So simple…tea, conversation and childish play.  All woven into a beautiful tapestry of friendship and faith.

Our memories:

The Simple Woman’s Daybook

Visit Peggy at The Simple Woman for more Daybook entries!

FOR TODAY – October 20, 2008

Outside my Window…sunrise.  Brilliant hues of violet, indigo and rose with bright splashes of salmon pink.  Jack Frost has traced a lacy pattern on all the leaves and grass.  The morning glories are no more…

I am thinking…that it is quite cold in my bedroom!  Thank heavens for flannel jammies and socks!

I am thankful for…so many things.  For being able to give worship, praise and adoration to God in the Traditional Latin Mass and seeing nearly every available seat filled.  Holy Communion took longer than ever…praise God!  I’m thankful for yesterday’s birthday brunch and Charlotte’s delight over the “gnome home” so lovingly created for her by mommy and her brothers.  For the beautiful hike at Darby Creek and being able to revel in the splendor of falling leaves.  I’m thankful for acorns…acorns remind me of children.  So much possibility locked in such a small package, needing just the right conditions to reach magnificent heights!

From the kitchen…bacon and eggs for dad, espresso with Sweet Italian Cream for mom, pancakes for the kiddies.  Dinner:  BBQ pork in the slow cooker, potatoes au gratin and green beans and baby carrots.

In our school room…school is going very well.  Week 4, and we’re still on track, praise God!  We’re still having such fun with our science program, so much so that we are now doing science every day and have yet to tackle history.  The decision:  complete the science program then onto history!  Normally, I alternate days between the two subjects.  We’re having too much fun with botany!  Today we’ll assemble the leaves, acorns, seed pods, etc. that we gathered on our walk to the woods and glue them to our leaf collection pages in our nature notebooks.  It should be quite enjoyable classifying and labeling them!

I am creating…oh my…I have so many ideas now!  The gnome home has truly inspired me to create an entire village of forest people.  The boys are formulating ideas for additional furnishings, etc.  This is such fun!

I am going…to make pancakes as soon as I finish this post!

I am wearing…pink flannel pj’s emblazoned with red coffee cups and socks.  Brrrrrr…it’s very chilly this morning!

I am reading…listening, actually, with the children to the audio version of C.S. Lewis’ The Screwtape Letters.  Very, very funny…

I am hoping…to finish school early today.  Need to prepare the house for the workers who will be coming to put in new windows…

I am hearing…the thud, thud, thud of my boys and girls awaking and the soft padding of footsteps as the first arrival comes down the stairs.  It’s Gawain…

Around the house…fairly tidy, though a considerable amount of laundry.  Lots of falling leaves outside…

One of my favorite things…my pink flannel pjs…decidedly funky and totally “me…”

A Few Plans For The Rest Of The Week…stay on track with school, a fun post-birthday treasure hunt with friends on Wednesday, continue praying the nightly rosary for all our friends and family.

Here is a picture thought I am sharing with you

A new path at Darby Creek…there’s always something new, some unexplored area:

My crew…they hate group photos!!  This is the only one in which someone isn’t making a face!

Emily in her pumpkin hat…we found Charlotte’s, by the way!!

Yes…Gawain is actually standing in that frigid water!  Much to the consternation of his siblings who didn’t wear their crocs!

Emily and Gareth step gingerly, trying to avoid soaking their shoes…wait!  Where’s that boy’s shoes?! Gareth!!!

Sweet seven…

Today we celebrated Charlotte’s seventh birthday.  Brunch with our dear friends, fun with a pinata and a hunt to see where the “birthday fairy” may have hidden a gift or two.

Charlotte’s celebration was quite simple and such great fun.  Take a peek at the day’s joys:

Daddy and Arthur hung the pinata in our favorite tree:

Charlotte took her turn first, swinging seven times, but not managing to break the pinata:

Several children later (and many mighty hits!) and Gawain finally takes it down:

Whoa, slugger! You can stop swinging now, buddy! Like ants at a picnic:

Carnage:

Look where the birthday fairy left an unusual gift:

Did she like her gnome home? Yes…very much! The entire gnome family is now residing on our fall display table:

Look at that smile:

Oh my…that mischievous fairy has hidden another gift in the hollow of a tree!

What a nifty backpack:

Five little girls crowd into a tent…what a happy time:

We spent the rest of the afternoon hiking at Darby Creek. Charlotte put her new backpack and water bottle to good use. It was a glorious way to spend the Sabbath and to wish a sweet seven year old happy birthday…

Curls and girls

Charlotte wants curls for her birthday.  Emily wants whatever Charlotte wants.

I love to see my girls in rag curlers!  They look like little dolls…

It wasn’t so very long ago that Jane, Elizabeth and Clementine were wearing rag curlers.  This was mommy’s favorite way to curl her own hair.  Much more comfortable to sleep in than traditional rollers.

Is there a little girl anywhere that doesn’t want curls?!

The gnomes move in…

It is truly amazing how a limited budget can boost one’s creativity!

This Sunday is Charlotte’s birthday.  For the past couple of days I’ve been working on creating a family of gnomes.  Utilizing the leftover wooden dolls from our Alphabet of Catholic Saints, I’ve also been handknitting little caps and other apparel, using very small needles and an exquisitely “fallish” sock weight yarn in a delightful shade of russet.  I’ve been snatching little bits of time, here and there, and finally managed to finish last night.  What an adorable little family!  If only they had a suitable abode…

Yesterday, Gawain and I went to our local craft store to survey the materials available.  We looked at ready-made dollhouses, birdhouses and even considered buying supplies to construct something from other natural materials.  Then Gawain spied the ready-carve pumpkins and dried gourds.  Eureka!  The gourd was exactly what I’d been looking for.  I had remembered seeing a very cleverly rendered dollhouse made from a birdhouse gourd and thought it would suit our gnome family just fine.  Gawain picked out a few silk flowers and leaves to adorn our little cottage.  Total expenditure:  $9.35.

The results:  adorable!!  I think Charlotte will be very, very pleased…

The “Gnome Sweet Home” banner was created by Arthur using his feather-quill and iron-gall ink on parchment…a recent gift from a very dear friend:

A side view.  The curtains are silk fall leaves and look just as cute from the inside as they do from the outside:

Rear view:  a large opening to allow little hands to arrange furniture and play.  The door knob is a hickory nut!

Mama and Papa Gnome…I’m contemplating a beard for Papa…

The siblings:  brothers, sisters…who knows!  Charlotte will decide.  Don’t you just love those acorn hats?!  We found those in the woods:

Arthur crafted this cradle using cherry wood twigs and a milkweed pod:

Mama and baby look so sweet together:

I’ve purposely left the interior natural.  The “carpet” was made from silk fall leaves glued into place to even out the rough floor:

A family photo:

Rear view:

And that’s that.  A sweet little gnome home ready to be loved and played with by the birthday girl.  It was such fun working on this project.  The best gifts are always the ones that we put our heart into…

Gnome sweet home…

Guess what I’m making for Charlotte’s birthday?

More to come…still knitting, gluing, cutting, sawing and constructing what promises to be one of the most original birthday gifts I’ve ever made!

Stay tuned…

The Feast of St. Teresa of Avila

Let nothing affright thee,
Nothing dismay thee.
All is passing,
God ever remains.
Patience obtains all.
Whoever possesses God
Cannot lack anything

God alone suffices.

St. Teresa’s Bookmark

The past three weeks have been incredibly busy!  We’ve celebrated a myriad of feast days, enthusiastically dove into our school year (well…certainly not the first week, but the last two have been great!) , and have been taking as many opportunities as possible to enjoy the gorgeous fall weather.  Wednesdays are our partial “off” days.  We attend the 9:00 a.m. Traditional Latin Mass and Gareth has piano lessons immediately following.  The children focus only on core subjects, if possible, and some days we simply decide to take a trip to the park, library, or just visit with friends.

October 15th is the Feast of St. Teresa of Avila. I’m delighted that we’ll be able to mark this special feast with the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass as well as a couple activities.  Once again, Jessica at Shower of Roses has found a delightful resource for our little girls.  Paperdolls of St. Teresa!  Have cardstock, will print!  The girls are going to be so surprised…

For the older children, I thought perhaps custom bookmarks would be nice, including the prayer above.  I have some holy card images printed on cardstock of St. Teresa and the children can cut and embellish their bookmarks accordingly.  Charlotte aka Waltzing Matilda has once again outdone herself with another beautiful coloring page of St. Teresa.

Check out Catholic Culture for a few great suggestions as well as recipes.  And don’t forget Catholic Cuisine…always a great resource for liturgically correct recipes, not too mention the proper way to set a table!

Leafy laughs…

Catholic children are really strange…especially the homeschooled ones.

How many kids do you know who play Catholic Haunted Cemetery?  This is a new one for me…Charlotte pretends to be a nun visiting the graves of two recently deceased altar boys, played convincingly by Arthur and Gareth.

Apparently, the deceased were very, very bad altar boys because now they are zombies, springing from their leafy graves,  terrorizing the poor “nun” and eventually engaging all the spectators in a leaf fight of biblical proportion.   Where do they come up with this stuff?

Very, very weird.

What can I say…they’re my kids…

Emily helps “bury” the altar boys

Charlotte, kneels, prays and makes her own leafy offering:

Attack!!  Altar boys on the rampage!!

Arthur wreaks havoc upon the visitors:

Check out Emily’s protective headgear…it was 85 degrees today:

What are you doing, Charlotte?   “I’m saving these leaves for tomorrow!”

“We might need them…”

I think you better get a few more bags, sweetheart.  There are many acres of leaves around here!

Happy Birthday, sweetheart!

Happy birthday, sweetheart and God bless you!  May your day be filled with the peace, joy and the knowledge that you are loved!! Hugs and kisses from all of us…

Mom, Dad and the sibs!!

Was blind, but now I see!

***The information I’m about to share is simply that…information.  I did a tremendous amount of research before attempting this process and then only used it because I had no other option.***

For the past few months my glasses had become nearly unwearable.  A network of scratches and haze had obscured and distorted my vision to the point of desperation.  Apparently, the anti-reflective coating on my glasses had become scratched and fogged over the past year.  I wasn’t even aware that I had this coating, it has become the industry standard.  A few tips from others with the same issues alerted me to the AR problem, but offered few solutions other costly replacement.  I’d researched a number of products, only to discover that most of them are pure quackery and leave the eyeglass wearer worse off than before.

It seemed impossible that my glasses could get worse, but they did.  For the past two weeks, my vision has been so horrid that I’m quite sure the last few migraines I’ve experienced are in some way connected.  Fixing them immediately became imperative…

Why am I telling you this?  Because as of this evening, my glasses are as good as new and it took $6.00 and 15 minutes to accomplish this miracle.

The product is called Armour Etch.  It’s a glass etching cream…you know, the kind of stuff that leaves those pretty frosted designs on glass.  The good news:  it doesn’t affect plastic lenses.  The acid in the cream eats through the AR coating and effectively removes all micro-scratching and haze.  Under no circumstances can it be used on any lenses other than plastic.  In my case it took three separate applications of five minutes each.

The first application left my glasses so fogged I was sure I’d ruined them completely.  The second application took away to fog and left quite a few streaks of AR coating.  The third completely removed the remaining AR and now my glasses are as clear as the day I purchased them.

I’m so very, very happy!  I couldn’t afford a new pair and I really, really like these glasses!

The process is not for the feint of heart.  I don’t know if your plastic lenses have to be a certain type, all I know is that it worked and I couldn’t be more thrilled with the results.  I went from unwearable to like new in just a few, short minutes.

Thanking God,

The Simple Woman’s Daybook

Visit Peggy at The Simple Woman for more Daybook entries!

FOR TODAY – October 13, 2008

Outside my Window…the beginning of yet another glorious fall day.  Sun rising, sky tinged orange, then rose fading into the most amazing blue.  The last rose has bloomed, life fades from the garden, while the trees burst into color.  Quite a contrast…

I am thinking…that the children seem rather subdued this morning…

I am thankful for…this Sunday’s visit with Elizabeth, Scott and baby Ben.  He’s grown so much!  If only I could see my granddaughters…

From the kitchen…mom’s having espresso with Mocha Almond Fudge creamer and bagels with orange marmalade.  Galahad and Gawain are preparing breakfast for the “littles.”  I love it when the boys cook!  Tonight’s menu:  Whole roasted pork loin smothered with herbes de provence, rice pilaf, cheesy cabbage casserole, sliced apples and one of the leftover honey wheat bagettes from this weekend’s bread baking bonanza.  Galahad’s making brownies for dessert…mmmmmm….

In our school room…prayers that this week will be as delightful as last week.  So many things are going well.  Quite often I find myself satisfied with this, but not that.  This is the first time in many years that I’ve truly, truly enjoyed every single subject with every single age group.  Praise God!!

I am creating…a list of Christmas craft ideas.  I want the children to have the joy of showering friends and family with gifts, without spending a penny.  They are so talented.  I plan to read them an excerpt from The Story Of The Trapp Family Singers regarding their preparations for the Coming of the Christ Child…how many weeks were spent in joyful anticipation, the lovely gifts created for one another.  Too often I don’t give them enough time to prepare something meaningful.  And I’m still working on the legwarmers…

I am going…to pray (in advance)  for everyone who is reading this post.  Right now.

I am wearing…black velvet lounging pants and a baby blue, long-sleeved tee.  Time to get dressed!

I am reading…re-reading:  St. Therese of Lisieux:  The Last Conversations and The Story Of The Trapp Family Singers.

I am hoping…that this beautiful weather will go on and on and on…

I am hearing…footsteps pounding rapidly down the stairs, children cooking in the kitchen, conversation in the livingroom.

Around the house…fairly tidy, but the whole house needs readying for winter.  Laundry to hang and fold, as always!

One of my favorite things…orange marmalade.  How wonderful to find a jar hidden in the back of the fridge!

A Few Plans For The Rest Of The Week…research Christmas crafts and gift ideas, finish up a couple of our family reading selections.  We need to start something new…

Here is a picture thought I am sharing with you

Baby Ben!  His very first visit to Grandma and Granddad’s house.  His little aunts and uncles just couldn’t get enough of him…

Clementine holds baby Ben for the first time! She and Elizabeth have such lovely smiles, but Ben looks a bit grumpy…

Granddad and Ben. Ahh, the classic “football hold…”

Little auntie Emily wants a turn!

Auntie Charlotte is a natural. Just like her big sister, Elizabeth…

Grandma gets her turn, too…is there anything, anything at all, better than holding a baby? I think not…

Because they were no more…

Matthew 2:18

A voice was heard in Ramah,
wailing and loud lamentation,
Rachel weeping for her children;
she refused to be consoled,
because they were no more.

Demographic Winter:  The Decline of the Family is a startling documentary that presents the very real problems before us as we come to grips with the reality that the world is facing a crisis…one with far reaching implications.

Consider the facts:

59 nations – with 44% of the world’s population – are now experiencing below-replacement birthrates. Worldwide, there are 6 million fewer children (under age 6) today than there were in 1990. The United Nations estimates that if current trends continue, by 2050 there will be 248 million fewer children (under age 5) than there are now. Overall, Europe’s fertility rate is 1.3; a birthrate of 2.1 is needed just to replace current population. In this century, countries such as Italy, Spain, Russia and even France could cease to exist – at least as they’re currently constituted.

With the traditional family in decline, rampant abortion, contraception and political movements that continue to erode the foundations of society by redefining marriage, it is increasingly important that we heed the warning and invest in strengthening families before it’s too late…

h/t Michele

Prayer For The Family

O God of goodness and mercy, to Thy fatherly guidance we commend our family, our household and all our belongings. We commit all to Thy love and keeping; do Thou fill this house with Thy blessings even as Thou didst fill the holy House of Nazareth with Thy presence.

Keep far from us, above all else, the blemish of sin, and do Thou alone reign in our midst by Thy law, by Thy most holy love and by the exercise of every Christian virtue. Let each one of us obey Thee, love Thee and set himself to follow in his own life Thine example, that of Mary, Thy Mother and our Mother most loving, and that of Thy blameless guardian, Saint Joseph.

Protect us and our house from all evils and misfortunes, but grant that we may be ever resigned to Thy divine will even in the sorrows which it shall please Thee to send us. Finally give unto all of us the grace to live in perfect harmony and in the fullness of love toward our neighbor. Grant that every one of us may deserve by a holy life the comfort of Thy holy Sacraments at the hour of death. O Jesus, bless us and protect us.

O Mary, Mother of grace and of mercy, defend us against the wicked spirit, reconcile us with Thy Son, commit us to His keeping, that so we may be made worthy of His promises.

Saint Joseph, foster-father of our Savior, guardian of His holy Mother, head of the Holy Family, intercede for us, bless us and defend our home at all times.

Saint Michael, defend us against all the evil cunning of hell.

Saint Gabriel, make us to understand the holy will of God.

Saint Raphael, preserve us from all sickness and from every danger to our lives.

Our holy Guardian Angels, keep our feet safely on the path of salvation both day and night.

Our holy Patrons, pray for us before the throne of God.

Yea, bless this house, O God the Father, who hast created us; O God the Son, who hast suffered for us upon the holy Cross, and Thou, O Holy Spirit, who hast sanctified us in holy Baptism. May the one God in three divine Persons preserve our bodies, purify our minds, direct our hearts and bring us all to everlasting life.

Glory be to the Father, glory be to the Son, glory be to the Holy Ghost! Amen.

from Our Catholic Faith

Love loveth best of all the year…

What a glorious day…the weather perfectly advertising October’s superiority to every other month!

Cool, crisp, blue skies, gentle breezes and fluttering leaves.  I’m most alive as the earth is preparing for sleep.

Time to pull out my favorite October poem…

October’s Bright Blue Weather

by Helen Hunt Jackson

O SUNS and skies and clouds of June,
And flowers of June together,
Ye cannot rival for one hour
October’s bright blue weather;

When loud the bumblebee makes haste,
Belated, thriftless vagrant,
And goldenrod is dying fast,
And lanes with grapes are fragrant;

When gentians roll their fingers tight
To save them for the morning,
And chestnuts fall from satin burrs
Without a sound of warning;

When on the ground red apples lie
In piles like jewels shining,
And redder still on old stone walls
Are leaves of woodbine twining;

When all the lovely wayside things
Their white-winged seeds are sowing,
And in the fields still green and fair,
Late aftermaths are growing;

When springs run low, and on the brooks,
In idle golden freighting,
Bright leaves sink noiseless in the hush
Of woods, for winter waiting;

When comrades seek sweet country haunts,
By twos and twos together,
And count like misers, hour by hour,
October’s bright blue weather.

O sun and skies and flowers of June,
Count all your boasts together,
Love loveth best of all the year
October’s bright blue weather.

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