Catholic Family Vignettes

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


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…


…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”.


• 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.


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

Thank you.

In the Holy Family,

John Vennari
Editor,Catholic Family News

This page, along with the links containing documentation, can be accessed

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.


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,


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!!!

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