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Catholic Family Vignettes

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

Month

February 2009

Two wives…

Here is a story I’m going to completely paraphrase and probably slaughter just a bit, but I’m sure the point won’t be lost.

From the holy priest who served as facilitator for this weekend’s silent retreat:

There was once a young boy who grew up with a beautiful young girl.  They knew each other their whole lives.  He knew everything about her and one day, took her for his bride.  They lived in great happiness for many years, loving one another faithfully.  Tragedy strikes.  One day, with little warning, he’s told that his bride has been killed, while traveling abroad.  He’s never allowed to recover her body, but mourns, and as people do, eventually moves on.

He meets another young woman.  She is lovely, not much like the first wife, though there are a few similarities, yet he loves her for herself.  He is faithful to her, although from time to time, he remembers his first love, with a wistful longing.

Forty years go by.

One day he receives a call…there was a mistake.  His first wife is not dead!  She had been held captive, kept in darkness and only let out infrequently, but has been set free and will be restored to him.  Joy…confusion…a conundrum…

To whom does he owe his allegiance, his fidelity?  To the first bride, the holder of his past, his youth, his memories and his first love?  Or to the second…she who sustained him throughout his grief, giving him  comfort and solace in his latter years?  He loves them both…

The analogy:

The young man:  the priesthood, our holy priests

The first bride:  The Traditional Latin Mass or Extraordinary Form of the One Roman Rite

The second bride:  The Novus Ordo or Ordinary Form of the One Roman Rite

It is a conundrum, isn’t it?  The original bride isn’t dead…beautiful, resplendent and majestic, she lives and she holds the memories and traditions of the ages.  The second bride has provided comfort and solace for the past forty years and was never meant as a replacement for the first, and her bridegroom has loved her for herself.

This is the struggle that so many of our good priests are experiencing, particularly those with their own memories of the “first bride.”  To be told she is gone, to mourn and then find her again!  To have our Holy Father release her, restoring her dignity as a true bride…is there any wonder that our priests, young and old, are returning to their first love?

I try to imagine that I’m the first bride…I’d like to think my husband would owe his allegiance, his fidelity…

…to me!

Blessings,

Small Successes…or getting it right, one small step at a time!

Lingering coughs and colds, the everyday stresses and strains of life in a large family and a gloomy day that began with a migraine…how comforting the realization that this is God’s will…that He has prepared this place for me, these crosses, for my sanctification.  It really helps having these weekly reminders, when I feel that I’m taking two steps forward and three steps back.  Here are this week’s Small Successes:

1. I’ve been keeping up with the laundry…so far.  The mudroom remains navigable, though it is not as clean as I’d like it to be.  After twenty-seven years of marriage, you’d think I’d have devised a system that would keep the laundry monster at bay…alas, I haven’t yet, but there’s still hope!  Older children are taking on more and more responsibility.  My goal:  to hand it over completely.  I’m still working on it…

2. My husband is forcing me to abstain from nightly kitchen cleaning.  You laugh?  That I would have to abstain?  My perfectionist nature is a curse.  There is only one way to load the dishwasher…my way!  Hubby is insisting that I let go and let the boys!  And so I have…and I’m trying to resist the temptation to “go over” what they do, and thus undermine any confidence they have in their abilities.  It’s hard…

3. I crocheted an adorable Easter hat for Charlotte and just finished “outfitting” three dreadful pirates!  Yesterday, Emily injured her eye by rubbing frequently after she had gotten something in it.  She bruised the soft tissue, and so to keep her from irritating it further, mom constructed a nifty purple felt eyepatch.  Thus, the Dread Pirate Emily was born!  This morning, Charlotte and Gareth asked if they could join her crew.  I’m pleased to report that Emily’s eye is 100% better, but it doesn’t seem she wants to lose the patch just yet…there are ships to plunder!

Share your Small Successes at Faith and Family Live

Blessings,

The Holy Season of Lent

Lent.

Time to give up, take up, let go and accept all that God has in store for us throughout the Holy Season.

In this family, we try to focus equally upon that which we will take up, as well as give up. Sometimes, the truest sacrifice is not that which we’ve forsaken, but that which we’ve embraced.

During the Holy Season of Lent we will:

~give up dessert, with the exception of Sundays and First Class Feast Days.  I’ll be limiting my blog posting to Mondays and Thursdays…I’m trying to listen and read more, speak and write less.  Very hard for me!
~take up praying the evening Rosary for family and friends, putting each name drawn on our Prayer Board.  Dad wants to incorporate a few extra devotions as well…more on that later.
~let go of distractions. No television or videos, with the exception of Family Movie Night.
~embrace the opportunity to spend time with one another in meaningful ways, praying together, playing together and taking advantage of these quiet times, for reflection and rest.

I’m assembling a Lenten menu (which will be posted on Fast Food) and will be keeping Fasting Bread on hand, for those days of fast and abstinence.  Here is an awesome recipe, along with the symbolism attached to each of the ingredients:

(makes three loaves)

Fasting Bread

Ingredients:
3 1/2cups Stone Ground Wheat
2 1/2 cups All purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp. Salt
1Tbs. Sugar
3 Tbs. Active dry yeast (two packages)
2 cups Luke warm water
1/2 cup 100% pure maple syrup
1/2 cup Virgin Olive oil
1 tsp. Holy water (How could you not add this for a fasting bread?)
1 cup Oats – soaked in 1/2 cup hot water for 2 minutes
1 cup Pecan pieces – broken and skillet toasted 2 min (or Walnuts)
1 cup Dried Montmorency cherries or Golden raisins soaked 5 min in 1/4 cup hot water

Directions:
1. Combine first three dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Mix well with a whisk.
2. Clear a small area in the center of the dry blend.
3. Add sugar, dry yeast, and the 2 cups of warm water. Let stand for 3 minutes until yeast proofs and forms bubbles. Combine with flour mixture and liquid. This will be thick but more liquid comes later.
4. Add maple syrup, olive oil and holy water. Stir mixture until well blended.
5. Add walnuts and raisins with their liquid.
6. Add soaked oats to the flour mixture.
7. Blend everything together in one bowl.
8. Turn out onto a floured board and knead by hand for 10-12 minutes adding more flour as needed to make a moderately stiff dough that is smooth and elastic. Knead the dough by flattening somewhat and fold-in from the outside towards the center. Press down hard on the center. Rotate the bowl and repeat the process until smooth and elastic and forma “ball”
9. Return the “ball” to the mixing bowl, drizzle with olive oil, cover and let rise 1 hour.
10. Remove to a floured board and kneed several more times as above. Cut into three equal pieces.
11. Place each piece into a loaf pan coated on all sides with olive oil. Drizzle loaf again with olive oil, cover and let rise for another hour. Olive oil produces a tasty crust.
12. Slash loaf tops and bake in the middle of a preheated 375 degree oven for 40 minutes or until brown on top and bottom. Loaf should sound hollow when tapped.
13. Remove bread from pans and cool on a rack.

QUALITY INGREDIENTS AND THEIR SYMBOLIC REFERENCES:  This marvelous bread combines pure, wholesome ingredients with symbolic references found in Sacred Scripture.

Stone Ground Wheat and Oats: Symbol of the pain of being crushed by the wheels of God’s Justice – which “grind slowly but exceedingly fine.” “Unless a grain of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains alone. But if it dies, it brings forth much fruit.” Jn 12: 24
White Flour – a reminder of the manna given by God to the Hebrews during their forty years in the desert as Moses led them to the promised land. Manna foreshadowed the Holy Eucharist, also the called “Bread from Heaven”. Exodus 16:35 Jn 6:41
Yeast – unifying many parts into one; a symbol of the the kingdom of heaven and of the Church. Mt 13:33
Salt – Christ said to his Apostles: “You are the salt of the earth.” Mt 5:13
Water – Giving life to all things; a symbol of baptism; cleansing. Lenten penances aid the washing away our sins. “He who drinks of the water that I will give him shall never thirst.” Jn 4: 14
Olive Oil – Acclaimed throughout history as a source of strength, olive oil was used by the athletes of ancient Greece to prepare for them for the contests. Mixed with wine it was found useful in healing the wounds of those injured on the battlefields of medieval Europe. Olive oil is used by the Church in the Holy Oils applied in sacramental anointing.
Pure Maple Syrup – Collected in pure form flowing from a tree; symbolic of the cross and of the sweetness of the Blood of Christ which flowed freely from the tree of his cross, the tree of life; shed so that “sins may be forgiven.” A symbol of God’s love by making this sweet nutrient a gift to be discovered.
Holy Water – A sacramental used in blessings and bringing new life in Baptism. Holy water carries a blessing just by its use and when introduced with the sign of the cross how could this not be a must an key ingredient of fasting bread for lent?
Walnuts and Pecans and Cherries – These pleasant gifts found in abundance from prolific trees are reminders of Christ’s command to go forth and “produce good fruit;” They are reminders of our own call to perform works of charity, prayer, fasting and almsgiving; the fruit of good works to be undertaken during Lent. Jn 15:16
Raisins – Made from pure grapes, raisins are the fruit of the vine; a reminder of the miracle of water changed into wine at the wedding feast in Cana; of the wine changed into the Blood of Christ at the Last Supper and at the Consecration during Mass. These serve as reminders of that mystery where wine is described as the “fruit of the vine and work of human hands, it will become our Spiritual Drink.”

Recipe and text source: http://www.catholicradiodramas.com

I pray your Lenten journey will be one which brings you ever closer to our Lord.  My prayers for you all, throughout this Holy Season!

Blessings,

Everything…

h/t to regan

I’m not a big fan of contemporary Christian music.  And quite often I’m a bit put-off by some of the skits that I’ve seen performed to “transform” our youth.  So  I nearly hit the pause button just a couple seconds in.  Please don’t!  Please…watch.  Someone, somewhere needs to see this…

Blessings,

The Simple Woman’s Daybook

Visit Peggy at The Simple Woman for more Daybook entries!

FOR TODAY – February 23, 2009

Outside my Window…A stunning blue sky, bright sunshine and frigidly cold.  This is February’s last “hurrah,” as March is one short week away!  I’m counting the days until the earth is plowed, the seeds are planted and the sun is warming everything, bringing forth life and beauty.

I am thinking…that I feel so much better after a good night’s sleep!  Early to bed makes such a difference when one has been sleep deprived!

I am thankful for…the weekend retreat my husband and son attended.  What a lovely way to start Lent!

From the kitchen…steamy hot espresso, bagels with strawberry cream cheese.  Scromblets in a bag for the kiddies.  Dinner?  Grilled chicken tenders, garlic and rosemary potatoes, salad and fruit.

In our school room…A decision!  Our Lady of Victory curriculum for Arthur.  And peace, having made the decision after much prayer, discussion and discernment.  We’re also preparing for the Holy Season of Lent.

I am creating…I made the most adorable Easter hat for Charlotte.  It took less than three hours.  I’ll be making another one for Emily.  I haven’t yet added the ribbons yet as we haven’t purchased Easter dresses.  And I’m still working on my crocheted afghan.  It’s huge!  Big enough for a large family to snuggle under…

I am going…to make a real effort to live by these words: Let no one ever come to you without leaving better and happier…

Mother Teresa

I am wearing…gray sweatpants and a black tee.  A sweater.  Socks.  Haven’t brushed my hair yet, but boy am I comfortable!

I am reading…more like meditating on the Passion of Our Lord as described in The Dolorous Passion Of Our Lord by Anne Catherine Emmerich.  I highly recommend purchasing the book, but you may read it in its entirety at the link above…

I am hoping…that I sleep as well tonight as I did last night!

I am hearing…the sounds of laughter from the children and an occasional cough from little Emily.  My poor girl…this virus hit her harder than anyone.  It’s still hanging on…

Around the house…My mudroom is nearly, almost, just about…clean!  Two loads of laundry left.  That’s it.  I’ve even washed the winter coats.  I’ve been busy, busy, busy…

One of my favorite things…feeling a sense of accomplishment after climbing the laundry equivalent of Mt. Everest.  I call it Mt. Never-Rest…but now I might…just two…more…loads…

A Few Plans For The Rest Of The Week…make plans for a little Easter Cleaning, a Shrove Tuesday party, attend Ash Wednesday services, work on a Lenten menu and pursue quieter and more reflective evenings throughout the Holy Season.

Here is a picture thought I am sharing with you

The cutest little guy you’ve ever seen…my grandson, Benjamin:

Now, Jane…c’mon…send me some recent pictures of my granddaughters!!!

Have a blessed week!

Oops!

I woke up this morning, refreshed from a good night’s sleep, children still a-snooze, a cup of hot espresso in hand and proceeded to the keyboard…

EEK! Extreme blandness!!  My blog was devoid of all color!

Oh…yes…I kind of kept overlooking those reminders to pay this year’s fee for my CSS (cascading style sheet) upgrade.  $15.00 and unlimited technical support from the fastest, friendliest people ever. Very much worth it.

A few numbers entered and the push of a button…voila!  Colors and editing back in place.

That was uncomfortable…hmmm…perhaps I should’ve left it.  Lent is coming, you know!

Blessings,

Early to bed, early to rise…

…makes it a lot easier to wake up at 5:30 a.m. for a very special Mass.

This morning, the children and I rose well before the sun to ready ourselves for an hour’s trip to the retreat center where my husband and oldest son spent the weekend.  The wonderful priest who directed the retreat wished to offer a Solemn High Mass this morning and needed servers.  The three young men at home were only too delighted to join their older brother on the altar!

Cold, dark, icy and snowy…the trip was mostly silent, as the children were very sleepy.  How happy we were to see Daddy, though our visit was short…we attended that beautiful Mass, kissed Daddy and Arthur goodbye and returned home.

Tonight…a relatively quiet evening at home…there are six children here, after all!  My men returned home this afternoon; happy, refreshed and a little shell-shocked after all of the silence!  I’m afraid there’s not a lot of that to be had here…but there is a lot of love.

I’m so very happy for them and so very glad they’re back!  Thank you all for your sweet prayers…

Blessings,

A humble request…

In your charity, would you please pray for my dear husband and 15yo son who will both be attending a silent retreat this weekend?

They are leaving this evening and will return on Sunday.  I’ve been praying for this intention for quite some time and am so happy that my husband has this opportunity to “fuel his tank” as Lent is approaching.  This dear man hasn’t had been on retreat in over 10 years.   Arthur will be receiving the sacrament of Confirmation in April and has been given this retreat as a gift from his sponsor…what a blessing!

If you could spare a quick “Ave!” I’d be ever so grateful.  Hubby is feeling a bit under the weather and has been under a great deal of stress at work.  God bless you and return your generosity tenfold !

Blessings,

Want to smile?

There’s an hour more light at the end of the tunnel…

Daylight savings time starts on March 8th!  Sixteen days from now, we gain an hour of daylight!

There it is.  Clementine was right.  Spring is nearly here…

Blessings,

Small Successes…or getting it right, one small step at a time!

Everyone’s a bit stir-crazy around here!  The past week has included coughing, sneezing, fevers and a family that’s sick and tired of being sick and tired!  Focusing on “small successes” really helps me keep my perspective…here are this week’s:

1. I cleaned off the top of the refrigerator  Please tell me you have the same problem…you know…the one where you use empty spaces out of reach of the children to store temporarily place things that you find in the kitchen/bedroom/living room/dining room?  In the kitchen, it’s the fridge.  In the living room the mantle, the bedroom…on top of the wardrobe, etc., etc., etc.,  Please God help me remember:  A place for everything and everything in it’s place!

2. I gifted my family with a surprise St. Valentine’s celebration, gave a party for Gareth with just his siblings  and the following day hosted a party for a dear friend’s sweet six year old.

3. Finally made a decision regarding Arthur’s curriculum.  We are going with Our Lady of Victory.  If any of you are currently using OLV, I’d love to hear your experience.  I haven’t used a packaged curriculum in many years.  So why now?  Accountability, accountability, accountability.  Arthur has requested this and after much research, OLV seems to be the best choice for this particular highschool student…a rigorous course of study steeped in Tradition.

Share your Small Successes at Faith and Family Live

Blessings,

Hope springs eternal…

Clementine, gazing with an expression of pure joy…at a gallon of milk:

“I have such hope for the future!  Look at the expiration date:  March 1st.  Spring is coming…it’s really coming!”

She’s 19…my kids say the cutest things!

I’m actually surprised she checked the expiration date…as if a gallon of milk would ever make it that long in our refrigerator

Blessings,


Happy birthday, 9 year old!

My Gareth is 9 years old today! Born 5 weeks early after nearly 3 months of bedrest for mom…he started out really small, but is catching up slowly, but surely…

Eternally the “little” brother to the Big Three (Arthur, Gawain and Galahad), and big brother to Charlotte and Emily.

He so wants to be big!  To do all those things the Big Three do…and lives in a state of perpetual frustration that he’s just not quite there yet.

His great loves in life:  serving as an altar boy, watching Curious George, launching rockets, flying remote control airplanes, engaging in warfare with his brothers…

His great dislikes:  Food.  I’m not quite sure just what it is that Gareth is eating.  It used to be peanut butter, but we’ve had to cut that from his diet.  He’s rather like an air plant…pulling sustenance from his environment!  He also intensely dislikes being told he’s “too little” for something.

Here are few pics of my sweet boy…I didn’t have much time to peruse all the family pics, these are just a few quick shots that capture him well.  Gareth and I have been rather busy this morning.  He went shopping with mom for cake making supplies.  It was nice to have him all to myself for a change!

The little bald guy on the end?  That’s Gareth, age 4.

With his best friend, Charis.  Age 5…they’re still friends!

A sweet big brother to Charlotte…when they’re not killing each other!  Age 6…

First Holy Communion…age 7

Ready to don that size 7 cassock!  He’s hardly missed a Sunday serving since…

Dad’s big helper…age 8

Wanting to be one of the big boys…

Just a few days before he turned 9!

Happy Birthday, big guy!!

I love you,

Mom

The Simple Woman’s Daybook

Visit Peggy at The Simple Woman for more Daybook entries!

FOR TODAY – February 16, 2009

Outside my Window…21 degrees, feels like 15.  Bright sunshine glinting on frosty windows.  The silhouette of skeletal branches against the blue sky…

I am thinking…that perhaps this virus is on it’s way out.  At least for me.  Poor little Emily is horribly feverish.  I’m praying that she’ll receive the same reprieve…

I am thankful for…the slanted rays of sunshine that illuminate my bedroom.  It makes everything seem much warmer than it is!

From the kitchen….deliciously hot espresso laced with Sweet Italian Cream and sprinkles of cinnamon.  Dad is having a healthier version of his normal breakfast.  Here’s how we’ve changed things, without sacrificing flavor:  the bagel has been switched to a tortilla…this cuts carbs and fat.  Eggs are scrambled, not fried.  Bacon, sausage or ham has been replaced with a small amount of finely chopped andouille sausage…far less fat, still get the protein and infinitely more flavor!  A slice of processed cheese has been replaced with half the amount of shredded sharp cheddar.  Once again, less fat more flavor…

Dinner?  I’m leaning toward our favorite soup…Ribollita and a nice crusty loaf of herbed Italian bread.  I really need to re-establish my weekly menu!

In our school room…still so very heartened by Galahad’s progress with dysgraphia…a not-so-small success!  Gareth is doing wonderfully with his multiplication and has moved up to a new reader in the American Cardinal series.  Arthur….Arthur.  I need a packaged curriculum.  Mercy…I can’t believe I’m actually saying that, though I suppose I’ve been saying it for the past month.  I’m so afraid I’m going to miss something with him and I feel we both need (but most especially him!) accountability from an outside source.  And Gawain?  The boy genius finishes all his school work by 9:00 a.m. every morning.  I think it’s time to move him up…he needs a challenge and I fear I’ve held him back, so as not to cause distress to his older brother.  That’s really not very fair, is it?

I am creating…making real progress on my first crocheted afghan.  I’m trying to crochet 6 to 8 inches per day.  I’m probably averaging more like 4.  It’s a lot of fun and not boring in the least!

I am goingto practice what I preach…or at least make a valiant effort…

I am wearing…blue jeans, cable-knit sweater and turtleneck, hair up in a twist, warm wooly socks…

I am readingMother Angelica’s Little Book of Life Lessons and Everyday Spirituality.  This has been sitting on my bookshelf for two years, unread.  !!!!!!!!!

I am hoping…that this virus has run it’s course.  If I can just get Emily past it…

I am hearing…the “ding” of the microwave…someone found the leftover pancakes!  The sounds of pages turning, as Gawain is finishing up his school work in my room…

Around the house…I’ve been working on a few “hot spots.”  But the mudroom…that’s no hot spot…it’s a raging forest fire!

One of my favorite things…St. Valentine’s Day.  We had the loveliest celebration. It’s days like these when I remember that I have the best job in the entire world!

A Few Plans For The Rest Of The Week…work out the plans for making a memory.

Here is a picture thought I am sharing with you

Looking through old photos…my goodness, how they’ve grown!  Taken in our home in Kentucky roughly 5 years ago:

Have a blessed week!

Weapons of Mass instruction…

Most Catholics refer to the “deposit of the Faith.” For my guys…it’s more like an arsenal!

Consider my 15yo’s observation (keep in mind that this young man is a Master of Ceremonies for the Extraordinary Form of the Mass…a weighty responsibility!):

Arthur:  “Hey mom…what are the weapons of the Mass?”

Now I’m thinking: the sacraments, grace, worship and adoration…

No.  He had something else in mind, entirely.

Check out this arsenal!

The priest wears a biretta…

this biretta:

is more powerful than this beretta:

He prays the Canon of the Mass:

this Canon:

is more powerful than this cannon:

The priest and congregation use missals:

this Missal:

is more powerful than this missile:

We even let young men carry torches!

this torch:

is much more powerful than this torch:

The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass…now you know where we keep our weapons of Mass instruction!

Blessings from the mother of four soldiers in the Lord’s Army,

Let her eat cake…

Charlotte…patting her tummy, pushing away her plate, and sighing:

“Well…my “dinner” space is completely filled up! But my “cake” space still has plenty of room!”

Blessings,

Happy St. Valentine’s Day!

I said a Valentine prayer for you
and asked the Lord above
to fill your heart and bless your soul
With the precious gift of love.

I asked Him for sincere love
The kind that’s meant to stay
Just like the generous love
You give to those you touch each day.

I prayed for love from family
And from every cherished friend
Then I asked the Lord to give you
His love that knows no end.

author:  unknown

Happy St. Valentine’s Day! It’s a frigidly cold, slightly snowy and gray day.  No matter…our feast this morning was more than sufficient to chase away the winter blues.

A delightful cup of espresso topped with cream and sprinkled with a cinnamon heart was delivered to Daddy…in bed, no less!

Heart-shaped pancakes, cheesy scrambled eggs, strawberries and cream…simple gifts to start the day in the best possible way.  I truly delight in these opportunities to spread love to my family, and I had more than a few willing participants!  Galahad served as sous-chef in the kitchen and the children painted hearts to adorn a wreath as a gift for Mom and Dad.  Children young and older, handcrafted Valentine’s for family and friends.

A few images from this morning:

I pray this day finds you surrounded with love…for you ARE LOVED!!  May you feel His Love throughout this day, may your heart be filled with peace and joy…

Blessings,

Ironic…

We never eat out…

Well…practically never.

This evening the cupboards were practically bare and it was payday.  Calling my dear husband at work, I quickly outlined that I was quite open to suggestions for dinner.

He says: “What do you want?” (husband speak for “ah, man…I just wanted to come home to a hot meal and a peaceful night at home with the family”)

She says: “Oh, honey…I don’t care…we can do whatever” (wife speak for “read my mind…you know I want to take the children out for Chinese”)

The conversation ends with no firm plans.  Nonetheless, mom musters the troops, dressing the little girls as sweetly as possible, having the boys “change-out-of-those-muddy-pants-boots-put-that-gun-away-is-that-mud-on-your-ear?”

Mom puts on makeup.  Makeup, mind you!  And perfume…

6:00 p.m.  The familiar sound of tires crunching gravel, a whoop and hollar from the children as they race out to greet daddy…

Weeping, wailing and cries of agony when they see daddy carrying two large sacks full of fish, fries, hushpuppies and cole slaw.

“What on earth is wrong with them?  This is a fine “hello!”

Poor guy…certain he would be the hero, bringing home fast food, something we do maybe three times a year, only to be greeted with tears.   In fairness…only the three youngest were crying.  The big guys?  The sooner you give them food, the better!

And that my friends, is the best recent example I have for really opening up the doors and windows of communication!  We had a good laugh later, once the children dried their eyes and overcame the disappointment of dinner at home.  I accept all the blame for this one!  Mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa…

Blessings,

The spiderweb vs. memories…

How disheartening it is to see the “spiderwebs” emerging…you know the ones I’m talking about:

Big box stores with enormous displays of all the latest gadgets…it looks like Christmas, all over again.  Widescreen TV’s, digital cameras, toys, toys, toys.

Spiderwebs…set out by greedy merchants, most particularly to catch the poor…

It’s tax season, and for many of us this means the much-awaited refund check, and your local big-box store is readying its snares.

For most of us, this is a time of mixed blessings.  On the plus side:  school books, settling past due bills, long-neglected home maintenance, as well as a bit of breathing space between paychecks, are the reward for a year’s work…getting back what last year’s labor earned.  On the downside:  the wants.  Those little luxuries that most of us forgo throughout the year, are now within reach, and what a dilemma!  A new ipod?  Maybe a laptop?  Upgrade that digital camera?  The list goes on and on…

Now…I’m not suggesting that we shouldn’t indulge ourselves, from time to time.  My husband works so very hard for this family.  It gives him great pleasure to lavish his family with gifts, to do those things, on rare occasions, which some are able to offer more regularly.

But this year I’ve asked him if he would consider something different.  I don’t want stuff.  I have stuff.  We don’t really need more stuff!  Any pleasure given by a material good is fleeting.  Toys break, batteries die, new clothes soon look like old clothes…everything fades.

This year I’ve asked him for a memory.  Something that lasts.  I want to take the children somewhere they’ve never been, to see something they’ve never seen.  It can’t be far…our time is limited.  It can’t be horribly pricey…as I said, we have expenses to consider.  It’s been such a long time since we’ve been able to take a vacation…this is something smaller than a vacation, but in some ways, bigger.  Traveling with so many children is challenging and expensive…but I’m excited as we contemplate the possibilities!  Thus far, we’re leaning towards Niagara Falls…

Might I encourage you to consider a memory?  I’m giving up a new sofa and loveseat for this…I’d rather have three days of beautiful memories with the ones I love best, than spend the next two years screeching saying:

“AUUUGGGGHH!!!  What’s that on the sofa!!!”  “Quick somebody get a rag!!!!

Don’t get caught in the web…make a memory instead!

Blessings,

A timely and important article…

…from Father Z:

Rabbi:  Left-wing is destroying the Catholic Church

From Rabbi Levin:

“The most important issue,” he said, is the work the Church is doing “to save babies from abortion, and save children’s minds, and young people’s minds, helping them to know right and wrong on the life and family issues.”

Definitely worth reading…pass it around!

Small successes…or getting it right, one small step at a time!

A spring-like week, a frightening windstorm, an amazing rainbow and now, a return to cold weather…time to look at the sunny side of life! Here are this week’s Small Successes:

1. I’m cleaning “the interior castle”one room at a time, trying to sweep away all the cobwebs crowding the corners…

2. We made a real breakthrough with our darling 10yo who suffers from dysgraphia.  This brilliant young man struggles, heartbreakingly, with the simplest tasks related to transferring all that is in his head, to paper.  Showing him his creativity and ability to express himself well by using narration, and then allowing him to use the computer to “write” seems to be the key.  He has taken to keyboarding with such ease, developing his wpm skills very quickly.  We’ve struggled with this issue for years, with mom acting as his scribe for many exercises until he could form letters and numbers well enough to be read.  It was laborious work, and he’d begun to lose his self confidence and hated anything that had to do with writing.  The same hands that built intricate model boats, magnificent lego sculptures, tied shoes and mixed cakes and brownies, will not cooperate when he tries to take a word or sentence that is in his head and put it to paper.  Typing is different…the roadblocks are disappearing, his confidence is soaring and we are opening an email account for him so that he may begin communicating with family members regularly, to exercise these skills.  May God be praised!  I was, quite literally, ready to throw in towel at the beginning of the week.  And then this…Yipee!!!  Much prayer, availeth much!

3. I have a ton of laundry that still needs to be washed…but I’ve folded, hung and put away every single clean article of clothing.  That, my friends, is no small success, considering that I’ve been sick all week!

Share your Small Successes at Faith and Family Live

Blessings,

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