Catholic Family Vignettes

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


April 2009

Confirmation and a birthday…

Well…today is the day!!

Arthur and Gawain will be confirmed this evening in the Traditional Rite.  What a glorious sacrament!  Our friends and family will be here shortly and everyone is scurrying around in excitement to welcome our visitors…

If you can spare a moment…please pray for our dear boys and the travellers.  This is such a precious time…and this is the last post I’ll be able to manage for about a week.

To increase our joy, we have the wonderful privilege of celebrating another sweet occasion…today is my dad’s birthday!  What a great way to celebrate…he will witness his two oldest grandson’s receive the gift of the Holy Spirit on the memorial of his birth…too sweet!

May God bless and reward you dear friends for your prayers,




#1.  Cayenne pepper should be used with great caution and should never be placed in a precarious position within the spice cabinet…particularly if the spice cabinet is located directly above the stove top.

#2.  All lids should be tightly secured on all spice containers.

#3.  Should the cayenne pepper fall from the cabinet and spill its contents onto the stove element, observe the following:

a.  DON’T BREATHE FOR AT LEAST 30 MINUTES!  Unless, of course, you enjoy the sensation of burning agony as each and every cilia in your lungs begin to wither and die…

b.  DON’T OPEN YOUR EYES!  Once again, should you find the sensation of your eyes flaming in their sockets pleasurable, then skip this admonition.

c.  VACATE THE PREMISES!  The fumes will remain for approximately 30 minutes, afflicting young and old alike with non-stop coughing, sneezing, wheezing, crying, whining and begging for mercy…

d.  WASH YOUR HANDS WELL AFTER HANDLING TO AVOID FURTHER CONTACT!  This one is rather self-explanatory (typing, with a rueful smile).



The Simple Woman’s Daybook

Visit Peggy at The Simple Woman for more Daybook entries!

FOR TODAY – April 27, 2009

Outside my Window…a bright yellow sun shining in a deep, blue sky.  Cool breezes ruffling my lace curtains, a glorious spring day…

I am thinking…about my sons’ Confirmation.  Arthur and Gawain will both be Confirmed on Wednesday evening in the Traditional Latin form of the sacrament.  They are excited beyond words!

I am thankful forthe advice and prayers of many good friends.  I’m still struggling, but my perspective is shifting a bit, and the burden seems somewhat lighter.  Amazingly enough, after two of the worst homeschool days EVER (yes…I really mean the very, very worst!) things began to improve.  After Wednesday morning’s Mass, Arthur decided to take up the challenge and really buckle down.  I’ve had to force him away from the books.  In his zeal, he now sees how much he can accomplish if he perseveres…but the last thing we need is another “burn-out…”

From the kitchen…hot espresso, eggs and sausage.  I really wanted this to be a “cold cereal morning.”  Alas, I’m out of milk!  Dinner:  grilled chicken, green beans, roasted red potatoes with garlic and rosemary.

In our school room…minimalist schedule.  Confirmation on Wednesday and guests throughout the week.  The Grands are coming!  And Elizabeth and Ben!  And Grandma Beckie!  We are so thrilled…

I am creating…finishing up my Dad’s socks.  Lovely, warm alpaca…just in time for Summer!

I am going…to clean upstairs this morning…

I am wearing…jeans and a t-shirt.  “Grubs” for cleaning!

I am reading…no time to read this week…

I am hoping…that I can maintain a sense of peace throughout the next couple days as we prepare both home and heart for Confirmation

I am hearing…birds twittering in the tree tops…

Around the house…all…the…laundry…is…done.  And the sock bin is DEAD!!  Empty…all mismatched socks have found a new home at the thrift store (they sell them for industrial rags).  This is the first time in many years that we haven’t had a sock bin.  Deo gratias!

One of my favorite things…napping.  I’d forgotten.  I actually took a nap this Sunday.  It’s been a long, long time…

A Few Plans For The Rest Of The Week…enjoy our visitors!  I can’t wait to see everyone…

Here are a few picture thoughts I am sharing with you

Have a blessed week!


I hardly know what to say, dear friends…so let me say this:

Thank you!  Thank you from the bottom of my heart…

Your prayers are so precious…your kind words and encouragement at the very moment I needed it most, yet again demonstrates God’s Providential care.  No detail, no need is ever too small.

It’s so hard for me to ask for help.  I’m so used to being the answer person, the “fixer”, the counselor…I know my Good God is calling me to a greater dependence upon Him, and also to greater humility…for it is humbling to have to admit that I don’t have all the answers.  I struggle, stumble and fall so many times!  But how sweet it is, to feel that crushing weight and then realize how the prayers of others are lifting it!  How God must delight in our resourcefulness…like any proud parent who watches a child struggling with a difficult situation and then witnesses the child’s perseverance and creativity in solving the dilemma…

All of you, dear friends, have provided such solid advice and comfort!  I want so much to respond to each sweet comment, each word of encouragement…for now please accept my sincere thanks and promised prayers for all of you at this evening’s Adoration.

I know the devil has been on my back…I think he’s pretty upset that hubby and I have signed up for Adoration.  A friend who has been a consistent Adorer for many years told us that along with the great graces that our Lord will shower upon us for watching with Him, Satan will also endeavor to discourage and dissuade us in every way he can.  And he will hit us where we are weakest.  Well…I’ve been given a pretty good look at my weaknesses!

It is amazing, that after so many years of home educating, I can still fall for the same lies that I once told myself.  Insecurity can rear its ugly head so quickly, that I barely have time to recognize it for what it is…a nasty trick, one designed to discourage and disorient.  Thank God for encouraging words like these:

You needn’t worry. You are God’s dear, dear daughter. Trust in Him.

I was home-schooled my entire life, Kimberly. My devoted father and mother sacrificed everything to this end. I can remember so very well how often my mom feared she was failing us. Her tears and her pain, when I think of it now as a mother myself, must have been unfathomable. But all of her fears were just the opportunity for her to trust in the Divine Teacher. Most importantly, she was giving us the Faith – all ELEVEN of us – teaching eight at one time. But she was also giving us a superb education. Her consolation cannot have been enjoyed until 22 years after she started on her difficult journey to keep us Catholic – all of us. But to give you an idea of this “insufficient” education that was being imparted by this ordinary mother/teacher (extraordinary in my book), I will simply give you the facts…8 of us were accepted to major university (the others chose trade school or junior college for financial reasons), all graduated with BA/BS degrees with honors, three of whom earned Summa Cum Laude accolades. One brother graduated Salutatorian from Loyola Marymount University. That being said, what truly matters is that we all have the Faith! You may not know your reward here. You don’t need to. Your reward is in Heaven a hundred fold. May God bless every mother who perseveres in carrying so heavy a cross for His honor and Glory. He knows well that you are tired but He knows also that He has made you strong. Persevere. When you see only one set of footprints, it is then that He is carrying you.

With Love in Prayers,
A Friend in Christ

Straight from the combox…thank you Megan (I hope you don’t mind that I posted it)! Words from a young woman who is living the life that we are all striving to give our children.    I think that message is not for me alone, but for all homeschooling moms.  Encouraging words, indeed!

Today is a better day.  Things have evened out a bit, and while I’m still struggling with self-recrimination for things done and undone, I feel that hope that comes from being lifted up in prayer, and blessed by a loving God.

Happy Thursday, friends.  May your day be one of peace, grace and joy…

Over my head…

Might I beg your prayers, dear friends?

I’m feeling terribly overwhelmed right now…

This week has been quite difficult; getting back into the swing of things is never easy, and I’ve never felt more “behind” than I do right now. Providing an education for six children seems to be the saturation point for this mom, and the children are really feeling my ineptitude right now.

And then there’s Confirmation. My two big guys will be confirmed a week from today, according the Traditional Rite…an historic event in this diocese and something we’re all looking forward to…but it’s adding to my stress level. Preparing our home to house our out-of-town family members, planning menus…I’m so caught up in the whole “Mary vs. Martha” syndrome, and I can’t seem to find that balance that is so crucial in the life of every woman. This should be a time of quiet reflection and preparation for this incredible Sacrament, and yet I fear letting yet another week go by without tackling school with true resolve. As it stands, we’ll be schooling well into June and possibly beyond, and the children are not at all happy when contemplating the beauty and warmth of a summer day, with math, grammar and history texts overshadowing it all.

I’ve been a home educator for many, many years. I’ve successfully graduated three students and sent each off to college. But I’ve never had so many of them schooling at so many different levels at the same time…and Arthur seems to be struggling the most.  There’s been too much inconsistency, indecision…I’m second-guessing myself as I haven’t for quite some time.  I’m positively committed to home education and quitting is NOT the answer.  Exchanging new problems for old ones is never, ever wise…but I need some answers.

I guess I know what to do with that hour of Adoration hubby and I just signed up for…pray for all moms who are struggling to fight the good fight…

I’d still appreciate your prayers, if you can spare them…I’ll be praying for all of you, every Thursday night, between the hours of 9:00 – 10:00.

Perhaps I’m not the only one who feels like she’s in over her head…


P.S. I’ll be limiting my posting for at least the next week, for reasons that I’m sure are more than obvious…

Note to self…

Dear Kimberly:

The next time you spend twenty minutes blow-drying your hair, wondering if it’s the humidity that’s slowing down the drying time; you might want to verify that you actually rinsed out that conditioner that you decided to leave in “for added shine and volume.”

Just a suggestion…


The Simple Woman’s Daybook

Visit Peggy at The Simple Woman for more Daybook entries!

FOR TODAY – April 20, 2009

Outside my Window…A weepy gray sky…lots of rain and wind on the way.  After last night’s deluge, there’s a moat around this castle…

I am thinking…that we had a nice, long Easter break.  It’s time to get back to work!

I am thankful for…this day and every day the Lord has given.  May I live it well!

From the kitchen…espresso and monkey bread.  Dinner this evening:  something with turkey.  I have a lot of leftovers from this Sabbath’s feast…

In our school room…school’s in.  I feel so very disorganized and uninspired.  Ah, well…school work is work.  If it was all fun, it would be play!

I am creating…I’ve been crocheting quite a bit.  I never thought I’d enjoy crochet.  I’ve always been a bit of a knitting “snob!”  Since discovering just how quickly one can complete I project, I’m hooked…pun intended!

I am going…to allow this day to unfold as it will, trusting in God that all is happening according to His will for my life…

I am wearing…flannel jammies…it’s really early, the rest of my family is sleeping…including hubby who worked a late shift last night…

I am reading…Finishing He Leadeth Me.  I can’t recommend this book enough.  And the Golden Legend of Young Saints.  I’ll be posting a review shortly for The Catholic Company.

I am hoping…that our first day back at school will be a productive one…

I am hearing…the sound of the children…footsteps slowly padding down the stairs.  The day begins…

Around the house…We’ve been keeping the downstairs in fairly decent order.  Now, if I could just get caught up on the laundry!

One of my favorite things…chickens.  Ours will be here the first week of May!  Looks like we’re getting six…

A Few Plans For The Rest Of The Week…school, school, school, school, school.  And laundry.  Next week, my two oldest sons will receive the sacrament of Confirmation according to the Traditional Rite.  An historic occasion for our Diocese…and a long-awaited event in the lives of these two boys!

Here are a few picture thoughts I am sharing with you

When your shoes fall off in the creek…

…the only thing left to do is this:

Have a blessed week!

Little boys and flowers…

Sitting in the passenger seat of the van, packed and ready for a day trip with the children.  At the request of his father, Arthur, age 15, hops out of the vehicle to make sure all doors to the house are locked.  He does and then makes a quick trip to the side yard, before returning to the vehicle.  Hurriedly swinging his long and lanky frame through the increasingly narrow doorway, he quickly drops a handful of daffodils on my lap.  He smiles…no words, just that boyish grin that so charms me, reminding me of the little guy he was.

And then the “flash”…the memory of that grubby handed, blond cherub, a sprinkling of freckles across his nose, offering a messy bouquet of dandelions and Queen Ann’s lace to his mommy…

Little boys become big boys, and too soon, young men.  But here’s the good news:  they will always want to pick flowers for mom!

And if today’s “shower of flowers” is any indication, I’ll be up to my eyes in flowers for many years to come!

Behold!  My computer monitor…a bower of dandelions, jonquils, wild sage and cherry blossoms.  A gift from Gareth:

And this lovely bouquet:  picked with pride by my dear Galahad:

On a rainy Sunday afternoon, my boys have filled my day with the joy of Spring!


April Ssssssshower of Photos…

April Shower of Photos…The Brook

I chatter over stony ways,
In little sharps and trebles,

I bubble into eddying bays,
I babble on the pebbles.

With many a curve my banks I fret
By many a field and fallow,
And many a fairy foreland set
With willow-weed and mallow.

I chatter, chatter, as I flow
To join the brimming river,
For men may come and men may go,
But I go on for ever.

**The Brook (excerpt) – Alfred, Lord Tennyson


Call me crazy…

…but I think this is one of the most brilliant ideas I’ve seen in awhile!toothpaste-dispenser1

But $60.00??!!

Sigh…why does practical have to be so expensive?


April Shower of Photos…resumed!

Well, I’ve missed quite a few days in posting photos, but today’s trip to the creek yielded some truly beautiful shots:


A boy’s dream…

My boy Galahad has told us since the age of 3 that he will be a priest.  Not wants to, not would like to, but will.

Until four years ago, he’d never even heard of the Traditional Latin Mass.

Yesterday, after leaving the morning Mass he said the following, with such conviction:

“Mom…I know what I’m going to do when I’m a priest.  I’m going back to our old parish, putting all the statues back in the sanctuary, fixing the high altar and putting the rails back.

Then I’m going to offer the Latin Mass for all the people.”


With God all things are possible!  May He so will it…


Small Successes…Go mom!

After three days of frigid temperatures and rain, spring is once again peeking over the horizon with the rising sun.  Today’s forecast:  sunny and 63…looks like I’ll be hanging the wash out to dry today…

Happy Easter!  We’ve trod the long, hard path through Lent, wept and mourned our Savior on Good Friday and rejoiced at His Resurrection on Easter morn.  He is risen, Alleluia…He is risen, indeed!

My apologies for not posting last week’s Small Successes…Holy Week, you know?  I just couldn’t manage to juggle it all and maintain inner peace.   My Lenten blog-fast (a very minor one, mind you!) has left me with a bit of an impairment.  My writing seems stilted…it just doesn’t flow and I’m having difficulty getting back into the swing of things…

Nonetheless, we’ve had a very productive couple of weeks.  Top that off with an interior peace that I haven’t had in quite awhile, and I’d have to say that’s no small success!

Here’s what we’ve been up to:

1.  Easter Cleaning report:  While we didn’t accomplish nearly as much as I’d hoped, we made quite a bit of progress, particularly in the kitchen.  I moved the big freezer and cleaned under it, we emptied and reorganized 7 cabinets, emptied, dusted and washed every dish on the buffet and cleaned the refrigerator.  Unfortunately, laundry took a serious backseat and that will have to be today’s focus.  I’m not complaining!  The washer is fixed, the sun is shining and the clothesline beckons!

2.  We attended the Traditional Mass on Monday, Wednesday, Holy Thursday, Good Friday and Easter Sunday…that’s five Masses in seven days!  The true source of inner peace…

3.  Crafted an Easter Resurrection display for our mantle.  It was quite simple…I utilized materials around the house, painted a couple more wooden people and used a few from our Alphabet of Catholic Saints.  We laid Jesus in the tomb, rolled the stone in front and on Easter Sunday the children discovered an empty tomb festooned with roses and a risen Lord!

Share your Small Successes at Faith and Family Live!

Easter Week blessings,

Easter Sunday…

The Simple Woman’s Daybook – Easter Week Edition!

Visit Peggy at The Simple Woman for more Daybook entries!

FOR TODAY – April 13, 2009

Christ is Risen, Alleluia!

Outside my Window…a rosy horizon…hues of bright pink and salmon will soon be displaced by clouds and rain.  Let it come!  You know what they say, “April showers, bring May flowers!”

I am thinking…about yesterday’s Mass.  There’s a reason they call the Tridentine Mass “the most beautiful thing this side of Heaven…” It is.  Kneeling in adoration of our Lord, breathing in the heady scent of lilies and hydrangeas mingling with incense…wishing it would never end.  How glorious to contemplate that one day we shall be forever in the presense of our Lord and King!  What a blessed and sustaining thought…

I am thankful for…Easter.  Alleluia!!  And Easter Week…Alleluia, Alleluia!!  We will continue to celebrate our risen Lord…

From the kitchen…hehehe…I let the children eat cupcakes this morning!  With milk, mind you…and a hard-boiled egg!  C’mon…cake is flour, eggs…all kinds of healthy stuff.  And it’s Easter Week!  ‘Nuff said.  This evening…Boxty and ham, green beans and deviled eggs.  In other words…leftovers from Easter dinner!

In our school room…Schools out…Easter, you know!

I am creating…today my dear friend Sandra and her children will come over after Mass.  Sandra and I have plans to work on a few of these. What a lovely way to help our little ones pray the most holy Rosary!

I am going…to Mass in about 30 minutes!

I am wearing…denim skirt, black and white blouse, hair back in a headband and red shoes…

I am reading…still reading He Leadeth Me.  Amazing and heartrending…

I am hoping…to really buckle down on school for the rest of the year…right after Easter Week…

I am hearing…the children readying themselves for Mass.

Around the house…fairly tidy.  Easter Cleaning really helped but there’s still much to do!  The laundry room is full…no problem!  I have a working washer and dryer…Alleluia!

One of my favorite things…Easter.  Easter is my favorite holiday…so much joy, such hope with the resurrection of our Lord.  The gates of Heaven are open

A Few Plans For The Rest Of The Week…continue our Easter celebration and plan for next week’s school…

Here are a few picture thoughts I am sharing with you

Have a blessed week!

With joyful anticipation…

…we await the resurrection of our Lord!

Oh, so much activity during the early part of the week!  We spent Monday thru Wednesday on our Easter Cleaning.  Status report:  quite a few things accomplished, though much left undone.  Mom was waylaid by a migraine and took that as the cue to slow down, reflect, rest and recharge.  That’s what we did.

Thursday, we attended Mass, came home to a crockpot full of soup and prepared for Good Friday.  We spent most of the day at Church, attending the Traditional Good Friday Liturgy.  Sorrowful and somber, we returned home for a quiet afternoon.

Our Lord now rests in the tomb.

A large stone covers the opening…

We wait…oh, how we long for the joy of the Resurrection…

Holy Saturday…time to make preparations for Easter Sunday!

We’ve stuffed the cascarones

Sealed them…

And decorated them.  What fun will be had, smashing them on one another’s heads!

We’ve stuffed plastic eggs for our egg hunt, and decorated more than 5 dozen hardboiled eggs:

And Mom’s been such a copycat! Take a look at the really cute shrugs and the sweet hats inspired by two lovely moms with a lot of creativity:

It never ceases to amaze me. Lent seems to stretch on and on, endlessly…a journey of painful self-discovery and Easter seems so far away. And then it’s here! Easter Sunday…and our joy is complete…

I pray this Easter Season brings great joy to each and everyone of you, dear friends!  May you rejoice in the Resurrection of our Lord and Savior…may God grant you peace and every good thing!


Easter Cleaning 2009

Apparently, our good friend Hilaire was right…feed the children an amazingly large breakfast right after Mass, and you’ll get no end of work out of them!

Here are just a few of the amazing things they said throughout the work day:

Gareth:  What’s my next job…I need more work! (Did he really say that??!!)

Charlotte:  This is more fun than playing outside! (You’ve got to be kidding me!  What was in those eggs?)

Emily:  Let me do it!  Here, I’ll do that too…can I mop? (From now on, sweetie!)

Arthur:  I’m so proud of them.  Look at how hard everyone’s working! (He’s such a man now…)

Gawain:  Look mom…look how much more space I made in the pantry.  Isn’t it great? (You’re great, Gawain!)

Galahad:  Look what we did, Dad!  We did it to surprise you and appreciate Mom! (I feel very, very appreciated!)

Day one down, two more to go.  We’ve organized kitchen cabinets, rearranged the kitchen.  I moved the freezer and cleaned under it.  <shudder> It was disgusting.  On the plus side:  I found six butter knives, two forks and two spoons.

Oh…and we had to get rid of this guy:

Yes, indeedy…that’s our Halloween pumpkin. We became very fond of it, as the days went by, marveling at its longevity. I had even joked about painting it like an Easter egg. I attempted to lift it by its stem and squish…it’s out in the corn field now!

Today we’ll work on the dining room and mudroom, and tackle the livingroom if we have time.  Tomorrow:  upstairs…time to declutter the children’s rooms.  Maybe I should’ve scheduled two days for the upstairs…

Here’s the crew, hard at work:

The Simple Woman’s Daybook

Visit Peggy at The Simple Woman for more Daybook entries!

FOR TODAY – April 6, 2009

Outside my Window…slate gray sky, heavy with the promise of snow.  Yes…snow.  Today and tomorrow winter will have one last “hurrah.”  So be it!  We know how this story turns out…green grass, budding trees.  Spring will prevail…

I am thinking…about my Easter Cleaning chore list.  There’s so very much to do…we’ll be spreading it out over the next three days…

I am thankful for…the power of prayer.  My hubby was so very ill last night.  While he slept, I laid my hands upon him and prayed, prayed, prayed.  How great is God’s mercy…he’s infinitely better and hopefully on the mend.  Never underestimate the power of a praying wife!!

In our school room…school’s out.  ‘Nuff said.

I am creating…One more white hat.  We’ll also spend this week finishing the cascarones, decorate eggs, and plan our Easter menu.  I hope to bake a couple more loaves of Fasting Bread for tomorrow evening’s Ladies Night Out.  We’ll attend adoration and then have fellowship in the Undercroft.  Low-key…it is Holy Week, afterall.

I am going…to attend Mass this morning.

I am wearing…black peasant skirt, tee and pink cotton sweater.  Jeans and a sweatshirt are waiting for this afternoon’s cleaning spree!

I am readingHe Leadeth Me.  Finally.  I’m only on chapter 1.  Just in time for Holy Week…

I am hoping…to maintain a spirit of peace today, despite our long list of chores!

I am hearing…the children readying themselves for Mass.  They’re moving slowly…cold weather does that, doesn’t it?

Around the house…lots of work to do.  And plenty of laundry.  I’m not complaining…just thankful to have that washer fixed!!

One of my favorite things…Palm Sunday Processions.  The memories…the beauty and majesty.  Hosanna to the King!

A Few Plans For The Rest Of The Week…Cleaning!!  And Mass.  The Easter Triduum is upon us!

Here is a picture thought I am sharing with you

Images of St. Patrick’s in Toledo.  A magnificent church…we pray this treasure will not be lost as so many others will soon be…

Have a blessed week!

April Shower (more like a deluge!) of Photos – Day 5

Palm Sunday…


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