Catholic Family Vignettes

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


June 2009

And now for a little improv…

Her world…

Charlotte the Photographer…or The World As Seen Through The Eyes Of A Seven Year Old:

All things bright and beautiful,

All creatures…

…great and small,

All things wise…

…and wonderful,

The Lord God made them all!


Summer musings…

Summertime and the living is…


I love summer. Love it. For those who know me well, those three words are simply astounding. Having grown up in Florida, I never cared much for the season with its hurricane warnings and humidity. I longed for cooler temperatures and well-defined seasons, and for the past 28 years I’ve had them. Living north of the panhandle, the beauty of Fall still captures my heart like nothing else, but Summer…ah, Summer! Sun and shade, wind and rain, a garden thriving, sunflowers reaching ever upward, trips to the creek, fireflies flitting in the gathering dusk and stars twinkling in the warm evening sky.

With the lengthening days and climbing temperatures, I find myself slowly…ever so slowly… relaxing. Tension is decreasing, my vision clearing and I’m approaching the days with a renewed sense of purpose.

There’s been such disquiet in my heart, for the past several months. A Dark Night Of The Soul, so to speak. Not one area was left unscathed, as our Lord, with great loving care, allowed me to spend a bit of time in the crucible. Burning away the dross, with hopes of revealing the pure gold of faith that is of incomparable worth. How tightly we cling to the Cross when its all we can see!

And I’m thankful for the lessons learned. Like a scolded child, I can now rest, quietly in arms of my Father, thanking Him for loving me so well, so perfectly…

Ah, Summer. As the days stretch on, I hope to hold on to each precious moment. Savoring the warmth and beauty in the time that is given.

God be praised for this wonderful season…


Scenes from a Saturday…

Yes…the mulberry muffins were delicious!! I made 18 of them and a loaf of bread:

A delightful ham, potato and cheese frittata…our anniversary breakfast was perfect:

A sweet gift from Galahad…a jarful of butterflies…as yellow-green as the honeydew melon!

Hello, ladies…my…how you’ve grown!

Herbs gone wild…the oregano is overtaking the parsley and basil:

Have a blessed Saturday!

An unexpected harvest…

This evening, as we ventured towards the far edge of the woods, we discovered four berry laden trees…deeply purple berries hanging in profusion…


The children had discovered them a few days prior and had been gathering them to make ink…little did we know that the ink berries were one of the more truly delightful-and-oh-so-edible fruits of the forest.

And so we picked.  And picked.  And picked.  And ate…Arthur couldn’t stop “snitching” and ate nearly as many as he picked!  Dad seemed to find the most abundant branches, grasping and pulling them lower for the little ones.  The cool breeze ruffled our hair and shook the leaves, occasionally resulting in a light shower of plump berries.


Dusk.  Hands stained pink and purple, a half gallon bag harvested, we walked back in fading light, admiring the sky now streaked rose, salmon and gold…

Tomorrow morning, a special treat awaits us all…mulberry muffins.  A great way to start a special day…our 28th wedding anniversary!


The hidden life of the Christ Child…

Tuesday morning I read a wonderful reflection in Sermons From The Latins.  The opening paragraphs on Christian Education took me by surprise…

Our homilist began expounding upon the beauty of childhood, and most particularly, the beauty of our dear Savior’s earliest years…

It’s astounding how very little we know about the life of our Lord during his childhood.   What little has been revealed was most likely told by His own dear Mother.  The Blessed Virgin Mary was a first-hand witness, a faithful observer and intimately shared in the daily life of Jesus.

We know by scriptural accounts that Joseph was guardian-protector of the Holy Family.  Quick to heed Heaven’s instruction, he kept the infant Jesus and His Holy Mother safe from the clutches of Herod.

We know that Mary “kept all these things in her heart” during the years Jesus remained hidden in the silence of an ordinary life and that she “pondered them” as her Son “increased in wisdom and in stature, and in favor with God and man.”

But what of our Lord, his Holy Childhood?  It has remained a jealously guarded treasure, preserved as a sacred mystery, a source of delightful contemplation throughout the ages, giving inspiration to poet and artist…

Only those closest to the Holy Family would have been privileged to share in the intimacy of their daily life. So effectively did they guard and protect the Son of God, that only one incident of his childhood is revealed, and that only to pre-figure the sorrow of Mary…


It is so precious, such a brief space of time occupied by innocence and wonder.  Should we not do all within our power to preserve it?  Should we not fight against “the wickedness and snares of the devil” which would rob us of this great treasure?

It passes so swiftly.  Our little ones come to us, eyes wide with astonishment at the beauty of the world, faltering steps, scraped knees and lost teeth.   We bask in the transcendent beauty of their youth and innocence, goodness and purity.  Bit by bit the tiny bud unfolds to full-blown rose.  They grow up, and God willing, eventually “increase in wisdom and in stature, with God and with man.”

May God grant me the grace to hold them close, guarding them with the same diligence that kept our Lord and Savior’s childhood hidden…wonderfully, blessedly and perfectly hidden…

Until the proper hour…


The Trinity is like a rose…

Fr. Lutz gave the most amazing homily on the Feast of the Most Holy Trinity. Quoting a saint (I’m not sure who, if you know, do tell!), he used the following analogy:

“The Most Holy Trinity can be best explained by observing a rose. The stem, is like the Father, who lifts up the beautiful rose, which is the Son. But long before you see either stem or flower, you are drawn by the delicate and beautiful aroma, which is the Holy Spirit.”

Isn’t that lovely? I don’t think I’ll ever look at a rose in quite the same way…


Fare thee well…

Dear Friends:

It’s been such a pleasure writing for you.  Sharing our ups and downs, ins and outs…all the lovely joy and chaos of what makes this large Catholic family tick.  It’s been lovely peeking into your window, as well.  Connecting with other families sharing the same vision has been one of the unexpected pleasures of this venue.

Alas, I must say goodbye for a time…I’m not quite sure for how long.   Catholic Family Vignettes will become a  private blog, open by invitation only.  If you’re a friend, family member or devoted reader, please email your request, if I should fail to send you an invitation.  I regret the necessity of this action…there has been no single event that has led to this decision, just an increasing concern over just how much one should and should not reveal about those most precious to us, and most vulnerable…in my case, my dear children.

I will continue to write…I can’t imagine not.  This blog is my journal.  All the hopes, dreams, joys, stress, fear, faith and wonder of the past two years have been carefully chronicled here.  I truly take great joy in having such a pleasant and easy to use resource for keeping these memories.  But having to change names, dates and locations to protect my children and thus altering my “truth” has become exhausting.  And while I’ve continued to beseech Heaven for assistance, I’m simply not vigilant enough.

Every Sunday, for many years now, I’ve knelt at the altar of Our Lady.   This is what I pray:

“Blessed Mother…please help guard and preserve the innocence and purity of my children. Let me do nothing to damage that precious gift. Help me mother, to make my heart like yours. Help me to cultivate the same spirit of humility that you have. Help me to make my home like yours. May our family be like the Holy Family of Nazareth. Guard my heart and mind, Mother, that I might guard the hearts and minds of my children.”

“…guard and preserve the innocence and purity of my children…”

This request is both blessing and burden, for much is required to accomplish that end, in a world that values neither innocence nor purity.   I need to spend more time focusing on their needs and our prayer life to accomplish this.  Less time writing, more time reading.  Less time speaking, more time listening.  And all bathed in prayer…

For my dear, dear friends who remain in the blogosphere:  Please, please don’t take my actions as condemnation of your own!  There is no judgment here…this simply isn’t working for me and my family…atthistime.  I pray that each of you be blessed in all your efforts, that God guide all your endeavours, and that you experience only the good of this public venue.

Perhaps when I’ve stepped back for a bit, and have distanced myself from the public forum, my vision will clear.  Until then…look for me in your combox and stats!  I’ll still pop by from time to time to visit…and to seek a bit of encouragement myself!

May God bless and keep you,

P.S.  The blog remains open until Monday, at which time I’ll mark it private.


Neither wind, nor rain, nor rough waters shall keep the intrepid fishermen from their appointment with destiny!

Such was yesterday’s weather when Hilaire took the boys for a day of charter boat fishing on Lake Erie.  Despite the gloomy weather the gentleman had a rollicking good time.  And if that cooler full of fish is any indication, a productive one, as well!

Rising at 4:00 a.m. is no easy task, but when the promise is a day of fishing, it’s amazing how much easier that task becomes.  Hilaire took some really great video and photos of the day’s highlights.  Here’s a peek at the day:

The birthday boy…Hilaire gave Galahad the option of a trip of his own, or one to share with his brothers. Galahad wanted to share the fun…thank you, Hilaire for your generosity!

Gareth was anxious to get on board, lest he be left behind:

Gareth and Galahad. Two very happy young men!

Gawain, looking decidedly “cool” in his shades:

Arthur pulled in quite a few big ones:

Gareth is rather impressed by this fresh water drum…unfortunately, this guy isn’t edible:

Hook removal is an art…Galahad worked hard at perfecting it:

And they just kept on coming in…

Hilaire, Arthur, Gawain, Galahad and Gareth…and their haul!

And this video. Look at those guys…so proud of themselves!

Looks like fun, huh?

And while the cleaning process was disgusting to say the least, we have a great big bag full of perch fillets. Guess what’s for dinner this Friday?

Friday fish…and everybody’s happy!


The Simple Woman’s Daybook

Visit Peggy at The Simple Woman for more Daybook entries!

FOR TODAY – June 1, 2009

Outside my Window…bits of blue, with a wispy cloud or two.  Cool breeze and 60 degrees.  Today’s forecast high:  83 balmy degrees!

I am thinking…that the little girls would enjoy a visit to Ballantrae.  My sons are on their way to Lake Erie for a day of fishing on a charter boat with our dear friend and adopted uncle, Hilaire.  They left at 4:00 a.m. and will return sometime late this evening laden with fish…as many as 30 each.  At least they hope to.  That’s a lot of fish…

An interesting observation:  as much as I long for solitude and crave peace and quiet in the midst of my hectic days, I’m surprisingly at a loss when actually given that “gift.”  My boys are gone, and I feel strangely diminished by their absence.  The walk to the woods last night with the little girls was sweet, but in a melancholy sort of way.  One day, all too soon, I’ll have all the quiet moments I can stand.  The prospect isn’t as enticing as it used to be.  And now we know why God gives us grandchildren!

I am thankful for…my God who speaks to me so clearly in so many ways.  Would that I weren’t so stubborn and were a more obedient child, harkening to His continued, gentle promptings and consolations.

From the kitchen…hot coffee and cold cereal…a crunchy banana-nut granola.  Grilled balsamic chicken this evening.  Greenbeans sauteed with potatoes, olive oil and rosemary.  Salad with homemade dressing and a pan of ooey-gooey brownies.

In our school room…sigh…school.  Sigh…indecision.   Heavy sigh…the beautiful realization that this is my vocation and I’m feeling the weight of the cross right now because God wills it.  The clearest sign that we’re on the right path, no matter how rocky that path seems…

I am creating…things are a bit hard right now.  Writing isn’t flowing.  I continue to toy around with the idea of giving up the blog altogether at times.  Amazingly, hubby continues to insist that I keep up with my writing, but it all feels so strained.  Even putting together this post…

I am going…to pack lunch, towels and sunscreen for a fun afternoon playing in the water…

I am wearing…khaki capris, white tee, straw hat and sandals.  And grabbing my shades!

I am readingThe Imitation Of Christ.  Over.  And over.  And over again.  If you don’t own this book, run…don’t walk to your nearest Catholic bookstore.  My copy is so very old now…the entire thing is being held together by packing tape and prayer…

I am hoping…to finish the move upstairs.  Yep…hubby and I are taking Clementine’s old room.  The downstairs bedroom is being converted to an office/game room/music room.

I am hearing…the laughter of the little girls as they play with our kitten, Gracie.  She’s a lot of fun…

Around the house…pretty messy.  Ah, well…the best thing about a mess is the predictability.  I know what needs to be done, I just need to do it!

One of my favorite things…second, third and fourth chances.  And fifth.  And sixth.  And so on…no matter how many times we make a mistake, as long as we’re still alive there are plenty of opportunities to try to make it right…

A Few Plans For The Rest Of The Week…finish the bedroom “move.”  School.  Laundry.  Cleaning.  Oh, yes…and taking care of our new arrivals!!  The chicks are here…and they are adorable!

Here’s a picture thought I am sharing with you

Meet the ladies:  Penny, Rosy, Buffy, Kelly, Sarah and Molly:

Have a blessed week!

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