Catholic Family Vignettes

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


January 2010

A different picture


A mother, surrounded by her solicitous, clean and neatly dressed children.  She is attired in the coziest pajamas imaginable, propped up with pillows, surrounded by cards and flowers and a bottle or two of prescription medication.  She is suffering, but she’s at peace.  Her freezer is stocked with meals for the family, the laundry all washed, so only daily maintenance is needed and she is able to rest and recuperate with many little hands quick to bring a hot beverage or soup or refill the empty water bottle.

Add a little soft music and a recently vacuumed living room to enhance the overall effect of serenity…

Now the reality:

Imagine the same mother, in the most excrutiating pain she’s ever experienced, doing all she can to hide that pain from worried spouse and children.  Her face is horribly swollen, speech is garbled, the once cozy pajamas sweat-stained, and a growing pile prescription medications show a completely different picture, telling a tale of complications,  trips to the ER, scary moments of not being able to breathe due to severe swelling, infection, etc…not exactly the scenario she had imagined but always existent in the far reaches of possibility, and then, reality.  The laundry, a growing mound that the mother-in-law works at with such patience, with such diligence…which makes the mother weep as she sees this lovely, genteel woman bent over it, laboring to best sort, wash, clean and put away.  She remonstrates herself for the weeks prior, that she accomplished so little.  Dinner has been prepared every evening thanks to Dad, who’s missed more hours of work than was planned for due to mom’s complications and once again mom castigates herself for cooking for parties, cooking for friends…but not managing to better provide for her family’s needs during this down time…

So much stress, so much pain, so much sleep deprivation…

And yet…once again, grace creeps in on the edges.  The laundry pile is diminishing.  With an orderliness and a loving touch that is lately missing in my efforts, she accomplishes it.  Slowly, to be sure.  But well.  I’m all about “get it done” not nearly as much “do it well, with grace, peacefully…”  This is definitely more my mother-in-law’s style, and so I’m learning, once again, her gentleness in the midst of my chaos.

I witness her patience as she sits with the little ones, making sure math and phonics are accomplished throughout the day.  Her style is not mine, but she helps and encourages them and the work gets done…and I have comfort in knowing that all is not lost academically during this down time…

Stumbling into my kitchen for pain medication, I notice little things.  The counters seem cleaner, more organized.  No crumb covered floors, nor unwashed dishes in the sink.  Quietly and peacefully, she’s done all that I do, and I weep for my lack of appreciation…for the way I’ve felt “all is chaos” when everything is really just as it should be…

With all I didn’t do, it still gets done and I’m blessed by it.  It can be heartrending when you fear you’ve let others down, when your pain is too much to hide, when the recovery seems to be too long and too hard.  When you fear you’ve made a mistake…

Thus far we’ve been up against months of sickness, dozens of tests.   A surgery hastily scheduled on my birthday, leaving a scant two weeks of preparation.  Forewarned of the long recovery period and extreme pain, I resolutely trudged forward. The surgery itself was easy, no complications, the return home not too difficult.

By day three…nightmarish.  Pain unlike anything I’ve ever experienced.  I’m embarrassed by it, but must admit my arrogance when I really wondered with all I’d suffered over the past 30 years of pregnancy, childbirth, complications and constant sickness…what could they really “throw” at me that I couldn’t handle?

Well…now I know…and that’s about all I can say.  Because words hurt and tear at my throat.  Tears sting my eyes for the words I can’t say and spill even as I type.  Because it’s all about being humbled.  Here I am, I signed up for this, said I’d do it and then find myself saying “wait, no!  This isn’t what I meant!  I had a different picture in mind…I want that picture!  This one is so messy, so ugly…I’m trying to do the right thing but I’m using all the wrong tools…”

But God puts just the right tools in the right place.  My mother-in-law observes the work that must be done and does it.  My husband stays by my side as much as possible and doesn’t hesitate to leave work to take me to the ER to address breathing issues.  He comforts me through my tears and fears, comes home and cooks dinner, never once complains when he hits the computer to finish up work until the wee hours of the morning…never once complains that coffee’s not ready, there’s no breakfast because everyone is exhausted in this ordeal.  But no one has complained…

Except me.  Voiceless, I have grumbled in my heart.  When I can speak, I have rebuked myself for all my failings…as though the physical pain were not enough, I should bear the hurt of disappointment, too.

Well, I’m shelving my complaints now, opting for the grace that is given.  The pain is far worse today and is expected to be worse tomorrow.  But I can breathe now.  Which is important…low oxygen levels and narcotics make a bad partnership and forming a thought was much more difficult yesterday than today.  Last night’s visit to ER and threats of a hospital stay are fading away, and everything is clearer…

I can now see the keyboard to type.  I don’t have to talk.  I’ve finally changed out of the pajamas into significantly looser clothing…though this is not a liquid diet plan you’d want to sign up for…

And I’m in my warm home.  With clean laundry.  The children have been homebound and stir crazy, but as hubby said, the cars not running so it’s not like I’d be going anywhere anyway!  The air is scented with the rich beefy aroma of pot roast simmering in the crockpot and I am comforted that my sweet mother-in-law is taking a bit of break.  She and the teenagers have headed to the Mennonite market.  That’s a real treat around here and something everyone enjoys.  I hope she lingers.  I’m racking my brain for some way to thank her, to adequately repay her for the grace that she brings to everything she touches…may God bless her and all who give aid to the suffering!

And may God bless you, my friends.  I’ve read every comment, and blessed each of you for your prayers.  I’ve had no sleep whatsoever in more than 36 hours, so you can be sure I’ve had more than ample to return “prayer for prayer.”  Now if you could just talk to God about this sleep thing…prednisone is killing me.  I’m on a really high dose, the engine is revved and even super strong narcotic pain medication isn’t counteracting the effects.  I…need…sleep.  Even an hour would be good…two or three?  Even better!


No clever title…

Just pain.

Hazy and blurred…these past five days.


This is more pain than I’ve experienced in many years.  Helplessness and holding onto the promise that these days will seem a bad dream soon.

No voice…fingers that trip one another due the powerful effects of pain medication, though not powerful enough by my clock.  My clock seems to hang on that extra hour before the next dose.

Let’s just say it’s worse than I imagined and better than it could be.

When you think you have it bad, it could always be worse…

Thanks for all your prayers and for tolerating a post which I hope will make me laugh…in a few weeks…


Tales from the recliner…

Too much pain and too many narcotics to “tell the tale…”

One funny observation:

You know you’re a homeschooler when the last conscious memory you have right before the anesthesia took effect is declining “puella” much to the amusement of the anesthesiologist who joined in the recitation with you…

Post tonisllectomy blessings,


I’m such a procrastinator.

For two years we’ve had a single key to the family van.  This van is the only vehicle we own large enough to transport all of us…tightly, but safely to Mass and other activities.  One would think, with the obvious importance of our primary source of transportation, that we’d have at least two sets of keys and a spare.

Such was our intention…and we know all about “good” intentions!

That said, it was certainly no surprise when it occurred to me yesterday morning, list of errands in hand, that my keys were not on the buffet.  Nor were they in my pocket or purse.

A sigh of extreme irritation.  Dropping everything, I march to the computer, open Skype and hastily type a message to my husband:

“Hey…have you seen my keys?”

The long delay before his typed answer revealed what I feared:

“Sorry!  They’re in my pocket.  I’ll try to work something out, but I’m really slammed right now…”

So I put away my list and my plans…but not my irritation.  It grew steadily throughout the day.  A hastily typed message:  “Can you come home now?  Don’t forget the boys have Teen Night and I need to pick up a couple of $1.00  gifts for the exchange…I can’t leave here any later than 5:30.”

Poor guy.  Working so hard, the insistent messages from his frazzled wife disturbing his day.

Well…he didn’t make it home early.  He got home approximately 10 minutes before I needed to leave.   The boys readied themselves, I grabbed my purse and my list…and then changed my plans:

“Why don’t we all go?  We can pick up dinner with the little ones, and do these errands together!”

Am I nuts?  Take ALL the children shopping?  When I could have gone alone?  Kind of nutty…but he took me up on it…

A few minutes later all eight of us are in the van…it was an extremely cold, drizzly, miserable evening.  Five minutes into the drive, we noticed that the heat wasn’t working.

“I think the thermostat’s stuck…”

Those were the last words hubby said before the van completely lost power right in the middle of rush hour traffic on I-70.  He really is the best driver I’ve ever known, and his skill in getting that vehicle into the emergency lane was something to see.  Cool as a cucumber…nothing disturbs him.  Not so, his wife!  All of a sudden I had this image of me…in the passing lane, doing about 70 mph during rush hour…and the van losing power.

I don’t really want to finish that picture.  I’d like to think I’d be as cool as he is, but I really don’t think I would.  I couldn’t help thinking what incredible “God-incidences” there had been throughout the day.  Hubby took the keys…had he not, I’d have been out, alone, when the problem occurred.  Had I not suggested the “family outing” I’d have been in rush hour traffic, alone…and it…was…bad…

I’ll spare you the minute details of how long it took to deliver the boys to their destination.  Hubby insisted they make their outing.  Or how long it took him, working in the freezing cold and drizzle, to get the vehicle cooled and operational.  Or how it continued to overheat every two minutes.  Or how frightening it was, at least for me, when the vehicle would lose power.  How we went from parking lot to parking lot.  I wondered if we’d ever make it home…

But, how sweet were the prayers of the children!  The van was filled with “Hail Mary!”  “Please, St. Joseph!”  “St. Jude, help us!”  Each one of the children offered a prayer of their own, asking God to help Daddy get us  home.  I feared that journey on the interstate, but amazingly enough the red light went off, the vehicle maintained power and we made it home.  A few feet from our driveway…the light came on again and we coasted into our customary parking spot.

And there it sits.  The family van won’t be moving anywhere anytime soon.  Hubby is quite sure it is a head gasket.  As he does all our repairs, he knows the complications of this particular job and is not sure if he can do it, due to the location of the gasket.  And it’s a Chevrolet.  My “Ford Man” constantly expresses his frustration over the fact that Chevy doesn’t want the average Joe repairing his car.  Head gasket removal on this van is  terribly difficult, terribly expensive.  He has the skills…he just doesn’t have a hydraulic lift and endless hours to work on it.

Yet…I’m quite thankful.  We made it home safely.  Hubby still has his little car to get to work.  I have surgery in a few days, so it’s not like I’ll be out and about.  The only problem:  Mass.  Please say a prayer for us!  Our sweet little van seated eight.  This weekend, I’m sure my mother-in-law will be able to help out, but after that…I’m just not sure.  God in His infinite wisdom has already worked out the details of this dilemma, I’m quite sure.  We just haven’t received that particular directive!


A friendly request…

…for my dearest friends!

Please pray for the Smith family.  They are in the midst of the most complicated job transfer they’ve ever experienced and are facing an extreme trial that could have a great impact on their ability to sell their home.  No details to offer, just a humble request for prayers on their behalf.  Sandra will be traveling on Monday and Wednesday with the children, so prayers for a safe trip and good weather would be appreciated as well.


Ice feathers…

The world awash with sunlight, air filled with the diamond glitter of blowing snow; needle, grass, post and branch adorned with feathers of ice:

Blessings from the land of ice and snow,

A busy mom’s daybook…in praise of heating and plumbing!

Visit Peggy at The Simple Woman for more Daybook entries!

FOR TODAY – January 12th, 2010

Outside my Window….softly falling flakes upon a vast, white vista.  Snow, snow…everywhere snow.  19 inches since December, 10 of those inches since January 1st.  Fifteen consecutive days of snow.  It’s kind of funny…the children now look out the window and say…”ah, man!  It’s snowing.  Again!”  I think they’ve had their fill.  Wonder what they’d think if they’d been on the east coast during the blizzard?  They have no memory of the Storm of the Century in 1993.  We received 36 inches…in south eastern Kentucky.  I…was not…at home.  No…I was trapped in Huntsville, Alabama at the U.S. Space and Rocket Center with 80 very scared and homesick 4th and 5th graders.  Huntsville had received 20 inches of snow in that storm and there wasn’t a snow plow, salt truck or shovel in sight.  We watched a hotel crew try to clear the parking lot with rakes.  Now that’s desperate!

Yeah.  I think we have very little to complain about.  And this pristine blanket of fluff makes for a pretty view from my classroom window…

Thinking…about how odd it is that we never seem to want to do that which is easily done.  That the moment the detestable chore becomes impossible to accomplish, we want it more than anything…after several days of the worst plumbing catastrophe we’ve ever experienced, I’m once again looking at dishwashing, laundry and toilet scrubbing with a whole new level of appreciation.  When you can’t scrub a toilet, you want to.  When you can’t wash dishes, you want to.  When you can’t wash clothes (and when there soaked in raw sewage!) you really, really want to! And when you’ve complained that the propane isn’t really a very comfortable way to heat a home, and then you find that same propane furnace no longer working…well, you think propane is pretty warm after all, after a couple days of sub-freezing temperatures.

So…I’ve been happily washing.  Happily laundering.  Happily showering and toilet scrubbing…and cleaning everything with a much better attitude.  It seems it pleases our Lord to regularly give me these little “attitude adjustments.”  Trust me, for those of you who think I’m such a paragon of virtue, I can lob quite a few complaints with the best of them!  Well…my grumbling is stilled for awhile as I gratefully accept the beauty of these restored modern conveniences.  It’s been a tough weekend, one of changed plans and rolling with the punches.  We’ve rolled…and now we’re ready to roll on…

Thankful forplumbing.  And heating.  ‘Nuff said.

From the kitchen…5 loads of freshly washed dishes.  Clean countertops.  A mopped floor.  Oh?  You mean food?  Oh, yeah…leftover Murphy’s Stout stew for lunch and ?? for dinner.  My brain is a bit fried right now from all the cleaning, but like I said…not complaining!  Dinner will be served, I just need to peruse the freezer.  Turkey pie is a distinct possibility…

Faith and learning…ah, yes.  We were supposed to start school yesterday, but “the best laid plans of mice and men…” you know the rest.  The classroom is nearly ready, last years papers filed, supplies restocked and a new schedule is in the works.   It will happen.  I’m working on it, and the good Lord is working on me!

Creating…been crocheting and knitting a bit more.  Have finished a few little things.  And a couple of crafty items.  Nuttin’ much…

Planning…school.  And my post-surgery recuperation period.  Trying not to stress.  All will be well…

Wearing…white corduroys, turtleneck and pink cabled sweater.  Socks and slippers.

Reading…listening to a few audiobooks.  Lots of free stuff online…

Praying…for the Mills family.  Would you join me?  This homeschooling family has had a lot of adversity lately and could really use as many prayer warriors as possible.   Also praying for two dear friends who are moving to IL and TN.  That their transitions be effected as quickly and smoothly as possible.

HearingLibrivox mp3 download of The Imitation of Christ.  Beautifully read and totally free…

Around the house…things are a bit less cluttered but still feeling much needs to be done.  Ah, to have someone come in a purge it all…I’d like to go for that uncluttered monastic look.  Well, perhaps that’s a bit extreme but I’d like the eye to be “taken” by beauty, not “distracted” by clutter.  I’m redefining what constitutes clutter.  That which is not beautiful, which is not useful, which doesn’t bless is clutter…

One of my favorite things…flushing toilets, clean laundry and warm rooms.

Here’s a picture thought I am sharing with you

Quickly snapped by Gareth from the dining room window.  Hello Mr. Cardinal!  My, you sure look handsome against that white backdrop…


“Living like olden times…”

Dark and cold.

It was the cold that awakened me.  Peeking out from under the heavy layer of blankets, the frigid air was like a slap in the face.

Slipping on a turtleneck and fleece pants, I quickly ventured downstairs.  The air was surprisingly colder than upstairs.  Fearing that someone had accidentally turned down the thermostat, I hurried into the dining room.

No.  The thermostat was set solidly at 69 degrees and yet the furnace was quiet.  Opening the utility door closet I was given a hearty “good morning” by the ominous flashing of the green emergency light.

The furnace blower fan had malfunctioned.   It was, in fact, burnt out.  Perhaps caused by the constant non-stop running due to the abnormally frigid temperatures we’ve been experiencing over the past two weeks.  For whatever reason, it was no more…

What next?

The lingering odor of raw sewage still permeates the frigid air.  We haven’t been able to bathe, launder or wash dishes for three days now.  No plumber available until Monday.  The furnace part must be ordered.  The two kerosene heaters are struggling to stave off the intense cold, but can’t quite keep up.

What to do?  Well…the Ingalls family certainly knew how to deal with the hand that had been dealt.  As Pa would frequently utter when faced with adversity:  “Needs must when the devil drives…”  In other words, when bad things happen, you must go forward because you simply can’t go back.

And so forward we go.  Which means this:

When every dish in your house is dirty you fill two of your largest pans with hot water.  One for wash and one for rinse.  Huddled  beside the kerosene heater, you wash and rinse.  You lay the dishes upon a clean towel and marvel at the sweet little six year old who gleefully joins you, towel in hand, to dry.

“It’s just like living in olden times, Mommy!” she excitedly exclaims.

Ah, that I had that enthusiasm!  We are certainly not strangers to inconvenience, but I always marvel at the children who handle it so much better than I.  They are real troopers and simply accept that this is what we must do…so we do it.

I’m praying for a quick resolution to these “inconveniences.”  I feel grumpy and irritated by the tools that are used to lead me to holiness.  Would that I could relax in the hands of the Master as He works on me, whittling away at my frustration and desire to control the uncontrollable.  To be the fixer.

Ah, the white martyrdom of motherhood.  So many suffer so much more than I, and yet the “I” is ever present as I try to not cry, frown and complain grow in virtue in this new trial.

And so here’s to “living like olden times.” Back to the kitchen.  The cold, dirty and grace-filled kitchen where I will continue to “work out my salvation in fear and trembling…”

It’s so cold in there, I think I have the trembling part down pat…


who wishes she was more like Laura Ingalls Wilder!

A tale of woe…

Listen my children and you shall hear
Of the septic line that would not clear
‘Twas in January, cold and bleak,
The toilets did begin to leak.
They wouldn’t flush, they couldn’t drain
Poor father moaned and racked his brain…

The sink backed up, the tub did too
And worst of all, the mother knew
The lament of a laundry room aflood,
And a mess that far exceeded the mud
She’s much accustomed to on the farm
But now the family’s sounded the alarm:
The septic is backed up! The septic is backed up!
To arms…the septic is backed up!

So sorry…I’m waxing poetic over that instrument of supreme torture formerly known as the septic system.  It is so hard to be “grace filled” in the midst of this mess.   God wills it, so it must be.  But…I must admit that I’m just a mite put out over the plans which have been foiled due to this latest domestic disturbance.

Plans? Are you laughing? Yes…I still have the audacity to have plans of my own. You see…I have surgery coming up in a week and a half. Two weeks minimum of recuperation time before I can do any kind of work and probably more like a month before I’m completely back to normal.  All on the heels of Christmas and an extended break.   So I’m planning.  Laundry: wash it all.  Cabinets: stock them.  Freezer: prepare meals for the “down time.”  School: outline a clear plan of action allowing for as much independent work as possible.   Self: videos, books, soothing beverages and soups.  And rest, thanks to the loving assistance of husband and mother-in-law.

Those were my plans.  And sometimes plans go awry.  Just like the septic.

The new plan:  spend this Saturday sorting through a sodden, disgusting mass of laundry that had been sorted and bagged for transport to the laundry mat.  All…wet.  And, well…yeah.  They smell really, really bad.  Would you want to take them to a public laundry mat? Would you want to be the one in line behind me to use the machine after I did?  I sure wouldn’t!  I may just have to pitch those things that can be pitched and hang a few things on the ice covered clothes line until the problem is resolved.

There’s still the rest of the list…but I’m losing steam.  I’m like that crazy woman who cleans her house before the housekeeper comes.  I’m trying so hard to make sure there’s no work left for those who wish to work for me.  I think I’m being asked to let go, but it’s really hard to do that.  To be vulnerable.  To need help.  To let others…do.

Ah, well…when life throws muddy water at you…make a mud pie!

Think I’ll go do that now.  In my laundry room.


Patron Saints for 2010…

A great big thank you to dear Marianne at The Patron Saint of the Year Ministry.  We’ve been “chosen” by two Saints this year and both are particular favorites of our family.  They are:  St. Louis IX, Confessor and King of France and St. Nicholas of Myra, the Patron Saint of Children!  What an amazing combination…and what an incredible opportunity to get to know our new friends a bit better.

You may read about St. Louis here.  This is one of my favorite quotes attributed to our good Saint:

“If God send thee adversity, receive it in patience and give thanks to our Saviour and bethink thee that thou hast deserved it, and that He will make it turn to thine advantage. If He send thee prosperity, then thank Him humbly, so that thou becomest not worse from pride or any other cause, when thou oughtest to be better. For we should not fight against God with his own gifts.”
And then there’s good St. Nicholas.  It seems he’s been a good friend for years, but now wants us to get to know one another a bit better.  Perhaps we need the reminder that his patronage extends throughout the year…not just during the Advent/Christmas season.

You may read more about St. Nicholas of Myra here.

And this quote…attributed to St. Nicholas encapsulates the spirit of giving:

The Giver of every good and perfect gift has called upon us to mimic His giving, by grace, through faith, and this is not of ourselves.

And so we have a couple of friends who wish to know us better…and the rest of the year, indeed, the rest of lives to accomplish it.  How wonderful will it be, dear friends, to meet all those who’s intercession we’ve sought and patronage we’ve enjoyed?  Do we not honor and glorify God by loving those who love Him best?

I certainly think so!

How wonderful will that reunion be, how perfectly will we know one another when united in the glory of Heaven…

St. Louis, Confessor and King…Pray for us!

St. Nicholas of Myra, Patron of Children…Pray for us!


A busy mom’s daybook…snowy days and nights

Visit Peggy at The Simple Woman for more Daybook entries!

FOR TODAY – January 5th, 2010…Happy Birthday to me!

Outside my Window….Snow.  Ice.  More snow.  And then there’s the snow.  Did I mention snow?  Nothing like the blizzard the rest of the country received, just a constant and ongoing supply of the white stuff.  And blisteringly, freezing, frigid, icy-cold creeping in around the doors and windows.  We finally have propane but still must rely heavily on the kerosene heaters to achieve true warmth.  May God bless and protect the homeless and those suffering from these bitterly cold temperatures…

Thinking…about my upcoming surgery.  January 21st is the day.  A very long, very painful convalescence stretches before me and I’m preparing as best I can.  This website is both funny and informative…I’m taking a lot of his advice and looking forward to improved health in the future.

Thankful for…hot coffee and my Snuggie.  Yeah…Snuggie rocks!  Mine is this deliciously fluffy pink microfiber concoction.  A blanket with sleeves…who’da thunk?  It is the ultimate knitter’s companion!

From the kitchen…well…I forgot to get out the turkey last night.  Trying really hard to defrost it in time for dinner.  It may be a soup and sandwiches night after all!  C’est la vie…

Faith and learning…We start school next week.  And the children are anxious!  I need the rest of this week to clean and organize the classroom, file the first semester papers, etc. for a fresh start.  And pick up a few school supplies…

Creating…I’ve done quite a lot of knitting lately.  Since I’m no longer on medication for high blood pressure, I no longer have debilitating cramps in my hands.  Oh, yeah…forgot to tell you about that!  It appears that my doctor jumped the gun a bit on the blood pressure issue.  Looks like the obstructive nature of all the facial and tonsil swelling was responsible.  I’ve been weaned of the meds and my BP has been normal for sixty days.  Last night’s reading:  110/58.  Deo Gratias!

Planning…preparing a menu to freeze meals for my convalescence.  Hubby will be home for a few days afterwards and the children and I are going to work very hard to catch up on laundry and meal preparation…

Wearing…gray sweats, maroon turtleneck, polar fleece sweater.  And wool socks.  It’s c-c-c-cold.

Reading…Little snatches of Liberty and Tyranny.  From hubby’s night table…

Praying…for the poor and those facing the rigors of this brutal weather…

Hearing…the children playing “Legend of Zelda…”

Around the house…so much to be done.  The septic is unhappy and laundry washing is a slow affair because of it.  I really need to go to the laundry mat and just get it all done at once.  But that’s kind of expensive…so a slow load at a time is the best I can manage…

One of my favorite things…the joyful expression on the face of my 16 year old when he told me he finally hit the 6 foot mark.  My big guy…

Here’s a picture thought I am sharing with you


Who shall it be?

It’s that time……time to let a Saint “choose” you for 2010!

A most Happy and Joyous New Year to each and every one of you! What better way to start the New Year than to find a new heavenly “friend” as a prayer partner?

The Patron Saint of the Year Ministry has been a blessing to families who’ve participated in this unique opportunity to unite with a particular Saint in prayer for the coming year.  As always, Marianne so graciously offers her assistance in helping a Saint choose you!

A quick email is all it takes…all information is available on her blog.  This is not a fad…it is a pious practice that has its origins in religious life and is a lovely tradition.  Our family has enjoyed doing this for a few years, now.

I can’t wait to see what Heaven has in store for us this year…


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