Catholic Family Vignettes

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


February 2010

Your Friday dessert…

I bet that got your attention during Lent!  Not to worry…this “dessert” is completely licit ;-D

Are you still looking for a few ideas as your family continues its Lenten journey? Drop by and say “Hi!” to Lacy at Catholic Icing for a real treat.   A Lenten Blog Fair of sorts in the works…lots of inspiration to be found:

Lent Link-Up


Robin’s nest…

Every spring we are greeted by the scratching, chirping and otherwise birdlike disturbance from a family of robins who annually take up residence within our kitchen wall…

There is a gap in the siding which provides easy access for them.  I’ve long tolerated their presence, and just haven’t been able to bring myself to close up their favorite nesting refuge.  My teenage son and husband remind me that this space also provides an opening for water, wind and all the other forces of nature…including any other wildlife that might decide to take up residence once the robins vacate.

Nevertheless for three years we’ve watched a succession of baby robins leave their well-sheltered nest…birdsong is our only reward, and is one that I long for as winter continues to tighten its grasp upon the land.

But the gap must be closed.  Our robins must look for a new home…one that hopefully will be safe from our two outdoor patrol cats, Buster and Oreo.  They are quite the hunters and I’ve seen them take down more than a couple birds.

So no nest this year.  No sounds of life in my kitchen…yes, I know that sounds strange but I’ve gotten rather accustomed to it.  As we continue our wild bird study we’ll be watching to see where Mr. and Mrs. Robin Redbreast will choose to reside.  I’m anxious to welcome them…to the tree of their choice!

In the meantime, my oldest son, who is extremely creative, decided to craft me a little nest of wire and robin’s egg blue beads.  This tutorial was the inspiration…and after he gave me a few pointers, I decided to craft a couple of my own.  But I really like his…that copper wire provides a lovely contrast against the blue eggs!  I think these nests would make lovely lapel pins…just in time for Easter!


The bomb that fizzled…population bomb, that is!

On Monday I received our first video shipment from Pius MediaDemographic Bomb – demography is destiny. This documentary is the companion piece to Demographic Winter – the decline of the human family. Like its predecessor, it dispels the many myths that have fueled the so-called “Population Bomb” theory by illuminating the many inaccuracies, unfulfilled prophecies of doom and non-demography based research that formed the basis of the population explosion presumption. It replaces these falsehoods with facts and figures from actual demographers who’ve been studying population trends for the past forty years…indeed longer, when one takes into consideration the work of Adam Smith (Scottish moral philospher and pioneer of political economy, who believed that population growth was a sign of a healthy economy), a contemporary of Thomas Malthus (Anglican clergyman, scholar and economical theorist, who believed that we must “decrease the surplus population” and whom some cite as the father of modern eugenics) .  Amazingly, Malthus considered Smith a mentor, though one would never know it when considering the disparity between these quotes nor would one discern that Malthus was a clergyman with any trust in Divine Providence:

Thomas Malthus:
“Population growth is the true reason for the poverty of the poor.”

“The power of population is indefinitely greater than the power in the earth to produce subsistence for man.”

Adam Smith:
“What encourages the progress of population and improvement, encourages that of real wealth and greatness.”

“All for ourselves, and nothing for other people, seems, in every age of the world, to have been the vile maxim of the masters of mankind.”

With the advent of Darwinism, the teachings of Malthus quickly replaced those of his mentor and mankind began its descent down the slippery slopes of eugenics and fertility manipulation. With the world population now quickly falling below replacement rates, the fruit of these teachings are now dangerously apparent, and without a worldwide shift in understanding, seemingly impossible to address.

And while it is not at all astounding that there are still those who cling to the now essentially debunked myth of overpopulation, it is still shocking to see many of the government sponsored advertisement campaigns.   As the mother of a large brood of “violent, impoverished, uneducated, unclean and disease ridden” children (or so the advertisements would have one believe), I find myself angered by this propaganda…for that is exactly what it is: propaganda nouninformation that is designed to deceive or mislead.

Take a look at what your brothers and sisters in China, India and Africa contend with, and have contended with for decades:

Yes…”small family, happy family…”

Sad family.  Sad when one isn’t allowed to choose life. When sterilization camps, coerced and forced abortion are the means to this “happy family…”

And now we have this.  The Global Warming hysteria which is fueling the latest round of population control efforts, once again via the effort of the United Nations.

From a UN Population Fund report:

“As the growth of population, economies and consumption outpaces the Earth’s capacity to adjust, climate change could become much more extreme and conceivably catastrophic,”

Though the report also acknowledges that “The linkages between population and climate change are in most cases complex and indirect,”

And this surprising bit of wisdom from the World Health Organization:

“Using the need to reduce climate change as a justification for curbing the fertility of individual women at best provokes controversy and at worst provides a mandate to suppress individual freedoms,” wrote WHO’s Diarmid Campbell-Lendrum and Manjula Lusti-Narasimhan.

As one incredulous analyst so succinctly put it:

“It requires a major leap of imagination to believe that free condoms will cool down the climate,”

And this, of course, only matters if one holds to this new, burgeoning myth of global warming.  How many times will we listen to Chicken Little declare “the sky is falling!” before we decide to look up and see with our own eyes?  Bandwagons are for those who simply lack the motivation to seek for themselves.

Seek and you will find…


A busy mom’s daybook…blessed Lent to you!

Visit Peggy at The Simple Woman for more Daybook entries!

FOR TODAY – February 22nd, 2010

Outside my Window….a light mist of rain, heavy fog obscuring the tree-line and melting snow.  Still a vast vista of white, but now it is taking on a dirtier, dingier hue.  Temperatures are climbing towards 40 and we are thankful for the respite…no matter how brief.  A bit of snow for Tuesday and Wednesday and then frigid air makes it way back in…oh, come Spring!

Thinking…about school.  We’re back full force now.  It’s been one month since my surgery, I’ve made peace with the suffering and now I just want to get down to business.   And so I have…

Thankful for…being homebound.   As nasty as the weather has been, it doesn’t seem such a deprivation any longer.  Spring is just around the corner.  We’re anticipating a March visit from the Grands and a weekend trip in April to attend the Midwest Homeschool Convention (we have tickets to see Tim Hawkins!!! Woohoo!)  We’ve been able to attend Adoration and Mass, as well.  Two of best reasons to be thankful…

From the kitchen…ah…it does pain me to no longer be able to give such an enthusiastic review of our menu.  I can no longer taste the food I’m preparing…we have appointed “tasters” so that mom can season appropriately.  The family assures me my cooking skills are intact, but I’m not so sure.  Nonetheless, chicken pie is on the menu this evening, salad, biscuits and peach crisp.

Faith and learning…back on track.  We’re back to our full schedule…though the children are feeling the strain of the increased load.  It’s rather like the first day of school all over again…

Creating…lesson plans for science and nature study.  Also making plans for Easter…menu and other celebratory aspects of the Great Feast.

Planning…school, school, school.  And school.  Housecleaning.  And laundry.  Laundry, laundry, laundry…

Wearing…blue jeans, turtleneck and pink cabled sweater.  No makeup, hair up in a twist.

ReadingJoy In Suffering, Happy Are You Poor (I highly recommend this!  It is helping me to clear up misconceptions about Evangelical Poverty…true and false forms.  My biggest shock:  Economy.  A review to come later…)

Praying…our “prayer board” is up and our nightly rosary is offered for friends and family whose names are drawn from the basket.  This is a long time practice, one which we all enjoy.  I’m also meditating upon Psalm 90, as recommended by an Institute priest.  “Take it line by line, day by day…” is his suggestion.  That’s what I’m doing…

Hearing…other than the children’s voices, silence.  No TV, videos, games or other distractions during the daylight hours of Lent.  It is a blessed, blessed relief…

Around the house…laundry.  The septic system…is…fixed…I think…hope…pray.  Yes…I write this tentatively.  How many times have we had this issue, felt that we resolved it, only to have it return.  So I’m cautiously optimistic.  And up to my eyeballs in laundry.  But, hey…at least we can all shower now, flush toilets, etc…never underestimate the value of indoor plumbing!

One of my favorite things…Lent.  I’m just that weird.  I like the purgation…I need it.  Every year, our Lord so graciously reveals just how very weak I am…and I need this revelation!  Painful, but necessary…rather like surgery!  But even the best surgeon in world cannot save your soul…time to let the Divine Surgeon do some serious cutting…

Here’s a picture thought I am sharing with you

Our Nature Table…we’re studying the Wild Birds of North America. We’ve had great fun putting together the display. And those realistic birds? Actual photos printed on cardstock, carefully cut out and hot glued to the “tree.” Gareth crafted the nest behind the Meadow Lark and the small nest in the tree was found last summer in the grass. We are will work on identification based on physical characteristics and birdsong, egg identification, anatomy, habitats, etc. Time to dust of the Audubon pocket guide!


From death to life…

So many amazingly wonderful revelations at today’s Mass…I’d love to share them all, but for now I’ll share this, recalling from my memory as best as I’m able:

Our sweet priest is a great lover of antiquities.  No small wonder…he is the founder of the Holy Family Jubilee Pontifical Museum.  This museum is dedicated to the preservation of all things Catholic…from holy water fonts to baptismal fonts…high altars and vestments…rare original art work from several of the masters…relics and reliquaries (including the zuchetto that belonged to our Holy Father John Paul II…I’ve actually had the great privilege to touch and venerate this relic the day after our Holy Father passed into Eternity!)

That said, Father is frequently on the lookout for things that should never, ever be placed in the common market…he is a rescuer of these antiquities, saving them from misuse and possibly abuse.  It still surprises him when he sees these holy objects for sale, and such was his reaction when he came upon a collection of antique vestments and altar linens in a local antique store.

The haggling begins:

“How much for the entire collection?” he inquired of the owner

“$1200.00” he answered

“How about $1000.00?” Father countered.

“$1100 is the least I’ll take…” was the final response…

Father pulled out his checkbook to make the purchase, when he’s approached by a husband and wife who had heard the entire exchange…this amazing couple very quickly wrote a check for $600 to offset some of the expense…an amazing occurrence, but not nearly as amazing as what happened next:

A young man held in his arms an item he, too,  had just purchased from the collection.  Curious, he politely asked Father if he could explain some of the symbolism on this ornately embroidered cloth.  He told Father he had plans to use it as a blanket on his bed.

“Is it some sort of blanket?” the young man innocently queried.

Father’s surprising answer:

“Well…you might say that…yes, it is a blanket.  But it’s not for the living.  It’s for the dead.  This “blanket” is a pall and was used to cover a coffin prior to the interrment.”

Father had hoped that he would be able to purchase the pall from him, but the young man didn’t want to relinquish his “treasure.”  Nonetheless, he continued to listen intently as Father explained the symbols of Alpha and Omega and the Chi Rho…

In the end the young man left with the pall…and Father’s card.  Though disappointed that the young man didn’t relinquish this sacred linen, Father offered the following:

“It’s quite possible that which was used for death just may bring life to this young man.  He may be our next convert to the faith.  Please pray for him…”

Wouldn’t that be amazing?  “That which was used for death may bring life…” Rather calls to mind both the Cross and the Shroud, doesn’t it?  May God bring this young man to faith soon.   An entire congregation prayed the most fervent Hail Mary just for that reason.

Will you pray for him?

I knew you would!


Break your heart…

…and make you think.  Living a life of such ease and plenty, it’s so easy to forget that “one man’s trash is one man’s treasure.” Please take the time to watch this 6 minute video…it truly put waste and gluttony into a new light for this family…something we all need during the Holy Season of Lent. Make sure you watch until the very end…beautiful!

h/t to Easter:


Pocket-sized Stations of the Cross

A lovely resource, particularly suited to a Friday afternoon in the first week of Lent:

Pocket-sized, fold-out Stations of the Cross.   Available on the Lent and Easter CD, at Catholic Artworks…

Lenten blessings,

it’s all right…

Here comes the sun, here comes the sun,
and I say it’s all right

Little darling, it’s been a long cold lonely winter
Little darling, it feels like years since it’s been here
Here comes the sun, here comes the sun
and I say it’s all right…

The Beatles – Abbey Road, 1969

Oh, yes…it’s all right…


More sunshine…

Another happy note:  I’ve finally set up our February liturgical display.  I missed the entire month of January.  It’s good to be back on track and I’m actually looking forward to the Holy Season of Lent!

That nifty Lenten calendar can be found here at Catholic Icing.  Thanks, Lacy!

Instructions for the crown of thorns can be found here.

Don’t you love this image of Christ in the desert?  It really sets the tone for what Lent is all about…time in the desert.  By the way…here is a link for last year’s post on Lent.  I’m still mulling over the other ways that our family will give up, take up, let go and accept all that God has in store for us throughout the Holy Season.  And I highly recommend the Fasting Bread recipe on that page…we used cranberries and walnuts and found the substitution quite delicious.  Enjoy!


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