Search

Catholic Family Vignettes

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

Month

October 2010

All Hallow’s Eve…why we celebrate

This is a repost from 2007…as we prepare for a fun-filled evening of begging candy from friends and neighbors, I thought I’d yet again reiterate my very strong feelings as to why Catholics should reclaim the holiday from it’s current paganization:

October 31st marks All Hallow’s Eve. For most of us, we fondly remember our childhood…anxiously awaiting the time that we would don our costumes and venture into the cold, frosty evening to beg for candy from our friends and neighbors.

Times have changed. Many families have opted to avoid acknowledging All Hallow’s Eve, opting for All Saint’s Day celebrations and Fall Festivals at local Protestant churches. While all of these endeavours are noteworthy and laudable, I’m a bit concerned by what I see as a trend to “turn-over” one day of the year to the forces of evil and bow to the pressures of political correctness.

Until recently, I lived for many years in a predominately Protestant community. I’ve seen the effects of the demonization of All Hallow’s Eve. I’ve been presented with the Jack Chick tracts. I’ve witnessed the first hand campaign and political pressure that local churches have placed upon officials to suppress the observance of All Hallow’s Eve.

Recently, I’ve watched the Muslim community (with near success) lobby to have both Christmas and All Hallow’s Eve suppressed at a local school in Illinois, finally accepting the addition of Ramadan to the holiday observances.

These are not the actions of the satanists, wiccans or pagans.

In the past, it was the practice of the Holy Roman Catholic Church to take a pagan holiday and Christianize it. It seems that the tide has turned. We have now given over this day. Joining the ranks of Protestants and Muslims, our boycott has all the appearance of a surrender. Interestingly enough, the day we have given over, October 31st, isn’t the day that satanists have chosen as their “feast”…here is a quote from the Vatican’s chief exorcist, Fr. Gabriel Amorth:

“Here it is on Christmas Eve that the Satanists have their orgies. Nothing happens on October 31. But if English and American children like to dress up as witches and devils on one night of the year that is not a problem. If it is just a game, there is no harm in that.”

I don’t believe I would ever wish any of my children to dress as witches and devils, but it is easy to grasp the point that Fr. Amorth is making. (Remember: this is the same Fr. Amorth who is vehemently opposed to the Harry Potter books. He is intensely concerned with the protection of souls.) From the Catechism of the Catholic Church:

“All forms of divination are to be rejected: recourse to Satan or demons, conjuring up the dead or other practices falsely supposed to “unveil” the future. Consulting horoscopes, astrology, palm reading, interpretation of omens and lots, the phenomena of clairvoyance, and recourse to mediums all conceal a desire for power over time, history, and, in the last analysis, other human beings, as well as a wish to conciliate hidden powers. They contradict the honor, respect, and loving fear that we owe to God alone.” (Catechism, #2116)

So…this year St. Therese and St. Bernadette will approach generous donors for candy alms.  Accompanied by a priest and a U.S. Marine, they’ll brave the other ghouls and goblins, princesses and super heroes.   We are reclaiming All Hallow’s Eve.  A band of saints and heroes with plastic guns, crucifixes and rosaries.   A powerful witness, nonetheless!

And again…thank you…

Dear friends…I’m so very poor at updating this blog.  Sometimes, it’s much easier to simply hit the “publish” button, to put something up that’s been in the wings for awhile.   But then I post a spontaneous and urgent prayer request…and lack the good manners to update you!

Please forgive me.  I blame my scattered brain, lack of forethought, Facebook and other social media.  It seems that I post updates here and there, tell and retell the tale, and ultimately forget that not all the world is on the same page!  And I think I need to trim a few of those pages, too…

So here’s the update:  I’m frustrated.  A bit discouraged.  I had emergency surgery two nights ago, expecting that a very large, obstructing kidney stone would be removed and all would be well.  Unfortunately, the urologist decided that the best procedure would be to push that stone back up into my kidney, put in a stent and schedule me for lithotripsy in two weeks.

Two weeks!  There was no discussion as to whether this was the path we wanted to take (there are other choices)…and his manner is brusque and abrasive to say the very least.  So abrasive, that I’ve been trying desperately to find another urologist to take my case…but they can’t and won’t because this doctor has left me with a half-completed procedure.  Lithotripsy is non-invasive, but isn’t always successful on the first or second attempt with really large stones…it also necessitates the “passing” of the disintegrated material.  And this new adventure required the cancellation of my surgical follow-up with the orthopedic surgeon and a cessation of physical therapy until further notice.  So I’m home…lots of pain medication and rest…and it all seems so very surreal.

I know this is God’s will…and so many really beautiful things happened in the process of the diagnosis.  The physician that ordered the CT scan and found the stone is a homeschooler.  Cool.    On the pillow of my hospital bed was a lovely rose with a note:  we want to give you the very best of care.  Very cool.  Roses are always a very special sign for me.   And then my night nurses:  Mary (one of 16 children) and Mercy.  Extremely cool.   I felt very much that all was according to God’s plan.

Until  after the surgery that wasn’t really a surgery.  My thinking is so flawed.  All those pleasant things are, of course, God’s will.  But the moment something unpleasant pops up, I want to think “this can’t be God’s will!”  If only I could just live in the moment and stop looking to the left and right.  I know I must look straight ahead, and take the good with the bad.  But I’m just…so…tired.

It seems that physical suffering is around every corner.  I truly don’t mind the pain part…it’s what happens to my family that causes the greatest sorrow.   There’s so much I want for them, things I want to do with them and for them.  I do these things and rejoice…and then I’m knocked back 6 giant, sliding steps by a rogue wave…

So that’s it.  More than you really want to know and probably more whining than anyone really needs to read.  But it’s all I have right now…I’m wearing out the prayer line to Heaven and I thank each and everyone of you who’ve offered prayers on my behalf.  God is merciful…all will be well…

All…is…grace.

Blessings,

Kimberly

Ghost story…part III

continued from part I and part II

So…imagine as a faithful Catholic you’ve encountered the unexplainable.  Peace is no where to be found and home…well, let’s just say home has become a place of fear and tension, particularly for your children.  What what you do?

You’d call a priest.   That’s what we did.  The challenge:  getting him to the house as quickly as possible!

Our priest is such a precious man, but he is constantly booked solid for weeks and months in advance.  When we called to invite him for dinner and ask him to bless the house, we were given a potential date that was several weeks in the future.  That’s when we had to, with much embarrassment, declare that this invitation was kind of a spiritual emergency…and we requested that he bring plenty of holy water and maybe…well…exorcise the house.  The church secretary was very understanding and cleared a slot in Father’s schedule as quickly as she could.  She even arranged to have vestments brought for my son Zachary…at this point, he wasn’t yet serving the Mass, yet he was going to be allowed to assist in a Traditional Latin house blessing.

There was a flurry of activity as we prepared for Father’s arrival.  Households were cleaned, a menu prepared and children were bathed and dressed in their best to receive our special guest.  And what a night!  Wine flowed freely amongst the tenants (our priest doesn’t partake) and dinner and dessert were amazing.  Father was the best possible guest, providing the evening’s entertainment at the keyboard.  Name that Tune and Which Commercial Jingle Was That? made for a fun evening.

But then it was time to get down to business.  Father and Zachary vested, and we proceeded, room by room, to bless the house.  It was such a solemn procession of adults and children, all lead by a priest and server.  Father was as discreet as possible when discussing the “activities” – he didn’t want to frighten the children anymore than we did.  He asked about past tenants, and was disturbed to discover that the tenants who had resided in our side of the dwelling were living, shall we say, an “alternative lifestyle.”  These tenants and their lease were “inherited” by the new owners, yet they were eventually evicted due to non-payment of rent.  Father said that demonic activity is often present when certain “sins” are committed.  We had never considered this, though we had known about the previous tenants and their activities.  The house blessing continued, and finally we approached what Father considered the “troubled” area:  the cloakroom.  Father blessed the room, sprinkling it liberally and then made a request.  He asked that we hang a crucifix on the door and offer a prayer of reparation…it could be as simple as, “Jesus, mercy!” upon passing the room.  He felt that the sin of abortion was the reason our “visitor” was hanging around.  He felt it might have been possible that she had died during the procedure, though there was no way to know…either way, he felt it was important that we continue to pray and offer reparation on her behalf…

The next day, I located a crucifix that a very holy nun had given one of our sons.  It had been blessed by our Holy Father in Rome.  I hung it upon the door and from that point on we continued to offer prayers of reparation for that poor, tortured soul…

I’d like to tell you that it was all over after that.  That we never heard or experienced another thing.

It wasn’t quite over…and wouldn’t be until we moved.

To be continued….

Again…

Urgent prayer request…tremendous pain from large obstructive kidney stone. I’m posting from a hospital bed and am scheduled for emergency surgery first thing in the morning.

God bless you for your prayers!!

Kimberly

We interrupt this ghost story to issue a gentle reminder…

I thought I’d offer a brief explanation as to why, after more than three years, I’ve decided to share our little “ghost story.”  Believe me…it’s not strictly for entertainment purposes, it was in no way enjoyable when it occurred.  The story serves to illuminate the proper response to encounters such as these.  For a faithful Catholic, the solution should be obvious:  frequenting the Sacraments and relying upon Holy Mother Church.  Unfortunately, there’s an all too casual approach, and the prerequisite for prayer is often abandoned in favor of thrill seeking.

And, of course, All Hallow’s Eve approacheth, so…

There is a disproportionate fascination with the supernatural at this time of year, more than any other.  These events have a tendency to become side show attractions and invitations to “haunted houses” abound. The reality:  whenever someone experiences unexplained phenomenon and truly has reason to believe that the occurrence is authentic, then much prayer and reparation is needed!   In our case, the efforts of a priest did much to dispel the “negative” or more sinister aspect of the events. But the “young woman…”   She was probably a very real person, someone obviously in need of prayer…a suffering soul.   If so, are we praying for these poor souls?   As we approach November, this is the reminder we all need.   These are not “lost souls.”   Catholic teaching tells us that souls are judged immediately at death. But for the soul who enters purgatory…well…it’s possible that the “purgation” may involve revisiting those places significant to their suffering and current inability to experience the happiness of Heaven.  And those allowed to “see” are encouraged to pray for the departed.  Under no circumstances should Catholics engage in conjuring or the pursuit of the occult in order to “make contact.”  Divination and the participation in the occult are serious sins and should be avoided…period.

Meanwhile…part III is nearly ready for publication.  I hope you find this piece, beyond its entertainment value, to be an encouragement to approach the Feast of All Souls with the renewed intention to offer prayers and reparation for the Holy Souls.

Blessings,

Ghost story…part II

*continued from part I

“Something’s down there!  Something’s down there!  Someone…I don’t know…it’s gone…it said my name…mom…it said my name!!”

We’ve all had one of those nights…a terrified child, a nightmare that seemed so very real…yes, I imagine most parents have had more than a night or two when a little one has come to their bedside with tears and fears.

Instinctively, I knew this was different, yet I said what I always do…calm down…it’s okay…it wasn’t real…you had a dream…there’s nothing to be afraid of…did you remember to say Jesus, Mary and Joseph when you were afraid?  Let’s pray….

Every parent wants to comfort a child who’s frightened, and it is an area, in our family, where we’ve concentrated great effort…eliminating fear.  I grew up with a steady diet of horror…most self-imposed through bad choices (films and books) and consequently spent a good deal of my life afraid.  Many, many years ago I abandoned that pursuit and the consequent fruit is great peace.  I’ve since been determined that my children not have that same experience.  They live very much in the real world, and while horror is not on the menu, they know all about special effects and fantasy, and greatly appreciate a variety of films that employ those techniques.   And they’re a pretty brave and hardy bunch of kids, not given to hysteria or wild imaginings.

So when the calmest, least flappable and most sensible of my children came to me in total panic, I suspected that perhaps something other than a dream was responsible.  I turned on the bedroom light and we began to talk.  He then told me that he knew it was wrong to take a soda without permission and that he shouldn’t have been up.  He knew he wasn’t supposed to be up after midnight watching a movie…pretty big admissions from a young man who really hates being caught at anything that’s less than honorable.  He seemed so honest and sincere…and afraid…it was hard to completely dismiss him, most particularly because he needed to be believed, or at least understood.  So I didn’t send him back to bed.  I listened.  And this is what he said (these are his words…he remembers it even now…he’s 16 years old and it’s all pretty clear):

I came downstairs after everyone else had gone to sleep, because I wanted to get a Dr. Pepper and watch Pirates of the Caribbean.  I went into the kitchen and got a soda.  I didn’t turn on any lights, because I didn’t want anyone to see the light on the stairway.  I sat on the couch and drank my soda.  That’s when I heard it…I heard footsteps coming from the other side of the house.  I knew they were footsteps because the carpet made a really weird squishing noise when someone walked on the plastic.  I thought my neighbor had come home and was coming over to get dinner, so I ducked down on the sofa, hoping he wouldn’t see me.  The footsteps stopped at the door and the door swung open, and I heard him walk past the sofa, but I didn’t look…I was still hoping I wouldn’t be seen.  As he passed by, I looked up, thinking I could maybe get up the staircase before he saw me, but there was no one there.  I continued to hear the footsteps in the kitchen, and then heard them coming back, but there was still no one there.  I was really, really scared so I closed my eyes as the footsteps approached the sofa, once again hoping I wouldn’t be seen.  And that’s when I heard it…right by my ear…someone said, in a whisper:   “Zachary…”  Just a whisper…I couldn’t tell if it was a man or a woman…I jumped up and ran up the stairs as fast as I could to my mom’s room.  I wasn’t sleeping.  It wasn’t a dream.  I heard it.  It was real…

There were so many details that just couldn’t be manufactured…the particular sound the carpet made when someone stepped on the plastic…he was so specific and so adamant that he was wide awake.  We decided that if he wasn’t lying then he had to be telling the truth…at least the truth according to his experience.  We weren’t there and so we (the adults of the households, all six of us) told him we believed him.  But we begged him not to tell any of the other children.  Children are very suggestible.  All it would take would be the insinuation that the house was “creepy” and we’d have a houseful of terrified children.  The rest of us agreed that we really needed to pray more and should probably call our parish priest and make an appointment to have the house blessed before someone else had a similar experience.  I think the men of the household were still a bit incredulous, but still…better a blessed house than not!

Unfortunately, we didn’t make the call soon enough.  A few evenings later, my teenage daughter had a similar experience.  This time it wasn’t just a matter of footsteps.  She saw someone…a young woman…on the staircase.  Very young, in a long-sleeved, high-necked dark dress, hair hanging loose…dark and wavy.  She was terrified, and hid her eyes as soon as she saw her, and immediately ran  across the hall to my room.  Now we had two frightened children and no way to convince them that perhaps it was just their imagination.  Zachary remained frightened, but never saw or heard anything after that first experience.  Meredith, on the other hand…from that point on, would regularly see and hear this young woman.  While upstairs, she heard her singing downstairs.  Approaching the staircase, she’d frequently see her at the end of the entry way.  She dreaded every trip up the big staircase, and for awhile, did everything she could to “not see” our ghostly visitor…

And there was Rylee, the baby.  Rylee was barely two years old and began experiencing night terrors.  It didn’t take long before I understood why.  Her crib was beside our bed, not far from the door that led to the outer hall and cloak room.  On at least three or four occasions, I would hear the handle of the door turn.  It didn’t open, but I would hear footsteps that came from the door to the side of the crib.  I would pray and tell “whomever” to leave my child alone…I prayed the St. Michael prayer continually.  I couldn’t bear the noises that I would hear, often praying that some other noise would drown out the sounds.  At least once, I perceived something in the room, by the door, but it was indistinct, unidentifiable.  The disturbance persisted and it was frightening…we needed a priest, and we needed one fast.

To be continued…

Ghost story…

The following events are true, recorded to my best recollection.  I will only share the experiences of our family and the location will not be disclosed…this is our story:

Most ghost stories begin eerily.  Picture this:  A cozy, darkened room lit only by a crackling fire, wind whistling in the eaves as shadows flicker and dance upon the wall…cue the spooky music:

It was a dark and stormy night…

And so it was, when the moving van pulled up in front of our new home.  We were nearly four hours behind schedule, and had hoped to have arrived earlier in the afternoon.  Unfortunately, an unexpected visit to our local Urgent Medical Center resulted in a diagnosis of double pneumonia.  I was given a prescription for strong anti-biotics and told to go home and rest.

Rest?  Hardly possible.  We were moving.  And home?  Well…home was 240 miles away, waiting for us and all our worldly goods.  We packed…and packed…loaded…and loaded.  The adventure had begun.

Hours later we arrived, a tired family of nine and began emptying the moving van, in the dark and rain, on Spy Wednesday, March 2005.  It didn’t take long to find and set up the mattresses for the children, leaving some of the other items for the following day, when we would have to return the moving van.  Our good friends and next door neighbors had graciously prepared a meal for our family.   They were, quite literally next door…only a door separated us, as we were all living in their nearly  6000 square foot Greek Revival “mansion” that was divided into two large units, and one smaller unit, the former back kitchen or smokehouse, which had been transformed into a small two bedroom apartment).

It was through the generous offer of our dear friends that we had embarked upon this strange and wonderful adventure.  We had taken a tremendous leap of faith.  We left behind home and work and embraced the opportunity to live, work and learn amongst other faith-filled Catholics…something we’d not experienced in the community we’d lived in for nearly 19 years.  Three Catholic families resided within this large home:  one which had attended the Latin Mass in the past, another completely devoted to it and our family, who’d only just discovered its beauty.  Six adults, 11 children (which soon increased by two!), three separate dwellings but one unified purpose:  to live in communion with one another.  Not a commune, mind you, though we have often laughingly referred to it as our “Catholic commune” days, no…it was something more.  First and foremost, we shared Faith.  We also shared meals, liturgical celebrations, parties and BBQs.  We laughed together.  Cried together.  Prayed together.  We learned one another’s strengths and weaknesses.  We learned flexibility and cooperation.  It was a struggle.  There were ups and downs…highs and lows…but it was…beautiful.  And lasted for two years, when life changes and the threat of a job transfer for the home’s owners closed that chapter once and for all…

But I digress…you’ve come for a ghost story!  So sit down…and lean in close:

The house was a sea of boxes…with many hands to help, it didn’t take long for us to put things right, and settle in to day to day life.   Three uneventful days and nights passed.  We loved our home, the huge rooms and tremendously high ceilings and windows.  We enjoyed, even more, the beauty of that Holy Week.  It was precious, though two of our little ones were sick, no doubt thanks to Mom.  The following Monday, our friends next door were anxiously waiting the delivery of the rest of their household goods, which had been in storage for a couple months.  It was a blessing that we’d finished with our move, so that we could help them as much as they’d helped us.  We watched the seventy foot truck pull up…watched the movers come in, quickly assessing the three levels of stairs they’d need to traverse to place all of the furniture and boxes,  and we observed how carefully they worked to preserve surfaces…namely, they affixed a sticky plastic sheeting that protected all the carpet.  It was a very rainy March…and a very wise precaution, considering the sheer volume of boxes that would be coming in.

I must give you a mental picture of the house:  imagine, if you can, a large Federalist styled/Greek Revival manse built over 170 years ago.  Columns in the front, a large imposing entryway, with a door on the left, which opened into our side of the house:  huge formal livingroom with built in cabinets and bookcases, a large dining room, kitchen and bath.  Upstairs:  two enormous bedrooms, one opening into the other, a back hall and additional bathroom.  The bedroom at the top of the stairs belonged to the boys.  The bedroom beyond it, to my husband and our two very little girls, both hardly more than babies.  Another door lead from our bedroom to a small hallway which contained two additional doors.  One door lead to the other side of the house, where our daughter, Meredith, had her own room.  The other door lead to a cloak room, which was at the very center of the upstairs potion of the house.  It was the hope of all the residents that the room would be converted to a chapel.  It had remained mostly empty, until the movers arrived and decided it would be the perfect storage unit for the enormous book collection of the other tenants.   So the room was filled, from top to bottom, with boxes of books.

I’m not quite sure when this “revelation” took place, but it was certainly before we noticed anything “odd” occurring.  One of the neighbors came over and made an introduction, immediately noticing that the home’s owner was pregnant.  My friend explained that the baby would be born at home and the neighbor was delighted.  It seemed the home had belonged, at one time, to a physician and on more than one occasion a young lady had given birth in the upstairs room, now the cloak room.

But…

It was also rumored that some other things took place in that room, as well.  Abortion.  How horrible!!  Still, we could rejoice that the laughter of children and the cries of a new baby would soon dispel any of the more unsavory aspect of the house’s history.  Joy would replace sorrow…Life would replace death…

We worked on.

To help my friends, I took over preparing meals for the families for a few days.   My husband had returned to Kentucky to finish up some work around the home we still owned and to finish up the last couple of weeks he had left with his employer.  My friend’s husband was working late hours, so I left our door unlocked to allow him to sneak into the kitchen to grab dinner whenever he came home.  I kept a few Dr. Peppers on hand, too…a favorite amongst the adults…and the children, too, who weren’t allowed to have them, except as a special privilege…

…which is what led my son, Zachary, downstairs in the middle of the night.  The plan:  sneak a Dr. Pepper and watch a late night movie while the adults were sleeping.  And that’s what he did…

Flash forward:  a hysterical eleven year old boy, sobbing, shaking me awake.  I’d never, ever seen him so upset.  He is a total stoic…never sheds a tear and downplays every pain and suffering.  And yet, there he was…weeping…shaking…inarticulate.  I tried to calm him…his words…his words were a rush of fear and pain:

“Something’s down there!  Something’s down there!  Someone…I don’t know…it’s gone…it said my name…mom…it said my name!!”

To be continued…

Daybook…Fall-ish Friday

Visit Peggy at The Simple Woman for more Daybook entries!

FOR TODAYOctober 15th, 2010

Outside my window: a mad swirl of falling leaves and raindrops…windy and wet…gray sky and deliciously chilly…

I am listening to: the whistling wind…

I am wearing : jeans, turtleneck and a cotton cardigan…robo-boot is back…suffering a bit of tendinitis and must give the foot a rest.  Do you think that four hour hike on Saturday had anything to do with it?  Probably…

I am thankful for: Movement.  Mobility.  Healing.  For this lovely season…the season of corn shocks, pumpkins and sweaters.  For three October birthdays…Caitlin yesterday, Abigail on the 19th and Ashley on the 23rd.  My precious girls…

I am reading: Looking for a good read…any suggestions?  Nothing too heavy or depressing, please!

From the kitchen: my favorite room…we’ve had so many wonderful meals lately…seems my creativity is best expressed in kitchen comforts.  Today:  pumpkin spice latte and peanut butter bagel for mom…eggs and cereal of the kiddies.  Lunch:  grilled cheese and tomato soup.  Dinner:  Soup again!  The Soup of Suffering…hehehe…and yummy homemade bread…

I am thinking: about so many different things.   About how things change…and this is good!  The only constant in life, other than God’s love, is change.  This can be both distressing and promising…the fervent become lax and the lax become fervent.  The healthy suffer, and the suffering are healed.  The rich become poor and the poor become rich.  The joyful experience sorrow and the sorrowful…joy.  We should never, ever despair…all things change.  We should never, ever become complacent…all things change.

All things…but not GOD…His love is ever constant, His care ever present, His desire to be united with His children for all eternity…unchanging…

I am creating: picking up some lace today to make a few of these…thanks, Kimberlee, for the outstanding tutorial!

On my iPod: reading a little Chesterton, listening to a lot of Coldplay during physical therapy and watching quite a few Netflix movies…

Towards a real education: school is going so very well.  Not perfectly, mind you.  But well…I’m amazed at the progress we’re making with such limited resources.  When I tell you my school book budget was “zero,” this is not an exaggeration!  And yet…I’ve “found” everything I’ve needed…not wanted…but needed.  And that’s what matters most.  My latest revelation:  all the books…all the resources in the world…will not make for a successful school year.  It’s all about the will.  Where there’s a will, there’s a way.  No doubt about it…this school year is living proof!  To God be all the glory…

I am hoping and praying: for my dear friends newest little one:  Bonaventura Sophia.  When you have a chance, offer a prayer for this sweet little one, perfectly healthy, loved and welcomed by her very happy family.   And, if you can, please pray for a lovely, faithful, homeschooling mom named Theresa who is battling breast cancer…

In the garden: The garden is no more…freezing temperatures on the way…all is mowed down and come February we’ll be planning for next season…

Around the House: it’s not Lent, and yet I have the desire to purge…to eliminate…to streamline…EVERYTHING!!  I…want…less!  Less…is…more!

On keeping home: See the above.   I’m devising a plan.  I’ll keep you posted…

One of my favorite things: Nights with my teen boys.  We have such funny conversations and they relish the “adult” time with mom and dad.  Never underestimate how much your teenagers need you.  They need your conversation.  They need your fellowship.  They need your direction and encouragement.  There are so many voices competing for supremacy in their lives.  The teen years are so, so brief…do not give into the false message that they “just need their space.”  No…they need you now more than ever…but not in a cloying, clinging way.  They need to know that you are there…that you’re consistent.  They should never, ever wonder “what would mom or dad think?”  They should know…they should know that they are loved.  Appreciated.  And that their salvation is the ultimate goal…God bless all parents of teenagers!

A few plans for the rest of the week: a meeting with my husband to discuss paring down our “stuff.”   Purging wardrobes and hitting the thrift stores to replenish those things that are really beyond serviceable.  Looking over our November liturgical celebrations.  Planning a bbq to celebrate a little girl’s birthday.

A few picture thoughts I’m sharing:

A fall hike…four hours of bliss!


 

GEOCACHE!!

 

Blessings,

Columbus speaks…refuting revisionist history!

A re-post from my archives:


Oh, the evils of revisionist history! Despite a good portion of the nation’s refusal to honor this good Catholic explorer, bowing to the spirit political “correctness”, we will celebrate today and I humbly submit last year’s post:

This amazing letter is a translation from the original Latin, and gives us a quick glimpse into the heart of Cristobal Colon/Christopher Columbus.

When I was a child, Columbus was a hero. Now, thanks to a little “revisionist history”, Columbus has become a pariah, a violator of human rights and dignity. Lest we all jump on the band wagon, here is an outstanding quote from an agnostic professor of sociology from the University of Brussels, Dr. Leo Moulin, and he says,

‘Pay attention to this incredulous old man who knows what he says. The masterpiece of anti-Christian propaganda is that it has succeeded in creating in Christians, above all in Catholics, a bad conscience, instilling in them embarrassment, if not shame, of their own history. There has not been a historical problem, error or suffering which has not been imputed to you, and you, almost always ignorant of your past, have ended up believing it to the point of supporting it. On the contrary, I, agnostic but also a historian who tries to be objective, tell you that you should react in the name of truth.’

Thank you, Dr. Moulin, for that excellent reminder!

Concerning the Islands Recently Discovered in the Indian Sea (1493)

Introduction added by Aliander de Cosco

Letter of Christopher Columbus, to whom our age owes much, concerning the islands recently discovered in the Indian sea. For the search of which, eight months before, he was sent under the auspices and at the cost of the most invincible Ferdinand, king of Spain. Addressed to the magnificent lord Raphael Sanxis, a treasurer of the same most illustrious king, and which the noble and learned man Aliander de Cosco has translated from the Spanish language into Latin, on the third of the kalends of May, 1493, the first year of the pontificate of Alexander the Sixth.

Because my undertakings have attained success, I know that it will be pleasing to you: these I have determined to relate, so that you may be made acquainted with everything done and discovered in this our voyage. On the thirty-third day after I departed from Cadiz, I came to the Indian sea, where I found many islands inhabited by men without number, of all which I took possession for our most fortunate king, with proclaiming heralds and flying standards, no one objecting. To the first of these I gave the name of the blessed Saviour, on whose aid relying I had reached this as well as the other islands. But the Indians call it Guanahany. I also called each one of the others by a new name. For I ordered one island to be called Santa Maria of the Conception, another Fernandina, another Isabella, another Juana, and so on with the rest.

As soon as we had arrived at that island which I have just now said was called Juana, I proceeded along its coast towards the west for some distance; I found it so large and without perceptible end, that I believed it to be not an island, but the continental country of Cathay; seeing, however, no towns or cities situated on the sea-coast, but only some villages and rude farms, with whose inhabitants I was unable to converse, because as soon as they saw us they took flight.

I proceeded farther, thinking that I would discover some city or large residences. At length, perceiving that we had gone far enough, that nothing new appeared, and that this way was leading us to the north, which I wished to avoid, because it was winter on the land, and it was my intention to go to the south, moreover the winds were becoming violent, I therefore determined that no other plans were practicable, and so, going back, I returned to a certain bay that I had noticed, from which I sent two of our men to the land, that they might find out whether there was a king in this country, or any cities. These men traveled for three days, and they found people and houses without number, but they were small and without any government, therefore they returned.

Now in the meantime I had learned from certain Indians, whom I had seized there, that this country was indeed an island, and therefore I proceeded towards the east, keeping all the time near the coast, for 322 miles, to the extreme ends of this island. From this place I saw another island to the east distant from this Juana 54 miles, which I called forthwith Hispana; and I sailed to it; and I steered along the northern coast, as at Juana, towards the east, 564 miles.

And the said Juana and the other islands there appear very fertile. This island is surrounded by many very safe and wide harbors, not excelled by any others that I have ever seen. Many great and salubrious rivers flow through it. There are also many very high mountains there. All these islands are very beautiful, and distinguished by various qualities; they are accessible, and full of a great variety of trees stretching up to the stars; the leaves of which I believe are never shed, for I saw them as green and flourishing as they are usually in Spain in the month of May; some of them were blossoming, some were bearing fruit, some were in other conditions; each one was thriving in its own way. The nightingale and various other birds without number were singing, in the month of November, when I was exploring them.

There are besides in the said island Juana seven or eight kinds of palm trees, which far excel ours in height and beauty, just as all the other trees, herbs, and fruits do. There are also excellent pine trees, vast plains and meadows, a variety of birds, a variety of honey, and a variety of metals, excepting iron. In the one which was called Hispana, as we said above, there are great and beautiful mountains, vast fields, groves, fertile plains, very suitable for planting and cultivating, and for the building of houses. The convenience of the harbors in this island, and the remarkable number of rivers contributing to the healthfulness of man, exceed belief, unless one has seen them. The trees, pasturage, and fruits of this island differ greatly from those of Juana. This Hispana, moreover, abounds in different kinds of spices, in gold, and in metals. On this island, indeed, and on all the others which I have seen, and of which I have knowledge, the inhabitants of both sexes go always naked, just as they came into the world, except some of the women, who use a covering of a leaf or some foliage, or a cotton cloth, which they make themselves for that purpose.

All these people lack, as I said above, every kind of iron; they are also without weapons, which indeed are unknown; nor are they competent to use them, not on account of deformity of body, for they are well formed, but because they are timid and full of fear. They carry for weapons, however, reeds baked in the sun, on the lower ends of which they fasten some shafts of dried wood rubbed down to a point; and indeed they do not venture to use these always; for it frequently happened when I sent two or three of my men to some of the villages, that they might speak with the natives, a compact troop of the Indians would march out, and as soon as they saw our men approaching, they would quickly take flight, children being pushed aside by their fathers, and fathers by their children. And this was not because any hurt or injury had been inflicted on any one of them, for to every one whom I visited and with whom I was able to converse, I distributed whatever I had, cloth and many other things, no return being made to me; but they are by nature fearful and timid.

Yet when they perceive that they are safe, putting aside all fear, they are of simple manners and trustworthy, and very liberal with everything they have, refusing no one who asks for anything they may possess, and even themselves inviting us to ask for things. They show greater love for all others than for themselves; they give valuable things for trifles, being satisfied even with a very small return, or with nothing; however, I forbade that things so small and of no value should be given to them, such as pieces of plates, dishes, and glass, likewise keys and shoelace tips although if they were to obtain these, it seemed to them like getting the most beautiful jewels in the world. It happened, indeed, that a certain sailor obtained in exchange for a shoelace tips as much worth of gold as would equal three golden coins; and likewise other things for articles of very little value, especially for new silver coins, and for some gold coins, to obtain which they gave whatever the seller desired, as for instance an ounce and a half and two ounces of gold, or thirty and forty pounds of cotton, with which they were already acquainted. They also traded cotton and gold for pieces of bows, bottles, jugs and jars, like persons without reason, which I forbade because it was very wrong; and I gave to them many beautiful and pleasing things that I had brought with me, no value being taken in exchange, in order that I might the more easily make them friendly to me, that they might be made worshipers of Christ, and that they might be full of love towards our king, queen, and prince, and the whole Spanish nation; also that they might be zealous to search out and collect, and deliver to us those things of which they had plenty, and which we greatly needed.

These people practice no kind of idolatry; on the contrary they firmly believe that all strength and power, and in fact all good things are in heaven, and that I had come down from thence with these ships and sailors; and in this belief I was received there after they had put aside fear. Nor are they slow or unskilled, but of excellent and acute understanding; and the men who have navigated that sea give an account of everything in an admirable manner; but they never saw people clothed, nor these kind of ships. As soon as I reached that sea, I seized by force several Indians on the first island, in order that they might learn from us, and in like manner tell us about those things in these lands of which they themselves had knowledge; and the plan succeeded, for in a short time we understood them and they us, sometimes by gestures and signs, sometimes by words; and it was a great advantage to us. They are coming with me now, yet always believing that I descended from heaven, although they have been living with us for a long time, and are living with us to-day. And these men were the first who announced it wherever we landed, continually proclaiming to the others in a loud voice, “Come, come, and you will see the celestial people.” Whereupon both women and men, both young men and old men, laying aside the fear caused a little before, visited us eagerly, filling the road with a great crowd, some bringing food, and some drink, with great love and extraordinary goodwill.

On every island there are many canoes of a single piece of wood; and though narrow, yet in length and shape similar to our row-boats, but swifter in movement. They steer only by oars. Some of these boats are large, some small, some of medium size. Yet they row many of the larger row-boats with eighteen cross-benches, with which they cross to all those islands, which are innumerable, and with these boats they perform their trading, and carry on commerce among them. I saw some of these row- boats or canoes which were carrying seventy and eighty rowers.

In all these island there is no difference in the appearance of the people, nor in the manners and language, but all understand each other mutually; a fact that is very important for the end which I suppose to be earnestly desired by our most illustrious king, that is, their conversion to the holy religion of Christ, to which in truth, as far as I can perceive, they are very ready and favorably inclined.

I said before how I proceeded along the island Juana in a straight line from west to east 322 miles, according to which course and the length of the way, I am able to say that this Juana is larger than England and Scotland together; for besides the said 322 thousand paces, there are two more provinces in that part which lies toward the west, which I did not visit; one of these the Indians call Anan, whose inhabitants are born with tails. They extend to 180 miles in length, as I have learned from those Indians I have with me, who are all acquainted with these islands.

But the circumference of Hispana is greater than all Spain from Colonia [Catalonia] to Fontarabia [Fuenterrabia]. And this is easily proved, because its fourth side, which I myself passed along in a straight line from west to east, extends 540 miles. This island is to be desired and is very desirable, and not to be despised; in which, although as I have said, I solemnly took possession of all the others for our most invincible king, and their government is entirely committed to the said king, yet I especially took possession of a certain large town, in a very convenient location, and adapted to all kinds of gain and commerce, to which we give the name of our Lord of the Nativity. And I commanded a fort to be built where forthwith, which must be completed by this time; in which I left as many men as seemed necessary, with all kinds of arms, and plenty of food for more than a year. Likewise one caravel, and for the construction of others men skilled in this trade and in other professions; and also the extraordinary good will and friendship of the king of this island toward us. For those people are very amiable and kind, to such a degree that the said king gloried in calling me his brother. And if they should change their minds, and should wish to hurt those who remained in the fort, they would not be able, because they lack weapons, they go naked, and are too cowardly. For that reason those who hold the said fort are at least able to resist easily this whole island, without any imminent danger to themselves, so long as they do not transgress the regulations and command which we gave.

In all these islands, as I have understood, each man is content with only one wife, except the princes or kings, who are permitted to have twenty. The women appear to work more than the men. I was not able to find out surely whether they have individual property, for I saw that one man had the duty of distributing to the others, especially refreshments, food, and things of that kind. I found no monstrosities among them, as very many supposed, but men of great reverence, and friendly. Nor are they black like the Ethiopians. They have straight hair, hanging down. They do not remain where the solar rays send out the heat, for the strength of the sun is very great here, because it is distant from the equinoctial line, as it seems, only twenty-six degrees. On the tops of the mountains too the cold is severe, but the Indians, however, moderate it, partly by being accustomed to the place, and partly by the help of very hot victuals, of which they eat frequently and immoderately.

And so I did not see any monstrosity, nor did I have knowledge of them any where, excepting a certain island named Charis, which is the second in passing from Hispana to India. This island is inhabited by a certain people who are considered very warlike by their neighbors. These eat human flesh. The said people have many kinds of row-boats, in which they cross over to all the other Indian islands, and seize and carry away everything that they can. They differ in no way from the others, only that they wear long hair like the women. They use bows and darts made of reeds, with sharpened shafts fastened to the larger end, as we have described. On this account they are considered warlike, wherefore the other Indians are afflicted with continual fear, but I regard them as of no more account than the others. These are the people who visit certain women, who alone inhabit the island of Mateunin, which is the first in passing from Hispana to India. These women, moreover, perform no kind of work of their sex, for they use bows and darts, like those I have described of their husbands; they protect themselves with sheets of copper, of which there is a great abundance among them. They tell of another island greater than the aforesaid Hispana, whose inhabitants are without hair, and which abounds in gold above all the others. I am bringing with me men of this island and of the others that I have seen, who give proof of the things that I have described.

Finally, that I may compress in a few words the brief account of our departure and quick return, and the gain, I promise this, that If I am supported by our most invincible sovereigns with a little of their help, as much gold can be supplied as they will need, indeed as much of spices, of cotton, of mastic gum (which is only found in Chios), also as much of aloes wood, and as many slaves for the navy, as their Majesties will wish to demand. Likewise rhubarb and other kinds of spices, which I suppose these men whom I left in the said fort have already found, and will continue to find; since I remained in no place longer than the winds forced me, except in the town of the Nativity, while I provided for the building of the fort, and for the safety of all. Which things, although they are very great and remarkable, yet they would have been much greater, if I had been aided by as many ships as the occasion required.

Truly great and wonderful is this, and not corresponding to our merits, but to the holy Christian religion, and to the piety and religion of our sovereigns, because what the human understanding could not attain, that the divine will has granted to human efforts. For God is wont to listen to his servants who love his precepts, even in impossibilities, as has happened to us on the present occasion, who have attained that which hitherto mortal men have never reached. For if anyone has written or said anything about these islands, it was all with obscurities and conjectures; no one claims that he had seen them; from which they seemed like fables. Therefore let the king and queen, the princes and their most fortunate kingdoms, and all other countries of Christendom give thanks to our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, who has bestowed upon us so great a victory and gift. Let religious processions be solemnized; let sacred festivals be given; let the churches be covered with festive garlands. Let Christ rejoice on earth, as he rejoices in heaven, when he foresees coming to salvation so many souls of people hitherto lost. Let us be glad also, as well on account of the exaltation of our faith, as on account of the increase of our temporal affairs, of which not only Spain, but universal Christendom will be partaker. These things that have been done are thus briefly related. Farewell.

Lisbon, the day before the Ides of March.

Christopher Columbus, Admiral of the Ocean Fleet.

My beads…

My Beads

Sweet blessèd beads! I would not part
With one of you for richest gem
That gleams in kingly diadem:
Ye know the history of my heart.

For I have told you every grief
In all the days of twenty years,
And I have moistened you with tears,
And in your decades found relief.

Ah! time has fled, and friends have failed,
And joys have died; but in my needs
Ye were my friends, my blessed beads!
And ye consoled me when I wailed.

For many and many a time, in grief,
My weary fingers wandered round
Thy circled chain, and always found
In some Hail Mary sweet relief.

How many a story you might tell
Of inner life, to all unknown;
I trusted you and you alone,
But ah! ye keep my secrets well.

Ye are the only chain I wear-
A sign that I am but the slave,
In life, in death, beyond the grave,
Of Jesus and His Mother fair.

~Fr. Abram J. Ryan~

Mother’s Way…

October is the Month of the Rosary, and consequently, dedicated to our Blessed Mother, Mary.  This afternoon, one of my younger sons recited the following poem from his reading book…it is so precious, I can’t help but share it!  How much I want to be that mother…to provide my children the example of the “mother’s way!”  In Mary, we have the perfect example of the “Mother’s Way…”  and she will always lead us home…to God!

Mother’s Way

Fr. Abram J. Ryan

Oft within our little cottage,
As the shadows gently fall,
While the sunlight touches softly
One sweet face upon the wall,
Do we gather close together,
And in hushed and tender tone
Ask each other’s full forgiveness
For the wrong that each has done.
Should you wonder why this custom
At the ending of the day,
Eye and voice would quickly answer:
“It was once our mother’s way.”

If our home be bright and cheery,
If it holds a welcome true,
Opening wide its door of greeting
To the many — not the few;
If we share our father’s bounty
With the needy day by day,
‘Tis because our hearts remember
This was ever mother’s way.

Sometimes when our hands grow weary,
Or our tasks seem very long;
When our burdens look too heavy,
And we deem the right all wrong;
Then we gain a new, fresh courage,
And we rise to proudly say:
“Let us do our duty bravely —
This was our dear mother’s way.”

Then we keep her memory precious,
While we never cease to pray
That at last, when lengthening shadows
Mark the evening of our day,
They may find us waiting calmly
To go home our mother’s way.

Blessings,

Daybook…Fall is here!

Visit Peggy at The Simple Woman for more Daybook entries!

FOR TODAY – October 4th, 2010

Outside my window: gray sky…a chilly breeze tossing leaves and rustling cornstalks.  A decidedly Fall-ish morning, welcomed despite its apparent dreariness…

I am listening to: the morning news.  Wondering why on earth I tuned in this morning, only to hear a reporter tell a father, who had responded with extreme anger and frustration to his daughter’s continued harassment on a school bus, that “sometimes, kids just have to learn to fend for themselves…”  Kudos to the father, who at risk to his own freedom, defended his daughter (a special needs child) from violence and harassment.  And, of course, he was promptly arrested while the bullies remain at large…

Reason #5,782 outlining why our family homeschools…no bullies!

I am wearing : flannel pjs, beautiful handknit pumpkin orange merino socks (thanks, Sandra!) and a shawl.  I foresee a sweater and turtleneck in today’s wardrobe selection!

I am thankful for: yesterday’s Mass, great conversation with friends afterwards, a relaxing afternoon, and a sweet husband who made a rocking pot of chili and homemade cornbread.

I am (re) reading: Sonnets From the Portugese by Elizabeth Barrett Browning.  The intimacy of her poetry…the love so clearly written in every line and verse…makes me feel like I’ve stumbled upon a private conversation…or read her love letters…she takes my breath away…

From the kitchen: hot coffee, bagels and Nutella.   20 lbs. of apples waiting to be peeled, cored and converted into applesauce and apple butter.  Pie pumpkins…to be oven roasted and converted to pumpkin butter.  Oven baked BBQ ribs, baked beans and garlic cheese mashed potatoes for supper.  Cupcakes with cute animal sprinkles for dessert…it’s the Feast of St. Francis of Assisi!

I am thinking: about how well the school days are  going.  It’s exhausting.  Challenging.  Messy and noisy.  Praising God for it all…

I am creating: finishing a second Apple Hat.   My girls have enjoyed their Pumpkin Hats for the past 5 years…time for an update!  I use the Pumpkin Hat pattern, cast on 81 stitches, but omit the garter stitches, using red for the body of the hat and brown for the stem, and then a knit a simple leaf for adornment.  Very, very cute!


On my iPod:  Netflix!!  Watching British mini-series in my spare time…on Middlemarch currently.

Towards a real education: Loving Khan Academy for upper level math and Chemistry.  My boys are learning so much, and it’s really freed a lot of my instruction time.  For the youngers:  having fun with Greek history. Of course, October is just chock-full of wonderful Feast Days and the beauty of the changing season.  It’s hard not to love school right now…and it certainly helps that the students are enthusiastic…for now!

I am hoping and praying: for my Aunt Judy.  She’s attending R.C.I.A.  Most of our family is on the way to converting!  God is good…please keep Aunt Judy in your prayers…

In the garden: A few straggling tomato plants…we’ll harvest the remainder today.  Many seeds have been bagged and saved…we love our heirlooms!  It’s hard to believe the season is over…

Around the House: messy.  Too many things on too many surfaces.  Basics are done…kitchen is clean, classroom is tidied, living room is liveable…the rest:  well…we’ll deal with that later!

On keeping home: a ton of laundry to fold.  Damp, drizzly days have hampered our clothesline time…consequently, we’re behind on the laundry.  Time to play “catch up!”

One of my favorite things: sweaters and turtlenecks.  I love the temperature change…the coziness of a sweater, wool socks and the smell of pumpkins and cinnamon.  The sound of leaves crunching under foot and wind whistling in the eaves…

A few plans for the rest of the week: tweak my Fall menu, prepare for guests, live in the moment, pray more and worry less…

A picture thought I’m sharing:

School days:

Hershey Kiss roses...the children handed these out to friends at yesterday's Mass to mark the traditional Feast of St. Therese

Blessings,

Guardian Angel kisses…

Happy Feast of the Holy Guardian Angels! What joy to honor our dearest and most faithful friend…and what wisdom in these words from the saints:

Make yourself familiar with the Angels, and behold them frequently in spirit. Without being seen, they are present with you.

St. Francis de Sales

Beside each believer stands an Angel as protector and shepherd, leading him to life.

St. Basil the Great

When tempted, invoke your Angel. he is more eager to help you than you are to be helped! Ignore the devil and do not be afraid of him: He trembles and flees at the sight of your Guardian Angel.

St. John Bosco

I bind to myself today the power in the love of the Seraphim, in the obedience of the Angels, in the ministration of the Archangels, in the hope of Resurrection unto reward, in the prayers of the Patriarchs, in the predictions of the Prophets, in the preaching of the Apostles, in the faith of the Confessors, in the purity of the holy Virgins, in the deeds of Righteous men.

St. Patrick of Ireland

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Thought I’d share a “sweet” little craft idea from Hershey’s…although I’ve adapted it to suit this feast day, rather than Christmas.

What you’ll need:

Hershey’s Kisses or Hugs (I used traditional Kisses and Special Dark)

Pony beads

Construction paper, foil, wrapping paper…your choice (I found a roll of foil leaves at the Dollar tree and trimmed them to look like wings…you may design your own or follow suit!)

Hot glue gun

Take one Kiss and put a drop of hot glue on the very tip.  Place pony bead on top.  Cut out wings and glue to the back of the Kiss.

That’s it!   Guardian Angel kisses.  They’re really quite adorable…and so very easy to put together!

Enjoy the day, and may the Holy Angels guard and protect you…

Blessings,

Blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑