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Catholic Family Vignettes

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

The New Face Of Poverty…

**A few friends requested that I post a copy of my final exam essay, “The New Face of Poverty.”  It’s based upon David K. Shipler’s “At the Edge of Poverty” and also contains elements of an essay I wrote some time ago, The Poverty of Inconvenience.  It’s a little “researchy…”  Thanks for reading!**

At the Edge of Poverty, by David K. Shipler, examines the lives of those who live on the fringe of society, poised precariously between affluence and destitution, living lives of near invisibility, all while desperately pursuing The American Dream. Unfortunately, this “one time possible dream” is now more of a myth, one only barely couched in reality, sold under the guise that “any individual of the humblest origins can climb into well-being” (Shipler ).  Shipler’s goal is to strip the mask that covers the new face of poverty in American and to dispel the inaccurate assumptions that “a low wage is somehow the worker’s fault” and that “welfare was (is) an index of immorality” (Shipler). Poverty in America is the new “norm,” and the new face of poverty is that of the gainfully employed and those who are struggling against societal perceptions as to what defines “poor.”

There is very little dispute that the gap between affluence and poverty has widened “with a median net worth of $833,600 among the top 10 percent and just $7,900 for the bottom 20 percent” (Shipler ). Yet, as Shipler reveals, these individuals fit into no easy category, for they are “neither helpless nor impotent, but stand on various points along the spectrum between the polar opposites of personal and social responsibility”.  He presents the reader with alternating portraits of despair and hope, of tragedy and triumph, demonstrating that poverty is personal, and doesn’t fit any of the simple definitions one would find in a dictionary.

Yet, poverty in America doesn’t quite look like poverty in other countries. Many of the poor in America own cell phones, computers, automobiles and live in homes with inside plumbing, air conditioning, heat and at least one television. As Shipler reveals, “most of the impoverished people of the world would be dazzled by the apartments, telephones, television sets, running water, clothing and other amenities that surround the poor in America”.  Yet the trappings of affluence are merely distractions. Despite acknowledging these amenities, Shipler is careful to state that this “does not mean that the (American) poor are not poor, or that those living on the edge of poverty are not truly on the edge of a cliff”.

The view on poverty in America is somewhat misleading, for as At the Edge of Poverty reveals, “the federal poverty line cuts far below the amount needed for a decent living, because the Census Bureau still uses the basic formula designed in 1964 by the Social Security Administration, with four modest revisions in subsequent years” (Shipler). Without considering the many and varied expenses and expenditures that make up daily life in America, this formula fails to reflect just how close to the edge many American families live. It is a harsh reality that most of the marginal poor “have less control than the affluent over their private decisions, less insulation from the cold machinery of government, less agility to navigate around the pitfalls of a frenetic world driven by technology and competition” (Shipler). Poised upon the edge, most of those who “fall” are only observed by those balancing upon the same precipice, fearful that the plunge is just one misstep away. Those who live in relative ease and affluence, can never truly realize the psychological impact of daily deprivation.

Quite simply, poverty is relative to the experience of the one who lives it. It is either ennobling or destructive, depending upon the perceptions of those who struggle on a daily basis, one paycheck away from homelessness, one illness away from joblessness. Poverty can be, alternately, a friend and an enemy, as I’ve learned through personal experience:

“Truly I tell you,” he said, “this poor widow has put in more than all the others. All these people gave their gifts out of their wealth; but she out of her poverty put in all she had to live on.”

“Mom…are we poor?” This surprising question was posed by one of my sons, a few years ago. It was not precipitated by a sudden financial catastrophe. We hadn’t lost our home, there was food in the fridge at that time and payday was just around the corner. “Why do you ask son? Are you worried about something?” One never knows what secret worries may trouble the heart of a child. “One of my friends said our family was poor. I didn’t know what he meant and I didn’t know what to say. Are we poor?” I reassured him that he lacked for nothing, that the wealth of love and life that surrounds him every day is more than most people in the world can ever dream. The answer satisfied him and he rejoined a veritable “treasure trove” of brothers and sisters in play. Why did he ask? And how does a child define poverty? On the outside, our life appears to be one of affluence. Appearances, however, can be deceiving. As a family of eight, we already face the challenges inherent in providing for more than the median sized family. And yet, we know deprivation:

We know what it is to be hungry, when the cabinets are empty and payday is a couple days away. We’ve felt the bitter cold, when we’ve run out of propane and had limited resources for heating our home. We’ve known the fear of illness and no insurance. We live without air conditioning and cable television. We’ve faced those days when there wasn’t enough gas in the car to make it to our next destination. Still, there is great irony in contemplating these words and writing of poverty as I sit before a computer, hooked up to the internet, with a roof over my head, healthy children, a garden thriving and food in the refrigerator and cabinets.

This is the new face of poverty, it isn’t the most obvious, but it is that of many American families. These families live in the shadows, hidden as are most of those who struggle, understanding that this form of poverty is a dirty word in the mouth of most Americans. It is something to be shunned and abhorred, much as the ancients would shun and abhor the leper. There are some who would insist that those of us who struggle are experiencing a bit of divine retribution, that disordered finances and poverty are the result of laziness or ineptitude. I would argue that a degree of poverty isn’t necessarily a curse, that it can even be good, that it ennobles, uplifts and fosters an appreciation for the simple things in life. Those of us, who are materially poor yet spiritually rich, exist as an indictment upon the world, as a conviction as well as a reminder of the blessings of ease and plenty.

Yes, we are poor. But it is the poverty of inconvenience, of difficulty and noble struggle. It is the war that is daily waged by the average American family. We are the new face of poverty. We are not the “Occupiers.” We are not Socialists. We do not judge the wealthy as greedy or immoral, but praise them for their ingenuity, societal and economic contributions. We do not seek what isn’t ours. We are always more likely to see others as less fortunate than ourselves. We hope for more, but spend little time lamenting that which we lack, nor do we curse or rail against those who have more. Poverty has many faces, one need only look around to appreciate the beauty and diversity of those who struggle to prevail, while in its grip. One need only look inside to see that poverty and all its repercussions, is one of the most powerful, destructive and, consequently motivating conditions, and is still as yet so little understood by those outside its realm.

Blessings,

Shipler, David K. “At the Edge of Poverty.” The Working Poor – Invisible In America. Vintage – Random House. New York. Print.

Creekside with the birthday girl…

A birthday in a large family is a treat for everyone…

This evening we celebrate Rylee, age 9…our ninth and seemingly last child.  What a joy…

It was so lovely to pack a delicious dinner and travel to one of our favorite haunts with our favorite 9 year old and the rest of our crew…

For dining…

Tree climbing…

Rock hunting…

Arrowhead finding…

(Zachary is so proud of his Neolithic arrowhead find…he even let the birthday girl pose with his treasure:)

Swimming and resting…

It is truly the simplest things that bring the most joy.  In two days, we mark another May birthday and my big guy, Michael, has asked for the same kind of celebration.

Have cooler, will travel!

Blessings,

Five years…

Catholic Family Vignettes is five years old today…

I remember when I told my husband that I was going to start writing a blog.  I told him I couldn’t imagine that there would actually be very many people who would want to muddle through my thoughts and musings, but wouldn’t it be cool if, say, 3000 people read something I wrote?  Or if I could make some new friends?  And wouldn’t it be great to have a journal of sorts of who we are and what we do?  Sometimes in the rush and haste of it all I forget…

Five years later, nearly 280,000 visitors, 1190 posts, 4000 comments and a whole lot of friends, I’m awed by the technology that bridges continents and hearts…so many of you have been faithful to this little space even when I haven’t.  I thank you.  I feel as though I’ve received so much more than I’ve given and I thank you for that as well.

My life has been rather crazy of late.  Full time mothering, home education, homemaking and college have stretched me to the max.  There’s been a good deal of stress from so many outside sources that have rocked my world and put me on my knees…but you, my faithful friends, have been there with words of encouragement and support…I’m awed.

So thank you again.  Thank for sharing this journey with me.  I hope to more faithfully journal our hopes and joys, sorrows and pain.  God bless you for your prayerful presence…

Blessings,

The Garden

She lives in a garden. A beautiful garden filled with sunlight. When, as a young woman, she was asked to envision her life, she saw herself living in a high rise apartment in the heart of a big city with a potted plant as a companion. Instead, God, in His infinite wisdom, placed her in the center of a magnificent garden, surrounded by blooms of incomparable beauty. By her “yes” to life, she was given it in abundance and worked day and night, lovingly tending her little patch of Heaven.

She had never considered that each time a new seed was sewn, the boundaries that defined her, would expand, too. The rougher edges of selfishness that she was never able to file away, gradually smoothed. “This is who I am!” she thought in wonder and marveled that her own sense of self had so altered from those early days of musing.

But the little path that wound through her garden one day became a rocky road and one of her little blooms had lost its color. Another no longer unfurled its petals. Another still had become choked with weeds having moved to a soil much different than that which it had enjoyed in the shelter of the garden. She began to despair. Gazing in wonder at the lovely blooms that filled her world with color, she still sighed for those which seemed lost, and redoubled her efforts to tend the ones that needed her care. But many times she would leave her large garden and travel the rocky road to find those bruised and trampled flowers. Fighting predators and disease, she tried to offer remedies and comfort. Oftentimes, she would barely recognize them…their beauty so marred by neglect, their fragrance diminished. Her little flowers had forgotten the garden, and though tended so lovingly for so long; they had lost all memory of the original Gardener, who had so lovingly nestled them in a place of love and security. She grieved. A cloud had descended that covered the sun and she feared that her skills were no longer sufficient to tend such a large garden. Every little weed, every little bug seemed an enemy of monumental proportion and many days she trembled and watered that garden with her tears.

But then the Gardener reminded her that these little blooms were only ever loaned to her for a time. She was to tend them with her whole heart, body and soul, giving life-water and light until the time that each might settle roots in other fertile soil. But she could not choose that soil for them…for just as the original Gardener had let her choose where and how to sow, so must these frail flowers do. He told her that His best gardeners kneel in the midst of dirt and stone, rock and mud and wait for the promised yield, each plant blooming and producing according to its kind and schedule.

She gazed lovingly amongst the tender blooms and shoots around her, secure in the knowledge that her efforts are not in vain. For as surely as the sun rises and sets, as the dew and raindrops fall, so shall her garden, through her patience and diligence, burst into fruit and flower in His time…

He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end. ~Ecclesiastes 3:11~

Blessings,

It happened one Mother’s Day…

The following event occurred on Mother’s Day 2000 and is one of my favorite memories…

It was a beautiful Sunday morning. The sky was crystal clear, a celestial blue of such depth…the bowers of the flowering crab apple tree in our backyard were laden with snow-white blossoms. Each gentle breeze sent a shower of petals upon the wind. To drink in this beauty, to exult in the glory of God’s creation on the Sabbath – what could be a more perfect way to spend Mother’s Day?

Alas, these are the questions you ask yourself when your entire family is sick with the stomach flu, you have just missed attending Holy Mass as well as the May crowning of our Blessed Mother and looming before you are prospects for a day of hard labor (nurturing the sick, cleaning up the bed clothes and the sure knowledge that NO ONE wants dinner!) Our family numbered seven children at this time, and all of them were sick. As the day wore on, I began to lapse into a serious state of self-pity. “Why the Sabbath, Lord? And Mother’s Day?!” Though I continued my duties faithfully, interiorly I was not a faithful servant at all. It was now mid-afternoon and I walked into my kitchen (which was a wreck by this time) to assess the possibilities for some kind of meal, knowing that very little would be palatable to my poor, suffering children. My husband, of course, has the patience of a saint, and provided so much assistance, but I could only pray that his optimism would sustain us all, for I was feeling wretched inside. As I passed the large glass doors to my backyard, the brilliant blue of the sky and the gentle breezes beckoned. I stepped outside, sat down at the table on the back patio and cried.

(We should never underestimate how much we need the graces given at every Mass. These very graces make possible the diligent performance of the duties suited to our vocation. I felt devoid of grace! Weak and pathetic, that I could feel bad for myself while my children were suffering sickness).

Through my tears, I looked over at my much neglected Mary garden and beheld the statue of our Lady. No cards or flowers for the Holy Mother of God on Mother’s Day. The Mother of God was given a “sword” that would pierce her heart. I decided at that moment to give Mother’s Day to our Lady. I dried my tears, walked over to my garden and began to clear the many weeds that were crowding about Mary. I began to think of these weeds as the little distractions of my daily life – my pride, my self-pity and a tendency towards a too “Martha” approach to my vocation. As the weeds were cleared, the flowers became increasingly visible…rather like the virtues that our Lady so humbly espouses and that I had allowed to become hidden in my own life. I began to hum as the work continued…it was so peaceful, so quiet, and soon I was singing “Salve Regina”. A few moments passed and my precious husband stepped outside to see what had become of his wife. Though his first words were “honey, I am so sorry”, he was truly greeted by a much happier wife and together we both continued the work of beautifying our Lady’s garden.

One by one, our sick children began to come outside to see where their parents had gone. Five of the children were now outside (the eldest was inside with the baby and a terrible headache), each one wishing their Mother a Happy Mother’s Day…and it could not have been sweeter. In the midst of their suffering they remembered their mother (just as in the midst of my suffering I had remembered my Mother).

Gathered in our backyard, surrounding a small patch of earth upon which rested a statue of our Blessed Mother, we placed the small, silk floral crown which had been reserved for all of our previous May Crownings. Five sick children and two exhausted parents honored the Mother of God in the only way we could.

Above our heads, a very large red-tailed hawk was lazily circling. This hawk was soon noticed by a pair of robins that were nesting locally and were extremely concerned about the danger this predator posed to their young. The two small birds attacked furiously, raising a tremendous commotion that soon drew the attention of the family. We observed the antics of these birds briefly (and all of us are certain that this activity served only to draw our attention skyward) because a much more fantastic phenomena was occurring at this time. The sun was directly above us in a cloudless sky, and surrounding the sun was a large circular rainbow, which was also circled by yet another rainbow only ¾ formed. I cannot adequately convey our surprise and awe at this spectacle. It truly seemed an event given as a gift from our Lord through the intercession of the Blessed Mother. As we all exclaimed in wonder, one of the children remembered our eldest who was still inside. She went to retrieve her sister and baby brother and as the three children came outside to view this beautiful event…it simply vanished! The entire event lasted no more that 2-3 minutes, though time truly seemed to stand still! A day of suffering, sacrifice and surprise! How little our Lord asks from us and how great are His gifts…

Our Lady of Silence…

From the archives…a meditation on silence and our Lady’s model of this increasingly absent virtue…

Silence.

There is precious little of it in the world. In the busy life of a mother of many young ones, it is indeed rare. From cell phones, to radios, cds, dvds, mp3 players and a constant barrage of conversation, it seems the contemplative nature of motherhood is struggling for survival. The cacophony has even made its way into the sanctuary of the Church…there are quite a few parishes where the noise and conversation before and after Holy Mass is reminiscent of a rock concert, with a few dear souls struggling to offer prayer and meditation prior to and after receiving Holy Communion.

How do we keep silence? Our Lady is the perfect example for all of womanhood in this virtue. Holy Scripture reveals very little of what our Lady said throughout the course of her life. A sentence here and there: “Behold I am the handmaid of the Lord; let it be [done] to me according to Thy word” “Son…they have no wine…” “your father and I have been anxiously searching for you…” “Do whatever He tells you…” And the way of the cross? Heartbreaking silence revealed what words could not…

During her betrothal, Mary even kept silent when Joseph must have been thinking the very worst. She, whose virtue and holiness was so apparent, was visibly pregnant with a child that was not his. His heart was breaking. He knew the penalty for this “sin” and yet seemed to know Mary was blameless and was going to “put her away quietly”. All this time, Mary knew his pain and knew that public perception would convict her of shame. She didn’t defend. She didn’t explain. She kept her silence and let the Holy Spirit do the work. Words weren’t necessary. She kept her thoughts to herself and maintained a spirit of quiet contemplation…

With one exception.

The Magnificat. The longest speech our Lady gives, is one in which she praises God. Her words, it seems, are reserved for that which is most important…offering praise and adulation for her God:

My soul magnifies the Lord,
And my spirit rejoices in God my Savior.
For He has regarded the low estate of His handmaiden,
For behold, henceforth all generations shall call me blessed.
For He who is mighty has done great things for me, and holy is His name. And His mercy is on those who fear Him from generation to generation.
He has shown strength with His arm:
He has scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts.
He has put down the mighty from their thrones,
and exalted those of low degree.
He has filled the hungry with good things;
and the rich He has sent empty away.
He has helped His servant Israel, in remembrance of His mercy;
As He spoke to our fathers, to Abraham and to His posterity forever.

I find myself, of late, calling upon the Blessed Mother, more and more, to help me hold my tongue…I’m such a chatterbox. I speak too quickly and too much…and while I do relish silence and seek times of contemplation, I don’t feel I live contemplatively. My vocation pulls me this way and that…it is the sweet tug-of-war that every mother experiences throughout her day as she finds the Cross amidst the dishes and the piles of laundry. May our good Lady of Silence help to calm and quiet the noise and distraction of daily life and help us to remember that God’s voice is best heard…when we are listening.

From Holy Father, John Paul II:

“Mary’s example enables the Church better to appreciate the value of silence. Mary’s silence is not only moderation in speech, but it is especially a wise capacity for remembering and embracing in a single gaze of faith the mystery of the Word made man and the events of his earthly life.

It is this silence as acceptance of the Word, this ability to meditate on the mystery of Christ, that Mary passes on to believers. In a noisy world filled with messages of all kinds, her witness enables us to appreciate a spiritually rich silence and fosters a contemplative spirit.” 

And from the book of 1 Kings 19:12

Then the LORD said, “Go outside and stand on the mountain before the LORD; the LORD will be passing by.” A strong and heavy wind was rending the mountains and crushing rocks before the LORD–but the LORD was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake–but the LORD was not in the earthquake.

After the earthquake there was fire–but the LORD was not in the fire. After the fire there was a tiny whispering sound…Blessings,

Why We Pray The Rosary…

This is a repost…it’s been a couple years since I’ve run it, but it’s May…the Month of Mary…a perfect time. Written on the Feast of the Most Holy Rosary in 2009 after our good priest made this statement: “Everybody has a story about the Rosary…” Those who are devoted to the Rosary and our Lady know the truth of these words and are quick to share their story.

Here’s ours:

We are a family that prays the Rosary. Not nearly as often as we should, nor as often as we’d like, but we do pray it as often as we can. It is the cord that binds us together, strengthening our family as few other devotions have. Rosaries can be found throughout our home, in our cars, in purses and pockets, draped over statues and hanging upon the wall. We’ve made Rosaries for missions and prisons, given them as gifts to friends and family, and nearly everyone of us have worn a Rosary ring at one time or another.

It wasn’t always this way…as converts from protestantism, we had very little experience with what many detractors refer to as “vain and repetitious prayer.” Learning the historicity of the beautiful beads and the prayers attached to each, we came to understand the depth of biblical teaching, dogma and tradition contained in such a seemingly simple series of prayers. I found it intriguingly beautiful…

So I obtained a booklet of the prayers and began to pray the Rosary alone. I was very shy about it…I don’t know why. I would pray in the car. I would pray early in the morning when the children were asleep. Not with my family. Praying the Rosary had become a private devotion, one that I kept a secret.

Until the accident.

In 1995, I was involved in a terrible car accident. While traveling the north bound lane of a major interstate (and praying the 5th Joyful Mystery of the rosary), my vehicle was struck by a semi. The vehicle was propelled across the median, flipped over 1 1/2 times and was skidding on its hood when it was struck by another vehicle in the south bound lane. My vehicle was upside down at the time, and the front of that other vehicle entered the rear of my mini-van and sheared off the driver’s seat (which I was in). At the time of the accident, I was quite sure I would die, and remember asking our Lord (quite calmly, considering the situation) to not “let me kill anyone else”. That prayer was answered in the most perfect way! Six vehicles were involved in this accident, twelve people suffered minor injuries. Hanging upside down, still strapped in my seat belt, I crawled out of my absolutely destroyed vehicle, through a broken window, was sprayed with battery acid and only managed to obtain a cut on my elbow which would later require three stitches. Still clasped tightly in my right hand was my Rosary…I had never once let go of it! Witnesses rushing to assist me as I stumbled from my vehicle stared incredulously. It didn’t seem that anyone could have survived that crash, let alone walked out of it. It was clear that our Lord had preserved my life and I believe firmly that it was through our Lady’s intercession. The Rosary became a constant companion, and I told everyone, everyone about the miracle of our Lady’s intercession…

It certainly seemed obvious that the Rosary was the prayer our family needed to pray most!

The first time our family prayed the Rosary together was on my 31st birthday. Still a bit shy about my “secret” prayer, I requested the recitation of a family Rosary as my birthday gift. I remember, so clearly, one of my older daughters placing a rosary into the hand of my infant son, Joseph, who was sitting in his swing. It was such a lovely sight, I took a photo…long before I’d ever heard of digital photography! I still have that picture…

And so we began…and thus we’ve continued. That first night was awkward. We stumbled through the words, struggling to find a rhythm, haltingly praying with many stops and starts. The little ones would drift off to sleep, an infant would need to be nursed…and we prayed, weaving a lovely “wreath of roses” for our Lord, using this beautiful, powerful devotion.

Grabbing the rosary has become second nature…a nearly involuntary response in times of joy and crisis. It remains the most efficacious way for this family to call Home to Mother…

Blessings,

The beauty of the East…

In the twilight darkened sanctuary we hastily found seats, small rugs in hand, armed with missals and a good deal of curiosity and nervous expectation. Four of my children and I had accepted an invitation from a dear family friend to attend a Byzantine Rite Mass at St. John Chrysostom on Cleveland Avenue. It was the Liturgy of the Presanctified Gifts and Holy Chrismation, a sacred rite reserved for the Wednesday of Holy Week, the week before Easter. As western Catholics, we had no real experience or preconceptions regarding the eastern traditions of the Holy Catholic Church, and though open to the experience, were a bit trepiditious as to what should expect. The eastern and western rites are markedly different, as we were about to discover.

The sanctuary, itself, was a marvel to behold. The interior was much lighter than expected, with nearly every surface embellished with icons, startlingly simplistic paintings, beautifully austere, large-eyed and staring from every corner, dome and panel. The iconostasis, a screen that separates the worshippers from the priests, deacons and servers, stood imposingly, adorned with iconographic images, a seeming gate between heaven and earth. The heady aroma of incense filled the air and soon did voices, alternating voices of men and women, chanting verses of the Psalms, interspersed with many “Lord have mercies” and “Alleluias.” We knelt upon the small rugs placed on the stone floor, watching as the faithful knelt, and then bowed in prostration, foreheads upon the floor in a gesture of humility and repentance. The priests and servers, bowing and genuflecting, draped in rich brocade and moving amidst the swirls of wafting incense, offered prayers for the faithful, all coordinating in a graceful dance whose ebb and flow transcended time and understanding. Young men in long robes carried ornate fans, fans which wafted the incense throughout the sanctuary. Every single word was sung, voices rising and falling in unison, a beautiful and ethereal harmony that touched the soul.

Each parishioner moved forward, following the liturgy, to receive a personal anointing from the priest. Speaking the recipient’s name aloud, the priest proceeded to anoint with the richly scented oil, the feet, hands, ears, eyes and mouth of each person. Returning to the pews, many individuals were in various postures of adoration and worship…some were kneeling, some bowing, some standing, others seated and a few prostrated upon the stone floor. Holy Communion was distributed with a long handled golden spoon which carried the wine-soaked Host, the precious Body and Blood to the waiting recipient. Every movement was imbued with solemnity and deliberation, with reverence and holiness.

Throughout the service, I found myself nearly lost in all the sensory experiences. The entire service was a feast for the eyes, nose, ears, heart and soul. It was rather like a work of art, with each part of the Mass woven into a seamless, flawless “whole” of such beauty, yet still possessing such simplicity and relevance. The children, too, were over-awed by this trip through time, a time and rite established in ancient Greece and created to immerse the soul into the mystery and beauty of the Eternal. It still retains all the beauty, tradition and timeless grace that connects the worshipper to the historical roots of early eastern Catholic Christianity.

Just perfect…

…though there have certainly been a few challenges. Wednesday evening, our oldest son, Zachary, took a serious fall on a skimboard. Police officers, paramedics, an ambulance, ER doctors and nurses and a few xrays later left him splinted to the knee and diagnosed with a severe sprain. I had looked at the ankle prior to his transport and it seemed seriously dislocated…I even mentioned this to the paramedics and then the ER doctor. The diagnosis remained the same, but sometime during the night, under that heavy splint, the dislocation resolved itself, and though seriously bruised and sore, he has been able to walk…something we didn’t think he’d be able to do for weeks. He’s back to himself…

Back to joy…

And there has been plenty of that to go around! Family bowling nights, shelling at Murrel’s Inlet and a tour of historic Atalaya, teaching the children the fine art of body surfing and boogie boards…and how to find shark’s teeth.

Sand. Sun. Surf. Sweet memories mingling with the fresh scent of salt breezes and the cool caress of the ocean. We have reveled in every moment, each day thanking God for this blessing. The children: “I can’t believe we’re really doing all of this…”

The parents: “We can’t believe we’re really here…”

Resolution: we will never, ever again underestimate the restorative power of the “family vacation.” It has always seemed a luxury. Now, it feels like a necessity. I’ve never seen my husband more relaxed. The children have never been as cooperative and joyful. I’ve not smiled and laughed this much in years. We will remember this time for the rest of our lives. We return home tomorrow…back to work. School. Back to joy of a different sort with a fresh perspective.

Blessings,

The better part…

Like a big blue wall, curving gentle upon the edge of the earth, the ocean presented itself.

She cried.  Ten years old and she’d never seen anything so big, so bright, so awesome.  And I, who for the many years that I grew up surrounded by surf and shore, heart jaded by such common beauty, watched her and wondered how all those years I’d never wept in thanksgiving for it.

And then last night.  A blood red moon kissed the whitecaps upon the night dark sea.  Hubby and I stood hand in hand and the words that have been so locked up inside me for so many months are finally here.  Words of praise that magnify the Lord, His goodness, His beauty and wisdom.  Seated on the balcony shortly after, I raised a toast to my God…for His Love and mercy for this creature who had forgotten to thank him for such simple things.  I should weep with tears of gratitude like a ten year old girl, seeing God’s hand stretched far across a rippling, seemingly infinite horizon

This morning, Max and I raced the sun and met her, a molten orb rising from a pool of pure gold, beams of pink and gold etched against the blue.  I wept again…I’ve seen many sunrises and gloried in each, yet this one seemed different.  And then I realized…

They’re all different.  It is only I who see things as the same…but I’m changed and everything seems new to these tired eyes…

Since Meredith’s accident, I’ve been living so cautiously, afraid of the next wave…afraid of what may or may not come.  I haven’t really been able to live or even love well, though I’ve tried desperately to hide it, busying myself like a true Martha, “anxious and troubled about many things.”

So here is the better part.  Here.  With my loves.  My big guys are staying three floors below us with the dearest friends, reveling in fellowship with one another, while Roger and I are reveling in these four young ones…children now and every moment of childhood racing quickly by.  We are “yes” people.  Yes to all this.  Yes to this joy, at this moment, in this place.

Cherishing the message that our good God wants to share with all His children…

Blessings,

A joyous and blessed Easter from all of us to you…

He is risen, Alleluia!  He is risen, indeed…

Mass was gloriously beautiful…the great Feast of the Resurrection of our Lord is nothing less than a taste of heaven on this earth.

Yet our earthly joys delight us in their simplicity…

Easter joy abounds.  From the beauty of the Mass, to the simple joys of family traditions, to the much anticipated trip that we’ll be making in the wee hours of the morning, as we head towards sand and sun.

I hope to find my words there.  Peace and joy with my dearest ones…renewal and rest.  I’m taking books.  My crochet and knitting.  Sunscreen and my rosary…

May God bless you, friends.  May you, too, find peace, joy, renewal and rest during this Easter week and beyond.

Blessings

Weapons of Mass Instruction…revisited:

A post from the archives (with an update!)…from a writer who’s struggling to write…a student who’s struggling to study…and wife, mother and home educator who’s struggling to fulfill the many aspects of this worthy vocation.  Needed a little lighthearted reminder that all my strength comes from the Mass and the Sacraments.  Thank you, Lord, for the gift of the Faith:

Most Catholics refer to the “deposit of the Faith.” For my guys…it’s more like an arsenal!

Consider my son’s observation (keep in mind that this young man is a Master of Ceremonies for the Extraordinary Form of the Mass…a weighty responsibility!):

Zachary: “Hey mom…what are the weapons of the Mass?”

Now I’m thinking: the sacraments, grace, worship and adoration…

No. He had something else in mind, entirely.

Check out this arsenal!

The priest wears a biretta…

this biretta:

is more powerful than this beretta:

He prays the Canon of the Mass:

this Canon:

is more powerful than this cannon:

The priest and congregation use missals:

this Missal:

is more powerful than this missile:

We even let young men carry torches!

this torch:

is much more powerful than this torch:

And the Catholic Church has been fighting censorship for years.  The Mass is still the answer…

Because this censer…

 

 

 

 

 

Is infinitely more powerful than this censor:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass…now you know where we keep our weapons of Mass instruction!

Blessings from the mother of four soldiers in the Lord’s Army,

Salt and light, again…

My poor blog…so long neglected and yet I just can’t bear to let it go! I’m waiting for that day that all the pieces to my puzzled life reorder and assemble themselves…for it’s all I can do to muddle through the housework, homework and home education that fills our days and sometimes my nights.

So I’m pulling out a few old posts just to keep things in perspective. The one below is rather pertinent. Once again, we found ourselves the source of speculation and conversation at a local restaurant. It was an extremely positive experience. In every instance, when someone asks if my children are homeschooled, it’s done with such respect and even admiration…not the stereotypical, dirision laden “oh…you’re sooo definitely homeschooled!” No, it’s usually a comment born of observation and good-will and once again it reminds me that the best preaching is done through example, not necessarily words. So here is a post from a little over a year ago. One day soon, I hope to write more than psychology and poli-sci papers. Until then…

Salt and Light

Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for my sake. Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

“You are the salt of the earth, but if the salt loses its flavor, how shall it be seasoned? It is then good for nothing but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot by men.

“You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.”

– Matthew 5:11-16

I must admit that I don’t really know what it is to be reviled by the world, nor have I experienced the reality of honest-to-goodness persecution. This is probably the case for most of us…we skate through life, we have our sharp turns, bumps and occasional spills, but for the most part our scars are only superficial, easily bandaged and usually leave indelible marks of character upon our bodies and faces. We are transformed by our trials and are usually able to provide a witness to faith and perseverance by our dogged persistence in the midst of adversity…albeit mild adversity.

No…revilement and persecution are rarely personal…attacks seem to come in the form of false perceptions of others and, more frequently, the sense that somehow one just doesn’t quite “fit in” in certain circumstances. I feel this most often when I go to the mall…so I don’t go anymore. There was a time when I was much more consumer than Catholic, when I was more at home in a shop than the sanctuary of the Church. I blended in amongst the shoppers and perusers of goods. I found my comfort amongst those like me, and felt a sense of belonging and unity of purpose with all those “beautiful people” who seem to be at home wherever they go. That was such a long time ago…

Things have changed, and I’d say for the better. When we venture out as a family, we are no longer “of the world…” We obviously don’t fit in. And it’s hard to pretend that you don’t see the raised eyebrows, or hear the whispers or notice the wagging fingers as they count: 1…2…3…4…5…6…children?! When they ask “are they all yours?!” my husband and I get a rather perverse pleasure in answering “No…there are three missing…” It usually silences them, unless they persist in those silly questions which require our silly answers, and we usually just smile and move on. We don’t go out often, but when we do we always call attention to ourselves, not by bad behavior…the children are perfect ladies and gentlemen…no…it’s the sheer size of our family.

Last night was just such a night. After two really hard days of freezing temperatures, a limited budget and thereby limited sources of heat, no water due to frozen pipes because the house isn’t insulated nor warm enough, we were really stretched to the limit. But it was payday and after many, many hours of work and determination, my husband and son were able to defrost the pipes and restore running water. Every dish in the house was dirty. The floors were unmopped. No one had showered for two days and the toilets…well…let’s not talk about that. Let’s just say we were jubilant…jubilant…when the water came on. My dear husband decided to take the entire family out to dinner…an Asian buffet (if you have a lot of children, you know this is the most economical way to dine!)

Now…if you ever need a boost to your self-esteem, take a large family to a Chinese restaurant. These beautiful people just can’t stay away from the children. Waitress after waitress came to the table, counted the children, exclaimed over them and told us how blessed we are…yes…who would know more than those who have lived in a land where the sanctity of life is not respected, where procreation is mandated/limited by the government. They are happy, always happy to see our children. No sneers, no raised eyebrows, no nasty comments…just joyful praise and acceptance.

Oh, that those who live in the “land of the free and home of the brave” could be so accepting! Alas, we rarely appreciate those things that come to us so easily, and so many throw away life and happiness, hand over fist…

As we left, the cashier, a lovely Chinese woman who appeared to be maybe in her late 50s or early 60s, once again complimented us on our large family. She said, with a sad smile, that she, too was from a large family of 5 children…and though the words weren’t spoken…it seemed we all exchanged sad smiles in realization that the land of her birth, that formerly fruitful land…no longer exists.

It was then that I realized that our presence…our simply being there…was, in a small way, a fitting analogy of salt and light. We give flavor to a tasteless world with this beautiful bouquet of children. We are a city on a hill…conspicuous by our size, our presence, our witness to life. I don’t mean to sound prideful…I’m by no means made holy by being the mother of many…our Lady only had One. No…I simply mean that I understand that we needn’t preach loudly or forcefully. Our lives, our presence can be salt and light for the rest of the world, if we are willing to risk being different. I praise God that we, perhaps, brought even a sliver of joy to those women in that restaurant last night. I praise God, too, for the poor perceptions that my “free” brothers and sisters may have, because they remind us of how we are “in the world, but not of it.” May God help us to preserve our flavor…may we always be ready to let our light shine, wherever we may be…

Blessings,

Daybook…thanks and praise

Visit Peggy at The Simple Woman for more Daybook entries!

FOR TODAY –  January 16, 2012

Outside my window:  Gray skies and wind.  Little drifts of melting snow, here and there…promise of rain.

I am listening to:  the click and clack of the keyboard as hubby works from home.  Children in a variety of poses…one on a video game, one playing with a family of gummy bears doomed to die a gruesome death, one complaining of sore throat, another with of an odd rash…yes…doctor appointment at 3:00 p.m.

I am wearing :  faded denims, argyle socks, pink turtleneck and a zippered denim shirt.  Hair in a messy twist…lipstick.

Gratitude list:  my heart is full.  Filled to the brim.  How can I offer to our good God enough thanks and praise for all the blessings He so generously bestows upon this family?  Our Meredith is doing so much better.  She is stronger and happier than she was even last week…many of her challenges following the accident are diminishing.  She is still struggling tremendously with her hearing in her right ear.  I fear this may be permanent.  Her greatest challenges are more of a sensory nature.  She has extreme difficulty in processing sound changes…moving from a quiet automobile to a noisy restaurant is quite difficult.  She states that “all at once it sounds like all the noises are combined.  Voices, music and other noises all jumble together and I have to “separate” them.  It takes a little while to adjust, but I’m managing.”  Most importantly…she sounds happy.  The apathetic tone is gone, her disconnection seems to be resolving itself as well.  She still has healing to accomplish and there are always setbacks.  But I’m so very hopeful for her.  I pray, more than anything, that this experience grows her faith, her love, her gratitude for all the prayers and blessings she’s received as so many loved her through this ordeal.  Thank you…thank you…thank you for your many prayers and words of encouragement.  You have been faithful friends along this journey…you are in my prayers.

From the kitchen:  hot coffee and hot chocolate served throughout the day in my lovely new mugs.  Great big stoneware mugs that keep the coffee hot, hot, hot!  For dinner this evening:  two lovely chickens, stuffed with lemon and rosemary, roasted to perfection and served with mashed garlic and cheese potatoes, baked apples and a fresh, green salad.  Yum…

I am thinking:  about this quarter’s class load.  I’m struggling to keep up with the sheer volume of assignments, terms to memorize, quizzes and early exams, essays and research.  That 4.0 is very convicting…I want to preserve it, but feel I may have bitten off more than I can chew.  Psychology is really killer.  The problem with many online courses are that they are much, much harder than traditional classroom work.  I just can’t be away from home right now.  St. Thomas Aquinas, pray for me!

I am creating:  not creating.  Writing.  Papers.  Lots and lots of papers.  I really need a creative outlet, but so far, this is all there is.

Towards a real education:   Loving my new Kindle Fire and discovering that it is a great tool in the homeschool classroom.  My little ones love to use it to read.  I’m pleased with the ease of use and the fact that many of my college texts are available as ebooks.  Talk about a space saver!  Some of those texts weigh five pounds…

As for the rest of school.  Struggle to juggle.  If I’m keeping up with my studies, I feel like I’m cutting corners with their’s…if I do well with their studies, then I find I’m cutting corners with mine.  I’ve learned an important lesson.  I can’t do it all…I simply must take a lighter load next quarter or at least balance the type of classes I’m taking…

I am praying:  there are so many who need prayers right now.  But my heart is especially turned towards the upcoming election.  May God be merciful and not give us what we deserve, but we need.

In the garden:   The seed catalogs are here and hubby is making his list, checking it twice…plotting and planning for this year’s garden.  It’s nearly time to start our little seedlings.  Right now, I have a sweet little window box full of sprouting basil.  It’s quite pretty and the green shoots are full of the promise of spring…

Around the house:  Nativities that still need to be packed away.  Lots of scented candles.  Way too much laundry to put away.  But a lot less clutter, thanks to an early run this morning to the local thrift store….

On keeping home:  one dozen, thirty gallon trash bags full of old clothes and shoes dropped off at our local thrift store.  The entire back of the Expedition was filled.  As I said to my oldest son:  “That’s how much space we’ve saved in our home!”  It feels good to purge…this is just the beginning.  I’m starting the 40 Bag Challenge early!

One of my favorite things: technology that gives us an endless resource of reading, crafting and communication outlets.  The internet can be a serious problem when not used judiciously, but it is an absolute blessing in the life of this home educator, student, crafter, chef and mom…

A few plans for the rest of the week:  reading, de-cluttering, studying, teaching…and a lot of praying!  And thanking.  And praising.  God is good…all of the time!

A picture thought I’m sharing:

Christmas zipped past us…but here’s one of my favorite light-hearted moments with my two girlies playing dress up with their favorite ornaments…

Blessings,

Sorting it out…

She’s home.

Not our home…her home.  A single week of recuperation, the majority spent in two separate hospitals, in two different states…many consultations with specialists and therapists…appointments for follow-ups and assessments…and a new prescription:

Rest.

Her ability to rest is a miracle in itself.  That she walks, talks, breathes, smiles, laughs, weeps, rages, loves and lives is a wonder.  There is no way to discount the severity of her injuries, yet it’s easy to do so.  To look at her, talk to her, you’d never know that anything had ever happened.  Her face is as lovely as ever…her body is whole.

But inside her head…structurally and cognitively…there’s much to overcome.  Physically, she must wait to regain hearing in her right ear, while waiting for the partial facial paralysis to diminish.  Yet, with God all things are possible.  She received the sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick from Father yesterday and within hours she experienced a peace of spirit she hasn’t had in sometime.  Her frustrations seemed less obvious, the outbursts, at least for now, are subsiding and I pray will soon be gone, all together…

She needs to rest.  Just rest and allow her poor skull and brain to continue the healing process.  Soon enough, she’ll begin therapy and slowly begin to return to daily activities.  I’m hopeful that her ability to see the big picture will return in full and she will realize just how very close to death she was.  85% of patients with her injuries are fatalities…the remainder are comatose or suffering from surgical interventions and great disability.  She has been spared so many things, but the future still holds much uncertainty…

…but isn’t it the same for all of us?  At any moment, all that we consider “fixed” can change.  To quote Meredith:  “I always knew what I was doing, how I felt, how my body would be…all of these things seemed fixed.  Until they weren’t.  It’s hard to know what to do next, but I’m going to try to sort it out.”

Sorting it out while she lives the new “normal.”  We’re sorting it out, too.  This has been and continues to be an emotional roller coaster.  Heights and depths; twists and turns.  Her family is at the ready, here to support and encourage her as she tries to make her way through this labyrinth…I only wish it weren’t from such a distance.  For now, I’m praising God that she does have her grandparents and sister close by…that she has friends who have promised to help and encourage her.   She wants nothing more than to enter the field of nursing.  She will do so with an entirely different perspective, I’m sure.

Thank you so much for your prayers and support.  This has been, quite frankly, the most trying experience I’ve ever undergone.  I feel emotionally and physically spent, wondering how on earth I can get back into the swing of home education and full-time college.  Once again…with God, all things are possible.

I’ll be leaning on Him, resting and trusting that all is according to His most holy will…

Blessings,

Kimberly

Stabat Mater…

At the cross her station keeping,

Kneeling in the shadow of the Cross…this is the posture of most every mother at some time or other.  Yet…never have the words of the Stabat Mater resonated as deeply in my heart as they do now…

Throughout this ordeal with my daughter, the image of the Sorrowful Mother has been constantly before my eyes.  Perhaps it’s my own tear-stained, grief ridden visage that I recognize, as I gaze upon her.  Our Holy Mother, her heart broken, pierced and sorrowful, wept for sinful mankind…for the loss of her precious child…and prepared to be Mother to those who had abandoned and murdered her Son…

…stood the mournful mother weeping…

I weep too.  My child…my sweet, beautiful, compassionate yet imperfect girl…has been taken from me, at least figuratively for a time, by this horrible accident.  But I know that my heart must be pierced, too.  It must be.  This is the way of sorrow for all mothers who want nothing more than the salvation of their children.  God the Father didn’t spare His own son suffering…nor did He spare His mother the anguish of watching her precious child suffer…this is how sin was defeated, how life came to us all…how the gates of Heaven are opened.

Through her heart, His sorrow sharing,
all His bitter anguish bearing,
now at length the sword has passed.

Dear Father…pierce my heart…use this suffering to save souls, to help me work out my own salvation with fear and trembling.  Help me to follow in my daughter’s path of suffering, as faithfully as our Holy Mother followed Jesus to the Cross.  Allow me to help her bear the bitter anguish that she’s feeling as she is beginning to understand a bit better her limitations.  Help me to soothe the heartache, to be encouraging rather than condemning.  Help me, Father, that I desire nothing for her but that which leads her straight to You, no matter how difficult the path.

Holy Mother…come to the aid of your poor child.  Heal her heart first, turn it firmly towards your Son.  Help her to live in light and love…

She’s home with us now, but only for a time…long enough for her to prepare to journey back to Kentucky and a try at independence.  Please pray for her…there are so many risks, limitations and frustrations awaiting her.  May God bless you for your kindness…

Blessings,

Kimberly

There and back again…

On December 27 we made our way home to Columbus, stressed-out brain-injured daughter and all her comfort items in tow…

Her release from the acute care ward of the Neurosciences floor was nothing short of miraculous…her lack of understanding of the severity of the injury, however, a troubling side effect of severe head trauma.

December 28th…

A pleasant evening…and then an odd morning.  She was slow…her walk…her speech…her mental accuity…and then there was the troublesome nasal discharge…CSF?  We called the neuro surgeon on call in Kentucky.

“Take her to OSU…”

And here we are.  Back again.  IVs and CAT scans…scary words like brain surgery, rehabilitation, long term implications, neuro-recovery…these are the new vocabulary words that fill our conversation.

She wept when she saw the CT scan…but it was the only way the neuro surgeons could convince her to stay and not leave.  “My head is so broken…”  Like a caged animal, she paced and raged in the small room that seem to close in on all her hopes and dreams…

And my heart breaks for her.  Because she wants to be gone.  To run away.  To be done with all this.  She’s so terrified of what’s ahead.  Everyone seems to be an enemy and every setback an insurmmountable obstacle.  Tomorrow:  another contrast CT to see if she’s leaking CSF or if there is a continuing bleed in an artery adjacent to the sphenoid sinus.

Her team of doctors and rehabilitative professionals are doing all they can to encourage her to stay here, in Columbus…but she doesn’t want to.

She fears dependence like nothing else right now…and she needs to be able to lean in and be held up for awhile.  Please pray for her comfort.  For peace of mind.  For enough cognitive function to make good decisions.  As an adult trauma patient, no one can force her to do even what’s best.  We want nothing more than her independence and good health…it’s so hard to feel that she sees her parents as supporting the “enemy…”

Oh, that my heart were lighter…that my faith were greater…but it is only grace that is carrying me along right now.  I’m spent…right to the last nickel.  But I do know that it’s usually when things are darkest that we see the Light.

Light of Christ…illuminate me!  Dispel the darkness…drive out despair…guide us to that perfect understanding of your holy will…

Blessings,

Kimberly

Vigil…

In the darkened and quiet hospital room…amongst the beeps and buzzes of machinery, she sleeps…sedated, occasionally rasping a request for water…

I keep vigil, waiting for her to return to us, fully and completely…I’m dazed…it all feels so unreal.  One moment, a healthy young girl is walking along a sidewalk, the next moment, a playful jump over a concrete planter, initiates a fall that results in a skull fracture, bleeding on both sides of her brain, a broken collar bone and what promises to be a long journey towards recovery…

Christmas at the hospital.  It is a sad, quiet place…but I’m thanking God for His mercy, for things could be so very much worse…

I thank Him for the little “warning” last night at midnight Mass…the gentle words that came in prayer before Mass, as I exulted in the “mountain top” feelings of grace that were raining down…a gentle voice, in the depths of my heart, reminded me:  “For every mountain top, there is a valley…”  I didn’t understand then, but I do now…

I thank Him for my precious priest…he, too, has suffered a fall…yet, he was so quick to offer prayer and support.  Meredith loves Father…and Father loves Meredith.  Two have fallen, two are healing…may God protect them from further ills!

I thank Him for precious friends, many of them, who quickly offered us vehicles (ours aren’t quite road worthy enough for an extended trip), child care, prayer, money for gas and expenses, filling goodie bags with snacks and water bottles…literally and figuratively raining down upon us “manna from heaven…”

I thank Him for my beautiful, older daughter who rushed to her sister’s side first, asking all the right questions, treating her so compassionately…having left her little son in the middle of a joyful Christmas morning…

I thank Him for my own sweet, young ones…so quick to say “Mommy…please…go to her…go now, go now!”  They give so much of their own joy away for the good of others…

I thank Him for my dear, oldest son…who quickly and confidently helped me pack and even accompanied me on the journey…insisting upon it, in fact.  The first fleeting smile that our Meredith gave was at the mention of her brother Zachary’s name.  She wanted her mommy…but she smiled for her brother…

I thank Him for this gift.  It truly is a hard one to unwrap.  I’m not sure how it will all work out, but I know the destination is grace…a journey towards heaven.

I thank Him that I’m here to love my girl.  To pray for her.  To stroke her hair, soothe her poor head…we’re spending Christmas together.  There’s no crib, no tree, just the colored lights on the monitors, and the cool beads of my new rosary, counting by decades towards the Cross.

I thank Him for the staff of the Neuroscience critical care ward.  For their kindness, solicitude and genuine caring.  They, too, are spending Christmas at the hospital…away from their families, offering themselves for those suffering.

I thank Him for every little sound she makes…for her anger and confusion in those brief, wakeful moments…she is conscious…breathing…living…and healing.

Merry Christmas, friends.  From a mom who’s keeping vigil, missing her hubby, home and children, but who is blessed with a heart full of hope and joy…may God bless, protect and give you peace!

Kimberly

The Great “O” Antiphons…

The O Antiphon house is ready…

Three candles burn shorter and shorter every night, the fourth ready to be lit this weekend…

Tomorrow begins the sprint, the finish line in sight, as we proceed quickly and surely towards the great feast of the Nativity!

Tomorrow we pray the Great “O” Antiphons…

Join us, will you?  The prayers are lovely…so are these beautiful plainsong chants:

~~~~~~~

December 17 – O Sapientia (O Wisdom)

O Wisdom that comest out of the mouth of the Most High, that reachest from one end to another, and orderest all things mightily and sweetly, come to teach us the way of prudence!

December 18 – O Adonai

O Adonai, and Ruler of the house of Israel, Who didst appear unto Moses in the burning bush, and gavest him the law in Sinai, come to redeem us with an outstretched arm!

December 19 – O Radix Jesse (O Root Of Jesse)


Root of Jesse, which standest for an ensign of the people, at Whom the kings shall shut their mouths, Whom the Gentiles shall seek, come to deliver us, do not tarry.

December 20 – O Clavis David (O Key Of David)

O Key of David, and Sceptre of the house of Israel, that openeth and no man shutteth, and shutteth and no man openeth, come to liberate the prisoner from the prison, and them that sit in darkness, and in the shadow of death.

December 21 – O Oriens (O Dayspring)

O Dayspring, Brightness of the everlasting light, Sun of justice, come to give light to them that sit in darkness and in the shadow of death!

December 22 – O Rex Gentium (O King of the Gentiles)

O King of the Gentiles, yea, and desire thereof! O Corner-stone, that makest of two one, come to save man, whom Thou hast made out of the dust of the earth!

December 23 – O Emmanuel

O Emmanuel, our King and our Law-giver, Longing of the Gentiles, yea, and salvation thereof, come to save us, O Lord our God!

Blessings,

Sweet light…

Good morning…

It’s the Feast of St. Lucia…



A perfect day to bring light…

…and love to the world.

This sweet tradition has been celebrated for centuries, throughout the world. Little girls, crowned in holly and candles, bearing sweets and light.

My little ones have literally grown-up with this tradition.  From the time they were old enough to hold a candle aloft, they’ve awakened at dawn on St. Lucia’s Day, and dressed as the virgin-martyr, they’ve sang and served…

2007

2008

2009

2010

2011

May the Light and Love of Christ fill your heart and soul, this day and every day after!

Blessings,

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