Monday, October 27, 2008

Links for upcoming "Hallowed days"

Father Phillip Tells a Ghost Story is a must read; and here is a link to lots of other links, recipes and ideas for All Hallows Eve, All Saints Day and All Souls Day. There is so much to learn!

6 Random Facts

I was over here at my friend Sara's blog and am playing along:

1.) As a young girl, I often thought about getting married and having children. I grew jaded and bought into the American "dream" of money and a career. I found the singles life saping and discouraging and, frankly, thought I'd never marry. I wanted to get a PhD and get paid lots of money to read books and talk and write about them. I thought I might find some ground-breaking topic concerning women and history.

2.) When my husband and I were first married, we were in a dinner club with two other couples, all of us living "in town" Atlanta. We'd go out once a month, either to a restaurant or to a gourmet meal cooked at home. I will never forget the fennel-ladened perfume of a seafood stew made by friend Mary. She served it with pureed, roasted red peppers.

3.) This reminds me of all the lovely foodie movies I've seen, like Babette's Feast. Like Sara, I love movies; and, when I lived in Madrid, it was about exploring cuisine and, oddly, seeing lots of movies.

4.) Oh, and jazz. I love jazz and think I will put some on now to get us going this very chilly morning. I saw Miles Davis in Madrid. And, people think of Paris and jazz cafes, but they were all over Madrid, at least in the late 80's, when I lived there.

5.) By far, the best thing to happen to me was to meet my husband, settle down and have children. Becoming a mother was like fireworks for me. I had travelled alot, as a youth and young adult (Mexico, Europe, South and Central America, many US cities...), but the journey of family life has, beyond my wildest imaginings, been the most profoundly beautiful journey.

6.) Being a Catholic has helped me overcome, in part, my natural tendency to ingratitude. I think we live in an ungrateful culture. If everyone could feel the depth of God's sacrifice for humanity, there would be world peace. As a young "ivy-leaguer," I was a "bleeding heart liberal," meaning I pined for the suffering in the world and was young enough to think I might just stop it all, on my own, or, with a little help from my friends.

Thanks for this exercise, as 1.) I want to read and watch "the ultimate gift," and 2.) you blogging moms show my tired bones that it is time to perk up and save the world, one day at a time!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

So lovely here...

The weather here is glorious. I just took our dogs out because a tree hit our fence in the back, and I cannot just open the back door as I so often do. As I sat for a moment out front, I thought how glad I am that my husband and I are aging. Growing old together is sweet stuff. I have a personal history of being very high maintanence. I think my husband would agree that I have melted into him and acquired some amount of his ideal, low-maintanence approach to life, especially things material. The house we are "building" up in Cumming is coming along. Jerry snapped this photo yesterday and sent it to me via email.

I would love to just write and write, because my heart is so full of delight. I really need to go organize some things for our week...okay, maybe just a little...the homily today at Mass was all about love being in every little thing. Because of the many good things said, I felt deeply how much our Lord loves us. I often feel so inadequate in my love for Him, so distracted and prone to fault. This holy, Vietnamese father expressed so simply that it is really not so much about our love for Him, which will consistently fail to be adequate. If we are so proud to think we love God well, we often lie to ourselves and to Him, who is perfect in His Love. I am not doing the homily justice, but it is something to which I have given alot of thought, since I was 33 when I made my first Confession and Eucharist.

Possibly unlike some "cradle Catholics," I am acutely aware of how bad life can be with so little access to sanctifying grace. As I heard Christopher West put it, a person gets used to "eating from the garbage dump" and garbage begins to taste good. This, of course, is a deception, and is the spiritual poverty for which so many Americans have fallen. When we signed the contract on the Cumming house in July, I begged our Lord and His Mother to help keep my natural inclination to comfort and luxury in check. Funny thing, marriage -- what grace flows from this Sacrament. My prayer is answered in my husband and his good common sense. All's I have to do is listen. Lord, help us hear your words of life: "You shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind..."

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Movies your Mother would approve of...

With the cold and flu season upon us, I am going to sign up for Pius Media, a Catholic version of Netflix, so we can learn wrapped in blankets and sipping hot tea.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Another round of flu snorts, please!

Dad has been working from home most Mondays. We decided to have some real family fun and head down to Walgreens to charge up a bunch of flu snorts. Years ago, as a lay in bed reading and trying to recover from a prolonged illness, I read this book about the development of a vaccine for smallpox. I have mixed feelings/opinions about vaccines. Now we have snorts to contend with!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

My Confirmation saint!

Go over here and see some of her amazing wisdom. St. Teresa of Jesus, pray for us!

Seasonal Books

I am glad to report that I fanned our waning flame for quality literature by reading the inspiring story, Brother Bartholomew to J and JB. The artwork in this book is lovely. We have the October pages of the Provensen's book displayed, as well as a lovely autumnal water color on pgs. 26-27 in The Seasons, an absolutely lovely book combining art and poetry. It is part of the Poetry for Young People series that I buy, from time to time, at our nearby Barnes and Noble. Here are links:

JB finished the Pauline biography of St. Ignatius Loyola. We need to get to the library and re-fuel on Henry and Mudge. I am reading the Ignatius Critical edition of Frankenstein.

Here is a "Vagabond Song," by Bliss Carman from The Seasons:
There is something in the autumn that is native to my blood--
Touch of manner, hint of mood;
And my heart is like a rhyme,
With the yellow and the purple and the crimson keeping time.
The scarlet of the maples can shake me like a cry
Of bugles going by.
And my lonely spirit thrills
To see the frosty asters like a smoke upon the hills.
There is something in October sets the gypsy blood astir;
We must rise and follow her,
When from every hill of flame
She calls and calls each vagabond by name.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Good reads!

No I haven't read this yet, but I hope to. And, if I remember, I will post a related bumper sticker that I am thinking of purchasing for our e-van-gelizer.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Authentic Feminism

Tonight I hope to finish John Paul II's Apostolic Letter, Mulieris Dignitatem,
"On the Dignity and Vocation of Women."

Trying to keep my eyes on the prize

Stay with me, Lord, for it is You alone
I look for, Your Love, Your Grace, Your Will, Your Heart, Your Spirit, because
I love You and ask no other reward
but to love You more and more.
– St. Pio of Pietrelcina

I found this quote saved in my Microsoft Word documents and it made me sigh and breathe deep and remember that it is all about Him. I am so weak and easily overwhelmed. And, simply put, He is not.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

the Battle of Lepanto

Our Lady of the Rosary, pray for us!

Below is a description of the Battle of Lepanto that I took from EWTN's link, which I just printed out for the children and I to read. It is aptly called, "Our Lady and Islam: Heaven's Plan for Peace."

Battle of Lepanto
On October 7, 1571, a great victory over the mighty Turkish fleet was won by Catholic naval forces primarily from Spain, Venice, and Genoa under the command of Don Juan of Austria. It was the last battle at sea between "oared" ships, which featured the most powerful navy in the world, a Moslem force with between 12,000 to 15,000 Christian slaves as rowers. The patchwork team of Catholic ships was powered by the Holy Rosary of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

Knowing that the Christian forces were at a distinct material disadvantage, the holy pontiff, St. Pope Pius V called for all of Europe to pray the Rosary for victory. We know today that the victory was decisive, prevented the Islamic invasion of Europe, and evidenced the Hand of God working through Our Lady. At the hour of victory, St. Pope Pius V, who was hundreds of miles away at the Vatican, is said to have gotten up from a meeting, went over to a window, and exclaimed with supernatural radiance: "The Christian fleet is victorious!" and shed tears of thanksgiving to God.

What you may not know is that one of three admirals commanding the Catholic forces at Lepanto was Andrea Doria. He carried a small copy of Mexico's Our Lady of Guadalupe into battle. This image is now enshrined in the Church of San Stefano in Aveto, Italy. Not many know that at the Monastery of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Spain, one can view a huge warship lantern that was captured from the Moslems in the Battle of Lepanto. In Rome, look up to the ceiling of S. Maria in Aracoeli and behold decorations in gold taken from the Turkish galleys. In the Doges' Palace in Venice, Italy, one can witness a giant Islamic flag that is now a trophy from a vanquished Turkish ship from the Victory. At Saint Mary Major Basilica in Rome, close to the tomb of the great St. Pope Pius V, one was once able to view yet another Islamic flag from the Battle, until 1965, when it was returned to Istanbul in an intended friendly token of concord.

The Rosary
At Lepanto, the Victory over the Moslems was won by the faithful praying the Rosary. Even though they had superior numbers, the Turks really were overmatched. Blessed Padre Pio, the Spiritual Father of the Blue Army, said: "The Rosary is the weapon," and how right he was!
The Battle of Lepanto was at first celebrated liturgically as "Our Lady of Victory." Later, the feast of October 7th was renamed "Our Lady of the Rosary" and extended throughout the Universal Church by Pope Clement XI in 1716 (who canonized Pope Pius V in 1712).
And with that we are back to Fatima, Portugal where Our Lady, when asked her name, said: "I am the Lady of the Rosary." At Fatima, Our Lady taught us to pray the Rosary every day. Heaven presented its peace plan at Fatima and truly gave us hope for the world. Conversions were promised at Fatima: the conversion of sinners; the conversion of Russia; and what also appears to be the conversion of Islam. Our Lady of the Rosary, pray for us!

Saturday, October 4, 2008

"You can't always get what you want..."

Today is the feast day of one of our family's favorite saints, the "poor man from Assisi". For some reason, or cluster of reasons, I keep hearing the words to one of my favorite songs: "you can't always get what you want, you can't always get what you want, you can't always get what you wa-a-ant, but you just might find, YOU GET WHAT YOU NEED." I saw the Rolling Stones in concert when I lived in Madrid in 1989-90.

We are having a weekend of field trips and retreats. This RS song tends to come in to my head after a period of feeling like I am so far away from God. I do feel very close to Him these last couple of days, and feel very grateful for the consolation. It has been quieter than usual today, and the quiet ministers to my world-weary soul. St. Francis, pray for us!