Getting Paid to Play (Vignettes from Babysitting)


Lena and I were out of the house for a round of babysitting earlier with our four favorite munchkins.

While our family of six is probably considered large by current standards (though compared to the majority of homeschooling families at our parish, we’re small!) we’re still definitely out of the “kiddo” stage, and have been for a while . . . my baby sister is twelve going on seventeen, and my twenty-first birthday is almost upon me already. My memories of scooping up little siblings are pretty dim . . . I have one gloriously vivid memory of my brother spitting up all over me as I was holding him up in a fun game of “airplane” . . . but now they’re all growing up.

So that’s why I consider myself endowed with great “fortuosity” (to quote The Happiest Millionaire) to not only be able to belong to a parish practically bursting with little ones who like to play peekaboo from over the edges of the pews, but also to be able to drive up to a nearby house stocked with four adorable blue-eyed, blond-haired little kids, spend a few hours “camping” with pillows and blankets in all sorts of cramped places they decide on . . . and get paid for it.

To our delight, these kids honestly think my sisters and I are the best thing since lightsabers (or stuffed baby foxes, or the Green Bay Packers, or yogurt, depending on who you ask) and the littlest guy in particular never fails to show great resentment when his mother shows up again. I think he’s planning to marry me in about twenty years, since he consistently clamors for us to “play family”: “I’ll be the daddy, and you can be the mommy!”

“Truly wonderful, the mind of a child is,” exulted Yoda once, and I can only agree. Children have the most delightful imaginations and thought processes possible. Earlier, I was sitting on the carpet with the oldest boy, who’s around seven years old, and we were shuffling cards together. I was explaining to him that the reason I always come with my sisters (in other words, that my sisters never come without me) is because I’m the one who drives.

After mulling over this for a moment, he grins behind his glasses. “You know how to drive?”

“Indeed I do,” I chirp.

He processes this, then continues shuffling cards while looking at me curiously. “Are you still in school?”

“I’ve graduated, actually!”

The biggest grin known to mankind emerges. He giggles in the way only a seven-year-old boy can and wrinkles his nose. “Have you married anybody?”

Later on, we were all in the kitchen talking about my birthday, and they announced gleefully that if I time-traveled ten years, I’d be as old as their mother.

Then there was the Battery-Powered Lantern War in which the baby girl and her next oldest brother were both inexorably intent on the exact same piece of Chinese plastic. Tantrums. The little three-year-old guy was trying to be patient; as in, he would say once with a voice of honey, “Hey, do you want the other lantern?”

“No,” the child calmly replied, her chubby hands glued to the toy.

“BUT THAT ONE IS MINE!” he would roar. Wash, rinse, repeat about five times.

I wiped the baby girl’s nose and by some miracle got her interested in multicolored board books while her brother retreated, vindicated, with his lantern.

“Dis red,” she announced calmly, immediately forgetting the existence of lanterns altogether. “Dis pink. Dis orange.”

One time when we were at their home, it began absolutely pouring down with rain and wind. The baby girl stood at the window, entranced. I picked her up and pointed out the window. “See the rain?”

“Rain,” she echoed.

“God makes the rain,” I instructed as any dutiful Catholic babysitter would.

“God, rain, rain, God, God, rain, rain, rain,” she chanted.

Again . . . fortuosity. Getting paid to play with the children whose angels gaze on the face of their Father in Heaven. God is good . . . and, having run out of things to write about, I’m wrapping up this post and going to bed!

Also, as it is technically still the 28th at the moment, a blessed feast of St. Augustine!



7 Rambling Takes, Monday Edition


When trying to decide exactly how I wanted to ramble about the recent goings-on around here, I decided that the most efficient way would be join in that tantalizing blog post technique known as the “7 Quick Takes,” which you usually find on homeschooling blogs (hence my knowledge of them to begin with).

Unfortunately, that technique has always been designated for use on Fridays . . . but since I have a Monday morning at my blogging disposal, and Friday seems quite a long way away, I think I shall break convention. Oh, and I’ll also be breaking convention because–true to my style–none of these takes are going to be quick.

On second thought, I think I’ll just call it 7 Rambling Takes and make it my own.


We’ve just started the third full week in our new homeschool year, but it’s our first-ever year to use Our Lady of Victory School. Beautiful, traditional Catholic books, largely from Lepanto Press. Sigh. I’ve demanded requested that Mom never get rid of any of them so I can use them in my future homeschool.

My younger brother and sister have their noses to the grindstone, and are pretty much swimming in decidedly “older,” “harder” school work. 8th and 7th grade . . . they really are getting older and, now, are are both distinctly taller than Lena and I . . . my brother is the tallest of all of us four now . . . yes, things are happening. Sniff.

I know Lena and I have both waxed lyrical about being unregretting graduated women at home, and will continue to do so to our hearts’ content, but instead of indulging in that at the moment, I’ll instead talk about tutoring English.

I haven’t really tutored in English until this point, when I decided to blithely offer my help to Mom in tutoring my brother in this particularly dazzling field of study. In fact, I haven’t sat down and read formal English in what feels like decades. The terms are a little mind-numbing, and I actually taught one concept last week which I completely, totally did not understand, and yet he got most of the answers right anyway. He’s got smarts.

Tutoring your brother or sister is surprisingly rewarding, despite the natural ups and downs you can expect to have when you’re dealing with school AND siblings. While it can occasionally be a marvelous exercise in virtue, most often, it’s a perfect opportunity to crack jokes, conjure enthusiasm, and build on your relationships. As an older sibling, you’re provided a chance to encourage diligence and real learning in your younger siblings, as well as an opportunity to realize and navigate temperamental differences (and you can bet there are major differences in our household!), and to grow in patience as well as creativity. Without hesitation, that’s what I’ve enjoyed most so far.

And, if you’re a woman at home (I hope you saw this coming), tutoring is a prime way to practice for when you’ll be schooling your own children as a wife and mother one day. So I’m personally hoping to continue helping out in our homeschool until I’m off and married, or they’re out of school (hopefully the former will occur before the latter, though! . . .)


I just finished reading my favorite book on the planet.

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The Wife Desired by Fr. Leo J. Kinsella is, quite literally, my favorite book. Ever. After my missal, I would grab this if the house were on fire and I only had time for one other item. (Well, okay . . . at least one other book. I won’t pin myself down that much. I have a feeling I can grab a lot, quickly.)

Although I had first resolved to read a chapter a day, and to responsibly meditate and absorb and contemplate . . . I devoured it, and now I’m beginning my re-read.

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While it’s been re-typset (probably independently) and re-published since it’s debut, I hunted down and found a used copy from back in the day, and it’s so charming. It’s little; the pages are yellowed; but it was in good condition (and, of course, considerably cheaper, which is always a bonus).

It caters beautifully to traditional stay-at-home wives (or girls who are aspiring to be so) with both powerful insight and candid humor that makes you chuckle. It has adorable illustrations and the sagest wisdom. It is a handbook. It is amazing. I’m keeping it forever. (Don’t worry, Lena, I’ll buy you a separate copy before I leave.)

It is thoroughly, traditionally Catholic in its perspective (it’s written by a priest, after all!), and yet it almost entirely focuses on the natural gifts a wife can bring to her marriage, in contrast to focusing on the sacramental and sacred aspect of marriage, which it takes for a given. The book is divided into seven chapters. Each chapter hones in on a particular attribute of the ideal wife. (“The Wife Desired is an Inspiration to Her Husband;” “The Wife Desired Has Personality;” “The Wife Desired Has a Sense of Humor;” etc.)


It has given me so much to ponder and to work on. To be honest, I didn’t expect it to teach me as much as confirm all my current ideas and convictions . . . well, I was in for a surprise. Of course, there was much in the way of confirmation and encouragement for me, but it also drastically illuminated my understanding of, and eagerness for, the best ways I can be a good wife in the future, should that be God’s will for me. It was marvelous.

There is so much practical advice in this book. So many little things that, in my ignorance, I had never really thought about before, at least not purposefully and intentionally. With eloquence and fun, this good priest points out the natural gifts of women, emphasizes their great worth and potential, and then encourages women to use them wholeheartedly in the service of their God-given vocation, for the good of their souls and their husband’s souls. Again, so marvelous.

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I’m planning to use this book as the inspirational basis for writing letters to my future husband, in the style of Woman in Love. Granted, it’s a little hard to get my act together for this practice of writing letters (on the other hand, my sister is almost unbelievably faithful to it), but it’s something I still want to pursue, and this book has given me so. many. thoughts that if I don’t begin writing letters I might simply explode with excitement and eagerness.

And we wouldn’t want that.


Continuing on the theme of books, when I’ve been able to pull myself away from the addictive The Wife Desired, I’ve been buried in two other very good ones as well, lent to me by two different friends.

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Amusing Ourselves to Death is definitely stretching my brain. I like to consider myself intelligent (well, doesn’t everyone?) and so for humility’s sake (as well as the sake of actually learning things!) it’s always good to come across a book where I have to be incredibly intent while reading it so as to understand and process the content. It’s a difficult read for me, but at the same time, is fascinating in its premise, charting the differences and development in the mediums of discourse across the centuries, as well as the modern decline of the value of our public discourse through television.

Until I began reading this, I’d never really considered the shift that gradually occurred between some societies’ mediums of discourse; once considering the spoken word to be more trustworthy than the written word, they eventually reversed (it kind of makes me feel guilty for blogging, but oh well), to where a medium that was once believed to give evidence of wisdom and knowledge (such as the memorization of proverbs) became looked upon as childish and ineffective. Neil Postman probes at examples such as this at a deep level; he unearths why and how particular mediums of discourse resonate with different societies, or society in general.

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On the subject of mediums and metaphors in society, one particularly interesting paragraph (I thought, anyway) relates:

A person who reads a book or who watches television or who glances at his watch is not usually interested in how his mind is organized and controlled by these events, still less in what idea of the world is suggested by a book, television, or a watch. But there are men and women who have noticed these things, especially in our own times. Lewis Mumford, for example, has been one of our great noticers. He is not the sort of a man who looks at a clock merely to see what time it is. Not that he lacks interest in the content of clocks, which is of concern to everyone from moment to moment, but he is far more interested in how a clock creates the idea of “moment to moment.” He attends to the philosophy of clocks, to clocks as a metaphor, about which our education has had little to say and clock makers nothing at all. “The clock,” Mumford has concluded, “is a piece of power machinery whose ‘product’ is seconds and minutes.” In manufacturing such a product, the clock has the effect of disassociating time from human events and thus nourishes the belief in an independent world of mathematically measurable sequences. Moment to moment, it turns out, is not God’s conception, or nature’s. It is man conversing with himself about and through a piece of machinery he created.

A little mind-bending (for me) . . . but it makes sense!


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And the other book! How to Avoid Falling in Love with a Jerk. Admittedly, the title is a little misleading in tone, but it’s proven so far to be a thoughtful, thought-provoking read (what I’ve read of it, anyway; I don’t read every section of relationship books such as these, since fortunately, much of the world’s relationship problems/sinful habits aren’t, thank God, applicable to me!).

On a similar vein to The Wife Desired, I’ve thus far found it an engrossing and practical help in examining the natural, emotional, and psychological elements of how to build a healthy relationship, and to thus discern if you and your partner are naturally compatible and–from the Catholic perspective–will find it possible to lovingly and healthily cooperate together in doing God’s will in marriage. I think a book such as this can go hand-in-hand with a traditional Catholic courtship, because it has the potential to stimulate so many worthwhile conversations between partners and aid them in getting to know one another rationally, so they can then better discern if their are meant to share in the marriage vocation together.

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Again, I feel as though I have interiorly focused so much on the spiritual and sacramental aspect of marriage (the most important aspects, of course!) during discernment over the past year, that now, discovering the more natural, practical aspects of building courtship and married relationships has been deeply enlightening, and a helpful preparation should I begin needing it someday.


Now to leave books behind! My family just took a weekend trip to visit my paternal grandparents, as well as my great-aunt and great-uncle on my mother’s side. We had a wonderful time, ate far too much food, talked into the night, and listened to far too much Frank Sinatra on the drive both ways.

After receiving a CD of Frank Sinatra’s as a gift, we’ve become rather addicted to it . . . it’s our “feel good” music, and since we tend to enjoy feeling good on a daily basis, it stands to reason that you will hear the strains of “Fly Me to the Moon,” and “I’ve Got You Under My Skin” in our homeschool around lunchtime, accompanied by a good foxtrot. Ballroom dancing is our noon PE.



Posture. I’ve been focusing on improving my posture (sitting and standing, but especially standing) for approximately the past four days. I came across a blog post talking about it, and since then, I’ve been trying to stand better aligned. My knees hyper-extend, my shoulders tend to slouch, and if I give in to my habit of putting my weight slightly more on one foot than the other, it tends to give me hip and leg pain (probably remnants from the mild torture I put my body through in ballet) . . . and besides, I think good posture just looks (and feels!) far better.

I’ve been evangelizing my family members about it and they’re probably tired of it by now.


Last night, my entire family took the temperament quiz at It was a hilarious but nonetheless revealing hour. It turns out we have three choleric-sanguines (no surprise there; I predicted those in advance), one phlegmatic-sanguine (ahem, me), one choleric-melancholic, and one melancholic-phlegmatic.

And those are my seven rambling takes! Time for the Angelus and lunch 🙂

A blessed feast of St. Jane Frances de Chantal!


Know Yourself: Discovering My Temperament


The four temperaments . . . The Temperament God Gave You . . . wonder if I match up with a specific temperament . . . wonder if it’s something spiritual sound and applicable to Catholic life? . . .

For whatever reason, the topic of the four classically understood temperaments or “humors” (choleric, sanguine, melancholic and phlegmatic) had been waltzing through my mind over the past few weeks; sort of vaguely nudging me, not letting me forget about its presence. I should probably buy that book I’ve seen everywhere. A traditional Catholic homeschooling mother and blogger I follow had recently mentioned her own temperament and the temperaments of her family members, and how discovering everyone’s temperaments had benefited her greatly, both in self-knowledge and in understanding her family members (understanding leading to charity). My interest was getting piqued (in other words, I was feeling increasingly impulsive and ready to dive in, discover my temperament, and change my life. Ahem.).

Only . . . I didn’t really want to spend money, and I’d already purchased a $6 used copy of The Wife Desired off Amazon and so I wondered, in my halfway penny-pinching fashion, if I could just find some reliable free internet resources on this whole temperament topic and see if I could learn more. I kept hearing of it (and thinking about it) in the context of self-knowledge and growth in holiness. Which is never a bad thing . . .

And so first, I went to Fish Eaters. (Surprise). I found pages of most likely very useful information (which I skimmed through, because I impulsively just wanted to get to “the good stuff” . . .) and eventually discovered the very thorough temperament test. I took it, hesitating over many of the questions, not sure exactly how to view them or answer them, and arrived at a (in my mind) gloomy-looking page which pronounced in bold letters I was a Melancholic. I gaped.

From Fish Eaters (quoting Fr. Conrad Hock):

  • Is self-conscious, easily embarrassed, timid, bashful.
  • Avoids talking before a group; when obliged to he finds it difficult.
  • Prefers to work and play alone. Good in details; careful.
  • Is deliberative; slow in making decisions; perhaps overcautious even in minor matters.
  • Is lacking in self-confidence and initiative; compliant and yielding.
  • Tends to detachment from environment; reserved and distant except to intimate friends.
  • Tends to depression; frequently moody or gloomy; very sensitive; easily hurt.
  • Does not form acquaintances readily; prefers narrow range of friends; tends to exclude others.
  • Worries over possible misfortune; crosses bridges before coming to them.
  • Is secretive; seclusive; shut in; not inclined to speak unless spoken to.
  • Is slow in movement; deliberative or perhaps indecisive; moods frequent and constant.
  • Is often represents himself at a disadvantage; modest and unassuming.

Say what? Even the people who have never met me in real life, but who have simply glanced over my article on Tutoring Younger Siblings, can probably guess that I am not a Melancholic! Surely I’d taken a wrong turn somewhere . . . probably question #38 . . . or was it #53 . . .

So I wrinkled my face and threw out my net to fish a little more.

It was at this point I came across the full The Four Temperaments and the Spiritual Life: “Know Yourself” by Fr. Conrad Hock from 1934. This was where clarity started to pour upon my feverish mind, so desperate to easily discover my temperament.

He wrote:

 Socrates, one of the most renowned of the Greek sages, used and taught as an axiom to his hearers: “Know yourself.” 

 One of the most reliable means of learning to know oneself is the study of the temperaments. For if a man is fully cognizant of his temperament, he can learn easily to direct and control himself. If he is able to discern the temperament of others, he can better understand and help them.    


 If we consider the reaction of various persons to the same experience, we will find that it is different in every one of them; it may be quick and lasting, or slow but lasting; or it may be quick but of short duration, or slow and of short duration. This manner of reaction, or the different degrees of excitability, is what we call “tempera­ment.” There are four temperaments: the choleric, the melancholic, the sanguine, and the phlegmatic.    

 The sanguine temperament is marked by quick but shallow, superficial excitability; the choleric by quick but strong and lasting; the melancholic temperament by slow but deep; the phlegmatic by slow but shallow excitability. The first two are also called extroverts, outgoing; the last two are introverts or reserved. 

 Temperament, then, is a fundamental disposition of the soul, which manifests itself whenever an impression is made upon the mind, be that impression caused by thought – by thinking about something or by representation through the imagination – or by external stimuli. Knowl­edge of the temperament of any person supplies the answer to the questions: How does this person deport himself? How does he feel moved to action whenever something impresses him strongly? For instance, how does he react, when he is praised or rebuked, when he is offended, when he feels sympathy for or aversion against somebody? Or, to use another example, how does he act if in a storm, or in a dark forest, or on a dark night the thought of imminent danger comes to him?

It’s a fairly long page, so again I began scrolling down, intent on finding phrases and attributes which I thought would describe me fairly well.

Eventually I came across an instruction that prefaced a long questionnaire.

Be completely honest in answering the questions. They refer to your natural inclinations rather than your present practice, acquired by effort and self control.

Ah . . . that made more sense. Back at Fish Eaters, I realized in retrospect, I had been attempting to combine what I thought were my natural inclinations with my usual ability to just simply do things I knew to be right.

Lo and behold, there is a difference.

With this in mind, I began reading his work more slowly . . . and soon enough, I stumbled across my dominant (though not pure) temperament in all its glory (and lack thereof): sanguine. (And yes, I had to look up how to pronounce it. That’s what comes from reading a word a million times yet never listening to an audiobook.)

I began reading the inclinations of the sanguine, divorced from the daily fight and discipline of my “present practice,” and immediately was nailed to the wall. It was incredibly humbling. Because the sanguine traits are so true of me in almost all aspects.


The sanguine person is quickly aroused and vehemently excited by whatever influences him. The reaction follows immediately, but the impression lasts but a short time. Consequently the remembrance of the impression does not easily cause new excitement.


 1. Superficiality. The sanguine person does not penetrate the depth, the essence of things; he does not embrace the whole, but is satisfied with the superficial and with a part of the whole. Before he has mastered one subject, his interest relaxes because new impressions have already captured his attention. He loves light work which attracts attention, where there is no need of deep thought, or great effort. To be sure, it is hard to convince a sanguine person that he is superficial; on the contrary, he imagines that he has grasped the subject wholly and perfectly.

These first paragraphs showed me, glaringly, much of who I am naturally inclined to be: not, of course, what I can be if I pray for grace and try to do better. But I realized instantly how frequently my interest can naturally wax, wane and vary. Hence the thirty stories from my teen years that I started and never finished. Hence how passionately excited about taking black-and-white photography one month, and then am convinced I would love to design planners the next. I am inclined to make instant wholehearted resolutions (whether it’s to sew a skirt, to exercise every weekday, or whatever), but then find great difficulty to keep up the zeal in carrying them out. I can’t deny it. And it’s humbling to admit. It is so natural for me to initially feel that, after I’ve read an article or a book on a given topic, that I’ve achieved expert status. The sanguine person is satisfied with the superficial and the part of the whole. I naturally am excited by things so quickly . . . and it’s not that I grow discontented or am constantly looking for something new and exciting in order to make my life memorable. But my excitement for things usually does not last for a long time. (The Latin Mass, my vocation, my family, friends and children excepted 🙂 ) While fortunately blogging, article writing and the like are still ongoing and are proving to be a cemented fixture in my normal life . . . they are still technically sporadic things. I don’t have deadlines. And some days I am just not excited about them.

So yes. Moving on from that confession, and straight into another.

Vanity and self-complacency. The pride of the san­guine person does not manifest itself as inordinate ambi­tion or obstinacy, as it does in the choleric, nor as fear of humiliation, as in the melancholic, but as a strong inclina­tion to vanity and self-complacency. The sanguine person finds a well-nigh childish joy and satisfaction in his out­ward appearance, in his clothes and work. He loves to behold himself in the mirror. He feels happy when praised and is therefore very susceptible to flattery . . .

Again, these are most certainly my natural inclinations, which I daily have to battle against.

3. Tendency to the external. The sanguine does not like to enter into himself, but directs his attention to the ex­ternal. In this respect he is the very opposite of the melancholic person who is given to introspection, who prefers to be absorbed by deep thoughts and more or less ignores the external. This leaning to the external is shown in the keen interest which the sanguine pays to his own appearance, as well as to that of others; to a beautiful face, to fine and modern clothes, and to good manners. In the sanguine the five senses are especially active, while the choleric uses rather his reason and will and the mel­ancholic his feelings. The sanguine sees everything, hears everything, talks about everything. He is noted for his facility and vivacity of speech, his inexhaustible variety of topics and flow of words which often make him disagree­able to others. The sanguine person in consequence of his vivacity has an eye for details, an advantageous disposi­tion which is more or less lacking in choleric and melan­cholic persons.

To read this tendency was to be given an explanation for why it is I always feel so conscious of my appearance. Whether my hair is parted over enough. Whether my clothes are hanging all right. Whether I look too tired. Whether I might have gained a pound or two. Why I naturally talk so excitedly. Why I care so much about my blog having the perfect color palate. Why my photos must always be cropped to the perfect ratio. Why I have been habitually intent on writing introspective characters, since regular introspection (which doesn’t turn into writing) is, for me, foreign (and therefore a fascinating topic for me to be impulsively interested in).

4. Optimism. The sanguine looks at everything from the bright side. He is optimistic, overlooks difficulties, and is always sure of success. If he fails, he does not worry about it too long but consoles himself easily. His vivacity explains his inclination to poke fun at others, to tease them and to play tricks on them. He takes it for granted that others are willing to take such things in good humor and he is very much surprised if they are vexed…

Oh, heavens . . . this is so very me. Although fortunately I am now usually able to sense (through practice) when it’s not the right time to make a joke.

The life of prayer of the sanguine suffers from three obstacles:  1) He finds great difficulty in the so-called interior prayer for which a quiet, prolonged reflection is necessary; likewise in meditation, spiritual reading, and examination of conscience.  2) He is easily distracted on account of his ever active senses and his uncontrolled imagination and is thereby prevented from attaining a deep and lasting recol­lection in God.  3) At prayer a sanguine lays too much stress upon emotion and sensible consolation, and in conse­quence becomes easily disgusted during spiritual aridity.

While I have been given graces to not lay so much stress upon emotion in prayer and the spiritual life, and to see instead the necessity of free will and good resolution, this paragraph enlightened me as to why it is I seem to have such difficulty in “entering into myself” and in making what I feel is a thorough examination of conscience: something I’ve been reflecting on frequently over the past year. (I make an effort to go to Confession between every one and three weeks, which is probably ideal for my temperament-related difficulties, as a matter of fact . . .) My imagination is naturally very active and I can’t think of a single prayer during the day when I’m not unwittingly distracted by something my mind conjures up at least two or three times. Meditation is similarly difficult, though of course not impossible. It’s just . . . not natural for me. (Which probably means I’m not meant for the convent, I suppose . . .)

Anyway . . . that’s probably more than enough about the natural struggles and negative tendencies of the sanguine temperament for one blog post. They were greatly enlightening to me . . . but it was nice to read about some of the positive qualities as well 🙂

1. The sanguine person has many qualities on account of which he fares well with his fellow men and endears himself to them.  a) The sanguine is an extrovert; he readily makes ac­quaintance with other people, is very communicative, loquacious, and associates easily with strangers.  b) He is friendly in speech and behavior and can pleasantly entertain his fellow men by his interesting narratives and witticisms.  c) He is very pleasant and willing to oblige. He dis­penses his acts of kindness not so coldly as a choleric, not so warmly and touchingly as the melancholic, but at least in such a jovial and pleasant way that they are graciously received.  d) He is compassionate whenever a mishap befalls his neighbor and is always ready to cheer him by a friendly remark.  . . .  The sanguine person has many qualities by which he wins the affection of his superiors. . . . He is pliable and docile. The virtue of obedience, which is generally considered as difficult, is easy for him . . .

However, most helpful of all for me was this:


 1. A sanguine person must give himself to reflection on spiritual as well as temporal affairs. It is especially necessary for him to cultivate those exercises of prayer in which meditation prevails; for instance, morning meditation, spiritual reading, general and particular examination of conscience, meditation on the mysteries of the rosary, and the presence of God. Superficiality is the misfortune, re­flection the salvation of the sanguine.  In regard to temporal affairs the sanguine person must continually bear in mind that he cannot do too much thinking about them: he must consider every point; antici­pate all possible difficulties; he must not be overconfident, over-optimistic.  2. He must daily practice mortification of the senses: the eyes, ears, tongue, the sense of touch, and guard the palate against overindulging in exquisite foods and drinks.  3. He must absolutely see to it that he be influenced by the good and not by the bad; that he accept counsel and direction. A practical aid against distraction is a strictly regulated life, and in a community the faithful observance of the Rules.  4. Prolonged spiritual aridity is a very salutary trial for him, because his unhealthy sentimentality is thereby cured or purified.  5. He must cultivate his good traits: as charity, obedi­ence, candor, cheerfulness, and sanctify these natural good qualities by supernatural motives. He must continually struggle against those faults to which he is so much in­clined by his natural disposition, such as, vanity and self complacency; love of particular friendships; sentimental­ity; sensuality; jealousy; levity; superficiality; instability.

So yes. There’s a peek into Mary Donellan’s natural temperament. I have begun to scratch the surface of knowing myself and therefore (hopefully) growing more purposefully in virtue and self-control. I highly recommend reading through Fr. Hock’s explanations of the four temperaments and his exhortations to deeper self-knowledge so that we may grow in holiness and imitation of Christ.


The Hidden Life ~ a Time of Purpose

Apparently, my sister at Ut Cum Electis Videamus and I were both mulling over the exact same topics yesterday without even realizing it . . . and she came out with a blog post far more eloquent than mine. It was exactly what I needed to read this morning! So what is there left to do but to reblog it here and share it with my followers? Enjoy!

A blessed feast of St. Lawrence to you all!

Ut Cum Electis Videamus

The past three days have seen the start of our home school’s school year, with my younger brother and sister diving courageously into a new world of hard work and growing knowledge, lovingly and painstakingly prepared and directed by Mom. It’s a familiar time of year to us all–summer break lasted just long enough, and before boredom and idleness can set it, it’s back dutifully to the books, with a renewed spirit of work and purpose in the day (even if, by Monday evening, some of us were peering with wistful, bloodshot eyes back at the summer and wondering where it went).

The only strange thing about this familiar cycle is. . .this year, it didn’t include me.

Yep, folks, I’ve joined the ranks of homeschool graduates and I have a fancy-schmancy diploma hanging over my desk to prove it (and to remind my younger siblings that yes, even though I’m no longer plowing through the…

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