August already?

JMJ1

lilleIt’s been kind of a sad stretch of time since my last post . . . with the summer break wrapping up, things have been busy! But I have to include a picture of my first experience with a Lille baby carrier (awkward snapshot, but still). I fell in love! With the sweet baby, of course, but also with the ability to carry him hands-free for about three hours and do things such as sweep, vacuum, push his sister on a bicycle and pick up toys, while babysitting with Lena earlier this week. It was delightful! I felt just like a kid who dresses up in her dream profession and steals glances in the mirror. Yep. πŸ˜‰ I got far too used to having his little sleepy head and body snuggled up against me, and have been missing it for the past few days . . .

The Dash and I celebrated eleven months of courtship on the feast of St. John Vianney (Old Calendar) and the Fourteen Holy Helpers . . . we’re almost at a year! It’s gone by so fast, and God’s goodness is overwhelming. I love Him and him so much ❀ I think back to the days when we were first getting to know one another, and I can only marvel at the beauty of a friendship that keeps growing. It’s truly something only God can give. And I also continue to realize how even our wonderful courtship, in and of itself, isn’t enough to make me happy or holy. It brings me so much happiness and opportunities to practice virtue but also reveals to me my faults and littleness, and the greatness of the vocational task that still lies ahead of me. Our courtship is both a dream and a daily grind because we have the ability to see and love one another at our best, but we also have to keep struggling IMG_7661 (2)through life and our human condition while embracing crosses and our learning curves. (They’re mostly my learning curves πŸ™‚ )

Anyway; this particular picture is from the night he asked me to court him . . . and apart from still melting my heart, it makes me laugh because we look like babies compared to how we are now (and more awkward, too!). And it’s a beautiful paradox to have come so far from that night and yet still feel like we’re at the very beginning. ❀

But August! It’s here already! The month of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, of the Assumption, my birthday month, one of my best friend’s birthday months, the month in which tutoring starts back, as well as The Dash’s final semester of college (woohoo!) . . . there’s a lot going on! My first day of tutoring is just over a week away (I can’t wait to start!). I’ll be wrapping up the 54-day novena to Our Lady of Pompeii a few days before my birthday, and then I have about a week placed in between that and the beginning of the 33-day renewal of my Total Consecration. I definitely need it and I’m eager to embark on that πŸ™‚ Hopefully I will be able to blog about this month’s remaining shenanigans with some success!

I pray you have a wonderful rest of your weekend!

Sig

 

 

 

 

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This moment in time (#1)

JMJ1

Thank you, Emma, for the inspiration! πŸ™‚

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What I’m doing: Soaking in some early Saturday afternoon calmness πŸ™‚ Just for fun, I snapped a quick picture of myself here in the girl’s bedroom (I’m the only one in here right now). Behind me is my bed . . . hanging over it, you’ll see several holy cards, the picture of “Song of the Angels” that The Dash gave me last year–he built the frame himself–, and right beneath it, a blessed image of the Blessed Virgin that friends brought me from Rome. The rest of our room is decked with similar sacramentals πŸ™‚ It’s so much fun for sisters to share a room . . . even in spite of very different personalities and tastes πŸ˜‰ However, Lena and our youngest sister are already considering and comparing color swatches for what they’re going to paint this room “once I’m gone.” I guess it’s imminent enough to start looking at paint!

Apart from a little laundry and a quick errand, today hasn’t been busy at all, and so right now I’ve been catching up on reading a few of my favorite blogs. I might write a little bit more of fiction soon. After having wrapped up my projects on deadline last week (and although I have another one due next week that I’ll try to tackle Monday), I decided to dabble in something slightly more relaxed and right-brained. I picked up a story I had worked on for years (I initially came up with the idea when I was 15-16 years old) and I jumped in at an, until now, unexplored plot point that was really always the beginning of the story (only, I’d been habitually engrossed in backstory). I haven’t even finished the second scene yet, but it’s been pretty fun πŸ™‚

What I’m listening to: “Beyond the Stage” by Dario Marianelli. The soundtrack forΒ Anna Karenina,Β along with Romeo and Juliet by Abel Korzeniowski, are the two major bodies of music that are the guiding inspirations for this story. (Let it be known that I have no interest in watching the corresponding films . . . forbidden love, despair, and suicide aren’t really my thing πŸ˜‰ ) I don’t think I would have ever written fiction at all in my teen years if there wasn’t guiding music behind it.

Both soundtracks are primarily waltz-form and brim with themes of tenderness, darkness, intrigue and suspense–really, almost like a Russian ballet, especially Anna Karenina, which only makes sense. They’re marvelous.

What I’m thinking about: Here we go . . .

  • I finished my re-read Sophia House this morning and, all throughout the final scene (of the story proper, anyway . . . there’s an epilogue afterwards, not exactly necessary but interesting), I cried my eyes out. I hiccuped and grew completely congested and made all sorts of whimpering noises. I wasn’t expecting to cry. But once I reached a certain sentence, my mouth twisted once and it all just came tumbling out. I can count on one hand the books I’ve cried over . . . My temperament isn’t exactly conducive towards such. And I’ve already read Sophia House before (though it must have been several years ago, by my memory), so there weren’t any plot-related surprises.

    But, curled up on the couch after having run over to the post office for Mom, I read that scene and cried and cried. My brother came downstairs and was slightly shocked to find his oldest sister a whimpering, puffy-faced victim of profound fiction. “Are you okay??”

    In this instance, I had sought to re-read Sophia House because I was in a place of personal difficulty and struggle, and so joining my thoughts to the tale of Pawel Tarnowski, a true sufferer, brought a deeper perspective and an acknowledgement of sufferings far greater than my own. And also a reminder of a hope of healing and peace that no suffering is beyond, but which only comes in proportion to one’s willingness to sacrifice all that he is and has to God.

“To be a father in the realm of the soul,” Pawel said. “I would like to be this for you. May I be this for you?”

“Yes, Pawel,” David said in a tone of calm deliberation. “This would be good.”

As if standing on a threshold of radical departure, they faced each other without speaking, gazing now into a dimension that seemed for both to be wholly undiscovered. This sense of embarkation into a fathomless mystery was in no way daunting; neither was it fraught with emotion. It was a moment of perfect stillness.

At last the boy said, “It is a blessed gift to be a son in the realm of the soul. May I be this for you?”

“Yes,” Pawel nodded.

S O P H I AΒ Β  H O U S E

  • Well, I’m always thinking about The Dash πŸ˜‰ I’m excited to see him in a little bit and kick off our miniature summer break, now that he’s finished his internship, and that stretches until he starts his final semester of college and I start tutoring next month. It’s always fun to have a little break, especially with your favorite people ❀
  • And I’m also thinking about how very, very good Our Lady is. I have brought so many intentions to this novena to Our Lady of Pompeii (on Monday, I’ll be halfway through!) . . . and even more consoling than the increasingly answered prayers, or the graces for endurance, is the growing awareness of her motherly love for me and every soul. What a beautiful thing it is, to be able to trust in Our Lady.

I pray you have a wonderful weekend!

Sig

Valiance

But some of the Israelites continued to love and to serve the Lord in humility and detachment from the world, for they knew that the Saviour would come to free men from the oppressor within their own hearts.

It was from these pure families that, by His grace, God developed and guided the ancestors of His future Mother. They were extremely simple and devout persons, very gentle and peace-loving and charitable. Out of love for God, they always lived a very mortified life. Often the married couples practiced continence over long periods of time, particularly during holy seasons, for their highest ideal was to raise saintly children who in turn would contribute toward bringing salvation to the world. They lived in small rural communities, and they did not engage in business. They worked on the land and tended flocks of sheep; they also had gardens and orchards. They were very conscientious in fulfilling their religious duties. Whenever they had to go to Jerusalem to offer their sacrifices in the Temple, they prepared themselves by prayer and fasting and penance. When traveling, they always helped as best they could any sick persons or paupers whom they met. And because they led such an austere and detached life, these good people had to endure the scorn of many of the other Jews.

Thus Mary’s grandparents inherited from their ancestors a love of humility, chastity, mortification and the simple life. Her mother, St. Ann, and father, St. Joachim, were the very finest products of this long line of pure and holy servants of God.

–The Life of Mary as Seen By the Mystics (compiled by Raphael Brown)

* * *

It’s a very different season of life in contrast to those I’ve ever been before. Last year, I posted on the feast of St. Anne, and how amusing and amazing it is to go back and read over something you’ve written a year (or more) ago and marvel how much has changed, and how much has stayed the same!

On a similar whim, I flipped through an old journal, attempting to find something from July 26th of a previous year. 2014 (I was 17 at the time!) reads as follows:

I promised to journal. Now I have done it. Life has been rolling delightfully along with music & fiction & recording & website & more fiction & more music. And other serendipity. Tonight is “chess night with Mr. Wemmick”Β  – or, rather, LOTR with Lena. So tally ho!!! End.

Not too much about St. Anne. Alas. (I have always been a horrid journaler. Not that I needed to tell you that.)

This season of life, this time of courtship, has given me so much: so much joy and beauty and grace! But it’s also asked much (“to whom much is given, much is expected”)–it’s asked for what I’m increasingly realizing to be valiance. Not that I’m a valiant person by any means . . . but I’m having to strive for that, all the same.

Valiant:

  • boldly courageous; brave; stout-hearted: a valiant soldier.
  • marked by or showing bravery or valor; heroic: to make a valiant effort.
  • worthy; excellent.

As you may have gathered from an earlier blog post, I’m in the middle of a 54-day Rosary Novena to Our Lady of Pompeii for numerous private intentions. (Currently I’m on day 22 . . . and even though it takes effort some days, it’s amazingly beautiful and a total gift to whoever prays it!)

But of course, I still had to make time for St. Anne’s novena. And for whatever reason, while I had a few people I wanted to pray for specifically, my main intention for this novena surfaced as, “That St. Anne would intercede for me, and obtain the necessary graces for me to grow in all the feminine virtues, but especially the ones I most stand in need of in this courtship.” Not that I had particularly anything in mind . . . but as the way it often happens with novenas (and prayers in general), my prayers were actually answered. (Gasp!)

Current faults (that I’d been mostly blind to) and corresponding virtues to strive for were, by the end of the novena, illuminatedΒ in my mind–and the path ahead was made clear to me. Humbling but beautiful . . . you know the routine. I am so grateful for this, and for good St. Anne’s intercession! (I suppose the prayers you pray for self-knowledge are the prayers answered more quickly than any others!)

I’ll be turning 22 before long . . . but although I guess one could say I might possess some nice qualities and some relative maturity (like so many other people!) . . . becoming a valiant woman is an end still very much in need of attaining. Worthy and excellent. Brave and stout-hearted. Daily doing battle against the world, the flesh and the Devil with virtue and with strength.

St. Anne, pray for us that we may grow in all the virtues, especially those most needed in our current state in life!

Who shall find a valiant woman? Far and from the uttermost coasts is the price of her. The heart of her husband trusteth in her, and he shall have no need of spoils. She will render him good, and not evil, all the days of her life . . . Many daughters have gathered together riches: thou hast surpassed them all. Favor is deceitful, and beauty is vain: the woman that feareth the Lord, she shall be praised.

God bless you all, and a very happy feast of St. Anne! πŸ™‚

Sig

 

 

Baptismal joy (now I have two Godsons!)

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JMJ1

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Pictures are by my brother πŸ™‚

Time for some news! πŸ™‚ This Sunday I had the privilege of becoming Godmother to another precious little boy (who also happens to be my second cousin)! What a joy it is to be a Godmother! My awesome cousin (baby’s uncle) was the Godfather. It was so wonderful to be able to visit with family over the weekend, celebrating Father’s Day, my grandmother’s birthday, and the newest member of the Body of Christ, all at once!

I’m still contemplating how being a Godparent is a tremendous responsibility. It’s something I never thought would happen to me while still being a single woman, and yet here I am with two adorable Godsons! It can be easy to focus on the happiness of the Baptism and the fun of being known as a Godmother . . . and forget that being a Godparent means so much more. Twice now, I’ve solemnly promised, before God, to help the parents of two sweet boys raise them in the Faith. Depending on what happens in life (although, God-willing, it would never come to this!), there’s the possibility I would wind up becoming become the primary leader for either Godson in living a life of grace, in obeying God’s commandments, and in knowing the teachings of the Church.

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Me with Baby, the Godfather, and some extended family πŸ™‚

And even if it (hopefully!) never comes to that, I’ll still always feel the responsibility of praying for them every day and of being a loving, encouraging, Godly presence in their lives as they grow into young men. I want to be able to radiate a motherly love of God to them in whatever way I can. Only Our Lord knows how this will look over the coming years, but I pray I’ll be ready for whatever is asked of me.

I’ve been an Associate Member of the Confraternity of Christian Mothers ever since I was nineteen or so, and I look forward to being enrolled as a full member (who participates in the graces of the Confraternity) as soon as I’m married! Becoming a Godmother has brought me into a special state of spiritual motherhood, however, and I’m grateful for the prayers of the Confraternity, especially in light of the two Godsons in my life. I pray this prayer every night for them!

O Mary, Immaculate Virgin and Sorrowful Mother, commend our beloved children to the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, Who refuses nothing to His Mother.
Holy Guardian Angels, pray for them.
St. Joseph, powerful patron, pray for them.
St. John, beloved disciple of the heart of Jesus, pray for them.
St. Augustine, pray for them.
St. Anthony, pray for them.
St. Aloysius, pray for them.
St. Anne, mother of Mary, pray for them.
St. Elizabeth, pray for us.
St. Monica, pray for them.

Sig

Woman at Home Daybook :: Vol. 6

JMJ1

Daybook

Read more installments here πŸ™‚

This day in the Liturgical Year . . .

Saint Boniface by Cornelis Bloemaert.jpgIt’s the feast of St. Boniface (Bishop and Martyr), as well as my youngest sister’s Baptism anniversary . . . the longer I live, the more I love celebrating one’s Baptism anniversary πŸ™‚

From the Missal:

St. Boniface was an English Benedictine monk who became the great Apostle of Germany. He was put to death at Dokkum in 775.

O God, Who didst vouchsafe by the zeal of blessed Boniface, Thy Martyr and Bishop, to call a multitude of peoples to the knowledge of Thy name: grant, in Thy mercy, that as we keep his solemn feast so we may also enjoy his protection. Through our Lord.

 

Outside my window . . .

Blue skies and late afternoon sunshine, which deserve greater appreciation after the torrential rain we’ve received over the past few weeks!

Sounds throughout the house . . .

My dad playing guitar downstairs in the living room . . . and what a familiar, comfortable, fatherly sound that is to me πŸ™‚ I’ve known the sound for, practically, as long as I could hear!

I am wearing . . .

I seem to recall I was always wearing a football t-shirt when writing Daybook posts . . . well, today I get to break the trend! I’m wearing a cap-sleeve gray blouse with a gathered neckline, with a white modesty panel underneath it; a jean skirt, and tan flats.

That was pretty fun to write πŸ™‚

Attempts in the kitchen . . .

Lena has been baking cookies . . . Mom has been cooking supper . . . I’ve had a cold and so consequently haven’t been cooking at all in the recent past. I did pour myself a cup of ginger ale earlier, but I’m not sure if that counts.

A note on projects . . .

As of a few days ago, all three of us girls have moved into the same bedroom, and it looks so pretty! I wish I could take a picture to do it justice . . . we’ll see. For the meantime, we have my full-size bed, Lena’s twin-size bed, and our youngest sister has a lovely daybed, courtesy of our grandmother. The bedspreads are all different yet complementary shades of cream, brown and blue. My desk is the only one remaining in the room. The walls are covered with all our religious artwork and holy cards . . . it really does look so pretty and organized! A big thanks to our dad and the ever-helpful Dash for helping us move all the heavy furniture around πŸ™‚

I am reading . . .

A re-read of Father Elijah has been being thoroughly enjoyed by yours truly. I’m on the second to last chapter right now.

A favorite moment towards the climax:

When he had completed this declaration, the inspector fixed his most adamantine, serene, and intimidating gaze upon the colonel (of the Swiss Guard). He had never met the colonel before. The colonel appeared to him as a member of that genre of silly old men who liked to caper about in plumes, brandishing steel blades. He was dressed in yellow hose, buckled shoes, bulging striped pantaloons, and a black cap tied with red strings. In addition he wore a theatrically oversized sword.

“I repeat: I must have this assurance before I can leave,” (said the inspector.)

The colonel returned the inspector’s gaze. If anything, his was even more serene, underpinned by an equally adamantine foundation. He peered unblinking into the inspector’s eyes until the latter began to squirm, without showing it, and looked away.

“I remind you that you are a guest on the soil of a sovereign state. It would be appropriate for such a guest to express his desires in the form of a request, not a demand.”

The inspector shrugged. “Have it your way. I request that you turn over to my office anyone who answers to the name of Schafer or who fits his description. Read this!”

The colonel accepted the sheet of paper that the inspector thrust at him. “I assure you there are no criminals here.”

“If I could have your assurance that you will report to us if he arrives.”

“I will consider it.”

“You will consider it?” the inspector repeated with the subtlest tone of mimicry.

“You are making it more difficult for yourself at every moment. Your manner has forced me to feel less inclined to consider it than when you first raised the subject.”

Contemplating authentic femininity . . .

Hmm . . . how to let womanly emotions run their course, and yet how to bring rationality to the fore, how to be both strong and gentle, how to be both brave and trusting . . . the normal challenges of living a virtuous life, I suppose πŸ˜‰ God’s grace is sufficient in all things, as long as we participate in it!

On living the Faith . . .

The Dash and I’s upcoming 9-month courting anniversary falls on the Feast of the Sacred Heart. What a special blessing! πŸ™‚

Last week, the Feast of Corpus Christi was also our parish feast. We were blessed to have High Mass and an outdoors Eucharistic Procession. During it, we sang two simply beautiful chants: “Sacris Solemniis” and “Verbum Supernum.”

Also, as part of my Total Consecration, I’m still attempting (this attempt began last month) to pray the Little Crown of the Blessed Virgin Mary every day. It is so beautiful and so simple. One Our Father, four Hail Marys, one Glory Be, and you repeat this three times. This accumulates twelve Hail Marys in all: her crown of twelve stars. Four are in honor of her excellence; four are in honor of her power; four are in honor of her goodness.

Prayerfully . . .

Conformity to God’s Will (Pius VII, 1818)

Lord, do with me what Thou wilt. May Thy will be ever done; I only desire what Thou wilt. I desire to suffer what Thou willest; I desire to die in Thy love and in perfect conformity to Thy holy will. Into Thy hands I commend my body, my soul, my life, and my death. I love Thee, O my God, whether it pleaseth Thee to send me consolations or afflictions, and I desire to love Thee always. Will of my God, Thou art my love.

Amen.

Sig