7 Rambling Monday Takes, Vol 17 :: November thoughts

7Takes

Explore previous rambling installments here 🙂

1.

What a week! We haven’t been this sick in quite some time . . . nasty chest colds, congestion, coughing, intense fatigue, low-grade fever (for my brother, anyway), achiness, and slooow progression. Some form of this unpleasant, almost-antibiotic-worthy germ found every member of our family. First it was Lena and our youngest sister . . . it spread to our brother, then Dad (in a milder form, fortunately). Mom and I were staying miraculously well through it all, administering Robitussin and essential oils (we’re a both-and kind of family 😉 ) and managing to make it to both All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day Masses. My poor siblings didn’t get to go to . . . a big disappointment and yet a great opportunity for an offering 😦

It’s been a week where the house has just felt chock full of germs, floating alongside all the dust motes. You feel invaded. Sickness mode takes over; home becomes a hospital . . . you know the environment. I was constantly cleaning and keeping meticulous watch over the hygiene of my hands, while the living room was full of coughing and misery. I love “playing nurse” and rubbing helpful things on people, and so I counted myself Divinely preserved after a while, considering the exposure. But . . .

I started feeling a tiny touch of the ominous threat of things (more like allergy symptoms) on All Souls’ Day, but I had plans with The Dash on Saturday which meant, of course, I wasn’t going to get sick. Fortunately, Saturday only saw a small amount of sinus congestion for me, and the plans remained. We had a glorious day ❤ Yesterday and today, I’ve just had mild cold symptoms and tiredness, so I definitely don’t think I’ll come down with the worst of things like the siblings did, and should be safe to teach tomorrow. Mom is under the weather also today, but on the whole, our clan is finally, finally on the mend. God is good!

2.

November is here! The leaves have finally turned; burnt amber, orange, gold, russet. It’s gorgeous!

Daylight Savings Time ended, that obsolete thing, leaving things pitch black so early . . .

The Dash graduates next month! A beautiful phrase! To say I’m proud and thrilled for him to the moon and back is such an understatement.

Three Sundays left until Advent is upon us . . .

3.

This All Souls’ Day Requiem Mass was the most poignant I’ve attended (although it’s only the second in my life 😉 ) . . . I think it’s due to all the people I’ve known, or loved ones of people I know, who have departed this past year. Meditating on the reality of purgatory and the suffering Holy Souls made it impossible to feel anything other than a sober urgency to participate in the Mass as reverently as possible to bring them as much relief as I could.

From the Offertory of the Mass (taken from here):

O Lord, Jesus Christ, glorious King, spare the souls of the faithful departed from the pains of hell and from the deep pit; free them from the jaws of the lion, and let them not descend into hell to be swallowed up in darkness. May Saint Michael, Your standard bearer, lead them into the holy light which You promised of old to Abraham and his posterity.

4.

I’ve nearly finished Michael D. O’Brien’s Harry Potter and the Paganization of Culture (currently I’m in the last Appendix). At the end of it, the truth most strongly impressed upon me is the unbelievable responsibility that’s incurred when one has children, especially in today’s society and culture where so much corruption is so subtly pervasive in media, entertainment and literature. Parents have so much responsibility towards their children’s souls in the formative years. Books and films are not neutral influences.

” . . . {O}ne of Satan’s most effective and time-tested strategies in his war against mankind is to afflict us with a blatant evil (for example, the dark imagination of authors like {Philip} Pullman), and then to offer an apparently lesser evil (the murky imagination of authors like J.K. Rowling) as an alternative, even as an antidote to the more blatant evil. Then, we jump hastily for the quick solution, the lesser evil, forgetting that it may be the lesser evil that Satan wishes to spread through the world. Of course he desires both, and more, a sliding scale of familiarization and comfortableness with evil.”

-p. 211

I believe it’s essential for couples, especially in the early stages of courtship/engagement and particularly newlywed life, to read these kinds of books about culture and children and to converse about them. (One that I really want to read with The Dash is We and Our Children by Mary Reed Newland, and maybe something like 10 Ways to Destroy the Imagination of Your Child by Anthony Esolen.) Because the question is there: how, rationally and virtuously, are you going to defend your children? What choices and sacrifices are you willing to make when the alternatives are universally easy and normal?

5.

My dad’s and brother’s birthdays are next week! We’ve all gotten a kick of how we can re-use the numerical birthday candles this year . . . 15 and 51 😉 The romance of thrift!

6.

For the past few weeks, I’ve been really trying to cut down on inflammatory foods. I can’t make it a perfect 100% but am aiming for a solid 70, and so far, it’s going fairly well 😉 I deal with endometriosis symptoms (and have been for several years) but the severity is often reduced if I cut out things like bread, sugar, and dairy. My hope is to get into a consistent habit of eating more mindfully, to improve my female health as much as I can, especially in this stage of my life when I’m still young and looking forward to marriage. I pray I can keep it up!

7.

Time for supper . . . I have no other thoughts to offer at the moment 😉 Have a blessed week!

Sig

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Woman at Home Daybook :: Vol. 10 (A glorious Thursday . . .)

Daybook1

JMJ1

This day in the Liturgical Year . . .

Thursday, October 11th, 2018 A.D. Motherhood of the Blessed Virgin Mary (a beautiful feast day!); St. Tarachus and Companions, Martyrs.

Outside my window . . .

It rained all day yesterday, dreary and dim, although walking through the rain to get the mail yesterday afternoon was honestly delightful 🙂 I felt just like a kid and had to run in order to not get completely drenched on the way back up!

flower

Early this morning, around 6:30, it was still dreary and dim, but by the time I left home it was becoming a gorgeous day; breezy, bonny blue, growing ever cooler . . . this weekend our lows should be arriving in the fifties! Ecstasy! Wonderful weather to walk in!

shoe

Sounds throughout the house . . .

Next to nothing at the moment; things are quiet because of school 🙂

For the past few days, I’ve had Death Cab for Cutie’s “Stay Young, Go Dancing,” in my head and have listened to it every time I’ve driven somewhere . . . like so many other tunes, The Dash introduced me to this one . . . it’s really sweet! ❤

I am wearing . . .

An old black Royal Tailor t-shirt we found at the thrift store years ago; jean skirt.

Attempts in the kitchen . . .

Here in about an hour, we’re going to be making cream-cheese-stuffed, bacon-wrapped jalepenos (the jalepenos having come from our garden) . . . a family favorite. It’ll go with supper, which should be roast chicken and veggies.

A note on projects . . .

Today The Dash and I taught a dance class together! After getting gas, I drove downtown and met him at our Cathedral (another homeschool co-op meets there) and for two hours we taught two different groups of kids waltz and fox trot for their “etiquette class.” It’s a two-part class, so we’ll be there again next week.

Honestly . . . there’s nothing more fun in courtship than being with your guy for a weekday morning (happiness!!) and helping him teach a dance class. ❤

I don’t think I’d driven downtown alone until this morning, so that was also a fun adventure . . . nor had I parked in a ticketed parking deck before. After about thirty seconds of fruitless exploration, I called The Dash (who’d arrived before me and was kindly waiting for me) . . . “Where exactly are you parked??? I . . . think I know where I’m going . . . Level 2, you say, like the numerical second level? Because it’s really the third level . . .”

All fun 🙂

I am reading . . .

On the way back home, I drove by the library to pick up a few things, and behold, North and South had arrived! I can’t wait to start it here in a bit.

Contemplating authentic femininity . . .

My mom forwarded me this spot-on article earlier this afternoon . . . Chesterton and domesticity are an immensely inspiring combination.

The place where babies are born, where men die, where the drama of mortal life is acted, is not an office or a shop or a bureau. It is something much smaller in size and much larger in scope. And while nobody would be such a fool as to pretend that it is the only place where people should work, or even the only place where women should work, it has a character of unity and universality that is not found in any of the fragmentary experiences of the division of labour.

On living the Faith . . .

Today being the feast of the Motherhood of the Blessed Virgin Mary, what better day in all the world for my Total Consecration chain bracelet to arrive? Such a blessing!

chain

I must have tiny wrists, because I ordered the smaller of the two options but still had to get my brother to snap off (with some sort of very strong pliers/cutters . . . thank goodness for handy brothers!) four or five links in order for it to fit just between loosely and snugly. But it’s perfect! ❤

I deliberately chose to put it on my left wrist, since that hand will one day, God-willing, wear both my engagement and wedding rings, and be the hand that indicates my state in life. In striving to give Our Lady absolutely everything, putting the chain on that hand seemed fitting to me.

Prayerfully . . .

Praying for our Marine friend who will be coming home from training in just over a week! And for other intentions, too . . . always so much to pray for . . .

Have a beautiful rest of your day! 🙂

Sig

A mammoth October daybook in which I catch up on things at great length (Woman at Home Daybook :: Vol. 7)

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JMJ1

Read previous installments here 🙂

This day in the Liturgical Year . . .

Monday, October 1st, 2018 A.D. Commemoration of St. Remigius, Bishop and Confessor. From Butler’s Lives of the Saints: “At the age of twenty-two, in spite of the canons and of his own reluctance, he was acclaimed Archbishop of Rheims. He was unusually tall, his face impressed with blended majesty and serenity, his bearing gentle, humble and retiring. He was learned and eloquent, and had the gift of miracles. His pity and charity were boundless, and in toil he knew no weariness . . . The South of France was in the hands of Arians, and the pagan Franks were wresting the North from the Romans. St. Remigius confronted Clovis, their king, and converted him and baptized him at Christmas, in 496. With him he gained the whole Frank nation. He threw down the idol altars, built churches and appointed bishops. He withstood and silenced the Arians, and converted so many that he left France a Catholic kingdom . . . He died in 533, after an episcopate of seventy-four years.”

St. Remigius, pray for us; pray that God would send us good and holy bishops!

It’s also the eighth day of the St. Therese novena (if one is leading up to her Old Calendar feast on the 3rd), and the twenty-eighth day of my renewal of Total Consecration . . . which I’ve been very imperfect in doing, honestly, but am trying to press forward with better commitment.

Outside my window . . .

Somewhat overcast. We had beautiful blue skies yesterday, perfect for Sunday, following a week of torrential rain. Today isn’t quite so blue . . . but no rain, at least!

The leaves are slooowly being convinced to abandon green. The temperature is not yet convinced to drop, alas . . .

Also . . . this is such a girlish thing, but The Dash and I have not gone out for any intentional couple photos since March of this year. March! It’s killing me!! Those were our six-month photos, but it’s just been too hot and unappealing to have another round since then. As soon as things turn blissfully autumnal, I am intent on spending a day getting pictures with him somewhere picturesque and romantic 😉

Sounds throughout the house . . .

Right now, I’m listening to the soundtrack for North & South by Martin Phipps. I love its wistfulness and romance!

Through the walls, I hear my brother playing guitar; lunch break has just settled in here 🙂

The air conditioner running. When will my disconsolate spirits be eased by the coming of cold temperatures? 😉

Time has passed since I started this post, and now I hear my brother’s and mother’s quiet voices . . . more school. This school year has entailed a pretty hefty load for the last two students left in our family!

Cabinets being shut, dishes clattering . . . not sure why . . .

Upon a quick venture downstairs, I’ve discovered Lena and our youngest sister are making apple muffins. I approve of that 😉

I am wearing . . .

A light-gray top (cap sleeves, with a cute kind of miniature turtleneck), the softest blue denim capris I’ve ever worn (they’re like butter!), a black ponytail on my wrist, light makeup.

Oh, and speaking of makeup . . . recently I did something that probably no one else notices, but I’ve really enjoyed; that is, I stopped wearing eyeliner 99% of the time. It wasn’t that I was wearing an inordinate amount (it was pencil and a charcoal/gray/blue color, so not even very dark, and I wore it to just enhance) but I came to a crossroads of being just tired of putting it on, and wanting to lean towards a more natural look for most occasions. I kind of wanted to follow the muse, What am I realistically going to wear as a wife and mom?

makeup

Honestly, I’ve loved not putting it on and having a slightly fresher look for my face, while still feeling put-together and dressed in the way a small amount of makeup does for me.

I think I would still wear a little eyeliner for special pictures or really dressy occasions, but most of the time now, it’s off.

Attempts in the kitchen . . .

Well, Saturday I made cornbread muffins from scratch! I don’t recall having done that before. We were having a potluck dinner dance that night at our parish, so I pulled an apron on over my dance attire (it was a Southern barn dance theme, so yellow plaid for me) and threw together a recipe Mom had found. I was hot, but it was fun, and I was proud in that classic girl-who’s-just-made-muffins way.

A note on projects . . .

So, the Rooted & Grounded in Charity post series has finally wrapped up! Honestly, I hadn’t intended for that to be my last post, but I ran out of September and so therefore, the last post it became 😉 I thoroughly enjoyed it, but find myself excited to return to normal blogging, too. There are so many random little things I can post about now . . . although, of course, courtship inspiration material is never-ending, and may appear here at any time . . .

Teaching at co-op is going well so far this year! I adore the kids (they are so precious, and to have some of them recognize me and come up to me outside of co-op just melts my heart!), and as any sanguine would, I enjoy getting out and seeing so many families; even the 70-mile round trip of driving is fun (especially when every song that’s special to The Dash and I’s relationship is streaming through Bluetooth on an intentionally crafted Spotify playlist . . .). Granted, being the homebody that I am, I’m more than happy with the fact it’s just once a week . . . but it’s still delightful. I finished planning for tomorrow’s class a few hours ago. It’s hard to believe that tomorrow will end the first quarter! Quarter 2 will involve a lot of preparations for Advent presentations, which I’m thrilled about ❤

I’ve been journaling almost every day for the past few weeks. I haven’t done this consistently for what feels like so long, but I’ve made it part of my morning routine as a way of putting down everything on my mind . . . it’s so beneficial. Also, I journal in pencil . . . it takes some sort of mental pressure for perfection off of me, but I’m not sure if that’s a good thing.

In any event, it’s easy to journal when you have something so lovely like this hardbound piece of feminine perfection (subjectively speaking) which was discovered at Wal-Mart for $5:

journal

I recently cleaned out my inbox (that short phrase contains a gargantuan amount of inferred work), reorganized my folders, and caught up on at least 90% of my sadly neglected correspondence. That was so gratifying to get done!

In an attempt to not waste nearly all of my teenaged years, I’m attempting to re-write an old story . . . or, really, to just delve into it again and let it surprise me. Again, it’s in pencil. I was able to work on it both Friday and Saturday and am determined to keep at it, if only to email scenes to an interested cousin to whom I’ve promised installments at some point. The things we do for cousins.

Also, I rearranged my desk last week, putting my monitor on the left side and freeing up the right-hand desk space for writing (like it’s supposed to be, but occasionally I’ve changed it up for variety’s sake). It feels like a new work space and I love it!

desk

I am reading . . .

Ah! Last month, I read Crime & Punishment.

On a whim, I checked it out (on The Dash’s card . . ) when he, Lena and I were at a library one afternoon in August. It amazed me. The psychological depth of Raskolnikov, in particular, was beyond compelling, and the ending genuinely surprised me. It was pitiful, engrossing, morally instructive in a masterfully artful way. I’ve never read anything like it but would absolutely read it again, simply because the characters “lived” inside my mind in a way I haven’t experienced in a while.

Also, at the end of August I read By Love Refined: Letters to a Young Bride by Alice von Hildebrand – a birthday present. I devoured it in two or three days and I love it to pieces. I highlighted a passage from nearly every letter, and I think it would be a wonderful thing if every young woman hoping for marriage were able to read and absorb it. It edified me in so many small ways, and confirmed me in the joy and worth of the state of life I’m anticipating so eagerly.

“Union necessitates that the two persons remain fully themselves, clearly separate – yet bound to each other by “the golden chords of love.” A husband and wife who love each other become one, but in so doing, they don’t cease to remain fully themselves, two clearly distinct individuals. In fact, mysteriously, through loving union with each other they each find themselves and their own unique individuality in a new and deeper way.”

But currently, I’m still reading Harry Potter and the Paganization of Culture by Michael D. O’Brien (deep and rich) and The Privilege of Being a Woman by von Hildebrand (also deep and rich). The Dash and I are reading the Book of Tobit (RSV) together. I’d love another novel, though . . . hmm, what about North and South?

Contemplating authentic femininity . . .

From The Privilege of Being a Woman:

The female psyche is more responsive to the personal than the impersonal. Women respond thus intuitively, without much deliberation, because they “feel” that persons rank infinitely higher than nonpersonal things . . . Edith Stein further claims that women are more interested in wholes than parts. Their minds do not dissect an object; they grasp it in totality . . . Because their minds and their hearts are closely related (their minds work best when animated by their hearts), their grasp of persons and objects does not fall into the traps which threaten specialists, who no longer see the forest because of the trees . . . {John Bartlett} expressed: “Woman are wiser than men because they know less but understand more.”

Courtship is such a tremendous blessing, and The Dash and I are unified on the path and timeline we believe God is asking of us, but it doesn’t make it always easy, or doesn’t prevent some weeks from feeling long and mundane . . . the past few weeks have had some great moments, but on the whole have been rather hard. That’s just part of life and is sanctifying if I approach it with the right disposition!

But it’s also thought-provoking . . .

Waiting to meet someone is incredibly hard, and I empathize so much with girls who are waiting to meet their future husband; I’m also learning that waiting to be able to move forward to betrothal and marriage (and all those large and small joys that come alongside them) with the person God has sent you is its own kind of Cross. This is when heroic love in little things is called for; St. Therese’s Little Way!

Things are rather intense on both sides of our courtship. The Dash has just a little over 2 months left until he graduates college (hallelujah!) and a huge slew of obligations containing, but not limited to, work and school and everything. My side is certainly less busy than his, although I’ve got duties and tasks of my own with teaching and family, helping out, writing . . . however, as a woman, my heart is operating under the  consciousness of everything that is challenging, hard, worrisome or time-consuming for myself and The Dash, at the same time.

Like the quote above expresses, I find myself instinctively grasping things in totality. The totality of The Dash and I’s current spot in our relationship; the totality of how this is an intensely demanding season of life for him and my wishing I could help somehow, even in ways that I can’t; the totality of feeling and caring and thinking about it and all of its tangents . . .

selfie
One night, my youngest sister was trying to instruct me on how to take a “natural” selfie. We figured out that I just needed to open my mouth, since apparently I talk enough to render that my “natural” look . . .

Right now, some things are really hard; some things are simply part of the daily grind; some things bring joy; some things require perseverance. As a woman, I sense and feel and carry these things in a very distinct way; one that God intended from the beginning of time. Courtship awakened this deep aspect of femininity in my heart in a way I hadn’t experienced until now. And that’s what I would want to try and find the words for, for any lovely and faithful young woman who’s waiting to meet the man she will love and is struggling to remain brave. Her womanhood is going to make love a beautiful cross. Her love, her courtship, is going to start asking her to become an adult, a woman. Instinctively, her heart is going to carry the totality of things without much compartmentalization . . . which is a dazzling gift, and yet can be very heavy.

It’s a lot sometimes 🙂 But . . . it’s the privilege of being a woman. And I am so very grateful.

On living the Faith . . .

Daily Mass stream; fighting the daily interior battle for faithful prayer; coming close to completing my yearly renewal of Total Consecration, but having been totally humbled by how patchy my efforts have been; picking up Lives of the Saints for today’s post and knowing I should read from it daily; trying to live virtuously and humbly rely on God for the strength to do anything virtuous at all. Sometimes it is so hard to do the smallest things well. Often, it is so easy for me to be lazy about praying. But we can only begin again today.

Our parish is going to start offering an evening Low Mass on First Fridays; I am so excited to have the opportunity to be able to attend First Friday and First Saturday Masses, back-to-back, at “home”!

Yesterday’s Mass was That Mass at which all the littles in the congregation had their turn for a meltdown, with that muffled chorus of outraged screams emanating from the narthex that doubles as a cry room. Although their dear parents might have found it a tad stressful, I couldn’t stop smiling at the sounds of our community: a community bursting at the seams with new life and lovingly accepting the noisy, messy beauty of its youngest generation. If I’m blessed with children one day, I have no doubt they’ll join the ranks of screamers (on occasion).

Prayerfully . . .

So many things on my heart to pray for, but especially for a friend who very recently suffered a tragic loss. Your prayers for the repose of a certain soul and the comfort of a family would be so appreciated.

And we are embarking on the month of the most holy Rosary! It seems the perfect time to post a prayer, long ago prescribed by Pope Leo XIII for the month of October, after the recitation of the Rosary:

To thee, O blessed Joseph, do we have recourse in our tribulation, and having implored the help of thy thrice-holy Spouse, we confidently invoke thy patronage also. By that charity wherewith thou wast united to the immaculate Virgin Mother of God, and by that fatherly affection with which thou didst embrace the Child Jesus, we beseech thee and we humbly pray, that thou wouldst look graciously upon the inheritance which Jesus Christ hath purchased by His Blood, and assist us in our needs by thy power and strength.

Most watchful Guardian of the Holy Family, protect the chosen people of Jesus Christ; keep far from us, most loving father, all blight of error and corruption: mercifully assist us from heaven, most mighty defender, in this our conflict with the powers of darkness; and, even as of old thou didst rescue the Child Jesus from the supreme peril of His life, so now defend God’s Holy Church from the snares of the enemy and from all adversity; keep us one and all under thy continual protection, that we may be supported by thine example and thine assistance, may be enabled to lead a holy life, die a happy death and come at last to the possession of everlasting blessedness in heaven. Amen.

Sig

7 Rambling Monday Takes, Vol. 14 :: Mondays are for . . .

MondayTakes

JMJ1

Enjoy previous rambling installments here 🙂

1.

Mondays are for . . . Falling asleep during a thunderstorm and waking up to quiet, and being so blessed as to feel happy, refreshed and well. Getting up, offering morning prayers, carrying down my dirty laundry, and spending a few minutes with Lena at the kitchen table while I eat breakfast and read a few paragraphs from Sophia House and she works on a book of recipes.

“Up those stairs, quickly,” he said, pointing to the back of the room. The boy ran through a maze of floor-to-ceiling shelves loaded with books, found the staircase, and scrambled up frantically, leaving a trail of wet shoe prints. Staring through the dusty panes of the display window, the shopkeeper watched the soldiers working their way long the street toward him, banging on every door, smashing those that were locked, and entering each one. It would take them a few minutes to arrive at his door. Losing no more time, he wiped the floor with a rag, and when the trail had been erased he seated himself at the sales desk by the front entrance. When the soldiers threw open the door with a bang, he looked up from a book, met their eyes over the rim of his spectacles, and asked politely in German, “Ja, mein Herr?”

“Bookseller,” one barked, “have you seen a Jew boy run this way?”

2.

Mondays are for . . . Washing dishes at the sink and enjoying it. Last night Mom and Lena cooked an amazing meal, fit for both a Sunday and for The Dash and I’s one-year anniversary of having met for the first time. (After swimming for a few hours, the entire family was famished.)

Anyway, a few dishes had to be soaked overnight: two glass 9x13s, crusted with oven-fried chicken remains, and our two-handle pot with the remnants of homemade macaroni and cheese (maybe because of the way we make it, this always, always has to be soaked overnight). Methodically wiping and scraping and scrubbing until everything’s clean. Then cleaning off the cluttered island and sweeping up a little, and then starting on my laundry loads before sitting at the table (again) and chatting with Mom about planners and such.

3.

Mondays are for . . . Dusting my desk. Somehow, whenever I thoroughly dust my desk (or almost thoroughly: a thorough dust job entails taking off all the books. An almost-thorough dust job entails dusting around the books, but taking off everything else. I chose #2.), I find the need to change my lock screen picture, wallpaper picture, accent color, etc. on my computer. I guess it’s the closest I can come to digital refreshment.

And then cleaning the girl’s bathroom . . . everything gets wiped down, scrubbed over, and swept up. It’s so satisfying (even if I can’t get our shower as miraculously spotless as I would like to).

And then folding more laundry . . . my laundry, as well as all the swimwear from yesterday, which gets put away into the plastic bin in the laundry room until we swim again. (Soon, I’m going to try and make a post about the swimwear we Donellan girls use . . .)

4.

Mondays are for . . . Humming while I clean, listening to Frank Sinatra (just because) and J.J. Heller, because her sweet simplicity and gentleness of voice have been such a balm to my soul lately. She has some gems, including “The Very Thought of You,” “Control,” “Boat Song,” and “Until You Came Along.”

 

5.

Mondays are for . . . Reading various articles and blogs, trying to expand my mind, and somewhat failing to avoid galloping down multiple rabbit trails of interest and indulging in general skimming (I should try to be a more disciplined reader . . . sanguine weaknesses). However, recently, I’ve come across Mariette at The Natural Catholic Mom and I have wholeheartedly enjoyed her posts and been so uplifted by her perspective!

6.

Mondays are for . . . Thinking about how grateful I am for The Dash and our courtship. One year of knowing each other and nine months of courtship have seen a lot of beautiful things. Our nine-month milestone fell on the Feast of the Sacred Heart (which I knew was going to happen) as well as Our Lady, Seat of Wisdom (I did not know this was going to happen; we’ve had a special devotion to her!). Being able to spend a joyful day together yesterday only renewed my gratitude for all God has done for me and for both of us!

7.

Mondays are for . . . Thinking about how much I enjoy I Am David. I had heard of the film years ago, but was reminded of its existence earlier this week while browsing through The Natural Catholic Mom. We wound up streaming it off Prime on Friday night.

I’ve never seen a movie like it. If you look up reviews for it, you’ll find a mixed bag of moderate enjoyment of the story, along with fairly heavy criticism of its execution/ acting/ story portrayal. There might, admittedly, be some technical flaws to the film (and it isn’t a big movie; if you go in expecting it to be a smaller effort, you’ll be much more pleased, I think), there is a quiet, persistent thematic beauty to I Am David, and enough layers of character, interest and emotion to the story, all of which I find entrancing and warming. I would rank it in my top 10 favorites. Watching David’s inner and outer journey taps into my maternal instincts . . . I just want to hug him! But honestly, I love the cinematography of the film most of all.

And as for Jim Caviezel . . . after watching his character in David, I am convinced that he would make the perfect cast for Pawel Tarnowski, the bookseller and main character of the aforementioned Sophia House.

7.

Mondays are for . . . Getting off the computer and back to more important things 😉 I pray you have a blessed rest of your Monday!

Sig

 

 

“Nothing is so beautiful as spring . . .” (A Woman at Home post)

+J.M.J.+

. . . or thereabouts, anyway.

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What is all this juice and all this joy? A strain of earth’s sweet being in the beginning, in Eden Garden. Have, get, before it cloy, before it cloud, Christ, Lord, and sour with sinning; Innocent mind, and Mayday in girl and boy, most, O Maid’s child, Thy choice, and worthy the winning.

-Gerard Manley Hopkins, “Spring”

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This morning, we drove Lena and our dad to the airport, dropped them off, and drove home under a glorious blue-skied start to a beautiful, chilly March morning. Her visit to Our Lady’s House begins!

Upon returning, I cleaned up a few rooms, made some beds, switched some laundry . . . and then, quite spontaneously, snatched my camera and dove outside to capture some of the “juice and joy.” It was cold and windy, belying all the early-budding trees and flowers. Shivering in my bulky green coat, I only stayed out for a few minutes. But it was so very refreshing. There is intoxicating fun and a strange peace to be found in getting down on your stomach and viewing the world like a baby does.

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I am eighty or so pages into reading aloud The Fellowship of the Ring to my youngest sister, who is still recovering from her cold. This morning, we trekked with the irrepressible hobbits towards Woodhall, evaded the ominous Black Rider, and met Gildor Inglorion together in the quiet sunshine while other family members recuperated with naps from the morning that started in the 5 o’clock hour.

It is a delight: both the story, and reading it aloud to her. Nostalgic in that it brings me back to that time when I was her age (nine years ago!) . . . and new in that the story grows ever stronger and more potent in its images, its themes, its applicability (to use Tolkien’s word) the longer I leave it, like good wine. The Old Winyards, to be precise.

The road goes ever on and on, down from the door where it began; now far ahead the road has gone, and I must follow if I can, pursuing it with eager feet until it joins some larger way, where many paths and errands meet, and whither then? I cannot say . . .

-J. R. R. Tolkien

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Today is First Friday, and Friday of the Second Week of Lent. It’s strange to be praying my devotions and the Mass by myself, without Lena . . . but at the same time, it has its own beauty and stillness.

In fact, the above verse from Tolkien seems incredibly appropriate for today, the more I ponder it. Our paths are branching, little by little. My road is unfolding in one direction; in hers, another. This brings so much joy and excitement, mixed with the natural bittersweetness. All good things come from God, and to be nearing one’s vocation, one’s path of sanctity, to be able to smell it like salt in the air as one approaches the ocean, is such a very, very good thing. To Him be all the glory! We pursue our paths with eager feet!

Look down, O Lord, to help me: let them be confounded and ashamed together that seek after my soul to take it away: look down, O Lord, to help me.

-Offertory, Friday of the Second Week in Lent

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As I continue to pray for the one-day gift of daily Latin Mass nearby, earlier, I was reading this from Dom Prosper Guéranger, “An Explanation of the Prayers and Ceremonies of Holy Mass” and thought it particularly beautiful:

Having made the sign of the Cross, the Priest says the Antiphon: “Introibo ad altare Dei,” as an introduction to the 42nd Psalm. This Antiphon is always said, both before and after the Psalm, which he at once begins: “Judica me Deus.” He says the whole of it, alternately with the Ministers. This Psalm was selected on account of the verse “Introibo ad altare Dei: I will go unto the altar of God.” It is most appropriate as a beginning to the Holy Sacrifice. We may remark here, that the Church always selects the Psalms she uses, because of some special verse which is appropriate to what she does, or to what she wishes to express. The Psalm, of which we are now speaking, was not in the more ancient Missals: its usage was established by Pope Pius the Fifth, in 1568. When we hear the Priest saying this Psalm, we understand to whom it refers:- it refers to our Lord, and it is in his name, that the Priest recites it. We are told this by the very first verse: “Ab homine iniquo et doloso erue me: deliver me from the unjust and deceitful man.”

The verse here used as an Antiphon, shows us, that David was still young when he composed this Psalm; for, after saying, that he is going to the Altar of God, he says: “Ad Deum, qui laetificat juventutem meam: To God, who giveth joy to my youth.” He expresses astonishment at his soul being sad; and, at once, cheers himself, by rousing his hope in God; hence, his song is full of gladness. It is on account of the joy which is the characteristic of this Psalm, that holy Church would have it be omitted in Masses for the Dead, in which we are about to pray for the repose of a soul, whose departure from this life leaves us in uncertainty and grief. It is omitted, also, during Passiontide, in which season, the Church is all absorbed in the sufferings of her divine Spouse; and these preclude all joy.

This 42nd Psalm is an appropriate introduction to the Mass, inasmuch as it in our Lord whom it will bring among us. Who is He that is to be sent to the Gentiles, but He that is Light and Truth? David foresaw all this; and, therefore, he uttered the prayer: “Emitte lucem tuam et veritatem tuam.” We take his prayer and make it ours; and we say to our heavenly Father: “send forth Him, who is thy Light and thy Truth!”

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Small things are beautiful; folding a stack of laundry, brewing a pitcher of tea, wiping off a counter, sitting across the table from my mother, faking (very bad) English country accents for hobbit’s voices, kissing a sibling’s hair, praying the Rosary while driving, taking the time to capture moss growing on a log in a certain transformative slant of morning sunlight.

There is a stillness that, eventually, comes with simplicity. I don’t always have it, because I often go about things the complicated and absorbed way. When I have the brains to seek out the simplicity, that disconnecting from noise, and when I begin to hear in my heart a stirring of hope for a future family, a future life, a future culture built around the Holy Faith, around books and conversations and the old-fashioned, simple, homey things–then stillness comes.

The further I travel into this Lent, the more deeply I am drawn towards my future wifehood and motherhood being built upon simplicity and quiet of heart. I am at the very beginning . . . I don’t exactly know what all it entails yet. I’m sure I’ll be constantly learning as the years elapse. For now, I do know it means openness to life and radical unselfishness; it means the family table; it means cooking and singing together; it means reading aloud books together in the evening, discussing all of life’s aspects with enthusiasm and a desire for truth, engaging and building up one another in the warmth of the family heart as our means of recreation and leisure. It means daily Mass (God-willing!) and the daily family Rosary; it means a healthy and wholesome lifestyle of homeschooling and tradition and solid work and pure playfulness, of living in community while protecting the integrity of our family; it means service and sacrifice; it means steadfastness, fidelity, and prayer; it means wanting to be saints and believing that is very the purpose of our lives. A perfect quote from Mary Reed Newland’s We and Our Children made it into my Commonplace Book the other week:

Simplicity of soul is one of the prerequisites of sanctity, and it is one of the things our children already possess. We must be very careful not to contribute to the great cluttering-up. We must make a heroic effort to rid our lives of all but one motive, that “impractical” spirituality of the saints, a life in union with God. If this is the undercurrent of our existence, then we can expect the spiritual training of our children to bear fruit.

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Next week, The Dash and I arrive at half a year of courtship! That seems unbelievable! Half a year since I sat in the pew with him, the first Sunday of our relationship, and was greeted by the words of the Offertory:

The Angel of the Lord shall encamp round about them that fear Him, and shall deliver them: O taste and see that the Lord is sweet!

How overwhelming is God’s goodness! St. Raphael, ora pro nobis.

Smiling, I just now remembered a certain paragraph out of The Wife Desired:

Ordinarily, love begins for a young girl when she becomes well enough acquainted with a young man to develop a spiritual affinity with him. She admired his qualities and abilities. She likes his attitude toward life in general. She begins to feel at ease, at home in his presence. Then other things begin to happen. A simple phone call brings a flutter to her heart. Her pulse quickens when he calls at her home. She has eyes for no one but him.

With reason she wonders whether she is in love. Her doubts will vanish when she reaches the point of growth in love where all her being reaches out for him in the effort to bring him happiness. Her own whims and desires fade into the background. His happiness is her only real concern.

What a beautiful and brilliantly wise description of the God-given journey I am still undertaking! Half a year is a grossly insignificant amount of time when it comes to even beginning to get used to how much God has blessed me with The Dash, and how wonderful, steady and virtuous a man he is.

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The rest of today . . . well, for me, it’s quiet and full of sunshine, carrying the diffused scent of eucalyptus essential oil; I’ve got some tutoring planning to sort through, although that may spill over into tomorrow . . . then there’s the Daily Full Meal (should I trademark that Lenten expression?) and the evening with the family (hopefully Stations of the Cross will be part of it). May the rest of your day be very blessed! Please do pray for Lena as she visits Our Lady’s House 🙂

Sig