Friday, October 19th, 2018 A.D. Feast of St. Peter of Alcantara. I believe it’s the mind of the Church that he was possibly one of, if not the most self-mortified male saint.
“In 1539, being then forty years old, he founded the first convent of the “Strict Observance.” The cells of the friars resembled graces rather than dwelling-places. That of St. Peter himself was four feet and a half in length, so that he could never lie down; he ate but once in three days; his sack-cloth habit and a cloak were his only garments, and he never covered his head or feet. In the bitter winter he would open the door and window of his cell that, by closing them again, he might experience some sensation of warmth.”
It’s one of a strand of absolutely lovely October days . . . sunny and blue-skied ❤ You can’t help but smile in this kind of weather!
Right now, I’ve got “Love, Where is Your Fire?” by Brooke Fraser playing . . . her album Albertine has been one of my favorites since my mid-teens, but I haven’t listened to it in a long time.
Downstairs: voices, piano, and the usual home-y cacophony of a Friday school morning.
Today is one of those weird days where it’s cool outside, yet feels colder inside the house. Accordingly, I’m wearing a T-shirt, a white sweatshirt over it, blue jeans, tennis shoes.
My hair has been driving me (a little) crazy . . . my sweet mom cut a good three inches off yesterday afternoon, and it feels so much healthier.
Nothing new, honestly . . . Lena recently made my favorite banana and chocolate chip muffins and I ate them, of course, but I don’t think that counts as an “attempt in the kitchen.”
I haven’t journaled in days 😦 Things have been pretty busy . . . maybe I can get back to it today . . .
Yesterday, The Dash and I taught our last dance class . . . it was so much fun and I hate we can’t do it every week! 😉 The two groups of kids did really well. All in all, we were able to teach them waltz, fox trot, and cha-cha . . . the basic step for each, plus a few additional steps and a few sequences (this was all thanks to The Dash).
But since this two-week stint was part of an etiquette class, all the kids surprised us at the end of yesterday’s class with handwritten thank-you notes and cards! It was the sweetest thing ever! I need to put them in a scrapbook so The Dash and I can look back on them one day and have fun reminiscing about our time as dance instructors ❤
Last night, The Dash and I helped at an annual fundraising banquet for a wonderful crisis pregnancy center. Leading up to yesterday, we’d been able to help with organizing and repairing some of the table decorations, plus duplicating a few things. I had never had much legitimate “crafting” experience until the past week or so, in which the hot glue gun and I got nicely acquainted through a learning curve 😉
The Dash’s incredibly talented family had created most of the table decorations several years ago (keep in mind, this was for 46 or so tables . . . a hefty amount of work!). I took on the comparatively tiny task of making 3 extra duplicates of a centerpiece component (an unborn baby cradled in a glued-from-scratch flower, attached to a weighted wire so that it could be placed in a vase of water). Because of my lack of experience, it was a challenge, I kid you not . . . but I enjoyed it all the same!
Not really much else in the way of projects; class starts up again next Tuesday so I’ll be planning for that soon . . .
For a bit of fun news, I had a small article published on the CSH blog this morning. I’m trying to remember the last time I’ve had an article published anywhere? I think it was last November! Anyway, they were really sweet to put this up 🙂
Still reading North and South. The miniseries is great but the book is simply excellent so far and definitely better in terms of character development (although I think that’s just a natural strength of books, as opposed to films, in general). I just got to John Thornton’s introduction and I love how she wrote it!
How blessed I am to have this amazing, hardworking, selfless guy, and how much I love him ❤ This picture was right before we headed to the banquet. These special occasions where one gets dressed up are so much fun!
Lena and I are still trying to keep Fridays penitential with a fast of some kind for the purification of the Church. These are just little things, but drops in the ocean count in the eyes of God.
Still trying to pray the Litany of the Holy Name of Jesus, Litany of Loreto, and Litany of St. Joseph every day–it’s really beautiful to pray them one after the other!
A few weeks ago, a friend of mine tragically lost her older sister. The amazing story of this young woman’s life and devotion is here. Would you keep her soul, as well as her grieving family, in your prayers, and consider donating to help the family with her ongoing funeral expenses if you’re at all able? They’re close to their goal but still need help. Thank you ❤
I am blessed with two amazing, beautiful, brilliant sisters, both writers, both my best friends . . . one of whom was behind the camera (she and my brother have powers with my camera that I could never dream of possessing), and the other posing with me. ❤
The guys were out of town over the weekend, and so we seized some sister time on Friday to venture out into the beautiful autumn weather and take some snapshots. I had to share a few!
Yesterday was my birthday . . . I turned 22 years old, and I seem to have also turned the corner of reaching any really “special” age milestones until 33, when, in accordance with a long-lived joke amongst some of my dearest friends, I leave my “irresponsible tweens” at last and become a proper adult! (If you know of hobbits, you know of what we speak.)
Maybe we’re sticklers, but in our family, we children know the precise hour and minute in which we were born. Until it reaches that miraculous moment on the clock, we’re not legitimately our new age. Being the first baby, I took the longest, unsurprisingly . . . and so my brother set alarms in several places, all of which went off at 5:02pm and I officially became 22. The Dash had walked in only minutes before and so (with amusement at our oddball Donellan traditions) was able to join in the ecstatic outcry that I was finally 22.
It was a wonderful, wonderful day, spent with the people I love most in the world. I was able to get up fairly early, have my usual prayer time, eat waffles with my youngest sister and have a good workout before leaving with Mom and the siblings to Adoration, Confession and Mass for the feast of the Martyrdom of St. John the Baptist, my dear patron. The Dash had a break between classes and was able to join us for Mass ❤ I couldn’t have been happier or more grateful to God for that time! Afterwards we ran into several friends, and I even got a beautiful priestly blessing from Fr. A., who was delighted to hear that the young man I was with was “connected” to me 😀
Later on, my family, The Dash and I all had dinner together (oven chicken strips, homemade biscuits, salad . . . an amazing combination you really should consider), and we had the usual candle-blowing, present-opening ceremony. Lemon cake with vanilla glaze . . . perfection. The presents and cards were all incredibly sweet and lovely and so thoughtful . . . books such as Harry Potter and the Paganization of Culture (I’ve wanted this FOREVER!) . . . the most heartmelting hanging photo, handmade by Lena, with The Dash and I’s special song lyrics handwritten around it (pictured at the top of this post) . . . makeup and nightgowns (I really wanted nightgowns–my erratic brain finds them charming and feminine), Oolong tea, beautiful monogrammed stationery, and football tickets for The Dash and I’s one-year courting anniversary next week (a total surprise!!). We spent some time outside, then came in and danced for a bit, watched a movie . . . it was just such a wonderful day. I’m so grateful to simply be alive and surrounded so undeservedly by such love and goodness and grace.
It’s such a staggering mystery of love–life, that is. In Adoration, it was impossible for me not to contemplate how God could never have made me. And yet He drew me out of nothingness, impelled by Divine love, by the thought of me in His Mind that had been in existence for all eternity. Poof! When the time was right, He fashioned my immortal soul and my teeny body. With all of my idiosyncrasies, quirks, endless facial expressions, temperament, faults, strengths, and every single action and choice I will ever make . . . I was meant to live from all of eternity.
It’s just a mind-boggling thought.
Especially when you take into account my facial expressions.
This morning I was looking through all the pictures taken last night, and I was constantly caught in that middle ground between squirming embarrassment and humbly amused acceptance for how God made me . . . I have a remarkably expressive countenance. HIGH expression production. If you watch a video of me, it makes a little more sense. The fluidity of motion and transition between expressions has a tolerably softening, normalizing effect. If you look at frozen pictures, however, it looks like I own dozens of personalities that emerge at the most insane but highly amusing moments.
Some photos are a little too much, but I did pick out several of the moderate ones . . . and no, it’s not at all my intention to degrade all these expressions, but rather to happily poke fun at them 😉
Firstly, the cake. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you the countenance of an impish little kid.
The initial bites of ice cream were incredibly cold against the roof of my mouth, for some strange reason, however, which brought on this expression:
As you can probably gather from the following shots, I am caught mid-sentence quite often.
Then there’s the wrinkled-nose laugh . . .
The subtle smirk . . .
Lastly, the pensive moments . . .
Needless to say, I was having a great deal of fun yesterday 🙂 “The best birthday ever,” as the saying goes, but it truly was, because 1) The love of a family just keeps growing, which sweetens every single birthday, and 2) It was technically my first birthday spent with The Dash, and with us being “us” (although we were on the brink of courtship on my last last birthday and he called me that night *sigh*, it still wasn’t nearly so lovely as this was 😉 ) To have him at the table while I read his card and opened his gifts, and being able to hug him, was such a gift! Courtship birthdays are awesome! I am so richly blessed in the love of my family, The Dash, and my friends ❤
Today marked my last day of tutoring for this school year. My miniature adventure of a once-a-week sixty-mile round trip, of teaching in a classroom, of bonding and laughing and learning with a bright group of girls: an adventure that fell into my lap without me at all expecting it, is already (temporarily) over!
I feel as though, just this morning, I walked into the classroom for the first time, blinked once–and now I find myself home again, with my plastic blue bin of supplies sitting in the kitchen corner, in a state of semi-retirement. My two quarters of teaching are over; the year’s finished. How is it already over?! “Well, I’m back,” he said.
Until this evening, I hadn’t fully realized just how much a part of the fabric of my week all these young girls and their varied personalities and talents had become. And their mothers, too! They are all so unique and delightful in their own ways, and all so sweet to me. What an enriching experience these past four months have been for me; I’ve certainly learned far more than any of the girls I taught! Although I’m thankful for the break, I’m growing increasingly conscious of just how much I’m going to miss them!
Next week, there’s an end-of-the-year picnic for the co-op, so perhaps it won’t really seem “over” until that’s come and gone . . .
But that’s that!
After I’d gotten back home this afternoon, I closed my eyes for ten minutes, drank some (much-needed!!!) caffeinated tea, played a card game with my two youngest sibs, and talked for a while with The Dash on the phone. And then I came downstairs and found my parents rummaging through old pictures, laughing at themselves, reminiscing over old days with the deep love and ease of a beautiful, seasoned marriage nearly twenty-five years old. It was a delightful thing to watch them and quietly drink in their example of love for my future marriage 🙂
After supper, I cleaned up the kitchen, using the CD player I’d employed every week for co-op to now play some Sinatra while I wiped counters. Words can’t suffice for the contentment I experience in cleaning the kitchen . . . though it’s a mystery to some I know . . .
A few minutes ago, from out in the backyard, Dad called the home phone from his cell, explaining he needed the container of gasoline that’s currently in the garage. I slid into some old shoes and walked down the slope of our back hill, feet squelching in the wet grass, carrying gasoline . . . and noticing the riot of flowers!
Having delivered the gasoline, (conscious of my reputation as a house cat) I paused to soak in the evening quiet, then slipped back inside to grab my camera.
Isn’t it wonderful? Life, I mean! Life imbued with God’s love and grace, most especially in the small things; in the eager, animated face of a young girl; in an evening blooming with flowers; in a man and wife laughing over old pictures; in a walk down the hill with a gasoline can.
Today, by the way, is the feast of St. Fidelis of Sigmaringen, Martyr; the altar of my home parish holds one of his relics! I wish I could have visited it today, but in lieu of that, I’ll be praying especially for his intercession.
From Lena’s bedroom, I hear Voces8’s “Pie Jesu,” and am gently reminded of people who have recently passed away, including the souls of two holy shepherds, one a priest, the other a bishop. The bishop confirmed my younger brother and youngest sister and frequently visited our parish. The priest I never met, but was by all accounts a saintly father and very dear to The Dash’s family. Would you offer a small prayer for both of their souls? Thank you!
Pie Jesu, Domine; dona eis requiem, dona eis requiem.
I’ll leave this post with a quote from St. Fidelis:
Let’s let his words inspire the rest of our week as we strive to sanctify, for God, all the challenges and work we must undergo!