7 Rambling Monday Takes, Vol. 15 :: Photo journal edition

MondayTakes

Enjoy previous rambling installments here ๐Ÿ™‚

JMJ1

1.

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Today has been fairly busy . . . I got up, somehow managed to wash all my laundry by 10am or so, dusted and vacuumed the bedroom, cleaned the girl’s bathroom (and finally scrubbed the shower! Ugh!), ran errands with my brother, talked with The Dash on his lunch hour ( โค ) and then settled in for an afternoon of catching up on multiple correspondences (which I’ve neglected pretty badly, and I’m still not caught up all the way . . .). I also continued work on a project due next month . . . and I played around with *guilty cough* an iPhone that was generously given to me by my aunt (Mom and Dad were also given ones).

Currently I can use it for anything other than calling or texting, as Tracfone is still engrossed in transferring my phone information to the new SIM card. (Earlier, I actually did my first online chat with a worker, trying to troubleshoot . . . a new experience! And now I am doing it again. First it was Genevieve, now it is Rick. It is much better than being on the phone . . . sanguine though I am, I’m still too shy for that!)

However, right now I can use the phone to take pictures! (And eventually text them!) I find this rather ridiculously exciting, as this has been something I’ve been unable to do previously.

But anyway. I’m rambling way too much, even for aย Rambling Takesย post. I took this picture while taking a quick rest on my bed. Over the past few days, The Dash and I have had conversations about courage and St. George: how, in a certain sense, courage isn’t something you receive that then enables you do something you’re afraid of, but is rather something you gain after acting while afraid.

Last Advent, Lena was my Kris Kringle, and she secretly left me this beautiful holy card of one of most well-known and best-loved of the Fourteen Holy Helpers. Just simply looking at this image inspires me with the courage that comes from Christ; the courage St. George exemplified by his holy martyrdom: the courage I need today and always!

2.

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There were lots of thunderstorms today . . . but now we have a lovely, tranquil summer evening! It reminds me of the prayer of Sarah out of the book of Tobit: the prayer I prayed so many times while waiting to meet The Dash, and the prayer we have started praying together recently:

For Thy counsel is not in man’s power. But this every man is sure of that worships Thee; that his life, if it be under trial, shall be crowned: and if it be under tribulation, it shall be delivered: and if it be under correction, it shall be allowed to come to Thy mercy. For Thou art not delighted in our being lost: because after a storm Thou makest a calm, and after tears and weeping Thou pourest in joyfulness. Be Thy name, O God of Israel, blessed forever!

It is a prayer of beautiful trust in the midst of any difficulty.

3.

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A goofy picture, taken by my (obviously taller-than-me) brother while I was cooking supper.

My hair: as of a few days ago, I’ve been trying to wash it less. For years upon years, I’ve been in the habit of washing it every day (which, of course, makes it produce an insane amount of oil after just one day sans washing). I know that if you go a little longer and only wash it a few times a week, it helps your hair grow healthier by improving and regulating oil production. In fact, I’ve recently really enjoyed showering right before bed, pulling my hair back, and letting it air-dry overnight. I wake up and the curls are softer and bouncier and easier to style.

In this picture, however I’d done neither of those things ๐Ÿ˜‰ A mid-morning shower and a blow-dryer. Such is life.

4.

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Ahh, our blueberries. I have literally been having homemade oatmeal (with almond milk), a little granola, and blueberries almost every morning. They are too good. Thank heavens the couple who owned our house before us had the inspiration to plant numerous blueberry bushes. If we’re blessed with a good year, we get gallons and gallons of them.

Needless to say, this is a good year!

5.

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This was my aftermath of prepping chicken strips to go into the oven. (I am notorious for cleaning as I go [and annoyingly cleaning up after people when they aren’t], but this was one process in which I couldn’t…)

It took longer than I thought it would . . . but it’s a good recipe. For us, we cut three chicken breasts into strips, then season them with salt, pepper, garlic powder and onion powder. Dredge the strips in a little flour, dip them in 2 eggs beaten together with a splash of milk, and then dredge again in breadcrumbs. We bake them on 375 degrees for 25 minutes or so, on cooling racks placed over our cookie sheets (which are covered with aluminum foil) and are sprayed thoroughly with nonstick spray. (Although I never seem to spray thoroughly enough. I’ve had a rash of things sticking lately . . .) We also spray the chicken with the nonstick spray. It may seem weird, but it does help it get crispy.

I couldn’t seem to decide if using my hands or metal tongs was the slower method of doing all the dry-to-wet dredging . . . either way was messy . . . but delightfully domestic. It’s the third meal in a row I’ve cooked (Lena and I went in together Friday night, though). My siblings are being heroic in enduring my “it’s-not-quite-Mom’s-cooking.”

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However, the chicken strips turned out pretty good! We cut them up and ate them on salad with homemade chipotle sauce . . . long ago, my uncle let us in on the secret that you can replicate it wonderfully by mixing Ranch dressing with Louisiana hot sauce.

They stuck to the racks, though. And I won’t entertain you with the Story of the Homemade Fries I Baked On Aluminum Foil On Friday Night, Thinking Olive Oil Was Enough to Keep Them From Sticking.

7.

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The Dash bought me some dark chocolate the other day . . .”Just because I love you.” โค He couldn’t be more wonderful, I know.

The funny thing about these chocolates: they have “inspirational sayings” printed on the underside of each foil wrapper. I am tickled by them (and their relative, well, lameness). In fact, yesterday after Mass, I was so tickled by one that I had to text The Dash while sitting at the kitchen table and snickering at the little foil wrapper. Our paraphrased-from-memory exchange was as follows:

Me: My Dove Chocolate of the Day states: “If life isn’t going right, go left.” I knew you couldn’t live without that priceless gem of wisdom.

Dash: So your chocolate is telling you to become a leftist?!?

Me: I presume so . . . or at least a terrible relativist.

Dash: I don’t think this chocolate is a good influence on you.

Me: I know. But what’s the alternative? Give this bag full of bad advice to (younger sister)? I couldn’t do that with a clear conscience.

Dash: It seems the only clear way to preserve the minds of your loved ones is to ensure you’re the only one influenced. You’ll have to sacrifice and eat all the chocolate yourself.

Me: That’s what I was thinking. Since I’ll be acting in the face of fear, I’ll expect that with each chocolate I eat, I’ll receive the courage to eat another one. By the bottom of the bag, I’ll be super brave.

Dash: . . . or, if not, we’ll try again with another bag.

This guy knows what he’s doing ๐Ÿ˜‰

A blessed feast of St. William to you all!

Sig

 

 

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Storms

+JMJ+

21153-Bouguereau, William-Adolphe

Storms are forecasted for our area later on today, and so I thought I might post a few traditional prayers and practices surrounding the expectation of inclement weather.

The Rogation Days remind us that dangerous weather and other natural disasters are afflictions due to the Fall and to the sins of mankind. Only a few years ago, I wouldn’t have thought too deeply about praying for bad weather to be averted; that we would be kept safe, yes . . . but the more I discover the traditions of the Faith, the more amazed I am at the strength and specificity of the prayers I find, including those in regards to storms. Especially since my family is hoping to go out tonight for a celebration of the feast of good St. Joseph, we have been making recourse to the following prayers:

Prayers For Fair Weather

from the Missal on page 1530:

Collect:

O Lord, hear us who cry to Thee, and grant fine weather to Thy suppliants, that we who are justly afflicted for our sins, may by the exercise of Thy bounty experience Thy clemency. Through our Lord.

Postcommunion:

Almighty God, we beseech Thy clemency, be pleased to check these heavy rains and show to us a cheerful sky. Through our Lord.

* * *

Prayers to Avert Storms

page 1531:

Collect:

We beseech Thee, O Lord, that all spiritual wickedness may be driven away from Thy house, and that the fury of the storms may pass away. Through our Lord.

Postcommunion:

Almighty, everlasting God, Who by chastising healest and by forgiving dost preserve, grant that we who humbly pray to Thee, may rejoice in the peace and consolation which we desire and ever enjoy the gift of Thy mercy. Through our Lord.

* * *

Blessed Bread

There is also a pious custom of keeping blessed bread in one’s freezer, and throwing a morsel of it outside when there is bad weather. It would seem equally appropriate to sprinkle a little holy water outside in the same event.

* * *

St. Barbara

St. Barbara is invoked as the patroness against storms, especially lightning storms. In imitation of the Rogation Days, the entire Litany of Saints could also be prayed.

God bless you! ๐Ÿ™‚

Sig

Tiredness

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Just a little sleepy ๐Ÿ˜‰

I am an energetic person by nature, a happy person by temperament (and God’s grace!) . . . but sometimes (like today), I am just tired. Tired and grouchy-feeling. How tempting it is to be discouraged by these feelings of tiredness and grouchiness, to be frustrated when I give into them and consequently don’t have that same I’m-so-happy-to-be-around-my-family shine as I usually do.

What am I doing?! I groan inwardly. I just went to Mass this morning!

And I did. In a little chapel with Lena and three friends and a marvelous priest. Everything was soft and still. Hoc est enim Corpus Meum. What a gift. For a little while now, I’ve been praying hard for the eventual gift of daily Latin Mass nearby, that I can attend every morning. But for now, once a week has been amazing!

I drove Lena and myself home through a light drizzle, the two of us chattering happily. I came in and had my fasting breakfast. I went upstairs and took a shower. And . . . I came out tired.

I’m sure it has something to do with being human. With early mornings, less food, family members being gone, teaching a classroom of girls, running up and down our lane until I can’t breathe (i.e., training for a 5K) and, because of my lack of virtue, so often failing to accept these feelings of tiredness and grumpiness as Crosses, and to embrace them with a joy that radiates to where no one can tell that I’m feeling grumpy at all. I’m working on the joy. Do you know how it is when the smallest acts of simple decent human kindness seem almost impossible to achieve? (I know . . . it’s the signal that I need a nap ๐Ÿ˜‰ I think I will lie down shortly . . . )

My youngest sister has a cold. Lemon and melaleuca are being diffused in the living room. I gave her a mini-concert and played on the guitar, singing songs I’d written, for half an hour earlier. Things are gray outside. Lena is leaving on Friday. A whole week without her is a strange prospect; quite possibly a very light foretaste of the future in which she might be in her house at Ephesus and I’m in my house surrounded by a future beautiful brood of children. Does God intend for the majority of our earthly sisterhood, our close earthly companionship that has been particularly close ever since our early teen years, to be spent apart, joined together by letters and prayers, but by only the barest human contact?

Of course, the thought brings both spiritual joy and human tears. Joy for vocation and for becoming saints. This is what Lena and I want more than anything! But tears for the little daily things that will pass away and leave a void capable of being filled only by God; the countless conversations, the little jokes, the giggles, the hugs, the knowing of what the other is thinking and feeling in a way only sisters can, the shared daily prayers and devotions, Mass together, two white mantillas side-by-side. To some degree, it would still pass away even if we were both married . . . but not as radically as this. The little things will pass for a time, but the love will remain. Those who sow in tears shall reap rejoicing. And I am already rejoicing with excitement and gratitude at what God may have in store for my dear sister, and for me, and for our sisterhood.

This Lent has been unlike any other. The fasting is a great challenge; not just the absence of food, but using the absence of food to gain mastery over oneself and grow in virtue. That is the hardest part. It has been exactly two weeks now since Lent began. Three weeks to corrupt a vice, three weeks to instill a virtue. At this rate, I’m 2/3 of the way through corrupting the vice of intemperance . . . and then, after another week or so, I’ll begin to instill the virtue of fasting.

Perseverance!

Fr. Ripperger’s talks atย Sensus Traditionis have been one of my mainstays. It is unspeakably consoling to receive truth and guidance in the form of masculine, priestly, fatherly direction. I can’t seem to get enough. I also just finished his “The Spirituality of the Ancient Liturgy” from Latin Mass Magazine, and this paragraph struck me particularly (no wonder, after having just attended Mass!):

The ancient ritual also gives one a taste of heaven, so to speak. Since the altar marks the dividing line between the profane and sacred, between the heavenly and the earthly, and the priest ascends to the altar to offer Sacrifice, the traditional rite leaves one with a sense of being drawn into heaven with the priest. This feature naturally draws us into prayer and gives the sense of the transcendent and supernatural that are key in the spiritual life. The numerous references to the saints foster devotion rather than minimizing it. The Latin provides a sense of mystery. The beauty of the ritual, the surroundings that naturally flow from the ritual itself (such as the churches that are designed for the ritual), the chant โ€“ all of these things lead to contemplation, the seeking after that which is above.

Life is beautiful, because God is Supreme Beauty and He provides so many channels of grace for us through the Sacraments, through prayer, through pursuing the virtues. We can all be saints if only we continuously trust and try. Perhaps the tired days are the most beautiful days of all; or they can be, if only I ask for His grace and participate in it with joy ๐Ÿ˜‰ Always and everywhere, Deo Gratias!

P.S. Keep praying for Baby Isaac’s complete healing! https://www.facebook.com/Prayers-for-Baby-Isaac-1977272082313227/

Sig

Prayers for Baby Isaac Facebook Page

I wanted to share the Facebook page that is providing updates on Baby Isaac, and which also gives an opportunity to donate to the family. As of now, the seizures have subsided . . . let us continue to pray, and not hesitate to ask others for their prayers as well!

https://www.facebook.com/pg/Prayers-for-Baby-Isaac-1977272082313227/posts/?ref=page_internal

Sig