Woman at Home Daybook :: Vol. 8 (in which I find myself increasingly enjoying the daybook idea in general)

Daybook

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Read previous installments here 🙂

This day in the Liturgical Year . . .

Wednesday, October 3rd, 2018 A.D, in the Nineteenth Week after Pentecost. It’s the feast of St. Therese of the Child Jesus! From Butler’s: Reared in a home of comfort and surrounded by refinements that would have spoiled an ordinary child, Teresa’s intelligence had an early dawning which enabled her to comprehend the Divine Goodness far in advance of her tender years . . . Teresa adopted flowers as the symbol of her love for her Divine Savior and offered her practices in virtue, sacrifice, and mortification as flowers at the feet of Jesus. At fifteen she entered the Carmelite Convent at Lisieux, France, where she distinguished herself by punctual observance of the rule, burning love for God and wonderful trust in Him . . . She died in the odor of sanctity on September 30th, 1897, at the age of 24.”

Additionally, it’s the feast of St. Gerard, Abbot: “An engaging sweetness of temper, and a strong inclination to piety and devotion, gained him from the cradle the esteem and affection of everyone. Having been sent on an important mission to the Court of France, he was greatly edified at the fervor of the monks of St. Denis, at Paris, and earnestly desired to consecrate himself to God with them. Returning home he settled his temporal affairs, and went back with great joy to St. Denis.’ Ha had lived ten years with great fervor in this monastery, when in 931 he was sent by his abbot to found an abbey . . . He settled this new abbey, and then built himself a little cell near the church, and lived in it a recluse until God called him to undertake the reformation of many monasteries . . .”

St. Therese and St. Gerard, ora pro nobis!

Outside my window . . .

Sunshine! Loveliness!

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I don’t think it’s particularly cool (although the past few mornings have been in the lovely low 70’s), but it’s still beautiful!

Sounds throughout the house . . .

My sisters chatting and laughing about something in Lena’s room . . . otherwise, all is mostly quiet. Mom is gone on errands, Dad is working from home, and it’s a school morning, so things are heads-down. Well, as heads-down as they can be in our household…

IMG_0703I am wearing . . .

Pink, for St. Therese! Although, of course, I didn’t intentionally make it that way, and only after I’d come downstairs this morning was I reminded of my liturgically appropriate attire by Lena, who is celebrating the feast of her Confirmation patron saint ❤ It’s a pink, long-sleeved soft delight and one of the most comfortable shirts I’ve been given . . . Also, a black undershirt, and a knee-length jean skirt. Currently, my hair is up in a messy bun. I’ve been experimenting with the messy bun lately and rather like it, especially with having all this curly hair. I use a random hair clip as a “base” that I wrap and loosely pin the rest of my hair around. So far, it works pretty well!

Attempts in the kitchen . . .

Well, I made oven-friend chicken thighs on Monday (though definitely not for the first time . . . we have them at least once or twice a month). Not a tremendous feat since you literally just shake the chicken in the flour breading and bake it in the oven for an hour, turning halfway through. But it was enjoyable, all the same 😉

A note on projects . . .

Tutoring went just fine yesterday . . . some of the youngsters are always wide-open, others are shy, all are just delightful. We did a few new projects during class, such as decorating a printed-out illustration of a bare tree with multicolored tissue paper “leaves.” I gave them each a little bit of glue on a little styrofoam plate, plus a q-tip, and they were all astonishingly careful and clean with it. Glue and 2-5 year olds might not always be the best combination, but our little kids were so studious, painstakingly taking itty-bitty amounts of glue on their q-tip and brushing it onto the little pieces of tissue paper! Adorable! They were also thrilled at the emergence of play dough that went along with a game of finding different letters in a list of Latin conjugations. I gave them different colored balls of play dough and told them to mark the “S’s,” “M’s,” etc. with the play dough. Some kids were more interested in making carrots and snakes then finding letters, but it all went well 🙂

Since yesterday was the feast of the Guardian Angels, I made up some hand-motions on the fly (pun!) to “My Guardian Angel” by The Rennas and we did them together during morning time. That was a ball!

I think we’re finally getting into a groove with the recorder classes. We’re making a little extra time for the older class and that definitely made things go more smoothly yesterday. Some of them have taught themselves the entire “Immaculate Mary” by ear, others haven’t had as much time to practice, but it’s all fun 🙂

And now I’ll be brainstorming ideas for chorus now that the second quarter is approaching and we’ll be focusing on the Advent presentations . . .

By the way, I might start daybooking more frequently (two in a row might have left you with that impression already!). It’s such an enjoyable way to gather my random thoughts and give a glimpse into a normal day . . .

I am reading . . .

Well, I haven’t picked up Harry Potter and the Paganization of Culture for a few days but am hoping to get back into it today (although I admit to already having skipped forward and read through a bunch of intriguing future sections . . . now I need to go back and do the legwork!). It’s an engrossing but intellectually demanding read (for me, at least, which isn’t saying much 😉 )

One of the most thought-provoking quotes so far, however, has been this section (from p. 91):

“Is there not a qualitative difference in a society (such as ours) that is descending back into the darkness of paganism, and a society (such as the peoples of the early Christian era) who were laboriously climbing out of it? A traveler climbing a long road out of a swamp may meet another traveler going back down into the swamp. For a passing moment they may appear to be at the same position, but their destinations are radically different.”

Contemplating authentic femininity . . .

Authentic femininity is more than just believing and promoting the tenants of true, wholesome, Catholic femininity. It has to permeate a woman’s whole demeanor and inform her towards virtue. Sometimes I’ll come across an article online that’s written by a woman who says many true things about Catholic femininity, but she interacts with others, in her piece and in the combox, aggressively, sometimes even sarcastically, in attempting to convey her mind . . . and with sadness I feel like she’s missing the whole point.

I know the times in which we live are a battlefield and there is so much to combat and set in order. And of course, I’m nothing short of a work-in-progress also when it comes to cultivating my femininity . . . but I do know a virtuous woman can be strong and rooted in truth without being aggressive and sarcastic. I understand how it can be astonishingly easy to become aflame with zeal for truth and ordered living (I’ve journeyed through this) . . . but if one’s demeanor is damaged in the process, her passion is probably leading her astray.

For a woman especially, I feel this souring of demeanor is all the more disfiguring because she is meant to be a much more beautiful and convincing witness to truth. Consider the words of St. Francis de Sales and those of the Institute of Christ the King:

“Cook the truth in charity until it tastes sweet”—this famous quotation of St. Francis de Sales is the principle of our apostolic work. Fruitless discussions or, worse, uncharitable polemics never help to attract souls to the Lord. Again, St. Francis de Sales said, “One drop of honey attracts more bees than a barrel of vinegar.” The revealed truth of our Holy Catholic Faith is in itself attractive because of its depth, brilliance, and logic. Wherever it appears clothed in the beautiful garments of charity, it becomes ever more acceptable to those who might otherwise fear its inevitable consequences for our lives and the sharpness with which it cuts through our weaknesses and our excuses. The famous religious poet, Gertrude von Le Fort, wrote of the Church and the revealed Truth, “I have fallen in your Faith like in an open sword, and you have cut all my anchors.” How much more easily does a soul accept the grandness and the majesty of Divine Faith when it is presented with the merciful charity and patient meekness which Our Lord himself shows all the time to His children.

Feminine patience and gentleness, when working to convey the truth, are such sweet things.

On living the Faith . . .

I recently received a letter from the FSSP about the upcoming month of the Holy Souls and opportunities to help them. I’m planning to enroll the names of several departed souls in their All Souls Novena, as soon as possible.

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Prayerfully . . .

Litanies are so beautiful, aren’t they? There’s a lovingness, an urgent yet childlike repetition about them, in which one lists all the sweetest descriptions for Our Lord, Our Lady, or a given saint, and implores their help through those names.

I’ve been trying to pray the Litany of the Holy Name of Jesus, the Litany of Loreto, and the Litany of St. Joseph each morning. The first two are prayed in effort towards my Total Consecration (although I want to keep them up indefinitely!) and the Litany of St. Joseph is for The Dash specifically, as well as my Dad, all the men I know, and the Church.

I also found a Litany to St. Therese in my Mother Love prayerbook, and offered it for The Dash and I’s special intentions (we prayed the novena leading up to today) . . . but also for my two dear Godsons.

An aspect I find personally beautiful concerning today’s two saints, Therese and Gerard,  is that they both were given a grace I’ve prayed my Godchildren would receive: that they would come to know and love God with a special purity and wholeheartedness, early in life. Teresa’s intelligence had an early dawning which enabled her to comprehend the Divine Goodness far in advance of her tender years . . . An engaging sweetness of temper, and a strong inclination to piety and devotion, gained {Gerard} from the cradle the esteem and affection of everyone. It’s a wonderful day to pray for the Godsons Our Lord has blessed me with, that they would each be given this grace of childhood piety!

Sig

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

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. . . 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

Rambling Wednesday :: Of Books, Uncomfortable Things, Homeschooling, and Ponderings

 

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Hello there, and a very happy feast of St. Romuald, Abbot! 🙂

In 976, Sergius, a nobleman of Ravenna, quarreled with a relative about an estate and slew him in a duel. His son Romuald, horrified at his father’s crime, entered the Benedictine monastery at Classe, to do a forty days’ penance for him. This penance ended in his own vocation to religion.

Butler’s Lives of the Saints

Now for the confession: Monday, I had written up several “takes” for my 7 Rambling Monday Takes series . . . and I didn’t have time to finish the post. What woe.

However, according to a very wise suggestion from a very wise person, I’m simply going to make this a Rambling Wednesday post and proceed towards completing my already quite rambling draft of things!

Butler’s Lives of the Saints arrived…

It came in the mail last Friday, and how I already love it! It’s a used edition, and accordingly already seems so venerable, with crackly pages and the quintessential “book smell.”

Oh. I should stop inhaling it and get back to writing this. Apologies.

A peek at the inside:

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So far since its arrival, each morning (or afternoon) I’ve been treated to wonderful meditations on “The Purification, Commonly Called Candlemas Day;” “St. Blaise;” “St. Jane Valois;” “St. Agatha” and “The Martyrs of Japan;” “St. Dorothy;” and, today, “St. Romuald” They are informative, succinct, illuminating, and challenging–in that they call for heroic virtue.

It reminds me of Lena’s post, from last year. Allow me to quote an excerpt:

When I heard people say that biographers of the saints shouldn’t make them seem so perfect, should show all their faults so people won’t feel discouraged, I can’t help but to disagree. In this fallen, pride-inflated world, the last thing we need is to feel more comfortable about ourselves and to try to belittle the glorious achievements of those great souls who truly have fought the good fight and finished the race, who suffered so much, prayed so faithfully, toiled so vigorously to rid themselves of vice, who were unafraid to sacrifice themselves to the heights of heroic virtue. No, our problem is that we are far too comfortable with the way we are; we are too soft with ourselves, too used to our sins, too prideful in our blindness, that even supposing that someone could (and, hmm, that maybe we should) be as holy on earth as the Saints truly were wounds our pride, challenges our softness, makes us uncomfortable; and we don’t like it.

Monday, I read of the Holy Martyrs of Japan. It is a vast understatement to say how sobering it is to compare their love of God with my daily selfishness and pettiness.

Peter, a Christian child six years old, was awakened early and told that he was to be beheaded, along with his father. Strong in grace, he expressed his joy at the news, dressed himself in his gayest clothing, and took the hand of the soldier that was to lead him to death. The headless trunk of his father first met his view; calmly kneeling down, he prayed beside the corpse, and, loosening his collar, prepared his neck for the stroke. Moved by this touching scene, the executioner threw down his sabre and fled. None but a brutal slave could be found for the murderous task; with unskilled and trembling hand he hacked the child to pieces, who at last died without uttering a single cry.

The initial temptation might be to view this as pious legend rather than strict history: that seems to be the common thought pattern of modern man, anyway. But do the terms “pious legends” arise because men (by which I mean mankind, men and women, etc.) doubt the historicity of things . . . or, really, is it because men find so little strength and devotion in their own souls that can echo anything like small Peter’s joyful, saintly detachment from his own life?

It seems inconceivable that a child could know and endure with such joy . . . but really, I know the most credible reason for this “inconceivableness” is that I haven’t yet exercised my soul to the extent of Peter’s virtues. I have only a shadow of his pure and ardent love of Christ. May small St. Peter intercede for my salvation and greet me one day in Heaven!

Along the same lines, Butler frankly asks at the closure of that day’s meditation:

If mere children face torture and death with joy for Christ, can we begrudge the slight penance He asks us to bear?

And this spurs me on to another train of thought . . .

Uncomfortable things…

Recently, I made a resolution to listen to a traditional homily once a day, and I’ve been starting at Sensus Traditionis with the wonderful Fr. Chad Ripperger. (Remember, these are Penanceware! 🙂 ) Monday morning, I started at the very top of the list, with his homily on movies.

I wish that it had been a conference instead of a homily so that Fr. Ripperger could have had the opportunity to go into more depth on the subject and possibly answer questions (especially if those questions resembled my questions, naturally 😉 ). It’s eight minutes long and vital food for thought . . . granted, it’s uncomfortable thought.

Essentially, he challenged his listeners to very carefully consider the films they view, and explained the difference between “simulated sin” (such as murder in a film) and “real sin” (that which the actors commit while portraying their roles–sins of impurity, profanity, blasphemy, vulgarity, etc.). He explains that watching a movie in which actors are committing real sins in their roles is an act of cooperation with those sins, and is accordingly sinful. When even one real sin is committed in a movie by an actor, the movie, as a whole, can no longer be considered morally good (although it may very well be artistically good).

I know there are a lot of families like mine who have long been accustomed to skipping over inappropriate scenes and muting over profanity and blasphemy (even though small things can still leak through). I wish Fr. Ripperger had mentioned these kinds of practices in his homily, because I would reflexively think (in my uninformed, non-priestly and fallible mind) that an act of combatance such as muting or skipping, by definition, isn’t an act of cooperation in the sin . . . although the choice is still made from the beginning to watch a film in which these things occur. I’m honestly not sure how this plays a part in it. Film is such a different medium than books . . .

But either way the scales fall, it is an uncomfortable talk. It is so very easy for the conscience to become dulled and desensitized and accepting of that which is wrong, or at least that which is endangering. The talk brought me out of my comfort zone, and reminded me that there is so much to discern and to choose (often choose against) on the path of heroic virtue. Simple doesn’t mean easy. Sainthood doesn’t mean easy. I would definitely like more enlightenment on the subject, but in the meantime, I pray my mind and heart have been jarred towards a better practice of heroic virtue.

Homeschooling…

I’ve been continuing my daily reading of We and Our Children; Your School of Love; Designing Your Own Classical Curriculum; Ten Ways to Destroy the Imagination of Your Child.

This morning was particularly dreary and drizzly, and I was awake for awhile before other footsteps became audible, so after my morning prayers I went ahead and plunged in early with sections of We and Our Children and Designing Your Own Classical Curriculum. It was the latter that really began to set my wheels spinning. Mrs. Berquist makes so many good points, and yet like any book, I suppose, there are things that you mentally agree with, things you mentally supplement, and things you mentally disagree with. The more I read of this book, and the more my mind was prattling away its own agreements and disagreements, the more I realized I needed to take some time and set down my thoughts, beliefs and hopes for my future homeschool, as they are now.

3,000 words and an hour or two later . . . you get the idea.

It’s rather serious and scholastic in tone, I guess, and it’s something I could keep private . . . but at the same time, I feel it might be worth sharing for whomever would be interested in reading yet more of the frenetic workings of my mind 😉

So I’ll probably put up a mini-series and add to it whenever I write new parts to this document currently titled, “Homeschool Curriculum.” At the very least, it might make me smile, years down the road, when I’m actually in the thick of things. We shall see . . .

Ponderings…

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Mom and I spent Monday afternoon together, shopping (at the Dollar Tree: where else?) and assembling table decorations for an upcoming Mardi Gras dance at our parish . . . above is a photograph of the finished result 🙂 It was a fun way to spend time together!

Tutoring went well yesterday; these girls are all so varied and vibrant in their personalities! It often feels like I am on a race to keep up with them 😉 But a beautiful moment occurred when we were about to pray the Angelus, and one sweet girl said, “I’m going to kneel,” and I said, “Great idea! Let’s all kneel!” and everyone knelt for the entire Angelus. Also, two of my dear girls picked me wildflowers at lunchtime and gave me two big hugs; in fact, they were the exact same wildflowers that grew in the front yard of my childhood home. Instant memories! I brought them home in my lunchbox and only threw them away once they were thoroughly wilted 😉 Finally, I got to spend a lovely forty-five minutes or so with one girl’s grandmother during a break in my class, talking up a storm about life and love and faith, exchanging pictures of her grandchildren and of The Dash and me, and just having a glorious time 🙂

Lent is approaching quickly, and I think my holy Guardian Angel (whose help I’ve been trying to be more solicitous of recently) has been helping me (and the other guardian angels, the rest of my family) to seize on to the Septuagesima period as a time to begin implementing the sacrifices and holy habits we hope to practice in full during Lent. Next year, I hope to even be more purposeful about my gradual spiritual entrance into Lent by taking full advantage of Septuagesima!

Indulgenced prayers and aspirations! I feel like I am just waking up to their worth! So each morning and before bed, I am attempting to go through the section of them in The Catholic Girls’ Guide and prayerfully recite them. After twenty-one years, I know I have so much to make up for personally; and also, to give all indulgences to Our Lady through Total Consecration for her to use as she wishes is a wonderful thing. Here is a good source of indulgenced prayers and aspirations from Fish Eaters (where else?).

I’ve added two new virtue prints on Benedic; feel free to check them out! And I still need to update my “Daily Dedications” section with the remaining dedications for the week . . . hopefully I will have time soon 🙂

And finally, let’s continue to pray for Baby Isaac, who is still experiencing ups and downs. Let’s storm heaven for his complete healing!

Sig

Current Happiness

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Happy feast of St. Polycarp, Martyr!

O God, Who dost gladden us by the annual feast of blessed Polycarp, Thy Martyr and Bishop: mercifully grant that we, who celebrate his heavenly birthday, may also rejoice in his protection. Through our Lord.

I’ve been gathering up a little collection of happy items over this past week that I’ve been wanting to post about . . . and now Friday is already arrived, so I’d better get to chronicling things!

Fr. Lasance’s Rule of Life

The newest thing comes first, as it’s naturally freshest on my mind 😉 Lena has a spiritual director and it has been a beautiful and deeply helpful experience for her over the past several years. I’ve prayed for Our Lord to direct my heart towards this possibility if it’s His Will for my spiritual life, and I’m not sure what the future years might hold in this regard.

I do know, however, that I need direction; of course the direction of the Magisterium and sacred Tradition, the wisdom of the saints, the care of my parents . . . but also a fatherly direction as I attempt to navigate the thorny path of becoming a saint with all of my weaknesses and faults in tow. This real hunger for direction has come over me in ebbing and flowing waves, especially across the past year, and I have brought it to prayer, asking God to enlighten me as I’ve been uncertain as what He wants me to do with this hunger.

Jokingly, I have sometimes termed the late Fr. Lasance as my adopted spiritual director, but it was only this morning that, rising early, I grabbed The Catholic Girl’s Guide on a whim and brought it downstairs for my morning devotions while everyone else was still asleep (except for Dad, off to work as he was) . . . and eventually opened up to his Rule of Life. Reading over it, I experienced great enlightenment and encouragement. For now, for this moment: this is wise, priestly and loving direction for my daily living!

A Rule of Life – PDF

I’ve resolved to read over this rule of life every morning, and to seek to apply it with increasing faithfulness to my day, according to my capacity and means. It’s inspired me to find a nightly Examen from Fish Eaters, as well as to purchase a copy of Butler’s Lives of the Saints.

Voces8 – Equinox

My favorite vocal ensemble of all time, Voces8, recently released a brand-new album . . . and I am in bliss!

Equinox

For “Ave Maris Stella” alone, I am overwhelmingly indebted forever . . . Lena and I both agree that it is the closest thing we have heard that even begins to approach something worthy of Our Lady. Listen to it, and pray it! A tiny sliver of her unimaginable beauty is in it!

Hail, O Star of the ocean,
God’s own Mother blest,
ever sinless Virgin,
gate of heav’nly rest.    

Taking that sweet Ave,
which from Gabriel came,
peace confirm within us,
changing Eve’s name.

Break the sinners’ fetters,
make our blindness day,
Chase all evils from us,
for all blessings pray.

Show thyself a Mother,
may the Word divine
born for us thine Infant
hear our prayers through thine.

Virgin all excelling,
mildest of the mild,
free from guilt preserve us
meek and undefiled.

Keep our life all spotless,
make our way secure
till we find in Jesus,
joy for evermore.

Praise to God the Father,
honor to the Son,
in the Holy Spirit,
be the glory one. Amen.

But all the other tracks! “Pie Jesu”! “Joseph, lieber Joseph mein”! And the stunningly difficult “The Passing of the Year” movement . . . I have been in musical heaven for the past few days.

As well as being treated to a brand-new album, I have also been listening more deeply to their Winter, which up until now I’d only given a cursory listen to. “In the Deep Midwinter” ranks very, very high.

Winter

Weekly Work

And finally, my assortment of weekly work has been going well! Tutoring on Tuesday went smoothly and fun, and my remaining week has been mostly divided up between different writing projects, which has been a lot like digging for oil . . . you hit a hundred dry spots and, at last, you strike, and the thrill of success erases the memories of all previous toil and drudgery 😉

I would write for longer, but it’s nearly time for Fribourg Mass, so I’m off to celebrate the martyrdom of good St. Polycarp. I pray you have a blessed weekend! It’s difficult to believe January is almost over!

P. S. Yes, I at last changed my signature to the correct Latin. In Corde Mariae. Sigh.

Sig

“That very month was September, and as fine as you could ask.”

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Our place is well-nigh gorgeous right now. And it’s funny how being sick and couch-bound made me notice all the blue skies, wind and sunshine out there.

There’s something about being in your pajamas and surrounded by wadded tissues while sitting by a window that lets in peeks of a glorious early September that makes you feel . . . wistful. So yesterday, when I had a bout of energy, I snatched my camera and tromped outside, determined to take a few beautiful (if amateur) photos and feel better about my creative exercises overall.

Sometimes I think God must drop a cold in my lap to help me slow down, rest, and think a bit more deeply. I must say, I’ve greatly enjoyed and appreciated this particular opportunity. Having discovered my predominately sanguine temperament, I’ve been realizing with greater clarity how I can find it easy to feel earnest about doing things right, and yet feel interiorly scattered about how well, exactly, am I living my life, without precisely knowing why. (If that doesn’t make sense, I apologize.)

So enter a cold, observations on the beauty of nature . . . and books.

Over the past week of sickness, I’ve been reading a great deal (shock):

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I like to keep my lap full during weeks such as these.

The Temperament God Gave You is highlighted in the above photo because it was another of my birthday presents (the rest of which I will continue to chronicle)! And it’s been a great read. I feel pretty fortunate to be able to absorb all this insight and advice in advance of my future life (and please don’t make a snide remark about how we’re always in advance of our future lives . . . my brain is only beginning to resurrect); particularly insights about temperamental combinations in marriage, parenting, and so on. It’s highly interesting and I look forward to being able to put it into practice one day!

By the way, reading this book also inspired me to further hone my correct knowledge of my temperament combination, which upon investigating wound up being around 65% sanguine and 35% phlegmatic–a perfect fit for yours truly (agh, especially the natural weaknesses . . . thank heaven for the Church and the Sacraments!):

Strengths and natural virtues

active, affectionate, affable, animated, ardent, carefree, compassionate, cheerful, creative, docile, eager, enthusiastic, entertainer, expressive, generous, fashionable, flexible, forgiving, funny, fun-loving, high-spirited, imaginative, joyful, light-hearted, lively, open, optimistic, outgoing, popular, responsive, resilient, sensitivity, sparkling, spontaneous, story-teller, vivacious, warm-hearted

Weaknesses and natural vices

attention-seeking, changeable, chatty, distractible, disorganized, emotional, tendency to exaggerate, faddish, fickle, flighty, frivolous, forgetful, gossipy, inconstant, insincere, scattered, sensual, smart-alecky, superficial, prone to vanity, undisciplined

If you are a sanguine-phlegmatic, you are blessed with an extremely likeable personality.

You are an extraverted, optimistic, warm individual who readily connects with others and is well-liked by all. You are fun-loving, enthusiastic, friendly, and inspiring (sanguine), but somewhat cautious at times, and also highly sensitive to other people’s moods, emotions, likes and dislikes (phlegmatic). You desire harmony in relationships and deeply value your friendships. You place a high value on doing what is kind. 

You are easy-going, creative,  imaginative, caring, generous, flexible, and spontaneous. You may be considered “emotional” because of your easily aroused feelings, your attentiveness to relationships, and your tender heart.  In a relationship, you may gravitate toward a logical, organized, strong-willed and decisive partner–someone who makes decisions quickly and provides strong moral certitude and structure to your life. You can be easily influenced by others’ opinions. Many sanguine-phlegmatics are drawn to teaching, parenting, the helping professions, and volunteer works for the betterment of society. You place a high priority on your personal search for meaning and self-identity, but this search always includes your friends and family and your community.

Your weaknesses are superficiality, indecisiveness, disorganization, and procrastination. Often you find it difficult to know exactly how to state what you mean, or how to express yourself logically; this contributes to a tendency to talk more than is needed or to provide more detail than is necessary.You may find yourself blurting out something without thinking, or spending too much time seeking advice only to find yourself more confused than you started, or oversleeping every day this week — despite all the best of intentions. You may find yourself becoming overcommitted because you simply can’t say “no” and have a strong need to be liked/please people. A typical sanguine-phlegmatic trick is to spend too much money shopping or (better yet) dining out with friends, and then to put off balancing the checkbook (too much work, too many other distractions) until it is hopelessly behind. Now you are overwhelmed with everything that has piled up! You may complain half-heartedly, blame circumstances, or go shopping.  You may have a tendency to personalize things. This can lead to misunderstandings. For example, if the boss says, “We are not meeting our quotas,” the sanguine-phlegmatic thinks, “Is he angry at me?” If her best friend says, “I really can’t wear red lipstick,” the sanguine-phlegmatic will think, “She’s trying to tell me that my lipstick looks terrible!” After all, the sanguine-phlegmatic has a double-dose of feeling; twice-blessed by the tendency to prioritize relationships and harmony.

So yes . . . a lot of self-knowledge going on around here 😉

Predictably, I’ve also been re-reading endless excerpts from The Wife Desired, because that’s how I indulge myself when I’m sick. Also, Letters from Pemberley made the stack because, over Labor Day weekend, we watched the 2005 version of Pride and Prejudice (which in my opinion is an absolute cinematic masterpiece . . . sigh) and Letters is such a lovely and fun sequel to the story. I should be finished re-reading it just in time to embark on a celebratory re-read of The Lord of the Rings, beginning on September 22nd (Frodo’s and Bilbo’s shared birthday, of course).

And then there’s been Amusing Ourselves to Death. Despite my masked complaints about the initial difficulties of the first few chapters (simply because the logical side of my brain is not exercised as frequently as the creative side)  . . . it has now completely absorbed me across the past week, and yesterday especially.

It’s difficult to surmise this book well; one really does just have to take the time to read it in full. It’s a stunning and inarguable exposition of the shambles of our media-defined culture (and this book was written decades ago . . .). To be clear, Postman is not even speaking of America’s moral shambles here as much as he describes what’s become a complete lack of reason, coherence, relevance and context in how the vast majority of America thinks, converses and perceives pretty much everything in daily life; how our culture has regressed from seeking to be truly informed, to simply seeking to be amused, and without realizing it. It’s . . . deep.

We all, from time to time, most likely pause and contemplate how an overindulgence in media can gradually disconnect us from the reality of our personal lives, both physical and spiritual. It can result in our living in a castle in the air, so to speak. And this is where prudence and moderation must come in, especially for the sake of our spiritual lives as well as our overall health.

While this isn’t the point of Postman’s Amusing, per se, I’ve still been pondering my own usage of media and realizing how much more alive I feel, how my interior scatteredness or lack of quiet recedes, the less I use media in general, and the more I simply live, think, reason, act, give, contemplate, speak . . . and pray.

And yes, I really did just type this up in a blog post. Oh irony of ironies.

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So yes . . . this has been my September so far. A cold, some books, and somewhat deep thoughts. And decent-ish pictures which make me feel like a decent-ish photographer. What more could one want? 🙂

*the post title is a quote from the opening chapter of The Fellowship of the Ring. Of course.

Sig