7 Rambling Monday Takes, Vol. 10 :: Back to Work

MondayTakes

Explore previous rambling installments here 🙂

1.

Another Monday, already here! Happy feast of Ss. Vincent and Anastasius, Martyrs!

I am typing to some cheery Frank Sinatra at the moment 🙂 But to elaborate on the post title: I termed this a “back to work” edition because I’m, well, getting back to work (or trying to). Back to the heroic minute, back to a pretty rigorous schedule in which I am committing to not wasting my time and to reclaiming a diligence and perseverance of spirit.

Tutoring is only a small sliver of this “work,” actually. Tomorrow’s class is all prepared for 🙂 Really, what I’m referring to is a lot of writing I could be doing (more off Benedic than on it), that I’ve been shying away from for months . . . but yesterday I took the time to examine my current state of life and found more areas for work than I’d been conscious of.

Employing my time, submitting myself to a schedule, endeavoring to exercise a talent, to create things reflective of truth and beauty, especially when I don’t feel it (the plague of all artists, I suppose)–that concretely builds virtues of diligence, industry and perseverance, and pleases God. And anything else is possibly wasteful, with where I am in life.

So yesterday, after Mass and potluck, I came home, did a huge load of dishes (that will be explained in a moment), then went out onto the back deck (finally, there were temperatures not so oppressively freezing!), and wrote both a journal entry and a reasonable daily schedule. Every day from 6am -3:30pm now has constructive slots of work, study and prayer. Tuesdays are my only “off” day, in general, due to tutoring. The Dash is back to classes today and Our Lord mercifully used that to galvanize my soul towards more concrete work, as well, at home 😉

Today, so far, has been a blessing!

2.

Lena wrote about today far more eloquently than I could. So I’m simply going the Prayer of St. Augustine I prayed this morning, one that seemed all too appropriate in contemplating the tragedy of abortion:

Lord, before Thine eyes we bring our sins, and with them we compare the stripes which we have received.
When we think of the evil we have done, little is that which we suffer, great that which we deserve.
Heaviest are our offences, lightest our burden.
We are afflicted by the punishment of our sin, yet we avoid not the obstinate desire of sinning.
The weakness of our flesh faints under Thy scourges, yet is not our iniquity changed.
The sick soul is sore tormented, yet is not the neck bent.
In pain our life sighs heavily; yet are its deeds in no wise amended.
If Thou waitest for us, we are not corrected; if Thou takest vengeance, we bear it not.
When we are corrected, we confess our shortcomings; after Thou hast visited us, we forget that which we bewailed.
If Thou stretchest forth Thy hand, we promise what we will do; if Thou delayest to draw Thy sword, we perform not our promises.
If Thou strikest us, we cry unto Thee to spare; if Thou sparest, we provoke Thee again to strike.
Lord, hear the confession of Thy guilty people; for we know well that unless Thou shouldest pardon, Thou dost righteously consume us.
Almighty Father, grant us that which though we pray we do not deserve to obtain; Thou who didst create men of nothing, that they might pray to Thee. Through Jesus Christ our Lord.

   Amen.

3.

Oh, yes! The huge load of dishes. Due to a damaged pipe, we were without water over the weekend, but fortunately all was restored yesterday afternoon. Needless to say, we couldn’t wash dishes, couldn’t wash clothes . . . I sighed very deep sighs of satisfaction yesterday afternoon as I helped the kitchen regain its former shine. But hey, it wasn’t all bad. Paper plates, water bottles, and we had jugs of water to help the toilets flush. Lena even managed to back molasses cookies on Saturday evening, and white bean turkey chili (for Sunday potluck), when we had The Dash over and watched the VHS of my parents’ wedding day!

For us kids, it was the first time and to say we enjoyed it is the understatement of the century 😉 They were adorable and many moments of the day were equally touching and hilarious!

4.

Lately, I’ve been reading and contemplating the topic of modesty and feminine dress over at The Catholic Lady. An enjoyable and thought-provoking collection of posts and photos! I love the idea of photo-documenting modest outfits you wear . . . I’m going to try and do it on an irregular basis . . .

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My Sunday outfit . . . picture courtesy of my brother 😉

5.

For a bit of news, I’ve just put up the beginnings to my “Daily Dedications” section, and posted several prayers and devotions for Monday, to the Holy Ghost! I hope to build up the rest over the next few days . . . for now, check it out here.

6.

Sushi! I tried my first-ever sushi last Friday. California rolls, and also salmon. Amazing. 21.5 years of waiting, and it did not disappoint. Worthy of documentation . . . The Dash’s lovely sister got it on video, but as I stuffed the slightly over-large roll in my mouth all in one bite (using chopsticks, I proudly add), I’m not sure how pretty it looked, especially as I tried to chew the enormous amount of food and began dying with laughter, along with everyone else.

7.

I was blessed with several hours’ worth of Eucharistic Adoration over the past week and a half. Much of it was with The Dash. During one such Holy Hour last Monday, I had given him my little book about St. Raphael to read, and towards the end of our time there, he (silently) led me in the Litany of St. Raphael, guiding me with his finger.

To have daily prayed the “Angel of Happy Meetings” prayer for what seemed like such a long time last year . . .

Dear St. Raphael, Angel of Happy Meetings, lead me by the hand towards those I am waiting for, and those who are waiting for me. May all my movements, all their movements be guided by thy light and transfigured by thy joy. Angel guide of Tobias, lay the request I now address to thee at the feet of Him on Whose unveiled Face thou art privileged to gaze. (Mention your request.) Lonely and weary, deeply grieved by the separation and sorrows of earth, I feel the need of calling out to thee and of pleading for the protection of thy wings so that we may not be as strangers in the province of joy.

Remember the weak, thou who art strong, whose home lies beyond the region of thunder, in a land that is always peaceful, always serene and bright with the resplendent glory of God. Amen.

. . . and to then be praying in front of the Eucharist, and watch The Dash’s hand underline the words, “St. Raphael, Angel of Happy Meetings, pray for us,” was a moment beyond words–a moment for me to be overawed at the goodness of God as showered upon me through the intercession of this holy Archangel.

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!

-Offertory from the Fourteenth Sunday after Pentecost

God bless you! 🙂

Latinsig2

 

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December 15th, 2027

11752639_469072239935977_554516858742376419_nThe chief thing is to get women to take part in socially productive labor, to liberate them from ‘domestic slavery,’ to free them from their stupefying [idiotic] and humiliating subjugation to the eternal drudgery of the kitchen and the nursery. This struggle will be a long one, and it demands a radical reconstruction, both of social technique and of morale. But it will end in the complete triumph of Communism.

– V L A D I M I R   L E N I N ,   1 9 2 0

Do you know what? Exactly ten years from today, it will be mid-morning on Wednesday, December 15th, 2027, in the third week of Advent.

What makes this entirely random fact so interesting? A question I came across yesterday.

Where do you see yourself in ten years? And do you like what you see?

Upon first glance, I didn’t give the question much pause for thought. But I did release an involuntary smile over the possibility of where I could be in ten years: a wife, mother, and keeper of the hearth! What more could I want on earth?

Yes, I like what I see.

And I moved on from the question. But this morning, it’s circled back around to me as an interesting muse for a post. (And I’m rather shocked that it’s already Friday and I haven’t written a thing here since Monday, so I feel the need to make up a little.)

Exactly ten years from today, I’ll be 31 years old. And that in itself sounds delightful. In my mind, the words “31 years old” brim with possibilities and future graces. And probably a little weight gain. But that’s okay. I’m not afraid of growing older.

Ten years! God-willing, I could be married and have several children by the time I’m 31! (My youngest sister and I have sometimes played a mental game, in which we tried to calculate the most children we could feasibly have in a given time frame. It’s a step up from making a list of names. But I won’t frighten readers.) I can only imagine the stories I might be able to tell in ten years’ time. What will I be like? What will I look like, sound like? I think it’s tempting to imagine the manifold ways I’ll have grown, matured and advanced in virtue . . . while slightly less tempting, though probably far more accurate, to acknowledge the ways I will have probably remained the same me, in spite of ten years.

Mary’s guardian angel: “What? Ten years, and she’s only done this?!”

* * *

Ten years from today, it will be mid-morning, and just ten days before Christmas. My children will probably be romping around in cardboard and duck tape (excuse me, armor), and I probably will not have showered yet because, while I naturally appreciate and seek after a wholesome kind of order and schedule in the home, I am not militaristically organized and today will, most likely, be one of those Flexible Days of Survival.

My beloved small castle, (not yet decorated for Christmas, but with an Advent wreath on the table surrounded by workbooks and Saint Lucy coloring sheets) will probably be somewhat tidy, somewhat cluttered (though I’ll already be mentally planning the time to go and clean up those Vital Areas before my husband gets home, since I would really love for him to not experience the feeling of coming home to an absolute zoo . . . no, wait, to tell the children to do the cleaning up! I forgot about them).

The front room will need to be vacuumed (I will be in the process of getting to that), but the throw-pillows are straight and the blankets folded up from the evening before, because I’m still a determined surface preserver.

Although outside will most likely be gray, brown and wet, inside I will have the stimulating sensation of shoveling in a blizzard. Propping the Current Baby of the family (the Current Baby shall not be left out of this post) on my hip, I’ll be alternately wiping sticky crumbs off the counter from breakfast, unloading the next plate from the dishwasher, and recalling what meat is left in the freezer for later on that night. Then comes a hot flow of spit-up down my shirt. I handle it with professional calm and proceed to unload the spoons.

On the kitchen fridge, there’ll be a family photo (rumpled because the toddler found it one day), a grocery list, eighty-five filthy finger smudges I need to wipe off, an invitation to a Christmas party I’m fervently hoping to get to with my husband so I can savor a little time with him, regale my close friends with my daily domestic antics and drink a little wine . . . there will be some alphabet magnets (most, however, will be on the floor), a dry-erase calendar in a constant state of change . . . and, high-up so as to preserve it from disaster, a lovely hand-drawn picture of the Holy Family that Sr. Alphonsus of the Merciful Gaze of Mary (my imaginary invention for Lena’s future professed name . . . perhaps my kids will call her “Aunt Alphy” 😀 ) mailed to the children from the convent.

(You notice that I carefully avoid the topic inside the fridge. I don’t have enough courage to peer that far yet.)

I’ll be hearing shrieks, giggles, and arguments over swords and forts coming from the den (the throw pillows and blankets will be back on the floor again) . . . or is it the stairs? They had better not be hanging off the rails. “Mamaaaa! Mamaaaa!” I’ll know the indignant screams aren’t coming from one seriously injured or seriously wronged, and I’ll begin sticking glasses into the dishwasher, left-handed.

I’ll have a tomboy girl who will be constantly causing me exasperated curiosity as to how to (one day) impart all my high, lovely thoughts about authentic femininity to her. This lass will currently have the shield and sword and will be whacking her brother across the rear.

The Current Baby will then begin wailing from a sudden onset of ravenous hunger, though surely it’s only been five minutes since I nursed last . . . ?

Most likely, I will have a well-meaning and responsible oldest child who will be at the table, working at spelling words and trying to teach the toddler not to color St. Lucy’s skin purple, but who rises at the sound of the Current Baby wailing, comes over to where I am (convinced that all the baby needs is Oldest Sib) and starts plucking at the wet, stinking onesie. “Can I hold him?” the oldest child asks plaintively.

“Actually, I need you to finish loading the dishwasher for me, dear.” (See how calm I’ll be?)

My oldest’s eyes fill with distaste. An exaggerated sigh. Haven’t I raised my children virtuously? I panic interiorly. Why aren’t they cheerfully obeying right away? I lift my eyebrow and give a proper attitude correction. The child humbly complies with a, “Yes, ma’am,” and my spirits lift.

But then the phone will begin ringing, and the oldest will scamper away. (My children will invariably know where the phone is, even if I do not.)

My oldest grins delightedly at the caller ID and pounces on the phone. “Hi Daddy!”

“I want to talk to him!!!!!!!!!” I call (with interior desperation) at the retreating figure, over the poor screaming Current Baby. However, in that moment I will need to snatch survival, and so I’ll retreat to the quiet master bedroom, shut the door, and nurse the baby to sleep, meditating on what colorful extracts from the day I’ll weave into a cheerful narrative for my husband that night.

I will be so lulled by the quiet and serene beauty of my Current Baby that with great suddenness my maternal instincts will start blaring. I will have learned by then that quietness is the sound of doom.

I’ll leave the baby asleep and emerge to find a messy mini-disaster that will involve discipline and half an hour of supervised cleaning up . . .

And on the day will go: December 15th, 2027, with me being 31 years old.

* * *

Why did I quote Lenin at the beginning of this post? Because his words are the antithesis of my dreams for the future. What he perceived as slavery, I know to be freedom and fulfillment. The very things he speaks of with detestation, I look at with both realism and reverence. This post was, in part, inspired by a video I watched this morning from Mary’s Secretary.

I’m a cheerful and optimistic person by nature, so perhaps it seems that I’m sometimes over-idealizing a futuristic day in which I will be a stay-at-home mother. My vocation, whatever its twists and turns, will be my crucible for holiness; I know it will be difficult; I anticipate crosses, because it comes straight from the loving hands of the King of the Cross. I’m flawed and I will fail often. Some nights, I expect I’ll cry myself to sleep. Some days, I’m sure I’ll look at Our Lord and tell Him I can’t do it anymore . . . and then move on and do it.

But that doesn’t exclude the real beauty, wonder and loveliness of the life I anticipate. It doesn’t mean the little, chaotic details aren’t charming and funny in their innocence and normalcy. It doesn’t mean I won’t find utter delight and deep peace in fulfilling my role as a woman, in living out my vocation as a creature of God, in loving and serving my future family.

If “drudgery” only means “very hard work” I admit the woman drudges in the home . . . but if it means that the hard work is more heavy because it is trifling, colorless and of small import to the soul, then as I say, I give it up. I do not know what the words mean.

-G. K.  Chesterton

So here’s to the next ten years!

Latinsig2

 

 

 

A few Saturday ramblings

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The snow is slowly starting to disperse under bright blue skies today, but here’s another gratuitous shot of the white loveliness from yesterday . . .

And now, a few ramblings for today!

One, my little Living Virtuously collection now has 20 documents available for download, with two quotes per document. It’s been such a lot of fun to add to this collection piece by piece, and especially to search out inspirational quotes on striving after virtue! This morning, I alphabetized the list since . . . well . . . it just wasn’t looking as beautifully organized as I wanted it to. Now it’s much better 🙂

CompanySecondly, on my sidebar there’s now a link to a second talk on traditional Catholic courtship, this time from Veritas Caritas, which I came across thanks to Finer Femininity. Fr. Ripperger’s talk was around 40 minutes . . . this one (given by an anonymous, traditional priest), on “Company Keeping,” was an hour and ten minutes! And how I loved it.

I feel so blessed by Our Lord to have been given the opportunity to practice traditional Catholic courtship, and not only this, but also to have been given someone who strongly believes in these principles of self-denial, prudence and virtuous conduct in courtship. The Dash and I have been courting for three months now, and they have been three most beautiful months!

I’m not an expert on courtship; I can’t argue eloquently, but can only speak from my own small stock of experience. That which our modern culture would call senseless sacrifice or prudishness for a courting couple to submit themselves to . . . chaperoning, moderated emotions, self-control and self-denial . . . I reflect on these past three months and embrace these things as having been so very worth it already, and so very right. If the couple is virtuous (or striving after virtue, anyway 😉 ), these acts of sacrifice and denial become an incredibly rich soil in which Christ-centered love and mutual respect can grow, slowly, healthily and without hindrance.

Perhaps what resonated with me most strongly from both these talks on Catholic courtship was the realization of the justice of courtship. Truly, I had never considered justice in the context of courtship. However, when you protect one another from occasions of sin and do what you can to safeguard one another’s honor and good name through chaperoning; when you honor one another’s bodies and your lack of rights to them through the denial of physical signs of affection; when you desire holiness for the other person and circumscribe your courtship with Godliness and prayer . . . you are simply fulfilling the dictates of justice. This was a huge source of clarity for me.

In the sense that it is very counter-cultural, courtship is hard. But it brings so much joy. If someone were to confront us and say, “Good grief, why don’t you guys just relax and have a little fun?” I think The Dash and I would look and one another start howling with laughter, because it seems as though all we’re doing is having fun, even with the Crosses, sickness, tiredness, and hard work every person must undergo in this life for their own sanctification. Because our consciences are being kept clean and pure in how we are treating one another, Christ is lavishly pouring His joy upon us and drawing us closer together with His Pierced Hands.

Some might point out that our society has changed so much as to render traditional courtship no longer feasible . . . but, no matter societal changes, fallen human nature remains the same. The dictates of justice remain the same. The sacredness of marriage and the finality of eternity remain the same. Man and woman remain the same. So . . . why can’t traditional courtship? The word, admittedly, has too many definitions, but these talks eloquently sum up the scope of and purpose behind Catholic courtship!

And thirdly, I recently came across a book provided by the ever-helpful Fish Eaters, called The Christian Home: A Guide to Happiness in the Home that caught my eye and intrigued me delightfully. I’ll be trying to read it as and when I can 🙂

And now I’m off (metaphorically) to Fribourg! Have a blessed Saturday!

Latinsig2

 

Beginning with Slippers . . .

St. Nicholas, by TintorettoYes. Yesterday, I did have plans to write up a post on how our Feast of St. Nicholas had transpired. Even now, with no technical “littles” in the home, it’s remained a special, tradition-and-nostalgia-studded day for us in our Ecclesia domestica. In fact, I’ll go further and admit that I tend to forget just how much I dote on the Feast of St. Nicholas until it arrives . . . and then I Dote on it and, throughout the day, constantly reflect with a litany of blissful smiles on how I can’t wait to carry it over into my future one-day home.

But of course, I find myself here, on the 7th, typing about it belatedly while still in my pajamas (the reasons for which I will explain shortly). However, better late than never! So, onward with my descriptions of our Feast of St. Nicholas!

The Slippers

We don’t have sacred “St. Nicholas Day” slippers, per se, but only a jumbled, furry pile or two, in our respective closets, of slippers we hardly ever wear. We’re not frequent slipper-wearers, I suppose. But these piles get dutifully raided for the Feast of St. Nicholas.

However, it is a sacred custom for us to mutter repeatedly throughout the day on the 5th, “Don’t forget to put out the slippers before bed,” and then subsequently forget. Consequently, on Tuesday night, our parents were asleep and all of us kids had already traipsed up to bed before we remembered Gasp! The slippers! So, hoping I’d find enough pairs, I dove into the closet, then trotted down in the dark with my arms full of fur to line up the slippers on our brick fireplace, next to our small wood stack and homemade Jesse Tree (we are four days behind on our daily ornaments, however . . . just to paint a prosaic picture of normal Catholic family life).

I came down the next morning for my morning tidy-and-pray routine. The master bedroom door opened. Mom: “Mary, you know what we forgot!!!”

“The slippers,” I replied dutifully.

“Can you go get them?”

“They’re already here,” I replied, even more dutifully.

Mom scurried back into the room and eventually emerged with The Grocery Bag containing the magic contents. Taking the cue, I exited the room. By the time the rest of the siblings trundled downstairs, St. Nicholas had graced our slippers with chocolate and peppermint, and our fireplace with our old St. Nicholas picture books.

The Books

As usual, we set out several St. Nicholas picture books, but we’ve agreed a few of them are a little hit-and-miss. One historical version we have was, most likely, written by a good-willed Protestant who calls St. Nicholas “Pastor Nicholas.” Erm. Initially, we took a pen to the book and wrote-over “Pastor” with “Bishop,” just to help things out. All in all, it’s an all-right book, but we wound up just leaving it out for display this year. It has a nice cover!

Instead, Mom read aloud The Baker’s Dozen, which is my personal favorite, playing less with the actual historical life of St. Nicholas and more with the celebration of St. Nicholas’ feast day itself, weaving a charming “legend” with the theme of holy generosity. This tale will definitely be the one I turn to with my own future kids snuggled about me on St. Nicholas’ morning.

There is nothing that captures nostalgia and helps everything fall still like a picture book being read aloud. You are never too old for it!

The Cookies

Cookie

And, to make The Baker’s Dozen even more delightful, it included a recipe. Lena (whom we also call Martha the Baker . . . she is an insatiable baker. Insatiable.) was delighted. She and our youngest sister joined forces and baked the most charming (and delicious) St. Nicholas cookies, shaped like a bishop with crosier and miter, iced with white and red. I think we’ve baked cookies in the past for St. Nicholas’ Day, but never something so home-liturgically perfect as these. They will definitely become a tradition!

The Mass

At 11:30, Lena and I prayed along with the Mass at Fribourg, and discovered that St. Nicholas’ feast was a significant celebration for this particular FSSP parish in Switzerland.

It seemed they possess a relic of St. Nicholas, which the good priest brought forward for veneration immediately following Mass and the “Alma Redemptoris Mater” (he had a beautiful voice for chant, by the way), which made sense since the Credo was offered during the Mass, though St. Nicholas is usually only a third-class feast in the Old Calendar. It all was beautiful. The Mass included a homily in French; I squinted and nodded knowingly throughout it.

Collect from the Mass:

O God, Who didst adorn the blessed Bishop Nicholas with countless miracles: grant, we beseech Thee, that by his merits and prayers we may be delivered from the flames of hell.

Meanwhile . . .

It’s kind of a shame that St. Nicholas isn’t the Patron Saint of Unusually Vigorous Household Cleaning. The night of the 5th, on my self-made dry-erase calendar, I wrote “Cleaning” in big purple letters for Wednesday the 6th. The first few days of the week had been too busy for me to get down to my weekly chores, so I knew Wednesday needed to be the day in which I went through the usual rounds of cleaning and disinfecting the girls’ bathroom and dusting/vacuuming the bedroom, etc. So I embarked on the first stages of cleaning after we read aloud The Baker’s Dozen. However, I got bitten by some foreign insect that injects passion for cleaning into one’s very blood, and it took hours to work out of my system.

It all started with the shower. Our shower has been the bane of my existence for some time now. It’s a white shower/bathtub combo with sliding glass doors and eighty thousand places in which icky things can build up. The shower floor was remaining a perpetual gray no matter how much I martyred myself over it. There is nothing so disillusioning for a young (appearances-oriented sanguine) homemaker-in-training than to clean something that refuses to look clean.

However . . . my beloved mother bought some fiber scrubbing pads for me last week, and my whole world changed. I will forever remember December 6th, 2017 as the day in which I actually started laughing with delight when I scrubbed and the grayness on the shower floor obediently vanished. Poof. So I went a little crazy and spent the next forty minutes cleaning every aspect of that shower that I possibly could. And the rest of the bathroom . . . but the shower was the biggest treat.

And then, after recovering with some water, a salad, and chocolate (because salad and chocolate invariably cancel each other out), I thought I would do a quick dusting, since I’d already worked hard.

However, I wound up dumping out and cleaning my desk drawer (innocent on the outside, notorious for clutter within), my nightstand, under my bed. I threw piles of things away, organized and rearranged the rest, dusted and vacuumed nearly everything in site . . . even the ceiling fan blades and the prayer altar. I rearranged my desk and shelved more books. For most of the afternoon, I was a crazy-haired dust bunny in sweats and tennis shoes, and a shower was most welcome by the end of it all. But it was so worth it. One arrives at the point where surface cleaning no longer suffices, and the results of a deep-clean are immensely rewarding. That was my day.

The Remains

Dad had to be out for the evening, so we sent some of our St. Nicholas cookies with him to give to friends, and then Mom and I cooked chicken fajitas for everyone else. After dinner, continuing our newly established Advent wreath tradition, we lit the first candle of the Advent wreath, prayed the Collect from the First Sunday of Advent, and softly sang “Creator of the Stars of Night” from that Sunday’s Vespers. (By “newly established tradition” I mean that, while our family has always had our Advent wreath and special songs and prayers for Advent since time immemorial, there were a lot of little songs and customs that have been gradually laid aside as our youngest have grown older and we come to be more inspired by the traditional liturgical beauties of the Faith!)

The Collect:

Stir up Thy power, we beseech Thee, O Lord, and come: that from the threatening dangers of our sins we may deserve to be rescued by Thy protection, and to be saved by Thy deliverance: Who livest and reignest with God the Father in the unity of the Holy Ghost, God, world without end. Amen.

After loading the dishwasher and hand-washing the dishes that wouldn’t fit, I had one more spurt of the cleaning frenzy and dispersed all the clutter from our kitchen island. And then . . . I was done. I ambled into the living room and joined the siblings in a drawing/guessing game we’d learned over Thanksgiving with our cousins: so hilarious (thanks to our collective lack of artistic ability) that we laughed till we cried.

Eventually we settled down and prayed our family Rosary; Lena suggested we make a small detour from the traditional Glorious for Wednesday and instead offer the Joyful Mysteries, honoring in a small way the First Wednesday Devotion to St. Joseph. (While this link to Catholic Tradition doesn’t specifically mention the Joyful Mysteries in connection with this devotion, a newsletter from the Benedictines at Ephesus did, and Lena is an expert on their newsletter contents 😉 )

And then it was my turn to pick out a movie. After some deliberation, I realized I’d been wanting to watch The Fellowship of the Ring for quite some time, and promptly stuck it in the DVD player. (Perhaps Gandalf arose in my subconscious after thinking so much about St. Nicholas. Who knows.) We made it until Caradhras before surrendering and going to bed.

These movies are so wonderful and nostalgic, but at the same time they make me crave to read the books again . . . there is so much more to Tolkien’s story and his characters than what’s feasible to portray in film. I may just start doing that soon; I had resolved, back in September, to commence a re-read, but never found time . . . of course. (Also, after breakfast this morning, Lena and I have decided that, as much as we appreciate Viggo Mortenson, the late Alan Rickman would have made a truly amazing Aragorn Elessar. But the intricacies of Aragorn are better left for another post.)

I pray your feast of St. Nicholas was blessed! And, of course, a very happy feast of St. Ambrose today!

P.S. The reason I’m in pajamas? I slept in after all that hard work yesterday 😉

Latinsig2

Dropping In with the Rain

mary-in-the-womb-of-saint-anneIt’s most definitely a rain-drenched Tuesday over here . . . navigating the family Kia through blustery rain and swirling leaves this morning makes me all the more grateful for the comparative quiet of my desk now! Mom, Lena and I have just, temporarily, parted ways from the kitchen after having put supper on. With seasoned chicken thighs in the oven for an hour, what better thing to do than write a blog post (and then, erm, catch up on my Advent devotions for the day . . .)?

Today is already Day 7 of the Immaculate Conception Novena! I rather wish it wouldn’t end . . . too late, I realize how little I have ever meditated on this mystery. But I hope to change that from now on . . . Friday is that approaching, beautiful day!

This afternoon, I spent a good half-hour finishing about 90% of my Christmas shopping . . . very few things left to do now, and just in time for the feast of St. Nicholas tomorrow, as a matter of fact. Hmm, almost as though I’d planned it that way.

Ah – Right! That’s exactly what I did!

Speaking of shopping, I’m feeling the twinge to ramble about money for a spell. Maybe everyone does, this time of year. As a young woman at home (YWAH for short) with no regular income at the moment (though I’m hoping to start a part-time tutoring position in January!), my nature tilts more towards saving than spending. And so it falls that Christmas is an opportune time for me to practice the virtue of generosity (and prudence . . . but my Generosity Muscle definitely experiences more stretching than my Prudence Muscle here 😉 ). Anytime I’m spending money, I admit I’m thinking about money, at least to some degree. What’s left? How do I budgetize?

But it’s not like Scrooge. I promise.

Are there no prisons? Are there no workhouses?

When I think about it, I realize practicing the virtue of generosity simultaneously necessitates that I practice the virtue of trust in God. If I am willing to work hard, to earn and to give in whatever way(s) God wants me to, then I’ll have as much money as ever He wants me to have: no more, no less. I really do believe it’s that simple.

However, it is an interesting subject to think about (by which I mean myself and money): it’s not that I’ve specifically chosen to avoid earning money on a regular basis since graduating high school, but it seems as though God ordained that the winding road of my life should be sprinkled with little showers of income here and there, to where I’m blessed to have something of a dowry (I love calling it that :-D) but definitely nothing spectacular by current standards. Which is truly fine with me, because:

While I’ve always planned on working (in the home) I’ve never, ever planned on providing for myself in the respect of holding down an outside-the-home job. My feminine instincts have never leapt in that direction. Future = marriage + babies + housekeeping + homeschooling = domestic grace. My inner heart just craves to be rooted at home: not always, every minute at home, but deeply rooted there. For the moment, it’s my parents’ home: one day, it will, most likely, be my husband and I’s home. That’s always been the defining vision in my heart, the vision my parents have made a reality: the husband provides, the wife nurtures, and God blesses.

And so, post-graduation, I’ve welcomed stipends for articles, babysitting, the occasional cantoring job, etc. but have never felt the precise need to look for a regular job (though every now and again I’ve contemplated it) that would root me more out of the home than in it. But this is probably just as well since I don’t have my own car . . . the concept of working a job, so that I could pay for a car and insurance, so that I could drive to the job, was a little too much for me to bend my mind around. Not that it’s always that simplistic, but for my situation, it kind of is.

I’m trying to make it my continued prayer that if God wants me to be working somewhere/earning something regularly in my pre-married, pre-mother state, He’ll provide the means for me to get there and to make it happen (as it seems He’s done with this aforementioned tutoring job, which I’m excited about!).

Thanks to God’s grace, I’m conscious of my propensity to save for the sake of saving, which could, if I’m not careful, lead to my viewing money as an end to itself, rather than a means over which I must be a good steward. Again, Christmas is a wonderful antidote for this potential path to vice. These past few weeks, I’ve definitely enjoyed brainstorming and investigating meaningful gifts for my loved ones that also, hopefully, give glory to God!

Yesterday was my mother’s birthday, and so we celebrated with a game of bowling (guess who ended up with the lowest score? Ahem) and dinner out, both with The Dash which made it wonderfully fun; it’s been a while since we’ve gone out anywhere to celebrate a family birthday, and it’s definitely something we’ll lastingly remember! Do only homeschooled kids dance Samba and West Coast to the (mostly torturesome) music at the bowling alley, for all to see?

Before I leave, I must mention Fr. Chad Ripperger, FSSP. Last Saturday, while driving with my youngest sister as chaperone (and she was awesome at it!), The Dash and I listened to his talk on the four stages of Catholic courtship (which I’d stumbled across rather by accident). Truly, this talk is exemplary for its inarguable reasoning, and enlightened me on so many aspects of courtship . . . I think I’ve listened to it three times now. The link is here (and is also linked on my sidebar). Something I noticed a day or two ago: on the same Sensus Traditionis, it’s noted that Fr. Ripperger’s talks are “PenanceWare”:

These media files are PenanceWare, which require that you do one of the following: (1) $1.00 via Paypal,Donate Button with Credit Cards (2) offer up a decade of the Rosary, or (3) perform some form of penance for the intentions of Fr. Ripperger (for each individual media file downloaded). The same rule applies if you copy and distribute to friends. External links, e.g. the videos from Keep the Faith, etc. are not Penanceware. MEDIA TYPE: AUDIO | VIDEO

Have a blessed rest of your day, and a happy Commemoration of St. Sabbas the Abbot! 🙂

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