Woman at Home Daybook :: Vol. 11 (ramblings and getting dressed up)



This day in the Liturgical Year . . .

Friday, October 19th, 2018 A.D. Feast of St. Peter of Alcantara. I believe it’s the mind of the Church that he was possibly one of, if not the most self-mortified male saint.

From Butler:

“In 1539, being then forty years old, he founded the first convent of the “Strict Observance.” The cells of the friars resembled graces rather than dwelling-places. That of St. Peter himself was four feet and a half in length, so that he could never lie down; he ate but once in three days; his sack-cloth habit and a cloak were his only garments, and he never covered his head or feet. In the bitter winter he would open the door and window of his cell that, by closing them again, he might experience some sensation of warmth.”

Outside the window . . .

It’s one of a strand of absolutely lovely October days . . . sunny and blue-skied ❀ You can’t help but smile in this kind of weather!

Sounds throughout the house . . .

Right now, I’ve got “Love, Where is Your Fire?” by Brooke Fraser playing . . . her album Albertine has been one of my favorites since my mid-teens, but I haven’t listened to it in a long time.

Downstairs: voices, piano, and the usual home-y cacophony of a Friday school morning.

Wearing . . .

Today is one of those weird days where it’s cool outside, yet feels colder inside the house. Accordingly, I’m wearing a T-shirt, a white sweatshirt over it, blue jeans, tennis shoes.

My hair has been driving me (a little) crazy . . . my sweet mom cut a good three inches off yesterday afternoon, and it feels so much healthier.

_MG_9087 (2)



Attempts in the kitchen . . .

Nothing new, honestly . . . Lena recently made my favorite banana and chocolate chip muffins and I ate them, of course, but I don’t think that counts as an “attempt in the kitchen.”

A note on projects . . .

I haven’t journaled in days 😦 Things have been pretty busy . . . maybe I can get back to it today . . .

Yesterday, The Dash and I taught our last dance class . . . it was so much fun and I hate we can’t do it every week! πŸ˜‰ The two groups of kids did really well. All in all, we were able to teach them waltz, fox trot, and cha-cha . . . the basic step for each, plus a few additional steps and a few sequences (this was all thanks to The Dash).

But since this two-week stint was part of an etiquette class, all the kids surprised us at the end of yesterday’s class with handwritten thank-you notes and cards! It was the sweetest thing ever! I need to put them in a scrapbook so The Dash and I can look back on them one day and have fun reminiscing about our time as dance instructors ❀

Last night, The Dash and I helped at an annual fundraising banquet for a wonderful crisis pregnancy center. Leading up to yesterday, we’d been able to help with organizing and repairing some of the table decorations, plus duplicating a few things. I had never had much legitimate “crafting” experience until the past week or so, in which the hot glue gun and I got nicely acquainted through a learning curve πŸ˜‰

The Dash’s incredibly talented family had created most of the table decorations several years ago (keep in mind, this was for 46 or so tables . . . a hefty amount of work!). I took on the comparatively tiny task of making 3 extra duplicates of a centerpiece component (an unborn baby cradled in a glued-from-scratch flower, attached to a weighted wire so that it could be placed in a vase of water). Because of my lack of experience, it was a challenge, I kid you not . . . but I enjoyed it all the same!


Not really much else in the way of projects; class starts up again next Tuesday so I’ll be planning for that soon . . .

For a bit of fun news, I had a small article published on the CSH blog this morning. I’m trying to remember the last time I’ve had an article published anywhere? I think it was last November! Anyway, they were really sweet to put this up πŸ™‚

Reading . . .

Still reading North and South. The miniseries is great but the book is simply excellent so far and definitely better in terms of character development (although I think that’s just a natural strength of books, as opposed to films, in general). I just got to John Thornton’s introduction and I love how she wrote it!

Contemplating . . .


How blessed I am to have this amazing, hardworking, selfless guy, and how much I love him ❀ This picture was right before we headed to the banquet. These special occasions where one gets dressed up are so much fun!

On living the Faith . . .

Lena and I are still trying to keep Fridays penitential with a fast of some kind for the purification of the Church. These are just little things, but drops in the ocean count in the eyes of God.

Still trying to pray the Litany of the Holy Name of Jesus, Litany of Loreto, and Litany of St. Joseph every day–it’s really beautiful to pray them one after the other!

Prayerfully . . .

A few weeks ago, a friend of mine tragically lost her older sister. The amazing story of this young woman’s life and devotion is here. Would you keep her soul, as well as her grieving family, in your prayers, and consider donating to help the family with her ongoing funeral expenses if you’re at all able? They’re close to their goal but still need help. Thank you ❀




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



This day in the Liturgical Year . . .

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

Outside my window . . .

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


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


Sounds throughout the house . . .

Next to nothing at the moment; things are quiet because of school πŸ™‚

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

I am wearing . . .

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

Attempts in the kitchen . . .

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

A note on projects . . .

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

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

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

All fun πŸ™‚

I am reading . . .

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

Contemplating authentic femininity . . .

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

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

On living the Faith . . .

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


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

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

Prayerfully . . .

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

Have a beautiful rest of your day! πŸ™‚


Woman at Home Daybook :: Vol. 9



This day in the Liturgical Year . . .

Friday, October 5th, 2018 A.D. It’s the First Friday of the month; feast of St. Placid and Companions, Martyrs; in the New Calendar, feast of St. Faustina (my Confirmation Patron). From Butler: {Placid} had scarcely completed his twenty-first year when he was selected to establish a monastery in Sicily upon some estates which had been given by his father to St. Benedict. He spent four years in building his monastery, and the fifth had not elapsed before an inroad of barbarians burned everything to the ground, and put to a lingering death not only St. Placid and thirty monks who had joined him, but also his two brothers, Eutychius and Victorinus, and his holy sister Flavia, who had come to visit him.”

From St. Faustina: “My Lord and Creator, Your goodness encourages me to converse with You. Your mercy abolishes the chasm which separates the Creator from the creature. To converse with You, O Lord, is the delight of my heart. In You I find everything that my heart could desire. Here Your light illumines my mind, enabling it to know You more and more deeply. Here streams of graces flow down upon my heart. Here my soul draws eternal life. O my Lord and Creator, You alone, beyond all these gifts, give Your own self to me and unite Yourself intimately with Your miserable creature.”

Outside my window . . .

Happy afternoon sunshine: one of my favorite things πŸ™‚

Sounds throughout the house . . .

Things are almost completely quiet right now. Everyone is reading, writing, or doing something restful. (Earlier on, though, Lena and I were gleefully celebrating the release of Burn The Ships . . .)

I am wearing . . .

A navy blue, elbow-length cotton blouse; a white tank underneath; the one and only skirt I’ve sewn, a three-tiered survival of my underdeveloped sewing skills in multiple patterns of yellow. I haven’t worn it in forever but felt spontaneous today!

Yes, sometimes one side of my hair is curlier than the other . . . a mystery of life.

Attempts in the kitchen . . .

I hear that something called “skillet lasagna” is on the menu . . . we’ve never had it before but it sounds immensely promising . . . As for myself, no new attempts in the kitchen. Well, I steamed rice yesterday without ruining anything. Aren’t I savvy?

A note on projects . . .

Well . . . at the start of the week, I’d made some great progress on that old story from my teens. Since then, I’ve done nothing. Zilch.

I really need to force myself to keep going or else I’ll lose steam altogether. Right after this blog post . . .

I am reading . . .

A random assortment of ponderous things today; articles from Fr. Z and Crisis Magazine, and more of O’Brien’s Potter book.


A particularly resonant passage from the latter:

“As the Christian churches lose their evangelical strength [my penciled note: evangelical strength = orthodoxy & liturgy], the allurement of preternatural and supernatural phenomena will continue to displace the world of the sacred transcendent. Traditionally, the signs, sacraments and rituals of the Christian world were among the primary means of encountering God, and a way for man to find his place in the hierarchy of creation . . .”

That last statement made me think so much of sacred liturgy, particularly ad orientem worship and the Latin Mass. Ad orientem speaks with immense clarity and strength of that hierarchy of creation.

Contemplating authentic femininity . . .

Last night, The Dash took Lena and I to an on-campus lecture, given by Dr. Rosalind Picard, on the topic of “Artificial Intelligence, Emotion and Humanity.” It was even more interesting and enjoyable than I expected it to be (and I’d already been expecting it to be great!). Lena commented on how her natural femininity enhanced the subject she presented on; she was intelligent and caring, with a wise perspective on AI that I could both appreciate and agree with.

Does authentic femininity include a mandatory love of chocolate? I know it’s subjective, but . . . after walking around the nighttime campus with The Dash post-lecture (it was so much fun to see all his haunts!), the chocolate shakes he bought us from Arby’s were about as heavenly as anything orally consumable is. I think I made enough initial sounds to provoke The Dash’s doubtful question: “Is it really that good?”

On living the Faith . . .

On Sunday the 7th, I’m renewing my yearly Total Consecration. Today, thanks to my Guardian Angel, no doubt, I came across a chain bracelet, specifically made by the Slaves of the Immaculate Heart of Mary for those who totally consecrate to Our Lady . . . I ordered one and am really looking forward to it coming in. Truly, I need the reminder that everything I am and have is hers. It is so easy for my weak and silly heart to forget.

Also, since tonight we have a Low Mass for First Friday, and I’m endeavoring to begin the devotion in earnest, I listened to Fr. Ripperger’s sermon at Sensus Traditionis (the website has undergone a very nice makeover recently, by the way!) on the Sacred Heart (it’s #5). I highly recommend it for today . . . don’t forget it’s PenanceWare πŸ˜‰

Prayerfully . . .

Praying for various intentions, most of all for the grace to renew well on Sunday and to do God’s Will in all things ❀


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



Read previous installments here πŸ™‚

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!


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 πŸ˜‰

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 πŸ™‚

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 πŸ™‚

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 πŸ˜‰ )

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 IΒ doΒ 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”β€”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.


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 helpΒ throughΒ 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,Β  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!


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



Read previous installments here πŸ™‚

This day in the Liturgical Year . . .

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

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

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

Outside my window . . .

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

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

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

Sounds throughout the house . . .

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

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

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

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

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

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

I am wearing . . .

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

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


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

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

Attempts in the kitchen . . .

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

A note on projects . . .

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

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

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

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


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

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

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


I am reading . . .

Ah! Last month, I read Crime & Punishment.

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

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

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

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

Contemplating authentic femininity . . .

From The Privilege of Being a Woman:

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

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

But it’s also thought-provoking . . .

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

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

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

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

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

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

On living the Faith . . .

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

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

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

Prayerfully . . .

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

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

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

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