Friday, February 27, 2015

Seven Quick Takes: Friday, February 27--Around the House

The quiet beauty of the morning before the kids were up. I love tulips.
 1) This week I have resolved myself to February and a lingering winter. We have been mostly at home because we have not really had any place we had to go. I have been tackling projects that I meant to do last February, like put curtain ties on the bedroom windows (instead of clothes pins) and getting some extra wall decor up. I have also been taking on some chores that I usually neglect because of the effort and time they take. And my nesting has led me to do things like order baby diaper covers and make a registry of things this baby is going to need. So, these quick takes are mostly about the house.

2) I had a little date with my double oven and Norwex cleaning products. I could not get every spot, but it is much better and shiny:

I then took on the rest of the kitchen deep cleaning. I think I need to work this into my weekly schedule, like doing one kitchen chore a week so that I don't put it off for six months and then wear myself out in a week trying to get it all done.

3) My father's father was a photographer, and last winter I spent an evening with two of my aunts going through photographs and taking my favorites home. I have been meaning to hang them for awhile. We don't have a lot of common area wall space (that is not in the play room), so we only put two things up for now.

 The first is a picture of an old man reading in a really nice room. If you want to see the photograph well, you are going to have to come over and see it yourself.
The second is a series of photographs of a house that seemed inspired by Frank Lloyd Wright. It is probably near Los Angelos somewhere since that is where my grandfather got his art degree. We are really enjoying having some original and good art on our walls, and I like that it is done by my grandfather.

4) L asked for a painting of her name patron saint for Christmas to hang in her room with her name cross stitch (made by her aunt). G was given a Romanian style painted glass icon of her name patron saint at birth, and it has been hanging with her cross stitch for years. For L, we found a poster print of a painting, and finally hung in her room the other week. With the plan for the bunk bed, we decided to put all four framed items on one wall. I think it turned out really well, but you will have to come see it for yourself.

5) To add to Lent for the children (in addition to our Lent wreath and stational churches) we decided to do a bean jar for charitable deeds and a crown of thorns for sacrificial deeds. Since they are all below the age of reason, we have to remind them of it and tell them when they have done something worthy of it. They also look nice.

A certain girl likes to have her saint statue "talking" to Jesus or Our Lady.

6) The girls and I planted some basil seeds this week. It is supposed to be ready to harvest in 60-90 days which will put us in April. My thought is that we could transplant the basil to the garden after the last frost, and then start another set indoors to have for next fall and winter. Gardeners, does it matter how old basil is when you plant it outside?
The basil pots are covered in plastic until the seeds sprout.
Our mini rose bush and parsley are thriving. We have been using the parsley on various dishes, and it is acting the same as our parsley did last summer. The more you use it, the thicker it grows.

7) I will leave you with a few gems from the girls:

G (almost 6) at the end of quiet time the other day: "I was just finishing up my prayer time. It took me longer than normal today. I said a Hail Mary, an Our Father, a St. Michael, and then made up some prayers to Jesus."

L (4), when I brought her toys into her quiet time (after her "sleeping time"): "I was singing about when I should get my toys. I was also singing Jesus songs. I sang a song to the monsters about how Jesus died on the cross so that we could go to Heaven."
Me: "What did the monsters think of that?"
L: "I don't know. They did not say."

F (2) all the time: "I have to go potty. No, I don't have to go."

Linking up with Kelly at This Ain't the Lyceum.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

This Season in Girls: Winter 2015

 I realize that I should do these more often, but I guess that is part of the season of life. I also am neglecting to photograph my children. I should get the camera out once a week, probably, even if we are just at home.
My only photo of all three since the New Year... L, G, and F
G: You are turning six next month, and are thrilled to tell everyone about the Ides of March. You are more and more capable everyday and can even put a pair of tights on alone (trust me, this is an impressive feat). You are finally happy to do reading with me now that we have finished our 100 "EASY" lessons, and have moved on to library readers. We finished a rag doll together that we made with our Little Flowers group, and I think that you really like having a doll that you made. You ask probing questions, like "What happens to someone's guardian angel who goes to Hell?" and what song lyrics mean. You try so hard to be helpful, even if your impatience to play instead sometimes gets the best of you. I felt like a real grown up when you lost your first tooth, and you have been waiting so patiently for the current loose one to fall out. You are growing into a sweet and intelligent girl, and I look forward to seeing you grow more!

L: Let's just say that four years of age is interesting.
Mood swings seem to be a key part of it, but generally you are happy and playing nicely. You and G like to play Legos in your room for long stretches of time (without your little sister), but then other times you and F play happily together doing who knows what while G and I work on school. I think that you are content to be the middle child, taking joy in and loving both of your sisters. You are by far the most interested in the new baby, happy to talk to my belly and sing little songs. Pre-school "work" is not your thing these days, but you are full of imaginative pre-school play. You opted to write out all of your valentines rather than trace letters like you used to. You ask to wear a bun most days and look very cute in it. You would rather not take out toys at all then have to clean them up at the end of the day.

F: Oh, age two. Your potty training seems to have taken, though accidents are not a thing of the past. So, we use two diapers a day (nap and bedtime), and that is about it. You love your baby dolls these days and just about anything you can push around in your stroller as you fluctuate between screaming to be with me and playing happily without me. You surprise me with such grown up sounding phrases like, "Oh, I see!" And strongly dislike when we cannot understand what you are trying to say. You still love your crib and have not attempted to get out of it during nap time or bedtime, which means the transition to the toddler bed will wait. You love listening to music and request your favorite songs whenever you think of it, and then you sing along. You draw a lot of phrases from lyrics like when you said that G was wearing her "stars in the sky" shirt. It has been nice to discover that a lot of two year old traits are actually just "two year old things" and not "being supplanted by the new baby things." I wonder what the new baby things will be...

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Ash Wednesday: A Little T.S. Eliot for You

Ash Wednesday

by T.S. Eloit

Because I do not hope to turn again
Because I do not hope
Because I do not hope to turn
Desiring this man's gift and that man's scope
I no longer strive to strive towards such things
(Why should the aged eagle stretch its wings?)
Why should I mourn
The vanished power of the usual reign?

Because I do not hope to know again
The infirm glory of the positive hour
Because I do not think
Because I know I shall not know
The one veritable transitory power
Because I cannot drink
There, where trees flower, and springs flow, for there is nothing again

Because I know that time is always time
And place is always and only place
And what is actual is actual only for one time
And only for one place
I rejoice that things are as they are and
I renounce the blessed face
And renounce the voice
Because I cannot hope to turn again
Consequently I rejoice, having to construct something
Upon which to rejoice

And pray to God to have mercy upon us
And pray that I may forget
These matters that with myself I too much discuss
Too much explain
Because I do not hope to turn again
Let these words answer
For what is done, not to be done again
May the judgement not be too heavy upon us

Because these wings are no longer wings to fly
But merely vans to beat the air
The air which is now thoroughly small and dry
Smaller and dryer than the will
Teach us to care and not to care
Teach us to sit still.

Pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death
Pray for us now and at the hour of our death.

You can read the rest here or in a book.

Saturday, February 14, 2015

My Three Most Memorable St. Valentine's Days

M and I our "first time dating" freshman year.
1. February 14, 2005—A serious discussion with a pre-theologate (not really a seminarian, I promise... he was just in the “discernment program”)

Freshman year at Franciscan University of Steubenville was a rough year emotionally. I happened to have a massive crush on a guy in the pre-theologate program, and the thing is, he was acting as if he had a crush on me. You know, hanging out together all the time (we were in the same group of friends), singling each other out for discussion, walking a friend back to her dorm across campus together so we could walk back to our adjacent dorms alone, on movie nights sitting right next to each other on the same couch, and there may have been some flirting.

Well it all came to ahead right around St. Valentine’s day (or Sts. Cyril and Methodius Day for those of you who prefer the new calendar). I was confused: was this guy really discerning the priesthood or did he like me? He was less confused about my affection and more confused about his discernment. I confided in a few good friends, including a wonderful couple who let me interrupt their date night in a common room to get advice. They advised me to talk to him and tell him that he was confusing me.

I called him up, and asked to go for a walk because “we needed to talk.” My plan was to tell him that I was attracted to him and to ask him to give me some space, so that I could get over him and he could go on discerning the priesthood. We met up on a rainy courtyard clad in rain jackets (what a mild February that must have been!). I dove right into my problem. “I am attracted to you,” I confessed to him. “Um, well, I am attracted to you,” he replied, and then we paused. What were we supposed to do? Well, I decided to tell him the entirety of my past crushes and involvements with boys; I am not really sure why. I think I wanted to let him know that I really needed him to be straight forward with me. By the end of our discussion we decided that we needed to put serious limits on our interaction since we had become way to close to be “just friends.”

That worked for one emotionally painful week, and then I guess he had had enough. He met with his formation director, told all, and then left the program. He was free to date. The next day he asked me out. There is a lot more that happened after that, but eventually we got married, well three years later, which seems like a long time when you are only 18. I will tell the rest of the relationship history another time.

8 months pregnant with our first. I was showing more than he was.
2. February 14, 2009—Star Trek marathon.

I was 8 months pregnant with our first, and we were 8 months into our marriage. We decided that St. Valentine’s day was the last night of our youth since we were going to be taking care of our baby in a month. We went out to dinner (I can’t remember where), and then went to the best grocery store on the face of the earth, Wegmans, bought some snacks or something, and took turns riding the cart in the parking lot. Yep, I rode a cart at 8 months pregnant; I was empowered by Bradley birthing classes. Then we went over to Blockbuster and rented three of the original Star Trek movies. We then proceeded to watch them one after another, eating food, and wondering if the baby was a boy because the baby sure liked all the sound effects. (She was a girl, or course.)

I think this was my favorite St. Valentine’s day. We spent the first year or so of G’s life watching Star Trek Voyager, and then went through all the other Star Trek shows. We are pretty nerdly.

My Valentines dates in 2012.
3. February 14, 2012—Me and my daiquri.

The winter of 2012 was one of the most stressful of our relationship. M was “on the job market,” and we were in a continual state of anxiety waiting for calls or emails about job interviews. February is the normal month for on campus interviews, and boy M had a lot of them (for which we were very blessed). It seemed like every couple of days he was called out to another interview. I think he was gone for two full weeks of that month.

Well on St. Valentine’s Day, while M was at an awkward job interview dinner with two potential colleagues (not for the position he ultimately accepted) at a restaurant full of couples out on dates, I was hundreds of miles away, at home, having a romantic dinner of what was probably scrambled eggs with a not yet three year old and a one year old. After I put them to bed, I read one of C.S. Forester’s Horatio Hornblower novels and drank a daiquiri (I got pretty good at making daiquiris that month).

After M got back to his hotel and called me up to recap the dinner, he informed me that he had been offered two more interviews. I just about cried, as I was at my wits end with the single parenting stuff, and I am pretty sure my mom friends were tired of me spending half the days at their houses. I made emergency calls to my parents and in-laws begging someone to come stay with me for the last interview. My wonderful mother-in-law took pity on me, and I rewarded her with our traditional Mardi Gras dinner of strawberry filled crepes, ice cream, and bacon.

Much to our relief, M received a job offer on February 17, when he was back home, so even though he was going to be gone for a few more interviews, we had the relief of knowing he would have a job.

And that is it. The rest of the St. Valentine’s days of our relationship probably involve either dinner at some restaurant or staying home with the kids. I can’t really recall.

As for the patron saint of lovers himself, I looked him up in our awesome hardcover Septuagesima volume of Dom Gueranger’s The Liturgical Year, and it turns out that whatever legends we have of him are not part of the liturgical tradition. We know that he was a priest “who suffered martyrdom towards the middle of the third century,” and that “the ravages of time have deprived us of the details of his life and sufferings.” However, we should look to his martyrdom as a model who encourages “us to spare no sacrifice which can restore us to, or increase within us, the grace of God.”

Friday, February 13, 2015

Seven Quick Takes: Friday, February 13

1. We had an emergency grocery run yesterday. The things we were low on? Toilet paper, bread, and milk. So, since I had to go the store in the 2 degree weather with all three kids, I decided to make it a whole week grocery run. I am now contemplating what to do with a free Saturday morning... Anyway, I must look really pregnant even with my coat on, or people felt really sorry for me. I was a little cranky with the girls, who seem unable to listen these days, and also kept on dropping things. The thing is, every time I dropped something a stranger would come by and pick it up for me. I guess between the three kids, the big belly, the ridiculous cold outside, and my hair falling out of its ponytail, I looked a little desperate.

2. I am just going to say it, St. Valentine's day is the one saint feast day that people don't seem to mind celebrating with the old calendar. We always do our favorite old calendar saints on their old feast days, so it is normal for us.

3. We are trying childcare/date exchanges with some friends for the first time. They have three boys (expecting a fourth in June) and we have our three girls. Anyway, our date is tonight. Theirs was last night, and it went pretty well once we got the one year old to stop crying. If things go well tonight, I think we should do it again! It is hard to feel like we can afford to go out very often when you add the cost of the sitter to that of the meal.

4. Back to pregnancy, I passed my glucose test this week. Woohoo!! So, this means that my measuring big at every appointment is just that I have a bigger baby or the due date is a week off. Both are entirely possible given what I know about when this baby came into existence (charting win). ;)

5. Further, my friend R. wrote this great piece at the Federalist about adding a component of "danger" to one's sex life. While she never stated it, it seems like a great example of what is missing in people's intimate lives that they need things like that stupid, awful movie coming out tomorrow to entertain them. Really, there is a bit of fear involved when knowing you could be co-creating a new human being, plus all that comes with bearing, birthing, and raising that new human.

 We had 35 total, but the other are in the mail!
6. February has been a beast so far. Everyone has cabin fever. I decided to suck it up and make the month more interesting, so we spent every school day this week making St. Valentine's day cards (braving the glitter glue!) to mail to family. It included handwriting of course, and gluing and cutting. We may have barely done much other school. We have been trying to get our more often. So, I took the girls to two different stores this week. I was actually enthusiastic about housework. We had a fun visit M's office in a snowstorm, plus tried a burger place in St. Paul, Snuffy's Malt Shop. They were super kid friendly, and while I prefer a shake to a malt, I even liked their malts. Anyway, we are trying to make February less dreary, and I plan to keep it up even with Lent coming up. Going out with the kids is easier now than it will be in June!

7. And to make it feel more like summer I am including a greenhouse photo. Our amaryllis is blooming, I bought a mini rose bush to fill things out, and the parsley is still green. The girls had me buy the little lady bug plant to give to our recently widowed neighbor for St. Valentine's day, "We want her to know we love her soooo much!"

I am linking up once again with Kelly at This Ain't the Lyceum, the host of Seven Quick Takes!

Thursday, February 12, 2015

How Are We Called to Be Holy?

From the film Thérèse (1986) directed by Alain Cavalier
I had a crisis of faith over the past few weeks. I was not questioning any points of doctrine or doubting God and His existence, but I was doubting whether or not I, as a middle class American with so many comforts, could ever really live life of heroic virtue. The doubt came from a combination of circumstances, the first being the bleakness of a winter that has no end in sight, the second being the deaths of a number of people close to me or close to those I know, the third being considering the lives of a couple of saints through film.

The winter is self-explanatory. It is getting pretty long here in Minnesota, even though it has been mild compared to last winter. But when the 20s seem warm, you know you have a winter problem. The glumness of winter wears a person down, and opens one up for doubts. Further, Lent is looming on the horizon and as I think about what to do for Lent, all of my faults and tendencies towards sin stare up accusingly at me.

Then there are those who have died. The first was a neighbor, an elderly man of Christian faith, leaving behind his kind widow. They have been great neighbors, and for my children he is the first person that they knew personally to pass away. They pray for his soul daily, just as they prayed for him to overcome his cancer daily. The second was the father of a good friend. This also affected my kids, since he is the grandfather of some of their friends. The third was a young husband and father, whom I never knew personally, but was friends with many people I know from college. He had a month-long battle with advanced cancer and left behind three children and a pregnant wife. The final death was that of one of my parents’ dear friends, a woman whom I have known my entire life. She was a woman who always served, always loved, and always prayed. I pray and hope for all of their salvations, but it made me think about my own death and realize that I am failing to live a fully Christian life in so many ways. Would people hope for my salvation in the same way that they hope for these people?

On top of this, I saw a powerful movie about the life of St. Vincent de Paul, Monsieur Vincent (1947), directed by Maurice Cloche. St. Vincent de Paul had a comfortable life of ease serving a wealthy family, but, being unsatisfied with what he was doing there and with the comfort of his own life, decided to devote his life to the poor. He served as a bridge between the rich and the poor, always calling the rich to do more for the poor, and never seeing himself as doing enough. “I must do more,” was his continual realization.

Then there was the movie The Flowers of St. Francis (1950), directed by Roberto Rossellini, and based on the classic book The Little Flowers of Saint Francis. The film focused on his life after he established his first community of brothers. You see his desire for simplicity, his serving of the poor, and his calling on of his others to holiness. You see that he was a passionate person, who always felt that he had too much. He stripped himself of all material comforts, keeping the bare minimum. His brothers did the same. These lives of the saints made me realize that I am not doing enough and that I take too much pleasure in my bourgeois middle class comforts. The hours I spend reading articles online, socializing, enjoying my sturdy, warm house, eating good food seem extravagant compared to the lives of the poor who barely have enough clothing, whose homes are in disrepair, who live have no way of living within their means for their means are so limited. Why am I so blessed materially and they are not? It made me wonder if I should be making radical changes with my life, like those of St. Francis or serving the poor endlessly like St. Vincent de Paul. Can someone living a comfortable life like mine really become a saint?

Then my husband and I saw a beautiful movie, Thérèse (1986) directed by Alain Cavalier, about St. Thérèse of Lisieux. And just as she always does, St. Thérèse showed me how I am to live a life of holiness. My realization that even a person raised in the middle class with bourgeois values can live a real life of holiness, was similar to the epiphany Thomas Merton had when he first read about St. Thérèse:
It was never, could never be, any surprise to me that saints should be found in the misery and sorrow and suffering of Harlem, in the leper-colonies life Father Damian Molokai, in the slums of John Bosco’s Turin, on the roads of Umbria in the time of St. Francis, or in the hidden Cistercian abbeys of the twelfth century…
But what astonished me altogether was the appearance of a saint in the midst of all the stuffy, overplush, overdecorated, comfortable ugliness and mediocrity of the bourgeoisie. Therese of the Child Jesus was a Carmelite, that is true: but what she took into the convent with her was a nature that had been formed and adapted to the background and mentality of the French middle class of the late nineteenth century, than which nothing could be imagined more complacent and apparently immovable. The one thing that seemed to me more or less impossible was for grace to penetrate the think, resilient bourgeois smugness and really take hold of the immortal soul beneath the surface…
She became a saint, not by running away from the middle class, or by the environment which she had grown up: on the contrary, she cling to it in so far as one could cling to such a thing and be a good Carmelite. She kept everything that was bourgeois about her and was still not incompatible with her vocation: her nostalgic affection for a funny villa called “Les Buissonnets,” her taste for utterly oversweet art, and for little candy angels and pastel saints playing with lambs so soft and fuzzy that they literally give people the creeps…” (Thomas Merton, The Seven Storey Mountain, pp424-425)
St. Thérèse showed me that it is possible to have a deep spiritual life, but to have my days spent serving my family, cleaning, and cooking. She showed me that the key to holiness in my vocation is not to sell all I have and give it to the poor (though serving and caring for the poor I must do as I can), but making all that I do part of my prayer. I must allow God’s grace to penetrate every aspect of my life. I must be mindful of Him in everything that I do. I must live my vocation of wife, mother, and teacher of my children. This is the life I have chosen, this is the life I have been given, this is where God will make me holy. Most of us are called to be holy where we are. Few of us are called to lives like St. Francis of Assisi or St. Vincent de Paul. This does not mean that we should ignore the poor, but part of living out life as Christians is to serve the poor as we are called. And as a wife and mother, my caring for my family must not be neglected.

God’s grace has the ability to penetrate the least likely of places, and if He has put us in a specific place, called us to Him, and is not calling us to leave where we are, we must trust that He is going to make us holy where we are as long as we continually seek lives of grace and discern whether we are doing enough
Originally posted at Truth and Charity...

Friday, February 6, 2015

What's in My Bag

One of the things I have on my mental list of things for the new baby is a new diaper bag. I tend to replace the bag whenever a new baby is on the way, so in six years we have used three different bags. I have had my eye on the Lily Jade bag for awhile, but, well, not all of us have hundreds of dollars to spend on diaper bags. So, I am entering a giveaway for the bag by writing this post. And the main reason I pulled myself out of my tired, pregnant stupor to do so was the encouragement of an awesome Mexican Domestic Goddess. :)

I present you my useful, once cute, no tattered, bag:

My bag is not as stuffed as it used to be. When I first had the bag, I would carry a nursing cover (especially necessary for church), lots of diapers, extra baby clothes, and occasionally a sling. On days we go to Mass the bag is also stuffed with our missal plus our three childrens' missals.

This is the stuff I keep in it now:

1. The bottled things: hand sanitizer, Vaseline for baby bottoms, hand lotion.
2. Things for me: my wallet, "dumb" phone, inhaler, chapstick, my paper planner (yes, they still make those), and a few Tums for my nearly constant pregnancy induced heartburn.
3. Epipen: my oldest has weird allergies (banana, watermelon, eggplant...), and you never know when she is going to encounter something she might have a reaction to. We have never needed it and her reactions have always been mild, but better safe...
4. A pen that I can never find in the bottom of my bag when I need it. (Do Lily Jade bags have pen pockets?)
5. Diapers, changing pad, and wipes. At home we do cloth, but I rarely need to do diaper changes when I am out with a mostly potty trained two year old, so on the road we do disposables.
6. Little blue bag: pads of various uses and sizes for me.
7. The chapel veils.
8. Random baby ring toy and two hair clips.

When I go out alone or for a short trip, I throw these things into my purse:

I hope you all enjoyed seeing the useful things I keep in my bag for carrying useful things.

If you want to join in the fun, Nell tells you how to enter on her blog; she is one of the giveaway sponsors.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Ways to Observe Lent at Home: Stational Churches and Lent "Wreath"

After all the great family things for Advent (the wreath, Jesse Tree, calendar, etc), Lent can seem like a bit of a let down. Plus, you are suppose to be doing penance and fasting. But seeing as we are only two weeks from Lent it is time to start getting ready!

Over the course of our marriage, we have come up with two things that we really like for keeping us focused on Lent as a family: a Lent "wreath" and following the Stational Churches of Rome on a map.

Lent "Wreath"

This "wreath" was inspired by the Tenebrae (meaning "darkness") service of the last three days of Holy Week. The prayers at the service are Matins and Lauds for those days, but it also includes a ritual extinguishing of candles. After each set of prayers one candle is extinguished so that the prayer ends in darkness and silence. The first time I ever went to a Tenebrae service I was struck by the beauty of the prayers and the symbolism of the lights being put out as Christ is placed in the tomb.

I wanted to imitate Tenebrae in our home throughout Lent, so I decided to make a Lenten centerpiece with six candles, one for each Sunday of Lent. We pray prayers from Tenebrae each Sunday and extinguish a candle each week. The rest of the week we just light the appropriate amount of candles for that week. Leaving none lit during Holy Week.

The main part of the Lent wreath is the cross trivet. I purchased ours from here. The cross holds six tea candles perfectly to mark the six Sundays of Lent. I have a PDF of the prayers for each Sunday for your use here. Really you can use whatever for your centerpiece. The main idea is the six candles.

Lenten Stational Churches

Normally, when one thinks of "stations" during Lent, one thinks of the Stations of the Cross. These are wonderful for praying with during Lent. We decided to include another type of station into our observation of Lent: the Stational churches of Rome. The Pope used to celebrate Mass in a different Roman church everyday for all of Lent; there are also stations for other liturgical seasons. The Pontifical North American College still follows the tradition of attending Mass at each of the stational churches. There is a more detailed history of the tradition on their site. Since we are not in Rome (though maybe we will be blessed with a Rome semester at some point), we mark the stations on a map.

Here we have our giant laminated map of Rome. M bought this during our visit to Rome while we were studying abroad. It is pretty neat and has a lot of the churches marked already. This map looks like it includes the necessary parts of Rome and it comes laminated.

The New Liturgical Movement had posts on the Stations a few years ago which I used to compile a list and photos of each stational church. I also made another document that has teeny tiny photos with the comparable number from the first document. These I printed, cut out, and "laminated" in clear packing tape (I like to think of that as being resourceful). If you are interested in trying this out, feel free to use my documents.

 I think they are pretty cute!
Compared to a pen in size.

Every day of Lent look at the above linked document of the stational church, and read about the church from our Lenten volume of Dom Gueranger's Liturgical Year. (St. Thérèse of Liseux and her family used his works) If you do not have this volume, following the posts at the New Liturgical Movement would work, or many 1962 missals of the Extraordinary Form Masss also mention the Stational Churches.
Here it is with our traditional St. Andrew Missal.

We use this map in the St. Andrew Missal to find the location of each church and then stuck them to the map with sticky tack.

It is neat to "travel" around Rome during Lent, especially knowing that the NAC seminarians and priests were actually celebrating Mass at the stational church each day. The kids loved gazing at the map, looking at the pictures of churches, and discussing how the martyr saints died.

I hope these ideas help you and your family observe Lent more fully! Let me know if you have any questions. I would love to help!

Also, I am thinking of adding an activity for the kids when they make a sacrifice or do a kind deed, but I have not looked for any yet.

Monday, February 2, 2015

Blessed is She: Obedience to God's Law

Presentation of Christ at the Temple by Hans Holbein the Elder
The Presentation of Our Lord, traditionally known as the Purification of Our Lady or Candlemas, is the traditional end of the Christmas season. Mary has waited the required 40 days and is now fulfilling the law of Moses in going to the Temple to be purified and to present her Son.

How beautiful it is to see God Himself submitting to the law, granted it is the law that He established. But God lowered himself to become a man and then showed us the perfect way to be a man. Mary, we know because of her perpetual virginity, did not need to be purified; she was always pure. Jesus did not need to be presented; He was the Lord, Himself...
Read the daily readings and the rest of today's Blessed is She devotion (written by yours truly) here...

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Seven Late Takes: Septuagesima Sunday

1. This is the last weekend of my husband's winter break. His school has a January term, in which teaching is voluntary, so he has been researching and class prepping since we got home from the the girls call, "our travels." We are really going to have to live it up this weekend. It is nice when the semester starts because it helps us establish a better routine. We have been pretty good about home schooling, but getting up for morning Mass has been a struggle. We have been pulling the tired pregnant lady card when the alarm goes off, and while it sounds legitimate, the mornings we do get up I am just fine.

2. The weird thing about this semester is that once finals are done we will be at the due date for this next baby. We have not had a new baby in over two years so it will be a family adjustment. I think it will be easier than the transition to three. When F was born, G was not even 4 and L was almost 2. It will be much different with a 6 year old, a 4.5 year old, and a 2.5 year old, who all play well together.

3. Speaking of a 2 year old, potty training is still going on. It has improved greatly over the weekend from the small accidents we were having last week. The only question is when to stop awarding her with chocolate every time.

4. We finally employed our Ikea greenhouse. We planted our amaryllis from M's aunt and found some potted herbs at Trader Joe's. Now I need to get around to planting some basil and find another good indoor flower to get us through until our bulbs come up outside. I really like the greenhouse largely because it is easy to move the plants if we want use of the whole table and it mostly keeps the little hands away from the plants, unless they get a desire for some fresh parsley.

5. We have been spending our last two evenings watching movies about St. Francis of Assisi. The first, Francesco directed by Liliana Cavani, I recommend never watching; it is just not worth your time and really does not portray his life well at all. Cavani does not grasp St. Francis or his motivations whatsoever. The second movie was The Flowers of Saint Francis. It is based on several episodes from the book The Little Flowers of St. Francis, and it embodies Franciscanism beautifully. The neat thing about it is that the director, Roberto Rossellini, used real Francisca friars to play the part of the Franciscan monks.

6. Today, in the old tradition of the Christmas season, we took down our Christmas decorations. F finally got to indulge her toddler desire of taking ornaments off the tree for as long as she desired. I really like the rhythm we have around our Christmas celebration. Taking down the tree listening to Christmas music was an appropriate end cap to our putting it up listening to the same music in December. Tomorrow is Candlemas, the Presentation of our Lord, and we are going to celebrate by having crepes, which is another traditional food. Today also happens to be Septuagesima Sunday, which means buried the "Alleluia" until Easter, and we are 70 days from Easter and less than three weeks from Ash Wednesday.

7. Finally, for people like my sister who like to see it, I present my 22 week bump (and my new favorite, super soft sweater that I found on clearance last week):

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