Thursday, June 30, 2016

To My Sister on the Occassion of Her Marriage

My Dear Mrs. E,

You are married! Your wedding was such a wonderful, happy weekend despite the sweltering heat and late nights for the children. And it seemed so fitting for you as a bride to be surrounded by SIX swirling flower girl nieces who could not take their eyes off you the whole day. They will always remember your feminine beauty as they watched you wed yourself to your husband, their new UNCLE!

But as I watched you that morning, as I waited to walk up the aisle before you on the arm of our brother (thank you for that, by the way, I was thrilled to be walking with him), all my memories of our childhood together came back to me. I feel like I left the family house in a whirlwind of college, falling, in love, and moving away. You, my sister, took your time. You grew into a beautiful, mature, whole woman, and you waited until the precise time God wanted for you, for the exact person. God prepared your hearts for each other. And I can't wait to see you living as a married women just three hours away from us.

Back to our childhood; those years of us three sisters in our room together. First there was the small room upstairs where I was a toddler and little girl, and then the big bedroom in the basement with you sleeping under the stairs. You and our sister showed me the way to be. I always liked having my two big sisters around. In elementary school, you were always there to ride the bus with me. Remember the time I brought the pet mice home in a cardboard box on the bus? I only wanted them because you had a pet mouse before me. And I copied you in wanting an American Girl Doll. And being the younger sister I tagged along to all of your soccer games and gymnastics meets. I watched you and our older sister do all the things that I was too shy to do. And you both did them so well.

I think that my favorite time of childhood together was the two years we had together in high school. We may have fought everyday on the way to school, as I grumpily submitted to your favorite Bebo Norman music. I had my big sister around to drive me to and from school. And we had a lot of fun going to Bebo concerts whenever he was in town! I also learned how to go deeper into my faith with you as we went to several youth groups together. It was through your youth group that I went to my first Steubenville Youth Conference, which changed the course of my life. We tried to go to daily Mass before school every morning, but ended up being late for school too often and having to stop. Those two years of high school together were such a special time. And then you went to college. But while you were in college our oldest sister began to live at home while she finished college. And while you lived on campus, you still were around at home.

And then two years into your college life, I went off to Steubenville. You came to visit me on campus, and you met the man I was slowly falling in love with. The summer after my first year of college, we took that memorable road trip to Michigan to visit the him. You were always so supportive of me in my relationship with him.

While I was finishing high school and off in college, you were advancing in PT school, using your knowledge to help your friends and family. You taught me how to run without injuring my knees. I had never been able to be a runner before, but you changed my gait and helped me be a runner (a slow and short distance one, but a runner nonetheless). Our sister pointed out to me over the weekend how she sees your whole life having been pointing towards being a PT, beginning with you always sitting head down on the couch and into your years of doing and then teaching gymnastics and now your ability to intuit so many things about the body. You have helped so many people, and God will make the opportunities for you to do it still when you are in Iowa.

After I got married and began to have children, you were always the most attentive aunt. Never a visit went by without you teaching my youngest to do something new developmentally. And while you did not get to play with him your wedding weekend, your baby nephew decided to take his first steps this week in honor of your marriage; he shouts "go, go, go!" and wobbles a few steps before collapsing. We will have to show you when we see you next.

So, my dear sister, you are really, truly married. I was there; I heard your vows; I fixed your train a dozen times or so. You were and are a beautiful bride. And I am praying for you and your sweet, loving husband. I am so excited to get to know you better as a the one you two have become.

May God grant you many happy, full, holy years together.

Your Loving Sister,

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Join Me in a Novena for Marriages to Sts. Louis and Zelie Martin

It is that time of year again! I love, love to pray to Sts. Louis and Zelie Martin for help in anything in family life and especially in my marriage. I read their published letters this past year, and love them even more. Marriage and marriages need so many prayers for graces.

I am inviting you (and your spouse if he or she desires) to join me and my husband in a novena to Sts. Louis and Zélie Martin (from the site "
“Saints Louis and Zelie Martin: The Parents of St. Therese of Lisieux” run by a very nice lady Maureen O'Riordan) leading up to their Feast day on July 12. The novena will begin on Monday, July 4 and end on Tuesday, July 12. On the 12th itself, we will also pray a litany to the holy couple. The novena itself has an imprimatur, so it is even Church approved!

Since the Novena was written before their canonization, it asks for them to be canonized. Feel free to mentally substitute a thanksgiving for their canonization.

If you would like to follow along with me in the novena, I will be posting reminders on this blog, Living With Lady Philosophy. You can sign up to receive emails with the reminders by following my blog by email in the left hand column, or follow the blog in a RSS feed. I will post reminders to Facebook daily.

Here you may also leave your intentions for your marriage or for someone else’s in the comments or you may email me your intention to livingwithladyphilosophy at gmail dot com (skip the spaces and use the actual punctuation), and I will add you to my list. If you wish to remain anonymous just give your first initials (ex. M&S) or your last initial (Mr. &Mrs. S) or even make up initials.

I am so excited to share this powerful novena with you my readers and to have this opportunity to pray for your marriages!

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

At the NCRegister Blog: Taking Another Look at Pascal's Wager

Taking Pascal’s Wager: Faith, Evidence, and the Abundant Life by Michael Rota, a Catholic philosophy professor, is an interesting consideration of whether one should choose to live a Christian life. Written for readers who have no formal training in philosophy or theology in a very accessible format, Professor Rota presents, in this newly released book, Blaise Pascal’s seventeenth century argument, which we now know as “Pascal’s Wager.” Pascal originally intended the wager to be for people who do not have a firm belief in God or are wavering in their faith.

Friday, June 17, 2016

Seven Quick Takes: Garden Edition

1. Here is F to take us on a tour of the garden this year. First, note the wild flowers abounding in the lawn. We have switched from gangling dandelion stalks to patches of white clover. It is a visual improvement in my opinion. We like to be chemical free in our yard, so we let the wild things grow. We even have a pretty sort of wilderness growing around the primroses that a nice gardener left for free outside of morning mass one day. We do have plans for weeding and mulching in this spot soon, but for now the wild things abound.
 2. In a spurt of weeding about a month ago, I found this Easter Lily growing under my hostas. I planted it in the ground two springs ago and it did not even come up last year, so I presumed that it was dead. I moved it out amongst the daffodil bulbs and have hopes that it will flower one of these years.
 3. My tulips have all dried up and I switched over to annuals along the house. This year we have periwinkles and alyssum.
And L who helped me pick out plants planned her own spot of marigolds and these red flowers whose name I cannot currently recall. We also have a patch of morning glories not photographed.
 4. Onto the food garden. Here are my herbs for the year: mint, parsley, basil, oregano, and a small blueberry bush that is two years old. I think I will transplant the potted basil once our lettuce is finished to have more room to grow. We are all about pesto sauce.
5. The lettuces are ready for harvesting, and we also have some kohlrabi, broccoli, brussel sprouts, and a wide variety of weeds. The only brussel sprouts I have even enjoyed have been garden grown, and the only kind the professor has even enjoyed have been cooked in bacon fat, so we are giving them a try this year.
 Pictured below is the cucumber plant and the carrots. I am working on training it up the trellis, and it will be dominated.
6. Here we have the other garden box. The peas are taking off again, and the girls made a first harvest of tiny pea pods yesterday. I am hoping for some green beans to be climbing upward soon, though some insect is feasting on them ever since they came out of the ground. We put the eight tomato plants in the sunny garden box as well, and have high hopes for delicious tomatoes. I saw a few green ones already!
 7. Finally, here are some little apples on one of our apple trees. According to my research we should remove the young fruits to help the tree get established and to not weigh down the tender young branches. But I think we are going to leave a few just to see what the taste like.

Head on over to Kelly at This Ain't the Lyceum for more quick takes!

Thursday, June 16, 2016

I'm Dreadfully Busy

Where have the last two weeks gone?

I have been so busy these days that my writing has been on the back burner. Plus, I have a book review that I am working on that I just can't get myself to focus enough to write. So, I am here at the old blog to do some writing just to write.
My baby turned one two weeks ago. We threw him and his same birthday, same hospital, friend a big party, and it was wonderful. Then I spent all of my free time reading the book I am supposed to be reviewing. Then we went to Illinois to visit my sister and her family for a long weekend. The cousins all had a delightful time.
Chicken good.
We celebrated our 8th anniversary by going to Moscow on the Hill. It was delicious as always.

And this week has been VBS. I volunteered to teach, but a teacher was not needed, so I was a helper in a classroom of 20 four and five year old little girls. It was just a little crazy. And I had a tag along 3 year old girl and a tag along Mr. I-want-to-be-either-moving-or-eating one year old boy. I almost did not come back after the first day. But that would have meant I would have spent 45 minutes each morning and 45 minutes each noon-time driving the little people in the car and trying to not ruin the baby's naptime. So I labored through the long mornings for the sake of naptime, and each day the baby liked it more and the 3 year old was happier to be there.

I really like naptime. The quiet afternoon's are a nice reward for the busy mornings.

Every year VBS week makes me so thankful that we home school. And not because I can't handle the early mornings; we wake up by 6:30am just about every morning anyway. In fact, we are often up before 6am, because we like to go to 7:30am daily and Sunday Mass when we are being disciplined.

It makes me thankful because I am not driving my kids to and from school for large chunks of time. It makes me thankful because my children have each other to enjoy and love ALL DAY LONG. It makes me thankful because, the life of caring for just a toddler and baby is about 10x more trying for me than the life of caring for all my kids together even with home schooling.

On top of the things this week, my other sister is getting married NEXT week! And I am turning 30 the day before she does. All the girls are in the wedding, and I have to find time to practice styling hair, plus pack, plus sew a few things. And write that book review.

Thanks for being my warm up writing place, good old blog. And thanks for reading, my dear readers out there.

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

At the NCRegister: Mrs. Tittlemouse's Intruders and Our Bad Habits

My love for Beatrix Potter has been ever expanding since I have had children, and as each child grows I delight rereading the little books out loud. There is something so beautiful and timeless in the stories Potter tells of the personified animals. And while I really enjoyed this essay on Squirrel Nutkin, my life lately has been much like that of Mrs. Tittlemouse in The Tale of Mrs. Tittlemouse.

Mrs. Tittlemouse was a most terribly tidy particular little mouse, always sweeping and dusting the soft sandy floors.

Sometimes a beetle lost its way in the passages.

‘Shuh! shuh! little dirty feet!’ said Mrs. Tittlemouse, clattering her dustpan.“(p. 12)

Mrs. Tittlemouse lives in a funny little house “all amongst the roots of the hedge.” When spring really sets in, she starts to find unwelcome visitors of the insect and arachnid varieties in every nook and cranny. She sends the intruding old lady in a “red spotty cloak” back home to her children....

Thursday, June 2, 2016

At the NCRegister Blog: This Friday, June 3, is a Special day of Prayer for Priests

This past weekend nine men were ordained to the priesthood for my home Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis. On the Sunday feast of Corpus Christi my family and I assisted at the first Mass, a Mass of Thanksgiving, of a new priest who had grown up in our parish. It was a beautiful Mass, and the sanctuary was full of men who had received the Sacrament of Holy Orders: deacons, priests, and even two bishops.

As the Mass went on, and I stood in back with my one year old son, I was filled with incredible gratitude for the gift of the priesthood that has been given to the Church. I watched those men in the sanctuary, who have given their whole lives to the Church, to spread the Gospel, to administer the Sacraments, to be another Christ for us, and I prayed for them. It is a good thing that Holy Orders is a sacrament, because the priesthood is a vocation that can only be lived fully with sacramental graces.
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