Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Preparing for the New Year & Learning about Hipsters

Happy Wednesday, friends! I'm guessing that most of you are, like me, in the throes of last-minute preparations for Thanksgiving. I'm a big believer in "get as many Thanksgiving things done as early as possible," but even then, I find myself scrambling to wash and dry that last load of diapers before we hit the road. Right now, the sound of the washing machine is blending with the sounds of The Punisher (I'm forever grateful that Netflix released it just before I started all of my Thanksgiving food preparations-because peeling potatoes and watching Frank Castle fight go hand in hand, yes?) and my house smells like dinner rolls. 

Throughotu all of these preparations, I've been thinking about the new  year. On December 3, 2017, we will start a new liturgical year with the season of Advent. I don't know about y'all, but a lot of times, Advent/the New Year jumps out at me and I'm unprepared. To help keep myself accountable, and to help any of you who might need inspiration, I recently wrote an article for about this: 3 Ways to Prepare for the New Year.

I've also been reading up a storm over here (what else is new?), and I was thrilled to read The Catholic Hipster Handbook, by Tommy Tighe. I've listened to Tighe's podcast off-and-on for the past several months, and couldn't wait to read his book. It was a delight to read. You can read my review here.

I hope that you all have a blessed and joyful Thanksgiving! Make sure to spend time in prayer and offer thanks to God!

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Poetry Memorization Isn't Just for Kids

When I was a wee homeschooled child, I regularly memorized poetry. Dedicating time to reading and learning beautiful verses was part of our curriculum. In fact, all these years later, I still remember a few partial verses from a poem about Pocahontas that I once learned. Aside from a short stint of poetry memorization as part of a high school course, after my childhood days, I left this practice behind me. I didn't consciously think about the fact that I was no longer memorizing poetry, it just wasn't part of my required curriculum, so I no longer did it. 

A while back, I noticed another blogger mentioned including poetry memorization in her homeschool routine (I believe it was Anne-Marie). I remember thinking, "Oh, that's so awesome! I am excited to homeschool someday and do that too!" 

Time rolled on.  

Earlier this Fall, I read the book, Surprised by Oxford, and I LOVED how many poetic references were given. Different Romantics were quoted throughout the text, and I thought the interweaving of such beautiful language with the author's story was just fantastic. I looked at this book, I thought back to Anne-Marie's post, and I realized how much I missed poetry. Why should poetry  memorization wait for the day that I begin homeschooling, when I could start now?

I pulled my poems from a Victorian Era college course off the bookshelf. Flipping through, I looked back on these old friends. Tennyson...Rossetti...ah, Gerard Manley Hopkins! "God's Grandeur" caught my eye, so I began memorizing it. 

Friday, November 10, 2017

Toddler Tantrums, Raw Milk, & Simple Food (7QT)

Happy Friday, friends! It seems like just yesterday that October began, yet here we are, in November. Life is pretty full over here, so I decided that today would be a great opportunity to jump in with some quick takes about what I've been up to lately. 

Sunday, November 5, 2017

A Saintly Celebration!

I love my family. 

Yes, I love my husband, child, parents and siblings, and my in-laws and other relatives. I love the fellowship, love, and relationships that we share. 

I also love my family in the Communion of Saints. 

The unity and fellowship of the faithful in the Church who are living in dead, praying and interceding for each other continually blows my mind. The Communion of Saints:

"...refers first to the "holy things" (sancta), above all the Eucharist, by which "the unity of believers, who form one body in Christ, is both represented and brought about. The term "communion of saints" refers also to the communion of "holy persons" (sancti) in Christ who "died for all," so that what each one does or suffers in and for Christ bears fruit for all." ~Catechism of the Catholic Church #960-961

There's the Church Triumphant: those in Heaven, praying and rejoicing in the gaze of God. There's the Church Suffering: those in Purgatory, who are being purified so that they may join God and the angels and saints in Heaven. There's the Church Militant: those of us on Earth who are seeking to bring the love of God to all people. 

On November 1, we celebrated All Saints Day. This glorious feast is an amazing day to honor and celebrate those men and women who are intimately united with God in Heaven. These people have lived lives of sanctity, and looking at how they served God in their lives helps us, because we can learn from them and ask them to intercede for us. 
Public domain. 
All Saints Day is a time for parties and fun, and this year, I decided that we needed to host a gathering. Throughout my childhood, I went to many All Saints Day parties. Some were small, and some were large. Some were extremely elaborate, involving a carnival in a church hall with several religious-themed games. Some were quite simple, consisting of "soul cakes" and bobbing for apples and a saint story. As much as I love the idea of elaborate All Saints Day parties, I decided that I couldn't handle anything too grand this year. So, we stuck with the "super-simple" route. 

Friday, November 3, 2017

On the Bookshelf: Falltime Reads

Falltime is in full swing, and I have been reading up a storm over here. Somehow, I wound up reading tons of non-fiction over the past couple months, and only a couple fiction books, so I think in the coming months I'll make a concerted effort to balance that out with more fiction reads. Without further ado, let's talk literature!

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Instead of Throwing Away Halloween Candy, Do This

Every year in the beginning of November, I see social media posts from people who share that they are throwing their kids' Halloween candy into the trash. I get it: nobody wants to deal with a sugared-up kid for days on end. When you add in the fact that candy consumption isn't healthy, these photographs of candy sitting in the trash seem perfectly justified. However, there are some problems with this approach to Halloween candy. 

When we sneakily dump our child's candy into the trash, we are promoting the "throwaway culture"-literally. 

While we cannot really claim that the pieces of sugar known as Halloween candy are food, our societal normalization of trashing these consumables feeds into the wider attitude of wastefulness (Pope Francis speaks on this "culture of waste" here). Furthermore, casting handfuls of Halloween candy into the trash can does not teach our children any good lessons. 

But if I don't throw away my child's Halloween candy, won't I be destined to experience children on sugar overload? 

Not necessarily. YOU are the parent. YOU can guide your child to learn how to make choices. YOU can take positive steps to end the "culture of waste" that we live in. And you  can do all these things without experiencing a post-Halloween sugar crash or trashing all the candy. 

Monday, October 16, 2017

Is busyness normal-and should it be?

It seems like just yesterday that eclairs were made, St. Francis was celebrated, and October was welcomed in with brisk air. Here we are, halfway through the month, and I am wondering where exactly the time has gone (especially as I think about all of the blog posts I meant to write, but didn't even start). 

This donkey's shaggy coat totally made me wonder what it would be like if a donkey
tried to get dredlocks. As you can see, my falltime reflections have been very deep. 
Years ago, I learned an acronym: BUSY-Being Under Satan's Yoke. The idea behind this is that when we are busy and preoccupied with various matters, we do not make time for God, and we may fail to live peacefully in accordance with His will in the present moment. We recall the passage in the Bible when Jesus visited Mary & Martha, and ponder how Martha was "anxious and worried about many things" (Lk 10:41)-and we resolve to be more like Mary, rejecting the busyness and anxiety of Martha. 

Yet, as much as we decry the status of being "busy," we still uphold this as a good thing. How many times have we heard (or taken part of) the following conversation? 

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

(More) Non-Fluffy Ways to Celebrate the Feast of St. Francis

Happy Feast of St. Francis of Assisi! Last year, I wrote about "non-fluffy" ways to celebrate the feast of St. Francis. I thought this was a worthwhile topic to discuss, since most events that I see on or near to the feast day of this friar revolve around animals. While St. Francis loved the animals, he was much more than the dancing hippie that many people envision. So, in honor of St. Francis, I decided to compile a list of even more ways that we can celebrate his feast day that don't simply further the "dancing hippie" image. 

[Not that there's anything wrong with a dancing Catholic hippie-it's just that St. Francis has many other characteristics to learn about and celebrate!] 

Sunday, October 1, 2017

Eclairs & Sunday Night Musings

As I write this sentence, I'm licking chocolate glaze off my lips as I devour eclairs. On October 1, us Catholics celebrate St. Therese of Liseiux, an amazing young woman who lived in 19th century France. She died when she was just 24 years old, and she is beloved by many people for her "little way." Anyways, from her life and writings, we know that she liked eclairs, and now many different articles and lists on "How to celebrate the feast of St. Therese" include eclairs.

Years ago, I thought of making homemade eclairs for her feast, but as I looked at recipes, I became terrified. But, a few weeks ago, I saw an attractive cookbook displayed at the library-a book all about eclairs. Coincidence? I think not.

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Bubbles in the Rain

People often blow bubbles on bright summertime days, and we are no different. Nearly every weekday of the summer, my son and I would breathe in the hot Oklahoma heat, hear the roar of passing traffic, and blow bubble after bubble. 

It rained all day today.

The sky was a dreary blue-gray color, and cool breezes swept through our house. It was the kind of day that begged for a hot cup of tea and a warm blanket inside of the house, shielded from the elements. And yet, my son and I stood outside, feeling the raindrops imprint themselves on our skin as we blew bubbles. 

Friday, September 22, 2017

An Open Letter to Lady Gaga

Dear Stefani,

Earlier today, I realized something quite sad: Years ago, I would pray for you on a regular basis, but at some point I grew lax in that practice. Today, as I sat in my living room and thought about this, I said a prayer for you, not knowing what you've been up to (I don't keep up with celebrity news that much). Hours later, I got on social media and saw a post you made about your tour cancellation.  

I am truly, deeply sorry that I have neglected to keep you in my prayers as often as I should.