Life is Worth Living

Severed Fingers, Audio Books, & Skirts

Severed Fingers: Warning!  It’s Gross.

I’ve had an interesting week.  My 4-year-old daughter was holding a folding chair by its hinges and running.  She tripped and fell on top of the chair, which immediately sliced her two fingers–one on each hand.  The lefthand fingertip was dangling; the right was only cut through the bone.

Yuck.  It gives me the willies just thinking about it, for I had to put the one fingertip back in place.  Ew.

I debated on whether or not I should post a few pictures of her cut-up fingers. I decided to go for it, but with a warning that the following pictures are just plain gross.  If you’re queasy about such things, you had better skim past ’em!  For the rest of you curious folk…

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This was in the ER, right after the doctor cleaned up all the blood, but before he sewed the one on and stitched up the other.
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Back on!
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Much needed drinks for Mom and Dad the following night.  On the right: 1/2 a lemon, vodka, & dry vermouth.  On the left: 1/2 a lime, vodka, & triple sec.
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Poor Thing.  All her brothers and sisters were outside playing with water the next day.  She sat inside, but with her swimsuit on and a forlorn face.
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A few days later…bandages finally off!  Her finger “took!”  (Notice how the tip is pink.)  Time will tell if her fingernails grow back…

Audio Books

After my last post on Summer School, I had a few of you ask some great questions:

  1. How does your “Art & Tea Time” work exactly?
    Around 3pm, I yell, “Art & Tea Time!”  Everyone makes a mad dash for their cursive books, extra paper, drawing books, and colored pencils.  The Eldest puts on the audio book, and I either fold laundry or do some dinner prep.  During this hour, 4 of the children are required to do 2 pages of cursive, which I never check.  Oh, and I also give them a snack.  In the colder months, we had tea, coffee, or hot chocolate.  Now I tend to give them anything that will keep the 2-year-old and the 4-year-old quiet–so, like animal crackers or gold fish.  When Art & Tea Time is finished, the children put everything away and also set the table for supper.  Then they quickly disappear, usually outside, so that they can’t receive any more chores from Mom.
  2. What audio books are good for a variety of ages?
    My age range is 2-13.  Generally the youngest two never listen, but just eat a snack and roam around a bit.  I’ve found that if the volume is loud enough, they won’t cause any problems.  In any case, our favorite books that have satisfied everyone are the following:
    a.)  The Little House on the Prairie series by Laura Ingalls Wilder
    b.)  The Little Britches series–books 1-4–by Ralph Moody
    c.)  The Mitchells series by Hilda van Stockum
    d.)  The Cottage at Bantry series by Hilda van Stockum
    There are others, but that should get you started.  If you have any questions about these books or need more recommendations, drop me a line!
  3. What if your children complain about the audio selection?
    Then they can go sit on their bed in Black Out until Art & Tea Time is over.

Summer Skirts

It’s no secret that I love wearing skirts.  (There’s a whole post on it HERE.)  This summer I added two more.  And yes, that means I got rid of two.  You do remember The Rule, right?  One in, one out.

So anyway, I was in dire need of two new skirts.  Where to find them?  I checked out a few secondhand stores, and while I did find something for my daughter, alas, there was nothing for me.

And oh!  What to do on a budget?

I had to shop online at the Power-Hungry-Giant, otherwise known as Amazon.  Sigh.  But truly, these were about the cheapest skirts I could find that met my length requirement. (I prefer to cover my knees.)

And so, if you’re curious, I’ll link below the two I bought.  They’re great, if you don’t mind a skirt sitting at your natural waistline.

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Skirt #1.  Light material.  Twirls too, which is a bonus.  There’s another more “summery” color available.  I might consider purchasing it.
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Skirt #2.  Also light and twirl-able and available in lots of colors.

 

Homeschooling

Summer School!

As The Eldest wraps up her online courses from both Scholé and Queen of Heaven Academy and the other children finish their school books, my mind naturally turns to Summer School and Summer Schedules.

Not that we’ll be doing anything fun like Baseball or Chess Club…no.  Just more school and garden-weeding.  Well, it’s not as bad as that, we’ll do chores too.  (You know I’m being a little waggish, right?)

In any case, since I have a couple of friends who are passing ideas back and forth, I thought I’d share what our average summer day will look like.  You might find something helpful in it.  You might not.  We’re all different!

At the end of the schedule, I’ll type out specifically what the children will be doing for “school” this summer, if you’re curious.

Summer Schedule

6:00-6:25am:  Mom Computer Work

6:25-6:50am:  Lauds with Husband and 4 Older Children. (We use THIS.)

6:50-7:40am:  Shower, Laundry In, Dress Little Girls, Twins do Saxon Math with Husband, Eldest Piano

7:40-8:15am:  Eldest Makes Breakfast for Everyone, Mom Reads Bible Aloud.  (We currently use RSV Catholic Edition, but I want to switch to Douay-Rheims.)  Poetry Recitations

8:15-9:15am:  Piano for Other Children, Mom Cleans up Breakfast

9:15-9:30am:  Midmorning Prayer

9:30-10:00am:  Twins Grammar

10:00-11:00am:  Free Time, Lunch Prep, Laundry, Kids Set Table

11:00-11:30am:  Lunch with Audible

11:30-12:00pm:  Mom Reads Aloud, Kids Clean up Kitchen

12:30-1:30pm:  Quiet Time, Mom Naps & Requires a Cup of Tea or Coffee

1:30-2:00pm:  Twins Writing & Rhetoric

2:00-3:00pm:  Free Time, Kids Better Find Something to Do or They Get Chores, Mom Walks or Jogs

3:00-4:00pm:  “Art and Tea Time,” Children do Cursive or Calligraphy, Drawing, and Listen to Audible while Little Girls Run Chaotically Around

4:00-5:00pm:  Dinner Prep, Mom Contemplates if Happy Hour is Warranted

5:00pm:  Greet Husband with a Smile

5:15pm:  Dinner and Bulter’s Lives of the Saints

6:00pm:  Children Clean Up, Mom Laundry, Dad House or Outdoor Projects

7:10pm:  Rosary

8:00pm:  Little Girls to Bed, Big Kids Banished to the Basement, Mom & Dad pray Compline

8:30pm:  Mom & Dad Be Together

10:00pm:  Bedtime

So, What Exactly Are the Children Doing?

The Eldest will be taking two online summer classes from Scholé Academy, which she chose–a Brit Lit class and a Latin Novella Reading Club.  Truly, these will be fun for her.  It won’t be work, as she loves reading.

The 11-year-old twins will do more school than usual, however, because of all the school Paul missed due to his 11 surgeries this last year.  They will not like this, but that’s too bad.  They’ll be moving right into the next Saxon Math book in a week or so.  They will also be marching straight into the next Writing & Rhetoric and Well-Ordered Language books from Classical Academic Press.

All the other children will pretty much get off scot-free.  (Do you know that that phrase refers to a medieval tax that people tried to avoid paying?  Fascinating.)

If you have any questions about our schedule, be sure to ask.

Lastly…

Need a good homily to listen to?  This one knocks my socks right off.  We had the children listen to it too.  We’re praying for the protection of this priest.  He’s a warrior, the likes of whom we haven’t seen in awhile.  May the Holy Angels protect him!

Life is Worth Living

Awesome Stuff

I was whining the other day–bemoaning all our feckless Church leaders actually–and it occurred to me that I should just spend 5 minutes in gratitude, for there are a lot of things to be thankful for.

So today, I’m highlighting some awesome stuff.

Awesome Stuff You Might Consider

  1. My Heart Lies South: The Story of My Mexican Marriage by Elizabeth Borton de Trevino.  I know I mentioned it before, but this autobiography was downright hilarious.  I laughed out loud as De Trevino chronicled her real-life adventure of marrying a Mexican in the 1930s.  Of course her husband came from a large, traditional Catholic family complete with strong opinions and stronger emotions.  I must say, she never had a dull day in her life.

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    Bethlehem Books, whom I think is having a sale right now, is the publisher.
  2. I am thankful for Chickens.  The other day, during the Communist Lockdown, we went and visited some family in a different state.  They have baby chicks, and not only are baby chicks cute, but they are practical too.  We might have to look into owning some ourselves.

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    The children held them.  Awesome stuff.
  3. Apparently Tractors are pleasant and enjoyable too.  Who doesn’t love driving around a 1978 John Deere 4040 through a mud hole while eating a cookie?

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    This boy had to be jackhammered out of the tractor at the end of the day.  He thinks it’s the best place in the world.
  4. Or how about watching children play?  They can be very creative and entertaining.  Lately our children have been playing a game called, “Anti-Social Distancing.”  This a game wherein everyone marches six feet apart with one person acting as Governor Evers.  Governor Evers wears a face mask and carries a big stick.  He puts people in jail who try to break his unconstitutional mandates.

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    Here they are, marching around.
  5. This guy’s hat is awesome.  He’s my brother-in-law.

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    Apparently he doesn’t really pee in pools, though.  He told me.
  6. Dr. Marshall’s short video on Post-Covid19 Predictions is spot on and awesome.  My husband and I heartily agree with every point of his, especially Number 9.
  7. Need another can’t-put-it-down-book?  Read Pierced By a Sword by Bud Macfarlane Jr.  It caught my attention because Michael O’Brien wrote the forward.  I am almost finished and really enjoying it.
  8. And finally, I am thankful that The Eldest still wants to match somebody.  She picked out my outfit!
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Call Me Catholic

Kneeling in the Rain

A few weeks ago I was present at a Mass that I’ll never forget.  I don’t think the children will either.

It was during Lent, when our country quickly began shutting down all around us, and our bishops began closing churches and denying the sacraments.  It was surreal to be abandoned like that.  I mean, to have bishops willingly label the Church as “nonessential” overnight, for a virus.

The Mass, however, the Mass we attended that morning was beautiful.  We hiked up a hill in the rain with our umbrellas, knowing that we would only have to remain in the rain, as the government had deemed the church “unsafe” and “nonessential.”  And so we stood with about 15 other people in the pouring rain.

The old friar celebrating the TLM had set up a screen in the piazza, under an overhang, so that we could pray along with him.  We all knelt on hard concrete in sopping puddles.  At communion time, a different friar came outside and distributed Holy Communion to a wet, cold flock.

It is difficult to tell you how I felt.  I was thinking of Abraham pleading for Sodom and Gomorrah.  Oh, Lord, here are about 25 faithful people!  Relent!  But I was thankful too–so very, very thankful–that those friars understood what was important.  They were doing everything they could to administer to our souls.  Indeed, another friar was hearing confessions during the Mass.  Deep emotions of gratitude welled up within me.  I felt so blessed; I knew the love of God in that moment–I felt it through those holy friars.

Furthermore, I wanted to embrace those other 15 people, who were willing to suffer for Jesus and endure that dismal, penitential rain.  And I loved my husband, for he held the baby and took the brunt of the weather, sheltering us as best as he could.

Who would ever have thought that we’d be in a situation like that?  And how, O Lord, will it end?

Ah, but life will never be the same.  A line has been drawn.

And our children are watching.  What will we do?

Call Me Catholic

Why I Receive Our Lord on the Tongue

A dear reader recently asked me if I might share a few reasons why I choose to receive our Lord on the tongue?  Yes, I will share.

But this is a love story.  It is not a heady, theological exposition, nor is it meant to “convert” anyone to receiving Him on the tongue.  No, this is a love story, wherein a soul abandoned our Lord, only to passionately seek Him again years later.

You must remember that I did not grow up in a prayerful family–a family that perhaps knelt together and prayed an Ave or closed the day with an Our Father.  No, prayer was absent, and we were not catechized.

Deep down, though, deep deep down, I knew our Lord.  I saw his goodness all around me–in the verdant trees surrounding our farm, in the muddy creek winding through the pasture, in the mourning of the doves, and yes, in the love of my family, for our parents loved us dearly.

Ah, but I shelved Him in time.  I came to college and thought why not?  Why should I not do these things I once thought harmful?  And so, I pushed Him out of sight and embraced The World.

This was a miserable and confusing time.  Once one ever steps into a dark path, it only leads to more and more darkness.  It can be no surprise that I jettisoned whatever faith I had left.  I no longer attended the Mass.

Many of you are familiar with my conversion story, and so I will not go into it here.  It is enough to say that even though I abandoned our Lord, He did not abandon me.  When I cried out to him from the bathroom floor of a hotel in Italy, He was already there, holding me.  When my friends whispered into my ear that I could not be Catholic, He held my face and said yes.

When I came back into the Church in 2004, it cost me everything–my friends, my family*, my fiancé, and my pride.  But I had Love itself.

But What About Receiving Our Lord?

It was at this time that I read a book about a mystic.  I don’t even remember who the mystic was, but I do remember her having a stark vision of bishops’ hands burning black in hell for encouraging the faithful to receive our Lord in the hand.  It was striking then; it is striking now.  That was when I began receiving our Lord on the tongue.  I figured, why chance it?  It was something like Pascal’s Wager for me.

Over time, however, I began to think of other things.  I thought of all the saints who for hundreds and hundreds of years knelt and received our Lord on the tongue.  I thought of St. Thomas Aquinas writing about the Eucharist–he never knowing anything but receiving our Lord on the tongue.  I thought of the Fatima children kneeling before the Angel of Peace and receiving our Lord on the tongue.  Why wouldn’t I want to imitate these great saints?

And then, I married and a different thought entered my mind as my husband served for the TLM.  During Communion, he would hold the communion plate, which follows the Host as it travels from Father’s consecrated hands to the recipient’s mouth, and nearly every single Mass there were particles on this plate at the completion of Holy Communion.  Of course we know that Jesus is present in these particles, however small they may be, but I wondered, where were the communion plates at the Novus Ordo?  Surely nobody wants to neglect or trample on our Blessed Lord.

Oh, but what am I trying to say?  In the end, it has to be about love.  I can only say that my interior disposition is different when I receive Him kneeling and on the tongue.  It’s deeply humbling to lower oneself to the ground and be fed like a baby.  If an altar rail is present, one need not rush away chewing, but may take the time to receive Him and make a Sign of the Cross.  I don’t kneel for anybody or anything else after all–only for my King.  It is Holy; it is beautiful.  It is Love.

I’m afraid that my explanation may not be very coherent or comprehensive.  In other words, I realize I’ve fallen short.

Be sure to ask if you have any further questions.

If you’d like a few more thoughts on posture and the Eucharist, click HERE for an old post of mine.

*My family has since then been very supportive of my decisions.  How I love them!
Call Me Catholic

Communion in the Hand Debacle: Cardinal Sarah Weighs In

As Bishops finally begin to allow for public Masses, many of the Catholic faithful find themselves in a difficult situation, for now some bishops are demanding that reception of the Holy Eucharist be in the hand only.  This is a tragedy and a crisis of faith.

It should come as no surprise, however.  Remember this?Seven-in-ten U.S. Catholics believe bread, wine used in Communion are symbolic

According to this Pew Research Poll from last year, 69% of Catholics don’t believe in the Real Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist.  Therefore, most bishops will have no problem forcing Catholics to abandon it’s age-old tradition of receiving our Lord on the tongue all in the name of Sanitation.

But for the rest of us, those who have come to believe in the Church’s teaching and have come to understand her reasons for receiving on the tongue, this will be a heart-rending moment.  What to do?

For those who wish to be assured of their right to receive on the tongue–and you do have that right, regardless of what some bullying bishops may say–I will only direct you HERE where Fr. Z hashes it out once again.  Let me repeat, you have a right to receive the Eucharist on the tongue, regardless of what your bishops or priests may be saying.

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Enter Cardinal Sarah.  (Picture from Wikimedia Commons.)

And if Fr. Z isn’t enough for you, read Cardinal Sarah’s latest statement HERE.  As many of you know, Sarah is the Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments.  Let me put a few of his pointed remarks below:

“Nobody can prevent a priest from confessing and giving communion, nobody has the right to stop him. The sacrament must be respected. So even if it is not possible to attend Masses, the faithful can ask to be confessed and to receive Communion.”

“In Mass the priest has to look at God, instead he is getting used to looking at the camera, as if it were a show. We cannot go on like this.”

“There is already a rule in the Church and this must be respected: the faithful are free to receive Communion in the mouth or hand.”

“…the heart of the problem is the crisis of faith in the priesthood.”

In short, should you find yourself in this difficult situation wherein your bishops or priests are not allowing you to receive on the tongue, remember to be calm.  Likely these bishops and priests were not formed well in seminary after all, and heavy-handed bishops can make priests’ lives miserable for not obeying their worldly whims and fancies.

In any case, after asking the Holy Spirit for guidance, consider pointing your priest or bishop to Cardinal Sarah’s latest statement.  If he is still obstinate and refuses to give you Holy Communion on the tongue, remain steadfast and pray in your pew.  Don’t capitulate.  You will be vindicated at a later time, maybe in the next world.

Book Review

Books in Brief: Van Stockum, Speare, Undset, & de Trevino

You’d think that during this Communist Lock-Down, I’d have lots of time to write blog posts.  Alas, if it were only so!  As it is, I find it very difficult to actually sit down at the computer and remain undisturbed for even 2 minutes to write.

Just now, typing that above paragraph, I had three different girls wanting my attention.  “Mom, can we have crackers for our Dolly Picnic?”  And, “Mom, it’s wet outside.”  And finally, the third girl just came in and stared at me.

This is why, back in the good old days, I used to pack up my laptop, drive to a coffeeshop, and peck away with a hot cappuccino and no children in sight.  (Bless their souls; they are so cute.)

But I digress.  Today’s topic is books, and I intend to offer a few lovely ones that we’ve enjoyed lately.  My apologies if my descriptions and explanations are a bit brief–please refer back to the beginning of this essay.

The Bantry Bay Series by Hilda van Stockum

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Lately I’ve been reading Hilda van Stockum’s Bantry Bay Series as our afternoon read aloud.  These books are published through Bethlehem Books.

As I’m only halfway into the second book of three, I suppose I can only speak from what I’ve read, but they’re excellent.  They’re set in Ireland around the turn of the 20th century and follow the story of a rural family.

All of our children are enjoying this series.  Even our eldest, age 13, leaves her homework and slips into the living room to listen to my terrible Irish accent.  (If a thing is worth doing, it’s worth doing badly, right?)

I especially appreciate the glorious innocence of the time period.

The Bronze Bow by Elizabeth George Speare

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We listened to this book via Audible during our lunchtime.  We also own it, however, so that once we began, the older children clamored for the hard copy.

This book is set around Jerusalem at the time of Christ and follows the life of Daniel bar Jamin.  He’s an eighteen-year-old boy caught up in revenge and plotting and spying and truth-seeking.  He’s full of anger and impetuous.  My boys love him.  I enjoy seeing the Gospels in a new light.

My little girls, however, are somewhat lost listening to it.  They could care less about a bunch of teenage boys ambushing Romans and all that.

Kristin Lavransdatter by Sigrid Undset

This book is a Masterpiece.  It’s my second time reading it, and I’m especially enjoying all those little things I missed before.  (And forgot about.)

That is the test of a good novel, by the way.  If you’re willing to reread a book, then it must be a good one, and you should own it.

I wish I had more time to write about this novel, but alas, I’ve already spent several minutes writing this, and the clock is ticking.  It’s only a matter of time before someone comes crying into this room.

My Heart Lies South: The Story of My Mexican Marriage by Elizabeth Borton de Trevino

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Now, if you need lighter fare, this is your book.  I’ve got the “Young People’s Edition,” whatever that means.  I’m actually reading it to see how suitable it would be for my 13-year-old.  I’m not finished with it yet, but I’m enjoying all the quaint references to a world now long gone.  It’s set in Monterrey and follows the life of a young journalist in the 1930s who finds herself married to Mexican.

It’s fun, so far.

And Lastly…

If you’re looking for a good homily, I can’t recommend my priest enough.  He’s a warrior for the faith.  Last Saturday he delivered yet another dynamite homily.  Click HERE for it and scroll ahead to 30:03.

I was very glad to be present at this private Mass with all the children.  (My husband was acting as MC and serving.)  It’s important for them to see clearly what’s happening in the Church.

In this particular homily our priest examines Ratzinger’s 1969 prophecy that the Church would become small.  I’ll post a couple paragraphs from Ratzinger–later Pope Benedict XVI–below.  The whole thing can be purchased in book form from Amazon or Ignatius Press.  It’s chilling, it’s true, and we’re living this now.

1969 Prophecy of Fr. Ratzinger

“What will remain is the Church of Jesus Christ, the Church that believes in the God who has become man and promises us life beyond death. The kind of priest who is no more than a social worker can be replaced by the psychotherapist and other specialists; but the priest who is no specialist, who does not stand on the [sidelines], watching the game, giving official advice, but in the name of God places himself at the disposal of man, who is beside them in their sorrows, in their joys, in their hope and in their fear, such a priest will certainly be needed in the future.
Let us go a step farther. From the crisis of today the Church of tomorrow will emerge — a Church that has lost much. She will become small and will have to start afresh more or less from the beginning. She will no longer be able to inhabit many of the edifices she built in prosperity. As the number of her adherents diminishes, so it will lose many of her social privileges. In contrast to an earlier age, it will be seen much more as a voluntary society, entered only by free decision. As a small society, it will make much bigger demands on the initiative of her individual members. Undoubtedly it will discover new forms of ministry and will ordain to the priesthood approved Christians who pursue some profession. In many smaller congregations or in self-contained social groups, pastoral care will normally be provided in this fashion. Along-side this, the full-time ministry of the priesthood will be indispensable as formerly. But in all of the changes at which one might guess, the Church will find her essence afresh and with full conviction in that which was always at her center: faith in the triune God, in Jesus Christ, the Son of God made man, in the presence of the Spirit until the end of the world. In faith and prayer she will again recognize the sacraments as the worship of God and not as a subject for liturgical scholarship.
The Church will be a more spiritual Church, not presuming upon a political mandate, flirting as little with the Left as with the Right. It will be hard going for the Church, for the process of crystallization and clarification will cost her much valuable energy. It will make her poor and cause her to become the Church of the meek. The process will be all the more arduous, for sectarian narrow-mindedness as well as pompous self-will will have to be shed. One may predict that all of this will take time. The process will be long and wearisome as was the road from the false progressivism on the eve of the French Revolution — when a bishop might be thought smart if he made fun of dogmas and even insinuated that the existence of God was by no means certain — to the renewal of the nineteenth century…”

 

Monthly Picks

April Picks-Coronavirus Edition

Disclaimer: I may have been feeling a bit…fractious when I wrote this.

Let’s see…what are my favorite things this month?

Favorite Non-Drive-Thru Restaurant:  Um, nope.  They’re all closed.

Favorite Time to Be in the Hospital:  Right now.  They’re empty.  Literally.  Take my word for it; I have personal experience with two different hospitals this month.

Favorite Result of Coronavirus:  The Kung Flu Kick-Back.  Sometimes it just pays to have lots of kids.  Our check was for $5,900.  Yours?  (At least now we can pay our hospital bills.)

Favorite Secular Easter Activity:  The Easter Egg hunt with all the cousins.  Lots of “social distancing” happening there…

Favorite Homeschooling Subject Right Now:  The Constitution and The Bill of Rights

Favorite Article of the Bills of Rights:  Article the Third… Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble

Favorite Priest:  Mine.  May the holy angels protect him and blind his enemies.  Thank you, Father, for providing all the Sacraments for us.  Now if only our government would consider churches “Essential.”

Favorite Bishop:  Anthanasius Schneider.  May he live a long and healthy life.

Favorite Online Controversy:  SSPX Lives Matter too.  No, I’m not an SSPXer, but man, am I thankful for their courageous fight.  Dr. Marshall has a great video out there, if you’re interested.  (I’ve actually met the SSPX priest that Marshall interviews; he’s great.)

Favorite Sign to Contemplate:  “Thank You to Our Essential Workers!”  But what I want to know is, what about all the nonessential workers who sacrificed their jobs.  I think I’d be really thankful for them too.  They’re really suffering with no income, etc.  And what a label!  Guess what?  Oh, you lost you’re job?  It’s because you’re non-essential.  Lord, spare us.

Favorite Outdoor Activity:  Playing basketball at the local park.  Oh wait, never mind.  The public officials actually took the rims off of our basketball hoops because some teenage boys got together an intense game few weeks ago.

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Actual picture from our local playground.  No hoops.  They closed the playground equipment too.

Favorite Drink:  All wine.  Box wine, bottled wine, red wine, white wine, cold, room temperature, hot…shoot, between the Psalms and Hilaire Belloc, I’m convinced that wine and Jesus are the only things that’ll get us through this Government-Mandated-Marshall-Law-Quarantine-Kung-Flu-Communist-Lock-Down.  May it end soon.  Amen.  Alleluia.

(See Disclaimer above.)

Life is Worth Living

Life Goes On

As I sit here and type, life goes on all around me.  Sounds of Julian Lage’s latest album drift in from the dining room.  I can hear the three older children chatting and laughing while washing the dinner dishes.  A few of the other children are playing on the swing set out my window with my husband.  And I just finished folding a load of laundry.  It’s rather peaceful around here.

But in the meantime, the media spins and screams and dictates and shames all day long.

What to do?  Today I thought I’d offer a few suggestions that might help.  Read through them if you want.  Take what you need and discard anything that overwhelms you.

A Few Thoughts to Consider

  1. Sigh.  Maybe it’s time for a “media” break?  If the news is getting to you, shut it off.

I hate to be a downer, but I don’t think this is going away anytime soon.  Think of 9/11.  Think of all the security measures that resulted from that tragic event–the security measures that came and stayed.

As our culture becomes more and more obsessed about health (and less and less concerned about the soul), there will be fewer and fewer personal freedoms.  I wouldn’t be surprised if this didn’t happen every year–I mean a Mandated Stay at Home Law every winter and spring.  New viruses will come after all, and we’ve just set a precedent–lock down for everyone.

That’s kind of a depressing thought, however true I think it is.  So for me, I’ve got to step away from the media for awhile.

2.  This may sound a bit crazy, but assess your local situation as regards to the Sacraments.  Are your bishops and priests finding ways to nourish your souls?  If not, consider moving to where these things are happening.  For if our culture continues on this current trend of limiting personal freedoms and shutting down the Sacraments, it will be necessary to have courageous bishops and priests willing to sacrifice their lives, perhaps literally, to ensure the survival of the Faith.

If you’re curious, our priest here delivered a dynamite homily yesterday about seeing this current situation for what it is.  He starts at about 17:20, and I can tell you, he had our attention.  (Yes, that’s my kid screaming about halfway through.  Embarrassing.)  We are so thankful for his witness.  And for our bishop.

3.  Organize your family life.  You need a schedule for everyone’s sanity.  If you struggle with this concept, get a copy of Holly Pierlot’s A Mother’s Rule of Life.  She gets her priorities right–prayer first, everything else next, etc.

4.  Speaking of prayer…have you considered praying the breviary?  These are the ancient prayers, psalms, and readings of the Church.  They are the Church’s Divine Office–a heartbeat of love to the Father.  Of course I would recommend praying the Roman Breviary, but if that’s too much for you, start with the Christian Prayer book.

If you’d like more information on the breviary and it’s history, read Pius Parsch’s The Breviary Explained.  My husband couldn’t put it down.  Consider giving that book to your husband for Father’s Day.

5.  Learn how to garden.  Now I am no expert at this, but over the years my husband and I have just plugged away at it, and it’s always been rewarding.  Even if we have crop failures, like the year we thought we planted cucumbers, but didn’t, or the time the carrots didn’t come up, or the time the boys pulled all the onions because they thought they were weeds…  But something always does manage to grow, and it’s fun eating it.

6.  Enjoy a glass of wine with your husband tonight.  Let the kids watch Lilies of the Field and play a hand of cards.

And Just For Fun

A reader was recently inspired by my post on Art Walls.  She made one of her own, which I’ll post below.

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It looks great!  I especially love The Little Flower.

Did anyone else make one?

Life is Worth Living

Quarantine Madness: 12 Signs It Might Be Getting to You

It’s Holy Week, and right now, life is looking a little grim with this Mandatory Shut Down.  It’s not easy.

This morning my daughter discovered a tick embedded in her swollen leg.  She hastily ripped it out and flushed it down the toilet, without letting us examine it, to determine whether or not it was a deer tick.  Then she began showing signs of Lyme Disease.

Unbelievable.

After a chaotic morning of visiting with a doctor–God bless her soul!–and exchanging information and photos of my daughter’s leg, she’s now being treated with an antibiotic.  The doctor is hopeful that she’ll be fine, as we hopefully caught it early enough.

Me?  I drove straight to a coffee shop and drank a cappuccino, for I’m a weak individual.

In any case, today I’m offering 12 signs to help identify that you might be nearing the end of your rope with this Quarantine Madness.  We pray that God will lift this scourge soon.  In the meantime, enjoy!

Quarantine Madness: 12 Signs It Might Be Getting to You

  1. You find yourself sitting in a lawn chair at the end of the driveway, just to shout a hello to other people out walking their dogs.
  2. You’ve decided to drag another lawn chair out there, with a case of beer, and offer passersby a drink if they’ll sit down and have one on the house.  You can sit 6 feet apart after all.
  3. You’ve* decided to build a raised garden bed.  You’ve always wanted one anyway.

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    Building a raised garden bed.
  4. You’ve resorted to drinking box wine because it can be purchased in bulk and lasts a lot longer than a bottle.  It’s also penitential because it tastes so badly.
  5. You’ve instituted an Hour of Drawing in the afternoon for the children wherein they must produce a work of art or face the consequences.
  6. You’ve decided to read one of those really long, boring Russian novels with characters that you can’t pronounce because you have the time.
  7. You’ve considered hemming your husband’s pants that are too long for him, even though you loathe sewing.
  8. You’ve taken up running.  Might as well trail for a marathon.
  9. You’ve loaded up the children and driven around just for the fun it.  (Don’t tell the authorities.)
  10. You’ve instituted Happy Hour wherein your husband makes cocktails at 3pm.
  11. You’ve subscribed to The Remnant Newspaper, just receive something worthy in the mail.
  12. You’ve saving all junk mail, especially any mailings pertaining to the USCCB, to potentially use as toilet paper, should you actually run out.

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    Cheers.

Now I’ve done 8 of these “signs.”  You guess which ones!

*Actually, you’ve begged your husband to do this, for who are we kidding?  Multistep projects are odious and require patience.  Of which, I have none.
Call Me Catholic

First Communion During Coronavirus

Our daughter was slated to receive her First Holy Communion during the Traditional Latin Mass for the first Sunday after Easter, often called the Octave Day of Easter or Low Sunday.  But with the disordered state of affairs in our country, and more tragically in our Church, our priest–may the Holy Angels protect him–moved it up.  He didn’t want to risk something worse happening, and neither did we.

So yesterday morning, in the dark, we drove to our parish and prayed the Mass.  It was a Low Mass with my husband serving.  Only our immediate family was allowed in the body of the church.  No grandmas and grandpas.  No aunts, uncles, and cousins.  No friends.  (We are a family of 9.  10 people being the maximum number allowed anywhere these days.)

In fact, we didn’t even get to receive communion during the Mass.  It had to be afterwards.  Nor did we get to take photos with father either.  He was incredibly busy administering the Sacraments to other people, including hearing Confessions that apparently didn’t end until 4 hours later.  (The line was literally out the door–social distancing and all that.)  God bless his soul.

But we didn’t mind any of these things.  We were just thankful.  Thankful that Paul was home, and thankful that our Lord Himself came to dwell within our daughter’s soul for the very first time.

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This is she, praying before the Mass.
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My husband is off to the right.  That’s a camera off to the left.  The whole thing was online too.
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And here she is, moments before receiving Him.  She was beaming.  I shall never forget it.  May Jesus hold her ever close to His Most Sacred Heart.
Life is Worth Living

Paul is Doing Well

Dear Readers, thank you for your prayers.  Paul is doing very well.  He’s terribly sore from his incisions, but he is free from piercing migraines and ceaseless retching.  We are very thankful.

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He’s eating and drinking normally too!

This has been the most pleasant–can I say that?–hospital stay that we’ve had.  For you see, there’s no one here.  Literally, this hospital has never been this empty in the memories of anyone that I’ve asked.  It’s all in anticipation of some massive influx of Covid-19 patients, which hasn’t happened and hopefully won’t.

In the meantime, we zip in and out of x-rays and scans and anything that might be scheduled because there is no one vying for these services.  And the nurses and doctors have extra time to visit with us, which is nice, as no others visitors are allowed.

In any case, because we live so closely and Paul is doing so well, we will be able to go home today.  Praise be Jesus Christ!