Call Me Catholic

Best Movie of the Year

Do you need a good movie to watch with the whole family? Or perhaps something edifying for a Date Night?

Mass of the Ages: Episode 1 was just released last Sunday night, and I’m telling you, it’s the best thing I’ve seen all year.

We have been looking forward to its release for awhile now, so we were ready. My husband popped two huge bowls of buttery popcorn, the kids filled up their water bottles, and I ran to the basement for the best spot on the couch.

Cameron O’Hearn knocked it out of the park. This short movie is stunning. It’s beautiful. It’s worth an hour of your time.

Click HERE for it.

Christ-Like Minimalism

Reminiscing: Happier with Less

I grew up on a farm. No, wait, allow me to back up even further.

My great, great grandfather purchased an acreage in South Dakota where he raised his family in the early 1900s. Eventually this property was handed down to my father’s dad. In other words, my father grew up on this farm. He was the baby of the family–the eighth of eight.

Now my dad’s father was a tinkerer, smart with machines, and generous with everyone. Unfortunately, he was not clever with finances, and the family soon went into debt, by purchasing new-fangled tractors and equipment and snow mobiles and accessories… Even though they had the largest chicken operation in the state, which was housed in a most beautiful 3-story barn, they were sliding into ruin.

Then it happened. The State came, with police and trucks, and literally began hauling equipment and things away. The farm was forfeit, lost. As a young man, my father watched it all with wide eyes. His parents were forced to move off the family farm and into a trailer house in the nearest small town. It was earth-shattering and heartbreaking. My father would inherit nothing.

My Grandparents, who lost the family farm

Naturally it was a very difficult thing for the whole family, but fortunately, it did not tear the family apart. Only, my father vowed to never make the same mistakes as his father and thereafter became a very neat and organized man, for he just purchased his own new farm complete with a trailer house, a small shed, and and an old hog house.

This is the original little trailer house, situated on a new farm, that my parents bought in 1981. Humble beginnings, no?

That was a long introduction, and perhaps not getting to my point quickly enough. For why am I bothering with this?

Combining beans with my Dad and my sister. I’m on the left.

I want to illustrate that ever since I was a little girl, I was taught to be very careful with things, or possessions. I was taught that everything must be neat and clean and paid for. There was to be no chaos or clutter anywhere, and unused items were to be disposed of.

And I was happier for it. I wasn’t bogged down with an excessive closet of clothes or with a jumble of shoes on the floor. My car, when I got one, was expected to be spotless, otherwise I wasn’t mature enough to have one.

Mowing the lawn with Dad.

I was formed, in a way, for a minimalist life, and it has never been difficult for me to live with less.

This is not to say, however, that I’m the standard of perfection. Far from it. I have my faults and eccentricities. (I do own two sets of china that I have no intention of parting with. Not to mention my hundreds of books…) But I do try.

For example, earlier this year during Lent, I gave up lipstick because I didn’t want to be attached to it. I wanted to live more simply, and I’ve got to say, it was a relief to me and I’ve never gone back.

Currently I’m wondering how I can simplify my wardrobe. You know I’ve got about 5 everyday skirts for both a cold season and a warm season. But I’m wondering, is it all necessary? Since I like all my skirts to hit mid-calf anyway, why not just get rid of the “warm season” skirts? Ah, well, we’ll see.

I can say one thing, however, I have never regretted giving anything away, whether it be an unused end table or an extra kitchen utensil.

Less is better. (Unless, of course we’re talking about books!)

Carefree swimming with my cousins. I’m sitting in the pool up front.

Lastly…

I’ve been asked quite a bit about both Fr. Altman and Pope Francis’s latest Motu Proprio. If you’re interested, do check out Dr. Taylor Marshall on both accounts. I’ll link them HERE and HERE respectively.

If you’d like more about the implications for TLMers, Cameron O’Hearn interviews one of my favorite theologians, Dr. Peter Kwasniewski HERE.

Life is Worth Living

Travelogue: 9 Hours in the Van with 7 Kids to North Dakota!

We did it. We drove 9 straight hours with 7 screaming* kids all the way to North Dakota for a few nights and then back again yesterday.

Now, how does one accomplish this Herculean Feat without losing one’s mind? I can think of 5 things that helped:

  1. Snacks. Lots of snacks, including all the food groups: apples, Hot Tamales, brownies, chips, and suckers.
  2. No Chugging of Water. Only tiny sips allowed until within 15 minutes of destination. This prevents multiple bathroom breaks. We don’t like to stop on the road; it’s too demoralizing. In fact, on the way there, we only stopped once.
  3. Podcasts. We listened to Dr. Taylor Marshall, Timothy Flanders at The Meaning of Catholic, and Mass of the Ages by Cameron O’Hearn. These great talks effectually bored the little children to sleep, which was best, and instructed the older ones, which was even better. My husband and I? We were just plain entertained, especially by O’Hearn’s interview with Eric Sammons.
  4. Audio Books. The little children begged for Winnie the Pooh. The older children wanted The Little World of Don Camillo by Giovanni Guareschi. We took turns, going back and forth. Don Camillo, by the way, is hysterical, if you need a good laugh.
  5. Texting Parties. I had great fun texting a picture of my friend in her Trump dress that she wore to a gala in North Dakota. Apparently she was very popular, as everyone wanted to take a photo with her.
She made this dress. What talent!

You know, on our drive, all the way across Minnesota and North Dakota, we saw countless Trump signs. Apparently it doesn’t even matter that the election is over. I guess rural USA is still pro-Trump. Since a few signs had “Trump 2024,” though, perhaps that’s the reason?

What Did We Do in North Dakota?

Besides visiting family and friends, we did the following:

  1. We held our baby Godson while he was baptized according to the Traditional Rite.
  2. We enjoyed my mother-in-law’s fabulous meatballs. (I look forward to them every time.)
  3. My husband and I went on a double-date with friends at our favorite restaurant in Bismarck–Anima Cucina.
  4. We paused for a minute and took this family photo:

It’s impossible to get everyone to smile at the same time…

5. I greatly enjoyed looking at the vast, beautiful, blue skies. (There is nothing like it, and I’m serious.)
6. We went on lovely bike rides through tall, cottonwood trees.
7. We attended a TLM out in the middle of nowhere with many other young families. The place was crawling, literally, with babies and toddlers.

St. Vincent Catholic Church on the top of a hill, in the middle of nowhere.


7. I drank coffee and chatted with some wonderful friends.
8. And lastly, I didn’t sleep! I never do anyway.

And that’s why this post is ending. I’m hoping to get a nap in.

Until next time, blessings!

*Actually, the children were pretty good on that loooong drive. Nobody screamed. At least, nobody over the age of 5.