Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Creating Art

Look at me letting go, not forbidding the mixing of colors ;-)

top left: tree, with sky to the right
bottom left: Niagara Falls
bottom center: Seal the sea lion
bottom right: ringing cell phone with a road above it

Monday, October 27, 2014

Glorious Mysteries

Enjoy the uplifting close to the month of the Rosary!

“Why do you seek the living one among the dead? He is not here, but he has been raised. Remember what he said to you while he was still in Galilee, that the Son of Man must be handed over to sinners and be crucified, and rise on the third day.”
Christ is risen, shout hosanna! Here is the triumph of Life over death. May I never take for granted the beautiful gift of salvation, bought at such a price. We praise you and bless you, oh Lord, because you have overcome the world.

He answered them, “It is not for you to know the times or seasons that the Father has established by his own authority. But you will receive power when the holy Spirit comes upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, throughout Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” When he had said this, as they were looking on, he was lifted up, and a cloud took him from their sight.
You have gone to prepare a place for me and will come back again in glory. I pray that I will keep my focus on you while simultaneously carrying out the work you have prepared for me. May I not become so heavenly minded that I am of no earthly good!

Descent of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost
When the time for Pentecost was fulfilled, they were all in one place together. And suddenly there came from the sky a noise like a strong driving wind, and it filled the entire house in which they were. Then there appeared to them tongues as of fire, which parted and came to rest on each one of them. And they were all filled with the holy Spirit and began to speak in different tongues, as the Spirit enabled them to proclaim.
The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, and self-control. I reflect on one of these during each Hail Mary, then ask for the Holy Spirit to come into my heart and give me the grace to grow in virtue.

My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord; my spirit rejoices in God my savior.
For he has looked upon his handmaid’s lowliness;
behold, from now on will all ages call me blessed.
The Mighty One has done great things for me, and holy is his name.
Mary's assumption, body and soul, into Heaven speaks of the worth and dignity of the human body. My body will one day be transformed into a glorified body. This current body prefigures what is to come and must be treated with the respect it deserves.

Crowning of Mary
A great sign appeared in the sky, a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars.
The new Queen Mother, perfectly submissive to her Son, has a special love for us and a desire to bring us to holiness. May I honor Mary as I ought and never hesitate to ask for her intercession. May I ever seek to imitate her humility, gentleness, and perfect obedience.

Friday, October 24, 2014

7QT (Vol. 106): A Well-Ordered Environment

I took a Myers-Briggsish online quiz earlier this week to confirm what I already know: I'm introverted, driven by data rather than emotion, respectful of laws and traditions, and "extremely well-organized and methodical." Maybe a bit too much so.

Don't get me wrong, there is definitely value to this. My friends are astounded by how thoroughly both of my kids will clean up, being certain each toy goes in its designated area. I just say OCD has a genetic component.
Though there are 5 things out of place in this picture alone,
so it's not like I'm crazy about it... right?

I'm also good at proofreading, knowing where items are in the house, and keeping the kids' clothes (past, current, and future sizes) well-organized. Being excruciatingly organized made school and work more efficient, too.

But then there are things I can't let go. Somehow in the past month, two of the teaspoons from our flatware set disappeared. And a mismatched one appeared. It's like there's a little imp out there getting great pleasure out of seeing me count the teaspoons every time I put away the flatware, hoping the wanderers have returned.

And the light switches. We have a few lights with two switches, both of which share switch plates with other switches... And there is no way to have all the switches down at the same time while the lights are off. C'mon electricians, how hard would that have been to do for me?

For obvious reasons, I am a fan of buying a series of books from the same publisher. They look so peaceful all lined up in order at the same height. I recently bought a set of books from Mary Fabyan Windeatt (who is an amazing author). In addition to looking forward to great books, I was happy about acquiring another matched set. Then this arrived:
Why, TAN Books, why?! What thoughtless person is in charge of determining book height?! It is a testimony to how well-written these books are that they are allowed to stay on a display shelf. ;-)

If you were simultaneously nodding and cringing in sympathy as you read this post, please check out this beautiful collection of images, The 31 Most Pleasurable Things That Have Ever Happened. You're welcome.

7 Quick Takes is hosted by Jen at Conversion Diary

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Happy first feast of John Paul the Great!

Totally yours

My mom took the kids and I to Mass and out to lunch today, a great way to celebrate the first feast day of John Paul the Great. Given a lack of battery in my camera and the difficulties of getting pictures off my dumb-phone, I'll leave you with some advice from that holy man in lieu of cute photos. :-)

Freedom consists not in doing what we like, 
but in having the right to do what we ought.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Sorrowful Mysteries

I explained these Mysteries today to Peter (in an age-appropriate manner). His face grew very solemn as he thought of each one, so I concluded by reminding him that Jesus didn't stay dead. Immediately he flashed a brilliant smile and triumphantly exclaimed, "He came back! And He is all better!" We are an Easter people; hallelujah is our song!

Agony in the Garden
He advanced a little and fell to the ground and prayed that if it were possible the hour might pass by him; he said, “Abba, Father, all things are possible to you. Take this cup away from me, but not what I will but what you will.” When he returned he found them asleep. He said to Peter, “Simon, are you asleep? Could you not keep watch for one hour? Watch and pray that you may not undergo the test. The spirit is willing but the flesh is weak.”
I trust in the mercy of God, knowing that my sins necessitated Jesus' passion and death. Furthermore, knowledge of my sins injured Him far more than the intense physical suffering He endured. I am grateful that God loves me enough to suffer on my behalf. May my heart always remain sensitive to my sins, that I do not callously hurt my Savior.

Scourging at the Pillar
Then Pilate took Jesus and had him scourged.
As often as I meditate on this, I cannot fathom that God would submit to physical abuse. With a single command, He could have ended not only the torture but the lives of the torturers. And yet, He accepted our violence and redeemed us through it.

Crowning with Thorns
[The soldiers] clothed him in purple and, weaving a crown of thorns, placed it on him. They began to salute him with, “Hail, King of the Jews!” and kept striking his head with a reed and spitting upon him. They knelt before him in homage. And when they had mocked him, they stripped him of the purple cloak, dressed him in his own clothes, and led him out to crucify him.
So often I feel the need to prove myself, defend my credentials, and win an argument. But Jesus, who had every right to defend Himself, did nothing. He did not perform a great miracle to convince them. He didn't respond with taunts of His own. He simply allowed them to pour insults and abuse on Him as His heart broke.

Carrying the Cross
So they took Jesus, and carrying the cross himself he went out to what is called the Place of the Skull, in Hebrew, Golgotha.
For this Mystery and the next, I reflect on a different event on each Hail Mary, as follows:
1. Jesus is given His cross
2. Jesus falls the first time
3. Jesus meets His mother
4. Simon helps Jesus carry the cross
5. Veronica wipes the face of Jesus
6. Jesus falls the second time
7. The women of Jerusalem weep over Jesus
8. Jesus falls the third time
9. Jesus is stripped of his garments
10. Jesus refuses the drugged wine

The Crucifixion
Then they crucified him and divided his garments by casting lots for them to see what each should take. ... The inscription of the charge against him read, “The King of the Jews.” With him they crucified two revolutionaries, one on his right and one on his left. Those passing by reviled him, shaking their heads and saying, “Aha! You who would destroy the temple and rebuild it in three days, save yourself by coming down from the cross.”
1. Jesus is nailed to the cross
2. "Father, forgive them, they know not what they do."
3. Jesus is mocked by the crowd
4. Jesus entrusts His mother and John to each other
5. "Amen I say to you, this day you will be with Me in paradise."
6. "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?"
7. "I thirst."
8. "Into Your hands I commend My spirit."
9. "It is finished."
10. Jesus dies on the cross.

Friday, October 17, 2014

7QT (Vol. 105): Good News People

Shauna - who is quite rather pregnant, mother of two youngsters, and just moved into an old homestead seriously in need of cleaning - took an hour out of her day to go visit a mother at the hospital. You may remember her from last week's prayer requests; she was admitted with health complications. She gave birth via C-section to a bitty but healthy baby boy earlier this week. Anyway, this mother was in the NICU during the entirety of Shauna's visit, but she was not at all irritated. She was simply glad to know the mother was getting the support she needed to breastfeed her new baby.

Jaime launched another Livefitmama challenge this week, including an optional Level 2 this time. She has made such positive changes in the lives of so many women and their families through this program! I'm proud to know her in real life. :-)

Tanya volunteered to bring homemade scones as a snack next week. This might not seem like a big deal to you, but that's because you have never eaten these scones. You would never again be content with what grocery stores pass off as scones.

Nathan drove well over an hour to cheer up a friend who'd had a terrible day at work. While out at the bar, he also paid for his friend's meal and my lemonade with the excuse, "It just seemed easier for me to pay for everything." Wouldn't want people to know he was a good guy at heart.

Dorina, as always, has been filling our newsfeeds and chat windows with laughter and reasons to praise God. Such a breath of fresh air! Everything she posts is guaranteed to at least make you smile.

Fr. Michael spoke inspiringly on Ephesians 1, reminding us of the joy of our salvation. We come to Confession not to focus on our failures, but for God to fill us with His love.

So next time you are overwhelmed by the monumental evil in the world, remember the good souls out there living the Good News one day at a time. And take courage, for He has overcome the world!

7 Quick Takes hosted at Conversion Diary

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Autumn in Our Home

Fall placemats! And a basket of apples!
You can also see red and orange blankets in the living room.

Please note the leaf and dandelion in vases, courtesy of my children

They also gathered all the leaves for this

Peter slicing apples to make his first dinner for us

Baked apple pancake - delicious!