Sunday, December 11, 2011

St. Lucia Craft

St. Lucy's feast day is December 13th, and we are planning exciting things in class! 

The oldest girl in class will be our "Lucia Queen" and will wear the garland (made by cutting down decorative garland from Hobby Lobby and adding some wired ribbon). Traditionally, all of the girls wear white robes with a long red sash and carry candles, but as white robes are scarce here, we're resorting to a plan B. The students will simply carry white candles trimmed with red ribbon.
We will be caroling through the school singing part of the traditional Santa Lucia song to the smaller kids. Traditionally, the girls hand out Lussekatter (saffron buns), but we will be using candy canes with my teacher's budget! I've been having lots of fun researching different St. Lucy traditions. Have you ever seen a traditional St. Lucy procession? There's not much more exciting than having fire on your head!! 

The girls wear white to symbolize her virginity with a red martyr's sash. The name Lucy means “light,” which comes from the root for lucid and understanding.  For this reason her holy day celebration was celebrated on the darkest day of the year.  One legend has it that Lucy’s eyes were put out because of the Romans or a spurned suitor, but then her sight was restored by God.  You will often see her depicted holding a plate with her eyes on it, and is also a patron saint of the blind. From here    

Although there are several versions of the song, we will be simplifying it and singing just one stanza:

Song to St. Lucy

Nightly, go heavy hearts
Round farm and steading
On earth, where sun departs,
shadows are spreading.
Then on our darkest night,
Comes with her shining light
Sankta Lucia! Sankta Lucia!
Then on our darkest night,
Comes with her shining light
Sankta Lucia, Sankta Lucia

Happy St. Lucy Day!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

St. Martin and the Beggar

I know this is late, but I just stumbled across this poem penned by WWI chaplain and former Notre Dame president, Fr. Charles O'Donnell. The poem is about St. Martin of Tours giving his cloak to the beggar who turns out to be Christ! The poem is interesting because it is written from the perspective of the Beggar. Thought this would be appropriate as St. Martin's feast day fell on Veteran's day this year (Nov. 11th). Enjoy!

“As I today was wayfaring”—
Holy, Holy, Holy!—low—
Said Christ in heaven’s evening—
The Holies yet more hushed and slow—
“I met a knight upon the road;
A plumed charger he bestrode.
“He saw the beggar that was I—
Holy, Holy, Holy I—long—
Head and foot one beggary—
Holy, Holy, Holy!—song—
One that shivered in the cold
While his horse trailed cloth of gold.
“Down he leaped, his sword outdrawn—
Holy, Holy, Holy!—swells—
Cleaved his cloak, laid half upon—
Holy! now a peal of bells—
Shoulders that the cross had spanned;
And I think he kissed my hand.
“Then he passed the road along,
Holy, Holy, Holy!—laud—
Caroling a knightly song—
Holy! in the face of God.
Yea, Father, by Thy sovereign name,
Begging is a goodly game.”

Friday, October 7, 2011

Crown of Heavenly Roses

Since October is the month of the Holy Rosary, and today is the Feast of Our Lady of the Rosary, I recently have started reading little excerpts from St. Louis de Montfort's The Secret of the Rosary.  During one of my "late night wanderings" at 1am, (pregnancy seems to throw all idea of sleep out of the window for me!) I decided to pick up the book and found a wonderful illustration of just how much Our Lady loves when we pray her Rosary:

"Our Lady has shown her thorough approval of the name Rosary: she has revealed to several people that each time they say the Rosary, they are giving her a beautiful rose and that each complete Rosary makes her a crown of roses.  The well-known Jesuit, Brother Alphonsus Rodriquez, used to say his Rosary with such fervor that he often saw a red rose come out of his mouth for the Our Father, and a white rose for the Hail Mary, equal in value, the only difference being in their color."

Our Lady made 15 promises to the children of Fatima for those who would recite the Rosary daily:

  1. Whoever shall faithfully serve Me by the recitation of the Rosary, shall receive signal graces.
  2. I promise My special protection and the greatest graces to all who shall recite the Rosary.
  3. The Rosary shall be a powerful armor against hell, it will destroy vice, decrease sin, and defeat heresies.
  4. It will cause virtue and good works to flourish; it will obtain for souls the abundant mercy of God; it will withdraw the hearts of men from the love of the world and its vanities, and will lift them to the desire of eternal things. Oh, that souls would sanctify themselves by this means.
  5. The soul which recommends itself to Me by the recitation of the Rosary, shall not perish.
  6. Whoever shall recite the Rosary devoutly, applying himself to the consideration of its sacred mysteries, shall never be conquered by misfortune. God will not chastise him in His justice, he shall not perish by an unprovided death; if he be just he shall remain in the grace of God, and become worthy of eternal life.
  7. Whoever shall have a true devotion for the Rosary shall not die without the Sacraments of the Church.
  8. Those who are faithful in reciting the Rosary shall have during their life and at their death the light of God and the plenitude of His graces; at the moment of death they shall participate in the merits of the saints in paradise.
  9. I shall deliver from purgatory, those who have been devoted to the Rosary.
  10. The faithful children of the Rosary shall merit a high degree of glory in Heaven.
  11. You shall obtain all you ask of Me by the recitation of the Rosary.
  12. All those who propagate the holy Rosary shall be aided by Me in their necessities.
  13. I have obtained from My Divine Son, that all the advocates of the Rosary shall have for intercessors, the entire celestial court during their life and at the hour of death.
  14. All who recite the Rosary are My sons, and brothers of My only son Jesus Christ.
  15. Devotion to My Rosary is a great sign of predestination.
Our Lady of the Rosary, pray for us!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Hands and Sweat and Saints

"Let us love God; but at the price of our hands and sweat of our face." St. Vincent de Paul

Born a French peasant in the 1600s, St. Vincent de Paul founded an order of priests known as the Vincentians. Later he and Louise de Marillac founded the Daughters of Charity.

When he was first exhumed, only his nose and eyes had decomposed. When he was exhumed a second time for his canonization in the 1700s, it was discovered that an underground flood had caused his body to decompose. His bones are encased in wax and on display in Paris for veneration. Fittingly, the only organ to stay incorrupt is his heart. His feast day is September 27th.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

In the Garden with Sister

"The best place to seek God is in a garden. 
You can dig for Him there."
 ~ George Bernard Shaw

This week we went on our first field trip. My students had been studying leaf identification with Sister in science class, so we went to some botanical gardens nearby to identify some of the trees. After lunch, we sang some "nature" songs (ie- Kookaburra, There Was a Man in Jericho Named Zaccheus, etc...)

 Father pointed out the sycamore tree in the gardens, which he said was the kind of tree that Zaccheus climbed so he could see Our Lord pass by.

We also found some hungry fish, which Father appeased by throwing in a grasshopper to the horror of the girls!

We concluded our trip, tired and sweaty, with a refreshing ice cream break-- a surprise from Father!

The girls got many compliments on their behavior-- with an older woman telling the girls that she remembered when she went to Catholic school and wore a little uniform. There's something amazing about being in public with these kinds of people and watching the public's reaction to black robes, habits, and modest uniforms! What a treat it was to spend the day examining God's creation with brides of Christ, an alter Christus, and my girls!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

The Nativity of Our Blessed Mother

"The birth of Jesus excepted, no other was so important in God's eyes or so fruitful for the good of humanity, as was the birth of Mary. Yet it has remained in complete obscurity...Our Lady's origin is wrapped in silence, as was her whole life. Thus, her birth speaks to us of humility....Mary's life is lost in the life of Jesus, truly she lived "hidden with Christ in God." (Divine Intimacy; Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary)

Happy Birthday to our Most Blessed Mother!

Morning Chats with God

There once was an elderly man, who whenever he said his morning prayers, always made sure there was an extra, empty chair.  And that empty chair, was always only a few feet from him.  At the end of his prayers, he would look across at that lone, little chair...and just stare at it.  He never said anything during those quiet moments of reflection.  He just kept staring at that little old chair.  One morning, his granddaughter approached him. 

"Grandpa, why do you always pray with an empty chair?"
"Why not?  Where else would my Lord sit when I talk to Him?"

Its, of course, just a story, but one that actually started a morning tradition for me.  If I knew Our Lord was sitting in that chair across from me.  Or kneeling by my side during those nightly Rosaries, I'm sure my attitude, my whole attention, would be different.  So why not put that physical reminder there.....not allowing me to forget the One who is always present with me.  The One I owe my entire existence to.  It may sound a little strange, but as I say my prayers now, I try to remind myself through that tiny physical reminder, that the Sweet Father in Heaven, His Blessed Mother, all the Saints I so often invoke; they all surround me as I pray.  And the comfort I receive as I end my morning reflection has enabled me to take on a new perspective throughout the day.  I've had my "Morning Chat" with God.  And I've consecrated every action of the day into His hands. 

Christ with me, Christ before me,
Christ behind me, Christ within me,
Christ beneath me, Christ above me,
Christ at my right, Christ at my left,
Christ in the house
Chris in the chariot seat,
Christ in the deck
Christ in the heart of everyone who thinks of me
Christ in the mouth of everyone who speaks to me
Christ in every eye that sees me,
Christ in every ear that hears me
I bind myself today
The strong virtue of an invocation of the Trinity,
I believe the Trinity in the Unity
The Creator of the Universe.
(excerpt from St. Patrick's Breastplate)

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

For All Those Teachers Out There

The Lesson

Then Jesus took his disciples up to the mountain and, gathering them around him, he taught them saying:

“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven,
Blessed are the meek.

Blessed are they that mourn,
Blessed are the merciful,

Blessed are they who thirst for justice,
Blessed are you when persecuted,

Blessed are you when you suffer,
Be glad and rejoice for your reward is great in heaven."

Then Simon Peter said, "Do we have to write this down?"

 And Andrew said, "Are we supposed to know this?"

 And James said, "Will we have a test on this?"
And Philip said, "I don't have any paper."

And Bartholomew said, "Do we have to turn this in?"
And John said, "The other disciples didn't have to learn this."

And Matthew said, "Can I go to the boys' room?"
And Judas said, "What does this have to do with real life?"

Then one of the Pharisees who was present asked to see Jesus's lesson plan and inquired of Jesus. . .
"Where is your anticipatory set and your objectives in the cognitive domain?"

And Jesus wept.

Original article found here

Monday, August 29, 2011

A, B, C...1, 2, 3

First day of school.  Remember that feeling of excitement, mixed with a little nervousness as you paged through your school books and wondered how on earth you were going to fit all this new information into your brain? Remember the smell of Fall in the air, the crisp cool morning?  I loved that first day of school....and I was homeschooled!  I loved opening all my brand new books, carefully organizing my desk and setting up my routine and schedule for the coming year.  (That excitement and motivation only lasts for about a week---might as well enjoy it while its fresh right???)

As I look around me and see many students preparing for their school year, and read the blogs of all the homeschool moms getting their curriculum in order, it fills me with that a comforting nostalgia of school days past.  (Don't get me wrong, I was just as eager as the next person to finish the year up and enjoy my summer too!)  I can't wait until Lily is old enough to start homeschooling her.  But in the meantime, I must content myself with gathering all those creative ideas for motivating your child for the beginning of the school year.  Here are just a few I've come across!

These yummy School Pencils will make any child want to sit down and write his/her lessons!  Made from a tube of Rolos and a Hershey, these are not only easy to make, but shows off your "creative classiness" too!

A Schulute is an old German custom where, on the first day of school, the children of the house would receive a cone shaped "gift" filled with goodies and school supplies.  Leave it on their desks, or kitchen table the night before and see how easy it is to get those kiddos out of bed the next morning, just to open their Schulutes!

For all of you who are either starting classes back up, getting in front of the classroom for the first time, *cough Violet!*, or just love that "new school year" feeling like me....I wish you all a very happy, holy, and intelligent semester!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

A Pressed Petal: Carnation

The Carnation is also known as Mary's Love of God. As German legend  has it, Carnations bloomed at Our Lord's birth.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Catholics Love Wine

I heard this little ditty from a seminarian in full cassock with a beer in his hand.

"Wherever the Catholic sun doth shine,
There’s always laughter and good red wine.
At least I’ve always found it so.
Benedicamus Domino!"
~ Hilaire Belloc

Sunday, August 21, 2011

At the Communion Rail

I read once that we should always pray to Our Lady just before we receive Communion at Mass. It is the perfect time to ask her to intercede for us and help us to receive Our Lord well. Afterall, she was the only human who received Jesus in the Eucharist perfectly. Who better to ask?

For this reason,  a priest suggested keeping a holy card of Mary in your missal just before Communion to remind us to ask her for this special grace. What a wonderful idea!

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Life is Precious

Life is precious.

Take the time to discover your surroundings.


Discover even the smallest treasures.

And laugh at yourself.

Life is a gift.  Don't waste it.

Friday, August 19, 2011

And the Thunder Rolled

Look what happened last night! Our poor neighbors don't have windows anymore. On the upside, we did get to meet a lot of our neighbors last the our pajamas...

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Do not be afraid- It is I, Jesus

Recently, I've been reading a lovely little book called "I Believe in Love" by Pere Jean du Coeur de Jesus D'Elbee.  He features St. Therese's philosophy of the "Little Way" by applying it practically to the day-to-day struggles we face.  Today, when I opened the book, I did so randomly, and came across the chapter on Abandonment.  It was as if God was directly speaking to my soul.

Yesterday, Violet and I had a long discussion on how we both felt the need to "step it up" a bit in our spiritual lives.  And how, often in our lives, we get bogged down with worries and fears, and the "what ifs" of the future.  The chapter I read this morning was so inspirational to me, I thought I would share it with our readers.  I hope you find as much wisdom and comfort in these words, as I did.

"Practically speaking, of what does abandonment consist?  It consists of seeing the will of God in all that creatures and events present to you; it is, according to St. Francis de Sales, to be found in a disposition to ask nothing and to refuse nothing.  Obviously we must reason and judge.  We must foresee, make our plans, and act as if all depended on us.  I insist upon this because abandonment is neither quietism nor fatalism.  If you have a problem to resolve, you must inform yourself, get to know well the given aspects of the problem, study them, seek the best solution and follow it.  If you are sick, you must call the doctor and follow his prescriptions.  In order that no one shall have anything for which to reproach you, you must at least be in total good will.

We must devote ourselves to doing all we have to do, with the greatest fidelity, the greatest generosity,   notwithstanding, of course, all our weakness, for we can never say, "I have done all I could."  Who can say this besides Mary?  We always could have done more.  But finally, our task is to have worked with our good will, in spite of our state of misery, without ever forgetting besides, that Jesus is there to carry us.  Then, having acted this way with him, we must never worry over the results.  If he wills an apparent failure-I say apparent, for a failure will ed by God is not a real failure--all is well.  "Thank you Jesus."

If he destroys my little plans, I kiss his adorable hand.  It is because he wants to realize his own, which are more beautiful anyway than those which I could have made myself.  If he permits a very beautiful success, "Thank you again." ......Jesus always has his victory when he has your abandonment.  He needs nothing more than that to bring about the divine wonders that His heart has prepared for you from all eternity.  What spoils everything, what paralyzes him in his providential action on us, is not material difficulties.  What can be a material difficulty for him who created heaven and earth?  Not his enemies.  He will reign despite his enemies.  What makes things difficult for him is lack of faith and abandonment on the part of those who call themselves his friends and who ought to be his faithful instruments. We thwart his plans by imposing our own views, our little plans to which we hold so tightly.  And, quite often, why do we do it?  Through fear of a cross, fear of humiliation, thirst for enjoyment, earthly ambition and above all, lack of confidence.

"Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they labor not, neither do they spin.  But I say to you that not even Solomon in all his glory was arrayed as one of these. ...How much you, o ye of little faith?  (Mt 6:25)

"Seek first the kingdom of God and his justice and all the rest shall be added unto you."  This is what we do not do.  We do not seek first the kingdom of God.  We seek first our advantage, our interest...whatever it is.  And Jesus turns away.  In any case there will be failures, contradictions, very difficult moments and sometimes very distressing ones.  But if there is, on our part, this total confidence which we ought to have in Jesus, he will take care of everything.  He will bring good out of evil and even, as I have already told you, a greater good than if there had been no evil' and the trial will have been an immense good for us.  Yes, do everything as if it all depended on you, and leave the result to the Divine Master on whom everything really depends.

"....the moment you realize you are worrying, make very quickly an act of confidence: "No, Jesus, I know you are there.  Nothing, nothing happens without your permission.  I have no right to worry."  Perhaps he is sleeping in the boat, but he is there.  He is always there.  He is all-powerful; nothing escapes his vigilance.  He watches over each one of us as "the apple of his eye." (Dt 32:10)  He is all love, all tenderness.  It is really an offense against him if we worry voluntarily about anything.  That is what causes him pain.  That is what wounds his heart more than anything else."

If you are suffering, I will suffer with you;
If you are lonely, I will comfort you;
If your cross is heavy. I will carry it with you.

"Do not be afraid.  It is I, Jesus." (Mt 14:27)

Monday, August 15, 2011

How is Mary like Ripe Fruit?

 "Mary dies without pain as gently as ripe fruit falls from the tree. Her soul ascends on high to exultant union with God." ~ From the Rose Garden of Our Lady

Friday, August 12, 2011

Lunch Date

How about a little lunch date?  Just you, and me...and a whole lot of good, girly chit-chat.  Ever have one of those days?  Where you just need a real good friend to sit down on your couch beside you and share some "tear-rolling-belly-aching" laughs, or maybe a nice long cry?  Doesn't it feel so good afterwards?  Its like....therapy.  Seriously!

So what should we have for lunch.  If you're coming to my house, our options are slightly limited.  (Not to mention its a Friday).  Care to re-live childhood memories and just enjoy a nice PBJ sandwich?  How about some potato chips?  Watching your weight?  Oh honey, you don't need to worry about look great!  Besides, we'll balance it off with nice cold glasses of water.  There.  I'm so happy to have you over for lunch!

Between a very "un-Catholic" society, lack of true femininity, and our day to day chaos, isn't it easy to feel lonely?  You start to wonder---maybe I am the only female in the world who still wants to do the right thing.  I go to my OBGYN appointment; there are posters on the walls displaying all the many options for birth control.  (leaving you to feel like the odd ball when you tell the midwife, "I don't use any.")  You try to sit down and watch a movie and nine times out of ten turn it off because you couldn't take any more of the crude humor, and seductive dress.  You walk through a grocery store and feel completely overdressed simply because you're wearing a skirt, and everyone else....simply forgot to get dressed in the first place.  You turn on the radio, and switch it off again because the lesbian commercial really makes you sick to your stomach.  Suddenly, you're left wondering.....where did all the women go? 

Are those days of sitting on the porch chatting none stop with your best friend really just left to books like Anne of Green Gables?  Or the days of wearing long dresses and dancing with class and style left to the days of Jane Austen?  No.  It's simply changed a bit...that's all.  Technology can really be quite annoying, but! it can totally make a lonely girl a very happy one too.  Think of all the girlfriends you can find just through the Internet.  All the websites for Traditional Catholics.  All the people who congregate on Pilgrimages.  Email, skype, chat....the ways of communicating now are endless!  You may not be able to sit on each other's beds and have those long delicious chats...but who says you can't do the same over an email...or a phone call? 

Violet and I met for the first time in our college dorm....five years ago!  And we now have a blog together specifically for Catholic women.  We chat, we call, we cry, we laugh...we do all the wonderful things best friends do together---just a little differently.  There are days we both would LOVE to head over to the other's house to watch a delightful Jane Austen movie....but then we remember how blessed we are that we can have an equally delightful chat online, or over the phone about the very same thing! 

So honey, don't worry.  Some days you may feel isolated and alone.  And feel down and depressed because there's no one to call up and go shopping with.  But just remember---God knows exactly what you need, when you need it.  And I guarantee, when you're at your wits end and need a friend....He'll send you one.  Even if its through cyberspace. :) 

More chips?

As the Bird Feeder Turns...

Look who we found sunbathing on our deck today...

Thursday, August 11, 2011

A Bowl Full of Chair-ies

This afternoon one of my roommates and I began our "apartment beautifying" project. The 3 of us found mutually appealing fabric and decided to cover our yucky dining room chairs in something more cheerful. After popping out the seat cushions, we stapled the new fabric over it, and popped it back in. A quick  way to bring some life to tired furniture!     
Start stapling the fabric to the cushion, pulling the fabric tightly.
Gather the corner fabric and staple about 3 times in the corner
The finished product!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Small Steps for Catholic Moms

(Taken from "Small Steps for Catholic Moms"
        by Danielle Bean & Elizabeth Foss)

"Love consumes us only in the measure of our self-surrender."  ~St. Therese of Lisieux

God, St. Therese always reminds me that you love me more than I could ever imagine.  Today, remind me that to surrender to your will, I also have to love myself.  Help me to see myself as you do and to be as kind to myself as I am to my most fragile child.

Turn off the negative internal conversation you are having with yourself.  Be charitable towards yourself.  Beg for grace and then grant yourself the benefit of knowing that you are loved by an all-knowing God.  Then, extend that same grace to someone else who might be feeling as if he's worthy of love.

The Bird Feeder Saga Continues

Today Ralphie discovered there are 2 ways to skin a cat.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Top Ten Tuesday

On the news the other day, I caught a clip about a woman who was assaulted by a random man, trying to force her into his car.  The thing that caught my attention was that the woman had been pushing a stroller.  I guess I always assumed that, having a stroller and a baby, I might not be a likely target for predators---but the news story really enforced that, we as women are unfortunately extremely vulnerable.  For instance; did you know that most predators will look for a woman wearing a pony tail?  Or a woman wearing a skirt?  Or a woman distracted by her cell phone, or looking for her keys? 

I think its important for all women to know at least the basics on how to defend herself.  And by "defending herself" I don't mean she needs to learn Tai Chi!  For a woman to properly defend herself in a predatory situation, it actually needs to start before anything becomes physical; like being aware of her surroundings and having the common sense to pay attention to that "gut instinct" that woman are so famous for having.  Here are some Top Ten Tips on how to better protect yourself and ward off any potential, or God-forbid actual!, predators:

1. Awareness: Your first line of defence. Most people think of kicks to the groin and blocking punches when they hear the term “self-defence.” However, true self-defence begins long before any actual physical contact. The first, and probably most important, component in self-defence is awareness: awareness of yourself, your surroundings, and your potential attacker’s likely strategies.

The criminal’s primary strategy is to use the advantage of surprise. Studies have shown that criminals are adept at choosing targets who appear to be unaware of what is going on around them. By being aware of your surroundings and by projecting a “force presence,” many altercations which are commonplace on the street can be avoided.

2. Use your sixth sense. “Sixth sense.” “Gut instinct.” Whatever you call it, your intuition is a powerful subconscious insight into situations and people. All of us, especially women, have this gift, but very few of us pay attention to it. Learn to trust this power and use it to your full advantage. Avoid a person or a situation which does not “feel” safe–you’re probably right.

3. Self-defense training. It is important to evaluate the goals and practical usefulness of a women’s self-defense program before signing up. Here are two tips:

a) Avoid martial arts studios unless you specifically wish to train in the traditional martial arts techniques and are prepared for a long-term commitment. Many women’s self-defense programs teach watered-down martial arts techniques that are complex and unrealistic under the stress of an actual attack;
b) The self-defense program should include simulated assaults, with a fully padded instructor in realistic rape and attack scenarios, to allow you to practice what you’ve learned.

4. Escape: Always your best option. What if the unthinkable happens? You are suddenly confronted by a predator who demands that you go with him–be it in a car, or into an alley, or a building. It would seem prudent to obey, but you must never leave the primary crime scene. You are far more likely to be killed or seriously injured if you go with the predator than if you run away (even if he promises not to hurt you). Run away, yell for help, throw a rock through a store or car window–do whatever you can to attract attention. And if the criminal is after your purse or other material items, throw them one way while you run the other.

5. Your right to fight. Unfortunately, no matter how diligently we practice awareness and avoidance techniques, we may find ourselves in a physical confrontation. Whether or not you have self-defence training, and no matter what your age or physical condition, it is important to understand that you CAN and SHOULD defend yourself physically. You have both the moral and legal right to do so, even if the attacker is only threatening you and hasn’t struck first. Many women worry that they will anger the attacker and get hurt worse if they defend themselves, but statistics clearly show that your odds of survival are far greater if you do fight back. Aim for the eyes first and the groin second. Remember, though, to use the element of surprise to your advantage–strike quickly, and mean business. You may only get one chance.

6. Pepper spray: Pros and cons. Pepper spray, like other self-defence aids, can be a useful tool. However, it is important to understand that there can be significant drawbacks to its use. For example, did you know that it doesn’t work on everyone? Surprisingly, 15-20% of people will not be incapacitated even by a full-face spray. Also, if you’re carrying it in your purse, you will only waste time and alert the attacker to your intentions while you fumble for it. Never depend on any self-defence tool or weapon to stop an attacker. Trust your body and your wits, which you can always depend on in the event of an attack.

7. Home invasions: A crime on the rise. The primary way to prevent a home invasion is simply to never, ever open your door unless you either are certain you know who’s on the other side or can verify that they have a legitimate reason for being there (dressing up as a repair person or even police officer is one trick criminals use). In the event that an intruder breaks in while you’re home, you should have a safe room in your house to which you can retreat. Such a room should be equipped with a strong door, deadbolt lock, phone (preferably cell phone), and a can of pepper spray or fire extinguisher.

8. Avoiding a car-jacking. Lock all doors and keep windows up when driving. Most car-jackings take place when vehicles are stopped at intersections. The criminals approach at a 45-degree angle (in the blind spot), and either pull you out of the driver’s seat or jump in the passenger’s seat.

9. A travel tip. Violent crimes against women happen in the best and worst hotels around the world. Predators may play the part of a hotel employee, push their way through an open or unlocked door, or obtain a pass key to the room. As with home safety, never open your door unless you are certain the person on the other side is legitimate, and always carry a door wedge with you when you travel. A wedge is often stronger than the door it secures.

10. Safety in cyberspace. Although the Internet is educational and entertaining, it can also be full of danger if one isn’t careful. When communicating on-line, use a nickname and always keep personal information such as home address and phone number confidential. Instruct family members to do the same. Keep current on security issues, frauds, viruses, etc. by periodically referring to “The Police Notebook” Internet Safety Page.

Just remember.....a safe woman is a prepared woman!

Monday, August 8, 2011

Pick Another Checkout Line, Honey!

Yes, that IS actually the name of the book I'm going to talk to you about.  And I guarantee, whether you are a single woman living on her own, or a mother of three trying to save a few extra coins, you are going to take away at least SOMETHING from this post!

After making our move cross country, and now settled here in beautiful California, I have discovered a major incline in grocery prices.  And I'm not just talking "up the little speed bump in the parking lot" kind of incline.  I'm talking about "up and over Mount Everest" kind of incline.  Needless to say, I was and am determined to make necessary changes so hubby and I don't end up selling both cars, our identities, AND our children in order to scrap up a few meals!  I happened to see an episode on a TV show one afternoon talking about cutting your grocery bill in half, and naturally, my little ears instantly tuned in.  This woman had 3 kids, and was spending $415-500 on groceries......every single week! read that right.  So two woman who refer to themselves as the "Krazy Coupon Ladies", and believe me...after you read their book, you'll know they're not just saying they are!.....intervened and was able to cut this woman's grocery bill 90%!  For those of US who are horrible in Math, that means the woman only spent roughly about $30 on her groceries! 

Now, I'm not usually a sucker for these kinds of promotions.  But as my hubby and I had just been talking about ways to cut our expenses, I thought maybe the book would be a good idea to have hanging around the house.  (At least if I wasn't interested in it, people would THINK I was a smart shopper by seeing it on the bookshelf!)  Anyway, I bought the book and have to say, its a must have for every woman who is trying to live life on a budget.  These Krazy Ladies explain everything there is to know about couponing and saving money, and getting that nasty grocery bill to numbers you can strut proudly to.  They're big thing is to coupon, stock up when you hit sale prices, and choose the stores that are offering the promos and deals.  Now I thought I was doing all this, but after paging through the book, realized I'm not quite "up to par" with the rest of the "Couponing Krazies!" 

For starters, check out their website:  They have it divided up according to stores, and store policies, as well as blogging about upcoming deals that are coming to stores near you.  Also, they have a whole couponing database that's easy and convenient to use. 

You like saving money, right?  Well here's your nudge.....get couponing! 

A Thousand Words, Part 2

Apparently we have opened up a gourmet restaurant on our balcony.

It was all fun and games until the little guy on the left realized we had a kitchen...

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Friday, August 5, 2011

How to Cook a Husband

How to Cook A Husband

taken from a cookbook of the 1800’s
(published in The P31 #11)

A good many husbands are utterly spoiled by mismanagement in cooking and so are not tender and good. Some women keep them constantly in hot water: others let them freeze by their carelessness and indifference. Some keep them in a stew with irritating ways and words. Some wives keep them pickled, while others waste them shamefully. It cannot be supposed that any husband will be tender and good when so managed, but they are really delicious when prepared properly.

In selecting a husband, you should not be guided by the silvery appearances in buying a mackerel: nor by the golden tint as if you wanted salmon. Do not go to the market for him as the best ones are always brought to the door. Be sure to select him yourself as tastes differ. It is far better to have none unless you will patiently learn how to cook him.

Of course, a preserving kettle of the finest porcelain is best, but if you have nothing better than an earthenware pipkin, it will do—with care. Like crabs and lobsters, husbands are cooked alive. They sometimes fly out of the kettle and so become burned and crusty on the edges, so it is wise to secure him in the kettle with a strong silken cord called Comfort, as the one called Duty is apt to be weak. Make a clear, steady flame of love, warmth and cheerfulness. Set him as near this as seems to agree with him.

If he sputters, do not be anxious, for some husbands do this until they are quite done. Add a little sugar in the form of what confectioners call kisses, but use no pepper or vinegar on any account. Season to taste with spices, good humor and gaiety preferred, but seasoning must always be used with great discretion and caution. Avoid sharpness in testing him for tenderness. Stir him gently, lest he lie too flat and close to the kettle and so become useless. You cannot fail to know when he is done. If so treated, you will find him very digestible, agreeing with you perfectly. And he will keep as long as you choose unless you become careless and allow the home fires to grow cold. Thus prepared, he will serve a lifetime of happiness.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

A Pressed Petal- Our Lady's Little Glass

Field Bindweed is a flowering plant closely related to the Morning Glory. It's also known as Our Lady's Little Glass. It's pervasive once planted and, so, is generally considered a weed. 

Its old common name according to the Grimm's short tale of the same name is "Our Lady's Little Glass." The story in its entirety: "Once upon a time a wagoner's cart which was heavily laden with wine had stuck so fast that in spite of all that he could do, he could not get it to move again. Then it chanced that Our Lady just happened to come by that way, and when she perceived the poor man's distress, she said to him, 'I am tired and thirsty, give me a glass of wine, and I will set thy cart free for thee.' 'Willingly,' answered the wagoner, 'but I have no glass in which I can give thee the wine.' Then Our Lady plucked a little white flower with red stripes, called field bindweed, which looks very like a glass, and gave it to the wagoner. He filled it with wine, and then Our Lady drank it, and in the self-same instant the cart was set free, and the wagoner could drive onwards. The little flower is still always called Our Lady's Little Glass." from Mary Gardens

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

A Franciscan Profession

Since I have moved, I have been enjoying the unique privilege of living near a Franciscan convent. Today I was thrilled to be able to take part in their profession ceremony.

While the ceremony itself had its setbacks (i.e.- no A.C. in 108 degree weather and my height challenge made it hard to see), it was a privilege to have the rare opportunity to see such a beautiful event.

Two Sisters took their first vows and received the black habit while three Sisters renewed their temporary vows.

After receiving the black veil, the Sisters also received a crown of roses.

 Afterward, the "freshly vowed" Sisters wore their crown of roses at a small party in the (air conditioned!) basement where some of the more musical Sisters led us in a sing-a-long.

A postulant sings a song she wrote about St. Francis for Father

What a blessing to spend the day with Brides of Christ!

Thursday, July 28, 2011


As Miss Lily and her family settles into their new home in the sunny West Coast, I am preparing for my own moving day. This morning I set out for an 8 hour drive south in my new car where a new job and a new apartment with new roommates await me. Yipes!! Huckleberry will enjoy his new freedom with my parents, but I will miss that little furry bundle of trouble.

I ran across this travel prayer:

Prayer Before Departing on a Trip
O God, You called Abraham Your servant out of Ur and kept him safe and sound in all his wanderings. If it is Your will, protect Your servants. Be for us a support when setting out, friendship along the way, a little shade from the sun, a mantle against cold and rain, a crutch on slippery paths, and a haven in shipwreck. Bear us up in fatigue, and defend us under attack. Under Your protection, let us fulfill the purpose for our trip and return safe and sound to our home. Amen.
Pretty sure this is what my car looked like...

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Settling In

Since making my trek 'cross Country, I have been horrible about posting!  Between settling in to our new home and area, and tending to my extremely active 8 month old, time just seems to escape me so  much faster now a days.  Not to mention (for those who didn't already know), we're expecting again!  I'm just about 15 weeks and *finally* out of the "ickies".  Just starting to feel some energy back and am totally convinced this one is a boy!  Naturally, hubby and I will be delighted with either, but based on just how different this pregnancy is from my little Lilybug, I just am getting that "gut" feeling (no pun intended!) that it might be a boy.  We'll find out the gender in September *hopefully*, and we'll see if my "mother's intuition" is right!  Please keep our little family in your prayers!

On What Sort of Wife to Choose

When Lily and I were in college, we had a wonderful English professor. One day, she had a heart-to-heart with the young women in the class. We began discussing the Puritanical notion that women "shouldn't go to college" as it was a "waste of money" if she only was to be a wife and mother. Encouraging us to reject this notion, she told us how the Church has always supported the education of women and shared with us this poem.

To Candidus: “On What Sort of Wife to Choose” 
by St. Thomas More
Sweets to the Sweet by Leighton
So then, friend, first
Since you seek a wife
Look at the people
Who gave her life.
The girl will reflect
In her ways, the excellence
That graces her mother
Whose habits she imbibed
As a small, tender child.
Next, look for sound sweetness
In the nature of your bride.
May the serenity reside
In the girls’ speech;
May savagery be absent
From her mouth.
May there be
In her countenance shy decency
And in her discourse
No shameless impudence.
More, may she be reposeful
Nor willingly entangle men
In leaping lusts.
May she not be fickle of heart
Nor having a roving eye.
May she be neither
A babbler, given to constant
Gabble over trifles,
Nor a tight-lipped close-mouthed clod
Perpetually dumb.
Finally, may she be
Either educated, versed
In the humanities,
Or educable, apt
At absorbing learning.
Happy the girl
Who is able to draw
Out the best of the books of earlier days
The principles of holy living.
They will invigorate her.
She will not swell up pompous
With pride in prosperity;
In times of trouble she will not be
Grief-stricken, prostrated
By misery.

She will be merry beside you;
She will not become,
No matter what betide you,
A reproachful sorrower.
Well taught herself, she
Will teach well; your children
--And later, grandchildren –
Will drink in learning with their milk
As for you, you will be glad
To leave the men to themselves
After work, and to find rest
In your clever wife’s company.
She too will enjoy that time;
Perhaps while her agile fingers
Pluck true chords from the strings;
She may sing, and so delightfully
(In a voice, Procne,
No less sweet
Than that of your younger sister)
Apollo will hide
To hear her songs.
She will fashion
Joy for you
Out of charm and wisdom,
Marking days and nights
With sweetness of phrase
And dulcet speech
Unbroken by harshness
From her delightful,
Always gentle mouth.
Freely she will soothe you
Should high spirits make you light
With thoughtless merriment;
Subtly she will sustain you
If anxious grief depress you,
Her power to aid you strengthened
By well-informed eloquence
And a discriminating knowledge
Of important matters.