Sunday, June 26, 2011

A Pressed Petal

In honor of Trinity Sunday that we recently celebrated,  
Bougainvillea is also known as Trinitaria.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Ponderings From One Wandering

And so, as Violet mentioned, hubby, myself, and our little Lilybug have begun our "moving adventure" across the country.  Hubby left yesterday to start the drive out from Boston to San Francisco, and my little bundle of energy and myself will be following next week, taking the easy way out on the plane.  Although, quite honestly, I'm nervous about this upcoming flight and a 6 month old child on my lap for 6 hours!  In any case, it will most definitely be a memorable experience!
Its been a tough week of goodbyes, living out of suitcases, and anxieties about the unknown.  But during my morning reading and prayers today, I came across such an encouraging and beautiful quote, I know Our Lady sent it specially for me to read right now.

"Take shelter under Our Lady's mantle, and do not fear.  She will give you all you need. She is very rich, and besides is very generous with her children.  She loves giving."
(Blessed Raphaela Maria from Small Steps for Catholic Moms)

Our Father in heaven clearly knows our weak human nature; He created us!  So He thought to Himself, "I know these children of mine will worry, will make mistakes, and though they will think they are quite independent, they will come to realize that they can do nothing on their own.  I will send them My own Mother, and She will guide them, protect them, and love them.  And they will learn, they have nothing to fear if they stay within Her Immaculate Heart."  Makes you realize how lucky we are, how blessed we are, to have not only such a merciful and loving Creator and Savior, but a gentle, humble, and compassionate Mother.  And not only do we have our spiritual Parents, we have the security and safety of our Holy Mother the Church.  Makes you wonder why on earth people would ever want to be following anything other than the Catholic Faith, doesn't it?

So, despite the stress and tension, excitement of moving, I found comfort in knowing I have nothing to worry about, because my Mother Mary has my little family wrapped tightly under her mantle of love.

Monday, June 20, 2011


I am thankful...that so many good things are happening in my life all at once! This weekend I bought my very first car, and I put a down payment down on my first apartment! As my cousin said, “When did you become an adult?” Apparently, this weekend…

I am praying easy move for Lily and her family out to the West coast! What a lot of work! I'm sure St. Joseph will make sure all their junk gets safely across the country. California, here they come!  
I am feeling...excited about going to eat at Greek Islands restaurant this week (somehow it always comes back to food with me). It’s a famous restaurant considered the best among Greeks I know. Now, I've never actually been to a Greek restaurant, but last summer some friends and I explored Chicago's Greek Fest and discovered Saganaki. I've never been so excited about flaming cheese in my life.
The Saint of the day is...St. Silverius who was a pope who also happened to be the legitimate son of a pope (St. Hormisdas)! Apparently, he was born before his father entered the priesthood and was married. What are the odds?

Around the house...Huckleberry has been on high Bug Alert. We’ve had a few ants and centipedes, and boy, is he earning his keep! All this work is tiring him out, and I’m finding him sleeping in the strangest places. He’s got to be the cutest feline ever.

On the menu...I finally busted out my Hershey's Chocolate cookbook (that our friend "Cherryblossom" gave me) and made “Secret Kisses,” which were a big hit. They are basically balls of dough rolled in powdered sugar with a Hershey’s kiss inside. The new apartment will have double ovens, which I am thrilled about. Twice as many treats!

I’ve been reading…a wonderful book Lily gave me for my graduation—My Best Teachers Were Saints. What a great read. In the education field, it's easy to get bogged down with books stressing research-based strategies, standardized test assessments, etc... and it's easy to lose sight of the real purpose of education. Each short chapter in this book stresses a different issue teachers face and then discusses a saint that dealt with those issues like St. Benedict on the importance of order and St. Peter and Paul on when colleagues disagree.

My goal for buckle down and clean all the piles of dust that have been accumulating since student teaching. I also need to start planning for the school year next fall! …but maybe I’ll just have one more Secret Kiss first.

Happy Monday!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

The Most Timeless Dress in History

There is one notable garment revered as the longest running “in fashion” item in the history of the feminine world. Women have been wearing them since before Christ walked on the Earth. The sari.

After reading this description of the sari, it would seem the sari is the ultimate feminine garment:
"The sari, it is said, was born on the loom of a fanciful weaver. He dreamt of Woman. The shimmer of her tears. The drape of her tumbling hair. The colors of her many moods. The softness of her touch. All these he wove together. He couldn't stop. He wove for many yards. And when he was done, the story goes, he sat back and smiled and smiled and smiled."

It's true. The sari drapes and flatters the feminine figure like no other dress can. Often made of silk or cotton, this flowing garment consists of a long piece of cloth about 1 meter wide and a little over 5 meters long. It is worn over a tight-fitting blouse (a choli) and a long skirt of same color as the sari. The pallu, or the end of the sari that is draped over the shoulder, is often embroidered and embellished with jewels.

A modern salwar kameez
The care that goes into the sari is astounding. Often the beads and embroidery is hand-stitched to the fabric before it is even cut out! As I found myself wandering through the maze of factory-manufactured clothing at the mall the other day, I appreciate this beautiful timeless garment and the time and quality reflected in its every pleat. Most of the fashions that hang on the racks today will be considered "out of date" 6 months or a year from now. The beautifully simple sari flatters every shape while today's styles leave the poor wearer tugging and adjusting.

After Islamic invasions, the Persian influence in Indian culture brought about the popularity of the salwar kameez as a popular clothing choice for women. It consisted of pants and a long tunic. While this style is still common among Indian women, unstitched fabrics are considered sacred in Indian culture, and even today women wear --not the salwar kameez-- but the sari to religious functions. 

The many different ways to wear the sari are partly based on fashion and partly based on denoting the region of India where the wearer is from.
 "The sari's radiance, vigor & variety, produced by a single straight length of cloth, should give us in the West pause & make us think twice about the zipper, the dart, & the shoulder pad." ~ Naveen Patnaik

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Let Me Not Be Tired!

During a college retreat, we were given this wonderful prayer to say to Our Lady.  Since then, I have kept it inside my Missal and referred to it more times than I can say.  It acts as a constant reminder that no matter how difficult our lives may feel, or how many challenges we are facing....Our Lady is our Queen and Mother and stands beside us, ready to offer us the grace of strength and encouragement to persevere through even our darkest moments.  Let me not be tired, My Queen!  Let me never be tired when doing all for the glory of your Son!

Prayer to Our Lady
From Bishop Manuel Gonzalez Garcia of Malaga, Spain

"Mother Immaculate, let me not be tired!  My Mother, only one petition!  Let me not be tired! Even when discouraged for the little fruit of my efforts, or for the ingratitude that assaults me, even when weakened by my miseries, or when persecuted by the fury and calumnies of my enemies, even when in need of money and of human help, even when my works collapse and I have to start again...My Dear Mother, let me not be tired!

Let me be firm, decided, courageous, always smiling, with the eyes of my face fixed in my neighbor to help him, and with the eyes of my soul fixed in the Heart of Jesus Who is in the tabernacle.  I will take my post, the one assigned to me by God.  I will not retreat, I will not utter useless cries, I will not shun the battle...Let me always have a drop of blood to shed, some coins to give away, some energy to spend, a word to say, my compassion to offer, a bit of strenght in my hands or in my feet, which could be used to give glory to Thy Son and to do some good to my neighbor.  Mother, my Dear Mother, let me die rather than be tired.  Amen."

Blessed Manuel Gonzalez Garcia is known as the "Bishop of the Abandoned Tabernacle", which is another reason I found this prayer to be well suited for the month of June.  This holy Bishop had so much love and devotion for the Sacred Heart in the Holy Eucharist, that he would implore the faithful to become "Marys of those abandoned Tabernacles, just as Our Lady stood at the foot of the Cross to be with her abandoned Son."  (Butler's Lives of the Saints) 

Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, may you be loved everywhere and by everyone!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

On Using Time Wisely

Time is precious. Ah, the maxim I've learned most over and over during my student teaching. I have a feeling that I will learn it again in a new way next year as I begin my first year of official teaching. More than ever, I am discovering how time is not always our own. This calls to mind something I read in Fr. Dashon's Guide for Catholic Young Women (1892)  book (free ebook here) on how to make the most of the time we do have:

As soon as you wake up, try to think of a pious thought.
“God keep me from sin this day”

When you get dressed
“Clothe me with justice and true virtues, 
that I may be pleasing in Thy sight.”

When you wash your face and hands
“Wash me more and more from my sins”

Sunday, June 5, 2011

A Pressed Petal

Lilac by Edmund Blair Leighton

As Ascension Thursday was just this week, it's appropriate that we share one of our favorite flowers: the lilac, which is also known as the Ascension Flower

Saturday, June 4, 2011

New Mommy Dramas

Yesterday was, short, just plain awful.  You know those kinds of days;  when everything you do just doesn't seem to come out quite like you meant it?  By the end of the day, you find yourself wondering why you even bothered to get out of bed.  As I explained to my husband through an email, I just wanted to be a little mole, and stay in my little hole to avoid getting in my own way.  And like the wonderful husband that he is, he replied that no matter what, he still loved his "little mole." 

I've come down with what seems to be turning into the worst cold---ever!  I'm sure lack of sleep and stress has played a huge factor in worsening it, but my goodness, between not being able to breathe or hear, to now waking up without a voice----I'm pretty well out cold.  (Oh!  And did I mention my 6 month old has this nasty cold as well?!)

So that was just the Preface to my no. good. very. bad. terribly. awful day yesterday.  After meeting with the surveyors who will be moving us out to California and feeling overwhelmed as soon as I closed the door, I decided it would be a good idea to get out into the sunshine, and enjoy the day.  So despite feeling like a drugged zombie, I packed my Lilybug up and off we went.  Only to get into the car and find out my car was completely on empty....light on and all.  "Not a problem!  We'll just go fill up" I over confidently remark to myself.  After pulling into the station, my day suddenly takes off spiraling downward.  No credit card.  Nowhere.  Not in the wallet, not in the diaper bag, nope, not even in the car.  After spending 15 minutes sitting at the pump frantically tearing apart everything in my car, I realize I have a $10 bill and that's it.  So I fill my car with that, receiving a measly quarter of a tank, I head home in a panic. 

Now I don't know about other new moms, but I swear ever since I got pregnant with my Lilybug, I have lost whatever brain cells I had in there to begin with.  I can barely remember what I ate for breakfast that morning, never mind where I may have put a small, square credit card!  So trying to recall when I had last used it only proved to be a frustrating effort.  Finally, I conclude I last used it this past Tuesday---great.  That's three days ago.  So I frantically log onto our banking account and am relieved to find that at least no activity has been performed on it since the last time I used it. Which means I AM the one to blame for this horrible nightmare.  Anyway, to make a long story short---I sent some panic-stricken emails off to my husband, and some desperate pleas up to our good friend St. Anthony---I miraculously receive a calm and collect call from my wonderful hubby.  (now just to paint the picture for you all, he's on the ship and I haven't talked to him in days and normally he doesn't get any cell reception, and he's definitely not supposed to be using his the fact that he was able to receive my emails and get cell reception yesterday was just a miracle lol) 

My husband does wonderful in situations like these.  He never loses control, and he stays calm throughout the entire situation.  I think its his military training, but whatever it is...its definitely a good thing because his poor pathetic wife and a tendency to just...blubber!  So he calmly suggests to his sobbing wife..."You know, sometimes when you're in a rush, you tend to stick it in your back pocket.  Did you look there?"  And then.  It happens.  The lightbulb goes off.  Yes!  That's where it was!  Thankfully, I did find my credit card.  And you would think, after such a disaster, it would be hard to top that.  Well...don't worry.....I found a way to top it.

Deciding to make the best of the day regardless, I re-packed up my daughter and off we went again to get a few necessities.  Well, in short, I managed to completely drop a whole jug of juice on the aisle of the store and make an entire mess by its explosion.  At this point...I think the clerk could see all I wanted to do was just burst out crying.  I had a cold.  I couldn't breathe.  I could barely talk.  My daughter was squawking.  I'd already had my little financial scare.  And now, this was just the icing on the cake.  Sticky, red cranberry juice, all over the floor.  Thankfully, the clerk was very understanding and very sweet about it...and cleaned it all up for me.  But as I'm sure you can imagine, I bought my merchandise, got in my car, and drove home....returning to my little "mole hole", there to stay for the rest of the day.

They say "tomorrows are brand new days with no mistakes in it" (Anne of Green Gables).  Oh please, please let that be the case!

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Most Sacred Heart of Jesus

1672 marked the year when devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus was made known through apparitions of Our Lord to the devoted St. Margaret Mary Alacoque. The month of June is specifically designated for this incredible devotion. 

"Love keeps Him there [in the Blessed Sacrament] as a victim completely and perpetually delivered over to sacrifice for the glory of the Father and for our salvation. Unite yourself with Him, then, in all that you do. Refer everything to His glory. Set up your abode in this loving Heart of Jesus and you will there find lasting peace and the strength both to bring to fruition all the good desires He inspires in you, and to avoid every deliberate fault. Place in this Heart all your sufferings and difficulties. Everything that comes from the Sacred Heart is sweet. He changes everything into love."

-St. Margaret Mary Alacoque

The Promises of Our Lord for Souls Devoted to His Sacred Heart:

1. I will give them all the graces necessary in their state of life.
2. I will establish peace in their homes.
3. I will comfort them in all their afflictions.
4. I will be their secure refuge during life, and above all in death.
5. I will bestow a large blessing upon all their undertakings.
6. Sinners shall find in My Heart the source and the infinite ocean of mercy.
7. Tepid souls shall grow fervent.
8. Fervent souls shall quickly mount to high perfection
9. I will bless every place where a picture of My Heart shall be set up and honored.
10. I will give to priests the gift of touching the most hardened hearts.
11. Those who shall promote this devotion shall have their names written in my Heart, never to be blotted out.
12. I promise thee in the excessive mercy of My Heart that My all-powerful love will grant to all those who communicate on the First Friday in nine consecutive months the grace of final penitence; they shall not die in My disgrace nor without receiving their Sacraments; My Divine Heart shall be their safe refuge in this last moment.

Novena to the Sacred Heart of Jesus

O most holy Heart of Jesus, fountain of every blessing, I adore You, I love You, and with a lively sorrow for my sins, I offer You this poor heart of mine. Make me humble, patient, pure and wholly obedient to Your will. G rant, good Jesus, that I may live in You and for You.  Protect me in the midst of danger, comfort me in my afflictions; give me health of body, assistance in my temporal needs, Your blessing on all that I do, and the grace of a holy death.  Amen.

Another wonderful practice to remember during this month of the Sacred Heart, especially for families, is the Enthronement of the Sacred Heart of Jesus in the Home

What "everlasting love" Our Lord has for us, that He has given us his very Heart to love.