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.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Beautiful Prayer to Our Lady!

(Say this prayer 3 days in a row and your prayers will be answered.)

Prayer to the Blessed Virgin

O Most beautiful flower of Mt. Carmel, fruitful vine, splendor of Heaven.  Blessed Mother of the Son of God, Immaculate Virgin, assist me in this necessity, O Star of the Sea, help me and show me herein you are my mother. O Holy Mary, Mother of God, Queen of Heaven and Earth, humbly beseech thee from the bottom of my heart to succor me in this my necessity (make request).  There are none that can withstand your power.  O show here you are my mother.  O Mary conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to thee (3 times).  Holy Mary, I place this cause in your hands. (3 times) Thank you for your mercy to me and mine.  Amen.

[This must be re-published so that the prayers of others might also be answered.] 

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Emmitsburg-- Home of Mother Seton

One of our final stops was in Emmitsburg, MD only about 15 minutes away from Gettysburg, PA: home to America's first native-born saint, Elizabeth Ann Seton, head of the first Daughters of Charity community in America and mother of the Catholic school system in America.

As we got there late in the day, we weren't able to see the relics and artifacts in the museum.

But we were able to see a few of the buildings on the property:

The first building the Sisters lived in, which really was just a stone house when they were there.

The second, bigger building they moved into, where Mother Seton heard Mass! She was able to have some input in designing the altar and proposed that it look like a cradle. This way the Sisters would feel as though they were kneeling before Our Lord in the crib at Mass.

The infirmary. Mother Seton died in this bed. She had it moved to this wall to be closer to the chapel in the next room
Mother Seton's original resting place. Our guide told us that a large oak tree next to her grave fell over recently, and fell perfectly along an empty row between the graves in the cemetery!

A very friendly cemetery bunny
More graves of the Sisters

We also learned that although Mother Seton died before the Civil War reached Maryland, her Sisters felt its effects. One day in 1862, the Union army showed up on their property 80,000 men strong. Here they camped out and were fed by the Sisters. One evening, the kitchen Sister told the Mother Superior that they had just eaten their last food for the year that night for dinner. When she returned to the food cellar, she miraculously discovered it restocked! God certainly takes care of his brides. The Union commander took up a command post in their building, and the Sisters were worried that fighting might reach their doorstep. In true nun-fashion, they stormed Heaven promising Our Lady to erect a statue of her if she would protect their community. Sure enough, the bloody Battle of Gettysburg waged 12 miles away, but never touched the Sisters.

Inside the Shrine, we were able to see where Mother Seton's body is encased inside a side altar.

Coincidentally, we also discovered that our tour guide's daughter was a Dominican sister who was part of the order of nuns who have been on Oprah recently (see previous post, Sponsa Christi) and had actually been the one to make the rosary given to Oprah!

Saturday, July 23, 2011

A Thousand Words

Sleepy Kitty has taken quite a liking to my new rocking chair.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Baltimore Basilica

 I recently took a road trip with my family and wanted to share some of the interesting sights!

Finished in 1821, the Baltimore Basilica is America's First Cathedral, the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary. When it was built, it was the most architecturally advanced building on the continent, rivaled only by the U.S. Capital building.

The House of God has a most distinguished history in the service of God. Under its roof were 3 Plenary Councils. The First in 1852 "extended the legislation of the Seven Provincial Councils to the entire country." The Second Plenary Council in 1866 (whose guests included President Andrew Johnson) "called for the evangelization of Native and African-Americans. The Third Plenary Council, the largest meeting of Catholic Bishops held outside of Rome since the Council of Trent (December 13, 1545-December 4, 1563), commissioned the famous Baltimore Catechism, which taught generations of Catholics the basics of their faith."

Fun Facts: The founder of the Knights of Columbus was ordained here, and St. John Henry Newman was raised to a cardinal here. Pope John Paul II and Blessed Theresa of Calcutta have both visited here.

Present in the sanctuary were the three signs of its Basilica status:

1. The ombrellone, an umbrella which was used as protection from the weather in processions (the red and yellow one on the right).

2. The tintinnabulum, A bell mounted on a pole used to announce papal processions (to the right of the chandelier on the left).

3. The Papal Coat of Arms (Just above the chair under the red drapery).

And a cardinal's red hat, or galero, hangs from the ceiling in the church (which is over his tomb in the crypt). It will hang there out of respect until it disintegrates to symbolize how all earthly glory passes! If you look closely in the picture above, you can see me pointing it (the hat is out of view) out to the Mamasita.

Underneath the church was a crypt that included old vestments of varying importance. One was a set of vestments one of the Irish priests had brought from Ireland, made from Irish poplin and embroidered with Celtic designs (no picture). The other vestments remind me of the ones I saw in one of the California missions. Wealthy women used to donate their silk party dresses for vestments, which is why many of them are floral.

Sweet, Sweet Crypt

Not that far down the road was the grave of Edgar Allan Poe at Westminster Church.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Auriesville- Land of the North American Martyrs

I just got home from a road trip which included Auriesville, NY, the site of an old Mohawk village and the place where 2 important events happened:

1. St. Isaac Jogues, St. Rene Goupil, and St. Joseph Lalande were martyred for the Faith. (bios here)
2. Bl. Kateri Tekakwitha was born to a pagan Mohawk father and Christian mother a few years after their martyrdom.

On our way to the National Shrine of the North American Martyrs, we discovered a small shrine to Bl. Kateri not far away. It marked the site of the Mohawk village she grew up in.

Auriesville itself was spectacular! On the drive there, I read aloud from Saints of the American Wilderness, which revealed the hardships and adventures these French Jesuits experienced in their quest to win souls for Christ in the Great Unknown.

Some spots of interest:

A cross marking the spot where St. Isaac Jogues was martyred (hatcheted in the back while entering a teepee).
That's the Mamasita on the left
Most of the trees have wooden crosses nailed to them. St. Isaac Jogues marked the trees this way as a means of spiritual protection.

The ravine where St. Rene Goupil's body was thrown after being martyred. Jogues tried to retrieve it days later. He first hid it in the creek by covering it with rocks beneath the water. When he returned, the body was gone (the Iroquois hid it from him). Eventually, he found the body had been thrown into a ravine, and he buried what he could.
A path follows the ravine
The large shrine on the grounds dedicated to the martyrs has altars built to mimic a fort with a final altar at the very top, where vines and branches entertwine it.

In the shrine are several relics and statues. This statue of Our Lady is from the French Jesuit seminary where Goupil and Jogues received formation. They most likely stopped to pray at the feet of this very statue.

Want to learn more? Take a virtual tour here.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

M1 Rosary: Best Rosary Ever!

Feast your eyes on the best Rosary in the West! Created by a priest we know, these rosaries should have been invented long ago!

"The Memory Rosary, or M1 Rosary, is a compact 15-decade rosary designed specially to "remember" your place as you pray. As the beads are pushed along the cord, they stay. Now you can pray the rosary through your day, without worrying about remembering where you left off if you're interrupted."

Here's how it works: 

These rosaries were inspired by army ranger "Pace Beads", which were used in the military to keep track of distances traveled while marching. The Memory Rosary is also called the M1 Rosary, which refers to different kinds of military weaponry: a soldier's helmet or rifle, or even a type of tank. In Scripture we read that "Life on earth is a warfare" (Book of Job), and we know from history that the rosary has proved to be a powerful weapon for protecting Catholics and combating heresy. The name "M1 Rosary" was adopted with all of this symbolism in mind. The appellation "M1" can also stand for "Mary, 1st among the saints" or the "Memory One" rosary.

Rosaries are $9.95 each (+$2 shipping) with special large family rates. Click here to learn more and order your own.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

A Pressed Petal

Fox Gloves have glove-like blossoms and are known as Our Lady's Glove. In France it is also known as Gant de Notre Dame.

Monday, July 18, 2011

From the Mouths of Babes

I was just flipping through the journal I kept during my teacher's aide experience, and I couldn't stop laughing when I discovered the second grade one-liners I had recorded. Thought I would post them here to share the laughs. (Forgive the crude humor at the end!):

"I think he was some kind of Confessor..." ~ a student trying to recall the name of Professor Henry Higgins from My Fair Lady.

"Will you take a late birthday card?" ~ Celine* asked me this with grave seriousness upon realizing she had forgotten my birthday.

"Miss M., my veins are vibrating!" ~ Isabel on her nerves just before taking a timed test.

Julianna: A hurt came to me yesterday.
Me: Really? Where?"
Julianna: It came upon me on my foot.

Julianna (with a big grin as she's pulling them up): Miss M., I was just playing tag, and my panties started to fall down!
Me, alarmed: Really? You don't want to lose those.
Julianna, waddling away: I know! They're my sister's.

One morning at line up, Hannah called me over looking very serious: Miss M., I have The Diarrhea.
The next day at bathroom break: Hannah: Miss M., I don't have The Diarrhea anymore.

Beth, whispering to me while in line for bathroom break: Miss M, there's something stuck in my bottom, and I just want to let you know that I'm going to try to get it out.

 * The names have been changed to protect the innocent

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Period Film Reviews

We absolutely love period dramas and were excited to stumble onto this website that offers reviews of many of our favorites-- and some new ones!

Check it out!

Saturday, July 16, 2011

So You Want to be a Reenactor...

Along with owning my own frozen custard franchise, one of the things I want to do before I die is become an historical reenactor.

Just having come off a road trip that included Gettysburg, PA, my current focus is on the Civil War era. I popped into a dress shop that offered dresses, purses, bonnets, and dancing slippers for historical reenactors to purchase, and I was in heaven. I also learned a thing or two about Civil War fashion...

When the Battle of Gettysburg ravaged town in the 1860s, there was a heat wave. While it was only in the 90s when we rolled through, it was hard to imagine wearing the layers and layers of clothes those fine Pennsylvania ladies wore without swooning.'s where we forget that women of the past weren't fools.
  1. The first layer a lady wore was meant to absorb the sweat.
  2. The large hoop under the skirt kept the material off her legs.
  3. The kind seamstress mentioned that if we saw any ladies in town rocking back and forth on their heels, it was actually what women did to get a breeze under their skirts.
I also learned that dresses were made from very vivid colors and patterns. The more well off you were, the more colors and patterns your dress had. Sometimes we forget how vivid these dresses must have been!

Click here for some beautiful paper dolls to print based on Margaret Hale's outfits in North and South (one of our favorite movies!)

Don't like those designs? Make your own paper doll here (this was really fun)!

Getting as addicted as I am? Click here to find out about becoming a reenactor.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Heath Bar Delight

"For the first time in my life, I am truly happy. I am loved for who I am, not for selfish reasons. I have the right to live my life in any way I want."- Lorna Doone

And we have the right to eat any dessert we want! Who's counting calories?? Enjoy this delicious recipe I found in an Amish recipe book-- it's the perfect treat for a hot July day!

Heath Bar Delight 

  • 2 cups milk
  • 2 packages instant vanilla pudding
  • 1 box Lorna Doone cookies; crumbled
  • 1 stick melted butter
  • 1 qt. softened Heath Bar ice cream (or toffee ice cream)
  • 1 container Cool Whip
  1. Crush Lorna Doone cookies and mix with melted butter. Press into bottom of 9 x 9 pan.
  2. Mix Heath Bar ice cream (let it soften a little, and it'll be easier to mix) with pudding mix and 2 cups of milk. Pour on top of cookie layer.
  3. Spread rest of cool whip on top of ice cream layer.
  4. Freeze!
  5. When ready to eat, let it sit awhile to soften.
  6. Pop in the movie Lorna Doone, as you enjoy her cookies!
  7. "Eat and Enjoy!" (as my 6th grade Home Ec. teacher would always say as the last step of any cooking adventure)