November 28, 2012

Prayer Request

Someone emailed me today asking for prayers for a young man with 4 young children who is battling cancer and recently took a turn for the worse.  If you could offer up a prayer for him, I'm sure the family would be very appreciative.

November 25, 2012

Thanksgiving Dinner

Blurry Camera alert :(
 All the grandchildren. 
 Aragorn's side of the family knows how to do "family style"..... seriously.
 It's an "L" shaped table and accomodates everyone, parents, children, grandchildren.  Everything is passed all the way around.
 Cute table settings
 My girls went over to help Auntie with the construction of the candy turkeys.  They came home quite wired up, obviously having tried every kind of candy... more than once! :)

 We started the evening with a lively game of Lord of the Rings Trivial Pursuit.

 No party is complete without a skunk in arms. :D
 Then we had round of the good old fashioned Original Trivial Pursuit.
 I guess I forgot to take a (blurry) picture of the dinner food, and forgot to count all the courses that were passed, but dinner was a splendid array of turkey, chicken (since I can't eat turkey... waaaah), all sorts of side dishes and the best of all... the stuffing.  Then was the pie buffet for dessert.
 I guess this one didn't make the picture and was Sam's favorite. A Pumpkin trifle.  Sam is eager for the recipe!
 A day with grandma and grandpa is never complete without some dressing up.

Some being more dignified than others!  :)

November 22, 2012

The Realistic First Thanksgiving Dinner


Beautiful Fall

 We'll take 63 degrees in November :)

 She's not heavy, she's my sister....
I just need some help standing up again.
Mommy?  I'm stuck.

 Hey.... she stole my corn cob.

Hey, are you suppose to be up on the bales?
Sam didn't yell at us last time so it must be ok.

Happy Thanksgiving

As I study with my children various explorers, one thing that was clear was that the Catholic explorers would first put up a cross in thanksgiving.   Pedro Menendez de Aviles celebrated the first known Catholic Mass at St. Augustine, Florida quite a number of years before the Pilgrims held their feast.  Being good Catholics, it is probably a pretty good guess that following the Sacrifice of the Mass, they held a feast... (the first potluck?). :)

And don't forget to count your blessings, it's so easy to get caught up in the drudge of life, this is a wonderful day to remember our blessings.  The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass is the biggest blessing (next to God Himself of course:) followed by Confession, other Sacraments, priests, family, friends, food on the table, roofs over our heads, jobs, GRACE, Faith, etc., etc., etc...!

Have a most blessed Thanksgiving

St. Cecilia

Cecilia, a virgin of a senatorial family and a Christian from her infancy, was given in marriage by her parents to a noble pagan youth Valerianus. When, after the celebration of the marriage, the couple had retired to the wedding-chamber, Cecilia told Valerianus that she was betrothed to an angel who jealously guarded her body; therefore Valerianus must take care not to violate her virginity. Valerianus wished to see the angel, whereupon Cecilia sent him to the third milestone on the Via Appia where he should meet Bishop (Pope) Urbanus. Valerianus obeyed, was baptized by the pope, and returned a Christian to Cecilia. An angel then appeared to the two and crowned them with roses and lilies. When Tiburtius, the brother of Valerianus, came to them, he too was won over to Christianity. As zealous children of the Faith both brothers distributed rich alms and buried the bodies of the confessors who had died for Christ. The prefect, Turcius Almachius, condemned them to death; an officer of the prefect, Maximus, appointed to execute this sentence, was himself converted and suffered martyrdom with the two brothers. Their remains were buried in one tomb by Cecilia. And now Cecilia herself was sought by the officers of the prefect. Before she was taken prisoner, she arranged that her house should be preserved as a place of worship for the Roman Church. After a glorious profession of faith, she was condemned to be suffocated in the bath of her own house. But as she remained unhurt in the overheated room, the prefect had her decapitated in that place. The executioner let his sword fall three times without separating the head from the trunk, and fled, leaving the virgin bathed in her own blood.
Catholic Encyclopedia

I love The Golden Legend, you can enjoy her story HERE.

November 21, 2012

Children's Group Picture


Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary

Can you just imagine this beautiful moment when the Blessed Virgin Mary in all her purity, beauty and radiance was brought to the temple of the Jews to be offered.... and to offer herself... in consecration to God? 

We should all consecrate ourselves to God... and we should most definitely consecrate our children to God!  Religious parents never fail by devout prayer to consecrate their children to the divine service and love, both before and after their birth. (Butler)  If you have never done this, it is time.  Offer your children born and unborn to the service of God. They aren't ours anyway, they are His, we are merely weak instruments to train up our children in the Love of God.   And we will be ridiculed for it.  It never ceases to amaze me how far the spirit of the world and the spirit of the anti-family has penetrated in our society. 

Consecration of ourselves to God is a total giving of ourselves in the service of God.  This does not by any means mean that we are able to spend our lives in the church building on our knees but actually, that every act we do is either in the service of God.... or not.  We are either totally in love with God... or not.  We are either living for Him... or not.  Turning our backs on God starts with the little things.  Starts with each act of "I will not serve".  In raising children this is an ever constant battle.  And when we let our diligence down, the ever-prevelant nature of the beast is right there.  It's right there waiting to devour.  Devour our children.  I see it constantly every day. 

We must first have at least a simple yet real prayer life.  I always laugh that our prayers center around food.  We say our Morning Offering and Spiritual Communion before we say Grace at meals. We say the Angelus for Purity before we say Grace at meals.  We say our Rosary and Night Prayers right after dinner/clean-up.  I can tell it is getting near Advent, a time of penance because little practices have gotten a little sloppy.  Taking time in meditation, family spiritual reading, personal spiritual reading just getting missed a bit here and there.  Each little bit of sloppiness is turning ourselves bit-by-bit away from God.  Holy Mother Church in her great Wisdom knew we needed these times of penance to tighten up the belt a bit.  As I have been reading from Purgatory and from Hell for November I just can't get over how easy it is to get to Hell and how hard it is to get even into Purgatory.  And don't be the fool who aims for Purgatory, aim only for Heaven and then be grateful if you get to Purgatory.  It's not so easy. These souls in Purgatory are suffering intense pain for mere faults... others for sloppy venial sins, others for deliberate venial sins.  We can never do too much to purify ourselves on this earth and do penance. Pray for compunction.

But that these may be accepted by him, we must first prepare the present he requires of us, that is, our hearts. They must be washed and cleansed in the sacred laver of Christ's adorable blood, by means of sincere compunction and penance; and all inordinate affections must be pared away by our perfectly renouncing in spirit, honours, riches, and pleasures, and being perfectly disengaged from creatures, and ready to do and suffer all for God, that we may be entirely his, and that neither the world nor pride, nor any irregular passion may have any place in us. (Butler)

It is here that I would like to mention the Consecration of Jesus Through Mary by St. Louis de Montefort.  I would like you to seriously consider taking this consecration.  But first be sure to read the book True Devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary by St. Louis de Montfort.  If you truly want to purge yourself and purify yourself, this is, as St. Louis said, the "easy" way.  And believe me you will learn more about yourself than you ever could have imagined and my, will you begin to be purged.  The term I love best in this devotion is "Holy Slavery" or "Slave of Love".  But do take it seriously, it takes on the form similar to a vow, a sacred promise to God.  One line in St. Louis' book that really stuck out at me was the line where he talks about rare are the people who actually stick to this devotion.  He sure knew how to tap into my pride! :D

I will write more about this at a later date.  For today, let's consecrate all our little acts to the Lord, as Our Lady did,  that even in the little things we will never turn our backs on the Lord. 

November 18, 2012

Got a Buck

 Gotta buck... albeit a pointless buck... it was just a fawn, however... I bet it's a tasty haunch of vension.

Opening Day

 Yesterday was opening day for hunting. Well, there were other seasons but this is the official hunting season :D
 Doe a deer a female deer!
 Her best pose... ?  Really?
 I enjoy my moment of pride at a distance.  This year Sam wanted to try the heart. I opted for an Arby's sandwich.  He really liked the heart and apparently the baby did too.  Frodo enjoyed squirrel.  I did not enjoy seeing the remains of the squirrel when I returned. 

 We had a traditional "hunter's breakfast" of eggs and sausages and toast and our not-so-traditional "hunter's lunch of ... now before I lose your respect... this "not-so-traditional-tradition" is, shall we say, a family... thing... Balogna, "fake" cheese, cheap bread (which was suppose to be buns... my bad), white potato chips (so you know if they are dirty) and chips ahoy... oh.. and squeeze Miracle Whip.  I know what you are thinking, and it's ok, I'm thinking the same thing.  Back in the day when I made this for the first time there were no sequeeze bottles of miracle whip and it was placed in a baggie and the end was snipped off... with a dirty hunting knife I would suppose....
 "My baloney has a first name it's YUCKY, my baloney has a second name it's .....
 Galadriel and Eowyn went out in their oversized duds to try their hand at chasing deer.  Go ahead and laugh at us, we still have not gotten the timing right when on earth the hunter safety field days (or even a complete local course) are.  The 4 oldest did the on-line course and we never did find a field day.  But they can still do some chasing. 

A little less than desirable.  But will be real nice on our plates. I'm hoping for gyros, Sam is hoping for brats.

Holy Souls in Purgatory

Every November I pick up the book Purgatory since this is the month devoted to the Holy Souls.  It never ceased to amaze me that these souls suffering in Purgatory (where they spend time being purged and purified before meeting God face to Face) are suffering the most intense torments far greater than if we were to jump into a blazing furnace, sometimes, for minor faults.  Minor faults.  I don't know about you but I would not consider myself one who suffers in this world from merely minor faults.  It is rather overwhelming where to begin. 

From the Revelations of St. Gertrude:
"What! my daughter," [Gertrude] said to her, "do you not retire when our Lord calls you?  You, that have desired Jesus during your whole life, withdraw now that He opens His arms to receive you!"

"Ah! my dear Mother," replied the soul, "I am not worthy to appear before the Immaculate Lamb.  I have still some stains which I contracted upon earth. To approach the Sun of Justice, one must be as pure as a ray of light.  I have not yet that degree of purity which He requires of His saints.  Know, that if the door of Heaven were to be opened to me, I should not dare to cross the threshold before being entirely purified from all stain.  It seems to me that the choir of virgins who follow the Lamb would repulse me with horror."

"And yes," continued the Abbess, "I see you surrounded with light and glory!"

"What you see," replied the soul, "is but the border of the garment of glory.  To wear this celestial robe we must not retain even the shadow of sin."

As St. Catherine of Genoa states:  "the Divine Essence is of such purity that the soul, unless she be absolutely immaculate, cannot  bear the sight."

Befriend the Holy Souls. They are helpless.  Those souls you help release from Purgatory, you can be sure, will help bring you to Heaven.

On another note, this year I have also been reading from the book entitled Hell.  Hell is purely and simply the place of the damned where there is no return.  And I marvel that people desire to go there.  Count me out.  To quote from the souls damned for all Eternity.  "There is a Hell!  I now know that there is a Hell for I am there!"  *shudder*

There is a story of Juliette who mocked religion and hurled insults and blasphemy at religion (sounds like the world around us!)  "Juliette," someone said to her one day, "this will end badly.  God will be tired of your blasphemies, and you shall be punished."

"Bah," she answered insolently, "it gives me very little trouble. Who has returned from the other world to relate what passes there?"  Less than 8 days after, she was found in her room, giving no sign of life, and already cold. As there was no doubt that she was dead, she was put in a coffin and buried.  The following day, the gravedigger, digging a new grave beside that of the unhappy Juliette, heard some noise; it seemed to him that there was a  knocking in the adjoining coffin. At once, he put his ear to the ground and in fact heard a smothered voice, crying out: "Help! Help!  The authories were summoned; by their orders, the grave was opened, the coffin taken up and unnailed. The shroud was removed; there was no further doubt, Juliette had been buried alive. Her hair, her shroud were in disorder, her face was streaming with blood. While they were releasing her and feeling her heart to be assured that it was still beating, she heaved a sigh, like a person for a long time deprived of air; then she opened her eyes, made an effort to lift herself up, and said, "My God, I thank Thee."  Afterward, when she had got her senses well back and, by the aid of some food, recovered her strength, she added, "When I regained consciousness in the grave and recognized the frightful reality of my burial, when after having uttered shrieks, I endeavored to break my coffin, and struck my forehead against the boards, I saw that all was useless; death appeared to me with all its horrors; it was less the bodily than the eternal death that frightened me.  I saw I was going to be damned. My God, I had but too well deserved it! Then I prayed, I shouted for help, I lost consciousness again, until I awoke above ground.  Oh, the goodness of my God!" she said again shedding tears.  "I had despised the truths of Faith; Thou hast punished me, but in Thy mercy, I am converted and repentant."

Not many of us will have a chance like that.  Let's amend our lives so that we will meet in Heaven.

November 16, 2012

What We've Been Doing in Addition to Nothing

 Top o' the Evenin'.... or mornin' if you are in Spain.
 The kids thought I needed to see a picture of Frodo eating a bite of either squirrel or rabbit... aren't they thoughtful? 
 "I could eat you up with my kisses."  Just something I heard in a homily or 10.

 And I bet you didn't guess that what is on her head is a pair of leggings tied up like a newborn baby cap.
 Ok, now we went on a most amazing field trip.  If the Uffizi Gallery, Offering of the Angels (Creation to Resurrection) comes to your area (and it is only coming to 4 areas in the whole USA) be sure to go and see it.  It is absolutely beautiful and amazing.  We had so many homeschoolers in our tour I had to ask a handful of families to go on a separate day... that would be the group that included my family.  It might be added that my children didn't break anything!   It was so good that I am hoping to go back before it leaves next week.  All the kids really enjoyed it as well and answered almost every single question.

I'm still hoping to find out whether my friend Cecilia in Italy is part of the restoration process of this exhibit.

 Just stretching afterwards and helping little sisters.
 Because we have one of those gigundo 15 passenger vans with big tires I drove around for 1/2 hour before I was about to cry looking for parking.  We need 7 foot clearance... not these little midget ramps.  I had to add some things to my confession list believe me....  A friend of mine suggested I park at a church down the road so I did.... and they graciously didn't give me a parking ticket or tow my car. I think Catholic Churches give a little leeway to a 15 passenger van, it's part of the sympathy in downtown towards large families, is my guess.  It was a rather lengthy hike but was able to leave the kids with said friend at the museum while I did the parking.  That said, I did run into a priest and that is always something very welcome while walking down the street!  However, afterwards we had to get back to the van so if I was going to walk I figured my able-bodied kids could walk too.  I failed to look to see if we got any double-takes as this family of 11 kids plus an extra who was going to ride home with us.  I hope we made a sensation!

 We spent the afternoon with some friends.  At one point in the day we had 3 mothers and 27 kids. Are we awesome or what?  And you know what. There wasn't any fighting.  Here they are building with Keva blocks ... gotta get some of those.

 And there still was no fighting when the little guys were doing this (nerf guns)....
 ... and the towers ended up like this.  It was a great, great, great time.
 So, a priest told me recently ... and truly I thought he was jesting.... that on opening day to movies people dress up and that's why they (the priests) didn't usually go to opening day (unless it was to a movie that had priests in it, hahaha  we do have the funniest priests). I did offer to have Galadriel make some black priestly hobbit cloaks (or I suppose elven cloaks for the taller ones) but as it turned out, I think the offer was declined.  However, I saw one of my sisters-in-law who confirmed that indeed people do go dressed up on opening day. Really?  My kids were absolutely delighted to find out they will be able to wear their cloaks that day... in public... hoping that everyone will notice.  I've no doubt about that. Above were some of the littler ones working on some kind of  hobbit get-up  costuming.  I think they need a little work.

 Deer out in the field just waiting to become meatballs, gyro and burgers.  Tomorrow (Nov 17) is the "real" opening day.

 We helped put on an All Saints' Day Party... in honor of Halloween All Saints' Day...
 Lots of donations for door prizes.
 Our kids and some of our neices/nephews helped with heading up the games. They did a splendid job.
 Marigold would like you to know that she stole St. "Woocies" eyeballs.
 The traditional candy corn count... 312 to be exact.
 Marigold as St. Joan of Arc with her goodie bag.
 Rosie as St. Theresa with the rose toss.
 Cute little St. Michael and St. Patrick.
 Marigold playing the rose toss.
 Eowyn as St. Philomena manned the fishing pond.
 Virtue Games:  Feeding the Hungry with St. Elizabeth, I guess I forgot to take a picture of Building the Church with St. Francis
 Little St. Theresa
 St. George with his little wee dragon in his goodie bag.
 Sam manning the "Find St. Peter's Keys"  however, somehow the foam keys turned out to be a foam fish.
 Guess the Saints
 Color the Saints table
 Life does not get better than lolly pops.
 Lots 'n lots of food.  The pulled pork was particularly good.  Lots of creative ideas.

 The little blessed Mother and her little Baby Jesus

 Did I mention that life doesn't get better than getting a buzz on lolly pops. Marigold said so.
 She really wants you to see that she is a double-fisted lolly-pop eater. 
 Slurred speech... actually she doesn't talk she just gaggles but I think it was slurred. These were her first 2 lolly pops... that I knew of anyway.
 The food was yummy. 

 Parade of Saints
 The costuming was very awesome.  Even my kids!  However, we cheated. Auntie helped the big girls put them together so need I say they were great!

 Following the parade o' saints was a square dance. I sat on the side-lines and laughed my head off.  The little ones actually did quite well and they were so funny.
 I'm fairly well positive that these two were not up to much good.
 We know which of our kids are from which side of the gene pool.  For example, these 2 did not get out and square dance.... however all the other kids got out there, much to my HUGE surprise.  And what a good time they had.  The square part of the square dance lasted one round then they went to line dancing.  In the end Sam did join in the line dancing but Pippin did not step foot to dance even one hop.  But it might be explained that he shares a birthday with Aragorn so it might be a secret agreement.

 Saint Cupcakes.
 Ok, I couldn't resist this picture of the boy who was picking out all the little candy bits in the sweet chex mix (which was AWESOME by the way... .I heard that a certain sister-in-law of mine made it so I'm hoping she will pass on the recipe... it was soooo good.)
 Chicken dancing.  (my children wanted to know why people do that dance at all... I have always wondered, too)
 Lolly pop stupor... (you decide which... *chuckle*)
 Line dancing

 Drawing the door prizes
 I don't know but I did think it was funny that Frodo picked out as his door prize something donated from our "store".  Of course he knows that if he asks me for it he won't get it. The shoemaker's kids don't wear shoes (neither do ours) and the toy lady's kids don't have toys... or something like that.
 Bilbo and Poppy going through their loot.

 I just have no idea what this is all about.
The end.