Friday, February 29, 2008

a pro-life victory

I was absolutely thrilled to see this in my inbox this morning from our good friend Debbi Vinnedge. She has worked tirelessly in the fight against vaccines using aborted babies. Please pray with me for the widespread use of this company's products and the elimination of immoral technology.

Biotech Firm To Provide Ethical Alternatives to Aborted Fetal Vaccines

(Seattle) In a victory for pro-life families around the world, AVM Biotechnology LLC (AVM Biotech) today announced their decision to provide ethical alternatives in the fields of biotechnology, pharmaceuticals, and vaccine development.

Dr Theresa Deisher, AVM Biotech Research and Development Director and founder stated, “We will be working to bring commercially available, morally acceptable, vaccines to the US market and to use existing technology to produce new morally certified vaccines. Revenues from the vaccine business will also further the research, development and commercialization of morally certified therapeutics in other areas of medicine as well.”

The announcement was an answer to years of hard work and prayers for Children of God for Life, a pro-life organization that has battled to bring moral alternatives to aborted fetal vaccines to the US market for nearly a decade.

“There are no words sufficient to express our deepest gratitude to Dr Deisher and AVM Biotech”, noted the group’s Executive Director, Debi Vinnedge, who was also named to AVM Biotech’s Advisory Board for vaccine development.

While most vaccines and medicines are produced in an ethical manner, several are manufactured using cell lines derived from aborted fetal tissue with no competing ethical products available. Vinnedge noted this has left concerned pro-life families in both a difficult and unjust position.

“For too long parents who want to protect their children without compromising their deeply held pro-life and religious beliefs have been coerced into an unnecessary and unjust moral dilemma,” she stated. “No one should be forced to choose between these two fundamental human rights.”

Both organizations hope that the news will spark members of Congress to move forward with their Fair Labeling and Informed Consent legislation, a bill that would require full disclosure from the pharmaceutical industry whenever aborted fetal or embryonic cell lines are used in medical products.

“Every consumer, whether pro-life in philosophy or not, has the right to know if human fetal cell contaminants are present in the drugs they receive”, noted Dr Deisher. “Consumers should be informed and empowered to make the best health care choices for themselves and their families. Surely, if we have the right to know what is in our fast food, we should also have the right to know what is in our medicine.”

AVM Biotech intends to further assist in this effort by certifying that its therapeutic products are not discovered, screened, evaluated, produced, or tainted in any way by the use of electively aborted human fetal material, human embryonic material, or any other unethically obtained materials.

creative writing dialogue

Yesterday, after Mary had a lesson on quotation marks, she and Will huddled together and wrote the first chapter of a story. I read it aloud during dinner last night, Tim started laughing during a coughing fit and almost fell on the floor. Apparently I am the only one that has escaped catching the kid's cold from last week.

Imagine if you can this in pink ink and in lovely cursive:

"Hi, i'm Will," said Will, "how are you today."
"fine thank you," said Mary, "how are you?"
"fine. but what is your name?" said Will.
"Mary," said Mary.
So it went on like this for eight years!

So finally Will said, "I think I should be going now."
But we haven't gotton married yet! said Mary.
"I know," said Will, "but I MUST go now, my country needs me."
"But for what?" asked Mary.
"for clown acts of course."
"for what?"
"clown acts."
"clown acts, baa"
"clown acts, baa nothing"
and this for another eight years more.

(to be continued...)

Thursday, February 28, 2008

jumping up and down with joy, then a pause...

This morning I was perusing my favorite blogs while the older children were copying handwriting and came across the headline: Portland, Maine: Bp Malone implements Summorum Pontificum

"Yes! Yes! Yes! Thank you God," I hollered as I jumped around the room, kissing each of the children on the head, "A Latin Mass in Maine again."

The kids startled and then started laughing at their mother, who looked like a complete lunatic. But my worry over where we would go to Mass once we moved to our farm has been pressing on my heart for several years. Why couldn't we just find a town that already had a TLM? Well, we considered the idea of traveling around looking for a farm in the midwest, but decided to pray and trust that somehow God would provide. But when I found out from Karen, a devout Catholic mom of 13, that the elderly priest who was saying Mass in Portland was retiring with no plans for a replacement coming from the bishop, my panic surfaced again. What would we do? Sell our farm and move? Going to the local parish is not an option; if you looked up the words "liturgical abuse" in the dictionary you would find a picture of this church.

Now Auburn is not next door, but a 2 hour trip to Mass was not uncommon 80 years ago and we will manage it. I am so thrilled that the Bishop Malone has extended this olive branch to lovers of the TLM and we will do what we can to support Father Parent's efforts.

Dear Friends of the Noon Mass at the Cathedral:

As you may be aware, I have been endeavoring to provide for the implementation of the motu proprio Summorum Pontificum on a more stable basis and on a more extended basis in other locations in our diocese in addition to Portland and Newcastle.
I am please to announce that as of July 1, 2008, Father Robert Parent will serve as chaplain to the persons attached to the extraordinary form of the Roman liturgy residing in Southern and Central Maine. Father Parent is a native of Lewiston and a priest of the Melkite Catholic Eparchy of Newton, Massachusetts. He enjoys all the ministerial faculties of the Latin Church. Currently, he is the administrator of Our Lady of the Rosary Parish in Sabattus and St. Francis Mission in Greene. He will continue to reside at his family home in Auburn.

After July 1, he will be responsible for Sunday Mass in the extraordinary form here at the Cathedral and at the Basilica of Ss. Peter & Paul in Lewiston, and in whichever additional locations may be possible either on the weekends or on weekdays. He will be available for the celebration of the sacraments and sacramentals, including funerals, as needed where the provisions exist for these celebrations. The faithful having recourse to Father Parent will remain parishioners of the parish where they live. The jurisdiction of the chaplain extends to Mass and confessions of such persons. Jurisdiction for the other sacraments and sacramentals would be obtained from the proper pastor of the place where the individual lives.

The chaplaincy will be funded through the donations of the faithful at the Masses celebrated by Father Parent. The chaplaincy will exist as long as there is sufficient funding to meet its expenses. This budget is being prepared and will be communicated to those who will be benefiting from his ministry.

It is my hope that this will allow for greater access to the extraordinary form of the Roman liturgy. I am grateful to Father Parent for accepting this new position. I count on your support and encouragement to him as he begins his ministry among you.

May God bless you with his peace. Please know that you are in my prayers.

Yours sincerely in Christ,
Richard J. Malone
Most Reverend Richard J. Malone
Bishop of Portland

However, the more I meditate on this and read such posts as this one, the more I realize what a crummy deal we traddies are getting. We are expected to shell out for the privilege of driving hours and hours to attend a grudgingly given Mass. A Mass the Pope made a large effort to encourage. There is a huge disparity in income between city and country folk in Maine and the threat is apparent, if we don't put out, we will never get another chance at a TLM. The two Masses will only be 30 miles from each other, neglecting the other 33,900 square miles of Maine.

St. Athanasius and St. Benedict, pray for us.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Spring has sprung!

Here in North Carolina the daffodils are starting to bloom and the robins are pecking in bright green yards looking for juicy worms to eat. It is also the time when the children begin to complain about wearing turtlenecks and want to switch over to short sleeves. So, earlier this week I waded through the blue Rubbermaid bins and emptied each child's dresser drawers looking for gaps in their upcoming spring and summer wardrobes. Luckily I had plenty of hand-me-downs and thrift store items stashed away so our "to get" list was pretty short:

3 solid t-shirts size 4
1 dress shirt size 5
2 pair khaki pants size 4
1 bathing suit size 4
2 pair footed jammies size 2
2 pair solid shorts size 8
1 dress shirt size 10
girl socks
little boy socks

This afternoon I hit the children's consignment store first (everything was 50% off!) and Target. I found everything except the bathing suit and a pair of pants for less than $65.

While I did splurge on a pair of pink quilted snow boots for Mary and 2 pair of footed jammies for Will to grow into (they fit me now), I think the children have been economically equipped for the warmer days ahead.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

successful Low Mass

This morning we headed out for the hinterlands to attend the only weekday TLM in the diocese of Raleigh. The priest, Father Betti, is a pleasant fellow who is trying hard to learn his Latin and has his hands full at the altar. I certainly don't want to appear like a know-it-all intruder, but it was painful to watch folks stand through most of Mass because they didn't have any direction. To remedy this for the short term, I typed up a one page instruction sheet and brought it along. (Father approved it first) Happily, I saw people reading it and trying to follow along and other than having to announce at the Offertory, "please be seated," it was a vast improvement. My children did their part by being angelic and so were rewarded with lunch and ice cream at Chick-fil-a. Over time both the priest and congregants will learn the rubrics and I will be grateful that I was able to help in some small way to expand the Traditional Latin Mass.

homeschool carnival

The Homeschool Carnival theme over at The Daily Planet this week is political parties. This fits well into my car ride listening the past few weeks (and for who knows how far into the future).

I borrowed all 70 Teaching Company's History of the United States lectures from the library on CD. Right now I am hearing about the aftermath of the War of 1812 (lecture 22). It has been fascinating connecting all the dots I was taught in public school and finding out the causes and effects of policy decisions, elections, and scandals. Whew! I wrongly thought US history was just dry facts about a bunch of dead folks!

Monday, February 25, 2008

food prices on the rise

I have noticed while pushing my cart through the grocery two times a week that costs for food have risen in the past year, eggs have shot up in price from $1 to $2.60 a dozen, making me long for the day when I can raise my own Chanticleer chickens.

Luckily for our family's pocketbook, I have actually spent less money on groceries due to implementing the pantry system of shopping, originally found in Amy Dacyczyn's Tightwad Gazette book. By combining sale items with coupons and building up to a 12 week supply of shelf items bought cheaply, you can save 40% or more on your bill. Some folks think that it is too much work, or the sale items are things they don't need, but even make-everything-from-scratch folks use yeast and flour, and who doesn't use shampoo and toothpaste? (if you don't, please don't come too close) Now we are getting official word from the government and the food industry that prices will continue to rise, making cost-cutting efforts at home all the more worthwhile.

“I think we need to tell the American consumer that [prices] are going up. We’re seeing cost increases that we’ve never seen in our business.”
The comments highlighted ...that rising agricultural prices have reached a stage at which the impact will be felt not only on fresh food but will also filter through the supply chain and raise the cost of processed food.
US agriculture officials forecast that food inflation will rise this year at an annual rate of 3-4 per cent, warning that the risks were skewed to the upside. Last year, food inflation rose 4 per cent, the highest annual rate since 1990.
... wheat prices had previously moved from $3 to $5 a bushel without significant pain for consumers. “But now the wheat price has jumped to nearly $20 a bushel. These large increases will show up [in consumer prices].”

Some links to sites I utilize:

My sorority sister Genna's site specializing in saving at Harris Teeter and Lowes: grocery deals and meals. Since her first day of marriage she has kept all her shopping on spreadsheets so she can honestly say that she has saved $20,000 in groceries over the past 9 years.

coupon mom is a free site that gives breakdowns of each store and combining sale items with coupons. I tried the $1 for a month deal at the grocery game site, but found that the lists didn't come out until a few days after the sale fliers, resulting in finding empty shelves when I started shopping. Often items that were supposedly "on sale" were not, leaving me frustrated. Using a fee service encouraged me to shop at lots of stores "to get my money's worth" resulting in long shopping days and cranky kids. Quickly I realized my error and have since settled on Kroger and Harris Teeter as my weekly stops on Monday and Wednesday. I especially like to pick up a pretty bouquet of flowers at Kroger from the discount bin and HT is known as "the balloon store" to my younger ones for good reason. Most grocery stores have savings friendly sites so you can click on items from the flyer and print out a list from home.

The thrill of seeing "You saved 45%" on the bottom of your receipt, or hearing from the cashier, "Wow! You really know how to work those coupons girl!" is enough for me and the little effort I put into it is so worth it to our bottom line.

Try it, and I promise you will get hooked.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

race results

This morning it was 45 degrees with a dense fog that made me think I had been transported to London. Why was I awake and driving downtown at 7am on a Saturday? To run 4 almost perfect 7:30 min miles and come in 2nd place in my age group. Did I stick around for the award presentation and the free beer at 9:30? I don't think so, since I had to redeem my Valentine's Day gift from my dear husband: a manicure, my first in over 15 years. Boy, my dry, flaky hands feel good and look so pretty.

Thank you sweetie!

tuberculous ward

Maggie whining, "Charlie is going to cough on me."

Will muttering under his breath, "Why does it matter? We're all sick already."

I have had eager takers for Dimetapp Elixir so Sunday morning we will assess who is well enough to attend Mass and who is staying in the bed.

St. Blaise, pray for us.

Friday, February 22, 2008

teaching the facts of life

I have always been of the "tell kids the minimum" school when asked questions such as, "Where do babies come from? and How does the baby get out of your tummy?" Will and Mary don't know anything about s*x at this point, which does make teaching the 6th and 9th Commandments a bit difficult. I knew there will come a day when I would have to address the issue, but both Tim and I feel strongly about keeping children innocent and safe while they are still children. One of the myriad of reasons I was in favor of homeschooling was allowing my kids to not be exposed to a s*x saturated culture while still in kindergarten.

Well, it seems that even as homeschoolers we can't be left alone to decide what is appropriate for our children. A month ago I was approached by a neighbor, a retired psychologist who offered me a book for the kids. Assuming it was an old picture book, we waited outside his house and then proceeded to sell him a box of girl scout cookies. He handed the paperback directly to Mary and I waited until we were out of sight before I flipped through it. "Oh my!" It was a 1970's manual on s*xual education that had pictures and at least one paragraph that condoned a practice that is against Catholic teaching. I tossed it directly into the trash can without a second thought. I was flabbergasted with the nerve of this man who thought he was being helpful by giving my child information that is my job as a parent to teach. When we delivered the box of cookies he asked what I thought of the book. "It goes against our religion's teaching and wasn't appropriate." A few days later I found that he offered a similar book to our 15 year old babysitter as she was walking home. She mentioned that perhaps he had written the books and that is why he felt free to pass them out.

I thought the whole thing was very strange. After all, do you go offering books on homeschooling to your neighbors? But I was polite. However, as a result of this exchange, I have this nagging feeling that I need to have a plan to teach them about puberty, change, where babies come from... but don't know if I should get a good Catholic book on the subject, or just keep being honest but minimal in my information.

Any been there, done that from you moms with older children??

The battle over sex education in the United States continues, with some parents of students at a New Jersey high school challenging a programme that uses peer instructors. School district administrators say that New Jersey law requires them to teach a comprehensive class that addresses abstinence, safe sex, dating violence, HIV-AIDS, and how alcohol and drugs affect sexual decision-making. But one of the objectors says her 14-year-old son was uncomfortable with a session in which a student taught the class how to put on a condom, using a banana.

Last year there 244 disputes over sex education across the country, up from 204 in 2006, according to the lobby group the Sex Information and Education Council of the US. Programmes limited to teaching abstinence until marriage and not promoting contraception have been popular in many states, which receive federal funding for them. Chicago Tribune, February 20

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

appreciating dressmakers

Introducing Nikki, the American Girl doll Mary received from her fabulous Auntie Cheryl for Christmas. Last week Nikki was given several new pairs of shoes and a new nightie in honor of Mary's birthday, but still the girls were clamoring for more clothes for their dolls. So... despite the fact that I have only sewn clothes for myself that didn't involve zippers or buttons (leaving elastic waistband skirts and jumpers) I decided to attempt a dress. The fabric store had Simplicity patterns on sale this week for $1 and I bought several as well as elastic and lace. Why I began with this hard a pattern is beyond me, but after completing it I recovered enough to pull out some of the other envelopes to see what our next project will be.

"Perhaps a lovely and simple pair of pants?" I enquired.

"No, a tutu for Samantha," Maggie cried, "it is my turn!"

I'm going to need a LOT more practice runs before I can attempt sewing a leotard in stretch fabric for a 18" doll.

St. Anne, pray for me.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Carnival of Homeschooling

This week's Carnival of Homeschooling is up at Homeschool Blog Awards.


Our 5 year old is always surprising me with gems like these:

On the switch from sleeping in pull-ups to underpants, "I know God helped me stay dry last night."

"You know Mommy, I bet God loves people talking about him."

"If you commit a mortal sin, you go to Hell when you die... Don't do bad stuff Will."

As a mother knows her children better than anyone else, save God, I think Maggie might be the most likely of my brood to have a religious vocation. She is sweet tempered, always looking out for other folks, and thoughts of God seem to be forefront in her mind. Just as I have tried to nurture Will's gift for all things mechanical, I will do my best to guide and nurture Maggie toward what could be her calling.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

knowing and teaching grammar

I am so grateful that there are on-line communities of homeschooling moms to give one another encouragement and support as well as spread the message about this superior method of education. However, one thing really frustrates me and that is horrible writing and grammar from these same moms. After all, if they can't differentiate between accept and except, advice and advise, there, their, and they're - what are they teaching their kids? I cringe when I see blatant misspellings in people's posts, especially when they describe how they have put together their own homeschool program because others are too difficult. "After all," they claim, "I ended up just fine not knowing all that grammar and diagramming stuff." Yes, public school teachers are little better, with many who can't write well, have to take the NTE several times in order to pass, and in at least one case, have taught for years without knowing how to read or spell. But as I was reading the Seton Yahoo group lists, I came across this from a mom and just had to laugh:

I am using the xyz sixth grade syllabus, depending on the option that one chooses it does do formal sentence diagramming. What I mean by formal it the lines with the words on it some slanted underneath etc. The other option for grammar through xyz does a more modern way of sentence diagramming. xyz does stress that one learns there grammar.

Let me just say I am grateful we start 1st grade with homophones and teach diagramming beginning in 2nd grade. Please, please check your grammar and spelling before posting on the internet, poor wording reflects badly on the rest of us homeschoolers.

(this said with my spell check busted from overuse. If you find errors, please let me know!)

Saturday, February 16, 2008

reading circle

Reading God's Harvard, A Christian College On A Mission To Save America was a strange experience. I knew a tiny bit about Patrick Henry College from weekly missives in my email box urging me to send my homeschooler to debate camp, summer classes, and goverment classes on-line, but not much more. I have great respect for Mike Farris and the other lawyers and administrators of HSLDA and the college, but have always been a bit put off by their evangelical zeal that rejects those of other religious viewpoints.

The author of this year and a half long study of the college is Hanna Rosin, a religion writer for the Washington Post. While I can understand Mrs. Rosin's outsider-looking-in writing style as she is a cultural Jew and I am Catholic (neither one of us would be admitted to PHC), her contempt and condescension throughout this book is uncalled for. Her unprofessional sneering at the school rules, the student's political aspirations and dissapointments, any weakness in the character of anyone at the college is so blatant it makes a reader question if anything in this book is true or is it just a liberal hit job. Every page is peppered with her incredulity that these Christians actually believe the Bible and attempt to live up to a moral code.

I think this book illustrates the most to me is not the collision of the administration's and faculty's ideas of what a liberal arts education should look like, but the utter contempt of today's media toward all Christians who want to influence society. If we want to retain sexual purity then we are called Puritans or Jane Austen era wanna-bes. If we want to homeschool for any reason then we are lampooned as narrow-minded dictators in our homes. The liberals don't want us to choose our own paths through this life, they want us all to be like them: free from moral constraints and free from God.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Happy Valentine's Day!

A week or so ago our schoolroom looked like a tornado had touched down, leaving pink and red shredded bits all over the floor. As usual it was my fault, since I had signed up our family to make Valentine's for 18 other Catholic homeschooling families on the Ora Et Labora board. My suggestion that we make 1 big card for each family was firmly voted down because then Mary couldn't make cards for the girls by herself. She threw herself into the project with an organizing zeal never before seen in a 7 year old. She assigned cards to her siblings, "Will, make a card for John, he is 9 too. Charlie, stamp these horses on this card for Ben, he is 3." I was instructed to write out phrases they might use such as "God bless you" and "May love fill your home, your heart, and your life," so she wouldn't make spelling errors. She methodically added to her pile of "girl cards" and announced at 3pm that she had finished all 24 cards. Well, the rest of the crew had given up hours before, leaving me with 19 cards unfinished. But we worked together to finish them up and mailed out all the manilla envelopes in time to arrive in far off Hawaii and Oregon tomorrow. I warned the other moms, "They might not be of Hallmark quality, but they are from the heart."

So, if you get a handmade card from a small person in your life, thank them for all their work and love and thank their parent who bought the supplies, spelled Valentine correctly, and stood in line at the Post Office. We loved the opportunity to show you how much we love and cherish you.


There are periods in every mom's life where she just is completely buried by responsibility such as at the birth of a child, illness, or a big move. However, there are also times when everything should be going smoothly with school, lessons, and housekeeping routines melding together but the slightest change sends everything careening off into chaos.

In the past two weeks we have added several activities to our weekly routine and it has sent me into utter exhaustion. A priest in a nearby town started offering the Traditional Latin Mass on Tuesday mornings, which involves getting everyone up, dressed, and out the door by 7:45 and not returning home until 11:45, leaving no time for school. Will and Mary's Friday enrichment classes started last week, also eliminating school that day. While I want to support the priest's efforts (as well as offer our sacrifice to God) and want the older children to attend some fun classes with new friends, I have been collapsing into bed at 8pm most nights and still tired the next morning. I really feel like I just had a baby or moved overseas or something equally dramatic.

Likely I will get in the groove just as as we get ready to move. That is the way of the military spouse, but I'm certain there will be other obligations and activities to overwhelm me at the next base as well.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Carnival of Homeschooling

Is up at About Homeschooling. I think this was last week's edition, this week's is up at The Voice of Experience.

Monday, February 11, 2008

happy birthday Mary!

Saturday night, right when Will came in to kiss me goodnight he said, "I forgot the banner." It has been his job for several years now to hang a huge sign from the mantelpiece wishing happy birthday greetings. It amazes me that he always remembers, mostly because this is a child who still can't remember to get dressed and brush his teeth without 9 reminders and a threat of no breakfast if he doesn't comply. I shouldn't talk because while I remember to get 6 people's teeth brushed every morning, I have forgotten about the tooth fairy's obligation to put money under the pillow so many times that the children started leaving reminder notes on my bedside table.

Mary had a lovely gift opening extravaganza with clothes for Nikki, her American Girl doll as well as a cowgirl hat with pink leather cords. After supper we lit the candles and all sang the Happy Birthday song with Will's piano accompaniment. All in all, it was a good birthday.

As she gets more mature Mary reminds me of the best and worst of myself, helpful, caring, but apt to be bossy and display a hot temper. While I struggle every day with my faults, I hope and pray that if carefully nurtured and encouraged she can become much more good and holy than her mother. She will certainly need it, declaring her life's ambition to be a mommy of 8.

Saturday, February 09, 2008

great Scouts!

This morning is the Cub Scout pinewood derby as well as Girl Scout cookie pickup. Tomorrow is Mary's birthday, Mass, and more Cub Scouts. I thought walking around selling these cookies was difficult with the 3 little ones, but add in a wagon overflowing with boxes of yummy cookies they are going to want to eat...

I'll surface in a day or so...

Friday, February 08, 2008

my little gentleman

Today Will and Mary went to school for the first time. While they have been to programs like storytime and CCD, today they had to change classes. Mary seemed a little shy when I dropped her off at Fun with Drawing while Will sauntered into his Strategy Games class and immediately started playing chess with a little girl.

I worried the most about Mary on the drive home, would she find the right room # that I scribbled on a scrap of paper in purple crayon? I was immensely pleased when at pick-up Molly's mother told me that she watched Will walk Mary to her room for Ballet before he went upstairs to Essentials of Physics. They are both learning things, including increased independence and looking out for their siblings.

Thursday, February 07, 2008

clothes storage

Over at Danielle Bean's blog there was a discussion last week as to how to store and pass down clothes with many children. I figured out that I needed to organize the clothes after I started bringing home clothes for the kids to grow into from the base thrift shop. As a manager I was "paid" in discount bags of clothes and since there were more stuff than room, I felt free to help myself. Rubbermaid bins with gender and size marked on the side have helped tremendously over the years. When a child goes through a growth spurt in the middle of a season I can rumage through his/her bin and find something right away. A seasonal sorting day helps me to determine what is needed to fill in each child's wardrobe.

While folks with few or widely spaced children may wish to give away most of their clothes each year, I have found it useful to hold onto possible sentimental items. I guess I got it from my mother. A few months back we found this dress, the only smocking project she ever finished. As a child I was unimpressed by my mother's talent and hard work. Mary, however, is making up for it, she has worn it every Sunday for 3 months straight. When I asked her to please wear a different dress she started crying.

"Why are you upset? Do you like it because Mommy used to wear it?"
"Yes, but..."
"Is is because the dress reminds you of Grammie?"
"I miss her too sweetie. Why don't you wear it to help us to remember to pray for her at Mass today."

I guess it doesn't matter if everyone at church thinks the child only owns 1 dress and the rest hang in the closet unworn. Mother made it to show her love for me and Mary wears it to show her love for both her Mommy and her Grammie.

recipe for bruises

Maggie, "I have lots of boo-boos."

Charlie, "I do too. (poking around to count) I have 3."

Maggie, "I have 16!"

Mommy, "Boo-boos heal and then you are all better."

Charlie, "I don't want them to go away."

Maggie, " You can always get more.... Just run into something."

Monday, February 04, 2008

a bit of a letdown

Yesterday afternoon our family got dolled up and drove to Sacred Heart Cathedral in Raleigh for the second schelduled High Masses after the Pope's letter Summorum Pontificum, freeing the Traditional Latin Mass. The crowd was a little sparse due to the conflict with the Super Bowl, but I was relieved that we would not be so smushed in the pews. However, when the priest, Father Betti came to the lectern and stated that he had recently been trained at the FSSP Seminary in Denton, Nebraska and this was his first public Mass, I began to get a little antsy. The bishop extinguished all but two of the candles on the altar and when I turned around at the start of the Processional I realized there were no servers. No responses at the Foot of the Altar, no bells at the Sanctus, or even at the Consecration, and when the time came for the Communion of the Faithful there was no one to hold the paten. (an elderly gentleman who is in the choir at Sacred Heart in Dunn filled in) Mass was transformed from a spiritual high the month before to a confusing 90 minutes of pure silence. No one could hear much of the Mass, and if I didn't know exactly what was supposed to happen when, I would have been in complete agreement that the Novus Ordo Mass was the norm for good reason.

Afterwards I told the priest that if he had said that he needed a server, likely 40+ men and boys would have gladly volunteered. But he said that he trained to offer Mass with no servers. I might have put my foot in it when I told him that we were coming Tuesday to his parish when he will offer the TLM and my son Will would gladly serve. It dawned on me (with a little assistance) that in his 1 1/2 years as an altar boy, Will has only served a few times alone and those times with an experienced and gentle priest.

What have I done to my poor little boy?

Well, we will practice the responses and cues for the bell today and get to the church early so he can decide if he wants to try. He is not yet 10 and hasn't worn a cassock in 6 months. Perhaps I was too hasty in my offer, but if he decides to try and messes up we can offer it up to God just as well as if he did it perfectly. Please pray for Will as well as Father on Tuesday.

Saturday, February 02, 2008

quilting update

I have just finished a scrappy pinwheel baby quilt that used quirky scraps like balloon and crayon fabric. I recall pinning the blocks to the wall in our house in Italy, so it must have been started a year before Mary was born. I always find conversation prints irresistible in the store, but find it very hard to put them in an actual quilt. Of course the scrap basket is now overflowing again with these cute fabrics, but want to start a more adult project this time.
The new quilt I have in mind is a Union Star arrangement I have made two times for friends and have always wanted for our own home. This one will be larger and will have 4 stars across and down. My busy bee helpers, Mary and Will and I have pressed and sewed all 24 alternate blocks in just a few days.
My goal is to make the entire top only using fabric from my existing stash. You can see that the shelves are stuffed, so much that I could likely make 100 quilts from them. Since it was such a good experience sending out my last big project to a long-arm quilter I will take it up to the local shop in Maine to have Miss Nancy put it together.