Monday, August 31, 2015

Educate the Ignorant

I'm not on FB but if you are, please pass these along to your "pro-Planned Parenthood" friends who claim, without PP, women will have no health care. It's important to be educated on the subject and there are so many who are without a clue. The second photo is just a good reminder.

Time to stop being afraid and speak out. We were just chatting in the car about the fact that God is loving and merciful but like any good parent, He can get angry when we are doing the wrong thing without remorse (and others are allowed to do the wrong thing without being educated).

God bless.

Every state looks very similar

Saturday, August 29, 2015

12 days, 2700 miles...Day 7 (Mr. Sweet T)

This whole gig started as our guess-its-becoming(happily)-a-yearly-thing trip to Wisconsin to see our dear friends and our sweet Mr. Muffin godson. Then, I felt guilty about going West and not seeing #3's godmother in St. Louis. Then, like a good home educator (with little background in geography) I drew a less-than-straight-line and came up with the Lewis and Clark trail.

In case you were wondering.

The point, if you were waiting, was that we finally  made it to see our friends in WI. We actually met up with them for Mass in the morning (which, of course, was the best of all possible beginnings...especially with these faith-filled friends) then headed to their house where we spent the entire day, plus some, since #2 forgot his shoes and added 30 minutes to our evening journey to the hotel. I digress.

I am sad sometimes that this special family is so far away. Then I remember that we always seem to have a wonderful adventure getting to them and it guarantees us a once-a-year visit (we are also lucky that they come this way at least once a year...score). The distance also allows us to make no excuses when we take the entire (!) day to sit, eat, chat, watch kids play, and just be with one another. What a gift.
Spiffed up for church

Hello, friend


Right, so you grow a lot between 1 and 3!

These girls love the goats!

Fort building

Half-hearted stink-eye ;0)

Drone flying


Makes me smile every time

Park fun

I wish I had video of DH "comin in hot" as our friend said...hysterical
Friends creating
Greatest pizza place ever...nice BIG table!

Heavens, he's cute
Happy #1, Toby! We miss you and love you so very much. It's clear that God thinks your extra-special because he chose the most wonderful family for you to join. We are blessed by you, one and all.

Friday, August 28, 2015

I like days like this

Wake up, chat with DH, have breakfast. Work on schoolwork, sometimes grumpily and sometimes happily (it was a joy to talk about telling time with Blondie today just after she flipped out about letter practice. She's not really one for repetition ;0p)

Walk to church, pray the rosary, put out the worship aids. Walk to Pamela's (pass a teacher and kids praying the rosary...have a nice chat). Eat a lovely lunch, walk home.

Figured they would go straight in but instead they asked for an impromptu art lesson. Leaf rubbing and sun paper. What a great job by everyone! Follow up with some bubbles and that's one of the best days we've had at home for a while. So grateful to be back to our home turf and home school. We are blessed to be together today.

 Very cool stuff. Thanks, friend ;0)

St. Augustine, Pray for Us!

12 States, 2700 miles...Day 6

Filled with joy that our family was reunited, we enjoyed a nice dinner and lots of stories of our travels thus far. After a good night's sleep (a two-bedroom suite - woo hoo!) we headed East after breakfast.

A little over an hour (and hundreds of wind turbines later) we arrived in Lacrosse, Wisconsin...more specifically, The Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe. Our friends recommended it highly and it was worth the stop. This Shrine was a labor of love of Cardinal Raymond Leo Burke. If you know anything about the good Cardinal, you know what you might expect. It was such a blessed experience to share with my family. We will definitely be back.

You enter into a mini-pilgrimage as you walk to the top of the hill, where the Shrine Church is located and along the way you encounter so many amazing sights.  
1st stop - Our Mother of Good Counsel votive chapel

Beautiful images of Our Lady in her various titles

Lighting a candle for our favorite (and all) seminarians

A bit farther up, St. Kateri Tekakwitha is waiting. #1 told me that Tekakwitha means "one who puts things in order"...good to know for anyone who might be struggling a bit with OCD ;0)

St. Joseph the Worker. Beautiful image of father instructing Son.

Just before you reach the Shrine Church, you encounter the Memorial to the Unborn  The statues in this area are heartbreakingly beautiful and the memorial itself is so shows so much hope that people would take the time and effort to remember their children here, in the loving gaze of Our Mother.
Our Lady cradling the little ones
St. Michael, protecting

Yes, there is a moral law! Killing is wrong and all life is precious!

My heart aches

We arrived in time to take advantage of the Sacrament of Penance (not that it would went almost the whole way through Mass. I don't like that.) then walked around a bit before Mass began. The Church, the paintings along the walls, all amazing. (look at the website...I didn't want to be disruptive)

See the closed gates?
The best part, by far, was Communion. It was announced that the tradition is to receive Communion on the tongue while kneeling at the altar rail. This wasn't Extraordinary Form, BTW, just their practice. So, you can forget about the priest turning back to the East making the congregation sit up and pay attention (really...does someone think that will help at this point in time with the majority of the people in the pew?) the thing that will make each Communicant understand the gravity of what is happening is the simple practice of kneeling at the altar rail and receiving on your tongue from a priest. Wow. There was total silence in my brain. It was so clear that it was an exceptionally serious and important thing. I vote for that to come back at any church that still has an altar rail. Ahem ;0)

Not going to happen, I realize, even though I will be praying for the miracle. It's a bit of the constant pull I feel for Latin Mass. Not so much that I'm actually going. I also feel like we need to stay here and help when and how we can. Thankfully there are many ways to help others when we willingly offer up our challenges.

We were supposed to move on to the Wisconsin shrine of St. Philomena which is actually listed on the "welcome to Briggsville" sign but, alas, we couldn't find it via GPS...I think Satan was jamming it up a bit. So, we headed to Madison, checked in and prepared for our wonderful reunion that was to follow on Sunday. Finally, our destination!

We are blessed.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

What's on your nightstand?

"The harm that comes to souls from the lack of reading holy books makes me shudder . . . What power spiritual reading has to lead to a change of course, and to make even worldly people enter into the way of perfection."
— St. Padre Pio

If you're reading the latest dystopian novel, may I make a suggestion? Call it post-dystopia if you like ;0)

C.S. Lewis's The Great Divorce points to so much of what is going on in the world today...and it was written over 70 years ago! The artist who can't enter heaven to be with God because he is too busy trying to paint glimpses of God in the world; the theologian who has lost all interest in being near God because he is busily trying to prove God's existence. So many people, so engaged in their world that they have lost the ability to experience God, even when the opportunity is directly presented to them. It is a fantastic work.

If you have only a small amount of time to read, isn't it important that the time be well-spent?

We are blessed.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

“The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; /blessed be the name of the Lord!” (Job 1:21b)

Today is the feast of St. Joseph Calasanz, a modern-day Job if you will. He did wonderful work educating poor children and in the end was rewarded with investigations, demotions and ultimately, the suppression of his order. His response was that of Job, the Lord gives and takes away. What an amazing gift to see that when you are dealt life's inequity. 

For me, this week has included one family of friends moving out of our immediate vicinity and a teacher who, after five years, chooses the week before classes to announce she resigned. The first was OK, the latter...not so much. I don't look forward to telling the little person who has known and loved this teacher for half of her life that, "well, that's just what adults do sometimes." Nice.

So, I'm working on my attitude. Perhaps I will pray to St. Joseph of Calasanz tonight to give me a more charitable heart. If that fails, St. Monica joins us tomorrow so I can pray with her for the strength of my little ones to keep the faith and fight the good fight, regardless of what life hands them. I'm so grateful that we have so many wonderful examples in the Saints to turn to in pretty much any situation.

We are blessed.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

12 states, 2700 miles...Day 5

I have been blessed in my life that often, when I'm feeling the most exhausted and dispirited, the Holy Spirit gives me a lift. Friday was a great example. Not a great hotel experience, kids getting more than a little bit tired of the car, me carrying the exhaustion of starting my fifth day with no spouse (I'm a really bad single-mom), the realization of being very far from home.

I had planned for daily Mass before setting out that morning. From my calculations it was less than 10 minutes away so we wouldn't have to get up super early and it would be a nice way to start our day. Unfortunately, when I plugged the address into my GPS it came back with nothing. I wanted very much to forget it and drive on but I didn't. I got out of the car, walked back into the hotel, and asked for directions.

Ten minutes later, we arrived at St. Michael's parish in Sioux Falls.

The chapel in which they held daily Mass was 4 chair rows, 5 rows on each side. I walked in with five kids so we were two seats short already. Two of the five were feeling ornery, which only made it more of a challenge.

God rewards all honest attempts at good. I know this because the priest walked in and said, "I have no time to sing today, I have to get to the cathedral (Sioux Falls was celebrating their 125th anniversary beginning that day!) so I will ask that you sing your favorite hymn on the way home." (we sang "Immaculate Mary") He then proceeded to officiate a meaningful and extremely brief Mass. Considering the behavior of #s 4 and 5, I was grateful.

When we were walking out and an older man approached us and said, "do you have a rocking horse for them?" I thought he was commenting on the need for me to find a way to exhaust the pent-up energy exhibited by tiny man. I told him, sadly, I did not.

Then he offered to give me one. I suppose I gave him an odd look, so he explained. He is retired and had 8 children of his own (three in one year) and now he makes rocking horses to give away. He just completed #95 and they are all over the states, including Alaska. He does all this by approaching families at Mass.

As we followed to his car, I couldn't help but wonder at this man. He found a way to use his talents to make children happy and give to those who could never, in any way, return his gift. I shy away from saying I hear God speaking to me but once I saw the horse, I knew that it belonged to our godson, who we would see in a few days. It was his first birthday gift.

Blondie trying it out in the parking lot

See? It fits him perfectly.

We continued on to the Corn Palace this day

it's not just corn...
We also visited our "home-parish-in-Minnesota" that evening. It couldn't have been more unlike our home parish. Even the patron statues were different!

Of course, we were so grateful to see our favorite guy that evening at the Rochester, MN airport.

It was a blessed day from start to finish. The people we saw, the experiences we had...there is something a bit more wholesome out there. Farming ties you to the land which must often tie you to God, since so much of it is out of your control. The genuineness of the people was clear; it was a gift to witness. As DH remarked, "not a Lexus in sight" ;0)

We are blessed.