Monday, December 26, 2016

Good King Wenceslas

I was just about to complain that there was no snow, let alone, "deep and crisp and even" but then I read the rest of the words.
Good King Wenceslas looked out
On the feast of Stephen
When the snow lay round about
Deep and crisp and even
Brightly shone the moon that night
Though the frost was cruel
When a poor man came in sight
Gath'ring winter fuel

"Hither, page, and stand by me
If thou know'st it, telling
Yonder peasant, who is he?
Where and what his dwelling?"
"Sire, he lives a good league hence
Underneath the mountain
Right against the forest fence
By Saint Agnes' fountain."

"Bring me flesh and bring me wine
Bring me pine logs hither
Thou and I will see him dine
When we bear him thither."
Page and monarch forth they went
Forth they went together
Through the rude wind's wild lament
And the bitter weather

"Sire, the night is darker now
And the wind blows stronger
Fails my heart, I know not how,
I can go no longer."
"Mark my footsteps, my good page
Tread thou in them boldly
Thou shalt find the winter's rage
Freeze thy blood less coldly."

In his master's steps he trod
Where the snow lay dinted
Heat was in the very sod
Which the Saint had printed
Therefore, Christian men, be sure
Wealth or rank possessing
Ye who now will bless the poor
Shall yourselves find blessing


This all started with a song that pops into my mind because today is the feast of St. Stephen, the first martyr (and, yes, there is debate about John the Baptist and the Holy Innocents...at least there was here this morning but we can save that for later) and suddenly you have an excellent lesson about another selfless member of Bohemian royalty and also a martyr, in the 10th century. See what I'm saying? Learning is everywhere, especially when the Holy Spirit gives you a nudge! St. Wenceslas' feast is September 28th, btw.

So, Happy Feast of St. Stephen and you're welcome for the added Saint lesson ;0)

Today we went to Mass and tried to go to Adoration (canceled for Mass) then had fun visiting the Creche downtown. You may notice that tiny man was not pleased. The clouds were quickly passing above the UPMC (US Steel) building and he was convinced it was going to fall on him. It's always something with that guy.
Wishing you continued blessings during this Christmas season. It's just begun! Go out and spread the Good News that Our Savior is Born! We are blessed.

Sunday, December 25, 2016

Our Christmas in pictures

Joy to the World, the Lord has come! Merry Christmas, everyone!

The meatballs are cooking in the crockpot and the bread is rising for another hour. I can sit here and blog or take a nap. Sorry, dear readers, but I really need a nap. Here's a quick recap.

Brotherly love ;0)
Eight years ago, we brought home our best-ever Christmas present. Yes, it's Advent but you can't really move your birthday, can you? So, feast it was. We are so thankful that God gave us this wonderful reminder of His love.



There are a lot of other feast days during Advent but, for one reason or another, they didn't get as much attention this year (sigh...no play for Our Lady of Guadalupe's feast). We were traveling over St. Nicholas day but he did make a visit to the hotel, and we spent other days making cards for loved ones and others we don't know but whom should know the love that God has for them (our homeless friends that we are blessed to make sandwiches for once a month). Throw in a little bit of really, really good music, and it's a excellent way to be God(other)-centered and have fun.






Christmas Eve and Christmas day around here usually mean Adoration, Mass, food and family. I subbed for midnight going into Christmas Eve, got there 20 min early, the guy after me didn't show, and the guy after him came 10 min late...2 1/2 hours of God time....alone. Wow, thanks for that early Christmas Gift! I was reading Interior Castle and laughing about how we are to make a conscious effort to dedicate prayer time to God. Every time I thought I was finished, He decided to let me dedicate a little more. Our Loving Father :0)

Lots of baking and making (I have officially melted the wires on my mixer...it was smoking while I was making bread this morning). Special meals that mean tradition. Passing these on to our children is such a gift to me. Joining with my mom and aunt, who will one day be absent from our table, means even more. God is so good to give us the gift of both time alone and family time.
Prune for my mom and #1. Sweets for the sweet ;0)



I'm glad the mixer didn't die before the pagach was done!

mmm...crisp and delicious

dough balls with sauerkraut = bobalki...not my fav.
Finally we arrive at today, the joyous day of our Savior's birth! Since we were doing the Vilija last night, we continued our tradition of 7 AM Mass today. We were rewarded with our beloved priest and a church full of people who seemed to realize why we were there (this is why we get up so early ;0)). Even the babies were singing...it was lovely. After Communion, I heard G whisper, "look Dad, the light is coming". Sunrise during Mass...perfect.

Home to open some gifts. I tried to push the idea of trying out the new sleeping bags but everyone ignored me. I am SO excited to see the Fr. Leopold Lego setup...meet them where they are...they want Legos, give them Fr. Leopold ;0). Many, many things for which to be thankful. God is so very good.



In case I need proof of how much God loves me...it's all right there :0)



I've been enjoying other blogs, recounting others' Christmas weeks. It's lovely to see how many different ways people celebrate Our Lord's Birth and the days preceding. What a good and loving God we have to make us so different but all with the same desire to draw nearer to Him. How good that He saw fit to send His Son among us. We are so blessed.


Wednesday, December 21, 2016

{pretty, funny, happy, real} Advent edition

Our Advent has been full of regular and irregular happenings. It's good that we're together to experience this blessed and crazy life.

Pretty 


Nothing much lovelier than a bunch of cheese and sourdough bread showing up on your birthday!

God's Majesty. The sunsets have been amazing lately.

After Catechesis, we visited the world's largest Jesse Tree. So cool.

 Funny


DH's first oyster...the next two went down much more smoothly. Lol. Love him  :0)

Funny in an extremely gross sort of way...like, "It's funny that anyone would make beer taste like this"

He's been really busy as of late. 
  

 Happy

 
Nonstop building...this was St. John's. Holy Door on the front and back and cry room behind the altar.

Snow. Finally.




Real


Wreaths at the cemetery have always been part of our Advent preparation. It's not bad to remember that after Christmas comes Easter. We all enjoy the Drew's hot cocoa warmup after ;0)

This is a photo from last week...the "real" is that the 4th candle is lit and you should be well into that quiet place of joyful waiting. Not there yet? Find a perpetual Adoration chapel and sign up for some late hour. I have midnight on the morning of Christmas Eve. Trust me, the grace is abundant and more than worth the loss of sleep.

My dear friend just sent this. Isn't it beautiful? We visited this grotto on Notre Dame's campus and, even if it's photo-shopped (I'm not sure it is), it's a wonderful reminder of Our Lady's intricate role in the events of Advent and Christmas. How grateful we should be, always, for her "yes". How blessed we are by her example of quiet humility and obedience to the will of God.

 Happy end of Advent, everyone. May God's light and peace be yours now and throughout the Christmas Season. 

We are blessed.

Friday, December 16, 2016

I love that God made creative people...

If not, how could we witness puppets that use terrible rock music to convey the miraculous story of Salvation?


We are blessed. Happy last-weekend-of-Advent!

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Yep, blessed

What a lovely day  ;0)

Mass with one of my favorite priests, who happened to skip the homily, allowing me to have enough time to... 


You know...I had the socks on!
Then home to my sweets...who "refused to start breakfast without" me and proceeded to shower me with beautifully (for people 11 and under) made cards, including one with an Elizabeth Barrett Browning poem (which made up for the "wow...48 already? " front cover. Lol) Little man said, "I have nothing to give you" /pout/. I reminded him he was a member of the 13 club and hugs are free ... all was well.

Dropped off our St. Lucy "cats" to some of our favorite people and dropped off the older two for Adoration (I can't imagine how bad #2 would be without it!) then home to change from gym rat to civilized person. 
Now I'm getting some help to look more like 45 and less than 55 and watching the snow fall.

Catechesis has been canceled! So, we wait for DH to arrive home safely, play in the snow, sit and drink a glass of wine while the kids and DH put the lights on the tree...our St. Lucia tradition. Pretty perfect birthday.
I'm an immensely blessed girl. All thanks to Him who abounds with love and mercy.

Monday, December 12, 2016

Ready for breakfast

They are pretty, even if they don't taste like much. My two helpers give me great hope that, in a few years, I can wake up and have them with coffee and not lift a finger!

I have my John 3:16 socks laid out, (Mass first), then home to celebrate. Bring it on, #48, I'm ready ;0)

St. Lucy, pray for us! I am blessed.

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Rejoice

Today is Gaudete Sunday. If you don't know what that is, look it up ;0) Here is the Introit from Mass today (sorry if I misspelled the Latin...spellcheck is no help ;0)):

Gaudete in Domino semper: interum dico, gaudete:
modestia vestra nota sit omnibus hominibus: Dominus prope est.
Nihil soliciti sitis: sed in omnia oratione petitiones vestrae innotescant apud Deum.

which means

Rejoice in the Lord always; again I say, rejoice. Let your forbearance be known to all men.
The Lord is at hand. Do not be anxious over anything;
but in all manner of prayer, let your requests be made known unto God.

Listen to it...do it. Honestly. We have only a few more weeks and it's not about buying, wrapping, or decorating. It's about getting our hearts ready for the birth of our Savior! Buy, wrap and decorate but do it with GOD in your mind and heart.

It's been a kind of fractious Advent around here. We started well and then, well, it all fell apart. Funerals across several states do that to you.

Despite all of that, thanks to God, we are home and well and someone special has a birthday this week. Then another the week after. Lol. Lots of rejoicing about to commence...as we prepare and have a few subdued pre-parties in anticipation of the big day. Which, ironically, will be spent praying and doing quiet family things at home. More on that later.

When my birthday approaches, the devil always likes to do the "why aren't you doing xyz by this point in your life" bit. Sorry, Satan. Not gonna happen this year. I am overjoyed with my life...a few good friends to talk to, a loving family and, more recently, these two bits of "stuff" I had to share.

Don't you love it when you find the perfect, PERFECT gift for your linguist/bibliophile? Me too.
YES, IT IS THE GRINCH IN LATIN!!! No, I couldn't believe it either!

Then, these came in the mail. Well, you can skip my birthday (except Mitchell's please) because I am topped up with joy...yes, over a t-shirt and socks. 

There is a series of races called Faster than the Pastor, A Journey to the Cross. They describe the races this way...

Faster than the Pastor, A Journey to the Cross is a fresh and relevant community building, evangelization effort and health advocacy initiative, created to bring our diocese together in a way that celebrates and exalts our faith and proclaims the gospel. 

Ahhh. Why don't I live in Minnesota????(Because, it's really just too cold). Well, it's OK, because they have a shop where they sell all this stuff and it's my new favorite. Here is my shirt, #1 race:

I know, right? It gets better, though. There are also socks that come with each race and have the Bible verse on them that corresponds to the event.  The Bible verse is the distance of the race...John 3:16 is 3.16 miles long. So cool. 



I decided a few months ago, since I'm big and slow and never going to win any races, perhaps I can use my time out and about as an opportunity to proclaim my faith, even if it's only to me (although I still like running in the town next to us with my "Got Mary?" shirt"). I've begun a policy of only entering an event if the proceeds go to a religious organization (like Little Sisters of the Poor - they had a race a few months ago in Baltimore...I did a virtual run and they got my donation for their aged home). I did make an exception with FTTP;JTTC but, you know, there is something wonderful about running with 
I continue my pursuit toward the goal, the prize of God’s upward calling, in Christ Jesus.
on your feet. It makes me remember toward what goal I am running and what really matters in the end. The best part? When someone says, "what was your time?" you get to reply, "oh, I run religious races...they're all in God's time." ;0)

Rejoice, people. Find God everywhere and it won't be that hard. If you get testy, Let your forbearance be known to all men.

I am so very blessed...and so are you.

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Christ be our Light

Congratulations to #3 who is clean and shiny after his First Confession. May God's grace continue to be a light for you in this often times dark world.



Wednesday, November 30, 2016

For you do not know on which day your Lord will come.

That was from Matthew's Gospel this past Sunday, the first Sunday of Advent. The first Sunday is traditionally the week of Hope. We wait in joyful hope for the coming of our Savior, despite not knowing which day that might be.

I got up early to attend Mass and go to the gym yesterday. I prayed a rosary before Mass and I was feeling happy when I returned home. Walking around the corner of my house, I saw my husband standing outside, waiting for me. When we greet people outside the door in our home, it's usually a bad sign.

"I have sad news...my mom passed away early this morning." Smack. Indeed you do not know the day or the hour. What a huge shock and great sadness. For all of our ups and downs, this is the woman who raised my husband to be who he is and she, mother and grandmother, is gone. Wow.

So, we push on in hope and know that she is meeting God and her husband (after 30+ years) and our babies that went straight to heaven. It's difficult. We drove all day yesterday to reach her 91-year-old brother in New Jersey so we could deliver the news in person. He is the last of the 4 siblings. It was difficult. We spent half the day there today before driving home through the fog.

The Benjamin Franklin bridge...Philadelphia is out there somewhere.
We will regroup and head to Atlanta for the funeral on Monday then push up to Philadelphia for the burial on Wednesday. It is a grueling schedule. We will all be worn out, emotionally and physically by the time this has reached completion. Still, is there another way? Life isn't easy but neither is death. It's only what comes after that makes it all worth while. We can only teach our children to honor the dead by doing just that.

So, a picture from the obituary guest book. 
Classic Marge
Your prayers would be so welcome at this time. Thank you.


Advent...the only time besides Lent when a pilgrimage immediately after a pilgrimage makes total sense. 

We are blessed.