Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Splendid day

I have no time to elaborate because there are other issues at hand but, wow, I have to just put these pictures here so I can look back on some future bad day and remember all the gifts of today.

We are blessed.

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Those "whims"

I subscribe to "Learn Our History" which arrives as an email each week and tells a daily installment of "what happened on this day". Not, "national Oreo day" or other goofy things but actual history. I have a very sparse history background so for myself, and the little ones alongside whom I learn, it's a great bit of information every day.

Today I happened to scan the entry and it involved Jumonville Glen, the site of the opening skirmish of the French and Indian War. Looking at it in more depth, I realized it happened just a little over an hour South of us. Sunday drive anyone? This is what I call a whim. Since it wasn't a church-specific whim, I didn't expect a lot of Holy Spirit intercession but, you know, He's God and all...

We went to Mass, I went to the gym, and around 4, we set off. What a glorious day to drive through the mountains! Puffy clouds, green trees, beauty everywhere. DH took these pics and it's no where near the majesty it was in person...maybe you need to visit as well!

This guy was actually near the Fort; having a snack.

We totally missed the little sign for Jumonville Glen and went straight to Fort Necessity, just down the road, and the site of some major fighting in this particular war. We got there 15 minutes after the Interpretive Center closed, bummer, but it was such a beautiful day, we were able to walk around the playground that had so many cool things...

We continued up the path to the actual fort (well, the replica. The French burned the original). I read a little blurb that said "it wasn't much of a fort since it was built with such haste" and it's true...kind of tiny. Still, to think that 263 years ago a young George Washington was walking the same ground. Well, that's my kind of living history.

Not a great day for the British.
This wasn't a specifically "American" battle, even though it happened here but, as dh put it so well, these were still brave men fighting for what they believed was right. I think it was a good prelude to Memorial Day. It's less about cookouts and more about where we are because of the bravery of people willing to give their lives for a cause.

Yes, you've been waiting for the Holy Spirit part, I know ;0)

When we were driving to the Fort, we passed, on the opposite side of the road from the entrance, a sign for St. Joan of Arc church. So, on the way back up the road, we took a look around. The church itself  was closed but the shrine outside was not...the shrine to Our Lady of the Mountains. What a beautiful little place.

The pond in front of Our Lady had a bunch of little tadpoles!

#1 decided this statue is Our Lady of Grace...looks familiar for sure.

Can you spy who is praying to Our Lady? (look to the right)

Is that not the cutest thing?
sweet little mountain church...I hope to get back one day!
The Holy Spirit was with us...the beautiful day, the time with family, the special Sunday spent just exploring God's creation (even in the difficulties we create for ourselves like war). It was an extra smile from above when #1 mentioned that St. Joan of Arc's feast day is in two days and the feast of Our Lady of Grace the day after that. What a nice memory we will have when we celebrate them this week.

Oh, and taking an alternate route home, we saw two of our dear friends taking a walk on this beautiful friend called "Holy Spirit" on that and I concur ;0) Look for Him in your life, especially when you're on a whim, you'll be surprised at how much Our Loving Father walks with us each and every day.

Wishing all of you a blessed Memorial Day. Say extra prayers for all those who fought, especially those who died, and their families. How blessed we are by their sacrifice.

Saturday, May 27, 2017

Mary's Month

I love this month. Even with the craziness of finishing school (paperwork!) and the rain and the grouchy kids who want to go to the park but it's raining...there is always the underlying reminder that this entire month is dedicated to Our Blessed Mother. How fantastic is that? There are so many great things to do during the month of May. We were more attentive to our family rosary, even saying it instead of evening prayer when dad was away (sometimes mom likes to mix it up 😇😇) and there just seemed to be more wonderful happenings around here...why not? Our Lady who loves us so very much wants us to be especially joyful as we remember and honor her.

You may recall that #3 had his First Communion at the end of last month. Just as his brother before him, the grace he received from that sacrament seems to have made him all the more eager to serve the Church. So, with two days of training under his belt, he took his place in the sanctuary, on the feast of St. Rita of Cascia. (kind of cool since we visited her shrine a few months ago, ahem). He did wonderfully and I was grateful to Our Lady who I'm sure helped him along. It was moving to watch my son begin his journey of serving her Son.
Big brother helped out on the first day ;0)
Of course, during May, there are May Crownings. We all gather to bring flowers to the beautiful woman who said "yes" and in doing so, assured our salvation. Are there enough flowers or crowns for that?

The first was during our Childrens' Rosary group and I was sick with the flu. How grateful I am that the leader snapped a picture to show me all the cute kids honoring their mother in heaven.
The Blessed Mother statue outside of church lost her crown a few months ago. Our dear friend (who loves Our Lady even more than me!) suggested we make another and place it before the end of the month. My friend is such an amazing woman. I am certain that Mary smiles every time this wonderful woman performs another act of service because it is out of pure love for Our Lady and Our Savior. How grateful I am that we have this woman in our lives.
Picking the flowers during the planning stage
Placed by the mysterious hand

I can't really believe she is tall enough to crown Mary!

One more beautiful song for the Beautiful Lady
May is extra special because all mothers get to share one of the days with Our Mother. What a wonderful day to remember the gift and responsibility we are given as mothers.
Church was kind enough to put out a photo op ;0)

Back to beautiful young women...our two have had some pretty special additions this month.
It's not great that she looks about 20 now ( baby) but it was time. She is happier because she can see and, as a 7th grader, she now looks like the studious young woman she's grown to be. (can I add that I l.o.v.e that the 80's are back?)
I'm sure the Blessed Mother had more than a little bit to do with this happening this month. Three+ years ago her sweet little tooth was left behind after she fell on the sidewalk just below Our Lady outside of church. Finally, finally her big-person tooth is making its way through. Thank you, Mother. It was definitely time!

And just because he is so unbearably cute.
Chatting with daddy in NJ

I told him we were on vacation from school so he set up his own desk. I wonder if this love of learning will continue come July?

Every May is special because we remember, in a most important way, Our Lady who advocates for and protects us. To close, I have to share my new favorite prayer that we've been learning this month.

She is decidedly not a lightweight.

Queen of Heaven, Pray for Us.

We are blessed.

Sunday, May 21, 2017


Friday was a crummy day...mostly because our new bathtub in our new bathroom decided to become, not only a bath on the second floor, but also a shower on the first. Ahhh. It wouldn't be so very bad but our other shower went out of commission a year or so ago and, since we were making the other perfect and new, we didn't worry about it. Bad plan.

I woke up on Saturday morning in a dark place with one thought in my mind...I have no friends. None. I have nowhere to bathe my children and I have noone to call. I get that way sometimes. When I'm stressed about something I start a pretty quick downhill roll to hysteria. Before I could even take time to refute such a panic-inspired statement, I picked up the readings for the day.
John's Gospel:
Jesus said to his disciples:
"If the world hates you, realize that it hated me first.
If you belonged to the world, the world would love its own;
but because you do not belong to the world,
and I have chosen you out of the world,
the world hates you.
So, yes, I do get that. I'm so unattached to the world, sometimes I include the people around me. Why, then, can I not be so unattached to bathing? Sigh. After ranting a while, dh, in his great love and long-suffering, worked out a plan...the bath would be fixed by next week. Grateful that there was at least something in motion, we continued our plan for the day...Open House at the Franciscan Sisters, T.O.R, of the Penance of the Sorrowful Mother.  We had wanted to go to this for a few years but this is the year it worked out. Ahem.

We pulled up a little late but just in time to take a short tour and then head right to the outdoor May Crowning. What a beautiful day and what an amazing sight to see so many families, interspersed with the Sisters, walking through the pasture to crown Our Lady.

After the crowning, we had a few minutes to just walk around, eat some snow-cones and popcorn, and just be quiet and enjoy our family and God's creation. I am from the country and there is a very big part of me that relaxes a whole bunch when I'm in a place like this. It is quiet and it is still. Plenty of room to just listen.
The kids had a vocation talk with the Sisters and dh and I spent some time in the chapel listening to the adult/hs vocations talk (do you know why their cord has three knots? obedience, poverty and chastity!).

Vigil Mass ended the beautiful day. The priest was Fr. Boniface Hicks and the very first few lines of his homily explained and reminded that here, we are family. Ah, yes. Perhaps as the world sees, there are few friends and a family that, well, is sort of absent. As God sees though... that's a whole other thing entirely. Do not see as the world sees...

How grateful I am that God continues to give me reminders that, even when it seems lonely, He is always around me; in the Holy Spirit, but also in the good people that He put with me to walk this path. What a beautiful end to Fr. Boniface's homily...that like the moms and dads holding their sleeping children during Mass, when we enter the silence we should be at peace because it is God, holding us with a love that transcends any words.

We are blessed.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

We're done

After our end-of-year Mass on Monday
The older two still have a week or two of online courses and there is a band concert tomorrow but the evaluations have been handed in so I'm calling it a year. Thanks be to God, we are done! Congratulations to our new 7th, 5th, 3rd, 2nd graders and kindergartner (who was absent for the group photo :0)) It was a good year, full of fun and new experiences. I'm sort of amazed to think we have completed five years of homeschooling but I can also say I'm finally feeling settled on our decision. God-willing, we will be back at it in a month or so. Can't wait to see what's on tap for year 6!

We are blessed.