Friday, November 30, 2007

O Come Let Us Adore Him

Tonight our Secular Franciscan fraternity honored the 26 deceased members of our group. Usually we commemorate them at a special Mass, but that didn't work out this year. Instead, our minister, who is a permanent deacon, arranged that he would conduct Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament so that we could have Adoration before our ceremony honoring our members.

I had to bring along Middle Sister and Little Brother, as TheDad and Big Brother had just left for a weekend Boy Scout camping trip (tent-camping in December, better them than me!)

It hadn't occurred to me that Little Brother had never attended Adoration before. He looked a little confused when our deacon brought out the monstrance. He wanted to know what the "golden thing" was--was it a birthday present for Jesus?

He knows that when we go to Communion we receive the Body of Christ, so I told him that Deacon D would put the Body of Christ in the monstrance so we could all say some special prayers.

Little Brother can't read too many words yet, but he insisted on opening his hymnal so he could ramble along while we sang "Tantum Ergo."

All in all, it went better than I thought it would. Sometimes kids can handle more than we give them credit for.

The Song in My Head

This comes to you courtesy of Big Brother's mythology teacher (yes, Big Brother is taking a mythology class at school. It's really a neat curriculum she has designed.)

"Did you know that the real name of the 'Can-Can' is Orpheus in the Underworld?"

So, now it's stuck in your head too, because I'm nice that way. Just spreading the agony sharing the joy.

I'm seriously hoping I get rid of this earworm before I head out to my Secular Franciscans meeting, since we'll be having Adoration and Evening Prayer tonight and I'm leading the music.

Time to Prepare

Yes, I am spending time today preparing for a season of preparation. That kind of boggles the mind, but I'm the mom, so it must be done.

Today I am making our annual Advent Chain. I've already located the Advent wreath and the manger scene, and I have them ready to make their appearance on Sunday.

So on my desk right now you will find:
a December calendar so I can plan it all out before making the chain
Pink and purple construction paper (good thing Advent is short this year because there's not too much purple paper. I'll have to make skinny links.)
A big pile of books--lots of important resources:
The Catholic Home
The Bad Catholic's Guide to Good Living
Catholic Family, Catholic Home
Usborne Christmas activities (the foil crown would be great for St. Lucy!)
Advent, Christmas and Epiphany in the Domestic Church (this book is great and if you don't own one, you really should invest in it. The background information, activities and recipes are fabulous!)

I work a little out of the books and a little out of our own family calendar. We decorate the house in stages and those activities are part of the Advent chain, as well as special treats on St. Nicholas Day and St. Lucia Day. There will be some opportunities for "doing good for others" and some time for just plain fun. I think I enjoy making this Advent chain as much as the kids enjoy the daily activities.

Are you hungry yet?

I guarantee that you will be after you stop over at Building the Ark and see the fabulous collection of Christmas cookie recipes that Jane has put together! There's more than a baker's dozen over there and they all look terrific.

We consider Christmas cookies to be "breakfast of champions." If it's good enough for Santa, it's good enough for us. They're made with milk, eggs, and flour. Nutritious!

My family is very loyal to our own cookie recipe, but that won't stop me from trying some of these others during the rest of the year. They're happy to eat any kind of cookie I bake--except at Christmas, when it must be our traditional cookies.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Sad but True

Jesus Gets Expelled

It's a great parody, but the truth behind it is just too sad. And it's one of the reasons why our children do not attend public school.

Yesterday my neighbor The Utz Guy told me that there's a program on local-access cable chastising our local library for removing Christmas references. Haven't seen that for myself, since we don't have cable...but I do know that the library is open until 5 on Christmas Eve. (My family is knee-deep in pierogi by that point in the day).

H/T to The Lady in the Pew for the link.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Mom Logic

"If you go around hitting people with your T-shirt, don't complain when it gets ripped."

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

True Love

You know it's true love when your husband, who worked late and is tired and has to prepare for a business trip tomorrow, willingly and cheerfully goes out after dinner because you beg him to buy you some "designer Advil" since the generic kind you usually buy doesn't seem to be doing the trick.

Little things mean a lot.

A Must-Read for Parents Regarding Media and Books for Children

Patricia Gohn's column on helping your children make good choices regarding media and books is up at CatholicMom.

It's a long, but very worthwhile, column. I like that she deals with different ages in different ways. With my spread-out age range, I have children in 3 of the 4 groups she mentions. I found the article encouraging and very helpful.


We're getting closer to the great season of Anticipation--Advent!

Usually I seriously dread this time of year. Too much to do, too little time, and too much Christmas already in the mix.

Well, it's not even Advent yet and there's plenty of Christmas--the All Christmas All the Time Radio Station has gotten started, my neighbor's house is fully decorated and lit up every night, and the school has opened its Santa's Secret Shop. Usually I hate Santa's Shop but I volunteered there yesterday and it was not all that bad. It was actually kind of fun, and I met some nice moms I had never met before. We listened to the Christmas radio station and sang along a little bit. So on the way home I turned on the Christmas tunes on XM (5 stations, no waiting for a good song), stopped to buy Christmas cards, and before I knew it I was in a great mood.

Hopefully this will bode well for the upcoming season. I hope that I can take all of Advent in the same happy spirit. I don't want to spend it frazzled and flustered and yelling at my family. I want to enjoy the steps I take toward Christmas.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Today's music for Mass

One thing I really miss, now that I am no longer a choir leader, is choosing music for Mass. It was a responsibility I always took seriously, as the music helps set the tone for worship.

Occasionally I do get to choose the music, and today is one of those days. The choir leader is traveling with her family so I will stand in. We're a mixed-voice group accompanied by guitar.

So what will you hear if you show up at Mass at our church this noon?
Glory in the Cross
Taste and See (Hurd) for the psalm, done by our wonderful young cantor
Shepherd Me, O God
Jesus the Lord
Alleluia! Sing to Jesus

Mass of Creation acclamations
Celtic Alleluia

Friday, November 23, 2007

Short-Term Memory Loss

I try very hard not to "rat out" TheDad here on the blog. I don't think our world needs any more husband-bashing or dad-bashing. We get enough of that on TV and in the movies. It's why I had to stop watching "Everybody Loves Raymond" even though TheDad enjoyed watching it with me--but I found that the more I watched, the more I became like "Debra" with never a good word to say about my husband, but way too many sarcastic ones.

However, I found this funny and I know he won't mind if I say it. You need to know that he is not good about remembering where he puts things, or remembering to bring things when he goes somewhere. This morning as he prepared to take Big Brother to the Homecoming 5K race, I asked Big Brother if he had his registration form. "Wait a minute, I think I put it down...somewhere..."

TheDad laughed. "He's got my genes! They all do! Barb, you're going to have to die last out of all of us, or none of us will know where to find anything."

That's a lot of pressure to put on a person, by the way.

This afternoon TheDad took Middle Sister and Little Brother up north to go to a movie with his brother and the 3 Girl Cousins. This gets him big-time brownie points with the kids and with me, as I've got some peace and quiet except when I'm chauffeuring Big Brother to miscellaneous Homecoming Events this afternoon and evening. I used some of the time to start rummaging in the basement and moving things around in preparation for next weekend's annual "Find the Advent Wreath at the Bottom of the Christmas Closet" ritual. First you have to move all the stuff that's in front of the Christmas Closet; you know the drill.

In the course of my rummaging and moving I found a nice bag that TheDad got at a computer event in 2002 (the bag is dated with the event logo and year). He always gives me first shot at these bags, and I was recently looking for a new one as the one I'd used for my choir music had gotten some holes in it. So TheDad gave me the bag from this year's workshop, but it wasn't quite The Right Bag. I lived with it, but it just wasn't quite right. And then I found this nice bag.

So I went to empty out the little bit of stuff I found inside. Receipts, workshop notes, a name tag, a 3-1/2" diskette, a CD, a highlighter, a Boy Scout item--nothing out of the ordinary there. Judging from the dates on the papers I found, this bag has not been used in about 4 years.

I also found a fork. Not a plastic fork, but a real fork from our kitchen silverware. Into the dishwasher! And there was a tie that has been missing for--oh, about 4 years now.

And the bag was still a little heavier than it should have been. I opened a pocket flap and found--a 3-1/2" disk drive! (He and his dad often swap discarded computer parts so they can rebuild PCs.)

How do you forget that you have one of those in your bag?

It sure beats some of the weird stuff I've found in my purse!

I Love Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving, and the fall-leaves-turning-color, are the two reasons that fall is my favorite season (It's certainly NOT because the weather turns colder, that's for sure!)

The other night I was on the phone with TheDad's cousin, whom the kids call "Aunt S," who wanted to invite us all to her home for next Thanksgiving. We both agreed that we love to cook Thanksgiving dinner, and that the holiday is a favorite of ours. And she explained why she feels this way: "You don't have to worry about any gifts, or any decorations, or anything like that. It's just about family and the people you love, and getting together. You can be thankful for each other and just enjoy the day and a nice meal together."

Aunt S has it right. So even though I hate to give up my every-other-year chance to indulge in my time of Food Nostalgia, we will enjoy Thanksgiving with her and Uncle D next year.

There's got to be some other time that I can cook a turkey and make all the special dishes that I need to put along with it. Maybe in February, when things get slow....

Thursday, November 22, 2007

An Early-Morning Thanksgiving Tradition

My sister cooks Thanksgiving dinner at her home every year. My family attends every other year, and in the off years we spend the holiday with TheDad's side of the family. Usually I cook, and they all come here--though there have been exceptions, like the time Pop was in the hospital. That year I cooked it all and brought it to my brother-in-law's house and finished making the dinner there, since they lived closer to the hospital, and the adults visited Pop in shifts throughout the day.

When you cook Thanksgiving dinner you have to get up early. There are a lot of details to take care of, and a big turkey does take a while to stuff and cook. So my sister and I have developed our own little tradition. Whether it's our year to visit her home, or the "bye year" as she calls it, we spend part of the early hours of the morning on the phone. Even if we're at her house, she's got so many guests and is so busy that we don't get to talk much. So we enjoy our Thanksgiving phone call.

I've got nothing to cook this year but I'm up early anyway. The coffee is brewing, and I just got an email from my sister telling me that she's awake, and that those participating in the annual Great Pheasant Hunt will be leaving at 5:45, so I'm welcome to call anytime after that.

It may be a while before I get to cook Thanksgiving dinner again, as TheDad's cousin has just extended us a standing invitation for the "bye years." I'll have to find another time to do a turkey dinner, I guess.

But the early-morning phone call will stand as our tradition.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Turkey Time!

Tomorrow we head to the Great White North (although I hear it's the Great Muddy North right now). We will enjoy a Thanksgiving feast of gigantic proportions. My sister is amazing that way. We will also celebrate our great-aunt's 80th birthday with a family reunion of gigantic proportions, since our great-aunt has 18 nieces and nephews (not counting their spouses) and an even larger number of great- and great-grands! And my sister invited every last one of them. Not everyone can make it, but there will be a crowd to help our great-aunt commemorate her very special day.

Wishing all who read this a very happy Thanksgiving. May we all have a safe journey and may we be truly thankful to God for all the gifts we have been given.

Gobble! Gobble!

We Interrupt your Thanksgiving Preparations... bring you some Blog Awards!!

I'm terribly flattered to have received some wonderful awards over the past few weeks, and now it's time to say THANK YOU, and to pass them on. And so, in no particular order, here we go:

The Mathetes Award for excellence in discipleship from Rob at Kyrie Eleison and Amy Caroline at Knit Together in Love.

"Mathetes is the Greek word for disciple, and the role of the disciple (per the
Great Commission) is to make more disciples. I'd like to take the opportunity to
award five other bloggers with this award and badge for acting in the role of a
disciple of Christ. These five all share the message in their own creative ways,
and I admire them all for what they do.

In the spirit of this award, the rules are simple. Winners of this award must pick five other "disciples" to pass it on to. As you pass it on, I just ask that you mention and provide links for (1) this post as the originator of the award (Dan King of management by God), (2) the person that awarded it to you, and then (3) name and sites of the five that you believe are fulfilling the role of a disciple of Christ.If you know of other deserving recipients of this award, and would like to start a new string, then please post a link to where you've started in the comments to this post. I would love for many deserving bloggers to be blessed with this recognition."

This is awarded to:
Esther, the Hawaii Catholic Mom
Sarah at Just Another Day in Catholic Pondering
Barbara (scmom) at Praying for Grace (and her recipes rock too!)
Denise, the Catholic Matriarch in My Domestic Church

The Reflection Blogger Award from Sara at the Estrogen Files.

The reason for the title of this award is because this award should make you reflect on five bloggers who have been an encouragement, a source of love, impacted you in some way, and have been a Godly example to you. Five Bloggers who when you reflect on them you get a sense of pride and joy… of knowing them and being blessed by them.

This award is for the best-of-the-best so consider who you pick, carefully. This award should not be given to just anyone. If you’re going to do the award don’t just write a few words and slap it on your blog. Write real thoughts about these bloggers and what they’ve been to you, and if the bloggers you pick have already been given the award, don’t be afraid to give to them again. They deserve it as many times as it’s given.

Rules of participating:
1. Copy this post.
2. Reflect on five bloggers.
3. Make sure you link this post so others can read it and the rules.
4. Go leave your chosen bloggers a comment and let them know they’ve been given the award.
5. Put the award icon on your site.

I pass this along to:
Jean at Catholic Fire
Donna-Marie Cooper O'Boyle
Christine of The Simple and the Ordinary
Our Lady's Little Scribe

And the Spirit of Christmas Award from Patjrsmom at Building the Ark and Barbara (scmom) at Praying for Grace.
What is the Spirit of Christmas, you ask?
Quite simply it is those that have a generous and giving nature. Those who care about others. Those who have a kind word to say or a broad shoulder to lean on in the times that others need that. Those who display the "Spirit of Christmas".
-from the award creator

This one goes to:
The Kitchen Madonna
Aimee at The Mother Load

Last but not least, the Nice Matters Award comes here from Aimee at The Mother Load.

I'm awarding it to Sara at The Estrogen Files
Milehimama at Mama Says...

I don't have 5 for each....but there's plenty to go around.
And of course, I'm a great believer in reciprocal giving, so if you gave me one of these awards, it's bouncing right back to you.

Thanks again!

Monday, November 19, 2007

Things I Never Thought I'd Have to Say

"Pouring your glass of milk down the toilet does not constitute Drinking The Milk!"

Errands, Errands Everywhere...

A long time ago I read a few books by the "Sidetracked Home Executives." One of their suggestions, in making a weekly routine for homemaking, was to designate an Errand Day.

That never worked for me when any of the kids were small (which means, continuously for the past 15 years). The kids couldn't handle spending that much time doing all the weekly errands at once. But now that everyone's in school, I thought that today would be a good time to try this concept. My rationale was that I didn't want to be anywhere near a supermarket or post office any later in the week, so I should get everything done today.

I left the house at 8:40 AM and went straight to the Catholic Grade School where I volunteered in the library for 2 hours. Then, the store to pick up a few things for the kindergarten Thanksgiving party. Then, daily Mass. Then I took a break and used a coupon for a free sandwich at Chick-Fil-A so I wouldn't be grocery shopping on an empty stomach. And then, on to the grocery store.

I'm not sure what circle of Hell I descended when I went into the store, after circling the lot to find a parking space and a fruitless search for a dry cart. It was like Amateur Night in there. All the people who don't know where anything is in the grocery store were in there, all at once, leaving carts scattered all over and driving up the back of my heels as I rushed from aisle to aisle. Thankfully, I had my list organized according to the store layout (a survival skill I developed when Middle Sister was little) and I didn't need any of the traditional Turkey Day Essentials.

After the supermarket, I went home to put away the frozen and refrigerated stuff and to find the papers authorizing Middle Sister to play CYO basketball on Sundays for the next few months. I had to have them notarized and handed in, with a $75 check, last week. (oops!) Then it was off to the municipal building to show off my horrible driver's license photo and prove that since I can spell my last name, I must be me. I stopped at the post office to mail a package and buy Christmas stamps (Madonna and Child stamps are lovely this year, as usual!) and then it was off to Target to get birthday gifts for my niece and nephew and snow pants for my younger two kids, for the one or two times a year it snows when you live this close to the equator. The birthday kids got books, since I am leery of buying toys right now, and both kids got black boys' snow pants for ease of hand-me-downs.

And then I came home, and did some laundry, changed my shoes, and put on some (decaffeinated) coffee.

I like errands, but not all at once. I really like spending a bigger hunk of the day at home, and having one or two errands to do on any given day. Sorry, Sidetracked Home Executives. Errand Day is not for me.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Pancakes, Cans and Bad Attitudes

This morning the Boy Scouts are collecting non-perishable foods for "Scouting for Food" after all the Masses at their sponsoring parish--an event that helps many, many people who really need it.

Big Brother had a really bad attitude this morning, didn't want to wake up, and was apparently nasty enough to TheDad that he was taken home and sent back to bed.

Middle Sister and Best Friend were apparently up very late last night and they're fairly reluctant to wake up this morning so we can all attend a Pancake Breakfast at our parish--an event that is both a fun gathering and a way to help stock our local food pantry, as each guest at the breakfast is asked to bring a food-item donation. "Why do we have to go so early? Why can't we go later? Why do we have to work around the Boy Scouts so the whole family can have breakfast together?"

So the Big Kids are cranky and nasty. They're not very willing to help others today. They're not even very willing to enjoy a nice breakfast with our family and friends from church.

One thing's for sure. Little Brother will not be missing his pancakes. But as for the others, they may find TheDad and me a little less willing to jump today when they need a ride to something they want to attend. We might want to put our feet up and rest--especially TheDad who is fighting a cold, but is out there on this chilly, rainy morning to help the Boy Scouts load donated food into a truck.

I hope that by the time they wake up, they will have better attitudes. Hopefully, so will I, because I'm pretty angry right now.

I think my Big Kids need a good lesson in Cheerfully Helping Others.

My Rant on the Toy Recall

There was an article in my paper yesterday. Maybe it was also in yours. "Poor toy industry. These recalls are happening at the worst time."

I don't feel sorry for them. And I'd be even more outraged if this happened AFTER Christmas when children are loaded up with new toys and maybe have done damage to themselves by playing with these tainted items.

Worst time for the industry, maybe. But BEST time for parents, in my opinion. This way we have time to be cautious before we buy, instead of worrying about it later and having to take a treasured new toy away from a confused child.

The toy industry needs to look into its production and quality control procedures to make sure this kind of thing doesn't happen again. It's not enough to remove items from the shelves. Make sure the bad ones don't get there in the first place.

Right now, I don't have much faith in their ability to do that. I feel that safety is second to their bottom line, and that only when safety concerns affect their bottom line will they address those concerns.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Now Hear This

The following notice is hanging on the television in the family room right now. When my children come home from the various places they've spent Saturday afternoon, they will read (or have read to them, in Little Brother's case):

If you are old enough to carry food and drink out of the kitchen,

Then you are old enough to return your cans, bottles, cups, dishes, bowls, and trash to the kitchen when you are done.

See to it. The Great Oz has spoken.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Things You Worry About When You're 5

Little Brother was looking through his pile of school papers that have come home this week. (At the end of the week we put it in a drawer in his room, and I secretly "weed out" some things.) One of the papers was from his religion book, and he noticed that the blank spaces, usually for "draw a picture" assignments, had not been filled up. He asked me what it was for, and I read the directions. "This is a place to put a picture of your family and tell why you love them."

It was really a place for a photograph but Little Brother decided he wanted to draw people in that space. But it was not a large space, and he still draws things large. So after he drew his brother and sister, he was out of room. He worried about this. "Mom, if I don't draw everybody, does it mean I don't love them?"

Wednesday, November 14, 2007


Obviously, the more caffeine I consume, the more energy I have. TheDad came home early yesterday afternoon to find me dozing on the couch. I've been gradually decaffeinating, and Monday was the last day I had coffee with any caffeine in it (I was down below half-caff at that point--no cold turkey here). Even with my earnest attempt to make up the caffeine deficit through Halloween-candy consumption, I'm feeling the lack.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Sunday, November 11, 2007


I don't get to Confession very often. Partly that is because Saturday afternoons are the absolute worst time for me to go anywhere. That's with or without a Notre Dame football game, which has pretty much turned into a Near Occasion of Sin these days. I'm as die-hard a fan as they come without purchasing those blue-and-gold plaid pants, but it's really getting tough to watch a game without resorting to the kind of language that gets a movie a PG-13 rating.

So yesterday I walked away from the television and took myself to Confession. It was way past time to do that. But I left there feeling kind of "disappointed." My former confessor has moved away (a year ago) and this priest...well, Confession is not his strong suit, I guess. I had come to expect to be challenged a little, at the sacrament. Instead, I felt like I was just "assembly-lined" through. But I don't want to let my disappointment eat away at me. I am trying to remember that Father is a very good priest, and pastor, in many other ways. He can't be good at everything.

So, a confession about Confession: I was so busy focusing on "what I get out of it" that I missed what I really do get out of it: grace. I didn't meet St. John Vianney in the Reconciliation Room yesterday. But I did confess my sins; I made a good Act of Contrition; and I was absolved in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

I realize now that instead of whipping through the small penance I was given, I should have taken the time to do a little work on my soul.

Next time I won't wait so long, and I won't let my expectations get in the way of the sacrament.

New Altar-Server Function

Middle Sister is getting ready for church. She can't find the "just-right" hair elastic to hold her ponytail. She's an altar server, and she likes to have her hair up when she's serving.

"Here's one," she said. "But it's really tight. And this kind really hurts when you fling them at if anyone misbehaves in church...."

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Question of the Day

"How long would it take," wondered Little Brother, "to cook a can of root beer in the microwave?"

(I am so glad that my microwave is above the stove, and he'd have a really hard time reaching it without being detected.)

Great Links!

Lisa at Catholic Mom Moments tipped me to "Ten Simple Ways to Make Your Home Prayer Friendly." My home could stand to be more friendly, for sure.

With Advent coming along faster than I'm ready to think about it, O Night Divine is a wonderful resource. I found this one partway through Advent last year, and too late to do some of the activities. Maybe this year I'll get to make the super-cool Advent wreath. Complete with photo instructions, this is a lovely project. Middle Sister could probably do most of this on her own.

I ordered my new planner for 2008. I am SO impressed with these planners. I've been using them since June and this is the longest I've actually hung in there with the same planner, much less ordered one for the next year. The pages are super-heavy duty, so if you like to use gel-ink pens like I do, you won't have any ink leaking through. Plus the planner fits in my purse (even my small purse!) And a percentage of all profits through the end of the year go to Lily of the Valley Orphanages.

The other night we watched Evan Almighty. I was reluctant, having seen--and hated--Bruce Almighty. The good news is, this movie was much better, and way more family-friendly. I particularly liked the scene where "God" appeared to "Evan's wife" in a restaurant and helped her understand why her husband was doing what he was doing--sacrificing his ambitions and reputation in order to follow God and change the world. Ultimately, the movie had a positive message.

Gone to Confession lately? TwoEdgeTalk's podcast this week is on the topic of Confession.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Did You Ever Think...

you'd see me admitting that video games might be the way to go this Christmas?

Obviously, toys are out of the question. They contain lead, or little magnets, or the date-rape drug! (I had been thinking of picking up one or 2 of those kits, for certain cousins on my list. Not anymore!)

I can buy books for the children on my list--but not The Golden Compass series. I won't put money in that author's pocket.

Maybe it's time to go back to the "Little House on the Prairie" tradition of oranges and walnuts in the stockings.

I'm just thankful that I only have one child in the "toy-wanting" age group, though there are plenty of cousins that young as well.

Thanks to Milehimama for the links.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Feed a Cold, Starve a Fever--but Save Her an Apple Puff!

Middle Sister is home sick from school today, with the Virus The Pediatrician Has Seen All Day Long--though he said she appeared sickest of all the kids he'd seen today. She's got a fever, sore throat, cough, headache, and no appetite.

She's eaten almost nothing all day, though she's been drinking water and iced tea to stay hydrated. But a few minutes ago, when she came into the kitchen to dose up on acetaminophen, she saw the box of Apple Puffs on the table. These treats come 6 to a box--and there was only one left.

Grabbing her favorite purple Sharpie, she wrote all over the box: "Middle Sister's Puff. Do not eat, or else! DEAL!"

I'm sure some smart-aleck in the house will eat it anyway, but those things get stale fast. When she gets better, I'll be very happy to go to the supermarket for another box. (Even if they're no longer on sale.)

Meanwhile, this might be motivation to her to get better faster, before someone beats her to her apple treat.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Admiriation Does Not Equal Aspiration

Little Brother and I were in the car today, and he was telling me in great detail about the "safeties" who help out on the school playground and the bus. Apparently they have all kinds of bus privileges like picking the best seat and making sure the little kids get off at the right stops.

His tone was admiring, so I asked him if he was going to be a "safety" when he gets big.

"No! I'm going to be a football player."

Feast of All Souls of the Seraphic Order

Lisa, sfo reminds us that yesterday was the feast of All Souls of the Seraphic Order. She has posted the Litany to the Saints of the Seraphic Order, that we may pray it on behalf of the souls of our fellow Franciscans.

Let the members (who are) fellow city-dwellers, guests or hosts convene at the funeral of a deceased member, and together recite the Marian prayers instituted by Father Dominic, that is the Rosary, a third part for the heavenly solace of the deceased. Likewise let the priests during the divine service, (and) the laity, if they can, having received the Eucharist, pray piously (and) willingly for the sempiternal peace of (their) departed brother.

Brother Pio reminds us that the Rosary would also be an appropriate prayer in this instance, as St. Francis recommended in the earlier rule of Leo XIII and Nicholas IV.

I'm sure that being a day late in beginning these prayers will not matter...better late than never, especially where prayer is concerned!

Just Me and My Buddy

Sounds like the title of a "Little Critter" book, doesn't it? Well, that's fine. I've always been a sucker for Little Critter. He's so cute! And so real!

This morning I'll be going grocery shopping with my own Little Critter (Little Brother, that is.) His school is closed today, Middle Sister's at a friend's house and Big Brother is in school. That's amazing in itself, since his school closes at the drop of a hat.

I enjoy grocery shopping and I particularly like it when I get to do that job solo. I enjoy making my list, checking it twice, finding the right coupons to match with the sales and making sure everyone will have some favorite thing to enjoy when I get home.

But today when I told Little Brother that we had to do some grocery shopping, he was happy. "Can I get a donut?" he asked.

And that's when I realized that I really do miss his company in the store. Sometimes it's nice to have a Little Critter along, especially when he has chocolate-donut icing on his nose and chin, and he's singing the alphabet song all the way down the canned-goods aisle. Maybe our favorite cashier will be working--the one whose grandson shares his name with Little Brother. If she is, we'll definitely get into her line.

Maybe I'll get a donut for myself, too.

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Geniuses Read This

cash advance

My high-school vocabulary teacher would be proud of me. We were all required to take a once-a-week vocabulary enrichment course until January of senior year. Apparently, it paid off.

H/T Michelle at Rosetta Stone, who also has a genius-reading-level blog

Friday, November 02, 2007

Just an Observation or Two

1. It's not a good idea to decaffeinate yourself, even gradually, during the week that includes Halloween. I think I counteracted my "half-caff" with all the Whoppers, Snickers and Butterfingers I consumed today.

2. I'd better move that candy bowl. It's very dangerous to keep my bowl of Kids' Halloween Rejects near my desk. Very dangerous indeed. How dangerous, you ask? Well, I've emptied the trash basket under my desk twice today to hide the evidence.

Just a Reminder

Courtesy of faithmouse.

A wonderful reminder on All Souls' Day, don't you think? Take a moment today to pray for the Faithful Departed. God loves them this much, too. And as Father H. reminded us this morning, God wants all of us in Heaven with Him.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Celebrating the Faithful Departed

Tomorrow is the feast of All Souls.

"On this day is observed the commemoration of the faithful departed, in which our common and pious Mother the Church, immediately after having endeavored to celebrate by worthy praise all her children who already rejoice in heaven, strives to aid by her powerful intercession with Christ, her Lord and Spouse, all those who still groan in Purgatory, so that they may join as soon as possible the inhabitants of the heavenly city." — Roman Martyrology

I'll be in church tomorrow--but for a funeral. I'll be honoring one of our parish's Faithful Departed. Her name is Helen, and she passed away Sunday morning after a long illness.

I met Helen when Big Brother was 4 or 5, and I was working at the school's Bingo. She and I worked in the Bingo kitchen together, every 5th week. I'm sure she had well over 40 years on any of the parents in that kitchen, but she worked circles around all of us. If there was a break in the action of selling coffee, tea and hot dogs with sauerkraut, she'd get out some Brillo and start scrubbing the 9-burner industrial stove. That thing got a good cleaning once every 5 weeks thanks to Helen.

At the church carnival, Helen was a fixture in the Polish kitchen, dishing up pierogi, kielbasa, and other favorites. Again, she never stopped moving. She taught half the parish how to pinch pierogi.

Her hard work wasn't limited to kitchen duty, either. After Mass, Helen would tend to the flower arrangements and make sure that nothing in there was wilted or drooped. She was on the Monday-Morning Pew-Cleaning Crew, and she scrubbed those just as hard as she did that kitchen stove.

I enjoyed working at Bingo with Helen. While we scrubbed the stove and filled the coffee urn, she would tell me stories about raising her young family, about growing up in rural Pennsylvania, and about what the town was like 50 years ago. Every time we worked together, she would tell me about her annual trips to visit the Shrine of Our Lady of Czestochowa.

Helen is one of the Faithful Departed now. So it is very fitting that her funeral will be held on All Souls Day.

Tomorrow I will pray, for Helen and for all the Faithful Departed:
Eternal rest grant unto her, O Lord, and may perpetual light shine upon her. May her soul, and the souls of all the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace.

Feast of All Saints

Everyone who knows that my children attend Catholic schools was surprised that they have school today. But their schools made sure they got to church. I went to church with my younger saints-in-training at the church attached to their school. It was so full of students and parishioners that my children didn't know I was there, but that was OK.

I enjoyed hearing a homily that was geared toward the children but not insulting to the grownups in the assembly. The deacon compared "being a saint" to "getting into the Hall of Fame." Sports analogies are useful tools when talking to kids, and this was no exception. He talked about how Hall-of-Famers aren't athletes who had ONE good season; they are the ones who were great through their whole careers. The same goes for the saints.

The children learned that the saints worked hard to live the Beatitudes--which they heard in today's Gospel. They were encouraged to do their best to live the Beatitudes in their own lives, so that they, too, can become saints.

After Communion, the third grade presented their own litany of patron saints. The children had done reports on their patron saints in preparation for this day. They brought along their illustrations for the reports, and as the names of the saints were read (and we responded "Pray for us") the children would hold up the saint's picture. Very sweet! I know how hard these children worked, since one of the third-graders is my godchild and she told me all about her saint report.

It was great to celebrate the Feast of All Saints in a standing-room-only church full of aspiring saints.