Sunday, December 30, 2007

Feast of the Holy Family

Today is the Feast of the Holy Family. Father gave a wonderful sermon reminding us all (husbands, wives, parents, and children) of the parts we have to play in fostering love in family life. And he reminded us that God in the Trinity is a family, with the Holy Spirit being the love between the Father and the Son.

But enough of my sermonizing! The most moving part of the day was the reading from Saint Paul's letter to the Colossians. I've heard it before, but it is so perfect for today. It's a wonderful, powerful call to family love. I think the homeschoolers and I will memorize this passage when we begin our studies again. I know it's a message I need to be reminded of over and over again:

"Brothers and sisters: Put on, as God's chosen ones, holy and beloved, heartfelt compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience, bearing with one another and forgiving one another, if one has a grievance against another; as the Lord has forgiven you, so must you also do. And over all these put on love, that is the bond of perfection. And let the peace of Christ control your hearts, the peace into which you were also called in one body. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, as in all wisdom you teach and admonish one another, singing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, in word or in deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him." Colossians 3:12-17


Friday, December 28, 2007

The Christmas Kitchen

Last year, at my urging, Len built Becca a stove and fridge out of cardboard. She had so much fun with these simple toys! This year after much waffling, I asked Grammy and Grandpop to help us buy her this wooden kitchen. I was probably more excited than anyone at the unveiling. :-)

Becca has already spent countless hours playing in her kitchen. It's in my kitchen, which I love, because I get to watch and listen as she mothers her babies, cooks for friends, or plays house with Marianna. We already had lots of play food, and Mimi and Granddad bought her some new pots and pans. There are hooks for the potholder, towel, and homemade apron (used to be Lauren's--sniff). What a great gift for our little girl.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007


The first recipe is up at my cooking blog. It's for a dessert. Surprise? I think not. ;-)

Friday, December 21, 2007

God's Providence

Len and I have had many discussions about God and His providence/involvement in daily life. Of course each of us (even the whole universe) would cease to exist if he stopped willing it, but how much does He interfere/decide what will happen to us? Why do bad things happen? If He has a plan for us, where does free will (ours and everyone else's) come in?

I think God does have a plan, a way He wants us to go. We need to discern His will and do our best to follow it. And bad things happen because the world is Fallen (so sickness, pain, etc.), and we sinful people have the free will to mess things up and hurt each other.

BUT, I believe God can make good things come out of any situation. And I believe He does know what is best for us, even if we sometimes disagree. We can't see where all the consequences, circumstances, and choices will lead.

For example, today I was racing around the mall looking for the teen who was late and had not turned on his phone (grr!). As I sped through the food court, I saw a little boy, maybe 2 years old, happily walking along. I saw no adult near him. I got down on his level and asked where his mommy was. No answer. He remained cheerful until I picked him up, and then the wailing started! He wanted nothing to do with this unfamiliar lady, but I thought, "Too bad. I know what's good for you, and walking around through this crowded place alone is NOT what's good for you." The crying was even potentially useful. I held him high and wandered around waiting for someone to claim my noisy bundle. We got plenty of attention, but no takers. I found a security guard who realized that since little guy wore no shoes, he must have come from the (not so nearby) play area. On our way over there (I kept carrying him since he screamed even more when the guard tried to pick him up.), we met his mom.

My point is this: as I think about this incident now, I remember that experienced-parent feeling I had when I picked up that child against his will to make sure the best thing could happen. While God (yes, a very experienced father!) allows us lots of lee-way (i.e. free will), I believe He can and does intervene in our lives, making miracles big and small happen. I don't know how often He's directing the minutae, and while He answers prayers, it's not alway in the way we want Him to.

Someone once told a true story about getting a flat tire on the way to daily mass and having to stay home. As things turned out, a long unseen friend came to the door and ended up having lunch with the family. They would have missed each other without that flat tire. Did God cause the flat tire? He could have. Did God make something good (the friend) come out of a (nothing special) flat tire? He could have. I don't know, and to a certain extent I don't care. I just need to try to trust that God loves me and wills the best for me.

"We know that in everything God works for good with those who love him, who are called according to his purpose." Romans 8:28

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Jesse Tree update

Our Jesse Tree has enhanced our Advent prayer time. Sometimes we just read the verses for the daily symbol, but other times, a lively discussion ensues related to some aspect of Salvation History. Here's a picture of our "tree" on the prayer table in the corner of the family room.

And here's a close up of a few ornaments. The children did a great job of decorating them. It's hard for my picture to show how nice they are--I couldn't get more than a few in focus at a time.

Hope for the Future

I know all siblings fight, but it can be so discouraging! Every now and then there is a particular pair of "oil and water" siblings. Not only do they bicker, they also criticize, tease, hit, argue, tattle, push, watch for "unfair" treatment, push each others' buttons, etc. Sometimes it brings me to great anger or tears (or both!). We've got one of these special sets in the house right now.

My wonderful husband encourages me that this sort of thing is normal and will fade. And I do try to coach charity, but it can seem to be a never-ending, losing battle.

Well, this weekend I saw some hope for the future--a previous "oil and water" pair who get along fine now. One asked the other for help, and it was given. There was no complaining or criticizing, and no hearts and flowers either--just ordinary, matter-of-fact cooperation.

Now that I think about it, I noticed this on Sunday, the Joyful Sunday of Advent (pink candle). Christ is getting closer, the light is getting brighter, and our hope and joy are growing as well.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Our Jesse Tree

We are finally using a Jesse Tree this Advent! This is a tree or bare branches from which are hung ornaments that symbolize people (Abraham, Moses, David) and events (the Fall, the Flood) in Salvation History. We read and discuss the scripture for each symbol during our preparation for the Savior's birth.

I enlarged some ornament pictures from a book given to me many years ago, and traced them onto shrinky-dink paper. This is then colored (we use colored pencils) and baked in the oven where it shrinks to 1/3 its original size and gets 9 times thicker. The hole that was punched before baking is threaded for hanging.

We've only hung a few ornaments so far, but this is going to be a great meditation for Advent. I'm tracing and cutting, while the homeschoolers are coloring. They gathered some bare branches on a windy day, which we arranged in a vase adorned with purple ribbon. Lauren is going to take a picture so I can show it soon.

Have a blessed Advent!

To Blog or Not to Blog?

(originally posted 12/5 on "Come to the Table")

For months and months I wanted to have some blogs. I wanted a chance to reflect on my daily life (instead of just reacting to it), and to save (and savor) some memories. I wanted to share recipes and photos.

I finally started blogging, and it really is enjoyable. But life seems to be getting away from me lately. There's the 11 p.m. grocery run, the "Why am I here in the pantry?" moment, the unlaundered school uniform, and the unorganized homeschooling. Oh yes, we're eating every day and wearing mostly clean clothes, but it seems like we're not often getting beyond those basics.

I hope to have the chance to blog some more, but right now it's hard to organize a coherent thought AND get a turn on the computer (the stars must be aligned just right...), so we'll see what happens.