There's no place like home.

There's no place like home.
Home is where my husband and I reside; wherever that may be.

Monday, October 31, 2011

His first Jack o' Lantern

We don't do Halloween here. It is just too much of a paganization of a beautiful Catholic feast.  We do celebrate All Saints Day and All Souls Day.  However there is nothing wrong with carving a few pumpkins and putting them out to decorate the landscape.  Yesterday Ian and Melissa helped Layn carve his first Jack O'Lantern.  He was not only truly into it but he enjoyed eating the roasted seeds after and seeing it lit up.

He wanted to clean that thing out all by himself, thank you very much!

I am glad that Ian didn't let him wield the knife though. 

Friday, October 28, 2011

It is getting cold out there.

It is right and proper to pray, always.

This has been copied and pasted from a friend's blog. Please join me in praying for this most worthy intention.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Special Novena Intention to St. John Bosco

Labels: Prayers, Saints

The following letter is from our son's pastor, a priest our family feels honored to know (especially Gabey who shares a name-patron, and any of our our boys who've enjoyed his company at Boys' Camp):

Dear Friends in Christ,

Praised be Jesus and Mary!

Could I ask your help in praying for a special intention? The prayers for this novena, which will start today, are at the end of this email. The reason for it is as follows.

In 1847 St. John Bosco wrote a book of prayers and spiritual advice for youth called The Companion of Youth. It was his best-seller so to say. During his lifetime it went through 122 printings and three editions (The first had 352 pages and the 3rd had grown to 520 pages). Each printing was about 50,000 copies.

In his Memoirs of the Oratory St. John Bosco speaks of this book as follows: “Another need showed up: a prayer book suitable for the times. There is no shortage of prayer books which have been put together by excellent people and are available to everyone. But, on the whole, these books were written for educated people, for adults, and most of them could be used by Catholics, Jews, or Protestants. Seeing how insidious heresy was spreading quietly every day, I undertook to compile a book suitable for the young, adapted to their religious ideas, based on the Bible, and setting out the foundations of the Catholic religion clearly and concisely. This was The Companion of Youth.”

In 1851 St. John Bosco added another section called “Fundamentals of the Catholic Religion”. It had been published earlier as a separate pamphlet. Speaking of this pamphlet he said: “Its aim was to put Catholics on the alert lest they let themselves be caught in the nets of the heretics. Its distribution was extraordinary; in two years it sold more than two hundred thousand copies. This pleased the good, but it enraged the Protestants, who had begun to think that they had the field of evangelization all to themselves.” He also wrote to a friend: “If you get involved in these booklets you're sacrificing any support you might have from La Gazzetta del Popolo [a violently anti-Catholic newspaper], and maybe from others. This booklet, tiny as it is, is a nuisance to them, and they would just love to burn any copies they can get hold of.”

The book was translated into English for the first time in 1938, then again in 1955. Later revised or incomplete translations were published by the Salesians after they had become very liberal. These included changes in the Mass. Neither the old and complete translations, nor the new are in print, except for some small excerpts in another work. They are almost impossible to obtain (the Salesian publishers in NY did not even have a copy of the 1938 edition in their archives).

I obtained a copy of the 1938 edition to scan and have compared it with the 101st Italian printing (3rd edition, the most complete one published by St. John Bosco). It is a complete and accurate translation. The only omission is the Vespers of Our Lady, Vespers for the whole year, and the Office of the Dead. These were left out in order to keep the size small and because they can be obtained from many other prayer books.

There are so many of our youth today who could benefit from this book, if we could only get it in their hands. Unfortunately, due to a change in copyright law in 1996, the book is still in copyright (owned probably by the Salesians). Could you join me and a couple hundred others to whom this email is being sent in praying this novena from today, October 27th to November 4th to get permission to republish this work?

The prayers below are selected from several novena prayers to St. John Bosco which were added to the 1938 edition of The Companion of Youth. Could you pray at least one of them each day of the novena? Thank you in advance, and may God reward you abundantly for this act of zeal for the souls of the young!

In Jesus and Mary,

Fr. Gabriel

Novena prayers for permission to reprint St. John Bosco’s book, The Companion of Youth: prayers and spiritual advice for the youth.

O glorious St John Bosco, by that great love which thou didst bear towards Youth, of which thou didst make thyself Father and Teacher, and by the heroic sacrifices thou didst bear for its salvation, obtain for us, that we also may love with a holy and generous love this chosen portion of the Heart of Jesus and that in every child we may see the adorable person of our Divine Savior.

Glory be to the Father, etc.

O glorious St John Bosco, who didst love the virtue of purity with a love of predilection, and who didst inculcate it by word, writing, and example, obtain that we too, enamored of so indispensable a virtue, may practice it constantly and diffuse it by every means in our power.

Glory be to the Father, etc.

O glorious St John Bosco, who wert ever so compassionate towards human miseries, look down upon us, so greatly in need of thine aid; pray that the maternal blessings of Mary, Help of Christians may descend upon us and upon our families ; obtain for us all the spiritual and temporal favors of which we stand in need ; intercede for us in life and in death, so that we, too, eternally may sing the Divine mercies in Paradise.

Glory be to the Father, etc.

Prayer to Mary, Help of Christians

Most Holy and Immaculate Virgin, Help of Christians, we consecrate ourselves entirely to Thee and we promise always to labor for the greater glory of God and the salvation of souls. We pray Thee to turn thine eyes of pity on the Church, priests and missionaries; on our relatives and benefactors; on the youth confided to our care; on poor sinners and the dying, and on all the souls in Purgatory. Teach us, O most tender Mother, to copy in ourselves the virtues of St. John Bosco, particularly his angelic modesty, profound humility and ardent charity.

Grant also, O Mary, Help of Christians, that through thy powerful intercession we may be victorious over the enemies of our souls in life and in death, so that with Saint John Bosco we may be gathered round Thee in thy home in heaven. Amen.

Ejaculation: Mary, Help of Christians, pray for us. (300 days indulgence.)

PS: Also our family is adding the intention to this novena of the spiritual well-being of all our young people, but especially our sons, that prayer being the mission of St. John Bosco's life. (We like to "Pile On" in our novenas... :)

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Today's post is brought to you by Benadryl

There are great number of people who look at cats and think, "Oh, how cute and cuddly!" Then these same people look at someone like me and wonder if I have come unhinged because I see cats and all I think is, "Degenerate creature of darkness!"
I don't see the above image when I see cats.

I see this image.  I see the progression from itchy swollen eyes to clogged throat to blocked lungs to eyes that no longer open to their normal amount. 
Why am I saying all this? Because one of the confounded creatures got into our garage today and its dander got into our kitchen where I was sitting minding my own business.  Within seconds of closing the door between the garage and kitchen this is what I looked like.
Benadryl, take me away!

Wordless Wednesday

Friday, October 14, 2011

Something is killing the fish!

At one time we had a thriving tank full of fish now something is killing off the fish! One by one they are turning over onto their backs and and kicking the proverbial bucket.

We used to have a sucking fish like this guy.  He started out about 1 1/2 inches long when I brought him home from the pet shop.  He was affectionately known as Mr. Suck (self-explanatory).  When Matthew tried to flush him this morning he had to be a good 6-7 inches long.
I said tried to flush because he is currently stuck in our toilet which is prohibiting its use by anyone else in the family.
RIP Mr. Suck!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

My latest endeavors.

I only recently learned how to knit and I am far from accomplished at that.  I have been crochetting for a long time but only recently have been able to read a pattern.  I remember my mother and grandmother teaching me how to crochet.  Since I am left-handed they had me stand facing them to learn.  Little do they know that I crochet right-handed the way that they did. Oh well, who's to blame? 
This little poncho is a pattern I found in a book in WalMart of all places.  I made it in an afternoon (when I should have been researching for my final paper!).  All that is left to do is make the little flowers that go on the bottom.  This was so easy and comes in four sizes.  I am thinking of making it for sale in my shop.

This little sweater is one I found online.  This was a little more difficult to figure out but I managed.  I tried it on Layn to see how it looked and he has become quite attached to it.  I am really glad that I made it in blue.  I'd hate see Ian's reaction if he had become attached to the pink one that I am working on now.  It is nice to have something to occupy my hands in the evening.  I used to spend the time smocking or quilting but my patience and eyesight won't let me do that now so I am glad that I still remember how to crochet.  Now I need to finish the nursing shawl that I started last fall.

This moment.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

The richness of fall

Autumn is ususally thought of as a season of death and dormancy.  With the falling of the leaves and the bringing in of the harvest there is a distinct air of completion about the whole season.  I have found however that if you look closely enough there is an unexpected richness and abundance about fall that goes beyond the bounty of the harvest.

Out in the barn life is in full swing.  Both Mary-Kate's and Melissa's sows farrowed last week.  The simplicity and earnestness with which the animals go about the business of life is a richness in itself.  There is no awareness of the coming of the cold in the pens where the mothers and babies live.  There is only a calm that pervades the air and a sense of purpose as the piglets nurse and the sows get down to the business of raising their young.
Even in the gardens, though they have been stripped bare of the summer's bounty there remains the hint of newness and promise.

The hydrangeas bravely flower and hold their heads up in spite of the two or three frosts that we have experienced.  The depth of color in their foliage and the delicacy of the blooms proclaim a defiance of the coming snows.

The lawns continue to grow and shout out their lush green hurrah of the last warm weekend of the season.  It will not be overcome by frost or dismal days, the rich green spears seem to cry out.

The leaves on the trees hang on until the very end and, though the colors deepen and surrender their summer shades, the suppleness of youth is in the bright colors as well as the green.

Even my roses defy the temperatures and burst into a final glorious show before yielding to the barrenness of the winter. 

The gloominess of the day cannot dim the vibrancy of the show that God displays for my pleasure.  "Sit here and soak it in," that bench seems to beckon. 

I wonder, does the need to soak it all in, to save the beauty and splendor, infuse the young as well as the old?

Monday, October 10, 2011

I like sweet potatoes, can you tell?

Another favorite here, at least for Layn and I, is my sweet potato soup recipe.  This is comfort food at its best.  When I am coming down with a cold or the weather outside just says, "bundle up and pamper yourself" I will put a pan of this on and sit down with a good book.

Sweet Potato Soup
1/2 stick unsalted butter
1 onion chopped
4 cloves garlic minced
16 ounces chicken broth
2 bay leaves
3 sweet potatoes peeled and chopped
1 c heavy cream

Heat butter in a heavy saucepan over med. heat.  Add the onions and garlic and cook until the onions are tender, stir occasionally.
Stir in the broth, bay leaves, black pepper, and potatoes and heat to a boil.  Reduce the heat to low. Cover and cook until the potatoes are tender.
Stir in the heavy cream and cook until the mixture is hot and bubbling. Remove and discard the bay leaves.
Puree with a blender or immersible blender until mixture is smooth.  Adjust salt and pepper to taste.  Serve with a dollop of sour cream on top.

It is Fall!!!!

In fall the young men's hearts turn to thoughts of good hearty, hot cooking.  (well not really, but they eat up everything that I cook so they might as well think about it first!)  So we have been trotting out some of our old standards and a couple of new recipes.

Last week I came home from being away all day to smell chicken noodle soup simmering on the stove and pumpkin corn bread cooling on the table.  If that menu doesn't shout fall I don't know what does.

Sweet Potato Cornbread
(you can substitute pumpkin if you like)
3 large eggs
1/2 c vegetable oil
3/4 c sweet potato puree
3/4 c light brown sugar, packed
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1 c cornmeal
1 c pamela's baking mix (if you are cooking GF) if not 1 c flour with 1/2 tsp soda and 1 tsp baking powder added.
1/2 tsp baking powder
Preheat oven to 350. Grease the bottom of a 8-inch cake pan and dust with cornmeal. (we use a springform pan)
In a large mixing bowl, whisk the eggs till frothy, add the oil and whisk to combine.  Add the sweet potato puree and whisk well.  Add brown sugar, vanilla, cinnamon, and pie spice and whisk again to combine.
In a separate bowl mix together the cornmeal, flour mix and baking powder.
Add the dry ingredients into the wet; and stir just enough to make a smooth batter.
Pour into the prepared pan.
Bake for 45 min. until the bread is firm to the touch and golden.  A pick should come out clean.  Serve warm.

Savannah Ann

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Happiness doesn't say it all

bring out the bread
outside is where we eat today, he said.
the cheese, apples, salad too
it's too nice to go inside.

woman bring that work out
there's daylight plenty.
the sun is shining, breezes blowing.
the baby is playing and the son is working.

soak it in
eat it up, its not forever
you'll want to take pictures.
bottle it up.

paint it on your heart.
these days won't last,
but the memories will.
snotty kisses and appley hugs.

Ninja tree trimmer?

Rule number one: never stand on the branch that you are cutting. No, Matthew, you are not really a ninja!

Matthew recently had a birthday and his good friend Brett gave him a katana as a gift.  I did not know those things were so sharp!

Some of the trees out front needed a bit of trimming.  Katana + Matthew + trees that need trimming = Ninja tree trimmer!

The facial expression is my favorite.  Remind me to count fingers, toes, arms and legs when he is done.

A hole, a dog and a beautiful sunny day.

We have a hole in our back yard.  We have always had a hole in our back yard.  We also have boys and dogs.  They go together don't you know.  When there are no longer boys and dogs in this house there will no longer be a hole in the back yard.

What is the hole for all you ladies may ask.  I'll tell you, I don't know it just makes them happy to have a hole. Years ago I used to fill it in and they would dig it out.  We played that game several times until my husband convinced me that a hole was a necessary ingredient to the raising of boys and dogs. So I gave up and just let it be.

Must be true. There is Layn his first summer out here on his own and he gravitates to that hole like iron to a magnet, same as he does when it has rained and there are mud puddles out there. (but that is another post)

Today I am thanking God that there is a hole in my back yard.  Here I sit at the picnic table working on an essay for school and Layn and Archie have been happily occupied in that hole for a good 15 minutes. (that has to be a record!)

Friday, October 7, 2011

Weapon of God: Feast of the Most Holy Rosary October 7

7 October: Feast of the Most Holy Rosary, weapon of prayer
The Feast of our Lady of the Most Holy Rosary is a title of the Blessed Virgin Mary as the Queen of the Holy Rosary, the chaplet of prayer beads that are used to invoke the Virgin to aid us whilst meditating upon scenes in the life of her Son, JESUS CHRIST.

The Rosary developed out of the habit of lay brothers, who did the manual work and did not have time to pray the whole Monastic Office, of praying Paternosters and Ave Marias in monasteries. This habit then passed to the devout laity.

In 1208 our Lady appeared to St Dominic in the Church of Prouille, France, and gave him a chaplet of beads representing roses commending to him the devotion which had spread among the Faithful of saying Paters and Aves whilst meditating upon the life of Christ.

St Dominic then gave the Rosary to all his Friars Preachers to use in their efforts to convert the heterodox Cathars in Southern France and to call upon our Lady to assist the soldiers of Count Simon de Montfort, 5th Earl of Leicester, father of the founder of the later English Parliament, to defend Christendom from the attacks by the armies of the heterodox Cathars and Albigensians.

On 12 September 1213, whilst St Dominic and his brethren were praying in the Church at Muret in the South of France, Count Simon and 700 knights charged out of the town to meet an invading army of 50,000 marauding heterodox Albigensians who were set upon capturing the whose of Southern France for the Albigensian heresy.

The Albigensians were a type of Manichee and they believed in euthanasia, abortion and sodomy and opposed marriage and child-birth because they believed that all material things were evil and created by an evil force. They had one Sacrament which was called the consolamentum and consisted in euthanasia by either starvation or suffocation. They had murdered Catholic missionaries sent to preach to them and murdered bishops, priests and the Papal legate who was sent to negotiate with them.

Count Simon and his knights straight into the middle of their ranks and slew their leader King Pedro of Aragon, much to the chagrin of Count Simon who wanted to defeat him but not slay him. At this the Albigensian horde fell into disarray and were routed. Our Lady, Count Simon de Montfort and the Rosary saved the day.
Ever after, the Rosary became a great weapon of prayer against evil, and especially in time of battle.

In thanks for the victory of the Battle of Muret, Count Simon built the first shrine dedicated to Our Lady of Victory.
The Rosary was prayed in 1529 at the Siege of Vienna and a great victory won under Count Nicholas von Salm against the Ottoman Turks and their Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent.

In 1571 Pope St Pius V instituted the Feast of Our Lady of Victory as an annual feast to commemorate the victory of Lepanto, off the Greek coast, the huge naval battle won by the Christian navies against the navy of the invading Muslim Turkish hosts. The Turkish navies were many times larger than the Christian navies and had been bent upon conquering the whole of Christendom and enslaving all Christians.
The victory was attributed to our Lady, as a rosary procession took place on that day in St. Peter's Square in Rome for the success of the forces of the Holy League to hold back the Muslim forces from over-running Western Europe.

In 1573, Pope Gregory XIII changed the title of this feast-day to the Feast of the Holy Rosary. This feast was extended by Pope Clement XII to the whole of the Latin Rite, inserting it into the Roman Calendar in 1716, and assigning it to the first Sunday in October.

On 12 September (that date again!) 1683, King Jan Sobieski, appointed commander by Roman Emperor Leopold I, and his Polish Hussars, inflicted a massive defeat upon the Turkish hosts in the Battle of Vienna. Again a Rosary campaign had preceded his victory.

Venerable Pope Innocent XI instituted the Feast of the Holy Name of Mary on 12 September to mark the victory obtained by praying to our Lady.
Pope St Pius X changed the date to 7 October in 1913, being the actual date of the great victory at Lepanto.

Our Lady of the Most Holy Rosary Pray for us now and at the hour of our death. AMEN.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Charming his grandma!

Come on grandma, won't you pick me up? I'm the cutest thing around!
I'll share my apple with you! I'll even give you the skins that I spit out.

Okay, if you won't pick me up and share with me, I'll eat it all myself.

You never know just what you are missing....

When my kids were little I rarely gave them their baths in the evening.  I tended to be all business and my husband was all fun and games.  I relinquished that chore on the premise that it was time for him to spend with them and that bathtime should be a little fun.  Silly me, what I was missing!!!!
Yesterday Melissa went to a second-hand shop and got a bubbler that goes in the bathtub along with a bottle of bubbles that are supposed to be tear-free.  Last night Layn was in his element.  I have a bubbler that we use outside in the yard and Layn and I frequently enjoy the bubbles from that.  We also use the bubble wands to make lots of bubbles.  Whoever invented this little gadget was a genius and I applaud his sense of fun.  There haven't been that many giggles and splashes in that bathroom for a very long time. (not since grandpa was bathing his own little wigglers!)