Thursday, October 31, 2013

Theme Thursday - Scary

Oldie but goodie from last year,
Molly's pumpkin display for our porch:

Happy Halloween!

Finding the colors of fall - Browns

4 and a half weeks of looking for fall colors around here: Blues,   yellows pinks, red and purples,  and orange.
This week, I'm on brown. Brown is not always celebrated as a vibrant color of fall, but I think it is beautiful ...

Day 29 the color of Euly's eyes.

Day 30 remnants of the sweet gum maple tree that crashed into my daughter's car over the weekend.

Day 31 We've had so much rain leave murky lakes where there shouldn't be any.

I looked for autumn, but this is what you leave me with to start November:
every shade of green with flowers blooming all over the yard. Well, I'm not complaining, green is my favorite color!

Wednesday, October 30, 2013


Ahem, sorry about the ad, but go ahead and hit play...

and then, if you will,  pray this with me:

Eternal rest grant unto them, O Lord,

and let perpetual light shine upon them.

May the souls of the faithful departed,

through the mercy of God,

rest in peace.


November is the time to turn our thoughts to souls. The faithfully departed souls are celebrated and honored this week. On Friday, All Saints Day, we celebrate those souls resting happily in heaven with Jesus, praising God. We celebrate those beloved saints known to us and other unknown, and all those we hope are resting peacefully. It's also a First Friday.

On Saturday, All Souls' Day, we pray for those faithful souls in purgatory, on their way to heaven, but who can not get there without the aid of our prayers (to remove temporal punishment). They can then in turn pray for us. It's also a First Saturday.

November is the month dedicated to the poor souls in purgatory. We have this beautiful gift we can make of our time to help those poor souls and enrich our lives by spending a small amount of time each of the first eight days of November, stopping by a cemetery and praying for the poor souls who appreciate our prayers, as well as satisfying the normal conditions for indulgence below:

Indulgences for the Poor Souls
(from our parish website)
November is dedicated to the Holy Souls. From November 1 to November 8, inclusive, a 
plenary indulgence, applicable only to Poor Souls in Purgatory, is granted to those who visit a 
cemetery and pray, even if only mentally, for the departed, provided the usual conditions are 
On November 2, All Souls Day, a plenary indulgence for Poor Souls will be granted to those who 
visit any parish church or public oratory and there recite one Our Father and one Credo.
Only one plenary indulgence may be granted each day.

The usual conditions to acquire a plenary indulgence are:
1. detachment from sin; which is a true sorrow for, and repudiation of, all one’s sin, mortal 
and venial;
2. reception of Holy Communion on the day the indulgence is sought;
3. prayer for the intention of the Holy Father on the day the indulgence is sought (one Our 
Father and one Hail Mary suffice, or any other suitable prayer);
4. sacramental confession within a week of completion of the prescribed work.
If these conditions are not met, the indulgence will be partial

Several plenary indulgences may be granted on the basis of a single sacramental confession, 
but only one plenary indulgence may be gained on the basis of a single Holy Communion and 
prayer for the pope’s intentions.
Partial indulgences are granted to those who recite Lauds or Vespers of the Office of the Dead, 
and to those who recite the Eternal Rest Prayer provided below. A partial indulgence may be 
granted more than once a day.

"It is therefore a holy and wholesome thought to pray for the dead,
 that they may be loosed from sins."
(2 Macchabees 12, 46)

But indulgences? Isn't that an old concept tarnished from the Middle Ages?
Not at all!
Please read this article about the Myths of Indulgences and  this Primer on Indulgences and embrace and take on this beautiful gift we have for the benefit of our souls and so many others.

We have a duty to pray for souls in public and in our private prayers for the repose of souls. Go ahead and add to your calendar, on the first eight days of November, and make a visit to a cemetery (it doesn't have to be Catholic) and pray and think of the loved ones that have gone before us. 

St Gertrude the Great's prayer:
Eternal Father, I offer Thee the Most Precious Blood of Thy Divine Son, Jesus, in union with the Masses said throughout the world today, for all the holy souls in Purgatory, for sinners everywhere, for sinners in the universal Church, those in my own home and within my family. Amen.

Our Lord promised St. Gertrude that 1,000 souls would be released from purgatory each time it is said devoutly- go ahead and pray it again.

Requiem aeternam dona eis, Domini, et lux perpetua luceat eis.
Requiescant in pace.

WWRW The Happy Orphelines

While looking over books for our fall reading, Ceci  asked if there was a good  book series that we could read this week while she wasn't feeling well, and wanted to spend lots of time on the couch together. 

I asked if she remembered Josine. "Our cat?" Yes, but who her namesake was? (as well as our other cats: Toulouse, Brigitte and Bernadette). Since she didn't remember, I though it was a good time to pull out series of The Happy Orphelines by Natalie Savage Carlson. 

The outskirts of Paris post WWII era lived the largest family in France, twenty orphelines who lived with their loving guardians, Madame Flattot and Genevieve  under the care of their "mother' France. The young girls get into various troublesome adventures, some a little scary, all with happy endings. They had strong desire not to be adopted so they can stay with their orpheline sisters and beloved Madam Flattot. Charming stories of family and love.

The stories are sweet and delightful for young children, especially good for ages eight to ten, with adventures in each story. Carlson realistically captures how little children behave with lots of love shared between the girls. Good snuggle on the couch time together. We are old friends of the poor little orphelines, "Mom, you know they are happy little orphelines." Yes, we do think they are, the story inspires discussions about judging others, and how they were judged. My girls have so much fun listening and wanting to participate in the fun of the story, that I have to get firm and tell them no more interruptions until I finish the chapter, or  at least, the page. (I do love a story that gets a child enthusiastic). We launch into many other conversations as we read through the stories, about getting lost, being generous and assuming things about others lives. Some French words and customs and the fact they are Catholic are woven through the story of their lives.

As the series goes along their lives change, they move out of the decaying orphanage to an old castle in the country when they are joined with the troublesome boy orphans and have more adventures.

The illustrations in the first two books are done by Garth Williams (Little House fame) and are warm and inviting. 

Nicholas thought the stories were much like Madeline books: French orphans, girls... my girls didn't agree with him. We discussed similarities and differences and that it is okay to love both! My girls felt like they got to know the orphelines better as individual persons. There is much more to the Orpheline stories and written for a little older audience than Madeliene. Holding on to favorites and having attachments to books, authors and specific characters is a good thing. 

The Happy Orphelines make us happy. It's been a perfect read-together for my resting eight year old. The books are out of print, so hopefully you can find at your library or keep on your list for library sales. They do not have to be read in order.

The series was written in 1957-1964, last one published in 1980.
The Happy Orpheline
A Brother for the Orphelines
A Pet for the Orphelines
The Orphelines in the Enchanted Castle
A Grandmother for the Orphelines

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Finding the colors of fall - blues

We don't have a variety of fall colors outdoors in this part of the country, so this is my challenge to look for a pallet of fall like colors each week of October. Looking for encouraging signs of fall whether in nature or just around the home...
This week - blues of October.

Day 22  Lil looks great in blue. My favorite Zulily purchase.

Day 23 October in Texas and Old Sam under the biggest blue-ist-y blue skies.
  no filter

Day 24 The old blue tricycle...

Day 25 Lilly's finally able to push the peddles and get the old tricycle moving.

Day 26 Blue smoke of autumn fires

Day 27 more beautiful blue skies

Day 28 Love those blue eyes!

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Weekend Stuff

Outside my window...Overcast. 
After a beautiful Saturday and a crazy stormy Sunday morning, we woke to leave for Mass with a tree on Molly's car blocking our way. Fortunately Craig is skilled with quick chain saw moves and the car was built like a tank, only roof dent and we arrived only five minutes late.

I am thinking...about remedies for a quick cure to poison ivy.
Ceci woke up Saturday with a little spots on her left cheek, we cleaned with Tecknu;
as the day went on other spots showed to the opposite ear and down both arms.
We technu-ed again, calendula oil and lotion all day to calm the itching.
Any natural remedies, please share!
Mostly I am trying to keep her mind off of the itching, and see if the spreading stops.

I am praying for..Purity of youth,  and the future of our country, and other intentions for 
 Feast day Monday
O St. Jude, holy Apostle, faithful servant and friend of Jesus, you are honored and petitioned by the universal Church, as the patron of desperate, hopeless and impossible cases. Pray for me. I am so very helpless and I feel alone.
Intercede for me that Almighty God may bring swift aid where it is needed most. Come to my assistance in my great time of need! 
Pray for me that I may be given the comfort and help of Jesus. Most importantly, I ask that you pray that I may one day join you and all of the saints in heaven to praise God in consolation, rest and joy for all eternity.
I will remember your prayers, O Holy St. Jude.  I will honor you as my patron as so many have before me because of the graces God deigns to give freely at your request.
O gracious Saint Jude, apostle of my Lord, pray that I may always be open to God's love and live according to His holy will. May I never fail to cooperate with the grace of God, especially when I am in such great need. St. Jude, please intercede with great intensity on my behalf for these intentions...
(State your intentions)
May I forever be deeply and truly thankful to God for the blessings I have received in the past. Help me to understand that I am totally dependent on God and His love and mercy. When I feel alone, as you surely did when you suffered a martyr's death, pray that I will take it as an opportunity to rely on God's grace and love. Amen.
St. Jude, pray for me!
Lord Jesus, Son of God, have mercy on me a sinner!

I am thankful...for good neighbors!

In the kitchen...I made a extra large double chocolate sheet cake for Father's birthday.
We celebrated at the church property during a clearing work day.
Margaret had all kinds of goodies she had Lilly decorate the cake with, bulldozers, tractors and farm animals (and an airplane) and 50 or so "magic candles" that were harder to light than to blow out.

I am creating...
Sunday school plans for a prayer cube.
And thought if something we could do on an easier scale for my guys. 
This is what I came up with:
start with this cube template - it fits an 8x11 piece of card stock paper..
add in small size versions of prayers you want the kids to practice...
(I choose Our Father. Hail Mary, Sign of the Cross, Angel Prayer, Morning Offering, Glory Be on Word and printed very small to fit space).
have the kids glue the tabs into a cube...
voila..simple prayer cube:
8 year old Ceci put this one together
(I cut the pattern out for her).

I am article about why this dad is going to homeschool:

I am pondering...about this Mike Rowe article on The Blaze and his campaign on rethinking an old campaign about  not working hard, but working smart, ie. college degree versus learning a trade.

I am wondering... if others raise their kids to think about college degrees and the Return of Investment of the costs? Can you make enough to cover the cost of your degree using your degree? Should this be the only consideration? Or should everything be done to avoid college debt as much as possible?
Sociology, Fine Arts, Education, Religious Studies,  Hospitality/ Tourism, Nutrition,  Psychology, Communications
We can't abandon these fields of study, should they be partnered with other fields of study to ensure employment? Tough decisions and choices.

I am watching...a helpful video if you wanted to help explain that "The Pill" isn't a contraception...

Around the house...
Quick yard clean up after loosing two trees and limbs all over the yard in over night storm.

Happy All Hallow's Eve and All Saints & All Souls Week.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Counting Gifts: 1, 2, 3, ...4200 Gifts

4200 Sounds of kids doing their schoolwork: pencil scratches, whisper counts and multiplications, recitations, it fills my heart!
4199 Sacraments.
4198 Giggly girls.
4197 "You be the mommy and I'll be the baby."

4196 Hit with an energetic organizing bug (and for sweet husband and kids who know the drill).
4195 Hopeful future.
4194 Seeing my kids exercise good judgement.
4193 Banana nut muffins for Miss Betty.
4192 Getting up to make breakfast for my sweet husband; having quiet time together.
4191 Waking up to nippy Cool mornings.
4190 Molly's first whole chicken bake = delicious .
4189 Playing in the hammock with Lilly.

4188 Lilly's night terrors, my hormone induced insomnia, yappy deer obsessed dogs, I'm thankful for any sleep I can get tonight.
4187 Lil in her bedtime prayers:
  "Goodnight, Jesus, I love you.
Goodnight Mother Mary, I love you....
why do we call her Mother?" 
Great discussion with my 3 year old.
4186 Snuggling with Ceci and telling each other stories.
4185 What is important is "who" she "is", not what she does for a living.
4183 Thankful for a dream showing Ceci's blessed life, relearning my role is to nurture her sunshine and protect her innocence.
4182 A fairy craft work station.

4181 Ready science experiments.
4180 Not being as disappointed as the nurse was.
4179 An hour on the track, felt good to be anonymous.
4178 Competitive Nick on the soccer field.
4177 Playing Countdown with Ceci: math made fun.
4176 Seeing how newly clean spaces motivate and inspire the imagination.
4175 An afternoon home to clean.
4174 Lilly's industriousness and curiosity: hoping that if I don't smash it, someday it will work for good.
4173 Going back to correct a luke warm hello with a big hug and a smile.
4172 Working late until we were slap happy/ slap silly.
4171 Being an old-timer, knowing how things were originally done and why.
4170 Changing things back from "how things were always done' to the right way, and enjoying the trouble I am stirring up.
4169 Sorting fairy makings with Ceci and Molly as a surprise for Euly.
4168 Philippians 4:8
 Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable--if anything is excellent or praiseworthy--think about such things. 
4167 "Max is the baby of the family."
4166 RIP Bum:
"Dallas Cowboys may be America's team, but the Houston Oilers are Texas' team."
4165 A very good, long and refreshing afternoon nap.
4164 Having my parents at Mass with us.
4163 The sweetest smile from a 13 year old stranger.
4162 8 year old boy CCD student, "When do we get to pray the rosary in class?"
         Well, how about right now! :)
4161 Auntie Leila, about her family heritage: "and a spot of German because otherwise things wouldn’t get done, right?)
 Lol, true here too.
4160 God's mercy and goodness.
4159 "I didn't recognize you." - my dad to me. (In a good way).
4158 Spending time with Max at Nick's Eagle project.
4157 Health and safety of my children.
4156 My parents support for Nick's Eagle work.
4155 Cc's constant enthusiasm for anything and everything.
4154 Another novena to pray together.
4153 Prayers for good weather-answered. 
4152 Seeing Nick enjoy the fact the project is done!
4151 Reading a good book snuggled on the back porch on a cool afternoon.
4150 " I got lost so I could find my way."
4149 A book that makes me cry.
4148 A good laugh shared with the kids.
4147 A husband who knows how to fix things.
4146 Early morning crickets.
4145 Cc and the sunshine she is.
4144 Snuggle partners.
4143 Nicholas coming inside from the cold and gave me a nice long hug, 'cause I'm warm.
4142 Molly, Nick and Euly attending the new youth group...And loving it!
4141 Facing fears.
4140 Birthday greetings from big brother.
4139 1 Tim 2:15 Haydock's words 
This would perhaps be more properly rendered, from the Greek, by the bringing up of her children in faith, charity, and holiness.  This is the duty of the woman; upon the faithful discharge or neglect of which she must expect her salvation, or reprobation, to hang.  Thus repairing the evil which the first of all women brought upon man, by seducing him to evil.  
4138 Eccles7:2 
A good name is better than precious ointments: 
and the day of death than the day of one's birth.
4137 Daniel to help out with an uncomfortable situation.
4136 Lilly total mis-uses and has a misunderstanding of the phrase:
"Let me check."
And answers "nope" after a pause, yet without  moving a muscle.
4135 "Don't go to bed yet, we haven't prayed the rosary."-someone other than me.
4134 Explaining to two other moms about homeschooling- one from India and one from Sweden- you are allowed to do that? Yes, that American thing called liberty and freedom, I choose to practice it.
4133 Freedom!
4132 A day of volunteering.
4131 Showing Cc the baking soda vinegar trick...Wonder and excitement!
4130 Dd's fridge pig magnet, "nothing tastes as good as being thin feels." Can't really be true?
4129 Email from Nick:  "I love you  :D"
4128 Lilly telling me she loves me.
4127 Concentrating on the deeper meanings of the Commandments.
4126 Recalling first time I heard a rosary prayed aloud as an adult at Mary's funeral and marveling at how people knew how to take turns.
4125 Beautiful intentions to pray in group rosary novena. Comfort so many are joined in prayer.
4124 Challenging the kids to higher thoughts in topics of supply and demand and wage price spirals.
4123 Hitting my groove jogging :D
4122 Smell of camphor
4121 Brio challenges
4120 Antonín Dvořák and a clear October evening- beautiful combination.
4119 Playings Zingo with Lilly
4118 Saint Francis:
"A man is just what he is in the sight of God, and no more."
4117 Talking to the kids about politics and listening to their responses of understanding.
4116 Remembering Father Drummond on the feast of the Guardian Angels.

4115 From at Theresa novena
I love your people, Lord. Help me to love them more!
I reflect you to the world, Lord. Help me to reflect you more clearly!
I rely on you, Lord. Help me to rely on you more!
I accept your will, Lord. Help me to accept your will every day!
I try to forgive, Lord. Help me to forgive 70 times 7 times!
I am humble, Lord. Give me more humility!
I see you, Lord. Help me to see you more!
I trust you, Lord. Help me to trust you more!
I love you, Lord. Help me to love you more!
4114 Connecting Divine mercy prayers to the ancient Trisagion prayers from prayer book that jumped into my hands.
4113  "How do you like my elbows?"  -Lil
4112 Phonics beat boxing
4111 "No one knows exactly when this will occur."
4110 Meditating on Parousia, a new term for me for a thought provoking, awe inspiring concept/ event.
4109 Mt 24:27
The parousia will be unmistakable because it will be accompanied by unprecedented signs.
4108 "From creation it is marked by stages that are always ascending toward redemption, in which the divine world and the human world are united in a human being, Jesus of Nazareth. All of creation and all of history reach toward this point of convergence."

4107 Sitting at dentist for daughter for an hour on the same page.
4106 I need a taste of something sweet-  Girls made chocolate chip cookie dough. 
Perfect thing!
4105 Lil:  "You can have the honors, Cc."  (Stirring cookie dough)
4104 Watching the lightning storm safe at home.
4103 Rain after a long drought refreshing the thirsty ground
4102 Lil:  "Mom, I have a Hypothesis !!"
Thanks for the vocabulary boost Dinosaur Train.. Except I don't think she really does.
4201 Sharing pistachios with Lilly:
One for you... one for me...
Except she always ends with way more than I do.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

The Tallest Texan

View from the highway doesn't really give you and idea of the scale of this large tribute:

The pictures above are from our last visit to the Sam Houston Museum and statue in 2008.  

We visited again this week and I was marveling at how much my kids have grown and the family has changed.

Today we went with our friends and enjoyed a relaxed visit of the
museum grounds in Huntsville.

We are studying Texas history and finished reading a Landmark book about Sam Houston: The Tallest Texan by William Johnson.

Sam was an American hero long before leaving Tennessee for Texas with lots of mysteries including living with the Indians; becoming an official citizen of the Cherokees, speaking heir language and sometime helping relations between the Indians and Americans.

Not long in Texas, he was appointed to run the small military of volunteers to lead against a ruthless army twenty times in size. He followed a strategy to run (be pursued by) the Mexican army tired and stretched out and finally had his opportunity at San Jacinto.

He held a variety of high offices including twice president of the Republic of Texas and governor or two different states. 

Like the other famous Texas heroes Davy Crockett and James Bowie, Sam suffered an injury that should have killed him, and was even left to die, but held on and recovered to live a courageous life of adventure, sacrifice and heroism. 

statue impersonators

Garden just out front of the old homestead.

Nick's head just barely cleared the Woodland home breezeway ceiling. 

Lilly wanted to catch and pet that rooster.

Our plan for the study or Texas History:

We read lots of books:
Wilderness Pioneer, About Steven Fuller Austin
James Bowie
Texas Rangers
Sam Houston
Davy Crocket

John J Audobon
Jean LaFitte
Johnny Texas, fiction of early days 
Johnny Texas and the San Antonio Road
La Salle
Noah Smithwick
The Great Storm of Galveston 

Read short stories by O Henry:

Ransom of Red Chief
Gifts of the Magi

We make workbook/lap books with activities to learn about Texas Indians,
Industry, geography and state symbols. We make a time line of important events in Texas. Learn about wildflowers, snakes and other interesting Texas nature study.

We'll visit historic areas in our state for cool field trips:
Goliad mission and fort
Alamo and the Missions in San Antonio
Washington on the Brazos
San Felipe de Austin
Austin: the state Capital and Texas museum
Sam Houston museum in Huntsville
San Jacinto battlefield and battleship Texas

Theme Thursday - W

If you're lucky enough to live in Texas, you know what this is...

Yes, as I left the drive through today I stepped out of my car with my camera, with the "what are you doing, mom?" embarrassed-for-me questions yelling from the back seat and took this picture for your Theme Thursday viewing.

No, I'm not going to turn this into a commercial for my favorite fast food place ever...

I'll let Mel Tillis do it for me:

You do know Mel Tillis, don't you? 

Around here we don't pronounce it What A Burger, '
'erbody pronounces it "Water-burger."

go see others at Cari's

{phfr} Capturing contentment on the go

 ~ Capturing the context of contentment in everyday life ~  

Every Thursday, over at Like Mother, Like Daughter!

Our pretty group field trip to visit Sam Houston's museum and statue. 

Nick's Eagle project was Saturday, after heavy over night rains, the project was completed without any problems and with a great turnout of scouts and other adult helpers.

Educational tidbits posted in the bathrooms of the Sam Houston museum.

My niece played her senior recital Sunday showcasing her talent and hard work of playing piano pieces fom the classical periods. 

Lilly is very moved by music, she is moved to the point of perpetual motion and can't sit still. She chair danced the first half of the performance, I let her go in the hall outside the second half where she made her own graceful moves to the pieces. Is this how ballet was born? 
She also made friends with this lovely angel statue.

Have you captured contentment? Join the link up at Bridget, Auntie Leila's and the girls.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

WWRW Blue Willow

"Something important was about to happen.."

Doris Gates' Blue Willow is a middle school level book about Janey and her small migrant family and their sufferings and survivals through a tough existence after the Texas drought of the 1930's era Depression moving from job to job.  

The story is inspiring for all ages, with inspiration from seeing Janey grow though her experiences with friendship, love, family devotion, courage and sacrifice.  Janey didn't think she had courage, we see that she did and the ability to sacrifice for love. Her father about their way of life; "Perhaps, I'm wrong but I've got a hunch that it takes just about as much courage to live like that (how they do) without losing your grip on things as ever it took to buckle on armor and go out to fight some fellow who had a grudge against you."

Janey didn't have siblings or a pet, she did have a very special possession, a treasured Willow plate, almost sacred to her; one very special possession of her past life.

Reading was important to her father and The Bible was her schoolbook. She clung to Scripture for security: "While the earth remaineth, seedtime and harvest, and cold and heat, and summer and winter, and day and night shall not cease." The verse that gave her comfort knowing her father could always provide for them. 

Sad, hard times but laced with hope from the enduring American spirit. You can't help but hope along with Janey. I cry every time I read it. 

I also find interesting the small story within the story: the legend of the Blue Willow plate. This is Janey's version she told her new friend, Lupe:

"Well, this rich old man had promised another rich man to let him marry the beautiful daughter. But the daughter was already in love with a poor man who was very handsome. And when the father found out, he shut his daughter up in a tower. See, here it is in the picture. But the handsome man stole her away, and they ran across the bridge toward the island and there they lived for quite a while. But the father found out about it and went to the island to kill them."
..Janey takes a dramatic pause for effect..
"he went to the island to kill them....but just as he got to their house, something changed the lovers into two white birds . And so they escaped and lived happily ever after.".....
"It was a miracle," Lupe announced awesomely.

Romantic fiction created by the china industry to sell plates. Still, who wouldn't love a plate all the more because of the romantic story depicted?  Janey had a bigger reason to love her plate, but I've spoiled enough.