Saturday, December 31, 2011

New Year's Eve

It was an amazingly warm day today.  Aidan and I went out to gather moss for our New Year's Eve water garden.  There is so much green - it hardly seems like winter.

There is something so magical about a walk just before sunset along a stream.

We collected a couple of different kinds of moss near the stream but there was another variety that we wanted, so off toward our little lake we went.  Aidan was ready to do battle with one of the latest additions to an ever growing arsenal.

It has been such a blessing that my children have grown up next to little lake that has something to offer the whole year through.  On one of it's banks there is a huge patch of reindeer moss.  See all the light green?

I think we found at least four different varieties of moss, so pretty.....

Once back home, we chose a couple of large rocks from the yard.  These were places in a large metal bowl and filled with other shells and stones.  The moss was placed on top and then the bowl was filled with water.  Aidan added a bark bridge and a new little world was created -

Aidan tested out a few leftover boats from last year to make sure they would clear the bridge - they did.  In the meantime Christian helped make some new walnut shell boats.  I start by removing the wick from a tea light candle - you just remove the candle from aluminum base and the wick will come right out.  I place the wick in a walnut half and then carefully fill with wax.

This year we used our candles from Advent and the whole bowl nestles nicely on top of the Advent wreath.

We have four new boats ready.  The two big sisters are out for the evening - so maybe we'll let them set sail a boat tomorrow.  I have done different things with our boats.  Most years I attached small scrolls to the outside the bowl.  Whatever scroll your boat lands nearest to is yours to take into the New Year.  Some years it has been a little saying or just a word.  But this year we'll light our boats and send them off with own private hopes and dreams. 

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

She's off!

Katie, our 14 year old, will be taking off at 9:05pm this evening (or at least that's what the ticket says) on a ten day trip with the local Youth Orchestra to England and then France.  This will be her first plane ride - ever.  She is the first in our family to get a passport and travel outside the United States. 

And the funny thing is...people keep asking me....How are YOU?

I'm fine.  Really.  I'm thrilled.  As I watched Katie board the bus that would take her to the airport my thoughts traveled back to when she was 9 years old and had the opportunity to go to sleep away camp - the same wonderful camp her sister went to.   But she didn't want to....she wasn't ready.  And yet when the family all went to drop off her big sister....Katie cried and cried.  So many questions went through my mind...why is she crying?  Should I have encouraged her more?  Maybe she was ready?  But I didn't think she was really ready either. 

 She is ready now. 

Thursday, May 05, 2011

A Novena for a First Holy Communion

Aidan will make his First Holy Communion this Saturday.  One of the things I did for his older brother was to create a special Novena leading up to the big day.  Aidan's Novena follows the same pattern but has different stories to also coincide with the Easter season.

Amidst the last minute arrangements and preparations this has been a special way to take some time to share a story and pray together. 

The prayers are based on some of the prayers that I found in My Mass Book published by Neumann press.  I was going to rewrite them a bit but it turns out that Aidan prefers the "Thees" and "Thous" in the prayers.  I have a soft cover version, I think the one I linked to is the same one.

The stories are found mostly in "Easter Chimes - Stories for the Easter and Spring Season"  selected by Wilhelmina Harper.  Even if you do not have a child getting ready for First Holy Communion these are wonderful stories for the Easter season.  The stories marked with an * are from this collection (and there are many more - we love this book!) 

Each morning we begin with a story, then the special prayer for that day followed by an Our Father, Hail Mary, and Glory Be.

Day 1  An Act of Faith

Story - A Lesson of Faith
Sign of the Cross
Prayer - Act of Faith
O my God, I believe that this gift of Holy Communion is our Lord Jesus Christ.  I believe this because Thou, my Jesus, hast said, "This is my Body.  This is my Blood."  I believe, O Lord, and I will praise Thy name.
Our Father, Haily Mary, Glory be...

Day 2 An Act of Hope

Story - Easter Eggs (from the Good Master by Kate Seredy - this story is also found in another wonderful collection "The Easter Book of Legends and Stories" ed. Hazeltine and Smith)
Sign of the Cross
Prayer - Act of Hope
O my Jesus, Thou art coming from heaven to be the food of my soul. I hope for many favors from Thee, dear Jesus. I hope to know Thee, my God, better. I hope to love Thee more. I hope for the grace to serve Thee all my life. I give Thee all my thoughts, words, and actions. I hope to be happy with Thee in heaven.
Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory Be.....

Day 3 An Act of Love

Story - The Loveliest Rose in the World by Hans Christian Andersen*
Sign of the Cross
Prayer - Act of Love
O Jesus, my God, I love Thee. Thou art beautiful, dear Jesus, and so kind. The children loved and trusted Thee when Thou didst live on earth. They wanted to, because of Thy goodness. I want to love Thee as they did. Come into my heart and teach me, Jesus. My heart is ready to receive Thee, sweet Jesus. My Heart is ready.
Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory Be....

Day 4 An Act of Desire 

Story - The Apple Tree by Margery Williams Bianco*
Sign of the Cross
Prayer - Act of Desire
O Lord of hosts! O Son of God! O Jesus, my Love! My soul longs to receive Thee. My heart is happy because Thou, my loving Jesus, art coming to visit me. O Jesus, my own sweet Lord, come to me. O my Jesus, do not delay.
Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory be....

Day 5 An Act of Contrition

Story - The Beauty of the Lily by Frances Jenkins Olcott*
Sign of the Cross
Prayer - Act of Contrition
O my Father, I am Thy little child, and I need Thee. Have mercy upon me, my God.
Make my soul clean and beautiful for Jesus. I am sorry for all the faults I have committed.  I am sorry because they have offended Thee, my loving God and my Father. The love of my Jesus will make me strong and keep me from all sin.
Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory Be....

Day 6 An Act of Humility

Story - The Easter Eggs by Katharine Dunlap Cather*
Sign of the Cross
Prayer - Act of Humility
Jesus, Thou art my God.  I am a creature Thou hast made.  I am Thy child.  I do not know how to love Thee.  I do not know how to serve Thee.  Jesus, teach me!
Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory Be...

Day 7 An Act of Adoration

Story - The Little Brown Lizard by Mabel Leigh Hunt*
Sign of the Cross
Prayer - Act of Adoration
I adore Thee, Jesus my God.  I know Thou art the God of heaven and earth.  I know Thou art the King of Glory.
Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory Be...

Day 8 An Act of Petition

Story - The Golden Egg by Ivy Bolten*
Sign of the Cross
Prayer - Act of Petition
Give me, O loving Jesus, all that I need for myself and for others.  Bless my father and my mother.  Bless those I love.  Keep us from sin this day, dear Lord.  O Sacred Heart of Jesus, I place my trust in Thee.
Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory Be...

Day 9 Consecration to Our Immaculate Mother
Tomorrow we will have a blueberry pancake breakfast and bring some flowers to plant around Mary Statue at our Parish Church.  Then Saturday is the big day!

(Thank you, Hannah, for the pictures)

~ Capturing the context of contentment in everyday life ~
Every Thursday, here at Like Mother, Like Daughter!

A Mary garden blooming!

The first dozen eggs from our hens!

Ahh.... just one of the many the reasons why I never seem to have time to blog....first we had a Confirmation, then Easter, now Aidan's First Holy Communion is coming up Saturday.  Now the funny thing about this suit is that Aidan even wanted it...actually insisted on it.  This is the boy who does not like pants to fall below his ankle bones...this is the boy who writhes in pain when you put a collared shirt on him....this is the boy who needs to have each shoe tied to the same pressure.  I just washed the shirt...let's hope I am still smiling when we put the whole ensemble on him later today!

The basket of winter woolens that I WILL pack away today!

 I'm adding a quick addendum - I did go to finally pack away the winter things and look what I found....

round button chicken

Thursday, April 14, 2011

~ Capturing the context of contentment in everyday life ~
Every Thursday, at Like Mother, Like Daughter!

A Mary garden waking

A warm spring day with Calvin, Hobbes, and Ted

What is this?  It's in my garden, why can't I remember what this is?

Still quite a bit of clean up waiting to be done from this year's maple syrup production.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Come Holy Spirit!

Please join us with joy and thanksgiving for Hannah's reception of the Sacrament of Confirmation!

I will admit, Hannah and I were not thrilled about the celebration of this sacrament taking place in the gym Community Room of the local Catholic Elementary school rather than our own parish or even an actual Church.  Our two sister parishes along with two other parishes joined together for a larger celebration.  I will say though that everything went smoothly.   We did have a little bit of a wait time before the start of Mass but the boys did great (mostly).

It was a moving experience to have Mass concelebrated by the Bishop, four Priests, a number of Deacons, and many Altar Servers.   Coming together with other parishes gave a real picture of the larger Body of Christ to which these young people were fully committing themselves.

Hannah with her Sponser and Father Wayne

While the preparation for this Sacrament has been a two year journey we did have some more immediate preparations.  We celebrated the Sacrament of Reconciliation at our parish as a family.  We attended one of the Monday evening celebrations that are offered especially during Lent.  At our parish these evenings are accompanied by our choir singing Taize chant which helps create a quiet and reflective atmosphere.  This was also Aidan's *second* time receiving the Sacrament of Reconciliation, he received his First Reconciliation on February 26th in preparation for his First Holy Communion later this May. 

There was also the Confirmation Retreat and the interview with Father Wayne.  Then the day before the Confirmation, Hannah decided to sit a Holy Hour of Adoration.  Friday morning I went out early to get some lab work done and then a bit of last minute shopping....It was 9 o'clock am, I was at the grocery store when I realized I couldn't remember what time Hannah had signed up for...was it 10:00am or 11:00am?  After a few frantic calls, Hannah decided to jog to Adoration because I was not sure if I would make it back in time - good thing our parish is only a little over 2 miles away! 

That afternoon I went to my mother's house to decorate for a little dinner we were having afterward - have you noticed there is not a whole lot out there as far as Confirmation themed decorations go?  I purchased several tissue paper flowers in two sizes.  I found some images of the Holy Spirit to tape onto the center of the small ones seen in the picture below.  For the larger ones I found a stained glass image that I used to make a template for the design for you see above.  Some red and white candles, red and white paper streamers, red and white get the idea.  

Then I was on my way to the CSG to pick up our garden share, I was praying all the way that we would be getting some fresh spinach.  Prayers answered!  Hannah helped choose the menu for her special Confirmation Dinner.....

Spinach and Feta Cheese stuffed Chicken Breasts
Fragrant Rice with Currants
Lentil Walnut Salad
Green Peas
Homemade Buttermilk Bread
Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

Katie was kind enough to make the cake for me.  As we were deciding what to make for dessert Christian came in and said "What?  Hannah doesn't get to eat this cake does she?"  What delight when I informed two younger brothers that our usual Lenten sugar fast would be suspended for the whole weekend.  If nothing else spoke to the solemnity of the occasion to these boys....cake during Lent certainly did!

Before the cake was cut we lit seven candles in the shape of a cross and had Hannah name the Seven Gifts of the Holy Spirit before blowing out the candles...Christian was ready and eager to help with the program which listed them all (I chased him out of the room - no cheating!)

Other gifts and cards were also enjoyed.  I found a lovely pendant with the image of St. Cecilia.  Cecilia, the patron saint of musicians, was Hannah's chosen Confirmation name.

Oh and one little tip for any young ladies who will also receive this Sacrament - go easy on any foundation makeup.  Hannah doesn't wear foundation and for this occasion it turned out to be a very good thing as the Bishop was quite liberal with the application of the Holy Chrism as you can see in the picture below - she was dripping - really. 

Hannah Faith Cecilia

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Summer will come again.

For the past seven years our family has gone camping on Cape Cod.  Reservations must be made 6 months in advance and it is quite an accomplishment when you get the site you have you eye on.  But how pleasant to think of trips past and have something to look forward to when temperatures outside are cold and icy. 

Back to our regularly scheduled season.

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

Candlemas Day

It has been an icy grey day here today.  According to weather lore the local groundhog would not have seen his shadow which brings the promise of an early spring.  Hard to imagine right now - we have a lot of snow out there.

I always associate Candlemas Day with snowdrop flowers - in many gardens dedicated to Mary the snowdrop is hoped to give an appearance on February 2nd in rememberance of the Feast of the Purification of the Blessed Virgin.  Here's a bit more about Mary's Flowers.

But there is another legend of the snowdrop that is asscoiated with Eve - one such version can be found in the tale Fair Maids of February.  I found this legend yesterday and with everyone snug in our warm little house I spent the afternoon with piles of fleece and a single felting needle.  I do have a tool that holds several needles for bigger pieces like the one I worked but all the tips had snapped off!  Not wanting to waste my sudden inspiration I made do with one slightly crooked needle - time to up date my needle felting supplies.  I may try to create pictures for each month of the year.....

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Dear Jack Frost,

Thank you for the lovely pictures you made for us. 

They are beautiful.   An enchanted forest of icy trees grace our windows.

 But do you think you could keep your future canvases on the *outside* of the windows?  The children are more than happy to come out and play.  You must know that those beautiful delicate paintings in ice will not last long once the stove is rekindled and the sun shines bright. 

Or perhaps they are all the more beautiful for their rare, fleeting presence.  Never mind, come anytime you like.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

The entry in Small Steps for January 13 asked me to make a list of the things that bring me joy.  For whatever reason, my mind went completely blank.  I was stumped.  I was alarmed.  There must be something!  I read over Danielle Bean's essay in the Companion Journal.  Yes, I was quite sure that I that I knew the experience of Joy.  But nothing came to mind.  Needless to say I wasn't going to be able to make the list that day - instead I set out to watch for those moments of Joy.

At some point during the day I glanced out the window and saw a bird alight on the tree - an immediate lightness and delight filled me.  Yes - this was a moment of joy!  I began to think what a salve God's creation is to my soul - from the vastness of the ocean or the view from a mountain top to all the little love notes He leaves me to find in the most surprising places.
I remembered how loved I felt when I realized that in every walnut you can find a love note fashioned by the Creator!

Then I remembered the giggles that escaped from me as I finished each little mouse for a friend during Advent.  All it took was a walnut shell, a bit of wool, some soap and water, a few beads, needle and thread.  With these small things and the work of my hands I crafted a little token that would be a gift to a child. The work of my hands, the giving...Joy.

How our Lord must have delighted in His creation!  How he must delight in each one of us.

I remembered the simple smile of a child brings Joy.  Their sweet mischievousness.  A chess game won.  A new tune on the Bagpipe mastered.  The sound of young womens' voices in song.

So much Joy.  I only had to stop, look, and listen.  And give thanks.  I think I will never struggle again to recognize the Joy in my life.  At least I hope not.  Lord, forgive me if I do.  My work now is to take those moments and stretch them out until they meet one another, until our days are covered by Joy.  What a happy vocation. 

CCC 2094
--acedia or spiritual sloth goes so far as to refuse the joy that comes from God and to be repelled by divine goodness.