Thursday, April 7, 2016

Pretty, Happy, Funny, Real: Easter Photos & Dancing Jane


A little tradition that I have in our home is that every Easter Sunday morning a vase that was once full of sticks on Good Friday blooms to beautiful flowers. I have always purchased a large bouquet in the store and I kind of insisted on having lilies, but this year my eldest and I agreed since we live in Virginia now with flowering trees, we can make our own bouquet. I gathered these flowers at 1130 in the evening on Holy Saturday. I had no idea what color or type I was harvesting but I went hacking into the bushes of my yard in the dark,,,yes.

But I love it! My girls showered me with "good job mommy!" exclamations on Easter morning :)


My husband's aunt sent this along with his cousin to our Easter vigil dinner. Aunt Joanna could not come but what is so beautiful is her heart and the love she has for my children.

The bunny was just a white cake and my children had this tray so they could decorate it themselves! I love people who think what will be fun for the children? Such a blessing!


My sister gave me this card a couple of months ago for my birthday. I love seeing Jane dancing about on my cabinet before I grab my coffee mug. She loved to dance.


Did you hear the good news?!?!? HE ROSE! So we celebrated and are still celebrating our first Easter here in Virginia, our new home. What a great comfort the seasons, the Holy Mass, the songs and prayers and words are to this Coast Guard mama in her new place. Even after nine months here, I am still trying to settle and be at peace and God is so good and I see I need this Church so bad. 

Alleluia! More PHFR here.

Triduum Liturgical Catch Up & A Heart String

I love Holy Thursday. Every year I sit with an open heart and find that I am always surprised and in awe of our Lord's example as He breaks Bread and He washes feet.

I hear an invitation.

Every Good Friday...I am stilled and I can barely choke out a whisper, an acknowledgement, 

"For me?"

I awoke this morning to make my husband an egg sandwich and a travel mug of coffee. I have been convinced recently by a good friend to get up and serve him, to see him off so that he touches humanity, so that he knows he is KNOWN to me before he goes to serve our family. It is a bit sad I didn't think of this before...that he was leaving a silent home...but now he has his bed head and glasses wife to bid him adieu. Lucky him ;)

No, but really, I don't know how to help him with his work sometimes. I am not talking about his Coast Guard job work...I am talking about his inner work...his story that God has written for him. That God is asking him to say yes to. And so...I figure an egg sandwich might at least give him some energy for whatever is being asked of him.

So my littles are in bed and I come to this spot and all I have written about an NFP journey. I was pondering this morning about letting you all in on some of my own work that God has given me as part of this story. He is challenging what I thought was a done deal. It is the beauty of being a Catholic. To find yourself in a spot and to just about be settled and comfortable there when tugs on your heartstrings begin again.

And yet, it is a familiar tug, the kind of tug that I know can only be Gift and Good and Holy because I have followed the string before. I have put my fingers along the heart string, usually shaky doubting Thomas fingers, and like Princess Irene from The Princess and the Goblin, I have held onto that string from inside dark caves. I have trusted following the tug because of a confidence in Him that can only come from mercy and grace and years of seeing how HIS PLAN IS BEST. I have seen and held and kissed and loved what is at the end of the string.

I have been reading again.

I KNOW what you are thinking! We all have some book going on at any given moment! Like I just read about Alexander Hamilton's role in the Battle of Yorktown...and how fun that we just drove by there Monday to play by the river.

But the words I have been reading are ones that I am letting seep into cracked dry ground. There is a quiet surrender going on inside me and I see how beautiful the Holy Spirit is in introducing me to this particular work right now. I would not have been ready for it even a few months ago. For some reason, I am internalizing it now. That reason being only grace from a gentle Father.

The following is in Msgr Cormac Burkes Covenanted Happiness: Love and Commitment in Marriage, which can be read in its entirety here.

Why should the marital act be more significant than any other expression of affection between the spouses? Why should it be a more intense expression of love and union? Surely because of what happens in that marital encounter, which is not just a touch, not a mere sensation, however intense, but a communication, an offer and acceptance, an exchange of something that uniquely represents the gift of oneself and the union of two selves.

Here, of course, it should not be forgotten that while two persons in love want to give themselves to one another, to be united to one another, this desire of theirs remains, humanly speaking, on a purely volitional level. They can bind themselves to one another, but they cannot actually give themselves. 

The greatest expression of a person's desire to give himself is to give the seed of himself.

Giving one's seed is much more significant, and in particular is much more real, than giving one's heart. "I am yours, I give you my heart; here, take it", is mere poetry, to which no physical gesture can give full expression. 

But, "I am yours; I give you my seed; here, take it", is not poetry, it is love. It is conjugal love embodied in a unique and privileged physical action whereby intimacy is expressed - 

"I give you what I give no one else" - and union is achieved: 

"Take what I have to give. This will be a new me. 

United to you, to what you have to give - to your seed - 

this will be a new you-and-me, fruit of our mutual knowledge and love". 

In human terms, this is the closest one can come to giving one's self conjugally and to accepting the conjugal self-gift of another, and so achieving spousal union.

Therefore, what makes marital intercourse express a unique relationship and union is not the sharing of a sensation but the sharing of a power: of an extraordinary life-related, creative, physical, sexual power. In a truly conjugal relationship, each spouse says to the other: "I accept you as somebody like no one else in my life. You will be unique to me and I to you. You and you alone will be my husband; you alone will be my wife. And the proof of your uniqueness to me is the fact that with you - and with you alone - am I prepared to share this God-given, life-oriented power".

This is only a small part, a little tid bit from the entire book, but I chose to share with you because I have reread this small piece a few times...over the course of months...I think since Christmas. That is how SLOW I have been going through this book because I am holding on to a string and this writing is changing things and it is a slow work.

I have to be careful. I have to not use too many of my own words to explain because Msgr Burke has said it so well. I can't begin to put words to this quiet surrender, but I feel myself taking this string.

And I remember Princess Irene and her string, and so I remind myself that when Princess Irene is making her way out of the cave, she feels the string and she makes sure to grab the hand of her Curdie, so they can follow the string together.

And so I shared! I don't know what it means and I don't have to know but I have to TRUST!

I hope you have a very blessed day. Pray for me as I pray for you!

Monday, April 4, 2016

Liturgical Catch Up: St Patrick's Celebration

I take pictures for my blog and then the days pass and my life...which is a good kind of full...well...blogging kind of DOESN'T happen. But it does! Like I am doing it right now! So RIGHT NOW I am going to share some of our St Patrick's Day doings...

My children set traps this year for leprechauns.

This is the first time they have made these. I stressed out a I make green footprints with ink around the trap? And then...I think I cleaned the kitchen and conked out.

It was all fine! They told ME that they heard a tinkling in the night from the trap and that they saw something out of the corner of their eye. Whew! My kids have an imagination...problem solved!

I did have green milk and green pancakes and if you know me...which if you are reading this blog you know I LOVE my twinkle lights!

God was good to me in choosing a very kind and fun and loving kindred spirit to meet me here in Williamsburg. While I was plucked from Alaska, she was plucked from Colorado and we both moved here in August last summer. We have thirteen children between us. Our husbands are cut from the same cloth and just calls for some good times. Seriously...this whole raising big families together business really inspires Mary Clare and I to constantly be seeking ways to build Catholic Culture.

Yes. Catholic Culture...AND we are part of a Church that has an abundance of things to celebrate to build said culture...really...check out the free Catholic calendars they pass out in the many lives to celebrate...and one happens to be the patron of Ireland.

So Mary Clare had some festivities the Saturday AFTER his actual feast day and it was awesome...

A leprechaun visited the house at some point in the night. The kids (there were 21 total) rushed outside!

He left a gift!
Mary Clare serves with a smile on her face. We love the green juice (with pineapple chunks for gold).

It was hard to leave. The night did have to end. The fellowship between everyone present (four families, my friend from Maine, and our seminarian friend) was real. It was lasting.

As I think back about how wonderful it was to be together...I know deep down, that heaven is like that. Maybe it was just a taste but in HEAVEN I believe the goodness, the joy and laughter and singing doesn't end, you just get to keep being together, all of you so in love with Him.