28 September 2011

My First Extraordinary Form Mass

I spent the weekend in Oxford with Charlotte's godmother and her family.  When she heard that I'd never been to Mass in the Extraordinary Form (EF), she told me she would take me to the one at the Oxford Oratory.  So early Sunday morning found us driving through Oxford to get to the Oratory for Mass.  We were slightly late, so I sat in the back with the kids.  Normally we'd sit in the front so they could see, but I didn't want to disrupt anything.  As it turned out, Charlotte slept the whole time, and Kieran was quite tired.

It was a Low Mass, and I hadn't gotten a missal, so I wasn't always sure what was happening.  I found that I really had to concentrate a lot more to ensure that I remained engaged and wasn't just a spectator (that's not a complaint).  I don't know much Latin, but of course knew the Agnus Dei and Sanctus and such.  I'd like to go to another EF Mass, and definitely want to go to a High Mass sometime.  I'm sure I'd get used to it fairly quickly if I went to the EF more.  Of course, I'm also quite happy to attend the Novus Ordo, which can also be quite beautiful.  Regardless, I get to see Jesus, which makes it all wonderful. :-)

27 September 2011

Off the Clock

"What time is it?" seems to be a constant refrain from me.  When I'm at home, I find that I pay much attention to the time and think of what ought to happen at what time.  I can even get a bit put out if whatever I think ought to happen at that time isn't happening.

This past weekend, however, I lived off the clock.  I no longer have a watch, and haven't for some time, but at home we have clocks, or I'm on the computer and see the time, and I use my phone for the time when I'm out. Well, I hadn't packed my phone charger (we were visiting a friend in another city) and the battery was running low, so I kept the phone off the majority of the time so I could use the phone if needed.  We were out of the house quite a lot, so I didn't have ready access to a clock.  I soon found that I forgot about the time and just went with the flow.  We ate when hungry, and not according to the time, for example.  I found it to be very relaxing to just do things as and when needed instead of thinking about the time.  I know it's not always possible to do that, since some things happen at definite times, but it is nice to just ignore the clock a bit.

Now that I'm home, I'm already finding that I'm going back to watching the clock more.  However, since I no longer have my laptop, maybe I can still be off the clock some, since I won't be constantly checking the time on a computer.

26 September 2011

Prayers for Fr Michael Williams

Please join me in praying for Father Michael Williams.  He had a brain hemorrhage, followed by an operation, and, last I heard, was on a ventilator with the doctors waiting for him to wake.  He's a younger priest, a wonderful priest.  I met him when he was teaching RCIA at the Cathedral.  He blessed Kieran prior to him being born and also blessed our flat for us when we moved in.  While I don't see him much now, I think of him and he's truly touched my life, as I know he's touched the lives of many others.  Please pray for him, and for his family.  St Jean-Baptiste Vianney, patron of priests, pray for him.

21 September 2011

Made From Scratch

I've posted about making homemade crackers before, but I've slightly changed the way I do it, so I'm posting again.  I came across another website that suggested using olive oil instead of butter, and I really love them that way.  So here's the recipe I use:

2/3 c wholemeal flour
1 1/3 c plain or strong white flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
herbs/spices of your choice
2/3 c water
1/3 c olive oil

Preheat oven to 200C/400F.  Sift the dry ingredients together in a bowl.  Make a well in the centre and add wet ingredients.  Roll out directly onto a baking sheet (this recipe makes enough for two trays), either using a rolling pin or even just patting them out with your hand.  If you added herbs to the mix, then just cut with a pizza cutter now and pop in the oven.  Alternatively, brush a little olive oil on top and then sprinkle with your choice of toppings and then cut.  Bake on a middle rack until golden.  I usually either mix rosemary into the dry ingredients or top with freshly ground black pepper.  I hear from the funny-shaped woman that you can substitute a mix of gram and rice flours, and that it works well with pumpkin seeds and sunflower seeds.

Imperia pasta maker from Amazon UK
I also make my own pasta now.  My in-laws gave me a pasta maker (the hand-crank variety), and I love it.  I can use the rollers alone to make lasagne sheets, or I can use the cutter for spaghetti and tagliatelle.  It's really quite easy, too.  You start with 1 c of flour (technically this should be 00 flour, but I've successfully used plain and strong flour) and 1 egg.  I usually use half wholemeal and half white.  Mix those and add a little water at a time as needed.  Add more flour as you knead until the dough is elastic and not sticky.  I leave it to sit for a little while prior to running it through the crank.  Sometimes I find that I didn't knead it enough and need to go back and add more flour and knead some more, but after that it works well.  With lasagne I don't cook the pasta beforehand, as I find it turns out well just cooking in the lasagne.

I did try ravioli once, and it didn't turn out so well, but I know I overfilled the raviolis.  I'll try again sometime.

Moving with Littles - Guest Post

Knowing that Laura has moved overseas and has a young daughter, I asked her for some tips on moving overseas with children.  She graciously submitted this guest post for me, addressing that very topic.

As a family of expats, we move a lot. Often we even move within the same country or within the same concession, depending on availability of housing. Since my daughter’s birth a little less than three and a half years ago, we have lived in three countries and have moved into as many houses (we’re planning to move from our studio into a larger house in a couple of months time). And then I’m not even mentioning the rentals and camping out at relatives in between.

Moving with children can be challenging, not in the least because it is stressful for the parents too. Here are a few suggestions for making the transition and the work in entrails as peaceful as possible.
  1. Prepare!   Preparation is the most important thing when it comes to moving. I'm not only talking about the boxing and taping and de-cluttering, I'm talking mental preparation. Start talking to your child about the move - no matter how small she is -  well in advance. Make the move more sensible by discussing the region/country/neighborhood you’ll be moving into. if it is possible to have a visit there, bring your kids so they can see where they are going. Show them pictures, read up on the place. Talk to them about the house and how it will be.
  2. Careful about the rosy glasses!  Don’t try to depict the move as all positive, which might be setting yourself and your child up for disappointment. You are probably (hopefully) looking forward to the move, but calculate that there might be downsides too, don’t ignore this, but talk about it. Your child might not see some of his friends any more, you might be moving away from family... Try to find a balance between the positive and the negative sides of this move when you talk to your child, so he has a good idea of what’s going to happen.
  3. Involve your child.  Have your child pick out the toy and clothing he wants to keep aside for the day(s) you’ll be travelling. Ask her to rummage through her things and sort out what she doesn’t need any more. If she is willing, she can fill a box of toys and personal belongings to ship to the new destination.
  4. Everything goes.  Make sure your child understands that you are de-cluttering too, and that your personal stuff goes in boxes too. 
  5. While you were sleeping.  Try to keep the more tricky stuff for when your child is sleeping or out playing. It can be a handful to pack when your child keeps unpacking the boxes. This might also be a good idea for some of their affairs.
  6. Keep things in their room/area as long as possible.  Pack the things your child uses most often last. You could organise that on the last day, your child is out with a relative or your significant other, so you cab pack up the things he can play with until the end.
  7. Pack the things you never or rarely use first.  We tend to pack things in order of use. We’d first pack things we have in storage, then the things we only use on occasion, then the things you don’t need like decorations, and then we start cutting into the things we do need until we’ve reached the bare minimum (like only leave two towels at the end...).
  8. Start well in advance.  If you take your time moving, just picking and boxing things as you find a moment, you won’t be as stressed when you reach D-Day, and you’ll avoid the ‘I’ll never get it all done’ stress.
  9. Keep some entertainment aside.  Do not make the mistake to end up in an empty house with nothing to do. Keep something aside for everyone in the family to pass the last moments in peace and entertained. You might like a book or a few DVD’s and art supplies are a good idea to keep aside for your children. 
I hope these tips will help you prepare your move in all serenity.

Author: Laura Schuerwegen
Blog: Authentic Parenting 

Bio: Laura is a mother, wife and writer, who swapped the life she studied for to have a more connected family under the African tropics. After lots of travelling, she and her family are now living in DR Congo. She writes about natural living at Authentic Parenting.

18 September 2011

Gone in the Blink of an Eye

Today I was scared out of my mind and realised how everything can change in the blink of an eye.  I was walking back from Mass with the kids, with Charlotte on my back and Kieran walking beside me.  He'd pushed the button to cross the street and waited for me to say it was clear to cross.  I'd waited for the green man and had seen that the car coming up was actually stopping.  Once I saw that it was clear, I gave him the OK.

At that moment, a car came speeding down the road and I shouted for Kieran to come back.  Thankfully he responded to me in time, but in my mind I could see him getting hit.   The car was going over the speed limit and the driver made absolutely no sign that she saw Kieran.  The driver of the other car that was stopping looked horrified.  I was terrified.  Kieran thought I was angry because I shouted, so once we got across the street after all that, I scooped him up and cried that I wasn't angry, just scared.  I thanked him for listening to me and clung to him.

I was still shaking when I got home, and my mind was still racing with the "what ifs".  It's all too easy to take my family for granted, when everything could change in the blink of an eye.  I thank God for my family, for I'd be lost without them.  I thank God for keeping Kieran safe today.  I cannot imagine life without him, and I hope I never have to imagine it.  It was an excellent reminder to treasure every moment, though.

Rosary Thoughts: the Fifth Joyful Mystery

The Fifth Joyful Mystery: the Finding of the Boy Jesus in the Temple

First, the relevant Scripture, from Luke 2:
40 And as the child grew to maturity, he was filled with wisdom; and God's favour was with him.
41 Every year his parents used to go to Jerusalem for the feast of the Passover.

42 When he was twelve years old, they went up for the feast as usual.

43 When the days of the feast were over and they set off home, the boy Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem without his parents knowing it.

44 They assumed he was somewhere in the party, and it was only after a day's journey that they went to look for him among their relations and acquaintances.

45 When they failed to find him they went back to Jerusalem looking for him everywhere.

46 It happened that, three days later, they found him in the Temple, sitting among the teachers, listening to them, and asking them questions;

47 and all those who heard him were astounded at his intelligence and his replies.

48 They were overcome when they saw him, and his mother said to him, 'My child, why have you done this to us? See how worried your father and I have been, looking for you.'

49 He replied, 'Why were you looking for me? Did you not know that I must be in my Father's house?'

50 But they did not understand what he meant.

51 He went down with them then and came to Nazareth and lived under their authority. His mother stored up all these things in her heart.

52 And Jesus increased in wisdom, in stature, and in favour with God and with people. 

I'll be honest, this is pretty much the one mystery that I never really "got".  I mean, I know about it, I know the story quite well, but I didn't connect with it and found it more difficult to meditate on it.  I didn't have a problem with other Joyful Mysteries, especially not now that I have children, but this one always stumped me.  Yes, I thought it amazing with Jesus revealing His relationship to the Father, and His subsequent obedience to Mary and Joseph, but I thought there was surely something I was missing.  I'd find myself praying "Lord, I don't know what to meditate on with this, I don't understand the significance, but I will try".

Well, recently a thought hit me.  This came after a friend asked where Jesus was for those 3 days that His parents were looking for Him.  Suddenly the parallel with the 3 days in the tomb struck me.  Where was Jesus?  He was teaching!  In both cases, He was teaching.  During this Mystery, He was teaching at the Temple, and during His time in the tomb, He was preaching to the souls of those who had died.  I love the foreshadowing!

After I wrote this, I read a great post on the Joyful Mysteries at Shameless Popery.  I highly recommend it.

13 September 2011

The Leaving of Liverpool

I've been thinking of how to write this post ever since we realised we'd be leaving Liverpool, and it hasn't been easy.  We came to Liverpool five years ago; initially we were here on a one-year student visa whilst we studied for our MAs.  We decided to pursue our PhDs after that, though I soon stopped mine as I'd had Kieran and preferred to be a stay-at-home-mum and also am not keen on archaeological theory (though I love archaeology and Egyptology, I've just never been one for the theory part of it).

So our initial 1-year stay became a 5-year stay.  Both of my children have been born here.  I've met wonderful people and absolutely love Liverpool.  Scousers are, for the most part, wonderful people and I've been struck by how helpful and open and kind they are.  This is my home, and I will miss it dearly.  Perhaps I will be able to return one day, I hope.  Though I know it is the "real England" that matters more (I'm referring to C. S. Lewis' The Last Battle).  But as a friend would say: Scouse and proud!

11 September 2011

Rosary Musings: Fourth Joyful Mystery

The Fourth Joyful Mystery: the Presentation in the Temple

The Presentation by Bellini, from CGFA
As always, starting with the Scripture, from Luke 2:22-38, taken from the New Jerusalem Bible:

22 And when the day came for them to be purified in keeping with the Law of Moses, they took him up to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord- 23 observing what is written in the Law of the Lord: Every first-born male must be consecrated to the Lord- 24 and also to offer in sacrifice, in accordance with what is prescribed in the Law of the Lord, a pair of turtledoves or two young pigeons.
25 Now in Jerusalem there was a man named Simeon. He was an upright and devout man; he looked forward to the restoration of Israel and the Holy Spirit rested on him. 26 It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death until he had set eyes on the Christ of the Lord. 27 Prompted by the Spirit he came to the Temple; and when the parents brought in the child Jesus to do for him what the Law required, 28 he took him into his arms and blessed God; and he said:
29 Now, Master, you are letting your servant go in peace as you promised; 30 for my eyes have seen the salvation 31 which you have made ready in the sight of the nations; 32 a light of revelation for the gentiles and glory for your people Israel.
33 As the child's father and mother were wondering at the things that were being said about him, 34 Simeon blessed them and said to Mary his mother, 'Look, he is destined for the fall and for the rise of many in Israel, destined to be a sign that is opposed- 35 and a sword will pierce your soul too -- so that the secret thoughts of many may be laid bare.'
36 There was a prophetess, too, Anna the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was well on in years. Her days of girlhood over, she had been married for seven years 37 before becoming a widow. She was now eighty-four years old and never left the Temple, serving God night and day with fasting and prayer. 38 She came up just at that moment and began to praise God; and she spoke of the child to all who looked forward to the deliverance of Jerusalem.
 I have to admit that I think I'd freak out if some random man picked up my child at Mass.  Of course, it's possible that Mary and Joseph knew Simeon, at least in passing.  I have had an acquaintance snatch Kieran from my arms when he was much younger, because he was so excited to see the baby, but of course I never heard such words as Simeon says.  I cannot imagine how I'd react hearing those words about my son.  Obviously the angel had told Mary some of the story, and she knew some more from the shepherds who came in Bethlehem, but this was new.  What must she have thought?  And of course a sword did pierce her own soul, for what mother's soul wouldn't be pierced at seeing her son suffering as hers did?

10 September 2011

What I Would Say If I Met Pre-Baby Me - Guest Post

This is a list of things I know now that I wish I knew before I started expanding our family, things every mother to be should know. It’s not that these women aren’t motivated to make an effort for their baby-to-be, it’s that this info is just not out there. Or at least not in the places they are looking. If you have a pre-baby friend, share your wisdom, without scaring them off. There’s no need to wrap motherhood in a veil of mystery.

  1. Analyze yourself, define your triggers, the things that haunt you from your past, especially your upbringing and childhood. Children are amazing at triggering old emotions, deal with them now and start with your children as a whole person. 
  2. When it comes to your birth, don’t choose the easy way, don’t be bullied into something you don’t fully support. You can’t overdo your and your baby’s birth; put in an effort to explore your choices and choose an option you feel comfortable with.
  3. Seek out real information. Mainstream parenting and pregnancy magazines are NOT decent information, they play into whatever sells ad space best. They bear false information and spread old wives tales.
  4. Find the mother in your environment you relate to most, the mother you would like to be, the mother you aspire to: talk to her. Make her your friend. Have her share all her wisdom with you.
  5. If you’ll be having a baby together, make sure you’re on the same page, that you have the same desire to learn and grow. That your family project looks similar, if not the same.
  6. Babies don’t come on your schedule. Don’t plan your life around them, don’t try to decide how many you will want or when you want them. They will come as they are.
  7. Yes, there are times you will be exhausted, but you will be able to deal with it. You are strong and you are not alone. 
  8. Don’t listen to pregnancy and birth horror stories. Seek out beautiful birth stories. Birth is not a initiation in pain, it is a becoming, a beautiful, breathtaking, life-changing, earth-rocking event. Birth is not war with your own body, it’s an exploration of its power and its mystique.
  9. Enjoy your pregnancy, don’t be fear-mongered by ‘well-intended’ doctors, women have been having perfectly healthy babies for ages before they came to meddle. 

What would you tell yourself? What do you tell your childless friends?

Author: Laura Schuerwegen
Blog: Authentic Parenting 

Bio: Laura is a mother, wife and writer, who swapped the life she studied for to have a more connected family under the African tropics. After lots of travelling, she and her family are now living in DR Congo. She writes about natural living at Authentic Parenting.

8 September 2011

Crafty Thursday - Guest Post from Mrs 2nd Lieutenant

 Today Mrs 2nd Lieutenant from the blog For Where E'er We Go has graciously shared her crafting with us.  Aren't these trees wonderful?! 
Although it pains me to admit this, because seeing Halloween candy out in August makes me stabby, Advent and Christmas will indeed be here sooner than we think. And, this OCD Advent activity obsessed Mama likes to have as many (if not all) gifts made and purchased by then, particularly because St. Nicholas Day is December 6th!

Thus, the deployment finally comes in handy. Between Alias DVDs from Netfliz (ohemgee, how did I miss this series years ago? So. Good.), I've got nothing but time, time, time, so I've been sewing.


I'm not even sure who this little Christmas Tree farm I've got going will even be for as of yet, but I know I'll need them for somebody. And, I even made an Advent tree - isn't this purple Nativity fabric gorgeous?

Of course, someone wasn't trying to be terribly liturgical since the Three Kings are also on the fabric (purple + baby Jesus = Advent, folks. Epiphany colors are gold and white!) But I just added some pink (excuse me, Father, rose) alternate fabric and its perfect!

Honestly, I'm seriously considering keeping this for me. We'll see.

Also, I have some babies being born - friends and neighbors are due soon - so I made some minky cuddle blankets.

boy blanket and girl blanket, both with green dot minky backs. yum!

Did you know how expensive minky fabric is? I definitely did not. Thank goodness for end of the bolt discounts slash Joann coupons or these babies would have been snuggling some flannel and fleece!

Its been nice sewing, stuffing, resewing, handsewing and slipping and sliding sewing (that minky!) all these fun little projects lately. I'd been away from my machine for a while doing these sorts of crafty things instead.

My next project, as soon as I can get back to the fabric store, is All Saints for the boys - Sons of Thunder, complete with fishing net (hopefully. If I can find some.)

What have you crafted lately?

6 September 2011

Emotional Appeals

I think I've decided that one thing that annoys me the most is when someone uses an emotional appeal to influence a medical decision.  For example, I was talking about how I don't think any vaccines should be compulsory.  None of them are compulsory in the UK, though of course they're strongly recommended and most parents opt for their children to receive them.  To me, this shows that they don't need to be mandatory in order for there to still be a large uptake for them.  I simply object to any medical treatment being compulsory, for we should have the right to informed consent.  I've stated before that I'm not anti-vaccine, but neither do I think all vaccines are necessary for all children.

Anyway, there have been a few times when I've mentioned my views only to be met with an emotional appeal.  This usually takes the form of "but what if your child isn't vaccinated for x and comes into contact with someone who is susceptible?!"  That could be a pregnant woman or ill child or whatever, but the emotional appeal remains the same, really.

While such an appeal is quite powerful, it is not a good basis for a decision, in my opinion.  Medical decisions should be based on looking at the actual risks and benefits for action or inaction, not on an emotional appeal about what might happen.  Yes, it's good to take others into account if the decision might affect them, but again the risks need to be weighed.

I think the reason it annoys me, besides the fact that it's not a good way to get informed consent, is because this reaction is given without realising that my children have had adverse reactions to some vaccines.  Like, the kind of reaction that it says on the package insert indicates that that vaccine shouldn't be given again.  There's no permanent damage as far as I can tell, but it does play a part in my vaccine decisions.  Again, it comes down to weighing all the risks and benefits, and this is best done in a logical manner and not with emotional appeals, in my opinion.

5 September 2011

Glory Be

When we first talked about the strong possibility of moving back to the US, I was sad but OK with it.  The past two days, though, I've been a bit more stressed.  I think of England as "home", and have done so from the minute I first set foot on this wonderful island.  Yes, it will be wonderful to see all the family, many of whom we've not seen for two or more years, I just wish I could stay here and do that.

So in the midst of this stress and sadness today, a couple of things have come back to me.  One is a homily I heard a month or two ago.  One of the monks from Ampleforth Abbey was visiting the parish (which is run by Benedictines from Ampleforth), and he talked about how he encouraged the students to imagine that they were late to class, it was raining, and they'd forgotten their assignment.  At that very moment, when they were stressed, soaked from the rain, annoyed, etc, the words on their lips should be the Glory Be: Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit.  As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.

I've been trying to do that today.  I've also been thinking of a doxology I learnt years ago: Praise God from Whom all blessing flow; praise Him all creatures here below, praise God above ye heavenly hosts, praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.

Does it make me feel better?  Not really, but then, that isn't the point.  The point is to give God the glory even when I don't feel like it.  I suppose it's a bit like me telling Kieran that he needs to trust that I'm not giving instructions arbitrarily, but because I'm trying to protect or help him.  I need to trust that God has a plan for all this, and whatever it is, however I feel, I will praise Him.

4 September 2011

Rosary Musings: Third Joyful Mystery

The Third Joyful Mystery: the Nativity

John Singleton Copley's The Nativity, found here: http://www.paintinghere.com/painting/The_Nativity_986.html
First the Scripture, Luke 2:1-20 (from the New Jerusalem Bible):

1 Now it happened that at this time Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be made of the whole inhabited world. 2 This census -- the first -- took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria, 3 and everyone went to be registered, each to his own town.
4 So Joseph set out from the town of Nazareth in Galilee for Judaea, to David's town called Bethlehem, since he was of David's House and line, 5 in order to be registered together with Mary, his betrothed, who was with child.
6 Now it happened that, while they were there, the time came for her to have her child, 7 and she gave birth to a son, her first-born. She wrapped him in swaddling clothes and laid him in a manger because there was no room for them in the living-space.
8 In the countryside close by there were shepherds out in the fields keeping guard over their sheep during the watches of the night. 9 An angel of the Lord stood over them and the glory of the Lord shone round them. They were terrified, 10 but the angel said, 'Do not be afraid. Look, I bring you news of great joy, a joy to be shared by the whole people. 11 Today in the town of David a Saviour has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. 12 And here is a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger.' 13 And all at once with the angel there was a great throng of the hosts of heaven, praising God with the words: 14 Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace for those he favours.
15 Now it happened that when the angels had gone from them into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, 'Let us go to Bethlehem and see this event which the Lord has made known to us.' 16 So they hurried away and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in the manger. 17 When they saw the child they repeated what they had been told about him, 18 and everyone who heard it was astonished at what the shepherds said to them.
19 As for Mary, she treasured all these things and pondered them in her heart. 20 And the shepherds went back glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, just as they had been told.
I can't remember exactly when, but a few years ago it really hit me about Jesus, the Bread of Life, being born in Bethlehem, the House of Bread.  It really amazes me how these seemingly little details show us something so wonderful and miraculous.  Just as Jesus came humbly in Bethlehem, he comes to us humbly in the appearance of bread of wine every single day now.  It's easy to forget that or to overlook that the same Jesus who was born in Bethlehem, who walked and lived and died and rose again and is in Heaven, is also in the Eucharist.  In fact, this reminds me of the "My Daily Eucharist" for today:

Is there any real difference between Jesus in heaven and Jesus in the Eucharist? No, it is the same Jesus. The only difference is in us. We now on earth cannot see or touch him with our senses. But that is not a limitation in him; it is a limitation in us.
We speak correctly of believing in the Real Presence. But we should grow in our understanding of what this implies.
The living, breathing Jesus Christ is in the Blessed Sacrament. This is the reality. When we speak of presence, however, we are saying something more.
Two people may be really near each other physically, but not present to each other spiritually. To be present to someone means to have another person in mind by being mentally aware of their existence, and to have them in one's heart by loving that other person...
Jesus is on earth in the Blessed Sacrament. Why? In order that we might come to him now no less than his contemporaries did in first century Palestine. If we thus approach him in loving faith, there is no limit to the astounding things he will do. Why not? In the Eucharist he has the same human lips that told the raging storm, "Be still!" and commanded the dead man, "Lazarus, come forth!"
There are no limitations to Christ's power, as God, which he exercises through his humanity in the Eucharist. The only limitation is our own weakness of faith or lack of confidence in his almighty love.
Soul Magazine
Fr. John A. Hardon, S.J
I also love Mary's response to all this.  She treasures these things in her heart.  I'm reminded that I need to meditate on these things, treasure them in my heart, more instead of taking them for granted or responding with "yeah, I know all that, OK".  Once again, Mary points me to Jesus.

3 September 2011


As I'm sorting through things and deciding what to pack, what to ship, and what to sell/give away, it amazes me how much stuff we've accumulated in the five years we've lived in England.  Most, but not all, of the items are related to the kids.  For the first year or so that we were here, I didn't really accumulate things since initially we thought we'd only be here for a year.  Then it turned out that we'd be here for another four years, so I slowly started getting my kitchen gadgets and knitting materials and the like.

Of course all of that is dwarfed by the amount of stuff we have for the children.  There are books and toys and clothes and Doomoo seats and furniture and blankets and nappies, etc.  I've spent this week going through their old clothes and toys, seeing how I can downsize (thus why I've been scarce here lately).

While it's not that fun to go through everything, it is somewhat nice to downsize.  It forces me to really evaluate things honestly.  Anything that doesn't really get used or worn goes in the pile to sell/give.  It does ensure that I don't get too attached to material things.  There are some things that end up in that pile purely because it's not really feasible to take back to the US, like our crockpot, but  most of the things are those we truly don't need/don't use.  I'm starting now so I don't have to frantically go through things the week before we leave.  If you don't see new posts from me for a bit, though, this is why.

Now, off to see what's next on the list.