Thursday, February 28, 2013

A Family Says So Long

photo from Beautiful Whispers of Catholicism

It is a somber day for me:  I'll admit it.  As I write this, I realize that (if I have the time difference straight) Pope Benedict XVI no longer sits in the Chair of Peter.  

I've wanted to write something all day.  And when I finally was able to check out some of my favorite bloggers, I realized they have said what I cannot... each in a slightly different way.   I feel like I am gathering together with members of my family as I read their words.  Therefore, I put a few links here.  I have found comfort and encouragment in these today.  I hope you will as well.   

Beautiful Whispers of Catholicism  (and I hope you don't mind my "borrowing" the photo!)

Thoughts on Grace 

Praying For Grace

Truth Himself

Inadequate Disciple

Totus Tuus Family

Campfires and Cleats ...        

..... where our friend Chris seems to have had the same inspiration as my own today:  to share links to others saying so long to our papa.  I call your attention to hers in particular.  Especially as it includes an informative, original and entertaining video from Busted Halo... only 3 minutes long, but filled with information about how a new pope is chosen.  Perfect for young viewers!  (and we who are not so young can learn a few things about the process as well).

The posts listed above express much of the affection and sense of loss of a papa that I, myself, am feeling.   In addition to these, I include the following from "news" sites and blogs.

Rome Reports

Pope's Final Farewell (Zenit) 


May God bless the man who has led us so wisely for eight years, and draw him ever more deeply into the Sacred Heart of our Lord, Jesus Christ. 

This post is linked to Catholic Bloggers Network Linkup Blitz

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

What An Opportunity!

What a beautiful opportunity during this pivotal time in the Church!

Did you know that, in addition to praying for the Conclave electing our next pope, we can each actually "adopt a cardinal" and pray very specifically that he will be guided by the Holy Spirit? 

I first learned about this through Tiffany at Family at the Foot of the Cross , and before long I had prayed, clicked, and suddenly I was given the privilege of praying for Cardinal Franc Rodé from Slovenia.  I've been "researching" him for several hours now, and already this makes the election process more personal than ever. 

If you would like to take this opportunity to pray particularly for one of the men who will be inspired by God to choose our next holy father,  click this line  to read more about it.

'On this rock I will build My Church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.'  Matthew 16:18

Painting: Josef Wagner-Höhenberg, Ein Treffen der Kardinäle

This post is linked to Catholic Bloggers Network Linkup Blitz 

Monday, February 25, 2013

My Only Hope

O Lord, my God, my only hope,
hear me,
lest through weariness
I should not wish to seek You... 

Give me the strength to seek, 
You who have caused me to find You,
and have given me the hope 
of finding You more and more.
St. Augustine

Painting in the Manner of Jean Baptiste Santerre; in US public domain

Now I'll Ask YOU

I have been thinking, since doing the Liebster post, about questions.  I kinda like lists of questions for which I didn't have to study to come up with the answers... I just know them.

So I'm deciding.  Just this moment, I'm deciding.

For EVERYBODY reading this... yes, this means you...  I have a list of questions.  Anybody care to answer a few?

If you don't like to comment or don't know how to do so (I realize captchas can be confusing, annoying, and HARD TO READ), you can e-mail me at my address on the sidebar and I can put your answer on for you as an "anonymous" (if you give me your name I'll use it, or you can just remain anonymous if you wish).

So - here are a few questions.  For YOU .. as many or as few as you care to consider.  And oh yeah, I'm going to answer them myself.  (What?  You didn't think I was going to join in the conversation?).  But I'll put mine in the comments, along with yours. 

1.  What is your favorite Scripture?
2.  If you could take a class in anything today, what would that be?
3.  What is/are your favorite place(s) you've ever been? 
5.  Anything (even trivial) about yourself you'd like to share with us?

See you back here in a bit?

Painting:  Joseph Kleitsch, Madonna of the Apples, 1927, in US public domain

This post is linked to Catholic Bloggers Network Linkup Blitz

Sunday, February 24, 2013

I'd Like to Thank the Academy

Thank you to Chris at Campfires and Cleats for this delightful Liebster blog award!  What a beautiful surprise, and from a blog I very much enjoy visiting. 

Now I will pass along some info about this particularly fun award...

What is the "Liebster Award," actually?  The award is given to up and coming bloggers who have fewer than 200 followers.  From what I understand, liebster is German for: "sweetest," "kindest," "nicest," "dearest," "beloved," "valued," "endearing," and "welcoming."


Chris' other recipients can be found here, and I have to say that I'm in awe to find myself among them.  And this IS an especially fun award, so...let's just have some merriment! 

Here are the "rules" for The Liebster Award:
1. List 11 things about yourself.
2. Answer the questions that the nominator has posed for you.
3. Nominate 11 up and coming bloggers who have less than 200 followers.
4. Create 11 questions to ask the nominees.
5. Go to the page of each nominee and tell her about her award.

Ta da!  Here are 11 totally random things about me.  I'll try to stick to things you don't already know, and I'll say these without thinking...

1.  I often say things without thinking.
2.  I live in what some say is a library with a few pieces of furniture in it.  Books are my wallpaper of choice... in every. single. room
3. I like humor, good wholesome humor.  Old "Shoe" comics.  Carol Burnett's classic skit "Went With the Wind" (you know the one, where she glides down the staircase wearing a drapery dress complete with rod... "I saw it in the window and just couldn't resist"). 
4. I prefer overcast days to sunny ones, cool weather to warmI find gray skies much more "interesting" than blue ones with decorator clouds. 
5. I began college as an Art major.  I wanted to learn to paint like this....

.. BUT it happened to be a time when students were being told we needed to "get with the times" and express our "individuality,"
and we had to paint like this....

Which probably gives you some clue as to why I now happily fill blogs with things like this....  

6.  I love old, ticking clocks.
7.  I used to write poetry.
8.  If I could visit anywhere in the world, I'd head straight for Annecy, France.
9.  I don't like graham crackers.  Not even in S'mores.
10. I can sit beside the ocean for many hours at a time (like, all day), just staring into the waves, doing nothing else.  Even a book is distracting there.
11. One of my favorite sounds is that of a train rumbling in the distance.
12. I'm dreadful at Math, so have I counted correctly to 11?  

And now the fun continues!   Chris has presented 11 questions that I am to answer.  So here goes:

1. Where did you grow up?
     In the middle part of the USA.  Very all-American.  
2. If you could live anywhere, where would that be?
     1st choice:  where I live now.  2nd choice: perhaps Berkshire County, Massachusetts 
3. What is your favorite book?  
     Is it a dreadful cop-out to say "EVERY one that's on my blogger profile?" ?!
4. Favorite movie?
    "To Kill a Mockingbird."  For the story, the acting, the music, and "hey, Boo...."
5. Saint who inspires you?
    Francis de Sales.  Teresa of Avila.  Faustina.  Ignatius.
6. Hobby?
7. Why did you begin your blog?
    To have a more "out in the world" companion/link to the Cloistered Heart blog, which I 
    began at the same time.  But this one soon took on a "life of its own," and I LOVE doing it!
8. What's your fairy tale wedding like?
    Revelation 19:7-9. The REAL happily-ever-after we've all been awaiting!!!
9. If you could have dinner with a-n-y-o-n-e, who would that be?
     Pope Benedict XVI.
10. Louisa May Alcott or Jane Austen? 
      Harper Lee.   
11. Best spot for a relaxing dinner with the family?
      By the sea, by the sea, by the beautiful sea...

And now for my own nominees for the Liebster award.  I tried to follow the rules, so generally left out (with maybe two exceptions) blogs for which I couldn't find the number of followers.  I don't know any way to tell except by the Google gadget.  And those sometimes appear and disappear from others' sidebars as well as my own (which is why mine is at the very bottom of my sidebar - 'cause when mine goes, it also takes out everything below it).

Drum roll, please, for these genuinely "sweet," "kind," "nice," "dear," "beloved," "valued," "endearing," and "welcoming" blogs! 

Journal of a Nobody

These Joyful Mysteries

My Desert Heart

The Beautiful Gate 

Beautiful Whispers of Catholicism 

My Cozy Nook

Daily Grace

Contemplative Homeschool

Praying for Grace 

Imprisoned in My Bones

Sue Elvis Writes

And now:  do we have another drum?  Here are the 11 questions I present to the above nominees:

1.  If you won a free trip to anywhere, where would you go?
2.  What is your favorite childhood memory? 
3.  What's your favorite season?
4.  Favorite kind of music?
5.  If you could spend tomorrow with one canonized saint, who would it be?
6.  What is your favorite Scripture?  (either chapter and verse, or a whole book)
7.  If you were dressing up for an elegant evening out, what would you wear?....
8.  .... and where would you like to go?
9.  Who has modeled the Christian life for you, or taught it to you, in an inspiring way?   
10. What is your favorite poem?  (if you don't have one, pick a favorite anything-else!)
11.  How do you like to relax and wind-down? 

And now... I finish this at exactly 11 minutes after one a.m.!  How's THAT for timing.  May anyone stopping in here at this ridiculously late hour have 11 good dreams...

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Do You Fear the Mercy of God?

"The Magdalene, most of all, is the model I like to follow.  
That boldness of hers, which would be so amazing 
if it were not the boldness of a lover, won the heart of Jesus." 
(St. Therese of Lisieux)

"My child, do you fear the mercy of God?
 My holiness does not prevent Me from being merciful....
 You can come to Me at any moment, at any time;
I want to speak to you, and desire to grant you grace."
(Jesus to St. Faustina) 

Painting:  Frederick Sandys, Maria Magdalena 

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Fix the Eyes of Your Soul

'Make frequent spiritual aspirations to God by means of short but ardent movements of the heart.  Marvel at His beauty, implore His help, cast yourself in spirit at the foot of the cross, adore His goodness, and beg Him that you may be saved eternally.  Give Him your heart and offer your soul to Him thousands and thousands of times.  Fix the eyes of your soul upon His gentle face and hold Him by the hand, just as a small child does with his father.'  (St. Francis DeSales, Introduction to the Devout Life)

Painting: Josef Kinzel Abendläuten, 1903, in US public domain

Saturday, February 16, 2013

The Sound of Your Voice

Let Your voice sound within me,
and I shall go even to the farthest end of the earth,
 to do all that You ask,
because the sound of Your voice performs wonders.'

St. Frances Cabrini

Painting:  Henry Meynell Rheam, Violets 1904
This post is linked to Catholic Bloggers Network Linkup Blitz

Thursday, February 14, 2013

But Obedience

'I don't demand mortification from you, but obedience.  
By obedience, you give great glory to Me 
and gain merit for yourself.'  Jesus to St. Faustina

Painting:  William Adolphe Bourguereau, The Haymaker

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Holy Words Are Pearls

'We will not spend Lent well unless we are determined to make the best of it.
  Let us, therefore, spend this Lent as if it were our last, and we will make it well...
Holy words are pearls; they are ships of infinite mercy - the true ocean of the east.'

St. Francis de Sales

Painting: William Margetson, The Sea Hath its Pearls, Google Art Project

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

That Pre-Lent Peatzah

I'm taking a BIG CHANCE.  Feeling in need of a bit lot of pre-Lent silliness, I'm stepping totally outside the breadbox blog-box .. just for today, I promise... and sharing, right here, right now, something I posted on a "just for fun" blog I tried very briefly about a year ago. 

After all, today is mardi gras.  A day for celebrating food and smiles and (in this case) my favorite Veggie Tales Silly Song (you surely don't want to miss that).  So away we goooooo.....

Once upon a time, in a land known as 1950s America, there were seven food groups.  Meat, alphabet soup, peanut butter, Twinkies, school lunches, Cheerios, and jam.  Milk was a drink.  Vegetables were something we tried to avoid if we were under 12, and some of us could actually get by with such avoidance if we gagged while trying to swallow lima beans.  If anyone had uttered a weird phrase such as "tonight we're having fast food," we would have figured we'd forgotten it was Lent.

That all changed with the invention of pizza pie. 

Oh, I know pizza was around long before Americans "discovered" it; and it was a hit in large cities before middle American towns like mine caught whiffs of its oregano tinged trails.  I was a child when I first heard of it, from my much older sister who was bringing it home for the family to taste.

Funny how clearly I remember that day.  There I was in the living room, jumping up and down on the slipcovered sofa.  My sister had called to say she was bringing something special for dinner.  Which was amazing in itself... I mean, dinner was not something anyone "brought home."  Dinner was tuna casserole or meat loaf.  But the attention grabber for me was that wondrous and magical word PIE.  I had no idea what "peat-zah" might be, but lo and behold.... we were having PIE for SUPPER!

Was peatzah something like chocolate?  O, I most sincerely hoped so.  Chocolate was my favorite, creamy and dark with meringue on top.  Of course, peatzah might be a kind of fruit, like cherries or apples.  Big sister said peatzah pie was "all the rage" in places like New York, and New York was pretty special (I wasn't sure why, but that's what I'd heard).

My first glimpse of this new mysterious pie might have been my first clue.  What in the WORLD was THIS?  No chocolate, no berries, no meringue?  Just a funny looking slab of.... something.... lying limp and flat in a cardboard box.  And what's this red on it?  It doesn't look like cherries. "That's tomatoes," explained Big Sister.  And the yellow stuff was cheese. 


I was definitely not about to act like a baby, so I bravely picked up a piece of the greasy weird gruesome horrid non-fruit, non-chocolate, all-the-rage pie and heroically took a bite.

I was devastated.

I know that sounds dramatic.  But as a child (I'll admit it), I was just a tad bit  whole lot  .. "dramatic."  Dramatic enough to run sobbing into my room, most likely hurling myself across my bed (I'd seen that in movies, I knew how it was done).  I wasn't even getting DINNER tonight, when I'd been promised PIE!??!!!  Even creamed corn would have been an okay alternative to NOTHING when a person had been expecting some brand new exotic New York kind of FRUIT!!

Eventually, of course, I made peace with peatzah. Pizza parlors were a fun place in my young years. Pizza became (is) my go-to meal on hectic days.  

And is there a particular point to this story?  Not even remotely.  Not this time.  I just wanted to write it down.  I hear that's a blogger's prerogative, so I'm trying it out, and with more courage than I had when sampling that first taste of peatzah pie.

The Beast of peatzah .... non-chocolaty, non-meringued, unfruity peatzah pie .... has turned out to be the Beauty of a delivered meal that I don't have to cook.

We are living happily ever after.

(photo of Frankie Laine, Annette Funicello, Danny Thomas 1959. Public domain)

Monday, February 11, 2013

A High Price

'How can we not say
that everywhere,
even when there is
no persecution,
there is a
high price to pay
for consistently
living the Gospel?'

(Pope Benedict XVI, An Invitation to Faith,
 Ignatius Press, 2007, p. 53)

Pray, Pray, Pray

'On this rock I will build My Church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.'  Matthew 16:18

You will, by now, have seen or heard our Holy Father's most recent announcement.  If not, click this line to view.  

I will be honest:  my human heart is heavy.  Very heavy.  However, I know for certain that our Holy Father Pope Benedict XVI is shepherding us even as he makes this decision.

For this next Conclave, we have a unique window of opportunity.  We have extra time to pray, pray, pray.  I know (yes, I know) that this is exactly what each and every one of us is being called to do.  

My prayer today is not a quote from someone else.  Whatever it turns out to be, it will come from my own heart.

O Lord, we ask Your blessings upon Your servant Pope Benedict XVI.  May You continue to pour Your love out upon him.  Thank You for the wisdom You have given him, thus guiding Your Church through these times.  I look around, Lord, and find the waters of confusion and sin in this world growing ever more turbulent.  You have assured us that the Barque of Your holy Church is under Your particular protection, regardless of the waters in which we might sail.  We pray that You will give us a holy, wise, saintly man to steer us through the next part of Your Church's journey.  You know who this man shall be; You have always known.  We pray for profound graces upon our next pope, for gifts of wisdom and discernment and holy leadership.  Please remind each of us to join in prayer for the Conclave upcoming.  May Your will reign.  May You be glorified.  Jesus, we trust in You.  Amen.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

The Joy of Lent

It is nearly Lent, and I'm ready to dance and run and turn a few backflips.  This year (for once), I know what I hope to do:  take extra time in prayer with Scripture.  I'm asking to be shown areas of my own sinfulness, parts of my life that need changing. 

Think of it.  Conviction!  Correction!  Mortification!  Recognition of faults and failings!  Oh, surely it must be time for the Dance of Joy!

No, I'm not being sarcastic.  Not in the slightest.  Nor have I lost my senses.  I suspect it's much more likely that I've found them.

I have enough sense to know that joy is not what 'the world' equates with pleasure, entertainment, success.  I have enough sense to know that repentance and acceptance of God's forgiveness brings a joy like no other.  I have enough sense to know that Our Lord saved me by His death and resurrection.  That realization alone should send me dancing. 

By the sheer grace of God, this year I have the good sense to run toward the genuine joy of Lent. 

'Be merry, really merry.  The life of a true Christian should be a perpetual jubilee, a prelude to the festivals of eternity.'   Theophane Venard

'Count it pure joy when you are involved in every sort of trial.  Realize that when your faith is tested, this makes for endurance.  Let endurance come to its perfection so that you may be fully mature and lacking in nothing.'  James 1:2-4 

'In God alone is the primordial and true delight, and in all our delights it is this delight that we are seeking.'  St. Bonaventure

'Confession heals, confession justifies, confession grants pardon of sin.  All hope consists in confession.  In confession there is a chance for mercy.  Believe it firmly.  Do not doubt, do not hesitate, never despair of the mercy of God.'  St. Isidore

Laurel and Hardy Dancing illustration in public domain.  

This post is linked to Catholic Bloggers Network Linkup blitz

Friday, February 8, 2013

In Soft Repose the Night

Maker of all things, God most High!
Great Ruler of the starry sky!
Who, robing day with beauteous light, 
has clothed in soft repose the night.
     St. Ambrose

Painting: Schikaneder Straoprazska zakouti, in US public domain

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Thus and Only Thus

'Every day and every hour,
dear Lord,
Your Holy Spirit speaks
within my soul...

Help me to be
no longer dull, foolish,
reckless, ungrateful.

With Your aid,
I undertake in the future
to remember Your Presence,
to heed Your Voice,
to accept Your judgements,
to look at life
through Your eyes,
and to measure values
in the light of Eternity.

Thus and only thus,
can I know the truth,
gain happiness,
grow holy.

Only thus can I
fulfill my
glorious destiny
to become like You.' 
                 (written by 'A Religious,' LISTENING TO THE INDWELLING PRESENCE, Pellegrini, Sydney, 1940,  pp. 16-17)

'Be holy, as I am holy.'  
                (1 Peter 1:16) 

(Painting: Robert Koehler, First Snow)

Saturday, February 2, 2013

It Worked

Reading a marvelous blog post on The Bell of the Wanderer last night, I immediately thought of Bunny.

When this beloved oldest grandchild of mine was three, she sometimes had trouble with tantrums. Anger would overtake her and cause all of the manifestations we can associate with that age: crying, kicking, screaming, flailing, stomping, hurling herself backwards onto the floor.

One day when something didn't suit Bunny, we endured a painful stretch of minutes filled with 'all of the above.'  Finally, (after exhausting what I thought of as my options) I leaned in close and said, softly, 'Sweetie, you don't have to do this.'

The answer was a definitive 'YES I DO!!!'  Bunny stuck out her lip and emphatically crossed her arms.

'But you know, you can stop whenever you want.' 

'No I CAN'T!!!' (shouted). 

'Then you can ask Jesus to help you.'  I waited.

Still angry, still crying, still stomping, Bunny yelled through clenched teeth:  'Jesus - HELP ME!!"

I was surprised.  I realized I hadn't expected her to do it.. not really.  It hit me that Bunny probably wanted help as much as I wanted her to have it.

I looked into that precious tear-streaked face and knew.  In spite of anger, in spite of her age and immaturity, this little one meant exactly what she was saying. 

It was only a few seconds before Bunny looked up at me and smiled.

Her words came in a whisper.

'It worked.'

It does work.  Indeed it does.  And to read a grown up version of how beautifully, click here to visit 'Bell of the Wanderer,' and read 'I Met Him in a Foxhole.'  You'll be glad you took time to do so. 

This post is linked to Catholic Bloggers Network Linkup Blitz