Monday, December 31, 2007
Saturday, December 29, 2007
From the bottom of my heart, thank you!
Friday, December 28, 2007
They all begin with "Dear Mr. Wassell" and end with "Sincerely,":
~I am so sorry that your mother died but she'll be happier in Heaven. So how are you doing? God will look after her. At least she'll enjoy being in Heaven. I'm sure she'll have a great time in Heaven.
~I'm sorry that your mother died. My class just said the Rosary for her. I know you miss her and she misses you. She looks upon you every day. She smiles with her sweet, sweet smile. I will pray for her every single day.
~I'm sorry that your mom died. You are a very nice man. I'm glad I get to come to this school. I have seen many great things about you. I was there when you got an award. My dad whistled. We were very proud of you. Have a great day and a Merry Christmas.
~How are you feeling? I hope you're feeling well. I have a cold. Do you have a cold? What's your favorite sport? Mine is football. How is your dad? Mine is doing well. Do you have a brother? Or a sister? Merry Christmas.
~I'm sorry what happened to your mother. We prayed for your mother that God would open His arms and welcome your mother into Heaven. I bet your mother was the greatest mother to you. My classmates and I will keep praying for your mother.
Monday, December 24, 2007
Today is the last day of the beautiful Christmas Novena we began twenty-five days ago. May your petitions be abundantly granted as you say one last time: "Hail, and blessed be the hour and moment in which the Son of God was born....."
Have a happy, healthy and holy holiday, everyone!
Here are a bunch of photos from our visit. Being in the mountains among the stately firs, cedars and pines, quaint log cabins and A-frame chalets, and the cold, fresh air was just the break we needed. It reminded me of home and good things from childhood. We're plagued now with sore throats, coughs and congestion, but I have to say.....it was worth it.
Sunday, December 23, 2007
John says, "He must increase, but I must decrease." Today's Office gathers up all this magnificent testimony of St. John the Baptist, as if to give us a concrete idea of the profound sentiments of humility with which, in our heart, we ought to make smooth "the way of the Lord". If the valleys, that is, our deficiencies are to be filled up by love, then the mountains and hills, that is, the vain pretenses of pride, must be made low by humility.
A heart filled with self-love and pride cannot be filled with God, and too small will be the place reserved in it for the sweet Babe of Bethlehem.
(Excerpts from Divine Intimacy on the Fourth Sunday of Advent)
Thursday, December 20, 2007
Wednesday, December 19, 2007
One of the many good things about Christmas time. And yes, this is what a tree looks like in the home of a minimalist. We receive about two new ornaments per year, so this is what we've got after ten years of marriage. Minus the five that little hands broke last year. :) Don't feel sorry for me. One day in my old age I'll have a tree packed full with ornaments collected over the years, but for now, this simple thing - lit up in a dark room - brightens my whole world.
Thursday, December 13, 2007
Thank you for all your prayers, friends. My entire family appreciates each and every one of them.
Tuesday, December 11, 2007
Eternal rest grant unto her, O Lord,
and let perpetual light shine upon her...
My grandmother lived a very good life. With my grandfather she enjoyed times of prosperity and endured times of poverty. But she accepted everything with great love. You know, I'm sure she had faults and vices just like the rest of us. She bore Original Sin, just like the rest of us. But I never witnessed any fault or vice in her. Not one. I feel so privileged to be her granddaughter.
She died a very peaceful death. For the last five years she has suffered from Alzheimer's disease, and earlier this year was diagnosed with cancer. She has been declining slowly, but ever so gracefully these past few months and I got to visit her bedside only weeks ago. It was the most beautiful visit with her I've ever encountered, even though she only said a few words.
In October her own son and my uncle, Father John, administered the Sacrament of the Sick in the presence of all her children. And last night after having flown in from the East Coast he anointed her again, on the eve of her death. All her children, including my father, are with her now. I really can't think of a more perfect, peaceful, grace-filled passing than hers. Thank you, Jesus.
Please offer prayers for her, for the consolation of her loved ones, and prayers in thanksgiving for her beautiful life and merciful death.
I am unequipped to articulate answers to such questions, but I posted a response I was given last year by a Norbertine Father I trust to answer all questions regarding articles of Faith.
Monday, December 10, 2007
This side of Heaven, there is no perfection, and all families are, in different ways, "mourning and weeping in this valley of tears." Yet, even in the dark valley, we are called to "wait in joyful hope." God trains His sunshine upon us, showing forth His goodness always. Just as in every home there are sorrows, there is also an Ideal waiting to be noticed.
Stop by the Cottage to read the entire post.
Saturday, December 8, 2007
Every virtue I desire for my daughters is in her, perfectly, from the moment of her conception. Excuse me while I go kiss two little sleeping girls in the house.....
It'll be a busy day here - attending mass for the solemnity, a Christmas parade afterwards, buying a Christmas tree and hosting guests. There's something else I'm forgetting, but for the life of me I can't remember what it is. It's late. I must be tired, so I'll retire now.
Have a lovely Feast, everyone!
Thursday, December 6, 2007
Wednesday, December 5, 2007
Once I pulled to the side of the road, a blonde-haired woman in her late thirties approached my window, apologizing profusely. She asked how we were, remarking that when she noticed car seats in our vehicle, her heart dropped. This lovely woman gave me about six hugs, kissed each of my girls on their foreheads and offered her assistance in every way. It was very clear that had the situation been reversed and I had bumped in to her SUV, she would have responded the same way.
It was the pleasantest fender-bender I've ever been in. People around here are so, so very nice. They're thoughtful and generous. This was only one of innumerable instances of kindness I've encountered while living here.
The girls and I said three "Hail Marys" for her on the way home. I have no idea whether she is Christian or has any faith whatsoever, but please, Lord, give her the grace she needs to meet You one day, face-to-face in heaven. Should I make it myself, I would very much like to meet her again there.
Tuesday, December 4, 2007
2.) No, there are not four purple candles in my advent wreath. The second-from-the-left candle resembling object is actually the side of a bookcase in the background. My magic funky striped blogiversary candle is hiding the pink pillar behind it. Clever little thing.
Sunday, December 2, 2007
....go remarkably well together, wouldn't you say?
Small Treasures is one year old today. That's right, today's mark of the beginning of Advent is also my blogiversary! It's hard to believe a whole year has gone by since my very first post (and my, have the girls grown since then! Where was Madeleine's hair? Why did I post such a serious picture?).
I don't have any grand re-chronicling of memorable posts planned in today's honor. I'd just like to thank each and every one of you, my readers, for your visits, your encouraging comments and your support.
You know, when I started this blog I didn't do it for myself. I had no goals of getting published, receiving affirmation or conversing with adults to get a break from little ones in this house. Small Treasures was begun largely because I felt I had something to offer a larger community. I am an ordinary person. I don't possess extraordinary talents of any kind, whether crafting or cooking or writing. But when I apply myself to a task I can usually pull it off with some degree of grace and beauty. I am very happy and comfortable being ordinary. I don't want to be extraordinary at anything, with the exception of nearing closer to God, but even then I want to do it through an ordinary way of life.
That being said, I know what my gifts are. I know what I have to offer others. It isn't writing or reasoning or singing or cooking. It isn't even exceptional motherhood. I am good at all of those things - not exceptional, but good. Through Small Treasures I wanted to contribute something I thought might be useful to others: the gift of perspective. The gift of seeing the good in life all around us, yes, the "small treasures". They are abundant. They're everywhere. They're in our children, certainly. They're in our husbands, for sure. They're in every bud that blossoms outside a kitchen window and every seed that bears fruit in a backyard. Treasure can be found in suffering too. The ability to be closer to Christ on the cross only comes when we have a cross of our own. Now that's a treasure, only not a small one. When we endure some struggle the strength of a marriage and the compassion of family and friends inevitably manifest themselves. Lots of treasure there.
This post is going in a different direction than I intended. I was supposed to write a short paragraph and hit "Publish". Now I'm rambling. The point is, this blog was created, among other reasons, to offer a perspective of contentedness for the spots in life given us, and deep gratitude for the "small treasures" set before us which are often overlooked. Having been particularly graced with contentment and a positive outlook on life - gifts not acquired but wholly received - I hoped to spread those graces as far and wide as possible, and the blogosphere seemed a perfect medium. If this blog has been helpful in some way to even one of its readers, I'm happy.
As far as my original motivation of not blogging for myself? I have benefitted far more from this blog than I ever thought possible - the relationships, the prayers, the examples of good mothering, the kind comments - much more than I deserve. And once in a while I indulge myself in the hope that perhaps a young birthmother, looking for a nice Catholic couple will find something she likes here, and drop me an email. So, you see, this endeavor is not entirely selfless. :)
Have a blessed and peaceful Advent season, everyone!