Thursday, April 30, 2009
Wednesday, April 29, 2009
Tuesday, April 28, 2009
Happy Feast of Saint Gianna, Friends!! Celebrate how she would have - with cake, your children, and beauty surrounding you!
Saturday, April 25, 2009
And here the girls are wearing them!
I ended up pretty much writing my own patterns for both dresses, as the pre-fabricated patterns I started with weren't quite right. Overall they came out fairly close to what I originally had in mind. I placed the bow on the back of Madeleine's dress rather than the front (seemed less "foofy" to me), and got nervous enough when it came to Gianna's cap sleeve that I dropped the idea of a sleeve altogether. I think I'll try cap sleeves on some everyday clothes to get some practice.
Despite a few mistakes here and there, it was a lot of fun bringing an idea from my head to paper to reality, and the girls enjoy wearing them (though they'd like any crooked seam I'd sew for them. Oh, the benefits of being a mother!).
Wednesday, April 22, 2009
At mass on Sunday I was so delighted to discover the abbey will be hosting a series of evening conferences on St. Joseph, which will be given along with the praying of a novena for the next nine days up until his feast. We were able to participate in a similar novena/conference combination at the abbey this past January for the nine days leading up to the Feast of the Conversion of St. Paul. It was extraordinary. I keep meaning to share some of the sublime aspects of Saint Paul's life I'd never known about, and I will. For now, here is a beautiful prayer and a novena to our beloved patron:
Prayer to St. Joseph the Worker
O glorious St. Joseph, model of all those who are devoted to labor, obtain for me the grace to work conscientiously, putting the call of duty above my natural inclinations, to work with gratitude and joy, in a spirit of penance for the remission of my sins, considering it an honor to employ and develop by means of labor the gifts received from God, to work with order, peace, moderation and patience, without ever shrinking from weariness and difficulties, to work above all with purity of intention and detachment from self, having always death before my eyes and the account that I must render of time lost, of talents wasted, of good omitted, of vain complacency in success, so fatal to the work of God. All for Jesus, all through Mary, all after thine example, O Patriarch, St. Joseph. Such shall be my watchword in life and in death. Amen.
Novena to St. Joseph the Worker
Joseph, by the work of your hands and the sweat of your brow, you supported Jesus and Mary, and had the Son of God as your fellow worker. Teach me to work as you did, with patience and perseverance, for God and for those whom God has given me to support. Teach me to see in my fellow workers the Christ who desires to be in them, that I may always be charitable and forbearing towards all. Grant me to look upon work with the eyes of faith, so that I shall recognize in it my share in God's own creative activity and in Christ's work of our redemption, and so take pride in it. When it is pleasant and productive, remind me to give thanks to God for it. And when it is burdensome, teach me to offer it to God, in reparation for my sins and the sins of the world.
O good father Joseph! I beg you, by all your sufferings, sorrows and joys, to obtain for me what I ask.
(Here name your petition.)
Obtain for all those who have asked my prayers, everything that is useful to them in the plan of God. Be near to me in my last moments, that I may eternally sing the praises of Jesus, Mary and Joseph. Amen.
(Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory Be)
Monday, April 20, 2009
Thursday, April 16, 2009
Most of you probably already know about the sudden death of Tom Dillon, the President of my alma mater, Thomas Aquinas College. Dr. Dillon was killed in a car accident yesterday while on business for the college in Ireland. His wife, Terri, remains in the hospital with minor injuries.
Devastated by this loss, I haven't found words to post here. Dr. Dillon was a humble and virtuous man. His loss is deeply felt by everyone who knew him. I echo what Alicia says about Tom - he bore affection and authentic interest in each and every student/alumni of the college. My husband reminded me last night that he came to my grandmother's funeral over a year ago. Mr. Dillon didn't know my grandparents, but he took the time out of his busy schedule for the loss of our family.
Despite this tremendous loss, I can't help but reflect that this man accomplished his ultimate goal for the college since his election as president all those years ago - the completion of Our Lady of the Most Holy Trinity Chapel, the crowning jewel of the campus. Dr. Dillon worked tirelessly, year after year, with great humility and prayer toward providing a beautiful House for the school's Heavenly Father on campus. He finished that House and saw it dedicated to Our Lord and His Mother a month ago.
My husband and I were reflecting last night about the inscription above the entrance: "Haec Est Domus Dei Et Porta Coeli", "This is the House of God and The Gate of Heaven". We can't help but think over many years with God's grace and help from his friends, Tom Dillon built that Porta Coeli and yesterday morning, he walked through it.
I realize it does no service to a soul to assume his final resting place, so please pray for the repose of the soul of Dr. Thomas Dillon and the consolation of his wife and family, and for the college.
Thursday, April 9, 2009
Wednesday, April 8, 2009
All you need is a bottle of Mod Podge or decoupage glue found at any craft store, eggs, a small craft brush and whatever paper designs you'd like to decorate your eggs with. So long as your paper is no heavier than construction weight, you should be fine. I found napkins the easiest to work with - by using only the top printed layer of the paper they become feather light, making it easy to mold around the egg shape.
Simple and fun. You can hollow your eggs the night before cutting and gluing, making the project even simpler. And they make a lovely Easter gift for anyone, I'd say.
Monday, April 6, 2009
Sungold tomatoes, my favorite of all. We purchased these plants already started (I was late in getting my act together), and they're just beginning to flower. We'll cage them this week. If you've never tasted a Sungold, you must. They're candy on a vine!
Saturday, April 4, 2009
Thursday, April 2, 2009
My concern was not laid to rest. Last week a friend and her babies came over for lunch and, as we are often wont to do, we began discussing school. Her son, born within a month of Gianna, is enrolled in a local Catholic school (a solid one). My friend had considered homeschooling, had even resolved to pursue it. But when three babies came one after the other after her son, she found her hands very full and thought his education would be best served outside the home. As we discussed the benefits and drawbacks of our choices, she revealed (unnknowingly) a number of areas in which her son excels that I have not even begun with Gianna.
Again, my concern persisted. This past weekend after mass I found myself talking with another dear friend, whose daughter, Gianna's companion, is enrolled in a private school. Little Caitlyn is a sweet, lovely girl....and she's also fluent in French. She became so in less than a year of kindergarten outside the home.
I know I shouldn't compare. I know Gianna is receiving many benefits other children are missing. It isn't that I want her to excel above others - I haven't a competitive bone in my body. But....but, if she is falling behind because of my own failure to teach well, that is something I need to consider. I'm a very free-spirited, stop-and-smell-the-roses type of person as I've mentioned before. Discipline and schedule are not my strengths, though I strive for them daily. It concerns me that my own weaknesses could fail such a vital aspect of my child's life: her education.
We love homeschooling. Most days are as beautiful and as awe-inspiring as Father Serra's flowers in the previous post. We will continue learning together next year, and hopefully the year after. I'm only realizing I have new elements of my daughter's education to ponder and to bring to my Father in prayer.
Wednesday, April 1, 2009
Gianna and I took a lovely stroll the other day through one of our favorite spots, now spun with gold but only for another week or so. We'll go back today and soak up more before it's gone. Here she'd discovered a caterpillar friend, one of her own favorite parts about spring. Magical to her.
The skirt she's wearing is an old one I'd found unfinished when changing the seasonal clothes out. It was to be a slip under last year's Easter dress, but I never hemmed it. So a simple blind hem was added and a new skirt was made for this year. Gianna loves this one...I'd gathered a ton of fabric so last year's dress would pouf out, so it twirls like a dream.
And there she goes, off to explore. This photograph renders me in a place I'm coming to know more and more as she grows. Only twelve more springs with her this close....