Penance – Light and Peace, Quadrupani

A sacrifice to God is an afflicted spirit; a contrite and humble heart, O God, thou wilt not despise. (Ps. L., 19.)

According to the teaching of St. Thomas there are three ways of doing penance, namely, fasting, prayer, and alms-deeds—either corporal or spiritual.

Therefore you must not suppose you are prevented from doing penance when not allowed to subject your body to severe fasts and painful mortifications.

The other two penitential works, prayer and alms-giving, can in this case take the place of corporal austerities in the fulfillment of the Christian duty of penance.

Observe also that it is not in accordance with the spirit of the laws of God and of his Church, which prescribe fasting, to injure your health thereby, nor to hinder the accomplishment of the duties of your state of life.

Labor, sickness, disappointments, reverse of fortune, dryness in prayer, all these when accepted with resignation are penitential works, such, too, as are the more agreeable to God from their being so distasteful to ourselves.

All virtues may be divided into two great classes, active and passive. The characteristic of the active virtues is to do good, of the passive, to endure evil.

Now the virtues of the second class are more meritorious and less perilous. In the active virtues nature can have a large share, and a dangerous self-complacency, or satisfaction in their effects, may easily glide into them.

This danger is less to be feared in the practice of the passive virtues, especially when the sufferings are not of our own choosing but come to us direct from the hand of God.

St. Jerome teaches that when the devil cannot turn a soul away from the love of virtue, he tries to urge it to excessive mortification, in order that it may thus become exhausted and lose the vigor indispensable to its spiritual progress. Numbers of devout people have fallen into this snare.

“I charge you,” says St. Francis de Sales, “to preserve your health carefully, for God exacts this of you, and to husband your strength so as to employ it in His service.

It is even better to save more than the requisite amount of strength than to reduce it too much, for we can always lessen it at will, whereas, once lost, it is no easy matter to regain it.”

Therefore give your body the nourishment it needs to maintain its strength and health.

5. We learn from Cassian and St. Thomas that in a celebrated conference held by the holy Abbot St. Anthony with the most learned religious of Egypt, it was decided that of all virtues moderation is the most useful, as it guards and preserves all the others.

It is owing to the lack of this essential moderation in their devotional exercises and mortifications that many persons whilst seeking holiness find only ill health.

As a consequence they eventually abandon the path of perfection, judging it impracticable because they have attempted to walk in it bound with fetters.

St. Augustine makes the following apt comparison, which you can look upon as a good rule in this matter: “The body is a poor invalid confided to the charity of the soul, the soul being commissioned to give it such assistance as it requires.

Hunger, thirst, fatigue, are its habitual ailments; let the soul then charitably apply to them the needful remedies, provided these be always within the bounds of moderation and prudence.” He who acts in this way fulfills a duty of obedience to his Creator.

From these various opinions it is easy to see how false are certain maxims met with in some ascetical works: for example, that it is of small consequence if one should shorten his life by ten or fifteen years in order to save his soul.

If this were true, a much surer way would be to secure a still speedier death, and see to what that would lead.

No: it is not permissible in ordinary practice to impose upon ourselves arbitrarily any kind of mortification that would directly tend to shorten life.

“To kill one’s self with a single blow,” says St. Jerome, “or to kill one’s self little by little—I make but slight distinction between these two crimes.”

Life, health and strength are blessings that have been given us in trust, and we cannot lawfully dispose of them as though they belonged to us absolutely.

The example of those saints who practiced extraordinary penances deserves our sincere admiration, but it is not in these exterior acts that we should try to imitate them; to do this would necessitate being as holy as they were.

Duplicate their miracles also, then, if you can. “If we had to copy the saints in everything they did,” says St. Frances de Chantal, “it would be necessary to spend our life in a horrible cave like St. John Climachus, or on top of a pillar as St. Simon Stylites did, to live several weeks without other nourishment than the Holy Eucharist like St. Catharine of Sienna, or to eat but a single ounce of food each day as St. Aloysius did.”

Aspirations to imitate the saints in what is extraordinary are the effect of secret pride and not of genuine virtue.

The French translator of these Instructions had a conversation in Rome with the learned and pious Jesuit, Rev. Father Rozaven, on this subject.

Speaking of the extraordinary fasts and mortifications of St. Ignatius, Father Rozaven said: “Do not let us confound cause and effect. It is not because he did these things that Ignatius became a saint: on the contrary, it is because he was already a saint that it was possible and permissible for him to do them.”

In truth every act that exceeds human strength is an act of presumption unless it be the result of a special inspiration, and the Church approves it only if she recognizes this divine impulse which alone can authorize a deviation from the general rule.

It is owing to such an exception that she venerates among those who suffered for the faith Saint Theodora, Saint Pomposa, Saint Flora and Saint Denys, notwithstanding the fact that they violated the law which forbids any one to seek martyrdom.

The same spirit influenced her in sanctioning the voluntary death of Sampson and of Saint Appolonia, who might be called pious suicides were it allowable to connect two such contradictory words.—Read Chap. XXIII, Part III. of the Introduction to a Devout Life.

Only in Heaven will we understand what a divine marvel the Holy Mass is. No matter how much effort we apply and no matter how holy and inspired we are, we can only stammer if we would explain this Divine Work, which surpasses men and angels. -Fr. Stefano Manelli, Jesus Our Eucharistic Love (afflink)


In With God in Russia, Ciszek reflects on his daily life as a prisoner, the labor he endured while working in the mines and on construction gangs, his unwavering faith in God, and his firm devotion to his vows and vocation. Enduring brutal conditions, Ciszek risked his life to offer spiritual guidance to fellow prisoners who could easily have exposed him for their own gains. He chronicles these experiences with grace, humility, and candor, from his secret work leading mass and hearing confessions within the prison grounds, to his participation in a major gulag uprising, to his own “resurrection”—his eventual release in a prisoner exchange in October 1963 which astonished all who had feared he was dead.

Powerful and inspirational, With God in Russia captures the heroic patience, endurance, and religious conviction of a man whose life embodied the Christian ideals that sustained him…..

Captured by a Russian army during World War II and convicted of being a “Vatican spy,” Jesuit Father Walter J. Ciszek spent 23 agonizing years in Soviet prisons and the labor camps of Siberia. Only through an utter reliance on God’s will did he manage to endure the extreme hardship. He tells of the courage he found in prayer–a courage that eased the loneliness, the pain, the frustration, the anguish, the fears, the despair. For, as Ciszek relates, the solace of spiritual contemplation gave him an inner serenity upon which he was able to draw amidst the “arrogance of evil” that surrounded him. Ciszek learns to accept the inhuman work in the infamous Siberian salt mines as a labor pleasing to God. And through that experience, he was able to turn the adverse forces of circumstance into a source of positive value and a means of drawing closer to the compassionate and never-forsaking Divine Spirit.

He Leadeth Me is a book to inspire all Christians to greater faith and trust in God–even in their darkest hour. As the author asks, “What can ultimately trouble the soul that accepts every moment of every day as a gift from the hands of God and strives always to do his will?”
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“Once Upon a Time” – Story-Telling and Feasts by Maria Von Trapp

by Maria von Trapp, Around the Year With the Trapp Family


Among the arts that are dying out rapidly in our machine age, the one most in danger is the art of story-telling. In other generations it was quite natural that every mother would tell her little ones a story at bed-time, or when a child didn’t feel well, or on Sundays and feast days.

Those were the times when mothers were really busy, when they had to light a fire in the kitchen stove, to wash their laundry by hand, to shop every morning and carry their marketing home–sometimes over long distances–when they were sewing the children’s clothes and mending and darning in the evening. But there was always time left to tell a story.

There is no substitute for story-telling. The reading of books, privately or aloud, the listening to radio and watching television–all these devices cannot replace one single, live story told around the fireplace or on the front porch on a summer night, or after the bonfire has died down.

Admittedly, it is not an easy art. Many people have found that out and have given up before trying hard enough.

A lot of story-telling has gone on in our house. My husband was a master of it. When he started to tell about his trip around the world in an old-fashioned frigate as a cadet first class, or of his participation in the Boxer Rebellion in China when he was nineteen, or of his adventures in the first newly invented, poorly constructed submarines, we all would sit spellbound, oblivious of time.

Once we spent a delightful summer with Robert Flaherty and his family. He was another master of this forgotten art. Almost every night, on the lawn in front of his Vermont home, he told about his experiences with the Eskimos, or with the South Sea people–again banishing time.

One is always sure of captivating an audience with ghost stories. There are plenty of true ghost stories–one just has to look for them–true because they might tell of an experience with the world beyond.

It isn’t so much what we tell–as long as we are willing to revive this forgotten art. Our Lord gives us an example. Some of the most beautiful stories ever told come from Him–the story of the Prodigal Son, of Lazarus, of the Good Samaritan.

And now we have reached the most important point of all. When sermons or devotional books tell us that the Christian family should fashion itself on the example of the Holy Family, this usually refers to the spiritual life only.

“If there were more mothers like Mary and more fathers like Joseph, there would be more children like Jesus,” it is said, Mary being thought of as the holy handmaid of the Lord, Joseph as the man nearest to God, and the Infant “subject unto them.”

Nowhere have I seen that thought extended to the whole of our family life, calling us to model our recreations, also, on the example of the Holy Family. It is not at all likely that Jesus, Mary, and Joseph would have gone to some of the shows in our movie theatres or into any one of our night clubs or the average Broadway show.

It is quite probable, however, that there was story-telling, singing, and discussion going on in the evenings in the little house in Nazareth; and why shouldn’t they have played games with the little Boy and His friends, or listened to music played on the quaint ancient instruments by some neighbors?

Joseph may have read to his family, and whenever they accepted an invitation to a wedding of one of their kinfolk, they certainly participated in the solemn dancing which formed part of any oriental wedding ceremony.

A word from the Book of Wisdom is often applied to Our Lord or to His Holy Mother: “My joy it is to be with the children of men.” Should we limit this “togetherness” to one hasty half-hour on Sundays, from eleven to eleven-thirty?

Knowing that it means such joy for them, let us invite the Holy Family to stay with us throughout the days of the week, throughout the years of our life when we work or pray and also when we play.

Our Life–A Feast

Everything from booklets to tomes is being written, in alarmingly increasing numbers, on one topic the deterioration of family life and what to do about it. As one looks over those more or less learned treatises, however, one misses one phrase–family feasts–and yet that makes all the difference.

Why have homes more and more turned into places where a group of people merely happen to live under one roof, each member going his separate way, sharing nothing with the others? The answer is that they lack family feasts.

Holy Mother Church knows that in all families, no matter how seriously they strive for perfection, how honestly they all want to become saints, there are times when parents or children alike may lose their temper, may give way to selfishness or possessiveness, when the mother makes imprudent judgments, children give in to self-pity, and everybody gets fed up. That may, and does, happen to all of us. Why? Because we are all created alike. We have inherited original sin and we suffer from the scars of the old wound.

But the Church has given us the feast and has taught us how to celebrate, and it is the hallmark of a feast that it cannot be celebrated by a solitary individual. There has to be a group. It is the feast that helps to keep the family together.

This is true from the very beginning of family life. From the weekly celebration of the Day of the Lord, and from the yearly cycle of feasts of Christmastide and Paschaltide, the young parents have learned how to celebrate.

As the children are coming along and witness how beautifully the father celebrates the feast days of the mother–her birthday, her baptismal day, the feast of her patron saint, their wedding anniversary–and when they see with how much love the mother prepares the great days of the father–then the children come to experience a feeling of security which they will need so greatly in later life–the warmth of the nest which the young bird needs before he can spread his own wings.

This is how it starts. The father draws the attention of the children to the coming feast days of the mother, and the mother does the same for the father. The older sisters and brothers teach the little ones. There is always a lot of secrecy around our house in the days before a feast, a lot of whispering and preparations behind closed doors. “Before a birthday, there’s a prickle in the air like ginger ale,” said one of my children once.

In order to keep a record of all the various feasts–no mean achievement in as large a family as ours–my daughter Rosemary has devised an “Anniversary Calendar,” one page of which is here reproduced. (Anyone with a knack for drawing can attempt something similar as a homemade gift!)

“Every effort we make to forget self, to leave self behind us, and to devote ourselves to the labor of making every person with whom we are bound to live, happy, is rewarded by interior satisfaction and joy. The supreme effort of goodness is,—not alone to do good to others; that is its first and lower effect,—but to make others good.” Rev. Bernard O’Reilly The Mirror of True Womanhood, 1893 (afflink)

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Aprons tell a beautiful story…..a story of love and sacrifice….of baking bread and mopping floors, of planting seeds and household chores. Sadly, many women have tossed the aprons aside and donned their business attire.

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In this joyful and charming book, Maria Von Trapp (from The Sound of Music) unveils for you the year-round Christian traditions she loved traditions that created for her large family a warm and inviting Catholic home and will do the same for yours.

Mary Reed Newland wrote numerous beloved books for Catholic families, but The Year and Our Children is her undisputed masterpiece. Read it, cherish it, share it, put it into practice and give your kids the gift of a fully lived faith, every day and in every season.

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Provide Material for Young Artists

by Mary Reed Newland, How to Raise Good Catholic Children

All a two-year-old needs to have a great time drawing is the want-ad section of the Sunday paper, opened out six or eight sheets thick in the playpen, and a fat, bright crayon. He’ll scribble and crumple for maybe half an hour, and that’s a long time for a two-year-old.

When he’s outdoors, all he needs is a pan of water, a spoon, an old pie plate, and the inevitable dirt, and he will sculpture and model and bake and pour in an orgy of creation.

When he’s older, he needs big paper, lots of room to swing his arms, bright crayons, and big jars of bright paint.

Suitable smocks, aprons, and something for wiping hands on are very important. No one can have any fun trying to splash around with paint if he has to worry about getting dirty — and this applies especially to finger paints. Easels are good if they’re big and sturdy and don’t tip over.

Low, flat tables to which paper can be thumbtacked (low enough to let a child paint standing up) are often better than easels because paint doesn’t drip down so persistently and turn sunny-day pictures into rainy-day pictures. (What else could one do with the blue drips from a cloudless blue sky?)

Powdered poster paints can be bought in bulk in the primary colors — red, yellow, and blue — and mixed for painting sessions in old jars with screw tops. They’re a better investment than children’s paint sets, and all the colors but black can be mixed from the three primaries.

Good brushes, instead of the waggle-ended monstrosities included in paint sets, are important and not very expensive. For little children (or older ones painting mural projects on large paper, wallboard, or wall surfaces) sash brushes from the five-and-ten do very well. They’re narrow enough, they stroke the paint well, and they’re supple, yet stiff enough to hold up under the scrubbing with soap and water afterward.

It’s good to have mats for framing, as everybody knows what glorious things a frame does for a good picture. These are easy to cut from illustration board with a mat knife. Matted, family art can be displayed seriously on any wall, singly or in groups, or on a bulletin board.

A large bulletin board can be the focal point for all these creative activities, as well as for relating displays with school work, catechism lessons, exciting family events, and the continually changing message of the liturgical seasons.

A large blackboard is an equally valuable feature of a house with children and the best incentive of all to get children to “draw big.” Nailed to the wall, it’s an invitation to draw, print, write, number, play games, or scribble for the joy of scribbling — which few children can resist. If there’s a smooth, paintable wall, the whole wall may be covered with blackboard paint, which comes in colors, as well as in black.

Brown wrapping paper, shelving paper, newspaper stock, the backs of old wallpaper rolls, large pads of manila, and even tissue paper (which we print with potato block print and use for gift wrappings) lend themselves to experiment with crayon, paint, hard chalks, pastels, colored inks, India ink and lettering pens, and leftover paint from home decorating projects.

It’s just a step to doing variations of these with pastings, montage techniques, glitter, sequins, tiny beads and buttons, and all sorts of odds and ends families save because “there must be something we can use it for.”

Colored construction paper for cutting and pasting projects, gilt papers, aluminum foil, lace paper doilies, designs or multiple figures cut in folded paper, colored felts to cut and appliqué, fabrics to cut and paste and sew — all such treasures as these can be used to illustrate the mysteries and the feast days, to serve as valentines, Christmas and Easter greetings, gifts, to explain lessons in schoolbooks, in catechism.

We’re working right now on the catechism lesson about the three theological virtues and the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit — such meaningless mouthfuls when encountered the first time, but easy to learn when the three theological virtues are three yellow knights, cut on a threefold piece of paper so that they stand hand in hand, each one decorated with a symbol of faith or hope or charity (charity has a gold crown because St. Paul said, “and the greatest of these is charity”).

The gifts are sevenfold doves cut out the same way, flying wing to wing. A child who carefully letters on one dove after the other the words wisdom, understanding, counsel, fortitude, knowledge, piety, and fear of the Lord can hardly avoid learning them.

Then, if the figures are posted on the bulletin board, they’re easier to remember and to explain: “Do you know what those men are? Well, they’re three theological virtues — see?”

Then there are the modeling and carving materials. Plasticine, water clays, and soap to carve, salt blocks to sculpture, dough to twist and weave and tie into shapes, plaster of paris and plastic materials to pour into homemade molds, papier-mâché for masks and puppets (made with shredded newspaper and flour paste, wet buckram, gummed brown paper tape), soft woods to whittle, animals to make from vegetables, cookies to cut freehand and decorate — all these and more suggest the variety of media with which children should experiment in order to find which one is particularly theirs and says the best the things they want to say.

The local library is full of books on how to do all these things. As the children learn how to use their heads and hands, slowly they begin to understand that it’s proper and fitting to make rather than merely to buy.

The little boy who once said, “When I grow up, I’m going to buy a statue factory, so I can give my mother all the nice statues she wants,” discovers that making statues requires time, and thought, and love, and that you can do better at this than factories can.

“Children must not feel that because of their littleness, their prayers lack power. Because of their stunning purity and their childlike love, their prayers are probably far more powerful than our own. We should encourage them to pray boldly and should point out all they can accomplish by uniting their prayers to Christ’s prayers for all men. This gives them the soundest, most mature, and most inspiring reason for acquiring habits of prayer.”
-Mary Reed Newland, How to Raise Good Catholic Children (afflink)

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Author Mary Reed Newland here draws on her own experiences as the mother of seven to show how the classic Christian principles of sanctity can be translated into terms easily applied to children even to the very young.

Because it’s rooted in experience, not in theory, nothing that Mrs. Newland suggests is impossible or extraordinary. In fact, as you reflect on your experiences with your own children, you’ll quickly agree that hers is an excellent commonsense approach to raising good Catholic children.

Fr. Lawrence Lovasik, the renowned author of The Hidden Power of Kindness, gives faithful Catholics all the essential ingredients of a stable and loving Catholic marriage and family — ingredients that are in danger of being lost in our turbulent age.

Using Scripture and Church teachings in an easy-to-follow, step-by-step format, Fr. Lovasik helps you understand the proper role of the Catholic father and mother and the blessings of family. He shows you how you can secure happiness in marriage, develop the virtues necessary for a successful marriage, raise children in a truly Catholic way, and much more.

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You Can Have a Happy Family (Conclusion) – Rev. George A. Kelly


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Artist: Lucelle Raad

From The Catholic Family Handbook, Rev. George A. Kelly. 1950’s

Part One

Part Two

The Triangle of God, Parents and Child

It cannot be stressed too often that you can leave a heritage of good for centuries simply by leading a holy life as a parent.

For example, if you have six children, it is possible that within your lifetime you will have twenty-five or thirty grandchildren. They in turn may have more than 100 children, and within a century perhaps 1,000 lives will reflect your influence to some extent. If you have been a good parent, thanks to you they may be good Christians–your advocates in heaven. If you are a bad example, you may leave a large number of evildoers as your contribution to God and humanity.

As the Catholic Bishops of the United States pointed out in 1950 in their memorable formal statement, “The Child: Citizen of Two Worlds,” the first requirement of good Catholic family life is that the children must know God. However, as the Bishops emphasized, “there is a vast difference between ‘knowing about God’ and ‘knowing God.’ The difference is made by personal experience.

It is not enough that the child be given the necessary truths about God. They ought to be given in such a way that he will assimilate them and make them a part of himself. God must become as real to him as his own father and mother.

God must not remain an abstraction. If He does, He will not be loved; and if He is not loved, then all the child’s knowledge about Him will be sterile.

Where love is, there too is service. (‘If you love me, keep my commandments.’) That is Christ’s test and it must be applied to the child. He should be brought to see God’s commandments and precepts as guideposts which give an unerring direction to his steps. In this work, the Church, the family and the school all have a part to play.”

How can you teach your child to know God? First, by inspiring him to love and serve God by your own daily actions. He will be quick to imitate what he sees and hears at home.

If good example is not forthcoming, he will become confused by the contradiction between what you teach and what you practice. His confusion will be compounded when he goes to a school where religion is taught. There he will learn to reverence the name of God, but at home he may hear God’s name used irreverently in petulance and anger.

At school he will learn to get along with his fellow pupils, but at home he may be allowed to offend and wrangle with his brothers and sisters. At school he will be taught strict precepts of honesty and justice, while at home he may hear boasts of sharp business practices and clever evasions of truth.

Disturbed by these contradictions and torn by conflicting loyalties to home and school, he will lose confidence in his parents or teachers or both.

Only two courses are open to your child. He will be either God-centered or self-centered. Every young child seeks to satisfy every selfish whim. Training yours to consider God and others before he acts is one of the most challenging tasks you face. Here is where you can draw on the life of Christ.

If you teach your child to deny his selfish whims in imitation of the obedient and patient Savior, he will not only have a supernatural motive for his actions, but God will have a central place in his affections. Only then can he grow up to his full spiritual stature.

You can find joy in your children. While you should never forget that you are your children’s foremost teacher–and the most important influence they will ever know–your family life will lose its true perspective if you overemphasize the sacrifices you must make to educate them. For your joy in your children should outweigh by far any disadvantages they may cause. In them you will find your own happiness.

Your children give dimension to your love as a couple. Conjugal love, which can be selfish and isolated, takes a great stride with the birth of a baby. Many young mothers have said, “John and I did not really know what our love could grow to be until we held successive children in our arms.”

The greatest aid to your own maturity as human beings is the rearing of your children. St. John Chrysostom remarked, “Can there be a more responsible task than to mold the human spirit or form the morals of young people? I consider that man greater than any painter or sculptor who neglects not the molding of the souls of young people.”

In your children you will rediscover your own youth. Their growth process will rekindle your own sense of wonder and enthusiasm. Johnny asks, “Dad, why is the sky blue?” And Dad, who hadn’t cared, takes a new and longer look.

What have you to show for having lived, if not your children? At forty or fifty years of age, an adult generally reaches the limits of income and social standing. Yet parents continue to grow with their sense of fulfillment in the achievements of their children.

And as if these satisfactions were not enough, parents through their offspring have a grand opportunity to spread the faith. They are real missionaries in their own home. They can say at the end of their lives as Christ said of His Apostles: “Those whom Thou hast given Me, I guarded; and not one of them perished.” (John 17 :12)

There is no doubt that genuine Catholic family life is among the best family life to be found in the United States. For Catholic married couples are one of the few large groups in the country who have consistently sacrificed themselves to have more children.

And the large numbers of their children who, properly trained, have left Catholic homes to take up responsible roles in the armed services, corporate economic life, the labor movement, and the public offices of government, reflect credit on those parents and on the Church.

In the Catholic home there is that modern rarity–fidelity between husband and wife. There is great reverence for parents by the children, great protection of weaker members by the stronger, and a great awareness of the dignity and rights of every member of the family.

The Catholic woman has attained a height of respect and authority which cannot be found anywhere else, and the chief factor in her improvement has been the Church’s teaching on chastity, conjugal equality, the sacredness of motherhood, and the supernatural end of the family, in imitation of the Holy Family of Nazareth. But even as we uphold the Catholic woman as wife and mother, we also uphold the pre-eminent place of the husband and father in the home.

You must not forget that the vigor of your Catholicism rests on the stability and goodness of your family life. Of course, the Church knows better than anyone else that in proclaiming Catholic family ideals she is dealing with human weakness and the tendency to selfishness and sin.

Like a good mother, she also forgives and embraces those who momentarily betray those ideals. But unlike others, she will never admit that those weaknesses diminish or vitiate God’s place for fathers and mothers or call sin virtue or pretend that weakness is strength.

The reward for all your efforts is the Call of Christ on Judgment Day:

“Come, ye blessed of My Father.”

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“I insist that it is every woman’s duty to know, or to acquire some practical knowledge of housekeeping, so that she may be ready for any emergency. Her fitness for it will be a perpetual source of satisfaction to her, for there is nothing more self-satisfying than to feel that one is capable; it gives confidence, strength, and self-reliance.”- Annie S. Swan, Courtship and Marriage And the Gentle Art of Home-Making, 1893

Let’s keep our young girls engaged in the Faith! Let’s teach them how to be organized, how to prioritize, how to keep on top of, first, the Spiritual things in their life, and then the other daily duties that God requires of them!

Nothing is more valuable than this type of education…an education for life! That is where this journal comes in! It will give your girls a feel for keeping a To-Do List, with spiritual things at the forefront! What more could you want for them?

Let this journal help you along the way, Mothers! The girls will have 30 days of checklists, beautiful thoughts to inspire them for the day, some fun things…like drawing their day and other things to keep them focused.

This next 30 days will be invaluable to them…to learn life skills, to have the satisfaction of checking off the activities they finish, to learn to be thankful for the  good things God has given us, to offer up their day for someone in need, etc.

This journal is for girls 8 (with the help of Mom) to 16 years of age.

It is a beautiful journal, full of color and loveliness! Your girls will treasure it and be able to look back on it for inspiration and encouragement!


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With his facile pen and from the wealth of his nation-wide experience, the well-known author treats anything and everything that might be included under the heading of home education: the pre-marriage training of prospective parents, the problems of the pre-school days down through the years of adolescence. No topic is neglected. “What is most praiseworthy is Fr. Lord’s insistence throughout that no educational agency can supplant the work that must be done by parents.” – Felix M. Kirsch, O.F.M.




Necessary advice to Catholic parents building a Catholic home. Reliable advice that is almost completely lost today, from people who know how it’s done. How to make it. How to live it. How to keep it. This book covers every aspect of Catholicizing your home–from spiritual matters like prayer and catechism to nuts and bolts topics like Keeping the Family Budget, Games and Toys, Harmony between School and Home, Family Prayers, Good Reading in the Home, Necessity of Home Life and much more

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You Can Have a Happy Family (Part Two) – Rev. George A. Kelly


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From The Catholic Family Handbook, Rev. George A. Kelly, 1950’s

Part One is here.

Parents are partners with God. The success of your family depends upon your recognition of the fact that as a parent of a human life, you share one of the greatest of God’s gifts–the magnificent act of creation.

Your role is to procreate His children, and to educate them so that they may ultimately return to Him in heaven. Only with Him can you realize your life’s goals for yourself, your mate and your children; for, as we learn in childhood, the first purpose of our existence is to know, love and serve God in this life so that we may be happy with Him forever in the next one.

To achieve its purpose, the family must be a triangle consisting of God, parents and children. Our Lord taught us this when He raised marriage–the fountainhead of the family–to the dignity of a sacrament. And through the sacrament, He provides the graces for true spiritual success in your family life regardless of the trials and tribulations you may face.

As your partner in parenthood, God will help you. His grace will make your home His dwelling place and the means of your sanctification. It will make you capable of greater love than you ever thought possible and will enable you, as a parent, to achieve levels of self-sacrifice beyond your dreams. And what it will enable you to achieve will lead not only to your own salvation but also to the salvation of the souls He has entrusted to your care.

God’s partnership with husbands and wives is nowhere more evident than in what might be called the “innate genius” of parents. If you look about you, you doubtless can see many men and women who a short time ago seemed to be irresponsible and incompetent, poorly fitted for the many tasks which must be performed as parents. Yet today they are fathers and mothers and–thanks to God’s grace–they are doing a proper job in caring for their children.

Once you accept the great force of God’s grace, you will never underestimate your own genius as a parent. Many of our own fathers and mothers were, by worldly standards, ignorant of psychiatry or psychology. Yet, by and large, they succeeded in bringing to adulthood men and women who walk in the path of goodness. They succeeded for one reason only: they understood their children’s need for love, encouragement and direction, and they gave it.

Without child experts to guide them along each small step of the way, they instinctively provided what was best for their youngsters. Once you make yourself willing to accept the graces which God offers to you, you will do so too. You will achieve a natural competence as a parent that will produce more good in your children than any blueprint that a human authority can give you.

What is a true Christian family? We probably can best appreciate the characteristics of a genuine God-fearing family by picturing it in operation in a representative home.

As Richard Cardinal Cushing of Boston has inspiringly described it: “The worthy Christian home finds a true Christian family abiding therein and growing in love and care for one another. This home is not constructed in prefabricated fashion in a few weeks or a few years–for it is not purely material. Indeed its true character is achieved not through plaster and paint and sanitary plumbing, but through love and sweat and tears. It is a framework trimmed with remembered moments of joy; cemented by hours of suffering.

It is a reflection of the personalities of those who dwell therein, an expression of their likes and dislikes. The true Christian home is an altar of sacrifice and a theater of comedies and drama; it is a place of work and a haven of rest.”

If yours is a true Christian home, it is like a little church, where the family daily joins together in beautiful devotions–the family rosary, family night prayers and the act of consecration to the Sacred Heart. Life is viewed as Christ would have us view it. There is great trust and confidence in His providence.

Love, tenderness and forgiveness you find there, but also a high standard of moral living, obedience and discipline. Parents and children, whether they be rich or poor, share generously with each other, go without things if necessary, and bear trials and sufferings in patience.

It is a little school, where your children learn to live and love as dignified human beings, to work for the good of others, and to serve their fellow man without thought of monetary gain.

It is a little recreation center, where the family relaxes in peace from outside woes and work. Playing together helps children and parents reconcile differences and adjust to each other’s needs, and builds up the affectionate ties that last a lifetime.

Most of us remember the starring roles we had at one time or another in our own homemade theater. It is the humorous incidents of the family that help develop pleasant and outgoing personalities–the good fun involving Mother and Dad and all the boys and girls which the uncrowded modern household misses.

You can best live up to this picture of true family life if you keep as your ideal the life led by the Holy Family at Nazareth. For there, as

Cardinal Cushing goes on to say: “…one beheld simplicity and purity of conduct, perfect agreement and unbroken harmony, mutual respect and love, not of the false and fleeting kind, but that which found both its life and its charm in devotedness of service.

At Nazareth, patient industry provided what was required for food and raiment; there was contentment with little–and a concentration on the diminution of the number of wants rather than on the multiplication of sources of wealth.

Better than all else, at Nazareth there was found that supreme peace of mind and gladness of soul which never fails to accompany the possession of a tranquil conscience. At Nazareth one could witness a continuous series of examples of goodness, of modesty, of humility, of hard-working endurance, of kindness to others, of diligence in the small duties of daily life.”

You can imitate this model of the Holy Family only if you set out to make every member of your family more concerned about God and the things of God than about the things of this world. You must live in the awareness that all that is done is done in the presence of God and that genuine happiness results only when we conform to His will.


quote for the day2

“Love is the most wonderful educator in the world; it opens up worlds and possibilities undreamed of to those to whom it comes, the gift of God. I am speaking of love which is worthy of the name, not of its many counterfeits. The genuine article only, based upon respect and esteem, can stand the test of time, the wear and tear of life; the love which is the wine of life, more stimulating and more heart-inspiring when the days are dark than at any other time,—the love which rises to the occasion, and which many waters cannot quench.” – Annie S. Swan, Courtship and Marriage And the Gentle Art of Home-Making, 1893


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Author Mary Reed Newland here draws on her own experiences as the mother of seven to show how the classic Christian principles of sanctity can be translated into terms easily applied to children even to the very young.

Because it’s rooted in experience, not in theory, nothing that Mrs. Newland suggests is impossible or extraordinary. In fact, as you reflect on your experiences with your own children, you’ll quickly agree that hers is an excellent commonsense approach to raising good Catholic children.

Fr. Lawrence Lovasik, the renowned author of The Hidden Power of Kindness, gives faithful Catholics all the essential ingredients of a stable and loving Catholic marriage and family — ingredients that are in danger of being lost in our turbulent age.

Using Scripture and Church teachings in an easy-to-follow, step-by-step format, Fr. Lovasik helps you understand the proper role of the Catholic father and mother and the blessings of family. He shows you how you can secure happiness in marriage, develop the virtues necessary for a successful marriage, raise children in a truly Catholic way, and much more.

This post contains affiliate links. Thank you for your support.

You Can Have a Happy Family (Part One) – Rev. George A. Kelly


Artist – Nori Peter

by Rev. Fr. George A. Kelly, The Catholic Family Handbook, 1950’s

Part Two is here.

WHEN you became a parent, you undertook the most important job of your life–the job of guiding your children so that they might live happily on earth and win eternal happiness in heaven.

The foundations of Christian family life have never faced the many-sided assault they must stand up against today, and the task of the conscientious Catholic parent has never been more difficult.

In order for you to understand what objectives you should strive for as a parent, you should first realize that your Catholic family symbolizes in miniature the Mystical Body of Christ. The husband and father is the head of the body and represents Christ.

The wife represents the Church and the children, as members of the body, represent the faithful. And this family unit has been designated by Christ to worship our Heavenly Father. Through its common life all the members give glory to God and express their submission to Him.

In addition, the family works with Christ for the redemption of its members and the world. For when Our Lord made marriage a sacrament, He established the family as a basic means through which His grace could be given to men. The husband and wife channel grace to each other and to their children and vice versa.

If these graces do not come to us in this way (through another member of the Mystical Body), they do not come at all. Therefore it is most important that parents and children live in the state of grace, and that the Holy Spirit continually dwell in their souls. For mortal sin in any member prevents the free flow of grace to other members of the household.

You will achieve the greatest success in your family life if you remember that you are fulfilling this sacred vocation. Like the priest, you are called upon to teach, rule and sanctify your children in the name of Jesus Christ.

His Eminence, Francis Cardinal Spellman, once wrote: “A man’s family (is) a place to which God could look, as He did to Bethlehem, for the beginning of mortal lives which are also eternal, for the beginnings of lives of tiny citizens of two worlds–of earth and of heaven.”

Your work as parents, therefore, is a holy and religious work. You may produce doctors, lawyers, scientists. But to the extent that your children do not reach heaven or are given every opportunity to do so, you have not succeeded. And you will begin to realize the full potentialities of your vocation when you see your family in this light.

Modern pressures harm family life. Today, unfortunately, we do not always have that Catholic family life of which older generations were justly proud and which produced great human beings and outstanding Christians.

The adult children of those fine German, Italian, Irish and Polish households now tend to reject their parents’ way of domestic living. They may value their many brothers and sisters and pay generous tribute to their self-sacrificing fathers and mothers, but the effort involved in having a large family is too heroic for them.

The training for hard work and service to others, the mental stability, the sense of right and wrong, the religious faith which they received–they want these for their children too, but they often do not want to do all the work or accept the point of view that makes such accomplishments possible.

In fact, some couples have wandered so far from the ideals of Christian marriage that they are not Christian parents at all.

Today we see the individual exalted at the expense of the family.

People marry foolishly and then leave marriage to suit their own convenience. Others deliberately limit children and thus belittle the importance to solid family life of a full household; their birth-control mentality tempts them to look upon their union merely as companionship or a means of mutual gratification.

Frequently a small and prosperous family has a built-in selfishness which disturbs, where it does not destroy, domestic peace. And parents who use contraceptives may have lax opinions about sexual morality, so that the young consciences under their care are harmed.

Many modern wives have forgotten, or do not want to know, that their first purpose is motherhood and that making a home is their most worth-while career. They have emancipated themselves from serious self-sacrifice on behalf of their husband or family.

Many husbands, too, have mentally divorced themselves from their high calling as teacher and ruler of their young ones; as a result, their homes are in a state of anarchy or matriarchy. Thus the marriage bond in many instances has ceased to be moral and spiritual. Instead it has become sensual, social and esthetic.

Some modern social scientists have termed Catholic concern over the decay of public and private morality and the disintegration of home life “alarmist poppycock.” They array a large amount of statistical evidence to demonstrate that the American world is no worse off than it was before. They declaim that elders have always looked upon every new generation as a generation of vipers.

But we who deal with people as people, and are interested in their moral well-being, know that the divorced, the promiscuous, the drug addict, the alcoholic, the homosexual, the juvenile delinquent, are increasingly prevalent phenomena which cannot be discovered in social pathology books, let alone the neighborhood streets, of thirty years ago.

They live next door–in large numbers and among ordinary family folk, and can be found in the mainstreams of society.

Parents, priests, doctors, teachers, judges, policemen and thoughtful citizens are rightfully alarmed, even if the sociologists and psychologists are not. And you, as parents, must be concerned lest the plague infect your home.

The blame for these blights on modern happiness can be laid squarely on the secular culture of our country which equates happiness with the pursuit of private pleasure and denies the existence of spiritual goals and values. The lack of religion, the encouraged agnosticism of our public institutions, particularly our schools, and the denial of the authority and rights of parents are all related to secularism.

In the face of such widespread error, the Church turns hopefully, as she did two thousand years ago, to the family. She would (1) have you recognize the Christian dignity of marriage; (2) strengthen your determination to live your family life in Christ and for Christ; (3) confirm your resistance to the pressures which threaten to destroy family virtue and domestic tranquility; (4) inoculate your family against further moral contamination.

For no matter what evil influences flourish outside your home, your family can be an impregnable refuge of Christian life.

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The Devil exults most when he can steal a man’s joy of spirit from him. He carries a powder with him to throw into any smallest possible chinks of our conscience, to soil the spotlessness of our mind and the purity of our life. But when spiritual joy fills our hearts, the Serpent pours out his deadly poison in vain. – St. Francis of Assissi


A very nice review from a friend, Mary Fifer, of St. Anne’s Helper, to whom I had given my Catholic Mother Goose Book.

I don’t often make recommendations yet when Leane Vanderputten gave me her new book to review, Catholic Mother Goose, I couldn’t refuse.

I read her book cover to cover, and I love the whole thing. I think that it has the best Mother Goose nursery rhymes on the planet!

For over 25 years I’ve searched for unconditionally good books for younger children and her Catholic Mother Goose is a dream come true. It was an honest pleasure to read her book. This is how all Catholic books ought to be written. No White-Out necessary!

You can put it right next to your Msgr. Robert Hugh Benson rhyme books. You can read it to your little ones and assign it to your older children. I’ll bet that by putting it in the living room, it will be read without suggestion.

I wish I’d had it for our children when they were little, and I’ve got it on my list for when grandchildren come. I’m so glad to have a truly good Catholic book to recommend to family and friends for Catholic preschool and kindergarten and I’m very glad to be able to add it to our website.

This is the kind of Catholic book our children need!


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Lukewarmness – Searching For and Maintaining Peace of Heart

This is inspiring and very encouraging! 🙂

from Searching for and Maintaining Peace

A Small Treatise on Peace of Heart

by Father Jacques Philippe

Don’t Let Your Apparent Lukewarmness Upset You

Don’t allow yourself to become disheartened or discouraged if it appears that you are making no progress, if you are fainthearted and lukewarm, if you should see that you are still subject to natural affections, thoughts of pride and sad feelings.

Simply strive to forget all these things and turn your mind toward God, standing before Him in the quiet and continuous desire that He make of you and in you His holy pleasure. Aim only at forgetting yourself and at walking before Him in the midst of your poverty, without ever looking at yourself…

As long as you are concerned with the capriciousness of nature, you will be busy with yourself and, as long as you are busy with yourself, you will not make much progress on the way to perfection.

These capricious movements will stop only when you hold them in contempt and forget them. Besides, I assure you that they are of no importance nor of any consequence, don’t pay any attention to them, only look at God and this with a pure and simple faith.

Don’t Worry About Your Falls

Always forget the past and never worry about your falls, many as they may be. So long as you get back on your feet, no harm will have been done; whereas, a great deal of harm will occur if you lose heart of if you berate yourself too much for your failures. Do everything with the greatest possible calm and serenity and out of the greatest, purest and holiest love of Jesus and Mary.


One of the principal obstacles one encounters on the way to perfection is the precipitous and impatient desire to progress and to possess those virtues that we feel we don’t have.

On the contrary, the true means of solidly advancing, and with giant steps, is to be patient and to calm and pacify these anxieties….Don’t get ahead of your guide for fear of getting lost and straying from the path that He indicates, because if you do, instead of arriving safe and sound, you will fall into a pit.

Your guide is the Holy Spirit. By your struggles and worries, by your anxiety and haste, you overtake Him with the pretense of moving more quickly. And then what happens? You stray from the path and find yourself on terrain that is harder and rougher and, far from advancing, you go backwards; at a minimum, you waste your time.

Let the Spirit of God Act

When it pleased God to create the universe, He worked with nothing, and look at the beautiful things He made! In the same way, if He wants to work in us to accomplish things infinitely beyond all the natural beauties which came from His hands, He doesn’t need our becoming so agitated to help Him…

Rather, let Him work by Himself; He likes to work with nothingness. Let us stay peacefully and quietly before Him and simply follow the changes that He produces…

.Let us then keep our souls at peace and our spiritual forces at rest before Him, while awaiting every motion and sign of life from Him alone. And let us endeavor not to move, will or live, except in God and through the Spirit of God. It is necessary to forget oneself and continually direct one’s soul toward God and leave it calmly and peacefully before Him.

Words of St. Paul: Don’t be anxious; instead, give thanks in all your prayers and petitions and make your requests known to God, and God’s peace which is beyond all understanding will keep your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:6–7), Illustration by Heather Stillufsen

Do you need some good reading suggestions? Visit My Book List…


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Secret Of Happiness – Father Lasance

Painting by Susan Rios


From Holiness and Happiness by Fr. Lasance

Conformity to the will of God is the secret of happiness even here upon earth. Outside it there is only unhappiness.

When we receive all things as being sent by Providence, and when we live in a state of entire abandonment to all that this adorable Providence wills, we never meet with any vexations.

As we have no other will and no other desire but the will of God, and see this most amiable will in all that happens to us, we have always all that we will and all that we desire.

Imitating the example set us by the holy king David, we joyously give our hand to the good pleasure of God, Who leads us from one action to another, from a second to a third, and thus our whole life passes sweetly, joyously, holily.

No accident has power to disturb or trouble us, because we know that all comes from God, and that His will, which is a thousand times amiable, presides over all.

This thought changes sufferings and troubles into joy, bitterness into sweetness; and things that plunge other souls into desolation, console the soul which is united to the good pleasure of God.

Hence there is in it a tranquility and a peace which nothing can ruffle, a constant serenity, a calmness in acting and speaking which proves how truly the Apostle and the sage had spoken when they said, the Apostle in affirming that “To them that love God all things work together unto good” (Rom. viii. 28), and the sage in declaring that “Whatsoever shall befall the just man, it shall not make him sad” (Prov. xii. 21).

He may be tried by God, as was the holy man Job, but, like him, he will say to God: Thou triest me in a manner which ravishes me (Job x. 16) ; and neither his interior peace will be troubled nor his exterior allow a word or a gesture of sadness, of anger, or of impatience to escape it, and it may be said of him, as of Tobias, “He repined not, because the evil had befallen him” (Tob. ii. 13).

Every man, says St. Augustine, desires happiness, but all do not seek it where it is to be found. We seek it elsewhere than in the good pleasure of God, and from that time we condemn ourselves to an unhappy life.

We find nothing but deceptions in the things, the persons, or the places to which we attach ourselves. because everything changes here below. Even if all were not to change, we ourselves change, and what gave us pleasure yesterday, displeases us today.

Israel liked the manna at the beginning, and thought it had a marvelous taste; but a little while afterward it was disgusted with it. It was glad to be delivered from the tyranny of Pharaoh, but a little while afterward it wearied of the liberty of the desert, and wanted to return to Egypt.

Now, with these variations of taste, how could it be possible not to be unhappy. He who seeks contentment in himself, says St. Augustine, shall be afflicted; he alone is always happy who puts his joy in God alone, because God is always the same.

Filled with this truth, a holy Religious, a witness to the extremes of joy and sorrow, and to the variations of temper in which men allow themselves to indulge, according to the variety of the things to which they attach themselves, exclaimed: “As for me, nothing can take away my joy, because nothing can take from me Jesus Christ, Who is all my happiness”; and St. Augustine addressed God in these beautiful words: “Thou hast made us for Thyself, 0 Lord, and our hearts are restless, until they rest in Thee.”

Let us resolve:

(1) To attach ourselves solely to the good pleasure of God, to cherish it in all events, whether they be joyful or sorrowful, and never to allow ourselves to be troubled by anything, whatever.

(2) To place our whole joy in being led in all things by the divine will, like a child by the hand of its mother. Our spiritual nosegay will be the words of the Psalmist: “Thou hast held me by my right hand, 0 Lord, and by Thy will Thou hast conducted me” (Ps. lxxii. 24).

To Catholics marriage is a sacrament, symbolizing beautifully in the love of husband and wife the tenderness with which Christ regarded His spouse, the Church. While to others marriage may become a mere civil contract as prosaic as the making of a will or the taking of a partner into one’s grocery business, to Catholics it is a holy thing, a contract that Christ has transformed into a channel of untold grace for mankind. The Catholic Church believes firmly in the possibilities of so sacred an institution. -Fr. Daniel A. Lord, 1950’s

Who are you going to love? Things? or God? When is enough, enough? Sermon on having too much stuff & what to do about it….

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Women historically have been denigrated as lower than men or viewed as privileged. Dr. Alice von Hildebrand characterizes the difference between such views as based on whether man’s vision is secularistic or steeped in the supernatural. She shows that feminism’s attempts to gain equality with men by imitation of men is unnatural, foolish, destructive, and self-defeating. The Blessed Mother’s role in the Incarnation points to the true privilege of being a woman. Both virginity and maternity meet in Mary who exhibits the feminine gifts of purity, receptivity to God’s word, and life-giving nurturance at their highest.

You’ll learn how to grow in wisdom and in love as you encounter the unglamorous, everyday problems that threaten all marriages. As the author says: If someone were to give me many short bits of wool, most likely I would throw them away. A carpet weaver thinks differently. He knows the marvels we can achieve by using small things artfully and lovingly. Like the carpet weaver, the good wife must be an artist of love. She must remember her mission and never waste the little deeds that fill her day the precious bits of wool she s been given to weave the majestic tapestry of married love.

This remarkable book will show you how to start weaving love into the tapestry of your marriage today, as it leads you more deeply into the joys of love.

This post contains affiliate links. Thank you for your support.

The Five-Minute Miracle – Tidbits from Emilie Barnes

The Five-Minute Miracle

If you’re going to have time for the important things, then you need to have the five-minute principle well in place in your thinking. It means not letting those five-minute segments slip away just because you think they aren’t long enough to get anything important done.

Remember that most small chores can be accomplished in bits and pieces of time. In just five minutes, you can make an appointment, file your nails, water houseplants, make out a party guest list, order tickets for a ball game, or sew a button on.

If you have ten minutes, you can write a short letter or note, pick out a birthday card, repot a plant, straighten your desktop, or exercise.

You get the idea-do small chores that occupy little time.

But don’t overdo it. Leave some slack in your day for God’s little surprises. Who knows, maybe today the Lord will give you the opportunity to have a small talk with a neighbor, to enjoy a few minutes with a child over cookies and milk, or to make a quick visit to drop off a bouquet of flowers.

Let your life be full of five-minute miracles.

Simple Pleasures

Try putting a bunch of flowers in your refrigerator. Beautiful!

Purchase several birthday cards all at once so that you will be ready throughout the year!

Expressions of Love

As a child bride of 17, I began my decorating journey with almost nothing. In those days I was trying to create a beautiful home on no budget at all!

My husband, Bob, and I spray painted an old wrought-iron garden table for our kitchen. We rooted around behind charity shops for interesting discards, and we even moved our little plants from room to room, just for some variety.

Without knowing it, we were learning a lot about what we love, and how we can share ourselves by sharing our home.

We also fell more in love with each other as we spent time creating our home.

It wasn’t always easy, though. Sometimes we had to work a bit to marry Bob’s tastes with mine, but we kept working at it, and it’s been well worth it!

Even today, our home is an ongoing creation-an expression of our love.

You don’t know what the future may hold, so practice the art of contentment. What we have right now is this one day.

May God give us a peace of mind that lets us rest-right where He’s placed us!

Simple Pleasures

Embark on a spontaneous midnight walk and do some stargazing.

Take advantage of sales to add to your candle supply

Wake your spouse early and enjoy a moment of prayer together.


Talking about Storage

Today, let’s talk about storage! It’s an important word in organizing.

Storing things around the house is a real headache, so let’s get started.

A garage-sale wine rack or a wire bike basket attached to the wall are perfect for towels! You know the baskets you’ve been saving? Hang them on a wall for your napkins or table linens. An old set of drawers is great for holding videotapes or CDs.

Pick up an unfinished toy box and paint it in adult colors. It doubles as a lamp table and lots of storage!

I love to use cardboard boxes for everything and anything! Use spray adhesive to cover a cardboard box with fabric; add some trim and use it in any room of your house.

And while you’re busy around the house, tack up a few notecards with verses on them and do a little storing of God’s Word!

Simple Pleasures

Clip articles from magazines and create a reading file.

A pretty apron can make your evening chores a little more inviting.

The Sweet Savor

Why bother with any of those around-the-house tips?

Here’s why: Organization and efficiency can give us more time to pursue the things that really matter.

Try some of these ideas over the next few days. They really work!

Do you seem to never have enough lemon juice when you need it? Squeeze the juice of fresh lemons into ice cube trays. Then just defrost them and use them when you’re ready. It’s wonderful having fresh lemon juice at your fingertips!

Do you spend precious minutes scrubbing pots and pans with burned-on food? Drop one or two fabric-softener sheets into the water. Let it stand for an hour or so and the food will lift right off.

Keep your kitchen smelling fresh and sweet by washing your sink with a strong salt solution or even with laundry bleach.

Creating a home filled with order and cleanliness communicates a heart that is ordered and pure.

Take a moment today to make your home more simply organized and see how the sweet savor blesses those around you.

Simple Pleasures

Puttering is acceptable. Enjoy your home, and don’t always be on task.

A cup of hot broth is a comforting beverage this time of year.

Frame a card from a loved one-let it be a “grace note” in your home.

Men! Fathers! Listen up! Excellent Sermon!

“Being humble means recognizing everything good and beautiful in my life (my qualities, the good I can do, and so on), as a gift from God. There is more to life than negative things; sometimes we are happy with ourselves, with what we experience and have been able to achieve, and this is justifiable, provided we recognize God as the ultimate source of all those good things.” – Fr. Jacques Philippe, The Way of Trust and Love, Beautiful Book: Painting by John William Waterhouse 1908 (afflink)

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Filled with inspiration, encouragement, and tried-and-true tips, this book is a must-have for every woman!

The good news is that a beautiful home doesn’t require too much money, too much energy, or too much time. Bestselling author and home-management expert Emilie Barnes shows readers how they can easily weave beauty and happiness into the fabric of their daily lives. With just a touch of inspiration, readers can

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  • build a lifestyle that beautifully reflects their unique personalities
  • enrich their spirits with growing things (even if their thumbs are several shades shy of green)
  • make mealtimes feasts of thanksgiving and kitchen duty fun
  • establish traditions of celebration that allow joy to filter through to everyday life

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Learning Life Lessons in the Oddest Places

Throwback Thursday post….

It was one of those normal days…. housework, homeschooling, and the usual hubbub of grandchildren.

Vincent had been at work and came home late. He sat down at the table and we gave him his dinner that we had been keeping warm for him.


Painting by Norman Rockwell

That’s when he dropped the bombshell…”I picked up this guy in Topeka. He’s homeless and needs a place to stay until he gets something else”.

Now my husband is known for his charity. It exceeds the norm and the rest of us tremble when he comes up with his next venture in kindness. This was one of those trembling times.

I really struggle at times like this. I have my run-of-the-mill fears like any mother.

I know God expects us to go the extra mile. But what about my kids…..!!!???

I uncomfortably agree to (I will call him George) staying in the addition (which is attached to the house) for a couple of days. And so that is what he does.

George eventually finds his way to an apartment and hubby employs him. This guy has had a rough past, that is for sure. He traveled with a carnival and life was very, very messy. You really have to wonder if this is going to be the time when he really gives it all up.

Hubby is hopeful, I am skeptical….

In the meantime, we have some good times with George. He plays volleyball with us, eats with us and just chews the fat with all of us as we sit around visiting.

One day we were talking. I don’t know if he was telling us about his own relationship with his deceased wife or if we were just talking about relationships in general. Our friend said something that has resonated with me since then. It was very profound and has depths of meaning in it.

It could really be a motto for any husband or wife. He said, “When my wife and I were having an argument, and things were getting out of control, I would ask myself, ‘Whoa, George! Is this really that important? Besides…..Do I want to be RIGHT? Or do I want to be HAPPY?'”

I looked at him surprised. I had never heard it said that way. That was good. And it came from George….he just didn’t seem the type to utter such wisdom.

How often through the years we will have to live by this very motto that this poor, homeless man tried to live by in his better years.

It’s called overcoming our pride.

When we’re having one of our differences and he is really getting under our skin and we know our point of view makes more sense and we push it until it becomes a full-blown argument ….
We need to ask ourselves, “Do I want to be right? Or do I want to be happy?” 

When we’re upset, we can stew about stuff, give him the silent treatment and wait for him to apologize but really when it comes right down to it….we just want to be happy.

The differences we are experiencing don’t matter as much as loving one another…as keeping that friendliness and intimacy that is so important between husband and wife.

So we need to swallow our pride and apologize. Or if we have nothing to apologize for, just try to forget it and let him know you love him.

And things are so much better.

It is not worth it.  Let’s get over ourselves and learn some humility….

As for our friend, George, he stuck around for about 6 months. Vincent gave him his small truck and he got it impounded because he returned to his life of drinking. Last I heard he was evicted from his apartment and has moved on.

I will never forget him, though, every time I think of his life lesson.  Maybe say a prayer for George today…. God help him.


O Jesus! meek and humble of heart, Hear me.
From the desire of being esteemed,

Deliver me, Jesus.

From the desire of being loved…Deliver me, Jesus
From the desire of being extolled …
From the desire of being honored …
From the desire of being praised …
From the desire of being preferred to others…
From the desire of being consulted …
From the desire of being approved …
From the fear of being humiliated …
From the fear of being despised…
From the fear of suffering rebukes …
From the fear of being calumniated …
From the fear of being forgotten …
From the fear of being ridiculed …
From the fear of being wronged …
From the fear of being suspected …

That others may be loved more than I,
Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.

That others may be esteemed more than I …Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.
That, in the opinion of the world,
others may increase and I may decrease …
That others may be chosen and I set aside …
That others may be praised and I unnoticed …
That others may be preferred to me in everything…
That others may become holier than I,
provided that I may become as holy as I should…


“God designed men and women differently. This means your spouse communicates differently. With your man, try spending time just ‘being together’ without an agenda to talk or interact. As he does shoulder to shoulder activities with you, he experiences a special camaraderie and trust. He will relax and feel comfortable to talk about the deeper issues confronting him.”-Emmerson Eggerichs, Love and Respect

Painting by Gregory Frank Harris

Eternal Rest Grant Unto Them, O Lord….

Excellent sermon today to listen to while you are folding clothes, doing dishes or working on your homemade gifts!

Religious Pendant and Earring Sets…Wire-Wrapped, Handcrafted. These graceful Vintaj necklaces can be worn every day as a reminder of your devotion.

Get it blessed and you can use it also as a sacramental. Available here.


A very valuable book for the guys plucked out of the past and reprinted. It was written in 1894 by Fr. Bernard O’Reilly and the words on the pages will stir the hearts of the men to rise to virtue and chivalry…. Beautifully and eloquently written!

A very beautiful book, worthy of our attention. In it, you will find many pearls of wisdom for a woman striving to be the heart of the home, an inspiration to all who cross her path. You will be inspired to reconsider the importance of your role of wife and mother! Written by Rev. Bernard O’Reilly in 1894, the treasures found within its pages ring true and remain timeless…

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