Keeping the Home Fires Burning

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Doesn’t the phrase “keeping the home fires burning” give you warm fuzzies? It does for me. To me, it brings to mind the epitome of home….mother by the stove, cooking up something for the children, Dad outside cutting wood with the bigger boys, toddler playing with the baby, siblings reading on the couch. Peaceful and beautiful!

I know you have had your times like this. It’s not all roses but there ARE roses above the thorns….

More pictures of contentment:

I love to home school and those mornings where all the kids are sitting at the table poring over their books bring a great feeling of satisfaction and order. We often will start our day by doing the Office of Prime from Officium Divinum…..getting off on the right foot.

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Spring is in the air. The garden is half planted, the red bud trees are in full bloom. The guys have gone fishing a few times already. Volleyball and shooting bows are creeping in and go-carts are the big attraction! I’m not sure about the go-carts giving me warm fuzzies…especially since the little one the kids are allowed to drive has no brakes! :P

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Oh! And goats! Don’t you think that the thought of milk-producing, self-sufficient goats brings rapturous feelings of blessedness???? Nope, me neither. I love our garden so I don’t like goats. I love flowers, so I don’t like goats. (I’m trying to convince myself NOT to get another goat even though I love the milk).

There are so many factors, so many facets, of what make up a good, Catholic home. It will not be perfect but the all-inclusive and ever-present love of our Faith behind all that we do will produce well-balanced, moral children that become an asset to society and to the Church.

And so….that being said….I will be taking a long absence from the blog.

I have always found the online thing a little hard. It is a big distraction for this wandering mind.

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Lately, I have taken a long, hard look at what my true accomplishments are and my children and my grandchildren, along with loving my husband are number one. I want to concentrate on those things, without so many distractions….making sure I finish strong.

I love working on this kind of stuff and sharing the goodness and beauty of our Faith so I still plan to spend time on more Maglets, along with a couple of books that are in the works.

One of the books is called “Cheerful Chats for Catholic Children”. This one has short faith-filled stories, a few questions at the end to help the story sink in a little bit and then a prayer. The stories are only a page long so tired mothers, who still want to give that “tucking in” time a special touch, can pack a punch in a brief reading.  There is a small poem and a picture at the end of each story. I remember my kids straining their necks to see pictures in the book I was reading them on their bed. These will be great little stories…. sweet thoughts to fall asleep on.

Another book is a “Catholic Mother Goose” Poem book. I think the children (and parents) will love this one. I loved teaching my own children the poems of old. They knew them well but I was always a little disappointed with the random (and sometimes disturbing) words of the Mother Goose poetry. SO…..these are Catholic Mother Goose poems your children can remember, recite and Mom can feel good about! And the illustrator for the poems is fantastic!!!

So stay tuned. Sign up on the blog in order to get word of when these books are available!

I asked hubby if I should post that I was leaving the blog because I didn’t like the fact that it seemed so final. And he reminded me that nothing is final. We must do God’s will and I know this is God’s will for now. Who knows what the future holds…..

In the meantime, let us love our families, do our daily duties, learn our faith and pass it on, always staying on the Ark of Peter. When things get rough, remember Who we look toward and let us not trust in ourselves but in Him Who said He would be with us always and that the Gates of Hell WILL NOT prevail!

I want to close with this beautiful prayer from the Divine Office. It is in the Office of Prime, from the book Divinum Officium. I have wanted to post it for some time now because I think it is a lovely way to start each day:

O God, come to my assistance.

O Lord, make haste to help me.

Glory be to the Father.

As it was in the beginning. Alleluia.

Now that the sun has risen, let us as suppliants ask of God that in today’s acts He preserve us from all that may hurt us.

May He check and restrain our tongue so that it be not an instrument of discord and strife. May He screen and protect our eyes so that they do not drink in vanities.

May our inmost soul be pure and the folly of impurity find in us no place; may moderation in food and drink wear down the body’s pride.

So that when day has gone, and night, as God planned, has returned, we may be found free from sin through our self-restraint and thus sing praise to Him.

To God the Father be glory, and to His only Son, with the Spirit, the Paraclete, now and forever. Amen.

HAPPY EASTER!!!

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Gemma’s Poem and Some Nice Reviews

I thought I would share with you today a poem that our Gemma (11 yrs. old) wrote:

DON’T WORRY

We are in a world right now that could explode any moment!

We are in a world right now that could turn into a torrent!

Look at all the humans that fright and scare all day.

They think of that tragic thing that could happen any way.

For me I just don’t worry and do my daily works.

I don’t act frightened and scared and think that life is short!

God is protecting me and I know that so I say

A little prayer of protection and go upon my way!

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And here are some very kind reviews that were left on Amazon and my Etsy shop by those who purchased my Maglets. Thank you so much, Ladies!! <3

“This is a delightful publication! I thoroughly enjoyed reading it and have pages marked for future reference. As a busy mother of five, I have a hard time sitting down and doing spiritual reading, but my soul longs for it, especially things that will help me to be a better wife and mother. This book breaks it down into “bite sized” bits that I can read and finish in the bits of time I get for reading. So inspirational! Thank you! My mother-in-law ordered me the next one (Advent/ Christmas issue), and now I get to practice the virtue of patience until it comes in! I can’t wait! Thank you for such a thoughtful publication that is full of wisdom and loving guidance!” -AC

“This is the first in what hopefully will be many little maglets. It’s great for Catholic moms, especially those of us who have large families and are busy. It is made up of nice little readings from various priests and other Catholic resources; very inspiring and solid, nothing wishy-washy. It’s nice to sit down with a cup of coffee and just read an article or two and mull over them. Definitely centers me more on my vocation and WHY I am cleaning up that mess the little ones made for the 3rd time today. :)
These would make an excellent gift for Christmas; or a stocking stuffer (they are perfect size!) I know there is now a Christmas one out too!” –N. Porter

“JMJ This is a charming book that is sure to delight. Many helpful bits of advice for mothers of all ages. A great gift for the engaged, newly wed, expecting and experienced mothers. Small and compact, easy to read and always brings a smile, sometimes a tear.” – SoCalGal

“A beautiful maglet chock full of gems. A must have for any family. Easy to read. A great reference source. A perfect gift to get all your friends. The author is quite a special lady and am grateful she worked so hard to create this for us.” –Linda R.

“These maglets are so encouraging especially to those looking to live out, joyfully, our vocation as wives and mothers. Lots of great quotes and articles.”

You can buy the maglet from Amazon or you can get it a little more economically at my  Meadows of Grace. Tidbits about Lent, Easter and just bunches of inspiration and encouragement!

If you like the maglet, please leave a review on either Amazon or Meadows of Grace….or both! It is much appreciated!

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Quia Nunc Vale….

…..That’s Latin for “Goodbye For Now”, at least that’s what Google told me. :)

As Lent progresses I find many things to pray more about (Well, I’m not looking for them, they are finding me). I am a do-er, not so good of a pray-er, but working on it. So I will be taking a break for the rest of Lent and hope to be back soon after Easter, God willing.

A Little Story….You probably know by now (because I use his articles a lot) that I greatly like, and get much out of, the books by Father Jacques Philippe, a priest who lives in France.

How did I get to know about him? One day, a few years back, our priest put stacks of little pink books on the back table in our foyer at our Church. There were bunches of them and he invited the parishioners to take them and read them. The book was called Searching for and Maintaining Peace: A Small Treatise on Peace of Heart.

I picked one up, took it home and read it. It was truly a beautiful and inspiring book! It came in a close second to that wonderful book “Trustful Surrender to Divine Providence” that many of you may have read!

A couple years later I found out about Father’s other books and I have been reading them and gaining much from them. I like to share with you the especially good articles here and in my Maglets.

Back to my story…I met with a good friend this last Tuesday. We had never gone out for coffee together before but we took  this opportunity to touch base as it had been too long since we had a chat. We began to talk about books. I asked her if she had ever heard of Father Jacques Philippe??? Her eyes got wide and she said, “He’s going to be in Kansas City on Saturday giving talks!!”

I could not believe my ears!!!!  I have not talked to this friend for over a year! Divine Providence or what??!!

Needless to say, I gathered a menagerie of young adults and we filled up her 15 passenger van and went to hear him speak. It was a wonderful day and I felt very blessed!

Here is my picture with Fr. Jacques Philippe:

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This little story was a good reminder for me that if God is so good and gracious to answer, or be interested in, the little desires of our hearts, how much more will He answer those big things that mean so much more to us! We must have faith and trust….

I hope all of you have a very Blessed Lent and a Happy Easter. I will be praying for you and yours, please keep me in your prayers as well!

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Tidbits for Your Day VII

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We Have a Choice

-Emilie Barnes

If you have been married for any length of time, you realize that your mate is certainly different from yourself.

You may often ask, “Why can’t he [or she] be like me?” The saying around our house is: “Men are weird, and wives are strange.” That is so very true—and God designed us that way!

We are in a real sense “prescription babies” in that God has a custom design for every individual, equipping each for specific achievement and purpose.

As a couple, we can move into our marriage relationship with the confidence that God has put each partner on the earth for a special purpose. As loving mates, our task is to investigate to see what that purpose is and then do all we can to encourage and assist our mates so they can become all that God has planned for them.

We have a choice: We can live in war zones fueled by conflict and frustration or we can live in homes filled with the precious and pleasant riches that come from understanding and accepting our differences.

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Make Some Changes, Starting Today!

-Emilie Barnes

Start with yourself. Find out what causes confusion in your life. Establish your own plan on what changes must be made.
Keep it simple. Don’t make your plans too complicated.
Have designated places for everything. Avoid piling up papers, toys, clothes, and so on.
Store like items together. Designate certain places for specific groups: bills, invoices, coffee/tea items, gardening tools, laundry, and so on.
Get rid of items you don’t use. If you haven’t used the item in the last year, give it away, throw it away, or have a garage sale.
Invest in proper tools. Use bins, hooks, racks, containers, lazy Susans to maintain order.
Keep master lists. Keep an inventory of where things are stored in binders, file cards, a computer, or journals.
Use labels and signs. Label everything—specific items, drawers, and bins.

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Make Bedtime Special!

-Bob Barnes

Ah, bedtime! The children have played hard, had a filling dinner, taken a warm bath or shower, dressed in their pajamas, and prepared for bed.

This is the relaxing time, the cooling-down period of the day, just before they fall asleep for a good night’s rest.

The easiest thing to do is shuffle them off to bed with a good-night kiss and a possible short “Now I lay me down to sleep” prayer.

But if you hastily put them to bed, you miss an opportunity to establish a great legacy that will last all their lives. You can impart so much in this short period of time.

Whether you sing with the children, pray, or share a story, you are creating very special memories in those children’s lives.

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Discipline

-Marva Collins

When you must reprimand your child, do so in a loving manner. Don’t ever try to degrade or humiliate him. His ego is a precious thing worth preserving.

Try saying: “I love you very much but I will not have that kind of behavior. Do you know why I won’t tolerate that? Simply because you are too bright to behave that way.”

Whenever a child does something positive, always take the time to say, “I am so proud of you, bright boy or girl.”

When a child makes a mistake, never call him stupid; simply say “let’s proofread this” or “very good try.”

When the child has a temper tantrum, say to the child, “I don’t know that person who is acting out right now, but I am sure my bright, well-behaved child will return very quickly now. So I’ll just leave the room until he returns.”

Whatever you do to discipline your child, it must be done consistently. Many times we promise rewards for good behavior and never pay up-this teaches the child that your word cannot be trusted.

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Don’t Stress Sin Too Much – Rev. George A. Kelly

d1946384xRev. Fr. George A. Kelly, The Catholic Family Handbook

Don’t stress sin too much. In giving your child the moral training he needs, avoid the extreme of referring to all of his transgressions in terms of how they will affect his relations with God.

It is true that parents must never encourage children to be lax about moral matters, for a sin is always hateful in the eyes of God.

Nevertheless, some parents–fortunately a very tiny minority–use their child’s religious sense as a weapon to force him to do things which should not normally be expected of him.

A mother discovered that she could get her daughter to comply instantly with her commands if she accused her of “sinful disobedience” for failing to do so. Soon the mother had a means at her disposal to force the child to do excessive amounts of housework. As a result, the girl grew up lacking respect for authority and with a scornful attitude toward all the commandments.

When parents constantly thunder about sin, their children may develop an abnormal fear of God, viewing Him as a judge who will thrash them for the slightest offense. Such children may come to lose their trust in God’s mercy–a trust they will need in later life to meet the crosses which will inevitably be theirs to bear.

In his book “Your Child’s World,” Dr. Odenwald describes a nine-year-old patient who had become so terrified of the dark that he had extreme difficulty in sleeping.

“This boy feared that because of his sins–really not sins at all but rather the normal actions of a boy his age–he would be severely punished by the Almighty,” Dr. Odenwald writes.

“Another boy reached the point where he confessed his sins to the priest on Saturday, but felt unworthy to receive Communion on Sunday because he might have offended God unwittingly by committing some mild offense.

A five-year-old girl, who was attending a Sunday School, was so impressed by a sermon on hell and damnation that she could not get it out of her mind. Because of her one-sided introduction to the idea of punishment for sins, she displayed psychotic tendencies even at this early stage.”

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Your Husband Wants to Make You Happy

From The Surrendered Wife by Laura Doylejeanette's camera 015

Your Husband Wants to Make You Happy

I’ve posed the question, “How important is it to you that you’re wife is happy?” to thousands of men, and no matter the man, time, or place, the answer is always the same: “It’s everything.”
It may not seem like it right now, but your husband wants to make you happy, too. In fact, few things are more important to him than knowing that he has pleased you.
Every time I see a man holding his wife’s purse in the store, moving across the country to be near her family or driving the old car so she can drive the new one, I’m reminded of just what lengths men will go to ensure their wife’s happiness.
If you’re thinking your husband is different, think again. If he hasn’t made any effort on your behalf in a long time, perhaps he has lost faith in his ability to delight you.
To restore his hope, thank him for the things he has already done that make you happy. Once he sees that he can succeed, his natural instinct to please you will return in full force.

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Trade the Illusion of Control for a Romantic Reality

When I focus on what my husband could be doing better, I enter a fantasy world in which I can change my life by changing him.

In my fantasy, I can have more romance if I tell him to be more romantic, I can be rich if I tell him to ask for a raise, and I can have an easier time keeping the house tidy if I tell him to clean up after himself.
Unfortunately, the reality of my control was dreary.

Instead of having more romance, I had a distant husband. Instead of more money, I had a resentful husband. Instead of a cleaner house, I had wall-to-wall hostility.
When I was honest with myself, I had to admit that controlling, or attempting to control, accomplished nothing. The only product of harboring my illusion was loneliness. It wasn’t until I gave it up that romance returned.

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 It’s Okay to Have the Last Word, as Long as It’s “Ouch!”

When your husband says something that hurts your feelings, you may be tempted to lash back with an insult.
Don’t do it!
Instead, remember to express your pain by saying, “Ouch!”
It’s tempting to express your anger, which may seem like the more prominent emotion at that moment. But admitting that you hurt rather than lashing back curtails the fighting because it reminds your husband that his job is to love you, not to hurt you.

This is a good habit to get into because you will transform a moment of pain into one of intimacy and emotional honesty.

Your husband may even apologize for what he said, but even if he doesn’t, you can be glad that you avoided saying something you’d probably regret later.

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Bringing Home the Romance

The best way to make space for romance in your relationship is to let your husband see that he is safe.

By that I mean he should have confidence that you are not going to complain, nag, criticize or dismiss him.

Once he realizes that you’re treating him respectfully, he’s more likely to share what he’s thinking about and let his guard down — and you won’t have to do any prodding.

What’s more, his desire to make you happy will resurface. That’s when he’ll be most inclined to bring you flowers, give you a backrub or tell you how beautiful you are.
Romance will blossom when you create an atmosphere of safety.

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Have Faith in His Worth:

“Have faith that character, intelligence, and kindness are inherent in his makeup as they are in the souls of all men. The German author Goethe wrote, “If you treat a man as he is, he will stay as he is, but if you treat him as if he were what he ought to be and could be, he will become that bigger and better man.” -Fascinating Womanhood

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Conversation – Light and Peace, Quadrupani

The following is taken from the book written in 1898, Light and Peace. These wise words will guide us as we engage in conversation throughout each day.10801864_388350718008130_8666022093184922281_n

Light and Peace: Instructions for Devout Souls to Dispel Their Doubts

Neither do men light a candle and put it under a bushel, but upon a candlestick, that it may give light to all who are in a house.

Let your light so shine before men that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven. (St. Matthew, c. V., vv.
15-16.)

Contend not in words, for it is to no profit, but to the subversion of the hearers. (St. Paul, II Tim., c. II. v. 14.)

1. Conversation should be marked by a gentle and devout pleasantness, and your manner when engaged in it, ought to be equable, composed and gracious. Mildness and cheerfulness make devotion and those who practice it attractive to others. The holy abbot Saint Anthony, notwithstanding the extraordinary austerities of his penitential life, always showed such a smiling countenance that no one could look at him without pleasure.

2. We should be neither too talkative nor too silent,—it is as necessary to avoid one extreme as the other. By speaking too much we expose ourselves to a thousand dangers, so well-known that they need not be mentioned in detail: by not speaking enough we are apt to be a restraint upon others, as it makes it seem as though we did not relish their conversation, or wished to impress them with our superiority.

3. Do not conclude from this that it is necessary to count your words, as it were, so as to keep your conversation within the proper limits. This would be as puerile a scruple as counting one’s steps when walking. A holy spirit of liberty should dominate our conversations and serve to instill into them a gentle and moderate gaiety.

4. If you hear some evil spoken of your neighbor do not immediately become alarmed, as the matter may be true and quite public without your having been aware of it. Should you be quite certain that there is calumny or slander in the report, either because the evil told was false or exaggerated or because it was not publicly known, then, according to the place, the circumstances and your relations towards those present, say with moderation what appears most fitting to justify or excuse your neighbor. Or you may try to turn the conversation into other channels, or simply be content to show your disapprobation by an expressive silence.

Remember, for the peace of your conscience, that one does not share in the sin of slander unless he give some mark of approbation or encouragement to the person who is guilty of it.

5. Do not imitate those who are scrupulous enough to imagine that charity obliges them to undertake the defense of every evil mentioned in their presence and to become the self-appointed advocates of whoever it may be that has deserved censure. That which is really wrong cannot be justified, and no one should attempt the fruitless task: and as to the guilty, those who may do harm either through the scandal of their example or the wickedness of their doctrines, it is right that they should be shunned and openly denounced. “To cry out wolf, wolf,” says Saint Francis de Sales, “is kindness to the sheep.”

6. The regard we owe our neighbor does not bind us to a politeness that might be construed as an approval or encouragement of his vicious habits. Hence if it happen that you hear an equivocal jest, a witticism slurring at religion or morals, or anything else that really offends against propriety, be careful not to give, through cowardice and in spite of your conscience, any mark of approbation, were it only by one of those half smiles that are often accorded unwillingly and afterwards regretted.

Flattery, even in the eyes of the world, is one of the most debasing of falsehoods. Not even in the presence of the greatest earthly dignitaries, will an honest, upright man sanction with his mouth that which he condemns in his heart. He who sacrifices to vice the rights of truth not only acts unlike a Christian, but renders himself unworthy the name of man.

7. In small social gatherings try to make yourself agreeable to everybody present and to show to each some little mark of attention, if you can do so without affectation. This may be done either by directly addressing the person or by making a remark that you know will give him occasion to speak of his own accord,—draw him out, as the saying is. It was by the charm and urbanity of his conversation that Saint Francis de Sales prepared the way for the conversion of numbers of heretics and sinners, and by imitating him you will contribute towards making piety in the world more attractive. In regard to priests you should always testify your respect for the sacerdotal dignity quite independently of the individual.

8. Disputes, sarcasm, bitter language, and intolerance for dissenting opinions, are the scourges of conversation.

9. Although this adage comes to us from a pagan philosopher, we might profitably bear it always in mind: “In conversation we should show deference to our superiors, affability to our equals, and benevolence to our inferiors.”

10. Generally speaking, it is wrong for those whom God does not call to abandon the world, to seclude themselves entirely and to shun all society suited to their position in life. God, who is the source of all virtue, is likewise the author of human society. Let the wicked hide themselves if they will, their absence is no loss to the world; but good people make themselves useful merely by being seen.

It is well, moreover, the world should know that in order to practice the teachings of the Gospel it is not necessary to bury one’s self in the desert; and that those who live for the Creator can likewise live with the creatures whom He has made according to His own image and likeness. Well, again, to show that a devout life is neither sad nor austere, but simple, sweet and easy; that far from being for those in the world an impediment to social relations, it facilitates, perfects and sanctifies such; that the disciples of Jesus Christ can, without becoming wordlings, live in the world; and that, in fine, the Gospel is the sovereign code of perfection for persons in society as well as for those who have renounced the world.

*Fénelon, who perhaps had even greater occasion than Saint Francis de Sales to teach men of the world how to lead a Christian life in society, wrote as follows to a person at court:

“You ought not to feel worried, it seems to me, in regard to those diversions in which you cannot avoid taking part. I know there are those who think it necessary that one should lament about everything, and restrain himself continually by trying to excite disgust for the amusements in which he must participate. As for me, I acknowledge that I cannot reconcile myself to this severity. I prefer something simpler and I believe that God, too, likes it better. When amusements are innocent in themselves and we enter into them to conform to the customs of the state of life in which Providence has placed us, then I believe they are perfectly lawful. It is enough to keep within the bounds of moderation and to remember God’s presence. A dry, reserved manner, conduct not thoroughly ingenuous and obliging, only serve to give a false idea of piety to men of the world who are already too much prejudiced against it, believing that a spiritual life cannot be otherwise than gloomy and morose.”*

11. If all confessors agreed in instilling these maxims, which are as important as they are true, many persons who now keep themselves in absolute seclusion and live in a sad and dreary solitude would remain in society to the edification of their neighbor and the great advantage of religion. The world would thus be disabused of its unjust prejudices against a devout life and those who have embraced it.

12. Never remain idle except during the time you have allotted to rest or recreation. Idleness begets lassitude, disposes to evil speaking and gives occasion to the most dangerous temptations.

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Shut the Door and the Devil Passes By

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAfrom True Womanhood – Rev. Bernard O’Reilly

The Spaniards say, “Shut the door and the Devil passes by;” the true woman who understands this, will know how to preserve her home-sanctuary from evil.

It is, comparatively, an easy task to cultivate and cherish in one’s own life and in the souls of those nearest and dearest to one, all the sweet virtues and holy habits indicated above, or connected with true piety. But how hard it is, when once evil habits have been formed, to resist or reform them!
There are certain horrible skin diseases to which persons of the purest blood and most refined nature are most liable.And the terrible poison, sometimes caught by a breath or a touch of the hand, once deposited in blood hitherto untainted, will spread instantaneously, and commit the most fearful ravages.

So is it with souls highly privileged: a single voluntary act of sin may be followed by such a state of spiritual leprosy, that all their former beauty and glory appear changed into hideous deformity and seemingly incurable corruption.

Be careful to keep evil far away from the hearts of your dear ones; and close and bar the door of your home at all times, when you know that wickedness is abroad in the street or on the highway.

Keep out the fatal influences which might weaken or destroy the precious boon of Christian faith in your household; bar and bolt your door against uncharitableness, immodesty, and that odious spirit of irreverence toward age, authority, and all that our fathers have taught us to respect and love.

And, O women who read this, learn here how to make your home, though never so poor and bare, lovely to your dear ones and an object of respect and envy to all who know you.

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