Happiness in a Home / The Winner of the Giveaway Is….

f7f0e3d6e87fd159841050ea766d8a43Tidbits from Father Lasance…..

My Prayer Book

What is it That Secures Happiness in a Home?

Before everything religion. Let all love well our good God; let all observe the commandments of God and the Church; let all say their prayers morning and night, let all put their trust in Divine Providence.

In the next place, union; let the members of the household be affectionate toward one another, having only one heart and one soul, not saying or doing anything that can pain any one of them.

Then again, the spirit of sacrifice; we must be ready to do without something in order to make another member of the family enjoy it, we must give up our own personal tastes to conform to the tastes of others.

Finally, pliancy of character; not to be hard to deal with, touchy, sour, proud; not to be obstinately rooted on one’s ideas, not to grow impatient about mere nothings, but to have a  large mind and a generous heart.

The home of a family whose members possess these qualities is a paradise on earth.

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There are other things than merely food and clothing, which make up a a good home. Love and kindness are essential to a happy home; – not the mistaken love and the foolish kindness which give way to every selfish whim of childhood, but the patient, far-seeing virtues that look beyond the present to the child’s future life here and hereafter.

Children, particularly boys, need to be studied and understood. They need to be treated justly, but kindly.

The tolerant father and mother who try to understand their children are too few. They want to drive the boys, whereas they should rather try to lead them.

It is of very little use for parents to preach the virtues to children while they themselves disregard them.

If you would have children just and kind, well-mannered and truthful, be all these things yourself first. These virtues practiced by the parents, and insisted upon kindly and firmly from the children, are what go to make up that which truly deserves to be called “a good home.”

-The Sentinel of the Blessed Sacrament

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The Power of a Smile

An excellent remedy for “the blues” and preventive of dumpishness will be found in the suggestion, “Keep the corners of your mouth turned up”; in other words, keep a smile upon your lips, even when you are alone.

Try it. It acts like a charm, It keeps one in good spirits, and it drives the frown from other faces too. It acts like sunshine. It warms and brightens all it falls upon. A smile will suppress the angry retort that is dancing on the quivering lips. Smiling faces make a peaceful, happy home.

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“True love gives strength of character and assists in the acquisition of self-control. It never takes advantage of another for the sake of personal gratification. To preserve bodily integrity before marriage, a young man must also possess some knowledge of women. Good and pure-minded women inspire respect and make the task of a young man easy, for he will have no difficulty in keeping the right distance.” – Father Lovasik, Clean Love in Courtship

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Now for the Giveaway……But first, I want to thank all of you for your kind and encouraging comments! I am very appreciative of your support of this site! I keep you in my prayers, please keep me in yours! ❤

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Congratulations, Leah! I have sent you an email!!

A Companion to Her Husband – True Womanhood, 1877

The more we read this kind of inspiration, the more it sinks in just how much power we have in the home….and how much we must pray to have a right spirit within those four walls.

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From True Womanhood, Rev. Bernard O’Reilly, 1893

ANGELS GUARD THE CATHOLIC HOME

It is for every father, who is by the divine law of nature, king in his own family, to consider well the truth here presented to him, and to conceive of his own little kingdom the pure and lofty notion, which is that of the divine mind as well as the mind of the Church.

When a father, though never so poor, firmly believes that his little home and his hearth-stone are a thing so precious and so holy that God will have “His angel keep, cherish, protect, visit, and defend it, and all who dwell therein,” he, too, will lift up his eyes and his heart to that Father over all and most loving Master, and exhort himself daily and hourly to walk before Him and be perfect.”

But it is to his companion,—the queen of that little kingdom, the wife,—that it is most necessary to have high and holy thoughts about the sacredness of her charge, the obligations incumbent on her, the incalculable good which she can do, and the many powerful helps toward its accomplishment that the All-Wise and Ever-Present is sure to multiply under her hand.

To every true man and woman now living there is no being on earth looked up to with so pure, so deep, so grateful, so lasting a love, as a mother.

Let us look at our mother, then, in that dear and holy relation of wife which she bears to him who was for us in childhood the representative of the God “of whom all paternity in heaven and earth is named.”

WOMAN’S DUTIES AS WIFE

The first duty of the wife is to study to be in every way she can the companion, the help, and the friend of her husband.

Indeed on her capacity to be all this, and her earnest fulfillment of this threefold function depends all the happiness of both .their lives, as well as the well-being of the whole family.

Hence the obligation which is incumbent on parents providing for the establishment of their children, — to see to it, so far as is possible, that the person chosen to be a wife in the new home should be a true companion for their son, a true helpmate in all his toil, and a faithful friend through all the changes of fortune.

SHE OUGHT TO BE A COMPANION TO HER HUSBAND

One half of the unhappiness of married life comes from the fact that the wife is either unfitted or unwilling to be a true companion to her husband. This companionship requires that she should be suited by her qualities of mind and heart and temper to enter into her husband’s thoughts and tastes and amusements, so as to make him find in her company and conversation a perfect contentment and delight.

Persons who are perfectly companionable never weary of each other,—indeed, they are never perfectly happy while away from each other;—they enter into each other’s thoughts, reflect (and increase by the reflection) the light in each other’s mind; cultivate the same tastes, pursue the same ideals, and complete each other in the interchange of original or acquired knowledge.

But there is more than that in the companionship of the true wife. She studies to make herself agreeable, delightful, and even indispensable to him who is her choice among all men.

If true love be in her heart, it will suggest to her, day by day, a thousand new devices for charming the leisure of her husband.

Woman has been endowed by the Creator with a marvelous fertility of resource in this respect: it is an unlimited power, productive of infinite good when used for a holy purpose and within her own kingdom; but productive of infinite evil when employed in opposition to the design of the Giver, or allowed to lie idle when it should be used to promote the sacred ends of domestic felicity.

There are wives who will study certain languages, sciences, arts, or accomplishments, in order to make themselves the companions of the men they love, and thus be able to converse with them on the things they love most, or to charm the hours of home repose by music and song.

The writer of these lines remembers, that, while a young priest in Quebec, upward of thirty years ago, he was much struck by seeing a young lady of one of the best families there, applying herself assiduously to study the sign-language of the deaf-mutes in order to converse easily with her husband—a wealthy young merchant, thoroughly trained himself in the admirable Deaf and Dumb Institution of his native city.

They were devoted to each other, and the young wife’s earnestness in making herself companionable to her husband, must have brought many a blessing on the home in which the writer beheld them so rapt in each other, so virtuous, and so full of bright hope !

It must not be concluded from this, that a woman who applies herself to acquire knowledge for the purpose of being more of a companion to her husband, should thoroughly master either a language, a science, or an art. . . .

In the case of the young wife just mentioned, a thorough familiarity with the language of signs was indispensable as a means of easy conversation with her husband.

But this is evidently an exceptional case;—and is only mentioned to show what difficulties love will overcome to be helpful or agreeable to its companion.

The word helpful, just used, will furnish to every wife the true measure of the knowledge she may be prompted to acquire.

Her husband has to know perfectly whatever he knows, because his success as a professional man or a business man depends on this thorough knowledge, whereas his wife only acquires to please and to help her companion.

But there are other things beside this scientific, literary, or artistic knowledge, which may be more needful to a wife, if she would make herself of all earthly beings the most delightful and necessary companion to her husband.

She must study him,—his needs, his moods, his weak as well as his strong points,—and know how to make him forget himself when he is moody and selfish, and bring out every joyous side of his nature when he is prone to sadness.

God, who has made the soul both of man and of woman, and who has united them in the duties and burdens of home-life, wills that they should complete each other.

Man has bodily strength, because it is his duty to labor for the home and protect it; he has also certain mental and moral qualities which woman does not need, and which fit him for the battle of life and his continual struggle with the crowd.

But she has, on her part, far more of fortitude, of that power to bear and to forbear, to suffer silently and uncomplainingly herself while ministering with aching heart and head to the comfort, the cheerfulness, the happiness of all around her.

At any rate, she has by nature the power, the art, and the disposition to please, to soothe, to charm, and to captivate.

It is a wonderful power; and we see daily women exerting it in an evil way and for purposes that God cannot bless, and that every right conscience must condemn.

Why will not women who are truly good, or who sincerely strive to be so, not make it the chief study of their lives to find out and acquire the sovereign art of making their influence as healthful, as cheering, as blissful as the sunlight and the warmth are to their homes ?

Let us give an example of what is meant here—and this illustration will suggest, of itself, many other applications.

We all know—a mother more than anyone else—what a potent spell praise is in making children master whatever they are learning, and, what is far more difficult, acquire a mastery over themselves, both in repressing wrong inclinations and in gaining the habits of the noblest virtues.

A word of praise from a mother will stir the heart of every well-born child—and few children are ill-born, that is, with radically bad dispositions—to the most extraordinary exertions, and fill the whole soul with delight, when that word is sweetly spoken of successful efforts made.

We say nothing here of the stimulus which praise from the queen of the home gives to the zeal and conscientious labors of servants. We are concerned with the master of the home. Do you  not know that all men, even old men, even the proudest and coldest men, are only great children, who thirst for praise from a wife, a mother, or a sister’s lips?

There are men —and they are the noblest, the most high-souled—who care but little, if anything, for the praise or censure of the crowd, even of the learned or titled crowd; but their heart is stirred through all its depths by one sweet word from the lips of mother, sister, or wife.

Why, O women, are you so niggard of a money which you can bestow without making yourselves the poorer, and which your dear ones prize above gold and gems?

Give generously, but discerningly, what is held so dear as coming from you, and which will only encourage those you love above all the world to strive to-morrow for still higher excellence, and look forward to still sweeter praise.

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“We’re terribly in danger all the time of taking God’s goodness too much for granted; of bouncing up to Communion as if it were the most natural thing in the world, instead of being a supernatural thing belonging to another world.” – Msgr. Ronald Knox, 1948

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Kissing, Resisting Advances – 1955 – Fr. Donald Miller, C.SS.R

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This small book called “Questions Young People Ask Before Marriage” contains problems that serious, young Catholics might ask when looking at the many scenarios of young love. It is written by a Catholic Priest, Fr. Donald Miller, C.SS.R., in 1955.  Great information!

You may find this advice old-fashioned….well, this world could use a lot more “old-fashioned” advice! Last time I checked, human nature was still the same as it was in the old days! 🙂

To Kiss or Not to Kiss?

 Problem:

Most boys expect to be permitted to kiss a girl at least after one or two dates. Is it permissible or advisable to go along with their wishes? Some girls with whom I have talked say that if you don’t permit it you will lose every boy-friend.

 Solution:

Let’s bring this question down to some fundamental principles and reasoning, leaving out of consideration for the moment whether “most boys expect it” or “all girls advise it.” Little of value for one’s happiness is ever learned from what “everybody happens to be doing.”

The purpose of dates between marriageable young people is that they may become acquainted with each other’s characters and so find out whether, when the question comes up as it should eventually, there is a good chance of their being happily married.

Let it be noted that the purpose of dates is not primarily and exclusively “a good time”-with no further implications.

Of course, every boy and girl want to have a good time on a date, but this should be subjected, in their minds, to the more serious purposes that justify company-keeping and its dangers.

It is because so many young people think of dating as just a means of “having a good time” that so many fall into sin on their dates.

A decent boy and girl will never think of a good time as permitting anything contrary to God’s law; nor will they be unmindful that on their dates they are making a test of each other.

Passionate kissing, it has been shown in this column, is forbidden to unmarried people. There are different kinds of kissing, and the above problem can only be considered as pertaining to that kind which is not gravely sinful.

There is no question about the other. Even that, however, we say, indulged in on a first or second or third date, is a serious obstacle to the fulfillment of the purpose of company-keeping.

Kissing, even though it be quite modest, stimulates physical attraction to another. In proportion as it does so, it lessens the ability of intelligence to judge the fitness of a companion for marriage.

Many a girl who permitted a boy to kiss her on short acquaintance has been swept into marriage by her feelings, only to find that he was anything but the person to make her happy.

Many a girl who permitted kissing to a near stranger has been swept into sin and into a forced marriage.

The above principles are so true that even if all boys expected a girl to consent to kissing, and all girls advised it, (which is not true), they should still be followed by an intelligent, self-respecting, God-fearing girl.

Following them is the only known way of finding an intelligent, self-respecting, virtuous boy for a partner in marriage.

Different Views on Kissing

 Problem:

Why is there so much difference in the advice given by different priests in regard to kissing on dates?

Some say it is all right if we don’t go too far; others warn us against it under any circumstances; others make us feel that it is seriously wrong.

If we girls tell the boys we don’t think it is right, they almost always answer that some priest told them that it is not wrong. We are confused and want to know what stand we should take on this matter.

 Solution:

The subject of kissing on dates is an involved one, and different statements of different priests regarding it are almost always due to the different ways in which the questions are presented by young people themselves.

The priest who says it is not wrong is usually answering a question put somewhat like this: “Is it wrong to let a boy friend kiss you goodnight?”

The assumption in the question is that the kiss is but a brief affair, registering affection and even respect, but without passion-stimulating side-actions or prolonged and dangerous embracing.

Of course the answer to this question, on strictly moral grounds, is that it is not sinful any more than an affectionate kiss between mother and son or brother and sister is sinful.

The priest who tells you that kissing on dates is sinful has properly gathered from the way the question is put to him, that he is being asked about prolonged kissing, kissing “for the sake of a thrill,” kissing and embracing as a pastime in which ordinarily there are thoughts, desires and inclinations toward indulgence in bodily pleasures that are sinful for the unmarried.

Such kissing is not merely an expression of affection, no matter how much young people may protest that it is.

It is an unnecessary and highly provocative occasion of sin. No priest can say otherwise than that to thrust oneself into an unnecessary and extremely dangerous occasion of sin is a sin in itself.

If a boy ever quotes a priest as saying that this is lawful, you may be sure he is either misquoting or deliberately lying.

The priest who warns you against too much freedom in regard to kissing is aware of the fact that the first kind of kissing here spoken of often leads to the second among young people keeping company.

He wants you to know that there is a tendency in your nature and in your boy friend’s nature to carry kissing too far, and that you must be aware of that tendency, must discipline it in yourself and be watchful to resist any weakness with regard to it in your boy friend.

It is not, therefore, the moral law that is confusing in this matter. It is the fact that, while you want to be good, there is a strong inclination within you toward what is dangerous and bad.

It is your lower nature that suggests that you make the law of God seem confusing, so that it will be free to do what it pleases.

On Resisting Advances

 Problem:

“I am a high school senior, 17 years old, and I find that I hardly ever go out with a boy but that he makes some kind of evil advances.

It seems, to me, and most of my girl friends will tell you the same thing, that all the boys want on a date nowadays is to indulge in kissing, petting, and even worse things.

How can a girl stay decent when everybody she goes out with seems to be interested only in doing the wrong thing?”

 Solution:

It is not easy, we readily admit, but we quickly add that it is supremely important and worthwhile.

There are two reasons why so many girls find that “all the boys they go out with” seem to want to engage them in sinful kissing, petting, etc.

One reason is that there are so many boys in the United States who have been brought up without any real religion, certainly with no powerful religious motives for resisting the strong inclinations of their lower nature.

Public grade and high school education has no way of providing such religious motives, and without them it is difficult for anyone to be chaste and pure.

Even Catholic high school and college youths who received no solid religious and moral training at home, will often appear just as unprincipled as those who never went to a Catholic school.

This only proves that the best of schools cannot accomplish much without the cooperation of the home.

The second reason why sinful petting and kissing and worse things are taken for granted by so many boys is that so many girls are unprincipled enough to give in easily to such practices.

No matter how bad many of the boys are, it is certain that they would not be so bad if they did not meet with cooperation in their evil instincts by the majority of girls.

A girl of 17 surely has little reason to complain that it is too hard to be good. She is too young to think that it is necessary to get married in the immediate future; even if she is in a position to marry soon, she still has plenty of time in which to choose a good partner.

She should be willing to give the gate to a dozen boy friends, one after the other, if she finds that each one in turn demands privileges that come under the heading of impurity.

And despite the pessimism of our correspondent, it is certain that a girl who is herself devoted to purity will be able to make some of the boys she meets as devoted to it as she is. Girls have more power in this regard than they realize.

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“It is wrong to deny one’s self all diversion. The mind becomes fatigued and depressed by remaining always concentrated in itself and thus more easily falls a prey to sadness. Saint Thomas says explicitly that one may incur sin by refusing all innocent amusement. Every excess, no matter what its nature, is contrary to order and consequently to virtue.” – Light and Peace, Quadrupani, 1793

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2017 – A Fresh Start, A New Book

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As we forge on through January, the New Year is like a fresh book with 365 (less than that now) blank sheets of paper. A beautiful volume, with gilded papers and pastel-painted flowers (or butterflies) running across each page….a book just waiting to have its lines filled.

These sheets have possibilities…incredible possibilities that, when filled with worthy and noble, sincere and optimistic ideals, can result in a growing of character, an increasing of knowledge and a deepening of faith.

What will we write on each of our pages this year?

What are the things that will help us to grow in our vocation this year? What decisions do we have to make in order to become a better woman, wife and mother? These are the things we want to write in our 2017 manuscript. They don’t have to be big pronouncements….not at all. In fact, it is those small things, repeated every day that will make the difference at the end of the year.

Aristotle says, “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.”

3 Suggestions to Help us Inscribe Worthily in Our Books This Year:

Number 1. Let’s  make a decision to read good books on how to become a better woman within our vocation. Positive books…. about attitude, or relationship, or about self-sacrifice. Each day let us read something that refreshes us and gives us perspective, which holds back the poison of self-pity. We all struggle; we just need an attitude shift a lot of the time. (This is where this website can come in very handy!) 🙂 And here is the link to my Book List.

At the same time, let us not forget that we can get information out of books and magazines, we can get knowledge out of a good website, but wisdom is from God and we must ask for it!

Number 2. Can we  go to daily Mass more? There is nothing more powerful, more healing, more problem-solving than attending Mass and receiving Our Lord. He IS the problem-solver!

Do we want more peace, more joy, more love in our hearts? Let’s go to Mass, there to receive Jesus in the Holy Eucharist. Do we want our  longings to be fulfilled? Let’s make our way to Mass! Remember when you do, you may not see the results right away, and certainly you may not feel them, but they will be there….and you will notice.

We may not be able to make it to Mass. I know what it was like raising a large family. Then let’s  take the time to make a Spiritual Communion, more than once a day! It is very efficacious and gives much grace!

St. Thomas Aquinas once defined a Spiritual Communion as “an ardent desire to receive Jesus in the Most Holy Sacrament and in lovingly embracing Him as if we had actually received Him.”

You can “turn toward the holy tabernacle” and receive Jesus in your heart from anywhere you might happen to be, at any time, day or night!

Here is a Spiritual Communion:

My Jesus,
I believe that You are present in the Most Holy Sacrament.
I love You above all things, and I desire to receive You into my soul.
Since I cannot at this moment receive You sacramentally,
come at least spiritually into my heart.  I embrace You as if You were already there and unite myself wholly to You.  Never permit me to be separated from You. Amen.

Number 3. We don’t need to add prayers if we already have a spiritual regime set in place, but we need to be more solicitous in saying the prayers we already say well. Let’s eliminate distractions, if we can….and then patiently embrace those distractions that we can’t eliminate. We must just keep trying to authentically lift our hearts to God as we say our prayers. God sees our efforts!

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Will there be  things this year that we find bigger than we can control? Will we have problems that are too much for us?

These will be the very opportunities to rely on Him who will come and more than meet us half-way. A faith of a mustard seed….that is all we need. Let us ask God for it…every day this year! Do we realize the peace we would have if we truly believed!? Well, then let’s ask for it!

We can only live our life one day at a time. Things may happen to us this year that are so painful or confusing that we need to just live one hour at a time, maybe one minute, reminding ourselves that God sees everything, that He loves us and that He is the answer. And as my mom has reminded me, “All things are passing….”

I will lean on Him this year more than ever! I will ask to be guided through each hour of each day. I will bring every problem  to Him for He will show me the way to go.

And I will remember this powerful Serenity Prayer:

“God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference” Amen!

By the end of the year, when we pick up our 2017 volume which will be filled, will we shudder with regrets…..or sigh with humble satisfaction? It’s up to us.

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“Out of these many traits let us together choose the ideal woman. First of all, she should be earnest and sincere. Our truly ideal woman will not be silly or frivolous, nor will she be guilty of actions that appear vulgar or unwomanly. She must always have a kind word for others—not a person who will unjustly criticize behind your back. Her clothes are womanly and becoming. She will be known for the beauty of her character rather than the richness of her clothing or ornaments.” – Mabel Hale, Beautiful Girlhood, 1922

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The Power of Purpose

Wow! this is a powerful post! We do not realize what the power of a purpose can do to change our world!

I hear now and again of the reason that prayer was outlawed in the schools here in the U.S. The story goes that it was because of one woman’s tenacity and sense of purpose…ONE WOMAN….what a shame to use this power for evil!

On the other hand, what great things have been accomplished by a focus and sense of purpose of those whose eyes are on a good goal, a noble ideal! We know of many stories and examples set by the saints and even by lay people in our own time.

As women, wive and mothers, our power of purpose needs to be strong within the home! We need to get up each day, roll up our sleeves and be determined to do what is best for our families! It is exciting and, with that sense of purpose, we can accomplish great things, things we may not see the results of right away, but results that will unfold and carry on as we leave our legacy behind us!

Don’t give in to mediocrity and don’t be lulled into a sense of dullness! We….YOU…can accomplish great things…with a great sense of purpose!

This post is written for girls but is applicable in all walks of life!

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Beautiful Girlhoodby Mabel Hale

The Power of Purpose

Much depends upon the height of the aspirations to which the mind and heart go in girlhood. The dreams of doing or being that which is noble and great, of accomplishing much, are a spur to every girl.

And would you, my dreamers, have your dreams come true? There are three things which in the life of any girl will make her a success. The first two we have already discussed, pure ideals, and noble ambitions, and the third is a strong purpose.

It is almost impossible to estimate the power of purpose in life.

Things thought out of reason have been accomplished  through purpose. Kingdoms have been torn down and built again, heathen customs have been uprooted and the light of Christianity put in their places, men born under the bondage of hard and unfavorable circumstances have risen above their environments and become powers in the world, the mysteries of the earth and sky have been sought out and their power put to work for mankind; yes, every great and noble deed that has ever been done has had for its captain and soldiers men and women of strong purpose.

A purpose in life gives something to live for, something to work for, and something to hope for. If the purpose be for good cause, then the evil that would hinder can be overcome and the good prevail. But without this strong purpose the individual becomes but a creature of circumstance, a chip tossed by the waves of life.

The power of purpose is the power of love. No man can cleave to any purpose with all his heart unless he loves the cause for which he strives. He must so love that cause that to give it up would be like giving up his very life.

I once read of a woman upon a lonely ranch in a foreign land. Her husband had to go away for a week or more, leaving her alone for that time with her little children. He had not been gone long before she was bitten by a poisonous serpent, and she knew that in a few hours, not more than eight, she must die.

She remembered her children, and that if they were to be kept safe she must in the time left her draw enough water and bake enough bread to supply them until their father returned, or he might find his family all dead. So she worked and prayed that day, sick, fainting, almost unconscious; but love set her purpose strong, and she struggled on.

Night came, and her hours were nearly up. She put her babes in bed, and wandered out of sight of the cabin to die, but with a determination to live as long as possible for her children’s sake. And morning found her still alive, still walking, and her system beginning to clear from the poison. She lived to tell the story, a monument to the power of a loving purpose.

Those who have made a success in anything have done so because they set about the task with purpose. All the great machines that lighten the burden of labor in the fields and shops and factories are the result of the steady purpose of their inventors.

No man or woman has become of note in any work or field of research but has worked on with steady purpose when circumstances were discouraging. They loved sincerely the cause for which they labored, and they gave it their attention in spite of all that came to hinder them.

And you, my little friend, can make your life successful if you set to it with the power of purpose. When you know what your chosen field is, where your lifework will be, and what you want your life to accomplish, set to with all your might and fight till the victory comes.

But make your purpose worthy.

It is a shame to waste the power of energy of purpose upon those things that are selfish and of little worth. Undertake great things, things that make one’s life bigger and broader, and that are a blessing to others.

One writer has said that without a strong and noble purpose a person is like a lizard, content to stay in the mud, and strong purpose helps him to rise like the eagle out of the shadows of the valleys up to the sunlight on the mountaintops, and to claim them as his own.

Every life that has been a failure has been so because of the lack of purpose behind it. Success is not always counted by dollars, nor by worldly honors, but in the achievement of noble and unselfish purposes.

It is purpose in life that gives an individual decision and determination. Every one of us must meet hard things. Success does not come down upon us as rain out of heaven. If we are to have success we must draw it ourselves, out of the wells of life. If we are only half in earnest and our purpose is only a desire, then when the sun comes down upon us burning and smothering us, and we feel tired from our efforts, we will give up.

But if our desire becomes a steady purpose to be successful in the thing we have undertaken, then we will not mind the sun and the heat and our weariness, but will work on with our purpose before us. We will keep a strong determination to succeed in what we have undertaken.

Success depends upon your purpose in life. I shall ask you again: What are you living for? What is your purpose in life?

When I last talked with my friend Betty on this subject she folded her hands and laughed as she said, “I just live and have a good time. I really have no thoughts about these things.”

And there are myriads of girls just like her. But sometime she will awaken to her responsibility, for her mother is yet the one whose purpose and decision are the groundwork of success in Betty’s life.

Sometime, all you girls with patient, firm, determined mothers, will waken to see that they were not just trying to hamper your good times by their much overseeing of your affairs, but that they were holding to a wise and loving purpose to see you safely into womanhood.

I think that mothers see the hardest times when the girls set with purpose of heart to have their own way in something foolish and wrong. When two strong purposes come together the battle waxes hot. Do you wonder what sometimes makes mothers sigh? You have the reason right here.

“I will if I can,” is a good-sounding motto and shows a kind spirit; but, “I can if I will, and I will,” is the old fellow who gets things done.

You have heard the little poem about the man who undertook to do a thing that could not be done and did it. You can almost see “the bit of a grin as he waded right in,” and the look of relief and joy when he did it.

Have a purpose and stay with it. Keep on going.

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Let us make a home that is warm and welcoming, comfortable and freeing – a place where we can express the beauty of our Faith and nurture relationships with people we love. Let us build a home that reflects our personalities and renews our souls. Today, do something special to show your loved ones you care. Put a tablecloth on the table, light a candle, bake a cake, buy some flowers to grace your table….It doesn’t have to be huge…just something to lighten the burdens of the day and to bring a smile to those who cross your threshold.

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At The Foot of the Altar – Reverend Ronald Knox

A very beautiful meditation about the Mass, the first part of the Mass, at the Foot of the Altar. Father Knox apologizes because of the form in which it is written…to school age girls. I say, “Hurrah! Then I can understand it!” 🙂

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Introduction from Msgr. Knox: If I have a public, this book, I fear, will be a severe test of its patience. That a priest should put on record his private thoughts about the Mass – there is nothing extravagant in that.

But mine were put on record in a highly specialized art-form, that of sermons to school-girls; and this form they still impenitently wear. There are films which a child can frequent only by pretending to be an adult. Here are pages which an adult can enjoy only by pretending to be a child..

The sermons were preached to the convent school of the Assumption Sisters, which was “ evacuated “ during the late war from Kensington to Aldenham Park in Shropshire.

From The Mass in Slow Motion by Rev. Ronald Knox, 1948

 I will go up to the altar of God, the giver of youth and happiness. Ps.xlii.

Monsignor Robert Hugh Benson, years ago, wrote rather an interesting thing -you will find it in his Papers of a Parish-in which he suggested that the Mass is really a kind of religious dance, a symbolic dance.

Of course that sounds nonsense to you, because what you  mean by a dance is the wireless in the hall playing revolting stuff and you lounging round in pairs and feeling all gooey.

But dancing when it first started meant something, and nearly always something religious.

So Hugh Benson’s idea was that the Christian faith has a religious dance of its own; all the twisting and turning, and bobbing and bowing, and lifting and parting and rejoining his hands, which the priest goes through in the course of the Mass, really add up to a kind of dance, meant to express a religious idea to you, the spectators.

Of course, as I’m always telling you, if you find it difficult or if you find it dull trying to follow the Mass, you are much better employed in simply kneeling there and saying your prayers, with a book or without a book, while Mass is going on.

The Church doesn’t oblige you to follow Mass; she only obliges you, now and again, to be there.

But if you are going to try and follow the Mass, it’s a good thing to try and understand what the words are ABOUT, not just get accustomed to them as a kind of pious rigmarole; and it’s a good thing to see the gestures which the priest makes as the proper accompaniment of those words, illustrating and expressing them, instead of vaguely imagining that he is waving his arms about for no particular reason.

Well, this afternoon we’ll just take the part which the priest says at the foot of the altar, which is quite enough for one go.

I don’t know if you have ever wondered why the remark which the priest makes at the very start is “I will go unto the altar of God “ when he is there already.

The explanation of that is that originally the Mass began with the Introit (that’s what the priest says a few moments later, at the Epistle side of the altar), and ended with the Ite missa est; the rest is really trimmings.

This psalm and the Confiteor the priest used originally to say in the sacristy; it’s only since Pius V’s time that it has really been part of the Mass.

If we were living in the time of King Henry VIII, I should be saying the psalm and the Confiteor while you were looking for your berets.

But don’t, for that reason, think that this first part of the Mass doesn’t matter, and it’s a good opportunity for having a look round to see that the lay sisters are all there.

It’s part of the Mass, now. And all the Mass belongs to you, and you to it, if you are really going to follow it.

The action of the Mass is polarized, is focused in the priest, that’s all. Those are rather long words; let me explain a bit. If you have a burning-glass, and are concentrating its rays on a single point, a bit of touchwood, to make the touchwood light, or the back of another girl’s hand, to make her jump, the light comes to a point, and that red-hot point is the priest; but all the part in between the burning-glass and that red-hot point is comfortably warm-that is you, the congregation.

You are meant to be basking in that heat which ought to be making the priest, the the focus-point of it all, melt away with love.

So start straight away, with the priest; square your shoulders with him and cross yourself, thinking to yourself, “In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost”; here we are, let’s get on with it.

What is this psalm the priest says? Unfortunately, we don’t know much for certain about the psalms and the occasions on which they were first written. Some people think this one was written by King David when he fled from Absalom.

I don’t know if you all know that story; but Absalom was a son of King David’s who revolted against him and got made king instead, and then there was a battle in which David’s men got the better of the revolutionaries; but whether he really wrote this psalm I don’t know.

It talks about “the God who gives me the gladness of youth“; King David at the time of Absalom’s revolt was getting on for sixty, and you don’t feel much joy of youth when you are getting on for sixty.

So some people think that the author of the psalm, or at any rate the imaginary hero of the psalm, was a young priest or a young Levite exiled from his native country, we don’t know when or why, who was simply longing to get his sentence of exile reversed, and get back to the Temple and the altar of God, where he had been so happy.

Now let us just go through the psalm; I’ll give it you, if you don’t mind, in my own translation. “O God, sustain my cause; give me redress against a race that knows no piety; save me from a treacherous foe and cruel. Thou, 0 God, art all my strength, why hast thou cast me off? Why do I go mourning, with enemies pressing me hard? The light of thy favor, the fulfillment of thy promise, let these be my escort, bringing me safe to thy holy mountain, to the tabernacle where Thou dwellest.

There I will go up to the altar of God, the giver of youth and happiness; Thou art my God, with the harp I will hymn Thy praise.

Soul, why art thou downcast, why art thou all lament? Wait for God’s help; I will not cease to cry out in thankfulness, my Champion and my God.”

I’ve used that word “champion“,  rather spoiled by the way in which we use it nowadays, to express what I think the psalm means when it says, “the savior of my face.” ….The man who saves your face, the man who makes it possible for you to appear in public without looking a fool.

I think our hero is laboring somehow under unjust suspicion, cast upon  him by his enemies, and so he wants God to sustain his cause, establish his innocence; to save his face, to make it possible for him to reappear at Jerusalem, and in the Temple, without a stain on his character. And that is partly why it is such a good psalm to begin the Mass with; because inevitably the priest feels rather a fool having to stand up there and look good, when he is really a sinful man like his fellow men; and he wants a champion to come and keep him in countenance, keep him in face, as we say. . . . I wonder whether all that comes home to you?

It depends on whether you are shy; some of you are, some aren’t. If you are at all shy, you can imagine how appalling it would be if your mamma told you quite suddenly one morning that you were going to be presented at Court.

If she went on to say that unfortunately there was no time to get any special clothes, and you would have to go just as you were, that would put the lid on your misery, wouldn’t it?

And that is how a priest feels or ought to feel when he goes to the altar. He is presenting himself at the Court of Heaven, before the throne of the King of Kings, among crowds and crowds of angels and saints, and he is all just anyhow, quite unfit for such company. He can’t face the prospect at all unless our Blessed Lord will be kind enough to take him by the hand and lead him in and say, “This is a friend of Mine “.

That is why he says the psalm Judica me Deus. And you ought to be keeping step with the priest in this first movement, as it were, of the religious dance.

The priest is standing there with his arms in front of him staring up at the crucifix over the altar; an attitude of appeal. And that ought to be the attitude of your mind to start with; you oughtn’t ever to go to Mass, and still more obviously you oughtn’t ever to go to Communion, without this sense of shyness, this sense of butting in somewhere where you aren’t wanted.

We’re terribly in danger all the time of taking God’s goodness too much for granted; of bouncing up to Communion as if it were the most natural thing in the world, instead of being a supernatural thing belonging to another world.

So first we must be shy about it; then we must observe that the priest’s attitude, though it is one of appeal, is also one of confident appeal. “Soul, why art thou downcast? “ he says, “Why art thou all lament? “

And the server chimes in “Wait for God’s help“- it’s all right really, He will see us through; He is our champion, will stand at our side and make everything all right for us. So it is that the priest, at the end of the psalm, says, “I will go up to the altar of God, after all“; crosses himself, to give him extra courage, and reminds himself, “Our help is in the name of the Lord, who made heaven and earth“.

Yes, it’s all right, He will see us through.

But meanwhile you look up and find that there has been a sudden change in the movement of the dance. The priest, who was standing so erect, is all doubled up now. It is the Confiteor.

Catching sight of himself out of the corner of his eye standing up there and telling himself  he is sure our Lord will make it all right, he gets a kind of sudden scruple – his sins!

Even sins committed since he last said Mass, right in the foreground of memory; the man who lost his temper so idiotically only yesterday, the man who only yesterday said that unkind thing, calculated to hurt and meant to hurt the person he was talking to – what right has he to expect any divine favors, to ask that he may have God’s light and God’s truth for his escort, to lead him up to the altar?

So he grovels, accuses himself of his sins in the sight of Heaven. And not only in the sight of Heaven, in the sight of earth too.

Every sin you or I commit is letting down the whole Christian community, isn’t it? Just as you apologize to your partner when you’ve made a perfectly rotten stroke at tennis, so when you have sinned you want to apologize to your fellow-Christians; you have let them all down.

And then there is that splendid bit of spiritual by-play, the priest asking the servers to pray for him, and the servers turning round to explain that they are just as bad. It’s a sort of open confession all round.

When there are priests in choir, you know, they are supposed to mumble all this part of the Mass to one another while the priest is getting through it at the altar. We are all making a clean breast of it, putting our cards on the table.

That means that if you are trying to follow the Mass you mustn’t regard the Confiteor as a private affair of the priest’s, and imagine it would be more tactful of you to pretend not to notice. You mustn’t listen to the server’s mumbled apologies in a spirit of detachment.

No, it is your sins that he is confessing, quite as much as his own. Or rather perhaps not so much your sins as your sinfulness; it isn’t so much this and that spiteful or greedy or careless action we ought to be remembering at this point in the Mass, rather the general low level of spirituality in us which is always making us do spiteful or greedy or careless things. We’re a rotten crowd, all of us, that’s the point.

And when the priest beats his breast three times, or when the server does it, you ought to be echoing the sentiment; we are doing a grovel all round.

And now the priest strikes a fresh attitude, a fresh figure in the dance; he is no longer bent double, but he is bowing slightly, as he says the remaining four versicles before going up to the altar. He is tantalizing himself, as it were, by not looking up to the Cross, not looking up to the altar, just yet; that is a treat he is saving up for himself.

Yes, my God, you will put life into us, dead things as we are, and we, this whole plebs, this whole vulgar crowd of people, will boast of your protection.

You will shew us Your mercy, Your power to aid. You will listen to our prayers; this silly noise we are making will reach You, right up in the courts of Heaven. And then, just to make sure that he is carrying the congregation with him, he says, “The Lord be with you“. And the server answers, “And with you likewise” (that is all “And with thy spirit“ means).

Priest and people are going about this great business of theirs shoulder to shoulder. Then at last the priest lifts his eyes, and makes that sort of scooping gesture with his hands, as if to gather up any stray strands of grace that may be floating down to him. And he says, “Let us pray“. Good idea; Let’s.

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“If the wife makes the first effort at reconciliation, her humility will make it difficult for the husband to nurse his pride. Pride cannot face up to humility. It is shamed out of existence.: – Fr. Leo Kinsella

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A Giveaway and A New Catholic Hearth Book!

I love these stories and would have like to have had my hands on them when my kids were young. They teach the Faith in a strong yet unobtrusive way. The stories are simple….tales of regular life….Catholic life.

About the Book: It’s Brendan’s birthday and he is fighting pirates, steering ships and wielding swords! He learns of St. Brendan, the Navigator and the pious Christopher Columbus. Life is a nautical adventure for him! Will his daydreaming cause him trouble? What lessons does he learn?
There is a “peanut gallery” in this book….a turtle named Ollie and a seahorse named Sherman and other sea creatures that make their appearance now and again and have their own chats among themselves!

Your kids will enjoy it and it will be one of those “helps” along the way that sweetly instills Catholic culture in your children!

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Take a peek here if you are interested in purchasing it.

You may get all three Catholic Hearth Stories here for a special discount.

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A special thank-you to those of you who have left feedback or reviews either on my Meadows of Grace Shoppe or on Amazon! These mean very much, each and every one! So thank you for taking the time and trouble to write one for me!

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PLEASE NOTE: For the rest of January I have a New Year’s Sale on my Meadows of Grace Shoppe. You can get 20% off of your purchase if you use this code at the checkout: GRACE20 ! Take advantage of it! 🙂 Buy your gifts for Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day, First Communion!

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Here are a few pics of Virginia’s latest Kanzashi Flowers! They are so beautiful and the intricate craftsmanship is stunning! Available on my shop and you can get them 20% off right now!

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Please sign up for the Giveaway by leaving a comment on this post!

I am giving away this gorgeous royal blue on black Spanish Mantilla (right from Spain) and this matching sparkling wire-wrapped Rosary Bracelet!

I will announce the winner on Friday, January 20th!

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The truly religious wife finds God at Mass and from Him receives the strength to become the ideal helpmate to her husband. She does not leave God at church but keeps Him with her every minute of the day in every nook and cranny of her home. Each menial, repetitious task she must perform is a work of love for her husband and children, and through them, a work of love for her Creator. – Fr. Raoul Plus, S.J. 1950’s

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*Just a Note: An ice storm is headed our way so the Winter Family Dance is Rescheduled!

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The Nature of Marriage by Rev. Fulgence Meyer, O.F.M., 1927

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From Plain Talks on Marriage by Rev. Fulgence Meyer, O.F.M., 1927

The Nature of Marriage

Instructing the first Christian married men and women with regard to marriage, St. Paul said: “This is a great sacrament: but I speak in Christ, and in the Church.( Eph. 5:32).

Outside of the Church, notably in our country, matrimony is not only not treated as a sacrament, but it has really been degraded to a sort of a joke or a farce. Yet the Church upholds its sacredness as much as ever in the face of the neglect and ridicule of the world.

The God-Given Helpmate

God Himself instituted matrimony as the first and most binding human contract at the very beginning of the race. After He created Adam and placed him in paradise, He said: “It is not good for man to be alone: let us make him a help like unto himself” (Gen. 2, 18); and He created Eve to be Adam’s helpmate.

She was to help him attain his highest natural happiness and perfection, mentally, bodily, spiritually, emotionally, religiously, socially and in every other way; and he on his part was to render the same service to her.

God intended this service to be bilateral, correlative and reactive: each one was to achieve happiness and perfection by assisting the other party towards them.

God made man and woman different from each other in body and mind, but not antagonistic; they were not to be mutually hostile and combative, but helpful and supplementary to one another: the one was to supply what the other lacked, not only as regards the body but also the soul.

Where husband and wife have this correct conception of their relations and closely live up to them, they reach the greatest height of natural goodness, contentment, peace and happiness.

This is what God meant when He said: “It is not good for man to be alone: let us make him a help like unto himself.”

How utterly sad, that in so many instances the persons, who have been destined to be the grandest help and sweetest solace to one another, are mutually the heaviest handicap and the greatest kill-joy to each other!

Nature’s Greatest Love

When God presented Eve to Adam as his wife, the latter grew inspired and exclaimed: “This now is bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh….Wherefore a man shall leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they shall be two in one flesh” (Gen. 2, 23-24).

In these words Adam, speaking as the spokesman of God, evidently declares, that the love between husband and wife is to be the strongest, the deepest, the most sacred, tender and lasting love of nature.

It was even to surpass the love of children for their parents. It was to be the God-given cement of the most holy and binding natural contract, which would give it the perpetuity and tenacity God intended it should have, namely, until death.

How puny and insignificant are not all the other contracts of men aside of this sacred pact!

In other contracts there is question of money, lands or cattle: in this contract here is a deal covering immortal beings in the most intimate and personal elements of life; and not only are the contracting parties concerned in the deal, but there enter into it ever so many possible other immortal beings that are likely to spring directly or indirectly from this momentous union.

A Great Sacrament

In paradise God instituted marriage merely as a contract, but when our Lord came down upon this earth He elevated it to the dignity of a Sacrament.

He made it one of the seven sacred channels thorough which His saving Blood was to flow upon the souls of men in order to sanctify them.

As a Sacrament, then, Matrimony is holy as is Baptism, Holy Eucharist, and Holy Orders.

Our Holy Mother, the Church, evinces her high appreciation of Matrimony by endowing its reception with a certain special solemnity.

Baptism is usually administered outside the communion rail; so is penance; and when you receive Holy Communion or Confirmation you  kneel outside the sanctuary.

But at marriage, provided it is celebrated in conjunction with Holy Mass, as I am supposing, the Church throws open the gates of the sanctuary, and introduces the candidates into the Holy of Holies, to the very spot where are offered the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ.

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“Love and friendship are the remnants of the earthly paradise. In this vale of tears, when we encounter so many difficulties, to have people you can call friends is such a joy, such a comfort, such a gift.” -Dietrich von Hildebrand

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The Wife Desired is Patient – Fr. Leo Kinsella

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From The Wife Desired, Fr. Leo Kinsella

Webster’s Dictionary has this to say about patience. Patience is “uncomplaining endurance of wrongs or misfortunes.” Patience “denotes self-possession, especially under suffering or provocation.” It also suggests “quiet waiting for what is expected” or persistence in what has been begun. Forbearance, leniency, and sufferance are given as synonyms.

Patience is a quality of maturity. Little children are not noted for “uncomplaining endurance of wrongs.” Mother would begin looking for the thermometer should she notice anything resembling “quiet waiting for what is expected.” It takes a bit of living and dodging of the “slings and arrows of outrageous fortune,” before people get enough sense to value patience.

Patience connotes a “self-possession, especially under suffering or provocation,” and it brings to one a quiet confidence. The patient wife is master of her own soul. She, and not every imp to come flying into her mind, is in charge of her own fort.

Since no one can be truly successful without patience, it should be expected that the possession of the virtue is a requisite for every desired wife.

Indeed, no vocation or profession in life requires patience more than that of husband and wife.

The first reason for this that they live in such proximity to each other. They rub elbows day in and day out. There is bound to be a little chafing here and there. Among saints there would be. Patience is the soothing oil preventing the irritations from becoming running sores.

Some years ago I was faced with the necessity of working up a talk on the ideal wife. Naturally, I was open for suggestions, particularly from a few ideal wives whose friendship I highly prize.

One evening, as I visited the home of one of these friends, I mentioned the task with which I was confronted.

“Mary, if you had to give an hour talk on the ideal wife to high school seniors or to a woman’s club, what would you discuss?”

Here was the voice of experience talking. I was not asking any air scout how to fly that Constellation. The senior pilot of the airlines was briefing me now. I was not asking any camp fire girl how to whip up that batter of soda biscuit mix. Grandma herself was looking over her glasses at me.

I think that it is of interest to point out here that, although she did not indicate that she considered patience the most important quality of the desired wife, she unhesitatingly suggested it first.

Not only did she mention patience first, but she also explained what she meant by patience in the wife.

Notice that the discussion deals with the patience required of the wife, not of the mother in her relations with her children.

A woman is first the wife of her husband before she is the mother of his children. Later I hope to say a few words concerning the twofold role which the woman must play.

At present I just want to make it clear that Mary is no rattle brain. She was on the ball and stayed there. She was explaining what she meant by the patience in the wife and her dealings with her husband.

Marriage is not a fifty-fifty proposition. (This of course, is Mary talking through my memory.) The wife who enters marriage with the misconception that it is, has failure lurking just around the corner. Often she will think that she is giving her fifty per cent. As a matter of fact, it is only fifteen or twenty per cent. On many other occasions the husband unconsciously is demanding ninety per cent. The fifty per cent proffered falls miserably short. The result is two people at loggerheads. A fight begins and love takes a beating, if it is not turned out-of-doors.

The understanding, the sympathy, and the patience required for happy living cannot be measured out. The stupid expression “marriage is a fifty-fifty deal” implies yardsticks, tape measures, half cups, full tablespoons, and the like.

Love has nothing to do with these things–will not be fenced in by them, for love partakes of the very limitlessness of God.

A wife’s parsimonious measuring out of her imagined fifty per cent produces many serious fights.

She wins these fights too and loses her husband.

Let us illustrate the above by concrete examples.

The wife was getting supper ready. John was fighting the traffic on his way home from work. She was humming softly as she busied herself contentedly about the kitchen. He was muttering loudly the red light blues. She felt fine. He was half sick and out of sorts. Things had not been going well at work. He was upset and unwittingly looking for a fight.

As he entered the house and gave Mary a little hug and kiss, she noticed that he looked tense and jumpy. A few minutes later she could hear him scolding one of the children. The storm warnings should have been flying by now. They had better steer clear of him tonight.

Before the family was called to the supper table, Mary had been fully on guard. Unless she was very mistaken her husband was going to demand much more than fifty per cent somewhere along the evening. So the measuring devices, the half cups and full tablespoons were behind her for this evening.

The meal was already prepared. She would not use them on her husband. She would not measure out her patience and understanding. Her husband was definitely off color this evening. She would give him her all. No matter what he said, she would pass it off.

The supper got off to as good a start as could have been expected with the cloud hanging over the table. Soon one of the children massacred table etiquette in such manner as to cause Emily Post to wince.

Before her husband could draw in sufficient breath to let out a blast at the culprit, she quickly took the wind out of his sail by firmly correcting the child. Before the dessert appeared, she took in her stride a caustic remark about the quality of the pot roast and a criticism leveled at her through one of her children.

Mary was nobody’s dish rag. She had a lot of fire and spirit. She could have stood up to him that night, “let him have it,” and have had a fight which she might have won, or, at least in which she would have held her own. But, did anyone ever win a fight of this kind?

This ideal wife had made up her mind to carry her husband through the evening, come what might. He was not himself.

Tomorrow would be another day. If he had been physically sick in bed and needed her care, would she have given only fifty per cent? Of course not. She would have nursed and lavished upon him all the warmth of her nature.

Well, he was sick that night–sick in mind and spirit. He needed her intelligent, loving and patient consideration. She would have considered herself a very shallow person to have reacted otherwise. She was in love with her husband that night too, unreasonable though he was.

A few weeks later the tables were turned. She was the one who was at wits end with herself. She started the day with a headache and things went from bad to worse. It was a rainy day, and for some unfathomable reason the school shut its doors on the children.

They were under her feet all day. Often she had to act as referee in their squabbles. As the afternoon wore on toward supper time, she was becoming conditioned for more adult opposition.

An unsuspecting husband made his entry. He was back to his little castle in the suburb with roses round the door (metaphorically speaking) and babies on the floor (literally speaking).

During the meal Mary “blew her top” about something. Oh yes, the car did not start that afternoon. The battery or something must have been dead. Some junk! It was time they had a new car.

So it was a junk, was it? John could think of the days of work it had taken to buy that old bus a few years previous. It was still a good car. What did women know about cars anyway? There ought to have been a law against women ever—-.

There is no future in this kind of thought, so John quickly banished the hideous little devil from his mind. Mary was worked up tonight. He would have to be cautious. Did he defend his car against his wife? John was a little too sharp for that.

He jumped on the band wagon and lambasted the car too. Yes. We would have to do something about that nuisance. He felt like going out then and burning it up. He knew that by the time they got to the dishes, she would have forgotten all about the car.

Mary purred through the rest of the meal contentedly with that wonderful feeling that her husband was all for her. Together they stood against the whole world.

Suppose that John had been a little thick between the ears and that he took exceptions to her remarks about the car and defended the car against his wife. A fight would have ensued. Feelings would have been hurt. And there was danger that their tempers would have swept them on to the name calling stage. Once this has been reached, real harm frequently has been done to a marriage.

Mary finished her explanation of what she meant by patience by saying that she and her husband had never had a fight in the twelve years of married life. Then she added what I thought was the epitome of her whole conversation by saying that she and her husband did not intend to have any fights.

This determination not to fight was indicative of their intelligence and maturity. Surely it was one of the factors contributing to the happy stability of their marriage.

This couple has had arguments and disagreements I believe that I have been in on a few warm ones. An argument is not a fight.

People with minds of their own will not always see eye to eye on every phase of their daily lives. Viewpoints will vary and disagreements will result even as to whether or not junior should have a crew haircut. But let us not make junior a ward of the divorce court because husband and wife cannot agree on the proper length of junior’s hair. After all, it is not that important.

Arguments and disagreements degenerate into fights, when ill-feeling, name-calling and bitterness come into the picture. The ideal wife, fortified with the virtue of patience, sets her face against such loss of harmony. Whatever be the cost she wisely realizes that her effort at peace is worth the price.

No good comes from fights in married life. I have been asked whether it is not a good idea for husband and wife to have a fight once in a while. The air is thus cleared. The very young, theorizing about this, often add that it is so sweet when they make up. In connection with this question one inquirer quoted Bishop Fulton Sheen as saying that a couple never really knows how much they love each other until they have made up after their first fight.

Nothing was said about how many found out how little they loved each other and never made up.

It is very true that sometimes good comes out of evil. Yet, how insane it is to seek or even permit avoidable evil, on the chance some good might come of it.

Fights among married people are evil things and bring untold misery into lives. So many broken marriages have come before me in which there was no third party, no drinking, no in-law trouble, no major difficulty. They just fought. So often people are less mature than their children, whom they have brought into the world to endure their bad tempers.

Fights begin between human beings because of pride. We have a will of our own. When we do not get our way pride suffers. Like children we want to fight the opposition to our will. So far we have no control of our reactions. We are made this way.

If we are adults, however, we have learned by bitter experience that our pride is the surest destroyer of happiness and love. Unless we are psycho-masochists, we crush our insurgent pride and prevent ourselves the stupid and dubious pleasure of hurting the one who has stung our pride.

Once a fight has begun between man and wife it is clear that one or the other must win the struggle against pride. One or the other must curb the desire to win the empty victory.

If the wife makes the first effort at reconciliation, her humility will make it difficult for the husband to nurse his pride. Pride cannot face up to humility. It is shamed out of existence.

Even when husband and wife make up completely after a fight, a fight is still unfortunate. Fights leave scars. The wound heals, but there ever remains a scar in the mind.

I have had many estranged married people tell me that their partners did this or that to them twenty-five or thirty years ago. Happy years had intervened between the fight and the present estrangement. But they could not forget, even if they had forgiven.

The wife desired meditates deeply on the hatefulness of fighting.

She has made up her mind to suffer anything rather than fight and thus wound her husband. Remember that there is always the danger that we begin to hate whom we hurt for the same reason that we begin to love whom we help.

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“Lord, Help me to be a good wife.  I fully realize that I don’t have what it takes to be one without Your help.  Take my selfishness, impatience, and irritability and turn them into kindness, long-suffering, and the willingness to bear all things.  Take my old emotional habits, mindsets, automatic reactions, rude assumptions, and self-protective stance, and make me patient, kind, good, faithful, gentle, and self-controlled.  Take the hardness of my heart and break down the walls with Your battering ram of revelation.  Give me a new heart and work in me Your love, peace, and joy.  I am not able to rise above who I am at this moment.  Only You can transform me.”

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ChitChat and a Gallery

It has been a lovely Christmas season so far. It has been whizzing by….I find that life is doing that on a regular basis. You, too?

When my girls mention often, ‘Wow, the weekend is here already!” then I wonder if the hours still DO have 60 minutes in them? I thought that only “older” people felt life was passing quickly! 🙂

A few tidbits…

Theresa has had intense morning sickness all through this season and I know it has been hard on her. Her last pregnancy was especially hard because her “mono” also kicked in. She sent me this poem I thought you would appreciate:

I look down at my test, excitement and fear,

I knew it would be positive, another baby in less than a year.

I struggle with memories, pain from the past,

What others don’t see, in me the scars last.

Each one of us as we journey through life,

Experience times of joy, sorrow and strife.

In the end what controls us is not times from the past,

It is here, it’s the present, the strength to make new memories last.

Our Lord shows us how by the blood that He sweat,

The cross that He carried, the example He set.

All the suffering and pain, with humility born,

Memories yes, but all for the glory of that Easter morn!

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Theresa’s little Nini (Sienna) is quite the character. Here’s a conversation that took place last week:

Nini: “Dad, my tummys sick.”

Dev (Dad): ” Next time you’ll know not to drink so much hot chocolate. “

Nini (very loud): ” It’s not that, I got a disease!”

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This is David. David is my son-in-law’s brother. He moved into a farmhouse across the way from Devin and Theresa right as Theresa was becoming immobilized with morning sickness. David has been a lifesaver. He drives my girls back and forth, back and forth, as they change places to help Theresa with her young family. We are all grateful for Dave. Would I be somewhat crazy by now without him? Probably. Does God provide? Yes! 😊

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Below is a gallery of some doings through the Christmas season. Click on the first one to view them in “gallery mode”.