Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Max's Summer in DC


Here's where Max will be working for the next six weeks. And he has a room with a view! I think the architecture says what the primary purpose of the Church is--bringing souls to heaven! I am so thankful Max can gaze upon a slice of heaven any time he wants. Deo Gratias! 


Saturday, May 12, 2018

May Celebrations


We have so much to celebrate! I thank God for making me a mother of these beautiful children. Locals, we tried a new place, Spero, and all their food was delicious. They had an interesting menu (complete with jokes) and lovely art on the walls. I highly recommend it, along with the little Cuban sandwicherie right next door. We are such food lovers and it was a little embarrassing to tell our waiter we hadn't yet tried many of the restaurants he mentioned. After all, the best place to eat is at Chez Bodach, which has a few culinary experiments bubbling. Michael made a small batch of kombucha. So refreshing! I also made a batch of kimchi. The weather is perfect for all this.
Max has been petting the cats every chance he gets. He was here only a week so these two scaredy cats were suspicious and kept him at arms length. Sigh. It's hard having a catless lap when we all love them so much. They are very relaxed now that he's off to WA-DC to intern with Congressman Mark Sanford. They connected during Max's senior year at Bishop England. It should be an interesting time for him.  

I've been drooling over all the books for Max's history class. Our shelves are getting full again. I'd bought the dozen or so books he needed his first year but after he started classes, he sent me a long list of all sorts of classics. I've only read a couple of these. Although Michael and I received a university education, it wasn't nearly as rounded as the classical liberal education Max is receiving at Ave Maria University. We are just so thrilled with his growth and maturity. Michael and I dream of getting a little house there and sit in on some of these seminars. Of course, it'd be hard to leave Charleston. We are so very blessed to live and work here. Below some pictures from Ascension Thursday--so lovely to hear Mass at Stella Maris, and then head out to the beach. You can't beat this island living.   


Monday, May 7, 2018

May Memories

Newborn Dagny
I love May, the month of Mary and the month of this little munchkin, who is 17 years old. My dear Dagny, you were a delight from before you were born. I loved carrying you and was impatient to meet you, especially the last three months when strangers would ask me if I was having twins and I had to assure them that there was only one of you! You tipped the scales at almost ten pounds when you were born!!! Everybody admired you and wanted to pet your hair. They'd never seen babies with such a full head. I was happiest when you were in my arms. Alas, the first couple of weeks were difficult--you had to stay in the incubator as much as possible. I only nursed you half the time. The other half, Daddy fed you. We'd been through this with Max so I knew to fight for you to get you on the bili-lights as soon as possible. You came home with a fantastic tan! And we held you and gazed upon you as much as we wanted.

Cool shades!
I'm so glad Max is here to celebrate with us. He's the best big brother a girl could ask for. My only regret is that you never got a chance to be a big sister. You'd have been wonderful. Raising you two has been the greatest joy of our lives, even through the difficult times. I know God has great plans for you and I'm waiting patiently to see how beautifully your life is going to unfold. May our blessed Lord Jesus bless you abundantly, remain with you always, and grant you all the desires of your heart. Ask and you shall receive so that your joy may be full. ~ John 16:23
And here's my Gospel reflection for today, written with you in mind: http://catholicmom.com/2018/05/07/daily-gospel-reflection-may-7-2018/  I love you more than words can say, Mom.

You are 2 wks old, Max 2 yrs
17 and 19 yrs old

Friday, April 27, 2018

Reading: Du Iz Tak?

https://www.amazon.com/White-Read-Aloud-Award-Picture-Books/dp/0763665304/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1524798690&sr=1-1&keywords=du+iz+tak+by+carson+ellis Du Iz Tak? The last children's writer who's read this marvelous book by Carson Ellis. I just love it. The illustrations show wonder perfectly. They're also very funny! Love the little house in the hollow and the fort, complete with pirate flag! And the creatures are having a conversation in a made-up language (though it sounds suspiciously like Dutch to me) and I think kids must love figuring out what the words mean. It's no surprise this was a Caldecott Honor book! I share a few spreads to give a sense of the drama occurring right in our backyards. This is a book to read over and over, pore over the detailed illustrations, and inspire people of all ages to enjoy life at the pace of nature. 

"A small pet is often an excellent companion." ~ Florence Nightingale, Notes on Nursing, 1912.

"Try to love the questions themselves as if they were locked rooms or books written in a very foreign language. Don't search for the answers, which could not be given to you now, because you would not be able to live them. And the point is, to live everything. Live the question now." ~ Rainer Maria Rilke, Letters to a Young Poet, 1927.

I found this gem at the library sale in the food section (and no, I do not like to eat escargots, thank you very much) The Sound of a Wild Snail Eating by Elisabeth Tova Bailey. The above quotes caught my attention, and as I began to read I knew I'd want it near my bed. This book is an account of the time Ms. Bailey was bedridden. She had a potted plant to keep her company along with a woodland snail. "It was not of much interest, and if it was alive, the responsibility--especially for a snail, something so uncalled for--was overwhelming." But she watched the snail explore its new environment. She discovered it liked to eat paper. It made square holes in it. She gave it some withered flowers. "I watched, transfixed, as over the course of an hour the snail meticulously ate an entire purple petal for dinner. The tiny, intimate sound of the snail's eating gave me a distinct feeling of companionship and shared space..." And later, "But the snail...the snail kept my spirit from evaporating. Between the two of us, we were a society all our own, and that kept isolation at bay." Her observations and comparison to her own state wrap us in the mystery of life. 

"Under the microscope the translucent egg-envelopes present a beautiful appearance, being studded with glistening crystals of lime, so that the infant within seems to wear a gown embroidered with diamonds." ~ Ernest Ingersoll, In a Snailery, 1881. I learned quite a bit about snails and remembered the little glass cube we kept on the kitchen counter for a couple of years. It housed three fish, a snail, and a water plant. We would spend hours watching the fish swim, the algae grow, the snail feed on the algae and then making many, many baby snails! We marveled at this little ecosystem. I, too, have spent many hours in bed, and it's the pets who kept me company, quiet and steady, and gave me the chance to observe their varied habits. It slows me down, giving me the opportunity to be still and know God. "Perhaps then, someday far in the future, you will gradually, without even noticing it, live your way into the answer." ~ Rainer Maria Rilke, Letters to a Young Poet, 1927.

My most recent purchase, Wild Fermentation by Sandor Ellix Katz, delves deep into the tiniest microorganisms that make some of the most interesting foods--bread, wine, beer, cheese, yogurt, kimchi, idli, dosa, and many, many more. Do you know we have trillions of bacteria that live in our gut and on our skin and keep us healthy? That's why antibiotics, though life-saving, can also really mess up your bacterial community and make you more susceptible to the really nasty bugs out there. A natural way to repopulate your gut with good bugs is to eat foods that have microorganisms in them--yogurt, sauerkraut, ciders--fermented foods. Last year we pickled our bumper crop of cucumbers. We also discovered we liked kombucha, which is fermented tea. Given that I still have chronic migraines, the kids still suffer from acne, we thought we'd include more fermented food in our diet. There's much evidence that many of the 21st century ailments happen due to disruption of the gut microbiome. So what better way than to cook, experiment, and eat our way to better health. I can well imagine guests looking at all the bubbling pots and asking, Du Iz Tak?  

Monday, April 23, 2018

On Truth and Discernment

I am always so amazed by the prayers of the Church. Our priest unpacked yesterday's for us. 
1. Truth exists.
2. You can know it.
3. It's relationship to justice, which is the precursor of peace.

He offered some thoughts on higher education and how it has failed our children. There's such an emphasis on deconstruction, which is a good method for understanding the various bits; however, there is no rebuilding, reconstruction, and no search for the truth. It's good to question, but at what point does it become absurd? How do I know something is real? Catholic philosophy is based upon reality. If it conforms with reality, then it's true. And if something is true, it doesn't matter whether you believe it or not, it remains true. And I must admit, it's very difficult to discuss anything nowadays given how emotional everybody gets. Reason has been thrown out the window. People talk about being kind, but I have to wonder what kind of kindness is letting someone remain in sin or their delusions. Lord, help us all. 
Good Shepherd Sunday is one of my favorites. And I will never forget how our Catholic community on Daniel Island began with the Good Shepherd Club. Within two years, we became a parish--St. Clare of Assisi. God is so good! 
Good Shepherd Sunday is also devoted to praying for religious vocations and here our priest offered some thoughts and observation. Vocations arise from the following:

1. Good theology
2. Eucharistic Adoration--knowing and spending time in the Real Presence of God
3. Good understanding of what the priesthood is--offering Sacrifice of the Mass
4. Where the traditional Latin Mass is offered--liturgy reflects teachings of the Church
5. Knowing priests
6. Families open to the gift of children
7. Homeschooling--seminaries have 4x more men who were homeschooled than those educated in public or private schools.

Of course, no discussion of a religious vocation can be made without discernment and our priest offered some thoughts on it as well, which is good advice for all, not just those considering a religious vocation.
1. Can I picture myself doing this and being happy?
2. Test of time--if it is from God, it will endure the test of time.
3. Thinking about it. Duh. He recalls lying in bed on a hot summer evening with the window open (this was before air conditioners) and thinking about being a priest. And it occurred to him that no dove was going to fly in through a window to let him know for sure :)
4. Encouragement from others--friends and family who know you 

Harvesting the first of our lettuce! Yum!
And so we pray. The Master will send workers to work in His vineyard. Of course, I had to share a picture of my sweet Benny--he always wants to be on my notebooks. It's a wonder I can write or type anything at all. He's so purry and demanding, I have to give in!


Friday, April 20, 2018

Easter Fun

I like to see the big kids having fun at Easter, too. Michael's Aunt Lois died during Holy Week so Michael and Dagny went to Illinois for the funeral. The bunny looks cosy, as does Dagny in my mom's jacket. Max was busy plotting another takeover :) He lost but gosh, he sure looks Presidential! And below is our newest member of the family enjoying TEE!!! He's the happiest baby I know.


Wednesday, April 18, 2018


My azaleas have dropped off, but I am enjoying our neighbor's flowers :) The penitence of Lent gives way to Easter joy that can hardly be contained as we sing Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia!!! Not even a week of wonky weather that wreaked havoc on my head can mar my joy, though today's reprieve was most welcome! Went to Mass to give thanks and then sat out on my porch to listen to the birds, read and write. No deadlines to speak of, just a few self-imposed ones if I'm to be productive. I was thinking of how the productive writers all write first thing in the morning. I've tried many times but except for throat-clearing, random thoughts, and dreams I don't write all that well in the morning. But I try to do "morning pages" for tapping into the subconscious. My best time is in the afternoon and in the evening after supper. Sometimes I get a burst of energy at night and can stay up well past midnight. I'd tell the kids to go to bed but stopped because they were following my example. What's that saying: do as I say, not as I do? Still, they are the ones who changed my habits from an early morning prowler to a night owl. And Michael became a family man, rising early to go to work so that he could spend more time with us in the evening. And I'm thinking, once we are empty nesters, I'm totally sleeping in every. single. morning :)