Monday, March 25, 2019

Reading, Writing, Singing

How I wish blog posts would magically write themselves--I've been silent not because I have nothing to say but rather too much. I've been reading some marvelous books and find it fascinating how one book is leading me to another and allowing me to daydream a book of my own. It all started with Vikram Seth's AN EQUAL MUSIC. What can I say about this marvelous book? If you love music--you must read this love story. It is so textured, even the pieces I've not heard, I could imagine. Seth's writing is so evocative, so rich, it makes me cry with longing.

TROUBLE AT THE SCRIPTORIUM by Anne E. Johnson is medieval mystery about a chant book that has a page full of mistakes. Why? Are the monks just being lazy? Did they run out of gold leaf? Is it a message? Read and find out how a young boy, Harley, with help from friends figures out what this is all about and in time to have a great feast! A gem! I've known about this book for several years and meant to pick it up for my kids while they were still in elementary school but somehow it slipped my radar but I remembered the title and was so happy to see it's still in print. It's beautifully made with interior art and it came with a postcard from the publisher: Royal Fireworks Press. Check them out for even more gems. They cater to the homeschool market, their philosophy: We believe that education should be joyous, filled with fun, humor, and art... I couldn't agree more.

I'm reading another book, THE BEAUTIFUL MYSTERY, by Louise Penny, that's set in a remote monastery. One of the monks has been contemplating more than God...this time, the choirmaster's been murdered. Next on my list is HIDDEN VOICES: the orphan musicians of Venice by Pat Lowery Collins. I can't wait to dive into the world of Vivaldi and his orphan students. Edited to add this link for Vivaldi's Gloria recorded in the Pieta itself by an all-female choir and orchestra.

I'm singing lots. Hardly a day goes by when I'm not singing a psalm or a Mass. Gregorian chant truly is healing, "a beautiful mystery." Next week is Laetare Sunday and we will sing the Short Mass in Honor of St. John the Baptist by Rene Quignard. The Agnus Dei is my favorite movement.  

I'm not writing a lot but spending a lot of time daydreaming in the manner Robert Olen Butler recommends in his excellent writing book: From Where You Dream. I agree with so much he has to say on the nature of fiction and writing and reading. I wish every English teacher would take heed so that once critical analysis is over, the student again begins to read for pleasure.  

Monday, March 11, 2019

Spring Break for the Big Kids

Mamas--hug your kids. They grow up too fast. Pretty soon Max's girl-friend will take priority over us. It's the nature of things. We are so happy the big kids came up to be with us for their spring break. They did lots of sight-seeing but we also had a few evenings at home, eating Michael's brisket, so tender you-don't-need-no-teeh-to-eat-my-beef, playing games, music with the younger kids. We had a Latin High Mass and potluck afterwards the Sunday before Ash Wed so it was good advertisement for Ave Maria Univ. This Lent will go fast. Max will be home in another couple of months, just after Easter. Wishing you all a happy and holy Lenten season. Here's the Glory of These 40 Days for your listening pleasure.


Oh, the cats were nowhere to be seen. They were seriously traumatized. How different from the dog, who lapped up all the attention from the extra people in the house. Now they are demanding extra petting sessions from me and of course, I comply!

Friday, March 1, 2019

Mirka Breen is a Winner!

Yay, we have a winner! Mirka Breen gets a signed copy of Name Unspoken by Cadence McManinon. We did it the old fashioned way--Dagny picked out the winning strip under Yoda's watch. She's still recovering from the flu.
It's been a rare and unbelievably social week for me: a delightful school visit with the preK group at Whitesides Elementary for Read Across America. I read Ten Easter Eggs and the kids helped me out by hatching out of eggs! So, so fun!!! I received a royal treatment with even my own parking spot.

Impromptu visits with out-of-town friends! My copy of America First had arrived just a couple days prior so I crashed in on their luncheon--they were so gracious. 

I spoke to a Mom's group at the Cathedral about my faith journey and writing. We met in the little chapel downstairs--such a sacred space. And what a beautiful group of faithful young women--and babies! It was a great blessing to be able to hear Mass and catch up with my friend at lunch afterwards.


Today I went to my first Carolina Catholic Professionals meeting. So wonderful to listen to retired Justice Patrick Michael Duffy about growing up Catholic in the South. I'm going to share just one little bit--he is one of seven brothers and sisters, three who died when young. He told us of the time when his mother was carrying his youngest sister, the doctor advised abortion because she had Rh-negative blood type and the baby would surely kill her or be still-born or even if born alive would need a full transfusion. In those days, there was nothing to sop up the antibodies coursing through the mother's blood that might harm baby. His mother refused, saying they were both in God's hands. Every day the priest prayed for the baby and mother and the baby was born perfectly normal and healthy. A miracle! I know several families with only children because of this exact situation. Mom is Rh-negative and if the first baby is Rh-positive, it is immediately a death sentence for any child conceived thereafter. Imagine all the sterilized marriages and lost babies. It's terribly sad.

I've never been out to this diocesan property on West Ashley. It's beautiful and serene. There's a simple and beautiful chapel for offering the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. I'm looking forward to meeting and listening to more members. It was this group that sponsored Gloria Purvis' lecture on St. Valentine's evening. In any case, I'm ready to collapse. Max and his friends will begin arriving tonight!!! Godspeed.