Monday, July 24, 2017

Beauty Tuesday: A Faithful Community

It's Tuesday, please link up below and link back to this post!

As I sat at our Catholic homeschool group's annual pool party, this post from a couple of years ago kept running through my mind.  I have been striving to respond to the prompts of the Holy Spirit more readily and decided to share this, again, today.  I have been so blessed by our community, but I am most indebted to Our LORD because without Him I am and have nothing!

Thank you, dear Christ, that I have you to worship and praise!

Before our current parish, we belonged to a small, traditional, country parish.  The priest was very devote and devoted, and known for well developed, lengthy, serious homilies.  His homilies contained a good deal of catechism but we're sprinkled with stories to drive the point home.  Decades later, there are stories that my husband and I still repeat and reference.

One, particularly amusing story went like this. (Imagine if you will the following delivered in a strong Polish accent.) There was a man who went to church every Sunday, and then one Sunday he didn't come.  After three Sundays, his priest was concerned and decided to pay him a visit.  The man lived in a big house on the hill over looking the village.  It was dark, cold, and windy when the priest walked up to the house. He knocked on the door and the man opened it and welcomed the priest into his living room where there was a large, warm fire blazing. The man sat down in his armchair and started talking, "I know why you are here, Father. I just don't see why I need to go to Mass.  Sunday is a day of rest, I say my prayers, I read my bible, why do I need to walk all the way to church to worship God?"

The priest said nothing, he turned and picked up the fireplace tongs and took a bright ember from the fire and placed it on the hearth. The ember glowed bright and seemed to grow in size, then it swiftly faded to grey and was just cold ash.  The priest, then picked up his hat and coat and began to leave. As the man showed him out, he said, " Thank you for the firery sermon, Father.  I will see you on Sunday."

 The priest simply smiled and walked back to the Church.

The point is, without a community, worship begins to die out.  You may begin all afire but just as swiftly begin to cool.  Jesus promised that where two or more are gathered in his name, there He also will be.  He realized that we needed support and each other to stay the course and attain deeper worship.  Our present parish has a church "motto" if you will, the begins with the phrase, "a community of believers."

That is our aim, to not be solely a collection of church attendees but a community, a family.  Apart from fellow believers, it is difficult to maintain focus on the narrow path, to keep going when the going is tough.  It is not to say that we go to church for the people, but we go for the collective worship.  We each have a part in the worship, no matter what our role in the Church, if any, is. Our collective prayers are joined to those of the angels to form the highest of all prayers, the Mass.  Even if we were unable to have the Eucharist present, Jesus would be there because we are gathered in His name.

However, we tread a fine line in building community and losing our sacred purpose. While we are a family, our primary purpose of attending Mass is giving glory to God and receiving grace from the Eucharistic sacrament.  Our sight is to be on the LORD, not each other.  It is a joy to have such dear friends through our parish, but social circles are not the aim of Sunday obligation. Our first obligation is to God.  We must remember this and strive to point others toward God that together we may grow in faith.  So please, remember that Church is God's house, come and leave quietly and reverently. Dress in a way befitting of meeting the King of Kings intimately in the sacrifice of the Mass, so as not to draw attention away from our heavenward advance.  Seek to not just get at the Mass but to give your whole self to Him who has given you all, not even sparing His only Son.

Let us be a community of believers striving evermore for holiness and grace.  In little ways, with great love, we can revitalize our churches, but it is not found in greater comfort or ease nor more socialization. It is found in a deeper, collective purpose to worship and exalt He who is above all, the Great I AM, our beginning and end.  For why did God make us? God made us to know,  love and serve Him, to show forth His goodness and to share with us His everlasting happiness in Heaven. (Baltimore Catechism) Let us show forth His goodness to every member of our worshiping community by coming together for the sole purpose of lifting high the cross and bowing down to our Loving Savior who from all good things come.  God bless you!

Thursday, July 20, 2017

#7QT-A Shop for Veils and Vocations

Did you miss Beauty Tuesday?  If so be sure to check it out!

I'm linking up with Kelly again this week--Hi, Kelly!

Anyone who blogs knows that all those ads for getting rich off of blogging are akin to signing your child up for little league at 3 because baseball will make you rich. Can it happen?  Yes.  Does it happen every time?  No way, and there are far more who just enjoy playing the game than will ever make a single dollar doing so.

So, I have been looking for a way to help support this blog and my family while still staying true to my mission.

As you may know, I have had an etsy shop for quite awhile but it has only been active on and off.  I never had a good business plan or a clear direction. I knew what I wanted but hadn't figured out how to get there or what it would look like.

Well, that has changed!  My shop is now fully stocked, with more items on their way this weekend. I am partnering with some amazing Catholic crafters to create the shop I have always dreamed of having.

What does this have to do with the blog?  Well, I don't want the blog to become a billboard for the store.  My reason for blogging is not to earn profit. However, my vision for my blog is a treasure trove of resources for Catholic moms just like me.  Am I there yet? No, but I am on a mission from God to provide those as best I can.

Enter my shop.  It dovetails so nicely with my blog because I offer veils and vocation dolls.  My plan is to expand the shop to provide items I would most like for my family at prices that make them accessible to every Catholic home.

All of the products are high quality.  I am to make my customers happy. I know as a mom how much work it is to provide for a family and how tight money can be.  When I purchase something, I want it for be something that will last and be well used.

This shop and Beauty Tuesday are my way of spreading light, beauty, truth, goodness, and joy.  I hope that you will become a fan even if you can't buy anything from the shop.  I am an expert window shopper, window shoppers are always welcome in my store!

I am going to highlight different products each Thursday over the next few months.  We have some amazing deals planned and many more products in the works. 

Do you own a book shop or parish store?  Do you have a Catholic shop that you frequent?  We are looking for wholesale outlets and are open to group, bulk orders.  Maybe get a group of friends together and order new veils.  You will get quality veils and a discount, and my family will receive the extra financial support we need right now.

Can't buy anything?  No problem--I understand more than you know!  Like us on Facebook and have a chance to enter one of our giveaways!

Is there a product you wish you could find? Please comment below. I really want this shop to be a service to the Catholic community.

Thank you for reading my little press release.  I hope you don't mind.  It is very hard for me to pursue self promotion, but I wanted to let all of you know what is new and different.

Please come back Tuesday for more Beauty Tuesday and next Friday I will have a new Let's Get Planning post! Thank you and God bless!

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Beauty Tuesday: The Pattern of God

It is Beauty Tuesday, again, please link up below and remember to link back to this post.

A number of years ago, I took a Bible Study class on the ancient Tabernacle of the Israelite.  It was fascinating to realize how much care and preparation went into this traveling house of God.  What has stuck with me the most, though, is how the Tabernacle mirrored Heaven.  It was not just a random plan.  The LORD was not just being persnickety in asking for precise adherence to His Plans.  His Plans already exist and He was merely giving the human world a glimpse of the splendor of his kingdom.

Form, posture, and constrains of pattern matter.  Our entire world is modeled on the patterns of God because His fingerprints remain in His Creation.

All the Earth adores His name, and in time all will bow before Him.  Until that time, our liturgy is how we learn of Heaven.  Like the Tabernacle, the liturgy is divinely inspired. It has been handed down over the ages to instruct and lead those who prayerfully attend in the ways of God.

Liturgy is beautiful not because of what man add to it, but because it is a gift from God, a royal celebration.  Preserving and reverencing this pattern of worship is vital to the propagation of the faith and the evangelization of the people.

We now have two forms of the Mass, and I am not going to debate which is more valid.  The Vatican has deemed each licit and that is what I am accepting as true at this time.  However, there is still a pattern to the Novo Order, it is not a license to remake the pattern of God in man's image.  We must take pains to keep Christ the center of our liturgy and stay true to the ordained method of worship.  It, like the Tabernacle, was not created by happenstance.  The liturgy has purpose and function.  It is solemn and reverent because we are sitting at the feet of Our LORD and Savior.  Through the Mass we are welcomed into the threshold of Heaven where we are free to worship with the angels and saints.

The unity and universal nature of our Church is why we are called Catholic.  That is our true strength, not the individuals but the Church as a whole being the Hands and Feet of Jesus in the world.  Next time you assist at Mass, let you mind travel upward to the highest of Heavens, the to Holy, Holy, Holy.  Remember that this is our sabbath, this is our feast of the Lamb.  We must ever raise our hearts to Him and bow our heads in awe and wonder.

Friday, July 14, 2017

Let's Get Planning: School Year Goals

Linking up with Kelly on a dark and rainy Friday.

It's time to start planning, not that I ever really stop.  I have most of my curriculum picked out and will be posting it soon.  I thought I would just outline some goals because it helps me, too.

The kids are growing SO quickly!  It hit me hard a couple of months ago when I realized that Cowgirl only has 4-5 years left of schooling.  I feel like I have mountains of material we still need to cover.  More than that, though, is the realization that time is slipping away and we are too busy to even take advantage of it.  So, goal one is to be more present and take time to do the type of things that build memories not just complete checks on the to do list.  I'm still working on what this will look like but I want a weekly time to just have fun as a family.

Going along with number one, I am scaling back my planning and taking the less is more approach.  I really overplanned last year and fell flat with pregnancy, and a new colicky baby.  We are catching up on some things this summer but my second goal is more realistic goals.

We have been taking family walks a few times a week and it has been so nice.  I hope to continue this as long as the weather allows then find another way to exercise as a family through the winter.

To get all this done and not just push it off, I need to come up with a schedule and stick to it.  We have always had a rough schedule but need a more rigid and detailed one now.  We need to set a time for everything so it gets accomplished. Also, with a business and a part-time work from home job, I need a work schedule so I accomplish my tasks but also so that my work doesn't take over the day.

To help with balance, we are going to be using bullet journals each day to keep up with what has to get done. As the children are getting older, yearly plans aren't enough to keep us on task.  The organization will do us good, too.

Lastly, I have decided that on top of doing meal planning for dinner, I am planning for breakfast and lunch.  We spent entirely too much time figuring out what to serve each meal.  To fit in all the above, we need to reclaim the aimless minutes of choosing what to eat.  It will also ensure we are eating more balanced meals.

How is your planning going?

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Beauty Tuesday: The Bride of Christ

Please link up below and remember to link back to this post.  I decided to republish this oldie but goodie. Originally published May 23, 2014.

So many times we hear, "the Church doesn't like women," or worse, "God doesn't like women."  Nothing could be further from the truth.  For a few years, I led a Little Flower Girls Club group at my church.  It was something that the girls enjoyed and I felt passionate about, but it became increasingly difficult to get solid commitments from families with the pulls of so many other activities and sports.  Anyway, organizing the meetings required me to study not only the virtue of the month but Catechism and scripture to support it.  I believe I actually learned more than the girls I was teaching.

In my studying, I found an explanation of why women can't be priests that blew me away. It wasn't because of oppression, it wasn't chauvinist ideas, it was a solid truth that actually elevates women, not degrades them.  (Forgive me for not remembering the source, if anyone recognizes this and knows the source, please let me know so I can give credit where credit is due.) The core of the argument went like this, priests are married to the Church, they are the caretakers and guardians of Christ's bride.  They are the Church's earthly husbands, while Christ is ever the head of it all. However, women religious are--get ready--the brides of Christ.  Let that sink in, THE BRIDES OF CHRIST.  Is there anything better than that?  They are wedded directly to the Lord of lords and King of kings.

However, it is not just consecrated women that are special, all women are special.  Women have the hidden beauty of cooperating with God in His plan of creation.  They come as close as possible to being the very Hand of God.  When a woman conceives in her womb by God's grace, her body not only lends itself to the Will of God, but also works to construct what God has deemed to be created.  Women are a miracle of God's love.  Think about it, Adam was created from dirt, Eve from his rib.  God could have chosen any means possible to introduce new humans into His creation--stork deliveries, cabbage patches, anything!  We think that the tales of storks gliding down from heaven with a blanket sling that hold a precious baby to be left on someone's front porch is ridiculous child's play, of course that isn't how it happens. Think, though, about our all powerful, all capable, all knowing God who is able to speak, simply speak, anything and everything into being.  Yet, He chose a mere mortal to be His source of continued creation. It is through a woman that the world was first occupied and subdued, and it is through a woman that the Savior, the Son of the Living God came to redeem us all.

Mary was the first tabernacle, a living tabernacle.  She cradled in her body the Redeemer of all mankind, the prophesy of ages, the Alpha and Omega, the incarnate Word of God.  Can you imagine that?  Can you imagine the thoughts that raced through her head as her abdomen grew and she felt tiny feet kick her ribs.  Can you even imagine? While priests are anointed to consecrate the hosts and are placed as guardians of the tabernacle; a woman WAS the tabernacle.

We must always be mindful of how God loves women and reveres them.  As the hymn goes, "Blessed are you among women, and blessed in turn all women, too." (Hail Mary, Gentle Woman by Carey Landry) Our daughters and Goddaughters must know also how loved they are by God and how special they are in His Plan.  In upcoming posts, I will explore more deeply how to teach our girls their beauty and purpose in the Church and in Creation.

Does anyone have any other gems of wisdom that they have shared with women or girls about their beauty in the Faith?

Monday, July 3, 2017

Beauty Tuesday: America the Beautiful

Happy 4th of July!  I have to apologize for totally forgetting last week.  I have to admit that I considered just ending this blog this week. I am juggling quite a bit and feeling like something has to give.  However, I don't think God is done with this blog yet, and when 3 more people decided to "like" my page on Facebook, I took that as a sign to press on.

My post is short this week.  I know that there is much controversy in our land and across the globe.  I know that America s not perfect, nor has it ever been.  We have made mistakes, some very large and tragic.  However, there is still so much  beauty to sing of.

This is a fallen world.  We are all sinners, me especially.  I am not going to try to point fingers, inflict blame, or act in self-righteousness.  I am just as guilty as the next person and know I have not always held up my end of the bargain to make America great and serve my fellow man.

Yet, I have such love for my country, and I believe wholeheartedly in our founding principles. Our founding fathers were sinners as well, many of them brilliant, but sinners all the same.  In their brokenness they sought to build a land founded on God's principles.  In their failings, they strove to succeed.  They envisioned the best and gave their lives to see it through.

Yes, America is not perfect, only Heaven is. America is beautiful, though.  We have beautiful lands, vista, plains, and bodies of water.  We have beautiful citizens who do love others, and live by the golden rule.  We have a beautiful history, too.  We must stop short changing ourselves with self deprecation.  Our future can be beautiful, too, if we just focus more on what can bring us together and less on what could tear us apart.

God bless, America!

Please link up below and remember to link back to this post.  Thanks.

Friday, June 23, 2017

#7QT: Random facts and a Giveaway

I am linking up with Kelly today to bring you some ramblings.

June is my "off" month.  No school, no activities---just lounging and relaxing bliss! Well, that is how I imagine it each year but it seems every year there is more going on and more to do. I am thankful for no school until I hear the rejoicing of all my tradition school friends when their children go back to school echoing in my head and then I think, "Perhaps it would be good if school were back in session."

Oops, that means I need to teach! Let the free range craziness dotted with organized activities persist!

Teaching a 3 year old to fry his own eggs (under supervision--please don't report me for child endangerment) has it's reward of him learning to be self sufficient and choosing a protein packed breakfast. The downside, you go through a lot of eggs!

This reminds me of when I taught Buddy how to use the apple slicer--apples for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snack for all!  These kids keep life interesting.

On the topic of interesting life, Hubby and I just celebrated our 15th anniversary.  What a wild ride.  Seems hard to believe it has been so long, then we look at our growing family and realize just how long we have been at this crazy life.  The kids have provided plenty of material for laughs and deep conversation.  Hubby asked what we would talk about if we didn't have noise...there's always the weather.


Beauty Tuesday is here every Tuesday!  Please, come and link up.  Share your stories of God's goodness, photos of your latest pinterest attempt, funny things your children get the idea. No need for deep philosophical or theological posts.  Just stop by, link up, join the party, and make this little corner of the blogosphere a bit prettier.

I learned this week that our emergency laundry kit actually works.  What is an emergency laundry kit?  Why a bucket and a breathing washer, of course.  I purchased it as part of my emergency preparedness campaign. 

While keeping up with a family of 6 with only a breathing washer and 5 gallon bucket is a bit of work. I was surprised to learn it can be done.  Plus my arms are getting nice and tone for beach season.  I also told Hubby that if "the end of the world as we know it" happens, we have a marketable, post-apocalyptic skill as launderers.  ;)

Speaking of learning, I have a new job.  I am very excited to be a part of the Global Learn Day team. I am doing some blogging and keeping up the Twitter account.  So, stop by and show me some love. We have great events in the works for October 7th.

So, have you read this far just to get to the giveaway?  It's okay, I understand.  I am giving away a $10 gift card to my etsy shop for any item you wish.  More items are being added this weekend, too. Shipping additional.  Please click the link below and join the contest.

Aurelius Cabrini $10 Gift Card Giveaway

Monday, June 19, 2017

Beauty Tuesday: Beautiful Woman

My Lovie-Lu is six months old today!  Time is going by too quickly.  I know she has always been known as Little Lady on this blog, but Lovie-Lu is her nickname in real life so I may just change that.

Anyway, her half-birthday got me thinking of all kinds of sentiments and ideas.  I hope to do a whole photo shoot with her tomorrow to try to capture some of these most precious days that go by all  too quickly.  As I was musing over my plans for the shoot, I realized that today would have been my great-grandmother's 115th birthday.  It is also just two days after what would have been my grandmother's 96th.  These two women shaped me in way I am still discovering and taught me so much about faith, hard work, and what it means to be a woman.

I thought about my great-grandmother, to whom I was very close, remembered how she was, and what I could glean from how she conducted herself. Nonnie, as I called her, was a lady through and through.  She was dressed impeccably and beautifully every day of her life, whether she was washing dishes or attending a fancy party it made no difference, she was dressed from head to toe.  Nonnie always had her hair fixed, heels on, her outfit starched and pressed, her jewellery flawless.

My great grandmother was an amazing homemaker who could bake anyone under the table, including well-noted, professional bakers.  (Truth be told, her gift to me every birthday was her signature lemon meringue pie. It was my all time favorite, until she stopped baking because no one's has every tasted even close to hers!)  She kept an immaculate but warm home.  Nonnie was a fantastic host, an accomplished crocheter, a phenomenal cook, noteworthy decorator, and prim fashionista.

I began to contemplate what this beloved woman would think of my gaggle of children.  My oldest who shares her first name, my first son with his Italian features and hearty appetite, my little blondie who shares the name of her first son, and my little gem who is her only daughter's namesake. In trying to dream of what she would say, remember how she loved children and the time we spent together, I began to understand the beauty she taught me.  I began to mull over how it was not the clothes she wore than made her beautiful but how well she carried her femininity and lived her vocation that spread light through the world.

In today world, beauty seems to be everything, but it is not true beauty.  What the world sees as beauty is attraction and lust.  What it portrays as love is mere infatuation and unbridled desire.  None of these are beauty, not beauty ordained by God.  True beauty lies in living the expectations of a holy woman and embodying grace to those around you.

Like the Proverbs 31 woman, my great-grandmother was robed in fine linen. She rose early to serve and ensured her family had the best of all that mattered.  She was a gently beam of sunshine and a calming breeze of joy, yet, she was a fierce and tireless worker who was tough as nails where life required.  My Nonnie taught me what a beautiful woman is, not by her designer clothes, svelte figure, and trendy hair and makeup--she possessed none of those. Her beauty was in how she carried the precious gift of being a woman, how she veiled her sacred vessel and kept her lamp lit.

All of this as made me want to dive deeper into exploration of the beauty of woman--not for her physical features or what she does but for how she does it.  Perhaps all of this is but a rambling, I have ideas to share but still no words to express them. My Nonnie was one of my best friends.  I was so blessed to have had her for 15 years, and only appreciate now all that she endeavored to teach me. I long to turn back the clock 25 years and soak up what she was offering.  However, that I cannot do.

Instead, I intend to find out how she built her beautiful castle that I might teach that beauty to my girls and granddaughter, if God grants me any. Without grandmother or great-grandmother, it is my duty to teach them the fineries of feminine life.  I feel so insufficient.  Then I remember the Paraclete, the endless Love of God.  Perhaps this is my fiat.  "Behold the handmaid of the LORD, be it done to me according to Your Will"

The LORD's Will was through a woman, a kind, gentle, light filled woman.  She would not be splashed across the magazines of our time, yet was there ever a more beautiful woman?

Please share your post of beauty and link back to this post.  Let's be a lamp stand for Our LORD!

Monday, June 12, 2017

Beauty Tuesday: The Communion of Saints

Welcome to another Beauty Tuesday.  Please link your post below and remember to link back to this post. Thanks.

We live in a fallen world. Whatever can go wrong will. It is easy to feel alone or discouraged even when we know that God is always with us.

This is the beauty of the saints.  I know that I know that I know that there is a God and He will never fail me, that Christ rose from the dead and He reigns.  However, I am just a humble mom here on earth a little pin prick on the blue planet, a speck of life in human history.

What do I really know of our All Powerful God?  The saints on the other hand, they are amazing but they were just like me.  Many were simple moms, some were very young, others  late bloomers, all were sinners.

The saints chose the better part here on earth and have gained their reward.  Although I feel so deeply flawed, I know it is possible for anyone to become a saint.  I also know those who have obtained the crown of glory, are praying for us still in the trenches.

Calling on a patron saint at any time is a great blessing of our faith.  There is a patron saint for everything and anything.  Did you know St Veronica is the patron of laundry??

The saints and angels surround and pray with us each Mass.  We are incredibly blessed to get to meet Heaven here on earth and have the backing of those who have fought the good fight, know our incredible struggles, and are cheering us into the ever after of eternal rest.

Have you sought the aid of any heavenly friends today?

Monday, June 5, 2017

Beauty Tuesday: My Journey to Veiling

Welcome back to the Beauty Tuesday linkup.  I greatly apologize for the lack of linkup last week.  I was traveling and tried for hours to get into Blogger but my Kindle just wouldn't let me.  Even though, I could get into every other Google account I own.  However, I am here now, and I am glad you stopped by.  Please link up your post below and don't forget to link back to this post.  Thanks.

I am a cradle Catholic, although a much more conservative, orthodox one as an adult than I was raised.  I was always attracted to the beauty and majesty of the Church.  When I was in eighth grade, my family switched from our geographical parish to a small, Polish one. 

This parish was a blend of old and new.  It remained unchanged in appearance since it's inception in the early 1900's, however the Novo Order Mass was celebrated, much to the chagrin of the traditional priest.  He incorporated Latin and tradition wherever he could to keep the Mass in line with the past.

Such a traditional minded priest attracted traditional minded parishioners.  He even served a traditionalist community with Extraordinary Form Masses at he parish, weekly. It dismays me that i never took advantage of that opportunity, but I didn't know what I was missing.

But, I digress.  There were a handful of women who veiled that assisted the regular weekend Masses because Father preserved the communion rail and distributed Holy Communion both standing and kneeling--a practice I sorely miss. 

These women, and their daughter looked so beautiful in their lacy mantillas.  I longed to have one, but my family was not traditional and was happy to be done with the old ways.  I spent my adolescence marveling at this practice and yearning to know more.

Once I was grown, I continued my search, always wondering where these women even bought the veils and not even knowing what they were called.  Here is where the beauty of the Internet has blessed me.  Without it, I would probably still be searching.

After I was married, I began working with the local diocese on mother/daughter programs which inspired my own mother/daughter retreats.  I was in charge of collecting resources to sell and distribute at the event.  in one of my orders, I found the pamphlet, The Veil.  Finally, there were answers to my questions.

It took me nearly a year to get up the courage to order my own mantilla and broach the subject with my husband.  He was thankfully happy with my decision.  I veiled for the first time while we were away, still timid about standing out.

The first few months, maybe even year, I was still self conscious but at peace.  Now, I feel down right naked without a veil. As the years have passed, almost eight years now, I have fallen more and more in love with the devotion.  It is a devotion I choose to share and promote both here on my blog and through my etsy shop.

My simple, but beautiful devotion has brought my heart so much closer to God and our Blessed Mother. 

What is your favorite devotion?  How did you come to it?

Friday, May 26, 2017

My week in #7QT

Ok, so I am linking up with Kelly to bring you a little glimpse at the past 8 days at the Veils and Vocations homestead.

Last Friday, Cowgirl spent a day at the Parish Visitors convent.  She had a great time at the "girls day."  What an amazing experience for young girls.  This meant 4 hours in the car but it was well worth it.

The weekend was so busy.  I racked up another 8+ hours in the car those two days.  Good thing we have the van with plenty of room and decent fuel economy! Sunday, the boys had a fishing derby at a friend's farm for Troop of St George.  Everyone needs a friend with a farm.

Monday we tried to just catch our breath after a crazy few days.  I had that travel hang-over you get from long road trips but we were local and home the whole time. I should note that in our neck of the woods anything under an hour is considered local.

Had my first link up on #BeautyTuesday  Did you miss it?  Check it out and please be sure to come back next Tuesday!

There was that little incident with the fire ants,  four ticks, a broken glass, a maimed ceramic bunny, and a slow cooker dinner that finished cooking about 20 mins after we ate a makeshift meal, but hey, all in all, nothing worth noting happened around here.

End of the year recital for our fine arts school took most of our day followed by Buddy's Irish step class.  I truly appreciate that my children have these opportunities but I am so ready for summer vacation.  Eight hours at fine arts school followed by a step class is a REALLY long day with my littles.

Thursday was the type of day made for a warm quilt, a cup of tea, and a good book.  None of those happened but that was the type of day it was--rainy and dark.  

I spent a lot of time setting up social media accounts for my etsy shop and mobilizing the troops to lean up the mess that is trailed throughout the house after so many hectic days.

It's Friday, again.  We are supposed to go to riding but it is still damp and rainy.  However, we are packing up for a road trip adventure to visit family this holiday weekend.  I will probably drive less this weekend on our out of state trip than I did last weekend just staying local.

Say a little prayer for me.  This is my first solo road trip with all four kiddos.  Little Lady's first road trip ever--although she is well acquainted with car rides thanks to her very social and active siblings.

How is your week going?  Any plans for the holiday weekend?

To all my readers who serve or have spouses or children who do, thank you for your service!

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Beauty Tuesday: A Link-up

 I decided to add a new tradition to Veils and Vocations.  Each Tuesday, we will be having a link up party where you can share your latest post about the beauty of the world, the Church, your life, etc. 

We are bombarded with darkness everywhere we turn, but God created this world to be filled with beauty, goodness, and joy!  Please link your post below and help spread some light.  

Oh, and don't forget to link back to my post so others can find the collection of lovely posts each week.  Thanks.

Speaking of beauty, in my book there is little more beautiful than women and girls who veil as a devotion to our LORD.  It is a devotion that is close to my heart and part of my inspiration for this blog. 

Next week, I will be sharing my story of how I came to veiling.  However, this week, I want introduce you to something that is very exciting for me. 

In an effort to find ways to encourage and support my readers' journey of faith, I opened my etsy shop.  I will be the first to admit that it has not been very active of late.  Right now, though, I am working on restocking it and am overjoyed to now be carrying Fleur de Lis veils--lovingly, handcrafted by Marsha.

Her veils are true works of art.  I am thankful to have gotten to know Marsha and can tell you that her heart is just as beautiful as her veils. 

As a special gift to my readers, I am offering free shipping in my store through June 30th with the code FREESHIPMAY.  Thank you for being there to read my humble blog.  I know this isn't the fanciest nor most popular blog out there, but when I read the stats of how many visit this little corner of the Internet and how many coutries are represented by my readers, I am truly touched.

You may come here because you like my blog, but really I keep coming back because of all the love and support that has been shown to me by every click on this blogger link.  God bless you all!

Please link up your post below.  Show the blogging world the beauty that surrounds you!

An InLinkz Link-up

Friday, May 19, 2017

#7QT Big Doings

Linking up with Kelly to bring you some coming attractions and, as my mother would have said, "Big doings!"  here at Veils and Vocations.

I have reopened my etsy shop and am stocking it to the brim!  In honor of my grand re-opening, I am offering free shipping for all my readers with coupon code FREESHIPMAY.  So, feel free to cyber mosey over and do some window shopping. ----Are those Fleur de Lis veils in your shop?  Why, yes they are!!

I have wanted, for some time, to write a book for young girls to learn about different Catholic orders complete with activities and trivia.  Seeing as it is a monumental task to just write a blog post, I am working on creating a resource page with links and info on as many orders as I can find.  Eventually there will be activities, too.  Please, keep your eyes open!

Also, in the works is a new mother/daughter program.   It's still very much in the planning stage but will be out next spring.  I know, I am still getting the other one posted.  Please be patient, I am currently typing with three fingers while balancing a curious 5 month old and dodging a raucous 3 year old.  The title of the new retreat is set, " Beauty, Truth, Goodness--Joy!"

I have decided that Veils and Vocations needs a little something.  So, next Tuesday, will be our first weekly link-up called Beauty Tuesday.   Come back here every Tuesday, for a link up to share all that is beautiful in the world as a refreshing little oasis against the hard struggle beating down around us.

Little Lady turned 5 months old--FIVE!  I am so enjoying my little Lovie-Lu but it is time to press the pause button.  Her first year is flying by too quickly.

School year is almost out in our little home academy.  Deo Gratis!!! I need a break.  So looking forward to June, our lazy month of family visits, sleeping in (well, as late as we can with the sun breaking through at 6 AM and a couple of little early birds in the family) and just not having to be anywhere every day.  The amount of energy it takes to get everyone out of the house for all these activities could power a small city!

Planning for next year has begun!  Have you started?  Did you ever stop?  Me, neither.  "Let's Get Planning" posts are right around the corner.  I have lots to share including some great FREE, that's right, FREE resources that just might save your sanity next year.

How is your week going?  Any big news in your neck of the woods?

Friday, May 12, 2017

Homeschool Tips in #7QT

School is almost out over here at the Academy of St Therese for the Glories of God.  It has me thinking quite a bit about next year.  There is so much I want to do, but only so many hours in a day and these kids are growing like weeds!  Here are some tips to keep the homeschool ball rolling AND enjoy your children's childhood.

Linking up with Kelly this fine Friday.

Tip #1 Take time outside the classroom.  We have had a crazy year with the new baby and all so I have felt more guilty than usual taking a day off to do something different.  However, those field trips and projects are still learning.  They are also special memories! 

Tip # 2 Don' be afraid to change the plan. We've all been there.  The year's plan is meticulously done.  You envision a year full of growth and success beyond your wildest dreams, and then it happens.  That perfect book/program/course just isn't working.  Everyone is miserable--but what about the plan?  Man plans, God laughs!  

When it isn't working, be willing to change.  Maybe it needs a different approach.  Perhaps your child needs to jump ahead, or step back a bit.  Whatever it is, be willing to be flexible.  In the end it will be for the best.

Tip #3 When it isn't working read a good book or two!  This one I borrowed from Andrew Pudewa and it is my go to tip.  Books are so much more than reading practice.  Lose yourself in some good literature.  Learn while you spend some quiet time together.  Regroup and move on!

Tip #4 Trust your instinct!  You know your child better than anyone.  Plus,  even the best curricula is written in a one size fits all fashion.  If you know your child could succeed if she only got x, y, and z but your instructions say to do r and q, go with your gut. Wish I could have told that to my homeschooling newbie-self.

Tip #5  Foster your child's interests and his God-given skills.  We all want our child to have a successful and prosperous future.  Let's be honest, though, not everyone is meant to be a lawyer, doctor, or engineer.  God made each of us unique, and that is a blessing. It not only makes the world go around, it keeps life interesting.  Make time and space in your lesson plans for your child to explore what excites him.  Who knows, that could just be his calling?

Tip #6  Let someone else do the teaching!  This has been a huge sanity saver and has also greatly enriched our experience.  I am test driving several online resources for next year, but I also have to give a plug to really good movies. I know, I know--screen time!  

Well, I am one who seriously limits screen time but I use the tie my kids do spend plugged in to enhance their learning.  I am always on the hunt for new videos--especially since my children can pretty much recite the entire script of favorites like Liberty's Kids and Wild Kratts.

Pure Flix has a nice selection of Christian movies, especially education videos that I plan to learn more about.  Check out their suggestions below!

Tip #7  Remember the ultimate goal is leading your child to Heaven, not just graduation! 

Do you have any tips to share?  I'd love to hear them.

Friday, April 14, 2017

Holy Week in #7QT

Hi all, how's your Holy Week going?  Are you anxious for Easter to come and Lent to end?  Or do you still feel like there is too much Lent left to accomplish for Easter to be so soon?  I'm in the latter camp.  I'm linking up with Kelly to have a little chat in #7QT

This has been a strange Lent for me.  I am usually so militant and disciplined.  I can't remember the last Lent where I came to the end and felt like I had not accomplished any of my goals. Any of them!  The resistance has been incredible, I kid you not! My will and self control have been stretched and tested beyond anything I have ever seen before.  

I have been struggling with this.  Feeling like a failure and a fraud.  How can I blog about living a Catholic life and then have such a terrible Lent?  To be honest, I considered abandoning this blog all together about half way through.

However, I see how this struggle has not only tested me but strengthened me as well as delivered a healthy dose of humility.  The Battle may all ready be won, but the war for our souls rages on!

If you are feeling like you hoped to accomplish so much more this Lent, you are not alone!

Palm Sunday....good heavens!!  Little boys can make anything into weapons.  The belt on dress pants is obviously there to hold said weapons.  Is there a way to not allow anyone under the age of 7 to even touch a palm through the long Gospel?  We will just leave it at that.  A definite workout and warm up for the marathon week ahead.

The next day, I went back up the church for Reconciliation Monday.  I don't know how many diocese do this but it is amazing!  The Monday before Christmas and Easter, all churches in the diocese are open from 4pm-9pm for confession.  We often have 3-4 priests hearing confession at the same time in our parish.

It is such a precious experience.  I am so thankful we made it!  

Tuesday of Holy Week is the rehearsal for Children's Stations of the Cross.  It is my yearly penance no matter how my Lent is going.

I left very frustrated but wrapped in the love of Christ all the same.  We have over 3,000 families in our parish (families not people--families!!!) and a preK-8 school.  How many chidlren showed up to participate?  SIX!  SSSSSSSIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX!!!!!  Oh, and two of them belong to me.

I am so very, very grateful for the ones who showed up and their excitement to walk the steps of Jesus.  These are beautiful, beautiful children.  However, I don't know what to do with this little project.  Every year we have less and less children.  We used to have to draw parts out of a hat to make it fair now we have one boy playing Pontius, Simon, and a roman guard.  He volunteered to be Joseph of Aramethia but we ended up just cutting that part. Owen is incredible but I think three parts is the limit.

St Jude, patron of hopeless causes, please rescue this dying devotion!

Wednesday of Holy Week I decided to catch up with some friends and family that I had not seen in awhile just as Jesus visited Mary and Martha on the Wednesday of the first Holy Week.  Only day not at the parish but a marathon none the less.

Today is Holy Thursday--I'm actually writing this the night before like a good blogger should.  This is my favorite liturgical day of the year!  Truly, I love the Holy Thursday liturgy so very, very much.

We had a field trip in the morning so we had to push our liturgical tea off until dinner.  I pulled it off but had nearly forgotten about the pre-Mass fast. It was the fasted liturgical tea in history.

I am so thankful to have had Cowgirl's help in setting everything out because Little Lady was having a colicky episode and screamed for 2.5 hours straight.  {If you would, please say a quick Hail Mary that we discover what is causing her colic and reflux.  She is on medication, I am on a highly restricted diet, and both are helping but she is still having these episodes of screaming in pain from the acidic reflux that keep choking her.  It is heartbreaking and exhausting for both of us.}

My tea was not picture perfect. My food was nothing fancy.  In fact the only items that we "cooked" at all were the mashed potatoes and a quick soup I threw together of chicken broth, carrots, and gluten free pasta when I realized that our usual menu would not be enough food to be considered dinner.

I say this so that you know that I am just a mom, a sinner, a human just like you!

Tomorrow is Good Friday, our Children's Stations are at noon.   I am praying for the LORD to use our little crew of volunteers to touch the hearts of all who are there. It is a small act of service but done with great love!

If you missed my other posts this week, I am finally getting the talks up from the mother/daughter retreat.  Considering hosting a mini-retreat this summer?  I am working hard to get all the resources I can up to help you do just that. You can find the links for the talks below:

For a more polished look at my week, check out my latest article on Seton Magazine!

How has your week been going?

Thursday, April 13, 2017

I Am Loved Retreat: I Created You!

I'm getting ready to have our annual Holy Thursday liturgical tea before heading to Mass, but wanted to post the next talk for our retreat.  This talk was inspired by this song.  Blessed Holy Thursday to all!

I created you!
As we have mentioned before, we each have a special purpose.  That purpose is called a vocation.  When I say the word vocation, what comes to mind? We usually think of religious sisters and priests when we talk about vocations.  However, everyone has a vocation.  Your vocation is the state of life that you are called to live.  Some of us are called to be married, some to be single.  Some of us are called to religious life in a monastery or working with those in need. Your vocation is a very special part of who you are.

We are all created to be a part of a family.  That family can look like many different things.  For some, it is a family of a husband, a wife, and children.  For others, their family is a religious community.  A priest is the head of his family and his parishioners are his children.  Whatever it is, we must remember that the family is the building block of God’s plan.  When God created humans, He created a man and a woman who then had children.  They were one of the first families.  The very first family is the Trinity.  We have God the Father, God the Holy Spirit who active love of the Father, and then we have God the Son.  They are a very unique family, and it is hard for us to understand that mystery well, but we can see that Our Father always intended His Kingdom to be based on the love of a family.

Have you ever heard God speak to your heart?(show hands)  Have you ever heard God speak to you in a way that you felt you could actually hear His words? (show of hands) God is always speaking, we just need to take the time and space to listen.  I have had a couple of experiences that I actually felt like I heard someone speaking to me.  It took my breath away.  I have heard little whispers in my heart, too.  However, there are lots of times that life gets busy, or I get cranky and upset, that I stop listening.  Our world is very noisy.  We like to have lots of activity and noise. Everywhere we go there is music playing, televisions on, and people talking.  Getting some quiet can be hard, but it is really necessary.  When we take some time to be quiet it gives our mind and body a break. It’s like a mini vacation.  If you are feeling frustrated and overwhelmed, you probably need a little bit of quiet.

What are some places or some ways that you find a little quiet time?  My favorite place to find quiet is at Adoration.  I also try to go to a Traditional Latin Mass whenever I can, because I find it very peaceful.  However you find your quiet time, make sure to include some time for prayer.  On of my favorite prayers of discernment is , “speak LORD, your servant is listening.”  I pray that whenever I feel confused about what God wants me to do.  Then I sit and listen!  Really listen. It  is hard, and I don’t always do the best job, but really opening your heart and your ears to the words of God will change your life.  Once you have prayed and listened--even if you didn’t hear an answer--wrap up your prayer time with another little prayer, “Not my will, by Your Will be done!”

In finding our vocations, we might be surprised what they are.  We may have a vision of exactly how we want our life to turn out, and then God shows us what He wants.  It can be hard to change our mind, but we have to remember that following God always leads to joy and peace.  Our new pastor was originally an actor and a teacher.  He was engaged to a beautiful, Catholic lady and planned on raising a large family.  However, God kept calling his heart to the priesthood.  It was difficult to change his whole plan for the future, but he knew he had to do it and he is so glad that he did.  Do any of you feel called to a certain vocation? Whatever vocation you are drawn to, remember to take time to discern, which means to decide if this is really what God wants for you.  When my husband and I got engaged, we spent a lot of time praying and studying to decide where God wanted us.  We really wanted to get married and have a family but we wanted for to follow God wherever He led us. 

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

I Am Loved Retreat: The Gift of Love

Yay, I'm posting, again!  Maybe I will finish this series this week. There are so many things I want to write about.  Thanks for stopping by.

 The Gift of Love

We have already talked about how much God loves you.  He loves you more than you can ever imagine.  One way that He loves you is by giving you rules.  He sets up boundaries to give us freedom within the confines of His Love, for our own good. Could you tell me the Ten Commandments,one at a time?

Could anyone share with me what Jesus said was the greatest commandment? By loving God with all we have, loving others as ourselves, loving ourselves, and respecting our bodies, we can live a very happy life without regrets and then enter into the neverending embrace of the LORD.  And when we make mistakes, God is always there to forgive us through the power of Christ’s redemption.  We are never too far gone to start over with God.

St Paul wrote, “ Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant 5 or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful;[b] 6 it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. 7 Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
8 Love never ends.”  Does anyone know what “love” stands for in this verse?  This ultimate love is God, Himself.  God is living love and the source of all love here on earth.  

We have probably heard this verse many times, but it is good to read over slowly and think about, because even though it is written about God who is all powerful and perfect, it is a good guide for how we should love.  Jesus asked us to love our enemies and pray for those who mistreat us, so this verse isn’t just about how to treat our family and friends but everyone.

Let’s read it again, slowly.   “ Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant 5 or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful;[b] 6 it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. 7 Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
8 Love never ends.”

Love means doing always what is right to another, even when it is hard.  What are some things that your mom does for you that isn’t easy or isn’t fun?  Are there things that your mom asks you to do that maybe you don’t want to, but know you should? Love takes not being happy but taking care of the other person anyway.  Your parents love you immensely.  Think of all these things that aren’t fun, that aren’t easy, and that they might not like, but your parents do them anyway, and even though they make you eat fruit when you would rather have chocolate, go to bed when you would rather stay up, and clean your room when you would rather play; they would never make you do something that is harmful for you. That is true love!

Bishop Barron says, “Love is willing the good of the other for the other’s sake.”  What that means is wanting what is best for the other person, always, for the one you love’s sake, not yours.  Love is a very special emotion, because it is actually an action and a choice.  When we choose to love others we are doing God’s work in the greatest way possible.