Tuesday, June 30, 2015

What's Love Got to Do with It?

Like many others out there in the Catholic blogosphere, I have been rocked by the Supreme Court decision last Friday.  I really never realized before how much it would rattle me.  The victory call of "Love has won!" aggravated me.  What did love have to do with it, really?  The decision was not one of love, true love did not ever enter the equation.  We have lost our sense of love.  We confuse attraction for love, excitement for compatibility, and sexual pleasure for commitment.  However, when we got down to the nitty gritty of the law, we realize that our society has forgotten love and what true, unending, unfailing, sacrificial love is.

Are there same-sex couples who are loving and devoted to each other?  Surely there are.  Just as a deep friendship is a love that two share.  The truest definition of love is God.  He loves not only be complete surrender of Himself for good, but also by Creation.  God loves all people, He rejoices in the creation of each new soul no matter how imperfect.  The problem is not that all are not to be loved, that some should not experience love, nor that pursuit of happiness should not include love.  The problem is how do we define love and the realistic and legal implications of creating laws based on feelings and desires instead of the common good.  Even if you argue that the redefinition of marriage is for the common good, consider for a moment the flood gate that is opened by basing a culture on the chemical reactions of attraction--who is to say now what is right and wrong?  I see this as right because of my feelings of joy, therefore it cannot be wrong.

One commenter on one of the many articles I have read about this decision asked what the big deal was because love was just a bunch of chemical reactions in the brain. Let me say I have read a lot and read through all the comments.  However, the reduction of the greatest force of the universe to a few chemical reactions shows that we have lost our grip on true love and don't even know what we are fighting over.  Love is a choice, never a feeling.  Love is serving God through others, it is not about what I feel or want but what others will benefit.

I may be rambling, but in the midst of this, I wanted to share the top five articles that I have read that epitomize the Catholic position on the matter.  None of them have to do with hate.  The rejection of another's love is not hate.  I am choosing to love as Christ did and respect all peoples no matter whether I agree with them or not.  That does not mean that I must accept their truths as the Truth.  In the spirit of Love, let us read and understand the Truth that was created by Love itself, Our Risen LORD!

1.  An article that explores the legal and liberty implications of the Supreme Court decision : Why Four Justices Were Against the Huge Supreme Court Decision.

2.  A blog post by an average Catholic Mom about what average Catholic moms are really feeling about this decision--here's a hint, it's not hate!-- Explaining a Few Things

3.  The fear of persecution is real for those who oppose "gay marriage"-- White Martyrdom, Red Martyrdom, and a Rainbow

4.  Father Barron always has a deeply theological but gentle answer--We've Been Here Before

5.  Msgr Pope explains the effects of this new right on the Catholic Church-- Things are Going to Get Very Tough

Let us all pray for the preservation and respect for sacred vocations, both religious and marriage.  God bless.

Linking up with Jenna at Call Her Happy for #5Faves.

Friday, June 26, 2015

Over the Home of the Free?

I have been working on a piece about Laudato Si' that I hoped to get up this weekend, however inspired by Melody and prompted by the Holy Spirit, I roused out of bed in the middle of the night to post this instead.  I try to not get political on this blog, it is not my intent for writing, however since this blog is aimed at homeschooling, I feel that I must urge us all to add a Constitutional Law study to the docket of learning for the coming year.  The constitution must be read, studied, memorized, and taken to heart.  It is the very life blood of our nation and it is being torn to shred before our eyes

What happened today is not about love, it is about an overreaching government usurping the rights of the people to govern themselves and project their own opinions.  Our country is a democratic republic, it is a system of creating laws that not only protect liberty but ensure justice.  The Constitution is not an old, out dated document, but a living one that was written as a path to ensure our freedom for generations to come.  However, once you step outside the framework of checks and balances, and legislative due process, you effectively kill the very fabric that has made our country great.

We were founded and governed, until recently, upon the principle of "for the people, by the people."  To say that the people have spoken when a set of unelected, life time member judges rule to dishonor the safe guards of states' rights is tantamount to treason.  The people have not spoken, because we were not given a voice.  There are means in place for changing laws that are "unconstitutional."  Unconstitutional does not mean unpopular.  It does not mean un-modern.  It has never meant un-progressive.  If the make up of our republic has truly changed, if the laws governing our federal system have truly impeded citizens of states from effecting change upon injustice ordinances, then there needs to be a change.  However, the change must come from the bottom up, not the top down!  The people are the producers of change by our votes and our petitions.  Legally petitioning against an unjust law is not the same as standing outside the Supreme Court holding your banner of choice. 

No matter what side of the issue you support, and if you are Catholic I ask you to prayerfully consider the sacramental repercussions of this measure before deciding, you must think of the implications of continuing to give the Supreme Court more and more power. They were never intended to rule this land as legislators, their purpose is to keep in balance the powers of the legislators.  The only ones who have won today are the judges; our states, our Constitution, our quest for private and individual liberty have all lost.  The dissenting judges did not vote against love, they did not vote against gay people, they voted against the rights of every American citizen being trampled by a runaway court.  Please read their dissenting positions and decide for yourself who they were trying to restrain.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Works of Mercy Bouquet: Part 3

This is the third in my series on the works of mercy and how to live them in everyday life.  You can find posts about feeding the hungry and giving drink to the thirsty in the archives.  The Works of Mercy are integral to living our faith, yet they are often overlooked because we do not know how to do them even though we know that we should.  Also, as parents we must teach the Faith to our children, but teaching does not mean just book knowledge.  To truly teach Faith, a Faith that is ingrained on the soul and in the heart and throughout the mind, it must be lived.  As St Paul said, "Faith without works is dead."

Here are five ways that you and your family can learn to clothe the naked and so be the hands and feet of Christ here on earth.


In the Gospel of Luke,  John the Baptist says, "The man who has two tunics is to share with him who has none"  We all have more than one shirt, and St John is not advocating only having one outfit.  However, how many of us have 10 or 15 or even 25 shirts?  How many of us have clothes that we haven't worn in a few seasons, or even clothes that we don't know that we have?  It is common to clean out the closets at the end of seasons and "dispose" of those items that don't fit or we wouldn't want to be seen wearing.  There surely is a need for every garment we can give, and no reason to fill landfills with excessive waste because we no longer like the color or the collar is faded when there are those who are truly naked.  However, the challenge comes in giving not just what we don't want but what we want to share.  In the process of filling bags with the cast offs, choose an item or two that you still wear, that you still enjoy, that is still fashionable.  Give that!  Sacrificially clear out your closets and drawers, you will be blessed, I assure you.  When you then go to reach for that item and find it missing, you can pray for the person who received it and know that someone is wearing your favorite outfit and looks amazing.


This may not actually count as a different means of living this Work of Mercy, but research where you bring your clothes and find a way to give twice.  At our church,we have an annual clothing drive fundraiser and just recently installed a drop bin for the same purpose.  Clothing is sorted and sent to third world nations in desperate need of clothing.  They are willing to take items that other drives won't like clothes with small stains or mismatched socks (Now, I am not advocating giving the poor junky clothing, but let's be honest there are many items that are deemed unacceptable by our society that are still very much usable and comfortable.  Why throw them into the landfill? Half of all unwanted clothing in the USA ends up in the trash.)  The charity then pays the fundraising church a small amount per a pound of clothing collected.  It is a win for everyone involved.

If this type of fundraiser isn't available in your area, seek out thrift shops that either give the clothing away for free or fundraise for charity work.  My favorite thrift store not only sells items at amazing prices, but also uses every penny earned to fund mission trips to South America.  They also provide items for free to anyone who cannot afford to pay.  I know when I bring items there, they will be put to good use many times over!


Like the other corporal works of mercy, there is a spiritual dimension to this work.  It is  not just clothing the body, it is clothing the soul in dignity.  Clothing the body is necessary and protective, but what if you could touch someone's soul, too?  A little girl had just that idea and Hannah's Socks was created.  The premise is to provide new socks and under garments to homeless and impoverished people to help them feel a sense of dignity and comfort. This small amount of normalcy can make a big difference in the life of someone suffering through being unwanted or marginalized.

This is a very easy way to serve the poor.  Collect socks and undergarments and then find a homeless shelter or clothing charity to distribute the items to those who come in looking for some basics of life.


Now that you have cleaned out your closet, supported a clothing ministry or fundraiser, parted with that favorite sweater, and purchased some new underwear, what more is there to do?  How about giving of your time and talent, not just your stuff?  Do you know how to knit or crochet?  Can you sew?  You can make the world of difference for someone.

As our pastor would say, "Let's begin with a story." It was 2007, we were barely getting by and sweating every penny despite working as hard as we could.  The phone rang one day and I was offered a free two night stay at a resort about 3 hours away if I would just listen to a half hour presentation on time shares while there.  We so needed a little break.  I calculated out the price of gas to scrimp and save up before we went.  We packed up easy to prepare foods to cook lunch and dinner (breakfast was included) in the efficiency style suite.  We knew that we had no money to spend on entertainment and more than once really wondered how we would even cover the gas, but getting away for a couple of days seemed to be just what we needed.  The room was beautiful and big.  The area looked a whole lot like home but still was a nice change of scenery.  We heated up our simple supper, tucked Cowgirl into bed, and watched a little movie on the television.  Life was good.  In the morning, we woke up and started getting ready for breakfast.  The tile in the kitchen area was shiny black and so slippery.  Cowgirl only had socks on as she had hidden her shoes and I was searching for them.  She suddenly took off in a run.  My husband opened his mouth to say, "Stop running before you slip and hit your head," but only got as far as "St.." before we heard the slam of her head on the concrete floor.  She screamed for an hour straight, her pupils were dilating then shrinking to pin holes right before my eyes.  That was when we got scared. We put her in the car and tried to find the closest hospital  She vomited four times on the way there, it was a less than 10 minute drive.  We were away from home, out of extra clothes for Cowgirl, and wondering how in the world we would now pay for the emergency room bill when we couldn't even afford to buy our daughter an ice cream cone.  We sat there with a naked toddler and a disgusting car seat calculating how to even get her back to the hotel.  Then a sweet nurse walked in and handed us a hand knit blanket from Project Linus.  I can't tell you how much it meant to us.  Cowgirl thought the ER was the best part of the trip, a free blanket and an ice pop!  Her concussion was minor but still so scary.

Providing a blanket, sweater, or even hat through charities like Project Linus or World Vision Knits for Kids does more than clothe nakedness, it provides hope and the knowledge that someone cares.


The ultimate nakedness is vulnerability and dependency.  The aged, infirmed, and unborn are the most naked of our society.  They need us to clothe them in help, love, and protection.  If you want to clothe the naked, start with restoring dignity to all life.  Without dignity, even the best dressed person is left exposed and rejected.  We must support pro-life efforts within our community and parish, and teach our children about the value and sacredness of every life!

Linking up with Call Her Happy, hop over there for more Fav Fives!

Monday, June 22, 2015

Just Say a Little Prayer for Me!

Several years ago, Cowgirl wrote a letter to Saint Nicholas asking for a special "grown-up" rosary for Christmas.  I try hard not to buy items made in China. It is nearly impossible to never buy any Chinese goods, however, I really try my hardest.  At the same time, I have such an appreciation for handcrafted items, especially when I can have a conversation with the crafter and custom design my gifts.  In my search for the perfect, affordable, beautiful rosary, I discovered Battle Beads.  The workmanship was excellent and the prices unbeatable.

In the process of designing Cowgirl's rosary, I developed a rapport with Mary, the rosary maker.  In her final email, telling me that the rosary had been shipped, she wrote, "I feel like I need to bless you in a special way."  The single phrase unlocked the flood gates of my heart.  I replied with an email detailing all the difficulties I had faced and was facing--my mother's illness, my father's death, my miscarried daughter, financial struggles, family hardships, crises of faith... on and on I wrote.  I hadn't realized until that moment how much I needed to just let all that was pent up in my heart spill out.  Mary promised to pray for me and became a very dear friend.  She has always been there to check on me and pray for me when I needed it, in little matters and big.  While, Mary is the first person that I email when I need a rosary or chaplet for a gift, our bond goes much deeper than just vendor/client.

Mary has showered me with prayers for years, and I have returned the favor when asked, however right now she needs more prayers than I alone can give.  I am asking you, my readers, to pray along with me for this faithful and faithfilled woman who dedicates so much of her time in serving the LORD in prayer and work.

Mary has a list of physical struggles that have left her disabled and in need of help to keep up with her basic needs.  She suffers greatly but complains little.  Mary has been blessed recently with a caretaker who has helped so much in keeping her going so she can continue to spread the Good News and wage war with her "Battle Beads."  However, Carl is presently very ill.  He has been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer.  He is in pain, suffering physical struggles, and facing a very extensive surgery that will remove all or part of up to six major organs.  The cared for has become the caretaker. To say that Mary's devotion to Carl despite her own struggles is inspiring does the situation no justice.

Please join me in praying for Carl's health and recovery.  May God grant him healing and strength.  May the surgeon's hands be guided well and the cancer be easily removed.  Please pray for Mary, that she may be able to stay strong, the her own needs may be met so that she can care for and nurture Carl.  Pray for their security financially and trust in the LORD.  Difficult situations can shake the faith of even the most steadfast believers, help Mary and Carl to fight this battle against darkness and win.  What ever you do, please just pray.

I know there is so much to pray for in this world.  We all receive prayer requests continually and it can be discouraging.  However, let us not be discouraged.  Let us pray for our brother and sister in Christ and not grow weary.  Please just offer a Hail Mary and Glory Be each day for these two precious souls.  I know that your small effort, multiplied over many with bear much fruit!

If you are so led, please also consider supporting Mary financially either by purchasing from her lovely shop or by donating to her ministry.  She profits very little monetarily from her efforts, but I know that she is truly rich in Heaven.  Even Jesus needed help with food and shelter when walking lonely roads and serving His Father in difficult lands.

I thank you from the bottom of my heart for opening your heart to my special friend!  God bless!

Monday, June 15, 2015

Curriculum Sale Blog Hop

From now until Saturday, all books are half priced!  Shipping remains the same.  Thanks.

For the past five years, Jessica has hosted a curriculum sale and blog hop.  Last year, I really wanted to get to sell some books, but didn't have a blog.  She was so kind and set up a special Facebook page for me and then emailed me and said, "You have to start a blog!"  Well, that was the little nudge I needed.  Because of wanting to participate and the encouraging words of a very dear friend, Veils and Vocations was born.  So, I am thrilled to officially participate for the first time this year.

Below is the curriculum that I am selling, be sure to check the Blog Hop for many more offerings and deals.  I have done my best to photograph and accurately describe condition of each item.

All prices do not include shipping.  Items with be shipped media mail for and additional $5 for 1-3 items, and $7 for 4 items or more

If you have any questions, please ask!

Any item marked "FREE" is yours for the cost of shipping with the purchase of at least one other item.  Thank you.

All payments will be accepted through PayPal to the address of jennifer(dot)veilsandvocations(at)gmail(dot)com.  Please be sure to include your address and which items you are ordering in the comment section of PayPal.  Thanks!!

  • Choosing Self Control Bible Curriculum for Children--NEW-- $5  pending
  • Jesus' Friends--a Lesson in Friendship--good--$1
  • Five Minutes to Better Reading Skills--Like New-- $4  pending
  • A Taste of Math--good--$1
  • The Mother Daughter Legacy--very good hardcover--$3
  •  Scholastic Math Grade 2 Workbook--like new--$3
  • Brighter Child Learning Spelling Grade 2--like new--$2

  • Hardcover pocket sized Dictionary--very good-- $1
  • Life on Planet Earth--excellent condition aside from recent damage to dust jacket, can be taped or dust jacket removed, hardcover-- $ 4
  • Bible Crossword Puzzles--New-- $2
  • Robin Hood and the Golden Arrow--excellent, minimal shelf wear, hardcover-- $3 SOLD
  • Jip and His Story (By author of Bridge to Terrabithia) very goo, soft cover-- $1 SOLD
  • Fish in Your Community Tank--softcover, good condition-- $1
  • How to Draw Dinosaurs--very good, soft cover--$2
  • I Believe in God--NEW--$2
  • Leading Little Ones to Mary--very good-- $2

  • Descriptive Mysteries workbook--very good--$1
  • Princess and the Kiss Coloring Book--like new-- $2
  • Janice Van Cleave's 201 Awesome, Magical, Bizarre, and Incredible Experiments--very good-- $3
  • Simply Grammar, An Illustrated Primer--NEW-- $4
  • Father Barron's Seven Deadly Sins, Seven Lively Virtues Study Guide--NEW-- $5

  • The World of Columbus and Sons--very good--$3
  • Totally Catholic!---NEW-- $5
  • 730 Easy Science Experiments--very good--$3
  • Easting Gluten Free--like new-- $4
  • Song School Latin Teacher Manual--NEW-- $7SOLD
  • French on the Go CD program---very good-- $4 SOLD

  • Money Magnetic Learning Game--very good---$3
  • Aesop's Fables--hardcover, excellent condition--$3
  • Uncle Arthur's Storytime (stories about virtues)--good condition, cover very worn-- $1
  • Voyages in English 5--vintage, hardcover, excellent condition-- $15
  • Did Adam and Eve Have Belly Buttons?--excellent condition-- $2SOLD
  • Voyages in English 3, vintage, hardcover, excellent condition--$15

  • Set of 11 Math Readers, grades 1-2, very good condition, soft cover, $6 for set SOLD

  • Big Book of Animals, a few pages colored, still very good condition, over 300 pages, $1 pending
  • Abeka Arithmatic 4, partially used in pencil, acceptable condition, FREE
  • Dover Wild Animal Coloring book, a little coloring completed--FREE   SOLD
  • I Know my Neighbors Coloring Book, NEW, FREE
  • TEAMS of Our Lady Letter to Families by Pope Saint John Paul II--FREE
  • James in a Mess, good condition, soft cover-- $1

  • Bible Color and Activity book--good condition--FREE
  • Highlight's Magazine--NEW--FREE
  • Puzzle Island, some writing but very usable--FREE
  • Clifford the Dog Phonics Readers--well loved but usable--FREE
  • 365 Bedtime Bible Stories--acceptable--FREE.

  • More Fun With Our Friends Reader, Vintage, good condition-- $5
  • School House Press Games and Puzzles--very good-- $2
  • Grade 2 Spelling Puzzles--good-- $1
  • American Girl Quiz book--a few pages done in pen, mostly empty-- $2

  • Stories Jesus Told--hardcover, good condition--$1
  • St Joseph Children' Bible--hardcover, good condition-- $2
  • My Child, My Princess--hardcover, excellent condition-- $6
  • School HOuse Press Second Grade Scholar-- very good condition-- $2
  • American Girl Julie's Adventure--like new-- $3
  • American Girl, Girls and their Horses--very good-- $2SOLD
  • Tasha Tudor First Prayer Book--hardcover, good condition-- $1
  • St Joseph Baltimore Catechism--soft cover, good condition-- $2 pending
Thanks for looking.  Please comment below to check availability.

Friday, June 12, 2015

{p,h,f,r} My Grandmother's House

Blogger tells me it has been 11 days since I posted.  I never intended to take most of June off.  Life has just been a little complicated.  I sat down several times to write, but nothing came.  I thought, to get me feet wet again, I would link up with Like Mother, Like Daughter (a day late) and share some memories of my grandmother's house.

This is a bit of a photo dump. There is much about my grandmother's home that is pretty, mostly though, the beautiful memories that we made there.  It was always full of family and friends, her door was always open, and no matter when you came, you were getting a home cooked meal.

My grandmother was meticulous. Honestly, I have never met anyone who can take care of a home like her--including my mother who was in a class of her own.  There was never a crumb on the floor, never a speck of dust on the furniture, never the smallest item out of place.  These pictures at the messiest my grandmother's house has ever been, due to the fact that we are cleaning it out.  If she were to ever see it this way, she would surely have a heart attack.  This is beyond disgraceful by her standards. :)

When I was a little girl, my grandmother (and great grandmother who lived here also) taught me many things: how to set a table, how to polish silver, how to shine crystal, how to take glasses in and out of a china cabinet without a sound.  I learned how to cook and serve a meal, how to welcome guests and wait on company, and so much more. They are the lessons that shaped my life and guide me still, although my home will never be as perfect as my grandmother's!  In all these lessons, we spent a lot of time in the dining room, when I was young, the above statuettes stood on either side of the hutch.  The man on the left, the lady on the right.  I would stand there and dream of my wedding.  I always thought they were the most beautiful things I had ever seen.  Well, taste changes, when I took them down after decades of fantasizing about them, I realized, I really don't like how they look at all...lol.  I had remembered them completely differently and this was the first time I had seen them up close as opposed to nearly 7 feet in the air.  I realized, I really didn't want them, nor need them, despite begging my grandmother to let me have them when I grew up.  So, I took a picture to remember and bid them goodbye.

I always like my grandmother's lavender room that she redecorated about 20 years ago, it somehow always seemed new. Again, she would fall over that there is something on the bed.  My grandmother's bed was always made to precision, she could put any army corporal to shame. I know how to make a bed like that--smooth the spread, tug and pull until it is absolutely flat and even, fold back the top 20" of the spread, roll the pillow, tuck the spread up and under the pillow, cut your hand in under the pillow, firmly, to make a sharp crease. I know how, but never in my married life have I done so.  Although, I am thinking of starting.  There must be something satisfying to greet a beautiful bed at the end of a long day.  I grew up making my bed that way, I was so thankful when my mother switched to comforters and pillow shams--no more rolled pillows!!  However, I never appreciated it.

This is actually a collection of knickknacks that were throughout my grandmother's room.  I'm not sure where the little three tiered table that housed them went, but they were there until the day that she passed.  Her room was rearranged a little to make room for the hospital bed and things got changed around.  I can hear my grandmother saying, "Now what are you doing with that?  I doesn't belong there!  You need to put things in their proper places or you'll have a big mess!"  There's a lot of truth in that.
I wonder what she would think about me blogging while my home is in a state of squalor by her standards???
Perhaps this should go under funny, but it is one of those crazy, happy things.  My grandmother's bathroom was always my favorite room in the house.  It was all pink--ALL PINK!!!  I am a pink lover, it has always been my favorite color. No one else had a pink bathroom!  When I walked in over the weekend, it was hard to look around and realize I would never walk through it, again. 

While we are on the topic of bathrooms, I must confess, I was always afraid of the half-bath in the cellar.  I never grew out of it, even as an adult I would cringe if I had to use it.  I considered not even going in as I took photos last weekend.  However, I wanted to have pictures of everything. So I went in and held my breathe, while I continually told myself there was nothing to fear!  I am so glad that I did, in the linen closet, I found boxes, tins, and bags full of old photos!  I can't wait to sort through them and discover my family's history.

That brown pipe up the wall, always worried me!
I have travelled pretty extensively.  My parents always took us to exotic locations: the Caribbean, South America, Mexico, cruises.  I have lived abroad in three countries and visited many more in Europe.  No where I have ever vacationed, has ever made me as happy as my grandmother's home.  As a child I spent endless hours there, often venturing down with my father on his way to work in the wee hours of the morning and then coming home well after dark (and my bedtime), just to spend a day with my grandparents.  In the summers, until I was in high school, I would spend weeks at a time.  Her home was my home, my favorite escape and welcoming constant.  If I could spend just one week anywhere in the world, I would spend it here with my grandmother and make more memories, because there is no such thing as too many memories!

Now, I need to run. I feel an urge to clean something! :)


Monday, June 1, 2015

Winner of Summer Book Bundle

Kathy, commenter #5, is the winner of the book bundle. Congratulations, Kathy!  Please email me so I can get these out to you.