Thursday, May 17, 2012



Today begins the Novena to the Holy Spirit!
Day 1


Charity

Let us bow down in humility at the power and grandeur of the Holy Spirit. Let us worship the Holy Trinity and give glory today to the Paraclete, our Advocate.

Oh Holy Spirit, by Your power, Christ was raised from the dead to save us all. By Your grace, miracles are performed in Jesus’ name. By Your love, we are protected from evil. And so, we ask with humility and a beggar’s heart for Your gift of Charity within us.

The great charity of all the the host of Saints is only made possible by your power, Oh Divine Spirit. Increase in me, the virtue of charity that I may love as God loves with the selflessness of the Saints.

Amen.

Come Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful and kindle in them the fire of your love. Send forth your Spirit and they shall be created. And You shall renew the face of the earth.

O, God, who by the light of the Holy Spirit, did instruct the hearts of the faithful, grant that by the same Holy Spirit we may be truly wise and ever enjoy His consolations, through Christ Our Lord,

Amen.

Find the Original Here: Novena to the Holy Spirit 

Monday, May 14, 2012

Random Moment of Beauty: Pink and Green

I love this color combination in the spring, as you know.  Here's a softer pairing, which stands behind our microwave on the green countertop.  The friend gave me the pitcher years ago, and the cups are my daughters. Since we lack drawers in our kitchen, the basket is our silverware drawer.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Black Cat Collection

Since we have named our house The Black Cat Inn, it seemed natural to start collecting inn-like artifacts with a black cat theme. We are determined to rehabilitate and redeem the bad press this hue of feline has received, feeling we are in good company since Our Lady herself has given a new significance to the 13th day of the month.
So here is our collection to date: starting at the bottom and going counter-clockwise: ttwo signature wine bottles of Black Cat Wine, normally known as Zeller Schwartze Katz, a deliciously sweet light white wine (our house vintage, naturally!), a bottle of Black Cat Tonic which Snow White found in an antique store for us, an iron antique black cat plaque together with two cooking implements unburied on our property, a set of black cat trivets (such pieces frequently tend to appear on eBay in October, we've discovered), two prints of a long-deceased magazine from the 1900s titled The Black Cat, and lastly, a homemade menu for our "Inn," composed by our eldest daughter when she was around ten, which we couldn't resist framing. No doubt the collection will grow, as collections do, but this is the status thus far.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

My King in Spring


When I inherited this statue of the Infant of Prague, a devotion I've reconnected with over the past five years, I also inherited gilt lace coats, two for the different seasons, frightfully tattered and faded.  Somehow I think little Jesus looks a bit smothered in these particular garments, but I am touched by their homemade attempts at finery.  So I tend to keep him in his simple painted surplice on the bookshelf by my bed.  I couldn't resist giving him a scarf of Indian cotton -- it should really be a stole, but the fold around his neck hides the crack that beheaded him last year.  The casual style reminds me a bit of the Little Prince, and that's not altogether a bad thing, is it?  So there he stands, with a wine bottle of holy water (I love the vintage sleeve), a clay candle from Europe, a gourd box from Mexico, a bird photo frame from a friend, and a bookend we have christened St. Benedict. Prince of Peace, bring peace to our world.

Saturday, May 05, 2012

Bilbo's Coat Rack

My brother-in-law continues to work his magic at Strong Oaks Barn Wood Shop, which is about to move into an actual commercial workshop, having far outgrown its beginnings as a garage hobby. When we finished our entranceway with reclaimed barn wood this past summer, we envisioned having an entryway like Bilbo Baggins' -- one with "lots d lots of pegs for hats and coats -- the hobbit was fond of visitors."  Mike obliged with this amazing nine-foot pegboard, which we think truly gives our entranceway a touch of Middle-Earth hospitality.

Friday, May 04, 2012

Reasons for Hope

My husband grew up on a small strawberry farm.  For years, he and his ten siblings worked the fields every summer, picking massive or miniature berries to sell to strangers passing down their road.  He knows how to grow strawberries. Yet somehow he and I have never managed to include strawberries in our garden.  They are an "investment" plant -- you plant, you wait a year, you hope -- and somehow during that year of waiting, we have always managed to mess up -- whether by failing to water or moving to a new house. 

We finally planted last summer. Last year was the waiting year.  This year, with its unusually warm winter, is the fruiting year.  The plants are large and lush.  Our children are anticipating a fruitful summer.  We hope their hope, long tested, pays off.

Thursday, May 03, 2012

Mary's Month is May

My daughter loves this dollar-store china statue, which she believes to be Mary -- though I confess most of the year I am dubious, suspecting that she is a mere fashion doll.  But when we set her on a centerpiece with a bouquet of flowers and an oil lamp to celebrate Our Lady's special month, I admit that she has a more lovely and peaceful expression than many manufactured statues of impeccably sacred pedigree.  We must find her a crown.

Wednesday, May 02, 2012

Finding Time

I've been struggling to find my way back home for a while. For about the past year, I've been feeling too busy to do more than put laundry in the dryer, let alone journal with my camera. Pondering on the subject for some time, I believe I can credit my dislocation to two developments:

1) Having teenagers.  Now at last I understand why my friends with teenagers always have a "running between appointments" look to them, and why they were always so busy, no matter what time of the year or day of the week it was.  I have joined the treadmill: my third daughter becomes a teen this month. And our teens are not overly scheduled, nor are they involved in any activities besides school -- but yet, they are older, and managing their schedules and emotions takes time -- time previously spent gazing at an infant sleeping or watching toddlers discover their fingers. Now my time with my children is spent not watching but talking -- teaching, arguing, discovering, or just having a conversation.  My life is less silent. For now.

2) Needing to work. Alas, my professional duties continue to intrude onto my life and the computer has become a taskmaster.  How can I complain?  I do work I love, I work with people I love, and I feel my work is both useful and necessary, but yet, it takes time.  And the screen preoccupies me more than my teenagers, sad to say.

So this summer I hope to find my way back home, somehow.  Today I put my teen son's laptop by the window to work, with a pot of tea cozied beside it.  I tried to look out the window at the games goint on  outside, and to take time to watch my children who are growing up so fast.  I hope to journal again, and seek out the moments of beauty to share.  Thank you for faithfully reading.  Let us continue to pray for one another.