Tuesday, November 29, 2011

My Favorite Prayer Begins

If you're Catholic, a special part of our Christmas observance begins this Wednesday, November 30th.
(This is one of my most favorite prayers EVER...if not in fact my favorite of all.)

St. Andrew Christmas Prayer
Hail, and blessed be the hour and moment at

which the Son of God was born of a most pure

Virgin at a stable at midnight in Bethlehem in the

piercing cold. At that hour vouchsafe, I beseech

Thee, to hear my prayers and grant my desires.

Through Jesus Christ and His most Blessed Mother.


Monday, November 28, 2011

One More Picture Perfect Week

In celebration of Picture Book Month, A Picture Perfect Childhood is being offered in Ebook format for only $1.99. This special will stay on the library bookshelf for the rest of this week.

Get your copy today and begin the New Year with a new understanding of the connections picture books create between relationships within families, how they cultivate the imagination,
  • a picture-perfect booklist for enhancing your child's education,
  • a checklist for working on virtues throughout the year,
  • a global geography booklist,
  • a map for Across America,
  • a tray of petit fours for moms to read,
  • a monthly menu to treat yourselves and your children to
It's a great way to start the upcoming 2012 year!

A Picture Perfect Childhood (Ebook format)

A Picture Perfect Childhood (Paperback format)

I'm hopeful that having an Ecopy of these lists loaded to your portable technical devise will make your trips to the library easier. PPC has a wide avenue of prearranged booklist to use in spicing up the second half of your school year. For the 4th year in a row, an audience of little people at St. Jude's Hospital will get a box of treats thanks to your spirit of giving. :-)

Sunday, November 27, 2011

There's a New Color Around

Here in Louisiana we are big fans of Black and Gold (the New Orleans Saints) and Purple and Gold (LSU, baby!)

Today, for Catholics in Louisiana there was a more resplendent color on the sanctuary.

I thought Mass was lovely. The church was full, purple was on everything from the priestly vestment to the cords around the white robes of the eucharistic ministers. We barely knelt to pray upon entering the church when my youngest daughter tugged at my arm and pointed to the newly lit purple candle cradled in the Advent wreath.

What a joyful season to be a child.

The new liturgical church year was welcomed in with more poetic words and song verses and acclamation. The second revision of the roman missal is all some of us know in our lifetime. It's the only words my husband and I have ever recited at Mass.

This third revision is challenging but very forgiving. It takes our vernacular language and makes it sing with hushed reverence because isn't hushed reverence the way we should enter the holiest of holies? (Hebrew 9:3)

It isn't that the Church Christ created is changing, it is that man, in his fallen nature, never gets things quite right. Luckily, though we think all things happen in our time, they don't. It's in God's time and these forty years are mere blinks of God's eyelashes. He opens His eyes and sees His creation trying to get it right this Advent.



Maybe. Perhaps.

Trying again.

Never quite succeeding but trying to remain faithful.

All in God's time.

And so we prepare to enter a new church year, a new revision of the Mass, and the arrival of a precious baby.

I appreciate the week after Thanksgiving day and December 1st. It's a forgiving week in my home life. It's the week for cleaning, breathing slow, enhaling ideas and plans. It's the week I like to bare my house of the ordinary. All regular things are put away and wrapped in quiet. December 1st marks a wonderful time of year for me and I prefer Advent to start afresh on the frost of December.

A new month. A new time. A new church year.

This year I wasn't feeling much of anything. My house is in a state of remodeling, a renovation disaster. Too many broken pieces, too much uncensored paper in heaps. This homeschooling mom-writer-director of a tiny-piece-of-God's-vineyard is losing ground. We had just arrived home from our week of celebrating Thanksgiving Indian-style. Blankets and dirt-tinted clothes buried the floor which was already drowning in clutter. I couldn't think of cleaning, much less Christmas preparation.

But children have a way of feeling everything. Barely had the Thanksgiving bins come down from the loft to be filled and Annie had her daddy pulling the numerous Christmas bins down as well.

A flat tire (which I will not reveal was threadbare because then one wonders why my child was driving around with a threadbare tire and, thus, makes us seem like bad parents because that's the first thing people assume; and so, this flat tire...) interrupted the clean-up and put-up of dirty soggy camping clothes, equipment and supplies. Bins dusted high with year-old dust bunnies were stacked outside my door waiting to be welcomed inside. A shattered glass candle holder was the defining cymbal.

And I was tired.

It's the same feeling a pregnant woman has the month before her baby arrives. A feeling of overwhelming denial. A feeling that one woman just can't do it all. A feeling of wanting to curl up into a fetal position and live in disbelief. I honestly didn't have the motivation or the umf! to put out Christmas.

That's when a young child takes you by the hand and heralds you into a new moment in time.

It's a delicious time of life. It's a holy time, a rewarding time, a sanctifying time.

It's definitely worth preparing for.

And so we began.
And I realized that while the rest of my house was in holy turmoil, there was God's providence...two rooms cleaned most recently by my oldest daughter while the rest of us lived in the woods. Two main rooms of the house, the heart of our existence, the kitchen and the living room, cleaned, decluttered, and ready for Christmas bounty and blessing.

This morning we made cinnamon rolls and coffee for breakfast, went to Mass and husband made gumbo for lunch, and we decorated the Christmas tree. It wasn't a perfect beginning. Most of my children were working this morning. One of them woke up sick. 
BUT we had a baby in the house; you know, for the cooing sound effects and photo opts. ;-)

It's a penitential time of year but it's also a waiting, a holding, a reverent moment in time, a preparation. Rather than preparing for a death and an open tomb, we are preparing for the birth of a baby.

It's a pregnant pause.

Some in the church would say Advent, as a pregnant pause, should not have so much hustle and bustle and there is no room for frantic pacing. Any one is has been pregnant remembers the month before the birth compared to the month following the birth. They know what a pregnant pause entails.

When we prepare for a baby during that pregnant pause we cook and freeze dinners, we select birth announcements, we make sure the camera battery is working, we decorate the nursery and people give us gifts. It's a blissful, happy time of life.

There are pauses of meditation and wonderment. There are moments of quiet reflection. It's a hustle-y, bustle-y, frantic season of life.  
Our culture is what it is. We can work to make it holy. Preparation is not holy hush and quiet reflection. Preparation calls for action and service. There is lots of merriment and rejoicing during this holy season of Advent. I think it's good and holy. It's the rejocing of the upcoming birth.

After the birth comes the holy hush and quiet reverence over new creation and the fullness of God made man.

Monday, November 21, 2011

What One Sees on the Soccer Field

My oldest soccer player just turned 24. A knee injury cut short his soccer glory in high school. He still loves the sport though. And misses it too. He stands on the edge of the field watching his younger brother and sisters play and I see him enhale the autumn field, toe a nearby soccer ball, while eyeing the players and refs with fond knowing.

Since he was five he's loved this sport and these fields. It's almost 20 years we've spent every fading summer and every tempting fall on soccer fields across Louisiana. Soccer fields on the edge of highways and thruways. Soccer fields on the edge of hay fields and department store parking lots. Soccer fields behind hotels and in the middle of no-wheres. Soccer fields have played a major part of my children's outdoor nature study.

And we've seen many things...

ant beds glittered with orange powder sugar from candy straws,
wasps nest hidden in bushes,
hidden hornets in ground,
wild flowers,
cattails in swamp,
stray dogs,
soccer balls in the face and downed players,
a rainbow holding the field together.

And we've experienced many things...

children getting bit by fireants,
children getting stung by wasps,
children getting chased by hive of hornets,
wilted bouquets on the dashboard,
exploding cattails in back seat of vehicle,
the heartfelt sorrow of leaving stray dogs behind,
soccer balls in the face and downed players,
blue autumn skies.

And we've been thankful for many things...

bug spray, ice-cold soda cans, non-allergic children,
broken cigarettes and moist tobacco inside grandpa's pocket,
vacuum cleaners,
friends who replace stray dogs,
doctors and ER personnel,
God's perfect providence.

After 20 years on the soccer field one is apt to think they've seen it all. Then one sees something that doesn't belong but shows up anyway.

Our finale last weekend was a mad cow...

That's my husband standing on the edge of the cow pasture soccer field in this picture my friend Michelle took. The cow came from nowhere and the home team said they had never seen her before during practice. She clearly felt she belonged there. We wondered if she had a calf nearby or perhaps was pregnant and emotional.

She leisurely grazed and ampled along the edge of the forest as the home team kept us trapped on their end of the field. Then, in a spurt of revenge, our team herded the home team over to our side of the field...towards the cow. That upset her...terribly.

Clearly feeling under attack, she ran at the players in an aggravated jog. The men redirected her and ran her off into the woods again.

By game's end, she reappeared on the other end of the field, lowered her head several times, and did not back down from waving caps, shirts, and towels. Instead, she lunged towards the field and the players, paused in the confusion, and trampled again. Older children circled the soccer field and rustled up their younger siblings.

No one got hurt and it was a peaceful ending. The worst thing that happened was we lost a fully charged game 3-1. I guess worse things could have happened. Right?

It was a bit of excitement in a 20 year adventure. I wish my oldest soccer player had been there to see it.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Links to Catholic Questions

“Apostolic zeal, which should animate all the faithful, is a direct result of their baptism,” he said, “and they cannot shirk their responsibility to profess their faith in Christ and his Gospel wherever they find themselves, and in their daily lives.” ~ Pope Benedict encourages us all to reach out to non-Catholics

"A spiritual communion is a devotion that we can initiate on our own, either inside or outside of holy Mass. We can make a spiritual communion at any time and in any place, as long as we approach the devotion with “renewed faith, reverence, humility and in complete trust in the goodness of the divine Redeemer” and are “united to him in the spirit of the most ardent charity,” according to Pope Pius XII’s encyclical Mediator Dei (The Sacred Liturgy). In spiritual communion, we embrace Our Lord as if we had actually received him in the Eucharist." ~ Make a Spiritual Communion

"What earlier generations held as sacred, remains sacred and great for us too, and it cannot be all of a sudden entirely forbidden or even considered harmful. It behooves all of us to preserve the riches which have developed in the Church’s faith and prayer, and to give them their proper place." Pope Benedict XVI on Catholic Tradition
"The Pope explained that, in the course of his catechesis dedicated to the Psalms, he had sought to focus on those 'that reflect the different situations in life and the various attitudes we may have towards God. I would like to renew my call to everyone to pray the Psalms, to become accustomed to using the Liturgy of the Hours, Lauds, Vespers, and Compline. Our relationship with God can only be enriched by our journeying towards Him day after day'." ~ I'd Like Everyone to use the Liturgy of the Hours

So if you do use the Liturgy of the Hours, blogmistress Daria Sockey is interested in hearing from you: Guest Psalmsayers Wanted
"Is it possible to be reconciled with God without going to confession? What about Protestants who commit mortal sins? When is general absolution warranted? And what about the dying who can’t confess?" ~ Jimmy Akin podcast
"Beginning on the first Sunday of Advent (2011) we will all begin using the third edition of the Roman Missal, so Mass responses are going to change a little. Most of us are going to need to read along for awhile- let’s face it- old habits die hard and many of us have been saying to same responses every Sunday for our entire lives. It’s time to re-program our brains." ~ Blogmistress at Catholic Icing very generously gives us a Free Resource Booklet on the Mass to download and print for kids

"Can the poor souls pray for us? Generally, we must say, “no” the poor souls cannot pray for us. In the ordinary course of things, the poor souls are neither in the state to pray in our behalf, nor have they knowledge of our needs or our prayers. However, there is no reason to think that God could not grant special dispensations to certain of the poor souls at times. Thus it was that, according to the testimony of several saints, some poor souls have heard and answered the prayers of the living." ~ New Theological Movement

"We might wonder how it is that an indulgence can be applied to the holy souls. Since the Church on earth has no jurisdiction over the souls in purgatory, how can she provide an indulgence to ease their sufferings?" ~ Indulgences Offered for the Dead During the Month of November

"As a resource to help young people (and us “older than young” people too!) know their faith, the YOUCAT opens a door." ~ A Few Reasons to Use the New YOUCAT 

Sunday, November 13, 2011

How to Become Like A Little Child Again

"Believe, unless you become like little children again, you shall not enter the kingdom of heaven" (Matthew 18:3)

(Jesus Clip Art Found Here)

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I often wondered in my growing years how one becomes a little child again. I knew this was figurative speech but I still wasn't sure about the mentality of it all.

Caryll Houselander, a 20th century mystic and visionary, describes it better than anyone I've yet to read:

"It is encouraging and pleasing that Our Lord does not tell us to remain, but to become, as little children. And that it is little children we are told to become like, not adolescents.

"An ordinary child, who has not been warped by ill treating or spoiling is, until he is ten years old, a more complete human being that he will ever be again. He possesses humility and simplicity, in the true sense of those much-abused words. He has the capacity for total joy and total surrender. ... His reactions to other people are absolute, his love is without alloy. His trust is without question or doubt. His values are true; he is untouched by the materialism of gorwn-up people. ... He is in favour of those things which are useful and beautiful --- or both --- and which in some way mean communion with adults. For the little child loves adults, wholly behind their deserts. ...

"Humility, which cannot be separated from real simplicity, is part of young childhood. Children do not become bitter because they are treated as little and insignificant: they take it for granted they are so, and to them it is as necessary to love and to be loved as it is to eat and drink...

"To go back to childhood means that we must get back true values, instead of those that are based on materialism, public opinion and snobbery; that we must regain simplicity and humility, that we must become makers and poets again, that we must regain the capacity to experience fully what ever we experience at all; and, above all, we must regain the courage that is partly a boundless zest for living and partly an unquestioning trust in an all-powerful love.


"Those who fail to grow up do not remain children. What happens to them is this: they become fixed in their adolescence. They remain emotionally and mentally incomplete all their lives --- perpetual adolescents...

"The perpetual adolescent does not grow up because he --- or she --- is afraid to do so. Afraid of life: of grown-up responsibilities, of working for a living, of independence, of making decisions, of taking risks; afraid of falling in love, of making a home, of having children; afraid of sickness, of growing old and of dying.

"Our Lord's words are  a challenge. To become a child is a challenge to our courage. It demands, first of all, that we dare to grow up, to give ourselves to life, to accept life as it is --- and above all, to accept ourselves as we are...

"One immediate result of accepting ourselves as we are --- which is becoming simple --- is that we stop striving to reach a goal which means becoming something that the world admires, but which is not really worth while. Instead we realize the things that really do contribute to our happiness, and work for those. ... we cease to want to be rich or successful or popular, and want instead the things that satisfy our deeper instincts; to be at home, to make things with our hands, to have time to see and wonder at the beauty of the earth, to love and to be loved. ...

"To accept oneself as one is; to accept life as it is: these are the two basic elements of childhood's simplicity and humanility."

* * * * * *
And how do we learn to accept ourselves and life as it is? you ask.

It takes wisdom. Lots and lots of wisdom. Radical Wisdom, if you will.
And prayer, because we must pray to get there.

Advent is almost upon us and promises a perfect season within the Church-year to focus on what it means to be child-like in faith once again.

Monday, November 7, 2011

9 Year Olds Say the Funniest Things

I love having car conversations with my 9-year-old...

"Mommy, Lily's birthday is four days after Christmas and mine is four days before Christmas. That's the only thing we have in common."


"Oh, and Lily and I are really good at the hula-hoop too."


"And Lily and I are experts at the foosball."

Evidently friends are made when you don't have that much in common. :-)

Friday, November 4, 2011

Every Woman Needs a {Domestic Day}

Most woman are a little obsessed with Martha Stewart and Paula Deen. Aren't we?
Even if we don't particularly gush about them (or even care for them) we secretly want our home to look that nice, our kitchen to smell that nice, and our bathrooms to be that nice. Even if they aren't.

That's why I think it's a good self-practice to declare one day a week as your {Domestic Day}.

Mine would be Friday.

Saturday & Sunday are family days usually filled with what the rest of the family wants to do and outside activities.
Monday is co-op day...a full day of classes and learning and socializing.
Tuesday is a couple of rushed hours at the office to prep for Wednesday followed by afternoons with 4-H, Keepers, soccer, and ballet.
Wednesday is my work day and I sometimes attend a bible study that helps me focus my life through Scripture.
Thursday is often less cluttered but I might clean-up my office a bit, shop a bit, and run a ton of errands. It's never just my day.
Friday is often an untouched day. It is my {Domestic Day} and I feel blessed to have it.

Today's {Domestic Day} went something like this:
  • tinkered with my blog layout while watching The Aristocats with girls
  • tryed to understand what happened with Google Reader and attempted to try to find and apply another blog sharer (failed at both attempts but at least I had a morning to try)
  • swept and mopped sitting room, kitchen, bathrooms, and hallway floors
  • cleaned tiolets
  • laundry catch-up
  • sink clean-up
  • leisurely trip to store which allowed me a headstart on necessary items I will need in the next week so that I am not rushed silly
  • sausage and potoato soup on stovetop
  • sweet potato pie and pumpkin pie piping in the oven
  • date night with husband
{Domestic Days} help us get through the rest of the week.

A Most Perfect Psalm


Be Still...

Be Still and Know...

Be Still and Know That...

Be Still and Know That I Am...

Be Still and Know That I Am GOD!

~ Psalm 46:10 ~

HUGE Hillside Book SALE

About this sale: We've never had a sale this BIG! Everything in our online store is on sale with savings from 20-50%. Please visit our website soon as some quantities are limited. Check out some of the specials below. Thank you for your support. ~ Margot Davidson



WORD TO CAESAR by Geoffrey Trease




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In addition you'll find picture books, Liturgical Year
resources, and English books all on sale. Thanks for your support!!Hillside Educationwww.hillsideeducation.com

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Christmas Mosaic is also on sale $14.99 (normally $19.99) just in time to chisel your way through a Christmas snowpile of beautiful picture books.

Recommendations by Engageya

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