Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Tickled Pink

While shopping today I passed lots of new pretty material, sweet designs, and danity prints. For a moment the thought occured that I'd had no reason to stop and finger the lovely frocks. Then, as my eye scanned the size tags, I realized I still had a daughter who fit into this age category.

The thought tickled me pink and left me abundantly happy that I can pass the sweet frocks in the little girls' section of the store and still have a daughter who loves pink and swishes and 'oohs and aahs' over the prettiness of girlhood.  
That was my moment of grace and gratitude today.
Do you have those gifted moments?
Please share over at one thousand gifts...

Monday, February 20, 2012

A Day Filled with Calla Lilies, Cake, and Blessings

February 20 ~ April 20
{Beautiful Bouquet of carnations and daisies gifted by my friend Monica}

Yesterday was just pure fun. Today was an awakening of sorts.
This morning I awoke with the realization that we have exactly two months before Corey and Adrain's wedding.
Oh, happy day! :-)
But, before I get to that little bit of information, insync with my random thoughts this morning, has anyone else ever assumed thought that calla lilies were cow lilies?  Or am I (embarrassingly so) the only one?
That's my future daughter-in-love's favorite flower. My friend Sandra did some awesome handiwork with crafting some edible calla lilies for the shower cake. Aren't they lovely?
{the cake design is Paisley Print}

I know this seems totally off-the-wall but follow me for a moment here.
So I wake up and begin downloading the few pictures I thought to capture yesterday and curious minded-me, this morning...after the revelation that my oldest in two short months will be meeting his bride at the same altar his grandparents were wed 50 years ago this June, as did his father and I 26 years ago this May which may I add, in all honesty, seems like only two months ago...randomly typed in cow lilies and was educated to the fact that they are calla lilies
I'm still learning, friends. Don't disown me for being honest. ;-)
I have never claimed to be a flower expert though my blog might give a false nod at times. If it isn't your basic rose or magnolia I send the girls to Chelsea's godmother (gardner extraordinaire) to confirm the flower's identity.
With the knowledge that cow lilies are really calla lilies, I found a couple of fascinating fun facts about this paticular flower which will grace Adrain's wedding table, bouquet, and finery this coming April.
In keeping with the joy of the occassion, I thought I'd share these bullet points which we shall call...
Bouquet Points About Calla Lilies:
  • symbolizes purity, understanding, appreciation
  • native plant to South Africia
  • not a member of the lily family
  • can bloom all year long
  • Ancient Roman households potted them inside and when the flower bloomed it was considerated a sign of spring
  • also symbolic of rebirth and resurrection, these beautiful flowers were once only associated with funerals but have become, fittingly, a popular bridal flower
  • it's a sturdy flower which can be potted for indoors and transplanted outdoors
* * * * *
It's really a symbol of everything I can hope for in their marriage:
  • a marriage that is pure, understanding, and appreciative of all thoughts, feelings, and physical needs
  • a marriage that will bloom for eternity
  • a marriage that blooms all year, every year
  • a marriage that is potted, watered, nourished, and fed faithfully within the home
  • a marriage that thrives within the home and grows strong enough to be transplanted into the world at large
  • a marriage that is a rebirth of hope, love, and joy for both Corey and Adrain as they begin a new life together
  • a sturdy marriage that grows stronger each year
  • a beautiful wedding day that blooms in faith and trust this spring
    * * * * *
    Since I've taken up your morning educating you about flowers (surely my husband and boys will shake their heads in despair) I will leave you with a few pictures, and I do mean a few.
     I have a smart phone but no camera. :-(  Oh, pitiful me!
    Smart phones are great but lack good picture taking skills.
    I'm hopeful that Oma and my friend Lanell will have much better photo to share but for those we must wait.

    Good or flawed photos, I did want to record the day here. Photo albums have forever fallen into total despair and boxes the past five years. This blog is my photo album/scrapbook so I did not want another month day to go by without recording a beautiful day and a joyful memory for the happy couple!
    It began a couple months ago when the hostesses decided to move the bridal shower from SuperBowl Sunday, February 5th, to Mardi Gras weekend, February 19th. Only, in the planning, no one remembered it was the weekend before Mardi Gras, myself included.
    Did I mention that I'm talking about Mardi Gras in Louisiana, no less?
    It's almost sacrilegious to plan anything the weekend before Mardi Gras!
    Getting everyone to agree on a date is hard enough. We decided to leave it alone and went forward with the plans. We cut our serving number in half of the amount of invitations planned and joyfully ordered the cake.
    Saturday greeted us with a gully-washer of a rain storm. We were showered with high winds, damages, power outages and yards turned into swamps.
    The next day we were graced with beautiful blue skies and showered with a deluge of good friends, faithful family, and gifts galore.
    Except for a few friends who had to miss, it couldn't have been any better. I promise you!
    Corey and Adrain's new house was filled to standing room capacity.
    {excuse the absense of curtains...the house has a huge amount of windows and the couple is just getting started...luckily family and friends gave them lots of items to place around their new home and in their cabinets which, up until now, pantry-ed only paper plates and styrofoam cups}
    I regret not getting a picture of all the pregnant women and babies who were present at the shower this Sunday (there was quite a number) but they are alive and well. Please pray for good health and safe deliveries for mothers and babies.

    Nothing on this earth can transplant the garden of family and friends God has planted in our lives nor replace their beauty.
    Something tells me we are so totally unworthy of these blessings.
    Something else tells me that God shines through the clouds and storms that He brings to strengthen these relationships and to sustain them. It's part of His Mystery.
    Always, always look for the good, the beautiful, the holy, the possible.
    It can be found but we have to meet God halfway.
    I hope and pray Corey and Adrain remembers these words throughout their marriage but something tells me they will have to learn it on their own. Afterall, it's between them and God. Family and friends are just the icing on the cake. ;-)
    Again, my smart phone is not worthy of picture taking.
    But have I mentioned what awesome friends and family we have?
    We are so blessed!
    Would so appreciate prayers during these next two months and into eternity for our soon-to-be-wed couple.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Rainy Fridays and Tiny Treasures

She crawled in bed next to me as street lights still flickered outside and vehicle headlights reflected mirrored roads on their way to early work. She said she was staying in bed all day, that's what rainy days are for.

Then she slithered out from under the warm comforter, donned some fuzzy socks and boots, popped open her poka-dot umbrella and went outside to find the outside dog and cat and call them into the warm hearth of kitchen smells and spicy expectations.

Coffee brewed and Hermionie found warm comfort on sister's lap.
My hard worker's text message read: "Good day for Gumbo!"

My reply: "Your wish is my command."

Fresh homemade deer sausage and chicken went into the sink to thaw. A shopping list was written.

Then the girls were given permission to delay school work in preparation for Tuesdays Girls' Club Meeting when we will make dollhouse minatures (Tiny Treaures and Tiny Treats) and have fun all afternoon with friends.

And made our annual Valentine Box!

Feeling a bit like  Dawn, I spent a Sun and Candlelight moment . I fixed my cup of coffee and decided to wish you all a very lovely weekend...no matter how tiny your treasures are or what the weather is on your end. :-)
Life doesn't get much better than rainy day Fridays at home with children, pets, warm food, and cups of coffee. :-)

Saturday, February 4, 2012

The Heart of Home as a Natural Resource

The day after I wrote about putting our Heart into our Home I was pleasantly awarded a day at home with no outside obligations. I slept too late and felt miserable the rest of the day. I was embarrassingly lazy and dull and the day (void obligations) peetered before me with lack of motivation.

My oldest son came through and made coffee to get us going. I put a load of clothes to wash in hopes of feeling a sense of accomplishment. Nothing.

After putting the girls to do their math, I tidied a bedroom and balanced the checkbook.

Then I put the girls tidying the living room and cleaning grubby handprints from around doorknobs. I clicked Scentsy bowls onto fragrance, did a quick mop and quick vacuum, thinking about supper the whole time.

By 1:30 I was no closer to supper plans than I'd been at 8 AM.

I had my doubts about how much Heart I had put into my Home this day.

I had not baked anything. I began to declutter our bedroom and stopped in defeat.

I did what many 21st century women do when feeling unconnected and void motivation and inspiration. I picked up my netbook and opened it.

Kniting the Wind has been speaking quiet solace of late and words such as these are the truth I need to hear today:

"I read yesterday that humans are social creatures. I disagree. I believe we are spiritual creatures, reaching. Because we're in this together, we naturally cling to each other from fear and uncertainty. That doesn't mean we are each other's answer. If we find love and life through other people, how wonderful. The light has shone through skin and sorrow; God is visible in our friend's face. But if we find only fear and blockage, then we must remember - look to the sun, the sparrows, the small grasses growing.

"We are given all we need. We simply must reach."

I have often mucked around at this phrase that we are "social creatures". I've seen it and said it myself. Truly we need others. I've also noticed with blatant honesty how much downtime I need in this overly socialized world of media and work commands. Too much stimulation blisters me. I am fine with family and friends and home is my security.

Social extroverts are often placed on a pedastal and lauded over quieter introverts. If we keep going at the rate Nazi Germany went, self-proclaimed introverts will be labeled on the outcast list. 

Hearts change nations. Hearts are our nation's largest natural resource. From hearts spouts generosity, charity, love, hope, and faith. Home is where this natural resource is tended, cultivated, nurtured, and nourished. Our society depends on it. If we fall as a Christian nation, it will be the hearts that suffer and yet the hearts that win over.  I think that's one of the things I appreciated about this article "To Be Catholic is to be Countercultural".

Kristi McCabe writes:

"For women, balancing work and family is perpetually a pressing matter. It isn’t easy, and we all have choices to make. Too often, women who choose to cut back on work or stay at home with their children are made to feel like they are giving up their own dreams and “rights,” and that their accomplishments in the home do not matter as much as achievements in the workplace. What could be more important than being a mother?

"Mothers—particularly Catholic mothers– are entrusted with the awesome responsibility of raising their children with a love of God and imparting morals and values, and our actions will echo throughout eternity. We need to support mothers who choose to stay home with their children, as well as those who work outside the home. Motherhood is perhaps the toughest job there is, and it is of ultimate importance.

"Our values are under assault, and it is up to us Catholics—particularly Catholic women—to defend them! If we don’t, who will? It’s easier to keep our opinions and beliefs to ourselves at times, but this is not what we are called to do. We are called to gently, but firmly, profess and defend our Catholic beliefs, without regard to the consequences, and stand firm in our resolve. Our children, born and unborn, are counting on us."

This is my own meek way of "gently, but firmly" standing firm in my resolve that home and the hearts therein still matter. My faith gives me permission to be who I am and love the person God created me to be, as well as accepting my children to be who God made them to be. And to never apologize or feel inferior because for who we are. That's a nice way to look life in the face and be forever content and at peace.

Which is something I dearly struggled with growing up...apologizing for being an introvert, constantly trying to escape it, never feeling good enough, feeling inferior to those around me who claimed that loudness and vocalizing and crudeness were the only way to be.

I now know there are other ways to be. Quiet self-assuredness speaks volumes and I've come to see that often loud vocalizing and crudeness are often a person's covering up a sense of insecurity. We need the extroverts in public. We do. We also need the introverts at home. We really do. Without them, this whole planet is on a fast, furious spin of demanding, loud, brut, demanding, out-of-control madness.

Someone needs to put the lid on this spin.

Without the quiet, no one can hear the voice of the Holy Spirit.

Writing, not talking, is the means God gave me with which to speak. I've scaled back on that even, feeling there are too many voices out there. Voices better, and holier, than mine.

And, in all humanness, I question that. What is my voice in the sea of many voices? Especially in this rabid vortex of many voices? I've pondered my place here. Many times.

It was almost a sigh of relief to know that I wasn't wasting my time writing and blogging and scouting my voice amist an ocean of predictions. Evidently the Holy See believes in what we (a small voice) have to say, even encouraging us to use our voices, no matter how small, because "the presence of Catholics on the Internet is essential."

The Catholic faith is misunderstood and misrepresented too much.
Mommyhood is misunderstood and misrepresented too much.
Home Life is misunderstood and misrepresented too much.
The Cajun Culture (which is a gumbo pot rich with family and the Catholic faith) is misunderstood and misrepresented too much.

Any contribution I can offer to clarify and edify and enhance these areas of life is holy if done with God as the navigator.

In the unveiling of the wonders and guilt of mommyblogging.com, I believe it's always holy to look for the positives and avoid the negatives. Power of Positive Thinking, ya know. From Mundane to Marvelous Thinking in just 30 days? It's about a mindset...one's own mindset. I'm sure it has something to do with being intentional with everything God sets before you. I've looked for use of another word and can't escape this one.

Being intentional means serving wherever we are placed at that very moment. This type lifestyle does not mean we never leave home nor work to assist others. My job working with our religious education department that was placed in my lap two years ago at our church has given me this perspective. It takes me out of myself and places me within the presence of God. It takes me out of the comfort of my home and puts me on a path I never would have wandered down on my own while, at the same time, making me more aware and more appreciate to have the elements of home. Knowing it is for a "season", being intentional of the seasons within the church year, sets the rhythm humming that which is so necessary to my home and soul. God wants me here...for this season.

A heart in the home lifestyle has become a lifestyle for minorities. It is not the norm any longer. It is viewed with skeptism and curiosity. Yet it is very real and very tangible and very wonderful. It is not a fossil but, rather, a natural resource that can be salvaged, renewed, and brought forth, gushing with life.

Next week I hope to share with you some thoughts about what we do when we find our hearts on paths where we do not belong and which threaten to steal our spiritual life from us.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Putting Heart into Our Home

I find myself hitting on blogs that serenade home and promote contentedness therein. The ones I have tatted over of late, but not confined to, are:

By Sun and Candlelight
Domestic Felicity
Raising Homemakers (especially when it means becoming Queen of your Home)
Keeping House book study (because I have this book and love it)
Simple Mom (I know an inspired home post when I see it)
Home Living (where Lady Lydia never fails to speak words of truth about our homes)
I Take Joy (Sally Clarkson is forever my hero in how I view my home and family ministry...she raises the bar...she assures us that it is noble to overcome this world's perception of home and recapture the beauty...perfectly noble)

I sometimes think it will become of utmost necessity that we begin to appreciate and seek contentment within our homes. The world, perhaps not in my lifetime nor that of my daughters, threatens to make our homes fortresses once again.

I don't find that idealistic or out-of-tune with the real world. Truly, I see it becoming more the norm. And have we really ever gotten away from all things homey and worthwhile?

Why else would women consume so many house and garden magazines? Why else would women spend so many hours watching cooking shows? Why else would women spend so much money crafty and decorating their homes? Why else would Martha Stewart, Paula Deen, and Rachael Ray become kitchen heroines?

Home becomes interesting if we make it an enterprise, a hobby, a part of our existence. It becomes a place we want to be when we take a heart-to-heart interest in it.

I think, for the most part, there are those hearts who are turned towards home simply because it is within our hearts to do so. There are those who, for whatever reasons, find staying home a struggle and a stretch. Personality defines most of it. Introverts prefer home over extroverts. Yet there is always a stage in a woman's life when she desires to master her territory, create pretty, useful things, and inhale the smells of cooking within her own kitchen. It's a primal call to enter into the heart of things and make it a place that brings a group together in unity, peace, and service.

To do so, to invite others into our heart, we offer out pieces of our heart. We do this through offerings given in communal dispensation. We invoke the senses of sight, sound, smell, taste, and touch and, through the work of our hands, enter into reception communion with the hearts of others.

Sight: smiles, clutter-free places, fresh flowers, meaningful art
Sound: background music, laughter, pleasant conversation, harmony
Smell: candles (Scentsy), coffee brewing, open windows in springtime, baking in oven
Taste: fresh-baked goodies and drinks
Touch: Gentle hands

{free heart clipart}

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