Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Happy Feast of the Annunciation!

Pour forth, we beseech, Thee, O Lord, Thy grace into our hearts; that we, to whom the Incarnation of Christ Thy Son was made known by the message of an Angel, may by His Passion and death be brought to the glory of the Resurrection. Through the same Lord Jesus Christ...

(From The Angelus)

Meditation on the feast of the Annunciation, by St. Francis DeSales (1521)

“This sacred Virgin was, then, a very perfect religious, as we have said, and she is the special Protectress of souls who dedicate themselves which she practiced and manifested more excellently than all others on the day of her glorious Annunciation, virtues which I will only mention in passing and then I will conclude. First, a virginity and purity which has nothing like in in all creation. Secondly, a sovereign and profound humility, joined and united inseparably to charity.”
“Virginity and absolute chastity is an angelic virtue; but though it belongs more especially to angels than to men, yet the purity of Our Lady infinitely surpassed that of the angels, having three great perfections above theirs, even that of the cherubim and seraphim…that of the angels is sterile and can produce no fruit. On the contrary, that of our glorious Mistress was not only fruitful because she produced for us this sweet Fruit of Life, Our Lord and Masters, but in the second place she has begotten many virgins. It is it in imitation of her, as we have said, that virgins have vowed their chastity.”
“But she was not only virgin par excellence above all others, angels as well as men – she was also more humble than all others. This was manifest excellently on the day of the Annunciation. She then the made the greatest act of humility that was ever made or ever will be made by a pure creature; for seeing herself exalted by the angel who saluted her, saying she was full of grace and that she would conceive a Son who would be both God and Man…Our Lady, being reassured by the angel and having learned what God willed to do with her and in her, made this supreme act of humility, saying: I am the servant of the Lord. Let it be done to me as you say. She saw herself raised to the highest dignity that ever was or will be, for though it should please God to create anew many worlds, He could never make a pure creature be greater than the Mother of God.”

“Our Lady humbled herself and acknowledged herself unworthy of being raised to the high dignity of Mother of God; therefore she was made to be His Mother, for she had no sooner uttered the protestation of her littleness than, having abandoned herself to Him by an act of incomparable charity, she became the Mother of the Most High, who is the Saviour of our souls.”

* Lovely coloring pages for today (with all the mysteries of the rosary, including the Annunciation):  here.  And here.

* Another nice read for the day:  Fulton J. Sheen's When Freedom and Love Were One: The Annunciation

Blessed to have this great feast day as his birthday, our son Kevin!  Happy Birthday, Kevvy!

We sure do love you!

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

On the Feast of St. Gabriel

What Do We Know About St. Gabriel?

In a nutshell: He is one of the three archangels mentioned in the Bible; his name means "strength of God." The first time we were introduced to the Archangel Gabriel was in the time of the Old Testament when he appeared in order to be of help to Daniel (Dan.8: 15-17).  Then we don't hear of St. Gabriel again until he appeared to Zachary to inform him that his elderly wife, Elizabeth would bear him a son who would be the precursor of Christ -- St. John the Baptist (Luke 1:11 & Luke 1: 18-19).  The third and last time we see this great Archangel mentioned by name is when he carried the most important message of all time to Nazareth to the humble maiden, Mary, at the time of the Incarnation:  Hail, Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women...  Behold thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and shalt bring forth a Son; and thou shalt call His name Jesus. (Luke 1:31).  

The great St. Gabriel is aptly named patron saint of messengers, postal workers, radio broadcasters, telecommunications workers, diplomats -- and stamp collectors.  (Stamp collectors?  Wondering about that last one...)

What St. Gabriel Looks Like

  Ven. Mary of Agreda's description of the Archangel Gabriel:

The appearance of the great prince and legate was that of a most handsome youth of rarest beauty; his face emitted resplendent rays of light, his bearing was grave and majestic, his advance measured, his motions composted, his words weighty and powerful, his whole presence displayed a pleasing, kindly gravity and more of godlike qualities than all the other angels until then seen in in visible form by the heavenly Mistress.  He wore a diadem of exquisite splendor and his vestments glowed in various colors full of refulgent beauty.  Encased on his breast, he bore a most beautiful cross, disclosing the mystery of the Incarnation, which He had come to announce.

Pere Lamy (1855-1931), a mystic and visionary, recorded his vision of St Gabriel, relating that he is "taller by a head than the other angels.  It is by this that I recognize at once a spirit of a higher choir."  And he added, "The Archangel Gabriel has his hair well cut and wavy."

Prayer to St. Gabriel for Others

O loving messenger of the Incarnation, descend upon all those for whom I wish peace and happiness. Spread your wings over the cradles of the new-born babes, O thou who didst announce the coming of the Infant Jesus. Give to the young a lily petal from the virginal scepter in your hand. Cause the Ave Maria to re-echo in all hearts that they may find grace and joy through Mary. Finally, recall the sublime words spoken on the day of the Annunciation -- "Nothing is impossible with God," and repeat them in hours of trial -- to all I love -- that their confidence in Our Lord may be reanimated, when all human help fails. Amen

                                           And happy name day to our very own Gabriel Joseph!

Named for two very important figures in the life of the Blessed Mother, we pray that they both help you to be close to your heavenly Mother -- and with her help be fruitful on this earth and happy forever someday in Heaven.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Catching Up -- Part II: The Gatherings

Last Friday
(The day before the big wedding everyone came to town to attend.)

L-R: Theresa, Rafi, Kevvy, Dominic, Gabe, Anna, Brenda, Omar at breakfast
Dominic and Michelle horsing around.
Kevin and Ina
Omar, Michelle, Brenda (and half of Ina..  Sorry, Ina!)
Dominic and Cathy

 Last Sunday After Laetari Sunday Mass
(At the Park Downtown)

Mostly girls, this shot (boys all  down at the bottom).  Left to Right: Bridget V., Mikki, Monica F., Cathy, Carolina B. Theresa, Olivia S., Anna, William, Sophie, Michelle, me, Frater Philip, Gabe, and Dan

Michelle, Omar, Kevvy
Dan and almost me.

BFFs since they were born:  Brenda and Michelle
Believe it or not -- also longtime besties: Frater Philip and Omar mugging for the camera
On the pedestrian bridge that spans the Missouri River.
Our three girls in front: Anna, Theresa, Michelle.
Behind them: Dominic and Dan (and a slew of others!)
When you stand on this "manhole," and talk or sing, you sound vibratey...
William trying it out, with Anna, me, Theresa, Dominic, Murena V.,
Cathy's head, and Frater Philip.
The front of half, the back of half.  (Don't ask me why.  I don't know.)
The boys (most of them, anyway)...Bottom - top and Left - right: Austin E., Kevvy, Omar, Dan -- Joseph B.,Dominic, Frater Philip -- John D., Gabriel -- William (the ham!)
*  Many thanks to Omar and Dominic for sharing these photos with me!  I didn't have a camera with me on this excursion!

Michelle's Bridal Shower
( This past Wednesday. Hosted by her Aunt Nina in Denver)

The four sisters together with Ina
(Anna, Michelle, Cathy, Theresa)
Shelly, with the Fanny Farmer Cookbook we gave her. She grew up with
the recipes in this book, as this was one of the few gifts from my
bridal shower that I still have and use all the time.  We also gave her
all the tools she'll need to get into her new kitchen and do some baking for
Ben.  We will be expecting her to send us a package of cookies some time
this summer.  (Eh, Shell?)
I took a bazillion pictures of Michelle opening gifts; I couldn't possible share them
 all (and you'd get sick of  'em right quick!), but thought this one was cute, with
 the flipflop card (so Michelle!) -- especially in light of the "foot picture" below...
Couldn't possibly identify all of these feet -- except for those closest to the camera,
and those are most definitely Anna's.

A wonderful time was had by all -- and Michelle is very pleased to report that her newlywed kitchen will be admirably stocked.  Our loving gratitude to all the dear friends and family who came to the shower, were so very generous -- and who made the party so much fun!  Special thanks to Aunt Nina for hosting, too.  Everything was perfect!

And, since I have nothing more to add (just at the moment, anyway)...

(But, be warned...  I'll be back!)

Bored? Part I: The Road Trip

Good heavens. but this past week and a half have been busy!  So busy I have to share in a series of posts. In a nutshell, though:after Miss June moved out last Wednesday to return to her old stomping grounds on the western slope of Colorado, we did a bedroom switcheroo, painting and decorating a new "spare room" just in time to fill up the house with guests. Because there was a big wedding in town last weekend, we got to see Michelle and Kevvy and his girl, Ina -- and pretty much everyone we know, in and out, back and forth, stuffed into the nooks and crannies of the house. It was great. :) I'll pull all those pictures together tomorrow probably.

But, second things first here... Wednesday of this week, the girls and I drove to Denver for Michelle's Denver Bridal Shower -- which is a whole other subject -- and a whole other post!  But, leaving the little boys behind with Dominic...  we set out on the eight hour trek across the prairies -- driving out on Wednesday, then coming back on Thursday. (Oh, my aching back!).  

Here are some photos of the boredom on the way... For your consideration: Three girls, some plastic spoons, an apple -- and a camera.

These two nuts (Cathy and Anna, with Theresa as photographer)


Apple + Vegges =


Apple in Hair

Apple on Foot
Apple in Hand

Channeling Snow White

Apple with Mom

Apple with Sunset

Apple Closed in Window

And now...  what three boys left at home with a camera (actually, Dominic's phone camera!) do with boredom:

Are these guys crazy, or what?

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

On the Feast of St. Patrick

Sunrise at Inishowen, Ireland (from Picture That)

May the blessed light be on you, light without and light within.  May the blessed sunlight shine on you and warm your heart until it glows like a great fire, so that the Stranger may come and warm himself at it, and also a Friend.

And may the light shine out of the two eyes of you like a candle set in two windows of a house, bidding the Wanderer to come in from out of the storm.

And may the blessing of the rain be on you -- the soft, sweet rain.  may it fall upon your spirit so that all the little flowers may spring up, and shed their sweetness on the air.

And may the blessing of the great rains be on you; may they beat upon your spirit and wash it fair and clean, and leave there a shining pool where the blue of heaven shines reflected, and sometimes a star.

And may the blessing of the earth be on you -- the great and round earth; and may you ever have a kindly greeting for them you pass as you're going along the roads.  May the earth be soft under you when you lie upon it, tired at the end of the day, and may it rest easy over you, when, at the last, you lie under it; may it rest so lightly over you that your soul may be quickly through it, and up, and off, and on its way to God.  may God always bless you, love you, and keep you.

And a Prayer

O God, Who deigned to send blessed Patrick, Thy confessor and bishop to preach Thy glory to the nations, grant, through his merits and intercession, that those commands which Thou doest set before us we may by Thy mercy be able to fulfill.

-- From the Mass of St. Patrick's Feast

Happy and Blessed St Patrick's Day, Everyone!

Tuesday, March 10, 2015


Is it just me or is anyone else still struggling
 to come to terms with that lost hour Sunday morning?

Monday, March 9, 2015

Simple Woman Monday

What I'm hearing...  William grinding coffee beans in the kitchen. Bless him!

Outside my window...  Most of the snow is melted and the driveway is a muddy moat.  But the robins have arrived!  And the cardinals.  And the finches.  And I don't know who all else yet.  But the morning is full to bursting with birdsong.  If you can hear it over the coffee beans being ground.,
(Right now I'd rather hear coffee coming than birds, though...)

What I'm wearing...  A black tee and sweater with a long multicolored floaty gypsy skirt -- that I'm
going to be tripping over all day.  (Why do I do this to myself?)

What I'm thinking...  It's going to be a busy couple of weeks! I need to gear up body, mind, and spirit.

What I'm learning...  How to accept comings and goings. How to expect them.

What I'm hoping... That the buds start popping out on the millions of trees and shrubs all around our house -- and that we don't have any more serious cold snaps, but can enjoy the world greening in peace and relative warmth!

What I'm working on...  Springifying our house to match the spring-like weather this week (it's been in the 60s!) Also, getting the house straightened and beds ready for an influx of visitors over the next week or so (Kevin, his friend, Ina, and Dominic tonight, and Michelle -- and who knows who else -- next week.)

What I'm planning...  Finishing getting June packed to move back home to Western Colorado on Wednesday.  After 2+ years having her as our resident "grandma," she's ready to go back to the town of her birth and try living on her own again.  I'm planning on keeping a close eye from  here on how she's doing -- but prayers on her behalf are kindly requested!

From the mouths of Little Boys...  "I just love Fiddler on the Roof.  I mean, Tevye -- He can sing and he can dance and he talks to God...  On the other hand... he's big and tough and...  manly!" This from Gabe last night after watching Fiddler for the first time.  Definitely a manly musical.

From the mouth of Tevye... "As the good Book says, if you spit in the air, it lands on your face." (If that's not a quote a little boy would appreciate, I don't know what is.)

Some picture thoughts for today...

Gabe: all ten years old, all boy.
For more Simple Woman link-ups, run over to Peggy's!

Friday, March 6, 2015

7 ThingsThis Week

...that have made me smile, chortle, giggle, snort, or guffaw:

1) The Lady 

-- the grandma-age lady with a hoodie pulled up over her head and dark sunglasses on her face -- walking into the police station in the small town near our home -- carrying two six packs of beer. There's a story there I just know it. (I almost stopped to ask.)

St. Nicholas was the tree that Arius
ran right smack into.
2) "And he didn't see the tree until he smacked right into it!"  

William's way of saying that he thought the heretic, Arius, not only couldn't see the forest, but couldn't see the trees, either. I love the way this nine-year-old brain works!  He cracks me up -- and makes me think!

3)  Silly Me
...for protesting (at first) Gabe's burning desire to buy a broken Nerf Machine Gun at the thrift store the other day. Why waste $2.99 on a broken toy? Seriously, Gabe? 
The owner of this blog does not endorse gratuitous violence.
Except when it doesn't make a mess and nobody ends up crying.
Gabriel pretending to shoot William; William pretending to
cower in fright.  All part of a normal morning here.

But, hmmm...  Wait. Broken Nerf guns only shoot pretend Nerf bullets. Nothing I like better than pretend Nerf bullets lying all around the house! No mess, no siblings complaining about being shot in the eye, no ducking them, myself.  Happy Mommy.  

O.K., kiddo!  Go right ahead and buy yourself a broken toy!  So, he did; Gabe bought that $2.99 broken Nerf gun with his own money out of his own little wallet. And you know what? Both little boys have gotten more mileage out of that Nerf gun over the last couple of days, you just wouldn't believe it. Never measure another's enjoyment by your own dull light -- especially if you're too old to remember the better reality of make-believe. I remember now, though.  Silly me.

           4) This
Bless me, Father for I have sinned: I snarled at the children when I was hungry
and blamed it on Lent.  :/  Yeah.  True story.  But I'm working on it, I promise.

5) The Lewis Chessmen

Played as a knight, this "Warder," also called a
"Berserker," was known for his wild "trance-like"
rage during battle.  As you probably guessed, we
get the term "berserk" from these fellows. Look at

him, though.  Isn't he hysterical?
Discovered on a beach in Scotland in 1830, these fascinating and comical chess pieces were likely crafted by Scandinavian craftsman in the late 12th or early 13th century.  They're between 2.5 and 4 inches tall and are carved from walrus tusks.  No one knows how they came to buried on Ulg beach in Lewis, Scotland, but it seems that they were purposely deposited there, the chief repository appearing to have been within a small "drystone" chamber.  In all, there were found 93 game pieces, 78 of which were chess men -- and they are charming. They make me giggle.  We have to have some of these guys! 

Unfortunately, though, set of small chess pieces and a simple board is app $80 (American money)... Dernit.  But laughing at this crazy guy is free!

* Check out the interactive site explaining all about the history of these chess pieces -- and be sure and show the kids the free games!  Too much fun and lots of good learning here for all of us.  That always makes me smile!

          6) And This

Just bought the Brave soundtrack for my laptop playlist.

Sarah Bareilles' "Brave" is a great one to belt out, but "Touch the Sky" is a fun one, too.  Can you just see me flinging out the Summer Kitchen door, kids, dancing through the garden singing this?  No?  ;)  Maybe once the snow melts out that side of the house.  Ya never know.  Spring is upon us!

7) Our Sweet Evelyn

Evie turned one on March 4th!  Look at that face!  How could you not smile at that? Especially if you get to be the grandmother of  all that sweetness! 

I'm a grandmother? What's with that? (Still pinching myself over
Paul and Shelly -- the first two married
Davis kids (or soon to be): our oldest son
and our oldest daughter, though there are
three unmarried brothers between them.
They  look a bit alike, don't they? Had
a hankering to see their faces...  So here
they are.  Which makes me smile, too.
this...) Two sweet grandbabies thanks to Paul and Nicole, though -- and surely more to come.  Michelle's getting married in June, and that's only two out of the ten setting up to manufacture grandbabies for me.  All that scrumptious wonderfulness and I don't have to go through labor and delivery to get it!  Woot!  We are so blessed in our children and grand-

* For lots of smiles and peeks into other blog windows this morning, run over to Kelly's at This Ain't the Lyceum.

*Oh, and one last reason to smile: