Thursday, May 16, 2019

In Praise of Mary

For the Month of May

I fain would sing a sweet new song
Thy loving Heart to greet,
I fain would cull the flowers fair,
And lay them at thy feet.
And of the precious virgin-gold
And shining jewels rare,
Would form a royal diadem, 
To grace thy forehead fair.

But ah! The heart-strings seem unstrung
And faint the music now,
I cannot place a golden crown
Upon thy queenly brow.
The first flowers fade too soon --
What shall the offerings be
From this poor exiled child of earth
O purest Heart, to thee?

I offer all the burning love
Of Jesus' Heart for thine,
And in the golden censer place
The little spark of mine.
And these, O Heart Immaculate,
Shall be my gifts to thee;
Oh I pray thy sweetest Son to grant
His love and thine to me.

- Anon
Taken from Volume I of the Carmelite Review, 1893, August Edition


Don't forget to look! 

Wonder is everywhere, little gifts from God -- like when your Mom leaves a note in your lunchbox with hearts on it and a twinky. But better.

Wednesday, May 1, 2019


The Month of Mary


When God turned back eternity and was young,
Ancient of Days, grown little for your mirth
(As under the low arch the land is bright)
Peered through you, gate of heaven – and saw the earth.
Or shutting out his shining skies awhile
Built you about him for a house of gold
To see in pictured walls his storied world
Return upon him as a tale is told.
Or found his mirror there; the only glass
That would not break with that unbearable light
Till in a corner of the high dark house
God looked on God, as ghosts meet in the night.
Star of his morning; that unfallen star
In that strange starry overturn of space
When earth and sky changed places for an hour
And heaven looked upwards in a human face.
Or young on your strong knees and lifted up
Wisdom cried out, whose voice is in the street,
And more than twilight of twiformed cherubim
Made of his throne indeed a mercy-seat.
Or risen from play at your pale raiment’s hem
God, grown adventurous from all time’s repose,
Of your tall body climbed the ivory tower
And kissed upon your mouth the mystic rose.

– G.K. Chesterton

Monday, April 29, 2019

Don't Be Fooled


"They're pretty and all...

 but underneath there?

 It's just crawling with bugs and spiders."

Thanks for that, William.

* Repost from this day, 2015. (My

Thursday, April 25, 2019

Easter Photo Dump

Holy Week Home Team
Posing for Agatha Christie Made for TV Mystery
(Cathy, Dominic, Margaret, Monica, Anna)

Home Team Hamming it Up Nicely
(Same suspects just less suspicious looking)

Newest little Davis Family
Dominic and Monica with Margaret Mary Anne
(4 mos old already!)

Anna with Margaret posing for an ad for a nanny service

Dan and I trying to take a selfie at 2 am
after midnight Easter Mass.
We're not good at those in the best of

Little Easter egg I found in the living room

Little Bunny, Daria,
by the front of the chalkboard door

Couldn't get Ella to pose next to her!

Monica, Margaret, and Dominic
working on the other side of the chalkboard door

The finished door.
A masterpiece!

The House All Spruced Up for Spring

The Blessed Mother's corner

The mantle

Easter under glass

The little cabinet

The Candy Bar

Michelle and Ben's firstborn, Daria Philomena

The bunny bag my good friend, Ann, made
for me to give to our grand daughters

Ben with niece, Margaret. Cathy looking on,

Daria and Ella with their pal, Peter.
Easter afternoon we got to visit with some good friends,
the Schroepfers and the O'Sheas came for a visit.
A good time was had by all!
The Easter afternoon play date!
Monica and Margaret, Allyson and Robert, 
Michelle and Claudia, Sophia and  Alan

Cousins, Claudia and Margaret 
silently judging one another's bows.
Proud Papas, Omar with Emeris (family friends more 
like just family) and Dominic with Margaret.
Trying to work out an arranged marriage.

Daria, Ella, and Sr. Antonia mesmerized by the video
Father has saved on his phone.
 (It's a video of Daria and Ella ;) )

Dominic, Easter morning breakfast chef.
We told him he couldn't call them crepes if he was
listening to country music while he made them...

Anna frying up hush puppies (SO good!) to go with shrimp
on Holy Saturday main meal.

Three of our beautiful grandbabies: 
Ella, Daria, and Claudia
Watching Mickey Mouse
(A Mommom's House Privilege)

Daughter-in-law, Monica with Margaret,
daughter, Michelle, with Claudia 

More Joy: The Sisters' Vows

Easter Tuesday, 2019

Our sisters who received vows,
back row: Sr. Maria Franziska and Sr. Rose Marie, Perpetual Vows
front row: Sr. Maria Antonia, Sr. Mary Martina, Sr. Noelle Marie, Three-Year Vows

All our wonderful CMD Sisters

Sr. Maria Antonia, CMD with Fr. Philip Marie, CMRI

and Dan and me. 

Photos from the Vows Ceremony and Mass

(In no particular order, as I'm having trouble manipulating Blogger)

Bp. Mark Pivarunas, celebrant, with Sr. Antonia and Our Lord

Fr. Sandquist and Fr. Borja assisting at the Mass with Bp. Pivarunas

The moment just before Sr. Franziska Marie received her betrothal ring

Monday, April 15, 2019

Gearing Up For Holy Week

Starting on Spy Wednesday...

So called because this marks the day in the life of Christ that Judas bargained to become the spy of the Sanhedrin, the Church celebrates the Tenebrae service, the remote beginning, actually, of the Sacred Triduum.

Every priest who is able makes the drive to the home parish here in Omaha. Immaculate Queen is the home of their seminary days, the place where most of the priest we know were ordained, the home parish of our bishop -- and being so, it's the church where certain ceremonies are performed that you rarely see elsewhere -- in the world. 

Today and during the Sacred Triduum, the Matins and Lauds of the Divine Office are often sung in a haunting service known as the Tenebrae service ("tenebrae" meaning "shadows"), which is basically a funeral service for Jesus. During the Matins on Good Friday, one by one, the candles are extinguished in the Church, leaving the congregation in total darkness, and in a silence that is punctuated by the strepitus meant to evoke the convulsion of nature at the death of Christ. It has also been described as the sound of the tomb door closing. During the Triduum, the Matins and Lauds readings come from the following day's readings each night because the hours of Matins and Lauds were pushed back so that the public might better participate during these special three days (i.e., the Matins and Lauds readings heard at Spy Wednesday's tenebrae service are those for Maundy Thursday, the readings for Maundy Thursday's tenebrae service are from Good Friday, and Good Friday's readings are from Holy Saturday's Divine Office).

There are few things more impressive than Tenebrae; just trust me on this. The extinguishing of the candles followed by the stepitus… Spine tingling, y'all! And the perfect start to the Triduum in a way you can only understand by experiencing it. Fr. Philip will be driving down from Minnesota to participate in Tenebrae, though he'll head back to his own parish for Holy Thursday Mass, of course. We look forward to seeing him!

This year will be a strange year for us, though, and I'm afraid the first year of figuring out a new routine. For most of our family life, I've had a regiment of helpers for all the doings of Holy Week, but I'm afraid that is a thing of the past. Cathy works almost every day this week, Anna has school, and Gabriel and William will be in Idaho at the Minor Seminar for Easter. It was just too much of an expense for too short a time, too close to the end of school to justify flying them home. (Alas!) So, we're short-handed, and the element from the following Holy Week to-do list that will probably disappear is the spring cleaning. I expect I'll get some of it done myself -- but I'm not going to fret if I don't. The material preparation is nice -- and definitely symbolic -- but the spiritual preparation is far more important.

Here's our family routine for a normal year:

Spy Wednesday

*Spring cleaning:
Remove all the extraneous decorations around our statues, take down any winter decorations, including the Palm Sunday picture we hung on Sunday. Take our winter throw blankets out of their corners (we have tons!), wash them, and store them; strip all bedding and wash; clean out the wood stove and store the wood basket until next fall. Sweep thoroughly (every nook and crevice), mop, clean the windows; clean couches and upholstered chairs; scrub dining room table and chairs

* Pretzel making to prepare for Maundy Thursday! (see below)

Maundy Thursday

*Finish up any cleaning left undone
between 2 and 3 pm to accommodate fasting for Maundy Thursday Mass 

Lamb , asparagus with hollandaise, herbed fingerling potatoes, savory hot cross buns


a favorite of recent years: lamb curry with hot cross buns (our non-sweet version), and  wine

At the dinner table, everyone has a glass of wine (or Sprite with a drop of wine) and by Dan's plate we place a basket of hot cross buns (actually in our house they are rolls with a cross cut into the top before baking). After we pray grace, Dan makes the sign of the cross over each bun and hands it down the line until each member of the family has one. Then we eat our buns and drink our wine while Dan reads the Gospel of the Last Supper. After which we enjoy the rest of the meal. Then, Mass in the evening, after which we take a couple shifts at all night adoration.

Good Friday

Friday is a quiet day. As much as we are able, we speak in quiet voices and as little as possible, in memory of the solemn events in Christ's life on good Friday.  We'll attend the Tre Ore between noon and three. When we come home, we'll have the remainder of the Hot Cross buns with a simple clear broth vegetable soup that we've prepared ahead of time. Then we'll watch the first part of Jesus of Nazareth, followed by The Passion.

Holy Saturday

* Preparation and decoration day. If we didn't watch it on Friday, we'll watch Jesus of Nazareth while we work this day. We'll bring out our spring wreaths and decorations. Deck out Our Lady's special niche with flowers and ribbons. Make sure everyone's Easter clothes are pressed and ready to go for Easter Mass. I may or may not be able to talk the kids into coloring eggs; it's less important now than it used to be. But I will prepare Easter goodies (i.e., sweets!), and begin work on the Easter feast.

I'm hoping that Dominic and Monica, who are visiting during Holy Week with newest grandbaby, sweet Margaret, will decorate the chalk door for Easter. That'll be a treat. Those two are some kinda creative!

* Then, the 10:30 Paschal Vigil

Easter Sunday

* ...begins for us at midnight with Midnight Mass, following the Paschal Vigil. Then it's home and everyone nibbles on sweets for a while, before sleepily wishing one another Blessed Easter -- and toddling off to bed. There'll be grandchildren coming over for dinner and we need to get our rest to keep up with them... 

And just in case I don't get back on the computer to say it:

We all wish everyone a happy and fruitful Holy Week and a Blessed Easter!

* Here's our recipe for Soft Pretzels
(makes 12 -- but we double it -- at least)
(Go here for the fascinating history of the pretzel and its connection to Holy Week)
1 (.25 ounces) package active dry yeast
2 Tablespoons brown sugar
1 1/8 teaspoons salt
1 1/2 cups warm water
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup bread flour

2 cups warm water
1 Tablespoons baking soda dissolved in 6 qt. water in large pot
egg + water for eggwash
2 Tablespoons butter, melted
2 Tablespoons coarse pretzel salt or kosher salt

In a large mixing bowl, dissolve the yeast, brown sugar and salt in 1 1/2 cups warm water. Stir in flour, and knead dough on a floured surface until smooth and elastic, about 8 minutes. Place in a greased bowl, and turn to coat the surface. Cover, and let rise for one hour. Meanwhile, place parchment on cookie sheets and oil paper. After dough has risen, cut into 12 pieces. Roll each piece into a 2 to 3 foot, finger-thick rope. With the rope, make a U, cross the ends, twist, and attach to the center of the bottom of the U. Place on the parchment-lined sheets and let rise, uncovered, 15 to 20 minutes.

While they are rising, bring the baking soda + water in the pot to a boil. When the pretzels are risen, boil the pretzels in the water for about 3 minutes, turning once, til puffed a bit. Place on sheets and brush with eggwash.Bake at 450 degrees F for 8 to 10 minutes, or until golden brown. Brush with melted butter, and sprinkle with coarse salt


Sunday, April 14, 2019

Right Now This Minute: 4/14/2019

Dominic and Monica are here with baby Margaret for Holy Week, and Auntie Marie walked down from the Boarder House for a visit. Life is good this Palm Sunday afternoon!

Margaret with Auntie Cathy

Auntie Marie looking up and looking something up as 

Momma Monica with Auntie Anna -- and pizza

Daddy Dominic on one keyboard

Dandad on another keyboard (finishing up taxes... ugh)
Mommom smiling for the camera; Margaret refusing.