Gratitude is happiness doubled by wonder.
~ GK Chesterton

Sunday, November 30, 2014

First Sunday of Advent

A new liturgical year!

Part of my spiritual preparation will include stepping back from current events stories.  It's perfectly possible to remain aware of what is going on in the world without delving into every gruesome detail of every horrid thing going on.  Prayer moves mountains; dwelling on things beyond my control creates despair.

However, I will still be online.  I will be checking in on the blogs of busy wife/mother bloggers, to see how they are preparing for Christmas in ways both spiritual and material.

And. . .  I've signed up for daily e-mail reflections from Fr. Robert Barron here.

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Garden Views: Autumn 2014

I did not do a good job (at all!) of taking photos of my garden this fall.  In truth, I neglected the garden towards the end.  I never officially put it to bed for the winter.  I will likely leave a lot untouched until spring.  Except, as it is meant to be warm tomorrow, I should go collect the remaining vegetation from the veg and herb beds.

This first batch of photos shows early October, end of October, and mid-November views.

Never added more to the Mary Garden besides rose bush and statue. A project for the spring!

These next photos are two garden snapshots in time from the freak dumping of snow in mid-November:

The snow did not last long.  Just a few days later, we enjoyed a walk through one of our nearby parks in 63-degree weather.  Thanksgiving was in the 30s; this weekend is back to the 50s.  Climate change?  Ha!  This weather should be known as: Life in the Midwest of the United States.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving!

Some light-hearted humor to celebrate the day.  I first came across this in the middle of the 1980s.  It's all over the web; I found mine here.

Le Grande Thanksgiving

Art Buchwald

This confidential column was leaked to me by a high government official in the Plymouth colony on the condition that I not reveal his name.

One of our most important holidays is Thanksgiving Day, known in France as le Jour de Merci Donnant .

Le Jour de Merci Donnant was first started by a group of Pilgrims ( Pelerins ) who fled from l'Angleterre before the McCarran Act to found a colony in the New World ( le Nouveau Monde ) where they could shoot Indians ( les Peaux-Rouges ) and eat turkey ( dinde ) to their hearts' content.

They landed at a place called Plymouth (now a famous voiture Americaine ) in a wooden sailing ship called the Mayflower (or Fleur de Mai ) in 1620. But while the Pelerins were killing the dindes, the Peaux-Rouges were killing the Pelerins, and there were several hard winters ahead for both of them. The only way the Peaux-Rouges helped the Pelerins was when they taught them to grow corn ( mais ). The reason they did this was because they liked corn with their Pelerins.

In 1623, after another harsh year, the Pelerins' crops were so good that they decided to have a celebration and give thanks because more mais was raised by the Pelerins than Pelerins were killed by Peaux-Rouges.

Every year on the Jour de Merci Donnant, parents tell their children an amusing story about the first celebration.

It concerns a brave capitaine named Miles Standish (known in France as Kilometres Deboutish) and a young, shy lieutenant named Jean Alden. Both of them were in love with a flower of Plymouth called Priscilla Mullens (no translation). The vieux capitaine said to the jeune lieutenant :

"Go to the damsel Priscilla ( allez tres vite chez Priscilla), the loveliest maiden of Plymouth ( la plus jolie demoiselle de Plymouth). Say that a blunt old captain, a man not of words but of action ( un vieux Fanfan la Tulipe ), offers his hand and his heart, the hand and heart of a soldier. Not in these words, you know, but this, in short, is my meaning.

"I am a maker of war ( je suis un fabricant de la guerre ) and not a maker of phrases. You, bred as a scholar ( vous, qui tes pain comme un tudiant ), can say it in elegant language, such as you read in your books of the pleadings and wooings of lovers, such as you think best adapted to win the heart of the maiden."

Although Jean was fit to be tied ( convenable tre emballe ), friendship prevailed over love and he went to his duty. But instead of using elegant language, he blurted out his mission. Priscilla was muted with amazement and sorrow ( rendue muette par l'tonnement et las tristesse ).

At length she exclaimed, interrupting the ominous silence: "If the great captain of Plymouth is so very eager to wed me, why does he not come himself and take the trouble to woo me?" ( Ou est-il, le vieux Kilometres? Pourquoi ne vient-il pas aupres de moi pour tenter sa chance ?)

Jean said that Kilometres Deboutish was very busy and didn't have time for those things. He staggered on, telling what a wonderful husband Kilometres would make. Finally Priscilla arched her eyebrows and said in a tremulous voice, "Why don't you speak for yourself, Jean?" ( Chacun a son gout. )

And so, on the fourth Thursday in November, American families sit down at a large table brimming with tasty dishes and, for the only time during the year, eat better than the French do.

No one can deny that le Jour de Merci Donnant is a grande fte and no matter how well fed American families are, they never forget to give thanks to Kilometres Deboutish, who made this great day possible.


Saturday, November 22, 2014

Another "Black Thursday" Find

Another article on greedy retailers opening on Thanksgiving.  This one is about how some retailers are using the outrage over the idea of opening on Thanksgiving as a means of self-promotion.

How giving workers the day off for Thanksgiving became a retailer promotional scheme

Great!  Use it as a promotional scheme!

I'm using Thanksgiving as my shopping guideline this year.  If you are open, even if it is a store I shop other times during the year (looking at you, Kohl's), I will not patronize your store during the Christmas season.

Friday, November 21, 2014

7QT: An Introverted Mother of an Extroverted Toddler

~  ONE  ~
Everyone has gifts.  Introverts have gifts; extroverts have gifts.  We short-change each other, when we neglect to look at introvert/extrovert traits through the lens of “this person who is driving me crazy has God-given personality gifts that I am failing to see.”

~  TWO  ~
With that disclaimer out of the way, I must admit in this very public forum that my extroverted child is getting the best of me!  My energy gets quite sapped some days!

~  THREE  ~
My husband, my first five children, and I are all introverts of varying degrees ranging from almost-anti-social to just-need-some-quiet-time-to-recharge.  Then along came Child 6.

~  FOUR  ~
explosion gif photo: sherlock holmes movie explosion sherlock.gif

~  FIVE  ~
I CANNOT GET ANY DOWN TIME!!!   There are no strategies that work.  I’ve tried many, such as:

a) If I plan to be up earlier or stay up later . . . she knows and wakes up or stays awake accordingly.

b) I cannot “bank time,” as I’ve done with other children because there is no “storing up” for extroverts, it would appear.  When she is getting interaction, she doesn’t get her full; she wants more and more and more and. . .

c) We try to take turns entertaining her.  Some of my bigger kids are good about noticing when I’m at my limits and will spirit her away to play elsewhere, but she never comes back to me tired; she comes back ready for another round of play.  Not easy for me, the introvert who is done with interaction at the end of a long day.

~  SIX  ~
I love Child 6 as much as all the others.  I would give my life for her.  I remind myself how quickly time passes.  She could be our last baby and I don’t want to wish her baby years away.  At the same time, I find myself in survival mode too often.  In addition to thinking of myself, I wonder if there is something special that my little extrovert needs that I - and we – are not giving.  There’s an abundance of things online that help the lone introvert cope with a family of extroverts, but no help the other way around.  Maybe that means my lone extrovert won’t have as much trouble as a lone introvert?

~  SEVEN  ~
Perhaps my quote of inspiration should be “what cannot be cured, must be endured.”  However, let’s be a bit more optimistic and look to St. Therese, from “Story of a Soul” as our guide:  “And just as in nature all the seasons are arranged in such a way as to make the humblest daisy bloom on a set day, in the same way, everything works out for the good of each soul.”  The good of my introverted soul and the good of her extroverted soul, please God!


I’m glad to be back at 7 Quick Takes today.  It’s been too long!


Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Wordless Wednesday

NB:  I strayed from my planned pumpkin harvest theme for November, due to the unexpected snow. But there's still a pumpkin!

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Reflection and Request

A lovely reflection and a prayer request.

The following is by Blessed Frances d'Amboise.  A friend shared it with me and I share it here, requesting prayers for a special intention for that friend.

"Whatever the troubles and difficulties that weigh you down, bear them all patiently and keep in mind that these are the things which constitute your cross. Offer your help to the Lord and carry the cross with Him in gladness of heart. There is always something to be endured, and if you refuse one cross, be sure that you will meet with another, and maybe a heavier one. If we trust in God and rely on His help, we shall overcome the allurements of vice. We must never let our efforts flag nor our steps grow weary, but must keep our hearts under steady discipline.  Consider the afflictions and great trials which the holy Fathers endured in the desert. And yet the interior trials they suffered were far more intense than the physical penances they inflicted on their own bodies. One who is never tried acquires little virtue. Accept then whatever God wills to send, for any suffering He permits is entirely for our good.”

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Just Under Two Weeks!

It is now just under two weeks until Thanksgiving.

Last year, I had a small series of posts in which I ranted about the injustice of retailers opening on Thanksgiving. I'll not only continue my rant, I'll extend the unacceptable time frame from any hour on Thanksgiving to any time before 8:00 on Friday.

Matt Walsh blogged about this last year and he's doing it again.

If you go Black Friday shopping on Thanksgiving, you should be deported.
One other note, lest I be accused of plagiarizing myself. This is a reworked version of something I posted last year, and the year before that, and even the year before that, even though I didn’t have a blog then. Every year I will go on this tirade until there aren’t any stores in America selling jeans or iPads on Thanksgiving. It’s the least I can do. Literally, the least I can do. But at least it’s something:


Here's an article from last Thursday.  It's a list of 13 retailers who are not going to be open on Thanksgiving.  Barnes & Noble is on the list.  Woo hoo!  I think I shall reward them for that this Christmas. 

Another article from the end of October with a few different stores listed.  And don't forget Hobby Lobby - I think they shall reap the benefits of that decision, too!

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Circle Line Speed Challenge

How did we amuse ourselves before the Internet?

I saved this story back in September and found it again yesterday, when I was cleaning up bookmarks.

First, read Circle Line Speed Challenge: Man Races Train on Sky News.

Then watch the accompanying video.