Gratitude is happiness doubled by wonder.
~ GK Chesterton

Saturday, October 31, 2015

Lavender Tea

Lavender tea.  Why not?

On a whim, I broke a sprig of lavender off a small bush in the garden.  I poured boiled water over it and let it sit for just a minute.  Removed the sprig.  Voila!

It was tasty. It wasn't coffee. But it was a good herbal tea, fresh from the garden.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

October Sights

We found ourselves with an afternoon free of outside obligations.  Although this month has been a crazy back-and-forth between August-like warmth and November-like chill, there have been a few days of comfortable fall weather: not too hot in the sunlight, not too cold in the shade.  That's perfect for me.

This urban-raised girl has never lost her enchantment with Things Rural.  Just ask my kids. They find my enthusiasm odd. Not that they are rural kids, but in the various places they've grown up, planting and harvesting of fields is a common sight, as is livestock grazing in a field.  It still thrills me!

Monday, October 26, 2015

Gen de Sonis: His Exhumation

More on General Louis-Gaston de Sonis, from the book Le Général de Sonis by Gérard Bedel.

There are English-language sources which share the story of the General's exhumation and how his body was found to be incorrupt.  The book by M. Bedel, published in 2012, shares more detail about that exhumation than I've been able to find in English.

A bit about incorruptibility.  The Cliff Notes version, from Wiki:
In Roman Catholicism, if a body is judged as incorruptible after death, this is generally seen as a sign that the individual is a saint. Not every saint, however, is expected to have an incorruptible corpse. Although incorruptibility is recognized as supernatural, it is no longer counted as a miracle in the recognition of a saint.
Embalmed bodies were not recognized as incorruptibles. For example, although the body of Pope John XXIII remained in a remarkably intact state after its exhumation, Church officials remarked that the body had been embalmed and additionally there was a lack of oxygen in his sealed triple coffin.
Incorruptibility is seen as distinct from the good preservation of a body, or from mummification. Incorruptible bodies are often said to have the odour of sanctity, exuding a sweet or floral, pleasant aroma.

A more lengthy description, from a Catholic source, can be found here.

Thus, I note that finding General de Sonis in a state of incorruptibility does not prove his sanctity. It would not be the reason he would be elevated to the status of Saint. I share the story for the sake of sharing another element of life (and death) of Louis-Gaston de Sonis.

My loose translation/summary:

On September 26, 1929, the Bishop of Chartres and the members of the ecclesiastical tribunal, along with some members of the de Sonis family, went into the crypt of the church in Loigny, for the purpose of exhuming the General's remains. Two years earlier, Madame de Sonis had been interred next to her husband. The workers undertaking the task were surprised that they didn't hear the noise of bones moving around, when they moved the General's coffin.  One would have expected loose bones after the number of years had elapsed, not an intact body. Thus, further investigation was desired.

In the official report of the exhumation, it is noted that de Sonis was buried wearing his general's uniform and the scapular of the Secular Carmelites. Except for some damage to the General's head, which had been accidentally crushed by the lid of the coffin, the body was found to be preserved. There was a doctor present, who swore on a Bible that he would conduct an honest examination and report of the state of the General's body. The amputated leg was noted, but still intact were: teeth, tongue, hair.  The limbs were still flexible, an incision showed the intestines to be undamaged.  The skin, too, was in good condition, not "shriveled like a ham."  Yes, that's a direct translation!  The clothing had rotted, but not the body. Thus, a new uniform was placed on him, provided by one of his daughters.

Those present for the exam were fearful that there would be an odor, when the coffin lid was removed. This was not the case with the General. The book mentions that a foul odor was released during the exhumation of during the exhumation of Frederic Ozaman, the founder of the St. Vincent de Paul Society.  I do not know that story, so I cannot comment anything more on that.

Just two pages is all it takes to tell this story in 
Le Général de Sonis.

Aaannndd . . .  No one has come forward, volunteering to translate M. Bedel's work into English.

Friday, October 23, 2015

Like Minds?

As you can tell from the date, this is from last week. I'd forgotten about it until I was scrolling through my camera roll.

Columbus Day, I started the preliminary work of putting the garden to bed for the winter. It's not all dismantled, but quite a bit of the post-summer droopy plants were removed.

This was the phone screen waiting for me when I was done.

Messages from Child 1 and from Child 2. Eight miles apart from each other, mind you. But obviously in sync!

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Nearly-Wordless Wednesday

No filters.  No alterations to the photo, other than the watermark.  This is what the clover looked like. Big drops of rain; tinier drops of dew.

Monday, October 19, 2015

Gluten-Free, Legume-Free Biscuits

Some people in this household love Pioneer Woman's Biscuits and Gravy recipe.  Some people in this household cannot eat her biscuits, unfortunately.  And I should specify American biscuits, as I know I have an international reader.  For international flair, I have a sweet scone twist to this recipe, too.

I've been working on finding a (tasty, satisfactory) gluten-free biscuit recipe and finally tweaked it to my satisfaction the other day, when I did a legume-free, gluten-free sausage and gravy (adapted from Pioneer Woman).

As golden as the wheat biscuits I baked for those who can eat wheat.

I share this recipe because it is entirely my own.  If it looks like one you've found elsewhere, it just means that someone else was clever enough to get it right before I did.

*Update: January, 2016 - baking powder was meant to be teaspoons, not tablespoons. Typo. Yikes.

Gluten-Free, Legume-Free Biscuits

½ cup + 1 TBL rice flour
2 TBL tapioca flour
½ tsp baking powder
¼ tsp salt
½ stick butter, cut into inch-sized pieces
1/3 cup milk 

* Mix in a bowl . . . . all dry ingredients
* Cut in with pastry blender, until incorporated . . . . Butter
* Stir in with wooden spoon . . . . Milk 

* Two options: roll the dough out and cut biscuits into desired shape; scoop them with a spoon and drop them onto baking tray. (So much simpler!)

* Bake at 400 degrees for about 15 minutes. Check after 10 minutes, though. They should be a golden-brown color. 

Scone variation: Add 1 TBL sugar into the dry ingredients.


 I made six small-ish biscuits.  You can adjust, as desired.

Finally!  I achieved the proper texture that one enjoys in a wheat-based biscuit!

I haven't (yet) attempted the sweet scone version.  But soon.  It's been a while since I've had lemon curd!

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Coffee: no sugar, no cream . . .


People Who Order Coffee Black Are More Likely To Be Psychopaths

Apparently, this study includes any bitter-tasting food preferences.  So, what does it mean that I like black coffee, red wine, and dark chocolate?  Yikes!

Well, maybe it's not that bad, after all:

No, Taking Your Coffee Black Does Not Mean You’re More Likely to be a Psychopath

It brings me back to the first statistics class I took for my major.  Whilst the professor was explaining the topic of the day, it all clicked in my head in a sudden bolt of inspiration.  I remember raising my hand and asking, "You mean . . . you can manipulate the numbers to say whatever it is you want to say?"  He cringed a bit and said that he wouldn't put it as harshly as that.  But he sort of admitted it.

Since I am not a narcissist, a psychopath, or a sadist (see the links), I will choose to ignore the Austrian study.  And have another sip of black coffee.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Happy Feast Day!

St. Teresa of Avila

Poor St. Teresa.  I wanted to do a novena prior to her Feast Day, but the pesky flu and recovery got in the way and I wasn't able to do anything here on the blog.

In celebration of this day, I am sharing three links.  Two links are to two of my favorite poems written by St. Teresa; the other link is to a contemporary author's reflections on St. Teresa's words.

I Was Born for You (also known as In the Hands of God)

Let Nothing Disturb You

I Was Born for You - reflections by Teresa Tomeo

Happy Feast Day - to Carmelites and anyone who has been, or will be, touched by St. Teresa's words.

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Autumn Walk

This leaf is huge!  

I set an acorn on it, in order to show just how large the leaf is.  Yes, that little button-like item at the top of the leaf is a regular-sized acorn!

Friday, October 9, 2015

St. Therese Roses

Last week, the final day of the St. Therese Novena, was the first day the flu hit me.  I plied myself with Advil in order to function, but I wasn't really running on all cylinders.

In a slightly hazy state of mind, I headed to the store for the things I needed to help myself and my sick little one get through our illness.  Whilst there, I picked up the roses I had pre-ordered to be used at the altar for the Mass on St. Therese's Feast Day.

Let me tell you, if you ever want to brighten the day of random strangers, purchase a large bunch of flowers and walk through the supermarket.  Almost every time I turned a corner, another person's eyes would light up at the huge bouquet I was pushing through the store.  I wasn't functioning well enough to share with everyone about St. Therese's shower of roses, but seeing so many smiling faces made my trip through the store a pleasant one.

It is a lovely bunch of roses!  I wish I'd been able to get a photo of them at their intended destination, but we'll have to be satisfied with the way they looked, waiting on my kitchen table.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Post-flu Return to Things

It's going to be quiet around here for a bit.

I had the flu last week and I'm trying to play catch-up.

Soooo . . . just for fun, a new pair of running socks I bought recently.

Left and Right Socks!

This appeases the desire for order that is deep within my bones.  Socks, just where they should be.

Saturday, October 3, 2015


With apologies to extroverted friends who love to bounce ideas off of each other:


I love this.  

I know, as a stay-at-home mom, I cannot hold a candle to those whose employment depends upon attending productivity-killing meetings that could have so easily been an e-mail of bullet points to read on one's own. Nevertheless, meetings do come my way. And you might take pity on this introverted, visual-learner HSP who absorbs information so much better when it's written out and read in a quiet place.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Happy Feast Day!

Happy Feast Day of St. Therese!

In celebration, I'm sending you over to Connie Rossini for 5 things you didn't know about St. Therese.

My favorite is the one about perfect trust.