Monday, November 28, 2011

Our favorite Advent and Christmas books

Charlotte always has some great Advent and Christmas reading.

From her I got the idea of wrapping the books to open and read, one a day. It didn't happen this year because some little people used all my purple wrapping paper for birthday presents. :-)

For a while I would get a new title for each child on St. Nicholas' feast day, so we have a good collection of Christmas books. Now Jessica is hosting a link-up so we can share!

Here are some of our favorites (this year, at least!).

The Gift of the Magi, by O. Henry. We have the beautiful version illustrated by Lisbeth Zwerger.

Jacob's Gift: The handiwork, the sacrifice, the humble generosity.

We Three Kings, for Gennady Spirin's illustrations and the scrolling carol in all five verses.

Bright Christmas, from an angel's perspective.

The Donkey's Dream, a lovely and gentle intro to Marian / Christological imagery.

I grew up with Douglas Gorsline's illustration of The Night Before Christmas.

King of the Stable, if only for the look on that boy's face on the cover! (But not only for that!)

The Christmas Miracle of Jonathan Toomey. I can't believe there was a time when I didn't know about this book.

The Crippled Lamb, a touching favorite.

Santa's Favorite Story, when Santa takes a rest and tells where Christmas came from. The little ones love it.

They also, having sweet tooths all, love The Candymaker's Gift and want to try to make candy canes this year!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Giveaway at Betty Beguiles!

Just a note here to let you know that Betty Beguiles is hosting a Shabby Apple giveaway of any dress--winner's choice! You really should check it out.

And in case Hallie's friend Miss decides against a late birthday present for me, I might just have to treat myself. I've been meaning to do some shopping at Shabby Apple for both Natalie and myself, and Hallie brings us word of a Shabby Apple sale through November 30th. I'll be there!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

A Prayer for Our Dear Departed

O God Jesus, whose loving heart was ever troubled by the sorrows of others, look with pity on the souls of our dear ones in Purgatory. O Thou who didst “love thine own” hear our cry for mercy, and grant that those whom thou hast called from our homes and hearts may soon enjoy everlasting rest in the home of thy love in heaven. Amen.

V. Eternal rest grant unto them, O Lord.
R. And let perpetual light shine upon them.
V. May they rest in peace. Amen.

Source of prayer is here; more prayers for the holy souls here. Caveat lector.

Friday, November 18, 2011

The Catechism

I've never been daunted by using the Catechism, but I would be cowed by the idea of reading the whole thing, as I have heard some people say they have done (and recommend to others). Sort of like the dictionary--I love words, I need the book for what I do in life, I even find it to be enriching and interesting reading material. But the whole thing....

I would not be surprised if Julie Davis were one of those who have read the whole thing. She shares an RCIA talk she gave about the Catechism, and it was a handy little primer for me, even though I already know how to use the Catechism.

Think of it as the sort of encyclopedia from the days when all we had were books ... when you would sit down to look up facts about the moon and get pulled into other sections because they were so fascinating.

Of course, when you have a two thousand year old institution whose goal is to help get us to Heaven, they don’t think quite the way we do about organization.

The Catechism is arranged in four main sections that are often called the “Four Pillars” of the Faith:
  • The Profession of Faith (the Apostle’s Creed)
  • The Celebration of the Christian Mystery (the Sacred Liturgy, especially the sacraments)
  • Life in Christ (including The Ten Commandments in Catholic theology)
  • Christian Prayer (including The Lord’s Prayer)

Interesting for me also was the following about the Nihil Obstat and the Imprimatur:
A word of warning though ... if you see a book that only has a Nihil Obstat, be cautious. It may be in error. This happened in the 1960s a lot and some of those books contained incorrect material, even heretical material. You need the double-check system to be sure something didn’t slip by someone. That is why if one bishop gave the Nihil Obstat, another bishop has to give the Imprimatur.
I had been taught pretty much the reverse: that you really need to make sure that a book has the Nihil Obstat to make sure that no error has slipped in because 1) the words nihil obstat "nothing hinders" are what means the book is free from error, and 2) it's happened from time to time that a heterodox (or just careless?) bishop gives permission (imprimatur, "let it be printed") for something with moral or doctrinal error to be published. (No examples, just that's what I was told.)

I typically just look for both. I've seen books with only an Imprimatur; I don't remember seeing any with only a Nihil Obstat, but I'm sure they exist.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Cheat {phfr}

...because there's no Pretty this time, despite the fact that it's gorgeous around with autumn glory. I was going to take some photos yesterday but it rained. A bunch.

And I'm counting both the Happy and the Real as Funny because, thank God, life's like that sometimes.

round button chicken

{Happy} is a little boy with a cape and mask.

He and his brothers found an old stash of fleece in my fabric bin before Halloween. Awesome makeshift superhero costumes ensued. This is Sharkman (because his mask makes a kind of fin on the top of his head when he pulls it up).

{Real} is a little boy with a the peanut butter jar.

Oh, well. A sick, growing boy's gotta have his comfort food. Thank goodness there were only a few tablespoons left.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Black Thursday?

The day I turned 34 was Black Friday that year. I had a four-month-old baby--it had been my seventh pregnancy. And that day I read a story about some Black Friday casualties: namely, a 34-year-old man (a Wal-Mart worker) crushed to death at opening time.

According to the story, the crowd smashed through the doors, knocked the worker over, stampeded him, and kept on coming even as emergency crews tried to save him. He wasn't the only one knocked to the ground. Also caught in the crush were at least one other worker and a pregnant woman.

And did I mention that my sister worked at Target at the time?

Since then I am pretty much cured of the desire to get that Black Friday worm.

So the news that stores are pushing back their shopping/working hours into Thanksgiving Day saddens me. I agree with this opinion by Erin Manning, aka Red Cardigan.
But forcing retail store workers, many of them paid only minimum wage, to leave their families during the Thanksgiving feast so they can prepare to be trampled even earlier than usual by bargain-crazed lunatics drunk on consumption and filled with greed, competitiveness, and a level of hostility usually seen only on the battlefield doesn't even begin to be justifiable on the grounds of charity or human decency. In fact, it's just the opposite; it's a decision by the multinationalist corporate owners to pander to the worst qualities of present-day Americans--and if they were doing it on purpose to hasten America's downfall they could hardly have planned a better strategy.
I'm glad the workers are speaking up for themselves. But as consumers we need to do our part. We have a lot more say about whether we show up to Black Friday-- now becoming Black Thursday--sales than the retail workers do. Erin Manning nailed it when she said these stores are "pandering to our worst qualities." And also, I daresay, exploiting the desperation of those trying to make ends meet. Because, let's face it, when you're trying to live on a budget, and still be generous with your family, some of those deals look pretty tempting.

But being responsible is about more than budgeting. Sometimes it means going without chocolate, or without your favorite brand of soda or cheese, or that sweet deal on a flat screen TV, only on Black Friday, now coming to you in the middle of Thanksgiving dinner. Or just so many things under the Christmas tree.

I'm on the lookout for businesses that remember what it means to be human. The handmade movement has always looked appealing. Mom-and-pop shops can still be found. Nordstrom at least has the right idea. I'd welcome other ideas, if you've got them.

Because 34-year-olds and pregnant ladies and retail workers, like me and my sister--and you--deserve to have a break and spend a holiday with their families and, you know, not get trampled.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

For All the Saints Artist Trading Card Swap 2011

It's that time again!

The first time our kids participated in the ATC swap hosted by Pondered in My Heart, they wanted to have a swap every month! (Specifically for Easter and Christmas.)

Will you be joining in this time? Read all about it at Kimberlee's blog, and try your hand!

Pretty, Happy, Funny Real

round button chicken

Dropping in for a quick pic share. They're from last week; forgive me for trailing a bit.


The hickories in November



Roses in November, and kids who bring me the blooms



I've discovered a way to get my kids to eat a vegetable besides corn and raw carrots... pumpkin cake, made from two ingredients: canned pumpkin and cake mix. My sons asked if we could make this a habit.

Thank you, Pinterest.



We went to the All Souls Day Mass at our parish. It was beautiful, but we had to leave at what might have been the most awkward moment; Cora was in rare form that night, and there were a couple of other issues. Our parish had a photographer for the occasion; in the last of the shots at that link, the only person facing the camera (besides the priest) is my baby boy. This one's better, though, isn't it?


Update: To clarify, the picture in that last link is not my daughter; I just thought it was a lovely shot of an interesting moment.


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