Monday, August 10, 2015

Book Club: Reflections on the Family Rosary

Don't worry if your family Rosary doesn't look like this.
So, Eleanor's been teething the past week. This is her hardest tooth yet, and it's only getting progressively worse. She's been getting up in the middle of the night, sometimes twice a night. So I didn't get to writing my past 3 reviews. So this upcoming week, I'm going to publish one a day for 6 days, and then the last 2 weeks I will write 3 times a week.

Onto the first essay, titled Reflections on the Family Rosary. It's barely 2 pages, but contains an important gem for parents to understand. No matter how hard the distractions come, or the temptations to let it slide hit you, a daily family rosary is important for the faith, to encourage children to hear God's voice, and even as a tool for conversion. This family doesn't hesitate to welcome their intruding neighbors to join them when interrupted, and they all do gather for prayer, whether willingly, joyfully, or reluctantly.

I have 2 distinct memories of my family rosary growing up. The first was the realization (given to us by Mom) that Dad assigned rosary mysteries based on where we knelt, instead of birth order like Mom. From that moment on, we started fighting about who was kneeling next to Dad's strict upright figure, because that meant that we would get to say (for reasons not clear to me or I'm sure to my siblings) the coveted fifth decade. The second was during my reluctant teenage years, when we lived in Idaho, and when the only time Mom could get all of us to settle down and pay attention was in the 30 minute car ride home from school. We all had lots of homework, Mom had dinner to get ready, and so we made the best of a bad situation by spending our time in prayer. Thinking back, I realize it gave me a mental break from the pressures at school, preparing me for the pressures of being at home, as the oldest in a large family. It's not a fond memory like the first, but it's meaningful nonetheless.

Friday, August 7, 2015

My Favorite Part about Being a Mother

Newborn Photo Shoot
There are many things about being a mother that I hate, and many more that I love. 
I hate it when shots are due, or when a new tooth is coming out, or when there is a mystery rash that doesn't clear up with just some diaper cream (although I've finally discovered the cure! Aquaphor + baby powder heals the skin so that the Desitin is able to stick and work). I hate not knowing why she's all of a sudden waking up in the middle of the night, not being able to settle back down until she's played for a little bit.
When she takes her naps...
 I love it when my daughter says "mama", even though she mostly says it when she's crying (I love that she comes to me when she's hurting). I love it when she comes up to me in the middle of her playtime, not to be picked up or to get something, but just to say hi before she runs away. I love watching the miracle of her growth and development, even though it baffles me how any mother could support abortions after seeing their own children develop both inside and outside the womb. I love it when she's so proud of herself for learning something new, whether that's moving her head from side to side, flipping over from back to front, crawling, or now, walking.
...She crashes pretty hard
But all these things are not what I love most about being a mother. What I love most is when my active daughter, who refuses to voluntarily sit still for longer than 5 minutes (and only if I'm reading a book to her), gets tired and knows that it's time for bed. Because I look forward to bedtime and nap time, not because I'll get a minute to myself to get some things done, but because it's the only 5 minutes I get where she's cuddling with me, with a smile on her face as she's falling asleep. It's the only time I can remember that warning given to me so often during my 9 months of pregnancy, "Cherish these days, because they will pass by soon". I sit and rock my little peanut, who seems somehow gigantic, knowing that one day she won't need me to cuddle her before bedtime, loving the time we have together without regretting the future before it's already here.
What are your favorite parts of parenthood?
A year after the first picture

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

August 4th: Feast of St. Dominic

St. Dominic by Fra Angelico
Yesterday was the feast of St. Dominic, a big feast day for me.  Because I was taught by Dominicans, they included their students and alumnae in their spiritual family, and so St. Dominic is my spiritual father, so to speak. There are lots of stories surrounding his life. My favorite one is this:
Once Our Lady showed him a vision of the various Orders in Heaven, but no matter how long he looked, he could not find his own order. He asked Our Lady in great distress where it had gone. She opened her mantle, and underneath it he found his entire order, which had taken refuge in Our Lady's care.

For dinner, because St. Dominic was Spanish, we had Crockpot Chicken Enchiladas. They did not turn out the way I had planned. Every recipe I had seen wanted you to cook the chicken beforehand, and then just put it in the crockpot for 1 1/2-3 hours on Low, but I decided that the entire purpose of the crockpot was so that it could be a one pot meal. So there I went, layering chicken cubes, Rotel, black olives, enchilada sauce, and corn tortillas like a Mexican lasagna, and let it cook for 3 hours. Well, the chicken was cooked through, that's for sure, but the corn tortillas turned to mush, and we had something that wasn't stew, wasn't soup, but definitely wasn't anything else either. The flavors were amazing though. Even Matt went back for a second bowl without adding any extra seasoning, so that's a plus!
And yes, I'm not sure if enchiladas are Spanish, but it was as close as I could get with the food we had in the house and my limited cooking skills.

Saturday, August 1, 2015

August: Month of the Holy Eucharist

Behold the Bread of Angels, made the Food of Travelers. Truly the bread of the children shall not be thrown to the dogs.
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The month of August is dedicated to the Blessed Sacrament. In the 16th century, the Real Presence of Our Lord in the Holy Eucharist was challenged by the newly formed Protestant religions, who decided that God couldn't do as He wished, and that it was impossible for God to appear on the earth every time a priest performed the miracle of Transubstantiation. The Council of Trent was called in order to combat this and other heresies promoted by the errors of Protestantism, like predestination, sola scriptura, Martin Luther's covered in snow theory, and personal interpretation of the Bible.

For this month's prayer, I chose a Spiritual Communion by St. Alphonsus Liguori. Like I was taught in First Holy Communion class, Catholics should make an effort to make an act of Spiritual Communion every day that they can't receive the Holy Eucharist. I have a problem remembering to do that, so I put the prayer up for convenience' sake, mine and my readers. To make an act of Spiritual Communion, however, it is only necessary to put yourself in the presence of God, and then ask Christ to come into your heart, using your own words if you wish, or a Saint's words if you want a more formulaic response (nothing wrong with that!).

I use the prayers honoring the Blessed Sacrament in the Mother Love prayer book and the Christian Warfare manual, both published by Angelus Press. They are both handy to keep around, with lots of prayers tailored specifically for mothers and traditional Catholics (respectively).