Thursday, December 31, 2015

Photo Blogging Challenge (December 2015): Holidays

Chester Santa Dash
Chester Cathedral

When the theme for this month was posted I thought it would be a piece of cake.  I planned on taking all sorts of great, artistic sorts of photos.  Humph!  This month just flew by and, in all honesty, the artist in me just didn't appear as I would have liked.

That being said, Christmas was terrific this year.  Not that it isn't every year, but somehow this one was different.  I think there was less emphasis on stuff and more on being - being present and aware of the moment at hand.

Watching 5,000 Santas run in the rain.  Sitting by the fire with company on Christmas Day.  Listening to Dad play Christmas carols on the organ.  Making candy at Sis' house.  Watching a three-and-a-half year old pass out stockings to family.   Praying the St. Andrew's novena.  Prayer buddies.

All great presents and even better presence.

To see more, visit A 'lil Hoohaa

On the Seventh Day - We Are Called Anew

Gifts of the Holy Spirit
Wisdom, Understanding, Counsel, Fortitude, Knowledge, Piety, Fear of the Lord

"In our own age, then, we are called anew by the ever ancient and ever new faith of the Church, to draw near to the Holy Spirit as the giver of life." 


Wednesday, December 30, 2015

The Sixth Day

Six days of creation

Joy to the world! The Lord has come
Let earth receive her King!
Let every heart prepare Him room

And heaven and nature sing
And heaven and nature sing

And heaven, and heaven and nature sing

Joy to the world! the Savior reigns
Let men their songs employ
While fields and floods
Rocks, hills and plains

Repeat the sounding joy
Repeat the sounding joy
Repeat, repeat the sounding joy

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

On the Fifth Day

The first five books of the Old Testament

Everything old is new again. 

These books - Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy - are often called “the Law,” but in addition to legal materials they include poems, songs, and epic narratives about the people of God.  The Pentateuch tells a story that extends from the Creation to the time when the people of Israel are encamped on the edge of the promised land.


Monday, December 28, 2015

The Fourth Day - Worthily and Well

Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John

We have two deacons at the parish in which we belong, Deacon Roger and Deacon Rich.  They often assist at Mass, and when doing so, proclaim the Gospel.  Prior to doing that they ask the priest for his blessing.

"May the Lord be in your heart and on your lips, that you may proclaim his Gospel worthily and well, in the name of the Father .…"

Everytime I hear that prayer, one part stands out to me - worthily and well.

We are all called to live and preach the Gospels, some by word, all by action.  I like to think of that prayer as my reminder to check my actions.  How am I doing?  Can I do better? 

Of course I can.


Sunday, December 27, 2015

On the Third Day

Faith, Hope, and Love
Father, Son and Holy Spirit
Jesus, Mary and Joseph

It seems perfect to me that the third day of Christmas falls on the Feast of the Holy Family. I think Chesterton would agree.

If the moderns really want a simple religion of love, they must look for it in the Athanasian Creed. The truth is that the trumpet of true Christianity, the challenge of the charities and simplicities of Bethlehem or Christmas Day never rang out more arrestingly and unmistakably than in the defiance of Athanasius to the cold compromise of the Arians.  It was emphatically he who really was fighting for a God of Love against a God of colourless and remote cosmic control; the God of the stoics and the agnostics.  It was emphatically he who was fighting for the Holy Child against the grey deity of the Pharisees and the Sadducees.  He was fighting for that very balance of beautiful interdependence and intimacy, in the very Trinity of the Divine Nature, that draws our hearts to the Trinity of the Holy Family.  His dogma, if the phrase be not misunderstood, turns even God into a Holy Family.”

Saturday, December 26, 2015

On the Second Day

“The more we are proud that the Bethlehem story is plain enough to be understood by the shepherds, and almost by the sheep, the more do we let ourselves go, in dark and gorgeous imaginative frescoes or pageants about the mystery and majesty of the Three Magian Kings.”
Christendom in Dublin by GK Chesterton


The First Day

God became man
so man could become God

Wishing you a blessed Christmas season!


Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Home, Home on the Road

I have been traveling for work more than usual lately.  If the stay is an extended duration, I unpack my suitcase rather than living out of it – blouses, pants and dresses are hung in the closet and undergarments and socks are in a dresser drawer.  I “move in.”
But, no matter how long I stay, it’s just not home.  The bed isn’t mine.   Definitely not the pillows.  Neither are the bathroom and living areas.   Even though Himself is just a phone call away, he’s not with me.
I have found one place, no matter where I am at, that I feel right where I belong – church.
I know when I through those doors I will see a crucifix, front and center.  Also prominent will be the tabernacle.  Somewhere will be the Vatican flag.
The most important part, though, is when Mass begins.  Regardless of where I am at, what country, what time zone, the readings, the prayers, the order of the liturgy will be the same.  The catholic-ness, with a little “c”, is apparent.  It is universal.
We bless ourselves in the same manner.  We say the same prayers, the same words, though perhaps in a different language.

Our Father who art in heaven.
Padre nuestro que estás en los cielos. 
Vater unser im Himmel
* * *
And with your Spirit.
Y con tu espíritu.
Und mit deinem Geist
* * *
Glory to God in the highest.
Gloria a Dios en el cielo.
Ehre sei Gott in der höchsten  
 Our faith binds us.  We are home.
Do I hear an Amen?
Cathedral Basilica of the Immaculate Conception, Denver, Colorado
Cathedral of St. Mary, Cheyenne, Wyoming

Sunday, December 13, 2015

TToT (13): There's No Place Like Home

 “There are two ways of getting home; and one of them is to stay there.”
- one -
The trip that was cancelled a couple of weeks ago was rescheduled and occurred this past week.  Everything went smoothly and it was a productive trip.
- two -
All my flights were not only on time, one got in more than a half hour early.  Got to love that jet stream!  
- three -
I stayed in Chester while in England.  It is a beautiful and historic town that I frequently found myself getting lost in.  But, since everything is in walking distance, I was never really all that far from the hotel. 
- four -
After Mass on Sunday morning I wandered through town trying to get the lay of the land.  And find coffee.  I kept seeing Santa.  Everywhere.  It turned out that there was a Santa run that was to be starting shortly.  There had to have been a least 3000-4000 people in this race.  It took nearly ten minutes from when the race began for everyone to get across the starting line.
- five -
I was told by a number of people that while in Chester I really should visit the Cathedral.  They were right.  It was beautiful.  Founded in 1092 as a Benedictine Abbey, it is now home to the Church of England.  The windows in it are spectacular.
 - six -
Our last night in town we stumbled onto a parade.  Truth be told, it is the oddest Christmas parade I have ever seen.  And the shortest.  There were only about 10-12 units in it. 
- seven -
We have been praying the St. Andrew Christmas Novena this year.  My chaplet that I won a number of years ago once again traveled with me. 
- eight -
I decided that I wanted to do something a little different than our normal Advent wreath this year.  I was able to find unscented pillar candles online at Quick Candles and a beautiful print from HatchPrintsShop on Etsy.  Himself made my vision happen while I was gone.  Perfect! 
 - nine -
The weather this weekend was in the sixties.  I really wouldn't mind if all of winter was like this  I know, wishful thinking!
- ten -
Yesterday, the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe, was my "blogiversary".  When I started writing this five years ago I had no idea where it would lead or how long it would last.  I have been blest with opportunity to share things that are important to me as well as things that are just plain silly or goofy.  Many of you I consider friends, whether I have met you or not.  Thanks for coming along for the ride! 
Check out more goodness at  A Fly on Our (Chicken Coop) Wall.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Wonder Doubled: Baby Steps in Combat Boots

We have a new post up at the USCCB website For Your Marriage.

This was her first attempt to play a song on the piano for others since the lady who teaches toddlers to play began working with her.  She was confident and not afraid to be less than perfect. G. K. Chesterton said, “A thing worth doing is worth doing badly.”  He wasn’t advocating careless indifference, but rather, he was encouraging amateur enthusiasm.  He thought people were becoming so specialized and narrow that one day no one would whistle because the professional whistler did it best.

 You can read the whole article here.


Tuesday, December 1, 2015

First Photo: December 2015

The sky, grey with clouds and mist and rain, seems to make everything look weary and tired.  After a long year, there seems to be a need for rest.  Soon it will all be tucked in under a blanket of snow.

Hopefully not too soon.