Thursday, July 17, 2014

Pretty, Happy, Funny, Real July


The girls and I had an afternoon of painting together this week at a friend's studio from our church. We enjoyed painting these butterflies. We are not sure what to call a gathering of butterflies...a flock? a swarm? a family?


We survived the jokulhlaup of 2014! The glacier behind our home has a lake in its mountains called "Suicide Basin." It released in 2011 and reached its peek level again this year breaking and flooding. Jokulhaup is an Icelandic word for "ice jumping," it was all very exciting...the campground owned by the US Forest Service was shut down in our backyard and we would head down and check the lake levels regularly. 
We are HAPPY it is all over.


I love when the girls have their "fashion" shows. 


I do try to let my kids have their freedom and somehow that always means getting our boots and socks soaked....leaving little bodies very cold (that IS glacier runoff).

The only way I can get littles out of the water is through bribes of kid coffee and popcorn (kid coffee is coffee creamer and warm milk).

Love the fullness of it all. Thank you for stopping by! Check out more PHFR here.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

God Bless America....with lots of Littles!

I loved our Independence Day this year. I have some pictures I wanted to share but also some thoughts on how being open to life is being patriotic.

When we first moved here my husband had a conversation about our family with another lieutenant on a visiting cutter. This gentleman was working on his masters in his off time and reading a lot about how declining populations were going to have a significant impact on nations. He said we were true patriots for having so many children.

Wow? Really? Patriots?

In my fourth pregnancy, I heard it straight from a nurse midwife's mouth that she believed we should only replace ourselves.

And it's her belief! Really it is, and isn't that what is so great about being Americans, is that we can have these differing opinions?

However, being called "true patriots" for having so many children was a first for Justin and I.

patriot: one who loves and loyally or zealously supports one's own country (Webster Fourth Edition)

Fireworks start at 11:59 p.m. on the 3rd of July...because that's when it is dark enough to see them here in Juneau!

That is a huge nun buoy in front of where we were sitting on the Coast Guard pier.

Do you see my son covering his ears?

Patriots, of course, aren't only those called to have a large family, that is so limiting and it is a vocation we are called to in a particular way. What is great about being patriotic is we can be this in every vocation (and in every political party)....

because we can ALL BE OPEN TO LIFE.

To be open to life is to be patriotic because in its essence is a deep love for our fellow countrymen, our neighbor, and the profound realization of how desperately we need each other.

Our country needs her littles. Lord, we pray that you keep sending them...

They pass these mining hats out every year.

When we accept life in front of us in all its forms and mess, we are the ones changed. Every time we give ourselves to our fellow countrymen, in our parish, in our neighborhood, in our schools, in our womb....we are building up our country and promoting a culture of life.

Yes, little ol' you and me.

We should have this prayer for citizens in all countries, that we all have such an ardent love of our country and the life in that country, that we empty ourselves to serve each other.

I hope my own children don't learn to be patriots because their parents just so happen to both serve as commissioned officers in the Coast Guard.

I want them to see us daily serving, opening our hearts to others, right here in this little home in the 49th state of the United States of America.

My dad, a retired Naval officer who served on submarines during the Cold War was very taken aback a few years ago on the phone...or I think it might have even been on the front porch of his home...when I said I identified more with being a Catholic then I did with being an American.

I see now how very much I don't have to rank one over another, labels are so dangerous in this way. Above all we are children of God, I just so happen to be an American Roman Catholic. And more than just saying "we need each other" or "our country needs littles" it is this truth alone, that we are His children, which takes us to the even more beautiful of and zealous support of a Heavenly Kingdom, where Freedom does truly reign! Oh friends, its going to be AWESOME.

God Bless America...with more littles!

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

The Little Oratory: Chapter 5 Thoughts

I am still participating in The Little Oratory book study for the summer.

Summer in the Little Oratory

I know a few of you have been doing some good liturgical work in your own homes with the help of this book. I really enjoyed chapter five, On Learning to Pray With a Breviary.

Chapter five starts with a summary of the precepts as laid out in the Catechism of the Catholic Church, but what I really liked was that with these precepts:

"Each of us will develop a personal plan, often called a rule of life, with this foundation."

My husband entered the Church seven years ago, the year that he and I, by the grace of God, were united in following the Church's teaching on being open to life. The Church is so rich and full and colorful in her many paths she gives her children to follow, I started to see the community of the Church differently once we were shown the way of following life giving love.

Mother Church is so diverse. She offers so many personal paths for us to live out our faith. She really asks: What is the face of God this child of mine needs? And this face could be one face that we see throughout our whole lives or we can change yearly or weekly!

About two months ago I was reading about Mother Teresa, and this holy woman was exactly who I needed right about two months ago. This summer...the face of God I am seeing...the Liturgy of the Hours!

I am grateful that Chapter One centers the reader by sharing that the Liturgy of the Hours is an extension of the Eucharist in our day. I will admit that I have tried to pray the Divine Office before but I can see now it just wasn't the season in my life for it.  I think that the Divine Office is fitting in so well now because it satiates a desire I have for attending daily Mass. It is just not happening with the littles...err...mostly a two and half year old little...

Praying the hours is not exactly in full swing like I want it to be, but how nice to be reminded:

"We must start from where we are, spiritually, and anything new should be introduced gradually with all our duties (including all the time and energy requirements of our station in life, such as the care of young children) in mind. So don't try to do everything!"

 I have tried so very hard to balance community with what needs to happen in here, in this home. I feel a tremendous pulling in as I await this fifth little and yet, I can't help with each time we say evening prayer being pulled out in balance with the Church at large.

What I truly love about the Liturgy of the Hours is that I am participating in the prayer of the universal Church. This little domestic church is unfolding the hours with others in this world in a way that the so called globalization of our times can't even come close to.

"We know from history and from Scripture that our Lord Himself prayed the Psalms as an observant Jew. We know from the Acts of the Apostles that His disciples continued the practice. Thus, the Divine Office has always been part of the worship of the Church in some form."

Which reminds me....

I am in my usual literary...I have way to many books going on at once...mode. In the classics realm I am stuck in Purgatory. No really, I am in the ring of envy as Virgil and Dante are making their ascent. I was struck though, really, when I read the following:

That hour had fallen when the sailor bends 
his yearning and his softened heart toward home...

When I began to let all sound slip by
 as I beheld one spirit rise and ask 
attention, with a gesture of his hand.

He joined his palms together, raised them high
as if he prayed, "I have no other care,"
fixing his gaze upon the eastern sky.

"Thee Before Nightfall" so devotedly
came from his lips, with notes so sweet, they made
me move beyond my mind in ecstasy,

While all the rest with sweet and pious love
followed the soul in singing the whole hymn,
holding their eyes upon the wheels above.

My friends, these souls in Purgatory were praying the hour of compline! Translator Anthony Esolen, in his notes, wrote that this is the closing hour of the day...and that "time in Purgatory harmonizes with the canonical hours."

I just fell in love even more. We are praying WITH the dead. We are praying with the WHOLE Church. 

I really want to mark time even more...but a gradual start....very gradual.

The authors write, "So during the learning period, don't despair. As G.K. Chesterton said, if a thing's worth doing, it's worth doing badly."


How BEAUTIFUL our meager efforts look to our Lord, He just loves that we TRY! And remember what FR Killian, a wonderful Benedictine priest said, "If we are doing what we are supposed to be doing...we share in the prayer!"

Thank you for reading! God Bless!

* I forgot to add my links! See my Little Oratories here on Like Mother, Like Daughter and listen to the podcast for the summer book study!