Thursday, March 24, 2016

Happy Holy Thursday! Some Inspiration for Your Triduum...

First of all, thank you sooo much to everyone who has joined us in praying for a miracle for our godson.  Keep up the prayers! He has had some positive strides recently, but is still having a lot of trouble with breathing and fluid retention. So please, please keep up those prayers! And know that they are already working. Servant of God Leonie, keep praying for us!

I pulled out our materials for the Triduum, and we did the cenacle last night. So much more special now that Therese is in her second year of Catechesis of the Good Shepherd. I can't wait for her sister to start next year!

In case you're looking for some inspiration, I'm linking to some of our old posts below. This Triduum will be pretty simple for us...mainly just living the liturgies. We've been helping teach RCIA this year, and we're looking forward to being sponsors/godparents to some of the catechumens!

Holy Week

Were You There?

Hosanna! Blessed Is He Who Comes in the Name of the Lord!

Holy Week Inspiration

Holy Thursday

The Cenacle

Holy Thursday

Why I'm Grateful for Seminarians

Good Friday

At the Cross Her Station Keeping

Holy Saturday

Blessing of Easter Food

Have a blessed Holy Week!

Saturday, March 19, 2016

Please Join Me in Praying for a Miracle

(I don't know if it's a universal phenomenom, but both of our girls have fallen head over heels in love with their patron saints when they're two years old. At least this one hasn't started in with the possessiveness we witnessed with Miss, "No! My St. Therese!".)

This week has been an exhausting one, and I can't even really share the reasons why with you because it's a lot of things I can't really talk about just yet. Suffice it to say it started with a husband across the country and ended with even more uncertainty about our family's future, and add in a number of other things that came up and...yeah. It was a long week. 

I wasn't going to hop on here at all today, but I have something really, really important that I have to share with you. I'm begging you all to pray with me for a miracle. 

I shared with you last week that our newest godson was born (and baptized) and my tone was very optimistic at the time. But poor baby boy has had some very serious ups and downs in the NICU and his future is very, very uncertain. We're praying for miraculous kidney (and lung) function improvement. That's all the details I can go in, but it's a really serious situation. His mama is one of my very dearest friends, and my heart aches for her having to see her baby go through all these ups and downs. What we need, friends, is a miracle. A good, old-fashioned miracle. 

This little guy and his family (and godparents) all have a special love for the saints of the Martin family. When I was digging around trying to find a patron for our cause, I stumbled on dear (now Servant of God!) Leonie, whose cause for canonization was very recently opened. I found a prayer for her canonization/asking for her intercession. Won't you join me in saying it, faithfully, every day? I can't reveal any personal details about my godson, or tell you his name (out of respect for his family's privacy) so you can just offer it for "Michele's new godson" and she'll know who you're talking about.

Dear Léonie our Sister,
You have already intervened with God on our behalf,
and we would  like to be able to pray to you officially,
so that many more might know you.
Come to the aid of parents who risk losing a child,
as you nearly died at a very young age.
Continue to uphold the families
where different generations have problems living together in peace.
Enlighten youth who question their future and hesitate to commit.
Show to all the way of prayer
which permits you to bear your limitations and your difficulties with confidence,
and to give yourself to others.
Lord, if such is your will,
deign to accord us the grace that we ask of you
through the intercession of your servant Léonie,
and inscribe her among the number of the venerable of your Church.
Through Jesus Christ, our Lord.  Amen.

Imprimatur: March 25, 2012
†  Jean-Claude Boulanger
    Bishop of Bayeux-Lisieux

Let's absolutely storm heaven, you all!!! Thanks in advance!!

Saturday, March 12, 2016

When Your Life is Full of Prayer Intentions

At least that's what it feels like these days - like life is full of prayer intentions. It's a good, good life, and there are so many prayer intentions that are being answered. So this is more a reflection on the fact that life is full of big things these days, and it feels like all the big things are happening at once, if that makes sense? 


I never got to link up with Rosie last week, but maybe I'll get to join her this week! The What I Wore Sunday link-up is a lovely one to take part in. 

And yes, I chopped off all my hair. I always think that I'm going to like having long, curly hair, but then it becomes too much to maintain. It's been ages since I had it this short, but I was inspired by Nell and her adorable cut.


We had spring parent/teacher conferences this week, and of course our girl is doing phenomenally. I am so, so grateful that we've had a really good school experience with her. It makes me more confident about our call to homeschool next year, because we aren't making the decision out of bitterness toward bad schools or anything like that. Her school is lovely, and if you know me in real life and are looking for a preschool in our area I would highly, highly recommend it. But when there is so much goodness and there is still a silent, gentle call to something - well, that's usually the sign of God at work. He works in those quiet ways, you know? 

I am so excited about teaching her next year. I'm excited about the curriculum we're looking at, excited about settling on a co-op (for our very social girl) and excited about what our lifestyle will look like. Slower, quieter, and with more space to breathe (and play!) I hope.


One of the things I am most excited about is the blossoming friendship between my daughters. As any parent of siblings know, it is a full time job trying to nurture that relationship and teach them how to interact. (i.e. Teaching them that hitting, yelling, tattling, etc. are not acceptable.) But the fruit of the labor is so very, very beautiful. We were at the seminary recently, and an argument broke out between them, and I stopped what I was doing to mediate and try to teach them how to solve it. Then I turned back to the seminarians I had been talking to and said, "It's all about character forming. It's moments like this when I realize I am so much more than a babysitter..." They loved that (because they want to be good parish priests and are fascinated by the vocation of motherhood) and it was the first time I had thought of it that way. Motherhood isn't just about childcare. It's about forming character, and teaching virtue. That's the kind of thing you can't put on a resume, but it's also the job for which there is no replacement.

Anyway, I just love their relationship. The other day, we were driving to Catechesis of the Good Shepherd and they randomly started playing "I Spy" in the backseat and I just had this moment of revelation, "Ohhh...I won't be a referee forever. They're going to start being able to interact and have conversation more!" And that was a wonderful realization.


The other night, our newest godson was born and baptized. Andrew was able to be present for the baptism, and I came to the hospital once the babysitter arrived. 

His parents knew he was going to need some extra help, so the baptism and everything had already been planned. His mother is an amazing woman, and watching her and her husband navigate these waters...well, it's just been an honor to be able to call her friend, and to get to be a part of the beginning of this little boy's life. Not sharing any names here, out of respect for their privacy, but could you please offer a little prayer for this little guy and his parents and older siblings? He is one tough little boy and will be alright in the end, but he's got a bit of a journey ahead of him.


This little girl has been living vicariously through everyone she knows who is expecting a baby brother or sister, and she was so excited for her godbrother to be born. I asked her if I could take a picture of her praying for him, and she consented.

The rest of her adoration session was equal parts adorable and hilarious.

Me: Sweetheart, are you ready to go?

Maria: Almost. (Pause) I love you...Jesus! 

Me: You're showing Jesus your shoes?

Maria: Yeah! Hmm...Socks? Jesus...Mah-ria tutu? 

Me: Oh, you're showing Jesus your tutu? 

Maria: Mommy, show Jesus shoes!

Me: Show Jesus my shoes? Okay....are you ready to go now, sweetheart?

Maria: Almost.

Jesus must just love when two year olds pray.


I finished reading The Martian Chronicles yesterday, and it was so good. Bradbury does not disappoint. The next book on my Kindle is a library one, the new Harper Lee book, Go Set a Watchman. I've barely started so I can't comment yet, but it sounds like most people either love it or hate it. I'll let you know what camp I fall in, soon enough. 

I have been flying through and loving my other library book, Till We Have Faces. It's C.S. Lewis at his finest, and it really lives up to all the hype. I don't know when I last enjoyed a book this thoroughly!

I'm reading Go Set a Watchman because it's a library one, and I was on the waitlist forever, but I do know which one I'm going to read on my Kindle after that. I had a hard time falling asleep one night last week and was looking for a "boring"book to help me drift off, and I started Jane Eyre, thinking it would fit the bill...but I was so, so wrong. Now I'm itching to start reading it in earnest. Any Bronte fans out there? 

I've been especially wanting to read her since hearing that she suffered from (and mostly likely died from complications associated with) hyperemesis gravidarum. It makes me so, so grateful to be living in the time I'm living in! 


Finally, for all of you who have been following our family in this time of transition - still no definite answers on our future, but still lots of prayer and discernment. So, if you have a moment, can you say a quick prayer for us, too?

Linking up with Kelly and her Takers, and with Like Mother, Like Daughter because there's so much {pretty, happy, funny, and real} in this post!

Sunday, February 28, 2016

WIWS and Soothing an Infertile Friend

When Rosie tells me to do something, I listen. So, here's what I wore Sunday!

My vocation to motherhood is so boring. #saidnomotherever

My had a couple seminarians and a lovely family over for a post-Mass brunch today. The little family had a one month old and were very generous about letting us have a chance to hold him. Our family is aching for a new baby, and holding that little boy was balm for our souls!

It reminded me of a piece of advice I'd read recently, suggesting that was to comfort a friend who is struggling with infertility is by letting them hold YOUR baby. So, so true!!

Have a good week, friends!

Saturday, February 27, 2016

Let's Sit and Have Some Tea Together

If I have to choose between a blogger I like no longer blogging or just becoming casual and chatty...I'd pick casual and chatty any day, sipping-tea-together anyday. I feel like, ever since dear Christy admitted what we were all thinking, I've realized how much I like the blog posts that are just chatty, without being deeply reflective. My life is full of too much deep reflection, and when my favorite bloggers post, I just want to feel like I'm checking in with a friend.

Sooooo, I'm hoping that you feel the same. Check in time.

Go ahead and link up to Like Mother, Like Daughter, because these pictures are my {pretty, happy, funny, real}, and to Kelly, because I'm going to share this in 7 Quick Takes. (Side note: Kelly gave my new book the loveliest review AND she's giving away an head on over and enter for your chance to win!!)


Andrew was gone for several days this week. I missed him to no end. I'll be glad when this season of job interviews is over. Our youngest has begun to assume that whenever he comes home late from work, it's because he's on a plane and we're going to have to go and we've going to have to, "...pick up Daddy, hairport?"

I desperately messaged the lovely Ana a few hours after Andrew left the other day, since I knew that she was in a similar boat. She made me feel not crazy. If you're reading this, Ana, thank you.   


That being said, there are bits and pieces of hopefulness that make me suspect we will, in fact, have an income to live off of next year. That, and the fact that there seems to be a good amount of interest in my husband makes me happy and grateful. But I must admit...I'm not quite sure what we'll do without the pure crazy that is grad student life! It'll be an adjustment, for sure.


This is mainly just a note for my future self...the girls' current favorite game is alternating between pretending to be dogs and pretending to be birds hatching from eggs (a.k.a. blankets that I'm supposed to drape over them). The big one even makes a "nest" out of her blankets on her bed, and they perch there and trill "tweek! tweek!" until I go and pretend to feed them worms. It's pretty stinkin' cute!


My other favorite thing right now is our Pope Francis doll (the little guy wearing a white zucchetto in the middle there). This little one is obsessed with him, and plays with him all day every day. Pope Francis goes for rides in her stroller, tags along to the seminary, is propped in the high chair, and is tucked into bed. The other day, her physical therapist was over and that lovely lady is fantastic about incorporating toys into therapy time. She was amused by no end over the fact that Pope Francis was practicing going up the steps, getting fed play food, etc. "Don't forget to feed Pope Francis! Is Pope Francis going to go up the steps?!"

Pope Francis, I doubt you'll ever read this, but thank you for making my daughter so happy.


We would not have survived this week without our jolly band of seminarians. Andrew wisely RSVP'ed for us to go to two different events/activities at the seminary while he was gone, and that adult conversation saved me. As a theologian in hibernation, getting to talk to those guys is so much fun, and - since they are being trained in the fine art of pastoral work - they are pros at making our whole family feel valued and welcome. God bless seminarians. Every one.

Especially seminarians who coach my daughters in sports that I have zero talent in, like darts. God bless you especially.


I always enjoy seeing what other people are reading, so I snapped this shot all stealth-like while huddled in my booth at the coffee shop.

In the interest of full disclosure, I'm not really reading The Well Trained Mind or The Read Aloud Handbook (note, I bought older editions of both, since they were cheaper, and for my purposes they work just fine). I do bring them along with me and leave them on my desk or bed and occasionally pick them up and read a sentence or two. They just inspire me, and I fully intend to slowly but surely work my way through them. (We are definitely homeschooling next year and that's a whole other post, but I'm arming myself well with inspiration in the meantime. I've loving a new podcast I discovered and I am itching like crazy for the big homeschool conference in our area! Susan Wise Bauer is one of the speakers and I am so, so excited to hear her in person!)

I usually read my Kindle before bed until I can't keep my eyes open anymore, and I got The Martian Chronicles for super cheap. I forgot how much I like Bradbury's writing. Andrew and I were recently in a futuristic reading jag, and so this one has fit in really well. I don't think he's ever read any Bradbury, so I may need to try to convince him to read this one. (And if you haven't read Fahrenheit 451 yet, add it to your list right now!!)

I don't have it pictured here, but I'm trying to start a new thing where I read a classic children's chapter book on the side. I want to hit the ones that I missed, so I'll be better equipped to toss recommendations out for the girls when they hit that age. I'm currently reading an old library copy of The Moffats that I picked up at a book sale. It's very sweet and innocent, and I've also been shocked by how different our culture is, less than a hundred years later. The Kindergarteners not only walk to school without parents, but they also wander away during recess and ride a freight train, with no one getting too up in arms about it. What?!

The Power and The Glory is for a book club I'm a part of (with two fellow theologians-turned-moms). It's been on my list forever, and I remember really enjoying Graham's writing when I had to read The End of the Affair in college. It hasn't disappointed so far. The three of us have been kind of shocked that we didn't really know much about the (relatively recent) persecution of the Church in Mexico. This book took place in the 1930s! And it's based on historical fact. The basic premise is that the reader is following the last priest in Mexico, as he tries to elude the authorities. It's fascinating, even more so because it's based on a true period of history.

Finally...Gilead. I thought I was done with this book. It was my reading-while-watching-the-girls-in-the-kiddie-pool book last summer (with the water damage to prove it) but I lost interest halfway through and put it aside. Then suddenly it seemed like everyone was Instagramming it, Facebooking it, or blogging about it. THEN, my mother-in-law and I were talking about books recently, and she said that she'd recently picked up a copy of Lila and loved it, but that I had to finish Gilead before I could read that one (since they kind of go together). Rats. Since she's the one I have to thank for encouraging me to plow through (and ultimately enjoy) both Kristen Lavransdatter and Middlemarch, I've come to trust her book recommendations. So, finish Gilead I will, so I can get to Lila. And probably, I won't regret it. 

Finally, I downloaded a Kindle copy of The Spirit of the Liturgy because I wanted to follow along with Auntie Leila. But I haven't gotten to that one yet...


Finally, I've added a new component to my Saturdays - walks outside, preferably at one of the many gorgeous parks in our area. Today I was at a park that used to be a rather large, wealthy farm. A sign explained, in great detail, how opulent this farm was. It honestly sounded like something a lord or lady would live in across the pond (Downton much?). Do you know what's left of that farm? The picture on the bottom. A little bit of worn out sidewalk and those stairs. That's it. As I was walking away from it, I had St. Teresa of Avila's prayer in my head, 

Let nothing disturb you.
Let nothing frighten you.
All things are passing. 
God never changes.
Patience gains all things.
He who has God, find he lacks nothing.
God alone is enough.

In the midst of so much uncertainty these days, that prayer is bringing me so, so much peace.


If you haven't watched the new OK GO video yet, drop everything and watch it right now. It is the coolest thing ever, and it has our family's official stamp of approval. (Watch how they did it, too. My brain just got a little smarter...)

PSA, if you watch the video of their first flight you'll have a pretty accurate idea of what hyperemesis gravidarum feels like. I felt nauseous just watching it. (And I get nauseous on normal plane rides! Oh, man!)

Have a lovely rest of your weekend! And for goodness sake, join Rosie tomorrow!!!

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Some Books, A Pope, A Quilt, and Plato? Or Playdoh?

Linking up with Auntie Leila. 

First, I have to start off by showing you how the book turned out. My copy showed up late last week, and I'm just thrilled with how it turned out!! What with a traveling husband last week (which of course, I don't talk about until after the fact!) life was too crazy for too much blogging/writing. But I'm so happy to show it to you now.


Isn't it so pretty?! I modeled it after the style of books that my toddler and preschooler love best. And really? From babies up to young elementary, it's the kind of book that little ones love. Simple and easy to follow. I hope you'll check it out! I've got a lovely line-up of bloggers who will be doing reviews and giveaways, and I'll let you know where to find them. In the meantime, you can purchase your copy here.


I do so love the sight of this little one running. I love it even more when she's running through the halls of the seminary. And it makes me chuckle to myself when she's running with her Pope Francis doll. (We didn't get it from Toys R' Us. A friend of ours bought a bulk amount and so ours was under $3!) As you can imagine, the seminarians (and even this little girl's favorite priest friend, the rector of the seminary) were in love with this doll. They were making Pope Francis jokes left and right!


Between this lovely podcast and the Read Aloud Revival I keep hearing people off-handedly talking about reading Shakespeare to little ones. I'm awful about reading anything not picture books, but I really, really love Shakespeare and have for a long time. I lugged around this very tattered Complete Works of Shakespeare with me during many of my high school days. Just having it on the desk with me was a promise of worlds to escape into! I loved doing theatre, acting, directing, etc. and Shakespeare is so very fun to perform. I've been feeling guilty about not being able to read classic non-picture book literature out loud to the girls (dumb, I know) but I had soooo much fun reading A Midsummer Night's Dream to them. I did different voices and really got into it. My older one is already familiar with the story, so she really enjoyed it! We both think Nick Bottom is positively hilarious. 

BUT what's really funny here is the fact that they were playing with their new Playdoh while I was reading to them and bringing me "food" to eat. The little one jokingly smeared some on the page and I told her, "No, no! We don't put Playdoh on the Shakespeare!" Then the former philosopher in me chuckled. Plato and Shakespeare. Playdoh and Shakespeare. Hehe.


Aaaaaand two big project finished this week! A very belated Christmas gift for a dear friend (who's always making things for our family) and a book that lasted forever...but got surprisingly good right at the very end! Basically became an apology for fidelity in marriage. Loved it!

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Book Release Day!!! It's Here!!!

I'm eeking this out before midnight in my timezone, and the reason for that is another story for another day. BUT...the book is here!!

I am so excited to share this beautiful little book with you. As I said in my last post, we've found some good resources for praying the Stations of the Cross with slightly older kids...but what about the one year old? The two year old? The three year old? (And some days...even the five or six year old???) How can we bring the Stations into their awareness in a gentle, yet theologically solid way? 

Enter this simple book.

I Walk With Jesus - A Simple Way of the Cross is modeled after the style of book that my young children love best. Each station has a picture, a word to focus on, and a brief sentence to summarize the station. The beginning and end of the book feature short, classic prayers associated with the Stations of the Cross and Paschal mystery, and you could easily incorporate the announcement of the name of the Station and the "We adore you O Christ, and we praise you..." prayer into each Station if attention spans allowed. 

But you'll also notice something else - this book isn't just for toddlers and babies. It could very easily be used with older kids, including (but not only) older kids with special needs. It's simple, but it's not babyish. 

I'm releasing this book at the start of Lent, the most popular time to pray the Way of the Cross. But honestly...this classic prayer of the Church is one we would benefit from praying throughout the year. 

Throughout Lent, I'll be sharing this book (and opportunities to win a copy of your own!!!) on some of my favorite blogs. If you can't can buy your copy today!!

The book is available on Kindle Fire, Kindle Android, paperback, and PDF. I can't get it to work on my KindlePaperwhite right now, so I'm going to troubleshoot that (just to give you a heads up). BUT it has been formatted for Kindle, and if you want to read it on your Kindle Fire or Android device it looks absolutely beautiful! (And really, those are my preferred means for reading kid's e-books anyway, so that you get to see any color. Most of these pictures are black and white, but there are color coded words throughout the book). 

And, well...why don't we go ahead and give away a copy right here??? Winner will receive a Kindle or PDF copy of the e-book. Giveaway closes on Sunday!

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