Saturday, September 30, 2017

Finding Silence

Painting by Eastman Johnson
One of the best advantages of motherhood is sitting up at night to nurse the baby.  It did take me years to realize this, so please hear me out before you write it off as crazy...

The house is quiet and everyone is finally sleeping, the light is dim.  I begin to drift off to sleep...  But the baby needs fed and comforted and I muster the energy to pick him up out of his bed, beginning to nurse.  He is calmed and it is once again silent, except for his adorable sucking.  The nighttime silence turns into meditation.

The tasks of tomorrow can wait.  The house is a disaster, the chores once again did not all get done.  There is probably laundry that needs put into the dryer.  But the baby is snuggled against me, basking in the calmness I provide.  I have so many memories- the best memories- of sitting up at night to nurse the baby.  The nursing mother produces oxytocin which causes calmness and sleepiness and endorphins which contribute to an overall sense of well-being.  These chemicals naturally cause bonding which reminds me of how my Mom and her friends used to say they felt guilty reading while they were nursing the baby!  Reading?  Really?  What about looking at screens or multi-tasking?  I am guilty of all.

But I should calm down for a few minutes and dwell in this silence of night.  I should bond with my child who God has made.  I should meditate on His goodness and the baby's innocence.  I should pray for my child who will one day be a man, that he will decide to serve God who made him.

Why do we not look for silence?  Why do we not love it?  Are our minds too burdened with problems that we do not wish to pray at all, we do not crave meditation?  I'm afraid I am guilty of this too.  I get caught up in the noise of modern life.  It is so loud that my guardian angel and conscience fade into obviation.

Silence is where we find God.  Anxiety and excitement are always the enemies of order in the soul.  Sometimes the craziness of life is inevitable, but often- usually- we inflict it upon ourselves.  We plan too many outings and activities, we watch too many shows, listen to loud music, read too many articles on the internet, maybe even read books excessively and indulge in endless chatter, we check our phones more than our children.  We are running around like crazy!  Our basic chores are not getting done and we spend the night too exhausted and stressed out to properly rest, pray and put our minds and souls in order for the following day.

So many women tell me of the anxiety and depression they feel as mothers.  They tell me of the overwhelming feelings of doubt and fear.  I cannot blame them for these feelings.  I am lucky to not have this particular cross.  But I am no stranger to the stress of modern life or small sufferings.  I have had moments of intense sickness from my thyroid disease.  I do believe that the disorder in everything- from diet and exercise, to family relationships and prayer- is a main contributor to mental and physical health problems.  So many things can overwhelm us!

But I take myself back to this moment of silence...the Christ Child was born on a night like this.  Our Lord continues to make Himself present on Altars around the world at the moment of the Consecration, proving that the greatest mysteries and torrential graces are hidden in the silence.  If only we have the sense to calm down and ask for them.

Too often our lives are too busy, too crazy.

We need to find silence.

"With the single exceptin of sin, anxiety is the greatest evil that can happen to the soul."
-St. Francis de Sales

What do you think?

Sign the NFL Boycott!

If you want to boycott the NFL for not honoring our Flag, sign the protest!  There are over 35,000 signatures at this time which is absolutely incredible.  It's encouraging to know that many people in our country are willing to rise above football to show their devotion to the people who have died for us to play the game.

Sign the NFL boycott here

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

The Football Debate about Loyalty

Villanueva stands for the National anthem on Sunday Sep. 24, 2017
before the Steelers game in Chicago.  It's been said that on his old
team (ex Army Ranger) people died for the American Flag.
He had the Steelers back then, but they don't have his now.
He has since walked back his statement, saying it was an accident
he stood in front of his teammates who were hiding in the tunnel.
Possibly his spirit did.
I am not personally a great football fan but I live in Pittsburgh.  That's a big deal.  Here people love the Steelers along with loving the country and loving God.  A little disproportional- but overall it's true.  And actually, I really have to admire the patriotic devotion Pittsburghers have for the Steelers because it's what's left of the crazy American spirit of loyalty and fidelity.

But yesterday on the sports radio shows, caller after caller after caller was mad.  All the guys were at work (blue collar is as much in our blood as Steelers football) but they were upset.  They all wanted to say their piece and express anger over the fact that our team would not stand or even enter the stadium in Chicago on Sunday for the pregame National anthem.

A switch was flipped in the good old patriotic American soul on Sunday and it is not going to be easy to turn that back off.

Guess how the radio hosts handled the issue?  They didn't.  So the callers just kept coming.

Good for Pittsburgh!

And here's a big reason why there's a debate: THE LIBERALS ARE TRYING TO TURN PATRIOTS INTO RACISTS.

Right from the beginning when Colin Kaepernick stated that because he thought black people were mistreated he would not stand for the Star Spangled Banner, this issue has been fabricated to paint all American patriots as racists.  That is more than a little unfair, it's an absolute lie.

The Americans who are most patriotic are those who are in the military and died for you to play football.  They are the ones who join the police force and nobly put their lives on the line every single day to uphold law and order.  They are the ones who go to Church every Sunday and pray to God to protect our country.  They are the ones who feed the hungry and house the homeless and care for the sick and take care of orphans.  They are the ones who are faithful and loyal.  They don't steal or murder or hurt people or do drugs.  They do these things selflessly, regardless of race.

They are also apparently the ones who passionately love their NFL teams.

These great American patriots are not racists!

I grew up in Northern Virginia with lots of black and white military friends, I now live in Pittsburgh Pennsylvania with lots of black and white working class neighbors and I am not a racist.  Neither are lots of other people.  And of the nasty, petty racists out there, there are just as many black as white.  Ultimately, the Flag of the US is not and never has been a racist Flag!

They still want so badly for conservatives to be racists.  And we're still not.

What does the Flag of the United States of America represent if not racism?  I will tell you, especially you NFL employees and radio show wimps who have not been listening to your thousands of fans and callers because your job or your income or your trendy liberal friends or maybe just football is more important to you than your country:

Our Flag is freedom, although not the freedom to do whatever we want.  Absolute freedom is the same as lawlessness.  We need limits if civilization is going to stay civilized.  I'm not the only one who believes those standards are God's laws, the Christianity that our country was founded on and for which many have given the ultimate sacrifice.  That's what the Star Spangled Banner represents.  And that's why patriots everywhere are declaring their loyalty to something bigger than football.

So no this debate is not about racism.

America, this debate is about God.


Tuesday, September 26, 2017

The Value of Service, The Value of Charity

When I visit the grocery store to shop for food, I like to see smiling faces and helpful employees.  But at some popular shops this is disappearing.
At a good bakery the expert on bread, cakes and pastries is available to
offer advice, answer questions and recommend products.
There is variety and beauty to satisfy our souls as well as our bodies.

Some stores, increasingly it seems, are offering efficiency and cheap prices over service.
Why is this important or concerning you might ask?  I asked myself the same thing.  I like good deals and I obviously don't want to spend more than I have to on my weekly groceries.  But one big thought flashes before me: CHARITY!

If we want a sustainable economy, then we need to care about each other!  We must understand clearly that our worth as eternal souls is much more than simple monetary value.

But when the food industry is run by huge chains who measure their worth in cash, we loose the quality of service.  It is common sense that since the owners and managers and employees don't really know each other, they are much less likely to care about each other.  And not knowing us apart from our credit cards, do they care about the customers either?

Another huge compromise is going to be quality!  The best baker, butcher and candlestick maker in town cannot be afforded by a huge grocery store chain blinded by dollar signs.  Instead, they will probably ship in baked goods and produce from out of state and maybe even meat and dairy from hundreds of miles away!  This is not an issue when we're actually seeking after a good product.  But the big chains thrive on cheap processed foods from highly efficient manufacturers that will stay preserved; they compromise the quality and freshness that contribute to nutrition, taste and appearance.  (Have you ever stood in the bread isle and wondered why there are 50 versions of the exact same awful bread?)  Of course I know we have been doing this for years now, but the outsourcing is getting worse and the worse it gets, the more the quality suffers.

Are robots cheaper than people?  I'm not an expert on this but considering all the self-checkouts and automatic price-checkers in stores, we certainly seem to be moving in this direction.

The big chains thrive on cheap processed foods from highly
efficient manufacturers that will stay preserved;
they compromise the quality and freshness that contribute to
nutrition, taste and appearance.
So if there are fewer employees in the grocery store because employees cost more than robots, we don't have people to help us or answer our questions.  We are more likely to grab what we need and go.  There are fewer conversations and words exchanged because we don't know the people who are checking us out.  We don't have time to talk about new recipes and exotic foods!  And this is all in the store's better immediate interest because being highly efficient and cutting the costs of service means more profits!

I am not anti-capitalist.  We live in a pretty great economy where capitalism gives us lots of freedom for wealth and opportunities for success.  But is there a limit?

The limit seems to be when our wonderful free economy ceases to care about charity.  We don't really care anymore and proportionally to this callous attitude falls the quality of products, the quality of service.  Simple wealth is valued over the grace filled potential of charity!  We no longer buy from the local craftsmen, instead opting to save a few dollars.  But what will this benefit us in the long run?  Not the immeasurable riches of good friends and neighbors!  And we probably won't remember all the good deals we got when we are old.

We must ask ourselves, do we care?  I took the children to our local grocery store recently and the bakery lady gave them each a freshly baked, prettily decorated cookie complete with kind words.  As we left, the employees helped to pack my groceries into the van.  They demonstrated the value of service!  Do we seek after the excellence even in little things, that has always trademarked Christian civilization?  Are we willing to pay for fine products and skills and helpfulness?  Do we support a sustainable, natural economic order?  Or do we run through the grocery store grabbing the cheapest products, not willing to pay for something impossible to put a price tag on- are we not willing to pay for charity?

The value of service is the value of charity.

If you want to hear about organic Christian society from an expert, read Return to Order!

What do you think?

Monday, September 25, 2017

A Weekend In Feminine Dress: (Thank you Villanueva & Goodbye NFL)

Welcome to A Weekend In Feminine Dress on The Catholic Lady Blog.  Every Monday I post pictures of myself or a volunteer wearing a modest, feminine outfit including where it was purchased in order to encourage the apostolate of feminine dress.  If you would like to submit your photos, please contact me at:  Thank you!

I live in Pittsburgh, home of Steelers football.  Did you know every single Steelers player stayed off the field yesterday at the game in Chicago so they didn't have to decide whether to stand or kneel for the National anthem?  Well, all except the one ex Army-Ranger hero who decided that respecting his country was more important than (the pitiful state of) NFL politics.  The other Steelers had to "remove themselves from the situation".  Well, guess what Steelers?  Life is political!  And if all you grown men can't take the National anthem because you think it's racist (Why?  Regardless of race, you all make millions, remember?), you're not tough enough to be on the field!  Why can't just one team respect something bigger than themselves?  Or is the NFL really full of wimps?  And although I don't even like football and would rather play with my kids on a Sunday afternoon, I'm done!  And I really hope you are too.  It's reached a ridiculous extent.

In other news, we had a pretty busy weekend again.  Sunday was early Mass, catechism, a birthday party for my brother-in-law and then our Church picnic/hayride.  It was so much fun and the children keep telling me how they want to do it again!  I need a little break at home though!  Today we are back to school and chores.  And because I did not have a chance to get my outfit pictures, here is one of the girls!  They are full of so much energy and fun and I am so blessed to have them!

They are Wearing;

Beatrice's Dress- Crewcuts
Rebecca's Dress- I made!


Friday, September 22, 2017

Our House!

Here are (finally) a few pictures of our new house for those of you who are interested.  (The ridiculous amount of time it took me to finish this post answers the question of why I am not blogging much these days by the way!!) 
I like to admire houses and I love decorating BUT I am the slowest decorator ever and despite the fact that my husband is an amazing handyman (air conditioning career, carpentry, electricity, plumbing, plus tools!  A real professional, yes I got lucky.), he works l-o-n-g days and sometimes weekends so when he does have time to spare he usually needs to get done some actual chores or tend to his wife who needs to shop and blog (happy wife equals happy life after all).  Plus we are currently working on our mortgage for a few more years before we can afford any significant amount on renovations...  So after all those disclaimers, for you curious readers, I present- our new house!

I love these front stairs!

My fall wreath, it's a little too small I think...hmm.



The PLAYROOM:  (There is no way I'm getting this room cleaned up properly for a picture.)





Apple trees, we actually have three and we got so many apples this year!

Peach tree too!  Delicious!

Monday, September 18, 2017

A Weekend In Feminine Dress: Two Special Guests!

Welcome to A Weekend In Feminine Dress on The Catholic Lady Blog.  This is when I post pictures of myself or a volunteer wearing a modest, feminine outfit including where it was purchased in order to encourage the apostolate of feminine dress.  If you would like to submit your photos, please contact me at:  Thank you! 

We are busy doing school as are so many other people this time of year.  But this is new to us and I am so glad it's going well.  We are doing the Seton Homeschool program and so far we're very pleased.  Our oldest is first grade and it's amazing how much he has already learned in only a few weeks!!  The girls want to do "school" everyday too so I'm busy finding them projects, coloring, stamping, playdough, etc.  Share your suggestions with me for preschool/Kindergarten crafts if you'd like (the less mess, the better ;) )

It's warm again today after the past few weeks being down into the 60s and 70s...but I'm still working on organizing the Fall clothes.  I need to make an effort to go shopping for some new clothes for myself, still putting that off with how busy we've been.  So that is a primary reason why Weekend In Feminine Dress is a little sparse lately...!  If you would like to send me your outfit photo, please feel free to do so, haha!  And I am also starting to put out some Fall decorations which is always so exciting!  I love Fall so much, it's always been my favorite season!  Stay tuned this week for some home pictures too!!  I'm taking pictures as I'm still arranging d├ęcor/pictures/furniture but finally at a point where it looks semi-decent enough to photograph...

Anyway, here is what we wore this weekend:

Beatrice and Rebecca-  I love these dresses on the girls!

Top- Faded Glory
Scarf- Folk Festival
Shoes- Second-hand
Skirt- I made!


Wednesday, September 6, 2017

A Good Article: No Time Out in Battle Over Football

"For generations, football was the most unpolitical and un-ideological of pastimes in
America. Indeed, it was a point of unity that overcame political differences and fostered healthy local rivalries. Not liking football was almost un-American.
Now times are changing in our nation. Nothing can be left untouched by the liberal keepers of the culture. Even football is becoming political and finding itself on the front lines of America’s Culture War..."

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