Friday, December 29, 2017

The Happy Home

It is a fast world we live in today, a world of increasing chaos and stress.

Why do we feel rushed all the time?  Why do we not have time to be still at home?  Why do we not have time to think, organize, rest, to relax?  Is it the screens?  The shopping?  The broken families?

I think it is all of the above and more.  And there is one solution to the fast-paced, stressed out world: build home life!

Home life is missing.  There is not a happy, comfortable place to unwind at the end of the day.  So people go out to spend the evenings at restaurants, at parties or shopping through the stores for things they do not need...ask me how I know.  This is the modern world that surrounds us; we live this life!

So I try to make our home a happy one.  And I will share with you the things that are helping us in this task:

1. Pray the family Rosary.  Now we do not do this everyday.  There are actually lots of days when it gets too late and I am forced to put the children to bed and then pray.  But when they are included there is a real sense of peace that envelops us and we are absolutely better able to deal with struggles the following days.  So try this please if nothing else!  Pray the family Rosary!

2. Cook!  Cooking is healthy, it is the best way to get fresh ingredients and thus nutrition into our bodies.  The process of cooking is gratifying and important since healthy people will be calm and happy people!  It is naturally comfortable since most people are very hungry at mealtimes and especially at the end of a long day, not to mention the enticing smells and artistic settings that can uplift our other senses too.  Beauty feeds our souls and so the potential to create beauty with table settings and food arrangements should not be taken for granted!  The family dinner is a very underrated way to bring family closer, so establish it and defend it, Christian mothers!  Meals are better when significant thought and time have been put into the preparation; so here is an argument for mothers accepting the vocation at home.

3. Tidy up but don't stress it!  This one is hard for me.  I am a bit OCD when it comes to cleaning and so I don't like to leave one toy out or one section of floor un-mopped.  BUT I usually need to be content with what gets done as far as cleaning goes...  I have learned that one hour a day is sufficient to do "chores" and beyond that general tidying and an occasional extra cleaning task (like washing sheets and curtains, cleaning windows, vacuuming couches and scrubbing the tub) will get me through the weeks much less stressfully and much more happily!  If this is not up to par, please don't burst my bubble!

4. Have a strict but gradual bedtime.  We also are not great at this one.  But I'm working on it because I know what a difference bedtime makes even for adults who need our sleep!  The structure of home life for children is very, very helpful!  I cannot emphasize this enough.  I like to take them up for a bath around 7:30-8 and then have time for pajamas, brush teeth, find everyone's blankets and make sure they are settled in with a book or quiet game until they fall asleep.  Every night is a little bit different but having an agenda and goals definitely helps me!  Also, the time after the children are in bed is valuable for the parents.  Marriage is after all what sustains family life more than anything else!  So set aside time to relax and talk, work on a project, read or pray a bit more...together.  Something rarely done around here: a quiet grown up dinner after the children are in bed is surprisingly refreshing- if you don't starve in the meantime!

5. Be cheerful!  Happiness in our souls is the basis of a happy home life.  God designed our personalities and experiences to complement one another.  He is the Master of design and so even though it can be hard to believe sometimes, everyone is necessary in the family life!  Each person we have is a grace, even when they are being difficult.  So give encouragement when someone is down, play games with the little ones even when you're worn out, make another snack when someone is hungry!  It's worth it I am sure.  It is easy to be cheerful when we feel happy.  But when we are discouraged or tired it gets a little harder.  I try to remember that a bad attitude never helped anyone, while cheerfulness is always reasonable if we believe in Heaven!  So smile, stand up confidently and keep going.

Thanks for reading!  I would love to hear your tips for building a happy home life in the comments below!

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Advent and Christmas in Pictures!

Here are a few photos of what the past few weeks have looked like around here!  I savor so much the slow Advent, the anticipation at home, the preparation for the Savior's seems like once Christmas day arrives things go too fast and are too busy!  Beatrice has her birthday on December 17 and we took them ice skating to celebrate...

Someone thinks he's ready for Christmas (after all his motto is: more trouble, more fun)!

Our official photo this year!  I won't tell you how many takes it took.

St. Nicholas Day breakfast after so many chocolate coins...if St. Nicholas brought them, of course you can eat them.

St. Lucy Day with buns baked by my Mom who does everything, I have no idea how!

Ice Skating for Beatrice's 5th birthday.

Thomas, Beatrice and Becky had so much fun!  This is my sister helping, thank goodness for sisters.

Christmas cookies!

There is nothing like a quiet Christmas morning...

Which sadly, has to end...

Henry wonders if he can get away with eating everything.

Then he considers crawling right into the fire to see what would happen...this little adventurer is full of naughty ideas!

Nativity Play organized by my energetic Mom (actors comprised of 9 grandkids under 6)!  Beatrice is Mary, Oliver is St. Joseph and Becky is the donkey.

Taken after a long day, so showing tired people.


Tuesday, December 26, 2017

A Weekend In Feminine Dress: Christmas Picture!


Here is a beautiful picture for Weekend In Feminine Dress, sent from friends.  I love the elegant blush colored lace dress, perfect for a festive Christmas Eve!  Also, what a lovely home; this picture says a thousand words!  Thank you so much to these kind volunteers!

Anthony and Clare, brother and sister before departing for Midnight Mass

Thursday, December 21, 2017

A Good Article

This is one of my favorite beautiful articles to read every Christmas defending Santa Claus and the magical symbolism for children:

"...There are those however who are understandably uncomfortable with the fictitious character that is seen to obscure our Lord’s birth as the Easter Bunny obliterates His glorious Resurrection. This secularized and de-sanctified version of St. Nicholas is more commonly associated with busy shopping malls full of frenetically intemperate masses “shopping till they drop.” As a reaction to the “Happy-Holiday-crowd” that deliberately excludes Christ from Christmas, some parents have a natural aversion to the man from the North Pole.
What we must take into consideration is the fact that innocent children — and their adult counterparts—are capable of seeing the symbolic value of things. Symbols are for the child like an invisible ladder that links the material with the immaterial, the physical with the spiritual. They can be a useful tool to show us how God is and how we should be...."


Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Modesty and Order

The apostolate of femininity is very noble.  It is made noble by the fact that feminine women seek excellence in perfectly being themselves.  But there is a fine line...

That line is between femininity and showiness.

Since I am not a princess, the wearing of a crown was an act of egalitarian pride
and an offence against modesty.
Feminine clothing is generally pretty, colorful, soft, flowy and often inclusive of many accessories.  These qualities, when they are used to make the outfit appropriate and beautiful are good.  But St. Francis de Sales warns against excessive adornment.

He says, "External seemliness is a sort of indication of inward good order...For my own part I should like my devout man or woman to be the best dressed person in the company, but the least fine or splendid, and adorned, as Saint Peter says, with 'the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit.'  Saint Louis said that the right thing is for everyone to dress according to his position..."   What does this mean?

Once when we were little girls my sisters and I were encouraged to wear tiaras to a party.  We obliged and even had our hair cured to the point where we were quite obviously overdressed.  It was awkward the entire time since the other children at the party considered us snobs.  And although being different should not bother us if we are correct, there was a sense of being inappropriate that disturbed my feeling of order.  This was because the crown I wore was not genuine.   Although the traditional dress of little girls is feminine and beautiful for rich and poor alike, it must also represent truth and be appropriate to our state in life.  Since I am not a princess, the wearing of a crown was an act of egalitarian pride and an offence against modesty.

This is a delicate subject.  There are no rules that say a woman cannot be showy, it is instead a matter of good taste.  To cultivate a disgust for showiness, know your place and consider the humility of Our Lady.  She did not wear glorified clothing even when it was justified.  Instead, the Queen of Heaven preferred to be hidden inside her home.  She was surrounded by Angels who adored her and her Divine Son who treated her like a Queen.  And this was enough.

Modesty is a beautiful virtue and one chosen on this blog as a motto for the Catholic Lady: Modesty and Elegance.

St. Francis de Sales says, "Do not wish to be anything
but what you are, and try to be that perfectly."
Modesty is worth exploring because it is the trademark of a person who lives suitably and properly, seeking after and loving order.  We ask: who are we?  And we look around us to family, heritage, personality, trade, talent and ultimately vocation- and find the answer.  It is ridiculous to think we can be any exotic thing we decide.  There are limits to identity that the wise man decides will make him strong.  But to build identity takes perception and a desire for order.  This virtue should be great in anyone who meditates on the hierarchical creation of God.

St. Francis de Sales says, "Do not wish to be anything but what you are, and try to be that perfectly."

So it would be an attack against order for a woman to wear clothes like a man, a gentleman to wear the rough boots of a worker, or a girl to wear a crown if she is not a princess.  It would be pretentious for me to wear pretty white gloves everyday because I am a working mother.  Some things that are elegant, that we admire and marvel at, we should not covet- because for us they are immodest.  St. Therese said in her book that she marveled at the life of the peasants as she drove through the countryside, but she did not leave her place to become them because that would be a perversion of God's order.

St. Thomas Aquinas lists the natural virtues which seem to be related to modesty:


Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Christmas Rosary Rally

These pictures were sent to me from a family in Kansas who recently organized a Christmas Rosary Rally.  This is a very good work because it makes people stop and recall the meaning of Christmas and turn their minds to God.  Furthermore, it is moving in today's world to see people willing to hold signs and pray in the public square...  So I want to share it with you.  Thank you so much to those who braved the cold outside the mall to shine a lonely but bright light in the unfortunate chaos of this Season!

Monday, December 18, 2017

A Weekend In Feminine Dress: Wedding Pictures!

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!

Today I am very happy to share with you the following wedding photos from a kind and beautiful lady named Lisa!  She is the sister of Theresa who sometimes sends me photos for A Weekend In Feminine Dress.  Thank you so much, Lisa and Theresa!  This is an encouraging example of modesty and elegance represented in these pictures.  The bride's gown came from and the bridesmaid dresses came from  Enjoy!


Thursday, December 14, 2017

The Order and Sanctity of the Home

The calm and peace that surround the Christian home is the shield of Angels
for a noble apostolate.
The natural family is comprised of father, mother and children.  It is sad that we must make this definition clear in today's disordered world.  The family is the basic institution of civilization and as such the proper order of the family deserves to be vehemently defended.

The home is the place where the family learns, plans, prays, works, suffers.  It should be full of life and conversation.  Within the home children first see reality, learn about Heaven and are guided in their natural desire to sort out right from wrong.  The home is where we learn to respect the law and hopefully love it- judges and lawyers were all children once.  It is a very grave and primary responsibility of parents to teach children to love justice and truth for God's sake.  The basis of all law- within and without of the family- needs grounding: in the natural law, the laws of our civilization, and the laws of the Church.

When the Christian family loves the law it becomes well-ordered, although not without controversy.  This type of family enjoys debate since in it they find truth.  What greater satisfaction is there than to know we are finding and fighting for God, for His order, for what is right?  This is everything!  Our behavior is marked with virtue and discipline.  The Commandments of the Church and the unique traditions of our family define our lives.  And when we inevitably fail, correction will satisfy our well-developed sense of justice and return us to the path of righteousness.

This passionate desire for the proper order of things is essential for the functioning of society on every level.  God promised throughout the Bible that He will bless those who honor and defend His laws.  Therefore, every success that we enjoy is directly because of God's grace.  Those who work to establish order and to establish a sense of justice in children are blessed by God.  This work ennobles the home to become like a convent or monastery- if not in austerity at least in sanctity.  The calm and peace that surround the Christian home is the shield of Angels for a noble apostolate.

The family can do public acts of order which will sanctify the home.  The family that attends Mass together every Sunday at their parish follows the commandment of the Church and does a public work of order.  The family dinner and the effort it takes to prepare and serve and clean up is a work of order and thus sanctification.  The Catholic education of the children is the moral duty of Catholic parents and so is a work of order.  Even the natural structure of the family- with a father who works and leads, a mother who sacrifices the world for home life, and children who are taught to love hierarchy and respect proper authority- is a work of order.  There are also many more ways for the family to do an apostolate of order!

Pray for families!  May the Holy Family favor us as we forge the way of order.  In our errant world, may our homes be places of refuge and sanctity for both body and soul.  May the Queen of Heaven intercede for her children with sympathy.  St. Joseph, considering your noble place in the hierarchy of the Holy Family, pray for us!

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Christmas Needs Children

In our blasphemous sinful world the Holy Family is
striking and magnificent- if only for being Father, Mother and Child.
Allow yourself to be lost in the innocence of childlike Faith
and appreciate real Christmas joy.
Painting by Murillo.
At Mass on First Saturday I looked around the chapel full of elderly people who could barely walk.  Of course our children received many smiles and kind words from these faithful old churchgoers.  One man even said, "Your family is so beautiful!" with such sincerity that the meaning became surreal to me and all I could do was thank him as well as I could.

This Mass became a reflection for me on the rarity of children.  I know there are children somewhere.  They are learning in schools and playing at parks.  But where are the children at Mass?  Our family is not something special at all.  We don't get to daily Mass very often.  In fact, I usually barely manage to have everyone's shoes on by the time we enter the Church.  But this one time we made it, we were almost the only children there.  And that is sad.

It is Advent.  Baby Jesus is coming.  Christmas morning will be joyous and marvelous in our home; and for the grown ups- parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles- the wonders of Christmas will be imparted more intensely through the children!

Why?  These children are innocent.  Innocence gives children a marvelous Faith in the Incarnation of the Christ Child, a heartfelt desire for Heaven and such fine enjoyment in the beauty of life!  After all, Christmas is about new life: man's hope for Paradise reborn at Bethlehem and the powerful principle of the Incarnation, blending human and divine.  The Christian family is also about welcoming and nourishing life, not alone, but- through grace- working directly with God.

So these old Churchgoers at Saturday Mass see children and they are moved to say kind words to me.  They love children and welcome us there in the Church where we bring them before their Creator.

Christmas is a perfect time to love children and families.  But where are the children at Christmas?  Many children are not at the Manger!  There is barrenness in the world that goes beyond childless marriages or the evils of contraception and abortion.  There is the barrenness of Christmas without baby Jesus!  There is the barrenness of a society without God.

Christmas needs the properly structured Christian family to give the wondrous joy of little children.

Look at the children around you and share their joy at welcoming our Savior.  Bring them to the manger and watch their little faces look upon the Christ Child beside His beautiful Mother.  Tell them she will watch over you too and bring your intentions to Him!  Meditate on St. Joseph's remarkable role.  Tell them of his brave virtue, offering leadership and security to the Holy Family as their own father does.  In our blasphemous sinful world the Holy Family is striking and magnificent- if only for being Father, Mother and Child.  Allow yourself to be lost in the innocence of childlike Faith and appreciate real Christmas joy.

Monday, December 4, 2017

The Culture is in the Little Things

If you have not heard about the New York subway trains banning the greeting, "Ladies and gentlemen", read this article.  In it, the author makes a good point: the culture is in the little things.

Today the movers and shakers are trying as hard as they can to take away the little things in culture that we have left.  Don't let this happen.  Beautiful manners and traditions work as openings for grace in our lives and so the attack on "Ladies and gentlemen" is quite literally an attack on Christian civilization.  Fight back!  Do not be discouraged and never give up the good, true and beautiful ways.

Well, here's a reason to be inspired: the Trump White House displays stunning nativity set with Baby Jesus!  This is incredible and sure to be an opening for grace in our country.

No More "Ladies and Gentlemen" on New York City Subways!

Here is an amazing article on how the New York City subways can no longer say "Ladies and gentlemen"!  I read about this in the news and was horrified.  If we are not "ladies and gentlemen", what are we?  This will have consequences!  Read the following article.  He says it better than I could:


A Weekend in Feminine Dress

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!

This picture is actually from a few weeks ago but I wanted to show this dress because I have been wearing it a lot lately since it's easy to wear with a sweater for everyday.  A longtime reader, Theresa also sent me a lovely picture this morning of her outfit so I'm including that too!


Dress- Chaps (the hemline is straight, it's just not a great picture)
Sweater- Land's End


Blouse and skirt - second hand stores
Boots - gift from my sister
Earrings - Paparazzi
Hat (Barrette) - Hirons


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