Monday, April 23, 2018

A Weekend In Feminine Dress: Spring!

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!

After a couple more snowflakes last week, I think it's safe to say that Spring is finally here!  Today we are enjoying absolutely gorgeous weather and the kids have been outside all morning!  I am going to try to serve dinner on the porch tonight...

I am STILL going to be listing some Summer skirts in my etsy shop!!  Hopefully this week!  But I'll let you all know of course.

I thought the girls looked cute today so am going to share what they're wearing (plus Oliver for an extra special bonus!):


Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Sweeping the Way of Humility

I've been sweeping the floor a lot since Henry began eating more foods.  He is a very strong-willed baby.  He takes a small taste of everything I put on his tray and promptly begins throwing what he doesn't like (usually a vegetable) over the side of his high chair, looking at me with an ornery wrinkled nose.  He is one!  And he is so bad!

It makes me laugh at least for now, and I get out the broom and begin to sweep the floor yet again.  I love to sweep the floor because it makes me think of Our Lady sweeping the floor at Nazareth.  Repetitively sweeping the floor encourages me to meditate on a very powerful life lesson: the need to take responsibility and clean up our past before we can move on.

I used to consider cleaning the kitchen floor the most awful chore of all.  With many babies, it gets so dirty so fast!  But then I thought about what other people do.  My husband deals with complicated machinery every day; politicians consider how to prevent wars and resolve problems of national or international significance; soldiers enter situations that endanger their lives; priests are responsible for the salvation of souls...  Surely sweeping the floor is not something that justifies stress or the right to say I am busy!

Lots of people today want to be the one who is "so busy" or the one who is "so stressed".  Do we actually deserve that distinction though, or are we just not handling our jobs well?

I am too often among the latter.  I get stressed out about messes; I get overwhelmed with homeschooling; I can't keep up preparing meals.  But these tasks are so minor in the realm of things and I do not want to be among the spoiled generation.

Yes, I have heard stories of college students who "can't handle" their lives and their "workloads".  There are suicidal teenagers who are overburdened with social stress or addicted to the violent stimulation of video games.  How does this happen?  Could it be because we put a little- or way too much- emphasis on ourselves?

A painful truth: we don't all deserve to be the superior.  Our generation is narcissistic.  We are stupid enough to believe what our parents told us: that we are special, we are smart, we are beautiful and we deserve the world...

My parent's friends who are in their fifties and sixties always wear a smile and say the family is doing great, everyone is handling life just fine.  Yet those of the next generation enter the room with faces of martyrs, dragging along their children, complaining to anyone who will listen about staying up all night with the baby and how hard it is to get everyone dressed.  Now I know these things can be difficult; I complain about them myself way too much.  But did my Mom?

The truth is, she didn't.  The older generation is tougher, more able to handle life because they just accept it's not about constant happiness.  Discipline is their tool and ingenuity is at their disposal.  They work and don't complain, they make the best of things and don't complain.  I admire this and though I am far from there, I am striving for it.

At least I can say that I will forever be happy to sweep the floor.  I will try to imitate Our Blessed Mother and her extreme example of modesty and humility.  This state of contentment is a perfect environment for purity to flourish.  I will think of those who have greater vocations and be grateful for the littleness of my own.  After all, it is all I can do to try to keep up and I want to be able to someday do it well.


Monday, April 9, 2018

A Study of My Children!

Of our five children, three are extraverted in temperament which is overwhelming at times for me and my husband who are definitely quiet people.  But it is exactly how our family is meant to be and it fascinates me more everyday to see the development of little people and the different chemistry forming between them.

Our family is Irish, German and Polish from my husband and English, Scottish, Slovak and Polish on my side and of course very American too, so our children are an interesting combination of tendencies from these heritages...

The only obvious German influence in my husband is that he is very smart mechanically and needs his sleep!  Oliver has definitely inherited both these traits.  The other German tendency is to efficiency, to get right to the point, especially in Thomas, Beatrice and Becky.  I think this is American though as well.  The Polish influence seems to be that we are political, traditional and tend to be homebodies for sure.  The Irish (which I like to criticize since I am not) is the family-friendly easy going ambiance that is okay with messy.  I told my husband that it must be Irish that he is fine with 3 babies in our bed or grew up with 11 people using 1 bathroom.  But he lives in the moment, he doesn't stress, he figures things out and I wish so much sometimes that I was like this too!   He is often a better homemaker than I am, as much as I hate to admit it.  In our children: Thomas is an absolute Irish showboat and Becky has the beautiful hospitable nature.  The Irish can be independent, rebellious and flamboyant (and that's hard for me because I like quiet, tradition and orderliness).  My husband does not have these bad tendencies at all possibly because he is so phlegmatic, but I see them in the children already!  He is naturally composed and very calm which is the greatest attribute I need in him.  The English and Scottish has strongly taken root in me...I like structure, propriety and politeness, gossip like a British drama, have a distance and coldness without meaning to, am slightly territorial and I am naturally frugal like both my Polish and my Scottish Grandma.  I have also inherited the gloominess, negativity and criticism of the Czech/Slovak/Polish stereotype just like all my Slovak Uncles which is funny because I appreciate it sometimes!  And yes, combined with my melancholic temperament I usually look on the dark side and love to overanalyze.

Our oldest, Thomas, has a temperament that is melancholic/choleric and I admire his ability to convince himself easily of the truth.  He does not worry much although he looks to understand everything, which can be frustrating at six years old!  I feel some pressure to explain things properly to him and in a way that encourages his natural tendency to marvel at the Truth.  He easily takes charge but is usually very dreamy and emotional, especially when he is tired and this is probably going to be difficult for him throughout his life since he can't help but feel everything so deeply.

Beatrice is definitely the most opposing temperament of her parents; she is the exact opposite of my husband.  She is choleric; determined, brave, confident, argumentative, loud, strong-willed, in charge...  I knew she was choleric when I found myself saying in desperation fifty times a day, "Beatrice, stop yelling!"  She bangs doors when she enters and breaks dishes often.  I admire her most of all the children for her energy and strength!  She can do anything if she believes in it and never wastes any time getting into action (I am opposite in that I imagine all the possible disasters until they paralyze me into never getting started)!  She is so independent and defensive of her beliefs and her brothers and sisters.  This is a great quality of a Christian in today's world and one that I wish I naturally had!

Rebecca is our sanguine, happy-go-lucky daughter.  She is definitely the sunshine on the gloomy introverts. She will almost always enter a room giggling about anything.  I am so grateful to God for making the sanguine baby for our family!  I get frustrated with her more than any other child however, because she cannot understand the deep, detailed and methodical approach of my melancholic mind.  For her, I need to make things fun.  "Do you want to take a bath with lots of pretty bubbles?"  Instead of, "Time for bath and bed.  You are all too grumpy!" which somehow motivates Tom and makes Beatrice yell, "No we are not!"

Oliver is our phlegmatic which I really think can be a very masculine temperament.  He makes no fuss and yet is attached to his way of doing things.  He is surprisingly smart to understand things, but slow.  He is always calm and quiet, but gets discouraged easily and might be tempted to give up on things or be disloyal.  He is not motivated so we have to encourage him a lot.  He prefers to sit all day and watch the wheels turn on his toy trains or throw rocks into the creek (I think he would continue for hours if I let him).  I am convinced that someday he should take up fishing, he is so well suited to it!  He is very content in his own environment and a constant reminder to me that happiness is right here around us.

Henry is probably choleric because he reacts quickly, yells a lot, is very friendly and talkative, enjoys new things.  I do think he has a sanguine side too but he's not as sweet natured as Becky so probably a future fighter with his sister Beatrice.  He looks at me with a wrinkled nose because he is always so frustrated that he can't get what he wants now!  Sometimes he looks like he thinks he could do it better than me (he is 1) which is definitely a choleric trait!

If you have read this far, you're a real fiend!  I would love to hear what you know about temperaments and your advice about how they relate to one another.  It is so fascinating and fun to see the development of my children and also a great responsibility to figure out how to guide them!

A Weekend In Feminine Dress: New Blouse

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 am so sorry I never shared Easter pictures last week!  It's a lot harder than it seems to get any pictures of myself these days!  I hope you all had a blessed Easter!  We hosted both of our families and I made a 20lb ham.  Thank goodness ham is easy.  I still had to put lots of thought into it and am relieved it turned out.  And it was so nice to be able to have an egg hunt in the yard with cousins!

Henry turned 1 year old yesterday!  I still cannot believe how fast his first year flew by.  He is so independent, strong-willed and adventurous; it's actually funny sometimes.  He thinks he can do things better than me and he can't even talk!  Definitely a choleric child and obviously we think he's the best.

The blouse I am wearing in these pictures is going to be available in my shop this week so stay tuned!

Big one!

What I wore yesterday:


Blouse- I made!
Skirt- Hand-me-down
Shoes- Consignment
Cardigan- Eddie Bauer


Friday, April 6, 2018

Marriage, Family and Identity

Guiseppe Magni
As a child I was proud of my family.  I have good parents and so I was able to always speak up in their favor and brag about their excellent qualities.

Some children are not this fortunate.  But I want to move on to understand the effect and benefit that a good marriage has on the children:

The bond of father and mother in marriage gives a child his first sense of belonging.  He makes a connection from his own father to God the Father and is awash in gratitude for what is his, if only his small family unit.  When a child has a good mother he gravitates toward the Secret of Mary, projecting a lifetime of confidence.  He begins to understand love and devotion which- if the parents direct this to God- become virtues of responsibility, loyalty, honesty, trust and Faith.

I know that it is healthy for boys to withdraw from the mother in teenage years to become more independent, mature, and learn about the world.  The father must be there to guide and befriend them during this time.  Today this is seldom done and likely results in less masculine men.  Masculinity and femininity are diametrically opposed natures that when respected, very much enrich each other and family life as a whole.  Throughout his early years, a child absorbs lessons from the ways of his father and mother that powerfully form his ideas of God and of the world.  When childhood is infused with supernatural grace from the sacraments, the child becomes able to transcend easily and spends his time contemplating and bonding his allegiance to God, the Church, his family and every other natural truth.

Some people have this type of devotion to their towns and countries also and it is a very good thing.  Private property allows people to learn to love a cause.  It gives us something to fight for and something to defend.  If we feel that something belongs to us, we have a healthy foundation for our own identity.

This is important in today's world.  People are very mixed up when it comes to who they are.  We pretend we can be anything we want in a culture of relativism and whimsical careers and so we loose objective truth sometimes altogether!

Good Christian marriages can restore this to society.  The man and woman who are willing to sacrifice their lives for one another sanctify society in a way that is very beautiful.  They want to strengthen their bond to one another and so in the sacrament of marriage they form a family.  This family belongs to them and they naturally feel responsibility and accept the difficulties of that responsibility.  They learn dependence on God and on the Church and this wisdom along with unique ways of life formed along the way- traditions- are imparted to their descendants.

A good marriage is very powerful then and children are indescribably effected by the relationship between their parents.  To the extent that husband and wife follow the grace of marriage, every aspect of the family is impacted.  This is a dynamic tool for the restoration of Christian civilization: encourage good marriages.  Because a good marriage will support a good family.  And the family is the cornerstone of civilization.


Tuesday, April 3, 2018

Modesty and Elegance for Spring!

It's been awhile since I've done a fashion post.  And it is not because I've lost my love of fashion!  I love clothes and shoes and accessories more than ever, I just don't have much time to write about them these days.  Too often I slip into a routine of casual dressing.  I wore the same simple skirt and shoes and comfortable sweater way too many days in February and March and need to adapt my style for Spring, or at least freshen it up.  Clothes can be uplifting to the soul by reflecting qualities: refinement, femininity, gentleness and grace.

So here are a few outfits that I have put together as the warmer weather approaches.  I probably won't buy any of these but I love to get ideas for Summer elegance!  I hope to be offering a few of my own designs at my etsy shop soon as well!  Please share your ideas too in the comments below!

This linen skirt from Brooks Brothers looks very practical not to mention gorgeous.

If it's long enough and you can add a cardigan, this beauty might work for you!

What is not to love about classic double pearl earrings from England?

If you need a gown for that upcoming event, look no further than Dainty Jewells.

These scalloped pumps might fill that fun & fancy footwear spot in your closet!

What about this absolutely elegant design from Boden?

This pretty new Coach bag looks attractive- at least for those with a generous fashion budget!

Chilly?  Not anymore with the lovely details of this crocheted cardigan.

This hat is a perfect combination of versatility and class for special occasions.

This lightweight Dressbarn skirt might just be perfect for that vacation you're planning.

What is not to love about Talbot's Rickrack Blouse?


Monday, April 2, 2018

The Way of the Cross, Responsibility and Joy

The imposing days of Holy Week and the culmination of the Holy Triduum are more stunning each year as we undergo the most central events of our Redemption.

Relic of the Crown of Thorns in Notre Dame, Paris.

The beautiful Masses and ceremonies and prayers never cease to overwhelm me- even without hearing the words from the back of Church where I am rocking a baby.  Even here, a tremendous sense of grandeur seems to pervade the entire Church and spread out into the world to dazzle and transform with the power of the Resurrection.

But perhaps it is the lesson of the Cross that is more central to this feeling of magnificence that transforms every object I encounter.  The very air around us, everything God has created takes on the foreboding of the Last Supper, the deep sadness of Good Friday, the anticipation and hope of Holy Saturday and only after all this- the final and breathtaking magnificence of the Easter Gloria.

If we learn anything from life it must be Sacrifice, the way of the Cross is the path to Joy.  Each Easter morning this becomes more real to me and I become more emotional in understanding and delighting in this mystery.

I love to see the faces of my children when they hear the organ rise on Easter morning.  There are always tears in my eyes during the Angelic chant, "Christ is Risen!  Christ is Risen!  Christ is Risen from the Dead!"  This is the day that desolation is replaced with triumph!  But how are we to apply this to our everyday lives?

We can use the joy of Easter morning to endure the little Crosses that God sends us in our responsibilities and resist the temptation to deviate.  I should say to my children that God wants us to perform our most difficult duties with greater love, because this is the way of the Cross and the way of joy.  We must learn the lesson to suffer well, because if He wants us to suffer greatly we will be able to do so only with the anticipation of greater joy.  Maybe this is why the Saints loved to suffer, they realized the triumph they felt on Easter would be magnified in Heaven when we will be able to fully understand the Redemption.

Responsibility is a great quality, that can only be understood by those who love God.  If we love our place in the design of God and want to perform our duties well then we accept them lovingly and even develop a sense of possession over them.  Responsibility leads to maturity, something that I crave very much.  I see the mothers in Church who have many children with a spirit that is tough to the world yet full of gentleness within their own families.  They understand the way of the Cross and travel along it very wisely: one step at a time.

Eventually we arrive at total abandonment of ourselves.  How can we not be happy?  Sometimes, even on hard days, I wonder how anyone can be unhappy in the place that God has put them.  The family is a beautiful design!  The wife has the husband to lead and help her, the children to keep her busy, the house and meals to attend to, prayer, education and work to consider.  There is a great simplicity when we accept what God gives us and follow the Commandments of the Church and through grace, work through the Way of the Cross, responsibility and joy.

Resurrexit sicut dixit!  Alleluia!
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...