"God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him."
(1 Jn 4:16)

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

St. Andrew Christmas Novena

A friend, Lindsay, just sent an email reminding me that the St. Andrew Novena begins today. Hopefully, I will get a chance to post it in my sidebar, as I have done in years past, but for now, I am posting it below.
Hail and blessed be the hour and moment at which the Son of God was born of the most pure Virgin Mary, at midnight in Bethlehem, in the piercing cold. In that hour vouchsafe, O my God!to hear my prayer and grant my desires (Mention your intentions here) through the merits of Our Saviour Jesus Christ, and of His most Blessed Mother. Amen.
(It is piously believed that whoever recites the above prayer fifteen times a day from the feast of St. Andrew until Christmas will obtain what is asked.)
+Michael Augustine, Archbishop of New York
February 6, 1897

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Advent, Christmas and Winter Feast Day Books

One of the things that I like about this time of year is snuggling up with my children and reading picture books. A few years ago, I shared a list of picture books that we like to read during December and January. Below is an updated (and hopefully better organized) list.

Advent Books:

Annika's Secret Wish by Beverly Lewis
Apple Tree Christmas by Trinka Hakes Noble
Celebrating Advent with the Jesse Tree (St. Joseph Picture Books) by Rev. Jude Winkler*
Christmas Day in the Morning by Pearl S. Buck*
Christmas in Noisy Village by Astrid Lindgren*
The Christmas Miracle of Jonathan Toomey by Susan Wojciechowski*
The Donkey's Dream by Barbara Helen Berger*
The Fussy Angel by Mary Arnold*
The Jesse Tree by Geraldine McCaughrean
Marta and the Manger Straw by Virginia Kroll*
Mortimer's Christmas Manger by Karma Wilson
Mousekin's Christmas Eve by Edna Miller
An Orange for Frankie by Patricia Polacco*
The Story of Holly and Ivy by Rumer Godden*
Take Joy! The Tasha Tudor Christmas Book by Tasha Tudor*
The Year of the Perfect Christmas Tree: An Appalachian Story by Gloria Houston
Why Christmas Trees Aren't Perfect by Richard H. Schneider

Feast Day Books:

December 6: Kersti and Saint Nicholas by Hilda Van Stockum*
The Legend of Saint Nicholas by Demi
Saint Nicholas by Ann Tompert
The Miracle of Saint Nicholas (Golden Key Books) by Gloria Whelan*
December 8:  Mary: The Mother of Jesus by Tomie dePaola*
December 12: Our Lady of Guadalupe by Carmen T. Bernier-Grand* (added 12/12)
The Lady of Guadalupe by Tomie dePaola*
December 13:  Lucia, Saint of Light by Katherine Bolger Hyde
December 26:  Good King Wenceslas by John M. Neale, illustrated by Tim Ladwig*
January 6:  The Legend of Old Befana by Tomie dePaola*
We Three Kings by Gennady Spirin*
The Little Drummer Boy illustrated by Kristina Rodanas*
We really like the illustrations in this book.

Christmas Books:
The Animals Christmas Carol by Helen Ward
The Christmas Bird by Bernadette Watts
Christmas Carols (Little Golden Book) arranged by Marjorie Wyckoff, illustrated by Corrine Malvern*
The Christmas Coat by Clyde Robert Bulla
The Christmas Donkey by Gillian McClure*
This is a beautiful story about a proud and stubborn donkey who learns a very valuable lesson from the Holy Family.
Christmas in the Stable by Astid Lindgren
The Christmas Story by Jane Werner Watson*
I recommend looking for the 1st edition of this Golden Book. The original publication included the Magnificat. I don't know why the publishers at Golden Books edited it.
Christmas Trolls by Jan Brett
Cobweb Christmas: The Tradition of Tinsel by Shirley Climo
Father and Son: A Nativity Story by Geraldine Mccaughrean
The Fir Tree by Hans Christian Andersen, adapted and illustrated by Bernadette Watts
How the Grinch Stole Christmas by Dr. Seuss*
The Huron Carol by Frances Tyrell*
Jingle the Christmas Clown by Tomie dePaola
The Legend of the Christmas Rose by William H. Hooks
Little Boys Christmas Gift by John Spiers*
The Little Donkey: A Christmas Story by Gerda Marie Scheidl, illustrated by Bernadette Watts
The Little Drummer Mouse by Mercer Mayer
Night Tree by Eve Bunting
Room for a Little One: A Christmas Tale by Martin Waddell*
My children (ages 6 and under) thoroughly enjoy this book and will often ask me to reread it.
Saint Francis and the Christmas Donkey by Robert Byrd
Silent Night: The Song and Its Story by Margaret Hodges
A Small Miracle by Peter Collington
This is a beautiful, wordless picture book.
This Is the Stable by Cynthia Cotten*
Cynthia Cotten uses lyrical verses to tell the story of the first Christmas.  The illustrations add to the beauty of the story.
The Tomten by Astrid Lindgren
The Twelve Days of Christmas illustrated by Jan Brett*

Books that we own are marked with an asterisk*.
Dates indicate Feast Days when we make a point of reading or rereading a book.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Quiet Time

Laura Berquist once mentioned at a Northwest Catholic Family Education Conference that spending time in Adoration before God was vital to her homeschooling success. I think that I understand what she meant.

I need quiet times with God to kneel and adore Him, or simply pour my heart out to Him.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Testing Vocabulary Patrick Style

Patrick: "Mommy, can you please help me clean my room tomorrow morning."

Me: "Yes."

Patrick: "Good because otherwise I might get 'roomatism'."

Me: "I don't think so."

Patrick: "What is rheumatism?"

Me: "I think its when you have sore bones."

Patrick: "Yes, if you don't help me clean my room, then I will have rheumatism from stepping on things that make my bones sore."

Finnian used and mispronounced a big word the other day. Patrick commented, "Finnian that's not how you say ___________. I think you need to check your pronunciation. Maybe, you need pronunciation lessons or something."

A couple of months ago, Patrick was teasing Finnian. As usual, Finnian responded by trying to attack Patrick. Patrick stopped Finnian in his tracks, saying, "Finnian stop! I am trying to come up with a diplomatic solution." It's too bad, Patrick didn't use the same line a few weeks later when Finnian gave him a black eye.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

When It Rains

Yesterday, my older sister called. During our conversation, she commented, "I remember Mommy saying, 'When it rains, it pours.'" I couldn't help but respond, "I think it's pouring, but I have so much for which to be thankful."

Thank you, God, for everything.

Monday, November 07, 2011

Timely Advice

On Sunday, October 9, my pastor gave me some very timely advice in the confessional. He told me to share the advice with my husband which I obediently did, telling him, "Fr. Saguto told me that I should take some time for myself." Little did any of us know that my pastor's advice would be something about which I would have no say.

On the Friday preceding that Sunday, in the wee hours of the morning, I woke up with a pain in my right calf. Thinking that a cramp was starting, I flexed my foot to no avail. As Friday turned to Saturday, and Saturday turned to Sunday, the pain in my calf became increasingly worse. Listening to my husband, I called my doctor's office on Sunday morning. I told the on-call doctor what I was experiencing and she advised me to go to the ER to rule out a blood clot. As I got ready to do so, I decided that I would rather go to Sunday Mass; I also thought, "The pain is probably just muscle related." However, by Sunday evening, I realized that I should probably take the doctor's advice.

My husband lovingly took me to the ER. Once in the ER, the doctor checked my blood, administered blood thinner, and admitted me to the hospital. On Monday morning, a doppler ultrasound (?) was done on my leg and the hospital's obstetrician told me that I would be staying in the hospital for a week. My eyes welled up and I swallowed hard, asking, "A week?" The doctor replied, "Well, a minimum of three more days."

After the doctor left, I let the tears roll down my face, thinking, "I can't be away from my husband and children that long." Then, I started to pray the Rosary. As I did so, my pastor's advice came to mind, and I decided to turn my hospital stay into a little retreat. I continued to pray the Rosary, and added the Memorare and a special little prayer. The first time that my family visited, my eldest daughter brought my missal and two books for me to read. In doing so, she inadvertently added to my little retreat.

Fortunately, someone in the hospital overrode the obstetrician's decision and sent me home around bed time on Thursday night. Thanks to my pastor's advice, I left feeling a little refreshed. After visiting my doctor the following Friday, I was thankful to see that this little baby inside me is doing well. I still have some ultrasound photos to share (10 weeks 2 days, and 11 weeks). I also now have something to offer up for this baby.
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