Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Jesus does not live there anymore...

I have been praying forever about a family business that can keep our children busy and help them to fill up their bank accounts to help them save up for whatever...college, house downpayment, car...I would also love in a perfect world to see my husband to be able to say "ta ta" to his organic biggie corporation job...but that is just a nice dream at this point.

Upon reading Family Friendly Farming, it has been really impressed upon my heart that we need to give our children a reason to want to stay local and rural.  They need rural roots that are happy and are profitable if we desire to repopulate the country with good stewards of the land.  Our local rural landscape is a ghost town testimony to that way of life.  I am sandwiched between 2 canonically closed rural parishes.  We drive by them and my little children say "Jesus doesn't live there anymore Mama"...They are right, the churches are empty, the graveyards are full. 

 Lets face it,  locally, farms got big, worldly ways crept into families, the children fled for the cities and everyone else contracepted like crazy....God bless the Amish, they took advantage of the crazyness that swept through the Church in the late 60's and 70's and bought the Catholic farmsteads up.  The rest went to the big boys and their ever increasing chemicals and size of tractors and high boys and combines....and then of course the weekend warrior and the rich folk who can afford that "dream parcel".  It leaves those of us who wish to farm in a bad way since the cost to buy acreage keeps going up because people with deep pockets will pay it.  The would be farmer is in a pickle.

I am edified to see the Amish keeping their way of rural life and the way the children play an important role in the families income.  We can really learn lots from how they live and how they are able to keep the land that they love and be able to make a living from it, or on it.

Even though I only have a piddly 5 acres,  thats 5 more acres that are not owned by the g-ihuge-ic 1000 cow dairy.  Im not advocating taking the land from the huge farm, because I am totally not a communist, but I am saying that by raising up children who love a rural life and respect the land that God made, we might yet be able to return to our rural roots.  We might again have more land in the hands of those who desire to steward it and take care of it for the next generation, not just milk all of the profit out of it that they can so they can pay off their combines that cost more than my house and land!

And thats one point of the Catholic Land movement.  To return to the rural life, raise up children who desire to stay local so that we can love up our grandbabies, and help them out daily if need be.  Like our past generations, where families lived near one another and family ties were close.  

God willing, He will let our little seed of a business grow so that many generations to come will call this little slice of Gods country home.  And generations will call her Blessed, and we may see those little churches open once again.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Support your local Raw Milk Criminal

Darkness had descended, and the clock struck 6:30.  It was time.  I put on my wolley scarf, my black shawl and walked out into the cold winter air.  The stars were bright, the wind was brisk.  The snow crunched under my barn booted feet.  I left the children behind in the warmness of our wood heated home, and fired up the minivan to take a drive.

They begin at 5:30...she tells me to come at 6:30 and it will be ready.....I pull into the farmyard, all is dark.  I shut off my headlights and notice a dim light coming from the barn in the distance.  They are inside.....I see a little light dancing toward me, a headlamp shining like a star in the darkness.  He has it.

My yellow milk crate, illegally taken decades ago from Idlenot dairy, somewhere in Vermont...I'm already a criminal I guess....My yellow milk crate is filled with 2 glass gallon jars.  Sloshing inside is the white creamy goodness I have come for...still warm, straight from the barn....my illegally purchased raw milk.

Oh, enzyme filled deliciousness...creamy un pasteurized non homogenized goodness....did I mention still warm?.....I thank him and I load up the minivan with my goods.  I head home and bring my precious white gold inside.  Once inside, one gallon goes straight into the fridge to cool.  The other goes to the stainless steel pot on the stove.

It does not take long for it to reach 110 degrees, 10 minutes maybe.....and I stir in the previous batch of homemade yogurt for starter.   I pour it back into the freshly washed glass gallon jug and set it in my heated box in my larder.

From farm to yogurt in less than half an hour, one gallon of nourishing raw milk yogurt.  To strengthen my babies bones, teeth and immune systems.  Thank you God for my local Raw Milk Criminal.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Endless Simplicity

A common theme among mamas at my apostolate is simplifying life.  The generations born in the 70's and 80's, most of us reared in the opulence of suburbia, have no training in Holy Poverty.  We have been raised in the ME generation that wants what it wants, and it wants it NOW.  We are submerged in the mindset of "I deserve it" and "I must have it"....Most mamas who are truly desiring a closer union with Jesus are trying to reject this training.  We are working to strip the consumerism and materialism that have infected our hearts and our brains.

I grew up singing along with madonna that "I am a material girl" for part of my life.  Face it people, she is the virtual goddess of our lust filled posession loving culture...even as a hippie, I still in the back of my mind believed that money could buy me happiness.  Praise God, now I know that only Jesus gives happiness.  But that consumerism, materialistic thinking is like a nasty case of head lice...its hard to get rid of it!

I love the Goodwill.  Cheap, recycled stuff, easy on the pocket book....unless it becomes your habit and you end up buying more than you really save.  In my desire to embrace the virtue of Holy Poverty, I have even had to break myself of the beloved habit of Goodwill shopping every 2 weeks.  That was harder to do than give up coffee!  Does the toddler REALLY need that 12th pair of leggings for under her dress in the winter?  Do I really need to get the girls another tiny cast iron pan for their play kitchen?  Oh, another image of the Divine Mercy...can I bear to leave it here?

Now, I am  taking things to Goodwill myself, and NOT going in to shop.  I can't tell you how many times I have loaded up the back of the minivan FULL of stuff.  What would my house be like if I couldn't detach and give things away?  Already I am a slave to stuff, and that is not my place in this world.  Taking care of piles of stuff does not make me happy.  I had a whole library of books, and I gave 90% of them away, because I don't have time to take care of them all!  The dust was driving me crazy.  Childrens toys, acres and acres of them...gone.  The six year olds 17 extra dresses, kept the best for the next girls in my tub downstairs, got rid of the junk...Schoolbooks and supplies I will never use, no matter how Catholic and pretty they are...bye bye.

Catholic Lane has a beautiful post about spring cleaning.  I did this last year, prayed and detached and drove to goodwill multiple times.  Don't wait for a full week though mamas, do it today!  Put the children in front of a movie, lock them outside, put them in front of their schoolwork...whatever it takes,  or better yet, get them involved!  I know, sometimes the weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth is not worth the help....but the earlier you get them to realize that too much stuff isn't good, the better off you will be.

Junk is like venial sin...it's bad when it crowds up our life.  It leads us to eat up hours taking care of it, spending lots of cash to buy plastic tubs to put it in, and lots of chaos and disorder...which is not of God.  I always tell my children that God is a God of order.  As Catholics we need to do our best to keep our lives in order, peaceful and joyfilled.  That cannot happen in chaos.

Saturday, January 21, 2012


I wear my headcovering for a penance.  I wear my headcovering to tell the devil and his minions that I am not his anymore and that I am under the headship of my husband and Christ.  I wear my headcovering because it is just easier to put on than a hair do...and I can't stand hair in my face, or flopping around  when I work.  I wear a headcovering because peasants of the ages past wore a simple scarf to go about their daily work.  I wear a headcovering "because of the angels" as St. Paul says in his epistle.  Now, I know that traditionally the Church has used that passage for it's mandate for women to veil at Mass, but I think that it is a powerful visual for the unseen world in daily life as well.  In our battle against principalities...we need all the tangible help we can get.

Here are my favorite everyday lightweight scarves.  They are so light, you don't feel the extra weight on your head, and they are perfect for summer when you don't want anything much extra to keep the heat in.

Here are some warmer options for colder weather that I find are very soft and cozy.

 I also love to wear a cotton snood that I can whip up on my sewing machine in about 20 minutes.  This is a good covering for everyday as well in the summer, as it is very lightweight and you can make them to go with your dresses.

A mother on the land

For me it is always a constant journey toward simplifying.  In cooking, possessions, schooling, hobbies, work, cleaning... everything that a mama needs to have under her belt for a successful catholic homestead.  My goal is to create a joyful orderly home that raises happy healthy children and gives glory to God.

Somedays the workload seems overwhelming,  and I stop and wonder how I am supposed to do it all.  Those are the moments that God gives us, that if we remember Him, give Him glory.  He is the only one who can do it all.  He is the only one who can make it possible for a simple woman like me to get through the day.

My days are much in the spirituality of the Little Flower.  Some days there is nothing more I  can do but to offer my day to Him through the Immaculate Heart of Mary, and send up little prayers and offer up my sufferings throughout the day.  I believe on these days, when I am so busy with tasks that serve my family, I am giving Him glory in the best way.  Doing His will, and doing it all for Him.

From the Catholic Rural Life Prayer book;
"We pray that through God's grace we may have wisdom and strength to grow constantly in the virtues necessary for rural living:
Hope firmly founded in the knowledge of God's providence,
Patience with the slow and deliberate cycle of seasons and years,

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Schooling, sewing, cooking, buying seeds.....

Just another quiet day for a homeschooling mama.  The chickens water was frozen, so was the steers "heated bucket".....tonight we have to drive to Mass in the single digit weather.
Thoughts turn to warmer things, like seed catalogs....and short sleeved calico dresses that are in construction in the basement.....and warm pots of soup on the stove.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

It doesn't matter where you've been, It matters where you are going

I was in town today with my 6 year old for a dr. appointment.  I passed the corner church that always has something to say.  You know the place, cheesy saying refreshed weekly.  Well this week, it really struck me.  It actually made me think!  And be thankful.  

 Basically folks, this was me years ago...this photo is not really me, but it sure could be!  Except my dresses were usually blue, I didn't really do the brown thing...anyhow...living for life on the road, following a band!  It was fun while it lasted, freedom, travel, close friends, dancing all night, hangin out with da band....But eventually it all led to lots of drug use and no real direction in life at all.  
BUT...God knows what He is doing!
This is where I met my sweet husband, and the rest is history.

And this, dear people, is the future, where we are going!
Heaven with  my husband and whole passel of sweet children at my side.  God certaintly did bless the broken road I was on.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Its almost sprouting time

It has been about 6 years since I have had a successful vegetable garden.  Yes, I must give myself a break, I have had 3 children in that time.  Last year, the seed catalouge was absolutely revolting to me.  I did not even want to look at it.  I had a baby in late Feburary, so I guess that gives me an excuse.

At least in that time I still cooked for my family.

I have had no lack of time in my kitchen.  In fact, it seems most of my life is spent in the kitchen.  I  am not complaining of that, I love to cook.  But it does get me wondering how I will manage to get out into the garden this year.  Well, I know how I'll do it, lots of prayer, grace, hard work and sheer will power. 
Not only do us country mamas have to feed the family in the kitchen, but a smart country mama gives it all she's got and works hard to feed her family from the soil.  I admit, in the recent years past, this task has seemed very distasteful to me.  It seemed like more work than I wanted to do to get my pregnant self out in a garden bending over, or on my knees battling quack grass and weeds. 
But this year, as they say "where there is a will, there is a way"...and this year, God willing, come pregnancy or high water,  I plan on doing it. 

Monday, January 9, 2012

Epiphany Home Blessing

Father came over for a nice game of Sorry with the children, dinner and Epiphany home blessing.  Here is the text of the prayers:

As the priest comes into the home he says:
P: God's peace be in this home.
All: And in all who live here.
P. Ant.: Magi from the East came to Bethlehem to adore the Lord; and opening their treasure chests they presented Him with precious gifts: gold for the great King, incense for the true God, and myrrh in symbol of His burial. Alleluia.
Canticle of the Magnificat
Luke 1.46-55
P: "My soul * extols the Lord;
All: And my spirit leaps for joy in God my Savior.
P: How graciously He looked upon His lowly maid! * Oh, see, from this hour onward age after age will call me blessed!
All: How sublime is what He has done for me, * the Mighty One, whose name is 'Holy'!
P: From age to age He visits those * who worship Him in reverence.
All: His arm achieves the mastery: * He routs the haughty and proud of heart.
P: He puts down princes from their thrones, * and exalts the lowly;
All: He fills the hungry with blessings, * and sends away the rich with empty hands.
P: He has taken by the hand His servant Israel, * and mercifully kept His faith,
All: As He had promised our fathers * with Abraham and his posterity forever and evermore."
P: Glory be to the Father.
All: As it was in the beginning.
Meanwhile the home is sprinkled with holy water and incensed. At the end of the Magnificat the antiphon is repeated. Then the priest says Our Father (the rest inaudibly until:)
P: And lead us not into temptation.
All: But deliver us from evil.
P: Many shall come from Saba.
All: Bearing gold and incense.
P: Lord, heed my prayer.
All: And let my cry be heard by you.
P: The Lord be with you.
All: May he also be with you.
Let us pray.
God, who on this day revealed your only-begotten Son to all nations by the guidance of a star, grant that we who now know you by faith may finally behold you in your heavenly majesty; through Christ our Lord.
All: Amen.
Responsory: Be enlightened and shine forth, O Jerusalem, for your light is come; and upon you is risen the glory of the Lord Jesus Christ born of the Virgin Mary.
P: Nations shall walk in your light, and kings in the splendor of- your birth.
All: And the glory of the Lord is risen upon you.
Let us pray.
Lord God almighty, bless + this home, and under its shelter let there be health, chastity, self-conquest, humility, goodness, mildness, obedience to your commandments, and thanksgiving to God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. May your blessing remain always in this home and on those who live here; through Christ our Lord. All: Amen.
Father takes blessed chalk and inscribes the names of Casper, Melchior, and Baltassar (the Wise Men) and the year 2012 on the lintel of the door, both inside and out.  Then he blesses the whole home with Epiphany water, and if you want the text of this blessing, which happens on the eve of Epiphany, grab a cup of something hot, sit down and read this....(scroll down a bit to the Blessing of Epiphany water heading)  Begone satan!

I am so thankful to be a part of the Traditional Latin rite....I am so happy to have a priest who is glad to come to our homes and give us these blessings so that we may be open to the Lords graces even more. 

Let us remember to pray for our priests.  I read recently that whenever the priest turns around in the Mass and says "Dominus Vobiscum", we should say a prayer for him.  I particularly remember to pray for his purity and fervor.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Lighten Up and Laugh

This makes me laugh so hard!  Yes, my husband and I are old-skool Weird Al fans.  The video is so funny, you have to watch it a few times to catch all the funny stuff.
Whatever You Like


From Fr Hardon's Catholic Dictionary:
In spiritual literature, the feeling aroused by the expectation or possession of some good. One of the fruits of the Holy Spirit. Joyful emotions affect the body, but they are essentially in the higher faculties of the soul. Differs from pleasure, which may affect the human spirit but originates in some bodily sensation. Thus joy is possessed by angels and human beings, and its source is the rational will.
Joy is essentially a gift of the Holy Spirit.  Without Joy, we are nothing in the Christian life.  I mean, who wants to become a christian if they see us hanging around all day looking like our puppy just got hit by a bus?  I know this is unavoidable on some days, but when moping and self pity begins to be the norm and not the exception, we have some serious prayer and soul searching to do!
Children do not become strong in their faith in a home without joy.  Children do not have a great chance of keeping their faith if their home has little or no joy.  Joy comes when we as mamas live a life with God's grace in our souls, so Jesus can be fully alive and welcome in our hearts.  Then that grace and love and joy can spill over into our homes husbands and  babies.  This is what gives God glory as a mama.  Self denial with Joy, sacrafice with Joy, hard work with Joy, and all the good times with Joy.

Wishing you JOY this 2012

Friday, January 6, 2012

My thoughts exactly on "stuff"

Get ready to laugh ..
Big Box Mart

Happy Feast day!

Epiphany Mass and blessing of chalk this morning.  All children were in the car by 6:30 a.m. to get to church.  After a nice pot luck breakfast we came home. 
This is what I found the children playing....
Cathedreals and Grottos built from blocks and plastic statues in the prayer room.
How cute it that?

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Thoughts on real wealth

We have drunk our water for money: we have bought our wood.

Lamentations Of Jeremias
 Chapter 5, Verse 4

Here is a quote that really stuck in my mind tonight, from The Church and the Land, page 106.

"Unemployment in an industrialized community means that many men are engaged in producing little or nothing and consuming much"
How true is that for our nation today?  How true is that still for those of us who spend our days at a desk or factory doing work for money so that we can go out and consume the things we don't have the time to produce?  We buy into the "can't live without it" mentality of this age, with food, furniture, clothing, snackie-snacks...you name it...money can buy it.  But none of it is made in America anymore!
We can buy all we want at low! low! prices!!, but still our neighbors are out of a job, and our land lies fallow, and our children need Wii to keep them happy and busy, and we have time on our hands to watch housewives being desperate, or to peruse online images of poor darkened souls who happen to be shopping at Wal Mart....

The wage system is such a con man, if you will.....if only we had the courage to return to a simpler mindset of ownership and real wealth.  To quote Pope Leo XIII,
" A further consequence will result in the greater abundance of the fruits of the earth.  Men will always work harder and more readily when they work on what belongs to them...."
A piece of land that is not mortgaged to the limit, a warm simple home, lots of good old fashioned hearty work, healthy food produced on site, or nearby as much as possible, a good parish, a loving family, and all of it dedicated to and in honor of Jesus Christ our Lord...Now that is real wealth.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Do a little, do your best.

"The first step for farmers to take is to reverse their old prejudices in this respect and instead of calculating how much more land they want, let them try with how little they can do, and do well ."

This is a quote from page 84 of the Soiling of Cattle.  I think it also relates well to those of us who desire a simple and more basic life.  It is great to know that it is entirely possible to raise up a healthy family cow on 5 tiny acres.  It is also a good quote to remember to encourage us all to start small.  Do well with what we have, and if God wills it, more will be given.  If we can be good stewards to a tiny bit, how much more will He trust us with more land. 

Yes, I know any idiot can go out and buy land if he has the right chunk of change (looking in the mirror 14 years ago)  but only God can make that land productive, and the people who are stewards of it truly happy.

"For they that are upright shall dwell in the earth, and the simple shall continue in it." Proverbs 2, Chapter 21

Late at night, while the children are sleeping...during the day when the crockpot holds my dinner....I sew

4 tries later, and my adjusted pattern top finally fits well.  I ended up cutting up an old worn sheet for a mock up because my first try with my Wal-Mart fabric was a terrible fit!  When fitting, it is always best (a-hem) to listen to wise advice and cut out the hard to fit part of the pattern and baste it together and try it on before going ahead with adjustments.  Guessing just wastes a busy mothers precious time.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Pratical Sewing

Last night I began again to work on my project that has been sitting on my sewing table for weeks, waiting for me to have the gumption to attack it again.  My goal with this project is to find a comfortable pattern that can be worn for either work or nice occasions.

 I have a wonderful pattern, which funny enough, is a costume pattern, but is very comfortable.  4 years ago I had a few of these dresses, but I out grew them.  I recently bought the pattern again after I learned a little about adjusting a pattern to fit me.  It is very wonderful to know that I am not confined by the measurements on the pattern sleeve!  But since I am adjusting the bodice, and it has darts and the back is in 2 pieces, I have been slow at chipping away at the work.

Last night I did it.  I finished the adjustments.  I cut it out from a piece of not so pretty Wal-Mart sale calico that has been in my sewing box for years.  I look at this fabric and think "what in the world inspired me to buy this?".....but if it works as my mock up, it will do just fine for a work dress.  I used the sleeves from the shift pattern that is included in this pattern for my dress, because I do not want puffy sleeves, and the shift sleeves have very minimal gathering, and no cuff.  I also cut the skirt shorter, to eliminate the pleating in this mock up.  I love the bottom pleats, but I will save those for a nice version of the dress.

I got a japanese sewing book with patterns for Christmas.  Simple Modern Sewing is the title.  I took it out last night, fully intending to scrap my above project for a while and work on a dress in this book....but the pattern peices are so complicated.....I think this sewing book is going back to the store for a return!  Sewing has to be simple, or it is not pratical.  And beware, one persons definition of simple, might not be yours!

Sunday, January 1, 2012

The Christian's rule of life

Todays Epistle

Titus 2; 11-14
For the grace of God our Saviour hath appeared to all men;  Instructing us, that, denying ungodliness and worldly desires, we should live soberly, and justly, and godly in this world,  Looking for the blessed hope and coming of the glory of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ, Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and might cleanse to himself a people acceptable, a pursuer of good works.

We have to work hard and pray to keep on the path that St. Paul is speaking of here.  The world tells us less work and more fun equal happiness.  But scripture tells us that our only happiness and hope lie in Jesus.   Scripture tells us clearly to live a Godly life, soberly working out our vocation, so that He can cleanse our heart through it.  Our desires should not be for bigger, better, more and sparkly....they should be for the necessities of life and heaven.   We know not when our time is up here on earth, so we must pray NOW for Our Lord to redeem our hearts from iniquity and help us to love Him more.