Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Dealing with the holiday blues

A few years ago I blogged about Grief, Loss and Change over the Holidays - Making New Traditions. As I wrote it, I was thinking mainly about those holidays that had to be faced after the death of beloved family members, like my grandparents and my mother, or after a life changing trauma - like celebrating Thanksgiving only three weeks after experiencing a stillbirth.

But I was also aware that my family dynamic was changing - Mr. Pete and I are getting older, the kids are growing up - change is inevitable.

As it turns out, this is going to be one of those big change years. My son, although finally married, lives eight hours away with his wife and they will be coming up after Thanksgiving Day. So for the first time in forever, I will not see all of my children on Thanksgiving Day. But my oldest isn't going to be the only one missing. The two other older boys have plans with the families of their significant others, so the chance of seeing them on Thanksgiving Day is also slim. But perhaps the biggest change is that for the first time in over 20 years, my sister and I aren't doing a Thanksgiving feast together. Even the year my mother died and sis had her own health scare and Mr. Pete and I essentially cooked all the food and brought it over, we still had the family together.

It's probably time for us to make this split. Between us we have 10 children. If each of them brings a girlfriend or boyfriend or spouse, that puts us up to 20 young people and 4 oldsters (which would be me, Mr. Pete, Sis and Mr. Bill). If we start to throw in grandchildren, of which we have one so far, the numbers are going to be huge. So short of renting out a hall or the back of a restaurant, it's probably time to split up. Realistically it makes perfect sense. It still hurts though, probably more in a nostalgic way than anything else.

So I went back to read my old post to see if there really was any wisdom there and four of those points (#4, 6 and 7) stood out to me!

#4 - we are making new traditions. In fact, we sort of started a tradition a few years ago with the annual Run for the Homeless.  It's a way to be part of the entire city community, give money to a good cause, and watch my wonderful runners run through beautiful historic Glendale Cemetery. We've done that for a number of years now and the atmosphere of the crowd and the runners is always festive and fun. It's had to be in a bad mood when you see people running by in their Pilgrim and Indian costumes, tutus and other gear.  It's just a good time.

Thanksgiving Race for Homeless 2011 033

#6 - We're downplaying the actual Thanksgiving Day.  After the run we're coming home and having our own little dinner, just the three kids at home, probably my goddaughter, Mr. Pete and me! Just at home, just us, with probably a walk afterwards, and some good movies.

#7 - Lastly, we are making a new tradition AND doing something for just us!  We are sharing Thanksgiving on Sunday, with our new in-laws, so that we can share the newlyweds instead of having them spend time with each family separately. I think that will be more restful for everyone!  

And perhaps the biggest change I have had to make in my own heart - of being Thankful for all of the Thanksgivings I have celebrated in the past with loved ones past and present, and instead of dreading the loss of what was, trying to look forward to the seasons ahead with curiosity and excitement for something new.


Monday, November 23, 2015

Simple Woman

I am only 2 followers away from 700 on Twitter! SO if you are so inclined

Outside my window...
november 2015 217

I am thinking...
about a dear relative of mine in the hospital in Michigan. Mr. Pete was determined to go and visit on Saturday because he had to teach Sunday school and cantor for mass on Sunday.  So even though Winter Storm Bella was coming directly at us as we headed north, we kept on our path.

Things were pretty clear for most of our journey and we even though that perhaps we might take a little side trip to see the Ransom Gillis House that has been featured on the television show, Rehab Addict.  But when we hit Detroit the storm limited our visibility and we decided to just keep heading north.

We got to the hospital in time to see our relative and spend a few hours.  Then it was back on the road. This trip usually takes us 4 hours. We left at 2:30 and didn't make it back home until almost 10:00, spending much of that time traveling at only 25 miles per hour. I wanted to pull over and find a hotel, but Mr. Pete persevered.

I am thankful...
we didn't end up in the ditch like about 20 of the cars we passed on our way!  We arrived home without incident.

In the kitchen...
Shepherd's Pie - I browned ground turkey, added salt, pepper, cinnamon, tomatoes, and mixed vegetables, and the topped with mashed sweet potatoes. It was delicious!

I am wearing...
Black pants and a pink sweater that I like because it has 3/4 length sleeves, but I wish it were longer.

I am reading...

I am pondering...
about the etiquette involved with co-habitating couples and couples who are co-parenting but aren't "a couple" and the holidays.  Where is Emily Post when you need her?

I am going...
From the Learning Rooms...
20 Years of Homeschooling!

Noah- Senior

Rosie 5th grade
Partnership Writing
Apologia Exploring Creation with Human Anatomy and Physiology   -     By: Jeannie Fulbright
  • Choir- co-op
  • Art Class

One of my favorite things...

Hoping to try with Miss C. this week!

A quote to share...

It had never before occurred to him that the body of a woman of fifty, blow up to monstrous dimensions by childbearing, then hardened, roughened by work till it was coarse in the grain like an over-ripe turnip, could be beautiful. But it was so, and after all, he thought why not? The solid, contourless body, like a block of granite, and the rasping red skin, bore the same relationship to the body of a girl as the rose-hip to the rose. Why should the fruit be held inferior to the flower?

1984, by George Orwell

A picture to share...

November 2010 115

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Christ the King

The Feast of Christ the King was started in 1925 by Pope Pius XI  (famous for that well-known and much debated Casti Connubi)  in his Encyclical Quas Primas:
Pope Pius

Written smack dab in the middle of the "Roaring 20s" Pius felt a need to focus the church and the world back to the sovereignty of Jesus Christ as God and King.

Quas Primas is fascinating in that it speaks to us today as if it was written specifically for the early 21st century!  These parts stood out for me, but the entire document is very well worth the trouble to read it!

In the first Encyclical Letter which We addressed at the beginning of Our Pontificate to the Bishops of the universal Church, We referred to the chief causes of the difficulties under which mankind was laboring. And We remember saying that these manifold evils in the world were due to the fact that the majority of men had thrust Jesus Christ and his holy law out of their lives; that these had no place either in private affairs or in politics: and we said further, that as long as individuals and states refused to submit to the rule of our Savior, there would be no really hopeful prospect of a lasting peace among nations. Men must look for the peace of Christ in the Kingdom of Christ

16. Christ as our Redeemer purchased the Church at the price of his own blood; as priest he offered himself, and continues to offer himself as a victim for our sins. Is it not evident, then, that his kingly dignity partakes in a manner of both these offices?

17. It would be a grave error, on the other hand, to say that Christ has no authority whatever in civil affairs, since, by virtue of the absolute empire over all creatures committed to him by the Father, all things are in his power. Nevertheless, during his life on earth he refrained from the exercise of such authority, and although he himself disdained to possess or to care for earthly goods, he did not, nor does he today, interfere with those who possess them. Non eripit mortalia qui regna dat caelestia.[27]

33. The faithful, moreover, by meditating upon these truths, will gain much strength and courage, enabling them to form their lives after the true Christian ideal. If to Christ our Lord is given all power in heaven and on earth; if all men, purchased by his precious blood, are by a new right subjected to his dominion; if this power embraces all men, it must be clear that not one of our faculties is exempt from his empire. He must reign in our minds, which should assent with perfect submission and firm belief to revealed truths and to the doctrines of Christ. He must reign in our wills, which should obey the laws and precepts of God. He must reign in our hearts, which should spurn natural desires and love God above all things, and cleave to him alone. He must reign in our bodies and in our members, which should serve as instruments for the interior sanctification of our souls, or to use the words of the Apostle Paul, as instruments of justice unto God.[35] If all these truths are presented to the faithful for their consideration, they will prove a powerful incentive to perfection

Prayer Source: Enchiridion of Indulgences , June 29, 1968

Christ the King
Originally uploaded by Loci Lenar

A partial indulgence is granted to the faithful, who piously recite the Act of Dedication of the Human Race to Jesus Christ King. A plenary indulgence is granted, if it is recited publicly on the feast of our Lord Jesus Christ King.

Most sweet Jesus,Redeemer of the human race, look down upon us humbly prostrate before you. We are yours, and yours we wish to be; but to be more surely united with you, behold each one of us freely consecrates himself today to your Most Sacred Heart. Many indeed have never known you; many, too, despising your precepts, have rejected you. Have mercy on them all, most merciful Jesus, and draw them to your Sacred Heart. Be King, O Lord, not only of the faithful who have never forsaken you, but also of the prodigal children who have abandoned you; grant that they may quickly return to their Father's house, lest they die of wretchedness and hunger. Be King of those who are deceived by erroneous opinions, or whom discord keeps aloof, and call them back to the harbor of truth and the unity of faith, so that soon there may be but one flock and one Shepherd. Grant, O Lord, to your Church assurance of freedom and immunity from harm; give tranquility of order to all nations; make the earth resound from pole to pole with one cry: Praise to the divine Heart that wrought our salvation; to it be glory and honor for ever. Amen.

Some good links for noting this feast day!

Castle of the Immaculate: Shrinky Dinks for Christ the King

Christ the King Party

Catholic Culture

Women of Faith and Family

Christ the King Centerpiece

Catholic Cuisine

Christ the King - liturgical tea.

Catholic Mom

The New Liturgical year - Under Her Starry Mantle.

All about Christ the King

More in my Delicious Links. 

Friday, November 20, 2015

7-Quick Takes

 photo seven-quick-takes-friday-2-300x213_zps0988a8ef.jpg
Join the other Quicktakers at This Ain't the Lyceum

1.  Noah has just bloomed this past semester academically. He got an A+ in his Economics class for the semester and a big part of that was his 30/30 for participation.  His sister tells me that during one class discussion, he corrected the original question posed by the text book and then went on to explain it!

If his plans for the seminary don't work out, I think he could be a good lawyer or teacher - but then I've thought that for some time now.

2.  Noah's second big goal is to have a great tack season because he doesn't want to be just another "walk on" for the college team.  He had a teammate last year that just worked his butt off last winter and had a phenomenal track season, so with that in mind Noah is taking his "off season" very seriously and running every day.

And while I wish Noah the best of everything with his running, it is Rosie that I think has the super bright future as a runner. She is running a 7:12 pace and is only 10 years old.  The future seems bright for her.

3.  I disagree with the divisions among us on the refugee issue. People who are cautions about allowing refugees in whole sale are being labeled as bigots and xenophobes, while the others who want to admit every one are being called dangerous and short-sighted.

I think neither stereotype is true. I think most in this country want to help refugees who have been truly displaced and persecuted - especially the Christian refugees who have faced severe persecution. However, there is a rightful concern that we are not doing a good enough job of vetting those who come into this country and may inadvertantly accept hidden terrorists. There has to be a balance between accepting the innocent while protecting against hidden evil - that's a difficult task for sure and it's not necessarily one I think this administration is up to.

Charles Krauthammer put forth one idea that might work in the short term.  But can we please not let this be yet another issue that divides us?  Can we work the problem instead?

4.   We started to add a few crafts into little Miss C's curriculum. I don't know when or if her parents are going to put her into a regular day care setting, and it's probably a sure thing that she will go to kindergarten, so I want her to be as prepared as possible. Here is our first dive into finger painting!


3.   A close family relative is gravely ill and is also having faith issues.  I have a number of friends who call themselves agnostic.  Over the decades it was just one of those things you accept and overall we have a live-and-let live attitude around each other.  When we say grace, they accept that, and when they decline to go to church with us, we accept that.

But now that we're on the other side of middle age, I think this becomes more of an issue. My relative is worried about life after this one, and if it even exists. I'm just not sure how to bring comfort to the unbeliever except to just offer it.

4.   Thanksgiving will be odd this year.  We're not celebrating on Thursday because our oldest son and his wife aren't coming up until Sunday.  We are also not celebrating with my sister and her family this year.  Sis moved into a smaller house and although we tried it last year, it just didn't work out well. With our children having their own significant others, it seems we are finally moving into separate holidays between our households.  We had a good run. However, I do want to have a small dinner for my three children at home so after their Thanksgiving race we will probably have a small dinner and then just get ready for a bigger celebration when my oldest makes it home.

5.   We finished 1984.  I liked Animal Farm better.

Orwell was a genius.

We are watching the 1984 movie with John Hurt and Richard Burton on Amazon to celebrate.  We saw the first hour last night- it is very true to the book so far.

6.  My first job after high school was at McDonald's. I worked the drive through. After college I worked in a hospital and a few doctor's offices and that was intense enough - nothing like what my son the paramedic faces on a daily  basis. I wish these two fast food ladies could drive around with the paramedics for a day because they really have no idea what they're talking about.

Reporter questions fast food workers
"Some people say paramedics don't even get $15 an hour and they save lives. So why should fast food workers get that?"That question comes up a lot when we cover #FightFor15 rallies, like this one in Detroit. But Fox2's Roop Raj is having to defend himself just for asking it.Watch his whole report here and see what you think:
Posted by FOX 13 News - Tampa Bay on Thursday, November 12, 2015

7.  A reminder to get to confession and continue praying for the dead this month.  Catholic Company had a very good article of small things to do to remember the dead this month. 
  priests praying in a cemetary

I have it on my mind to particularly remember my 7th great grandmother, Mercy Atkinson this
month.  I sure would like to know the story behind naming her Mercy!
  Marcy Atkinson Parsons

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Advent and Christmas Mega Links and Resources for

Over the years I have collected links and resources for the holidays that I thought would help me and my family prepare our hearts and spirits to celebrate the birth of Baby Jesus.  I haven't done everything on this list.  Some of it is a wish list, but there was something in every link that I thought was worthwhile.

If you have a resource that you think would be a good addition, please feel free to send it to me at

Perhaps first on the list is actually getting our homes ready for the holidays:
Holiday Grand Plan
or join their Yahoo Group Holiday Grand Plan

and get your planner ready~   Advent Planner

and of course - the holiday before the season Christ the King!

For more links and ideas, please see my Advent and Christmas Page at the top of this blog- see here

Also, for a wonderful music for Advent and Christmas, I recommend this new CD from the Peace Together Choir.  Mr. Pete and I both participated on this with our friends in the Peace Together Choir. Also available on Amazon!


Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Two Easy Ways to Remember to Pray for the Dead - my latest on

One of the casualties of my “spirit of Vatican 2” Catholic-school education was the practice of praying for the dead. It wasn’t that I didn’t know I was supposed to pray for the dead. In fact, my grandparents and my mother were quite good about doing that. It’s just that Catholic education in the late 70s didn’t really emphasize the necessity of keeping that practice. So I entered my early adult years with no habit, routine or intention of praying for the dead.

That all changed with the stillbirth of my sixth baby. I needed to pray for him and feel God’s mercy and grace for his little soul. That event was a reminder that this time on earth is fleeting, and that as Catholic Christians we were all part of that great communion of saints. As I worked through my grief, the belief that all of our souls, even the soul of my precious little unborn baby, were part of God’s big plan, and that someday I would be able to see my baby, and hold him and talk to him, got me through. I experienced this realization even more so after the death of my mother in 2009.

A few years later I had the opportunity to find the grave of my grandparents and my uncle. I had been there before, but I always forget exactly where they are buried. We found them. Their graves were overgrown and abandoned. That wasn’t true, of course. They were still loved deeply. Yet my practice of praying for their souls was a lot like their graves – untended, and uncared-for.

See the rest at

Copyright 2012 Elena LaVictoire. All rights reserved.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...