Review of “The Little Oratory”

The Little OratoryMy review for The Little Oratory: A Beginner’s Guide to Praying in the Home by David Clayton and Leila Lawler is live at Catholic Culture.

I wanted to add a few more reflections on the book.

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Notes on Family-First Creative

I pre-ordered Jennifer Fulwiler’s book, Something Other Than God: How I Passionately Sought Happiness and Accidentally Found It. It’s coming out on Tuesday, and I’m really excited to receive my copy on May 1, but in the meantime, I just had a chance to read over her free e-book entitled “Family-First Creative.” This was a gift for pre-ordering her book.

The offer ends tomorrow to receive the free e-book for pre-ordering (just in case you were on the fence). I know it’s not the fabulous new book Jennifer worked on since 2008, but this is a great little gift! This had so much food for thought and really practical advice.

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7 Quick Takes — Easter and Books

Joining Jen for the 7 Quick Takes:

1) It is almost the end of the Easter Octave. We are going out with a bang with the double canonization of John XXIII and John Paul II on Sunday. I mentioned yesterday how we are enjoying the Easter glow, and wrote a post for Catholic Culture on spreading out celebration for the whole season.

It seems everyone else is relaxing and unwinding post-Holy Week…my stats for views is so low since Holy Saturday. Perhaps it’s because no one is downloading the Stations of the Cross.

It’s back to school routine next week, health permitting. We are way behind due to my heart surgery and recovery, so we do need to press forward.

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Trapp Family Memories (Repost and Update)

This is the first of the 7 posts, 7 days linked in with Conversion Diary.

Yesterday’s news reports that Maria von Trapp, the last of the original seven children of Agathe Whitehead and Captain Georg von Trapp, died yesterday, February 22nd. Maria lived as a lay missionary in Papua, New Guinea for many years, then returned to Stowe, Vermont where she died at the age of 99.

Please pray for the repose of her soul.

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Celebrating the Feast of the Chair of St. Peter

Today, February 22, is the Feast of the Chair of St. Peter. We like to celebrate the namedays of both first and middle names in our family. For both our boys, their middle name saints have two feast days in the Liturgical Calendar, so it evens out the celebrations. Today is our youngest son’s nameday, and he has looked forward to it for 2 weeks!

Today was particularly busy, so I didn’t have a chance to post this sooner.

The first thing this morning was a piano festival for son #1. We know did very well, but official scores have not been posted yet.Gregory Festival 2-22 This is his first year of playing, and he is progressing nicely and really enjoying it. It’s a joy for me to see and hear.

The rest of the day we spent doing some family shopping and a few treats for younger son. He’s the one who takes random pictures of himself on my iPhone when I’m not looking:

random photo

I enjoy capturing him just enjoying life. This was from one of our walks this week, as we watched the snow melt.

Nicholas WalkBoth sons have such a happy disposition, enjoying life at all times.

But back to the feast day. This feast brings so many memories. Remember last year? February 11 Pope Benedict announced his resignation, and February 28 was his official last day as pope. Last year so soon after this feast day the chair of St. Peter was empty — sede vacante. Pope Francis was not elected until March 13.

We learned so much about the papacy during this transition last year. We cried, we prayed, we watched the smoke from the chimney with great anticipation with the rest of the Church. In the meantime we learned about the history of the papacy, the multitude of pope saints, the richness of the traditions.

I was hoping for a good picture book for the papacy, not just on one pope and came up short last year. And now there is the perfect book. I read Jeff Mirus’s review, Children’s Guide to the Papacy and knew this was the book for this feast.


Our Holy Father, the Pope: The Papacy from Saint Peter to the Present by Don R. Caffery, illustrated by Emmanuel Beaudesson is a beautiful book printed by Magnificat and Ignatius Press. My husband was able to purchase a copy before the feast at the CIC in DC, so I was thrilled to be “on time” for a feast day!

I can’t share snapshots of the pages right now (I might add them or do a separate post), because my nameday son is snuggling up with it tonight. Suffice to say the book covers all the aspects of the papacy, beginning with St. Peter and his life, with various illustrations of Pope Benedict, Pope Francis, and Pope John Paul II, which keeps the book in touch with current events.

The book is oversized, and while it is not text-heavy, the fact that there are so many pages the reading could be divided into several days. The section on St. Peter could be reread on his feast he shares with St. Paul on June 29. I also will pull this book out on days of remembrance with our popes, such as March 13, for Pope Francis’ election anniversary.

Two thumbs up and highly recommended — I’m really excited to have a new book to add to our Liturgical Year picture books.

Company of the Saints: Favorite Saint Books

Joining Meredith at Sweetness and Light for her new series Keeping the Company of the Saints.

The saints play a role in our daily lives: our prayers, our conversations, our reading and our daily education. I couldn’t resist Meredith’s invitation to talk about books — one of my favorite subjects, and our saint books are like a second family to me!

We own many saint books, both individual biographies and collected lives of the saints. I’ve been using our books even more often as I’m currently writing about the Liturgical Year and saints days at Catholic Culture. It’s hard to pinpoint our favorite books…but a few that we refer to almost daily: Continue reading

Yarn Along — Slow Scarf

Joining Ginny at Small Things for the Yarn Along.


Not much progress on my scarf since last week’s post. I ripped it all and started again, this time alternating from 3 skeins to help balance the color better. It looks less stripey to me, which is why I started again. This is time consuming and requires a bit of concentration. I haven’t worked on it for a few days because I was teaching myself how to work curved text in graphics. I’m still not really good at it, but I got the job done.

I am still reading The Church and the Land by Vincent McNabb, O.P., but I’m also in the middle of this book, Cultivating Soil and Soul: Twentieth-century Catholic Agrarians Embrace the Liturgical Movement by Michael J. Woods. I think this was his dissertation. It is an excellent book that treats the history of the National Catholic Rural Life Conference (NCRLC) as it intersected the Liturgical Movement. Truly, agrarianism cannot be separated from it. Towards the end he talks about current thought that supports this movement, such as through Wendell Berry. This was my area that I touched upon on my bachelor thesis, so I enjoy continuing my education.

I was telling a friend that I read another history of NCRLC that what was missing was how it was the beginning and lifeblood of the liturgical movement. We discussed how that book needed to be written, and then I found that it already was! To me it is fascinating reading, but I am familiar with many of the cast of characters and themes.

I know I’m a big reader of non-fiction books. They take longer to read, but I find them so interesting. I’m just not drawn as much to fiction. Does that make me boring????

See Ginny at Small Things for other Yarn Along posts.

ETA: I forgot to mention that Patternworks is having a 15% off sale on on Manos del Uruguay Yarns and knitting patterns until January 14. Promo Code PW1403.

I love the silk/wool yarn — I’m almost tempted to get the Magenta one to make a shawl from it, it’s so soft and luscious!

Epiphany 2014

We are celebrating Epiphany on Sunday, January 5th, this year. The traditional feast falls on the sixth, which is also my husband’s birthday, so we’re fond of having separate celebrations.

I have posted about our Epiphany celebrations, including our special books for preparation of the feast. All stories about the wise men, the journey, the camels, La Befana and Baboushka, the star — all these are slated for the Christmas season, building up to Epiphany. Our two favorite Epiphany books:

The Third Gift by Linda Sue Park and illustrated Bagram Ibatoulline I already mentioned in this post. My youngest has referred to the “the tears” all Advent and Christmas. It is so helpful to understand the origin of myrrh.

Our favorite The Story of the Three Wise Kings by Tomie dePaola, has been reprinted in Joy to the World: Tomie’s Christmas Stories is a collection of 3 Christmas stories by Tomie dePaola, The Night of Las Posadas, The Story of the Three Wise Kings, and The Legend of the Poinsettia, with a few illustrated Christmas carols. The Story of the Three Wise Kings has been out of print for a long time, so this is a great opportunity to get a copy of that and two other favorite dePaola “must-read” stories.

I’ve updated our Epiphany ceremony for 2014: epiphanyceremony2014.

I wrote a new post at Catholic Culture about Christmas and Epiphany.

Every year we enter more deeply and understand more about the feast and and its significance.

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More Books

I’ve added a few more books on my Book Sale Blog. I was cleaning for a family party and found more duplicates, this time of the children’s books.

All the posts and books are listed on The How to Use this blog page.

I’ve also gone through other posts and reduced many prices.

All reasonable offers considered!

Thanks for looking! It feels so good to get things out of the house and into good homes!

Yarn Along

Joining Ginny at Small Things for the Yarn Along.


I’m almost done with the FHC capelet. I still have some silly mistakes that I’ve had to rip, and my energy level is so low I’m just not up to knitting. I ordered some vintage buttons from Etsy to complete the capelet. I ordered a variety because I’m not quite sure what will work. I can’t wait to receive them!

I’m battle-weary with sickness. My little one is running a fever for a third day, and we’re still coughing and such. We’re all fatigued.

Despite my muddled thinking, I actually finished two books this week. A friend recommended Surprised by Oxford: A Memoir. Such a great book; I couldn’t put it down. This conversion story comes from an Evangelical writer, but such richness! I am a cradle Catholic, and my family has always been active in the Faith, so reading from a different perspective where the Good News was never heard was fascinating. What really touched me is that once a person does hear the Gospel, he/she cannot ignore it. A choice has to be made — to reject or embrace. And to embrace means changes in your life, often radical changes. So this story unfolds the peeling off of the layers and changing into the baptismal robes of Christ. I kept thinking of “The Hound of Heaven” throughout her book.

I also finished Jesus of Nazareth: From the Baptism in the Jordan to the Transfiguration by Pope Benedict. I savored this slowly and thoroughly enjoyed it. I don’t think I remember a book giving me such richness for meditating on the mysteries of the Rosary. I also think this book is a must-read for anyone involved in the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd.

My new book is an Out of print book from 1961, Now! by Rev. M. Raymond, O.C.S.O, a Trappist monk. The book follows the theme of 2 Cor 5:20-6:2: “Behold, now is the acceptable time; behold, NOW is the day of salvation!”. This is read on Ash Wednesday every year, and repeated throughout the Lenten liturgy. I put a NOW Cross on our mantle throughout Lent.

But NOW! is something I need to think about all the time, not just Lent. Father Raymond is a wonderful writer (if you haven’t read his book The Family that Overtook Christ on St. Bernard of Clairvaux and his family, you Must add it to your list!). I’m always so impressed that those who live a life of cloister have such clarity and understand so clearly our needs in this busy world.

I’m back to the doctor today just to give an ear to my lungs…I hope she’ll say I’m fine, but I want to make sure. My list of catch-up items are a mile long and overwhelming!

Join Ginny for other Yarn Along posts!