Sunday, March 30, 2014

Lent is Hard to Do and Other Earth Shattering Insights for Laetare Sunday

It's Laetare Sunday! If you just said, "Huh?" You're not alone. But here's a hint: You know how almost never, but it seems like maybe a couple times a year the priest wear pink vestments? That's today.

From Scott P. Richert at the very excellent Catholicism page:

Laetare Sunday is the popular name for the Fourth Sunday in Lent. (See When Is Laetare Sunday? for the date of Laetare Sunday in this and future years.) Laetare means "Rejoice" in Latin, and the Introit (entrance antiphon) in both the Traditional Latin Mass and the Novus Ordo is Isaiah 66:10-11, which begins "Laetare, Jerusalem" ("Rejoice, O Jerusalem").
Because the midpoint of Lent is the Thursday of the third week of Lent, Laetare Sunday has traditionally been viewed as a day of celebration, on which the austerity of Lent is briefly lessened. The passage from Isaiah continues, "rejoice with joy, you that have been in sorrow," and on Laetare Sunday, the purple vestments and altar cloths of Lent are set aside, and rose ones are used instead. Flowers, which are normally forbidden during Lent, may be placed on the altar. Traditionally, the organ was never played during Lent, except on Laetare Sunday.
Laetare Sunday is also known as Rose Sunday or Refreshment Sunday, and it has a counterpart in AdventGaudete Sunday, the Third Sunday of Advent, when purple vestments are exchanged for rose ones. The point of both days is to provide us encouragement as we progress toward the end of each respective penitential season.
So, today, we will be celebrating with a Pink Raspberry Ombre Cake. Ours will be from this recipe, but a smaller 5 in round cake and only three layers (like this one we made last year), because we don't want leftovers now do we?

Also, since Lent is halfway over . . .

we'll be assessing how things are going with the Lenten resolutions and disciplines I talked about here.

There is plenty of room left in the old bean jar.

I feel like it's been hard to get much traction with Lent this year, what with all the feasts coming one on top of the other right at the beginning. I prefer them coming towards the end, as a gentle easing-in to Easter. But, no one asked me. Apparently someone put the moon in charge of when Easter is. Whatever.

It might be a long haul from here on out. Which is ever more reason to buckle back down if we don't feel like Lent has been going as well as it ought. Half a Lent is a hundred times better than no Lent at all.

Here's how it's been going here . . .


So, so, so well. This is what our playroom and toy closet looked like today, with me not having said a thing about it in at least two days, so I'm assuming no tidying has happened at all:

I can live with that.

And even more importantly, this is what our dining room table looks like as I write this, without me having said anything about that either:

My kids are being creative, and playing together, and doing crafts we've had on a shelf for ages. It warms the cockles of my heart.


This one has been really hard and also really great. It might be the best thing I've ever personally done for Lent. I have to be mindful of it at all times.

I fail every day, multiple times per day. I fail because I forget, and I fail because I lose my temper, and I fail because I rebel. And every time, I get to realize my failure, and make a new resolution to do better. It has been a very useful experiment.


This one has been going well too. I'm actually doing it, and making sure the kids do it too. We all leave the car with all the stuff we brought into it.

I like it because there was no excuse but laziness for just leaving all that stuff in the car. It was so easy to just say, "I can't bring that in, I've got to get the baby." or "I'm in a hurry, I'll grab that next time."

It's really it's own reward. It's awfully nice to get into a car that's not ankle-deep in junk.


This one is the biggest surprise to me. Our family has given up treats and TV as a family for many years now, and it's always been really, really hard for me. But, somehow, this year, it's really not bad. Granted, there have been a bunch of feasts, so I've had more treats that I normally would have by this time in Lent, but I have spent other Lents thinking a great deal about Dr. Pepper, and this Lent pretty much not at all. 

I watched an episode of Foyle's War on St. Joseph's Day, LOVED it, and haven't watched another one since. Even though at least three feast days have passed since then. There was just other stuff I wanted to do. There's no way I could have said that in previous years.

But there's been not so good stuff as well. Here's what needs to be reassessed or re-resolved . . .


We have sent letters to Uncle Pat in Iraq, once. And to great-grandmother, once. And I did manage to mail out some books I owed people. But this one gets a C+ at best. If I can get another round of letters out to those two in the second half of Lent, plus to both grandmothers, maybe I'll give us a B.


Ugh. Perhaps some year I'll be able to write a post about how hopeless I was at daily prayer and how I overcame my limitations of distractedness and busyness and children to triumph in my prayer life. But this is not that year.

I was thinking last week about writing a post about how there are seasons of life and this is a Martha-season for me, but there will be time enough for a Mary-season later, later, later.

But the very next morning I got Fr. Baron's Lenten reflection email, which basically said, and I'm paraphrasing here: "Dear Kendra, If you think you can just 'pray while you work' and that's it, you are a big dummy."

Then, over the next two days, I read the second section of Introduction to the Devout Life for my ladies' book club, which is just one big long: " Attention Kendra Tierney. Praying is important. Like, really, really important. All the holy people are doing it."

Don't believe me? See for yourself: on paper or online.

I really can't get to daily Mass right now. This baby is a sleeper-inner. If I go to the later Mass, school doesn't happen. And I just can't bring myself to wake up the baby four hours before she would normally wake up. But I can and should be spending time in prayer every morning. St. Francis DeSales says an hour. I countered with one minute, and we have settled upon fifteen. For starters. First thing in the morning.


Speaking of mornings, here's our morning update . . .

Pink waffles for breakfast:

Pink what we wore Sunday:

So that's us. 

What are you doing for Laetare Sunday, and how is your Lent going, so far?

And check out Fine Line and Purple for more of what folks were wearing for Laetare Sunday!


Thursday, March 27, 2014

A Taste of My Own Medicine

Well. After telling you what I think you should do on your blog, and what I think you should do on my blog, I figured it was time to let you tell me what you think I should do on my blog.

So here goes nothing.

Wait, before you read any further, go read this at Carrots for Michaelmas . . . 

Okay, you're back? All ready to engage in pleasant discussions in which we do not purposefully or inadvertently offend each other?

Awesome. Here we go. Here's what *I* want to know from you:


Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Kids Don't Forget a Thing Like Waffles for Dinner

A big part of our family culture is celebrating the feasts of the liturgical year.

And heaven help me if I try to mix things up any. Tierneys have waffles for dinner on the Annunciation. They started off as toaster waffles. Now they are usually homemade waffles. One year they were waffles from the IHOP across from LAX. But there are always waffles for dinner for the Annunciation.

Apparently the whole thing is just a Swedish miscommunication? But somewhere along the line someone mentioned to me that folks were supposed to eat waffles on the Annunciation, and really, that was all I needed.

This is how my children feel about the idea of breakfast for dinner:

It blows their little minds.

I love it.

That's what I'm trying to do. I'm trying to make the liturgical year fun and memorable for my kids. I want them to call me from college and ask me for my waffle recipe (um, it's this) because they cannot imagine NOT eating waffles for dinner on the Annunciation. Because THAT will mean that they know when the Annunciation is, which would be just lovely.

They'll also know WHAT it is, because along with the waffles there will be reading of the story of the Annunciation in the gospel of St. Luke: 
26 In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a town in Galilee called Nazareth, 27 to a virgin engaged to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. 28 And he came to her and said, “Greetings, favored one! The Lord is with you.”[a] 29 But she was much perplexed by his words and pondered what sort of greeting this might be. 30 The angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. 31 And now, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you will name him Jesus. 32 He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Most High, and the Lord God will give to him the throne of his ancestor David. 33 He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.” 34 Mary said to the angel, “How can this be, since I am a virgin?”[b] 35 The angel said to her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born[c] will be holy; he will be called Son of God. 36 And now, your relative Elizabeth in her old age has also conceived a son; and this is the sixth month for her who was said to be barren. 37 For nothing will be impossible with God.” 38 Then Mary said, “Here am I, the servant of the Lord; let it be with me according to your word.” Then the angel departed from her.
And because this is the painting in our living room:

The Annunciation by H.O. Tanner, American (Paris), The Philadelphia Museum of Art
I love this painting so dearly. I love that the Angel Gabriel is leaving "beam me up" style. But I really love the look on Mary's face. The painter has captured an expression of wonder and humility and strength. 

Prints are available from Amazon: High Quality Fine Art Prints on Canvas - 24 x 19 inch Post-Impressionism Other - The Annunciation - by Henry Ossawa Tanner
Behold the handmaid of the Lord: Be it done unto me according to Thy word.
At noon we'll stand in front of this painting and say the Angelus. If you don't usually say it, today would be an excellent day to give it a whirl. I find it nearly impossible to notice when it's noon unless I set a reminder on my phone. But if I hear the alarm, we'll stop what we're doing and pray.

And it's a feast. So there will be plenty of whipped cream and maple syrup! How will you be celebrating?


Sunday, March 23, 2014

How We Stopped Throwing Away Food

Pope Francis' comments at a weekly audience last summer really hit home for me:
“This culture of waste has made us insensitive even to the waste and disposal of food, which is even more despicable when all over the world, unfortunately, many individuals and families are suffering from hunger and malnutrition,” the Pope said.
“Once our grandparents were very careful not to throw away any leftover food. Consumerism has led us to become used to an excess and daily waste of food, to which, at times we are no longer able to give a just value.
“Throwing away food is like stealing from the table of the poor and the hungry,” he said.         (read more at the Telegraph or watch the entire address here)
I spent the beginning of my homemaking career letting food go bad in the fridge, turning my nose up at leftovers, and tossing out entire meals because they hadn't turned out the way I had envisioned.

I really thought I was experimenting, and bettering myself, and was pleased that I was teaching myself how to cook for my family. But I was also being really wasteful. Seen in light of Pope Francis' comments, my early wastefulness with food feels especially humbling.

Over the years of learning to provide meals for an ever larger family, and becoming a more mindful homemaker, I have gotten much, much better at reducing food waste in our home. 

Here's how we do it . . .

1. Plan Ahead

my planner is this free printable from Planning on It

A meal planning system of some kind, no matter how unsophisticated, makes a big difference in food waste. Meal planning means I don't buy more food than I need. So I don't have food that's going to spoil before we can get to it. It also means I can plan leftover days, so they don't just sit there until they're inedible. And I can be sure to plan meals that will use up the food we already have before it goes bad. 

I can plan meals that turn the leftovers from one meal into another meal, or two. I can serve roasted chicken on Sunday, have chicken fajitas on Tuesday, and use the carcass to make chicken corn chowder on Wednesday.

If unexpected things come up, and I can't make the dinner I had planned for a particular night, having meals planned on the calendar means I can quickly see if I'll be able to serve that meal soon, or if it needs to go into the freezer.

2. Eat it Anyway


Being less particular and encouraging the same in my kids has meant a lot less wasted food.

It fell on the ground? We rinse it off. The five second rule is scientifically proven. Science!

It's expired? Unless it smells or tastes "off," we eat it, regardless of the dates on the packaging. Which really don't mean anything anyway.

It's got mold on it? We scrape/cut/tear it off. According to the internet, that's a bad idea, so probably don't listen to me. But we've never gotten sick doing it. Again, unless it smells or tastes "off," we eat it.

It's got weevils? Extra protein. The first time I found a bag of rice with weevils in it, I threw away all the food in our pantry. The second time, I did some research, and didn't throw away anything at all. We just sift it, and it's fine. Seriously. It's FINE.

It's not exactly just the thing I'd most like to be eating in the whole world? Tough beans. We eat it anyway. This one can be hard. But eating something I don't feel like eating on leftover night makes a great little mortification.

3. Turn it Into Something Else


We eat more parts of food than we used to as well. I buy stalks of broccoli, not just the crowns, and chop up the stems for cole slaw or to mix in at our family salad bar. I don't hand whole apples to my kids. 

But even so, there are some things that are kinda food, but we really don't want to eat. We don't throw those out either. We turn our strawberry tops, shrimp shells, apple cores, watermelon rinds, meat trimmings, eggshells, and underseat noodles into . . . EGGS. I have a little crock on the counter and all that stuff goes into it and gets fed to the chickens.

If you don't like the sound of that you could always compost it. Either way, it's not becoming trash.

Mindful homemaking has made a big difference for me. It helps me sanctify my daily work. It saves me time and saves our family money. Perhaps it would work for you too. Your pocketbook and your pope will approve.


Thursday, March 20, 2014

Why I Stopped Saying That All I Want is a Healthy Baby

When we are expecting a baby (which is pretty often) we don't find out the baby's sex before birth. We like to be surprised.

But when you don't know whether it's a boy or a girl, people very often ask if you would prefer to have a boy or a girl. I really never had a strong preference either way, so I would say, "All we want is a healthy baby."

Until about my fourth baby, when I realized that that wasn't true. I realized that what I wanted was THAT baby, the baby who was already there, no matter what. No caveats. No modifiers.

What brought me to that realization was a deepening of my faith, and meeting my cousin Monica's baby daughter Madie, who has Down syndrome. She was the first person I ever remember meeting who has Down syndrome. I didn't know what to think when I first found out. But as she has grown, it's been easy to see what a blessing she has been to her family.

I wish I had known that earlier. It would have saved me a lot of unnecessary worrying. I wish more people knew it. I wish people didn't panic, not knowing what life would be like with a Down syndrome child or for a Down syndrome child. 

So, today, on World Down Syndrome Day, I want to introduce you to some children and their mothers (or siblings) to let THEM share a bit of their lives with us.

via 5 boys and 1 girl make 6 photography 

  • How did you learn your child has Down's syndrome? 
I learned in the Delivery Room. It was a complete shock! There was complete chaos and I knew right away that something was really wrong by the way everyone was acting. I thought something was terribly wrong with Madie like she was dying but she was screaming so loud so I knew she was breathing. My doctor cleaned me up and they whisked Madie down to ICU for evaluations and then he came over and said that they suspected Down syndrome. 
  • How has having a child with Down syndrome changed your life?

It changed everything for me in the beginning. I was scared big time and felt very unprepared. I cried a lot for the first few months. I was angry at God and myself. It took me several months to come to terms with the diagnosis. Right now Madie is a 7 year old and I literally think I have met over 1,000 new people due to Madie’s extra chromosome. I would never have met such amazing people on this journey that Madie took us on. God had a plan for us and as always, His Plan was perfect for us.  
  • What would you say to a woman who just found out her child has Down Syndrome?
“IT WILL BE OK, I PROMISE!” My uncle told me right after Madie was born that “God doesn't make mistakes and He doesn't make “junk”” I was a little upset with his reference to Madie and “junk” but I got the point. A friend also told me to take a deep breath and to remember that Madie will bring me great joy. More joy then I could ever imagine. Both my Uncle and friend were %100 right! So I would tell a new mommy to enjoy her child, don’t worry about every little thing and to research as much as possible when it comes to taking care of your child. But, beware the Internet it is a very scary place for a new mommy. And finally reach out to other families and connected groups. This is what stated and ultimately provided me with healing and helping me come to terms with Madie having DS. 

First of all, let me start off by saying that Joslyn Lily is my sunshine – day and night. She is an amazing beautiful baby that has brought us so much joy.

She is now 10 months (yesterday), and was born on 05/19/13 at 12:54 am! SHE WAS GORGEOUS, we took our first family picture (while I was still strapped to the bed getting sewn up from surgery). I told Shawn to go with her . . . that I was fine, but I didn’t want Joslyn to be alone.

The [doctor] simply blurted out “well, your baby has shown characteristics of Down syndrome.” And that was it. I laid there completely alone . . . and STILL had yet to hear a “Congratulations!” from her – or anyone.

That was the longest hour of my life until I was reunited with my husband. He was immediately shaken to the core, and I was strong. I just wanted to see my baby girl. And finally the time had come. They wheeled my bed into the NICU and I saw her in her incubator. She was so tiny – 5’10” and 17 inches – but absolutely perfect. She was our little miracle we had waited for 36 weeks – but really, I had waited for my whole life. I touched her little hand and she grabbed on.

The nurse then said, “do you want to hold her?” I said “Yes! I can hold her? – YES!” She melted me. We took some pictures and I held her close to my heart and said to her that she will “forever by in my heart, and will forever be my baby girl”. We then went up to my room where we could both get some rest . . . as we had been up for 25 hours. 

That day – her birth date – my husband really struggled. Our families came and it was clear we were going to have all the support we needed. But, I was strong and “carried my husband”. Then, the following day it was my turn – I struggled, and it was my husband that “carried me”. Then the next day – two days after she was born - we were both past all that and never looked back. Our sweet Joslyn was in the NICU for two weeks and we finally took her home on June 1st. We are truly blessed that she is a healthy, beautiful, energetic, funny, little girl that has managed to fill every single crevice of my heart.

Joslyn has completely enriched our lives. My mom sold her house,quit her job and moved 1 mile from us so that she could be her “granny nanny” . . . so Joslyn has brought us closer with my mom too. Our lives are better because of all the wonderful people we have met in the Down syndrome “community”. It has been so warm and amazing to have met all people and families I never would have met without having our sweet Joslyn.

If I were to meet a woman who just found out, I would tell her that her life will never be the same . . . but make no mistake, it will be so much better. Filled with love, joy, happiness, wonderment, pride and pure bliss. I would also tell her that at times, things can be scary – but to allow yourself to feel all your emotions and embrace all the help, love and support from your family, friends and new found “community”. We are all here to support each other . . . all our children are precious miracles.

via 5 boys and 1 girl make 6 photography
1) We found out about our son's diagnosis about 12 hours after birth. We chose not to do any prenatal testing as it would not have changed our outcome. 

There were some features that my husband noticed shortly after birth but he didn't share his concern with me at that time. It was when our pediatrician came in the next morning that it was discussed with both of us. 

2) Having a child with Down syndrome has definitely made our lives richer. We had a very happy, fulfilling life with our other three children, but decided we wanted another child. He turned out to be the unexpected answer to our prayer. 

While raising a child with special needs has its challenges, it also makes you appreciate the little things in life. Each milestone he meets is like a mountain climbed. He has taught us to take life one day at a time. You never know what's ahead. 

3)I would tell her "Congratulations, you're going to have a baby who will steal your heart." It's normal to feel scared at first - you don't know what to expect, and everything you imagined seems like it will change. 

But if you had a time machine, and could see even a few months into your future, your fears would go away.

Our little Luke Edmund--- all 4 lbs, 1 oz of him---was delivered via c-section at 34 weeks on November 16. He had Apgars of 8 and 9, and, I'm proud to say, a good scream. After assessment and swaddling, the nurses put his little face next to mine and I told him I loved him and that I was proud of how strong he was. Such a sweet face with wide, wondering eyes, taking everything in. I was VERY unhappy about that C-section. But it was worth it to hear Luke cry, and see his little pink face.

Then the doctors had more news: they saw markers of Down syndrome on Luke. I must say that, although this was a surprise, it was not a big deal for me. (The C-section was certainly a bigger blow. That was the lowest moment, for me.) I have since read quite a bit about Down syndrome, where I learned that parents' emotions typically range from grief, resentment, depression, anger, and helplessness: none of which I really identified with. Then there was a brief paragraph which began as follows:

“There are also other parents whose lifestyles, belief systems, or backgrounds truly enable them to have little or no negative feelings on hearing that their baby has Down syndrome.”

Although I didn't exactly need the reassurance, it was affirming to see, in print, that it was OK not to be terribly upset about a Down Syndrome diagnosis. I am grateful to my parents, upbringing, and Catholic faith for enabling us to love and accept little Luke from the outset. My father, who was a very faithful Catholic, died four years ago. Sometimes I think he may have had a part in all this. I imagine he took the good Lord aside one day and said, “See my daughter and her husband and all her wonderful children. Could you give them a beautiful gift and send them Luke?” I am sure Dad is very, very happy about Luke's birth. I wouldn't be at all surprised if he had a hand in Luke's arrival: it would be quite in keeping with his character.

The children have all risen to the occasion. Anselm will even tell perfect strangers that he has a baby brother who is in the hospital and who has Down syndrome. He sang out this information quite loudly while I was check-out line at our local grocery store but for some reason, there was no reaction from anyone nearby. I found the whole episode rather humorous.

Some highlights from the video: 
  • "When I found out my baby brother had Down syndrome I said, 'Okay! What's Down syndrome?'" 
  • "Babies with Down syndrome need lots of love and attention -- just like other babies!"

The video that made me want to write this post (and taught me that there was such a thing as World Down Syndrome Day):

It's just so, so, so lovely.

A few links:

by Matthew Hennessey
"One night, not long after we learned of our daughter’s Down syndrome diagnosis, my wife and I were lying in bed when she pointed to her pregnant belly and said, “You know, we’ve been talking about this child as if she were imaginary, but she’s here in the bed with us now.” It was a powerful moment for me. I believe I became prolife right then and there."

"For Palos Park, Ill., mother Katie Driscoll, it all started with one photograph.
When Driscoll's sixth child was born, the mother of five boys was happy to have her first girl. The news of her daughter having Down syndrome did not diminish her excitement.
"I didn't want people to feel sorry for her or for us because I was proud of who she was," she told The Huffington Post.
So, Driscoll picked up her camera and started taking pictures of her daughter, Grace -- photographs that would eventually be shared with the world."
(Two of the above photographs were taken by Katie!)

Dear World #Iamnotsad

"We dream for her the same way we dream for her brothers. We strive for independence and employment. We hope she develops a passion for something that makes her really happy. I look forward to watching her daddy walk her down the aisle in a beautiful wedding dress. Even though in your eyes these dreams seem unrealistic. #Iamnotsad."

Down Syndrome: A Year of Grief and Joy

"And one day, when William reads this, he will know that there was a time I was very scared to be his mom. For that I will always be sorry. But he’ll also know that even though I was scared, my love for him was stronger than the fear. And that he has brought me nothing but pride and joy. And that I can’t wait to spend our life together, the four of us."

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!


Wednesday, March 19, 2014

How I Got My Family to Eat More Vegetables

Salad. Tastes good. Good for you. Huge pain in the neck to make.

Even when it was just the husband and I eating dinner, I would mean to make us a salad, but end up running out of time or motivation and just steam some broccoli again.

Now with a houseful of kids to feed, each with his own salad preferences, it felt pretty much impossible to serve salads.

Until . . . 

It occurred to me that I could do the prep work in advance, and let everyone make his own salad, just the way he likes it. We've been doing it for a couple of months now, and it's been a huge success.

Here's how I do it:


Monday, March 17, 2014

Eating With Your Hands for St. Joseph's Day and How To Find Out What I Think About My Book

Hey, if you like radio or books or squeaky voices or awkward silences, you're probably going to want to check out my radio interview debut on the Son Rise Morning Show tomorrow morning. I'll be on at 8:40 am Eastern time. 

It's possible that we'll be talking about Doctor Who and zombie apocalypses, but that would probably frustrate my publisher, who hopes I will talk about my book. We'll see . . . 

Probably only my mom is interested in the rest of this, but this is the link to the show's site. It looks like there is a listen live option, but I think there might be some setup. Ask Dad to help you.

I also think it will be available as a podcast later, in case you don't want to get up at 5:30 in the morning to listen to me talk. You could even just call me on the phone when you get up and I'll talk to you about my book then. Totally up to you.

UPDATE: Here is the podcast of my interview on the Son Rise Morning Show this morning. If you're interested, you can click on today's date (3-18) to download today's show. I come on at about 2:40 for 8 minutes. I didn't really get the guy's joke, but I laughed anyway.
In other news . . . 

There's still green dye in the river (and on my fingers) but the less-celebrated (at least in my neck of the woods) but more liturgically important Feast of St. Joseph is just around the corner on March 19th.

My understanding is that the traditional way to celebrate involves creating a St. Joseph's table which has lots of kinds of fish and something called fava beans. But we don't do that.

Instead, we all sit around a bare table and eat spaghetti noodles with our hands.

So here's what it looks like at my house:

That baby who looks exactly like Frankie is actually Gus.
It's like a baby version of Groundhog Day around here.
Intrigued? Check out all the details here: 


Sunday, March 16, 2014

The Virtue of Hospitality and the Hooley of 2014

Another Hooley at the Tierneys' is in the books. We are so grateful to our family and friends who spent the evening with us. It was the best. You rock. To those of you who were not here: You should have been. Come next year. It was really fun.

Please look at these pictures while I reflect a bit on the virtue of hospitality. As me giving a speech. In middle school.

<ahem> <tap, tap> <this is on already, right?> HOSpitality. It's in the Bible. 


Thursday, March 13, 2014

How to be a Really Good Reader of Blogs

Last Friday, I shared with you some things I really enjoy about many of the blogs that I read.

In response to some comments on that post, this week I'm going to share with you some things I love about the folks who read this blog, whether they have a blog themselves or not. And also the things I try to do to be a good reader of the blogs I love.

I can't speak for all bloggers, of course, but I'd wager that we'd all like most of this stuff. 

So, thank you very much if you ever do any of the following things . . . 


My Apostolate of Parties and What a Hooley Is

As I chop and measure and mix and bake (and try to decide if finger-batter counts against Lenten disciplines) in preparation for our big annual Hooley at the Tierneys.' 

Irish slang for party or celebration; by extension, some substance with which you party or celebrate.
We throw lots of parties around here, but the biggest one of the year is our St. Patrick's Day party, in honor of the husband's South Side (of Chicago) Irish heritage. And in honor of St. Patrick, of course! I thought I'd bring back this post from last year for you new kids.


Happy regular ol' day between two feasts!

Today I want to share some photos from the Hooley and also share why we have parties (aside from the obvious reason of us being pretty cool).

The husband and I got married, went on our honeymoon, and then immediately moved from San Diego to Northern California so that he could start business school.  Almost immediately after that, we were expecting our first baby.  The summer that Jack was born, a lot of things changed.  I went from working gal to stay-at-home mom (and no one was more surprised than I was), and we moved from married student housing to family housing.
read the rest here (and come back Sunday for a recap of this year's Hooley!)


Tuesday, March 11, 2014

I Find a Momo a Righ Dare: Frankie's favorite Look and Find books

Frankie here. My favorite pastimes include throwing things away in the trash can, getting my fingernails clipped, and banging on stuff in quiet places. But a very close fourth is finding Goldbug in this book.

So when the fine folks at Quirk Books asked my mom to take a look at their newest children's book, I figured I was the two-year old for the job.


Sunday, March 9, 2014

An Open Letter to the Internet About My Being Wrong

UPDATE: I'm now back on board with my original post, thanks to some advice from Scott P. Richert of the Catholic page and your comments. Whew. But I'm leaving this up because it happened, and because the photoshopping is pretty profound.

Dear Internet,

Remember that post I wrote yesterday? The one about how we can't ALL be right about Sundays in Lent?

Well, I was right about that part.

But, as it turns out, much of the rest of it was wrong.

I researched that post by consulting faithful Catholic websites, and actually reading actual papal encyclicals. (Despite that background. Seriously, Vatican, do you want us to go blind?) 

All the information I found indicated that fasting from food wasn't required or considered acceptable on Sundays, even during Lent. Not being able to find primary sources that referred to other voluntary Lenten disciplines, I extrapolated to apply the food policies to other fasts.

Except there ARE primary sources that directly address this exact issue. From the USCCB no less.
Q. Why do we say that there are forty days of Lent?  When you count all the days from Ash Wednesday through Holy Saturday, there are 46.
A. It might be more accurate to say that there is the "forty day fast within Lent."  Historically, Lent has varied from a week to three weeks to the present configuration of 46 days. The forty day fast, however, has been more stable. The Sundays of Lent are certainly part of the Time of Lent, but they are not prescribed days of fast and abstinence.
Q. So does that mean that when we give something up for Lent, such as candy, we can have it on Sundays?
A.  Apart from the prescribed days of fast and abstinence on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday, and the days of abstinence every Friday of Lent, Catholics have traditionally chosen additional penitential practices for the whole Time of Lent.  These practices are disciplinary in nature and often more effective if they are continuous, i.e., kept on Sundays as well.  That being said, such practices are not regulated by the Church, but by individual conscience.
Thank you to Becky for sharing the link in the comments.

So, there you have it. Although it does say it's up to an individual to decide, I feel like I, personally, would have to have a very good reason for going against the recommendation of the bishops.

We haven't told the kids yet. But tonight's screening of The Prince of Egypt will be our last movie night of Lent. (Thank goodness it was really, really good. And thanks to Jessica for the recommendation.)

As Ashley Sue recommended in the comments of my earlier post, we will find ways to celebrate the joy of Sundays in Lent without breaking our traditional family disciplines of giving up treats and television.

If you broke your Lenten disciplines on my recommendation this Sunday, please accept my sincere apologies. I'll do the penance for all of us.

I'll close with a quote from the speech my son Jack gave at our parkday's Great American Speeches Pageant:
I have experienced many instances of being obliged by better information, or fuller consideration, to change opinions even on important subjects, which I once thought right, but found to be otherwise.
I've changed my opinion on this. I'm sorry for any confusion or inconvenience I've caused. If you shared my earlier post, I ask that you would do so again with this one.

Your friend,

p.s. I agree with many of you who have said that the bishops' recommendations seem to leave a lot of wiggle room. Absolutely they do. But . . . If they had said, for instance, "cigarettes" I would think, "yes, those are addictive, you wouldn't want to have those on Sunday." If they had said "swearing" I would think, "yes, that's in poor taste, we shouldn't take that back up on Sunday." But they say "candy," which is pretty much exactly what WE have been indulging in on Sundays at my house. I have written to the USCCB for clarification, and hope to hear back soon. But, until I do, we're going to err on the side of caution. Unfortunately.


I've been in contact with the very wise Scott P. Richert of the Catholic page. He advises me that my first post, and his posts AND the USCCB post can all coexist. Also, that the USCCB page was not written by a bishop, but rather an employee of the bishops, so my concern about obedience to the bishops is not an issue. Anyway, this has all been an interesting exercise. I never did hear back from the USCCB about my concerns, but I feel confident again in the position I endorsed in my original post. Whew.