Family Adventures & Activities

It’s O Antiphon time!!

I love traditions!

Growing up as number 4 I had the blessing of a family life well established with traditions.

Traditions for birthdays, Lent, Easter, Saint namesake feasts, Advent, Christmas…. each year marked out by treasured memories!

Creating traditions is therefore one of my most favorite aspects of parenthood! And discovering NEW old traditions, especially when it comes to our Catholic Faith…. well I’m like a child in a candy store!!!

oantiphon

This year is the first year we will be adding the O Antiphons into our Advent traditions! (squeal!! ๐Ÿ™‚ )

In the evening prayer of the Church called Vespers, the beautiful prayer “The Magnificat” (Luke 1:46-55) is preceded by an antiphon. In the 7 days leading up to Christmas, these antiphons all start with “O”.ย These beautiful antiphons find their origin in the Monastery’s of the 6th/7th centuries. They reflect the words of Isaiah anticipating the coming of the Messiah, crying out from the wilderness through time and into our hearts and homes. They are also the verses we commonly know from the Advent hymn “O Come O Come Emmanuel”.….. Ah Ha! I hear you say ๐Ÿ™‚

Each of the O Antiphonsย highlights a different title for the Messiah:

O Sapientia (O Wisdom),

O Adonai (O Lord),

O Radix Jesse (O Root of Jesse),

O Clavis David (O Key of David),

O Oriens (O Rising Sun),

O Rex Gentium (O King of the Nations),

and O Emmanuel!

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There are so many ways to add these beautiful prayers into our Advent celebrations and so many great resources online! As we are only beginning this year, I’m trying to not be too ambitious! ๐Ÿ™‚

DECEMBER 17th – DAY ONE – “O WISDOM”

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O Wisdom…. how we all need the Wisdom of God!

King Solomon knew that Wisdom was greater than any treasure he could ask for.

“Come and teach us the way of prudence”

Prayer: I have downloaded and printed out this great prayer companion from Family, Feast and Feria which we will pray tonight at dinner time. We will also listen to these beautiful audio tracks of the antiphons being sung…. not to mention listen to “O Come O Come Emmanuel”…. here is one of my favorite versions… LISTEN HERE

Decoration: Red Poinsetta table cloth, Advent wreath, colouring in sheet (from Michele Quigley)

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Gift: Catholic Prayer book – I have some pretty amazing ladies who I know through online groups and they enjoy making prayer card images which they share with us all. I was able to take these beautiful prayers and put them together in a Diamond Photo 6 x 4 photo book. Each of the children received one this morning as their “O Wisdom” gift. ย photo (12)

Fuzz and his prayer book!

Fuzz and his prayer book!

Food: I’ve heard sheep’s brains have been served as an option for today…. firstly I don’t think I could handle cooking them and secondly I think only Curly Sue would be brave enough to try them, seeing that she is my Lambs kidney fan!

So I’ve gone for a safer option and have made a version of my Date & Almond cocoa balls. I figured dates are rich in Selenium which is good for your brain and the almonds are a good source of protein :). Wisdom balls they are!

Recipe for “Wisdom Balls”

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– 1 packet of pitted dates chopped (I use scissors)

– 1/2 cup of water

– 1 tsp vanilla extract

– 1/4 cup cocoa powder

– 3 tbsps honey

– ground almonds ( I free pour this so it will make sense soon!)

1. Put chopped dates, water and vanilla into a saucepan and heat slowly until the mixture becomes completely mushy

2. Take off heat and add cocoa powder and honey. Stir until completely combined.

3. Now add ground almonds until you have a stiff enough dough to make into little balls.

4. Wet your hands (this helps them not get too sticky) and roll into balls.

5. Roll in ground almond or leave as is.

5. Refrigerate until firm.

Have a blessed day!!!!

Ruth

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Wonderful St Joseph

It is the Feast of St Joseph, husband of Our Lady and foster father of Our Lord Jesus Christ.

What a feast!!! ๐Ÿ™‚

As each year of rich liturgical feasts and celebrations role by, I get more and more enthusiastic with incorporating them into our family life! Now the children are older and therefore more able to understand and participate, I have great joy planning for each big feast. I am also dutifully reminded by Sunshine and Master Luke about what I have done in the years past… just in case I forget ๐Ÿ™‚

Last year I came across a truly beautiful Italian tradition for celebrating the Feast of St Joseph… A St Joseph Altar. Below are a few links to give you the history and also a peek at what others have done (not to mention a link to my last minute attempt last year! :))

History of St Joseph Altar

Shower of Roses 2013 St Joseph Altar

Our humble attempt at a St Joseph Altar 2013

Therefore I am REALLY buzzing with excitement about tomorrow! ๐Ÿ™‚

This is what we have planned to celebrate the wonderful, humble man who was given the precious role as head of the Holy Family.

ACTIVITIES:

– A simple family altar set up with pictures of St Joseph, Holy Family and candles

St Joseph picture

This is my latest edition to our holy pictures collection ๐Ÿ™‚ I LOVE the added gold highlights

– Family morning Rosary (Joyful Mysteries to meditate on the role of St Joseph)

– A St Joseph Mini Lapbook – I use a simple manila folder and the children cut, paste, fill out and colour to their age and stage :). I have put this together myself, so the link for the PDF is highlighted if you would like to download it. If you do, please make sure you link back here if shared. Thanks ๐Ÿ™‚ ย St Joseph Mini Lapbook

– Sort the Order colouring in activity and pinned timeline – I have quite a lot of BRILLIANT Catholic colouring in books that I photocopy on a regular basis for my kids. I have sourced a range of pictures depicting scenes from the life of St Joseph. The kids will have to order them as a timeline correctly and after colouring them in (if we have time :)) they will pin them along a string chronologicallyย above the family altar. Below are the three I have used for St Joseph.

Life of Mary Colouring book by Sr Karen Cavanagh

Life of Mary Colouring book by Sr Karen Cavanagh

Colouring Book about the Rosary - St Joseph Coloring Books

Colouring Book about the Rosary – St Joseph Coloring Books

Communion of Saints Coloring Book - Holy Imitation series

Communion of Saints Coloring Book – Holy Imitation series

St Joseph Altar

Our parish is having a sung Latin Mass tomorrow evening at 6pm to celebrate the Feast. St Joseph has a very special place in the hearts of the Sons of the Most Holy Redeemer (the order who look after our Parish). It is worth reading why… CLICK HERE!

Following the Mass we are going to have a shared feast to celebrate. We will decorate a St Joseph Altar and share in some of the traditional foods that are found in Italy on this feast. The kids and I are going to be VERY busy baking, cooking and crafting our contributions tomorrow!

Here is our MENU we are creating (Catholic Cuisine by the way is a WONDERFUL site to check out for feast days!)

Pasta Milanese

– Honey Pasta

– Lentil Soup

Zeppole

St Joseph Bread

Fig biscuitsย – thanks Catholic Icing for this clever way of recreating the original ๐Ÿ™‚

Frittelle di San Giuseppe

Yum, yum, yum!!!! ๐Ÿ™‚ The house will smell wonderful and our hearts will be lifted up in thanksgiving…. I very much look forward to tomorrow!

One last thing ๐Ÿ™‚

I have recently painted a picture of St Joseph (below) and have limited edition prints for sale on my Etsy store. Here is the link if you would like to check it out ๐Ÿ™‚ ETSY STORE – RUTH GREEN

St Joseph - original painting by Ruth Green 2013

St Joseph – original painting by Ruth Green 2013

May your own feast of St Joseph be truly blessed!!!

Ruth xxx

 

Into the desert

Lent is almost here again.

I can still feel the pancakes from our EARLY Shrove Tuesday breakfast digesting in my stomach :). Curly sue and Fuzz are finishing theirs off for morning tea while watching an episode of Mister Maker. The elder two ย wish they had not eaten theirs in one sitting :).

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The rain is pouring outside, the wind roaring and whistling down the chimney. It is a bleak day. Autumn is here doing its best to remind us that winter is just around the corner.

And as I take a moment to gather my thoughts, I am struck by the stark beauty of the season upon us.

Lent strips everything back like the stormy wind outside.
It exposes our weaknesses and failings.
It makes us vulnerable and in need of protection.
We find our hearts seeking shelter, seeking the warmth of Gods merciful embrace.

Lent opens our eyes again to the brutal, humbling reality of the Cross

Allowing us to pick up our own with renewed vigor as we walk beside Christ.

Lent is not pretty or comfortable.
It is inconvenient and long.

Through the season of Lent we are painfully, beautifully moulded into a better likeness of Christ.

I have come to LOVE Lent!

As today is the last day before it all begins, I have been making preparations. Below is a list of what our wee family will be doing. Feel free to use any ideas as most of mine are inspired by others ๐Ÿ™‚

Lent in our Home

Hubby, Myself, Sunshine (9), Master Luke (6), Curly Sue (4) & Fuzz (2)

– Family prayer table covered with a purple sheet and simplified. Room made for Lenten prayer focuses. Crucifix left uncovered.

– Lenten chain – a paper chain made up of a purple link for each day (a different colour for Sundays) before Holy Week. Each link has something written on it to do. Each day you break open the link for the day and action what it says. I got this idea from a range of pins on Pinterest :), but below is the list I have created for our family ๐Ÿ™‚

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  • Ash Wed: Bury Hallelujah (make a sign with the word Hallelujah on it), seal it in a plastic bag and bury it ๐Ÿ™‚ You get the symbolism
  • Thurs 6th – Trad feast of St Perpetua & Felicity (watch DVD from Catholic Heroes) and talk about sacrifice and love
  • Frid 7th – Stations of the cross (great colouring in ones online)
  • Sat 8th – Temptation cookies (bake cookies and place them somewhere prominent to cool. Kids can’t eat them until Sunday. Discuss temptation ๐Ÿ™‚
  • Sun 9th – Confession and Mass (feast of St Dominic Savio)
  • Mon 10th – Make a tomb scene (pinterest has HEAPS of ideas!… not sure which one we will use yet :))
  • Tues 11th – Mass, Adoration & Divine Mercy Chaplet (these happen to fall onto the same day for us with our outings!)
  • Wed 12th – Memorise the Act of Faith
  • Thurs 13th -Fill a bag of toys/clothes to donate to SVDP
  • Frid 14th – Stations of the Cross
  • Sat 15th – Acts of service around home
  • Sun 16th – Confession and Mass
  • Mon 17th – St Patrick’s Day
  • Tues 18th – Mass, Adoration & Divine Mercy Chaplet
  • Wed 19th – St Joseph
  • Thurs 20th – Make a get well parcel for Great Grandma
  • Frid 21st – Decide on and make a meatless meal for the family
  • Sat 22nd – Family Sabbath meal (as a child my family used to have a very simple Sabbath meal each Saturday night to welcome in the Sunday. I’ll post about this closer to the time :))
  • Sun 23rd – Confession & Mass
  • Mon 24th – Trad feast of St Gabriel
  • Tues 25th – Feast of the ANNUNCIATION ย (other activities as well as bring flowers for Mary statue and visit Jesus in Adoration)
  • Wed 26th – Make a salt dough crown of thorns and nails
  • Thurs 27th – Make up a food parcel for SVDP (St Vincent de Paul Society)
  • Frid 28th – Stations of the Cross
  • Sat 29th – Acts of service at Grandparents home
  • Sun 30th – Confession & Mass
  • Mon 31st – Make stick puppets for Holy Week (stay tuned!)
  • Tues 1st April – Mass, Adoration & Divine Mercy Chaplet
  • Wed 2nd – Write thank you letters to Priests
  • Thurs 3rd – Visit the local Zoo – talk about the significance of Jesus the Lamb of God and see the donkey’s (weather permitting!!!!) … otherwise we will use toys and books at home ๐Ÿ™‚
  • Frid 4th – Stations of the Cross
  • Sat 5th – Sabbath Meal with friends
  • Sun 6th – Trad PASSION SUNDAY – Confession & Mass (religious pictures/statues put away or covered with purple tissue paper)
  • Mon 7th – Finish making puppets
  • Tues 8th – Mass, Adoration & Divine Mercy Chaplet
  • Wed 9th – Watch an Easter Movieย (this is a fave… “the Miracle Maker”… need to find a DVD copy as we don’t have a VCR anymore! :))
  • Thurs 10th – Make prayer cards to give out as gifts on Palm Sunday
  • Frid 11th – Make an Easter parcel for an old lady the children now
  • Sat 12th – Feast of St Gemma Galgani
  • Sun 13th – PALM SUNDAY

– Fasting from meat and only simple meals on Fridays

– Listening toย Lent in Ephesus , a BEAUTIFUL CD of music for Lent ๐Ÿ™‚ ( I got mine off Itunes)

For me personally I am doing the following:

– No Facebook ๐Ÿ™‚
– Skirt/dress a day…. Aghhhh! This one I’ve been unsure about but it would be VERY challenging for pants loving me… So therefore probably very beneficial ๐Ÿ™‚
– reading some of St Alphonsus Liguori’s work and A Thousand gifts by Ann Voskamp
– rising before 6am to pray

I pray that this wonderful, graced season will bear much fruit in your life and in the life of your family.

Remember all is naught if there is no charity in our hearts! ๐Ÿ™‚

“Do everything in Love!” – 1 Corinthians 16:14

Blessings!

Ruth xxx

Finding treasures in my draft folder :)

Good morning ๐Ÿ™‚

I’m not a strong stroke swimmer (can you tell we have been learning about alliteration :)) when it comes to daily life. I am more of a doggy paddler, gulping water and getting cramp. But there are times when I have a glimmer of the Olympic medalist within me and that usually has something to do with my thankfulness.

“The joy of the Lord is my strength” – Nehemiah 8:10

Stock standard scripture memory verse.

AND… WONDERFULLY, MERCIFULLY TRUE!

No matter how deep or wide or long the current “pool” of my life is, the JOY of the Lord is my sustaining, life giving strength. All it takes, to quote St Therese, is ย ”ย A SIMPLE GLANCE DIRECTED TO HEAVEN” and the simple cry of THANK YOU.

This morning as I was tidying up some bloggish stuff, I stumbled across this post that I never published. It is simple, straight to the point and reminded me to spend today being thankful for everything I have…even a 4 year old who has multiple changes of underwear a day!

May your heart be lifted today in thanksgiving!

Blessings

Ruth xxx

Below is the old post I found ๐Ÿ™‚

I’m thankful for ugly concrete that can become the canvas for beauty!

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I’m thankful for a sink full of soapy water and a sticker earring clad happy boy!

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I’m thankful for a new dining room that is flooded with evening sunshine and provides a space for Master Luke’s creativity!

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I’m thankful for the brainwave to turn an old set of drawers into a bureau for table wear and to also become our new family altar!Image

I’m thankful for an unsettled, grumpy, Curly Sue who in the midst of a stormy morning can draw Jesus on the cross and leave it on the family altar…Image

I’m thankful for a new Pope, who has a heart like Christ for the poor!

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I’m thankful today!

What are you thankful for?

Blessings!

Ruth

My ever evolving, beautiful life…

I’m a perpetual juggler, very rarely stationary, always dreaming, a constant beginner but not always completer of tasks.

As a teenager I used to wonder at those remarkable people with focus and direction. People with a singular, glorious talent in which they could excel and inspire with.

I on the other hand could do a plethora of things, well but not brilliantly. I could (and still can) fly by the seat of my pants and seem knowledgeable about a lot of things…. BUT I lacked the perseverance to follow through completely unlike certain wonderful members of my family and close friends.

I was an early developer in many ways, but I feel like I’m a late bloomer when it comes to perseverance and patience. Aging is gracious to people like me, for as you become thoroughly aware of your faults, you also become wise to the fact that they don’t define you and if humble, one can learn to change ๐Ÿ™‚

So here I am, months of no blogging behind me, ready to share a little of my daily, beautiful life. Beautiful, because it is ever evolving and developing and because it is infused with Divine Grace which makes even the most chaotic, fault riddled life, a work of art!

Here are a few changes going on in my world :)…

1. I’ve decided to ditch the http://www.pulchradoctrina.com site and stick with simple old WordPress. I will blog about whatever I’m inspired about and do my best to tag effectively so you don’t have to troll through too much that doesn’t interest you :).

2. I am opening an online shop for my art TOMORROW!! So feel free to check it out and like the Facebook page which will keep you up to date with what is for sale and specials. Here are the links to my: Felt Shopย and my Facebookย ๐Ÿ™‚

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3. I’m falling in love with the Extraordinary Form of the Mass and my family and I have made our new Parish home with the Sons of the Most Holy Redeemer (a branch of the Redemptorist’s who celebrate the Extraordinary Form solely). This has been and is continuing to be a marvelous journey of faith and trust which I will blog about soon. It is a sensitive topic for many, and I want to approach it the right way :). NO FEAR, we still love the Ordinary Form ๐Ÿ™‚

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4. After 14 years of journeying from the darkness into light with my dearest friend, I was privileged to stand beside her as she was fully welcomed into the Catholic Church last weekend. It was an extraordinary moment of grace and an amazing gift of which I will be forever thankful for! It was an even greater day due to the fact her 8 year old son and 1 week old son were baptised as well :). Praise the Lord!!!

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4. 3 years after the magnitude 7 earthquake we experienced here in our city of Christchurch, our family home is finally up for repair. This is going to be ย a mammoth job of which we will keep a video and photo journal of.

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(Note: You used to have to climb the steps and then step up onto our front door step…. it now sits almost one metre below!)

In a nut shell, life is busy, slightly chaotic, colourful, challenging but gloriously full! I am grateful for the rich blessings God has and continues to bestow and I ask for your prayers that I may lean less on my own strength and more on His!

God is good!

Blessings

Ruth xxx

Liturgical feasts at home… the simple way! :)

It is SO easy to be overwhelmed by others awesomeness!!!

Especially now that there is a whole world of awesome individuals blogging about their awesomeness! Not that these people consider themselves awesome, infact most would be too humble to read this affirmation…. but I often feel somewhat lacking when I read about the multitude of crafts and activities that some mum’s come up with on a daily basis to teach their kids about their faith.

Last year I aimed TOO high and I learnt a valuable lesson.

My children don’t see the long list of things I want to do with them, but they do see WHAT I do with them.

This year instead of trying to celebrate everything, I went through the Church’s calender and selected major feast days and some saints who we have special devotion to or would like to learn about.

Phew!!! Already I felt a load off my shoulders!! ๐Ÿ™‚

Secondly, I have started to put together a liturgical supplies box… a WHAT you say?

It’s not anything fancy, just a box with purple material, green material, white material, gold material, candles, prayer cards etc. Stuff I can whip out easily the night before, or the morning of a feast day and create a focus point! You could be elaborate and sometimes it’s fun to go all out, but I’ve noticed that my kids appreciate even the simplest of arrangements and that’s what counts! ๐Ÿ™‚

Thirdly I have invested in some GREAT saints colouring in books and story books. I have tried to make a list of all the saints that these cover so I can plan ahead… but that is still in the making :). One vital tool in my homeschooling is my multi-function printer… I like to photocopy my precious colouring books so they can be used again and again! ๐Ÿ™‚

Check out “Communion of Saints – colouring book” by Holy Imitation series. This colouring book is fat, the illustrations are beautiful and there is a GREAT range of saints!!

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And lastly I’m trying to make one meal for each feast we celebrate a themed one! There are SO many websites out there with great special food ideas! Catholic Cuisine, Keeping the Feastย andย Catholic Cultureย are just a few. If you don’t have time to do anything fancy, which let’s face it, is most of the time, then cookies or cupcakes with the right liturgical coloured icing make any feast a FEAST! ๐Ÿ™‚

So here after all that babble is our celebration for the Feast of St Joseph…. told in the words of Master Luke and Sunshine.

OUR FEAST OF SAINT JOSEPH

Sunshine: To celebrate St Joseph’s Feast day, we made our very own St Joseph altar.

Master Luke: The altar had tools on it, pictures of St Joseph and candles. There were buns and other food.

Sunshine: There were three levels, symbolising the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. On the day we went to Mass at my Gran and Granddad’s work (which is a Catholic run charity called The JPII Centre for Life).

Master Luke: We made breadcrumb “sawdust” and put it on our dinner.

The kids are having an exhausted day!!! All this moving and shifting has taken it’s toll this week. You would think yesterday was a year ago asking them to remember ๐Ÿ™‚ Te he he!

So yes, we transformed our family altar into a St Joseph altar using two different sized boxes and a white sheet. I used the beautiful picture of the Holy Family that lives above Fuzz’s bed as the main focus and then we surrounded it with food, a bottle of wine, candles, books with pictures and prayers to St Joseph, some tools etc. I put this together in the morning before the kids were up quite quickly, thanks to my box :). For more info on St Joseph altars look here.

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The kids were enthralled with it when they emerged and it set the tone for the day :).

Mass was beautiful in the small chapel at my parent’s work and we were blessed to have our Emeritus Bishop say mass! As mass is at 12pm, it was a gift that my four plus my 21 month old nephew (whom I look after on Tuesdays) were VERY well behaved! Thanks St Joseph ๐Ÿ™‚

For dinner I made a very simple pasta bake.

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– 1kg mince

– 2 grated courgettes & 1 grated carrot

– garlic

– 2 x tins of Savory diced tomatoes

– salt & pepper

– 1 packet of gluten free spiral pasta

– grated cheese

– SAWDUST…. breadcrumbs!

This last ingredient, from what I can gather, is a fairly traditional element of dishes celebrating St Joseph. The kids loved they idea of having “sawdust” on their dinner ๐Ÿ™‚

For pudding we made Zepolle di San Giuseppe… because they looked SO good! ๐Ÿ™‚

This is the link for the recipe which we followed roughly and therefore ended up with something a little different (Gluten Free does that too!) but they were still good ๐Ÿ™‚

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Overall, we had a lovely day! We kept it simple, we kept the focus and I think the kids will remember it… hopefully :). The test will be if they keep me to doing the same things next year!

What counts is that we did SOMETHING! I feel so passionately about sharing our RICH faith and traditions with my munchkins… there is a reason God gave us the Church and it’s feasts so let’s share these treasure with what ever means we have ๐Ÿ™‚

Blessings!

Ruth

“I like to be in America! Ok by me in America!”

IMG_0250Who would have thought that I would be homesick for America??

I have always said, when discussing future travel options with hubby, “I don’t fancy spending time in America”.

I know… shocking really!

It wasn’t that I was anti-america or uninterested, it was merely the fact that if we ever had enough money to travel, I wanted to visit Europe! See the sites of antiquity, bask in the beauty of art and architecture…. visit Rome… sweet home of my Church!

When hubby first proposed that me and the children go with him to St Cloud, Minnesota over Christmas last year… my first thought was “TYPICAL GOD!!!”. There is a certain danger in making definite statements in my life…. God rather likes to prove me wrong ๐Ÿ™‚

So I set out prepared to FREEZE, prepared to forgo any waistline (not that I have one after 4 kiddos!), prepared to “suffer” a culture I preferred not to be in.

ARROGANT me!!! Insufferable, judgemental me!!!

First point… St Cloud is NOT big city America!

Being smaller than my hometown in New Zealand, St Cloud opened it’s Thanksgiving arms to us and welcomed us as an exotic species into it’s world in November 2012.

Secondly, being Catholic and a homeschooler meant that we connected into a warm, outgoing, family orientated, passionate… the list could go on…. group of WONDERFUL people who contradicted my badly informed opinion of the american public.

I was SO happy to be contradicted!!! Humbled… but OH so happy!

This blog post is a Thank You!!!

A thank you to the MANY extraordinary men and women, young adults, teenagers, children and grandparents who not only made contact with us, but welcomed us into their homes, families and lives!!!

As I don’t like to name names in my blog :)…. you know who you are!

The distance feels SO far now as we settle back into life here in New Zealand, but the deep sense of gratitude, the wisdom I gleaned from so many of you, and the profound impact of your generosity & hospitality will keep you close in our hearts and prayer!!

Below is just a small sampling of our favorite people :)…

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I’m pleased to say, that if God gave me the opportunity to go back, I would JUMP at the chance!!!

Blessings!

Ruth

ps. if you want to check out the other side of this story, my lovely friend Marlene has blogged about her strangers from a far away land!! ๐Ÿ˜‰ ย