saints

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

 

Advertisements

“Stand fast in the faith” – St Perpetua

Today is the traditional feast ((tomorrow the new) of Sts Perpetua and Felicity,

early martyrs of the Church in Carthage.

perpetuafelThese two heroic young women, both mothers, ย were put to death in the arena for their belief in Christ and refusal to pay homage to the Emperor.ย Perpetua,a Roman noble and Felicity her slave, are two of my most favorite martyrs. Curly Sue has Felicity has a middle name, so today I decided would be a special day to remember their courageous display of faith, and in the spirit of Lent, discuss suffering and sacrifice.

stperpetua

Almost 3 years ago, I came across a preview for an animated film on their matyrdom, released by Catholic Heroes of the Faith. In the few seconds of the preview I was brought to tears…. sobs actually! The animation is simple, but the intense story of faith, suffering and triumph coupled with a powerful soundtrack spurred me on to buy it then and there. However, when hubby and I watched the DVD ourselves, we were so greatly moved that it was put to one side until the children were a little older (6, 4, 2 at that stage).

Buy_Perpetua

So today was the day that the long awaited DVD was brought out ๐Ÿ™‚

What is brilliant about this production from Catholic Heroes of the Faith, is that it contains on the DVD an entire series of well planned out lessons and activities to go along with the movie.

This morning we read about Jesus telling His disciples to go out and spread the good news to all nations. This was illustrated by a big ball of plain, uncoloured playdough symbolising the earth. A hole for Jesus was poked in the ball and 4 big drops of red food colouring were added. We discussed how only a few people knew about the good news at the time of Jesus’ ressurection. I gently squeezed the “earth” and the food colouring started to spread. The instant reaction from the kids showed they understood the point of the exercise! We placed the playdough “earth” inside a clear snaplock bag (to keep their fingers clean from red colouring!) and they all had a turn “spreading the good news”. We then had a discussion about the red food colouring. Why red? I loved how they immediately talked about the blood of Jesus and it lead beautifully into a discussion about martyrdom and the power of the blood of the martyrs (we followed this by reading the account of Stephen’s martyrdom in the book of Acts).

The next exercise from the DVD was a series of sheets teaching them about the early christians and their need for secrecy. They were introduced to IXTHUS, the sign of the fish and the word “Catechumen”.

The much anticipated DVD had us ALL in tears and the mood afterwards was quite sombre. I gave them all cuddles and reiterated that the ending was actually happy, as they had achieved sainthood and eternal life in Heaven. Some sunshine and fresh air was needed and then they quietly chose one of the 4 colouring sheets provided on the DVD (the girls chose the saints rising to heaven with the angels, while Master Luke chose the martyrdom scene!). This quiet time with peaceful music playing helped them process a little more and Sunshine afterwards came to me and said “Mum. I don’t feel discouraged by that story…. in fact I feel really inspired to be more like them and to be brave and to be a Saint!!!”. I think it will take a lot more gentle discussions and time to let it all sink in, but WOW what a way to celebrate their feast! ๐Ÿ™‚

Here is the link to the Catholic Heroes of the Faith site. There is a preview for the movie on there and I thoroughly recommend checking it out!

Hope your Lent has started with a whoosh and a roar :)….. now to ask God for the grace to continue!!!!

Blessings

Ruth xxx

 

 

“And Mary treasured all these things in her heart.” Luke 2:19

It is 10:28pm.

One Master Luke is asleep after vomiting for the second time.

The house is again quiet, the street outside hums with traffic and for the meantime I am alone to ponder in the silence.

“And Mary treasured all these things in her heart”

images

As I travel along this path of motherhood, I too find myself storing, pondering, treasuring a wonderous assortment of things. Some pass fleetingly through the central business district of my mind as clouds on a windy day, while others stamp their permanent mark with dramatic force or quietly dig themselves a burrow to be rediscovered in God’s timing.

To ponder is part of motherhood.

Our precious Mother Mary, from infancy, had a heart prepared for the great joys, trials and sufferings she would bear through her Son Jesus. No woman, no mother has ever had the fortitude, humility and grace that Our Lady did to ponder such extraordinary events and to continue on with her daily life trusting in the will of God. From Simeon’s prophecy ( “a sword shall pierce your heart” Luke 2:35) to the finding of the child Jesus at the temple (“โ€œWhy were you searching for me?โ€ย he asked.ย โ€œDidnโ€™t you know I had to be in my Fatherโ€™s house?โ€ Luke 2:49), Mary must have pondered often as she cooked and cleaned and went about her chores. She must have gazed at Jesus crawling on the floor, observed him as he climbed a tree and sighed as she saw him learn from St Joseph the tools of carpentry. Those words, those events would have weighed heavily on my heart, but for her they were treasures, rare gifts of knowledge and preparation for the path of suffering she would walk one day with her beloved Son.

As we begin this new year, I have much to ponder and much to give thanks for.

I have four beautiful children who are growing so quickly physically, mentally and spiritually. I have one precious yet unknown child growing within me and are once again struck by the incredible mystery of the womb, the crafting place of Almighty God. I have a husband who after 10 years of marriage is still able to astound me with his passion and wisdom and inspire me with his conviction. I have a vocation that is overflowing with life and I have no choice but to let it take me where it runs.

God has given mother’s the gift of pondering… treasuring…. because when your life is overflowing, those words, those moments in which God is present and speaking, can be missed. By storing both little and small moments, God is able to work in a mother’s heart in the still silence of her inner being and when the time is right, He sheds His glorious light upon His work and we have one of those startling “Ah HA!” moments while washing the dishes.

So often have I been struck with an “Ah Ha” that leaves me speechless and feeling unworthily blessed.

The weekend before last was one of those moments. It was my 31st birthday and the 3rd anniversary of the big earthquake that significantly damaged my home city and resulted in the loss of 185 lives. I knew it was going to be a joyful and painful time celebrating and remembering. However, we were invited to come along to a Latin Mass at the Carmelite monastery on Saturday morning. It was to be said by Fr Antony of the Sons of the Most Holy Redeemer and as it has been in discussion for a while, our Master Luke (6) was asked to serve for the first time. This was the cause of great excitement for our children. To top this off, Fr Antony asked if we would like to be enrolled in the Co-fraternity of the Brown Scapular. Here is where the “Ah Ha” moment occurred!

Through out my childhood and youth, I had a great desire to be a nun. From wearing a “mother Teresa” style tea towel on my head while drying dishes, to spending lots of time reading about the Saints, I felt passionately about giving my life completely to Jesus. At the age of 19, in the year following the tragic death of my brother David, I went to daily Mass at the Carmelite monastery. In those precious morning Masses I felt the presence of God’s peace so strongly. Like a healing balm on my wounded soul, I felt the call of Carmel, the call to separation from the world and full union with Jesus. I once again desired greatly to shed the world and to be clothed in the habit of religious life. But as I corresponded with the beautiful sisters, they encouraged me to continue praying and discerning outside of their walls and consider coming to stay with them after I turned 21. Well God had other plans (which is another story) and by the time I was 21, I was married to Matthew and was pregnant with my first baby, Sunshine. That call, those moments of grace were stored deep within me, put away to ponder, put away as treasures.

Saturday morning was VERY warm and miraculously all six of us were at the monastery by 8am. As I walked into the chapel, I was overcome with the very same peace and sense of home that I had felt all those years ago. But as I prayed during the Mass and watched my son serve with such reverence and dignity; as I listened to the voices of the sisters behind their grill and heard the words of Father’s sermon on the Brown Scapular, God shed his glorious light upon those treasures from long ago and I heard His voice anew.

His call to Carmel had been authentic. His call on my life had not been a figment of my grieving heart. His call was not just for me, it was for my family. It was for Matthew, Sunshine, Master Luke, Curly Sue, Fuzz and the little one within me. As we all knelt on the sanctuary following Mass, Fr Antony prayed the prayers of enrollment and placed a Brown Scapular over each of our heads. I knelt and pondered. I knelt and gave thanks. I lifted up my heart and declared the glory of a Heavenly Father who in His time brings all things to Himself.

1959505_10152240530314662_310753442_n

Master Luke is in the front

We MUST ponder and we MUST treasure those moments in our hearts as Mary did. God has made us the hearts of our homes and it is our duty and privilege to be the safe keepers of His Divine plans. I look forward with such joy for the “Ah Ha” times ahead. Some may bring great suffering and some may bring great joy, but all will be part of God’s marvelous plan for our lives and the lives of our families. Let us give thanks for He is good and his love is everlasting!

Blessings

Ruth

 

 

 

 

“If I were a rich man…”

QUOTE OF THE DAY:

Master Luke was a busy bee this morning, trying to put letters together to make words eg. F.J.S, M.P.G etc. ย :)…. then with such an ardent expression… “Mummy, what about P.O.O?” To which I replied… “Well Master Luke that would spell POO”… His look was priceless and the uncontrollable giggles that came next made my morning ๐Ÿ™‚

As it is school holidays here in NZ for the next two weeks I thought I might focus on Games :), as the weather is getting colder and we are looking into our indoor activity plans!

RESOURCE OF THE DAY: Junior Monopoly

Image

This was given to us by good friends who found it a great addition to their early numeracy curriculum. Having grown up spending many hours at our summer holiday house playing this game, I must say that Monopoly does not inspire great excitement or enthusiasm in me. In fact I am more likely to change the topic of conversation if the game is suggested or find some other thing to busy myself with. This all said, Junior Monopoly is reconverting me!!!

It bares some likeness to the original game, for instance the paper money, Mr Monopoly character. collect money when you past Go etc. But instead of buying property and developing it, you are buying amusement park booths and rides. The rules have been simplified right down so that even Master Luke was playing with ease.

Highlights of the game from the kids perspective:

– You collect $2 each time you go past Go ๐Ÿ™‚ (I haven’t told them you collect $200 in the real game!)

– There are plenty of “Get a free booth” chance cards

– In Sunshine’s words “when you are poor you can still have lots of chances to get more money and be RICH!!!”

– When you own two matching coloured booths you can ask for double the money when people land on them

– You don’t have to use the plastic car pieces as Master Luke used his Lego Star Wars Snow Trooper minifigure instead. (it had to lower it’s blaster so as not to shoot our cars in the rear end ๐Ÿ™‚ )

Highlights from my perspective:

– Great for basic addition as you have $1, $2, $3, $4 and $5 notes

— The board is smaller and quite quick to circuit so the game doesn’t drag

– the amusement park theme meant the kids were imagining they were actually there and there was almost a separate game being played alongside the wheeling and dealing ๐Ÿ™‚

Overall an enjoyable game and can be counted as holiday maths practice I think ๐Ÿ™‚

CHALLENGE OF THE DAY:

Having a daydreamer and thinker is sometimes exasperating when it comes to holidays. Sunshine is often to be found sitting staring into space, away with the fairies or some other figment of her imagination ๐Ÿ™‚

I have been contemplating for sometime what plan of attack I will instigate to combat this idleness. There is nothing wrong with having chill time, but Sunshine is not one to easily think of something constructive to do as she truly does live in her head. My plan these holidays is to write a list of indoor and outdoor activities that she can action during lull times in our day :). I will make a pretty sign and stick it on the front of the cupboard where the supplies will be kept.

This idea is still forming so if you have any great ideas or activities you have found useful please do share ๐Ÿ™‚

Will let you know when it is complete!

MUMMY THOUGHT OF THE DAY:

Today is the feast of St Gemma Galgani, a heroic, passionate and faithful sharer in the sufferings of our Lord Jesus. She has been my friend since I was a young girl, in so much as her writings and love of Jesus have inspired me to keep going through the valleys and up the steep mountains of life. If you haven’t heard of her, google her!! If you have heard of her, ask today for her special intercession…. My prayer is that my children may come to love Jesus with the same intense, all consuming love and conviction that ruled Gemma’s life.

Image

Blessings!

Ruth

St Patrick the stubborn :)

QUOTE OF THE DAY: “look mummy even the grass is green today, and the trees, and the weeds!!! God gave us the perfect house for St Patricks day!!” = “Sunshine”

RESOURCE OF THE DAY: St Patrick’s day!!

After a successful St Patrick’s day last year in our house, the children have been looking forward to celebrating this great Saint today. They emerged this morning dressed in what ever green (or close to green) clothes they owned and were quickly onto my case while writing the shopping list.. “don’t forget green food ok mummy!!”

So what have we done this year to celebrate….

Once Upon a Time Saints – Around the Year by Ethel Pochocki is a fantastic collection of saints stories ordered by feast days. Ethel has a beautiful, fairytale style of telling these inspiring stories which captivate the young listeners and in turn make narration much easier for them. We read the story of St Patrick and were told of pirate raids, lonely hills of Ireland, shipwrecks, wild pigs, inspired dreams and an Easter fire that refused to be extinguished. When I asked the children to narrate the story back to me I was informed that St Patrick was stubborn ๐Ÿ™‚ and brave. I thought these named qualities would have made the Saint himself smile :).

This is an excellent book which can only inspire children to love and serve Jesus more! We purchased ours through Seton home study school (www.setonhome.org). They have a great online resource catalogue and store.

Image

HIGHLIGHT OF THE DAY: Our St Patrick’s Day Lunch!

We have a day of birthday celebrations to attend today so lunch was our designated St Patrick’s meal.

Our menu:

  • Gluten free macaroni pasta with bacon and basil pesto sauce (Green Pasta!)
  • A rainbow made from red grapes, orange slices, banana and avocado slices (blueberries were just too pricey! ๐Ÿ™‚ )
  • Calamansi and Lime juice (“Sunshine” and “Luke” were dissapointed that this wasn’t green but then last year the kiwi fruit juice got sipped and then politely refused ๐Ÿ™‚ )

Image

What was more precious than the food, was the conversation that took place! We talked about how the macaroni looked like little rainbows and how the rainbow for Christians is a sign of Hope… a covenant given by God to Noah…. NOT a good luck symbol or the path to gold :). The children were quick to think of how St Patrick brought hope to the people of Ireland through the Good News of the Gospel. “Sunshine” also informed us about the image of the Trinity in the shamrock… nice to see she remembers things after a year :). So all together a VERY enjoyable and spirit filled lunchtime, once again proving to me that simple is best!

CHALLENGE OF THE DAY: I have been trying to wake at 5:30am to have a prayer time. Call me crazy BUT it is the only quiet time in our house and if I am to even succeed a little in the virtues during my day, I MUST have time with God first! Today however everyone seemed to have the idea that 5:30am was wake up time… little ones calling out, baby stirring, toliet trips, cuddles required…. I felt like MY time had been unfairly swiped from my grip. After huffing and grumping around, I confess I stood in the shower and repented! Who was I to hold onto something that was a gift and respond by shirking my first commitment to love? The biggest prayer I could pray this morning was to LOVE my children and see to their needs without bearing a grudge. I felt chastised and sober after my shower and after mummy repenting, family praying for her and rounds of cuddles our day has continued MUCH BETTER! ๐Ÿ™‚

MUMMY THOUGHT OF THE DAY: Remember to “DO EVERYTHING IN LOVE!” 1 Corinthians 16:14

to structure or not to structure…

I have decided that to make this blog an achievable addition to my day I need to have a structure ๐Ÿ™‚ (says the unstructured person!)… So here goes!

QUOTE OF THE DAY: ย “Look mummy I am doing my MOST delicate work!” = “Sunshine” (7yrs) colouring in her St Gregory the Great page

RESOURCE OF THE DAY: Catholic Book of Knowledge Vol 2 printed in 1963 by Virtue & Company Ltd.

These 3 volumes are one of my prized treasures!! I was scouring the Anglican second hand book store when we started out home schooling last year and spotted these beautiful books with their titles shining out in gold letters :). They are not small and I, with large pregnant tummy, heaved all 3 volumes up to the counter and asked how much. The very lovely old lady looked at me strangely and excused herself out back where I heard fervent whispering and then the manager came out and said “Oh you can have them for 50c each”. I just about hugged them with joy! They on the other hand were quite happy to have them gone I think ๐Ÿ™‚ The volumes cover our history of faith from Ancient history through to the “modern church” of 1963. They are rich in biblical knowledge, historical facts, pictures, diagrams, saints stories, architecture, liturgy… just everything beautiful about our faith. They are very worth owning if you stumble across them. Today is the traditional feast of St Gregory the Great. As it was on our calender we decided to do a little research on him and Volume 2 provided us with a detailed account of this incredible man. I then found a lovely colouring page based on an icon of him which “Sunshine” coloured in with GREAT care :)… Oh and we listened to some gregorian chant. (the children took some convincing the voices were boys not girls :))

Image

HIGHLIGHT OF THE DAY: Watching “Luke” (4yrs) sit and write his name and then his sisters as he realised he knew all the letters and what they looked like. The look of pride on his face with shining eyes and flushed cheeks was just beautiful! Being a boy he has not been so keen on drawing and pretend writing as his big sister was…. BUT something has clicked ๐Ÿ™‚ Now to encourage it!!!

CHALLENGE OF THE DAY: Maths has never been “Sunshines” strength but we have had great success with the series of books we have been working on over the last 6 months. Today however I saw the old “I can’t do it therefore I can’t be bothered” look come over her face. She then starts throwing guesses at me and fiddling… Now I am sure you have all felt this way at sometime when something is very straightfoward but your child won’t even try. I felt the frustration start to rear its head inside me BUT I remembered my prayer from this morning which was “Father please help me to stay calm!”… well he did! I took a deep breath and made a joke, then put some excitement into my voice and tried again. Just that simple action made all the difference and she went on to ace the rest of the questions and finish with a shining face!

MUMMY THOUGHT OF DAY: While looking into St Gregory the Great today I came across this quote…

“He who would climb to a lofty height must go by steps, not leaps.”

I think this is how I need to see my journey teaching “sunshine”. I can’t expect massive changes to happen quickly or in my time…. I must allow God to work through me and my husband to help her grow step by step. I know God has lofty plans for her as he does for all of us… patience is needed for sanctity!

Blessings!

Ruth