NCRegister Blog: Death, Septuagesima and the Hillbilly Thomists

When my feeble life is o’er
And time for me will be no more
Guide me gently, safely o’er
To Thy kingdom dear Lord, to Thy shore. (Just a Closer Walk With Thee
, Anonymous)

One of the things I love about going to an Extraordinary Form (of the Roman Rite) Mass every Sunday is the great depth of the old liturgical calendar. We recently entered the season of Septuagesima, which begins three Sundays before Ash Wednesday. Since in the old calendar the Christmas season extends to Feb. 2, the Feast of the Presentation of Our Lord and the Purification of Our Lady, it is helpful to have this time to transition from Christmas cookies and music to the austerities of Lent. Septuagesima reminds me that I want to have a good, holy Lent in which I acknowledge my own sinfulness, seek to make reparation, and renew my dependence on God…

Read the rest at the National Catholic Register…

listening, eating, reading, making-vol. 1

I am joining in Anna’s linkup, because she is awesome.


Bach’s unaccompanied Cello suites have been my favorite music for de-stressing these days. And if I want to help the kids be calm, we listen to Audrey Assad’s new album Inheritance.


I think I have finally found a good dinner planning rhythm in which I get to make nice new recipes, but also have easy ones throughout the week as well. I plan longer, harder recipes for less busy days, and especially weekend dinners that I know the professor will be able to help. And do simple, but good most other nights. Like today we are having oven baked cheese “quesadillas: cheese and tortillas baked at 375 for 8 minutes on cookie sheets and served with salsa, sour cream, salad, and a frozen veggie.

This past Sunday I made steak tips with mushroom and onion gravy from our Cook’s Illustrated Cookbook. The fun thing about having 1/4 beef in the deep freeze is that I get to work with cuts of beef that I don’t normally use.


The Master of Hestvikin by Sigrid Undset. I am in volume two. What is it about Undset that makes her make all of her main characters make so many bad decisions? Her novels really are a study of sin, how it builds upon itself, how it affects marriages. I have to read this one in small doses because there is so much packed in there. She totally understood human failure and weakness, but also redemption and grace.


I made (washed and changed the sheets) all the beds on Monday. I should be making lunch. The kids have been making messes. Not much creatively, except for writing these days.

(The book links are through my Amazon affiliate. I will receive a small percentage of what is purchased through the links.)

Seven Quick Takes: Friday, December 12

1. This is my first time linking up with the new hostess of the Seven Quick Takes, Kelly at This Ain’t the Lyceum. Last week quick takes did not happen, but I was on writing and publishing overload. I posted most things to my blog Facebook page, but in case you missed them, I will go ahead and link things here.

At Church POP:
10 Reasons Some Women are Wearing Veils in Church Again
12 Secular Christmas Songs that are Actually About Advent
The 20 Best Religious Advent Songs

At Crisis:
Popularity of the Latin Liturgy is Not Unfortunate

2. The reason I have not been writing this week is largely due to Jane Austen. I am using the pregnancy excuse to read all afternoon while the kids rest…

I always come back to Jane Austen and St. Francis de Sales. Pure insight into humanity.

3. I can’t believe we did this, and I promise I am not an Advent sell out. My only defense is that it was St. Nicholas day, a party at M’s work, and the kids wanted to see the “man dressed like St. Nicholas.”

4. Someone turned four two weeks ago.

L had the time of her life at the crazy, bounce house filled, Christmas party last weekend. She may have also had a major emotional crash later that day… She also had a nice birthday after Thanksgiving with breakfast with Daddy, the science museum, and grandparents and an aunt visiting.

5. Here is a math problem for you: What do you get when you mix together 42 packets of Kool-Aid and 15 white silk scarves?

15 colorful play scarves! And if you want to know how I did this: I bought the scarves here, and used this and this tutorial. I managed to make them for 1/3 the cost of buying pre dyed play scarves. It took about 3 hours to do the whole thing: two evenings of dying and one of ironing.

6. Today is M’s last day of classes for the semester, and finals are next week. While this means a lot of grading, it also means that his 6 week winter break has almost arrived! We will do the normal tour of the Midwest to see family, a lot of staying at home, home schooling, and M will do research, writing, and class prep.

7. Oh, Jane Austen is calling my name, do I have anything else to say?
Only that we have discovered a new to-us band. Gungor. We like their album Ghosts Upon the Earth the best and only a few songs from the other albums. This has been my favorite lately:

Seven Quick Takes: Saturday, June 7

1. Friday is not my day for writing quick takes. We had a play date in the morning, which involved 14 children of philosophers. It was pretty intense, and for awhile there was a mob of three 3 year old and three five year old girls doing whatever little girls do in mobs. At one point they were comparing mosquito bites.

2. Congratulations to my husband for getting another article accepted into a peer reviewed journal! This will go towards the four he is supposed to have before going up for tenure, and is his tenth in his professional career. For those of you not familiar with the field, journal articles are hard to get published and take months of research and writing. This is a Big Deal!

Not a black bear, but young brown bears that once lived in the Buffalo Zoo.

3. So, a black bear was fatally shot about a mile from our house early this morning. It is kind of crazy. I guess I should be watching out for bears when the kids play in the backyard? When we were closing on our house the seller’s realtor told us a bunch of stories about people who live in our “city”, and he claimed to have grown up with a bunch of the police force. If they are anything like him when it comes to fishing and hunting, then I can say that I am confidant that the West St. Paul police can hunt down any bear that comes into our neighborhood. These police are real Minnesotans!

4. Speaking of Minnesotans, when I was at the optometrist’s yesterday, I heard a saleslady and a customer discussing the weather:

Saleslady: “How is it out there?”
Customer: “Oh, it’s toasty.”
Saleslady: “Oh, that is great! Don’t you just love it!”
Customer: “Sure do!”

When you live in Minnesota, it is best to embrace all weather to the fullest.

5. And since we are on the topic of weather, I have been trying to decided which things are worse:

Bundling children in snowsuits or in swimsuits and sunscreen?
Grocery shopping in a blizzard or grocery shopping in pouring rain?
Staying inside with hot tea or bug bites?

6. I went to a lovely concert on Thursday night called Harmony in the Park with two lady friends. We left our children at home and had a lovely evening on a blanket drinking wine and eating cheese, strawberries, and chocolate. It was great, and M is so awesome that he was okay with me leaving at 6pm and taking care of dishes, the childrens’ baths, and bedtime for all three alone.

7. If you were wondering how my dad is doing these days, I can tell you that he is well enough to visit us for a week with my mom. They are driving up tomorrow from St. Louis (and hopefullly with some Ted Drewes Frozen Custard in a cooler). I am excited to see them. Please keep my father in your prayers, since he is still slowly recovering and has nerve damage in his left hand. Some good news is that he is now allowed to drive, which was an issue with the narcotics he had been on since his surgery.

Linking up once again with Jen at Conversion Diary!

Seven Quick Takes: Winter Songs Edition

As the billionth blizzard of the Winter passed through the Midwest overnight and I am sure the whole East is thinking they would love another storm. I think that maybe some Winter songs to cheer everyone up would be helpful. We pulled out our favorite snowy songs from our Christmas albums during Monday’s blizzard, and are still enjoying them today.  Maybe even ones that remind us of December cheer. So, sit back and enjoy a few Winter songs.
1. Favorite Things sung by Andy Williams. My parents have this on record. We always listened to it on the vintage record player that belonged to my great grandmother.
2. Let it Snow sung by Captain Picard. I just found this today, but seriously it is amazing (I do not endorse or not endorse the advertisement afterwards):
3. Winter Wonderland sung by Dean Martin:
4. Winter Winds by Mumford and Sons. You know a romantic one to celebrate the octave day of St. Valentine’s Day. They really should be running through fields of snow:
5. Jingle Bell Rock sung by Billy Idol; “Snowing and blowing up bushels of fun!” I was thinking jingle bells, but blowing snow is the thing today:
6. Winter by Vivaldi. I like the sense of doom the beginning gives.:
7. And our family favorite, Marshmallow World. We have just Bing, but you can’t go wrong with Ella Fitzgerald:

And as always, I am linking up with the lovely host of the Seven Quick Takes, Jen at Conversion Diary.

Dies Irae: The Feast of All Souls

Today is the Feast of All Souls. With M at a conference and my mom visiting, I went to an Extraordinary Form Missa Canta at St. Agnes this morning by myself. The music was Cristobal de Morales’ Missa Pro Defunctis (Mass for the Dead).  It was beautiful and haunting in a way, but not as haunting as the Dies Irae chant:
The day of wrath, that day
Will dissolve the world in ashes
As foretold by David and the Sibyl!
How much tremor there will be,
when the Judge will come,
investigating everything strictly!
The trumpet, scattering a wondrous sound
through the sepulchres of the regions,
will summon all before the Throne.
Death and nature will marvel,
when the creature arises,
to respond to the Judge.
The written book will be brought forth,
in which all is contained,
from which the world shall be judged.
When therefore the Judge will sit,
whatever hides will appear:
nothing will remain unpunished.
What am I, miserable, then to say?
Which patron to ask,
when [even] the just may [only] hardly be sure?
King of tremendous majesty,
who freely savest those that have to be saved,
save me, Source of mercy.
Remember, merciful Jesus,
That I am the cause of Thy way:
Lest Thou lose me in that day.
Seeking me, Thou sat tired:
Thou redeemed [me] having suffered the Cross:
let not so much hardship be lost.
Just Judge of revenge,
give the gift of remission
before the day of reckoning.
I sigh, like the guilty one:
my face reddens in guilt:
Spare the supplicating one, God.
Thou who absolved Mary,
and heardest the Robber,
gavest hope to me, too.
My prayers are not worthy:
however, Thou, Good [Lord], do good,
lest I am burned up by eternal fire.
Grant me a place among the sheep,
and take me out from among the goats,
setting me on the right side.
Once the cursed have been rebuked,
sentenced to acrid flames:
Call Thou me with the blessed.
I meekly and humbly pray,
[my] heart is as crushed as the ashes:
perform the healing of mine end.
Tearful will be that day,
on which from the ash arises
the guilty man who is to be judged.
Spare him therefore, God.
Merciful Lord Jesus,
grant them rest. Amen. 
Our pastor, Fr. Moriarty, gave a very beautiful homily. He talked about how death is a mystery, and how we cannot really know where the dead are, whether they have been judged for eternal life or damnation. In fact, the Church does not ever say that specific people have been damned, but unless a person is a canonized Saint, then we should hope and pray for their soul. I always pray for the repose of the souls (when they leave purgatory and enter Heaven) my friends and relatives who have passed away, but especially on the Feast of All Souls. It also gives me hope for myself, when I pray stanzas that say: “Thou who absolved Mary, and heardest the Robber, gavest hope to me, too.”
Eternal Rest give unto them, Oh Lord;
And let perpetual light shine upon them.
And may the souls of all the faithful departed,
through the mercy of God, rest in peace. Amen.

Seven Quick Takes, Oct. 11

1. Today I am pretty sure I hit the ultimate level of mom-coolness. Well, probably not, but I felt pretty cool cruising home from our home school gym co-op in our Honda Odyssey with all the windows down including the sun roof with three little girls giggling and shrieking about the wind on this gorgeous, warmish Autumn afternoon.

Photo from The Adventures of Kristin and Adam.

And then we got to the High Bridge. I sped across with Mumford & Sons blaring, and the fall colors blazing. It was a truly fun drive. Okay, I am done, and now you all know that we are slightly obsessed with Mumford & Sons in our home. I am not even sure what the social stigma is that comes with that, but there it is…

2. Saga of the Leaky Pipe Update: Do you smell that? That is the smell of latex paint coming from my basement. The sheetrock is up and the mudding is complete. I directed the proper paint cans to the right rooms this morning and the painting has begun. Tomorrow is supposed to be trimming and ceiling day. Then all we will have left is lighting and outlets, and our flooring. Maybe it will be done before the end of the month! Next week I will post some pictures for sure.

3. L’s head: The poor girl was really feeling her concussion for ten days, like the doctor said she might. I think she is finally recovered now that she is up to mischief again, as opposed to lying on the couch with a headache all day. Yesterday she dumped milk out of the jug all over the table and floor. This is a good sign that she is healed.

4. Cardinals v. Tigers in the World Series? They both still have to win their pennants… M and I being in a relationship has really boded well for both teams. The Cardinals have gone to the playoffs five times since M and I started dating eight years ago. Plus, they have won the World Series twice (which they had not done since 1982). The Tigers have been to the playoffs four times in the past eight years and won two pennants. I think this is clear evidence that the Tigers and the Cardinals will both be winning teams until death do us part…

5. We have my dear friend C visiting us this weekend. She ranks pretty high on my kids list of favorite people. L (2.75) ranks her visit as highly as she does the next snowfall: “Tomorrow Miss C is coming and it will snow! Then I will eat the snow up and jump in it and play in it forever and ever.”

6. I discovered that our library has picture books with audio recordings. I have been allowing G (4.5) to listen to them during her quiet time with my old stereo that I have had since middle school. It does keep her happy for awhile, but I am wondering if it is stifling her ability to imagine on her own during quiet time. “I’m bored!” she just told me, but she is also going through a phase where she does not want to take things out because she does not want to have to clean them up…

7. We have been going to the 7:30 AM Extraordinary Form Low Mass at our parish St. Agnes. I wrote a piece on it for Truth and Charity this week: “The Holy Quiet of the Low Mass”. Even with three little children, the low Mass is a very moving experience.

Head on over to Jen’s Conversion Diary for more Quick Takes.