November 24, 2016

For almost 20 years now I’ve had a weekly adoration hour.  Since my late teens I have made a point of finding a nearby chapel and scheduling at least one hour of Eucharistic adoration – with a few exceptions here and there. 

A couple of years ago my adoration hour was cut from the roster with no replacements available.  My morning routine changed because of it, and eventually, over the course of a couple weeks, I ended up dropping my morning prayers altogether.  I was barely praying from day to day.  And I got listless.  And restless, casting around for things to do but not wanting to do them at the same time.  My anxiety increased and my creativity plummeted. I couldn’t pinpoint what was wrong with me – why I wasn’t inspired?  Why couldn’t I even put a sentence together?  It was my husband – God love that man of mine – who, after I explained my thoughts and feelings to him, suggested that maybe my prayer life could use some work.  Perhaps I was going through this difficulty because I wasn’t taking it all to God every day?

“I can do all things in Christ who strengthens me.”

I’ve always thought this passage from scripture should be on a motivational poster somewhere. It’s the “Reach for the Stars” or “Follow your Dreams” of Catholicism.  In reality, the meaning of the passage extends deeper than some merely motivational words ever could.  St. Paul is writing to the Philippians, speaking about how to be content in all situations, knowing how to “be abased” and how to “abound,” because it is Christ who sits on the throne of his life, it is He who is the King.   Whatever is happening to St. Paul, he trusts that all will be well, and he also trusts that he, himself, will do what the Lord wants him to do, use his talents in the way the Lord wants them used.  Because St. Paul is connected to God in the most intimate of ways – through constant, daily prayer (it is Paul who wrote, “Pray without ceasing”) – and through that connection, the Kingdom of God grows within him.  Our Sunday Visitor writes, “So docile had St. Paul become to the will of Christ under the guidance of the Holy Spirit that in his farewell discourse to the Ephesian elders at Miletus he refers to himself as “bound by” or “a captive of” the Holy Spirit (Acts 20:22).” 

Christ enables us to live - and to live truly, in strength and virtue and character, being more and more ourselves every day – doing what we need to do, in order to accomplish His Will.  By binding ourselves more and more to God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, in prayer and the sacraments, mysteriously we become more and more free, to be ourselves and, in turn, do God’s bidding - his will for our lives. God’s will for our lives – now there is where the adventure lies.  For any one of us, God’s will can mean changing dirty diapers day in and day out, or some other kind of boring, monotonously glorious existence.  But his will for us might additionally mean healing people of incurable diseases or even raising them from the dead – doing things beyond our wildest imaginations. There are countless stories of cloistered saints praying desperately for heavenly intervention in wars and uprisings, of the rosary thwarting foes, of guardian angels appearing in the flesh to protect people from harm just in time.   And then, when evil has been routed, the abbots and monks, along with the villagers and lay people, put down their swords and once again pick up their brooms, living the same interiorly in trial as they do when things “abound”.  

Is it possible to accomplish these things without God in our lives?  Some of them, maybe.  It is possible to “do regular stuff” without ascribing any importance to God.  But without God we miss out on a considerable piece of the adventure, the richness and the depth and meaning of life.   Life without God can feel like slogging through a desert storm - going in circles, a whole lot of sand in one’s mouth and no energy to do what is needed.  Ask me how I know.  It’s how I feel when my to-do list muscles out daily prayer. 

Here’s the thing.  Everything we are, everything we do, any talents we have, everything we own and ever will own has been gifted to us, on loan, from the Lord, just like the parable of the talents suggest.  God is the man going on a journey, entrusting us with different sets of talents, material possessions and circumstances.  He hopes that we will take advantage of every possible means available to us to grow those gifts for the Kingdom, not only for our own benefit, but for the benefit of those around us as well. So what better way to do this, to grow our talents and do the Lord’s Will for our lives, than enthroning Jesus Christ, the King of Kings, in our hearts and homes?   How do we accomplish such a thing?  By surrendering all we have been given by God, back to God, for his use, not ours, and then doing whatever he tells us to do.  Every little situation, every little heartache and pleasure, every shortcoming, imperfection, strength, victory and defeat, like St. Paul, we offer them all, through prayer and sacrifice, back to God.  And then we can say as Pope Benedict XVI said, “The feast of Christ the King is…a feast of those who know that they are in the hands of the one who writes straight on crooked lines.” It’s the most difficult, troublesome, laborious thing, surrendering to and enthroning Jesus Christ, yet at the same time the simplest thing in the world to do.  I suspect you’ll never regret it.  I haven’t, and I’m pretty bad at it. 

November 5, 2016

There once was a kid named Billy, our priest explained at mass this morning, who was obsessed with the game of tennis.  Billy spent hours practicing, 8 hours a day sometimes.  When he got to high school, Billy was focusing so much on tennis, that he didn’t have time for friends and most of his peers rejected him.  A local newspaper wrote an article about Billy and in it the reporter, quite appropriately, stated that the loneliness Billy experienced was all part of the sacrifice for the game. 

September 29, 2016

I once read that in Downton Abbey days, each spring the entire mansion was aired and cleaned to a spotless shine.  This was almost entirely because heating over the winter was such a messy affair that everything in the house acquired a black sootiness and that had to be polished off and aired and only when it was finally warm enough to do so.  Maybe this is where the term "spring cleaning" originates?  (I've always wondered why spring?!)

What a great idea, in theory, one thorough house cleaning per year, and one that I'd be behind 100% - especially if I had a cohort of servants to do the work with me, and a Mrs. Hughes and Mr. Carson with the knowledge and know-how of what and how to do it.  Sure.  I'd be all up in that.

In thinking on all this, and on the Domestic Arts, I've been wanting to establish some kind of cleaning routine for a while now.  My great grandmother used to have a schedule - every day of the week (save Sunday) was dedicated to a certain chore: Mondays was baking bread, Tuesday wash day, Wednesday floors, Thursday bedrooms and linens, Friday all-house get the idea.  This was back when most women were at home, on the farm and housekeeping was more an art, and less a chore.

These days, due to all kinds of circumstances, everyone works outside the home.  What little energy is left after our nine-to-five is given to spouses, children and friends.   House cleaners and cooks must be hired to do the "domestic work" because there just aren't enough hours in the day.

And the domestic arts are lost a little bit more.  And this makes me sad.

But this past year I have not been working full time, or even part time.  I have been home quite a bit and it's become increasingly clear that not only do I need a cleaning routine, but I need it fast.  My housework gets done at random.  I will spend several intense days cleaning, and then not think about it for weeks, months (or, gulp, even years).  If I don't see that it's dirty, I won't clean it.

So you can imagine the parts of my house that I don't see daily?  They don't get cleaned.  Ever.  

Therefore, routine needed ASAP.  And where does one go when lost and in need of ideas, tips and tricks for anything under the sun?  


Only, every time I start pinterest-ing for cleaning routine ideas,  I get incredibly overwhelmed.  There are a hundred different ways to approach housecleaning - daily, weekly, monthly and yearly chores - and also hundreds of ideas on what should be cleaned, how and when.  Here's one cute example:

This example is ok - the colours and the chevron are attractive - but it seems like every day would be full of unneccessary cleaning for me.  Like, clean the oven every Tuesday?  My oven certainly doesn't get that dirty with two people in the house! Dust ceiling fans every Friday?  Wow!  Also just the sheer amount of chores each day contains - well, that doesn't work for me. Just because I don't work 40 hours a week, doesn't mean I'm not busy with other things.   It seems like this example tries to fit everything into a weekly schedule, instead of some of the others which fit many of these chores into a bi-weekly or monthly schedule.  I'd like to not spend all day every day cleaning, thank you. 

And here's another:

This one gives me a bit more flexibility, and a better "type" of schedule, while still alerting me to everything that needs to be cleaned in my home.  I mean, if it's in a home, it should be cleaned and decluttered at least once a year, right?  But these ideas are a bit intense and complicated - like Tuesday is the "monthly chore", and the monthly chore is broken down into each week of the month, and then the "yearly chore" is done on monthly chore day of week 4?  Gah!!  I'm sure this would be easy as pie...once I got into the routine, but that's exactly my problem.  Getting into a routine.  If I'm honest with myself, Imma gonna need lots more simple than this.  

Here's an interesting one:

This one was probably my favourite - tied closely with the very first pic in this post (the "Home Ec" one).  With a few tweaks, either could work for me.  (ie. We don't drink coffee much, therefore do not need to clean the coffeemaker every week - although, come to think of it, I've never cleaned that coffeemaker!)  They're both more my speed, having a list of things that need to be done generally throughout the week, month, season/year, and then I get to assign each item a day depending on what's going on in my week.  I'd have to be careful though, that the monthly, 3-6 monthly and yearly things actually get done.  If it's not scheduled in somewhere, I will likely....wait...not likely, I will forget about it.

But there were more - many more of them.  I made notes on several other approaches to housecleaning, and so in addition to my pinterest board, I have pages of notes I took on good ideas or tips that I could use, which only added to my overwhelm-ed-ness.  I put all of this down 3 weeks ago and haven't looked at it since.

But I've thought about it, every time I did the dishes or put in a load of laundry.  It's time, I think, to buckle down and be more intentional about the domestic arts.

Here's what I'm thinking I'll do:

1. Start by compiling a list of the chores I know I need to do in my house.
2. Apply them to one of these schedules that I like.

Start cleaning!

Anyone have any time-honoured, tested and true blue routine/schedule they'd like to share?  I'm up for anything right now!

September 17, 2016

I’m finding myself drawn to minimalist living these days – not that I’m a minimalist by any stretch, good gracious no.  I can’t afford it.  But I am attracted to simple living and have been for a while.  My interest originally stemmed years ago, from reading Fr. Thomas Dubay’s book, Happy Are You Poor.   I was convicted by it and began de-cluttering the extraneous-ness going on in our lives.  I asked myself why I was keeping
June 10, 2016
The following is a post written by monthly contributor Alexa.  

It’s hard to live in the present when your future seems so uncertain, and it’s also hard to live in the present when your future seems an endless routine. Let’s be honest, it’s hard to live in the present no matter what state of life you may be in.  


What is a woman? What does it mean to be feminine? There is softness and hardness, compassion and ferocity. There is contentment and adventure, freedom and service. We're conundrums, especially to ourselves, but we all, in some way, possess beauty, creativity, intuition and love. We were made for love, and we are loved, cellulite and all. Here we aim to show every woman the richness and beauty of her own femininity and explore current issues relating to women in our world. We also wish to share our own experiences - exploring the joys and challenges of stay-at-home moms and single professionals and everyone in between. Welcome! So glad you're here!


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