Sunday, December 31, 2017

On the sixth day of Christmas...

Greetings!  Happy sixth day of Christmas to you all!

Ryan Fowler's Six Geese-A-Laying, part of an exclusive #TwelveDaysOfArt collaboration with Surround Yourself + @greatbigcanvas #holidaydecor #holidays #12DaysOfChristmas 
(Here, I brought you "six geese a'laying", aren't they cute?)

I very much like that song, "The Twelve Days of Christmas", but I especially like the hidden messages it carries in its lyrics about our Catholic Faith.   Do you know the message I'm referring to?

Twelve drummers drumming, eleven pipers piping, ten lords and leaping, nine ladies dancing, eight maids a milking, seven swans a swimming, six geese a laying, FIVE GOLD RINGS, four calling birds, three french hens two turtle doves, and a partridge in a pear tree. 
 For the benefit of this post, I'll just assume that you don't ;)  

I first learned the story of this old carol many years ago in one of my English workbooks, maybe in 5th Grade?  The story goes like this: 

During the time of the Protestant Revolt in England under Queen Elizabeth I when Catholics were forced to practice there religion in secret, the hunted Jesuit priests who bravely remained would teach the little children to sing this seemingly nonsense song as a way of instructing them in their Catechism.  You see, each phrase of the song acted as a mnemonic for a particular Truth of the Faith, one for each of the twelve days of the Christmas Season, lasting from December 26th to the Feast of Epiphany on January 6th.

 Irish Catholics attending a “house Mass” despite the English persecution and law
 (Faithful Irish Catholics attending a "house Mass" despite persecution at the cost of their lives.)

The "secret messages" contained in the song look something like this:

"My True Love sent to me" = God the Father, Who sent His Son Jesus into the world to die for our sins.

"A partridge in a pear tree" = Jesus Christ is the "partridge" and the "tree" is the Cross on which He was crucified.

"Two turtle doves" = The Old and New Testaments of the Bible.

"Three French hens" = The virtues of faith, hope and charity or the gifts of the Three Wisemen to the Christ Child.

"Four calling birds" = Represents the four gospels, "calling" all people to Christ.

"Five golden rings" = The Pentateuch, or first five books of the Bible.

"Six geese a-laying" = God created the world in six days.

"Seven swans a-swimming" = The seven sacraments or seven Gifts of the Holy Ghost.

"Eight maids a-milking" = The eight beatitudes revealed to us by Jesus.

"Nine ladies dancing" = Referring to the nine choirs of angels: Angels, Archangels, Thrones, Powers, Principalities, Dominions, Virtues, Seraphim, and Cherubim.

"Ten lords a-leaping" = God's Ten Commandments given to us through Moses.

"Eleven pipers piping" = The number of apostles who remained faithful to Our Lord.

And my favorite!

"Twelve drummers drumming" = There are twelve points of doctrine contained in the Apostles' Creed, which is what this final line refers to.  

Isn't this cool!?!  So next time you hear this song playing, you can think about all of the meaning behind some of those words we sing.  It is far more than a nonsense song for children!

Christmas Lover

Can you believe that it's already the end of 2017?  I certainly can't believe it.  Isn't it strange how time passes us by the way it does, sometimes feeling fast and breathless, sometimes slow and lingering on endlessly?  It's fascinating and weird and perhaps a bit unsettling at times, but that's what I think makes it so valuable!

This has been an amazing year!  I think after four years of blogging here I have finally felt comfortable, like I can just have fun and write from my heart without holding back or being self-conscious. 

 And you know what?  I have all of you to thank for that.  No, I'm serious!  Knowing that there's even one person reading my insignificant little scribblings I create here is a great feeling, but I know that there's more than just one person tuning in here to every post, and that's kind of amazing to me!  Know that I appreciate your reading and commenting, your encouragement always makes me smile, dear. So thank you, and I hope you are given every blessing in the coming year ahead!

Here's to 2018!



Sunday, December 10, 2017

"Traditionnnnn! Tra-di-tion!"

First and foremost, to whomever got the reference, mozel tov! ;)

This post is kind of a hodge-podge of a bunch of different things my family and I do during the season of Advent leading up to Christmas.  

It's also that special time of year when Emma isn't quite sure if she sure should be baking lot's of yummy things, crocheting all of the Christmas gifts she hasn't started finished yet, or getting her room straightened out for Christmas guests to stay in. Soo, yeah...

Keep calm, there is only one more holiday till christmas!!! <3

Since Advent started a bit later this year (Dec. 3), it feels like we're even closer to Christmas than usual at this point in the month. *Eek! Just over two weeks?!?*  Like, Christmas is literally 15 days away.  How??

But if I'm going to tell you about traditions, I'm already getting ahead of myself!  (Does that surprise anyone?)  Let's go back and discuss November, shall we?

Being the month dedicated to the Holy Souls in Purgatory and also the month in which All Saints Day (Nov.1) falls, my mum has almost every year decorated the door in our dining room with pretty much every saint holy card we have a copy of.

Of course, it isn't the work of a day and some years takes well into the month to fill, but it's always
fun adding new and interesting saints to the collection every year.

(Bonus points! Can anyone name the saints in this picture?)
Our altar, too, is decorated with saints all through November.

 (Christmas wreath in pre-stages: Hemlock, White Pine, Mountain Laurel, and Some Kind Of Brown Weed)

 Courtesy of NaNoWriMo, November was a bit of a blur.  A really fun, super exhilarating, inspirational blur, but a blur all the same.  I wouldn't hesitate to do it again next year, in fact I plan to providing life doesn't get in the way, but now I have a better understanding of how much more preparation I need to have in advance.

So anyway!  For me, the first official commencement to this most joyous of seasons is a little something known in my family as Wreath Making.  (Yes, the caps are entirely necessary ;) )

Wreath Making occurs every year, rain or shine, on the Saturday after Thanksgiving.  My whole family-aunts, uncles, cousins, and a special friend or two-all gather at my grandparents house to make wreathes with the fresh greens we pick from around the property.

(One of the wreaths I made this year for my best friend and his family)
This is one of my absolute favorite things to do every year!  Drinking warm apple cider, tramping around outside in the cold, trimming tree branches and getting thoroughly covered in more pine pitch than you might think humanly possible.  It's the best!

Plus, that is also the day when it becomes officially acceptable to blast Christmas music pretty much whenever you want, beginning with while you make your wreath.  And no one even minds if you sing along loudly with Bing and Frank! Win win, am I right?

(My chickens got their very own swag this year....

 ...much to Amber and Elsbeth's approval) 

 Now onto December!

 We set our tree up rather early this year, the first Sunday on Advent, I'm not quite sure why.  Usually we wait until more like the second week, but I think the reason partly has to do with the fact that my sister, brother-in-law, and niece are going to be able to come down and celebrate Christmas with us this year!

This is going to be little Anastasia's first Christmas, so maybe that has something to do with it.  For me it kind of feels even more exciting than usual, almost like I'm seeing firsthand what it's like to experience all the wonder for the very first time.

 (Our December altar.  No more saints, just the Infant of Prague and our Advent Wreath)

(St Nicholas found way into our Advent Wreath on his feastday, Dec. 6)
(I made these just the other day, Beehive Buns for St Ambrose, Dec. 7)

Why a beehive?  There is a legend that when Saint Ambrose, whose name in Latin means "sweet as honey", was a baby a swarm or bees came one day and clustered about his lips without stinging him.  By this sign his mother understand that he was destined to be a great writer and orator one day and he is still revered as one of the greatest theologians of the 4th century.  You can read more about St. Ambrose here  and get the recipe for Beehive Buns over here.

Thus concludes this lengthy post!  I hope you enjoyed :)  

And for those of you who didn't understand this post's opening line, here is the solution for you.

Happy Advent, everyone!  Do you have any pre-Christmas traditions?

Talk soon, my dears!



Thursday, November 23, 2017

Happy, thankful, blessed, and smiling

I'm sitting here at my computer blogging this.

Yes, I probably should be writing, but this is almost the same thing, right?

It's words.  That counts for something, maybe...


Anyways, Happy Thanksgiving all you US  readers! 

If you are really thankful, what do you do? You share. #Thanksgiving #Wishes #Quotes

I will admit, I wasn't exactly sure what I wanted to make this post about.  I was just browsing through pinterest looking for pretty quotes and pictures, the typical blogging fare, but I still wasn't quite sure of what I wanted to say.  I didn't want to sound cliche but at the same time I knew I wanted to write along the lines of Thanksgiving.

In my browsing I stumbled across a writing prompt I had saved a while back, a challenge to write down 50 things that made you smile.  Hmmm... that got me thinking.  So in the spirit of that prompt here are just a few things that make me feel happy, thankful, blessed, and put a smile on my face.

"It was November; the month of crimson sunsets, parting birds, deep, sad hymns of the sea, passionate wind-songs in the pines." L. M. Montgomery 

1. The smell of wood smoke burning on a cold day.

2. Memories, and the fact that I have so many treasured ones.

Vintage Thanksgiving Postcard 
Isn't this just so simply beautiful?  It makes me wish I could've written it.

3. My Catholic Faith, through which my many blessings are realized.

 St. John of Avila - Blessed be God! ~ AnaStpaul - May 10, 2017 

4. People in my life who love me and care about me and even make me laugh!

"When I count my blessings, I count you twice." —Irish proverb

 5. Rainy days.

6. And sunny ones, too.

7. Changed plans and new beginnings.

Squirrel Nutkin by Beatrix Potter Today I bought a Squirrel 

8. And for all the tiny, countless things in this great big beautiful life that we don't always notice and don't begin to deserve yet are blessed with anyway.

 nothing is more beautiful than a grateful heart #thanksgiving

Here is a free vintage Thanksgiving postcard for you. Front: and back: Click on images to enlarge.

And so, I bid you all a very happy thanksgiving day, and just a very happy day in general!   You guys are all wonderful, the best, and I'm really glad we get to cross one another's paths the way we do.  Thank you!!!



Tuesday, October 31, 2017

The countdown begins...

Here it comes....

Are you ready for it?

No turning back!

I hate you, November. I will not have another winter after this year. Florida here we come. 

Good luck to all you other WriMo's out there! 



Sunday, October 29, 2017

'October's over? It can't be!' AKA, 'Whoops, I think I blinked too long!'


Couldn't we please just go back and rewind this month?

That'd be great.

“time flies when you don’t know what you’re doing” by mungo thomson

Let me tell you, that, my dear friends, is very true.  Very true.

As is the following, which I like to imagine was written by someone specifically with myself in mind ;)

the character could be written to have a learning disability (scatter brained can be a symptom of certain learning disabilities)

You know something?  This month has been a bit of a roller coaster.  And you know something else?  I've never been fond of those contraptions.

Believe it or not, I've been working on a draft post all month.  (I hope think you're going to like it!)  I keep adding to it here and there, always telling myself that I'm going to finish it tomorrow.  And then suddenly it's tomorrow, and the "Great Roller Coaster of Life" laughs and sends me into a tailspin.  Another one.


 If that's true, Mr. Chesterton, I could fill a book.  A big book.

 So that's been the month of October for me, but hey, that's okay.  Sometimes we just have little challenges and things to work through, nothing lasts forever.  And it's okay to pick yourself up, dust yourself off, smile, and remind yourself that just for right now at least,


And speaking of filling books, did I mention I finally decided to be brave and actually signed up for NaNoWriMo?!?!?

 Rustling Thoughts

Rustling Thoughts

Is anybody else attempting this this year?  Has anyone ever participated in NaNo before?  If yes, I'd be eternally grateful for the companionship/mutual encouragement/advice.  Please let me know!!

**Edit: My NaNoWriMo username is StoryGirl17, feel free to  add me as a buddy or give a shoutout!

So anywho, I think I'm gonna end this weirdly random post before it drags on much longer.  (Or I bore somebody to death, I don't want to do that to any of you.)  If you were beginning to feel the grips on unconscious delirium setting in, I fully apologize.  It wasn't intentional ;)

Travel Quotes | The time is always now. 

We'll talk again soon, I promise!


 p.s. I really missed you, just so you know! 

Friday, September 22, 2017

It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year!

seasonalwonderment: Autumn 

Can I get a "YAAAAAYYYYY!!!!!"???  The best season ever is upon us yet again, what could possibly be lovelier than that, I ask you??

Nothing.  The answer is nothing.

Except for all the lovely things we get to do in the Fall, like...

 Henry Herbert La Thangue  (1859-1929) was an English painter of rural scenes. He was associated with the Newlyn School .         A Ligurian...

Those cool, crisp mornings.  Picking apples and eating them fresh.  Playful breezes that send the colorful leaves swirling down.  Hot cups of tea or coffee to warm chilled hands.  The spicy smell of drying leaves.  Make all sorts of pumpkin treats.  Curl up with a good book.  

Oh, how I love it!

Vamos a leer 

 And now that it's Fall again-my best season for writing-perhaps I'll be able to accomplish more great and wonderful things than in Summer!


In other Fall randomness, have you ever wondered what color leaf you'd be?  No?  That doesn't surprise me, but here's a quiz in case you're curious now :)  Right here.

Supposedly I would be a brown leaf because it is the color of subtlety, strength, and being down-to-earth.  Hmmm....

Brown | Buraun | Braun | Marrone | Brun | Marrón | Bruin | ブラウン | Colour | Texture | Pattern | Style | 
A pretty brown leaf :)

Before I bid you all a "goodnight," I leave you with a few songs that have been going through my head today.

 "Autumn"-Ben Rector
Figures, right?

 "Summer Again"-The Afters

"The Best Day"~Taylor Swift
Quite Fall-ish, wouldn't you agree?

Do any other songs come to mind about this lovely season?  What are your favorite things about Autumn?  Do let me know in the comments, I'd love to hear!

Happy Fall 

 p.s. Today is the first day to begin the novena to Saint Therese the Little Flower, you can find it here.

Friday, September 8, 2017


  Firstly, it is Our Lady's birthday today, so here is this beautiful image in her honor.

Blessed Virgin Mary
What I tell ya, folks?  Now do you believe me when I say August went by fast?  I feel like I blinked too long or something.

I kept giving myself little tasks to complete before I allowed myself to just sit down and type up a blog post.  (Which I fully realize is rather unfair to you. Sorry ;) ) The truth is, as I'm sure you are all very much aware, life is busy.  Wow!  I know, right?!

"Let there be light..."
(Some happy yellow flowers for you. Because I love you.)
September, though.  September is busy.  September is always busy.  For me at least.

We start school on Monday, I have a part-time job beginning next week, our church fair is the following weekend so I'll be face painting for that, and I still have a few minor, measly little things to do before then and it seems it's always those petty things that weigh you down and make everything feel so much more hugely overwhelming than they really are.  Hopefully that's the only run-on sentence you'll have to deal with in this post, but I think you get the idea ;) 

Now please don't think I'm complaining because I truthfully don't really mind all those things.  Like I said, September is always busy.  I mean it's true, busyness can lead to craziness, craziness often leads to chaos, once chaos ensures the feeling of being overwhelmed sets in rather quickly and can easily lead to insanity, but as long as you take a few deep breaths and say a Hail Mary or two before things get out of hand, you can usually avoid going stark raving mad and inevitably being locked away in a nut house for the rest of your days.  I don't know about you, but I'm pretty okay with those odds.

(Oh look! There's another one!  Whoops...)

Let's read...

Anyways, when I'm not concerning myself with the added strain put on my mental state, I find September a rather endearing month.  It's so charming, caught between the desire to be as warmly carefree as summery August or brisk and dignified as cooler October, the same as a child torn between either the sophistication or simplicity of an older and a younger sibling. 

There is just enough of sunshine and warmth so as not to mourn August's passing too dolefully, yet with a definite and irresistible spice of Fall, come to enchant the world to sleep once more against the coming chill.  

I guess I think September is special.  That's probably just me, but I'll continue to feel this way regardless!

Alas, I must be off, but you will hear from me soon, my dears!  I hope you're enjoying your Septembers, are they as busy/busier than mine?  (Not that it's a contest, of course, just makin' conversation.  hehe ;) )


Monday, August 14, 2017

Of birthdays, injuries, and exciting finds

No, in case you were wondering based on the title of this post, today is not my birthday.  However it was in fact last Tuesday, therefore making this a continuation of  birthday week until midnight and hence I can still write this post within a reasonable passage of time.  So there.

Image result for and it's kind of my birthday tangled 
(Say what you will, this is one of my favorite lines of the whole movie) 
I turned old this year.  Actually, I've turned old every year for as long as I can remember.  For some reason I am always surprised at the amount of people who, when asking my age, don't understand what I mean when I say I'm "as old as the year".  I mean, is that such a weird simile to use that no one but myself understands it?  I understand me.  Do you understand me?  Does anyone understand me?!?!  Probably not, so we'll move on.

Do you know what my dear brother, sister, and brother-in-law surprised me with this year?  A pinata, they got me a pinata!  And not only that, they filled it with an absurd amount of skittles, because clearly they love me very much.  So I was taken outside, blindfolded, spun (which I could've done without), handed a sharp, pokey stick, and told to have at it.  Oh, it was great fun!  I do so love surprises! 
The Pinata at the Hospital
Once the poor donkey was brutally beaten and decapitated, of course Emma, in all her natural grace and dignity, proceeded to-(remember that sharp pokey stick?)-well she stepped on it.  Really stepped on it.  Without shoes.  That is not something I'd recommend any of you doing.  You see, limping around on a bandaged foot for a day and a half causes a lot of pressure on the opposite ankle, thus creating-in the words of my Pepere-"a hitch in your get-along", which then of course inevitably leads to a knot in your upper back.  Moral of the story?  Do not step on sharp pokey sticks. 

Okay, so that was my birthday! (Which really truly was fantastic despite.)  Come Thursday I hadn't succumb to blood poison and it was also shopping day.  While wandering through Walmart trying to find, of all things, a pair of scissors, I stumbled across a super exciting (exciting for me, anyways) something in the clearance aisle!  (Seriously though, you wouldn't believe how difficult it is to find the right kind of paper shears with all the mounds of school supplies they have in that horrible gigantic place.)

I found a big box of my favorite brand of yarn at a great discount on one of the clearance shelves!  This brand is usually pretty pricey so if I knew I needed it for a project I'd hoard my Michael's coupons and buy it there.  (Have I mentioned my love of that store before?  It is my favorite, before I went to  New York I was practically on a first name basis over there ;) )

 The pictures doesn't quite do the color justice but the finished product comes out looking sort of like a stained glass window.  Really pretty, anyway!  I'm going to use these skeins to make a bunch of "slouchy" hats for upcoming craft fairs and my new Etsy shop!  (More on that soon)

Finally in closing, I thought you'd like to know that I have checked a few items off of my list of summer ambitions.  I'll try and get a post up about that soon so you can see what mischief I've been up to!




Thursday, August 3, 2017

Open Letter to August

     Is it really you again, dear?  It seems to me still so recent when we parted ways that eve of last September, how strange when I realize an entire year has come and gone since.  I've grown older, but somehow you still seem the same in my eyes - reckless, daring, youthful, full of all things bright and promising - just as you always are.

     When I was a child you were always my favorite, like a friend one looks forward to chumming with while on holiday, counting down the days until you arrived.  Hoping when you did that this time you would stay longer, perhaps never leave at all.  But time and again you spin me through your whirlwind of excitement, careless of time, oh so fleeting, careless that Summer's magnificent concerto is nearing its finale.
     I regret to say, my dear, that you behave rather like a rogue, yet despite this I will leave off reprimanding you for it.  Even if I could find the proper words with which to scold you I know it would do no good, for you would take them lightly, with a giggle and a wink, and be off again in twirls.  Perhaps it is this very roguishness that allows me to pardon you again year after year.  Perhaps it makes you somehow, in spite of your foolishness, endearing, a quality I have commonly found among most rogues of my acquaintance.

     Regardless of your faults, I confess that I remain still very fond of you, although not in the same way as when I was child.  I know now that you will not stay forever.

     Still I dance to your merry whirlwind and enjoy doing so, however now I am ever conscious that just as the golden summertime, no dance can last forever, but eventually must end and give way to the next.  Until then, let the crescendo rise, your dance has begun.

Devotedly Yours,