St Martha..Cindy Crawford..Deborah Harry

At Mass this morning, Mass for St Martha, Fr. mentioned something like ~ Some of us are called to be contemplatives. Some are called to action. Some to a balance of both. Whatever we are called to, we do it all for God.

Nice thought, as we remember St Martha.

O blessed St. Martha, your faith led Jesus to proclaim, “I am the resurrection and the life”; and faith let you see beyond his humanity when you cried out, “Lord I believe that you are the Messiah, the Son of God.” With firm hope you said, I know that God will give you whatever you ask of him, and Jesus called your brother Lazarus back from the dead. With pure love for Jesus you welcomed him into your home. Friend and servant of our Savior, I too am “troubled about many things.” (Pause for silent prayer.) Pray for me that I may grow in faith, hope and love, and that Jesus, who sat at your table, will hear me and grant me a place at the banquet of eternal life. Amen.

We are all fighting the sniffles and colds. Poor dh has had a terrible cough..getting better now! I am sure the soup I made and the chocolate and crisps I bought him have helped, have cheered him up! Just call me St Martha, even Martha Stewart, Queen of the Kitchen!

Saint Martha is called by the French la travailleuse de Dieuthe worker for God; this we know she was always and in more ways than one. The Italians know her as l’albergatrice de Cristothe hostess of Christ.

She is the patron of cookery and of housewives. We all know the familiar story of how, as she was busy with preparing the dinner, her sister Mary sat at the feet of their Guest and listened to His words of love and wisdom.

My workout today, my St Martha’s day workout? Cindy Crawford The Next Challenge. I adore this workout. Challenge it is – a fantastic workout, great scenery, cool music (Deborah Harry ~ Looking on The Outside) , lots of jumps and kicks and cardio sparks with three full sets of abs and a killer upper body and chest sequence. Guess who will be feeling it tomorrow?

This Martha..Wanting to work and pray like St Martha, to be a worker for God and to follow in her footsteps as a hostess, serving Christ…Wanting to look like Cindy Crawford in her workouts, fit and healthy…Wanting to dress like Deborah Harry and sing along with Blondie..

Hey, found this WikiHow article ~ How To Dress Like Deborah Harry.

Wear simple plain tops in bright colors with belts around the middle.
Put leggings under 3/4 lengths or mini skirts. Try animal prints; they were a big thing in the 80’s. Leggings are coming back into fashion for fall and winter 2006.
Wear dolly shoes, knee high boots or converse for shoes.
Wear bright red lipstick.
Wear your hair really messy or flipped out.
Minidresses are your friend!


Unschooling in a Jumble

Unschooling in a jumble of circumstances, when other things are going on, when my mind is elsewhere and I am not truly present ..Yes, unschooling can work even then.

So, among today’s jumble, what have we done so far?

Mass, in the Extraordinary Form.

Errands. Friend over for awhile.

Maths, Italian, Chinese, French, Latin…not everyone does everything but each one studies something. Kumon and budget stuff and parish stuff and a Cindy Crawford workout for me…

Computer games. Of course. Trampolining. Blogging. Facebook. Internet searches. Guitar. Reading.

Thomas felt like cooking so made some yummy Snickers Muffins, from How To Be A Domestic Goddess. A domestic goddess he is not but the muffins were nutty, chewy, moist and not overly sweet. Amazingly.

I put some soup in the crockpot for dinner, Spicy Indian Soup, from Twelve Months of Monastery Soups. Sharing quotes and vignettes from lives of the Saints, from this book, as I went.

And my surreptious strewing worked for me. My mind might be a jumble of thoughts but my dining table centrepiece, for the Year of the Priest, meant that Thomas picked up one of the items, a magazine called The Priest and read some articles while eating. Voracious readers can’t help themselves. Leave some reading material around and it is bound to be read by someone!

I’ve read the articles myself and there are some great quotes ~

Even what he cannot understand he can believe to be true; and he believes it to be true because he believes in the Church. Ven. John Henry Cardinal Newman in An Essay in Aid of A Grammar Of Assent.

The sacrament of priestly ordination by virtue of its very nature and of everything that it produces in our life and activity, serves to make the faithful aware of their common priesthood and to activate it…Pope John Paul II, Holy Thursday Letter to Priests, 1979.

So, we jumble along ( I feel like a Womble!), unschooling and learning in spite of and alongside the jumble.

Snickers Muffins

250g SR flour ; 6 tablespoons raw sugar; 6 tablespoons crunchy peanut butter; 60g butter melted; 1 large egg beaten; 175ml milk; 3 x 65g Snickers bars chopped

Preheat oven to 200 degrees Celsius. Mix all ingredients gently. Dollop into greased muffin cases. Bake 20 – 25 minutes.

Spicy Indian Soup

1/3 cup olive oil; 2 onions chopped; 2 garlic cloves minced; 2 1/2 cups lentils; 8 cups water; 2 carrots sliced; 2 celery sticks sliced; optional 1 cup rice cooked; 1 teaspoon ground coriander, cumin, paprika, curry powder; 3 tablespoons lemon juice; salt, pepper to taste.

Saute onion and garlic in oil, add spices. Put in crockpot with all ingredients except for lemon juice and salt/pepper. Cook in crockpot on low ( all day) or high ( the afternoon). Before serving, stir, add lemon juice and seasoning.


Celebrating "Annes"

The book A Continual Feast: A Cookbook to Celebrate the Joys of Family and Faith Throughout the Christian Year has an entry for yesterday’s feast, the feast of St Anne and of St Joachim, parents of Mary, Our Lady. The book quotes an old proverb ~ All Annes are beautiful!

And mentions that in Europe, it was customary to celebrate “all Annes”, all pretty girls, all young girls, all daughters, on this day.

My middle name is Ann ( without the e)…

In both France and French Canada what would commonly be served on this occasion is a fruit tart. From the book above..

I made the French Apple Tart from the cookbook. Started it at 6.30 pm, after a Sunday afternoon of Kumon reports, and while watching Merlin on television.

And, hey, our fruit tart for St Anne, and for St Joachim, was eaten while watching Mamma Mia ( and while I was crying during a sad, moving scene, the scene where Meryl Streep sings the Abba song The Winner Takes It All!).

I don’t want to talk
Cos it makes me feel sad
From the movie Mamma Mia – The Winner Takes It All
religion, Unschooling

"St James and strike for Spain"

Santiago y cierra España (“St James and strike for Spain”) has been the traditional battle cry of Spanish armies.

St James the Moorslayer, one of the most valiant saints and knights the world ever had … has been given by God to Spain for its patron and protection.—Cervantes, Don Quixote

And what have we done on this day, the feast of St James?

Well, Anthony has had a friend over for the night. They have played games, while I was at Adoration this morning. Then, I rushed everyone out the door, to go to St Benedict’s, Broadway for a Sung Latin Mass and veneration of a relic of St James.

For as we advance in the religious life and in faith, our hearts expand and we run the way of God’s commandments with unspeakable sweetness of love. Rule of St Benedict

We called into the Powerhouse Museum to explore exhibits (the kids) and to sit in the Members Lounge (me) , drink coffee, finish off prayers, text, contemplate my vocation as a mother and wife ( I have some tweaking to do, in these roles. As always.). And read the newspaper . Felt very decadent and lazy – no workout yet!

Plan on doing yoga this afternoon. And maybe cook something Spanish in honour of St James ~ St James is the Patron Saint of Spain.

What is it …

….about feeling bad that makes me want to eat junk? What do I think it is going to do?

Well, I mostly resisted. And I drank some cocktails, Sang some songs on Singstar. Played Wii Sport Resort. Texted .

Oh, and prayed.

Food can never just be about the bald story of the recipe: the meals we eat say something fundamental about who we are and how we want to live. Whenever an occasion matters to us, we mark this with food, from a birthday cake to a wedding breakfast. But Feast is not just about big-deal special occasions: it’s about the way we use food to celebrate life. Nigella Lawson

Make sickness itself a prayer, for there is none more powerful, save martyrdom!– Saint Francis de Sales

Make sadness, grumpiness, crossness, worry, themselves, a prayer?

Prayer and Singstar. A great combo! With that chocolate and ice cream above – at least I served it nicely, I didn’t stand at the fridge and spoon food into my mouth!



St Bridget of Sweden. July 23. Co-patron of Sweden with Sts Cyril and Methodius, St Catherine of Sienna, St Teresa Benedicta of the Cross.

I have always admired St Catherine of Sienna and St Teresa Benedicta of the Cross – strong women, strong in faith and in courage and in belief. And I have a soft spot for St Bridget of Sweden ~ sometimes called the Patron Saint of Failures. She did not always see her works come to fruition yet she soldiered on in faith.

I can relate.

The Church has not failed, from her very origins, to acknowledge the role and mission of women, even if at times she was conditioned by a culture which did not always show due consideration to women. But the Christian community has progressively matured also in this regard, and here the role of holiness has proved to be decisive. A constant impulse has come from the icon of Mary, the “ideal woman”, Mother of Christ and Mother of the Church. But also the courage of women martyrs who faced the cruelest torments with astounding fortitude, the witness of women exemplary for their radical commitment to the ascetic life, the daily dedication of countless wives and mothers in that domestic Church which is the family, and the charisms of the many women mystics who have also contributed to the growth of theological understanding, offering the Church invaluable guidance in grasping fully God’s plan for women. This plan is already unmistakably expressed in certain pages of Scripture and, in particular, in Christ’s own attitude as testified to by the Gospel. The decision to declare Saint Bridget of Sweden, Saint Catherine of Siena and Saint Teresa Benedicta of the Cross Co-Patronesses of Europe follows upon all of this.

The real reason then which led me to these three particular women can be found in their lives. Their holiness was demonstrated in historical circumstances and in geographical settings which make them especially significant for the Continent of Europe. Saint Bridget brings us to the extreme north of Europe, where the Continent in some way stretches out to unity with the other parts of the world; from there she departed to make Rome her destination. Catherine of Siena is likewise well-known for the role which she played at a time when the Successor of Peter resided in Avignon; she brought to completion a spiritual work already initiated by Bridget by becoming the force behind the Pope’s return to his own See at the tomb of the Prince of the Apostles. Finally, Teresa Benedicta of the Cross, recently canonized, not only lived in various countries of Europe, but by her entire life as thinker, mystic and martyr, built a kind of bridge between her Jewish roots and her commitment to Christ, taking part in the dialogue with contemporary philosophical thought with sound intuition, and in the end forcefully proclaiming by her martyrdom the ways of God and man in the horrendous atrocity of the Shoah. She has thus become the symbol of a human, cultural and religious pilgrimage which embodies the deepest tragedy and the deepest hopes of Europe.

Pope John Paul II, Motu Proprio, PROCLAIMING


The Penitent

St Mary Magdalene. July 22.

St. Luke records that she was a notorious sinner, and had seven devils removed from her. She was present at Our Lords’ Crucifixion, and with Joanna and Mary, the mother of James and Salome, at Jesus’ empty tomb. History and tradition holds that fourteen years after Our Lord’s death, St. Mary was put in a boat by the Jews without sails or oars – along with Sts. Lazarus and Martha, St. Maximin (who baptized her), St. Sidonius (“the man born blind”), her maid Sera, and the body of St. Anne, the mother of the Blessed Virgin. They were sent drifting out to sea and landed on the shores of Southern France, where St. Mary spent the rest of her life as a contemplative in a cave known as Sainte-Baume.

Harry Potter

Re-reading Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince.

Themes of moral strength, of redemption, of love, and of friendship.

Still haven’t seen the movie but hope to get to it soon.

And looking at some Harry Potter unschooly rabbit trails for Anthony.
The Hogwarts Correspondence School. Should be fun!

It was, he thought, the difference between being dragged into the arena to face a battle to the death and walking into the arena with your head held high. Some people, perhaps, would say that there was little to choose between the two ways, but Dumbledore knew – and so do I, thought Harry, with a rush of fierce pride, and so did my parents – that there was all the difference in the world. ~J.K. Rowling, “Horcruxes,” Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince