Sunday, December 26, 2010


A few photos that show some of our Christmas.  We were together, excepting our German adventurers, and had a quiet holy day.

Kate was busy making gingerbread the day before.

Kate, Meghan and Mary with their "real" earrings!

Tom holding "to the man from the boy" gift.  The wrapping paper was duct tape!

Our eclectic tree.  It is always so much fun to remember how, who and why each ornament in on the tree.

Peter, with a rare smile!

Me, looking forward to some brain work ... thank you Peter!
Later the same day, diving into our stockings.  Note the mural and our faux walls ... now you know why we painted this room the following weekend.

Kate with Dolly the cat curled up, both sound asleep.  It was a good day for that!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

O Emmanuel

"O Emmanuel: O Emmanuel, God with us, our King and lawgiver, the expected of the nations and their Savior: come to save us, O Lord our God."

Lord, I am more than thankful that at each Mass I am able to see you in the Blessed Sacrament.  I am more than thankful that You feed me with your precious body and blood.  May all the holy priests you have placed in our lives be affirmed in their faith, whether they are strong or struggling with their own private demons.  May all the bishops who have played key roles in our lives be covered in Your grace and continue to be wise shepherds of Your sheep.  And finally, dear Lord, for those in our families who have fallen out of the practice of their faith, stumbled away from You, or have immediate need for Your intercession be given hearts penetrated by Your love, and a deep desire to know You and return to righteousness.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

O Rex Gentium

"O King of the Gentiles (O Rex Gentium): O King of the Gentiles and desired One, the cornerstone that makes both one: come, and deliver man, whom you formed out of the dust of the earth."

Most of our family is now gathered at our home for Christmas.  Our oldest and her husband are in Germany, and we look forward to chatting with them on Christmas Day.  Tom picked up our two college girls from Detroit yesterday.  It is with much anticipation that we are now together.

I read an interesting op-ed piece yesterday.
I am finishing this book as well.  The Catholic Martyrs of the Twentieth Century: A Comprehensive World History
It has been a wonderful "short course" on political science in the 20th century.  Since we started on our adventure of home educating our children, I have been drawn very much to studying history.  Our approach, while using some text books, has also included seeking books and resources that tell "the other side" of the story.

And I am looking forward to locating this book for future study.Blood Brothers

In the meantime, our final Advent baking day is here!  We plan to bake like crazy today, and get dozens of bags ready to deliver tomorrow.  On the baking list we have: Cranberry Chews, Glorified Shortbread, White Almond Bars and Scandinavian Kringler (a scrumptious coffee cake).   For my sisters, Tom's sisters and brother, plus Grandparents, we hope you receive your own goodie boxes before Christmas!

And, since we have doubled the number of bakers, we may very well tackle a handmade gingerbread village! If it materializes, we'll be sure to post pictures.

Tomorrow is our "new" annual ravioli making day.  It will have a special significance, as we know Cathy (Tom's mom and the kids' "Nonnie") will be smiling from heaven.

To tie this all into the title, well, it really is the reason for the season.  God is real, God is our source of life, God has sent His only Son to be the Rex Gentium!  May you deepen your own understandings and faith in what is real, true and beautiful.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

O Oriens

"O Rising Dawn (O Oriens): O dawn of the east, brightness of light eternal, and sun of justice: come, and enlighten those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death."

Wonder and awe strikes me whenever I am up early enough to watch the sun rise.  Our last visit to Colorado allowed that, and the dawn was glorious.  I know it is physics, light bending, various parts of the prism breaking through at different speeds, etc.  But, it still draws awe from deep inside my being.  Watching a new day emerge never ceases to draw my soul toward rejoicing in the everlasting dawn of the Son of God.

Today is our shortest day, longest night of the year.  We weren't up to watch the lunar eclipse, to watch the moon show red.  Though, with our wintry cloud cover, the motivation wasn't there.  This is a rare occasion, and many people have placed special meaning on it.  But, it is also just physics.  The author of our world, who actually is the source of those laws people have termed laws of physics, gravity, chemistry, etc. has indeed created a world full of wonder for all of us!

May your remaining days of Advent be filled more with joyful anticipation than frantic preparation.

Monday, December 20, 2010

O Clavis David

"O Key of David (O Clavis David): O Key of David, and scepter of the house of Israel, who opens and no man shuts, who shuts and no man opens: come, and bring forth the captive from his prison, he who sits in darkness and in the shadow of death."

Thank you, Lord, for saving me from my own darkness.  By your grace I have not sunk back into that original darkness You rescued me from, and by Your grace  You continually pull me back from the dark.  May Your light continue to shine more brightly in my soul, illuminating my path to heaven and eternity with You.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

O Radix Jesse

"O Root of Jesse (O Radix Jesse): O Root of Jesse, that stands for ensign of the people, before whom the kings keep silence and unto whom the Gentiles shall make supplication: come, to deliver us, and tarry not."

Deep roots, deep in history keep us grounded back to the very beginning when the Word spoke.   On a personal level, my familial roots remind me that my ancestors who were devout believers are standing before God, interceding for not just me, for all my family who have, for whatever reason, abandoned a practice of faith. My they intercede for me, and for all our living family, to deepen our awareness of God, how He has so blessed each of us, and may we be led back to those roots and a faithful practice of our faith.  Not for the sake of practice, but in adoration of our loving God and Father!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

O Adonai

"O Lord and Ruler (O Adonai):  O Lord and Ruler the house of Israel, who appeared to Moses in the flame of the burning bush and gave him the law on Sinai: come, and redeem us with outstretched arms."

Our Friday was busy getting a letter drafted, printed, envelopes addressed, cookies baked, and packages assembled for our visit to Michigan today.  Today will be as busy, but the activity interrupted with two long rides to and from our destination.   Along the way, dear Lord, please guide our words, thoughts and actions to reflect your Law as written in our hearts.

Friday, December 17, 2010

O Sapientia

Just so you know, Advent is not forgotten.  This year, even though Advent is almost as long as possible, the time has flown by!  Might have something to do with the shoveling and hauling of firewood!  Or not.

Today begins the beautiful O Antiphons, readying all of us to savor this last bit of Advent, and approaching Christmas Eve with a growing awareness of how good our gracious God is!

I am quoting from my Catholic Daily Planner - thanks to Michelle Quigley for providing this beautiful resource ..

"O Wisdom (O Sapientia): O Wisdom, who come from the mouth of the Most High, reaching from end to end and ordering all things mightily and sweetly; come, and teach us the way of prudence."

Ahh, prudence.  Well spoken when we make our final gift decisions.  Tom and I have to remind each other, balancing each other, when we do make our gift selections, that the material isn't nearly as important to our kids than the emotional and spiritual.  We can't wrap those and put them under the tree, but we can offer back in an authentic way our deep love for each one of them, and our thanks to God that they were gifted to us so many years ago!

May you walk in His Wisdom today!

Lenten Thoughts

Oh, I know it is only Advent.  But somehow Advent purples prompt me to think ahead to Lenten purples.  While reading this morning's news it occurred to me that my standby of offering up both wine and whining would be inadequate this time around.

So this Lent, what I hope to excise from my words and thoughts is cynicism.  I enjoy a dry sense of humor, but after a few, ahem, emotionally charged incidents the past few days, I am realizing more and more how what I claim is humor isn't.  Plus adopting a cynical attitude toward life is robbing me of the true joy of life.  So until Lent, my intention is to listen to my words more carefully, and see where I lack in charity.  Not the words I speak, but that dialogue that runs inside my head.

I figure it is so deeply seated, that prayer, fasting and other Lenten practices might be the only way God can get me to stop this destructive way of approaching life and the world.  Don't expect any updates.  Just thought I would share with you my intentions.  The result won't be up to me, but I do plan, and having a plan is the first step toward reform.

More Snow???

Yup!  Went to bed Sunday night, woke up to over 18" of freshly fallen snow.  Tuesday the schools were closed, but by the afternoon the snow had finally stopped.  If any of you have followed the news, Hwy 402 that takes us to the border was closed.  In fact, over 300 vehicles were stranded for well over 24 hours.  The OPP (Ontario Provincial Police) were on snow mobiles, and the military was called in for support.  Only one fatality, a man who chose to walk a short distance, and sadly, was found within 50 meters of his vehicle.

Okay, stop with the snow already!!!  It isn't even winter until Tuesday.

A really positive thought is that we live in southern Canada, so it did become warm enough, and there was plenty of salt so that by yesterday afternoon we were driving on bone dry roads.  Not quite the same in the parking lots, but you just take what good news you can!

Plans are to head across the border to get our Christmas cards and packages mailed to all of you back home.  Then we pick up a few groceries, and hopefully some raw peanuts for Tom's peanut brittle, as well as pecans that don't cost over $10 per 3/4 pound.  It's mighty hard to be a southern cook in southern Canada.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Fun in the Snow!

Our son played while our daughter filmed from the warmth of our breakfast room.  Enjoy!

The snow continues!  Estimates this morning at 6:30 were over 80 cm so far, and it is STILL coming down!!!

The "boys" had to shovel about 12" so Tom could get out to work.  And we just got back in after helping get Tom out of the neighborhood.  He managed the driveway, but driving to the plowed main avenue enough snow crammed under the car that he had absolutely no traction.  Pushing wasn't enough, so out came the shovels.

One of our neighbors came up and helped as well.  I do love the gung ho, can I help push attitude of our Canadian neighbors.  This is when they shine!  It looks like all of us will have plenty of those moments to shine this week!

Monday, December 6, 2010

And More Snow!

Peter climbed out into the backyard to measure accumulation at 1 pm.  Over 20".  Since then we estimate another 2-4" has fallen.  Schools are closed, that is except ours.  The joys (and not to many joys for some) of home schooling.  I promise not to be too tough.  In fact, we're about to take a "home economics" break and bake some treats.

I tried to capture the snow falling.  Can you guess which little dog does not like going outside to take care of business?  Jess, on the other hand, loves it.  She has blazed a trail around the perimeter just in front of all our massive pine and cedar trees.

Looking out from the Dining Room.  The window sill has about 8" of snow.  Better to be inside looking out!

View out a Family Room window.  The hill is our little Alberta Spruce just off the lower deck.  The sticks are raspberry canes, waiting for warmer weather!  Somewhere under all that snow next to the spruce are the strawberries and hostas.

Oh! Snow!

It started on December 1st with a few days of light flurries.  And so far, in the past 24+ hours we have had well over 18"!!!  Saint Nick arrived on time, though, dropping off chocolate coins and a new movie (as per a tradition we set years ago.)

Schools here in London are cancelled, and the noise of sheer, unadulterated (emphasis on no adults) laughter is infectious.   Our son has been very busy trying to keep both the driveway, sidewalk to the front door, and back deck cleared.  In fact he was up well before Tom, and out shoveling by 5:30 am, knowing his Dad would need a clear driveway to get to work.

He went out once more, but we now have another couple of inches on the shoveled areas.  Here are some pictures of our new scenery!  Notice how deep the roof snow is!

Here is to keeping warm, and everyone safe on the roads today, and the remainder of the week.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Colorado Trip

We had a wonderful visit with relatives in Colorado.  The recipes for our Thanksgiving meal was courtesy of Sunset Magazine.  The turkey was brined, then spun on the BBQ.  We enjoyed several new dishes, and now have some new favorites.  Not only did we get to enjoy Thanksgiving together, we had many other huge family meals!  Both of Tom's sisters were generous hostesses.

Here are some pictures to share.  I had to have a picture of the deer crossing sign.  We saw the same thing driving through Lansing, MI ... made me smile that time, as well.

Rudolf crossing sign.

Closest we got to the snow.  

Riley, fastest tennis ball catcher in Boulder.

Tom and Ray... 
(but not the Magliozzi brothers .. sure do miss listening to Car Talk.)