Sunday, March 17, 2019

St. Patrick's Day Parade

When our girls were little they had the opportunity to take nine Irish Dance lessons one spring leading up to our parish's St. Patrick's Day Celebration. The girls have always wished to continue learning to Irish Dance, but there just weren't any options near our old home. When we moved to Idaho last fall they were so excited to be able to join the classes here which are taught by a fellow parishioner out of her home. This weekend they got to dance their way through downtown Coeur d'Alene in this year's St. Patrick's Day Parade! Meanwhile the rest of our family enjoyed watching the parade with friends. 

Happy St. Patrick's Day! 

Friday, March 8, 2019

The Heart of a Priest

We ventured downtown to the Cathedral of Our Lady of Lourdes to venerate the incorrupt heart of St. Jean Vianney!

"On the Way of the Cross, you see, my children, only the first step is painful. Our greatest cross is the fear of crosses. . . We have not the courage to carry our cross, and we are very much mistaken; for, whatever we do, the cross holds us tight – we cannot escape from it. What, then, have we to lose? Why not love our crosses, and make use of them to take us to heaven?” 
- St. Jean-Marie Vianney

Touching her scapular to the reliquary containing the incorrupt heart of St. Jean Vianney ♥

"My little children, your hearts, are small, but prayer stretches them and makes them capable of loving God. Through prayer we receive a foretaste of heaven and something of paradise comes down upon us. Prayer never leaves us without sweetness. It is honey that flows into the souls and makes all things sweet. When we pray properly, sorrows disappear like snow before the sun."

- St. Jean-Marie Vianney

My husband also brought along one of our family's favorite books to touch to the reliquary too:
Sermons of the Cure of Ars ♥  (We have a beautiful hardcover edition from Neumann Press that is out of print)
My husband often reads his sermons aloud at dinner time.
You can find the links to a couple sermons in this post from 2007.

"My God, I give you my heart, and since You are so good as to give me another day, give me the grace that everything I do will be for Your honour and for the salvation of my soul."
- St. Jean-Marie Vianney

"I love You, O my God, and my only desire is to love You until the last breath of my life. I love You, O my infinitely lovable God, and I would rather die loving You, than live without loving You. I love You, Lord and the only grace I ask is to love You eternally... My God, if my tongue cannot say in every moment that I love You, I want my heart to repeat it to You as often as I draw breath."
- St. Jean-Marie Vianney

Thursday, February 14, 2019

A St. Valentine's Day Surprise

I made a special cake this year for St. Valentine’s day! 
Didn’t it turn out cute?!

I actually received the good news that everything came back normal and healthy on my QNatal pregnancy blood test on February 8th, just after we accepted one of two offers that came through that same day on our home in Oregon after putting it back on the market a few days before. It was a very good day! 

I didn't think I had a preference on whether our new baby would be a girl or a boy... I have just been praying that baby was healthy and that I'll be able to carry the baby to term, preferably without as severe of nausea and other complications as I've had in the past... but I couldn't stop grinning when the nurse told me that we're having another girl. It will be so nice for our littlest to have a sister just two years younger, especially since there is such a big gap between her and the rest of our children.  

I wanted to come up with another fun way to tell our children so we kept it a secret until St. Valentine's Day. Last time we filled a box with balloons for them to open on Christmas Eve. This time I decided to just bake a cake using the same idea as I used for one of our Escape the Dragon's Lair birthday, just pink and white this time!

The night before I had stopped at Hobby Lobby and Party City (it's so fun to have these stores near our new home - I had never been to them before our recent move) and bought the little pink or blue cake topper, sprinkles and some pink candy.

I used two boxes of white cake mix and baked three 9" layers of cake, using the last of the batter to make 8 cupcakes, 4 pink and 4 blue. I cut a circle out of the center of two of the layers using a circle biscuit cutter. After stacking the first two layers, I filled the center with the pink candies and then topped it with the final layer of cake. 

I finished frosting the outside of the cake, adding sprinkles to the sides (There is probably an easier way to do it, but I just filled the palm of my hand and then angled my hand so that my palm was almost touching the cake and they started falling onto the side... and every where else... It didn't turn out as nice as I had visioned, but thankfully some of them stuck!) and then topping the cake with the little sign.

It was pretty much the quickest party I've ever hosted!

I planned it at the last minute, trying to figure out a time when everyone could be home at the same time... Sean said he'd be able to get off work early and be home by 3pm. The girls needed to leave by 3:45 for Irish Dance and then they'd go straight to Choir Practice so they wouldn't get back home until 8:30 (which is pretty much my bedtime this pregnancy)... I sent my husband's brother, Father D. Gordon, a text asking if he could join us too. He had a meeting from 2-3, but could come right after that. I told him we'd wait, if he thought he could arrive by 3:30! He arrived at our home at 3:32 and we asked him to cut the cake for us! :)

We had a few other last minute guests too, since our friends who were giving the girls a ride arrived right at 3:30! I ran out and asked if they could come in for 10-15 minutes for a quick for a piece of cake! ;)

It all worked out perfectly and our 15 minute party was so much fun!

Here are a couple videos of the cake cutting. In the first (taken by my husband) you can see the cake and in the second you get a better view of some of the reactions.

The girls now out number the boys for the first time ever in our home!

Friday, February 1, 2019

On the Feast of Saint Brigid

Original St. Brigid Painting from Sleightholm Folk Art - Prints Available Here 

Happy feast of St. Brigid! ☘️ I haven’t been able to respond to all the comments on my last post here on the blog and over at Instagram, but I wanted to thank you all for the prayers and encouragement. I feel very blessed to have been given so much love and support! I saw the doctor again yesterday morning (Jan 31st) and ended up getting another peek at the baby! A little hard to see on the portable ultrasound, but such a relief to hear baby’s heart still beating strongly.  #week11day4 #dueaug19th2019

St. Brigid, patron saint of babies, pray for us! 

Her beautiful skirt is from BabyMyLove

I love that Candlemas Day falls on First Saturday this year! My girls are currently busy making crêpes for the French Breakfast they will be serving (along with the rest of the of the girls in our parish’s Maidens of St. Joan group) following the Blessing of Candles, Procession and Sung Mass tomorrow morning.

Updated with a couple pictures from Candlemas:

My little helper insisted on carrying the basket filled with our beeswax candles to be blessed at Mass. 
The Maidens of St. Joan ended up cooking (the day before) and then serving (following the First Saturday Mass on Candlemas Day) somewhere between 500-700 crêpes!
Topping the crêpes with Nutella, Jam, and/or Whipping Cream

The Maidens of St. Joan group is specific to our new parish and was started by our pastor (my husband's younger brother, Father D. Gordon) for the teen girls. They have monthly meetings that usually consist of a talk given by Father, maybe dinner or snacks, and also doing something for the parish (helping the priests wrap gifts before Christmas, ironing the altar boys cassocks/surplices, etc). They also help with other events as needed (making the crepes and helping serve the breakfast tomorrow, for example, and they also recently helped with the pre-Christmas church cleaning, served food at a Meet and Greet with ten seminarians a couple weekends ago, and will be hosting a bake sale to help a fellow parishioner in need, etc). My girls love it!

Monday, January 21, 2019

A Christmas Surprise

Nothing happens in the universe without God willing and allowing it. This statement must be taken absolutely of everything with the exception of sin. 'Nothing occurs by chance in the whole course of our lives' is the unanimous teaching of the Fathers and Doctors of the Church, 'and God intervenes everywhere.' - Trustful Surrender to Divine Providence

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! I didn't mean to disappear following my post last month, but there's a good reason, and I would really appreciate prayers!

On December 12th the stomach flu started hitting our family. I was grateful that I didn't come down with it until the following weekend, after we finished celebrating our daughter's 9th birthday and that I felt well enough to bake another cake the following week for our son's 7th birthday... But then, the weekend before Christmas, the stomach flu really hit me. When I didn't fully recover, along with the rest of the family, I went and bought a pregnancy test on December 23rd. I really thought it would be negative.

It's no secret that my last pregnancy was especially hard, between the hyperemesis gravidarum and back/tailbone/hip issues that left me barely able to walk it was a traumatizing pregnancy. After I delivered I told my husband, "I can't do this again. I really mean it this time." He understood. I've joked with friends that there was a good reason God sent us this last baby as #8 instead of one of our first! Despite how difficult it was, and how difficult our darling baby girl has been (she is finally, after 19 months, sleeping a few hours straight each night!), we just can't imagine our family without her. She has brought so much joy and laughter and we all love her dearly! God knew that we needed her. Still, I was too scared to chance another pregnancy.

After over 18 months of 100% abstinence, all it took was once...

I wish I could say that I met those two little pink lines with joy and excitement, but honestly I sobbed. It was Sunday night. I had missed Mass and spent all day sick in bed until going out to the store. I had to get out of the house so I got back in the car to go for another drive. I ended up at the church and thankfully there was still a priest in the confessional following the 5pm evening Mass. I was so grateful for the sacrament and for the advice and encouragement I was given that night.  I know God will send me the graces and strength I need to carry this precious baby!

“How can there be too many children? 
That is like saying there are too many flowers.” - Mother Teresa

January 3, 2019 - Our Baby at 7 1/2 weeks 

Having miscarried a number of times in the past, I was very thankful and relieved to see the baby's heart beating when we met with a new doctor for the dating ultrasound. Apparently I must have ovulated on about day seven and my due date was moved forward a week. Our little one is due August 19th  - just before our oldest two will leave for college! So much for things calming down this year. ;) 

As of today our little one is 10 weeks old! I will see the doctor again next week, though I caught a cold that seems to have turned into bronchitis so I may be going back in sooner. (I guess one good thing that has come out of this whole government shutdown is that my husband has been home to help... Just as long as they reopen before our savings runs out!) We would be grateful for any prayers you can send our way as we prepare to welcome this new little soul! 

Judge then what recompense those persons will receive from Christ who have followed Him along the way of His Cross. On the judgment day we shall understand how much God has loved us by giving us the opportunities to merit so rich a reward. Then we shall reproach ourselves for complaining at what was meant to increase our happiness, for grieving when we should have been rejoicing, for doubting God's goodness when He was giving concrete evidence of it. If such will be our feelings one day, why not anticipate them now? Why not bless God here and now for something we shall be thanking Him for everlastingly in Heaven? - Trustful Surrender to Divine Providence

Monday, December 17, 2018

The Great O Antiphons, The Golden Nights

Ever since our oldest children were very little, we have been implementing an old monastic custom in our home by providing special treats, representing each of the "O Antiphons" on the days leading up to Christmas. The O Antiphon prayers begin on December 17th and end on the 23rd, which is the last Vespers of Advent, since the evening prayer on the 24th is the Vigil of Christmas.
The Benedictine monks arranged these antiphons with a definite purpose. If one starts with the last title and takes the first letter of each one - Emmanuel, Rex, Oriens, Clavis, Radix, Adonai, Sapientia - the Latin words ero cras are formed, meaning, “Tomorrow, I will come.” Therefore, the Lord Jesus, whose coming we have prepared for in Advent and whom we have addressed in these seven Messianic titles, now speaks to us, “Tomorrow, I will come.” So the “O Antiphons” not only bring intensity to our Advent preparation, but bring it to a joyful conclusion.
Each night, following our family rosary, we pray the O Antiphon for the day, sing O Come, O Come, Emmanuel, which was inspired by this ancient tradition, and then give the children a special treat.

Advent Hymns from We Sing and Chant

The "treats" have varied from year to year. Some years it has been little gifts or activities for the family, some years it is all food related, and some years it is a mix of both, depending on our schedule and budget. It doesn't need to cost much or even anything at all! Be creative!

Sometimes the treats are a bit of a stretch, but my goal is try and find gifts that will either help increase our faith (Catechism books, holy family, saints, prayer, etc) or encourage family time (games, puzzles, going to look at Christmas lights, etc). You can find some of our past O Antiphon treats by scrolling through the archives and visiting Catholic Cuisine.

Our family loves this tradition. It is such a fun way to teach the children about these beautiful prayers of the church and also increase their excitement as Christmas gets closer.

Below I've listed the treats I choose for this year, as well as additional ideas (food, activities and gifts - or simply decorate chocolate coins) for each of the O Antiphons.

Once again I am hosting an O ANTIPHON GIVEAWAY! One lucky visitor here at Shower of Roses will receive a gift package including seven Cookie Stamps, one to represent each of the seven O Antiphons! Be sure to scroll to the bottom of this post for the details and to enter.

.: December 17th :.
O Wisdom that comest out of the mouth of the Most High, that reachest from one end to another, and orderest all things mightily and sweetly, come to teach us the way of prudence!

O Sapientia (O Wisdom) - SaintCards + Holy Helpers & Doctors of the Church

Since the symbol for wisdom is a book, I usually choose a new Catholic book for our family. Last year it was two books in The Wonder Series: The Wonder Story and The Wonder Days. The year before it was An Alphabet of the Altar which had just been reprinted by St. Augustine Academy Press. This year I'll be giving them SaintCards + Holy Helpers & Doctors of the Church. I think we'll all enjoy playing this and learning more about the saints!

Additional Ideas: 

.: December 18th :.
O Adonai, and Ruler of the house of Israel, Who didst appear unto Moses in the burning bush, and gavest him the law in Sinai, come to redeem us with an outstretched arm!

O Adonai (O Lord) - Gingerbread House Kit from Trader Joe's

In the past we would emphasize the word "house" in this Antiphon, and have made our Gingerbread Houses or Gingerbread Cookies on this night.  Now that we have two birthdays this week (and two birthday cakes to bake and decorate!) we usually wait until Christmas Eve, or sometime during the 12 Days of Christmas to decorated Gingerbread Houses but I'm hoping we can fit it in this year!

Additional Ideas: 

.: December 19th :.
O Root of Jesse, which standest for an ensign of the people, at Whom the kings shall shut their mouths, Whom the Gentiles shall seek, come to deliver us, do not tarry.

O Radix Jesse (O Root of Jesse) - 2018 Family Ornament to add to the Christmas Tree

Additional Ideas:

From Jesse, the shepherd, to Jesus, the Good Shepherd... Shepherds tie in nicely this year!

This year, in addition to the new family ornament, our children will be unwrapping this cute Shepherd and Angel playlet from Shining Light Dolls. 

.: December 20th :.
O Key of David, and Sceptre of the house of Israel, that openeth and no man shutteth, and shutteth and no man openeth, come to liberate the prisoner from the prison, and them that sit in darkness, and in the shadow of death.

O Clavis David (O Key of David) - Fishing for Bible Characters

We'll have another family game night, along with some sparkling drinks!

Additional Ideas:

.: December 21st :.
O Dayspring, Brightness of the everlasting light, Son of justice, come to give light to them that sit in darkness and in the shadow of death!

Christmas Morning 2017
O Oriens (O Dayspring) - New Christmas Pajamas

I decided to go a different direction all together this year... I'm going to surprise the kids with their Christmas Eve pajamas a few days early. I've found that there is just too much going on Christmas Eve (especially since we love to attend the midnight mass) to wait until then. Last year I gave them to them all on the feast of St. Nicholas, but this year I didn't have them all in time. I think they will be perfect to go along with this O Antiphon. We'll also try and go out to see Christmas lights, as usual, weather permitting.

Additional Ideas:

.: December 22nd :.
O King of the Gentiles, yea, and desire thereof! O Corner-stone, that makest of two one, come to save man, whom Thou hast made out of the dust of the earth!

O Rex Gentium (O King of the Gentiles) - Three Kings Playset from Shining Light Dolls

Additional Ideas:

.: December 23rd :.
O Emmanuel, our King and our Law-giver, Longing of the Gentiles, yea, and salvation thereof, come to save us, O Lord our God!

O Emmanuel (O With Us is God) - The Holy Family Nativity Playset from Shining Light Dolls

Some year's I've given our children a new nativity set on this day... This year I'm splitting it up, giving them the shepherd/angel one night, the three kings another, and finishing it with Mary & Joseph. I love that it comes with two Mary dolls - one expecting and one holding Baby Jesus!


Here are the cookie stamps I picked out to go along with each of the O Antiphons.
The winner will recieve one of each!

Wisdom: #460 – Triune God
House: #214 – Home Sweet Home
Root of Jesse: #520 – Willow Tree
Key of David: #543 – Key to My Heart
Dayspring: #291 – Moravian Star
King: #448 – Norwegian Wedding Crown
Emmanuel: #368 – Nativity

Sponsored by Rycraft Cookie Stamps
(7 cookie stamps with recipe booklet @ $12.99 ea = $90.93 value)

Enter the Giveaway using the Rafflecopter Box below: 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

If you are looking for gift ideas, you can find my lists of Christmas Gift Ideas & Stocking Stuffers here (2015)here (2016)here (2017), and here (2018).