Saturday, May 30, 2015

{this moment}

I didn't mean to disappear after posting the review and giveaway of BENEDICTA... Our schedule has been so incredibly full and I've been too tired at night to spend much time at the computer. I'm hoping to carve out a little time this weekend (in between a graduation party this afternoon, the girls' piano recital tomorrow, and then a Baby Shower of Love for sweet little Patrick Gabriel) to share some pictures from the Homeschool Family Camp we attended last weekend! In the meantime here is one of my favorite moments from the past week (a short video clip of my "baby" with his Little Prayer Book) in case you missed it over at Instagram. Hope you are all having a great weekend! God bless!

Monday, May 18, 2015

BENEDICTA: Marian Chant from Norcia {Review & "Win It Before You Can Buy It" Giveaway!}

The following review of BENEDICTA: Marian Chant from Norcia by the Monks of Norcia (De Montfort Music, 2015) was written by my husband. Thank you, Sean! 

"Seven times a day will I sing your praises." – The Rule of St. Benedict

The simple beauty of Gregorian chant - the eternal beauty of chant is prayerful, rich, and necessary in our age. BENEDICTA is the Monks of Norcia’s first ever international recording. The Monks of Norcia, in the sincerity of their prayer are able to draw the listener into the mind and heart of the Church’s expression of faith. The mysticism of the chant, the serenity and timeless beauty of its ancient tradition, the meditative and celestial qualities of the recording transport the listener to a spiritual light. We are reminded that our eternal destination lies beyond the earthly allure. As the listener enters into the contemplative mystery of prayer they are reminded of the spiritual land that indeed awaits those who hope in the Lord. These are the transcendent thoughts that the official music of the Church inspires.

Pope Benedict XVI wrote: “The chanting of the Office continues to sustain the whole Church around the world.”

This album is particularly unique in that the music is not part of any mass settings as many other chant CD’s from monks have done in the past. As the title reveals, the chants recorded in this album are dedicated to the Marian Feast Days found in the divine office and devotional hymns outside of the mass. From De Montfort Music:
“Inspiring, beautiful music of Chant at it's very best - from Italy by The Monks of Norcia. BENEDICTA: Marian Chant from Norcia is the title for this new recording of 33 tracks of Gregorian chant, including favorite Marian antiphons such as "Regina Caeli" and "Ave Regina Caelorum" but also previously unrecorded chant versions of responsories and a piece originally composed by the monks (“Nos Qui Christi Iugum,”) Some pieces are sung by the entire group, some by smaller ensembles of monks and others by soloists, imbuing 'BENEDICTA' with a variety of sound. Recorded on location at the monastery in Norcia, Italy, the album was produced by 11-time Grammy Award-winning producer Christopher Alder and engineered by Grammy-Award winning engineer Jonathan Stokes.”
Order your copy today.

“Late have I loved you, Beauty so ancient and so new, late have I loved you!” – St. Augustine

+    +    +

Today I have the privilege of being able to offer my visitors here at Shower of Roses a chance to WIN one of three copies of BENEDICTA before you can buy it! The giveaway will remain open through Monday, May 25th and the winners will be announced in this post and contacted by email on Tuesday, May 26th.  De Montfort Music will mail the CDs directly to the winners so that they can arrive just before the album is released!

Please help spread the word about this beautiful and unique new album, and be sure to enter the giveaway using the Rafflecopter box below:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

BENEDICTA: Marian Chant from Norcia will be released on June 2, 2015 and is available to pre-order at Amazon. You can also order it directly from the monks and an extra portion of the proceeds will go towards assisting them in funding the many needs of their community!

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Sunday of the Rose

These praises and prayers
I lay at your feet. 
O Virgin of virgins, 
O Mary, most sweet.

Be you my true guide
Through this pilgrimage here,
And stand by my side
When death draweth near.

The feast of the Ascension of Our Lord was transferred to Sunday in our diocese. Early this morning, before Mass, I made Ascension Pancakes and bacon to serve Sean and the kids for breakfast.

Pancake :: The earth Jesus walked on.

Fresh Organic Strawberries :: The blood Jesus shed

Chocolate Syrup :: The roads Jesus traveled.

Whipped Cream :: The clouds our Lord ascended into.
(Unsweetened Whipping Cream, whipped in seconds using my ISI Easy Whip)  

Sprinkles :: The sweetness of life in Heaven.
(I used white sprinkles with gold stars this year.)

I went all out and enjoyed eating some bacon (representing roads?) and berries (representing the blood Jesus shed) for breakfast with a hot cup of Roasted Dandelion Tea (earth?) with some coconut milk for creamer (clouds?)… (All AIP approved!) My "sweetness of life in Heaven" was watching everyone enjoy their pancakes, hearing their rave reviews and "thank yous!", and getting to take a few pictures! ;)  

Before the 15th century, the Sunday after the Ascension was called in the Roman books "Sunday of the Rose" (Dominica de Rosa). On this Sunday, the mass is centered on the coming Feast of Pentecost. At the church of Santa Maria Rotonda in Rome (the Pantheon), following the Pope's sermon, a shower of roses was thrown from the nave of the church in token of the Lord's promise that He would send the Paraclete soon. We can spiritually revive this custom by making an offering of roses to the statue of Our Blessed Mother in our home or parish church. ~ excerpt from my May 2015 Catholic Digest submission

(According to WDTPRS this now happens on the feast of Pentecost! Someday I would sure love to visit Rome!) 

After Mass we stopped at the store to pick up a little bouquet of roses…
It's been such a lovely day!

I hope you all had a blessed weekend! 

A Day Trip to the California Coast

On the last day of National Pro-Life T-Shirt Week (Monday, May 4, 2015) my husband was able to take the day off work and we went on a family road trip to the coast!

On the drive over we were able to take pictures for Task 448: Standing at the back of a train caboose (2 points)... 

… at the visitor center for the Oregon Caves… 
(We considered driving out to the actual caves - the Oregon Caves are one of the 113 National Monuments but, after a vote, we decided to continue on to the coast.) 

… Task 461: At a "Welcome to" your state sign."(6 points)...

… Task 309: Standing with an entrance to a tunnel visible behind you (3 points)…

… and even Task 193: At a Zoo or Aquarium (4 points)…

… before finally arriving at the California coast, for Task 227: In front or inside of any of the 113 United States National Monuments (8 points).  

Did you know that the whole California Coast line is a National Monument of the United States? According to Wikipedia, "This monument ensures the protection of all islets, reefs and rock outcroppings from the coast of California to a distance of 12 nautical miles, along the entire 840-mile long California coastline."

We headed south through the Redwoods National and State Parks, and past the wild elk at Elk Meadow, to the lovely city of Trinidad and the Trinidad Head Light for Task 180: Standing in front of a real lighthouse (5 points).

"Trinidad Head, a large domed prominence rising to a height of 380 feet, is connected to the mainland only on its northern end, thus forming the beautiful and natural Trinidad Bay on its eastern side. On the bluffs overlooking the bay, Trinidad, the oldest town on the northern California coast, was founded on April 8, 1850. Early on, the town was a vital link between ships anchored in the bay and miners testing their luck in the Klamath, Trinity, Salmon River, and Gold Bluff Mines. As the gold rush slowed, Trinidad Bay, like most bays along the Redwood Coast, became home to multiple sawmills. To aid vessels engaged in the lumber trade, a lighthouse was proposed for the ocean-facing side of the headland in 1854." - Source

A little history from Wikipedia:

The low, square, brick tower, painted white, was built in 1871.The light is only 20 feet (6.1 m) above ground, but the headland on which it stands gives it an elevation of 196 feet (60 m) above the sea. Despite the great height above the sea, heavy seas have been known to reach it. In 1913, the keeper made the following report:

"At 4:40 p. m. I observed a sea of unusual height. When it struck the bluff the jar was very heavy. The lens immediately stopped revolving. The sea shot up the face of the bluff and over it, until the solid sea seemed to me to be on a level with where I stood in the lantern. The sea itself fell over onto the top of the bluff and struck the tower about on a level with the balcony. The whole point between the tower and the bluff was buried in water."

The wave he described was the highest recorded wave on the coast. After the sea struck the lighthouse and extinguished the light, service was restored in four hours by Lightkeeper F.L. Harrington, the keeper from 1888 to 1916.

Next we headed down to the sandy beach! 

We had some more tasks we were hoping to complete including...

… Task 229: Spell "LIFE" in sand with letters that are at least 4 feet in length (4 points).

… Task 426: Dancing in a puddle of water (3 points)…

… and Task 441: Next to a sand castle that is at least 2 feet high or 4 feet wide (5 points)… 

almost purchased an inexpensive kite at Walmart a couple days before (Task 221: Flying a kite.) and really wish I would have! The beach would have been the perfect place to fly a kite and the weather was perfect… Instead we just spent the rest of the evening enjoying the sand and the beautiful views. 

We didn't want to leave, but everyone was getting hungry and it was time to try and squeeze in a couple more tasks before the contest ended and then find somewhere to eat dinner. 

We noticed a couple restaurants on our way to the beach and decided to try The Lighthouse Grill. Thankfully we got there just before they closed! I didn't expect to be able to eat out and packed along a few things for myself (I'm still on a strict Auto-Immune Protocol + Paleo diet. Today is already Day 75!) and was so excited to see the menu! They were so willing to work with me and I was able to order a Grass-Fed Beef burger wrapped in lettuce, topped with bacon, and some onions and mushrooms sautéed in olive oil! Yay!!! I want to go back to Trinidad just to visit The Lighthouse Grill again! ;) 

Sean and the older boys also had burgers. The girls and younger boys all shared fish & chips, made with fresh, local fish, and hand cut fries. Mmmmmm! 

The Lighthouse Grill is also home of the "Mashed Potato Cone!" Sean ordered one to share with the kids and it looked sooooo good! He ordered the "Savory Waffle Cone with Mashed Potatoes with Beef Gravy and added Cheese and Bacon." Next time they want to try it "All the Way" with the Beef Brisket as well.

After dinner, and before starting the long drive back home, we stopped to watch the sunset at Patrick's Point State Park near Wedding Rock. On the drive home we offered another rosary for an end to abortion. 

It was a beautiful end to our week of tasks for National Pro-Life T-Shirt Week and our efforts to learn, pray, and do more to protect and defend the sanctity of all human life from creation to natural death.

"We ourselves feel that what we are doing is just a drop in the ocean. But the ocean would be less because of that missing drop." 
Mother Teresa

Saturday, May 16, 2015

{pretty, happy, funny, real} :: NPLTW 2015

~ Capturing the context of contentment in everyday life with Like Mother, Like Daughter. ~

The NPLTW Photo Contest is a weeklong event that took place from April 28 through May 4, 2015. This contest challenges participants to take as many photos of themselves as they can while wearing a pro-life T-shirt and completing the tasks listed on During the week our oldest three children completed as many of the 475 tasks as they could. (It was originally 500 tasks, but 25 went missing on the list.) Captain completed 351 tasks earning 1370 points, Ranger completed 350 tasks earning 1368 points, and Twinkle Toes completed 350 tasks earning 1366 points. I promise that I won't post all the pictures, but I do have quite a few more "pretty, happy, funny, and real" pictures that I'd like to record here on the blog.

"This was the funnest scavenger hunt I've ever done! We got to do so many things that we've never done before and meet people we never even considered meeting while spreading the pro-life message." ~ Captain

"This contest was so exciting! Some of the tasks were fun, some were goofy, and some were difficult. It was really neat to meet and talk to our mayor. I also really enjoyed getting together with our friends to complete tasks." ~ Ranger 

"I loved participating in this contest! I especially loved holding all the baby animals, holding my baby cousin, and learning about my great-grandma who was arrested and sentenced to jail just before she died for praying in front of an abortion clinic. I wish I could have met her! I also really loved sitting in the driver's seat of that brand new white Miata!" ~ Twinkle Toes


Task 128: Helping a child plant a flower. (3 points)
Task 118: Laying down in your yard and make a heart shape with your friends. (5 points)
Task 123: Create a set of 3 pro-life Easter eggs. (5 points)
Task 57: Using peas, carrots and corn, make a pro-life message on a plate. (4 points)
(Note: The actual pictures submitted to the contest included my children wearing their t-shirts. These were just extra pictures I took of their creations. :) 
Task 155: At a store, holding at least 5 inflated, helium balloons.  (5 points)
Task 213: Setting a volleyball (volleyball net must be visible). (3 points)

While we were at the park I got distracted by the wildlife. So pretty! 

Task 451: Standing next to a sundial. (3 points)


Task 481: Pushing a double stroller down a sidewalk or path. (3 points)
Task 8: Sitting with a set of grand parents. (2 points)
Oops! Everyone was standing in the original pictures I took of the children with my parents, so we got to drive out to their home the next day for more pictures, this time making sure they were sitting… 
(I really learned to pay attention to details and read the directions carefully during this contest!)  

...and then the kids all got a little ride in the bucket of their Grandpa's tractor, just like my brothers and sisters and I did when we were kids! Fun, fun, fun! 

Task 420: Participating in a human wheel-barrow race. (3 points)
Task 421: Participating in a potato-sack race. (3 points)
Task 215: Running on an oval track and field track. (4 points)
Bonus for carrying baby brother all the way around? The smiles and giggles were worth the effort!

Task 226: The top person in a six person pyramid. (6 points)

On Friday afternoon we headed to town to hang out with friends! They were happy to help with many of the "with friends" tasks and also had lots of ideas on how we could accomplish some of the remaining tasks on the list! It ended up being a really late night, but we had such a blast! 

Task 119: Laying down in your lawn and spell LIVE with your friends. (3 points)
Task 192: Playing cards with three friends. (3 points)
Task 12: Being carried by two other friends. (3 points)
Task 244: Playing a game of corn-hole with friends. (2 points)
Task 63: Playing hopscotch with two or more friends. (3 points)
Task 429: Limbo. (2 points)

We also stopped by my brother's house to borrow his baby, bamboo, and sunroof! 

Task 5: Holding a baby. (5 points)  • Task 197: Standing in a patch of live (green) bamboo. (3 points)
"Mommy!!! Can you pleeeeease born another baby?!?!?!"
(I'm not sure why my younger children say "born another baby" instead of "have another baby" but I think it's cute!)  

Task 44: Holding a duckling. (3 points)
"Mom!!!!! Can we please take home a duckling?!?!?!"

Task 36: Holding an animal that is both black and white. (3 points)

"Mom!!! Can we please get a kitty?!?!?!?!"

Task 33: Holding a basket of kittens. (4 points)

"Please!!! Please!!! Please!!!"

Task 24: Standing with your pastor. (6 points) • Task 283: Holding a book by Judie Brown. (4 points)
Task 37: Sitting with a solid black and a solid white dog at the same time. 
When we initially stopped by the parish office to see if we could see our pastor he wasn't in the office. Our conversation with the secretary led to her calling the Pregnancy Care Center for us (and talking the administrator into meeting with us real quick before she left town!) and the suggestion of stoping by the recruiting offices to find a member of the U.S. Armed Forces in uniform. Perfect! She also said if we came back right before 4pm we could catch Father on his way into another meeting! 

When we got back Father asked if we needed his dog, Benny, for any pictures… We mentioned task 37 and needing a black dog too. He said, "Natalie (the youth leader) is here and I think she has Mercy with her!" Sure enough Natalie came over with Mercy and we were able to check off another task! In the meantime Captain noticed that the book sitting on the table in the corner was written by Judie Brown. What luck! :) 

This is just some of the people we met throughout the week including: Our Mayor, Hibachi Grill Chef, Burger King Manager, a member of the US Armed Forces, Pregnancy Care Center Administrator (caught her just as she and the rest of the staff were headed out of state for a pro-life convention), Taco Bell Manager, Animal Shelter Manager, Park Ranger, Walmart Manager, YMCA employee, Target Manager, 7-11 Manager, Red Lobster employee, Fire Chief…
We met so many people during the contest! We live in a very liberal state and it was always interesting to hear their reactions when we would explain the scavenger hunt. Usually, after the photo, they would say something along the lines of now what is this for again and we would respond "National Pro-Life T-shirt Week!" There was usually a long pause and then "Ooooohhhh…." Occasionally we'd get a thumbs up (Target manager!), a "glad to help!" (music Store), or a "keep up the good work!"  I had been especially nervous going into Target since the boys still had their faces painted with pro-life messages and everyone was staring… My oldest said God was testing me! I love their courage, dedication, and perseverance! 


Task 402: Sitting on a park bench wearing flippers, scuba mask and snorkel. (6points)
Task 129: Using three hula-hoops at the same time. (2 points)
Task 389: Take a bit out of an onion. (2 points) -- The things my kids will do for a contest! 

Task 191: Gangnum-style 4 friends.
What my friend and I wanted to know was "what on earth is "Gangnum-style?" followed by "How on earth do our children all know what it is?" 

Task 405: Pretending to play tug of war (with no rope) with at least 3 of your friends at the mall. (5 points)
Task 173: Riding an escalator going down while looking through a paper towel roll. (3 points)
Task 172: Riding an escalator going up while holding an open umbrella. (3 points)
Task 146: At a clothing store standing next to a mannequin. (3 points)
Task 298: Jumping rope in an elevator (floor buttons should be visible behind you). (5 points)
Task 382: Exemplifying the phrase: "Forced Perspective." (making something look different in size) (6 points)
Task 102: Sitting on a full-sized boat (at least 12 feet long). (3 points)
I don't usually approach people at gas stations and ask if I can take a picture of my kids in their boat! ;)
Task 249: Thumb-wrestling one of your parents. (3 points)

Bud: "My turn, Mommy! . . .  I gotchu!"

I mentioned in one of my other NPLTW posts that we still needed to find one more person with braces so that he could get his own picture taken for Task 401: Standing next to two people that have braces and are smiling. (4 points) After the sweet employee at the Grange helped us get pictures holding baby chicks and the little ducklings pictured above she asked if there was anything else we needed…. Ranger looked at me with a big grin and I smiled back… "Why, yes! Actually, would you mind taking a selfie with us? He needs a picture with two others with braces!" Thank you, Kayla! :) 

Task 165: At a car dealership, in the drivers seat of a new, import car, with the door open.
Yep. . . We had to come back the next day and retake these pictures "with the door open."
I'm wondering if that was intentional! ;) 
Twinkle Toes: "I love this car! I could totally see myself driving this when I'm 16!!" 
Mom:  "Hahahaha! Right…."
Twinkle Toes: "It's only 5 years away!" :)


Task 416: Make a LEGO creation with a pro-life message. (4 points)
Task 287: Holding a sign that says "Abortion" under a STOP sign. (5 points)
Task 484: Holding a sign that says "Defund" in front of a Planned Parenthood so that it appears to say "Defund Planned Parenthood" (20 points)

Prayer to End Abortion

Lord God, I thank you today for the gift of my life, 
And for the lives of all my brothers and sisters.

I know there is nothing that destroys more life than abortion, 
Yet I rejoice that you have conquered death 
by the Resurrection of Your Son.

I am ready to do my part in ending abortion. 
Today I commit myself 
Never to be silent, 
Never to be passive, 
Never to be forgetful of the unborn.

I commit myself to be active in the pro-life movement, 
And never to stop defending life 
Until all my brothers and sisters are protected, 
And our nation once again becomes 
A nation with liberty and justice 
Not just for some, but for all.

Through Christ our Lord. Amen!

(Note: You'll need to scroll through this post again before clicking "older posts" or you can find them here: A Day Trip to the California CoastSeven Quick Takes (includes winner announcements), Decorating Cookies on Mother's Day (Life is Precious cookies), Instagram Recap: National Pro-Life T-Shirt Week, and Getting Ready for National Pro-Life T-Shirt Week.)