irish i may

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

A January Daybook

Outside my window... My birdie friends at the feeder.
I am Arkansas this weekend with my husband for his job interview at a boarding school
I am thinking... about Arkansas an awful lot lately!
I am thankful for...  a job substitute-teaching for six weeks.
Pondering these words... "Be still, and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth" (Psalm 46:10)
From the kitchen...  lentil soup and homemade bread(from the bread machine, don't be too impressed)
I am wearing... jeans and a green turtleneck sweater
I am remembering...  My Dad whose anniversary was this week.  Hard to believe that he has been gone 18 years. 
From the learning rooms... now that I am homeschooling John, I can include this category: starting Henry IV this week.
I am reading... the Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows  
A few plans for the rest of the week... basketball,   making candy,  more snow!!!
I am hoping...  for a little less snow, please.
One of my favorite electric throw blanket.

Thanks to Peggy at The Simple Woman's Daybook for expanding my world with this simple and wonderful exercise in appreciating all the good little things in my life.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Home again, home again, jiggity jig.

Our son, John, is home from boarding school. He spent the last 2 ½ + years at Immaculate Conception Apostolic School in Center Harbor, New Hampshire.  ICAS, in the old days, would have been called a Minor Seminary.  It is run by the Legionaries of Christ, of recent ill-fame, and is dedicated to the middle and high school education of boys who may be interested in the Catholic priesthood.  John felt drawn to the school as a seventh-grader and attended after he graduated eighth grade at our local public school. If he had finished at ICAS (this coming June), he would have gone on to the Legion’s novitiate to begin more formal studies in philosophy and theology. 

We did not make him come home and there were not “incidents” of any sort that propelled John to change his mind about novitiate.  This past fall John decided, in prayer, that God was not drawing him in that direction and he told us that he wanted to come home at Christmas time.  We were a little surprised, in fact, because he was quite happy at the school. 

If you know anything about the issues (understatement of the year) surrounding the Legionaries, you can guess that Rob and I had misgivings about John going on to novitiate, but we were determined to let God take the upper hand in directing John in his vocation.  Our willingness to allow him to go to Novitiate with the Legion is not a reflection of our ignorance of the unseemly past and uncertain future of the Legion of Christ. However our family’s experiences with ICAS, have been, across the board, positive.  Both John and Vince grew as students, Christians and young men at ICAS.  The learned Latin (a little), how to ski, and that they could actually sing at Mass without flames coming from their mouths.  They played hockey, visited Rome, and climbed mountains all over New Hampshire and southern Maine.  One of the greatest experiences they had was the opportunity to live and work with priests and religious brothers.  They got to know them as human beings who ate, slept, read, worked, prayed, laughed, played sports, watched movies, got tired, hungry, and irritable just like every other person they know.  But they did all these things while celebrating the Sacraments and dedicating themselves to the boys who they daily patiently and wisely formed and guided.  They were able to see the joy, the struggles, and the fellowship of religious life and to see it as a real option for their own lives.  I truly would not hesitate to send my younger sons to ICAS, if the school survives the re-formation of the Legion.  

There are plenty of stories out there of people’s bad experiences and impressions of the Legion and Regnum Christi.   I know that many were legitimately damaged by Maciel’s evil deeds and the system that he put in place to cover them.  Other folks “drank the RC Kool-Aid” and now they feel burned. Others just like to have something negative to say.  I don’t fall into any of those categories.  OK, except for the last one, but I am controlling myself. True, if you caught me privately, I have plenty to say about Regnum Christi, but my gripes don’t really benefit anybody or advance anything.  Our concern right now is for the timely and thorough reform of the Congregation. In the meantime I am grateful for the boys’ time at ICAS. 

So, now John is home, and homeschooling, at least for the time being.  He is a little bored, but September should find him in school again. I wonder if I have bitten off more that I can chew because my Latin ends at Adeste Fideles and my last math class was “Statistics for Dummies” my sophomore year of college. But I am hopeful, and John is patient.

And God is good.  And it is nice to have our boy back home for a short time before he flies the nest for good.  After all, the days are long, but the years are short.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

25 Poems of Christmas: January 6

Blessed Epiphany ! Thus we come to end of another Christmastide.  I am constantly amazed by the beauty and and perfection of the Liturgical year.  Praying the liturgy of the Hours especially transitions us so nicely in and out of  the seasons of the year. We celebrated Three Kings Day with the kids the way we usually do.  We act out the Nativity story from the Gospel of Matthew, we bless the house (this year with the blessed chalk they were giving out at Assumption Church) and we decorate our "Crown" cakes.  I make either one big bundt cake or several small ones, frost them and let the kids put candy "jewels" on the crowns.  We finished up a little late and the sugar stupor was too much for Peter.  He got up from the table with "I'm stuffed! I gotta rest!" and promptly lay down on the floor and went to sleep.

My Christmas poetry journal was fun for me even if no one else was paying attention!  I didn't quite make 25, though, only 20.  Perhaps I will see what I can do for Easter! Here is a good closer:

O Like a Tiny Cradle
by Angelus Silesius

O, like a tiny cradle,
Could thy heart become,
God would on earth again
Be born an infant son.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

25 Poems of Christmas: January 5

Sorry about this cheesy selection. It's just that it's so true!

The Month After Christmas 
or A Visit from Jenny Craig

Twas the month after Christmas, and all through the house 
Nothing would fit me, not even a blouse. 
The candy I'd nibbled, the eggnog I'd taste 
At the holiday parties had gone to my waist. 

When I got on the scales there arose such a number! 
Then I walked to the store (less a walk than a lumber). 
I'd remember the marvelous meals I'd prepared; 
The gravies and sauces and beef nicely rared, 

The wine and the rum balls, the bread and the cheese 
And the way I'd never said, "No thank you, please." 
As I dressed myself in my husband's sweat suit 
And prepared to dig in to the warm brie-en-croute.

But I said to myself, as I only can, 
"You can't spend a winter disguised as a man!" 
So—away with the last of the sour cream dip, 
Get rid of the rum cake, every cracker and chip 

Every last bit of food that I like must be banished 
"Till all the additional ounces have vanished. 
I won't have a cookie—not even a lick. 
Just let me chew on a celery stick." 

I won't have hot biscuits, or pasta, or pie, 
I'll munch on a carrot and quietly cry. 
I'm hungry, no, starving, and life is a bore— 
But isn't that what January is for? 

The party is over, we are done with the riot. 
Happy New Year to all and to all a good diet!

Sunday, January 2, 2011

25 Poems of Christmas: January 2

It is the observed date of Epiphany, and we are now near the end of Christmastide.  For the Loia family it has been a most satisfactory holiday season, but I feel, like I usually do at the end of Christmas break, a little melancholy.  I don't want to take our tree down quite yet and it is still so fresh and green!  Perhaps I can convince my husband that it ought to be a Valentine's Day tree!

I hope you enjoy this poem.  It is a little longer and denser than my other selections, but it is very appropriate and moving.  It is from the perspective of one of the Magi, now an old man, telling how his encounter with the Christ Child changed him.  Once a man taking a difficult, but temporary journey he became a "stranger and sojourner' on this earth.  

Journey of the Magi
by TS Eliot

'A cold coming we had of it,
Just the worst time of the year
For a journey, and such a journey:
The ways deep and the weather sharp,
The very dead of winter.'
And the camels galled, sore-footed, 
Lying down in the melting snow.
There were times we regretted
The summer palaces on slopes, the 
And the silken girls bringing sherbet.

Then the camel men cursing and 
And running away, and wanting their
     liquor and women, 
And the night-fires going out, and the 
     lack of shelters, 
And the cities hostile and the towns 
And the villages dirty and charging high
A hard time we had of it.
At the end we preferred to travel all 
Sleeping in snatches,
With the voices singing in our ears, 
That this was all folly.

Then at dawn we came down to a 
     temperate valley,
Wet, below the snow line, smelling of 
With a running stream and a water-mill
     beating the darkness,
And three trees on the low sky,
And an old white horse galloped in 
     away in the meadow.
Then we came to a tavern with 
     vine-leaves over the lintel,
Six hands at an open door dicing for 
     pieces of silver,
And feet kicking the empty wine-skins.
But there was no imformation, and so
     we continued
And arrived at evening, not a moment
     too soon
Finding the place; it was (you may say)

All this was a long time ago, I 
And I would do it again, but set down
This set down
This:  were we led all that way for
Birth or Death?  There was a Birth, 
We had evidence and no doubt.  I had 
     seen birth and death,
But had thought they were different; 
     this Birth was 
Hard and bitter agony for us, like 
     Death, our death.
We returned to our places, these
But no longer at ease here, in the old 
With an alien people clutching their 
I should be glad of another death.