Archive for the ‘Life’ Category

— 1 —

If you didn’t notice, the other day I mentioned that our new book will be coming out in August:

"amy welborn"


Adventures in Assisi is unlike any other St. Francis-book-for-children out there.   I’ll talk more about it as the release date approaches, but know for now that it was inspired by the trips both Ann Engelhart and I have made to Assisi and a desire to bring St. Francis to children in a way that goes a little deeper than peace-animals-creche – as wonderful as all that can be.


— 2 —

Homeschooling has slowly revived.   Math has happened, lots of religion, conversations about the trip, music, science museum class, art class, To Kill a Mockingbird, reviewing some of our Shakespeare, gearing up for next week…Holy Week..think we’ll start Hamlet, too….

"amy welborn"

Reteaching what he learned in science center class.

— 3 —

Good exercise podcasts, thanks to In Our Time, my favorite.  I’ve listened to:

  • 1848 revolutions - very good.
  • The Concordat of Worms - puts present Church/State conflicts in perspective
  • Robinson Crusoe - I have never read it, but had read something years ago about how contemporary editions generally edit down the religious content.  This program gave Dafoe and the book a thorough, honest treatment and attention to his religious motivations.
  • The history of radio.  I love learning about the history of technology/industry/products/science.  I find the cumulative, aggregate effect of human understanding mesmerizing.
  • Kama Sutra - in general, one of the reasons I love In Our Time is because I find it refreshingly free of any kind of cant – ideological or academic.  In most contemporary contexts, any historical discussion these days are almost always framed in terms of some overriding contemporary concern.   This discussion on the Kama Sutra (a work which is about more than sex, mind you) actually didn’t deviate from that excellent track record, but found myself unsatisfied (so to speak) in the listening because kept saying to myself…but…isn’t this an elitist kind of work about elitist concerns? What did this have to do with the lives of most people in India who weren’t  the aristocratic men who were its audience? 

— 4 —

I have started that little blog on our Mexican trip.  Here it is so far…not much, but hopefully I’ll have it all done by next week some time.  

— 5 —

Binge-rewatching season 6 of Mad Men.  It’s certainly enjoyable television, but that 70% that is really good is violently hauled down by the 30% that is either pointless or evidence that there is currently no one in Matthew Weiner’s circle whose job is it to read scripts or sit next to him in the edit bay and say, “Um…no.  I mean…no one cares about Betty Goes To The Village and everyone will fast forward through it on the rewatch. Promise. “

— 6 —

Currently reading Gringos by Charles Portis.  It’s set in Merida, where I just was, so I’m finding it really entertaining. 

— 7 —

Reminder:  First Communion/Confirmation/RCIA/Mother’s Day books?  I’ve got some choices….

"amy welborn"


The new zipline at the Birmingham Zoo has just opened and was free to members this week…it was a good value for free, but sorry to say, it wouldn’t be worth the normal 20-25 bucks….

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

Read Full Post »

The Joys of Home

"amy welborn"


Go ahead.  Drink straight from the tap. Like a boss!

Read Full Post »

Sometimes we hear that a “real Christian” is always recognized by a certain outward demeanor.  It’s a common, but superficial way of describing the Christian life.  Today’s reading in the Office of Readings provides some helpful balance:

Those who have been found worthy to become children of God and also to be born again through the Holy Spirit, those who carry Christ within them, shining within them and renewing them – these people are guided by the Spirit in various ways and led forward by grace working invisibly in the inner peace of their hearts.
  Sometimes they are, as it were, in mourning and lamentation for the whole human race. They utter prayers for all mankind and fall back in tears and lamentation. They are on fire with spiritual love for all humanity.
  Sometimes they burn, through the Spirit, with such love and exultation that they would embrace all mankind if they could, without discrimination, good and bad alike.
  Sometimes they are cast down by humility, down below the least of men, as they consider themselves to be in the lowest, the most abject of conditions.
  Sometimes the Spirit keeps them in a state of inextinguishable and unspeakable gladness.
  Sometimes they are like some champion who puts on a full suit of royal armour and plunges into battle, combats his enemies fiercely and at length vanquishes them. For in the same way the spiritual champion, wearing the heavenly armour of the Spirit, attacks his enemies and, winning the battle, treads them underfoot.
  Sometimes their soul is in the deepest silence, stillness and peace, experiencing nothing but spiritual delight and ineffable power: the best of all possible states.
  Sometimes their soul is in a state of understanding and boundless wisdom and attention to the inscrutable Spirit, taught by grace things that neither tongue nor lips can describe.
  And sometimes their soul is in a state just like anyone else’s.
  Thus grace is poured into them in different ways, and by different paths it leads the soul, renewing it according to God’s will. It guides it by various paths until it is made whole, sinless and stainless before the heavenly Father.
  Therefore let us pray to God, pray with great love and hope, that he may give us the heavenly grace of the Spirit. Let us pray that the Spirit may guide us and lead us, following God’s will in every way, and may re-make us in stillness and in quiet. Thanks to his guidance and spiritual strengthening, may we be found worthy to attain the perfection and fullness of Christ. As St Paul says: that you may be filled to the complete fullness of Christ.


Read Full Post »

And here are some of our resources that you might find helpful:

  • Reconciled to God, a daily devotional from Creative Communications for the parish.  You can buy it individually, in bulk for the parish our your group, or get a digital version.

"amy welborn"

"amy welborn"



Read Full Post »


From the program for his son’s First Holy Communion.   Very grateful to those who thought of doing this and hope it serves as a help and a nudge to all who happened across it today. Sacrifice. 

Read Full Post »

..even with me and my Lent Pinterest board and all…


Anyway, don’t think I am suggesting you read the Office everyday. It’s just a good thing to know about, I say Prime in the morning and sometimes I say Compline at night but usually I don’t. But anyway I like parts of my prayers to stay the same and part to change. So many prayer books are awful, but if you stick with the liturgy, you are safe.  - Flannery O’Connor, to Betty Hester (“A”)

The truth of this struck me this morning (again) in praying (parts of) Morning Prayer and the Office of Readings, and reading the Mass readings…

..often my thoughts about “what I’m going to read (or do) for Lent” are guided by what think I need – which can be a complex mix that might include its fair share of solipsism and rationalization.  God? He needs to be led to me and my needs, right?  But when I put the prayer of the Church front and center, the dynamic shifts just a little and I’m living and praying in way that trusts in God to lead me where I really need to go.

Read Full Post »

"pope Benedict"

Source – BBC
"Pope Benedict"
Source: AP
"Pope Benedict"
Source: Vatican Radio English Facebook page – go “like” them!
"Pope Benedict"
Source: Vatican Radio English Facebook page.

Today we contemplate Christ in the desert, fasting, praying, and being tempted. As we begin our Lenten journey, we join him and we ask him to give us strength to fight our weaknesses. Let me also thank you for the prayers and support you have shown me in these days. May God bless all of you!

By the way – you might have missed it, but on February 8, Pope Benedict spoke to the seminarians of Rome – his topic was Peter.  So his thoughts – on Peter, the Petrine ministry – given when he knew he was resigning, but before the rest of us did – are worth a look. 


Read Full Post »

I have a stash of vintage holy cards.  Some were mostly from my maternal grandmother’s cache – she died thirty years ago, in her early 90′s – and some are from an interesting Catholic-heavy estate sale I went to last spring.   There’s no paucity of vintage holy card imagery out here on the Internet, but I’m going to post a few of mine that I particularly like.  Some have English text, but most are either French (my grandmother’s) or German (the estate sale stash).

But this first isn’t a holy card – it’s a Stations of the Cross for children from 1911.   Which is why I intended to post it on Friday, but..well..it’s still Friday in California.

It’s in French, but you can probably get the gist, if you’re interested enough to try.  It evidently belonged to Aline Langlois who would have been my great-aunt – yah, I’m that old (my mother was in her late 30′s when she had me, and her mother was in her early 40′s when she gave birth to my mother).  She died the next year, at the age of 17 – I’ve included images of her memorial card as well,  to make that connection.  It’s poignant.  My mother was named after her.

All images are clickable for a larger view. 

"amy welborn"


Read Full Post »

"amy welborn"

Well, I was going to go crazy and scan all sorts of pages from this for your benefit and enjoyment, but then I discovered...it’s still in print!  Which is a good thing, because it’s a treasure, but it also means it’s copyrighted, so I can’t scan with abandon.

(Update:   See update below before you order…it’s apparently not the exact same)

This was one of my mother’s many cookbooks.  I don’t think she ever used it, but it was there, stuffed on the shelf between various very mod 60′s volumes about chafing dishes, fondue pots and gelatin molds and such.   It was published by the National Catholic Rural Life Conference in 1945, and while it doesn’t feature those great  woodcuts of which I’m such a fan in earlyish and mid-century Catholic lit,  it’s an invaluable glimpse into the era, as the first sentence of the Preface indicates:

This book is an extension of the Missal, Breviary and Ritual because the Christian home is an extension of the Mass, choir and sacramentals. 

That era being clearly resistant  to stereotype and caricatures of an unengaged laity.  As the author herself says in the very next paragraph, We need not shed tears over the past; neither should we exalt the present as the zenith of perfection or condemn it as the nadir of depravity. 

Anyway – the first Lent page is below.  The text is substantial, the recipes – for the most part – still interesting.  On the page that follows this one, the difference between now and then is unmistakable as the author encourages the consumption of whole wheat bread during Lent despite the relatively high cost and difficulty finding it!

"amy welborn"

There may be a health food store in a town of 1000,000 which bakes a whole grain loaf at 23 cents, but that is not for the majority nor for the poor….

(She recommends, of course, baking it yourself – after you find a miller who can grind the flour for you!)

"amy welborn"

I’m assuming the new edition is identical to the original – the reviews on the site indicate as much – but no promises, of course, since I’ve not seen it.

So ends the year with Christ in the kitchen.  What we have cooked we have made for His glory and the spread of His kingdom.  This way of living is but one path which leads our minds and hearts to His love.  We have not “feasted sumptuously every day,” but we have held both fast and festival in due season.  When great occasions arise, as they do so often in the liturgical year, “it is fit to bring hither the fatted calf and kill it and eat and make merry.” For Christianity is a happiness untold, not only to be tasted at the eternal banquet, but also in some small measure at our little festivals in time.  So with Christ at our table may He bless us and say:

“Eat thy bread with joy and

Drink thy wine with gladness,

Because thy works please God.” 


Apparently the reprint is not…a reprint.  From the comments, Jennifer of the blog “Family Food for Feast and Feria”

This is my favorite cookbook of all time! It’s also my favorite liturgical year book. I based my whole history undergrad thesis on this book and the publisher, NCRLC. I’ve written about this book several times,http://familyfoodfeastandferia.wordpress.com/2006/04/19/my-favorite-cookbook/, this being my sadly neglected food blog.

This book stemmed from the Liturgical Movement, and was the first American Catholic cookbook of its kind. All other liturgical cookbooks that follow never reach the heights of this book. It’s so family oriented, and helps connect the American to her rich Catholic culture. But Florence Berger makes you realize this isn’t a dead culture, not looking back in the past, but it’s a living connection, because we are part of the Mystical Body.

Sadly, the book that is currently being reprinted is not the original. All the recipes are revised, and if that isn’t good enough, the text is edited, chopped up, and lovely bits and pieces are removed. You will get some taste of the beautiful book, but not the fullness of the original. I can’t understand how they can label it a reprint if it’s fully revised. I’ve compared the original with the revised and just cried to see how much was changed.

While this book does not treat only Florence Berger’s books, “Cultivating Soil and Soul: Twentieth-century Catholic Agrarians Embrace the Liturgical Movement” by Michael J. Woods gives some background history “Cooking for Christ” that I find so interesting! The entire book is wonderful as it really gives an understanding of the Liturgical movement and the connections and role of the NCRLC.

Read Full Post »

Prayer Corner

We are all about rocks here – well one of us is all about rocks here – so we spent some time this evening reading about – and more importantly – looking at photographs of – the astonishing Cave of Crystals in Mexico.  

I thought this one was good for this space.

"amy welborn"


Read Full Post »

Older Posts »

%d bloggers like this: