My Family

My Family

Sunday, October 30, 2011

All Saint's Day

I am trying to work on my knowledge of the Catholic faith. This is what I gather (please bare with me):

Honoring Christian martyrs was celebrated on May 13, back in the fourth century. Pope Gregory IV moved the date to November 1 in 844. Some scholars believe this was to cannonize some pagan celebrations around the same time. In 1484, it was established Feasts of All Saints, and was now a holy day of obligation. On All Saint's Day, we are remembering the glories of Heaven and those there.

All Soul's Day is now celebrated on November 2. We pray for those who have died and are in purgatory, we pray for the cleansing of their venial sins. Praying for souls can be found in the Bible in 2 Maccabees 12:41-42 and 2 Timothy 1:18. There are two plenary indulgences (remission in whole or in part of the temporal punishment due to sin) applicable to the souls in purgatory: Visiting a church and visiting a cemetery. The Our Father and Hail Mary must be recited for the intentions each day the indulgence is sought, along with receiving Holy Communion. A confession must be made within 7 days for the soul to obtain a complete indulgence. Only one can be granted per day.

I read somewhere that there are three stages to death: when the soul leaves the body, when we lay the dead in the ground, and when we stop thinking of the one we lost. As Catholics, All Souls Day helps us to never forget those who have gone before us. Please take time November 2 to pass by a church and pray. Someone's soul may need it.

Of course there is so much more information out there. Maybe by next year, I will be able to write a full blog on each!

Friday, October 28, 2011

Change

So, my coworker told me last week she had a job interview at a position in Houston on Friday. I wished her luck. In my mind, I knew she had everything they wanted and she would be a perfect candiate. But still, when she told me Monday that she got the job, it hit me like a ton of bricks. I guess in my little world, people don't leave. They just say they are, but never really do. I have come to realize here lately, that is anything but true. People leave. Jobs come, opportunities arise, and of course they would be silly to pass it up. They always say they will keep in touch, but after a while, the emails are further and further apart. Soon it's just a post on facebook around holidays. I know this. I left my friends behind when I went to college. Then I came back, and left all my college friends. Then my best friend left with her husband for Texas. My new friend left with her husband for Shreveport. I caught back up with them the next year though. Sadly, 3 years later they left for Baton Rouge. Another coworker friend left for Maryland. Now this one. *sigh*


There is a chance that we may see each other again. My husband is interviewing in Houston for residency. I'm not looking forward to saying goodbye. She has been my best friend since I started work. I hae learned to be patient from her, be more loving and understanding. I joined the wonderful world of tea, cloth diapers, baby wearing, breastfeeding, attachement parenting, etc. She is a delight to be around. She was there for me my whole pregnancy, and I was there for her second pregnancy. I love her little family, her kids are so happy.

Change is inevitable. And it stinks.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

New Daycare

I have deicded that I want to move Jeanne into a more structured preschool. Don't get me wrong, I love the in-home daycare she has been in the last 18 months. I wanted Jeanne to have lots of one on one time and cuddle time when she was little. But now she is older, and I want her to start learning her colors, numbers, etc at a pace relative to other kids her age.

My husband wasn't as keen on moving her as I was. I completely understand his reasons why. Jeanne has been there since she was 6 weeks old. We know and trust her daycare provider. We don't know these people at her soon to be new preschool. But I know she will love it once she gets adjusted. It reminds me of the preschool I went to. I have such fond memories from going to Humpty Dumpty.

The hard part is telling her now provider. My husband kept saying he wasn't gonna "break her heart", that I would have to. I know she will be sad, but she will be understanding. She works with families that are in the air force, and they come and go all the time. I am just uncomfortable with confrontations. I just want Jeanne to be around more kids her age. Right now, there is an infant, Jeanne, then kids that are 3 and older. So I get to be the meany tonight...
 

Trick-or-Treat

Of course no can have the same idea about where our now version of trick-or-treat comes from. So here is a collaboration of what I have read.
 
Some historians find trick-or-treat to come from the 9th century practice in which Christians went door to door asking for a "soul cake", which was a square piece of cake with fruits in it. The recepient would promise to pray for the givers deceased relatives. The scripture showing Christians praying for the souls of the dead can be found in 2 Mac. 12:38-46.
 
Trick-or-treating is done on Halloween night. Halloween is the contraction of All Hallow's Eve. Christians believe at certain times of the year, the realm separating earth from Purgatory, heaven, and even hell becomes more thin, and the souls in Purgatory (ghosts) and demons can be more readily seen. Thus the tradition of Halloween costumes owes as much, if not more, to Christian belief as to Celtic tradition.
 
I don't see anything with Catholic or Christian families allowing their children to participate in Halloween or trick-or-treat activities. I have seen several Catholic Churches having Halloween carnivals, where kids dress up and play games, and some have a Trunk-or-treat, where members of the church gather at the parking lot, and kids get goodies from trunk to trunk of peoples' cars. As long as we educate our children about the reason behind All Hallow's Eve, All Saint's Day, and All Soul's Day, there should be no reason to have a little fun. Of course, avoiding decor and costumes that exemplify witches and devils is common sense. There is no reason that skeletons should be feared. They can be healthy reminders of human mortaility.


Saint Michael the Archangel, defend us in battle, be our protection against the wickedness and snares of the devil. May God rebuke him we humbly pray; and do thou, O Prince of the Heavenly host, by the power of God, cast into hell Satan and all evil spirits who wander through the world seeking the ruin of souls. Amen.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Halloween, All Hallow's Eve, All Saint's Day, All Soul's Day

I was sent this link today:
Read into it what you want. After watching this, I did my own research on the Catholic views of Halloween festivities that are done today. After gathering information from several sites, I have a better understanding about where the trick-or-treat and costume craziness comes from.
I decided that from here till Halloween, I would do some research about how Catholics honor the parts of All Hallow's Eve, All Saint's Day, and All Soul's Day.

Today is the Jack O'Lantern. I don't remember being told this tale, but here is what I found online. http://www.americancatholic.org/Features/Halloween/jack-o-lantern.asp
Jack, the Irish say, grew up in a simple village where he earned a reputation for cleverness as well as laziness. He applied his fine intelligence to wiggling out of any work that was asked of him, preferring to lie under a solitary oak endlessly whittling. In order to earn money to spend at the local pub, he looked for an "easy shilling" from gambling, a pastime at which he excelled. In his whole life he never made a single enemy, never made a single friend and never performed a selfless act for anyone.
 
One Halloween, as it happened, the time came for him to die. When the devil arrived to take his soul, Jack was lazily drinking at the pub and asked permission to finish his ale. The devil agreed, and Jack thought fast. "If you really have any power," he said slyly, "you could transform yourself into a shilling."
 
The devil snorted at such child’s play and instantly changed himself into a shilling. Jack grabbed the coin. He held it tight in his hand, which bore a cross-shaped scar. The power of the cross kept the devil imprisoned there, for everyone knows the devil is powerless when faced with the cross. Jack would not let the devil free until he granted him another year of life. Jack figured that would be plenty of time to repent. The devil left Jack at the pub.
 


The year rolled around to the next Halloween, but Jack never got around to repenting. Again the devil appeared to claim his soul, and again Jack bargained, this time challenging him to a game of dice, an offer Satan could never resist, but a game that Jack excelled at. The devil threw snake eyes—two ones—and was about to haul him off, but Jack used a pair of dice he himself had whittled. When they landed as two threes, forming the T-shape of a cross, once again the devil was powerless. Jack bargained for more time to repent.
 
He kept thinking he’d get around to repentance later, at the last possible minute. But the agreed-upon day arrived and death took him by surprise. The devil hadn’t showed up and Jack soon found out why not. Before he knew it Jack was in front of the pearly gates. St. Peter shook his head sadly and could not admit him, because in his whole life Jack had never performed a single selfless act. Then Jack presented himself before the gates of hell, but the devil was still seething. Satan refused to have anything to do with him.
 
"Where can I go?" cried Jack. "How can I see in the darkness?"
The devil tossed a burning coal into a hollow pumpkin and ordered him to wander forever with only the pumpkin to light his path. From that day to this he has been called "Jack o’ the Lantern." Sometimes he appears on Halloween!
Of course, there are different versions of his actions with the devil. But I gather the important part of this story is Jack not being let into Heaven because he had not done a single selfless act in his life.

"But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High; for he is kind to the ungrateful and the selfish." Luke 6:36

Goodbyes

Watching my husband carry the casket of the woman who raised him was hard. Watching him say his last goodbyes was harder. After we returned home, my husband let go and cried. Hard. I've never seen him come undone like that before. Granny was more than just his grandmother. As I have said previously, she practically raised him. His mom had to work long hours to bring in enough money for him and his 2 siblings, so Granny was there with him before and after school. She was such an incredible person. I read the readings at the funeral. This is a poem a close family friend wrote for the Eulogy:

One hundred years
The things you've seen
I won't forget
What you've taught me
From cotton fields
To your great grandkid
We all remember
The things you did
You'd tell us stories
And beat us in cards
You'd watch us play
Out in the yard
You're watching now
From up above
Checking on
The ones you love
You'll comfort us
From way up high
While you play a game
Of Scrabble in the sky

Saying goodbye is never easy. We know Granny is in a better place. She and her brother and sisters are with the Lord now. Shawn still seems lost. I can see in his eyes that this healing process will take a while. So Jeanne and I do our best to cheer him up. Jeanne does a great job because she does not yet understand loss. She climbs up in his lap, smiles a big smile and says "Hi dada!" It works wonderfully.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Death

Death is a part of life. Whether anticipated with the elderly, or sudden with accidents or illness, death is not easy to deal with.

My husband's grandmother passed away this morning. Granny was such an inspiring woman. She often talked about picking cotton when she was young, or rocking babies, or the big flood of 1927. That was my favorite story. She taught my husband how to cook. She became a grandmother in her 70's and got her high school diploma then too. She crocheted baby blankets for all new babies in the family. Jeanne has one and our best friends' little girl has one too. When she spoke, you listened. She was a big part of my husband's life. Everyone who knew her was blessed to have met her. She celebrated 100 years on this earth. She had a stroke before her last birthday, which is never an easy to come back from. The last few months, she stayed in a hospital bed in her home.

When his mom called at 4 this morning, I just knew. She went peacefully in her sleep. No more tubes and monitors. No more constant care. She is with all the angels that went on before her. It doesn't make it any easier. I wept with my husband this morning. I am sad for his family. She lived a long, full life while here. We will miss you dearly, Granny.
Eternal rest, grant unto them, O Lord,
and let perpetual light shine upon them.
May the souls of the faithful departed
through the mercy of God rest in peace.
Amen.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Ghosts of the past

My mom sent me a copy of a highschool friend's wedding announcement (She text me it this time, instead of cutting it out to mail me). Seeing his face made me reminisce about high school. He was on the football team, but not your average jock. He was SUPER smart, in kind of a nerdy way. We dated for a while (he would take me to the coffee shop to play Jenga, and kiss my hand goodnight), but some religious disagreements made us go our separate ways. I still always had the utmost respect for him. He is marrying a beautiful girl and I wish them the best.

So I text another good guy friend, asking if he saw the article. This guy friend and I had been friends throughout highschool, college, and still now. We started talking about highschool band and competitions, bus rides, dances, parties, and times we all (our group of friends) used to hang out. Growing up in our small town had it's downfall, but I had a great group of friends I could count on no matter what. This guy and I almost had our chance to date after college, but were both afraid the other wasn't into us. We did talk about that too last night. And laughed about it. The conversation did end with "No matter the past, I am so thankful for how my life turned out. Bc if there were any changes, I wouldn't have Jeanne." This is so true. It is fun to dive into memories, as long as you don't let the "what if's" swallow you.
Here is a blast from the past:



How things have changed! I do love the memories I have from highschool. That time is what helped make me the strong woman I am today. I will never forget all the fun I had, and I hope that my daughter finds a great group of friends when she gets older, so she can have great memories too.