My First Extraordinary Form Mass

I spent the weekend in Oxford with Charlotte’s godmother and her family.  When she heard that I’d never been to Mass in the Extraordinary Form (EF), she told me she would take me to the one at the Oxford Oratory.  So early Sunday morning found us driving through Oxford to get to the Oratory for Mass.  We were slightly late, so I sat in the back with the kids.  Normally we’d sit in the front so they could see, but I didn’t want to disrupt anything.  As it turned out, Charlotte slept the whole time, and Kieran was quite tired.

It was a Low Mass, and I hadn’t gotten a missal, so I wasn’t always sure what was happening.  I found that I really had to concentrate a lot more to ensure that I remained engaged and wasn’t just a spectator (that’s not a complaint).  I don’t know much Latin, but of course knew the Agnus Dei and Sanctus and such.  I’d like to go to another EF Mass, and definitely want to go to a High Mass sometime.  I’m sure I’d get used to it fairly quickly if I went to the EF more.  Of course, I’m also quite happy to attend the Novus Ordo, which can also be quite beautiful.  Regardless, I get to see Jesus, which makes it all wonderful. 🙂


Off the Clock

“What time is it?” seems to be a constant refrain from me.  When I’m at home, I find that I pay much attention to the time and think of what ought to happen at what time.  I can even get a bit put out if whatever I think ought to happen at that time isn’t happening.

This past weekend, however, I lived off the clock.  I no longer have a watch, and haven’t for some time, but at home we have clocks, or I’m on the computer and see the time, and I use my phone for the time when I’m out. Well, I hadn’t packed my phone charger (we were visiting a friend in another city) and the battery was running low, so I kept the phone off the majority of the time so I could use the phone if needed.  We were out of the house quite a lot, so I didn’t have ready access to a clock.  I soon found that I forgot about the time and just went with the flow.  We ate when hungry, and not according to the time, for example.  I found it to be very relaxing to just do things as and when needed instead of thinking about the time.  I know it’s not always possible to do that, since some things happen at definite times, but it is nice to just ignore the clock a bit.

Now that I’m home, I’m already finding that I’m going back to watching the clock more.  However, since I no longer have my laptop, maybe I can still be off the clock some, since I won’t be constantly checking the time on a computer.

Prayers for Fr Michael Williams

Please join me in praying for Father Michael Williams.  He had a brain hemorrhage, followed by an operation, and, last I heard, was on a ventilator with the doctors waiting for him to wake.  He’s a younger priest, a wonderful priest.  I met him when he was teaching RCIA at the Cathedral.  He blessed Kieran prior to him being born and also blessed our flat for us when we moved in.  While I don’t see him much now, I think of him and he’s truly touched my life, as I know he’s touched the lives of many others.  Please pray for him, and for his family.  St Jean-Baptiste Vianney, patron of priests, pray for him.

Made From Scratch

I’ve posted about making homemade crackers before, but I’ve slightly changed the way I do it, so I’m posting again.  I came across another website that suggested using olive oil instead of butter, and I really love them that way.  So here’s the recipe I use:

2/3 c wholemeal flour
1 1/3 c plain or strong white flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
herbs/spices of your choice
2/3 c water
1/3 c olive oil

Preheat oven to 200C/400F.  Sift the dry ingredients together in a bowl.  Make a well in the centre and add wet ingredients.  Roll out directly onto a baking sheet (this recipe makes enough for two trays), either using a rolling pin or even just patting them out with your hand.  If you added herbs to the mix, then just cut with a pizza cutter now and pop in the oven.  Alternatively, brush a little olive oil on top and then sprinkle with your choice of toppings and then cut.  Bake on a middle rack until golden.  I usually either mix rosemary into the dry ingredients or top with freshly ground black pepper.  I hear from the funny-shaped woman that you can substitute a mix of gram and rice flours, and that it works well with pumpkin seeds and sunflower seeds.

Imperia pasta maker from Amazon UK

I also make my own pasta now.  My in-laws gave me a pasta maker (the hand-crank variety), and I love it.  I can use the rollers alone to make lasagne sheets, or I can use the cutter for spaghetti and tagliatelle.  It’s really quite easy, too.  You start with 1 c of flour (technically this should be 00 flour, but I’ve successfully used plain and strong flour) and 1 egg.  I usually use half wholemeal and half white.  Mix those and add a little water at a time as needed.  Add more flour as you knead until the dough is elastic and not sticky.  I leave it to sit for a little while prior to running it through the crank.  Sometimes I find that I didn’t knead it enough and need to go back and add more flour and knead some more, but after that it works well.  With lasagne I don’t cook the pasta beforehand, as I find it turns out well just cooking in the lasagne.

I did try ravioli once, and it didn’t turn out so well, but I know I overfilled the raviolis.  I’ll try again sometime.

Moving with Littles – Guest Post

Knowing that Laura has moved overseas and has a young daughter, I asked her for some tips on moving overseas with children.  She graciously submitted this guest post for me, addressing that very topic.

As a family of expats, we move a lot. Often we even move within the same country or within the same concession, depending on availability of housing. Since my daughter’s birth a little less than three and a half years ago, we have lived in three countries and have moved into as many houses (we’re planning to move from our studio into a larger house in a couple of months time). And then I’m not even mentioning the rentals and camping out at relatives in between.

Moving with children can be challenging, not in the least because it is stressful for the parents too. Here are a few suggestions for making the transition and the work in entrails as peaceful as possible.

  1. Prepare!   Preparation is the most important thing when it comes to moving. I’m not only talking about the boxing and taping and de-cluttering, I’m talking mental preparation. Start talking to your child about the move – no matter how small she is –  well in advance. Make the move more sensible by discussing the region/country/neighborhood you’ll be moving into. if it is possible to have a visit there, bring your kids so they can see where they are going. Show them pictures, read up on the place. Talk to them about the house and how it will be.
  2. Careful about the rosy glasses!  Don’t try to depict the move as all positive, which might be setting yourself and your child up for disappointment. You are probably (hopefully) looking forward to the move, but calculate that there might be downsides too, don’t ignore this, but talk about it. Your child might not see some of his friends any more, you might be moving away from family… Try to find a balance between the positive and the negative sides of this move when you talk to your child, so he has a good idea of what’s going to happen.
  3. Involve your child.  Have your child pick out the toy and clothing he wants to keep aside for the day(s) you’ll be travelling. Ask her to rummage through her things and sort out what she doesn’t need any more. If she is willing, she can fill a box of toys and personal belongings to ship to the new destination.
  4. Everything goes.  Make sure your child understands that you are de-cluttering too, and that your personal stuff goes in boxes too. 
  5. While you were sleeping.  Try to keep the more tricky stuff for when your child is sleeping or out playing. It can be a handful to pack when your child keeps unpacking the boxes. This might also be a good idea for some of their affairs.
  6. Keep things in their room/area as long as possible.  Pack the things your child uses most often last. You could organise that on the last day, your child is out with a relative or your significant other, so you cab pack up the things he can play with until the end.
  7. Pack the things you never or rarely use first.  We tend to pack things in order of use. We’d first pack things we have in storage, then the things we only use on occasion, then the things you don’t need like decorations, and then we start cutting into the things we do need until we’ve reached the bare minimum (like only leave two towels at the end…).
  8. Start well in advance.  If you take your time moving, just picking and boxing things as you find a moment, you won’t be as stressed when you reach D-Day, and you’ll avoid the ‘I’ll never get it all done’ stress.
  9. Keep some entertainment aside.  Do not make the mistake to end up in an empty house with nothing to do. Keep something aside for everyone in the family to pass the last moments in peace and entertained. You might like a book or a few DVD’s and art supplies are a good idea to keep aside for your children. 

I hope these tips will help you prepare your move in all serenity.

Author: Laura Schuerwegen
Blog: Authentic Parenting 

Bio: Laura is a mother, wife and writer, who swapped the life she studied for to have a more connected family under the African tropics. After lots of travelling, she and her family are now living in DR Congo. She writes about natural living at Authentic Parenting.

Gone in the Blink of an Eye

Today I was scared out of my mind and realised how everything can change in the blink of an eye.  I was walking back from Mass with the kids, with Charlotte on my back and Kieran walking beside me.  He’d pushed the button to cross the street and waited for me to say it was clear to cross.  I’d waited for the green man and had seen that the car coming up was actually stopping.  Once I saw that it was clear, I gave him the OK.

At that moment, a car came speeding down the road and I shouted for Kieran to come back.  Thankfully he responded to me in time, but in my mind I could see him getting hit.   The car was going over the speed limit and the driver made absolutely no sign that she saw Kieran.  The driver of the other car that was stopping looked horrified.  I was terrified.  Kieran thought I was angry because I shouted, so once we got across the street after all that, I scooped him up and cried that I wasn’t angry, just scared.  I thanked him for listening to me and clung to him.

I was still shaking when I got home, and my mind was still racing with the “what ifs”.  It’s all too easy to take my family for granted, when everything could change in the blink of an eye.  I thank God for my family, for I’d be lost without them.  I thank God for keeping Kieran safe today.  I cannot imagine life without him, and I hope I never have to imagine it.  It was an excellent reminder to treasure every moment, though.

Rosary Thoughts: the Fifth Joyful Mystery

The Fifth Joyful Mystery: the Finding of the Boy Jesus in the Temple

First, the relevant Scripture, from Luke 2:

40 And as the child grew to maturity, he was filled with wisdom; and God’s favour was with him.

41 Every year his parents used to go to Jerusalem for the feast of the Passover.

42 When he was twelve years old, they went up for the feast as usual.

43 When the days of the feast were over and they set off home, the boy Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem without his parents knowing it.

44 They assumed he was somewhere in the party, and it was only after a day’s journey that they went to look for him among their relations and acquaintances.

45 When they failed to find him they went back to Jerusalem looking for him everywhere.

46 It happened that, three days later, they found him in the Temple, sitting among the teachers, listening to them, and asking them questions;

47 and all those who heard him were astounded at his intelligence and his replies.

48 They were overcome when they saw him, and his mother said to him, ‘My child, why have you done this to us? See how worried your father and I have been, looking for you.’

49 He replied, ‘Why were you looking for me? Did you not know that I must be in my Father’s house?’

50 But they did not understand what he meant.

51 He went down with them then and came to Nazareth and lived under their authority. His mother stored up all these things in her heart.

52 And Jesus increased in wisdom, in stature, and in favour with God and with people. 

I’ll be honest, this is pretty much the one mystery that I never really “got”.  I mean, I know about it, I know the story quite well, but I didn’t connect with it and found it more difficult to meditate on it.  I didn’t have a problem with other Joyful Mysteries, especially not now that I have children, but this one always stumped me.  Yes, I thought it amazing with Jesus revealing His relationship to the Father, and His subsequent obedience to Mary and Joseph, but I thought there was surely something I was missing.  I’d find myself praying “Lord, I don’t know what to meditate on with this, I don’t understand the significance, but I will try”.

Well, recently a thought hit me.  This came after a friend asked where Jesus was for those 3 days that His parents were looking for Him.  Suddenly the parallel with the 3 days in the tomb struck me.  Where was Jesus?  He was teaching!  In both cases, He was teaching.  During this Mystery, He was teaching at the Temple, and during His time in the tomb, He was preaching to the souls of those who had died.  I love the foreshadowing!

After I wrote this, I read a great post on the Joyful Mysteries at Shameless Popery.  I highly recommend it.