Crafty Thursday

I’ve been on a sewing rampage this week, it seems.  I’d had one more shirt tucked away that I wanted to turn into a maternity dress, and I finally went to get the material.  I wanted this one to be shorter, but got the same amount of material (it was half off!), so I would have enough to make a skirt, too.  I must apologise for the poor quality of the photos.  I have no idea what keeps happening to our camera, but I couldn’t find it today.  I ended up using a different shirt than I’d intended.  This one was a maternity t-shirt that I cut off just below the bust.  The dress falls to just below the knees, and it’s perfect in this hot weather.

As it turns out, when I got down to measuring for a tiered maternity skirt, I didn’t have quite enough of the turquoise material.  However, I still had enough of the black and white material for the middle tier, and that left me with more than enough of the turquoise for the rest of the skirt.  I just have to get the elastic and finish the top.

What actually started the sewing rampage was my daughter’s insistence that I make her a fairy costume.  My mother and I had taken her to Joann’s with us when we were looking for other things.  Mom and Charlotte spent a lot of time looking at the patterns, as Charlotte saw the fairy costume pattern and didn’t want to leave.  I then went back to Joann’s another day and got out the pattern with the intention of getting the materials needed.  However, the pattern was rather confusing for me.  I chalked it up to me being a bit of a novice still until the lady who cuts the cloth also couldn’t easily understand it.  She did tell me how I could alter it, but I’m not quite that confident yet.  Instead, I had an epiphany that I could find a onesie or leotard and then make a fairy skirt and get some wings.  I found a onesie, and then my mom reminded me that I still had a tiered skirt that I’d made for Charlotte but that needed altering (I’d actually cut it down from one of my skirts).  So I cut out some triangles and zigzagged the edges.  I still need to get the elastic. I think I’ll get some chiffon for underneath to make it more flow-y and fairy-like.  And I’ll just buy wings.

Sunday Snippets – a Catholic Carnival

The carnival is hosted by RAnn.

I started out slow, but then blogged quite a bit towards the end of the week. I gave a blurb about another great children’s book that I’d definitely recommend, and also wrote about my latest knitting project.

The start of the Fortnight for Freedom prompted two posts: one with the prayer listed on the USCCB website, and one on Saints John Fisher and Thomas More.

Finally, I also have two posts on bringing children to Mass and dealing with the negative attitudes and comments from some people: Nonconformity and Mothers with Young Children at Mass.

Have a blessed Sunday and week!

Mothers with Young Children at Mass

Taking young children to Mass regularly can be daunting. I’ve seen a number of online debates on whether the children should even be there, even though they are baptised Catholics! Those who take their children anyway then have to contend its the stress of knowing the slightest sound may elicit negative comments, so it can be rather stressful and daunting when the children are quite young. This is even more the case when the mother is having more children, and thus is trying to bring older children and younger children.

As the mother to a growing family with children of varying ages, I know that the negative comments can leave me in tears, but the positive comments can truly encourage and make me smile.

So if you see a mother bringing her children to Mass, might I suggest commending her for bringing them, even if she’s right in front of you and the kids were noisy? Or even just smile at her. After all, maybe the crying child is teething or didn’t sleep well. Maybe the mother is exhausted and upset about something at home but managed to make it to Mass anyway. And maybe she has no option but to bring all the children if she wishes to attend Mass And receive the much-needed graces. I can guarantee that if the child is noisy, she’s nervous about negative comments, so hearing a positive one instead will mean a lot.

Above all, remember that the mother is just trying to follow Jesus’ words to bring the children to Him so they can learn the Mass and learn to recognise and love their Echaristic Lord. Even if you find it difficult to concentrate at first, the graces are still there; besides, as adults, it’s our role to teach the children, not condemn them for being who they are. A visiting priest once told me that something that is acting according to its nature is praising God. I hope we can all remember that the next time we see a child being a child, especially at Mass.

Nonconformity

I’m just a nonconformist.  I’m told I’ve always been like that, as my father sometimes reminds me of how I insisted on wearing trousers and a skirt and mismatched shoes to school.  I’ve always been happiest doing what comes naturally to me instead of trying to fit someone else’s mold.  It should come as no surprise, then, that this spills over into my parenting.

The past few days I’ve found myself being harsher with the children at Mass, trying to be more forceful about keeping the kids extremely quiet (no small feat with Charlotte), only to feel horrible about it the entire time.  Normally, I take a more laissez-faire approach to parenting, and yet also have very high expectations of my children.  While those positions may seem contradictory, they aren’t really, at least not in my mind.  My high expectations refer to things that I know they can do, and then I just relax about all the age-appropriate behaviour.  I suppose it shouldn’t surprise me that trying to force myself to parent a different way has just stressed me and upset them needlessly.

Source

As I realised this, in the middle of Mass, I prayed about it and asked God for wisdom.  The words that came back to me were from my conversations with Fr Theo, who told me never to worry about bringing the children, but to bring them and sit in the very front, remembering that Jesus said to bring the children to Him. And then I had peace about that.  I realised that being harsh wasn’t helping any of us, and certainly wasn’t instilling a love of the Mass or showing them the love of God.  Thus I resolved to go back to what I’d been doing, reminding myself that Charlotte’s still having a bit of a hard time with my pregnancy and the lack of milk and that I should therefore go easier on her.  I firmly believe that they will learn if I just keep bringing them, reminding them of expectations, setting the example, and, most of all, loving and trusting they will receive grace by being in the Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist.

I know my take on it doesn’t conform to the ideas that many have that children shouldn’t be heard at all at Mass, but I needn’t worry about others’ opinions, just God’s.  I must continually remind myself of this, as I’m all too aware of the negative opinions of others when Charlotte is louder.  Since she’s only two, this is quite often, though most of her exclamations are quite Catholic, actually. This actually reminds me of a post I read a few days ago, and I recommend you read it, too. 

I have to remind myself, too, because sometimes I can get caught up in the attitude of believing I’m not getting anything out of Mass because I must police the children, but, really, if I’m not getting anything out of being in the very Presence of my Lord, then that’s my problem, not theirs.  Yes, others matter too, of course, but at the same time, children are learning what to do, while adults can control their attitudes and reactions to distraction.

In the meantime, I’ll continue with parenting in the way that works for us, for the good of my children and myself, and trust that they will learn from observing.  I will also remind myself of the graces we all receive from being with Jesus in the Eucharist when I start forgetting what I’m doing and why.

Feast of Saints John Fisher, Bishop, and Thomas More, Martyr

Today the Church remembers the witness of Saints John Fisher, Bishop (right photo), and Thomas More, Martyr (left photo). Both were martyred by King Henry VIII for refusing to sign the Act of Succession, as they could not in good conscience agree to declare Henry’s marriage to Catherine of Aragon null, nor could they accept Henry as the Head of the Church in England.

These men stand out for their willingness to remain firm in their faith and standing for Truth, even when their peers abandoned them and when the penalty was certain death. They serve as a reminder to stand for what is truly important, no matter the cost. I have to say that I love St Thomas More’s last words: “I die the King’s good servant, but God’s first”. And it’s true. While he may not have answered the way the King wanted, he did serve the King well by telling him the truth, instead of being a sycophant. Sts. John Fisher and Thomas More, pray for us.

Fortnight For Freedom Starts Today!

Join the Bishops in praying for religious freedom:

O God our Creator,

Through the power and working of your Holy Spirit,

you call us to live out our faith in the midst of the world,

bringing the light and the saving truth of the Gospel

to every corner of society.

We ask you to bless us

in our vigilance for the gift of religious liberty.

Give us the strength of mind and heart

to readily defend our freedoms when they are threatened;

give us courage in making our voices heard

on behalf of the rights of your Church

and the freedom of conscience of all people of faith.

Grant, we pray, O heavenly Father,

a clear and united voice to all your sons and daughters

gathered in your Church

in this decisive hour in the history of our nation,

so that, with every trial withstood

and every danger overcome—

for the sake of our children, our grandchildren,

and all who come after us—

this great land will always be “one nation, under God,

indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”

We ask this through Christ our Lord.
Amen.

Crafty Thursday

My main project this week has been to make a cute little flower purse for a little girl I know.  Of course, I can’t seem to keep a pattern the way it was written, so I tweaked this a bit by knitting in the round using the magic loop technique once I made the individual petals. I also switched to stockinette instead of garter at that point, mainly just for convenience.  I’m now to the point of making the I-cord for the handle, and then I’ll put a button closure on it instead of a zipper.