Monday, May 23, 2016

Other Springtime Happenings

At the very end of March, my parents moved into our old house. My mom decorates so beautifully!

Sometimes you just need a Monday lunch date at Luby's!

Thomas was so excited to start swim team in early April! They had some "dry land practice" before starting actual swimming.

Girls watching the boys at swim team dry land practice

Steven's mom was honored at a special lunch in Houston. The girls and I drove down to attend!

Mary Clare took some photos at the first communion mass at our church.

We prepared to say goodbye to our minivan.

Girls watching swim practice

I came out of Hobby Lobby to find these three cutie pies!

A typical dinner night with a "round table" game.

My dad was in the hospital and I'm sure he enjoyed these crazy visitors!

Ellie practicing piano

Playdough one weekday morning

My new ride!

The kids are SO happy to have more space!

First swim meet

Thomas getting ready for his one event, 25m freestyle!

The 4-H Roundup had a pinewood derby that the boys loved!

The food challenge girls were thrilled to win another contest.

1st place for the Sugar and Spice Chefs!

And a very special first communion day for our goddaughter Cecilia!

Monday, May 16, 2016

Mary Clare's Confirmation

Mary Clare's Confirmation
Pentecost Sunday
May 15, 2016
Cathedral of Our Lady of Walsingham
CCC 1285  Baptism, the Eucharist, and the sacrament of Confirmation together constitute the "sacraments of Christian initiation," whose unity must be safeguarded. It must be explained to the faithful that the reception of the sacrament of Confirmation is necessary for the completion of baptismal grace. For "by the sacrament of Confirmation, [the baptized] are more perfectly bound to the Church and are enriched with a special strength of the Holy Spirit. Hence they are, as true witnesses of Christ, more strictly obliged to spread and defend the faith by word and deed."
Confirmation is an extension of Baptism, where candidates receive more fully the gift of the Holy Spirit, and the graces necessary to be a Christian witness to the world. It is a free, unmerited gift of grace through the Church, and the anointing with oil imprints a spiritual seal on the soul. It is fitting to receive this sacrament on Pentecost Sunday as this is when the Church was formed and when the Church received the gift of the Holy Spirit.
CCC 1288  From that time on the apostles, in fulfillment of Christ's will, imparted to the newly baptized by the laying on of hands the gift of the Spirit that completes the grace of Baptism. For this reason in the Letter to the Hebrews the doctrine concerning Baptism and the laying on of hands is listed among the first elements of Christian instruction. The imposition of hands is rightly recognized by the Catholic tradition as the origin of the sacrament of Confirmation, which in a certain way perpetuates the grace of Pentecost in the Church."
Mary Clare has been preparing for this sacrament over the past year. She has been attending a weekly class, she has been studying the history of the Church and Acts of the Apostles in her daily religion work, and she has been preparing her heart through prayer and the sacraments of penance and communion. She chose Philomena as her Confirmation name. St. Philomena was a martyr of the early Church, said to have been a young Greek princess killed in the 4th century. Her relics were discovered in the Catacombs of St. Priscilla in 1802. Soon after, her veneration began and miracles have been attributed to her intercession. Mary Clare has been interested in her story ever since a mom in Corpus Christi gave a presentation on her life to the homeschool children. We ask for St. Philomena to pray for Mary Clare as she receives this great gift of the Holy Spirit.

Homeschool friends who attend our parish and received Confirmation at the same mass 

"You can only understand from the inside looking out, not the outside looking in."

CCC1299  In the Roman Rite the bishop extends his hands over the whole group of the confirmands. Since the time of the apostles this gesture has signified the gift of the Spirit. The bishop invokes the outpouring of the Spirit in these words: 
All-powerful God, Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, 
by water and the Holy Spirit 
you freed your sons and daughters from sin 
and gave them new life. 
Send your Holy Spirit upon them to be their helper and guide. 
Give them the spirit of wisdom and understanding, 
the spirit of right judgment and courage, 
the spirit of knowledge and reverence. 
Fill them with the spirit of wonder and awe in your presence. 
We ask this through Christ our Lord.

"the sacrament of Confirmation is conferred through the anointing with chrism on the forehead, which is done by the laying on of the hand, and through the words: 'Accipe signaculum doni Spiritus Sancti' [Be sealed with the Gift of the Holy Spirit.]."

Mary Clare chose her Godmother Veronica as her sponsor for Confirmation. This was a beautiful moment as I fondly recall being a sponsor myself and standing behind Veronica as she entered into the Catholic Church at the Easter Vigil in 1998.

CCC1302  It is evident from its celebration that the effect of the sacrament of Confirmation is the special outpouring of the Holy Spirit as once granted to the apostles on the day of Pentecost.

Our rector Fr. Hough and Bishop Lopes with Mary Clare and with our family

We are very proud of Mary Clare and are grateful for the gift of the Church and most especially the Holy Spirit who will continue to shower her with graces to live out her Christian calling in this world. 

Come Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful and kindle in them the fire of your love. Send forth your Spirit and they shall be created. And you shall renew the face of the earth.

Thursday, May 12, 2016

A little more from Ellie's Birthday and the Corpus Trip

For Ellie's birthday, we planned a last minute overnight trip back to Corpus Christi, where we used to live. The girls had been wanting to go see their old friends, and it happened to be the weekend of the ballet company's performance of "Swan Lake." So on her actual birthday we just had a little cake at the park, totally impromptu when a friend wanted to meet for a treat and a few more were able to join. Then the next morning we headed off on our little road trip with our girls and two friends. We had a great weekend celebrating Ellie!

Friends brought a gourmet cake from Whole Foods!

Hard to keep those candles lit!

The girls had a yummy Italian dinner on her birthday night,
Katie loves "1-2-3-wheee!" in the parking lot.

Then she opened presents at home.
A piano charm, sunglasses, and a summer art camp!

We headed out Saturday morning for the long trek to Corpus. 
Here we are on Ocean Drive!

We drove by our first rental home there and made a stop at the cemetery to visit little Avery, our friends' little boy who passed away in 2012.

Once we got to the hotel and checked in, after a little fiasco because I booked it the for wrong night, the girls were ready for a dip in the pool! 

We all got dressed up and went to a nice dinner at BJ's.

Then it was onto the ballet for Swan Lake!

Old friends at St. Helena after Sunday morning mass

And topped off the trip with some Blue Bell ice cream at Prasek's on the drive home!

It was a great weekend celebrating Ellie! Happy Birthday, sweet girl!

Friday, April 22, 2016

Eleven for Ellie

Our Ellie-in-the-Belly is now a big 11 year-old! She's about to finish 5th grade, has finished her first Suzuki book, and has had a great year with 4-H and ballet too. She's a great big sister, kindhearted friend, and sensitive girl who is always thinking of others. We're grateful she's a part of our family and look forward to what's in store for her in the next decade!

Today we had an impromptu get together at the park for some cake and playing, and tomorrow we will finally take a road trip back to Corpus Christi to visit old friends, see a beautiful ballet, and attend our old church there. We never got to have a proper goodbye, so this will be a special trip!

Happy Birthday, Elizabeth Ann Marie! 
We love you so very much!

(photos by MC)

Monday, April 18, 2016

Sunday Blessings

Our Sundays are first marked by a morning at church. It's the focus of our day, the focus of our week. The liturgy is so beautiful; today at mass I got the chills over and over again. I love the Vidi Aquam chant at the beginning of mass during the Easter season...
"I saw water flowing from the right side of the temple, alleluia.
It brought God's life and his salvation."
In many ways I feel like this "water" is like grace flowing out from our church, our community, the sacraments, is bringing much life and salvation to our family and to the outside world. It has been a blessing to be a part of this vibrant church community for over a year now.  Today there were about a dozen children who received their First Holy Communion, several who are good friends of our family.

On this Good Shepherd Sunday, Bishop Lopes spoke about Jesus as the Good Shepherd, and how images in the early church portrayed him in this way. He described a beautiful fresco in the Catacombs of Saint Priscilla of an image of Christ the Good Shepherd from the 3rd century. Jesus lays down his life for the sheep. He leaves 99 in search of the one who has wandered. The sheep know his voice.

Today our Sunday afternoon and evening was spent celebrating the sacrament with friends. Some Sundays are spent with extended family. Others are spent with our own family trying a new restaurant or grilling a nice meal at home. The photos below are from a lovely Sunday afternoon walking on the waterway after brunch. I am blessed to be surrounded by such my family, my local community, my church community, and among the precious friends God has given us.

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