Thursday, February 5, 2015

{p,h,f,r} Robert Burns Edition

I started this post last week, and then we were hit with the second bout of sore throats and stuffy noses for this year. So, a week later than planned, I present the Robert Burns Supper Post:

{pretty}

Sunday, January 25, was the birthday of Robert Burns and so we had our first annual Burn's Supper. In case you have never heard of it, a Burn's Supper is a Scottish tradition to celebrate the life and poetry of Scottish poet Robert Burns. 
Step one was decorations. The kids colored pictures and then set the table. 

The Flag of Scotland was a gift to Jim from his Uncle Tom years ago. It was given along with a sword (which you will see D holding below)


Next, the guests and the food is piped in (which means there is a bagpiper playing as they enter). The tradition is to serve Haggis at a Burn's supper, but we are not that brave hearted. 
What is Haggis? 
All I can gather is that most people really don't know, though there is rumor of sheep's stomachs. 
No thank you. 
It is also traditional to recite Robert Burns' poem "Address to a Haggis":

Fair and full is your honest, jolly face,
Great chieftain of the sausage race!
Above them all you take your place,
Stomach, tripe, or intestines:
Well are you worthy of a grace
As long as my arm.

We didn't do that either. But the kids, having an affinity for processions, took care of the other tradition and marched in with D at the lead. 
D was holding Jim's sword (you can imagine his creativity in coming up with reasons to bring out the sword) and since no one knows how to play the bagpipes, this recording played in the background:




The Kennedy Family Crest and Tartan.

{happy}

And what is food, if not happy!
For us, a Scottish meal means mince and tatties (ground beef with gravy and mashed potatoes), peas (not mushy), and of course HP (the bottle of "brown sauce" in the foreground)
Trifle for dessert. This is my gluten-free version, we used the trifle bowl for the rest of it. 


And the food was declared to be good. 

{funny}

"Can I just eat in peace? Why must my entire life be recorded?"

"I am being really patient here, but my trifle is calling me!"


{real}

A certain member of the family, who shall remain nameless, STILL does not eat peas. 

"Shhh....don't tell my mom!"

After dinner there was reciting and singing. This being our first year, we had only one poem memorized (at least in part) and that was only because Jim memorized it as a young boy and still recites it: 

My Heart's In The Highlands

1789

Farewell to the Highlands, farewell to the North, 
The birth-place of Valour, the country of Worth; 
Wherever I wander, wherever I rove, 
The hills of the Highlands for ever I love. 

Chorus.-My heart's in the Highlands, my heart is not here, 
My heart's in the Highlands, a-chasing the deer; 
Chasing the wild-deer, and following the roe, 
My heart's in the Highlands, wherever I go. 

Farewell to the mountains, high-cover'd with snow, 
Farewell to the straths and green vallies below; 
Farewell to the forests and wild-hanging woods, 
Farewell to the torrents and loud-pouring floods. 

My heart's in the Highlands, &c.

We also sang the famous Robert Burns song: 

Auld Lang Syne
1788

Should auld acquaintance be forgot, 
And never brought to mind? 
Should auld acquaintance be forgot, 
And auld lang syne! 

Chorus.-For auld lang syne, my dear, 
For auld lang syne. 
We'll tak a cup o' kindness yet, 
For auld lang syne. 

And surely ye'll be your pint stowp! 
And surely I'll be mine! 
And we'll tak a cup o'kindness yet, 
For auld lang syne. 
For auld, &c. 

We twa hae run about the braes, 
And pou'd the gowans fine; 
But we've wander'd mony a weary fit, 
Sin' auld lang syne. 
For auld, &c. 

We twa hae paidl'd in the burn, 
Frae morning sun till dine; 
But seas between us braid hae roar'd 
Sin' auld lang syne. 
For auld, &c. 

And there's a hand, my trusty fere! 
And gie's a hand o' thine! 
And we'll tak a right gude-willie waught, 
For auld lang syne. 
For auld, &c.

And we read aloud from a few more selections: 

A Red, Red Rose
[Hear Red, Red Rose]
1794
Type: Poem


O my Luve's like a red, red rose, 
That's newly sprung in June: 
O my Luve's like the melodie, 
That's sweetly play'd in tune. 

As fair art thou, my bonie lass, 
So deep in luve am I; 
And I will luve thee still, my dear, 
Till a' the seas gang dry. 

Till a' the seas gang dry, my dear, 
And the rocks melt wi' the sun; 
And I will luve thee still, my dear, 
While the sands o' life shall run. 

And fare-thee-weel, my only Luve! 
And fare-thee-weel, a while! 
And I will come again, my Luve, 
Tho' 'twere ten thousand mile!

A Grace Before Dinner, Extempore

1791

O thou who kindly dost provide 
For every creature's want! 
We bless Thee, God of Nature wide, 
For all Thy goodness lent: 
And if it please Thee, Heavenly Guide, 
May never worse be sent; 
But, whether granted, or denied, 
Lord, bless us with content. Amen!


A Grace After Dinner, Extempore

1791

O thou, in whom we live and move- 
Who made the sea and shore; 
Thy goodness constantly we prove, 
And grateful would adore; 
And, if it please Thee, Power above! 
Still grant us, with such store, 
The friend we trust, the fair we love- 
And we desire no more. Amen!


We declared this First Annual Kennedy Family Burn's Supper a success and decide we should do more of these sorts of celebrations. 
How about an Adam Smith Celebration of Economics? 
(did you know he was Scottish?)






Saturday, January 17, 2015

Reflecting On A Happy Death

Back in 2003, shortly after the crash of the Space Shuttle Columbia, I wrote this short article about the Catholic teaching on death. It was brought to mind this morning by a tragic event in our local Parish. Yesterday afternoon, Deacon Mike Mims lost his life in a helicopter accident. Though we did not know him in a personal way, he was obviously a man who knew, loved, and served God in this life. We know only the barest of facts from the tragic crash that claimed his life, but the circumstances suggest that the Deacon may have had some awareness of what was about to happen to him, and this gives us some hope, as I have explained in the article that follows. As we mourn the loss of his presence in our parish and we pray for the comfort of his family, we can also reflect on our own impending death. 


“60 seconds of fear”

When I saw the headline declaring that the Columbia crew may have had as much as one minute knowing what would happen before their ship exploded, my Catholic mind sighed with relief. But this was not the response of the writer of the article, or of the world. Why is this? Is it because I am some sort of masochistic fanatic who wants others to suffer? Or is it because the world has little idea of the importance of those last sixty seconds before death. 

Happy Death


Catholics have a habit of praying for a happy death. For a long time, growing up, I thought this meant a painless death, one with little suffering. But this is far from the truth. The truth is closer to what a good friend used to say: the best way to die would be on a plane you knew was going down sitting next to a priest. In the Catholic mind, a happy death is one in which we have the opportunity to meet death with a willing heart, and a recently cleaned soul.

Suffering is Good


It is common for the loved ones of those who have died to console one another with the fact that the deceased “didn’t suffer”, “went quickly” or “died in their sleep”. And in many ways these phrases can be comforting. No one wishes that a loved one will suffer. However, imagine that loved one has things in his life that he regrets but has never asked for forgiveness. Or perhaps he has behaviors and habits that turn him from God and he has stubbornly held onto them. 

Let’s face it, none of us is without sin, and all of us have neglected our relationship with God in some way or another. It is only in this life that we can freely turn to God and ask for healing and forgiveness. Once we have died, our fate is sealed. 
We all know that we will one day die, but seldom do we have a chance to know ahead of time when that will be. Most of us imagine, or at least hope, that we will die at a ripe old age, after those final years of contented retirement during which we spent a lot of time in contemplative prayer. 

Necessary Things


However, our death could come today, tomorrow, in ten years, 30 years…or in 60 seconds. Think of the great gift of one small minute when an untimely death comes upon us. In that sixty seconds I can quickly bring to mind the ways in which I have offended God, and ask him for forgiveness. I can recite the Act of Contrition—a perfect formula for getting right with God. I can even offer my suffering, both mental and physical, in reparation for my sins or for a loved one whom I will leave behind. 

Sixty seconds could be enough to get me a free pass straight to heaven, without a moment’s lingering in purgatory. Not only should we thank God when others have had those final moments, but we should pray that we, too, have the gift of time to face death willingly, and with true contrition for our sins. And perhaps a little final suffering would come in handy…but only if necessary. 

Dear St. Joseph, Patron of a Happy Death, pray for us

Thursday, January 1, 2015

The Second Annual Oor Wullie Day


In honor of all invented holidays with little to no real meaning, I present to you 
OOR WULLIE DAY, December 31, 2014!

Imagine a 1940's, Scottish Bart Simpson/Dennis the Menace. That is Oor Wullie. With his spikey hair and dungarees he gets into, and often neatly out of, messes and then philosophizes about them from his seat on his trademark upturned bucket.

Jim grew up getting Oor Wullie Annuals every year from his Aunt in Scotland, and now our kids read Oor Wullie. I learned early on that they can't be read aloud....at least not be this non-Scottish Mama. I'm raising Scotsmen but I don't speak it.

Here is D's Oor Wullie imitation. And you can see the books all over the floor. 

See how hard it is to read? "It's a sait fiche" means literally "It's a sore fight" but figuratively "It's a hard life". 

"Oor Wullie Day" began in 2012 when the kids got an Oor Wullie comic book for Christmas and they got so absorbed in it that, several days later we had to put it away. That was when we decided that a once a year Oor Wullie marathon would be a good way to balance it out.

So, New Years Eve 2014 was the first actual Oor Wullie day. The kids had a ball pretending like Oor Wullie was going to come down the chimney and leave them food, or books or something. They made a sign and left him cookies. In the morning all the collected Oor Wullie and The Broons (a sort of companion comic strip) annuals were set out on the hearth and they had a few new ones.
This is from Oor Wullie Day 2014.
Then the fun begins:

Hour 1

Hour 3


Hour 5

Seriously. They read pretty much all day. D was the most absorbed, reaching his goal of reading every Oor Wullie Annual we own. He decided that next year he would read all the Oor Wullie and two of The Broons. M is a Broons fan and A just likes to find funny pictures to show everyone. 

It was the most peaceful, relaxing day we have had all year. Jim and I wanted to try and bottle it up...how can we set aside some special things and keep them from becoming old and boring, or obsessions? How can we better foster a love of reading, or other non-screen activities that we can do as a family? We will be pondering these questions in the new year. 

Happy New Year! 
And remember, only 364 more days until Oor Wulle Day!

Friday, December 19, 2014

Christmas Past

As we approach this last week of Advent 2014, I am taking a walk down memory lane on my blog. While this has not been a big year for blogging, and it may seem that I am really not very dedicated to GIKids, I still see this as my place to record our little life and share my thoughts with whomever wants to read them. I write for myself, for my kids (I imagine them reading this someday as a record of our family life), for my husband (Jim is often the one saying "You should blog about that!") and for you--the faithful remnant that still come back to see what I have to say. Thank you for reading and commenting over the past four years.

Here are the links along my memory lane stroll. It looks like late 2012 was my low point of blogging since there is no year in review post for that year. This year's Christmas card post is a page linked up at the top just under the close-up of our Christmas tree with the St. Nicholas Ornament. Enjoy!

Christmas Card 2013
Fontanini Traditions from 2013
Christmas Card 2011
The Scandal of the Incarnation from 2011
Reindeer Games from 2011
A New Church Year from 2011
Christmas Card 2010
An Accounting of Christmas from 2010
We do that every year too from 2010
We do that every Advent from 2010

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Thanks to Mom....

It is all thanks to my Mom that this video gives me joy. I got it from Dan Lord at thatstrangestofwars.com and, as he says, don't turn it off until you get a look at that bass player (though I have to say I can't hear the bass at all---but it could be the Premier League soccer in the background here). I hope it puts a smile on your face too.


Monday, December 8, 2014

Bonding With the Baby Jesus

Unlike the jarring noise of an alarm clock, which only drives me further into my pillow, the cry of a baby in the middle of the night was always enough to get me out of bed quite easily. I may have staggered a bit to the baby’s bed, with half closed eyes and a grumble on my lips, but I would be there just the same. The younger the baby, the swifter my response. 

Even today, with bigger kids, the sound of a child calling at 1AM will still cause me to sit up and probably head upstairs to the bedroom.

But, in the absence of those sweet, needy, voices calling my name, I am most likely to stay in bed as long as possible, assuming I am not hugely impacting the day’s schedule. 

I am not the mom up early and dressed before the kids rise with my Bible in my lap. I am more likely to be the mom still in bed while my kids come in wondering what’s for breakfast. 

Then, during the first week of Advent I was reading a meditation in my Magnificat and the writer talked about the natural, human, specifically motherly response to the cries of a tiny infant. We are drawn to comfort the baby, especially if they are our own. We will rise from a very comfortable sleep and stumble barefoot down the cold hall to comfort that baby. 

And the Christ Child comes in the dark of winter, in a cold, uncomfortable stable and calls to us. 
We can’t help but draw near. 

That reality has moved me this Advent!

The Christ Child wakens me each morning before my early-rising children so that He and I can spend a few moments together. I ask Him each night to wake me early, and He has. 

I may not be a morning person yet, but, so far, I have been able to rise and stumble to my chair, jammies still on, turn on the lights of the Advent Tree, and spend some time with the Babe in the Manger. 

May your Advent also be filled with quiet moments bonding with the Christ Child. 

Monday, October 13, 2014

Anniversaries

52 years ago today my Mom and Dad were married.
14 years ago today Jim and I met for the first time in person (prior to that we had talked on the phone and exchanged emails since we "met" online)
and 4 years ago today I wrote this blog post.