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Love Calls Us To the Things of This World

One of my favorite poems is Richard Wilbur’s Love Calls Us to the Things of This World. The title sings through my mind when I am hanging laundry out on the line. The poem speaks for itself, of course, reminding us love and true spirituality is not gnostic – “bodiless and simple as false dawn.” Love isn’t found in clothes puffed with wind, but embodied in clumsy flesh and blood. I would like the words “Love Calls Us to the Things of This World” hanging in my laundry room as a constant reminder. So, I asked Bley whether she would be willing to create a “Love Calls Us” printable for the Homely Hours. She painted and handlettered a beautiful piece and is offering it to you – free for personal use. Love Calls Us to the Things of This World The eyes open to a cry of pulleys, And spirited from sleep, the astounded soul Hangs for a moment bodiless and simple As false dawn. Outside the open window The morning air is all awash with angels. Some are in bed-sheets, some …

On Baby Sleep Challenges, Psalm 127, and Monasticism

My first baby was not a good sleeper. During some of her early weeks,  we had sung Psalm 127 at church and it was going through my head during a particularly desperate night. I was pleading with God to help her fall back to sleep, on the basis of verse 2, “It is vain that you rise up early or go late to rest. . . for he gives to his beloved sleep.” I sympathized with that vanity.  I felt like I agreed so much with the psalmist that surely God would give me a good night’s sleep. But then I kept singing the Psalm in my mind. “Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb a reward.” Before, I never understood this abrupt change of subjects. But then, at that moment, I had a great epiphany. Indulge me in some parental midrash: “… for he gives to his beloved sleep. Here the psalmist, “Solomon” according to the superscription, perhaps hears the cry of his child (or several, it being Solomon, after all). He …

Building Family Culture: Reading Aloud

My husband and I both come from homes where our mothers read to us, where we were shaped permanently by the power of good stories read aloud. Reading aloud means living through stories together. And, I think that knits a family together in shared experience beyond mundane life.  This also plants the seeds for corporate make-believe that goes past the imagination of the individual child. And, it’s life-giving for more than just children. I didn’t anticipate the joy of reading aloud to be so pivotal in our first year of marriage. We married a month after graduating college and moved to the Chicago area so that my husband could start seminary. Due to the random jobs I found as a seminary wife, I ended up having to wake up a majority of mornings around 3:30am. So, I would try to fall asleep around 8:30pm in order to get the sleep I needed, but I would find this difficult. Gradually, my husband started reading me to sleep. In that first year of marriage, we reread books like The Hobbit and …

Building Family Culture: Vacations

Thank you to Sandy McNamara for contributing to our series on Family Culture. Sandy is the wife of our priest, Fr. Wayne McNamara, the mother of four, and a grandmother of four. She is an art historian and an educator and a founder of Dominion Academy of Dayton.   It took root in my own childhood.  My dad is still a history “buff.”  At the age of 85, he’s still reliving the Russian Revolution through the books he’s immersed himself in.  This love of history took our family to places like Washington, D.C., Appomattox Court House, Colonial Williamsburg, and  the battlefields of Gettysburg.  It brought history alive for me. Thus, when we started having our own kids we made vacation destinations one of the top priorities of our family’s year and we structured our life to save for them. When we moved to Dayton in 1986, we bought an old farmhouse (in the city), built in 1875 – its inner city location made its purchase incredibly inexpensive.  We had a used VW “Rabbit” – purchased from …

Family Culture and Sunday Tea

Our eldest child is seven now, which doesn’t seem so old, but in today’s society means he will soon be noticing more about the culture, asking us possibly difficult questions, paying more attention to his peers, and seeing how our family is different from others.  The teen years are looming, in the not so distant future, and I have been thinking that now is the time to focus on building a “family culture” to provide a buffer between our family and society at large. What is a “family culture”?  No, it’s not a bad joke about the sharing of bacteria in your house.  A family culture is, simply, how your family differs from every other family.  I appreciate this post from Catholic All Year on this topic. A family culture mostly has to do with preferences: What does your family like?  And matters of discipline: What will you allow/not allow in your home?  And other fun stuff: How do you like to recreate together?  How do you find rest and relaxation together?  Your family is like …

Kitchen Blessing Printable

Christ the King member and artist Michelle Abernathy created a lovely kitchen blessing for her home and is now sharing it as a free printable for personal use with the Homely Hours. Her to-do list contains the goal of making “prayerful beauty in small spaces.” Perhaps her Kitchen Blessing art may also add prayerful beauty to the small spaces in your home. The blessing is taken from Edward Hays’ Prayers for the Domestic Church: A Handbook for Worship in the Home. You can follow Michelle and see more of her art on facebook and instagram.  “Blessed be this shrine of the kitchen. “Blessed be the herbs and spices, and the pots and pans used to prepare our meals.May the ill-seasonings of anger and bitterness never poison the meals prepared here.” May all our meals be sacraments* of the presence of God.” Click image above to print the Kitchen Blessing Printable from Michelle Abernathy Art. *We take the idea of “sacrament” here to refer to a vision of reality that sees all creation as an epiphany of the …