Thursday, January 07, 2021

Celebrating the Feast of the Epiphany

Here we are 7 days into the new year and I'm only a day late with our first celebration! January 6 was the Feast of the Epiphany. Better late than never, right? Right. 

Years ago when my kids were very young and I was trying to figure out how to build our little domestic church, I read a book called The Year and Our Children- Planning the Family Activities for the Church Year by Mary Reed Newland.  Published in 1956, it was a gift to my mom when she was pregnant with me.  It must have been a baby shower gift. This little book is a treasure trove of great ideas for bringing the Church and her many feast days to life!

An oldie but a goodie!

Well done, little Miss Julie. This was a perfect gift!

In this great book, I discovered many wonderful celebrations including the one we did today. Ever since the kids were little, we have tried to help them understand the feast day by putting on a little Epiphany play taken directly from the book. The Casting is simple: Kevin is King Herod,  3 of the kids are the Three Kings, Emma is Mary and I am the Scribe.  The kids dress up in blankets for capes and crowns made of cereal boxes covered in foil and bedazzled to each King's taste. Appropriately attired, they travel through the house singing The First Nowell or We Three Kings, carrying gifts we held back from Christmas for the purpose. They approach King Herod and ask where they might find the newborn King of the Jews.  Herod calls for the Scribe to bring him the scrolls and he reads Micah 5:2

"But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah,
    though you are small among the clans[b] of Judah,
out of you will come for me
    one who will be ruler over Israel,
whose origins are from of old,
    from ancient times.”

Herod "innocently" asks the Kings to go, pay homage, and come back to tell him where the Babe is so he can do the same. Sly, Herod. Real sly.  The kids sing their way to our Mary, pay homage to the Baby, go to sleep to be visited by an angel who thwarts Herod's evil plans to kill the Baby Jesus- HA!- and they depart to their homelands by another way. Finally they get to unwrap their gifts. 


Even though it is fun I wasn't sure if this was a tradition the kids would want to continue into their teens. I asked them this year and they were adamant that the tradition continue. Of course they like getting an extra gift, but I think they enjoy the tradition that spans back to when they were very small. Holding onto a bit of their childhoods as they navigate these adolescent years? I'm here for it!

What's a celebration with out special food? Lame. That's what my kids would say. Well, they'd really say it was "sus".  Traditionally, you could make a King Cake. I've done it before, but it wasn't a big hit around here, so this year I made a Tarte Tatin from The Joy of Cooking.  I've never made it before, but I just looked up some photos of what it SHOULD have looked like: 


And what mine looked like:
Nailed it!

Ice cream makes it all better.

But at least the dinner I made is a new family favorite (to my never-ending delight and surprise), Chicken Tikka Masala from Damn Delicious No pictures. My future as a food blogger is questionable.

One last thing: Don't forget to chalk your doors! It's such an easy way to make your faith more visible to the world. I've been asked several times over the years what it means by people who come to the door.  What an nice conversation starter! I could go on, but this blog does such a lovely job, I won't elaborate here.


May our home and our hearts be dedicated to Our Lord and blessings pour forth from the love within.

Friday, January 01, 2021

Celebrating in the New Year

 Well, here I am again.  Brushing off the ol' blog because I have something to say.  Mostly, I've been over on Instagram doing stories for my own amusement. I've been thinking about this blog over the last year. I used to write weekly when my kids were little, then for some reason I just stopped.  I'm not quite sure why.  Doesn't matter.  

So what's so danged important that I am brushing the cobwebs off this crazy looking website? Nothing, really. I want to share my thoughts with you.  Can't that be enough? Yes. Yes it can. 

Since you're still reading, I know you agree. Now let's get down to business.

It's New Year's Day 2021 as I write this.  As many are wont to do, these past several weeks I've been reflecting on my life and what I want to improve in the next 12 months.  To that end, I have decided to choose a word of the year to focus my efforts.  The word I've chosen is CELEBRATE!. Yep, with an exclamation point. If 2020 had a word of the year it was DISAPPOINTING.  2020 taught me to celebrate the every day as well as the big things. That is going to be my focus this year.  

So how will I CELEBRATE!? To begin with, I listed out every known event in each month of the year. I'll add on as I think of more things.  I still need something for August. 

January: New Year's Day, Feast of the Epiphany, Emma's Name Day

February: St. Valentine's Day, Mardi Gras

March: Renee's Name Day, Emma's birthday

April: Easter, Anne-Marie's birthday

May: Mother's Day, Kevin's birthday, Memorial Day

June: Kevin's Name Day, my birthday, our 23rd anniversary, Father's Day

July: Independence Day, Anne-Marie's Name Day


September: Labor Day, My Name Day, Andy's birthday

October: Renee's birthday, Halloween

November: Thanksgiving, Andy's Name Day

December: ALL OF ADVENT and Christmas season

I'm combining this with my next goal: bake more often!  The kids' jaws dropped when I told them this. I usually promise to cook more vegetables. To their never-ending delight, I usually fail at this goal.  This year, I don't think they'll let me fail. They're invested!

Celebrating means more than just marking occasions, though. I know this plan will evolve as I go.  If you've been following my stories over on Instagram, you know that September began the Year of Mary, which is my year of focusing on healing my poor self-esteem and body image. So guess what? I'm adding this into my word of the year! CELEBRATE! my body, what it can do, no matter how it looks, CELEBRATE! that God LOVES ME SO MUCH and begin to love myself, too. There's more to this word than immediately comes to mind and I hope to make is as meaningful as I possibly can!

What will happen if I spend a year celebrating the big and small, the tangible and the intangible? My hope is that it will bring more JOY into my heart, into my family's hearts and ultimately, into the world.  I hope to use this blog to share my celebrations with you and invite you to join me in sharing your own celebrations of life!