I Grew A Potato!

You have no idea how happy I am!  Whenever I try to grow potatoes, something goes horribly wrong.  This year, without even trying, I got a potato! :):):)  Okay, it was only ONE TINY potato, but it WAS a potato!  My husband and I shared it the other night and it was delicious, a bit nutty in flavor.

Here is our compost bin, that my husband built, in which the little red potato grew ("The Little Red Potato," sounds like a children's book!  You're welcome to write it, I'm not going to.).  Since we have tons of leaves, we needed to build this large bin to put them in and of course we also add our raw produce scraps and yard clippings, in addition to wood scrap from my husband's wood shop (more on that in our next post!).  That's pretty much all that goes into our compost.  I am a compost purist, so I do not use any paper products (due to chemicals), no household dirt & dust (yes I've heard of people doing that-bad idea), no cooked food, no meat, no excrement, no animal products except for rinsed egg shells.  And I make awesome compost.  With lots of worms in it.  Stuff can't help growing in it!  So when I saw this potato plant coming up, I decided to leave it alone and see what would happen.  It only grew that one little one, but it was a fun experiment.  I always like to do things outside the box and see what happens.  To me, gardening is very much about experimentation.  In fact, due to all the variables involved in gardening, it really is always something of an experiment.  I hope one day to get more than one tuber from a potato plant-I will not give up!  (Yes, that's my son's old swing in the background, from when he was little-we still haven't cut it down-they grow up so fast!)

Categories, etc......

FYI-in case you haven't figured this out, if you click on any of the categories at the top of each post (for instance, this post has two categories:  "General" and "Spiritual Life"), you will get all posts with that category.  I realize a side-bar with a list of all the categories would be AWESOME!  And how about a "Search" button?  And there are a lot of other improvements we need to make.  The problem is, that I have had difficulty finding the time to do these things and when I do have the time, I have difficulty figuring out HOW to do these things.  It should be easy, right?  This isn't my first blog.  Yes, I agree it should be easy but for some reason, it ISN'T.  I don't want to say bad things about Squarespace-maybe I'm just not smart enough or maybe I'm not paying enough $ to get these deluxe features....I don't know!  Anyway, I want to reassure you that I am working on these improvements and you should see something happening in the coming days.......

I hope.

BTW, do you know what this coming Thursday is???

The 99th Anniversary of the Miracle of the Sun at Fatima! 

Our Lady of Fatima, pray for us! 

Dear Lucia, Jacinta and Francisco, pray for us!

I also wanted to mention that my husband and I have, in honor of the feast of Saint Faustina this month, been praying the Divine Mercy Chaplet Novena.  Its also quite appropriate during this Respect Life "Moved by Mercy" Month (see previous post) and in these final days of the Jubilee Year of Mercy.  The Chaplet Novena is such a blessing to pray.  The first time we prayed it, guess what we found out on the final day....That I was pregnant with our son (after a number of "negative" tests), our only child!  (We also visited the Divine Mercy Shrine in Massachusetts on our honeymoon, which was only two months earlier.)  If you are a devout Catholic, this is no surprise to you-you already know that God often gives us these little signs!  CM:)

October: Month of the Holy Rosary & Respect Life Month

“Italians come to ruin most generally in three ways ~ women, gambling, and farming."

Saint Pope John XXIII, feast October 11th

I'm half Italian (in case you didn't already guess that from my name), so I can put up an Italian joke....and Pope John XXIII was Italian too, so I guess he knew what he was talking about!  FARMING!  Hysterical!  Though I have always thought of Italians as good farmers and gardeners.  Maybe I was wrong.  My father seemed okay at it.  He grew eggplants on our front lawn in Levittown, Long Island.  I feel pretty sure we were the only people on the block with eggplants on the lawn. 

October is dedicated to the Most Holy Rosary (see prayer on Home page) and dedicated as "Respect Life Month" by the USCCB-this year's theme is "Moved by Mercy," echoing the Holy Father's Jubilee Year of Mercy, which ends November 20th.  May we pray the rosary for the unborn and all threatened human life and participate this month in any pro-life activities that we can.

October also gives us an array of interesting feasts.  Some great and famous saints:  Saint Therese, Saint Francis, St. Faustina, Saint Teresa of Avila, Saint Margaret Mary....2 saints invoked for headaches, 2 invoked for demons, 2 female Doctors of the Church and 2 recent popes.  Also, Christ the King on the 30th!

So what can we do about the Rosary this month?  If you're already praying it every day, then....you....probably don't have to do anything.....okay, try to get someone else to pray it, how's that?  If you're not praying it every day, then why not heed the requests of Our Lady of Fatima and begin doing so?  Here are some notable feasts of this month-remember these saints on their feastdays-read about them, pray to them, develop friendships with them.....

10/1-Saint Therese of Lisieux, Virgin, Religious, Doctor-patron of missions (new)

10/2-Holy Guardian Angels/Respect Life Sunday

10/3-Saint Therese of Lisieux (trad)

10/4-Saint Francis of Assisi, Founder of Franciscan Order, Stigmatist

10/5-Saint Faustina Kowalska, Virgin, Religious, seer of the Divine Mercy

10/6-Saint Bruno, Priest, Founder of Carthusian Order-patron of those possessed by demons

10/7-Our Lady of the Rosary

10/9-Saints Denis, Bishop, Rusticus & Eleutherius, Martyrs-Saint Denis invoked against demons and headaches

10/11-Divine Maternity of Our Lady/Saint Pope John XXIII, 20th Century Pope

10/15-Saint Teresa of Jesus (Avila), Virgin, Religious, Doctor-invoked against headaches

10/16-Saint Margaret Mary Alacoque, Virgin, Religious, Seer of the Sacred Heart of Jesus (new)

10/17-Saint Margaret Mary Alacoque (trad)

10/18-Saint Luke, Evangelist, Martyr-patron of doctors, painters & sculptors

10/22-Saint Pope John Paul II, 20th Century Pope

10/24-Saint Raphael the Archangel-patron of happy meetings, travel, marriage, healing, the blind & youth

10/28-Saints Simon & Jude, Apostles, Martyrs (brothers)-Saint Jude patron of hopeless cases

10/30-Christ the King

10/31-All Hallows Eve

New Yorkers Will Never Forget....

September 12th-the flag remains at half-mast for the victims of 9/11 at a firehouse in Forest Hills, Queens, NY.

15 years later, someone still remembers the firefighters who gave their lives on that day.  Let us pray for their souls and for their families....and all the victims, including those who continue to live with physical and mental disabilities.  Holy Mother and Dearest Jesus, we lift these intentions to Thee.  Amen.

"Greater love than this no man hath, that a man lay down his life for his friends." 

John 15:13

Recent Pics.....

I gave Our Lady these gorgeous red coneflowers today, on 9/11.  Just as she watches over my neighborhood from this hill, she watches over all her children, especially at "the hour of our death."

I recently visited this 9/11 Memorial at Eisenhower Park, in East Meadow, Long Island.  Under a somber, smoky sky, this amazing piece of art shows the Twin Towers intertwined...twins....born together, destroyed together....their fates, inextricably linked, like the two people who were seen jumping together, holding hands.  It is estimated about 200 people jumped or fell from the Towers that day.  None of them survived, though some desperately clung to tablecloths from the restaurant at the top, trying to use them as parachutes, hoping against Hope.  An extraordinary final testimony to this Theological Virtue and the preciousness of life.

The Towers were glorious, especially at night.  I stood on the top of one once.  The view was truly spectacular.  I'll never forget it.  On 9/11, I could not bear to watch the news and spent the whole day alone in prayer, having no idea what was happening.  When my husband came home from work he told me......"The Towers are gone."  I'll never forget those words, though it came as no surprise.  Part of me already knew.

This is part of the same Memorial at Eisenhower Park.  An actual piece of a Tower, somewhat rusted over the past 15 years.....in one sense, sickening.....in another, comforting....it rained blood that day, but it also rained crosses.  Much like the Crucifixion itself....unthinkable, horrifying....yet, the Act of Love which wrought our salvation.

I mentioned Saint Fiacre in my post on the month of August, his feast being August 30th.  He is the patron saint of gardeners, along with Saint Rose of Lima, who shares the same feastday!  (Incidentally, on this past August 30th, I was officially accepted into the "Master Gardener" course at Cornell University Cooperative Extension of Nassau County, NY-I took this as a little sign that I'm on the right track!)  I was amazed to see this statue of Saint Fiacre yesterday at Rosedale Nurseries in Hawthorne, NY, where I bought the red coneflowers pictured above.  Unfortunately, it was too expensive for me to buy, so I did the next best thing-I took a picture of it!  Saint Fiacre and Saint Rose of Lima, pray for us!

Took this picture of a beautiful butterfly interested in a rotten apple at a 4-H camp in Riverhead, Long Island last week.  I worked hard to get that shot!  (Zoom in to see it better.)

Last but not least.....I know you won't believe this, but yes, I took this picture and no, its not photo-shopped.  The water really is THAT blue, but its....DYED!  This was taken at a facility in Manhasset, Long Island, where the gardening classes are held.  In a way, its pretty, but do they really think they can do a better job than God???  He is the Lord of all, the Alpha and the Omega Who is greater than all our sufferings.  We cannot forget tragedies like 9/11, but we also cannot be defeated by them.  He's got it all under control, so let us end this post on a note of peace, faith, hope and love!  CM:)

September is the Month of Our Lady of Sorrows.....

This month, we contemplate and honor the many sufferings of the Mother of God while she lived on earth.  September 15th is the feast of Our Lady of Sorrows in the new calendar....however, in the old, it is the feast of the Seven Sorrows of Our Lady.  There is a beautiful chaplet of the Seven Sorrows, which we would do well to pray frequently this month.  May we unite our own sorrows to those of our Heavenly Mother, making them more bearable and bringing us closer to her.  Please see the prayer from the Litany of Our Lady of Sorrows, on our Home page.

We celebrate three more Marian feasts this month....the joyful Birth of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Most Holy Name of Mary and Our Lady of Ransom, dating back to the 13th century (how wonderful our Catholic heritage is, giving us such a connectedness with the Body of Christ through the centuries!).   We honor Christ as well this month, in the Exaltation of the Holy Cross....which precedes.....the Ember Days of September, when we exercise penance for a fruitful harvest.  Also, we celebrate two 20th century saints, both named Pius....how important these recent saints are, to remind us that sainthood is never too far away or unreachable-it is the destiny we are all called to fulfill!

Here are some of the interesting and notable feasts of this month....let us more fully practice our great Roman Catholic Faith by celebrating these feasts with our families in prayer, spiritual reading and whatever other ways the Holy Ghost inspires us with......

9/1-Saint Anna, the Prophetess (non-standard)

9/3-Saint Gregory the Great, Pope & Doctor-patron of teachers and church music/Saint Pius X, Pope of the 20th Century

9/8-Birth of the Blessed Virgin Mary

9/10-Saint Pulcheria, Virgin & Empress of the Eastern Roman Empire (non-standard)

9/12-Most Holy Name of Mary, "Nomen Mariae"

9/14-Exaltation of the Holy Cross

9/15-Our Lady of Sorrows (new)/Seven Sorrows of Our Lady (trad)

9/17-Saint Hildegard of Bingen, Virgin, Abbess, Doctor/Stigmata of Saint Francis of Assisi

9/18-Saint Joseph of Cupertino, Priest-patron of air travel

9/20-Saint Eustace & Companions, Martyrs-invoked against fire

9/21-Saint Matthew, Apostle-patron of bankers and accountants/Ember Wednesday in September (trad meat at one meal)

9/23-Saint Pius of Pietrelcina, Priest, Stigmatist-20th century saint/Saint Thecla, Virgin & Martyr-patron of the dying/Ember Friday in September

9/24-Our Lady of Ransom/Ember Saturday in September (trad meat at one meal)

9/27-Saint Vincent de Paul, Priest & Founder-patron of charitable societies

9/29-Saints Michael, Gabriel & Raphael, Archangels

9/30-Saint Jerome, Priest & Doctor-translated Latin Vulgate Bible

(this blog provides both old and new feasts)

August is the Month of the Immaculate Heart of Mary....

With my son home from college, things have been a bit topsy-turvy this summer.  I get into a routine when he is gone and then he comes home and it is all disrupted!  Soon he will be back at school, no more mess all over the house, no more bad treats to tempt me, no more annoying arguments and I will miss him terribly!  And hopefully, my writing will be a little more regular and punctual.....

Holy Church honors the Immaculate Heart of Our Heavenly Mother this month.  This traditional feast is celebrated August 22nd, along with the new feast of the Queenship of the Blessed Virgin Mary.  Of course, we also celebrate the great feast of her Assumption and her Seven Joys!  Let us all attend Holy Mass on the Assumption, even though it may not be a holy day of obligation.  Let us prove our love and devotion to her!  As I said in a previous post....what is love if it is never tested? 

We also celebrate the Transfiguration of Our Lord, which is a sadly over-looked feast.  We have 2 patron saints of gardeners this month, Saint Rose of Lima and Saint Fiacre of Brie (actually on the same day!).  In the preparedness and sustainability world, we like gardens!  The more the better!  And we celebrate two of the Church's great mothers-Saint Helena and Saint Monica.  So let's have a look at a sampling of this month's feasts:

8/1-Saint Alphonsus Liguori, Bishop, Doctor-patron of confessors & moral theologians (it is said he suffered from obsessive compulsive disorder) (New)

8/2-Saint Alphonsus Liguori (Trad)

8/4-Saint John Vianney, Priest-patron of parish priests (his heart is incorrupt-I saw it once!) (New)/Saint Dominic, Priest, Founder of Dominicans, Seer of the Holy Rosary (Trad)

8/5-Saint Emygdius, Bishop, Martyr-invoked against earthquakes (Non-Standard)

8/6-Transfiguration of Our Lord

8/8-Saint Dominic (New)/Saint John Vianney (Trad)

8/9-Saint Teresa Benedicta of the Cross (Edith Stein), Virgin, Religious, Martyr

8/11-Saint Chiara of Assisi (Saint Clare or Clara), Virgin, Founder of Poor Clares (New)

8/12-Saint Chiara of Assisi (Trad)

8/14-Saint Maximilian Mary Kolbe, Priest, Founder, Martyr-patron of drug addiction sufferers & political prisoners/Vigil of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary (Trad)

8/15-ASSUMPTION OF THE BLESSED VIRGIN MARY (all of my sources indicate this is not a holy day of obligation in the US this year and I must say this makes me very sad-we must make reparation to her poor heart!)

8/16-Saint Joachim, Father of the Blessed Virgin Mary

8/18-Saint Helena, Widow, Empress, Mother of Constantine, Finder of the Holy Cross-patron of converts and marital difficulties

8/21-Our Lady of Knock (Non-Standard)

8/22-Queenship of the Blessed Virgin Mary/Immaculate Heart of Mary

8/23-Saint Rose of Lima, Virgin-patron of South America & gardeners (New)

8/24-Saint Bartholomew, Apostle of Our Lord, Martyr-patron of plasterers

8/27-Saint Monica, Mother of Saint Augustine-patron of mothers/Seven Joys of the Blessed Virgin Mary (Non-Standard)

8/28-Saint Augustine, Bishop, Doctor-patron of theologians

8/29-Passion of Saint John the Baptist

8/30-Saint Rose of Lima (Trad)/Saint Fiacre of Brie, Hermit-patron of gardeners & car service workers


July is the Month of The Most Precious Blood of Christ!

[Edited since original posting]

Sorry this post is a little late.  I was having computer problems-I do like to get this out the first of the month.  There is a prayer from the Litany of the Most Precious Blood on our Home page-please have a look!  May we honor Our Lord’s Precious Blood this month in whatever ways we can.  May we always defend His Most Sacred Body and Blood.  In this culture of “tolerance,” we must never tolerate sacrilege, which tragically, abounds in today’s world.  What does this mean in practical terms?  Pray about it and the Holy Ghost will enlighten your mind.  The culture is so bad, we must all submit to martyrdom in some fashion.  Don’t expect things to get any easier any time soon.  Bite the bullet and win your heavenly reward!  What is love if it is never tested?

Here are some interesting feasts of this month.  Since we are preppers around here, I like to provide the feasts of saints who are invoked for particular needs which may be relevant in times of distress (Saint Camillus and Saint Pantaleon are both invoked for disease and the medical profession).  We will soon need them more than ever!  And if you don’t understand why, you are not paying attention...on that note, may we exercise penance over this 4th of July weekend for our beautiful and ailing United States of America….and for the babies in the womb she has abandoned.  O Mary, Patroness of the United States, pray for us!  Pray for the little ones!  May we never forget them!

Have a most holy and blessed month of July!

7/1-Most Precious Blood

7/2-The Visitation

7/3-Saint Thomas-Apostle, Martyr

7/4-Our Lady of Refuge (non-standard)

7/6-Saint Maria Goretti-Virgin, Martyr

7/12-Saint Veronica of the Veil (non-standard)

7/16-Our Lady of Mount Carmel (wear the Brown Scapular-it is very powerful!)

7/18-Saint Camillus de Lellis-Priest, Founder, Patron of the sick & nurses

7/19-Saint Vincent de Paul-Priest, Founder of Vincentians, Patron of Charitable Societies

7/22-Saint Mary Magdalen-Patron of Repentant Sinners

7/25-Saint James the Greater-Apostle, Martyr/Saint Christopher-Martyr, Patron of Travelers

7/26-Saints Joachim & Anne-Parents of the Blessed Virgin Mary

7/27-Saint Pantaleon-Martyr, Patron of Lung Disease, Doctors & Medical Profession

7/29-Saint Martha-Virgin, Sister of Lazarus & Mary , Patron of Cooks

7/31-Saint Ignatius of Loyola-Priest, Founder of Jesuits, Patron of Spiritual Retreats


(this blog provides both new and old feasts-non-standard refers to local or “historical” feasts)

A New Prayer to Saint Joseph!

I was thinking of Saint Joseph on Fathers Day, yesterday.  In honor of him, the Father of Fathers, the one man from the human race that our Heavenly Father chose to raise His beloved only Son, here is a brand new prayer.  I wrote this prayer 11 years ago, felt embarrassed by it, and stuck it in a drawer.  As I was considering what I should post today, I thought of this prayer and wondered if I could find it.  I found it right away.  I know I wrote it 11 years ago because it was written on a donation envelope for the 2005 "Catholic Ministries Appeal."  I've edited it very slightly.  I've learned something in the past 11 years:  Life is too short to worry about perfection....or, as Leonard Cohen put it, "Forget your perfect offering, there is a crack in everything, that's how the light gets in."  I'm getting too old to care.  I just want to do my work, good or bad, and at least I can say I tried.  In writing this prayer, I was going for the "Hail Mary" of Saint Joseph.  I thought there should be such a prayer-easy to remember, short and to the point......

O Saint Joseph

O Saint Joseph, Guardian of Our Lord and Our Lady, intercede for us before the Divine Majesty.  O holy and humble carpenter, pray for God's children in all our great need.  We pray this in the Name of the Christ Child, once held in your loving arms.  Amen.