Timeline and future learning

Yesterday, the kids played outside a lot, and I got carried away making a timeline. It goes back as far as 0 A.D. 

It’s old scratch paper and some lines, but each page represents 50 years. Simple, not incredibly pretty, but so far, we have these dates noted:

0: Jesus is born (I know not technically, but we’ll go with it for now!)

33: Jesus died and rose again

325: Nicene Council

476: (ok, might be off a hair, I’m not looking at it right now) Fall of Rome 

590-604: Pope St. Gregory the Great

800: Charlemagne crowned Holy Roman Emperor 

1252: St. Elizabeth of Hungary died

1373: St. Bridget of Sweden died

(Those two dates? Requested by Pumpkin since we talked about holy queens/royalty the other day!)

1492: Columbus discovered the Americas (we’ll add the Vikings living in North America at some point too)

1620: Pilgrims landed at Plymouth Rock

1776: Declaration of Independence 

1814: Star Spangled Banner written 

1861-65: US Civil War

1867: Laura Ingalls Wilder was born (we’re reading Little House in the Big Woods so this was of interest!)

In the 20th century we include: the Great Depression, WW I and II, landing in the moon, fall of the Berlin Wall, St. Gianna’s death, Mother Teresa’s death, great-grandma’s birth, all grandparents’ births, parents’ births. And in the 21st century: 9/11, death of John Paul II, parents’ wedding, sibling births–and that brings us to today!


Our anniversary: Prayers at our wedding

Four years ago today was a day of excitement, nervousness, joy, and blessings.

With our souls fresh from confession the night before, we made our vows and received the Holy Eucharist for the first time as husband and wife.


Holy Family holy cards passed out at our wedding to all of our guests.

Our favorite prayers included a memorare to St. Joseph and the 2nd Luminous Mystery, The Wedding Feast at Cana.

Our readings were from Tobit, from Ephesians (husbands love your wives, wives be submissive), and from John (the wedding feast at Cana).

But the most memorable prayer of our wedding was the prayer of Tobias and Sarah that we prayed. We too thanked St. Raphael for leading us on our journey to each other and our vocation.

“Blessed are you, O God of our ancestors;
blessed be your name forever and ever!
Let the heavens and all your creation bless you forever.
You made Adam, and you made his wife Eve to be his helper and support;
and from these two the human race has come.
You said, ‘It is not good for the man to be alone; let us make him a helper like himself.’
Now, not with lust,
but with fidelity I take this kinswoman as my wife.
Send down your mercy on me and on her,
and grant that we may grow old together.
Bless us with children.
Amen. Amen.”

-Tobit 8:5-7

Weddings and kids

Bridal party walking to church on the day of our wedding.

Bride, bridesmaids, and “junior” bridesmaid walking to church on the day of our wedding.

I read this post lately as it made the rounds on Facebook, The One Thing I Regret About My Wedding, and I hearkened back to my own wedding. (Yes, this is another wedding post–but ’tis the season!)

Our wedding list included almost everyone that had ever been close to me or my family–and I’ve lived my entire life in the same community, so you can imagine, the list was pretty big. Over 300 people came to our Wedding Mass and reception–and I’m sure more than 60% of that crowd was made up of kids.

I’m from the Midwest (or technically, as I learned in a geography class in college, the “Great Plains”…), and I actually wasn’t aware until I was an adult that some people don’t invite kids to weddings.

I clearly remember a summer in the ’90s when we had three big Catholic weddings in one year. I was about 10-years-old, and those Masses blew me away. So beautiful, so prayerful, so loving. The parties were fun too–no one parties like little kids. Those three couples that got married that year have over 20 kids between them now, so they’re still no stranger to the commotion of kids.

Perhaps it’s something about the Midwest that we just have big parties open to all ages (for instance, rehearsal dinners are often a barbecue in someone’s backyard with all the extended family participating, and our ancestors always had barn-raising parties, so it’s in our blood…).

But perhaps I was blessed to be surrounded by a Catholic community and culture where even the young people were starting out their marriages with a total openness to life and all that it brings. How much did that influence my own vocation and my own calling to marriage?

In the words of one seminarian (now deacon) that attended our wedding:

“If every wedding was like that, there’d be no more deacons or priests…”

Yes! Let our living of the married vocation be truly a sacrament and a vocation that attracts others to holiness!

MrsF3 and Family is on twitter: https://twitter.com/MrsF3andF and Facebook:http://www.facebook.com/mrsf3

Wedding season reminiscing

My whirlwind month of weddings has come to an end. After ordinations, I then had/was in a wedding every weekend.

I really wish I’d taken the time to write down a thought after hearing each homily, but I’ll try to recall what I can.

1. The first wedding we went to, the newly ordained deacon quote The Princess Bride:

“Mawwiage, mawwiage, is what bwings us togethew today…”

And went on to explain that “kindness” as spoken of by St. Paul is really a word in Greek that doesn’t translate very well to English–it’s much more than “kindness,” it is welcoming, loving, and opening one’s heart to another.

2. The second wedding we attended was at the church where we were married. I don’t remember much from that homily… Probably because I was caught up in remembering and reliving all I could of our own special day.

3. This wedding was on a beautiful spring day. The sun shone in the windows, the singers sang beautifully, and everything seemed so lovely with the soft yellow and gray colors. The priest’s main point was that there was little need for a homily since the prayers of the Nuptial Mass teach and inspire so perfectly already.

4. My last wedding, at a little church in a little town, was another beautiful day–at least inside the air conditioned church. A smaller wedding, it seemed intimate and beautiful. The priest thanked everyone who was present because it may be more fun to just go to the reception, but being present to pray for them is an eternal gift greater than any toaster or rug or [insert gift] that will break or get lost in a few years. He shared how he instructed the couple to pray the “Our Father” and hold hands every day. Some days, they might hold each other tight as they pray, other days they might hold hands at arms length and just want to get it over with… But by praying, they’ll be remembering what’s important.


Let us remember to pray together every day! credit: “The Angelus” by Jean Francois Millet

He asked everyone to continue to pray for the couple too…tomorrow, next week, next month, and next year.

That’s what I’ll be trying to remember over the next few weeks–praying for these still newlywed couples and thanking God for my own marriage as our fourth anniversary quickly approaches.


MrsF3 and Family is on twitter: https://twitter.com/MrsF3andF and Facebook:http://www.facebook.com/mrsf3

Books for brides

I’m a big fan of lists and of books.

It’s wedding season (we have a wedding every Saturday for the next four weeks!).

So: here’s a list of books for wedding gifts, discernment, married couples, and more! The links provided will take you straight to Amazon where you can buy the book (and a little goes back to help me as well, so thank you!).

Whether you’re single, getting married, or already married, these books have insights into what it means to be a woman and a wife.

1. The Privilege of Being a Woman

by Alice von Hildebrand

This book was such a beautiful discovery. Dietrich and Alice von Hildebrand were an amazing couple not only because of their beautiful marriage, but because of the writings and teachings of both regarding marriage. Dietrich and Alice von Hildebrand helped draw attention to the roles of men and women and of marriage in the modern world. This book, is wonderful for any woman, married or not, in discovering our feminine beauty and gifts.

(Order it right now: The Privilege of Being a Woman!)

A couple kneels in prayer before Our Lord and asking for the intercession of the Holy Family.

A couple kneels in prayer before Our Lord, asking for the intercession of the Holy Family as they begin their family.

2. Three to Get Married 

by Fulton J Sheen (click on the link above to order this wonderful book as a gift or for yourself!)

This book helped me as I discerned my vocation and call to marriage, even before beginning a relationship. Archbishop Fulton Sheen writes about the beauty of a God-centered marriage and the role of married couples as an earthly image of the Heavenly Love of the Trinity! What a gift to live this vocation!

3. Married Love As a Way to Holiness (On Monday Evenings: Speaking to Families)

by Fr. Joseph Kentenich

Fr. Kentenich founded the Marian Movement called Schoenstatt (which means Beautiful Place). The movement began 100 years ago in 1914 when a group of young men made a Covenant of Love with the Blessed Mother in a little chapel in Germany. Since then, this Covenant of Love with Our Lady as spread across the world. Fr. Kentenich lived in Milwaukee, WI for 14 years. It was there that he gave weekly talks to married couples at a German speaking parish. These talks are compiled in this book and are still so practical and inspiring today. I especially appreciate that he tells us not to try to live a monastic life, or to feel stressed when we don’t have the regular prayer hours of nuns and monks–our spirituality, and our way to sainthood, lies in a different path.

4. By Love Refined: Letters to a Young Bride

by Alice von Hildebrand

As I said, the von Hildebrand’s have wonderful insights into married life! This book would make a perfect gift to a newlywed. Alice von Hildebrand writes each letter to “Dear Julie” and gives such practical insights into every day married life as one adjusts to living with one’s spouse. She discusses the outside friendships of the husband and wife, the ins and outs of living with differing personalities and moods, and other practical things only discovered when you settle in to the rest of your life with another person.

5. Cana is Forever: Counsels for Before and After Marriage — A Catholic Guide to Dating, Courtship, and Marriage

by Charles Hugo Doyle

From what I can tell, this book has been used in the past as a marriage counsel and preparation booklet. While some of the advice for dating is, well, dated, the principals and ideas certainly hold true regardless of time and place. I can’t remember how I came across this book originally other than that I was always on the look out for guides as I discerned my vocation and courtship.

6. Man, Woman, and the Meaning of Love: God’s Plan for Love, Marriage, Intimacy, and the Family

by Dietrich von Hildebrand

Yep, I told ya! The von Hildebrands are indispensable when talking about books on marriage! The Hunter and I read this together (reading quietly over each other’s shoulders) during our Adoration visits when we were first courting. The ideas are reassuring and revitalizing when preparing for or living the married life. With our modern over-sexed culture, realize the true purpose and beauty of intimacy within marriage is a wonderful thing (that is: unity of the couple and procreation–both important, not just one or the other, they cannot be divorced!).

7. One in Mind in Heart in Affection

by William Richard Clark

This is another old book that I came across in my discernment process. It is short, but practical. Once again, the theme is the love and mutual self-giving that is necessary in marriage–and the things that one evaluates about the other when courting and preparing for marriage.

8. Love Letters to My Husband

by St. Gianna Beretta Molla

What a wonderful saint is St. Gianna, or as her daughter calls her, “Saint-Mommy.” Yes, a mother, a wife, a doctor, and a dedicated Catholic laywoman, she is an example of heroic faith in our modern day. St. Gianna died in 1962, leaving her husband and four young children with her example of faith and love. These letters are genuine, human, and shining forth with not only her simple and whole hearted love for her husband, but also with her love for God.

9. Saint Gianna Molla: Wife, Mother, Doctor

by Pietro Molla

This book is by St. Gianna’s faithful husband (surely he is in Heaven now with his wife as well!). His testimony is another wonderful example of the love that was present in their marriage. As a side note, I have met two of their children, and they, especially the youngest daughter, Gianna Emanuela, radiate faith and love as lived and passed down to them by their beautiful parents.

10. Man & Woman: A Divine Invention

by Alice von Hildebrand

Ah yes, you guessed it. Another book by one of the von Hildebrands. In this book, Alice von Hildebrand breaks down and delves into more of her husband’s philosophies on marriage.

11. Marriage: The Mystery of Faithful Love

by Dietrich von Hildebrand

You get the idea. The von Hildebrands are a endless resource for advice, inspiration, and hope for your marriage and marriage in our modern day. Read something by the von Hildebrands starting today!

BONUS BOOK don’t forget the husbands and grooms!

While many of the books above are great for couples, I’ve written about them as how they inspired my journey to marriage and my role as a wife today.  Here’s a book that I’ve given in the past to grooms:

The Dietrich von Hildebrand LifeGuide

This book is a compilation by topic of quotes by Dietrich von Hildebrand  applying to many aspects of life. Just at a glance or a search for a topic, you’ll find advice and food for thought! It’s short and a great guide for even the non-readers we know.

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