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Possible find of ancient Christian lead cast books...

A group of 70 or so tiny "books", each with between five and 15 lead leaves bound by lead rings, was apparently discovered in a remote arid valley in northern Jordan somewhere between 2005 and 2007.

They could be the earliest Christian writing in existence, surviving almost 2,000 years in a Jordanian cave.

The director of the Jordan's Department of Antiquities, says the books might have been made by followers of Jesus in the few decades immediately following his crucifixion.

The books, or "codices", were apparently cast in lead, before being bound by lead rings.

Their leaves - which are mostly about the size of a credit card - contain text in Ancient Hebrew, most of which is in code.

Margaret Barker, an authority on New Testament history, points to the location of the reported discovery as evidence of Christian, rather than purely Jewish, origin.

We do know that on two occasions groups of refugees from the troubles in Jerusalem fled east, they crossed the Jordan near Jericho and then they fled east to very approximately where these books were said to have been found," she says.

"[Another] one of the things that is most likely pointing towards a Christian provenance, is that these are not scrolls but books. The Christians were particularly associated with writing in a book form rather than scroll form, and sealed books in particular as part of the secret tradition of early Christianity."

Happy Anniversary Bishop Guimarães, and Thank you!

The Anniversary
of the Episcopal Consecration
Bishop Guimarães, C.SS.R.
in the church of
St. Alphonsus, Rome.

Bishop Fernando José Monteiro Guimarães, C.SS.R.
Bishop of Garanhuns, Brazil.
Consecrated 31 March, 2008.

It was through Bishop Guimarães
that we made our first contact with the Holy See,
31 March 2008.

The Mid-Lent Station.

Thursday after the Third Sunday in Lent.
The Middle of Lent.
Station at SS. Cosmas and Damian.
(SS. Cosma e Damiano)

The mosaic in the apse of the basilica.
The Greeks were in the habit of celebrating a day of festival

in honour of the holy cross in the middle of Lent,
making a break, as it were in the long period of fasting.
In Rome this solemnity was deferred to the Sunday following,
but Gregory II instituted this station at the Church of SS Cosmas and Damian,
in order not altogether to deprive the faithful
of that innocent satisfaction in the middle of Lent.

SS. Cosmas and Damian
The two martyrs known as "Anargyri" (moneyless)
-that is, they belonged to that class of pious Byzantine doctors
who despised money and gave their healing services free.
Moreover, considering the rigour of the Lenten fast in those days
it is easy to understand that many persons
must have needed to have recourse to these heavenly physicians.

The Mass has been adapted to the occasion;
it refers chiefly to the anniversary of their martyrdom,
and the frequent mention of health, sickness and healing
recalls the great popularity of the veneration
paid to the holy Moneyless martyrs in those early days.

11 Weeks Old

Another week bites the dust. They weren't awake at the same time during the day so I had to settle for individual photo sessions. Probably not a bad thing anyway considering the both threw up like mad. At least my hallway is clean now. 

You can really tell how much bigger Ryan is than Reese in these pictures. He looks like a sasquatch compared to her. I wonder if I'd realize how small she really is if she wasn't a twin? I love these kids to pieces. Some days all I do is look at them, play with them, take pictures of them and then look at pictures of them while I'm holding them. To say they've overtaken every aspect of my life would be a slight understatement.

Today Pope Benedict XVI spoke of St. Alphonsus.

The Holy Father spoke of St. Alphonsus
during today's General Audience.

VATICAN CITY, 30 MAR 2011 (VIS) - In this Wednesday's general audience, celebrated in St Peter's Square, the Pope spoke about St. Alphonsus Maria of Liguori, bishop, Doctor of the Church and "outstanding moral theologian and master of spiritual life".

"St. Alphonsus was born in 1696 to a rich and noble Neapolitan family", and undertook a brilliant career as a lawyer, which he abandoned in order to become a priest in 1726.

The Holy Father explained that the saint "began his work of evangelisation and catechesis at the most humble levels of Neapolitan society, to whom he enjoyed preaching and whom he instructed in the basic truths of the faith".

In 1732 he founded the religious congregation of the Holy Redeemer. Its members, "under the guidance of Alphonsus, were genuine itinerant missionaries, who travelled to the remotest villages exhorting conversion to the faith and perseverance in Christian life, above all by means of prayer".

Benedict XVI recalled that St. Alphonsus died in 1787, was canonised in 1839 and declared a Doctor of the Church in 1871. This title was granted for a number of reasons. Firstly, for his valuable teachings in the field of moral theology, which accurately expressed Catholic doctrine and on account of which Pius XII proclaimed him as "patron of all confessors and moralists".

"St. Alphonsus", continued the Pope, "never tired of repeating that priests were a visible sign of the infinite mercy of God, Who pardons and illuminates the minds and hearts of sinners that they might convert and change their lives. In our age, in which there are clear signs of a loss of moral conscience and - it is necessary to note with some concern - a certain lack of respect for the Sacrament of Confession, the teaching of St. Alphonsus remains valid".

The Holy Father explained that, "along with his theological works, St. Alphonsus composed many other writings which contributed to the religious formation of the people, such as 'Eternal Maxims', the 'Glories of Mary' and the 'Practice of the Love of Jesus Christ'. This last work represented a synthesis of his thought and is his masterpiece".

The Pope emphasised that the Neapolitan saint "insisted on the need for prayer", and remarked that "among the forms of prayer recommended by St. Alphonsus, most important was the visit to the Blessed Sacrament or, as we would say nowadays, adoration - brief or sustained, personal or communal - of the Eucharist".

"Alphonsus' spirituality was eminently Christological, centred upon Christ and His Gospel. Meditation on the mystery of the Incarnation and of the Passion of the Lord were frequently subjects of his teachings. ... His piety was also markedly Marian. Personally devoted to Mary, he emphasised her role in the history of salvation".

Benedict XVI concluded his catechesis by commenting that "St. Alphonsus of Liguori was an example of a zealous priest who won souls by teaching the Gospel and administering the Sacraments, and by his own gentle and mild manner which originated from his intense rapport with God's infinite goodness. He had a realistically optimistic view of the resources the Lord grants to every man, and gave importance to affections and sentiments of the heart, as well as to the mind, in loving God and others".

Wednesday after the Third Sunday in Lent.

Hide all
Wednesday after the Third Sunday in Lent.
Station at St. Sixtus the Old on the Via Appia.
(S. Sisto Vecchio a via Appia.)

Pope St. Sixtus ordains St. Lawrence a Deacon.

Before the body of the martyr Pope Sixtus II (A.D. 257 - 258)

was carried to this church from the cemetery of St. Callixtus,
it was known as the titulus of Tyridis after the name of its foundress.
A convent of virgins was attached to it
which was afterwards given by Pope Honorius III (1216-1227) to St. Dominic.

The church is ancient and venerable,
so rich in holy memories and history.
It has a forlorn look,
being now bare of ornament and little frequented.

According to ancient tradition it was at this point on the Appian Way
that St. Lawrence overtook St. Sixtus II, and the four deacons,
SS. Januarius, Magnus, Vicentius and Stephanus,
as they were being dragged to martyrdom.

St. Lawrence, shedding tears of grief at not being allowed
to share in their martyrdom,
fell at the Pope's feet exclaiming:

"Father, where are you going without your son?
Whither are you going, O holy priest, without your deacon?
You were never wont to offer sacrifice without me your minister.
Wherein have I displeased you?
Have uyou found me wanting in my duty?
Try me now,
and see whether you have made choice of an unfit minister
for dispensing the Blood of the Lord."

The holy Sixtus replied:
"I do not leave you, my son,
but a greater trial and more glorious victory
are reserved for you, who are in the full vigour of youth.
We are spared on account of our weakness and old age.
You will follow me in four day's time."

In ancient times the scrutiny of the catechumens

who wished to be admitted to baptism on Holy Saturday night began today;
that is why the Mass of the day has a distinctly catechetical character.
The solemn announcement of the Decalogue (from Exodus Chapter 20)
is intended especially for the catechumens.

Pope Sixtus II entrusts St. Lawrence with money for the poor.

Take special note of today's ancient Secret:

Suscipe... Receive we beseech Thee, O Lord, the prayers of Thy people, with offerings of sacrifices,
and defend from all dangers them that celebrate Thy mysteries.
Through our Lord.

The words:
and defend from all dangers them that celebrate Thy mysteries
may be noted in connection with
the history of St. Sixtus II and his four deacons
who, on August 6 A.D. 258, in order to escape the vigilance of persecutors
assembled his flock in the lesser known cemetery of
They were surprised whilst celebrating Mass;
St. Sixtus was seated.
Four days later St. Lawrence was martyred.

Tuesday after the Third Sunday of Lent.

Tuesday after the Third Sunday of Lent.
Station at St Pudentiana.
(S. Pudenziano.)

The Basilica of Pudens,
the domus Pudentiana or the titulus sancti Pudentis

was one of the oldest of the urban titular churches,

and so far, nothing has appeared to disprove the truth
of the ancient ecclesiastical tradition
which asserts that
it was sanctified by the sojourn of Peter in the house of the senator Pudens.
Pudens was the father of Sts. Pudentiana and Praxedes.

Mosaic image of Our Lord in the apse
the Basilica of St. Pudentiana.

We see the Saviour stretching our His Hand
to protect the apostolic church and ancient residence
of the Popes of the second century.
He holds an open book in which we may read the words:
Dominus conservator Ecclesiae Pudentianæ,
-The Lord is the protector of the Church of Pudentiana-
to express a special tutelage over the basilica,
which in olden times was a visible monument
of the apostolate and primacy of St. Peter.

The Good Shepherd of Hermas.

The memories of Pope St. Pius I (A.D. 158 - 167),
of his brother Hermas, the mystic author of the The Shepherd of Hermas,
those of Priscilla, Pudentiana, Praxedes,
Justin the Philosopher, Hippolytus the Doctor
-all these are connected with the Viminal,
(the smallest of the famous seven hills of Rome),
and with the history of the house of Pudenti
in such a way as to make it appear that
in the second century
this was really the papal residence.

The Church of S. Pudentiana,
the Papal Residence of the Second Century,
was sanctified by the sojourn of St. Peter the Apostle.

The sacred Liturgy re-echoed this local tradition,
and the Gospel for today,

containing the passage in which Peter interrogates Our Lord
concerning the forgiveness of sins,

has been chosen on purpose,

in order to recall the memory of the Apostle

in the very place
where he was the guest of Pudenti.

Monday of the Third Week of Lent.

Monday of the Third Week of Lent.
Station at St. Mark.


Today's Station is held at the church of St. Mark,
built by Pope St. Mark in honour of his patron saint, the Evangelist,
which dates from the fourth century
and is mentioned in the Acts of the council
held by Pope St. Symmachus in 499.

St. Mark, Evangelist
This is the only church in Rome sacred to the memory
of this devored disciple of St.Paul
and faithful interpreter of St. Peter,
who, besides sharing with these Apostles
the first evangelisation of the Eternal City,
wrote his Gospel after their death,
at the request of the faithful at Rome.

The Holy Martyrs Abdon and Sennen
as depicted in today's Station Church.

Under the high-altar of the Titular of St. Mark
rests the body of the founder
with the relics of the martyrs Abdon and Sennen.
We find ourselves here, as it were,
in an Eastern sanctuary in the very heart of the city,
with Mark the founder of the Patriarchate of Alexandria in the one hand
- for the Egyptian element was strong in Rome -
and the Persians Abdon and Sennen on the other.
Naaman the Syrian washes seven times
in the humble river Jordan
and is cleaned of his leprosy,
figure of Holy Baptism.

The scriptural passage read today has in mind
the Eastern origin of the titular patrons of the basilica,
and tells us therefore, of the Syrian Naaman, who,
rejecting the grander rivers of Damascus,
was cleansed from his leprosy in the lesser waters of the Jordan.
This extract is well adapted to the catechumens
who yesterday began theor course of instruction preparatory to baptism.
Peter, observes Tertullian, baptized in the Tiber,
and if the aspirants desire to be healed from the leprosy
of infidelity and original sin,
they must humble themselves, and,
abandoning the rivers of Damascus -that is,
the attractions of their former worldly life,
must wash themselves clean in the pure waters of holy baptism.


Back in the before baby days, this weekend project would've been done. We'd be exhausted, but it would be done. Given the state of the state, the fact that I have all of the frames ordered and mapped out on the wall is enough of an accomplishment for one weekend.

When flip and flop were born I had Joe bring scrapbook paper with him into the OR and told him his one job was to make sure that they stamped the babies' feet onto the paper for me. I just dropped their footprints off at the frame shop to be matted and framed for our stairway gallery. I'm super excited. I can't wait to see how they come out.

All of the "on order" frames will be here by Friday, the footprints will be ready in two weeks. So my weekend project will take three weekends. What else is new?

Third Sunday in Lent.

Third Sunday in Lent.
Station at St. Lawrence Without the Walls.
(S. Lorenzo fuori le mura.)

Interior of San Lorenzo
The Laurentian basilica owes its foundation to Constantine,
but being considered too small,
a large upper aula
was added to it by Pope Pelagius II (A.D. 578 - 590)
and dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary.

For this reason Pope Leo IV (A.D. 847 - 855)
decreed that the Station for the Octave of the Assumption
should be held there.

The Gospel of today alludes to this dedication
by praising the great Mother of God,
who not only gave Her own substance to form the sacred humanity
of the Lord's Anointed, but was, on Her part,
nourished spiritually by the divine Word and lived thereby.

Let us pray.

(In Dominica III. Quadragesimae)

Quarti nunc et decimi diei de nostrorum dierum...

Having now passed the fourteenth day of this season,
which forms the tithe of our year,
we lift up our eyes to Thee, O Lord,
who dwellest in heaven.

Show mercy to the miserable,
and heal them that are wounded.

Grant that the journey we have begun
may be prosperous.
Direct our hearts in the way of Thy commandments.

Through Thee may we find theway of light;
through Thee may we be inflamed
with the bright burning of Thy love.

Grant rest to our labours;
that having gained Thy good-pleasure
by our observance of t hese days,
we may deserve to be partakers of Thy glory. Amen.

(Mozarabic breviary)

Saturday of the Second Week in Lent.

Saturday of the Second Week of Lent.
Station at SS. Marcellinus and Peter.

(SS. Marcellino e Pietro.)

Today's Station was built during the lifetime of Pope Siricius (A.D. 385 - 398)
and according to Roman the custom,
it probably marks the dwelling-place on that spot
of one at least of the two martyrs whose name it bears:
St. Marcellinus, priest and St. Peter, exorcist.

Pope Saint Damasus

We know from Pope Damasus (A.D. 366 - 384)
that as a boy
he learnt the circumstances of their martyrdom
from the lips of the executioner himself.
"Percussor retulit mihi Damaso cum puer essem."

As the Liturgy of this day lays great stress
on the contrast between the two brothers, Esau and Jacob,
and between the faithful son and the prodigal,
it is possible that underneath there lies an allusion
to that executioner,
who expiated his crime by baptism and penance.

Let us pray.

I would mourn over the sins of my wretched life;
but where shall I begin?
O Jesus! how shall I commence the lamentation
I fain would make this day?
Do thou, my merciful God, forgive me my sins.

Come, my poor soul and thou, too, my body,
come, and confess to the great Creator;
and, henceforth, restrain your senseless passions,
and offer to God the tears of repentance.

Now is the time for repentance.
I come to Thee, O my Creator!
Take from me the heavy yoke of my sins,
and for Thy mercy's sake
Pardon me my crimes.

Do Thou, my Saviour and my merciful God,
pardon me my sins,
deliberate or indeliberate,
public or private,
known or unknown.
Have mercy on me and save me!

Weekend Project

I've been wanting to put together a photo gallery in our stairwell forever, but I was holding out for a trip to Ikea so I can pick up some Ribba frames on the cheap. Seeing as the closest Ikea is a 3 hour drive, that's clearly not going to happen with the twinsies in tow. At least not anytime soon. So I'm biting the bullet and getting frames at Target. Slightly more expensive, but less of a headache overall.

We already have a photo gallery in our living room, and we freehanded that arrangement.

It's not so easy to make something look random. Especially when you are a type-a, symmetry is poetry kind of gal. But my love for gallery walls runs deep and I think that random tends to look better. So I've been snapping away at inspiration pictures and I think I'm ready to give it a go.

Here are two that I'm going to model our stairwell gallery after

{ via }

{ blurry iPhone pic taken at my local PB }

If all else fails, there's this handy gallery for dummies layout that came with the last set of frames I bought from Pottery Barn. I'm not afraid to break out a template in an effort to save my sanity (and my marriage).

Between old family photos, our engagement pictures, wedding pictures, maternity pictures and now pictures of the babies I think my biggest problem will be narrowing down what actually makes the wall. Hopefully Joe is game for this project which I have yet to mention to him, since he clearly will be doing all the heavy lifting while I manage from the bottom of the staircase. 

Really some days it's a wonder that the man doesn't get in his car and just start driving. :)

10 Weeks

Reese and Ryan turned 10 weeks old yesterday. I can't believe how quickly the last two and a half months have gone. After counting down my life in two week waits and weeks between ultrasounds, my days and weeks are just flying. In fact, I literally just wrote out a check that was sent back to me because I dated it for 2010. Clearly I have major mommy-brain. I've lost all track of time and space. 

Everyday the twins do something new and amazing, I can't believe how quickly they are learning and developing into little people. Each day gets a little easier and a little more fun. Don't get me wrong, there are still a lot of moments where two babies are screaming like banshees and I'm scratching my head wondering what I signed on for. But overall, life is as good as it gets.

I realized I've asked for a lot of advice over the last few weeks, but never followed the advice up with how things turned out. So here's a brief update on all things Sprout-related.


After reading everyone's advice and spending a few more days fighting the kids to get them down for naps, up for wake time and everything in between, I gave up on trying to schedule them. I also stopped waking them up to eat both at night and during the day. This was somewhere around 4 weeks of age.

Now at 10 weeks old, they go to bed somewhere between 10 and 11 p.m. I usually feed them before I put them down. They sleep until 3 or 4 a.m., go back down again and sleep until 7-8 a.m. and *usually* they go back down one more time until between 9-11 a.m.

During the day I feed them as soon as they wake up from a nap. I usually try to play with them if they are awake, but if they're sleepy right after they eat, I don't fight it. They sleep when they're tired and I let them. I never let them sleep more than three hours at a time during the day, but that rarely ever happens.

As it shakes out they eat about 8 times in a 24 hour period, most of the feedings happen between 11 a.m. and 11 p.m. They both are excellent sleepers and Reese's disposition has improved tenfold!

Crib Transitioning

I banned the babies from our bed at around 3 weeks old. Unfortunately Joe's grandpa passed away that next week and we spent 5 days away from home during which time there was a lot of cosleeping going on. When we got home they were still in our bed until things normalized for them (and us).

I banned them again at 5 weeks.

We started the transition out of our room by letting them fall asleep in our bed and then once they were asleep moving them into their crib. Then when they woke up to eat I would nurse them and put them right back in their crib. 

Eventually it just turned into wake to eat - back to crib. To help with the transition we introduced a space heater (their room has the worst heat/cooling of all the rooms in our house because of the way the duct work is set up) and started playing ocean waves (we got an iPod sound dock for their room at Home Goods and I leave the waves playing all night long). Adding those things to the nursery definitely helped signify nighttime sleep. 

After about a week we were able to just put them in their cribs at the beginning of the night to fall asleep.  Now 3+ weeks later we can put them in their cribs and they just go to bed. Very cool.


Reese was diagnosed as having colic at her one month well baby. Around 8 weeks she suddenly stopped fussing as much. From what I read, colic normally disappears between month 3 and 4, so I'm left wondering if she ever really had colic. Honestly, the timing of her new leaf is awfully coincidental with when I stopped waking her up from naps to eat. 

I don't really think she ever had colic, I think she was just really pissed off that I was waking her up all of the time and I think she was overtired. I mean, if someone woke me up every time I fell asleep, I'd be pissed off too. And let me tell you that kid LOVES to sleep. Sleeping beauty.


I'm still plugging right along. Just when I was ready to quit, Joe came down with a 24-hour (nasty) stomach bug, which I then caught. I nursed the twins right through it and neither of them got sick. That was enough incentive to stick with breastfeeding a bit longer. 

Nursing is much, much easier now. It's still an awful pain in the ass when we do long outings or day trips, with all of the pumping and toting of bottles, etc. But it's not painful anymore and I rarely have issues pertaining to oversupply or latch or that sort of thing.

I plan to reevaluate how long I want to nurse for once they hit 4 months and the weather warms up. But, for now, things are good status quo.


Both babies have been diagnosed with GI reflux. At first I tried to remedy the situation with liquid probiotics, and while that helped with (some of) the discomfort, the babies were still projectile vomiting two hours after eating. So we started them on Tagamet about a week and a half ago and all is well with the world again.

Ryan sleeps with a wedge, Reese hasn't needed one. Both babies are gaining beautifully. In fact, Reese weighed 8 lbs, 14 oz at her check this week and Ryan weighed 10 lbs, 2 oz.

Baby Carriers

We ended up keeping one of our Baby Bjorns because Joe likes it and felt comfortable using it. I ordered the Beco Gemini and I find it to be much more comfortable than the Bjorn for longer carries. It's a bit awkward when you are walking up stairs or inclines with the baby strapped to you because of the placement of their legs, but overall it's much more comfortable than the Bjorn and I like its versatility. 

I think that about covers the gamut of all the things I asked for help on over the last two months. Thank you for all of the advice and recommendations so far. You are wonderful!

Thursday of the Second Week in Lent.

Thursday of the Second Week of Lent.
Station at St. Mary Beyond the Tiber.
(S. Maria in Trastevere.)

One of the most venerable churches in Rome.
A.D. 233

Today's Station takes place in a basilica
that is considered to be
one of the most venerable
of all the Christian buildings in Rome. I
ts history reaches much further back than the time of Constantine.

The historian Lampridius relates that during the pontificate of Callixtus I the Christians were in possession of a place of assembly in Trastevere, the right to which was, however, disputed by the corporation
popinarii, or tavern-keepers.

The question was brought before the Emperor Alexander Severus, who decided in favour of the Christians, saying that it was better that God should be worshipped there, in whatever fashion it might be, than that the place should be given over to revelry. The original oratory was erected by St. Callixtus I about the year 233, not long before his martyrdom.

The Nativity of Our Lord.
(S. Maria in Trastevere.)

Let us pray.

Hail Mary, full of grace!
dear Mother of Jesus, and hope of the world!
O gate of heaven! O temple of God!
O haven of the sea,
where sinners confidently seek shelter and repose.

Thou art the worthy bride of the great King,
and, by Thy powerful prayers,
Thou art kind and loving to all.

Thou art the light to the blind,
and a sure path to such as are lame.
Thou art by Thy loving affection,
both Martha and Mary to the needy.

Thou was the flower among the thorns;
the flower that, by its rich graces,
bloomed to the divine Flower, thy Jesus.

Thou didst speak Thy word,
and then conceivedst the Word;
Thou didst give birth to the King of kings,
Thou wast a pure Virgin.

Thou was ever faithful to this King, Thy child;
and using a mother's privilege,
Thou didst feed Him at Thy breast.

Now, thou art united with Him,
and in reward for Thy merits,
Thou art made the Queen of heaven and earth.

Then pray for us, O Queen,
to Him that is our King,
beseeching Him to pardon us poor fallen sinners.

Show us Thy wonted clemency, and,
having obtained for us the new life
of remission of our sins,
bring us to the kingdom,
there to reign for ever. Amen.
(Sequence from the Cluny Missal)

Thou didst feed Him at Thy breast.
This is probably the first representation of
Our Lady nursing the Infant Jesus.
(S. Maria in Trastevere.)
(12th century mosaic.)

and off she goes, exotic fringe, granny undies and all...

righty ho, just counting out 10 days worth of my little vitamins and wondering why i chose today to cut my bangs/fringe with the kitchen scissors. i am now sporting quite an interesting looking fringe line. i have told myself it is perfectly acceptable for it to curve up in the middle above my nose and that in fact many may think it the latest look from hair catwalks from glamorous places such as Paris. i am thinking a little exotic here...
however, i do not have time to fret about my exotic looking fringe, for i have critters and children to sort.

upon my pottling around the shed with 'post-it' reminders stuck to my chest i noted my daffs are looking peachy and springy. i am wondering if they will still be there upon my return, looking not so peachy and not so springy, it is kind of comforting to think they may well be... things like that make one feel like life may whizz on by some days and be a little surreal, but the things which matter most like family and their little habits, stay the same. yes it is quite true to say, i hope i do arrive home to find my daffs bedraggled and way past their best on the windowsill.
gosh blimey i am getting all melancholy on you dearest readers, i guess that happens from time to time especially when i am flying on my own.

let us move on from such thoughts and before i head off on my red eye to old blighty this may be the perfect time for me to mention my up and coming workshops on the beautiful Suffolk Coast in England, this summer.

yes indeedy i need to rustle up a few more peachy dearies so we may have a perfectly fabby time of things in a beautiful cottage over looking the sea, vintage fabrics and lots of time to stitch to our hearts content whilst Angela does a brilliant job of providing us with wonderful homecooked food. walks on the beach, tea around the firepit and quality crafting time with some lovely likeminded crafty souls...

if you like the idea of being a peachy dottie angel dearie this summer (i know i do), you can find all the nitty gritty over at Angela's lovely place. any questions or other such things you may be wondering about, do not hesitate to contact Angela at ritchieacecamps@yahoo.ca

if your questions are more along the lines of
"Tif, why would you chose to cut your fringe with kitchen scissors the morning of leaving to visit England and meeting all those lovelies you have lined up?"
or indeed
"Tif, instead of darning three pairs of tights in their heels and leaving it to the last moment, do you not think a trip such as this is worthy of a new pair of tights?"
or perhaps
"Tif, when will you be getting your derriere into gear and making summer apron wraps for your little shop?"

then may i suggest you do not send those to Angela because i am quite sure she does not wish to talk about my exotic fringe shape, nor my darned socks and quite possibly not my derriere.

however the little bit about the apron wraps, may i be so bold as to answer here and now since you asked so nicely. for indeed upon my return from recharging my british batteries, i have plans, big plans which involve me, my ever-so-lovely Miss Ethel and dottie angel's newly adopted auntie and her trusty sewing machine. together we will beaver like we have never beavered before and after we are all 'beavered out' i hope to have summer apron wraps, lovely high hope flags and little sunshine sacks hanging in the shop window ready to meet Mr Spring and Master Summer.
oh yes! i am positively looking forward to claiming back some quality stitching time for dottie angel

she is wishing you a peachy few weeks, perhaps a little beavering of your own and will be back before you know it, exotic fringe, granny undies and all ~ Tif

Wednesday of the Second Week in lent.

Wednesday of the Second Week of Lent.
Station at St. Cecilia's.

(S. Cecilia.)

Interior of St. Cecilia's Basilica

The Station is at the sanctuary
where lies the body of
the illustrious Roman virgin St. Cecilia.
Originally the family mansion of St. Cecilia,
it was converted into a church
by Pope St. Urban in A.D. 230,
in accordance with her dying request.
Pope Paschal I restored it in 821.
In the fifth century this church was mentioned
as one of the most celebrated parochial or titular churches of Rome.
It is situated in the Transtevere.

St. Cecilia, Virgin and Martyr.
Suffered under Marcus Aurelius, A.D. 177
Her body was found to be perfectly incorrupt
when her coffin was opened in A.D. 821 and again in 1599

St. Cecilia was a maiden of noble blood, born of parents of senatorial rank, and was brought up a Christian from her infancy, having a Christian mother. Her father must have been a pagan, for he gave her in marriage to a young patrician of very amiable and excellent dispositions, but a pagan, named Valerian.

St. Cecilia disclosed to her young husband Valerian, still a heathen, the secret of her virginity being specially consecrated to God, and being under the direct protection of an angel. Valerian expressed a wish to see the angel. Cecilia told him that he must first by Faith and the waters of Baptism be made a child of God, and that then his eyes would be unsealed and he would be permitted to behold her heavenly guardian. "There is an aged man," she said, "hiding in a certain place, who has power to cleanse men in the lustral water, and so make them worthy to see the angels."
Mosaic of St. Valerian and St. Cecilia

Valerian inquired: "where shall I find this old man?"
Cecilia replied: "Go as far as the third milestone on the Appian Way; there you will find some poor people who beg alms of the passers-by. I have always helped them, and they possess the secret. When you see them, salute them in my name, saying: "Cecilia has sent me to you, that you may lead me to the holy old man Urban, for she has charged me with a secret mission to him." Relate to him what I have told you (about the angel), and when he has baptized you he will clothe you with a new, bright garment, arrayed in which, when you enter this room, you will see the holy angel."
Valerian followed the Appian Way as directed, and at the third milestone, turning aside from the high-road to an old sand pit, he found some aged beggars and cripples lingering about; they were Christian watchers, set there to guard the secret entrance to the Catacombs, and to give notice of any soldiers, spies, or suspicious persons coming that way. Valerian was richly dressed, and his haughty bearing betrayed the heathen, but on his giving the required salutation and password, they led him into the subterranean depths, where he was instructed and baptized by Pope St. Urban.
Valerian kneels before Pope St. Urban in the Catacombs.

Valerian, returning in the white robe of his baptism, and entering Cecilia's apartments to communicate to her the joy of his new-found faith, drew back astonished, awed by the bright light that streamed from her oratory as the curtain was drawn aside. There was Cecilia kneeling in prayer, and by her side an angel, whose face shone with ineffable beauty. Valerian, overcome with emotion, came and knelt on one side, Cecilia kneeling on the other, while the angel held forth two crowns of lilies twined with roses over the head of each.

The angel held forth two crowns
of lilies twined with roses over the head of each.

Valerian's brother Tiburtius was instructed and baptized soon after him. These two were presently martyred for refusing to offer sacrifice to the gods.

Cecilia alone remained, and as Almachius, the judge, thought it best that her punishment should be as secret as possible, he ordered that she should be shut up in the Caldarium, or room of the warm bath in her own palace, and that the pipes with which the walls on all sides were perforated, should be heated to such a degree as to cause suffocation. Cecilia entered the room the furnace being heated, and although she remained there for a day and a night she was found to be unhurt by the hot steam that scalded those who opened the door.
St. Cecilia condemned by Almachius
Almachius then sent for her to be beheaded. Three times did the axe fall upon her tender neck, inflicting deep and mortal wounds, but without severing the head. As the law did not allow more than three strokes to be given, the excutioner went away, leaving her still breathing and bathed in her own blood. For two days she continued hovering between life and death; and on the third morning the venerable bishop Urban came to take leave of his beloved daughter. Her dying request to him was, that the poor she had always loved should be cared for, and that her house should be made a church for ever.

The crypt of St. Cecilia's

homeward bound...

"well that's that then"
i announced to my man in early january as he arrived home late from work to survey the leftovers on the table from our chinese takeout.
"what's what Tif?" he asked with a little trepidation in his voice
(gosh isn't that a spiffy word, Darren dictionary is aiming a little higher these days)

i held in my little mitts a tiny piece of paper,
"it would appear the fortune cookie gods have spoken" upon which i read their wisdom to him as he helped himself to the remains of supper
"you will soon vacation in a place of cool climate"

i gave him credit, he did not bat an eye, just calmly pointed out as he always does when i claim every fortune that comes out of a cookie to be spookily accurate, that it is possible to read anything and everything into them.

i allowed him to digest his meal before i pointed out 'Old Blighty' is a place of cool climate, this time i noted his eyes rolled heavenwards. he agreed indeed it was and how fortunate i was going back there this summer so i was able to once again claim my cookie fortunes have a canny knack of coming true.

"ah ha!" i chimed in, "my fortune says 'soon', therefore it must be talking about sometime closer than July." i waited... nothing.

and so i bided my time, waiting and watching for the moment to strike and like all canny plans one sits upon, the time eventually comes. my time came in mid February and with it a cheap flight back to Old Blighty for a few days to spend quality time with Our #1 and recharge my british batteries.

tomorrow, me, my three pairs of clean undies, along with three frocks, three pairs of woolly tights (which still need darning) and one pair of clogs will be winging our way back over the pond for a whistle stop tour of a small island. Our #1 and myself will be doing a whole lot of travelling but it will be grand for we have so much to catch up on since we last met in December. we will be meeting and greeting peachy folks where ever we go. those peachy folks include (and not in any particular order)

my mother and father
my brother Ben
my soul sister Debbie
Joanna, lovely editor of soon to be released Mollie Makes
(will be sure to talk about that on my return)
Louise Dearie from my dottie angel camp last september
(she will be kindly taking us on a trip around Spitalfield market and brick lane)
the peachy Emily Chalmers (eeeek!)
and lastly, the day before i head back to my shed
where upon i will meet
my friend Gloria,
my buddy Fran
and plenty of other lovely dearies who will be at the fair

as you can see there will be lots of miles to cover inbetween the happy meet ups. this is grand for it will give me time to sit and natter with Our #1 whilst i do a bit of crocheting. along with the undies and frocks i will be packing some yarn and a special hook, her name is Grandmother Hook and she belonged to my grandmother Jane. there is real age to this hook of mine and it shows when looking at the lines upon her.

together we will be working on some 'itty bitty' garlands like the one you see in the pictures today, upon my return i will be finishing off the appliques and then popping them into my little shop window. all profits from the little garlands will go to relief funds aiding Japan.
i have noted everytime i crochet or stitch something for another, i spend all the time i am stitching thinking of them... these little itty bitty garlands will be no different.

Carlos my trusty camera, will alas be staying behind for he is unreliable as a travelling companion these days, so instead i will be taking a new fellow. he is called Leonard and he has a trusty lens and appears to have a liking for dim and dingy corners...

i have twiddled with all his bits and despite extensive studying of his manual (causing me to break my 'no reading manuals' rule) i cannot find his soul. however i have told myself Leonard has a lot to live up to and therefore i need to give him more of a chance, so together we will be taking pictures of our travels and with a bit of high hopes, will have a nice lot of snap shots to show on our return. i have put him in a fine and dandy floral travel pouch to make him feel worthy and therefore heighten the chances of him showing me his soul and thus, me and him getting along nicely.

righty ho, i am away to gather up my undies, frocks, tights and clogs. leave penciled scribbled notes all over the shed for remaining clan members to heed and as i see Mr Sunshine has come out to play, i may well take a few moments to stand on an acre of moss with my chickie peas and enjoy his rays. just for a moment though, for tights need 'a darning' for i do not think i can possibly get away with 'stirruped' tights in clog sandals...

she will be back tomorrow with a final 'ta ra' ~ Tif

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