The Virtuous Homemaker Part 1

“Virtue is an habitual and firm disposition to do good. It allows the person not only to perform good acts, but to give the best of himself.”

Catechism of the Catholic Church 1803

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One of the many aspects of homemaking is that it is a career that fosters virtue. Homemakers are given countless opportunities to practice virtue in their daily lives.  We continually have “to give the best” of ourselves to our homes, families, and those around us.

By practicing virtues, we not only help ourselves, but we set an example for our families. Our children are great little observers and watch us even when we don’t think that they are. Our example is the best form of teaching. It is, at times, more effective than our words. It is part of our vocation to show those placed in our care, the way towards growing in holiness.  Pope Pius the XII once said that,

“The danger caused by the movies in under- mining the faith of our young people is less grave than that which could stem from possible defects and failings of their educators. What a powerful reminder of your responsibilities!”

We have been entrusted with our children. It is our vocation to bring them into Paradise. It is our God-given duty.  The outcome of our children will be something that we will answer for on our judgement day. We must show them the way to Heaven and how to carry out God’s will.

However, living virtuously is not just to set an example. It is for our own benefit too. We are called to attain sainthood. Even though this might seem impossible at times, living out the virtues can help us fulfill our vocation. They help us perform good deeds, live joyfully, and have a peacful home.

The next series of articles will be on some of the “Homemaking Virtues”. These virtues will be broken down and ways in which to practice them will be given. Hopefully, they will help us perform our vocation more fully and most importantly, grow in our daily attainment of holiness.

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A Source of Protection

Daily recitation of the rosary in the family was once widespread. How worthwhile would such a practice be today! Mary’s rosary removes the seeds of family breakup; it is the sure bond of communion and peace. ~ Pope St. John Paul II

In our world today, there is a lot of chaos, disturbances, and insanity. As mothers, we all watch thinking to ourselves, what is going to happen to our children, how will I ever raise them during this crazy time, and how can I protect them.

The month of October is dedicated to the Rosary.  This beautiful and powerful prayer was given to us by Our Lady herself! She composed this prayer, so that we would always have a direct line to her. She asks us to pray the Rosary daily! Our Lady of Fatima, a hundred years ago, begged her children,

“Say the Rosary every day, to bring peace to the world and the end of the war.”

~Our Lady of Fatima.

One of the many beauties of the Rosary is that it is so simple to pray. It might seem long at first and seeing all of the beads might intimidate you. However, our dear Mother made it so easy that even a child can pray it! St. Maximillian Kolbe says,

“It [the rosary] is so easy to understand that children, and also simple people who do not know how to read, can use the rosary as a means to prayer.”

The Rosary is also a family weapon. It is powerful against all evils and brings Our Lady’s presence into the home. The enemy hates this prayer and anything that involves our dear Mother! Many saints, over the years, have asked us to make use of this weapon and to use it whenever we are scared or uneasy about something.

“The holy rosary is a powerful weapon. Use it with confidence and you’ll be amazed at the results.” ~ St. Josemaria Escriva

“The power of the rosary is beyond description” ~Venerable Fulton Sheen

“Love the Madonna and pray the rosary, for her rosary is the weapon against the evils of the world today.” St. Pio of Pietrelcina

Now, I know that with little toddlers it might seem impossible. However, it isn’t! One way that helps them to sit still is to have a little chair for them to sit in. Tell them it is their prayer chair and then make them stay in it. Explain to the children that there is no walking around during prayer time, just like at Mass! Another way, that might help keep their attention, is to use YouTube. There are countless videos that you can use to follow along. What makes them so great, is that they also help you stay focus with the many religious images and meditations for the decades. Children will also enjoy watching it!

So, during this rosary month, try praying a family rosary daily! See what it does for your family and form this beautiful habit. Make it a part of your daily routine and something that your children can take with them when they are all grown!

“It would hardly be possible for me to put into words how much Our Lady thinks of the holy rosary and of how she vastly prefers it to all other devotions.”

~ St. Louis de Montfort

 

Homemaking Poll 1

Hello beautiful ladies! I am happy to give you my first poll! I am curious as to what you, as readers, would like to see more of on the blog. Please fill it out below and I will listen to your votes. All votes are anonymous. Thank you so much!

Money Savers

Saving money is something that many of us try to do. We are constantly learning new ways or thinking of how we can be better. This is part of homemaking! We actually are called to save money!

Our husbands work daily for us and our children. They earn the money, pay the bills, and then give it to us for the family necessities. It is our job to use this money wisely. We did not, technically, earn it. So, we must be careful with how we spend it. We should take it and not act with an “I deserve it” attitude. We need to look at it as “This is what I have and what does the family need?”

A good way to foster this question, is to ask your husbands for a budget. Your husbands should have control over the money and therefore, should dish out what you need. If you have a budget, you will more than likely not spend on needless items.

Another helpful tip is to ask your husbands if you can purchase anything before you do. This gives the leader of the home, an idea of what you are buying and allows him to have a better hold on the finances. Now, I know that there are some ladies who do the budgeting and finances for the family. If this works for your family, then continue to do it, however, give yourself budgets and spend only that money. It is also just a good idea and practice to ask your husband if it is ok to purchase something outside of groceries.

Now that we know our budgets, what are some ways in which to use it wisely? There are many, but it mainly involves self-control. Self-control is extremely important! As women, we like to spend money even if we are at the grocery store! Cutting your spending will start to take place if you control your buying eye and stick with what you originally went shopping for.

A good place to start this practice, is at the store we go to once, twice, or three times a month. Yes, you guessed it, the grocery store! Grocery budgets depend on each family, however, it should not be extremely high! The average American family could probably drop their grocery bill by a hundred bucks or more! What are some ways to accomplish this?

  1. Don’t buy name brand! This is a big one. Name brands only bump up the price. They are practically the same thing as the generic. Sometimes, the generic is not as good, but maybe this is a little sacrifice we can make. If you really want to buy a name brand item, first look for coupons! There are some out there! A recent thing, which I love, is that the stores with cards, ( Kroger, Walgreens, Publix, CVS, etc) will have coupons that you can load directly onto your cards. Say goodbye to having paper coupons everywhere! It is definitely faster and a good way to save on items that tend to be higher priced.
  2. Watch the amount of junk food– if you want money to buy some of the more expensive healthy items, cut out some of the junk food from your list. It is also, part of our jobs to feed our families well and with items that nurture them. So, instead of grabbing a bag of chips, go to the produce aisle and pick up some fruits and veggies instead.
  3. Buy what is on sale!– this alone will save you a lot! My Mother’s motto, which I live by, is “If it is not on sale, we are not buying it.” It might mean passing up a less necessary item, but it will help you in the long run.
  4. Look online for some health foods– if you are a health food buyer, be sure to look online for items. Sometimes you can buy in bulk for a much more reasonable price. Health food stores, can sometimes have decent prices if you catch their sales. However, online is more consistent and it is shipped right to your door!
  5. Don’t let your kids throw stuff in your cart!– kids do not think about money, they only think about what they want! So, they will typically, grab the most expensive item off the shelf and if you let them purchase it, it will raise your bill!
  6. Try and stay away from frozen meals-Frozen meals are far more expensive then if you actually made it yourself. The only frozen items that are worth purchasing are frozen veggies and frozen fruit. Occasionally buying a frozen pizza won’t hurt you, but it can quickly add to the final bill.

There are many more ways to save on groceries and other items. The above list is just to help you get started. If you have a way that helps you save, please feel free to leave a comment and tell us about it!

 

 

The Power of a Smile

Smile! Your life is wonderful! As a homemaker, we have so much to be thankful for and happy about. Even during some rough times, we still have a blessing to smile about.

A smile is something that is very powerful! We can light up a room, put our children in a better mood, and help lift up the spirits of our husbands. All we have to do is smile! It, also can help us during a rough day. When a crazy or upsetting day occurs, before you go to sleep, smile at the good things that you have and the wonderful husband you have lying next to you (or if he works night shift, give him a smile before he leaves for work). Then, when you get up in the morning, smile and attack the new day with a good attitude of thankfulness and joy.

St Teresa of Calcutta said that, “Let us always meet each other with a smile, for the smile is the beginning of love.” How can we show love and practice acts of love, if we don’t first smile at those we serve? Sometimes a sweet smile is all a person needs to brighten up their day!

Sometimes, a smile can be a form of mortification. There are times when we don’t feel like smiling or it is something that is very hard to do. St. Josemaria tells us “That joke, that witty remark held on the tip of your tongue; the cheerful smile for those who annoy you; that silence when you’re unjustly accused; your friendly conversation with people whom you find boring and tactless; the daily effort to overlook one irritating detail or another in the persons who live with you… this, with perseverance, is indeed solid interior mortification.”(The Way)  This simple act of smiling can be turned into a gift for God! So, even when you don’t feel like smiling, SMILE!

St. Gianna Molla, whiling working as a pediatric physician, prior to meeting her husband, wrote a hymn about the value of a smile. She is an excellent model for us in this regard. She is said to always have had a smile and a great enthusiasm for her life. This is what made her so beautiful and attractive to those around her. It was also what gave her the ability to choose her child’s life over hers. Here is the hymn below:

Hymn of Joy

“To smile at God, from whom all gifts come to us,

To smile to God, the Father, with ever more perfect prayers to the Holy Spirit,

To smile at Jesus, drawing near to Him in Holy Mass, in Communion, in visits to the Blessed Sacrament,

To smile at him who personifies Christ, the Pope; at him who personifies God, our confessor, even when he calls us to mortification.

To smile at the Holy Virgin, model upon which we must pattern our lives, so that whoever looks at us may be led to good thoughts.

To smile at the guardian angel because he was given us by God to guide us to paradise.

To smile at parents, brothers, and sisters, because we ought to be torches of joy, even when they impose duties on us that go against our pride.

To smile always, pardoning offenses.

To smile in the Association, banishing any criticism and murmuring.

To smile at those whom the Lord sends us during the day.

The world seeks joy but does not find it because it is far from God.

We, full of the joy that comes from Jesus, carry joy in our hearts with Jesus. He will be the strength that helps us.

                                                            -Writings of Saint Gianna Beretta Molla

Notebooks of Recollections, nos. 6-7

So, wear that beautiful smile! Make sure to add it to your makeup bag and may it be the first thing that you put on each morning!

A Woman’s Rights

“Women’s rights” is a very popular phrase used in today’s culture. However, do we truly know what a woman’s rights are? There are SO many definitions as to what this means. In the big picture, it means that all women should have equal rights as men and do everything that they do. This is not a true definition. It is something, that over the years, the secular culture has forced us into believing.

While, yes, there are a few things that both men and women should have equal rights to, such as voting, being able to have a career (when it is required), and obtaining a good education. These things are wonderful freedoms that we, as women today, can enjoy. However, there are many things that men are called to do that women should not do. God has given both man and woman numerous talents. They are gifts that separate men from women.

What are some? Well, here are a few.

1.Woman have the natural ability to nurture and care for those around them. We can immediately look at a situation and see who is the person in greatest need. We can aid  an individual with a hug or words of comfort.

2. We have a gift for design and organization! We can make a home beautiful and organized without having to think too much about it. We can pick out radiant colors for the home. We also have better taste in fashion! We can turn a boring wardrobe into something vibrant and more colorful!

3. We can multi-task! This is probably one of the best gifts that God has given us! It allows us to raise children, keep a house, care for our husbands, and plan for the future without loosing our minds!

4. We can offer kind words of encouragement. While men can be blunt and very straight forward, we can find the right words at the right time. Now, straightforwardness is not a bad thing and we all need it every now and then. However, if someone needs a gentler take on a subject or words that build them up, the women,usually, have the right words to share.

There are many other ways, as to where our true rights lie. I have found a poem that was written in the 1800s that explains it very well! Enjoy!

WOMAN’S RIGHTS!
Some people think that women should
Compete in life’s swift race
With men, and gain each privilege
Position, power, and place
Which he enjoys. I can’t agree
With those progressive lights;
I’ll tell you what appears to me
To be fair woman’s rights.

When passion’s young ecstatic fire
First kindles in our veins,
‘Tis woman’s right to bind our hearts
In Cupid’s rosy chains;
She wields a queenly scepter then
Which we must needs obey,
We’re building castles in the night
And dreaming all the day.

‘Tis woman’s right to be caressed
When love is in the spring
And when affection’s harvest comes
Her right it is to bring
The garnered fruits of happiness
To cheer man’s dreary way,
To smooth his tougher nature
And refine his coarser clay.

‘Tis woman’s right to wean us from
Our selfishness and greed,
A counsellor in trouble and
A faithful friend in need.
‘Tis woman’s right to lead us from
The foot of Mammon’s throne
And take us to a nobler shrine
Where purer joys are known.

‘Tis woman’s sacred right–and this
To her by God is given,
To teach the lisping little ones
The password into Heaven.
No joy man knows on earth can with
A mother’s bliss compare
When listening with the angel choir
She hears her child’s first prayer.

‘Tis woman’s right to lean on man
In sorrow and distress
For he was made to comfort her
And she was made to bless;
Her bulwark against danger, be
She daughter, sister, wife,
Or mother, he should guard her well
Aye, even with his life.

‘Tis woman’s right, ere we prepare
To battle in life’s van,
To shape our future destinies
And mould the mind of man.
And here, where we’re erecting on
Pacific’s breast a state,
The mothers of our rising race
Can make it poor or great.

~ Thomas Bracken

The Benefits of Line Drying

Have you ever considered hanging your wash outside to dry? I know that it may sound archaic, but it is actually very beneficial. It can, in the long run, make laundry easier and fun.

Here are some of the benefits!

1.It is cheaper: You will save on your electric bill! The dryer is notorious for sucking away your money. Line drying will help you save your pennies and dimes and it is environmental friendly!

2. It helps with wrinkles: By hanging your wash up to dry, you prevent a lot of the wrinkles that you get from them tumbling around in the dryer.

3. You won’t forget about them (for the most part): By having your clothes outside, you will more and likely, not forget about them. We often do, when we have them in the dryer and this only leads to more wrinkles!

4. Fresh clean smell: This is one of the best parts of hanging your clothes out! The smell is wonderful and fresh!

5. Whites stay whiter: The sun helps remove stains, so your whites will stay white!

6. It gets you outside: It is an excellent way to get you to step outside and smell the fresh air!

7. You fold your clothes right away: When you go out to take your clothes down, you will immediately fold them. This makes things neater and faster. Say goodbye to unfolded clothes sitting in laundry baskets for a day or two!

So, why don’t you give you a try! Set up a laundry line or just put a laundry rack out for a few pieces of clothe and see how it works! Many homemakers did this for thousands of years! It worked well for them, so why shouldn’t work for us?!