2015, have you flown by already? The older I get, I realize that a year really isn’t very long at all. Looking through all the photos the family has taken over the last year, it  does seem that we fit a lot into 2015.

January I began actual nursing classes, after two years of wading through the prerequisite science and psychology classes. The one-month interim course at my school fits a whole semester’s material into three weeks , so bitter January passed quickly. The class finished with a role playing presentation that was fun to work on and present to the class:


Through February and March, both Mom and the excitement for our newest family member grew steadily:


April brought the welcome spring, with flowering bulbs, spring sun, and crazy baby chickens in the mail:

May was filled with celebrations following one after the other. Benjamin arrived safe and sound shocking us with his head of curls.  Landon graduated from homeschool life, and several members of the family received sacraments:

Maria was confirmed:


as well as Johnathan:


and Alexander:

In June Benjamin also received his first sacrament!


In July I flew with an amazing group to Alaska on a two week mission trip through FOCUS (Fellowship of Catholic University students). This was my first trip away from home by myself, so it was very new and exciting experience:


The family spent August enjoying the last warm, school-free days of Summer:


And this must suffice for September, October, November, and December, as I only narrowly escaped being buried alive in homework this semester. I passed a lot of exciting nursing milestones such as first injection given, first patient cared for, and learning to understand a million different lab values.


 Now, forward on to 2016!

Christmas and the Old Testament

For school this year, Landon and I have been using a book that goes through and explains Scripture. Appropriately, we ended this semester at the end of the Old Testament, right before the Incarnation and Christmas.  I must say that in the past I have not enjoyed reading the Old Testament. It seemed to be full of war, being conquered, and turning away from God. Much less enjoyable to read than the hopeful New Testament.  I also had a very low regard for the Jewish people. I mean, how can you walk through the Red Sea and fall down and worship the Golden Calf on the other side? Now, however, I’m able to look at the Old Testament for what it is: the preparation of the world for the Son of God.

The Jewish people spent almost the entire Old Testament either falling into captivity or rising up in a glorious rebellion and freeing themselves. Every time God blessed them with victory, such when he allowed David to defeat the Philistines, they enjoyed a short time of prosperity while they were faithful to God. Then complacency would set in, and they turned to the idols and false gods of the people around them, such as when King Solomon, despite the wisdom and wealth God had given him, worshiped the idols of his many wives. Not long after, a neighboring king sent in his armies and conquered all of Israel. Then the people realized their mistakes, repented, and were able to drive off their enemies, and the whole cycle started all over again.

In view of this, it is no wonder that when they were told they would have a Savior they looked for a military leader. But upon closer scrutiny of the Old Testament, you realize that the cycle of captivity and freedom is closely linked to the cycle of obedience and disobedience to God. What the Israelites didn’t realize, however, was that their bondage to earthly kings was a result of their bondage to sin. Instead of sending a military leader, God sent a Savior for the root of the problem-slavery to sin.

Latin reads: ‘and the Word was made flesh”


In the News!

This afternoon we went to Ash Wednesday mass at the Cathedral. An Argus Leader newsman was taking pictures, and he snapped this one of Mom and Dominic. It went to be a part of a collection of pictures of Ash Wednesday being celebrated around the world on the Denver Post!

Ash Wednesday

Grotto of the Redemption

After a family reunion in Iowa last week, we visited the Grotto of the Redemption in West Bend Iowa, which is the largest man-made grotto in the world. It was lovely.





Joseph and his patron, St. Joseph

Joseph and his patron, St. Joseph



Mary in the home.



Aside from the  beautiful stones and statues, the grotto also has a family of swans and corn to feed them.







Symbols of Holy Week-Part 2

The passion flower is an unusual and extraordinary flower, and many of its parts are used to represent different aspects of the Crucifixion. This makes it a wonderful symbol for holy week, especially Good Friday. The tendrils represent the whips used in the Scourging, and the hundreds of filaments surrounding the center of the flower are associated with the thorns that pierced Our Lord’s sacred brow. There are five anthers which stand for the five wounds, and the three stigmas surmounting them resemble three nails. Even the leaves, which are long and pointed, stand for the lance which was used to pierce the side of Christ.



Symbols of Holy Week-Part One

I have always been fascinated by the history of the myriad of symbols of the Holy Faith. Great paintings often portray Our Lord and the saints holding one or more of these emblems, and much more can be understood about the meaning of the painting from decoding these items. One example is in Botticelli’s ‘Madonna of the Pomegranate’ a painting that shows Our Lady and the Child Jesus hold a pomegranate. The pomegranate had several meanings based on the multitude of seeds it carries hidden inside, including the many afflictions of the Passion and the fruitfulness of the Resurrection. Using this one symbol, Botticelli remind the viewers of his work of the Child’s future.


Holy Week is especially rich in symbols, two of which were mentioned in yesterday’s Gospel of the Triumphal Entry into Jerusalem. The first to come to mind is the palms strewn on the road in front of Jesus as he entered Jerusalem. Palms have been symbols of victory since ancient times, and Romans would give them to those victorious in battle, and later they were painted on the graves of early Christian martyrs to show their triumph over evil. As the Jews waved the palm branches in the air and laid them on the earth, they may have been expressing their hope that the Messiah would lead them in the conquest of their enemies.


However, Christ had not come to be a military leader, and this he announced with the very means of  his arrival in Jerusalem. He chose to ride a donkey, which in those times represented peace since messengers would ride upon donkeys when conveying tiding of peace, preferring the faster horse in times of war.


I will post about more Holy Week symbols that I find interesting later!