Bella’s Birthday Celebrations

Bella’s Birthday Celebrations


Isabella loves her lo mein.


Sophie really loves eating Bella’s noodles and mine. (She was actually crying and rubbing her eyes right before I took this. Then she saw the camera and out came the beaming smile.)


Bella meticulously opens her presents. She even threw away the wrapping paper before moving on the the next gift.


Bella with her new rag doll.

I actually ordered this one, because her name was Isabelle. But Amazon sent the wrong doll. I called to have them send the right one. And they apologized for the error and promised to overnight it. And it got here today and they sent the same wrong doll again. So I figured fate really wanted her to have this dolly, whose catalog name is Sofia.

The doll is very well made. I love the details of the clothes down to the undergarments.


Grandma B called to wish Bella a happy birthday. (My mom called earlier this morning.)


Bella and her birthday cake. I love that she sings Happy Birthday right along with us!


Blowing out the candles.


Bella and Sophie eat cake.

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  • Yep.  And there’s a whole strain of hymnody being lost in the sea of touchy-feely type hymns that many churchs now prefer.

    It is now almost unheard of (no pun intended!) to actually sing them.  When was the last time you heard “Onward Christian Soldiers” sung?

    We like to forget that we are at war every moment of every day, not against men, but against powers and principalities…….

  • Melanie,
    I was very struck by this post.  I know it’s an old one; as a divorced, homeschooling, working mom, I often arrive late at these conversations.  But on the off-chance you’re still paying attention, I offer these thoughts.  As way of disclosure, my son and I attend the Ordinary and Extraordinary forms of the Mass in equal measure, though I prefer the Extraordinary form.  (I apologize if this is disjointed, I’m very tired.)

    “On a cosmic level the war is over, even though individuals still struggle with sin, evil no longer has any power over anyone who is joined to the body of Christ.”

    “The war is over” – this is precisely the problem.  I think for the vast majority of Catholics, their primary “contact” with their faith is Sunday Mass.  In the Missal for the Ordinary form, the war is over.  The war is so far over that the only reminder you might receive about it’s continuance is if your priest chooses to say the Confiteor instead of the Kyrie (the Kyrie is often so watered-down as to be unrecognizable as a ‘penitential’ rite).  What need have we of a Hero-God, a Warrior-Savior anymore?  Even many of the responsorial psalms (and the songs we sing which are based on the psalms) have been edited to remove the war.  The Anchoress recently observed in a post on the psalms:

    “A psaltser without darkness is the spiritual equivalent of prozac. It takes away the highs and lows and leaves you drifting through a passionless and sterile middle ground, where everything is �fine� and nothing penetrates, and the weak spirit just sort of sags into inertia.”

    I think you can say the same thing about the Church’s two Missals.  The prayer after the Our Father in the new Missal in particular it seems to me fits the Anchoress’s description of ‘spiritual prozac’ to a ‘T’.  In the old Missal, we approach the altar in a state of war, we come to the Mass to be fortified for the battle:

    “Judge me, O God, and fight my fight against a faithless people.  From the deceitful and impious man, rescue me.  For you, O God, are my strength:  why do You keep me so far away, with the enemy oppressing me?  Send forth Your light and Your truth; they shall lead me on, and bring me to Your holy hill, and to Your tabernacle.”

    I could give other examples (and will, if you want).  But seems to me that in the new Missal, the war is over, and is therefore over for the majority of Catholics, and there is no longer a need for a heroic God; whereas the old Missal acknowledges the paradox that the war is both over and ongoing, that we need a God-Hero (and we need, with His Grace, to be heroic ourselves).  In my experience of evil in my own heart and the hearts of others, that acknowledgment brought me back to my faith, and continues to be an ineffable comfort to me.

  • JP,

    It’s never too late for a thoughtful comment that’s on topic. (I get an email anytime anyone posts a comment on any post, no matter how old.) But not too late especially for a comment that keeps me thinking while I’m washing the collard greens for dinner.

    I’m not really familiar with the old missal. I’ve only been to the Extraordinary form of the Mass once. But your comments are very interesting and got me thinking. I know there are many translation issues with the current English missal. I’ve read quite a few articles on the subject. You offer a slightly different perspective, though. Not having a real point of comparison, I guess I’d never thought of an absence of the martial in the Mass itself.

    I’ll have to go hunt up that post by the Anchoress. I don’t read her faithfully, but she’s always so good and that sounds like something I need to read.

    I try to pray as much of the Liturgy of the Hours as I can squeeze into my busy days and that is one of the things I love about it, that it encompasses the extremes: the light and the darkness, the peaceful and the violent, the warlike and the maternal. Like you say, living in that paradox that the war is both over and ongoing.

    As I prepped my dinner I had this song going through my head, thanks to your comment:

    Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia!

    The strife is o’er, the battle done;
    The victory of life is won;
    The song of triumph has begun.

    We can only celebrate triumph if we’ve fought a battle, victory is only meaningful to someone who has struggled and won. To pretend we don’t have to strive is to give up the fight against sin before we’ve even begun to fight, isn’t it? Perhaps that’s at the root of our current inertia, an unwillingness to admit that we are sinners, that evil is real?

    Thank you so much for writing. Much food for thought here.