There's been much hurrying and scurrying in the Catholic homeschooling blog world these days. Under the tutelage of Alice in the Cottage, much crafting is happening to honor the Blessed Mother. The flurry of activity is amazing and much of it is being discussed on the 4Reallearning Boards . There is a Marian notebook project, a lively discussion of crafts, devotions, and gardens, some talk about the legends surrounding Mary's flowers, and a hunt for Marian images.
We're been off to a bit of a slow start here in our home (I've many ideas and not a whole lot of energy), so I was much relieved to read the following Mary Vitamin today, thanks to Helen at Castle of the Immaculate:
“The month of May, traditionally dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary, has just begun. From her, let us learn the Gospel simplicity of children who entrust themselves to their Mother. May Mary lead us to Christ in joy and in suffering, 'now, and at the hour of our death'. Amen!”--John Paul II, May 5. 1996
May 5th! That's today! It is as if our dear Papa reached down, patted my head and said, "Take a deep breath, May is one of the long months.And it's just begun!" Sigh. A long month; we've plenty of time!
I couldn't find the small shelves Alice described, so we got one long shelf to create our Mary shelf. They cut up old Christmas cards and decoupaged the top of the shelf and then painted flowers on the face of it. On it, the children have hung rosaries and displayed the rosary books they've been working on. They collected all things Marian from around the house and made a small holy water font from Sculpey left over from our ornament project (photos of that to be posted some other day in this long month of May, after the ribbons are tied and I actually find a silk tree and many more images).
We enlivened the perpetual Mary altar with some new flowers and beneath it we placed a basket full of silk flowers. One day very soon, we will make a salt dough wreath. Then, the children will glue silk flowers on the wreath as they do good deeds. The wreath will be our centerpiece until Advent. (Many thanks to Kim Fry for this idea.)
The Mary Garden is really taking shape. Today, the girls planted Alyssum. Mary Beth has posted some lovely pictures on our family's nature blog, Blossoms and Bees. Dawn, of Marigolds for Mama, tells us that Alyssum is also known as "Blessed by Mary" or "Mary 's Little Cross." They are such sweet flowers that I caved and broke my "no annuals" pledge. We planted three flats of them!
It's a long month of celebration. A month of glorious reflection on the young woman who said, "Yes!" to the will of God. A month to draw ourselves closer to the Blessed Mother and--even as we bustle about our own households and we are the grownups who make things happen in our homes--to snuggle into the mantle of the Gentle Mother, inhale her sweetness, and be like little children safe in her arms.