Monday, December 5, 2016

"Monk Day" by Becca, age 11

Before I share Becca's experience as a medieval Benedictine monk for a day, I want to share a few quick craft projects. Tonight is our Christmas Eve, since our family exchanges gifts on St. Nicholas Day (December 6). I focused on gifts which the whole family could share this year, instead of individual presents, and ended up with Twister and the Cuboro Standard Marble Maze. (And Oh! Toys gave me wonderful customer service... when they found out I needed my item by St. Nicholas Day they expedited the shipping for free!)

Classic Twister

Cuboro Standard Marble Maze
from Oh! Toys

All was going well and I was feeling confident in my Christmas preparations. Then Natalie reminded me about the pickle ornament and the extra gift. AAARGHHH! I mean, yay, fun family annual tradition. (I love the pickle but I never seem to remember to buy an extra gift. Last year the person who found the pickle got a new tube of toothpaste. Not kidding.)

So I'm making frozen gelatin fossil excavation molds as the extra gift... I like this idea because I don't have to wrap something frozen and put it under the tree and hope it doesn't melt too quickly. I can just say, when someone finds the pickle, "Your extra gift is waiting in the freezer."

link to activity instructions
from Fun at Home with Kids

And while I was at Pinterest looking for Extra Gift Ideas, I decided on one more joint present for the girls. It's Moldable Play Sand, made with 5 cups of play sand ($3.35 for 50 lbs at Lowe's), 1 cup of baby oil ($2.47 at Walmart), and 3 cups of all-purpose flour. Which I already had on hand.

I love love love Pinterest and my 76 Pinterest boards. Last time I was a new mom (in 2002), I subscribed to Family Fun magazine, Child, Parents, and Parenting. And Martha Stewart Living and Good Housekeeping and Taste of Home. And now I don't need to subscribe to any of those things because Pinterest is free!

So tonight I'm wrapping gifts and putting them under the tree, hanging and stuffing the stockings, hiding the pickle ornament, and creating moldable play sand and frozen gelatin fossil excavation molds ($2.97 for a pack of ten plastic insects at Walmart -- in the gift wrap and party favors aisle).

Now, on to Becca's guest blog post about her experience as a monk yesterday:

    I was a monk on December 4. I woke up at 2:30 in the morning, and read the Bible until 8:00. It was long and tiring and nobody else was up so it was very lonely. I didn't eat until 2:00 p.m. and I was hungry at 5:00 a.m. At 8:00 I went to Mass at a Catholic church. When I came back it was time for work. Some of the jobs that monks did were copy the Bible / illuminated manuscripts, work in the garden, cook, look after the sick, and teach the novices. I did art instead of illuminated manuscripts but it was close enough. At 12:00 p.m. I read a book about Saints until dinnertime. For dinner I had Salmon with Wine and Ginger Sauce, bread, and Pottage. Here are the recipes. When you only have one meal a day it tastes better because you're really hungry. In the Middle Ages they couldn't drink the water because it was contaminated so they usually had wine or beer. I had apple cider. After that I worked on "illuminated manuscripts" until 4:00 p.m. At 4:00 p.m. I went to a Vespers concert at a church. They had monastery music. When the concert was over I changed into my "night shoes" (pajamas) and had Collatio. Collatio is a hot drink and a piece of bread before bed at 6:30 p.m. to help you fall asleep. I was glad for an early bedtime after the long day.

1 comment:

Unknown said...

What a great experience! I recently read about the monks who copied texts to preserve all of the precious books. There are many quotes by them describing just how laborious it truly was. They wrote all day and then by dim candle light at night.
Victoria Lord writes of the difficult conditions endured by scribes, often in uncomfortable conditions. ‘They worked as long as the light was good enough to see by and their marginalia record their fatigue.’ Marginalia grumblings included:

“Let me not be blamed for the script, for the ink is bad, and the vellum defective, and the day is dark.”

“Cithruadh Magfindgaill wrote the above without chalk, without pumice, and with bad implements.”

“New parchment, bad ink; I say nothing more.”

“Writing is excessive drudgery . It crooks your back,it dims your sight,it twists your stomach, and your sides.”

“The book which you now see was written in the outer seats,” wrote one unhappy monk, “while I wrote I froze, and what I could not write by the beams of the sun I finished by candlelight.”( p.137, Book)

We are forever thankful to the monks who saw the importance of such a daunting task!

Libraries used to be guarded and closely supervised to make sure the books were not damaged in anyway, The books even had chains on them fixing them to the shelves. I don't blame them! One spilled inkwell could ruin hundreds of hours of work.