Saturday, January 31, 2009

My favorite links for FEBRUARY...

Here is LovetoLearn's Calendar of Resources -- excellent. I love this mom's approach to the months of the year; she has everything, so go over here for a visit to all the possibilities this cold-hands-warm-heart month has in store for us all. Go over here for what I have found is the best overview of the month for the liturgy. This is a very odd juxtaposition of material, but here goes: I love this book and this other, very odd-ball, yet entirely reverent, book to gleen seasonal and liturgical material for our domestic churches.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Look at this Webinar...

I am going to sign up for this Webinar, "Teaching Math and Science with Real Books," as I am passionate about the topic and hope for some good resources.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Timely quote from St. Francis de Sales

I, for one, am very attached to this "pretty planet spinning in space" (a lyric from a song M used to sing when she was at our parish preschool), so it is a constant battle for me to pray and fast as I ought. Of course, it is a form of praise to our Creator to see the beauty of creation in and around us. At the same time, our God, who is all good, wants us to know that we are just pilgrims passing through. We are, as Walker Percy wrote, trying to make sense of it all by decoding what he calls "signposts in a strange land." I guess the point is that the more we strive to live for Heaven, then the stranger this world appears. We ought to be outcasts of sorts if we take the Gospel counsels seriously. Serious evangelists still find time to laugh and play, but ideally, are ready to turn on a dime, ready to drop their nets and follow Him, even when it is most inconvenient. So, since I signed up for Facebook, I have not checked in with my fellow Catholic mom bloggers. Not long ago, I was over here and found this link to daily quotes from St. Francis de Sales. It is timely for me so I throw it out hoping it will encourage someone else too:

Self-love dies only when our body dies, so we must, while we
live in this land of exile, continue to counterattack its assaults on
our senses and its underhanded tactics. It is enough if we firmly
withstand, giving no willful or deliberate consent ... When we feel
within ourselves the first movements of self-love or of other passions,
let us prostrate ourselves immediately before the heart of God and tell
Him, in a spirit of confidence and humility, "Lord, have mercy on me
because I am a very weak creature." Then let us tranquilly rest in peace and put ourselves at God's disposal. (Letters 1675; O. XIX, pp. 272-273)

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Learning to abandon ourselves "into his arms," like Paco...

A Prayer Request
I have been struggling with how to increase my prayers for two dear women, both wives and mothers, who are so ill --one with cancer, the other with MS. Both of these sisters in Christ are also homeschooling moms, and, at different times in our hschooling journey, were such sources of inspiration, strength and faith. I ask the Lord for pardon and peace for myself, and for grace, strength and healing for these dear mothers. I ask Mary's intercession, for her to pray for these families and their friends to be her Son's loving arms, His loving Heart.

Suffering Saves Souls
My husband, children, extended family and many friends went through a health crisis with me, with so many of its attendant hardships and struggles, from 2001-2005. In some ways, we are still feeling the aftershocks. I know in my head that, when our sufferings are offered to our Savior, He, in a mysterious way, allows us to help Him save souls. I also know, more in my heart, that our Lord gave us His Most Blessed Virgin Mother, to buoy us up in our darkest hours. Mary was there for me and my family in a way that I am just beginning to be able to articulate.

Inspiring Story

Yesterday morning, I was glacing at the article below and found a clue as to how we must unite our suffering with the salvation of souls, beginning with the pruning that happens to us personally. My friend Rachel gave me the audiobook on CD of the very popular novel, The Shack, yesterday; and, she was commenting on how the author of this book answers the perennial question most ask who lack faith, "How can God stand by and watch so much evil?" Some even take this further, and ask, "There must be no God for such evil to run rampant; God would stop it, right?"

Here is Paco's story.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Rekindling friendships on Facebook....

I struggle with digital photography. For years, back when we had a VHS-C video camera, I was the family videographer. We have so many good home movies...but, now, I cannot keep up. My friend, Di, is a scrapbooker extraordinaire and very adept with the digital photography too. She posted this photo on FBook (...from our "two-family retreat" to the South Carolina beaches last June...) and, due to the perserverance of my friend, Rach, I logged in to FB this past Thursday. Well, I've been facebooking for so long already this morning that I have to run get dressed....

Thursday, January 15, 2009

A poem I wrote...

My Weak Heart

Wanting God more than comfort,
Wanting what our Father in Heaven,
desires in us and
for us...

God's Plan involves our willingness
to completely and utterly deny ourselves,
to look away from what we are looking at
and look at Him, pleading with
Him to kindle the fire of
Divine Love in our pitiful, weak hearts.

Monday, January 12, 2009

God's Baptism

One of the many things my children have "taught" me is that Jesus is God. I do not think a child could ever be a heretic. Many years ago, when my husband and I hung our lovely pictures of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary in our dining room, I pointed up to our Lord, and asked my little son who He was -- his simple reply, "God". Yesterday's Mass celebrated God's Baptism, and we were visitors over at St. Benedicts, where we were blessed to hear what everyone needs to hear, the depth of God's love and mercy. His grace is sufficient to allow us the courage to start every day afresh. Normal life is so saturated with sin and guilt. Supernatural life is not just the opposite of this because it varies according to our willingness to participate in it (if that makes sense). I took this lovely image from EWTN's website.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Chesterton's Brave New Family and the Twilight series

I have been working my way through JPII's Mulieris Dignitatem. Last fall, at one of my Catholic mom discussion/prayers groups, I brought up the force of argument and sheer prophecy of Chesterton's Brave New Family, which I checked out of my parish library when I was pregnant with our Little Man. At the time, I read alot of it, but want to buy it, re-read it, talk and write about it. A Culture of Life exists in this country, even amidst all the decay of our country's moral fabric. That our grandchildren might see more life and light and love is a goal held by many. I think the author of the Twilight series has tapped in to the hope of many people --young and old-- that Americans could uphold the true meaning of love, of committment, of self-restraint, of the life of the soul and of marriage and family. Hope needs to be truly heroic these days. As we encourage our young people to fight for what is right, a Culture of Life will flourish and, one day, reign supreme, as it ought. (Btw, my "jury" is still out on Twilight, until I finish the series, but I think I see where it is going.)

White winter sky here in Georgia...

You can probably tell from my blog background that I'd really like to see some snow, an infrequent guest here in Georgia. I do not think it will happen today, as it is 50 degrees. Still, I find the bare trees, the visible contours of the hills around us, and the general paleness of everything so very lovely. This week I got to see what all the hype is regarding the Wii game, "Guitar Hero". All three of my children love it and play and play and play. Not all the music is good, some is very bad and some of it is very good. The fashion and "decor" are, for the most, perfectly awful, but it all leads to lots of rousing discussion.

You are what you read: Yesterday, as I was poking around the Internet, I found this site, and dream of magazine writing. I used to be very athletic and writing is alot like a sport. The more you work at it, the more supple and skillful you become. Godspy's e-zine is, for me, an excellent example of how pertinent, creative and provoking an online medium can be when it comes to using the Internet to bring on JPII's "new springtime of evangelization". I also really like The American Spectator. I have to go now because I am very absorbed in book number two of the Twilight series. I hope my husband survives it -- I want to bite your nehhck!

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Just passing through...

We are pretty sure to have identified a pair of Northern rough-winged swallows in the pale, bare branches of our Dogwood tree. I think they were probably journeying from Canada down farther south. Our woodsy backyard is lovely this time of year. We also watched a red-headed woodpecker work the tree very near our breakfast room bay window. Our Jaybird bounced out of bed this morning asking to read and write. He really likes my idea of assigning a historical period to our regular days (Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays)...he called today's theme: World War II and did excellent copy work. Later today, I'll post on the homeschooling journal, which, quite frankly, I was about to rename "Uncontrolled Fits of Nastiness," due to daughter numero dos's awful behavior of late. She seems to be much recovered after a big talking to...

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Bonus for Mom: quiet time at 10 in the morning....

So, what am I doing, but dreaming about this lovely lemon bread. I am also filing away some paperwork and trying to clear the big shelf in the dining room, where most of our homeschooling books, notebooks and workbooks are hanging out. What a mess! We are off to Challenge today and so glad to see everyone, cause lots of teams are meeting at same time, same place -- how good!

I woke up thinking about a watercoloring technique I saw in a catalogue a few weeks ago...more later on that...Go over to the Bonnie Glen for a post full of resources for families wanting to learn Greek and Latin.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Intrigued by the work of Paul Johnson...

I printed this article out a couple of days ago and haven't had time to read it. I'd also like to read his book on George Washington.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Celebrating from Epiphany until The Baptism of the Lord

We are off to 5pm Mass on this blessed Feast of the Epiphany. We are all ready, willing and able to get back to work tomorrow, even though Christmas is not over. We have shopped, feasted, partied and prayed. We have also cooked, rested and done some cleaning. With Dad going back to work, there will be more house work and cooking for us to do. He has been such a blessing around the house and taking us out to lunch right and left.

As of today, I have a new homeschooling blog ,and, it is a journal of somewhat unrelaxed Catholic unschooling, if I may choose that label for myself. I love to learn, to follow rabbit trails, to be free to keep doing what I am doing if I am doing it well, so these are some family goals too. Dad came up with the name; it is what he wanted to do today.

We did not go out to the house today, as we usually do, because we drove by on New Year's Day and things looked the same. Hopefully, by a week from today, we'll see more construction.

Friday, January 2, 2009

More looking back: April -- December 2008

In April, J took his first class where he was left alone for a couple of hours -- and, pottery was a hit! On the same day, April 3, we had our home enthroned to the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary. JB acted the role of Alice in TORCH's Alice in Wonderland. The girls and I enjoyed, for the first time, the Pure Fashion Show. Grandparents returned for a visit while Mom went on a CRHP retreat and more juggling of lots of weekly activities. Maggie acted in TORCH's Tom Sawyer. In May, we finally went on a TORCH field trip to awesome Amicalola Falls, celebrated Maggie's b-day, took standardized tests at Homeschool Hangout, went to a Challenge Youth Rally at St. Brigids, Mom coordinated a fun ladies nite out at Greenwood's Restaurant, and, we headed to the beach on the 31st with our dear friends the Mercados. In June, we enjoyed having our first week-long vacation at the beach, kept up Monday Adoration and Tuesday guitar lessons, had an adventure at the Atlanta airport and JB did swim team. Jerry drove all the kiddos up to BGKY so that we could have a our (third?) annual vacation at home alone for a few days. I stirred up trouble when I asked Rachel to come look at new home construction with me up in Cumming. She and I had a yummy Cuban meal at a quaint family place that has since gone out of business. It is rare for me to have a half-day getaway with a friend without young people to serve and love. It is good with them and good to have a little break now and then. In July, we kept up Monday Adoration and Tuesday guitar and caught up with our cousins at the lake and later poolside. We signed our contract on the house we are building in Cumming on July 14th! I had done lots of research when J and JB were at Hannah's Horse Camp and M was still in KY working in the office; in fact, this desire to reside in Forsyth county (...we really like Dawson Co. too...) began back when M was in Kindergarten at Pinecrest Academy. In August, we changed our Holy Hour to Thursdays, worked at our TORCH yard sale, took a spontaneous trip to the beach with Linda, Hannah, Savannah and Maddie, celebrated Dad's b-day with grandparents here, officially started homeschooling on the 18th and began Coop classes on Marine Biology on the 29th. In September, got in the groove at home, JB started private math lessons, had a ball at our parish picnic, J went on a Challenge retreat, began a weekly art class for JB and J, M began weekly youth group classes, heard a most genuine political speech, Challenge Kick-Off, Mom's b-day, was taught by JB why I do what I do, had fun parties with Rosses and Mercados and spent two nights camping at the lake with our annual TORCH Camporee. In October, Mom re-joined Familia apostolate to study authentic feminism and deepen my prayer life, took kids to Mayfield Dairy Farms with TORCH, all of us got the live, attenuated flu nasal mist, M went to the Holy Spirit Monastery with St. Andrew's Youth Group. I wrote something good inspired by my dear friend, and killer good writer, Sara B. We were so grateful for successful emergency surgery for TR, and, we ended the month by Dad and I hosting fun family dinner with Clarks here on All Hallows Eve. Somewhere in all this we were de-cluttering and packing boxes -- notice the lack of pictures of our mess here. In November, the Presidential Election was big. A special Rite of Welcoming for J at a Saturday Family Mass as part of his preparation for First Eucharist. A very big and fruitful girls retreat for our M, and a lovely family meal at the Gallamores. Presentation Day to end our Coop; and, November 23rd, the Feast of Christ the King, goes down as highpoint in Mom's life as she became a part of Regnum Christi with all her family, and many dear friends, present. We went to BGKY for Thanksgiving for some needed r & r. Advent 2008 began and we greeted the liturgical new year with hope and happiness, as our Faith allows, no matter what the circumstances. In December, the house really took shape. Dad went to Mass with us on Monday the 8th, the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, the 10th was TORCH Advent night, and the 13th was an evening marriage retreat hosted by Familia. Gaudete Sunday was even more joyful than usual. Mom went on a women's evening retreat at Pinecrest on the 16th, the 17th we had our last Challenge --look at these girls go -- and, the 18th were auditions for upcoming TORCH spring drama productions. The 20-23 we went back to BGKY and had the blessing to see all the grandparents. The children insisted that we be here in this house for Christmas. It was quiet and lovely and playful. The 31st we spent with friends new and old.

Our 2008 in review: January - March...

These are just a few memories; obviously, much more was going on. I am looking back at both blog posts and my planning notebook to hit some highlights on this 9th Day of Christmas. Today, in a couple of hours, we are giving Dad a total vacation day as I meet my friend Amy and her children for a movie. In January, we were loving acrostic poetry and Jan Brett books (also, the book The Big Snow, which may already be packed and ready to go to Cumming....). I went to a TORCH MNO (Mother's Night Out) and was very inspired to hear a glimpse of the Caprara's prayer life and homeschool journey. I was thinking alot about schole -- that leisure and culture are intertwined, that some form of unschooling is utterly compatible with Catholicism. It was a lovely snow on JB's birthday. I had just met my dear friend Sandra, went to see dear Regans in CYT's Charlie Brown, Rach and I were continuing weekly play dates/coffee talk, 1st time to see TORCH Talent Show, was doing CRHP, taking lots of music lessons (M in both clarinet and guitar). In February, JB got a terrible case of the flu. J, JB and I began Latin studies. Lent began so early on the 6th. We were notebooking and house cleaning-- having an especially good time with Latin studies. Lots of good work with Challenge. J's b-day and grandparents visit and M goes on Middle School Youth Group retreat. M was reading lots of Rachel Ray and cooking alot. In March, we continued our Monday Adoration, music lessons, Challenge, TORCH, dinner with Mercados, and girls both went to Challenge Holy Week convention. Easter was in March, and it was a very chilly month here.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Let us sing a new song...

Hail Mary, Full of Grace, Blessed Art Thou Among Women, and Blessed is the Fruit of thy womb, Jesus....I was just reminded of the fact that the ancient name given to our Lord, Yeshua, means "God saves". Oh, my! What goodness dwells among us and, with such amazing possibility, can dwell profoundly in the hearts of men. We are off to noon Mass on this 8th Day of Christmas. It was on the 8th day, after His blessed birth, that our Savior was circumcised. I love the ancient rites, the eternal Sacraments, all these are never tired, always fresh, always there to renew us in heart and mind. May we all experience a wave of grace and blessing in 2009! Newness in Christ Jesus is ever necessary and ever beautiful! The 7th Day of Christmas was a mini vacation for Mom (me). I dropped J and JB off at a friend's house to celebrate a birthday, went to the library and Harry's Farmer's Market, while Dad and M went up to collect everyone. We all met back here and readied ourselves to celebrate -- here, there and yonder -- New Year's Eve. My friend is putting our dinner on shutterfly, so hopefully I can put some of the photos on the blog. All we had going on last night was a warm and wonderful way to ring in 2009. Back to today, we took a drive after Mass and ate lunch up in Cumming and really enjoyed driving around, what is usually a very congested area, with nearly no traffic. We are going to buy a GPS for the van when the prices come down some, so it was great to have a chance for Dad to drive while Mom cased out the back roads. I had been taking the one "main drag," Ronald Reagan Blvd (...yes, Forsyth County is very conservative...); and my hubby helped me find some shortcuts.