Thursday, April 17, 2014

Holy Thursday

Jesus Washing the Feet of His Disciples ~ Giovanni Agostino da Lodi c. 1500

Tuesday, April 15, 2014


We are wrapping up school here at home, and then taking Holy Thursday and Good Friday off, to immerse ourselves in church services and ready ourselves for the glorious day of Easter.

During this season of Lent, I have taken more devotional time to myself –getting up even earlier to read, meditate and pray.  My Lenten sacrifices this year have been challenging, and because I don’t feel we need to blurt them out there, let’s just say, God has been working on me! 

Today, as I read and grade a religion paper written by my 9th grade son, his words on “Faith”, really come to rest on my heart and appeal to my logical mind.

“….. Faith must be universal, it must believe in the teachings fully without doubts, and not be confined to specific teachings…” 

“…It must be conquering and unconquerable, meaning it should be strongest so it won’t be forgotten and lost to worldly things….”  (and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it, Matt 16:18)

“…forbidden books, or other forms of entertainment such as movies, television, video games and more, are to be avoided if it teaches against the church, or may lead one towards sin..” (avoiding the near occasion of sin)

These are a small part of my son’s essay, and I am well pleased that these are teachings presented to him in his studies that he must discuss and write about, and make his own. 

Faith is a gift.  It is akin to firm “belief”, Infused in us through Holy Baptism through the power of the Holy Spirit when baptism washes away original sin and opens up the channels for God’s graces to flow within the soul and mark one as His own.  Later Confirmation completes and seals baptism by full acknowledgment, consent, acceptance and a profession of faith by the recipient.  We are saved through Baptism, we are strengthened as soldiers of Christ through Confirmation, ready to defend our Faith.

Our profession of Faith:

The Nicene Creed

We believe in one God,
the Father, the Almighty,
Maker of all that is, seen and unseen.

We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ,
the only Son of God,
eternally begotten of the Father,
God from God, Light from Light,
true God from true God,
begotten, not made, consubstantial
of one Being with the Father.

Through him all things were made.

For us and for our salvation
he came down from heaven:
and by the Holy Spirit was incarnate
he became incarnate from the Virgin Mary,
and was made man.

For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate;
he suffered death and was buried.

On the third day he rose again
in accordance with the Scriptures;
he ascended into heaven
and is seated at the right hand of the Father.

He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead,
and his kingdom will have no end.

We believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life,
who proceeds from the Father and the Son.

With the Father and the Son he is worshipped and glorified.

He has spoken through the Prophets.

We believe in one holy catholic and apostolic Church.

We acknowledge one baptism for the forgiveness of sins.

We look for the resurrection of the dead,
and the life of the world to come. Amen.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Hosanna, Hosanna, Hosanna in the highest….

“Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.”

John 15:13

This beautiful Palm Sunday marks another year of entering Holy Week and commemorating the passion and death of our Lord Jesus.  This Sunday was a particularly warm and sunny day, a double blessing.  But as the weather changes later in the week, so does our focus on this very special journey.

How many Holy Weeks I have encountered as a young child, a young adult, a young mother, a more mature mother who has brought her family along the way of the Lord.

How my heart still feels deep joy on Holy Thursday as we meet our Lord in the Eucharist as his Last Supper, our first communion ….

“And he took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them saying, “This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me.”

Luke 22:19

How my heart feels the sharp pain of the scourging, the crown of thorns, the long dreadful journey of carrying the heaviest cross of all, the sins of mankind.

“Carrying his own cross, he went out to the place of he Skull, (in Hebrew, Golgotha).”

John 19:17

And how my heart expires with his, in his final moments of anguish and pain and absolute pure love …for me, for you, for all…

“When he has received the sour wine, Jesus said, “It is finished.”  With that, he bowed his head and gave up the spirit.”

John 19:30

I pray this Holy Week is a true transformation that touches your heart, brings you tears of both joy and sorrow and mostly gratitude for our great God giving us the gift of His own Son.  May we always hold our Christ in our hearts and know that our salvation has been bought for a price.

“I have swept away your offenses like a cloud, your sins like the morning mist. Return to me, for I have redeemed you.”

Isaiah 44:22

Friday, April 04, 2014

DNA–ancestry & fun stuff :)

Let it not be said I grow boring in mid life!  I have long been on a quest to get further back on my father’s Irish side of the family, something he tried to do while living, traveling to Ireland, and doing research.  This Irish side would be his paternal end…..and well, you know how many John Reynoldses exist in the 1700s in Ireland???  And Frances O’Reilly’s??   Yes, so my dead end continues, as it did for my father.  Although he would be right-proud that I was able to put together his mother’s German side within one year of research, making a break through for his cousin Mary Burg, (and wasn’t she just thrilled!)  It was an incredible find, to locate a genealogical site in Germany with our family documented in it.  Of course it was all in German :)  so, I had to use an on line foreign language translator to communicate with its owner.  And it worked! 

But the Irish side…..oh how I wish I could be that lucky.  I’ve only gotten to the  great grandfather for my father’s paternal side, (that brings us to 1798 with the birth of his great grandfather); where in contrast, I’ve made it to 1600s with the German maternal side. 

My own mother’s maternal side consists of even more remote chances.  With Eastern Europe and its records being so terribly destroyed during the World Wars, records in the Slovakian regions are hard to come by.  I have a few immigration papers of my mother’s aunts, that arrived by ship through Boston, but little exists of any further origins into Slovakia, other than the names of the towns of Smizany and Uzofce. 

So today, my son mailed off my package of DNA in a lab tube.  Yes.  Because there is this really cool system of giving a saliva sample, and it being processed through DNA technology, and the results sent to you, right to your web account you set up with the provider;  in this case:  I used  as recommended by a friend who is in search of her biological family.  

So, I am so interested in seeing what my DNA holds….what’s the strongest percentage of culture I carry… it German? Irish? Slovakian? and some Jewish?  We have a Jewish end of the family on my father’s mother’s side – Russian. 

I guess the lab will tell in time.  I’ll let you know what I discover :)

Friday, March 28, 2014

Thursday, March 27, 2014

A day in the life.....ordinary

We are bouncing back from being sick the last week, so this was our first day back at our home school co-op.  It went really was nice to be back in the mix of things.

Things I learned today:   FROZEN songs will not die easy!  My Lego Jr group was singing the Frozen songs quite well....and nearly endlessly.  There was much happiness in singing and building with Lego.

Little girls are good guessers!  The one girl in the Lego club today won the Creationary game with no problem!  Her persistent guessing and asking the builder questions won her the five cards needed to win the game.  She was engaged and paid attention, and just did not give up. Good work!

There's a lot of spring fever and teenitis going on right now!  

There were visitor students to our group today, as the local public school is on spring break.  We had a hot dog lunch fund raiser, and the visitors thought this was how we "did lunch" :)

My youngest son loves to look at "moving" life forms under the microscope at science class, as he did today.  It beats "prepared dead thing slides," (like he has at home)....he announced.

It's been a long hard winter here, and we are slooooooowly seeing a break, but the temps are just not jetting up there yet -- it's still pretty cold.  Tomorrow the temps will be a bit higher, but alas, will take until Sunday to hopefully to see a warmer, clearer day.

Wherever you are, I hope you have a lovely evening or bright cheery day, or both!  God bless+

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Days gone by–you can still buy it!


I’m nursing a sick household today, so in between washing bed linens and resting myself a bit, I’ve been internet browsing.  I find the Vermont Country Store so fun to visit and reminisce with.  It really takes me back to the 70s growing up in Salt Lake City, Utah.  I never wore much make-up at all; what I did wear was usually just blush and a lip gloss (Clinique’s Black Honey was my favorite).  But the make-up at the Vermont Country Store is so 70s….I do remember the make-up and hair products ( like Lemon-up Shampoo, something I did occasionally use).  It’s just fun to see the older toys and games, and products of an era gone by.

Vermont Country Store

Latin & Math, fun buddies to help form the mind

I just love how this apologetic article on Latin (and math) is expressed.  Our teaching Latin throughout our home schooling often meets with a furled brow, "why ever for?"   There are SO many good reasons other than it is part of classical studies.  And I can not tell you how enjoyable it is to do Latin with my children.  From the primary grades to the high school ones.  It is probably one of my greatest joys of home schooling.  And I am no Latin expert; (but good materials/resources help take care of that), but my love for substance, depth, analysis, decoding, and good formation, seem to come to fruition in Latin. It just makes sense!  I encourage every one to consider Latin.  There are so many good beginning programs available.  You can start out easy and basic, and and continue to gently build each year. Continuing Latin study throughout the regular course of schooling for many years, creates and forms an informs the mind like nothing else.  A very noble pursuit.

--excerpt from: An Apology for Latin and Math

"Latin develops and enlarges the mind to a far greater degree than math and brings the necessary balance to the curriculum. The study of Latin is a complete education in that it develops the intellectual powers of the mind and, at the same time, develops English language skills far more effectively than English grammar, thus achieving the two most important goals of education at the same time.

Latin, like math, gives the student the experience of studying one subject to a mastery level. This is what is missing in modern education, where we try to teach everything and we cover too many subjects too superficially. The student is always on the surface, always a beginner, just stuffing in a lot of unrelated facts. There are few opportunities to use higher order thinking skills when you are merely a novice. It is only when the student has studied a subject enough to have some depth that his mind can be stretched and challenged with higher order thinking skills. Latin and math give students the invaluable experience of studying one systematic subject to a mastery level over a long period of time, K-12 and beyond. This is a key to mental and character development and is the most valuable academic experience a child can have in school.

Latin and math, when taught to a mastery level, teach the student how to climb the mountain of learning. And if a student climbs one mountain, he knows what it takes to get to the top, and he will be prepared to climb all of the mountains that he will meet in life."

Grateful Hat-tip to classical studies

Some things are worth repeating :)  A post from early January...

I’ve been watching the TV series FRINGE, and I’m already in the final series (Season 5)….but before I got to it, I’ve hung with the four other seasons.  In Season Four, Leonard Nimoy makes his appearance (again), and in one scene he is reciting this:

"I will arise and go now, and go to Innisfree,
And a small cabin build there, of clay and wattles made:
Nine bean-rows will I have there,
a hive for the honey-bee;
And live alone in the bee-loud glade." 
(Lake Isle of Innisfree, W.B. Yeats)

It reminded me of how my children have memorized that poem through the years ….a favorite here in our home education, and even with my father (God rest his soul). Classical poetry memorization is part of our classical studies.

It reminds me of how grateful I am for classical education; education that is true and stands the tests of time.  It is not trendy or progressive.  It does not change with each passing decade. It does not spoon feed information for the time being, but forms the mind to receive and retain, and enables it to learn to learn.

In this day and age, when people make no sense…when arguments are not valid or sound, when consequences are not thought out….I am very grateful to be forming my children’s minds, hearts and souls to be receptive to the Truth.

If you would like to read more about something mind bending and forming….just follow this link to: An Apology for Math & Latin

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Irish folk tune (Slane)

Lord of All Hopefulness
Lord of all hopefulness, Lord of all joy,
whose trust, ever childlike, no cares could destroy,
be there at our waking, and give us, we pray,
your bliss in our hearts, Lord, at the break of the day.

Lord of all eagerness, Lord of all faith,
whose strong hands were skilled at the plane and the lathe,
be there at our labours, and give us, we pray,
your strength in our hearts, Lord, at the noon of the day.

Lord of all kindliness, Lord of all grace,
your hands swift to welcome, your arms to embrace,
be there at our homing, and give us, we pray,
your love in our hearts, Lord, at the eve of the day.

Lord of all gentleness, Lord of all calm,
whose voice is contentment, whose presence is balm,
be there at our sleeping, and give us, we pray,
your peace in our hearts, Lord, at the end of the day.

Friday, March 14, 2014

March Madness….

…really and truly, I feel I am afflicted with it!

I don’t think I’ve ever encountered quite as long and hard of a winter as this one we are inching our way out of.  I can’t imagine how our pioneer and pilgrim ancestors managed!  I just know God knows I am a wimp!…and allowed my life span to exist on this chronological time line of some technology and machinery that helps assist to bring some comforts during terrible incredible weather events.


To say the least, hauling up at home has helped us be productive in our school work.  Mark has already finished up history and soon, Latin and science.  Michael is nearing the end with Algebra and Latin; still at least 10 weeks to go for a truly spectacular year for these guys.  I am so pleased with their progress and how much they’ve accomplished and learned this year.

Both boys have also made great progress with their varying challenges; between autism spectrum disorder and anxiety disorder, we have done so much and both sons have made their own personal leaps.

On another note, life just doesn’t stop giving and taking away.   My husband’s employer of the last 35 years passed away earlier this week after a year long battle with stomach and liver cancer.  She was an only child, adopted, and the burial vault family business fell to her when her father, the founder, passed away many years ago.  She left her other job position and took on the business.  My husband and all his brothers and father worked for this company throughout it’s entire existence so far; my father-in-law being a foreman and retiring from the business.  So my husband has put in about 38 years there.  The business can continue, but there are many changes to take place as his employer was the last in line to run the business.  She has left the company to my husband, one of his brothers that works there, and two other employees, to do with it as they see fit. So lots of meetings, and  lots of life changing events.

In the meantime, we await the funeral.  What a special and wonderful person in general, and spectacular business woman we must say good-bye to.  She was an excellent employer and really looked out for her employees supplying them with good medical insurance and profit sharing and was always fair and supportive…..we are so grateful that for 25 years of our married lives with four children, my husband worked under these wonderful conditions.  May this admirable person rest in the peace of Christ and comfort of heaven.  I will personally never forget how good she was to those in her charge.