St Gabriel Windows

St Gabriel Windows
Photocopy c. 2013 Jamie Laubacher

Friday, December 04, 2009

Understanding Others

"The Lord asks us to understand others, even though others may not understand or even try to understand us. Perhaps sometimes they are like the guests invited to the banquet who could not bring themselves to respond to the Lord's invitation. We have to care for other people despite the possibility that they may ignore us. We should be performing acts of service for people who very probably will not do the same for us. Let us make life pleasant for those around us, no matter how they or others treat us. Everything we do should spring from a largeness of heart. We cannot keep a running tally of credits or debits. People who complain about the ingratitude of others should take a close look at their own rectitude of intention. Generosity should not lead to recriminations and collapse. Selfless sacrifice should make the heart bigger. It should uplift it with the consoling thought that God is pleased with our efforts.

The Christian gives for love of God without expecting anything in return. It includes whatever one person can offer another: respect, joy, optimism, companionship, attention.....The more generous you are for God, the happier you will be. [J. Escriva, Furrow, 18]

Forgiveness: We would be poor Christians if, at the slighest upset, our charity were to grow cold and we were to distance ourselves.......A Christian should examine himself to see how he reacts to annoyances that being with other people always produces.

Excerpts from In Conversation with God, Fr. Francis Fernandez:

Thursday, November 12, 2009

November Reading for the Little Ones

We needed an extra book for this month of reading and enjoyed the FIAR's scheduled book: How to Make an Apple Pie and See the World so much (by Marjorie Priceman), we found her other book How to Make a Cherry Pie and See the U.S.A., and it's a winner!

Monday, October 19, 2009

What we've been reading

We are well into our Five in A Row weekly reading/study.  It has been great!  The children look forward to their read aloud time each day of the week and we are learning so much.

This week we are reading:

The Glorious Flight by Alice and Martin Provensen

Monday, October 05, 2009

Shop with me on line - avoid the Crowds - avoid the FLU!

With the economy the way it is I've decided to open up my Avon shop again to friends and family.  I have sold Avon for the last 15 years, but backed off due to my responsibilities with home schooling.  Lately however, Avon has made it easier for both representatives and customers and with the availability of an on-line shop for representatives to help service their customers, across the US, I have decided to re-open.  

I adore Avon and always have, thus my decision years ago to become a representative.  Avon was many of the "firsts" in my life as a young girl; make-up, fragrance, bath and body and accessories.  Now Avon has grown and expanded their offerings so much, it's a one-shop stop. The quality, variety and value of Avon merchandise just can't be beat.  Just check it out.   The holidays are nearing and how nice to be able to shop on line without going into the malls and avoid the dreaded sickenesses (Flu!).  Shop healthy and happy in your home with a variety of payment methods - including FREE SHIPPING on any order - just ask me for the code (if you don't find it at my on line shop; a different free shipping code for orders under $30.00).

Best to everyone!  God bless and enjoy a beautiful Autumn season.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

I'm beginning to enjoy the evenings this time of year. We have lit up our firepit several times now and roasted marshmallows....a dream of my daughter' basically burn marshmallows and indulge in them in the cool of the newly arriving autumn evenings.

Our school days are full and enjoyable (again, where last year they were stressful due mostly to Michael's blossoming illness. But now, things have calmed and we have made strides forward in many areas. Even with life's circumstances such as the passing of my mother-in-law, we seem to be able to progress and be grateful, be patient and kind to one another. Our evening rosary unites us in a bond of prayer and family community.

It's already the end of our fourth week of school; I'm marking the weeks by our literature reading of Five in A Row; we end this week with A Pair of Red Clogs. Next week we begin (the optional book in the program) A Storm in the Night. Our cozy atrium reading area has been a joy and comfort this year! Both my younger ones resort to it voluntarily at times that strike their fancy to do so. I am so glad we took the time to prepare the area. I see a great schooling ahead and we've just begun.

This year is very different than last, as I have mentioned before. I think changing the environment so it does not resemble or have the same feel as last year, has helped, because last year - especially last semester - carries with it some bad memories of Michael's falling ill and being hospitalized and many stressful moments at home. It's amazing how an environmental change can bring about a healthy change for the better.

And so we continue on...apparently doing well in the religion department, as when I ask my 5 year old what he learns at school, he often replies: .."I learn all about God". We will just keep that going....

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

The last week brought some major changes to our lives. My dear mother in law passed away at age 84, peacefully, surrounded by family. Her "memory prayer card" has several beautiful old masters depictions of Mary, St. Joseph with Jesus as a child, the Holy Family, St. Therese with pink roses and the Sacred Heart of Jesus, all inscribed with the Prayer of St. Francis on the back. My mother in law lived a truly giving life, a nurse of 35 years in a Catholic hospital on the psychiatric floor; and raising five children. This week we reminisce with many fine memories and photos and stories; my father and mother in law were married for 62 years, so there's a lot to pour over.

Keep your family close - life is all too short - don't hug a tree, hug a person.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Living a Learning Lifestyle

Although my dynamics have changed since I last posted this two years ago, our "Living a Learning Lifestyle" hasn' we accomplish that has been altered and adapted to our family dynamics, so it's interesting to contrast with it...which I will do in my next post. In the meantime, isn't this a beautiful fall image?

The last two years of homeschooling have been tough for us for several reasons; so I was determined to change the dynamics in our approach this year. I have our eighth grader and tenth grader together in the morning after breakfast and prayers with everyone, doing math in our one-room schoolhouse-diningroom :) Long ago, we use to do almost all our school subjects together this way -- then, babies and further distractions led to some dispersing to rooms and other corners of the house for subjects.

However, I'm bringing the bigger ones back together and we are doing math together - I'm right there for them; I go through the chapter concept in geometry with our oldest son. We love the book: Jacob's Geometry (Euclidean). Our seven year old keeps our almost three year old busy with books and puzzles and play while we do math, religion and latin. Then comes lunch; after lunch, I go over all the subjects per syllabi that are left, and some can be done in bedrooms after that -- THEN, I sit with our second grader and "do school" with him for the day. Now and then an older one will check back with me -- while all the while we have popped in a DVD for the youngest one to keep his interest away from us. Used sparingly, this can be a great little resource trick :) We like to use "learning" videos and DVDs; recently it's been The Letter Factory. When we are all finished, I spend some one on one time with our youngest -- and by then, it's usually time for a nap (for both of us!)

So far, this is working. We seem happier and more productive -- the teens seem happier to have me more involved in overseeing more for each subject and commenting on it/guiding it more - but not looming over them the entire time, and allowing them some independent work breathing room. I'm happier, because I can stay abreast of exactly where they are at (I feel I did not do the greatest job of that the last couple years - but I was pretty fragmented due to other distractions in my life) and I can grade right away -- esp. math. I have my daughter begin to check her own math work with the key right away.

This is only our third week, and it's the full one that we worked up to. We are chickens here - just starting with math, then adding in religion, latin and grammar the following week, then finally, all the subjects. We also have piano and art lessons and our own mix of physical education mingled amongst this academia.

Hoping to keep a good pace going.....

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

School Days

Our home school is underway, we began yesterday. And what a lovely cooler day to begin school...well, OK, the gas company came and dug up our driveway again...sigh...and it was pretty noisy! That was about the sixth time this summer. What a mess and inconvenience but if they are keeping us safe than I shall not complain :) ..until the next time, which they tell me will be the final and major project of changing around gas lines and relocating our riser.

Mark is taking to "school" like a fish in water. He seems to really enjoy it and wanted it to go on all day...he's just "K" this year, so I'm glad I stocked my shelves with some special items for him to explore while I help with 5th grade and 11th grade.

Michael has a different math this year; we felt it would help with his OCD difficulties to try a workbook format. He seems to like it. He's about a year ahead of himself in math, and the continued rigor of this should accommodate him. I'm glad I didn't go with a computer based math program. He needs things that are portable to keep him busy and he could easily take his math workbook with him to appointments, etc. He also has a fun Latin word puzzle book to accompany his new Latin study of Latina Christiana I. He really loves Latin, and I threw in a "Reader" which he has already nearly attempted to read half of.

Jamie is finishing up a bird project from her Natural Science study of this last semester of her sophomore year. Her new science is Biology; we use Apologia by J. Wile. She seems to be enjoying it. I'm not sure she'll enjoy Spanish/English Medieval History too much...maybe just Richard the III. Otherwise, she is doing Algebra II and Spanish II along with Introduction to the Bible by Fr. John Laux, all of which will keep her busy as well as Karate and piano lessons.

Doug of course is underway with his college studies; so far he is really enjoying his Liberal Arts class and his advisor that is teaching it. Today he begins with his Drawing class and is really looking forward to meeting the instructor and getting started. After having formal art classes for the last eight years, it's good that art is such a big part of his studies each morning this semester.

I have much to do and need to get moving. Have a great day wherever you are!

Friday, August 28, 2009

On this very rainy day in Ohio....College Orientation..

Three years ago when I began this blog, I had no idea how it would be home schooling any one of my children all the way into college. Today, I can say with experience it has been done! Yes, today, my oldest is at his orientation weekend and begins his first semester on Monday, following an Art major, business minor track. See: Mount Union College. It's a pretty exciting time, and many of we parents will be at the college later today for some special welcoming ceremonies. I'm proud that Doug has worked so hard the last couple years, including school work and holding down a job all the while, pursuing his career in art. He recently won another art competition, the biggest one for him yet. I'm grateful we home schooled for the last 13 years, and can't imagine another 13 years ahead..but indeed, we have another 13 years to go as our youngest begins his education with Kindergarten in our home school this following Monday as well. Three students left to work with at home. I think it's safe to say, it's a blank canvas right now...and only God knows what will be painted on it by the end of each child's journey at home with schooling. I trust in Our Lord, and leave it in His wise and all-knowing hands.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

How I spent my summer vacation...

...mostly outdoors. It's been the first time in years I've been outdoors as much as I have been this summer. My younger one wanted to do so much outside, and that was great, but he needed a little looking over. This caused me to meet my neighbors daily outdoors, talk with them for many hours, and share my POPZ popcorn with them:) It has been a good summer. Not as stressful as a few past summers. I am very grateful for that.

When I have been indoors, I have been working on our schooling area; primarily the area for the two younger ones. I re-did our enclosed front porch and turned half of it into a comfy library type area, with big throw pillows and lined baskets filled with good literature, religious books, science items and math manipulatives. Our new world globe, soon to arrive, will also be in this area (and two smaller globes, one a world one, and one a constellation sphere will be on our dining room table for geography help).

I think I have all the curriculum orders completed, and am just awaiting every last items' arrival. I am excited to be teaching 5th grade, kindergarten and eleventh grade. They seem like a stretch, don't they?...but this is what God has given me in the dynamics of our family. My oldest will begin college the last Monday of this month! I can't believe it. Then again, I have one of the younger families out of those in my age group. I need to eat my Wheaties, take my Stresstabs and "take good care of myself"....I have a long ways to go.

Happy end of summer thoughts and activities...savor every last drop of Sunlight and warm breezes...

Sunday, August 09, 2009

Catechesis of the Good Shepherd

Help me to learn about Catechesis of the Good Shepherd. What do I need to do to get started for at least one level at our parish? I understand the Atrium idea, but what do we need to stock it with? I'm going to order some items from and am looking forward to learning about this way of catechizing our young students. Any helps would be greatly appreciated!

Thursday, August 06, 2009

Beach day fun

ONE WORD: BAYWATCH :) David Hasselhoff, look-out!!

LOL! Did we have fun at the beach or what?! Fun, fun, it's time to clean up and get ready for a nice Friday and weekend ahead.

A lazy August day in the sun

I can't believe we are in the last stretch of summer now. I do wish summer would last longer...and as I age, I wish that more! Maybe that's why folks move to Florida, or further south...? Although, I also look forward to a new and fresh school season for our family, but I wish for all of us many more months of happy-go-lucky play in the sun.

Today, we'll visit friends at their lake home and frolic in the sand and sun for a while. Soon, there will be a few more outdoor festivals to visit and a trip to a science and historical museum.

Here's my five year old with his buddy from next door.

Monday, August 03, 2009

Rain Drops on Roses Twenty Favorite Things

1. Coffee - really any kind as long as it isn't weak. My favorite is usually Seattle's Best. But Folger's Classic Roast will do too.

2. Sunbelt brand Granola cereal (raisins & almonds).

3. Lipton's Decaffienated tea (bags) (I love this tea in the evening after dinner)

4. My Mikasa "Silk Flowers" tea cup and saucer

5. My favorite Celestial Seasonings tea is Dessert Tea: Almond Sunset

6. Cinnabon Cinnamon Bread (to toast).

7. Speaking of sunsets; I love a beautiful pink-coral sunset - from my back porch I've enjoyed many of these

8. Vita-moist moisturizer from Avon

9. Bamboo Pink Clinique lipstick

10. Sophistique colgone from Mark (Avon).

11. Skin-So-Soft Shower Gel (I wish they'd bring the talcum powder back...)

12. Sealing wax and nice stationary. I do love to write letters, but lack the time anymore. Still, I try!

11. Birkenstock sandals; I always have a pair.

12. Classical music; especially Kent University's station (my favorite)

13. Celtic music; especially the group: Dordan

14. The smell of wood burning - like a wood pit - any food cooked outdoors on a grill. Which reminds me, this family needs a new delux barbecue, OR better yet an outside wood/grill (Chiminea).

15. The potpourri fragrance of cinnamon and vanilla and other spices.

16. Eating out in Amish country somewhere, the Autumn (Oatmeal Pie)

17. Speaking of Autumn, it is my favorite time of year.

18. My Magnifcat prayer monthly devotional book (especially at Adoration).

19. My black hills gold wedding band, and matching cross necklace.

20. A good sweater; both comforting and useful; preferably chocolate brown.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

A slow Saturday.....a breather

So much has been happening these days; I feel we've been switched on to warp speed! However, this week, I think we will be returned to normal - at least, I hope so.

We had an incredible vacation bible school this year. The children were so drawn into it, which tells me that while children seek "fun" they also are very receptive to "depth". They got it! It was such an inspiring and encouraging week for my personal faith and spiritual enrichment, having delved into the book of Romans per the Apostle Paul. When Paul's Roman guard Brutus converted to Christianity at the end of the VBS week, it was more than acting the part. The children rejoiced as if they had been successful in their mission. I don't know how else to say it in writing, other than it gives me chills! Praise God!

When I find a nice VBS photo from our week, I'll upload it to this post.

On another note, a 90 year old brother of my father in law, (his last brother sibling) passed away, and at the same time it was now finally necessary to put my mother in law into a care facility for 24 hour care. She just won't eat-drink, and her breathing is becoming more shallow. They have her on oxygen. She is 84 years old and suffered a TIA years ago that was the beginning of the end of her memory. She also suffers from dementia and it's been a difficult time with her this last year, particularly the last few months; too much for my father in law to deal with around the clock (at age 87). Now, she is closer than she's ever been to us, just minutes away down route 30. My children are glad she's close by - especially Michael (with OCD/anxiety) as he has driving-in-the-car-very-far issues anyway that we are working through.

I'm thinking of Twittering.... What do you think? I think it would suit my busy life and thoughts well.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Natural Health - Honey Might Just Sweeten the Sinuses | Health News

Natural Health - Honey Might Just Sweeten the Sinuses | Health News

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Part II: Christian Friendship, Understanding

Introduction :

We continue our series with the aspect of "understanding" as it is so important in beginning, fostering, nurturing and maintaining friendships.

"True friendship also means making a heartfelt effort to understand the convictions of our friends, even though we may never come to share them or accept them". ~Saint Josemaría Escrivá~

I have personally pondered and prayed on this quote ever since I came across it several years ago.

It is certainly not always easy to understand the convictions of others when they differ from our own; it does take effort, a caring and a regard for the person. We must, through the grace and strength of God, make a genuine effort toward understanding with a noble Christian spirit. We must be sincere and lay ourselves open to understanding; when we are sincere, perhaps our efforts will be reciprocated by the other party and they too will strive toward understanding our convictions as well, (but being understood yourself isn't your motive; we are asked to attempt to understand others even though it may not be returned in our regard).

And so as we are contemplating authentic friendship and what it is Our Lord desires of us in this area, let us broaden ourselves to open up to the possibilities of where we have fallen short in our efforts of understanding others.

(Following here are various passages from the writings of Fr. Francis Fernandez Carvajal regarding understanding in association with those nearest and perhaps even farthest from us. Other contributors are indicated within the text).

"The Lord asks us to understand others, even though others may not understand or even try to understand us. Perhaps sometimes they are like the guests invited to the banquet who could not bring themselves to respond to the Lord's invitation. We have to care for other people despite the possibility that they may ignore us. We should be performing acts of service for people who very probably will not do the same for us. Let us make life pleasant for those around us, no matter how they or others treat us. Everything we do should spring from a largeness of heart. We cannot keep a running tally of credits or debits. People who complain about the ingratitude of others should take a close look at their own rectitude of intention. Generosity should not lead to recriminations and collapse. Selfless sacrifice should make the heart bigger. It should uplift it with the consoling thought that God is pleased with our efforts.

The Christian gives for love of God without expecting anything in return. It includes whatever one person can offer another: respect, joy, optimism, companionship, attention.....The more generous you are for God, the happier you will be. [J. Escriva, Furrow, 18]

There are many virtues that make it easier to live with other people, and that even make it possible to do so at all; take kindness and forgiveness for example, which lead us to judge people and the way they behave in a favourable light, without dwelling on their defects and errors; take gratitude, which is that appreciation of a good received, with the desire of acting in some corresponding way. Often we will only be able to say thank you or something similar by way of expressing gratitude; it is not difficult to be grateful and it does a great deal of good.

Affection and friendship are of enormous help in our daily dealings with people;.... making an effort to live those many human virtues that make the growth of friendship possible; lack of self-interest; understanding; a spirit of co-operation; optimism, loyalty.

Mutual respect is another indispensible virtue in our relationships with others. It moves us to consider other people as unrepeatable images of God. In his personal relationship with God, a Christian learns to venerate the image of God that is found in each and every man (St.. J. Escriva, Friends of God, 230). We also have to see the image of God in those who, for whatever reason, we find less lovable, less likable, less amusing. Being with others also teaches us to have respect for things, because they belong to God and are at the service of men. Respect is a necessary condition if we are to help others improve, because if ever we try to lord it over others, our advice, our attempts to correct, and our suggestions become ineffective.

Again, Forgiveness: We would be poor Christians if, at the slighest upset, our charity were to grow cold and we were to distance ourselves.......A Christian should examine himself to see how he reacts to annoyances that being with other people always produces.

Jesus' example inclines us to live in a way that is pleasantly open towards other people; it leads us to understand them, to regard them always with an initial sympathy which will be a growing one. A person who feels understood easily opens his heart and lets himself be helped. Anyone who lives the virtue of charity can easily understand people because he makes it a rule not to judge others' inmost intentions, which are known only to God.

"Our friends, all the different people we come across, have to discover in our friendship or our attitude a firm support of their faith. If we want to be for them a source of strength, then we have to be close to them in their weaknesses....."if we are to serve others, for Christ's sake, we need to be very human...We need to understand everyone; we must live peaceably with everyone; we must forgive everyone." (St. J. Escriva, Christ is Passing By, 182)

How then can we improve our efforts of understanding others and the convictions they hold? Let us pray for the help we need to enable ourselves to be true and thoughtful friends to those God has blessed us with in this life, and those we have yet to meet, as we journey towards everlasting life and friendship eternal.

Next: Part III: Christian Friendship; Generosity in Friendship

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Living the Gospel

Being disciples of Christ – what does this mean? Well, in the first place it means being able to recognize him. How does this happen? It is an invitation to listen to him just as he speaks to us in the text of Sacred Scripture, as he addresses us and comes to meet us in the common prayer of the Church, in the sacraments and in the witness of the saints.
One can never know Christ theoretically. With great teaching one can know everything about the Sacred Scriptures without ever having met him. Journeying with him is an integral part of knowing him, of entering his sentiments, as the Letter to the Philippians (2.5) says. Paul briefly describes these sentiments: having the same love, being of the same mind, being in full accord, doing nothing out of rivalry and boastfulness, each one not only focusing on his or her own interests, but also on those of others (2: 2-4).
Catechesis can never be merely the instruction of the mind; it must always also become a practice of communion of life with Christ, an exercise in humility, justice and love. Only in this way do we walk with Jesus on his path, only in this way are the eyes of our hearts opened; only in this way do we learn to understand Scripture and to meet him.
The encounter with Jesus Christ requires listening, requires a response in prayer and in putting into practice what he tells us. By getting to know Christ we come to know God, and it is only by starting from God that we understand man and the world, a world that would otherwise remain a nonsensical question.
Becoming disciples of Christ is thus an educational journey toward our true being, toward the proper way of being human.

Pope Benedict XVI

Magnificat Vol II April 2009 pg.267
Reprinted with permission
L’Osservatore Romano, pg. 5
January 2, 2008 N. 1 (2025)
Libreria Editrice Vaticana

Friday, July 10, 2009

Part I: Jesus, Authentic Friendship

Christian Friendship, Moderator:
As we begin this series on authentic friendship, we focus on the perfect model of all true friendship, Jesus Christ, whom we owe all praise and thanksgiving for the apostolate of holy friendship.

I think it appropriate to also acknowledge with gratefulness those whom I call friends; the very people who inspire this reflection on true friendship, and their sincere desire to always improve in their Christian vocations and virtue. There are many special people whom God has placed in my path and blessed me so richly with on this earthly journey. You know who you are. And I know you are wonderful images of Christ among us, as you place Him at the center of all you strive to be and do in this life. I am truly grateful for each and everyone of you.

And finally, I cannot miss the opportunity to acknowledge those friends of heaven; the saints so dear to me, St. Therese, St. Teresa of Avila, and St. Thomas Aquinas, whom I lean on constantly; whose lives and writings have inspired, nurtured and carried me through. In this series it is foremost the inspiring wisdom and spirituality of St. Josemaría Escrivá and his chips off the old block, as I call them, that the reflective writings to follow are most attributed to, who also counted St. Therese, St. Teresa and St. Thomas among their friends. As our former pastor was fond of saying, "that we shall all someday meet merrily in heaven.." (St. Thomas More). I pray it is so.

Now we begin with Christ Jesus as our model of real friendship.

Part I: Jesus, Authentic Friendship

The following passages were compiled by the moderator.

Fr. Francis Fernandez Carvajal:
"We Christians should give our friends understanding, attention, encouragement, consolation, optimism and joy, along with many acts of service."

"Friendship has to be protected and defended against the forgetfulness which comes with the passage of time."

"Christians should be men and women with a great capacity for friendship, because close contact with Jesus Christ prepares us to put aside our egoism, our excessive preoccupation with personal problems. We can thus be open to all those who meet us along the way, even though they be of different ages, interests, cultures or positions. Real friendship is not born of a mere occasional meeting, or simply from mutual need of assistance. Not even camaraderie, a shared task or the same roof will necessarily lead to friendship. Two people who cross paths every day on the same escalator or the same bus, or in the same office are not thought to be friends. Neither is mutual sympathy, in itself, a proof of genuine friendship.

According to St. Thomas, not all love equals friendship, but only that love which involves benevolence. This is the attitude where we care for someone in such a way that we want that person's good. There is a greater possibility of friendship when there is a great reason to share the good which one possesses. True friends are those who have something to give and, at the same time, have sufficient humility to receive. This behaviour is proper to virtuous men. When vice is shared it does not produce friendship, but complicity, which is not the same thing. Evil can never be legitimized by a fake friendship. Sin never joins people together in friendship of love. (italics, J. Abad, Faithfulness, Madrid 1987)

Jesus enjoyed speaking with everyone who came to see him, and with those he met along the road. He took advantage of those moments to enter into souls, to raise up hearts to a higher plane. If the person concerned was well disposed, Jesus would give him or her the grace to be converted and make a commitment to his service. He also wants to speak with us in the time of prayer. For this to happen we have to be willing to talk and be open to real friendship. He himself has changed us from being servants to being friends, as he clearly stated: "You are my friends if you do what I command you" (John 15:14). He has given us a model which we should imitate. As a result, we have to give our willingness as a friend, telling him what we have in our soul and paying close attention to what He carries in his heart. Once we open up our soul, He will reveal his own. The Lord declared: "I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you (John 15:14). The true friend hides nothing from his friend. He reveals all of his spirit, just as Jesus poured into the hearts of the Apostles the mysteries of the Father." [St. Ambrose, About the work of ministers, 3, 135]

We Christians should give our friends understanding, attention, encouragement, consolation, optimism and joy, along with many acts of service. But, above all, we should give them the greatest good we have, which is Christ himself, the "Best Friend" of all. True friendship leads to apostolate, we share the wonderful goods of the faith.

Friendship has to be protected and defended against the forgetfulness which comes with the passage of time. It also has to be safeguarded from envy, which is usually what is the most corruptive force."[St. Basil, homily on envy]

(Moderator): In my spiritual reading I came across this from the writings of St. Maximus the Confessor (+662): "Be on guard lest the vice that separates you from your brother be not found in your brother but in you; and hasten to be reconciled to him, lest you fall away from the commandment of love. Do not disdain the commandment of love, because by it you will be a son God. If you transgress it you will become a son of Gehenna. What separates you from the love of friends is this: envying or being envied, hurting or being hurt, insulting or being insulted, and suspicious thoughts. May you never have done or experienced any of these things by which you might be separated from your friend's love."

Fr. Francis continues:
"Friends are expected to be loyal, to be faithful in difficulties, to overcome the test of time and contradictions, to come to the defense of one another in the hour of need. As St. Ambrose counsels, Be steadfast in friendship, because there is nothing so precious in human relations. It is a great consolation in this life to have a friend to whom we can open our heart. It helps a lot to have a friend to share our joys and sorrows, and to sustain us in hard times." [St. Ambrose, About the work of ministers, 3, 134]

We should strive to be friends with our Guardian Angels. We all need a lot of company from Heaven and company on earth. Have great devotion to the Holy Angels! Friendship is a very human thing, but it is also very much a thing of God; just as our life is both human and divine. Our Guardian Angel will not be put off by our moods and defects. He knows our weaknesses, and in spite of them he loves us very much. (italics: St. J. Escriva, Friends of God, 315)

Over and above all friendships we must work to strengthen our bonds with that great friend, who will never fail you. (J Escriva) In Him we will truly learn how to be friends of our friends. We will be open to every sincere friendship, knowing that this is the natural road for Christ, our Friend, to enter souls."

"A faithful friend is a sturdy shelter - he that has found one has found a treasure. There is nothing so precious as a faithful friend, and no scales can measure his excellence." [Sir. 6 14-17]

Let us pause this very moment and say a special prayer for the friends Our Lord has blessed us with, and that we in turn will be good friends to them and our greatest friend of all.


Excerpts used: passages attributed to Fr. Francis Fernandez Carvajal (In Conversation with God, various selections), unless otherwise indicated within the text.

Next, Part II: Christian Friendship; Understanding
"True friendship also means making a heartfelt effort to understand the convictions of our friends, even though we may never come to share them or accept them". ~Saint Josemaría Escrivá~

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Summer Inspiration

"Today might be tough for you. You might not want the next moment to show itself, to reveal the twists and turns of life's mystery. But at least you have it. You still have life. A choice as to how you will live this precious day.

Don't wish it away. Don't waste it. For the love of all that's holy, redeem one hour. Hold it close. Cherish it. Above all, be grateful for it. Let your thanksgiving rise above the din of disappointment -- opportunities lost, mistakes made, the clamor of all that has not yet come."

~A Daybook of Comfort and Joy, Breathnach~

Saint Josemaria Escriva, Memorial

The feast day of this great saint has already passed, in fact, it was on my birthday last Friday the 26th. I have been so busy I let it slip by, still, I wanted to post this.

"With supernatural intuition, Blessed Josemaria untiringly preached the universal call to holiness and apostolate. Christ calls everyone to become holy in the realities of everyday life. Hence work too is a means of personal holiness and apostolate, when it is done in union with Jesus Christ."

-Pope John Paul II in his homily at the beatification of Saint Josemaria

Follow this LINK to more information on this saint.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

My Graduating Son & Growing family

I can't believe it myself. Thirteen years of homeschooling and now this!

Then there's this: Her first semi-formal.

Then there's these guys growing up!

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Pentecost '09 Prayer for Renewal

Lord, we are Your people, the sheep of Your flock. Heal the sheep who are wounded, touch the sheep who are in pain, clean the sheep who are soiled, warm the lambs who are cold, calm the sheep who fear.

Help us to know the Father's love through Jesus the shepherd and through the Spirit. Help us to lift up that love and show it all over this land. Help us to build love on justice and justice of love. Help us to believe mightily, hope joyfully, love divinely. Renew us that we may help renew the face of the earth. Amen

Paulist Press

Summer Project Revisited

Oh my, a couple years ago I posted this project; it is still in progress. It's getting there. Here's a sample shot (above). And below, is my original post on it.

Our homeschool year is finally coming to a close. We could all use a much needed break in our routine. I know I have plenty to do now that schooling doesn't monopolize most of the hours in the day. (cleaning?) :)

Our oldest son, Douglas, and his dad are working on this dollhouse for their summer project. Our daughter Jamie is supervising. It's coming along nicely. This particular house is called: The Pierce, and if you follow the LINK you will see several other dollhouses as well. Ours was purchased from a local provider (and for much less)!

For doll and dollhouse lovers, Jamie has a great book simply called: The Dollhouse Book, by Stephanie Finnegan. Click on the title to take at look-see at Amazon.

Any special projects you're embarking on this summer?

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Summer fun at last

I realize I haven't had the most exciting blog these days...but, then again, I guess I never began to blog for the stardom :) Home schooling - family life, is busy life. There is spiritual fortification at every turn. Virtues are put to the test regularly and believe me, we don't always pass the test (I know I don't). Still, we strive to do our best.

We are nearly finished with school (exhale here). And the weather, and allergies, tell us it's time to frolick in the warmth and greenery. It was a long hard winter for us here at this home.

We are looking forward to this interesting play set, coming to our yard soon! I wish I were not 5 foot 8 :) It looks like a lot of outdoor fun.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Wireless Cometh...and other things accomplished

Since I last left off with you, my First Communion class had their big day earlier in May; they are a beautiful class and because this has been a rough year for my family (my son's illness), I was so moved by this class making their sacrament, moreso than in years past. It was a beautiful day and I enjoyed its arrival very much.
Mother's Day was a good day in my home, thanks to my wonderful family.
I am happy to report our candidates for Confirmation have now been confirmed by our wonderful Bishop, R. Daniel Conlon, of the Diocese of Steubenville, as of this last Sunday the 17th. This group included my daughter and it was a HUGE event. 67 candidates, 49 of which were from our parish, and two other smaller groups from two other parishes in our deanery. It was great to see and work with our fine Bishop again, as always, and to serve the families in our parishes. It is always a blessing and joy to help the youth of our parish and see them along, growing in their Faith. God is good.
My son is improving even more; good days mostly, with less bad days cropping up now. We are still asking prayers and still praying deepy and consistently our intercessory novenas for the benefit of his health in mind and body. Meatless Fridays, re-introduced through our wise Bishop, help us remember sacrifice and discipline and offer ourselves to others' needs.
Yes, Wireless cometh to our home this kids are loving it, able to use their laptops to go on line and not be stuck at the home base table top computer. Ahhh.....such luxury....

Monday, May 04, 2009

Since I last blogged in, we are making progress in many areas. I didn't think it was possible - oh ye' of little Faith...however, I'm truly finding that all things are possible with God. I have been praying a special prayer through the intercession of Gwen Coniker (Catholic Familyland), for which I feel we are being blessed. Our son's health crisis is improving, slowly, but definite improvement. He/we are pushing our way through the remainder of fourth grade. It's been interesting and certainly a learning experience to have an OCD child. We have found both support and avoidance. We remain steadfast and do what we must do to help him along. In the meantime, our oldest is finishing up his senior year - and we are preparing for his graduation with friends and family. Our daughter is plugging away with the end of tenth grade work. She did a great job at her recent piano recital. She bought a new camera and is thrilled that summer weather is nearly here to stay. Our five year old is reading and developing more "conversation"; he was a late talker. I'm going to continue his reading practice with McGuffey. I love the Eclectic Readers - he's making his way through #1.

Thank you for all the prayers and well wishes. I will attempt to blog here and there as time permits. We finished up with First Communion this last weekend at our parish, and are making preparations for Confirmation soon. It's been a busy time.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Faith in the Risen Lord

It's been several months since I've last left off.....this is due to an illness that overtook our 9 yr old son after the first of the year. February and March were very difficult. Michael had a terrible flu - virus lasting at least 6 weeks; he ended up at the Children's hospital. He is doing better now, but it's been very slow going. As a result he has acid reflux. He was also diagnosed with Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder. Both of these health issues leave him feeling pretty horrible in the mornings. We long suspected some kind of anxiety disorder, and OCD did not come as a surprise. It has been a tough battle here, but with hope and faith we feel we are resurrecting this Easter with our Risen Lord, to new life. I ask your prayers for our family; it has been a hard year, getting our oldest ready for college (this upcoming Fall), and dealing with a very ill child and our regular responsibilites both at home and church. I feel I have neglected many areas of my life, but priorities first! Michael is undergoing therapy at this point for the OCD,(no medication); he is learning coping techniques; but he is very anxious and very nervous, and it makes it difficult here to do the normal things he/we have done, even such things as going to morning Mass. He is on medicine for the acid reflux and it has settled down some at this point.

In the meanwhile, as we adjust, I will attempt to keep my readers updated. I seem to at least be able to stay in touch through Facebook right now. But I sure miss my own blog and the favorite ones I've read for several years now.

God bless you all this Easter season! Enjoy a beautiful spring and keep in touch with me.

Good Friday, Fourteenth Station

Fourteenth Station:

V. Adoramus te, Christe, et benedicimus tibi.

R. Quia per sanctam Crucem tuam redemisti mundum.

Very near Calvary, in an orchard, Joseph of Arimathea had had a new tomb made, cut out of the rock. Since it is the eve of the solemn Pasch of the Jews, Jesus is laid there.
Then Joseph, rolling a great stone, closes the grave door and goes away (Matt 27:60).

Jesus came into the world with nothing; so too, with nothing —not even the place where he rests — he has left us.

The Mother of Our Lord —my Mother — and the women who have followed the Master from Galilee, after taking careful note of every thing, also take their leave. Night falls.

Now it is all over. The work of our Redemption has been accomplished. We are now children of God, because Jesus has died for us and his death has ransomed us.

Empti enim estis pretio magno! (1 Cor 6:20), you and I have been bought at a great price.

We must bring into our life, to make them our own, the life and death of Christ. We must die through mortification and penance, so that Christ may live in us through Love. And then follow in the footsteps of Christ, with a zeal to co-redeem all mankind.

We must give our life for others. That is the only way to live the life of Jesus Christ and to become one and the same thing with Him.

Points for meditation

1. Nicodemus and Joseph of Arimathea, who are hidden disciples of Christ, intercede for Him making use of the high positions they hold. In the hour of loneliness, of total abandonment and of scorn..., it is then that they stand up for him audacter, boldly (Mark 15:43)...: heroic courage!

With them I too will go up to the foot of the Cross; I will press my arms tightly round the cold Body, the corpse of Christ, with the fire of my love...; I will unnail it, with my reparation and mortifications. . . I will wrap it in the new winding-sheet of my clean life, and I will bury it in the living rock of my breast, where no one can tear it away from me, and there, Lord, take your rest!

Were the whole world to abandon you and to scorn you... serviam!, I will serve you, Lord.

2. You know that you were ransomed from your vain observances..., not with silver or gold, which are perishable things, but with the precious blood of Christ (1 Pet 1:18-19).

We do not belong to ourselves. Jesus Christ has bought us with his Passion and with his Death. We are his life. From now on there is only one way of living on earth: to die with Christ so as to rise again with Him, to the point that we can say with the Apostle: It is not I that live, it is Christ that lives in me (Gal 2:20).

3. An inexhaustible source of life is the Passion of Jesus.

Sometimes we renew the joyous impulse that took Our Lord to Jerusalem. Other times, the pain of the agony which ended on Calvary... Or the glory of his triumph over death and sin. But always!, the love —joyful, sorrowful, glorious — of the Heart of Jesus Christ.

4. Think first about others. That way you will pass your life on this earth, making mistakes certainly, for they are inevitable, but leaving behind you a trail of good.

And when the hour of death comes, as it must inexorably, you will welcome it gladly, like Christ, because like Him we too will rise again to receive the reward of his Love.

5. When I feel capable of all the horrors and all the errors committed by the most wretched people, I understand well that I myself can be unfaithful... But this uncertainty is one of the bounties of God 's Love, which leads me to hold tightly, like a child, to the arms of my Father, fighting every day a little so as not to separate myself from Him.

Then I am sure that God will not let me out of his hand. Can a woman forget her baby at the breast, not have compassion on the child of her womb? Yet even if she were to forget, I will not forget thee (Isai 49:15).

Taken from
The Way of the Cross, St. Josemaria Escriva

Thursday, January 22, 2009

FW: Fr. Tom Euteneuer: Pro-Life Dos and Don'ts for 2009

Spirit & Life®

"The words I spoke to you are spirit and life." (Jn 6:63)
Human Life International e-Newsletter
Volume 04, Number 04
Friday, January 23, 2009


Pro-Life Dos and Don'ts for 2009

Dear Friends of Life,

The pro-life movement is going through a great deal of self-examination at this time. I am not a pessimist, but my sense of realism tells me that the election of extreme abortion advocate, Barack Obama, and the nearly 7,000 political appointments of his administration will usher in a new decade of war on decency and the sanctity of life. Despite the ferocious optimism of his inauguration, the dark clouds of the culture of death are gathering over Washington as we speak, ready to cast their darkness everywhere.

In this time of preparation for the upcoming total war on life, I offer this modest list of Dos and Don'ts for the generous and valiant pro-lifers who gather for the March for Life in Washington, DC on January 22nd. May all men and women of good will take these recommendations to heart for a fruitful pro-life 2009!


1. Above all, do not grow despondent: there is much to fear for the situation of life around the world, but we are not permitted by our Christian faith to give up our efforts or zeal for life. In fact, we need to redouble it!

2. Do not become absorbed in the quest for a political solution to abortion: after 36 years of working for a political solution to abortion, we may soon see the wiping out of most, if not all, of the pro-life movement's gains with the stroke of a pen. Politics has failed. Or rather, we have failed at politics. Either way, politics now offers us little chance of anything other than just trying to slow the massive momentum of the culture of death.

3. Do not waste any more energy on overturning Roe: two Supreme Court seats are assured during an Obama administration, and they will undoubtedly be filled with extreme pro-abortion activist judges. A third appointment will leave us with no hope of overturning Roe in anyone's lifetime reading this. For that matter, the chance that a good pro-life President will succeed Obama in four years and nullify the leftward lurch of the high court is, shall we say, unlikely. Let's get hopes of undoing Roe out of our system and focus on more productive things.


1. Pray every day for God to end abortion with our help (in that order): abortion is such a great spiritual and social evil that only the divine power of God Himself can end it. "The Lord hears the cry of the poor," but God will not do it alone. He needs us to humbly recognize the basic fact that it is humanly impossible to end this evil. We need to get on our knees and beg His Mercy on the unborn and the conversion of all those who commit these evils.

2. Commit to fasting every week to end the evils of abortion and contraception: "Some demons can only be driven out by prayer and fasting," said the Lord, and we have to take that admonition seriously if we are to effect any change in the hearts of our people or of our society. Fasting makes us more spiritual and gives greater efficacy to all our works and prayers.

3. Take back the culture: Even if the anti-lifers hold the reins of political power, we must not sit back and allow moral anarchists to define all the terms of the cultural or social agenda. Whether it is through social activism for life (crisis pregnancy centers, pickets and prayer marches) or through touching hearts and minds one soul at a time (persuasion, formation, teaching, media), we cannot be neutral about the direction our American culture is heading. It is leading us to certain spiritual death, and no one can afford that. We need to fight for it and never give up the battle.

I promise you that Human Life International will be in the struggle for lives and souls continuously. It is our calling and mission. We will never give one inch to uphold the truth that the whole world needs to hear more than ever: namely, that human life is sacred from the first moment of natural fertilization to the moment of natural death - and we will defend it whether Obama likes it or not.

Sincerely Yours in Christ,

Rev. Thomas J. Euteneuer,
President, Human Life International

Wednesday, January 21, 2009


Deut. 30:19

Best wishes and prayers to all those, including my own family, who will be marching in Washington DC for LIFE over the 22nd. May God protect all in their travels and graciously bless these efforts.

Sunday, January 04, 2009

Feast of Epiphany

May God bless you abundantly as this beautiful Christmas season comes to a close. It doesn't last long enough in measurement of the calendar, but let's pray it lasts deeply and strongly in our hearts and lives. God bless!

Saturday, January 03, 2009

"When you love other people and you spread that affection - Christ's kindly, gentle charity - all around you, you will be able to support one another, and if someone is about to stumble he will feel that he is being supported, and also encouraged, to be faithful to God through this fraternal strength." (The Forge, 148)
St. Josemaria Escriva