St Gabriel Windows

St Gabriel Windows
Photocopy c. 2013 Jamie Laubacher

Saturday, December 31, 2011

A New Beginning


The beginning of a new year. A new beginning. I'm reminded of St. Josemaria Escriva and his spiritual encouragement of "beginning again", when we are feeling very discouraged about ourselves. It is a point he repeats often. It is always possible for God's mercy and forgiveness, and for a new beginning. I love to hear that: a new beginning. It is my prayer for all my friends, and visitors that they will have that new beginning. That anyone they have offended will allow them to start again, be given another chance, as God Himself would graciously offer. We all fail somewhere, each and everyone of us, but we are not failures. We are all made in God's image and are brothers and sisters in Christ. When we clothe ourselves in Christ, inside and out, offences are more easily forgiven and as many chances as needed are given to those God places us in relation with. And so it is my prayer, my hope, my wish for you, for all good things in Christ to be yours, and especially for reconciliation and peace to reign in your hearts and actions, in your little corner of the world; and for you and yours a blessed and gracious new beginning. That "all debts will be canceled" and a fresh new beginning filled with abundant graces will be yours - and that you in turn will see this same new beginning for others as you truly reconcile any grievances that have occured and give others the new start that God wishes all to have through his mercy.

Be merciful and mercy shall be yours.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

The real Twelve Day of Christmas...Christmastide

I am so glad to be a Christian celebrating the fullness of the Christmas season and teaching my children the same. While the secular world is tossing out the Christmas decor and making a mad dash to the malls and stores for exchanges and the best buys of the year, we are basking in the graces of the best season of the year which start right now...on Christmas day and for the next week and a half up through the Feast of the Epiphany, the crowning jewel day on the Christmastide season. I am glad to be able to shut out the secular world's idea of Christmas which largely consists of materialism and secular songs and parties, and teach my children the real depth and breadth of a most beautiful liturgical season. Jesus, Our Lord and Savior born into the family of mankind, and the events of his early life and what those events mean for us.

One of the things I love the most about my Catholic faith is all the spiritual helps the church gives to the peoples to help them on their journey of faith in this life. The beauty and awe of the Christmas season is just one of those -- a strong message against a highly unChristian secular world that presses hard against us and our families.

So, please do check out the Twelve days of Christmas and know it is not simply a fun holiday song. It is a spiritual renewal of Christian belief and spiritual enrichment; a beautiful worshipful time in honor of our Lord and the life he gave for us.


Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas Blessings!



“It’s only in finding and living the eternal meaning of the Nativity that we can be truly happy, truly at peace, truly home.” —Ronald Reagan

Friday, December 23, 2011

Christmas Adam

"Christmas Adam", a phrase my 12 yr old refers to the day before Christmas Eve; get it now? Yeh, it took me a minute too :)

So indeed it is that day; a lot of hustle bustle for me....last minute details, baking, running to the church to sort through angels and shepherd clothing for the nativity choir....reserve signs on pews...music stands...our pastor peeking in at us....the church beautifully decorated. At some point I hope to pause and truly adore our King deeply in my heart; putting aside all the physical activity, even all the exhaustion......and just "be still." It may not happen when I want it to, but eventually I will recognize the moment, like the small whisper Elijah heard at mount Horeb (1 Kings 19:9).....

There is no mistake that, that whisper is the voice of God, so small like the baby we recognize him to be.

May God grant you pause, the whisper of his voice and the presence of his infanthood over this holiday season.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Holy Toast! Jesus face on toast

http://www.kitv.com/r/30046105/detail.html

Thoughts of Comfort and Joy, Questions and Answers


So many possibilities lie ahead in this new year. I love to start afresh - don't we all? Last year was a more stressful year for myself personally and my entire family, including the family of my husband. Some years are like that, aren't they? But now, we can begin again in many ways...not necessarily with resolutions, however, they are good and sometimes essential motivators in our lives. But how about "changes of heart", "changes of attitude", "changes of betterment"?

I adore the gift given to me several years ago from a close friend - and I've mentioned it before: The Simple Abundance: Daybook of Comfort and Joy by Sarah Ban Breathnach. How I enjoy beginning at the beginning of that book each new year with the entry date: January 1st. The first entry for that day states:

"There are years that ask questions and years that answer." ~Zora Neal Hurston

I recognize that I've had such years. I recognize that currently I am now in the answering years for the most part, although some new questions have arisen. I'm grateful that I can even venture to blogging after the  several tough years with my 10 yr 12 yr old diagnosed with OCD (and my 8 yr old diagnosed with high functioning autism a year ago).. I haven't much time unto myself. It's a very disciplined life, not having time to oneself and instead giving each day for the sake of another's time and needs; not to be mistaken for the general wife, mother, homeschooling lifestyle. No, this is a call of duty that while a part of the aforementioned, is also a rise above the call of duty. It is exhausting, but also loving as it is part and parcel of what God has called me to in my family, and particularly with this one child that suffers from extreme anxiety.. But this morning, it's okay - I'm enjoying perhaps a fleeting moment of space that is mine. In this space I meditate on today's gospel, and while my Daybook of Comfort & Joy is at my side, and I love it very much, my Magnificat prayer book is most likely my true daybook of comfort and joy - but I find I need a lot to keep me focused and afloat these challenging days...years....




Comfort and joy....I wish for you this year, and an abundance of grace and peace to face all we humans must face with each new year. I hope for you that this year ahead will be a year of "answers" for you and positive transformations.

God bless you!

By the way, you can download as an e-book, the Daybook of Comfort and Joy at the link I provided (which I am very excited about now that I have a NOOK Color coming for Christmas) :)

Monday, December 19, 2011

Love a stash of Books under a Lime cover

There is no mistake I have a great love of books; I have nurtured this love into my family, and I find my children also have a great love of books.  So, I suppose it isn't any surprise that to have some reading at my fingertips at all times, and with as many therapy appointments I have to sit through, I should opt to find something modern and portable to suit my needs.  And so...enter...NOOK Color.  I don't know...it just reached out and grabbed me!  It's on it's way for Christmas and I'm very excited to give it a try.  I also have a lovely cover to store it in and I'm set to go.

Isn't she lovely?


And the cover....all available through Barnes & Noble




NOOK downloads and stores so much media, and has capabilities to surf the web, email, Facebook and more.  And with an Angry Birds app, already installed...well, how could I pass up such a great deal...(including $50 off, and free shipping).  

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Favorite Things......

Wanted to share a few favorite things as of late.  

Starbucks House Blend coffee.....just seems, just right, for my morning brew;  I have also recently discovered this wonderful home grown coffee from Louisiana, Community Coffee...their Dark Roast is wonderful!



Smells and sounds....Celebrate Perfume from Avon...ahhh...you know it's subtle yet sparkly enough to add a little spirit lift on a drab winter day.   And the most intriguing sound of  this interesting band, Pink Martini...almost smooth jazz...contemporary yet traditional...go figure!  Their Joy to the World album for Christmas featuring cultural songs is beautiful.   And the wonderful tone of Michael Buble never disappoints, (his Christmas album is wonderful) and nor does the newer sound of Spencer Day, (Vagabond album) whom I hope to hear a lot more of.




                                 
And lastly, I've spent a lot of time lately venting frustration with Angry Birds!...I've played the classic first version and more recently the awesome Seasons' versions.  So fun, and the merchandise is kind of cute too!



More to follow in another segment......
You know, I do like Michele Bachmann's guts -- she's got em and she is not backing down.  She really is seeming very conservative... I like that she admits to being a Christian, out loud -- yes, while Newt Gingrich a convert to Catholicism hasn't said a word about his Faith...so disappointing.

Thinking and considering out loud -- I'll be doing this a lot in the upcoming months.

Ten Days and counting....

Ten days to Christmas.  I do not think a year has gone faster for me personally.  This year has had incredible ups and very challenging downs -- in fact, I am still in the roller coaster of it all.  I have decided to begin a Novena to Blessed Marianne Cope, asking for healing for one of my sons and restoration of a more normal life in our home.  There is a lot of healing for each of us that needs to take place; some of us are taking it better than others, and some are finding it hard to deal with.  I pray for a great turnaround and to make much improved progress where this son is concerned.  I know with God, all things are possible. I truly believe in intercessory prayer, not just for those alive on this earth, but that the souls who are still alive (more alive than ever) in heaven...they can pray  for us to our Lord, as our friends would here.  And so I ask it of my friends in heaven.....as well as my friends on earth.

Is she not the most beautiful soul?  Blessed Marianne Cope

I pray for a better more excellent new year in our homes, among our families and friends.  I pray for my own personal strength and health - the discipline I need to lose another 15 pounds and get better control of my body weight and aches and pains.  

This year has marked such a change in the dynamic of our home life and home schooling.  I could not have imagined it.  Although we use the same program, there are different participants in the way of my children using it.  I hope it will create the excellent academic results it did for my oldest two, who at this point have now come home on break to stay for a month, having completed finals, and as it looks, retained their great scholarships and did very well both in their own regard.  One a junior, one a freshman.  Cheers to them!

As we finish out this week and do half a week next week, then break, I prepare my mind, heart and soul mostly for the celebration of the birth of our Lord and King.  Remembering He was born first into a family, and holds families dear ....with that I can rest peacefully this night.

Many blessings, on this the third week of Advent.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Daily Roman Missal, 7th Ed., Burgundy :: Scepter Publishers

Daily Roman Missal, 7th Ed., Burgundy :: Scepter Publishers

I adore my Daily Roman Missal from years ago, edited by James Socias and dedicated to St. Josemaria Escriva. It contains meditations (Stations of the Cross) and other writings of St. Josemaria and lovely artwork. Yes, it's pricey, but lasts for years and is truly a wonderful prayerful missal to pick up every day.

Wednesday, December 07, 2011

St. Nicholas...uh.. yesterday....

It has been so busy these days with holiday preparations, school, appointments....suddenly St.. Nicholas Day was upon us.  Happily I was prepared with something for all my children from ages 20 down to 8!...There was a St. Francis of Assisi, a St. Nicholas (for the very youngest), a St. Patrick (for the oldest), and a St Therese Little Flower (for the only daughter in the bunch).  I'm posting a couple pics of these lovely little items here -- found them at an Etsy Catholic store on line and they are hand made by the artist.  Just perfectly lovely.  The children adore them.



I'll post St. Patrick and St. Therese another time.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Advent Anticipation

One of our Thanksgiving traditions is to stay home and start the morning with me in the kitchen and the children watching the Macy’s Day Parade – 85 years strong – wow.  My husband preferred to not travel on Thanksgiving, or go to both parents’ home, because he drives SO MUCH all week and doesn’t have many days off at all for much of anything.  He works Saturdays at his regular job – and in retail in the evenings, and you know retail doesn’t take time off.

So on Thanksgiving we enjoy the entire day together as a family, and toward the end of the day, we begin to decorate for Christmas.  We opted for a small slimmer tree (it already has lights on it), and it is less fuss for the children to easily and successfully decorate with charm.  We have our nativity and Advent Wreath ready.  Tomorrow marks the first day of Advent, and we have a small purple taper candle waiting within the wreath to be lit. 

I am grateful for my church, Christ’s visual church on earth for all the spiritual helps it provides to improve our spirituality during this hard yet joyful journey.  I am not a shallow fleeting person in the least, and the more breadth and depth of spiritual enrichment and knowledge at my disposal, the better.  Christ himself was not shallow by any means, and he shows us in the gospels the deep spiritual and physical demands a soldier of Christ must take on. 

This Advent I anticipate and wait to honor the Christ who was born into a family first before accepting his ministry at large in the name of His Father.  Knowing Jesus was born a baby and into a family certainly makes our Lord less lofty and more accessible to any humble person. 

May God bless you richly this Advent Season!

Building the stairway to heaven

I guess I’m being a bit nostalgic these days.  November does that to me, as we anticipate the first Sunday of Advent (tomorrow), thoughts comes flooding back to me more so.  November is the month I moved into this house as a single person, 25 years ago.  November is the month we remember our beloved death and the hope of eternal life in Heaven.  For me, it is also the end of the year inventory; I tend to take count of the blessings and mishaps of the year and where I personally need to change or strengthen myself, as well as my family.  What more do I need to do to improve the state of our family, our life, and each child individually?…what more do we need to do as a family to ensure we are fulfilling our vocations God has led us to within our families and is continually forming us  for life beyond our families?
Yes, all these thoughts and heaven too……truly Heaven too as my devotions this morning included the hope of Heaven, our true home, Our Father’s house.
Perpetual Help madonna-and-child-2
Lately, if I remember just a few things, especially in the middle of the night when my son with anxiety awakens me, which he has done a lot lately…..then I can respond in a more loving and hoping way.  These things are simple, and somewhat essential for me at this time as I am run-down…burnt-out ….exhausted.  My blood work shows it, my swollen glands and chronically sore throat and achy body shows it.  No, I do not have a bad illness, I just have a lot of mental, emotional, and physical work here at home raising the last two children, while still being connected and guiding the older two.  One child is very challenging and taxes me the most. What has helped me recently (along with a good talk with my pastor) is to envision the corporal works of mercy and realize I am performing them, in regard to my family….and especially in regard to my special needs children.  One child alone fits “caring for the sick…..and visiting the imprisoned”…my son with anxiety (OCD) is ill and somewhat imprisoned.  I find myself calling upon the strength Mother Teresa had – the love,  the compassion, the endurance.  But alas, I am no Mother Teresa; I am being put through the crucible though, and I have come to accept and surrender to God what selfishness has been left in me.  When at this time in a woman’s life, her children are older, (or older ones are at home, that can help with the younger ones), and these woman are “out and about” able to have some freedom away from home awhile, I am not.  My son has had a set back this year that has been very difficult for everyone, but for me personally as it takes ME to deal with it – separation anxiety, and heightened driving issues.  If I believed in reincarnation, a mystic would probably say this child lost both his mother and his own life in a car accident – he is very needy for mother and fears and dreads driving (a phobia of his).  Even with anxiety medication and motion sickness medication, going longer than 40 minutes usually results in an uprising of panic attack and makes for  a stressful drive for all involved.  And of course this year has included a lot more driving…isn’t that the way it goes?  In caring for my youngest autistic son, we have weekly therapies now added to the plate – and because I can’t leave the anxiety ridden son with someone at this point, or alone, he must accompany us much to his dislike.  Much to my dislike also – I would like nothing more than to leave him safely behind.  Someday……I am hoping. 
I will admit a couple weeks ago, I gave up hope.  I really did.  Having someone ill with you, even an invisible illness  -  24 hours a day without much break except early in the morning when they are sleeping, or out to play – is draining.  But, I am doing what I can at home to help myself – little things – breaks within the home – I’ve even resorted to playing Angry Birds Smile  …and I stay connected with adult friends whom I need to talk with – by email or Facebook.   It helps me to feel connected to the larger outside world around me.
So, after a good spiritual direction session with my pastor, a good confession and re-evaluation of my very life and family, I can indeed determine I am building the stairway to heaven in my life one difficult step at a time.  Each step seems to represent some momentous conversion or shedding of selfish pursuits, or even just acceptance of the entirety of motherhood.  I didn’t accept my motherhood, part-time…..how fair is that for my brood or even my spouse?…I accept it full time – hook, line and sinker, with the sacrament of marriage and the promises and vows made therein.
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So, I am soul searching, re-evaluating, re-thinking and locating my building materials….I’m remembering what is important and what isn’t important.  I am looking at each child individually and addressing what will help them best in education, Christian formation and developing their talents to prepare them for their lives.  I am also rekindling HOPE in my life with baby steps, but all the same, they are steps.  Hope is important for the journey and important to help us keep sight of the journey’s end, which will begin anew in Our Father’s House. …where there will be no more night, and all will be healed and whole…..and like Mother Teresa once said:….sleep…there will be time to sleep when we get to Heaven.   (Amen to that).

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Thoughtful Books for gifts

I fell upon this book  by way of Pinterest where everyone is “pinning”, you know :)…….I love finding new thoughtful wise edifying (did I say inexpensive) and worthy gifts.  This seemed to be one, and I loved reading the “look at me” pages on line at Amazon.

 

Prudent Advice

lessons for my baby daughter

(a life list for every woman)

Try to know what is bubbling around in your heart

Don’t underestimate your father’s ability to understand you

Give lots of hugs to those you care for

Offer your seat to elderly and pregnant people

Whenever possible, take the train……

Appreciate the weather….

It goes on with description after each caption, all very sweet, beautiful and thoughtful.

 

By Jaime Morrison Curtis author/blogger of Prudent Baby (at prudentbaby.com)

Monday, November 07, 2011

"Eleven Hints for Life"

1. It hurts to love someone and not be loved in return. But what is more painful is to love someone and never find the courage to let that person know how you feel.


2. A sad thing in life is when you meet someone who means a lot to you, only to find out in the end that it was never meant to be and you just have to let go.


3. The best kind of friend is the kind you can sit on a porch swing with, never say a word, and then walk away feeling like it was the best conversation you've ever had.


4. It's true that we don't know what we've got until we lose it, but it's also true that we don't know what we've been missing until it arrives.


5. It takes only a minute to get a crush on someone, an hour to like someone, and a day to love someone-but it takes a lifetime to forget someone.


6. Don't go for looks, they can deceive. Don't go for wealth,even that fades away. Go for someone  who makes you smile because it takes only a smile to make a dark day seem bright.


7. Dream what you want to dream, go where you want to go, be what you want to be. Because you have only one life and one chance to do all the things you want to do.


8. Always put yourself in the other's shoes. If you feel that it hurts you, it probably hurts the person too.


9. A careless word may kindle strife. A cruel word may wreck a life. A timely word may level stress. But a loving word may heal and bless.


10. The happiest of people don't necessarily have the best of everything they just make the most of everything that comes along their way.


11. Love begins with a smile, grows with a kiss, ends with a tear. When you were born, you were crying and everyone around you was smiling. Live your life so that when you die, you're the one smiling and everyone around you is crying.

God isn’t finished yet…

…and this lovely and strong and insightful article by Elizabeth Foss gives hope to raising children and sending them out into the world….

http://www.elizabethfoss.com/reallearning/2011/11/what-im-never-going-to-tell-you.html

Sunday, November 06, 2011

Touching the senses with happy memories…

Tempting products I love to smell and live with are popping up all over as the Christmas season is quickly approaching.  Some of the descriptions are so delicious and emotion-evoking.  I find this one particularly interesting (it’s a beautiful product if you’re looking for a special gift).

Snow Angel Shower Gel (Philosophy)

The product description reads:

What is it: The snow angel shampoo, shower gel, and bubble bath is infused with a fresh snow scent that's created to bring you a sense of childhood joy during your shower or bath.
.<snip>
Why is it different: Feel like an angel amidst the snow as you lather from head to toe with snow angel shampoo, shower gel, and bubble bath. This luxurious, moisturizing formula gently cleanses
and conditions skin and hair. The pearlized blue hue and fresh, clean scent capture the essence of a fresh snowfall and evoke the childhood joy in us all. <snip>

That…..”essence of a fresh snowfall and evoke the childhood joy in us all…”  I thought was interesting.  So I was briefly reflecting on childhood joy….I never grew up in the first decade of my life with “seasons”…having been born and raised in southern California in the 60s.  It wasn’t until we moved to SLC Utah in the 70s that I experienced first hand the first snow in my life.  And wow, what a snow!…A LOT of snow, as you can imagine – so true of that geographical location.  I remember loving the quaking Aspens and pines and the fresh mountain air so much, but being torn between the beautiful state of things where I lived, and yearning to be with my family who had relocated to my mom’s home state of Ohio in the late 80s.  And so it is I left that beauty behind and am now raising a family in Ohio (which by the way, has it’s copious amounts of snow). 

While these beautiful products from Philosophy (a company I love to love), have wonderful rich descriptions of their products, and the scents do live up to their names, I recall being happy taking a bath with Fuzzy Wuzzy soap in the 60s :)  Anyone remember that?

So, while I sit in bed blogging, nursing a fall cold and playing Angry Birds….I am also internet shopping for Christmas, looking ahead at my leisure from the comfort of my home.  One item I know for sure my children will remember, (besides SNOW!)… like I remember Fuzzy Wuzzy soap from my childhood …will be this comforting shower gel they use again and again….Gingerbread Man also from Philosophy.

This is the Super size, but it also can be purchased in some smaller cuter decanters!

 

Between Snow Angels and Gingerbread Men (and girls), and Sugar-Plums…and the snow I know will come…I’m already looking forward to creating warm and comforting memories with and for my family.

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Pondering a different year..

This year as I’ve mentioned before has been very different and in many ways while seemingly freeing….difficult and challenging.  I suppose I have traded what appeared to be freedom (unSchooling), for a schedule that is rigorous and demanding.  Traveling to therapies and working on homework in regard to them has taken up a lot of our time.  My son with OCD/anxiety dreads the weekly trips…one of his phobias is driving, and having to drive 45 mins from here – sometimes 3 to 4 times a week – is his worst enemy faced. To say it has been very hard is an understatement.  My nerves have been frayed on most days, and I’m sure my stellar low pressure has been up.  There is also the pending fear of hearing:….I’m nervous! I’m nervous!…I want to go home…let’s go home…. (when we are but 5 mins from our destination).  I hear it weekly.  It’s hard to go into facilities with a son that is in tears and shaking terribly as if a ghost just snatched him up.  People look at us like…..what is that about??…..I feel like hiding….it’s quite an awful feeling but I have now been so embarrassed and humiliated by these scenes, I’m not sure there is much more to endure.  And so it goes…..

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One thing that has kind of lightened the doom and gloom of these trips is we are closer to all the wonderful stores that we don’t have in our rural area.  So, on occasion we have been able to subject my poor mother to traveling with us and our odd behaviors (er ahem cough cough), and visit one of our favorite places TARGET.  I have enjoyed “getting out” although it is always stressful…..but yet, I do get to see what’s out there, buy some badly needed items like clothing for all members of the family, and household goods, and get away with a wonderful Starbucks coffee as we leave.  This TARGET store has a Starbucks in it…..lucky me.  So, I endure.

We are plugging along with school…rather slowly….but they are learning.  I guess this year, all I can ask is for some progress in academia…..but more progress in helping these boys beyond their disabilities and disorders.  Some days it’s more than I can bear, and yet, I am bearing it….not patiently some days, not gracefully…not happily…..I am not proud to admit many days I fail terribly at all of it.  I hear myself saying, I am not a nurse, I am not a maid…I am just a mother…I’m not cut out for this above and beyond the call of duty….and yet, it seems to be what God is calling me to do.  So the little things…like a brief moment of normalcy the suddenly appears…I appreciate and revel in greatly.  A beautiful sunset, a pleasant breeze, the golden colors of fall……and the smell of the coffee brewing in what seems to still be night…..are all much more appreciated in my corner of the world.

I have a few close mom friends who help me stand my ground and stay sane; I hope I give them some sanity on those crazier days too.  I just know we all understand one another.  Another area I am very grateful for – simple friendships that are honest and trusting.  These women know me…I mean really know me….pretty much inside and out at this point ….there is not much we intend to hide or leave concealed as we are all using every bit of our mom strength to overcome the afflictions and hardships that find us.  God must have known we would need each other and He found a way to cause our paths to cross and stay connected for a very long time now. 

Well, I’ve over stayed my blog time…….Time to sign off and get little folks to bed….Busy day again tomorrow….not needing to travel as far, but off to enjoy our home school co-op with other families.

God bless!

Judging a person

Magic Day please

Oh my…I think last week really tuckered me out…I have yet to recover from all it’s busy-ness.

So today my son Mark tells me…(as I yawn…) “ …Mom, just say the magical words of the Mickey Mouse clubhouse: Meeska Mooska Mickey Mouse!!!”

(Okay, so I’m trying this…..) :)  haha!

Well…..I think I might try some of this instead!!!!  Wish me luck!!

   Community Coffee Dark Roast

Monday, October 24, 2011

I’ve got an App for that…

Awesome segment on how the Ipad with special Apps is helping with Autism….

From 60 Mins, Oct 23 segment, CBS

Apps for Autism

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Support for the Daily Journey

I have been wanting to blog for the longest time and just haven't had the time lately.  I can't believe it's already October 20th!...Wow, the summer sure flew by and Sept is long gone it seems.  We are fully engaged in school and moving along with each week, attending therapies for the boys, and our weekly home school co-op.  We have had a few bumps along the way - quite literally a bump by another car rear-ending us recently while heading to therapy!...but it was okay, minor damage.  Still there are not enough hours in the day, and as I type this, I should be up and getting ready.  Just wanted to say HELLO and may God bless you abundantly today.  If you are in need of spiritual direction and would love to prayerfully meditate on the words of Christ in the gospels and other great spiritual writers, do consider the In Conversation with God series by Fr. Francis Fernandez (a priest of Opus Dei).  I find the day to day wisdom to be so invaluable, and when I get away from my morning devotions of reading this, I seem to be less prepared for what the day brings.  I have gotten so much out of the encouragement and spiritual direction.  Fr. Francis tells it like it is, using our Lord as model and guide.



Monday, October 17, 2011

William Stillman, adult with Aspergers

It always interests me to read about adults who have grown up with an autism spectrum disorder.  The last one I watched on DVD (The Way I see It) and read about was Temple Grandin a few months ago.  This time I'm seeing there is another Asperger's/ autism author who is also Asperger's himself and you can find his blog here:

Bill's Blog

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

I Have an App for that!

Much has been said about the recent passing of Steve Jobs, but I would like to post here some very deep and thoughtful commentary on his life and contribution to our world.

First, from MacBeth's Opinion, this reflection surely upholds the dignity of human life from conception to natural death; Steve Jobs had both because of his unwed mother's decision to give her child life:

Steve Jobs and One Christmas Eve


And this next article links from the one posted above:


Flashback: Steve Jobs is a genius alright, but even geniuses need to be born


And I'd like to leave you with my favorite tribute to Steve Jobs I came across; may he rest in peace and may the grace and salvation of Our Lord be with him in the glory of Heaven.


Wednesday, October 05, 2011

Who's reading What?

More...oh my goodness...lol!...this post was also from Oct 2006...we've come a long ways since then....amazing to look back now!


Someone asked me recently, what is Michael reading these days? (last we left off, he was reading about the pancake loving Nate the Great and several Peanuts a.k.a. Charlie Brown vintage comic strip books). Today, he is reading his way through the Magic Treehouse books; right now: Sunset of the Sabertooth; (for further learning, the research guide for this one is: Sabertooth Tigers and the Ice Age). These are fun books that mix a piece of history (real learning) along with a fictional adventure of the main characters.


Also, we all have been going back through the beautifully done, My First Little House Books. They are an easy read for Michael, and Mark (3 yos) enjoys having them read to him. They have lovely artwork; some of the illustrations by Renee Graef; in other books in the series, Jody Wheeler. Our daughter loved these books when younger. (Until she graduated to the actual Little House on the Prairie books, and prequels).

Next, our daughter is currently reading through medieval histories; this includes Son of Charlemagne right now.

And our oldest son is reading, reading, reading, some of which includes: Fabre's World of Insects and Antigone by Sophocles.

St. Therese's "Vocation of Love"

Oh my goodness, a flash back to 2006 on this same day, per my Zenit subscription I use to have:


I am currently reading and truly enjoying the book my friend Esther pointed out recently on St. Therese, called Maurice and Therese, The Story of a Love. It has not been disappointing. And how timely, just this in from Zenit.org; something more reported from Rome regarding St. Therese:


St. Thérèse's "Vocation of Love" Recalled
Missionary Dicastery Receives Her Relics


VATICAN CITY, OCT. 5, 2006 (Zenit.org).- The relics of St. Thérèse of Lisieux, patroness of the missions, are being venerated in Rome at the start of the missionary month of October.

The relics were received in the chapel of the Propaganda Fide Palace, headquarters of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples.

"Little Thérèse," as she is known, wrote: "My vocation is love. At the heart of the Church, my Mother, I will be love, and in this way I will be everything."

"Love and charity is the soul of the mission," said Cardinal Ivan Dias, prefect of the missionary dicastery, as he recalled St. Thérèse's experience and Benedict XVI's message for the World Mission Sunday, Oct. 22.

The cardinal pointed out the meaning of the mission during a concelebrated Mass in which those who make up the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples and the four general secretaries of the Pontifical Mission Societies participated, reported the Fides news agency.

St. Thérèse of the Child Jesus, a Doctor of the Church, was proclaimed patroness of the missions along with patron St. Francis Xavier.

Quality, not quantity

The two patron saints "remind us of the two aspects of mission, contemplation and action," said Cardinal Dias. "We must be contemplatives in action, working while not forgetting prayer and the spiritual aspect."

The Indian cardinal acknowledged: "If I am here, it is because St. Francis baptized my forefathers."

Taking these two figures of the Church as reference, the Vatican prefect reminded those working in the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples that "it is not the quantity of work but the quality which counts and the love with which it is performed."

He exhorted them not to let the bureaucratic aspects dominate, since what is important is to have a heart filled with love, like St. Thérèse.

The Mass over which Cardinal Dias presided was celebrated for the whole missionary world, in particular for all those living in territories entrusted to the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples. There are 1,082 ecclesiastical circumscriptions directly under the purview of the missionary dicastery, almost 40% of the Church's presence in the world.

The celebration of October as missionary month worldwide reminds those who are baptized that they must collaborate in the universal mission of the Church.

Tuesday, October 04, 2011

Feast Day of St Francis of Assisi and New Beginnings....

So, on this the Feast Day of the great St. Francis of Assisi, I created the email forum for our church mom's support group.  I simply call it: Catholic Families Schoolhouse.  You can read the detail of it at this page:

http://groups.yahoo.com/group/CatholicFamiliesSchoolhouse

So happy to have a wonderful group of mothers to gain support and encouragement amongst ourselves, who share our parish as a common church home.  God has truly blessed us with His love.

Sunday, October 02, 2011

Romans 12:12


Many years ago a young home school student we know was going to a bible study at the Hahn’s home in Steubenville, (our diocese).  This young lady needed a bible to take and asked if she could borrow mine;  I was using a hardbound Ignatius Bible, it was a favorite suggested one of Dr. Scott Hahn at the time.  I told our friend she could certainly borrow my bible under one condition, Mrs. Hahn, who was conducting the bible study, would need to sign it as proof that this was where the bible was really being taken :)  Well, at the end of 9 weeks or so, my bible was returned to me, and the young lady was very pleased to have me open up the front of the bible and read this inscription in cursive: 
“Rejoice in hope, persevere in tribulations, be constant in prayer” Rom 12:12      Yours in Christ, Kimberly Hahn
For me there could be no truer or wiser words even to this day. Whenever I open that bible I am reminded of that time in my life, a time when my children were very young and we had only been home educating for a few years….A time when I had a group of strong women to help encourage me and give me their support and share the joyful burden of home education; a time that is no longer here, no longer duplicated….only a sweet and enduring memory.  It is bittersweet…..in that many of those supports have withdrawn and left the parish we all shared, for different reasons.  Once that occurred, in the end only three home schooling families remained…..and we have remained ever since…not looking at leaving our home parish family as an option.  We are very traditional in our thinking of blooming where we are planted, knowing that God will always be present to us, deeply in our hearts and souls, and he will be no better or better attained in any other Catholic church.  The imperfections of the men conducting our Mass doesn’t make our Lord any less present or diminish the Almighty in any way. 
And so….a time of drought began for us…a time of yearning for more encouragement and support, more families for we mothers to share our journey with, and more children being schooled in the same manner.  It was a long prayer….we were patient and accepting. During that time we stored up many spiritual benefits that could not have come to us in the hey-day times; we raised our children up, continuing strongly without power in numbers…but humbly and steadily with the help of God and Our Lady.  And in the end, we graduated our older ones into college and we continue on with our younger ones.  All in God’s time, and all for God’s purpose do our lives unfold…..
Now, we are rejoicing, as three other home schooling families are in our midst and we are getting to know them and support them.  I believe so deeply and so much in having the support and care of other home educating mothers.  I believe that we need to be generous with our experience and generous in sharing it with others.  Others need us.  And we need their newness and spirit. We are clearly veterans now having been through the desert and found ourselves in the comfort and content of the land of milk and honey…..We are ready to give support and feel blessed to be able to do so.  So where there were the remaining three, now there are six…..and maybe with the grace of God’s goodness we will once again grow further, newer, different and needed.
Today is a beautiful day to rejoice as we home schooling mothers met and got to know one another a little better, with our children nearby meeting one another.  We are able to know silently that we are on the same journey when we see one another at the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.  We are able to understand one another and the goals we have for our families.  And we share the common bond of love of God and family and the one true Church on earth.   Once again, God is good.
As I pray for a new name for our newly formed group, as we are truly putting aside the old wineskins and putting on the new, I ask that you pray for us as well.  And may God bless you in your generous heart of prayer.  God has proven His words do not fail, ever.  Romans 12:12

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

September ends

Where has this month gone?  I don’t think I’ve ever had a September fly by quite so fast before, but then maybe it’s just a sign of how busy this month really has been.

We began our schooling Sept 12, and it seems to be going well.  I see the need for some added adjustments here and there, mostly added work in areas that Mark needs more practice.  We are using some great resources this year in addition to our core studies and that is making school fresh and interesting.  We love our timeline (see post_HERE_)  and Michael is doing a lot of his history through living books,  loving and learning through great literature.

 

So, Michael’s history study this year is ancient Greece and Rome; right now it’s focusing on Greece.  And these Jeanne Bendick books are so great to use for history study, I am just so happy with great literature that teaches lessons and elevates the reader’s language. 

We are also using this great little resource for reviewing and practicing cursive penmanship and incorporating art study, AND it’s correlated with Greece and Rome historical facts and architecture – who knew!? lol!  what a great little addition to this history study!  I just wish I had found this resource YEARS EARLIER!!..as I would have been using it all along.

Draw and Write Through History: Greece & Rome

You can see several more of these resources for different levels and different history eras at this LINK

In addition to our regular studies, the children have also started back to their religious education classes at our parish, and I am once again teaching 2nd grade (for the 18th year now…)….wow, where has the time gone!?  This year I have my youngest son in class with me; he is doing well, and it’s interesting and good for me to see him compared to his neuro-typical peer-mates, as he has high functioning autism.  We continue to go to language expression/communication therapy for him, weekly.  We’ve run into a few glitches this year, namely recently, the dentist.  Mark has a cavity and it needs addressed within a certain amount of time but he did not cooperate with the dentist a couple weeks ago for the filling.  I have a few options, none of which I’m too thrilled about, but will pray further and accept what may be the resolution.

Weighing in on things….

I have also put Mark on a restricted low fat diet, just to see if we can taper him down some to make the neurology visit more successful in early December.  She was concerned about his chunkiness – it’s adorable there is no doubt, but maybe he would be more coordinated and do better physically with a little less chunk.  I’m okay with that, although in time it would disappear as it has on my other children.  So, I tell Mark he is now on the Special K diet :)  We replaced his wanting of three chewy Chips Ahoy cookies for breakfast with Special K cereal bars instead.  Way less calories and far more nutrients.  And by the way, Weight Watchers String Cheese is awesome and delicious!  …and half the calories of regular.

As this month ends for us, we begin October with three family birthdays and an anniversary.  Mark starts the month off on the 1st with his birthday, my mother and brother in law on the 2nd, and our 23rd wedding anniversary on the 8th.  As we make way for a more colorful and beautiful autumn, I look forward to a more relaxed school year, minus college preparation, which took up most of my life and school time for the last four intense years here.   It’s absolutely all worth it as it pays off in students ready to do well in college, but I will not sugar-coat it:  IT IS  A LOT OF WORK! 

God bless you this day and in all you do!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Knowing who you are….

It has been an interesting last several months.  SO much has happened, and while we have been very busy with home remodeling, therapies for children, seeing off college kids, and beginning our home school, I have also been very absorbed in family genealogy.  With the use of family tree information from relatives and the great resources at Ancestry.com, (immigration/travel documents, federal and state censuses) I have found out SO much and put so many puzzle pieces together.  It’s been incredible, and because of Ancestry’s website, a long lost cousin who was given up for adoption at birth by a second cousin of my mother, found me and it was great satisfaction for her and myself as well.  A few mysterious solved, and few more relatives located.  I’ve been able to go back to the 1700s on my father and mother’s side both, on my husband’s side – his paternal side, golly, all the way to the 1600s on my father in law’s side, which seems to be very well documented all the way into Germany (and France).
family008
Here my Slovakian great grandparents, their daughter seated (my grandmother) and her aunt at her First Communion day.

It has been so intriguing to read immigration information and see where family was born, come through to the US, settled….Smizany Czechoslovakia was the birthplace of my great grandmother, and Uzofce Czech. my great great grandfather (this side of the family has German roots also).
My father’s side is completely German on one side, (his mother’s), and completely Irish on the other (his father’s); it’s incredible to see that when my paternal grandparents met, their marriage broke that lineage of nationality…my dad was truly half-German, half-Irish in the most serious sense!

peterburg
Paternal great-great grandfather….on my father’s mother side….
Reynolds, Charles K.1906-1972
Grandfather – paternal, my father’s father
So, my research will continue and hopefully once I am satisfied with information I’m hoping to have a nice family tree portrait made for our home, and perhaps a book printed.

A Special Mother is Born: Review by Patrice Fagnant McArthur: Why the World ...

A Special Mother is Born: Review by Patrice Fagnant McArthur: Why the World ...: How many times have you heard an expectant mom say, “I don’t care if it is a boy or a girl, as long as the baby is healthy?” But what happ...

A Special Mother is Born: The book cover is in!

A Special Mother is Born: The book cover is in!: My daughters Gabbi and Bella agreed that this was the best photo for the cover. The rest of the design is courtesy of the talented designers...

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

The Ten Commandments for Parents of Handicapped Children | Talk About Curing Autism (TACA)

The Ten Commandments for Parents of Handicapped Children | Talk About Curing Autism (TACA)

1. Take one day at a time, and take that day positively. You don’t have control over the future, over today, or over any other day, and neither does anyone else. Other people just think they do.

2. Never underestimate your child’s potential. Allow him, encourage him, and expect him to develop to the best of his abilities.

3. Find and allow positive mentors: parents and professionals who can share with you their experience, advice, and support.

4. Provide and be involved with the most appropriate educational and learning environments for your child from infancy on.

5. Keep in mind the feelings and needs of your spouse and your other children. Remind them that this child does not get more of your love just because he gets more of your time.

6. Answer only to your conscience: then you’ll be able to answer to your child. You need not justify your actions to your friends or the public.

7. Be honest with your feelings. You can’t be a super-parent 24 hours a day. Allow yourself jealousy, anger, pity, frustration, and depression in small amounts whenever necessary.

8. Be kind to yourself. Don’t focus continually on what needs to be done. Remember to look at what you have accomplished.

9. Stop and smell the roses. Take advantage of the fact that you have gained a special appreciation for the little miracles in life that others take for granted.

10. Keep and use a sense of humor. Cracking up with laughter can keep you from cracking up from stress.

11. There is no 11th, silly. (See the 10th).

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

A Different Year

So....my life has been taking a new direction these days.  It certainly has a different feel to it.  With two older children not here in the daily dynamics of the household, and just two younger boys 24/7,  it's a change for sure. I realize how much busyness happened the last 15 yrs in our daily homeschooling lifestyle! Wow!  A lot of work for sure!  Now, this year isn't anything like I had thought it would be.  We are rather free this year; as I did not spend the tuition enrolling formally in home study program we use.  We are still utilizing the lesson plans of the program, with very few adjustments.  But because we travel to so much therapy a couple times a week now - and this will continue throughout the school year, I just couldn't bear the stress of being quite so accountable/documenting school for the program.  It's enough to have to follow protocol and documentation for the state of Ohio at this time.  So in a way, it feels good to be "free" from that particular aspect, free to move about without the pressure of deadlines and accountability.  

The boys have started school and are really liking what they are doing.  I will just have to enforce us sticking to it.  It will seem like a lighter year than most, but because the program is so accelerated to begin with, they are likely to remain right on course.  

So, as I prepare to face the day of school and therapy today, I keep our progress and successes in mind.  I still feel so blessed to have the option of home education and the freedom in this country to do so as I see more of a need of it in my younger two children.  They are growing healthier and happier - and with their special needs, I wish to continue to give them uniquely and individually all they need to grow into independent adults capable of being responsible for their selves in this tough and challenging world.  I hope and pray.....

Have a beautiful day wherever you are!


Monday, September 05, 2011

Labor Day Blessings

Happy Labor Day Weekend to all!  May God bless you in your travels and relaxation both!