St Gabriel Windows

St Gabriel Windows
Photocopy c. 2013 Jamie Laubacher

Monday, December 31, 2012

So worth sharing….

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A year of revelations…

I can’t say 2012 has been my best or favorite year.  More than anything it has been a year of “revelations”.  Many revelations…from the most minor to the most extreme or amazing ones.  These revelations didn’t exactly bring me joy or happiness…they did bring knowledge and closure in a few cases. 

Biggest revelation: …. my contacting the orphanage my father and his younger brother spent a few years in before being fostered out….I wrote for my father’s orphan records. They were so revealing.  It confirmed so many things I wondered about growing up. The evidence was so concrete: my father was 10 years old, needed to have his tonsils out, but was otherwise in good health.

Through my family research I was able to connect with cousins I’d never met, and talk through family histories.  It’s been so rewarding. 

Greatest find:  Where my father’s Burg side of the family came from, and more filling out of his mother’s side of the family tree with many additional relatives deep into Germany.  This pleased his cousin Mary who could never get that far.  So 2012 was an excellent year for her!

My husband and I celebrated 24 years of marriage;

We became God parents to a wonderful little baby boy, Evan;

My son on the autism spectrum made his sacraments;

I was asked to be a Confirmation sponsor, which warms my heart;

My son with anxiety drove with us all the way to Pennsylvania for a big church wedding and incredibly big reception…….and survived (and 2012 has found him doing the best he’s done in the last three years of suffering OCD/anxiety).  There is hope.

My father in law celebrated his 91st birthday.

We saw many aged aunts pass on….

We had to take out an equity line loan to help meet tuition and other costs that our 1 income just can’t bridge.  Financially it has been the biggest thing we have done since our home was paid for many years ago. 

I’ve seen many of my stay at home mom friends go to work for the first time in many years of raising children.

We continue to home school and live sacrificially.  Sometimes that feels right and good.  Sometimes that feels very uncomfortable.  I will have another 9th grader to school this new year ahead.

In 2012, I’ve had to make some very hard decisions and say some very difficult things to people that needed to be said.  More so this year than other years.  I don’t take these things lightly.  And it’s not pleasant to be shunned or ignored as if I don’t exist or my children no longer do, after having to call someone out on something.  Still, some things can not be let go in a responsible world.

2012 has also seen my most weight gain.  Not sure why, only I can suppose it’s thyroid related.  Ever since I was put on thyroid meds, my weight has slowly crept upward.  I’ve tried to lose and it seems not to budge. 

I discovered and shared Arbonne products with my friends – it was so refreshing to have something in my home, when I don’t get out much.

I also discovered Doctor Who!

And so it goes with 2012.

What am I hoping for 2013?  Superficially…to lose weight and gain some more confidence back.  Deeply, that my children will get it together a little better than the year before and find their way in life a little more clear.  My oldest ones will be walking away from college with some serious knowledge and many many talents and potentialities to pursue and several new friends.  I think it will take a few years for their educations to pan out into their fields.  That’s okay.  They are hard workers and will work hard at smaller job opportunities while finding their way to their nitches.  To just see how great they have done academically, in no easy majors or minors (i.e. daughter had straight A’s this semester!)…is truly satisfying. 

However bittersweet…Adieu 2012…we shall never meet again and maybe in some ways that’s a good thing!

God bless +

Autism and Christmas at Grandma's house | Autism Support Network

Such a good and encouraging article - living the real thing here - nice to hear someone express it.

Autism and Christmas at Grandma's house | Autism Support Network

Friday, December 28, 2012

My 2012–isms

This will likely go down as my most famous quote of the 2012 year:

"There are many times I know I think to myself, what was God thinking...making me a mother...??  It can be so rewarding and so dreadfully difficult.”

I posted it to our Catholic Homeschooling for Aspergers loop, from the heart.  I truly mean it.  I’m finding it being referred to often now.

We were discussing how friends and family just don’t often times understand us as families, as moms, or our children with special needs. How we attempt to protect and guide our special children all at the same time, place restrictions and gently encourage maturity, earning it every step of the way. How we ban /censor TV shows, movies, books, music…..encourage wholesome play and activities. How we attempt to not let our snarky teens tell us how to parent and what to do.  Not a popular notion at all.

Children with special needs and sensory issues do make the holiday season take on a whole new meaning and morph into something we sometimes don’t want. We are with some people in a different setting that doesn’t happen any other time of year.  Like that one certain restaurant….or that one certain home. Or driving farther than normal to get to a family location for festivities.  That said, I will admit this year was one of our better ones.  I was more worried this year about my oldest children than my younger ones.  Coming off of the college high back into the home and trying to adjust to a home schedule with siblings about and general home life is a challenge.  I’m seeing and hearing some disrespect which is unfortunate, but overall, they are good kids.  They attend mass, aren’t covert like they tell me many of their friends are (hiding things from their parents), lying, sneaking…at least they are honest, I’ll give them that.  I am finding that many young people are definitely not what we are thinking they are….putting up a front, while a long, taking birth control pills, drugs, alcohol, living with boyfriends/girlfriends.  I try to tell my children, you will never regret being more pure and chaste, be accused of being a prude, old fashioned…but you will regret doing the opposite…it will haunt you in years to come.  While you have confession (and please do use it), you will have what you did in your mind forever.  So, don’t do that to yourself.   Dare to be different in the right way.

In the end, there is a part of parenting in which you have to let go, and let God.  Yes, I know this.

Yes, being a mother is quite a challenge.  IF you are really diving in and mothering.  If you are allowing your children to grow up haphazardly at best and not really confronting issues because of conflict aversion…then, you will get what you put into it.  Sometimes it will not be pretty. Right now, I am feeling I am missing some important areas, or at least they are falling  by the way side due to crazy schedules, like a our family evening prayer ritual.  This new year, we will be more resolved to do it. 

We have been literally partying and having a different schedule in this home since Dec 2nd.  And it won’t switch back until around the week of Jan 6th, and even then my oldest ones won’t head back to college until the middle of January.  Then, I predict Jan Feb March will literally fly by!

Here’s to 2013….just around the corner.  


….and counting the days of Christmas as they blossom into Epiphany.  It is during this time that Valentine Candy appears on the shelves and Christmas is swept to the clearance tables.  But those of us with faith filled eyes never reduce Christmas to clearance racks in our hearts.  We enjoy every day of Christmas the church has given us to meditate on, cherishing all that Christ gave and did for us.  I am so appreciative of this wonderful liturgical time.

We might be thinking of our new year’s resolutions, and among them I hope that faith renewal tops the list.  I know for myself this is very true and I find I’m grabbing my Magnificat prayer book more than I am my Nook or laptop these days. While I didn’t think the world would end…(and I have a cute story to tell about that later), I did think that the eras of deeper spirituality were coming to an end.  How secular our world has become; how lacking in faith and hope.   My heart felt prayers this end of the year are certainly for a more trusting faith, and that my hope for my own family and friends, and the world itself, is refreshed in a deeper way.

I leave you with this adorable story.  A few weeks back while doing lessons with my 9 yr old son (who has autism), we were talking about his bible story and his mind was pondering the Mayan prophecy and the Dec 21st end of the world possibility.  He said, “Mom, you know the end of the world thing…?those people aren’t right because remember what this prayer says: ‘ world without end’, Amen.?”   Well, indeed!  I just laughed and thought you know, he’s onto something there….

May we all heed these prayerful words:

Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit,

as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be,

world without end. Amen.


The Real Twelve Days of Christmas | Christian History

The Real Twelve Days of Christmas | Christian History

Wednesday, December 05, 2012

Is the Church Suppressing God’s Will? | First Things

Is the Church Suppressing God’s Will? | First Things

This article is in response to the recent NCR editorial regarding ordination of women, the link of which is below.  Placing them both here for reference.

Editorial: Ordination of women would correct an injustice/National Catholic Register

Tuesday, December 04, 2012

Senate Rejects Ratification of UN Disabilities Treaty

THANK GOODNESS – that’s all I can say!!!

Senate Rejects Ratification of UN Disabilities Treaty

Dear HSLDA Members and Friends,
Due to your calls, emails, and office visits, the Senate minority
stood strong and ratification of the UN Convention on the Rights of
Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) was rejected by the U.S. Senate a
short time ago.

The CRPD, which would take away American sovereignty and threaten
parental rights, needed two-thirds of the Senate in order to pass.
Although it gained a majority of votes, it failed on a vote of 61-38. 
This is a great victory for parental rights, homeschool freedom, and
children with special needs. The U.S. Senate rejected a treaty which
would have allowed UN bureaucrats to decide what is in the "best
interests" of children with disabilities, instead leaving those
decisions with parents and caregivers, which is what existing U.S. law
already requires. Visit to
find out why HSLDA opposed this treaty.
We encourage you to visit to
find out how your senators voted, and please send them an email of
thanks (this information will be posted in a few hours, but we wanted
to let you know this good news right now).
Yet despite this victory, the battle is not over.  This treaty and
other dangerous UN treaties can come up at any time. We must stay
informed and be ready at any moment to take action again.  Without a
Parental Rights Amendment to the U.S. Constitution which would
supersede these treaties, we are susceptible to these constant attacks
against our rights as Americans and the right the raise our children
how we see fit. You can find out more about the Parental Rights
Amendment at
Thank you again to all of you who took action against this treaty and
special thanks to those of you in the Congressional Action Program
(CAP) who came out to Washington, D.C. to lobby senators against the
J. Michael Smith
HSLDA President

NASA says world won't end in 2012 despite Mayan calendar

NASA says world won't end in 2012 despite Mayan calendar

Monday, December 03, 2012

My inner most thoughts…

There are so many things on my mind these days…..the holidays, the government…..home schooling…..the freedom to do so…religious freedom…, the economy in general….*sigh.  It’s almost too much to think about.  Taking each day as it comes sounds like relief to me, and not looking too far into the future.  The end of the world on Dec 21st?  Hmm…again, taking one day at a time might be the best advice for keeping one’s sanity.  Who really knows what the future holds? 

When the world continues on past Dec 21st…..the things that will be most pressing on my mind will likely be the same things…..Most of my home schooling friends (mothers), are going to work.  They are trading the SAHM position for part time and full time positions in the workforce, and continue to homeschool.  I can’t imagine how hard that might be…well, I can….I can’t imagine myself doing it, and yet I’m quite sure in the future I will be working.  I’m hoping it will be after I am finishing with home schooling. 

Until then, I’m giving my children the best religious and academic education I know how that is legally possible in this country, while it is still possible in this country…through traditional home schooling.  I truly believe that when my children are grown and having children, traditional home schooling as we know it, will have gone by the wayside….the law’s will no longer exist to support it.  With public school on line taking over, the public sector will get exactly what they want, all of “those” outside the lines, inside the lines, under one umbrella where they can indoctrinate the students to their liking. Any and all religious freedom that we enjoy now (but are straining at the bit to keep), will have vanished.  This is why I savor every lasting moment although challenging, within our home school.   With this threatening UN“disabilities act”, education for special children will be future impacted….Parents will have little choice left but to let the school systems take the lead in their children’s education/formation.  Talk about Big Brother?  He’s been there all along..slowly rearing his head….looking our way to control…

I know at this point, my own children are receiving a true Catholic education that integrates their religion with Christian-Catholic history and literature and whole geographical kingdoms; every bit of history they study includes their Catholic faith, every geographical area, and the accompanying literature…Unless you read “authentic” sources, and original translations, who knew King Arthur and the Knights kingdom and goings-on were so church oriented?  Most children to day, do not know.  Their books have been policed already.….there is nothing more pathetic than the public sector pawning off their version of Christian history, or literature or even art …. mixed with so many falsehoods or left blank…

The Language Police by Diane Ravitch is an excellent book to get a glimpse into the mainstream textbook publishing companies and what malnourishment they provide the every day student.  Please take time to read it yourself….it is a real eye opener. 


As I close, I will continue to “aire” my thoughts over the next few weeks as we move through Advent and into the Christmas season…..

Monday, November 26, 2012

Advent is nearing…

I do not enjoy the busyness of the “holiday” season…but I do enjoy Advent immensely.  In many ways I wish we could stay in Advent longer..the spiritual enrichment and benefits of the season are so seeping and deepening….in the cold of winter…when all is dreary and gray…there is this spark of hope and light within.  I am grateful for the spiritual seasons the Church gives us to help guide us spiritually….I am grateful for spiritual writers that draw upon scripture and other inspiring, insightful writings, to share with us for our own enrichment.  I share with you one such author of the series In Conversation with God, Fr. Francis Fernandez Carvajal.  Fr. Francis draws upon the rich writings of St. Josemaria Escriva and his inspirational spiritual guidance along with a  host of other excellent saints, Popes, encyclicals and scriptures.

Pictured here is the Advent & Christmastide Volume 1

Also for little snippets of spiritual inspiration to meditate on at any time…I love St. Josemaria Escriva’s writings at the touch of your laptop or tablet…at Escriva Works.

And if you wish to learn more about St. Josemaria Escriva….do watch the movie There Be Dragons….It is such a great way to learn about this exceptional newer saint and how ordinary life and working with God within it is your path to holiness.  And there is an incredible Pro-life twist to the movie….I will not give away!!….(I watched it on Netflix, by the way).

There is no greater gift than forgiveness.

Asperger's Cats

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Advent Reading for children

Once again we will be entering that wonderful time of anticipation…while we continue to do our regular home school studies, I incorporate some lovely Advent reading for the children…and some Christmas books.  I use two lists, designed originally from Elizabeth Foss of For Real Learning.  The links are below.  Embedding them here to be sure those searching are able to find them easily enough and be on their way to some enrichment in literature for the liturgical season ahead.

Advent Reading – with Tome de Paola books

Advent/Christmas Read Alouds

Super-powers, Neurodiversity

I was so encouraged recently by a friend of mine in Thailand whom I attended school with in the states.  He also has a couple sons on the autism spectrum.  We both post various findings we come across that we find interesting and helpful, but this was probably the most encouraging item I’ve come across via a link he posted at his Facebook recently.  Not so much that it will help me personally and my situation, although it has broadened my horizons with hope, but  because it should help the majority of those on the spectrum within the school system. Even that someone CARES to make the system of special ed and IEPs and environments in the classroom these children exist in, better…more efficient…is a blessing in itself and deserves proclaim.  Right now, “special education” can be somewhat of a difficult procedure if not an outright joke in some schools.  Many schools just simply lack enough intervention specialists, special ed instructors, or incur budget cuts.  Sadly, if your child is the one with the IEP and under the care of the school system daily, they may not be progressing fully nonetheless getting all they need to really bountifully grow within the diversity of their own special condition.

First I want to say I admire the paradigm shift Thomas Armstrong speaks of in his YouTube Video, regarding his findings and procedures towards wiping away how we view special ed children by “deficits” and replacing it with “strengths”and “cultivating strengths” .   Here he is giving a brief overview of his book: ASCD: Neurodiversity in the Classroom, due for release Dec. 2012.

If you go to the book link, you also can scroll down and find some PDF sample pages.  I read them last night and was just so excited for the future of these children.  When we have an advocate in education like this, it gives me such hope.  It also inspires me as a home educator, and affirms that we are doing the right things for our children with special needs at home.  We do utilize strengths – I call them “super powers”….to help them become educated and progress in studies and life itself.  Special therapies, which now we do a lot of in the home after a year of attending them nearly twice a week, also help to improve the cognitive brain processes through physical helps.

To summarize, I am pleased with this encouragement.  I am grateful that there will be more awareness and a shifting toward acceptance that there are different brains out there….and that is really ok.    What a brighter future those non-neuro-typical types will have on the horizon ahead. 

Friday, November 23, 2012

Black Friday Daybook

Outside my window....

Snowflakes beginning….

I am thankful for...

having a beautiful Thanksgiving day with my family and the provisions we need to make it lovely

I am thinking about...

many, many things…..

Learning all the time...

…to be more patient with my mouth….

From the kitchen....

lots of good smells are still lingering from all the cooking and baking…

I am creating...

always.  Always creating a home

I am working on...

my own maturity.  As I expect those around me to grow up and be mature, I am working on it also.

I am going...

to relax this weekend, no religious ed classes, and nothing pressing…so I will bask in the wonderful afterglow of the holiday

I am hoping...

to lose weight again….soon

I am reading...

Arthurian tales ….Sir Thomas Malory

I am praying for...

a good a spiritually deep Advent and Christmas

I am hearing...

the giggles of Mark in the distance…and the deep changed voice of Michael..

Around the house...

our Advent and some Christmas decorations are beginning to appear

One of my favorite things...

my first cup of coffee in the morning, in silence

A few plans for the rest of the week...

paying bills, groceries and finishing up the tree

Here is a picture thought I am sharing with you...


Monday, November 19, 2012

The Signing…

I can’t believe I’m actually doing this, but I’m sending a book off to Jake Tapper, Senior Correspondent, Washington DC, ABCNews, for him to autograph.  It’s his recently published book The Outpost.  I thought my husband would like it, so it’s his Christmas gift.  Jake actually spoke to me at his Facebook page, maybe because I had a sincere question….asking where I was to send the book for signing, etc.  I am so glad to know we could do it this way because it wasn’t likely I could out to any areas of book signings he’d be at – although that would have been so nice.  This is as close as rural Ohio gets to a senior correspondent :) So, the book gets sent this week.  Pretty cool.  I’m glad he gave us this option.  Works for me!

*as a side note I just want to say (and this is the ethical-moral part of me), that I can not believe the garbage and disrespect some people post on Facebook pages of people in the media.  Granted, they are opened up to that by the job itself, sure.  Jake Tapper has 26,600 followers. But still, I would never talk to someone the way some people do posting rude remarks and comments on this man’s FB.  wow.  I guess he might be use to it by now, but talk about a lack of respect.  Respect, people, RESPECT!


Saturday, November 17, 2012

A spoonful of sugar….

Every Sunday this year, just to help make 8th grade a little more cheery at our PSR weekend program, I’ve been sending snacks.  Mostly cereal bar assortments with a drink.  I noticed last year how nice the 7th grade instructors were in providing some snacks every week, and while my 2nd graders usually get “a treat”, in the way of a small candy or little individual bag of fruit gummy chews, the older kids are all the more hungry and well, you know how teens are…more sleep and more food.  For some it’s asking a lot to even get up that early on a Sunday morning so sweetening the deal is helpful.  I’ve also been paying for them to go to the monthly Knights of Columbus breakfast.  Many of the teachers take their students and pay for the breakfast at a reduced rate, but I just couldn’t ask our college aged teachers to do the same as their funds are tight and I appreciate they are even teaching to begin with.  I do know that there are a few teens in the class that look so forward to attending the breakfast…it’s actually what keeps them going.   And a Sunday a..m. snack while learning about God certainly doesn’t hurt.

So there you have it…this week’s basket is ready (gluten/dairy free for those needing it also):



Outside my window....

Beautiful bright SUNSHINE!

I am thankful for...

sounds..redundant, but friends that care like family and are always there

I am thinking about...

a busy day, both Saturday and Sunday.  A lot of cleaning, preparing, as well as checking at the church to be sure the tables and chairs and everything are back in place for religious ed tomorrow, after our church boutique

Learning all the time...

I am learning about more math programs, computer languages and designing programs because of one of my sons

From the kitchen....

will be baking pumpkin spice cookies today…

I am creating...

more space and cleanliness in this house, I hope

I am working on...

my Christmas list

I am going...

to the church later…and no where on Mon, Tues, Weds, in preparation for the big day ahead

I am hoping...

to have more peace and calm in my heart over many things

I am reading...

The tales of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table, a 1600s translation by Malory.  Loving it all over again

I am praying for...

My oldest son and his future…

I am hearing...

building noises out side as someone is fixing up a house on our street

Around the house...

a little clutter here and there that needs sifted through

One of my favorite things...

the citrus-sage soy candle in a ceramic bird the children bought me a couple Mother’s Days ago….its used up but the wax still smells fragrant and has good memories attached to it

A few plans for the rest of the week...

see above ^ hahaha

Here is a picture thought I am sharing with you...


This photo always makes me smile.  My great Aunt Evelyn on the left; twin brothers Chester and Charles in the middle, and my paternal grandmother, their sister, Adelaide on the right.  This little family must have brought so much joy to their parents, Louise and Joseph Burg.  I am grateful they are part of my heritage and ancestry. May they all rest in peace+ 

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Sensory helps…

Sad day when your favorite Sensory therapeutic nubby ball spouts a leak…..


So dad comes to the rescue with a new therapeutic ball….(see the other one completely deflated laying on the floor behind the new one).


Phew…honestly I don’t know how I  would accomplish school without this special therapeutic ball daily ….

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Counting the blessings

Wow, I just finally watched an awesome movie.  I generally am not able to really watch any adult intense movies in this house with two very impressionable and sensitive children about (nightmares..).  But I LOVE a good movie and was delighted to be able to watch Snow White and the Huntsman. Yes, it was a good story and a bit frightening.  I love anything with fairy tales….I also love to watch the ABC series, Once Upon a Time (again, just too scary for my younger brood). Well, Snow White in this recent movie reminds me so much of St. Joan of Arc.  Leading an army, fighting against evil.  It also made  me think of all my blessings on this earth….after all, we must live this life before entering into the next kingdom.  And this life on earth is worth fighting for in the purest sense.  Yes, this movie made me think of life and death on many different levels.

Lately, I feel the ills of mankind in a very strong and forceful way.  Between failing relationships, confused relationships, aging parents, terrible financial stresses and just the responsibilities of family and faith, it’s been hard for me to really see the blessings….and see more of the burdens.  I feel the burdens.  I wonder why I care so much at times when I see things unraveling…others don’t seem to mind. 

And seriously, if I hear one more snarky remark….

So, as Thanksgiving approaches I am starting to consider those blessings.  As we recently studied in our home school about the Pilgrims and various religious sects that made way to this country for religious freedom and a new life….I am reminded of the very fundamental blessings we have.  I am grateful first and foremost for the freedom to homeschool; to be able to choose our own curriculum, including the history I just mentioned that is not published by a mainstream provider, but a Christian provider that doesn’t taint, white-wash and rewrite history with a special lean …I just saw a video on how many of the main textbook provider in this country have such an agenda (new world order stuff)…that makes my stomach turn.  So I am grateful to be able to choose materials that will continue to help my children “know the truth”. 

I won’t bore you with my blessing list….but I will tell you I do have one and it includes many other things.   I hope you will think about yours too and pray in gratefulness for those things in the coming weeks.


Friday, November 09, 2012

Integrity and Advocacy

in·teg·ri·ty ( n-t g r -t ). n. 1. Steadfast adherence to a strict moral or ethical code. 2. The state of being unimpaired; soundness. 3. The quality or condition of being whole.

ad·vo·ca·cy ( d v -k -s ). n. The act of pleading or arguing in favor of something, such as a cause, idea, or policy; active support.

Those two words have become very frequent in my vocabulary this last year, not only in verbage, but in action.  I remember our former pastor in residence, Msgr. Molloy, saying that Integrity was the culmination of the virtues as a whole.  Indeed.  When I think about how people gossip, how people thoughtlessly spout out their own opinions anywhere and everywhere, without thought to whom is listening or being effected by it….it really saddens me and in some cases sickens me. Especially in regard to those most innocent and faith issues.  

So – advocacy.  I have learned to have to embrace it thoroughly. Be not afraid.  Sometimes it is not for the faint of heart.  It does take the virtue of courage and tenacity, and chances are you will be disappointed, but have to fight all the harder.  It began with my son who suffers OCD – oh the battle I had to do to fight our way through the healthcare system and advocate on his behalf to get him the help he needed.  No one can really understand what an undertaking that is until they are filling those shoes.  And then after several years of being within it, having to pick up further advocacy for my son with Autism.  He being the more less advantaged and fragile of the two, and needing more helps in place and constant vigilance.

It’s interesting I’ve come to this place, to realize that I am both looked at as difficult and as heroic all at the same time, for fighting for help for my children.  I speak up to those who need spoken up to, and while it is not always easy and I find it places a burden on my heart at times, I look at the greater good it is pertaining to and swallow that bitter pill.  Usually in time the outcome is positive and successful.  But I have those who stay very far away from me also. 

Now I know some of this sounds cryptic and indeed it may because I’m leaving out a lot of specifics and details to protect identities and situations.  But I know you get the gist of it. 

Here is my prayer for you: that you may not fear integrity or advocacy.  That you will draw upon the gifts of the Holy Spirit and by the grace of God, do the right things for all those tough decisions you must make and see through.  I come into this with the eyes of a mother and teacher primarily.  Whatever your walk in life may be, may you have the graces given you to empower you to journey with integrity and advocacy as your companions.

God bless +

Thursday, November 08, 2012

Victories big and small…

There’s been a lot of talk about defeats lately, but I want to pause and mention some victories instead.  They won’t seem like much to you, but to me and my family, they mean everything.

My son with OCD-anxiety has been in therapy for four years and on medication for three of those years.  He has come a long ways, but every now and then he makes a leap.  He made one this summer attending a wedding out of state that was a long hard drive for him, and was attended by 500 people, and 1,000 at the reception.  It was completely out of his comfort zone, but he pulled it off.  Such a victory!

There have been a few assorted victories the last few months.  Sometimes when he sees a creature from a video game or cartoon the ugliness of that creature sticks with him.  Thus his difficulty with things like Ben 10.  He is not very tolerant of grossness – aliens, creepy creatures and down right ugly monsters.  His psychiatrist is working with him to desensitize himself to these things so that *if he has exposure he won’t ruminate over and over with it.  His medication, in fact, is for the ruminations.  Sooo, recently, he did see something that a few years ago, while he was in the midst of his horrible mental breakdown and the OCD had total grip and control of him…totally freaked him out.  Recently, he caught glimpse of it while shopping on the front of a DVD cover…and while he mentioned it, and it still troubled him…he never mentioned it again, he slept and didn’t get nauseated over it.  Another victory!

And then yesterday, a very good victory.  He went to a different dentist after 12 years of going to the same pediatric dentist.  The new dentist was much closer by (very close, just on our corner), and my son had never had dental work done with a shot before.  Well, this time he needed one – and the dentist is so swift my son didn’t even know he had given him the numbing.  I could tell he was a little nervous, but he did absolutely beautifully, and he goes back next week for another filling, and then later for a couple sealants.  This is truly a victory!  And I gave our son the choice of where he would like to go – back to his pediatric dentist for the work, and to the local dentist.  He chose, and he was victorious in handling it.

All these things make a huge difference in a child the suffers OCD.  He is improving, re-training the brain, and moving forward with his life and our family is progressing also.  At one time we were at a total standstill due his disorder taking over.  Now we have wonderful breakthroughs to report and hurdles that have been made successfully.

I am grateful.

Next post, my son with autism. 

Saturday, November 03, 2012

Eduardo Verastegui's Urgent Message For Latinos

The beautiful My November Guest by Robert Frost [below] sums up my sentiments for November. 
It seems through the years that November has brought both its fleeting last days of beauty as it surrenders to winter, change, and sometimes grief. This November, while still so young, is no different. 

Many Novembers we have lost loved ones to death.  I’m not sure why there have been so many that have left us in November (it would be a good question for God), but it has been so with us as a family. And I suppose fittingly so, as we have just celebrated All Souls, and prayed for those that have gone before us. My husband and I think back to all the funerals we have been to in November and even remember some of the music played for particular loved ones.  “How Can I Keep from Singing”, is one such hymn that stays in our hearts and minds still.

And so here we are in November.  I pray for all those so cruelly affected by Hurricane Sandy as they begin to face November; that all their immediate and long term needs are met quickly and sufficiently that they can put their lives back together and move forward.

Peace and healing+


My November Guest

My Sorrow, when she's here with me,
Thinks these dark days of autumn rain
Are beautiful as days can be;
She loves the bare, the withered tree;
She walks the sodden pasture lane.

Her pleasure will not let me stay.
She talks and I am fain to list:
She's glad the birds are gone away,
She's glad her simple worsted grey
Is silver now with clinging mist.

The desolate, deserted trees,
The faded earth, the heavy sky,
The beauties she so truly sees,
She thinks I have no eye for these,
And vexes me for reason why.

Not yesterday I learned to know
The love of bare November days
Before the coming of the snow,
But it were vain to tell her so,
And they are better for her praise

Robert Frost

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

A weary week…

Hurricane Sandy has been sending us high winds and lots of rain….rain is still coming down and apparently will be for several more days.  We have our Aunt Ida’s funeral on Thursday a.m. and I hope it isn’t too muddy at St. Francis cemetery.  God bless this last sibling to pass away of my father in law.  Who knew he would be the sole survivor of his three brothers and four sisters?  He just turned 90, and we had a wonderful celebration of family and history-heritage with him, and this sister was 91 in a half, so he was close to her. And how amazing, she too had four sons and four daughters, just like the family she was born into. Well, this indeed is turning into a very difficult week.  Strangely or maybe providentially, it will end Saturday with a visit from our new Bishop at our 6 pm mass.  We have a reception prepared and a couple songs our parish children will sing for the Bishop.  I’m looking forward to meeting him, but anticipating what a busy week and weekend it will have been.  There is no doubt I put my heart and soul into our parish life, and for the sake of the children and families there, and I’ll be honest, there are many times that I really feel it’s time to leave.  This last weekend was one of them.  This year in particular has gotten off to a rocky start. 

Still, I know the ole’ devil tests me in fire on occasion and I’m sure this is one of them. 

Friday morning, I will be chatting with my Mother of Divine Grace teacher reviewer and I know that will help boost my morale and encourage me further that I am doing the right thing for my children and for my family, in both my work at home and at church. We have completed a good quarter’s worth the work and I am seeing such good progress.  I am glad to be using the science more thoroughly (activity book, tests, etc.) with my third grader  as he enjoys science so much and likes the worksheets.  And we are doing the History more thoroughly also…and following the nicely laid out lesson plan to move slowly, deeply and consistently through to help with comprehension; mastery.  Not just moving through it to “get it done,” but doing it to really learn the material.

All in all, it’s been a fast and furious fall with many ups and downs.  I guess I better buckle in a little tighter for the ride ahead!

Prayers to all those affected by hurricane Sandy.  May God bring them peace and comfort and all the resources they need.  God bless the USA

Sunday, October 28, 2012

More tired…more blessed..

…Is it possible?  Well, I am certainly more tired than ever.  However, on my most tired day ever….I also feel enormously more blessed than ever.

Usually Sundays are a test of my endurance and patience because of my religious education responsibilities…and because I do not have exactly a healthy thyroid, I tend to tucker out much faster when facing a strenuous schedule.  But God certainly provides, and today He did just that.  I can’t believe I was able to pull off teaching my 2nd graders, a lovely All Saints program and music session with K through 7th grade, and talk with 8th through high school about our BIshop visit, and a special service project that I knew they would thoroughly enjoy.  Pretty painless service hours, but work made fun by good companionship, team work and a good cause.  Eighteen very serious and glad to be there teens put together 25 shoe box gifts for children in third world countries. 18 students that came during the 3-5 pm timeslot on a Sunday afternoon; they wanted to be there.  You could see how they were really into completing each box with thoughtfulness and care; contemplating if this was the only gift they received, would they want it to be filled to the top?…what would make them happy to see inside of it?  If it were for them would they like what they found when they opened it??  Of course, our children would be wanting the latest technology…Ipods and Mini Ipads, and DSi’s, DVDS, CDS, yes, the pricey American fare.  These boxes were filled with personal hygiene products like toothbrushes and toothpaste, combs, hair items, soap, hard candies, trinkets, school supplies, small toys, stuffed toys.  THESE are the things that will thrill the children that open them.  They will feel so fortunate and blessed.  We were blessed today by the grace of God touching our minds, hearts and hands to prepare a special gift for a special child somewhere in the world. 


And so, I relax and unwind at the end of a very fulfilling and fruitful day.  I am thankful that God uses me to help encourage and enlighten other people’s children in their faith life and awaken them to a life of service to others.  As many of our youth group children prepare for Confirmation they are taught to look beyond themselves, and even their families to their church and civil communities (hopefully they already have an established life of faith and service within their family unit),  By taking their Christian belief system and putting it into practice beyond the confines of themselves and their homes,…they are definitely growing in Christ, and I look forward to seeing them blossom in that faith.  Today I witnessed some of that blossoming and it was sweet indeed.

I am feeling so blessed to know these special young people and being able to be a part of their formation and spiritual growth this year. 

Friday, October 26, 2012

Freaky Friday…indeed

So today I’m preparing for the usual fare…school, shopping, cooking…getting ready for a big weekend which includes a Saints program at our parish and a youth group session with the teens.

I am very tired this week…thinking my thyroid (and bad diet) are starting to get to me.  I definitely burn the candle at both ends and I’m just not that young anymore…maybe ten years ago I could keep up this pace, but now in my early 50s….not so much.

I am still eagerly awaiting my subscription to Magnificat to start and come to my mailbox….it’s due for November…but no sign of it yet.  I’m worried having gone through a middle party for it, the sub wasn’t processed correctly.  I hope that’s not true and it will come _ even today_.  That would make my day!

Praying for my children, their formations, educations and direction in life.  I start to panic sometimes when I think about what they face in the future.  I know I can not always be there.  Right now I’m content they are such faithfilled and faithful young Catholic Christians, wanting to do good and be selfless.  That’s a good start.  But I think about what kind of life they will have, economy, health….and I just shudder.  May God’s wisdom and guidance and protection always be theirs.

Also anticipating Frankenstorm….yes some terrible storm creation from the Atlantic due to the hit the east coast and move inward by early next week.  I guess we’ll see what happens….

Isn’t she lovely



Thursday, October 25, 2012

Storms and Service Projects…

I don’t think I’ve had a faster week go by….wow….zip!  And I’m hearing that Hurricane Sandy, a.k.a. Frankenstorm, might pay us a visit very soon…I hope it doesn’t put a damper (no pun intended!) on our service project weekend for a youth group and confirmation candidates.  I’m praying for a good turn-out as we have two new young couples as leaders, and a hopeful priest that our youth will start to take these things more seriously.

We have a lovely program scheduled for them and if they don’t do another “good deed” the rest of the year…this is the one! (See clip below)

Not only learning to work together with a team of people, but sharing their goods and time to make Christmas around the world a little more pleasant for countless children who suffer so.  We are a selfish bunch indeed, and spoiled in some many ways, myself and family included.  To think a shoebox stuffed with personal care items, some small toys and school items would give such joy to a third world country child, is just something our children really probably can’t fathom.

Through the service project process we hope to not only have them provide the time and goods, but have the seeds planted in their hearts to sacrifice just a little more and to be grateful even more for what they do have here in their corner of the world.

[Did I mention Greece’s economy has collapsed….speaking of worldwide things?  Indeed….and resulted in heightened crime, theft, and families scrounging and begging for help.  Do we have it good…still?  Indeed.] 

I think between the global economy, the local economy and the needy of third world countries, a service project that focuses on “giving” to those in more need is a good choice for confirmation candidates.  Helping those young people to step outside of their selves and outside of their own families to help those beyond their immediate circle is a mature Christian action. Many of the candidates are already very excited and taking it all seriously….for some, it will be a real struggle this year, but with the grace of God, I trust he will lead them to where they need to be.

Operation Christmas Child 

Monday, October 22, 2012

Simple day in the life….

Seriously a beautiful day here in NE Ohio….70 degrees…clear, with lots of leaves and colors everywhere.  So lovely.

For us it’s beautiful but it is also just another day in our lives of homeschooling.  We put in a good day of it and I am ever so pleased with how the kids are doing with their work.  Just dedicating one year – at least 6 months of concentrated effort on one child, really pays off in long dividends.  I’m so glad I put in the hard work early in their lives and got them to grade level and beyond work in the latter years of grade school.  In our home, as I look back now, it’s been all about school and mom being there.  I look at even our parish school and think how many years (this marks the 20th for me) I’ve been teaching the 2nd grade class, and how I’ve prepared all my children for the sacraments both at home and at church.  And I’m committed to being there at our parish program for many more years.  When I look back someday, I’m sure it will be such a large part of my life to realize I was there for likely 25-30 years both with home education and religious ed. 

So today, we did our school….and I began to thoroughly clean and help along my daughter-at-college’s room. The room is clean and tidy, but I needed to retouch some woodwork, get a new lampshade for a lamp, and just fresh and brighten it up a bit.  She is a good girl with keeping things in order, and I wish I could give her an even more beautiful room because she is such a selfless uncomplaining young lady….but I’m doing what I can.

The rest of the house…….yes, a bit of a mess!

It’s okay because most of my time today was spent with children and school….some things have to wait. 

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Beautiful Autumn…

…and it certainly is that here right now.  The weather is mild, sunny.  There will be a bit of rain….here and there, but for the most part it’s been around mid-50s/60s.  Just lovely, colorful….and ahhhchooo!…oh, and filled with those pesty allergies my family suffers. 

Just had two of my sons into their doctor for a check to be sure these sinus symptoms and a sore throat, aren’t more than just allergy induced.  Allergy.  So, we switched up some allergy meds to see if a change might help as sometimes after long usage, one might not be as effective.  Time will tell.  A couple days at least in this case.

In the meantime, it’s still so lovely out, I just must take in the beauty outdoors.  It’s very helpful for me to be able to get out in nature and enjoy the great outdoors as much as possible.  My children too of course.  In fact, it brings back such fond memories of our early home schooling years when we were all about nature and a Charlotte Mason education.  Making nature journals and taking in the world around us as part of our daily studies.  It did this mother good to take her little ones out for walks and frolics in the nearby park with creek and wooded areas. 

Hope wherever you are, you are able to enjoy a beautiful Autumn…

Prayer for our election..

And I will give them one heart, and put a new spirit within them. And I will take the heart of stone out of their flesh and give them a heart of flesh. Then they will be My people, and I shall be their God. Eze 11:19

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Brain Gym, Brain Buttons: Activate!

In therapy our son Mark learned this sequence of stimulating his “brain buttons” a type of cognitive processing awakening before undergoing anything that was going to take much thought on his behalf.
I share this procedure here:

Brain Gym
Mark always says, “I start b taking a few sips of water”…..true!…then he uses both hands to pinch or tap lightly his upper body and lower abdomen:

A quick review of the FOUR basic steps is here:
Switch On Your Brain . . . in 4 simple steps . . .W - B - C - C!
= Water, Brain Buttons, Cross Pattern and Cook's Hookups

1. Water hydrates the body and facilitates conduction of the electrical impulses throughout the body and brain. Without enough water, you'll feel short-circuited. This in itself triggers a stress response and makes you more susceptible to other stresses in your life!
Drink water to get "instant stress release" – receptors in your mouth inform the brain of the presence of pure water so it can instantly correct the body stress created by dehydration.
Sipping throughout the day helps to keep your stress levels lower. Water also assists lymphatic function, helping to remove waste and toxins from your body. It allows 1,000-10,000 times more oxygen to bind to the blood, reducing stress on your heart and lungs. Drink lots of water for an instant brain boost. It raises energy and improves your concentration, mental and physical coordination, and academic skills.
If you have no medical limitations, doctors suggest one 250ml glass per day for every 10 kilos of body weight, and more if you are physically active or under extra stress. That's 7 glasses for a 70kg person! Interestingly, caffeine and alcohol cause fluid loss. You will need an extra glass of water for each cup of coffee you drink and two extra for each alcoholic drink. Raise your glass to your health with nature's finest!

2. Brain Buttons are located between the collar bone and the first rib, up against your breastbone.
To Switch On: Placing one hand over your navel, with the other stimulate the points with firm rotary pressure for 15 to 30 seconds each or until any tenderness is gone. Rubbing then will boost your natural energies and reset your electro-magnetic body. For many natural therapists the K-27's are related to conditions such as low energy ad fatigue
Stimulate them as often as necessary. When they are sensitive, they need attention. This technique can be used on a daily basis and randomly throughout the day to revive a bored or sluggish body. Stimulate before arising in the morning and start the day smoothly.

3. Cross Crawl is excellent exercise for activating full mind-body function before learning and physical activities. By touching the right hand (or elbow) to the left knee and then the left hand (or elbow) to the right knee, you will activate large areas of both brain hemispheres. Repeat 7 to 10 times on each side.
Do the Cross Crawl on a regular basis to stimulate more nerve networks, potentially improving communication between the two hemispheres. Each brain hemisphere controls the opposite side of the body. So by intentionally moving an opposite arm and leg across the midfield, we fire off both brain hemispheres at the same time. This cross lateral movement stimulates the whole brain – the vestibular (balance) system, the reticular activating system (the brain's wake-up call!), the cerebellum (automatic movement), the basal ganglion (intentional movement), the limbic system (emotional balance), and the frontal lobes (reasoning).
Slow cross lateral movement also increases dopamine levels in the brain (enhancing our ability to see patterns and to learn faster).

4. Cook's Hookups use a complex crossover action to assist the brain in much the same way as the Cross Crawl. This exercise can be performed while standing, sitting, or lying down. Hookups are especially helpful if you do them right after you wake up in the morning and whenever you face a stressful situation.
First cross one ankle over the other.
Then stretch your arms out in front of you, with the backs of your hands together and your thumbs pointing down. Lift one hand over the other (with your palms facing each other) and interlock your fingers. Roll your locked hands straight down and in toward your body, so that they eventually rest on your chest with elbows pointed down.
Keep the tip of your tongue touching the centre of the roof of your mouth as you inhale, rest it against your bottom teeth as you exhale. Breathe easily. Hold the position for about a minute.
Next, uncross your arms and legs, plant your feet firmly about shoulders� width apart and place your hands together with only the tips of your fingers and thumbs touching. You can rest your hands in your lap or on your belly for comfort. Maintain the tongue positions and breathing as above. Hold for about a minute

One last thing Mark's therapist had him do at the end was to press his fingers of both hands together so the tips met, and tap each one of them - like starting with the thumbs: tap tap tap tap, then move to the first fingers...taptaptaptap...and continue this until all fingers have been tapped together systemically.

Tuesday, October 09, 2012

Therapeutic Curriculum Choices


This little item is packed with a lot communication practice!  Last year when my son, on the autism spectrum, spent time with his therapist, we had homework to do, every day.  By Christmas, I decided to stuff my son’s stocking with some therapy flashcards.  We gave his therapist “Buddy Talk” cards, and we gave our son “Family Talk”.  One of the goals was to exercise receptive language and reciprocal language, in a word: two-way communication, so necessary and useful in every day life, and so hard for many children on the spectrum.  Part of the deal was making eye contact while asking, listening, answering ….and waiting for the next person to do the same.  Learning what most take for granted. Using flashcards like this, if not daily, several times a week right within the school day, helps with many communication skills’ issues.

Our homeschool is now well underway.  Part of our school this year includes so many therapeutic measures, and I must admit, I can thank Mother of Divine Grace for this.  There is no other more therapeutic curriculum among Catholic home school options.  Why?  Because Modg is just that unique….it has things built into it,_ therapeutic disciplines_ that when followed and applied to every day education in the home, cover a multitude of disorders and deficiencies; and at every grade level.  For example, the Bible story readings-retellings, having the child listening to the story out loud (and also reading it themselves, because those are two different skills right there),then  retelling it in their own words, while mother writes/types it down, then the child doing the “copywork” on it, writing the very words they spoke to retell it….and lastly, illustrating the story; working creativity and fine motor skills – all therapeutic.  All over the course of a 5 day week. Each step of it is therapy in itself.

It’s interesting that some therapy includes all of the above steps, and insurance either will or will not pay for such therapies….so you could be paying $150 for a therapist to do a similar pattern with your child (or even sequencing a craft …)

Also, in the curriculum, there is memorization, there is the love-hate curricula Writing Road to Reading; hate it if you must  but it is extremely beneficial for children with auditory processing disorders, dyslexia and other reading difficulties.  The same program that therapists use with children to bring them out of the disorders difficulties are in WRTR already (the famed: Orton-Gillingham multisensory education method).  Some experts will tell you that if you use Teach Your Child in 100 Easy Lessons, and they are still not catching onto reading …..change gears…..and use The Writing Road to Reading instead.  It’s likely they have some processing disorder and WRTR will help them navigate the language and decoding much better.  So again, therapeutic.

*If you just can’t like WRTR, (which I would say, give it another try), you can get the best of what WRTR offers in a newer written program called:  All About Reading. It is more scripted and easier to follow for the average home school parent.  Then, the next follow-up would be:   All About Spelling

And speaking of multi-sensory….I notice how Modg touches all the senses.  From the reading, retelling, writing, memorization, exposure to art, music, science, history…..the “method” propelling the curriculum choices is just as important, if not more so, than the curriculum itself.  That’s the formation part.  Formation over information.  When the child is given the right formation, the information comes all the easier.

If you are considering homeschooling your special needs child, I would recommend looking into a program like that which Mother of Divine Grace has to offer.  If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me.

Monday, October 01, 2012

behold..I am doing a new thing…

…Change.  There’s a word that often strikes anxiousness in those who hear it, anticipate, must face it.

But when I turn to scripture I notice that change is of God.  One such scripture verse that stands out to me, as well as brings me deep peace, is Isaiah 43:19


“Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it?”

I do perceive it.  I love this verse.  It has never grown old to my ears when this cycle of readings come through again and again through the years.  It brings me refreshment and hope.  The whole passage is beautiful; take time to read it.

And so it is with how “change” a “new thing"  has occurred very recently in my very small life in a very small town in the vast world.  In my church, in my neighborhood and even in my family.  Change.  Lots of it. 

But when I look at “change” as a “new thing” ..springing forth…from our God, it takes on an entirely new and acceptable meaning.  I embrace it.  And if you haven’t thought about it much before, I hope for you to take it to heart and embrace it as well.

So, while new responsibilities have fallen to me at our parish, and our neighborhood is changing with some moving out and some new moving in, and my family dynamic is changing nearly every six months now it seems….all these things can make me very, very anxious.  But how relieved and at peace I am to see that God is in control and I have nothing to stress about and everything to be grateful for. 

Change.  Embrace it.  Know your God is bringing forth newness that is good and of God. It is springing forth…whether you see it in your life, or not at this point.  It is there.  It always was.  And will continue to be.

God bless!

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Cozy at home…

What a great day to stay in, stay dry and warm and cozy with my children that are homeschooled.  Today, the house will be our refuge with the fragrant aromas of baking and coffee brewing.  My teen has an on-line history literature book club class later and we really don’t need to be anywhere else.  <smiling>

A plea to confused Catholics - By Alice von Hildebrand

A plea to confused Catholics - By Alice von Hildebrand

Worth Reading ....worth praying fervently about...

Monday, September 17, 2012

Thinking about internet…

Thinking of switching my internet provider…we have had high speed internet through our phone lines for quite some time now.  It is SO glitchy and we pay a lot and many times the internet is out.  Thinking of going cable, which I suspect would also upgrade our TV, and improve our speed.  Just a thought…but becoming more serious a thought….We would be paying the same price, but hoping for better service.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Peace in our hearts…


All shall be well
and all shall be well
and all manner of things shall be well.
-Julian of Norwich



It doesn’t quite look like this yet in northeastern Ohio….but I thought this was a beautiful preview of things to come.

I am glad at this moment to be tucked away in rural Ohio.  It doesn’t mean we are forgetful of the world situation – very frightening right now – but it does mean some sense of peace while we are praying for peace and resolution.

Today, as I focus on the world situation it makes me somewhat more subdued in my complaints and unsettled nature about things that now seem pretty trivial.  I am grateful that even with grumbling children, they are all safe at home in this lazy little town.

God bless you wherever you are.  May His peace that passes all understanding be yours.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Thankful Thursday

Today is the the 2nd week, fourth day of home school new beginnings for us.  I think we are getting in the groove of how our school year will go.  So far, so good ….and my 13 year old’s Book Club learning support class (on line) is going really well.  He loves going into a virtual classroom with others his age, and listening to the teacher and discussing the literature for his medieval history course.  He has done beautifully so far.  The internet connection is a little glitchy…however…..for the price we pay for high speed internet here, and for as many times as it goes out…I’m thinking of switching to cable internet.  For the same price, it will be less glitchy and more reliable….looking into that today.

So, today I am thankful for being able to have signed back up with Mother of Divine Grace this year, and add the addition of an LS class for my 8th grader.

I am also grateful for my spiritual director and the advice to read – meditate on – the writings (revelations) of Julian of Norwich.  I downloaded her writings to my eReader yesterday (for .99 cents!)..110 pages worth.  So far, it is very deep and concentrated.  I think I will come away with a lot.  They are DEFINITELY Revelations of Divine Love of our Lord, no doubt!!

So…we’re off for a special day of just doing school, enjoying some of the beautiful fall weather outdoors and having dad home for dinner this evening. 

Make it a good day wherever you are.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Beauty Budget

Recently I took my mother and myself for our much needed eye exams.  My mother did well and got some lovely new eye glasses, and they are working good for her.  I however, need to return to the eye glass store and have mine re-evaluated.  They are first time bifocals for me, progressive lenses, and I love the upper part of them, but the lower part is way so slim and tiny to read from….like I need more of that area to do reading, and maybe less of the above part to see distance.  Well, for $350+ I think this needs to be made right.

Which brings me to budget.  My husband already works two jobs.  One regular day job, and an evening job a couple days a week to help make up the slack or lack of my not working.  Yes, there are days I wish we could be getting two hefty pay checks in this house.  I can only dream!  But, my vocation as mother, wife and home educator of my children takes precedence right now. 

There are some beauty items and just regular items that I do without…although we did splurge in the spring and buy some great deals of Arbonne products, which are just to die for!  …what an extravagance for me!  So, it’s not like I can afford $40 skin cleanser….and I don’t expect to ….I would feel totally guilty using it for sure!…that could buy a bag of groceries and fill up a gas tank.  So instead, I have some secrets that I’ve used through the years…one of which is this creamy, clean and hypoallergenic skin cleanser that can be easily bought in the drugstore, and can even be purchased as a generic.  Dermatologists have recommended it since the 70s at least.  It is great for sensitive skin, and skin using acne preparations.  Originally made by Cetaphil and just called Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser.  Again, you can buy it as generic and even save more.  It feels luxurious without the cost!

Also another skin care item I have used since the 70s, is simply Witch Hazel.  I usually buy Dickinson’s brand, pure and safe, and just use it as a toner morning and night before applying moisturizers and make-up.  I think it has helped my skin be healthier through the years.

So, there you have it.  Two simple products, both available for about a total of $13.00 together. 

Okay, now I wish my eye glasses could be this easy!

Wednesday Daybook

Once again, a beautiful fall day as we commence with our home schooling.  I’m feeling more at ease as we get into our new school year; it’s always an adjustment.  It is also an adjustment not having two older children at home (off to college).  When did I get this old??  I will admit that homeschooling now, (17 yrs into it), is much different than even 5 years ago..nonetheless 10 years ago.  I am much more tired getting out of bed in the morning!  And I’ll tell you a secret, I have a small coffee pot with clock timer in our bedroom, so I can actually smell the coffee to wake up!  Seriously, it has been a Godsend to me at this point in my life.  I am not ashamed to say I am biologically an older mother.  Most of my friends my age, have children well into college, or beyond, and are grandparents.  And here I am, not only older with grade school children yet….but, two more challenging children left to be raised and educated; one with sensory/OCD/anxiety disorder, and the other with autism spectrum disorder.  I pray unceasingly.  Right now, I snatch up my Furrow devotional by St. Josemaria Escriva and read snippets of encouragement and spiritual direction.   Happily, three of us made it to confession this last weekend, and our pastor had some good spiritual advice for me.  I have clung onto his every word this following week.

But, like our vacation bible school this summer proclaimed: “With God, all things are possible”, right?  Hmmm, that happens to be my state’s motto as well.  There must be something to it!  Honestly, I do not know how people do it…face the challenges of life, without a central Faith connection and focus.

So today, as I take my coffee break, I am grateful.  Grateful for what health I do have, and that I am still in the mix of things as a home schooler. 

Right now, I smell the lovely aroma of corn bread and a crock pot meal simmering (see below)…while I take my coffee break.  May God bless you this day and give you the strength and wisdom you need to see it through.


One-Pot Dinner
Fix-It and Forget-It Diabetic Cookbook, page 109
Makes 8 servings

Ideal slow cooker size: 4-quart
½ lb. ground beef
¼ lb. bacon, cut in pieces
1 cup chopped onions
2 16-oz. cans pork and beans
16-oz. can kidney beans, drained
1 cup no-salt-added ketchup
16-oz. can butter beans, drained
2 Tbsp. brown sugar
brown sugar substitute to equal 1 Tbsp.
1 Tbsp. liquid smoke
2 Tbsp. white vinegar
Dash of pepper
1. Brown ground beef in skillet. Drain off drippings. Place beef in slow cooker.
2. Brown bacon and onions in skillet. Drain off drippings. Pat dry with absorbent toweling. Add bacon and onions to slow cooker.
3. Stir remaining ingredients into cooker.
4. Cover. Cook on Low 5-9 hours or High 3 hours.
Exchange List Values: Starch 2.5, Carbohydrate 1.0, Meat, lean 1.0

Courtesy of Fix-It and Forget-It

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

The Ten Most Important Things you need to know about Homeschooling - Homeschooling Articles - - The #1 Homeschooling Community

The Ten Most Important Things you need to know about Homeschooling - Homeschooling Articles - - The #1 Homeschooling Community


It’s a crisp fall like morning… rather chilly during the night and the furnace came on.  I guess summer has really taken leave….

…I’m sipping my Community Dark Roast coffee…doing my morning prayers, especially thinking about my friend Megan and if she’s had her baby yet…she was induced yesterday and last I had heard, it wasn’t progressing much; so I’ve been worried and wondering and anxious for her now, for over 24 hrs!  Please pray  for her also.

…We will dive into another school day here, only our second week, but looking good so far.  The boys are doing well with their subjects and I am SO grateful for this classical curriculum and the formation it brings in thinking skills, discussion, communication overall both verbal and in writing, and the faith formation.  It is the whole package deal.  Nothing lacking, and do be able to accomplish this at home is more of a bonus.

…so this morning, I am grateful for home schooling.  I am grateful for being able to stay home still…at this point in my life….and that my husband will work both a day job and an evening job a couple times a week to provide for us, so I can stay home with our children and school them. 

…God bless you this beautiful day, wherever you are geographically and wherever you are in your walk with our Lord.

Sunday, September 09, 2012

All in a day’s work….

Soooo busy is quite an understatement.  I apologize for not being timely with my blogging lately, but life happens….and happens…and happens!!!  Sometimes in big unrelenting doses!  Thus has been my life lately.  Between many, many appointments and wrapping my brain around how sick my one son had been for several months (and is still recovering - lost 10 pounds!)….I am still worried about him, so among so many other things going on, he is still my top priority.  Getting him well is my drive right now.

We did begin our home schooling.  So far, so good and I am enjoying how this year is looking.  I am once again falling in love with our classical curriculum and the intelligence is builds.  The literature is absolutely healthy and educational…….my 13 yr old is enrolled this year with an on line literature club for his medieval history course through our home study provider, so he will have a teacher led - student discussion of all his awesome literature.  He just finished Fingal’s Quest a wonderful story about a young man who wishes to follow St. Columban. The rest of his literature includes:

The Story of the ChurchAugustine Came to Kent, Son of Charlemagne, The Magna Charta, and Adam of the Road, King Arthur & His Knights of the Round Table, The Door in the Wall, Francis & Claire, Adam of the Road, .St. Dominic & the Rosary and Cathedral, The Black Arrow.  Along with Old World & America textbook as a spine to the literature. 

This is just a glimpse …we are continuing with Latin study, Religion, Pre-Algebra, Latin grammar/English, vocabulary, Physical and Environmental Science, selected Shakespeare passages for poetry study,  water color painting, Art History along with classical music study.

My third grader is doing similar courses, including Latin & Greek Root Cards, Bible History/Catechism, Poetry, American History and geography, language arts, health, science, math, music and art study, including water color painting.  It’s a full year.  We are also continuing to focus on comprehension, listening skills, retelling, not interrupting, raising our hand, looking at people in the face when they talk to you, and when you are talking.  In a word: Formation.  It needs a lot of practice for sure.  When it comes along it clearly turns one young man from an uncivilized little elf to a more respectable little boy with some charms :)

Well this is all I can manage to muster this time around……my father in law will be turning 90 in a couple weeks, so we will be celebrating that one!  I’ll try to check in then, if I don’t make it before that!   God bless!

Friday, August 17, 2012

August..where have you gone?



August, with its clouds of scented blooms,
August, with its great stacks of giant clouds,
August, with corn plants standing like rows of soldiers,
August, with watermelons, full and heavy, dozing in the sun,
~ Mary Naylor~


Summer was very fleeting……I think I need another summer to make up for the one I just missed!  Other than not having to get up earlier on Sundays for religious education at the parish, or earlier on weekdays for school…..I barely enjoyed a summer “break”.  My summer was spent unwinding from the previous 9 months of clutter and chaos……and stress.  Yet, stress seemed to build on me this summer.  One son spent most of the summer sick.  It wasn’t a very fun summer for him at all.  Can we have a do over??

We leave for the only wedding of the summer tomorrow morning…hoping it will fare well with the son that has OCD – anxiety, and is terribly phobic about driving.  It is an hour and fifteen minute drive.  That doesn’t sound long to me, but it’s liable to be if this son loses his composure.  Stress.  Did I mention Stress?  It should be this family’s middle name by now.  One older son is recently adding to that stress because he dislikes the stress of the home life here – and I seriously don’t blame him.  I have completely lost my patience after nearly 4 years of dealing with the anxiety ridden son and it has all paid it’s toll on our family life.  Of course, I get blamed for most it – I don’t manage things well, or patiently, (um, I don’t have any patience left, remember?….nor nerves….the one I had left was mangled earlier this year)….so….we could sure use some peace around here. 

The older two are also heading back to college in one week.  The oldest leaving earlier because….well, you know…stress.  Again, I don’t blame him.  I just hope we haven’t totally ruined his life.  You know how parents do that.


Ok, all snark-ism aside, it’s been a terrible summer, let’s face it.  The only good thing about it was VBS, and it wasn’t perfect because my one son was sick the month it happened.  Still…he enjoyed it.  He’s such a trooper!  Why can’t we all be like him….what a great little example he is.

So, say some prayers for us as we go to a wedding tomorrow (which, btw I am looking forward to, so no one better ruin it!).  I know it will not be without it’s stress, nothing I do anymore seems to be without extra stress piled on.  I really should talk to a therapist about that…besides just my blog folk :)  But, really you are the BEST to talk to – you listen and you don’t talk back and I can’t see you rolling your eyes. 

God bless!

St. Josemaria Escriva…in your kindness and strength of faith, please pray for us.  Please pray for all my sons, that your Godliness and strong manhood and responsibility and respect for your parents will also be theirs.  Through Christ our Lord.  Amen