St Gabriel Windows

St Gabriel Windows
Photocopy c. 2013 Jamie Laubacher

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

A Remnant


Many years ago I read a rather painful, truthbook book called: The Decline and Fall of the Catholic Church in America (2003), by David Carlin (1) a politician and sociologist.  It is definitely written from a sociology point of view; research and study, and interestingly, Mr. Carlin defends his pro-life position, while attempting to remain within his party, Democrat.  It is an intelligent book with much useful, (but let’s face it), rather depressing predictions for the Catholic church’s survival in America.  I do wonder what Mr. Carlin’s thoughts on his party would be at this current moment if interviewed on the subject.

Although I don’t think Mr. Carlin uses the phrase “remnant” in his book, I have read other Catholic writers in the last decade use this term in regard to what might be left of the authentic Catholic faith and practices in this country in years to come….just a remnant church.

That eventually, with social policy and secularism punching away at authentic Judeo Christian values and traditions, the Catholic church will not only decline under the pressure and additionally decline but perhaps fall or fail altogether in this country.  And in the end what we will see is a very small minority of Catholics upholding and holding onto their faith and faith practices and where there was once an abundance of Catholics and Catholic institutions representing the Catholic factions there will be only memories …memories of a booming Catholic presence. 

While I’m not trying to be the herald of bad news this morning, I do think we have long seen the signs for many years….as Mr. Carlin explains in his book.  One thing that stands out in my mind is that if the church insists on not remaining uniquely its’ own, ancient and never changing and standing fast….and if we don’t recognize it as different and powerful because it isn’t just “ordinary”, then it will indeed become a remnant.  If it is not different than the secular world when we walk through its doors ….then we won’t bother to walk through its doors.  But, Mr. Carlin’s argument is much more articulate and eloquent than my retelling here.  I urge you to read it yourself.

In these days of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services announcing last week that almost all employers, including Catholic employers, will be forced to offer their employees health coverage that includes contraception, abortion-inducing drugs and sterilization “services” as mainstream, my mind travels back to Mr. Carlin’s book. 

It is my prayer that enough Catholics and other Christians care enough to petition against what seems to be a blatant attack on religious liberty by this current administration.  Maybe this administration is counting on the Catholics who are “in name only”, and think the church is very old fashioned and needs to get up to speed in this day and age; maybe they think all the Atheists override most of the Christianity in this country anymore…..

I think this country overall needs a return to respect for religious liberty, especially that of the traditional mode that this country was born and raised on.  How easy and quickly we forget the Christian belief system that was foundational in the rearing of this country. 

All I know is we’ve really got one heck of a battle going on this time around.

Let’s not throw God out in the wash water…..

(1)  David R. Carlin, Jr. (born 1938) is a politician and sociologist. He was a Democratic majority leader of the Rhode Island Senate. His total period of service in the state Senate ran from 1981 to 1992. He made an unsuccessful bid for the Rhode Island's 1st congressional district in 1992. He considers himself to be a "Pro-life Democrat" and supported James Langevin's campaign. As a writer his books include Can a Catholic Be a Democrat?: How the Party I Loved Became the Enemy of My Religion and The Decline and Fall of the Catholic Church in America. Carlin is a current professor of sociology and philosophy at the Community College of Rhode Island at Newport.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Good advice...we're in for a ride this election!

National Committee for Human Life Amendment Alert

Support Respect for Rights of Conscience Act

On January 20, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) reaffirmed a rule that virtually all private health care plans must cover sterilization, abortifacients, and contraception. The rule is set to take effect August 1, 2012. Non-profit religious employers that do not now provide such coverage, and are not exempt under the rule’s extremely narrow definition of religious employer, will be given one year—until August 1, 2013—to comply.  

Please click link above (Support Respect...) to

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Asperger's Syndrome diagnosis to be eliminated??

As the mother of a high functioning autistic son, I am concerned about this new "redefining" of autism, and the possible elimination of the diagnosis of Aspergers.  Although my child was diagnosed: Autism, he still is very much like an Aspergers child and could have easily been diagnosed as such. As if all this isn't hard enough on families with special children that fall on the spectrum, and need treatments.  Our neurologist said that 20 yrs ago, our son would have not made it on the spectrum, but would have definitely needed helps, but would likely not have a diagnosis that insurance would pay for.  

I pray that these things weighing heavily on my heart both during this current political administration and with the medical field, would be resolved with God's grace and suitable for all who need help.

Redefining Autism - ABC News

Friday, January 27, 2012

U.S. bishop asks Catholics: Are you a bigot? |

U.S. bishop asks Catholics: Are you a bigot? |

Bishop Conlon, our former bishop of Steubenville, now bishop for Joliet, Illinois.
I pray for him and all the Bishops that must fight what seems to be such a terrible persecution against the Catholic (Judeo-Christian) value system in the states under the current administration.

Friday things…Mom Satisfaction

One of my favorite life comforts, that I have found in my married life with children, is to plan out school. While I will not say I have enjoyed every moment of home schooling…..I can honestly say I have thoroughly enjoyed sitting and pouring over what the next grade of courses will be for each individual child as they move up the ranks.  Being able to tailor it to their needs and have control over the content and focus, while meeting state requirements and in our case, the Christian value system heavily integrated within the sciences and history and literature choices,….has given me a lot of mom satisfaction.  Probably just as much if not more so, than bearing them physically and nursing them. 
I have heavily relied on Designing Your Own Classical Curriculum and Mother of Divine Grace syllabi (lesson plans), for the most part, whether being enrolled or not, these resources have been my guiding light for the last 15 years.
Usually by the second semester of a grade level, I can tell pretty much where the child is going with their studies, successfully or not so successfully and I begin to project what we need to cover for this child into the next year.  I’m pretty excited for my seventh grader as he began algebra recently (Abeka 7th grade Mathematics), and will cover plane and solid geometry to end his math year.  He will pick up in 8th grade doing Pre-Algebra, and I’ll see if he needs the whole book or not.  I could bump him by his second semester into the Algebra I if he’s progressing nicely and too much of it is review. 
But, again, the flexibility of home schooling is the ability to be able to meet their abilities and grow them from there…all tailored for that child. Kind of like breast milk…it is made just for that particular baby and their needs…..what an analogy, right?!  Smile with me..please….!  Again, a lot of mom satisfaction!
So, as February approaches, and thoughts of Spring are ever in the back of my mind, which bring forth thoughts of summer around the corner…and a break…I am already content in my world of mothering, teaching and planning for the future of my children’s education.  I do hope Obama doesn’t mess up our educational freedoms and choices too much……I do pray that our leaders will always recognize and support a freedom of choice in education and religious liberty. 


Thursday, January 26, 2012

Homeschooling special needs and difficult children

Home schooling helps for the special needs or difficult child:

I do not claim to be any expert when it comes to special needs or difficulties in a child’s disposition when you are attempting to home school them. But I do know we all go through times where we feel like throwing in the towel and sending them off to a school.  Many times it is because we just don’t know what to do for and with them any longer. 

There are so many ways to work with both special needs challenges, and a difficult child, who may not be responding to the typical disciplines or growing out of the bad behaviors.  I will list just a few things that I have found along the way as I am currently home schooling my youngest two who have particular challenges.

First, evaluate their diet.  Are they getting too much sugar?...too many artificial colors?  In children who may be more sensitive to additives, artificial colors can cause them to be unable to focus, or control themselves better.  I find the “blue” colorings to be the worst.  Just some thoughts……And are they getting a balance of good nutritional choices at meal and snack times so their blood glucose levels stay more even and not bottoming out or spiking up?

Routines are important, but not to the point of being super rigid.  Do allow some flexibility ….in other words, “chill”!  But…do keep them on a schedule or sorts, some structure that is dependable and a decent bed time.  I find my boys need to unwind their minds from the activity of video or computer games at least 2 hours before sleep, else they seem to ruminate those action games over and over in their minds with the images – granted they don’t play anything violent or horrifying…just fun stuff.  Still, the high tech graphics and new technologies seem to penetrate their minds deeply with images ….Before bed is the time to wind down with some good readers…and prayers.

Re-think physical punishments such as spanking and washing out mouths with soap…sometimes these have more of a negative effect that causes more anxiety that then results in worse behaviors…Find less coercing ways of discipline, and more rewarding ways….More on that below.

Revoking privileges and grounding may help encourage better behavior; rewarding with a favorite snack or candy that they normally do not get regularly, at the end of 2 weeks of “done well” school  -- or a special item, small toy, or taking them out to a favorite place to eat (or a movie, you name it) at the end of a month of well done school…might be more useful a tool than constantly having to punish.  Positive Motivators are what need to be looked for that will work.

Ignoring some behaviors that maybe just don’t rank up there…sometimes you have to pick your battles.  One of our son’s therapists said just give a look of disappointment and stay un-reactive about it.  When the behavior begins to not draw attention, even negative attention, oftentimes it will stop.  Parents have to be patient with this one.

When you have a “very active” child that can’t sit still long….don’t make them.  Help them stay on task for 15-20 mins, (sometimes that is even too long), but attempt to make that a goal;  have them do two pages of their math, then take a 10 min break to bounce on a sensory ball, or run around outside….seriously, it stimulates their processing abilities and helps them settle down at the same time.  Sometimes letting them do what comes naturally and fitting the schooling into it, helps immensely.  Otherwise you are working so against nature if causes conflict and turmoil daily.

Make it light and bright….you might need to use a sun lamp or something to help get through some of the more dreary months that have an ill effect on both you and your students.  And get them outdoors as much as possible.

Also, make a determination if your child needs to be evaluated for a disorder if they haven’t already been diagnosed and you suspect something is up.  Sometimes just shedding light on what could be going on with them will make an enormous difference in help that is available and how you can personally tailor helps and school for them.

Re-think how you school these particular children.  I had to do so two years ago.  I re-modeled our school structure and got it down to what was most important that they really learn that year (or just that semester), and how I could improve the environment in our schooling area or home. I spent nearly $150 on used literature, art items, a few more wicker baskets to hold things in, several big comfy floor pillows to place in a special reading area…We would begin the day there, with morning devotions and reading edifying literature together that taught a moral lesson and discussing it.  I did not forget myself in this… was it ME that needed an adjustment as well???  Well, it was a little of everything for sure.  Once I broke out of that “model of schooling” I thought I HAD to be doing like I had been doing for the last 13 years, then I was better able to address my boys’ needs overall, incorporate their therapies and academics and be much more content.  Watching them progress and better behaviors develop has taken work and patience, but it can be done.   It will NOT happen overnight…but with patience and God’s help, it will happen. 

Respect the differences in your child(ren), and know that there are ways to address those differences with the flexibility of home education.

God bless you!


Monday, January 23, 2012

Turn the Tide 2012

The teacher of Life...

Wow, the caption really does make you makes me think on several different it's likely birth, so natural an event, resembles death more than we we die to this life and are born into eternal life, one that we must accept on faith as being there.   I think whoever thought through and wrote this caption is to be commended for their wisdom on this one.  Such an analogy........such a parallel of our life in this state of being, and the one to come.    I don't know about you, but I'm going to be thinking about this one for a long time....and how much we are taught through the womb of woman, the life bearer in this world.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

God is Pro-Life!! Deut 30:19

Although the Christmas season is now past, I'd like to re-visit just one special day that we commemorate during Christmastide...that of Dec. 28th, the Feast of the Holy Innocents.  As in Herod's time, the innocent precious lives of the baby boys whose lives were cut short by Herod's selfish and wicked ways, repeats itself today in the shedding of innocent life...reaching all the way into the wombs of women.  As many gather in Washington D.C. this weekend to march up Capitol Hill in a bonded walk of solidarity representing Life, let us pray and pray again, and fight and fight again, and vote and vote again...for leaders and voices in favor of life and life giving choices, so the murdering of innocent life will cease.  Choose Life!

The Holy Innocents were the children mentioned in Matthew 2:16-18. "When Herod realized that he had been outwitted by the Magi, he was furious, and he gave orders to kill all the boys in Bethlehem and its vicinity who were two years old and under, in accordance with the time he had learned from the Magi. Then what was said through the prophet Jeremiah was fulfilled: A voice is heard in Ramah, weeping and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children and refusing to be comforted, because they are no more."

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Support for Homeschooling Autism Spectrum children

Just a reminder to my readers that I help moderate a discussion group for families, Catholic home schooling their Asperger's,/ High Functioning Autism children.  The ladies on the loop are very knowledgeable and helpful.  It's a lovely forum for support and resource help.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012


My daughter posted this to my Facebook today and it just made me SMILE!
Wonderful post on mommy-hood from the Huffington Post....and the grueling joyful nature of it all...

Don't Carpe Diem

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Messy Mondays: Seven Lies about Homeschoolers

So funny and so true....Posted this on my Facebook and got a ton of comments...some quite serious....some smiles :)

You might have to put my music playlist down on the right side margin on stop, in order to hear this.....

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Here’s the thing….

…politics.  We have been having a heated discussion in our home about the Republican candidates and on-going caucuses.  It is so great to hear my nearly 21 year old son stay informed and have opinions about those running.  This young man listens to talk radio and maintains a subscription to TIME magazine, attempting to stay up on current events. He will be exercising his right to vote this time around. 

All this chatter just reminds me of how engrained it is in me to vote for a candidate that expresses my value system.  He or she must be pro-life, pro-family, pro-man/woman in the sacrament of marriage. This is why I could not vote for any one other than a Republican as they have been the pro-life party for many years now.  Doesn’t matter to me if they are Catholic, but Christian principles that were respected and held basically in common that our Founding Fathers professed must be present and acted upon…and upheld.  I just can not stand for anything less.  I truly believe that when a nation gets a grip, has leadership that maintains its morality and value system with biblical principles then government needn’t feel the need to “save” everyone with more government programs and interventions.  At least, I’m hearing a few candidates speak thus….Rick Santorum for one.  

So, it will be interesting to see history unfold in the months ahead and know that we as Americans are very much a part of the system.  I am grateful for any man or woman who exerts their effort in leadership of this great country, and grateful that we have the freedom to cast our vote and be heard.

God bless America – God bless you!

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Image and Likeness

Jesus held a coin up and said to them, “Whose image and inscription is this?” They said, “Caesar’s,” Then he said to them, “Therefore render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.” When they heard it, they marveled. And they left him and went away. (Matt 22:20-22) 

We bear the image of God (Genesis 1:26-27), and we are to render unto God, that which is God’s; our life. Marvel at the brilliance of Jesus today, knowing that we bear his image and likeness, and are made alive through the Holy Spirit who lives within us (I Peter 3:18).

Short Daily Devotions

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Dear Lord, I have a son who is having a very hard time growing up.  He is making himself miserable and his family members miserable nearly every day; he is on medication and it has cut the miserable moments more than in half, but the ones that arise are very acute and draining.  Many days he is an emotional mess from morning to night…..bemoaning this and that, in tears, and being disappointed far too easily and not getting over it.  Today was an especially difficult day ……a reminder that he has a long ways to go and I don’t even know sometimes how to respond to him.  If you take him seriously and attempt to respond seriously, he finds fault, if you sympathize he grows worse, and if you act like you are ignoring it, it seems to go on longer and he is more sensitive than ever….obviously we can’t win. 

I know I’m not the only mother on the planet with a difficult child and I’m sure in time it may resolve….this is my prayer…that it may resolve.  In the meantime, maybe meaning several years…..please grant me the strength, the words, the wisdom and the patience to work through it….yet   And help to restore my resilience and spirit that I can have some joy in each day, even if very small and fleeting, and that by some miracle this son will change for the better and grow into a happy, healthy and productive young man. 

Thank you for listening. 

A stressed out Mom

Friday, January 06, 2012

It was January 2nd of 2006 that my first post appeared on this blog and I got this forum up and running for public view. I began this blog really just as an outlet - my "holy play" so to speak. And it's been such a blessing to meet so many wonderful internet friends with common interests and faith-pursuits along the way. Who knew?! And so once again, I blog the original test post that began it all back in 2006. I still find it enlightening and hope you will too. Best wishes and blessings to all my friends and visitors and may you too, like the Saints, shine like the sun!

What we find ravishing in a small child is his transparency. He attracts us without our focusing on ourselves. In some way, he makes an infinite presence tangible to us and binds us again to the divine Source like a sacrament of light. For how many fathers were the tears welling up in their eyes in the presence of their grace-filled child the divine dew that made prayer rise in their heart.

At certain times, the child, in truth, enlightens and purifies us by making us permeable to this mysterious flux which invades the being in a state of openness. Works of art, in their own way, produce a similar effect, like everything that is truly transparent here below.

The proud hurt us because they are opaque. They lock up everything within themselves and imprison us within their own limitations.

Saints free us by allowing a divine light to shine within themselves. In each one of us there is a mystical vocation, most of the time unaware of itself. Our personal self crushes us and we need to be “healed” of ourselves. We are truly happy only when we lose sight of ourselves and disappear into what is beyond ourselves. We would like to have our bondage point in someone else. We are obscurely worked upon by this aspiration which drives saints to identify themselves with God by placing their true self in Him: “And now, it is no longer I who live, God is the one who lives in me.” That is, basically the motto for all of them and it is also ours inasmuch as we discover again this childlike quality of the soul beatified in the Gospel.

Father Maurice Zundel
(+1975) Swiss mystic, poet, philosopher, liturgist and author

Thursday, January 05, 2012

Like the Magi we have Discovered a Star

It's hard to believe that I've blogged for 6 years now; the first week of January being my 6th anniversary. I will find my original piece that began it all and post it shortly. In the meantime with Epiphany weekend upcoming, please enjoy a meditation on that blessed event. God bless!

We want to identify ourselves with Christ. It is not an easy goal. But it is not difficult either, if we live as our Lord has taught us to live, if we have recourse to his word every day, if we fill our lives with the sacramental reality, the Eucharist, which he has given us for our nourishment. Then the Christian's path proves to be viable. God has called us clearly and unmistakably. Like the Magi we have discovered a star: a light and a guide in the sky of our soul.

"We have seen his star in the East and have come to worship him." We have had the same experience. We too noticed a new light shining in our soul and growing increasingly brighter. It was a desire to live a fully christian life, a keenness to take God seriously. If each one of you were to tell aloud the intimate details of how his vocation made itself felt, the rest of us would conclude immediately that it was all God's doing. Let us give thanks to God the Father, God the Son, God the Holy Spirit, and to Holy Mary, through whom all blessings from heaven come to us, for this gift which, along with our faith, is the greatest the Lord can bestow on any of his creatures. It is a clear desire to attain the fullness of charity, the conviction that sanctity is not only possible but necessary in the midst of our social and professional tasks.

Look how gently the Lord invites us. His words have human warmth; they are the words of a person in love: "I have called you by your name. You are mine." God, who is beauty and greatness and wisdom, declares that we are his, that we have been chosen as the object of his infinite love. We need a strong life of faith to appreciate the wonder his providence has entrusted to us. A faith like that of the Magi, a conviction that neither the desert, nor the storms, nor the quiet of the oases will keep us from reaching our destination in the eternal Bethlehem: our definitive life with God.

(Christ is Passing By, #32 The Epiphany of Our Lord, St. Josemaria Escriva)

Wednesday, January 04, 2012

Favorite things…

Yes, it’s that time again……somewhere in between seasons I tend to latch on to new favorite things; old favorites are still a part of my life, but because of friends and family (who adorn me with gifts and gift cards and you know, generally spoil me)…I discover new favorites.

I am Caucasian, my friends can attest to this, and blonde…sometimes my hair is dumb blonde and fried….it’s thin and fragile (more so as I age, and now if part because of my thyroid difficulty).  I was SO thrilled, while looking for a hair and scalp elixir to come across Carol’s Daughter products.  I first saw them at Macy’s, but soon discovered them in many other locations (,  This line is primarily for women of color hair, but I am using two of their awesome products, and LOVE the hair transformation and the luscious vanilla fragrance.  The line is Black Vanilla, (leave in hair moisturizer), and another is Lisa’s Hair Elixir, hair and scalp treatment (smells great!) which both my daughter and I are loving.  What I like most is it is ALL NATURAL oils, and yet, they don’t weigh your hair down or make them oily.  Nothing silicone. Check out Carol’s Daughter yourself.



Something I don’t own, but might consider in the future, was something my brother was giving away as gifts to his in laws and our mother.  The Keurig coffee system.  Wow, I stopped at my mom’s and she brewed me up a cup of Paul Newman’s Extra bold Roast and I was in heaven.  She made hot cocoa for my son and he was loving it, because when we go shopping at the local grocer, he always has to buy some hot chocolate at the machine in the store. 

My mom’s model is this one:  Special Edition brewing system

Maybe something to consider for the future – I love my Cuisinart coffee maker but something like this might be easy for all my children to use and be more self-sufficient with – making cider and tea and hot chocolate of their choice.  I’m all for self-sufficiency! 

Another fav these days (maybe I already posted it), is simply WATER.  But not just any water, it’s sparkling water, from Deer Park.   I am easily dehydrated and grow tired of drinking regular water, so when I discovered Sparkling lightly flavored water I was thrilled.  Now I drink it regularly and it doesn’t grow boring :)

  More Favs later!

Sunday, January 01, 2012

2012 Let the New Year Begin!

For last year's words belong to last year's language
And next year's words await another voice.
And to make an end is to make a beginning.
~T.S. Eliot, "Little Gidding"