St Gabriel Windows

St Gabriel Windows
Photocopy c. 2013 Jamie Laubacher

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Thirty Pieces of Silver

"A house is not destroyed by a momentary impulse. More often it is because of an old defect in its construction. Sometimes it is the prolonged neglect by its inhabitants that permits water to get in, at first drop by drop, imperciptibly, the damp eating away at the woodwork and rotting even the structure of stone. With time on tiny crack becomes larger, causing considerable damage. In the end, the rain pours in. The result is ruin."
....perseverance is doing the small everyday things with faith; it is supported by the humility of beginning again when we go astray through weakness....

To persevere in our own vocation is to respond to the repeated calls the Lord makes in the course of our lives, even though there are obstacles and difficulties and, sometimes, the odd error, acts of cowardice and even defeats. As we contemplate these scenes from the Passion we consider our faithfulness in the tiny details of our own vocation. Is there any hint of a double life? Am I faithful to my own duties? Do I take care to ensure that my relationship with the Lord is sincere? Do I avoid becoming attached to material things -- being drawn to the thirty pieces of silver?

(In Conversation with God, Lent/Eastertide volume)

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

My all time favorite guide to Home Education

Still my all time favorite and well used guide to home education.
This is my replacement copy after 19 yrs of use for the other one;  I had given it away last year to a new rising home schooling mother.  I missed it but it's wisdom needed to be shared!  Copies are easy to find used and new with very low prices on Amazon.  Kudos DYOCC!  My bible of education in the home.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Memoir Monday: Resurrection Gives Hope, Says Pope

What a wonderful memory to return to for Memoir Monday, which I'm loading up early on this late Palm Sunday evening.  This was such a poignant message before the Easter Mass at the Vatican, April 8, 2007.   I  have been an avid follower of the then new Pope Benedict XVI and looking back to his Holy Week and Easter homilies seemed so appropriate as he resigned in our time on the chronological Church timeline. Who would have thought that would happen in our lifetime? This makes the Emeritus Pope a kind of folk hero of the Church :) God bless him as he prays for us and Pope Francis his successor. God bless you all this Holy Week and Easter tide ahead. May the peace and promise of the Risen Christ be yours. ~ Denise

Highlights World's Afflictions in Message for Easter

VATICAN CITY, APRIL 8, 2007 ( The resurrection of Christ gives hope to a world afflicted by natural disasters, disease and violence, said Benedict XVI in his Easter message.

After celebrating Easter Mass today, and before imparting the blessing "urbi et orbi" (to the city of Rome and the world), the Pope read a message in which he said that "natural calamities and human tragedies that cause innumerable victims and enormous material destruction are not lacking."

"Through the wounds of the Risen Christ we can see the evils which afflict humanity with the eyes of hope," the Pontiff said from the balcony of St. Peter's Basilica to the crowds gathered in the square below on a sunny morning.

Hundreds of millions more people, in 67 countries, followed the event on radio or television.

Benedict XVI said in his message that his "thoughts go to recent events in Madagascar, in the Solomon Islands, in Latin America and in other regions of the world."


"I am thinking of the scourge of hunger, of incurable diseases, of terrorism and kidnapping of people, of the thousand faces of violence which some people attempt to justify in the name of religion, of contempt for life, of the violation of human rights and the exploitation of persons," he said.

In particular, the Pontiff mentioned the several regions in Africa undergoing a "catastrophic" humanitarian situation, including Darfur and surrounding nations.

The Holy Father also mentioned the scourge of violence in Kinshasa in Congo, and in Somalia and Zimbabwe.

Benedict XVI said that "peace is sorely needed" in many places in the world, including East Timor, Sri Lanka and Afghanistan.

The Pope continued: "In the Middle East, besides some signs of hope in the dialogue between Israel and the Palestinian authority, nothing positive comes from Iraq, torn apart by continual slaughter as the civil population flees.

"In Lebanon the paralysis of the country's political institutions threatens the role that the country is called to play in the Middle East and puts its future seriously in jeopardy."

Christian exodus

The Holy Father then added: "I cannot forget the difficulties faced daily by the Christian communities and the exodus of Christians from that blessed land which is the cradle of our faith. I affectionately renew to these populations the expression of my spiritual closeness."

The Pope continued: "By his rising the Lord has not taken away suffering and evil from the world, but has vanquished them at their roots by the superabundance of his grace.

"He has countered the arrogance of evil with the supremacy of his love."

After reading his message, Benedict XVI wished the world a happy Easter in 62 languages and imparted his blessing "urbi et orbi."

In English, the Pope said: "May the grace and joy of the Risen Christ be with you all."

In the afternoon the Holy Father departed for the summer papal residence at Castel Gandolfo, some 30 kilometers (18 miles) south of Rome, to rest for a few days.

The Pontiff will return to Rome before his 80th birthday, April 16, and the second anniversary of his election as Pope, April 19.

Courtesy of

Saturday, March 23, 2013

The Classics and the Traditional Liberal Arts Curriculum

Very meaty article but well worth the read.

"Greek and Latin languages are the means of the transmission of our culture. For centuries Homer, Plato, and the New Testament, Virgil, Cicero, and St. Thomas, have introduced young people into the meaning of being citizens of our civilization. Our children need to get to know them, too. There is no reason to be satisfied with the useful but jejune translations, which is all we can offer them now. White Europeans have a right to their culture as much as Afro-Americans and other people of color. The radicals who have run our educational systems since the 1890s have robbed us of our cultural heritage. It is time to revolt and take it back."

The Classics and the Traditional Liberal Arts Curriculum

Senior Culminating Experience

So thrilled for my son and all he has accomplished, really not just over the last four years of college, although that has broadened his horizons immensely; but also over the last eight years.  All the growth he experienced throughout high school as well, and the flexibility that home schooling allowed him to create many, many masterpieces.  It has been an amazing eight years.  Liberal arts exposed him to great literature and philosophy, for which he has minors in, and of course the traditional art program that he went in as Art major and is emerging as one, but with so much more.  Also a licensed radio broadcaster that was in charge of his own radio show at the college.  All this while working three jobs, being active in the Catholic group on campus as well as the art fraternity, and attending full time. 

Phew, I'm exhausted just thinking about it!

I don't think I EVER did as much at his age.  He even bought his own car and pays his own registration and insurance.  Naw....I definitely did not.

May God bless him on the rest of the journey ahead....

Friday, March 22, 2013

Patti Maguire Armstrong: Nimrods in the World

Patti Maguire Armstrong: Nimrods in the World:       There is a growing chasm in our culture. On one side are those who hold that life and marriage are sacred.   On the othe...

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Home Schooling High School, can you mess it up? (part II)

Last we left off with Home Schooling High School, can you mess it up? (part I), I was pondering certain aspects that you (parent) need to make commitment to in order to really get your student ready for college; and that whether or not they were college bound, you should still follow a course of studies that is college preparatory (again, just my opinion).  You can refer to Part I to find out more.
One of the best guides I had to begin preparing our first child for high school was simply a box graph that showed the four years of high school, what each year should include, and minimum graduation requirements.  Then another box graph showing again the four years of high school, what should be taken each year, for college preparatory.  Those two graphs, for me, said it all.  In fact, you can find what I am describing at this LINK.  You will see minimum requirements and college preparatory requirements.  You will note the difference – and there definitely is one. 
Now your state requirements might differ for high school graduation, and I will list my own state here [below] so you can see.  A change that has been made in my state (as of 2012), is another math year was added, and yet another will be added by 2014.  So FOUR years of math will be the new standard.  I am in total agreement with this.  We were doing four years of math in high school at home here for the entirety of our home schooling.  Your student needs every bit of it to be prepared for college. 
In order to graduate from high school in Ohio:
For students in graduating classes through 2013, this includes earning:

  • Four credits in English language arts (One unit is generally equivalent to one school year),
  • Half a credit in health,
  • Three credits in math,
  • Half a credit in physical education,
  • Three credits in science, including one of biological sciences and one of physical sciences,
  • Three credits in social studies, including half a year of American history and half a year of American government, and
  • Six credits in electives, including either one unit or two half units in business, technology, fine arts or a foreign language.

For students in the graduating classes of 2014 and later years, the requirements are a little tougher. Students in these classes must earn four units in math including one credit in Algebra I and must earn one credit in advanced study in a specific science, in addition to one unit each in biological sciences and physical sciences. However, they need only earn five credits in electives. In addition, all students except those following a career-technical path must complete at least two semesters of fine arts at any time in grades 7-12.
Please see: StateImpact Ohio for more information regarding the above.
The above are the most current graduation requirements. Again,  I agree  with the changes made which are far more helpful for college prep (and college board tests, ACT/SATs).  Two years of foreign language back to back is also needed, (and in some colleges, they will test you prior to your freshman year, in math, so you will know where to be placed, and in foreign language so if you show proficiency, you can actually drop having to take a foreign language in college).  Just things to consider.
Okay, I’m not trying to advertise for Mother of Divine Grace :), although I will tell you that Modg has served us well and it is an excellent choice in home schooling and college preparatory.   I am however, using our experience as a sampling of a course of studies that would produce a well rounded student with a good foundation for college.
How can you mess it up??  Now with some of the current changes taking place in the requirements for states you are more likely not to mess it up in regard to courses.  And this doesn’t just apply to those of us homeschooling – it would be wise for those in schools to tend more to what courses their children are taking also.  I’m quite sure my parents would have had a FIT had they known I only took math for two years in high school – but I know they were not “up on what was going on” and leaving it to the guidance counselor or school over all to oversee those things in 70s.  So, I am also coming into this from my own experience.   In the past I would have said, don’t let you student do just two years of math (Algebra I and Geometry).  Don’t let them not do a foreign language. Do Latin a couple years, or all the years of high school with another foreign language on top of it.  Latin is GRAMMAR and VOCABULARLY at it’s root-best.  Don’t let them do the minimal of any course like sciences.
 DO attempt everything you can to use quality tried and true textbook/resource materials that are high school approved for credit.  If you are not enrolled with a home study program, at least visit their websites and see what they are using for high school.  Read books like the Well Trained Mind and Designing Your Own Classical Curriculum that will give you a grade by grade scope of what subjects and resources can be used.
DO know that you CAN do it, and not mess up at all :)  Sit down and meet with your high school student; show them what your/their plans are for high school studies.  Explain to them how it all works, what is expected (i.e. goals: writing well) how it will take them longer each day to do their work, but their middle school years have helped form them so they can take on high school level work, which in turn will prepare them for college level work.
~And speaking of levels…..think about your mission statement; what is the level of your commitment to home schooling  Is it a forever thing?  Or is it a thing you are doing until you buck horns with your child, or your child expresses their disgust in it?
~ Can you give yourself to it as the parent, daily?  To be honest, there are many reasons to home schooling, but if you are not really going to home school and give your children an education, then why bother?  You are not doing them any favors keeping them home without truly educating them – educating for heaven, or not.  I hate to put it that way, but really…..think about it: are YOU COMMITTED??  It will make ALL THE DIFFERENCE in the success of what happens in the way of education in your home.  Bottom line.
In my home, we aren’t sending anyone to a school, it’s just not on our radar, so I don’t pretend it is.  There is nothing else to default to. I simply tell my children, THIS IS IT – your education is home schooling and you are not going to a school, so let’s do this together the best we can
With commitment, thoughtful planning and working together, toughing it out when the times get tough…asking for advice, and praying unceasingly (!!)…you will be amazed at how quickly the four years of high school fly by and before you know it, you will be graduating your son or daughter from your home school.

Last year around this time: ..there were four little rabbits..and their names ...


St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Exchange: ..there were four little rabbits..and their names ...: ______________________________________ Listen to or read here: Tale of Peter Rabbit ~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~ T his year at our lo...

Homeschool Confessions

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Homeschooling High School, can you mess it up? (part I)

Is this a trick question?  Ha, it is a serious pondering.  I read another blog recently (a Charlotte Mason affiliated one), and as much as I hold Charlotte Mason dear to my heart and use many of her methods, I was very disappointed by what I read to be advice on home schooling through high school in a Charlotte Mason manner.  Basically, someone had written in to ask the question regarding their 14 yr old student and how reluctant this student was toward school,  and could they [parent] mess up high school doing it the Charlotte Mason way…?  The blogger pretty much answered, no, they really couldn’t.  And then went on to describe a student led course of studies, not particularly formative or rigorous (not for college preparation anyway;  more on that later) and to be honest, I cringed.
This gave me pause.
The truth be told: indeed, you can mess up homeschooling in high school.  Not trying to frighten you off. And I suppose it depends on what you/student are wishing to get out of it.  A college preparation?  A high school education only?  Yes, it does depend ….
As a veteran of home schooling through high school into college, I’m here to say that YES, you can also achieve it, quite wonderfully at that, and unfortunately, you can really mess it up in many ways.  I have seen others do both. I have seen those using Charlotte Mason and doing a wonderful job and successfully navigating college.  But there are a lot of myths out there also.  High school is not the time to experiment with methods and curricula but rather, a time to “get the job done” and choose an appropriate course of studies that will both serve as formative for your student and meet the state’s requirements for graduation, and provide acceptable college requirements. 
(Let me also mention, it takes a rare student of unschooling to make it to and do well in college – it can be possible, but it’s not usual and it’s certainly not the majority of those home schooled.  Also ACT/SAT scores are a big determining factor in substantial scholarship monies to students – the bigger the score, generally the bigger the scholarship, with a solid GPA and college ready high school transcript to back it all up).
Okay, really I’m not up to writing a book on this subject, in fact, there is likely a book already written.  But having home schooled for nearly 18 years now and launched two of my children into a liberal arts college, I feel I have something to offer and say about this topic.  It will likely come in Parts I, & II at least, and will be based solely on my own experience in this area.
Any inkling toward failure in homeschooling high school is highly avoidable, that’s the GOOD NEWS! You of course, need a plan.  Primarily, the plan needs to be your own commitment to excellence in your home schooling endeavor as the parent, of course you and your student BOTH have to have an active part, but you the parent will be the guidance counselor, the facilitator, the cheerleader, (you must be…) and you will need what I call the TWO most important things about homeschooling that will guide your curriculum choices, methodology and rigor:
1) If you know your child is planning to attend college and college is the goal, give them the best education in the home as possible, so they will be ready for college level work.
2) If you don’t think your child is necessarily going to attend college, and college is not the goal, just a high school education is…..still divert to #1 and give them the best education possible in the home, because THIS WILL BE THEIR ONLY EDUCATION – if the buck stops here, then make it the best one possible before they leave the nest.  You never know if they will decide to pick up their college education later, many years down the road. 
In a word:  prepare them for college whether they are going or not.
Now, that’s just my opinion.  It is what I have and will continue to do with my own children.  I understand others who might be thinking in terms of, my child is NOT college material.  It would still be in the interest of that student for you to pursue college preparatory standards.  There are many wonderful and highly doable programs and curriculum choices available to get this job done.

First things first.  Realize that you have to be very active in home schooling your high school student. This isn’t the time to take a backseat and let them “be independent”, “be mature.”  Yes, yes, you WANT THEM TO BE.  I understand.  But understand this,  chances are like most high school teens, they will be neither of these in 9th grade.
While high school is a time they should be developing independent habits in education, it isn’t a time for you to back off entirely or become lax in guiding them.  It’s time to step up to the plate even more.   In fact, the more guidance, the better. The more experience you bring into it, the better.  YOU went through high school already, they haven’t.  Don’t let them think they can just do “whatever.”  I know parents that have let junior choose their own curriculum and path for high school, thinking because they chose it, and are most interested in it, there will be less argument about their studies and they will succeed in it.  This has not been the case.  It usually turns out that this student isn’t doing nearly the quality or quantity of work necessary for credits or to cover required subjects.  Don’t let regular teenage angst lead you to believe the “curriculum” isn’t working for them – yes, maybe you need to tweak here and there.  But the truth is, most teens will put up a fuss in some area….I had a son that was eons behind in his Latin, English grammar and Algebra I as a freshman; and it was a battle believe me.  He did these subjects well into the summer months to have them at least completed enough to justify a grade and credit.  (two-thirds usually needs to be completed).    By the time he was a senior, he was excelling…by the time we looked at colleges, and a liberal arts college with a traditional art program was decided upon that included all the courses that struck his fancy, like philosophy, religion, literature…he received an abundant scholarship for both academic achievement and art proficiency.

A lot can change in three years; just because one year isn’t going well in high school, doesn’t mean it’s a wash…don’t throw in the towel.  But use that year’s experience to re-group, re-think your courses and what needs to be done in both the student and the resources.
Now, it’s not a bad idea to allow your student to be part of choosing courses, within reason.  There is a general college preparatory course of studies that needs to be addressed.  Math 4 years, English 4 years, Science 3-4 years, etc.,  Your child might really want to explore further some specialized subject, and maybe it will qualify for an elective and can be placed on their transcript.  That is all perfectly fine as long as those regular main courses that are required and are what colleges are looking for, are on there also.
What if your student says, I don’t know WHAT I want to do in college?  Frankly, I have told my own children, that’s fine not to know, let’s get you started there anyway and see what you may end up liking most when you get there and begin to be expose to the general courses.  Because we have only stuck to Liberal Arts colleges, a liberal arts degree track is a sensible choice.
                                 ~ End of Part I, watch for Part II soon~

If you have any comments or questions, please feel free to post them in the comments section.

Pope's Inauguration Mass: Protect and serve the poor, elderly...

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

In honor of the month for St. Joseph via Totus Tuus Family

Happy Feast of St. Joseph Day!!

From my blogging friend and fellow homeschooler, Allison:

Totus Tuus Family & Catholic Homeschool: In honor of the month for St. Joseph: March is the month the church honors St. Joseph - the man closest to Christ. Today, March 10th, we can start a novena to St. Joseph to cu...

Monday, March 18, 2013

Monday Monday, review of home school and ponderings….

…I hear an old Mommas & Poppas song coming on!

Monday….can’t trust that day……

Well, Monday has gotten a bad rap (no song pun intended :)…but in some cases it is a welcome day for productivity!

Today, I embrace Monday as it is going to bring many closures to our school year, this early in the game of home school.

Mark has excelled academically this year beyond what I imagined.  How I wish his autism would take a break with his sensory difficulties, social dysfunctions and irritability…*sigh…..poor kid.  He does SO well in some areas, and so terribly in others.  I can’t expect people to appreciate him the way his family does, and I look for some hard times down the road for him in the way of religious education; not all the teachers will be understanding or able to work with an autistic disorder student.  Thing is, he appears very normal….but then, he has these quirks, and his voice modulation and demeanor can give off that something is different and/or wrong.  I highlight this because it is so disheartening and such a feature of autistic disorders.  It is the most challenging thing to work with.  When he feels stress or anxiety over something, or he is overwhelmed with sensory processing….he can be a very misunderstood little boy, appearing to be badly behaved.

In the meantime……

Still, he will finish an extensively done science course and history course today, and we have done everything with full throttle, all the bells and whistles, activity pages, tests, quizzes, comprehension pages…done to the fullest.  He still has memorization of Greek & Latin Root cards, Poetry, spelling could go on forever with WRTR so I can end it whenever we see appropriate and pick up with his spelling level next year…..He loves his Art, but we are nearing the end with that also.  His math is meaty and challenging and he moves a little slower through it, but without difficulty getting nearly all As on most tests, and he has about a month left – so he will likely complete it in April.  He has about two weeks or less of language arts and religion left.  Then I will continue his Model Me Kids social skills curriculum as he really needs over and over what it has to offer.

Then my 8th grade son…wow, such a great year for him, like none before.  I mean, he has done well enough battling through OCD/anxiety disorder, but this year, he has really progressed in many areas.  His literature abilities have taken a leap!  He is suddenly gifted in reading elevated language.  He read and understood all the Father Brown Mysteries, G.K Chesterton, who isn’t easily understood by a 7th grader…after having read EVERY VISION SAINT book published!  Lol…….which opened the way to further literature, including his phobia of “’what would be on the next page that he couldn’t control”….because I never imagined he would read Lord of Rings….kind of scary in some parts….but he did this year!  And now he’s reading The Hobbit.  I am so very pleased and blessed.  

He likely has another month of his math course left.  We are keeping him in Abeka math because of the workbook format which four years back helped reduce his anxiety in transcribing, but made him still use a pencil which is a therapeutic fine motor skill measure and helps them make important cognitive connections.  Abeka is no easy course of math and the Pre-Algebra book is very thorough, reviewing past maths, introducing Algebra in a very Algebra I way, and a unit of solid and plane Geometry, which they get in the Abeka maths each year, but in this book, much more deeply.  This son is the best math student so far for upper grade math.  So, I leave well enough alone.  His standardized testing and assessments say it all. 

He is nearing the end of science…which will be today.  He is nearing the end of Grammar, which is the complex course of Basic Language Principles, and his Latin course,  Our Roman Roots (which I highly recommend!!)…he is the first of my students to use this resource that is originally recommended by Mother of Divine Grace, and it is SO well done and between BLP and Roman Roots, his Latin study has come together perfectly.  He has much more understanding and has learned SO much more this year with Latin, then with Latina Christiana programs over the last four years.  I think using the two resources together of BLP and Roman Roots has made such a difference.  He will be ready to start Cambridge Latin next year.

His Religion course will lead him well in April, which is an eclectic course of several sources, including Faith & Life, Baltimore Catechism 2, and C.S. Lewis A Case for Christianity, I’m amazed at how many summaries he’s written regarding everything for Laws (natural, church), to doctrines and apologetics.  It’s quite the mini-theologian course!

Our Modg assessments are already uploaded for our family site for access, but I don’t plan on doing those until the end of April, into May perhaps.  Freshly out of their subjects with some review helps them do well on their assessments.  This year we will do standardized testing also. 

It is nice to see us closing out some subjects and making progress.  After home schooling for 17 years and being very involved in their subjects, the methodology and application and outcome…..I must say, it doesn’t get easier, but it does get MORE rewarding. 

This year is especially rewarding and a blessing to me personally as I have put in the hard work for the last four years with my boys with more special needs.  They are both highly intelligent, but accessing that intelligence and growing it and taming their disorders has been the challenge of my life!  I pray for the wisdom and support (the support is the hardest to find as many are intimidated by this challenge, or think we are flat our crazy; why not just send them to a special school..??)….

God willing, we will see this through to the graduation of another student from our home school in the next four years. 

Friday, March 15, 2013's Home Schooling Weekly Video Series (playlist)

There are 13 of these short videos from Home School Legal Defense ( on Home Schooling. They are so encouraging and helpful. If you go to this one, you should be able to find all 13 of them.  Or go to this link for the Playlist.

Spring is in the air, in our schooling, in our hearts…

Ahhhh…..indeed, SPRING is trying so hard to break through here in northeastern Ohio.  Our forecast says, 1-3 inches of snow…..yes, we are not quite there yet with sunny days….but the birds are singing each morning in full force…so Spring is hiding out there…. little tulip leaves pushing through the ground here and there….ah yes, it’s really there just waiting to emerge.

It’s wonderful to embrace the seasons.  My two oldest children are home from college on spring break.  My oldest son is preparing to graduate from college in May; he only has about a month of school left.  Unbelievable!  Where did that four years go?!

Like I told my Mother of Divine Grace Moms Facebook page this morning, ….My highs this week, despite having two college students home on spring break (which is nice really), is that we have gotten all our regular school done..including my Modg consultation and Mike's LS class and made it to our local home school co-op. Lows this week,...just realizing the immense responsibility of it all ...mixed with joy and fears. That's honest. We are looking forward to Holy Week...we usually take off from school -- bake Easter breads and other food prep, go to last minute confessions, stations of the cross, attend the Triduum. I can't believe it's almost here.

Life just keeps moving, that’s the bottom line.  You either move with it, or get pushed along with it!  But we are made for Happiness; mixed with true friendship and the virtues, happiness we will find.  My Aristotlean tip for the week :)

May God bless you this Friday of Lent….stay strong in your right choices, and forgive yourself for the bad ones….move on.  Embrace a new way and new Life in Christ.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Pope Francis: his first words

Pope Francis: his first words

Brothers and sisters good evening. 
You all know that the duty of the Conclave was to give a bishop to Rome. It seems that my brother Cardinals have come almost to the ends of the earth to get him… but here we are. I thank you for the welcome that has come from the diocesan community of Rome.
First of all I would say a prayer pray for our Bishop Emeritus Benedict XVI.. Let us all pray together for him, that the Lord bless him and Our Lady protect him.
Our Father…
Hail Mary…
Glory to the Father…
And now let us begin this journey, the Bishop and people, this journey of the Church of Rome which presides in charity over all the Churches, a journey of brotherhood in love, of mutual trust. Let us always pray for one another. Let us pray for the whole world that there might be a great sense of brotherhood . My hope is that this journey of the Church that we begin today, together with help of my Cardinal Vicar, be fruitful for the evangelization of this beautiful city.
And now I would like to give the blessing, but first I want to ask you a favour. Before the bishop blesses the people I ask that you would pray to the Lord to bless me – the prayer of the people for their Bishop. Let us say this prayer – your prayer for me – in silence. 
[The Protodeacon announced that all those who received the blessing, either in person or by radio, television or by the new means of communication receive the plenary indulgence in the form established by the Church. He prayed that Almighty God protect and guard the Pope so that he may lead the Church for many years to come, and that he would grant peace to the Church throughout the world.]
[Immediately afterwards Pope Francis gave his first blessing Urbi et Orbi – To the City and to the World.]
I will now give my blessing to you and to the whole world, to all men and women of good will.
Brothers and sisters, I am leaving you. Thank you for your welcome. Pray for me and I will be with you again soon.
We will see one another soon. 
Tomorrow I want to go to pray the Madonna, that she may protect Rome.
Good night and sleep well!

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Campfires and Cleats: My Blogoversary Giveaway ~ Two Papal Books

Campfires and Cleats: My Blogoversary Giveaway ~ Two Papal Books: Thank you, friends, for stopping in for details around my giveaway! Today's my blogoversary and the beginning of the historic papal...

CONCLAVE!!! EWTN Multimedia - Live

EWTN Multimedia - Live

Baptizing Lent with Edifying media

It’s been the fastest Lent I’ve experienced for quite some time.  As I’m attempting to cling to every sacrificial moment of it, there have definitely been some highlights and revelations I can take to heart for years to come.

Dougray Scott as Moses

In Lent I have always tried to do more edifying reading and movie/TV viewing.  No, I wouldn’t count Downton Abbey has my more edifying viewing…however, there is much to be said about moral character development in that series!!…they do lean towards the Christian standard thank goodness, even with some of the more controversial events.  I try to be an example to my children so they too will want to involve themselves in good quality literature, devotional reading and movie viewing. Parents do need to lead the way.  I love to pass on a good  movie pick to my oldest kids and lately those picks have been There Be Dragons, and October Baby – both set in very different times, but with very pro-life messages.  Bring your box of tissues with you!!  (I saw both on Netflix)  I have special devotion to St. Josemaria Escriva, (There Be Dragons), and who can pass up an action packed movie with actor Dougray Scott??  Oh my goodness, he was the BEST Moses I’ve ever seen in the Hallmark version of the Ten Commandments. (sorry Charlton Heston!)There Be Dragons had me on the edge of my seat the whole time.  Truly amazing.

I have read a few good books this Lent, but the most monumental one I have encouraged others to read is “If Aristotle’s Kid had an Ipod”. It is written with such excellence and so wise and sound, I can just not say enough good about it.  I am very grateful another friend of mine loaned it to me through her Nook eReader, to my Nook.  What fun that’s been, and what a great thing to share edifying resources that will enrich us as mothers raising our children in very challenging technology ridden times.  Aristotle would said that was great use of technology on our behalves :) 

Taize Blessings

Lastly, I was able to attend our parishes’ Taize prayer service Sunday evening.  What a beautiful contemplative service.  The music is it’s own special music just for Taize, and the Icons displayed with all the candle lights was SO extremely relaxing and moving.  After reading the Aristotle book above ^ I value how much more we need to provide QUIET contemplative time for our children, especially in larger families where silence isn’t usually found.  This prayer service was so perfect for us, for me, if I may be so selfish to say so!!!  We were fortunate and amazed that a very young woman with an fabulous trained voice sang for it, having gotten her from another area, as none of our regular cantors were available. She was SO good.  And it was the first time she had sung the music!  What a blessing to have taken the family to indulge in some much needed family prayer time together.  If you have Taize going on in your area, I suggest you make an attempt to attend a service.

Jesus remember me when you come into your kingdom;

Jesus remember me when you come into your kingdom……..

Monday, March 11, 2013

Memoir Monday: Oh Boy(s) :-)

Oh, how I share the same sentiment today looking back on this post from five years ago! Wow, somethings definitely don't change! I was thinking my blogging home school friends who are mother to boys might appreciate this one :)

Someone from one of my homeschooling support groups, recently asked the perennial question: "Could someone please tell me when boys WANT to study?? uurrggh"

I had to chuckle! My reply was: "Eleventh grade, if you're lucky" :-)

Truly, take heart. I'm sure others have more boys they are schooling at home, but as the mother of three sons (and one daughter, God bless her!)....I do have something to say about it.

I think some of the harder grades for getting boys more interested/involved in their school studies is from third through 7th grade. Those levels can be tough for active boys. I can't believe we've gotten as far as we have [with my 8 year old - third grader], as I have to pin him down constantly to stick to his work. He's a pirate, he's a warrior, he's a knight...he's a robot maker, he's a comic strip writer, he's Calvin with Hobbes :-)....he's a pain somedays, that's for sure! Just recently, I had my favorite sofa pillow kidnapped and taken for ransom; I was instructed to leave $2.50 (x 2) in an envelope under the dining room table and if I did not comply I would never see my favorite pillow again! He's a busy boy with a lot of other "fun & exciting" things out there to do, - and school work just gets in the way of his real life!

However him, I must into every bit of school I can squeeze out of him. He loves science and has moved quickly through the science text, and I've diverted him out of it on a couple occasions to read some rabbit-trail materials covering certain science-related topics he's been learning about; i.e., I found a couple neat books on our shelf (from an old Catholic school library closing - the one my husband attended), and they were: "Bufo: The Story of a Toad", written and illustrated by Robert M McClung (who wrote some great nature books, accurate, illustrated, for young people), and "Tiger: The Story of a Swallowtail Butterfly", by the same author. (these are 1953/54 copyrights, library editions 1970). He did find these interesting and it helped to keep him in the school mode. It's like sneaking in the school when they're not looking :-)


Boys. It's probably good my three are spaced out some. Or maybe it's just that I'm spaced out and it sounds better.

Space Avenger for 3 sons, 1 daughter and 1 ransomed sofa pillow :-)

Thursday, March 07, 2013

Light for the Day

One thing I will never regret is giving time to my children as individuals.  Learning about them thoroughly, their strengths, their weaknesses, their learning abilities, their deficits…..and seeing to it that those deficits are addressed with helps, such as screenings, therapies and on going work; whatever it takes.  Having the ability to tailor a program through homeschooling, to their special needs, be it giftedness or autism spectrum disorder or anxiety, has been a true blessing.

I will also never regret being myself and never feeling pressured to keep up with family members, the neighbors or you know, the Joneses, so to speak. Not feeling the need to compete with others, compete with incomes, clothing, or whatever else might be a temptation, is a true freedom; just being me in the Lord and using the gifts and inspirations to raise my unique family the way our Lord is guiding me to do so is very satisfying contentment.  I feel very blessed to have been generous in my advanced maternal age with having children without much difficulty.  Considering I didn’t give birth to our first until well into age 31, and our last at age 43, I definitely consider this a blessing. 

It’s a lovely place to have lived enough life and raised children enough into adulthood that you can help to mentor others in both education and mothering.  There were those that came before me, helping me along the path of motherhood and homeschooling and they will forever remain special in my heart as they provided encouragement, strength and guidance to me, a newcomer on the scene. I have never professed to know it all, or to need no one.  I am not island.  My family is not an island.  I believe God calls us out of the confines of family and into society to connect with others (for evangelization purposes of all kinds).  Much has changed over the last 20 years in my raising children, but what remains the same is mothers are still in need of encouragement and true friendship outside of their households.  Aristotle talks about “speculative” discussion, and that is the kind of wonderful fulfilling discussion mothers and others can have with one another that helps them to rise above and be refreshed in mind and soul and strive for the greater good.

May God bless all those special families carrying burdens and wanting to make changes.  Relieve them of those burdens, grant them peace and guidance and truly help them know there is a special path just for them, and bring people to them into that path, that can help lead them to peace and happiness. 

Monday, March 04, 2013

Liebster Award Nomination

My blogging friend Chris has nominated me for this awesome award, so I am very honored!  But there is a bit of work to be done to accomplish this…I’m not sure I have all my ducks in a row…but I will give it a try!

Liebster is German for:  “sweetest” “kindest”, “nicest”, “dearest”, “beloved”, “valued” “endearing” and “welcoming”…..phew!….that’s a lot of nice words there! 

The award is given to up and coming bloggers who have less than 200 followers.

And there are questions to answer…and others to suggest for nomination, so let’s get to work!

Rules for the Liebster Award:

1. List 11 things about yourself

2.  Answer the questions the nominator has posed for you

3.  Nominate 11 up and coming bloggers with less than 200 followers

4.  Create 11 questions to ask the nominees

5. Go to the page of each nominee and tell her about the award.


And so, let’s begin!

1.  11 things about me:  I was born in San Diego, I was born with a dislocated hip, I have played guitar for over 30+ years, I love coffee, I use to smoke!, I have a crowned tooth with a music note etched on it, I love witch hazel and use it everyday on my face, I auditioned for Mattel toy commercials when I was a child,  I lived in Arizona for a year, I lived in Utah for 14 years,  I watched every X-files episode ever made.

Answers to Questions from Nominator Chris of Campfires and Cleats:

I grew up in southern California

I loved Salt Lake City when we lived there.  I would love to live there forever.

My favorite book hands-down is The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster, ever since I first heard it read aloud in 5th grade.

My favorite movie is The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe

St. Elizabeth Ann Seton most certainly inspires me; she was a mother before she was a foundress of a religious order.

My hobby would be cross stitching, although I have little time for it at this point in my life.

I began my blog out of a spiritual expression need.  To fulfill for myself and give to others.

My fairy tale wedding would be the one I had :)   I wouldn’t have changed a thing!


If I could have dinner with anyone, it would be Harrison Ford…no wait…Paul Newman….LOL

Louisa May Alcott …although I adore Jane Austen too…oh please, don’t make me choose :)

My idea of a relaxing dinner with the family is just about anywhere…but Bob Evans, the Olive Garden, or K of C suits us fine!  Eating is relaxation to us!

OKAY, MY NOMINATIONS:  (I will be plugging them in here shortly…stay tuned….)


Annette at: Nettie’s World

Megan at: True Daughter of Mary

Barbara at:  Praying for Grace

Krystin at: My Clones in Action

John at: Never Give Up

Laura at: Homeschooling with Joy

Margot at: Bliss on the Hill

Monica at:  Equipping Catholic Families

Marc at: Evangelizing Catechesis

Kelly at: Musings on Film

Maria at: Four Blessings Academy

11 Fun Questions:

1. What's your favorite color?
2.  What's your favorite cheap product?
3.  Your favorite devotion?
4. Your favorite Saint?
5.  What Season are you?
6. What number sibling are you? or only?
7. Were you a convert or cradle?
8.  If you could get to any place in the world easily, where would it be?
9. What's your favorite flash back cartoon?
10. Were you baptized as a baby, child or adult?
11. Are you steak or chicken?

Nominees read the rules way above!  Good luck and God bless!+

We are decreasing, so He may increase...

"He must increase, but I must decrease."  John 3:30

....or, at least I like to think so!  My first sacrament classes have shrunk in size over the last twenty years.  Back when my now, 22 yr old son was making his first sacraments, the class had 26 students.  My daughter's class was 21, my next son's class in 2001 was 13, and was my youngest son's class last year was 7 students.  Yes, it would see we are shrinking. To even have classes up to 20 is amazing in itself for such a small rural community. But now, families are moving away. Small businesses and farming are capsizing. The economy here is very repressed, the job market is just not viable in this area.  So, we see families leaving.  But, we also see the young families that are staying, having babies.  I don't know that we will ever see classes up to the 20s again in the very near future, but maybe someday.....

One thing about a smaller class, such as the beautiful little class I helped make First Reconciliation with yesterday, is that you can spend so much more in-depth time with each student, forming them in Christ.  If they have special needs or special abilities, you can address those a lot better also with more one-on-one attention.  So, I do like to think that while we are decreasing, HE is increasing in all of us. Maybe not exactly as the bible verse indicates, but right on for this pilgrim in ministry. [1] Numbers are wonderful yes, quality is more wonderful and really learning about Our Lord and Savior in a deeper more meaningful way, and His grace sustaining sacraments is at the top.  So, you will never hear me complain about a smaller class :)  I definitely don't look at larger as a feather in our caps....I don't think our Lord would either.  

"For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it." Matt 714

[1] Barnes' Notes on the Bible - commentary:
"He must increase, but I must decrease."  John 3:30

He must increase - his authority and influence among the people must grow. his doctrine shall continue to spread until it extends through all the earth.
I must decrease - "The purpose of my ministry is to point men to him. When that is done my work is done. I came not to form a party of my own, nor to set up a religion of my own; and my teaching must cease when he is fully established, as the light of the morning star fades away and is lost in the beams of the rising sun." 

Sunday, March 03, 2013

Backwards and Forwards

When I first posted this very short blog piece, Mike G, who took these beautiful photos was a seminarian staying at our parish and I was just getting to know him and work with him. Since that time he was ordained an awesome priest for our diocese and goes on to blog, take excellent photos and be the excellent priest he is - he even Tweets :) So, for this Memoir Monday, I look back at where a seminarian begins, and ultimately ends up...mostly in a parish, in the hustle-bustle of parish life. 

God bless them all; they are the salt and light we need. May God always supply us with much needed priests.


Some more beautiful photos of our parish taken by our seminarian friend, Mike G. Visit his photoblog at: Mike G's Photos

You can find Fr. Michael's Blog at: The Night is Passing