St Gabriel Windows

St Gabriel Windows
Photocopy c. 2013 Jamie Laubacher

Friday, August 30, 2013

Curriculum ...our new year

Directing you to one of my pages:

Curriculum update for 2013-14 school year

My pages are off to the right side margin and include a few poetry selections.  Thing is...I was a published poet for many years, and had at least forty published poems and 2 "chapbooks" published. I am very slow at loading up my poems.  Someday, I'll attempt to add more....

Learning Ally for reading help - audiobooks

Monday, August 26, 2013

Eighteen years of home educational and counting…


DOUGandJAMIE1997001 (2)

On September 3 or 4th…or somewhere around there of 1995, I started home schooling for the first time, with my then 4.5 year old son, while his younger sister joined in the fun.  It was pre-school and it wasn’t too formal, but it was structured.  I began with morning prayers, the Pledge of Allegiance and a song….We did math, reading, art and geography (states & capitals songs).  My favorite $14.95 piece of curriculum was Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons.  And it absolutely taught him to read!  It bedazzled his grandparents and aunts and uncles and friends.  He was reading really quite well by that December.   So when he turned 5 in February of that winter he could read small books.  100EZ lessons was the best curriculum purchase I had ever made; I used the book through three other children, so what a huge return on a very small investment.  Thank you Timberdoodle, for your description of this fine resource.  Sure, I picked up the idea from Designing Your Own Classical Curriculum, but  I fell in love Timberdoodle’s educational items.  We purchased many of them and I very much enjoyed those early years of home education with my little brood.

Teaching a four year old to read was one of the best educational endeavors I could pursue in our home.  And I am a convinced advocate of early reading whenever possible. Getting them up and running with reading opened an incredible door to their own self satisfaction and learning capabilities.  I taught all my children by at least age 4 – 4.5 to read; the exception being my autistic spectrum child, who in fact, taught himself to read by that age on his own, much to our amazement.  And he got it right!  I took him through Teach Your Child to Read, just in case it wasn’t true and he hadn’t learned correctly, but boy, had he! 

*Just a tip: Teach your child letter/alphabet recognition through fun games and DVDs, etc., and some activity materials….then dive into Teach Your Child to Read.  If after a substantial time of using it, you find they are not “getting it”, you might need to go a different course, which would be learning about decoding more first….100 EZ does give decoding/phonics, but not as fully as some other programs, like All About Reading, or the famous Writing Road to Reading (a full language arts curriculum, covering writing, recognition, decoding phonograms, spelling rules, etc.)  Our system is to get them up and reading with 100EZ, and continue to build reading and decoding skills then implementing Writing Road to Reading.

Reflecting back on one of the hallmarks of our home education is so delightful today as we continue our 18th year of home education.  This week is Orientation week for my children; an individual meeting with the children and their respective curriculum resources and courses for the year.  I will have them look over their books, do a sample lesson in some cases, and review what is expected. 

The next two weeks for us are very busy indeed, but by the middle of September we should be in a regular routine of how we will be progressing through the year ahead. 

Best wishes and blessings to all my home school friends who are beginning their schools at home also this week!!  May God see you through the tough moments with added grace, and give you those awesome hallmark moments you can look back on with great sweetness and gratefulness.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Do you have a special “you” place?

I do.  It’s my enclosed front porch.  When I first moved into this house nearly thirty years ago now, I wasn’t sure I’d like the front porch.  Well, that all changed!  It is by far my favorite place in the house.  I have been looking out at the houses across that street for as many years as I can remember.  There’s a beautiful sunset happening as I write and it glows on the windows….I find this is my “thinking” place; my talking to God place, my lesson planning place, my place of peace, refreshment, reading enjoyment, a place that’s my own special get away, from the rest of the house.  I plant myself in a special, very old comfy chair, with a cup of coffee…my bible, a good story, my netbook at times….and just re-group.   I think every one needs their own space to recharge, that’s right there for them at a short distance.  If you don’t have one, I hope you can carve one out for yourself soon.  God bless+

Saturday, August 24, 2013

There use to be happiness..

….next door.  Now, there is no one next door….but an empty sad, messed up yard and house, and a left behind cat (which we’ve taken up feeding).  After a decade of 8 children and husband and wife, they have separated and the children have been divided through ugly court hearings, which will continue well into the following year. 

I won’t write about the grim details, and truly none of it is my personal business anyway, up to the point of us caring deeply about them as neighbors and a family that we interacted with for ten years.  We saw them through the last four (five, miscarriage) pregnancies, welcoming each new born child into their home; helping with emergencies, answering the front door to giggles and smiles and sharing of important events from the little ones. Interacting on social media (for which the mother has now pulled the plug due do so much hurt and judgment)…. Now it is so quiet, I can hardly bear it at times…..

The house has gone into foreclosure, but last I heard the mother was attempting to save it…..she paid a visit, (hasn’t been here for 5 months)…and she cried and broke down ….yes, it is in pretty bad shape right now, outside, as well as inside.  Months of children not having a mother living with them full time, cleaning, cooking, doing laundry, picking up…..

I don’t like to see a family torn apart or people hurting, not being supported, or feeling helpless and hopeless.  We ALL make mistakes – some of them bigger than others, but all the same, we have our fair share. 

“He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her.” ~ John 8:7

Just one kind word, one small gesture of kindness, a hug, even when the person was wrong, can make an enormous difference in their perception and recovery. Many blame the mother in this….but there were two that made this happen as the marriage slowly eroded….I do not take sides…But I will say:


….shunning, cutting off, ignoring, blocking on social media networks, is not Catholic, nonetheless Christian.  Christians should not shun, block (within reason), ignore, downgrade friendships, gossip behind others backs…as many have done to this family.

 Catholics don’t shunJesus didn’t shunhe EMBRACED sinners

There is such a message to learn from this whole event that has taken my family over the last several months and made us well aware of pettiness, immaturity, revenge, meanness, cruelty, gossip and slander…..NONE of which are Christian behaviors.  Shame on those participating in it.  Shame on those adults who should know better, encouraging it and dragging others into it, and treating children badly, children that have no control over what is happening to them. 

I think the entire epistle of James is a good meditation for these kinds of conditions ….

  “The tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts. Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark….”

~ James 3:5

Pray for those who are enduring such difficulty.  Pray for the children as they are at the mercy of adults, courts deciding what is best for them.  Pray that what is best for them really is BEST, and they can be at peace and move on with their lives. 

And may our great Lord grant them all they need, peace, forgiveness, reconciliation, and resolve to pick up the broken pieces and make a new life.

Thursday, August 22, 2013


I feel like an accomplished woman today :)   Truly, I am greatly relieved to have the educational wing of our parish back in order.  All the rooms are put back together for our parish program.  I had help from a young man who needed to do community service hours, and wow, was he a help.  He had strength, which I don’t have, to really lift and move around those heavy tables.  We spent two hours just moving things, tearing down and putting away VBS decorations, and unloading the shelves of our old PSR books and hauling things to the dumpster.  I still have a little bit more to do, finishing touches, but it’s well in order, praise God!

As I prepare our own home school, which will begin this next week with orientation for one son’s on line learning support class with Mother of Divine Grace, and then a couple days later an early start with our local co-op for his Algebra, (really just for fun, and extra support if needed), I am reminded of how many years we have done this, and what it was like schooling with little people, a toddler, a baby…or nauseated with pregnancy…..oh how I remember sitting next to a child, nodding off from pregnancy tiredness…trying to help them with math!  I assure you it did not hurt their ACT, SAT scores in the least in later years!

As I help mentor other families and develop their educational plan and offer practical tips, I remember how I did it myself…..for the “littles”, I always had a “drawer system”, as I called it.  A rolling drawer cart, stuffed with the best most intriguing fun items that could only be used “during school”, when mom was helping another student.  How I depended on that cart!  And how it got me through many a harried day.  It included ONE video tape (science or history oriented, like Magical School Bus, Bill Nye the Science Guy, Liberty’s Kids….)..and I would alternate tapes throughout the week….and many fun puzzles, building blocks, figurines, small games, activity pads, art items, play-doh, anything educational and fun and lots of it.  And ONLY for use during school when mom needed to buy time.  These items, this cart, would be rolled away to a different location and even covered up at times, when school was over.


Another invaluable item that helped me with home school, is the crockpot.  How much time it has saved me in dinner prep.  When I can get up earlier than the rest, do my morning devotions, get myself ready and put dinner in the crockpot, I could start my day out right. This was especially so helpful with little children about.

And because home education doesn’t stop in the home….it extends to church as we are the primary educators/first heralds of faith to our children, and should be instructing hands-on with them in the pew, I found this to be helpful with the little ones: a mass bag.(example)

Not a play thing mind you, (in fact, other than a small bible figure finger puppet perhaps, I would likely not include the lacing animals above)…but a bag with child spiritual items in it that will keep a little one in the pew and help guide their thoughts to God and prompt them to pay attention with good picture images of the mass to follow.  As my children have grown with a mass bag, the contents have changed, until the need for one diminishes, around first communion age,or shortly thereafter,  where I then have them bring their first communion missal book to follow the mass with, or their Magnifikid prayer companion (I bring my Magnificat for praying before mass). 

This week, (what’s left of it!) continues to be and has been all about, “preparing” for things to come.  How appropriate it seems our Pope tweeted a day ago: 

Pope Francis @Pontifex
"An excellent program for our lives:
the Beatitudes and Matthew Chapter 25"

Matthew chapter 25 being about always “being prepared”, not acting in foolishness or haste, ….And the Beatitudes as a way in that preparation.

13 “Therefore keep watch, because you do not know the day or the hour.”

I believe that NOW is the day and the hour we need to be prepared and make right with our fellow men/women….

As we prepare physically for many things – so that events of earthly nature can take place in an orderly manner, so much more should be prepared our souls for heavenly things that will take place. 

I think reading the Beatitudes and meditating on Matthew Chapter 25 is a perfect way to prepare for the new school year, a new start, new relationships, new knowledge… hearts full of forgiveness for one another.  Most of life is spent either holding a grudge, or forgiving over and over, as our Lord asks us to forgive ….(as he forgives us….)

“Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me? Up to seven times?”

22 Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.” Matt 18:21-22

So as you begin your new school year, as I will be doing soon, go easy…on your children…your students; prepare as much as you are able, and look ahead to a great year together.


“Be forgiving of other people's mistakes. Everyone makes mistakes. You make mistakes too.”

“And just as you desire people to do for you, do also for them.”

'Love your neighbor as yourself”


You are in my prayers this evening as we say our nightly rosary.

God bless+

Wonderful article….

Hidden are the Poor”, from Ghetto Catholic

Wednesday, August 21, 2013


Life in the Shoe: Laura Berquist -- "Why I Founded Mother of Divine ...

Life in the Shoe: Laura Berquist -- "Why I Founded Mother of Divine ...: This excellent video by Laura Berquist, the founder of Mother of Divine Grace School, explains the philosophy of one of our Catholic home st...

Wednesday Meditation

"To live in humility is to live always in total confidence of God’s love, protection, and guidance and therefore to have no concern for yourself when others insult you—or praise you.

Secure in God’s love, you don’t have to base your identity on whether or not others acknowledge you."

~~Dr. Raymond Lloyd Richmond, Catholic Psychologist

Monday, August 19, 2013

So, Mark with his autism: 

    …..he covers his ears a when sensory things are bothering him….when he doesn't like or understand a situation, or something startles him…..(or the sirens in town go off..)...or people laugh hysterically and just aren’t stopping…..or like today, in the grocery store (drawing the attention of every one throughout the store), when "Shake Your Booty" by KC & the Sunshine Band comes on over the speakers ....The checker finally says...”ya know, I don't like this song either “...

…oh the moments…..

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Sunday Reflection

I have been listening to so many training talks since June, each with such formative value, but some, with truly inspirational and spiritual formative value.  I have gleaned so much and am so grateful.

The founder of the organization for which I now work, spends a great deal of time personally talking to her consultants and forming them in all the areas necessary, and one particular is their faith, spiritual life….with love, such love.  And so, I have long left my bible open to Philippians 2:3, because of one of her talks, and it regards holding others in greater esteem than yourself, (as well as the entire chapter from 1-18, which is very much worth meditating on).  Such words of wisdom and truth and peace.

“Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves..”  Phil 2:3

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Wonderful article on Reading Aloud

It’s a practice we’ve long done in our home over the years, but this really does expound on the benefits of reading aloud to our children.


The Importance of Reading Aloud

By Emily Cook

Reading AloudI cannot stress enough how important reading aloud to your children is. Educationally speaking, it may be one of the most important things you do for them. Most parents can find the time to read a picture book or two with their infants and toddlers. But once a child learns to read, that snuggly read aloud time usually ends. I think it’s actually more important to continue that read aloud time well into their school years.

But my child is fully capable of reading their own books. Why should I read aloud to him?

There are a number of reasons, but here is what I consider the top 5:

5. Reading aloud creates a family bond, especially if there are other siblings listening as well.

Your children will fondly look back on their memories of listening to you read aloud, giggle over how you did “all the voices,” and fondly recall favorites stories heard at your knee. They’ll play games of pretend based on the stories you read to them, imagining themselves in Narnia, adventuring along the Mississippi with Tom Sawyer, or playing with Pooh Bear and Piglet in the Hundred Acre Wood. Just because a book is considered “children’s” literature, doesn’t mean it’s childish. Many of my favorite books are written for children! A good story is a good story, and you will find that you enjoy many great books just as much (if not more!) than the kids. Some of my favorite memories are of reading aloud to my children. I recently finished reading The Hobbit aloud with my twins, and my oldest daughter kept trying to listen in as she did her school work in the other room. I read it aloud to her a few years ago, and it is still one of her all time favorite stories. I can’t wait until my youngest is old enough so I can help her discover Middle Earth and all of its charms.

4. Reading aloud will help to stimulate their imagination.

When you read aloud, you don’t have to choose books at any particular reading level. So while you daughter is just getting comfortable with easy chapter books, you can read books far above her level to her. You can expose them to fantasy worlds full of talking animals, knights and battles, distant countries… the literary world is open to you! Literature is peopled with characters that your children will want to emulate and filled with places they’ll want to pretend. Poetry will fill their minds with beautiful language and spark their own creativity with words and stories.

3. Literature will expose them to difficult ideas and situations in a safe way.

Life is full of hard truths, and what better way to learn of them than from a beautifully written story read to them by someone they love and trust? Charlotte’s Web shows that sometimes, a beloved friend dies, not from any terrible illness or violent act, but simply because it is a part of life. Literature will also build empathy – they’ll put themselves in the characters place, wondering how they would react in the same situation.

2. Reading aloud to your children can increase their vocabulary.

Again, because you aren’t limited to choosing books within their reading level, you can expose them to a world of beautiful language. This will also help build their thinking skills – rather than interrupt the story to ask about a particular word, they’ll be more apt to use context clues to try and figure it out themselves.

1. If you start when they are very young, reading to your children daily will build their attention span.

A child who’s been read to his whole life will be able to concentrate and pay attention to something for far longer than a child who spends all of his time playing video games or watching television.

But most importantly, reading to your children will give them a love of literature. I mourn for the children who grow up thinking Winnie the Pooh is just a brightly colored cartoon character, who never get to meet Charlotte and Wilbur, Sara Crewe, Charlie Bucket and Tom Sawyer. Reading aloud will give them a respect for the written word, introduce them to the wide world and the great conversation and build their cultural literacy. It will give them a legacy of great literature to pass on to their own children.

Emily CookEmily Cook has been homeschooling her 4 children for 10 years, and is the author and creator of Build Your Library curriculum, a literature based secular homeschool curriculum. Build Your Library has full year programs covering K – 8th grade, as well as literature based unit studies. You can find her products at Currclick.

School is in the air….around the corner

We will begin school at the end of this month, well, at least my high school student will.  I find that starting math and foreign language (in this case Latin 1), is best started a couple weeks ahead of the rest of courses, then adding them in over a couple weeks times causes less shock of the rigorous load :)

Although my high school son could be doing a year ahead in math, I have kept him in the “average” category due to his anxiety disorder, although academically I know he could be far more advanced. Ninth grade classical curriculum is a lot in itself, and 9th grade definitely turns up the work load.  So his course line-up is pretty standard fare for 9th Modg, looking like this:

Algebra 1 (w/support from a local co-op class)

Faith & Morality

Fine Arts (art & music) LS (on line course with Modg)

US History & Geography/American Literature

Earth Science

Warriner’s Grammar & Composition (Third Course)

Cambridge Latin 1


My 4th grader’s courses are lining up like this:

Math 4 (Abeka)

Beginning Latin 1

Schuster Bible, St. Joseph Catechism No 1

Intermediate Language Lessons (work book format)

Writing Road to Reading (spelling)

Understanding God’s World – Science

American History Study w/Map Skills

Art & Music


The next couple weeks (although we have company coming again!)..will be spent organizing our work areas and gathering supplies.  There is on line orientation the last week of the month, and I hope to be ready to go by then.

Although I’m down to two students, they are my toughest ones yet with special challenges.  I am grateful for my job position that helps support me even further with their home schooling and brings peace to my uncertain heart.  The women I am working with are so saintly, and such a blessing at this time. 

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Monday, August 12, 2013

Eating better…

…I’ve been trying for quite a while to get into better eating habits.  My husband um, not so much.

With both dairy and gluten problems here in a couple children, I’m looking more and more to the Paleo diet choices and came across this delicious looking recipe.  I know my friends and cousins with gluten, and dairy problems have subbed coconut flour and milk for their recipes.

I just know it would do me a world of good to eat healthier – both my stress levels and thyroid levels could use a break I’m sure.  I recently had a scare with high blood pressure and a pounding migraine for a week.  It finally passed, but codeine syrup was prescribed and a prescription for “take a break from stress”  …thank you doctor, I will do that right away!!  LOL

At any rate, I’m going to likely be sharing some of these recipes from time to time if not to bookmark them for myself and easy locating.

I know my son with anxiety definitely has a dairy and gluten problem and makes himself miserable from time to time eating things that really he should pass up on.  I’ve tried to always send gluten free items with him (even to religious ed classes this last year), where he can at least have something.

One thing he missed is ice cream.  Not sure about the coconut because some are allergic to it.  But might give it a try.  He drinks Rice Dream Enriched rice beverage as his staple milk substitute.  And they do make a non-dairy frozen dessert which is pretty good.

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Ice Cream (Paleo, Grain-Free)

My chocolate chip cookie dough calls for almond flour. If you have a nut allergy, simply replace the dough in this recipe with your favorite nut-free cookie dough. Serves 6

1 batch chocolate chip cookie dough frozen into balls, and then chopped into small pieces

3 cups full-fat coconut milk or raw heavy cream (if you can consume dairy)
1/2 cup maple syrup or raw honey
Pinch of Celtic sea salt
1 tablespoon vanilla extract

Whisk together milk, maple syrup, salt and vanilla until incorporated. Freeze in an ice cream maker according to manufacturer’s instructions. After freezing, remove the blade and stir in the cookie dough. Serve.


Saturday, August 10, 2013

It’s Days like these…

…that I miss my father terribly.  Lately, between the weather, and appointments and just feeling somewhat down, I miss him more than ever.

Things I particularly think about him are,

how he’d come to the side door with something for me, especially coffee…or some fresh corn on the cob from a local farmer, when he’d come into town to get his business mail at the post office…..

When my first child was born he came every day literally for months….to see him just laying there in the bassinet and see if I needed anything….

he’d pop in to visit the kids for a minute and share a cup of coffee, and just sit and talk, watch CNN or the Weather Channel with me…

I rarely, if ever had to drive myself or the children to any doctor’s appointments….he took me to every one!   Yes, even as a grown woman, mother of children, he’d drive me to my appointments and wait in the waiting room for me.  The first time after he passed away that I had to drive to the endocrinologist on my own, I cried the entire way….not because I couldn’t do it, but WE had always done it together….


He assisted me in looking at this house I live in….took me through each step of it to purchase it….I never imagined then, a single woman with a dog, that in years ahead I’d be a married woman raising four children in this same house…..and how many memories would be stored up here…

I worked for my father’s company and saw him daily for work hours for 17 years….before I had my third child and had to back off to just barely part time at home work.  Still, he found a way to keep me employed doing a lot of his clerical work…

Seriously, he would save you or your friends from anything …you could call him with car trouble, a problem, he’d hop in his Eddie Bauer Ford Explorer and find you … could always depend on him. 

He always defended me/us ….he never let anyone mistreat his children, he had a thing or two to say to them.  I think some school teachers might remember him to this day :)…and some parents of playground bullies…

He would call with the severe weather report…..or that we were going to hear the fire sirens go off because his police radio said there was a fire or accident…


I will never forget the day he called while we were schooling and he said….”I know you’re doing school…but turn on the TV…”….and it was 9-11…the Twin Towers….and I watched in horror as the second plane struck the building,  

My list could go on and on….because he was such an enormous part of our lives….and it was such a huge loss when he left us …even though we had a couple months to prepare for his death, and I’m grateful we had that, it didn’t lessen the blow….losing such a big part of your daily life is never easy.

So, as the summer months wind down, and it’s getting darker sooner…my mind recalls how he would scoop us all up and take us to buy school supplies, treat the kids to lunch and just make everything a fun and memorable thing.


I could really use an angel like my dad in my life again…..although I know he is a hard act to follow…..

Some people are just naturally givers without reservation….God truly blessed us with a very generous and giving father for the 70 years he was with us.  May he forever rest in peace as we await greeting him in eternity some day.

Friday, August 09, 2013

I have been working at my new job position, and enjoying every minute of it. I have met the loveliest families, some very large, with up to 12 children – and others smaller, with perhaps two, but all very conscientious and committed to giving their children the best education.  I’ve met some of the most sweetest saintly mothers. I am well beyond impressed. It has been such a blessing to be able to help these families formulate an education plan.  Many are coming out of other programs, some have just never been enrolled and are very excited to be starting down a new path.  I’m very excited for them.

We too are preparing for our home school year ahead.  It looks like we have a plan in place,but it is always tricky juggling appointments and kids’ schedules.  I guess we’ll work the bugs out as we move along.

In the meantime, I have been praying with my new bible which I am just in love with, (it’s so lady-like and beautiful) and reading articles and encouraging blogs on home schooling. A friend posted this link on my Facebook about home schooling, and it was too good not to share…so here it is; I thought it was a very nice article.

Six Things I’d Say About Homeschooling

Thursday, August 08, 2013

Food for thought…..

I’ve come across several good articles on the internet, posted from friends mostly and just wanted to take a moment to share them here, if not to bookmark them for myself:

A Just Response to Cohabitation by Truth & Charity Forum

To Moms of One or Two Children 

The 50 Most Perfectly Well Timed Photos Ever

Which Downton Abbey Character are You? (quiz for fun)

Freezer Cooking (my quest right now)

Have a great day!

Wednesday, August 07, 2013

“Whatsoever you do…

to the least of my people, that you do unto me”… Matt 25:40

Today at the catechetical institute I attended, this message above was truly echoed many times.  Realizing catechesis is a “calling”, a work of the church, a community effort, and you are called to it, much like a vocation.  It is through Him and with Him, we bring the gospel to others.  And how would we want that gospel delivered?  With love and patience, with no judgment on our age, skin color, economic background, social status, family make-up..…the gospel message is for ALL without exception.

People called to catechesis need prayer, and they are usually people of prayer already. How can we transmit the message of God if we aren’t in communication with Him?  So prayer is essential.

I recently bought myself a beautiful new bible – just a small womanly one, that is easy to carry and use (more often I hope).  And when I am able I’m going to be reinstating myself back at Eucharistic Adoration as I was a regular adorer for 10 years before I had to leave and could no longer seem to fit it into my schedule.  If I must bring my younger boys, they must come.  We’ll see. 

One of today’s talks was on teens & technology.  A priest friend of mine, Fr. Albright, gave part of the presentation.  Many years ago when I began this blog (in 2006) a mutual family we shared in common saw my blog beginnings and  urged Father to create a blog to share his homily messages.  He has done a very fine job of that all these years.  And he more recently became a Twitter friend of mine as well; and who was more surprised to find the other on Twitter??  Ha ha!  You can find Fr. Albright’s blog at:

Proclaim the Truth in Love

Before the workshops today my son had an important doctor visit we could not reschedule.  At this visit, in referring to OCD and anxiety and it’s characteristic “lingering”, harboring and endless holding a grudge-kind-of-symptoms, the doctor said:  “delete the history”,  “start anew”    No words could be truer for those who wish to start anew and erase the past grievances and moments that keep replaying over and over in one’s mind – much like my son’s OCD, with him, nearly every little thing.  Delete the history -  Start anew.  It is a very spiritual message. 

And so I help our parish prepare for a new religious ed program ahead, starting anew; with a new outlook, new materials, new light and new hope.  We have so many sincere and lovely people living for Christ, willing to share their selves with our young people in teaching positions in our parish.  I pray for them all as we begin together a new year in Christ.

God bless+ 

Tuesday, August 06, 2013

Transfiguration and Hope

Today is the feast of the Transfiguration, our remembrance of Jesus’s remarkable transformation – a hope for our resurrection and life eternal; a glimpse of things to come.

Are we worthy?  Christ says we are by his death and resurrection.

Today also marks the birthday of my maternal grandmother, born this day, in 1917, and passed away in 2008, just short of turning 91.  Born of Austrian-Slovak immigrant parents, she spoke both German and Slovak at home and broken English elsewhere.  Her father was a shoe cobbler in Akron Ohio for many years, while mother stayed home and prayed nearly round the clock while grinding wheat and making her own bread and tending the small garden in their yard.  A very humble but grateful life indeed. They never forget coming to this country via Ellis Island by ship. Their first home was in Buffalo New York. They housed many relatives and friends in need through the years.  When they didn’t have much to give, they still gave from anything they could.  How generous and how remarkably unselfish these people were.

Sadly, because of a rift in the family in later years, my mom and her mother’s relationship suffered. 

I believe we get plenty of practice forgiving and forgetting, and I believe that it helps us for the really difficult times ahead when it may not be as easy to do so.  I hold in my memory and experience that kind of difficult time.  It makes forgiving the more common things all the easier.

By the time my grandmother passed away, the family had a hard to time getting together and expressing sympathy – rather, there was a lot of regret for things that should have been, times together that should have happened, and lack of forgiveness, a lot of blame…..

“Let he who is without sin, cast the first stone.”- John 8:7

Mongera, LtoR, Helen Mongera, Steve Kancir, Anna V Mongera Kancir, sitting Anne M Kancir

Grandma as a 7 yr old – First Holy Communion, her father behind her, mother to the right and one of her Aunts to the left

I pray for the repose of their souls and others in my family who by their example and strength through hardships, have helped give our extended family models in virtue; patience, understanding, forgiveness, and above all, love. 

Life is very short, even if you live to be 90+ (so my father in law is telling us)….let go of the burdens and ego; forgive people of their faults, as we all have them.  Do as Christ would – he was the model for us all.  Look to the glory of the Transfiguration, the promise of the resurrection and be brothers and sisters in Christ, loving and forgiving, encouraging one another and glorifying the Lord.

May God bless you abundantly this Feast of the Transfiguration.

Sunday, August 04, 2013

It is an absolutely fabulously beautiful day out today.  After mass I had to catch up with one of the high school religious ed teachers for this year, and give her some items to look over, then we briefly made a pit stop at home before heading to a graduation party. Yes, it’s a late in the summer senior graduation, but was a very welcome one and enjoyed every minute of it catching up with friends.

Today, I’m re-grouping for a very busy week ahead; several educational consultations, a psych appointment for our son, (and what a report of progress we’ll be giving the doctor at this one), and a catechetical workshop.  This house is in desperate need of cleaning.  If I can manage I may begin to tackle the church educational wing – left over from VBS – we have much to move around, rooms to get ready and PSR registrations to set up.  I even have chalkboards to replace….

Then there’s us.  This family.  I’m pleased to say all my curriculum is pretty much bought and ready to begin – just need a few odds and ends of supplies.  I need to move a small desk into our master bedroom for my own office at home. 

But seriously, the biggest thing that needs to be done is:  COOKING.  I am going to spend a week cooking meals to freeze.  I’ve ordered some inexpensive divided dishes for left over meals (mostly for my oldest son, who likes to cart them to work).  These looked nice – Divided Dishes; they aren’t my favorite Tupperware ones (I have a couple of those left), but my budget can’t take that amount right now.

And what glorious news that my friend Gina, (her music is at my right margin), is rank #20 on ReverbNation today!!  I am SO proud of her, that little girl who use to walk to my house for guitar and voice lessons!!

And finally, the afternoon ended with the announcement of the 12th Doctor (Doctor Who).  Between that, and Downton Abbey Season 4 in the winter, I think I shall survive the next school year :)

Friday, August 02, 2013

Association of Catholic Women Bloggers: A Daily Examination of Conscience: What Is It Exac...

Association of Catholic Women Bloggers: A Daily Examination of Conscience: What Is It Exac...: A simple examination of conscience helps build the moral life of a Catholic. It guides a Catholic towards holiness and sainthood. Like ta...

Schultuete anyone?

My friend Cay over at Cay's Cajun Cottage has a neat idea to share. To visit, click on this title: Schultuete: A New School-Year Tradition.

In the meantime, here's a brief explanation and picture from the Wikipedia. (Cay has much better pictures with her children :)

The "Schultüte" (or in English The School Cone [even though the word "Tüte" translates more as bag]; alternative spelling: Schultuete) is a paper (and later plastic) bag in particular.

When children in Germany set off for their first day in school upon entering grade, their parents and/or grandparents present them with a big cardboard cone, prettily decorated and filled with toys, chocolate, candies, school supplies, and various other goodies. It is given to children to make this anxiously awaited first day of school a little bit sweeter. (For more on this follow the LINK).
The youth services library programs ended this week; first the older students' on Tuesday, and now the younger ones today, Friday.  It always marks the beginning of "back to school" for me.  (I don't want to think about it quite yet though!)    But, our teen son is really going to miss his library program next summer as he will be too old to attend (he might be able fudge on this one, we'll see).

I have grown to love and appreciate the youth library programs for many reasons.  For my autism spectrum disorder son, it gives him a lot of sensory practice, new foods to test, and diverse cooperative social settings in which he can have exposure.  It was very hard to take him at first a few years back.  This is the first year he has just blended into the program and not seemed odd or stimming a lot.  I see progress and that is what it's all about for us. Giving him a fun time that he "wants" to go to, and improving his communications, social connections, body language and letting him get books and participate in something worthwhile to encourage reading.  

For his brother older than he, now a teen, it's been a work in progress.  I remember several years back when I first signed him up and took him, he wouldn't even go into the room with the other kids or librarians. Little by little, each year saw improvement until he became excited to go and fully engaged in the program. So, it's disappointing that it's ending for him -- I'd love to see him in it a couple more years.  (Maybe I need to talk to the librarians about this :)

At any rate, the programs have been wonderful and helpful and today we were given a bag of food to bring home - part of the food program for the children.  Although we are not in need like other families in the area who have need for such food programs, it was kind of a nice perk as it gave Mark a variety of different textures and tastes and interesting food choices to explore, and he saw the other children getting a bag of food and it was more acceptable and fun for him (it was like a "prize"), so he was rather excited about it. 

And so our summer is in the final stretch.  We will actually start a little bit of school at the end of the month; foreign language and maths as I like to get a head start on those and then add in the other subjects as we move gradually into September.  

Today, the end of the week, there is much to finish up,including bills and groceries, and a visit to grandma.  

Have a lovely and blessed weekend!