St Gabriel Windows

St Gabriel Windows
Photocopy c. 2013 Jamie Laubacher

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Feast of the Holy Family

As most people are contemplating taking down the Christmas decorations and tree,  Catholics are just now "celebrating" Christmas. Christmas begins "on" Christmas, and continues over the 12 days of Christmas.  This is known as Christmastide, or Christmas Season, which lasts all the way to the Epiphany celebration, when many Catholic churches celebrate a meal together with their church families.

To read more about how to continue the blessings of Christmas and get the most out of the birth of our Savior in our chronological timeline in history, follow this link: Feast of the Holy Family

Tuesday, December 02, 2014

We are the work of your hands....

Life is very busy here.  December just suddenly appeared out of nowhere!  I have so much to do to prepare for the holiday ahead.  I would say I'm half way into this, but it's that other half that worries me!  -_- All this while home schooling throughout.  We can do this, we can do this.....well, I've been saying that for nineteen years of home schooling and by golly, yes, we can do this!  And we will!  :) 

Keeping the balance of home schooling going and other activities that the holidays afford is no easy task. You do have to set some good points of reference, cut off dates for when it makes sense to end, or to continue something -- maybe that's just math every morning, or evening, or history reading.  My children will continue reading, (that just doesn't stop) and my oldest will continue math up through Dec 23rd!....he's thick into two maths simultaneously by choice, and it's best to keep this one's mind filled with puzzles to tackle and math suits him very well.  A busy mind is not the OCD devil's workshop!  

We did enjoy a beautiful Thanksgiving and I'm sure in time we will enjoy a beautiful Christmas as well.  We already have our familys' parties lined up with locations and dates scheduled; both sides.  With a father in law of 92 yrs old, still mobile and willing to go out and about, we all file into a buffet for the afternoon and eat then head to one of the closest homes to celebrate a while.   

The children have done youth group projects for Christmas that I oversee as director, twice now, and we are working on our Christmas child (Salvation Army giving tree child).  One thing I've noticed this year, is no matter how pressured I feel, that I'm not going to have everything completed, I realize we have much completed through our outside giving to others.  My children are always with me here - or not far from reach, and I can always get them something quickly.  These other people we are helping, I do not see or know personally, so I put them first.  Yes, I put other unfortunate families first, before my own.  My thinking is my children have pretty much everything and anything they want (within reason), kind of on the "tad bit spoiled" end.  I have no second guessing in putting those in need first.

So today, this third day in Advent already, I recall the many Advents of anticipation before; how I was able to spiritually prepare myself to celebrate in our beliefs of Lord and Savior, Emmanuel among us, and how I know, no matter how much I feel unprepared for the entire holiday.....that really being prepared within trumps all.   

But now, O LORD, you are our Father; we are the clay, and you are our potter; we are all the work of  your hands...  Is 64:8

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Cambridge Latin Course Unit 2 (Stages 13-20)

I'm very impressed with how well these are done. They are a great support to our Latin program, as we are deep into unit 2 Cambridge.

Friday, November 07, 2014

When You Discover You're Related to a Mayflower Traveler

Yes, and it happened.  One night while dabbling in genealogy, my usual pass time these days...I followed my mother's father's paternal line along the surname of Doty.  It was not interesting in the least bit, in fact, I was half paying attention to each new little "hint" leaf that would appear as I went from Doty father, to Doty father, until suddenly .....

....Edward "Mayflower Compact" Doty....appeared.  What?  I read further and did a few double-takes.  I don't think so.  No, really, it's not likely.  I mean, really?  A Mayflower passenger?  A resident of Plymouth colony?  Whoa.  No way.

...well, like my daughter would say:  way!  It was true.  As I researched more closely, I discovered, without a doubt, my mother's 8th great grandfather indeed traveled to Plymouth (rock) Massachusetts on the Mayflower voyage, at the age of 21.  He was an indentured servant to another party on board.  And the rest is history, literally.  He survived, married, had nine or more children, may have been married three times, some details aren't as clear.  But his arrival in Nov of 1620 on the Mayflower is absolutely clear and well-documented.  Edward Doty signed the Mayflower Compact; his signature appears on the last column, second to the bottom.

What's particularly interesting to me, is that now I can trace and see sons of the American Revolution.  Doty's (Doughty/Doughtie) were definitely a part of the revolution.  I'm seeing documents popping up everywhere within my genealogy resources.

Edward Doty's memorial appears here at Find a Grave, if you 'd like to read more about him, and others that traveled on the Mayflower to Plymouth.

Find A Grave Edward Cameron Doty 

Friday, October 31, 2014

Always Have a Plan(ner)!

There is no doubt this family has been on the go, go, go, high speed railway for the last two months! Some of it's good, and some, well...stressful.  I have a tight full schedule that seems neverending, but November brings me much needed relief; November smiles on me, thankfully, with a couple much needed weekend breaks.

One item that has been a literal godsend to me, especially since I began working, is an 18 month calendar planner.  Yes, I know there's plenty out there.  My pastor even gifts me with one each year, an ecclesiatical one, so he and I can be in sync with our schedules.  That one is kept opened to the week, near the phone at all times.

The beautiful and inspiring planner I purchased came from and it's quite lovely as well as practical. Mine is called the 18 month Wildflower "With God All Things Are Possible" planner.

I love this planner because it's packed with inspirational verses and quotes throughout.  It gives me encouragement in my vocation and job and helps me to plan carefully.  It's one of my favorite things!

If you don't yet use a planner, I recommend it.  I carry this one with me so I can see at a glance my schedule.  Christianbook also carries many other beautiful calendar planners.

May God bless all your plans -- keep HIM in your plans always!

Friday, October 24, 2014

Look to Him and be Radiant: Finding Truth in Halloween

Hat tip to my friend Michele for finding this gem - it's a nice little booklet that can be printed out for instruction with your children, or PSR program.

Look to Him and be Radiant: Finding Truth in Halloween: It's almost Halloween. Will you be decorating with skulls or cornstalks? Dressing your kid as a zombie or St. Francis? Teaching abou...

Wednesday, October 08, 2014

Autumn Wedding Memories

Today we celebrated our 26th wedding anniversary. It was a similar day, only a little more colorful and blustery....and it reminded me of how quickly time passes, and yet how some things remain the same. Maybe that's a good thing, eh?

My spouse and I owe each other a dinner out...with his work schedule, life is all too busy at the moment. But we had a nice exchange of gifts and cake with our children and enjoyed a quiet evening.

Later tonight, I prepared everything needed for our co-op. I'm teaching guitar/singing this year to a couple of lovely twin young ladies, and we are really enjoying ourselves. We have a regular Dixie Chicks kind of thing going on :) The ladies have introduced me to one of their favorite current songs, 6'-2" by Marie Miller, who I discovered is a lovely folk Christian artist from Virginia, and attended Christendom. I've been teaching her song to my students, and it's been wonderful to sing this sweet tune. I introduced the gals to my favorite Colbie Caillat songs, Brighter Than the Sun, Bubbly and Fallin' for You, and we've learned three patriotic songs, three traditional hymns, and are working on four Christmas songs among our repertoire. It's been a delight to have extra singers along, so a total of five voices and three guitars. I love to have others playing a singing. It a joy to teach my western guitar picking and strumming and tips and tricks to a new generation.

So, as I close down the technology for the evening, I leave you with this lovely video of Marie Miller and the song we've come to love and sing each week.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Saturday Bliss

Where do I begin… wish is to stay comfortably in bed, with my coffee and any of the several good books I’m reading….All. Day. Long.   That would be heaven to me!   It is bright and sunny and inviting out…yes, and two festivals, for which I’m torn between, are in motion ….one right here in town, and the other out of town at my children’s college.  I must go to the college ArtFest as my oldest son has a booth and his art on display, and for sale today.  It’s been a while since I ventured to the campus, and they have redone so much of it, I’m interested to see the new and vast updates.


But not all is bliss on the home front…..unfortunately while I stay snuggled in comfort and wishful thinking… husband stresses every day now since his employer of 37 years passed away (in March).   While the news seemed uplifting at first, (the company was left to my husband and four other employees, and there’s stock, etc.), it couldn’t be more stressful and difficult.  The lone survivor, a cousin, who became executor of the estate and part owner of the business, has made himself president of the company and is making all decisions and going through the money quite quickly.  It’s very heartbreaking and while my husband has spoken to several lawyers, it’s of course, costing us money, without much result of stopping this….no real changes can be made while in probate….and the probate process will take quite a while….at least and year and half, up to two years to be settled.  Can my husband stick it out that long?  Will the company fold before that?  He has another job lined up in that case.  I know his original employer, a very fine business woman, would have never wanted it to end up this way, although her intentions were very good for her small staff:  basically win-win.  Own the company, the shares, and keep it going, be paid, retain your health insurance, etc.   Or, ask to be bought out.   She set it up, so every one would still either be employed or walk away with revenue to help them move on.    But to get to that point…..and will there be much left after this executor has done his damage to the company? 

So, indeed we could use prayers.  We are trying to keep our heads up and be optimistic that it isn’t as bad as we think….but, all the signs are there, a paper trail of written checks, and decisions made, minus the other part-owners of the company. 


On a brighter note, our bible study starts this week, and my husband and I could really use the support and prayer time together and with others.  We have two wonderful birthdays to celebrate, my own youngest son’s, and my mother's!  AND our wedding anniversary, soon arriving……So, hopefully this week will add some cheer to our otherwise stressful lives at the moment!

So, yes……why I would yearn to just stay in the comfort of bed with a good book and a good cup of coffee…..and say some prayers of both gratefulness for all God has blessed us with as a married couple, and in hopefulness of what He has in store for us.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Last Day of Summer…

Oh, how I dread seeing that in print!  How I long for more summer…but I will say this month, this very transitional month has been very lovely indeed, peaceful, and beautiful.  The September air is so fresh and fragrant, and how I love to be out in nature with my children.  The beginning of our home school venture, 19 years ago, began with a Charlotte Mason bend to it, and that has never left us.  I believe children do best with plenty of out doors, exploring and exercise, authentic literature whenever possible and true education, (versus trendy), classical education integrated fully with the teachings of Christianity.  I have found that wonderful blend of Charlotte Mason, true education and classicism with Mother of Divine Grace.  It is brilliant and provides a quality classical education in the home, as well as accountability and an accredited transcript.  Even more excellence: Modg has their own chapter of the National Honor Society for which one of my children is eligible with his 4.0 GPA.  We are very excited about The Pope Leo XIII chapter of NHS.   It’s wonderful how home school study programs just keep getting better and better.

And so today as we bid farewell to Summer, we also celebrate my father in law’s 92nd birthday!   Such longevity, good health and out-living his 8 siblings.  The German heritage and tenacity is certainly persistent in this fellow.  I have always found him to be such a hearty example in both mind, body and soul.  My husband’s family and ancestors are incredible people and I’m so glad to have married into such an excellent clan.  They are an enormous family, extremely prolific and absolutely all related….from here in the Midwest to California, they are one in the same.

Also, keep me in your prayers this Monday,as I do things I need to do, and my son with anxiety must endure.  I pray for his strength and a real miracle that he will stand strong against the anxiety issues he faces, and be courageous and reserved, calm and at peace, that the power of the Holy Spirit and love of Christ will warm and comfort him, and the evil one will not overcome him whatsoever.  In Christ’s name, Amen.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Three weeks down….who’s counting?

And so here we are approximately thee weeks into our home school, and our co-op.  I made an edit on my Friday Daybook post, as I forgot to include a few important classes the children participate in at our local co-op this year.

First, I want to thank the fine mothers who volunteer to share their talents and know-how for such courses.


My youngest son is delighting in taking American Sign Language with a real specialist in it.  Two actually.  They are doing such a great job of teaching two groups of K-3rd, and 4-6th. 

This son is also taking an earth Science course, right now covering atmosphere (weather systems); and has learned so much already.


I somehow forgot to add our oldest son’s ACT Test Prep course to my Friday Daybook ramblings also.  The mother leading this is such an expert in ACT prep.  Her older daughters did AMAZING on the ACT tests, and this mom is using her favorite resource for success for the students and I’m thrilled my son is able to take this class.  I just thought of this course as my son was doing the homework for it, and I was grading it.  I thought how marvelous it is he is doing this and how the instruction will benefit him so much.  I know he can do excellently, IF his anxiety doesn’t get in the way. It likely won’t take place until fall of the next school year. So we have time. Thus far, in home school this son has done very well indeed; an A on his first geometry test,(Euclidean geometry – not just any geometry);  A on first Latin test, A on first religion essay….he’s off to a great start!

His little brother is quick behind on……A on his first Saxon Math test!..and A on his first science test. 

After home schooling for 19 years, it doesn’t get more exciting than this!  It’s really exhilarating (and down right nerdy, eh?) to enjoy and marvel in every detail of their learning.  One is reading Farmer Boy, Laura Ingalls Wilder, and one is reading the authentic Iliad, Homer….it thrills my heart with deep satisfaction that they are learning in deep layers and thriving. After all, this is all I do raising our children and teaching them….our life is all about education in this home.

God bless you with a beautiful home school year!

Friday, September 05, 2014

Friday Daybook

On this lovely feast day of Blessed Teresa of Calcutta (Mother Teresa), we find ourselves nearing the end of two weeks of home school.  It has been a rush, to say to the least, but sweet as sweet can be.  I am very grateful for the freedom in this country to keep my children home and educate them in the manner we as parents see suitable; especially as I see the world around us suffering from violence and hatred and war, and huge groups of Christians displaced as refugees.  May our own Mother Teresa intercede before the throne of God for peace and healing to these nations.

So, yes, our home school is moving along – we had our first co-op day yesterday and it was very nice indeed.  I have the privilege of teaching two beautiful twin girls guitar this year (picking up where their former teacher left off).  They are seniors, entirely home schooled and their mother wished for them to continue with their guitar this year before heading off to colleges.  All I can do is make them rock stars, or country maybe  :)  Ha ha…I am terrible at music theory anymore, especially since my eye sight is so bad, so I’m teaching them every strum and pick on the planet, tips and tricks and many many new pop songs, gospel songs, traditional and seasonal. 

So, our actual courses are looking like this:

Sophomore Son’s line-up:

Religion 10 (Sacraments & Apologetics)

Ancient History & Geography with integrated Ancient Literature

Ancient Literature

Jacob’s Geometry (on line class w/LS through Mother of Divine Grace)

Physical Science (BJU high school text, through home school co-op)

Natural History (Science)

Mod Design 1 (programming with Java – on line course)

Cambridge Latin Unit 2

ACT Test Prep (through our co-op)


Religion 5 (Faith & Life: Credo)

Saxon Math 65 (w/Adaptation workbook)

Learning Language Arts through Literature (Purple Book) this is great for this son as it is encouraging him to read literature.

Science Concepts & Challenges in Earth Science

Science 4-6th, also at our Co-op

American Sign Language (Co-op)

US History & Geography (& Literature)

Latina Christiana 1

New American Cursive

Fine Arts / Music

We have a full year indeed, but this is all I do.  Educate my children, help at our church educating the children, consult to other families educating their children and participate in our local home school co-op for the sake of educating the children.  Yes, this is all I do!

God bless you with all you need today!

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

I have a son who has longed to learn java programming language, but we just weren't finding the right situation.....until the other day.  Home School Legal Defense in conjunction with Homeschool Buyers Co-op, sent an offer I couldn't refuse!  What luck, what providence, that this email shown up in my inbox bright and early while I sipped my coffee.  I simply could not believe it.  Mod Design 1, java language, 30 course hours, design your own Minecraft mod.  Wow! THAT was so much what we were looking for and 40% off as a co-op buyer member. This excellent offer directed us to:  Youth Digital.

We just began school and my son is thrilled to be doing this programming course. I will report more another time.

Our Lady of Czestochowa: The Black Madonna

Our Lady of Czestochowa: The Black Madonna

Friday, August 22, 2014

All Good Summers must come to an end….

I had a very lovely dinner with my PSR (Parish School of Religion), family yesterday evening.  We started with a meal, done by our resident local chef, hosted by our Knights of Columbus, followed by our much needed kick-off meeting packed with new information regarding curriculum and child protection procedures. Only four teachers couldn’t make it – that’s pretty much record attendance :)  So I am very pleased that we were able to bond, meet the new teachers, and discuss highlights all in a most pleasant atmosphere.

This means our Sunday school season is about to begin, the weekend following Labor Day weekend. 

I am so grateful we have some new teachers and returning teachers that are very committed.  We need that – all programs need that.  After 22 years of teaching 2nd grade at the parish level, it doesn’t get easier, in fact, I’m beginning to look for my replacement.  I would gladly help in the background, and still direct the program, overseeing the Child Protection Policy, sacrament preparation, ordering of curriculum, and  step out of the 2nd grade position.  I’m leaving it to prayer and God’s plan.  I just know that there is someone God is placing the desire and vocation within,  to step into this position, and they will make themselves known, soon.

In the meantime, my own school season at home is about to be underway, beginning this next week with our high school son beginning his on line Geometry course (Jacob’s Geometry, Euclidean).  I am just thrilled about his doing this with a Mother of Divine Grace teacher in a cyber classroom, because while I did do it with my previous two students solo, I love that the classical part, the Euclidean part can be brought out more.  Yes, Jacob’s Geometry is Euclid’s Elements brought to lay people, so to speak.  It does teach geometry, but with more focus on how to think  (through the proofs), rather than just getting the answer.  How to think well, training the mind, and teaching the student “how to learn” is key to classical education.

We need more people in our society that can think well.  It has become more clear to me as I age, that the shallow stripped down education of the culture definitely is trumping everything in its path, including sanctity of life, human dignity, politics, health care issues, the Christian faith in general, and the Catholic faith most particularly.  Catholics are faced with difficult times in that they stand for the tough issues, the issues that have morphed into politically correct issues.  Those issues you have to be accepting of, tolerant of, “you’re a Christian!…love your brother!”, these kinds of dysfunctional accusations pour forth when a Christian stands their faith ground on moral issues – and society doesn’t like it.  Society doesn’t get his way…resulting in attacks on Christians.

There is a lot wrong with this picture.  It will take another post for another day.  But please pray, pray, pray, for those being martyred for their Christian faith beliefs,  and offer your own personal persecutions endured here in the USA, for those Christians, those Catholic Iraqis (Chaldeans – original Roman Catholic Communicants in Iraq), and others being martyred in that region of the world.  May the hatred end.  May the people be protected.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Carpe Diem


Summer is surely fleeting….although I’ve been preparing for our new school year slowly but surely throughout the summer, I have more recently begun to get our school courses really ready, our home clean, some  cooking/freezing done, and stocking up on school supplies.

As I pour over the curriculum, pulling select books off the shelves, taking inventory of supplies, I realize how much I have adored being able to impart an excellent education to my children.  What a blessing.  How did this happen??  How is it my heart grows ten times bigger with gratefulness and awe each year? While it is a lot of work, it is work that is worthy and noble; it is full of depth and breadth and heroic effort.  This moment makes me want to stand up and applaud every parent out there that has done this, is currently doing this, or has an inclination of stepping up to the plate and giving it their best shot.  


If anyone would have told me 30 some years ago, I’d be married in Ohio, with four children and home schooling them, I would have never ever ever believed it.  Home schooling wasn’t even something on my radar, wasn’t even something I knew anything about.  I was still playing in bands and singing and traveling; I was working a very amazing job at the Utah state capitol and just living in the moment from day to day.  Now, I wake up and realize how God used those experiences to bring me to this place in my life with my own island of people. 

Wow, does God work in mysterious, or what?  Really, HE has a plan…and if you are just open to it, it unfolds beautifully in his timing and perfection.

I know I don’t want summer to end, because….well, I’m selfish and it was a long hard ugly winter, and I know I personally need a super long mental health day summer to recoup.  But, at the same time, I am thrilled to be able to school my own children with a beautiful classical education, giving them so much more than just subjects to be filled in, crossed off on the transcript. 

I am also so grateful that I can let my kids, be kids.  That means the teens can continue to be carefree, with some appropriate responsibilities of course, but not the pressing issues that secular society dictates to them in this culture. Girlfriends, boyfriends, sports.  If your teen life doesn’t consist  of  those ….then you are weird, or nothing.  It’s not what education is about. My children can relax more and prepare more deeply, with consideration and prayer, their God given vocation in life.  After exposing them to noble thoughts, amazing characters of history, cultures and languages, truth, and all that has come before them…they have such a more broadened view of the world and their place in it.  Giving them personal meaning through Christian studies, and how cherished they are by God, helps lessen their burdens of this sometimes very stressful and demanding existence.  They realize their existence is purposeful and meaningful.  Everyone has a place in the choir.  Every person is important.  As the Eleventh Doctor (Doctor Who) so thoughtfully express: “I’ve never met a person yet that wasn’t important.”   Believe it. 

So, as summer winds down, and I prepare to teach again the classical repertoire and Christian studies to my own family, I feel a deep poetic beauty and connectedness to this fascinating world of ours……to our maker and His creation, and to the particular clan of people He has chosen to put me with on this chronological timeline of His making. These are the kinds of feelings, I like to grasp a hold of revel in  forever…..savoring them and keeping them safe in my heart to open up again and again, as a pleasant reminder of a life blessed.    


Bring on the books!  Carpe Diem!

Saturday, August 09, 2014


I know I’ve shared about the lovely tradition of the Schultüte before, but it’s worth sharing again.  I mean, anything that says: “chocolate” or “candies” or “sweets” in the description is worth sharing, right? 

I will begin some school supply shopping soon – and for the first day of School at home, I really like to brighten it up and make it special for my children.  While I haven’t always given a precise cone shaped Schultüte, I have given a special box or bag with lots of goodies.  However the cone shape item is still my favorite and I do like to construct my own; my difficulty lies in doing it in secret and hiding them……

This awesome little website, KinderCone,has made Schultüte getting and giving all the easier.  You can order pre-filled ones, or empty ones to fill yourself.  How nice is that?

And while I really don’t want to say good-bye to summer quite yet, I do need to plan ahead, because the start of our school year will be here before we know it.  And yes, older students can enjoy and benefit from a  Schultüte also, filled with say….a scientific calculator and geometry tools, their favorite chips and snacks and gel pens……Schultüte is not just about the Kindergarten folk :)

Friday, August 08, 2014

Keep praying

The things I feel grateful for lately seem so frivolous compared to the basic freedoms of the people in the middle east.  While Christians in the middle east are being systemically killed, men, women and children, in a horrific genocide I feel pathetically helpless and frozen, wondering what will our government do?  Just today I saw a news headline regarding the President having okayed humanitarian air drops.  That’s all fine and good, and yes, we have to do something ….I realize are military was just pulled out of that area and all hell broke loose.  Who on this planet is going to return there and help them?  I know this has been going on for literally centuries, back and forth, waging war against one another. .I just pray and pray and pray for those that are truly innocent and good people.  What horrible persecution of Christians, penalty of which is torture and death, even of the smallest child.  God please come to their rescue.  I have to believe if the scriptures were to be written today, these stories would be included because they are so monumental.  Could a new Moses arise to set these people free?  Send them someone Lord.

Meanwhile we are moving through our daily lives with an enormous amount of free will, many choices and freedoms that I think we take all too much for granted.  When I think about how I, how we, can just go about our way each day, grocery shopping, stopping into the church, reading our bible, or proclaiming outright on social media snippets of scripture, or saying God’s name aloud……I realize how free we are.  Each morning I arise to this freedom, with hardly a fear in my heart for anything major.  Yes, we have the unexpected things, tragedies, accidents, heartaches and heartbreaks, which are part and parcel of every one’s life.  But this country, our country,……think how we can count our blessings, in contrast to the larger world.

So when we quibble and complain and whine about every last little thing…..let’s not!  Let’s instead put in our mind’s eye the image of those families across the globe being so traumatized and stripped of any of life’s comforts and beauty; families torn apart, being cruelly treated, tortured, killed for their very existence, because they are a different culture, live in a conflicted area, or are Christian; Christian….something we take for granted here.  When we are persecuted or believe to be targeted as Christians, through health care reform, or by atheists or secular society’s prevailing viewpoint and pressure,  we are still so much more free than the person on the next continent. 

I know it is not perfect for every one, I know some people are born into a poverty or abuse that doesn’t end…but I know, we aren’t kicking the underdog either…and if identified, these people can be helped, help is there for them, no matter what race, religion or creed they profess.

So, my whiny post about summer going too quickly, not being hot and humid enough, and how horrid the last winter was, and how we need more nice weather to make up for it…….and how I really don’t want to start school too soon…..It is all turned upside down on its head.   The freedom to even home school, and hold off and not even start until say October if I want….is a generous freedom.   I am so much in control.  There are laws that protect my interests in ways that would seem very indulging to others’ feeble freedoms in other countries.

Grateful doesn’t even describe it.  Indebted to how God has put me and those I love on this timeline in this era and place….is forever written on my heart, and yet my heart weeps a great pain and sadness for those others that find themselves in places other than this land of the free, home of the brave.  May God stop the horror in those places.  May God heal the people, his people, every where.  May God make Himself truly apparent and reveal His greatness and send a miracle.

A miracle is what is needed.  And God can supply it.

Keep praying.

Monday, August 04, 2014

"We do not want a church that will move with the world. We want a church that will move the world." (G.K. Chesterton)

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Words worth reading…My favorite Books

I’m not sure why I have been devouring copious amounts of books this summer, but I am loving every minute of it.  I am more busy than ever, and yet I find the time to read – at least I have my priorities straight, right? :)

Smile  I think I have long neglected my reading self, and it’s now catching up on me.  Sure, I read the lesson plans and some snippets of literature here and there pertaining to our home school ~  I read the headlines, the social media news feed, and my prayer devotional/scripture. 

I have blogged recently about several good books that have crossed my path and I have very much enjoyed them, and enjoyed sharing them with others.

I just spoke to a mother with a special needs child last night and help formulate her educational plan, and I referred her to the book Simply Classical: A Beautiful Education for Any Child, by Cheryl Swope, which I just adore. I think it gives mothers of special children such hope and lightens their hearts with joy that these special children can receive a more excellent and beautiful education. 

When I read, even for pleasure, it just has to be edifying and deep, else I feel I am wasting my time.  There are so many out there with their minds in the gutter, unfortunately.  The old saying, you become what you surround yourself with, bears such truth.  I wish to elevate and enlighten myself, so even with fiction, and am very picky.

So, I thought I would post here some of my “books worth reading” that are my all time favorites, those that have changed my life for the better and changed my perspective of things (not necessarily in order of prevalence):

The Language Police, by Diane Ravitch

The Gift of Fear, Gavin de Becker

Protecting the Gift, Gavin de Becker

Children of the Last Days books by Michael D. O’Brien (not a left behind series!….this is a series you can really sink your mind and soul into…)


There are several more also if you follow the link above…..

Grace-Filled Moments, Johnnette Benkovic

Forming Intentional Disciples,  Sherry Weddell

Designing Your Own Classical Curriculum, Laura Berquist

Simply Classical: A Beautiful Education for Any Child, Cheryl Swope

The Way I see It,  Temple Grandin

If Aristotle’ Kid Had an Ipod, Conor Gallagher

Finding Family, Richard Hill

Phantom Tollbooth, Norton Juster (yes, a children’s book, my favorite all time book – a joy for adults to read also :)

Finding the Meaning in the Second-Half of Life, James Hollis

My favorite read aloud series to my children – all the Oz books, 14 of them; and if you get them, get the vintage reprints with gorgeous artwork by John R.Neill; a few samples here and links:

Ozma of Oz, L. Frank Baum

Glinda of Oz, L. Frank Baum

Remember there are 14 in the series……..

And lastly, many books from Bethlehem Books, but a few of our favorite are: Bantry Bay, and The Mitchell’s series…. fun for adults and children a like to read aloud.  Anything by Hilda van Stockum, in my opinion is worth reading and owning. You must own A Day on Skates: the story of a Dutch Picnic! – so beautifully written and illustrated by this amazingly talented woman!

Happy Reading!

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Excellence in Education for Any Child

I have had so much fun reading this summer.  I have read several excellent books, some of them I’ve blogged about.  The latest is called:

  Simply Classical, A Beautiful Education for Any Child, by Cheryl Swope

Such a beautiful story, and so welcome in my heart. It  is just fantastic what this mother did with her adopted impaired twins with an integrated approach of therapies and classical education.  To see how the daughter went from an I.Q. in early grade school of 75, to testing at 8th grade, with results of either right on at an 8th grade level, or in many categories, levels of 11th, 12th grade and post secondary.  Such proof that a classical education can do so much for special needs children. 

I can not stress enough the Latin, the beautiful language of the ancient literature, the scriptures, beautiful literature overall, the purposeful instruction in Grammar, Logic and Rhetoric, the seven liberal arts, and the exposure to all things, good, true and beautiful.  Modern day education has strayed so far from anything resembling these attributes and is such an ugly mutation of the beautiful, dignified manner to educate with excellent content, while within the stages of human development.

I applaud Cheryl Swope for taking on the task of truly educating her special children with excellence.  I have always subscribed to the idea that you have them home, do something excellent with them.  You are not doing them any favors by keeping them home, and not helping them excel and truly filling them up with all things true, good and beautiful that are at your disposal. 

It’s true Cheryl had a MAs in special education, and it’s true she didn’t know how to teach children, had never really learned in her studies and field work, and wasn’t even close to understanding what classical education was about.  She herself was the product of the public school system, and university, that eroded away all classical thoughts and Christian teachings.  It was a sheer blessing she emerged with the seeds deep inside of her, the yearning for something more beautiful and substantial to enrich her children’s education and progress, as well as herself. 

If this author can do it with two children very greatly impaired, you can do it with your children that are not cognitively and physically impaired.  And you can do it with your child/children that are impaired.  This story makes my heart leap for joy as I see my own autism spectrum disorder child grow so much this last year with our own homegrown integrated approach of excellent school and therapies.  I am so blessed and glad to be giving him an excellent high quality classical Christian education that is so hard to find out there.  What is pawned off as education today, with all it’s progressivism and serious anti-Christian garbage is such a sad state, through charter schools and public schools and sadly even tuition paid private schools, it’s no wonder children are so confused and emotional and trying to grasp onto something of substance in their lives and souls.   Integrating the Christian faith with your classical education is the only way to go.  It will make so much more sense.  When history is a true account, from the ancient pagans to the gospels….your child will know the truth of his salvation history, he will see the “big picture” and have the scriptures at his disposal as an every day way of life and living.

You are the example also.  By our children seeing us praying, reading the scriptures, attending bible study, and encouraging beautiful hymns and church practices, we give them a higher and better standard to mark their lives by.  Let’s face it, there is so much they can fall into if they are not solidly and truly grounded in the Christian faith.  I feel I have fallen short in some areas of my child education/raising (by not sending my children to a very Christian oriented university).  I’m grateful they didn’t fare worse, but I can see where some of their Christian formation has been eroded by the experience.  I only pray they are healthy enough and infused with the Holy Spirit plentiful, to make a good recovery and move forward, perhaps even stronger.

So if you are at all interested in education and home education,  and want to read something truly inspiring, truly real life….this is an excellent and informative, beautifully written book. 

Tuesday, July 08, 2014

Let’s talk about Jesus

Let’s not only talk about Him, but let’s consider Him as central to our faith belief, as He is the way, the truth,and the life [Jn 14:6].

When I was an older teen attending Catholic schools in Utah, I use to go on retreats to one of the convents in downtown SLC.  At my confirmation, around age 12, I began to discern the possibility of a vocation as a religious, and all through high school, I made good on that discernment.  I lived at the convent for two months one summer, the year before my senior year.  I was very inclined to join the Daughters of Charity. Very.  Then my mother came up with breast cancer, my father’s job was causing him much travel time, and I decided to put the strong inclination on hold and take care of things immediate to me. I guess you could say the rest is history… personal history.  But, my inclination toward religious life did not end, in fact, it was only just beginning and growing stronger.  When I look back now, I realize how God fulfilled my desirous inclination – my very deep want of relationship with Him, through a lay vocation.  All the talents and charisms I was blessed with have been used abundantly in my lay life, among my family, my church, with the education of my children….exhaustively so, and yet they keep coming….they keep flowing.

I never stopped working with priests and sisters, and with religious education in those earliest years – in fact, little did I know that my working at CCD [Sunday school] on the weekends in our parish, was the beginning of my formation for something God later had in store for me; (because I attended Catholic schools, I didn’t need to go to religious instruction at the parish on weekends). Seemingly by default, I fell into teaching our 2nd grade at our church during my married life, and eventually was asked to serve as director of religious education, which I continue today. 

I can do all things in He who is my strength. [Phil 4:13]

.The one who believes in me, as the Scripture has said, will have rivers of living water flowing from his heart. [Jn 7:38]

When I was also in my older teens, I committed myself to Jesus, I accepted Him as my Lord and savior (yes, protestant sounding, isn’t it?) 1 But the truth is, knowing the person of Jesus and following Him is what our Catholic faith is about.  All else falls into place thereafter. It isn’t a foreign notion, or non-Catholic notion to accept and take up a relationship with Jesus.  If more people consciously did this, think how transforming our churches and communities could be.

There is a marked difference between being an intentional disciple, or a cultural one…an intentional Catholic, or a cultural Catholic, the latter being one born into the faith, but never really making it their own – never really taking up a relationship with Christ and becoming a true disciple.  Never really opening up and unwrapping the charisms given to one in the awesome outpouring of the Holy Spirit through baptism and confirmation. Think how true disciples of Christ can change the world……can change your church, your community, your family. 

When I was a young mother, still bearing children, and beginning to home educate my own, I founded a mother’s nurture group for Catholic home schooling moms in our parish, and the motto I adopted to it was from St. Elizabeth Ann Seton, also a mother, and the founder of a religious order…..”Women building the kingdom of God through home schooling; women of faith, women of hope, women of love.”  My heart felt desire was to bring out in myself and these mothers the sharing of spiritual property, as one would gather to share intellectual property for the betterment of a cause, I desired not just that (for the good of home schooling) but for the building of the spirit and strength in these godly women.  We read our bibles together a lot, we studied church encyclicals, we prayed together (the best part!), and we grew in our relationship with Christ.  I still take away fruits from those meetings, to this day, although the group no longer meets.

I wanted to share with you a bit of my personal journey, to lead you to a wonderful resource that helps Catholics in particular revisit their baptisms and confirmation, and reawaken, renew within themselves the very gifts they’ve been given, and how they can live them out as true committed followers of Jesus Christ.   The book speaks for itself and much more eloquently then I can, so I leave you here with the information regarding it.

God bless –

Forming Intentional Disciples: The Path to Knowing and Following Jesus
by Sherry Weddell

Saturday, July 05, 2014

Freedom, gratefulness, ordinary life

It has been a beautiful beginning to this month.  Coming out of June where I helped a friend find her birth parents, knowing she is still floating on cloud 9 and will be for some time (!!); and now, getting ready to celebrate my favorite daughter's 21st birthday.  (er ahem, my only daughter, :) )  Life is good. 

I have enjoyed the sunshine (even the rain) more than anything this year.  Maybe it's my age/aging, but that last winter was a beast!  This has caused me to really appreciate the clearer more moderate months.  

I am heavily into intense preparations for our Vacation Bible School at the church, that is too take place the week of July 21st.   I am working hard to get our volunteers organized and the pre-preparations in order.  It is always a lot of fun kids of all ages, but is truly an exhaustive endeavor.  

I also ask that you keep me in prayer as I have a special prayer intention, that really can't go out there on the cyber waves, but all the same, God will know.  Thank you in advance.

Have a beautiful weekend!  Continue to be grateful for this great country, land of the free, and home of the brave.  

Wednesday, July 02, 2014

So beautiful......St. Joseph

Raising (& Teaching) Little Saints | Catholic Homeschooling & Traditional Catholic: Foolproof {Catholic} Homeschool Days

Whether you're Catholic or not, homeschooling is a blessing and an organizational pursuit!  This was wonderful, simple advice on how to really make progress.  Going on 19 years of home education, I know I can personally STILL use and NEED every bit of wisdom possible.  Discipline of one's self is the biggest thing.  Putting prayer and God time first, getting up earlier and getting ready....and having done your homework before presenting the children with their work, and really sitting down and schooling them, are givens.    God bless you on your mission!

Raising (& Teaching) Little Saints | Catholic Homeschooling & Traditional Catholic: Foolproof {Catholic} Homeschool Days:

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Life & Education ala’ mode–with a cherry on top

My recent tweet:

Curriculum shopping ::exciting:: …no really!  LOVE homeschooling :joyfulheart: :teachingmyown: :peace:

It could not be more true.  I love homeschooling my children. I consider it such an honor and privilege and natural extension of natural mothering.

There is one thing that has always brought joy to my heart, and plentiful rewards, and it has been that of homeschooling my own children.

I would not trade it for the world.

Yes, there have been difficult, challenging times. How could there not be after 19 years of this?  But long ago a wise homeschooling mother told me, “do not get caught up with the secular world’s ways, or the mothers who go the way of the secular world always feeling their children are missing something because they are homeschooled…..those that don’t find peace with homeschooling and don’t see it as an apostolate, a holy mission.....they will only make you despise what you are doing…”

I talk often to those who want to homeschool, love to homeschool, and Iisten to and read copious amounts of support and encouragement materials and resources surrounding homeschooling.  This way I nurture myself and fill myself up with the very tools and nourishment I need for my mission.

Nemo potest: You cannot give what you do not have.

If I speak negatively about home education in my own home, (which I never do), what does that do to my children? 

My husband has trusted me to the care and education of his children.

Our philosophy here is: institutionalized and public school are off our options list.  So, within that context, how we education our children within our set boundaries and standards, moves outward from that very determination.

So, as I begin my curriculum purchases for the year ahead, I delight in my heart and soul deeply and gratefully.   I am grateful to be here and have at this moment, time with my children to revel in their development and intellect.  Meeting each child where they are at, and bringing them forward in progress that reflects their personal best.

May God bless you and your children with the graces and joy you need to fulfill your mission.

Monday, June 09, 2014

A Productive Day in June

Although I’m suffering terribly from my seasonal allergies, today is a glorious day! Why?  Because we have completed our school year, and planned for the next.  This is cause for much celebration!

I can’t believe my 9th grade student has all As!..well, his Fine Arts (on line course) grade isn’t in yet from his teacher, but it’s likely to be an A- at least.  I could not be more thrilled with how this young man accomplished all that work load this year and got an A in the rigorous Algebra (Abeka) course.  The math enrichment teacher at our co-op mentioned how she was tutoring one student in Teaching Textbooks Algebra II, and how her Abeka Algebra I students were actually doing those same Alg II concepts. So, Abeka is tough.  And tough on grades also, as you really get quite a lot marked off of each wrong problem, more so than many other math courses.

So, onward, onward!

Next up: Jacobs Geometry for 10th grade, and we will enroll in the LS (learning support), classes for that through Mother of Divine Grace.  Enrollment for LS classes begins tomorrow, so I’d best be seeing to that.

We will do the next unit of Cambridge Latin Unit 2, which we are definitely looking forward to.  Unit one was Caecilius and his family, living in Pompeii….yes, a sad ending indeed! Unit 2 is when the Romans invade Britannica…or Briton. 

All other courses are the standard Modg 10th grade line up. 

I have a couple decisions to make with my rising 5th grade student who got all As on his assessment this year.  If that doesn’t do my heart good, as his autism spectrum disorder doesn’t seem to hold him back from performing well academically.  

This son really needs a lot of focus on language arts, therapeutically, so oral and written communication is essential for him as well as spectrum children in general that are high functioning, and had speech delays. It must include inferences, as these children tend to take everything quite literally. And they need one on one concentrated sustained work.  It’s slow, but my son is making progress in this area. 

So, normally Intermediate Language Lessons is used again at this stage,(and we use the workbook form) but I’m considering using the 4th grade edition of the Learning Language Arts through Literature book, or perhaps his grade level 5 one.  There isn’t a lot of difference between the two except for the literature used.  The thing is:  I want to get him interested and involved in the literature reading more.  So, the 4th grade lit choices may appeal to him more, but then again the 5th grade ones may also…should I toss a coin?!  And the books are on our shelves, so no problem there.  Modg recommended LLATL many years ago, until Laura Berquist discovered Emma Serl’s gentle grammar lessons, and switched over to her texts for grades 3, 4 and 5.  I know my consultant (and myself, as a consultant), won’t mind my using this older recommended resource for this son.  Grammar is something you need to do with your child, at least for it to be successful, so this is an area I involve myself in with my children no matter what in those younger grades, until around 8th grade/high school; and even then, we do Latin together, which furthers grammar study.

Then my decision between Abeka 5 math or Saxon 65.  I know Mark likes to cut to the chase on math.  I’m considering using Calculadder for some drill work (made fun).  He’s a great math student, and I don’t want that to end.  Abeka is rather diverse and “busy”, and moves at a clip.  He’s definitely needed more time on some concepts, so Saxon 65 may be my switching point. Although “visual” math does help him – the pictures and diagrams in color in Abeka have helped him a lot.  So, I need to pray about this one, and ask my God for a revelation!

I know I’m down to just two children, and have never had to teach more than 3 at a time, with a baby or toddler about…..but I have taught other people’s children in with my bunch for several months at a time, and that has given me a broader perspective of what it’s like to teach more children.  I am so amazed at my Modg families who are doing that every year….teaching 6 to 10 children unending.  God bless them.  What a message and a mission…and a mission with a message!!  I am very impressed.

God bless you with a wonderful day!

Thanks for stopping by ::smiles::

Saturday, June 07, 2014

Tuam mother and baby home: the trouble with the septic tank story - Social Affairs & News from Ireland & Abroad | The Irish Times - Sat, Jun 07, 2014

In case you didn't hear the real story......the headlines world wide were very misleading

Tuam mother and baby home: the trouble with the septic tank story - Social Affairs & News from Ireland & Abroad | The Irish Times - Sat, Jun 07, 2014

The Church and God and Man

I generally don’t enter into any deep or sensational blog posts regarding world religions and Faith beliefs, and maybe I could as a long certified religious education teacher, but I will say just a few things… (and then you can follow the links to the further information on the Roman Catholic Church’s teachings regarding the couple areas I’m addressing briefly). 

I am in much appreciation and  greatly admire the  Roman Catholic faith/church that has stood the test of time, (good and bad, mind you, because anything with longevity is going to have some ugly histories as well), but “the gates of hell shall not prevail against it…”(Matt 16:18). As we approach Pentecost Sunday, and reflect on the gift of the Holy Spirit, given among us, signifying the birth of the Church, I am in even more awe and gratefulness for a church that remains unModern and non-politically correct, if I may say so, and yet up to snuff on current issues. 

Yes, it seems a contradiction in some ways, but not all modernism nor secularism is healthy or good for the people of God….no revelation there, eh?  If you just look around yourself with your Christian eyeglasses on at the media, writing, cultural trends…it’s so obvious that we as professed practicing Christians are at odds with our very environment.  Romans 12:2, John 17:15-17

After extensively studying Rome and Greece in our home schooling, in a cyclical manner as classical education calls for, we become more fully aware of the paganism and the gods and the One True God-lessness, we still have among us. Even Christians can thoughtlessly have their own gods; they can be the “things” of this world, we attach ourselves to all too strongly placing them first before God (idol worshipping)…..and just not acknowledging God as the one true God, and Jesus as His son, our Lord and Savior….well, some things don’t change, and here we are as Christians among it.

So, while I am not a theologian and don’t wish to pontificate in the least to you my readers, I will say this:  again, I am grateful for my particular strain of Christianity which is broad and guiding, not narrow minded but rather, firm in its stance against offences that destroy the dignity of man and God’s plan.

I direct your attention to other religions of the world that the Catholic Church believes and teaches and acknowledges “all that is good, and true and noble” in any Faiths; as they contain some of the Truth.  Or that they worship the same one true God; the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, the God of Jacob… we do. 

And in regard to Creationism and Evolution, the church very eloquently and intelligently, does not hold a Catholic to one or the other.   The Church does not claim to know the entire truth of the origins of man, or the earth or it’s length of existence in time and eternity, however, the Church does distinctly say that however the earth and man and all creation came to be, GOD’s hand was in it…..He is the Almighty Creator. re: Evolution, again,  that if this was how God chose to create man in his likeness and image, HIS HAND was in it, infusing a soul in man (being the operative area of thought). We do not take God out of anything …He is the creator, the Almighty.  We are honest in admitting to both science and sometimes the word of God, that we don’t know it all.  There are those that claim they know it all.  but I am thankful as Catholics we are left to consider and discern these areas for ourselves, and be humbled by the fact, again, ONLY GOD KNOWS THE FULL TRUTH, we do not, and there is a tremendous area of TRUST in God, that is unfolded in the “not knowing.”

So, without further ado, I give you the more articulate and eloquent voice of the Church universal: 

Truth Cannot Contradict Truth: (full discourse by clicking on title)

excerpt: “In his encyclical Humani Generis (1950), my predecessor Pius XII had already stated that there was no opposition between evolution and the doctrine of the faith about man and his vocation, on condition that one did not lose sight of several indisputable points.”

Vatican Council And Papal Statements On Islam (click on title for full discourse)

excerpt: “But the plan of salvation also includes those who acknowledge the Creator, in the first place among whom are the Muslims: these profess to hold the faith of Abraham, and together with us they adore the one, merciful God, mankind’s judge on the last day.”

Wednesday, June 04, 2014

Rest, peace, loveliness in raising children and educating them….

…..yes, this is not a trick title heading! 

After home educating my own brood for going on the 19th year now, I do have something to say about anxiety and peace, and grace….grace in mothering and educating, which in my opinion are one in the same.

There have only been two books ~ever~ that have impressed and left their mark on me through the years regarding home education.  They are Designing Your Own Classical Curriculum, A Guide to Catholic Home Education (Berquist), and Real Learning: Education in the Heart of the Home, (Foss).

Until, recently, those were the only two books, apart from my bible devotions that have sustained me for literally YEARS in my home schooling life.  But, I can honestly say, I am adding a third keeper to that short list. 

I firmly believe, if you don’t believe in something strongly and nourish that belief continually, you will fall for anything.  And so it is with home education.  Oh, how the grass can seem greener…….but you soon discover that pasture may not actually be suited to your taste either…..and you wander upon many pastures….without peace..

Really, what you need is peace, and a lot can be said for a solid but flexible curriculum (and if you desire, one that will be your school of record with transcript keeping). 

Teaching from Rest, by Sarah Mackenzie, may help you find that peace.  I am just starting to read it myself having downloaded the eBook and I know before it’s ended, I will be adding it to my support books to nourish myself along this journey.

While you’re at it, check out author and blogger Sarah Mackenzie’s lovely blog, you will not be disappointed:

Amongst Lovely Things

Principles of Classical Education | Circe Institute

Articulate reasons as to why I love classical education in our home schooling:

Principles Derived from the End of Classical Education


The purpose of Classical Education is to cultivate virtue and wisdom. The classical Christian does not ask, “What can I do with this learning?” but “What will this learning do to me?” The ultimate end of Classical Christian education is to enable the student (disciple) to better know, glorify, and enjoy God. Since we are able to know things with which we have a common nature, the more we are like God the better we can know Him. A student gives glory to God when he is like Him. Our enjoyment of God is derived from our ability to see Him and to see His handiwork.

In a Christian school, learning is not an end in itself.  Instead, the classical Christian teacher asks God to use his teaching, dispositions, and actions as an instrument in His hand to cultivate the students’ souls toward holiness.  In this sense, learning can be a means of grace.

Tuesday, June 03, 2014

School’s Out….

Can’t believe I’m excited already for the new school year ahead, as it’s only been ONE day since we ended our school for the season…..but this is exciting to me – yes, our next unit of Latin …..

My high school son and I are just loving Cambridge Latin.  I don’t want to give away how Unit 1 ended….(spoilers!), but, the unit followed a family the whole year…and well, they lived in Pompeii…..(yes, I know)…..we wept.  And we learned more history that was beautifully integrated with pictures and facts, so what a great enrichment course.  And the Latin readings (stories), are fabulous.  They followed family life and goings-on, like any small town village.  Grumio the cook, Clemens the slave, and even Cerberus the family dog. 

So, yes, I’m shopping for next year’s items, before talking to even my own education consultant…..but we are so standard, because well there’s just everything to love about doing the standard courses with Mother of Divine Grace.  There has been little we have ever departed from through the years so I guess you could say we are rather generic, in our own unique way!

School’s Out for Summer!