St Gabriel Windows

St Gabriel Windows
Photocopy c. 2013 Jamie Laubacher

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Between the Seasons

Oh, it's that time of year where summer is slipping away very quickly now.  The local school district begins school this upcoming Monday.  *sigh    My senior son begins with Mother of Divine Grace on line learning support classes the end of the month.  Yes, summer is surely slipping fast.....

But what a lovely summer it has been.  There have been some wonderful highlights this summer in the life of our family amidst maybe some disappointments and frustrations.  Young adults and relationships...sometimes there is pain involved.  We did have a share of that -- but I hope and pray for mending of hearts in this area. On a happy note, my daughter became engaged.  The wedding will be this time next summer.  So it's exciting to be looking forward to that.  

My daughter is using my wedding dress -- we are having it refashioned and fitted for her.  It is now sleeveless and will be permantly bustled; it has a very long train.  

For the Fourth of July, we enjoyed the most amazing fire works show my husband and I have ever seen our entire lives!  Nearly in our own backyard -- just a half hour away in our rural setting at a county fairgrounds. Our two younger sons loved it!  I don't think we will ever be able to top it!

We saw a lot of movies this summer.  "Finding Dory" was definitely a winner.   I indulged in some much needed self care and down time.  I realize the negatives of now living on life saving medication daily.  Still, I am not ungrateful for it -- but there are many side-effects.  One of which is strange puffiness in odd areas of the body and some discomforts, and hair loss -- big time.  Still, the medication is helping to prevent further liver damage, and avoiding a liver transplant in the future.   I have a more gentle approach to my life, my schedule, my pickiness on what I'm doing, when I'm doing it and whom I'm doing with it.  No time for stress.  And my diet has changed immensely, which I think it's probably all for the better. 

I did have a lot of consultations for my education job up to July, but then I scantily scheduled July and August (only as needed basis), and took that time off to just relax and unwind before we begin a new school year at home, my families begin, and the Parish School of Religion at our church begins.  In July I spent time preparing for and pulling off our parishes' VBS, Barnyard Round-up!....what a fun time for the children of our parishes.  So that was another bright spot in the summer -- in hot, hot July, although thankfully we missed the REALLY hot week that came later in July with temps soaring well into the high 90s! 

So, here I am now cleaning the house and getting it ready for the new school year.  What a joy and privilege to be able to educate your own children.  With 20 years experience now, and approximately 5 more years to go, I can say that you CAN do it.  Of course you can!  Now that I have older children who have been homeschooled right into college and have since graduated and I have their take on it - their adult input now, I am so pleased to say that they felt very well prepared and confident in college to take on the courses and they did exceptionally well. They knew Latin!  :)  several professors commented on how impressed they were at their ability to translate/know something in Latin because it does come up very often in academic course study.   They came away feeling very successful and one is already talking about homeschooling her own children, that's how good their experience was.  I am so glad for the freedom during this chronological timeline to be able to homeschool and do not just "do subjects" but rather, do the content needed but with a classical methodology and philosophy - where it forms higher thinking and analytical skills that are so lost today on our younger generations.  We need better educated and formed individuals for the future of our world! ...our United States alone! 

The rolling book cart in it's sparse beginnings -- now it is very filled up!

Finally, I have enjoyed teaching American Government and teaching guitar all summer --  For the guitar part, it involves a few of my past students and a current on going student that has taken from me now all year round.  What a joy to play the fun current music -- American Authors, Rachel Platten, Adele, the Lumineers, Phillip Phillips, Colbie Caillat, Sara Bareilles, Andy Grammar, Green Day, to name a few.  We do many current Christian artists and traditonal/patriotic hymns as well.  It brings my heart to life - to sing and play weekly all year long and be able to pass on to these young gals what I know - to share that with them.  They can play and sing now.  And they have binders filled with at least 40 songs to draw from.  I am so glad all my band experience in my late teens and early to mid-twenties wasn't wasted.  That the crazy band life with long practices culminated into an experience I could share with others for a good.   So that has been a special highlight!  

American Government & Economics has also been a fun pursuit this summer and so, so timely!  I am teaching this to my son and one of his home schooled friends.  It has been such a great class with these two!  All high students across the United States have to have this course(s), so homeschooled students are no different. Knowing my son has quite a rigorous course load this year as a senior, I thought getting Health out of the way, (also a requirement on high school transcripts) and Government & Econ started sooner, during the summer, would be helpful for him.   He finished Health much earlier in the summer with the Mother of Divine Grade Summer Health course on line.  He got all As, I am proud to say :)   What a wonderful Catholic morality course!   He learned so much.  Just incredible and taught by such great Catholic instructors.   So, we are finishing up the American Gov part of the dual course and in September will be starting the Economics part.   

We celebrate MANY summer birthdays in this house ....mine was just one of them! 

We have not let any moss grow on us this summer, that's for sure, but yet, it was still relaxing and comfortable.  I really needed that! 

God bless!  Enjoy the rest of your summer and may you have a beautiful Fall!  

Friday, August 05, 2016

USCCB Blog: Faithful Witness to Marriage

USCCB Blog: Faithful Witness to Marriage: By Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz, Bishop Richard J. Malone and Archbishop Thomas G. Wenski Questions revolving around marriage and human ...

Monday, July 04, 2016

HAPPY FOURTH OF JULY from my family to yours! 

Summer Bliss & This

What more could I want than settling into a peaceful relaxing summer?!  Really, it's all I want :) And I realize now, it's nearly half-over!

After a very busy productive homeschool year and religious education year as director and teacher at our parish,  I need a lengthy, lazy break. I did get a little of that, but now interrupted.  I'm deep in the trenches of Vacation bible school preparations -- the event begins next week.  This will mark our 10th anniversary year of doing VBS on our own as a parish, where previously we had a group come in from the diocese to do VBS for us (Franciscan Sisters, TOR).  I think we have grown immensely from the experience.  It's always challenging, but God seems to find a way to help us along.  

In the meantime, I've been busy selling off books and buying some new resources for our new school year ahead.  Really I don't want to think about school but after 20 years of home education, I know I must -- the more prepared I am ahead of time, the smoother the year goes.  And this year will be very challenging.  I am preparing my senior son for college -- his college won't be the same model his older siblings accomplished, but it will be just as challenging. 

Old family photo at Easter, 2012?? 

I have enrolled my son in as many Mother of Divine Grace LS (learning support on line) classes as possible for the new school year. We have used LS in the past but not as many.  This year, I feel it's important he answers more to others that are teaching, but also that he gets good science and math guidance as his degree will demand it.  He is looking into applying 7 mos after graduation to a radiologic technology program through a branch of Kent State University, that he can commute to. It is very limited, so he may not make it the first time.   It's a rigorous program, and it begins in the summer (thus, his holding off for the next year instead of immediately going into it right after graduation), and it runs year round for two years straight.  He will need to have done job shadowing prior to applying.  I think this year of his accountability going elsewhere will be important especially since he is my one that has anxiety.  He has come SUCH an incredible long ways, and he's even been invited to National Honor Society that last couple years, but this year, he is accepting it and taking the next step.  Still, when under pressure, and when the months of Jan & Feb come around, he can sink his lowest.  This last winter he did amazing -- praise God.   So,  we are preparing well in advance to get him ready this new school year.  He did his college board testing and scored way above the national average -- so scholarship offers have been pouring in.  He knows he doesn't really want to do a 4 year college experience -- and I do think it might be too prolonged and stressful for him.  Still, these plans could change.  I'd love to see him go to a college like Franciscan University of Steubenville, where I feel he'd be with like minded people of faith, but I know God has a special plan for him as he does for all my children and all of us. 

All in God's plan and timing....

Then this happened:  my daughter became engaged the last week in June.  We are very happy and excited for her.  They are looking at a late spring, summer wedding for 2017.   

I will be sure to post our upcoming curriculum for the new year, soon. 

God bless!  

Monday, June 06, 2016

So Much Happens in Between

So what have I been doing?  The better question is, what have I not been doing?  Life has been moving along at rapid fire speed these days.  Just a month ago my First Communion class made their sacrament and it seems like forever ago now -- so much happens in between.  

We have been to a couple weddings, a few graduations, many appointments and I have begun my summer teaching schedule and planning for our parishes' Vacation Bible School. I continue to stay busy weekly consulting for Mother of Divine Grace - which by the way, I love my job!  

We are finishing up our home school..... my youngest is entirely done as of last week.  My oldest is done as of today, and is officially a Senior for this new school season,  and is making plans for college.  I can't believe we are saying that now. He was invited to an honors program at one of our state college branches that is about 30 minutes away.  His ACT score was very good for a first time college board test taker and he was already offered some very good scholarships. He is looking into a specialized program, radiological technician, that is a two year, all year round, program. They only take so many each year, through review and interview.  There is no room and board, so he'd have to commute daily, which isn't too bad, but in the winter, um, it might be.  Still, it seems to be his strongest area of interest.  Maybe something else will appear on the horizon to him as the year progresses, but right now, this is his plan.   Next week we celebrate this one's 17th birthday - wow, and he has grown up so quickly this last year and made remarkable strides (overcoming anxiety) and done very well academically.   As we continue with Modg, he will be signed up for several LS (on line) courses with them this year.  I think allowing his accountability to shift to other teachers is a good transition at this point. 

In the meantime, I'm being slowly being weaned off of the steroids for my autoimmune liver disorder.  I am told I will remain on the immunosuppressant indefinitely.  Yes, I was surprised too.  But it's my best chance of not having my liver continually damaged by the disorder.   I am learning to take better care of myself, and staying strong and optimistic.  I know things happen for a reason and this health glitch seems to have brought about many positives along with the obvious negative challenges. 

AND may I add, it is LOVELY here right now in my part of rural Ohio.  Just beautiful and warming up, in between occasional rain.  We have long needed this beautiful weather and reprieve and I am going to revel in it and soak up every bit of it I can for the next few months -- while it lasts!   The Cicadas have come to make their 17 year visit and are literally every where -- along with their strange humming's made life interesting here and made us more aware of the miracle and awe of nature.  How amazing is our God?

Get out there into nature and make it a great day!  

Thursday, May 19, 2016

On Respecting Children When They Make Mistakes - Crisis Magazine

On Respecting Children When They Make Mistakes - Crisis Magazine: Helping children navigate the road to virtue is a challenging task. Thousands of books, articles, videos, and programs present strategies for how to discipline children effectively. Many parents have found tremendous help this way, and the abundance of information available for struggling families can be a gift from God in difficult and complicated situations. Two …

Monday, April 25, 2016

Catching up....but slowing down

I have long been missing in action.  Still healing from the autoimmune liver disorder, and trying to hold my own in my little corner of the world.  At this point, my steroids have been reduced, but I remain on them at a lower level (for many months ahead), as well as the immunosuppressant.  Right now, I'm battling a virus cold. I sound much worse than I feel.  I am sleeping much much better since the steroids have been reduced.  I am grateful for that!  

In the meantime, we enjoyed an absolutely beautiful Easter.  The weather has improved and begun to warm up with insects and pollens in full swing!  Yay!  (sarcastic grin).   But, I will take the SUNshine any day :)

I am mustering up every bit of energy to get my first communion class through their very special event this weekend.  I have never been more exhausted in the 23 years of doing this.  You know a lot happens in 23 years!  There is a door bell ringing, telling me it is time to pass the baton!   I have tried several times in the last five years to get someone interested in taking over the 2nd grade class, but it just hasn't happened.  I would still be the director of our religious ed program and oversee many of the big things, and be there for the sacrament prep teacher, but I really need to slow down and the energy and preparation it takes weekly for me to do the class has really been felt this year.  I know God is listening, because just this weekend my current helper did say she is "interested" in doing the class.  That would truly be a blessing.  Pray for me, pray for us, pray for my class as they encounter the great grace of God in the most Holy Sacrament this upcoming weekend. 

I have also been side-tracked with genealogy research which I just love to be side-tracked with! That is a great diversion and passion.  

I will try to write more often, but I can't promise :)   Life is really like a wild winding river right now, moving at a rapid speed and I'm really just hanging on and taking each curve as it comes. 

Saturday, February 06, 2016

My Year of Wellness

This year is the year of wellness and comfort for me.  I have designated it so :)   Because of my serious autoimmune disorder affecting my liver that became acute in September, I've had 5 months of steroids and immuno-suppressant drugs in me, and I'm not sure when it's ending.  I visit my doctor soon and we will discuss the long term plan. Because the inflammation from the disorder is so widespread throughout my body, not just my liver, but my abdomen, my joints, my mouth/gums, my eyes....I have had an array of discomfort and symptoms.  It is calming down though, and the largest amount of inflammation was relieved within two to three weeks of the medications.  With it, went a lot of weight.....I lost two clothes sizes. My vision has changed...I mean my eyes....I had to go back to my older less strong prescription glasses.  Occasionally, on a bad day for whatever reason some inflammation slips back in, I have to resort to my newer prescription.  Interesting, isn't it?  I'm taking in one day at a time.  

I have been a little more protective of myself...a little more of putting myself first in some things. I've had the guts to say "no" more often.  I really have to because stress and over activity really doesn't help this kind of disease into remission.  

"Wellness" is my theme for the year --  Rachel Platton's "Fight Song" is my theme song for the year.  

My diet has changed, my body has changed, my outlook has changed.  I am all about comfort, lessening stress and moving forward with a healthy mind, body and soul.

My daily routine has changed -- the hours I am up are quite early now, and I'm taking advantage of being productive while the family sleeps.  I have seen more amazing sunrises this way!  As much as I'd like to sleep into the morning more.....I am appreciating the blessing of God's glory around me and this experience is not wasted.  

So, I have a few items that keep me fueled for this journey -- my awesome new journal I spoke of in a previous post, some lovely Philosophy Fresh Cream fragrance which rocks my day with joy, and some of the following that are with me (on me) during my days as I press through the daily grind here.    

My NPR Women's Retro 70s Logo t-shirt, who knew it will feel so right and be such a great color that cheers my day on:

My Spenco Leather Orthotic Siesta Slide slip-on shoes:

I have pretty much been able to wear this non-stop as we haven't had much of a winter here; I haven't had to haul out the serious winter boots at all.  

My skin has taken a beating with the drugs; my facial skin was dry anyway, and now highly sensitive due to the medication, so I have been using an Estee Lauder product (never dreamed I'd be using or spending money on :), but you know what?  It seriously works.  It's is very soothing and hydrating and it smells delightful, and it's doing a better job than any of my former products, so I'm keeping with it:  Nutritious Vitality 8 Radiant Moisture Creme

I have swapped out my coffee addiction and basically become British!..or maybe that's Irish :) So I have learned to love English Breakfast Tea.  I have tried a few kinds, trying to get a hang of this "black tea" thing ....and I've settled on a good one:  

Because I'm lactose intolerant, I've been putting a splash of this in my breakfast tea, International Delight Sweet Cream, just a little something special I indulge in:

There are several more favorite frills that make my days complete but I will save them for another post. 

Thanks for reading!  May you be blessed with favorites and wellness throughout this new year!

Friday, January 15, 2016

A War of Choice

Excellent article from Joseph Bottum for Weekly Standard; click Title for full article

A War of Choice: The Little Sisters of the Poor are headed to the Supreme Court this year, seeking escape from the contraception mandates of Obamacare — under which they fall, the government claims, as insurance providers for the employees in their nursing homes. The Justice Department is fighting the Little Sisters tooth and nail, determined not to allow them to evade the law's requirements, because .  .  . because .  .  .
Um, in truth, the Obama administration has never made entirely clear why it's so desperate to rope nuns into bureaucratic schemes for providing contraception. After all, the administration has let other organizations slip through the cracks. Unions have their exemptions, Congress has its exemptions, and the politically connected seem able to get Obamacare waivers for the price of a postage stamp. Nearly every other party who asked for protection from the mandate has been given it, says Mark Rienzi, a senior counsel for the Becket Fund. It made no sense for the Little Sisters to be singled out for fines and punishment. .  .  . The government has lots of ways to deliver contraceptives to people — it doesn't need to force nuns to participate.

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Overnight Crockpot Oatmeal

Overnight Crockpot Oatmeal: Anytime I mention that we breakfast on oatmeal cooked overnight in the crockpot I get asked for my recipe. I don’t know if this qualifies as a “recipe” but here’s how I do i…

Friday, January 08, 2016

Easy 123 Art ---- So easy to do a Masterpiece

This is such a fun winter project -- choose from a large variety of already printed canvases, numbered with what paint color you need -- all provided in your kit.  What a sense of accomplishment.  

Very Classic, Cat.

The Starry Night

Sun Power (the one we have)

Friday, January 01, 2016

Keep a Journal - a New Year, a New Start

I have always keep a journal, or back in my younger days, a "diary," as we called them.  Some of my diaries even had a small key to lock and unlock them.  I remember at least in or around 5th grade, keeping such diaries.  By the time my family had moved from my birth state of California to Utah, I definitely was keeping a daily diary -- in fact, when we moved from one location in Utah, I had taken all my diaries, stored them in a bag, opened up my closet, pulled out a huge built in drawer at the bottom of it, and hid my diaries in the emptiness of the drawer's under earth, and then slid the drawer back in.  I wondered in time, if anyone had ever found them?  Read them?...the musings of an eleven to thirteen year old child?

To this day, I keep a journal.  It is more spiritual and maybe sometimes just casual and filled with the daily-goings-on of a mother of four.  But it has always been my way, for better or worse, to put my thoughts to paper, particularly after monumental events.  

One year I recall keeping a journal that was the most painful journal I have ever written in my life so far.  I still have it; it dates back nearly 8 years ago now.  It was the first year of OCD/anxiety treatment for one of my sons who plunged deeply into the grips of mental illness due to the dramatic onset of OCD and was hospitalized for a week. It was there he was diagnosed.  It was very difficult and painful and I logged on going weeks of therapies, all the doctor visits, the medications, the changes in doses, any positive or negative outcomes, his outbursts, depressions, ugly behaviors and any bright or good spots.  By the end of that year, the last couple months shown stabilization, and positive hopeful signs.......but oh how very challenging that year was.  Five years into the therapies I could say he had become a healthy young man, and only this last year, (so seven years passing), he has made remarkable and miraculous strides and come so so far since those difficult dark days.   I am truly grateful.  

I keep that journal as a reminder, I don't even have to crack a page it, I only need to see it's cover in my drawer and the word Grateful comes across my heart and soul, and I thank God deeply for where he has led us now.  

On the lighter side, my recent re-watching of the River Song episodes of Doctor Who, and her personal diary, the Tardis diary, also definitely inspired me to continue on to author my own thoughts and personal events.   Well, it won't be anywhere near as exciting as River's jottings I'm sure.....but still, it's my best, right?  

And so I have bought a delightful little pink with tiny stars on the cover Bella J.** notebook to pen some new thoughts for 2016.  I took inspiration from this recent article:  

Among the three reads I keep going (per my Charlotte Mason philosophy of reading- see footnote below*), I am currently reading Rediscover Jesus by Matthew Kelly, and using his "prayer process" as a guide to my journaling.  If you don't own this book, I encourage you to download it to your eReader or make a purchase of the hard copy.  It is worth your time. 

And so, I hope you will consider keeping a journal (finally) and I wish you all happiness and health and good inspirations as you embark on this new beginning, this new year!  

Happy New Year &

God bless!

P.S. if you would like to keep a digital journal, there are many to try; I have the Journey- Journal-Diary from the Google store; it's a nice format and easy to use on your android device.   You can customize it nicely, add personal photos.  
End Notes:
*Charlotte Mason: from Karen Andreola's A Charlotte Mason Companionpg 346, Chapter "Mother Culture" suggests: 
  1. A Stiff Book (something challenging)
  2. A Moderately easy book (i.e. biography)
  3. A Novel (preferably good ones – not "twaddle" perhaps a classic author i.e George Eliot, Charles Dickens)
This way you can choose a book that you "feel fit for" at the time.
“Never be without a good book on hand.” ~ Charlotte Mason

** more Bella J. products found here:  Paper Luxe  and here: Bella J.

Happy New Year 2016