Friday, October 31, 2008

Odds and Ends

Happy All Hallows Eve! I will be out trick or treating with a few pirates and some prairie girls. Hope those of you who trick or treat have an enjoyable afternoon. This year it appears as if the weather is going to cooperate: sunny and mid 60s!

The organizing freak inside of me has to share this great idea I found on heblogssheblogs. It is a great way to organize and keep track of all of the things you have to do. Instead of keeping a bunch of to-do lists, the author said she started writing things she needed to do on the back of old business cards she had. Every morning she looks through the stack of cards and picks out a few that she can accomplish that day. Once done, she throws them out. Too bad I don't have any old business cards lying around...

Tomorrow begins November (already?). One thing we've done in the past years is to take a blank calendar page for the month and write the name of a deceased friend or family on each day of the month. I hang the calendar in the kitchen and each day we pray for and offer up sacrifices for that person. It is a neat way to remember the special people in your life who are no longer with you. It is also fun to tell the little kids about these people that they never met.

God Bless!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

The Front Fell Off

Okay, here is a bit of almost-end-of-the-week humor. What with all of the seriousness in the world right now, we all could use a good laugh. Besides, laughing has been proven to be good for your health. Anyhow, enjoy this video. If you need to find a reason why it is on a homeschooling blog, lets just say that you could use it for a lesson in how to give a convincing speech which, in reality, doesn't make any sense!



God Bless!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

40 Hours of Eucharistic Devotion

Last night we went to the closing ceremonies of the 40 Hours of Eucharistic Devotion at a local parish. As you can see from the above picture, this is a beautiful church. In case you've never been to something like this, I thought I'd bring along my camera so I could share the beauty of it with you.

Eucharistic adoration began after the Saturday evening Mass. It then continued during the day on Sunday, Monday and Tuesday, with a service and Benediction each evening. As I said yesterday, the homilist was a retired Bishop from Michigan. He spoke again last night and had another good sermon on Jesus in the Eucharist. He was quite lively about it, too!

After the reading, the Gospel and the homily, there was Holy Communion and then a Eucharistic procession around the church. Any children that were present, as well as about 10 other priests, got to join in the procession.

I find that there are very few things in this world that compare to the beauty of Benediction. There is something quite incredible about the priest holding Jesus up in the monstrance and blessing the people. Sorry, but I just couldn't bring myself to fumble with my camera during that moment.

So, for your pleasure, here are some pictures of last night's event. Here is Father getting ready to incense the monstrance.

This was right before the procession began.

I loved the way this picture turned out!

This was the end of the procession. Aren't his vestments beautiful?


I sat there last night in all of this beauty thinking of those horrid YouTube videos showing the desecration of the Eucharist and my heart was breaking. Jesus Christ, have mercy on us, for we are nothing but sinners!

God Bless!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

The Eucharist

Last night we were at Benediction for a 40 hours of Adoration that a parish in our area is having. The homilist for the evening was a retired bishop from Michigan. He gave a wonderful homily about Jesus in the Eucharist and how the Eucharist is the source and summit of our faith.

There was one thing he said, however, that really struck me. You know how it is when you have that "WOW" moment and your eyes can see something that they've never seen before? He was talking about how the Bible is very important for us and a very important part of the Catholic faith, but that it is not the only thing we have. He said that we have the Eucharist, too, and it is the Eucharist that helps us to live out what the Bible commands. Without the Eucharist, it is so much harder to carry out the commands that Jesus has left us in the Bible.

The Bishop then when on to talk about the Last Supper and it occurred to me that Jesus did not leave us the Bible at the Last Supper, nor did He leave it to us while He was dying on the cross. The two important things He left us in the last hours of His life were His own Body and Blood, and His Mother. What are the two things that Protestants have thrown out? The Body and Blood of Jesus in the Eucharist, and His Mother. Maybe some of you have thought about this before, but it was a new way of thinking about it for me. What a shame that they have turned their backs on the two last things given to us by Christ before He died.

In these last few days before the election, and in the midst of all of the distressing things going on in the world, let us turn to Jesus in the Eucharist for our comfort, our support and our joy. We will find all of these things there if we go to Him.

God Bless!

Monday, October 27, 2008

All Saints Day Party


Yesterday our homeschool group had its annual Saints Day Party. We did it a bit early this year because this coming weekend is another Miles Christi silent retreat for some of the dads in our group and we didn't want them to miss any of the fun!

Every year we have our saints procession.


After that, each family gets to introduce themselves and tell what saints they are, we have a living rosary, a big pot luck dinner and games for all the kids. This year one of the families introduced something new that I thought was really neat and so I'm passing it on for anyone who has yet to have their saints party.

We were introduced to the tradition of "souling". From what I have gathered this is an ancient tradition and there are various ways that people used to go about doing this. The way that we did it was to have each family write down the names of deceased family and friends on individual slips of paper. Then, the moms each sat down in a line with their slips of paper and some candy or holy cards or whatever they wanted to hand out. All of the "saints" processed through the line and each mom would put a slip of paper and a treat into their bag. The kids were told that each time they ate a piece of candy or took out a treat, they had to say a prayer for one of the people whose names were in their bag. While this was happening, there was a souling song playing in the background. The words to the chorus are:

  A soul, a soul, a soul cake
Please, good missus, a soul cake
An apple, a pear, a plum or a cherry
Any good thing to make us all merry
One for Peter, two for Paul
Three for Him who made us all

We came home with quite a stack of people to pray for. It should keep us
very busy for the month
of November. It really was a nice addition to our
yearly event.


Also, as a reminder, today starts the last nine days leading up to, and
including, the election, so
now would be a good time to start a novena
or a fast. I am aware of one group who will be doing a
nine day bread
and water fast through election day. There are also many prayer vigils,
holy hours and
public rosaries going on during this time. Let us storm
heaven so that God's Will will be done for our
country.

God Bless!



Saturday, October 25, 2008

Mr. Smith Goes to Washington

Instead of a recipe today, I've decided to offer you a movie review.

Last night as part of our unit study on elections, we watched the movie "Mr. Smith Goes to Washington" with Jimmy Stewart. Wow. This is definitely a classic because even though it was made in 1939, it is very timely for today. With all the media coverage over the upcoming election, watching this moving was like living it.

In case you've never seen the movie, I have included this clip to give you a taste of what the movie is like.



What a speech! What we need in this country are a few more Mr. Smiths. There probably are some out there, we just never get to hear much about them. I believe we are also using the homeschooling movement to raise up some more of them.

We were able to get the movie through our library, so it shouldn't be that hard to find. Looking for something to do this evening? Find this movie, pop some popcorn and enjoy!

God Bless!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Election Videos Worth Watching

Once again I was going to skip posting today because nothing had entered my brain yet to post about. As I always do when I sit down at the computer, I checked my email. Lo-and-behold, there were two videos that I think are definitely worth watching. Please watch them and share them with people who are still on the fence about this election. And remember, continue to pray for God's will to be done.






God Bless!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Schoolhouse Rock

Okay, so how many of you are going to admit that you remember the Schoolhouse Rock videos? I rediscovered them when we were studying the Preamble of the Constitution. Admit it, right now you are humming the tune that helped you to memorize the Preamble. Can you still sing the entire thing? If not, here is your chance to listen to it, memorize it and sing it for the family (my kids just gave me that sideways glance that kids are good at when I was singing along with the video!).

Today we were discussing how Congress has the power to turn bills into laws and guess what, I remembered another SHR video about that, too. After a little searching, here it is...



After watching the poor bill make his way to the President's desk, my kids were wanting more, so we watched the Boston Tea Party, the American Revolution and one about how the government is like a three-ring circus. I found an interestingly pertinent one about what Wall St. is and how to invest properly: "Remember, Buy Low, Sell High". If it were only that easy.

Now you're hooked, too! Have fun and I bet you'll find that when you least expect it, you'll be singing "We the People..."

God Bless!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

The Ant and the Grasshopper

My how time flies when you are having fun. I just realized as I was signing in that my post from yesterday was my 200th post. Can't believe I've had that much to say :)

Anyhow, with the election fast approaching, I find that it keeps getting more and more difficult for me to keep my blood pressure at a normal level. I think that if people are going to vote for a candidate, it would be very nice if they knew exactly what their candidate stood for. And that statement applies to people on both sides, myself included.

So, with that in mind, I offer you the story of The Ant and the Grasshopper. I always have to ask myself what my post has to do with homeschooling or building up the domestic church (if I don't ask myself, my husband will), so I could easily see this fitting into our election unit study.

OLD VERSION: The ant works hard in the withering heat all summer long,
building his house and laying up supplies for the winter.

The grasshopper thinks the ant is a fool and laughs and dances and plays the
summer away. Come winter, the ant is warm and well fed.

The grasshopper has no food or shelter, so he dies out in the cold.
MORAL OF THE STORY: Be responsible for yourself!

The email I got this in had a modern version of the story which I have decided not to post here. Suffice it to say it does not paint a good picture of the grasshopper or the government. Instead, I thought it would be more fun to use this old version of the story as a discussion starter. Think about how a story like this might be interpreted in today's media. How would the media portray the grasshopper and what would the average American on the street think about the ant and the grasshopper. Come to think of it, this might even make a fun writing assignment. It would be interesting to see the different view points that might come up. Try it out and see what happens.

And remember, urge people you know to VOTE PROLIFE!

God Bless!

Monday, October 20, 2008

Civil War Days

We got a chance to go back to the past this weekend to Civil War Days. Not just any Civil War reenactment, but the largest one in Illinois. It is held every year at this time on a pumpkin farm nearby. This year we knew one of the reenactors so it was kind of fun to try and find him in the midst of battle.

One question we had was, if the guns aren't really firing bullets, how do you know when you've been wounded or killed? Our friend told us that you get to fight until you run out of ammunition. Once you run out, you have to fall down as if you've been shot. Sounds fair to me!

The South was outnumbered almost 3 to 1 in this battle, so consequently, the North was able to maneuver around and capture some of the South's cannons and soldiers. I thought that I would share some pictures from this event in case you've never had the chance to see anything like this. From what we've heard, the US Civil War reenactments are very popular in other parts of the world, too.

Here is a picture of one of the soldier's hams that he was cooking for dinner.


Here are some women and girls in period costume.

This is a picture of the Southern soldiers firing their cannon at the Northerners.
This picture shows the fighting. It looks pretty authentic to me. I wonder what it feels like to be a reenactor facing another man and his gun?

Here we see General Lee and General Jackson (in the black) and another unknown officer. They look quite real!

This is an example of the old meeting the new! One of the little boys we were with kept wanting to go see the golf cart!
The graphic descriptions from the medical tent were quite interesting. Miraculously enough, all of their patients are able to walk away after treatment.
Here are some ladies having tea after the battle. Maybe they are discussing the strategies that were used and coming up with ways in which to improve them!

These cannons were actually used during Civil War battles. One of them was named "Lady Molly". Pretty cool, huh?
The afternoon gave some of the girls a chance to dress up, too. How often do you see that many snoods in one place?

Here is a close-up of one of the soldiers. It looks like a lot of fun. Some people travel all over the country doing this.
Hope you enjoyed my tour of Civil War Days.

God Bless!

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Fudgy Mint Squares

This minty tasting dessert would go great with your favorite flavor of Mystic Monk Coffee. We made it last weekend and even though it didn't look like it looks in the picture in the cookbook, it tasted great and I've been getting compliments on it all week. I even made it wheat-free and people still liked it! Enjoy!

10 tbls butter - no substitutes - divided
3 squares (1oz ea) unsweetened chocolate, chopped
3 eggs
1 1/2 C sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup flour
1 package (8 oz) cream cheese, softened
1 tbls cornstartch
1 can (14 oz) sweetened condensed milk
1 tsp peppermint extract
4 drops green food coloring (optional)
1 C semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/2 C whipping cream

In a microwave safe bowl, melt 8 tablespoons butter and unsweetened chocolate; cool slightly. In a mixing bowl, beat 2 eggs, sugar and vanilla. Add the chocolate mixture; mix until blended. Gradually beat in flour. Spread into a greased 9 x 13 in baking pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes or until top is set.

In a mixing bowl, beat cream cheese and remaining butter. Add cornstarch, beat until smooth. Gradually beat in milk and remaining egg. Add extract and food coloring if desired. Pour over crust. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until center is almost set. Cool on wire rack.

Meanwhile in a heavy saucepan, combine chocolate chips and cream. Cook and stir over medium heat until chips are melted. Cool for 30 minutes or until lukewarm, stirring occasionally. Pour over cream cheese layer. Chill 2 hours or until set before cutting.

God Bless! And have a peaceful and restful Sunday.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Fall in the Midwest

What does fall look like outside your window? The other day my daughter asked me what fall picture I was going to use for my header. HMMM. I had forgotten about that, so I'm hoping to get out soon and take a nice picture of some pretty fall leaves. In the meantime, I thought I'd show you what fall looks outside to me right now.
Pretty soon they'll come and harvest this field of corn. Its always fun to watch the big combine coming straight for our house, especially when it is at night and the bright lights are shining in our family room window.

Other things we see around here at this time of the year are lots of beautifully colored mums. I love mum season. Too bad it is so short. Fall in the midwest also means:

-More deer running in front of your car because all of the crops are being harvested. We had three of them run in front of us early this morning on the way to mass.

-Lots of smoke from people who feel the need to burn every single leaf that hits the ground. Sorry, but my allergies cannot stand burning leaves.

-Pumpkin farms full of all kinds and sizes of brightly colored orange pumpkins.

-Civil War days at our favorite pumpkin farm. We're looking forward to that this weekend.

-The twice-yearly scramble to the basement to find clothing that will actually keep us warm!

-Mice running out from underneath things in the house when you least expect it.

-An influx of Asian beetles in every room of the house. Not sure how they all get in here.

I really like living where there is a change in seasons every couple of months. Each season has its positive points, but I think that fall is my favorite. I like the crisp air and the beautiful colors that God sends us. How blessed we are to have such wonderful variety! Hope fall is just as beautiful in your neck of the world as it is here in the midwest.

God Bless!


Wednesday, October 15, 2008

10 Commandments for Christian Bloggers

I have been following Jamie's blog for awhile and about a week or so ago, she had her blog comments "hijacked" by some simply horrible anonymous commentors. The things they said to her were uncalled for and full of hatred. She has deleted the offending comments and the corresponding posts and for awhile had turned off all comments. Fortunately for her readers she has just reinstated them.

This whole ordeal really slapped me in the face. I am very fortunate because it has been awhile since I have seen hatred like that in full force. The comments came from people who do not like children and, unfortunately felt the need to make sure others felt their unhappiness. I commend her for having the courage to post again as I don't know if I would have been able to jump on the proverbial horse's back again so soon.

"Coincidentally", I found another post not long after that incident entitled the "10 Commandments for Christian Bloggers". I found that commandments number 5 and 6 apply to Jamie situation in particular. I personally try to follow the commandment about taking a sabbath from blogging, which is why - unless it is absolutely necessary - I do not post on Sundays. Not only do I need the break, but perhaps you guys need one from me, too :) Anyway, I think that if you blog or just read other peoples' blogs and comment on them, these commandments would be a good thing to keep in mind.

God Bless!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

A follow up on Little Marie

The other day I asked you to pray for a little five year old girl named Marie. Well, she died yesterday and the post that her parents wrote on the CaringBridge website is quite a tear-jerker. It was so moving that I would like all of you to take a moment to read it and let it sink in. Pass it along to everyone you know as it contains lessons that all of us need to be reminded of over and over again.

Eternal rest grant unto them, O Lord, and may perpetual light shine upon them. And may the soul of Marie and all the faithful departed, through the Mercy of God, rest in peace. Amen.

God Bless!

Monday, October 13, 2008

The Woes of a Potty-Training 3 year old

This past weekend we had a big party at our house. Having a big party at your house usually means that all of the residents of your household are busy with preparations all day long. Having everyone busy all day long means that your potty-training three year old has far more accidents than usual. By the FOURTH time that day I was a little frustrated, to say the least. It was at that time that my wonderful, caring son assured me that he would not pee in his pants anymore that day becuase he had run out. He was right. He fell asleep while we were still outside and slept all night without having an accident.

Today, he was out with his dad at our neighbor's house when he slipped and fell off of a railroad tie onto their concrete driveway, skinning his knee and elebow (as he pronounces it). He wasn't crying because of his wounds, however, he was crying because when he fell he must have bumped his stomach, thus pushing on his bladder and - you guessed it - he peed in his pants. My husband said he just kept crying, "I peed, I peed". Poor kid. It was then I remembered that potty training is not only stressful for us parents, but also for the little one who is trying so hard to be successful!

As a side note, when they got home and my husband changed him, he put a pair of jeans on him at which point my son started fussing again. Not because he didn't want jeans on, but because he felt his brown camo shirt didn't match his blue jeans. After my husband pointed out that he and my other son both had brown shirts and blue jeans on, my son, thus assured it was okay to match brown and blue, went happily on his way. And I thought I only had to deal with my girls and their clothing!

God Bless!

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Please Pray for this little girl

It is times like these when I am amazed at the way in which we can utilize technology to organize the Body of Christ. Please pray for this little five year old girl, Marie Breda, who aspirated a bead while at mass last Sunday. You can get updates on her condition here. The family is praying for a miracle through the intercession of Blessed Mother Teresa. If you have time, read all of the journal entries as their family history is quite remarkable and makes a lot of our "troubles" seem small in comparison.

Blessed Mother Teresa, pray for Marie and for all of us.

God Bless!

Thursday, October 9, 2008

A Horrible Crime via YouTube

God is good! I wasn't quite sure what I was going to post about but I figured I should probably put something up, so to stall the inevitable, I decided to check my email first. In it was an email with a petition to YouTube to pull some videos that someone has posted that show the various ways that he desecrates the Eucharist. YouTube has not removed the videos as of yet. Here is the plea from Robert E. Ritchie from America Needs Fatima. The link will take you to the America Needs Fatima website where you can send your plea to YouTube to remove these videos.

Dear readers,
8,201 people in 7 days have respectfully asked YouTube to remove videos that show the Holy Eucharist being desecrated, including one being flushed down a toilet.

I strongly believe these videos violate YouTube's hate policies. They are sacrilegious and demeaning to God, to Catholics and to the Roman Catholic faith. At first, it seemed YouTube heard us. The videos were pulled yesterday morning. However, by the afternoon, the videos were back! That's why we're turning our petition into a protest!


Click the first link on the page.
Click
here to go to the website.

Please go here to send your NEW protest message to YouTube. By YouTube seemingly resolved to give a platform to these host desecration videos, many Catholics will reasonably conclude they agree with these videos deep anti-Catholic bias. After all, it seems that YouTube has removed videos with content offensive to Jews and Muslims.


For example, a video showing a teenager urinating on the Holocaust memorial was pulled. So was the trailer to a Dutch documentary that claims that Islam inspires intolerance, murder and terror.

But videos with the Holy Eucharist being desecrated seem to be OK. In my opinion, this is a double standard. I know you will not accept this. And that is why I ask you to send your NEW protest message to YouTube.

As I said, our petition has spread like wildfire, 18,201 people have signed on in just 7 days. Other Catholic sites and groups have joined us, which reminds me of the protest we did against e-Bay auctioning consecrated hosts online. We won that one! E-bay changed its policy and no longer facilitates the sale of consecrated hosts.

This victory spurs me to action, to reach out to millions more Catholics out of the one billion Catholics worldwide. Ultimately, I hope 100,000 people sign this new protest message to YouTube.

Will you help do it by passing on this message to your friends and family?

----------------------- Update:

"28,692 people have petitioned YouTube to pull the Host Desecration from its site. But they refuse to comply.

Why?

Just yesterday, YouTube removed a video called "Welcome to Saudi Britain" which asks viewers to petition the British government NOT to accept Sharia (Islam) law in Britain.

Contradiction -- YouTube removes an anti-Islam video, but keeps 43 videos showing desecration of the Holy Eucharist in horrible ways -- one was flushed down the toilet!

What should we do in response?

Well, besides expanding our YouTube protest, it's time to appeal to a higher court: to God in the Blessed Sacrament of the Altar.

That's why I'm doing an act of reparation in front of the Blessed Sacrament.

Will you join me?

The intention is to do reparation for the 43 desecration on YouTube, for all sacrilege against the Holy Eucharist, and for whatever intentions are in your heart.

Thank you for praying with me, and please continue countering the desecration videos on YouTube by seeing the action items below.

Sincerely,

Robert E. Ritchie

P.S.
Go here to let me know that you will offer reparation in front of the Blessed Sacrament for the 43 desecration videos on YouTube. And I'll keep you posted.

* * *

Four point action plan to protest the Host desecration videos on YouTube:

1) Go to user fsmdude (person who posted the videos) YouTube channel and flag all his videos. Right under the video window is the link to FLAG. Next choose "hateful or Abusive Content." Next Choose the sub-section – "promotes hatred or violence."

Next choose "Religion" as the "group attacked." Next type in your specific reason, such as "he is desecrating what Catholics hold sacred. YouTube just removed an anti-Sharia video, so why the double standard?"

2) Call YouTube (Google owns YouTube). Dial 650-253-0000, then press 0 for a live person. Tell them, in polite yet firm terms, how upset you are with the 43 desecration videos posted by user fsmdude. Ask them to remove his videos and pledge never to allow such videos again.

3) Send a fax to YouTube/Google 650-253-0001 telling them, in polite yet firm terms, how upset you are with the 43 desecration videos posted by user fsmdude. Ask them to remove his videos and pledge never to allow such videos again.

4) Pass on this 4 point action plan to all your friends and family members. In numbers there is strength. "


God Bless!

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Odds and Ends

A few odds and ends today.

First, a friend of mine emailed me with some of her great tips for reluctant math students. I thought I would include them here since they might be of help to someone else out there who has a student(s) who really don't like math.

I have a few suggestions for Math, which I struggled with for 14 years.

First of all, I myself always hated Math, so how could I expect anything different from my students. I had one student who had problems as well, so we only got through Algebra I in High School, but the Junior College took care of the rest and now he is at a typical college student doing very fine.

My next set of students also had some troubles with Math. Each morning I always had a short class time with them, followed by their math workbook time. They needed me to help oversee their first problem or two. If the workbook was especially stressful, I would assign a much shorter time than it would actually take, for example 12 minutes. " If you work real hard for 12 minutes I will let you do ( favorite subject) next. After that favorite subject they would have to do math again for perhaps 15 minutes or until they finished. If they couldn't finish they did another subject followed by math. If you think this was cumbersome, just realize that one of those students is now in college in an honors level math course. In those earlier years, knowing they didn't have to finish kept them working hard for that shorter period of time. They eventually did finish their math lesson but not all at once. This was useful only during the middle grade school years, during long division, etc. ( I usually used a timer to help make the shorter time especially exciting!) They knew if they did a lot, their math time later would be shorter. Instead of watching them gazing at the ceiling because they were so overwhelmed by the amount of hard problems they still had left to do, they worked hard for the shorter periods of time.

Sounds like some good advice. I know I am usually the kind of teacher who likes to push until it is done, but I've come to realize that it doesn't always work that well for the student!

Also, an update on our potty training experience (in case anyone is interested :) My now 3 1/2 year old son is finally doing much better. He usually only has one accident a day. Not bad considering how poorly he was doing with it a month ago! I think I can officially say now that we are finally out of diapering/pull ups after 16 years, 6 months and 15 days!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Yippee!

And finally, we watched the Presidential debate last night. I only have two things to say - how can the first commentator that they had on afterwords so confidently say "Well, it seems obvious that Obama won that debate." Sorry, I guess you are only going to see what you want to see. What worries me are the people who just hear that and think, "Well, if they said it, it must be true."

And secondly, continue to pray every day that this country will turn back to God. Both candidates admitted to a lot of problems in the government, but neither of them stated the obvious -- that nothing will be truly turned around until God is allowed to rejoin this country!


God Bless!

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Our Lady of the Rosary

our lady of the rosary

Today's feast was given to the universal church in 1716 by Pope Clement XI to commemorate the victory by the Christians over the Turks in the battle of Lepanto on October 7, 1571. A grave threat to the faith came to an end with this victory. Pope Pius V implored the Roman and Christian world to invoke the Blessed Mother's aid through the praying of the rosary for victory over the threatening Turks. On October 7th, that victory was granted and thanksgiving was given to the Blessed Mother.

Today we find ourselves in a similar situation. We are in the midst of a battle in this country; a battle against the forces of evil that threaten our faith. If we continue to invoke the Blessed Mother through the most holy rosary, we can be assured of her help and her protection.

Continue to join us in praying the Rosary every day until the election for the following intention:

In honor of Mary Immaculate, Patroness of the USA, and for the intercession of the Poor Souls in Purgatory, especially the unborn babies who have been victims of abortion, so God may grant us a holy, wise, pro-life, pro-family president in this upcoming election - a president that will guide our country according to God's laws.

Our Lady of the Rosary, Pray for us!
Mystical Rose, Pray for us!
Our Lady, Helper of Christians, Pray for us!

God Bless!r

Monday, October 6, 2008

Another Heroic Tale

The other day I picked up the current edition of the "National Catholic Register" and saw an article on the front page that caught my attention. Appearantly, a story about a Catholic father of seven sons who died while saving his 20 year old son after he fell into a septic tank has been making its way around the globe. It is quite a story. The son, Joseph, who has Down Syndrome, fell through an old cover on a septic tank on the family's property. The father, Thomas, jumped in to save him. He had told one of his workers to call 911 in the meantime. While waiting for 911, Thomas told the worker that he would lift Joseph up while the worker pulled him out. As they reported in the paper, "As he lifted Joseph up, his eyes closed and he collapsed into the tank." They were unable to revive him. The son, thankfully, survived.

The paper quoted many people saying that Thomas was a very devoted father to his seven sons. They also told how he was the kind of man who was always willing to help wherever there was a need. The story of Thomas and his life of giving and his devotion to his family is going around the globe.

After reading this, I immediately thought about another tragedy that happened to a very similar sounding man, also named Thomas. It struck me that the same message was being spread again. In both cases, we are presented with a father who was very giving and to whom his family meant everything. In both cases, their tragic deaths and their triumphs in life are being spread around the globe.

It seems to me that this message of selfless giving by men of large families is something that needs to be spread far and wide. It seems to me that God is asking some very special men to give up their lives in order to spread this very important message. Hopefully, the message is being received by all of the fathers out there who need to hear it.

Eternal rest grant unto them, and may perpetual light shine upon them, and may their souls and the souls of all the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace. Amen.

God Bless!

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Pork Roast

Here is a nice fall recipe. Friends of ours made this up, the only thing they do different is cook it in the oven. I like to cook it in the crock pot. Rub all the spices over the pork roast and then throw it in the crock pot for about 6-8 hours depending on the size of your roast.

4 pound pork roast
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp salt
1 tsp ginger powder
1 tsp pepper
1 tsp paprika

Mix all the spices together and then rub all over roast. If you are cooking it in the oven, put 1-2 cups of water in a pan and place the roast in there. Cook at 325 for 2 1/2 - 3 1/2 hours, or till done.

If you are cooking it in the crock pot, just rub the spices all over the roast and place in crock pot on low. Enjoy!

God Bless!

Friday, October 3, 2008

Joy

I was having a conversation the other day with a friend of our family and we were discussing joy. Someone had recently told him that he did not seem to be a joyful person, so we were discussing just what it means to be joyful. I think it is easy to take the human-emotional perspective of joyful and imagine that you must be skipping along gleefully with a smile on your face hugging everyone you see. It seems easy to confuse the emotion of joy with the true peace and joy that resides within someone's soul. Now, granted, if they have that peace and joy in their soul, then most likely they will have that smile on their lips and maybe even a skip in their step.

So yesterday I was reading my "In Conversation with God" and one of the sections was about joy. The author says that joy "...springs from our effort to put aside personal worries and enter into a friendship with God. Joy is essential to the apostolate. Who will be attracted by a sad and negative critic or a gloomy complainer?...Christian joy has a solid foundation in the reality of divine filiation. This is the recognition that one is a son or daughter of God at all times."

They then include a quote from Chesterton which I thought was great. "It is not joy because we are in the right place, but because we are in the wrong place. We were lost, but Someone has found us and is leading us home. It is joy not because we are alright - we are not - but because Someone can put us right. Christian joy comes from facing up to the one really sad fact of life, which is sin; and countering it with a joyful fact that is even realer and stronger than sin: God's love and mercy."

It is really hard during those times where one bad thing after another happens and you can't seem to "let go and let God". That is when it is hard to even feel the joy, let alone project it to others. So often during those times I feel as if God is above me, looking down to see how I am doing with the most current "test" He is putting me through, instead of realizing that He is right besides me, walking through the trial with me. There is an extreme difference in those two view points; enough of a difference to make it hard to maintain that sense of joy.

No matter what is happening in our lives, we have two choices - to become a sad, negative, gloomy complainer, or to realize that God is in control and hang on to that joy and peace in our souls. As Blessed Jose Marie Escriva says, "The first step towards bringing others to the ways of Christ is for them to see you happy and serene, sure in your advance towards God."

God Bless! And may peace and joy reign in your soul today and always.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

The Dreaded Subject

Math. The word alone strikes fear into the hearts of my children. Fear, and an incesent desire to moan about how much they hate math. I don't understand what it is about math and my children. (In all fairness, however, I guess it seems that many children groan about math.) No matter. My husband and I both were fairly decent at math and we don't have horrible memories of it, so why do our children dread the subject??

To that end, I have always tried to find a math program that would work for us. I have tried quite a few of them over the years: MCP, various levels of Saxon - with and without the D.I.V.E. cds, Abeka, Math U See and my current favorite - the Life of Fred math series. No matter which one I try, I get the same response, "I hate math" *pout, cry, whine*. I now have quite a reputation in my family. They are never surpised when I come home from a homeschool conference with a new math series.

I do have to give my eldest daughter credit, however. Around April of her freshman year, after completing almost 3/4 of her Algebra I book with a program that I was less than impressed with, I came home with a new Algebra I book and told her she would have to do it all over again. She didn't pout, cry or whine. Instead she worked through the summer to finish the new math book. In fact, since then she has finished two of the books and has started on the third, and she seems to be enjoying them.

The new series she is doing is the "Life of Fred" series. It is great. It is hard. It is challenging, especially when she comes to me in the middle of the book with a question. By the grace of God, I have been able to work with her through all but two problems. One of them my math major friend couldn't figure out either, so I didn't feel too bad. For the other problem, we emailed the author and he gladly gave us enough information to figure out the problem. I love this series because it is giving her a great math education - whether she wants one or not - and it is written in a story format so it is very interesting. The problems are relevant to every day life, which makes it extra enjoyable. The author even throws in information from other subjects!

Anyhow, even though we've gotten through most of the problems so far, we are always on the look out for a good math website that can help us when we get stuck. The other day my daughter found this site and, not only did it contain helpful information, it gave us a good laugh. How often do you get to have a good laugh while solving math problems?? (I was just about to end this post when I came across this page of math bloopers. My husband and I were in tears!!!) Well, hope this helps any of you who might be struggling with math. If nothing else, you'll get a good laugh.

God Bless!

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Our Little Way

Happy Feast of St. Therese! She is one of our family's favorite saints.

This past weekend I had the opportunity to put on another one of my workshops (entitled "A Plan For Joy in the Home - if you are interested, drop me an email!) for seven wonderful women. During the workshop, we spent a nice amount of time talking about how important prayer is in the life of a Catholic homeschooling mother. Oftentimes it is tempting to let other "things" get in the way of our daily prayers - the kids, their schooling, the household chores. In reality, those things will be accomplished in a more perfect way if we take the time each day to pray.

I was thinking about this when I ran across an email my friend sent me after the workshop. It contained this quote and I liked it so much I had to share it:

"Let us imagine the case of a young mother who is busy with the multiple cares of her children. She must not say, "Union with God is impossible for me." She is surrounded with tabernacles of the Real Presence. Her little ones are baptized? Yes! Then God is living in them."

She didn't say where the quote is from, but it is quite a wonderful image. I know that we are all temples of the Holy Spirit, but I never quite thought of my children as being tabernacles of the Real Presence. Hopefully I will remember this the next time one of them gets my blood pressure up :)

This even ties in with St. Therese who was the promoter of the "Little Way". As mothers, our sanctification can come by way of our little (and not so little) children. It is the small acts that we perform every day that will help us to become saints. It is through performing these small acts with love that we can make everything we do a prayer.

God Bless!