Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas!

Monday, December 20, 2010


Happy 4th week of Advent. As we busily finish all our preparations for Christmas, let us keep the peace of the Blessed Virgin and her most holy spouse, St. Joseph, in our hearts.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

The Power of Prayer...

Although, in this particular post I'm thinking of OTHER PEOPLES' prayers and not just my own.

I was hanging up some Christmas cards yesterday when it kind of hit me how much I depend on the prayers of other people. Over the years, when people have asked me how I do what I do (and I think everyone with a large family has been asked that before), I always say "prayers". While I know how important my own prayer life is, I have come to realize that it is the prayers of other people that really keep me going.

I love when people send us Mass cards, especially at Christmas. That, in my opinion, is the best kind of present to get. I love getting cards from different religious groups or ministries that say that they'll be praying for me and my family. I am blessed to have many friends who pray for me and who are ready to kick it into "overdrive" whenever I need them to.

That is how I keep going. That is how I keep my own prayer life alive. It is the prayer of so many others that keeps me on track or gives me the push I need to get back on track if I've lost my way.

If you need help in your life, my suggestion is to find people to pray for you. Call your church, ask your friends, call a local monastery or religious group and ask them to pray for you. Don't be too proud to do this! In all humility, ask for prayers and you'll be amazed at how you'll feel the grace flow.

During the remainder of this Advent season, be assured of my prayers for you. Please pray for me in return :)

Friday, December 10, 2010

7 Quick Takes Friday

Welcome to another edition of 7 Quick Takes Friday hosted by Jennifer


We've been zipping through Advent at amazing speed, haven't we? I mean, we're almost to the 3rd Sunday...the joyful Sunday...the rose candle Sunday. Speaking of candles, my children want to know why our church isn't lighting the candles in a circular fashion. Assuming a N, S, E and W orientation (with the rose candle being in the west position), they lit the north candle the 1st week, the east candle the 2nd week and now they'll have to jump over to the west and then head back to the south. Why not go in a clockwise direction and have the rose candle in the south position? Is there some kind of rubric for Advent wreaths that I am unaware of?


It has been a very subdued Advent around here, mainly due to the fact that we have had someone down with a nasty flu since the 10th of November. It is the weirdest illness: a fever for 4 days, with a sore throat, headache and stomach ache. On the 5th day the fever goes away and on the 6th day the next person gets it. This has held true for all 6 kids! I can't figure it out other than to attribute it to God wanting me to have a quiet Advent. Ok, well quiet in the sense that I have done A LOT less running around than I normally would. I've actually had time to sit down and read...mainly because the kids want me visible at ALL times!


Speaking of the flu, we have named this particular strain the "Marcelle the Shell" flu because at some point during their illness, all of the kids have sounded like Marcelle the Shell. If you haven't seen this yet, take the time to watch it. It is a hoot!


We hit another milestone in our family this week...the last first tooth to fall out fell out. Did you catch that one? Mr 5 yo lost his first tooth this past week. I don't do teeth, so when he came to me and showed me this tooth that was twisting and turning and hanging by a thread and it was only 9:00 in the morning and I knew his father wouldn't be home for another 8 hours, I wasn't sure what I was going to do. Fortunately, Ms 16 yo is not faint of heart when it comes to teeth, so she reached in, touched his tooth and it fell right out. He was amazed that it didn't hurt at all! Thank God for small favors.


During the winter months we try to incorporate more soup meals into our weekly menus. It is cheaper, feeds a lot and it is nice and warm! It has also worked well with all the sick people! This week we had an awesome Irish Cheddar Cheese soup. It is simple to make and it tastes great. If anyone asks, I'll put the recipe in the comment box.


The kids have been waiting all year for the premiere of "Voyage of the Dawn Treader". Excitement has been building and today is the day! Unfortunately, the only one who will be able to see it today is Ms 18 yo. The rest of us will have to wait until at least Tuesday. Torture, to be sure. I hear it is supposed to be a good one.


Please keep us all in your prayers this weekend. On Sunday the girls will be performing the first of their two "A Silent Nativity" performances. The director just had her gallbladder out and so things have been a bit rough. It seems odd to only have two of our family in the show instead of the 6 we had in "The Seven Last Words of Christ" performances. I will be taking pictures, so I hope to have some up next week. They make wonderful meditations for the coming of Christ on Christmas.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

I Have An Obligation...

When God puts something in front of you that you believe could benefit almost everyone you know, you feel an obligation to share it.

When you personally witness family and friends who have gotten their lives back after being ill and depressed for years, you feel an obligation to share it.

When you listen to countless people talk about how they have benefited from something in ways you can't even imagine, you feel an obligation to share it.

No...this particular post isn't about turning your life over to Jesus Christ; although you could say the same things I just listed about that, too :)

This post is about a nutritional supplement that my family and I began taking about four months ago and we have been amazed at what it has done for us and for others we know. I was just at a meeting yesterday and I listened to a doctor tell us about why he sells this product. He told us about a patient he has, a young mother whose MS had gotten worse so that she became wheelchair bound. She was obviously distraught over not being able to take care of her family the way she wanted to. This doctor got this mother started on these supplements and in a short time (sorry, can't remember the exact time frame) the mother was out of her wheelchair and caring for her family again. She came back to her doctor and simply said, "Thank You". With a choked up voice, that doctor told us, "That is why I do this!"

The nutritional supplement I am talking about is Reliv. It is good nutrition made simple...It is good, balanced nutrition in a powdered formula that you take two or more times a day. That's is easy and good for you. Now, Reliv makes absolutely NO claims to cure anything. What Reliv does is deliver good food to your body and then your body does the rest. God created our bodies to be miraculous things. Our bodies, when supplied with the right nutrients, can actually heal themselves. That is what Reliv does...provide you with bio-available nutrition so that your body can begin to heal itself of all that ails it!

I personally can attest to having much more energy, much clearer thinking and an overall feeling of well-being. I have a number of friends and family who have been taking Reliv who have gone to their doctors' and heard, "Whatever you're doing, keep doing it! Your test results are great!"

So, if you knew of something that could help people, if you knew of something that could give people their quality of life back no matter what their age, if you knew of something that could make people smile again...wouldn't you feel obligated to share it, too???

I do realize that, just like when you try to share your faith, some people aren't quite ready to hear it yet or don't want to hear it. If, however, you feel you are ready to hear more about Reliv or are ready to feed your body some good nutrition and watch what your body can do for itself, let me know and I'd be happy to tell you more about it.

Friday, December 3, 2010

I Feel Better Now!

Thanks to Hallmark for the candles and my daughter for the greenery, I feel much better about Advent beginning now. Our Advent rituals pretty much consist of lighting the candles every night and singing one verse of "O Come O Come Emmanuel". That is about all we can handle on a consistent basis.

A number of years ago I gave up on planning the "perfect" Advent. I used to have my list of all the things we were going to do and I would imagine the peacefulness that would reign in our home and hearts.

As I said, I pretty much gave up on all of that a long time ago. I have decided that my Advent will be precisely what God wants my Advent to be. So far this year it has entailed missing daily mass all week because of sick kids and a messed up schedule because we've all been sleeping later (due to the fact that some of us haven't been sleeping much at night :)

On the upside of that, I've had to stay home a lot more than I normally would and so, in a way, it has been peaceful...well that is, in between the temperature taking, the cold rags, the medicine and other unpleasantness.

I always hope that by the time Christmas comes around my heart will be somewhat better prepared to receive the Lord. What I've come to realize is that the more I abandon my desires to God, the closer I come to having that peace in my heart.

Happy First Week Of Advent to y'all!

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Welcome to Advent

Here we are...the first Sunday in Advent! You would think from the picture above that I didn't know it was coming! Why is it that every year I am never prepared for the first Sunday in Advent? Why is it that at the end of the Christmas season I don't buy out all the Advent candle sets that are on clearance so that the next year we can begin Advent with a nice-looking, full set of Advent candles???

At least there is enough of the purple ones to get us through a few nights until I can hunt down some purple and pink candles. Do you realize how hard those are to find (especially if the only place you ever seem to shop is Walmart)???

Oh well, I hope this wreath is not indicative of how I am going to end up at Christmas candle short of a full wreath and totally unprepared :)

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Pray, Hope and Don't Worry!

and have yourselves a very Happy Thanksgiving!

Do not look forward to the trials and crosses
of this life with dread and fear.
Rather, look to them with full confidence
that as they arise, God, to whom you belong,
will deliver you from them.
He has guided and guarded you
thus far in life.
Do you but hold fast to his dear hand, and
He will lead you safely through all trials.
Whenever you cannot stand,
he will carry you lovingly in his arms.
Do not look forward to what may happen tomorrow.
The same Eternal Father who cares for you today
will take good care of you tomorrow
and every day of your life.
Either he will shield you from suffering or
He will give you the unfailing strength to bear it.
Be at peace then and put aside all useless thoughts,
vain dreads, and anxious imaginations.

( St. Francis de Sales)

Sunday, November 21, 2010

The Sounds of Sunday...

Christ the King! King of Kings! Lord of Lords!!
Incense at Mass (not really a sound, but I couldn't help listing it)
The excitement of Candy Day!
Professor Plum with the Rope in the Hall! Yahoo, I got it right!
Mr 5 yo turning the corner on his fever and vomiting!
Drinking and eating again.
Reading and writing
Drawing pictures to get ready for the big day of Thankfulness.
Grilling steaks...yummmmmm!
The mixer mixing peanut butter buddy bars
The prayers of the rosary...calling on our Blessed Mother for oh so many things
Ms 18 yo in our prayers as she readies for her first set of finals
Hopefully a full night's sleep....

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Technology and Birthdays

I just love when technology can work for good! Last week we celebrated Ms 11 yo turning into Ms 12 yo. Her big sister is away at school and couldn't be there in person so we skyped her. She had picked up some dessert from the cafeteria so that she could join us in feasting. We sang together and she watched with us as Ms 12 yo opened her presents. We took this picture so that we could have one of all the kiddos (+1 guest :) together on her birthday.

Monday, November 8, 2010

The Phantom

Here is a picture (a very SMALL picture) of Ms 7 yo and Mr 5 yo with the PHANTOM. Mr 5 yo is in heaven!!! He can't wait to get bigger so he can be the Phantom one day. We went to see a college production of The Phantom of the Opera over the weekend and it was very well done. This young man had one heck of a voice!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

The Fun of Voting

On my way in to vote today I was thinking back to the polling place where we used to go vote. You know...small town, older men and women who know everyone and everything. The first year we went there they knew all about us - who we were, the size of our family, which house we lived in.

This time around we were at a new polling place and I was wondering if I would be met by older men and women wondering where it was exactly that I lived.

I was not disappointed!

I walked in and stated my name and the elderly lady who was looking up my ticket commented about my address. "Where is that, I wonder? I live on that road, too and I can't place this address." I tried to explain where our house is at and then figured I had to pull out the ole standby, "I live in Mr. F's house."

"Oh, yes, of course. We know all about you! You have a relative, a brother or someone that walks with Wade and John." Noticing the very perplexed look on my face, another of the ladies tries to explain, "You know, Wade over on Wade's Road, he walks with one of your relatives."

"But I don't have any relatives around here," I stated.

"Yes, it's someone...maybe an uncle or something...a real nice, happy fella, they say." At this point the light dawns.

"Where do they walk together?" I ask.

"Over at the Mall." (as a side note, my Uncle lives and walks in a town that is about 20 minutes away from me!)

"Oh, yes, that would be my Uncle."

"Well, he just tells Wade all about you and your family and how you homeschool..."

Okay...I don't know Wade...I don't know any of these ladies. It always unnerves me when I'm standing in front of a group of people and they know way more about me than I know about them. It just reminds me that even if we wanted to hide we wouldn't be able to. Someone out there, whether it be the government, or their informers - little old men and women who trade stories over coffee - knows where we are!

Monday, November 1, 2010

Happy All Saint's and All Soul's Day

Happy All Saints Day and All Souls Day! I really do love the month of November - filled with prayers for those who have gone before us and ending with prayers of thanksgiving for the many blessings that God has bestowed upon us.

This year we broke a long tradition of attending the All Saints Day party that our homeschool group puts on in favor of supporting the first All Hallows Eve party put on by our parish. The priests were very energetic and full of ideas, so we decided to try something new.

The fun began by trick or treating around the property, stopping at various stations where there was a person with candy and a pumpkin with a cross carved into it. Each pumpkin had a different type of cross on it. The kids heard a little bit about the history of that particular cross and then got to trick or treat.
Next, one of the priests had written skits about three different saints. The first was on St. Anthony of the Desert, the second (starring two of our girls) was about Blessed Mother Teresaand the third was a hoot of a skit about St. John Fischer and St. Thomas More.
My husband (not pictured) volunteered to be the narrator of this skit. His job was to interview the heads of the two saints. These guys were great. The bodies were even better! Haven't seen a skit quite like this before :)
There was another skit about the battle between good and evil that was pretty good, too. Our last stop was the room where Fr. Andy told the kids a "ghost" story about a priest in Italy who was visited by his dead pastor.
On our way to the Hall of the Saints, we stopped to say hello to the most beautiful Lady in the world
Then went into the Hall of Saints to play games and get even more candy. They had some fun games to play and everyone had a great time.
Upon entering the Hall, everyone got a big paper scapular and a crown - and did I mention more candy!

With time, hopefully this will all end up on my website as another page of great ideas for future Saints' parties.

Hope you have a blessed two feast days and a great month.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Marian Meditations

The Miles Christi priests loaned me a book from their library called "Meditations on Our Lady" by Rev. Tihamer Toth. Actually what I have is just a section of the book, but it is full of so many fabulous insights on Our Lady that I walk away each morning with something new.

For example, the author put forth the image of Mary being the gold setting that the diamond of Jesus Christ sets in. Or imagine an image of Mary with the face of Jesus shining forth where her heart should be. Beautiful imagery, to be sure.

Today's meditation was about the dignity of motherhood. Here is what Rev. Toth had to say:

"Today we need nothing so much as mothers who fulfill their tasks in an ideal family life. I would almost say: They will be the type of future feminine saintliness, because we have the greatest need of them. The holy women of the primitive Church came from the ranks of the martyrs, because at that time the Church had the greatest need of them: she needed the open declaration of their young Christian faith. Later the holy women came from the ranks of the virgins, because their voluntary renunciation was needed in opposition to the dissolute life of the world. And today? What is our greatest need today? Which Christian treasure is threatened with the most dreadful danger? Married life, Christian family life. Therefore in the mother who fulfills her marital duties ideally, we have the new type of holy woman for whom mankind, standing on the brink of destruction, so yearningly longs."
I was very moved to think about what a profound opportunity God is giving to us Christian mothers today. The author goes on to say, "Our need is for mothers whose pride it is to see well brought-up children, whose joy it is to bring a smile to the faces of their husbands returning home from work, and whose reward is the eternal blessing of the all-knowing God."

How far we are away from that ideal today, but how true his words are. Again, something for us all to strive for - the saintliness of Christian motherhood as exemplified by the Blessed Mother. Not too high a goal now, is it??

Monday, October 25, 2010

Play that Funky Music...

For most of the past 10 years, the majority of the music we have listened to has been either religious or country; quite an interesting combination, I know. Lately, as the kiddos get older, we've been branching out into other genres of music. For example, on Sunday mornings, my husband will put on the classical station. Not bad, until those men with the monotone voices start droning on and on about some piece of music.

Much to my horror :), he's also introduced the kids to Jazz! Ugh, and some of them even like it (nothing morally wrong with Jazz, mind you, I've just NEVER liked it. It clashes terribly with my sense of symmetry :) The latest direction, however, has been into that good ole' music that we grew up with - the great music from the 80's. I figure that it must be great if they're still playing it at dances and weddings 20+ years later.

At the same time that we've been becoming reacquainted with music from our youth, our children have been delving more into dancing. We've had many discussions about what is "real" dancing and what isn't. In their opinion, any body gyrations that would have gone along with our great 80's music is NOT dancing. The waltz, the fox trot, that, to them, is "real" dancing. I try to show them the kind of dancing we used to do and they all yell at me to stop. In fact yesterday, Mr. 10 yo said, "Mommy, some times you freak me out." Isn't that what moms are for???

After being at the Homecoming dance this past weekend, Ms 18 yo asked me if we danced to songs like "Play that Funky Music" and "A B C". That led to spending the next 2 hours on youtube listening to music from the past. To be certain, there were plenty of raised eyebrows (like watching some videos of Queen and Talking Heads) but overall we had a very entertaining time...until I tried to dance and then they kept yelling at me to stop :)

What a great way to spend a cloudy, Sunday afternoon and have some fun with the kids. I think it is fun to reminisce with them about when their father and I were young and hip - in fact it is good to remind them that there was a time when we were young and hip, and had big hair, and parachute pants...but I digress.

PS...I'm sorry if after reading this you find that song STUCK in your and night...singing over and over...Play that funky music white boy, play that funky music right....

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Something to Aim For!

The Proverbs 31 Woman

When one finds a worthy wife, her value is far beyond pearls.
Her husband, entrusting his heart to her, has an unfailing prize.
1 She brings him good, and not evil, all the days of her life.
She obtains wool and flax and makes cloth with skillful hands.
2 Like merchant ships, she secures her provisions from afar.
She rises while it is still night, and distributes food to her household.
She picks out a field to purchase; out of her earnings she plants a vineyard.
She is girt about with strength, and sturdy are her arms.
3 She enjoys the success of her dealings; at night her lamp is undimmed.
She puts her hands to the distaff, and her fingers ply the spindle.
She reaches out her hands to the poor, and extends her arms to the needy.
She fears not the snow for her household; all her charges are doubly clothed.
She makes her own coverlets; fine linen and purple are her clothing.
Her husband is prominent at the city gates as he sits with the elders of the land.
She makes garments and sells them, and stocks the merchants with belts.
4 She is clothed with strength and dignity, and she laughs at the days to come.
She opens her mouth in wisdom, and on her tongue is kindly counsel.
She watches the conduct of her household, and eats not her food in idleness.
Her children rise up and praise her; her husband, too, extols her:
"Many are the women of proven worth, but you have excelled them all."
5 Charm is deceptive and beauty fleeting; the woman who fears the LORD is to be praised.
Give her a reward of her labors, and let her works praise her at the city gates.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Thoughts on Earning Income

Despite the fact that only 2 comments appeared on the previous post, I have had many conversations in person, over facebook and on the phone with people regarding the question I asked the other day. I have thought a lot about this issue and am very grateful to the people who have shared their opinions (some very passionately:) with me.

First, a little background. This is something I've been struggling with on and off for a number of years. I have found the Catholic homeschooling marketplace to be an incredibly difficult market to work in for a number of reasons.

The first is that most people have large families and are trying very hard to live off of one income which most of the time is barely adequate to take care of the needs of the family, let alone the wants. I know, I live it! For this reason, many of us in this market are always on the lookout for deals. Case in point - I shop at WalMart and thrift stores for pretty much everything. Shopping with this mentality most of the time makes it very hard to pay full price for things, especially things that are not "needs". (Note: while I know that this is the case in many markets right now, I am specifically looking at the Catholic market because that is where I am at.)

Second, we have the added issue of "ministry". Exactly what is a ministry? defines it as such:
1. The act of serving; ministration. 2. The profession, duties, and services of a minister.

If I am to apply these definitions to myself, I pretty much have to throw out the 2nd one seeing as I am not a minister. This leaves me with the first - the act of serving. I've had to ask myself lately, "What is my ministry?" Is my ministry selling soap? Is it selling unit studies? Is it selling Reliv? Is it taking pictures? or is it more tied to raising and homeschooling my children? Running formation groups and helping with Evenings of Recollection for Miles Christi? Promoting retreats? Helping out at my church?

I think that it is easy sometimes to confuse selling a product to help provide for your family (especially if it is a faith-based product) with selling a product as a ministry. As a friend vehemently put it to me, "Selling soap is NOT a ministry!". I have to agree - at least it isn't for me.

When you put these two things together - a limited amount of money and the idea that anything a Catholic does could potentially be a ministry - it makes for a tough sale!

Again, I am not putting myself above this, as I know I, too, shop like this! I have to make these decisions every day - is what I am about to buy worth spending my husband's hard-earned money on? It is something that requires constant evaluation if I am to be a good steward...

So after all this I've concluded the following two things...

1. That the products and services that my husband and I are marketing are not our ministry, they are a means to help provide for our family and

2. That if someone has a hard time with the prices we charge, it is really their responsibility to ask the same question I must ask, "Is what I am about to buy worth spending our hard-earned money on?" Once they say yes, I can't feel bad about their decision.

Friday, October 15, 2010

I Have a Question...

And I would honestly appreciate sincere answers. I know you're out there, so don't be shy and please jump in with your opinion...

Is is alright for a Catholic person (and I specify Catholic because it seems that this issue is not as prevalent in the broader Christian market) who has a product, or even products to sell, to make a profit? Or, should anything she has to sell more or less be sold for really no profit and considered her ministry? Put another way, is she a less charitable person because she is making a profit? Is she a more charitable person because she wants to give her products away, because it is more important for people to have her products than for her to make a profit?

I won't say anything else right now, so hopefully the question is clear. I would appreciate any and all responses.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Thank You Our Lady of Fatima!

This is so cool that I had to share this article. I don't have the original link, so here it is in its entirety:

Out of the Depths
The 33 miners who were trapped for nearly 70 days in a Chilean gold and copper mine are all alive and safe. They were freed today, on October 13, the day of Our Lady of Fatima. But there is more...

By Robert Moynihan, reporting from Rome


"De profúndis clamávi ad te, Dómine" ("Out of the depths I have cried unto thee, O Lord"). —Psalm 129, known as the Psalm "De Profundis" ("Out of the Depths"), from its first two Latin words
The Mystery of Prayer and Redemption
Prose is not adequate to describe what has just happened in Chile. It requires poetry -- like the poerty of the Psalms.
Thirty-three miners, caught in a mine cave-in hundreds of meters below the surface of the earth on August 5, 69 days ago, began to be brought up to the surface today, one by one.
The first man was rescued just after midnight, in the first moments of October 13, and as this is being written, a little after midnight in Rome, 28 miners are safe and the 29th miner is about to be brought to the surface, so it appears all will be brought out within one day.
[Just now, the 33rd miner has been brought up, so all the miners are safe. All were brought up in 22 hours. Here is a link to the BBC live news feed from Chile:]
All Lost, All Found
At the beginning, it was thought they were all lost, as there was no contact with them at all. Not a sound. Silence.
Then, after 17 days, they were all found to be alive, and safe in an underground cave. But it was still thought that the rescue operation would take many months, until Christmastime, perhaps, and that the men, confined in such a small space, might all go mad before they could be freed.

And now, today, in a feat of engineering worthy of all praise, they have all been brought up safe and in their right minds.

And the entire world has been able to watch as this drama has unfolded.
A Papal Gift
But there is a little known aspect to this amazing story, and that is an aspect related to Pope Benedict, and to the rosary.
The rosary the prayer par excellence of Our Lady, because in its traditional form, it contains 150 Hail Marys in 15 joyful, sorrowful and glorious mysteries -- the same number as the Book of Psalms.
Benedict offered public prayers for the miners on several occasions, but he also decided to send each of the miners a special gift: a rosary he himself had blessed.
The rosaries were brought to the miners personally by Cardinal Francisco Javier Errazuriz of Santiago, Chile.
It is said that, to survive, the miners organized their life in a disciplined way, even creating a little chapel in the corner of their cave. Praying the rosary, according to a report, became a part of the trapped miners' daily ritual.
(Here is a Rome Reports video which describes this gift of rosaries; it is located at:

And now, on October 13 -- the anniversary of the last appearance of the Virgin Mary to the three shepherd children in Fatima, Portugal -- the miners are safe.
The Prayer in Westminster
October 13 is also the feast day of Saint Edward the Confessor, in the United Kingdom.

The drilling to free the miners started on September 17.

The Pope was in London on that day, the second day of his trip to Scotland and England.
At the service on September 17 at Westminster Abbey, Pope Benedict and the Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, prayed before the tomb of Saint Edward the Confessor.
On October 13, Saint Edward's feast day, the miners are free.
A Sign of Redemption

At a Mass in Chile that began just after near midnight on October 13, as the first miner was being brought to the surface, Santiago Auxiliary Bishop Cristian Contreras Villarroel, speaking in El Sagrario chapel next to Santiago's Metropolitan Cathedral, said the lives of the 33 miners should be seen as a sign of the need all people have for redemption.

And the bishop echoed the words of Psalm 129, where it says, "If thou, O Lord, shalt observe our iniquities, Lord, who can stand?"

"There is no saint without a past, nor sinner without a future," the bishop said.

"Out of the depths, O Lord, I cried unto Thee"

The most powerful single line in all the psalms -- arguably the supreme poetic monument of the Jewish, and of the Christian, religious-cultural tradition -- is this one: "Out of the depths, O Lord, I cried unto Thee."
The words sum up all the sorrow of a frail humanity, mortals doomed to inevitable defeat by the power of sin and death.
The words could have been spoken by Jonah in the belly of the whale, by Job from the ash heap in his sufferings, by David surrounded by enemies seeking his life, by Jesus when he was raised, to all outward appearance totally powerless, onto the cross, then laid, limp and cold, in his tomb.
Psalm 129 is part of the Vespers liturgy for the dead, and expresses the hope that the one who has fallen into shadow and darkness, the one who has been overcome by death, will yet be saved, and come again into the light.

Here is moving text of Psalm 129, first in Latin, then in English, which seems to express the prayer of the miners, caught in the dark under half a mile of rock for 70 days:
De profúndis clamávi ad te, Dómine: Dómine, exáudi vocem meam:
2 Fiant aures tuæ intendéntes: in vocem deprecatiónis meæ.
3 Si iniquitátes observáveris, Dómine: Dómine, quis sustinébit?
4 Quia apud te propitiátio est: et propter legem tuam sustínui te, Dómine.
5 Sustínuit ánima mea in verbo ejus: sperávit ánima mea in Dómino.
6 A custódia matutína usque ad noctem: speret Israël in Dómino.
7 Quia apud Dóminum misericórdia: et copiósa apud eum redémptio.
8 Et ipse rédimet Israël: ex ómnibus iniquitátibus ejus.
9 Réquiem ætérnam dona eis, Dómine.
10 Et lux perpétua lúceat eis.

Out of the depths I have cried unto thee, O Lord; Lord, hear my voice.
2 O let thine ears be attentive to the voice of my supplication.
3 If thou, O Lord, shalt observe our iniquities, Lord, who can stand?
4 For with thee there is merciful forgiveness: and by reason of thy law, I have waited for thee, O Lord.
5 My soul hath relied on his word my soul hath hoped in the Lord.
6 From the morning watch even until night: let Israel hope in the Lord.
7 Because with the Lord there is mercy, and with him plentiful redemption.
8 And he shall redeem Israel from all his iniquities.
9 Eternal rest grant unto them, O Lord.
10 And let perpetual light shine upon them.


The Stone Was Rolled Back

In front of the whole world, on this October 13, for these miners, and for all of us as well, who are witnesses of it, the stone has been rolled back.

Praise God and His Blessed Mother!

Sunday, October 10, 2010

The Simple Life

Early this morning Ms 14 yo heard Ms 7 yo talking in her sleep. This is what she said:

"Sunshine, play material, zoo animals and an elephant are all I need."

Ah, to live such a simple life - I think. Not sure how the elephant fits in, though.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

What I Love About Homeschooling

After homeschooling for the past 13 years, it never ceases to amaze me that I can still love it! Yes, sure there are days where I get supremely frustrated and wonder why on earth God ever called ME to this lifestyle. But then I see moments like the following and it renews my commitment all over again.

Lately there has been a lot of yarn flying in this house...knitting and crotchet needles have been making appearances again as the older two girls get back into the swing of one of their cold weather past times. What caught my attention this time was when Ms 7 yo joined in the fun. Seeing her sisters working towards a goal, she wanted to join them. Here is what she came up with:
I think they are little yarn dolls. Of course, the pointy toothpicks aren't the best, but I love her ingenuity. She sat on the couch next to her sisters, yarn flying as she wound it around the toothpicks to make her little yarn people. We had to convince her to stop when we started running our of toothpicks :)

A few days later we were driving around when one of the little kids noticed the swirling corn husks in a field we were passing. It looked like a small tornado which prompted the kids to ask some questions. Well, before I knew it, Ms 14 yo was teaching an impromptu lesson on tornadoes and hurricanes that lasted all the way to our destination. She was drawing pictures and asking questions and the other kids were responding and remembering! It was all very informative and quite entertaining.

And that is why I love homeschooling...because we can spend time together and learn from each other at any hour of the day...because the children are learning from people who love them more than anyone else in the world...because we seize these moments when they happen and grow in love and respect for the other members of our family, our nearest neighbors.

I thank God when He sends these little moments into our day to remind me that this truly is the best path for our family.

Sunday, October 3, 2010


Not too long ago I was at a talk given by a priest and he talked about the fact that one of the least confessed sins are sins of envy. He pointed out that it is very infrequently that he hears anyone come into the confessional and confess that they were envious of their neighbor or a family member. I've tried to remember this ever since that talk and now I must confess that yesterday I had....Hair Envy.

Let me explain. We went to a lovely wedding yesterday and after admiring the beauty of the couple and the joy of their parents, I started looking around at how nice everyone else looked, since it isn't often that we all get together and take that extra special care in dressing up. It was then that it hit me: Most of my friends have beautiful hair. They have thick, long, beautiful hair. Some curly, some straight. Doesn't matter...they have nice hair and, well, I don't.

Now I used to have nice, thick hair, but years of birthing babies and thyroid medication misinformation have taken their toll. The hair on top of my head is very thin and I'm afraid to color it or perm it or basically do anything to it. In fact, the best my hair stylist can come up with is a hair cut that makes me look like my mom. Don't get me wrong, I love my mother dearly, I just am not quite ready to look like her.

So there I sat throughout the course of the evening wishing I had nice hair. (Sounds pathetic, I know, but I was still recuperating from a cold and my husband wasn't there with me so I had little to distract me :) When I feel like this, I try to console myself with the fact that my children all have nice, thick hair and that they each have a little bit of me on top of their heads.

I also try to think of the Blessed Mother and how she would deal with something like this. I've decided maybe a veil might be in order, then I don't have to worry about what my hair looks like. I suppose, however, that confession probably is the best medicine...Forgive me Father for I have sinned, I have coveted my neighbors' hair :) Wonder if they've ever heard that one before???

Friday, October 1, 2010

7 Quick Takes

Click on the image above to join in the fun!


So I write a unit study and in the introduction I make sure and point out that the great thing about unit studies is that you can tailor them to fit your family's needs. I even go so far as to say "However, I also don't want this structure to box anyone in." Can you believe that last week, while doing our unit study, I found that I was boxing myself in! The old me, the one that panics when it is Thursday (day 4) and we are still on day 2 activities, reared its' ugly head! Fortunately after a good slapping around, I came to my senses.


Since then, we've been taking our time and enjoying all of the activities. Who cares if it takes us 8 weeks to do a 4 week unit study (as long, of course, as we are actually involved in learning and not just screwing around :) We're taking the time to really dig into some of the great topics and also really spend time on the basics of math, grammar, know, going back to lay that really solid foundation. So far, a great first month of school!


I would ask you all to keep the men who will be attending the Miles Christi men's retreat this weekend in your prayers. These retreats can be very fruitful, so any extra prayers are always a benefit.


Ms 7 yo sure is excited about her big sister coming home for the weekend. I know she's only been gone a week, but Ms 7 yo is making pictures for her and she even wrote in her school planner that her big sister is coming home! Very touching.


Our entire family has been taking Reliv products for the past two months and we recently became Independent Reliv Distributors. It's another business to add to our menagerie, but one that we are very excited about. We've seen great results so far with these nutritional supplements. They have given us all more energy, clearer thinking, less mood swings and in some of us, some great cognitive improvements. Hard to believe a supplement can do all that in such a short period of time, but from what I've seen and the people I've talked with, this stuff is amazing!


Therefore, with winter fast approaching, I've decided that our approach to the cold and flu season is going to be this:

Every day everyone will take: 2 Reliv shakes (one after breakfast and one before dinner), Vitamin D3 drops and probiotics. Add to that raw honey and kombucha tea on an as needed basis and I think we have the makings of a healthy winter. At least that is my plan...we'll see what happens.


Mr 5 yo came home from an outing with his dad last weekend all excited. "Mom, that man owns 1/2 the bottom of the lake," he told me. "Wow," I responded, "Who owns the top of the lake?" After a few moments of thought, he kind of slapped me on the leg and said in that 5 year old matter-of-fact voice, "God does! It's His water!" Smart boy!

Have a great weekend!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

When God Wants Something...

..It's best not to stand in His way. We had a reminder of that lesson over the past few weeks. A couple of Sunday's ago our priest even mentioned this in his homily when he told us a story of how God helped a Saint to accomplish something when everything seemed to be against him. I remember chuckling at the story since it had been awhile since I'd seen that kind of action in our lives. Lately it seemed as if we had been experiencing quite the opposite.

Anyhow, this particular instance has to do with Ms 18 yo and her college living arrangements. We had decided over the summer that she would be commuting because we could see no purpose in burdening her with a big loan just to stay on campus when she could conceivably make the 45 minute commute.

Apparently God did not see it that way. Ever since we'd made that decision at the beginning of summer I'd had an unsettled feeling about it that just wouldn't go away. I tried ignoring it, I tried praying it away, I talked to my husband about it. It would be gone for a few days but it would always come back before long.

My husband kept telling me that I was just worrying about nothing and that once school started and we got into a routine it would be fine. Sound advice...I decided to just wait it out.

Well, the Sunday before classes started, I was driving her car and I noticed that something was wrong with the brakes. Here we were the first week of school scrambling to find a car for her to drive. We were able to borrow one and get the brakes fixed by the weekend.

On Monday morning of the second week she called me and said, "I smelled gas fumes in the car the entire way up here." Okay, fine. Fortunately it wasn't a big problem and only took two days to get fixed.

Somewhere during these two weeks I began praying a novena. My original prayer all summer had been to ask the Lord to bring me peace about the situation. Since that never happened, my novena prayer became "Lord, if it is Your Will for her to commute then please bring me peace. If it is Your Will for her to live on campus, then agitate my husband." Seems to me he was picking the latter.

My husband suggested she check with housing to see what the procedure would be, thinking that maybe come Winter term there might be something available.

Well, I can tell you that in the span of 1 week:

- We found out there were available rooms in the main female freshman dorm and the dorm that the college rents out from the Catholic Church around the corner when they need extra space (remember, this is a Christian college).

- She picked a potential roommate from some profile papers that just so happened to live in the church dorm and met with her to see if they would be compatible. After meeting with her, she determined they would be.

- We found out that it will actually cost her less than we thought to live there.

- Went shopping to purchase the necessary items.

- Packed all her belongings and moved her in.

One week! No glitches, no problems. And to top it off, not only does this building house 40 girls, it also houses the chapel where the church holds Perpetual Adoration. Yes, 2 floors below where she lives is Jesus, truly present in the Most Blessed Sacrament - 24/7!
I know this is a weird picture, but it blows my mind to think that every time she comes into the building and walks past this door, Jesus is directly on the other side on the altar. Like I said, when He wants something done, He doesn't hold anything back.

We're still not sure if there is some "big" reason why it is important for her to be there, but I can say that having her settled there has brought that peace I was praying for!
I will be honest, however, and say that, while they are all smiling here, we have been going through the usual "send your child/sibling off to college mourning syndrome". Thank goodness for technology because, in this instance, the ease with which you can contact someone has made her still feel close!

In closing, I just want to say "Praised be Jesus Christ...Now and Forever!"

Friday, September 24, 2010

Creative Writing

I gave Ms 11 yo and Mr 10 yo their first creative writing assignment for the year. They had to take their 20 vocabulary words from the St. Ignatius story we are reading and use them all in one story.

Well, after they got through with the mandatory one hour of pouting and proclaiming how they can't write and that this is going to be impossible, they sat down and started writing.

They wrote and they wrote and they wrote. "How long can it be?" I heard.

"As long as it takes to use as many of the 20 words as you possibly can."

"Can we use a word more than once?"

"Yes, but it only counts once!"

The next day they both turned in their stories and I must say, while the technical side left a lot to be desired, the creative side was great. What a hoot. I loved to see how they blatantly wove their words into the plot. This was one of my favorites...

"On the way to Cordoba (the story is set in Spain), while stopping in Caceres, I took the calabash to get water. I saw a leper lying on the street and a heretic as I passed through the marketplace. "Hey, kid, watch where you're going." I jerked around and ran away. As I was running away, the guy started to jeer at me."

I haven't asked yet how she knew the guy was a heretic!

I've decided that since the assignment was focusing on being creative that I wouldn't make them re-write all of the technical mistakes. Instead, I think I'll pick a couple of paragraphs and teach some finer points of writing from them. Things like...correct spelling, how to use quotation marks properly, what a period is and how to use know, important things like that!

Have a great weekend! I hope to be back early next week with the post..."When God Wants Something Done...Don't Stand in His Way!"

Monday, September 20, 2010

A Trip to the Fair

I've been wanting to do this post for awhile, but alas, school has gotten in the way :) Now that I've got a scant few moments, here are some photo highlights from our fun at the Fair!

No fair is complete without your favorite foods. Ours come in the form of these incredible donuts. It amazes me how many times we find ourselves walking past the "free samples".

Here is the owner of the aforementioned donuts! He's such a nice guy, I just had to take his picture!

One of our favorite places to visit is the Home Ec building and the cake decorating contest. Here are some highlights:

We've been hearing a lot about deep-fried, chocolate-covered bacon so we just had to try it. Doesn't look too appetizing, does it?

The votes pretty much confirm the way it looks. You can add my thumbs down to the picture, too!

What fun, we ran into our parish Priests!

My favorite animal barn!

A fair isn't complete without rides!

And then there is the end of the fair, when you have to stand in endless lines to pick up your projects!
A fun time was had by all! Thanks for coming along.