Friday, June 29, 2012

7 Quick Takes June 29, 2012

--- 1 ---

God is good, isn't He?  In the midst of the disappointing, although not surprising, news from the Supreme Court, He puts in front of us an intercessor specifically from and for our own country, the now Venerable Fulton Sheen.  Wouldn't turning our country around through his intercession be a wonderful first miracle for his cause for beatification????  Venerable Fulton Sheen, pray for us.

--- 2 ---

July is the month which houses St. Ignatius' feast day and today I happened upon a website that is hosting "31 Days with St. Ignatius".  I love Ignatian spirituality and am really looking forward to following this throughout the month.

--- 3 ---

I was just complaining out loud that I had worked out 7 quick takes in my head and now that I'm typing I can't remember them, at which point my daughter laughed and reminded me that I say the exact same thing almost every week.  Oh well, why break a habit...

--- 4 ---

Have you seen "Brave"?  We've haven't had a chance to see anything but the preview in the theater and based on that my husband and I were joking that it looked a lot like The Little Mermaid (which I disliked for the following reason)...girl doesn't want to stay in her traditional role so she disobeys her parents and gets rewarded for it.  From reviews I've been reading this may not be the case, although there does seem to be mixed feelings about this movie.  Do we spend the money to see it or just pass it by?  The kids want to see it because they love the Scottish accents.

--- 5 ---

What wacky weather we are having around the country.  Another sign of the times?  We so desperately need rain around here and as I type this we are covered by dark clouds but so far a drop of rain has yet to fall.  We're hosting a big event at our house in a few weeks and are hoping we get the rain sometime before then so we can go ahead with our planned bonfire and relay races.

--- 6 ---

You might be wondering why I included relay races in the above quick take.  Well the part of the yard that we are planning to have them in is so dry that it hurts.  I can't imagine falling down during the three legged race, for example, and getting pierced by all that hard straw-like stuff that used to be grass.  I suppose it could add an additional challenge to the games to spice things up!

--- 7 ---

 For the first time in 13 weeks we have NOTHING to do this weekend.  We are so excited and can't wait to not go anywhere or have to eat all that extra good food and desserts.  Maybe it will be a weekend where we don't gain any extra weight???  While it is supposed to be very hot around here and we'll be tucked away in our A/C, it will be good just to relax. Have a great weekend.

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Life of Fred - Elementary Series

This past school year my first and third graders and I worked our way through the first four books of the new elementary series from Life of Fred.  We would read through a chapter a day a couple days a week and were able to cover the four books in less than the school year.  Each book in the series has 19 chapters and there are currently 10 books available.

I can say that my kids loved the stories contained in each of the books.  Each book covers a day in the life of Fred, a five year old math genius who teaches math at KITTENS University in Kansas.  While a little off the wall at times, the stories are engaging and teach math by using every day circumstances.  

These books were the most recent ones written and, if I understand it correctly, will fill the gap from beginning math until the fractions book that begins sometime around fourth or fifth grade.

Like the older books in the series, Life of Fred not only covers math facts but many other interesting facts as well.  My children learned what a deciduous tree is, about the life cycle of a butterfly, which letters are vowels and which are consonants and why it isn't a good idea to give someone your PIN number.

Of course they learned math, too.  Things like addition facts, adding one and two digit numbers, subtraction facts and how to tell time.  As I mentioned before, there are six new books out that we haven't even gone through yet, which include more subtraction, multiplication, division and an introduction to fractions.

While I enjoyed working through the books with the kids, we did not use them as our primary math books because I just didn't know enough about them.  I need to see the big picture (as in the whole series) to see just how he manages to teach four years of math in so much less text.  Four books wasn't enough to give me a good feel for them yet, but if your kids enjoy math (or you want to start them off on the right foot) this might be a good series for you.  

I do appreciate the author's "unit study" approach to math that he takes in this series.  He always throws in a lot of interesting material and enough fun stuff to keep the kids coming back for more.  

Another great part about this series is that each book is durable, non-consumable and very affordable!  Each book in the elementary series is only $16. Click here to go to the information and ordering page of my website!

This is a great addition to an already great math series, so if you're looking for a fresh approach to start your kids off with, I would encourage you to give a book or two a try and see if it fits with your family's teaching/learning style.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Wordless Wednesday

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

A Prayer for Our Country

I was reading over the first reading for today and I couldn't help but notice the similarity between then and now.

 Reading 1 2 Kgs 19:9b-11, 14-21, 31-35a, 36  (from the USCCB site)

Sennacherib, king of Assyria, sent envoys to Hezekiah with this message: "Thus shall you say to Hezekiah, king of Judah: 'Do not let your God on whom you rely deceive you by saying that Jerusalem will not be handed over to the king of Assyria.  You have heard what the kings of Assyria have done to all other countries: they doomed them! Will you, then, be saved?'"

Hezekiah took the letter from the hand of the messengers and read it;  then he went up to the temple of the LORD, and spreading it out before him, he prayed in the LORD's presence: "O LORD, God of Israel, enthroned upon the cherubim! You alone are God over all the kingdoms of the earth. You have made the heavens and the earth. Incline your ear, O LORD, and listen! Open your eyes, O LORD, and see! Hear the words of Sennacherib which he sent to taunt the living God.Truly, O LORD, the kings of Assyria have laid waste the nations and their lands, and cast their gods into the fire; they destroyed them because they were not gods, but the work of human hands, wood and stone. Therefore, O LORD, our God, save us from the power of this man, that all the kingdoms of the earth may know that you alone, O LORD, are God."

Then Isaiah, son of Amoz, sent this message to Hezekiah: "Thus says the LORD, the God of Israel, in answer to your prayer for help against Sennacherib, king of Assyria: I have listened! This is the word the LORD has spoken concerning him: "'She despises you, laughs you to scorn, the virgin daughter Zion! Behind you she wags her head, daughter Jerusalem. "'For out of Jerusalem shall come a remnant, and from Mount Zion, survivors. The zeal of the LORD of hosts shall do this.'
"Therefore, thus says the LORD concerning the king of Assyria: 'He shall not reach this city, nor shoot an arrow at it, nor come before it with a shield, nor cast up siege-works against it. He shall return by the same way he came, without entering the city, says the LORD. I will shield and save this city for my own sake,  and for the sake of my servant David.'"

That night the angel of the LORD went forth and struck down one hundred and eighty-five thousand men in the Assyrian camp. So Sennacherib, the king of Assyria, broke camp, and went back home to Nineveh. (my emphasis added)

I thought that this might be a great reading to come back to now and then again and use it as a prayer for our country.  You can even substitute a few names and make it very specific if you would like.  I was especially struck by the "remnant" part.  As my hubby said, we'll hopefully either be part of the remnant that survives or we'll be on our way to the Lord!

Lord, have mercy on us and on our country.


Monday, June 25, 2012

Remember to Finish Math :)

This is how it starts...or should I say ends.  My resolve to do some schoolwork throughout the summer, that is.  Ms 9 yo really has to catch up on her math this summer so we've been plugging away at it for a few weeks now.  But then we have a week like we had last week where we worked like crazy to prepare for a party, then moved into the weekend when, while still preparing, had another event to go to on Saturday night and then our party on Sunday.

Today, as we all crawled out of bed, I could really care less about making her keep up with her math.  We're all tired and brain dead and I foresee a few days of trying to get back into our regular routine. 

My prayer is that by the time we get back to a routine I will still have that resolve for her to plow onward.  Usually by the time I get un-distracted, I've completely forgotten about the schoolwork and it might be weeks before I remember again.

I hope that by putting this all into a blog post, in a few days or a week I'll be paging through here and see this post and remember that we really do need to get caught up on that math :)  Thanks for bearing with me as I write this reminder!

Friday, June 22, 2012

7 Quick Takes June 22, 2012

--- 1 ---

Exciting news for the Catholic world.  I just read an email saying that the 
Pope is declaring St. John of Avila the 34th Doctor of the Church.  The email was advertising a new book about him and they did a good job because I want this book!  (this is not an affiliate link).  Just imagine living in a country that had both St. Teresa and St. John of the SAME time!  Those infidels didn't stand a chance.  We need some living saints like that in our country.  I'm sure they're out there somewhere....

--- 2 ---

While typing that last one I felt the Holy Spirit saying, "What's wrong with you?"  Ha...that is a tall order to fill.  As of right now I certainly do not fit the bill.  Anyone else???

--- 3 ---

As for ordering another book, I really should exhibit some self control because I already have two books that I would like to read this summer.  The first is "Jesus and the Jewish Roots of the Eucharist" by Brant Pitre and the other is "Platform" by Michael Hyatt.  Hopefully I will get to both of them before long.  How about you?  What's on your summer reading list?

--- 4 ---

We are still plugging away at our exercise routine.  The problem is that we've had SO many parties to go to that I exercise during the week just to get rid of the weight I gained over the weekend.  By Friday I'm back down and then by Sunday night I'm back up and the whole darn thing starts all over again.  I know...if I just exercised some self control at all these parties, things wouldn't be so bad.  This is not likely to happen...see #2.

--- 5 ---

To help keep me motivated to exercise, I've been focusing my slalom water ski hanging out in the corner of the basement.  Oh how wonderful it would be to have a strong enough core to get back up on that thing.  My husband did it last year, however he has not carried 7 children in his abdominal area, so he has much more muscle to work with than I do.  I just envision myself trying to get up on that ski and pulling every muscle known to mankind.  But, with a little (or a lot) more work, maybe I can do it before I turn 50!

--- 6 ---

I'm going to be having a series of posts coming up where I give you a synopsis/review of each of the "Life of Fred" math books.  If you are contemplating which math series to use for your students, or if you are thinking about switching, you should seriously consider checking these books out.  I'll start next week talking about the newest books in the series for early elementary aged students. 

--- 7 ---

Finally, if you are taking a break for the summer and want to be much more organized for next school year, might I suggest reading "A Plan for Joy in the Home" now and being ready for the new year?  Kick back, enjoy the summer and get yourself ready to be on top of the game.  Have a great weekend!


For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Summertime Thoughts about School

Yesterday's project of washing all the windows didn't take as long as I had expected so I found myself with an afternoon that didn't have a project assigned to it!  I looked around at what would be the best use of my time and as my gaze was scanning past my computer screen I saw it...that huge mountain of schoolwork from this past school year.


"It needs to be done", I told myself, so why wait?  I worked hard the rest of the day and was able to complete the daunting task of organizing everyone's work, calculating necessary grades and updating transcripts.

While in the process of doing that, I found myself thinking about the next school year.  Every summer that seems to happen.  I am so glad to be done and on break when I find my mind wandering to next year, what we can do and the exciting topics we might cover.  I pick up those catalogs and start daydreaming about what I might buy.

But summer just started...the months I have longed for since about February...why oh why is my brain venturing down this path already??  Alas, I will indulge my brain and daydream on and off over the next busy month about what our next school year will look like and hope that by the time it does start I will still be excited about it :)

Have a good second day of summer...whatever that means for you and your family!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Wordless Wednesday

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Thank God for Faith

Quite a few years ago I began praying for all of our deceased friends and family.  I begin by saying, "Remember, Lord, those who have died and gone before us marked with the sign of faith, especially those for whom we now pray."  I then begin to list off the names.  Over the years the list has gotten quite lengthy, but it hit me today that I've added FIVE new names to that list in the last THREE WEEKS.  

I've had runs before where I've added two or three in a short period of time, but never anything like this.  All of these deaths were sudden and those are the kind that hit you hard.

Two of them in particular have been difficult because they were of relatively young mothers who left behind children who need them.  I started thinking about my visit with my great aunt last week, who is 92 years old.  All that poor woman wants to do is go home to be with the Lord and her son who died about eight months ago.  She misses him so much that she really can't wait to be with him again.  Funny thing is, she could conceivably live a couple of more years, as longevity runs in her family.

I know God has his reasons for what He allows to happen, but to the human mind, this just does not make sense.  Mothers who should be here still and are not and a mother who has lived a long, full life who wants to go and hasn't.  Each family suffers in their own way and for reasons which God understands but which we do not.  

I am so thankful that I have faith, because without faith, this would all be even more difficult to understand.  I'm also glad that, as a Catholic, my faith teaches me that I can have an active part in all of this through my prayers. I end my list of names by praying, "May these and all who sleep in Christ, find in Your presence, light, happiness and peace through Christ our Lord, Amen."


Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Wordless Wednesday

Friday, June 8, 2012

7 Quick Takes June 8, 2012

--- 1 ---

We are so happy to have another soldier of Christ in our house!  Ms 13 yo was Confirmed this past week in the Latin Rite...thus the picture above of the Bishop giving her a little slap on the cheek.  It was a beautiful ceremony and we are so happy to have had the opportunity to participate with a lot of other homeschoolers.

--- 2 ---

Next week we have another graduate of our homeschool in our family.  Quite the busy time around here as Ms 18 yo graduates from high school.  Our homeschool group has an annual graduation Mass and reception which has proven to be quite lovely for all involved.  This year we will have 6 high school graduates and 6 eighth grade graduates participating.  Expect pictures to follow next week :)

--- 3 ---

With graduation comes the inevitable questions.  Right now those questions do not have answers.  Due to financial considerations, our college-aged daughters are having to find alternative ways of obtaining that degree other than heading off to a four year school.  We all agree that it is wrong to strap them down with huge loans, so we're praying about other ways to go to college to get that degree without the debt.

--- 4 ---

I wrote earlier here and here about all of the news of death that seems to be surrounding us lately.  This week alone I found out about the sudden death of a friend of ours from our old parish as well as an out-of-state aunt of my husband.  Both unexpected and sudden.  I'm losing count of how often this is happening.  As my daughter pointed out, each time it seems to be getting closer to home.  We both decided not to go down that road any farther...

--- 5 ---

I almost forgot that we went to see "For Greater Glory" this past weekend.  WOW!  If you get the chance, go see it this weekend.  It is fabulous.  I found it a bit hard to follow at times because, to me, everyone looked the same so I couldn't remember who was who.  Despite that, however, I did get the gist of the story and found myself being drawn into it very deeply. It is the kind of movie that leaves a very long-lasting impression on you.  We went with four other couples and I don't think there was a dry eye around.  Put this at the top of your list for this weekend!!!!!!!!!

--- 6 ---

Mr 7 yo is quite the kid.  This week he decided he wanted to say Mass for us so he set up the living room very properly and tried his best to work his way through it by himself.  At announcement time, he stood up and told us that Mass would be followed by a "Bagel Reception".  I believe that was in response to the fact that there are no donuts in our house :)  He also makes for good conversation at funeral luncheons.  Just the right amount of cuteness to lighten the mood.

--- 7 ---

What's up for your weekend?  We have 7 events in 3 days.  While I like to keep busy, even I feel like this is a bit much. Our parish is having a 2 mile Corpus Christi procession on Sunday.  Expect pictures for this grand event, also.  Have a great weekend!

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Family Bonds

I spent all day Tuesday at the funeral of the sister of a long-time friend of mine.  This was one of those horribly emotional events that leaves you wiped out.  Their Pastor said that that day was not the day for whys and what ifs, but you just couldn't help yourself from asking those questions.  

The woman who died was a wife, a mother, and a fellow homeschooler.  She loved her family and she came from a very loving family.  I've known her family for a long time and it's one of those families that is not only close with each other, but constantly draws outside people in.  I know, I was often the recipient of their wonderful hospitality and love.

I had a long drive home and during that time I thought of my own children.  Oh how I long for them to have adult relationships with each other such as those of my friend and her sisters.  It was somewhat providential then that, upon returning home and relaxing on the couch with all of them around the room, we quite naturally started discussing this very topic.

Ms 16 yo was very emphatic about the fact that none of them could ever be "dissenters".  She said she's always longed for cousins who could also be her friend, so she wants her children to be good friends with their cousins.  We all agreed that, although they might argue from time to time, they would agree to never stop talking to one another.  I know that sounds like a lofty goal, but I'm hoping that because they've experienced the hurt of having family members not talk to them it will help them in their resolve to always reconcile with each other.

We talked of hanging out as one big family. We talked about taking vacations together.  I pointed out that a big part of this working will be that they each marry someone who values extended family as much as they do.  It will also have to go both ways, too.  Not only will they need to maintain good relations with their own siblings, but with those of their future spouse as well!

It sounds so wonderful to me, especially after witnessing again the bonds that run so deep in my friend's family.  Losing one of their sisters is going to leave a very large hole in their family, but at least their closeness to each other will help them to reach some kind of healing.  I can't imagine having tragedy like that strike a family that is estranged.  My only prayer would be that the tragedy would bring people back together instead of driving them farther apart.

For now, we'll work on strengthening the bonds within our own little family that keep us strong.  We'll continue to reach out to others and draw them in as much as they will let us.  We will show God's love to each other so that hopefully others will see it and be helped.  More lofty goals, but with God, nothing is impossible.

Eternal rest grant unto her, and may perpetual light shine upon her.


Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Wordless Wednesday

Sunday, June 3, 2012

A Trinitarian Way of Life

This past Saturday the first reading at Mass was from Jude 17:20-25.  When I was reading it I was struck by what a great reading it was in preparation for today's solemnity of the Holy Trinity.  Most especially these verses,

"Build yourselves up in your most holy faith, pray in the Holy Spirit.  Keep yourselves in the love of God and wait for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ that leads to eternal life."
What a wonderful guide for living your life in the Holy Trinity.  Praying in the Holy Spirit has always been something I have been drawn to.  I vividly remember all of the times I've so strongly felt the presence of the Holy Spirit within me.  It is something that, at times, I long for.  Praying to be aware of the inspirations of the Holy Spirit is also something that should be a part of our lives.  The more in tune we are to the Holy Spirit's movements within us, the more able we are to do the Will of God.

This next part is the one I had the hardest time with.  How do I keep myself in the love of God?  I pray often, but do I address my prayers to God the Father on a regular basis, or do I pray to God the Father through God the Son?  How strong is my relationship with the first person of the Blessed Trinity?  This is an area that I must make an effort to work on so that I can keep myself in the love of God.

"Wait for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ".  The Divine Mercy Chaplet, a great way to call on the mercy of the Lord.  Even just praying "Jesus, I trust in You" throughout the day is a great way to remember the love and mercy that our Lord has for each one of us.

Is the Holy Trinity dwelling within me?  Do I make an effort every day to maintain my relationship with each of the three persons of the Trinity?  If not, how can I expand my prayer life so that tomorrow I can included Them all more?  What a great series of questions to ask myself every evening before I drift off to sleep with the hope that tomorrow I will have the Blessed Trinity dwelling within me even more fully than today.


Friday, June 1, 2012

7 Quick Takes June 1, 2012

--- 1 ---

School is winding down around here for the summer and we're all very excited.  We have been doing US Geography this year with the youngest four students and we've now come to the final quiz of the year.  I was about to sit down and try to put together my own quiz when I was reminded by the Holy Spirit :) that someone else had probably already done that and was offering it for free somewhere!  Here is where I found it.  I'm sure glad that I didn't waste my time reinventing the wheel.

--- 2 ---

In order to put the link in the previous quick take I had to google it again.  As I was doing it I was thinking that I should somehow remember to use that site more often.  "OOOHHH," I thought, "that's what Pintrest is for, isn't it?"  I promptly pinned it to my homeschooling board.  Now I just have to remember to go back there and look at it.

--- 3 ---

I haven't put in a plug for my book "A Plan for Joy in the Home" lately, so if you're going/gone to the Minnesota home school conference, make sure you check your vendor bag for my flyer.  This summer would be a great time to work through the worksheets so that your next year can be organized and more peaceful.

--- 4 ---

Are you planning on going to the movies this weekend?  Friday is the opening of the movie "For Greater Glory" and I've heard wonderful things about it.  We are hoping to get a group together and go Saturday evening.  If it is around your area, I've heard it is worth your time and money.

--- 5 ---

This is an addition to my post from Thursday.  After I posted that I remembered that I also have known a fourth young man who died unexpectedly.  I was friend's with his mother back at the beginning of my reversion back to the faith.  She used to watch my small children so that I could go to adoration.  She also did a lot to help me build my faith so for that I am forever grateful.  A few weeks ago her oldest son died from an undiagnosed heart problem.  He is leaving behind a wife and young daughter. Please pray for his soul and his family left here.  Thanks.

--- 6 ---

If I could beg yet another prayer from you, good reader, it would be for a friend of mine who's son had another open heart surgery this past week.  He had his first one as a newborn when they discovered problems with his valves.  I haven't heard yet how he fared, but I know that many prayers will be appreciated by him and his family.  Thank you again!

--- 7 ---

We have a relatively low key weekend - only one party to go to!  Add in the movie on Saturday and the usual running around, however, and it won't end up being too quite.  Hope you have a relaxing, spirit-filled weekend.  Happy Holy Trinity Sunday.

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!