Sunday, August 31, 2014

7-Quick Takes

Join Jen and the other Quicktakers over at the Conversion Diary.

1.  School started around here last Thursday (an odd day to start to my way of thinking!)  But the cross country season has already started.  Noah has been in three cross country meets already and Rosie had her first one yesterday.

Noah is in the top 7 runners for the high school.   He is trying very hard to run the 5K in under 20 minutes and yesterday he came very close with a time of 20:02.
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2.  A funny story from last week's meet - apparently the high school boys sort of get a kick out of some of us older runners and walkers who make little grunting sounds while we're exerting so much effort.  They think it's funny  - of course they're in the peak physical conditions of their lives, so what do they know!  anyway...

Last week Noah and two of his team mates were battling it out for 4th place. They were all running at top speed and yet they couldn't break away from one another.  As they neared the finish line, one of them (I'm not saying who) started making that high pitched grunting sound - and all three of them cracked up.   It was really funny to watch these guys working so hard with grins on their faces!

and indeed they all finished with identical times in the 4th spot.

2.  Rosie finished as the 6th girl yesterday.  Her friend Olivia was 3rd.  For such a hot day (and racing around noon!) I thought they both did great!

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3. Friday we went to our annual homeschool group day at the beach. We took little Miss C. with us. As it turns out, my granddaughter will be spending most Friday's with us and will also be going to a lot of our activities. I think that will be so great for her, because she really is a social baby and always has been. She wants to watch and see and do! Especially DO!

Beach ballerina baby

She's so lucky to have her godfather/uncle to help take good care of her too!

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4. My oldest might be moving to Toledo, which is about three hours from here.  I always knew that was a possibility and I'm glad I guess that it's only a few hours a way.  Since this area is saturated with paramedic schools and paramedics, his best opportunities will be in a different part of the state.  I'm told that if he goes just over the state line to Michigan he might be able to make three times what he makes now and that makes me feel very content about his future - I know he will be able to take care of himself well.

5.  And he's a good big brother too - he took Noah to the football game the other night and they had a great time.   So grateful that they get times to bond like that.


6. I am really feeling so sad about Joan Rivers this weekend, maybe even worse than I felt about Robin Williams. I haven't always liked her comedy and I think sometimes she's been a bit to vulgar and hard on other people, but I have always admired her grit and her courage, especially as she got older.  She's 81 now- the same age my mom was when she passed away. I think this clip of Joan with Bristol Palin at about 2:28 is closer to how the real Joan is.

7. If you're here from my stalker's blog over at, I'd like to clarify what I said about "twerking."

My first brief mention if it was here, and here. 

Then out of curiosity, I searched for the words "high school" and twerking over at Youtube and found out that some places actually have "Twerk squads!" Check it out!

It's the gift that keeps on giving- this dance off during a school assembly. Uh... wholesome fun right here ya'll. Aside from all the other provocative moves and inappropriate music the twerking commences at about 10:15.

You sure they aren't teaching this in gym class Jen?  Because it sure shows up a lot in actual gymnasiums on Youtube.

Friday, August 29, 2014

Martyrdom of John the Baptist

From Divine

Today is the memorial of The Passion (beheading) of Saint John the Baptist. Called to proclaim the coming of the Messiah, he boldly spoke the truth in word and deed. Saint John rebuked Herod Antipas’ behavior at having married his niece, who was also his half-brother’s wife, saying, “It is not lawful for you to have your brother’s wife.” Herod placed John in prison. While John was incarcerated, he sent his disciples to Jesus to ask if he was the Messiah, to which Jesus replied that his actions spoke for themselves. As John’s disciples were leaving, Jesus told the onlookers that John more than a prophet. After Herod had John beheaded at John’s behest, his disciples took his body and buried it. [2][3]

Statue by Mussner Vincenzo
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From the office of readings:
Through his birth, preaching and baptizing, he bore witness to the coming birth, preaching and baptism of Christ, and by his own suffering he showed that Christ also would suffer.

Such was the quality and strength of the man who accepted the end of this present life by shedding his blood after the long imprisonment. He preached the freedom of heavenly peace, yet was thrown into irons by ungodly men; he was locked away in the darkness of prison, though he came bearing witness to the Light of life and deserved to be called a bright and shining lamp by that Light itself, which is Christ. John was baptized in his own blood, though he had been privileged to baptize the Redeemer of the world, to hear the voice of the Father above him, and to see the grace of the Holy Spirit descending upon him. But to endure temporal agonies for the sake of the truth was not a heavy burden for such men as John; rather it was easily borne and even desirable, for he knew eternal joy would be his reward.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

St. Monica

Today is the feast of one of my favorite saints, St. Monica. St. Monica a tenacious prayer warrior when it came to her children, particularly Augustine who later became one of the great doctors of the church. She prayed, followed and encouraged him with all of her strength. She never gave up.

Today I suppose we would call such a woman a nag, or worse. It certainly isn't the fashion to follow grown children around and encourage them on their Christian walk. But that's what Monica did and it paid off.  I take a lot of heart in that. It seems that in our culture the emphasis is on pushing the kids out of the nest as soon as they graduate from high school.  We pretend that somehow magically getting that high school diploma or moving to a college campus automatically transforms teens into wise adults who are totally self-sufficient and don't need much from their parents any more (other than regular checks and use of the laundry).

The transition from teen to adult is a tricky one in our culture. It's hard to make that jump gracefully. Even harder for many to make it and keep their Catholic faith intact. And surprisingly for me, it seems to be just as hard if not harder for kids who have been homeschooled most or all of their lives than for kids who attended public or parochial schools. I base that on my own experience with my three oldest sons and with some of the stuff I've been seeing on Facebook the last few years from young people I watched growing up in our Catholic homeschool community is concerning.

In the interest of full disclosure I have to say that I am not entirely pleased with the way my oldest adult children are living their lives either. Mr. Pete and I had a lukewarm faith in our early 20s and we had hoped to spare our children from those years in the desert, but it hasn't turned out that way for the first three. We see the desert; they apparently see Vegas, although I think maybe those bright lights may be starting to dim a bit.

This year I've been praying the St. Monica novena in preparation for her feast day.  I've prayed that my oldest children find their way back into the church and don't stray to far from her.  I was heartened that they all made it a priority to be there for the baby's baptism on Sunday.  It was a baby step for sure, but then it did take St. Monica years and years to get results too!  So I'm encouraged.

But it has been more than just kids trying out new things and living contrary to the faith they were given - much of it has been personally very hurtful and I'm sure it must have been for St. Monica as well.

I remember being 18, 19 and 20 years old and although I thought I knew a lot, I realize in retrospect that I didn't know very much.  My mom was a very steady presence in my early adult years but even more so in my late 30s and 40s when she helped with the homeschooling, gave her help and opinion on our home school, or even when she just called me everyday to see how I was or to share some chit chat.  Dear Lord, how I could really use those calls now.

me and my boys

The church really does see a place for moms who take that vocation seriously right on up through adulthood, for the sake of the souls of her children. It reiterates that motherhood is a lifelong commitment, one that doesn't end on the 18th or 21st birthday. In fact, I remember reading that studies have shown that a woman will carry cells in her body left over from each of her pregnancies for most of her life - maybe all her life.  Biologically at even the cellular level, the children are always part of the mother.

So now I understand why mom kept checking in on me, even in my 30s and 40s.  And I totally understand and appreciate that even when she was dying she wanted me to know how much she loved me - and we told each other that over and over and over again in the week before her death. I think mom knew that I might have regrets later and that was her way of reaffirming to me that to her that didn't matter - it was the love she wanted me to keep!
You're never too old to take advice and love from your mom either!  And I am grateful to my own mom who embodied that, although I couldn't always see it at the time.

St. Monica - Catholic Online

Catholic Culture- St. Monica

for further reading:

Life of Saint Monica

Charlotte at Waltzing Matilda has created these coloring pages:St. Monica
Charlotte also has a link to a tasty Algerian dish to celebrate the feast with!

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Simple Woman

Outside my window...


The Cuyahoga Valley Railroad - as it was coming towards me on the tow path during my morning walk/workout.

I am thinking...
Our beloved math tutor won't be coming for a while - perhaps for the entire year.  His wife had premature twins on the Feast of the Assumption at only 28 weeks gestation.   They were both struggling to breath on their own and it looked like it was going to be very touch and go.  One of his friends set up a Facebook page for them and started a fundraiser. I made a donation one day last week and have been following their progress on Facebook.

That same afternoon, I was driving Rosie to her doctor's appointment and there was a panhandler on the street corner where I had to stop for a red light.   He held a cardboard sign with his plea for money written in black marker.  I often give money to these guys.  They are all over the place in this part of town - just about every major street corner.  But for some reason, I felt that I had done my part that day for a good cause and besides the doctor's office visit was going to cost me as well. So I didn't roll down the window and give a near by dollar.

My reward for that was the finger, waved in my direction with an expletive to go with it - right in front of my 9-year-old daughter.

No good deed goes unpunished.

I am thankful...
that my granddaughter was finally baptized last weekend.


and all my kids could be there!

In the kitchen...

Amazon told me my new cookbook should be here next week!  Can't wait!!   Easy gluten free meals - should be a fun fall!

I am wearing...
what the girls and I wore to the Baptism.

I am going...
  • to walk Monday - Thursday and try get some arm workouts in too.  
  • Let Noah have some big driving time!
  • Take Rosie and Noah to their cross country practices.
  • Pray for my math tutor and his family who will welcome twins this fall.
  • Really double down on my prayer time this summer - making morning prayer with divine office. com a habit!
  • Make it to confession this week hopefully!

I am pondering...
what to do about this blog.

I like being an open blogger, a real blogger -  I share the good and the bad.

But here's the thing - My older kids deserve their privacy and I can't really blog about their lives too much.

And I love blogging about my faith but I'm really tired of stupid attacks on it.  Maybe if someone came up with something new and compelling to discuss I might be interested but the usual anti-Catholic stuff is boring.

And I'm reluctant to share too much about my homeschooling life now because it really does hurt to get comments like this. Yet, I'll totally support anyone's right to write comments like that because if you put information out there on a forum with a comment section, everything is fair game.

So I'm pondering - what to write about, and how much to share, especially at this part of my life which is nearing a cross roads.

 From the Learning Rooms...
  • Noah working on Instacert to get ready for the American History II CLEP test. 
  • Noah finished Geometry.  Izzy finished Algebra I - both got an A from the math tutor. 
  • Noah finished  Expository Writing with Bravewriter and got another A - which is amazing because he really hates writing!
  • She is reading Lord of the Flies.
  • Izzy and Noah starting the Dave Ramsey course to meet their finance requirement for high school.  

One of my favorite things...


I am hoping to ...
  • Get some flute practice done.
  • That Noah will be ready for the CLEP in American History 2 within the next few weeks. 
  • Finish getting the classroom cleaned up and then work on the entire second floor - starting with my office! 

I am looking forward to...

A few pictures to share...
Noah's weekend - running in his first cross country meet of the year.
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Being a godfather.

and chillin with his goddaughter.
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Saturday, August 23, 2014

7-quick takes

Join Jen and the other Quicktakers over at the Conversion Diary.

Every morning, all summer long, I have been going down to one of the metro parks to walk while Noah and the cross country team runs. There is just nothing like being there when the boys run by, so I thought I'd capture it during these waning days of summer.

As they run I walk along, listening to my Ave Marie app or praying the office.  They only have three more morning runs - I am going to miss this time so much - sooo much!

I'm going to miss all of my new friends too - other folks walking the trail about the same time I do.  In June we were strangers, and now we know a bit about each other.   I'm going to miss them too!

And while I'm sharing video - here is one from the Lock  3 arts experience with our friend T dancing the part of the bandit.

What's amazing in this video is that they took kids who moved well and kids with some training to kids with a lot of training and formed them into a cohesive group of dancers!  I think they did a great job.

We are preparing to baptize my granddaughter on Sunday.

It's about time!!
Charlotte in the kitchen

Her mom and dad are having the party at their house afterwards, but we are preparing 7-up Salad and potato salad for the luncheon. She's also going to wear a lovely dress that I bought at a yard sale this summer.  It is new with the tags still on it and I got a great deal on it!  She'll look so lovely tomorrow!

The baby and I took a nap together today - we both needed it. Every time she falls asleep next to me, I fall more deeply in love with her. If it part of her covert baby plan to wrap grandma around her little finger - she's doing a good job of it!

First cross country meet of the season!  And first time running varsity!
noah cross country Noah at finish line

He threw up shortly after this picture, just after crossing the finish line!  Is that what they mean by "leave it all on the race course?"

The baby's mom let me know that they had to put our old cat Bill down this week.  Gabe was very sad about this, but Bill was old and he had a cancerous lump on his back that was beginning to cause him trouble.  It was just time.

Bill hasn't lived here for almost a year and yet when I got the news, I cried for him.  And Gabe and I hugged each other for a bit.

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Bill with the girls.

6.  I think fleas might have hurt his health a bit.  They have been quite vicious this summer and both my dog and cat have had them.  I have spent the last week vacuuming and spraying the furniture and rugs, giving pets baths and applying flea treatment.   I am indeed looking forward to the colder weather to get some reprieve from these little beasties!

Joy of joys- Dr. Who returns this weekend!  This summer, we watched all of the new Dr. Who episodes (from 2005 to the present) every night as a family!  It was a wonderful experience and it was great to do it together as a family!

We have other shows we like to watch too, but Mr. Pete can't stand Dance Moms and Rosie is too young for the Walking Dead - and I can't stand Mr. Pete's car shows - this was something we did as a family and I think it will be a memory these three younger kids of mine will always remember!

Friday, August 22, 2014

Mary Queen of Heaven

Coronation of Mary, Queen of Heaven

Queenship of Mary Delicious Links.

Pius XII was instrumental in establishing the Feast of Mary's Queenship. The liturgical Feast of Christ the King honors the kingly dignity of Jesus Christ and was established in 1925 by Pope Pius XI. Mary's royal dignity is parallel, although subordinate, and the Feast of the Queenship of Mary was instituted by Pope Pius XII and her queenship proclaimed with the encyclical letter, Ad coeli Reginam, promulgated on October 11, 1954.

Mary Crowned Queen of Heaven
40. Hence the revered Mother of God, from all eternity joined in a hidden way with Jesus Christ in one and the same decree of predestination,[47] immaculate in her conception, a most perfect virgin in her divine motherhood, the noble associate of the divine Redeemer who has won a complete triumph over sin and its consequences, finally obtained, as the supreme culmination of her privileges, that she should be preserved free from the corruption of the tomb and that, like her own Son, having overcome death, she might be taken up body and soul to the glory of heaven where, as Queen, she sits in splendor at the right hand of her Son, the immortal King of the Ages.

In our home, we will bring the stars out and hang them from our chandelier.  These represent heaven, and they will surround our statue of Mary.  This year we have a different desert in mind for the feast.
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Sunday, August 17, 2014

7-Quick Takes

Join Jen and the other Quicktakers over at the Conversion Diary.

1. Izzy completed her job for the City of Akron Arts Project.  She and her group were able to get two poles completely covered in ceramic tiles (although I haven't seen them yet).  The graduation ceremony they had for the kids was very nice and she got her $400 check too!  All in all, a very good experience for Izzy!
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2. Izzy's BFF, T,  was also part of the Summer Arts Experience in the dance program.  They basically took kids with talent but not necessarily training and had them dance all summer.  T loved it! and their performance based on the Great Gatsby was very enjoyable.

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3.  This is what our table looked like for the Feast of the Assumption. The beautiful Marian statue I found at a tag sale a few years ago for $15 (got it on the half price day).  I placed that in the center along with a tin vase with coral colored daisies (in commemoration of our coral wedding anniversary) and an acrylic container filled with glass we have found on the shores of Lake Erie over many, many visits there over the years!  I think it's a pretty summer table center for the special Marian Feast days in August!
Assumption table centerpiece

4. An other yard sale find this year - this little baby yard angel.  He freaked Rosie out a little bit after watching this episode of Dr. Who, but she likes him now and I think he ads a lot to our garden box in front of the house!

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5.  Got a great new dresser for Izzy's room too at a tag sale this weekend.  They wanted $110 Saturday and the price went down to $90 today, but Mr. Pete wanted to put in a bid of $60.  He did and they accepted!  Now Izzy can organize her room before the new school year starts!

6. 10606618_10152691390341204_8716405055356674559_n
This very eloquent says what I have tried to do in our homeschool experience.

7. The kids went to the local candy store and I couldn't resist snapping this pic of Izzy and Noah and two of the best friends on the street.  As soon as they got back Noah and his friend helped Mr. Pete bring back that dresser for Izzy's room and then all four went to help at the local soup kitchen that was begging for helpers on this warm summer night.  It's times like this that they'll remember. And I'm happy that they've made such good friendships.
Fernwood Friends

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