Friday, October 31, 2014

Another view on Raising Pure Teens

I mentioned in my 7-quick Takes post that my two teens and I had the opportunity this week to hear Jason Evert speak about chastity.  Mr. Evert is an international speaker and has appeared on EWTN.  He is a graduate of Franciscan University and has a counseling background. He is also a an author and offered many of his books at low cost at the meeting.

easter 2012 058

My situation was kind of ironic.  I was sitting in the church listening to this fantastic chastity speaker exactly one year after the birth of my only grand child - a little girl born outside of wedlock to my then 18-year-old son.   And that's only half of it. Two of my other sons have cohabitated with their girlfriends for years.

As I listened to Mr. Evert's talk I checked off a list in my mind:

  • Pray for my kids - check
  • Talk to them about sex openly - check
  • Explain God's plan for marriage- check
  • Lots of talks at Franciscan University's Youth weekends.
  • Love at home - check
  • Involved parents - check
  • Keeping them away from porn - check!
  • Parents who try to walk the walk themselves  - check!!
Mr. Evert does say in his book Raising Pure Teens, and he also said in his talk, that even the best father in the universe, God himself, has wayward children!  That does make me feel somewhat better. But I still think there was a missing ingredient and after some reflection I think I know what part of it might be.

The parents of the girls my boys hooked up with, did not share our world view. And I think that is what tilted the balance out of our favor even after all the training and loving faithful teaching we put into our boys.

The first set of parents was Christian but without a faith tradition or a home church.  The second set was Catholic and even sent their kids to Catholic school, although they felt their Sunday obligation was met by the school mass on Thursday. With both sets of parents, it was a struggle and almost a confrontation to get them to send our sons home at night.  We would call our sons on their cells, and then called parents, and even went over to their homes to retrieve our prodicals!  It was a constant battle with these folks and their excuses were "Well they're big kids now and we can't really tell them what to do."  

No amount of lecturing, yelling, withholding of privileges or even disabling the car was able to overcome the low hurdle that these parents presented for our sons to get to their very willing daughters. And frankly, when the first two moved out with their girlfriends AND THEIR PARENTS at least it finally brought peace to our home and removed their influence with my younger children.

The third parent was a single mom. They lived in an apartment building which threw all sorts of red flags up for me.  I wouldn't be able to drive by and make sure she was there when my son was visiting, and despite assurances that she was there when he was visiting, clearly that wasn't always the case. Every week our son would visit his girlfriend and talk about how her mother was always there because she was so tired from the work week.  But once he was in that building we couldn't go in to get him, and he wouldn't return our calls. It changed his behavior, and now we know why. 

I have three remaining children at home and this although Mr. Pete and I are continuing to all of what Mr. Evert suggested, we are doing a few other things as well.

  • No jobs in high school.  Maybe some seasonal work or Izzy could sell via her Etsy shop, but other than that, no regular part time work. I think there were a lot of influences at outside jobs for the two older boys that undermined us.
  • No going steady in high school.  I say that reluctantly because Mr. Pete and I are high school sweethearts but I just don't think that can be done in the 21st century.
  • Our house is the house for the teens to come visit.  We're making it the cool place to hang out and a safe place for the friends of our teens.
  • We no longer trust that a parent will be there. If we call, and no parent can talk to us, we're coming over and our teen is coming home with us. 
  • Houses only.  Absolutely no apartment visits. 
  • and only homes of parents we know to be practicing participating Catholics or devout church going Christians.

7-Quick Takes

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

1. Hard to believe but my granddaughter had her very first birthday party!

Her mama made pretty decorations!

There was plenty of food and lots of family

Izzy made the cake.



Which the baby thought was delicious!

A photo of Miss C's daddy and mama when they were about one.

2.  Soccer is almost over.  A couple of weeks ago Sam even came in to sub for his brother as a ref.

because that's what brothers do!

And Noah got a chance to play now that cross country is done!

3.  Rosie is loving our co-op experience.  This week we learned about the phases of the moon with oreo cookies!


A delicious way to do it!

4. Since our son is getting married I thought I better look up the mother of the groom etiquette!  Seems like I won't have too much to do, but we are getting together with the bride's parents this weekend and I am certainly looking forward to that!

5. I have to have some blood work done next week as part of my yearly physical exam. I am taking it very seriously.  I haven't had any work done since I went gluten free and lost 30 pounds last year, so I am looking forward to seeing what the numbers will be. I'm doing a lot of walking and absolutely no sugar this week except for authentic dark chocolate, which is supposed to be good for triglycerides.  We'll see.

6. So apparently carrying my 25 pound grand daughter around can have some unexpected consequences!   I carried Miss C. around last week and over the weekend I noticed a tightness in my back and sometimes in my chest.  I was a little afraid that I might possibly be having a heart attack because heart attacks present much differently in women than they do for men.

So I went in, passed the Ebola screening, and then had an EKG and a back x-ray.  Apparently my heart "looks great" according to the doctor. Just knowing that made me feel much better!

7. I had a chance to hear the wonderful Jason Evert  talk to parents and also teens last night.

I sat behind Izzy and four of her very charming friends from the co-op.

Mr. Evert talked about a young woman who received a lovely purity ring from her parents when she was 16 years old.

She wore it through high school and college.  When she finally met the right guy and became his fiance, she took the ring off and gave it to him. He took her ring, had it melted down and turned it into part of his wedding band.   Those young girls in front of me sighed a collective "Awwww!!!!"   They apparently loved the idea!

I think I know what Izzy is getting for her next birthday!

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Domestic Links of the Week

Netflix  giveth and this month this is some of what it hopes to add!

Babes In Toyland
Beyond the Edge (Nov. 25)
Bill Cosby 77 (Nov. 27)
Bomb Girls Season 3 (Nov. 26)
Helix Season 1 (Nov. 10)
Hell is for Heroes
Ida (Nov. 22)
It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia Season 9
Louder Than Words (Nov. 8)
Nebraska (Nov. 8)
Not Yet Begin the Flight (Nov. 11)
Quartet (Nov. 11)
Running from Crazy (Nov. 25)
Sabotage (Nov. 19)
Sinbad: The Fifth Voyage (Nov. 15)
Small Town Santa (Nov. 13)
Snowpiercer (Nov. 22)
The Grand Seduction (Nov. 30)
The One I Love (Nov. 29)
The Princess Diaries 2: Royal Engagement (Nov. 3)
The Rocketeer
Total Recall
Trading Mom
TV Shows
VeggieTales in the House (Nov. 26)
Virunga (Nov. 7)
War Story (Nov. 25)

Interesting take on compulsory education from

School is Damaging our Children
School is a place where children are compelled to be, and where their freedom is greatly restricted — far more restricted than most adults would tolerate in their workplaces. In recent decades, we have been compelling our children to spend ever more time in this kind of setting, and there is strong evidence (summarized in my recent book) that this is causing serious psychological damage to many of them. Moreover, the more scientists have learned about how children naturally learn, the more we have come to realize that children learn most deeply and fully, and with greatest enthusiasm, in conditions that are almost opposite to those of school.
Compulsory schooling has been a fixture of our culture now for several generations. It’s hard today for most people to even imagine how children would learn what they must for success in our culture without it. President Obama and Secretary of Education Arne Duncan are so enamored with schooling that they want even longer school days and school years. Most people assume that the basic design of schools, as we know them today, emerged from scientific evidence about how children learn best. But, in fact, nothing could be further from the truth.
Schools as we know them today are a product of history, not of research into how children learn. The blueprint still used for today’s schools was developed during the Protestant Reformation, when schools were created to teach children to read the Bible, to believe scripture without questioning it, and to obey authority figures without questioning them. The early founders of schools were quite clear about this in their writings. The idea that schools might be places for nurturing critical thought, creativity, self-initiative or ability to learn on one’s own — the kinds of skills most needed for success in today’s economy — was the furthest thing from their minds. To them, willfulness was sinfulness, to be drilled or beaten out of children, not encouraged.
When schools were taken over by the state and made compulsory, and directed toward secular ends, the basic structure and methods of schooling remained unchanged. Subsequent attempts at reform have failed because, though they have tinkered some with the structure, they haven’t altered the basic blueprint. The top-down, teach-and-test method, in which learning is motivated by a system of rewards and punishments rather than by curiosity or by any real, felt desire to know, is well designed for indoctrination and obedience training but not much else. It’s no wonder that many of the world’s greatest entrepreneurs and innovators either left school early (like Thomas Edison), or said they hated school and learned despite it, not because of it (like Albert Einstein).
It’s no wonder that, today, even the “best students” (maybe especially them) often report that they are “burned out” by the schooling process. One recent top graduate, explaining to a newspaper reporter why he was postponing college, put it this way:  “I was consumed with doing well and didn’t sleep a lot the last two years. I would have five or six hours of homework each night. The last thing I wanted was more school.”

This next article sort of goes with the one on education - women spend years going to school and are trained to not question authority - which shows up later even in childbirth when the "authorities" tell her what she is and is not allowed with her own body during childbirth!

Allowed to not allow
This stands in stark contrast to women being told they are “not allowed” to decline potentially harmful interventions like continuous electronic monitoring in a low-risk pregnancy, or to make an informed decision for a vaginal birth rather than a surgical one–or even to eat, drink, or go to the bathroom in labor. At its heart, this language is about a lack of respect. It’s how we speak to children, not competent adults. It’s a sloppy way of skipping meaningful and necessary conversations about what should be a common goal for both mother and provider: a healthy, happy birth. It’s also a reinforcement of deep cultural beliefs about women as passive objects, not full owners of their bodies nor representatives of their babies, and having lesser decision-making capacity than those they’ve hired to support them. These ideas will take time to change. But birth is a great place to start. Words have power, and we can take back that power  in some simple ways: -       Don’t stay silent when you hear this kind of language in casual conversation. Say something—even if it’s just a little something. Don’t let it go unnoticed. -       Be gentle while you are being firm. Remember that most people are just repeating something common and accepted, and they probably haven’t thought much about it. Make it your goal to inform, not convince. -       Choose to give your business to providers who use respectful language. If you’re hearing this language during pregnancy, you can be pretty sure you’re going to hear it during childbirth—and that can be a problem. You can’t act like a mother when you’re being treated like a child. -       Partners, stand up for your loved ones. When she is vulnerable, be her voice. There is no one better positioned to be a vocal advocate for her and her baby. Today, American women are gambling with their bodies when they give birth, with a one in three average Cesarean rate in facilities where practices vary widely, even among individual providers. And we are tying women’s hands when we continue to reinforce this dysfunction by using words like “allow” to describe an outdated dynamic that doesn’t recognize us as competent, rights-bearing adults. - See more at:

And tying both of those together is this story about a homeschooling mom who is going back to college herself!
Back to School Mom
After becoming pregnant her sophomore year of college, she dropped out and dedicated her life to homeschooling her three children.
Sherrilyn was quick to shrug off any notion of forfeiting career for family.
“I didn’t sacrifice,” Sherrilyn said. “Being a mother was the most important thing in my life.”
The birth of her son allowed Sherrilyn to foster her love for education and further her interests in various teaching methods.
“When it came to my kids, I thought, ‘I’m not going to play Russian roulette,’” Sherrilyn said. “I want to make a difference. I want to be that one who shapes their lives.”
She researched curriculums and pored over American educator John Holt’s book, “How Children Learn.”
She fondly recalled a field trip to a rural veterinary hospital with her children so they could experience an animal dissection.
“My kids were just holding this canine heart and it had worms coming out of it,” Sherrilyn said, laughing. “The smell was just so gross for me.”
Sherrilyn’s children were not the only ones learning. Any time one expressed interest in a new field, she would dive headfirst into the foreign material.
“In 10th grade, my son said, ‘I really want to learn about economics.’ Well, I don’t really care about economics, but guess what — I had to find out,” Sherrilyn said. “You have to love what they do, and you have to help them learn to do what they want to do.”
Sherrilyn founded a local home-schooling group in 1996 and is now a part-time hairdresser.
Though all three of her children have left her nest, she aspires to continue educating children.
“I’d like to do the same thing with other kids because I just love it,” Sherrilyn said. “But I don’t have a degree.”
Despite her experience, Sherrilyn is not certified to teach in a classroom or administer standardized tests.
Sherrilyn said there was never a doubt in her mind where she would go to finally earn her degree. After leaving the University 30 years ago, Sherrilyn is back on campus, getting assistance from her children when she needs it.

One of the main reasons I hear from my kids and their contemporaries on why they can't get married is the money issue.  Matt Walsh kills that argument here:
Hey Young Marrieds
1) You don’t need money to get married.
What is with this ‘I can’t afford to get married’ stuff? There isn’t an hourly fee attached to marriage, as far as I’m aware. If there is, I don’t know how I managed to pay it three years ago when my salary was a whopping 400 bucks a week.
Besides, every day I see a link on Facebook to ridiculous clickbait websites like Elite Daily orThought Catalog, explaining the ’30 Things You Should Try in Your Twenties,’ or some such nonsense, and the list always includes traveling, partying, and hanging out at bars.
What do all of these things have in common?
They cost money. A lot of it, actually. We don’t get married or have kids because we ‘can’t afford it,’ but we certainly don’t let our limited finances get in the way of our recreational activities. And we definitely won’t allow our minimal income to prevent us from collecting all of the latest Apple products.
We can’t afford to be spouses and parents, but we can sure afford to be extremely active consumers.
Something seems a little off balance here.
Really, in a culture overrun with consumerism, very few people can claim they ‘don’t have the money’ to do important things. It’s not a matter of a lack of resources at all — it’s a matter of jumbled priorities.
In any case, money or no money, the good news is that marriage is free. Sure, the ceremony might cost you a penny or two or million, but married life doesn’t come with a specific price tag.
Neither do kids, incidentally. I know economists like to assign completely arbitrary cost figures to raising kids — I think it’s over a quarter million dollars now — but I can tell you unequivocally that it’s all nonsense. My parents raised six kids. By these calculations, they would have plunked down around 1.5 million dollars throughout my childhood.
They didn’t. Not even close. In fact, there are many large families out there who manage to survive and thrive on solidly lower-middle class incomes. It’s not magic. It’s just a matter of controlling your impulses and exercising a little discipline.

Lastly, a documentary about country music great Glen Campbell will open this weekend in select theaters.  Mr. Campbell is suffering from Alzheimer's disease and this film documents how music has helped him to hang on for a bit longer.

Follow Elena LaVictoire's board Latest pins! on Pinterest.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Preparing for All Saints Day

All Saints Day is on a Saturday this year! So there should be ample time to celebrate this wonderful day in the liturgical year.

Halloween, or All Hallows Eve is simply the night before the great feast of All Saints Day, a holy day of obligation in the Catholic Church.

Despite what some Christians seem to think it's okay to celebrate! as long as you understand exactly what it is that you are celebrating! There is really no historical connection between the setting of this feast to November 1 (naturally placing the Eve to October 31), and the Pagan Celebration of Samhain other than the Pope  moved the feast to the same time of year when Samhain is celebrated. You can read all about that at the Catholic Education Resource Center. 

But I like to look at it another way. The change of seasons and the harvest are gifts from God, even if the ancient Celts didn't quite see it that way, and as the scriptures say, "Test everything. Hold on to the good," and Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things.
Goodnight Moom ala Steven King- by Calvin circa 2004

Christians have long honored the martyrs who have died for the faith and the Christian aspect of this feast day comes from 4th Century known as All Martyrs Day. It use to be observed the first Sunday after Pentecost and then it eventually came to include all of the saints known and unknown and the feast was set for November 1.

The Year & Our Children: Catholic Family Celebrations for Every SeasonMary Reed Newland in her book "The Year and Our Children" put it this way:

The Feast of All Saints is one of the greatest of all feasts because it celebrates what could have been impossible. The cross is a tree that bears fruit. This is the feast of its harvest. The celebrations of the mysteries in the life of Our Lord are glorious and there is no detracting from them. But he was God. This day we celebrate the perfecting or human nature by grace pouring form the side of Christ on the cross, through His Church and His sacraments, remaking men after their despoiling in the Garden.

Aside from all the lofty things to be said about the saints and to the saints on this day, we want our children to understand in the marrow of their bones what the principal idea is: "We are so glad for you. Now pray, so we'll be there too!" And they must add to this and to every feast and endless: "Thank you, Lord Jesus, for making it possible."

For the Catholic family I believe preparing children for All Saints Day really is a year-long activity. Our liturgical calendar is full of feast days all year round and it is important to remember and acknowledge these events as they happen throughout the liturgical year. Parents should take the time and the opportunity for just a few minutes each day to educate our children about the holy men and women who have become saints.

In my own family I have found that the kids will gravitate to one saint pretty early on and then when it's time to pick a saint for confirmation, they will have one already picked out.

For Calvin it was Father Damian of Molokai. Sam chose St. Tarcisius for his bravery.  Gabe chose St. John the Cure D'Ars, and Noah picked Polycarp.  Izzy always loved the quiet bravery of Saint Veronica and now it looks as if Rosie might be gravitating towards St. Perpetua.

A few years ago, I was inspired by Cottage Blessing's Spoon saints and so we tried to make a spoon saint for each saint that we talked about in depth during the year.



This year I found these cute little saints from the Waltzing Matilda blog. I think for Rosie, and even Izzy who is more advanced artistically, I'd like to give these a try!

So Rosie took over this year and here are some of her saints!
St. John Bosco wood saint craft. Rosie made him all by herself.
St. John Bosco

Peg saints,  the angels Raphael,  Michael,  and Gabriel
The Arc angels

 photo 11e05aa2-c839-49b1-b977-8dfa71b227fa_zps89caa1f0.jpg

I have several tools that help me keep on top of the liturgical year. Of course I use the links from Universalis on my blog, as well as Saint of the Day from American Catholic.

I also use this lovely Catholic Woman's Planner, and have a calendar from the Shrine of the Immaculate Conception up on my wall. With these tools I can see and plan for the liturgical year, all of the feasts and commemorations, almost effortlessly.

Most days we read something about the saint for the day and we ask that saint to, "Pray for Us" after our prayer before meals.

57 Stories of SaintsDuring the year, I like to read more about the saints to the children.  I particularly like, 57 Stories of Saints by the Daughters of St. Paul, the Picture Book of Saints by Father Lovasik.

New Picture Book of Saints: Illustrated Lives of the Saints for Young and Old, Saint Joseph Edition

Father Phillip Tells a Ghost Story (Padre Phillip Hoce Un Cuento de Fantasmas): A Story of Divine Mercy (Un Cuento de La Divina Misericordia)Father Phillip Tells a Ghost Story  has become a holiday tradition! This really does a nice job of incorporating the other connection with ghosts and the dead with their proper place in Catholic life with prayers for the dead and purgatory.

Costume ideas:
When my kids were smaller,  I would  try to encourage them to choose which saint they would like to be for All Saints Day and then we decide about which costumes to work on. I  had a lot of success in the past with Simplicity Pattern 4797.  Bible characters are easier to make because you don't require a lot of extra detailing or fitting.

Archangels:  I had my boys wear white sweat pants and sweat shirts and just put the wings on their back. Gabriel had a trumpet, the Archangel Raphael carried a plastic fish and St. Michael had a breast plate and a sword!

John the Baptist. I took white long johns and died them brown and then made a tunic from fake fur. A wild wig added to John's rustic look and he also carried a honey jar and some fake books (John ate wild honey and locusts.

A simple tunic with a set of keys and you have St. Peter!

Here are some samples of what my children have been over the years.

Noah as St. Juan Diego  - his older brother painted the simple portrait of Our Lady on some material I got at the fabric store.  I bought the hat somewhere very inexpensively.

Gabriel as St. Isaac Joques

St. Tarcisius - patron of first communicates

All Saints Day circa 1997
                    Two Archangels and John the Baptist

   An angel and the Saint Kateri  Tekakwitha

 A block of wood with some holes to stick arrows in, hidden under a tunic and you have St. Sebastian! Martyrs are lots of fun and little boys like them because you can use lots of fake blood and that seems to appeal to their sense of gore that goes with Halloween.

Calvin once appealed to his sense of comedy by stuffing himself with pillows and a skull cap, which we glued fuzzy hair to, so that he could portray Thomas Aquinas! He carried a big old fashioned Ledger book as his Summa.

Sam as St. Francis, Gabe as John the Baptist, Calvin as St. Thomas Aquinas, Izzy and Noah as Our Lady of Guadalupe and Juan Diego.

Gabriel wears a black medieval frock that I bought for a a buck at our local community center's yard sale . With that he has been Saint Isaac Joques and Father Damien the Leper. In another year we added a beard and voila - St. Ignatius Loyola!
allsaints 007

Father Damien, Saint Christopher and the Christ Child, Saint Tarcisius, Blessed Imelda

I made a medieval dress for Izzy when she was little.  Rosie wore it too. I also splurged and bought a  $30 medieval dress from a Halloween Store which was a great investment for us too.  There are a lot of female saints from that era.  Izzy wore it and Rosie wore it last year. Alas, this will be the last year that it fits!
all saints 011
This year the kids are St. Anthony of Egypt,
Blessed Imelda (before she entered the convent!) and
St. Ignatius Loyola

Added beard to our St. Francis robe and we had an instant St. Anthony of Egypt the Hermit.

The kids with Grandma for the Halloween Brunch!

Izzy as an angel, and Rosie as St. Kateri.

Zelie Martin and The Cure D'Ars

Our Lady of Guadalupe and Juan Diego

October 2010 062 October 2010 064 G.K. Chesterton October 2010 071 St. Veronica

November 2012 064

Rosie as Blessed Imelda

All saints day 2013 007
Same costume the next year dressed up as St. Elizabeth of Hungary - That was a costume I bought for $30 bucks at a halloween store and it was worn at least four times by two different daughters- that was a real bargain!

I use cards from a collection called Ordinary People, Extraordinary Lives. I can't find that available anywhere on the net. Old holy cards or other pictures you can find and save on the net also work very well.



For us I put them on the table cloth and cover them with a plastic covering, that way the kids can talk about them during meals. I also put up some of the children's other holiday art including pumpkins and spiders!

All Hallows Eve, All Saints Day and All Souls Day are a wonderful Christian time of the year. With a little thought and creativity it can make wonderful memories for families and provide our children with more education about their Catholic faith and Christian heritage as well as deepening their faith.

october 2009 and old halloween pictures 105 october 2009 and old halloween pictures 106

Other Links:
Women for Faith and Family.
A great article by Scott Richert here.

Catholic Cuisine's annual pumpkin linkup!

Add to Google

All of my previous posts and pictures about All Saints Day/Halloween can be found via my links here, or diigo links here. 

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...