Thursday, February 23, 2017

St. Polycarp- Martyr

Polycarp is  a good example of a complete life in Christ. He was a student of St. John the beloved apostle. My fourth son Noah chose St. Polycarp for his confirmation saint and so now I have a special reason to love him.

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Last year for Noah's 18th birthday, we gave him a golden St. Polycarp medal to remind him of his patron saint, and as a memento from his parents. He wears it all the time.

Polycarp in Greek comes from two words “poly” meaning many or much, and “carp” meaning fruit. Obviously his Christian parents named him Polycarp along with a prayer that he would bear much fruit for the Kingdom of God — which he did.

It also inspires me that Polycarp was bishop for 70 years, which shows me that faith and bravery isn't something just for the young, but grows with middle age and into the golden years as well.  Our culture today seems to encourage senior citizens to be "done" with responsibility and live out their lives focused on pleasing themselves. St. Polycarp is an example of persevering to the end.

Today we read about St. Polycarp's life and discussing his bravery. I don't see much honor in killing an old man, and it's ironic that instead of silencing him, his death brought even more to the new Christian faith.

A very readable version of his martyrdom is here.
Happy St. Polycarp Day!
A Currell via Flickr, licensed cc

At 86, Polycarp was led into the crowded Smyrna stadium to be burned alive. The flames did not harm him and he was finally killed by a dagger. The centurion ordered the saint’s body burned. The “Acts” of Polycarp’s martyrdom are the earliest preserved, fully reliable account of a Christian martyr’s death. He died in 156.

“Stand fast, therefore, in this conduct and follow the example of the Lord, ‘firm and unchangeable in faith, lovers of the brotherhood, loving each other, united in truth,’ helping each other with the mildness of the Lord, despising no man” (Polycarp, Letter to the Philippians).

Flee wicked arts; but all the more discourse regarding them. Speak to my sisters, that they love in our Lord, and that their husbands be sufficient for them in the flesh and spirit. Then, again, charge my brethren in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that they love their wives, as our Lord His Church. If any man is able in power to continue in
purity,(1) to the honour of the flesh of our Lord, let him continue so without boasting; if he boasts, he is undone; if he become known apart from the bishop, he has destroyed himself.(2) It is becoming, therefore, to men and women who marry, that they marry with the counsel of the bishop, that the marriage may be in our Lord, and not in lust. Let everything, therefore, be [done] for the honour of God.

"I have served Him eighty-six years and in no way has He dealt unjustly with me; so how can I blaspheme my King who saved me?

Patron against earache and dysentery.


Many Catholics say before meals, is attributed to St. Polycarp!

Bless us Oh Lord, and these thy gifts, which we have received from thy bounty, through Christ Our Lord, Amen.
St. Polycarp
Our Lady of Peace Geneva via Flickr licensed by cc. 

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Wednesday, February 22, 2017

A Sneaky Thing Called Conscience

My Latest on

Bathroom Scale-001
Via Flickr (2009), CC BY-SA 2.0

An Excerpt:

In a lot of ways, caring for a conscience is like watching your weight on the bathroom scale.

A friend of mine recently lost a lot of weight on the Wheat Belly diet. She lost so much, in fact, that she felt she was probably destined to continue to lose weight. At first, she just quit weighing herself every day. Then she only weighed in once a week. It wasn’t long before her bathroom scale was stuffed under a chair, collecting dust.

My friend continued to skip wheat and and other grains. She also found that she could eat nuts and fruit and even dark chocolate on her diet. Her clothes still fit, but her newer clothes started to get a bit tight. Then one day, she saw herself in the mirror. Was she really still losing weight? She brought her trusty scale out. To her horror she found that her weight loss had stopped, and she had even gained back 10 pounds!

And so it is with conscience.

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Wordless Wednesday


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Monday, February 20, 2017

Simple Woman

Outside my window...

february 2017
Little plants popping up because they don't know it's only February!!

I am thinking...
of what I want to do to get ready for Lent!  I want to add more prayer time and spiritual reading into my schedule. But I also want to give up something meaningful.  A few years ago, I gave up Diet Coke cold turkey and broke out in a very itchy rash on my chest.  Coincidence? or consequence? This year I am thinking of limiting the DC to mornings only, and giving up potatoes in all of their delicious guises - which will be very difficult to do because Mr. Pete LOVES his potatoes. Sometimes I think the only reason he was able to have a grain-free dinner when I gave up grains, was because we still had potatoes!

But I think that's what I will give up. No mashed, hash browns, french fries or tater tots. Cauliflower and the occasional sweet potato instead.

I am thankful...
that the weather is so very mild.  It makes me want to start my spring cleaning. It's also nice to have Noah around for this long weekend.

I am pondering...
the lessons of a dear gentleman who died and was buried from our church on Saturday.  I first noticed Mike because he had a fancy DSLR camera and was always taking pictures at all of the events. I thought he truly was the official church photographer and since I was (and am) trying to learn as much as I could about photography, I decided to try and meet him. One day I got up the nerve to ask him where he stored all of his pictures and we had a delightful conversation about camera storage, and putting photos online to share. After that, we always had small conversations about photography. It was our thing, and I know I'm going to miss that.

+3929b-Baptism of Tamera
A picture Mike took a few Easters ago of my goddaughter and me at her baptism.

I am hearing...
my tinnitus, which seems to come back much stronger in the spring.  This is the fourth year in a year that I have noticed an increase in volume and persistence in February and March.  I wonder why?

In the kitchen...
Spaghetti tonight.  Turkey wraps were a big hit last week so might make those tomorrow again.

I am wearing...
shorts and a T-shirt for some housecleaning today and to take Miss C. for a long walk.

I am going...

One of my favorite things...

I am reading...
Jimmy Akin has lost over 100 pounds.   He did it by low carb, high fat dieting and intermittent fasting. So I am willing to give this fasting thing a try. I have already been cutting down to two meals a day with limited snacks, but I want to learn more about it. This is the book Jimmy recommended.

I am teaching the class for co-op next semester.

From the Learning Rooms...

    Adobe Spark

    Reading and English list via Bravewriter and other sources  Reading Great Expectations.

    Prairie Primer  - Starting the Shores of Silver Lake this week.
    Saxon Math Grade 6
    Exploring Creation with Botany
    Trail Guide to Bible Geography
    Art with Miss Lucia 
    Children’s Choir at Oaks of Righteousness Co-Op and Parish choir
    Drama - at co-op   A Flintlock in this year's production of Peter Pan!

    Isadora: Senior year!

    British History
    Switched on School House British Literature
    Diane Craft Reading Program
    Art Studies at Akrona Art
    Parish Choir St. Sebastians
    Spelling U See Per Dr. Holinga
    Saturday Soccer League

    A quote to share...

    Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn't pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same.    Ronald Reagan

    It takes a great man to be a good listener.   Calvin Coolidge

    The truth will set you free, but first it will make you miserable.    James Garfield.

    Garfield memorial

    A picture to share...

    Noah indoor track 2017 037

    Noah indoor track 2017 031 2

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    Friday, February 17, 2017

    7-Quick Takes

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    Join the other Quicktakers at This Ain't the Lyceum.

    1. Every year at our homeschool co-op, the kids bring in bags or boxes and then everyone shares a Valentine Treat.  We opt to do something a little more crafty because everyone is kind of inundated with chocolate and goodies.  This year, we made Valentine's Day Bookmarks, and I think they turned out pretty nice.


    2. Before I take it down this weekend, this is what our Valentine's Dining room looks like right now!  The organizers at the Pre-Cana Day let us take home the balloons and they have held up all week. Miss C. has enjoyed playing with them.

    Valentine's decorations

    3. We gave our annual Pre-Cana Day talk on Saturday. I always try to change up a few parts every year to keep it fresh.  This year I moved the part about getting ready for the wedding to the beginning of the talk, and Mr. Pete and I ad libbed a little towards the end.

    4. A new part we added

    5. Then that evening, we went to a homeschool dance and Mr. Pete got to dance with me, and his other girls.


    6.  Since Noah got his driver's license, the laws have changed here in Ohio. Instead of requiring so many hours in a classroom setting, you can now take driving instruction online to prepare for the written exam. You still also need 8 hours behind the wheel with an instructor and a certain amount of time with a parent including 10 hours of night time driving.

    New drivers license!

    I have been putting this off for Isadora - partly because I'm concerned about having a daughter drive, and partly because I want her to be successful on the written exam.

    But for a few years, it has been because I couldn't find her social security card!

    In 2013, Mr. Pete took Gabe to get his driver's license and so they pulled his social security card out of our lock box.  A few moths later, Noah was ready to get his temps, but when I looked into the box, all of the social security cards and birth certificates were missing!

    I was mortified. Some of those birth certificates, especially the one my mother got for me from New Mexico, would be very difficult to replace. But losing the social security cards was an even bigger deal.

    It seems that little paper card is very important. You can't get a driver's license or state ID without it, but you need a driver's license or state ID to get a replacement!  It's crazy.

    When I couldn't find Noah's, I did some quick research and discovered that they would indeed take a Baptismal Certificate to the social security office and they would accept that as proof of ID - so I rushed down to our parish to get his certificate and then over to the Social Security office to get a new card.

    Anyone who has been at the Social Security office knows that it must be the vestibule to the our circle of hell. The seats are uncomfortable, and very institutional. There's no music, and the only art work on the wall is a portrait of the president. Let that sink in.

    Anyway, we arrived at the SS office right when it opened but we were still 12th in line, which translated into a 40 minute wait.  When we got up there, the social security clerk already had an attitude. When I told her that we were there for a new card, and presented her with the baptismal certificate, she curtly told me.

    "We don't take that."

    I told her that according to the web site, they did.

    Two minutes later, I had what he needed to get his temps with a written explanation that his new card would be coming in the mail.  The actual clerk never said, "Sorry," or "You were "right, or anything. She just processed the new card, which is what I needed her to do - but there was nothing friendly about it.

    So I was DREADING going through that again with Izzy.

    Last spring, my primary client took a month off and I used the extra time to clean up my business office. Lo and behold, the missing documents were in a manilla folder, on a shelf, covered with some other books. Mr. Pete says I put them in there, but I think in his haste to get Gabe's card, he just opened the lock box in my office and then put the envelope on the book case. It didn't take long for other things to get placed on top of it. That's the version of the story I'm sticking with!

    7. I've been asked to perform in our parish's concert of the 7-Last Words of Christ by Dubois. 

    The hardest part for an instrumentalist playing with a choral group is knowing when to come in!! Because 4 measures of rest in 4/4 time doesn't mean a strict 4 beats per measure - there are usual ritards and artistic pauses. So if you don't know the piece, it can be challenging. My solution to this is to listen to the CD until I know it all by heart. I also have the master score that I can look at so I can write lyrical cues in my part. It's going to be a little challenging, but I'm looking forward to it!

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    Thursday, February 16, 2017

    MDC Links of Interest

    Adobe Spark (1)

    A new fertility app for natural family planning.

    The app, called Natural Cycles, was founded in Switzerland by Elina Berglund and her husband Raoul Scherwizl. They created the app as a way to go “beyond contraception,” and to “get to know your body and unique cycles,” according to their website.

    “At Natural Cycles, we are all about combining scientific research and mobile tech to empower every woman worldwide with knowledge about her body, menstrual cycle and fertility.

    Ben Shapiro on abortion and transgenderism

    Dr. Ben Carson clearly and articulately talks about transgenderism. 

    Our Lady of Fatima - why the 100 year anniversary matters!

    According to legend, exactly 33 years (span of our Lord’s life) to the day prior to the great Miracle of the Sun in Fatima, that is, on October 13, 1884, Pope Leo XIII had a remarkable vision. When the aged Pontiff had finished celebrating Mass in his private Vatican Chapel, attended by a few Cardinals and members of the Vatican staff, he suddenly stopped at the foot of the altar. He stood there for about 10 minutes, as if in a trance, his face ashen white. Then, going immediately from the Chapel to his office, he composed the prayer to St. Michael, with instructions it be said after all Low Masses everywhere. When asked what had happened, he explained that, as he was about to leave the foot of the altar, he suddenly heard voices – two voices, one kind and gentle, the other guttural and harsh. They seemed to come from near the tabernacle. As he listened, he heard the following conversation:
    The guttural voice, the voice of Satan in his pride, boasted to Our Lord: “I can destroy your Church.”
    The gentle voice of Our Lord: “You can? Then go ahead and do so.”
    Satan: “To do so, I need more time and more power.”
    Our Lord: “How much time? How much power?”
    Satan: “75 to 100 years, and a greater power over those who will give themselves over to my service.”
    Our Lord: “You have the time, you will have the power. Do with them what you will.”

    Home School Graduates in College
    In my pursuit to encourage homeschooling parents, I thought it would be interesting to get an idea of how homeschool graduates perform in college as experienced by the professors. I made an appeal to professors through Facebook posts, and with the responses that I received I’m going to give you some insight into what they’ve seen in homeschooled college students.AT ARE HOMESCHOOLED STUDENTS’ STRENGTHS IN COLLEGE CLASSES?
    “Most are respectful of me as the instructor and of what I am trying to teach them. Most see the value in what I have to share with them rather than seeing my classes as something they “have to” take.”
    “I teach English, and I have noticed most of the homeschool students I have had are better prepared for writing assignments than the typical public schooled student is. This is obviously related to the curriculum used at home, but I think most were still exposed to grammar and mechanics in their middle school years when most public schools don’t emphasize this as much in middle school.”
    “Generally speaking it’s been my experience that homeschoolers take the assignments seriously and are willing to actually work on them, and to persist working on them until they’re finished. They are also not afraid to ask for help when it’s needed and/or to work with peers and/or adults. They are also much more respectful.”
    “Although home schooled students’ abilities are varied, my impression is that homeschooled students generally have good reading skills, can think critically, solve problems, and have independent ideas. They seem to be good at project based learning as well. In general, their effort and work ethic is better than average. They seem eager to learn. I have had a 16-year-old homeschooler that never had any science class before in my plant biology class (for biology majors) that was by far the best student in the class.”
    “Homeschooled students have several strengths. Academically, they are more prepared for college studies. They have better English skills than government educated students, in terms of both spelling and grammar skills. They communicate better both written and orally. They are also better prepared mathematically. There seems to be a big difference between homeschooled and government educated students in both attitude and perspective. Homeschooled students are less likely to expect things to be given to them for little effort. They also tend to be more respectful, mature, and open-minded.”
    “In my experience, homeschooled students are hard-working, polite, engaged students. They are not afraid to ask questions and engage with the instructor.”
    “They usually can read the text and gather information from it.”
    Pertussis Microbe Outsmarts Vaccines!

    In brief
    • FACT: Both the reactive whole cell DPT vaccine licensed 1949 and the less toxic acellular DTaP vaccine licensed in 1996 do not prevent infection or transmission, and only provide two to five years of temporary immunity at best;
    • FACT : Millions of vaccinated children and adults are silently infected with pertussis in the U.S. every year and show few or no symptoms but spread whooping cough to vaccinated and unvaccinated children - without doctors identifying or reporting cases to the government;
    • FACT : In response to mass pertussis vaccination campaigns beginning in the 1950s, the B. pertussis microbe evolved to evade both whole cell and acellular pertussis vaccines, creating new strains producing more toxin to suppress immune function and cause more serious disease.
    Now, here is the rest of the story in more detail:

    How I Doula as a SAHM Mom of 5

    About five years ago, I became certified as a birth doula. It's a challenging, rewarding, difficult, and amazing gift to be able to do it. I wasn't sure when I first started the training where it would lead but I felt like God was leading me there so I stepped out and started. I've learned and changed so much since starting. Since then, I've been asked lots of times how I make the whole birth doula work when I'm a homeschooling mom of five little people, some just curious and some wondering if they could do it themselves. There is a huge need for all types of legit doulas (birth, postpartum, and bereavement), especially women of faith. I truly believe that building a culture of life includes real tangible support for mothers during pregnancy, birth, postpartum, and through loss. I'd encourage any woman who's feeling a little nudge to pray and see if it would work for her and her family, even on a limited basis. If it truly is God's will, He'll work out the details.

    First, I guess I should share a quick basic summary of the nuts and bolts I provide for official clients:
    1 free interview, 2 prenatal meetings, 24/7 on call availability from 37 weeks on, email/phone support anytime during pregnancy, physical/emotional/informational/spiritual support from active labor until 1-2 hours after birth, 1 postpartum follow up meeting

    So, how do I do that as a homeschooling, stay at home mom to 5 littles?

    Rosie art.

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