Monday, September 15, 2014

The Sorrowful Mother

For the past 14 years this has been a special day in the liturgical year for me. After losing my son to stillbirth in 2002 I felt that I had a special connection to the Blessed Mother in some small way. Going to mass on this day, of all days, has been cathartic for me  - cleansing and healing, even merciful.

Just recently I realized my "baby" would have been 12 years old - the same age as Jesus when he was left behind to preach in the temple. It's odd to think about what life would be like if I had him  here with my remaining children.

And honestly, this year, for the first time, probably because of the heart ache I have had with my oldest three children, I have had a sense that things worked out just the way they were supposed to.  I miss my baby, but I am somewhat relieved that I was spared the traumatic teen/early adult years.

Other Our Lady of Sorrows links on

The Prophecy of Simeon
"And Simeon blessed them, and said to Mary his mother:
Behold this child is set for the fall and for the resurrection of many in Israel, and for a sign which shall be contradicted; And thy own soul a sword shall pierce, that out of many hearts thoughts may be revealed." Luke 2:34-35 Meditation: How great was the shock to Mary's Heart at hearing the sorrowful words, in which holy Simeon told the bitter Passion and death of her sweet Jesus, since in that same moment she realized in her mind all the insults, blows, and torments which the impious men were to offer to the Redeemer of the world. But a still sharper sword pierced her soul. It was the thought of men's ingratitude to her beloved Son. Now consider that because of your sins you are unhappily among the ungrateful.

The Flight into Egypt
"And after they (the wise men) were departed, behold an angel of the Lord appeared in sleep to Joseph, saying: Arise and take the child and His mother and fly into Egypt: and be there until I shall tell thee. For it will come to pass that Herod will seek the child to destroy Him. Who arose and took the child and His mother by night, and retired into Egypt: and He was there until the death of Herod." ~Matt: 2:13-14. Meditation: Consider the sharp sorrow which Mary felt when, St. Joseph being warned by an angel, she had to flee by night in order to preserve her beloved Child from the slaughter decreed by Herod. What anguish was hers, in leaving Judea, lest she should be overtaken by the soldiers of the cruel king! How great her privations in that long journey! What sufferings she bore in that land of exile, what sorrow amid that people given to idolatry! But consider how often you have renewed that bitter grief of Mary, when your sins have caused her Son to flee from your heart.

The Loss of the Child Jesus in the Temple
"And having fulfilled the days, when they returned, the Child Jesus remained in Jerusalem; and His parents knew it not. And thinking that he was in the company, they came a day's journey, and sought him among their kinsfolk and acquaintance. And not finding Him, they returned into Jerusalem, seeking Him." ~Luke 2:43-45.
Meditation: How dread was the grief of Mary, when she saw that she had lost her beloved Son! And as if to increase her sorrow, when she sought Him diligently among her kinsfolk and acquaintance, she could hear no tidings of Him. No hindrances stayed her, nor weariness, nor danger; but she forthwith returned to Jerusalem, and for three long days sought Him sorrowing. Great be your confusion, O my soul, who has so often lost your Jesus by your sins, and has given no heed to seek Him at once, a sign that you make very little or no account of the precious treasure of divine love.

The Meeting of Jesus and Mary on the Way of the Cross
"And there followed Him a great multitude of people, and of women, who bewailed and lamented Him."
~Luke 23: 27. Meditation: Come, O ye sinners, come and see if ye can endure so sad a sight. This Mother, so tender and loving, meets her beloved Son, meets Him amid an impious rabble, who drag Him to a cruel death, wounded, torn by stripes, crowned with thorns, streaming with blood, bearing His heavy cross. Ah, consider, my soul, the grief of the blessed Virgin thus beholding her Son! Who would not weep at seeing this Mother's grief? But who has been the cause of such woe? I, it is I, who with my sins have so cruelly wounded the heart of my sorrowing Mother! And yet I am not moved; I am as a stone, when my heart should break because of my ingratitude.

The Crucifixion
"They crucified Him. Now there stood by the cross of Jesus, His Mother. When Jesus therefore had seen His Mother and the disciple standing whom he loved, He said to His Mother: Woman: behold thy son. After that he said to the disciple: Behold thy Mother."
~John 19: 25-27Meditation: Look, devout soul, look to Calvary, whereon are raised two altars of sacrifice, one on the body of Jesus, the other on the heart of Mary. Sad is the sight of that dear Mother drowned in a sea of woe, seeing her beloved Son, part of her very self, cruelly nailed to the shameful tree of the cross. Ah me! how every blow of the hammer, how every stripe which fell on the Savior's form, fell also on the disconsolate spirit of the Virgin. As she stood at the foot of the cross, pierced by the sword of sorrow, she turned her eyes on Him, until she knew that He lived no longer and had resigned His spirit to His Eternal Father. Then her own soul was like to have left the body and joined itself to that of Jesus.

The Taking Down of the Body of Jesus from the Cross
"Joseph of Arimathea, a noble counselor, came and went in boldly to Pilate, and begged the body of Jesus. And Joseph buying fine linen, and taking Him down, wrapped Him up in the fine linen."
~Mark 15: 43-46 Meditation: Consider the most bitter sorrow which rent the soul of Mary, when she saw the dead body of her dear Jesus on her knees, covered with blood, all torn with deep wounds. O mournful Mother, a bundle of myrrh, indeed, is thy Beloved to thee. Who would not pity thee? Whose heart would not be softened, seeing affliction which would move a stone? Behold John not to be comforted, Magdalene and the other Mary in deep affliction, and Nicodemus, who can scarcely bear his sorrow.

The Burial of Jesus
"Now there was in the place where He was crucified, a garden; and in the garden a new sepulcher, wherein no man yet had been laid. There, therefore, because of the Pasch eve of the Jews, they laid Jesus, because the sepulcher was nigh at hand."
~John 19: 4l-42 Meditation: Consider the sighs which burst from Mary's sad heart when she saw her beloved Jesus laid within the tomb. What grief was hers when she saw the stone lifted to cover that sacred tomb! She gazed a last time on the lifeless body of her Son, and could scarce detach her eyes from those gaping wounds. And when the great stone was rolled to the door of the sepulcher, oh, then indeed her heart seemed torn from her body!

Go to 22:14  for the part specific to mothers. 


Thursday, September 11, 2014

The Holy Name of Mary

Our Lady Star of the Sea
Photo by Loci Lenar via Flickr

The Holy Name of Mary

Lord, have mercy.
Lord, have mercy.
Christ, have mercy.
Christ, have mercy.
Lord, have mercy.
Lord, have mercy.
Son of Mary, hear us.
Son of Mary, graciously hear us.

Heavenly Father, of Whom Mary is the Daughter, Have mercy on us.
Eternal Word, of Whom Mary is the Mother, Have mercy on us.
Holy Spirit, of Whom Mary is the spouse, Have mercy on us.
Divine Trinity, of Whom Mary is the Handmaid, Have mercy on us.

Mary, Mother of the Living God, pray for us.**
Mary, daughter of the Light Eternal,**
Mary, our light,**
Mary, our sister,**
Mary, flower of Jesse,**
Mary, issue of kings,**
Mary, chief work of God,**
Mary, the beloved of God,**
Mary, Immaculate Virgin,**
Mary, all fair,**
Mary, light in darkness,**
Mary, our sure rest,**
Mary, house of God,**
Mary, sanctuary of the Lord,**
Mary, altar of the Divinity,**
Mary, Virgin Mother,**
Mary, embracing thy Infant God,**
Mary, reposing with Eternal Wisdom,**
Mary, ocean of bitterness,**
Mary, suffering with thine only Son,**
Mary, pierced with a sword of sorrow,**
Mary, torn with a cruel wound,**
Mary, sorrowful even to death,**
Mary, bereft of all consolation,**
Mary, submissive to the law of God,**
Mary, standing by the Cross of Jesus,**
Mary, Our Lady,**
Mary, Our Queen,**
Mary, Queen of glory ,**
Mary, glory of the Church Triumphant,**
Mary, Blessed Queen,**
Mary, advocate of the Church Militant,**
Mary, Queen of Mercy,**
Mary, consoler of the Church Suffering,**
Mary, exalted above the Angels,**
Mary, crowned with twelve stars,**
Mary, fair as the moon,**
Mary, bright as the sun,**
Mary, distinguished above all,**
Mary, seated at the right hand of Jesus,**
Mary, our hope,**
Mary, our sweetness,**
Mary, glory of Jerusalem,**
Mary, joy of Israel,**
Mary, honor of our people,**
Mary, Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception,**
Mary, Our Lady of the Assumption,**
Mary, Our Lady of Dolors,**
Mary, Our Lady of Mercy,**
Mary, Our Lady, Star of the sea,**
Mary, Our Lady of the Rosary,**
Mary, Our Lady of Victory,**
Mary, Our Lady of La Trappe,**
Mary, Our Lady of Mount Carmel,**

Lamb of God, Who didst rejoice Mary,
Spare us, O Lord Jesus.
Lamb of God, Who didst afflict Mary,
Graciously hear us, O Lord Jesus.
Lamb of God, Who didst glorify Mary,
Have mercy on us, O Lord Jesus.

Son of Mary, hear us.
Son of Mary, graciously hear us.
V. I will declare thy name unto my brethren.
R. I will praise thee in the assembly of the faithful.

Let Us Pray:

O Almighty God, Who beholdest Thy servants earnestly desirous of placing themselves under the shadow of the name and protection of the Most Holy Virgin Mary; vouchsafe, we beseech Thee, that by her charitable intercession, we may be delivered from all evil on earth, and may arrive at everlasting joys in Heaven. Through Jesus Christ Our Lord. Amen.

Follow Elena LaVictoire's board Mary on Pinterest.

Richard of St. Laurence states "there is not such powerful help in any name, nor is there any other name given to men, after that of Jesus, from which so much salvation is poured forth upon men as from the name of Mary." He continues, "that the devout invocation of this sweet and holy name leads to the acquisition of superabundant graces in this life, and a very high degree of glory in the next."
After the most sacred name of Jesus, the name of Mary is so rich in every good thing, that on earth and in heaven there is no other from which devout souls receive so much grace, hope, and sweetness.
Hence Richard of St. Laurence encourages sinners to have recourse to this great name, "because it alone will suffice to cure them of all their evils;" and "there is no disorder, however malignant, that does not immediately yield to the power of the name of Mary." The Blessed Raymond Jordano says, "that however hardened and diffident a heart may be, the name of this most Blessed Virgin has such efficacy, that if it is only pronounced that heart will be wonderfully softened." Moreover, it is well known, and is daily experienced by the clients of Mary, that her powerful name gives the particular strength necessary to overcome temptations against purity.

My Domestic Links of the Day!

In honor of those who died on 9/11/2001 -see the 2996 Project on Pinterest.
Follow darryl heron's board Project 2996 on Pinterest.

I remember Colleen

An interesting article on literature and the Common Core standards and how they do NOT encourage the reading of the great classics. Great lines like "Call me Ishmael" may be lost from the cultural literacy.  Read more at Common Core ELA

The debate about vaccines and vaccine safety goes on.
Link between fetal cells in MMR vaccinations and autism from September 2014

Using statistical analysis and data from the US Government, UK, Denmark and Western Australia, scientists at Sound Choice Pharmaceutical Institute (SCPI) found that increases in autistic disorder correspond with the introduction of vaccines using human fetal cell lines and retroviral contaminants.Even more alarming, Dr Theresa Deisher, lead scientist and SCPI founder noted that, “Not only are the human fetal contaminated vaccines associated with autistic disorder throughout the world, but also with epidemic childhood leukemia and lymphomas.”

Truett Cathey, the founder of Chick-Fil-A passed away September 8.

Dave Ramsey shared some of his priorities.  This one is my favorite.

3. Make family a priority.

A company’s true core values always “drip from the beard” of its leadership. That’s why Chick-fil-A goes beyond being a family-owned business and works hard at being family friendly. The “Closed on Sundays” policy gives team members a regular opportunity to spend time with their families. In addition, special family nights and emphases affect not only the culture of the workplace, but they also have a powerful impact on the culture of communities.

Our neighbor girl often talks about the security at the local pubic high school - but this seems like overkill to me.  In Texas, cops take down a small female high school student because she won't give up her cell phone.  The reason?  No one can reach her mother on dialysis.
Cops vs. 100 pound unarmed female student right here.

Then there's the soldier who isn't allowed to enter his daughter's school because he's wearing his uniform.

and a school in Virginia protecting its students from Chap Stick? 

Lee Binz shares Cures for Homeschool Burnout, although I kind of think it's early in the season for that!!

A long-time Catholic priest and exorcist shares his most powerful prayers. 
Prayers of the Exorcist

And since tomorrow is the Feast of The Holy Name of Mary, a litany is in order! Litany

Monday, September 08, 2014

Simple Woman

Outside my window...
Cross country weather.
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I am thinking...
about the homeschool mass we had tonight for the Nativity of Mary.

Rosie brought up the gifts.

For the first time ever, Noah did some public speaking by reading the petitions.

It was a lovely mass and just the right way to commemorate the nativity of Mary.

I am thankful...
for our homeschool group, although a little nostalgic for the days of yore I guess.  All of these families are new, only two  of the women I homeschooled with 20 years ago were there.  The newer moms have a different attitude about homeschooling as well. It's as if education is a color palette, and homeschooling is one color on that palette that is available to them.

This is my 19th year of homeschooling and I feel analagous to St. Polycarp, who knew the original apostles.  I homeschooled with some of the original homeschoolers and I read books by the homeschool authors who risked prison or losing their kids just to get the right to homeschool. The new homeschoolers are like the early Christians perhaps - the ability to homeschool is there and available to them, and the stories of how that came to be,  are part of the ancient history.

It just has a different vibe to it.

In the kitchen...
Turkey breasts on sale this week so I got two of them!  Planning to try this on Wednesday.

Slow cooker turkey

I am wearing...
black palazzo pants and a black T shirt.

I am wondering...
how long it will take me to get proficient at shooting.  Calvin took me to the gun range to day and I got to fire a hand gun for the first time. I did pretty good too - once I started actually hitting the target!  Calvin tells me that to get my concealed weapon permit, I'll need to be able to make a grouping within a 6 inch radius.  That's going to take more practice - and more ammo.  It was scary, but I think it will be more fun once I'm used to firing and get better at aiming.

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 the office with the children in the morning with divine office. com a habit!
  • Make it to confession this week hopefully!
I am pondering...
in 1983 I moved from my home in Michigan to Ohio because Mr. Pete got a job here. It was exciting and scary, but being with my husband made it an adventure. In fact, one of the reasons I married so young was that I wanted to face all of life with him beside me because sharing those things with him just made my life better.

One of my son's girlfriends is moving three hours away.  They aren't breaking up but she's moving for a job.  They have been "together" for about seven or eight years.  I thought she would be my daughter-in-law by now.

It's certainly her life and her choice - but I can't wrap my mind around it because it is so different from my experience.  When I met Mr. Pete, I did everything I could to make sure we would be together, and if we couldn't be physically together, there was that bond of matrimony that held us strong.  What my son is experiencing is foreign to me.

Having just finished my Robin Williams movie marathon, I've started watching everything about Joan Rivers on Youtube.

I thought she handled this talk with her daughter about her own death wonderfully well.

I am reading...

Joan Rivers hit rock bottom in her 50s - and came back to have a great career for 30 more years.  I find that fascinating.

From the Learning Rooms...
  • Noah working on Instacert to get ready for the American History II CLEP test. 
  • Noah starting Algebra II, British Lit, biology and Latin 2
  • Izzy working on Geometry, American History, American Literature, biology and sign language.  
  • Rosie working on math, reading, spelling, map skills and history.  
  • Izzy and Noah starting the Dave Ramsey course to meet their finance requirement for high school.  

One of my favorite things...

september 2014 046

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 on to my closet!

I am looking forward to...

at least two cross country meets this week. 
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 A picture to share...

september 2014 012

Nativity of Mary

Mary's birthday is celebrated exactly 9 months after the Feast of the Immaculate Conception. Mary's Birthday is one of only three that we celebrate during the liturgical year, the other two being John the Baptist and of course Jesus!

The story of Mary's birth is somewhat familiar.  Joachim and Anne were two holy people, married for many years without being able to conceive a child.  But by remaining faithful to the Lord, they were rewarded by finally conceiving a child- the little girl who would become the Blessed Mother.  The story goes that the Angel Gabriel appeared both to Joachim and Anne separately, telling them the good news that they were pregnant, and when Joachim and Anne found each other to share the news they each already knew!!

Usually for Marian Feast Days the kids and I make a "white dinner." Everything is white in honor of Mary.

White chilli  is a nice meal to make this time of year when soccer and cross country and all of the other activities are going in full swing.  Just pop the chicken and spices in the crock pot and go!   Of course a lovely white cake for desert is a natural!

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izzy art september 2010 020

We read Mary My Mother by Father Lawrence Lovasik and Catholic Traditions In The Home And Classrooms: 365 Days To Celebrate A Catholic Year.  For example, in France this is the day for harvesting the best grapes and bringing them to church.  This is also the start of the "bringing down" in the Alps, as ranchers bring their herds down from the summer pastures for safe keeping in the winter.

Friday, September 05, 2014

7-quick Takes

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

1.  Sorry for the light blogging this week, as the kids and I try to get into the groove of our new homeschool year. I have two high schoolers and a 4th grader this year,  and getting everything done is challenging to say the least.  Add to that my 10 month old granddaughter who is with us four days a week and I can say that my days are full.

2.  I've blogged before that we no longer have our long-time math tutor, and when I learned that he would be unavailable this school year, I started to look for someone else, and I found her - a very nice Christian lady who works at a local science museum.  We went for our first session of geometry and algebra 2 this past week and I brought Rosie along because I feel she's too young to be left alone during the day.

As soon as I walked through the door, I was greeted by another homeschool mom that I have known for a few years and she let me know that her homeschool co-op was going on at the same time.  She immediately invited Rosie to join in - which she did without any hesitation at all! So what was going to be just a math session for my two high schoolers ended up being an enrichment day for Rosie who had a sign language class and a music lesson too!  I felt very blessed!

3.  And it turns out if I can get Izzy and Rosie there every week by 8- they can take Biology and Astronomy respectively.  Feeling very, very blessed!

4.  I'd love for Noah to take the Biology too, but unfortunately his Latin 2 class is the same time online.  If possible, I'll have him bring his computer and see if their connection is good enough for him to do his class there and then maybe at least he can get part of this biology course done as well.  We'll see.  Noah is excellent at getting his work done alone so I'm not worried about him keeping up in all of his subjects.

5.  Last night we had a discussion in my kitchen with Noah, Izzy and some of their regular schooled friends about homeschoolers and socialization.  Noah has told me that if he gets any invitations to anywhere, he is going to take them, because he wants to expand his circle of acquaintances and friends. Apparently the regular schooled kids started telling him about how disadvantaged he was with his socialization, but Noah disagreed.

When he first started with the cross country team, he was the odd man out.  He started kind of hanging around the fringes before and after practice and inserting jokes and wise cracks into the conversation whenever he could.  Now three years later, Noah has a nick name - "Noah L A" and he is greeted warmly and with enthusiasm when I drop him off.

When a new homeschooled kid joined the team this year, one of the cross country boys asked him where he went to school and he replied, "I'm homeschooled."  The cross country boy replied, "That's cool - you're living the hard core Noah L A life!"

6.   The "hard-core Noah LA life" means that Noah was invited to participate in the Akron Marathon in a relay this year - the first year ever to be asked.  Noah was thrilled.  Mr. Pete was thrilled too - until they hit him up for $50 for the entrance fee last night!  But he paid it and I gave Mr. Pete some cash this morning - it's all good.

7.  My favorite current hater, Jen, wants you to believe that she read on some anti-vaccination boards that someone posted that they had mumps, measles, chicken pox as a kid and that they weren't particularly awful.

She also said that person needs to "turn in their licence to breed," and insinuated that "someone" was stupid - because Jen is tolerant like that.

But I think she's referring to my post in June

I wrote:
What tickles me to death though are the moms who eloquently write about how dire the childhood disease of measles, mumps, pertussis and chicken pox were - how children were at death's door or severely disfigured by these diseases. 
So I pulled these photos out of my picture box.   This is a picture of me and my little sister from the early 1960s.  We both got measles, mumps, and chicken pox and I'm pretty sure I also had pertussis although my mom had a different name for it at the time. I remember that distinctive cough.
When I mention that I had all of those diseases to young moms at these web sites, they either don't believe me or they tend to think I was one of the few survivors of the plague.  I assure them that not only did I survive these infections, but so did my sister, and so did every other kid we went to school with back then.  (I only know of one kid who ever went to the hospital for these types of diseases and that was due to a reaction to the small pox vaccination that scarred us all for life.  As anyone my age to show you that scar; it was the branding of my generation. )

Either way, I'm sure if you want to ask the graduating classes of the 1970s if they had chicken pox, measles, mumps etc., most of them did without incident and probably remember the family rituals for dealing with childhood illnesses when they went through the schools and the neighborhoods. So if she wasn't referring to me - great!  Just shows that there are plenty of us 50-somethings who made it through these illnesses just fine.

But for the record, I'm not anti vaccine - I'm pro-caution, I'm pro-informed consent, and I think we should always be good health-care consumers with whatever we put into our bodies or procedures we agree too.

Monday, September 01, 2014

Simple Woman

Outside my window...
noah cross country 2014, Rosie cross country 2014 044
Cross country season.

I am thinking...
about starting the new school year, about the challenges that we all face, and what it will be like to do homeschool again with a baby/toddler in the house!  I know I've done it before, but it's been a while.

I am thankful...
for the gift of homeschooling and the time it has given me with each of my children.

In the kitchen...

Amazon told me my new cookbook should be here after September 2nd!  Can't wait!!   Easy gluten free meals - should be a fun fall!

I am wearing...
workout pants and a T-shirt.  I got to walk three miles today while Rosie and Noah actually ran at the same time at the same park, with their respective teams!.

I am pondering...
whether or not to even try to get Noah signed up for the PSAT test. Long time readers might remember that I had a difficult time getting my son Sam signed up for that.  I heard Professor James Stobaugh say that he doesn't even think the PSAT is necessary to take the SAT and that there are no studies that show that how you do on the PSAT will indicate scores for the SAT.  The only reason for taking it could be to practice taking tests, or to possibly get the National Merit Scholarship - but a very small amount of students are able to get that. The thing is, I think Noah might do well on it - so do I want to fight it out?

I am going...
  • to walk Monday - Thursday and try get some arm workouts in too.  This will be more difficult now that school is in and Rosie and Noah run at different times, in different places. 
  • 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 welcomed twins this fall. Their babies have been put in a step-up unit so they are improving!
  • 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!  Looks like it might be Tuesday night. 
 From the Learning Rooms...
  • Noah working on Instacert to get ready for the American History II CLEP test. 
  • We start with our new math tutor this week! I'm a little nervous but she sounds super nice on the phone. I know the kids will do well with their respective courses. 
  • She is reading Lord of the Flies.
  • Izzy and Noah started the Dave Ramsey course to meet their finance requirement for high school.  They actually liked it too!
I am looking forward to...
A beginning of school picnic on Friday and the back to school homeschool mass on Monday!

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

A pictures to share...

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The end of summer.

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!

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