Monday, December 31, 2007

Danielle Bean on Christmas

And here are some beautiful thoughts from Danielle Bean on the things that don't go right and...well, you can see for yourself what she has to say about it here.

Lving in Faith and Hope

I love allegory. Here's a story about getting a new computer, only it's not really about a computer, and it's so fitting for the New Year. I hope you will take the time to click through and I hope you will enjoy it as much as I did. Click here to read it.

Sunday, December 30, 2007

For the Love of Literature - Book Review on Amazon

"In her friendly, warm style, Maureen Wittmann shares her depth of experience in 'teaching core subjects with literature'..."

Read the rest of my review at Amazon by clicking here.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

A Christmas Picture

I would have liked to show you a picture of all the kids, but alas, the group pictures did not come out well. I think I need to learn more about my digital camera.

All the "kids" have gone home...except for the ones who live here. Thank goodness they do. I'm not even going to think about "empty nest" days yet! It's hard enough having some of them leave to go home.

I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas. We did!

A warm thank you to my neighbor Debbie for taking this great picture.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Perhaps I Could Do Public Speaking, After All

Public speaking has long been one of my fears. But if every crowd looked as benevolent...but I'm getting ahead of my story.

After Midnight Mass, we joined the throng in the vestibule, the children and I talking among ourselves, waiting for my husband to come down from the choir loft, along with what seemed like 100 people, talking quietly or waiting for someone.

And then my sensitivity to the incense we had just left and a draft from the door opening hit me together, and I began to sneeze. After the seventh sneeze I looked up. The stillness was like that of the church, as every smiling face was turned toward me. Time stood still.

I thought of "thank you", as I'm sure people probably had said "God bless you" while I sneezed. I thought of "excuse me", but somehow it seemed it would fall short of what needed to be said. Life seemed to be in suspension, and the spell needed to be broken. So I released them by saying with a confident smile, "I'm done!"

It occurred to me that perhaps I could do public speaking, after all.

Monday, December 24, 2007

Merry Christmas!

May you and all your loved ones have a very blessed, joyous celebration of the birth of Jesus! May your heart be filled with peace.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

What Personality Type Are You?

You Are An ESFJ

The Caregiver

You are sympathetic and caring, putting friends and family first.

A creature of habit, you prefer routines and have trouble with change.

You love being in groups - whether you're helping people or working on a project.

You are good at listening, laughing, and bringing out the best in people.

In love, you value harmony and mutual understanding.

You will apologize or give someone the benefit of the doubt, if it means getting over a fight sooner.

At work, you are good at building relationships and connecting with people.

You would make a great nurse, social worker, or teacher.

How you see yourself: Organized, dependable, co-operative

When other people don't get you, they see you as: Opinionated, critical, and know-it-all

From my previous studies of the sixteen personality types, this turned out to be a surprisingly accurate test. The only one I wasn't sure I agreed with was the "S" (sensor), as I thought I was an "N" (intuitive). I'm not sure how this quiz tests for this aspect. (I even tried taking it a second time to see if I could change the results on that. But I came out the same both times.)

If you take this quiz, I would love to see your results. Please leave us a link in the combox.

And may you have a peaceful preparation for the Birth of Jesus, as we draw nearer to the celebration of His birth!

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Interesting Radio Call-In

This 12 yr. old boy has an interesting Christmas perspective on a loss in his life. You can hear his call here.

Hat tip to Margaret in Minnesota.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Blogging Blessings

Deb of UKOK's Place has come up with a wonderful way to express appreciation for other bloggers.

I have been blessed by Jean and now it's my turn to bless three bloggers.

The idea… it’s a game of tag with a difference, rather than looking inwardly, we look outside ourselves and bless, praise and pray for one blog friend. By participating in this endeavour we not only make the recipient of the blessing feel valued and appreciated, but we are having some fun too. We’re going to see how far the blogging blessings can travel around the world and how many people can be blessed! Recipients of a blogging blessing may upload the above image to their sidebar if they choose to. To read more about the blogging blessings go here.

Thank you, Jean, for passing this blessing on to me. You bless me every day with your interesting blog and your warm friendship.

I bless Mary Poppins Not at Crazy Acres, Nancy at Flying Stars, and Maureen Wittmann. Each of these women shares unselfishly from her heart and inspires me.

Here is my prayer for Mary Poppins Not, Nancy, and Maureen.

May the blessing of almighty God, of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, come down upon you and remain with you forever (and may Our Blessed Mother Mary protect you with her mantle of peace, joy, and love.) Amen.
Now, it's your turn to:

a) bless 3 blog buddies each.

b) Include the ‘God Bless you’ image in their post.

c) Explain briefly why you selected the people you are blessing.

d) pray/include in the post the prayer for the recipients of the blessing.

e)Then type in the com box of Deb's Bloggin Blessin' that a blessing has been sent to the three you have chosen to bless so we can keep track of how many blessings are being given. (You can find your way easily to Deb's post on this by clicking the link in the sidebar, entitled "Have you received a Bloggin' Blesssing?".)

Thanks for playing!

A Touching Christmas Story

Click here and scroll down to read John McCain's touching "My Christmas Story", from his experiences as a POW in Vietnam.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Humorous Video about Homeschooling

Here's a humorous video about homeschooling, set to the tune of the Adams Family.

I don't know who the people are who composed it or starred in it, but I enjoyed it and I hope you do too.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Goals vs. Resolutions

Last year I thought I was really clever. For those of you who don't see me in person (most of you reading my blog), I weigh a little too much and I carry it mostly as a middle-age stomach pack. So last year - as the new year approached - I made this clever resolution that I would get to where I could tie my shoes without pain.

A few months later I realized that I was indeed tying my shoes without pain now, but I hadn't lost a pound. I had learned a better way, had without a conscious effort learned how to bend sideways to do this task.

When I got the news last January that our second son was losing his vision, I did two things: ate more and blogged more (lucky you, not so lucky me). I can still tie my shoes without pain.

So I enjoyed this article about setting goals rather then resolutions. The writer says that when we set a resolution, we set ourselves up for failure. What we really want is to make a change and if we set a goal, we can remain flexible about how to achieve it. Food for thought (the best kind of food).

Hat tip to Sister Pat at Joy Notes.

Monday, December 17, 2007

What Christmas Ornament Are You?

You Are a Snowman

Friendly and fun, you enjoy bringing holiday cheer to everyone you know!

Pretty neat, except I wonder... If I'd been able to answer the question the way I wanted to answer it, about what you would want to do when it snows (I'd want to go out and shovel it) how the results would have come out.

Hat tip to Alicia.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

What is Your Favorite Herb or Spice?

This isn't one of those cute little quiz things. Just a question.

Last night I was giving my daughter a beef stew recipe over the phone - a recipe I've had for many years - and I saw that I had written in the margin "add 1/4 teaspon thyme". I have a meatless split pea soup recipe that I made up myself which includes thyme. And whenever I make an omelet (a couple times a week), I put thyme inside. I knew I loved a touch of thyme but it wasn't until I was dictating this recipe last night that I realized how long this has been true.

What is your favorite herb or spice and how do you use it? I'd love to hear from you about this in the comments box.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Seven Things People Might Not Know About Me

A warm thank you to my blogging friend, Air Force wife and Catholic mother, Stina for tagging me for this meme.

*Link to the person that tagged you, and post the rules on your blog.
*Share 7 facts about yourself that you think most people don't know.
*Tag 7 random people at the end of your post, and include links to their blogs.
*Let each person know that they have been tagged by leaving a comment on their blog.

1. I got my first job in sixth grade, working in the school cafeteria, selling little milk cartons (3 cents) and prewashing silverware for the dishwasher. After I'd begun, a student told me it was supposed to be for poor kids. Oh well, they'd asked for people to sign up, I volunteered, and they had taken me, no questions asked.

My Mom said - since she didn't need to spend money making me lunches - she would pay me half of what it would cost her to buy me lunches at school. So I got spending money, cafeteria lunches every day, and free ice cream bars; and I learned the joy of earning!

2. During that same sixth grade year, I played flute in the band, was active in Girl Scouts, and was also a crossing guard. I was the only crossing guard who was a girl and I was called a "patrol boy" (in those days a woman might be a "chairman", too). I loved my activities but my grades suffered from the overload.

3. In tenth grade I tried to start a tutoring service to coordinate student volunteers with students who were struggling in some subject area. It never got off the ground but it was fun to try.

4. I sold Avon products door-to-door in my senior year, while working at J. C. Penney and being editor of the high school newspaper.

5. I love seeing and hearing the majesty of the ocean, which makes me think of the greatness of God. I like smelling salt air, but I don't like the feel of sand under my feet...or in my shoes, my hair, my sleeping bag, or my sandwich. (We had a weekend cabin at the beach when I was a child, if you wonder how I experienced all those things).

6. In the early days of our beach cabin, we got our water from an outdoor hand pump and used an outhouse. I like to think it helped build character.

7. For a couple years in high school, my girlfriend and I rode ponies daily (hers and a neighbors), but I never truly got comfortable with animals. My life-long love is with wheels. I've ridden tricycles, bicycles, mini-motorcyles, go-carts and in my early twenties my Honda 90 motorcycle; and since then I've pulled a trailer. I don't like parking, backing up, or driving in tight construction areas. Give me wide open spaces and let me drive.

I tag anyone who would like to join!

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Check out the Blogroll

You may want to check out the Catholic Mothers Online Blogroll in the sidebar. Yep, I finally got the new code onto my blog. A big thank you to Angie for this service.

Also, please be aware of the links in my sidebar under the heading, Sites You Might Enjoy. Each of the four choices takes you to a list of websites or blogs. Please check it out some time.

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Gray is Beautiful!

Earlier today I read that "as the baby boomers age, gray is "in." "! I've been looking fondly in the mirror all day. My hair is "in". I'm stylish. How about that! (Of course, I've been ignoring that "a" word. After all I'm still only fifty-something years young. But, nevertheless, gray is beautiful!).

This tidbit was part of a news feature entitled, Trim Expenses While You Trim the Tree by Sue Stevens.

You might find a helpful tip or two. But I can't promise you will get the satisfaction that I got from this article.

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Boring Compass

Pete Vere gives a review of the Golden Compass movie, saying it's boring. You can read his review at Catholic Fire blog here.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Advent Prayers

I'm running just a little behind on this, but I'd like to share with you some short prayers to go with the Advent Wreath, just in case you don't have them yet and would like some. You can find them here.

And here are prayers to ask God's blessing on a nativity set and prayers to ask God's blessing on the Christmas tree! You can find these here.

May you have a blessed, peaceful, happy, hope-filled Advent!

Monday, December 03, 2007

Another Candidate

In my post about the Republican candidates, I failed to mention Fred Thompson. One of my sons brought him up to me after reading my post. I'm sorry to say that I was apparently in the kitchen when he was speaking. However, everything I've read about him sounds very good.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Republican Presidential Debate

I don't talk politics...normally. I'm not a historian or a political science major. Some accuse me of being a one-issue voter and in some ways, I am, and without apology...but on the other hand, I also like to vote for someone who has a prayer of a chance of winning.

Last Thursday, I watched the CNN/YouTube Republican presidential debate, an opportunity for us to hear the men who are running in the primaries speak for themselves.

I came to this viewing, thinking I would like Ron Paul; however, with all due respect, I have a problem seeing someone as President who keeps continually pointing his index finger and gesturing with his arm, like he's trying to interrupt, while someone else has the floor.

As for Rudy Giuliani telling us over and over again about his accomplishments, ya' know, I do appreciate his accomplishments (I really do!), but something about the way it was done turned me off.

I had remained open to the possibility of electing a Mormon, but when I heard and saw Mitt Romney, I was not impressed by what seemed to me like an arrogant manner, and I especially didn't like his unwillingness to answer a question about the use of water-boarding (a form of torture).

The best-looking, in my mind, and one of the most pleasant, was the governor from
Arkansas, Mike Huckabee. (If you think I'm shallow, hey, we have to have a majority of voters vote for someone, in order for that person to become president.)

But I'll tell you what. I grew up during the Vietnam War. We have a different war, but we have a war. We need someone who has the maturity, the experience, and the wisdom to bring our country through this difficult time. My hat is in the ring with John McCain, the man who spoke up against waterboarding, when he was asked; the man who lived through five years as a captive in Vietnam; the man who sounded to me the most confident and impressive.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Have a Carrot Stick?

Having used the self-check-out at the grocery store hundreds of times, having been a cashier in a couple of stores, I should know how to ring up a few carrots. But I keep wondering if there's any possible mistake I could have made on those carrots. I can't think of any.

But when five moderately sized carrots came to nearly $5.00, I knew that I at least made a mistake in selecting them. I found the attendant and asked her to take them off my order for me. A dollar a carrot? No way.

Now, if you wonder, after three days is this all she can come up with to write about, well, I wanted to write about last night's television debate. (Even though I normally "never" write about politics.) However, today is our co-op day, and I have some homemade play-dough to make for my preschoolers.

I'm not sure I really wanted to start now, writing about politics, anyway. I just hope you watched...or if they do re-runs that you can catch it. I am so very glad I got to watch this.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Please Stay Tuned

We are taking a station break here. I'll be back whenever I'm feeling better. Nothing serious (except for being seriously sleep-deprived from coughing).

I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving! We did.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

One Thousand Gifts

Here is a great idea from Ann at Holy Experience blog! Keep a log or journal of things we're thankful for...a thousand things. What a wonderful way to live, to be looking always for the good things and thanking God!

She shares her thoughts and experience on this, as well as the results of a research study on those who keep a gratitude journal. Enjoyable reading.

Hat tip: Elizabeth at Real Learning

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Today is the Feast of the Presentation of Mary

To see a beautiful holy card and prayer for today's feast day, visit Holy Cards for Your Inspiration.

We thank Thee, Lord

For Ed's good job, we thank Thee, Lord.
For Mary's safe move to Atlanta, we thank Thee, Lord.
For Joe finding his calling, we thank Thee, Lord.
For Paul winning the election as senator in student government, we thank Thee, Lord.
For Greg doing so well in his new college year, we thank Thee, Lord.
For Robert's ballroom dance lessons, we thank Thee, Lord.
For Peter and me finding a good homeschool group, we thank Thee, Lord.
For all our dear relatives, we thank Thee, Lord.
For our friends, old and new, we thank Thee, Lord.
For giving us Thyself, we thank Thee, Lord.
Father in heaven, we thank Thee.

You might enjoy reading the simple poem/prayer of Ralph Waldo Emerson, Father in Heaven we Thank Thee.

May you have much to be thankful for, in the coming year and always.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

A Better Review of Bella

Sean at The Blue Boar did a wonderful, in-depth review of the movie Bella. Reading it brought the movie to life all over again, and yet he didn't give away the ending for those who haven't seen it. Hop on over and read it.

Monday, November 19, 2007

The Potter Difference

Recently I wrote about the sinister books by Philip Pullman, and the upcoming movie based on the first book. In introducing that post, I mentioned the controversy in the Christian world about Harry Potter. What I was really trying to say is that we had this huge controversy rocking the world over a book series, while another book series was being sneaked through more quietly. Is there a difference between the two series?

First of all, Philip Pullman is an avowed atheist who allegedly said in a 2003 interview with the Sydney Morning Herald, “My books are about killing God.” J. K. Rowling, the Harry Potter author, on the other hand, attends the Church of Scotland and has stated what many readers had already found, that her books contain Christian imagery.

One big question I’ve been hearing now is this: How do we tell children who’ve been allowed to read the Harry Potter series that they should not read His Dark Materials (the Pullman trilogy)? I’ve heard this question from people who are adamantly opposed to Harry Potter, and it seems to me that it’s being said in an “I told you so” sort of way. But, be that as it may, my answer is a question: How do we tell our children anything? First we need to become informed, think it through, and then explain to them at their level. Here is what I would explain:

While Rowling’s books are about good fighting against evil, the Pullman books apparently turn good and evil upside down. The Pullman books include themes about fighting against “the magisterium” (Christianity, or the Church) and “the authority” (God). Rowling’s books include themes about choosing what is right rather than what is easy; loving people of all races and abilities; family values and depending on family and friends; and so much more that is right and good.

I feel that children who can understand about Santa and the Easter Bunny and the tooth fairy can understand the difference between fantasy witches and real witches. (And no, personally, I don’t like the idea of younger children reading the Harry Potter books.)

Make-believe witches and wizards have been included in fantasy literature through many ages. In fantasy literature, they are a literary device of a make-believe world, just as talking animals are a literary device in fables. Witches and wizards in fantasy appear in a story as either bad characters or as good characters. In the Wizard of Oz, there was a bad witch and there was Glinda the good witch. In the Lord of the Rings, one of the heroes is the Wizard Gandalf. In Harry Potter, there are witches and wizards, some of whom are good and some of whom are bad. They go to school to learn how to use their inherited talents wisely.

In our real world, there are those who decide to follow a false religion that they sometimes call witchcraft, who play with the occult, calling on supernatural powers that are not from God. Regardless of what literature our children read, we will want them to know that it’s very dangerous, and against the commandments, to play with fortune telling and any other occult practices.

Am I trying to persuade you to let your children read Harry Potter? Actually, no; I believe that should be up to each mother and father. I’m only trying to say, please, let’s not compare apples with oranges. These two authors come from an entirely different viewpoint, with entirely different intentions.

(Note: My sources for information on Philip Pullman's books are, at least partially, the linked resources in my blog post. My source for the Potter books is myself, having read the books in their entirety.)

Saturday, November 17, 2007


If you haven't yet seen the movie Bella, this Sunday may be your last chance. From what I have read, if enough people see it this weekend, it may run through Thanksgiving weekend. So, either way, now's the time for a last big turnout.

My husband and I finally went to see it today. The people were absolutely beautiful, bigger than life. I totally fell in love with the wholesome, generous Hispanic family...and the girl was a suberb actor, too. My husband said they emoted well, and he's a bit of an acting critic, so that's high praise. I would say there was a powerful lot of emotion, but it was very natural.

It wasn't an action-packed or fast-moving film, but when I asked hubby afterward if he was bored, he said an emphatic no. The overall plot was good but I was confused a bit at times, although the things I had been confused about became clear as the movie progressed. We enjoyed this movie and if you haven't yet, I hope you will.

Friday, November 16, 2007

The Father Brown Reader Reviewed

Delightful reading! Here are four mystery stories written for grade school children to understand and enjoy, yet interesting and thought-provoking enough for the most discerning adults as well...

You can read the rest of my review of The Father Brown Reader, a book written by my friend and superb writer Nancy Brown, at Amazon. (From this link, you will need to scroll down to read my review.)

You can buy the book from Amazon or directly from the publisher, Hillside Education.

P.S. Please visit the review at Amazon, and if you like my review, leave feedback on it. You don't even have to think of anything to say, you just click on the fifth star to the right (should you so desire) and say yes that it was helpful to you in understanding what the book is about (if it was). Thanks!

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Happy Birthday to My Son

Happy Birthday to our now 17 year old! Wow, how the time flies! We're proud of you, son. May God bless you always.

You Will Want to Avoid the Compass

While the Christian world groans under the controversy of the Harry Potter books - with devout, committed people on both sides of what has somehow become an issue, some even forgetting their charity to point fingers and make judgments - something truly sinister is being foisted on children.

The Golden Compass, formerly called Northern Lights, is Philip Pullman's first book in a trilogy called His Dark Materials. Mr. Pullman is an avowed atheist who, according to Snopes, said in a 2003 interview with The Sydney Morning Herald, "My books are about killing God."

From what I have read about the series, the first book is less sinister and draws you in...and the movie, apparently, has been dumbed-down from the book to make it more palatable in order to reach a wide audience and ostensibly so parents will buy the books for their children. As the series proceeds, it is said to become more blatantly anti-Catholic, anti-Christian, and generally anti-religion.

Pete Vere, renowned Catholic canon law expert and writer, describes the books and their author in an interesting article at

Monday, November 12, 2007

Stuff Going on Around Me

Why haven't I been blogging more?

First, there are several things I've been thinking about that I can’t mention, in order to protect people’s privacy (including my own), some not so good, some very good.

I think it's okay to share all the following; I hope no one involved in it minds me sharing it here. Most of it is good, and not all of these require me to do a lot, but they all require me to think, pray, and...well, try not to be stressed.

My daughter is relocating from one state to another.

My blind college son in another state finally got SSI, and he and his friends are looking for an apartment, as he needs to be out of the dorm at the end of the semester.

I finally helped my high school senior sign up for his S.A.T. testing…so now he has less than a month to prepare for it. (And please don't anyone tell me how late we are running. As he is my fifth child, I'm well aware. If you don't know, please have your child take the S.A.T. in the junior year. Much less stressful to do things "on schedule".)

I’ve started thinking we might want to live in a different neighborhood when our lease runs out in the summer, and am trying to think about where that would be.

The weekly preschool is going great and I want to keep it that way, so I need to keep putting in the time to prepare for it.

My writing started to take off, and then I “sat back”, so I need to get moving along again on that.

My next Braille lesson (with a correspondence course I’m taking) is due (actually overdue).

This is the last week of the first quarter for our homeschooling, so I want to do my quarter reports. And that reminds me that I need to do a little reassessment.

And did someone mention it's time to start preparing for Christmas?

Finally, I am in the process of giving up caffeine! Give me coffee. Give me Coke. P-l-e-a-s-e. Naw, really, please don't!! (No matter how much I beg you.) But prayers I will gratefully take instead.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Today is Veteran's Day

Thank God for our military men and women!

We need our Navy people. Thank you to my Dad. We need our Army people. Thank you, to my dear husband Ed, and his Dad, and my cousins Wayne and Glenn. We need our Marines. Thank you to my step-brother, Rick. We need our Air Force people. Thank you to my brother-in-law, Jim, and now especially, thank you to my son, Joe, who is just entering the Air Force (of course, he's not a veteran, but I will take this opportunity to thank him, anyway).

May God bless those who served in the past, both those who are alive and those who have passed on.

May God bless and keep safe within His Heart those who are serving now or will serve in the future.

Friday, November 09, 2007

What is My Blog About?

"What is your blog about?" a friend asked me yesterday, as I was organizing the day's supplies for our preschool class while the children played. Um, hmm. Good question. Anyone know what my blog is about? Anyone help me out, here? How would I give a short answer to this question?

Is it time for me to reflect? I've often wondered if I should be more focused in my blog. The problem is that I'm not focused in my life, and my blog is a slice of my life. It's that part of my life that I feel comfortable (not always real comfortable) sharing with you, my reader.

Oh! Thank you for listening, as I think I just found my definition. My blog is like a column where I share some of the people, events, emotions and resources that are currently a part of my life or that I've just discovered and am excited about. The keyword here for those who know me off-blog is "current". For a little while each day, I'm not time-traveling: living in the past and the future, as some of you know I otherwise tend to do.

When I say I'm not focused in my life, is that a bad thing? Not necessarily. I try to go where God calls me. And maybe sometimes I'm not listening well, or other times maybe I'm hearing things, but at least that's my intention.

So, here's why I haven't been blogging much the past week or two: I've been very busy getting organized with my new preschool class. Okay, it's not brand new, but it was time to spend more time getting better organized. I won't give you a list today of all the other things going on in my life as well, but maybe I'll let you in on them a little at a time in the following days. Just maybe. Much of the time, I don't know what I'm going to blog until I begin.

So, if you're a blogger reading this, would you be able to give a short definition of what your blog is about? And if you're a blog reader, what do you look for in a blog?

P.S. Most blog posts are not articles (despite their length). Articles are revised and rewritten and revised some more. Sometimes with a blog post, I think (as I did this morning): I should cut this down, I should change this; however, duty calls!

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

More on For the Love of Literature

People have been asking Maureen more questions about her new book, For the Love of Literature, and she answers them at her website.

Check out the questions and her answers here.

Monday, November 05, 2007

Interview with Maureen Wittmann

Interview with Maureen Wittmann about her new book, For the Love of Literature:

Maureen, when did you first think of sharing your knowledge of literature with other homeschool parents?

That's a harder question to answer than one may think. I can't think of when this first occurred to me.

I've always loved talking about books with my friends. I think speaking and writing on the topic was just a natural extension of those conversations.

How will this book compare to the booklet you used to sell at your conference talks Literature Isn't Just for Reading: Teaching Core Subjects through Real Books?

The original booklet was written to accompany my conference talk by the same name. From the comments and questions I received after each talk, it was evident that homeschoolers needed more than a one-hour talk with a Power Point presentation. They needed a resource they could hold in their hands and take home.

The original booklet had 80 pages. It was nothing more than a glorified reading list, yet parents came to me over and over again to tell me that it was very helpful to them.

The new book has 300 pages. It's still a glorified reading list, but it's a pretty cool glorified reading list ... in my opinion at least. It does have short chapters on such things as using your library, classical education, unit studies, Charlotte Mason, etc., but the bulk of the book is the reading list (I call them literary guides in the book). There are about 950 books listed, each with a short description, with an age recommendation, and sorted by school subject.

Have you personally read each of the 950 books that you describe in the literary guides?

I wish! However, my children or I have read a great number of the books found in the literary guides. The rest come highly recommended by other Catholic homeschooling parents.

In what ways does your book differ from other books that describe children's literature?

The purpose of this book is to help homeschoolers teach through real books. My goal is to provide a practical tool. It is not a treatise on children's literature but rather a simple book that will help guide parents toward books that teach.

With this book in hand, and a library, what else would parents need in order to give their children a good home education?

Enthusiasm. Okay, that sounds simplistic, but it is a vital ingredient. Emotions are contagious. If a parent is excited about reading and about furthering her own education, so will her children.

And then there are also the necessary ingredients of faith, love, and joy.

Thank you, Margaret Mary, for taking this time with me!

Thank you, Maureen, for sharing this with us! We're looking forward to the book!

Dear readers, you can get a 20% discount on the book – making your price only $9.95 - if you pre-order it from the publisher, Ecce Homo Press, before November 20th. This looks like an exciting and invaluable resource!

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Great Thinkers

Growing up in public school, I soaked up the idea that people of older days weren't quite as smart as we are. Each generation, each century, people develop more intelligence...or so we were given to believe. I knew that Jesus, of course, when He walked the earth, was more intelligent than we are. But look at the simple fishermen who were His disciples. Weren't most people simple like that? Didn't the great thinkers, even, have much they were missing?

Over the years, I've learned, again and again, that this subliminal message was incorrect. Yes, man expands on the knowledge of past generations. We build on the knowledge of medical science and technology, for example. But does that mean an individual man of today is more intelligent than an individual man of past generations? I don't think so!

That's why I enjoy so much the short sermons that come into my inbox each day with the Daily Gospel. They are from many different people of many different times, some from the early centuries of the Church. These fathers of the Church didn't have the internet for research or huge libraries of printed books at their disposal. Yet they had great knowledge and wisdom.

If you'd like to read the Gospel online each day, or have it come in to your email inbox, you can visit the website of the Daily Gospel.Org here. It's completely free. You don't receive any advertising or soliciting. But if you can afford it, they can use donations to keep their apostolate going.

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Blog Readability Level

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Well, whad'ya know? Who'd have thought? My blog's readability is college level? Y'all know I didn't go to college, right? Of course, I probably shouldn't be telling you this about the reading level, as good writers don't try to use big words, they try to use the simplest word that gets the point across. Hmm, maybe it was the 23rd Psalm that affected the reading level. (I wonder what would happen if I tried this again in a week.)

Anyway, it was fun! (And I did it, of course, "just for fun".)

Hat tip: Studeo

Friday, November 02, 2007

The Lord is My Shepherd, I Shall Not be Jealous

A good friend of mine has told me that she sometimes has temptations to jealousy. It's not that she doesn't want her friends to have lots of good friends. It's more that she fears her friends will forget her. Still, doubts and worries are often temptations, so I was inspired to write this for her.

The following was inspired by the 23rd Psalm:

The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not be jealous.

He maketh me to cast down my green eyes,
He leadeth me beside healing waters.

He restoreth my soul:
He leadeth me in the paths of generosity for his name’s sake.

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of doubt;
I will not fear being forgotten:
For thou art with me;
Thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.

Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of my temptations:
Thou anointest my head with the oil of gladness;
My cup of joy runneth over.

Surely friendship and love shall follow me all the days of my life;
And I will dwell in the love of the Lord for ever.

Copyright Margaret Mary Myers 2007.

Thank you to the Holy Ghost - and to David - for giving us the beautiful 23rd Psalm.

In case you aren't familiar with that beautiful Scripture passage, here is the 23rd Psalm from the Bible:

The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.

He maketh me to lie down in green pastures:
he leadeth me beside the still waters.

He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the
paths of righteousness for his name's sake.

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the
shadow of death; I will fear no evil: for thou
art with me; thy rod and thy staff they
comfort me.

Thou preparest a table before me in the
presence of mine enemies: thou anointest
my head with oil; my cup runneth over.

Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all
the days of my life; and I will dwell in the
house of the Lord for ever.

Psalm of David, Psalm 23 (In some translations, Psalm 22).