Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Visit to Washington D.C.

Yesterday we visited Washington D.C. with four of our kids. Joe, who is visiting here from Kentucky, is the one who's going into the Air Force. He took charge of navigating us through the subways and streets of D.C. We had a great time, although I might have enjoyed it more if I didn't have a July furnace on the outside and mid-life furnace on the inside, both going on at the same time, along with trying to keep up with all the men who have longer legs and longer strides than I do. All the guys, though, were very understanding when I'd say, "Halt! I've gotta' stop and rest." Thanks, guys!

By the way, that's the White House behind us, and the Washington Monument in the other picture.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

On Blogging

Danielle Bean has an excellent post for those who are thinking of starting a blog. Her last point in particular might be good for veteran bloggers as well.

I probably won't be posting tomorrow, as we will be visiting Washington D.C. with Joe. Hopefully, I'll remember my camera and can share some pictures with you.

This is the third post for today. If you haven't seen the Blogger Reflection Award, please scroll down, so you can read about the blogs of five wonderful ladies (make that six).

Thoughts on Harry Potter

For anyone who wants to read the book or books and has not yet, not to worry, as this is definitely not a "spoiler". I am not going to give anything away.

I had a conversation with a friend today, which caused me to start thinking about something I should post here. You've probably picked up that I'm a reader of the controversial Harry Potter series of books. Now...it's occurred to me that someone might say, well, Margaret Mary thinks they're okay, so I can give them to my children to read. (Am I that influential?) So, I want to go down on the record with a statement on this subject:

Personally, I think the Harry Potter books are good literature. Yes, I am going to stick my neck out here and say I think they have a good Christian message. If you read my short "Why Fiction?" post, every reason for reading fiction that I mention there (courage, sacrficing love, etc.) is included in these books. I think they are good literature for adults and teenagers (generally kids who are about eleven and up), provided that they have a foundation in faith and know that "magic" is not something we become involved with, that this is just being used here as a literary device. But - and this is an important "but" - I am not in favor of giving the books to younger children. The specific age that's best may vary by child, but I'm just saying that in my opinion they should be "older" rather than "younger". There are several reasons I say this and perhaps I'll cover them in another post in the future.

I also think that if you choose (as we have) to let your older children read the books, it would be very worthwhile for you to read them too, and then discuss them with your kids. Some recommend reading books aloud with your kids (yes, even teens). We've not done that in our family, but reading as a family does sound like a worthwhile family activity.

Blogger Reflection Award

Jean at Catholic Fire gave me this award. Wow, I feel so honored! And I was overwhelmed by her kind words, too. Thank you, Jean!

In case Jean’s blog isn’t already one of your regular stops on your internet journeys, I’d like to tell you something about her blog. It lives up to it’s slogan, two quotes from St. Catherine of Siena: "If you are what you should be, you will set the whole world on fire." "Let the truth be your delight....proclaim it...,but with a certain congeniality." She shares truth at her blog in very palatable ways, and always with warmth and congeniality.

And now to pass on the award to five other bloggers.

1) Crazy Acres, the blog of my dear old friend, “Mary Poppins Not”, who is really my dear younger friend, as I knew her when she was a child (and I was already an adult). I was so happy to find her on the internet recently. MPN shares about her faith, her family, and her iconography. She has been an example to me as a blogger in sharing from the heart rather than just from the mind.

2) Happy Hearts at Home, where Alexandra blends tips and resources for being thrifty, with a love for her husband and children, with a love for gardening and cooking, with saint stories...all mixed up into a recipe of enjoyable snippets of reading. Her other blog Happy Hearts Homeschooling Library provides numerous reviews and links for free online books.

3) Studeo, where Alicia shares little stories of her family and homeschooling, as well as reviews and clips from books. She especially shares with us a paragraph here and a quote there from a lot of faith-filled books, papal documents, catechism, and Scripture.

4) Flying Stars is the blog of Nancy Carpentier Brown who wrote The Mystery of Harry Potter, A Catholic Family Guide. Tiptoe when you're there, if you haven't read the seventh Harry Potter book, as there are a lot of discussions of the book in the comments sections (sometimes referred to as "spoilers"). But if you peruse Nancy's blog, you will see that it's not all about Harry Potter. She is a G.K.Chesterton expert, who has written study guides for his The Blue Cross and his Saint Francis of Assisi. In the sidebar, you can find links to articles that Nancy has written about literature and homeschooling.

5) Maureen Wittmann, as you may have guessed would be included in this list, if you've been reading my blog for very long. Maureen is the one who suggested that I start a blog. As I said in April, when I nominated her for Super-Homeschooler Blog at the Homeschool Blog Awards: "She homeschools both little ones and teenagers, and is very involved in their lives and activities...She shares all this and more with the rest of us, for our encouragement, too; along with giving us words of wisdom about how we can do it." I would like to add that I'm most impressed by her kindness, and her faith in everyday living miracles, the kind of faith that moves mountains.

Now, you five ladies can copy this award onto your own blog. And then guess what you get to do...if you have time and all that. Name five other blogs. I hope, if you have time, that you enjoy it. I had fun doing it.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Joe is Coming to Town

Our son Joe is arriving today for a week's visit! We're all looking forward to taking him places and spending time with him.

My blogging may be a little light for awhile. On the other hand, I may not want to leave you, dear readers, that long. I am be clicking away on the keyboard while he sleeps in the morning. We shall see.

I hope you all have a great weekend!

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Why Fiction?

"This is why I speak to them in parables, because 'they look but do not see
and hear but do not listen or understand.'" Matthew 13:13

This is why good fiction is good for the world. Through parables, they can see and understand that which they may not hear or listen to, without parables. The "we" might be "the world" at large, it might be teenagers, it might be ourselves during times of spiritual dryness - or just in the midst of a very distracting world.

What are some of the messages the world can learn through good fiction? Courage, friendship, compassion, overcoming racial or class barriers; that sin and crime are not glamorous but despicable; and that self-sacrificing love can overcome evil.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Trip to the Atlantic Ocean

Having grown up on the West Coast, Ed and I enjoyed seeing the "other coast". Having grown up in the Midwest, Peter was very excited at playing in the waves for the first time. (By the way, Ed and Peter were scowling into the sun. Mine was even worse so you don't get to see it. Editor's privileges, right?)

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Home Sweet Home

Today I visited the beautiful home of a very gracious homeschooling mother, who did our review. We belong to an "umbrella school" for accountability. In our new state the choice is to have the school district review our work at the end of the school year or to belong to an umbrella school and have a member parent review our work. (This decision was a no-brainer for me.)

So, tomorrow I will mail our paperwork to our umbrella school, Churchville Christian School, and we will be finished with school for the year! Yes, it's late July, but hey, at least we actually finished.

Now I get the pleasure of planning for the coming year. We've already bought most of our curriculum, but I want to write weekly lesson plans.

Well, as I said at the beginning, the home I visited today was beautiful. Beautiful isn't even the word. It was big. Big isn't even the word. It was massively gorgeous! But it's theirs, and ours is ours, and there's no place like home. After a lovely visit, I had several errands to run, and finally drove up our driveway. As I saw the beauty of our apartment buildings and trees, I felt joy and contentment at being home, and I thought, "Home, Sweet Home!" How does it go? "...Be it ever so humble, there's no place like home." Thank you, God, for our simple, cluttered but comfortable, happy home.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Easy as Pie

If you pace while you chat on the phone, and you begin to wander around the kitchen...if you happen upon a box of chocolate pudding mix, and you happen upon a pie shell in the freezer...you might want to get off the phone before you make the pie. Otherwise, you might mix up the pudding, put it in the shell, and put it in the refrigerator...without ever baking the pie shell.

Books about Books!

Have you ever wondered what are the best books for your child to read? Have you ever wondered how you can possibly read all the books in the library so you know what to check out for your children? Soon, you will need to wonder no more.

Catholic homeschooling mother, author, and speaker, Maureen Wittmann has written a book For the Love of Literature, soon to come out! She spent twelve years writing it, and it includes about 950 book recommendations for all ages from the littlest ones through adults, as well as short chapters about using your library and other educational topics. You can read what Maureen has to say about the book here and here. For the Love of Literature should be available in a few short months or possibly less.

Cay Gibson, another Catholic homeschooling mother, author and speaker, has a book in the finishing stages which also recommends books. A Picture Perfect Childhood is a unique reading guide which explores the world of picture books. Besides the book recommendations, she has essays, including "Using Picture Books with Teenaged Readers" and "Picture Books for Mother". You can read what Cay says about the book here and here. A Picture Perfect Childhood should be coming out in Autumn of 2007.

Because I'm frugal - and I try to be efficient with my sparse shelf space - I usually think one book on a subject just might be enough. But I'm excitedly saving my pennies for both of these two books. Check them out! I will let you know when we can order them.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Blog Rating

However, when I write, I generally assume that you who are reading are adults...although I don't say anything that I wouldn't want my teenage children to read.

Hat tip to Minnesota Mom.

To Meditate on the Gospels

Our priest said this morning at Mass that he thinks Jesus made some of the Gospels difficult to understand so that we would meditate on them. He also went on to say that as we meditate on the Gospels we should not think "What was He saying to everyone?", but "What is He saying to me?"

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Things that Made me Happy Yesterday

In the interest of ending with the good stuff, I'd like to ask first for prayers for my relatives, particularly our son Paul, who is now essentially blind, and my father, who lives in an assisted living facility and is going through some things at the moment. If you'd like to just include the whole family (immediate and extended), it would be much appreciated.

However, I'd like to share with you a list I made last night when I was thinking about all the happy things about that day. Maybe this could be a Meme: Twelve things that made me happy.

1) We discovered a clean, well-lighted supermarket (Shoppers) where we will be able to consistently spend less than at our previous supermarket. (The supermarket being one of our three weekly stores, along with Walmart and Sam's Club).

2) Greg, Robert, Peter and I had a pleasant grocery shopping expedition, with everyone getting along well.

3) Peter and I marveled together at the engineering and efficiency of a piece of furniture we saw at Sam's Club, a full-sized loft bed atop a semi-circular desk.

4) Ed and I planned together how we can reasonably but enjoyably celebrate our upcoming 30th anniversary.

5) The weather was beautiful: perfect temperature with blue sky, a few white clouds to make it picture perfect, and breezes.

6) We attended a neighborhood party - a bank grand opening - where we got to see a hot air balloon being inflated. The basket didn't get off the ground, due to the breezes, but it was still fun to see how it worked and to see that huge balloon being inflated.

7) My sister called with pleasant news of a couple outings my Dad seemed to enjoy.

8) I walked, between the morning and the afternoon, over two miles. (Okay, that might sound like peanuts to some people, but at least it's exercise.) And thanks, Debbie, for getting me out in the mornings.

9) Robert received his new cell phone and was thrilled. He, who doesn't like to talk on the phone, couldn't wait to tell Mary when she called, and you could hear him happily laughing and talking with her.

10) Esther posted pictures of Haunama Bay in Hawaii, a place I'd visited as a child with my family about 42 years ago and as I looked at the pictures, it was just the same as I remembered it. Thanks, Esther.

11) Paul will soon be going to the McDowell Center for a couple weeks.

12) This coming weekend Joe is coming out for a visit!

I tag anyone who would like to share with us things that have made them happy recently...whatever number you'd like.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Free Interactive Lessons on the Catholic Faith

"Catholic Home Study Service (CHSS), sponsored by the Vincentian community and the Missouri Knights of Columbus, has been offering free courses on the Catholic Faith for more than seventy years. It is based at Saint Mary's of the Barrens, historic "motherhouse"of the Vincentian Community in America. Father Oscar Lukefahr, C.M. is the Director of Catholic Home Study Service."

We are going to try this program this fall for one of my sons. They send the book and workbook, you send in the answers and any questions, and they return feedback to you. We're looking forward to trying this. If you'd like to see what they have to offer you can visit their website here.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Test Post

Testing Signature Color

Signature was computer-generated by My Live Signature. This signature signifies my style but is not my real, legal signature.

Hat tip to the lovely ladies at Moms Who Blog for telling us about the website for signatures.

Warm gratitude to my son Rob for adjusting my signature code, so that I could have the right red to go with my blog colors. Okay, you can have the computer back now, son.

Inside My Heart - Book Review

In Inside My Heart, Choosing to Live with Passion and Purpose, Robin McGraw, wife of Dr. Phil, shows how important she believes it is to make your own choices and be who you are meant to be, while she shows at the same time how wonderful she thinks it is to be a full time, devoted wife and mother. This is a balance which I think bears clarifying - and she does this beautifully.

"I have absolutely, positively got to be one of the most blessed women in the world," she says in her Acknowledgments. "I choose the word blessed rather than lucky because I believe that God has watched over me, every step of the way, each and every day."

This doesn't mean she was born to an easy life or that things always went smoothly, as you will see if you read her story.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Watching Television

Hey, some of us will even spend a milllion dollars (as linked in my previous post) to keep that tube in our lives. Naw, t.v.'s don't have tubes in them anymore. Did you know they used to have lots of little tubes and this one big picture tube...hence the nick-name, "the Boob Tube". (A little diversion from someone whose father had a sideline television repair business.)

Here are a few suggestions I have for those who choose to have t.v. in the family:
1) Monitor programming. Make sure your children now what channels and programs you allow, and what channels and programs you don't.
2) Have television viewing (and video/DVD viewing) be age-progressive. In other words, what's appropriate for a teenager to watch may not be appropriate for a ten-year-old to watch and so on, down the line. This can be controlled either by where the t.v. is kept or by coordinating viewing with progressive bedtimes.
3) Sit and watch programs with your children, at least some of the time, discussing values and lessons. If we make this an enjoyable family activity, they will be more open to our input on this.
4) Occasionally discuss the actors, not their personal lives but their acting abilities and what other shows they've acted in; the scriptwriter and how well they did or didn't do at writing this story; the realism (or not), such as situations you or your child know where people have behaved like this or in a different way; how this movie is or is not like the book or situation it's based on. In these ways, we can help our children to view what is on the screen as entertainment, not real life.

For You No-T.V. Families

Thought you might enjoy this article if you're a family who has a "no t.v." policy in your home. You know your reasons for this, but saving a million dollars?! Wow, who'd have thought?

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Community of Sisters Returns

As I read the story of these sisters I wept with joy.

Fifteen sisters of a sedevacantist community in Spokane, Washington have returned to the Church! These sisters - or their predecessors - were a part of my journey to the Church, a part of a detour on the way, one might say. You can read these reflections of my heart at my other blog.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Ink in the Carpet

One of my sons accidentally (I presume?) broke a pen, causing a whole lot of ink to go all over the middle of a bedroom carpet. Don't even try to guess which son...unless you know our family really well, and then you might just get it right.

Unfortunately, it had time to set before I discovered it. Fortunately for him, he knows how to deal with a maniacal, menopausal, money-managing Mom who went slightly nuts at the idea of paying for new carpeting for the bedroom whenever we move out of this apartment. (If you know our family really, really well, you might know that this same son dumped a printer upside down and ruined a bedroom carpet in our former house, so this contributed to my going nuts. Rule number one in life: Take each incident as one separate offense; don't keep a tally!) But he headed off the storm by being cheerfully quiet and then discussing ways to remove the ink. We tried my ways and his - to no avail, and I gave up. My philosophy: 1) Ink is something you don't get out of a carpet. 2) You don't get it out if you don't do it right away. (Do you see a tiny contradiction between those two?)

Well, you're probably anticipating the climax being that we got it out. Nope, sorry; at least not YET. But yesterday my unconquerable, undefeatable, never-say-die man got involved (just as cheerfully as his son). And by golly, we have diminished that stain. It's not gone, mind you, but it's less than it was. And of course, with hubby involved, we're not done tryin'!

Now, in case you ever have any such accident (I don't wish it on you, believe me), I'd like to tell you what just might work. The first ingredient is to discover it as soon as possible. The second is to believe you just might be able to kill that baby (the stain that is), even if you didn't get to it right away...otherwise you won't try, and it will set worse. Next is hair spray, followed by white vinegar. You can go to this webpage to find out just how to use the hair spray and vinegar. Be sure to note this warning at the bottom of the page, though: "Always test the cleaning solutions on an inconspicuous part of the carpet before using on a large area." That cracked me up. It can't get much worse than a large puddle of ink, can it?

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Reflections Post

You can read a follow-up post about the Elements of the Mass at my other blog.


It's really true! I've started yet another blog. It's called Reflections.

It will be home to occasional essays and articles that are a bit longer. I'll tell you about it here, and you can click through to it when you have time and are interested in a particular topic. This way I can keep things moving along over here.

My introductory post at the new blog is called "Diversity and Unity in Liturgy". It's a brief history of the different Masses and shows how each one has the four marks of the Church: one, holy, Catholic, and apostolic. If this is something you'd like to read, you can click here.

Friday, July 13, 2007


Except for two math problems, Peter is done with school for the year! We can now say of the year what he used to say of the day, when he was little, "I'm done with school for the day; yay, yay, yay, yay!" I've even finished putting his portfolio together, and gotten the record sheets filled in, ready for our review. I have a secret though: I decided not to do grades for him this year. It's not required, and he's not in high school. And I can just tell him, "Wow, you did great!" ...which he did.

Not so easy with Robert, who's a junior. That's where I'm keeping my old reputation. After we'd lived in Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky for a few years, we went back to Los Angeles for a visit. A homeschooling friend asked me how school was going, and I told her I was behind on the grading. She said, "Margaret Mary, you're always behind on the grading!" Oh. Everyone knew but me. I always thought it was this month, this year, not "always". Planning, you know, is just so much more fun. But, hey, maybe next year I will keep up on the grading. And maybe next year things will go smoothly with no major interruptions/disasters in our lives, too. Hmm, let's not think too much about next year at the moment, huh?

One thing struck me today as I was looking over Robert's first three years of high school. This is our first year in a state where we register with an umbrella school to keep us legal. And it dawned on me this morning that they do just that. What are required subjects for graduation, and what are required items for record-keeping, are not necessarily the same as what's most helpful for getting into college...at least based on my past experience in another state. So, in addition to filling out these forms, I'm going to make up my own "expanded transcript", highlighting what the courses contain...in case we ever need this type of documentation again. Besides, it's kind of fun...if I ever get through with the grading.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

We Have a New Archbishop!

"We" being the archdiocese of Baltimore. Archbishop Edwin F. O'Brien has most recently been the Archbishop of the United States Military. What I've read about him so far makes me happy.

You can read what the Baltimore Sun has to say about his life here.

Sometime after becoming Archbishop of the Military, he spoke to veterans in a VA hospital in the Bronx. The article says: "Archbishop O'Brien mentioned the prayers they offer, the sacrifices they make, the cooperation and help they lend one another in their needs and suffering and said, 'All that offered up to God brings tremendous spiritual power to those who need it most, those who are in harm's way this very day.'"

And in an October, 2000 Letter to the Archdiocese of Military Services, USA, he speaks of voting and says: "But among these and many other matters of moral concern, one subject stands out as preeminent --foundational to every other. And that is the sacred dignity of human life and the right to life itself !"

Welcome to Baltimore, Your Excellency.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

My Math is Not Quite That Bad

...just for the information. I'm not a math whiz. But I do know that from July 10 to July 11 is not two days (as it would appear on my last post). It's actually 12:16 a.m. my time (which means, of course, after midnight), on July 12th; but for some reason it still comes up as July 11th. Guess my server-thingie-blogger-provider-company resides in California or some place like that. Speaking of "high time" and academics, it's high time I go to bed, as my writing doesn't seem real literary at the moment (have you ever heard of "my coach has turned back into a pumpkin"?)...and I do need to get up in the morning and finish getting the kids through the schoolyear. (Now, if you homeschool and you're done, you can say, "Wow!" and feel really good. Right? You can say, "Wow! She's not done yet? I'm ahead of her."). And if you haven't read that previous post, you can go link from it to the Catholic Carnival, where you can read some things that are more literary. Enjoy!

High Time to Spread the Word

You may want to hurry on over to the Catholic Carnival for July 10, 2007 which is being hosted over at Donna's blog. I'm only two days late in telling you, but hey, it's still up and running, so you haven't missed anything yet. Lots of people participated and Donna has the links garnished with beautiful flowers from her garden.

HT to Jean and to Donna herself. Thanks, ladies.

Color-by-Numbers - Not

The following is a brief story of my liturgical journey in a numerical list. It certainly hasn’t been a color-by-numbers life.

1. 1953-1971-Born and raised as a Protestant in Washington State. (My grown children say I shouldn’t say “Protestant” now; so to my non-Catholic Christian friends: I’m not calling you a Protestant, only me, back then, as that’s what we called ourselves then.)

2. January 1971-July 1971-Decided (with the help of the prayers and explanations of my best friend) that I wanted to be a Catholic. I attended Mass, prayed the Rosary, read The Imitation of Christ, read The Autobiography of St. Therese. And I fell in love with all things Catholic.

3. July 1971-October 1971-Fell into a cult, an ultra-traditional “Catholic” group, run by a man named Francis Schuckardt in Idaho. I was baptized Catholic, while there, by a retired, missionary priest who was just visiting. Left the cult (with the help of the prayers and explanations of the lady who instructed me in the Faith)…but regretfully left my best friend behind (though we are again close today).

4. 1971-1975-Attended the traditional Latin Mass of various priests who were retired or had permission to continue to say the Latin Mass.

5. 1975-1982-Grew to love the Byzantine Catholic Mass (or “Divine Liturgy”). Met my husband, who was also a refugee there from the Latin rite, and we were married in a Byzantine Catholic church. We had our first two children baptized there.

6. 1983-1993-Attended the traditional Latin Mass offered by a retired priest in California whose sermons instructed us in how to live the Gospel.

7. 1993-2003-Attended the traditional Latin Mass at a Society of St. Pius X chapel in Ohio, where we met many of the people who are our dear friends today.

8. 2003-2006-Attended my very first “novus ordo”, or Mass of Pope John Paul VI, at a graduation. I found that, to me, it wasn’t the travesty I thought it would be; instead I felt very much at peace, and found it contained the same essential elements. Attended this Mass occasionally after that, but now went each Sunday to both the Society chapel and to an Indult (diocesan) Latin Mass in Kentucky.

9. June 2006-Present time-Moved to Baltimore, where I now attend both an Indult Tridentine Latin Mass in Baltimore (about weekly) and the Mass of Pope Paul VI at my local parish (about monthly). At either Mass I enjoy being in the Presence of Our Lord Jesus Christ; offering myself to God in union with the Holy Sacrifice; and receiving Our Lord in the same Holy Communion. I like to say now, “What’s not to love about the infinite Sacrifice and Sacrament of the Mass?”

Note: This is only my own story and does not in any way reflect the views or choices of other family members; although we live very much in peace with one another. Also, this is only an outline. I could probably write a whole book about each phase of my journey.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

PS Post


For those who know me well enough to know that I have a tendency to low blood sugar, not to worry. I enjoyed the adage: "eat dessert first". But now I'm going to add something a little more sensible.

PG Post

Parental Guidance:

When we have something for dinner that Ed can't eat, he'll often have a baked potato with yogurt or cottage cheese on the side (along with the vegetables and/or salad that we usually have with dinner). Tonight we're having the one dinner that I can't seem to handle (macaroni and cheese), and Ed is working late. So I decided to fix something simple for myself: orange-cream ice cream (the only ice cream I could find) with the chocolate syrup I could coax from the bottom of the syrup bottle. I've been dieting for three whole days, and exercising daily too. I deserve this "dinner". Don't you think?

Society of St. Pius X Leader Thanks Pope

This EWTN article quotes Bishop Fellay, thanking the Pope for the motu proprio, Summorum Pontificum, which expands the use of the 1962 Roman Missal.

Hear Nancy Brown Talk about Her Book

You can listen to Mrs. Nancy Brown talk about her book, The Mystery of Harry Potter, A Catholic Family Guide, by going to the following link. (The interview lasts about a half hour.)

Nancy Brown Talks about Catholic Family Guide to Harry Potter.

Monday, July 09, 2007

Five Things I Love about Jesus

Jean has tagged me with the meme, "Five Things I Love about Jesus".

"Here are the Rules: Those tagged will share 5 things they "love" about Jesus. Those tagged will tag 5 other bloggers. Those tagged will provide a link in the comments section here with their name so that others can read them."

1) St. John says at the beginning of his Gospel (Chapter 1), "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God." He is referring to Jesus as "the Word". Jesus is, and always was, united with the Father and the Holy Spirit, in the one Blessed Trinity. That being said, I love Jesus in His omnipotence, united with the Father, creating and sustaining the world - where the oceans roar upon the rocks or gently lap upon the sands; where the mountains tower above the rest of the world, with their mighty trees towering yet higher; and where men and women live and love, often heroically, and with all the complexities of their nature.

2) I love that Jesus "true God of true God...for us men and for our salvation came down from heaven" (Nicene Creed).

3) I love that Jesus came not as a mighty King, but with His divinity hidden under the veil of a very human and lovable Infant. God from all eternity, He became Man, the Son of God, out of love for us.

4) I love that this God-Man - who was there at the creation of the world and who suffered and died for us - did not stop there, but gave us yet another wondrous gift...His Presence in the Blessed Sacrament under the appearance of bread and wine, that we may come to Him and find rest for our souls.

5) I love that Jesus, present in this Blessed Sacrament, stoops yet further to come into our very hearts in Holy Communion to be the food of our souls and to be lovingly united with us.

(And these, my friends, are also the reasons that I became a Catholic. I loved God the Father before I became a Catholic. I loved Jesus before I became a Catholic. But these are things which I learned and as I learned them I loved them...and love yet more thirty six years later.)

I tag anyone who would like to do this meme. And thank you, Jean, for tagging me!

Sunday, July 08, 2007

Win a Book!

Author Donna-Marie Cooper O'Boyle is having a contest, offering a free copy of her Catholic Prayer Book for Mothers to the fortunate person who wins. You can find out how to enter, for yourself or someone else, by clicking here.

Saturday, July 07, 2007

Summorum Pontificum

Here is the link to the Motu Proprio Summorum Pontificum in English. It does say that this is an unofficial translation. The Latin is available on the same page.

I am sharing these links with you before I read them. So...now I'm off to do some serious reading!

Motu Proprio

We may now read Pope Benedict's letter to the bishops regarding his Motu Proprio to expand the use of the 1962 Missal.

When the actual Motu Proprio is available and I find an English translation, I will share the link.

Free Typing Speed Test

Have you ever wondered whether all this computer use has improved your typing? Have you ever had a child ready to apply for jobs and wanted him or her to know their typing score in case the question comes up?

Thank you to Alicia at Studeo for providing a link to a free online typing test.

This is a great test site, as you don't have to register and there are no bells and whistles. There's a paragraph, a place to type the paragraph, and two buttons to click on: one to start the clock and one to stop the clock. Type the paragraph, hit the "stop the clock" button, and your speed and accuracy are shown.

Have fun!

Friday, July 06, 2007

Big Sale

Do you like sales? Do you like books? Maureen Wittmann is having a big book sale. These aren't just any books; they're various books she's written. You can check it out here.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Proud Mother of an Air Force Recruit

And speaking of the Fourth of July and our great country, I've been saving this news for a propitious time.

Our son Joe is going into the Air Force! He felt called to do this, and he wants to serve. When he was considering it, I told him that I would be proud. I told him that I'm already proud of him and will be proud of him either way. I'm proud that he wants to do something to serve, something worthwhile, that he wants to serve his country.

So this worrier mom is going to have to become a warrior mom...a warrior of prayer. A proud warrior of prayer. Your prayers are welcome, too!

A Feast of Fireworks

Going to see fireworks a year ago, in a county outside of Baltimore, was a disappointment we didn't care to repeat, as we hadn't been able to get anywhere near where we had intended to park. So we decided this year to go to the Inner Harbor. We arrived at the garage, where Ed has a parking pass for work, at about eleven a.m., determined to get a parking space. As it turned out, the garage was nearly empty when we came, perhaps because it's some distance from the harbor and many visitors don't know about it.

Wanting this to be a thrifty day, we brought our own lunch and we didn't bite on any of the many ways to spend money: boating, shopping, boating, and...did I say boating? There were all different kinds of boat rides available and it was pretty tempting, but would also be pretty expensive. We did buy some good hamburgers for supper.

Our primary recreation? Walking. We walked all the way around the harbor, way beyond where we'd walked in the past. We walked through the malls. We saw fudge being made in an open factory. Highlight of the day: we saw a fire show, a man playing with torches of fire. (If you've read the child's book Inspell, think of Dustfinger.) Our other occupations were sitting to rest our legs, talking and laughing, and looking at our watches to see how much longer until the 9:30 p.m. fireworks.

All day the moisture hung heavy in the air. We had one afternoon squall, but after that the sun came out. About 9 p.m., though, another squall came. And at about 9:10 God sent his own fireworks for the appetizer, lighting up the whole sky again and again. The two huge cruise boats came in, blocking the view where the fireworks were to be set off. Apparently seeing the boats coming, or knowing they'd be coming, the bulk of the crowd moved down to a better vantage point. We didn't yet know where all the people were going, so we stayed, moving up to an awning with the thinning crowd in front of the visitor's center. By this time, the wind had whipped up, even our umbrellas hadn't kept us from getting soaked, and the radio station had gone quiet.

Still, there was a holiday atmosphere among most. And soon the rain slowed and the radio announcer said, "There is a rain delay in Baltimore...no, a monsoon delay, but the fireworks WILL go on." And - very nearly on time - the fireworks did go on! And what a feast it was.

Although there was just a little "window" of space between the two cruise boats, we were among those who were able to get up close to the edge of the harbor...I was especially happy that where we were standing was a "ring-side seat" for Peter. Burst after burst of colorful lights appeared in the sky, accompanied by patriotic songs from the radio station and the feeling of excitement from the crowd. After about twenty minutes of bursts had slowly lighted up the sky, we got a surprise. From a different place, yards across the bay from that spot, suddenly came more bursts, bigger, better, and lots faster than the previous ones. It was like we hadn't been expecting dessert...and here it was, gourmet and delicious. This finale lasted about ten minutes, concluding in clapping and yells of approval; and then we trudged, tired, wet and happy back to the car.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Happy Fourth of July

Enjoy your picnics, your families, your fireworks, or whatever you may be doing today.

God bless and keep those who simply have to work today or who are without family or friends or plans on holidays. Please fill their hearts with Your love and joy.

Dear Jesus, please be with all of the men and women in our armed services, keep them safe this day and bless them a hundredfold for their sacrifices. Amen.

Monday, July 02, 2007

What if You Don't Homeschool?

This post is supposed to follow the post, "Why Do I Homeschool", but of course on blogs the most recent post appears first. So if you haven't yet read that one, you might want to scroll down and read that post before you read this one.

The following is a copy of my response to a comment at Philosopher Mom's blog:

I wanted to respond in a separate post to the lady who asked if choosing a Catholic education makes her less of a Catholic than the homeschooling moms. I'm sure you mean "in our eyes". Not in mine!

I have wonderful friends whose children went to (or currently go to) Catholic schools...and also to public schools. There are "success stories" coming from Catholic (and other Christian) and public schools, as well as in homeschooling; and there are "failure stories" in homeschooling, as well as in religious and public schools. (Although there really is no such thing as failure when we speak of a person!)

As parents, we pray for guidance, make our decisions, and do the best we can, day in and day out, one step at a time. We need to do what we do - do our best - for love of our children and love of God, and then leave the results in God's Hands...and respect one another.

Why Do I Homeschool?

Danielle Bean encouraged us to answer The Philosopher Mom's question about why we homeschool. (With a link from Danielle Bean, this lady is going to have a lot of visits!).

Here is the comment that I left in response:
The reasons we decided to homeschool 22 years ago might not be the very same (or only) reasons I would make that choice today. We made the decision because it was our understanding at the time that religion, as taught in the local Catholic schools, was "watered-down", at best. I also felt that both my own experience with public school and my childhood best friend's experience with Catholic school were bad experiences, socially.

Why have I continued to homeschool? (And yes, I have four years to go).
1) We can incorporate religious education into the curriculum anywhere we wish (for example, history, literature, or just as we go through the day). We can adapt religious instruction to the student's ways of learning, and to what we learn as we go through life.
2) We have a strong, closely-united family that sticks together and helps one another through life's trials. (I'm not saying others don't. I think the many hours spent together at home have helped us with this, but that doesn't mean there aren't families whose children go to school who are close also. I can only speak from my own experience and what's worked for us.)
3) I think that the independence of the work, and the flexibility of the structure, have fostered our children's creativity and the development of their own interests and their confidence in being who they are, without regard to what others think of the way they dress or how smart they are or whether or not they are "different".
4) Homeschooling has given us stability while working through relocations, the sudden and severe vision loss of one of our children (and then two), deaths in the extended family, and major changes in financial circumstances.

In summary: religion, family closeness, flexibility, stability.

Thanks for asking! :)

Sunday, July 01, 2007


"Paper dolls" for the refreshment of the spirit. I loved this background. I would love to be standing in that creek for a bit, but then I'd want to walk to the deck of the cabin, where I could sip coffee or tea, read and write. And when the family came back to the cabin, we'd have dinner and then have Some-mores by the camp-fire outside.

HT to another Margaret - of Minnesota Mom, as hers was the first place I saw this "Meez".

If you want to do this, too, you can click here.

What Flavor Frapuccino Are You?

Did this quiz just for fun! I've been seriously thinking of giving up caffeine (again).

Caffe Vanilla Frappuccino

Smooth and sweet, you fit in to almost any crowd. No one would suspect you of being a coffee tweaker!

HT to Jean at Catholic Fire