Monday, April 30, 2007

Niece Teacher of the Year

My niece Tamra Tiong, daughter of my sister Chris McLeod, teaches special education at a reservation school in New Mexico. Tammy was selected State Teacher of the Year!

She then went on to be one of the four finalists for National Teacher of the Year! We are so proud of Tammy, not only for this honor, but for her dedicated work with her students.

If you would like to read or hear the U.S. President acknowledge her achievement, you can do so (several paragraphs down) in this speech at the White House.

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Dayton OH Catholic Homeschoolers Conference

For my Catholic homeschooling friends in Cincinnati, OH/Northern Kentucky, and thereabouts:
A Catholic Homeschool Conference is coming to Dayton, OH in May! I just stumbled onto this information the other day on an e-group (I don't even rember which one). I hope I’m sharing this with you “in time”; I hear that this conference is filling up fast because of the many popular speakers. I also know that May is always a busy month for you all. But I wanted you to know about this in case you're interested. The conference is scheduled for Friday and Saturday, May 18th and 19th. You can find out more about it, and who the various speakers will be, by visiting the website of Dayton Homeschoolers.

Maureen Wittmann will be one of the speakers at this conference. On Friday night, there will be a series of talks for teens, and Maureen will be talking to them on the subject of “Career Exploration”, along with advice on how to search for, get, and keep a job. Not only is she passionate about Catholic homeschooling and experienced at motivating teens, but she will be sharing her expertise from ten years experience in the field of human resource. Maureen will also be speaking to parents on Saturday afternoon on the topic of “Teaching Core Subjects Using Real Books”.

Many other speakers will be there, also, who I’m sure are great, as well. Maureen just happens to be the one I know. Although I’ve never met her in person or heard her speak, I’ve read the wonderful material she has written for books, magazines, and e-groups. I’ve known her as a friend, via the internet, for about three years. So if you can go, take me with you in spirit. (smile). And please come back and share with us, if you will.

The Plates and All

My monitor isn't too bright. (That could be taken two ways...and since I like to see pictures as they are, the insulting way is one of the ways I mean it.) I hope the resolution on yours is better than the resolution on mine, so you can see the plates a little better than I'm seeing them here in my picture.

The plates from left to right are: Wisconsin Dells, where we rode the Ducks, amphibious tour boats, adapted from World War (hmm, which one?); the Golden Lamb restaurant in Lebanon, Ohio, where we dined with Charles Dickens (well, okay, he wasn't there when I was but it was still neat to know that he HAD); Hershey, Pennsylvania, where Mary and I flew together a few years ago and discovered that in some places, it's just better to rent a car after you get there...but we had a great time); and Disneyland. Ah, Disneyland. A connection to my childhood, when we would drive down there from Washington State; and to my years with Ed and the older kids when we lived in California, a couple of lifetimes ago.

The picture hanging on the wall to the right is called L'Angelus, by Millet. It had been in my dear mother-in-law's house. When I brought it home in a suitcase, on an airplane, the glass broke, slightly damaging the picture - to my chagrin. However, with a new frame, it looks like new. (Well, now, should a print of a classical painting look like new?)

On the little bookcase, you can see a plate and a bell that my daughter brought me back from Hawaii a few years ago (she was working for an airline); the Bible; a tall thin wooden statue of Mary brought to me from Hawaii years ago by my Mom, and a unique hand-crafted statue of Mary brought to me from the Holy Land by a dear friend. The little ceramic circular Nativity that you wind up, that was given to me by another dear friend, didn't get in the picture, but it's there to the right.

Clutter gathers on this bookcase, in and around these items, like dust; and I have to keep chasing the clutter away. Nothing should be here but the items pictured (or described). Are you reading this, family? (That includes me. You know, like the little cardboard box brought home from church for collecting coins for the poor during Lent. What better place for it, right? W-e-l-l...)

Those plates on the wall are saving us money. Can you believe that? No, I didn't think so. Well, you see, it's like this. We have been whittling away at our storage unit for months. We are now almost ready to move our stored items into a smaller unit. So everything that we sell, give away, throw away, or bring to the apartment is a step toward monthly savings on the storage rent. It's nice when you can save money by adding beauty to your life, isn't it?

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Saturday Stuff

We're doing that "storage stuff" today that's been going on for months since our relocation: sorting through boxes that Ed and Peter brought home from the storage unit, going to storage to take a picture of the barbecue that we want to sell, and best of all, hanging some of the decorative plates over the breakfast bar which had been hanging in our home in KY. Ed measures the wall and each plate, and does a terrific job.

It took a while to decide which plates to hang (I have about sixteen, collected since childhood). The ones to display here "had" to coordinate together, both esthetically and thematically. I finally decided on these plates, that all represent places I've enjoyed with either the whole family or a family member: Wisconsin Dells; Disneyland; Hershey; and The Golden Lamb historic restaurant in Lebanon OH. If I get ambitious, I will try to post a picture of them for you sometimes soon.

A Mother

By Joseph Cardinal Mindszenty

"The most important person on earth is a mother. She cannot claim the honor of having built Notre Dame Cathedral. She neednot. She has built something more magnificent than any cathedral - a dwelling for an immortal soul, the tiny perfection of her baby's body.

"The angels have not been blessed with such a grace. They cannot share in God's creative miracle to bring new saints to heaven. Only a human mother can. Mothers are closer to God the Creator than any other creature. God joins forces with mothers in performing this act of creation...What on God's good earth is more glorious than this: to be a mother?"

Friday, April 27, 2007

Another Blog Roll

If you scroll down my sidebar, you will see a new addition: a beautiful picture of Jesus and Mary, with the words "Catholic Mothers Online". It includes a scrolling list of many blogs. Again, as with any blog roll, it is not "all inclusive" or anything like that. But it's another neat way to find new blogs! These blogs are not necessarily about homeschooling; they're a varied collection of blogs by Catholic mothers, including those who would like to be mothers, are godmothers, or have a mother's heart.

If you have a blog that you would like to add to this service, you can go check it out by going here, or you can check it out any time from the Catholic Mothers Online scrolling list in my sidebar itself, where it says "Click here to join".

Thank you, Angie, for this service.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Finding God

I know I seem to be raving about Sr. Janet these days...maybe it's just what I need at the moment. Don't know if it's what you need, too, or not, but I just feel compelled to share. This is about the unexpected: finding God in the dissection of a cockroach. Can you believe it? Click here to read.

Catholic Homeschool Blog Directory

Those family members and friends who just come here to see if I've published any new pictures or family news may not be interested in this directory.

But here's something that may be interesting for those Catholic homeschoolers who like to read or write blogs (and who writes them who doesn't like to read them, as well?). Esther in Hawaii (A Catholic Mom in Hawaii) has a Catholic Homeschool Blog Directory set up by states (and countries).

For each state there is a picture of the state flower, which is neat in itself. It's also fun just to go and explore to see what blogs are out there, and what states they come from. Of course, there are many more blogs in the blogosphere, but this is one fun way to discover some new ones.

If you have a Catholic homeschool blog that is public, and is not listed in the directory, you can send Esther an email and ask her to add yours to the directory.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Our Home

As I looked at the the picture in the previous post, looking past Peter, I thought how funny it would be if someone thought that was our house behind him. Um, yeah. What a mansion, huh?! Plenty of room for everyone, and let's have a party! Naw, actually, it's the apartment complex that we live in. However, I am so grateful for such a beautiful, woodsy place to live! And hey, it doesn't take me long to do the vacuuming and scrubbing (we won't talk about the clutter).

We have a fitness room, and stores to walk to. When summer comes, the guys can go swimming in the pool any time...with a lifeguard on duty. I can join the fun or I can stay home and type while they swim. And best of all, I don't have to vacuum the leaves out of the pool or fish small wildlife out of the skimmer basket, like "back home". So, yes, with only five of us living at home, this apartment-living is actually a pretty good life.

Happy Birthday, Peter!

Our youngest is now 14 years old! Happy Birthday, Peter!

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Saint of the Day Service

You can get a "saint of the day" story delivered right to your inbox...or you can visit at the website, whichever you like. You can even get it in auditory format if you'd like. Here's where to go to check it out.

Personally, I like getting mail...and having things right at my fingertips, including a daily Gospel reading (see Devotions on the Net in the sidebar for the gospel resource).

Just Musings

Too little to do and too much to think about. Well, okay, I don't really have too little to do. I mean, there are plenty of things here at home that I need to do that I'm not getting done! Maybe I'm doing too little fun things, or too little things that are out in the community. Yesterday I was thinking that since I've lived here for ten months now, that I should be settled into the community. But I am not. So I guess there's something wrong with me...or there's something wrong with the community. (If you live in the community, please stay with me here, because I meant that humorously, and because the rest will explain that I don't really mean that... Please read this post knowing I have a smile on my face as I'm writing it.)

Patience was never one of my greatest virtues, that's for sure! Last night I was talking with my daughter and she pointed out that ten months is really NOT so long. Oh. And then I remembered that a lady I met who had moved from Cincinnati to here to Atlanta said it takes two years to adjust to a new area. Hmm. Someone else told me it took her a year to get over being VERY homesick in a new place.

So...yesterday I didn't post to my blog because I was "down". Not about anything new. Just the same ol', same ol'. Lonely and homesick. Paul's recent vision loss. Kids in another state (that's young adult kids, not children, for anyone who just got here and doesn't know.) Okay, so now the truth is out: I'm human! (Oh, you guessed that already, huh?). Yeah, I've noticed that sometimes people who blog (or write anything else) sometimes only put forth their best foot. Well, a blog is partly a journal, and so today I'm not (maybe today I'm putting my foot in my mouth instead of putting my best foot forward?). Of course, it doesn't help any that I'm going, middle age-ness.

Now the birds are singing and it's going to be a good day. Hope you all have a good day!

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Mirror Thoughts from Sr. Janet

These thoughts are so neat that I wanted to share them with you. This is from the same Sr. Janet in Rome, who had the extensive, life-like Stations of the Cross meditations during Lent.

But this is something a little different. I hope you will come away feeling as I did...inspired.
Click here to read what Sr. Janet has to say.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

My Three Blogs

Yes, you read that right. I'm now up to three blogs...and holding. I hope. I think three is a good number, don't you?

Actually, this third one was borne of a Yahoo group that I started several years ago. It's called Catholic BVI Readers. It is an effort to share Catholic materials that are available in Braille, large print or audio format.

This third blog may have posts that are only occasional. Over the past years, with the Yahoo group by the same name, there has been very little activity. On my part, some of that was due to the fact that I didn't have the money to buy anything. Now I do need to buy some things for my son who is entering high school this coming fall. As I do, I will want to share those ideas with others.

I've also expanded the format of Catholic BVI Readers to include some special internet resources, such as those with human voice, and I might also post book reviews in the future about books that are available in alternate formats.

If you know anyone who might be interested in this type of blog, please send them along to check it out.

Friday, April 20, 2007

How to Ride the Subway

#1. Relax. New isn't always bad. This can be fun.

#2. When you're on your way back home, at the last stop before yours; and a voice comes over the loudspeaker on the train to tell you to get off, and that there will be a bus to take you the rest of the way to your destination, don't you believe it.

#3. When you're all lined up waiting for the bus, and a fellow passenger tells you all that she just called MTA on her cell phone and there is no bus, that you all need to go back into the station for the next train, believe her...especially if you look back and see that a train has just gone by in the direction of your destination.

#4. Don't take advice from someone who's only ridden the subway once (that's me).

#5. Do keep track of your ticket. Can you believe you need it to get OUT of the station? I couldn't either. Neither could my purse - which had swallowed the ticket.

A Joke on Me

Okay, no, I didn't feel it necessary to introduce myself in today's well as in my profile! ("My name is Margaret Mary Myers", when that's even the title on my blog!) This was an error.
Last night I started a new (additional, specialized) blog and somehow things got where they should not have! No time to fix much right now. You see: Only in the profile should it have said "My name is...". AND, I had forgotten that the profile for one is the profile for all (blogs). So what you see on the right as my profile is not even supposed to be on this blog. Come to think of it, I don't usually HAVE my profile on this blog. How did it get there???

The worst thing is that I have zero time to fix any of this this morning. Well, stayed tuned and I'll tell you more about the new blog later on...

Added after posting this: I could swear (pardon me) that a moment ago it said, "My name is..." after "Busy Day". Oh well, so it's self-repairing. I really have zero time for this right now.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Busy Day

Friday is going to be a busy day for us. There will probably always be someone at home, but there will always be someone gone, too, it seems.

It will be my first time taking a child to a city college for orientation (I've taken three to our country college in Northern Kentucky in past years). It will be our first time riding the subway in our new city (the only other time I've ridden a subway was with the whole family in Washington D.C., some years ago). I'm claustrophic and no hobbit; I've always avoided cave explorations. So I'm glad that I'm not going on the subway alone (of course, if I were going out alone, there would be no need to go where I'm going, but I was too tired tonight for that kind of reasoning when I wrote that previous sentence.).

In the afternoon, I have to rush home to trade kids, and take another child to P.E. with our homeschool group, about an hour away. It's funny, but needing to rush home is why I decided to use the subway, as I think it will be faster than "rushing" through the city streets in my car.

We will probably do our grocery shopping in the evening before I fall exhaused onto the couch.

Are You Addicted to the Internet? (Fun Quiz)

These were my results from this little quiz. You can take the quiz too, by clicking on the link at the bottom of the post.

You Are 47% Addicted to the Internet

You're somewhat addicted to the internet - but who isn't?

You can keep it under check, and you're by no means a hermit.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Thoughts and Prayers about the Tragedy

Sr. Pat wrote the following yesterday about the tragedy at Virginia Tech University. She said, so much better than I could, just what I would want to say:
"Still at the same time, God is always with us...I do believe an angel of God was with each student and person killed - I pray they were all ready to say Yes to a glorious eternity. It is one of the beliefs of the Church that no one dies before his time. No matter how sudden or unforeseen the tragedy is - God is there with love and mercy."
(You can read Sr. Pat's full post here.)

At the school itself, the vice-president for student affairs said:
"We will move on from this. But it will take the strength of each other to do that," said Zenobia Hikes, vice president for student affairs. "We want the world to know we are Virginia Tech, we will recover, we will survive with your prayers." (Quoted in a Fox news article here.) Thank you to Alicia for gleaning this uplifting paragraph from the long article and sharing it at her blog.

And the world is praying, Zenobia, including the Pope: "The Pope offered his prayer to 'the entire school community,' as well as the victims of the shooting, and expressed the hope that those affect would find 'the spiritual strength which triumphs over violence.' " (Quoted from Catholic World News.) Thank you to Danielle for sharing this at her blog.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

A Day of Silence

No, I'm not asking you not to talk today, nor am I going to spend the day myself in monastic silence. I'm referring only to my blog.

In view of the horrendous tragedy at Virginia Tech University, I am not going to write a regular blog post today, as I would rather spend the time I would be blogging in prayer instead.

If you would like something to read while you're here, perhaps you might like to check the sidebar for "Devotions for Everyone" and "Catholic Prayers on the Net".

Monday, April 16, 2007

Escape to Prosperity (A Book Review)

Here is a little gem that is selling on Amazon for a penny. You read that right. One cent...although, of course, you have to pay shipping.

This is a fun book to read - unless you want to continue to do the things that keep you broke. This is a book about money principles, which is written in an always interesting and sometimes humorous way.

Wes Beavis talks about paying off your mortgage, making tax-paying more pleasant, the cost of owning a car. He also talks about getting out of debt. But most of all, he talks about how to go about these things, all in a story-telling way. This book has become required reading in my high school curriculum.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Give Your Cashier a Break Today

That cashier you deal with could be my son. It could have been me a year or so ago. It could be an accountant or a teacher, working part time on the side to help their family surive financially. I knew one woman who worked both a professional job and a department store job, and also had a family to take care of. I knew another woman, a grandmother in her sixties, who worked three jobs (and ended up in the hospital).

The cashier you encounter could also be someone who's going through something really horrendous in his or her personal life. And yes, I've known some cashiers and sales associates for whom that truly was the case!

It's not always easy to give your cashier a break. As a matter of fact, I have a confession to make. It was very hard for me, just the other day! I was checking out my always low price items, and I was having trouble hearing what the cashier was saying to me...not so strange in a noisy place, since I'm deaf in one ear. So I asked her what she had said, but she answered that she wasn't talking to me. Then I saw that her cell phone was open on the counter in front of her, and she was talking into it. Toward the end of the transaction, I once again asked what she had said, and she once again said it wasn't me she was talking to. How could she ignore me like this? Very rude. I was beginning to lose patience, but I decided to be polite and calm while being at least a bit open with her about what she was doing. So I said to her, "I can't tell when you're talking to me - and when you're talking to the person on your cell phone." She said, pleasantly, "I wouldn't call you a ........" I don't even know what word she finished the sentence with, because I didn't hear it, but evidently this was something she had said to her friend that she wouldn't think of saying to me...yet she had said it in my presence.

Now what could I have done at that point? There was a fleeting thought of complaining to management. After all, this girl should learn how she should treat customers. But you know what? I've been through this girl's line before, and I picked her line this day because she's pleasant to do business with. Who knows WHY she felt a need to talk on her cell phone this particular afternoon? One thing I do know is that the cashiers are usually very overworked...not only at that store but at every retail establishment I've seen in the past several years. I know how demotivating that can be! I know the lack of support from management that sometimes occurs. I know the anxiety that goes with reduced hours, as it causes overwork and not enough money coming in to pay the bills...even expenses that high school students have gone to work to pay. I know it all. So I just thanked her (she DID ring up my items, you know), and went on my way.

Would you like to do the spiritual works of mercy without getting further from home than your grocery store? "To bear wrongs patiently" is one of those works, and you just may have an opportunity to do that at your grocery store, post office, airline counter, or other place of business. Just remember: Very often the problems that occur are not the fault of the clerks. Much of the time they are simply exercising company policies that they don't like any better than you do. And even when problems are the fault of the clerks, it wouldn't hurt to cut them a little slack. Because of your kindness, some cashier might go home talking about the person who was nice to them, instead of talking about yet another person who abused them. You might save someone's day...or more. God bless you!

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Sidebar Changes

I hope you'll like the changes to my sidebar. Yesterday I looked at the long list of "Labels" and counted 25 of them! Who would want to wade through that? ...unless you're looking for something in particular.

So, today I added a list of seven labels and called it: "Labels-Topical"; and I re-labeled the old list: "Labels-Alphetical".

This is why my posts now have seemingly repetitious labels, such as this one being labeled "About this Blog" and "My Blog and Me".

I may not get posts from the past re-labeled all at once; it will be a work in progress.

Ultimately, even though this sounds more complicated (for me), I hope it will make the blog less complicated and more user friendly, for you, my dear reader.

Blogging "Plan"

I had forgotten my list. Some weeks ago I had come up with a plan for this blog, much like my menu plan for our family meals. Monday I would write this kind of thing, Tuesday that kind of thing, Wednesday something else. I didn't want to share the plan with you for the same reason that I didn't use to share my menu plan with the family:

"Hey, I thought we were supposed to have spaghetti tonight!"

Or, "Hey, I was expecting a book review."

But the past week I've been sitting down to a blank screen, wondering why I "got myself into this". To quit (or to write less often) was unthinkable. But I didn't know where to go with it each day. It had been a bit like coming home from a busy day of errands at 4:30 or 5:00 and trying to figure out what to have for dinner. And then you waste all kinds of time running to the store. Know the feeling? You might actually come up with something tasty now and then, but it takes some of the joy out of the cooking.

And then I remembered my list! A plan for what type of thing to write each day. So here I am. Saturday is: "About this blog" or "Family life". Sunday is: "Potluck" -- not as in recipes, but as in, whatever; anything or nothing. But that's all I'll tell you of my blog "menu plan" for now!

Friday, April 13, 2007

Happy Hearts

If you like recipes or thrifty living tips, here's a great blog for you:
Happy Hearts at Home
Her subtitle is Homeschooling and Frugal Living on One Income

Here are just some of the things featured on this blog:
100 Ways We Save Money
Frugal Recipes
Making It On One Income
Thrifty Decorating And Remodel

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Neat Little Booklets about Cars

We might be ready to look for a "new" heap that can take me on the freeway! And then maybe we will pass mine down to our son, since a putt-putt car is better than no car, and can be driven to the store or to the subway. But how we go about that gets tricky as far as title transfer...or not, vehicle inspection certification on my ailing heap...or not, maybe we just let him use it, but then there's the insurance and they want to insure him for Ed's car, too, which has comprehensive coverage. So there's a lot of "homework" to do here. But first things first, and the first thing is to find the "right car" for me for a very little bit of money.

So Ed suggested we buy these little books he heard about on the radio. As I was reading them, I knew I had to share these little gems with you! They ARE "little", only a little over twenty pages each, even though each book costs $4.75. But when I think of what we might save, it definitely seems worth it. And who wants to spend hours poring over long books about the mechanics and economics of a car, when you can get it in nuggets?

Even if you're not in the market for a heap (or any other new-to-you car), you might benefit from Ten Ways You May Be Ruining Your Car Without Even Knowing It! The Click and Clack brothers, Tom and Ray Magliozzi, say that they named the book first; then they made a list of fifteen items. By paying attention, we may be able to add years to the lives of our cars. (Now we just need to fix our diets so we can live as long as the car. This, by the way, is my humor, not theirs; although their books are filled with humor.)

The next book is Should I Buy, Lease, or Steal My Next Car? (Incidentally, they don't even address the stealing idea. It's just part of their humor and a catchy title. And if you can't shrug off an occasional in-law joke, these books aren't for you. I never had a problem with my in-laws but I know it's a common area for jokes.) The sub-heading of this book is "How to Save Tens of Thousands of Dollars On Your Cars Over the Next 20 Years". If you drive a heap, like I do, the previous book might be more helpful for saving money. But even if you're a cheapskate like me, you might want to share the information in this book with your children and others. I like that they explain car leasing (which seems so shrouded in mystery to many people...not a recommended option, by the way). I especially like that they give options for different possible strategies that you can use in buying a car, depending on how old or new a car you want, and that they have charts showing how much you can save by using one option over another.

How to Buy a Great Used Car: Secrets Only Your Mechanic Knows is the next book. In addition to the usual tips, this book has a chart you can copy and give to your mechanic to check out a potential used car before you make an offer.

I'd just like to add that I don't make a penny if you buy these books. I am only sharing them because:
A) I want to have something to write about every day. (I'm too honest this morning.)
B) I think they are enlightening and helpful! (I even wonder if I could still be driving my 14 year old car on the freeway today, if I had read the Ten Ways You May Be Ruining Your Car... years ago.)
C) And I would like to ask you to please say a prayer that we make the best decisions regarding the cars, insurance, and so forth. Thank you!

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Storm Heaven

Please join me in praying for the hosts of the Homeschool Blog Awards, especially for Heather. (Ironically, her blog name is "Especially Heather".) Heather wasn't feeling well over the weekend, and is seeing a neurosurgeon this morning for a brain tumor that was discovered yesterday. What a shock to her, and her family and friends.

This isn't someone I know, but I have some idea (though probably only vague) how much time and dedication she and the others on the Homeschool Blog Award Team have been putting into this effort. One of the others on the team, Laura, is Heather's best friend, so this is affecting her, as well.

Sprittibee, the kind lady who first volunteered to do the Homeschool Blog Awards for this year, also posts in her blog this morning about Heather's dedication and her illness.

Sprittibee says that the voting goes on. It's all set up to be automatic, and she can continue to watch over it for fairness. She does ask for patience with the results after the voting ends on Friday. There is something more important to think about right now than winners and prizes.

Please, let's all storm heaven for Heather, and for her family and friends.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Counting and Meeting

Do you all mind if I ramble a bit tonight? I've had a lot of different things going on with my kids the past two days, stuff like a deadline and a minor medical emergency, and so on. Rambling is all that I'm up to at the moment.

I've noticed that I've been doing a funny thing lately: counting. On Easter, as I was hurriedly getting the turkey ready for the oven, I estimated how many times I've cooked a turkey. Probably about ninety. (Yes, we have turkey for Easter, as well as for Thanksgiving and Christmas...and we'll have been married thirty years this coming July. ).

Today I started counting homeschooling years. I've been homeschooling for 22 years, homeschooling high school for 13 years, and homeschooling special education (visual impairment) for five years. Now isn't that fascinating? (Said laughingly.)

The other thing I've been doing is running into people I know! Acquaintances. This might sound very normal, except that, since moving to a new area, in a big city, this hadn't happened to me too often yet. The other neat thing is that in both cases the person volunteered to me where I know them from! Oh, thank you, thank you! I'm beginning to wonder if I have it written on my forehead (or in my expression), "How do I know you??" (Actually the latter. I think what's happened is that I've stopped FAKING that I know HOW I know someone.) Some of us who have a bit of prosopagnosia just don't have a clue until we've seen you about twenty times... (I haven't counted that one; I just pulled that number out of the air). But it is still SO NEAT to run into someone familiar. Hey, if you don't think that's crazy enough, I'll give you something crazier to think about. When I see family members, after not seeing them for...oh, say a week, I definitely recognize them, BUT I say (though not for them to hear, only in my head), "Wow, that's what you look like?!"...and I fall in love with them all over again.

I hope you, dear reader, are having a sane and wonderful Easter Week! God bless!

Monday, April 09, 2007

Homeschool Blog Awards

Homeschool Blog Awards is hosting voting for "best" homeschool blogs this week. "Anyone can vote. You don't have to be a homeschooler." There are many categories, and there have been many nominations for each category.

My long-time internet friend Maureen Wittmann has been nominated for "Best SUPER-HOMESCHOOLER BLOG". To me, this is particularly appropriate because she homeschools both little ones and teenagers, and is very involved in their lives and activities. She took the local youth on the March for Life to Washington D.C. and gets them involved in science fairs and competitions, as well as having her children involved in 4-H shooting sports. Her young ones are involved with pets. She reads to her children. 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. If you aren't already familiar with her blog, you can browse at Maureen Wittmann, and if you agree with me, how about going to Homeschool Blog Awards to vote for her blog as "Best Super-Homeschooler Blog"? The devoted awards people have made the voting very simple! Voting runs from today through Friday.

There are also some other nominees' blogs that I would recommend checking out. I will list them along with Maureen's (I'm adding hers to the list in case someone didn't read the paragraph above, but just skipped to my list. Smile.).

Best Super-Homeschooler Blog: Maureen Wittmann
Funniest: Danielle Bean
Best Homeschool Mom Blog: Here in the Bonny Glen
Best Nitty-Gritty Blog: Cajun Cottage Under the Oaks
Best Thrifty Homeschooler Blog: An Old-Fashioned Education
Live What You Believe Homeschool Blog: Cottage Blessings
Best New Homeschool Blog: Real Learning
Best Homeschool Curriculum/Business Blog: Donna Young
Best Family or Group Blog: Love2Learn

There are many other blogs, and some of them may be wonderful too. These are just the ones that were nominated that I personally know and love.

A Note About Voting: I just voted and I noticed that after voting for a particular category, you are shown the results and then...what? Maybe I'm missing something but I didn't see a way to get to the next category, so I just used the back button on my computer. (Do you call that thing a button?? Laugh. ). Have fun voting!

Saturday, April 07, 2007

About Friday

If you read my blog post for Thursday, you might like to know: A) That was truly an example of "journaling", as in, I didn't plan where I was going before I started. (I hope you like where I went as much as I did; it just didn't have the usual serious introduction to a serious topic.) B) I was able to get into my Yahoo mail box again as soon as I got through posting to my blog.

Yesterday, though, I was unable to get online...briefly. After I accidentally shut my son's computer down (our internet connection is routed through his), and after I wasn't able to get it back up (and I began to panic), my dear husband rescued me. One of my sons commented that I am good at email, blogs, websites (thanks, Greg!), but not the wires and stuff. Amen to that.

And then it was time to go to Good Friday services. We had decided to go to Silver Spring where they were having the services in the traditional Latin rite. It was only about forty miles away. Ed thought that afterward we should drive to Washington D.C. to see the cherry blossoms. We drove by the Washington Monument, around the blocks surrounding it, among seas of cars and pedestrians. While we were straining and craning to see the white marble pillar through the car windows - asking Peter if he could see it at all - suddenly someone pulled out of a parking space. No signs saying you couldn't park in that space. It was ours! And it was only a short walk to the monument, so we were able to see it up close, as well as the many American flags that surround it, before getting back in our car to head home.

After slogging our way through D.C. rush hour traffic for another hour or so, we made it out of town to find a lighted sign saying that the freeway we were just gettng on was closed in all four lanes about eight miles ahead.

"Let's get off," I sugggested to Ed, who hardly needs such a suggestion even if a freeway is only slow.

Fortunately Ed carries a map and a compass in his head, and he got us back to Silver Spring by another way, where he thought we could pick up Highway 29 to Baltimore. We thought we might stop for dinner somewhere...and there, just as we turned onto Highway 29, was a Subway! We were lamenting not having a D.C. area map with us, but discovered that our Baltimore map showed Silver Spring and showed that Highway 29 should be good for us to get to Baltimore. It would take us to Ellicott City, and from there getting home would be easy. Of course, driving through the many traffic stops, I commented jokingly that we might as well have brought my minivan. We made it home just in time to unpack the car from the day's outing and pick Greg up from work at seven.

I will probably not be posting again until Monday.

May you have a very blessed and joyous Easter!

Thursday, April 05, 2007

A Glorious Thanksgiving Day

If you see the mail lady put letters into your mail box and drive away, and then you go to get them, and the box will not open no matter how hard you try, what do you do? I'm thinking of a sledge hammer. Actually, though, this is not a "real" mail box, but my Yahoo mail box. (How much more real can you get than that?) I arrived to Yahoo, I signed in, and it says I have nine items of new mail; but they just won't let me get to them. "They" being the little men in the computer. I used to tease my computer-geek son about my thinking there were little men in the computer, and I sometimes thought that he believed me...not that there were little men but that I thought that. Nope, no little men, no pixies or elves, but sometimes it seems like it. How much "magic" God has given us in the world!

All of God's creation can fill us with wonder! The changing seasons of nature; the changing expressions of humans. The warmth of the sun; the warmth of loving and being loved. The intricacies of trees and flowers; the intricacies of the human mind. And so much more.

And then, now and then, God steps beyond nature and gives us an even greater miracle...something we can barely understand. Or something we can't fully understand with our minds, but only with our hearts.

Such miracles we are commemorating this week. The mighty God, Jesus the second Person of the Blessed Trinity, taking the form of man, coming to earth as a small, weak baby, coming to teach us, set us an example, take our sins upon himself, and reconcile us with the Father. Isn't this enough? But no, this is not enough for His generosity. He adds to that as only God can. He gives us yet another gift, as He gives Himself to us in Holy Communion for all time.

Today is the glorious Thanksgiving Day of that institution of the Holy Eucharist at the Last Supper. Thank you, Dear Jesus, for your great gifts. Help us to appreciate them and to grow in love of you and of all those whom you have created with the Father and the Holy Spirit.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Sister Janet's Stations of the Cross

I wish I had discovered these Stations sooner, as Sister Janet in Rome posts one for each day. Today (Wednesday), she posted the 12th Station. If you'd like, and have the time, you can scroll to the bottom of her page, and click to get to the previous page, until you come to the 1st Station.

These Stations are written with reverence. Today's Station was written from the viewpoint of the Roman Centurion in charge of the Crucifixion. Previous ones were written from the viewpoints of St. John, Veronica, Simon, the women, a bystander. It is an interesting way to read about the Passion, and to feel like we're right there.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Different Gifts

In doing the Works of Mercy, each person has different opportunities and obligations, as well as different gifts. For example, we are not obliged to always "admonish the sinner" (nor is it always wise or prudent to do so). The Catholic Encyclopedia says the following about the spiritual works of mercy:

"Likewise the law imposing spiritual works of mercy is subject in individual instances to important reservations. For example, it may easily happen that an altogether special measure of tact and prudence, or, at any rate, some definite superiority is required for the discharge of the oftentimes difficult task of fraternal correction. Similarly to instruct the ignorant, counsel the doubtful, and console the sorrowing is not always within the competency of every one. To bear wrongs patiently, to forgive offences willingly, and to pray for the living and the dead are things from which on due occasion no one may dispense himself on the pleas that he has not some special array of gifts required for their observance. They are evidently within the reach of all." (Catholic Encyclopedia)

Spiritual Works of Mercy

The Seven Spiritual Works of Mercy

To admonish the sinner
To instruct the ignorant
To counsel the doubtful
To comfort the sorrowful
To bear wrongs patiently
To forgive all injuries
To pray for the living and the dead

Monday, April 02, 2007

Holy Week

Because it is Holy Week, the week of Our Lord's suffering for our salvation, I may be posting more items of a religious nature than usual this week. Next week I will be back to the normal, everyday variety.

I decided yesterday to start the week with the works of mercy, as enjoined by Our Lord in Sacred Scripture.

Today I'm posting the Corporal Works of Mercy, and tomorrow I will post the Spiritual Works of Mercy.

We can't all be Mother Teresa, but we can do the things that are before us in our daily life. For example, to feed the hungry: I know someone who said that her father carries grocery store gift certificates to give to those who ask him for money on the street (we would, of course, want it to be a store that is in close proximity to where the person is, who is asking).

We may not always be able to visit someone who is in prison or who is sick, but we may be able to send them a letter or card.

And we might be able, at some time in our lives, to take in someone who is not actually homeless but who might be if we did not, or who might not be able to pursue their career or education, if we did not.

Do we have a lot of clothes sitting in our closet that someone else could use?

Even taking care of our families, we perform these works, if only we do it with love of God as well as love of our loved ones. As Mother Teresa loved to point out, we are serving the poor, in those we meet on the street, in our families.

Corporal Works of Mercy

The Seven Corporal Works of Mercy:

To feed the hungry
To give drink to the thirsty
To clothe the naked
To shelter the homeless
To visit the imprisoned
To visit the sick
To bury the dead

Sunday, April 01, 2007

When We Meet Our Lord

Matthew 25:34-40
34 Then shall the king say to them that shall be on his right hand: Come, ye blessed of my Father, possess you the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. 35 For I was hungry, and you gave me to eat: I was thirsty, and you gave me to drink: I was a stranger, and you took me in: 36 Naked, and you covered me: sick, and you visited me: I was in prison, and you came to me. 37 Then shall the just answer him, saying: Lord, when did we see thee hungry and fed thee: thirsty and gave thee drink? 38 Or when did we see thee a stranger and took thee in? Or naked and covered thee? 39 Or when did we see thee sick or in prison and came to thee? 40 And the king answering shall say to them: Amen I say to you, as long as you did it to one of these my least brethren, you did it to me.

News of Peter and Paul

I posted the following today at my VIP Homeschooler Blog:

News of Peter: We are finally getting settled into our new area, as Friday I took Peter to a homeschool P.E. group. While he joined the other kids, I introduced myself to the instructor (a personal trainer), and told him, "Peter doesn't see very well. He can see to get around, but if you demonstrate something, he might not know what you're doing." He was smiling and nodding confidently. And then I said, "But he doesn't like attention called to his having a vision problem." He was still smiling, and I don't remember what he said next, but I realized then that I hadn't given him any time to think about how to handle this. I'm wondering now why am I still learning how to do this after all these years? Do we ever really get life figured out? However, the instructor handled it superbly. And Peter loved the class, and connected with the new kids.

News of Paul
: (As background, for anyone who doesn't know, Paul is the second of my six children to have a vision problem. While Peter suddenly became legally blind five years ago at the age of eight, Paul's vision problem began this past January at the age of 21. He, too, is now legally blind.)

Last week Paul was voted president of the Newman Club on his college campus. I guess he is taking the advice of Our Lord about the leader serving, because a couple days later found him making pasta and baked pears for the group. It doesn't look like Paul's new vision loss is going to hold him back in life!