Sunday, May 29, 2011

What's It All About?

For years, I've wondered if my blog should have more of a focus. What is it all about? Is it about homeschooling? Is it about having kids with disabilities? Yes and no to both. It's about my life, not my past life - the autobiography some of my kids have urged me to write - but my current life and thoughts and the stories and books I come across that I think might interest you or help you in some way.

I'm not always perfect...and I'm willing to share that with you from time to time, because I know you're not either, and maybe sometimes you can learn from my mistakes, or maybe you can relate with me. But for the most part, I try here to share positive things.

We need people to take a stand on the issues of our day, and I admire my friends who do that...but that doesn't seem to be my calling. I feel more called - whether here at my blog or in my articles elsewhere - to take a stand on the issues of all time: the goodness of God; well-ordered love of ourselves; the closeness of family; the love of our neighbor; and the joy and resilience of the human spirit.

So, is it a Catholic blog? Well, I am unabashedly a Catholic Christian so, again, yes and no. My belief system undoubtedly influences who I am. But whether you share my particular beliefs or not, I respect you as you are. And much of what I write is not specific to the doctrines of any particular faith but to the universal spirit of love and hope.

Those who know me in person know that for me to be always positive is only a dream...a dream so dreamlike that it is like reaching for the stars. But here, in this blog and in my other writing, I try to lift my spirit to the positives for you...and for me.

In Philippians 4:8-9, St. Paul exhorts us: "Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is gracious, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, do; and the God of peace will be with you."

May we keep striving for all of that, with His help; and may the God of peace be with us always.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Senior Deadlines

I hate deadlines. Ouch, one of my sons (you know who you are) is going to tell me that you can only hate sin and the devil! Can you guess who he learned that from? I hate missing important deadlines, but I think maybe it might actually be a sin, so it's all right, son. Okay, dear readers, please don't take me too seriously. I'm speaking lightly here. And prospective editors, if you give me a deadline, I can meet it. The problem is having a whole year (or two or three) full of deadlines...and not knowing what they are! I speak of the senior year of high school!

You'd think by Kid #6 I would have it down pat. All figured out. No sweat. Nope! You know why? Because the parameters keep changing. Yeah, I didn't know what that word meant either but I thought it sounded good. (My dog-eared Webster says: "a quantity or constant whose value varies with the circumstances of its application". Perfect!).

With our first two, when we lived in Kentucky, there was one college to choose from (or that's how we saw it, anyway, as we wanted them to go locally). So they took their A.C.T., applied, had their transcripts sent from the home school program they were enrolled with, and they were all set (of course, they did most of the work in their high school years...not only getting through the schoolwork, but getting jobs, buying cars, paying for gas). Child #3 wasn't enrolled with a program, so I had to make up my own transcript for him and get it notarized. Just a little more work...but he went to the same local school in Kentucky.

After we moved to Baltimore, Kid #4 took a year off for the move, worked full time, and applied for college the next year. We heard they were offering very substantial scholarships - neither need-based nor merit-based - at University of Baltimore, because it was their first year opening up to Freshmen and Sophomores. Come Child #5, the very next year, they were still raking students into the new program with scholarships. So those decisions were no-brainers.

Enter Child #6. He would like to go to a really great Catholic college in another state. If that doesn't work out, he has a myriad of possibilities here in Baltimore to choose from. And no, I'm not going to tell you what deadlines we missed. I'm trying really hard not to kick myself too much, because I've done enough of that in my lifetime to...well, to last a lifetime. And if I tell you, I will have to kick myself. So we just take it from here...give it to God and move on.

But if you have any kids who will one day be seniors, I have a little advice that I wish I had thought of a long time ago. Put together (or find) a timeline...not a history timeline but a planning timeline. You can do a search. I found this one just now that looks pretty good, though I can't tell you how good it really is, not having used it (more's the pity). And when you're thinking about colleges (round about the beginning of the junior year maybe?), I would like to suggest you find out what their application deadlines are, because it varies widely from school to school. Who'd have thought?

When we get done with this, maybe I should put together (or find) a different type of senior timeline. When we get ready to retire, what do we need to do when? But I don't think I'm ready to think about that, just yet.

Sunday, May 08, 2011

A Catholic Woman's Book of Prayers - Book Review

I am very happy I had the opportunity to review this gracious book of short meditations, prayers, and scripture verses. So much more than “just” a prayer-book, A Catholic Woman’s Book of Prayers is a not only a book of prayerfulness, but also an affirmation of the value of each one of us as a woman, and a collection of lovely nuggets of wisdom. Donna-Marie Cooper O'Boyle shares snippets of stories of herself and those she knows, as well as original inspiring short prayers, and quotations from saints. The book is both universal and specific in scope, with many balanced and uplifting thoughts for you to ponder.

Even with only a little time on hand, a busy woman – whatever her state in life - can find much fruit in the pages of this little book, a book that may fit in your purse or coat pocket at only 4 1/4 by 6 1/4 inches. With a pretty hard cover, it will make a nice gift, as well. I found there are prayers and reflections I want to return to frequently, so I wrote their page numbers in pencil inside the back cover. This is a book you will want to use and to treasure.