Sunday, September 30, 2007

Been Busy

and I've been fighting my head. Forgive the lac of posts. First I had new glasses. Not much change in Rx but the first lenses were scratched and the frame wasn't adjusted right and.... and... and... long week.
Soccer has been pretty good even though David has had a hard time. His coach was burnt out and finally quit but we have a new one as of Saturday and he's great.
I published our next newsletter and its out in the email world and in the mailbox. I even worked on the excel spreadsheet of addresses and contacts.
My writing students are discovering the web page we set up for them. They have no idea how much extra writing they do when their questions about homework have to be typed.
My neighbor thinks she's found a new appartment. When you are renting you are paying for a Landlord to care for certain things--- hers wasn't. Plus she uses the bus and our city is not as good about bus times as the town she's going to be in. Anyway its a lovely area, quieter etc so she's very happy.
Only disappointment was backing out of plans for my first bachelorette party. My 'other' sister is getting married and I've been to the showers but I just couldn't make it with the headaches.
Speaking of showers: The first included the guuys and kids. It was amazing! He got tools and Beer glasses and his daughters were spoiled! The second was just my sister's and I dressed as the various life stages as Carrie. Carrie the 'cheerleader' answered the door. Several of us were in Goth-- a stage she went through in college. 2 went blonde as she was a blonde. It was hilarious. I did a joke gift: Marraige First Aide kit: First Aid directio9ns from Dr. Matriarch, Harlequin Romance, Listerine, razors, deodorant, make up kit with tweezers. All hiding a little black something.
It was a blast!
Don't believe me?

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Doncha Just Love Veggie Tales!!!

Catholic Carnival #138 has a brand new host blog this month and she did an amazing job! She's connected all the blog articles by themes in Veggie Tales movies!!
You have got to go here.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Blogging

Our friend Danielle Bean will be on a future episode of Faith and Culture on EWTN to discuss this phenomena of blogging. She is collecting comments from the cyber world.
Do you read blogs? (of course you do!) Why do you read the blogs of Catholic Moms? Do you have a blog? What are the pitfalls?

Personally I think this is an extremely important discussion for the modern Catholic woman. Lack of connection is part of our nation's problem. Part of my response:
"Beginning with my mother's generation moms started having a harder time connecting. Work, moves, divorces, friends leaving the church. No longer did you regularly see a 'same size and lifestyle' family.
I really believe this contributed to women leaving the church, leaving their homes, even the increase in contraception and abortion. Connections help"

Let her know what you think. Here.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Maybe next week

So no Bible study for me today, my girls are being, well, girls. Bossy, outspoken, mother hens fighting over control of the coop. Hard for my son who get time with a couple boys at these things and is doing very well on his school.
Oh and you know 2 of my Bible Study friends: Cheryl at My Thoughtful Spot and Christine at As My House Turns.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Things I get asked in the field a lot.

What Works For Me Wednesday: What works for me and my family is owning a share in Community Supported Agriculture. Every week from June 1 to Oct 31 we get to visit our farm and bring home our share of the produce harvested. Our farm also supports the work of the food bank. This is the time of year to get on the waiting list to join: maybe your local CSA has a shorter wait list but its really worth trying.

It got me thinking about questions I'm asked while I'm in the UPick fields.
I’m sure our other farmers are are asked these questions too at our local CSA, The Food Bank Farm.

How do 2 families split a share? (I don’t know- haven’t tried all 11 years. Every year our big family does really well eating up our share.)

How do you make sure you use it all? (Problem for small families but I don’t know. I suppose it would be a good incentive to invite a neighbor to dinner, cook for a shut in, deliver to your parish priest or a new mom.)

How do you U Pick with a baby? (Sling, back pack, or borrow a mother’s helper, are the most obvious. Also when we were new to the farm and growing our large family, DH usually came with me and helped.)

How do you make it worth it for a big family? ( I chose as many freezable veggies as I can in the summer when I can also get local veggies other places. Eat the most perishable veggies on farm day, raw with cheese and bread so you aren’t cooking that day except to freeze. Pick as many tomato drops as you can. Many share holders avoid them but they make a better sauce than you’ll buy in the store. Sneak veggies in for picky eaters: zucchini bread, greens in soup or rice etc. Kids that help pick and cook are better eaters, healthier, and more compassionate to those dependant on growing their own food. )

How do you cook this/what is this? (I love '1000 Vegetarian Recipes' by Carol Gelles. Her recipes take into account the seasons. Foods that harvest together cook together. Every unusally item she uses is explained.) (PS Omnivores can always add grilled chicken etc.)

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Praise God!

Yesterday was a very good day. My dear friend's son had a major fall 19 days ago. He had been in a level 4 coma. These are evry confusing because they are agitated, uncomfortable and may get in and out of bed, pull out tubes and often look like they are doing things purposefully-- making it hard to know when they are purposeful.

Well yesterday in the morning he spoke! Then his feeding tube was removed and he fed himself!!! Lots. Like a teen who hadn't eaten in 18 days. Then he was able to answer the questions, Do you know me? and What is my name? His mom just about flew home from the rehab!

Praise God.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

In the World Not of It

Our Diocese runs a newspaper that is Bi-weekly called The Catholic Observer. One columnist syndicated from Catholic News Service is Father John Dietzen's Question Corner. He is usually on the WORSHIP page but has tackled a very wide variety of questions. I like his answers. He strives for real clarity on why a certain is correct while also explaining common misconceptions.
This weeks column "We should relate to Amnesty International in a Christian manner" caught my attention. After all the title is a little too obvious and I had not ever heard a reason not to be Christian to anyone.
Apparently Amnesty International has gone from a neutral stance on Abortion to a Pro Abortion stance.
The question asked him to go one step further, (From an article I had not read previously) and advise people to stop contributing to this organization.
It would on the surface seem natural. Should money intended to help bring justice, peace, human rights instead punish a human guilty only of being conceived. Should a child in the womb suffer because the mother did?

Father tackled this issue from a very different perspective, actually addressing a pet peeve of mine. If we have worked with them over the years how is it that our arguments that human life exists from conception, that violence in the womb will only increase injustice have failed. We are conversing with people of caring, of intelligence.
In Father Dietzen's words:"It never seems to occur to people, pro-life or not, that a reason for our failure to persuade in matters of respect for life may have something to do with the quality of our arguments, or even perhaps in the way we argue our cause."
I addressed this idea in my review of Guerrilla Apologetics for Pro Life Issues on the homeschool page. "I have understood their frustration with the lack of compassion Pro life people seem to have. Often we criticize in ways that shut down communication rather than helping people explore their knowledge, open their minds and perhaps consider a change of heart.
The lack of Logic in school curriculum plans and the absence of Socratic teaching methods has truly ‘dumbed us down.’ We do not ask the questions that help people look at Life issues from different angles. Either we avoid the discussion and so are compliant in the destruction of Human Life or we go to battle, making enemies."

While Paul E. Nowak's book title seems argumentative it is actually a trick to get the worst defenders of Life to change tactics. It encourages thoughtful 'Socratic' questions to draw out discussion. It encourages a long term view. The only problem with its short length is it assumes that once it has worked we can easily apply these methods to any argument against a ProLife stand. Unfortunately we forget the many hardships people have faced that led them to feel that Abortion was the lesser of two evils.

Father then went on to look at how Catholics need to perceive themselves, we are not counter cultural. He refers to a letter by Cardinal Francis George of Chicago in America magazine (Aug 13-20, 2007) which compares our work in our small communities to that in the mission field where it is never helpful to set ourselves against the culture. It is 'not only unfaithful to Christ's word, it just doesn't work.'
According to the Cardinal "One cannot convert or interiorly influence a person or society that one does not love."
father then applies this to the original question and the related ones, saying that a Christian attitude requires responding not with anger, disrespect, or divisiveness.
I can't say out of frustration 'they have divided this group by taking this stand so my money goes elsewhere.' First we must work on loving conversation to draw out the reasoning and counter it with positive options.

And I know, since when does a Catholic homeschooler agree not to hate the culture! Well I have been frustrated with it. I have had times we pulled back. We prayed the 'hedge' that protected Job would surround us and our children until we had the knowledge and strength to go beyond it and still do God's work. Even in the times we puled back our children heard radio, saw TV, joined clubs and sports. We had friends with different life circumstances. we worked to be in the world but not of it.

We had a speaker at our homeschool meeting who taught English and Christian World View at an Evangelical Co-op. A graphic described it this way:
You see the world and it tempts you, attracts you ------ Your Faith was not rooted.
You see the world and hide, it scares you, -------Your Faith has not grown yet.
You see the World and it disturbs you, ---- Your Faith will help you impact the World for good, for God.

This is what is the heart of Catholic homeschooling. Creating a core of people going out into the world who find parts of it disturbing, worth changing but who have no fear of it and who have seen something better and have no need for it. Success? Well most of us will never truly know. That is often a temptation in the back of our minds, trying to get us to give in to fear. After all we parents will hold all the blame if our children do not hold to what we taught them.

In the mean time we fight the good fight........hopefully with JOY.

crossposted

Friday, September 7, 2007

Start of our School Year

Click on the title here to visit my blog about how our homeschool group started the school year. It was a really great day.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

First Day of School

I had a really crazy summer--- well you know...

anyway I could not decide how to start school. At 8 am I was in the shower still unsure but I actually brought the kids to 8:30am Mass. It was a nice way to start the year and the kids were complimented by the gentleman behind us.

Home we went where I did the measuring. Took each kids height and weight and made a poster with the stats in their hand prints (traced the outline)

Then I set them up with things they could do without me to run for a quick meeting with the new Religious ed director. Unfortunately we found a leak in the closet area had ruined 3 shelves of books and paper. What a moldy, smelly mess!

Anyway we have dates picked, I have a teachers guide, and we have some of the books we need.
When I returned I learned that my children can watch each other but they still bowl me over when I get in, so in true homeschool fashion, I walked right back out of the house and made them greet me again.

After lunch we worked on a mosaic project I had saved all summer. They enjoyed smashing tile and playing with the designs.









The younger ones watched a phonics show while I review some things with David and Sarah and sent them to read. Now they are off to play till soccer.

Not a bad first day. Not bad at all.

Monday, September 3, 2007

Writer's Block

It may be that my blog has outlived its usefulness. Oh I still love blogging. Its just that after hours of working on newsletters, excel spreadsheets, the other blog, not too mention all the other non computer chores in my day, I just don't find as much to say.
This is a difficulty in searching out blogs only to find your favorite writer has a 'life' now and can't be bothered to tell you all about it. Then there are the days that you fear you'll say the wrong thing, to the entire world, and not be able to undo your foot in mouth error. Worse there are the days when you only can write about what you should be doing: procrastination needs no help in my world.

So as I start my school year and re-evaluate, and get out of the way for my kids to use the computer I may be planning just one last post and a big save.

Or I might carve out a time for writing, find a host for my blog pics so I don't run out of room, fix my profile so more people find me and get past what could be just laziness... I hear real authors call it Writer's block.