Tales from the Bonny Blue House

Monday, November 03, 2008

Praying for Grace: It Takes Courage

Praying for Grace: It Takes Courage

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Please click here to be redirected to the new Bonny Blue House, please update your blogroll if you are kind enough to include me.

Blogger still seems unwilling to let me post pictures of the Baptism. I am working on a Type Pad blog which I will hopefully have up and running in a few days. I am trying to work it out so that if you come to this blog you will be automatically transferred there. Stay tuned.

Monday, September 18, 2006

The Big Day

Yesterday was a wonderful day to become a Christian! Bridget and Sean were wonderful on their big day. They didn't cry at all and slept through most of their party. I will post pictures as soon as Blogger lets me. It seems to be rejecting all of my attempts to upload photos today.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Thank You Peggy Noonan

Peggy Noonan wrote a poignant piece in remembrance of the terrorist attacks. Please click to the Wall Street Journal read and weep.

This motley looking crew....

belongs to me. Thanks be to God!!

First Nature Walk

It's never to early to begin homschooling.....

Remember The Fallen

Eternal rest grant unto them O Lord, and may the Perpetual Light shine upon them. May they rest in peace. Amen. For the innocent people who lost their lives, may their families find comfort and peace. For New York's Finest who bravely gave their lives and New York's Bravest who rushed in without fear we are humbled by their sacrifice. Heroic does not seem adequate to describe them. For those brave men and women who are now fighting to keep this country safe, we are immeasurably grateful. Saint Michael the Archangel, defend us in battle. Be our protection against the wickedness and snares of the devil. May God rebuke him, we humbly pray; and do Thou, O Prince of the Heavenly Host - by the Divine Power of God - cast into hell, satan and all the evil spirits, who roam throughout the world seeking the ruin of souls. Amen

Friday, September 08, 2006

Alice is back!

The Cottage has opened it's doors again and there is a lovely post to welcome us inside....

Happy Birthday Blessed Mother

Litany of the Blessed Virgin R. Christ, have mercy on us. V. Lord, have mercy on us. Christ hear us. R. Christ, graciously hear us. God, the Father of Heaven: -- Have mercy on us. (repeat at end of each phrase.) God, the Son, Redeemer of the world: God, the Holy Spirit, Holy Trinity, One God, Holy Mary, -- Pray for us. (repeat at end of each phrase.) Holy Mother of God, Holy Virgin of virgins, Mother of Christ, Mother of divine grace, Mother most pure, Mother most chaste, Mother inviolate, Mother undefiled, Mother most amiable, Mother most admirable, Mother of good counsel, Mother of our Creator, Mother of our Savior, Virgin most prudent, Virgin most venerable, Virgin most renowned, Virgin most powerful, Virgin most merciful, Virgin most faithful, Mirror of justice, Seat of wisdom, Cause of our joy, Spiritual vessel, Vessel of honor, Singular vessel of devotion, Mystical rose, Tower of David, Tower of ivory, House of gold, Ark of the covenant, Gate of Heaven, Morning star, Health of the sick, Refuge of sinners, Comforter of the afflicted, Help of Christians, Queen of Angels, Queen of Patriarchs, Queen of Prophets, Queen of Apostles, Queen of Martyrs, Queen of Confessors, Queen of Virgins, Queen of all Saints, Queen conceived without Original Sin, Queen assumed into Heaven, Queen of the most holy rosary, Queen of Peace. Lamb of God, who takest away the sins of the world, Spare us, O Lord. Lamb of God, who takest away the sins of the world, Graciously hear us O Lord. Lamb of God, who takest away the sins of the world, Have mercy on us. v. Pray for us, O holy Mother of God. r. That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ. Let us pray: Grant, we beseech Thee, O Lord God, unto us Thy servants, that we may rejoice in continual health of mind and body; and, by the glorious intercession of blessed Mary ever Virgin, may be delivered from present sadness, and enter into the joy of Thine eternal gladness. Through Christ our Lord. Amen

Lesson For The Day

When using the little baby bathtub on the bathroom counter top to bathe Sean move the toothbrush cup out of tinkle range.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Not much to report

I haven't been blogging lately... well because I just had twins and it's been busy. The twins are wonderful, content babies but babies still require a lot of time and there has been some disruption to the schedule. The first thing to go is my computer time. I'm hoping my readers will be patient. I have some new pictures that I will post later or tomorrow. We started official school yesterday. Thank God for the good people at Seton. I was able to have everything ready and all the lesson planning was done for me. I don't think we would be starting for another three months if it had been up to me to do lessons for four children this year. The day went well and everyone was very enthusiastic about their new school supplies and books. We accomplished a lot and I think it's going to be a good year. Since I am not posting much I will direct you to some essential reading. Elizabeth wrote a wonderful essay about submitting to our husbands. I wouldn't miss it if I were you - it is profoundly wise. This is going back a bit but I have to point you toward Dawn's post on Christmas in August. Yes Dawn is planning for Christmas already and in a beautiful way. She is planning on a handmade Christmas this year so it requires some forethought. She mentions a lot of great resources. Danielle Bean has a great first day of school post today. Everyone knows how much I love Catholic Mosaic. Now Hillside Education is exploring the idea of offering a book package to go with Advent. Go here to Cay's Cajun Cottage for more info. You can also check Hillside's blog. At Our Magnum OpusBridget gives some good advice about having a merry heart

Friday, August 25, 2006

Boy Country

I am not a particularly outdoorsy type of person. Anyone who knows me at all knows that I merely tolerate the outdoors as a means to an end, the end usually being a well air conditioned or heated restaurant. I don't much care for picnics and I would rather be tossed off a bridge than go camping. I do these things because I want my children to love God's creation and to experience it's beauty and perfection in every setting possible rather than just on the National Geographic channel which is where I prefer to experience nature. I do it for them and I have managed to fake it pretty well for the last few years. I take them on nature hikes and to game farms. I let myself be licked by llamas and goats and I have stuck my hand into the sting ray tank at the aquarium. I have inspected bugs in bug boxes and raised tadpoles to frogs. I have taken charge of Rosie the hamster and I have stood still for deer and moose in Maine. I haven't enjoyed any of it but I do love the pleasure the children get from it all. In my defense I was unlikely to turn out any differently. I was raised by a woman who considers nature a vast conspiracy to muck up your nice shoes or to drop things on your head. Mom's idea of roughing it is a three star hotel and being any more than forty miles from Lord and Taylor. (Sorry Mom but it's true). There is nothing wrong with this, it takes all kinds to make a world and Mom and I would definitely be considered the indoor kind. Lately nature has been intruding into my house. This makes me very uncomfortable. Kevin has developed a love for all things crawly and has decided that I must share his fascination. I don't. Last week he came running to me as I was feeding one of the babies. "Momma look" as he tossed a big dead bug (I mean a BIG bug) on my lap. My screeching and leaping up from the chair did not deter his joy in the creature. "It's a big bug Momma," he says bursting with pride as he fished it off the floor where it landed. I finally convinced him that it would be missing its friends outside. I didn't even get into the fact that it was dead as a door nail. I just wanted the big ugly thing out of my house. Since that day I have been brought a few worms, in varying states of trauma, a cricket, a fuzzy catapillar, two spiders and I caught him trying to entice a stray cat into the house. I am so nervous I could jump out of my skin at any moment. I never know when a "look Momma" is going to result in some slimy creature being tossed to me or a cloud of locusts being ushered into the house. I am in boy country. Dave assures me that this is perfectly normal behavior for a boy and a good mom would encourage his fascination with nature and teach him to respect his buggy friends. Of course, he then gets on the bug-free train to go to his bug-free office and talk to his colleagues who are unlikely to start throwing worms at him or to ask his advice on feeding a cicada. I am living in stark terror of the next time a dead bird shows up in the yard. Boy country - an unattractive place, but never boring.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Big boy, little boy

Looks like a lifetime friendship is forming.........

Monday, August 21, 2006

Handy Helpers

There are some advantages to this bottle feeding thing.

Homeschooling Book Meme

I was tagged by Bridget (one of the homeschool moms I would most like to be like) for my list of homeschool books. I love participating in these things.... 1) ONE HOMESCHOOLING BOOK YOU HAVE ENJOYED There are so many but I think Elizabeth Foss' Real Learning, Education in the Heart of the Home has to be my favorite. 2) ONE RESOURCE YOU COULDN'T BE WITHOUT My laptop and wireless internet connection, it's my window to the homeschool world. 3) ONE RESOURCE YOU WISH YOU HAD NEVER BOUGHT Learning Language Arts Through Literature. It works really well for some but we all hated it. 4) ONE RESOURCE YOU ENJOYED LAST YEAR Math-U-See 5) ONE RESOURCE YOU WILL BE USING NEXT YEAR Catholic Mosaic - I can't wait to use it. 6) ONE RESOURCE YOU WOULD LIKE TO BUY I would like to buy all of the books featured in Catholic Mosaic. 7) ONE RESOURCE YOU WISH EXISTED Self changing diapers. 8) ONE HOMESCHOOLING CATALOGUE YOU ENJOY READING Catholic Heritage Curricula 9) ONE HOMESCHOOLING WEBSITE YOU USE REGULARLY http://4real.thenetsmith.com/ www.setonhome.org 10) TAG OTHER HOMESCHOOLERS I can't really find anyone else who hasn't already been tagged. I'm always late to the party!:-)

Thursday, August 17, 2006


Bridget Claire and Sean Francis with their proud papa.. and their proud but weary momma. Cradle cuddling. Holding hands.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Carnival of Homeschooling

Phat Mommy is a hip, homeschooling mom with a great blog. She is hosting this week'sCarnival of Homeschooling so please go on over. There is so much great stuff over there. It is a Galatic Adventure in homeschooling!

Saturday, July 29, 2006

Late yesterday afternoon the sky grew ominously dark. I knew that the toddlers had left some toys around the backyard and that our big heavy shed doors were open. This was a job for Ryan. Ryan was upstairs in his room and I was directly below him the living room. Now my preferred method of communication is generally NOT shouting from across the house but since it now takes one adult or two strong children to hoist me out of a chair and I am completely unable to climb stairs shouting is what I am reduced to. So I call him, and call him, and call him. After about ten minutes of intermittent screeching I am completely aggravated both at my inability to get around and what I thought was his refusal to hear me. So I call Katie (who came right away) and ask her to go upstairs and send her brother down to me. "DIDN'T YOU HEAR ME CALLING YOU?" I asked , not really bothering to keep my annoyance out of my voice. "No, I'm sorry". "What are you doing up there that prevents you from hearing me when the whole neighborhood can"? "I was praying for you and the twins". Ouch. So of course I wanted to cry but I didn't. I just hugged him until he begged me to let him go and then he went out back to pick up the toys and lock up the shed. Natural piety is a pretty enormous lesson to live with. How often am I so deep in prayer that the distractions around me disappear? Uh, never. Through this child God often shows me who is the more disabled in this world and it's not the child who is struggling in school it is the adult who lets the temporal cares of the world outweigh the eternal cares. I sincerely hope that when Ryan reaches heaven he continues to pray fervently for his mother. I have a feeling I am going to need it.

Monday, July 24, 2006

What's the Goal?

In home education I think every parent faces the question, at some point or another, what are they working towards? School teachers are working toward the last day of school so they can get some peace and quiet until the next batch of students roll in. In the case of the homeschool family the goals are much more eternal in nature. We have a vested interest in the future of our students that an elementary or high school can't possibly share. We start to formulate these goals much earlier than a school district or administration would because we are blessed to be able to see their gifts an abilities at a very early age. We can explore more thoroughly how best to set them on the right path. In the case of our homeschool and all of the others in the community which we belong the ultimate and first goal is heaven. We are educating our children to know,love and serve God; to be devout Catholics; to love their faith; to love their families and their neighbor. In addition, it is important to know the more temporal goals. I know some families who homeschool with the idea of getting their children into a great Catholic high school. Others homeschool in order to make time for the study of an instrument that the child is gifted with. Still others know all the facts about homeschoolers scoring higher on the SATs and getting into more prestigious colleges and universities. These are all good goals. Choosing to homeschool is very personal and the reasons and goals are as individual as each family who makes the choice. What if your goal isn't as clear cut? What if you have a child with special needs for whom high schools, SATs and universities are not an option. Then how do you discern the goal? The primary goal remains the same. Heaven, a relationship with God, a good prayer life all as best as can be accomplished depending on your child's abilities. And don't worry if it takes five years for him to learn the Hail Mary - God knows this child's abilities and loves and glorifies the efforts. Tremendous grace shall come of it. The big question for parents of special kids is what shall they do when school is complete? Now in some cases this might be really simple. A child might have a disability but be gifted mechanically or with computers, they might be a great artist or a gifted musician. In that case finding the right situation, vocational training or job might be the challenge but at least there is a path on which to forge ahead. There are those people who are aware from a very early time that their special child will always be with them. A child who will be unable to effectively take care of themselves or function alone. What are the teaching goals for that child? That child may not go to college but it is still very important that they feel like they are contributing something. That there is a reason to get up in the morning and have somewhere to go where they can earn respect and feel pride in accomplishment.It is so important in case like this to pray ferverntly for direction. God will reveal His plan in His time but it is important to be in communication with Him so that we don't miss out. In my house the teaching goals for Ryan are quite different than those of my other children. Each child is very different as are their methods of learning but for my more typical children the goals are to educate them well by teaching them to love learning, to have inquiring minds and to want to do well and take pride in their work. These goals are pretty broad at the moment since they are still quite young. Ryan's goals are different. It is unlikely at this point that Ryan will be able to learn higher math or embrace great literature such as Shakespeare and Milton. He can memorize facts about history but lacks the ability to fully understand the causes and effects of the events he is memorizing. The same applies to any science he picks up. So what is the goal? For what are we educating him? Functioning well in everyday life is the primary. Ryan needs to know enough math to use an ATM, to go to the market and to balance a checkbook. He needs to be able to make or count change and avoid being cheated. He needs to be able to read and follow directions well enough to fill out a job application or an insurance form. He needs to be able to read a map and find his destination. These are not lofty goals but they are likely to take the next ten years to accomplish. We will not ignore the other things, he will still listen to Shakespeare and Milton and will visually be taught geometry and algebra. He will be exposed to all the History and Science I can cram in there but the true goal is functioning in the world around him well enough to get by. Anything else will be a tremendous blessing. Ryan does have some gifts that make discerning God's plan for him a little easier. He is a gifted musician with a great love of God. He is gifted with great piety. Before he could tell time Ryan instinctively knew when it was 3:00 p.m. and would say the Divine Mercy Chaplet. I did not teach him this, it just came to him. He spends a great deal of his time in our yard walking with his rosary, praying fifteen decades. His great joy comes from playing the guitar for our weekly family rosary night or for the occasional home Mass said by one of the Franciscan Friars we know. He loves the Mass. Tridentine, Novus Ordo, Life Teen, whatever.... he just loves to be part of it. This has given us some direction. He has on many occasions over the years expressed a desire to be a priest. While I do not believe the rigors of the seminary would be possible we have great hopes for the Franciscan Friars of the Renewal. We love these friars and know many of them well. They are so good with children and Ryan loves nothing more than to be at one of the friaries. We have talked to several of the priests there about people like Ryan who might have a vocation but not the capacity for seminary or vows. They assure us that there can be a place in religious life for those people. Thanks be to God. Ryan is only 11 years old but since his preparation for the real world will take a great deal longer it is not too early to pray, plan and begin the process.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Catholic Homeschooling Blog Directory...

...has moved. Check it out here. Many thanks to Esther for doing such a beautiful job setting it up, it's so pretty.

A New Book

Please go to the Cajun Cottage and congratulate Cay on her new book contract. Cay is the author of Catholic Mosaic and House of Literature. It's wonderful to have such literary friends.

Habit Forming

Pay a visit to The Bonny Glen to read a great and funny post on forming good habits in your children. I do like Lissa's style. Edited for truly idiotic typo.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Since I am regulated to the couch most of the time Katie decided this would be a good time to rake in some cash. She and Erin set up a lemonade stand and have been rolling in dough ever since. Two days ago they made $18 in about an hour and a half. Today seems to be shaping the same way. They have all become adept at adding .25 increments. Math lessons seem much easier when there is cash involved.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

This little devil does not wear Prada

This was Kelli's idea of a good outfit for today. She is wearing a kitten costume over which she layered a shirt, skirt and sweater. The addition of the winter socks and my wedding shoes complete the look...

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Hospitality, Charity and Love

Imagine my surprise on Sunday when I walked into my friend Mary's house and there was a surprise baby shower for me! They sneakily kept my mom here on Long Island when I thought she had left to go back home to Georgia. Dave's sisters and my dearest friends completed the guest list. The picture shows some of the generosity they bestowed on my little ones. There was also a high tech top of the line stroller (thanks mom) and another car seat. Whew! It looks like we are all set. The last few weeks I have been out of commission in many ways. I can't stand up for very long and walking further than the kitchen is a feat that brings applause from my children (they picked up a sarcastic gene from somewhere - can't imagine how that happened). I can't sleep much and yada, yada, yada..... you know I'm eight and a half months pregnant with twins. So all of this has given me the opportunity to be humble. I am generally someone who likes to do things alone. I hate giving up control and I like being the one who directs the household and takes care of things. I like to think of these qualities as part of my fiercely independent spirit, Dave thinks of them as part of my control freak nature and my parents have words like thickheaded and stubborn to describe it. Well not any more. I have had to learn to accept help and help is what I have been given, in the most loving spirit possible. My friends Joan and Chris has been providing meals several days a week to spare me cooking. They have also teamed up to take my children on various play dates and outings to keep them amused and allow me some peaceful rest time. My parents took Katie and Erin to Savannah for two weeks and showed them the time of their lives. They are now back home in Georgia waiting for the word to come up and stay for the duration. It should not be long now. So this time in my life has been a great lesson. Learning to accept the help so lovingly offered. Learning that charity is not only giving but also receiving. Receiving with a loving and grateful sprirt. Learning to offer up my discomforts and curb my bad mood for the sake of my children. All in all, as usual, God has sent me the lessons I need to learn while also providing for all of my needs and those of my family. His loving care is obvious in the loving care offered by my friends and family. Thank you to all of you!

Friday, June 30, 2006

Belly Picture

A few people have asked to see a belly picture so here it is. We are at 33 weeks and 5 days. The twins were checked by sono yesterday and are growing beautifully. Baby girl weighed in at 5 pounds 6 ounces and baby boy is 4 pounds 12 ounces. Baby girl has hair. I'm not telling what mommy is weighing it at!

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

How Are You Peeling?

Years ago when Ryan was a pre-schooler a friend of my parents who has a Special Education background recommended this book. My mom, of course, immediately ran out and purchased the book. Each one of the children have loved this book and Kevin is currently obsessed. How Are You Peeling? by Joost Elfers and Saxton Freyman is a wonderfully photographed book illustrating feelings people have in a unique and wonderful way. The author and illustrator use fruits and vegetables cleverly carved with the addition of black-eyed peas (for eyes) to express different emotions. The book was particularly valuable for an autistic child since they have such trouble reading faces. It was a wonderful way for Ryan to visualize happy, sad, amused, confused and jealous. Kevin just enjoys laughing at the carved out coconut faces. Lately compiling booklists for Ryan is much more difficult. He reads very well but has serious comprehension problems. Since he tends to learn more visually finding books that are not babyish but are still visual in nature has proven a challenege. He read the Great Illustrated Classic version of Treasure Island. It helped a bit but it was still a stretch for him. So suggestions are appreciated. Right now we are reading Ribsy, by Beverly Cleary together but even with me reading aloud he is having trouble following along. I am going to be using Catholic Mosaic a lot in the coming school year and I am hoping Cay's wonderful activities and vocabulary lists will help bring the stories alive for all the children but particularly Ryan. Any other ideas from moms of challenged learners would be deeply appreciated.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

What Kind of American English Do You Speak?

I love these quizzes. Hat tip to Cajun Cay.
Your Linguistic Profile:
45% General American English
30% Yankee
15% Dixie
5% Upper Midwestern
0% Midwestern

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Where I am from...

I am coming to the party late with this poetry exercise. Elizabeth, Cay and Lissa already posted excellent reflections using this template. The whole thing is based on a poem written by George Ella Lyons Here is my very humble effort... I am from bell bottom jeans, asthma medicine and Baby Chrissy dolls. I am from the golden house on Oceanside road, there was no ocean nearby but it sounded nice. I am from a huge hydrangea bush, a Rose of Sharon tree humming with the sound of bees and alight with colorful butterflies and a tall pin oak too large for the small yard. I am from a running bases ditch worn in the backyard over years of play. I am from annual car trips up and down the east coast with me being car sick and Jim flying over the front seat, with crayons melting in sun in the back seat and a Viewfinder cartridge purchased at every battlefield, playing count the cow and license plate bingo with an ongoing list of how many states spotted. I am from quick Irish tempers and sentimental streaks a mile wide. I am from “don’t wake your father he worked all night” and “if you kill yourself doing that don’t come crying to me”. I am from seventies feel good Catholicism with Sister Barbara teaching CCD in American Flag jeans and singing kumbya while playing the guitar, from 11:15 Mass every Sunday, from an all girls Catholic prep school that bought modern feminism and a Catholic University with a Buddhist temple on campus, I am about the long journey home. I am from a Brooklyn born Irish family with a passion for spaghetti sauce and lasagna. From my mom’s super chocolate chip cookies and huge Thanksgiving feasts and blueberry pies for my birthday, Nana’s roast beef and Grandma’s Irish soda bread. I am from Gunnysacks dresses and Chaminade dances, from video killing the radio star. I am from my dad showing me how to bait a hook with a live worm on a rickety fishing boat in the middle of a huge lake in Maine and my mom getting sick from the smell of a skunk under the cabin, from my brother carrying the first fish he ever caught in his pocket for three days and my mom asking, “what in the name of all that’s holy stinks around here.” I am from Nana and Papa’s apartment with boxes of black and white photos of ladies in dresses and hats and babies posed in ruffled outfits, of drawers of beady 70s costume jewelry, games of Perquacky, Scrabble and Trivial Pursuit. I am of riding bikes and building forts, of tea parties and a Barbie dream house, of Monopoly tournaments and adrenaline shots. I am of a houseful of cousins on weekends and family dinners every night and traditions to carry on and love that never ends…

Monday, June 19, 2006

It's official....

.....summer is here. The pool is open. Let the fun begin!

Bonny Irish Lasses

I was recently reminded that I did not post pictures of Katie and Erin after their dance recital. Sorry.

Friday, June 16, 2006

Happy Birthday

...to the dearest friend God ever blessed anyone with. Your life has blessed mine more than I can say. Have a wonderful day!

A New Cottage Cutie

We are finally able to announce the arrival of Alice's beautiful baby girl! She arrived on June 13th and I have been DYING to tell people. Lissa started the ball rolling at the Bonny Glen. Mother and baby are doing fine. Thanks be to God! I can't wait to get my hands on her for a cuddle.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Yummy burgers

Please zip over to Kitchen Comforts and take a look at Patrick's Greek hamburger recipe. This eleven year old culinary master made dinner for his family and it looks wonderful. I'm saving the recipe for when I am more mobile.

Off to Savannah

Katie and Erin left this morning for their adventure. They were accompanying my parents back to their home in sunny Savannah where there are many plans to keep them busy and entertained. They will be gone for two weeks. I miss them terribly already. I am only comforted by the fact that they are going to have so much fun with my parents (who are a lot more fun now than they were when I was a kid) and their cousins. Ryan is enjoying the freedom from his two closest siblings. If truth be told being the oldest boy with two girls close to you can be a harrowing experience. He gets bossed around a lot and seems to always be in the wrong. He is precluded by a gentlemanly code of conduct from responding in kind. So today he is helping out with the toddlers and is free to play with them outside as he sees fit. Right now he is simultaneously pushing Kevin in a swing and spraying Kelli with a hose, much to her delight. No doll tea parties and fairy houses today. Mud puddles, a dirt trail and rides in the huge Tonka dump truck are on the agenda. It's good to be the king....

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

You Belong in Dublin
Friendly and down to earth, you want to enjoy Europe without snobbery or pretensions. You're the perfect person to go wild on a pub crawl... or enjoy a quiet bike ride through the old part of town.
I would enjoy a good pub crawl right about now. Thanks to Cay and Alice for the fun quiz.


Please go over to Every Waking Hour and read about the beautiful Irish song Grace. There is a detailed explanation of the story behind the song and an introduction to the Irish poet Joseph Mary Plunkett and his tragic end. HT: Alice

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

What Does an Otter Say??

Kevin has developed a fondness for a Baby Einstein book that features one animal per page with a list of facts about that animal. He could care less about the facts, he wants to hear what each animal "says". This is not difficult for the cow and the duck but could someone tell me what noise an otter makes? A squirrel? A rabbit? In my world, and now in Kevin's, they all make the same noise. Kind of a chattery clicking. I was ok with a lion and a tiger but a turtle? Glub, glub I decided. Kind of an underwater noise since the turtle in the picture is underwater. How do you explain to an insistant three year old that giraffes do not have vocal cords and therefore do not "say" anything. You put your finger to your lips and say, "shhhhhh". Or at least that is what you do if you are me. I have watched many National Geographic shows and enjoy all of those animal shows on the Discovery channel but I now realize I am going to have to start paying better attention to the important things - what kind of chatter is happening in the animal kingdom. In the meantime if anyone knows what a gazelle sounds like, drop me a line.

Monday, June 05, 2006

Light Blogging Time

The blog time has been non-existent this past week. Let me update you on what we are doing. The children have finished up school, taken their required standardized tests (done very well too) and are now basking in the freedom of a non-school schedule. It is also time for the various activities that they are involved in to start winding up. Last week Erin had two make-up soccer games (she scored in each one and was a shut out goalie in one!) and her end of year soccer party. The girls had their Irish step dance recital yesterday. It was a wonderful show and they each performed three times. Two soft shoe and one hard shoe dance. We were very proud of them. I will post a picture later today. Ryan's baseball season ends soon but the annual night game is coming up this Friday, that is always a lot of fun. Ryan plays in a Challenger League for special needs children. It is so nice that the baseball experience is made available to children who would otherwise miss it. Dave now serves on the board of the league as well as being a coach and all around "helping out with everything" kind of guy. We love our involvement with this great organization. We have also been readying the house for our eagerly anticipated new arrivals . Last week Katie moved her bed upstairs to her sisters room (well actually, David moved the bed).It is a tight squeeze in there but judging by the late night giggling it is working out fine. I bought all three girls new quilts (pink, of course) and made them new curtains in a blue angel toile they picked out. If you don't look too closely they came out nice. We had a gentleman in last week to paint the nursery (Benjamin Moore - Wheaton Flax) and the downstairs bathroom (Benjamin Moore - Bleeker Beige). We bought a new dresser for Katie, which went upstairs, so Dave has spent every last moment hauling large Rubbermaid containers of clothes around for me. Katie's clothes, baby clothes, sheets, blankets and towels all had to be rearranged. It was quite an undertaking. I also in the midst of this have to write up quarterly reports for the state; look through the books from Seton for next year and make sure everything that I ordered has been sent and get going on lesson plans for next year. Can you tell I'm nesting? Spare a thought for my patient husband who is just following orders and helping me accomplish everything my demented-hormone-overrun mind can come up with. He has taken St. Joseph as his example and has been loving and supportive. So that's a few reasons I've been too busy to blog. This week will be devoted to getting the room all finished and getting Katie and Erin ready for a vacation in Savannah. My mom and dad will be coming up (arriving Friday) and taking the girls back to their house for a few weeks. I am going to miss them terribly but I am really grateful to may parents for giving them a vacation. I will get a picture of the nursery up when it is done. So dear readers, please be patient and check back often I will be posting as often as possible.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

I Never Knew

I knew that pregnant women suffer more in the summer, that the heat is much harder to take. I knew that intellectually the same way I know an internal combustion engine powers my van and that chlorophyl makes plants green. What I did not know... IS HOW HOT IT IS WHEN YOU ARE PREGNANT. Good heavens it's awful. I had no idea. Now you have every reason to assume a person about to have seven children would know everything there is to know about being pregnant. Nope, no, no way - I know nothing. Previously I have had my first trimesters in the summer months. That can be awful but in a different way. Nausea and fatigue are the same no matter what the temperature. This is the first time I have experienced the third trimester in the summer. It is not going to be fun. I idiotically assumed that the anemia that kept me shivering all winter would protect me from the heat of summer. I don't know why I thought that but I did. Boy was I wrong. The last few days have been hovering around 80 degrees, which is not even that hot. I am completely overwhelmed by it. Dave has not gotten the air conditioners up and running yet so I am relying on cool breezes and lots of cold water. I am pretty sure the A/C will be up and running soon (I keep gazing longingly at the unit) and I am pretty sure I will spend the next 8 weeks standing in front of the vent. Until then if you stop by the Bonny Blue House and don't see me, I might just be sitting in the refrigerator.

Monday, May 29, 2006

Never Forget

I am able to sit here in the comfort of my home writing this due to the sacrifice of millions of young Americans who gave their lives for the cause of liberty. Never forget their sacrifice or the grief their families endured. Never forget the precious liberty we often take for granted and what it has cost. Never forget that for everything you have to first thank God and secondly to thank an American soldier. God bless and protect our troops.

Friday, May 26, 2006

"In this country, we are apt to let children romp away their existence, till they get to be thirteen or fourteen. This is not well. It is not well for the purses and patience of parents; and it has still worse effect on the morals and habits of the children. Begin early is the great maxim for everything in education. A child of six years old can be made useful; and should be taught to consider every day lost in which some little thing has not been done to assist others." p.1 The American Frugal Housewife by Lydia Marie Childs 1828. Hat Tip to Lissa in the Bonny Glen for this little gem. When I read some of the quotes Lissa posted earlier this month I had to see this book for myself. The above quote appeared on page one perhaps calling attention to how important the author thought the point was. The only thing about this that I would change to reflect modern times is to change the ages from thirteen and fourteen to twenty and twenty-one. I recently read an article in a major New York newspaper that told of parents who are supporting their children into their twenties and thirties so that the these "kids" would not have to begin a career with any student loans or the inconvience of having to work longer hours or have an extra part-time job to make ends meet. I couldn't believe it. There were people close to my age who still brought their laundry home to their mother's house and brought home cooked meals from mom home to the apartment for which dad pays the rent. Several of the parents interviewed were working long past retirement to provide an easier lifestyle for their children. Huh? Shouldn't your twenties and thirties be the time you put in the long hours, work hard and start at the bottom and the sixties and seventies be the time you slow down and start and easier lifestyle? I am hoping that by training my children early to take care of themselves and others that they will naturally take responsibility for themselves and for their surroundings at a very early age. I want them to know the satisfaction of doing a job well and the pride that comes with taking care of yourself. I want them to be independent. Dave and I were both raised this way and we feel that our parents gave us a great gift. To earn your own way and to learn to care for a house are skills that can be taught at a very early age. I remember last year sitting in the waiting area of the girl's ballet class. The ladies were discussing the ever fascinating household topic of laundry. These women were appalled when I let it drop that my children from the age of four on were responsible for putting away their own laundry. I fold and sort (this task has since gone on to Katie with some help from me) and they must get it to their room into the correct drawer. These women looked at me like I confessed to regularly beating my kids with a stick. They were shocked that I would interfere with the childhood experience by having them do a little honest work. It is my belief that God blessed us with this little corner of the world and it is up to us, as parents, to teach our choildren how to take care of it and simultaneously teach them how to care for themselves and each other. So what kinds of chores do your children do? At what age do you start them? Let me know..

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Carnical of Homeschooling

Another Carnival! This one is a Progressive Dinner hosted by Dana at Principled Discovery. There is a smorgasbord of wonderful stuff to consume there!

Monday, May 22, 2006

Carnival of Children's Literature

The Carnival of Children's Literature is up over the Bonny Glen. There is a lot of really good stuff there. So set the kids up for something independent, grab your cup of coffee or tea and sit down and read for a while. Lissa was kind enough to include the Bonny Blue House post on Summer Reading Lists. There is tons of good stuff there. Enjoy.....

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Action-Adventure Mom

I am an "Action-Adventure Mother" "I can’t do anything the same way more than one or two times. Today can’t be like yesterday. Let’s do something different!” **Active and spontaneous, the ESTP mother can turn ordinary life into a fun-filled adventure. She makes dull routines exciting and chores a “let’s do it again” kind of game. Her best times are those spent with her children actively doing, particularly if it’s spur of the moment, innovative, and unconventional. **Full of energy and enthusiasm for living in the moment, the ESTP mother gives her children every opportunity to experience all that life has to offer — touching, seeing, moving, doing ... and meeting people. She’s interested in stimulating their senses so they can take life in and live it. **The ESTP mother is matter-of-fact—“what you see is what you get.” She mothers without hidden agendas and takes life and people as they are. Her children know where they stand. She is able to develop a close relationship with them based on honesty and a strong family orientation as well as sharing a wide variety of experiences. Now all I need is a cape! Check out what kind of mothering style you have at this quiz HT: Cay at The Cajun Cottage

Catholic Mosaic

My pre-ordered copy of Catholic Mosaic arrived in the mail yesterday. It was love at first sight. It is a good sized 8 1/2x 11 and has a sturdy spiral binding. I love that it lies flat while reading it. Cay Gibson, the author, quotes John Donne in her acknowledgements and since he is my favorite poet, she had me at hello. Cay has used the Liturgical Year to highlight a few great picture books per month. While not all of the books are strictly Catholic in content they all reflect the virtues, truth and beauty that parents want good literature to convey to their children from the earliest ages. Cay has made each book study so easy for the parents by including vocabulary lists, copywork, discussion questions, a variety of enrichment activities and a parents help page for each book she highlights. Included in each month are books for which there is no book study but will round out the reading for the month. I have to mention the Appendixes as well. Cay has added so much depth to the book with the lists and resources in the back, that alone is worth the price. There are outline maps to help with geography studies, lists of prayers, and lists to help integrate the books studies with Seton Art and Catholic Heritage Curricula's wonderful book A Year with God. This book lends itself to so many applications. You can begin a beautiful Liturgical Notebook with your children, you can lapbook each book or if you are a scrapbook person that would also be a beautiful presentation of the new knowledge. If you teach religious education this book will also be a lovely resource. Cay is obviously a woman who loves her faith, literature and children. Hats off to her for sharing her wonderful talent and making this beautiful resource available to Catholic homeschoolers.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Carnival of Homeschooling

A little bird dropped a note in my mailbox to tell me that the Carnival is in need of submissions for next week. Details for submissions are here. Submissions are due Monday.

Goodbye Godmother

I haven't posted yet this week due to a family situation. My godmother passed away on Mother's Day due to complications from Lupus. She had been very sick recently but had taken a turn for the better. She was getting stronger and feeling better so her death was a great blow to those who loved her. She had worked for our diocese her for over twenty years and had an important position that she held with grace and great ability. She had a devoted and loving husband with whom she raised three great kids (kids - they're my age!) and from this she was blessed with nine perfect grandchildren (how come grandchildren are always perfect but those who raise them are vastly imperfect? I am looking forward to seeing how that works out someday). She will be sorely missed here but in heaven there was rejoicing and I am sure her parents were longing to welcome her into their arms. It was a sad time. I have wonderful childhood memories of my godmother and of being at her house with my cousins - it was always fun. So that is why I haven't posted, but I have a few drafts going. If you have a moment say a quick prayer for Kathleen and her family. Thanks.

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Happy Mother's Day

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Happy Birthday Ryan!

You were born 11 years ago today. It seems like yesterday. You were the beginning and a joyful beginning it was. I was in awe of you every minute of the day. I still am. I am so grateful to God for you, for blessing us with your extraordinary life. Happy Birthday dear Ryan, Mommy and Dad love you.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Summer Reading List

I had a public school elementary education. I coasted along getting very good grades with very little effort. I was a voracious reader and I enjoyed most of my subjects. The big exception was math and even there I did not need to put too much effort into the struggle. Teachers were grateful for a quiet student who made some effort so my grades in math were not as appalling as they probably should have been. Then my parents made the decision to send me to a private Catholic girls school. I was happy about the change and looked forward to going. I didn't put much thought into how different it would be I was just happy to be going. I thought that if I was a good student in public school in eighth grade I could be a good student in Catholic school in ninth grade with not much more effort. The first inkling I had that I was deluding myself was early in June of my eighth grade year. I received a letter from my prestigious girls school. It was three pages long and detailed my school work for the summer. Huh? School wasn't even over and I was being expected to begin my high school work over the summer? I was flabbergasted. The work consisted of a long summer reading list and a list of essay topics which I should be ready to sit down within the first week of school and write up in English class. I thought they must be kidding. "They're not," was my mother's brusque reply. Many of the nuns who would be teaching me had taught her in a similar private Catholic girls school in Brooklyn twenty years previously. My principal had taught her science, so mom was sure as sure could be that this particular group of nuns was not given to practical joking. "What is the big deal?" asked my mom. "You constantly have your nose in a book." Well the big deal was that I never had my nose in these books before. Nancy Drew, Little House and a whole bunk of junk and nonsense that I don't recall but never things like this. The Book of Ruth and The Book of Esther. The Bible? I was supposed to read the Bible? Over the course of my high school career we were required to read the Bible in it's entirety. Fortunately I did not know this at the time. The Collected Stories of Katherine Anne Porter, A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, two Shakepearean Sonnets, Ethan Frome, (that one was just mean), A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court and a few other things I can't recall. I began wih Mark Twain, that book is still one of my favorites and after many years (never mind how many) can still make me laugh out loud. Having had a successful beginning I tackled the rest with a lighter heart. I remember hating, absolutely hating Ethan Frome and I have never tried Edith Wharton again. I should just probably get over that and re-read it. I loved Ruth and Esther and was delighted when I found out later that the I would be reading the whole Bible. I continued that love of Scripture into college taking a few Bible history classes and a class on the Letters of Paul. My point is that reading lists and book lists can be good. Some of my die hard unschooling friends mught cringe when they read this but I stand by my opinion. A carefully crafted reading list can expand horizions and help a child get out of rut. Looking back on this reading list I am a little puzzled by some of the choices but I commend the attempt. There was a summer reading list mailed to my home for the following two summers and I never dreaded it the way some of my classmates did. There was usually a jewel waiting to discovered by me and I looked forward to the opportunity. There was always something I hated but I am certain it never did me any harm to read a book I didn't care for and it was a good preparation for college where I often had to read things I didn't care for. A class in Contemporary American Poetry comes to mind. So this summer my children are getting reading lists. Don't think I am cruel. I have reluctant readers who would happily spend their summer in the pool or in front of a playstation game without a little direction and since it is likely I will be bedridden at some point this summer the direction will have to be given early and emphatically. Their summer is likely to be a long one since we will finish up in a week and we may not be able to do our customary August 15th start since I am due to deliver that week. We may have to wait until September 8th - I like to start on a Marian Feast Day. Don't worry Ethan Frome is not on the list. I met with each child to get their input and most of the books are of their own choosing with one or two put in by my decree. An effort to broaden their interests and help them appreciate other types of literature, or another time period. I am going to post their lists in the sidebar. I hope if you, dear readers, have suggestions or comments you will post them in the comments box for me. I am always willing to talk books.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Catholic Mosaic

I've been waiting for this. Cay Gibson has written, what sounds like, an amazing book called Catholic Mosaic: Living the Liturgical Year with Literature, An Ilustrated Book Study for Children . I just discovered that you can pre-order the book and if you do so by May 17th you will receive a free shipping deal! Wow! Click here for a sample page and for order info. Cay is the author of House of Literature and is a contributor to Heart and Mind Magazine. She is a dear and wonderful person who has a great wealth of knowledge and experience that she is always generous enough to share. I anticipate this book as being a great resource and a staple in many homeschools. I will definitely write up more details when I receive the book.

Carnival of Homeschooling

This week's Carnival is at Why Homeschool. Don't miss it there is too much good reading!

Monday, May 08, 2006

Time off for Good Behavior

I haven't posted lately for the wonderful reason that Dave and I had a two day respite from being a mom and dad. At Christmas we were the happy recipients of a gift certificate to a lovely local hotel and the dearest friend in the world insisted on taking my children so Dave and I could have some time off before the twins come. She is a treasure. So we had some nice dinners and spent some time in a lovely little art museum, we window shopped and spent over an hour browsing in a great book store. Heaven! So we were absent from our real lives for a time but now we are back refreshed and ready to tackle our real lives. The life we love but that an occasional break from is necessary.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Planting time

As part of her science lesson on plants Erin spent the morning starting seeds. We planted Shamrocks, of course, Zinnias, Sunflowers and White Carnation. She also "planted" some dried beans on wet paper towels. Erin plans to compare how quickly the paper towel plantings grow as opposed to the soil method. She will be narrating the progress of her plants weekly.

Monday, May 01, 2006

Song in Spring

This is a dreadful picture. The digital camera was not being cooperative last night at the parish spring concert. The various music ministries in the parish all performed. The adult choir, the school choir, the boys choir and the Life Teen band all did a wonderful job. Ryan may have his disabilities and his difficulties but here he shines. He sings on key and beautifully. Several people, some of whom we didn't know, made a point to compliment him. It was a proud momma moment. He has so few things which make him feel accomplished but music is all his. God gifted him with this ability and gave him the capcity to enjoy it. We are truly blessed by his talent and the dear people who foster it. His patient-beyond-words guitar teacher and his wonderful choir teacher and conductor. They all work with Ryan so well and understand his difficulties in a truly Christian way.

Weekend Fun

This weekend Dave took the kids bike riding to a local park. Kevin and Kelli ride in a buggy attached to the back of his bike. Usually I lug them behind me but I already have two passengers! I sat this trip out but I don't think I was missed, everyone had a great time.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

In the Kitchen with Everybody

"Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honour preferring one another; Not slothful in business; fervent in spirit; serving the Lord; Rejoicing in hope; patient in tribulation; continuing instant in prayer; Distributing to the necessity of saints; given to hospitality." Romans 7 Some people live that. I had occasion to be driving home late yesterday afternoon from our outing at the Cottage. It is about a half hour drive and during it I was contemplating getting Erin home, dressed for soccer then to soccer practice. Ryan's medicine need to be picked up and in there some type of nourishment had to be provided. The cell phone rings. It is the dearest friend in the world. She had been unable to got to the Cottage due to a few under the weather children. She tells me that she had gone crazy cooking and she had made me dinner. Who is luckier than me? It was a delicious meal complete with HOMEMADE BREAD and HOMEMADE BROWNIES. It was so wonderful. True hospitality. This friend and another and I recently spent many hours in a kitchen together on a Saturday. We made about seven meals for each household sharing equipment and basic supplies. Another friend had shopped for us at Restaurant Depot. The cost was minimal and the benefit was enormous. Inspired by that I spent this past Saturday making a few meals for the freezer. I also made a few batches of oatmeal cookies and an apple pie much to the delight of everyone here. While experiencing this urge to cook I have noticed that a lot of the 4 Real Moms have started their own cooking blogs. I love this idea. I have to tell you it is very tempting to me to start one. Although I am barely keeping up with this blog and my email and some other writing I am doing. I do see this in my future. Perhaps I can convince dearest friend to do it with me? In the meantime I'll be updating my sidebar to include some delicious new blogs you should not miss.

Spring time at the Cottage

I think spring is officially here to stay. Despite the torrential rainfall this weekend. The rain was not altogether unwelcome - the result being that both baseball and soccer were cancelled giving us here in the Bonny Blue House that rare treat of a completely free day. Yesterday was our weekly trek to the Cottage. It was a lovely spring day. The children were delighted to partake of Alice's Easter Tea. There were about 100 children there and all listened beautifully as the Gospel of John was read and the symbolism behind each menu item explained. Then, of course, they lined up eagerly for the treats. Lots of sweets and savories. There wasn't a thing left when they were through. In her typical generous fashion Alice provided some lovely little pastries and tarts and eclairs for the moms. We sat and chatted and mourned the fact that next week is the last Cottage outing until fall. Alas, the Cottage dwellers must get ready for the newest addition due to make his or her appearance in a scant six weeks. What a lucky little lovebug that baby will be! Maybe next week I can get on the ball and bring my camera to show how much fun the children have. Maybe, but don't count on it. Pregnancy brain is an unpredictable thing.

Sunday, April 23, 2006

That Sam I Am...

"That Sam I Am, that Sam I Am, I do not like that Sam I Am." Dr. Suess Really? I know how you feel, I am beginning to detest the little freak. I think every mom who encourages reading in her toddler has had the experience of having that child latch on to a particular book and want to have it read to them numerous times during the day. It is wearing but not a bad thing since the key is develop within them a love of reading. My little guy seems to have taken this to an extreme I haven't had to deal with before. Kevin is currently enamoured of Green Eggs and Ham; There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed A Fly; and A Crack in the Track. On Friday I was obligated to read each of these books eighteen times. That is a lot of Sam I Am which not my favorite children's book at anytime. Now I would cheerfully flush it down the toilet if I thought the plumbing would handle it. We have been stuck with these selections continously for about three months now and I find my sleeping hours occupied with dreams of Sam I Am trying to force that Old Lady to chase down the fly with a plateful of green eggs and ham. All while Percy and Thomas are still stuck at that crack in the track and a goat pops open his throat to swallow a horse that chased a cat, that ate a rat, that lived in the house that Mary Ellen built!!! AAAAHHHHHHH!!!!! Ok, I'm ok now. Don't get me wrong I am very glad that he enjoys stories with mom. We snuggle up in my big chair in the living room, it is a hidden recliner so mom can put her pregnancy weary feet up and we read and read. The same three books. Every day. Many times. Now when I see him coming with them my first instinct has me hiding in the basement store room telling the spiders to "SSHHHH, he'll hear us!" Yesterday I sat him in front of the low bookshelf in the schoolroom that is filled, actually overfilled, with wonderful picture books and board books guaranteed to enthrall a three year old. Not this three year old. "How about Brown Bear, Brown Bear?" "Sam!" is the determined reply. "Peter Rabbit, look at the bunny." "Sam and ham," says he pushing the dreaded orange book in front of me. "Cordoury? Paddington? Aesop? Goodnight Moon? The Big Red Barn? Look here is one about a boat" "Sam!" He looks up at me with a big grin. I lose again.

Divine Mercy Sunday

"Jesus told Sr Faustina: "Humanity will not find peace until it turns trustfully to divine mercy" (Diary, p. 132). Through the work of the Polish religious, this message has become linked for ever to the 20th century, the last of the second millennium and the bridge to the third. It is not a new message but can be considered a gift of special enlightenment that helps us to relive the Gospel of Easter more intensely, to offer it as a ray of light to the men and women of our time." His Holiness Pope John Paul II, Sunday April 30, 2000-MASS IN ST PETER'S SQUARE FOR THE CANONIZATION OF SR. MARY FAUSTINA KOWALSKA More information about Divine Mercy Sunday can be found here.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Katie received a few craft kits from Illuminated Ink in her Easter basket. She did the Marian Grotto yesterday. I think it came out beautifully. The poor photography doesn't do it justice.

Talented Goddaughter...

Made this adorable Easter dessert!

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Bonny Barretts

Happy Birthday Papa!!!

“Grant that we may be one flock and one shepherd. Do not allow your net to be torn, help us to be servants of unity.”

He is Risen!

John 20: 1 - 9 Now on the first day of the week Mary Mag'dalene came to the tomb early, while it was still dark, and saw that the stone had been taken away from the tomb. So she ran, and went to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one whom Jesus loved, and said to them, "They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they have laid him." Peter then came out with the other disciple, and they went toward the tomb. They both ran, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first; and stooping to look in, he saw the linen cloths lying there, but he did not go in. Then Simon Peter came, following him, and went into the tomb; he saw the linen cloths lying, and the napkin, which had been on his head, not lying with the linen cloths but rolled up in a place by itself. Then the other disciple, who reached the tomb first, also went in, and he saw and believed; for as yet they did not know the scripture, that he must rise from the dead Have a Happy and Blessed Easter from the Bonny Blue House!

Friday, April 14, 2006

A Bonny New Bairn

Please join me in welcoming a new baby to Melissa Wiley, amazing homeschool mom and author of the Martha and Charlotte series of Little House books! I am told mother and beautiful baby girl are doing well!!!! Check here for more details.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Easter Tradition

Please go over and read Danielle Bean's post regarding an annual Easter tradition. It had me laughing out loud.

The Triduum Begins

A friend from our local homeschool group sent this meditation to our e-mail list. I thought it was worth sharing. Thank you Thea. Excerpts from the book the Way of Divine Love by Sister Josefa Menendez by Tan Books Jesus speaks to Sister Josefa and she records His words about His passion. “And I washed the feet of my apostles with my own hands, so that those who have consecrated themselves to apostolic work may follow my example, and treat sinners with humility and gentleness, as also all those that are entrusted to their care. I girded myself with a white linen cloth to remind them that apostles need to be girded with abnegation and mortification, if they hope to exert any real influence on souls. . . I wish also to teach them mutual charity, which is ever ready to excuse the faults of others, to conceal them and extenuate them, and never to reveal them. Lastly, the water poured on the feet of my apostles denotes the zeal which burned in my heart for the salvation of the world. The Last Supper (pg. 248-258) “I want to tell them of the poignant sorrows which filled my heart at the Last Supper. If it was bliss to think of all those to whom I should be both companion and heavenly food, of all who would surround me to the end of time with adoration, reparation and love . . . This is no wise diminished my grief at the many who would leave me deserted in my tabernacles and who would not even believe in my real presence. It is for love for souls that keeps me a prisoner in the Blessed Sacrament. I stay there that all may come and find the comfort they need in the tenderness of my heart, the best of fathers, the faithful of friends, who will never abandon them The holy Eucharist is the invention of love. . . I live in the midst of sinners that I may be their life, their physician, and the remedy of the diseases bred by corrupt nature. And in return they forsake, insult and despise me! You dear souls, why coldness and indifference on your part? . . . Do I not know that family cares, household concerns, and the requirements of your position in life, make continual calls upon you? . . . But cannot you spare a few minutes in which to come and prove your affection and your gratitude? Do not allow yourselves to be involved in useless and incessant cares, but spare a few moments to visit and receive this prisoner of love? When about to institute the Holy Eucharist, I saw the privileged throng who would be nourished by my body and blood; some would find there the remedy for their short comings, others consuming fires for their imperfections. . . I likewise saw them gathered round me as in a garden, each separately rejoicing me with her flowers and their scent . . . As a vivifying sun, my sacred body gave them life and warmed their cold hearts . . . To some I went for comfort, to others for refuge, to others again for rest. . . Would that all these cherished souls knew how easily they can console me, harbor me, or give me to rest their God. And while I looked at those many souls that would feed on this heavenly Bread, I could not but see also the indifference by which so many others . . . Consecrated souls . . . Priests . . . Would wound me in this sacrament. Their were those who would grow cold, gradually yielding to routine, to weariness and lassitude, and little by little to tepidity. Still, I wait all night and watch in the tabernacle fervently hoping that she will come and receive me. That she will converse with me with all the trust of a bride. Telling me of her sorrows, her temptations, her sufferings, and asking my advise and begging for the graces she needs for herself and others. Perhaps she has dependent family or in her family souls that are in danger and far from me? Come I say to her, let us discuss everything with perfect freedom. Be concerned about sinners. Offer yourself to make reparation. Promise me that at least today you will not leave me alone. Then see if my heart is not asking something more of you to comfort it. This is what I hoped to obtain from that soul and many another. Yet when she receives me in holy Communion she barely says a word to me. She is distracted, tired, or put out. Her whole mind is absorbed with her occupations, her family cares, her acquaintances or maybe anxiety for her health. She dose not know what to say to me, she is indifferent, bored, wished it was time to go. It is thus that you receive me, O soul whom I have chosen and for whom I have watched with all the impatience of love throughout the livelong night? Yes, I yearned for her coming that I might rest in her and share in her anxieties. I prepared fresh graces for her, but she dose not want them. She has nothing to ask of me, neither advise nor strength, she just complains to herself without so much as addressing me. Alas, that soul dose not possess the delicate love I had hoped to find in her. Gethsemane (pg.259) I withdrew into the garden of Gethsemane, that is to say into solitude. God is to be sought within away form distraction and noise. To find him the soul must enforce silence on all the disturbance by which nature often fights against grace; on interior arguments prompted by self love or sensuality. These constantly tend to stifle the inspiration of grace and keep her from finding God within. It is thus I offered myself to carry out the redemption of the world. At the same moment I felt all the torments of my Passion burst overwhelming upon me. All these suffering thronged before my eyes and pressed upon my heart while at once and the same time I saw all the offenses, sins and crimes that were to be committed throughout the ages. Draw near me, and when you see me submerged in an ocean of grief, rise, and go with me to the three disciples whom I had left a stone’s throw away. I had chosen them that they might share my agony, pray with me and by their company afford me some consolation. What were my feelings to find them asleep? O the pang of loneliness, and to have none to share in my sorrow. How often my heart suffers this same grief, how often, hoping to find solace among the souls it loves it finds them slumbering! Beloved souls learn from this how useless it is to seek comfort from creatures. I went back to my prayer and again falling on my face I worshipped my Father and implored His help. I did not call Him “My God” but “My Father,” it is when harrowed with pain that you must call God your Father. Beg for His help, expose your woes, your fears, your longings, and let your cry, of anguish remind Him that you are His child. Tell Him that your body is exhausted, your heart is sorrowful even onto death. That your soul is experiencing what seems a very sweat of blood. Pray with a child's confidence and expect relief from your Father's heart. He himself will comfort you and give you the strength necessary to endure the tribulation of suffering.

Monday, April 10, 2006

Whatever happened to checkers?

Dave and I both had occasion to be in toy stores this weekend. He took the children to Toys R Us to spend some birthday money which was burning a hole in their pockets. While he did that I was at a smaller store locally doing some shopping for Easter baskets. I try to go light on candy and fill up with little things of religious significance or craft items. Since it wasn't crowded and I was alone I took some time to browse around, just walking aimlessly around the store. There were very few things I recognized from my own childhood. We were a game family. Checkers; chess; card games; Parchessi; Scrabble; Battleship; Life; and many more. Everything I saw seemed based on a cartoon character or an electronic device. Very little of what was there encouraged imagination or logic or even a bit of creativity. I found it kind of sad. Even the craft section seemed, to me, a little inappropriate for encouraging artistic ability or creativity. There were many kits to make your own lip gloss and nail polish and for some reason, sticking little rhinestones on your belly to imitate a tatoo (recommended age 4 and up). I am not saying there is anything wrong with making your own lip gloss (we are, after all, a house full of girly girls here) but when there are more offerings to make lip gloss and feather pocketbooks than paint-by-numbers; weaving looms and sewing kits I think the wrong message may be getting across. Everything does not have to be glittery and accomplished in ten minutes. Some things are worth taking time over. Last year I taught Erin how to play checkers. She loved the game and took to it immediately. She can now whip me at a game in no time flat. I was never very good at checkers and I am abysmal at chess because these are games that require patience (I have none) and a keen eye for what's coming ahead. Wanting to become better at the game has encouraged Erin to slow down and think. It's a shame the game didn't have the same effect on me. The value of these games of my childhoood is that by playing and mastering them a child increases problem solving skills, logical thinking and learns the value of healthy competition with an actual human being. Sportsmanship, fair play and courtesy also are developed and tested in playing board games and games of imagination. I just don't see some of the toys I observed this weekend doing any of that. So I decided then and there that here in the Bonny Blue House we will eschew all of that "twaddle" and play the old fashioned, slightly more complicated, games. We will continue to make candles, sculpy crafts, paper crafts, and handwork. Dave brought the children home with a few new PlayStation games and a DVD. Sigh..... As always, here is Mom going against the tide.... Some nice toy resources Catholic Child HearthSong Magic Cabin Insect Lore Julie's Stuff