Sunday, June 29, 2008

Plans this week

*Add in more workouts - yesterday was a FIRM, aerobic weight training and today was Turbo Jam - kickboxing. What to do this week?

*Follow more rabbit trails - Prince Caspian and Narnia, Blue Planet

* Put up new pics for July's bulletin board

*Have a friend and son over for morning tea and a homeschool kid, my sons' friend, over for the day...

*Cook for and celebrate Alexander's birthday on Tuesday. We've had discussions this morning about what to eat, what to make. We'll eat after the St Anthony Mass on Tuesday evening.

*Have our final French class with Greg as teacher, with a French morning tea celebration for all students and mums to follow

*Work on an article I've been asked to write, to include in an unschooling book to be published later this year

* Hopefully have others share lunch with us on Wednesday

*Celebrate Thomas' feast day on Thursday, the feast of St Thomas the Apostle

*Finish off our parish newsletter Heartbeat.

* Organise re agenda for parish council meeting

* Work at Kumon and at home! And laundry. And cooking. And cleaning.

*First Friday Mass

*Homeschool Teen group outing at Chinatown and Paddy's Markets. I'm buying a wig! Should I go blonde or black or??

* Attend a birthday party for a family friend and make trifle for same party. Karaoke!

*Morning tea at church, serving, music roster

*BBQ and friends at our house, for a farewell to Greg, as he heads off to the UK

*Finish watching the last episode of fracky Battlestar 1980 and continue with series one of the newer Battlestar Galactica

*Continue reading Splendour in the Ordinary - Making Your Home a Holy Place by Thomas Howard, Prince Caspian and the last Harry Potter book.

*Do my own Kumon maths and encourage kids to do the same...

I think that's it. I could be wrong .
Postscript ~ I also need to remember to phone dh's Dad, before he goes off on an overseas holiday. And send cards to two priests - one in remembrance of his ordination day, the other for a birthday. Don't forget Leonie!
Post Postscript ~ Dr Who, series 4, is on this week. Woo hoo!

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Taebo and Discerning God's Will

Yesterday I got to do one of my Taebo workouts ~ with my doctor's permission. I did Taebo Ulitmate Upper Body -

Kickboxing with an upper body focus, for 60 minutes. Upper body focus = less pull on my abs and post surgery area.

I loved it! I could have worked out for another 30 minutes, but I showed restraint. And who has the time??

Sadly, I couldn't do my usual full push ups - they hurt my abs. So I did the push ups on my knees. But I know I'll work back up to full, big boy push ups eventually.

At the end, Billy gave his little motivational talk. Get Fit-Have Fun-Be Strong - Remember the Spirit.

Billy Blanks is a Christian. And his motivational talks reflect this. I was jumping around, dancing and smiling at Billy at the end of the workout and during his little talk.

And, so, yes, my workouts remind me of not doing this, my life, on my own strength but of relying on God.

How do I discern God's will? A friend recently posted, at the 4 Real Learning forum, some relevant excerpts from Mother Angelica's Little Book of Life Lessons.

God's Will in Your Life (page 62)

People often ask me, 'How do you know whether something is God's Will in your life?' I say, 'Ask me next year, and then we'll know whether it was God's Will.'

The Lord isn't going to come down and say, 'Now, look sweetie, I want you to do this little thing for me' He's not going to do that. He gave you a brain. He gave you a memory, an intellect, a will. Do you realize if you're a Christian, you have Sanctifying Grace in you? The Holy Spirit is in you. Pray. Move forward in His grace, and you will discover His Will for you.

Discerning God's Will for You (page 62-63)

You judge God's Will as follows:

(1) Does it violate any of the Commandments? Is it against the precepts of the Church?

(2) Will it give God honor and glory?

(3) Will it benefit my family and my spiritual life?

"That is how you can judge what God's will is for you. And sometimes we don't have clarity even with that. I would pray more at that point. I would ask Our Lord to give you light. If somehow along the way we miss it, He will make good out of your mistakes. You can depend on that.

Postscript on discerning God's will ~ dh has decided not to move but to stay in Sydney. :-)


And another school day of game playing ~ here the kids are playing the Wii with a homeschool friend who visits us most Wednesdays. They also played a very active, very noisy outside game with dart guns and teams, in our garden and in our cul-de-sac. Everyone else from the street was at school or work, so the cul-de-sac was theirs' for the taking!

Don't worry, we don't play games all the time in our homeschooling unschool. We do talk and we do read - Anthony is really in to that Battlestar Galactica novel I mentioned yesterday, and he keeps giving us updates on the characters, the relationships, the mystery, the plot, the glossary.

The kids also did Wii Fit - pilates and yoga and strength training was on the menu for yesterday. And practised their piano pieces. And read in their religion books ( on how God is the source of all Grace, of the story of Jacob and Joseph, on the moral conscience ). They did some Kumon maths and I think Alexander did some university work ( Italian). He also ironed the tablecloth and serviettes for dinner, for me!
The kids delivered junk mail and helped me with setting the table for visitors.

Next week is the birthday of one of the friars from our parish and we finished our day with a small birthday dinner party for Br. L. last night.

Yet another unschooling homeschool day ....Live and learn and laugh...

Tuesday, June 24, 2008


The Feast of the Birth of St John the Baptist. Christmas pudding and custard for dessert tonight - I've allotted enough calories for me to eat some! - Christmas in June. It is exactly six months to Christmas and St John was the precursor to Jesus.

In French class today, Greg had his brothers and other homeschoolers make
Fondant au Chocolat. They had to read and follow the French recipe. You can see the yummy results above.

Post French, the kids have been playing Mario Cart on the Wii and games with Yu-Gi-Oh cards. An educational school day... Thomas is now at work at McDonalds. Alexander is going to work at Kumon. Anthony has junk-mail-for-delivery to fold. I've sent emails and made WYD phone calls. Have errands to run and Kumon paperwork to do as well. And Mass tonight..

Oh, I went to the doctor at lunch . Yay, I am healing well! I am back to normal duties and working out tomorrow ~ but I have to take it slow. And the doc said I can stop the daily injections (little does he know that I stopped them two weeks ago. I thought enough was enough. I didn't tell him that though. I pretended to be the model patient).

Finally - look what arrived in the post. A used copy of one of the Battlestar Galactica novels, based on the original series and by the original actor who played Apollo. I am excited...I've ordered another used novel, too. Dh said - You didn't buy those Battlestar books, did you? My reply - No - well, not brand new, anyway!

I am not an addict...I am not an addict...

Monday, June 23, 2008

I am not going!

I am not going!

Was that a statment from one of the children, in a head shaking, foot stamping moment of bad temper?

No, it was me. Not the head shaking, foot stamping temper but the emphatic statement.

I am not going.

I said this to dh last night, after a long discussion on his work. Dh has a job offerred to him , which would mean relocating again. And he also has the opportunity to take another transfer interstate.

Truthfully, I've tried, these last few weeks to be supportive. I've prayed and prayed. But I honestly feel that we have moved many, many times, have followed dh across country and that right now is not a good time to move.

I just don 't believe that moving is in the family's best interests. We need some settling.

Last night, I laid my cards on the table. I was honest. Very honest. Not, I hope, brutally honest; I acknowledged dh's thoughts and ambitions and restlessness. But I also acknowledged my thoughts, my emotions, my strong feelings about the family and our spiritual life, our growth.

I acknowledged my vocation as a wife but also as a mother and how I need to look not just at dh nor at myself but also at the kids. Sure, they are growing up, and probably away.But right now I am still a mother with a responsibility. And a wife, who honestly has to say things as she sees them.

How did dh take this? Very graciously.

What will he decide? Hmmm..

I love my dh. But I am not moving right now.

The Valiant Woman, Conferences for Women, by Msgr. Landriot, Archbishop of Rheims .

The most valiant of all women is the Blessed Virgin Mary. The word valiant derives from the Latin verb "valere", meaning 'to be strong.' True valiance is exhibited by courage in battle, which is the fruit of the cardinal virtue of fortitude. Although the habitual virtue of fortitude is most manifest under its higher aspect as a gift of the Holy Ghost--that is, when its possessor (guided by prudence and justice) is engaged in a confession of faith wherein the danger of death is imminent (as with the martyrs)--it is also manifest in the daily trials of the soldier of Christ who conquers inordinate self-love with God's grace.
The valiant Christian woman does not have to exhibit the heroism of a St. Joan of Arc, but she must rule well the kingdom of her home in prudence, mercy, justice and truth. In figurative parables, the Holy Ghost Himself describes "le femme forte" in the last twenty verses of the "Book of Proverbs."

Okay, I suck at beng a submissive wife - me, submissive? But maybe I can be a valiant wife, a valiant woman? One who is not moving now! lol!

St Maximilian Kolbe wrote ~

...the accomplishment of one’s special duties, the carrying out of God’s will at every moment of one’s life and doing this perfectly in action, word and thought, calls for radical renunciation of those things which might seem to us more agreeable at a given moment. This is a prolific source of penance. (Fr. Anselm Romb, OFM Conv., ed The Kolbe Reader, 188)

It would be more agreeable for me to do what dh wishes. To agree to move - to either place, with either job. However, I really, truly, desperately believe that it is not God's will for us right now. Could I be wrong? Most definitely. But to agree with dh, just for the sake of being agreeable, of being a good or submissive wife, would also be wrong.

Better to take a deep breath, say it like it is and risk facing disagreement.

Which I did.

Whew, that's tough. I like everyone to be happy, everyone to like me, I am a Brady Bunch wannabe...and a Brady Bunch dropout!

(Laughs at self)

On volunteering

Last night, late last night, when every one else was asleep, I was up reading. One of the things I read was a health and fitness magazine. An article extolling the virtues of volunteering, titled Take a Walk on the Kind Side. Shades of Lou Reed?

And extolling the virutes of voluteering? Right up my alley!

Apparently, doctors working on a long term study in the U.S. have revealed that one secret to living a more successful and contented life is to help out. Women who take on volunteer or charity work enjoy dramatically better health and self esteem than their non-volunteering counterparts.

An excerpt ~ From tree-planting to puppy washing, it seems that the feel-good buzz we get from helping others can make as much of an impact on our health as factors like nutrition and lifestyle.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Good things about kids

I don't know about you, but lately I've heard some negativity around towards kids. Towards having children and being a parent. From parents about their own kids and own vocations.

I admit to being a bit guilty of this myself. Seeing my kids do some annoying thing or my young adults do some dumb thing , I blow off about it to another. Not good.

In the spirit of promoting a kid friendly culture, I'd like to share some positives about kids.

Promoting a kid friendly culture? Isn't our culture kid friendly?

Well, yes and no. Kids are often tolerated .

They are taken out, brushed off, shown off and tucked away. A bit like little Christopher Robbins robots , taken to kid events and then put away.

From the article linked above ~

A look at how parents are portrayed in the media gives us more clues about current societal attitudes. In sitcoms, parents are typically presented as buffoons, bumbling and fumbling their way through life. "In the late '90s, the mass media bombards us with negative stereotypes of moms and dads. It seems that every time we turn on TV, watch a movie, or read a magazine, we are confronted with yet another dismissive put-down of the parental role and function," say Sylvia Ann Hewlett and Cornell West in their recent book The War Against Parents.

But why do such negative feelings about parenting come out in public situations?
One answer may be that many of today's parents are unwilling to compromise their freedom and are, therefore, taking their children out more often and to more kinds of places. Moreover, people in general tend to spend more time in restaurants and other public spaces.

These recent trends create conflict. After arguing over a seat for my toddler with someone at a very noisy antique auction in upstate New York, an nearby older woman turned to me and said with vehemence, "I never took my children to auctions!"

Also children are very honest. Their emotions and frustrations are right there for all to see, which can be intimidating to adults, especially those who would prefer not to be in touch with their own, often difficult
emotions. "Kids have a way of putting us in touch with our own vulnerabilities," says Dr. Cancelmo .

They certainly do! I speak from experience, of having to confront my ideas and emotions and notions and beliefs upon dealing with and living with and enjoying children.

Why is it important to create a kid friendly society?

Kid friendly societies are family friendly societies.

And kids learn who-they-are by how-they-are-treated. Treat kids with respect and interest and they are more likely to exhibit this respect and interest themselves. They are more likely to grow up to become respectful adults..

It is necessary to go back to seeing the family as the sanctuary of life. The family is indeed sacred: it is the place in which life -- the gift of God -- can be properly welcomed and protected against the many attacks to which it is exposed and can develop in accordance with what constitutes authentic human growth. In the face of the so-called culture of death, the family is the heart of the culture of life.
Pope John Paul II, The Hundredth Year, (Centesimus Annus), 1991 [#39]

Back to sharing the positives of kids ~ here is my emerging, evolving, off the cuff list. I'll probably add to it later. And would like to see your litany of good things about kids, too.

Good Things About Kids

- kids keep me honest and humble – they make me keep things above board and ensure I don’t try to escape from unpleasantness

- kids make me smile – the things they say, the things they do

- getting involved in the lives and interests of my kids expands my own horizons and learning

- kids help me grow; they , inadvertently or not, push my buttons and make me question myself

- kids bring me closer to God, especially through the sacrament of Confession. I confess my failings, my impatience with my kids. How selfish would I be if I didn’t have my kids around?? And the kids keep me on my knees, keep me praying. They keep me at extra Masses, with special intentions...

- kids are fun – I say this while watching Anthony’s phone video of their plane flying adventures this afternoon

- kids give me some one extra to talk to – I am a social person and I love talking. We had a good discussion today on selfishness and on choices, me and some of the kids, based on a Battlestar Galactica episode. Hey, I'[m never lonely ( I'm never alone!).

- kids keep me current – yeah, I’m into some of the bands and clothes because of my kids

Friday, June 20, 2008

I am a Superior Wife!


As a 1930s wife, I am

Take the test!

And I did the test to prove it..........The 1930s Marital Scale

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Off for a walk

Here I am, ready for my morning walk. Today I am walking with a friend. She is meeting me at my house at 7.;30 a.m and then we will walk for an hour, around a nearby lake and up a hill.

Have a happy day! And keep my dh in your prayers, too - for a special intention. Thanks!

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

For dinner tonight....

...I made rissoles. A good old fashioned Aussie favourite. I felt like such a good mum. Good wife. Good housewife. I had time to cook!

Ignore the cocktail glass - I was drinking a Sidecar while cooking.

Cocktails while cooking? Definitely a 1950s housewife!

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Our Narnia Basket

Inspired by our re-reading of Prince Caspian and by the new film...We saw the film last Saturday and were enthralled......Books to re-read and rabbit trails to explore...

From a friend

My lovely friend Cindy sent me this prayer for peace ~ and I want to share it with anyone reading this blog ( Bueller? Anyone? Anyone? ) ~

Litany of Humility

O Jesus! meek and humble of heart, Hear me.
From the desire of being esteemed, Deliver me, Jesus.
From the desire of being loved...From the desire of being extolled ...From the desire of being honored ...From the desire of being praised ...From the desire of being preferred to others...From the desire of being consulted ... From the desire of being approved...From the fear of being humiliated ...From the fear of being despised...From the fear of suffering rebukes ...From the fear of being calumniated ...From the fear of being forgotten ...From the fear of being ridiculed ...From the fear of being wronged ...From the fear of being suspected ...
That others may be loved more than I,
Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.
That others may be esteemed more than I ...That, in the opinion of the world,others may increase and I may decrease ...That others may be chosen and I set aside ...That others may be praised and I unnoticed ...That others may be preferred to me in everything...That others may become holier than I, provided that I may become as holy as I should…

Prayer of Saint Francis of Assisi
Lord, make me an instrument of your peace.
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury,pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
and where there is sadness, joy.
O Divine Master,
grant that I may not so much seek
to be consoled as to console;
to be understood as to understand;
to be loved as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive;
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life. Amen

What speaks to you? These two really made me go Ahh ~

From the desire of being approved......From the fear of suffering rebukes ...

Monday, June 16, 2008

Walk, Walk, Walk

Yep, that is what I have been doing lately. Walking. An hour every day.

Walking is the only workout that gets my doctor's approval right now, post surgery. I see him again on June 24 ( the feast of The Birth of St John the Baptist and our liturgical year celebration with Xmas Pudding and Xmas Cake in June) . At this visit, I hope to get the okay for adding in other workouts.

But , mean time, walking is not so bad. It is rhythmic. It is fun. It encourages meditation. And it is helping me maintain my weight loss.

I lost a few kilograms after surgery but thought I'd put them back on with no workouts. I have a fear of getting fat again. I'm not fat any more, I'm normal BMI, pretty fit but not super thin! Dang! lol!
Anyway, weight gain hasn't happened. You know, an hour of walking cardio every day is helping me maintain my weight. Coupled with some loose calorie counting, of course!

Walking is man's best medicine - Hippocrates

Definitely. I have been dealing with some stress and anger and depression in a family member's life and walking away from things for an hour really helps. Sometimes, this person walks with me - the exercise and time together outside, even if we don't talk, has to be good for both of us, right? I usually pray my Rosary while walking. I ask St Anthony of Padua for his intercession. Or I stay home, I put on a walking workout DVD ( yes, they do exist! lol) and I walk and smile and blow off worry. Or concerns.

And those super addictive make-me-feel-happy endorphins kick in.

I am a pretty happy person any way, like to smile and laugh. Walking, and working out, makes me even happier!

I feel good! - James Brown.

Walking workout DVDs? I've been doing some by Leslie Sansone - especially like her 5 mile fast walk and her 4 mile fast walk - these have options and markers for just doing one/two/three miles, too! These also have weight training options, if you want to add in some weights while walking -well, I can't, my doc says no weights for now but at least the option is there.

I also have some fun George Foreman, ex boxer, walking DVDs and one Prevention one with trainer Chris Freytag.

I can't wait to get back to my Billy (Taebo) and Chalene (Turbo Jam) and to the Stepford Wives of The Firms. But walking is working fine for me right now.

Maybe you can add some walking into your week? You don't have to do an hour, even a fifteen minute walk is cool!

She walks in beauty, like the night
Of cloudless climes and starry skies;
And all that's best of dark and right
Meet in her aspect and her eyes...Lord Byron

( She walks in beauty....I wish! I'm more like Big Girls Are Beautiful by Mika, well, not exactly beautiful! lol! ~ Check out Mika's YouTube clip for the Big Girls song... )

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Vocation and Communication

I have a vocation, a calling of God, to marriage. To being a wife. To being a mother.

.... when the Church speaks of "vocation," she means a calling out to each person to accomplish a task preordained by God in the coredemption of the world. The highest joy in life for a Christian is searching out, discovering, and pursuing the purpose for which God called him into existence. The idea of vocation implies and demands a larger design to life. The Vocation of Marriage in God's Plan Cardinal J. Francis Stafford, D.D.

When I married, I had no idea of the concept of vocation. I just thought it would be fun to get married. I certainly didn't understand the sacrament and the graces of the sacrament.

Then, when I became a Catholic, and learned more about the idea of marriage as vocation, well, I second guessed my vocation. Maybe I wasn't really called to this, maybe it was an accident.

Silly, huh?

I love being a wife and mother. Amongst all the things I do, these two stand out as my calling.

I was told recently that communication is an important part of my vocation.Well, duh. However, it was also pointed out to me that communication involves not just talking - but talking honestly. Saying hard things when they need to be said. In love. And knowing when to hold my tongue and listen, in love.
Wow, very true. Very powerful. Very difficult, sometimes..

Sometimes we think that communication is the same thing as
telling someone something. But communication is much more than
that. Communication is any sharing of meaning between two
(or more) people.
We very often communicate without words, such as when I look
threateningly at a child who is about to take a cookie. I may say no
words, but the child gets a message.
One of the challenges of communication is that we may not have the
same meanings as the people we communicate with. Even with our children,
we may have very different meanings.

Communication: Building A Strong Bridge

Cartoon from
Self Help magazine

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Quotes that describe your homeschool. Your unschooling homeschool?

On the Radical Christian Unschooling email list, someone asked ~ What Bible verse describes your homeschool?

I got to thinking. Hmm. If not a Bible verse, than maybe a motto. A quote. A quote from a Saint?
I’ve continued to think about this . I have personal mottoes for each year, these help me when things seem tough or dreary. What would be a verse or quote or motto for our unschool?

I thought of the St Teresa of Avila one - "When you pray, pray. When you pheasant, pheasant!"

Background – read Cindy’s blog post.

I love St Teresa of Avila, have always found her to be,well, a practical saint. Love her writings in The Way of Perfection .

The other quote which may be fitting for our unschooling homeschool is this one from educator Charlotte Mason Let the mother go out to play!

Full quote - "If mothers could learn to do for themselves what they do for their children when these are overdone, we should have happier households. Let the mother go out to play! If she would have the courage to let everything go when life becomes too tense, and just take a day, or half a day, out in the fields, or with a favourite book, or in a picture gallery looking long and well at just two or three pictures, or in bed, without the children, life would go on far more happily for both children and parents. The mother would then be able to hold herself in "wise passiveness’ and would not fret her children by continual interference even of hand or eye - she would let them be."

Charlotte Maria Shaw Mason (January 1, 1842January 16, 1923) was a British educator who invested her life in improving the quality of children's education. Her ideas led to one of the primary methods of homeschooling. Wikipedia

Charlotte Mason talked about will. She encouraged parents and teachers not to use force but to gently encourage, to model, to use hero stories and saints stories and literature and tales to inspire children; and then to allow opportunities for kids to exhibit virtues…

"Let children alone-...the education of habit is successful in so far as it enables the mother to let her children alone, not teasing them with perpetual commands and directions - a running fire of Do and Don’t ; but letting them go their own way and grow, having first secured that they will go the right way and grow to fruitful purpose."

"A child is a person in whom all possibilities are present - present now at this very moment - not to be induced after many years and efforts manifold on the part of the educator"

Monday, June 09, 2008


At Mass yesterday, Fr. preached on the interior life. Of the importance of, the role of, the Sacraments, particularly of receiving the Eucharist reverently and of going to Confession regularly.

When I first became a Catholic, in 1995, I became a bit of a Confession junkie (blushes) . It felt so freeing to be rid of past and current and always- still-being-committed sins. To talk before God, to receive the graces of the sacrament, to listen to the priest's counsel. To do penance.

I'd always come out of the Confessional happy!

I used to go to Confession weekly.

Now I go to Confession monthly , as a general rule. Sometimes I go more often, because I really need to ( more blushes - you don't wanna know my habitual sins~!) !
I encourage the kids to go to Confession monthly, too.

Fr. talked about how this sacrament helps with building our interior life ~ the Examination of Conscience, the act of confessing our sins and of holding ourselves accountable for our thoughts/words/deeds, the Graces we receive in the sacrament.

The homily also inspired us to look at how we are in Mass - do we arrive in time for Mass, do we take time to prepare ourselves for Mass, do we have a time for reflection and thanksgiving after Communion and after Mass?

Fr. acknowledged that there are always difficulties and exceptions, that he was not pointing his finger at anyone, that he knew the demands of family life - family needs, children, non Christian spouses - but he also admitted that he has A RESPONSIBILITY, A CALL TO CHALLENGE US. In spite of difficulties, we should try to receive Jesus reverently and to pray, in spite of and amidst our distressing or busy or stressful situations, even if the situation is not ideal, even if it means praying while driving late for Mass again, for example.
Progression not perfection, as they say in one of my yoga DVDs, the one with the Spice Girl Geri Halliwell .

Over the years, I've missed many a homily, many Communions, simply because I have been outside tending to the needs of a child. Or sitting at the back of the church, feeding a baby. It has been okay. I have still prayed. I have tried to be there spiritually, even when rushed.

But I do struggle to always remains reverent. I have a natural irreverence. :-( I have a tendency to see things as funny - yes, during Mass, and everywhere. Got me into big trouble at school. I simply see the humourous side of life.

So, Fr.'s homily was challenging for me. And probably challenging for others, too. In a good way. In a spirit of caring for parishioners.

We don't always go to Mass to hear nice things, to hear funny stories, to hear gentle or banal platitudes, do we? We go to Mass to worship God. We receive Jesus in Holy Communion, we hear the word of God, we listen to a homily . Isn't it good for a priest, a spiritual father, to challenge us, out of love?

Let the word of Christ dwell in you abundantly, in all wisdom: teaching and admonishing one another in psalms, hymns, and spiritual canticles, singing in grace in your hearts to God. Colossians 3:16

1 And we helping do exhort you, that you receive not the grace of God in vain. 2 For he saith: In an accepted time have I heard thee; and in the day of salvation have I helped thee. Behold, now is the acceptable time; behold, now is the day of salvation. Second Corinthians 6:1-2

The Douay-Rheims Bible online.
I'm sure Fr. will cop some flack for his challenging homily but I wonder. Maybe, if we treated priests with kindness, there would be less burn out amongst priests? Maybe there'd even be more vocations? Maybe we should not take things so personally and get angry but should have an open heart, to try to listen to what God may be saying in the Scripture readings, in the Gospel and through the homily.
Mmm. Hug a priest today! ( Not! Just be friendly and kind and respectful...)
Steps off soap box to look at working on her own interior life....Frack, that is hard! - to quote Battlestar Galactica...

Saturday, June 07, 2008

Why I am an unschooler..

Why am I an unschooler? I think because of my crazes and passions.

I learn via current crazes. I get interested in something and before long, it is a passion - I follow up, find little rabbit trails to explore, read/talk about the interest, share with others, collect more stuff to add to the craze...I see connections...

And, since I see how learning is connected and see how my fitness passion, for example, has lead to reading about fitness and nutrition and body image, to sharing my passion with family members and friends and friends online, how I read and research and learn more - well, I can see how my children can learn through unschooling. Not necessarily through subjects but through passions, crazes, connections.

Of course, some things may not come up in a craze or passion. Some things need to be strewed, need to be shared, in order to provide exposure to skills and to concepts. Some things need to be modelled - I am thinking of virtues here. And we need to allow opportunites to arise for kids to develop and apply these virtues, for example. Apply them to their learning. Their life.

Finally, some things may be have tos.

But, in unschooly fashion, the list of have tos becomes less when life is strewn, is connected wth learning, is lived via interests. Passions. Crazes. Addictions.

Yes, I am guilty of addictions. My current addiction is the old Battlestar Galactica. I have watched the TV series with the fam, we have talked about acting, plot, language, sci fi, genre, characters, concepts of space travel, sets and props, TV then and now. We have researched BG on the web. I am hoping to buy BG 1980 on DVD. I see Starbuck and Apollo lookalikes everywhere..I've formed a Get Rid of Muffet Club.. We have talked about sexism, about life in the 1970s, and about connotations and colloquial language ( Holy frack, as Starbuck would say).

So, I have added BG to my Numbers and Dr Who and fitness and Singstar and celebrating-the-liturgical-year and Life On Mars and reading-about-education addictions.

Could be worse.


Today is the anniversary of three sons' Confirmation - they were confirmed here, in our current parish, at the start of the second year of our living-in-Sydney (2006). Thomas, Anthony, Alexander.

Monday is Jonathon' s Confirmation Anniversary - he was confirmed in 2002 in Perth, in the Extraordinary Rite (read Latin Mass).

I have noticed that US Dioceses tend to have Confirmation at a later age than does my Diocese - Anthony was 10 when he was confirmed, for example.

We will remember these anniversaries with a special cake or a special dessert..Went to a truly peaceful Latin Mass this morning, too, for today's anniversary...

Thursday, June 05, 2008

St Anthony of Padua

Feast Day June 13. Our parish is having weekday Masses and praying the
Novena, asking St Anthony for his intercession.

And our family has a special devotion to St Anthony - in dh's mother's family, all the males had Anthony as one of their names. To honour St Anthony. We have continued the tradition with our seven sons.

The study of St Anthony's life convinces us that the reason for his irresistible attraction to people everywhere must be sought in the absolute fidelity with which he proclaimed the Gospel, and in the courageous consistency with which he strove to embody its teachings. Pope John Paul II

Let all people contemplate St Anthony, this light of sanctity, in which the Catholic Church glories. Let them form their lives after his deeds and virtues. Pope Pius XI

Monday, June 02, 2008

Activism and Contemplation

These were the topics of Fr.'s homily last night.

The reading was Matthew 7:21-27 - "Not everyone who says to Me, 'Lord, Lord,' shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven.22 "Many will say to Me in that day, 'Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?'23 "And then I will declare to them, 'I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!'24 "Therefore whoever hears these sayings of Mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock:25 "and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it did not fall, for it was founded on the rock.26 "Now everyone who hears these sayings of Mine, and does not do them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand:27 "and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it fell. And great was its fall."

A hard reading to understand, to translate to every day life. At least for me....

Fr. concentrated on looking at the interior life, on building our house, our life on rock - look not only at what we do but look at what these are built upon - what good are our good works, if we do good works without a base of faith, without the strength of God? If we are activists, good, but we can be better. Activism alone is not good enough.

How do we build our life upon the rock? How do we build our interior life?
By adding in contemplation. Prayer. The Sacraments.

And how does this help me, as a homeschooling mother, a part time business woman, a wife, a volunteer, a friend?
I am definitely a do-er.

One helpful article is this - the Domestic Monastery.

After reading this, I say Ouch. I wasn't very nice or very patient last night!
Snippet from the article -

All monasteries have a bell. Bernard, in writing his rules for monasticism, told his monks that whenever the monastic bell rang, they were to drop whatever they were doing and go immediately to the particular activity (prayer, meals, work, study, sleep) to which the bell was summoning them... The idea in his mind was that when the bell called, it called you to the next task and you were to respond immediately, not because you want to, but because it's time for that task and time isn't your time, it's God's time. For him, the monastic bell was intended as a discipline to stretch the heart by always taking you beyond your own agenda to God's agenda.Hence, a mother raising children, perhaps in a more privileged way even than a professional contemplative, is forced, almost against her will, to constantly stretch her heart.....For years, while raising children, her time is never her own, her own needs have to be kept in second place, and every time she turns around a hand is reaching out and demanding something. She hears the monastic bell many times during the day and she has to drop things in mid-sentence and respond, not because she wants to, but because it's time for that activity and time isn't her time, but God's time

What else helps me towards contemplation? I try to get to extra Masses during the week and I have a time of prayer and , sometimes, of spiritual reading, each morning.

When I was breastfeeding a baby, my prayer time was the early morning/middle of the night times of breastfeeding. Now, it is on rising - or, if I am off to early Mass or early appointments, it is during car time or workout time. Or before bed...

I think of St Theresa of Avila, when she was asked what is the most important, action or contemplation. Her response was that the most important word is the word “and”.

I think this is what Fr. was stressing. The importance of activism, yes, but activism with the basis, the fortress, the foundation, the rock of contemplation.

At least, that is my take on the homily!
( I love it when a homily really makes me think, really challenges me..)

June Bulletin Board

Can you believe it is June already? I can't! lol!

Each month we try to put things on the bulletin board, things that reflect that month's activities or focus. The liturgical year. Interests. Items to strew.

It is a relaxed form of homechool/unschool planning, and of broadcasting to the family, and to others, our doings.

This month we have a Prince Caspian poster - the movie opens here on June 5. Can't wait to see it. I'll probably re-read the novel and Anny and I will continue some Prince Caspian rabbit trails.

Surrounding the poster are smaller pics -

*of the UK ( son Greg is going to the UK soon-ish)

*the IMAX theatre showing of Blue Planet ( Homeschool teen group is going to see this and I have downloaded the teacher resources, for possible activities and follow ups)

*an early photo of Queen Elizabeth II ( the Australian Public Holiday for the Queen's Birthday is on June 9. Check out the website for the British monarchy)

*a Christmas pudding ( for the feast of the Birth of St John the Baptist. We always have Xmas pudd on that day, to remember that St John is the precursor of Jesus, and that it is exactly six months , 24 June to 24 December, till Xmas. Thank you, Fr Gerard Hogan, for giving us this idea - well over ten years ago now!)

*St Anthony of Padua ( his feast day is this month and our parish has masses and the novena for St Anthony. Our family has a special devotion to St Anthony.)

*an image of the Sacred Heart of Jesus ( June is the month of the Sacred Heart, we remember Jesus' great love for us and we remember the honour of receiving Jesus in the Eucharist. )

*the cover of the DVD A Man For All Seasons ( about St Thomas More, another Saint whose feast day occurs in June. Thought it would be fun to watch this DVD and look a little bit at British history).