Sunday, June 29, 2008
Thursday, June 26, 2008
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. :-)
Tuesday, June 24, 2008
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).
Monday, June 23, 2008
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 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)
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
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 .
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.
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
Thursday, June 19, 2008
Wednesday, June 18, 2008
Tuesday, June 17, 2008
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
Sunday, June 15, 2008
.... 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.
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.
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
Self Help magazine
Tuesday, June 10, 2008
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!"
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, 1842 – January 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
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~!) !
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.
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.
Saturday, June 07, 2008
Thursday, June 05, 2008
Novena, asking St Anthony for his intercession.
Monday, June 02, 2008
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?
And how does this help me, as a homeschooling mother, a part time business woman, a wife, a volunteer, a friend?
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).