Friday, January 30, 2009

Enthusiasm. Fleetwood Mac. St John Bosco

When times go bad
When times go rough
Wont you lay me down in tall grass
And let me do my stuff Second Hand News - Fleerwood Mac - Rumours

The Rumours album is arguably Fleetwood Mac's best album, written when they were on the verge of splitting up...Yet, for me, the album has happy songs. Lke the one above, I love the boppy music. And love the lyrics.

I dont want to know the reasons why
Love keeps right on walking down the line
I dont want to stand between you and love
Honey, I just want you to feel fine I Don'tWant To Know - Ibid.

Hey, these were my theme songs. When younger, of course...We played the album in the car today, on the way to homeschool ice skating. And memories came flooding back.

If you wake up and dont want to smile,
If it takes just a little while,
Open your eyes and look at the day,
You'll see things in a different way.
Dont stop, thinking about tomorrow,
Dont stop, itll soon be here,
Itll be, better than before,
Yesterdays gone, yesterdays gone Don't Stop

Theme songs? Yeah..I was a pretty wild young thing. Full of enthusiam for life. But not very prudent.
I remember when my then boyfriend, now husband, asked me to marry him. I said Yes - but why? Because I thought it sounded like fun to be married. A new experience. Something fun and different.

At least I was enthusiastic. And this year we will have been married thirty years ( Oh. My. Gosh..).

Tell me why
Everything turned around
Packing up
Shacking up is all you wanna do
If I could
Baby I'd give you my world
Open up
Everythings waiting for you
You can go your own way
Go your own way
You can call it
Another lonely day
You can go your own way
Go your own way Go Your Own Way

Loved the lines packing up..shacking up...everything's waiting for you..

I still feel that everything's there, waiting. Fun. Laughter. New things to see. New places to go. New people to meet. New things to try.

Like today. It sounds boring as I write it down but I found it fun. After ice skating,I visited Campbell's Cash n Carry to buy things for our parish morning teas, suppers, et al. Woo hoo! It was fun. Exciting even. Pushing around this large pallet on wheels, looking at the arena of goods in the warehouse. Like stepping into another world.

Texted my husband and said I felt very proper, very economical, very frugal, very organised. Like I was playing at being a good housewife. Move over Kate Winslett in Revolutionary Road.

I think he thinks I'm strange.

But enthusiasm for life is important for me. Especially today as I contemplate the feast day of St John Bosco - January 31.

Those who know me know that that St John Bosco is one of my mothering mentors. I have always been impressed with the warmth he had for the boys in his care, for their interests, for playing kids' games, being immersed in their world, so that he loved what they loved ~ and they came to love what he loved ~ namely, Christ. The Church. The Faith. The Sacraments.

Everything and everyone is is won by the sweetness of our words and works

You can do nothing with children unless you win their confidence and love by bringing them into touch with oneself, by breaking through all the hindrances that keep them at a distance. We must accommodate ourselves to their tastes, we must make ourselves like them. St John Bosco

Okay, I admit it is a far stretch of the imagination from Fleetwod Mac and their less-than-holy lyrics to St John Bosco, for whom purity was important.

Yet, I see a connection. In my past. The connection is happiness. And enthusiasm.

I associate both these attributes with my experiences of the songs above and with my experiences with the writings of St John Bosco.

Bring these to your life and to your parenting, to your marriage, to your work with children. Add faith and prayer. A recipe for unschooling.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

The New School Year

The new school year for 2009 in Australia.

Children traipse off to school this week, some yesterday, some today, some tomorrow.

For homeschoolers, the start of a new school year can mean time for planning. To organise curriculum and schedules.

Beverley Paine has many articles on getting started, organising your day, managing clutter, writing your own curriculum...

For unschoolers, life kinda just continues. We do a bit here and a bit there, we read, we watch movies, we talk...Our term time activities start up again and my Kumon gets busier but the essentials remain the same.

Last year, on the official first day of school we had a Not Back To School Day ~ went to the city, to Borders, met a son for lunch at an Italian restaurant....

What are we doing today? I had breakfast at Borders with some ladies from church, kids looked at Borders and shops; came home, did some Maths, I did Kumon, they did some writing, played computer, watchng TV now while I blog..Then work at Kumon this afternoon.

Gee, Borders features a lot in our unschooling. Borders unschooling? A school day at Borders?

So, if you are intrigued , if you are interested in unschooling this year, if you don't want to go the organisation and curriculum routine, what do you do? You can read our Unschooling Catholics blog. Especially the post on Beginning Unschooling.

St Thomas Aquinas.

Feel a bit bad about debating the merits of St Thomas' writing yesterday. I am hardly a sage.

Anyway, found this prayer for chastity, from St Thomas. Very helpful. Intend to share it with the kids..

And pray myself. I mean, we are all called to practice some degree of self control. I can't be with my dh whenever I want ( damn!) - I have to consider his needs, too. And am not free to look at others..

Do you know the story of St. Thomas chasing away a temptress from his room ?

And - the prayer?
Dearest Jesus! I know well that every perfect gift, and above all others that of chastity, depends upon the most powerful assistance of Thy Providence, and that without Thee a creature can do nothing. Therefore, I pray Thee to defend, with Thy grace, chastity and purity in my soul as well as in my body. And if I have ever received through my senses any impression that could stain my chastity and purity, do Thou, Who art the Supreme Lord of all my powers, take it from me, that I may with an immaculate heart advance in Thy love and service, offering myself chaste all the days of my life on the most pure altar of Thy Divinity. Amen. -St. Thomas Aquinas

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

A Visit.

A visit ~ on the Feast of St Thomas Aquinas. Doctor of the Church.

We had a mini debate over St Thomas - there are those of us in the family who like his writings and those of us ambivalent about some of the saint's thoughts. Hey, St Thomas made a great contribution but his writings were not infallible, right?

Our visit today was to Mary Mackillop Place. Wow, the museum was interesting - for me, as I recently finished reading a biography of Blessed Mary Mackillop. And for all of us, since we have lived in South Australia and many of the places portrayed were familiar to us.
We even used to live in Walkerville, where the early Sisters of St Joseph had the Girls' Orphanage. Used to go to a Latin Mass on Saturday mornings at St Lawrence's in North Adelaide, a church dedicated to Fr Julian Woods, Mary's friend and spiritual director.

Those little rabbit trails and connections and swirls of learning....

I prayed at the Chapel at Mary Mackillop Place. I had a lot of prayer intentions and my very patient family waited outside, in the courtyard and coffee shop.

Woo hoo! I left the Chapel very, very excited ( I know, I am weird!) ~ and also at peace. Excited because I had finally visited the Chapel, something I have wanted to do since we moved to Sydney in 2005. Yet something that I never had managed to do - up to now. Different things always thwarted my plans.

But not today.

We are going, I had announced to everyone last week. And go we did.

Sometimes I am a didactic forceful mother. ( Cringes.)

But I felt at peace, after the quiet and prayers. A peace that probably lasted all of ten minutes, until I started texting and talking. Again.

Blessed Mary Mackillop was a strong woman and a woman of strong faith. I admire such strength and such faith, especially in the face of adversity and in perplexing times.

Recently, I have blogged on gratitude. Recently I have had a penchant for blogging quotes from saints.

So, let me post ~ Gratitude is the memory of the heart...Bl. Mary Mackillop

Revolutionary Road

How do you break free without breaking apart?

The movie based on the novel by Richard Yates.

Saw the movie tonight. Now I want to read the book. .

The trailer states that the film is about American marriage.
I feel it was about more than that...

I feel it was about society. About life...About choices. A statement on women and views of women. About communication, or lack thereof. About when to be quiet. When to analyse. When to just live and pray and shut up. And stop thinking...

About being strong. About being compassionate.

Or not.

Someone said that the Wheelers, the couple portrayed by De Caprio and Winslett, should trust their home to Christ. To the Sacred Heart.

But is it really that simple?

Perhaps it is.

Be who you are and be that well.

A good vocation is simply a firm and constant will which the called person has to serve God in the way and in the places to which Almighty God has called him.

Do not fear what may happen tomorrow. The same loving Father who cares for you today will care for you tomorrow and everyday. Either he will shield you from suffering or He will give you unfailing strength to bear it. Be at peace then and put aside all anxious thoughts and imaginings. St Frances de Sales

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Damper? Lamingtons?

Australia Day. Jonathon's birthday. And we made
damper and lamingtons and read about the history of both. Making birthdays and holidays an unschooling learning experience! Right?

Monday, January 26, 2009

The Conversion of St Paul

We are still trying to make our way through the Letters of St Paul, as an occasional family read aloud.
So it was definitely heartening today to read again about Paul's conversion . Encouraging.

Paul's conversion gives us reason for hope. We can follow his example, we can walk in his way, we can be encouraged to follow in his steps as he followed Christ. Hey, we can turn our life around, take a different and better course, if need be.

3 And as he went on his journey, it came to pass that he drew nigh to Damascus; and suddenly a light from heaven shined round about him. 4 And falling on the ground, he heard a voice saying to him: Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me? 5 Who said: Who art thou, Lord? And he: I am Jesus whom thou persecutest. It is hard for thee to kick against the goad.
6 And he trembling and astonished, said: Lord, what wilt thou have me to do? 7 And the Lord said to him: Arise, and go into the city, and there it shall be told thee what thou must do. Now the men who went in company with him, stood amazed, hearing indeed a voice, but seeing no man
Acts of the Apostles 9:3-7

Saturday, January 24, 2009

The Saints

The saints? The Church has venerated Catholic saints since the beginning. The saints are our spiritual guides, our companions on life's journey. Their experiences show us the path we are to take in our own lives. In profiles of saints, those servants of God, we can find inspiration for us, we can find models of holiness.

We pray with saints, not to them.

Have you ever asked anyone to pray for you when you were having a hard time? Why did you choose to ask that person?
You may have chosen someone you could trust, or someone who understood your problem, or someone who was close to God. Those are all reasons we ask saints to pray for us in times of trouble.

Since saints led holy lives and are close to God , we feel that their prayers are particularly effective. Often we ask particular saints to pray for us if we feel they have a particular interest in our problem.

Why am I writing this? One of our little jaunts on our days away in Wollongong, was to a small, quaint secondhand bookstore. We had discovered this bookstore on our last visit. And today I found an old book, Calendar of Saints. using the older liturgical calendar and with reproductions of famous art. Reproduced in black and white.

An interesting addition to our other Saints and Art book, the one always on display - this uses the new calendar, has different works of art to our new/old book , these are in full, picturesque colour.

St.Francis de Sales

Today in Wollongong.

I went to morning Mass at the Cathedral. For St Francis de Sales, of whom my missal writes - His ardent love of God and souls, his great kindliness, rare wisdom and sure teaching made St Francis exceptionally influential in bringing about comversions and in guiding souls in the spiritual life.

Spent some time at Nth Beach, the waves were fantastic.The salt water made me feel energized! Consequently, I went for a fast beach walk. Soft sand.

Today we visited Kiama. Travelled to the Illawarra Treetop Walk, a walk on a steel pathway and towers between and above trees in the rainforest. Will post pics later.

Interesting experience. Loved the views. Loved the rocking of the pathway up high. Loved the educational side of things.- yes, the teacher in me emerged, reading the guide and observing and talking!

My reading on the way home to Sydney? Am blogging on my mobile phone...Should be reading work stuff but am playing hookey and reading EATING LESS - SAY GOODBYE TO OVEREATING by Gillian Riley. She talks about food addiction. Am I an addict? Don't know but some of her criteria apply to me.

Particularly this one. From time to time you feel compelled to binge on unhealthy food you don't usually eat, only to feel regretful and upset about it later.

One thing has occurred to me while reading. Namely that some of my stress and thus my stress binge eating is related to pressure. Feeling like I need to be better. Reading about St Frances de Sales and about food addiction gave me a thought.

Why stress? Work, yes. Pray, yes. But think good enough.

It is okay to be good enough. A good enough body. Even if not thin or attractive. A good enough Kumon Supervisor. A good enough wife and mother.

Not settling for mediocrity of course but not putting myself under so much pressure.

Sometimes one needs a little break away to get that epiphany. Thanks to Wollongong, family, friends, St Francis de Sales for the insight....Something I will continue to think about... I could be wrong with this good enough thing, you know.

You may be right! I may be crazy... Billy Joel

Friday, January 23, 2009

Australia Day weekend

The start of the Australia Day weekend. Remember the arrival and settlement of Europeans in Australia.

Read about St Timothy and St Titus.


Be mindful of our weakness, almighty God, and since the burden of our deeds is grievous to us, grant that the glorious intercession of blessed Timothy, Your servant and bishop, may protect us.

Visiting Wollongong. After an eventful drive down last night. Left after Kumon and a quick 8pm-ish fast food dinner. Took a wrong turning yet again and only went 100 km out of our way...I did yoga this morning in the hotel, a piped in class through the hotel network TV, and felt a lot less stressed.

Today we had a tour of Bluescope Steel, Australia Industry World. Wow. I liked the human side of the story ~ Steeltown, families working for the company generation after generation....Also interesting to see the steel slabs and rolling and stretching....The exothermic reaction...And we got to wear full protective gear. Move over Bob the Builder!

Great lunch, too much delicious food, and a walk along Port Kembla beach. To walk out those lunch calories. Splash in the water. Collect a few shells. Make up stories based on the tracks in the sand.

And now we are journalling, doing some sketches in nature journals, blogging.

Yes, Mabel, unschoolers journal and do educational tours on holiday. We really do live and learn!

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Serving Others As A Gift

Joy can be a gift.

Doing things for others can be our gift to them.

Specifically doing things for family.

Arrived home today from all day work meetings. Kids had been at home with friends. Dh had been at home, too, but busy with his things-to-do.

The house was strewn with dart guns. Foam darts. Civilization card games. Laundry not started Leftover food. Dirty dishes. Someone had baked and the utensils were in the sink....

I took a deep breath. I got a drink of water. Greg made me a cup of tea. I said hi to dh and the younger kids and their friends.

And I didn't nag. Woo hoo! A milestone!

I remembered how nice it is to do things for others. How nice it is to serve others. How nice it is to be the recipient of such service.

I began picking up.Tidying up. Praying for those I love. And, because I have great kids, some of them and one of their friends jumped in to help with some of the work, too.

Dh and I had a talk, as well, this afternoon. I remembered that modelling joy is important. That I can choose joy over grumpiness or anger or sarcasm and resentment.

Maybe we get so caught up in our lives that we forget to be happy with who we have. Notice I said who and not what. I am talking about my family. My dh and kids. Being happy that I have a family to clean up after, to offer me advice, to offer me constructive criticism.

It is in the giving and serving and the listening that I grow. That the family, too, grows.

One thing I got from one of the unschooling lists years ago was to be grateful for the people for whom I am cleaning up . Pray for the kids as I pick up foam darts from guns, strewn all around the house ( like now!!). Think something nice about dh when I am folding laundry.

Doing this makes me feel more positive. Sometimes it is harder to do this than other times. Sometimes, I find it hard to pray instead of being resentful.

When I am doing it well, though, I am more at peace and I find the kids end up helping more, too. Dh and the kids go with the positive attitude and this helps all of us.

I am no saint, for sure, but I am working on applying unschooling to other areas of my life.

I get knocked down but I get up again, They're never gonna keep me down! Tub-Thumping by Chumbawumba.... Love that song. And I fall down, I get angry, I don 't do so well at saying yes. But I get back up again and try. Try to serve with joy.

Like today.

The rewards are great.

One mum said it well ~ Really, I think it’s better to have a dirty house and minimally prepared food than to have filth in the air from guilt, manipulation, and griping.

Or - G.K. Chesterton on Gratitude - I would maintain that thanks are the highest form of thought; and that gratitude is happiness doubled by wonder...When it comes to life the critical thing is whether you take things for granted or take them with gratitude.The aim of life is appreciation; there is no sense in not appreciating things; and there is no sense in having more of them if you have less appreciation of them.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Thomas Made A Cake for the Feast of St Agnes

1 1/2 c. flour 1 tsp. bicarb soda 1 c. sugar 1/2 tsp. salt 2 sq. melted chocolate 1 tsp. melted margarine 1 c. milk 1 tsp. vanilla
Measure flour. Add soda and salt. Mix sugar, chocolate and margarine. Add milk and flour alternately. Beat well after each addition. Add vanilla. Bake in well greased pan in moderate oven 40 minutes. Ice with frosting

St Agnes

O God, among the wonders of Your power You have granted even to the weaker sex the triumph of martyrdom: mercifully grant that we who celebrate the heavenly birthday of Agnes, Your virgin and martyr, may, through her example, advance nearer to You.

Today is the feast of St Agnes. And my family will know why I want to post the prayer above...from my missal.....

Just back from seeing the film Doubt. A very powerful film. You watch this film and you think of situations in life where those who have done wrong have tried to cover their wrongdoings with big words. Supposed words of love and compassion. Manipulation.

Or have made you question yourself, even though you are in the right, by their authority, their hiding behind obedience or name calling, their making you question yourself and your humility. When it is all a cover up for their faults.

Meryl Streep's character is strong. And, yet, like all of us, she has doubts .

Even though the direction is a little too static, Doubt is a study in how a play can be successfully adapted to the screen (it does not always work). It is also a masterclass in acting. Seymour Hoffman, Streep, Adams and Viola Davis, who plays Donald’s mother, have already picked up nominations for the major acting awards in the USA. On their own, the scenes between Streep and Seymour Hoffman are worth the price of admission. The range of emotions these two can convincingly explore in ten minutes of screen time is mesmerising. From the above, linked review.

Liturgically, there are mistakes in the film. But the human drama is exquisite .

We are reminded of the words of St Augustine ~ Hope has two lovely daughters, anger and courage: anger so that what cannot be, may not be; and courage, so that what must be, will be.

And thus I come full circle, back to St Agnes. Courage. St Agnes had courage. Courage to remain faithful to Christ even though it meant the sacrifice of her youthful life.

What are some customs for the feast of St Agnes? One can bake bread. One can cook lamb - or make a cake in the shape of a lamb. See here.

Monday, January 19, 2009


Pork satay sticks for dinner tonight. I marinaded the pork before work and dh cooked them on the barbecue when I got home at 8.30 p.m.

A successful dinner, remembering St Anthony of the Desert. That pork/pig/hog/temptation connection, you know...
1-1.25kg (2¼-2¾lb) pork fillet, cut into cubes
2tbsp vegetable oil
4tbsp light soy sauce
4tsbp lemon juice
5tbsp smooth peanut butter
1-2 cloves garlic, crushed
Short bamboo skewers soaked in water

1. Mix the oil, 2tbsp soy sauce and 2tbsp lemon juice in a bowl. Place the meat cubes in the mixture and leave to marinate for an hour or so.
2. Thread 3 pieces of meat on each bamboo skewer. In a pan, heat the rest of the soy sauce and lemon juice with the peanut butter, garlic and 8tbsp hot water, stirring until smooth.
3. Grill, or barbecue, the skewers for about 6 mins, turning them so that they brown all over.
4. Brush with hot sauce . Serve more of the sauce in a bowl.

So, what does an unschooler's week look like?

In educational terms?

We don't plan and programme, we don't even post-programme but I DO log our doings. Briefly. Online.
So, these are the January school holidays in Sydney but since we unschool, I can say that we learn, we homeschool year round.

Here, at our homeschool blog of St Anthony's Academy, is what our week has going for thoughts on what we'll do, based on what we have done so far ( that science experiment), our day to day life ( chores, friends over...), our outings ( Catholic homeschoolers, trip to steelworks and treetop walk) and our routines ( saints books, current events, travel journals..).

Someone shared their top tips for unschooling, on an email list.To paraphrase, the top practical tips were ~ Spend time doing what you love to do - what brings you joy, what energizes you. - Help each member of your family do what he or she loves to do.- Spend time with friends and family.-

I would add prayer and service and routines. Those pegs coupled with strewing and

Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with thy whole heart, and with thy whole soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind: and thy neighbour as thyself. Luke 10:27
I am come that they may have life, and may have it more abundantly. John 10:10
Behold the Lamb of God, behold him who taketh away the sin of the world John 1:29

These verses seem significant to me, in defining our homeschooling and unschooling. Behold the Lord, the Lamb of God, receive our Lord, who took away our sins, in the Eucharist.... Love the Lord.... Love your neighbour as yourself - even family!.... Live life abundantly....learn about and live your faith...

Hey, who couldn't help but learn and grow?

This pic? The cover of our book for 2oo8. We try to make a book or books each year, as a memory. Last year our book was a photobook, photos of an unschooling day mid-Advent. Alexander and I took the pics. Anthony and I assembled the book, using the Target Photobook software . I picked up the book yesterday.

An Unschooling Life.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

What We Did Today

We attended Mass and the celebration of vows of Sisters from the Missionary Sisters of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Queen of the World. Mass was celebrated by our Apostolic Nuncio. One Sister made her perpetual profession; one the renewal of vows and one was admitted to the novitiate.

It was simply beautiful. Sounds trite but I really thought it was beautiful to see those Sisters and their devotion.

I also thought it was important for my kids to see such a celebration, to see these nuns and to pray during the ceremony.

I remember watching The Nun's Story on TV, a re-run, when I was young. I found the whole clothing ceremony in that movie to be breathtaking. Haunting. Touching. Audrey Hepburn as the main character, puts away the clothing of the world ( in that case a bridal gown) and dons the full habit.

I wasn't even Catholic then but was moved by that scene. By the whole movie, actually. And I promptly borrowed the book from the public library, my own little religion unschooling-rabbit-trail.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

That Blank Page

Jennifer began her yearly accountability blog, writing her life on a blank page. Making herself read it. Doing something about it.

After work meetings yesterday, I stood , waiting for the car to come, chilly with the wind blowing around me, thinking of all the things I want to fix up in my life.

I have a super life. Really. Wouldn't swap places with anyone else.

But if I was to write that blank page, there are things I'd need to write. Things I'd need to re-read and work on. Things I'd need to hold myself accountable for.

And things I feel I want to work on at my Kumon Centre, with thoughts swirling around after the work consultation.

My one word for this year is LOVE. Right.

But my habits?

This year, what are some of the things I need to do, in the areas I feel need fixing up?

Check goals and budget
Stick to plan ( Ha!)
Think before spending ( Double Ha!)

Keep weight goal in mind
Mindful eating
Calories or plan
Workout ( cardio and weights)

Unschool mindset
Saying yes to dh and kids rather than disagreeing (dh) or barking out orders (kids)

Extra assistant
Feedback wall assistants
Me on the spot feedback and observe
Communication ( students and parents re vision)
Number board/CD/oral reading days and at initial info meetings

Maybe you have a blank page that needs writing? Have a look at Lisa's Deliberate Living Family Report Card...

St Anthony of the Desert

St Anthony of the Desert was a Christian hermit. He lived a life of great austerity. Legend has it that the Devil tried to tempt him, taking many different forms - among them a pig or hog, representing sensuality. ( We always thought it was to tempt him away from his fast! ).
Anthony resisted temptation and thus is often represented in works of art with a pig next to him. On his feast day we traditionally eat pork...Well, on or near the feast day...Maybe some time this week? Perhaps pork satay sticks...

Friday, January 16, 2009

Round up

A round up of my recent online readings and ponderings and case anyone is interested or like me, enjoys wandering the net...instead of hanging out laundry or starting dinner! ( I don't know why our family eats so much . Or wears so many clothes. Keeps me working. Or avoiding working.)

An Unschooling Landscape ~ The article's nod to Unschooling suggests that Unschoolers "leave the house the way it is." While the sentiment that Unschoolers Live and Learn in the same space is an accurate one, I began to wonder whether we, too, didn't change the way we live because we choose to learn from living itself. The answer for my family is that Unschooling impacts and changes our entire landscape: no schoolroom at home, but a rich, full, exuberant landscape that ranges from room to room and spills out into our yard and the woods beyond.

Explains the clutter in my house.... "Oh, we're unschoolers!"

Covenanted Happiness ~ If love is to survive in marriage each spouse must learn to love the other, with his or her defects. But if love is not just to survive, but to grow, then each spouse must be able discover virtues-new virtues or increased virtues--in the other.
On the natural level, generosity and self-giving are what make a person better and more lovable. And it is selfishness that kills love both in the selfish person himself as well as in those who have contact with him or her.
The person in love needs to be able to sacrifice himself for the loved one, if he himself is to become more lovable. The person incapable of sacrifice is incapable of giving or receiving (or retaining) much love.

Sacrifice. Ouch. But fits in with my thoughts over recent months, about the Proverbs 31 wife, about making a spouse happy, about giving up something for another, giving up part of self, really. Even fits in with Dr Who! (laughs).

And the final cylon is... ~ Speculation for those of us who are Battlestar Galactica fans.

Conversion Diary ~ ....What do you talk to a spiritual director about? A general answer would be "how to grow in holiness." You might talk to them about discerning where God is leading you in a specific area of your life, how to have a more fruitful prayer life, how to cope with spiritual dry spells, how to resolve a moral dilemma that's causing you stress, etc. Spiritual directors don't give you orders to tell you what to do, but rather offer gentle suggestions, insights and things to consider in order for you to make your own decisions.

Dollars and Sense ~ Changing habits...This is my yearly accountability blog, the place where I put my life on a blank page and make myself read it.

Sounds like a good idea to me. What was that quote I read somewhere? Oh, from Don DeLillo ( whoever he is..) But the quote fits with writing and accountability.... In the end, writers will write not to be outlaw heroes of some underculture but mainly to save themselves...

Thursday, January 15, 2009


A friend and I were briefly discussing liturgy the other day. She said she had a leaning towards liturgical churches. And wondered if such leanings were a result of personality and not necessarily theology.

What do we mean by the term liturgical church? Most churches have some form of liturgy that guides the flow of service, but a "liturgical church" conducts its services by a strict, prescribed liturgy — a formal structure or order of worship, which has been passed down from tradition. This type of church generally places much emphasis upon ceremony and ritual, and may use various forms of religious icons.

Now, I love celebrating the liturgical year. When I became a Catholic, the Mass (and mostly it was the Latin Mass that I attended, that drew me to the Church) , the feast days, the solemnities, the readings for and meanings attached to each day, it was these that gave me a true sense of God , of Faith, in my life.

Liturgy leitourgia is a Greek composite word meaning originally a public
duty, a service to the state undertaken by a citizen.In Christian use liturgy meant the public official service of the Church, that corresponded to the official service of the Temple in the Old Law.

Liturgy often means the whole complex of official services, all the
rites, ceremonies, prayers, and sacraments of the Church, as opposed to private devotions. In this sense we speak of the arrangement of all these services in certain set forms used officially by the Church.

But the Catholic
Encyclopedia also writes of liturgy ~ The other sense of the word liturgy, now the common one in all Eastern Churches, restricts it to the chief official service only -- the Sacrifice of the Holy Eucharist, which in our rite we call the Mass.

My St Andrew's Missal states ~ This fount of living water which springs up in our hearts unto life eternal, refers, no doubt, to the private prayer with which the Holy Spirit may inspire us, and in which we are led by Him to God as children to their father, but it is principally that official prayer with which the Holy Spirit inspires His Church and which we call the Liturgy. ...The primary aim of the liturgy is to worship God by prayers and sacrifice; its second is the sanctification of mankind:sacrifice and public prayer are two of the principal channels through which we may obtain those graces of life divine...

At the
4 Real Learning forum, a poster asked about living the liturgical year, on an average day. She pondered living our faith, not on the bigger feast days but on the ordinary days, the feria days, the days in Ordinary Time. She acknowledged that daily Mass was not really possible for her with young children and wanted living the Faith to be natural, not forced.

People replied. With some excellent advice about prayer and setting times for prayer.

Now, in this family, most of our praying, the Morning offering, the Rosary and so forth, are usually prayed while in the car. One of the times we are together and have a captive audience.

When I lead the grace before meals, I tend to attach the Angelus to the grace or blessing, regardless of time. So, at least I know we have prayed the Angelus, have brought our minds and thoughts to God. Even if I fiddle while praying.

And we alternate prayers in Latin and English. Alternate days. Just to help with understanding Latin, the language of the Church. Its separate-ness, for want of a better term. Language that for us that is not infused with other meanings or connotations.

As a convert, how have I tried to make my Faith part of our day? With unschooling, I like to strew educational things, to guide, to spark interest, to inspire not require ( although I can bark out orders as good as any Sargeant Major!) , to make learning a natural part of the day.

Therefore, even now, in official school holidays, we read, we talk, we do some maths and some Latin.

Similarly with my Faith. In effect, one could say that I try to strew my Faith. In the ordinary things of every day.

What has helped me strew my Faith is looking at myself and doing little things.

f? I aim to read my missal each day, preferably in the morning but not always so. I use that 1961 St Andrews Missal mentioned above. I find that I tend to reflect on the readings all day, and this eventually permeates my day, my interactions with the kids, my thoughts, my conversation.

Daily Mass, when I can, either by myself or with the kids, helps, too. We have some regular Masses that we aim to attend each week - the Tuesday night St Anthony Mass, the Friday morning 9.15 Mass, I like attending Mass on a Saturday morning, too...

I have a Saints book with gorgeous art on the computer table ~ this
book ~ and each morning, I or someone else, flicks to the saint for the day - it is as natural for us as sitting down to read email or check blogs and Facebook ( oh dear) - and thus we end up looking at the Saint for the day and at the art. Thinking. Talking. Bringing our Faith to the forefront.

I also change the centrepiece at the dining table to reflect the liturgical year. Sometimes I just put flowers and a statue or the missal or the Bible on the table. We work at that table, we eat, we talk, visitors come and and comment on the centrepiece . This kind of naturally draws our mind to the liturgy and to God.

Little things, I know, but little things, natural strewing, have been helpful for us in experiencing the liturgy, praying the liturgy, living the liturgy.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Life and Dr Who

We had a Dr Who TV series marathon today.

I laughed. I yelled out "No!" I cringed over David Tennant leaving the series. I hid my eyes. I cried.

I just about never cry In Real Life when sad, but cry over books and movies. A psychiatrist would have a field day with me!

I forgot that the recent Dr Who series was so sad. Mirrors life. Creates pathos.

The 2007 Christmas special. The self-sacrifice of some of the characters. The pain of the Doctor. Those for whom he cares leave. Or die.

Self-sacrifice. There are times when we are all called to die to self. Many times, in my life, it is in the little things. Giving up an activity to be with a family member, to please them, make them feel wanted.

A little sacrifice. Seemingly. Yet hard. Hard to put away a little of oneself.
Even in love.

I cried "no" to the act of self-sacrifice of a character in one of the Dr Who episodes today. Yet I know, in my depths, that sacrifice can be necessary. Can be good, especially long term. I have experienced the pain, though pain is too grand a word, I have experienced the unpleasantness of my oh so little sacrifices but have also experienced the fruitful consequences.

Do everything for the love of God and His glory without looking at the outcome of the undertaking. Work is judged, not by its result, but by its intention.
St Pio of Pietrelcina

Choices. David Tennant-as-Doctor had to make a terrible choice, between two unpalatable options. And then live with the results.

I want everyone to in my life to be happy . I want to have it all, do it all, have few limits, live my faith, please everyone and still be me.

I strive to iron out contradictions and problems.

Yet, I really can't please everyone. The Doctor couldn't save everyone; he had to do what he could.

In my life , I can't please everyone all the time. In our lives, we can't please everyone. We have to choose, make right choices, knowing that our choices may be uncomfortable for another. For ourselves. We just have to choose, to act, in prayer.

It is our part to seek, His to grant what we ask; ours to make a beginning, His to bring it to completion; ours to offer what we can, His to finish what we cannot. St. Jerome

And then the Doctor smiles at his companion, Donna. Agrees with Donna, that "Sometimes, I do need someone."

Don't we all? We make choices, we decide to sacrifice something dear to us for a loved one but we don 't do this on our own. We have God's grace. We have our friends and family. Sometimes we have a special companion or confidante.

We , too, need to remind ourselves, that we do not have to act on our own, without support. That we , like the Doctor, need someone. A companion or companions. Someone to advise us.

And we need the graces of the Sacraments.

It is not enough for me that God has given me grace once, but He must give it always. I ask, that I may receive; and when I have received, I ask again. I am covetous of receiving God's bounty. He is never slow in giving, nor am I ever weary of receiving. The more I drink, the more thirsty I become. -St. Jerome

I love the new Dr Who series. I love how it knits life with science fiction and entertainment. I love how it makes us think and discuss. And laugh. And cry. Although I was the only cry baby today!

Donna tells the Doctor "Don't try to be clever in Latin!". I caught Alexander's eye. We laughed. Especially at the Latin reference.

But don't try to be clever. Just be, learning and trying to do what is good. Smiling along the way.

To be perfect in one's vocation is nothing else than to perform the duties and offices to which one is obliged, solely for the honor and love of God, referring all to His glory. Whoever works in this manner may be called perfect in his state, a man according to the heart and will of God. St. Francis de Sales

Monday, January 12, 2009

Beginning of Ordinary TIme

According to my calendar, today marks the beginning of Ordinary Time in the liturgical year.

In the context of the liturgical year the term "ordinary" does not mean "usual or average." Ordinary here means "not seasonal." Ordinary Time is that part of the Liturgical Year that lies outside the seasons of Lent-Easter and Advent-Christmas. In Ordinary Time, the Church celebrates the mystery of Christ not in one specific aspect but in all its aspects. The readings during the liturgies of Ordinary Time help to instruct us on how to live out our Christian faith in our daily lives.

Isn't that inspiring? The readings, the liturgy help us live our faith, day to day.

Definitely sharing this thought with the kids.

The term Ordinary Time is intended to translate the Latin term Tempus per annum - time through the year.

Ordinary Time. Living our faith. Learning about our faith. Bumbling and stumbling together. Laughter. Some tears. Some anger. Prayer. Mess. Friends. Work. Play. A very little rest. ( Knowing me.)


Sunday, January 11, 2009

The Baptism of Our Lord

Today the Church celebrates the Solemnity of the Baptism of Our Lord. The Church recalls Our Lord's second manifestation or epiphany which occurred on the occasion of His baptism in the Jordan.

It is a nice day to re-visit each child's baptism. We can light the baptismal candle(s). The candles lit at each child's baptism. If we can find them.

Mark 1: 7 - 11
7 And he preached, saying, "After me comes he who is mightier than I, the thong of whose sandals I am not worthy to stoop down and untie.
8 I have baptized you with water; but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit."
9 In those days Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan.
10 And when he came up out of the water, immediately he saw the heavens opened and the Spirit descending upon him like a dove;
11 and a voice came from heaven, "Thou art my beloved Son; with thee I am well pleased."

Saturday, January 10, 2009


Freedom consists not in doing what we like, but in having the right to do what we ought. Pope John Paul II, from Crossing the Threshold of Hope

I think about this quote in relation to my children. If I micro-manage their lives and their days, are the kids given opportunity to exercise this freedom to choose right? Or is it a good thing if the right action is forced onto them, meaning they do right because they have to and not because they should and/or want to?

This may be semantics but I feel it is important. The freedom to choose makes the difference.

I, and my kids, need to be given the opportunity to choose right - not have the right action forced on us. I wonder if this is a personality thing, we are a family of pretty strong personalities!
We tend to do good things when we feel free to choose good but find it oh so difficult if told to or made to do something.

I am the worst for this. I often give my husband the you-know-whats simply because I find it hard to do what he tells me to do .

Of course, we give freedom to choose what we ought in a family culture of guidance and co-operation and sharing of the Faith. We assume a spiritual formation, a formation of a conscience. We assume that a child , and a wayward adult like me!, is learning right from wrong and feels remorse for not-nice actions.

We don't have freedom to treat others poorly, without apology. We don't have freedom to hurt others without remorse.

We have freedom to choose and our spiritual formation helps us choose what is right. Or to make amends for those times when we choose less than right options.

Why is it that one abuses freedom, to assert his/her will and another uses freedom to build others? Why is it that one feels remorse over poor choices and another doesn't seem to question him/herself?

Remorse. A feeling of regret for one's sins or misdeeds.

Remorse: beholding heaven and feeling hell . George Moore

I lie awake some nights, feeling remorse over some of my words. Words usually, not deeds.

Now, too much remorse can be a form of self pity. One can wallow in remorse and not choose to do something right - not choose to do as we ought, not choose to do anything at all. Acedia. ( As an aside, I am wanting to read this book, Acedia & Me: A Marriage, Monks, and a Writer's Life suggested by an internet friend at a homeschooling forum..).

Other people, however, appear to feel little remorse.

How to give our children freedom to choose, while guiding their formation? So, they, too choose good and know how to apologize for times when they may hurt others? How do we help ourselves do the same?

The Catechism of the Catholic Church states ~

1804 The virtuous person tends toward the good with all his sensory and spiritual powers; he pursues the good and chooses it in concrete actions. Human virtues are firm attitudes, stable dispositions, habitual perfections of intellect and will that govern our actions, order our passions, and guide our conduct according to reason and faith. They make possible ease, self-mastery, and joy in leading a morally good life. The virtuous man is he who freely practices the good.

Therefore,we encourage our children and ourselves in the acquisition of virtues. It is in this acquisition that we then have freedom to choose.

The virtues? The Catechism again ~

1805 Four virtues play a pivotal role and accordingly are called "cardinal"; all the others are grouped around them. They are: prudence, justice, fortitude, and temperance. "If anyone loves righteousness, [Wisdom's] labors are virtues; for she teaches temperance and prudence, justice, and courage."64 These virtues are praised under other names in many passages of Scripture..

Prudence... A seemingly old fashioned word yet St. Thomas Aquinas, following Aristotle, wrote that prudence is "right reason in action." Looking at where you are going. Thinking about your choices.

Justice is much discussed in my family, the kids have a strong sense of justice! It is something we talk about a lot, after incidents, when watching movies or discussing books. Justice toward men disposes one to respect the rights of each and to establish in human relationships the harmony that promotes equity with regard to persons and to the common good.

Challenge oneself ~ get out of your comfort zone! I say this to myself and to the kids. And thus we think of fortitude as the virtue that ensures firmness in difficulties and constancy in the pursuit of the good. It strengthens the resolve to resist temptations and to overcome obstacles in the moral life.

Temperance, like prudence, is a word from another time. Yet, we are all asked to exercise temperance at some time or other. And temperance is developed for me when I choose it, not when temperance is pushed by others ( Do you really want to eat that, stop eating that chocolate, says a family member. Argh! Now that has been said, I want to eat that chocolate more!). Temperance moderates the attraction of pleasures and ensures the will's mastery over instincts and keeps desires within the limits of what is honourable.

I started off thinking about freedom. About doing what is right. Segued into thinking of remorse and of the virtues.

But they are all, almost, one and the same, aren't they?

We have freedom but not licentiousness. We aim to choose right; when we do not, we should feel remorse and apologise or make amends. It is the development of virtue that enables us to use our right to do what we ought.

We develop virtues together, by working together, not as adversaries and not by control.

You're not your child's adversary, you're his partner.
It helps lots to mentally shift away from trying to change our kids to helping them be who they are....Be her partner in helping her get what she wants from life rather than her controller.....Be a role model of respect for her. Treat her with respect. Don't wait until you think she deserves your respect. Respect her for who she is inside rather than the creature she feels she needs to become in order to fight for control.
Think of it like this: If some controlling adult thought you should put on courtly manners at church and you felt you were behaving well already, would you respect him and change to his ideas if he gave you a time-out, ignored you when you spoke to him, confined you to your room or spanked you?
It's not likely we'll want to change for someone who's ranting at us! But we'll consider doing things as a favor for someone who loves and respects who we already are.
Joyfully Rejoycing

Painting above - Correggio - Allegory of the Virtues.

Thursday, January 08, 2009

The Catholic Blogosphere

The Blogosphere. Not to be confused with a TV sci-fi outer planet community but a term coined by Jennette Fulda in Half-Assed. Describing the online communites of blogs and bloggers.

Why blog? Fulda talks about leaving a map.

And about the embarrassment of being found, exposed by those who know you in-real-life.

She writes ~

Then my mom found the blog..I wanted to curl up in the fetal position..I never thought my mom would crash my online party.That's what I got for teaching her how to use Google. Now my family would know exactly who I was. This was the scariest thing about emblogessment. They would see me as I was around my online friends, which was not always the same way I was around my family..I'd said things on my blog I'd never said to anyone..I'd put all my vulnerable, fleshy bits out there for everyone to see, and that came with the risk of getting poked with a stick.

I find, in the world of Catholic bloggers, that many of us write under pseudonyms. Out of necessity.

I know I have pseudonyms for some of the online communities I frequent.

But on this blog I am me. Leonie. Since this is one way, my way, of keeping in touch with old friends, and current friends, and a way of connecting with new friends.

The trouble with being open in the Catholic blogging world?

As Fulda says above, you are vulnerable.


You are Catholic, says one reader in email. You even like the Traditional Mass. You homeschool. And yet you write of listening to Blondie, reading about Madonna, and use words like frak.

What can I say? I am eclectic, catholic even in taste.

I don't pretend to be the best Catholic around. I just aim to keep on trying to be better. To work towards that perfection of which Our Lord speaks.

Be you therefore perfect, as also your heavenly Father is perfect. Matthew 5:48

I love reading blogs of others. Homeschool blogs. Catholic blogs. Blogs of friends. Fitness and weight loss blogs.

I think we bloggers leave maps and directories, with stories and discussions and questions of our world, our thoughts, actions, observations.

I like the differences. Even the disagreements.

Either we must speak as we dress, or dress as we speak. Why do we profess one thing and display another? -St. Jerome.

The Saint is talking of dress and modesty in dress. But I think the statement applies to blogging.

We preach charity? Then show charity in blogging. Disagreements and criticism allowed. But in a spirit of charity.

I write - speak - on this blog as I dress - as I am. A Catholic living in today's world, embracing some things old and some things new. Working my way through a possible minefield. Reading and praying. And loving. Looking for direction alongside my family and friends.

God’s invitation to become saints is for all, not just a few. Sanctity therefore must be accessible to all. In what does it consist? In a lot of activity? No. In doing extraordinary things? No, this could not be for everybody and at all times. Therefore, sanctity consists in doing good, and in doing this good in whatever condition and place God has placed us. Nothing more, nothing outside of this.
Blessed Loius Tezza

Epiphany-tide ?

The Epiphany. January 6. We remember the visit of the Three Kings to the Child Jesus.

COLLECT - O God, who on this day, didst manifest Thine only-begotten Son to the Gentiles by the guidance of a star: graciously grant, that we, who know Thee now by faith, may be led on even to contemplate the beauty of Thy Majesty. Through the same Jesus Christ, . . .

So here we are in Ephipany-tide. Not really a word yet I like it's usage!

Epiphany means manifestation. What the Church celebrates is the manifestation of our Lord to the whole world; after being made known to the shepherds of Bethlehem he is revealed to the Magi who have come from the east to adore Him....the Magi lead in their wake all the peoples of the earth, and thus the Epiphany is an affirmation of universal salvation..The St Andrew Daily Missal 1961

Today we had the Epiphany house blessing, of which I blogged last year.

And Thomas and I have started to make, before work, some Three Kings Bread, using a recipe shared on Facebook.

Isn't technology great? A friend in Canada, shares a recipe on Facebook and we try it here in Australia.

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

How Not 2 Colour Your Hair

Had medical tests today. More Friday. Maybe more next week.

Took kids to the beach after. Super! I love the waves.The sun. Bodysurfing. Being dumped by the big waves.

Made me feel alive.

So in a positive frame of mind I purchased some hair colour and decided to put a new colour through my hair.

Hopped in the shower. Then thought I'd better read the instructions. I never read instructions for anything. But one has to start somewhere.

Oh. No. You are supposed to start with dry clean hair. I now had wet unclean post beach hair.

I figured it wouldn't matter much so went ahead.

Apply gloves. Okay. Turn off shower. Attempt to put on plastic gloves.

Frak. How do you get them on? I couldn't get my fingers aligned. Got a hole in the thumb area. Great, I thought. Now I will just get colour on my hand. Always wanted dark hands with a purple tinge. Cos that's the colour I chose for my hair.

Still in that positive frame of my mind, I set to work on mixing the colour. Was it all squeezed out? Was it all mixed? Was it to be a creamy shade with purple streaks or should it be all purple-y?

Persevering I applied the colour to my hair. Thank heavens I wasn't wearing my clothes. I dropped some dye. A purplish streak loomed across my navel. Wiping it off I smudged a spot onto the bathroom sink. Smeared this away and onto the bathroom counter. Good. Time to re- colour the bathroom in this rented house anyway!

Okay. Instructions said to wait 20 minutes. I started in on paperwork and folders for my Kumon centre, putting the waiting time to good use....30 minutes and several phone text interruptions later I shrieked! What would happen! I had left the dye in too long! Would I turn into a pumpkin? Or worse. Would I end up looking like a drag queen with freaky hair to match my purple nail polish?

Well, I certainly don't look like the next lead for the Rocky Horror Picture Show. Thankfully. My hair is okay. Dark. You can see a touch of purple in some lights. And the bathroom survived.

And I am still in that positive frame of mind.

Just don't come to me for Colour Your Hair Instructions.

Monday, January 05, 2009

Daybook. 2009

Outside my window. . . It is dark. It has been hot. But I can feel a cooling breeze.

I am thinking. . . About many things. Too many things. My mind is scattered, worrying about this, pondering that, planning for those things, writing blogposts...

I am thankful for. . . TV and DVDs and computers and gaming systems! Great ways to veg out after work. The family that veges out together stays together. Or something like that.

From the learning rooms. . . Today we got back into a groove. I did Kumon. Kids did some Kumon maths and some Latin.

From the kitchen. . . Greg made a very nice chicken rice dish for dinner, while I was at work. I made a yummy bean and tomato salad, with garden fresh beans and tomatoes that were given to us.

I am wearing. . . No shoes! Kicked those off when I got home from work at 8.30 p.m. With a black skirt, black t shirt, purple swirly top. Earrings. Lots of bangles. Purple nail polish...

I am creating. . . Nothing. Pretty usual for me. Well, not completely true. I did create a clean and tidy Kumon Centre today, my first day back at work for 2009. Sorted through boxes. Threw stuff out. Feel organised.

I am going. . . Nowhere tonight. Nowhere in my life?... But off to the airport yet again tomorrow, as another son leaves for interstate after the Christmas break.

I am reading. . . The Epistle of St Paul to the Romans. Reading it aloud to the kids. But had to stop . Should've skipped a section. Too unsuitable for Anthony!

Ch 1 26 For this cause God delivered them up to shameful affections. For their women have changed the natural use into that use which is against nature. 27 And, in like manner, the men also, leaving the natural use of the women, have burned in their lusts one towards another, men with men working that which is filthy, and receiving in themselves the recompense which was due to their error. 28 And as they liked not to have God in their knowledge, God delivered them up to a reprobate sense, to do those things which are not convenient; 29 Being filled with all iniquity, malice, fornication, avarice, wickedness, full of envy,

I am hoping. . . That I will not feel too fat when I get on the scale tomorrw. One shouldn't fear the scale, should one?

I am hearing. . .The sound of guns. Fake guns. Thomas playing DOOM on the computer. Luke and Alexander playing KNIGHT OF THE UNDEAD on the Playstation. And I am hearing lots of talking about the game and the moves.

Around the house. . .We still have our Christmas decorations up. It is still Christmastide, right? Will probably take them down some time after January 6.

One of my favourite things. . . Right now? The summer mornings, blue skies, working out, hanging out laundry, talking to kids...

A few plans for the rest of the week. . . . Kumon and more Kumon stuff for work...Still looking for a missing photo and praying and praying to St. Anthony..Maybe the beach...Maybe coffee with a friend...maybe the movies...

I am praying for... A situation that is unpleasant and plain downright yucky. For all those involved. For a resolution .

Here are some pictures that I am sharing.. Doing push-ups with Anthony on their back..

Sunday, January 04, 2009


Talking with an online friend about stress. Well, not really talking but cyber-chatting, you know?

She sent me two slogans. I laughed. Hey, laughter beats stress any time!


Handle every stressful situation like a dog. If you can't eat it or play with it, just pee on it and walk away.

The Epiphany

Well, sort of.

Intellectually I still hold that the feast of the Epiphany is January 6, keeping the twelve days of Christmas. But liturgically, I understand that in the US and Australia the feast has been moved to the nearest Sunday, to "allow all the faithful to participate in this feast."

Three wise men
magi from the east
brought presents.

Gold = for kingship. Frankincense = for priesthood. Myrrh = for burial.

We always share gold foil covered chocolate coins on this day.

Saturday, January 03, 2009


Just back from dropping one son off to the airport. He has been here for the Christmas season and now goes back to work interstate.

Dh finds this separation, this saying goodbye, this letting go hard. Much harder than I.

Now, it is not that I don 't care. I do. I'm a mum.

But I learned long ago to get over my emotions. To not give in to my emotions. To move on, put the sad or cross or unhappy or melancholy feelings away. To be Pollyanna. ( Pollyanna and Pippi Longstocking were two of my childhood heroines.)

I learned to not think about things. To just move on. To enjoy what I have.

In the book and movie Because of Winn Dixie , an older lady gives advice to Opal, the ten year old girl and main character. Opal is sad. Sad because her mother left many years before. Sad that she has lost her dog.

The advice? You can't hold onto the things you love. You can only enjoy them while you have them.

So, that is what I do. I enjoy today, this moment. I pray. And I try not to think about sad things, things in the past, worry about the future. About letting go.

I have put away some things from my childhood, from my past. Mentally. I don 't go there and re-visit certain things. They happened. I've moved on. I won't bring up past emotions.

This is how I deal with emotions. By not dealing with them. One could say. By putting them away.

A doctor friend once told my dh that I needed to talk about the miscarriages I had experienced. My dh shook his head. He knew me and knew the way I dealt with things.

I tuck away my emotions. This, too, shall pass.

I saw how destructive some dwelling on emotions can be, in my growing up. I learned early on not to show emotions, to not to let yourself be vulnerable as then others used that to hurt you more.

This caused my parent, when I was young, to call me a hard hearted b**ch.

Maybe. But maybe I just deal with things privately. Differently.

So, I stuff those emotions aside. I pray. I go on. I do something that makes me happy.

Or I eat. Arrgh! Working on that...I remember after one miscarriage eating pizza and corn chips and dip and chocolate....Definitely don't do that any more!

Or I write (now also blog).

Some people think it's holding on that makes one strong- sometimes it's letting go. singer and musician Sylvia Robinson

Friday, January 02, 2009

I've had some lovely extraordinary experiences on New Year's Eve.

I've had some lovely extraordinary experiences on New Year's Eve.

A quote from Debbie Harry. From Blondie.

On New Year's Eve, we spent time together as a family. Played cricket. Of sorts.

And prayed at Mass, Mass celebrated in the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite. The Tridentine Mass. The Latin Mass.

The Tridentine Mass is a common name for the form of the Roman Rite Mass, contained in the typical editions of the Roman Missal that were published from 1570 to 1962. In this time period, it was the most widely celebrated form of the Catholic liturgy in the world.

In 2007,
Pope Benedict XVI's Summorum Pontificum designated the 1962 edition of the Tridentine Mass an "extraordinary form of the Roman Rite", a term that has begun to be used as a name for this form of Mass.

The Pope issued a motu proprio called Summorum Pontificum on 7 July 2007, together with an accompanying letter to the world's Bishops. The Pope declared that "the Roman Missal promulgated by Paul VI is the ordinary expression of the lex orandi of the Catholic Church of the Latin rite. Nevertheless, the Roman Missal promulgated by St. Pius V and reissued by Bl. John XXIII is to be considered as an extraordinary expression of that same 'Lex orandi'". He further stated that "the 1962 Missal ... was never juridically abrogated". The Tridentine Mass

The prayers of the Mass provide hope and encouragement. I find that my mind and heart are lifted to a higher spiritual and moral level. I feel a connection with the saints who prayed at this Mass for centuries.

The focus is on God and on worship, not on man .

The participation of the faithful at the Tridentine Mass is interior, involving eye and heart. And exterior by mouth, especially when attending a Dialogue Mass.

There is silence in the Mass. Why silence? The silence helps us to transcend our present existence and become present at the foot of the cross itself. The quiet helps our soul touch the divine presence of God on the altar. We are lifted up with the oblation to the altar of God Himself in heaven, surrounded by all the Hosts and angels in prayer and adoration. We, in a way,become one with our Lord in offering ourselves to the Father in an act of self-giving, love, adoration.

Traditionally, the priest faces east, standing before the altar. He leads the people in worship and sacrifice . Mass is not merely a meeting or an act of praise with a presider guiding the people. It is an act of sacrificial worship. A step to eternal life. We join the priest, who acts in "persona Christi", in offering the sacrifice, Christ Himself, to God the Father.

Wow, can you sense the beauty of this Mass?

The use of Latin in the Mass helps with this experience of sacredness, of prayer, of beauty.

Latin is in a unique position here. First, Latin grammar has an uncommon clarity, and to know it, is an incomparable training for our thinking. Secondly, Latin has a great beauty, a spiritual nobility of quite a special sort. This is also true of medieval Latin, which moreover produced works of highest poetical art and religious depth. One need only think of the Dies irae, which is ascribed to Thomas of Celano, of Jacapone da Todi's Stabat mater, of the magnificent hymns of St. Thomas Aquinas, of the sequences of Venantius Fortunatus, and many others. The role which Latin has played in history, especially in the liturgy, and the universality which it possesses, gives the learning of Latin quite a special place The Devastated Vineyard by Dietrich von Hildebrand

So, like Deborah Harry, I had a lovely extraordinary experience on New Year's Eve. Time with our family, rare to have all nine of us together. Time to play. And time to pray.... praying together at Mass.

The whole ethos of the Mass exhibits a profound belief in the doctrines of the Church , especially in the Holy Sacrifice and the substantial presence of our Lord, Jesus Christ. The beauty and Catholicism of the offertory prayers confirm the doctrine of the Catholic faith in the upcoming consecration, unambiguously.
The rubrics of the Mass are very strict; when we attend a Latin Mass we know what to expect - it depends on the Mass itself, not the personalities that surround it. The repeated genuflections of the priest before the sacred species confirm this most divine presence, as well as his repeated signs of the cross over It, before and after the consecration. Before the consecration these actions serve to bless and set the offering apart, after the consecration to signify the reality of the cross before us and its redemptive quality. The genuflections within the creed and the last gospel emphasise our belief in the profound doctrine of the incarnation, the centre of the Christian faith. The striking of the breast, during the Confiteor and the "Lord I am not worthy..." bring in all aspects of our existence to increase our realisation of own unworthiness and the infinite love and mercy of God.
The traditional Mass is not something heard or listened to. It is a divine experience seeping with the beauty of the faith, that touches the heart and soul of all who participate, giving a boost to the spirituality of those who immerse themselves in its mysteries. The secular world is the battleground; the Mass is the place that charges us up, puts us in touch with our divine mission and motivates us to face the prince of this world with great courage and faith.

David Joyce, the Latin Mass Society of England and Wales