Monday, June 29, 2009

My First Time.

Using a meat tenderiser. For The Very First Time.

The meat mallet thing was one of my Mother's Day gifts.

I confess to not using a meat tenderiser for meat. Silly! I confess to using it to smash the potatoes for Nigella's (Smashed) Speedy Fries, as an accompaniment to open burgers and salad for dinner on Sunday evening.

Sts Peter and Paul

We remember these saints today, on the closing of the Year of St Paul.

I had a goal to read aloud, to the kids , the writings of St Paul from the Bible this past year - had a plan, too! But I only managed to read aloud, to the kids, The Acts of the Apostles and St Paul's letter to the Romans. Oh, well. We have read a lot about the Saints and the liturgical year and read through religion books so this bit of reading aloud counts. I guess.

I went to seven o'clock mass this morning, a cold yet peaceful start to the day. Will read to the kids about the saints. Then, a day of Kumon stuff, emails and phone calls for me; a lady from the parish over for a cuppa and chat/listen; Kumon Maths, language study ( Chinese or Italian or Latin) for the kids, with their own personal stuff ( probably rpgs and blogs and Arkadian for Anthony!); we will all work at Kumon and maybe dh and Anny can go to Mass this evening for Sts Peter and Paul. Plus, I need to do some Kumon Maths study myself tonight, to reach my goal of completing the programme at the end of the year. Gosh, me and my long list of goals, many of which I never reach in the deadline set...although I do often get there eventually!
Deus, qui hodiernam diem Apostolorum tuorum Petri et Pauli martyrio consecrasti: da Ecclesiae tuae, eorum in omnibus sequi praeceptum; per quos religionis sumpsit exordium.
God, who consecrated this day by the martyrdom of your blessed apostles Peter and Paul: Grant that your church diffused throughout the whole world may always be governed by the teaching of those through whom she received the beginning of her religion.
The thread of the Collect? I see it as the passing on and building on the foundation of the faith that was taught, lived, and died for by the apostles.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Our Reading about Our Lady and the Saints

It is ten thirty on a Saturday morning and I am on a roll.

Did my workout, we all went to mass, I went to Adoration for around, oh, forty minutes, I've done laundry and weeding and asked kids to do some jobs and have printed my grocery list and have laminated the Pope's letter on the Year of the Priest and found a holy card of Our Lady of Perpetual Help and a book about St John Vianney and my Michael Jackson Thriller CD. These last four items form our dining table centrepiece - a truly catholic mix! Part of our unschooling strewing, you know.

I consider my primary function as a homeschooling mom to be Strewing the Path. Coined by Sandra Dodd, "strewing" is a favorite term of homeschoolers, especially unschoolers, which describes the habit of leaving books, puzzles, games, curiosities, and other interesting things lying on tables and counters and in the car where unsuspecting children will find them. Here In The Bonny Glen

And ~ we have read about Our Lady of Perpetual Help and Sts Cyril and Methodius .

The icon depicts the Blessed Virgin Mary wearing a dress of dark red with a blue mantle and veil. On the left is the Archangel Michael, carrying the lance and sponge of the crucifixion of Jesus. On the right is the Archangel Gabriel carrying a 3-bar cross and nails. This type of icon is a later type of Hodegetria composition, where Mary is pointing to her Son, known as a Theotokos of the Passion. The Christ-child has been alarmed by a pre-sentiment of his passion, and has run to his mother for comfort. The facial expression of the Virgin Mary is solemn and is looking directly at the viewer instead of her son. Jesus is portrayed clinging to his mother with a dangling sandal. The Greek initials on top read Mother of God, Michael Archangel, Gabriel Archangel, and Jesus Christ, respectively. The icon is painted with a gold background on a walnut panel, and may have been painted in Crete, then ruled by the Republic of Venice. The Cretan School was the source of the many icons imported into Europe from the late Middle Ages through the Renaissance. The icon was cleaned and restored in 1866 and again in the 1940s.

Saints Cyril and Methodius brothers born in Thessaloniki in the 9th century, who became missionaries of Christianity among the Slavic peoples of Great Moravia and Pannonia. Through their work they influenced the cultural development of all Slavs, for which they received the title "Apostles to the Slavs". They are credited with devising the Glagolitic alphabet, the first alphabet used to transcribe the Old Church Slavonic language.After their death, their pupils continued their missionary work among other Slavs. Both brothers are venerated in the Eastern Orthodox Church as saints with the title of "Equals to the Apostles". In 1880, Pope Leo XIII introduced their feast into the calendar of the Roman Catholic Church. In 1980, Pope John Paul II declared them co-patrons of Europe, together with Saint Benedict of Nursia.

Friday, June 26, 2009


The Year of the Priest .

And I will give you pastors according to my own heart, and they shall feed you with knowledge and doctrine. Jeremiah 3:15 Douay-Rheims Bible
I was thinking of having the kids read the letter above..and then read about St John Vianney , the Curé d'Ars.
I was thinking of how and why we need our priests.. promptly being reminded of a paragraph from the book I recently finished reading...I've talked about it here, before..Grandmother and the Priests by Taylor Caldwell.
Father O'Connor had always known joy when he said the Mass, and his heart had always shaken in him when he consecrated the Bread, for he was forever awed and was forever wondering why God had chosen him, a starveling young man born in Darcy, to elevate the sacred Host, and to offer It to the Most High in sacrifice. But on this morning his joy and his wonder and his awe almost blinded him with tears and his hands trembled and his heart was one fire of rapture. He kissed the altar and said, "Sanctus, Sanctus, Sanctus," and all his soul was in his words and all his worship.
Don't these words move you?
I wrote before, in this post about the importance of the Eucharist, of Holy Mass, of liturgy, of reverence and awe in liturgy. Of the necessity for priests in our Church, and of how we should support our priests . And religious. Of the blessings we have, in the form of the friars in our parish.
But some of this bears repeating. For me, anyway!
...we should treat our priests and religious with extra courtesy.....

*Promote vocations .

*Pray, pray for priests and religious.

*Sacrifice for priests. A priest is one who is to sacrifice. The hard part of the priesthood is not the offering of the sacrifice of the Mass. It is the self-sacrifice that a priest is called upon to make and the more priestly a priest is the more the people of God will use him, will wear him out. Priests need the merits of our sacrifices.
*Assist priests.Help, assist, provide services. Help your parish.

*Encourage priests and religious. Our parish women's group has committed to pray daily for the friars in our parish and we hope to encourage them in their vocation by our talk and by our deeds. Don't you love it when someone notices something you have done, gives you a gift or says something nice, helps you when you need it or when you are feeling less than happy? How nice to do that for others..

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Now the time came for Elizabeth to be delivered, and she gave birth to a son

..And her neighbors and kinsfolk heard that the Lord had shown great mercy to her, and they rejoiced with her.
And on the eighth day they came to circumcise the child; and they would have named him Zechari'ah after his father,
but his mother said, "Not so; he shall be called John.
Luke 1.

June 24. The Feast of the Birth of St John the Baptist. The precursor to Our Lord. Born six months before Christ.

It being six months to Christmas, we had our usual little bit of Christmas in June. Christmas pudding and custard for dessert. Yum!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

What Dh Did

What Dh in the book What Katy Did..when I was away in Cebu for a Kumon conference..He came home from being away for work himself..and promptly re-organised our main-bedroom-cum-my-Kumon-home-office,...complete with new red sheets for the bed. And I came home to Belle, our cat, sleeping on the bed...

Sto. Nino

Monday, June 22, 2009

Basilica del Sto. Niño

I visited this church yesterday. Wow. Jam-packed with people, with prayers, with pilgrims touching the statues and pictures, lighting candles, saying example of the faith of the people of Cebu.

I was the only Western woman and gained a few stares..the taxi driver told me to take off all my jewellery and hold my bag close, as I walked to visit the Cross of Magellan and the Basilica..

The church has always been the Sanctuary of the Sto. Niño, under the custody of the Augustinians.
In 1565 with the arrival of the Spanish conquistadors led by Miguel López de Legazpi, the image od Sto. Nino was found relatively unscathed. The image was quickly acknowledged as miraculous, and a church was later constructed on the site of the discovery.

Visited Magellan's Cross - where women offered to light candles and pray for the family, with a small donation..and children asking for money..Magellan's Cross is a cross planted by Portuguese and Spanish explorers as ordered by Ferdinand Magellan upon arriving in Cebu on April 21, 1521.

This cross is housed in a small chapel next to the Basilica Minore del Santo Niño on Magallanes Street (Magallanes being the Spanish name of Magellan), just in front of the city hall of Cebu City. A sign below the cross claims that the original cross is encased inside the wooden cross that is found in the center of this chapel. This is to protect the original cross from people who chipped away parts of the cross for souvenir purposes or in the belief that the cross possesses miraculous powers.

Also went shopping at the SM Shopping Mall, a district peopled by rich Chinese ( SM not S & M!). Security checks at every entrance and at the restrooms..again stares at a Western woman alone ( or it could have been my clothes..I wore one of my short-ish skirts, my longs sock and Converse, my was hot!). And you readers know I am a dag!

Today I've been for a jog, going for a swim, catching a plane tonight and flying overnight. The resort is luxurious and service excellent..the people friendly..I have a long list of things I want to change at my Kumon centre, after the conference and talking to other supervisors. Home tomorrow at eleven am and, as a friend said, will have to hit the ground running! As always.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Relieved in Cebu

Relieved? Here at the Kumon conference, at the sumptious ShangriLa Resort in the Philippines?

Well, relieved because my presentation is over.

On helping a child reach potential through reading. Love of reading. Reading widely.

Our wish is to see them (children) develop the ability to think wisely. Language is the key to wise thinking; particularly a high degree of ability in one's native language. Mr. Toru Kumon.

What else have I done in Cebu? I know you are dying to find if!

Last night, explored the resort, met some nice men from Tokyo who loved that I loved their city, had frozen margaritas and calamari in the bar at eleven pm for a very late dinner.

Up at five am this morning - already hot and humid! Jogged on the private beach, walked around the island, exploring the streets where the locals live...very different to the resort. Another supervisor and I visited the shrine of Lapu-Lapu, and the landmark erected to remember Majellan in 1512. Will probably post pics here or on Facebook at some stage...

Ate some dried fish for breakfast, a Cebu speciality!

Learned a lot about the English programme in particular at the conference, even though it KILLS me to sit still..Talked to lots of other supervisors and staff - some old friends, made some new friends...texted family..worried about looking fat in my presentation talk (others worried about their talk, I worried about my fat stomach!).

Prayed at Mass in the Chapel..tonight is the Kumon conference dinner and then we are hitting the bar and the karaoke! And tomorrow up at 4.30 am to get ready to catch a taxi at 5.30 am mass at the Basilica del Sto. Niño - of the Baby Jesus.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Daggy in Hong Kong

In Hong Kong, hanging out, exploring, on my way to Cebu for the Kumon conference.

And being a dag. As usual.

I watched Marley and Me at midnight on the overnight flight. And I cried, making the Chinese man next to me look up in concern, offer me a tissue, a drink, a pillow.

It is a film about love, about relationship, about marriage and family, about loss..oh, and a dog features, too!

Arrived in Hong Kong at five am local time..caught the train to Hong Kong central and met a friendly Chinese lady on the trip. Explored the city area, had breakfast at Starbucks, went to Soho, caught the bus to Repulse Beach..where I became even daggier. It poured. Literally. I became wet, bedraggled. But I had drumstick ice cream - something I would never let myself eat at home!

When did the rain stop? When I got back on the bus to return to Hong Kong city. When did the rain start? When I got to Repulse Beach, of course!

Loved the shops and buildings and scenery in Hong Kong. And on my way back to the airport, on the train ( which is where I am now, waiting for the next flight)..I was picked by a train official to complete a survey! On why I chose the train, public transport, and not the airport shuttle bus. On my impressions of the travel. Fun!

Conference registration tonight in looks like I can attend mass there, too, today for the Sacred Heart and tomorrow for the Immaculate Heart. Maybe I will catch up on sleep before my talk tomorrow afternoon. Five Steps of Jet Plane Progress for the Native Language Programme. In other words, five steps to help children maximise their potentual through the Kumon English programme.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Making cookies ~ and maths

Don’t make cookies to teach math. Make cookies because they taste good.
My Five Best Homeschooling Tips

I love this quote. It paints a picture of how I feel I should live, as an unschooler. Interested in life, yes. Learning and teaching naturally, yes. But avoiding those overly contrived situations. Avoiding making everything a teachable moment.

Everything IS a teachable moment. We don't have to contrive to make it so.

Sometimes, just living together is what we need. What counts.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Mother Teresa

People are often unreliable, irrational and self-centered; forgive them anyway. If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives; be kind anyway. If you are successful, you will win some false friends and true enemies; succeed anyway. If you are honest and frank, people may cheat you; be honest and frank anyway. What you spend your years building, someone may destroy overnight; build it anyway. The good you do today, people will often forget tomorrow; do good anyway. Give the world the best you have and it may never be enough; give the world the best you've got anyway. You see, in the final analysis, it is between you and God. It was never between you and them anyway.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Fiction, mentors, unschooling

At the heart of Opportunity is Engagement. Stay passionate, involved and interested in life and in learning. Your enthusiasm will transfer to your kids.

From Guerilla Learning by Grace Llewellyn.

This is how I try to live. Passionate. Engaged. Joyful. Interested.

Even in times of sorrow , in the midst of upset.

Like Pollyanna; like Pippi Longstocking; two of my childhood heroines. One could even say mentors. If fictional characters can be mentors.

Just breathing isn't living!

Instead of always harping on a man's faults, tell him of his virtues. Try to pull him out of his rut of bad habits. Hold up to him his better self, his REAL self that can dare and do and win out!
From the original Pollyanna book by Eleanor Porter.

'No, that's nothing to pine for,' said Pippi. 'Grown-ups never have any fun. All they have is a lot of dull work and stupid clothes and corns and nincum tax.''It's called income tax,' said Annika. From The Best of Pippi Longstocking by Astrid Lindgren.

I certainly have my share of nincum tax...but I hope my life is more than dull work. I hope I model enthusiasm. And learning.


Sunday, June 14, 2009

Corpus Christi

Corpus Christi.
Our symbol at dinner last night, a dinner remembering St Anthony of Padua and Corpus Christi?
French cheesecake and grapes - the host, the wine, the Body, the Most Precious Blood.
Well, the symbol worked for me!

Mark 14: 12 - 16, 22 - 26

And on the first day of Unleavened Bread, when they sacrificed the passover lamb, his disciples said to him, "Where will you have us go and prepare for you to eat the passover?"

And he sent two of his disciples, and said to them, "Go into the city, and a man carrying a jar of water will meet you; follow him,
and wherever he enters, say to the householder, `The Teacher says, Where is my guest room, where I am to eat the passover with my disciples?'

And he will show you a large upper room furnished and ready; there prepare for us."

And the disciples set out and went to the city, and found it as he had told them; and they prepared the passover.

And as they were eating, he took bread, and blessed, and broke it, and gave it to them, and said, "Take; this is my body."
And he took a cup, and when he had given thanks he gave it to them, and they all drank of it.

And he said to them, "This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many.

Truly, I say to you, I shall not drink again of the fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new in the kingdom of God."

And when they had sung a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

More on Love

This time from St Anthony of Padua. Feast day this Saturday June 13.

We have been praying a novena. And I have read smidgeons on St Anthony.

Including this quote on love.



The Brisbane area was home to the Jagera and Turrbal Aboriginal clans, before the coming of the Europeans.

Brisbane started as a penal settlement.Surveyor General Oxley first surveyed the area in 1823. Oxley was told of a river; he found the river and named the area after the then Governor of New South Wales, Sir Thomas Brisbane.

Today I am exploring Brisbane. By Myself. And I feel like a lady of leisure. Lazy even. Here in Ipswich, gonna do a workout, have breakfast at the motel restaurant, then catch a train to Brisbane. Dh is off to work already - left very early this morning.

I've been to Brisbane before but want to do some more exploring. Shopping. Maybe getting my nails done - dh loves purple nails, that witchy look! Hopefully Mass at the Cathedral. Reading. Catching up on my Kumon maths study ( I am SO industrious!).Texting children ( are you alright? Without me? ..I sound like Eminem..)Meeting dh after work, late tonight. He will drive and meet me in Brisbane for a late dinner ( what else is new?) and maybe a movie.

Right now, am blogging, after a leisurely shower,prayers, reading the papers and while sipping tea.

Feel downright decadent.

Decadent in Brisbane. Or I should say Ipswich.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

On Love

From the novel Grandmother and the Priests .

What does one do when someone doesn't want one to be there? When someone is not talking to you? Eat chocolate ( Mars Bars) and read of love.

When we receive Holy Communion, we not only receive our Divine Lord, and His love, but we love others more deeply for that indescribable Grace. We are not only joined to Him, but we are joined in love with those He loves also. I understood, for the very first time, what the Sacrifice of the Mass truly is. The spotless Victim is not only offered up for our sins, but He brings joy to us, and light, and the imminence of heaven.

On Sunday, one of the priests in our parish preached on love. On being Christ-like. On giving and giving with no thought of return.

That thought and this quote seem to fit.

Sunday, June 07, 2009

Trinity Sunday

And we have the Athanasian Creed printed, pasted onto cardboard and as part of our table centrepiece. For today. To read and discuss. The Quicumque vult.

The Athanasian Creed is a succinct summary of the doctrine of the Trinity and the Incarnation, making very clear by repeating statements in various ways the trinity of Persons in God, and the twofold nature in the one Divine Person of Jesus Christ.

Saturday, June 06, 2009

Grandmother and the Priests

By Taylor Caldwell.

An out-of-print book. Printed in 1962, it was on the New York Times' bestseller list for six months.

An intriguing read.

"Grandmother and the Priests" is actually a compendium of short stories skillfully collected into a single plot pretext. A group of traveling priests from the Victorian-age British Isles meet around the fireside of a wealthy grandmother to a young girl visiting her. There they tell their colleagues their most remarkable test of their vocation. This amounts to an encounter with life, the most extreme test ever put to their faith in God and in themselves -- if you will, their rite of passage through life, their existential moment where they turn back defeat. The young girl listens spellbound to these stories -- all of them too earnest to suggest exaggeration, for such is the author's skill -- and recounts them in this book.

The priests could not be more dissimilar, from elegant, highborn English aristocracy to scrappy Welshmen. Each has a special encounter awaiting their strength of mind, body and love of God and neighbor -- an encounter one immediately senses could only have been devised by a loving-yet-challenging God.

This book convinced me that the most thrilling journey is not to the center of the earth, nor to the furthest limits of space, but to an unblinking fight to awaken one's sleeping soul, adrift in its comfortable, rote rituals, customs and prefudices, afraid to live out under the stars and "go for broke".
..from a review of Grandmother and the Priests

I am reading bits of this book late at night, at the recommendation of a friend..Ignoring my other reading to do so, simply because the book is spell-binding. The grandmother is less than perfect, often immoral, yet full of life, of love for life, full of joy and of respect for and enjoyment of the priests she befriends, the "Romans" or "Holy Men" in her life. She befriends priests; has them over for lavish dinners; listens to their tales. In return, they pray for her and her soul. They enjoy her company, her friendship, her listening ear.


I know what hell is now... It is the total absence of God. It is a hell beyond endurance-- this separation of the soul from God.

Saints rarely have friends; they are usually hated and derided, for they love and love is always rejected by hard-hearted men....saints do not advertise themselves; good men do not seek out a name in the world....the saints did what they did almost in stealth, asking nothing except that men love God.

Friday, June 05, 2009

From Africa Germany

This is where living the liturgical year takes us. On geographical trips. And culinary detours.

Wednesday ~ African Curry. St Charles Lwanga and companions.

Today ~ St Boniface... Benedictine monk, born in England. He was consecrated the first bishop of Germany after only four years of preaching there. He organized the Church in this area. He was martyred while preaching among the Frisians.

Thinking of British food as the saint was borm in England about 547 - hey, why not eggs and chips? See British Food and Culture.

Lord,Your martyr Boniface spread the faith by his teachingand witnessed to it with his blood.By the help of his prayerskeep us loyal to our faith and give us courage to profess it in our lives.Grant this through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son,who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit,one God, for ever and ever. +Amen.

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

African Curry

Today we remember St Charles Lwanga and companions. African martyrs for their faith.

And I am planning on making an African Curry for dinner, to read aloud about these martyrs and maybe drag out some information on Africa from our Geographical Encyclopedia.

On June 3, the martyrs were brought out, wrapped in reed mats, and placed on the pyre. Mbaga was killed first by order of his father, the chief executioner, who had tried one last time to change his son's mind. The rest were burned to death. Thirteen Catholics and eleven Protestants died. They died calling on the name of Jesus and proclaiming, "You can burn our bodies, but you cannot harm our souls."

When the White Fathers were expelled from the country, the new Christians carried on their work, translating and printing the catechism into their natively language and giving secret instruction on the faith. Without priests, liturgy, and sacraments their faith, intelligence, courage, and wisdom kept the Catholic Church alive and growing in Uganda. When the White Fathers returned after King Mwanga's death, they found five hundred Christians and one thousand catchumens waiting for them. The twenty-two Catholic martyrs of the Uganda persecution were canonized.