Wednesday, July 29, 2009

St Martha..Cindy Crawford..Deborah Harry

At Mass this morning, Mass for St Martha, Fr. mentioned something like ~ Some of us are called to be contemplatives. Some are called to action. Some to a balance of both. Whatever we are called to, we do it all for God.

Nice thought, as we remember St Martha.

O blessed St. Martha, your faith led Jesus to proclaim, "I am the resurrection and the life"; and faith let you see beyond his humanity when you cried out, "Lord I believe that you are the Messiah, the Son of God." With firm hope you said, I know that God will give you whatever you ask of him, and Jesus called your brother Lazarus back from the dead. With pure love for Jesus you welcomed him into your home. Friend and servant of our Savior, I too am "troubled about many things." (Pause for silent prayer.) Pray for me that I may grow in faith, hope and love, and that Jesus, who sat at your table, will hear me and grant me a place at the banquet of eternal life. Amen.

We are all fighting the sniffles and colds. Poor dh has had a terrible cough..getting better now! I am sure the soup I made and the chocolate and crisps I bought him have helped, have cheered him up! Just call me St Martha, even Martha Stewart, Queen of the Kitchen!

Saint Martha is called by the French la travailleuse de Dieuthe worker for God; this we know she was always and in more ways than one. The Italians know her as l'albergatrice de Cristothe hostess of Christ.

She is the patron of cookery and of housewives. We all know the familiar story of how, as she was busy with preparing the dinner, her sister Mary sat at the feet of their Guest and listened to His words of love and wisdom.

My workout today, my St Martha's day workout? Cindy Crawford The Next Challenge. I adore this workout. Challenge it is - a fantastic workout, great scenery, cool music (Deborah Harry ~ Looking on The Outside) , lots of jumps and kicks and cardio sparks with three full sets of abs and a killer upper body and chest sequence. Guess who will be feeling it tomorrow?

This Martha..Wanting to work and pray like St Martha, to be a worker for God and to follow in her footsteps as a hostess, serving Christ...Wanting to look like Cindy Crawford in her workouts, fit and healthy...Wanting to dress like Deborah Harry and sing along with Blondie..

Hey, found this WikiHow article ~ How To Dress Like Deborah Harry.

Wear simple plain tops in bright colors with belts around the middle.
Put leggings under 3/4 lengths or mini skirts. Try animal prints; they were a big thing in the 80's. Leggings are coming back into fashion for fall and winter 2006.
Wear dolly shoes, knee high boots or converse for shoes.
Wear bright red lipstick.
Wear your hair really messy or flipped out.
Minidresses are your friend!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Unschooling in a Jumble

Unschooling in a jumble of circumstances, when other things are going on, when my mind is elsewhere and I am not truly present ..Yes, unschooling can work even then.

So, among today's jumble, what have we done so far?

Mass, in the Extraordinary Form.

Errands. Friend over for awhile.

Maths, Italian, Chinese, French, Latin...not everyone does everything but each one studies something. Kumon and budget stuff and parish stuff and a Cindy Crawford workout for me...

Computer games. Of course. Trampolining. Blogging. Facebook. Internet searches. Guitar. Reading.

Thomas felt like cooking so made some yummy Snickers Muffins, from How To Be A Domestic Goddess. A domestic goddess he is not but the muffins were nutty, chewy, moist and not overly sweet. Amazingly.

I put some soup in the crockpot for dinner, Spicy Indian Soup, from Twelve Months of Monastery Soups. Sharing quotes and vignettes from lives of the Saints, from this book, as I went.

And my surreptious strewing worked for me. My mind might be a jumble of thoughts but my dining table centrepiece, for the Year of the Priest, meant that Thomas picked up one of the items, a magazine called The Priest and read some articles while eating. Voracious readers can't help themselves. Leave some reading material around and it is bound to be read by someone!

I've read the articles myself and there are some great quotes ~

Even what he cannot understand he can believe to be true; and he believes it to be true because he believes in the Church. Ven. John Henry Cardinal Newman in An Essay in Aid of A Grammar Of Assent.

The sacrament of priestly ordination by virtue of its very nature and of everything that it produces in our life and activity, serves to make the faithful aware of their common priesthood and to activate it...Pope John Paul II, Holy Thursday Letter to Priests, 1979.

So, we jumble along ( I feel like a Womble!), unschooling and learning in spite of and alongside the jumble.

Snickers Muffins

250g SR flour ; 6 tablespoons raw sugar; 6 tablespoons crunchy peanut butter; 60g butter melted; 1 large egg beaten; 175ml milk; 3 x 65g Snickers bars chopped

Preheat oven to 200 degrees Celsius. Mix all ingredients gently. Dollop into greased muffin cases. Bake 20 - 25 minutes.

Spicy Indian Soup

1/3 cup olive oil; 2 onions chopped; 2 garlic cloves minced; 2 1/2 cups lentils; 8 cups water; 2 carrots sliced; 2 celery sticks sliced; optional 1 cup rice cooked; 1 teaspoon ground coriander, cumin, paprika, curry powder; 3 tablespoons lemon juice; salt, pepper to taste.

Saute onion and garlic in oil, add spices. Put in crockpot with all ingredients except for lemon juice and salt/pepper. Cook in crockpot on low ( all day) or high ( the afternoon). Before serving, stir, add lemon juice and seasoning.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Celebrating "Annes"

The book A Continual Feast: A Cookbook to Celebrate the Joys of Family and Faith Throughout the Christian Year has an entry for yesterday's feast, the feast of St Anne and of St Joachim, parents of Mary, Our Lady. The book quotes an old proverb ~ All Annes are beautiful!

And mentions that in Europe, it was customary to celebrate "all Annes", all pretty girls, all young girls, all daughters, on this day.

My middle name is Ann ( without the e)...

In both France and French Canada what would commonly be served on this occasion is a fruit tart. From the book above..

I made the French Apple Tart from the cookbook. Started it at 6.30 pm, after a Sunday afternoon of Kumon reports, and while watching Merlin on television.

And, hey, our fruit tart for St Anne, and for St Joachim, was eaten while watching Mamma Mia ( and while I was crying during a sad, moving scene, the scene where Meryl Streep sings the Abba song The Winner Takes It All!).

I don't want to talk
Cos it makes me feel sad
From the movie Mamma Mia - The Winner Takes It All

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Spanish Dinner

For the feast of St James. My attempt at Spanish cooking.

Spanish Omelette ( tortilla) .

And a sort-of-chicken-paella-rice-dish.

With salad and bread.
And apple martinis ( not Spanish but very nice all the same!).

Saturday, July 25, 2009

"St James and strike for Spain"

Santiago y cierra EspaƱa ("St James and strike for Spain") has been the traditional battle cry of Spanish armies.

St James the Moorslayer, one of the most valiant saints and knights the world ever had ... has been given by God to Spain for its patron and protection.—Cervantes, Don Quixote

And what have we done on this day, the feast of St James?

Well, Anthony has had a friend over for the night. They have played games, while I was at Adoration this morning. Then, I rushed everyone out the door, to go to St Benedict's, Broadway for a Sung Latin Mass and veneration of a relic of St James.

For as we advance in the religious life and in faith, our hearts expand and we run the way of God's commandments with unspeakable sweetness of love. Rule of St Benedict

We called into the Powerhouse Museum to explore exhibits (the kids) and to sit in the Members Lounge (me) , drink coffee, finish off prayers, text, contemplate my vocation as a mother and wife ( I have some tweaking to do, in these roles. As always.). And read the newspaper . Felt very decadent and lazy - no workout yet!

Plan on doing yoga this afternoon. And maybe cook something Spanish in honour of St James ~ St James is the Patron Saint of Spain.

Friday, July 24, 2009

What is it ...

....about feeling bad that makes me want to eat junk? What do I think it is going to do?

Well, I mostly resisted. And I drank some cocktails, Sang some songs on Singstar. Played Wii Sport Resort. Texted .

Oh, and prayed.

Food can never just be about the bald story of the recipe: the meals we eat say something fundamental about who we are and how we want to live. Whenever an occasion matters to us, we mark this with food, from a birthday cake to a wedding breakfast. But Feast is not just about big-deal special occasions: it’s about the way we use food to celebrate life. Nigella Lawson

Make sickness itself a prayer, for there is none more powerful, save martyrdom!-- Saint Francis de Sales

Make sadness, grumpiness, crossness, worry, themselves, a prayer?

Prayer and Singstar. A great combo! With that chocolate and ice cream above - at least I served it nicely, I didn't stand at the fridge and spoon food into my mouth!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009


The world will be saved by beauty... Dostoevsky in his novel The Idiot
A thought, a quote, that came to me during tonight's talk, a talk on the Eclipse of Christianity: Expedition to Pontus.

And an icon, also from the talk.

I *heart* icons....


St Bridget of Sweden. July 23. Co-patron of Sweden with Sts Cyril and Methodius, St Catherine of Sienna, St Teresa Benedicta of the Cross.

I have always admired St Catherine of Sienna and St Teresa Benedicta of the Cross - strong women, strong in faith and in courage and in belief. And I have a soft spot for St Bridget of Sweden ~ sometimes called the Patron Saint of Failures. She did not always see her works come to fruition yet she soldiered on in faith.

I can relate.

The Church has not failed, from her very origins, to acknowledge the role and mission of women, even if at times she was conditioned by a culture which did not always show due consideration to women. But the Christian community has progressively matured also in this regard, and here the role of holiness has proved to be decisive. A constant impulse has come from the icon of Mary, the "ideal woman", Mother of Christ and Mother of the Church. But also the courage of women martyrs who faced the cruelest torments with astounding fortitude, the witness of women exemplary for their radical commitment to the ascetic life, the daily dedication of countless wives and mothers in that domestic Church which is the family, and the charisms of the many women mystics who have also contributed to the growth of theological understanding, offering the Church invaluable guidance in grasping fully God's plan for women. This plan is already unmistakably expressed in certain pages of Scripture and, in particular, in Christ's own attitude as testified to by the Gospel. The decision to declare Saint Bridget of Sweden, Saint Catherine of Siena and Saint Teresa Benedicta of the Cross Co-Patronesses of Europe follows upon all of this.

The real reason then which led me to these three particular women can be found in their lives. Their holiness was demonstrated in historical circumstances and in geographical settings which make them especially significant for the Continent of Europe. Saint Bridget brings us to the extreme north of Europe, where the Continent in some way stretches out to unity with the other parts of the world; from there she departed to make Rome her destination. Catherine of Siena is likewise well-known for the role which she played at a time when the Successor of Peter resided in Avignon; she brought to completion a spiritual work already initiated by Bridget by becoming the force behind the Pope's return to his own See at the tomb of the Prince of the Apostles. Finally, Teresa Benedicta of the Cross, recently canonized, not only lived in various countries of Europe, but by her entire life as thinker, mystic and martyr, built a kind of bridge between her Jewish roots and her commitment to Christ, taking part in the dialogue with contemporary philosophical thought with sound intuition, and in the end forcefully proclaiming by her martyrdom the ways of God and man in the horrendous atrocity of the Shoah. She has thus become the symbol of a human, cultural and religious pilgrimage which embodies the deepest tragedy and the deepest hopes of Europe.

Pope John Paul II, Motu Proprio, PROCLAIMING

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

The Penitent

St Mary Magdalene. July 22.

St. Luke records that she was a notorious sinner, and had seven devils removed from her. She was present at Our Lords' Crucifixion, and with Joanna and Mary, the mother of James and Salome, at Jesus' empty tomb. History and tradition holds that fourteen years after Our Lord's death, St. Mary was put in a boat by the Jews without sails or oars - along with Sts. Lazarus and Martha, St. Maximin (who baptized her), St. Sidonius ("the man born blind"), her maid Sera, and the body of St. Anne, the mother of the Blessed Virgin. They were sent drifting out to sea and landed on the shores of Southern France, where St. Mary spent the rest of her life as a contemplative in a cave known as Sainte-Baume.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Harry Potter

Re-reading Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince.

Themes of moral strength, of redemption, of love, and of friendship.

Still haven't seen the movie but hope to get to it soon.

And looking at some Harry Potter unschooly rabbit trails for Anthony.
The Hogwarts Correspondence School. Should be fun!

It was, he thought, the difference between being dragged into the arena to face a battle to the death and walking into the arena with your head held high. Some people, perhaps, would say that there was little to choose between the two ways, but Dumbledore knew - and so do I, thought Harry, with a rush of fierce pride, and so did my parents - that there was all the difference in the world. ~J.K. Rowling, "Horcruxes," Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

Sunday, July 19, 2009


Housework done incorrectly still blesses your family Flylady

I guess it does. I am a pretty imperfect housewife but we get along okay. I think.

But does this hold true for other areas of my life?

Homeschooling done imperfectly still blesses the family? Parenting ? Being a wife? A friend?

I don't know. But I do know that suffering from perfection paralysis can be a hindrance.

It is okay to make mistakes as a parent, as a homeschooling mum, as a wife. As long as I learn from these mistakes, get over the emotional guilt and nudge ahead, fixing up my messes as I go..

And as long as I don't think I ever have-it-made. I don't. I am a continual learner. My life as a mother and wife is a little like my weight loss and weight maintenance life cycle - two steps forward, one step back.

Why am I reflecting on imperfection? For two reasons.

One, on glancing at The Imperfect Homeschoolers' Guide to Homeschooling. No, not a book I want to read. I am over self help books, especially those on homeschooling and even those written with imperfection in mind. My current reading, my current books are spiritual, faith inspired. And Harry Potter!

The title , the book's premise, prompted my thoughts on life in spite of, and with, and by slowly overcoming, imperfections.

The other reason for my imperfection meander is really because of my imperfections. Time spent worrying and praying over faults and the consequences. Over things said and unsaid, in Confession and out of the confessional.

What did St Augustine say? This is the very perfection of a man, to find out his own imperfections.

Or Dumbledore, in Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince ~ I make mistakes like the next man. In fact, being — forgive me — rather cleverer than most men, my mistakes tend to be correspondingly huger.

I am not more cleverer but I make my mistakes, I will probably always be imperfect, striving for perfection with the grace of God. And, for the most part, we all move along okay.

It's character building, you know. It's very character-building stuff, learning to peel sprouts without magic, makes you appreciate how difficult it is for Muggles and Squibs. - Mr. Weasley to Ron in the above Harry Potter book.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Where would I be?

Where would I be without the rosary?

When I became a Catholic, I had been praying the rosary faithfully for about a year. I had found comfort, solace, in the prayers and meditation.

And now, when things worry me, when I slip and fall so many many times,when I see how pathetic I am..when I take the easy way out and acquiesce to the not-so-good instead of standing my ground..then I turn to prayer. Again. I pray. The rosary.

When I finish my rosary, I always find upon looking up that the world has just for a moment a special lambent quality, a nostalgic softness - as if I have caught my Mother gazing upon me and seeing me as the child I once was. knitting the wind

Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee.

Luke 1:28 "And coming to her, he said, "Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with you."

Blessed art thou among women

Luke 1:41-42a "When Elizabeth heard Mary's greeting, the infant leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth, filled with the holy Spirit, cried out in a loud voice and said, "Most blessed are you among women..."

Luke 1:48 "For he has looked upon his handmaid's lowliness; behold, from now on will all ages call me blessed."

Blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus

Luke 1:42b "and blessed is the fruit of your womb."

Holy Mary, Mother of God

Luke 1:43 "And how does this happen to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me?

Pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death. Amen.

Pray for me, dear Mother, and that I overcome, with grace, my besetting sins. And I continue to pray for others, for those I love and care for, for those who ask and for those for whom I feel that tug, that tug telling me to pray ...

My life has been tumultuous and there was a long time when I believed in very little at all. But even a few minutes of praying the rosary brings me into a sense that someone has a sense of continuity for my life, that someone has been believing on my behalf the whole time. knitting the wind

The power of the rosary is beyond description Archbishop Fulton Sheen
Postscript - the silver beads above belonged to my mother-in-law. They are now in the hands of one of my sons. Sweet.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Wild Days

The best remedy for those who are afraid, lonely or unhappy is to go outside, somewhere where they can be quiet, alone with the heavens, nature and God. Because only then does one feel that all is as it should be and that God wishes to see people happy, amidst the simple beauty of nature. ~Anne Frank
Wild Days. Nature Days. Just getting out to a local park and walking and talking and observing, in spite of, because of, the cold and dreary winter morning.
I am ‘a grown-up’ with responsibilities. I am a wife, a mother of seven, a daughter, a church member, a friend, a volunteer, a teacher, a housekeeper, and so on. I am so many things that I begin to lose who I am. Lists suck away at my soul. Yet the lists become longer. I rush about frantically, like a wild thing, trapped. But the trap is of my own making. I want to be all of those things. I just need a little space to remember why I have chosen them. I need a window and a breath of sea air. I need a door to go out, so I can come back in again.

So when days are wild, I grab a journal and pen and head out the door. I leave behind the phones and buzzers, beeps and lists. I tell my children and parents, friends or husband, “I’m going crazy; you come too.” So we go to some wild place to watch the clouds, the river, the birds, the blossoms, the wildlife. It’s like coming home. Home to the planet where I was born and where I grow. A place where my body can rest while my spirit soars. I have with me my loved ones, my thoughts, an open heart for discovery, and my journal to record my wild days. I bring my journal to capture these golden moments: the sudden stillness of a deer watching, the smell of rain in the pines, the songs of hidden birds, my bigger children helping the smaller ones to cross a stream, the taste of sun-filled wild blackberries. I record these in my journal in words and pictures. They will feed me on darker days. Karen Rackcliffe, "Wild Days"
Okay. I took my mobile phone on my Wild Day. I texted. And I didn't grab my journal but my camera, for my online journal , in other words, for my blog and for Facebook.
But the principle remains the same. Every child, every teen, every person needs a Wild Day, a nature day, now and then. An approach to self education, inspired by the educator Charlotte Mason, based on observation of and recording of and learning about nature. With, perhaps, the introspection of journal writing. Or the self expression of art. A curriculum almost in itself. Perhaps.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Two Cakes

One for a friend, for her birthday...Dairy free!

And the other a bookcake ( a missal?) for the feast of St Bonaventure..often depicted reading...

Do you think that looks like an open book? Please say!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

St Bonaventure

The Seraphic Doctor.

St Bonaventure is often depicted as a Cardinal in Franciscan robes, usually reading or writing.

I thought I could do a simple book cake, i.e. a cake simply iced to look like an open book, for tomorrow's feast.

Who am I kidding? My cake will look like a book discard! But fun to try. I'l et you know how it goes.

In the meantime, I have been reading some of the writing of St Bonaventure at the Franciscan archives.

This prayer of St Bonaventure is in my missal...

Pierce, O most Sweet Lord Jesus, my inmost soul with the most joyous and healthful wound of Thy love, with true, serene, and most holy apostolic charity, that my soul may ever languish and melt with love and longing for Thee, that it may yearn for Thee and faint for Thy courts, and long to be dissolved and to be with Thee.
Grant that my soul may hunger after Thee, the bread of angels, the refreshment of holy souls, our daily and supersubstantial bread, having all sweetness and savor and every delight of taste; let my heart ever hunger after and feed upon Thee, upon whom the angels desire to look, and may my inmost soul be filled with the sweetness of Thy savor; may it ever thirst after Thee, the fountain of life, the fountain of wisdom and knowledge, the fountain of eternal light, the torrent of pleasure, the richness of the house of God.
May it ever compass Thee, seek Thee, find Thee, run to Thee, attain Thee, meditate upon Thee, speak of Thee, and do all things to the praise and glory of Thy name, with humility and discretion, with love and delight, with ease and affection, and with perseverance unto the end.
May Thou alone be ever my hope, my entire assurance, my riches, my delight, my pleasure, my joy, my rest and tranquility, my peace, my sweetness, my fragrance, my sweet savor, my food, my refreshment, my refuge, my help, my wisdom, my portion, my possession and my treasure, in whom may my mind and my heart be fixed and firmly rooted immovably henceforth and for ever.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Exhorting one another - not compulsion

My post on compulsion sparked thought ( for me) and discussion on an internet forum and an email list.

Now, we are and pretty much always have been unschooly.
Part of Speech:
a home-school education with the child taking the primary responsibility instead of a parent or teacher; also called child-directed learning, self-learning
Under unschooling education, parents may act as "facilitators" and may provide a wide-range of resources to their children.

One thing I notice, though, is that this issue of compulsion and unschooling comes up more with some children than with others.

I have seven sons.

Some of these become, almost overnight, planners/do-ers, people who will take on things, both new and difficult and push themselves out of their comfort zones. Even spiritually. Now, to these ones I can really relate, because I am a big pusher of myself. (For good or for worse)

Other sons, however seem to dislike to try new things, need almost to be forcibly made to try something new and difficult - even if it is something they want to try. For them, it appears to be hard to find the inner push to do work before play, to be prepared to try something hard - and, sometimes, when I push, these sons end up liking the new activity. Or at least liking the fact that they tried something and that something took them out of their rut. Sometimes.

A friend reminded me of this blog post of mine, from a few years ago, about being a mean mum.

Relationship and trust are important when parenting. And, yet, with some of my seven sons, this relationship is not enough. They find it hard to push themselves, they are less internally motivated than other sons – even with things they like and want to do! So, St Paul’s words on exhorting one another often come to my mind here – not necessarily compulsion but exhorting. And edifying. One another.

1 Thessalonians 5
11 For which cause comfort one another; and edify one another, as you also do.

Hebrews 3
13 But exhort one another every day, whilst it is called today, that none of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin.

( Douay-Rheims Bible)

Saturday, July 11, 2009

St Benedict

St Benedict. Benedict of Nursia. Founder of Christian monasticism.

I try to make or do something special on feast days. Go to mass. Do an activity. Read about the saint. Cook something related/relevant.

Today we went to mass. And, while sorting through books, my cleaning activity for today, I thought about what to make for the feast of St Benedict. A soup, from my monastic soup cookbook? Italian food?

I settled on a "special" dessert. Special because I only make dessert on feast days and when we have visitors.

Chocolate brownies with ice cream, following Nigella's idea of birthday brownies, grouping the brownies together on a cake stand and dotting each individual brownie with a small candle.

And happy saints day, Fr Benedict.
One of the friars from our parish . Franciscan. OFM.Conv.

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

More from The Power and the Glory

I've had a busy day. Just finished my work for the day..and I sit at the computer, coughing. I've prayed my rosary, I've prayed for those in my thoughts, my swirling thoughts today.I feel a cold and cough creeping on.....I feel tired.....What I really want to do is not cook dinner but instead, curl up with my copy of the book The Power and The Glory, and finish it, re-read the raw ending, the sadness and also the, um, the glory.

The priest, Greene's character, thinks ~

She had the tiresome intense note of a pious woman. They were extraordinarily foolish over pictures...He had always been worried by the fate of pious women. As much as politicians, they fed on illusion. He was frightened for them: they came to death so often in a state of invincible complacency, full of uncharity. It was one's duty, if one could, to rob them of their sentimental notions of what was good...

God might forgive cowardice and passion, but was it possible to forgive the habit of piety? He remembered the woman in the prison and how impossible it had been to shake her complacency..He drank the brandy down like damnation: men like the half-caste could be saved, salvation could strike like lightning at the evil heart, but the habit of piety excluded everything but the evening prayer and the Guild meeting and the feel of humble lips on your gloved hand.

OUCH! But perfect reading for a cold Wednesday, when feeling a bit sick and a bit miserable...and maybe the family can finish off that Harry Potter movie, too..Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets.

Tuesday, July 07, 2009


What is the role of compulsion in our home, in our unschooling?

I vacillate, I dither, on this topic.

On the one hand, I have certain expectations. Mass, prayers, we all pitch in and do chores, some Maths, Religion reading, Latin, other activities, writing, reading, and so on, as they come up. A positive attitude. No mean-ness.

On the other hand, I like the idea of interest driven learning, of learning what interests one ~ as I see that this learning sticks, I like the idea of making everything count - hence, our Michael Jackson CD is part of our table and educational strewing.

Because a freeman ought not to be a slave in the acquisition of knowledge of any kind. Bodily exercise, when compulsory, does no harm to the body; but knowledge which is acquired under compulsion obtains no hold on the mind.

This quote, from Plato, has a ring of truth. Anthony remembers far more of the ancient language Arkadian and of ancient history ( his current loves, learning acquired without compulsion) than he does from his weekly French class.

And yet, and yet, when I asked Anthony to do some work as a follow up to recent visits and outings ( to the Sydney Aquarium and the Sydney Museum), well, Anthony became interested while completing the work, especially interested in the original source material, and he shared his interest with me.

My compulsion of activity and of acqusition of knowledge in a schooly way did not preclude an interest in the topic and did not exclude any learning. If my asking him to do some research and writing, and his easy compliance in between reading and rpgs and computer games, can be called compulsion, that is.

Com*pul"sion\, n. [L. compulsio. See Compel.] The act of compelling, or the state of being compelled; the act of driving or urging by force or by physical or moral constraint; subjection to force.

I don't drive or urge by force or moral constraint...I usually ask and someone complies. If not, we talk. Or I give in. Or I say suck it up and do it anyway!

I push myself. I compel myself to do things, things that I feel are good but that my lazy nature doesn't want to do. Phone calls for work today. A workout I dread last Friday and Saturday.

Can my kids develop that same personal sense of compulsion? To do what is right, what should be done, even if it is hard or not what you want..for now. What is my role in this, in my vocation as a parent?

I continue to sometimes compel and sometimes be laissez-faire..and to dither on this whole topic.
Do not think I am sitting here to pass the time away telling you that religious life is poetry. It is the roughest kind of prose. - Justina Reilly, IHM Quote from the blog A Nun's Life
Sometimes, life is sheer poetry. Invigorating, rhythmic, free, full of awe, connected.
Sometimes life is prose. Or worse, plain unedited prose. Dry. No hooks. No superlatives. No haunting dreams or phrases.
How do I help my kids live through those times of uncompromising plain verse? With faith and prayer and the sacraments, for sure. By example, definitely. By loving and living the high moments, the sonnets.
And by preparation of will and self discipline... through the liturgical year, in times of penance.. through the sacrament of reconciliation... through the natural practice of virtues necessary in family life...and through the occasional compulsion, expectation, have-to?

Sunday, July 05, 2009

The Power and The Glory

These quotes, these thoughts from the main character; he who is called "the whisky priest" by some of the laity in the villages he visits, during the persecuation of the clergy in Mexico. The priest is on the run; police are closing in; his compassion and the need of humanity force the priest to his destiny, if you like; he is reluctant to abandon those who need him, and those he cares for.

He was a man who was supposed to save souls. It had seemed quite simple, once, preaching at Benediction,organizing the guilds, having coffee with the elderly ladies behind barred windows, blessing new houses with a little incense, wearing black gloves..It was as easy as saving money: now it was a mystery. He was aware of his own desperate inadequacy.

How often the priest had heard the same confession - man was so limited he hadn't even the ingenuity to invent a new vice: the animals knew as much. It was for this world that Christ had died: the more evil you saw and heard about you, the greater glory lay around the death. It was too easy to die for what was good or beautiful, for home or children or civilization - it needed a God to die for the half-hearted and the corrupt.

Saturday, July 04, 2009

Just another unschooling teen group Friday...

Fridays can be fun days! Just ask any local unschooling/homeschooling teen.

July 3. Chores, workout, computer, morning prayers, read about St Thomas...We went to Mass, for First Friday. Feast of St Thomas the Apostle. Both Anthony and Thomas served.

Looked at the fishpond outside the church and talked to some little children about the fish ~ I have a favourite fish, I call him Michael! And talked to Fr.

Then the younger three sons and I went off on the motorway to the city, listening to a Michael Jackson CD on the way. Singing along. At the top of our voices.

We met up with some other homeschoolers ~ teens, mums, younger siblings ~ at the Sydney Museum. A book launch was underway, we stepped around and wandered all over the museum, looking at the history of Sydney town and at the special exhibition on trams. Found some online study guides,
perhaps we can follow up this week.

Lunch followed a lengthy browse in the museum gift shop....lunch choice to suit different families..and some of us chose the restaurant City Extra at Circular Quay- because kids asked for it! Warm potato soup and salad for me.

Home again, for work, jobs, chores, errands, work on Chinese assignment, finish off and email Italian assignment. And an Indian dinner for St Thomas the Apostle ( see below). Conversation with a visitor. Movies with friends- Terminator Salvation - for some of the kids.
Cos that's my fun day..My I don't have to run day! quote The Bangles.

Well, we nearly always run around, and I do try to pack a lot into a day, a day of both education ( history) and fun.

St Thomas, Apostle

Feast day July 3.

From Wikipedia ~ Just as Saints Peter and Paul are said to have brought the fledgling Christianity to Greece and Rome, Saint Mark brought it to Egypt, Saint John to Syria and Asia Minor, Thomas is often said to have taken it eastwards as far as India. Saint Thomas is said to have been the first Catholicos of the East. He was a Martyr and was killed by group of sages in Chennai and the Place is called Saint Thomas Mount.

In the Roman Catholic Church, his feast day was December 21. It was moved in order to accommodate the commemoration of St. Peter Canisius, who died on December 21. The Roman Catholic and Anglican calendars honour him on July 3, the day on which his relics are believed to have been translated from Mylapore, a place along the coast of the Marina Beach, Chennai in India to the city of Edessa in Mesopotamia.

I decided to cook Indian food for dinner, in honour of St Thomas and his misssionary work in India and for our Thomas' name day.
What did I cook? Butter Chicken ~ minus the marinade, who has time for that after a busy unschooling Teen Group Friday?
And a Vegetable Curry ~ because I don't eat Butter Chicken but LOVE vegetables ~ using any vegetables on hand and minus the coriander and yogurt plus an addition of chick peas..I crave chickpeas!

Friday, July 03, 2009

Mass in the Extraordinary Form.

One of the priests in our parish celebrated Mass in the Extraordinary Form on Wednesday. On Alexander's eighteenth birthday. Mass of the Most Precious Blood of Jesus .

Mass in the Extraordinary Form?

The Mass most often attended in our parish is that of the Ordinary Form, the Mass is celebrated according to the Missale Romanum of 1969, promulgated by Pope Paul VI. This form is widely celebrated in the vernacular.

In the Extraordinary Form, Mass is celebrated according to the Missale Romanum of 1570. A Latin Mass. This Missal was codified at the Council of Trent, but was in use at least since the time of St. Gregory the Great. It is used today according to the 1962 edition, promulgated by Blessed Pope John XXIII during the Second Vatican Council.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church : The mystery of Christ is so unfathomably rich that it cannot be exhausted by its expression in any single liturgical tradition. (CCC, 1201)

When I pray at Mass in the Extraordinary Form, I remember the mystery of faith, I remember all the saints, all the faithful who have prayed in this mass during the history of the Church.

I am encouraged and lifted up as a Christian ( Sursum Corda!), my belief is strengthened and the Catechism says : the liturgy itself generates cultures and shapes them. [ (CCC, #1207)

Two birthdays