Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Near the candles and the flowers

Near the candles and the flowers, on our dining table, sits a book, a saint's biography on St Thomas Aquinas.

For the teens. For tomorrow.

I thought we might pray these prayers...after the orthodontist and before Maths and Latin and before the myriad of things that make up our daily lists.

A Student’s Prayer by St. Thomas Aquinas

Creator of all things, true source of light and wisdom, origin of all being, graciously penetrate the darkness of my understanding. Take from me the double darkness in which I have been born, an obscurity of sin and ignorance. Give me a keen understanding, a retentive memory, and the ability to grasp things correctly and fundamentally. Grant me the talent of being exact in my explanations and the ability to express myself with thoroughness and charm. Point out the beginning, direct the progress, and help in the completion. I ask this through Christ our Lord.

Prayer for Purity by St. Thomas Aquinas

Dearest Jesus! I know well that every perfect gift, and above all others that of chastity, depends upon the most powerful assistance of Your 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 are 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.

Sharing From Facebook

Keeping up with technologies and social networking and writing and life and everything else....

My Facebook status tonight is a True Confession.

Today, I broke one of the rules a girl is taught... a rule from the movie "He's Just Not That Into You"...Never Try To Trim Your Own Bangs. In a fit of I "hate my hair and everything else", I grabbed the scissors, cut my fringe ( bangs) and cut about 6 cm off the end of my hair. Now, according to the movie, I will never Find My Happy Ending.

Oh, well, says the cynic in me.
Could be worse.
I could still believe in Happy Endings.And in the Tooth Fairy, the Easter Bunny and Santa Claus, too.

The results of my five minutes of grabbing scissors and cutting in a malcontent mood?
Well ~ I took a photo of The Hair with my phone in the, I wasn't driving at the time!

Science Experiments

From Monday...electro-magnetism.

Jonathon's Australia Day birthday

Monday, January 25, 2010

Peanuts Wisdom

Yesterday I was a dog. Today I'm a dog. Tomorrow I'll probably still be a dog. Sigh! There's so little hope for advancement....Peanuts......Snoopy

In twenty years time, I will probably still be working on the same faults, confessing the same sins!

Sometimes I lie awake at night, and I ask, "Where have I gone wrong?" Then a voice says to me, "This is going to take more than one night."....Peanuts....Charlie Brown


Sometimes when I get up in the morning, I feel very peculiar. I feel like I've just got to bite a cat! I feel like if I don't bite a cat before sundown, I'll go crazy! But then I just take a deep breath and forget about it. That's what is known as real maturity...Peanuts...Snoopy

Real maturity is going to Mass, praying, sharing song lyrics and Snoopy quotes, not thinking about things and then getting on with the (busy) day.

No problem is so big or so complicated that it can't be run away from!..Peanuts...Linus Van Pelt


Wouldn't it be nice if our lives were like VCRS (video recorders), and we could 'fast forward' through the crummy times?...Peanuts

Except that the good and bad make it all good, make it life. We don't want to have a Click moment.

Or maybe we do, just once or twice.

To take back what we said, what we said in a moment of un-thinking, of lack of self control. Of tiredness.

But you can't.

You have to live with it, face the consequences.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Today is...

Remember those old Snoopy and Charlie Brown comics?

Love is...Happiness is..

Life is like an ice cream have to learn to lick it.

I thought about today. And today is...

..eating Toblerone, Swiss chocolate, in honour of St Francis de Sales, once Bishop of Geneva and remembered for many wise sayings..and many other wise sayings which have been (falsely!) attributed to him. family delivering four junk mail rounds without me, so I only have to help with an extra two delivery rounds and thus have time for coffee at Borders with some friends.
....a thinking homily this morning, on our life in the Church, as part of the body of Christ's Church, on Love, quoting both St Teresa of Avila and St Therese of Lisieux.
...smiling at the wit and wisdom of St Teresa of Avila during my reading time..About the injunction of the Apostle Paul that women should keep silent in church? Don't go by one text only.
...remembering to emphasize the homey, comfy, relaxed part of the homeschooling equation. You're at home. Be homey. Support, nurture, be gentle. Bravewriter blog
....reading Dies Domini by Pope John Paul II ( thanks for the link Fr Benedict). Being reminded to rediscover Sunday: Do not be afraid to give your time to Christ!
...watching Predator with the kids, a B grade movie to laugh over, while doing work stuff -and blogging.Italic dinner. Again.

Good grief! As Charlie Brown would say.

Friday, January 22, 2010

After the second glass of wine...

..and no dinner..well, I really enjoyed the movie He's Just Not That Into You.
I had this guy leave me a voicemail at work, so I called him at home, and then he emailed me to my BlackBerry, and so I texted to his cell, and now you just have to go around checking all these different portals just to get rejected by seven different technologies. It's exhausting.

I play the technology run around a lot. But not the rejection one!

Girls are taught a lot of stuff growing up. If a guy punches you he likes you. Never try to trim your own bangs and someday you will meet a wonderful guy and get your very own happy ending. Every movie we see, Every story we're told implores us to wait for it, the third act twist, the unexpected declaration of love, the exception to the rule. But sometimes we're so focused on finding our happy ending we don't learn how to read the signs. How to tell from the ones who want us and the ones who don't, the ones who will stay and the ones who will leave. And maybe a happy ending doesn't include a guy, maybe... it's you, on your own, picking up the pieces and starting over, freeing yourself up for something better in the future. Maybe the happy ending is... just... moving on. Or maybe the happy ending is this, knowing after all the unreturned phone calls, broken-hearts, through the blunders and misread signals, through all the pain and embarrassment you never gave up hope.

We are told a lot of stuff growing up. Little messages that stick in our brain; haunt us, almost surreptiously, at odd moments.

Like Beth ( or was it Janine?) in the movie, whose husband cheats on her and who automatically thinks it is her fault he cheated, that if she had been more loving/fun/whatever then he wouldn't have cheated, never mind that he was a first class jerk...well, like Beth (or Janine) I was programmed to think that, when things go awry, it is my fault. Programmed for automatic blame and apology.

I may dissect each little thing and put myself out there so much but at least that means that I still care. ... You may not get hurt or make an ass of yourself that way but you don't fall in love that way either. You have not won. You're alone. I may do a lot of stupid shit but I'm still a lot closer to love than you are.

I do a lot of stupid shit. (Excuse the language but it is just so descriptive. Or, perhaps, that is the wine talking?Anyway...) I over think, over analyze, over dissect. But at least I do care. I try. I move on.

That striving has to make a difference.

We can only learn to know ourselves and do what we can / namely, surrender our will and fulfill God's will in us. St Teresa of Avila. My current reading.

St Teresa of Avila. The Way of Perfection. He's Just Not That Into You. Family time.

And another quote. From The Survivor's Guide to Homeschooling.

My time is something I can give my children now in a way that I won't be able to give them later. It is time that I can be with them....I WILL NEVER HAVE THIS TIME AGAIN. MANY THINGS CAN WAIT BUT KIDS GROW UP.

Many of mine are grown. But the family time, the movies and texts, they are important.

All part of that striving. Part of my vocation as wife, mother, teacher. Part of my dissecting. Part of who I am.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Getting here

How did I ever get here?


Here. My life.

It is not really always a matter of God's will but many times of actions and reactions.

You make choices and then have to live with them. There is always a pay back. Always a tomorrow.

How does this fit in with "Living Without School"?

Well, how do we as mothers share our mistakes and subsequent learning with our children?

Certainly not with ease. Like all of parenting, sharing our choices and the less than stellar results requires, necessitates, courage...forethought.......honesty...mindfulness.....prayer...time.

Tonight, in a debate, well, really, in a heated discussion with two of my sons, I said, loudly, that choices have consequences.

So, I share via words.

And via my life.

The kids see my life, the consequences of some of my actions. They see me just moving forward because sometimes the only way out is through. You gotta keep going.

Kids are wise. They see these things. They listen, sometimes. They learn sometimes.

Therefore, maybe, just maybe, history doesn't always repeat.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

The Saints

It is in the Church, in communion with all the baptized, that the Christian fulfills his vocation. From the Church he receives the Word of God containing the teachings of "the law of Christ." From the Church he receives the grace of the sacraments that sustains him on the "way." From the Church he learns the example of holiness and recognizes its model and source in the all-holy Virgin Mary; he discerns it in the authentic witness of those who live it; he discovers it in the spiritual tradition and long history of the saints who have gone before him and whom the liturgy celebrates in the rhythms of the sanctoral cycle.
CCC 2030

Saints, fellow Christians who have lead lives of holiness, who have grown in faith through trials and tribulations, through life and prayer, who have gone before us....these saints make up the Church Triumphant, in Heaven.

On the Epiphany, we chose saints for the year. A saint each, to learn about; to ask to intercede for us and guide us.

Greg cut up the saints names from this Calendar of Franciscan Saints and Blesseds.

I put the names into a Christmas basket..and each family member put their hand in the basket, groped, pulled out a saint's name. No peeking!

And this is what ( who?) we got ~

Anthony ~ April 30 - Blessed Benedict of Urbino, OFM Cap.
Born at Urbino, Italy; died at Fossombrone, Italy, 1625; beatified in 1867. Born into the de'Passionei family, Benedict was a lawyer in his home town before joining the Capuchins at Fano in 1584. His previous training, complemented by his faith, made him an effective preacher. He was the companion of Saint Laurence of Brindisi, whom he followed to Austria and Bohemia.

Nick ~ Jan 31 - St. John Bosco 1815-1888
St. John Bosco, was born in a Piedmontese village in 1815. When he was 2 years old, he lost his father, a peasant farmer; and he was brought up by his Tertiary mother, Margaret. It was no doubt due to her example and influence that John too joined the Third Order of St. Francis.In 1854 Father John founded the religious order of Salesians, so called in honour of St. Francis de Sales. Its members devoted themselves to the education of poor boys.

Greg ~ Jan 30 - St. Hyacintha Mariscotti 1585-1640
St. Hyacintha, born in 1585, belonged to a wealthy and prominent family. It was only after she had invoked the aid of St. Catherine of Siena, that she dispossessed herself of all frivolous and unnecessary objects, and thereupon resolutely entered upon a life of heroic virtue.She began to lead a very penitential life, in which she persevered unto the end.Enriched by every virtue and held in great repute by her fellow sisters, she died age 55 , 1640.

Alexander ~ Mar 3 Bl. Liberatus Weiss
With Bl. Samuele Marzorati and Bl. Michele Pio Fasoli . Death 1716. These three friars lived together in Ethiopia. They were stoned to death because they refused to deny their Faith. They were Franciscan missionaries of Vienna.

Thomas ~ May 3 - Bl. Arthur Bell
Among the Martyrs of England, Scotland and Wales, are found the Blessed Thomas Bullaker, Henry Heath, John Woodcock, Charles Meehan, Arthur Bell, all Franciscan priests. In 1646, Bl Arthur Bell was condemned for being a priest and killed by Parliamentary troops. These martyrs have been beatified by Pope John Paul II in 1987.

Leonie ~ Oct 31 Bl. Angelo of Acri
Blessed Angelo was born at Acri, Italy, he was refused admission to the Capuchins twice but was accepted on his third attempt in 1690, and was ordained. Unsuccessful in his first sermons, he eventually became a famous preacher after a tremendous success preaching in Naples during Lent in 1711. For the rest of his life, he preached missions in Calabria and Naples, converting thousands and performing many miracles of healing. He was reputed to have had the gifts of prophecy and bilocation, experienced visions and ecstasies and was a sought after confessor with the ability to see into men's souls.

Gerry ~ Nov 25 Bl. Elizabeth of Reute
Elizabeth was a member of the Third Order of St. Francis, born 25 November, 1386, died 25 November, 1420. From her earliest days "the good Betha", as she was called, showed a rare piety, and under her confessor, provost of the Canons Regular of St. Augustine at St. Peter's in Waldsee, she made extraordinary progress towards perfection. When fourteen she received the habit of the third order.Here she took up her work in the kitchen, and began her life of seclusion, fasting, and prayer. She spent many hours in a little garden, kneeling on a stone or prostrate on the ground in contemplation. In all her trials she showed a heavenly patience.

Luke ~ Mar 3 Bl. Samuele Marzorati
Companion of Bl. Liberatus...see above....

Jonathon ~ Jan 18 - St. Charles of Sezze
Born in Sezze 22nd October 1613, he was forced to leave public schooling early in order to tend to and safeguard the herds, still maintaining and cultivating the deep Christian spirit instilled in him by his devout parents. He entered the Franciscan convent in Nazzano on 18th May 1635. Brother Charles always performed duties happily while collecting goods for the poor and giving assistance to the sick and needy. Brother Charles performed many miracles, such as curing the sick and multiplication of food. Stricken himself by disease, he died in the convent of Saint Francis in Ripa on 6th January 1670.

We did the same thing with our parish's Women's Group on Thursday. I put the names of twenty women saints into a small basket...and we each picked out a name.

Who did I get?

Not who I would have chosen, myself.

That is the way of things, isn't it?

But now, after prayer and thought, I think this saint may be just right.

Bl. Zelie Martin, mother of St Therese if the Child Jesus. And of Leonie Martin, also a nun, of whom I read a book last year. And whose cause for beatification is underway.

From Castle of the Immaculate ..

Zelie Martin
• had a great love for purity.
• showed extra concern for modesty.
.• wanted to see her children pray, pray at a young age, and pray often.
• did not spoil the children. They didn’t get away with bad behavior.
• regularly encouraged her children to sacrifice
• demonstrated personal holiness and prayerfulness
.• practiced obedience to her husband, who she regarded as head of the family.
• Spoke of heaven often.
• would not excuse herself from the Church’s regulations regarding fasting even though she was very ill.
• was suspicious of being too happy in this life. She thought it was a bad sign when things went very well because this is a valley of tears
.• abhorred detraction especially mentioning the faults of priests.
• prayed intensely for her children to have vocations to the religious life but wouldn’t say the prayer out loud. She didn’t want to exert overt pressure.
• demonstrated a love for the poor in tangible ways (gave food to the hungry, visited the sick, and reached out to the most needy.)
• went on pilgrimage to Lourdes for healing but returned in worse shape than ever. Yet, her faith in God and love of the Blessed Virgin Mary was undiminished.
• died a holy death, bearing her sufferings with great courage.

And from Cardinal Jose Saraiva Martins..

Louis and Zelie (Martin) represent a gift for spouses of every age by the respect, and the harmony which marked their love during 19 years. ...They lived with heroism their marriage vows of fidelity to the bond that united them, to the fruitfulness of their love, in good times as in bad, in sickness, and in health....
Louis and Zelie represent a gift for parents: ministers of love and of life, they brought forth nine children for the Lord....

We think we choose.

We do choose.

We have free will.

Yet, sometimes, we see our choices have been guided.

A nice Epiphany tradition. Choose a saint! To go with our gold foil covered chocolate coins, our singing of We Three Kings, our special meal or our King's Cake.

To add to The Menu Plan.

Popcorn..for movie night at home tonight..Diehard 4. Yippee ki-ay!

Friday, January 15, 2010

Menu Plans

Menu Plans? Am I sick?

No, just feeling inspired ( or guilty) ...after reading Lisa's blog. Lisa posts a menu plan every Monday..

On Monday nght, after having flown back from Melbourne, gone straight to work, arriving home around 8.30 p.m., we had meat pies from the freezer for dinner.

And I thought about my busy week, and Lisa's influence, and my favourite TV cooks ( Nigella and Jamie) and what we had in the house..and made my own rough, very rough, menu plan.

Lisa, you have encouraged me to post my meagre plans. No comparisons, right?


Welsh Rarebit or Poached Eggs in Bread Rolls ( read here how to poach eggs in cling wrap. A Science experiment all on its own!). Served with or on blessed bread rolls from the St Anthony Mass on Tuesday night. And with a salad of cos lettuce, sliced beetroot, three bean mix.

Use up that pork from the freezer.
Thai Red Pork Curry, using cabbage and carrots instead of sweet potato and snake beans.
Rice. Microwaved pappadums.

Women's group and no dinner for me. I planned for the kids to make
Quick Tomato Pasta Sauce, to serve with penne and Garlic Bread Rolls..again using up those bread rolls.

Vegetarian Zucchini Slice with grain bread ( or The Last Of Those Bread Rolls).

St Paul the Hermit... we traditonally serve pork on this day .Still have pork left in the freezer from perhaps Satay Pork with rice and any available salad/fruit/vegetables.
Unless we have friends for which case we will do a barbecue, plus bread, salad, dairy free carrot cake with custard.

Mmm. Another vegetarian meal. Perhaps
Nigella's Macaroni Cheese or Channa Dahl or Peanut Butter Pasta.

Unless, again, a friend stays for dinner..and then we might have chicken!

Monday again
Use up those Meat-Pies-from-The-Freezer again, after work and an Information Meeting, with any leftovers, including leftover salad, from the weekend. Or cook anything we didn't cook on the weekend!
Should I be daring and plan a menu for next week, too??

Thursday, January 14, 2010

As we approach the new school year

The Anti-Planning Post.

As we approach the start of term one here in Australia, many homeschoolers naturally turn to thoughts about what-to-do-this-new-year.

For us, this is somewhat easy, as we never really stop or start homeschooling. As you can see from this week's homeschool log.

And from pics. Kids here..reading at the airport...journal writing while on holiday...taking their Kumon bag on holiday...

But I still like to think about our rhythms and things we may like to tweak.

With my general busyness, with work and volunteer stuff and study, I also need to see, mentally, and then written in my journal, how a week could look. Will I find time to be there for my kids, amidst housework and paid work and everything-else?

Well, I make sure I will, by glancing over my week.

The monthly bulletin board is a boon for us...we put up pics or info about the saints for the month, birthdays, happenings.

I keep the saints calendar book open, for info about the Saint of the Day and artwork.

I am thinking we may go back to refrigerator strewing ~ each month putting stuff up about an artist for that month, and/or French/Latin mottoes for that month.

So, as we Australian homeschoolers approach the new school year, can I suggest that we look less at curricula and more at rhythms? At creating a lifestyle of learning.

Read Julie Bogart's Bravewriter One Thing ..and how it helped with our plans in January 2006.

I am feeling a bit under the weather, as they say. Tired, I have a sore throat, blood clots in superficial veins, on rest....So, I am back to my One Thng.One Thing for each day, to be and do with the children. I first heard of the One philosophy when I was a young teenager, reading one of those ubiquitous magazines for young women.The article was called One Bowl and was a dieting article - describing the philosophy of paring back. The ideas was to eat all one's meals out of one small bowl - thus cutting down automatically on portions. And learning to savour meals from the One Bowl. Since then, I have read about the One philosophy applied to many areas. I have tried to keep to One Thing at many times, when everything else seems like too much. One Thing can also be applied to housework, to habits, to homeschooling or unschooling......

So, what was my One Thing for unschooling yesterday? Typically me, the One Thing was actually Two Things. 1.Read about the Epiphany Blessing and its traditions and meanings 2. Share my writing ideas with the dc - my thought of writing and drawing in our journals, about our holidays with the older three boys. About our dreams and wishes for 2006. Include photos and cut outs from leaflets collected on our visits in the holidays. Paste in snippets of Christmas cards. Pics of goals for the year.

And, as we approach the new school year, with plans, remember to take it easy. Plan for joy. Don't start the year stressed.

If your mind is like mine at the moment, a hotch-potch of worries and problems and issues, start the year with time out.

More from Bravewriter, on homeschooling if things feel tough.

Well, the blog post is actually Homeschooling Through Grief but I think it could also be titled unschooling through worries, busyness, stress, no time, too-much-too-think-about...

Keep your plans loose..remember, in a strewing, caring, interesting household, kids will learn. They are wired to learn.

We tend to do more technology when things are tough for me and, you know, the kids learn anyway. And when things improve, I find it easy to add in things that can eventually take over so much screen time..
From the Bravewriter blog ~

Let them watch crap TV and play computer games. I know, I know. That sounds so cynical. Here’s something I know from experience. Kids learn because that’s what they do. I’ve discovered from having been through a rough year myself that my kids have learned stuff I never taught them from Seinfeld episodes, from reality TV, from music (spending big quantities of time listening to and copying lyrics). Your kids need space to recover too, so let them do some of these “lesser forms of learning” without guilt. Remember the summers of your youth when you vegged out all day watching game shows or old movies? It’s okay. They’ll be okay. A little bit of learning combined with a lot of technology and TV for a period of time (a season) may be the easiest way to recover from such a blow as losing your mother. You’ll all get restless and sick of that lifestyle when your energy revives. You will. Trust it.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Salient Quotes..or Mottoes..For Writing In Journals

From New Liturgical Movement ~ address by the Papal Master of Ceremonies..

Theologically speaking, the holy Mass, as a matter of fact, is always addressed to God through Christ our Lord, and it would be a grievous error to imagine that the principal orientation of the sacrificial action is the community.

A grievous error. As I discussed in posts late last year. Posts about the Sacred Liturgy. About rubrics.

Maybe I should write this quote in the front of my diary, make it part of my theme for the year. Something to remember.

Each year, I choose a theme and motto or word, to help me keep on keeping on.

So far I have ~



And maybe the above.

Or else this. From The Way of Perfection ~ St Teresa of Avila...

Saint Martha was holy, but we are not told that she was a contemplative. What more do you want than to be able to grow to be like that blessed woman, who was worthy to receive Christ our Lord so often in her house, and to prepare meals for Him, and to serve Him and perhaps to eat at table with Him? If she had been absorbed in devotion [all the time], as the Magdalen was, there would have been no one to prepare a meal for this Divine Guest. ...The point is that the Lord knows everyone as he really is and gives each his work to do—according to what He sees to be most fitting for his soul, and for His own Self, and for the good of his neighbour. Unless you have omitted to prepare yourselves for your work you need have no fear that it will be lost...Go cheerfully about whatever services you are ordered to do, as I have said; if such a servant is truly humble she will be blessed in her active life and will never make any complaint save of herself.

Perhaps something else to carve in my diary, my journal.

Like Anais Nin.

Well, only with regard to journal writing ( aka blogging?).

Not her other writing.

Wouldn't fit with the quotes above; with my themes and mottoes.

Saturday, January 09, 2010

Christmas -tide

Morning Mass at St Joseph's Springvale.

As the end of the Christmas season draws near, as we prepare to celebrate the Baptism of Our Lord, we are called to reflect.

In his homily, Fr encouraged us to reflect on this Christmas season. Each Christmas should teach us something. We should draw closer to Christ. We should love more.

We should learn from the humility of Our Lord, who came down to earth, who became one of us, for us.

As Fr said, we can use our time of praying at Mass as a time for learning to love Christ more.

In the words of St John the Baptist, to paraphrase St John the Baptist, we must decrease so He can increase.

Being me, of course. after Mass, after Fr's homily, after Confession, after advice and counsel in the sacrament, well, being me, I wanted to make a list of things I should do love more, to practice humility.

But you know, not everything in life can be reduced to a list. I have to give my all. Which I find hard because experiences have led me to hold back.

Ultimately though, I rely on God's Grace, on his love, I give it all to Him.

I am learning this. Still.

And how do I share this with my children, as an unschooling mother?

With prayer.

With my life.

With catechesis.

Wow, how one homily can inspire!

Friday, January 08, 2010

The Reality of Dreams

A quote from the artist Salvador Dali. Art is the reality of dreams.

The quote ran through my mind this afternoon. An afternoon spent mesmerized, absolutely mesmerized, by the religious art in the European section of the NGV...the National Gallery of Victoria.

Illuminated books of hours. Albert Drurer's sketch of the Woman of the Book of Revelations, the Woman clothed with stars.

Gilt edged icons.

A triptych of scenes of Christ's life...the wedding feast at Cana; the Annunciation...

Statues, images of St Barbara and of St Catherine of Alexandria.

I spent most of my time reading and looking. Really looking.

And feeling inspired, fed, calmed, uplifted by the art. Most definitely the stuff of dreams.

People have told me that boys don't get into art. That their homeschooled sons are manly and thus into sport not art.

But my sons happily spent time in the gallery today. Anthony came up to me and told me that I must make sure I see the icons.

Male or female, our souls need feeding and inspiration. With beauty. With art. This is lifting our souls towards our God.

True manliness. Seeing in art, some art, that reality of dreams.

I wonder if I could move to Melbourne. Just so I can visit the NGV more often!

Thursday, January 07, 2010

The Mummy

The Mummy. That old movie. We watched it tonight in our apartment in Melbourne.

What's a place like me doing in a girl like this?

Great quote!

Sometimes I Just Don't Get It

To be honest, maybe I don't get things a lot of the time.

I am having a great time in Melbourne. So are the kids. But to do this one also has to give and take about some things. I am pretty annoying, I know, but I don't get the notion of letting things bother you while on vacation. There will be plenty of time next week for that!

Girls Just Wanna Have Fun! And today's fun includes the art gallery and shops! And trams. And walking. And the delicious food in Lygon St last night.

And workouts...Jillian Michaels circuits today. Some of 'em anyway.

And watching Madonna on Foxtel.

And Mass at the oldest Catholic Church in Victoria. I prayed at the Ladye Chapel. Beautiful.

But had another of those I Just Don't Get It moments.

Everyone knows I am a Christian feminist. However, we, the sexes, are equal but different. As Pope John Paul II writes...

So, come on guys, what are we thinking of with adult women altar servers? Where does this fit in with worship, with humility, with respecting roles and the priesthood?

Wednesday, January 06, 2010


A family holiday in Melbourne. Hopefully not a repeat of those National Lampoon Vacation movies!

We brought our once-in-a-blue-moon journals. For writing. For drawing. To make an academic scrapbook of our lives.

Visited the friars in Springvale. Lunch at a Vietnamese restaurant...noodles! I loved all the local shops, the Vietnamese groceries..a mini exploration of its own.

Saw The Jersey Boys. Who knew Frankie Valli sang so many songs? And there is even an education kit for teachers online...

Big Girls Don't Cry.
Hey, maybe my theme song!

Off to mass ..Springvale...parish under the care of the Conventual Franciscans. Reading the Psalms this morning..and this stood out...

Thou, O God, are all my strength..Psalm 42.

My strength. Even when I am on holiday.

Monday, January 04, 2010

I should be packing...

I should be packing for my holiday...early start tomorrow and I have just finished my Kumon prep for my next centre day...but what am I doing? I am reading St Teresa of Avila's Way of Perfection. Again. ( And now I am blogging!)

I am reading of Love.

Spiritual Love. A type of love and friendship that our secular world sometimes finds hard to understand. Friendship between men and women without sensuality. Without thought of gain for self. Friendship between women that shares pain and suffering, that allows growth.

There are two kinds of love which I am describing. The one is purely spiritual, and apparently has nothing to do with sensuality or the tenderness of our nature, either of which might stain its purity.....

It is of the first kind of spiritual love that I would now speak. It is untainted by any sort of passion, for such a thing would completely spoil its harmony. If it leads us to treat virtuous people, especially confessors, with moderation and discretion, it is profitable;...

.....with spiritual affection......our reason soon begins to reflect whether our friend's trials are not good for her, and to wonder if they are making her richer in virtue and how she is bearing them, and then we shall ask God to give her patience so that they may win her merit. If we see that she is being patient, we feel no distress -- indeed, we are gladdened and consoled. If all the merit and gain which suffering is capable of producing could be made over to her, we should still prefer suffering her trial ourselves to seeing her suffer it, but we are not worried or disquieted.

...I repeat once more that this love is a similitude and copy of that which was borne for us by the good Lover, Jesus. It is for that reason that it brings us such immense benefits, for it makes us embrace every kind of suffering, so that others, without having to endure the suffering, may gain its advantages.

Happy new year!

Sunday, January 03, 2010

Those Wise Men

We celebrate the feast of the Epiphany.

We follow in the footsteps of the Magi, who travelled to pay homage to the Baby Jesus; who brought Him gifts ; who were changed and converted after their encounter with the Infant Jesus in the manger. To (poorly and succinctly) paraphrase Fr's homily from last night ~ we Christians, on this day of the Epiphany, remember to pay homage to Our Lord, truly present on the altar in Holy Mass; to bring gifts, the gift of ourselves, our life, our love, our wills; to have a conversion experience on encountering Our Lord in the Eucharist.

Our family are sharing our usual gold coins and I am asking dh to pray with us the yearly Epiphany Blessing.

There is comfort in these sinple routines, continued year after year, in our homeschooling family.

From Simplicity Parenting, a book a friend shared with me over coffee, yesterday.

(Quite Simply) Rhythm builds islands of consistency and security throughout the day.

Meaning hides in repetition: We do this every day or every week because it matters. We are connected by the things we do together. We matter to one another. In the tapestry of childhood, what stands out is not the splashy, blow-out trip to Disneyland but the common threads that run throughout and repeat: the family dinners, nature walks, reading together at bedtime (with a hot water bottle at our feet on winter evenings), Saturday morning pancakes.

Now, I am no Becky Home-Echy, Lois and Pam! We don't do the whole pancake or even breakfast thing and we love family dinners around a DVD, precariously balancing plates on our laps and laughing and talking and arguing together over the show. But the common thread of spending a lot of time together, of attending Masses together, of celebrating the liturgical year together with activities and reading and food, of gold coins and blessings..these rhythms have formed our family during the course of the time.

For better or for worse.

Which is why I am an unschooler.

Radical Unschooling is the trust that a child will seek out and learn what he needs to know, when he needs to know it, without coercion, without school or school type methods, in the freedom and safety of his family. Our role as parents is to facilitate and make available our time, space, money, and lives to helping them explore the world.

Radical Christian Unschooling is the Trust that not only will a child seek out and learn what he needs to know when he needs to know it, without coercion, without school or school type methods, in the freedom and safety of his family, but that God will direct the child's path Himself. Our role as parents is to act as guides and mentors in the learning process, and to disciple our children in our Faith through our daily example of walking out our Faith before their eyes.

Our Unschooling Catholics blog.

From "Cleaving"

From Cleaving by Julie Powell.
I knew it would be one of those books. Quoteable. Descriptive. Knowing.

It leads me to drink, too - though not sherry, yet - and to other things, to things that are bad for me, harmful urges succumbed to....One thing I've learned about my inner voice is that it prefers indulging dangerous cravings to the prospect of tamping down those cravings into bitter resignation...
And ~

....Does everyone talk like this, in these codes? I decipher both messages perfectly. One pulls at me with a thousand threads of anxiety and obligation and love and solicitude and guilt; the other with a single knowing yank, the secret gutteral syllable that brings me to heel.

Saturday, January 02, 2010

Rennet and Seeds

Many indeed are the wondrous happenings of that time: God hanging from a cross, the sun made dark and again flaming out; for it was fitting that creation should mourn with its creator. The temple veil rent, blood and water flowing from his side: the one as from a man, the other as from what was above man; the earth shaken, the rocks shattered because of the rock; the dead risen to bear witness to the final and universal resurrection of the dead. The happenings at the sepulcher and after the sepulcher, who can fittingly recount them? Yet no one of them can be compared to the miracle of my salvation. A few drops of blood renew the whole world, and do for all men what the rennet does for the milk: joining us and binding us together.

Gregory of Nazianzus, On the Holy Pasch

The love of God is not taught. No one has taught us to enjoy the light or to be attached to life more than anything else. And no one has taught us to love the two people who brought us into the world and educated us. Which is all the more reason to believe that we did not learn to love God as a result of outside instruction. In the very nature of every human being has been sown the seed of the ability to love. You and I ought to welcome this seed, cultivate it carefully, nourish it attentively and foster its growth by going to the school of God's commandments with help of His grace.

Last Lunch for 2009

~ And I cooked ~