religion, Unschooling

Enthusiasm. Fleetwood Mac. St John Bosco

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

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

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

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

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

Theme songs? Yeah..I was a  young thing. Full of enthusiam for life.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

keen interest, excitement
activity, ardency, ardor, , conviction, craze, dash, devotion, eagerness, earnestness, ecstasy, élan, emotion, energy, exhilaration, , feeling, fervor,, fieriness, fire, flame, , gaiety, hilarity, hobby, intensity, interest, joy, joyfulness, keenness, life, mirth, nerve, oomph*, passion, pep, rapture, relish, snap, spirit, , verve, vim, vivacity, warmth, zeal, zest
Bring these to your life and to your parenting, to your work with children. Add faith and prayer. A recipe for unschooling.

The New School Year

The new school year for 2009 in Australia.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


St Thomas Aquinas.

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

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

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

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

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


A Visit.

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

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

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

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

I prayed at the Chapel at Mary Mackillop Place. I had a lot of prayer intentions and my very patient family waited outside, in the courtyard and coffee shop.
Woo hoo! I left the Chapel very, very excited ( I know, I am weird!) ~ and also at peace. Excited because I had finally visited the Chapel, something I have wanted to do since we moved to Sydney in 2005. Yet something that I never had managed to do – up to now. Different things always thwarted my plans.

But not today.

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

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

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

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

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

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


Revolutionary Road

How do you break free without breaking apart?

The movie based on the novel by Richard Yates.

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

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

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

About being strong. About being compassionate.

Or not.

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

But is it really that simple?

Perhaps it is.

Be who you are and be that well.

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

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

The Conversion of St Paul

We are still trying to make our way through the Letters of St Paul, as an occasional family read aloud.

So it was definitely heartening today to read again about Paul’s conversion . Encouraging.

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

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


The Saints

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

We pray with saints, not to them.

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

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

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

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


St.Francis de Sales

Today in Wollongong.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

You may be right! I may be crazyBilly Joel