Two People

We read about two people today.

St Catherine of Siena, saint for today, Doctor of the Church.

William Shakespeare, who would have had a birthday last Friday.

As I was reading about St Catherine and her role in The Western Schism, Anthony regaled us with information about The Great Schism and the Byzantines. He went through a Byzantine-ish reading frenzy awhile ago.

Charity is the sweet and holy bond which links the soul with its Creator: it binds God with man and man with God.Saint Catherine of Siena

And while we talked of Shakespeare and found our copy of the book Tales From Shakespeare by Charles and Mary Lamb, Anthony and I also discussed his personal reading. Bulldog Drummond ( an bit B grade, he says), poems by Tennyson and Inkheart by Cornelia Funke.

But, for my own part, it was Greek to me – Shakespeare, Julius Caesar

Words, like nature, half reveal and half conceal the soul within. Alfred Lord Tennyson

It [the book] was spinning a magic spell around her heart, sticky as a spider’s web and enchantingly beautiful..Cornelia Funke, Inkheart
So, as usual, part of our day was spent in reading and talking. And with books. And people – past and present.

This time last year.

This time last year, we were making anzac cookies and a dragon cake for the feast of St George, Anthony’s Confirmation saint. Cooking risi et bisi for the feast of St Mark and bread to remember St Zita.

And we were preparing for a parish mission and surgery for me.

What have we done this year? Went to an Anzac Day ceremony ~ yes, we were late ~ yes, it was my fault ~ yes, I got into trouble for being late again and trying again to do-too-much-in-too-small-a-space-of-time ~ but, no, we didn’t miss all the ceremony and we certainly enjoyed the sausage sizzle after, meeting new people.

We prayed for those who have died in war…we read about St George and St Mark and St Fidelus..we put together an Anzac Day bulletin board and a table centrepiece with our Easter candle, flowers from the autumn garden, an Australian flag for Anzac Day and the book Vendela in Venice for St Mark.

I made an Aussie, Anglo, dinner, as another way to celebrate Anzac day. After a house blessing by one of the friars. Hey, we even had our new lemon tree blessed! Thank you, Fr!

An Aussie-ish dinner? Pea soup, damper, steak, sausages, onions, meat pie and chips ( both home-made! Can you believe it??), a big salad, rolls, pavlova slice and anzac cookies and lamingtons that I made myself.

With fun..


Groove is in the Heart

That song by Deee-Lite.

By groove, though, I mean getting into a groove. A rhythm.

We have rhythm..routine… in our days and weeks..and months…And we have been finding our groove again, post Holy Week and the Octave of Easter.

Finding what works for us now. Some time together. Some time alone. Some work, some chores, some formal work, time with people , activities. Reading through the liturgical year. Books, movies, games. Oh, and did I say work and people?

Today at a Kumon coffee meeting, someone introduced me as that Shire Leader, that Supervisor, who has seven kids and homeschools and writes and does volunteer stuff at church and elsewhere. And who never misses a workout.

I cringed.

That’s me. And, yet, it is not me.

I don’t do it all. I do many things but in dribs and drabs. Some here. Some there. With the family.

Julie, from Bravewriter , describes how this dribbly, drabbly routine can work ~

Some weeks homeschool gets the lion’s share of my attention. Other weeks, my business does. Some days, I give in and make spring crafts for hours (like yesterday) and let the whole kitchen go to heck. On those days, we eat pizza for dinner. Other days, I make a wonderful chicken stew and set the table with candles, but don’t wash any clothes. Some months, a writing deadline (like my MA thesis last April) means the family has to pick up my slack in the meal-making, food-shopping, clothes-washing department so that I can write unfettered.

…All bets are off when your business and your kids’ education are both at home and both fall on you! That’s a situation few people in your life will know or understand. There really is no time when you are all alone and free from the competing pressures of dogs with vet visits, phone call polls, television drone in the background and the eternally hungry tummies of children, teens and home-working husbands…..

The bottom line is that more and more of us need to work to pay for life ….If you are at this place in your life, your family can handle it. You just need to be sure that you continue to give your heart and energy to your kids when you are with them. That’s the only way to balance it all out.

Part of finding a groove or a rhythm is learning how to balance things out. Remembering that not everything has to balance out all at once.

Post Easter Sunday, we are finding time for reading about the saint of the day. For trying to fit in more masses, for me, during the week. For doing kumon work. For paid work. To do some maths, some Latin, some French…Searching through Science books and texts for ideas…To mess around, and to see friends.

But not doing all these every day.

Many things but not all-at-once.

Even our seemingly disorganised or very busy days have a hidden and stable routine. Priorities are set according to family need and resources, time, energy, allocated accordingly.

Yesterday was a busy work day for me and, accordingly, a time for formal work for kids, for work at Kumon for all. Today, we had mass and meetings and hang out time for kids..time for me to see a friend..for youth group..for Anthony and dh to have time..for cooking..for Kumon..for blogging..for gaming.

The two days were very different. The skeleton of the days, however, remains the same. Chores,my personal prayer time or mass, workout, family prayers, saint of the day, reading, meals, remembering time for family and each other and friends. What we do in the larger blocks of time, is the flesh on the skeleton;these are what make the difference, the daily changes.

We don’t have a schedule, but a flow, a flow to our family’s daily routine. We don’t dictate bedtimes, chores or television times but we do talk about the day. I have a to do list; I live by my diary. We hang out and do stuff; we fit have-to stuff into want-to stuff and into appointments and regular classes and actvities and meetings and work and our parish life.

And every now and then I ignore stuff and just play.

Or I get tired and send myself to time out.

The groove is in the heart. But, then, listening to the heart is hard. Finding a groove, getting back a groove, can be hard. I often try One Thing for re-marking a groove.



Planting , er, potting, a mini lemon tree. Woo hoo!
And thank you to a friend, who bought us the pot..and potting mix..and fertiliser!
Our next gardening project?
Well, after trying not to kill the lemon tree, we want to pot and grow a pinkabelle apple tree…
A compact apple tree growing to only 2m high making it ideal for containers, courtyards, decks and balconies. It has delicious fruit that ripen two weeks earlier than the Pink Lady but are similar in flavour. Grows well in all temperate climates of Australia.

religion, Unschooling

St Anselm and Child Discipline…and Our Unschooling…

The saint for April 21. Yesterday.

St Anselm was treated harshly by his father. He resolved to leave his home when a young man…As a monk and abbot, he pondered on how we treat children and wrote about the discipline of children, of the boys in the schools.

An abbot told Anselm, then Archbishop of Canterbury, of the difficulties he was having in bringing up boys in his care.

The abbot was a disciplinarian, beating the boys for each and every misdemeanour.

Anselm could not contain his disagreement:

“In God’s name”, he burst out, “I would have you tell me why you are so incensed against them. Are they not human? Are they not flesh and blood like you?”

The boys, he said, need “the encouragement and help of fatherly sympathy and gentleness”, not blows.
Don’t you love that line about encouragement and sympathy..about remembering that children are people ( very Charlotte Mason-ish)?

So, Tuesday, I thought about St Anselm’s words. While we worked through a French Reader together and I did Kumon work.

We read about Julie and her friend Marc, at school in Paris. How tout le monde parle francais …Everyone, literally, all the world, speaks French!

We went to a birthday party..we went to Borders and I bought the book Inkheart for us to read, as French Class is going to the cinema next week to catch that movie – after our French lesson, of course! I admit to having a bit of a crush on Brendan Fraser ( he’s so cute).

St Anselm…discipline of children..French..Inkheart..Brendan Fraser..we have such full and illogical unschooling days!

A thought for this week.

From “Secrets of a Former Fat Girl” by Lisa Delaney ~ Really getting in touch with why you eat can help you start shutting down your appetite when its had enough. For instance, I bet you would say you eat because you like food. It makes you feel good. It comforts you when you’re sad, tired, stressed, or lonely. And I believe you. But thats not the whole story.

Have you ever thought that on some level maybe you’re using food to punish yourself, too? Your Fat Girl programming drives you to eat anything and everything, overriding all commonsense, all vanity, all ego, all the qualities you might respect in yourself..

Why else would you continue to eat when you know you’re full, when you don’t even like what you are putting into your mouth, when you know that what you’re doing is unhealthy physically and emotionally?

I love food. I love reading about it, trying new dishes, and discovering new recipes and techniques. I have loved food since I was a kid. But for a long time I couldn’t distinguish between a healthy passion for food and an unhealthy drive to eat. I used my love of food to justify abusing myself with it…

You need to start thinking about what you’re putting into your mouth and what’s in it for you…What matters more than how many fat grams it has or how many calories it paxks is why you’re eating it.
Start asking; “What will (insert food here) do FOR me?”
You’ll be surprised at how many times the answer is “Nothing.”


St Thomas Sunday

Now Thomas, one of the twelve, called the Twin, was not with them when Jesus came.
So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord.” But he said to them, “Unless I see in his hands the print of the nails, and place my finger in the mark of the nails, and place my hand in his side, I will not believe.”
Eight days later, his disciples were again in the house, and Thomas was with them. The doors were shut, but Jesus came and stood among them, and said, “Peace be with you.”
Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here, and see my hands; and put out your hand, and place it in my side; do not be faithless, but believing.”
Thomas answered him, “My Lord and my God!”
John 20: 24-28

The Octave Day of Easter, sometimes known as Low Sunday (and also known historically as St. Thomas Sunday and Quasimodo Sunday), is the Sunday after Easter Sunday. Since 1970 Low Sunday has been officially known as the Second Sunday of Easter and on April 30, 2000, it has also been designated as Divine Mercy Sunday by Pope John Paul II.

St. Thomas Sunday? Because the Gospel reading relates the story of “Doubting Thomas,” in which Thomas the Apostle comes to believe in the Resurrection of Jesus only after being told by the resurrected Christ to place his finger in the nail marks and his hand in His side. In the Gospel accounts, this event takes place on the eighth day after the Resurrection.

Divine Mercy Sunday is the culmination of the novena to the Divine Mercy of Jesus, a devotion given to St. Faustina .The devotion was actively promoted by Pope John Paul II, who officially set its commemoration on this Sunday in 2000.

Prior to the 1970 this day was called Low Sunday. It was sometimes said that the name comes from its relative unimportance compared to the solemnities of Easter Day, but I have also read that it is possible that “low” is a corruption of the Latin word Laudes, the first word of the Sequence of the day: “Laudes Salvatori voce modulemur supplici” (Let us sing praises to the Savior with humble voice).

The name Quasimodo came from the Latin text of the traditional Introit for this day, which begins “Quasi modo geniti infantes…” (“As newborn babes…”, from I Peter 2:2. )


Saturday in the Octave of Easter

But Peter and John answered them, “Whether it is right in the sight of God to listen to you rather than to God, you must judge; for we cannot but speak of what we have seen and heard.” Acts 4: 19-20
Thinking about liturgy today, during the octave of Easter. I started Lent with liturgical ponderings and am still here during Eastertide. … We went to two masses, yesterday and today, with two different priests ; including mass in a different parish.
Both masses reverent. Catholic. No abuses. And yet….

Dh calls me a mass nazi, a liturgical nazi. It is probably true! I really, truly believe that worship is not about us, about wasn’t that lovely, those warm fuzzy feelings…It is about God, first and foremost.

It is the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.

Now, I tend to be a friendly talkative sort of person. I can gab with the best of ’em before and after mass. I try to welcome newcomers, to make others feel included, I look out for those who may be by themselves or look like they may need a smile or a listener.

But our mass, our worship, should be more, more than every day. It should lift us up…. to God.

I have been spoiled when it comes to liturgy, I know. I have participated in, prayed at masses that have been reverent, liturgically wonderful, no ad libbing, just the rubrics, the prayers, the faith. Masses in my parish church now, and when we lived in Western Australia.

I have a love for High Mass, too.

Why? This quote from Father Faber, priest of the Brompton Oratory in the 1800s, explains why…Fr. Faber described the Mass as the “most beautiful thing this side of heaven”:

It came forth out of the grand mind of the Church, and lifted us out of earth and out of self, and wrapped us round in a cloud of mystical sweetness and the sublimities of a more than angelic liturgy, and purified us almost without ourselves, and charmed us with the celestial charming, so that our very senses seemed to find vision, hearing, fragrance, taste, and touch beyond what earth can give.

Emphasis (above) mine..


Friday in the Octave of Easter

This is the stone which was rejected by you builders, but which has become the head of the corner.And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved. Acts 4: 11-12

Here are some pictures that I am sharing..From Easter Sunday.

Outside my window. . The night. Dark. Cool. Quiet.

I am thinking. . . About the friends I have seen today. Really enjoyed our conversations. It is these little social interactions that make life pleasant.

I am thankful for. . .Friends!

From the learning rooms. . .Alexander worked on an Italian assignment and helped a friend with her Italian..Thomas did Kumon Maths, read about moral law, the old law and the new, from the Catechism and wrote a report…Anthony updated the Journey North project, read the St Joseph Catechism, discussed confession and typed up a report..Why is it we find more time to undertake formal work in official school holidays, in the octave of Easter, than we do in normal school terms?

From the kitchen. . . Well, I made pikelets for a late breakfast/morning tea with a visitor this morning after mass.. and a quiche to take to a friend’s house for a birthday tea…and a salad to accompany Greg’s spaghetti bolognaise .

I am wearing. . . A short dress, purple tights and a big black boofy jumper..I am cold! Autumnal cold.

I am creating. . .How I hate these creating links..I am so not creative..well, I am creating texts to friends and carrying on a texting conversation as I type..
I am going. . .To watch another episode of the Numbers TV series, with dh and the kids..I gave dh series five as part of his anniversary gift.
I am reading. . .The Acts of the Apostles, in EastertideThe Power and the Glory by Grahame Greene, a book re-visit..also re-visiting Secrets of a Former Fat Girl by Lisa Delaney.
I am hoping. . .For discipline and joy…in several areas of my life..I think the two can go together, don’t you?

I am hearing. . The drone of the dishwasher..the rhythm of the dryer..the kids talking in the garage about their military simulation game.
Around the house. . .Am caught up with laundry..bedrooms and clutter could do with an overhaul …but I’ll do a Scarlett O’Hara.

One of my favourite things. . .Coffee with friends…can you see a friends theme this Easter?
A few plans for the rest of the week. . . . Catching up with Kumon folders..planning for Teen Group..catching the movie Escape to Witch Mountain.

I am praying for…Vocations..


Thursday in the Octave of Easter

Repent therefore, and turn again, that your sins may be blotted out, that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord Acts 3:19

Well, this photo (below) is actually a photo from Wednesday. We helped out in the parish office for a little bit in the afternoon, helping with a mail out. Don’t these guys look industrious?

And cute!