When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place.
And suddenly a sound came from heaven like the rush of a mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting.
And there appeared to them tongues as of fire, distributed and resting on each one of them.
And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.
Now there were dwelling in Jerusalem Jews, devout men from every nation under heaven.
And at this sound the multitude came together, and they were bewildered, because each one heard them speaking in his own language.
And they were amazed and wondered, saying, “Are not all these who are speaking Galileans?
And how is it that we hear, each of us in his own native language?
Par’thians and Medes and E’lamites and residents of Mesopota’mia, Judea and Cappado’cia, Pontus and Asia,
Phryg’ia and Pamphyl’ia, Egypt and the parts of Libya belonging to Cyre’ne, and visitors from Rome, both Jews and proselytes,
Cretans and Arabians, we hear them telling in our own tongues the mighty works of God.”
Acts 2: 1-11

Homeschool Open House

Homeschool Open House. On a day I was hardly home.

But the kids do okay without me. No one is indispensable. Not even me!

Chores, workout, morning prayers, laundry….We went to nine o’clock Mass. I dropped the younger three kids at home ( all teens now, the youngest is thirteen..).. with a little chat about morning activities. Some folding for their junk mail delivery work; some Kumon maths; Alexander working on an essay for his Italian Open University course; Thomas and Anthony to read the next section in their religion books (Fr. Laux series )~ and writing about their reading for me. Because I asked. Nicely. Pretty please. I want to know about their reading and writing is good for university study, you know…Quiet down that inner unschooling voice!

Should we play computer games before or after folding? asked Thomas.
It’s up to you, I said. Ask Alexander, cos he has a deadline for that uni essay.

So, no objections from anyone re morning activities. And I went off to do some volunteer work at the parish office.

Home at lunch time, got out leftovers for lunch, we prayed, I checked in on the kids’ morning. No time for lunch for me – hey, I didn’t have breakfast either! I made some Kumon phone calls, suggested some reading or games or DVDs for the kids for the afternoon, then I went to a friend’s house. To be a listening ear. On that irritable male syndrome.

And she fed me, too!

As the day grew cold and wet, I mentally reviewed activities…Came home, read religion reports, did some money stuff on the internet, talked to a Kumon staff member on the phone and found I will be doing MC work at presentations on Saturday so printed off material, to the post office we all trekked, to pick up a parcel and send a fax..onto junk mail delivery. In the rain. We wore our hoodies!

Home, laundry, kids reading and gaming, Alexander still at work on that essay, Thomas reading through his parcel of stuff for Open Uni ( Chinese language – Mandarin!). I mopped the floors and tidied. Dh came home – been away these last few days for work..One son came home from college today..a friend arrived to take two sons to the movies. Another son ventured home…Spent time with dh, we ordered Chinese takeaway simply because dh was home and happy – yay! – ( and, hey, Thomas is studying Chinese, right, so it all fits in with homeschooling!).

Our friend stayed for dinner, Jonathon went to a photoshoot for his band ( Bright Young Things) and we a bit too loud and noisy..and disagreeing with dh..and a little side discussion on actions that are morally good/evil/indifferent…and on our years spent reading aloud as a family..and on study and pushing oneself..that getting out of one’s comfort zone thing.

I cleaned up while everyone went to bed..did the last online Kumon follow up..made a To Do List for Thursday and trailed upstairs, tired, forgetting prayers ( oh no) and my personal reading ( sad).
P.S. Our family is featured in the book, above, a day from 1999..very different from today..but just as little formal work..and just as busy…some things change and some things don’t!

Our Lady Help of Christians

We had a fiesta at our parish yesterday…in honour of Our Lady..and today we celebrate the solemnity of Our Lady Help of Christians…With Mass, reading some of our Pictorial History of the Catholic Church in Australia, baking Nigella’s Chocolate Fudge cake, and the consecration below. Oh, and I’m doing Kumon and the kids are playing computer, doing Maths and Chemistry. And we are all working at Kumon today…

A statue of Mary, Help of Christians, stands in the Chapel of the Sacred Heart, St. Mary’s Cathedral, here in Sydney. It was donated in the 19th century. Our Lady , Help of Christians is Patroness of Australia and the Cathedral was dedicated in her honour by the Irish pioneer priest, Fr. John Therry who arrived in Sydney in 1820. Fr. Therry had responsibility for the planning and initial construction of the Cathedral. The foundation stone was laid in October 1821 by the Governor of the ( then) Colony of New South Wales, Lachlan Macquarie.

Act of Consecration to the Immaculate Heart of Mary

O Mary Help of Christians, Patroness of Australia, Mother of Mercy, Queen of Heaven and earth, refuge of sinners, we consecrate ourselves to thine Immaculate Heart.
To thee we consecrate our country, our families, our hearts, our souls and all that we have.
And in order that this consecration may be truly effective and lasting, we renew today the promise of our Baptism and Confirmation; we undertake to live as good Christians -faithful to God, the Church and the Holy Father. We desire to pray the Rosary, partake in the Holy Eucharist, attach special importance to the first Saturday of the month and work for the conversion of sinners. Furthermore we promise, O most holy Virgin, that we will zealously spread devotion to thee, so that through our consecration to thine Immaculate Heart and through thine own intercession, the coming of the Kingdom of Christ in the world may be
hastened. Amen


What to eat for the Ascension?

I like to do something special for solemnities and feast days – forging memories of the liturgical year .

Next Sunday is Pentecost and I know we will do a repeat of last year’s successful (Twelve Fruit) Fruit Salad.

So, I searched for something different for dinner for the Ascension.

Chicken. Baked chicken with baked vegetables and risotto.

Why chicken?

It was a widespread custom in many parts of Europe during the Middle Ages to eat a bird on Ascension Day, because Christ “flew” to heaven. Pigeons, pheasants, partridges, and even crows, graced the dinner tables. In western Germany bakers and innkeepers gave their customers pieces of pastry made in the shapes of various birds. The Easter Book by Fr. Weiser

My family teased me, because chickens don’t fly.

But chickens are birds!

Working it hard with the fruits of the Holy Spirit.

Working it hard. Giving myself very little leeway.

It came to me this week that I needed to learn self control. Self control in a couple of areas.

One of which is the area of eating habits.

It came to me this week that, instead of always hating the way I look, I could practise more self control and do something about it.

I always work it hard when it comes to exercise. But I have been skipping meals, eating junk. And it shows .
So I am praying. One of the fruits of the Holy Spirit is continency or control. The fruits of the Holy Spirit are one of the effects of the gifts of the Holy Spirit .The power of the Holy Spirit enables us to do things that may be, or may seem to be, humanly impossible.

22 But the fruit of the Spirit is, charity, joy, peace, patience, benignity, goodness, longanimity, 23 Mildness, faith, modesty, continency, chastity. Against such there is no law 24 And they that are Christ’s have crucified their flesh, with the vices and concupiscences. Galations 5:22-24

Continency is control over impure desires.

Well, maybe my bad eating habits aren’t really impure, if you get my drift, but they do show lack of self control.

So, I’m working it hard to get rid of some of this chubbiness. Chubby looks good, even cute, on some people, but not on me. Cute is not me. I am not cute. There are many things I can’t change about my looks and my health but I can change this. To be a bit less chubby, at least!

It came to me this week that I can plan some of my eating; I can watch portions; I can be more mindful of calories.

And so I have. With prayer. Already I feel better … I don’t look any better, that is a difficult task, but how one feels is a terribly important part of the wellness equation, to my mind.

I have even seen a loss of weight on the scale.

One of the FIRM instructors, on a FIRM workout DVD, says , while doing an aerobic step move, Getting down with the fanny lifter!

This always makes me laugh.

And so I’m changing it to Working it hard with the fruits of the Holy Spirit!

At least this makes me laugh! Out loud.

I am

.I am Elinor Dashwood!

You are Elinor Dashwood of Sense & Sensibility! You are practical, circumspect, and discreet. Though you are tremendously sensible and allow your head to rule, you have a deep, emotional side that few people often see.


The Ascension

Printing this out for a table centrepiece for Sunday ~ remembering the Ascension of Our Lord.

The Ascension of Our Lord, which occurred 40 days after Jesus Christ rose from the dead on Easter Sunday, is the final act of our redemption that Christ began on Good Friday. On this day, the risen Christ, in the sight of His apostles, ascended bodily into Heaven (Luke 24:51; Mark 16:19; Acts 1:9-11).

Collect for the Feast of the Ascension
Grant, we beseech Thee, almighty God, that we who believe Thine only-begotten Son, our Redeemer, to have this day ascended into heaven, may dwell in spirit amid heavenly things. Through the same Lord Jesus Christ, Thy Son, Who liveth and reigneth with Thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, God, world without end. Amen.

Then Monday is the solemnity of Our Lady Help of Christians, patroness of Australia. Planning on getting to Mass. And Thomas or Anthony, or both, will make a cake in honour of Our Lady. Maybe this recipe from Nigella Lawson ~ Chocolate Fudge Cake ~ as Nigella says, this cake will serve 10. Or 1 with a broken heart.

Sounds perfect to me!

Grahame Greene

If I’m a bitch and a fake, is there nobody who will love a bitch and a fake? Grahame Greene, The End of the Affair.

People talk about the courage of condemned men walking to the place of execution: sometimes it needs as much courage to walk with any kind of bearing towards another person’s habitual misery. The Heart of the Matter

Re-reading some Grahame Greene novels.

Like Edna O’Brien, like Flannery O’Connor, Greene wrote of people, of life, of pain, of love.

I know his words. I feel them. I live them.

A good writer writes..and the reader cries or nods or laughs in agreement.