religion, Unschooling

All Hallows Eve

On the table…..our unschooling strewing…
Dies Irae, Dies Illa

The Hymn of the Church, in Meditation of the Day of Judgment
That day of wrath, that dreadful day, shall heaven and earth in ashes lay, as David and the Sybil say.
What horror must invade the mind when the approaching Judge shall find and sift the deeds of all mankind!
The mighty trumpet’s wondrous tone shall rend each tomb’s sepulchral stone and summon all before the Throne.
Now death and nature with surprise behold the trembling sinners rise to meet the Judge’s searching eyes.
Then shall with universal dread the Book of Consciences be read to judge the lives of all the dead.
For now before the Judge severe all hidden things must plain appear; no crime can pass unpunished here.
O what shall I, so guilty plead? and who for me will intercede? when even Saints shall comfort need?
O King of dreadful majesty! grace and mercy You grant free; as Fount of Kindness, save me!
Recall, dear Jesus, for my sake you did our suffering nature take then do not now my soul forsake!
In weariness You sought for me, and suffering upon the tree! let not in vain such labor be.
O Judge of justice, hear, I pray, for pity take my sins away before the dreadful reckoning day.
You gracious face, O Lord, I seek; deep shame and grief are on my cheek; in sighs and tears my sorrows speak.
You Who did Mary’s guilt unbind, and mercy for the robber find, have filled with hope my anxious mind.
How worthless are my prayers I know, yet, Lord forbid that I should go into the fires of endless woe.
Divorced from the accursed band, o make me with Your sheep to stand, as child of grace, at Your right Hand.
When the doomed can no more flee from the fires of misery with the chosen call me.
Before You, humbled, Lord, I lie, my heart like ashes, crushed and dry, assist me when I die.
Full of tears and full of dread is that day that wakes the dead, calling all, with solemn blast to be judged for all their past. Amen.
Lord, have mercy, Jesus blest, grant them all Your Light and Rest. Amen.

Reflecting on Friendship

We cannot tell the precise moment when friendship is formed. As in filling a vessel drop by drop, there is at last a drop which makes it run over; so in a series of kindnesses there is at last one which makes the heart run over. — Samuel Johnson

Reflecting on friends and on friendship tonight. With the kids. A great discussion.

What makes a a friend become a very close friend, a kindred spirit, to quote Anne of Green Gables?

Hard to tell. I am someone who makes friends, who loves people and being with people, but who only occasionally finds a close friend. You know. Those friends with whom I can truly be myself, truly love, as much as I, with my issues, am capable of love; without fear of judgement, without fear of vulnerability.

This year, I had the opportunity to re-connect with an old friend.

It was as though we gathered the threads of yesterday and kept on sewing our friendship. Despite the passing of time since we last saw each other. Despite the little rips and tears and worn spots of the fabric of our friendship.

I think it was the connecting of souls.

What is a friend? A single soul dwelling in two bodies. — Aristotle

I have been blessed. In Sydney, I have come to form friendships and share memories with some , with some friends close to my heart and soul.

And my experience of re-connection with my other friend reminds me that, often? every now and then?, certain friendships are forged. Certain friendships that withstand the tyranny of distance; the pull of time and years, of sorrows and misunderstandings.

Your souls have been touched, have been sewn together in some fashion, and, regardless, regardless of other experiences, you are friends forever.

Yet, to be a true friend I must also be worthy of this friendship.

I must love. Without calculating cost. Or inconvenience.

My love of God should show, should be visible, in my love of others.

We become what we love and who we love shapes what we become. If we love things, we become a thing. If we love nothing, we become nothing. Imitation is not a literal mimicking of Christ, rather it means becoming the image of the beloved, an image disclosed through transformation. This means we are to become vessels of God´s compassionate love for others. ~ St. Clare of Assisi


Keeping Company in Wollongong

Keeping Company ~ being companions. With each other and with friends in Wollongong.

We shared a super lunch, home cooked, everything fresh and beyond delicious.

We visited the Kiama Blowhole; North Beach; the Minnamurra Rainforest.

We ate fish n chips at the beach. We walked a lot. We talked a lot. We laughed a lot. And I drank a lot – cocktails; too much wine at dinner.

The super thing about being away for a few days, away from the everydayness, from the myriad of things to do, is that we take ourselves along with us. Our jokes, our way of seeing connections, of learning, of seeing wit in both the new and in the ordinary.

The bad thing about being away for a few days is, no matter what, we still take ourselves with us – grumpiness, a need to fill a day with a million things, to plan a BBQ and a shopping list and a…

We also take with us our journals.

Our Once-In-A-Blue-Moon journals -the kids write in theirs only on holidays, or after special holiday events – perhaps Christmas with all the brothers? I write in mine sulum interdum – kinda, roughly, every now and then. (Nowadays I blog more than pencil and paper journal).

Taking our journals with us, on our occasional breaks from home, is a good thing. A very good thing.

We have a chance to reflect on our past entries. We joke. We guffaw. We smirk. We cringe. I surreptiously smudge away a tear , over some of the things we share from the past, from the years. The years of journaling.

We do not write in order to be understood; we write in order to understand.- Cecil Day Lewis

We have an opportunity to work on writing style and on developing writing and drawing voices… Once-In-A-Blue-Moon journal writing goes past recording events. It it is a companion that supports but doesn’t judge, a place of discovery and a creative playground. It can be a mundane list. It can be facts. Photos. Postcards. Sketches. And sometimes poetry.

She began back in the years of being a young wife and mother on a ranch. She kept them, not in a fancy little diary but in ledgers, little or even big spirals, anything that she could write in suited her just fine. ….She had glued, pasted, taped in newspaper and magazine articles and pictures that either pertained to her family or just interested her. She saved postage stamps, stickers, cards of every size, style and shape, letters, cartoons, poetry and her own personal entries. What a wonderful legacy for her family to have; when she is gone, to be able to go back and learn even more about her life from the time she was very young.
Barbara Gould; Journaling

Anthony shared a line or two from his last break in Wollongong. January 2009. How we visited Bluescope Steel and his earpiece was defective. He only heard half of the tour, yet told no one until the tour was over…We laughed!

These journals are A Good Thing because they count as schoolwork for we unschoolers. Yes, schoolwork on holiday!

The concept of a “communications triangle” of reading, writing, and discussing implies the need for a methodology whereby the teacher could stimulate the natural interaction of language uses in students to further linguistic development. Specifically, it implies the need for a method with which the teacher could connect reading and writing assignments to teach “the art of communicating” (Simpson, 1986).
As the cornerstone of such a communications method, student journals have proven simple, yet effective (see
Bromley, 1993). …As a result of this technique, the students practice listening and speaking–reciprocating in group discussion, and reading and writing critically–recognizing and evaluating their opinions and beliefs (Simpson, 1986). Effective use of Student Journal Writing

We write new facts. Like ~ The name Kiama is from the aboriginal word Kiaram-a, to which some sources give the meaning “Where the sea makes a noise”- a reference to the famous Kiama Blowhole.The first recorded reference to the district was by George Bass who anchored his 28ft whaleboat in the sheltered bay (now known as Kiama Harbour) in December 1797.

We write reflections – from my previous journal entry October 29, 2008.

Be what I wish my mother was.
Be as God is to me.
Not emotional.
And along the way
do what God wants me
to do ~ wife, mother, friend, helping others, using talents.
Do my job, be who I am and move on.
Keep in touch.
That’s all.

And from my Once-In-A-Blue-Moon journal, Keeping Company in Wollongong, October 23 2009?

Food, family, friends, fun.
Prayer, pain, peace.
Silly, satisfying and sad.
These always go together, don’t they?
Well, often.


A Break

Visiting today, I was struck by a mother’s love for her son. And for her husband.

Reminded of Our Blessed Mother, Mary, and her devotion to her Son.

To recite the Rosary is nothing other than to contemplate with Mary the face of Christ…Pope John Paul II

We are taking a break from home for a few days. One son tonight asks me a hard question. Hard to answer, hard to explain.

I fall back to prayer. To be more specific, I fall back to praying the Rosary.

Unschooling is sometimes nothing other than contemplating the face of Christ, in prayer and in my family.

I suck at this. Yet I keep on…


The Language of the Mass

Anthony and I read part of his religion book today. Mass and the Sacraments, A Course in Religion, Book 2. By Fr Laux. Copyright 1934.

Why read an old book?

Well, we read old and new. Just as we might read Shakespeare today and Terry Pratchett tomorrow, so we read religion books of old..and of new.

The Faith is unchanging.

Excerpts of note, and of discussion today ~

The advantages of having one liturgical language, and that an unchangeable one, are obvious: ( Don’t you just love this heading? Made us smile. The unchangeable. One language, Latin. The advantages being so obvious one need hardly state them?)

The use of the same language throughout the Church promotes the unity and union of its members..

The liturgy would have lost much of its sublime and venerable character if, in the course of time, as often as the words of a living language would change their meaning, or become obsolete or trivial…(Do we still think of Mass in terms of being venerable? )

Wherever a Catholic goes, the language of the Church makes him feel at home…

The Mass being a sacrifice, and not merely a form of prayer or a sermon, it is not necessary to understand all the words said by the priest in order to take part in the service…( Ah. Sharing this with other family members later, Greg and I stopped. To talk. Have we lost the notion of sacrifice, of how to participate and pray at Mass without external, audible participation?)

There were other arguments, listed by Fr Laux, but these were the ones that stood out for us, that made us talk. That made us think.

Homeschooling religion, for all the family.


Being Julia

Being Julia. As in Julia Child. Inspired by the book and movie Julie and Julia.

I skipped the pearls.

I skipped the high heels.

But I made stuffed artichokes.

After a very busy, exhausting day, it was even fun.

And yummy. Especially with wine.

I enjoy cooking with wine, sometimes I even put it in the food I’m cooking Julia Child

And Julia’s thoughts on dieting?

In spite of food fads, fitness programs, and health concerns, we must never lose sight of a beautifully conceived meal.

So, how does the book Julie and Julia inspire you?

It makes you want to do something with your life.

It makes you laugh at yourself, and at your blogging.

It makes you want to cook.

It makes you hungry…for food, for life…Went to bed, hungry last night, hungry in more ways than one, past midnight, after seeing the film Julie and Julia.

Julia Child wants you — that’s right, you, the one living in the tract house in sprawling suburbia with a dead-end secretarial job and nothing but a Stop-n-Shop for miles around — to master the art of french cooking. (No caps, please.) She wants you to know how to make good pastry, and also how to make those canned green beans taste alright. She wants you to remember that you are human, and as such are entitled to that most basic of human rights, the right to eat well and enjoy life.And that, my friends, blows heirloom tomatoes and first-press Umbrian olive oil out of the fucking water.Julie Powell


Some of my kitchen cupboards

With the new organised, blue and white boxes! Containers for ( nearly) everything! I can find things….

I kinda, sheepishly, like housework, I love working, I am just bad at it.

I lead a semi organised life, you know?

And when you are working – like yesterday, six loads of washing, grocery shopping, cleaning the kitchen cupboards, cooking for a dinner guest , in between reading some of the letters of St Ignatius of Antioch, – the physical work allows one to create a mini cone of

silence. (Remember Get Smart?)

Quiet in which one can pray. Or think. Or compose sentences for your next writing or blogging attempt. While also having the cone of silence interrupted, interrupted in a nice, familiar, I-love-this-family way, by your kids talking to you, laughing at you, making their usual witty comments and asking their usual myriad of questions.

Part of the draw of housework is that it is a fantastic counterpoint to thinking work. One friend who works from home says: “If I am stuck on a work problem, I take out the ironing and watch old episodes of Dallas on cable. I think I am pretending I am my mother, and it is comforting.” The Joy of Housework

I play at being a good housewife, a 1950s televsion mother. Or Mrs Brady from the Brady Bunch. ( Greg pointed put – Did she wear a short black skirt and knee length bright pink and green striped Ramones socks to clean, as you do, Mum?..) My kids can be so sarcastic!

Heaven forbid that any of us take a moderate approach to cleaning. That is too boring. And with boring comes another kind of shame. Take my screen visits to Flylady: when I am reading her tips on the website and my husband or kids come into the room, I immediately switch screens as if I had been looking at porn, because I don’t want them to know that I have sunk to this sink-shining low. Reading about housework is my dirty little secret. It sure beats actually doing any. From that Times article above.

St Gerard Majella

God, by Your grace St. Gerard persevered in imitating Christ in His poverty and humility. Through his intercession, grant that we may faithfully follow our vocation and reach that perfection which You held out to us in Your Son. Amen.

Gerry’s name day! Father helped us celebrate..and as our table centrepiece we had candles, flowers, as usual, and our saints book ope to the segment about St Gerard Majella.