Into literature

We get into little crazes, or rabbit trails, or passions, in our unschooling home.

One person’s passion inspires another’s.

When the boys were little, it was dress ups…and war..and Star Wars ( it is still Star Wars; we are Star Wars nerds) .. and Lego..and TMNT with rosary beads…sparkly, shiny rosary beads.

Or the big kids invented games of Kings, with casinos and constitutions and government and building cubbies, and our very-close -friends joined in..and the toddlers and preschoolers clamoured to be included, as army guys or slaves or servants..and they were!

This week we are Into Literature.

It all started with watching the DVD of the TV series Cranford, a gift from a friend.

And discussion about The Giver by Lois Lowry and discussion of pro life issues.

Our Homeschool logging blog, St Anthony Academy, tells some of the story.


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 car…no, I wasn’t driving at the time!


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 maturityPeanuts…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.

Today is…

Remember those old Snoopy and Charlie Brown comics?

Love is…Happiness is..

Life is like an ice cream cone…you 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.
…my 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
..cooking dinner. Again.

Good grief! As Charlie Brown would say.


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.


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.


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.