religion, Unschooling

Nothing great is ever achieved without much enduring

From St Catherine of Sienna, Doctor of the Church. Feast day today, April 29.

Nothing great is ever achieved without much enduring.

It is true, isn’t it? Sometimes, our lives need much endurance; circumstances teach us perseverance; we live through esxperiences and learn that there is a light at the end of the tunnel; we find joy via endurance and prayer.

Even in tough times.

As a Kumon Supervisor, I often share with my parents that the time to stop Kumon study is not when it is tough, or when a child makes a fuss about homework. The time to stop is when study is easy; when a child has learned that if you commit and persevere you achieve. And you feel good about yourself. It was a worthwhile experience, a worthwhile achievement after all.

As a parent, I often share with my kids, young adults and teens alike, that sometimes it is better to just commit. It may be hard, it may be tough, but there are joy and smiles even in endurance.

In my vocation, I can see that endurance, with prayer, has its own rewards. I try not to sweat the small stuff. I try to just walk on, looking for and sharing smiles, remembering that hard times don’t last forever..there is always good and bad.

I can choose to look at the good.

To a brave man, good and bad luck are like his right and left hand. He uses both.

St Catherine again.

Tonight the kids are cooking dinner. Thursdays are hectic for me! They are making Italian food (Spaghetti and Meatballs) in honour of St Catherine.

St. Catherine was one of the most brilliant theological minds of her day, although she never had any formal education. St, Catherine’s letters, and a treatise called “a dialogue” are considered among the most brilliant writings in the history of the Catholic Church. Catholic Online

No formal education? Hope for we homeschooling unschoolers!


For housewives

We made bread yesterday, a cottage loaf sprinkled with a dash of parmesan and paprika.

For St Zita, patron saints of housewives. St. Zita spent her life from age 12 until her death at age 60 as a servant in the household of the Sagrati family. Zita believed that “A servant is not pious if she is not industrious; work-shy piety in people of our position is sham piety.” One morning, when she had inadvertently over-stayed in church praying until sunrise, she hurried home to find the bread dough already prepared for the oven. She questioned every one, but no one would admit preparing the bread. It was soon evident that no human hands had shaped the loaves. A delicious fragrance surrounded them, and Zita became aware that angels had been at work while she prayed.

Patron of housewives? Would you say that I am a housewife?

The dictionary to hand defines a housewife as a married woman who manages her own household.

Well, that definitely describes a whole part of my life!
And it makes me think of Mary, Our Lady, praying and working. And loving.
If you put all the love of all the mothers into one heart it still would not equal the love of the Heart of Mary for her children. St Louis Mary de Montfort.

It is Good Shepherd Sunday

And we pray for vocations.

A story is told of the future Pope Pius X, visiting his 70-year-old mother after being ordained a bishop. She kissed her son’s ring and, suddenly became pensive, looked at her wedding band and said, You would not be wearing that ring if I had not first worn mine. Pope St. Pius X confirmed that experience with his comment Every vocation to the priesthood comes from the heart of God, but it goes through the heart of a mother!

And so I pray the prayer of the mothers of Lu  ~ Oh God, grant that one of my sons may become a priest. I myself want to live as a good Christian and want to guide my children always to do what is right, so that I may receive the grace, O God, to be allowed to give you a holy priest! Amen.

I was struck by this part of the Holy Father’s messageIn July 2005, speaking to the clergy of Aosta, I noted that if young people see priests who appear distant and sad, they will hardly feel encouraged to follow their example. They will remain hesitant if they are led to think that this is the life of a priest. Instead, they need to see the example of a communion of life which can reveal to them the beauty of being a priest. Only then will a young man say, “Yes, this could be my future; I can live like this”


Feeling called to be a lot of things to a lot of people

Feeling called to be a lot of things to a lot of people.

This was a description of another , homeschooling, busy mother.

But it resonated. I thought it could be a description of me.

Last night I thought on these things.

I feel called to be a wife, mother, worker, teacher, volunteer, friend, helper, listener, group leader, mentor, writer, a Pollyanna…AND to be good at these things, to the best of my ability..because of of others, love for my family and friends, love for the Church, love of Our Lord…..I feel called to be who I am but ten times more..and all the while I feel called to be this to many help people, to do what they want me to do, to be who they want me to be.

In short, I seem to have a need to be everything to everyone.

It takes a lot for me to say no, to say I can’t. And then I either feel guilty or I spend ages justifying and rationalising to myself, why I just can’t do something.

Mostly, I am pleased to do the things I do. As I said, I do them with love. And that is what makes a difference ( to paraphrase St Teresa of Avila).

But is there a twinge of the Nice Girl Syndrome?

For the purpose of this book, let’s say there’s a difference between being nice and too nice, a workout so off the charts that it actually gives nice a bad name. So that we’re all on the same page, let’s assume it’s okay to be a sweetheart and an earth mother as long as you have the ability to turn off those traits and bring in the big guns ..when you need ’em. Nice Girls Finish Fat

Sometimes I am too nice. And sometimes, I am too b***y.

So, I am not truly a Nice Girl.

But I do try to do-it-all, to be helpful, to do good things and (sometimes) to do things that I should say no to..Why? Is it because I am truly Nice ( I doubt it, most people who know me would not say I am Nice!). Is it because I need to be liked ( Well, I like being liked but experience has shown me that there will always be, has always been, are always, others who won’t/don’t like me whatever I do).

Part of me tries to be everything and do everything because of a refrain of a series of quotes . a refrain that runs through my mind…We cannot go to heaven in featherbeds (St Thomas More) and..A sacrifice to be real must cost, must hurt, must empty ourselves (Mother Theresa)…and something a holy priest once said to me, when I talked about a particular intention as a mother..Pray and do penance.

And this is not a bad thing.

…as members of the Body of Christ in union with the innocent Christ crucified, we can offer our innocent sufferings and acts of self-denial and prayer ..Our prayers and sacrifices, offered in penance, become sacramental, not simply isolated events that have nothing to do with the common good. Whether the sinner repents or not is not within your power to determine or make happen. That is between him and God. But whether you make an offering of your life in union with Jesus who said, “Forgive them” is within your power. And such offerings, accepted by God as fragrant sacrifices can be and have been powerful instruments of conversion for sinners. Nobody knew that better than Paul himself, whose conversion began with Stephen’s penitential offering of his very life for the men (including Saul of Tarsus) who were mad to murder him and for whom he prayed, “Lord, do not count this sin against them.” Doing Penance For Others, Mark Shea

So, perhaps, the description of feeling called to be a lot of things to a lot of people does not really fit.

This morning, a purposefully slow morning before work, I have had time for continued reflection on these things.

Perhaps I really, truly, do these things for God. Not just for others. Or for me.

Perhaps it is the ultimate motive, not the action, that matters.

Yes, I am no saint and so, mixed in with my pure motive of loving God and others, is that dark, murky me with so many less holy, less perfect, intertwined motives. I cannot attribute solely pure holiness to my motives.

Yes, I should say No sometimes and, having said No, should stick-to-my-guns. As I was told, once, when I do everything all the time, well, I make others apathetic and leave no room for others to serve.

But the little lesson that I’ve learned from my reflection , the little lesson I want to share is – that maybe it is not all about being everything to others . Instead it is remembering that our final aim is God. When we do this, we find that the ( so-called) burden and sacrifice is a whole lot lighter .

This brings to my mind that line from the old Baltimore catechism.. Why did God make me?

To know, love and serve God on earth and to be happy with Him in Heaven.