One Mom’s Search for Kindergarten Social Activities

What a difficult decision! I want more good adult influences on my Kindergartener, and reinforcement of her Catholicism. The main groups suggested by other home school moms are Girl Scouts (GS), American Heritage Girls (AHG), and the Little Flowers.  The last has no group here. Leaving Girl Scouts and American Heritage Girls as the sole options at this time.

Girl Scouting, at the national level, holds many positions and alliances with which I do not agree. I will leave the listing of them up to other persons. On the up side, the local troop is run by Catholic Moms, meets weekly at a Catholic school, meetings are well organized, the noise level is managed, and the first part of every meeting is a lesson on a Saint or on the Rosary!  The good order and resulting calm made it possible for my daughter to connect with other girls and have a nice play time at the end of the meeting while the moms talked. So at the local level, the Girl Scout troop has the edge in being a better atmosphere and Catholic.

American Heritage Girls is focused from the national level down to the local on being Christian and supporting the moral and ethical ideals of our Constitution and Christianity. However, the organization is non-Catholic, and in some locations the local troops are run by persons who are viciously anti-Catholic. Our local AHG seems to be inclusive. It meets every other week. Whole families attend with the boys team going one way and the girls troop going the other. The facility is spacious, but the noise levels are unpleasant, the chaos makes making friends more difficult than it needs to be, and our being Catholic could cause some families to steer clear.  Nice people, but I am not sure the atmosphere is good for my girl.

I like the adults in both groups.  So for this year, at least for the first semester, we joined both. I don’t know where it will go, but it is an experiment worth having now.

Dear Lord, please help me be wise in my choices of social groups for my child. +Amen.

 

Rosary with Gratitude

The Rosary is the most amazingly versatile prayer ever. Yesterday I prayed the Glorious mysteries twice, once on my own after Reconciliation and once with the congregation before Mass, so this lovely morning I did not wish to repeat the same set of Mysteries yet again. So I chose the Luminous Mysteries and made my focus on each those Sacraments  and sacramentals reflected in them and how grateful I am that the Sacraments were given to us through the Church.

Baptism of the Lord

I cannot pray this mystery without thinking about how odd it used to seem that Jesus, who is sinless, had to be Baptized like any of us sinners. Not long ago it suddenly hit me out of the blue, and I am certain my readers knew this before me but I am slow at times, that Jesus was Baptized because that was His way of blessing all the waters of the world for their future use in the Sacrament. He who is perfect was Baptized to make effective the Sacrament of Baptism for the rest of us. The gratitude wells up in me and I say Thank You, before I begin the decade.

Wedding at Cana

This mystery is about a wedding that ran out of wine so Jesus made a LOT of wine happen. He did it because His Mother asked Him to do something. Jesus both teaches us about the effectiveness of His mother’s intercession and gives her a voice to show us how she would have us act. “Do Whatever HE Tells You To Do” and that is all she said! He also brings a blessing to the wedding itself, and points us to the importance of the Sacrament of Marriage. His first miracle is for the sake of a marriage. And again, gratitude wells up and I say, Thank You, before I begin the decade.

Public Ministry of Jesus

This wonderful mystery covers a LOT of ground. In His miracles, Jesus sometimes uses very physical things, like MUD, to bring about the miraculous healing. He sends others to the authority of the Priests to have their healing confirmed. I see in these miracles a blessing of medicine and of the Church’s use of physical things like oil, and Holy Water, and other sacramentals. Jesus used physical things, so we do too. I find myself filled with gratitude and I say Thank You, for doctors and other medical experts, and for the sacramentals, and for the Sacrament of Anointing of the Sick.

Transfiguration

What a cool mystery! Jesus, with two of His favorite disciples, goes up on the mountain and His Glorified self is made visible to them and they see Him conversing with Elijah and Moses. Jesus, who is the fulfillment of Prophesy and the Law. Jesus who fulfilled the Old Covenant, that is, He completed it and established His own, New Covenant. Jesus who makes our salvation under the New Covenant possible. Of course, the two disciples were clueless at this point, and very impressed, but they weren’t to comprehend all this until much later. We are so fortunate to be on this side of the Resurrection so I say, Thank You for fulfilling the Old and establishing the New.

Last Supper, First Eucharist

OH this one is so amazing. Imagine being in the upper room on the night Jesus established the central Sacrament of the Mass! Eucharist, with the bread and wine as the Old Testament Priest, Melchiezedek, did, Jesus sets the groundwork. And there was even the first to receive unworthily. Poor Judas, I feel so sorry for him. I am grateful for the Sacrament of the Eucharist, and say Thank You before beginning this last Luminous Mystery.

Dear Lord, thank You for all the lessons we can receive while praying the Rosary and thank You for the Rosary. Please inspire all Christians to participate in prayer every day. +Amen.

Praying the Rosary

Who among Catholics is not familiar with this beautiful devotion? Who has not prayed at least some small part of it? If you prefer the traditional 15 mysteries, pray them! If you love the inclusion of the Luminous Mysteries, bring them in and do them! What is important, is to pray.

The Rosary is for me a deeply meaningful meditation on the Gospels. So I follow the schema of Saint John Paul the Great and pray the Glorious Mysteries on Sundays and Wednesdays, the Joyful Mysteries on Mondays and Saturdays, the Sorrowful Mysteries on Tuesdays and Fridays, and the Luminous Mysteries on Thursday. Every part of the Rosary is meant to focus us on the life of Jesus and to get us praying.

The most essential thing is not if you like and include the Luminous Mysteries or if you dislike and do not include the Luminous Mysteries, the most essential thing is to pray the Rosary. The Luminous Mysteries are optional, not obligatory. Just as the use of the Rosary, wonderful as it is and recommended as it is, is also optional not obligatory. The Rosary is a healthful spiritual practice, so Traditional only or including the Luminous, it is a blessing to you when you pray it.

Dear Lord, please help us all to realize that what is essential is meditating on the Gospels and Praying. Please help us to enjoy the Rosary in either form and refrain from fussing at those who choose the other way. +Amen

Durability In Children

Small children are durable. Perhaps not all small children, but certainly mine are very durable. They run full tilt, fall flat on their faces in the gravel, and if you compliment the speed they attained before the fall, they pop back up with a smile and take off again without any notice of the scratches on their knees.

I am an older mom. I take these spills with what is apparently a degree of calm that shocks other people. I see persons leap up to rescue the poor fallen waif, when all I see is a perfectly normal learning experience. It is not that I do not care, I do very much.

I care that my children learn to get up from a fall, assess the positives and keep going. I care that they discover for themselves that most failures are merely opportunities to pause and see that they are OK. Soon the new speed is mastered and another risk is attempted.

I teach them, even when they are hurt enough to cry, that they can still assess. Yes, it hurts, you took an impressive spill, and you are still here. You are standing, the scratches will heal, and you have neither broken bones nor gushing woulds and you ALMOST had it. A fall signals an almost success.

Do I step in and stop them? Sometimes, when I see them attempting something beyond their readiness, I will hop over and lift them down and tell them not until they are bigger. Meanwhile, as they gain skills, I am less bothered by climbing, but might ask them to get down, and watch that they are handling it well. Their ability to master their bodies is amazing.

Other times I point out that while they are successful at what they are doing, the price for an error is very high and they should look for that unneeded danger and alter their play accordingly. Jumping from a bottom step is good, if the path forward is clear, but jumping from that same step toward a table with a metal edge is just asking to knock out teeth.  They take note and I see them at later times assessing other play for similar dangers.

We do no favors when we get too excited over a child taking a spill. Children are durable in most cases and need those spills to grow. Teaching them how to respond to spills now will help them later respond well to failures.

Being there for them is important for those times when they manage to get stuck.  Those times are a chance to teach them more about how to extricate themselves without panicking and the next level of learning will commence.

Dear Lord, please help my children to avoid injury as they develop their ability to master their environment. Thank you that they are so healthy and durable that I can be calm and let them learn. +Amen.

Home School Our Way: So we begin!

Starting to do daily home schooling. I am taking advantage of the ipad and some apps that build skills that will translate to handwriting. I can see that the younger set want a turn with the fun educational programs. That is good, will give them a turn later.

The main goal at the moment is to gently build a habit of schoolwork in the mornings. I will be pulling out the curriculum bit by bit and we will be using the workbooks in the various subjects. Right now, the preliminaries are being honed so that the math and language arts will not overwhelm.

Today we played Bugs and Buttons 2 (I forget the company, but their games are wonderfully fun), and Fish School by Duck Duck Moose. Basic, but also fun.  These hold the attention of the 4 yr old, and are challenging enough to gently push skills to develop.

Some children are ready for workbooks sooner than others. Mine are very much movement and action based learners. This has been a challenge for me because I love workbooks. I also like the wide open exploration. The workbooks provide structure and a clearly understandable record of material covered. Grade level is good enough.

The real learning, or deeper learning, is in the free exploration of the world, reading fun books about interesting parts of the world, and plenty of time to play and discuss discoveries. All this is much more difficult to record, so I think I shall merely blog on it and let the traditional workbooks sit as my written record that we are indeed covering the required subjects. My goal is self motivated learners who whip through their grade level work books and jump into their own chosen studies.

Later I will use the need to record the more open learning to teach them various forms of writing.  They will create their own unit studies as a means of recording their explorations of subjects.  That is a ways off right now.  Right now, colors, shapes, basic numbers, fine motor skills, pattern recognition, and many other basics are needed.

So the adventure begins. Wheee!

Dear Lord, please bless our home school. Please give me wisdom as I plan and provide my children’s educations. Please give them patience and diligence in their work. Thank You for this amazing journey. +Amen.

Blog Tour: Trusting God With Saint Therese

Welcome!  Today on my blog I am sharing a slide show as part of a book blog tour for Connie Rossini Author of Trusting God with St. Therese, the free ebook Five Lessons from the Carmelite Saints That Will Change Your Life, and blogger on Carmelite spirituality and raising prayerful kids at Contemplative Homeschool.

 

I hope everyone enjoyed seeing this and go buy the book!

Dear Lord, Thank You for the many new Catholic writers publishing. Please bless the readers and help both author and reader grow in grace and virtue. +Amen.

NFP–Some Thoughts

Sex talk really has no place on a Catholic NFP list.  Recently I wandered into an NFP discussion and found it to be one long complaint about all the physical sex acts that were not allowed during fertile periods.   All I thought was FIRST, not one of those people had a clue about real intimacy and SECOND the discussion was almost pornographic.

The world is full of sex sex sex.  Love is equated with the reproductive act, rendered sterile, and promoted as a right and this mentality has followed young couples right into the Church. So much so that young women have no modesty about discussing their sex lives on the internet with people they never met.

First, know this, no matter how long he holds his erection, how good he is with his hands, or how many orgasms he can give the girl– this is a MINOR good in the grand scheme of things and IS NOT WHERE REAL INTIMACY IS FOUND. Sex is a very very MINOR good. God wants better for every married couple. NFP isn’t unfair at all, NFP is a gift to help you learn something special.

NFP is an opportunity for unchaste couples to break out of a slavery to their hormones and discover REAL love and an intimacy so deep one need not touch nor talk dirty to blush with it. NFP is a GIFT to the couple so they can build the kind of deep intimacy that requires no touch and when it is mastered turns touch into something sublime.

These young persons, struggling with the discipline of NFP, didn’t even know what books to read! Near as I could tell they wanted a how to manual of physical positions and acts that were allowed while refraining from intercourse.  WRONGO!

LOVE AND RESPONSIBILITY by our beloved Saint John Paul II is THE best book ever written on true intimacy between human beings.  There is so much more to intimacy that what two people do when having sex that it makes the best multiple-orgasm look like so much dross.  Real intimacy is so good that one could happily give up sex forever to get it.

Another recommendation I have for these young persons struggling with NFP is to buy the great big heavy book by Saint John Paul II, THEOLOGY OF THE BODY, and read it together.  SKIP the books about the book–read the real thing.

Go review the Bible and read about Adam’s response to meeting Eve. Read about Rebecca’s modesty when meeting Issac. Look at the admonition of Proverbs 31, and the romance of Song of Songs– it is about great marriages and has nothing to do with the reproductive act we so glorify in this culture. Or drop in on this link to the John Paul II Institute.

If you are trying to follow Church teaching and use NFP to space your children, then get your brains out of the secular model of relationship and into God’s plan for real intimacy.

Dear Lord, thank you for the teaching and writings of Saint John Paul II. Please help young persons to take the time and put in the effort to gain the gift of true intimacy. +Amen.

 

 

Review of Magnificat magazine: Depth of devotionals in a practical package.

Magnificat  is a monthly magazine of daily devotionals for Catholics published Yonkers, NY. The issue I have in my hand is the April issue with a special supplement included for Holy Week. My first impression is positive, the paper cool and smooth in my hand, the pages easy to flip, the text easy on the eyes, and the size just right to keep handy.

There is a richness to the material that feeds the soul. The cover art is lovely and a commentary on that art is found near the back of each issue. A brief greeting from the editor and an Editorial begin each issue, setting the tone.   The prayers include blessings for the month. There is a Hymn of the month.

I could see a family using this magazine each month and sharing simple portions with the smallest members and more complex material as they grow ready for it. There is material to feed the mature Catholic who knows the faith well, and the Catholic only just beginning to learn about the faith and prayer. This would make a great gift for a newly Confirmed Catholic, adult or teen.

The pattern of each day’s prayers relate to the Liturgy of the Hours and night prayer is included so that an individual or whole family might pray that short part of the daily office together.

Each issue includes a breadth of materials including: prayers, psalms, antiphons, readings, meditations, stories of Saints, the Order of the Mass, Adoration, and other material appropriate for anyone following the Liturgical Calendar. This gives the subscriber the beauty without having to carry a heavy book. Depth of devotionals in a practical package.

Magnificat is easy to use. Easy to put in a purse, back pocket, briefcase, book or computer bag. The feel of each issue is substantial and sturdy. The paper has a nice quality to it, the text is clear and legible, and the instructions and headings are clearly set apart from the prayers in red text. The combination of colors, and the use of italics, makes it easier to find what you are seeking.  Included are all the prayers and they are EASY to find.

The only downside is they are a monthly and eventually will need to be recycled and that pains me when each issue is so very good.

I VERY highly recommend.

I wrote this review of Magnificat Magazine 1 Year Subscription (US) for the free Catholic Book review program, created by Aquinas and More Catholic Goods.

Aquinas and More is the largest on-line Catholic bookstore.

I receive free product samples as compensation for writing reviews for Tiber River.

Vatican Website Dreadful

I have to agree with the Curt Jester. The web site for the Vatican was bad before and now it is even worse. The vatican needs to contact someone like James Shields (Dallas TX area) who is a professional and GOOD at web design. Tell him what they need their site to do, then get out of the way and let him design it for them. It would then work, look good, and be respectful of the dignity of the material it is expected to convey!

Dear Lord, please help the Vatican staff figure out that they do not have a good web designer among them and send them someone like James. Thank You that they are trying to keep an internet presence to serve the people better.  +Amen.

Strep Throat

Well, Robert Burn’s Poem Ode to a Mouse once more is shown true in my life! I planned and planned to attend a wonderful Society for Creative Anachronism event this Saturday and now there is Strep Throat making the rounds of our family. Color me disappointed.

“The best laid plans of mice and men go oft astray”

yeah, Burns nailed it.

Have a Blessed Easter Weekend everyone.

Dear Lord, thank you for the general good health of this family and for medication that makes illness not as bad as it could be. Please help us not to spread it anywhere and soon to be well! +Amen.