Intentional Community: Classical Conversations

Today’s Intentional Community is a home schooling community based on the classical approach to education. This particular classical program is called CLASSICAL CONVERSATIONS. Now I have long been an admirer of the classical style of education and have used materials from home school sources that are classical in design, but this is something a bit different. This is a structured approach that supports the parent in the educational goals set within their family.

Classical Conversations is a once a week day school where parents and students gather and tutors introduce the new materials to everyone. This gives parents the ability to follow a classical format even if not classically trained themselves. The remainder of the week is normal home schooling with parent chosen curriculum and practicing the material introduced that week.

For a parent needing the support of an intentional community, this is an excellent program. It covers subjects in an orderly manner, repeating the cycle every three years in the younger levels. Next skills are added to fun memory work, and then the challenge level where the student uses the skills and materials memorized to interact with the world using reason, logic, and increasing independence. The intended result is a well rounded young adult ready to take their learning in any direction they choose.

However, the most important part is the intentional community that grows between the parents and students and the tutors. This is a positive social community– and we know how wonderful it is to have that sort of community. Humans are naturally social, and this is one example of an intentional community that brings together parents with similar goals to help and encourage one another.

Dear Lord, thank You for intentional communities that support parents in the education of their children. +Amen.


Intentional Community: Foundations Revealed

There are some intentional communities created on the internet that I find awesome even when they are about things I do not do. Today’s example is FOUNDATIONS REVEALED. An Intentional Community that revolves around the sewing and building of corsets of every imaginable type.

I particularly love that their community is encouraging and kind to newcomers. Persons who are starting out to learn the skills needed to create their own interior garments according to their own creative vision. This is demonstrated by their FOUNDATIONS REVEALED 2018 COMPETITION.  I very much like that so many first time creators entered.

I must admit to have wanted a corset of my own, something plain and sturdy in a breathable fabric to encourage better posture. I love the look, and I loved one I wore years ago but it was poorly made and lasted only a couple of wearings.  However, I am not crafty this way. That said, if I ever were to be tempted into replacing a current activity with a new one, this community would be one I would have to consider.

If you are into period re-creations, steampunk, costuming, or just like victorian and edwardian clothing, Foundations Revealed may be just the intentional community you are seeking. I enjoy the emails that give me a peak into their friendly and encouraging group. Nice people, fascinating activity.

Dear Lord, Thank You for intentional communities which give us encouragement and support in the midst of a noisy world. +Amen.

I noticed something…

I have noticed a trend in our culture to tell Catholics they must abandon the teachings of the Church if they cannot perfectly live all of it. This goes along with the trend to tell the Church that God’s laws must be changed because they are “too difficult”. I say to both of these trends–HOG WASH! We are called to strive toward the ideal of Sainthood. Church teaching is the guidebook for attaining Sainthood and Sainthood is required for entering heaven.

God helps us to strive toward becoming Saints. The sacrament of Confession is where God puts us back on the path when we have fallen off of it. Eucharist strengthens those in a State of Grace so they are better enabled to grow in virtue. Scripture records that the way is narrow, steep, and difficult. We are to be committed to following it. We are committed to seek virtue no matter how often we fall short.

That no Catholic follows Church teaching perfectly is not an issue because it isn’t humanly possible to do so–only by way of union with Jesus do we gain the grace to stay the course. St Paul wrote about the struggle, and how even he, who had taught so many how to follow the way Jesus set for us, could still lose heaven. He wrote this to urge all who love Jesus to struggle hard to grow more and more like Christ, to cooperate with God’s grace to become Saints, and so win the race for the glory of heaven.

So Catholic, when the world tries to tell you to give up, remember St. Paul and know you are in the company of the Saints as you limp your way along, repenting and going to Confession, seeking grace from God in all the sacraments and sacramentals, hoping to allow God’s grace to work in you.

Failture is human, we are inclined to an easier way, the way of the world, and must reach for the grace of God to overcome. Failure is not hypocrisy.  We are not hypocrites to hold that Catholic teaching is true and right yet fail to meet the standard perfectly.

A Hypocrite says here is the standard but I am exempty–like the politician who does not pay his taxes, yet everyone else must pay theirs or receive punishments that could wreck their lives. NO, we hold that Catholicism is true. We will not say another standard is equally good. We will say, here is the standard to attain heaven if you want heaven. Every person must decide for themselves how they will respond to it, but only one path leads to heaven.

Dear Lord, thank You for the teachings of the Holy Catholic Church. Thank You for Your help in learning and growing to live by those teachings. Thank You that every person has the gift of free will. Please help them to choose Your way over all others. +Amen.

Marriage and Men

I wrote a bit ago on my take on the role of the wife in marriage, reframing the “wives submit” to “I am my husband’s second, I have his back” and I wanted to speak on the husband but without attempting to advise husbands from my own thoughts so much as point them toward men I think who would be good for them. Enter ROMAN CATHOLIC MAN.  Here is a web site that speaks to men about being men in our culture and framed by scripture and the Catholic faith. I am impressed by it.

So husbands I advise you to seek out other men whose character you admire and ask them about being a husband who leads his family with respect and generosity.  This web site is one such collection of men striving to be virtuous and strong.

A second site is related, it brings the challenge to new levels. HOLY LEAGUE is another online community urging men to step up and be men. I find is pretty awesome!

THE CATHOLIC GENTLEMAN is yet another direction men might take in seeking virtue in a manly way.

Of course I could have begun with the most well known: KNIGHTS OF COLUMBUS, which do so much good work for the church and community. Men supporting each other and joining together to do what needs doing and if they have a good time as well, all the better!

I found my way to another site, I think also related to the above sites: NINEVEH 90 is a challenge to men, although I know women who are joining their men in the prayers(and some even inspired to participate in women’s groups inspired by the men).

So, while I can speak from my own vocation on my own vocation, I think it best that men seek out other men to learn their vocations. I’m tired of effeminate men which result when women try to tell men how to be men. I adore my husband, who is stubborn and male, and honestly all sorts of wonderful. What he is not, is in any way my second! He has my back as the leader in our family and I respect him so much for that!  I’d like other women to be able to find men who know how to be men. So this is my contribution of links for men to go do just that–from other men!

Dear Lord, please help men to find and learn from other men who know how to live out their manhood in the way most pleasing to You. Thank You for these groups who seek to help men do just that. +Amen.


Pluralism is Dead

Pluralism is dead. Our country was founded to be a pluralistic society. Sadly, we are now living in a relativistic society that has replaced the belief that truth is objective and can be known, with the belief that it is subjective and everyone is correct even when they hold contradictory beliefs.

I also think most Americans, thanks to the public and private school systems, confuse a pluralistic society and a relativistic society.

Pluralism= Objective truth exists and this fact is accepted nearly universally. The right to live by truth as you understand it is respected; disagreements are discussed with civility, and nobody is surprised or offended when creeds are held and followed. After all, people seek to  live by what they understand to be true, and our first amendment to our constitution states the pluralistic societies belief that everyone should be free to follow the creed they believe to be true, and that others are free to speak out and say they do not agree. Civil debate is encouraged and the freedom to speak ones mind and live by one’s chosen creed is held to be a God-given right.

Relativism=Objective truth is replaced by subjective truth; everyone is to affirm anything anyone chooses to believe as true. Anyone refusing to agree that opposing beliefs are equally truth is anathema. Freedom of speaking is violated because one cannot say, “I beg to differ.” Freedom of religion is violated because no-one is free to hold to a creed unless they also affirm its opposite. Persons found to believe their creed to objectively true and caught living by it are to be punished severely and re-educated.

That is my take on it, however inept my expression.  Relativism has replaced Pluralism and people are shocked to find that the tolerance and civility expected in a pluralistic society has been replaced by the intolerance of a relativistic society. Our culture, once pluralistic, is walking dead.

I want my kids to see the national parks so they understand that God the creator really does love us, and the shrines so they can understand that there have been many persons who loved God so much that he used them amazingly, and the wonderful parishes so they can see how people who really believe worship. I want them to cherish their heritage before it is gone forever, erased by newspeak.

Dear Lord, help me to teach my children to take seriously the teachings of St. Josemaria Escriva and St. John Paul the Great, and live boldly their Faith, as they pursue their careers and raise their own families, even in the face of persecution. +Amen. 

Fasting from Shopping

Fasting is usually about foods, but with health issues, I’m fasting in a different way. I have committed to avoid shopping until after Easter. Every try to avoid buying anything, ANYTHING? Of course, if a child outgrows their shoes, I will buy what they need. Of course I am still buying horse feed and people foods.  But I am struggling to avoid buying any books, clothing, or anything not essential for health for myself.

I passed on several great coupons, passing them to others.

I passed on a new top put out by my favorite source for clothing.

I have avoided all the sales.

My sister gave me a very generous gift card to amazon. I love gift cards to amazon. WHAT to do?

I used it to send a baby gift to a first time mom. She blogs videos and I have enjoyed their adventures as a couple and their joy at the baby. So I sent her a gift. That felt wonderful. I used the gift card in a way that left me feeling HAPPY.

I did pick up a used copy of a biography for myself with the few dollars left over–which I suspect constitutes a cheat, but it was paid for by a gift card so I don’t feel so bad about it.

I DO feel bad about the paperback I bought a couple weeks ago when I was picking up a prescription at the pharmacy.

I think I should feel bad for pre-ordering a movie I want to watch. The guilt is there, a little, I think, but I am sorry to say I am not so upset as I ought to be for violating my goal!

Still, I am going to continue and steel myself to resist further purchases.  Less is more! Master your money! Discipline!

Dear Lord, thank You for the opportunity to grow in self discipline and generosity by way of fasting from shopping. I hadn’t recognized that I have a problem with shopping until I chose to fast from it. Please forgive me for the breaks, and help me to be strong and not repeat those failures or any others! +Amen.


UPDATE: am not perfect, will keep trying to stick to my ideal the remainder of Lent in spite of failures.

Cheating On My Way Of Eating

I sit here upset at myself for eating off diet. I have this Way of Eating or WOE that works for me and I keep having days like today where I get derailed and fail to avoid the foods I don’t even want anymore. Blew my carb count AND my no grains. I suspect the sauce had sugar in it. All together, I failed. I hate cheating on my diet. I cheated on a diet I love. What. An. Idiot.

I LIKE my way of eating. Feel better ON this diet. Am clearer minded ON this diet. I considered fasting until we got home, but I know how my blood sugars tend to dip mid-afternoon and didn’t want to risk it. My plans for lunch fell through and I went through the drive-through. I need to take better control of our meals away from home.

I need to come up with a quick lunch to eat at the home school center BEFORE we head to the drum lessons. I’m not sure what, but something. I struggle with just getting us there, so attempting to add a packed lunch is going to be horribly difficult for me. Executive function problems do that to you. Everyone else out there appears to get it done without fuss or bother, but for me it requires the same effort as writing a dissertation. Actually, I suspect I could do a dissertation with less anxiety.

Cheating on my diet makes me feel ill. But old habits are insidious. They linger to pop up when your guard is down and sometimes you are not able to defeat them alone. Perhaps if I had paused to pray but I didn’t. My sense of time is poor, and so figuring out how to be somewhere on time is difficult. That stress derails my ability to think clearly. Result: I ate off the diet.

I made it to the drum lessons with fed kids.  Then my little drummer needed the restroom, but thanks to people making messes in their bathroom it is now locked and an instructor or other employee has to let you into the bathroom, and nobody was available. I found this stressful, which didn’t help at all. Talk about overwhelm!

So here I am, feeling freaked out even though back in my nice office at home. Welcome to a fairly typical day.

Dear Lord, thank You that I was able to get my children to science classes and drum lessons on time today, and fed. Thank You for those teachers who handle subjects I prefer to delegate. Thank You for the vehicle that got us around town reliably. Thank you for the quality of the hay I was able to buy for Bill the Pony. Please help me to over-come old habits and stay on my diet. +Amen.

I Am My Husband’s Second

The whole concept of submission in marriage has taken on some very non-catholic baggage these days. I think we need to reframe the Catholic teaching on submission in marriage so as to avoid all the negative stuff and get at the heart of a proper Catholic understanding of “wives submit to your husbands…”(Ephesians 5: 21 etc)  Replace the language using “submit” with this: “I am my husband’s second, I have his back in the spiritual war we call life.”

I chose this because in Catholic teaching men and women are of equal dignity. We are partners, we are part of the Church Militant, and we live this life in a spiritual war zone.

“I am my husband’s second, I have his back in the spiritual war we call life.”– Ann Seeton

We NEED to be a team, but like in military situations, our spiritual lives depend on the bond, the special connection. He leads, but wives, we are his second! We have his 6! This is not some soft task.

Are you an assertive leader at work? A go-getter? Is he more laid back? You have his back, what are his strengths? Contemplate them, then get out of his way as he does his thing–and you have his back.

It may be a woman thing, this ability to discern. We track and arrange so much but I don’t think it was a mistake that God called Eve a helpmate for Adam. We know she took the lead and failed to have Adam’s back.

Look at Mary. She was not passive, she thought on everything, she said yes to God. She called herself a handmaid. Yet she wove Jesus’ tunic in a single piece! That is skill people– she could work a loom complex enough to allow a garment to be woven without seam! That was so high quality the soldiers gambled to see who got it. She clothed God incarnate. She also nudged Jesus at the wedding at Cana to fix the wine situation. She followed even to the cross, and did not waver. She had his back to his death–and there were more women at the foot of the cross than men. God called the shots, but Mary had Jesus’ back.

Think about the Proverb’s 31 woman. Talk about a go-getter, strong, leader! She made it possible through her brilliant management for her husband to do what he did. She was his second, she had his back, and because of her gifts in action, he could sit at the gates with the elders. Our modern use of the word “submit” is miles away from this!

You want to rock the entire, “wives submit to your husbands” scripture? Reframe it to, “I am my husband’s second, I have his back.” and let yourself discover with prayerful discernment what that means in your specific marriage and home.

Dear Lord, thank You for my husband. Please help me to be a good second and have his back every day. +Amen

Allergy Testing and Ventriloquism

I am very happy with the allergist. I was referred by my primary care doctor, and as I had no preference, I took whomever had an opening.  The nice lady told me to go off all my allergy medications if I wanted to be tested, and I was tested, and to my surprise I have a LOT of allergies. More than I remember from the testing 20 some odd years ago.

So we have an initial plan of saline washes twice a day, allergy nasal spray twice a day, anti-swelling spray twice a day, and see how my voice and body handle it.

I have no idea how it will go.

If this isn’t enough to get a consistent control of symptoms, we will look at shots.

AND it turns out the tightness in the chest is asthma from allergies- another allergic reaction. So that may need to be treated separately. Mostly it only bothers me when I am outside during high pollen periods, and then I cannot exercise without being miserable. It may be why my exercises to increase my breath control for Ventriloquism are only having some impact. Voice training isn’t going to cure swelling due to allergies.

I am on the journey to keep up my voices and become able to schedule a show and know that I can do it!

Dear Lord, Thank You for modern medicine! Give wisdom and insight to doctors. Help me to comply with doctor’s orders and successfully avoid infections and loss of voices. +Amen.

Useful Books I Keep At Hand

I see many people online asking about the best way to begin to learn the Catholic faith. I looked over my shoulder to the stack of books I keep at hand nearly all the time, even when I must dig through piles of books, these three stay on top:

The frog helps to prevent other books from being placed on top to annoy me when I reach for my Bible.  That is THE DIDACHE BIBLE put out by Ignatius Press in partnership with the Midwest Theological Forum. The translation is the RSV-CE, considered by many Catholic scholars to be one of the finest translations for study.  I like that it has lots of footnotes to Catholic teaching, with the use of the CATECHISM OF THE CATHOLIC CHURCH. The CCC as we often call it, is a concise rendition of Catholic Teaching. The basics! We need to return to basics often. There are other “catechisms” but this big one is a major gift to the lay person!

I keep my NEW COMMENTARY ON THE CODE OF CANON LAW handy not so much because I reference it all that often anymore, but because if I do need to check on something I have it handy. I do not think anybody really needs one of these, but I like having it, and other books not kept right at my desk, because I geek that way.

Really, those top two books:

Are the two best investments to learn the Catholic Faith.

Dear Lord, thank You for good study Bibles and the excellent Catechism of the Catholic Church. Please help us to reference them often and learn to know and internalize the faith in our every moment. +Amen.