Home School Days, wherein I rant

What to do when your first grader is NOT an early reader? What to do when readiness is slow to arrive? What do you do when well-meaning friends and family fuss because it looks like this child is going to be behind? You take a deep breath and evaluate.

Learning style of teacher and pupil.  It is a constant question–what curriculum do I use? I used Seton for a very long time. It was not the first curriculum I tried back in the day more than twenty years ago when I first embarked on home schooling. I tried Kolbe (classical) and loved so much about it, but it was not a fit for us. Seton, an academically sound program, turned out to be just what we needed–then.

Now THIS member of our family is a little kinesthetic learner. Seton is more sit down, listen and read. Seton worked well for the auditory and visual learners. Not so this learner who only seems to absorb information through movement.

Evidence? Tell her how to do something– not going to go well.  Show her how, better, sometimes. Walk her physically through doing it–much much better right off.

It has NOT been easy. My entire teaching experience puts the emphasis on auditory and visual learning. My older children were auditory and visual learners. The younger children are appearing more and more to be the kinesthetic style of learner and this has been a challenge for me. I’m apparently slow to adapt, but adapt I am!

I’m hoping to do a series of posts on curriculum for the kinesthetic learner. This will be slow to come along as I am NOT finding this easy. Painful, actually. Still, there are several exciting discoveries we’ve made, and some really difficult activities we’ve entered into, and hopefully this will result in the learning that we want to see happening.

Meanwhile, I am getting really tired of hearing how she might be happier in a school, and how so and so was reading by now. Why is it that a school with a teacher who has NO MORE EDUCATION THAN I HAVE gets a pass when a late reader is taking more than just a few months to learn to read, but I who am more than qualified to teach (BA, education certification, MA) am not trusted to know what I am doing? Yes the kids are bright but that does NOT mean they are ready.

Dear Lord, thank You for the blessing of my children. Thank You for good home school curriculum. Thank You for people who care enough to drive me up the wall. Please help me be patient with them. +Amen.

PLANNER-a tool for keeping track

Planners are a tool that I have used for many years. I’ve gradually learned what elements in a planner work for me, and which do not work for me. Our lives are complex and a planner can help us keep track of the many aspects of our vocations. They are a good tool.

I have used Daytimers, Dayplanners, FranklinCovey, Erin Condren, and other planners. I learned something useful from each and every planner I tried. For ME, smaller is not better but the larger format (8×10) is too big. I use the middle size which FranklinCovey calls the Classic, and which is the most popular form of the Erin Condren.

I had a Daytimer, both a pocket size with monthly spiral inserts (did not work for me) and a larger ring bound (this I found bulky so not good either). Next I had a Dayplanner “week at a glance” that was 8×10 and set up for making appointments. Daily pages are too much waste, weekly spreads work, pocket is too small, 8×10 too big.

I switched to a FranklinCovey Classic in a spiral. Two page spread for each week and a section for the months. I liked the format, size, spiral, ease of use, ease of carry, the place for the pen on the cover I put it into, and the organizational aids in the leather cover. Very nearly perfect. SADLY, when I looked for a colorful version, FranklinCovey had several–all ring bound and I did NOT want a ring binder! The planner that worked ONLY came in bland.

I looked into the Bullet Journal. This is amazing, creative, and infinitely adaptable. I LOVED the idea. The FUTURE PLANNER pages in particular were a revelation to me. A place to put everything onto a calendar which I would LIKE to do, which I might do, but where it is still not nailed down as something I MUST do. Future planning is for me!! Pages for projects and brainstorming fit a need in me. However, you must make all your own calendar pages, drawing out what you want. This is great for those who love doing that sort of thing. But for me, I needed a pre-made planner.

I found lovely book bound planners with Bible readings and places to journal about those readings–but I was not seeking to replace my plan of life with a new one.

I found lovely notebook planners with lots of pages for tracking health, weight, diet, meal planning etc.. These might be perfect for someone else, but not me.

I found colorful and creative planners that were filled with good things mixed with religious ideas contrary to my own.

I found places to get pages to put in a ring binder–but I had already learned that I actually don’t LIKE ring binders.

A friend suggested Erin Condren. This planner is expensive but has a delightful colorful version, it has a vertical format option in three sections that you decide how to use. I call mine Day, Kids, and Evening. I place appointments in DAY,  homeschool or scouting in Kids, and evening club meetings and practices in Evening.  I use the monthly pages for future planning.

I also have a notebook (classic size) for my SCA projects. I have a small bound notebook for my Puppetry. I have another small notebook for Beekeeping, and this works for me too. Lots of room for brainstorming and taking notes, but I only carry what I need that day.

It was a LONG process of using and discarding planners. Most I attempted for a year, few made it that long.

My message is don’t give up, make lists of what you liked, and did not like, what worked for you and what was wasted paper, then keep trying planners and refining that list. The inexpensive Dayplanner and FranklinCovey actually worked for the entire year. Learn from each planner you use, and be bold in seeking out what you need.

This is my first year using the Erin Condren, project notebooks that are separate from my planner, a small pocket planner by my bed is my gratitude planner(this from a Michaels craft store), and Habitica at my computer. THIS is working.

Dear Lord, Thank You for all the creative options in planners that are out there. Thank You for making people creative. Thank You for helping me to find the right mix for my needs. +Amen.


HABITICA-a marvelous tool for productivity

Habitica is a marvelous online tool for organizing your day. The way Habitica works is to turn your work day into a role playing game. In this way, those things you need to do anyway are given instant rewards in a fun and stress free game setting.

You have this little icon, and some options for hair and skin color and clothing. The tasks that gain you gold and experience points are all linked to whatever tasks you input on the Task Page where you list your Habits (like practicing a musical instrument), Dailies (like home schooling, or showering), and To-Do (that to-do list for the day, week, month…). As you complete these things you will check them off and be instantly rewarded.

Dailies can hurt you. If there is a task that must be done every day, so you placed it on the daily list, you must do that task every day or it will remove some of your health!

By clicking off your Tasks, you gain gold, and are randomly rewarded eggs, armor, and food for the pets. When you level up, your health is restored and you have the opportunity to gain even better rewards.

At level 10, you are free to choose a role for your icon. Healer, Warrior, etc.

The success of your Icon character is dependent on what you get done that day. The more of your To-Do list you finish, the more of your Dailies you do, the more times you repeat that new habit you are working to develop, the better your little character does in the game!

An entire office group could use Habitica together, each developing their own character but then the characters can join together to go on a QUEST. Well, this quest only moves forward when the collective group is doing their Tasks! The success of the Quest also depends on the members choosing different roles so that there is an array of abilities represented.

I’m playing Habitica all alone–except I joined a few of the support groups, and that has been good too. I particularly like one that is about beginning again when you fail. We discuss the struggles and how to break down some goal into the tiniest particle of forward progress. I shall blog on that when I discuss Autoharp and Puppetry in later posts.

I use it in conjunction with my favorite planner but you do not have to do the same. I prefer a planner. I future plan on the monthly calendar, then move what I will actually do each week to the weekly planner page. This gives me the concrete planner I need when away from the computer AND the game setting helps me complete the tasks.

For those who do not wish to use a paper planner when away from the computer, Habitica does come in an app for use on smart phones and tablets. I prefer to combine with the paper planner.

Dear Lord, Thank You for the planners both paper and online. Thank You for the creative people who designed each and who run the website for Habitica. +Amen.

Apology for my lack of posting

I note that I am neglecting my blogs, there are several reasons, all due to being quite busy!  I attended a Society for Creative Anachronism event called Gulf Wars in March, which was a blast. I also decided a few months back to begin updating my skills in puppetry and add ventriloquism to what I knew. It seems there are now some excellent resources for ventriloquism online, so this has been a great boon to me. AND I have been working on ONE song playing it on each of my autoharps in an attempt to learn to play something.  I picked up a program to help me organize my work and hobbies and family commitments, and this sort of started the entire cascade of activity.

Habitica is an online program where you list your To-Do list, your Daily actions, and Habits you wish to develop. It plays like a game, with the completion of tasks to key to gaining the energy and gold needed to succeed in the game. This is a really GOOD and useful program for those of us who are chronically airheaded. I’ve put most of my vocation into this program, and seen improvement in many areas. I have my prayers listed, and even weekly activities like Mass on Sunday. It dovetails wonderfully with my planner (I’m using an Erin Condren weekly planner) and I’ve managed to improve in ways I had despaired of doing!

Autoharp is one area. I have owned and strummed and longed to play autoharp for years and years. The instruments sat in their cases and I made no improvements at all. WELL, enter Habitica, and there is now a DAILY practice listed, AND a set of habits listed. So the smallest practice is a daily and anything extra gets rewarded in the habits column. I now practice every day.

Puppetry is something I loved as a kid. Captain Kangaroo was my childhood favorite show. Movies like LILI grabbed my imagination and I wanted those puppets so bad. So, in college I picked up puppets as part of teaching elementary school. But really needed to learn ventriloquism as I rarely had access to a proper puppet stage (which I longed for!). Well, I happened upon the International Ventriloquist Society at a website called Maher Studios. Where I found a link to five free lessons on ventriloquism! Needless to say, I am still working on the course, learning and having fun! Currently I have done a couple of videos to show myself at this level of skill.  I’m terrible at it but improving.

Of course, Gulf Wars was a blast and has nothing at all to do with anything else. Camping and dressing in medieval clothing for an entire week. I will most certainly go back again.

This is why I have not been updating this blog and I really ought to do more. 🙂  I even have blogging on my weekly Habitica! More on each topic soon. 🙂

Dear Lord, thank You for all the good things of this world. +Amen.

Links Page for Beyond Appearances Home School Co-op Presentation

Lovely Garb Links for recreating historical clothing:


SARTOR:  Reference page to see fabrics recreated from archeological finds. Currently, they have a Viking fabric in polyester and rayon that could be trim. But this is more for reference as these fabrics (especially the silks) are very costly.

LINEN:  The ILO19 is a nice weight and good for our climate. The price is reasonable for linen and they run daily sales.

WOOL: absolutely period, for every region of the world, for every part of the period you are studying. Every person at every economic level would have had garments made from this material.

Other options: Linen look cotton: while not period, it is less money and will make nice garb. I think JoAnn’s has a good coupon for a single cut of fabric right now.

BYZANTIUM/Eastern Roman Empire:

Anna’s Rome:  This blogger has a Masters degree based on her research into Roman and Byzantine clothing. She offers links to how to make either, I recommend the page: Byzantine Garb Basics She plans to redo it with the changes based on her most recent research but the links from this page in red are still good. The basic shape of tunics for Byzantine change very little during the Empire, with the earliest including more pieces similar to ancient Roman, and very late in the period (1400’s) there would be a tendency to start to fit the torso more and include wide sleeves as a European influence. The women of Jesus’ time all the way through to late Byzantine/Eastern Roman Empire, wore their hair covered (unless they were scandalous or so wealthy they wore hats or turbans, often with jewels attached). Take special note of the blog post where she discovers how to make her veil match what is seen on early Christian icons of Mary.

10th Century Byzantine: has a bit of general reporting on SCA educational events in our region. Lots of pictures in the most recent posts.

Levantia: Dr. Timothy Dawson has garb and armor pages and books out. The website has pictures of garb he has recreated from the historical record.

SOCIETY FOR CREATIVE ANACHRONISM: history, fun, education. The web portal for people to discover the SCA.  HERE is a web portal for the schedule of events in our region. Events have a fee, and everyone attending is required to wear a reasonable attempt at period clothing. That is what we are eager to help you accomplish for your history project and feast.

MET: Metropolitan Museum of Art: COPTIC/Byzantine/early period.

Coptic Child’s Tunic. This is from Egypt. A Coptic Christian could easily have worn this garment. Note that it is made from simple rectangles sewn together, it would be loose fitting.

Common Tunic Style, Child or adult: This child’s dress is the same cut as an adult’s tunic. Again, this would be in perfect order for Christians in this time period, anywhere in the Eastern Roman Empire. Eastern Rome controlled Egypt until the region fell to the forces of Islam.

VIKING:  This person plays a Viking persona and teaches. There are some good links on this page for anyone seeking to create historically correct Viking clothing.

12th Century Scotland  Nice blog page on clothing in the 1100’s. Has some links as well.

PATTERNS: While a pattern is not needed for much of the clothing of this time frame, these patterns, while confusing to some people, are well researched. : Period Patterns.


Jewelry: not so much a link as a bit of information: Glass was not cheap in our period of history.  Bold colors were even more costly. Women wore glass beads with as much pride as we might actual gemstones. Not that gemstones were not even more valued, but glass was so valuable, a broken item would be gathered up, every shard, and taken to the glassworker to be sold for the weight of the glass or directly commissioned to be remade.

My Camera

I love photography. I’ve blogged about my past cameras and current needs. I enjoyed the process of looking for a new camera, wanting something powerful enough to replace a DSLR, yet lighter weight so I could use it more.  I did find and buy a camera that hit the sweet spot for me.

Sweet! Takes lovely photos. It has all my favorite DSLR qualities AND it does the fun stuff my iPad does– like panoramas.  The built-in lens is a Leica designed lens, and it is a wonderfully fun zoom.  There may be faster, more professional cameras out there, but I am so happy with this darling.

I’ve already spent an American Heritage Girl’s Award ceremony running around taking pictures:

I’d do more pictures but haven’t permission from all the moms!  Still, the performance of my new camera under less than perfect lighting conditions and taking both stills and action photos has pleased me no end.

Of course, the holidays were another fun time for the camera:

Up close (hello sis!) or clear across the yard (under the watchful eye of my husband)–I do like this lens!!

Anyway, needed to share that I chose a camera that is light enough not to aggravate my carpel tunnel and capable of the full range of my use of it. So perhaps there will be more photos used on my blog this year than in the past.

Dear Lord, thank You for my camera and the blessing of opportunities to use it. +Amen.

How to Live Well

Every activity we have in this life require a certain effort beyond the basic effort we put into life. Like an athlete must go beyond what he thinks he can do, so must all of us when seeking greatness in our lives.  Above my desk is a quote I pulled from a blog: MusselmanCoach.

Dig deeper! You have to go deeper! Get in there, fight, be strong, and be tough, we all have more to give then we think! Push yourself! Use every ounce of your potential! I know you have more, I know you can find more inside, we all can.” –Bill Musselman

I put this quote above my desk to read it every morning.

I read it before I write or blog.

I read it before I practice my musical instrument.

I read it before I edit on my novel.

I read it before I start my prayers.

I read it before I study.

I read it before I teach.

I read it before I practice ventriloquism.

I read it before I go to bed.

The Bible is full of stories of people who reached deep, then stepped out trusting God. The books of Saints are full of men and women who reached deep, then stepped out trusting God. God calls each of us to discipleship, which requires we reach deeper than we think we can. The day I first read those words of Bill Musselman, shared by Eric & Nicole Musselman, I felt like those words were meant for me too. There is truth there that reaches beyond the sport he loved.

Truth about how to live.

Dear Lord, thank You for this wisdom shared by Bill Musselman through his children. Please, bless them. +Amen.

“A Prophetic Voice of Four Cardinals of the Holy Roman Catholic Church”

Bishop Athanasius Schneider has asked that this letter be shared widely. I respect this man for his wisdom, learning, and orthodoxy so here is the complete text of his letter, found at Catholic World Report, just click to go there:

A Prophetic Voice of Four Cardinals of the Holy Roman Catholic Church.

Of course, I would like to have pasted the entire letter here, but for some odd reason I cannot cut and paste from the document I downloaded. Very odd, clearly I am missing some detail of technological skill. If the letter appears here, then I learned something new! Meanwhile, for those who would prefer to have the letter read to them, you can go to Fr. Zuhlsdorf’s website and listen to his podcast where-in he reads the letter.

“We cannot do anything against the truth, but only for the truth” (2 Cor. 13: 8)

A Prophetic Voice of Four Cardinals of the Holy Roman Catholic Church

Out of “deep pastoral concern,” four Cardinals of the Holy Roman Catholic Church, His Eminence Joachim Meisner, Archbishop emeritus of Cologne (Germany), His Eminence Carlo Caffarra, Archbishop emeritus of  Bologna (Italy), His Eminence Raymond Leo Burke, Patron of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta, and His Eminence Walter Brandmüller, President emeritus of the Pontifical Commission of Historical Sciences, have published on November 14, 2016, the text of five questions, called dubia (Latin for “doubts”), which previously on September 19, 2016, they sent to the Holy Father and to Cardinal Gerhard Müller, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, along with an accompanying letter. The Cardinals ask Pope Francis to clear up “grave disorientation and great confusion” concerning the interpretation and practical application, particularly of chapter VIII, of the Apostolic Exhortation Amoris Laetitia and its passages relating to admission of remarried divorcees to the sacraments and the Church’s moral teaching.

In their statement entitled “Seeking Clarity: A Plea to Untie the Knots in Amoris Laetitia the Cardinals say that to “many — bishops, priests, faithful — these paragraphs allude to or even explicitly teach a change in the discipline of the Church with respect to the divorced who are living in a new union.” Speaking so, the Cardinals have merely stated real facts in the life of the Church. These facts are demonstrated by pastoral orientations on behalf of several dioceses and by public statements of some bishops and cardinals, who affirm that in some cases divorced and remarried Catholics can be admitted to Holy Communion even though they continue to use the rights reserved by Divine law to validly married spouses.

In publishing a plea for clarity in a matter that touches the truth and the sanctity simultaneously of the three sacraments of Marriage, Penance, and the Eucharist, the Four Cardinals only did their basic duty as bishops and cardinals, which consists in actively contributing so that the revelation transmitted through the Apostles might be guarded sacredly and might be faithfully interpreted. It was especially the Second Vatican Council that reminded all the members of the college of bishops as legitimate successors of the Apostles of their obligation, according to which “by Christ’s institution and command they have to be solicitous for the whole Church, and that this solicitude, though it is not exercised by an act of jurisdiction, contributes greatly to the advantage of the universal Church. For it is the duty of all bishops to promote and to safeguard the unity of faith and the discipline common to the whole Church” (Lumen gentium, 23; cf. also Christus Dominus, 5-6).

In making a public appeal to the Pope, bishops and cardinals should be moved by genuine collegial affection for the Successor of Peter and the Vicar of Christ on earth, following the teaching of Vatican Council II (cf. Lumen gentium, 22);, in so doing they render “service to the primatial ministry” of the Pope (cf. Directory for the Pastoral Ministry of Bishops, 13).

The entire Church in our days has to reflect upon the fact that the Holy Spirit has not in vain inspired Saint Paul to write in the Letter to the Galatians about the incident of his public correction of Peter. One has to trust that Pope Francis will accept this public appeal of the Four Cardinals in the spirit of the Apostle Peter, when St Paul offered him a fraternal correction for the good of the whole Church. May the words of that great Doctor of the Church, St Thomas Aquinas, illuminate and comfort us all: “When there is a danger for the faith, subjects are required to reprove their prelates, even publicly. Since Paul, who was subject to Peter, out of the danger of scandal, publicly reproved him. And Augustine comments: “Peter himself gave an example to superiors by not disdaining to be corrected by his subjects when it occurred to them that he had departed from the right path” (Summa theol., II-II, 33, 4c).

Pope Francis often calls for an outspoken and fearless dialogue between all members of the Church in matters concerning the spiritual good of souls. In the Apostolic Exhortation Amoris laetitia, the Pope speaks of a need for “open discussion of a number of doctrinal, moral, spiritual, and pastoral questions. The thinking of pastors and theologians, if faithful to the Church, honest, realistic and creative, will help us to achieve greater clarity” (n. 2). Furthermore, relationships at all levels within the Church must be free from a climate of fear and intimidation, as Pope Francis has requested in his various pronouncements.

In light of these pronouncements of Pope Francis and the principle of dialogue and acceptance of legitimate plurality of opinions, which was fostered by the documents of the Second Vatican Council, the unusually violent and intolerant reactions on behalf of some bishops and cardinals against the calm and circumspect plea of the Four Cardinals cause great astonishment. Among such intolerant reactions one could read affirmations such as, for instance: the four Cardinals are witless, naive, schismatic, heretical, and even comparable to the Arian heretics.

Such apodictic merciless judgments reveal not only intolerance, refusal of dialogue, and irrational rage, but demonstrate also a surrender to the impossibility of speaking the truth, a surrender to relativism in doctrine and practice, in faith and life. The above-mentioned clerical reaction against the prophetic voice of the Four Cardinals parades ultimately powerlessness before the eyes of the truth. Such a violent reaction has only one aim: to silence the voice of the truth, which is disturbing and annoying the apparently peaceful nebulous ambiguity of these clerical critics.

The negative reactions to the public statement of the Four Cardinals resemble the general doctrinal confusion of the Arian crisis in the fourth century. It is helpful to all to quote in the situation of the doctrinal confusion in our days some affirmations of Saint Hilary of Poitiers, the “Athanasius of the West”.

“You [the bishops of Gaul] who still remain with me faithful in Christ did not give way when threatened with the onset of heresy, and now by meeting that onset you have broken all its violence. Yes, brethren, you have conquered, to the abundant joy of those who share your faith: and your unimpaired constancy gained the double glory of keeping a pure conscience and giving an authoritative example” (Hil. De Syn., 3).

“Your [the bishops of Gaul] invincible faith keeps the honourable distinction of conscious worth and, content with repudiating crafty, vague, or hesitating action, safely abides in Christ, preserving the profession of its liberty. For since we all suffered deep and grievous pain at the actions of the wicked against God, within our boundaries alone is communion in Christ to be found from the time that the Church began to be harried by disturbances such as the expatriation of bishops, the deposition of priests, the intimidation of the people, the threatening of the faith, and the determination of the meaning of Christ’s doctrine by human will and power. Your resolute faith does not pretend to be ignorant of these facts or profess that it can tolerate them, perceiving that by the act of hypocritical assent it would bring itself before the bar of conscience” (Hil. De Syn., 4).

“I have spoken what I myself believed, conscious that I owed it as my soldier’s service to the Church to send to you in accordance with the teaching of the Gospel by these letters the voice of the office which I hold in Christ. It is yours to discuss, to provide and to act, that the inviolable fidelity in which you stand you may still keep with conscientious hearts, and that you may continue to hold what you hold now” (Hil. De Syn., 92).

The following words of Saint Basil the Great, addressed to the Latin Bishops, can be in some aspects applied to the situation of those who in our days ask for doctrinal clarity, including our Four Cardinals: “The one charge which is now sure to secure severe punishment is the careful keeping of the traditions of the Fathers. We are not being attacked for the sake of riches, or glory, or any temporal advantages. We stand in the arena to fight for our common heritage, for the treasure of the sound faith, derived from our Fathers. Grieve with us, all you who love the brethren, at the shutting of the mouths of our men of true religion, and at the opening of the bold and blasphemous lips of all that utter unrighteousness against God. The pillars and foundation of the truth are scattered abroad. We, whose insignificance has allowed of our being overlooked, are deprived of our right of free speech” (Ep. 243, 2.4).

Today those bishops and cardinals, who ask for clarity and who try to fulfill their duty in guarding sacredly and faithfully interpreting the transmitted Divine Revelation concerning the Sacraments of Marriage and the Eucharist, are no longer exiled as it was with the Nicene bishops during the Arian crisis. Contrary to the time of the Arian crisis, today, as wrote Rudolf Graber, the bishop of Ratisbone, in 1973, exile of the bishops is replaced by hush-up strategies and by slander campaigns (cf. Athanasius und die Kirche unserer Zeit, Abensberg 1973, p. 23).

Another champion of the Catholic faith during the Arian crisis was Saint Gregory Nazianzen. He wrote the following striking characterization of the behavior of the majority of the shepherds of the Church in those times. This voice of the great Doctor of the Church should be a salutary warning for the bishops of all times: “Surely the pastors have done foolishly; for, excepting a very few, who either on account of their insignificance were passed over, or who by reason of their virtue resisted, and who were to be left as a seed and root for the springing up again and revival of Israel by the influences of the Spirit, all temporized, only differing from each other in this, that some succumbed earlier, and others later; some were foremost champions and leaders in the impiety, and others joined the second rank of the battle, being overcome by fear, or by interest, or by flattery, or, what was the most excusable, by their own ignorance” (Orat. 21, 24).

When Pope Liberius in 357 signed one of the so called formulas of Sirmium, in which he deliberately discarded the dogmatically defined expression “homo-ousios” and excommunicated Saint Athanasius in order to have peace and harmony with the Arian and Semi-Arian bishops of the East, faithful Catholics and some few bishops, especially Saint Hilary of Poitiers, were deeply shocked. Saint Hilary transmitted the letter that Pope Liberius wrote to the Oriental bishops, announcing the acceptance of the formula of Sirmium and the excommunication of Saint Athanasius. In his deep pain and dismay, Saint Hilary added to the letter in a kind of desperation the phrase: “Anathema tibi a me dictum, praevaricator Liberi” (I say to you anathema, prevaricator Liberius), cf. Denzinger-Schönmetzer, n. 141. Pope Liberius wanted to have peace and harmony at any price, even at the expense of the Divine truth. In his letter to the heterodox Latin bishops Ursace, Valence, and Germinius announcing to them the above-mentioned decisions, he wrote that he preferred peace and harmony to martyrdom (cf. cf. Denzinger-Schönmetzer, n. 142).

“In what a dramatic contrast stood the behavior of Pope Liberius to the following conviction of Saint Hilary of Poitiers: “We don’t make peace at the expense of the truth by making concessions in order to acquire the reputation of tolerance. We make peace by fighting legitimately according to the rules of the Holy Spirit. There is a danger to ally surreptitiously with unbelief under the beautiful name of peace.” (Hil. Ad Const., 2, 6, 2).

Blessed John Henry Newman commented on these unusual sad facts with the following wise and equilibrated affirmation: “While it is historically true, it is in no sense doctrinally false, that a Pope, as a private doctor, and much more Bishops, when not teaching formally, may err, as we find they did err in the fourth century. Pope Liberius might sign a Eusebian formula at Sirmium, and the mass of Bishops at Ariminum or elsewhere, and yet they might, in spite of this error, be infallible in their ex cathedra decisions” (The Arians of the Fourth Century, London, 1876, p. 465).

The Four Cardinals with their prophetic voice demanding doctrinal and pastoral clarity have a great merit before their own conscience, before history, and before the innumerable simple faithful Catholics of our days, who are driven to the ecclesiastical periphery, because of their fidelity to Christ’s teaching about the indissolubility of marriage. But above all, the Four Cardinals have a great merit in the eyes of Christ. Because of their courageous voice, their names will shine brightly at the Last Judgment. For they obeyed the voice of their conscience remembering the words of Saint Paul: “We cannot do anything against the truth, but only for the truth” (2 Cor 13: 8). Surely, at the Last Judgment the above-mentioned mostly clerical critics of the Four Cardinals will not have an easy answer for their violent attack on such a just, worthy, and meritorious act of these Four Members of the Sacred College of Cardinals.

The following words inspired by the Holy Spirit retain their prophetic value especially in view of the spreading doctrinal and practical confusion regarding the Sacrament of Marriage in our days: “For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths. As for you, always be sober-minded, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry” (2 Tim. 4: 3-5).

May all, who in our days still take seriously their baptismal vows and their priestly and episcopal promises, receive the strength and the grace of God so that they may reiterate together with Saint Hilary the words: “May I always be in exile, if only the truth begins to be preached again!” (De Syn., 78). This strength and grace we wish wholeheartedly to our Four Cardinals and as well as to those who criticize them.

November 23, 2016

+ Athanasius Schneider, Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Saint Mary in Astana

This letter can be found in many places around the internet. As I said, it was requested to be shared widely, so I am doing this. Check out both links as I find the writing in both places useful and edifying.

Dear Lord, please bless the Bishops who seek to do the job You have given them even when other people object. Please defend them and help us to listen to them when what they are doing pleases You. +Amen.

Don’t Hate On the Rosary

Hating on the Rosary makes the people who do it look foolish and ignorant.  Even more ridiculous, they claim the Bible as their justification for speaking out against the Rosary.  I think my readers are better than that and if they do not already know the awesomeness of the Rosary they are at least open to knowing what it is and why they should not hate on it.

For those who don’t know: The Rosary is a structured meditation on the GOSPELS. The 20 meditations taken from Scripture. The pattern of prayers, the contents of which are also Gospel based, are used to help focus the mind on the Gospel story. The combination of mediation and recited prayer pushes distractions out of the mind as the person praying fills their mind with the the story of Jesus.

The Rosary has great power to transform souls because it is a powerful method of internalizing Scripture, writing the Gospels on our hearts by carefully focusing on the story of Jesus while we pray it.

The physical aspect of the Rosary is a string of beads used for counting with one dependent strand ending in a tassel, cross, or crucifix.  The prayers consist of the Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory Be, and we start with the Apostles Creed, establishing the framework for the meditations.

These are the 20 meditations on Jesus divided up into four sets:

    • Annunciation.
    • Visitation
    • Nativity
    • Presentation
    • Finding
    • Baptism
    • Wedding at Cana
    • Proclamation of the Kingdom
    • Transfiguration
    • First Eucharist/Last Supper
    • Agony in the Garden
    • Scourging at the Pillar
    • Mocking and Crowning with Thorns
    • Carrying the Cross
    • Crucifixion
    • Resurrection
    • Ascension
    • Pentecost
    • Assumption
    • Coronation

Beginning with the Apostle’s creed as an overview statement, recited while contemplating the Cross of Jesus, we continue with the OUR FATHER prayer JESUS TAUGHT said on the single beads.

We imitate Jesus, who fulfilling the Old Testament did perfectly Honor His Mother, by our use of the Angelic salutation and the salutation of Elizabeth, both from the Gospels.  We say the Hail Mary with respect and devotion on each of the 10 Hail Mary beads.

The Our Father bead with 10 Hail Mary beads is called a decade.  Each meditation, called a Mystery, is taken one at a time and contemplated during one decade of the Rosary. The mind is to be busy thinking about the Mystery while the person says the Hail Mary. The prayers are not to be rushed but spoken respectfully. If a person struggles to focus on the Mystery, they may open their Bible and re-read the appropriate passages of the Gospel before returning to the Rosary to meditate on what they just read.

I shall blog on the Mysteries in later posts, but for now, know that these sets of 5 mysteries are almost entirely taken from the four Gospels. Two mysteries, found in the set of the Glorious Mysteries, are based on Revelations.

Which is why hating on the Rosary just makes a person look ignorant.


Budgets and I have a love-hate relationship.  I find anything having to do with numbers difficult, and this nightmare never ceases. The current budget situation is an upcoming decrease of income which means I must continue my struggle for a budget that works and seek new income streams.

Goal #1 has been met. One credit card is empty, not being used, and set aside in the file for “emergencies”. The truth is I intend to never use it again.

Goal #2 has been met, with great effort. My credit card is empty, but not yet retired. The retirement will be in one month, and then it too will be in the file as “emergency” credit.  UPDATE: I realized I needed to retire it immediately. Enough!!

Goal #3 is to be on a completely cash-only basis. NO use of credit at all. I’m almost there. By January 1st it will be accomplished and that is going to be such a relief!!  I will be done with credit use.

Goal #4 is to retire the very last of the educational debt from my husband’s doctorate. I hope this will be finished off during the early part of the coming year.

Goal #5 has been ongoing for over a year so far. This has been the practice of holding in a savings account money to pay for bills, like the IRS and insurance and garbage pick-up that must be paid every few months. This forward planning has been a struggle. There is always something that needs repaired, parts purchased, etc. I need to begin holding money for those unplanned costs and make them into planned costs, but oh it is hard to do!! As you try to set aside money for these, they seem to multiply and demand to be purchased right now right now right now– it is diabolical and I hate it totally.

Goal #6 include a savings for replacement, parts and repairs.

Goal #7 include a savings for emergencies– build a true emergency fund so that trips to the emergency room are cash!

Meanwhile, job hunting to increase income now and be there when the other is gone is on-going and stressful.

There is my tell-all.  As I said, I have a love-hate relationship with budgets.

Dear Lord, please help us to budget wisely and create new income streams. +Amen.