Monday, April 30, 2007

Prayers for Bishop Mengeling

Please offer up many prayers on behalf of our Lansing bishop, Bishop Mengeling. Having been out of town the past few days, I am not up on all the details. From what I understand the bishop had emergency surgery Thursday evening where they found a large tumor on his bladder. I'm told they were unable to remove the entire tumor and recovery will be long.

Heavenly Father, we commend to You your most humble servant, Bishop Carl F. Mengeling, Bishop of Lansing. You, O Lord, know the plans You have set before him. We trust completely in your mercy and grace. We ask that You watch over our bishop and all those caring for him. Grant Bishop Mengeling peace, patience, and healing in whatever ways he needs them most and according to your holy will. These things we ask through Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior. Amen.

St. Peregrine, Patron of Cancer Victims, pray for us! Amen.

I would like to note that Bishop Mengeling is a friend to homeschoolers. If you own The Catholic Homeschool Companion, you'll find he wrote the foreword.

LSJ Update.

American Papist Update.

Milwaukee in Pictures

Let's have a contest: How many homeschoolers can you name?

I'll post the answers in the next day or two. Meanwhile, I have to recuperate from all the wild antics that go with hanging out with Catholic homeschoolers from all over the country for an entire weekend. Hopefully, I'll be back to normal by the Dayton conference!

HINT: If you click on the pictures you can see the name tags. Or, you can go to Michele's blog where she has the bottom picture labeled.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

CE: Composting Unit Study

My weekly column at Catholic Exchange is a unit study on composting. Just in time for spring!
If you've never composted or if you live in an urban area, I encourage you to still be open to introducing composting to your homeschool studies. Composting can be a wonderful addition to your science studies, in a very natural way. Both the novice and the urbanite can pull it off. This unit study introduces all the resources necessary for success.

Wisconsin Here I Come!

I'll be spending my day today preparing for the Milwaukee conference. I leave first thing in the morning. Blogging will be light to nil until Monday morning. Everyone have a great weekend. And, I hope to meet lots of you in Wisconsin!

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

God Answers Prayers

Its so cool how God answers prayers. And so typical how I'm so lacking in faith.

As you probably already know, my two oldest kids are going to be competing at the national level for muzzle loading.
Seven of the twelve teens representing Michigan 4-H Shooting Sports are from our local club (and all homeschooled, btw). This is quite the accomplishment, but also a huge financial task. We need to raise $9,000 to cover their travel to South Dakota, lodging, practice fees, ammunition, equipment, etc. I'm the one in charge of fundraising.

So, here's the cool part.

I had set it in my mind that I needed to have at least $2,000 raised by last night's meeting. I was so disappointed when my mailman didn't deliver any envelopes with checks yesterday, leaving my to-date total at $1,950. I really let it get me down.

Well, I went to the meeting and, just as we're about to start, another mom handed two checks to me that put us over $2,000. I was so ecstatic I couldn't stop hugging her. Then, when the meeting was over, another mom gave me a check.

Here I was praying and praying over this fundraising, and still I didn't trust God would handle it. I was so untrusting. Boy, God humbles me every day. And that's a cool thing.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Milwaukee, Here I Come

If you're anywhere near Milwaukee or Chicago, I sure hope you're planning to attend the Greater Milwaukee Catholic Home Educators Conference. All the cool people are going to be there, including Fr. Ray Gawronski, Holly Pierlot, Nancy Brown, Stan Schmidt, Rita Munn, Mary Daly, Dan and Kristin McGuire, The Donut Man, and more. And I'll be there too.

I'll be speaking to the teens Friday night on job search skills and then Saturday I'll give my God's Wildflowers talk. Also there'll be a book signing at 2:00 on Saturday at my table.

Please pray for my safe travel as I drive with Teen Daughter 2 and her friend Catherine to the conference. Thank you Nancy for giving us a place to lay our heads!

PopeStNick5: Unprotected and Unhooked

My friend Linda sent the following article to me

Rotten fruit of sexual revolution’s tree focus of new mainstream books
The article mentions three books: Unprotected, Unhooked, and The Thrill of the Chaste. I featured The Thrill of the Chaste on Pope Saint Nicholas V not too long ago. I'd like to now feature these other two books. They are not Catholic books, however, I think it important to have them available in our public libraries.

Check to see if these titles are already in your library's catalog. If they are, put a hold on them and check them out. If not, fill out a patron request form right away. This can usually be done online at your library's website.

Title: Unprotected: A Campus Psychiatrist Reveals How Political Correctness in Her Profession Endangers Every Student
Author: Miriam Grossman, M.D.
Publisher: Sentinel
Date Published: November 2006
ISBN: 1595230254
Price: Hardcover $23.95 (Amazon $15.09)
Comments: "How could the so-called caring professions ostensibly dedicated to student welfare have collapsed so completely?"
Review: National Review

Title: Unhooked: How Young Women Pursue Sex, Delay Love and Lose at Both
Author: Laura Sessions Stepp
Publisher: Riverhead
Date Published: Februaury 2007
ISBN: 1594489386
Price: Hardcover $24.96 (Amazon: $16.47)
Comments: Also available in audio book.
Review: ABC News

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Our Week in Pictures

A busy week. Not only did we catch Junior, but we celebrated a birthday, had a Confirmation, and went shooting.

Super Boy turned 5-years old. As of September, for the first time in almost 18 years, I'll no long have a preschooler in my house. My "baby" will be a kindergartner.

Teen Daughter 2 celebrated the Sacrament of Confirmation. It was interesting as I watched each of her classmates step forward to be confirmed. They were all so nervous they looked like they may pass out any second. But TD2 had the most beautiful smile on her face. She was not only fully ready to receive the sacrament, but joyful about it. I'm so proud of her.

And . . . for the first time in my life, I shot skeet. As a girl and a young woman I had experience with hand guns and rifles, but that was a looong time ago, and I've never held a shotgun. I have to admit it was a lot of fun. It was hard, but fun. Thank you to Andrew who talked me into giving it a try and then coaching me. Maybe you can teach an old dog new tricks after all.

The teens and their friends got a kick out of it too. They were at a different part of the range, shooting muzzle loader. When someone told them I was shooting with my friend Debi, they all climbed up on the burm with binoculars to watch us. We had no idea at the time.

Today, we celebrated with our friends the B's as their son Matt made his First Holy Communion (sorry I don't have a picture). It was a lovely Mass and a lovely day.

Now, I'm going to go lay down and rest for a few days.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

The Siege Has Ended: Alleluia

Rob finally turned the sofa upside down, tore open the bottom, reached in, and pulled out Junior.

She is now residing comfortably in the Rat Skyscraper. There is one problem though. Maggie, Princess Rose's pet rat, isn't too happy about having a new roommate. Miss Maggie is currently in time out in the corner. (Actually, in the traveling cage.)

It isn't enough that I have to play referee to the little people who live here, now I have to play referee to their pets.

Maybe, I should play some John Lennon for them. Give Peace a Chance!

Friday, April 20, 2007

Eighties Lit Quiz

Uber librarian Adrienne Furness asks:

Hi! How are you? I have a patron looking for a book she doesn't know the title to that I can't find, so I am polling as many colleagues as I can think of to see if I can find it. It's a chapter book that she read as a girl in the 80s about a really smart girl who ends up in another world/reality where animals teach her about the Golden Rule.

I'm usually pretty good at these kinds of questions, but I've
searched and searched and come up with nothing. Does it ring any bells for you?

I hope all's well there....

Adrienne :)
I can't help her. Can you?

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Prayer: Learning from Our Children

This week's column is up at Catholic Exchange: The Power of Prayer
As she told the story, I could almost hear Our Lord say to me, "Oh ye, of so little faith. Your children never gave up hope and I have answered their prayer."

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

I Look Good

When I went to Lowe's to purchase the live trap, I got into a conversation with the cashier. Upon finding out I'm the mother of seven children she exclaimed, "Dang girl, are you for real!" "Yep," I replied. "Whoa you look good for havin' so many kids." "No," I mumbled, "not that good." She quickly replied, "I'm tellin' you girl, you look goooood! I'd like to look that good. Seven kids, wow." As I took my package and walked out the sliding doors, she waved and hollered one more time, "You look goooood girl!"

I'll be doing all my shopping at Lowe's now.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Day Five: The Siege Continues

Junior continues to live in the sofa. A couple of homemade traps only scared the wits out of her and she's barely peeped out since. I bought a live trap from Lowe's and she managed to get the food without setting it off.

I think God is trying to teach me patience and perhaps a few other lessons.

Monday, April 16, 2007

PopeStNick5: Love in the Little Things

My library asks for links to and book reviews when making purchasing requests online. To go to just click on the hyperlink at the book's title or on the picture. I do my best to find online reviews for you but this is sometimes difficult when a book is brand new such as today's book Love in the Little Things.

To read past library recommendations, or to join the email list, visit: Pope Saint Nicholas V.

Check to see if this title is already in your library's catalog. If it is, put a hold on it and check it out. If not, fill out a patron request form right away. This can usually be done online at your library's website.

Title: Love in the Little Things: Tales of Family Life
Author: Mike Aquilina
Publisher: Servant Publications
Date Published: March 2007
ISBN: 0867168145
Price: 12.99
Comments: Foreword by Scott Hahn
The table of contents.
Back cover blurbs at the author's blog

Note: This book would be a perfect Mother's Day or Father's Day gift if you're looking for something for that special someone. Even if you buy it, still make a purchasing request to your library and still check it out if they do shelve it!

Prayers for the Loss of a Child

I recently asked for prayers on behalf of my brother-in-law Tom who has been deployed to the Persian Gulf. This is from a recent email from him (I've made a couple of minor edits to protect identities):
Last night I did the hardest thing I have every done in my some 20 years of ministry – tell a parent (father in this case) that his 8 month old son had died. The flash message came from the Red Cross (what we call an AMCROSS message, or AMCROSS for short) came to the ship’s chaplains; they found out who the sailor belonged to; found me in a brief; and I and his chief petty officer (who was also in the brief) went to find him. I didn’t know the content of the message at this point; my instructions were to take him to the chaplain’s office. We got there, and the chaplain told me to come into the office alone. I knew then it wasn’t good, but was still not prepared for him to tell me about the death of AW1’s child. He then asked me if I wanted to tell him, and I knew in my heart I had to do it. I couldn’t pass the buck on this one. We brought him, his chief, and his buddy into the office, and I pulled my chair up close in front of him and told him. I have never witnessed pure shock before. He kept asking, “My son?”, and I had to keep answering yes. While all this was happening, our administrative chief petty officer (I think) informed the Commodore (our boss) and got the ball rolling on getting him off the ship ASAP. I’m sure our staff helo pilot and liaison with the air wing had a lot to do with it as well. To end this sad story, he will be leaving the ship at 1130 Hawaii time for the LONG flight back home.
Please keep this young soldier and his family close in prayer. What a terrible tragedy.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

St. Martin de Porres Pray for Us!

My friend Margaret Mary writes:

Do you know the story about St. Martin and the little creatures? According to the story, they were eating the bed linens at the convent. And someone wanted to get rid of them. But he talked told them to stop eating the linens and live in the barn and he would feed them there, and they did. I don't know if it's legend or fact, but I do know that he's known for his love of, and ability to deal, with the animals. I love him for his charity and gentleness with people, and his love of God.

I guess we need to get St. Martin praying for my rat/sofa problem!

Day Three: Under Seige

Today is the third day of our sofa being occupied by the pet rat Junior. This is causing me some mental stress as well as some marital discord.

I'm all for picking up the sofa, turning it upside down, and shaking the little bugger out. However, my dear husband, being the animal-loving Franciscan he is, doesn't want to cause poor Junior any distress.

Twice, the younger children have caught Junior, but only for a second. They let her go when she fought to get away. I guess she really loves my sofa.

So, I've decided to do what any good self-respecting homeschooler would do: create a unit study.

Each child will be assigned to design and build a humane trap. Grades and Carnegie credits will be given for the successful completion of this project. The learning goals include planning, architectural design, trigonometry, working as a team, rat psychology, and Christian love for all of God's creatures even icky pet rats.

Trips will be made to the hardware store and library. Surely, google searches will take place. I wonder if Wikipedia has any articles on the humane capture of rats.

This is what homeschooling is all about. Let the fun begin.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

The Saga Continues

Junior continues to set up her apartment in the sofa. Oh well, I was thinking about buying a new sofa anyway.

In fact, she's peeking out right now. If I move to capture her, she'll only run back inside. I have a little bowl of water in the corner of the couch for her, lest she get dehydrated.

We tried putting food in the carrying cage and then tying a string to the door. The plan was to coax her into the cage and then pulling the string, locking her in the cage. It didn't work. She's a child and much faster than Rob's middle aged hands. The kids are too impatient and end up scaring her before she gets into the cage.

I went to Home Depot to buy a habitrap. I told the sales guy, "I need a trap to catch a rat without hurting it." I wonder why he looked at me funny. They only had live traps for little mice and for huge squirrels. Nothing in between.

I'm open to suggestions here (aside from moving out and leaving the house to the pet rats, please).

Friday, April 13, 2007

The Continuing Saga of the Pet Rat

We still haven't captured Junior, but we know where she is. She's living in our sofa. There's probably enough crumbs in there to sustain her for a month.

We had company over and I had to tell them, "I'm sorry, you'll have to sit on the love seat as there is a rat in the sofa."

This is my life.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

CE: Educator's Discounts

The weekly column is up at Catholic Exchange.
Many years ago while purchasing supplies for a homeschooling potluck at a paper store, I happened to mention the purpose of my purchase to the sales clerk. She exclaimed, "You're eligible for a 20% discount!"

Cutting the Grocery Budget

My monthly column at Catholic Mom is up. Actually, it's been up since April 1st, but I forgot to tell you. Forgive me?
If you are an average American family, you can cut your grocery bill in half – through baby steps.

Snow Tip of the Day

For those of you who, like us, still have snow on the ground, I have a tip.

You know that hunk of ice and snow that collects under your wheel well? You know how tempting it is to kick it off every time you go to the car? Well, if you drive a rust bucket like me, don't let the temptation take hold, otherwise a chunk of your car may come off with the snow.

I know. It happened to me.

Even More Catholic Homeschooling Blogs

First, another prayer request. Please offer up Heather from the Homeschool Blog Awards in prayer. She learned just yesterday that she has a brain tumor. As Alicia points out, the timing is uncanny. With this being the week of the awards there have been many calls for prayers on her behalf that she may not otherwise have received.

Second, here are even more nominated Catholic homeschooling blogs I need to add to my blogroll. Make sure to check them out and if you like them, you can vote for them at the Homeschool Blog Awards.

Living Without School (Unschooling/Eclectic)

No Fighting No Biting (New)

Mozart and Mud Pies (Crafts and Projects, Super Homeschooler)

Lapaz Farm Home Learning (Living-What-You-Believe, Unschooling/Eclectic)

As Cozy As Spring (Cyber Buddy, Design)

Journey of a Mother's Heart (Living-What-You-Believe)

My Thoughtful Spot (Cyber Buddy)

Among Women (Nitty Gritty)

Liber Parma (Teen)

Happy Hearts at Home (Thrifty - one of my favorite topics!)

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Thank You St. Isidore

And thank you prayer warriors! My computer is miraculously working again. My friend Linda B. called and said to try unplugging it and then replugging it in. I told her I already tried that a couple of times, but what the hey, I could try it again. It worked!

Now I have a new prayer request (warning: not for the squeamish). Sparky got a new rat, Junior, to replace the late great Sandy. I told the kids not to touch her and leave her in the cage for the first few days, but Princess Rose couldn't help herself and took Junior out for a visit. Unfortunately, the princess let Junior get out of her hands. I now have a rat loose in the house. I'm not a happy camper and not too excited about going to bed.

You all came through on the computer problem, now I'm counting you to come through on the rat problem!

Catholic Homeschool Blogs

Now that I'm home, I've spent a few minutes going through the Homeschool Blog Awards. There are a lot of neat blogs to be found there.

I was also happy to find quite a few Catholic bloggers included. The nominated category is in paranthesis:

Maureen Wittmann (Super Homeschooler)

Karen Edmistin (Encouragement, Cyber Buddies)

Cay Gibson: Cajun Cottage Under the Oaks (Nitty-Gritty)

By Sun and Candlelight (Super Homeschooler - and currently in the lead, Design, Crafts and Projects, Encouragement)

Melissa Wiley: Here in the Bonny Glen (Super Homeschooler, Mom, Encouragement)

Melissa Wiley: The Lilting House (Super Homeschooler, Mom, Encouragement, Unschooling/Eclectic, Funniest)

Cottage Blessings (Mom, Crafts and Projects, Encouragement, Live-What-You-Believe, Unschooling/Eclectic, New)

Elizabeth Foss: Real Learning (Mom, Live-What-You-Believe, Curriculum/Business, New)

Love2Learn (Group)

Chesterteens (Teen)

My Domestic Church (Live-What-You-Believe, Current Events/Politics)

Van Goal (Teen)

Minnesota Mom (Funniest)

Danielle Bean (Funniest)

Blessed Among Men (New)

O Night Divine (Group)

Please let me know if I've missed any.

Voting closes at midnight on Friday, so go and vote now!

Addendum: I found loads more, but I'm off to Teen Wed. and then I've got a meeting at my house tonight. I'll post them all tomorrow.

St. Isidore Pray for Us!

We got home from St. Louis only to find our computer on the fritz. In fact, it appears to be completely dead. I'm typing now from Teen Son's laptop. Please offer up a prayer that my computer may be raised from the dead and no files lost.

Monday, April 09, 2007

Homeschool Blog Awards

I thought you might like to know that voting has started today on the Homeschool Blog Awards

I was surprised to find my blog on the list. I guess I better actually blog something this week even though I'm out of town.

Margaret Mary wrote a very nice blog entry about my nomination (I'm blushing). Thank you MM.

Sunday, April 08, 2007

He Is Risen!

"On the first day of the week, very early in the morning, the women took the spices they had prepared and went to the tomb. They found the stone rolled away from the tomb, but when they entered, they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. While they were wondering about this, suddenly two men in clothes that gleamed like lightning stood beside them. In their fright the women bowed down with their faces to the ground, but the men said to them, "Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here; he has risen! Remember how he told you, while he was still with you in Galilee: 'The Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, be crucified and on the third day be raised again.' Then they remembered his words."

(Luke 1: 1-8)

Happy Easter!!!!

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Death of a Rat

While the world wages war, life with it's trivialities continues here.

This week, Sparky's rat Sandy passed on to rat heaven. It was quite the ordeal. It became obvious in the late morning that Miss Sandy was in trouble. She was lethargic and weak. The kids called Rob, who in turn asked me to take the rat to the animal hospital.

I knew that if I took her in that all they would do it euthanize her. I instead called my friend Linda G. (not Linda B.) who is a vet. She came over and examined Sandy. Her prognosis was that Sandy's life was at an end but insisted on doing everything to save her life.

Linda gave Sandy a shot of penicillin and warmed her up in a towel. She then took her home to give her fluids intravenously. But Sandy took her last breath as Linda put her on the heating pad on her kitchen table. Linda then applied CPR. (Yes, for real!)

I am so grateful for friends like these. She brought some peace to my little children, as well as Rob, knowing that nothing was left undone.

Sandy has been properly buried and eulogized.

On a completely different note, I'm off for Easter vacation. Blogging will be little to none for the next several days.

May you all have a very blessed and joyous Easter!

The Nimitz and Iran

This is my brother-in-law's ship.

We're doubling prayers here.

CE: High School Oration

This week's column is up at Catholic Exchange.

Great speeches stir the heart. Throughout history distinguished orators have mobilized nations toward grand actions -- noble, as well as evil -- through their words. ...

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Birthday Cake

Rob's birthday was this week and so we had a little party for him on Sunday. He's never been much of a sweet eater and with this health kick we're on, he wasn't really interested in a birthday cake. But, you can't have a birthday party without a birthday cake, can you?

Teen Daughter One made a traditional chocolate cake for our guests and I made a healthier version (sort of) with angel food cake and fresh fruit. The funny thing is that the angel food cake went faster than the chocolate cake. Our guests loved it.

Here's what I did, with the help of my friend Julie: We sliced an angel food cake in half (see the picture). Then I put scoops of mango and raspberry sorbet on the bottom half. Then I put the top half on top of that. Julie and I then filled the center with mango, blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, and blackberries. I put more ice cream scoops on top and then Julie put more berries over the top. Then I drizzled strawberry All Fruit down the sides.

Totally yumcious!

Monday, April 02, 2007

Prayers Please

My brother-in-law Tom is being deployed today to Afghanistan and Iraq at 4 pm California time. He is a chaplain and has already been over there several times. Prayers for his safety and for my sister and their children's peace of mind are greatly appreciated.

Sunday, April 01, 2007

Frogs and Spring

In Alaska you know spring has sprung when you hear the ice break.

You know spring has sprung at my house whe you hear the mother shriek, "Get those frogs out of my house!"