Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Every Point Counts

I just learned that the top-3 high school Science Olympiad teams were only 1 point apart:

Holt had 169 for 1st place
CSI (that's us) had 168 for 2nd place
Stockbridge had 167 for 3rd place

4th place had 162

I find that amazing.

PopeStNick5: God's Plan for You

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: God's Plan for You: Life, Love, Marriage & Sex
Author: David Hajduk
Publisher: Pauline Books and Media
Date Published: June 2006
ISBN: 0819845175
Price: Softcover $16.95
Comments: Theology of the Body for Young People

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Eating Veggies for Lent

Rob and I started a ten-day fast (juice only) on Ash Wednesday and plan to eat vegetarian once we come off of it until the end of Lent. This has me going through all my vegetarian cookbooks looking for new and exciting meals to cook once this fast is over.

In case anyone else is looking for good veggie meals for Lent (or anytime), I plan on posting a tried and true recipe over at the Thrifty blog each day, starting tonight. (Hey, even if I'm not eating, I can think about it!)

In the meantime, here is a cool and easy vegetarian recipe website I found at Kim's blog.

Monday, February 26, 2007

PopeStNick5: Little Elephant

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: Little Elephant: A Story about Being Loved
Author: Catherine House, illustrated by Olwyn Whelan
Publisher: The Word Among Us Press
Date Published: January 2007
ISBN: 1593250932
Price: Hardcover 10.95
Comments: Children's picture book

From the publisher:
In this delightful picture book, Little Elephant discovers that God loves snakes, whales, leopards—even termites! But most important, Little Elephant discovers that God loves him. This story reassures children that God loves them uniquely and that his love will be with them always—no matter who they are or where they go. Beautiful illustrations accompany this tender story. Sure to become a family favorite!

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Science Olympiad: Homeschoolers Rock!

Yesterday was our regional competion for Science Olympiad and the kids did great. Our middle school team placed 5th overall and our high school team placed 2nd overall. In fact, the high school team qualified for the state competion in April. These are incredibly awesome results. We're the only homeschool team in the entire state and this is our first year competing. Our main goal was to have fun while learning science at the same time. Who would've thought we'd actually place in the top-5?

The kids' finish is especially awesome when you consider our competion. The public school teams receive government money. We relied on donations and our own pocketbooks. They've been competing for many years, some for decades. We're the new kids on the block. They can modify past designs for their build-it entries. Our build-its (robots, towers, boomilever, etc.) were built from the bottom up. We beat one team which hires coaches from the university to tutor team members. All we have are parents working with their children. They're together in school all day, meeting regularly. We live all over the tri-county area so our team members communicate via email, phone, and periodic meetings.

It was interesting yesterday as I walked from event to event and I overheard snippets of people's conversations. Our little homeschool team, Creative Science Investigators (CSI), was the big topic of the day. I overheard things such as, "Where did CSI come from?" "Did you see CSI's Scrambler competition?" "CSI's boomilever design was really unique. Impressive!" Of course, I also overheard comments such as, "They shouldn't allow homeschoolers in Science Olympiad." But, I took those comments as compliments. They wouldn't complain about homeschoolers if we didn't do well.

Here's how the competion works. There are 20 different events to compete in for each team. We had 15 kids on the middle school team and 14 on the high school team. Two to three students compete in each event. This works out so that each student competes in 3 or 4 events. Teen Daughter 2 earned 3rd place in Solar System, 5th in Simple Machines, and 2nd in Metric Mastery. Teen Son and Teen Daughter 1 earned 1st place for their Boomilever design (it's hard to explain -- basically half boom and half lever). Teen Son also earned 1st place in Remote Sensing (the mapping of other planets), 5th in Oceanography, and 7th for Designer Genes. Teen Daughter 1 also placed 3rd in Forensics and 6th for Health Science.

The award ceremony was an incredible experience. The kids were so full of joy, you couldn't help but be touched by it. When the CSI high school team took second overall, earning a place in the state competition, they all went nuts. I had to fight back the tears, but managed to take a few pictures (HERE and HERE)

We planned a little get together after the awards ceremony at our home as we only live minutes from downtown where the competition took place. Just a few families had RSVP'ed. But after that big win, no one could bring themselves to just go home. So, my house was filled to the brim with students and parents. After wolfing down pizza, pop, and chips, the kids went outside to play Capture the Flag in the snow and ice (yes, even the high schoolers). When they finally came in after a couple of hours, the middle schoolers settled down to play cards (well, they didn't quite settle down -- it was a pretty wild game) and the high schoolers hung out with the moms helping us map out our strategy for the state competition. Yes, the party was big and a bit long, but it was so worth it. The kids needed to celebrate and the moms (aka the coaches) needed to figure out how we were going to help the kids compete at the next level.

Now, I've got to get my kids studying . . . only two months until State!

Friday, February 23, 2007

How I Spent My Homeschooled Years

DarwinCatholic, contributor to The Catholic Homeschool Companion, shares his homeschool experience HERE. It's nice to hear the stories of adults who were homeschooled. Mrs. Darwin also tells her story HERE.


Thursday, February 22, 2007

Homeschool Teen Blog

There's a brand new blog in town: Unrecognized Talent.

This is a blog written for homeschooled teens by homeschooled teens. It was started by the students in our Teen Wednesday group. The kids submit articles, reviews, and short stories to me. I then post them to the blog.

If you have a homeschooled teen who likes to write, they may also make submissions. They should choose a pseudonym and include their age.

CE: A Journey into the World of Dyslexia

This week's homeschool column is up at Catholic Exchange.
Many years ago, when my oldest son began school, I assumed that he would be reading in no time. I could not have been more wrong.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Ash Wednesday

Mark Shea has a nice Lenten article over at Catholic Exchange.
Many of my Protestant friends are uncomfortable with Lent. "It's all about mortification and self-discipline when we know that the Risen Jesus is joyful and alive!" they say. "We don't need to mortify ourselves to please God. That's why Jesus died for us, so we don't have be 'good enough'. Moreover, Catholics call it a 'holy season' and Paul says in Colossians 2:16-17 that we shouldn't observe any day as special. So hasn't the Church disobeyed the Bible by doing the Lenten thing?"

My friend Linda sends this webpage: Lent: Frequently Asked Questions.

If you're wondering if you can have lizard or snails on Friday, go HERE.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Prayer Request

Please pray for my friend Valerie. Val had a bone marrow transplant 13 years ago due to leukemia. She has won many battles throughout the course of her disease. Today, she has a new battle. She is currently fighting graft-versus-host disease. This is very serious and prayers are much appreciated.

O great St. Peregrine, you have been called "The Mighty," "The Wonder-Worker," because of the numerous miracles which you have obtained from God for those who have had recourse to you. For so many years you bore in your own flesh this cancerous disease that destroys the very fiber of our being, and who had recourse to the source of all grace when the power of man could do no more. You were favored with the vision of Jesus coming down from His Cross to heal your affliction. Ask of God and Our Lady, the cure of the sick whom we entrust to you. (Pause here and silently recall the names of the sick for whom you are praying)

Aided in this way by your powerful intercession, we shall sing to God, now and for all eternity, a song of gratitude for His great goodness and mercy. Amen.

Monday, February 19, 2007

PopeStNick5: Son of Dust

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: Son of Dust (Loyola Classic)
Author: H. F. M. Prescott, Introduction by Mike Aquilina
Publisher: Loyola Press
Date Published: January 2007
ISBN: 0829423524
Price: $13.95 Paperback

Book Description:
Fulcun Geroy, the Catholic lord of a fief on the borders of 11th-century Normandy, falls in love with the wife of a rival at the court of William the Conqueror and becomes entangled in an adulterous affair. The liaison has fateful political, religious, and romantic consequences, as the amlet-like Fulcun struggles with his love for God and his passion for his lover. Hilda Prescott's riveting historical novel is an artful and morally serious tale of the ultimate redemption of a forbidden love.

About the Author:
H. F. M. Prescott (1896-1972) studied history at Oxford and embarked on a successful writing career in the mid-1920s. She is best known for her historical novels, including Son of Dust and The Man on a Donkey, and for her biography of Mary Tudor.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Catholic Blog Award Results

The votes have been tallied and here are the results:

Best Apologetic Blog: Jimmy Akin
Runner-Up: The Cafeteria is Closed

Best Blog by Clergy/Religious/Seminarian: What Does Prayer Really Say?
Runner-Up: Pontifications

Best Designed Catholic Blog: The New Liturgical Movement
Runner-Up: Open Book

Best Group Blog: The Shrine of the Holy Whapping
Runner-Up: The New Liturgical Movement

Best Individual Blog: Open Book
Runner-Up: The Cafeteria is Closed

Best Insider News Catholic Blog: Whispers in the Loggia
Runner-Up: Open Book

Best New Catholic Blog: Rorate Caeli
Runner-Up: Cardinal Sean's Blog

Best Overall Catholic Blog: Open Book
Runner-Up: Jimmy Akin

Best Political/Social Commentary: The Anchoress
Runner-Up: Catholic and Enjoying It

Best Written Catholic Blog: Open Book
Runner-Up: Daily Danielle

Funniest Catholic Blog: The Curt Jester
Runner-Up: Daily Danielle

Most Spiritual Blog: Pontifications
Runner-Up: The New Liturgical Movement

Smartest Catholic Blog: Jimmy Akin
Runner-Up: Pontifications

The full award results are here.

Thank you to everyone who voted!

Google Ads

Chris pointed out in the combox that a Google ad appeared on this blog for Planned Parenthood.

There are two approaches I can take to fix this problem. One, I could encourage you all to click on the PP ads, forcing them to dole out $$ for each click. However, that wouldn't be honest.

The better solution is to let me know when you see an ad that doesn't belong on a family blog. If you leave the URL in the combox, I can then go to Google and ask them to block that particular advertisement.

This problem started because I've blogged so much on the March for Life in the past month that I'm getting tons of ads related to adoption and abortion. My guess is that soon enough Google will be back to nice little homeschool ads. But, if I'm wrong, and this keeps up, I'll have Google remove the ads all together.

Thanks everyone.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Suggesting Catholic Homeschool Resources

Today, in searching for something completely different, I stumbled upon this review at the Keeping It Catholic website.

I was surprised because this is a review the web master pulled some years ago. The reason it was pulled was that it contains completely erroneous information.
Not exactly the specifically "Catholic" treasure expected, the book's resource section should be read and used with prudential discernment as it recommends many anti-Catholic publishers and Protestant homeschool catalogs.

Rachel Mackson and I took great strides to keep the resource section of A Catholic Homeschool Treasury Catholic. You will not find a single Protestant catalog company or anti-Catholic publisher anywhere in the resource section. Not one.

A Catholic Homeschool Treasury is no longer in print, but I still think it important to set the record straight.

Addendum: I did a little searching and found Keeping It Catholic's current page with the corrected review. It must be a cyber glitch that the erroneous review is still available online.

Works of Mercy

Lesley Rice, editor of Heart and Mind, has the lead article at Catholic Exchange today.
At 41, 17 years after my last pregnancy, I was five months pregnant and just two days prior, on the Feast of St. Nicholas, an ultrasound revealed that I was expecting a son and that, in spite of my age, there were no obvious abnormalities. The reading seemed to be custom-made for us and, when my husband ran into a former acquaintance in the vestibule after Mass, we shared our joyful story with her.

This begins Lesley's story of how her family found themselves helping an unwed mother, opening up their home to her. It is a story of not only providing material things to those in need, but the spiritual.

Friday, February 16, 2007

What I Really Meant

Someone emailed me about my post yesterday on embarrassing my children. I figure if she needs clarification, there are several other readers in the same situation.

No, I didn't mean I go out of my way to humiliate my children in order to form their character or anything so sinister.

What I simply meant was, older children are naturally embarrassed by their parents and I'm not one to go against nature. Teen children are embarrassed by the mere fact they have parents and I'm not going to go out of my way to disappear.

I remember reading an item some years ago about how Billy Joel's daughter was embarrassed her dad was going to sing at a party they were attending. If Billy Joel's children are embarrassed by their dad singing in public, imagine my children's fate when I start singing along to the radio with all of their friends in the car.

Recently, I asked a dad to cover a Teen Wednesday for me and his son was mortified. How could his father betray him like that? When I asked Teen Daughter 1 about this, she said, "Oh Mom, how embarrassing to have your dad there in front of all your friends." I pointed out I'm there every week leading the group. She responded, rolling her eyes, "Yeah, but we're used to you embarrassing us."

Now, my friends aren't' embarrassed by me. I don't think so at least (Linda?). They find me interesting and even witty sometimes. They love me all the more when I tell a corny joke, share anecdotes about my children, dance to the radio, laugh out loud, or even cry at a sentimental story. Someday, my children will grow into adults and love me for these reasons too. They may even appreciate the fact that I do actually exist.

Last Day to Vote

Voting at the Catholic Blog Awards ends today at noon, Central Time.

My goal was to visit all the nominated blogs, but I still have the dinosaur dial up and it just takes too long to load some blogs. However, I did check out quite a few and have some new favorites.

Voting will be easy in some categories, such as Best New Blog which goes hands down to Mike Aquilina's The Way of the Fathers. Others will be more difficult, such as Funniest Catholic Blog. Initially, I was going to go with my old favorite, The Curt Jester. However, I've discovered some others that are equally funny. I 'll decide when I get to the ballot I suppose.

One disappointment for me was the Best Designed Blog. Many are just variations of Blogger templates. There are a few though that are quite unique. I think I'm going to go with Coffee and Diapers, the homeschooling mom blog designed by Regina Domain.

I'm off to vote!

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Catholic Exchange: Classical Education

The new column is up at Catholic Exchange. This week's topic is on The Lost Tools of Learning and how it applies to the Rhetoric Stage (high school).
The "lost tools" Miss Sayers spoke of in her speech were the tools of a classical education. A classical education is based on the Trivium, which is made up of three stages.

The Grammar Stage (ages eight to eleven) builds a foundation by memorizing facts. The Dialectic, sometimes referred to as the Logic Stage (ages twelve to fourteen) develops analytical skills in students. Finally, the Rhetoric Stage (ages fourteen to sixteen) pulls the first two stages together and teaches students the art of articulation.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Mom, You're Embarrassing Me!

Some parents try hard not to embarrass their children in front of their friends. I take another approach.

I figure if I'm not embarrassing my children on a daily basis, I'm not doing my job as a mother.

Healing Handkerchiefs and Scripture

I meant to share this Scripture with the post about Buster's miraculous healing:

Acts 19:11-12.

God did extraordinary miracles through Paul, so that even handkerchiefs and aprons that had touched him were taken to the sick, and their illnesses were cured and the evil spirits left them.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Web Designer Specializing in Author Sites

Kaleb who designed my website has decided to specialize in author websites. He's an author himself and I believe he's working on a fantasy trilogy currently.

Check out his website. He's pretty good. I found his rates extremely reasonable, he's easy to work with, and he went beyond my expectations on the design.

If you look at my site, you'll see that the design is based on my book The Catholic Homeschool Companion. He also designed Michael Dubriel's website. Very nice.

Buster's Amazing Healing

I promised to write up this story for Father Rea (the healing priest mentioned below) and I'd like to share it with you too. This is a true story that happened about two and a half years ago:

The children had just finished their 4-H archery practice in the backyard of Coach Schafer. They put away the equipment in the shed and began to run and play in the front yard. After I figured the children had burned off enough energy, I called them to get in the van. As Buster climbed into the front seat his friend slammed the door after him. Unfortunately, he slammed too quickly and caught four of Buster's fingers in the door.

Buster fell out of the van, screaming and rolling in the front yard. If this had been another child, I might have chalked it up to overacting, but Buster is the kind of kid who can come in from an ice hockey game with blood pouring from his forehead and not even notice.

I jumped out of the driver's seat and ran to him. I held him tight in my lap, trying to figure out how and where he was hurt. I could see him holding his fingers in his other hands. Once I was able to persuade him to let me look at the fingers, I could see deep indentations across all four of them. I knew they were broken.

Meanwhile, Coach Schafer's wife came out of the house and was sitting in the grass with me. She asked if it was okay to pray over Buster. "Yes, definitely!" I exclaimed. She then remembered she had a handkerchief in the house blessed by a priest known for healing (Acts 19:11-12). She ran in, got the handkerchief and brought it to Buster. She wrapped it around his hands and prayed that Jesus would heal him.

We gave Buster some Tylenol and put him in the van. I took the other children home and let my husband know I was taking Buster to the emergency room. Buster continued to be very upset and cried through the car trip and in the ER. When the triage nurse looked at him, she said, "Yes, they do look broken," and she then sent us to an examining room where we waited for the x-ray technician to come for us.

We waited and we waited. Buster, my usually laid back, easy going child, continued to fuss and whimper. There was no doubt he was in a great deal of pain. When we finally got to x-ray, it had been hours since the accident occurred. Upon returning to the examining room, Buster laid down and fell right to asleep. Finally, he was at peace.

Almost an hour later, the doctor came into the room to tell us the x-rays showed nothing wrong with Buster's fingers. As she examined him, they were pink and puffy. Yet, when the triage nurse examined him, they were flattened and horribly discolored. I didn't think much about it at the time, I was just grateful my son wasn't seriously injured.

The next morning Mrs. Schafer called to check on Buster. I told her, "I think you healed my son." She replied, "No, Jesus healed Buster."

Mrs. Schafer went on to tell me about the priest, Fr. Rea, who had blessed the handkerchief. She had seen people healed through Fr. Ray and shared how those healed often went through a period of great pain before the healing took place. I knew then, at that very moment, Buster had indeed experienced a miraculous healing.

Monday, February 12, 2007

Vote: Catholic Blog Awards

Thank you gentle readers. I've just learned that I've been nominated in several catagories in The Catholic Blog Awards: Best Individual Blog, Best Written Blog, and Funniest Catholic Blog.

In the past, only the most nominated blogs made it to the final vote. This year, every blog nominated gets a chance at winning. Voting closes at noon CST on Friday.

I find these awards to be a great opportunity to discover cool blogs I would otherwise never know existed. I plan on visiting as many nominated blogs as I can before I vote. I encourage all of you to do the same. It takes some time, but I think it's worth it.

Now, I need to think of something funny, and well written, to blog so I can live up to my nominations!

Looking at Large Families

Saturday, I had a blog post all written about the mean, thoughtless things people have said to me about my family size. Complete strangers as well as acquaintances. The plan was to edit and post it this morning, but then something happened.

This sweet old man at church came up to me before Mass yesterday. I was kneeling in the front pew by myself. (An unusual occurrence. The rest of the family joined me later.) He stood in front of me, stooped over, his arms resting on my shoulders, looking me straight in the eye. He said, "I want you to know I watch your family every Sunday and it makes me so happy. You remind me of when we sat in these same pews with our young children. I just love it! Your family is so beautiful and you're doing such a good job. We're praying for you." I had to fight back the tears.

Better to tell those stories, instead of the ones of mean, thoughtless people.

I recall another day, shopping at the grocery store. I was stopped by two or three strangers that day who felt it their duty to comment on the number of children holding onto my grocery cart. Of course, I smiled and mentioned that I found children to be a blessing, even though I was dying to make a smart-alec remark. Then, as I was unloading my groceries, the cashier, a beautiful young woman, perhaps nineteen or twenty, asked me, "Are all those yours?" I simply answered, "Yep." Then I braced myself for a snide remark, but it didn't come. Instead, her face lit up and she said, "That's so cool. I hope to have a big family someday!" I wanted to kiss her!

Yep, there are people out there who look at me and see nothing more than a "breeder" and are vocal about it. Yet, I think, there are even more who look at me with kindness in their hearts. And, I'm so grateful when they let me know it.

Friday, February 09, 2007

Appendix Review

Margaret Mary Myers wrote a review of The Catholic Homeschool Companion's multiple appendices. For real! She says the appendix is "almost a book in itself."

Word Sweep

Santa brought a lot of board games to the children this last Christmas, including Word Sweep.

We've been having fun with this game and it's so educational. In fact, it's based on Merriam-Webster's dictionaries. You're given three definitions of words that appear consecutively in a Merriam-Webster dictionary. You then try to guess the words. It helps knowing the words are close alphabetically, but you're racing the timer. And your opponents can steal points if you miss any words.

There are three levels to the game: Everyday Words, Intermediate Words and Challenging Words. This way, everyone in the family can play. You can adjust the rules so that adults are on the same playing field as their ten-year old.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Catholic Exchange: Child Theology

The new Catholic Exchange column is up: Child Theology.
It is in these ways that I am helping my children attain heaven. And in the end, I think that my husband and I may just end up there with them!

February Funk and Virtual Conferences

I recently received the full set of 2006 conference tapes from the Michigan Catholic Home Educators. I've really been enjoying listening to them. It's almost like attending a virtual winter conference.

In The Catholic Homeschool Companion, Nicola Martinez wrote about The February Funk. If you've been homeschooling for a while, you know just what Nicola is talking about. It's just about this time that we find ourselves in a bit of a slump. Sometimes, frustration and doubts creep in too.

Now is a good time to find some homeschooling inspiration. Some ideas:
-- Have your own private mid-year homeschool conference by listening to conference tapes.
-- Pull out your back copies of Heart and Mind.
-- Pick up your favorite homeschooling book.
-- Make a list of all the positive reasons you chose homeschooling.
-- If you own The Catholic Homeschool Companion, read The February Funk.
-- Have a mom's night out with your homeschooling friends. (Only fun - no complaining.)

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Emmanuel Books Sale

I was visiting Emmanuel Books' website yesterday as I had to order a few school books. I noticed they're having a pretty nice sale going on right now. Check it out HERE. Just scroll down the sidebar and click on SALE ITEMS.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Nichole and Her Generation

Last, but not least, Nichole, age 17, gives us her report on the 2007 March for Life:

I don’t know about you, but I feel pretty alone sometimes - especially as a teenager who’s chosen not to follow the whims of society. Swearing, promiscuity, rebellion; I’m just not in with that stuff. I’d rather follow my own mind than follow what the guy in front of me is doing. Most of my friends are that way too, but we are still only one small group against many. Or are we?

Going to the March of Life, I assumed that most of the people there would be adults. (Read: stuffy adults.) I could not have been more wrong! Sure, there were adults there, but most of the groups I saw were teens and college kids. Here was a huge mass of people standing together against abortion, showing the government that they are wrong . . . from my generation. People who think and act and talk like me. They weren’t just worried about getting those cute pants they saw on T.V., or going out to see the latest thriller. They were standing together for something that truly mattered.

I went on the March thinking I was going to be with my own small group of youth amid a sea of adults. I came home from the March realizing that America may not be as bad off as I had thought. I realized that there are other young people out there who care about the important things - that I am not standing alone.

Thank you Nichole and all the teens who wrote about their experience at the March for this blog. You've inspired us and given us great hope. May God bless you and your journeys.

Monday, February 05, 2007

2007 Catholic Blog Award Nominations

Nominations are now open for the 2007 Catholic Blog Awards. I'm disappointed there isn't a category for Best Homeschooling Blog, but hey, it's still fun to go and vote for all your favorite blogs. There are some hoops you'll have to jump through, like registering, but it only takes a couple of minutes. It's worth it to give your favorite blogs a plug as well as a little motivation to keep blogging. So, go now and nominate!

Nominations are only open a few more days, and then the voting begins!

Rebekah #1

Rebekah Number One, age 16, speaks her mind:

The 1973 case of Roe vs. Wade marked the beginning of a long, hard road concerning life. It opened the doors for many practices against human life, such as euthanasia. From the first anniversary of this case, there has been a March for Life on January 22. This is why we march - to defend the life of all, from conception to natural death. No matter if the person is disabled, unable to care for themselves, or relying solely on artifical means of life, a person’s a person no matter how small, and only God has the authority to take away a life.

On Monday, January 22, 2007, approximately 100,000 people gathered at the Mall in Washington, D.C. It was bitter cold and a weekday, but that didn’t stop people of all ages, races, and beliefs from gathering to defend the sanctity of all human life, from conception to natural death. As the speakers took their turn on the stage, a clear message was being sent. They spoke emphatically about an ever growing problem. They were speaking to everyone, but especially the young people, compelling them to take action against the people who killed 1/3 of their generation. The young people are the future. It is up to them to defend the innocent unborn and the living who can’t defend themselves.

Nellie Gray, President of the March for Life Education and Defense Fund, summed up our reason for marching when she said, “No one owns the right to life of an innocent human being. No one, including Washington officials, has jurisdiction to authorize anyone, the feminist abortionists or anyone, to intentionally kill an innocent human being, and because of that, Roe vs. Wade did not legalize abortion. It is just so that people who kill innocent unborn children don’t go t jail for it, for the murder they are committing.

“We’re not here today to reduce abortion. We’re here to stop it! I say to the feminist abortionists, you may not intentionally kill innocent human beings in my name, in the name of all the people here, in the name of America. This is America. We do not intentionally kill innocent human beings here!” finished Nellie Gray.

Representative Mike Pence of Indiana spoke confidently of the day when abortion would no longer be legal. “Soon even Washington will acknowledge what America knows, and the laws of the land will answer the call of every unborn heart and say, with our founders, in America as Americans we choose liberty, the pursuit of happiness, and the unalienable right to life!”

When the speakers had finished, the march began. The people slowly surged down the marked streets, carrying signs that voiced what was in their hearts. All the pro-choice people are already born. "It is a poverty that a child must die so that you may live as you choose," Mother Theresa once spoke. Most marched in silence, others whispered prayers, but all were reverent as they remembered those who had already died and marched for those who were yet alive. Everywhere you looked you could see faces with every range of emotions ~ joyful yet sorrowful, peaceful yet angry for those who have been killed.

Quotes from our trip:
“I’m impressed by the amount of people who show up in the middle of winter and that the vast majority is young people.”
~ Christian, age 17

“It was a moving experience to see thousands of people in the bitter cold to support such an awesome cause.”
~ Paul, age 17

“It's very encouraging to see so many teens who are against abortion. It is very uplifting to know that I’m not alone.”
~ Nichole, age 17

“I really loved being at the March for the second time. It was so awe inspiring to see tens of thousands of people who fought for all life. Added to the fact that, were it summer and a weekend, there would be double or triple the amount of attendees, makes for a truly magnificent monument to life. I love knowing there’s hundreds of thousands of people who believe in the sanctity of human life, from conception to natural death.”
~ Rebekah, age 16

Invisible Talking

Recent conversation with Super Boy:

Me: "Say a prayer in your heart Honey."
SP: "How do you do that?"
Me: "Talk to Jesus silently."
SP: "Oh, you mean invisible talking!!!"
Me: "Invisible talking?"
SP: "Yeah, you know, when you talk, but only your head hears it."

Invisible talking, I've got to remember that one!

Super Bowl Sunday a Holiday?

Yesterday morning:

Princess Rose: "Do we have Religious Ed. today?"
Me: "Why wouldn't we?"
Princess: "It's Super Bowl Sunday!"

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Facing the Giants

Rob ordered the DVD Facing the Giants and it came in the mail yesterday. It was by no means a Hollywood production. The plot lines were predictable, it was hokey and preachy, and I had quite a few theological quibbles. And, yet, I loved it. I went through the Kleenex watching both the movie and the special feature section on how the movie came to be made. Perhaps, I was simply moved by watching a movie made in this decade that wasn't over sexualized or dripping in senseless violence.

If you haven't heard about Facing the Giants, it's a David vs. Goliath story. Not just the plot, but how it got to be in cinemas. A Baptist church in Georgia decided one day to get into the movie making business. They used no professional actors, only church members. Most everyone involved in making the movie was a volunteer.

It blows me away that such a clearly Christian flick was actually shown in movie cinemas across this country. It showed here for about six weeks.

To read a full review, click HERE for Plugged In Online.

Not everyone loved this film. HERE is a scathing review from Church of the Masses.

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Congratulations Popcak Family!

The Popcaks are adopting a beautiful little girl from China. Champagne all around! Prayers, I'm sure, are also welcomed. Congrats Greg, Lisa, and kids!

Go HERE to see her picture and read all about it.

Friday, February 02, 2007

Laura Reports on the Basilica

Laura, age 13, decided to write about the Basilica instead of the March:

After walking in the March for Life, which was an awesome experience, we attended Mass at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception.

We had some time to kill before Mass started, so we explored the Basilica. It was so beautiful! There are more than sixty five chapels with mosaics of Mary. There was even one with Our Lady of China, who I had never heard of before.

Located in the head of the Basilica is a 3,780 square foot dome mosaic. It includes a mosaic of the Crucifixion, the descent into hell, the resurrection from the dead, and the temptation in the desert.

The Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception is one of the largest churches in the world.

It would be wonderful to visit the Basilica again some time.

Catholic Exchange: Marching On

This week's column is up at Catholic Exchange. You'll never guess the topic - The March for Life. Really! I bet you never imagined me writing on that topic.

Also make sure to read Archbishop Burke's article about his experience at the March. (Makes me wish I lived back in St. Louis again, just so I could have such a righteous bishop!)

Companion Review

Author Margaret Mary Myers has a review of The Catholic Homeschool Companion up at her blog. Go HERE to check it out.

BTW - This isn't the first time it's been compared to the Bible.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

New Column: Illicit Photocopying

The February Homeschool Companion column is up over at Catholic Mom. This month's column: To Photocopy or Not.

Praying for Post-Abortive Women, and Men

I want to bring this comment by Lee Anne up from the combox of my Silent No More post:

I am a Silent No More speaker - I speak out for my son, Matthew Dean.

I was unable to come to Washington D.C. this year, but I stood with my sign at the capitol in Olympia, Washington. Many protestors with bullhorns, drums, whistles - very sad, indeed. We did not speak there, but we were a silent witness, four of us among 5,000 or so, and statistics would show that we were not the only ones who were post abortive. The protestors were about forty in number.

I spoke at Sacred Heart in Lacey, Washington last night. It was an easy group - they were a pro-life group.

I am humbled by your opinion that we are brave - yes, it is hard to speak out publicly about something so difficult in my life, but I am forever grateful to the Loving, Merciful and Graceful God that I serve.

He has set me free from my horror.

Yes, there are many on the pro-life side who are sickened by us - they would rather we stayed silent, too. However, we cannot and will not.

I encourage those who encounter pro-abortion people to meet them as Christ meets each one of us -for, most of the pro-abortion people are acting out of fear and shame. They, too many of them, are hurting as a result of liberal upbringing and from abortions. They do not know how to heal - and if we on the pro-life side are cruel, judgemental or mean to them, they will take that much longer to come to know our Savior, Jesus Christ.

So, today, as a mother of an aborted son, I urge each and every one of you readers to 1) pray for a pro-abortion person 2) to befriend one and bring Christ to him or her.

Thank you on behalf of Matthew Dean and myself.

One of my very best friends (pictured above) had an abortion when she was a young woman. She tells her story HERE. (I can't get this to link right to the article. To read it, type "New Dawn" in the search box. It's the June 2004 issue. If any web experts can figure out how to link directly to the article, please let me know!)

So many of us remember to pray for the unborn. We even remember to pray for women considering abortion. But how many of us pray fervantly for post-abortive women? I know I don't do it enough. And then there are the men. I had a friend once who talked his college girlfriend into an abortion. Years later, he experienced a conversion and deeply regretted his actions. He took it to the confessional, and worked to make amends in many different ways, but the hole left by that missing child never goes away.

Let's all work on praying for these men and women together, beginning today, right now.

If you've had an abortion and would like help, start here: Rachel's Vineyard. The After Abortion Blog also links to places offering help - check their sidebar.

Austin, Reporter on Location

This is from Austin, defender of life, age 16:

"Its 2:30 in the morning. I’m tired and congested, its probably 58 degrees in this church hall, and I swear someone is having a war upstairs. So why am I here? I’m freezing and annoyed!"

That was me, the night before the 2007 March for Life. Of course, all those little sacrifices of comfort were well worth being at the March, but I thought it would be interesting to give scenario of what really happened on our trip.

To me this trip was more than just going to the March for Life -- it was an adventure! With all of its little twists and turns. To summarize briefly our ("our" being two parents, and a bunch of teenagers) story...

Sunday January 21, 2007

We left around 12:30. Roads were decent until we hit a bad stretch on the toll road. Sometime that evening (I forget when) we reached our destination, a church hall on the outskirts of Pittsburgh. Though the pizza was good, the sleep was not.

Monday January 22, 2007

We woke up around 4:00 am and got ready for the day. By 5:30 am we were on the bus and all seated together as a group. The bus left a little after 6:00 am. During the bus ride we all talked together, watched movies and had a good time. By the time we reached Washington, D.C. it was past 11:30 am, so we all left the bus and headed for the rally. After about two hours of standing and listening to speakers, the March began -- tens of thousands (including our group) began to process down the Mall, protesting the evil of abortion. By 4:00 pm our group had finished marching and we were off to the National Shrine. After visiting the artwork of the shrine we were privileged to celebrate Mass in the crypt of the Basilica. After Mass everyone got back on the bus and we headed back to Pennsylvania where we stayed at the church hall again. Thankfully, we all got great sleep that night!

Tuesday January 23, 2007

Fortunately, for all of us this day was a little more relaxing. We got good sleep! By 8:00 am we were out of the church hall and out on the road again. After stopping a few times for breakfast and other things, we headed to Franciscan University, located in Steubenville Ohio. After receiving a little information about the programs at the University we walked around the campus and went to the gift shop. Again, we had the opportunity to celebrate Mass but this time with the students and religious members of the University. After Mass we ate lunch at the campus cafeteria. (Which was surprisingly very good.) Once we finished lunch we said goodbye to Steubenville and hit the road again. That night we all returned to our beloved state (Michigan) where we all certainly "hit the hay" ASAP.

So that is our story. Not only did we get to March for Life but we also got to visit some great and holy places. I know for sure that every one of us came away from that trip spiritually benefitted. The time we all spent together bonded us into a tighter, more personal, and more spiritual community of friends -- it was definitely a holy experience.

Being able to participate in such a just cause was a wonderful way to kick-off this year. And I am thankful for the people who fight for our values and organize this event.

Thank you Mrs. Wittmann for providing us teens with a chance to stand up against the American culture of death. Again, I know we all had a great time and are looking forward to another March for Life next year. (*hint* *hint*)

Thanks for inviting us to share our experiences with others!