Thursday, June 9, 2016

There's no Place Like Home...

...too bad I don't get to be there much...

What. A. Day.

I don't know how anyone can drive for a living, but then again i drive pretty much constantly and I seldom get paid.

Today was an early one, with John heading off to work at 7:30, which means that we get going at 6:30. Not so bad if you didn't stay up late the night before.  I got Lilly ready for school and onto the bus, then it was time to get the boys going, and get laundry done, and get the stuff outside for donation, and get the dishes done.....

I headed out to Fr Henry's at noon, and it was a rather slow drive, so I didn't get there until 1:00.  When I got there we went down to the Bistro for lunch, so that was very nice. We went back up to his apartment and had a visit, also very nice, and then I had to get back on the road by 3:00. I had to get gas, get John dinner, and pick him up from work at 4:30, so he could eat and go to driver's ed at 5:00. Then I ran to the store for dinner stuff, ran home, cooked dinner, did the dishes, and ran back out to do a review for a homeschooling friend, which was also very nice, except for having to sit at the gate to APG for 15 minutes while they decided whether I was a serious threat, or just stupid for trying to get on post after the visitor's center is closed.
After the review I went to Wal-Mart so that the family would all die of hunger, because the only food we had in the house was stuff that had to be cooked. oh, the inconvenience.
I got home and put everything away, and now it's time for bed.
I am exhausted.
At least I should be able to stay home most of tomorrow. I hope.

On the bright side, we got news from the hospital already! The GI doctor called first thing this morning to let us know that Paul's scan showed that his stomach empties REALLY slowly. They are going to try a simple treatment with a common medication and see if that helps. Sure hope so!

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Hi Blog...

I've really got to get better about this. I have no excuse.
I have a new computer after all!
I am working a bit more now, but that should just add a bit more to the texture of life.

Getting back to work has been so wonderful! I have been working with so many wonderful ladies, I have been writing blog posts, which I really enjoy, I have been even giving a bit of thought to a book that I might start putting together. I guess everyone says that don't they?

I feel like I am starting to look at what life after homeschooling is going to be like, and I know that a job I enjoy, with a great company, is going to play a very large role.
I truly love homeschooling and I guess I was just born to be a teacher. Organizing has a very strong instructive element to it, and it feeds my love of communication.

I have been doing a LOT of driving, which makes all things home-based rather a challenge. There isn't a day that goes by that we don't have an appointment, job commitment, or outside activity that has to be attended. The poor van has a lot more miles than I would have thought, but I don't see a way around it.
Just today Paul and I had to drive to Wilmington for a test that he needed. He is still struggling with appetite and weight issues, and the doctors thought that it might be helpful to see how things go after he eats them. He wasn't allowed to eat anything after 7:30am and we got up there around 11:30. He was given a radioactive egg sandwich to eat, and they started taking pictures. It was a four hour test. A lot of sitting around. We won't know the results of the scan for a week or two, but if nothing else we will know what the problem is not.

John is very busy now.
He works full time at the Marriott Hotel at Ripkin Stadium, he is taking Driver Ed, and he has a new mini-bike.  He always has something going on, and a big project.
He is going to be 18 on Sunday!! My first adult boy.

Happy Birthday to Tim!!
My dear husband is a year older today!!
I am so happy that we are able to celebrate him.
Because of all the details of the day, we will celebrate this weekend. We'll go out to dinner, and I will give him his present!

Brendan is not having any medical tests, he doesn't have a job, and he is almost done with school. Life is good when you're Brendan. The job situation probably needs to change, but he should enjoy it while he can.

So on we go. I am going to REALLY try to post on here on a more regular basis.

Things are going well right now.
There's food on the table and a roof that doesn't leak.

God is good.

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Movies as History-

Or What Really Happened at the Wannsee Conference.

This is the story of the original 12 Angry Men, the Nazi Regime's "best and brightest".
Of course, the Third Reich went far beyond anger and the incredible hubris that became the legacy of a nation for half a century is a most important part of the history.

The Wannsee Conference was a gathering of a dozen high ranking Nazi officials. Heads of departments and military branches. It was convened to decided what to do with the overwhelming number of Jews that had been rounded up and were being kept isolated in ghettos and camps. We are all familiar with the names of the men that led the party, or we should be, but one thing that never fails to amaze me is that, while so many of these men were narcissists and sociopaths,  as they rose to the top, they were able to cooperate and accomplish so much. The heads of the departments in the Nazi regime were a mixed bag of emotional and psychological cripples.

The movie "Conspiracy", attempts to recreate the meeting that developed the "final solution".
It is heavily cast with top actors from both Britain and the US and is a collaboration between the BBC and HBO. Most of the film is set in a gorgeous villa and the action, as in "12 Angry Men", is mainly dialogue that takes place around a table. The story is captivating from the very beginning and the men are portrayed as we have come to expect.

Heydrich is played by Kenneth Branaugh, and his delivery of the character's legendary ability to alternatively persuade and bully is excellent.
Stanley Tucci plays Adolph Eichmann, and he is a very convincing second to Heydrich.

How accurate is the movie version of this story though? We need to be careful not to use film, exclusively, to inform ourselves of historical events, and when we do supplement our understanding with a film, we need to read reviews and actual accounts to balance potential bias and agendas that may be held by the creators.
There is an excellent review of this film from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. You can read it HERE. The reviewer claims that the movie stays close to the documentation and testimony that was found after the War, and that any dramatic license taken is simply to help develop the characters beyond the limits of the conference itself, which helps us understand more of who they were and why they thought the way they did.
The story line is absolutely heinous and diabolical and even worse, as we now know, it's true. It's rated R for good reason, and it's not family-fare, but I would say important enough to show to high school history students.

We can't ever forget the evil that was done in that place at that time. We need to be sure that we don't let political or cultural mores bend the truth, or make it about something that it wasn't.
A film of this quality can be a good resource to look to.

Thursday, April 28, 2016

The More Things Change....

The Christian in the World

Letter To Diognetus (160-200 A.D.)

Roman Breviary: Wednesday of the Fifth Week of Easter

Christians are indistinguishable from other men either by nationality, language or customs.

They do not inhabit separate cities of their own, or speak a strange dialect, or follow some

outlandish way of life. Their teaching is not based upon reveries inspired by the curiosity of

men. Unlike some other people, they champion no purely human doctrine. With regard to

dress, food and manner of life in general, they follow the customs of whatever city they

happen to be living in, whether it is Greek or foreign.

And yet there is something extraordinary about their lives. They live in their own countries as

though they were only passing through. They play their full role as citizens, but labor under all

the disabilities of aliens. Any country can be their homeland, but for them their homeland,

wherever it may be, is a foreign country. Like others, they marry and have children, but they

do not expose them. They share their meals, but not their wives. They live in the flesh, but

they are not governed by the desires of the flesh. They pass their days upon earth, but they

are citizens of heaven. Obedient to the laws, they yet live on a level that transcends the law.

Christians love all men, but all men persecute them. Condemned because they are not

understood, they are put to death, but raised to life again. They live in poverty, but enrich

many; they are totally destitute, but possess an abundance of everything. They suffer

dishonor, but that is their glory. They are defamed, but vindicated. A blessing is their answer

to abuse, deference their response to insult. For the good they do they receive the

punishment of malefactors, but even then they rejoice, as though receiving the gift of life.

They are attacked by the Jews as aliens, they are persecuted by the Greeks, yet no one can

explain the reason for this hatred.

To speak in general terms, we may say that the Christian is to the world what the soul is to

the body. As the soul is present in every part of the body, while remaining distinct from it, so

Christians are found in all the cities of the world, but cannot be identified with the world. As

the visible body contains the invisible soul, so Christians are seen living in the world, but their

religious life remains unseen. The body hates the soul and wars against it, not because of any

injury the soul has done it, but because of the restriction the soul places on its pleasures.

Similarly, the world hates the Christians, not because they have done it any wrong, but

because they are opposed to its enjoyments.

Christians love those who hate them just as the soul loves the body and all its member

despite the body's hatred. It is by the soul, enclosed within the body, that the body is held

together, and similarly, it is by the Christians, detained in the world as in a prison, that the

world is held together. The soul, though immortal, has a mortal dwelling place; and Christians

also live for a time amidst perishable things, while awaiting the freedom from change and

decay that will be theirs in heaven. As the soul benefits from the deprivation of food and drink,

so Christians flourish under persecution. Such is the Christians lofty and divinely appointed

function'', from which he is not permitted to excuse himself.

Saturday, April 23, 2016

You're a Good Man Charlie Brown!

Brendan as Charlie Brown and Paul as Linus

Happy Watkins

The Cast

The Little Red-headed Girl

Lucy and Linus

Linus loving his blanket

Charlie Brown and Sally

Sunday, April 3, 2016

Amazing Love, Amazing Grace

So Jesus said to them again, "Peace be with you; as the Father has sent Me, I also send you." And when He had said this, He breathed on them and said to them, "Receive the Holy Spirit. "If you forgive the sins of any, their sins have been forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they have been retained."John 20: 21-23

We heard such a wonderful homily today on this Gospel. 

Father talked about the beautiful gift that Christ instituted when He appeared to the Apostles and it really touched me, especially on this very special feast of Divine Mercy, in the Year of Mercy.

It's hard to explain the amazing Grace of the Sacrament of Confession. When Jesus breathed on the Apostles, He wasn't just telling them to go out and share His message of Mercy. He wasn't simply telling them that now that He had come, people could ask for God's forgiveness and it would be granted.
He was instituting a special, visible sign for those He loves. He was sending the Apostles out with the ability to call down the Grace of the Holy Spirit, as He did, and to absolve people of their sins, "In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit."

Sacraments are conduits of Grace, physical signs  granted to the faithful by Christ Himself. When we approach Our Lord in Confession, we pour out our penitence and He pours in so much more Grace than the measure of our sorrow. We are filled, touched and strengthened.
We don't just go to Confession to tell another person our sins and receive his blessing and counsel, we go to be touched by God Himself.

If we know we have hurt someone, and we want to show them how sorry we are, we usually try to get together, have a talk, ask forgiveness and maybe even give them a hug or a physical sign of our sincerity. Calling them on the phone or sending them an email might have to be enough if we are far away, or if we don't feel particularly close to them, but if it is someone we love and we are really sorry, we want to have a personal encounter. We want to touch them, and be touched back. The prodigal son went home. He didn't send a message saying he was sorry. He didn't say to himself, "He's my father, it's enough to be sorry. He'll forgive me." He went to his father, and he asked him to forgive him. His father hugged him, he looked at him with love, just as our Father looks at us when we ask Him for forgiveness in the Confessional. Of course He knows our heart, of course, He loves us, and of course it would be enough for Him if we just said we are sorry. But it's not enough for us. The Grace of the Sacrament is waiting there. There is the power and the joy of His presence. There is the touch from our Father that we are longing for.

I love going to Confession. There is a very tangible feeling of Joy in my heart after I have received. Yes, I have gone to Confession again and again, with the same sins on my heart and the firm resolution to amend my ways. There have been times when I was embarrassed to be confessing "that sin" again, but going regularly, and asking for the Grace to overcome it, I realize that somewhere along the line I have stopped falling in that way. I am not doing that anymore. Something else will undoubtedly rear it's ugly head, and I will battle it and by the Grace of God, I will conquer it. It's part of the universal battle that the Church Militant, here on earth, must fight everyday. I am so thankful that God gives me His armor, and His weapons against sin, in the Sacraments.

Some day we won't need the Sacraments because, having come home repentant, we will be taken in His arms, brought into the banquet and there will be great rejoicing because we were dead and are alive, we were lost, but are found.

Saturday, April 2, 2016

Hello April!

Since my last post, "Hello March" featured snow, I thought I would share what April looks like at it's inception. The Weeping Cherry always blossoms before anything else in the yard and it is my symbol of "joyful Hope" that warmer weather and outdoor fun is right around the corner. The flowering Pear is getting taller and taller and is putting on a very nice show this year!