Thursday, April 20, 2017

Homeschool Co-op Dreamin'

For all the years that we have homeschooled, some of the best have been those in which we have been members of a multi-family co-op. We have been able to get together once a week, socialize, teach some really challenging courses, and our kids have lerned what it's like to work in a class room, under a teacher. Some of these moms have been truly amazing teachers.

Now it's looking like we once again need  new home.
We have been at the Boys and Girls Club here in Havre de Grace for the last three years, but that is coming to an end due to restructuring.
There is a possibility that our parish, St Patrick's, my be able to provide some space. A nice place to learn, and pray, and be together.

Several things have to fall into place first, but we are praying, and if it's God's will, it will happen.
We haven't been in a Catholic enviroment yet, and Mass and consecrated space would be wonderful!
The space that we my be able to use has been a convent in the past.
I think that's pretty special.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017


I have been watching this gem of a production, Victoria, from the BBC.

They have outdone themselves, and that takes some doing these days.

I love the story so much, and I hope that they have taken care to provide as much of the truth as possible, because the story of the little queen, who was so bigger-than-life, and her loves, passions, and experiences, has completely captivated me.

Victoria's love for her husband, Albert, a German prince not immediately accepted by the aristocracy
and the politcal machine of the day, is portrayed so beautifully.
There is a mystery in the relationship, and they are shown to be a couple with a deep love, that were always challenging each other to grow and embrace new things.

What a time it must have been to have to rule, with industry and politics shifting constantly. New things coming along almost every day and the good of the country, the economy, and the people to try to balance.

Dickens portrays the time as very dark and cruel, for those who were in the unfortunate position of the common folk. His writing has become the face of the latter 19th century, and while it is probably an accurate commentary, we don't often think about the people that had to make decisions during this tumultuous time. The people who had been brought up with the mores of the past, but had to have the courage to step into the future. One of my favorite scenes is Prince Albert taking his first ride aboard "Planet", a little steam engine in the countryside. What a thrill for him!

I have only finished episode 7. I am going to watch the next one tomorrow night!

BBC, another triumph!

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Palm Sunday

I was sitting at Mass this morning and thinking about how beautiful the rhythm of the Liturgical seasons is. Hearing the Old Testament readings of the prophesies relating to Jesus, and the Psalm of the day, which always pulls at my heart, and then the reading of the Passion. Listening to the Gospel in which Jesus goes to His death and takes on the sin of the world. I find so much certainty and assurance. We don't just read the Bible and hear the story and expect to be changed by it as we might be an experience that touches us, but that we lose touch with over time. No, we are part of this great story. It is who we are and we are changed over time, year after year, through all the seasons of life. Every year there is something different that I notice, or something that I read or listen to that adds something new to the narrative that is 2000 years old, but as new as each soul that embraces it.

This morning when I heard the reading of the passion I noticed something that I hadn't before. It sys that the saints that werre in their tombs were raised and coming forth from their tombs after His ressurection, they entered the holy city and appeared to many. I know that I have heard this many times, but I don't think I ever really noticed it. I didn't give it  lot of thought. What were these people like? Who did they approach? Did they get to stay in the world for a long time?
I am not young. I have heard this reading year after year, and yet today I was struck by this particular part of it in a new way. Our Faith never gets old! It's as new and exciting and vibrant as the Easter Sunday when Jesus stepped from the tomb.
The Holy Spirit is forever blessing us with new graces and we are reborn at every Mass when we receive His sacred Body and Blood.
The Sacraments are the manifestation of His working in us and this renewal. Real, physical, tangible conduits of His Grace that are for us in every time and season. These are things that never change, yet they change us. This brings me to my knees. It brings me to the cross and to His presence in the Blessed Sacrament. Oh, heart, if you could truly conceive of how miraculous and amazing this Love is and how complete this Mercy, you would burst with the incomparabe Joy of it all.

Saturday, April 8, 2017

A Good Day!

All in all.

Got going early so that we could get Paul on his way to Wilmington for the annual Palm Saturday Pilgrimage.
I went to help a friend get her house cleaned as they are moving to a new place and she is pregnant and cleaning is a huge job.
Brendan is visiting a friend in Elkton and John is at work.
Tomorrow I will be working in the yard and I will do some before and after pictures.
Nice weather and all!

Tuesday, April 4, 2017


It's finally April.
We have turned the corner, I think, as far as the weather goes, and I can now easily count the weeks of school that are left.
This time of year is always a time of mixed feelings.
What the heck am I doing? Who do I think I am? How will my kids find their futures?
I have been teaching them their whole lives and it looks like they are well prepared. They can all reason well, they are excellent critical thinkers. They have their Faith.
But we are not "normal". We have not followed the path to success that the world tells us is so crucial.

Paul turned 15 yesterday!! The youngest son is forging ahead in all things teen, doing well in school, enjoying time with friends, and looking forward to more independence.

Brendan will be 17 next week, and he is graduating in June. Wow. I still haven't wrapped my head around that. He is taking a class at the college and he is doing well. Statistics isn't for the faint of heart. He has to wrap up History and Literature. He is hoping to get a job over the Summer and he will decide whether to go to community college in the Fall. He's not sure yet.

John is working and going to school. He has taken to college very well, as I suspected he would.

It's funny how you think you know what life will look like at each stage, and then how God puts things in place to make it not quite what you imagined. You think there is a "right" way to do things, usually based on what everyone else is doing, and then when you step outside the "norm" you wonder constantly if you're OK.

The "right" way to raise kids is to start a college fund when they're born, enroll them in school, round out their time with sports and music lessons, run them all over creation, start applying to colleges when they are Juniors in high school and make sure that all the pieces are in place so that they can get accepted to the best colleges and hopefully get scholarship money.
This will ensure that they get the right degree, meet the right people and find the right job.
And for many people, that's true. For many people, that's a sound plan.

But what about us?
No college fund.
No school enrollment, although it seems like, for these guys at least, that has worked out for the better.
Not much in the way of sports, since organized athletics seems to be one of those necessary evils that we tried and then left somewhere in elementary school. It's not that the boys don't enjoy physical activity. Biking, hiking, skateboarding, swimming and often walking wherever they want to go, these are all things that they do on their own just because they like to. Still nobody's getting any coaching, except for Paul who has been doing Karate for a long time.
Applying to college? John applied and got into several good schools, but life got in the way, and he took a year to work and figure things out. And I am SO glad that he did it that way! Learning about why you should pursue higher education, for your own purposes, is probably the best "course" of study that you can undertake after high school. It's important to keep moving forward, but the people that are racing to the finish line may get there and realize that they are holding a trophy that they really don't want.

This whole endeavor, to give children the formation and foundation that will take them to the places that God wants them to be, is nothing but a leap of faith. No matter who you are, if you have kids you have chosen to jump off a very steep and scary cliff into a fast flowing and muddy river. You can't see the bottom and you don't know where it is taking you, but there is a long, strong rope to hold on to and it will keep you from drowning if you just hang on. It's nothing but the Grace of God, whether you believe in Him or not. For all the love and commitment we have for our kids, He has a much bigger stake in them. He desires nothing more than to have them with Him for all eternity and He will aways respond when we, as parents, ask Him for Grace and guidance.

I have never been sure that I can do all that I need to do to give my kids what they need to get there, but I have always been sure that He is with me and that He will. I have never been a strong swimmer, and without that rope I would have drowned long ago.

So much is springing forth in this season, and I pray that I can be open-hearted and energetic enough to follow through with whatever God shows us.