Saturday, March 26, 2016

Poem for Holy Saturday

The ancient greyness shifted suddenly and thinned like mist upon the moors before a wind.
An old, old prophet lifted a shining face and said:
“He will be coming soon. The Son of God is dead; He died this afternoon.”
A murmurous excitement stirred all souls. They wondered if they dreamed
save one old man who seemed not even to have heard.
And Moses, standing, hushed them all to ask if any had a welcome song prepared.
If not, would David take the task?
And if they cared could not the three young children sing the Benedicite,
the canticle of praise they made when God kept them from perishing in the fiery blaze?
A breath of spring surprised them, stilling Moses’ words.
No one could speak, remembering the first fresh flowers, the little singing birds.
Still others thought of fields new ploughed or apple trees all blossom-boughed.
Or some, the way a dried bed fills with water laughing down green hills.
The fisherfolk dreamed of the foam on bright blue seas.
The one old man who had not stirred remembered home.
And there He was, splendid as the morning sun and fair as only God is fair.
And they, confused with joy, knelt to adore
Seeing that He wore five crimson stars He never had before.
No canticle at all was sung. None toned a psalm, or raised a greeting song,
A silent man alone of all that throng found tongue — not any other.
Close to His heart when the embrace was done, old Joseph said,
“How is Your Mother, How is Your Mother, Son?”

 by Sister Mary Ada
HT: The Catholic Key

Friday, March 25, 2016

How Good is This Good Friday?

This particular Good Friday is a special one! It's March 25th!

Of course, you know that March 25th is the feast of the Annunciation, when Jesus took on His human nature. There's a lovely symmetry to that, Jesus's earthly body beginning and ending on that day.

But did you know that the ancients also believed that March 25th was the day Adam was created?

This is particularly significant because they also believed that Jesus was crucified over Adam's tomb- the skull which is often at the foot of the cross is Adam's.

Jesus defeats death at the very place where Adam (who brought death into the world) is buried!

And!  Did you know that the Early Church Fathers believed that March 25 was the actual date of the Crucifixion, the first Good Friday?

So, here we are today, thinking about the parallels between the creation, and the re-creation of the world, and offering thanksgiving for the sacrifice that made it possible.

Enjoy it now, the next Good Friday on March 25th will be in 2168!

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Finishing Up Lent

 This wasn't the Lent I thought it would be!

That's not a bad thing, even though losing 4 weeks to being sick wasn't super fun.  In fact, when things that I can't control  change my plans,I see it more as the hand of God in my life. 

This was the Lent He wanted us to have, and I'm guessing He knew batter than I did what we needed to get closer to Him!

 Certainly the sacrifice bean jar got filled up quickly!

The kids did a tremendous amount of extra care and work to help those of us who were sick.  I feel very loved!

I also got more spiritual reading done than I thought.  I am on Canto 30 of Paradiso, so it looks like I'll finish The Divine Comedy just in time for Easter. 

I also read a lot of little things: another scriptural Rosary book, the little Lectio passages on the daily Gospel from iDoms, and Black Book reflections on the Lenten Gospels.
We finished the virtues and the Corporal Works of Mercy, but I think we'll save the Spiritual Works of Mercy for Eastertide.

We missed virtually every Gospel Dessert!

My big plan for more daily Mass... didn't happen!  My plan to attend all of the parish mission turned into missing every aspect of the parish mission.

My hope for attending Triduum services is fading.

And it's all okay.  It's better than okay!  I'm where God wants me to be, and it's a very good place. 

It's so easy for me to waste time trying to give God what I want to give Him, instead of what He wants from me. Having peace and joy here is a beautiful gift from my Valentine Lent!

Tuesday, March 22, 2016


Grammy and Pop
Today is the first anniversary of my dear MIL's passing, so prayers for our family would be appreciated. We'll be spending the day together.

Thanks to all of you who have been concerned about our pneumonia.  We're all doing much better, and my energy is slowly coming back - very helpful! 

I have been mostly out of commission for the past 3 weeks which is why you haven't seen many substantive posts lately. A lot got cancelled - very Lenten, actually!  Today I worked out a new schedule which has us starting up after Easter, so more fun soon.

Monday, March 21, 2016

Eagle Court!

Mxyl actually earned his Eagle Scout last year, but the Eagle Court of Honor is the time when the rank is formally presented.

And that means Scouts, Scouters, friends, family, local dignitaries, and everyone that helped you on the way to Eagle all come together to mark the occasion! 

They tell stories about you then and now.

They recognize your accomplishments and exhort you to do more great things.

 You join your troop's Eagle's Nest, and the great camaraderie of Eagle Scouts world wide.

And, of course, you have a party!

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Poem of the Week: Crucifixion

"Weep not for Me, Mother, in the grave I have life."

The choir of angels glorified the great hour,
the heavens melted in flames.
He said to His Father: "Why hast Thou forsaken me?"
and to His Mother: "Oh, weep not for Me..."
Mary Magdalene smote her breast and wept,
the disciple whom He loved turned to stone,
but where the Mother stood in silence
nobody even dared look.

By  Anna Akhmatova
HT: Journey With Jesus

Friday, March 18, 2016

Still With The Saint Patrick

Even though his feast was yesterday, I'm still thinking about St. Patrick. 

Part of why I love St. Patrick is that I'm convinced that he converted some of my ancient ancestors, or at least converted those who freed them from paganism.  My own connection to the Faith was passed on to me from my direct ancestors (my mom, grandmom and great-grandmom).

There's nothing in my life as precious as that faith.  Sometimes I visualize it as a great glowing golden treasure passed down the generations.

I've noticed a tendency to romanticize paganism, as if paganism was somehow freedom from all the tedious rules of Christianity. I'd love to have that conversation with a pagan from St. Patrick's day! You can read what paganism was actually like in his Confession.

Real paganism isn't atheism, it's belief in many capricious gods who must be feared and appeased with sacrifices of whatever is dearest to you!  It's following all the rules of all the gods. Paganism  means that there is no god who cares about you personally; you can only barter for what you need and hope you got it right (The sheep sacrifice wasn't enough?  Would a cow do?  My son?).

There's a reason the Gospel was good news in Ireland!

Of course, I can't know for certain if St. Patrick personally freed my family from paganism, but there's another reason I love him.

Have you read St. Patrick's Breastplate?  That's it!  That's how I feel about Jesus!    I can do anything with Him and nothing without Him! He's my protection and my guide, my friend and my joy!

St. Patrick didn't just save my family, he's part of my family. 1600 years before I was born, he felt the same way about Jesus that I do now, and he draws me closer to Jesus!

That's what the Communion of Saints is all about: we are connected through Christ!

St. Patrick, pray for us!

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Happy St. Patrick's Day

We love St. Patrick! Here are two versions of St. Patrick's Breastplate.

This was my favorite spoken version:

This was my favorite sung version:

If you are a fan of St. Patrick's Summer, this is the Lorica, The Deer's Cry. If you are not familiar with the story, an ambush had been laid to kill St. Patrick and his companions in a a forest they had to pass through. They went along the path singing this song, and the ambushers saw only a herd of deer walking up the path, but they heard the singing!

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Spelling City

We've been living in Spelling City for a while now, but I haven't thought to blog about it.

Spelling City is an actual program, although we've modified it a bit.  It doesn't seem to be related to the Spelling City website which provides spelling lists and games.

Our Spelling City is a logical method of teaching spelling rules.The general idea is that words live in families (with similar spelling) in their own houses, often forming streets of related houses.

Naughty words that don't follow the spelling rules live in the jail!

Believe it or not, this is the first time we've ever directly taught spelling. Most of our kids just seemed to pick up how to spell as they went along, but we have a few who were having a hard time, and this seems to be a fun and effective way to learn.

It does require a dedicated wall in your house, someplace the kids see often, but seeing your city grow is part of the fun!

What actually got me to blog about it was the Emperor's idea of making  pictures out of the homonyms!


Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Pinewood Derby

The Pinewood Derby is a Cub Scout thing.  The boys are given blocks of (pine) wood, nails, and wheels and told to create a car.

The cars are then raced by rolling them down specially constructed ramps.

We missed the last two years in a row, so it's the first time we've done this in a while.

And it's the first time we've ever won anything!

Oob won 3rd place for the whole pack!

Choclo won Most Patriotic Car!

Thrilled is an understatement!!

Monday, March 14, 2016

Happy Holiday Smash Up

It's Pi day!  It's Zombie Day!  It's Zombie Pi Day!

I have to say, I'm feeling the zombie more than the pi. Also, I have pneumonia and I may be a little loopy!

For Pi Day:

For Zombie Day:

For Zombie Pi Day: There's a zombie on your lawn! It has a 1 foot radius, calculate it's surface area (in true physicist fashion, presume it's a spherical zombie in a vacuum). Leave your answer in the comments,  All correct answers will win one extra hour of sleep (fine print: extra hour of sleep to be delivered in November).

PS: If you are missing Grey's anti time change rant, here it is!

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Poem of the Week: I Wandered/Daffodils

I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud
I wandered lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o'er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host, of golden daffodils;
Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.

Continuous as the stars that shine
And twinkle on the milky way,
They stretched in never-ending line
Along the margin of a bay:
Ten thousand saw I at a glance,
Tossing their heads in sprightly dance.

The waves beside them danced; but they
Out-did the sparkling waves in glee:
A poet could not but be gay,
In such a jocund company:
I gazed—and gazed—but little thought
What wealth the show to me had brought:

For oft, when on my couch I lie
In vacant or in pensive mood,
They flash upon that inward eye
Which is the bliss of solitude;
And then my heart with pleasure fills,
And dances with the daffodils. 
By William Wordsworth 

Friday, March 11, 2016

Happy Birthday, Leena!

 Leena is 14! 

She had a story themed birthday party where she and her friends dressed up as favorite characters from books.  She was Charmaine Baker from House of Many Ways.

They had a cake shaped like a book (decorated by Klenda!).

Then, on her actual birthday, she had Klenda's chocolate buttercream pie!

One of her presents was an another gerbil cage and some more tubing, so now her gerbils, Chocolate and Vanilla, live in palatial splendor!

 We actually were sick around her birthday, but, when we were feeling better we had Pop over for one last birthday celebration and some silliness!

Lots of silliness!

He gave her a new headphone and microphone for the recording work she is doing!

And for "cake," we had ice cream!

14 Great Things About Leena

1. She does great music videos.
2. She's getting Confirmed next month!
2. She's super creative.
3. She's been taking voice lessons!
4. She makes great baked beans.
4. She does great video podcasts.
5. She's a proud member of the BCC.
5. She's got really eclectic tastes in music.
6. She's a sweet and loving sister.
7. She's always willing to help out anyone.
7. She loves wearing lime green.
8. She draws the cutest gerbils!
9. She loves Jane Austen.
9. She can swing dance!
10. She's a master gerbil trainer.
11. She makes fascinating audio books.
11. She can have fun with people much older than she is.
12. She can have fun with people much younger than she is.
12. She's great at audio and video editing!
13. She's a sweet and loving daughter.
14.She tells great jokes!
14. She laughs at my (not so great) jokes!