Danielle and Elizabeth, I noticed that you have the same Lenten daily prompts on your blogs. I was wondering where you got them--I've seen Catholic Content for blogs, but that usually seems to have a "credit" link included.
Danielle and I wrote the Lenten prompts together. I am grateful so many of you are finding them useful.
I've gotten innumerable variations of this question: Before Christmas, I downloaded the pdf file of the Along the Alphabet Path stories a through e.
Have the stories since “e”
been put into a pdf file that I could download?
All the stories have been re-written since Christmas to include the new saints book. And all the lesson plans have been re-written as well to include extensive reading lists in the "Faith" section. It took me several weeks to do the re-writes. When I was finished, all the way up through letter "L," Maria made brand-new PDFs for each story. And then, Cindy uploaded them all to the individual letter posts and to this post, where you can find every story PDF from A-L.
Would you share where you got the font for your Susan Branch books?
My home companion books have Susan Branch theme. Kim found the font, called Age Old Love, at Two Peas in a Bucket.
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A hermit had a gift from God to cast out evil spirits.
One time he asked to learn what they feared most and what compelled them to flee.
“Perhaps it is fasting?” he asked one of them.
“We,” the evil spirit replied, “neither ever eat nor ever drink.”
“Sleepless vigils, then?”
“We do not sleep at all.”
“Flight from the world?”
“Supposedly an important thing. But we spend the greater part of our time wandering around the deserts.”
“I implore you to confess what it is that can subdue you,” insisted the elder.
The evil spirit, compelled by a supernatural force, was pressed to answer: “Humility—which we can never overcome.”
Ancient Fathers of the Desert: Section 1
V. Rev. Chrysostomos, trans.
The Litany of Humility
O Jesus! meek and humble of heart, Hear me.
From the desire of being esteemed,
Deliver me, Jesus.
From the desire of being loved...
From the desire of being extolled ...
From the desire of being honored ...
From the desire of being praised ...
From the desire of being preferred to others...
From the desire of being consulted ...
From the desire of being approved ...
From the fear of being humiliated ...
From the fear of being despised...
From the fear of suffering rebukes ...
From the fear of being calumniated ...
From the fear of being forgotten ...
From the fear of being ridiculed ...
From the fear of being wronged ...
From the fear of being suspected ...
That others may be loved more than I,
Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.
That others may be esteemed more than I ...
That, in the opinion of the world,
others may increase and I may decrease ...
That others may be chosen and I set aside ...
That others may be praised and I unnoticed ...
That others may be preferred to me in everything...
That others may become holier than I, provided that I may become as holy as I should…
Humility does not disturb or disquiet or agitate, however great it may be; it comes with peace, delight, and calm. . . . The pain of genuine humility doesn’t agitate or afflict the soul; rather, this humility expands it and enables it to serve God more.
—Saint Teresa of Avila, The Way of Perfection, 39:1-2
Yes, that was the same lady in the big van three different times on Saturday. I was sick. My kitchen sink wasn't working. The dollar menu was my friend.
And to someone who might benefit from the large sum of money I just spent to get a plumbing education: Don't put eggshells down the garbage disposal. Apparently, "It's like pouring gravel down there."
And now we all know.
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Cardinal Jose Saraiva Martins, Prefect of the Vatican's Congregation
for the Cause of the Saints, has announced that the beatification of
the parents of St. Therese of Lisieux, Louis Martin and Azelia Guérin,
will take place later this year!
Read more at Shower of Roses (where else for news such as this?)
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So, it's an absolutely dreary, icy February day and I haul my sick self out of bed to lay on my keyboard and write an overdue column. When it's finished, I do what I do
promptly every other Thursday before the office opens every other Friday. I email it to Ann, the managing editor at the Herald and ask her to let me know she got it. Ann is my friend. We've worked together long distance for fifteen years. I've trusted her with my heart my columns all that time. She knows me pretty well--she's probably the only person on the planet who has read every single column I've ever written. And I know her a little, too. I remember writing to her in the early morning just before I went to the emergency room when I thought I was miscarrying last time I was pregnant. And she wrote back and comforted me and promised her prayers. Then, she understood the bittersweet news when I relayed that there were two babies but just one heartbeat and she shared with me a little bit of her own sorrow. Ann is my age and has never been married. She is a wonderful, talented, woman of grace and God. On that day, I began to offer a prayer every time I sent a column that God would send someone her way.
Today, when she tells me she's received my column, she passes along some happy news! She's engaged! He's the associate publisher of the Florida Catholic (I'm afraid to ask what this means for us).She also tells me that she's in the running for a wedding photography prize package. Ann is used to being behind the camera. What a great gift it would be for her to spend her day being captured by someone else's professional camera. If you're a sucker for a love story, go read Ann's (written by the love of her life) and then scroll to the bottom and vote for "Ann and Chris."
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This is a holy mission, a quest to find time and space for God.It is an imperative for authentic Catholic homemaking. This is a clearing of soul as I pursue a clearing of space. And time. Colleen captures it better than I do:
Over and over I have talked myself out of this being the problem. Over and over I have reasoned that I just needed more containers and bookshelves (stuff for my stuff). And over and over I have found myself lying in bed at night feeling like a total failure because of the state of my stuff. Even on a day when we have prayed together, learned together, played together, I can often find myself guilt-ridden at night because I was not able to manage my home as I think I should. If stuff is in the way of my experiencing God's love and mercy, it's definitely the problem. Read the rest here.
A visitor to my blog writes:
I really think you should stop reading my blog. Take some time to step back, with your husband, and discern whether or not God is calling you to educate your children at home. If indeed He is, then surround yourself only with things which encourage you, educate you, and build you up. Don't waste precious time reading blogs that cause you to compare yourself to someone else unfavorably and to ultimately become discouraged. Please remember, you cannot possibly know all the components of anyone else's life, whether online or in real life. God hasn't called you to be like anyone else. He's called you to be what He created you to be. If my blog or anyone else's blog or any kind of curriculum discourages you, don't go there. Find resources which can help you meet your needs. Time is too precious to waste on any input that is not useful to you. I've written about bad days and burnout and time management, but I might not be speaking your language. If not, don't read it. There are so many, many worthy ideas out there. Homeschooling doesn't look the same in every family. I encourage you to find the lifestyle to which God is calling your family. You can be assured of my prayers as you discern!
It's a perennial socialization question for homeschoolers everywhere. Here in Northern Virginia, it's been answered beautifully for years. We have a great prom! In case you are a local Catholic homeschooled teen and you haven't heard, this is your prom!(And even if you're not local, it's worth the trip;-) Here's the scoop:
Be sure and mark Saturday, April 26 (6:30-11:00) on your calendar!
This year we will again be having the Prom at the Knights of Columbus Barn,401 West Holly Avenue, Sterling, VA.The price will be $65.00 per person,with the first deposit of $30.00 is due NOW and the final payment of $35.00 due on Friday, March 14th. If you would like to attend please email either Mrs. Cunningham or Mrs. Jacobeen so we can reserve a spot for you. (The Barn requires 50% by mid February and the final amount one month prior, so these dates are necessary.)We have tried as hard as we could to keep the price down. The night will include photos (starting @ 6:30), a dinner buffet and dancing (via DJ), until 11:00 p.m. All homeschoolers are allowed to invite two guests of the same sex if they would like. If you are inviting a guest(s), please see that they understand and agree to our guidelines (included in this announcement). We are also including a Reservation Form to be used by everyone (guests included) and sent along with your first deposit. Please make checks payable to “Marsha Jacobeen”, and mail all forms and deposits to Mrs. Marsha Jacobeen @ 4330 Moylan Lane, Fairfax, VA;22033. Parents wishing to be chaperones are welcome Just let us know (modify the reservation form) and send in your deposits as well.
As a reminder, the CHSYA code of conduct states that “all CHSYA teens will treat each other with respect and dress appropriately.” All attendees should dress in keeping with the importance of this event. Boys should wear a jacket and tie, and girls should wear modest dresses (no spaghetti straps,no strapless gowns, dress length should be below the knee, nothing too tight.CHSYA members should make their guests aware of the guidelines for dress and conduct. Your signature verifies that you have read the guidelines and will adhere to them. Thank you!
If you are interested in being part of one of the following committees:decorations, flowers, dinner/dessert and music, please make a note of this
on your reservation form. We need both teens and parents to help.
Spread the word.... this is always a great event! This is your Prom! Let's keep the same quality and standards this year and make it a great celebration and wonderful memory!
Remember the $30.00 deposit gets mailed to Mrs. Marsha Jacobeen by February
15th (Yes, that's FIVE days ago--so please hurrry! We can't have a prom without you!). If you have questions, concerns, suggestions etc. call or email one of us – Mrs. Cunningham 703-352-3245 or firstname.lastname@example.org and Mrs.
Jacobeen @703-378-2660 or email@example.com
(Remember to scrape the spam from the email addresses.)
We are looking forward to hearing from all of you with your reservations and offers to help.
Mrs. Maria Cunningham and Mrs. Marsha Jacobeen
Download reservation forms and information here: Download 2008_announcement1.doc
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The "M" post isn't going to happen this week. When we began Serendipity, we invited y'all to come along with us as we presented in Real Time what was happening in our learning rooms in Real Life. We warned that the kids came first and you'd get the overflow. We also knew that we'd tweak along the way and honestly, I considered that to be an important part of the endeavor. This way, you can really see how it works over time, in real life. For years, I've gotten mail asking about the nitty-gritty. What if curriculum choices aren't working for you? What if you're sick? What if the children are sick? What if? What if? What if?
It hasn't been smooth sailing. One of us decided that none of Serendipity was really working for her. That left me to tinker a bit on my own. I heard from several of you who were enthused and we've been working hard to re-write the stories to better suit our families, to update the PDFs, to add more art, more music(coming later), and geography. I've written new grammar lessons. I've learned from Rebecca's botany lessons. We've done the tweaking thing and now we're good to go.
Except now, my baby is sick and I know this February thing well enough to know that this virus is unlikely to stop here. So, what happens when someone is sick? Depends. This time, I'm going reap the benefits of the hours and hours I've spent over the last couple of weeks revising lesson plans on the Alphabet Path.I'm going to go back to letters A-L and print out the new stories and review them with my early readers. I'm going to gather all the books recommended in the Faith sections of all those weeks and focus on reading those this week. I'm going to go back to the A-L read alouds lists and re-read those. People who are well enough will narrate.People who are well enough will do some new grammar lessons. People who are well enough will organize existing geography narrations alphabetically and consult the master list to see what comes next. And there are always those workbooks, should I need them. There is plenty here that is useful and educational and worthy. Designing one's own real books curriculum does not leave you empty-handed during the "what if" times as long as you are able to bend and stretch as necessary.
And, I'm going to perfect the art of making orange ice with one hand, while balancing a toddler on my hip.I'm going to spend hours and hours rocking sweet Karoline while reading aloud to her siblings. Chances are good I'm going to watch a whole lot of Signing Time and Little Einsteins. Real Life Homeschool. We're blessed indeed.
I sure would appreciate a prayer or two offered for the gang of us.
Ever blessed and glorious Joseph, kind and loving father, and helpful friend of all in sorrow! You are the good father and protector of orphans, the defender of the defenseless, the patron of those in need and sorrow. Look kindly on my request. My sins have drawn down on me the just displeasure of my God, and so I am surrounded with unhappiness. To you, loving guardian of the Family of Nazareth, do I go for help and protection.
Listen, then, I beg you, with fatherly concern, to my
I ask it by the infinite mercy of the eternal Son of God, which moved Him to take our nature and to be born into this world of sorrow.
I ask it by the weariness and suffering you endured when you found no shelter at the inn of Bethlehem for the holy Virgin, nor a house where the Son of God could be born. Then, being everywhere refused, you had to allow the Queen of Heaven to give birth to the world's Redeemer in a cave.
I ask it by that painful torture you felt at the prophecy of holy Simeon, which declared the Child Jesus and His holy Mother future victims of our sins and of their great love for us.
I ask it through your sorrow and pain of soul when the angel declared to you that the life of the Child Jesus was sought by His enemies. From their evil plan you had to flee with Him and His Blessed Mother to Egypt. I ask it by all the suffering, weariness, and labors of that long and dangerous journey.
I ask it by all your care to protect the Sacred Child and His Immaculate Mother during your second journey, when you were ordered to return to your own country. I ask it by your peaceful life in Nazareth where you met with so many joys and sorrows.
I ask it by your great distress when the adorable Child was lost to you and His Mother for three days. I ask it by your joy at finding Him in the Temple, and by the comfort you found at Nazareth, while living in the company of the Child Jesus.I ask it by the wonderful submission He showed in His obedience to you.
I ask it by the perfect love and conformity you showed in accepting the Divine order to depart from this life, and from the company of Jesus and Mary.I ask it by the joy which filled your soul, when the Redeemer of the world, triumphant over death and hell, entered into the possession of His kingdom and led you into it with special honors.
I ask it through Mary's glorious Assumption, and through that endless happiness you have with her in the presence of God.
O good father! I beg you, by all your sufferings, sorrows, and joys, to hear me
and obtain for me what I ask.
(make your request)
Obtain for all those who have asked my prayers everything that is useful to them in the plan of God. Finally, my dear patron and father, be with me and all who are dear to me in our last moments, that we may eternally sing the praises of Jesus, Mary and Joseph.
I'm sitting here with my baby girl at 5 AM, mindlessly clicking and marveling at all the creativity out there in blogland. Sigh. All those great ideas, none of which I'll get to...Karoline is sick, not just a sniffly sick, but an I'm-so-sick-I-can't-stand-or-eat sick (but she can nurse--incessantly). She will not let me put her down-- not to brush my teeth, not to go to the bathroom, not to get dressed. I'm typing one-handed. She's given new meaning to "long weekend." I'm overtired. My throat hurts.So, I was primed to shed big tears when I stumbled upon this--Beth Moore's letter to her daughter just before the wedding.
Hold on to me all day, Baby-mine. Hold on real tight.
It’s refrigerator cleaning day today. Every Wednesday, I go through this ritual of cleaning it out, reorganizing, wiping it down. And every Wednesday I find a “surprise,” some food worth saving when we first put it in here, but now well past its usefulness and/or its appeal. And I pitch it. And then, I feel guilty. Read the rest at Catholicherald.com
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It's "L" week at Serendipity. Isn't that lovely? Today, "L" is for love.
The love of my life isn't in town, so it's not quite the day I'd like. But...
We'll have dinner with friends whom I love dearly.
There are cookies and a good book to read before getting the children to bed.
Then, "L" is for lavender ironing spray (the height of romance, huh?). Bear with me here.
I'll light a lavender candle and tackle this particular load of laundry while I listen to this CD and pray for my Valentine. It's not roses and bon-bons, but "L" is for Lent, too, and honestly, this is not a bad way to suffer at all.
You read it very carefully.
And you are oh-so-excited!
Now, isn't that sweet?
You eat chocolate with one hand and sign, "Thank you, Danny!" with the other. He's a keeper;-)
I am also a basketball mom hen. I know this because my seven-year-old is never, ever without a basketball in his hands. And he's shooting free throws in the basement pretty much every waking hour. And I keep getting nasty-grams from the Homeowner's Association because Mike moves the hoop out of the driveway to the very private street so the boys can play and then leaves town before he moves it back. Hello? It's heavy. I know it doesn't belong there but can you cut me some slack? And besides, did you notice the throng of kids around it all the time? I'm entertaining the neighborhood. Would you rather they hang around street corners? Oh, let them play in the backyard, you say? Well they do. When there isn't ice all over the backyard. And then they tear up the grass playing soccer and football. And then I get nasty-grams about the grass being bare.I'm a soccer mom and if I were to leave this neighborhood, it would spare the Mean Homeowner's Association Militant Mom with the Clipboard a whole lot of paper. And it would leave some kids impoverished.
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It is dark and quiet in my bedroom as I ease my soul from sleep to wakefulness. I blink in the darkness and try to remember what day it is. It is just moment or two and my mind slips into fast forward. Has yesterday's ice storm closed schools? More importantly, has it canceled after school activities, delivering me from a whirl that I dread? What else is on the schedule for the day? I feel a vague sense of restlessness. We've been talking a lot around here lately about making some big changes. No decisions. No action. Just a lot of restless talk.
It's time to get up. If I hope to have any time at all to myself in the quiet, I must get up now. I extricate myself from the limbs of the baby, careful to keep the covers tucked and not to let in the cold. I'm careful not roll too far the other way, lest I awaken Katie, who sleeps there. I slip out off the end of the bed and nearly step on Nicky's head. And then, I trip over Stephen. Everyone, including my husband, slumbers on.
Mike was gone for an extended trip in the weeks preceding the Super Bowl. My children were on edge the whole time he was gone, unsettled by the knowing that it would be long time until he returned. Early in his absence, Katie reclaimed the co-sleeper that was her baby bed. It's attached to the side of our bed and is much, much too small for her, but she insisted. Since Karoline has never had much use for it--preferring instead to sleep on top of me--I let Katie sleep there. But just for tonight, then you go back to your big bed. This won't be a habit. Yeah, right. She climbed in that bed, snuggled under the covers, and asked, "Will you hold my hand until I fall asleep?" That was three weeks ago. Isn't it conventional wisdom that it takes three weeks to form a habit?
I'm not sure what these boys are doing on the floor; they crept in after Mike returned home. Do they sense that their father and I are talking about changes? Is this the natural order of things? Is this how we were created? In times of insecurity, times of instability, do we naturally gravitate towards the physical presence of our father? Are we created to take our mother's hand when we are worried? I look at the rested faces of my children as they rise from the jumbled linens of their sleep. I see that they are peaceful and certain despite the predicted chaos of the day. And I resolve that tonight, as Katie takes my hand, I will put the other one firmly in the grasp of Our Lady. And as my boys take comfort in the sound of their daddy's breathing, I will echo the cadence, Our Father, who art in heaven, thy will be done. Together, we will all sleep, holding on.
The "L" lessons are up at Serendipity! My children and I still haven't finished all the "K" lessons, so it might be two weeks before we move past L and K in my home. Look for updates in the posts and the photo albums.And...now that Monday Night Football is over, we studied Arizona during Super Bowl week and Hawaii for Pro Bowl week, but we'll post a new plan soon to let you know where our geography will take us next.
I'm taking a few moments this morning to answer some of the questions which have been collecting dust in my inbox. (It's just virtual dust and for that I'm very grateful because I have way more than enough actual dust in my house. If someone tries to sell you a labradoodle and says he doesn't shed, don't believe him. He sheds great big dust bunnies and they multiply like bunnies, too. But I digress.) Here are some answers to some questions:
Sarah writes: The Along the Alphabet Path unit study looks great and will likely also
interest at least one of my three younger daughters as well, but it is
a completely different approach to school than we have been taking and
I am a little nervous for some strange reason! Can we just pick up
with A week and move on each week from there? Will the rest of the
weeks remain accessible so we can keep moving along, obviously weeks
I'm using the Alphabet Path with my own children. It's a real-time representation of what we're doing. It is all archived at Serendipity. You can click on the sidebar link under "Categories: Along the Alphabet Path" and access all the letters so far. Start with A anytime and move at your own pace:-). As long as you don't move ahead of me, the lessons will be there when you need them.
Collette writes: Where do you get your patterns for your gnomes? I have a ton of them and they do not look like yours when I try to do them. Several nature table pictures have been so wonderful and I would love to do that with my 3 homeschool girls but I usually need something as a guide. Do you have all the pictures of crafting somewhere on your blog or do you follow a certain book? I would love to know where your materials are purchases as well. Thanks for any help you can provide.
Collette, there is a tutorial here for making gnomes.These are Katherine's gnomes. My gnomes have painted bodies and felt capes. I think it's nice that they are all a little different--gives them the character of the families who made them! For crafting materials, the sidebar links on the left here under "With an Eye Towards Beauty" should get you started.
Lynn writes: I didn't save all the tea time recipes at Serendipity and now the links are broken, do you have them? Also, what happened to the "Pages" at Serendipity, where all the lessons were in chronological order? And, yesterday, I was working from one plan and when I went back an hour later, the story and the plans were all different.
I had hoped to fix the recipe links before anyone was inconvenienced and I do apologize. I'm working on making sure that all the recipe links work. Because I had a whole lot of lesson revisions to do, I opted to turn my attention there first. Now, all the lessons reflect the use of An Alphabet of Catholic Saints and you will find that the "Faith" section is much fuller and richer. We will still get to know the saints in the Letters from Heaven book, but they will be a part of a bigger selection of saints' stories. My guess Lynn, is that you were working with the lesson at the same time I was working on the lesson. I updated as I wrote. The "Pages" disappeared because I want to have all the links fixed before I go back and redo the "Pages" to reflect the new lessons. Hopefully, I will get to that in the very near future. In the meantime, the "Categories: Along the Alphabet Path" archives is all caught up, with the exception of PDF files and those are coming along.We are also going to add more music, art, and geography very soon, but they will have posts of their own. And if anyone has replacement recipes to send me for broken links, feel free to send them along. I'm a little overwhelmed here;-)
A reader writes:
My biggest fear comes from all the experiences I read about from those who use the CM method. Where in the world do you all find the time to do it all? I suppose this is the part of me that really needs an orderly "show and tell" of what a week of CM looks like. Your book certainly helps, but a sample "grid" of what a day/week is like would really help my brain:-)
And another writes: How in the world do you do it all?
Let's make one thing clear right away: I don't do it all. I don't even know what "it all" is. For everything you see here that I've done, and even just the act of recording what was done, there is something that went undone. I have no magic way to work against the natural laws of time. It's all about choices. I choose to do this instead of that, whatever "this" and "that" are. My prayer is that I leave the right things undone. Sometimes, I think I choose wisely and well; other times, I definitely do not. And those are the times I beg forgiveness and pay the consequences of natural law.
Now, let's look at the fears of a literature-based method. I've tinkered with all sorts of schedules and many of our days are recorded here. A sampling of schedules from the fall is in this post. I'm finding that needs to be tweaked again and when I have the spring schedule hammered out, I'll share that, too. There will be holes in any curriculum. No curriculum includes every good thing. At the end of each and every "school" day, I ask myself if the children read something good and/or listened to me read it to them, and if they wrote something and/or had me record for them, and if they used their brains mathematically at all. If they did, that's a good day--maybe not great, but good. Forward progress was made. The fourth "R" is religion, I know, but much of our learning about God and his Church is not within the confines of the "school" day. I know they will encounter God in the every day living of the liturgy in our home. So, if on a "bare minimum" school day, we do no formal catechesis, I don't worry--we'll still know, love, and serve Him on that day.
Chris writes:"With the alphabet study, is that geared toward first grade or kindergarten? How do you incorporate your lessons to include the older children.I am sure with 8 children you must have some way of combining items instead of using 8 different lesson plans?
There is so much in the Alphabet Path, that there are rabbit trails enough for everyone. My bigger boys aren't drawing fairies or coloring letters. They are doing pages in notebooks for each of the flowers studied. They are also following these botany plans, these herbs studies, and these botany activities(they are not Boy Scouts; this is just a very comprehensive list of things that every child should know and do regarding plants in their world). They are still studying the pictures with us for picture study. The Lively Language Lessons include both review and advanced grammar concepts. They are thorough and interesting even to my oldest children. We've been studying fairy tales as a literature genre and using written narrations to work on grammar concepts. With the oldest children, I'm also moving from straight narration of a story to literary analysis. And we plan a unit on Tolkein and Lewis to follow the fairy tale unit. When a particular book or assignment stretches across age levels, I combine. When it doesn't, everyone does his own thing. There is plenty here for everyone, each at his own level.
Chris continues: The other thing i was wondering is:
Do you have a rhythm of your day posted someplace on the blog site? Would it fall
under organization? I really want to incorporate more prayer time for myself and
the kids and would love some examples of how it all fits together.
I linked some schedule examples above. For recent thoughts on prayer, you might read this. And here is something from last year.