October 22, 2015

Keep Your Eyes on the Prize

A new homeschool mom recently contacted me and expressed her insecurity about getting it "right" or doing "enough" for her kids.  I thought she, like so many of us homeschool moms, was being a little hard on herself.  I know this is easy to say, but -- DON'T BE!  Any time you think you're not doing "enough" or not doing it "right" (even on days when your kids don't "want" to be homeschooled), remember:

Remind yourself of your original or core reasons for homeschooling.

Remind yourself of the cess pool of cultural garbage in government schools and be glad your kids aren't being corrupted by those influences.

Remind yourself that God specifically has endowed YOU, as YOUR children's parent, to be their best teacher!

Are you an expert on every academic subject?  No.
Are you an expert on elementary education?  No.
Are you an expert on child psychology?  No.

Are you an expert on YOUR children?  YES!
Are you capable of learning alongside your children?  YES!
Are you available to be your child's personal tutor 24/7?  YES!

So.  The next time you're "should - ing" on yourself ("I should be doing this," "I should be doing that,"), follow these simple steps:

Take a step back.
Take a deep breath.
Look up at God.
And smile!

There is SUCH an overwhelming wealth of academic and co-curricular materials available out there nowadays to homeschool families.  Neither you (nor ANY teacher) can possibly teach her child(ren) everything that's offered at every grade level.  But, that's one of the many beautiful aspects of homeschooling -- YOU get to choose your child's subject matter, focus, and interests.  It's not chosen by the least common denominator, Common Core, or teaching to the standardized test.

What freedom!

Remember, all things are possible with God!  He made us, right!?  And He made your kids and gave them to YOU, because He knew you could do it!

Remember, God made you to know, love, and serve Him in this world and be happy with Him forever in Heaven.  But, not just you.  Your children, too!  When you stand before the Lord, I don't think He will ask you how Jane did on her 8th Grade Algebra Test.

I think He will ask you, "What did you do with the souls I entrusted to you?"

Your answer should be, "I did my best, Lord, to bring them home to You."

The rest is just gravy.

October 16, 2015

Shutterfly - 101 Free Prints!

I just ordered a photo book from Shutterfly and they gave me this coupon for 101 Free Prints to pass along to friends.  With Christmas coming (what!? already!? yes, only 69 days!), I thought this might be economical and useful for anyone who likes to tuck a family photo into their Christmas cards.

Here is the link for you:



October 10, 2015

The Kingdom of Irrationality

"The Kingdom of Irrationality," St. Pope John Paul II wrote to a friend.

(Well, of course he was talking about motherhood, silly!)

Here's a lovely blog post to encourage every mother out there in the trenches, who is up to her eyeballs in the nitty-gritty of raising children.  The saints see, understand, and are pulling (and praying!) for you!

She's Not Done

Julie Walsh articulates so well the joys, sacrifices, and chaotic madness of love that is life in a larger family!  Enjoy her blog post "You Won't Hear Me Say I'm Done!"

Welcome Home to Rome!

Fox News contributor Kirsten Powers has announced that she is converting to Catholicism this weekend.  Congratulations Kirsten and welcome home to Rome!

You can read various relevant stories about Kirsten's conversion at these links:

The Deacon's Bench

Christianity Today

Wikipedia Biography

October 9, 2015

Homeschool Planner Pages - FREE!

There are SO many homeschool moms out there who are far more clever and creative than I ever will be.  Thankfully, they are generous, too!

If you're like me and are (slightly...heh-heh!) OCD about your planner or calendar, then you are going to LOVE these free, printable, Charlotte Mason-style homeschool planner pages brought to you by JessicaLynette.com.  She also has some links at the bottom of the page for Bible verses and hymns, too.


October 6, 2015

Think, Not Pink

A wise friend just sent me this letter, and I simply cannot say it any better.  Thank you, Betsy!

Since it is October, be prepared to be inundated with pink everything, along with requests for your hard-earned dollars to go to the Susan G. Komen Foundation, ostensibly to help prevent breast cancer.

It is a sign of the times that a foundation collects hundreds of millions of dollars to supposedly stop breast cancer, and then gives it to an organization like Planned Parenthood, which directly increases cases of breast cancer through abortion. Talk about feathering their own nest...at the cost of innocent babies' and women's lives.

I never buy anything with pink on it--not even sneakers.  Not yogurt, not M&M's, not Campbell's soup, NOTHING.  I refuse to participate in any way with an organization so closely linked to the taking of innocent human life.

If you aren't sure, please look at the following information about Komen from Georgia Right to Life:

Komen and Planned Parenthood: What's the Story?

Everyone would like to see breast cancer go away. No one is denying that a cure, just like for all the other cancers out there, would be a blessing.  But, giving to Komen is NOT the way to make that happen.

Let's remember October for whose month it REALLY is: Our Lady's!

October 5, 2015

And What Did We Learn?

Yesterday, I ran my first 5K race.  Ever.

No, please.  Hold your applause.  It wasn't pretty.

This wasn't some quest which I had long-dreamed to accomplish.  This was my husband's bright idea of "togetherness" for our family.  You know, an activity in which the whole family can participate!

Yay!  Right!?


My husband and eldest son regularly run 5K races, either for fun on Friday nights with a local running group or on the weekends in support of a good cause.  This weekend, he said cheerfully, let's all run the 5K -- you, me, the kids, everyone!  Yippeeeee!


You see, what my husband apparently didn't understand is that, while running our household, I normally run rings around anyone and easily qualify as Wonder Woman.  We're like the 1980 US Hockey Team on rocket boosters and I am the Air Traffic Controller (ATC) of the airspace.  (I struggle not to laugh in the face of people who actually wonder aloud how on earth homeschoolers get "socialization."  Have you seen our family's calendar!?)

As an individual, however, I'm rather a dull, average, ordinary person.  Really.

If you want an Executive Vice President of Domestic Management and Organization, then make an appointment with me.

If you want an expert on health and fitness and how to become Superman, then call my husband.  He is a Spartan warrior.  I am Gunga Din.

And I'm perfectly happy to be Gunga Din, water girl and "crew" for these 5K races, juggling H2O, race equipment, and temper tantrums for the physically hot and overwrought.

But, yesterday, it was not to be.

Yesterday, for the first (and hopefully last) time, I pinned on a bib (I know -- not that kind of bib; it was a number!), crouched into a starting position worthy FloJo, and when the starter yelled, "GO!" I took off, buoyed along on a joyous tide of runners, all smiling and anticipating the thrill and exhilaration they'd feel when they returned to cross the finish line.

The winner finished her race in a blistering 18 minutes, 45 seconds.

Wanna know what happened when I finished the race?

Dead last?

Well, let's just say that I was so far behind that my husband and eldest son actually went back out to find me.  When we approached the finish line, the crowd of race runners already were bunched in a group there.  With their backs to me.  As they posed for a post-race photo.


Now, I should mention at this point that I ran the race (...okay, walked most of it...) not entirely alone.  Remember how this was supposed to be for the whole family?  Well, of our six children, I had our four year old with me.  He had taken off like an arrow, but had pooped out early and now was riding somnolent in his stroller, which I (thank God!) had thought to bring along literally at the last minute.

And do you know what that lil' stinker did?

Just before we rounded the last turn approaching the finish line, realizing where he was, he sprang up and frantically clambered out of the stroller, so he could RUN up the last stretch of the race to receive the adulation and cheers of his adoring fans.

(Picture the Philadelphia Museum of Art steps and cue the "Rocky" music.)


You know.  Learning experiences usually are either painful or expensive.  At least this one was cheap.

What did I learn?

CARPE DIEM - For one thing, I learned that my four-year-old is a whole lot smarter than I am.  Fully aware we had been riding drag the entire race, he nevertheless squeezed what exhilaration he could from it by crossing the finish line running hard with a dazzling grin.  Seize the moment!  Seize the day!  Would that we all would so easily cast off our self-consciousness and rejoice in what we can do in such grand, happy, infectious style!

LOVE IS A CHOICE - My husband is a prince.  Hands down, he's finders keepers.  He turned his white horse around and rode back out to find and rescue me, giving me generous kudos and pointers as I grumbled along while we finished my race together.  Love is a choice.  Marriage is a partnership.  And my Leonidas staunchly was not leaving without me.  Awesome!
YOU CAN LEAD A HORSE TO WATER.... - But, running still is just not my thing.  Really.  Like, so not.  I knew it before.  I know it even more now.  I have great respect for those for whom running is invigorating and inspiring.  And if there had been a horse for me to lead to water and run in this race, then I'd be writing a different story.  But, we all have our roles.  Know thyself.  I am a groundling and I know I don't like running.  At all.  I took one for the Team.  Now, could I please just have my water bucket back?  Now?  Please?

HUMILITY - There is nothing more humbling than being last.  It somehow resurrected all the miserable feelings of playground team selections in my youth (Last.  Again. *sigh*).  Every other person out there yesterday ran harder, faster, stronger than I did -- even all my kids!  (Two of them took off like greased lightning and never looked back!  Woo-hoo!)  But, I finished so poorly it was assumed no one could possibly still be out there straggling along.  I'll never forget that mental image of a crowd of people at the finish line with their backs unwittingly turned toward me.  It's a useful image.  It's good for the soul to be vividly reminded once in a while that everyone else's life does not, in fact, revolve around yours.

God calls us to know, love, and serve Him in this world and be happy with Him forever in the next.

If nothing else this weekend, I learned that it's helpful to know thyself, to love (for better or for worse) those whom God has placed in our lives, and to serve others, especially past the point of personal sacrifice.

"Give until it hurts," Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta said.

Boy, she wasn't kidding.  Now, somebody please hand me the ibuprofen.

October 4, 2015

Respect Life Sunday

“Defend the lowly and fatherless; render justice to the afflicted and needy.  Rescue the lowly and poor; deliver them from the hand of the wicked.” (Psalm 82:3-4)

"Before I formed you in the womb, I knew you.  Before you were born, I dedicated you..." (Jeremiah 1:5)