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Catholic Family Vignettes

A collage of literary snapshots from the life of a large traditional Catholic family

Month

August 2007

Baby, you can drive my car…


Well, she did it.

She has her license.

Hurray!

Congratulations, sweetheart, we are so proud of you!

A recent convert…


To soft-boiled eggs! After listening to a good friend “wax rhapsodic” on the joys of the soft-boiled egg (hi Selena!), I decided to push past my previous prejudice and give them a try.

I’m hooked. So are the girls. What fun to “dip soldiers” and “remove helmets!” You’d think all of this “war talk” would be enough to encourage the boys…alas, they are unmoved and vow to stick to over easy and hard-boiled eggs.

I can’t say it’s been easy, this “conversion.” Many over-cooked and under-cooked eggs. Consulting the internet and my mom, it took nearly two weeks before I hit upon the perfect method.

Here is my version of the perfect soft-boiled egg:

Place eggs in a bowl of hot water while you prepare a pan of water.
Bring water to a rolling boil.
Place “warmed” eggs carefully in boiling water.
Set timer for 4 minutes.
Fill a bowl with cold water.
At the end of the 4 minutes, remove eggs from boiling water and place in bowl of cold water for 1 minute to stop the cooking process.
Remove eggs and place in individual *egg cups*.
Butter toast and cut into thin strips (these are the “soldiers”).
Using the bowl of your spoon, gently strike the top of the egg twice, and “cap” or remove the “helmet” with the edge of the spoon.
Salt and pepper to taste…dip your “soldiers” and enjoy!

*I’ve found three nice egg cups in local thrift stores, but a shot glass will do nicely if you haven’t any!

"The Golden Compass"…no sense of direction?

I’ve just recently viewed a very disturbing trailer, for a children’s movie scheduled for release on December 7th. Take a look:

What this particular trailer doesn’t reveal, amidst the fantastic CGI and stunning cinematography, is that the “big, bad wolf” in this children’s film is the Magisterium. The Magisterium is a powerful, evil world organization bent on capturing the souls of children and suppressing their imagination. Each soul has it’s own “demon” which comes to the defense of the child in times of peril or threat.

The Golden Compass
is the first installment in a trilogy written by Philip Pullman. Pullman, a pro-active atheist, pulls no punches about his personal feelings regarding religion. In fact, Peter Hitchens, a conservative British columnist, published an article about Pullman entitled “This Is the Most Dangerous Author in Britain,” in which he called him: the writer “the atheists would have been praying for, if atheists prayed.”

His Dark Materials trilogy is marketed as being “loosely based upon the classic Paradise Lost.”

Pullman is extremely hostile in his views of C.S. Lewis and The Chronicles of Narnia, referring to the stories as “reactionary” and containing “a peevish blend of racist, misogynistic and reactionary prejudice.” He vigorously opposed the production of the Chronicles as a movie series, stating: “If the Disney corporation wants to market this film as a great Christian story, they’ll just have to tell lies about it.”

A reminder: Philip Pullman’s trilogy is marketed to and read by children. To call the books anti-Catholic, is an understatement. The film contains the same errors, in a visually stunning package.

The Golden Compass is filled with anti-Catholic rhetoric: evil Magisterium, wicked priests, an ex-nun who describes Christianity as “a very powerful and convincing mistake,” and so on. The visual appeal of this new movie will be hard to resist and Newline is marketing this film on the heels of the very successful “Lord of the Rings” trilogy, though the two works share no real similarities.

Mr. Pullman is well aware of the power of a well told tale:

“ ‘Thou shalt not’ might reach the head, but it takes ‘Once upon a time’ to reach the heart.”

For additional information, check out the following:

Life and Letters: Far From Narnia

Pullman Attacks Narnia Film Plans

Kidsreads.com

Why Charlotte can’t sleep…

10:30 p.m., this evening:

Daddy: “Charlotte…all of the other children are asleep. Why are you still awake?”

Charlotte: “Daddy, I’m different. I’m not like everyone else. I’m…I’m left-handed!”

And now we know…

Here is a poem on the “perils of left-handedness.” BTW…Charlotte is the only one of our nine children who is a leftie!

Left-handedness

In honour of all left-handed,
Neglected and much abused –
A sinister bunch we are branded,
Left out and unfairly accused.

You ‘Righties’ are horribly righteous,
Such words as dexterity reign,
Including the ambidextrous,
Adroit and terribly vain.

You say we are gauche and south-paw,
Cack-handed and awkward to watch,
On the pitch we’re a troublesome outlaw
And all that we do is a botch.

Bad news in a left-handed marriage,
In compliments, speaking on oath,
On the left is alright for a carriage,
But for ‘Lefties’, designers are loath.

We’re ignored in the kitchen and garden,
With coffee pots, scissors and shears,
They’ve chosen the wrong side to sharpen,
And a chainsaw will end in tears.

Despite all the efforts to slight us,
We know that we really are deft,
Enough of this ‘leftversusrightis’,
As there cannot be Right without Left.

Tony Hemmings 2001

Abandon kindergarten…

How very little is left of the innocent wonder and natural exploration associated with early childhood. Young children are removed from their homes and shuttled off to daycare, preschool and kindergarten at increasingly young ages.

For those of us who have chosen home education, there is an ever increasing awareness of the “teachable moment.” Very few of these moments involve text books, computers or worksheets. It is the day to day interaction with the family, casual observation of the workings of the world and immersion in the faith community.

The following essay by Fr. George Rutler found on the National Review Online, is an interesting take on this very subject. While I’m not quite ready to abandon formal musical instruction by providing my children access to “musicians in one of the better cocktail lounges, or from performers in the public subways”, he poses a few very cogent arguments against packaged education.

Here it is:

I’d encourage your youngest one to abandon kindergarten altogether. Almost everything I learned was learned outside the classroom, and school itself interrupted my education. Moreover, school locks you in with your peers. That is a mistake. One’s social circle should never include one’s equals. From my earliest years I found children uninteresting and always preferred the company of adults. This was an advantage, because I got to know lots of folks who are dead now whom I never would have known if I had waited until I was an adult. – So I have a collective memory – and oral tradition – that goes back to the eighteenth century, having spoken with people who knew people who knew people who knew people who lived then. – The only real university is the universe and a city its microcosm. That is why an expression like “New York University” is foolish. New York City is the university….Instead of school, children should spend some hours each day in hotel lobbies talking to the guests. They should spend time in restaurant kitchens and shops and garages of all kinds, learning from people who actually make the world work….One day spent roaming through a real classical church building would be the equivalent of one academic term in any of our schools, and a little time spent inconspicuously in a police station would be more informative than all the hours wasted on bogus social sciences. Formal lessons would only be required for accuracy in spelling and proficiency in public speaking, for which the public speakers in our culture are not models, and in exchange for performing some menial services a child could learn the violin, harp, and piano from musicians in one of the better cocktail lounges, or from performers in the public subways….So I urge you to keep your child out of kindergarten, because kindergarten will only lead to first grade and then the grim sequence of grade after grade begins and takes its inexorable toll on the mind born fertile but gradually numbed by the pedants who impose on the captive child the flotsam of their own infecundity.

It never ceases to amaze me, just how much the children absorb that is not associated with what we have directly accomplished in the course of a day of home education. I’m thankful to have them home and to have these “teachable moments.”

Pachelbel Bedtime Rant

For my sons. Because they have not yet stopped laughing…

And here is the rest of it.

Lunar Eclipse

The alarm went off at 5:00 a.m. For a brief moment, I was sorely tempted to roll over and hit snooze. After all…it might be cloudy. Definitely chilly. And wet.

I had promised to wake them.

Donning slippers and a shawl, I slipped into the darkness and stepped over to the side of the house, to observe the glory of the moon at the beginning of the lunar eclipse.

So I woke them.

What a blast! Extremely chilly boys, wrapped in blankets and polar fleece, braved the wet grass and observed the finest example of a total lunar eclipse, that this mom has ever seen. Not to mention the finest view of Orion that we have seen all summer.

An hour later, greeted by the rainbow hues of the morning sky at sunrise, we venture back to the house for an extremely early breakfast. And coffee.

I’m going to need a LOT of coffee today. And this.

It was SO worth it. The pictures are pretty good, thanks to Meredith’s fabulous camera…though mom’s skills are somewhat lacking. I’m just not a terrific photographer.

The Feast of St. Augustine of Hippo – Doctor of the Church


Heretic and Scoundrel. Priest, Saint, Bishop, Doctor of the Church. Controversial and diverse titles for a man, yet all were held at one time, by St. Augustine of Hippo.

Here is a brief biography from Catholic Online:

This famous son of St. Monica was born in Africa and spent many years of his life in wicked living and in false beliefs. Though he was one of the most intelligent men who ever lived and though he had been brought up a Christian, his sins of impurity and his pride darkened his mind so much, that he could not see or understand the Divine Truth anymore. Through the prayers of his holy mother and the marvelous preaching of St. Ambrose, Augustine finally became convinced that Christianity was the one true religion. Yet he did not become a Christian then, because he thought he could never live a pure life. One day, however, he heard about two men who had suddenly been converted on reading the life of St. Antony, and he felt terrible ashamed of himself. “What are we doing?” he cried to his friend Alipius. “Unlearned people are taking Heaven by force, while we, with all our knowledge, are so cowardly that we keep rolling around in the mud of our sins!”

Full of bitter sorrow, Augustine flung himself out into the garden and cried out to God, “How long more, O Lord? Why does not this hour put an end to my sins?” Just then he heard a child singing, “Take up and read!” Thinking that God intended him to hear those words, he picked up the book of the Letters of St. Paul, and read the first passage his gaze fell on. It was just what Augustine needed, for in it, St. Paul says to put away all impurity and to live in imitation of Jesus. That did it! From then on, Augustine began a new life.

He was baptized, became a priest, a bishop, a famous Catholic writer, Founder of religious priests, and one of the greatest saints that ever lived. He became very devout and charitable, too. On the wall of his room he had the following sentence written in large letters: “Here we do not speak evil of anyone.” St. Augustine overcame strong heresies, practiced great poverty and supported the poor, preached very often and prayed with great fervor right up until his death. “Too late have I loved You!” he once cried to God, but with his holy life he certainly made up for the sins he committed before his conversion. His feast day is August 28th.


St. Augustine wrote a heart-rending ode to his Maker in Confessions, that gives a glimpse of a soul which is penitent and thankful:

Late have I loved Thee, O Lord; and behold,

Thou wast within and I without, and there I sought Thee.
Thou was with me when I was not with Thee.
Thou didst call, and cry, and burst my deafness.
Thou didst gleam, and glow, and dispell my blindness.
Thou didst touch me, and I burned for Thy peace.
For Thyself Thou hast made us,

And restless our hearts until in Thee they find their ease.

Late have I loved Thee, Thou Beauty ever old and ever new.
Thou hast burst my bonds asunder;

Unto Thee will I offer up an offering of praise.

St. Augustine, Doctor of the Church, pray for us!

A bit of a surprise…

The Remnant Newspaper is a traditional Catholic new source which “strives to adhere to Catholic teaching in every aspect of its journalism” (from their website). I frequently review this website for articles of interest, due to the orthodox presentation of world and Church events. Imagine my surprise when I found this post included at the top of the Recent News links!

Thanks for the nod, friends!

Set your alarm clock…


In the wee hours of Tuesday morning, a total lunar eclipse will occur. NASA has an excellent timeline as well as viewing suggestions. An excellent activity to supplement a homeschool astronomy program!

From NASA:

“Although total eclipses of the Moon are of minor scientific value, they are remarkably beautiful events which do not require expensive equipment. They help to cultivate interest in science and astronomy in children and to provide a unique learning opportunity for families, students and teachers. To the nature lover and naturalist, the lunar eclipse can be appreciated and celebrated as an event which vividly illustrates our place among the planets in the solar system. The three dimensional reality of our universe comes alive in a graceful celestial ballet as the Moon swings through the Earth’s shadow. Hope for clear skies, dress warmly and enjoy the show!”

St. Lucy’s Crown


Looking for a great craft idea for the Feast of St. Lucy? While the feast is still a little way off, here is an adorable idea from As Cozy As Spring. My little girls love this particular feast day and will be delighted to don such lovely wreaths!

While you’re at it, here’s a recipe for Lussekatter also called St. Lucy’s Buns.

St. Lucy’s day marks the opening of the Christmas season in Sweden. Lussekatter are their delicious saffron buns made in any number of figures: cats, “s” shapes, or figure eights.

* 1/4 teaspoon saffron threads
* 8 ounces (1 cup) milk
* 1 tablespoon yeast
* 1/2 cup sugar
* 4 ounces (1 stick) butter
* 5 cups all-purpose flour
* 1 teaspoon salt
* 1/2 cup sugar
* 2 large eggs, beaten
* 1 beaten egg white for egg wash

METHOD

Using a mortar and pestle, pound saffron threads to break down strands.

In a small saucepan, heat milk to lukewarm.

Mix yeast with 1/4 cup milk and 1 tablespoon sugar. Set aside.

On low heat, melt butter in saucepan with milk. Add crushed saffron. Let cool.

In large bowl, mix together flour salt and remaining sugar.

Stir yeast into cooled milk mixture. Mix into dry ingredients, beating to mix well. Add beaten eggs. Knead in bowl for 5 – 7 minutes. Turn onto floured board and knead another 7 – 8 minutes.

Put dough in lightly greased bowl, turn to coat all sides, cover and put in warm, draft-free place to rise for about 1 hour.

When dough has risen, knead lightly to push out air and divide into small pieces (about 10 – 12). Using the hands, roll each small piece into a strip about 8 – 10 inches long. Shape each strip into an ‘S’ or a figure 8. Place on lightly buttered cookie sheets.

Cover with clean cloth and let rise again until double in bulk, about 1 to 1 1/2 hours.

Preheat oven to 375°F.

When dough has risen, brush lightly with egg white. Bake in preheated 375° F oven for 15 minutes, or until lightly browned. Let cool on wire rack.

Yield: 10 – 12 buns

recipe from http://www.inmamaskitchen.com

An Invitation…


I’d like to extend an invitation to you, dear friends in Christ, for the September 14th Solemn High Mass for the Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross. As many of you are aware, September 14th is the date set for the full implementation of the motu proprio “Summorum Pontificum.”

The Solemn High Mass which will be offered at Holy Family Catholic Church in Columbus, Ohio, will provide a unique opportunity not only for the faithful as yet unfamiliar with the Extraordinary Form of the Mass, but will also utilize several precious artifacts from the Holy Family Jubilee Museum. The 1602 (correct me Father, if I have this wrong!) Pius V Missal will be used for this very special Mass, as will the Mary Queen of Scots Chalice.

Both items are generally kept in the Pontifical Museum, but will be brought out for this day of joyous celebration.

Consider a “road trip” to Holy Family. Attendance rates for the Extraordinary Form of the Mass have now exceeded those of the Ordinary in our parish, and Father Lutz desires greatly to pack the church to capacity.

Consider yourself invited!

Freedom of choice…


Freedom of choice. What images do these words instill in the mind of the average person? Bumper stickers from Planned Parenthood and NARAL, perhaps? Slogans emblazoned across banners carried by feminists marching for the “right to choose?”

Certainly, one would not associate this particular slogan with the brand name of a feminine product (tampon, sorry guys…had to clarify!) And one would certainly never expect to see these words boldly proclaimed on a dispenser in a Catholic elementary school girl’s restroom. Which is where they were found. Today. Check out the image to the right.

“Freedom of choice” is perhaps the most hateful slogan ever devised, as it promotes a freedom that is hardly free. A freedom purchased by the death of the unborn. Yet young students in a local Catholic school are being exposed to this subtle ideology with every visit to the restroom.

If you are still unconvinced, and think that “it’s just a phrase and can mean many things,” then type that “phrase” into Google. The very first listing is for NARAL and every other listing thereafter is for the pro-death camp.

Perhaps it is only a sick coincidence. After all, the school can’t pick and choose the names of the providers of these services. It is, nonetheless, unsettling for those of us who see the rights of the unborn encroached upon at every turn.

I will be expressing my concern to the school and Diocese. As a home educator, I’m only too thankful that my own children are not being exposed to this subtle lie…though I don’t think anyone would want their children to see this advertisement and fall for the line that “it’s just a phrase, it doesn’t really mean anything.”

The Feast of St. Louis


King Louis IX of France was a model of what Catholic leadership should and can be. Crowned King of France at the age of 11, he ruled for over 44 years. A monarch, husband, father, Franciscan Tertiary and soldier; he exercised his authority with faith and great humility, earning the devotion of his people.

A letter from St. Louis to his son reveals a great deal about the heart of this sainted King:

My dearest son, my first instruction is that you should love the Lord your God with all your heart and all your strength. Without this there is no salvation. Keep yourself, my son, from everything that you know displeases God, that is to say, from every mortal sin. You should permit yourself to be tormented by every kind of martyrdom before you would allow yourself to commit a mortal sin.

If the Lord has permitted you to have some trial, bear it willingly and with gratitude, considering that it has happened for your good and that perhaps you well deserved it. If the Lord bestows upon you any kind of prosperity, thank Him humbly and see that you become no worse for it, either through vain pride or anything else, because you ought not to oppose God or offend Him in the matter of his gifts.

Be kindhearted to the poor, the unfortunate and the afflicted. Give them as much help and consolation as you can. Thank God for all the benefits He has bestowed upon you, that you may be worthy to receive greater. Always side with the poor rather than with the rich, until you are certain of the truth.

Be devout and obedient to our mother the Church of Rome and the Supreme Pontiff as your spiritual father.

In conclusion, dearest son, I give you every blessing that a loving father can give a sons. May the three Persons of the Holy Trinity and all the saints protect you from every evil. And may the Lord give you the grace to do His will so that He may be served and honored through you, that in the next life we may together come to see Him, love Him and praise Him unceasingly. Amen.

My sons and daughters are very familiar with this letter. It will be read yet again, today.

Good St. Louis, please pray for our world leaders. May God grant them the same faith, courage, conviction and humility which you demonstrated so beautifully throughout your life.

Prayers…


Dear friends…would you please pray for me and my family? The intention is private and your prayers will be much appreciated! God bless you and you are all in my prayers! And here is the rest of it.

Tag…you’re it!

Patrick Archbold of one of my very favorite “daily reads”, Creative Minority Report, has tagged me. Eek! 8 facts or habits? Good or bad? Hmmm…how much honesty is required here? Will this necessitate confession?!

Here are the rules (since one of the rules is to post the rules):

“The rules are simple…Each player lists 8 facts/habits about themselves. The rules of the game are posted at the beginning before those facts/habits are listed. At the end of the post, the player then tags 8 people and posts their names, then goes to their blogs and leaves them a comment, letting them know that they have been tagged and asking them to read your blog.”

FACT: I want to fly. An ultralight or microlight plane.

HABIT
: I talk with my hands. No…I’m not deaf, but I would probably be mute, if by some freak accident, I lost both hands. I’ve actually been known to let go of the steering wheel while engaged in conversation. I had to stop knitting last night, because a friend asked me a question. I simply could not answer effectively without wildly gesticulating!

FACT: I am a research fanatic. Ask me something I don’t know or don’t know enough about, or simply rouse my curiosity…I’ll be on the internet researching every last vestige of available information and will then bore you to tears (I’m with you on this one, Patrick!)

HABIT: I’m a notorious “ice cruncher” – just give me a cup of ice and I’m good to go!

FACT: I’m a convert to Catholicism for over 16 years, but have only been attending the Traditional Mass for the past 2 1/2. I’m hooked. Forever.

FACT: I’m obsessed with books. They are taking over my house. I need bookshelves. Help!!!

HABIT: I’m just a wee bit too sarcastic. I really need to control it better.

FACT
: I haven’t watched television (commercial/cable programming) for four years. I watch an occasional movie and currently enjoy the Bless Me Father series, which I’ve borrowed from a good friend (thanks Tom!)

So…now tag 8 people…

Amy Caroline, Barbara, Esther, +JMJ+, Matilda, and anyone else so inclined to join in…btw, ladies, no obligation!

Ladies night…


For the past several months, the ladies of Una Voce have been participating in a bi-weekly “Ladies Night Out.” God bless our dear husbands, who so lovingly sacrifice their time, many of them finishing their day’s work as quickly as possible, to allow their spouse this beautiful evening of fellowship.

We have been meeting in restaurants, bookstore cafes and coffee shops, have “closed down” more than one restaurant, and been told by local law enforcement “to keep it down…there have been complaints” (a little CPD humor, though we were a bit taken aback, at first!)

The last two weeks, one of our dear “sisters” has hosted at her home. An exquisite tea party, and last evening, a delightful Italian supper.

The conversation, laughter and tears…sipping wine and tea…eating chocolate. An altogether beautiful evening.

In honor of the Feast of the Immaculate Heart/Coronation of Our Lady, we recited the Little Crown of the Blessed Virgin. A lovely devotion, one which prompted an interesting discussion on the “titles” that have been given to Our Lady. We shared our favorite titles for the Blessed Virgin Mary. Here are a few observations:

Mystical Rose
Tower of Ivory
Queen of Peace
Queen of the Angels

and Mother. Simply, Mother. Yet what could be more complex than that mystical relationship which has been ordained by Christ, that we should take His Mother as our own?

Another dear friend shared the observation that many of us are blessed to share with Our Lady the titles of Daughter, Mother and Spouse.

So…what is your favorite title for Our Lady? Do you have a particular devotion tied to Her “title”? Just curious…

Thank you, Michael!


Farewell to FSSP seminarian, Michael Connaughton, who will be returning to Our Lady of Guadalupe Seminary in Denton, Nebraska. Mr. Connaughton has offered, graciously, his summer in service to his newly formed boy’s Gregorian Chant Schola.

The Schola boys and moms hosted an impromptu “goodbye luncheon” after today’s final class. Michael will be missed. May God bless all his endeavors as we await his return.

The Feast of the Immaculate Heart of Mary


Today is the traditional Feast of the Immaculate Heart of Mary.

On October 31, 1942, Pope Pius XII made a solemn Act of Consecration of the Church and the whole world to the Immaculate Heart. Let us remember this devotion year-round, but particularly through the month of August.

INVOCATIONS

O heart most pure of the Blessed Virgin Mary, obtain for me from Jesus a pure and humble heart.

Sweet heart of Mary, be my salvation.

ACT OF CONSECRATION Queen of the most holy Rosary, help of Christians, refuge of the human race, victorious in all the battles of God, we prostrate ourselves in supplication before thy throne, in the sure hope of obtaining mercy and of receiving grace and timely aid in our present calamities, not through any merits of our own, on which we do not rely, but only through the immense goodness of thy mother’s heart. In thee and in thy Immaculate Heart, at this grave hour of human history, do we put our trust; to thee we consecrate ourselves, not only with all of Holy Church, which is the mystical body of thy Son Jesus, and which is suffering in so many of her members, being subjected to manifold tribulations and persecutions, but also with the whole world, torn by discords, agitated with hatred, the victim of its own iniquities. Be thou moved by the sight of such material and moral degradation, such sorrows, such anguish, so many tormented souls in danger of eternal loss! Do thou, O Mother of mercy, obtain for us from God a Christ-like reconciliation of the nations, as well as those graces which can convert the souls of men in an instant, those graces which prepare the way and make certain the long desired coming of peace on earth. O Queen of peace, pray for us, and grant peace unto the world in the truth, the justice, and the charity of Christ.

Above all, give us peace in our hearts, so that the kingdom of God may spread its borders in the tranquillity of order. Accord thy protection to unbelievers and to all those who lie within the shadow of death; cause the Sun of Truth to rise upon them; may they be enabled to join with us in repeating before the Savior of the world: “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men of good will.”

Give peace to the nations that are separated from us by error or discord, and in a special manner to those peoples who profess a singular devotion toward thee; bring them back to Christ’s one fold, under the one true Shepherd. Obtain full freedom for the holy Church of God; defend her from her enemies; check the ever-increasing torrent of immorality; arouse in the faithful a love of purity, a practical Christian life, and an apostolic zeal, so that the multitude of those who serve God may increase in merit and in number.

Finally, even as the Church and all mankind were once consecrated to the Heart of thy Son Jesus, because He was for all those who put their hope in Him an inexhaustible source of victory and salvation, so in like manner do we consecrate ourselves forever to thee also and to thy Immaculate Heart, O Mother of us and Queen of the world; may thy love and patronage hasten the day when the kingdom of God shall be victorious and all the nations, at peace with God .and with one another, shall call thee blessed and intone with thee, from the rising of the sun to its going down, the everlasting “Magnificat” of glory, of love, of gratitude to the Heart of Jesus, in which alone we can find truth, life, and peace. — Pope Pius XII


IN HONOR OF THE IMMACULATE HEART O heart of Mary, mother of God, and our mother; heart most worthy of love, in which the adorable Trinity is ever well-pleased, worthy of the veneration and love of all the angels and of all men; heart most like to the Heart of Jesus, of which thou art the perfect image; heart, full of goodness, ever compassionate toward our miseries; deign to melt our icy hearts and grant that they may be wholly changed into the likeness of the Heart of Jesus, our divine Savior. Pour into them the love of thy virtues, enkindle in them that divine fire with which thou thyself dost ever burn. In thee let Holy Church find a safe shelter; protect her and be her dearest refuge, her tower of strength, impregnable against every assault of her enemies. Be thou the way which leads to Jesus, and the channel, through which we receive all the graces needful for our salvation. Be our refuge in time of trouble, our solace in the midst of trial, our strength against temptation, our haven in persecution, our present help in every danger, and especially) at the hour of death, when all hell shall let loose against u its legions to snatch away our souls, at that dread moment; that hour so full of fear, whereon our eternity depends. An,; then most tender virgin, make us to feel the sweetness of thy motherly heart, and the might of thine intercession with Jesus, and open to us a safe refuge in that very fountain of mercy, whence we may come to praise Him with thee in paradise, world without end. Amen.

Prayer Source: Prayer Book, The by Reverend John P. O’Connell, M.A., S.T.D. and Jex Martin, M.A., The Catholic Press, Inc., Chicago, Illinois, 1954

The NAESP on Homeschooling

Thanks to Homeschool 2.0 Blog for this one. My apologies beforehand. The bold emphases are mine and the italics are my somewhat sarcastic remarks. Forgive the rant!

An excerpt from a 52 page document prepared by the National Association of Elementary School Principals:
:
4. Home Schooling

NAESP
is concerned with the increasing number of individuals and groups who are avoiding public education

(avoiding public education or exercising our right to educate our children as we deem best?)

in favor of at-home schooling. When alternative options

(alternative options? I don’t consider educating my children at home the alternative…public education is the alternative…and only after all other resources have been exhausted!)

such as home schooling have been authorized by state legislation, resources and authority

(what authority would that be? Social Services? The NAESP? hmmm…)

should be provided to make certain that those who exercise these options are held strictly accountable for the academic achievement and social/emotional growth of children.

(or what? They’ll take away our “funding?” How do you measure social/emotional growth of children?)

When home schooling options are exercised, NAESP strongly recommends that state governments establish safeguards to ensure each child:
1. participates in appropriate social experiences;

(Appropriate social experiences? Such as those most public school children are exposed to? Drugs? Violence? Sex? Or perhaps just a little good, ol’ fashioned peer pressure? No thanks!)

2. interacts with students from other social/racial/ethnic groups;

(once again, the myth of the “isolation of the home educated.” Social groups? Would that mean “alternative lifestyles?” Are those high priced private schools ethnically and racially diverse? I wonder…)

3. receives the full range of curricular experiences and materials aligned with state standards;

(ALIGNED WITH STATE STANDARDS??!! We should “dumb down?” I hope I am stretching a little farther than this)

4. is guaranteed instruction by certified and highly qualified persons;

(“certified”…so all parents must have a college degree and certification? And “highly qualified?” Like the public school math teacher who apologized to my oldest daughter for not being able to explain things well, because “math just wasn’t his thing?”)

5. is required to participate in state-mandated assessments; and

(because the state is such an excellent judge of what makes for a well-rounded education – home educated students outscore public school children in every area. And let’s not forget the national spelling bee and geography bee winners for the past several years have all been home educated)

6. learns in a healthy and safe environment.

(HEALTHY AND SAFE ENVIRONMENT??!!! The audacity! Does that mean that homeschoolers should install metal detectors, post security guards in our bathrooms, install video surveillance, purchase bulletproof backpacks and background check all of the educators? Because this is the “healthy and safe environment” in which the average child spends 6 to 7 hours a day.)

NAESP strongly urges states to require home schools to comply with state and federal laws addressing children with special needs.

(does this mean every family must have their children assessed to determine need? Or will physicians be required to “inform?”)

NAESP strongly urges local and state associations to address these issues as critical to the education of children. (’93, ’03, ’04)

My suggestion?

The NAESP has a big enough mess in it’s own backyard. The public school system is a train wreck in progress. Rather than focusing their efforts on the “increasing number of individuals who are avoiding public education” (their quote), they should ask themselves “why?” The answers are all around them.

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