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Catholic Family Vignettes

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

Month

January 2008

Feast of St. Sebastian


The Golden Arrow Prayer seems a fitting prayer to recite on the Feast of St. Sebastian:

The Golden Arrow Prayer

May the most holy, the most sacred, the most adorable, the most incomprehensible, and ineffable Name of God be forever praised, blessed, loved, adored and glorified, in Heaven, on earth, and under the earth, by all the creatures of God, with the Sacred Heart of Our Lord Jesus Christ in the Most Holy Sacrament of the Altar and the Holy Spirit. Amen

The Golden Arrow was revealed by Our Lord Jesus Christ to a Carmelite nun of Tours in 1843 as a reparation for blasphemy.

Jesus said: “This Golden Arrow will wound My Heart delightfully, and heal the wounds inflicted by blasphemy.”

To learn more about my patron saint for 2008, read this.

Tonight I’m thankful for…


Two little girls, with soapy clean faces and sweet smelling hair, blanket pajamas and bedtime…

Four young men, with fresh haircuts, clean ears and hands…

Six pairs of shoes, ready for Church…

Enough black socks for the boys and clean tights for the girls…

Getting to bed before midnight…

God bless you all and good night!

Changes…

I decided to change my blog header for a bit…a breath of spring, I guess you could say in the midst of sub-zero temperatures.

It is ridiculously cold, arctic cold in fact…feels like -15 to -25 below. We could all use a little springtime, right now.

I love the snow…even ice. But not this. This is brutal.

God bless and protect the homeless poor!

The cast is assembled…


Check out our many blessings.

The cast of characters have assembled (ranging from the oldest to youngest):

Jane and Elizabeth (from Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice)
Clementine(because she likes the name) “oh my darling, Clementine…”
Arthur (as in King, of course!)
Gawain, Galahad and Gareth (the faithful Knights of the Round Table)
Charlotte and Emily (the Bronte sisters)

Only the names have changed. The comedy continues! Stay tuned…

Reality check

“The names have been changed to protect the innocent…”

I remember these words from this television program. I remember thinking it would be pretty cool to be able to change your name (I didn’t particularly like mine!), but consider myself blessed that I’ve never had to.

Until now. I’m changing my family’s blog names, to protect the innocent!

As a relatively new blogger (since 5/2007) I’ve been pretty free with information regarding my family. Using real names, cute photos and such comes naturally to those of us who still have a good deal of confidence in humanity, in general.

Unfortunately, my confidence is a bit shaken, at present. I can’t elaborate the seriousness of my concern at present, but I can share this:

Last night I noticed in my stats that someone had “googled” my oldest daughter at home. Due to a very delicate situation (the one I can’t elaborate on) we were both very concerned. It was imperative that we discover the location of the person who was looking for her (this is local).

Folks…I’m a 40+ homeschooling mother of nine children, and it took me less than 30 seconds to not only get this persons IP address, but search it and graph the coordinates right down to the street address.

The good news: it was someone she knew.

The bad news: if I can do this, anyone can.

I’m certainly not so naive as to believe that changing a few names equates solid anonymity. But I’ve been a bit too free. Ultimately, everything is traceable. By anyone with the knowledge and desire to locate information or individuals.

So…time to get creative! And do a lot of backtracking. I’ll introduce you to our “cast of characters” shortly.

Encouragement…


Because we all need it now and then…

“Be at Peace,”
by Saint Francis de Sales

Do not look forward in fear to the changes in life; rather, look to them with full hope that as they arise, God, Whose very own you are, will lead you safely through all things; and when you cannot stand it, God will carry you in His Arms.

Do not fear what may happen tomorrow; the same understanding Father Who cares for you today will take care of you then and every day.

He will either shield you from suffering or will give you unfailing strength to bear it. Be at peace, and put aside all anxious thoughts and imaginations.

Math humor…

A little homeschool math humor currently circulating on the Mother of Divine Grace homeschool loop:

A note passed from a big sister to a little sister:

Roses are red
Violets are blue
You are dumb
And so is Saxon.

You have to laugh or you’ll cry…

Spread The Love…


My dear Esther, of A Catholic Mom In Hawaii has honored me with a most thoughtful award: Spread The Love. How sweet! All I can say is, “right back atcha, Esther!”

There are so many inspirational blogs, but knowing how quickly these awards spread, I’ll choose five of my favorites:

Jen at Cozy As Spring: I love her fresh outlook and ability to roll with the punches…not to mention her “crafty” ways!

Margaret at Minnesota Mom: Honest, poignant and roflol funny! Her ever-so-mild sarcasm suits me just fine, her devotion to Church and family is inspiring.

Allison at Totus Tuus: Ahhh, me little traddie…I love Allison’s sweet photos and great love for the Traditional Latin Mass.

Barb at Praying For Grace: Pro-life, devoted homeschool mom. Makes me smile daily. I’ve got to meet her one day…

Amy Caroline at Knit Together In Love: She knits. She homeschools. She’s so very funny…I enjoy my daily visits much!

There are many wonderful blogs out there, and not nearly enough time in the day to visit them all. Check out the five above…tell them Kimberly sent you!

My little artist..

Portrait of a Seminarian by the young artist, Charlotte.

Medium: crayon/pencil

Subject: Seminarian Michael Connaughton.

Photobucket

Observe the artist’s attention to detail: the credence table, thurible and vestments.
Note how the delicate blue background enhances the overall effect.

I love you, Charlotte! What a lovely drawing…

Smile!

A few years ago, a dear friend gave me this book as a gift. My kids laughed harder than I did! Here are a few gems, as well as a couple “funnies” circulating the web:




From Mother Teresa:

“Every time you smile at someone, it is an action of love, a gift to that person, a beautiful thing.”

“Let us always meet each other with smile, for the smile is the beginning of love.”

“Peace begins with a smile.”


Harbingers of spring…

Today’s forecast: snow showers and a high of 32.

Sure enough, snow. To be expected in January. Northwest Ohio, you know.

A quick trip to the mailbox…and voilà! Harbingers of spring:

Burpee, Park and Johnny Seeds…a bright ending to an otherwise dreary day.

Making progress…


I’m getting it…the mental block is gone, and I’m finally making sense of the needle tatting patterns.

Yippee!

Why am I so excited? Well, it is certainly nice to learn something new…I’m walking proof that you can teach and old dog, new tricks!

My excitement, however, is spawned more by information given by an FSSP seminarian that this new craft can serve my Church. It is extremely difficult for priests serving the Traditional Latin Mass to find high quality surplices, altar cloths, purificators and other necessities, all of which are embellished with lace. Lace is both a symbol of joy and purity, and what greater joy than to embellish the surplice of a holy priest of God.

I’m going to try. I’m completing projects very quickly now, learning the more difficult aspects of pattern reading. I’ll keep you posted…St. Sebastian, patron of lacemakers and the saint who chose me for 2008, pray for me!

Tea and Temptations…


Ahh…Temptations!

The ultimate knitting and yarn emporium!

Saturday afternoon my dear friend, Sandra, presented me with yet another lovely birthday gift…an afternoon of Tea and Temptations. Both Teh Ku Tea House and Temptations are nestled in cozy Dublin, Ohio and share the same parking lot.

Temptations
is a delightful yarn shop that caters to knitters and crocheters. The fiber selection is excellent, with plenty of browsing room and delightfully displayed products and projects to “tempt” even the novice. Knowledgeable and helpful staff, a restful atmosphere, plenty of table and chairs encourage a thorough perusal of patterns and fiber. Temptations offers a variety of classes, but also invites the fiber artist to just “sit and knit.” We spent nearly two hours in this delightful shop. I finally settled upon a lovely sock yarn in an intense brick orange shade, while Sandra picked up a few deliciously soft skeins of Baby Cashmerino.

Here are a few photos:

While the yarn was being rolled into balls, we stepped across the parking lot to Teh Ku Tea House. A relaxing contemporary interior, outstanding selection of tea and helpful staff made for a pleasurable afternoon of sipping tea and tatting. The lunch menu offered several sandwiches and salads, all prepared to order. The Tiramisu Blend was quite lovely and the grilled roast beef sandwich with horseradish was outstanding. Staff and management were extremely cheerful and solicitous of our needs, going so far as to offer to wipe the table while we were engaging in our needlework, so as not to stain it.

The afternoon ended too soon, of course, but two very grateful wives returned to husbands who had managed the children for several hours…giving us the best gift ever. The time together was precious, and as both of us have several children at home, those times are rare.

If you happen to be in the Columbus area, stop by Dublin. Tea and Temptations await you…don’t miss it!

Ad orientem…


Our Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI celebrated the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass at the Sistine Chapel “ad orientem.”

May God be praised!

For additional information on praying the Mass ad orientem, check out this outstanding article from Notitiae 332, Vol. 29, No. 5, May 1993,
pp. 245-249, this article was translated from Italian by Fr. John T.
Zuhlsdorf
.)

PRAYING AD ORIENTEM VERSUS

(Published as an editorial in Notitiae 332, Vol. 29, No. 5, May 1993,
pp. 245-249, this article was translated from Italian by Fr. John T.
Zuhlsdorf.)

1) The Eucharistic celebration is, by definition, connected to the
eschatological dimension of the Christian faith. This is true in its most
profound identity. Is this not perhaps the sense of the wondrous change
(mirabilis conversio) of the bread and wine into the Body and Blood of
the Lord of glory, who lives always with the Father, perpetuating His
paschal mystery?

2) The sober description of the Acts of the Apostles in the first summary
concerning the life of the community speaks of the “joy” (agalliasis)
with which those joined in the assembly (epi to auto), broke bread in the
homes. This term (agalliasis) is the same that Luke used to indicate
eschatological joy.

3) There is a logic of Ascension in the Eucharist: “This Jesus that you
have seen ascend into heaven, will return. . .” In the Eucharist the Lord
returns; He anticipates sacramentally His glorious return, transforming the
profound reality of the elements, and He leaves them in the condition of
signs of His presence and mediation of communion with His own person. It is
for this that the various liturgical families underscored a common point in
different ways: with the Eucharistic prayer the Church penetrates the
celestial sphere. This is the meaning of the conclusion of the Roman
prefaces, of the chant of the Sanctus and of the eastern Cherubicon.

4) In analyzing the origins of the Eucharistic prayer one is struck by the
typically Christian variant introduced in the initial dialogue. The
greeting, Dominus vobiscum, and the invitation, Gratias agamus, are
common to the Jewish berakha. Only the Christian one, beginning with the
first complete redaction that we possess-the Apostolic Tradition-inserts
the Sursum corda. Habemus ad Dominum. For the Church, in fact,
celebrating the Eucharist is never to put into action something earthly,
but rather something heavenly, because it has the awareness that the
principal celebrant of the same action is the Lord of glory. The Church
necessarily celebrates the Eucharist oriented toward the Lord, in communion
with Him and, through His mediation, toward the Father in unity with the
Holy Spirit. The priest, ordained in the Catholic and apostolic communion,
is the witness of the authenticity of the celebration and at the same time
the sign of the glorious Lord who presides at it. Just as the bread and
wine are the elements that Christ assumes in order to “give Himself,” the
priest is the person that Christ consecrated and invited to “give.” 5) The placement of the priest and the faithful in relation to the
“mystical table” found different forms in history, some of which can be
considered typical to certain places and periods. As is logical when
treating liturgical questions, symbolism took on a noteworthy role in these
different forms, but it would be difficult to prove that the architectural
interpretation of such symbolism could, in any of the forms chosen, have
been considered as an integral and basic part of the Christian faith or of
the profound attitudes of the celebrating Church.

6) The arrangement of the altar in such a manner that the celebrant and the
faithful were looking toward the east-which is a great tradition even if it
is not unanimous-is a splendid application of the “parousial” character of
the Eucharist. One celebrates the mystery of Christ until He comes again
from the heavens (donec veniat de caelis). The sun which illuminates the
altar during the Eucharist is a pale reference to the “sun that comes from
on high” (exsultans ut gigas ad currendam viam) (Ps. 18:6) in order to
celebrate the paschal victory with His Church. The influence of the symbol
of light, and concretely the sun, is frequently found in Christian liturgy.
The baptismal ritual of the East still preserves this symbolism. Perhaps
the Christian West has not adequately appreciated this, given the
consequence of having come to be known as a “gloomy place.” But also in the
West, at the popular level, we know that there remains a certain
fascination for the rising sun. Did not Saint Leo the Great, in the fifth
century, remind the faithful in one of his Christmas homilies that “when
the sun rises in the first dawning of the day some people are so foolish as
to worship it in high places?” He adds: “There are also Christians that
still retain that it is part of religious practice to continue this
convention and that before entering the Basilica of the Apostle Peter,
dedicated to the only and true God, after having climbed the stairs that
bear one up to the upper level, turn themselves around toward the rising
sun, bow their heads and kneel in order to honor the shining disk” (Homily
27, 4). In fact, the faithful entering the basilica for the Eucharist, in
order to be intent on the altar, had to turn their backs to the sun. In
order to pray while “turned toward the east,” as it was said, they would
have had to turn their backs to the altar, which does not seem probable.

7) The fact that the application of this symbolism in the West, beginning
from very early on, progressively diminished, demonstrates that it did not
constitute an inviolable element. Therefore, it cannot be considered a
traditional fundamental principle in Christian liturgy. From this it also
arises that, subsequently, other types of symbolism influenced the
construction of altars and their arrangement in churches.

8) In the encyclical Mediator Dei, Pius XII regarded as “archeologists”
those who presumed to speak of the altar as a simple table. Would it not be
equally an archeologizing tendency to consider that the arrangement of the
altar toward the East is the decisive key to a correct Eucharistic
celebration? In effect, the validity of the liturgical reform is not based
only and exclusively on the return to original forms. There can also be
completely new elements in it, and in fact there are some, that have been
perfectly integrated.

9) The liturgical reform of the II Vatican Council did not invent the
arrangement of the altar turned toward the people. One thinks concerning
this of the witness of the Roman basilicas, at least as a pre-existing
fact. But it was not an historical fact that directed the clear option for
an arrangement of the altar that permits a celebration turned toward the
people. The authorized interpretors of the reform-Cardinal Lercaro as the
president of the Consilium-repeated from the very beginning (see the
letters from 1965) that one was not dealing with a question of a liturgy
that is continuing or passing away (quaestio stantis vel cadentis
liturgiae). The fact that the suggestions of Cardinal Lercaro in this
matter were, in that moment of euphoria, little taken into consideration,
is unfortunately not an isolated case. Changing the orientation of the
altar and utilizing the vernacular turned out to be much easier ways for
entering into the theological and spiritual meaning of the liturgy, for
absorbing its spirit, for studying the history and the meaning of the rites
and analyzing the reasons behind the changes that were brought about and
their pastoral consequences.

10) The option for celebrations is coherent with the
foundational theological idea discovered and proven by the liturgical
movement: “Liturgical actions are celebrations of the Church. . .which is
the holy people of God gathered and ordered under the bishops” (SC 26). The
theology of the common priesthood and the ministerial priesthood, “distinct
in essence, and not in degree” (essentia, non gradu) and nevertheless
ordered to each other (LG 10) is certainly better expressed with the
arrangement of the altar versus populum. Did not monks, from ancient
times, pray turned toward each other in order to search for the presence of
the Lord in their midst? Moreover, a figurative motive is worth
underscoring. The symbolic form of the Eucharist is that of a meal, a
repetition of the supper of the Lord. One does not doubt that this meal is
sacrificial, a memorial of the death and resurrection of Christ, but from
the figurative point of view its reference point is the supper.

11) Furthermore, how does one forget that one of the strongest arguments
that sustain the continuance of the uninterrupted tradition of the
exclusive ordination of men, lies in the fact that the priest, president in
virtue of ordination, stands at the altar as a member of the assembly, but
also by his sacramental character, before the assembly as Christ is the
head of the Church and that for this reason stands there in front of
(gegenuber) the Church.

12) If from the supports we pass to the applications, we find much material
for reflection. The Congregation of Divine Worship, taking into
consideration that a series of questions has been rising up in this regard,
proposes now the following guiding points:

1. The celebration of the Eucharist versus populum requires of the priest
a greater and more sincere expression of his ministerial conscience: his
gestures, his prayer, his facial expression must reveal to the assembly in
a more direct way the principal actor, the Lord Jesus. One does not
improvise this; one acquires it with some technique. Only a profound sense
of the proper priestly identity in spiritu et veritate is able to attain
this.

2. The orientation of the altar versus populum requires with great care a
correct use of the different areas of the sanctuary: the chair, the ambo
and altar, as well as a correct positioning of the people that preside and
serve in it. If the altar is turned into a pedestal for everything
necessary for celebrating the Eucharist, or into a substitute for the chair
in the first part of the Mass, or into a place from which the priest
directs the whole celebration (in almost a technical sense), the altar will
lose symbolically its identity as the central place of the Eucharist, the
table of mystery, the meeting place between God and men for the sacrifice
of the new and eternal covenant.

3. The placement of the altar versus populum is certainly something in
the present liturgical legislation that is desirable. It is not,
nevertheless, an absolute value over and beyond all others. It is necessary
to take into account cases in which the sanctuary does not admit of an
arrangement of the altar facing the people, or it is not possible to
preserve the preceding altar with its ornamentation in such a way that
another altar facing the people can be understood to be the principal
altar. In these cases, it is more faithful to liturgical sense to celebrate
at the existing altar with the back turned to the people rather than
maintain two altars in the same sanctuary. The principle of the unicity of
the altar is theologically more important than the practice of celebrating
facing the people.

4. It is proper to explain clearly that the expression “celebrate facing
the people” does not have a theological sense, but only a topographical-
positional sense. Every celebration of the Eucharist is praise and glory of
God, for our good and the good of all the Church (ad laudem et gloriam
nominis Dei, ad utilitatem quoque nostram, totiusque Ecclesiae suae
sanctae). Theologically, therefore, the Mass is always facing towards God
and facing the people. In the form of celebration it is necessary to take
care not to switch theology and topography around, above all when the
priest is at the altar. The priest speaks to the people only in the
dialogue from the altar. All the rest is prayer to the Father, through the
mediation of Christ in the Holy Spirit. This theology must be visible.

5. At last, a conjectural consideration that is not to be left in silence.
Thirty years have passed since the constitution Sacrosanctum Concilium.
“Provisional arrangements” cannot be justified any longer. In the re-
organization of the sanctuary if a provisional character is maintained
which is either pedagogically or artistically badly resolved, then an
element of distortion results for catechesis and for the very theology of
the celebration. Some criticisms of certain celebrations that are raised
are well-founded and can only be taken with seriousness. The effort to
improve celebrations is one of the basic elements to assure, in so far as
it depends on us, an active and fruitful participation.

Traditional Feast of the Holy Family


The first Sunday after Epiphany marks the Feast of the Holy Family, according to the traditional calendar. A most lovely feast, honoring the Holy Family, and especially significant for parishioners of Holy Family Catholic Church in Columbus, OH.

This morning we were most blessed to attend a Solemn High Mass, with celebrants Fr. Eric Flood (recently designated District Superior General for the FSSP), our dear seminarian and former Master of Ceremonies, Michael Connaughten and Fr. Kevin Lutz, Holy Family’s very own pastor.

Fr. Flood’s homily on the Holy Family was touching, instructive and illuminating. A few highlights (summarizations and not the complete text):

*We must remember that one of the best ways we can emulate our Lord, is to imitate the child Jesus, resting peacefully and confidently in the arms of His dear mother, Mary. As Mary lamented the “loss” of her child (when he was teaching in the Temple), so she mourns those of us who are “lost” to her. We must return to our Mother, just as Jesus did. Mary was “mommy” to Jesus…

*If we wish our children to be virtuous, we must manifest constantly all of those virtues which Mary possessed. We must eliminate distractions, seeking our joy and finding salvation in our vocation. Mary didn’t “gad about”. She lived a quiet and hidden life of virtue. Her home was her castle, and she was Queen. So must we, as mothers, be queen of our castle.

*Fathers must continually seek the intercession of St. Joseph to successfully live their vocation as parent and spouse. The desire to protect the weak is inborn…men wish to be heroic. They must be heroes within their own homes. If a father attends Mass weekly with his children, 80% of these children will remain practicing Catholics. If the children are taken to Church by the mother only, the numbers fall to 25%.

*The path to heaven is by way of the family.

Here is a slideshow of this lovely Mass:

Night school…


9:00 p.m.

The time that all children should be sleeping peacefully in their beds.

Except mine. I taught the last class of the day at 9:00 p.m. last night. After battling the scholars all day long to finish up “this and that”, I was pretty sure we were finished for the evening by 6:30 p.m.

Until Gareth reminded me he had not read to me. How I wanted to turn him away! D-O-N-E…and T-I-R-E-D! But there he was, a sweet smile and an innocent request.

So we read. And I praised him for his fine effort and desire to finish all of his subjects.
If only he and his siblings had been so motivated, earlier in the week! Our extended Christmas vacation has thrown everything off balance. I’m still trying to put the house in order, take down Christmas decorations, teach school, cook, and maintain my sanity while trying to motivate the children.

This is perhaps the toughest “back to school” week that we’ve experienced in quite some time. Our school days typically start by 8:30 a.m. and end by no later than 2:00 p.m.–with lunch and breaks in between. This week’s schedule has been full of starts and stops, outside interruptions, illness and just plain laziness!

As I told a dear friend last night, I was hopeful that this week would end better than it started. That the children would “find their footing and get down to business”. She reminded me that the next day was Friday and the week would be over.
Time flies even when you’re not having fun!

So, dear friends…say a little prayer for this homeschool family. No major catastrophes–just a few grumpy people that really haven’t felt like doing school this week. Even the college student is having a bad week.

Next week will be better…next week will be better…next week will be better…

Schola


Schola classes resumed today under the tutelage of Monsieur L’Abbé Michael Connaughten. I love the formal title for this dear seminarian, though most of the boys know him simply as FSSP Seminarian Michael Connaughten of Holy Family, Columbus.

Abbé Connaughten led the boys (and moms) in the Angelus (in chant) and then proceeded to conduct a review of past materials. The results: the students are progressing nicely.

Here are a few lovely photos. Especially notice the traditional clerical garments. Michael’s dear mother stitched both the full length wool cape and the shoulder cape. If you are at all curious about traditional clerical garments, here is an excellent resource.

Our Schola Master:

The Angelus…

Such joyful faces…

Ave verum…

Legalized kidnapping…

This is America, right?

I thought so.

Someone needs to tell the Garfield County, Colorado Magistrate, Social Services, paramedics and the SWAT team who all participated in the organized “kidnapping” of an 11 year old homeschooled boy.

This is simply horrifying:

From WorldNetDaily:

SWAT officers invade home, take 11-year-old at gunpoint
Cops demand boy go to doctor because of fall during horseplay

Nearly a dozen members of a police SWAT team in western Colorado punched a hole in the front door and invaded a family’s home with guns drawn, demanding that an 11-year-old boy who had had an accidental fall accompany them to the hospital, on the order of Garfield County Magistrate Lain Leoniak.

The boy’s parents and siblings were thrown to the floor at gunpoint and the parents were handcuffed in the weekend assault, and the boy’s father told WND it was all because a paramedic was upset the family preferred to care for their son themselves.

Someone, apparently the unidentified paramedic, called police, the sheriff’s office and social services, eventually providing Leoniak with a report that generated the magistrate’s court order to the sheriff’s office for the SWAT team assault on the family’s home in a mobile home development outside of Glenwood Springs, the father, Tom Shiflett, told WND.

WND calls and e-mails to Garfield County Social Services were not returned, and Leoniak, who earlier served as a water court clerk/referee, also was not available.

Sheriff Lou Vallario, however, did call back, and told WND he ordered his officers to do exactly what the magistrate demanded.

“I was given a court order by the magistrate to seize the child, and arrange for medical evaluation, and that’s what we did,” he said.

According to friends of the family, Tom Shiflett, who has 10 children including six still at home, and served with paramedics in Vietnam, was monitoring his son’s condition himself.

The paramedic and magistrate, however, ruled that that wasn’t adequate, and dispatched the officers to take the boy, John, to a hospital, where a doctor evaluated him and released him immediately.

The accident happened during horseplay, Tom Shiflett told WND. John was grabbing the door handle of a car as his sister was starting to drive away slowly. He slipped, fell to the ground and hit his head, Shiflett said.

He immediately carried his son into their home several doors away, and John was able to recite Bible verses and correctly spell words as his father and mother, Tina, requested. There were no broken bones, no dilated eyes, or any other noticeable problems.

The family, whose members live by faith and homeschool, decided not to call an ambulance. But a neighbor did call Westcare Ambulance, and paramedics responded to the home, asking to see and evaluate the boy.

The paramedics were allowed to see the boy, and found no significant impairment, but wanted to take him to the hospital for an evaluation anyway. Fearing the hospital’s bills, the family refused to allow that.

“This apparently did not go over well with one of the paramedics and they started getting aggravated at Tom for not letting them have their way,” a family acquaintance told WND.

“The paramedics were not at all respectful of Tom’s decision, nor did they act in a manner we would expect from professional paramedics,” the acquaintance said.

So the ambulance crew, who also could not be reached by WND, called police, only to be told the decision was up to the Shiflett familiy.

The paramedics then called the sheriff’s office, and officers responded to the home, and were told everyone was being cared for.

Then the next day, Friday, social services workers appeared at the door and demanded to talk with John “in private.”

They were so persistent Tom ended up having to get John out of the bathtub he was just soaking in, to bring him to the front porch where the social workers could see him, the family reported.

Then, following an afternoon shopping trip to town, the family settled in for the evening, only to be shocked with the SWAT team attack.

The sheriff said the decision to use SWAT team force was justified because the father was a “self-proclaimed constitutionalist” and had made threats and “comments” over the years.

However, the sheriff declined to provide a single instance of the father’s illegal behavior. “I can’t tell you specifically,” he said.

“He was refusing to provide medical care,” the sheriff said.

However, the sheriff said if his own children were involved in an at-home accident, he would want to be the one to make decisions on their healthcare, as did Shiflett.

“I guess if that was one of my children, I would make that decision,” the sheriff said.

But he said Shiflett was “rude and confrontational” when the paramedics arrived and entered his home without his permission.

The sheriff also admitted that the injury to the child had been at least 24 hours earlier, because the fall apparently happened Thursday afternoon, and the SWAT attack happened late Friday evening.

Officials with the Home School Legal Defense Association reported they were looking into the case, because of requests from family friends who are members of the organization.

“While people can debate whether or not the father should have brought his son to the ER – it seems like this was not the kind of emergency that warrants this kind of outrageous conduct by government officials,” a spokesman said.

Tom Shiflett said when John was evaluated by the physician, “they didn’t find anything wrong with him.”

He said the paramedics never should have entered his home, but they followed his wife in the front door when she came in.

“My attention was on my son,” Shiflett said.

He said the SWAT team punched a hole in his door with a ramrod, and the first officer in the home pointed a gun right in the face of Tom’s 20-year-old daughter.

“I don’t know where social services ever got started, or where they got their authority,” he said. “But I want to know why we have something in this country that violates our rights, that takes a parental right away.”

He said he saw a multitude of injuries in Vietnam, and while he recognized that his son needed to be watched, he wasn’t willing to turn his child over to the paramedics.

With 10 children, most of them older than John, it’s not as if he hasn’t seen a bruise or two, either, he said.

“Now I’m hunting for lawyers that will take the case … I’m going to sue everybody whose name was on that page right down to the judge,” he said.

Mike Donnelly, a lawyer with the HSLDA, told WND the case had a set of circumstances that could be problematic for authorities.

“In Doe V. Heck, the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals held that parents have a fundamental right to familial relations including a liberty interest in the care, custody and control of their children,” he said.

He also said many social services agencies apply “a one size fits all approach” to cases, regardless of circumstances.

Sandra’s butterfly…


Here is an update on this post.

I did it! I’m actually needle tatting! I followed a pattern and created something which is actually recognizable…a butterfly!

Thank you again, my dear Sandra. What a splendid gift. The butterfly is yours–my first project and a gift to my teacher.

If needle tatting intrigues you, check out this website. It is a lovely skill to acquire, all you need is a needle, thread and a good deal of patience.

In preparation for the Holy Season of Lent…


Amazing! We are a mere thirty days from the start of the Lenten Season. Ash Wednesday comes early this year, February 6th, to be precise. There’s no time like the present to begin contemplating this season of sacrifice.

A great way to prepare for Lent is to start with a novena. The Novena may be recited nine days prior to Ash Wednesday (in true Novena form) or may be recited throughout the holy season. Here is an excellent Novena from Catholic Doors to start with:

Father, all-powerful and ever-living God,
During the Holy Season of Lent
You call us to a closer union with Yourself.
Help me to prepare to celebrate
The Paschal Mystery
With mind and heart renewed.
Give me a spirit of loving reverence
For You, our Father,
And of willing service to my neighbor.
As I recall the great events
That gave us new life in Christ,
Bring the image of Your Son
To perfection within my soul.

This great season of grace is Your gift
To Your family to renew us in spirit.
Give me strength to purify my heart,
To control my desires,
And so to serve You in freedom,
Teach me how to live
In this passing world with my heart set
On the world that will never end.

I ask for the grace
To master my sinfulness
And conquer my pride.
I want to show to those in need
Your goodness to me by being kind to all.

Through my observance of Lent,
Help me to correct my faults
And raise my mind to You,
And thus grow in holiness
That I may deserve
The reward of everlasting life.

In Your mercy grant me this special favor:

(State your intention(s) here…)

The days of the life-giving Death
And glorious Resurrection of Jesus Christ,
Your Son, are approaching.
This is the hour
When He triumphed over Satan’s pride,
The time when we celebrate
The great event of our Redemption.
The Suffering and Death of Your Son
Brought life to the whole world,
Moving our hearts to praise Your glory.

The power of the Cross reveals
Your judgment on this world
And the kingship of Christ crucified.
Father, through His love for us
And through His Sufferings, Death and Resurrection,
May I gain eternal life with You in heaven.

Another excellent preparation for the season is viewing (once again, I’m sure) The Passion of the Christ. Our youngest children have been allowed to view only the Agony in the Garden, but the rest of the family views the movie in its entirety prior to Ash Wednesday. It provides an excellent opportunity for all to contemplate the sacrifices we wish to make, both material and spiritual.

Involving the little ones takes a bit of creativity. A dear friend shared a tradition that I find intriguing. The Crown of Thorns

You’ll need a styrofoam wreath form, brown paint and a couple boxes of toothpicks. Paint the wreath form. Insert toothpicks (thorns) randomly, but not too deeply. Your Crown of Thorns is complete! When the children are observed engaging in good behavior, kind and sacrificial acts, then they are allowed to “pull a thorn.” “Thorns” may be placed in a jar beside the crown. The goal should be to remove all of the thorns by Good Friday.

Another suggestion is an empty bowl and bunch of small, paper crosses. As a sacrifice is made, the child places a “cross” in the bowl. The goal: fill the bowl by Good Friday.

Our family performs the Stations of the Cross at home. The fourteen “stations” are set up throughout the home, with the family “processing” to each station. This year, I’ve been thinking about setting up the stations along the path to the woods. It is generally very cold and windy here…I’ll have to think about that one!

And then there’s food.
Which is how most to secular world knows that Lent is here. The lines at Long John Silver’s are longer and your local grocery store will have prominent seafood displays. You’d think that Lent is the only time that Catholics are obligated to fast!

Nonetheless, fast and abstinence definitely play a large role in the mortification of the flesh. For a rules regarding fast and abstinence, read this.

I’ll be posting a couple extra recipes per week under the “Fast Food” tab on my menu bar. Allowing the children to take turns choosing the “fast” meal, is another way to encourage involvement.

How will you prepare for Lent? What are your traditions? Spiritual exercises? How do your children approach “sacrifice”?

Wishing you a joyful pre-Lenten preparation!

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