Monday, January 27, 2014

The Center of it all :: Weekends with Chesterton

"Numberless modern women have rebelled against domesticity in theory because they have never known it in practice. .. . Generally speaking, the cultured class is shrieking to be let out of the decent home, just as the working class is shouting to be let into it." 
What's Wrong With the World      G.K. Chesterton

Matt Walsh recently wrote the article, "Stay-at-home moms: you don’t owe the world an explanation" in response to an article entitled, "I Look Down On Young Women With Husbands And Kids And I’m Not Sorry.” I am a stay at home mom by choice; in fact, I gave up a promising career in anthropology and archaeology to take up my vocation.
I grew up in a single parent household; my father lived in another state but was always a phone call away. It was an incredible experience where I learned how to take of myself and my younger brother and prepared me for the sacrifices that I have to make currently everyday. I remember often being amazed that parents were there to take such interest in their children's extracurricular activities or drive them somewhere. Not that my mother was completely uninterested but she was usually working or out creating her own life. So, when I read the above quote from Chesterton this past Sunday, I felt compelled to share it. When I was in elementary school, I do remember wishing for that perfect family life and think that we as a generation have lost the importance of the idea of a home where there is a strong bond and a mother that stabilizes the home.

Friday, January 17, 2014

7 Quick Takes: Books, What's working and What's Not

--- 1 ---

I discovered Matthew Kelly last summer when a great friend sent me a copy of 4 Signs of a Dynamic Catholic. It was interesting and a well thought out commentary about the current state of our Catholic family. However, it was vague with not a mention of some key words like Jesus, Holy Father, Mary, or anything specifically Catholic. I brushed it off as it was just summing up the dismal current mind set of Catholics in America. Then, I attended a speaking engagement in Ogdensburg with Matthew Kelly; he is a wonderfully dynamic speaker. I purchased his book, Building Better Families: A Practical Guide to Raising Amazing Children. This was a vague book providing little if any direction on what actually to do for your family. It gives broad sweeping themes which is a great start but does not assist the reader with how to apply that knowledge long term. Again, there is not Catholic specific vocabulary which bothers me. There is no mention of religion specifically at all but again a vague spirituality. I would not recommend this overall or to a large number of people.

--- 2 ---

Pondered in My Heart is a wonderful blog about Catholic family life; one that keeps me going when my house is peanut butter sticky and all I want to do is lay on the couch watching Netflix. The peacefulness emits off of the screen giving me hope that I can overcome my preferences for the Greater Glory. Her daughter illustrated this book! A interesting coincidence, the day after I ordered this book, we picked patron saints for the year. Bubba our youngest daughter choose St. Felix of Nola out of our Saint bag! So, we celebrated her saint this past week by reading this lovely book. My husband is a painter who loves watercolor, and he just love all of the details that were painted. In fact, I think that Lydia's lovely watercolor illustrations inspired him to pick up the brush again.

--- 3 ---

We started back to school officially this week. Unfortunately, it was a week later than I wanted but ear infections and a teething toddler kept us from starting earlier. Right now, I am very happy with our curriculum choices overall. The PAL system from the Institute for Excellence in Writing had been life changing for my oldest.

--- 4 ---

The Magic School Bus: Back in Time with the Dinosaurs Kit from Amazon was a really fun way to enhance our science lessons during this winter weather. This trimester we chose to go with the Human body kit which I got for 15 buckaroos.

--- 5 ---

One thing that has not been working for us is my lack of sleep. I am the black sheep of the family. I love the night life but I loathe the mornings. I have not been as diligent on my wake up time as I need to be. Right now, its not too big of a deal; later on, I am going to have to be on the ball. I need to have breakfast made by 7:30 in the morning (my soul hurts).

--- 6 ---

Designated times in which the chickadees can use screens (leap pads, tv, computer) has been a great way for me to create accountability, time management, and for me to show that I am willing to work with the chickadees. We had a family meeting (ok really it was dinner and the Bubba was eating crayons naked while everyone screamed ideas at me)to determine how much time they wanted to use the devices (turns out ALL THE TIME. Weird, right?) We (meaning me with husband approval because I'm a meanie pooper just ask around town)decided screens could be used only during quiet time (1 pm to 3 pm) which is when the baby naps, and I read (or watch Acorn TV).

--- 7 ---

Read Aloud times have not been happening. Usually I attempt 30 minutes every hour; however, lately its been only 30 minutes everyday. They still have audio books for bed and during art time but I miss reading to them! So, we just have to work it back up. Have a great weekend!

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

Monday, January 13, 2014

Authenticity a Word to Bring Wisdom

Resolutions have never interested me. There I admit it. I usually have a few generic ones cued up in my memory just to shush the New Year Eve people. Maybe its my INTJ awesome-sauce; I am always in a state of evaluation about my life, my faith, my personality. I am always rethinking my plan or I am always planning my plan. Tired yet? Because I am.

I read an article which I can not find currently about choosing a word instead for the New Year that embodies what you want to accomplish. Then, I read about it everywhere. For a solid week, every blog, every book I picked up (weird right? I need some math people to figure that statistic out for me) had this concept present for my eyes to see.

After an emotional holiday, I had some discernment to do. Naturally, it coincided with the gem of choosing a word. So there I was on Epiphany Sunday sitting in my pew without chickadees or the husband (we fought a noble war against illness for a month, I think we are winning finally), and the word came: Authenticity.

I have ignored the call from the Holy Spirit, and placed a false idea into my head about who I am, what I am called to do, and what my priorities are. I am an extreme introvert; however, I was pushing myself to attend events more than four times a week on occasion that were not necessary and were not fulfilling at all. So, I need to summon my courage and start making decisions that are sincere and truly beneficial.

Once my word was found, I made myself some mini-goals that express my authentic self and family culture. Then I found lovely stock images placing them into Picmonkey to create a collage.



Faith Goals:

1. Say  Lauds and Vespers each day.

2. Read Bible for 15 minutes each day.

3. Say one Rosary per day. One decade with the chickadees and one decade with Jeff before retiring for the night.

Family Goals:

1. One family fun day/weekend a month.

2. Increase Read Aloud time.

3. Screen-free except for inside the designated times, which are early morning (after beds are made), 1-3 pm, and 6:30 to 7pm.

Personal Goals:

1. Limit FB to 30 minutes a day.

2. Get up around 5:30/6:00 and go to bed around 10 pm.

3. Research, investigate, and establish a rule of life.

Domestic Goals:

1. Follow Budget.

2. Pay off Debt without accruing more debt.

3. Focus on the liturgical year with one major celebration a month as well as honoring Feast days of Saints, and sacramental milestones!

I will re-evaluate in June. Today was the first day that I put into effect any of these goals. I also printed out the collage with the goal list and taped it up around the house to keep my mind in order.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Purpose Redefined:: Weekends with Chesterton

"The men who have really been the bold artists, the realistic artists, the uncompromising artists, are the men who have turned out, after all, to be writing "with a purpose.""


Over the last few months, I debated over whether or not blogging was really for me. I have three chickadees under 6 and a fourth on the way; I barely get my to-do list done every day. But then... Sarah at Amongst Lovely Things started this wonderful link up, Weekends with Chesterton! How could I resist?

I have this great book called The Wisdom of Mr. Chesterton that I was perusing after the inspiration mentioned. I found the above quote near the end. Well, as always, Mr. Chesterton did inspire me to once again hit the keys with fervor. However, I was left with the idea of my purpose for blogging. After a week of discernment and discussion with the husband, I think my purpose is to simply show an authentic Catholic homeschooling family that struggles with everyday to become the people God intended us to be.