"God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him."
(1 Jn 4:16)

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Glory Stories and Homilies

We have been listening to Glory Stories since Patrick was a baby, possibly even a few years earlier.  As we drove to my parent's house after Mass one Saturday, we heard the story Treasure in Heaven: The Story of Saint Katherine Drexel on Sacred Heart Radio and we knew we had to buy theses CDs (each purchase assists Catholic World Mission in helping the poor).  That year, our children received one each on St. Nicholas' Feast Day, some more (plus the coloring books) in their Christmas stockings, and even more CDs and coloring  books in their Easter baskets.  We were hooked and we still are.  We listen to Glory Stories when we drive to Mass and at other times.  The children really like them and so do my husband and I.

On Sunday, our pastor mentioned the words "Viva Cristo Rey" in his homily a few times and I wondered whether my children were paying attention.  They are very familiar with these words thanks to the Glory Stories Viva Cristo Rey:  The Courageous Saints of the Knights of Columbus and My Battle Name is Jose Luis!.  Last night, I got my answer.  As we sat at the dinner table, Patrick said, "So, Fr. Saguto knows about 'Viva Cristo Rey'.  He talked about it in his homily on Sunday.  He must listen to Glory Stories."  At that point, all of the older children (4 and up) started to discuss Father's homily on rightful authority and standing up for Christ and the Church.

I was temporarily stunned.  Patrick, my son who says he wants to be a priest, but also complains about going to Mass (like a lot of little boys), actually listened to our pastor's homily.  My son, who sits on his Daddy's lap or lies down in the pew and looks like he is trying to sleep during Mass, actually heard and remembered our pastor's words.  I interrupted my children's conversation to ask, "Was it Patrick who just started talking about Fr. Saguto's homily?"  Everyone answered in the affirmative, including Patrick.

Long live Christ the King!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

He Didn't do it Without Compliance

Last night, I heard Finnian crying and went to see what was wrong.  I found him tied to a parking meter piggy bank in his room.  His brothers were trying to untie him.  He turned to me and cried, "Patrick tied me up."  All I could think was, "He didn't do it without compliance from you."

His sister got some scissors and cut the yarn that had been used.  I don't think that my little one will let his brother tie him up again.  Just in case, the piggy bank has been removed from the bedroom.

Apology Accepted

Daddy: "Finnian, apologize to Mommy for what you did."

Finnian (in the sweetest voice): "I forgive you, Mommy."

Saturday, October 24, 2009

All Saints Day Party Games

Two games that I have not seen mentioned elsewhere are Practice the Virtues like the Saints Race and Find the Keys for St. Peter.  Both games are not my original ideas.

Practice the Works of Mercy like the Saints Race requires cards for various saints placed around a table. Each card has instructions, manipulatives, and sometimes pictures to complete an activity. Each child is timed as they go around the table completing the activities on the cards.  The child who completes the race in the fastest amount of time receives a prize at the end of the evening.  Each child's name needs to be written down, along with the time that it takes for them to complete the race. They can stand in line again and try to beat their previous time.

The works of mercy that are listed on individual cards are as follows:
  • Feed the hungry like St. Elizabeth of Hungary. There is a basket with rolls.  Each child needs to place the rolls in the basket.
  • Help build the Church like St. Francis.  There are blocks and a diagram in the shape of a church. Each child uses the blocks to build a church.
  • Pray for the living and the dead like St. Cyprian.  A picture of hands folded in prayer is on this card. Each child has to say a prayer.
  • Clothe the naked like St. Martin de Tours. Requires an outfit and a doll. The doll has to be dressed.
  • Give drink to the thirsty like... There is a pitcher and a glass. Each child pours water into the glass.
  • Give to the poor like St. Nicholas. The manipulatives are a bag filled with coins and a stocking or pretend chimney. The coin bag needs to be put in the chimney.
  • Teach the Faith like St. Patrick. Shamrock pieces, including the stem, need to be put together.

For Find the Keys for St. Peter, there are three bowls turned upside down. One has two keys taped in it. If the child lifts the correct bowl, they get a piece of candy.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Promoting Reading for Boys (and Girls)

Recently, a friend asked me how I got my oldest son to progress past short books.  The key to my son reading chapter books was involving Dad in read alouds and finding books that grabbed my son's interest.  Some of the books that Brendan really liked listening to his father read are:

The Matchlock Gun by Walter D. Edmonds

Mr. Popper's Penguins by Richard and Florence Atwater

Alvin's Secret Code by Clifford B. Hicks

The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis

Outlaws of Ravenhurst by M. Imelda Wallace

Brendan often found it hard to wait until the next evening to hear more of the story and would continue reading where his father had stopped.  This is exactly what we were hoping he would do.

Today, my son likes the Alvin Fernald series, Childhood of Famous Americans series (Laura Berquist recommendation), and some old Encounter the Saints books about male saints that were given to him by a lady at 40 Days for Life. Encounter the Saints books are still being printed by the Daughters of St. Paul, but I do not know whether they are the same quality as the ones we have or if the old titles have been reprinted.

Some of the books that the girls enjoyed that would probably appeal to boys, too, are the Boxcar Children books by Gertrude Chandler Warner, The Happy Hollisters series by Jerry West, Carolyn Haywood's Here's a Penny and Penny and Peter, and Twenty and Ten by Claire Huchet Bishop.  I know there are more books that appeal to boys and girls, but these are the ones that my daughters mentioned.

When I asked Brendan, "What books did and do you like reading?"  He mentioned some of the ones above, plus the following:

Pancakes Paris by Claire Huchet Bishop

The Truffle Pig by Claire Huchet Bishop

Freddy Goes to Floridaby Walter R. Brooks (and other books in this series)

The Eddie books by Carolyn Haywood

The Perilous Road by William O. Steele (and the other books in this series)

We always try to have books available for our children to read.  In addition to checking out a lot of books from the library, we give the children a book for their birthday (usually hard cover), baptism anniversary (saint book), Christmas (usually related to Christmas), and after every nine weeks of school (paperback). In other words, they are given seven books each year. They choose the ones that they get for completing each quarter from a big box full of books that I have picked up at library book sales, our Catholic homeschool conference, or for good prices on the web. This seems to entice my children to want to read. An unforeseen side benefit to our book box is if two children want the same book, they sometimes work a little harder to try and finish their 9 weeks of school first.  They also like to ask "Daddy" to read their book to the family.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Where Did the Time Go?

Our little princess is already one.  I still remember how she surprised me with her slightly early entrance into this world and how thankful I was to be holding another baby in my arms.  Her early days, weeks, and months seemed like such a dream.  She was so quiet and peaceful, falling asleep every night around 8.  She has continued to be an easy little girl, bringing us so much joy, love, and laughter.

Finnian used to laugh when he looked at her.  Now, they both laugh when they look at each other.  Love really does keep growing.

Saving the Old

I decided to update my header with more recent photos, but I don't want to lose this one.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

1000 Gifts

I had wanted to share these on Monday, but I never got around to doing so.

Gifts #18-30

I am thankful for:

18.  the Catholic Church
19.  children who love each other.
20.  a pastor who visits his parishioners.

21.  homeschooling.
22.  an upcoming All Saints Day Party.
23.  the wonderful ideas that Jessica has shared.
24.  beautiful fall weather.  Our heater has only needed to turn on once.
25.  cavity-free dentist appointments for all five children who went in for an exam.
26.  opportunities that come with little mishaps around the house.  Scattered flour gives me an excuse to clean the floor.  Spilled milk does the same. :)
27.  a little girl who insisted on holding my hands and walking with me as I went to kneel at the altar rail and receive Communion on Sunday.

28.  the playground at our parish.
29.  the close-up photos of these 150-year-old vestments at   The vestments looked exquisite.  The volunteer seamstress and her helpers, along with did an absolutely incredible job restoring them.  They all have amazing talent.
30.  my little rascal and his sister who took this photo.

We have so much for which to be thankful.
God has truly blessed us!

Gratitude Community

Prayer Request

Please pray for a friend's son that he is safe and that he contacts his family soon.

Thank you.

Friday, October 09, 2009

The Walls are Broken Down and I am on my Knees

It's been a hard week.  By the time yesterday rolled around, I was ready to hold up a white flag.  As I worked on lesson plans, Finnian scattered flour all over the kitchen, the dining room, the hallway, and some of his siblings.  No one said a thing.  I knew something was wrong, when I said, "What is going on?"  The only response I received was the sound of a certain two-year-old's feet scampering away.  I spent a couple of hours vacuuming and cleaning the floors.

My husband knew that it had been a difficult week and joked with me, "Your walls are broken down.  You have no defenses left and they know it...  I can bring in the big guns if you want."  I let him know the walls were not completely gone.  I went to bed feeling optimistic, knowing that things could only get better.  Then, today dawned.

This morning left me reeling and feeling completely sick to my stomach.  Someone sent an email, letting me know that they were planning on jumping off a moral cliff.  I responded out of love and let the person know that I could not support them in their decision.  I received an eloquent email from someone else basically saying that I had no right to judge, only God can do so.  I wanted to ask, "If someone were about to jump off of a cliff, would you let him do so or would you advise him against it?"  My husband encouraged me to simply remain quiet.  I am doing so and I am reminding myself of my mom's words, "God knows the truth and that is all that matters."  The walls are broken down and I am on my knees, but I know that tomorrow is another day and I will take up my cross.
...After Cain had killed his brother Abel, our Lord came to him and inquired concerning the whereabouts of Abel. Cain replied: “I do not know; am I my brother’s keeper?” (Genesis 4:9).
6. Christ has supplied the definitive answer to Cain’s question in the Parable of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:25-37) and ultimately, on Calvary, by giving Himself up to death for the salvation of the world (John 3:14-15; and 12:31-33). Yes, we are our “brother’s keeper.” We are responsible for the good of all our brothers and sisters in our nation and in the world, without boundaries. The Good Samaritan gave every possible care to the foreigner, a citizen of an enemy people, whom robbers had left along the roadside to die. His fellow countrymen, indeed religious leaders, saw him and “passed by on the other side” of the road, avoiding him and failing to help him. As followers of Christ, who is the Good Samaritan, we can never excuse ourselves from responsibility when there is something to be done to save the life of a brother or sister in great need. We are called to be “Christians Without Borders,” without boundaries to our love of neighbor.
~ Most Reverend Raymond L. Burke, D.D., J.C.D., Civic Responsibility for the Common Good ~

Monday, October 05, 2009

It's All About Charlotte

Finnian:  "Mommy, I like going to Mass.  I like going to the potluck and I like playing on the playground."

Me:  "I am happy that you like going to Mass..."

Finnian (before I could finish):  "I get to play with Charlotte."

Hopefully, in a year or two, it will be all about loving God.

Friday, October 02, 2009

North American Martyrs: Solemn High Mass with Archbishop Brunett

This Solemn High Mass celebrated North American Martyrs' first patronal feast. Archbishop Brunett assisted with the Mass from the throne, a ceremony not seen in the Archdiocese of Seattle for over 40 years. The celebrant, Fr. Gerard Saguto, FSSP, was assisted by Fraternity of St. Peter priests Fr. Erik Deprey and Fr. Dan Geddes from Vancouver, BC, together with Fr. Matthew McNeely from Sacramento, CA and Fr. Gregory Pendergraft from Scranton, PA. Paul Grady directed the choir. The organist was Dr. Tom Joyce.
The direct link to Gloria TV is  The video can also be seen here,
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