Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Home School Madness

For fellow home schoolers, do you ever feel like there is just not enough time in the day to do it all? Some days I feel like nothing gets done. The last couple of weeks between my surgery, my tooth extraction and all the other craziness of our household, time just keeps flying by and I feel like I am accomplishing nothing. Yet, Elliott does most of his classes everyday, Gideon is flying through his pre-school program, doing more than he needs to daily and Emma seems to be on track...it still FEELS like I am failing at this. I am thinking I am too worried about a time-line and need to focus less on the time SPENT on school work, and focus more on PROGRESS being made by my kids. They are ALL progressing. I have to remind myself that if Emma was still in public school, she would still be in 6th grade, and she is a quarter of the way through 7th now. Elliott, if still in public school, would still be in Kindergarten, but is getting ready to begin 2nd grade by the end of summer and Gideon is going to be ready to start Kindergarten by summer and if in public school would still have to wait an entire other school year to start Kindergarten because he misses the age cutoff.

So, logically, I KNOW the kids are much better off here at home. And I do not question my decision to home school, ever! I just have sooooooooooooooooooo much to do in such little time. I think I need to re-organize my days. Maybe I just need a new "Super Mom Cape"...I will just have to sew one! :)

Hats off to ALL the home schoolers out there. It is NOT easy and is certainly a major time-suck...but in a good way! Just needed to write this to remind myself why I am doing this so I don't start questioning my decision to teach my kids at home.

Monday, February 27, 2012

To Love

"This is the week we focus on this love. Today we simply focus on this: to love everyone. Everyone! We are going to have so many opportunities today. People who passes by, people who at at the stores we go in, people who interacts with us. Every single time, we can say to ourselves "here's my chance to love Jesus" and we forget about ourselves and we are feeling at that time and we open ourselves to Him who lives in the other. The more we will do this, the more we realize that we are becoming more and more like Him." ~ Father Stanislao Daily Walk Heavenwards

Father Stan really spoke to me today with the words on his blog. If you have a chance to check it out, please do. He is a wonderful writer and teacher and we are blessed to have him at our church.

So much of what we do is for ourselves. In my journey to TRY (and I say TRY because I'm so terribly human) to be more like Jesus wants me to be, I have come to realize how highly critical I am of others, whether it's family, friends or people I meet on the street. I have always been quite negative by nature. It's always been hard for me to see through the bad to see the GOOD in someone. Something I am working VERY hard on as we go through Lent, is letting go of the bad and seeing all the good in everyone. I guess this is why Fr Stan's blog spoke to me so much today. My husband is a prime example...

It is so easy after being together for 11 years to dwell on the bad, be on the defensive with EVERYTHING and not show love the way I should. Why is that? How is it that the man I love more than anything in the world probably feels very unloved by me? Old habits! It's time to STOP. It's time to focus on ALL the wonderful things he does for me and his children. Forget the past and move forward. I most definitely carry a brick wall around with me everywhere I go and rarely let my guard down. I am thinking it's time to ditch the brick wall and let people in. It's time to let the defenses go and not worry so much that someone else may hurt me. Guess what? It's not all about ME! It's my job as a daughter of Christ to love EVERYONE without the brick wall. It's my job as a daughter of Christ to trust that God knows what is best for me...and if I ever do get hurt, He will catch me while falling. It's difficult to trust in God so much that we completely let our guard down, but I KNOW it is what He wants me to do. LOVE EVERYONE...let love show to others...don't hide behind the brick wall...God has my back!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Ash Wednesday

So, today is the start of Lent. What are you doing to reflect for the next 40 days? My husband and I are quitting smoking. Guess it's not what anyone would consider a "sacrifice" but it definitely gives me the incentive to keep it going, KNOWING that I am giving it up for another reason than just my health. UGH...let the craziness begin!

I have also decided to head cover through Lent, as well, as a reminder to keep focused on God and keep Him first and foremost in my life. Let's see how many people ask me "Are you Islamic?" or "Are you Amish?" But, hey...think of the possible testimony that could come out of all this. "No, I am Catholic and I cover my head to show submission to God"...won't that just floor some people.

So, on another note, things have been busy. Soccer for the 15 year old (Ryan), NJHS for the 13 year old (Bo), theater and college applications for the 17 year old (Alex) and home school for the rest of the bunch! (Kevin, Emmalee, Elliott and Gideon) Kevin should graduate high school by the summer, Emmalee should be ready for 8th grade by December, Elliott will start 2nd grade and Gideon will start Kindergarten by September. ALL kids way ahead of their same age peers. (the beauty of home school) I love watching them all work at their own pace and run ahead of everyone else. I have awesome kids!

So, off to reflect for the day. Repent, pray and remember why we go through Lent. You certainly don't have to be Catholic to do these things. Today starts a new day...a new life! Walk with Jesus for the next 40 days...and then make it a habit to continue walking with Him the whole year through!

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Wednesday, February 15, 2012

I'm At It Again

So, Emmalee and I have started the road of head covering. Why? Well, my plan was to do it for Lent but after much prayer and discussion with my husband and "fellow head coverers" I have decided to start early. It just feels right. Silly? Perhaps. But, I find that when I stay covered, it's like having God's hand on me at all times. A sense of security, I guess. It's also a form of submission to God and my husband. It reminds me that God and my husband should come above everything else. And, I am so quick to allow everything else in life to come first.

So, while on our head covering journey, one thing Emma and I have found is that there are not too many head coverings to chose from. I don't want to look Amish, or look like a Nun, or look like a Muslim. I just want a simple, stylish head covering that doesn't draw too much attention to myself.

So, what does one do when you can't find what you're looking for? Well, design your own, of course. We are purchasing a sewing machine and are going to find an easy way to make our own. It should be fun! And, who knows...maybe we will be the next head covering fashion designers! :)

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Valentine's Day

The name Valentinus does not occur in the earliest list of Roman martyrs, compiled by the Chronographer of 354. The feast of St. Valentine was first established in 496 by Pope Gelasius I, who included Valentine among those "... whose names are justly reverenced among men, but whose acts are known only to God." As Gelasius implied, nothing was known, even then, about the lives of any of these martyrs. The Saint Valentine that appears in various martyrologies in connection with Feb 14 is described either as:
  • A priest in Rome,
  • A bishop of Interamna (modern Terni), or
  • A martyr in the Roman province of Africa.
The first representation of Saint Valentine appeared in the Nuremberg Chronicle (1493); alongside the woodcut portrait of Valentine, the text states that he was a Roman priest martyred during the reign of Claudius II, known as Claudius Gothicus. He was arrested and imprisoned upon being caught marrying Christian couples and otherwise aiding Christians who were at the time being persecuted by Claudius in Rome. Helping Christians at this time was considered a crime. Claudius took a liking to this prisoner – until Valentinus tried to convert the Emperor – whereupon this priest was condemned to death. He was beaten with clubs and stoned; when that failed to kill him, he was beheaded outside the Flaminian Gate. Various dates are given for the martyrdom or martyrdoms: 269, 270, or 273.
The official Roman Martyrology for February 14 mentions only one Saint Valentine.
Saint Valentine of Terni oversees the construction of his basilica at Terni, from a 14th century French manuscript (BN, Mss fr. 185)
English eighteenth-century antiquarians Alban Butler and Francis Douce, noting the obscurity of Saint Valentine's identity, suggested that Valentine's Day was created as an attempt to supersede the pagan holiday of Lupercalia. This idea has lately been contested by Professor Jack Oruch of the University of Kansas. Many of the current legends that characterise Saint Valentine were invented in the fourteenth century in England, notably by Geoffrey Chaucer and his circle, when the feast day of February 14 first became associated with romantic love. While a website of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia and other sources give different lists of Saints Valentine, the Catholic Church's official list of recognized saints, the Roman Martyrology lists seven: a martyr (Roman priest or Terni bishop?) buried on the Via Flaminia (February 14); a priest from Viterbo (November 3); a bishop from Raetia who died in about 450 (January 7); a fifth-century priest and hermit (July 4); a Spanish hermit who died in about 715 (October 25); Valentine Berrio Ochoa, martyred in 1861 (November 24); and Valentine Jaunzarás Gómez, martyred in 1936 (September 18).

I hear people talking about Valentine's Day being of pagan origin, but that is not entirely true. The festival that the pagans celebrated was eventually banished and taken over by Christianity after Valentine was killed. 

With reluctance, and the passage of time, more and more Romans relinquished their pagan festival and replaced it with the Church's holy day. I would say that is a day to celebrate, don't you think? Makes me wonder how many Romans came to Christ during that time?

I think, not only should we celebrate our loved ones today, but also celebrate God's love. Today's reading was awesome! Please take the time to read it, if you haven't. Here is the Reflection...


"Make no mistake about this." –James 1:16

God gets blamed for temptations (Jas 1:13), tragedies, and all sorts of problems. Just because He created everything, gave us free will, and allows us to use and abuse our freedom doesn't mean that God is to blame for the wages of our sins (see Rm 6:23).
On the other hand, God doesn't often get the credit for "every worthwhile gift, every genuine benefit" (Jas 1:17). We claim we've earned our blessings. Even if we admit that God had something to do with them, we may still say that God helps those who help themselves. In this way, we take part of the credit for the good things God gives us.
The fact is that we can do nothing without Jesus (Jn 15:5) and cannot name anything good that we have not received from God (1 Cor 4:7; Jas 1:17). "If, then, you have received it, why are you boasting as if it were your own?" (1 Cor 4:7)
Let's quit blaming God for problems and taking credit for His blessings. We should pray: "Not to us, O Lord, not to us but to Your name give glory because of Your kindness, because of Your truth" (Ps 115:1). "Only in the Lord are just deeds and power" (Is 45:24). To God be glory!
PRAYER: Father, may I be honest with You, myself, and others.
PROMISE: "Happy the man whom You instruct, O Lord, whom by Your law You teach, giving him rest from evil days." –Ps 94:12-13
PRAISE: Sts. Cyril and Methodius worked together both as brothers in the flesh and brothers in Christ.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Can't Predict the Day

 So, we start out the day normal, but with Asperger's in the house, some days are easier than others.

Today's word of the day is MELTDOWN!

Elliott had a decent morning and we got through all of our classes. Gideon was just fine today, too. Emmalee, my 11 year old was another story. 

Papa home today, working and having meetings via Blackberry, so to keep things quiet, we head to Emma's room. On the floor, we color, glue, use glitter and sequins to create our "Prayer to Our Guardian Angel" Prayer cards. We really enjoyed this project until Emma realized what a mess we made!


The rest of the afternoon was spent having, as one fellow home school Mom said, Home Economics Class. Cleaning, organizing...we even hung curtains. Now, Emma has a beautiful room.

The meltdown has now shifted to Elliott. He asked for a Pop Tart (yeah, I'm Super Healthy Mom) and as he grabbed it, a piece broke off. His world came crashing down. "I need a NEW Pop Tart!!!! This one's broken!!!!!" Then the TV was turned on and he missed the first half of the show. He yelled "I hate when I miss the first half of my show!!!!"


Can Mom now have a meltdown? I guess the beauty of home school is that when things don't go exactly as planned, and someone is having a "bad brain day", it's ok. We will just pick up tomorrow.

Anyway, here are some pictures from today...Pre-meltowns...

Here are our Guardian Angel Prayer Cards. Once they are dry, the prayer goes on the back and we will laminate them. The kids want to hang them over their beds.
Guardian Angel Prayer Cards




Elliott's and Mine

The kids

Elliott hard at work...chocolate milk and all!

Deep thought?

"Ooooh, enough of this"

And, here is where I run to AFTER the meltdown has ended...

Thank you, God, for getting me through another day! Amen!

Friday, February 3, 2012

No Need to Be Popular

 After contemplating today's readings, I found the Reflection for it and posted it here. When reading through the list, a lot of people would say "Wow, these ideas are so outdated. Why on earth would anyone still believe half this stuff? And why on earth would Carmen even list these things knowing some people may be incredibly offended?" 

Problem with today's denominations and churches is that most are "feel good places". Pastors say what they believe their congregation WANTS to hear...Pastors WANT to be popular. By teaching the ideas below, most Pastors would be extremely unpopular, right?

Part of my pull towards Catholicism is the search for the truth. There is NO sugar-coating what God wants for us. Now, God knows I am far from "holier than thou" and I don't pretend to be. I'm human just like everyone else. But, I don't want to hear God's word all sugar-coated and mushy, stuff that makes me feel like my sins are ok. I want the truth! I want to be put in my place when I'm not walking the right path. And guess what? Hearing the truth and God's word makes me feel good! Imagine that? :)

One Bread, One Body - Reflection for February 3, 2012


"John had told Herod, 'It is not right for you to live with your brother's wife.' " –Mark 6:18

Like John the Baptizer, we need the love and courage to say:
"It is not right to have sexual relations outside of marriage."
"It is not right to abort babies."
"It is not right to have homosexual relations."
"It is not right to use artificial means of contraception."
"It is not right to look lustfully at a person."
"It is not right to masturbate."
"It is not right to tell 'dirty jokes,' condone pornography, or dress immodestly."
"It is right, holy, and beautiful to have sexual relations in the context of the marriage covenant."
"It is right to be a virgin or celibate until marriage."
"It is right to respect, cherish, and defend life from the moment of conception until natural death."
"It is right to respect those with homosexual tendencies and to offer them healing and encouragement."
"It is right for married couples to have children and always be open to conceiving them."
"It is right to look at a Christian's body and recognize it as a temple of the Holy Spirit" (see 1 Cor 6:19).
"It is right to be and look pure, free, and holy."
"It is right to be unpopular with those who aren't living for Jesus."
"It is right to give Him thanks and praise."
PRAYER: "Through the intercession of St. Blase, bishop and martyr, may God deliver you from every disease of the throat and from every other illness. In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit."
PROMISE: "The Lord forgave him his sins and exalted his strength forever." –Sir 47:11
PRAISE: St. Blase was a physician, bishop, and martyr.              

Thursday, February 2, 2012

To Veil or Not to Veil

Feminism! Women want equality! Women want freedom! Women want power!

Women have won the battle, but at what cost?

Families have broken down, women have lost their true identities, women have given into media and fashion and sexual ideas. Feminism has failed.

The Blessed Mother was a modest, Godly, submissive woman...but to think of her, I see nothing about her that says "I am weak...I can't think for myself...I'm unhappy with my life." If anything, I see a strong, loving, powerful woman! She didn't need to unveil her head to feel more of a woman. She didn't need to go out and get a job! (she had the most important job in the entire world! Raising Jesus!) She didn't need to wear skimpy clothes to be beautiful! She was ALL woman!

While delving deeper into my Faith, the more I feel the tug to be more submissive. Submissive to God, submissive to my husband and my duties as a wife and mother. Why should a woman feel embarrassed to cover her head in submission? Why should a woman feel embarrassed to go to Holy Mass wearing a veil? Here is what the Bible says about Veiling...

Christian veiling is a very serious matter, one that concerns two millennia of Church Tradition -- which extends back to Old Testament tradition and to New Testament admonitions. St. Paul wrote.
1 Corinthians 11:1-17:
Be ye followers of me, as I also am of Christ. Now I praise you, brethren, that in all things you are mindful of me and keep my ordinances as I have delivered them to you. But I would have you know that the head of every man is Christ: and the head of the woman is the man: and the head of Christ is God. Every man praying or prophesying with his head covered disgraceth his head. But every woman praying or prophesying with her head not covered disgraceth her head: for it is all one as if she were shaven. For if a woman be not covered, let her be shorn. But if it be a shame to a woman to be shorn or made bald, let her cover her head. The man indeed ought not to cover his head: because he is the image and glory of God. But the woman is the glory of the man. For the man is not of the woman: but the woman of the man [c.f. Genesis 2-3]. For the man was not created for the woman: but the woman for the man. Therefore ought the woman to have a power over her head, because of the angels. But yet neither is the man without the woman, nor the woman without the man, in the Lord. For as the woman is of the man, so also is the man by the woman: but all things of God. You yourselves judge. Doth it become a woman to pray unto God uncovered? Doth not even nature itself teach you that a man indeed, if he nourish his hair, it is a shame unto him? But if a woman nourish her hair, it is a glory to her; for her hair is given to her for a covering. But if any man seem to be contentious, we have no such custom, nor the Church of God [i.e., if anyone want to complain about this, we have no other way of doing things, this is our practice; all the churches believe the same way]. Now this I ordain: not praising you, that you come together, not for the better, but for the worse.

By surrendering our glory to the headship of our husbands and to God, we surrender to them in the same way that the Blessed Virgin surrendered herself to the Holy Ghost ("Be it done to me according to Thy will!"); the veil is a sign as powerful -- and beautiful

This one superficially small act is:  
  • so rich with symbolism: of submission to authority; of surrender to God; of the imitation of Our Lady as a woman who uttered her "fiat!"; of covering our glory for His glory; of modesty; of chastity, of our being vessels of life like the Chalice, the Ciborium and, most especially, Our Lady;
  • an Apostolic ordinance -- with roots deep in the Old Testament -- and, therefore, a matter of intrinsic Tradition;
  • the way Catholic women have worshipped for two millennia (i.e., even if it weren't a matter of Sacred Tradition in the intrinsic sense, it is, at the least, a matter of ecclesiastical tradition, which also must be upheld). It is our heritage, a part of Catholic culture;
  • pragmatic: it leaves one free to worry less about "bad hair days";
  • and for the rebels out there, it is counter-cultural nowadays, you must admit!
The question I'd like answered is, "Why would any Catholic woman not want to veil herself?"

I, personally, plan to happily wear my Veil! I am not too proud to show the world that I am submissive to God.  I am also not too proud to show the world that I am submissive to my husband, which is how it should be. This doesn't mean I can't think for myself. This doesn't mean I can't enjoy life to it's fullest! I want my femininity back! Men and women are NOT equal, and shouldn't be. Each has different roles in life and once women realize their proper role, the world will be a better place.