Tuesday, June 29, 2010

My Pink Bag

         The lack of contrast in this picture may not do justice to the lovely shade of pink that is my beloved toiletry/cosmetic bag. The reason that I love it so much is because it was sewn by my Grandmother and given to me in 1967 (43 years) ago. It has been in continuous use since then and still looks very nice and functions beautifully! I can easily remember the date it was made, as its purpose was to carry my stuff around during the World's Fair, called Expo '67 held in Montreal, Quebec in Canada. My Grandma made a bag for each of my brothers also. Two of my sisters were babies then and one wasn't born for many years later!
         Expo '67 was a wonderful exhibition like an amusement park with a series of museums and interactive displays all put together. According to Wikipedia, it is considered to be the most successful World's Fair of the 20th Century receiving over 50 million visitors in the six months it was open.We were very fortunate as children to be taken there because I can still remember some of the exhibits such as a huge mechanical fire breathing dragon that came up out of the water while we rode by on a boat. I can also picture a car manufacturer's display of brand new cars going past on a conveyor belt that you could ride in as they went along. We rode on a minirail that traveled along elevated about one story around the entire site. Reading Wikipedia again, it said that there were 90 "Pavillions"  there which were hosted by different countries (which is why they call it a World's Fair) showcasing the history and new innovations of that particular country.The theme for the fair was " Man and His World". It was spectacular! This emphasizes to me that kids remember these trips for a lifetime. Planning them and investing the time and money necessary are great investments!

      I took this picture in a hotel bathroom because I truly use this bag to hold my toothbrush, hairbrush and the very small amount of make-up that I might pack when I go anywhere on a trip. After receiving it as a child, it was my car bag for traveling that held books to read on the trip and my souvenir money. You can see a white fabric rope that attaches to either end of the body of the bag. The little handle can actually be folded in to make the bag have a flat top and be carried on the shoulder with the rope. It is lined with an equally beautiful ivory colored soft fabric to make it sturdy which may account for its long wear. There is an envelope shaped pocket trimmed with lace on the outside which I use for small items like hair barretts.
       I love to pack and use this wonderful bag which I have never found to be replaceable by any other type of cosmetic bag available. It makes me happy to continue to use this handmade gift from my Grandmother to an eight year old. I don't think she could have foreseen how useful and long lasting this thoughtful present of hers has been. When I use it, I feel connected to my wonderful childhood and forget that I am a middle-aged woman! It brings me back to those carefree days when all I had to pack was a book to read and some activities for the car. It reminds me of my Grandmother who, in 1967, cared enough about our planned trip to the World's Fair to sew a beautiful bag for each of us to carry our treasures  in! I am also very grateful to God for granting me, by His Grace, enough stability in the circumstances of life to have held onto this piece of  my past.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Fort Edwards

Today we had a blast at Fort Edwards in nearby West Virginia. It is on the site of a French and Indian War Fort. Aunt Cecilia told us about it and we are certainly glad we went. I borrowed Natalie's camera and so we can enjoy pictures again.
The boys had fun with this amazingly simple version of Tug-o'-war. Both opponents get on their stump and start at the very end of their rope.They start pulling the rope at the same time and whoever comes off their stump loses.
This young man said that his bagpipe cost 2500 dollars. It took him three months to make a single sound come out of it. He has learned to play it and he sounded good while we were there!
The gentleman in the cap owns this wagon which he said was the equivalent of a tractor trailer in its day. It transported  goods like flour.This man knew so much about the technology and workmanship of the wheels, the tongue, the horse set-up and even how the goods were packed ( in two rows of barrels which were made smaller than they are today).
There were guns and hats for the boys to play in.
This man actually hunts with these guns that he and his friends have made.

We enjoyed talking to this woman who got into reenacting at the age of twelve and has been doing it for twenty years.She described the articles of clothing typically worn and demonstrated doing "laundry". It was nice to touch the natural fabrics of linen and wool. Only the underclothing was washed- the outer, hardly ever.
 Sam received a drum lesson. The beats were different from what he is used to.
This lady had a knife and was admiring Larry's curly hair!
This lady is a seamstress who dressed Meg up in a handmade outfit with "stays"( a corset) .

It was amazing how the pieces mixed and matched by changing the "stomacher", the piece through the middle of the chest.That fastens in and she had that piece in four different fabrics which made the Jacket look very different and allowed it to be worn  with the red or blue skirt.
Another gentleman brought a display of snakes native to the area.
This man was making lace. What intricacy and patience was required! He said that during the time of the Stamp Act, 600 homes in Ipswich, Mass. were making a yard of lace a week each, for which they were paid well.
This guy actually is part Indian and gave a presentation on Six Indian Nations, and his weapons. I didn't get to listen as I was watching Miss J. work with clay.
John played "War" with Old style cards using shillings and "pieces of eight" which actually were like coins cut into 8 wedges.

I got a kick out of this Tavern scene. These guys looked like they were having fun throughout the afternoon! It was a pleasure to experience some "Living History" and it was so interesting to see how people lived in the late 1700's. This was great family fun because each of us found it interesting. I was given a couple of ideas for future field trips from the reenactors, also.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Last Talks of the Convention

          I will continue to summarize the main points of the last four speakers that I had the privilege of hearing at the Immaculate Heart of Mary (IHM) National Homeschool and Parent Conference over the week-end of June 11 and 12, 2010 in Chantilly, Virginia.The next speaker was Fr. Thomas Eutenuer who is the President of Human Life International. He spoke on the topic "The Family as the Antidote to the Kingdom of Darkness". The following thoughts are all his as taken from my notes. He described the Catholic family as being the primary object of demonic attack. The mission of every family is authentic communion. The family is the FUNDAMENTAL unit of society. The Devil attacks 1) The Church, 2) The Family, 3) Marriage and 4) The Unborn Child.
          He compared and contrasted the work of the devil and how it is the opposite of the work of the family in six ways. He referenced the gospel of Mark 5:1-20 which is the story of the man possessed by the Devil named Legion who lived among the Tombs.1) The Devil has a fascination with Death./   The Family is a bringer of Life.  2) The Devil has an ability to isolate people./ The Family is a communion of persons. 3) Devils exist in gangs, they have no bodies and they coagulate together. / The Family has Structure and Order which humans need. 4)The Devil has a preoccupation with names . /  In the Family we have a common name and individual names.  5) The devil shows Territoriality  (a person, a place) /  Families should be Rooted - we create  a home. 6) Devils know that they are eternally damned.They cannot repent. They despair. They loathe humans because we have the possibility of Salvation. / Humans have eternal Hope.
         Fr. Eutenuer quoted John Paul II as saying that the future of humanity passes by way of the family.Families need to be strengthened because brokeness and lack of bonding leads to a spiritual Black Hole that the devil rushes into.A vacuum of "meaning" causes individuals ( and much of our society today) to look for love in all the wrong places including gangs, drugs, covens and cults
           I next went to hear Colleen Billing, Professional Organizer and Homeschooling Mother of 5 who works at a Health Club part-time and looked like a million bucks! Her topic was " Keys to Overcoming Stress and Burnout". She said stress will ALWAYS be a part of our lives and discussed how to manage it as Catholics.Briefly she said 1) Make Our Spiritually our Number 1 Priority. A)Be committed to prayer at a specific time each day.That prayer should be whatever bears fruit in our lives.Consider Adoration, if available.
B) Receive the Sacraments as often as possible. Grace is Free! The Eucharist, Confession The Sacrament of Matrimony!  2) Avoid Gossip.Make a commitment to Fasting which helps us to detach from the things of this world.
            II.Eat more Nutritious Food. Plan meals and shop with a list.Eat more protein and more fiber.Get the kids into the kitchen to help with the cooking. Substitute processed foods for those that are raw or fresh.She suggested looking at the ingredients of the things that we usually buy and eliminate foods with the following ingredients:corn syrup,sugar,enriched ( which means stripped of anything healthy and artificial added), trans fats and saturated fats. She suggested starting with small changes and continuing to make more changes.
         III. Exercise.This makes us feel happier and less Tense. We should be sweating 60 minutes a week. She said that 90% of people who work out do so before 9 am. She certainly looked like she practiced what she preached!
          The next talk was given by a woman named Belinda Mooney who talked on the "Benefits and Challenges of Homeschooling in High School". She suggested resisting putting them in school until it is very clear that that is God's Will. She said the following " Love pours itself out. It is a long haul. There are knives in the heart along the way. The enemy is trying to discourage us. Beg Jesus to help us to be free of fear. Homeschooling is about the Trust you build in the family. Give kids the confidence to know that whatever they might have missed at home they can learn. The strength of our families is critical now. God is saving souls in the Domestic Church.The primary relationship in our lives is God, then the the marital relationship. We should be praying more for our spouses than for our children.The more that we put into our families now, the more that will come back to us later. We should always THINK WELLl of our husbands. High School is only 4 years- why pray intercessory prayers later when we are standing with them in the gate right now?"
          The last talk of the conference was Mr. Dale Ahlquist again who is President of the Chesterton Society. His topic was " How to Think". He quoted Chesterton from his book Orthodoxy and the Everlasting Man. Chesterton said that an "open mind" is a mark of foolishness like an open mouth. Thinking sometimes leads to conclusions. Thinking sometimes leads to Dogma. All teaching must be dogmatic. The brain was made for conclusions byt the modern world hates Dogma. Thinking is the hardest work in the world and the most repugnant to our nature because we are LAZY! It is hard to put our thoughts into language because language continues to fall. Young people are really losing it "like. you know, um, whatever". There are no words because there are no thoughts.If you think wrong, you go wrong.Thinking is to create. Doubting is to destroy.
           He went on to say that Chesterton would never argue or debate with someone until they could get back to something that they both agreed on - a First Principle or proof. There has to be something far enough back to start from such as " Existence is better than non-existence" or " The world exists and has meaning". He said that only the Catholic Church defends Free Will and Personal Responsibility.The speaker , Mr. Ahlquist stated that if one wants to learn to think - read Chesterton, who he believes to be the clearest thinker of the 20th Century.
         This brings me to the end of this synopsis of the conference speakers that I heard. What a wealth of inspiration and philosophy this was.Tremendous food for thought is what I drove away with. I have been able to make some "small changes" in my spiritual and personal life that are helping me. I salute the Seton organization for organizing and underwriting this impressive gathering of top-notch speakers who were well prepared to share at a deep level with those who were able to attend. All talks were recorded also, but I don't buy the tapes or CD's because I never have time to listen to them. It has been great to refresh my own memory by consulting my notes and I appreciate those who took the time to read these long posts!

Sunday, June 20, 2010

More Convention Highlights

         The Immaculate Heart of Mary (IHM) Homeschool Convention held at the Dulles Expo Center last week-end was so much fun and I got so much out of it that I wanted to continue to share some of the Speakers' points here. I attended the entire Convention which started on Friday morning 9am-9pm and then returned on Saturday from 9:30-4pm. I almost talked myself out of going on Saturday but I realized that I could clean anytime and this was a once a year opportunity. I am so glad that I went.
        I bought nothing at all for homeschooling as I had planned except for a CD with the prayers of the Rosary in Latin. I did plan to purchase good novels for myself and the kids to read which I did. I picked up The Hound of the Baskervilles( which I finished last night, having never read it before), A Tale of Two Cities ( also have never read it ),Regina Doman's newest "Fairy Tale Novel" Alex O'Donnell and the 40 Cyber Thieves, and Carmen Marcoux's newest, Surrender. For the boys I bought Otto of the Silver Hand and Between the Forest and the Hills. Whatever I do next year, my curriculum will be heavy on reading good literature.
         I attended the talk of  Fr. Thomas Longua on "Raising a Holy Family in the Culture of Death".He is a young priest who was a study in contrasts wearing a long cassock and holding a Mac laptop computer. His main point was that Rock music is, for a number of reasons, disordered. He mentioned that Rock comes from Jazz which is an off-shoot of Voo-Doo. He said that music is an expression of Culture and it imprints immediately upon the Passions of humans without going by way of the intellect unlike paintings and sculpture which go through our reasoning because we interpret their meaning. He had nothing good to say about Rock and Roll music because its beat is not natural. It is rooted in Teen-age Angst and rebellion.It celebrates drugs, sexual chaos and selfishness to the extreme. He said it was not just paganistic but was demonic. He said that MANY of the famous Rock and Roll personalities were Satan worshipers. He was not crazy about Christian Rock either and considered that to be an oxy-moron.He basically said " Don't let your kids listen to Rock and Roll music. It teaches our souls to delight in disordered passions." Classical Music, he felt, was real culture.
          He explained that the Passions ( which are mostly our emotions) are like wild horses that need to be trained especially when they are young and kept fit EVERY DAY by training them to be under the control of the WILL. He said that we adults need to train ourselves first of all to be more virtuous.To conquer oneself is to show strength. He said that if kids see us conquering ourselves they will see our strength and  they will do anything they can to get our love.He recommended picking one virtue and practicing it over a specific period of time intentionally. He said if one kid drives us crazy at lunch time, PRAY and do not loose patience no matter what happens during the lunch hour that day. As we practice this "training" we will strengthen our will and that passion of impatience will weaken.
              Professor Joseph Pearce had an English accent and was a joy  to listen to as he spoke on "Reclaiming Catholic Culture- The Battle Begins in the Home". He said that parents have the MOST important job in the world and that 20 years of bad parenting guarantees many problems 20 years later. He said that we are handing on a priceless inheritance- 3000 years of Western Civilization. He said that catholic means universal and included Ancient Greece and the Old Testament in the things that influenced us. " All creativity is a grace and every work of art is a product of a relationship with God."  He  discussed the different time periods and their contributions to culture.
       He said that today there is a tendency to despondency and despair.That although we are made in the image of God, we are fallen, broken and disobedient. He said that the Battle goes on in each human heart in every generation.We are miserable sinners. The World hates the Church as it always has. To be a Christian is to stand up against the World. He said that parents need to pass this inheritance of Christianity onto their children in 4 ways:
1) Go forth and Multiply. The World is a parasite- it doesn't create-it sneers.
2)Bring Children up with Love and Charity. Marriage and parenthood are an indissoluble union of self-sacrifice unto death. By participating in the Sacraments, prepare to change the world. It should be a better place because we lived. Because the Family is so central to everything human, resist anything that weakens it (particularly in economics and politics) as evil.
3) Homeschooling! He said we learn right along with our children. He quoted Chesterton as saying that anything worth doing is worth doing badly! In other words, you don't have to be perfect- just do your best. He encouraged us to enrich our children with the great Classics and teach them to think with the Church.
4) Evangelization. Begin with our own children to make them Soldiers for Jesus Christ. Teach them to LOVE like the Saints.He said that Mother Teresa changed hearts by the way she loved individually.
           He summed up by saying that Beauty can be seen which leads to a sense of Gratitude. We want to say Thank You  which leads people to God. He said that the Good, the True and the Beautiful can lead us to The Holy Trinity. We should know the Truth, love the Truth and seek the Truth.
            Once again, I will have to continue this later. There are three more talks that I will summarize the next time.You can see why I was so inspired and uplifted by these speakers who carried powerful messages.By the way, this Conference was FREE so that everyone could participate. I planned ahead and was able to donate what was suggested to help with the expenses. I got a lot for my money and time!

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Homeschool Convention

       My camera cord no longer works to upload pictures to the computer so that is why I have gone from having 37 pictures on my Memorial Day post to none the last few. Fortunately, my little Nikon Coolpix is still under warranty ( a full year!) and I  have all my Christmas receipts! Today, I plan to mail it in for evaluation and repair. Blogging has become a wonderful form of self-expression for me and so without pictures, I would like to share some of the highlights  I gleaned from the IHM ( Immaculate Heart of Mary) Homeschool Conference held last week-end.
          This conference is something that I look forward to with much anticipation throughout the year. It is very much a Spiritual Retreat about what it means to be a Catholic rather than the actual nuts and bolts of homeschooling.  This year did not disappoint but rather exceeded my expectations. The speakers were top notch individuals, many of them priests, who came fully prepared for their talks. I took notes during the many talks that I attended because it helps me to listen well and to share the ideas with others later. There was such tremendous food for thought discussed in a very intellectual and yet "holy" atmosphere that I was inspired to make some changes in myself and I feel renewed.
            Fr. Papa had this to say: "Why Homeschool? Because we want to protect our children from the wickedness of Mortal Sin and the darkness of error."   " Knowledge doesn't get it, Wisdom does and wisdom teaches us how to LIVE."   " The way that I handle situations is the way the kids will handle them- their behavior is a reflection of myself."  " Society is short on prayer and full of Pride."
             Dr. Catherine Moran had this to say: "Teach children to be saints of heaven first, citizens of the world second."     " Much harm will come from bad company, we have a tendency to go from bad to worse...!"   " Neglect prayer first and the day will not go as well."   " Pray every day to accept the crosses that Our Lord sends to us."     " We may not see the results of our hard work for many years."
            Professional Organizer Colleen Billing said that " a cluttered space makes one feel anxious and overwhelmed."  " God is a God of order and we are called to imitate Him."    " Pick one room, have a vision of what you want to use the space for and begin decluttering and heavy cleaning as one goes. Most rooms take from 4-12 hours to do. Don't get off track as you go but stay focused on the one room."   "Discouragement is a temptation from the very pit of Hell."
             Mr. Dale Ahlquist, the President of the Chesterton Society which is devoted to studying the works of G.K.Chesterton had fantastic things to say about Education. Many of his statements were quotes from Chesterton whom he claims was one of the clearest thinkers of the 20th Century and a prophet. He said that what kids remember is not necessarily what you teach them specifically but rather your assumptions, that is, the things that we consider to be so basic that they go without saying.. He quoted Chesterton as saying that " Education is the Truth in the state of transmission from one generation to the next." " Take away the Super-natural and you have the Unnatural." "Taking children at their most formative years and putting them under the influence of the State is not a good idea."  " The home is where the whole drama of life takes place."  " The comfortable society forgets God."   " A Catholic Education has an integrated approach, each subject has to do with the other because the Truth is not fragmented."  " Education should be classical and traditional , not trying something new but taking advantage of something tried."   "Without an education, we are in the horrible danger of taking "educated " people seriously!"
             Dr. Mary Kay Clark had this to say " Homeschooling is not as much about schooling as it is about home." " Mothers must remain in a state of grace and give a good example every day.  We must have a strong spiritual life. The Rosary is critical as is frequent Confession."    " There MUST be a schedule for the day. If you get off track in a day, you get right back on."
            Fr. Matthew Zuber-Bruheler (who used to be our parish priest) talked about" Keeping the Sabbath".
He mentioned that Time is not ours- it is God's and we are stewards of it. If we put Him first on Sunday, all the rest of our time will be more meaningful. In my own experience I KNOW that this concept works with money and so I was intrigued with what this could mean in my own life. He said that "the Mass can become too
routine for us (we take it for granted) but that John Paul II was always calling us to go deeper."   " We need to catechize the Faith by what we DO, not say. The example has to be super clear and consistent."   "Rediscover Sunday- do not be afraid to give our time to Christ as this time is NEVER wasted."   "We should  devote our time on Sunday to prayer, rest,  Mass and the family. Running around and worry are no good on Sunday."  " He stated that each family should decide how they find and Serve the Lord on Sunday."  " We are not saved alone, we are linked to every other believer." " The Mass is the Crown of Sunday"  "We need to be changed by the Words  of the Living God. The Holy Spirit is at Work when we go to Mass.We should be engaged in it and so should the kids."  " Time is a mysterious thing- it is always moving like a river.Are we aware of how the mysteries of the Lord are being worked out in our own lives?" " Am I seeking His face, am I going deeper spiritually?"
       Terry  Arnold ( a Mom of 5),stated that "Homeschooling used to be a conviction and people who did it were outside of the "Law" and so they made sure that they did their very best with it. Now that it is a more stream-lined "option", standards have to be kept high and not become lax."  "We want to be a building block generation- passing on our very best morally and spiritually."   " Mom should be a dictator and should not let the kids think she is some kind of a major appliance!"  " Be HOME. Car- schooling does not lead to mastery, only familiarity."  " Homeschool for the long haul with a commitment." " Our leisure refines and defines us."  " Manners  and Maturity in children are VERY important and will get you places in life that Intelligence alone will not."  " Do not compare and despair- this is a vanity trap!"  " Do all in Christ! Everything we do matters!"
         This is about half of the talks. I will share more the next time!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

The Waiting Game

         On Sunday afternoon, I went with Meg to take the little guy to a health clinic for "Urgent " type of problems. He had a choking sounding cough and she didn't want to try to go through the night with it.He received excellent care and is now feeling much better. I felt grateful as always about how fortunate we are to be able to access excellent health care when we need it.What I didn't enjoy was the "idiot box" blaring at me in the waiting room and I resent that this seems to be the new norm in every kind of waiting room that I happen to find myself in.
          What was playing for the sick (I mean physically) people's entertainment was an interview with a murderer.It was  actually a  detailed description of how the crime was committed by the  convict who was still in prison.It was all presented in the most matter of fact way like we would be interested in hearing about it.I was getting angry about this noise pollution and when he wanted to share some more details about his "abuse" as a kid I decided that I had had enough.I asked the receptionist to please turn it off. She looked at me as if I was crazy. Five or so minutes later she located the remote because the T.V. was mounted very high on the wall.If I could have reached it I would have turned it off the moment I walked in. She attempted to solve the problem not by  turning it OFF but  by fumbling to try to change the channel. At that time we were called in to the triage desk. I couldn't help but notice that the SAME channel was playing the same sordid show for the waiting room all sitting there held hostage to this filth.
          My daughter was embarrassed that I had to say something and couldn't I just ignore it? The answer is no. Not only no, but Heck no. I am so sick of this mindless propaganda being poured into every public space from hotel lobbies to the muffler shop to even the check out line in Wal-Mart until recently. It was a pretty Sunday afternoon.I like to think my own thoughts. I also enjoy a little small talk. I most certainly do not  like being treated like I am some kind of an idiot that can't pass 30 minutes of time reading or talking to the family members that I arrived with. In another doctor's office that I go to  there is a big sign on the T.V. saying that it cannot be turned down. Apparently, they built the walls with such thin insulation that the noise of the T.V.covers up the voice of the patient on the other side of the wall. I figured out that Hell for me would be a loud T.V. turned on and blaring at me 24/7 with all the airbrushed "beautiful people" telling me what to think about.
           Watching T.V. offends me. Although some of the best people I know enjoy T.V. without ill effects, I usually find myself getting very angry, very quickly. In my opinion, most of the stuff that is on is inappropriate for my children and myself. My world doesn't have to be so big that I need to be brought up to date on the inner workings of the mind of a murderer. My little grandson is entertainment enough and if he got tired, I had a book with me. If I forgot my book I could have perused the pages of a magazine to  look at recipes.Truth be told, most of the magazines are full of slime and outrageous articles and are as inappropriate for children and adults as the T.V programming is! That's another story, especially in check out lines when one is blessed with good readers!
        The main point that I am trying to make is that watching T.V. is a personal choice. There certainly are some worthwhile programs at times. If I want to watch something specific, (which never happens), I will do it at home with full control of the remote because you never know what they are going to say next. It is not something that I choose to be bombarded with wherever I go in public without any ability to shield both myself and my children from distasteful, desensitizing and useless drivel.  I would much rather have a few minutes of quiet in which to think or chat with the people around me.
        What to do? I will continue to ask receptionist "mood-setters" to please turn off the T.V. while I am there and plan on having everyone bring a book or crayons etc if the kids and I will have to wait somewhere. We are definitely in a "Culture War". I am not going gently into that dark night of tainted JUNK to put it nicely, without a fight. I will try to be pleasant about it and keep things happy and light as long as I am getting my way and the trash is turned off while I and and any other human beings are present!

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Saturday Workday

        One of the great traditions from my childhood that I have continued into my own family life is "Saturday Workday".When I was a kid, one really didn't make plans for Saturday morning. We knew that we would be cleaning the house and  yard and helping my parents in whatever project was going on at the time.This was so consistent that it really went without saying and became a lifestyle. My mother has NEVER considered herself to be a "Housewife". She always described herself on every form requiring an occupation to be listed as a "Homemaker". She didn't spend her entire week cleaning the house in a frenzy but instead, peacefully went through her day in a relaxed way preparing meals and raising children.My father worked hard and went to night school to further his education for many years.Therefore, the bulk of the cleaning and the home maintenance chores were left for Saturday mornings.At that time, every member of the family would pitch in and get the job done together as a team. I remember my father exclaiming that it made no sense for everyone else to be relaxing while one person was working.The idea being that if we all worked together, we could all relax together when the jobs were done.
          I have been truly blessed in that my husband was willing and able to adopt this tradition when we got married. I am not that good at cleaning but he is. Now my daughters are good at it, too. Homeschooling during the week allows us almost ZERO time to get any cleaning done except for the kitchen and daily "picking up". Vacuuming, the bathrooms, the garage, the yard, trash to the dump, car maintenance, swiffering, organizing rooms and putting away loads of washed and folded laundry are reserved for Saturday mornings and even into the afternoon.When we all work together it is amazing how much gets accomplished and what a team building exercise it is.The house is then  ready for Sunday and we can all relax with a great feeling of success and pride in a job well done.
         With this long history of working together on Saturdays, it was no surprise that it was our pleasure to help Jeff move for the last two Saturdays.While I stayed home to care for the youngest members of the family and got the cooking and laundry done, Larry, Jeff and the rest of the family helped Jeff to pack up and move his things from one place to another.This whole job was done by our immediate family only. I think that Jeff was amazed by how willing everyone was to help him.When hard work is done by a group with a cheerful attitude and a "can-do" spirit, it is no longer work but FUN! The best part was, that three of his sisters used what John Paul the Great called "their feminine genius" and unpacked ALL of his things, dusted them off and set his new room up like a showplace! This is something that he could not  or would not have been able to do himself. It was their gift to him and he is most appreciative.
       I am so proud of this family effort that began and completed this project with such a dramatic result. Being trained in the habit of Saturday Workday allowed us to be available as a team to help one of our own with his work as he has helped us with ours so many times. We have spent some of the best times with our large extended family going to their homes to help them with large projects, including building two homes from the ground up. This is the direct result of my parents' training us to WORK on Saturdays and to not expect to be entertained. I look forward to the good times that we will have as a family in this lifestyle of working together to get the job done on Saturdays as more of our children establish their own homes. All they have to do is call us, and it will be our pleasure to help them!

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Memorial Day Week-end

Our Memorial Day Week-end was one of the best that I can remember! We were surrounded by four generations of  family, the great outdoors, and delicious food. This year we were also able to visit the cemetery to remember an individual who helped to make this country great.
After driving for over 20 hours, Andrea, Heather and Alex arrived to spend the week-end with us. It is absolutely wonderful to be a big happy family again and to realize what a gift each person is to each other.We have been having a blast together.


On Sunday we relaxed at home with the family after Mass. The ATV provided some entertainment. I learned to drive it in a field of daisies!

Little G-man only THINKS he's going for a ride!
While buying groceries for Memorial Day, I sprang for the patriotic paper plates to help set the holiday mood.Sam reminded me that picture taking, like texting, should not be done at the dinner table!
A bon-fire was fun in the evening as was music.
 Andrea has learned to play Canasta and proved to be good competition.She and Meg played each other on dueling computers,also.We love that network, Jeff!

One of the highlights of the week-end was visiting Grandma V.'s grave.

Grandma was very faithful in visiting her relatives' graves to bring flowers on Memorial Day. In fact, she taught me what Memorial Day is about. I recently heard a quote stating that July 4th is for celebrating WHAT made this country great and Memorial Day salutes those WHO made it great. Mom was not a soldier and did not die for her country but she certainly Lived with every American Virtue there is: Hard, hard work, raising oneself out of poverty by work,sweat, tears and true grit, and taking pride in one's self, home and family.

Look at how big around this tree is.We then headed for the beach not realizing that most of the folks in our extended family had the same plan!!!!

Tom and Holly had prepared a feast for their family and invited all the rest of us to eat. Mom C. brought down some extra burgers and amazingly, there was enough food for all. Yeah, God! This just goes to prove once again that when we offer what we have, God takes it to the next level and makes it suffice.
I just did the math and counted 35 family members who happened to show up at the same place with no prior plan for it!!! A lot of the folks were still down at the water when this photo was snapped.We REALLY missed Aunt Catherine (but didn't forget your B-day!) and the whole crew with seven more cousins from W.V. Six of the eight children my parents raised were present,plus grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
Thank you, Lord, for a safe, happy and FUN Memorial Day Week-end. Please have mercy on every American soldier who suffered or has died in the service of this great country fighting to protect our freedoms.Help us to remember their sacrifices so that we can worship You.Amen.