Monday, September 29, 2008

Broken and Blessed - A Life Story

I finished one of the most moving and spiritual books that I have ever read. I am not the type of person to read a book from cover to cover in a few days. I usually don't have time. The book "Broken and Blessed - A Life Story" was hardly set down. I cried and cried and couldn't stop reading. This is a beautiful story about a little girl whose life was short, but also so powerful. She touched the lives of people from all over the world. She has brought back the faith to people, converted others and sends us a message that is so powerful. Her mother, Cathy Adamkiewicz shares her family's suffering through these difficult months in order to share with us a message of hope and the value of a suffering life. Although I am a believer in Christ, this book has challenged me to look at my faith in a totally different light. I encourage you to order and read this book. It could change your life, too. The book can be ordered on the website:

Here is a video clip of Celeste, the little Saint and hero of this story.

Monday, September 22, 2008

St. Therese Chaplet

All Saints day is coming soon. Well, not that soon. We have been thinking about it all the same. We need to plan things well in advance. Not knowing when our home school group will get together for All Saints Day (this year All Saints Day is on a Saturday), we are trying to get a head start. We usually get together and the children all make presentations on a saint of their choice. Sometimes there are games or trivia or even treats at the different stands.

This year Mia is going to dress up as St. Therese of the Child Jesus. We have been reading "Little Thérèse" by Rev. P.J. Carbonel S.J. after the family rosary before bedtime. We have been really enjoying it. It depicts the life of St. Thérèse from birth onward. This story is truly an inspiration for our children. Although Thérèse was so small, she still showed our Lord how much she loved him. Mia really likes that she loved God and she behaved most of the time and when she didn't she made up for it right away.

This morning I was reading one of my favourite blogs and there was a link to a tutorial on making a St. Ann chaplet. I followed the link and found a tutorial for making a St. Thérèse chaplet. I made a very inexpensive version for Mia out of things that I had on hand. I am pleased with the way it turned out.

St. Thérèse Chaplet Prayers

On the Crucifix: Saint Therese, little flower, please pick for me a rose from the heavenly garden and sind it to me with a message of love. Please ask God to grant the favor I implore, and tell Him that I will love Him each day more and more.

On the single, bead say and Our Father.

On each of the twenty-four flower beads say a Hail Mary.

Nature Walk Wednesday

This post is almost a week late. I am trying to go on nature walks every Wednesday afternoon, weather permitting of course. Last Wednesday was our first walk and we were collecting leaves to make leaf prints. We looked at the different type of trees that grow on our city block and then played for a couple of hours at the playground. The playground borders the local Indian Reservation. The area right beside the playground has prairie grasses of all kinds. We collected some prairie grass and stuck them in our nature notebook. I have yet to find a reliable source to identify the different prairie grasses. Do you know of a good resource?

Here are some pictures of our day.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

L is for Language

What language do you prefer? English? Is this your native tongue? What if you've learned a second language, do you like it more? And what about the third?

When I was twenty, I moved from small-town Ontario to Germany. I couldn't speak German very well, but in time I got better and now I am fluent. I love the language. It is much more poetic than English and that is perhaps why some of the world's greatest writers and poets wrote in German. I think of Wolgang v. Goethe and Herman Hesse. Listen to some Schubert "Lieder" and you will know what I mean. My children's lullabys were sung in German, except for the odd song, "Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star" or "Rock-a-bye Baby". The language has grown on me and I love it. This is how I feel and this in no way meant to be an attack on any other language.

We have finally come to an agreement / solution on how to be a true bilingual family. In Germany, we spoke German most of the time and I tried to speak English to the kids most of the time. I caught myself speaking more German than English, though. When we moved to Canada, we stopped speaking German for the most part. As daddy's English got better, the happier the children were. They adopted English as their native tongue and stopped speaking German altogether. After a year in Canada, we were speaking more and more English and were losing our German. Even dad was having problems even though he had spoken German all of his 30-some years of life. So, a few weeks ago we finally agreed to unpack our dusty German vocabulary and speak German outside of school hours. This means on weekends, too! It is more difficult for some than for others, but it feels good to know that we can do it as a family if we really stick our minds to it.

Now, the funny thing is, we have thrown a third language into the fire. Before we had come to this "German-after-school agreement", I ordered a Spanish program to home school with this year. We ordered "Learning Spanish With Grace". It the Catholic approach to learning Spanish and we love it. There are CD's and conversation booklets and neat games to play. We are just learning for fun and hope to be able to retain some of it. Since it is new for all of us, no one has any advantages and we have to rely on each other for hearing correct pronunciations. I am excited about learning this with the children.

Some families are very athletic, or love something else passionately. We love languages. I may never run a marathon (although that is a dream of mine), or watch my son win the Stanley Cup, but someday... Who knows??? I hope to go on a mission somewhere and perhaps one of my kids will join me or go on a mission of their own. God willing, of course.

Ich danke Gott für alles was Er mir geschenkt hat. Gracias. Thank you God, for all you have given me.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Our Lady of Sorrows

Today is the Feast of Our Lady of Sorrows.

This is a painting from Albrecht Durer. The Seven Sorrows of the Virgin. c.1496-1497. Oil on panel. Central panel. Alte Pinakothek, Munich, Germany. Side panels. Dresden Gallery, Dresden, Germany.

Here you will find pictures and the scriptures of the Seven Sorrows of Mary. Here is a simplified list:

1. First Sorrow of Mary - The prophecy of Simeon
Luke 2:22-35

2. Second Sorrow of Mary - The flight into Egypt
Matthew 2:13-21

3. Third Sorrow of Mary - The Loss of Jesus in the Temple
Luke 2:41-50

4. Fourth Sorrow of Mary - Mary meets Jesus on the way to the cross
John 19:1; Luke 23:26-32

5. Fifth Sorrow of Mary - Jesus Dies on the Cross
Mark 15:22; John 19:18, 25-27; Mark 15:34; Luke 23:46

6. Sixth Sorrow of Mary - Mary receives the dead body of her son
John 19:31-34, 38; Lamentations 1:12

7. Seventh Sorrow of Mary - Jesus is laid in the tomb
Matthew 27:59; John 19:38-42; Mark 15:46; Luke 27:55-56

Here are some colouring pages I found: This the one and this is the other. While they were coloring, we read this hymn from September’s Magnificat magazine:

Beneath the cross the Mother kept
Bleak vigil under darkened skies.
Upon the cross her Son hung nailed,
Stabbed through by crowds of hostile eyes.

“And your own soul a sword shall pierce,”
The old man in the Temple said,
The Spirit’s sword, the word of God—
God’s word be done, was all she said.

Upon the cross the Savior died:
Beneath, the Mother bowed her head;
Above, the storm broke harsh and wild—
God’s word be done, was all she said.

A soldier came and thrust him through;
The blood and water proved him dead.
They laid his body in her arms—
God’s word be done, was all she said.

At vigil’s end, the Crucified
Arose from death her glorious Lord.
O Father, Son, and Spirit, God,
We praise and magnify your Word.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

From the garden...

P is for Poetry and A is for Acrostic

As we journey "Along the Alphabet Path", we are also looking at poetry. This week we are still working on the letter A, so we looked at Acrostic poetry. We looked at an Acrostic poem in the book "R is for Rhyme". Promptly, Noah asked for a piece of paper to brainstorm some ideas on a poem about his bunny, Francis. This is what the final copy turned out to be.

Monday, September 8, 2008

The Simple Woman's Daybook ~ September 8

The Simple Woman's Daybook


Outside My is beautiful. After a week of cold days, today is nice and relatively warm. The black-eyed-susans, zinnias and sunflowers are all on the verge of blossoming. I have waited all summer for this.

I am thinking...about how much schoolwork I plan on Mondays. It always seems like more than the rest of the days.

I am thankful for...
a preschooler who is very inventive during school time. The room is a complete mess when school is done, but he is not interruptive (for the most part) and has a lot of fun.

From the kitchen...Morracan chicken, rice and veggies and a blueberry pie for dessert. (It's Mary's Birthday)

I am favourite jean skirt, a t-shirt and for the first time in a while, no tights, or socks.

I am creating...chaos. I have yet to finish the baby quilt or Mia's other dress and have already started on a scarf for one of the kids. I know I really should do one project at a time, but.... that's the way I am.

I am write a letter to my m-i-l and wish her a Happy Birthday! (She lives in Germany, just in case you didn't know) I worked on a picture dvd with my dh yesterday and want to send it to her.

I am reading...lots of kids books. We received a few shipments last week and I have been reading them as I get a chance.

I am hoping...that I don't get home school burnout this year.

I am hearing...nothing and am enjoying the silence.

Around the house...there is laundry to fold, kids to bath and supper to make. It will all get done when it gets done.

One of my favorite to sleep in. I don't mean until 11:00am, but rather 7:00am at least. Usually, someone climbs into my bed at the crack of dawn and my hope of getting a nice, long and refreshing sleep comes to a quick halt.

A Few Plans For The Rest Of The Week: did I mention the quilt and the dress? Going to the home school store to pick up a book (right, do you think I can walk out with just one book!) I still have to do my German 2007 taxes.

Here is picture thought I am oldest boy making his first batch of applesauce. He did everything by himself with a little supervision.

Happy Birthday Mary

Happy Birthday to you Mary, my Mother in heaven.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Mother Teresa

Today, I was looking at a few of my favourite blogs Lord, Make Me a Saint and In the Heart of my Home and both spoke of the feast of Mother Teresa. It wasn't mentioned at Mass this morning, so I had no idea that today was a feast day. I spent a little time looking for more information on Mother Teresa. Most of us know who she is and what an amazing woman and Catholic she was here on earth. I am reading her book, A Simple Path and am at awe at how her writing is so simple, but yet so deep and meaningful. I love the way she wrote. I am a simple person and like to understand what I am reading. I can not only understand what she writes, but also can apply her suggestions to my life as a wife, mother, friend and neighbour. I will be reading more of her works, I am sure. Tonight, we are having chicken curry and rice and I will be telling the kids a story about Mother Teresa before bed. I will leave you with a few of my favourite quotes from Mother Teresa and a link that is dedicated to Mother Teresa.

"The privelege that we have to adore Him every day is one of His greatest gifts. If you have a clean heart, you will be able always to see that wonderful connection between the Bread of Life and the broken body of Christ in the poor."

The success of love is in the loving--it is not in the result of loving. Of course it is natural in love to want the best for the other person, but whether it turns out that way or not does not determine the value of what we have done. The more we can remove this priority for results the more we can learn about the contemplative element of love. There is the love expressed in the service and the love in the contemplation. It is the balance of both which we should be striving for. Love is the key to finding this balance.
-- From A Simple Path, by: Mother teresa, Balantine Books, 1995.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

A is for Apple Blossoms and St. Anne

As I mentioned in an earlier entry that we would be following Elizabeth Foss' "Along the Alphabet Path". Please take a look it looks promising, for us anyways. We are using "A Flower Fairy Alphabet" by Cicely Mary Barker and the "Flower Fairy Alphabet" CD. We are using them to memorize the songs in the story by Elizabeth Foss and for copywork. We are also using a number of her other recommended resources and will keep you posted on great finds.

This week we are looking at the letter A. A is for Mrs. Applebee, St. Anne, Apple Blossoms and of course apples. We plan on baking an apple pie today for our anniversary dessert. Here are a few of our A items for today. I will be posting more A things this week and hopefully a picture of the yummy apple pie.

Mia's Colouring Picture of St. Anne from the Popular Saints Coloring Book

Noah's Mrs. Applebee

The Simple Woman's Daybook ~ September 3

The Simple Woman's Daybook

For Today, September 3, 2008.

Outside My Window... it is freezing cold. It is only 2°C, but beautiful nonetheless with the sun shining down.

I am thinking... I can hardly believe that I have been married for 9 years today! Happy Hochzeitstag sweetheart.

I am thankful for... electric toothbrushes. Ever since we bought them for our kids, they love to brush their teeth.

From the kitchen... leftovers. I know this is bad on your anniversary, but this way we will have more time together. I will bake something fresh for dessert, depending on what I have in the pantry.

I am wearing... pj's. It is still early.

I am creating... or rather finishing a baby quilt for a baby that was born on the Feast Day of Our Lady of Fatima.

I am going... to get off the computer soon and start my day.

I am reading... still reading "A Simple Path" by Mother Teresa.

I am hoping... to go to Mass this evening with my husband and children and receive a special blessing.

I am hearing... the pitterpatter of my little sons feet as he plays around me.

Around the house... it is pretty clean for once, not just tidy.

One of my favorite things... is buying books. I love the smell and feel of new books.

A Few Plans For The Rest Of The Week: getting lots of schoolwork done, finishing the baby quilt, maybe making Mia another dress and starting to knit some mittens for the kids.

Here is picture thought I am sharing... Mia wearing the jumper style dress I made for her last week. I am making another one of these using a plaid wool fabric. It is already dropping down to 0°C most nights here.

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