FUN MONDAY - Put your best foot forward

FUN MONDAY - Put your best foot forward

sponsored by Pensieve

"Shoes tell a lot about a person and we wanna delve deeply into your soul sole. Photograph your favorite pair--or pairs--of shoes and tell us a little about why they're near and dear to your toes heart"

I hate wearing shoes and welcome any opportunity not to wear them. I was always the gal at work whose shoes came off the minute I hit my desk. If I could get away with wandering barefoot through the office, I would. Shoes come off the minute I hit the door. We decluttered recently and donated a bunch of stuff to Goodwill. Amongst the stuff were several pairs of shoes. I currently own one pair of sandals, one pair of sneakers and my clogs, that's it. We were going out for a nice dinner the other night and I had nothing to wear but my sandals. I was scratching my head wondering where all my shoes went! Silly me....Time to go shoe shopping.

The shoes that are near and dear to all our soles are our nurses clogs from

Shoes in motion....we wear them so much, they have an aura of energy!!!!

I love my clogs and wear them for everything, well almost everything. James wears his everywhere. Father and I will wear them while putzing about the house, gardening, hanging out, whatever. They are oh so comfortable and the next best thing to bare feet. Easy to clean too. You just spray them off with the garden hose and let them dry.

Luna loves to play in them and was ever so curious why I was taking a picture of shoes.

Another Reason For Homeschooling

I saw this article mentioned on Welcome to Granny's House and it just made me Livid.

I read the following article on Fox News By Catherine Donaldson-Evans

“A fairy tale about two princes falling in love sparked a backlash — and a lawsuit — against a teacher and a school last year when it was read to a second-grade class in Massachusetts.

Did you know this book is the #1 challenged book on the banned books list. This is one that I agree should be banned from school curriculum. If someone wants to read it to their kids, let them do it at home.

“But the three frontrunners in the Democratic presidential race suggested Wednesday night at their debate in New Hampshire that they’d support reading the controversial book to children as part of a school curriculum.”

"Edwards gave the first and most definitive answer — a resounding and instant “yes, absolutely” — although he added that it “might be a little tough” for second-graders. The 2004 vice presidential candidate and former North Carolina senator said he doesn’t want to influence his kids’ opinions about the issue. "I don’t want to make that decision on behalf of my children,” he said. “I want my children to be able to make that decision on behalf of themselves, and I want them to be exposed to all the information, even in — did you say second grade? Second grade might be a little tough, but even in second grade to be exposed to all those possibilities, because I don’t want to impose my view. Nobody made me God.”

“I want my children to understand everything about the difficulties that gay and lesbian couples are faced with every day, the discrimination that they’re faced with every single day of their lives,” Edwards said. “I suspect my two younger children, Emma Claire, who’s 9, and Jack, who’s 7, will reach the same conclusion that my daughter Cate, who’s 25, has reached — which is, she doesn’t understand why her dad is not in favor of same-sex marriage.

Amazing! Edwards thinks his 2nd grader should be able to make the decision himself whether something is right or wrong with not input from him. James is a 2nd grader and by no means has the maturity to be able to decide something like that. Kids at that age haven’t developed cause and effect reasoning and just absorb everything like a sponge. If you don’t guide and teach them, then they just flow with the wind, believing everything. Reminds me of the definition of Socialization: Learning the customs, attitudes, and values of a social group, community, or culture. Do you want your children learning your morals, values and customs or do you want them learning the customs of strangers.

"Obama agreed with Edwards and revealed that his wife has already spoken to his 6- and 9-year-old daughters about same-sex marriage. Obama told Russert that his sentiments are similar to those of Edwards, and, when asked whether he’d sat down to talk about same-sex marriage with his young daughters, he replied that his wife had.

“The fact is, my 9-year-old and my 6-year-old I think are already aware that there are same-sex couples,” the Illinois senator told the debate. “One of the things I want to communicate to my children is not to be afraid of people who are different. …. One of the things I think the next president has to do is stop fanning people’s fears. If we spend all our time feeding the American people fear and conflict and division, then they become fearful and conflicted and divided.”

Clinton said she believes it’s up to parents to decide how to handle such topics, but added that it’s important to teach kids about the “many differences that are in the world. Clinton said she respects the viewpoints of Obama and Edwards, but she sidestepped the question of whether she’d be comfortable having a storybook like “King & King” read to her own child at that age.

“With respect to your individual children, that is such a matter of parental discretion,”
I find myself actually agreeing with Clinton for once. It is a matter of parental discretion and not something to be taught in the schools.

"Clinton said. “Obviously, it is better to try to … help your children understand the many differences that are in the world. … And that goes far beyond sexual orientation. So I think that this issue of gays and lesbians and their rights will remain an important one in our country.”

"Same-sex marriage is legal in Massachusetts and, as Russert pointed out Wednesday, most of the Democratic candidates have said they oppose it. But though they don't back the legislation, they apparently think it's OK to teach elementary-school students about gay marriage."

What! As adults they oppose it, but don’t object to teaching 2nd graders about it.

"Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, who is vying for the Republican nomination for president, weighed in afterward with a statement accusing the Democratic candidates of being “out of touch” with America. “Not one candidate was uncomfortable with young children learning about same-sex marriage in the second grade,” Romney said in the statement. “This is a subject that should be left to parents, not public school teachers. We need to strengthen our families by passing a federal marriage amendment and also insisting on marriage before having children. Washington requires Democrats with the courage to stand up to their ultra liberal base and do what's right for our children."

All right – someone is taking a stand for morality.

"Some Lexington Mass. parents were livid that a Joseph Estabrook Elementary School teacher read “King & King” to their second-grade children in class. The Dutch tale, which has been translated into English, is about a prince whose mother pressures him to find a princess but who ends up falling in love with and marrying the brother of one of the prospective brides instead. Last year, a judge dismissed a federal lawsuit brought by two sets of parents of students in the class who objected to the introduction of homosexual themes to their 7-year-olds without alerting them first, on the grounds that it was a violation of the state’s sex-education parental notification clause."

The judge actually told the couple to put their kid in a private school or home school them if they didn’t like it. Link to Parker Case.
"School officials stood by their decision to teach about different kinds of marriage and said that Massachusetts law requires them to do so."

This is so sad because when, not if, the next president is elected, we all know it will be a democrat. Why? Because everyone will be thinking they need a change from the last 8 years. To me, it is just a given at this point. So.....what do we do about it?

Banned Books Week

Officially runs from September 29th through October 6th, 2007

Banned Books week celebrates our freedom to read and reminds us not to take our freedoms for granted. According to the ALA:

BBW celebrates the freedom to choose or the freedom to express one’s opinion even if that opinion might be considered unorthodox or unpopular and stresses the importance of ensuring the availability of those unorthodox or unpopular viewpoints to all who wish to read them. After all, intellectual freedom can exist only where these two essential conditions are met.

Many books have been challenged or banned over the years based on their content in order to protect children from what others consider objectionable material. Who determines what is objectionable? Many different people and groups have attempted and continue to try to get anything that does not agree with their own beliefs banned. Anyone can object to a book and file a challenge to it thereby having it removed from libraries or curriculum. A challenge is a formal, written complaint, filed with a library or school requesting that materials be removed because of the content or appropriateness. For more information on Banned books go to the American Library Associations website.

The following is a list of some of the books have been banned or challenged over the years.

  • The Great Gatsby by F.Scott Fitzgerald
  • Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger
  • The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck
  • Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck
  • Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
  • As I Lay Dying by William Faulkner
  • Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad
  • A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess
  • Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell
  • For Whom the Bell Tolls by Ernest Hemingway
  • All the Kings Men by Robert Penn Warren
  • 1984 by George Orwell
  • The Lord of the Flies by William Golding
  • Ulysses by James Joyce
  • Catch-22 by Joseph Heller
  • The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway
  • Song of Solomon by Toni Morrison
  • A Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemingway
  • Slaughterhouse Five by Kurt Vonnegut
  • Call of the Wild by Jack London
  • Lady Chatterley’s Lover by DH Lawrence
  • Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain
  • Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain
  • Age of Reason by Thomas Paine
  • Black Beauty by Anna Sewell
  • Candide by Voltaire
  • Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer
  • Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
  • Hamlet by William Shakespeare
  • Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle
I was very surprised the first time I saw this list...shocked in fact at the number of classics that have been challenged or banned. So pick up a banned book and read it this week in honor of BANNED BOOKS WEEK.

I haven't decided which one to read because they all look interesting. So, will be dropping by the book store to browse and consider and browse and pick up one or two or three.


Letter Perfect by Cathy Marie Hake

I discovered the writings of Cathy Marie Hake, a Christian fiction author, a couple months ago. I had seen the book “Fancy Pants” in the catalog and decided it looked interesting. After reading the book, I was hooked on Cathy Marie Hake. Once I find an author whose writing I enjoy, will go through all their books. So, decided to read Letter Perfect. The book is set in the late 1800’s and is about Ruth Caldwell, a young woman who just happens to be intelligent, yet she is a klutz. She has been kicked out of several finishing schools for ladies because she just doesn’t fit in and sets a bad example for the rest of the girls. When her mother dies, she is forced to journey out west to a father she has never meet. Her arrival brings about more mayhem and sparks soon fly between her and the son of her father’s business partner

Excerpt Page One

Exactly how much damage can one tiny fish bone do? Ruth Caldwell wondered if she simply ought to swallow the wretched little thing. Knowing my luck, it’ll get stuck and I’ll choke to death.

Just as she decided to lift her napkin and discreetly get rid of the pickery little nuisance, Miss Pettigrew looked at her. Ruth’s blood ran cold and she plastered a smile on her closed lips.

Well, at least my mouth is shut.

The headmistress of Pettigrew Academy graced Ruth with a chilly nod. After her afternoon debacle, Ruth didn’t expect any better. A mere slip of the tongue and she’d managed to introduce the new pastor to the Garden Society as “Reverend Mark Clumsy” instead of “Reverend Clark Mumsy.” In doing so, she’d embarrassed herself and reflected poorly on the Academy.

Oh, how can I get rid of this bone?

She lifted her napkin. The silver candlesticks teetered precariously, then fell onto Miss Pettegrew’s prized snowy Irish line tablecloth. It wasn’t until her plate began to tip and girls started squealing that Ruth realized she hadn’t grabbed her napkin—she’d been pulling on the tablecloth!”

Letter perfect is an amusing, entertaining read.

Book Review - A Wind in the Door by Madeleine L'Engle

I know it is a book considered for 9 to 12 years old, but lately I have become fascinated with children’s authors. In some way, shape or form, the books are just as entertaining as adult reads. I initially read A Wrinkle in Time for my English Literature for Children and Young Adults class last year. I wasn’t particularly thrilled with the book, but then again it is written for children who don’t need all the technical detail of a Dale Brown or Tom Clancy Book.

Once again, Madeleine L’engle blends a child’s world with the battle between good and evil in A Wind in the Door. At the beginning of the story, 6 year old Charles announces to Meg “There are dragons in the twin’s vegetable garden.” The dragon is a Cherubim (good angel) named Proginoskes who has come to help Charles who is suffering from some mysterious illness. His farandolae are being coerced by the evil Echthroi (fallen angels) to run away and be free. Meg and assorted characters including the Cherubim must venture inside Charles via a tiny mitochondria to save him and the fate of the world.

A Wind in the Door is a excellent children’s book and a fun read. I was able to read within 3 to 4 hours with not problem at all. However, it was would a good chapter book to read with your kids over a period of time.

We accomplished everything on our plan this week.

Day to Day Devotions. We completed the Fruits of the Spirit study and James knows Galatians 5:22,23 by heart now. Now I have to decide what we are going to
continue with.

Lord, Teach me to Pray: Discovering the Kings Course of Action was all about dissecting Isaiah 36 and learning about worship, allegiance and submitting to God.

Math: Working on subtraction which seems to be getting easier. Father told me that yesterday while they were working on the subtraction worksheet that James was coming up with addition equations that equaled the subtraction equation.

For example: When Father asked what 14 -1 equals, James would say 12 + 1 which is 13. Father told me he thought James was just being difficult, until I explained that it is a good thing. It means he is getting it and putting 2 + 2 together (no pun intended).

Language Arts: English and spelling completed very easily. Worked on putting together sentences and making new sentences out of words. For example the lesson gave him a 2 list of words such as leaves, fish, children, and fell, swam, sang, flew to name a few. He had to pick to two words and make a complete sentences. He came up with the following sentences:

1) The leaves fell from the trees in the fall.

2) The fish swam in the sea in the summertime.

3) The children sang Christmas carols.

4) The birds flew in the spring.

5) The horse galloped and the butterfly flew.

6) The children went to the beach for a swim.

How to Write a Story: The lesson was about “a slice of life” which is a like a snapshot that you write. James had to choose two characters and one setting from a bunch of word and write a story using the characters and setting picked. I cut up a list of characters, placed them upside down on the table and he chose two. Then did the same for the setting. The characters were a Monster and a Dad, the setting was a campground.

This is the story he came up with:

Episode 1: The Monster and the two black monsters

Once upon a time, there was a monster and a dad at a campground. They were playing hide and seek. Night came. The monster and the dad went to bed. The monster ran into the forest. Suddenly, he saw a dark dark cave. He went into the cave and saw two black monsters charging toward him. He ran out of the cave, past the campground and ran to the water where he splashed in and lived safely happily ever after. The end.

James very proudly pointed out to me that this is a good story because it has a beginning

Once upon a time, there was a monster and a dad at a campground. They were playing hide and seek.”.

It has a middle “Night came. The monster and the dad went to bed. The monster ran into the forest. Suddenly, he saw a dark dark cave. He went into the cave and saw two black monsters charging toward him.”

It has an end “He ran out of the cave, past the campground and ran to the water where he splashed in and lived safely happily ever after. The end.”

History: We read Chapter 19 A New Kind of King which is all about Richard the Lionhearted, his brother John, the Magna Carta and Robin Hood. James asked many questions throughout indicating to me he was listening intently. He thought Robin Hood was a bad guy because he was stealing and it didn’t matter to him who he was stealing from, it was bad. He was very concerned about the sheriff getting tied up and left at the edge of the forest.

Science: James and Father read all about Energy in Usborne’s Energy Forces and Motion and completed a project “making a loop” from the Sciencewiz electricity kit. James called me at work to tell me all about energy and “that if we didn’t have energy we wouldn’t have power.”

F.I.A.R: We read Amber on the Mountain this week and learned all about friendship, mountain life, and learning how to read and write.

Ask Sister Mary Martha

She is eloquent as always. I just had to copy her post regarding the excommunicated nuns.

"So everyone and their dog (who is not going to heaven) Rollo, has been emailing me the story of the excommunicated nuns. It's such a sad embarrassing tale of woe, I hardly know where to begin.

I'll begin with, no one gets excommunicated anymore. You would think people would be excommunicated left and right, considering the amazing number of cafeteria Catholics. You don't get to pick and choose what to believe and what not to believe. If you have, you are not in communion with the Church and are ex-communioned by definition. But you are not excommunicated.

Excommunication means you are barred from the sacraments, and although there is a lot of talk about excommunicating people, I really can't remember it happening. There is a list as long as my arm of people that have been threatened with excommunication: stem cell researchers (that takes the list almost to my shoulder) and Madonna. I have a vague recollection of some South American cardinal who got married and flaunted his wife, who was hauled in front of Pope John Paul II and was shortly thereafter dumping his wife and crying on the Vatican steps. Still, he managed to not be excommunicated.

I'm not suggesting anyone is being to harsh with these nuns, the poor things. It's about time someone lowered the excommunication boom on this mess.

These sisters, who are no spring chickens keep in mind (the spokesnun is 82), believe that their Foundress is inhabited by the Blessed Mother. They are careful not to use the word "possessed" and the press has been unfair in it's use of the word "reincarnated". They never said their foundress was Mary reincarnated, but every newspaper that picked up the story sure did.

(Make no mistake, spiritual dumpster divers and cafeteria Catholics, the Catholic Church does not believe in reincarnation. You get the one soul and the one body. Don't be covering it in tattoos.)

So the Virgin Mary, living in the Foundress, tells the nuns what to do. They believe this, so they were excommunicated. Actually, there was one nun who packed her bags and got out of there. I think she's going to join another order. I should invite her to live here. We could use another set of hands with Sister Mary Fiacre.

The Cardinal who had to do the deed is besides himself. He had to excommunicate an 82 year old nun. He had to excommunicate people for the first time in 165 years. (He's not 165 years old himself. His predecessors never had to bar anyone from the sacraments either.)

It had to be done. Unless the nuns end up crying on the Vatican steps with the unmarried Cardinal, they are causing a terrible scandal.

Scandal. There is a word as misunderstood as excommunication. Excommunication doesn't mean you've been thrown out of the Church. You're still in the Church. You are barred from the sacraments. You could wear a uni-bomber hoodie and run out to a parish where no one knows you and receive the sacraments, but you would be piling onto your list of mortal sins. Even you're scapular won't save you.

Scandal means that your behaviour is causing other people to sin. If nuns believe in Mary possession and reincarnation and that Mary is inhabiting a woman and telling people what to do, then it must be true. If Madonna (a Catholic girl!) can rag pick for her spiritual needs, so can we.

The cardinal had to stop the car before the wheels could fall off.

Luckily for the excommunicated nuns, someone other than Mary must have given them financial advice because, unlike the 86 year old nuns in Santa Barbara, these nuns own their own home. Ironically, it's that one nun who left who's out on the street.

But still (fully) in the church"

Sister is amusing, yet informative and makes you think. At least you get to find out the real story versus what the press is passing as news. Until now, I wasn't quite sure what was going on, (living with my head in the sand as usual, trying to ignore the blather) . I didn't realize one of the sister was supposedly "channeling" Mary. Now I understand and agree with the Cardinal.

Wonderful, wacky, wild, wooly, windless, Wordy Wednesday

We are all so excited since in a week we will be leaving for New York. Since Father is the vice chairman of the Sacramento AES group, we decided he should go and he had to take us with him. I couldn’t have him going to New York without us…so this will be a first for Father, James and I. We are looking forward to it, but in the meantime I have to get busy writing because Project 1 for my science and religion class is due October 7th .

Project 1 involves selecting one of three landmark cases of science: The Copernican and Galileian Controversies, The Mechanistic Universe of Newton and Deism or The Darwinian Controversy AND providing an analysis in which you show through persuasive arguments that the case supports a confrontational model or non confrontational model of science and religion. I think I will go with Newton just to be different, since we all know Darwin was confrontational and most of the students will go with that because it is an easy choice.

Plus answer the regular discussion questions for this week’s Module discussing Philosophy and God’s Existence.

The discussion questions are:

1) Based on a process philosophy of Charles Hartsthorne, is God causally responsible in some way for the evil deeds of Humans? What do you think of this opinion?

2) Based on the classical view of Thomas Aquinas, is God causally responsible in some way for the evil deeds of humans? Explain.

3) Of the three major approaches to the question of God’s action in the world, which one, if any, do you think is plausible, reasonable, or possibly correct. If you think none of these approaches is plausible, reasonable, or possibly correct, then why not?

So, lots of thinking and writing and thinking and writing mingled in with the rest of life.

And since Banned Book Week is next week, I am off to find a banned book to add to my Fall Reading Challenge.

2nd grade curriculum revised

It is amazing what you can accomplish when you set your mind to it.

Friday I reviewed James 2nd grade curriculum and made a few changes. I had realized what the problem was after going to see Susan Bauer at the CCHE Seminar. I had gone crazy with the curriculum choices and added quite a few extras, which seemed to be bogging us, or rather me down. Besides the Well Trained Mind choices, I had been looking at Mater Amabilis (catholic charlotte mason), Ambleside Online, and others. I found so many neat books that fit into our studies and overdid it. Every single book’s table of contents was entered into excel with how many chapters needed to completed for each book.

AND, this is a biggie, instead of calendaring everything out like I did with 1st grade and knew what need to be completed and how long it would take us to finish, decided to just go with the flow and just do the next thing in the list. Without regard to how long it would take to get it done and the number of weeks in the school year, just go with the flow. I discovered I am not a go with the flow sort of person…uh uh! Neither is James. For the past few weeks, when starting to make up the lesson plan for the week, I was getting overwhelmed with all the choices and it was taking longer each time to work up the lesson plan. Then James starts looking at me cross eyed with all the work and books I am trying to get him to do. So…..I dropped some books from the repertoire, reworked the schedule, calendared everything out so would have an exact idea of what going to be doing every week, and voila!!!!! I am happy, organized, satisfied and better prepared. Which in turn, will benefit James and Father as well, since he does the teaching two days a week.

Our school year runs usually from June to April. We ended up taking May and June off, started in July, but did light work during July and August. This means we didn’t progress very far, but I still want to keep our stopping date of April.

We will continue to do “Day to Day devotions” daily. We are just finishing up the Fruits of the spirit study, which has been quite beneficial for all of us.

“Lord Teach Me to Pray for Kids”: Instead of trying to complete one lesson each day, going to do one lesson a week. The lessons are pretty long, information intensive and need to be broken up over a two day period.

Rod and Staff English has 6 units with 25 lessons each which include a lot of review. If we were doing lessons 5 days a week, then might be able to finish it. However, I am scheduling it for two days a week and will double up on some days. Even with doubling up on some days, won’t be able to complete the whole book, so plan on coming to a stopping point after the 3rd unit at the end of April. We will pick up where left off after our break in May.

Rod and Staff spelling has 33 lessons and we are 1/3 of the way through, so will be done by April. Going to continue with Write A Story once a week which has 29 chapters.

Reading will continue with Five in a Row, Catholic Mosaic and other assorted books.

Shelving some books purchased on the recommendation of mater amabilis and the rest of Holling’s living books for later. We will be doing lots of reading and eventually will work those in somehow.

For history, we are just going to do Story of the World and drop the study of the presidents and California. Currently on chapter 19 and will be finished by May.

My big decision for science….drum roll, please. I am giving up the teaching of science to Father. My thinking before was that I had to do it, otherwise wouldn’t know what he is learning or if it was getting done. Letting go of the control stick on this one…now! I will be working up the lesson plans, of course, so that they will know what to do. Science will be two days a week reading Usbornes Energy Forces and Motion on Tuesday and doing projects from Sciencewiz Electricity (target find) and Let’s Make an Invention ( find) on Thursday. I am dropping the study of dinosaurs and microscopes for now.

For Mathematics, we are using Modern Curriculum Press A which is for K – 3rd grade. So, after reviewing the lessons, realized the whole book didn’t have to be completed within the next year. We will be coming to a stopping point after Chapter 9 and pick up where left off after break. I had been stressing about this because we had been doing each lesson twice and it was going to take forever to finish. I purchased two workbooks and Father would have James complete the worksheet again on his days in order to cement the lesson in his brain. Math is not James strong suit at this point.

On daddy days, James and Father will be working through Evan Moor’s Non Fiction Reading and Draw-Write-Now, plus reading from the Blue Fairy book or whatever else I decide to assign.

We are dropping Japanese for now and will pursue foreign language study during the third grade. If James wants to use the program for fun, he will be able to do that.

J'ai fini

Fall into Reading 2007 Challenge

Katrina at Callapidder Days is hosting a fall 2007 reading challenge which will take place of course during Fall which runs from September 23rd through December 21st. The challenge is to make a list of what books you would like to read during Fall and make a commitment to read them.

There are so many books on my bookshelf that I have started, then put down and not gotten back to, so will make a concerted effort to finish them. For years all I read was fiction, science fiction mainly. As I have gotten older, my tastes have changed or maybe I’ve just become more open minded, so have expanded my repertoire to include non fiction and all genres of fiction.

These are the books I have chosen so far. Similar to the ebb and flow of the tides, the list will morph, so check the side bar for current reads. I will be adding as time goes on.


Since I am currently taking a Science and Religion course through Excelsior college, the first book I am going to read is “Jesus of Nazareth” by Pope Benedict VXI. This is the first book he wrote after becoming pope. I have read the first chapter, plus many excerpts which have been printed in the National Catholic Register Newspaper. I gave this book to my dad for his birthday and I don’t think he has finished reading it yet.

The 2nd book is “What the Bleep do we Know, Discovering the Endless Possibilities for Altering your everyday Realities.” I have already read two or three chapters, but didn’t get back to it. I was trying to answer the questions at the end of each chapter and got bogged down. I have also given the book to my mom and one of my sisters. I know my sister is enjoying it, but I think mom has yet to start.

So…. Mom and dad. Yes, you!!! I am challenging you to finish the books by the end of fall too.

Much of the material from the two books goes along so well with what we are discussing in class so these would be two perfect books to finish.

The 3rd book is “The Year of Living Biblically: One Man’s Humble Quest to Follow the Bible as Literally as Possible” by A.J. Jacobs. I discovered it on Amazon and thought it looked interesting. The 4th book is “The Courage to Teach: Exploring the Inner Landscape of a Teacher’s Life.” Someone on the Well Trained Mind boards turned me on to it. The 5th non fiction book also started but not finished will be a book my mom gave me “The Other Parent: Inside Story of the Media’s Effect on Our Children.”


The 1st is Illuminated by Matt Bronleewe which looks really interesting in which the main character has to save the lives of his loved ones by deciphering a centuries-old puzzle encrypted in the colorful hand-painted illuminations that adorn three rare Gutenberg Bibles. I just finished Fancy Pants by Cathy Marie Hake and thoroughly enjoyed it so decided to read another one of her books so “Letter Perfect” will be my 2nd choice. The 3rd is a science fiction novel: Promises to Keep by Charles De Lint which is being released Sept 25th and is another story following Jilly Coppercorn. I love his books, his writing style and have read the majority of his stories. The last two are companions to A Wrinkle in Time by L’engle: A Wind in the Door" and "A Swiftly Tilting Planet." I was introduced to A Wrinkle in Time during my English literature course, actually enjoyed it and like the characters of Meg and Charles. L'engles books are easy reads and will be able to read each in a couple hours time, so more books will be added later.

So, be sure to check out Callapidder Days, see who else is participating, or participate yourself in the Fall into Reading 2007 Challenge.

I found these three at the local used bookstore and just had to add them

Only the River Runs Free By Bodie Thoene (one of my favorite authors)
The Templar Legacy by Steve Berry (sort of a da vince code knock off)
Silver Tower by Dale Brown (high tech thriller and one of my favorite authors)

9/30/07 Changes

Amazon has advised me that the Year of Living Biblically is not available yet, which in amazon speak usually means I won't get it. So taking that off the list.

Adding 4 more books:
Great Gatsby by F.Scott Fitzgerald - in honor of banned books week
The Grapes of Wrath by Steinbeck ih honor of banned books week
Holy Yoga Exercise for the Christian Body and Soul by Brooke Boon: A fellow blogger, Rachelle of Seek First His Kingdom helped the author with the book.
Genesis of Shannara Book 2 : The Elves of Cintra by Terry Brooks (I love Terry Brooks)

Soldiers Angels

I signed up recently to be a Soldiers Angel which is a nationwide group started to provide comfort and help to our troops. You can adopt a soldier, send cards and letters, provide support to the families, visit a wounded soldier, or even send help with toys and games which the soldiers distribute to the kids in Iraq and Afghanistan. They are a great organization and the troops need all the moral support they can get.

I received this email from Louise, who is the team leader here in Sacramento.

US Marine Colonel Simcock, the commander of USMC Regimental Combat Team (RCT) 6 in Iraq, is asking for 6,000 positive emails to his Marines. That's one email for each Marine in his RCT command. COL Simcock is concerned about the effect of the negative barrage that those Marines are getting through the electronic media. So far, they've only mustered 2,000 emails. That's a crying shame compared to the amount of crap I get daily in email. This is a legitimate request. It's not one of the "little Johnny wants to break the world's record in Christmas cards" situations. It takes only 30 seconds of your time. Here's the email address:

If you're reading this email, then you can probably click on the address, type a few words, and then hit "send" to be all done. It doesn't have to be the Gettysburg Address. Something as simple as "Hello, Marine. We thank you for what you're doing. You are in a noble task. Don't let anyone tell you otherwise. Best wishes & get home soon" is more than sufficient.

An excerpt from an interview with the Colonel:

GRIM: Is there anything that you and your Marines need that we could send you?

COL. SIMCOCK: (Chuckles.) I'll tell you what, the one thing that all Marines want to know about -- and that includes me and everyone within Regimental Combat Team 6 -- we want to know that the American public are behind us. We believe that the actions that we're taking over here are very, very important to America. We're fighting a group of people that, if they could, would take away the freedoms that America enjoys.

If anyone -- you know, just sit down, jot us -- throw us an email, write us a letter, let us know that the American public are behind us. Because we watch the news just like everyone else. It's broadcast over here in our chow halls and the weight rooms, and we watch that stuff, and we're a little bit concerned sometimes that America really doesn't know what's going on over here, and we get sometimes concerns that the American public isn't behind us and doesn't see the importance of what's going on. So that's something I think that all Marines, soldiers and sailors would like to hear from back home, that in fact, yes, they think what we're doing over here is important and they are in fact behind us.”

This information has been verified and is legitimate. So, please take a few minutes of your time and email our brave men and women. They love hearing from everyone. If you have ever been in the armed services, you will remember what is like to receive mail when you are so far from home. The best I can equate it to is remember when you used to watch the war movies or mash and how excited everyone on the front was to receive mail.

And I really should not have to say this, but please keep it positive without regard to politics or whether you agree with the war they are fighting. They are doing a job, a tough job, and they deserve 100% of our support.

Do it only takes a few minutes of your time.

Heart to Heart

We are all finally feeling better after three weeks of illness. I finally have my energy back, which is the most important thing. Because you know….the functioning of our household really does revolve around Mom. My two guys rely on me completely and when mom is down, the house falls down. Now it is time to wean ourselves away from the unlimited tv, dvr, netflix movies, video games, and the internet and get some perspective back into our lives. We have been unschooling which basically means James has been picking and choosing what he wants to learn about and most of that has been through, you guessed it, electronics. But, you know, he doesn’t lean toward the twaddle, basically because we don’t have it in the house. What I mean by twaddle is the mindless stuff like sponge bob, rugrats, etc. I don’t allow him to watch live tv because there are too many commercials, even on the kid’s channels. Everything we watch is recorded on the dvr, dvds or video’s. He is only allowed to go on Mom approved internet sites and if they aren’t in his bookmarks, he doesn’t get to look at it. We don’t have playstations, Xboxes or any of that ilk and neither do I plan on ever having them. Watch me eat my words later. But, I feel like I’m making excuses at this point.

As SWB said during one of her seminars “when a child watchs the tv or plays a video game, they aren’t thinking. They are being passive or reactive to what is appearing before them.” I believe that because TV is my grand escape. When I have had a hard day all I want to do is “veg” in front of the TV. I go into a passive mode. We all have been in passive mode for the past three weeks and it’s time to get our buts in gear.


MFS, who is oh so wise, said in her blog speaking practically


“One refrain among parent-teachers is that life sometimes (for some, often) gets in the way of schooling. Without entering into the "life is the education" debate, let me just suggest -- ever so gently -- that one needs to be careful about letting life derail the home education train.

What keeps our train on the tracks, then, is remembering that we have an obligation -- in fact, a legal responsibility -- to educate our children. While homeschooling certainly gives us some flexibility in terms of coping with life's challenges, it does not give us a "pass" on getting the job done. Teachers in traditional classrooms, for example, also experience life's upsets, great and small, but if our children were their students, we'd have every expectation that despite the other demands, those teachers would teach our children.

And so we must have the same expectation of ourselves.

Life happens, but the teaching, learning, coaching, studying, and all the rest must continue.

Put the children's education first. Force it to the front of the line on your mental to-do list. Once this becomes a mental habit, you will be better able to discern when it's acceptable to let life creep into the day.

So eloquent.

We have been derailed but will be getting back onto the train this week. Autumn is here. We had our first rainfall yesterday and the air feels crisp, clean and cool. Time for a new beginning. Time to reorganize. Time to make some new goals and work towards achieving those goals for me, Father and James. I don’t feel we have been accomplishing much, but usually when I write it all down found that we actually did.

However, I am feeling in the need of a kick in the pants to do better and re-evaluate.

This weekend will be spent in getting my house in order, re-evaluating lessons plans, and working up our schedules. I really really really need a schedule and so does James. He thrives on schedules…always checking what has to be done next and reminding me of appointments and things we need to do.

I found an excellent article by John Charles Ryle who was an Anglican bishop in the church of England in 1880 called “The Duties of Parents based on Proverbs 22:6

"Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it."

Did you read it? Good. Time for me to get to work. You too!!!! Go – Get.

Ode to Autumn
by John Keats

Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness,
Close bosom-friend of the maturing sun;
Conspiring with him how to load and bless
With fruit the vines that round the thatch-eaves run;
To bend with apples the moss'd cottage-trees,
And fill all fruit with ripeness to the core;
To swell the gourd, and plump the hazel shells
With a sweet kernel; to set budding more,
And still more, later flowers for the bees,
Until they think warm days will never cease;
For Summer has o'erbrimm'd their clammy cells.

Who hath not seen thee oft amid thy store?
Sometimes whoever seeks abroad may find
Thee sitting careless on a granary floor,
Thy hair soft-lifted by the winnowing wind;
Or on a half-reap'd furrow sound asleep,
Drowsed with the fume of poppies, while thy hook
Spares the next swath and all its twinèd flowers:
And sometimes like a gleaner thou dost keep
Steady thy laden head across a brook;
Or by a cyder-press, with patient look,
Thou watchest the last oozings, hours by hours.

Where are the songs of Spring? Ay, where are they?
Think not of them, thou hast thy music too,—
While barrèd clouds bloom the soft-dying day
And touch the stubble-plains with rosy hue;
Then in a wailful choir the small gnats mourn
Among the river-sallows, borne aloft
Or sinking as the light wind lives or dies;
And full-grown lambs loud bleat from hilly bourn;
Hedge-crickets sing; and now with treble soft
The redbreast whistles from a garden-croft;
And gathering swallows twitter in the skies.

This week in Science and Religion - Chapter 3 we are reading about Religion and the Philosophy of Science. Expanding my brain and reading all about rationalism, empiricism, realism and idealism, and logical positivism. The questions open for discussion this week are

1) Do you think that a religious community can experience a revolutionary change in thinking that can be described as a paradigm shift? Give one Example.

2) Do you think that humans can ever acquire genuine knowledge (not just mere opinion or a strong feeling) of the presence of spiritual being? If so, what are the standards for such knowledge?

3) Do you think that sensory experiences can, at least in some cases, offer absolutely accurate, and infallible, knowledge of the world? Explain.

Interesting questions...but all this thinking fries your brain after a while.

Ahoy, me is international talk like a pirate day!

Arrrg! Shiver me timbers and grab some grog and dance smartly, me buccos!

We are halfway through the week and James and I are recovering from our colds. Our energy still hasn’t returned completely and we still have the random wet cough which makes everyone around you just want to cross their fingers at you and run away! Father is mid way through his cold and just hit the low point Sunday and Monday. James missed his swimming lessons last week and we decided to cancel this week as well. He had decided he is done with swimming lessons for now, so we didn’t sign him up for more. The swim club was nice enough to keep the lessons on the books, so when he is ready to continue later, he has 6 lessons already paid for.

Father gave up on going to the San Francisco AES Annual meeting yesterday, because he wasn’t feeling up to driving there. God was telling us something yesterday because Father was sick, the air conditioning at work was having issues and my car went kaput.

About 10 minutes after arriving at the shop, S from the neighboring business came in to tell me my car was leaking antifreeze and in a big way. Well, the leak didn’t stop…it dripped all day, so had the car towed to the dealer. Father and James came and picked me up, we stopped by the dealer to leave the keys and note in the after hours slot and headed home. Keep your fingers crossed that it isn’t major.

We are continuing to unschool this week since none of us have the energy. We watched the 1971 movie Andromeda Strain which is based on the novel by Michael Crichton. I love his books. It’s about a satellite crashing in New Mexico and it had an alien virus on board which killed all the inhabitants of the town, except for an old man and a baby. The scientist have to race against the clock to stop the virus from spreading. James actually enjoyed the movie, twice. His explanation of the movie: it’s about an alien virus that turns your blood into powder and pffft, you’re gone, goodbye!

Yo Ho Ho, Castin’ off my matey’s… All landlubbers and lilylivered walk the plank.

Capn Yvette Burntbeard of the good ship, The Horrible Strumpet

Okay, I have a half hour to kill before dinner...what do I do

Draw a pig. Yep, that's right. At Draw a Pig you draw a pig, using your mouse and then you will get a personality profile from the drawing of the pig. It isn't easy drawing a pig with your mouse. I had to start over a few times. James saw my pig picture and said "that isn't good." Here it tis:

Pretty pathetic, huh!

According to the swine I am
a realist, believe in tradition, friendly, and remember dates (birthdays, etc.), emotional and naive, and care little for details, a risk-taker, secure, stubborn, and stick to ideals, and an OK listener. I won't tell you what my drawing indicated about my sex life. Ahem, we will just leave that up to the imagination, thank you.

Since I don't have a lot to say today, check out these blogs

Ask Sister Mary Martha who is quite upset about the archdiocese of Santa Barbara kicking three nuns out of their home of 55 years so it can be sold to help pay for the $660 million priest abuse settlement. Residents of Santa Barbara are stepping up to try and help the sisters buy the house and you can find more information on her website if you want to help.

If you are trying to figure out who to vote for or who is worth of your vote, One Vote Under God provides quite a bit of information.

Pete's Pond is fascinating as always

Granny's house whom I discovered a few days ago.

Don't forget to watch Kid Nation on Wednesday. Valerie's (Valerie in IL on the Well Trained Mind Boards) son, Nathan was picked to be on the show and had a wonderful experience. Forget the hype by the press and watch with an open mind. I watched the promo on the website and I was hooked.

I got to meet Susan Wise Bauer!!!

The Classical Christian Home Educators had yesterday and today the 5th annual CCHE seminar with Susan as the only speaker, in Roseville. I was able to go yesterday, but unfortunately couldn’t make it today. Before we all got colds, had planned on dropping James off at the shop to be with Father while I went. However, father wasn’t feeling well so he came home early so I could go.

I got to meet Kate, too but unfortunately missed seeing Robin or Carol from the Well Trained Mind Boards. There were two sessions yesterday in which Susan spoke about The Joy of Classical Education: an introduction to classical education at home and the 2nd session “Home schooling the Second Time” which was basically about what did right and wrong and if had to do it all over again. I actually learned quite a bit and found I may have been getting off course in trying to teach James from a logic stage standpoint in some things, rather than the grammar stage. Jumping ahead of myself, so to speak.

When we first decided to start home schooling, I had no idea where to start. So, first step – research on the internet. I discovered the Well Trained Mind message boards and from there, decided to read Susan’s book Well Trained Mind which is a guide to classical education at home. I can truthfully say Susan’s book and website is what encouraged me to start home schooling. I meet her last night and was able to thank her for showing me the way. She graciously poised for a picture with me, even though she was jet lagged and feeling less than picture worthy at the moment.

I am glad I was able to make it, if only for the one day. Susan is eloquent, humorous and a very down to earth person.

Is it Wednesday?

Did I happen to mention that not only did James have strep, but he also has a cold, which he has now passed on to Father and I. I spent a restless night trying to sleep while being bugged by a very affectionate Luna who wanted to sleep in the crook of my neck. Every time I moved her, she would move right back up. Once I got her to settle by my side, she decided to clean herself and clean and clean. Cats…..why do they feel the need to plaster themselves to your side, then proceed to clean?

So, since we have all been feeling under the weather, much time has been spent in laziness, lolly gagging and getting lost in internet land, perusing the blogs and news.

Interesting things I have come across. (this is long so go to the bathroom, grab your coffee, tea or Pepsi and relax. Do you have on your reading glasses?

Mother Teresa. There is much being said about the publication of her personal letters. I think we have all experienced at some point or another “dark nights”. The Anchoress blog says it best, so I won’t repeat it. Read what she has to say.

In the National Catholic Register, read about her unfailing faith

Except from article “A light in Darkness” by Father Sebastian Vazhakala, who worked with Mother Teresa.

The Corporation Ambulance brought in a man. I looked at him and I recognized him straightaway, as he had been to our home several times. So I told Blessed Teresa that there was no sense in taking him in again, as he would go out when he might feel a little better.

Blessed Teresa looked at me and said: “Brother Sebastian, does this man need your help now or not? It does not matter that he was here yesterday or not, or that he is going to come back again tomorrow. We do not have yesterday any more, nor do we have tomorrow yet; all what we have is today to love God and serve the poor.”


Ask Sister Mary Martha She is a remarkable, humorous nun with much to say and really makes an impression.

Excerpt: “Friday was the Ladies of the Parish Card Party. It's one of those monthly events that has everyone arguing about what to serve, what type of table decoration will hold the table mints, who's in charge and on and on, every month. Then everyone plays cards and has a great time.

Well, almost everyone. (I myself have a good time watching them have a good time as long as I know they've settled on who will put up the chairs and tables when they are done. I'll have an even better time if I know that person knows how to stack the tables and chairs properly so that an hour later we don't hear a horrible crash when they all slide to the floor.)Sometimes there is resentment about who did what, who didn't do much, who feels slighted and who feels put upon.

And in this regard my two topics meld. I have to hear confessions. Not Confessions. Don't get your socks rolled up. Only a priest can hear Confessions. (And only men are priests. There are no men within a mile of the Ladies Card Party, unless you count our janitor, Mr. Schlaganhoff. He's cowering somewhere waiting for the tables to crash.)

No, I hear the confessions of who did or did not do what they were supposed to do, why someone feels slighted and who got put upon. Last year one of the women told me she was so tried of how put upon she was feeling that she was going to change parishes. Not only was she doing most of the heavy lifting for the Card Party, she was always left holding the empty box and the bill for the donuts for "Breakfast with Father" every other Saturday.

I generally just take it all in, because during a confession (small 'c'), people just want to vent. I can listen to people vent all day. I'll confess. I get a bang out of it. It's almost always funny to listen to people go on about their tribulations, the petty ones. It helps them get it off of their chests and it helps me think about my own stupid gripes and just drop them. It's a win/win.

But at the point where someone's going to change parishes because they have just had it with the people around them or the music that's playing or the organ being too loud (that's a real big one in our's a real big organ) I just have to say, "What do you think heaven will be like? Are you hoping none of these people get in? "

Seriously, people, who do you think you're going to be sitting next to in heaven? If right now you sit on the other side of the pew or go in the other door so you don't have to look Mrs. Blarney in the eye, you're going to have a big problem when she's seated at your right hand in heaven, eating the donuts you paid for.”

Last but not least:

One blog I read every week is Dura Mater who is a home schooling mom with 5 kids. Her youngest son has polymicrogyria, a brain malformation. She has the strength of a saint, humor and patience and a very busy life.


Well, I am off to read for my class Science and Religion Chapter 2 "Religion: Ally or enemy of Science" and answer and disuss the questions

1) Do you think that religious faith involving belief in God should be totally irrelevant to the proper administration of health care? Why?

2) Do you think that science can offer moral guidance about how we should live our lives and how we should interact with each other? Why or why not?

Amnesty Internationals Pro Abortion Policy

Amnesty International, founded in 1961 and supported by many Catholic organizations and individuals has decided to change its policy on abortion and support it.

According to AI “With the prevention of violence against women as its major campaigning focus, Amnesty International’s leaders committed themselves anew to work for universal respect for sexual and reproductive rights.”

Their decision has alienated the catholic church, leading to the removal of support for AI and leading one school to replace AI with newly formed Benenson Society named after the catholic lawyer who founded Amnesty.

English Catholic Bishop Michael Evans ended his 30 year membership with Amnesty International after their announcement.

The Pope's response:

"It was in Europe that the notion of human rights was first formulated. The fundamental human right, the presupposition of every other right, is the right to life itself. This is true of life from the moment of conception until its natural end. Abortion, consequently, cannot be a human right – it is the very opposite. It is “a deep wound in society”, as the late Cardinal Franz König never tired of repeating.

“In stating this, I am not expressing a specifically ecclesial concern. Rather, I wish to act as an advocate for a profoundly human need, speaking out on behalf of those unborn children who have no voice. In doing so, I do not close my eyes to the difficulties and the conflicts which many women are experiencing, and I realize that the credibility of what we say also depends on what the Church herself is doing to help women in trouble.

“In this context, then, I appeal to political leaders not to allow children to be considered as a form of illness, nor to abolish in practice your legal system’s acknowledgment that abortion is wrong. I say this out of a concern for humanity.”

So, what will happen to Amnesty International now? Will there be long ranging repercussions. Will they change their policy in light of the church's response? Or will another organization, group, or individual come along to provide the support lost?

In the Middle Ages, when the Catholic church withdrew its support or disagreed with anyone, it held lasting repercussions. Books were banned, philosophers and scientists silenced and new ideas squashed. Will their decision now change anything or nothing at all.

Personally, I think AI has made a big mistake.
Playing with the new camera!!!!

Luna - She loves to pose !!

and sleep

and Stare

Father's Eyeball

One of my many low allergy flower bushes - can't remember the name

(sick kid - but humored me)

We played around with the new camera this weekend, using all the lenses and different settings.

Father gave me (or rather us) for our anniversary a Nikon D80 10.2 Megapixal Digital SLR Camera, along with Nikkor lenses 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G ED II AF-S DX Zoom, 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6G ED-IF AF-S VR Zoon, 2x teleconverter, 52mm high quality close up kit with +1,+2, +4 lens, and 52mm and 67 mm filter kits.

So, in the spirit of using my, err our, new camera setup, I decided to do Project 365 in which you take a photo a day of your life, a photo journal, and post it. The three major reasons as cited by Project 365 are:
  • Imagine being able to look back at any day of your year and recall what you did, who you met, what you learned… (Often we find it hard to remember what we did just yesterday or even last night, let alone a whole year ago!)
  • Your year-long photo album will be an amazing way to document your travels and accomplishments, your haircuts and relationships. Time moves surprisingly fast.
  • Taking a photo a day will make you a better photographer. Using your camera every day will help you learn its limits. You will get better at composing your shots, you’ll start to care about lighting, and you’ll become more creative with your photography when you’re forced to come up with something new every single day.
So, get ready to go on a photographic journey, filled with glamor, excitement, entertainment... Nope, that's the life of a celebrity and wouldn't want to have it for anything in the world. Our journey will be filled with interesting and the mundane, beautiful and the not so beautiful, the joyful, liberating essence of nature and just pure nonsense. Stay tuned!!!!!!