Sunday, January 21, 2007

34 years ago

In January of 1973, the Supreme Court ruled that most laws making abortion illegal were unconstitutional. This has led to the murder of millions of unborn children in the name of "a woman's right to choose." Many of these women did not "choose" to murder their unborn but were coerced by men who did not want the responsibility of fatherhood or family members who convinced these women (and girls as young as 12-14) that having a baby would ruin their lives. The change in the laws has led to the slippery slope we are now seeing in which a person may have food and water withheld if their husband/wife/parent/guardian deems their quality of life to be less than they believe it should be. This is what happened to Terry Schiavo and what is happening across the world at an alarming rate.

With the advances in technology we now have what is termed "selective abortion" in which a child with a defect can be aborted to save the costs of dealing with a handicapped child. In some places selective abortion is being used to kill a female child simply because she is female.

Many women who undergo abortion are never truly informed as to the procedure. They do not know that the already formed body of the child within their womb will be cut up before it is "vacuumed out." They have been misled by people who call a baby a "fetus" and a "blob of tissue." They have been lied to. Abortion is referred to a a simple procedure and complications are rarely mentioned. Millions of women still die from abortions. Millions have complications ranging from lacerated cervixes to hemorrhaging to perforated uteruses to severe infection. Many of these complications can cause infertility. Women are also not told that the little life within them will try to escape the abortionist's tools. A baby will "swim" away from the cutting tools and vacuum. The unborn child also demonstrates that it feels pain during the supposedly painless procedure. Of course, when you have been told that a baby isn't a baby yet and you believe it to be a formless blob of cells, you might not believe that any of this could be true.

As you may guess from this post, I am pro-life. I believe that an unborn baby is alive and deserves to be born and to live. I also believe that abortion hurts women and society. The lies that are told and the secrets that are kept are harmful. We must respect the sanctity of human life from the moment of conception, or we risk losing respect for all human life. We risk losing respect for all the creatures on this earth. Indeed, we risk losing this planet to the selfishness of our human desires.

Dear Lord,
Please keep safe all those who will be traveling to the March for Life in Washington D.C. tonight and tomorrow. May the voices be heard and Your grace abound. May all the young people who have lost siblings and potential friends to abortion have healing, Lord. We have allowed the murders of so many innocents. We are no better than Herod. Please forgive us, Father. Please heal us.

Amen

Friday, January 19, 2007

About our home school

I am relatively new to homeschooling, having just brought my 10 year old home this year after kinder through grade 4 at a Catholic school. If I had been obedient to God, she would have been home last year, but I let fear get in the way of obedience.
My 6 year old has never been to "real" school as he refers to it. I bought simple materials from Rod and Staff for him for pre k and k, and I have continued with their handwriting and math programs. I will discontinue the use of their products when these workbooks are done because they are a Mennonite company and the more advanced the work, the more the differences in beliefs becomes apparent. The materials for the younger children are wonderful, and they have beautiful story books and coloring books at reasonable prices for little ones. I am not sure what I will do with him next year as he is about 6 months ahead right now.
I am trying to heed my dear friend Mary B's advice and not make any decisions in February and just enjoy this wonderful opportunity.
With my 10 yr old daughter, I have taken an entirely different route. She has a workbook for handwriting, and spelling, but that is it. We are kind of following the MODG fifth grade syllabus, but I have used a few materials from Laura Berquist's lists and a few I came across on my own. Both of my kids are getting bits and pieces of different curricula because I didn't find any one that had exactly what I wanted for each child. They are individuals, and their curricula have been purchased with that in mind. I have looked at CHC, and I love some of their things. I don't like other of their things. Seton has some wonderful books, so do MODG and OLVS not to mention Kolbe....the only thing I have been pretty strict about in my examination of curricula is that the world view has to match the worldview of our home. There are a couple of companies that profess to be christian but I have found offensive because they "catholic bash." I will not purchase anything from these companies.

One of MY favorite things for "school time" that I found through OLVS is a CD called 24 Catholic Songs for Children. It includes "Daniel in the Lion's Den" that I remember from when I was little. My son loves to sing along with this CD and he is learning the catechism while he sings. Each song is about scripture or about parts of the catechism or church traditions. There is a coloring book to go along with it.

I must say that I have learned quite a bit myself this year. I think I take more time to sit and enjoy my children these days. They are a gift and they grow way too fast.

Lord,
As I am starting to panic thinking about how to wrap up this school year and begin the next one, please help me to remember to live in today and not get so wrapped up in all the tomorrows that today slips by. Help me, please to see the successes instead of dwelling on the less successful things. Remind me of my children's faces while they watched the baking soda and vinegar "volcano" experiment. Those shining eyes are one of the reasons I am doing this.

Amen

Sunday, January 14, 2007

What to say....

What can you say to an 18 year old young man who has just lost his mother? Or to his 16 year old sister who is grieving her loss that just looking at her causes you heart to ache? What do you tell the 13 year daughter of a dead woman? I am wrestling with these thoughts tonight. My heart aches and a lump rises in my throat. What do I say to these beautiful children? What comfort could any words provide? I find myself completely at a loss. I want to reach out and hold them and allow them a shoulder to cry on, but we have never been close. Although we live across the street from one another, we have been miles apart in our emotional proximity.

Lord,
At some point in the next week, and in the coming months, I will need words to speak to this grieving family. Please send your Holy Spirit to deliver a message of hope. I pray for the repose of the soul of the mother of these children. I pray, " Oh my Jesus, forgive us our sins. Lead all souls to heaven, especially those in most need of thy mercy."

Amen.

Today's gospel

There was a wedding at Cana in Galilee,and the mother of Jesus was there. Jesus and his disciples were also invited to the wedding. When the wine ran short,the mother of Jesus said to him, “They have no wine.” And Jesus said to her, “Woman, how does your concern affect me? My hour has not yet come.” His mother said to the servers, “Do whatever he tells you.”
Now there were six stone water jars there for Jewish ceremonial washings, each holding twenty to thirty gallons. Jesus told them, “Fill the jars with water.” So they filled them to the brim. Then he told them, “Draw some out now and take it to the headwaiter.” So they took it. And when the headwaiter tasted the water that had become wine, without knowing where it came from, although the servers who had drawn the water knew, the headwaiter called the bridegroom and said to him, “Everyone serves good wine first, and then when people have drunk freely, an inferior one; but you have kept the good wine until now.” Jesus did this as the beginning of his signs at Cana in Galilee and so revealed his glory, and his disciples began to believe in him.
Whenever I read the gospel about the wedding at Cana, I am struck by the language used between Jesus and His mother. Despite His "objection" about it not yet being His time, He honors His mother's wishes and turns water into wine. I see a classic demonstration of the fourth commandment here. Jesus demonstrated to the world what it is to Honor Your Father and Your mother.
I am always left to wonder about the way Mary kind of ignored this: And Jesus said to her, “Woman, how does your concern affect me? My hour has not yet come.” and the way she told the servants to "do whatever He tells you." I see her as the first true believer in Him. Mary demonstrated both KNOWLEDGE and faith. She KNEW that He could do something about the lack of wine, and she had faith that He would do something about it. The knowledge is what gets me every time. Mary was apparently so in tune with Jesus, and so in tune with God that she KNEW. We are told to listen for God. We are told to be still and know that He is Lord. Mary, from what we can see in scripture, DID listen, and Mary KNEW. She "held all these things in her heart" from the beginning of His life, and she KNEW that He was/is/shall be.

Lord,
Thank you for sending Your son to save me. Thank you for giving me a mighty example of faith in His mother, the woman he gives to us all as our mother, Mary. Please help me to imitate her example in mother hood, and in discipleship.

Amen.

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Perspective

I have lived in my home since 1991. My neighbors across the street moved in several years later. Within the last year, they have separated and she moved out. They have 3 children, a son, age 18, and 2 daughters ages 16 and 13 (I think she is 13, anyway). Apparently the mother was living with another man. Last night she was struck and killed by this man outside a bar in the next town over. The man is charged with motor vehicle homocide and operating under the influence as well as several other things.

As a Christian, I am worried about this woman's soul. At one time, both she and her husband attended church regularly, and professed belief in God. It appears they have both made choices leading away from Him, however. I pray for her soul and for her children. I cannot even begin to imagine what they are going through.

Dear Lord,
Have Mercy on L's soul. Lead her to heaven. Bless her separated husband with wisdom in dealing with the issues surrounding her death. Provide some comfort to her children. Please give me insight into how I can shine Your light into their lives. We have never been close, Lord. I never knew her very well. I pray also for the man who hit her last night, Lord. May he be repentent. May he learn of Your mercy. Help me to appreciate my family, Lord. This reminds me that they could be taken from me at any time.

Amen.

Friday, January 12, 2007

Hoeschooling thoughts and reflections

I was looking for a way to keep better track of my daughter's grades. I typed "grade book" into Google and I found this FANTASTIC, FREE, grade book tool!!!!! http://ww1.engrade.com/

I have put YDD's math grades for the last 2 "marking periods" and started putting in the grades for this "marking period." I figured I would go with 4 marking periods per year as she has been accustomed to in school prior to coming home this year. I was pleasantly surprised to see that her grades, when I actually put them all together, were much better than I had thought. I guess I must be a bit of a "glass is half empty" person when it comes to grades....

I am trying to start thinking ahead to next year for YDS. He is about 6 months ahead in his studies so far making him grade 1 1/2. He has started a second grade arithmetic curriculum and is nearly finished with Hooked On Phonics at approximately the first grade level. I anticipate finishing the entire HOP Deluxe program by the end of the "school year" which I anticipate will be around the end of May. According to the folks at Hooked On Phonics, completing the deluxe program brings a child through second grade. Nothing is set in stone, though. Who knows, we may wind things up earlier or later.

I talked to my friend Mary who has homeschooled for many years now. She told me to not worry about it right now and just enjoy what we are doing. I guess I am trying to prepare for the financial aspect by planning what I will need to purchase for next year. The second bit of advice from Mary: NEVER make a decision in February. I am not certain why, but this is my first "real" homeschool year. YDS has been homeschooled for the last 2 years with preschool and kinder curricula, but this year I have the privilege of homeschooling 2 children at different age levels. I have the impression that February can be a kind of "hairy" month.

In looking back on our year thus far, I am pretty pleased. We have settled into a bit of a routine. The children know what is expected from them (even if they do not alway give what is expected). YDD is becoming more confident in the area of mathematics and I think we may have her on what is considered "grade level" by the end of the year. She is a much more pleasant child than she was at this time last year. I believe that having her around children from families with similar belief systems to ours has had a huge impact. She participates in a Challenge Club (
http://www.challengeclubs.org/) where she has met some wonderful young women who share our beliefs. She has become less "me,me,me" and more giving. YDS has become more able to focus, and while he is still "busy," even DH's aunt who sees him a few times a year commented on how much he has "calmed down."

Dear Lord,
You called me to home school these wonderful children. They are your children. Please help me to guide them along "the paths of righteousnous for Your name's sake." I am trying to be the mother and wife You want me to be, Lord, but I know that I need to F.R.O.G. (Fully Rely On God) much more than I have been. Please fill my heart, oh God. Pour Your fire into my soul and help me to see out of the desert and into the promised land.

Amen.

Friday, January 05, 2007

The Feast of the Epiphany

This Sunday marks the Feast of the Epiphany. Epiphany means manifestation. Thus we celebrate Christ's manifestation on Sunday. Traditionally, the Epiphany celebrates the visit of the Magi, the baptism in the Jordan, and Christ's changing the water to wine at the Wedding in Cana.


1 When Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea, in the days of King Herod, behold, magi from the east arrived in Jerusalem,
2
saying, "Where is the newborn king of the Jews? We saw his star at its rising and have come to do him homage."
3
When King Herod heard this, he was greatly troubled, and all Jerusalem with him.
4
Assembling all the chief priests and the scribes of the people, he inquired of them where the Messiah was to be born.
5
They said to him, "In Bethlehem of Judea, for thus it has been written through the prophet:
6
'And you, Bethlehem, land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah; since from you shall come a ruler, who is to shepherd my people Israel.'"
7
Then Herod called the magi secretly and ascertained from them the time of the star's appearance.
8
He sent them to Bethlehem and said, "Go and search diligently for the child. When you have found him, bring me word, that I too may go and do him homage."
9
After their audience with the king they set out. And behold, the star that they had seen at its rising preceded them, until it came and stopped over the place where the child was.
10
They were overjoyed at seeing the star,
11
and on entering the house they saw the child with Mary his mother. They prostrated themselves and did him homage. Then they opened their treasures and offered him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh.
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And having been warned in a dream not to return to Herod, they departed for their country by another way.
Matthew 2:1-12

Imagine how different the world would be if the Magi had returned to Herod. Jesus might have been slaughtered as were the many innocents murdered by Herod when he realized he had been decieved by the Magi. (Matthew 2:16-18)
Lord,
I am grateful to you for the gift of your son. He came humbly into this world to be a light for all whether poor or rich. He did not care what "station" you held in society as long as you lived as He taught. His life began with difficulty and in exile. Help me to learn from His example of humility. Remind me that life is to be lived as He lived, and not a race to see who has the most "stuff" at the end. Remind me that He who has Christ in him has riches beyond compare.
Amen