Monday, August 24, 2009

Attention MO Homeschoolers!

The Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA) announces a webinar on 8/25/09 (tomorrow!) at 2pm CDT to discuss Missouri Homeschool Law Change.

From the event registration page:

"Can home educated students stop counting their 1000 credit hours at age 14? 15? 16? 17? Under a new Missouri law, compulsory attendance goes to age 17 unless a child has earned 16 high school credits. Scott Woodruff will explain what a "credit" really is for homeschoolers and how they can earn one. Learn ways to adapt your record-keeping and college preparation to this new development. Don't get behind the curve on this important change in the law! Woodruff will allow time to take your specific questions regarding this law change. Time permitting, Woodruff will also walk through other aspects of homeschool law for those who are relatively new to homeschooling in Missouri." (This is a members-only e-vent.)

Sign up to attend this important event here.

School ... and Life

Today is the first day of our school year. It is beginning with much less fanfare than in previous years. Usually I begin revving up the boys days beforehand, and we're all kind of excited to get going by the time the day comes. I can't say that this year.

We are (I am) distracted by all that is transpiring with my dad. His condition has not changed as of last night. My mom, with the support of my brothers and me, will be faced with difficult decisions this week, barring a miracle. It is very hard on Mom.

We are comforted, though, knowing Dad received Last Rites last evening, as well as being enrolled in the brown scapular.

My dad (along with Mom) was received into the Catholic Church just three years ago, Deo gratias! We entrust him to Our Lord and Lady. May God's will be done.

Your continued prayers are most appreciated.

....... Now I must go ring that school bell.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Prayers for My Dad

Friends, my dad, age 75, is in the ICU after suffering a subdural hematoma on Tuesday morning. The surgery to relieve the condition went well, but he has not awakened yet, and has been on a ventilator since Tuesday.

Your prayers for him, and for my mom too, are most appreciated.

God bless you!

Monday, August 17, 2009

Mary Poppins

Last night we took the family to the Broadway musical Mary Poppins, and what a treat it was! It is playing at the Fox Theater, which venue alone was a sight to see in all its ornate beauty. But the production was, in a word, amazing!

This Mary Poppins had many of the familiar Disney song and dance numbers including Chim-Chim-Cheree, Step in Time, A Spoonful of Sugar, and Supercalifragilisticexpialadocious, but it had many new songs written for this musical as well. All were wonderfully performed, as the cast sang and danced their way energetically through the play.

There were several characters that would be familiar only if you had read the book(s) by P.L. Travers, characters not seen in the Disney film. But having read the books to the boys, we were happy to see and know Miss Lark, Miss Andrew (the 'holy terror'), and Neleus the statue in the park. Still, for those who have not read the books, the theme of the musical was unchanged, and the added characters serve to bring out the wonders which occur wherever Mary Poppins is, much like the animated characters in the film version do.

The cast was wonderful, the story, songs and dance numbers were delightful, and there were even a couple of eye-popping 'special effects' that left the audience, adults and children alike in awe. My husband and I were still trying to figure out 'how'd they do that?!' this morning. I'll leave it at that, just in case a reader might get a chance to go. We all enjoyed it, and the boys, as if it were a dvd, want to see it again; unfortunately the live production is just a tad pricier than a dvd!

Mary Poppins continues at the Fox in St. Louis through August 30, and plays in other cities through September 2010.

Should you get to go, I'm pretty sure you'll agree that this Mary Poppins production is 'practically perfect in every way'!

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Beloved Flower Pots

I am happy to report that the boys did very well today as they assisted for the first time at the solemn high Mass at the Oratory! It was a proud moment indeed, seeing them in the procession, walking slowly, seriously, hands folded as in prayer.

During Mass, sitting opposite each other in the choir stalls, they both followed along, doing as they are supposed to do, but for the most part, being still as flower pots! On recessing out following Mass, I caught each boy's eye and they both gave a quick smile to Mom.

As we all readied ourselves to leave, one of the older altar boys told them, "Good job up there!" Both boys beamed. And their exuberance was evident on the way home as they were all a-chatter:

"I loved it!!"

"Oh Mom, it was fun!!"

"I want to serve every Sunday!"

And from one boy to the other: "Are you going to be a priest?" "If God calls me, I will."

Thus was the first day of, hopefully, a long-lasting service at the Altar for our boys. If ever a flower pot was beautiful to behold.....

Deo Gratias!

Saturday, August 15, 2009

This Sunday!

After several Sunday after-Mass practices, the boys are ready. They know where to go to get their cassock and surplice, they know how to process in and bow to their processional partner before taking their places in the choir stalls, they know the signals for standing, kneeling, sitting, they know to watch the big boys and do as they do.....

Tomorrow our boys will assist at Holy Mass for the first time as altar boys (though Abbe's more specific term for what they'll be doing their first few weeks in the choir is "flowerpot"!) They can't wait! Their dad and I are equally excited for them, if just a little nervous. Other moms have assured me they'll do just fine.

Yes, I'll have camera in hand!

* * *

To an Altar Boy

To be Christ's page at the altar,
To serve Him freely there.
Where even the Angels falter,
Bowed low in reverent prayer.

To touch the throne most holy,
To hand the gifts for the feast,
To see Him meekly, lowly,
Descend at the word of the priest.

To hear man's poor petition,
To sound the silver bell,
When He in sweet submission,
Comes down with us to dwell.

No grander mission surely
Could Saints or men enjoy;
No heart should love more purely,
Than yours my altar boy.

God bless you, lad, forever,
And keep you in His care,
And Guard you that you never
Belie the robes you wear.

For white bespeaks untainted
A heart both tried and true;
And red tolls love the sainted
The holy martyrs knew.

Throughout life, then, endeavor
God's graces to employ;
And be in heart forever
A holy altar boy.

------ by St. John Berchmans

* * *

St. John Berchmans, Patron of Altar Boys,
Pray for Us!

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Soup in Summer

My husband loves to bar-b-que and he would gladly do it year-round if the weather permitted. There has been many a chilly--no, cold--January or February Saturday that he has asked me if firing up the 'Q' sounded good. It always sounds delicious, as my husband is very good at the grill. Anyone who has had his bbq-grilled rib-eye steaks, medium-rare, knows they're better than any steak at any restaurant in town. (And that's not bias, it's a fact!) Still, the whole grilling thing for me is more than just the food; it's sitting outside, kids playing in the backyard, smelling that smoke, and watching him do what he loves to do. Kinda hard to do that mid-winter, but once in a while on a not so inclement day, he'll cook up a nice dinner on the grill.

Well, today, on this warm summer day, I'm turning that scenario around a bit and I'm making a hearty, wintry Lentil Soup for dinner. The meals that go so well with the chill winds of the winter months are the ones I love to prepare. Soups and stews, chili with warm cornbread and honey, just about anything in the crockpot. I love it when my husband hurries in the front door at the end of his workday, collar turned up, hat and gloves on, sleet sticking to his coat, and we all come to the table to steaming bowls of comforting soup that not only warms us from our fingers to our toes, but it warms our hearts too, as our little family is cozy inside while winter rages outside. Mmmm... there's nothing better that time of year.

Well, today I'm more than several months early as I watch the mercury rise outside. But Lentil soup just sounds good to me, and if hubby can 'Q' in January, I can make soup in August! And you can bet that even though we have no need to warm our fingers or toes on this summer day, a good heart-warming knows no season.