Month: June 2014

The Human Instinct of Love

It is God’s will that some of his children should learn this deep union with himself through the perfect flowering of natural human love in marriage. For others it is equally his will that the same perfect union should be learned through the experience of […]

Tackling the Beatitudes 2/8

“Blessed are they who mourn, for they will be comforted”-Matthew 5:4 mourn (verb): to feel regret or sadness about (the loss or disappearance of something). Those who mourn do so for many different reasons, some for things that are within their control (like bad choices); others […]

Love is Watchful

Love is watchful.

Sleeping, it does not slumber.

Wearied, it is not tired.

Pressed, it is not straitened.

Alarmed, it is not confused, but like a living flame, a burning torch, it forces its way upward and passes unharmed through every obstacle.

-Thomas A Kempis

Trees…and True Potential

It’s a sweltering 87 degrees (yes, sweltering, if you live in Wisconsin) and two of my boys are fighting on the back deck. I take a seat and ask them to do the same. I have no idea what to say or do that’s new. […]

The Mark of Love

What is the mark of love for your neighbor? Not to seek what is for your own benefit, but what is for the benefit of the one loved, both in body and in soul. -St. Basil The Great

Homeschool Mom{me} Time in Minnesota

A couple of weekends ago, I attended the Minnesota Catholic Home Education Conference (MCHEC) in St. Paul, MN. It was my second time attending in three years (I missed last year’s conference due to other priorities), but my first as an official homeschooling mom.

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The view from my room in Flynn Hall

The joy and excitement that filled my heart at my first conference in 2012 came flooding back to me in deeper and amazing ways! No longer a seeker on the cusp of a journey to unknown lands, I am now a deep-in-the-trenches catalyst of planetary change!

Or so I felt attending as a real, live, Catholic homeschooling mom. I had finally gotten over my “what-ifs” and “what-if-it-doesn’ts” to begin my journey into homeschooling. My only regret so far is that I was unable to attend last year’s MCHEC.

That said, this conference is simply a don’t-miss event for Catholic homeschooling families. And here a just some of the amazing reasons why-

  • Vendor Exhibits and Used Curriculum Sale

“The source” for awesome Catholic homeschooling products and some pretty nice discounts too!  I don’t have too many years of homeschooling experience under my belt, but in a few years the Used Curriculum Sale will be a nice way to find new homes for old curriculum.

If you are lucky (like me, which is a rare thing indeed), you can even win a door prize from one of the fabulous vendors!  Everyone who attends the conference is eligible to win. So, what are you waiting for?

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Thanks to The Logic of English for this wonderful prize!
  • Amazing Keynote Speakers 

This year’s keynote was Dr. Meg Meeker who spoke about Strong Fathers, Strong Daughters (Friday evening) and the 10 Habits of Happy Mothers (Saturday morning). Some stand-out quotes for me included:

Serve beside your kids…Serve other people alongside your kids.

Impress the Lord upon your children…God is enough!

When you act out of fear, you cannot act out of faith.

  • Saturday Morning Mass

I wish my every day could begin with 7:15 mass in the beautiful St. Thomas Aquinas Chapel on the University of St. Thomas campus. The homily was specific to the homeschool families gathered together for the conference and simply re-affirmed the importance of being the primary educators of our children.

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St. Thomas Aquinas Chapel
  • Workshops, Workshops, Workshops 

The three workshops I attended this year were by Ginny Seuffert  (Discipline: The First Essential of Homeschooling), Lacy Rabideau (Keeping the Littles Occupied), and Cathie Baier (iPads, Kindles and Laptops! Oh My!).  Some stand-out quotes for me included:

Insist on what you know is right. -Ginny Seuffert

God does not call those who are equipped. He equips those He calls. -Lacy Rabideau

“What we teach children to love and desire will always outweigh what we make them learn.” – Jim Trelease (via Cathie Baier)

  • Vendor Presentations

On Friday evening, I attended vendor presentations from Spelling You See (by the creators of Math-U-See) and Family Formation (a family-based Religious Education Program) . Altogether, there were 27 vendor presentations plus a blogger’s gathering available to fill up the time between the Friday and Saturday keynotes.

  • Homeschool Mom{me} Support

The opportunity to network with other Catholic homeschooling moms is a big plus for a conference of this caliber.  Last year, scheduling conflicts made it impossible for me to attend the MCHEC so I attended a state conference in Wisconsin instead.

Although, the information and resources gathered at last year’s “secular” conference were helpful, it was not nearly the same as the MCHEC in terms of being surrounded by homeschooling moms who share a deep commitment to the Catholic faith.  It was like having a cinnamon roll with out warm carmel icing dripping over the side. So, yeah, on my list of priorities is the opportunity to gather with like minds and enjoy Catholic mom camaraderie.

This year, I upped the ante and joined the Blogger’s Gathering on Friday night. It was a great way to spark the burning fire inside and begin blogging again.  It was also a great place to make friends with a blogger/mom whom I had met earlier in the parking garage and who just happens to have the same make/model/color/cover cell phone that I have.  I don’t now how many times I checked and double checked my phone after that to make sure that it was mine and not hers!  Give her blog some love at Work and Play, Day by Day.

Our crazy Blogger's Gathering
Our crazy Blogger’s Gathering

And here I am.  I am already looking forward to next year’s conference on May 29-30, 2015.

If you are interested in attending the conference with me next year, visit the conference website at http://www.mnconference.org

Tackling the Beatitudes 1/8

“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven”-Matthew 5:3 Those who are poor in spirit, particularly with reference to the Old Testament, are not necessarily those who lack material possessions.  Rather, they are the lowly and humble – who completely depend on […]

My Catholic Conversion Story

The Extremely Short Version ◦ Moved back to Wisconsin in 2006 ◦ Stayed with friends who were Catholic ◦ Lost a jacket at a church-sponsored barn dance ◦ Promised to go to church if found ◦ Jacket found ◦ Went to church ◦ Never stopped […]

My Catholic Conversion Story

The Short Version (No, Really!)

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I converted to Catholicism at the Easter Vigil in 2007, just days before running my first Boston Marathon. This is the short version of how that came to be.

Just after Thanksgiving in 2005, my Mother-in-Law passed away as a result of a tragic accident. My husband, who was Active Duty with the U.S. Army at the time, was preparing to deploy to Afghanistan. As a result of his mother’s death, he received a delayed reporting date of March 2006.

At the time of my Mother-in-Law’s death, I was employed as a Human Resources Specialist at Fort Drum, NY. Feeling overwhelmed and wanting to be closer to family during my husband’s deployment, I sought out employment in the midwest (primarily Wisconsin, Illinois, and Michigan). As luck would have it, I secured a reassignment to Fort McCoy, WI, the interview for which came just a couple of days after my husband deployed.

Now, I must explain that going to Fort McCoy was like coming “home” for a couple of reasons. First, I was born in Wisconsin (in Burlington, closer to the Milwaukee side of the state). Second, the first duty station that my husband was assigned to after we married was Fort McCoy. We spent two years here before moving on to Fort Wainwright, AK (for three years) and then Fort Drum, NY (for eight years).

During his time at Fort McCoy in the 1990’s (1993-1995), my husband worked with a retired Army veteran turned civilian. As this was my only connection left to Fort McCoy, he…well, actually his wife…was the first person I contacted upon securing employment there. Although I hadn’t seen or been in contact with them for years, they opened both their hearts and home to me, as well as my two dogs, and one cat (luckily for me, they also run a kennel and grooming business :))

While I simultaneously sold our home in New York state and bought a new home in Wisconsin, I stayed with my old-new again friends and accompanied them to various events, including a barn dance sponsored by St. Patrick’s Parish in Sparta, WI. It turns out that this particular event – during the end summer of 2006 – would be absolutely life-changing!

You see, up until the night of that barn dance, I had come up with just about every excuse in the book to NOT to accept their invites to church. It just wasn’t my thing at the time – I was spiritual, but not religious – if you catch my drift. Then, came that barn dance.

Ah, yes, THAT barn dance. You see, I lost a jacket at that barn dance. Not just any jacket, but a Boilermaker 15K race jacket from a venue in New York state. At the time, it was nearly as coveted as the Boston Marathon jacket that I would eventually earn the right to wear in April 2007. I absolutely LOVED that jacket.

So, anyway, about the jacket. It wasn’t until we were getting ready to go that I noticed it was missing. We searched high and low to no avail. And while it seemed silly to think that someone would purposefully steal a jacket from a church-sponsored event, I couldn’t completely rule it out. After all, it WAS a pretty cool jacket!

Fast forward to the next day, which just happened to be Sunday. Again, the invite to church was extended and again I declined. But, something (someone?) prompted me to reply with the following challenge: “I tell you what, you find my jacket from last night, and I’ll go with you to church every week until I move into my new house.”

Upon their returning home from mass, I was greeted with the biggest, “You are NOT going to believe this” that I’ve ever heard in my life. It turns out that someone – whom they had never, ever seen before in THEIR lives – came up to them after mass and asked them if they had lost a jacket. They responded that they hadn’t, but they knew who had (meaning, me).

That, my friends, was the beginning of the end of my non-Catholic life. As promised, I attended church with my friends until I moved into my new house. But, it didn’t stop there, of course. I wouldn’t otherwise have a conversion story, right?

The message that I received at every Sunday’s homily turned out to be exactly what I needed to hear. I can’t explain it. I can’t deny it. I have no way to reason that it wasn’t meant to be – for me.

Now, seven years later, I am raising five kids in the Catholic faith while strengthening my own. This blog is my {im}perfect journey toward the goal of becoming a more Christ-centered Catholic.

Little Saints of Divine Grace Academy

We are a classical Catholic homeschool academy infused with a bit of Montessori/Charlotte Mason flair! We began homeschooling in 2012 and just recently entered our 3rd full year of homeschooling with a 3rd grader, two 1st graders, a preschooler, and a toddler under foot. We […]