The Dizzy Disciple

Who you are is God's gift to you. Who you become is your gift to God. As a homeschool mom, I am both teaching and learning everyday. May I always be a disciple who is unafraid to have her light shine!

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Location: Lehigh Valley, Pennsylvania, United States

I'm a Catholic homeschool mom with two daughters, one husband, and four cats. In addition to being the "teacher" at home, I teach weekly at our area learning center, as well as work at our local YMCA a few times a week. Occasionally I take to the stage and have some fun on my own!

Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Hope is dimming...at least here

I know I've been pretty quiet this past week, and with Terry's life down to what appears to be hours, my hope turns to the eternal life that awaits her....

The one thing that keeps coming to mind: For someone who supposedly wanted to die, she sure as hell as been fighting like crazy to live...

Saturday, March 26, 2005

Feline haikus...those 3:30am inspirations!

With all that is happening in Florida, I am drained....therefore, I am taking respite by posting something I wrote earlier in the week....have a blessed Easter. May Jesus cradle Terri in His arms when she finally arrives home and send peace to her family......as Jesus spoke, "It is finished." God have mercy on all of us, and thank you for the hope that we all have in resurrection.

Feline Haikus:

MITTENS AND JAVA--
TWO CATS WHO KEEP MY BLOG TIME
3:30 A.M.


SLEEPING IN SUNSHINE
CURLED UP IN MY CLEAN LAUNDRY
MY TURN NOW...."WAKE UP!!"

Friday, March 25, 2005

It's hard being six sometimes...

Today was a sorely trying day at times....my six year old had a hard time being the "left out" kid for parts of the last 24 hours. My oldest had a good friend who hasn't been around much lately sleep over last night, and I tried so hard to balance her need for some alone time with the younger's need to feel a part of things (she, too, missed this friend). She did pretty well with these little time periods worked into the schedule....that is, until after lunch. I had given her a choice of time with them either before or after lunch, and of course she chose before lunch--six year olds are not known for the ability to wait. For ANYthing. After lunch--upon realizing that her prior choice was now going to ban her from the room--she wailed, "Mommy, it's YOUR fault....you shouldn't have given me a choice!" While the older girls sat in their bedroom enjoying the last of their quiet time together, my youngest parked herself outside their door to voice her disapproval of this "dumb rule". No use trying to explain to a 6 year old that yes, sometimes life really IS unfair. No use trying to explain that girls who are five years older really DO need some time alone....no use trying to invite her to have some "special mommy time" to play a game or read a book....no use doing much of anything except pray for a short lived tempest. Eventually she came down to curl up on my lap and have a good cry, only to start up again as she thought more about it. When I explained that I really DID understand (I had an older sister, too), she replied that "no, you don't....you and Auntie Cheryl are OLD...you don't understand"......aaaahhhhh, it's time to pray. Just hold her and pray. When will I learn that I can't reason, cajole, bargain with, distract, or change the mind of my strong willed little girl. If she sees the injustice of the rules of HER universe, then all I can do is love her and pray.

I'm beginning to understand why the boyhood of Jesus was not recorded in the Bible....I know he was fully divine, but maybe NOT describing his fully HUMAN nature as a six year old was truly proof of the inspiration of the Holy Spirit!

Thursday, March 24, 2005

Holy Thursday....Eucharist....and feet washing

Just came back from Mass and an hour of prayer with Jesus, and needed to post....Mass was so emotional for me tonight. It's been 14 years since I had my own foot washed and received our Lord for the first time two days later, and every year the Triduum just means more and more to me. Tonight I was feeling so sad and angry, wondering if Terri's family would even get to Mass this weekend....thinking of poor Terri who cannot "eat" or "drink" on this night when the sacrament of Communion was first celebrated.

However, I was challenged this evening, and in the end, had to lay my anger and sadness down before our Lord, and just pray for peace. I was reflecting on the humility of Christ, washing each disciple's foot....the proud Peter, the doubting Thomas....and eventually, the traitor Judas. It hit me that if Jesus were here right now, he would wash Terri's feet with so much love and tenderness....but he would show the SAME love as he washed the feet of Michael Schiavo or Judge Greer.....or me. He died for each one of us, and His love is unconditional. Lord, I pray that someday I may be able to love like that....TRULY love like that. Not just my children--for whom it is easy---but for those that I harbor anger and resentments toward as well.

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

My God, My God...why have you forsaken them?

I never knew just how hard this week would hit me....the events unfolding as Terri lives through her own passion week have permeated my being. I just haven't had the energy to write or post anything....maybe next week. It seems that the rulings today are just the beginning of a whole new level to this culture of death.....first ROE v. WADE paved the way to abortion on demand, and now Terri's imminent death will pave the way to euthanasia on demand.....maybe not tomorrow, but someday. Once you start down a steep hill, it's hard to put on the brakes......God, oh, God, have mercy on this nation. Please continue to pray for this family....may the intercessions of our mother Mary bring strength and peace to Mrs. Schindler, who is feeling her own heart pierced with a sword this week.

Monday, March 21, 2005

Hope still alive for Terri

For once, the feline alarm clock was not unwelcome....I knew that there might be news on the computer by 3:00am, and was not disappointed. Thank you, God, for touching the hearts of so many who have rallied to keep this woman alive.....continue to pray for the same touch on the hearts of judges and other medical personnel right now.......and please give Terri the strength to hold on.

Saturday, March 19, 2005

Thank you, St. Joseph, for this man...

I can't let the day end without giving thanks for this wonderful man who I am blessed to call "husband"....

Thank you, St. Joseph...our first model of what a Christian provider should be,
for this man who so quietly reflects the love and commitment that you gave
to Mary and your foster child, our Lord...

Thank you for his integrity, his intelligence, his humor, and above all, for his
faith. His commitment to me and our children is never wavering, and he
lives out his vocation of provider and head of our home with such devotion...

His motto has been consistently, "our family comes first".....because it is a
little domestic church....as Christ loved His church, I am loved by him...and
it was his love that led me ultimately to Rome....to embrace the saints and
Mary, our Holy Father, and the most blessed Eucharist as my own....he has
given me no greater gift in all our years of marriage...

....and I don't tell him nearly enough just how blessed I feel to be his wife.

A heavy heart...

I couldn't even bring myself to post yesterday....my heart was so heavy with sadness...first with Judge Greer thumbing his nose at our congress (for which I hope he is called for!!) and removing Terry's feeding tube, and secondly to hear about poor Jessica's confirmed death by a sex offender. What a sad, sad world we live in. I remembered reading something in a book by Karen Santorum called "Letters to Gabriel"....a journal kept throughout her pregnancy and birth to a child who would die just hours later....and although I was going to just use the quote that she referred to, I decided to quote a paragraph that she herself wrote about society who doesn't care about its weakest members....if you substitute the image of Terry or the word "person" whenever Gabriel is mentioned, it could have been written about today....

"But I have come to believe that we lose so much when we start to be selective with our acceptance and our love, both as individuals and as a society. Children are always a burden in one way or another. What happens when we start to believe that we can choose whether or not to accept the particular burdens a child brings into our lives? What happens when testing can detect if a child will develop diabetes.....or another debilitating or life-threatening disease? It worries me greatly to think that certain children could be routinely classified as too burdensome to live. Never for a moment did we think of you as a burden, Gabriel. You were our child. This has been your gift to us--you have made us understand even more deeply how important it is to accept and cherish all life, because we can lose it so swiftly. And life is always a gift...it isnever ours to control, manipulate, or extinguish. I can't help but think of the words of Karl Barth, the Swiss theologian who wrote so beautifully about the need to respect all life, and what our attitudes toward vulnerable life say about us:" (Karen Santorum then goes on to quote Karl Barth with a paragraph that has stayed with me throughout my life...)

"No community whether family, village or state is really strong if it will not carry its very weakest members. They belong to it no less than the strong, and the quiet work of their maintenance and care, which might seem useless on a superficial view, is perhaps more effective than common labor, culture or historical conflict in knitting it closely and securely together. On the other hand, a community which regards and treats its weak members as a hindrance, and even proceeds to their extermination, is on the verge of collapse. (Karl Barth)"

I can only pray....I pray for Terry to have the strength to survive, I pray for her parents, the congress, and all others who are fighting so hard to keep her alive, and I pray--because they need it most--for Michael and those on the other side....I pray for the parents of little Jessica, that they be filled with peace as they say goodbye to their precious little girl....and I pray for this nation, which on days like this feels more like the Roman Empire shortly before it's fall than the great and freedom loving United States. Dear God, have mercy on us all.

Wednesday, March 16, 2005

NARAL held a contest....sex-ed HAIKUS????

I kid you not...saw it posted on CornerNational Review, and linked to their site....scary stuff. In response, I submit the first of probably several....feel free to add to the list.

Safe within your womb
I am wonderfully made
By a loving God.

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

Preparing for H.O.L.Y. WEEK

I finally have a few minutes to share about my evening retreat last week...the idea being to help prepare us to have a Holy Week that is Holistic, Open to
God's will, Liberating from whatever sins imprison us, and one that Yearns to embrace the crucified Christ fully so that we may rejoice more abundantly on Easter morning. The challenge given to each of us was to spend an hour in prayer on Holy Thursday, Holy Friday, and Holy Saturday meditating on the
following:
Holy Thursday -- on the words of the prayer of Consecration....
"...this is my body...this is my blood..."

Holy Friday -- any of the phrases Christ spoke while hanging on the cross...
"...Father, forgive them...they know not what they do..."
"...Why have you forsaken me?"
"...Into Thy hands I commit my spirit"
"....It is finished."

Holy Saturday -- Suggested to either meditate on "The Exalted"
(Oh, happy fault!) or on the emptiness of the bare church
and how the early disciples must have felt

While he was speaking I was already coming up with excuses as to why an hour was impossible....and yet he said, "there is NO excuse not to be able to do this"....with humility I had to admit that he is right. And so I will make this commitment on these three holiest of days to meditate on the passion in a
more focussed and intimate way, so as to have the Glorias of Easter morning
ring more joyfully.....I invite anyone out there to join me!

The 3:30 Am posts will always be on the lighter side!

After seeing this go around on several blogs, here's my list:

Ten things I've done that most people haven't:

1. Served God as a Protestant missionary for two years.
2. Converted to Catholicism shortly thereafter.
3. First met my husband face-to-face at an airport after corresponding
several months, believing that I was about to meet the man I'd marry
someday, while praying I'd be able to recognize him from his photo.
4. Spotted a Guam license plate while travelling down the west side of the
Hudson River.
5. Gave birth to two daughters with the same birthdate...exactly five years
and 23 minutes apart.
6. Been a guest speaker to share my conversion story at several retreats.
7. While working as a customer service employee at a local supermarket in
high school, I used the "no ID...no check cashed" rule to refuse to cash a
check of Caroline Kennedy's, who was going to prep school in town.
8. Spent four months working as a store detective detaining shoplifters.
9. Marched in the Bicentennial Parade of our nation in Concord MA in a
fife and drum corps in 1976 (grew up in Concord).
10. Played the role of "Mrs. Peterson" in a local community theater production
of "Bye Bye, Birdie"

Friday, March 11, 2005

Another year older...

Just a quick thank you to all the calls and cards I got yesterday to celebrate the 46th year of being....and I praise God that I am "fearfully and wonderfully made".....special thanks for a phone call from Maine, and to my family for a simple and wonderful celebration...and to the undying love and faithfulness of one Trousered Ape...it is an honor to be your "Human Bride"!

Motherhood as a vocation

Feeling better as I got a pretty good night's sleep...and on the orders of my physical therapist, I get to sleep in my own bed tonight....yaaayyy! (Of course, that might be short lived if the room still decides to spin....) I was catching up on a few favorite blogs and came across a comment that I just loved....posted by Pansy at Two Sleepy Mommies in response to comments by Greg Popcak:

...motherhood is a work of service. It is the result of love and it is God's work. This is not to deny how hard it is, but the flip side is it brings much joy as well. There are very few things in this world if at all that are worth anything that do not have pain attached. Look at Jesus on the Cross. Labor and birth. Night and day. Again, this is not a solution always, but perspective helps. When you have a better sense of purpose about motherhood being a part of the bigger picture, rather than just simply something you decided to try out, these issues may seem like more of a struggle that you need to work through rather than a hopeless pit of bad choices and despair.

As someone who lived my early adults VOWING not be like my mom, I must say that it was God's grace and finally seeing motherhood as a VOCATION that brought me full circle. For someone to say that I'm like my mom is now such a compliment...my mom was a unique SAHM in that she raised her kids AND kept her house clean!! (Granted, we were at school all day, so as a homeschool SAHM I use that as my feeble excuse!). My oldest daughter was in daycare when I worked at the parish office years back, and while she seems to have survived the ordeal, I know that my choice to finally come home full time was a choice that involved sacrifices of things I liked--let's face it, it's fun to go out into the world and earn money and talk to adults all day--to yielding my will to God's. There were days when watching Barney for the ump-teenth time or reading "Goodnight Moon" 93 times in a row were the highlights of the day...and I won't go into the dishes, laundry, and lack of sleep. Now that the girls are older and homeschooling, there are still days of constant struggle....fighting over the computer, telling me the "two movies a day" rule is not one they like, or just non-compliance with getting up and getting the day started...there are those days when I can only pray, "God, give me grace..." I've heard moms saying that they LOVE the moment that the school bus drives away, because they have the whole day to themselves....and I think, "gee...that would be nice...." But it's short lived. Homeschooling is the hardest choice I ever made, but the struggles and pain of mothering is the cross that I carry, and I carry it with love--just as Jesus did His cross. There are many that don't value motherhood as a vocation...and homeschool moms even less so...but I know that at the end of the day I can tell God that I did my best to further His kingdom.....and His opinion is the one I care about the most. Thanks, Pansy, for giving my brain a chance to think on adult levels....now it's time to go back to the world of animal habitats and dividing fractions....

MUCH LATER... As my dear ape husband has not yet shown me how to link, I saved this morning's post as a draft, so they'll come together in this one. I just returned from an evening of recollection at a local retreat house. I went as an observer--an assignment for school to observe a ministry that interests us--but came away with so much....as I always do on any type of retreat (hence, the interest!). One gem I found that totally relates to this morning's post was a book in the retreat bookshop called MOTHERING:BECOMING THE HEART OF THE HOME by Rosalie McPhee. The inside cover has a quote from our Holy Father that says: "Motherhood is a woman's vocation. It is an eternal vocation, and it is also a contemporary vocation...We must do everything in order that children, the family and society may see her in that dignity that Christ saw."....Amen. More on my retreat reflections tomorrow.

Wednesday, March 09, 2005

Matha, Martha

It's now 3:30am...after an hour and a half of total insomnia, the dizzy and now sleep-deprived brain gets a bit punchy....

MARTHA, MARTHA
(sung to the tune of Reuben & Rachel)

Martha, Martha, your heart's full of
far too much anxiety
Why can't you be more like Mary
and just come and sit with me...

(sing quietly...it IS 3:30am!!)

"Come to me, you who labor and heavy
burdened...and I will give you rest..."
--Matthew 11:28

Tuesday, March 08, 2005

A quiet Tuesday...

Today was one of those homeschool days when both girls WANTED to do work, and had no desire to argue with each other or the teacher....a dream day! Currently my youngest is playing doctor to an alligator puppet stuck on her father's foot....his temperature is 1.3, by the way....can you tell we haven't gotten to that method of measurement yet?!! The alligator is asking for celery flavored ice cream...meanwhile, she is finally eating her vanilla. My oldest just finished watching "Persuasion"--another Jane Austen movie--and will no doubt be begging for the computer soon to do more work on her second story...

We're doing a "fun" unit study this week on animal habitats and world geography...they like it partly because they can watch videos for school, and partly because it's a topic they both love. Next week we do Ellis Island and immigration, and then we'll finish out the US history year by trying to incorporate this century's key points into a unit on entertainment and fashion of the century. NEXT year we'll start with alot of curriculum resources from Catholic Heritage Curriculum(I'm 90% sold on all the research I've done so far)...I'm pretty burnt out doing everything on my own. I've been working on the girls' portfolios the past week or so, which has been good for me. About this time of year I start with the nagging "what have I missed?....am I REALLY doing this right?" doubt about my ability to give them what they need. Putting their portfolios together has been a good therapy session for ME to see just how much they really have done over the year. I also find it incredibly relaxing as I do alot of scrapbooking for their pages...a good way to turn off the brain for awhile.

Speaking of therapy, tomorrow I go for vestibular rehab for my vertigo. I must admit that I'm nervous about it. Some say that it makes the vertigo WORSE before it gets better (although I'm encouraged to know that 80% of those who undergo the therapy have the vertigo completely eliminated from their lives)...right now it's not so bad that it keeps me from living, although I'm quite annoyed by not being able to sleep lying down. I am LONGING for my flannel pillowcase and sheets and nice quilt to curl up under while stretching my legs out ALL the way....ahh, the simple joys of life!

Winter has returned with yet another wave of COLD windy weather....I had both my weekly TOPS meeting and my monthly homeschool "mom's night out" cancelled for tonight. I went back to TOPS (a weight loss group called Take Off Pounds Sensibly--a cheaper version of WW) in January and am down 16 pounds so far...so I was very disappointed to have two weeks in a row cancelled due to weather. And needless to say, the "mom's night out" is ALWAYS a nice break, just to talk to other homeschool moms in the area and know that I'm not alone in my quirks and anxieties. Instead, I make a nice healthy salad for dinner, ate with my husband, and spent a warm cozy evening at home. Not a bad trade-off! I'd best be getting the alligator moving...it's his turn to put the girls to bed!

Sunday, March 06, 2005

Sunday's Speculations...

The girls are watching Jane Austen's "Mansfield Park", so I have a few minutes before heading off to church. (It's so nice to have daughters that actually ASK to watch Jane Austen!). My husband actually had to head in to the office this morning, so I spent the morning downloading various composer photos. On Mondays I teach two music history/appreciation classes at our homeschool coop, and they are working on a joint class project for our upcoming art/science/history fair. All year their homework has been to compile various historical events around the lives of the composers we've studied, and now we have to mount them all in order on a big display board. I think the end result will look pretty nice, and they'll all have some great timelines to add to their individual portfolios for the end of the year. I've just had a blast teaching these classes....as someone who started on piano at age 6, I've always loved the classics, and to excite our young ones about classical music is so rewarding. We've used "The Classical Kids" curriculum by Susan Hammond (www.childrensgroup.com), and I've supplemented with lots of video and audio clips....everything from animal videos to Bugs Bunny cartoons (our family favorite has to be Elmer Fudd singing Wagner's "Kill the Wabbit, Kill the Wabbit, Kill the Wab-bit!") to Beethoven's 9th in Sister Act II. The kids have all learned so much and had a ball doing so. I am hoping to be able to offer it again next year, although the coop has always asked about a possibility of a chorus group. Last weekend I organized a field trip to the world premiere stage production of one of the books we used--"Mr. Bach Comes to Town"--performed by the Bach Choir and Touchstone Theater of Bethlehem....it was incredible to see the curriculum come to life! They are scheduled to return next year in January, and I know that I will go back...I do wish we could afford more trips to the theater. We do have one more trip scheduled to a children's concert at the Allentown Symphony in April. I'm grateful that both girls seem to share our love for the classics...although my oldest has a definite preference for country! (I myself love so many genres I'd have a hard time choosing just a few!) My youngest is even now sitting on the couch reading a "Baby Blues" cartoon book and singing her own little "hymn"....she sings throughout the day, and I often hear some wonderful hymns being created. If she can someday learn to yield her will to God's, she'll make a wonderful nun...or do great things in whatever occupation she chooses! In the meantime, her will is a guarantee to keep me on my knees--often!

Saturday, March 05, 2005

Dizzy Discernment

Well, today marks the "I think I may have found it" day in terms of homeschool curriculum for next year. For the past couple of months I've been praying and trying to discern what to do for next year, and I'm seriously leaning toward trying Catholic Heritage Curriculum. I've looked at many different full service schools, but after two years of a pretty relaxed approach I think we'd find them all too constricting. I've done mostly unit studies that I've created on my own, and I'm feeling pretty burnt out....but moreso, I feel God calling me to use a more Catholic approach. The only really big question yet is a math curriculum for my 7th grader who has just had enough of Saxon....I know they are one of the best, but spending almost every day in tears tells me that it's time for something else. Still early on in the discernment stage there...and I know that God works well on these human deadlines of mine!

Today my husband officially announced my blog existence on his own blog...so I guess I'll be "re-born" with a new name. Most of the links that I will eventually have (I have a list started...that's progress!) on my blogroll are there because of his own links...either firsthand or as a link from one of them. I also expect that I'll open myself up to comments much quicker...I'm the extrovert, can you tell?

Tuesday, March 01, 2005

The Book Game

The Book Game
Here are the rules:(Stolen from Alicia who stole them from Nikkianna)
1. Grab the nearest book.
2. Open the book to page 123.
3. Find the fifth sentence.
4. Post the text of the next 3 sentences on your blog along with these instructions.
5. Don’t you dare dig for that “cool” or “intellectual” book in your closet! I know you were thinking about it! Just pick up whatever is closest

Egads!! Of COURSE the book closest to the computer is an encyclopedia...and what a nice surprise to see that it's not the one I EXPECTED for my daughter's current assignment, but another topic entirely with a bookmark on the State of Maine....I love those moments when you realize that they really DO love learning! At any rate....here is the exciting entry:

"Thus, the meter (m), the basic measurement of length in physics, is now defined as the length of the path traveled by light in a vacuum during a time interval of 1/299,792,458 of a second. The velocity of light in air varies slightly with color, averaging about 3 percent less than in vacuum; the speed in water is about 25 percent less, and in glass, 33 percent less. Light has an important effect on many chemicals."

I thought it interesting for two reasons: 1) This year I was a monitor in my daughters homeschool coop physics class, so this actually made some SENSE to me as I read--which wouldn't have been the case before homeschooling, and
2) I'm currently discerning about curriculum for next year...and often ask God for that "neon sign" versus the flickering candle.

After many little blog games/quizzes that my husband has referred me to, it'll be nice to see what HE comes up with on this one....I'll have to move the encyclopedia!

How it came to be...

After many months of reading my husband's blog, and hearing him say that I'd be better at this than him, I decided that I'd take his advice and enter the world of blogging myself. However, I needed to wait for the right "name"....today it finally came to me. As a Catholic disciple of Jesus, I live my life trying to follow God's will as much as possible....knowing that the learning will never stop.

On January 1 of this year, I also woke up with vertigo, which has been hanging around for two months....not a severe case, mind you--I'm capable of living a normal life as long as I don't spin, bend to the right, look up, lay on my right side, or lean forward too fast. I've seen a specialist and will begin vestibular rehab exercises next week....however, even if the vertigo disappears, I think I will retain some of the "dizzy" moments regardless. I'm a homeschool mom of two, and some days they DO make my head spin!

For an initial post....this will do!