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!

Thursday, April 28, 2005

Motherhood is NOT for wimps...

The Storm Queen appears to be on the mend...she didn't need the bucket at all yesterday and her fever seems to be down today. This morning she has already asked to wear her new short culotte skirt (I love hand-me-down bags!!), and when I told her it might not be warm enough she replied, "but it's FASHIONABLE!"

She then went to pick up a BABY BLUES cartoon book to read (I think the authors have held stake-outs outside our windows to get their material!) and put the first one down to pick up Motherhood is Not for Wimps instead....looking up with her new tooth-missing grin she says, "I like this one better because Zoe and Hammie fight alot"....and then added, "Wanda thinks she's a wimp....but YOU'RE a mother and YOU'RE not a wimp."

Bless you, my child.

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

A mother's vigil...

"I am her mother and I will not let her know fear. I am her mother and I will comfort her tears….I will feed her…I will change her diapers…I will do what ever it takes to make her feel loved…I will do what no one BUT the mother can do."

As I sit up at the computer keeping the night-long vigil for a sick child asleep on the couch.....a vigil only a mother can keep....I am comforted by these words written by Minivan Mom as she remembers her youngest child in the intensive care unit as an infant. My "patient" was also a NICU baby due to my pre-eclampsia and early delivery. Although it was just a case of immature lungs and not being able to regulate body temperature for a day or two, I too clearly remember that panic that sets in when you realize "my baby should have been back by now". I spent my time in NIC watching her lying under a heat lamp...also hooked up to wires and bells (although compared to most she was in great shape...the nurses called her "the sleeping giant" because she was a whole 6 pounds!). My biggest regrets were that I ended up unable to nurse her; because her suckling reflex wasn't developed enough, and I couldn't hold her long enough to work with her because her temp. would drop, I had to be satisfied to "pump" for a couple of months instead. Tonight, I watch her finally sleeping after clutching a bucket for most of the day, and I give thanks for the wonders of who she is....and for the incredible privilege of being a MOM. Tomorrow I'll have bags under the eyes and will no doubt need extra caffeine and sugar to survive, but I wouldn't trade the vigil for anything in the world.

A grateful Human Bride...

Before the day is out, I want to take a moment to wish my wonderful
Ape Husband a happy birthday. It was not, alas, a birthday celebration to go down in history.Although I had gone out and bought the nice steak and figured a quiet meal after the girls had gone to sleep, the Storm Queen awoke with a sore throat and seems to have a stomach bug as she's been sick all day. So I just kissed him good night and sent him off to bed, while I do "nurse" duty with the patient who is sure to wake up anytime now and be up for hours as she's been napping! I guess I'll catch up on my blog time and begin to type up the girls' reading lists for the year. My loving husband began his blog just a year ago, and I think he has grown so much from his adventure into the blogosphere....I thank the many bloggers out there who have gotten to know him just a bit. Being an introvert, he has perhaps shown more of who he is inside to all of you than to many that he knows. I was thinking back to how we met as penpals, and how it was the written communication that first made me fall in love with him...he is truly an amazing man, and I am blessed to be called his "human bride"!

Thursday, April 21, 2005

One of the many reasons we homeschool...

We just got home from one of our "field trip" days....went to a youth performance of a local symphony orchestra (our homeschool coop is able to get the cheaper tickets along with all the school groups) which the girls just loved. I am forever amazed at just how well homeschool children tend to behave at these concerts....quiet, attentive, and appreciative (heard much "whispering" going on throughout the hall during the numbers that children might not have known as well).

There were 16 of us today....guess that counts as some socialization, huh? Topics of discussion beforehand ranged from next year's curriculum choices at our coop to lives of the composers. I noticed children talking with children of all ages--and even adults they didn't know by name--without any thought to whether the others were in the "clique" or not.

Afterwards, we went for a late lunch....during which time the children's menu allowed for plenty of English and science as it was all about dinosaurs...between spelling and word games my six year old waited patiently for her meal (while another child a bit younger quietly fussed a couple of tables over because "they are taking TOO long with MY food"). My oldest and I discussed the ethical implications of what would happen if they found a dinosaur fossil with enough preserved marrow tissue (I vaguely remember hearing this on the news in the last week or so, but haven't seen anything since) to clone it and bring back the species. After our meal, my oldest used a bit of math to figure out the tip.

From there, it was off to the library, where they each picked out books, videos, and puppets (my music history class is doing a short puppet scene from "The Magic Flute" and we needed some puppets!). And now we are home, with one curled up with Lemony Snicket and the other watching the muppets. Me? I now have some time to work on portfolios after a wonderful day with two of my favorite people in the whole world......and THAT is why we homeschool!!

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

I DID IT, I DID IT-- ALL BY MYSELF!!!

Yippy Skippy!!!! After a couple of unsuccesful attempts to post a link, I finally asked my Ape husband for one more "inservice" this morning and wrote out a little "cheat sheet" for myself.......and my last post was my first successful solo venture into the land of reading and linking.

Oh, no....me thinks the Ape has created a monster!

Pope Benedict XVI's first homily...

I just finished reading the first homily by our new Pope, posted by

Amy Welborn
and was struck by one statement in particular that our new Holy Father had to say:

"I undertake this special ministry, the 'Petrine' ministry at the service of the Universal Church, with humble abandon to the hands of the Providence of God."

Reminds me of one of my favorite quotes by St. Ignatius:
"There are very few people who realize what God would make of them if they abandoned themselves into his hands, and let themselves be formed by his grace."

I am so hopeful for what the future may bring for our Church. I must admit some sadness and a bit of anger at my OWN parish leadership's response--one saying "oh...Ratzinger...he's a Nazi" and the other declaring that he was heading off to "console" himself with chocolate...what they had hoped for, I can only speculate--and I'm not taking that road. Pope Benedict's humility and trust in God--and his faith in not just his predecessor, but in the line that stretches back to Jesus and Peter--is evident early on. May God bless this vessel with infinite grace and wisdom.

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

C'est MOI?????? It Can't be!!!!

Sigh....and I was having such a good day.....mon Dieu...

Your Inner European is French!



Smart and sophisticated.
You have the best of everything - at least, *you* think so.

Bless you, Pope Benedict XVI

Thank you, Lord, for your guiding Spirit, that has spoken quickly and decisively in the hearts of those you enkindled. I am so grateful that our new shepherd appears to be one that recognizes the traditional truths of our faith, and will uphold the orthodox teachings which Jesus entrusted to Peter.

I have great and renewed faith in Papal Infallibility today!! The Holy Spirit will not let our Church be led into relativism.

I am also SO grateful that as a homeschool mom my daughters could sit and watch the white smoke, hear the bells, see the doors open, and strain to hear the name.....and in a special way further give thanks for my youngest, who was moved to tears. I have felt in my heart that she is the nun of the family...once she learns to align her will to God's....but today was one further indication that the Spirit moves in a special way in her heart.

I wish I knew Latin!! It's one of those times you want to stand on the rooftops and proclaim Latin to the world!!

Monday, April 18, 2005

Retreat Reflections -- Part One

Saturday I had the pleasure of a day away with God on a one day retreat for my lay ministry schooling....I figure I have enough blog material to last quite awhile now, and it felt so good to reconnect with Jesus in a personal way that only retreat can do. Our retreat leader was a wonderful woman from Massachusetts, and she had SO many things to say that touched me deeply--some even hurt a little. Today I just want to focus on the two things that she said that have stayed with me throughout all my reflections.

The first, in doing a whole reflection on Martha and Mary, was the one that hurt....as I too often falsely pride myself on being a Martha--and STILL believe that the Church could not survive WITHOUT the Marthas--it was a zinger to hear this (and I'm paraphrasing): "Being Martha is easy....there are always things that need to be done, and it's so easy to let those distractions guide us as we serve our Lord throughout they day....sort of the Elasticgirl of the New Testament (my additional!).....however, you have to CHOOSE to be a Mary. You have to make it a PRIORITY to take time to just sit at His feet and listen". I still hate it when the Holy Spirit gets me that way. I already struggle with guilt over a prayer life that's not as good as it should be, and now my "Martha" excuse has just been blown out of the water. Precious Lord, give me the desire to CHOOSE to be with you...

The second thing I heard that made the whole day worthwhile in itself is this:
"Noone LEAVES the Catholic Church and then "finds" something else in another church...no, we FIND something else first, and then leave". I've been reflecting on this a lot as someone stopped me in the middle of Home Depot the other day to confess that he's struggling with his faith and might leave to go to a Protestant church. I believe the above statement is so true in two different ways....first, we can be failing as a Church in really sharing the gospel of Jesus and that personal relationship that we all need, and two, people can make choices contrary to the Church which then lead them to "find" the justification for those choices elsewhere. Case in point...this person had left his wife years back and remarried, and now questions all these "rules" about communion and remarriage and contraception and God knows what else (it's quite difficult to have deep religious conversations in Home Depot with anyone when you also have a six year old who's bored along for the trip!). I realized that this person has ALREADY left the Church, and is grappling with how to make that choice "work" for him. I plan to call him and share my feelings and thoughts, and will pray for him.

As a convert who questioned just about EVERYTHING about the faith in the conversion process, I now cannot even FATHOM leaving. Although I have nothing against any Protestant church who shares a Christian view of personal relationship with Jesus, I can't imagine why anyone would leave HIM--Jesus Himself, who comes to each of us everytime we approach His table in the flesh--to go elsewhere. It's like buying a stove with only 2 of the four burners working. Yes, you can cook a meal, but why not have the Maytag of the line with every burner a blazing? That's enough for today...will do some more retreat reflections over the course of the next week or so. And, of course, there's that little matter in Rome to talk about.....:O)

Friday, April 15, 2005

Missing my blogtime...

Well, since Mittens was put to sleep I've been doing less 3:30am blogging...unfortunately the past couple of weeks have been so busy that I've not gotten much time to do anything more online than read a few of my favorite blogs. Luckily my Ape husband keeps me informed of anything major happening in the world.

Today we had a family "shopping" day to spend our tax return, and although a LONG day, it was fun to spend some time together. So often I have the kids all day and then say hello and goodbye when Ape gets home to head off to either work, school, or church. In a few more weeks my concert will be over, school will be out for the summer, and weekly religion classes at church will cease until fall, and I'm greatly anticipating more free time in the evenings! Of course, with homeschool portfolios due at the end of June, I still have some tasks ahead! Actually, both portfolios are in pretty good shape...I have the last month or so to add, as well as some photos. I usually do some scrapbooking to give the girls a "momento" of their year, and I also find it very relaxing, so I'm looking forward to doing so. This year I chose a "Beatrix Potter" theme for each. The reason? While cleaning out closets at work, I came across a couple of dozen old wallpaper sample books that I think have been in the closet for about 10 years! Although "old", I found that they cut down very nicely and provide some wonderful scrapbooking patterns....and they're free! (Ask me in two years if they've held up!)

Next week our homeschool coop has a big craft/history/science fair, and my oldest has two entries....the first is a painting from an art class she took this spring, and the second is a poster display of Ellis Island and some of her ancestors that came through. This is her last big project of the year...right now we're trying to get through these last few weeks!

Tomorrow I go on a day long retreat for school....I'll write more about the time away with God. For now, I'm going to go and catch up on a few more blogs!

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

WHAT???? NO MOCHA CHIP???

Your Icecream Flavour is...Neopolitan!
You aren't satisfied with just one flavor. They say variety is the spice of life and this shines through in your Ice cream of choice! Just don't eat all the chocolate and leave the strawberry and vanilla behind!
What is your Icecream Flavour?
Find out at Go Quiz.

Friday, April 08, 2005

Thank you, St. Francis!

I just got back from the vet with our other kitty Java, and she tested negative for feline leukemia....she got all her shots and needs to go back for a booster in three weeks, but right now the vet seems to think that she's going to be okay.
Much as I miss my Mittens so much, I'm so grateful that she appears to have been spared the same fate. She'll need to be retested in six months, but for now we're just giving thanks and lighting candles to St. Francis!

Remembering our Holy Father

I got up along with countless others in the blogosphere to watch the funeral of our beloved Pope John Paul II this morning, and was touched by so many things. The latin music was so beautiful, and there was such peace in the ORDER of the Mass. I remember during my conversion that I was initially "bored" by the "same-ness" of the weekly Mass....I was used to a Protestant service that changed things around so that people would stay interested. Today I gave thanks for the rich traditions of the liturgy, and despite the Latin knew just what was being said. Aside from the CBS commentary--which drove us mad--the service was beautiful. (I'm glad my mom was at least going to tape it for me on Fox News!) I also was struck by the simplicity of the casket, and my loving Ape husband & I often talk about how we want that same simplicity....his thought this morning was that "as long as it holds up until I reach the bottom of the grave, it's just fine". How many people today spend thousands on these fancy caskets because it's the "proper" way to present the body?

Getting back to the funeral Mass....the other part of the funeral that I am still remembering is the Litany of the Saints. As I studied the Catholic Faith more and more before converting, it was the lives of the saints that really guided me.
Just ordinary people responding to the extraordinary graces available to all of us....the fact that we are ALL called to be saints is something I cherish. It also gave me great hope while reading Augustine that maybe, I, too, could be saved...I often tell the confirmation kids about the "party animal" saint, as I lovingly call him.

Today we said our final goodbyes to a man who I believe was a living saint. His "yes" to God was evident in all he did, and I reminded my Ape husband that it was his leadership and the unfolding of the Second Vatican Council that brought me--and no doubt countless others--to the Church....to which he said "Thank you, John Paul". I couldn't agree more; of all the many blessings that God has given me, the Catholic faith is by far the greatest of all of them.

This morning I grieve, but with hope in my heart that someday I, too, will be presented to God by all saints who have gone before. Today I am grateful to the depths of my soul that I am a Roman Catholic.

Monday, April 04, 2005

Mourning Many Losses...

I've been very quiet this past week. The death of Terry Shiavo hit me hard. The death of our Holy Father hit me harder. As a convert, I owe my faith to the SEcond Vatican Council and the Church which he has led since. And tonight I sit here with yet another to mourn....in comparison, a life so small. However, this little life was the one I was closest to of the three. I had to say goodbye to one of our cats today. And it hurts.

Friday night I noticed his breathing was heavy...over the weekend I kept vigil, thinking that perhaps he was experiencing congestive heart failure (our last cat died of that a few years back)...last night I was up until 2:30, sure it was his last. This morning we decided that we needed to take him to the vet...just in case it was something else. When the call came, I wasn't prepared to hear feline leukemia....I wasn't prepared to hear that we needed to bring the other cat in to be tested as well...I wasn't prepared to hear that there was nothing they could really do. Right after the call came, I had to go and teach for three hours...and then I went to the animal hospital to be with him as he died.

I wasn't prepared for the feeling of guilt as I told the vet that we had chosen to put him to sleep....she had explained that his lung capacity was so bad that he would stop eating and drinking and starve to death...or they could "tap" his chest (I envisioned maple trees) to drain it and maybe need to do that on a weekly basis. No....he didn't have a living will....but I really AM certain on this one that he didn't want to live like that. As I sat with him for awhile beforehand I kept thinking of poor Terri....and then got so scared to think that soon society will choose this "less painful" way and just give people lethal injections instead of starving them....and I cried. I think losing Mittens just made it easier to cry for all of them....Terri...Pope John Paul II...and my pain-in-the-neck kitty who I will miss dearly.

His sister is wandering around looking for him...and now I must prepare myself and the girls for possibly one more round of grief...St. Francis, I ask for your intercessions. Sorry this is so "down"....it's my first real written expression of my grief, and so the healing has begun. I know many don't believe that pets go to heaven, but don't DISbelieve it...and right now I find great peace to think about my Mittens and the two new laps he has to curl up on tonight. Peace.