Thursday, June 26, 2008

Praying for little things...

So, I've always had a problem with the whole idea of praying for little things. I guess I've always thought it was better to pray for big/important things, but that the little things I should be able to handle by myself.

Several months ago, while doing the Full of Grace study with my MIL, we had a week where we couldn't get the DVD player to work (and we couldn't get a second DVD player that my MIL just happened to have in her car to work, either). The subject was on prayer, and we were discussing praying for the little things. My job, I was informed by the group, was to pray for the DVD player to work the next week. So, at the end of every prayer I said all week long, I asked God to let the DVD player work...and sure enough it did!

Now, that probably should have been enough...but I fell into the same thing again. I am just getting started with some direct sales (again...) and I had to purchase a kit of samples. Well, I ended up scheduling my first party for the following week (7 days from order) and I wasn't sure at all if I would have anything to show people at the party! I had a few catalogs, but that was it...
I was discussing being nervous about that situation with hubby, and he told me to pray for my kit to arrive. I immediately said something like "well, that's not a very important thing to pray for!" and then I caught myself. So, I did pray for my kit to arrive before Tuesday night...Monday afternoon it was left on my back porch. It seems so silly, but since I know that God can take care of the big, important things, that He can take care of the little, unimportant things as well!

Thursday, June 19, 2008

A Message from the "DH"

But first, a note on "DH" as a title: I'm far from the most avid or knowledgeable baseball fan I know, but seeing the term "DH" in family-type blogs has always cracked me up a little, just because the initials in baseball are used to refer to a "designated hitter." If you don't know, which I'm pretty sure DW (neither referring to Darkwing nor Deranged Walnut) does not, that is the person on American League rosters (won't go into why just the American League here) who bats in the pitcher's position so the pitcher doesn't have to. The theory being, as I understand it, that the pitchers will be better at what they do -pitching- if they leave what they're not familiar with -batting- to the "experts."

Actually, for the purposes of this post, the "designated hitter" idea fits for me, too. I've been gradually corrupting DW for the past decade-ish by exposing her to popular culture, but having been the one who not only grew up with the TV on in some room of the house at all times but also made it a point to seek out and "study" classic TV shows such as "Hogan's Heroes" and "Black Sheep Squadron," I feel I can safely claim to be the closest thing to an expert on pop culture in our family. So, here's the DH for an at-bat:

I know, as a faithful Catholic family working on becoming the freaky ultra-conservatives of their parish, we shouldn't even own a TV. In fact, I'm pretty sure we should only be powering this computer right now with the residual energy our oxen produce while turning our home flour mill... but I have to admit that we love Fox's "So You Think You Can Dance." This show started with the premise that it would basically be the off-season American Idol, just with dancing instead of singing. However, the professionalism of the judges and just about all of the contestants, even in the opening auditions, has really elevated it in terms of artistry. By the time the top 20 start competing (which started last week), the dancers and choreographers are all pretty consistently cranking out works of real beauty.

Last night, one of the couples performed a modified version of a Viennese waltz choreographed by a French-Canadian couple who are experts in the ballroom field. The male half of the choreographer team (whom I believe is named Jean-Marc) revealed to the dancers that he had kept his disabled daughter in mind when he choreographed this and wanted to dedicate their performance to her because (I paraphrase) "she has such limited motor skills that she takes great joy in the movement of others."

Watching it, we felt the dancers turned in the best performance of the night, and the judges were mostly very enthusiastic about it as well. However, one of them -contemporary choreographer Mia Michaels- was concerned that the female dancer had smiled too much. Her reasoning was that the dancer needed to remember that the choreography had been developed with a disabled person in mind, and that "the reality of her situation" should be reflected in a more serious and somber performance.

This was where the two of us got kinda philosophical: didn't this seem like a really patronizing view of people with disabilities? Was she thinking that there was no joy in the life of a disabled child? Did she have in mind the all-too-common sentiment that it would have been a greater mercy had the child never been born?

We need to remember, as people trying to build a culture of life, that all children -no matter the level of their motor skills- are put here as unique creations of God, just as they are. In fact, the dancers and the other two judges seemed to understand that it was precisely the pure joy in movement that this girl experiences that the choreography was supposed to reflect. I hope those watching were able to absorb some of that lesson, and on some level were troubled by the subtle attack on the girl's dignity buried within Ms. Michaels' critique.

Finally, my parenting style is vindicated!

Okay, so I really recommend the book "Catholic Home Schooling A Handbook for Parents" by Mary Kay Clark. It came with Eva's curriculum, and I've finished it up, and now hubby is reading it. But, I just have to share a little bit from the discipline chapter:

"A benevolent dictatorship"

"Do not run your family like a democracy. Run your family like a benevolent dictatorship. Parents are the loving 'dictators' because they are given the graces to know what is best for their children."

The whole "benvolent dictator" thing is pretty funny to me, because that is just my personality naturally. In college, hubby had started a service group, and I joined. He had it set up in the normal manner (president, vice pres., treasurer, secretary, etc.) and he also set meetings for every other week. Well, I started a coup and overthrew his little democracy, and we became a lot more everyone joked that I was the benevolent dictator of the group.

Speaking of hubby...he's threatening writing a guest post here, so there may be random thoughts from him posted sometime this week!

Monday, June 16, 2008

Bible study and NFP...

Well, it was another crazy week last week!

We were originally supposed to have our first NFP class on Tuesday night. Well, that didn't really work well for one since we had two couples registered, we talked it over and moved the class to Wednesday night. Then we got back from the homeschooling conference, and got a call from one of the couples that a relative had suprised them and they had to drive her back to the airport on Wednesday evening (the first two couples are related...). By this point, we had one more couple interested, but her hubby was going to be out of town on Wednesday.

So, we rescheduled for Sunday afternoon...and 2 of the 3 couples made it! (The third couple didn't because the hubby had been out of town on business all week and just got home.) We offered the third couple a makeup class if they still want to do the class now...otherwise we'll start a new class series in September.

Teaching the NFP class is pretty exhausting! I can understand now why CCL only wants you doing one class a month.

Beyond that, on Thursday my ladies bible study met and we chose our next study..."Chosen and Cherished" by Kimberly Hahn. So I'm looking forward to doing that soon! We have two more sessions of our current study to go.

Monday, June 09, 2008

We enrolled Eva in Kindergarten... Virginia!

Now hubby and I both have unschooling leanings, but we both also worry about how much time, money and effort we would put into doing homeschooling our own way. So, after we both came to the conclusion during the conference this weekend that we should look into prepackaged curriculums we checked out the ones that were available at the conference. We already knew that Mother of Divine Grace wasn't going to work for us (I made hubby read "Designing Your Own Classical Curriculum" and he has a deep aversion to Laura Berquist now...), and I already had some idea of the other Catholic schools/academies/whatever you want to call them.

We ended up being very impressed by the materials, the depth of the curriculum, the support available and the whole having transcripts, etc. that Seton Home Study provides, and we were very pleased to find out the costs involved.

We really weren't considering buying any sort of Kindergarten stuff yet...after all, Eva's not yet 4...but we were disturbed by how much she is already learning that was in all the Kindergarten books...and then we found out that Seton gives you two years to do Kindergarten! So, we figured, we will go ahead and get started with her in the the two year thing, and then she'll move into 1st grade at 6...same as we had been planning all along!

So, we bought the whole thing (going WAY over the budget of $0 that I had set for the vendor area!) and walked out with me rationalizing that if people don't support the vendors, then vendors won't bother to buy tables, and people won't bother to come to the conference, and eventually we wouldn't have a conference at all...

So, part of our economic stimulus check went to Kindergarten!

Thursday, June 05, 2008

We are off!

We are headed off to the Rocky Mountain Catholic Home Educators Conference in Colorado Springs! Then up to the Denver area for hubby to make his 4th degree for Knights of Columbus. Have a great weekend!