Sunday, February 25, 2018

Poem of the Week: To Keep a True Lent

To Keep a True Lent
Is this a Fast, to keep
The Larder lean?
And clean
From fat of veals and sheep?
Is it to quit the dish
Of flesh,
yet still to fill
The platter high with fish?
Is it to fast an hour,
Or ragg’d go,
Or show
A downcast look and sour?
No: ’tis a Fast to dole
Thy sheaf of wheat
And meat
Unto the hungry soul.
It is to fast from strife
And old debate,
And hate;
To circumcise thy life.
To show a heart grief-rent;
To starve thy sin,
Not bin;
And that’s to keep thy Lent.

Saturday, February 24, 2018

Seven Quick Takes: The Week it All Began

 1. I know Lent started last week, but this week felt like Lent was really underway.  I am loving the conjunction of Ash Wednesday and Valentine's Day!  For me, this Lent is all about seeing how God loves me, and how I can better love Him.  That started on Ash Wednesday when he sent me these beautiful little crocuses, springing up all over my yard!

 2. We had our first Gospel Dessert on the first Sunday of Lent.  The Gospel was Mark's super short description of Jesus in the desert: he went, he was hungry, he was tempted, the angels ministered to him.

Alrighty then!  We did an angel food cake with clouds of whipped cream and rainbows as a nod to the first and second readings with the covenant of Noah.

The Zoomlians were remarkably enthusiastic since they hadn't had dessert in... 4 or 5 days.

3. My younger kids' science class, Kids' Astronomy started!

This isn't exactly a picture of that, this is a picture of the same class I did 4 years ago when I still remembered to get pictures. 

The kids just drew dots on an empty balloon and then inflated it to simulate the expansion of the universe (everything is moving away from everything else in at least three dimensions).

And then used their balloons to make funny noises because, why not?

4.  We went straight from snow and ice on Sunday to 80 degrees and wading on Wednesday.  Fortunately, the class was on Tuesday when it was a delightful 75 degrees and breezy.

This was super nice since this is the one class (besides the rocket launch) that must be done outside.  We do a scale model of the solar system where the Earth is a grape and the sun is my son (Zorg, about 6 feet tall) and a tenth of a mile away.

If you're curious, Jupiter is a grapefruit half a mile away, and Neptune, the last of the true planets is 3 miles away. But on this scale, the entire solar system, Kuiper belt, Oort cloud and all is 10,000 miles across!  For us that stretches from Hawaii to our west to Italy in the east. Space is big.

5.  I also had my portfolio review last Wednesday, so we officially closed the fall semester.  This was delayed from the usual January because of my TIA.  Unfortunately, the combination of the odd timing and the 80 degree day made it feel like the close of the spring semester, so now I feel like school is over.  It's a problem.

6. Klenda trimmed quite a bit off her hair (don't worry, I didn't leave her half done!), which made it all wavy again. Sort of a fresh start to almost spring. Very pretty!

 7. We also started up Awesome History again!  We are on the third of three for Awesome American History and I just love it!

This is something I've been doing with a couple of very creative and very fun friends (and their kids) on Friday mornings.  We all read a few chapters separately, then we come together to do an art activity, an active activity, and a snack based on what we read. 

This week we read about the Itidarod and made these neat husky faces (among other things).

But it's also become a fun social time for moms as well as kids, and a great way to wrap up a week with a lot of fun, support, and laughter.

Here's hoping you have a great weekend, more fun with Kelly!

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Nearly Wordless Wednesday: Two Days



Boys Wading in Paint Branch
Frogs Singing in the Woods

Monday, February 19, 2018

The Frozen North

 The weekend before last, Choclo, Oob, and I went up to NJ for Pa's 80th birthday.  I gave him 80 lbs of rock salt.

When we arrived, Mumpy was chipping out a couple of inches of ice on the driveway so we could park.

Choclo told her with awe, "You are so lucky to have all this ice and snow!  We never get this in Maryland!"

I'm not sure she was feeling extremely lucky about it just then, but it was pretty funny!

And the boys found icicles and had a snow ball fight and played on the frozen lake, so they got a healthy dose of the winter we've been missing in Maryland.

But best of all, they got time with the birthday boy!
 And, this past weekend, in Maryland, we had this:

Sunday, February 18, 2018

Poem of the Week: Temptations


Creature comforts
And why not?
All you have to do is
Give up a few rocks
These sun-baked stones
That burn your hands and cut your feet
Could soon become a desert treat!
Stop being so hard on yourself!

All yours for the taking
All you have to do is
Leave this lonely wilderness
Head right to the center of the noisy crowd
Drop in your branding clear and loud
Start showing what you've got!

Not as easy, but well within your reach
All you have to do is
Want it more than anything
Make it your top priority
Your one and only deity
Instead of your strange, silly God
Of Suffering

By Brother Eckhart (Chip Camden)
HT: Journey With Jesus 
Image HT: Chad Louis 

I think I did this another Lent, but I've been thinking about it a lot this week and wanted to read it again.

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Happy Lent!

I am pretty excited that Ash Wednesday coincides with Valentine's Day! 

Just in case we didn't get it: LENT!  IT'S ALL ABOUT LOVE!!

This is the first time this has happened in my lifetime, although, according to Google, it will happen again in 2024.

I like Lent anyway, mostly because I love (and need) second chances.  I feel like this Lent is a Valentine from God!

I'm looking forward to new ways of seeing how God is loving me, and finding new ways to love God!

Here is this year's Walking With Jesus Poster.  This is essentially a Lenten calendar with a footstep for each day and a picture for each Sunday's Gospel.  I think the foot steps are really hard to see, but they're there!

And we are doing the Vine and Branches again.
Basically it's a 7 foot tall vine cut out of brown paper with branches for each member of the family. We cut out tons of leaves and grapes and put them in a basket. Whenever anyone sees someone doing something good, they put a leaf or fruit on that person's branch.

We'll be filling the cookie jar with pretzels instead of sweets, and we'll be only eating dessert on Sundays: Gospel Desserts!

 We'll be trying for daily Mass on Tuesdays and Thursdays, and we'll be collecting money (amongst ourselves) to donate to the poor.

And we'll be doing the Scripture Cross.
This is made of 40 squares of light purple paper. You do a scripture reading, have a kid draw a representation of the reading on a square, and then tape the square to a wall. By Easter you have a large cross representing Salvation History. We've done this several times and the kids loved it. You can find the readings and more info here.

And the Sacrifice Beans. We put in a bean for each act of love or devotion.  On Easter the beans become jelly beans because Jesus makes all our sacrifices sweet!

And we've set up our little Lent Altar in our main room.

This year we have the big wooden cross, a jar of ashes (from burning last year's palms), the squares for the Scripture Cross and the grapes and leaves for the vine, a candle, and a statue of Jesus on the way to the cross.

I think for myself, the focus is going to be on reading more scripture, looking to better understand God's heart.

Happy Lent!

Sunday, February 11, 2018

Poem of the Week: If

Happy 80th birthday, Dad!


(‘Brother Square-Toes’—Rewards and Fairies)
If you can keep your head when all about you   
    Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,   
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
    But make allowance for their doubting too;   
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
    Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or being hated, don’t give way to hating,
My favorite picture of my Dad and me
    And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise:

If you can dream—and not make dreams your master;   
    If you can think—and not make thoughts your aim;   
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
    And treat those two impostors just the same;   
If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
    Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
    And stoop and build ’em up with worn-out tools:

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
    And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
    And never breathe a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
    To serve your turn long after they are gone,   
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
    Except the Will which says to them: ‘Hold on!’

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,   
    Or walk with Kings—nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
    If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
    With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,   
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,   
    And—which is more—you’ll be a Man, my son!

HT: Poetry Foundation

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Somewhat Wordless Wednesday

We have snowflakes on all the windows, but it's just a cold rainy day - hovering just above freezing.

 We had planned a museum trip, but wimped out hen the Federal Government had an ice delay.

We've been watching the poor wet birds at the feeder.

And reading. Doing a little math. Making bread.
 And making valentines!

Then the kids took the extra stickers and made a game.  This part of the game is Robots Versus Dinosaurs in the Abandoned Factory. 

Also, Choclo made this dinosaur lure hat. You stick a cookie on the fork in the front, and them the dinosaur will follow it around.

It's kind of a nice quiet day unless you have to be outside!