Saturday, March 31, 2007
Since Palm Sunday is tomorrow, I thought I would post some links to some wonderful sites about Palm Weaving.
(Thank you Donna for the links.)
Here is some information on Palm Branches being used as a sacramental.
Friday, March 30, 2007
As I was perusing eBay for a traditional baptismal certificate, I came across an auction that leaves me almost speechless! (A hard thing to do, my mother would say.)
I will mention here some highlights:
“We believe women have the same right to be ordained as men.” WOO HOO!
“Obtain an honorary Doctorate and be entitled to use the title Doctor or Dr. before your name and the honorific of Ph.D after your name!” - Will this get me more respect from my children?
“Earn the respect automatically accorded to members of the clergy.” – Does this include the clergy discount?
“Lead, (even create your own!), religious ceremonies and rites as a legally ordained member of the clergy.” – My first ceremony will include the use of chocolate!
This is all made possible by Archbishop, R. Lueders Ph.D. D.D. of Saint Cecilia Ministries. They also offer a “Master of Wicca Studies Degree”. Saint Cecilia must be “rolling in her grave”.
Thursday, March 29, 2007
(This story has become great fodder for the blogs and elsewhere - like the Consumerist. Read original post here.)
Sigh.... just another sign of our materialistic society.
I am a mother of a girl who is not interested in AG, or any doll for that matter (she is a huge animal lover). She does have a couple of “fake” dolls that she will occasionally play with when she is with her cousin (who is an AG fan, but not anymore!)
If only AG dolls are serviced, then they need to clearly state that in their advertising – “-bring your favorite AMERICAN GIRL doll.” They also need to train their little worker bees on proper etiquette. I hold AG responsible for this – they hired the “stylist”. Perhaps they didn’t know how rude she could be, no matter, AG needs to take responsibility.
That is another problem with our society – no one wants to take responsibility anymore. Everyone wants to pass the buck.
Recently, my son wanted a Nintendo DS. I cannot afford it, but I would not have bought him one anyway. There is a valuable lesson to be learned in a child paying for something him/herself. My son saved up his money over birthdays & Christmases (he would have had it sooner, but he also has to help pay for the care for his cat, and McDonalds or pizza if he wants it.) He didn’t want the PSP – he saw it was quite a bit more expensive, and he was pleased with the DS. He finally got it. And you know what? He is taking excellent care of it! By doing this, he impressed the adults around him, who are used to seeing teens expect things to be given to them.
My daughter wanted a new bike (doggone it but she outgrew her old one). She sold her old bike, and also saved her money. She looked around, carefully avoiding the Bratz bikes, nor was she interested in the fanciest. Like her brother, she wanted to get the most for her money, while still paying the least. She just bought her bike, and boy is she proud! Prior to this, she didn’t have a very good appreciation of the value of money. Now she sure does!
I make a lot of sacrifices in order to stay home and homeschool my children – sacrifices I gladly make. My children do not have a lot of toys, but the ones they do have, they appreciate & play with frequently. Nothing collects dust around here. Except for my cleaning supplies from lack of use, but that is a whole other post for another day.
Wednesday, March 28, 2007
This is too funny not to share. I originally found this at this cool blog.
JERUSALEM (AP) -- A woman was caught with three crocodiles strapped to her waist at the Gaza-Egypt border crossing after guards noticed that she looked "strangely fat," officials said.The woman's odd shape raised suspicions at the Rafah terminal in southern Gaza, and a body search by a female border guard turned up the animals, each about 50 centimeters (20 inches) long, concealed underneath her loose robe, according to Maria Telleria, spokeswoman for the European observers who run the crossing."The woman looked strangely fat. Even though she was veiled and covered, even with so many clothes on there was something strange," Telleria said.The incident, which took place on Thursday, sparked panic at the crossing."The policewoman screamed and ran out of the room, and then women began screaming and panicking when they heard," Telleria said. But when the hysteria died down, she said, "everybody was admiring a woman who is able to tie crocodiles to her body."
For the full story go here.
Sunday, March 25, 2007
Enjoy this tongue-in-cheek song about homeschooolers. My only complaint is it needs to be longer!
NOTE: I have had some people question why this is funny. It is SARCASM folks! It is making fun of the people who make fun of homeschoolers. I am a homeschooler. I would never post anything against homeschooling. Lighten up!
Friday, March 16, 2007
I found this at Natural Catholic
Parental Authority - Bishop John Vaughan
The following was written in 1913 by Bishop John S. Vaughan of Sebastolis, and published in Time or Eternity? - and Other Preachable Sermons. It gives expression to so many sound Catholic principles for parenting that we decided to reproduce it on our website.
"He that shall scandalise one of these little ones that believe in me, it were better that a millstone should be hanged about his neck and that he should be drowned in the depths of the sea."-Matt. xviii. 6.
THIS world would be an exceedingly dull, dreary, solemn place if there were no children and young people to enliven it with their mirth and laughter and joyous prattle. Children are, unquestionably, a great blessing to those who possess them, and one of God's noblest gifts to men. "Unblown flowers" Shakespeare calls them, and "new appearing sweets." Moreover, they are a source of perpetual entertainment and interest, and awaken endless feelings of sympathy, affection, and delight in the hearts of their elders. They are rightly reckoned on as a solace in our old age, and as a prop and a support in our declining years. We rely upon them to carry on our name and to hand on our family traditions to future generations, and finally we love to picture them to ourselves as thinking of us, and as praying for us long after we have been laid to rest under the green turf in the quiet churchyard. But if they are a source of great happiness, they are likewise a source of very great responsibility, for one day we shall have to render a rigorous account to God of the manner in which we have watched over and cared for them. We call them our children, but, as a matter of fact, they belong to God far more truly and far more completely than they belong to their earthly parents. God alone is their true Father. That is to say, He alone is their Father in the fullest and most perfect sense of the word, and the earthly father is, after all, merely God's representative, one to whom God has delegated a part of His authority. Hence parents are under the strictest obligation to recognise God's claim, and to regard themselves as entrusted by God with the careful and religious bringing-up of His children.
This is a most serious obligation, to be carefully considered and loyally carried out. For it is a mistake to suppose that a child is virtuous by nature. If left to himself and to his natural inclinations and passions, he will certainly go astray, and wander far from the path of virtue. He will grow self-willed, disobedient, proud, independent, and greedy and self-indulgent. In short, he stands in absolute need of the training, and moulding, and forming hands of a wise and watchful parent. The first years of a child's life are among the most critical, because on them his future largely depends. As has been said so truly and so tersely, "The child is father to the man." What he is in after life depends on his early education. The mind of a child is not only a tabula rasa, so that you can write anything on it, but it is extremely sensitive. Hence a child readily receives every impression, whether good or bad, and is strongly influenced by all he hears, and sees, and notices around him. He is aroused and attracted by the least thing, imitates, almost instinctively, whatever others say or do, and is ready to follow almost any lead, so that parents should be extremely careful to give their children good example, and never, under any pretext, to misconduct themselves or to give way to passion in their presence. They should have a great reverence and esteem of their innocence, which is so easily sullied. They should shield it as far as possible from all scandal. To scandalise the young and innocent is especially hateful in the sight of God, and will be most severely punished by Him. "He that shall scandalise one of these little ones that believe in Me, it were better that a millstone should be hanged about his neck, and that he should be drowned in the depths of the sea" (Matt. xviii. 6). Just kneel down, in spirit, at the foot of a child's cradle and contemplate the newly born infant lying there in all the unconsciousness of placid sleep. What a picture of innocence! Its soul has come straight from the hands of God. How pure and spotless it is! For over it the cleansing waters of baptism have only just been poured. It is all aglow with divine grace. So beautiful and so priceless is it, that God Himself looks down from heaven upon it with ineffable love, and contemplates His own divine image reflected in it, as we might contemplate our own countenance in some crystal lake. So exquisite a being is ripe for heaven, and we may be excused if we feel a desire to send it there at once, to take its place among the very angels of God. But no. God has other designs upon it. That pure and sinless child must be left to grow up and develop. Before being admitted into the heavenly courts, it must be tested and proved. God has decreed that it should be exposed to all the dangers and perils of the world.
It is a terrible thought, yet a very true one, that there are a thousand fierce and unscrupulous enemies already lying in wait for it, to sully its purity and to destroy its spiritual life. The devil and the world and the flesh, that have robbed many a soul such as this of its innocence, await but the dawn of reason and consciousness to declare a bitter and implacable war against this one also. What will be its fate? Who can look into the future? How will it conduct itself when at last it is launched into the midst of the wicked, pleasure-loving, godless world, as some frail boat is launched upon the waters of a dangerous, tempest-tossed, rock-bound sea?
Call to mind, my brethren, that the vilest sinner, and the worst criminal, and the most blood-stained murderer and blasphemer that the world has ever known was once a pure, lovable, innocent child even as this and as ripe for heaven as this. The most diabolical wretch now writhing amid the eternal fires of hell, and paying the penalty of his infamy, was at one period of his life a simple, guileless, innocent child, without an evil thought lurking in its heart, or an angry word forming upon its lips. How comes it that one child develops in one direction and another in another? How can we explain that startling paradox, that, starting, as it were, from the self-same goal, one will develop into a great saint, like a St. Thomas or a St. Francis, while the other will become a Nero, a Caligula, or a Judas? Other influences no doubt have their share, and must be reckoned with, but the after career of a child, speaking generally, depends mainly upon the way it is brought up; on the nature of the first seeds, whether of vice or of virtue, that are dropped into the virginal soil of its heart; on its earliest impressions and experiences; on the good or evil example which it witnesses around it; on the true or false ideals which are set before it, and, in a word, on the greater or less purity of its environment, and of the moral atmosphere that it breathes. A child, in its early years, is tender, plastic, ductile, and easily moved in one direction or another. Like a young tree, it can be bent and trained and shaped, but this is no longer possible when once it has grown up. If a child is left to itself, and allowed to run about the streets, and to romp and play with evil companions, and to indulge without let or hindrance all its wayward inclinations, propensities, and passions, and to associate with whom it likes, to listen to what it likes, and to see what it likes, what possible chance has it of developing into a good, upright, honest Christian, loyal to God and Church, to country and to king?
Nearly all the saints have been blessed with excellent mothers, and their devotion, earnest piety, and genuine holiness have, no doubt, had an extraordinary effect upon their children. And surely this is what anyone with a knowledge of human nature might have been led to expect. What does a little child know or care about the great world at large? How far does it concern itself with the general history of the Church, or with the discussions of the schools, or the teaching of theology? To a child the world is its nursery, the world is its home, its family, its companions. It looks upon its father and its mother as the embodiment of all that is right and true and best. It imitates them without enquiry, it follows them blindly; their views, their conduct, their mode of life are accepted as so many object lessons, to be imitated and practised. Children are far more deeply influenced by what they themselves bserve, and can see with their eyes, than by what they are told. They can understand and appreciate conduct and example far more easily and far more readily than dry precept. How can a child grow up sober if his parents are in a state of frequent intoxication? How can a child remain modest, pure, and respectable if its parents lead loose and dissolute lives? How can he guard his tongue and control his temper if his parents fight and quarrel, and use injurious words? A bad tree will produce bad fruit, just as a good tree will produce good fruit. The reason that so many children turn out badly and irreligious, and grow up a disgrace to their family and their Church, is because parents are not what they ought to be. If they were really practical Catholics, if they esteemed their religion beyond all else, and always put the spiritual above the material, and the eternal above the temporal, and the souls of their children above their bodies, they would take an immeasurably keener interest in training them up in the practice of virtue. Realising the shortness and uncertainty of the present life, and the endless eternity that is to follow it, their ambition would be to instil into their offspring the love of virtue, goodness, and truth. It would be a real joy and delight to them to see their sons and daughters growing and developing in piety, and ripening more and more for heaven. Like the mother of the Machabees, they would exhort and entreat and encourage their children before all else to obey the voice of God, and to endure all things, even torture and death itself, rather than transgress the divine law, so as to be united with them forever in heaven. Like that admirable mother, Queen Blanch of Castile, they would speak with fervour and earnestness to their sons while they are still young enough to be impressed, and give them clearly to understand that, much as they might desire their temporal and earthly happiness, they laid far greater store upon their eternal happiness. Those of you who have read the life of Queen Blanch will remember how she was wont to take her beloved son, when a small boy, and clasp him to her breast, and entreat him with immense fervour to keep himself ever pure and innocent in God's sight. "I love you," she would exclaim with all the passionate devotion of a mother's heart. "I love you more indeed than I can say, yet remember, that in spite of this, or rather, for that very reason, I would rather a hundred times see you lying dead and cold at my feet, than that you should ever live to offend God grievously." Such was the real heroic Christian piety of a mother who knew the true value of things, and who judged as God Himself judges. Is it to be wondered at that her son caught something of her own heroism and saintly spirit? Is it to be wondered at that her son soon learned, like her, to prize goodness and sanctity beyond all else; and that he developed into a great saint, whose feast the entire Church still celebrates each year? And who was her son? Her son was the glorious St. Louis, King of France, and ruler of a mighty people. His mother's words, his mother's example, his mother's prayers, kept him holy and unworldly even on the dizzy eminence of a throne, and amid all the seductions of a court. Where do we find such parents now? Where shall we find such true love, such heroism, such zeal? Alas! some have grown so indifferent and so careless that they will not hesitate to endanger their children's faith by sending them to non-Catholic schools and for the sake of some purely worldly advantage, often more fanciful than real, will calmly place them in the most dangerous occasions of sin. So weak is their faith, that they positively care less for the immortal soul than they do for the perishable body. That this is really so is easily proved from the fact that they would shrink from sending the child they love into a fever den, or into a region where some awful epidemic, such as cholera or the plague, is raging. They would carefully hinder them from wandering through a wood or forest known to be infested with wild beasts or poisonous serpents, lest they lose their corporal life; but they show no such solicitude, no such anxiety when it is the life of the soul that is in danger. What! is the body to be preferred to the soul? that soul redeemed by the blood of God, that soul purchased at an infinite price, and made to the image of God? 0h Catholic fathers and mothers, has the soul of your child no value in your eyes, that you will expose it, without hesitation, to every danger and on the most frivolous pretexts? For the sake of that soul our Divine Lord did not hesitate to die. Look at Him, the infinite and the eternal, clothed in our nature, buffeted and bruised. His sacred body torn with the scourge; His hands and feet pierced with nails; His whole person in torment. Why is this? What is it that He seeks with so much insistence? He seeks to save souls-and we do not care. No, we send our own innocent children into danger, we bring them up in non-Catholic schools, allow them to mix with evil companions, and expose them to contamination and eternal death. Provided their worldly prospects seem improved, many seem to think little and to care less what eternal consequences may await them. Parents are commanded to love their children. The word love, in this connection, must be taken in its true sense. To love a child is to wish it well, to do all in our power to secure its true interests-its eternal interests. We have no real love for a son if we are ready to sacrifice the infinite weight of eternal glory for the empty tinsel of earthly fame, or if we are willing that he should forfeit his eternal happiness for some passing worldly advantage. Let us examine our- selves seriously upon this point to-day, and call to mind the hour, not far distant, when we shall stand trembling before the Sovereign Judge, to give a strict account of the task that He has laid upon us. At that hour we shall realise, if not before, that it were better a thousand times never to have had a child, than to have allowed him to perish from a mistaken kindness, a false ambition, or through an unwillingness to correct and instruct in all patience and gentle firmness.
Resolve to look upon your children as a most sacred trust, of which you will have to render a strict account, and let it be your delight to lead them, by word and example, along the path that leads to eternal life.
Thursday, March 15, 2007
Corruption in the Schools
by Patrick J. Buchanan - March 6, 2007
Fifty years ago this October, Americans were jolted by the news that Moscow, one year after drowning the Hungarian Revolution in blood, had put an 80-pound satellite into Earth orbit.
In December, the U.S. Navy tried to replicate the feat. Vanguard got four feet off the ground and exploded, incinerating its three-pound payload. America was humiliated. Khrushchev was Man of the Year. Some of us yet recall the Vanguard newsreels and the humiliating laughter.
Stunned, America went to work to improve education in math and science, and succeeded. The Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT) scores of high school seniors began to rise, reaching a high in 1964.
However, test scores for high-school students have been falling now for 40 years. In 1984, the Reagan administration issued “A Nation at Risk,” documenting the deterioration of American public education.
More trillions of dollars were thrown at the problem. And if one judged by the asserted toughening up of courses and rising grades of seniors, it appeared we had made marvelous progress. On March 4, The Washington Times reported:
“In 2005, 17 percent of graduates had completed a 'standard' curriculum, 41 percent completed a 'midlevel' curriculum, and 10 percent completed a 'rigorous' curriculum. Fifteen years earlier, the percentages were 9 percent (standard), 26 percent (midlevel) and 5 percent (rigorous). Grade point averages (GPA) increased, as well. The average overall GPA increased from 2.68 in 1990 to 2.98 (virtually a B level) in 2005.
However, it is all a giant fraud, exposed as such by the performances of high school seniors on the National Assessment of Educational Progress exams known as the “nation's report card.” An NAEP test of 12th-grade achievement was given to what the New York Times called a “representative sample of 21,000 high school seniors attending 900 public and private schools from January to March 2005.”
What did the tests reveal?
- Since 1990, the share of students lacking even basic reading skills has
risen by a third, from 20 percent to 27 percent.
- Only 35 percent of high school seniors have reached a “proficient” level in
reading, down from 40 percent.
- Only 16 percent of black and 20 percent of Hispanic students had reached a
proficient level in reading.
- Among high school seniors, only 29 percent of whites, 10 percent of Hispanic
students and 6 percent of black students were proficient in math.
This is only the half of it. Among the kids whose test scores on reading and math were not factored in were the 25 percent of white students and 50 percent of black and Hispanic kids who had dropped out by senior year.
Factor the dropouts back in, and what the NAEP test suggests is that, of black kids starting in first grade, about one in eight will be able to read at the level of a high school senior after 12 years, and one in 33 will be able to do the math. Among Hispanic kids, one in 10 will be able to read at a high-school senior level, but only one in 20 will be able to do high-school math.
Yet, as columnist Steve Sailor writes on VDare.com, the Bush-Kennedy No Child
Left Behind Act mandates “that all children should reach a proficient level of academic achievement by 2014.”
We're not going to make it. We're not even going to come close.
Why are so many Americans ignorant of the depths of failure of so many schools? As Sailor explains, it is due to government deceit.
“Not surprisingly, practically ever single state cheats in order to meet the law” mandating a rising academic proficiency.
“For example, Mississippi … recently declared that 89 percent of its fourth-graders were at least 'proficient' in reading.
“Unfortunately, however, on the federal government's impartial National Assessment of Education Progress test, only 18 percent of Mississippi students were 'proficient' or 'advanced.'”
Hence, a huge slice of the U.S. educational establishment is complicit in a monstrous fraud that, if you did it in business, would get you several years at the nearby minimum security facility.
This is corruption. Teachers are handing out grades kids do not deserve. States are dumbing down tests to make themselves look good. Voters are being deceived about how much kids are learning.
There is no real moral distinction between what teachers and educators are doing on a vast scale and what professional athletes do on a smaller scale when they take steroids to enhance performance.
As the Washington Times noted, according to the Digest of Education Statistics, spending for public education, in constant (inflation-adjusted) dollars, rose from $6,256 a year per student before “A Nation at Risk” to $10,464 in the 2002-2003 school year. Taxpayers have thus raised their annual contribution to education by a full two-thirds in real dollars in a quarter century. More than generous.
Under George W. Bush, U.S. Department of Education funding has risen 92 percent in six years, from $35.5 billion in 2001 to $68 billion in 2007. Sinking test scores are what we have to show for it.
Taxpayers are being lied to and swindled by the education industry, which has failed them, failed America and flunked its assignment – and should be expelled for cheating.
Tuesday, March 13, 2007
Where has the time gone? I hadn't realized it had been so long since my last post.
I am anxiously awaiting the birth of my Godchild (my first one, by the way). She/he was supposed to been born 2 weeks ago. Mom is to be induced today, if the wee one still has not arrived. I am quite excited about being a Godmother!
Please pray for a safe, healthy, and fast delivery! Also include my friend Christine in your prayers, as she is to deliver today too.
Oh, a very good friend of mine had her baby last week. I got to hold her & feed her yesterday. Boy, did I feel special!!!!