Archive for July, 2008

I have been thinking a lot about who we are as a family. I really do think that each family has a unique charism. It seems to be a theme that has been coming up so much that I am starting to take notice…like the Holy Spirit is tapping me on the head…

I really do think our unique charism is a homeschooling one.. one where we live a Eucharistic-centered family-centered existence in which we participate in life’s events in a wholistic way. We involve everyone from the 3yo to the 14yo twins….mom and dad too. the more we do this the more we learn and grow and glean from each other. We learn so much more from this environment than when we are segregated into age-appropriate peer-centered groups. Life seems more balanced and more interesting to say the least…lol.

I mean, think about it.

We eat together, play together, pray together, learn together…. and all that we do when we are together is the best that we can do…we eat holistically using living food…we read living books,…we make the best use of our time that we can..even when relaxing. we have found that our experience as a family to be a richer deeper version of the lives we lived before we started this magnum opus of a homeschool family. The kids ‘get’ things that dh and I were clueless to at the same age. They are well grounded. They have a deeper sense of who they are and what they are about. They, in general, go deeper with many things…live more on-purpose than we ever did at that age. they know and love and learn more about their Catholic faith than we EVER knew at their ages. They are pretty good barometers when it comes to “fluff” …I have heard more than once…”Mom, we could do this BETTER”…

I see much much good fruit here and much food for deeper thought….peeling back the layers (ok bad pun) we found that there is something in front of us that we are still trying to understand. There is a force at work when we work as a UNIT that dh and I just don’t seem to get yet. I like what I see. I am ever seeking the definition of it. We compliment each other well. We balance each other out. We each have a unique contribution to make….not that all we do is perfect, but our time together is always a good opportunity to work out whatever kinks we have ;o)

So then we reach out to our local parish. We attend Holy Mass. We are the altar servers, we volunteer for seting up and cleaning up after various events. We are the faithful ones that show up. We kneel down when everyone is making the mass-exodus from the church to say a few prayers of thanksgiving together… just to spend a few moments more with the God we love and love to serve. We are instrumental in planning, and running our parish picnic. No half-stepping here. We love being family-centered and volunteering in a family-centered way.

We don’t participate in CCD…

We felt so out of place with their “confirmation prep

and now there is something else that the 3 eldests and I have been mulling around in our heads and it involves our newly established youth group…

For the first time in a long while we have a youth group at our church for jr-sr high. I have 3 children that fit into this age group so I decided to attend a meeting with them…I told them that the kids were coming and btw..so was I…

The general format was ok…kinda..
they were given a pocket bible that was a poor translation that had my kids rolling their eyes in my general direction and they used this bible during a discussion of who they were. The theme of the night was “who am I”. It was ok but felt too …dunno…dumbed down? On the plus side, after this evening the girls spent the weekend with this bible open and compared and contrasted its content with our bible at home…made for some very interesting discussions…

it had its good moments…the kids played together. some of it was a bit hokey…
the plus was that over 1/2 of the kids there were our homeschooling friends so we kinda converted the place into an interesting social event.

They were told that each time they met they would learn a new song that was like pop Catholic music. After listening to one song the leader said “Isn’t this a cool song? I mean this would be GREAT to hear in Mass!” I interjected …nooo…I really don’t think that would be a good idea…
She asked why not…
I said, because Holy Mass is something so very special and sacred and God deserves music that goes deeper than this does. and I did mention that this kind of music is great for a campfire or a dance or something..it had its place but Holy Mass was not one of them.
So we agreed that we disagreed…

I don’t know how comfy my kids feel about going. There are good points…but why do I feel so weird about this? I know they want to do good service type projects. I don’t think they will end up doing anything that we wouldn’t be doing with our local homeschool community though. We live such a meaningful existence when we homeschool…when we play…when we pray. I know we are not “better” than anyone…but we do choose to live deeper. I think we found this get-together to be strangely wanting of what it could have been. The kids feel a strange nagging feeling and we still wonder…is this something that should be worth our time? It is so hard to find good groups to belong to. Maybe we should start something on our own??

and then my parish priest asked me what I thought.
after my encounter with the parish over the weird confirmation retreat I was wondering if he really wanted to know or not…I have a tendency to be the orthodox meter as of late….lol what a distinction…sigh.

What is the push lately for each INDIVIDUAL to be more involved with “parish life” …kinda like that children’s liturgy thread at 4 real….golly i loved what Macbeth had to say on page 2…my feelings exactly!! Mentoring through mass…expose the children to things bigger than themselves…the Holy Mass is bigger than all of us!

what about Christ-centered things that are not dumbed down that suit the family as a whole instead..could that be a do-able thing?

I like to live on-purpose. I like meaning…I love going deeper. so do the kids. When things tend to be wishy-washy I feel like I have no time for them. Life is so short. I would much rather do one thing really well than stretch myself and my family thin doing some things that are moderately ok.

The family that prays together stays together. Just because the child receives the Eucharist at 8 doesn’t mean that NOW he should be attending mass….we always attend the ENTIRE  Mass together because it is the essence of who we are and what we are about.   Just because a child recieves Confirmation doesn’t make him an adult either….we are always learning and growing and celebrate each sacrament as a sacred moment in that journey… they are steps on the journey and we celebrate them with the child as a family …these sacred moments are moments that we cherish in the heart of our home. What about the men being the spiritual head of their homes? doesn’t this translate well as he leads them into worship in church and volunteer life within the parish? St Francis said preach and only when necessary use words…random thoughts but the same theme keeps popping into my head…we allll have a contribution to make. I really like the fruit of being family-centered…we all have something to offer.

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One of the things I really need to have as part of our family’s diet is raw foods…and fermented foods.  I am trying extra hard to put more veggies (raw and fermented) in our diets.   I know that fermented foods really help with digestion and healing the body of a multitude of woes…which is what this pregnant mommy needs.  I have 2 boys that also seem to need this kind of food.  The funny thing is, we CRAVE them.  It may take a taste or two to decide if you like it (just because it is a little different but not because it tastes bad),  but when you keep going back to the bowl for more, it can’t be all that bad.

One great book that helps you make yummy fermented foods is Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon.  The recipes are clear and couldn’t be easier to make.  You just have to start thinking about it ahead of when you want it.  I have gathered so many mason jars very cheaply from garage sales for this purpose and I love to have them sitting filled on the shelf ready to go into a meal.  We have gone very slowly with this.  We choose one or two recipes a week and we are starting to amass a nice collection of filled jars to chose from.  I love to add some of these to dishes that we are already planning on serving…like salads.  It gives a new name to convenience food.

My 12yo ds(young Einstein)  loves to make jars and jars of the various fermented foods recipes located in the pages of this book.  We have been enjoying the ginger carrots in many salads and it goes great by itself with fish.  I have even added some to soups as they were done cooking.    (Having the mix of raw and cooked makes a nice treat for the palette.)  Young Einstein is also in the process of making lacto-fermented pickles and ketchup.

No GMO altered foods for this family if we can help it!  (see link for a list!)  We plan on gardening and buying from local trusted sources as much as we can.   There are many articles on this subject…this one in my inbox this morning.  What are we doing?!

I found this site recently as I was clicking from blog to blog.  I was clicking so rapidly that I have no idea who to credit with this!  Anyhooo…

We tried this raw kale salad last night.  I ran out of tomatoes so I substituted small diced apples and we also added raisins.  I had no idea kale could taste good if eaten raw!  I am a convert!  We made a big batch and it is all gone!  I enjoyed watching the clip…it makes food prep more of a no brainer.

Making foods like this is easy…just do it ahead of when you need it.  When I realized how much I was trying to cram in at the end of the day between food prep, dishes, laundry and the general management and upkeep of kids  it was a relief for me to relocate food prep to the after breakfast chore.  I am glad I have something done at that point of the day  and it seems to make my whole day a little less stressful…we could all use that, couldn’t we?

Tonight we are having this sweet and sour cole slaw recipe.  I have sampled some already and I know this will be a big hit.  In place of the carrots, I substituted some of Young Einstein’s fermented ginger carrots and  think it is a wonderful addition!  I plan on serving this with some baked chicken with fresh herbs from our garden sprinkled liberally on top! yummmm!  I plan on serving left-overs as chicken salad with home made mayo, fresh herbs and thick slices of tomato tomorrow night on thick slices of this EASY camp bread (already sitting on the counter fermenting).  We will be baking this tomorrow after lunch.  The kids really love the crust on this loaf…mmm.   I spread butter liberally on top as it emerges from the oven.  It melts in your mouth, I tell ya!

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