Saturday, February 11, 2017

Cecilia is a Tween!

In January, Cecilia officially became a tween turning 11. We initially planned on celebrating her birthday a couple weeks early but only got to celebrate it partially as we all came down with the flu. Despite the flu though, we were able to have her cookie cake and give her her presents.

We had to, however, postpone her birthday outing but today we finally got to go and they had a blast snow-tubing.

The hill had a nice view for the photographer too. :)
After over 3 hours there, everyone was pretty tuckered out....
 But a good time was had by all!

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Matthew Chapter 4

Having accepted His mission, Jesus is led by the Spirit into the wilderness where he fasts for 40 days and nights. Usually when we think of preparing for a mission or a journey or an arduous task, we imagine having a feast or a big meal to give us strength for it, yet this mission is different. Jesus does not gain strength through food but through prayer and sacrifice. It is not physical strength He will need so much as spiritual strength and He is spiritually strong when the devil comes to Him to tempt Him. 

First the devil tempts Him with physical nourishment and sustenance and physically He certainly was hungry, but His soul was full and He rebukes the devil that nourishing the soul is far more important than sustaining the body. Then the devil tempts Jesus to test God's love for Him and Jesus rebukes him that faith and charity does not test God. So the devil tempts Jesus to abandon God's plan for the power and glory the world can give Him but Jesus rebukes him with the humility and obedience of the 1st Commandment. Jesus undergoes temptation because we undergo temptation and He demonstrates how to combat temptation, through humility, faith, obedience, charity and the Word of God. He does not engage the devil with arguments. He does not get into a debate with him. He never asks how far he could go before it would be a sin. He rebukes the devil. He shuts him down completely, immediately and permanently. And the devil leaves him. The devil does not like defeat and will not persist in a battle he knows he will not win. 

I do always wonder just how the angels ministered to Him afterwards. I mean, what could they tell Jesus that He didn't already know? What did he need that they provided? 

When John is arrested and no longer able to preach to the people, Jesus takes up where he left off preaching repentance but Jesus does so not in the wilderness and the dessert but in Capernaum by the sea, among fishermen and common folk. And it is from these common, every day people that Jesus calls His first disciples - Peter and Andrew, James and John - all of whom immediately leave what they are doing and follow Jesus. It is interesting Jesus first calls two pairs of brothers. He does not leave one to provide for the family and he must know it could cause favoritism and cliques among his disciples. Perhaps the brothers were more at ease going together rather than alone? Or maybe faith-filled Apostles come from faith-filled families? 

Jesus gains popularity quite quickly and all throughout Syria as he preaches and cures "every disease and every infirmity" among the people. Not surprising when you cure every ailment, great crowds begin to follow Him. The baton has been passed from John to Jesus. John has decreased and Jesus has increased. 

Monday, February 6, 2017

Matthew Chapter 3

John the Baptist preaches repentence in the desert and baptizes those who come out to him confessing their sins. I never remembered though that many of the Pharisees and Sadducees came for baptism as well but apparently not really repentant because John warns them that there will be consequences for their sins. Why would the Pharisees and Sadducees come to be baptized without being repentant? To appear repentant? For show? Are they the President who goes to church so everyone can see him go or the priest who shows up at the soup kitchen to be seen helping the poor but doesn't really care about why he should be there? They are every one of us who do something good for the wrong reasons.

 It is interesting that while Jesus preaches from town to town going even into synagogues and the temple, John remains outside at a distant from people. The people have to go to John but Jesus comes to the people. John was preaching away from the temple as a testimonial against it, but I still find it interesting he required people to come to him. Usually when we want to preach, we find a platform, a busy street corner, somewhere where we can reach as many people as possible. But John's requirement for people to come to him says something about repentance. It requires work from us. We must, as John puts it, "bear fruit that befits repentance," we must go out from ourselves recognizing that we need a savior.

And Jesus leads the way. Even though he is without sin, he becomes one of us going out to John and purifying the waters and taking on our sins upon himself. In order to save humanity, Jesus has taken on flesh and blood but he must take on the sins of humanity. Through his baptism, he takes our sins upon himself uniting himself with us who repent and profess our need for a savior.

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Learning Notes: January

I tried my hand at face painting. Cecilia wanted to be the Phantom.  In the future, I think it would help to outline the mask in black. 
My Tiger. 
I always start the new semester after the Epiphany, so we got back to work on the 9th and the first week back wasn't a bad return to school work, but I came down with the flu which I then generously gave everyone else such that by the end of the week, everyone was sick. The second week only got worse, for while Felicity and Brigid improved and got better, the rest of us just could not rebound and then, that Wednesday, I tested positive for Strep. James and the other four kids tested positive soon afterwards. Hence we lost most of our second week back into school. 
Ever my lover of all things beautiful and graceful. 
So, while still coughing, we dug in the third week to try to catch up and we did pretty well. We finished reading Saint Benedict: Hero of the Hills, read The World's Story, The Story of the World, and Famous Men of the Middle Ages all about the Visigoths and the other barbarians that raided Europe at the fall of the Roman Empire in the west. We also read about St. Benedict and the Emperor Justinian and Saint Gregory the Great. We listened to Gregorian Chant and read a story about a boy in Britain battling other celtic tribes in Twelve Bright Trumpets. We read The Life of St. Benedict, The Holy Twins, and selections on St. Benedict and St. Scholastica in Saints Lives and Illuminations. We read Saint Ciaran: The Tale of a Saint of Ireland and Beowulf. It isn't the easiest period in history to study because I find it a collective of not one big important thing but many smaller but significant moments to be studied in multiple places but in a relatively short period of time. So we tried to span from the 400s until the 700s or so from Italy to Constantinople to Britain and Ireland. It was a lot, but it went well and was worth it. 
Teresa always and every time asks to be a cat. Get her too much into character and she will try to lick you. 
We also plowed ahead in Botany completing the first three lessons on Botany, Seeds and Flowers. We did one experiment per lesson. For the first, to demonstrate vascular plants, we did the classic food coloring in water with celery so they could easily see how the water travelled up the tubes as well as the tubes themselves. For the second, we soaked some beans until the testas came off and we could separate the cotyledons and identify the plumule and radicle. For the lesson on flowers, first I bought a bunch, which certainly livened up the kitchen amid the gray and rainy January days, and then we dissected a few. The girls didn't like killing the flowers but we were able to identify the carpel with its stigma, style and even the ovary and ovule as well as the stamen with its anther and filament and the sepal. I regret I don't have any pictures of any of this, but we did all three experiments in one day while trying to catch up and it isn't easy trying to help three girls make up a full week of work. 
My anniversary flowers <3 td="">
We did not completely make up the full missed week in a week but I did not expect us to. We did come close though. Felicity and Cecilia came within 1 math lesson of being caught up and Elizabeth is only 3 pages behind in Math. So we are almost there. Here is hoping February goes better.