Monday, July 28, 2008

Wonderful! Absolutely Wonderful!

this past weekend i attended the Family-Centered Learning Conference in lovely lancaster, pa (hey, don't i sound just like the announcer for wheel of fortune or something?). anyway, it was absolutely wonderful and just what i needed. a big ol' hats off to Michele for pulling this off and most importantly for scheduling such terrific speakers. i was able to staff the Catholic Heritage Curricula vendor table and this was a huge blessing. i am normally not the type to go out of my little bubble and meet new people, even if i have talked with them online and hey, wouldn't it be great to actually meet them in person. by sitting behind this table i was forced to talk with people that i had never met before and it was wonderful to have "the table" as a conversation starter of sorts. it was just what i needed. now, back to the speakers. after mass Alice shared with us wonderful ideas on how to celebrate the liturgical year in our homes. her ideas were so practical and within reach that it really helped to scale down the plans that we sometimes make thinking, "oh, i have to get it all in or we're not really celebrating the liturgical year." next, Margot shared with us great ideas for learning with literature. she provided great examples and visuals and such great information that i hope to implement especially with our oldest this year. after lunch Mary Ellen gave the most beautiful talk on children with special needs. she had me crying and laughing in the same sentence. what an awesome example of mothering and true joy! Meredith followed this up with a talk on preschool learning. she provided great concrete ideas for schooling your wee ones and a very nice list of websites and blogs to search for ideas and supplies. Alice also presented the final talk of the day on socialization. this is the talk i want to spend the bulk of my post on, not to reveal all the magnificent details (you can head over to Family-Centered Press and purchase this great talk if you missed the conference)but to let you in on how this talk was exactly what i needed to hear and exactly when i needed to hear it. thank you to Alice for the blessing of this talk. despite never meeting her before, i felt at times like she was telling my story of the past few years, just using different names, places and slightly varying details. but, the most important pivotal moments were all there. i won't go into it all, because well, the long winded details are not important. i'm long winded enough in generalizations. so, let's use what i like to call "the bowling analogy." (for those of us who are coordination challenged, the bowling alley is as close as we get to participation in a real sport, please forgive me). anywho, in the past few years i have felt that God has put all my pins in order on the lane and it is looking just like i think it needs to. and just when i'm banking on this full set up of pins to stay there forever, He goes and bowls them down. and mark my word. God is a superb bowler. He has not been leaving 7-10 splits, He gets strikes. and there it all goes, the perfect pins, the perfect order, all of it. this has been our homeschool journey, so it seems, repeated, for the past few years. this is not to say we have had no support or interaction with others. we have a large group of homeschooling families here and i know that i can contact someone with a question at any time. but for the past year or so especially, it has seemed like ships passing in the night. i admire the families in our group, most of them significantly larger than ours and most of them also with some children much older than ours, that are perfectly happy existing on their own. i wish i could be like that sometimes, but i can't. i have never been good with the "i am a rock, i am an island" motif. yes, i'm perfectly content with a week at home with the kids doing whatever it is that we happen to be attending to that week. i love my family, i love my vocation and no matter what the circumstances, i wouldn't trade it for the world. it's just when it's going on week after week that my only interaction with another homeschooling mom is waving through a car window...i start to lose the joy, i start to lose the peace, i doubt, i second guess, i fear. i can't tell you how many times i have taken the decision to homeschool to prayer, telling the Lord that i can't do it and He comes back with a resounding, "it doesn't matter if you think you can't, you have to. it's My plan, not yours. I will provide again, just let me...and be patient." i know without a doubt that is the plan He has for us. He has made that abundantly clear. and that at times can feel like the greatest blessing and the greatest curse. i love the dynamic it produces in our family and i love knowing that in one element of my life, i am following the path that He has set out. that is the blessing. i don't love the doubt i sometimes feel or the depression over the isolation or the worry of "if i feel like this, what is this doing to my kids?" but you know what, i need to stop wallowing and start praying more. praying for the social atmosphere i crave and i need. will this fall into place in a day. probably not. but is He faithful, and will He give me whatever it is i need, no matter if i recognize it as such? definitely. He is setting it all up. patience. trust. thanksgiving. joy. perseverance. period.

Simply Monday - July 28th

outside my window - it is sunny, clear and a bit chilly this morning. it's nice to feel it now because i know it won't take long today for it to warm up.

i am thinking - that i got up early, but it's for a great reason. my husband's hours at work got shifted about two hours earlier. it's been difficult to acclimate ourselves to the earlier mornings but today starts week two and we're getting into the swing of things. i really love the fact that he gets home at least an hour before dinner now. it's great to have more family time.

i am thankful for - my family and our home.

from the kitchen - today i am hoping to make some banana muffins with some bananas that are quickly making their exit plan.

i am creating - a blog post about the wonderful conference i attended. it needs to churn around in my noggin a bit more and then hopefully later today i'll be able to put fingers to keys and make some coherent magic. and i'm also creating a little project based upon inspiration i received from one of the talks.

i am going - to do the laundry and try to tackle this enormous "to do" list that i whipped up for myself during breakfast. wish me luck!

i am wearing - brown shirt and jeans (again, wow, this must be my monday outfit or something)

i am reading - well, it's kind of transitory around here right now. i'm mostly dabbling in liturgy and school books right now. but soon i will be starting this lovely book that i picked up at the conference. i can't wait!

i am hoping - and praying for transformation and peace.

i am hearing - a house that is too quiet for three kids to be doing something that they are supposed to be doing. maybe i should go find them.

around the house - there are stacks and stacks of materials for the school year and stacks and stacks of materials that i want to get rid of. a year or so ago i purchased a school book from someone and when it arrived it had one of those round brightly colored garage sale stickers on the binding. i'm not quite sure if this is the reason but it gave me the idea to put these stickers on all of our school books in correlation with the year that they are used so i can just pull everything for one year off the shelf when i need it again. every other homeschooler on God's green earth probably already does this or has thought of it. but for me, someone with a level of common sense that registers somewhere between zip and zilch, well, let's just say it seems like magic. have i completed the task yet? heck no. do i have the little stickers? awww yeah.

one of my favorite things - meeting so many homeschoolers that i only knew by their blogs or screen names, especially the other volpe's. :)

a few plans for the rest of this week - start up a few science lessons that we didn't complete last school year. for my, ummm, uptight-ness, i need to finish these and start with a clean slate come september.

here is a picture thought i am sharing with you - this is right past our back yard. we assume that the digging for the new house behind us will commence very shortly. it will be fun to watch a house go up this close but i would be fibbing if i said that i won't miss the view that we used to have from the deck, or that i won't be paranoid about having a huge hole in the back yard for a few days. ;)

have a wonderful day and don't forget to stop over to Peggy's to check out all the other entries for today.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

So Long Until We Meet Again

about a year ago we met a wonderful Catholic young lady from indonesia who was working here through a work sponsorship. unfortunately, very soon after we met her, the company she had been working for experienced cut backs and she was one of those cut backs. try as she might, she could not find another employer who participated in sponsorship (despite her ba in engineering and mba), but she did find love. (you can say "aaaaaaw" now, or just wait) her, now fiance, is a good friend of ours who has had some...well...let's just say unfortunate circumstances in the relationship department. watching their relationship begin and grow has been so cute and such a joy. you just can't help being magically whisked back in time when just the sight of the back of your love's head sent chills up your spine and a nervous sweat across your brow. if your reading honey, it's not to say i love you any less today than over ten years ago. my nerves just were a bit more crisp then. you know. oh, back to the rest of you who aren't my darling husband. anyway, this young woman has to return to her home country tomorrow. please pray with us that she may be able to come back to marry her fiance and start a new life here to build a terrific Catholic family. it's so beautiful to listen to them dream about their future and how they are so much looking forward to being parents. here's a picture of the happy couple with our littlest munchkin......aren't they cute? anyway, vivi, we have loved every minute of getting to know you. we pray for your safe travels back to your family and we will pray fervently that we will see you again...sooner than later. God's peace be with you and Our Mother Mary hold you in her care.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Simply Monday - July 21st

outside my window - it is sunny, bright blue and without a cloud in the sky...oh yes, i forgot to mention it's blazing hot.

i am thinking - the school year is sneaking up on me with unusual rapidity and that i need to get my act together.

i am thankful for - a husband who loves me and takes care of me no matter what and kids that still love to cuddle.

from the kitchen - not much to speak of, although last week i did freeze corn, strawberries and grapes all in the same day. i need to can some tomatoes as sauce before they go bad.

i am creating - a mountain out of a probable molehill. as per usual.

i am going - to take my daughter to art class at the library and hopefully make up a menu plan for the week. i've been a big slacker.

i am wearing - brown shirt and jeans.

i am reading - still finishing up The Tale of's a really, really quick read when i actually take the time to sit down and do it.

i am hoping - to get back into a schedule this week.

i am hearing - the front door open again, and again and again as the kids go in and out and in and out. that also means i'm hearing the buzz of the bazillions of flies they are letting into the house. i swear that the housefly must be the township mascot.

around the house - is a box of new materials that need organized for the upcoming school year and some boxes of lovely CHC materials that I will be showing at the conference this weekend.

one of my favorite things - is the clean house we had last night for the neighbors to come over for a cookout.

a few plans for the rest of the week - whip the house and planning into shape and look forward to being re-energized this weekend by some wonderful speakers.

here is a picture thought i am sharing with you -

hop on over to Peggy's to get linked to all the other's participating today.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

I Want to Play Along...

i saw this posted on a few blogs including michele's and mary ellen's, and since i've pretty much been at a loss for anything interesting to post lately...i thought i'd play along. although, i'm not promising that this is going to break the bank on the interesting scale. so, without further ado, here goes. the one word meme.

1. where is your cell phone? purse
2. your significant other? downstairs
3. your hair? messy
4. your mother? here
5. your father? illinois
6. your favorite thing? peace
7. your dream last night? crazy
8. your favorite drink? lemonade
9. your dream/goal? sanctity
10. the room you're in? bedroom
11. your church? universal
12. your fear? much
13. where do you want to be in 6 years? PA
14. where were you last night? cookout
15. what you're not? patient
16. muffins? homemade
17. one of your wish list items? furniture
18. where you grew up? illinois
19. the last thing you did? breakfast
20. what are you wearing? jammies
21. your TV? leapfrog
22. your pets? two
23. your computer? secondhand
24. your life? full
25. your mood? pensive
26. missing someone? kinda
27. your car? old
28. something you're not wearing? shoes
29. favorite store? thrift
30. your summer? hot
31. like (love) someone? many
32. your favorite color? blue
33. last time you laughed? recently
34. last time you cried? friday
35. who will repost this? nobody

have a blessed Sunday y'all. we will be hosting a cookout for our neighbors...if it doesn't storm. i hope not, because if it's cancelled i'm going to have alot of spare buns. :)

Saturday, July 19, 2008

random randomness

i am pleased to report that the garage sale went rather well, even though we forgot to advertise much. we'll be storing our stuff in our friends garage for a few weeks and trying it again with the gusto of a newspaper ad, etc. this will also give me more time to clean the house some more and find even more stuff that i think we should part with. :) my husband always jokes that there isn't anything left to get rid of...and then i find more. i just really have a penchant for pitching things. it's my free therapy. i haven't been posting much lately (as of course you can tell). we still have company (my mom is visiting) and i've had some pressing things on my mind. in talking to a friend about a few things she told me that the best advice her mom gave her a year or so ago was that the 30's are hard. alot of things change, your family is very demanding, growing and always changing and that you are still trying to find your way as an adult. no longer are you a twenty something with a few kids and just a little bit of your freedom intact. i was glad to hear that out of somebody else's mouth and know it's not just me struggling. it's not to say things are bleak here...because they truly aren't. i don't want you to get that idea. i just don't deal well with change and uncertainty and so far, those have been the hallmarks of the past few years. oh well, time passes, seasons change and our God is always with us.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Simply Monday - July 14th

outside my window - it is overcast, a bit cooler than the past few days and pretty quiet except for the rumble of construction trucks and machinery at the houses they are building out back.

i am thinking - about a few funny stories about my kids i found written down in the back of an old notebook. i write things down at random times...and unfortunately in random places so that i don't forget about them completely...that is if i find where i wrote them. :)

i am thankful for - the fact that i didn't eat the bug i found in the chinese take-out last night. having it on my fork was quite enough thank you...but at least it was still completely there...right?

from the kitchen - your typical cold cereal and toast this morning.

i am creating - some organized chaos in the basement as i go through some more boxes, get rid of alot and put some stuff on the shelves. we are also creating a swingset in our backyard. ok, i should say that my mom is and we are just holding and moving stuff when it is needed. i'll take some pictures of the kids playing when it's done.

i am going - to the grocery store to get some oj (we are still living off of the free coupons), possibly the consignment store to look for some books and then back home to clean before our mentor couple comes tonight.

i am wearing - denim capris and a red "jets, chicago" t-shirt. i doing laundry this morning so it's slim pickins.

i am reading - "The Story of Desperaux" to see if it's appropriate for my eight year old, and because i only have it for another week from the library.

i am hoping - that all goes well for my husband at the doctor this week.

i am hearing - the washing machine tumble and some scuffling of "hopefully" cleaning downstairs.

around the house - the swingset is coming together in the backyard and we are slowly getting through the garage and the basement for the garage sale.

one of my favorite things - is when my kids are healthy. the littlest one has had a fever and a nasty cough since last thursday. the fever seems to be gone now but the cough remains and she is in such a foul mood. i always teeter between whether it's just a cold or something or whether i should run them in to the doctor to get it checked out.

a few plans for the rest of the week - garage sale, garage sale, garage sale. we are having a garage sale at a friends house this saturday and i have so much that i would like to sell, because i want it out of here and frankly, we could use the extra bucks.

here is a picture thought i am sharing with you -

make sure to drop by peggy's place to check out all the other links to today's daybook.

Saturday, July 12, 2008


The Silence of God
from "Love & Thunder"
Words and music by Andrew Peterson

It's enough to drive a man crazy; it'll break a man's faith
It's enough to make him wonder if he's ever been sane
When he's bleating for comfort from Thy staff and Thy rod
And the heaven's only answer is the silence of God

It'll shake a man's timbers when he loses his heart
When he has to remember what broke him apart
This yoke may be easy, but this burden is not
When the crying fields are frozen by the silence of God

And if a man has got to listen to the voices of the mob
Who are reeling in the throes of all the happiness they've got
When they tell you all their troubles have been nailed up to that cross
Then what about the times when even followers get lost?
'Cause we all get lost sometimes...

There's a statue of Jesus on a monastery knoll
In the hills of Kentucky, all quiet and cold
And He's kneeling in the garden, as silent as a Stone
All His friends are sleeping and He's weeping all alone

And the man of all sorrows, he never forgot
What sorrow is carried by the hearts that he bought
So when the questions dissolve into the silence of God
The aching may remain, but the breaking does not
The aching may remain, but the breaking does not
In the holy, lonesome echo of the silence of God

Wednesday, July 09, 2008


last night we had our monthly time of adoration and praise and worship at our parish. it is always a wonderful night to spend with Our Lord. sometimes however, it gets a little discouraging because at times it has been those of us who make the music and one of our priests that show up. but last night we had to bring in more chairs. tons (ok, probably about 25 or 30) of people came to see Jesus. it was so beautiful to see a room full of people on their knees worshiping Him, the King of Kings. it was just as equally beautiful to see a line, yes i said a line, of people going to confession for the entire time. wow. what an awesome God we have! one that will come to a tiny chapel in southeastern pennsylvania just to sit with us. a God that is waiting in all the tabernacles of the entire world, just so we can be with Him. He waits for us to come visit Him, to talk with Him, to thank Him, to receive Him, to adore Him. my prayer today is that He may be praised and adored in all the tabernacles of the world. that by turning to Him we may have our hearts and minds conformed more to His so that we may long and hunger for the truth that only He can give. that our eyes may be opened to the beauty that is His Church, that is the mass, that is the sacraments, that is our faith. that we may long to go deeper in the faith that is unchanging and unfailing. that we may see the beauty of thousands of years of tradition and know that through the ancient rituals our modern lives are fed and made whole. and know it is only through Him that we will have the true peace in our hearts, in our minds and in our lives that we all long for. by allowing Him to show us how we can empty ourselves of ourselves, of our selfish desires, of our fear, of our pride and be filled with Him to lay down our lives for others without counting the cost. i once read that a day without an unselfish deed done for another, without grumbling, complaining or counting the cost, is wasted. i try to make this my goal every day. i don't want to waste a single day. who knows how many we may have left. through various events lately that has become abundantly clear to me. let us today make time to see Him, to worship Him and to ask Him to fill and guide us.

Monday, July 07, 2008

Simply Monday - July 7th

outside my window - there is a lovely blue sky and a slight breeze, although the humidity is rather stifling.

i am thinking - that my mom will be here for a visit in about two hours...and maybe i can get some sewing done while she is here. :)

i am thankful for - friends and a husband that support me and say just the right thing just when i need to hear it because i feel like giving up.

from the kitchen - there's not much happening. we have been grilling alot but i just think it's amazing when on nights when our entire dinner (meat, potatoes, veggies and bread) comes right in from the grill to the table.

i am creating - some semblance of order in the basement. we boxed everything back up and moved it to the center of the room when the little buggy things invaded. my husband and i made the decision yesterday that bugs or no bugs...we were reclaiming our basement for our use (it's one of the main reasons we wanted this house) so we moved the bookshelves back where they were, got the books out of boxes and I also set my sewing area up again.

i am going - nowhere today, except maybe to the hardware store later to get some bug bags to lure the japanese beetles away from my willow bush.

i am wearing - a brown shirt and jeans, no shoes or socks. i know that flylady says always wear your shoes but in the are not my friend. i only wear them if i have to.

i am reading - "the feast of faith - approaches to a theology of the liturgy" by (then) cardinal ratzinger. i'm still in the first half but this hasn't been the page turner for me that i thought it would be. oh well, i have an important purpose for reading it and therefore...i must finish. i'm trying to make the kids take a nap or quite time (depending on their age) every day and while they do that i read, if i don't fall asleep too. :)

i am hoping - still that things fall into place. the things are many and some are rather personal but each and every one is important in it's own little way.

i am hearing - the kids reading books to each other downstairs.

around the house - organizing the basement some more, tackling the garage (yes, it needs tackled, not tagged or tended to or whatever some other nice word might be) and planting and mulching outside.

one of my favorite things - order. you'd think since it is my favorite that i would achieve it more right?

a few plans for the rest of the week - a couple of small sewing projects and cleaning the bathrooms (from top to bottom).

here is a picture thought i am sharing with you - (where does the time go?)

have a great day and make sure to head over to peggy's to find links to all of today's other participants.

Saturday, July 05, 2008

Happy Fourth of July!

a day late. ;) we spent the evening at a friends house. we had a cook out with burgers, corn on the cob, fresh salad right from the garden and great desserts.
we capped the night off with our own little pyrotechnics display. i use the word "little" very loosely.i hope everyone is having a wonderful weekend with friends and family. we're off to the neighbors for cook out #2 and a second round of fireworks...if the weather holds out.

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Family Time Fun

not much has been going on around here lately. we've been staying close to home on account of the gas prices. we just can't afford to fill up every week like we used to. errands are done much more locally, garage sale-ing has been drastically scaled back to only include development sales with "a reputation" and fun time usually involves a nature walk or a quick jaunt to the park a few roads over. i think the kids are taking it harder than i. frankly, i enjoy being at home. i do wish the kids would stop bickering and antagonizing each other...but i like being home. since we haven't been doing too much exciting i thought i'd share some shots of what we have been's proof that they actually do love each other...despite the hitting...the kicking...the yelling... the fighting...etc...etc...etc. :)
hey there little lady...did you get those elbow pads tight enough? (translated as "oh look, i think she's cutting off her circulation.")getting ready to try out his new skates......while somebody else doodles on the driveway with some new sidewalk paints received from some wonderful friends.

hope you all have a happy and safe 4th of july!