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Posts Tagged ‘7 Quick Takes’

— 1 —

Well….we had a little accident this week.

By “we,” I mean my 9-year old, who, while messing around a cub scout meeting Sunday night, caught his finger in a folding chair.  Minutes before this happened, I had seen him doing that thing – lifting himself up in the chair, folding it up under him – why this was entertaining, I don’t know, but I did shoot him a look and waved a finger at him.  He sat down, but, as I said, minutes later….I looked up again and there was a crowd of adults around his chair..and blood.

The cut was deep and open enough that the nurse-mom who was present recommended a trip to the ER.  If it had not been Sunday night, I would have simply gone to an ambulatory care center, and even without that, in retrospect, I think, with a good bandage, we could have waited until the morning to fix it.

But, in the moment, with what looked like a big, deep, fleshy gash, I thought, “Might as well take care of it now.  How long could it take?”

FIVE HOURS.

— 2 —

So yes, I’ll rant.  There was a physician’s assistant there.  She did the intake. Why she couldn’t have just glued him up right there, I have no idea.  But instead, we had to go back out and wait two hours for an x-ray, then wait an hour for the doctor, and then wait a little bit more for him to get his stuff together (he was very nice) and glue the finger up, instructing us to go see the pediatrician in a week.

For the life of me, I can’t figure out why this process took so long.  I suppose triage was in action, which means that our very minor situation was pushed to the bottom of the list, but there’s something about that that doesn’t make sense, if you have personnel free who can actually take care of the problem as it appears at your door.  It was a busy night.  As far as I could tell, there was one doctor on the floor.  But still….

(We are lucky.  Knock on wood, we hardly every use the medical system. This was the second or third time in my life I’ve been in an ER, between the three off us and not counting check-ups, we average two visits a year to a doctor of one sort or another.  Nothing chronic, no big problems.  These boys are healthy anyway, but I’m sure that not being in school for the past two years has done nothing but help that situation. We’ll see what this winter, with one in close quarters with other kids on all day, will bring.

But anyway.  That’s done and lesson learned.  I talked to people all week who said things like, “Yeah, we had to take Junior in  to another hospital for three stitches on his chin and we were there for five hours,” so this was not unique.  We spent a lot of time watching and listening to a lot of people with serious problems. We had a lot of people to pray for, and a reminder of how fortunate we are in our good health.

I heard the story of Daddy’s collapse at least five times as it was told to visitors and over the phone, and I have to believe that there’s a reason that I was in a position to hear, over and over again, “He always said that if he went while he was in church, he’d count it as a blessing.”

— 3 —

Adventures! In Assisi!

The interviews and such are starting to accumulate.  I was on the Son Rise Morning Show this morning, Ann is welcoming a Very Important Documentary Crew into her home next week (actually..well, not quite.  But there will be cameras and she’ll have a chance to talk about her process, and I’ll let you know when it’s airing and where to see it.) I’ll alert you as more pop up.

"amy welborn"

(Check out this lovely blog post with a review of the book!)

— 4 —

Are you following the Bearing Blog family’s trip to Europe? It’s wonderful.  I marvel at her coherence and ability to write so well on the run.

— 5 —

Speaking of travel, today Michael and I took a little field trip.  There are so many wonderful places to go around here, and I’m just sorry that we’re so chained down at the moment.  There are a couple of days during the week we can go places, but we need to be back by 3 for the other kid’s school dismissal.  Weekends are eaten up at this point by scout activities, birthday parties and soon, basketball.

(We did go to Charleston last weekend though – if you follow me on Instagram, you might have picked up on that. Why Charleston, you ask? Because that’s where son, daughter-in-law and (yes) grandson (!) live.  So we try to head over there as frequently as we can. We wish they were closer, but hey, if we have to go somewhere, we’ll take Charleston. )

"amy welborn"

Kayaking at Shem Creek Park

"amy welborn"

Anyway, the field trip today was to the Natural Bridge of Alabama - the longest one east of the Mississippi – take that, Virginia!

"amy welborn"

About an hour away, a very nice, simple outing. Old School tourism.

"amy welborn" "amy welborn"

In addition to the bridge, lots of caves – not deep caves, more like overhangs.  But that’ll do in a pinch.

"amy welborn"

He did his cursive and copywork before we left, then did some worksheets in the car and then talked up a storm to me about everything from various Amazonian animals to the Lord of the Rings to Harry Potter during our walk through the trees and amidst the rocks.

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I couldn’t get a good photo that could convey the size of the “bridge.” It was big, though. And an interesting cave.

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The “Indian Face”

Earlier this week, he was very pleased, because a grocery store clerk greeted his presence at my side in the early afternoon with a cheerful, “Are you homeschooled? rather than the usual lame, “Skipping school today, eh?”

She even asked what cover school we used.

You add that to the ER doctor’s story about his own son whom they homeschooled, and it was an affirming week, homeschool-wise.

— 6 —

Where we went to Mass on Sunday…a gorgeous church with amazing music. Chant, good hymnody, superbly done but not showy, absolutely in support of authentic worship.  The priest, in his late 60’s or early 70’s, was of the generation that had been formed to preside as if the congregation’s experience of God depended on their cheerfulness.  He gazed out us, grinning, during the entire Mass. A good chunk of the homily was about he, himself and him.  As I said, this is the way these guys were trained. They were taught that (clears throat, assumes mellifluous tones) the assembly’s experience of the Risen Lord’s presence among them begins with their experience of a hospitable and affirming environment, which of course begins with the Presider.

As I said, I’m sure this is what he was taught, and the man has helped more people in their times of need over the past month than I will my whole life.  But still.  Stop smiling at me, stop welcoming me, stop looking at me and just pray, please.

(The problem, however is that when a priest – usually one of the younger ones – affects a more solemn demeanor, they are taken to task by other parishioners who wonder why Father can’t be more personable and tell more jokes. They can’t win, of course.)

— 7 —

And some dogs like to ride on boats.

"amy welborn"

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— 1 —

The most surprising cooking success of the week was the arancine.  I had never even made risotto before, but this turned our spectacularly and wasn’t even hard.

(No photos because honestly, I didn’t have time to take pictures of my food. Did you?)

The risotto takes time, yes (about 25 minutes of constant stirring/adding stock/stirring) but as I said, wasn’t a huge technical challenge.  I cooked the risotto on Tuesday, formed the arancini balls on Wednesday morning, refrigerated them, then fried them up right before dinner.  (Filled with a little bit of red sauce, some pancetta and relatively fresh mozzarella.)  They were just about perfect.

Arancine is just about my favorite thing to eat in Italy, and it may or may not be a good thing that I learned how to make them.

— 2 —

The drunken pork loin turned out well, too.  The recipe isn’t online, but it’s Marcella Hazan’s. 

— 3 —

I also made Michael Chiarello’s Caponata.  I had made it before, but this time the amount of vegetables seemed quite out of whack with the amount of sauce.  I observed this before I cooked the vegetables, so ended up putting only half of them in the pot, and it seemed just right.  Maybe I had a bigger eggplant?  Don’t know.

— 4 —

No, I’m not Italian, but it’s my favorite cuisine, so if you came to my house for Christmas, you were stuck with it.

— 5 —

Dessert?  Crostata with homemade ice cream.

— 6 —

Christmas Mass?  Christmas Eve at 10 PM at Casa Maria.  My adult son who lives in Atlanta discovered the hard way that his assumption that, “Huh…a 4pm Christmas Eve Mass? Who’s going to go to that?” was dead wrong as he wandered around the campus of the Cathedral looking for one of the three Masses going on that wasn’t standing room fifteen minutes before it started.  We didn’t have that problem, even in the sisters’ small chapel. It was full, but not packed.  Bishop Foley celebrated, the music was the usual simple, gorgeous reverence, and I didn’t have to stay up until 2 am.  

— 7 —

Looking for a daily devotional for 2014?  Try this!

"amy welborn"

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— 1 —

I have the unbelievable good fortune of having, for once, a well-timed writing assignment.  That is, I’m penning an Advent devotional aid….during Advent.  Yes, it’s for 2014, but still.  Anyone who’s engaged in writing these kinds of things can tell you that the work more usually involves writing about Good Friday on Christmas Eve and Advent on Pentecost.

So..no excuses on this one!

— 2 —

Saw the Google Maps car this week, parked at the library branch a block from my house:

google maps car

Also, I’m thrilled to discover that with the leaves down, I can see downtown Birmingham from my house.   A nice view. Better than the photograph, of course.

013

— 3 —

A spectacularly successful science demonstration this week - construct your own light bulb from batteries, wires, alligator clips, a toilet paper roll and a mechanical pencil lead.  It worked great – and led to lots of discussion and research on a variety of subjects: circuits, batteries, metals, the history of the light bulb…and so on.

"amy welborn"

— 4 —

Also successful was the science center’s homeschool class squid dissection. As per usual, I had the student teach the rest of us what he learned the next day, and it was clear he’d been engaged.  One of my Facebook friends did a cow’s 011eye dissection with her kids a few months back.  We did that in fifth grade, and it was really one of the more memorable educational experiences of my childhood.   Maybe we’ll give that a shot, too!

My dad was pre-med for a few months, and used to tell the story of having his cat on which to practice dissection.   Like, in the dorm shower.  He’d haul it out and study.

We’re not doing that.

(By the way, if you want to be a part of the digital expression of my homeschool hopes and dreams (read: fantasies) follow me on Pinterest, where, between the hours of midnight and 1 AM, I can often be found pinning my fabulous finds and plans into the ether…which is where they stay most of the time…predictably….

— 5 —

Huntsville Tuesdays are over!  FLL competition happened...and while it was fun and all, the team didn’t do well enough to make it to state.  Live and learn.

"first lego league"

I’d considered doing some Hunstville Thursdays in January (classes at the Space Center)  – but you know what? Nah.   We’re good.  January is pretty busy, what with basketball and all.

"amy welborn"

Fun while it lasted

— 6 —

Art class! From the 9-year old, who is not happy with this – his efforts from his third art class – because it falls short "amy welborn"of perfection, but I’m impressed.  (It’s ink, with the emphasis in the exercise being to keep focused on the subject – a white pitcher and a white teapot –  not the paper. ) (It also got cropped in the scanning, and I’m too lazy to do it again right now)  He came back with a story told by his teacher of an artist who had his students study the objects they would be drawing, but then run up a flight of stairs before they could begin.

— 7 —

Bambinelli! Sunday! 

….come see me in Charleston.…watch Ann on Telecare!

Come back next week for information on our giveaway!

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— 1 —

These will be super quick.  I hope.

— 2 —

I find the Pope Francis hysteria just a little bizarre.   I guess I’m glad, but I still find it, as a whole, what with the intensity and…elation – strange.  What people seem to get most excited about – or what they say they’re excited about – is what he has to say about mercy and evangelization.  Which is no different from what other recent Popes have said, including Pope Benedict.  And if you think that part of it is different, then you weren’t paying any attention to Pope Benedict.  Nor to Jesus Christ, apparently.   Some say, “Ah, but the tone is different!”  Really?   Again – were you listening to Pope Benedict?  Examples, please?   Pope Francis has a more effusive personality, and if that floats your boat, great – but if it prompts you to weep in gratitude for a new tone and a New Church in the making, I hope your 15th birthday is nice.

Short version:  let’s be concrete and specific and give examples.   What’s  is the “old” that the “newness” of Pope Francis is correcting?   

I’m not saying that his words and tone are identical to Benedict’s or John Paul II’s.  What I’m hearing is that people are excited that there is something fresh and new and super awesome here, and I just don’t understand what it is.   Because it’s not what people say it is because Francis is not saying things that his predecessors were silent about.

— 3 —

I add, quickly:  I appreciate what Pope Francis has to say, both when it affirms and when it challenges me.  I’m glad that people are being moved and am sure it will bear fruit, just as Pope John Paul II’s papacy bore fruit and Pope Benedict XVI’s papacy bore fruit.

My armchair take on Francis is that when I hear him or read him , what I hear is a fellow who has been in the hierarchy for a long time.  This hit me early on.  His concerns are those of a bishop, and they seem to come out of a bishop’s experience of dealing with interest groups vying for his ear, careerist or pastorally indifferent clerics, and a structure, on the parish and diocesan level, which, despite the best of intentions, so often seems to lose focus and evolve into a self-perpetuating, self-serving club blind to the needy and broken souls right at the doorstep.   It seems to me that much of what he says is an attempted and almost explosive corrective to all of that.

It’s also sort of like Pope Francis is having this continual discussion…even argument …but  none of the rest of us can hear what the other party’s saying.  So we’re confused and all looking at each other like

(insert amusing gif here)

?

— 4 —

Which is all to the good, but is also, I think,  just one aspect of Catholic life and even Catholic leadership.  To be honest, what doesn’t thrill me about Pope Francis is that his context and reference seems rather…narrow.   His words do not come across as thoughtfully, carefully and appreciatively situated in the experience – past and present  – of the whole Church.  Or even an awareness of all the different sorts of people who might be experiencing exclusion and alienation from Christ or his Church at any given time for a host of reasons, some of which might even surprise him. This puzzles me because, as the interview indicates, he is a deeply cultured person, but his homilies, speeches and exhortations reflect Jesus, Pope Francis and not a whole lot in between.  One could ask, well, what more is there?  Answer…a lot.   That’s what “Catholic” is.  A lot.   That is a tall order, of course, to be able to do that, but that deep and broad vision is, I would think, part of what being Pope is all about.   Unity.

The impact, then, is one of a very strong individual.   In the modern world, we like this, but quite honestly, I wonder – is this ideal?   Yes, all Popes are different, because they are human.  They have various gifts and flaws, yes.  But the ideal is that it shouldn’t really matter who the Pope is.   The only thing that Garry Wills ever wrote that I agreed with was in one of his books in which he remembered growing up Catholic when no one really ever knew or cared what the Pope said or did.   It just didn’t matter, because the experience of being Catholic was about more than the papacy.  Now, Wills probably had another agenda here – he was reacting against John Paul’s popularity – but the point stands, I think.   As interesting and inspiring as an individual Pope might be, the focus is supposed to be Christ.  If the Pope’s words or actions bring people closer to Christ – fantastic.  But if he starts functioning in too much of a 1 Corinthians 1:12 kind of way….we might need to refocus and get a grip.

— 5 —

Well.  I didn’t expect to write all that when I started.   Huh.

— 6 —

There’s a lot of rather patronizing commentary out there.  Is this patronizing?  Hmmm…. By that I mean commentary that pats worried people on the head and accuses the concerned of not trusting the Holy Spirit or being fearful reactionaries or some such.  Ascribing emotional motivations to those with theological, intellectual and spiritual questions, and therefore dismissing said concerns.   Not very merciful or compassionate, if you ask me.

There’s also this rather frantic need to harmonize this papacy with Benedict’s, with JPII’s, with Pius X’s…with…everything.   It’s a variation of the need to harmonize Catholic history into some sort of perfect consistency that just isn’t real.   I am not sure where that comes from.   It almost has that ahistorical Fundamentalist Protestant aura about it.

— 7 —

So there.  I’m trying to listen, learn, be open and realistic.  And pray!

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— 1 —

My last “Quick Takes” was posted before last Friday, which I spent in The City (shut up!) with Ann Engelhart.  We had a great time.   Took the train in from Long Island, where she lives, and headed for the Morgan, but not before dawdling in some of her favorite notions shops (she being a Creative and all) –  lie M & J Trimming.   I loved it.  Even bought some stuff.  Have no idea what I’ll do with it, but who knows?!

— 2 —

We spent a lot of time at the Pierpont Morgan library.  It had been closed for renovations the last time I was there, but this time had the added attraction of a special exhibit on the Eucharist.  Illuminating Faith:  The Eucharist in Medieval Faith and Art.   It was small, but wonderful  

Now, I had read a mildly critical review of this show at First Things, and now having seen it myself, I must respectfully disagree with Maureen Mullarkey.  She takes the exhibit to task (again, mildly) for placing the Eucharistic devotion expressed in the astonishing and beautiful books on display in the past, as if it were an ancient, lost belief.  I don’t agree.  First of all, the exhibit is explicitly historical.  It’s about the Medieval period, so it’s quite appropriate to retain that context.  Secondly, both Ann and I were impressed with the respectful and objective descriptions given of Eucharistic faith.  the displays were straightforward and unencumbered by any diversions into Comparative Religions territory.  This is what people believed, and this is how they expressed and honored that belief.  Period.  

Oh, and the work on display?  Gorgeous.  Intriguing.  Humbling.

— 3 —

Almost as absorbing was the other special exhibit: Old Masters, Newly Aquired – a gathering of drawings from various collectors.   I love going to exhibits with Ann – I can ask her all the dumb questions (“So…how do they make it so you can’t see the brushstrokes?”) and not quite so dumb ones, too (“What is a wash, exactly?”)

— 4 —

We then made our way to Eataly, at my request.   I really enjoyed it, although it also irritated me the same way having to pay 4 bucks for a baguette that would cost me 1 Euro in France irritates me.  This is normal, everyday food in Italy.  Why is it so exotic here and why must I pay a premium for it?

That out of the way, it was really good, and what I enjoyed most were the condiments – the fig preserves with a dash of chili?  Yes. 

eataly

— 5 —

And no, I did not kill Ann’s dog, although I was afraid I had when it was determined that he had found and consumed an entire bag of (not chocolate) candies I’d purchased and the fact that the candies were in the shape of raspberries was the reason there was red in his vomit, not that there was blood and he was dying because my candy had killed him was a big relief.

— 6 —

School!  Has Started!  Slowly.  But it’s happening.  Some curricula, some unschooling, which means we came back from the library loaded down with a couple of dozen books on pre-Columban cultures (still an obsession) and the history of (American) football.

And we spent a day at a local state park because people are just not tired enough at night, and by heavens, we’re going to change that…..

"amy welborn"

— 7 —

Bambinelli Sunday is HOT, baby!  As in, at some moments of the day, when the rankings are particularly sweet, even hotter than Sarah Palin!

(I have a bunch of copies now.  I have a speaking engagement next week, and if I have any left, I’ll put ‘em up for sale.)

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Real quick, for real, this time.

— 1 —

I’m winding up a very quick trip to the New York City area.  It’s the Catholic Marketing Network trade show, and I came up to help spread the word about Bambinelli Sunday – now available! For purchase!

"amy welborn"

— 2 —

What’s great is that illustrator Ann Englehart lives on Long Island, so I’m able to stay with her.  She picked me up at JFK yesterday morning (yes I made my 6am flight), then we drove into Brooklyn and just wandered a bit.  She showed me some of her favorite shops, we had a nice long light lunch here and then a wonderful dinner here.  No museums, no big sites, just a part of the world I’d never experienced before and time well spent with a good friend, plotting out our next project….and yes, there is one!

— 3 —

Today we (well, she) drove over to Somerset, NJ, to the show.  Leaving around 8:30 to make absolutely sure we would get there by 11, we were amazed to arrive by 10 – no traffic, even heading towards the city on a weekday morning.

— 4 —

Signed lots of books for all the great folks who come to trade shows like this –  booksellers who are some of the unsung heroes of the frontline of pastoral ministry.  They’re the people who take the calls, “My son isn’t taking his children to church – is there a book I can give them?”  “My daughter has questions about the faith – what do you suggest?”  “I want to start reading the Bible more – can you help me figure out where to start?”

— 5 —

Also had the chance to talk with a lot of great folks in Catholic media.  We filmed an episode of Bookmark with Doug Keck.  I spoke with Al Kresta, Teresa Tomeo, Donna Cooper O’Boyle, Daria Sockey, Jennifer Fitz, Lisa Wheeler and many others.

— 6 —

What’s odd is to unexpectedly run into people from back home, which was the case when we walked into the hotel lobby and I saw Ellen Marie Edmonds sitting there –  Ellen Marie does beautiful, important work on dementia, and has an exciting new project related to the Sacred Heart.   We’ve been on Johnette’s program together and she’s from Birmingham.  I had no idea she was going to be at this show, so that was a nice surprise.

— 7 —

Then dinner with the great crew from Franciscan Media, along with Franciscan author Allen Wright.

Trade shows, like everything else in publishing, are definitely in transition.  I’ve been going to them for about 13 years now, and attendance and vendor participation is certainly  lighter now than it was then.  I understand that’s the case across the board – even the mega-gigantic CBA (the evangelical show) is much smaller now than it was when we went a couple of time in the early 2000’s.   It’s still a good experience, though.  It’s always good to see people, and tends to get the creative juices flowing

"amy welborn"

Credit: Franciscan Media

…we can only hope!

 

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— 1 —

Crazy. I thought about going to Rome next week.  Thought about it really seriously when I looked up the apartment we stayed in last November and saw that it was available 3/14-22.  I took it as a sign.  Airfare wasn’t hideous at that point (late last week), even from Birmingham – the only glitch being Those Darn Cardinals –  who have been in absolutely no hurry to set a Conclave date.   Would they jump right in and schedule it for the 11th?  Or wait the traditional amount of time and go for the 15th?  If the latter, this would work out. So I dithered and studied airfare some more. Then I actually wrote to the owner of the apartment who answered me that yes, it was vacant for those dates but the preceding guests were journalists, arriving the 7th..and they might want to extend their stay beyond the 14th.  Well, I said, of course they will if the Conclave doesn’t happen until the 15th…but go ahead and check anyway.  And of course, they’re staying for as long as it takes.

The owner offered me another apartment about a mile away from the Vatican, but that would mean walking that mile to get to St. Peter’s, squeezing on buses to get to St. Peter’s or sitting in a cab in traffic on the way to St. Peter’s, when the point of the original place is that it’s 3 blocks from St. Peter’s.  Making it, you know, very convenient. For journalists.

Well, that’s okay. It was just a spur-of-the moment crazy thing, anyway.

— 2 —

The only value that papal prognostications have  is the entertainment they produce after the conclave.

— 3 —

The other travel that I thought might be happening of late was a short trip to New Orleans this week with my daughter, home from college on spring break.  Then I looked up hotels on Kayak and wondered why the only hotels coming up were 1-star places in Houma and such.  Going to hotel websites turned up “no available rooms” time after time.  Finally figured out that there was a huge convention happening.  Bill Clinton speaking and everything. A friend suggested we go anyway and stay outside the city, but I said that I wasn’t interested in sharing New Orleans with 50,000 drunk health care managers.  So we’ve stayed put.

— 4 —

It’s always nice when she comes home because I have someone to cook for.  That is someone to cook for who will eat food that is a color other than beige.  Gives me a good chance for some Pinterest-ing culinary excursions. I’m also pleased to report that at long last, I think making pizza has entered the “routine” category for me.  I finally figured out that if you just make the dough at least a day ahead of time – I use this recipe - it handles much better, and the simple fact that the dough is done by the time it comes to fix the pizzas makes it all less daunting.

— 5 —

Watching House of Cards.  I’m enjoying it, and could easily binge-watch it, but am restraining myself.  It’s cable -ish, which means there’s profanity, so don’t say I didn’t warn you.  It’s not a documentary about politics, so don’t look for complete, careful and thorough excavation of life in D.C.  But Kevin Spacey is mesmerizing, to be sure.  His picture is next to “inhabit a role” in the Big Encyclopedia of Acting for this one. I’m five episodes in, and what I’ll say is that I’m sensing some unspoken, complex backstory – mostly in the relationship between Spacey’s character and that of his wife, played by the alarmingly and aggravatingly skinny Robin Wright – but if it’s not delivered (whatever it is)  – the absence of that layer is what will keep this series from reaching first-level quality.

— 6 —

Current reads in our house:  Swallowdale (11 year old) , The Castle in the Attic and Emil’s Pranks (8 year old), and all of us together, The Enchanted Castle and  Into the Unknown: How Great Explorers Found Their Way by Land, Sea and Air.    The last is a simply great book. There is no dearth of books on explorers and exploration out there, but this one is really special.  It’s well written – substantial, but not too overlain with detail – and the illustrations are marvelous.  In particular: each chapter includes a fold out section that incorporates a map and some other illustration   – of the structure of a boat or other craft, and so on.  This one is worth seeking out and even purchasing.

Over the past week, for history/religion, Joseph has been reading St. Benedict: Hero of the Hills.  After he reads a chapter, I have him narrate it back to me in some way, and I try to change it up.  So some chapters he simply tells me what happened (he takes notes and the point of the exercise is to teach him how to summarize and present), but then other chapters I have him draw using the whiteboard, and for the chapter in which St. Benedict dies, I had him pretend to be a monk come to give us the news.

— 7 —

Speaking of homeschooling, while I still generally try to not read homeschool blogs (agitates the soul and tempts one to anxiety), there are a couple of Facebook pages I find really helpful.  One is The Libertarian Homeschooler - in particular check out the lists she’s recently posted here and here.   The other is Kicking it Unschool.  I really appreciate the discussions and resources offered at both.

I may have recovered from house-shopping fever.  Not sure.  But I think that I’ve figured out a spot for a basketball goal.  That, combined with the feelings I get when I walk from my car, stop on my front porch and open the door to enter into the small, warm space of my living room – and then listen to the boys playing outside with the boy down the street or chatting with the older lady next door – I don’t think it’s time to leave that yet, especially with warm weather coming – I’ve seen some great decks and a fabulous back yard.  But none of it beats that front porch, not right now.

(This week, that is)

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