Monday, 31 October 2011

All Hallows Eve

We are preparing to celebrate the month of November. On our Church calendar, November is dedicated to the Holy Souls.
In Australia, tomorrow is the Melbourne cup- a famous horse race, everything is geared around it, but its also All Saints Day.

Many families have their doubts about celebrating Halloween. For example, the practice of trick-or-treating is something that has only recently been celebrated on a large scale here in Australia. The association with pagan ritual is viewed as inappropriate and even considerd dangerous for children. In fact, Halloween has deep Christian roots, dating back to the eigth century, when Pope Gregory III established  All Hallows( known to us as All Saints Day on November 1st. This was to be the day to honour all the saints whi died with or wothout Church recognition. All Souls Day follows on 2nd November and is a time in which we pray for all the dead, including our own special frinds and family.
Light, long a symbol of life in Jesus, was used on 'Halloween'(meaning 'All Hallows Eve) to welcome good spirits and ward of evil ones. Candles were lit and placed inside hollowed out pumpkins, squash etc. Children,wearing masks. would go 'souling' from door to door, begging for soul cakes for those in purgatory.
Unfortunately, Halloween also coincides with a pagan festival honouring the God of the dead where customs intended to appease evil spirits, avoid haunting and foretell the future are common.

This Halloween, we celebrate Our Heavenly Family- by praying the Litany of the Saints.
                            we celebrate our deceased family members by praying for them during this month of November, visiting there grave sight and remembering them.

Sunday, 16 October 2011

ME a Stylish Blogger...... award

Yesterday, I switched my computer on and to my surprise and delight into my mailbox was waiting a lovely little email, giving me a Stylisher Blog Award.
Me a Stylish Blogger.
As I had never received a blog award before, I was taken aback. What would I have to do to receive this award. What would I have to live up to.... nothing.  I look at other blogs and see these awards on there sidebars and think 'oh wouldn't that be nice to have someone think my blog is worthy of that.'
So my friend Sue selected me. You are too sweet Sue. I love our online chats. It brings a smile to my face when we get to have little chats.
Sue has been an inspiration to me and has helped me ,without realising it through a very hard time in our family through her honesty and unique writing style. Thank you.

So now I need to tell you 7 things about myself that you may not know about me.!!

1. I love coffee. As a nurse, I consumed tooo many cups a day. Now I  limit myself to 2.
2. I have the most adorable teenager as a daughter. I am so Blessed. But I think you all know that.
3.  I am actually rather shy..when I was  at school, I would go beetroot red if I was spoken to.
4.  Caving and Abseiling and rockclimbing where my hobbies before I was married.  Could I do them again. Yep in a flash.
5. My favourite subject is Human Anatomy and Geography.
6. We have lived in 5 houses in our married life.
7. Italy is my favourite country, but I would holiday any day in the Sunshine coast QLD.

And now for my awards. I love all my blogs I read but would like to
Anne from Under her Starry Mantle. I love her creations and she has been a treasure to find
Elizabeth from In the Heart of my home. Elizabeth has been a great inspiration to me with her many honest blog posts and her published books.
Lacy from Catholic Icing. I love Laceys craft. It was very helpful at Homeschool camp. Thanks.
Erin From Seven little Australians and counting. another inspiring blogger. We share many similar styles.
Faith from Strewing: Unschooling resources. I love her tuesday strewday.
I would like to nominate 2 teen bloggers, who both try very hard to keep interesting and fun blogs.
Sara. who tries hard to keep her blog fun and keeps close to her friends. I enjoy reading her blog posts.
Beth Who loves 50's fashion and Narnia, and has a great writing style.

Well I think I have written everything I need to. Hope these bloggers enjoy there award as much as I have.

Monday, 10 October 2011

What an Adventure

Wow what a month....  We had a homeschool camp, a week away as a family, and two weeks official school holidays between terms 3 and 4.
We had such a busy time, I ended up needing a few days to recover. And in truth so did Brid.

I wanted to share with you about our holiday.
We decided as we were so close to the Boarder of NSW & Queensland, that we would take a holiday up that way.
As Dermot works from home, its harder for him to switch off if we have holidays at home, so we try to get away at least once a year.
Coolangatta Beach
So back to our holiday...We left camp...stopped in the village of Lennox Head, had a lovely morning coffee and milkshake, and drove the hour or so to Coolangatta.
We needed to waste a little time as we were unable to check in to our accomodation before 1pm, so we drove through Byron Bay and had the car washed. It was very very dusty.
The Gps got us to our accomodation and we checked in, unpacked and were taken aback by the gorgeous views. We would see Dermot  later that afternoon. Meanwhile, we got used to our surroundings and relaxed. Had a late lunch on the beach and sent txtx back to family.
We got lost getting to the airport- the gps took us on back streets that didn't exist anymore. All I wanted to do was see my Darling.
So finally with Dermot arriving safely on the scheduled flight from our home town, we started our holiday, But not before one young lady got the bug that everyone else got after camp. No fun for her or us getting up most of the night. By the next evening she was beginning to feel better. So We had a fairly chilled out quite day.
Anne & myself
Our first big day was meeting up with another Homeschooling family and a Lady who always inspires me. We had a lovely day at Marian Valley- once we found it. After Mass, it didn't take long to spot Anne. That was a special meeting. It was lunch time so we shared what we had prepared. Anne and Phil and there children walked us around the valley and we looked at each of the statues and the grottos.
The Children explored and made friends. At the end of the day, the children were making a bridge close to where we were picnicing.
The piety shop was worth the visit. There was a talk being presented on Padre Pio, but we were happy to just chat. The day came to a close much to quickly, but we have lovely memories.

just getting to know the Dolphin
Us at Sea World
Sea World was next on the list. I love Sea World and although it was Brid who chose the place we would go, I secretly hoped she would choose Sea World. We asked  for a homeschool discount and we received one. Wow.. great saving. We have been to this park before when our older children were little- Brid was a baby, and it has grown each time. This time we wanted Brid to have an adventure with the Dolphins. It was a great experience, and apart from the DVD and photo we received, in a package,  we have some very cool photos of her with the Dolphins.
At the boarder
Our all day long excursions to these difference parks we explored, were offset by days of just chilling by the surf, on the beach, or a lovely beach walk during the day or at sunset.

What the Zoo is famous for- its crocs

Africa section- Steve Irwin dreamed of this  
We visited the Wildlife warriors intensive care for wounded annimals- attached to the zoo.
We have been to Australia Zoo as well-again when Brid was very young, but as we particularly like it, we drove the 2 hours north, past Brisbane and into the sunshine coast. We knew it was a long drive making it a big day but it was definitely worthwhile.
We have seen Australia Zoo grow from a very small zoo to its size today. Its message has always been conservation, preservation. It was a great learning day. The wildlife warriors hospital was an interesting experience seeing the animals hurt by human misadventure and the extend of the hospital

So after a week, sunning ourselves, long beach walks, theme parks and catching up with friends it was time to travel south. We dropped in to see Erin on our way home. Thanks for lunch Erin.
And then the long drive South. We were rather surprised at the journey only taking 8 and half hours, once we took our stops out.

A little addit, Brid took most of these photos, thanks to her wonderful photography course she took with some other hunter homeschooling teens

Wednesday, 5 October 2011

The liturgical year

At Homeschool camp recently we were asked to reflect and talk about how we celebrate the liturgical year.
I have been thinking on this a lot since then.
I remembered the year I really began taking notice of the liturgical calendar.
It was Advent and I was involved in a mothers group helping organise Children’s Masses in our church. Our children were all very small and attending school.
In the bulletin each week was a prayer and a reflection for each week of Advent. With a little bit of resistance we began saying the prayers. I realised change needed to be implemented slowly.
A little while later I realised that the colours in the church changed according to the season. Oh I was fascinated. I was so very green. I think I am trying to say here is that its ok to be where you are, and build upon these ideas as you go along.
I discovered that Mary had a month dedicated to her and the Rosary had a month as well. I didn’t quite know what to do but I had Mary as a central figure in our home at this time. As I said I was just learning.
Its very different to how I discovered the world of other Homeschooling Catholic families once we began homeschooling and looking at the blogging world. I had so much to learn. There were so many beautiful ways to celebrate the liturgical year and I was totally overwhelmed. I began with dolly steps.
I remember discussing this with a friend. We both purchased several pieces of cloth in liturgical colours and began following the liturgical year more closely.
I realised that each month has its dedication. March- St Joseph, May- Our Lady,etc.
So my reflection included looking at the progression of this. We now have a Family Alter, we are comfortable in the liturgical colours and how and when to use them. Candles and statues or prayer cards are happily added as we celebrate the Saints and their feast days. A cake and an image of the Saint is the best way we celebrate them. A litany is a favourite in our home. November is a favourite because we say the litany of the Saints and pray for the Souls in purgatory. Last year we placed every Saint on red cardboard and asked there intercession each day. We will do this again.
What a journey we have had. The calendar is now second nature.
So be comfortable where you are, and allow God to teach you. Don’t be stressed, just enjoy.    

Monday, 3 October 2011

Feast Of St Therese of Liseux or the Little Flower

She is the Saint of the little ways. I have learnt through parenting and particularly its the little ways that we see grace and Gods love.

We had grand plans for this feast day. Brid had been given a St Therese statue by her Grandma last Christmas- they share the same Patron Saint. This all came unstuck once we realised that a retreat for teen girls was on this weekend.
So before we left for our journey to join this retreat, we hurriedly place St Therese on the family dining table were flowers were waiting for her.

As St Therese is also celebrated in the old calendar on 3rd October, we will be enjoying her feast day then. .....
I first heard of her through a friend many years ago. I read her book ‘The story of a Soul’, and the story really didn’t capture my attention.  Some time later, Brid chose her as her confirmation Saint. She had many saints chosen so she prayed and asked the Saint wanting to be her Confirmation Saint to make it known to her. Brid decided to do a novena to St Therese, and nearly everyday she received a flower or a rose. On the last day, a person in a shop handed her a bunch of roses. Brid knew St Therese was the Saint for her.
So happily she added this name to her given names on her confirmation day.
Recently I read a lovely inspiring book. A little way of homeschooling – Suzie Andres. St Therese again.
Is she trying to tell me something, is this a message for me. Everywhere I go, she is there, present, waiting for me. I feel totally surrounded by her.
So today on her feast day, I took myself to Mass and I found myself attending Adoration and Benediction afterward. It was a very peaceful and calming experience. 

All day I was thinking,  “I wonder how Brid is celebrating this feast day? What is Mum doing? How are the girls and the Sisters getting on? Are they enjoying each others company.

Brid dressed up as St Therese at a Saints Party, aged 9
How did you celebrate St Therese of Liseux’ feast day.?