Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Shower of Roses: Papal Lapbook and Unit Study

Image copyrighted. Used with the kind permission of Jessica from Shower of Roses.

Whether you are into lapbooks or not, you will want to check out The Primacy of Peter: Papal Lapbook and Unit Study. The pics alone are awesome! I give it a 5 star review because the layout is professional--nothing cheesy here--, the information is noteworthy--not dumbed down drivel--, and the directions are clear, precise and step by step.

If you want a child to remember something, engage as many senses as possible and ask the child to tell back the information. That is exactly what is happening here with these beautiful visuals.

Thanks Jessica for taking the time to do this and share! I encourage you to check out even more details at Shower of Roses.

Image copyrighted. Used with the kind permission of Jessica from Shower of Roses.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Breitbart: Homeschoolers Barred from H.S. Sports But Illegal Immigrant Peers Play On

                                          Image found on Breitbart

Is it “fair” that illegal immigrants and foreign exchange students are allowed to play high school football on Friday nights and to participate in extra curricular activities at public schools, while many of their peers, who are legal US citizens but who happen to be homeschooled, are being denied “equal” access to the same opportunities in their local communities? 

You can read the rest of the story on

Saturday, February 23, 2013

More Favorite Christmas Children's Books

Silent Night: It's Story and Song by Margaret Hodges, illus. by Tim Ladwig

Christmas Day in the Morning by Pearl S. Buck

The Light at Tern Rock  (Newbery Honor) by Julia L. Saurer. Although this is not a picture book, this is one of our favorite Christmas stories.

The Crippled Lamb by Max Lucado, illus. by Liz Bonham

Jacob's Gift by Max Lucado, illus. by Robert Hunt

The Three Gifts of Christmas by Jennie and Randy Bishop, illus. by Preston McDaniels

The Quiet Little Woman by Louisa May Alcott, illus. by C. Michael Dudash (This is the edition with the pictures).

Christmas in the Trenches by John McCutcheon, illus. by Henri Sorensen

All-I'll-Ever-Want Christmas Doll by Patricial C. McKissack, illus. by Jerry Pinkney

 The Cobweb Curtain, A Christmas Story by Jenny Koralek, illus. by Pauline Baynes

 The Third Gift by Linda Sue Park, illus. by Bagram Ibatoulline

A Gift for the Christ Child by Tina Jahnert, illus. by Alessandra Roberti

Our Very Own Christmas by Annette Langen and Marije Tolman

The Nativity from the Gospels of Matthew and Luke by Ruth Sanderson

 The Little Fir Tree by Margaret Wise Brown, illus. by Jim LaMarche

 The Little Fir Tree by Margaret Wise Brown, illus. by Barbara Cooney

Mercer Mayer's The Little Drummer Mouse

 The Carpenter's Gift, A Christmas Tale About the Rockerfeller Center Tree


Angel Mae, A Tale of Trotter Street by Shirley Hughes

Daniel's Gift by M. C. Helldorfer, illus. by Julie Downing

The Log Cabin Christmas by Ellen Howard, illus. by Ronald Himler

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Pope Benedict Blesses Huge Crowd of 150,000

Pope Benedict XVI welcomes the crowd. He blessed 150,000 for one of his last public appearances during the Angelus on Sunday Feb. 17, 2013. Sunday evening he was beginning a week-long spiritual lenten retreat.

                                          CNS/ Paul Haring

He said, “In this Year of Faith, Lent is a favorable time to rediscover the faith in God as the basic criterion of our life and the life of the Church.”

Of course the news media might show you this picture or the one above or one totally unrelated, but few showed the huge crowds or if they did they had to include snide remarks or weird commentary.

"Today we contemplate Christ in the desert, fasting, praying, and being tempted. As we begin our Lenten journey, we join him and we ask him to give us strength to fight our weaknesses. Let me also thank you for the prayers and support you have shown me in these days. May God bless all of you!"

For more of the text, you can find it at Catholic World Report

More pictures here

 For the complete text on video.

                                         Pope Benedict XVI blesses us

                                          Photo of him blessing us.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Dr. Ben Carson Addresses National Prayer Breakfast

                                                           image from

Dr. Ben Carson Addressed the National Prayer Breakfast on Feb. 7, 2013. Worth watching!

Monday, February 18, 2013

Free Audio Books and eBooks

I just found out about Books Should Be Free with FREE audiobooks and eBooks. Some of the audiobooks are linked to LibriVox, but others are part of their website. Many are part of the MODG curriculum. I have not had a chance to listen to them. A head's up; parents should not allow their children to look at the website unattended because of some of the book covers and some of the books listed in the children's category clearly do not belong there--Margaret Sanger. Books that she recommends include Outlaws-of-Ravenhurst, Priest-on-Horseback, Tom-Playfair, Man-Who-Fought-the-Devil, God's-Troubadour, First-Communion-Days, and more. Enjoy!

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Sacrifices for Lent

"A day without mortification is a day lost, because if we have not denied ourselves, we have not lived the holocaust." Josemaria Escriva (Furrow)

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Is There Such a Thing as a "Christian" Romance Novel?

Is there such a thing as a “Christian” Romance Novel? Should I, as a faithful Catholic woman, read Christian Romance Novels? After several years of putting it off, I finally took the plunge and read a popular, Catholic Romance— one that several people had recommended to me. 

I had tried to read it once before, but knowing the overall plot, I was frustrated with the storyline: Promiscuous, but absolutely, drop-dead-gorgeous-hunk-of-a-guy pursues and captures a good, faithful, Catholic young woman. Of course, she is also stunningly beautiful and has a promising career. The theme of the whole book is that young people should court not date. 

Why did I stop reading the book the first time? I know far too many people who married someone who promised to practice the faith once they got married only to end up in a difficult marriage or divorce. Now, in all fairness, I also know several faithfully committed Catholic couples whose spouses converted after they married. 

There are many good points about this book. Saving oneself sexually for one’s marriage partner until marriage being the most important. I don’t think most people who don’t save themselves until marriage realize how much they will regret it until they find the person of their dreams. The purpose of the book is a noble one: To show the value of courtship over dating. In doing so, the author presents all the wonderful and fun alternatives young people have compared to the typical hedonistic activities they think they need to do to have fun. There is more to life than parties, drinking, and sex. 

The author is a gifted and talented writer. With the exception of a few spots, she keeps the reader’s attention until the end. Through the development of her characters, she shows an understanding of the human person. Her command of the English language displays a appealing literary style and an expressive vocabulary base.

The young woman in the story comes from a loving and large family. Clearly, the parents are striving to follow the teachings of the Church. The book has many redeeming qualities. It was inspiring to see the young man honor the young woman in a number of ways. In reading the commentaries at the end of the book many people were touched by it. For some people, they are more likely to read a novel than a theology book and the author used plenty of opportunities to instruct the reader in the faith. Definitely, there are many reasons to praise the book, but at the end of the day, there are some questions that arise.

Naturally, as a reader, I “identify” myself with the protagonist. That is just the process of the imagination in reading a book. I put myself in the head of the hero or heroine. The young woman in this case is flawlessly beautiful and has more talent and energy than is humanly possible. A person simply cannot physically do all the things the author has the character doing, and perfectly on top of it. Ditto, for the male character.

In comparing myself to her, am I going to accept myself for who God created me to be? Sure, the author makes a point to show that she is more than physically attractive, that she possesses an inner beauty that sparkles and shines through, drawing others to her. At the same time, however, the guy’s initial attraction to her is because of her outward beauty, her legs. Throughout the story, we are constantly reading about how one or the other is so stunningly handsome or beautiful. So, as a reader, am I going to start fantasizing about how I wish I could be strikingly beautiful like her, especially so I could attract the attention of a handsome looker like him?

Then there is the male hero. He comes from a womanizing past. The author does a good job of showing how his childhood led him to treat women as one-night-stands. But the questions remains for the reader, “Am I going to fantasize that my boyfriend, fiancĂ©, or husband would look like him, act like him?” Over and over again we are told how handsome he is and how she has a hard time not succumbing to her passions for him. Showing that she is struggling with her feelings of chastity is human and real, but the reader may be wishing—subconsciously—that the female character would get into more and more compromising situations, because of the natural desire to be held and caressed by this physically attractive man. Even if it is in the reader’s imagination and the guy is not real, he is not her boyfriend or husband. This is besides the fact that the reader is now comparing how her boyfriend or husband looks, acts or treats her. Gosh! Put down the book and hug the real thing!

After the male hero has a conversion experience, the book does a wonderful job of showing the ideal of how a man should treat a woman. But even the best of men are totally clueless about romance. Is the reader going to futility wish her boyfriend or spouse would treat her a certain way instead of accepting him for who he is? Now, I’m not talking about a woman passively accepting abuse or a man treating her poorly. The handsome hero sure likes to kiss her hand!

Then there is the other aspect of courtship which is almost completely overlooked. The story puts forth the idea that a healthy relationship is a guy spending all of his time on the woman (female fantasy?), doting on her every wish, treating her like a queen (Who wouldn’t want to be treated as a queen—or king?). There are some men who like to hunt, fish, watch football and do a great number of things that women don’t care for. Some men have jobs that require them to spend long hours at work or travel. Women too have their pursuits that men are not interested in. In other words, men and women may desire to spend time together, but they aren’t always able to. Not to mention, not once in the story do we hear of one of the other of them having to stay late for a deadline or extra work. Does anyone get tired and crabby?

At some point, the book becomes more fairytale that fiction. The reader can no longer suspend her belief at what is possible. For example, the author presents the case that many modern day problems are found in families that are not Christian, as exemplified in the guy's family. I know very few families--Christian, Catholic, or otherwise--that do not have someone in the family who has fallen away from the Faith, living in sin, abusing drugs, alcohol or worse. Even the best of us have annoying faults. Sin has entered the world. We are all weak and at time succumb to our faults. The problems of the world are everywhere. Finally, after 400 pages, the girl’s Christian parents have a spat. Honestly, I don't expect them to have an argument "all" the time and the author does a wonderful job of resolving the issue, but Christians struggle with their faults as much as non Christians. 

Along with this, there is the mistaken notion that just because someone homeschools or teaches their kids the faith in a certain way, their kids will follow them in the faith, such as the young woman’s family. Of course that is the ideal, what we all hope for, but that is simply not always true. Children when they become adults, not to mention when they are born, have a free will. They don’t always want to follow their parent’s faith. Sure that happens sometimes, but not always. Don’t ever assume anything! The world, the flesh, and the devil are powerful allurements, which attract Catholics as much as anyone else.

Then there is the subject of courtship. I do think it is a great idea to re-evaluate the notion of dating, but the idea of courtship presented in the book is not realistic. First of all, before a young man and woman can court, they need to meet one another and decide whether or not the other is someone he or she would consider marrying. Ironically, when the characters are being “sassy” they are more realistic than when they are offering advice. The male "hero" comes off as a total wimp every time he talks to the young woman’s dad. Goodness! He is an adult. I don’t think their conversations are realistic; the conversations may be intended to be noble, but they are not real. In my opinion, the dad speaks condescendingly to him. I don’t believe in casual dating, but the fact of the matter is a person can’t court a stranger. Also, a young man or woman in his or her twenties is not going to necessarily want to have an intimate conversation with his or her parents or girl friend's or boy friend's parents, accountable or not, the young man or woman may not be living at home, let alone in the same state (Province) or country. 

Definitely the goal for dating after a certain age (should they even consider dating if they are not old enough or in a position to marry?) is to look at each person as a prospective husband or wife—if that is your vocation. At the same time, that future spouse needs to be a best friend, the best friend. Ideally, for young adults and teens, they need healthy opportunities to meet. In the book there could also be a greater emphasis on teens and young adults doing more group activities so that they have the chance to meet other young people in a safe setting.

As far as the conversion of the male hero, I have mixed feelings about it. I think it is totally possible to have a radical conversion. I think it is inspiring to show the evolution of a person growing deeper in the faith. Converts can be an inspiration to cradle Catholics who may take their faith for granted. I think it is great to show that no matter how terrible our sins are in the past, once we have sought God’s forgiveness, God has forgiven us. We are washed clean. It would be nice, however, if this was more connected to reconciliation and if we saw a physical manifestation of it, like him throwing out porn and disconnecting the TV cable stations. Yes, we do see him praying the rosary and praying after mass. 

But, the author makes it look too easy. We all struggle against our human nature. In the book we don’t see the struggle. On top of that, everyone who comes into contact with the female heroine almost instantly converts. Wow! What an amazing woman! I don’t think Padre Pio or the Cure of Ars could even do that! Don’t we wish that was the way it was done in real life? How many of us have prayed for someone for 10, 20, 30 or more years?

In reality, some people make our lives hell once they find out we are Christians. It takes incredible fortitude to pray for the person persecuting us. Sometimes, that person ironically is a Christian or Catholic. They don’t like us for whatever reason. We looked at them the wrong way. We are too thin or too fat. We have irritating habits. They don’t like the way we dress, etc. Everybody “loves” the young woman in the novel. She is a nice person. She is hard not to like. 

So at the end of the day, I ask again, “Is there such a thing as a “Christian” Romance Novel? Should I, as a faithful Catholic read Christian Romance Novels?” Am I a better person for having read this book? Do I strive to fulfill my vocation as God intended me to live it even more after having read this book? Do I accept myself for who God created me to be, seeking to fulfill my Personal Ideal, my personal mission that God has created me for? If I am in a relationship, do I accept my spouse or boyfriend for the person God created him to be? Do I have a greater respect for myself because I desire for my boyfriend or spouse to treat me as a child of my Heavenly Father, as created in the image and likeness of God? Do I respect my husband or spouse as the person God created him to be? It’s always easy to be kind to someone who is kind to us, but what about those other times when the other person's temper flares or he/she is irritable? 

Only the reader can truthfully answer these questions. Naturally, they apply to all the books we read and the movies we watch. I don’t want to pick on this particular book because the questions remain the same with any Romance Novel or modern novel, especially those in which men and women treat each other as objects to be used and the author’s intent is to sexually arouse the reader. Yes, compared to what is out there in the world today, this book appears quite tame, but there are quite a few steamy passages that lead the reader’s imagination? Am I a better person for having read this book? Have I grown in my faith? Was this the best use of my time? Only your conscience can answer these questions.

Friday, February 15, 2013

What to Give Up for Lent

What to give up for lent?

What to Give Up. . .
Give up complaining——focus on gratitude.
Give up pessimism——become an optimist.
Give up harsh judgments——think kindly thoughts.
Give up worry——trust Divine Providence.
Give up discouragement——be full of hope.
Give up bitterness——turn to forgiveness.
Give up hatred——return good for evil.
Give up negativism——be positive.
Give up anger——be more patient.
Give up pettiness——become mature.
Give up gloom——enjoy the beauty that is all around you.
Give up jealousy——pray for trust.
Give up gossiping——control your tongue.
Give up sin——turn to virtue.
Give up giving up——hang in there!

Thanks to a friend for sharing. Found on ewtn

Friday, February 8, 2013

Prolife Billboard Across from Abortion Clinic

                                          It's here!

Thanks to the generous donations of many kind people the prolife billboard campaign kitty-corner from the abortion clinic is up!

Prolife Across America is so thrilled with your kind, generous response that they have rented the billboard for a second month!

Thanks for spreading the prolife message.

You can read about it in previous posts.

Promote a Culture of Life in the Year of Faith

Save a Life with a Prolife Billboard

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Will the Boy Scouts Give In?

                                          Image Found on Catholic Exchange

 Say it isn’t so! Not the Boy Scouts. I couldn’t believe it. I didn’t want to believe it. I opened my e-mail and found an urgent request from the Family Research Council to call the Boy Scouts. The Boy Scouts were “considering” revising their policy of allowing active homosexuals to participate as scouts and leaders.

A statement released from the national leadership of the Boy Scouts stated they were “discussing potentially removing the national membership restriction regarding sexual orientation.”  They were going to defer membership requirements to local groups.

What are the contributing factors to the Boy Scouts considering caving into the demands of homosexual activists and media pressure? Certainly media hype surrounding two cases last year were major contributors. One story concerned Ryan Andresen, who was denied his Eagle Scout badge because he considers himself homosexual.

In another incident, den leader Jennifer Tyrrell was asked to leave because she is a lesbian.
Both Ryan’s mom and Jennifer Tyrrell generated petitions with large numbers of signatures to change the policy. Never mind that in both instances, they were fully aware of the Boy Scouts policy, but wielded pressure on the organization to change its policy for them. And never mind that the media pushing the homosexual agenda totally omitted the fact that Andresen did not want to take the scout Oath because he did not agree to Duty to God. “This scout proactively notified his unit leadership and Eagle Scout counselor that he does not agree to scouting’s principle of ‘Duty to God’ and does not meet scouting’s membership standard on sexual orientation,” Deron Smith, a spokesman for the organization said in a statement. “Agreeing to do one’s ‘Duty to God’ is a part of the scout Oath and Law and a requirement of achieving the Eagle Scout rank” (My underlining).

In addition to distorting the facts about the Andresen case, the mainstream media is also disregarding a story about two prominent national board members, Ernst & Young CEO James Turley and AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson, who are actively seeking to change the Boy Scouts long standing policy.
Oddly enough, at the same time last year that members and leaders were petitioning for homosexuals to join the Boy Scouts, the Los Angeles Times released a disturbing story about sexual abuse within the Boy Scouts.,0,5822319.story

Of course, the liberal media was quick to point out that homosexuals are not pedophiles, while never answering the question of when does a boy become a man—when he hits puberty or hits 18 or 21. What is the magical age?

What really might be prompting the Boy Scouts to reconsider their policy is money. Last year with all the controversy swirling around the Boy Scouts not allowing homosexuals to participate, United Way as well as companies that offered corporate support in the past pulled their funding, financially hurting the Boy Scouts.

While some people might say, “What’s the big deal? Homosexuals are nice people”. The issue is not whether or not homosexuals are nice people.

The real issue is the consequences of this decision. Why do homosexuals want to join the Boy Scouts? No one is required to join the Boy Scouts. Why should they really care? Once the Boy Scouts cave in, then homosexual activists will push for the next step. If the Boy Scouts allow homosexuals to participate, are the Boy Scouts legitimizing homosexual behavior? If you legitimize a deviant behavior is the deviant behavior then acceptable? Is it then acceptable for Boy Scout leaders to discuss deviant behavior as the new normal? Are those who disagree with that behavior than considered not normal? Is it then acceptable to bully those who oppose homosexual activities? Homosexual activists already bash Christians. Just read the comments on the stories covering this topic. And if it is okay to discuss homosexual behavior as acceptable–just a lifestyle choice that young people should explore– is it then acceptable to engage in those activities?

Oh, how soon we forget. Not that long ago homosexuality was listed by the American Psychiatric Association and American Psychological Association as a mental illness. There were and in a few cases still are laws against sodomy. Why? It was a protection of society. People don’t want to admit what homosexuality is—a deviant behavior. People no longer understand natural law.  If the Boy Scouts allow homosexuals to join, they will be living a lie, because they will no longer be able to live their scout oath.

Scout Oath
On my honor I will do my best
To do my duty to God and my country
and to obey the Scout Law;
To help other people at all times;
To keep myself physically strong,
mentally awake, and morally straight.

Published at Catholic on Feb. 1, 2013 by Elizabeth Yank


Boy Scouts Postpone Decision About Homosexuals NCRegister, Feb. 7, 2013

Obama: Boy Scouts Should Expose Homosexuals to Opportunities  Feb. 4, 2013

AFA Action Alert
Decision Delayed! Urge AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson to resign his post with Boy Scouts
Use social media tools to make your voice heard!
February 6, 2013

The Boy Scouts of America have just announced it will not make any decision on its membership policy until its annual meeting in May. One of those leading the charge to change the policy to allow homosexuals as leaders is AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson.
It seems Stephenson's mission is to destroy the Boy Scouts of America from within. As an executive board member, he is using his corporate influence to bully the BSA into gay assimilation. Now...
It is time for Stephenson to resign from the BSA board.
AT&T has already cut funding to the BSA, a direct personal conflict of interest for Stephenson.
It's reasonable to expect members of the BSA board to lead in a way that exemplifies the very basic values that made the BSA successful. Stephenson has shown he doesn’t. It is time for Stephenson to resign from the BSA board.
The BSA doesn't need his leadership. The BSA doesn't need his company's money...especially with the strings he has attached to it.
At present, Stephenson is set to become the chairman of the BSA board in 2014. Unless he is out, you can expect he will push even harder to force the gay agenda.
It is time for Stephenson to resign from the BSA board.
1. Facebook users: Copy and post this message on the AT&T Facebook page at
ATT CEO Randall Stephenson should resign from the executive board of the Boy Scouts of America. He doesn't espouse their values, he should move on.
2. Twitter users: Copy and paste this message to your Twitter account:
@boyscouts @att ATT CEO Stephenson should resign from the BSA Board. He doesn't espouse BSA values. #boyscouts #att
3. Not a social media user? Sign our petition to AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson. We'll deliver the message for you!

AFA Action Alert
February 4, 2013

Last week, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) said the Boy Scouts of America changing its national policy of allowing open homosexuals into the group "is not good enough."
The fact is, Big Gay is never's never enough for them.
Even if the BSA changes the rule, HRC says it will continue an aggressive campaign to pressure corporations to drop financial support to the scouts because it allows individual scouting units to make their own rules regarding homosexual leaders and members.
Consider, in 1998, the Canadian Scouts (CS) opened its doors to homosexuals. Less than a decade later, the number of boys in scouting dropped by more than 50%. In addition, CS has been forced to sell scores of camps, close offices and lay off staff.
If the Boy Scouts of America changes its policy, it will lose on two fronts. Christian-chartered groups will drop out of scouting and the homosexual machine will continue to attack.
Before the Boy Scouts make their final decision, it is absolutely vital that they hear from you!
1. If you haven't already, sign the petition to the National Council. AFA will deliver the petition just prior to the executive committee meeting.
2. Contact Wayne Brock, Chief Boy Scouts Executive, at 972-580-2000 or by email at

HELP US! AFA is placing a half-page ad in USA Today today in support of the current policy. Will you help us cover the cost? Text the letters "AFA" to 20222, to give $10 toward the $55,420 for the cost of the ad. See the ad here.

Obama on CBS

From Family Research Council

  WFA in USA Today - Boy Scouts Delay Decision  
  The Boy Scouts of America (BSA) have recently been under pressure to change their policy regarding "homosexual scouts" and "homosexual leaders."

Spearheaded by our friends at Family Research Council, WFA took action and signed on (with 41 allies) to a full-page advertisement in USA Today this week that sent a strong message to the Boy Scouts of America.

>>>>>see the ad HERE

After overwhelming response from people across the nation, just like you, who urged the BSA to stand firm on their timeless values, the decision has been delayed until May of 2013.

>>>>>Read more HERE.


Boy Scouts of America: 972-580-2000.

NOTE: You may also contact your local Boy Scout Council office and ask to talk to the "Executive Director" or "Scouting Executive."