Saturday, August 20, 2011

More $$$ for Government: My Brilliant Idea

I have an idea that will bring BILLIONS into the federal government. To pay down debt, to fund entitlements...whatever.

But  BILLIONS, I tell you.

And we can get it from BIG OIL!!

That's right...those BIG BAD BIG OIL GUYS!!

So, ready for my idea?

Here it is....

Wait for it.....


Brilliant, huh?

Friday, August 19, 2011

Hope, and When to Change: Commonplace Book entry #3

Title: The Student Whisperer: Inspiring Genius
Author: Oliver DeMille and Tiffany Earl

This book begins as a sort of intellectual biography of Tiffany Earl. She shares excerpts from her own commonplace book throughout her education. I am reacting/responding/pondering her thoughts on what she was learning and reading.  

On page 110 Tiffany is asking herself "What makes a strong civilization crumble?" She is reflecting on the words of Demosthenes to the Athenians. I don't know anything about this story or the all. So I won't pretend to.

However, she then reflects on some words spoken by Patrick I have something in my head to hang this quote onto...colonial times, revolution, founding fathers etc. The quote she copies into her book begins with this

Mr President, it is natural to man to indulge in the illusions of hope.
Hope. HOPE! Now who comes to mind when you read that word these days. Three years ago we elected a president who campaigned on Hope and Change, and really not much else. What else did he have to offer in his favor? Soaring rhetoric. In interesting story, what little we knew of it.

Ultimately, he was elected on hope...the hope that he would make life easier for those who felt put upon by the system; hope that hate and division would somehow disappear. "Illusions of hope" indeed.

What of that hope now?

Patrick Henry goes on to say (italics are my comments):

We are apt to shut our eyes against a painful truth, and listen to the song of that siren till she transform us into beasts. (a literary reference that only tickles a distant part of my brain....thus a need to be more well-read!) Is this the point of wise men, engaged in a great and arduous struggle for liberty?
Do we shut our eyes to the reality of what is happening to our country right now? Do we tell ourselves this is just the ebb and flow of politics---one party rules, then the other--? Worse yet, do we despair of ever turning it around and just prepare the bunkers for the coming downfall, clinging to our conviction that we are Catholics first anyway, and this American thing is just secondary. Afterall, Rome fell and the Church remained standing.

It is certainly tempting to dismiss the discussions of budgets, and elections, and debt as just politics. So what if the president has trampled on the rule of law, so what if this administration seems to ignore the constitution. They dismiss us as irrelevant, hobbits, or even terrorists...and therefore dismiss our opinions. Never mind, they are all just politicians anyway....all the same.

In vain, after these things, may we indulge the fond hope of peace and reconciliation. There is no longer any room for hope. If we wish to be free---if we mean to preserve inviolate those inestimable privileges for which we have been so long contending -- if we mean not basely to abandon the noble struggle in which we have been so long engaged, and which we have pledged ourselves never to abandon until the glorious object of our contest shall be obtained---we must fight! 
But how can we overcome the political machine that brought this virtually unknown man to the most powerful position in the world? In spite of all of his failures he still has a loyal following, he has the press sitting at his feet...and we have a bunch of candidates who are going to get "Palinated" by the press if they come close to him.

Patrick Henry continues:

They tell us, sir, that we are weak: unable to cope with so formidable an adversary. But when shall we be stronger? Will it be the next week, or the next year?....Shall we gather strength by irresolution and inaction? Shall we acquire the means of effectual resistance by lying supinely on our backs and hugging the delusive phantom of hope, until our enemies shall have about us hand and foot?   
In my mind, the moment is now. Rather than inaction...action. Rather than resolved. I am resolved to act. But what does a homeschooling mom of three do?

I can continue to inform myself, prepare for the coming election, join with others to support a good candidate (though I don't pretend to know who that is right now).

Henry says "we must fight". I can only fight the battles here in front of me. I think one of the battles in front of me is my own education. It would be nice to know and understand the situation of Dimosthenes and the Athenians. I should also better understand the founding fathers, the battles they fought (intellectual, moral, military).

I think we moderns forget the importance and power of ideas. Politics is about ideas...whose ideas are going to win the day?

We have to take it upon ourselves to learn. To learn about the past. To ask the questions...What makes a strong civilization crumble?...and look for the answers.

And then, of course, to help our kids do the same thing.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Hello Mary Lou...Good Bye Heart

On Saturday, August 6, 2011 my brother Matt married his Mary Lou. We couldn't be happier to welcome her to the family!
What else do you do when you are wearing pretty flower girl dresses?
The wedding took place at St Lawrence Church in Redondo Beach. There were six flower girls, and a slew of bridesmaid's and groomsmen. Matt's best man was our brother Mike. Mary Lou's maid of honor was her sister Annie.

As you can tell, this photographer was more focused on the flower girls
than those nicely dressed adults behind them. 
In addition to a new Aunt the kids are excited about their new cousin Jimmy
who joins the crowd in yet another one of those
 "get the kids together for a picture" pictures. 

The reception took place in San Pedro where we dined on a great meal (seriously...great wedding food!) and danced till the stars came out.

Their first dance. 
Matt dancing with mom. 

Mary Lou dancing with her  son. 
Then, the band began to play. Matt's band is called "The Daily Routine" and they played many of their originals along with some specially chosen songs, just for this occasion.

Matt sang "Hello Mary Lou, Goodbye heart" to his bride. 

Everyone danced....
My niece and her dad.
Me and my D...that boy can spin a girl!!
Strictly Ballroom. 
...and had lots of fun...
Flower Girls watching.
Flower girls checking out a beetle named Shiny.
Apparently, Shiny was found in someone's beer and rescued by a curious flower girl.    
We left with sleepy happy kids and the party went on even later.
It was a happy day all around!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Wedding story #1: Cutting in

This past weekend was spent celebrating a fabulous family event: the marriage of my brother Matt to his lovely bride Mary Lou. 
There was much dancing at the wedding. In fact, that is Matt's band you hear playing in the video. 

And this is where 7yo D had a first in his life. He was chased by a younger woman!
There he was, dancing with his sister....such a gentleman...and this cute little polka dot girl (daughter of a bridesmaid) decides she wants to dance with the "handsome prince boy".
 D had not met her, to my knowledge, but she must have had her eye on him!
M was rescued by her Papa, just like Mr. Knightly rescued Miss Smith in Emma!

For the record, I had to cut in on them to get my son back!!!

Monday, August 1, 2011

Just saying...

NOTE: The pictures have nothing to do with the text. They are just there to look pretty. 

So, I was thinking. If the Tea Party is holding the economy, their congressmen, and the country hostage, what are they using for weapons?

Their votes?

....and a mighty weapon it is ... when held in the hands of an informed citizen. I can see why Washington is frightened!

The kids hiking Mount Diablo. The pose was D's idea. 

Since this is my "commonplace" book for the time being, here is another quote from my Louis L'Amour book (which I finally finished! and by the way, the author notes at the end were almost as fascinating as the book itself!)

The main character, Kerbouchard, is reflecting on his friendship with a woman who was very influential in parts of the society of Cordoba:

We had met as equals, rarely a good thing in such matters, for the woman who wishes to be the equal of a man usually turns out to be less than a man and less than a woman. A woman is herself, which is something altogether different than a man. 
For the record, when Kerbouchard uses the word "equal" he isn't referring to being equal in dignity, or equal in intelligence...this sort of equality he took for granted. He was referring to "sameness" ...specifically having the same role.

I recalled this quote over the weekend when Jim and I got into a discussion of weak priests, and weak fathers/husbands who have neglected their role as leaders. We noted that often, at their side, were women content to take over that role. In the case of the father/husband that woman is usually his wife, sometimes his mother. In the case of a priest, that woman is the DRE, a major donor to the parish coffers, or even the parish secretary.

The whole discussion also brought back two stories that impacted my thinking while studying theology and catechesis at Stuebenville.

The first was the story my mentor, the head of the Catechetics department, told of her own experience as a parish DRE. She was convinced that the priest had to play a major role in the catechesis of the children or it wouldn't work. She was determined to have him intimately involved, so, rather than manipulate, or lecture, she invited....over and over again. She invited him to administer the sacraments, to speak to the children, to administer the sacraments, to say Mass, to administer the sacraments. Years later, he told her that she had helped him to live his priesthood more faithfully.

She didn't lead. She helped him to lead.

Another story was told to me by a friend about a couple he knew. She was her husband's superior in both intellect and education (did that sound sort of Jane Austen-y? I thought so...I am reading Jane now too!). However, the wife was convinced that her husband...and thus her marriage...could only be happy if he was the leader. So she found ways to help him lead, offering her expertise in a way that never left him feeling that she was "in charge". He led, she was his "helpmate", they benefited from her education and intellect, and they were happily married.

D can be found all over the world posing as Blessed Pier Giorgio. 

One final (I think) quote from The Walking Drum, by Louis L'Amour. It is in two parts so I can blabber on about my take on the thought: 

Up to a point a man's life is shaped by the environment, hereditary, and movements and changes in the world about him;
As a parent, this is the part that is mine. Now, I can't do much about the hereditary part anymore....I did my very best when I chose my husband...but the environment is clearly mine. And the the movements and changes in the world? Well, I determine how I respond to these things....which in turn effects how my children see the world about them. 

then there comes a time when it lies within his grasp to shape the clay of his life into the sort of thing he wishes to be. Only the weak blame parents, their race, their times, lack of good fortune. The wish, however, must be implemented by deeds. 

Then there comes the day when the parent must let go and let the child become the man or woman he or she chooses to be. Of course, my goal is that my children consult God in these choices, but ultimately it is up to them to do choose to follow God's law, to seek His Wisdom, to continue on the path of virtue. 

Now, for my part, I must impart a love of God, a love of learning, and a deep conviction that these two things are his (my child's) resonsibility. I can't do their praying for them, I must pray that they do it themselves. I can't teach them anything unless they choose to learn.