Thursday, June 27, 2013

{pretty, happy, funny, real} Books Edition


"It was born then, this idea that I must have books, not only for our children but for Abigail and myself. We must not lose touch with that we were, with what we had been, nor must we allow the well of our history to dry up, for a child without tradition is a child crippled before the world. Tradition can also be an anchor of stability and a shield to guard one from irresponsibility and hasty decisions."
From To The Far Blue Mountains by Louis L'Amour


 "What books then? They must be few, for the luggage of books is no easy thing when they must be carried in canoes, packs, and upon one's back.Each book must be one worth rereading many times..."
From To The Far Blue Mountains by Louis L'Amour


When I told the kids I was trying to think of a "funny picture about books" for my blog post, they thought this was perfect. It is from the kids version of The Last of the Mohicans.


Is it possible to have too many books? 
We don't have the problems that Barnabas Sackett had. 
So far I haven't had to load our books onto a canoe or carry them on my back. 
But there is a part of me that envies the economy of his proposed book collection. 
Great books.
To be read again and again. 

Just to be clear, the above is from inside my own head, not from a Louis L'Amour book.


We are currently reading this as a family at bedtime. The quotes on this page come from a point in the book when Barnabas Sackett is contemplating his move to the new world, where he hopes to make a life for himself and start a family with his betrothed, Abigail. 

"...each a book that has much to say, that can lend meaning to a life, help in decisions, comfort one during moments of loneliness. One needed a chance to listen to the words of other men who had lived their lives, to share with them trials an troubles by day and by night in home or in the markets of cities."
From To The Far Blue Mountains by Louis L'Amour

round button chicken

Click on over and enjoy the other {phfr} posts!

Monday, June 24, 2013

The Tooth Fairy is...the tooth fairy!

Just in case you haven't had the joy of meeting Lola and Lotta, Charlie and Marv:

UPDATE: I meant to save this post and write more later. But I accidentally posted it this morning. So, here is why: 
We just loved Charlie and Lola back in 2005/6 before we moved to England. We watched it there too. It was one of those kids shows that I never minded having on...I get such a kick out of Lola! And Charlie is the best big brother! 
But it has been years since we have watched it. Then, the past week or so has been a big tooth-losing time for us. Three teeth from two kids in one week!
And this show came to mind...especially my all time favorite Lotta line as she explains to her best friend Lola who the Tooth Fairy is: 
"The tooth fairy is....the tooth fairy."
only it sounds a little more like
Da Tooth Fairy is...da tooth fairy. 
Now we are enjoying short episodes as we do hair in the morning. We can usually get at least one in before we leave the house. 

I hope you enjoy Charlie and Lola as much as I do my kids do. :)

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

The Age of Need

This week a little girl at our parish received her First Holy Communion. Next to me sat my little seven year old girl who will wait another year to receive. Because that is the rule. She must go through the process. She must be in second grade. She must have her two years in the system. Instead of focusing on the sweet girl across the aisle and her special day, I found myself brooding over what we (the bureaucratic arm of the Catholic Church) have done with Sacramental preparation. We have taken the basic requirements for eligibility and made them burdensome to the young and innocent. 

So what is actually required for reception of the Sacraments of Confession and Communion? There is a developmental component and there is a catechetical component. 

First, the developmental piece of Sacramental preparation. 

The Age of Reason is the term used to describe the determining age for First Holy Communion and First Confession. Most people see it as a term of "readiness"; although this is true, it is not its primary meaning. It is actually a term of "neediness".  

According to the Catholic Encyclopedia Age of Reason is the "period of human life at which persons are deemed to begin to be morally responsible."

In other words, it marks the point at which the child is capable of sin. 

Of course, anyone who has entered into a battle of wills with a two or three year old can attest to that child's ability to "make wrong choices", to "break rules" or to wreak havoc in any number of willful ways. But we also know that they are often just responding to a desire or felt need. 

Case in point: 

(sorry for the ads…can't help it)

This very cute kid is capable of much mischief, but he isn't sinning….yet. 

Many of us also know five year olds who can plot and plan a similar heist that they know full well is wrong. Knowing it is wrong, and choosing to do it anyway, is the definition of sin. In other words, the five year old has reached the Age of Reason.  

When a kid has reached the Age of Reason we are NOT saying that he is WORTHY of the sacrament. Or READY for the sacrament. 

What we ARE saying is that he is morally responsible for his sinful actions, and thus in NEED of the remedy, the Sacraments. 

There is nothing magic about turning  seven that makes a child "morally responsible". That development happens gradually and at different times for different kids. You can't MAKE it happen anymore than you can MAKE a baby able to roll over on day 150, or a toddler able to speak on his first birthday. Most parents see that they provide the nurturing environment and the child will do these things when they are ready. 

This is also true about reaching the Age of Reason, yet we treat kids as if their moral culpability can wait. We don't leave the 4 month old laying on the couch because "He won't reach Rolling Over Age until 5 months." And we don't ignore the words of the 11 month old because he hasn't been enrolled in the Talking Class yet. 

However, we leave the already sinning child to develop habits of sin without the remedy to fight the sin problem. We allow them to feel shame, hide that shame, and learn not to bring it to Confession right away. We leave them without the means to fight their blossoming sin problem. 

It seems to me that the developmental character of the milestone we call "Age of Reason" calls for an individualized approach to the reception of the sacraments. In my opinion, the default preparation for First Sacraments should begin with the parent presenting their child to the parish priest when that child reaches the Age of Reason. 

"But, most parents won't/can't/don't know how to/don't have time/don't care/etc.?"

"Present them to the priest? And THEN what?"

I hope to answer those questions soon. 

What do you think about the Age of Need? Do you know a kid who needed Confession long before he was allowed to go?

Sunday, June 9, 2013

My Weekend Surfing Too

A great commencement speech. He touches on a pet peeve of mine--the tendency to imply that in order to be successful young people (or old ones like me) must got out and "change the world". Read it and let me know what YOU think. 

Do you remember Mutual of Omaha's Wild Kingdom? I remember Sunday nights and having to get our pajama's on and our teeth brushed before we could watch this show. I remember joking about his side kick doing all the hard work. The kids are enjoying the occasional episode on Youtube these days.

Monday, June 3, 2013

My Weekend Surfing

I thought I would share my favorite weekend links:

A great explanation of why this parish has decided to discontinue it's connection to the boy scouts. I found the priest's explanation of what the BSA is actually saying to boys who profess same sex attraction very insightful and helpful. I also thought he made a great case for how best to take care of these boys at the parish level.

If you know any young woman trying to choose modest beach attire, or perhaps someone you wish would try a little harder, this article was well done.  (Hat Tip Like Mother, Like Daughter)

And these two articles, here and here, on seasonal education. It is a great time of year to embrace the season at hand!


Happy Feast of the Ugandan Martyrs--a great story of the power of Catechists!