O Most Holy Family, Jesus, Mary and Joseph

O Most Holy Family, Jesus, Mary and Joseph
In you we place all our faith and all our trust.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Sixty Seconds on Tuesday

I am joining Jenny this week at Just a Minute.  She has a meme called Sixty Seconds on Tuesday which you can read more about here.  Join her on Tuesdays to preserve a precious moment in word or photo.

Conversation between my two sons, ages 13 and 10, when watching the Ben-Hur DVD:
When about to watch a romance scene with Judah and Esther, older son got ready to change the scene from scene selection. 
  • 10 year-old asked:  Why did you go to Menu?
  • 13 year-old replied:  Because we can’t watch that scene.
  • 10 year-old asked:  Why, torture?
  • 13 year-old replied dryly:  No, romance. 

Monday, May 24, 2010

My Favorite Sunday Snippets # 1

Here is a list of Sunday Snippet gems I've enjoyed this week.  I'd like to keep the links so I can look back on these posts and share them with my husband, kids and friends.  A big thanks to all you great Catholic bloggers for your beautiful thoughts and insights!

From Colleen:    Praying the Psalms - Psalm 19 
From Evan:     Jessica's Daily Affirmation Video Clip  
From Sandy Marshall:     On Learning To Be a Catholic  

Fun & Wholesome Teen Formal, May 2010

+ JMJ +


Here is my darling daughter, Honey, all dressed up for our homeschool co-op's annual Highschool Teen Formal last Saturday, May 22nd.  This year, the theme was "Enchanted Evening."  She really enjoyed the dinner (from Outback Steakhouse), the *Fairy Tale* games, the modest, formal attire, and the camaraderie!

Here's a picture of the cake.  Thanks to all the parents, who made this event a memorable one for our teens!

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Sunday Snippets - A Catholic Carnival # 1


Happy Pentecost!

Sunday Snippets is a blog hop hosted by RAnn at This, That, and The Other Thing.  Every week, Catholic bloggers and readers gather to share their favorite posts.  Join us at RAnn’s blog to share a blog post or two from last week

Here are my contributions for this week:

A Few Picture Quotes on Prayer 

Animals Bonding Reflect God's Love



Friday, May 21, 2010

Animals Bonding Reflect God's Love


I have seen how effective attachment parenting is with kids.  When I came upon these amazing pictures, I was moved to see the incredible bond animals have with each other as well.  Truly, our God is an awesome God.

Jean-Pierre de Caussade (1675-1751), Jesuit Priest and Spiritual Director, said, "There is no peace more wonderful than the peace we enjoy when faith shows us God in all created things."

With the eyes of faith, we can see God's Love reflected in all things.

"The whole earth is a living icon of the face of God."
~  St. John of Damascus

Which picture did you like the most?  I just couldn't get over those adorable seals!!!  Would love to hear from you.  Please click on the Comments link below to leave a comment.  Thanks for your time!

Love,  Shelley

P.S.  All images are copyright-free from


Wednesday, May 19, 2010

7 Quick Takes # 1

+ JMJ +

I got this great writing idea for a quick blog post from Jennifer Fulwiler at Conversion Diary.

George Sipe at wrote:  "Some random thoughts or bits of information are worthy of sharing but don't warrant their own full post. This idea was started by Jennifer Fulwiler at Conversion Diary to address this blogging need."  She's inspired many people to write their own 7 Quick Takes.  I know it isn't Friday, but I'm excited to try it out, so here goes ....

1.  Blogging has taken over our family!  I wish I had learned to do it earlier.  Being a bit of a techno-phobe, I shied away from the concept till my daughter finally decided to try it out last week.  She proved to me how easy it was.  Well, almost -- it's taking us a while to learn the tricks of the trade, but boy, is it worth it!  My older two have been busy filling up their blogs.  SLED called it a "piece of heaven on the computer."  =)  What a great way to improve their writing skills!  Oh, the wonders of technology.

2.  I can't wait till the end of the schoolyear.  Things have been great at home, but I made the mistake of overextending myself by teaching 2 Art History classes at our co-op this year.  I also lead a highschool Socratic Discussion Group with some families from our local homeschool support group.  Teaching all 3 classes has been rewarding, but it's been more than I can chew, and I am feeling burnt out.  Much as I love to teach Art History, next year I am taking a break from it.

3.  I really want to have a relaxing summer with NO EXTRACURRICULARS to keep us running from activity to activity.  But it seems impossible to do here in this area.  There are just too many wonderful offerings to ignore -- a 1-week Latin summer camp for middle schoolers, a summer public speaking course for middle school and high school, cooking lessons for my youngest, cello lessons, swim team, Suzuki Institute, WorkCamp ....  Help!  How can I say no??!!!  Things were so much easier when my husband was laid off last January and unemployed till April.  (I never thought I'd say that!)  We were forced to quit our extracurriculars, and it was truly a blessing in disguise!  Slowing down never felt so good.  We were able to stop and smell the roses (despite the lack of funds).  How to maintain that slower pace now that my husband is employed again?

4.  My older kids have really been enjoying their Fencing class, mainly because they have a very good  teacher.  It has become their favorite sport since we began it in 2008.  The problem is, many of the kids in the class (mostly from public school, ages 12-18) often curse or say inappropriate things while doing warm-up exercises or ultimate frisbee.  How to handle this without quitting the class?  The teacher is one of the best in this area.  And yet, what we say reflects who we are ....

5.  A new neighbor is moving in 2 houses down from us.  We'd been praying for a good conservative Catholic or Christian homeschooling family, but it turns out this man is a single father whose child shuttles back and forth between his parents.  The house next to us is for sale, so we are still keeping up our prayers for a good homeschooling family. 

6.  I've been wanting to get Glazunov's "Concerto Waltz No. 1" on iTunes since I first heard it on the radio last Saturday.  It was such a beautiful piece of music!

7.  Tomorrow is our last day of class at co-op!  Woo-hoo!

Thanks, Jennifer!

Check out more Quick Takes.

Picture Books We've Recently Enjoyed

+ JMJ +

Close to You: How Animals BondClose to You: How Animals Bond by Kimiko Kajikawa         

Don't Worry Bear

Don't Worry Bear by Greg Foley


Anatole by Eve Titus

New Socks

New Socks by Bob Shea

Henry Hikes to Fitchburg

Henry Hikes to Fitchburg by D.B. Johnson

Quotes for Encouragement and Motivation

+ JMJ +

“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, therefore, is not an act but a habit.”-- Aristotle

"Problems are not stop signs, they are guidelines.” -- Dr. Robert H. Schuller

“Do the thing you fear the most and the death of fear is certain.”-- Mark Twain

“You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You must do the thing which you think you cannot do.”-- Eleanor Roosevelt

“The important work of moving the world forward does not wait to be done by perfect men.” -- George Eliot

“Defeat is simply a signal to press onward.”-- Helen Keller

“The person interested in success has to learn to view failure as a healthy, inevitable part of the process of getting to the top.”-- Dr. Joyce Brothers

“Nothing is a waste of time if you use the experience wisely.” – Auguste Rodin

“Adversity is like a strong wind. It tears away from us all but the things that cannot be torn, so that we see ourselves as we really are.”-- Arthur Golden

"It is no sin to attempt and fail. The only sin is to not make the attempt." -- Suellen Fried

"If we wait for the moment when everything, absolutely everything is ready, we shall never begin.” – Ivan Turgenev

"If you hear a voice within you saying, "You are not a painter," then by all means paint...and that voice will be silenced." --Vincent Van Gogh

“When it is obvious that the goals cannot be reached, don’t adjust the goals, adjust the action steps.”-- Confucius

"Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work.”-- Thomas Edison

"Be the change you want to see in the world."-- Mahatma Gandhi

"Your future depends on many things, but mostly on you."-- Frank Tyger

“Every achiever that I have ever met says, "My life turned around when I began to believe in me." -- Dr. Robert H. Schuller

“We have to learn to be our own best friends because we fall too easily into the trap of being our own worst enemies.” -- Roderick Thorp

Sunday, May 16, 2010

A Few Picture Quotes on Prayer

+ JMJ +

Inspirational Quotes for Home Educators

+ JMJ +


"Thought flows in terms of stories -- stories about events, stories about people, and stories about intentions and achievements. The best teachers are the best storytellers. We learn in the form of stories." -- Frank Smith

The beginning is the most important part of the work." -- Plato

"Whatever you want to teach, be brief." -- Horace

"By viewing the old we learn the new." -- Chinese Proverb

"I hear, and I forget. I see, and I remember. I do, and I understand." -- Chinese Proverb

"Kind words can be short and easy to speak, but their echoes are endless." -- Mother Teresa

"Treat people as if they were what they ought to be and you help them become what they are capable of becoming." -- Goethe

"Once children learn how to learn, nothing is going to narrow their mind. The essence of teaching is to make learning contagious, to have one idea spark another." -- Marva Collins

"A teacher who is attempting to teach without inspiring the pupil with a desire to learn is hammering on cold iron." -- Horace Mann

"They may forget what you said but they will never forget how you made them feel." - Carol Buchner
"Watch your thoughts, they become words. Watch your words, they become your actions. Watch your actions, they become habits. Watch your habits, they become character. Watch your character, it becomes your destiny." -- Frank Outlaw

"Good teaching is more a giving of right questions than a giving of right answers." --Josef Albers

"If you want to live more, you must master the art of appreciating the little everyday blessings of life. This is not altogether a golden world, but there are countless gleams of gold to be discovered in it." --Henry Alfred Porter
"Every truth has four corners: as a teacher I give you one corner, and it is for you to find the other three." --Confucius

"Life is no brief candle for me. It is a sort of splendid torch which I have got hold of for the moment, and I want to make it burn as brightly as possible before handing it on to future generations." -- George Bernard Shaw

"No matter how he may think himself accomplished, when he sets out to learn a new language, science or the bicycle, he has entered a new realm as truly as if he were a child newly born into the world." -- Frances Willard

"We should not teach children the sciences but give them a taste for them." -- Jean Jacques Rousseau

"Good teachers are costly, but bad teachers cost more." --Bob Talbert

"The important thing is not so much that every child should be taught, as that every child should be given the wish to learn." -- John Lubbock
"Much education today is monumentally ineffective. All too often we are giving young people cut flowers when we should be teaching them to grow their own plants." -- John Gardner
"A very wise old teacher once said: "I consider a day's teaching wasted if we do not all have one hearty laugh." He meant that when people laugh together, they cease to be young and old, master and pupils, jailer and prisoners. They become a single group of human beings enjoying its existence." -- Gilbert Highet

"It is not what is poured into a student that counts but what is planted." - Linda Conway
"The greatest sign of a success for a to be able to say, "The children are now working as if I did not exist." -- Maria Montessori

"There is, in every child, a painstaking teacher so skillful that he obtains identical results in all children in all parts of the world. The only language men ever speak perfectly is the one they learn in babyhood, when no one teaches them anything." -- Maria Montessori

"We learn by example and by direct experience because there are real limits to the adequacy of verbal instruction." -- Malcom Gladwell

"You must train the children to their studies in a playful manner and without any air of constraint with the further object of discerning more readily the natural bent of their respective characters." -- Plato

"Worry a little bit every day and in a lifetime you will lose a couple of years. If something is wrong, fix it if you can. But train yourself not to worry. Worry never fixes anything." -- Mary Hemingway
"As you begin changing your thinking, start immediately to change your behavior. Begin to act the part of the person you would like to become. Take action on your behavior. Too many people want to feel, then take action. This never works." -- John C. Maxwell

"Education is not the filling of a pail but the lighting of a fire." --William Butler Yeats

"If a child is to keep alive his inborn sense of wonder, he needs the companionship of at least one adult who can share it, rediscovering with him the joy, the excitement, and the mystery of the world we live in." --Rachel Carlson

"There are two kinds of people; those who do the work and those who take the credit. Try to be in the first group; there is less competition there." -- Indira Gandhi

"Every time you wake up and ask yourself, "What good things am I going to do today?," remember that when the sun goes down at sunset, it takes a part of your life with it." --Indian proverb

"It is the supreme art of the teacher to awaken joy in creative expression and knowledge." -- Albert Einstein
"Do not think that love, in order to be genuine, has to be extraordinary. What we need is to love without getting tired." -- Mother Teresa

"To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment." -- Ralph Waldo Emerson

We cannot hold a torch to light another's path without brightening our own." -- Ben Sweetland

"A hundred years from now, it will not matter what kind of car I drove, what kind of house I lived in, how much money I had in the bank...but the world may be a better place because I made a difference in the life of a child." -- Forest Witchcraft

Maria Montessori Quotes for Parents

+ JMJ +

“Children are human beings to whom respect is due, superior to us by reason of their innocence and of the greater possibilities of their future.”

“The greatness of the human personality begins at the hour of birth.”
 Cute Newborn Baby Photo

 “It is in the encounter of the maternal guiding instincts with the sensitive periods of the newly born that conscious love develops between parent and child.”
“Little children, from the moment they are weaned, are making their way toward independence.”

“Watching a child makes it obvious that the development of his mind comes through his movements.”

“Imitation is the first instinct of the awakening mind.”
"A child is an eager observer and is particularly attracted by the actions of the adults and wants to imitate them. In this regard, an adult can have a kind of mission. He can be an inspiration for the child's actions, a kind of open book, wherein a child can learn how to direct his own movements."   

 “... an adult if he is to provide proper guidance, must always be calm and act slowly so that the child who is watching him can clearly see his actions in all their particulars.”


If we could say, "We are respectful and courteous in our dealing with children, we treat them as we should like to be treated ourselves," we should have mastered a great educational principle and be setting an example of good education.

It is well to cultivate a friendly feeling towards error, to treat it as a companion inseparable from our lives, as something having a purpose, which it truly has.


 “To assist a child, we must provide him with an environment which will enable him to develop freely.”

NPM 1st pics 014
"The first aim of the prepared environment is, as far as it is possible, to render the growing child independent of the adult."

“Plainly, the environment must be a living one, directed by a higher intelligence, arranged by an adult who is prepared for his mission.”

“The child should live in an environment of beauty.”
"It is almost possible to say that there is a mathematical relationship between the beauty of his surroundings and the activity of the child; he will make discoveries rather more voluntarily in a gracious setting than in an ugly one."

“The land is where our roots are. The children must be taught to feel and live in harmony with the Earth.”

 “The child’s progress does not depend only on his age, but also on being free to look around him.” 

“The environment must be rich in motives which lend interest to activity and invite the child to conduct his own experiences.” 

“Free choice is one of the highest of all the mental processes.”
“Education is a natural process carried out by the child and is not acquired by listening to words but by experiences in the environment.”
Looking at Bugs   [Source]

“The essential thing is to arouse such an interest that it engages the child’s whole personality.”
“The first essential for the child’s development is concentration. The child who concentrates is immensely happy.” 

The more the capacity to concentrate is developed, the more often the profound tranquility in work is achieved, then the clearer will be the manifestation of discipline within the child.


"As soon as children find something that interests them they lose their instability and learn to concentrate."

"Aesthetic and moral education are also closely connected with the training of the senses. By multiplying sense experiences an developing the ability to evaluate the smallest differences in various stimuli, ones sensibilities are refined and ones pleasures increased."

"The teacher's first duty is to watch over the environment, and this takes precedence over all the rest. Its influence is indirect ...."

"The teacher's task is not to talk, but to prepare and arrange a series of motives for cultural activity in a special environment made for the child."
“When dealing with children, there is greater need for observing than of probing.”

Montessori Guide
 “The environment itself will teach the child, if every error he makes is manifest to him, without the intervention of a parent or teacher, who should remain a quiet observer of all that happens.”

In the Montessori environment, the materials are designed to be self-correcting, for the purpose of fostering self confidence and the love of learning. All Montessori Math materials build sequentially on previous learning, introduce concrete learning before abstract learning, are self-correcting, and isolate the difficulty being learned.  [Source]

Writing is a key to a double gain. It enables the hand to master a vital skill like that of speaking and to create a second means of communication that reflects the spoken word in all its details. Writing is thus dependent upon mind and hand.

"It is self-evident that the possession of and contact with real things brings, above all, a real quantity of knowledge."

"There is no description, no image in any book that is capable of replacing the sight of real trees, and all of the life to be found around them in a real forest."

"When the child goes out, it is the world itself that offers itself to him. Let us take the child out to show him real things instead of making objects, which represent ideas, and closing them up in cupboards."

"How often is the soul of man - especially in childhood - deprived because he is not allowed to come in contact with nature."

“The child can develop fully by means of experience in his environment. We call such experiences ‘work’.”

 “Such experience is not just play…. It is work he must do in order to grow up.”

 “We found individual activity is the one factor that stimulates and produces development.”

“The hands are the instruments of man’s intelligence.”

“The human hand allows the mind to reveal itself.”
 “Never help a child with a task at which he feels he can succeed.”

"We habitually serve children; and this is not only an act of servility toward them, but it is dangerous, since it tends to suffocate their useful spontaneous activity."

“He who is served is limited in his independence.”


 “The essence of independence is to be able to do something for one’s self.”



Preparation of the Chalice:  A Child working in the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd Atrium 

“These words reveal the child’s inner needs; ‘Help me to do it alone’.”

“The child becomes a person through work.”

“The child builds his inmost self out of the deeply held impressions he receives.”

 “Growth is not merely a harmonious increase in size, but a transformation.”

“The things he sees are not just remembered; they form a part of his soul.”

“It is the child who makes the man, and no man exists who was not made by the child he once was.”

“Character formation cannot be taught. It comes from experience and not from explanation.”

Catching Raindrops

“Only through freedom and environmental experience is it practically possible for human development to occur.”

 “Since it is through movement that the will realizes itself, we should assist a child in his attempts to put his will into action.”

“Respect all the reasonable forms of activity in which the child engages and try to understand them.”

"No one can be free unless he is independent: therefore, the first, active manifestations of the child's individual liberty must be so guided that through this activity he may arrive at independence.

"We must support as much as possible the child's desires for activity; not wait on him, but educate him to be independent."

“The activity of the child has always been looked upon as an expression of his vitality.  But his activity is really the work he performs in building up the man he is to become. It is the incarnation of the human spirit.”

"The word 'education' must not be understood in the sense of teaching but of assisting the psychological development of the child."

"The role of education is to interest the child profoundly in an external activity to which he will give all of his potential."

"Our aim is not only to make the child understand, and still less to force him to memorize, but so to touch his imagination as to enthuse him to his innermost core."

"We seek to sow life in the child rather than theories, to help him in his growth, mental and emotional as well as physical, and for that we must offer grand and lofty ideas to the human mind." 

 “To aid life, leaving it free, however, to unfold itself, that is the basic task of the educator.”

 “The child, in fact, once he feels sure of himself, will no longer seek the approval of authority after every step.”
Lucie Berard by Renoir, 1883   [Source

“It is true that we cannot make a genius.  We can only give to teach a child the chance to fulfill his potential possibilities.”

“Growth comes from activity, not from intellectual understanding.”

“Education should no longer be mostly imparting knowledge, but must take a new path, seeking the release of human potentials.”

“The prize and punishments are incentives toward unnatural or forced effort, and, therefore we certainly cannot speak of the natural development of the child in connection with them.”

Children awarded for their poetry.   [Source

“To give a child liberty is not to abandon him to himself.”

 “To let the child do as he likes when he has not yet developed any powers of control is to betray the idea of freedom.”

“The child is an enigma… He has the highest potentialities, but we do not know what he will be.”


 “No adult can bear a child’s burden or grow up in his stead.”


“The child’s parents are not his makers but his guardians.”

“All our handling of the child will bear fruit, not only at the moment, but in the adult they are destined to become.”


  "Of all things, love is the most potent.”

“The study of love and its utilization will lead us to the source from which it springs, The Child.”

“The unknown energy that can help humanity is that which lies hidden in the child.”

"Within the child lies the fate of the future."

“The child is both a hope and a promise for mankind.”


“We must therefore turn to the child as to the key to ... our future life.”

cute babies


Dr. Maria Montessori
(August 31, 1870 – May 6, 1952)


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