Sunday, November 02, 2014

Daybook for the First Week of November, 2014

Outside my window... it has cooled off significantly.  Rainy here and there in the past couple days, but beautifully sunny today, although still windy and chilly.  The kids have been enjoying the back yard this afternoon despite the cooler temp - the neighbor's cat, Tarsus, is out there visiting with them. Such a sweet cat - he even lets Lucy pick him up under the arms and try to lug him around.  

I am thinking... about the media's depiction of the Catholic Church and how that must influence public opinion.  I think there is so much that could be misunderstood about Catholicism - it really requires a very deep look to be fully understood (and even then, we have to take some things on faith because they surpass understanding).  The latest thing was how the media responded to Pope Francis's comments regarding evolution... we had the "progressive" people on the one hand declaring they were glad to see that Catholicism isn't so backwards and stuck in the dark ages and anti-science as they thought (and that the current pope is teaching things that go against what the previous popes said), and then we had the "fundamentalist" Christians on the other side saying isn't it awful that the Catholic Church no longer believes in a literal seven-day creation, some even going so far as to say that Catholics are removing God from creation (not true) and that this is further proof that we are followers of Satan and certainly aren't real Christians (they apparently have no background in history if they don't see that the Catholic Church was the first Christian religion).

Anyway... all of this confusion would be lessened if the media didn't jump on stories like this and act like it was something new.  There are those in the media who, whether intentionally or not, want to present our pope as breaking with long-held Catholic teachings.  They don't get that it doesn't work that way - the Catholic Church cannot just change doctrine.  If we believe it was divinely revealed to the Church through the Holy Spirit, then how could a pope just say, "Oh, we're not going to believe that any more."  The Catholic church has always been a friend to science, and it was a priest who came up with the Big Bang as a theory.  Pope Pius XII actually stated that theories of evolution can be compatible with Catholic beliefs way back in 1951.  So this is not some new thing, not a break with traditional Catholic beliefs.  We believe that faith informs science - they are not at odds with each other.  Ultimately, it is not important how we began other than we know it was because of God.

So... the Church is not changing, the Church doesn't hate science, the Church does not state that a literal seven-day creation story is the definitive way to explain how we got here.  The Church does believe that God made us.

It's the same story when it comes to the Church holding a synod on the family.  Certain media outlets were acting like the Church was about to change the definition of marriage.  Not going to happen.  And it isn't because the Church is backwards and stuck in the dark ages, either.  And it certainly isn't because of a hatred or intolerance.  It is out of a deep respect and love for humanity, and I certainly cannot do the topic justice myself - but the Catholic teachings on marriage, the family, and sexuality are beautiful.  Trust me if you don't think so and do some digging.  There is a reason why, when all other Christian denominations have okayed contraception, the Catholic church remains steadfast in her teachings against it.  All in beautiful love, and not always communicated clearly, unfortunately.  I know it took reading and searching on my own, and with my husband, to gain a deeper understanding of all the whys of Catholic teaching.    

I am wondering... if the things I have been saying/writing in the past week have made sense, ha.  I am losing words; I try to say something and can't find the right way to express it.  My brain is just sluggish lately.
I am praying... for all who have died.  November is the month dedicated to All Souls.  This morning, we walked through the woods behind our street to the cemetery that is at the other side of the hill we live on so that we could say a few prayers there for the deceased.  Visiting graves and praying in a cemetery, especially on this feast of All Souls Day, is an act of piety.

Our All Souls mantle display... all family members who have died are pictured here so that we can remember them during the month of November, especially when we pray as a family each evening.

I am thankful... for a special new blessing.

I am hearing... the wind.

Learning at home... we are planning a mix of things this week... a visit to the aquarium, a couple of art projects, a nature hike one day, along with some of our regular reading and such.  Last week, we had some nice outdoor time at Berry.  I would love to come back to this specific spot with a larger group of kids and some open-ended materials and tools like rakes, buckets, ropes, old sheets, and just let them have at it:

From the kitchen... my chicken broth gelled!!  Well, it was really just the liquid in the bottom of the crock pot when I cooked a whole chicken, but my plan was to save it and use it in a soup the next day... and look how beautiful it was!

I was bummed, though, that the big pot of stock I made from two chicken carcasses plus veggie scraps didn't gel at all... boo.  so now I have a theory... the raw backbone may be what helped the stock in the crock pit to gel.  When I make a big pot of stock from leftover bones, they have already been cooked when I cooked the whole chicken.  I have one recipe I like in which I have to cut a whole chicken into pieces, and so that leaves me with a raw backbone section.  Maybe if I save two or three of those in the freezer along with additional bones, I can get better gelling results by using them all at once.

I am reading... Beauty in the Word: Rethinking the Foundations of EducationAlso, the latest issue of Family Foundations, the magazine of the Couple to Couple League.

To live the liturgical year... about two weeks ago, we celebrated the first-ever feast day of Pope Saint John Paul II.  Being a quarter Polish myself, and this being the pope I was born under, we had to do a little something to celebrate now that he is a saint!  On Facebook, my brother posted a photo of JPII when he was the pope that I had taken myself, and it made me realize - wow.  I took a photo of a saint!  It was when I was 16 and we were visiting Italy while my dad was there on business for about a year's time.  We visited Italy for ten days and toured around the country, including a stop in Rome, where we heard Pope JPII give his Wednesday audience and then, as he passed by us on an open cart (not the actual Popemobile, more like a golf cart without a roof), my brother Stephen touched his hand as he passed by, and I took the photo just before that.

So, to celebrate a special pope who is now a saint, we made a Polish apple cake.  I used the recipe found on this awesome blog of an old childhood friend of mine from Girl Scouts... she decided to cook foods from each of the 195 countries in the world, one country a week!

One of my favorite things... fall weather, fall scents, fall cooking.  And a fire in the fireplace. 

I am creating... I am filling a few jars for a Guess How Many game for our homeschool group's All Saints party.  since All Saints Day fell on a Saturday this year, we are having our party the following Friday after noon Mass.  I helped the girls create their costumes this past Friday, and they will get to wear them again for the party.  I spent a few evenings sewing some "armor" for Joan of Arc. 

Around the house... I need to straighten up some areas, clean some things out... after we went camping with friends last weekend, this past week/weekend was spent doing a little laundry catch-up and some much needed sunroom sweeping (me) and vacuuming (Chris).

Pondering these words... "Eternal rest grant unto them, O Lord, and may perpetual light shine upon them.  May the souls of all the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace.  Amen."

A few plans for the rest of the week... 
* Trip to the aquarium tomorrow along with lunch with an old friend and his son!
* Gran comes to visit for a few days on Tuesday!
* Date night on Tuesday - Gran with the girls and Chris and I out to dinner and whatever else... maybe mini golf?
* PSR Wednesday evening
* Nature hike one morning
* Dance classes on Thursday
* Noon Mass and homeschool All Saints party on Friday - lots of fun saint-themed games and snacks that my girls are really looking forward to!

A picture thought I am sharing...
What homeschooling looks like... Caroline helps cook while watching her Math-U-See lesson on DVD   

Dressed up as saints at the All Saints vigil Mass... more pictures of Halloween, All Saints, etc to come soon!

1 comment:

Bridget said...

I'm an occasional visitor to your blog. While it's been a while and I'm catching up on your posts, I noticed that your latest daybook includes being thankful for a "special new blessing!" Does this mean you are expecting??? If so, congratulations to you and your family :)