Thursday, December 28, 2006

End of the year

So, here it is, December 28th, and my mind is whirling with ideas for "The New Year."

Now in all honesty, I never was one for making New Year's resolutions. I'm not sure why, but the whole concept never appealed to me much; however, this year is different. The thought of January 1st being a "clean slate" of sorts is rather intoxicating in an organizing/planning/homeschooling sort of way, so I'm just going to lay it all out.

Those of you who know me can hold me accountable.

Those of you who visit here (and God bless you!!!) can check in from time to time and see what the status of these "grandiose ideas" are.

In the personal spiritual arena, I'm wanting to actually MEDITATE on the readings for the day. When this is going to happen, I'm not too sure, but the goal (God willing) is to give the day's readings more than a simple perfunctory once-through. I still haven't found that special "groove" that works for me, other than settling in the living room late at night (after everyone has gone to bed) and reading/praying/writing in my journal. I would like to have the day's readings before me during the day, so that I can meditate on them as I'm cooking, cleaning the bathroom, etc etc etc. Those of you with lots of small kids know what I'm talking about here!

Then there is actual MEMORIZATION of Bible verses. I was a Navigator (it's an evangelical Protestant Bible study group for college students) in college, and we memorized verses. Tons of them. And let me tell you -- they stuck. Twenty-one years later, I can still recite many of the verses I memorized. If I can memorize children's poems, song lyrics, and phone numbers, I have the mental capacity to memorize verses again. Even one verse a MONTH would be better than none at all!

On the homeschooling/home front:

The biggest thing for me will be the Liturgical Year notebook that I have started. I want to collect ideas, crafts, recipes, etc to celebrate various feast days throughout the year, and this is my time to start.


Because, truthfully, I feel a bit cheated.

I grew up in the 70s, when the Church was still trying to figure out what to do with Vatican II. My parents took us to Mass faithfully every Sunday and Holy Day, and sent us (with much sacrifice, I'm sure) to parochial school for most of our education. However, even with all that, I feel like my religious education was lacking (and many of my peers feel the same, so I don't think I'm just making this up). I knew of the various feast days, of course, but they never really were "alive" for me.

My prayer is for that to change with my children.

I want at least ONE feast day for each month that is a "big deal" here with our family. There are tons of great ideas out there to choose from, but my (hopefully modest) goal is to have ONE that we choose each month. One feast day to go nuts over, so to speak. Cay Gibson has a wonderful book out called Catholic Mosaic which has great children's picture books arranged by month so that various saints' feast days can be celebrated. Since our library down here doesn't carry books like that (pardon me while I roll on the floor laughing over the thought of it all), I can order at least one book a month.

My goal is not to make "Catholic Family Poster club," but instead to truly incorporate a lifestyle of living out the liturgical seasons... to breathe in and out, as it were, with the Church. I want my children to KNOW, much better than I ever did, WHAT we are celebrating and WHY we are celebrating it.

That's not to say that I "grew up ignorant." I attended parochial schools for much of my education, and the sisters did a great job teaching us all. I applaud my parents for making sure that we all attended Mass every Sunday and Holy Day as a family.

It was the "family devotions" that never really took off, and so a lot of "Catholic heritage" was never passed down to us.

This is what I want to change in my own family, because this is what God used (in part) to get me back into the Church.

It was the "culture" that God used initially to create an intense "homesickness" in me. I longed for the liturgical year, believe it or not, long before I ever longed for the Eucharist. (maybe that simply shows how shallow I really am, but God used what He could to reach me!)

So, as I sit down at the computer this evening, I will start by picking out one feast day each month (other than their baptismal dates, of course) to highlight and hopefully come up (with God's grace) with plans that are "Chez Ouizable" and will foster a greater devotion to Our Lord. I am starting with this article in Catholic Culture, as well as Catholic Mosaic and my own calendar, and going from there.

In other homeschooling news, my friend Margaret and I are on the perpetual quest to find "the perfect Catholic homeschooling history program for younger kids." Why is it so difficult to find a program that takes us through history chronologically... that focuses on the history of the Church... and introduces younger children to the saints as they "showed up" in history... AND provides lots of "living books" (rather than a text) that will capture their interest?

Seriously, is that too much to ask? (you may all start to laugh now.....)


So, those are my some of my goals for the year. I'm sure I'll fall flat on my face many times, but stay with me and hopefully at the end of next year (God willing) I'll have some success stories to report!

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