Tuesday, February 20, 2018

dyslexic days: the real world bumps into our homeschool demi-paradise

This was a few days ago- Daughter 8 1/2, smiling in triumph because she successfully completed her work on a short vowel 'U' book. 
In glorious Finland, she might be just one year behind the majority. In the United States, she is two years behind the 'standards.' She has an IEP (finally- it took 2 years) which entitles her to 3 hours of tutoring per week, and we are meeting another tutor for an additional 2 hours per week. She dabbles in nessy.com (love it!) every day as her only screen time. We read aloud (finishing up the original Pinocchio) and listen to audio books in the van (finishing up Anne of Green Gables).  And we work on sing spell read write  together (just like her siblings- just a year or two later). She was premature, she is left-handed and she has dyslexia going on. 

Today, her smile was wiped from her face when she was repeatedly accused of "lying"  and being a "liar" when she told someone that she couldn't read something that most 3rd graders can read. Now, she is taking a nap to gird herself for literature and choir with our homeschool group. And I am blogging, wondering how to get her spark back.
her home for the first 5 weeks...sometimes I still see her as this little, so forgive me for my mama bear-ness- actually- don't forgive me 

Monday, February 19, 2018

meet Magdalena: scholar, crafter, Byzantine Catholic priest's daughter

How does your faith inform your day-to-day life?
Being Catholic is the most important thing about me, and being a priest kid only emphasizes this. I am always ready to have a theological discussion, and I am usually singing a byzantine chant under my breath. I try not to flaunt my faith, but it seems to leak out pretty quickly… If I am smiling and daydreaming, it is probably about Divine Liturgy in the Hagia Sophia! Ahem…. So yes, my faith is important…. You were saying? 
What is your greatest challenge in practicing your faith?
There are so many challenges… I try to keep God before me at all times, but there is a definite need for a growth in virtue. Judgmental thoughts are an issue for me, but I am really trying to work on my mercy for others. 
Favorite Bible verse?
It depends on my mood, but I love the simple petition, “Remember me when Thou shalt come into Thy Kingdom,” from the good thief during the crucifixion. It reminds me of what I am constantly asking God and my need for His mercy. It is so simple and trusting, it brings tears to my eyes. 
Favorite spiritual writing besides the Bible?
I love me some Lewis! His essays on the evil of subjectivity and the essay “Men without Chests” are so amazing. I love Perelandra, it is my favorite interpretation of the Creation Story. I also really like Chesterton. 
Favorite saint and why?
I am close to St Mary Magdalene obviously, but I also turn to Saint Jude quite often (the SAT in particular, if you must know. Thanks again buddy 😊) St Anthony has helped me out so many times that it would be the height of indecency for me not to mention him. And, of course, my lovely Mother Mary is one of the most important influences on my life. 
What is your ministry in the church?
Everything….. Pretty much as long as it is not on the altar I had something to do with it. Of course I help arrange the altar. And make the bread. Most importantly though I am a cantor, the welcoming committee, and a catechist. 
Favorite movie, book, music, and why?
The Lord of the Rings will always hold a special place in my heart, both books and movies, because of the magic, wisdom, knowledge, and virtue inside. I also love Austen and Jane Eyre. I really like fantasy books, books with magic and mystery in them. For me, books are a good way to escape real life for a little, and I love the immersive qualities of a book about a magic land. Classics are generally really great as well, I feel better connected to the characters than I do in a lot of modern fiction. 
Hobbies? 
I started to crochet when I was 11, and it still captivates me today, though I am happy to say that my more recent projects have been a tad more professional than my first hat (I wonder why my mother never wears it?). More recent hobbies are peg doll painting, which is really fun. I recently finished a knight and his lady for my friend, and they look rather dashing, if I do say so myself. Other than that, I love dancing and singing and I never lose an opportunity to do either, despite the embarrassment it might cause my companions. 
If you had $20 and an hour, what would you do?
I must confess, I do like window shopping, but that would not necessarily use up my $20. If you put me in a used bookstore, however, I would be one happy person. Up in Oregon there is a store called the Book Bin, the perfect place to spend time and money. 
Thanks for sharing, Magdalena!

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

memento mori - remember we are dust and to dust we shall return

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the altar fasts when we fast: The Liturgy of the Pre-Sanctified Gifts

What is the Liturgy of the Pre-Sanctified Gifts in the Eastern Churches? Why do the Eastern Churches refrain from a Divine Liturgy (Mass) during the weekdays of Great Lent? 
"The Eastern Churches will not have a full Eucharistic service on major fasting days. There is no consecration on these days. Some will say - the altar fasts with us. During the Great Fast this applies to all weekdays. In order to have a communion service during the week, extra bread is consecrated during the Sunday Divine Liturgy. These pre-sanctified gifts are set aside for use during the week. The Liturgy of the Presanctified Gifts is therefore a fasting event. The tone of the chant changes to one which is more somber; the pacing slows down a bit; the readings are mostly Old Testament. In the Divine Liturgy, we are raised up to heaven and stand in the presence of the Divine. In the Liturgy of the Presanctified Gifts, we prostrate ourselves with Adam at the gates of Paradise, so close that we can taste what we are not worthy to receive." Father Brian Norrell 
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