Thursday, July 9, 2009


I believe books say a lot about a person. Those on the bookshelves often represent hopes and interests. When I go to someone's home for the first time, I often scan the shelves. Some wonderful conversation starters can be found there. The books one is currently reading usually tell what they do on a daily basis and often their mood or mindset. Even the number of books can tell you a lot - what do you think my stack below tells you about me?

I changed my profile picture to the stack of books I am currently reading. Here it is larger, so you can really read the titles.

What is in your stack? Please leave a comment with the book(s) you are currently reading, so we can get to know one another better. I am always wondering what type of people read this space, so please introduce yourselves via your reading selections!

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Little Flowers Meeting - Piety #2

These ideas were developed by me for my local group and are not a part of the official Little Flowers Girls Club ® created by Rachel Watkins. To purchase the excellent materials and begin your own local group, please visit

This post is late again. As you can see, I am re-evaluating my blogging time, so this got pushed to back burner. On June 26 we had another Little Flowers meeting about Piety. Here is what we did.

As always, we gathered and began in prayer. I was running late, so the gathering happened before I got there, actually. It was bound to happen sometime, I guess! Our opening prayers always consist of an offering and spontaneous prayer that I say and a Hail Mary and song the girls pray. We are still using the virtues song I made up to the tune of "Mary Had a Little Lamb:"

I want to grow in virtue,
Virtue, virtue.
I want to grow in virtue,
Because I love you, God.

I love you, Lord, with all my heart,
All my soul, all my mind.
I love my neighbor as myself.
And obey my mom and dad.

I want to grow in virtue,
Virtue, virtue.
I want to grow in virtue,
Because I love you, God.

Then, I gathered the girls for a brief presentation. It is interesting to me that the girls are more fidgety at our summer meetings indoors than they were at our outdoor meetings previously. Maybe I am different; maybe it is just the girls, since there are fewer. Anyway, I invited the girls to tell me what they remember about piety. I reminded them that piety is something we do all the time in many different ways.

Next, I divided the girls into groups based on birthday months, so we would have mixed ages in each group. Each group got a large piece of banner paper and a marker. I asked them to write P-I-E-T-Y down the side of the paper and write something, a word or phrase, for each letter of our virtue that demonstrated that virtue, like an acrostic. For example, "P" could be for "Prayer", "I" could be "I go to Mass," etc...

When the girls finished this, I collected their banners and read them aloud to the whole group. This worked well, I thought, because it had the girls internalize some of the ways they can live the virtue of piety. It was simple, too! I wanted it to be something we could do quickly to prevent me from talking too long this time! :)

For our craft, we made Piety Bookmarks. I bought these kits from Oriental Trading Company, because they included a lot of stick-on foam shapes and letters.

However, we substituted the pastel ribbons they provided with ribbons of the colors of piety from the Little Flowers manual. They are:

Celestial blue – fervor in prayer
Rosy red – zeal in hearing Mass
Bright gold – practice of frequently raising the heart to God
Verdant green – sanctification of Sunday
White – fervor with obligations as a member of pious groups & associations
Scarlet – works of charity
Violet (the fundamental color) – renunciations, self-denial, self-conquest

Of course, I read these aloud to the girls before we started the bookmarks, and I explained each one by giving examples. They glued a small label to one side of their bookmark which I had printed out of the above colors and what they represent.

While the girls worked on their bookmarks, with help from the other moms, I snuck out to see about Adoration. Our parish usually has Adoration all day on Fridays, but our pastor has been ill. So, I was not sure if there was Adoration and how many people were in there. It was my hope that I could take the girls on a brief visit, since that would go well with the virtue of Piety.

It was pouring rain! I mean torrential downpour here, so I was skeptical about how it would all work out. My daughter went with me to check the church, and she slid across the wet tile walkways several times. But, when we went inside of the church, the Eucharist was in the monstrance on the altar, as I had hoped, and we noted there were only two women there, both sitting on the right side of the church. To me, this meant we would all sit on the left side, which was perfect.

Back in our classroom, the girls were finishing up their bookmarks, so we cleaned up those materials. Then, I explained to them that we were going to make a visit to the Blessed Sacrament in Adoration to ask the Lord for the graces to grow in virtue, specifically piety. I reminded them how important it is to be still and silent in Adoration to both honor God in the Eucharist and not disturb others who are praying. I told them the plan was for me to lead them in and kneel at the front, so they could see when I was ready to leave.

Before leaving, we did our closing prayers in the classroom, because I knew our little field trip would make it difficult to get their attention afterwards. Our closing prayers are always everybody trying to say the St. Therese prayer from the Little Flowers manual, me reading the intentions the girls write on our list before the meeting each week, and all of us asking our saint friends whom we have learned about this wreath to pray for us.

We managed to get to the church with no one slipping too badly, although we did get a tiny bit wet crossing the driveway. I reminded the girls we should let nothing deter us from spending time in prayer! Once we got into the church, I led them to the front, pointing for them to sit in the pews on the left. I went up to the altar rail and knelt there. What was first remarkable was that one by one the girls began to join me on the rail until the entire rail was full. Then, a few more came and knelt on the ground just behind the others. It was beautiful! I had my cell phone with me to watch the time, and we stayed for exactly five minutes.

The girls were perfectly silent and visibly prayerful. Praise God for the opportunity! I was actually astounded they were so attentive to Jesus in the Eucharist, not seeming to play or fidget at all. With around 20 girls ages 4-11, I was not sure how they would do, but their reverence inspired me tremendously. The entire time I praised the Lord for the opportunity to present these girls to Him.

Getting back to the classroom to collect our things before leaving was another story. It had rained so much that there was a constant bucketful of water pouring down the covered ramp up to the church entrance. I do not know if there was a hole in the roof or what, but it was impassible. So, I ran back to the classroom through the rain to get umbrellas, and we ferried the girls two and three at a time across the parking lot with three umbrellas. What an adventure!

Next time (this Friday) we are going to start the virtue of Humility!

Per the request of the official Little Flowers Girls Club ® I have removed the downloadable patch project sheets and practice pages. If you are interested in learning about how I used these documents in my group, please contact me directly.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Scaling Back and Refocusing

After some discernment on the purpose of this blog and my writing, I am cleaning up the archives and refocusing the theme of my posts. If there is something you cannot find, email me, and I will help you. My attempt to blog more personal everyday experiences as promised did not result as I had hoped. Please pray the Lord will bless this space and that His will may be done here.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

This Tuesday - Come to My First Live Webinar!

Attention homeschooling mothers! Please sign up for my very first live webinar:

Prayerfully Reflecting on Last Year

THIS Tuesday, July 7, 8:30-10:00PM Eastern

Go here to sign up now!

Thanks to Homeschool Connections you will be able to see and hear me via live video feed and share comments and questions with all of the participants via live chat, as we discuss Prayerfully Reflecting on Last Year. (all you need is an internet connection) This is a chance for you to learn about the inspiring process our local homeschooling group went through the last few months in order to individually evaluate our homeschooling year, and I'll teach you how to enjoy this reflection process on your own at home!

You can also sign up for the second of my two-part series, Prayerfully Planning for Next Year, to be held one week later on Tuesday, July 14, 8:30PM Eastern. Go here to sign up for that one! (but you can attend one and not the other with no problems!)

Finally, if you cannot make it to either webinar, both will be available online free at Homeschool Connections for you to experience at your leisure (although you cannot, obviously, participate in the live chat if you watch it later).

Thanks for supporting me and Homeschool Connections!