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Saturday, October 9, 2010

The Wall of Futility

"The truth is that our finest moments are most likely to occur when we are feeling deeply uncomfortable, unhappy, or unfulfilled. For it is only in such moments, propelled by our discomfort, that we are likely to step out of our ruts and start searching for different ways or truer answers."
— M. Scott Peck, author of The Road Less Traveled.
I think this is another way of explaining Gordon Neufeld's idea of the wall of futility in his book Hold on to Your Kids. He says,

"The key to adaptation is for futility to sink in whenever we are up
against something that won't work and we can't change. When the
adaptive process is unfolding as it should, the lessons are learned
spontaneously....The adaptive process accomplishes its task of "disciplining"
our children in a number of natural ways; by bringing to an end a course of
action that does not work, by enabling the child to accept limitations and
restrictions,. by facilitating the letting -go of futile demands.Only through
such adaptations can a child adjust to circumstances that cannot be changed.
Through this process a child also discovers that she can live with unfulfilled
desires. Adaptation enables the child to recover from trauma and transcend
loss. These lessons cannot be taught directly either through reason or
through consequences. They are truly teachings of the heart, learned only as
futility sinks in.
The parent needs to be both the agent of futility and the angel of comfort. It is human counterpoint at its finest and most challenging. To facilitate adaptation,
a parent must dance the child to his tears, to letting go, and to the sense of
rest that comes in the wake of letting go."

Clearly this process applies to adults as well. Sometimes we have to adapt to a lack of others' ability to adapt. "Letting go of what does not work, we are more likely to stumble upon what does." In the eternal perspective, helping a child reach the wall of futility can prime him for Trustful Surrender. The more we desire control over every aspect of our lives, the harder it is to let tears of futility sink in, resting in Christ and allowing him to fill the gaps.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Eamon contemplates Divine Intimacy

One morning this summer after I had finished my morning reading, Eamon snuggled into my 'spot' and picked up

which has become the focus of my personal spiritual journey and an essential component of what Robynn and I have come to understand as Catholic Contemplative Parenting. For the past two and a half years,we have been discussing our vocation in light of attachement principles, the writings of Saint John of the Cross, St. Therese of Lisieux, St. Thomas Aquinas, and many contemporary authors who address development and attachment.

This is one instance where "do as I do" might work out okay! :)

Today's Divine Intimacy
Fear of the Lord

"To educate us in the Fear of the Lord, the Holy Spirit,
instead of placing before our eyes pictures of the punishmnet and pains due to
sin, instead of representing God as a stern judge, shows Him to us as a most
loving father............

What a difference there is between this filial
, which is the fruit of love, and servile fear,
which arises form the dread of punishment! It is true that the fear of judgement
and the divine punishment is salutary and in certain cases (in the case of
can serve greatly to hold a soul back from sin; but if it does not change gradually into filial fear, it will never be sufficient
to impel the soul on to sanctity." (emphasis mine )

This is the basis of attachment parenting. Gregory Popcak refers to it as Self-Donative Parenting. Robynn and I have developed the idea of Catholic Contemplative parenting because we have experienced Contemplation of God's gifts to us (our children) and our parenting style to be intimately intertwined. Our faith in a loving, merciful God naturally leads to the understanding that we are to shepherd our children, to them in virtue, and to lead them to an ability to embrace the cross through meeting their needs in a way that brings them to rest.

"Servile fear contracts the soul and
makes it petty, whereas filial fear dilates it and spurs it on the way of
generosity and perfection."
Through the act of meeting the needs of our children with magnanimity ( as opposed to shame, fear of punishment, and withdrawal of love)
we spur them on toward perfection, even as we are working on it ourselves. :)


Friday, June 25, 2010

Whooping Alert: A person could develop a cough......

The yahoo homepage echoes a concern that my neighbor and I have been discussing for weeks; the return of a scary childhood (well, now adult,too) disease that makes the patient sound like a barking seal. Yahoo speculates that the reason for the rise in cases and infant deaths is the group of folks who choose not to vaccinate. Perhaps the unvaccinated immigrant population is also a factor. At any rate, if your child develops a persistent cough following cold-like symptoms, consider having him/her tested for Pertussis. Pertussis, a disease many thought had been eradicated, is the T in Tdap immunizations. It is now believed that update vaccinations should be given at 11 years and then again at a later adult physical.

Here are some guidlines to follow from Pundit&Pundette:
To protect your children watch out for the symptoms, and hie thee to a doctor to get antibiotics for the whole family (vaccinated or not) if you suspect pertussis. If caught early enough, antibiotics may mitigate the coughing, which is typically extreme and long-lasting. Antibiotics will kill the bacteria and prevent spreading to your other family members. Be sure to tell the doc that you've been exposed to a confirmed case. There are different tests, but the one used by our doctor is a culture by nasal swab and can take as long as 14 days for a result.

Our daughter's culture was negative after 6 days but positive by day 14. The doctor started her on antibiotics the day she was tested. Our doctor said people are no longer contagious after 24 hours of antibiotics. When the test came back the doctor decided to give her another course of antibiotics. Probably not necessary but I didn't turn it down.

It seems to me that many doctors aren't very familiar with the symptoms, testing, or treatment. They're looking for asthma, allergies, bronchitis, croup, or pneumonia. My impression is that pertussis isn't on their radar. I suspect it's more common than they believe and often goes undiagnosed.


Week one: A cough. May be very frequent. Cold symptoms may accompany it. From website linked below:

runny nose, sneezing, low-grade fever, or a mild, occasional cough, similar to the common cold.

After that: Paroxysmal stage, when cough develops into long, spasmodic coughing fits. The "whoop" occurs when the victim tries to inhale. (Whoop is not always present, and babies in particular may not whoop.) Coughing fits may feature choking and vomiting.

Read more here:

Forewarned is forearmed.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Curriculum Junkies and Pattern Blocks

I wish I had taken a picture of the myriad of curricula spread out over the tables this morning in my home! We announced it on the Mary's House yahoo group as a book sale, but at times it was really more of a book swap:"I'll take your American Girl book and give you my Kindergarten Catechism book."

As entertaining as it is to see the collections displayed by my fellow curriculum junkies, I did take a few minutes to ponder our"text" anxiety when it comes to educating our children at home. And I don't mean the cell phone kind. We attend conferences and curriculum sales, peruse Cathy Duffy's favorite picks, compare textbooks to living books, buy,sell, and exchange programs as new ones are produced all the while wondering, "Is the THE ONE that will work with my dc in such and such a subject."

One seasoned mom said she wanders away from and always comes back to Laura Berquist's Mother opf Divine Grace program based on Design Your Own Classical Curriculum. I have only been doing this for three years now, but MODG will most likely always be the foundation of our BucketOGlee home learning. We adapt the basic plan to each child's needs and my own need for simplicity. In addition to the historical fiction books listed in MODG, I have collected a few writing,spelling, and math programs here and there trying to make a good fit for my learners. Right now I'm feeling pretty comfortable with my collection; ALEKS math online, A Beka Spanish supplemented by, Little Saints Preschool with some Before FIAR, Writing with Ease, and Wordly Wise.

So, my exciting purchases of the day include a plastic set of pattern blocks (put to use immediately by all ages and pictured here), Seton's Kindergarten Catechism, and Karen Andreola's book A Charlotte Mason Companion. The last one worries me a little. I am proud to have kept the curriculum purchases to a minimum this spring and I am hoping the Charlotte Mason Companion won't inspire me to hop too far off the path I have already created.....

Sunday, May 23, 2010

We reap what we sow. Galatians

An epistle from Saint Paul to the Galatians:

"For what things a man shall sow, those he also shall reap.........

And in doing good let us not fail. For IN DUE TIME we shall

We watched a few hours of old home videos taken when the older kids were very little. It was a terrific reminder to dh and I that we have sown plenty of tender loving care into our children, and that in God's time there will be good fruit. As we picked little red berries and cut lettuce (before the bunnies eat more than their share), I keep thinking about the similarities between gardening and child-rearing. I know this is nuthin' new to anyone here, but they are good parallels to ponder.

In our AP journey we have come to realize that part of the reason we resort to poor disciplinary tactics (ie, punishments and false rewards) is our own self-centered desire to see immediate results. Sometimes it is difficult to accept our own littleness or the littleness of our offspring, but this is exactly what God calls us to do. Even when we think we've made mistakes along the way, God will work it all out if we are trying to live according to his plan.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Home Learning WWI/American History

We are doing a unit in American History this week on World War I. Although we use a "spine"text, Christ and the Americas,we always add in some historical fiction , movies, and whatever we can get our hands on. The local teacher's store had a little booklet on WWI that was a terrific supplement with lots of main ideas and basic facts. From there, we took off on a poetry tangent spurred by my own highschool memory of "Dulce Et Decorum Est" by Wilfred Owen. This rabbit trail led us back to Horatius, Jesse Pope"the poetess" to whom Owen's poem was written, and a handful of other WWI poetry.
We also have a new favorite movie to add to the list of Daniel Boone, Little House, and Princess Bride: Sergeant York. I had forgotten how dreamy Gary Cooper is! The oldest dd, home from college, started singing "Puttin' On the Ritz" (tryin' hard to look like Gary Cooper - super dooper!"). In the middle of all the war talk, ds1 remembered "O Captain, My Captain" from her dreaded English class and off we went on the poetic devices used in that poem.

Coincidentally, ds2 was looking at a Draw. Write. Now picture of Abe Lincoln as a boy. Usually I provide the lead with art practice. I follow the instructions in the text to create a picture and then someone sees it, likes it, and does their own picture. If it becomes popular, someone else might also try it. Then again, there are time that it falls flat. Mine is the only colored- pencil line drawing of the flag posted on the bulletin board! We haven't said the Pledge of Allegiance daily since year 1, so I really needed this reminder to teach it to the younger ones.

We may never do a WWI unit exactly like it, but it has been a good week so far.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Pondering Home Learning

As I read the posts at UnschoolingCatholics yahoo group, I am pondering just exactly what KIND of homeschooling is it that we are practicing here at BucketOGlee. Do I need to define it in words? Perhaps pictures would be better? OR lists of books? Hmmm....I am learning to ponder and pray about these things in a way I could not have done before. Before what? Before my encounter with Hold On to Your Kids, Jill, Robynn, and Attachment Parenting.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Candlemas Day February 2, 2010

Canticle of Simeon:
"Now thou dost dimiss thy servant, O Lord, according to they word in peace;Because my eyes have seen the salvation,which thou has prepared before the face of all peoples: A light to the revelation of the Gentiles, and the glory of they people Isreal"

I learned for the first time this year that the Christmas season ( in the early Roman Calendar) is a forty day observance just like Lent. It begins with Christmas day, The Nativity of our Lord and continues until February 2nd, the Presentation of our Lord in the temple and the prophecy of Simeon.

Like so many others, we are swayed by pop culture into decorating and celebrating during the season of Advent, before Christmas ever really begins...when we should still be observing the calm and reservation of Advent. Then, when the rest of the world is undecking the halls on New Year's Day or Epiphany, we should be rejoicing in Christ's birth until today!

So, a new tradition is in the making at BucketOGlee in which we have gathered up the candles for Daddy to pray over tonight after Mass and we will then recite the Canticle of Simeon. Being a newbie mom to lots of these Catholic Culture opportunities, that's as far as my plan has gotten today. With a little more research, I hope this will become an remain as regular an observance in our home as Saint .Nick's feast day and Epiphany

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Saint Peregrine, patron of cancer patients

Saint Peregrine, whom Holy Mother Church has declared patron of those suffering from running sores and cancer, I confidently turn to you for aid in my present need - mention your request.

Lest I lose confidence, I beg your kind intercession. Plead with Mary, the Mother of Sorrows, whom you loved so tenderly and in union with whom you have suffered the pains of cancer, that she may help me with her all-powerful prayers and consolation.

Obtain for me the strength to accept my trials from the loving hand of God with patience and resignation. May suffering lead me to a better life and enable me to atone for my own sins and the sins of the world.

Saint Peregrine, help me to imitate you in bearing whatever cross God may permit to come to me, uniting myself with Jesus Crucified and the Mother of Sorrows. I offer my sufferings to God with all the love of my heart for His glory and the salvation of souls, especially my own. Amen

St. Peregrine....pray for us!
Our Lady of Sorrows....pray for us!
In the midst of whining and complaining about our muddy backyard, FIOS frustrations and moldy floorboards, I have come across heartwrenching requests for prayers for women suffering through breast cancer. In my weakness, I want to offer up these little splinters for the faithful women who are suffering far more than I am today. Please help me pray for them: Elizabeth De Hority , Rachel Higginbotham,
and others. I'd be happy to add to the list if you will leave names in the comments.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

"Held" sung by Natalie Grant

Karlyn has the song HELD sung by Natalie Grant on her ipod and I listened to it on the drive to Georgia last week.
At first the words were baffling and I listened three or four times before the message of hope struck me. I was intrigued by her use of the phrase "when the sacred is torn from your life" so I did a little research on lyrics by Christa Wells .
In light of Amy Wellborn's recent loss and my own secret fear of losing a child, this song grips me in a way that no other contemporary
Christian song can. It reminds me of the lyrics of the Old Rugged Cross that my grandmother used to sing; an unearthly mixture of suffering and joy that I hope to accomplish in my own life.The "sacred", Christa Wells explains, means

the idea of us "giving" everything over to God, except for some unspoken
"sacred" parts of our life. We mean to say: "Of course, you won't ask this
of me."

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

The Old Hay Barn in Georgia

I said I wouldn't post unless it was earth-shattering. Well, in my book, this is: the dear old hay barn has been dismantled.

Home to many childhood memories......

My cousins and I used to haul the Christmas tree up there, real tinsel dragging behind, for a coke and cookies party after New Year's Eve.

Lots of hide and seek with siblings and cousins.

watching cattle being rounded up for sale from the open door,

cutting, raking, flailing, stacking square bales in the hot Georgia sun...

the time my brother bumped me lightly on the rear with a hay bale and I fell out on to the tailgate of my uncle's truck....

Carrying cold cokes from the outdoor fridge to the 'men' working in the field - I had to walk throught the barn lot to get there

More recently, Karlyn hitting the side of the barn with the four wheeler...yes, she CAN hit the broad side of a barn... :)

Well, it's not gone yet! And my kids are still making memories in the old hay barn.....a bit more dangerous than when it had all its floor boards!

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Taking a Break

Taking a break from BucketoGlee, probably until we are finished with our formal homeschool year. While I enjoy the creative outlet and keeping up with other blogs, I can see that other parts of my home organization are sagging. I plan to log in to keep up with other blogs and political topics, but I won't post anything unless it really is earth-shattering!
Momma Dunne

Monday, March 23, 2009

Red Envelope Day is March 31st

Please join us in sending your Red Envelope to President Obama as a nation-wide visual aid. Our right-wing Prolife voices have not yet been heard, so perhaps an influx of red enelopes will get some attention in the White House.

The goal is to send 50,000,000 red envelopes (empty inside, but a message on the back) and send them to President Barack Obama on March 31st.

50,000,000 is the number of babies that abortion has claimed since Roe vs Wade.

On the front, address it to:

President Barack ObamaThe White House1600 Pennsylvania Ave.Washington , D.C. 20500On the back, write the following message on the outside of the envelope:

"This envelope represents one child who died through abortion in my lifetime.It
is empty because that life was unable to offer anything to the
world.Responsibility begins with conception."

You can purchase 500 legal-sized red envelopes from for $50.00. There was a discount for purchasing larger quantities of envelopes at one time. I am still looking for smaller quantities locally.

Monday, March 16, 2009

I hope we reap what we sow!

In an effort to save a few bucks, we are sowing lots of seeds this year in peat pellet flats. Our neighbor Jill has loaned us some space in her sunny window away from toddler hands! If all goes well, we should have a sweet crop of cherry tomatoes, zinnias, allyssum, basil,cilantro, blue lake beans,poppies, and cosmos. Later, when the ground is warm, we'll try nasturtium and a few others......

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Thanks for the boost, Barbara Curtis!

Barbara Curtis of presented Montessori methods for preschoolers on Tuesday . Eamon is currently the only preschooler in our house and he is almost seven years behind Liam. Having forgotten all the hands-on activities I did with the older kids, I had resorted to plugging Eamon in to Backyardigans and Blues Clues while we worked on school subjects at the dining room table. I kept wondering why he had turned into a whining, book-eating, house-wrecking monster. In my efforts to keep up with the older kids, I was trying to keep the toddler busy rather than engaged.

Barbara's book Mommy ,Teach Me! was just the refresher course I needed!

You can almost see the steam coming out of Eamon's ears as he works on these exercises! I was put off at first by the structure that Montessori imposes - left to right and a distinct start and finish to each exercise. But the concentration and focus that he learns while pinning beads to a pincushion will hopefully transfer to other things. Being the eclectic type, I skimmed through the book and found what I needed for the moment. As I learn more about Montessori and we try new things I will post successes!

Small Successes #8 - Where did the Week Go?


1. I called Ron the Painter and he actually came to finish skimming and painting the ceiling...for nine months we have lived with holes in the ceiling where the old flourescent lights were taken out and the new pretty lights were put in! A few new lights really updated the kitchen - lot cheaper than a whole kitchen renovation!

2. I scheduled a "mommy morning" for myself and attended a presentation by Barbara Curtis on Montessori methods of teaching. I have even implemented two of her ideas for preschoolers! More here tomorrow when I post pictures!

3. I turned, edged, and planted veggies! Tomatoes, onions, beans, and lettuce! Yay spring! I am glad I took pictures last year so I can remember what will come up where in the flower gardens.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Small Successes

1. I successfully changed my blog background to purple for Lent! Thanks Jill.

2. I have continued to pray the Rosary and the prayer of Saint Ephrem daily......much to the consternation of Little E (2 and 1/2) who insists that any prayer around the table be the Angelus! Little sponge.

3. I got up with my dh at 6:15 before Little E was awake and as soon as this is posted my morning quiet time will be up! All before 8 am! YAY me!

Monday, March 2, 2009

Snow day in Ashburn

Outside My Window ...lots of boys all shapes and sizes are out with snow shovels and sleds.

I am listening to...the sensible girls in the warm toasty kitchen making comfort food with neighbor hood friends.

To Live the Liturgy...we have added Saint Ephrem's prayer to remind of to embrace our Lenten promises daily with purity of heart.

To Breathe piriformis stretches and yoga poses for back health have not happened yet........We watched Joan of Arc with the whole crew til midnight and Daddy and I slept in while the wind whipped the snow onto the porch.

Towards rhythm and beauty ...we need to work harder at getting out of that warm toasty bed in the morning to be sure that first things come first.

I am thankful for ... SNOW!

From the kitchen ... Kraft mac n cheese. Unless it's Aunt Dorothy's homemade macncheese in Georgia, it gotta be Kraft. (shrug)

Towards a real education...I am hoping to start Lenten meditations from My Path to Heaven with the middle kids today, if they ever come in from the snow.

Bringing beauty to my home ....just keeping up with the snow gear....

I am reading...In Conversation with God, Daily Meditations for Lent.

Around the house ... yes, there will be lots of running in and our and around the house today!

A Few Plans For The Rest Of The Week: hijacked by 6 inches of snow, which, in Loudoun County, VA means two or three days off of school!

Friday, February 27, 2009


"He fasted for forty days and forty nights, and afterwards he was hungry"
(Mt 4,1-2)

It's Friday ......and the kids are already digging through the fridge wondering "what will we eat for lunch?" Funny how talking about fasting and abstinence makes us hungry and craving.

I have heard people, some of them priests, remark that giving up is not so important as doing some extra good thing. If we had to make a choice between the two, I suppose more works of mercy would be the best choice. Why does it have to be either /or? Why has fasting become such a stretch in the minds of otherwise faithful Catholics? Isn't there time in this forty day journey for a little of each of the principal works of Lent?

After reading what Our Holy Father wrote, I am more inclined to keep Friday fast and abistinence with greater resolve as well as fasting from some small comfort every day.

"Denying material food, which nourishes our body, nurtures an
interior disposition to listen to Christ and be fed by His saving word. Through
fasting and praying, we allow Him to come and satisfy the deepest hunger that we
experience in the depths of our being: the hunger and thirst for God."

In our family, we have always given up sweets and desserts with the understanding that the little ones may have sweets that are offered at someone else's house. Our hope is to gently help them learn to delay gratification as well as to pause and reflect on the greater sacrifice that Christ made for us. More on the full program of Lenten offerings can be found at It is an excellent and comprehensive resource. * The program of fasting in the strict, forty-day sense described here is not for everyone. * But it offers some helpful guides for those who want to try a strict fast of any length.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Small Successes

FaithButton1. We attended Mass on Ash Wednesday as a whole family. Daddy had toddler duty and stood in the narthex for most of Mass, but we made it together!

2. I successfully fasted the entire day without mentioning hunger or nibbling before dinner! And we prayed the Prayer of Saint Ephrem with our grace before the meal.

3. I finished our parish book club book Pierced by a Sword. It should prove to be a very interesting discussion, as it is based on a Marian apparition that I do not believe has been authenticated by the Church yet. (Garabandal) It is no literary classic, but it had a postive effect on my prayer life.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Ash Wednesday

What will you do to clean up your act during LENT?
1. Fasting and Mortification
2. Prayers
3. Almsgiving
4. Good Works
5. Education
6. Self Denial

Monday, February 23, 2009

Fat Tuesday

Liam has been counting down the days to Fat Tuesday, partly because we all love a party, but mostly because our special guests Cheryl and John will be joining us for the sixth year in a row! We make sausage, bacon, pancakes, whipped cream, donuts and we do an activity called "What I Like About You." On Fat Tuesday, we put each person's name at the top of purple or green paper and pass the papers around till everyone has a list of kind comments to read out loud. I can't remember how this got started, but we've been doing it since 2002 and some of the older ones are quite amusing and very sweet.

Some favorites from past years:

What I like about Bridget is "she lets me have sleepovers with her." (from a little sister)

What I like about Karlyn is "she gives me candy and hugs." (from the sweet tooth in the family)

What I like about Bridget is "she is vare nise." ( a friend in 2002)