Thursday, December 29, 2011

January 17th

I'm going to be speaking at the Refresh! Midwinter Homeschool Conference, and I'm very excited about it. My topic is "Finding Levity in Your Homeschool: A Chestertonian Principle."

I'm joining Erin Brown Conroy, Kris Correira, Rachel Watkins, Laurie Gill, and Regina Doman--so I'm in great company. (Regina's topic is TBA.)

Homeschool Connections is going under the assumption that midwinter is, for most of us, a sort of slump time. The weather can be uncooperative, the school year is dragging, and the grey skies can dampen our moods as parents and teachers in the home.

What better pick me up than a series of FREE seminars on topics of interest to every mom and dad?

I hope to see you there. Click below to register today.

Finding Levity in Your Homeschool; A Chestertonian Principle
Simplified Writing: What Every High School Student Needs to Know to Succeed

Science by Inquiry

Little Flowers Girls Club: Having Fun While Learning Catholic Virtues

Keep Doing What You are Doing

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Be the First to Review

I'm preparing this study guide for Kindle, and it would be wonderful to have a few reviews and a few more "like" clicks on amazon.

If you've read it or used it in your homeschool, could you please leave a short review?


Six Months

Yesterday, it was six months since my dad died. Thoughts of him still fill my mind--memories, conversations, his smile, his laughter, his music, his hugs and kisses; remembering his decline, his death. Feeling both glad and sad.

Christmas was hard, and not hard. Hard because of course I missed him and wished he was there. It felt funny that he wasn't there. It seemed wrong--but I guess it's just different. I want things to stay the same, but they can't, they don't, they won't. Not hard, because I was able to see how much of himself he left behind--in the music we all share, in the pictures he took, in the love he passed on to us, even in our family resemblance.

Monday, December 19, 2011

St. Francis--updated

My book, A Study Guide for G.K. Chesterton's St. Francis of Assisi, is now available in Kindle ebook edition, and it's been all freshened and updated with new links and a new preface. So now is a great time to order.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

She Forgot Why She Doesn't Talk to Her

This really happened on Thanksgiving Day, 2011.

Great-Grandma was sitting at the table, she's got a touch of the Alzheimer's. She leaned in close to another relative and pointed to a third relative (her former daughter-in-law) and said, "I don't talk to her."

"Why not?" asked the curious relative.

Great-Grandma started slowly shaking her head. "I don't remember," she said sadly.

Time is too precious to waste not talking to people, when someday we might not remember why.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Funny Stories

After doing a lot of grieving, which is a sad, longing, and lonely feeling, it is good to have a happy memory to share.

My father once had a dream that Dobby the House Elf was chasing him, and he reached up and threw the TV remote at him. He and my mom woke up when the remote crashed into the wall for real. We always laugh when we remember that story, and it connects me back to Harry Potter, as well as my dad.

Maybe you have a funny story to share about someone you lost. If you want to, share it here. I'll listen.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011


As soon as my father died, I found myself, in my mind, crying out "Daddy!" I appealed to heaven, I appealed to the sky, I cried out to the darkness within. Daddy.

Like a little child, I needed my Daddy. I wanted my Daddy. I longed for my Daddy.

Inside us all, we still know that little child.

And I was reminded that Jesus called out "Abba!" which means, Papa, Daddy.

Everything will be different

The one thought that keeps going through my mind is that everything will be different from now on. Every time I go over to my parent's house and my dad isn't there, it's different.
Every time I want to tell my dad something and he's not there, it's different.
This Thanksgiving will be different. My whole world is different.
When someone leaves us, everything is different. That takes some getting used to.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Permission to Grieve

No one can grieve for you, and no matter how kind people are, they can't take the grief away. Grieving must just be done, and the time it takes is the time it takes.

Our minds do various things. We think about the last few months and the last few days of our loved one's life. We think about our relationship with that person. We go back over that. We go over their life. We contemplate our own death. It's work, and we need to take time for it. We need to give ourselves permission to take the time to grieve.

Monday, October 31, 2011

How our loved ones live on

My dad played piano, and taught all four of his daughters to play. I never really caught on to it, the guitar was my thing. But I loved hearing my dad play and asking him to play my favorite pieces. Chopin, Rachmaninoff, Tchaikovsky, Mozart, and Granados were some of my frequent requests.

Other than the recordings we kept on the digital piano, I can no longer hear my dad play, and that makes me sad. But the other day, I realized something.

My daughter plays piano. It's always been *her* instrument, ever since she was 3 and figured out the names of the notes. She sat down to play the other day, and I asked her to play Rhapsody in Blue. She began, and, as it's a rather long piece, I had time to contemplate.

And what I thought was, "This is how my dad lives on. Through my daughter. Through her piano music, through her fingers." And that thought made me happy.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Helping Yourself-Exercise

After 3 months of feeling slumpy, I read a blog post one day, and the guy mentioned how much better he felt after exercising. Funny, I know that; but I needed to be reminded. That very day, I got back out the Wii and re-started Wii Fit. This 30 minutes in the morning has helped my mood so much. I still have grief to deal with, but I can make it. I am OK.

Friday, October 28, 2011

I'm reading this book, Nobody's Child, right now. What's great about it is it's specific for someone who lost a parent.

I recorded a podcast episode today, and talked a little about my dad.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Make up with your Father

A few years ago, a neighbor mentioned her parents were divorced and she'd never met her father. I asked if he was still alive, and she said yes. I asked, didn't she now want to meet him, and have him meet her children--his grandkids? She said no. She hated her dad. Because her mom hated her dad. And to stay loyal to her mom, she'd never make contact.

I couldn't help feel how sad it was, and to this day I often think of them and pray they were reconciled--before it was too late.

If there is something between you and your dad, make it up. Ask forgiveness; forgive him. One day soon, he's going to die. And it will be too late.

I'm grateful I got to say everything I needed to say to my Dad before he died. I hope and pray you will, too.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Books that might help in a time of grief

These books are helping me. Tons. My friend Beth was given them when her mom died, and so when my dad died, she gave them to me. They really do help.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

My Dad was a Special Guy

I suppose anyone who has lost someone feels their someone was special, and it's true. We are unique and our loss is unique.

My father was born with a heart defect, and this made me fearful (that he would die) and yet appreciative (because I was alive and he was still alive to be my dad).

One of my earliest memories is saying to myself "I cannot get to 40 pounds. If I get to 40 pounds, my Daddy can't lift me or give me piggy-back rides any more." I had just been weighed and my parents discovered I was 39 pounds. At 40, all the fun would stop. My Dad could not lift that much. Right from the start, my dad was different from other dads. I had to protect him and make sure he lived. I could not turn 40 pounds. We know how that worked out. :-)

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Angry with God?

Occasionally, I read some Guide for the Grieving or Hope for the Hopeless type brochure, designed to keep one sane after a major loss, and see inside the advice that it's "OK to be angry at God".

Now my reaction to that is, how can I be angry at God for my father's death? Then I must logically be angry at God for my father's birth, too, just to be fair.

And I could never do that. My father's life was so worth living, and naturally, I wouldn't be here without him.

I'm not sure I've ever been angry at God. What have I to be angry about, when life is so good and existence is so amazing? That the world contains death in it seems to be something that came with the fall, and that had something to do with sin, and that has something to do with me, not God, except in the fact that He gave me Free Will.

I have many other issues to deal with, but being angry at God is not one of them.

Monday, October 3, 2011

My Father in Heaven

Do you have a father in heaven? Of course, we *all* have a Father in Heaven. And maybe you don't know yet if your father is in heaven, although you may want to believe that with all your heart. Or maybe it's your mother, your child, your spouse, a close friend. Someone you love has died. And what does the world know about grief?

On June 26th, 2011, my father died. I'm going to share some short reflections on his life and death here, and I hope that for those of us who grieve, we might share a bit, and ease each others' pain.

For all those who grieve, let us pray to the Lord.

Monday, June 13, 2011

All Things Frances Chesterton Biography

I thought I would try to collect here everything I've done so far on the Frances Chesterton biography.

Recording of my talk at the 29th Chesterton Conference. Audio here. DVD here, the title of the talk was "The Woman Who Was Chesterton".

Frances's first book: The Children's Crusade, Sir Cleges, The Christmas Gift, Three Plays for Children by Frances Chesterton.

Frances's second book: Piers Plowman's Pilgrimage: A Morality Play by Frances Chesterton.

I've kept everyone up to date on my book progress at Uncommon Sense: The Podcast of the American Chesterton Society.

As many of you know, the research involved in this biography of this most intriguing lady is daunting due to the fact that much of the work involving Frances has yet to be published. I've been working with The Marion E. Wade Center at Wheaton College, which has a wonderful collection of Chesterton letters.

After working with the Wade Center, I'm pleased to announce that I've just been awarded the 2011 Clyde S. Kilby Research Grant for my biography of Frances.

I'm still a bit short of $$ for all the scans I need from the British Library, but I've got an idea in mind to involve everyone interested in this project. Stay tuned.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Trash: a good young adult book

Someone on line recommended this book, and I just read it. It is considered a young adult book, but has none of the usual young adult "trash" in it. :-)

This book is actually about a couple of boys (age 14) who spend their time on a trash heap in an unnamed country which sounds exactly like the Phillipines. One day, they find something, and the mystery begins.

The story is entrancing and engaging, a real page turner. The young adult part I believe is because of the corruption and torture going on in the government. The jail scene is awful, as well. Awful mostly because it is probably an accurate picture, and so it just breaks your heart.

My one criticism is of the choice of how the boys decide to return the stolen goods, I thought it ended a little bit cheesy, and I had an idea in my head of how they would make things right, and it didn't happen that way, so I suppose that's why I didn't care for the ending. However, despite that, it was still a good read.

If you are looking for a good cause to support after reading this book, please consider The Lingap Center. They are doing good things.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Frances Chesterton's Second Book

I was able to obtain this book directly from the Library of Congress, through InterLibrary Loan. My libraries are super helpful. I believe there are perhaps two copies of this work in the US, and the other place couldn't find it.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

The Library Called...

...and I hope, hope, hope it is Frances Chesterton's other book of plays I've been waiting for.

I'll keep you posted.