Monday, April 29, 2013

Memoir Monday~ Glacial Peaks, Alpine Creeks, Gunslingers and Gold Miners: How the West Was Lost Part 2

Hi there and welcome to another Memoir Monday!

Thanks for stopping in for "part 2" of my reflection,
"Glacial Peaks, Alpine Creeks, Gunslingers and Gold Miners:
 How the West Was Lost."

Part 1 is here
if you've not read that yet and would like to.

Now, for part 2~~~

The Lakota Sioux have a saying: 
 “There is no death. There is only a change in worlds.”
             Are we truly t-h-a-t different from those called ‘savages’ by the white man? 
By those who wished to own the land? 
By those who wished to rule and change?
 By those who thought themselves quite superior? 
Who came to this new land to escape brutality and suppression themselves?
            And here’s a challenge: 
 How my husband and I respond to our nine year old, 
our sweet altar server and choir boy, as he states with firm conviction, 
“There is a special place in hell for General George Armstrong Custer!”  
after touring Little Bighorn Battlefield, 
scene of the ‘last stand.’ 
The bloody rampage between the cavalry and the Plains Indians
 in June, 1876. 
And yes, the spot where Custer met his infamous demise.
 Just one week before our country’s bally-ho, 
 over the top centennial celebrations.
            Truly, may God bless America.
            And to our twelve year old, 
who replies to his brother, 
“A special place.
 You got that right, dude.”

             How hard it is not to just agree. Not to condemn. Very hard. At any age.
            But with you, there is forgiveness, so that we can with reverence, serve you.    Psalm 130:4

            As you stand 
in this place and absorb  the inextricable connection 
of the beauty and the legends 
to the violence and the abuse.
            As you look 
from the tilted battlefield monuments and the headstones
 in this already searingly hot Montana dawn
 and you see tears streaming down the faces of those around you
 on the ranger-led walk.
  Then you realize that you, too have tears.
            Because this is it.
 This is t-h-e cowboy and Indian show-down.
 This patch of grass encapsulates the West for so many the world over 
and draws more foreigners than Americans. 
They want to live and breath it as well.

 Well, we live and breath the shame.

            This is not your toddler playing with inch high plastic figures. 
Half donning colorful headdresses, wielding tomahawks. 
Half in spiffy painted-on cavalry uniforms, even spiffier, shiny muskets.

 This time it’s real and the last one standing is the one who lives. 
            Well, unless he wears the headdress 
and a name honoring the Earth 
and then he simply wins a place in a dusty reservation. 
Rocky soil, unworthy of livestock. And most of his family,  gone.

            Surely goodness and kindness shall follow me all the days of my life
 and I will live in the house of the Lord forever.  
Psalm 23:6

            Our family journey is now in the past.
             We expected the good -  
visions of our America, natural history, happy snippets of time.
            We expected  the bad -  
occasional cheese-y tourist traps 
and occasional family bickering, of course.
Rain on the tent roof and muddy puddles.
 What we didn’t expect is the ugly. 

That we’d come face to ugly face with our condemning selves 
as we dipped into these tragic pages in our American story.
What is the true ugliness here? 
Is it the raw mistreatment and inhumane acts ?
Or is it us? 

Standing in judgement?

            For thou, Lord, art good, and ready to forgive; and plenteous in mercy unto all them that call upon thee.   Psalm 86:5 

Thank you so much for visiting!

The bloggers who have linked their reflections
shared such heartfelt, inspiring reflections!
As always!

Thank you for spending some of your precious time today
here at my home on the web! 

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Until next time,


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Sunday, April 28, 2013

Sunday Snippets: A Catholic Carnival 4/28/13

Hello there and welcome!

I'm happy to join
for her 
Sunday Snippets Catholic Carnival!

A few posts I am linking today~

Friends, thank you for stopping in for a snippet of our posts this week!
Please head over to RAnn's to find other Catholic bloggers 
and the goodies they've linked this week!

Also, you might wish to click over to my book giveaway.

Have a  lovely Sunday!

 Until next time,


Saturday, April 27, 2013

A Giveaway: In Honor of 10,000 Page Views!

Hi there, friends, and welcome!

I hope this weekend finds you well and enjoying a 
peaceful and/or productive weekend....
whichever you need most right now!

So...we are having a super busy day filled with 
household projects, spring-ish cleaning inside and out,
baseball, baseball and more baseball....!
But I wanted to drop in, say hello,
and mention a little giveaway I'm having
that I'm excited about......

I found that nifty little page view counter
( over on the left)
 kind of intriguing 
on a fellow blogger's page
and so I installed it on my sidebar, as well.
I noticed that the visitors were tallying up! 
Faster than I'd have expected!

When I installed it, I believe the views were in the 6000s.
Before I knew it,
 it was rapidly approaching the 10,000 mark.
Thank you for visiting.
Thank you so much, friends, for making my blogging experience so worthwhile,
so meaningful,
so full of friendship and fun
over the past
since I've been blogging!

I began my blog in hopes of keeping myself "focused" as a writer and 
as a homeschooling mom maintaining some order and purpose on our journey.
I love writing,
and note taking.
 I thought a blog would be a lot of fun to start.
I truly did not think that it would become 
such a rewarding experience and that I'd be graced with  such dear friends.
Friends from across the country and around the globe!

How I wish we could gather in my kitchen,
right now even,
over a cup of tea!

Soooooo, in  honor of all those who've stopped in whether fleetingly or regularly,
 and brought the counter to what it is
(and believe me, no one is more surprised that I am
that you actually and purposely click over to my spot!)....
I'm giving away a couple of curriculum-related
homeschool-ish books.

I'm thinking that since many of us are now
in the mindset of planning for the 2013-2014 school year,
these resources that my kiddos have "outgrown,"
might really be appreciated by some readers.

The winning titles are:



( hardcover )

~ Two books, two winners ~
One winner per title

Here are the details~~ 

1. Share the giveaway.....
Blog it, tweet it, FB it, G+ it. Any means of sharing.:)

2. If you are not already a subscriber, please subscribe to my blog's feed. 
Only active blog subscribers are eligible to win.

3. Please leave me a comment letting me know:
- that you'd like in on the giveaway and which title you'd like to win.
-where you shared the giveaway
-the beginning of your email addy so I know who's who on my feedburner page
 (unless it's obvious, of course! )
                                           That's it!

4. The giveaway is open for one week.
You can  enter immediately through Sunday night, May 5.

 The winner will be announced right here on Tuesday May 7.

Good luck, friends!

And thank you once again!

Have a lovely day and I will see you tomorrow for RAnn's Sunday Snippets hop!

 Until next time,


Friday, April 26, 2013

Artful Friday in 7 Quick Takes: A Study of Van Gogh

Hey friends ad thanks for stopping by!
Today I'm incorporating my 'regular' 
Artful Friday post with 
Kelly's QT link up for highlights  of our Vincent van Gogh study!

We adore this artistic genius for so many reasons.....
His endearing and engaging artwork, of course,
 the love and attention to detail he poured into each piece,
his humility,
his all - too - human battle with depression.
A good five years ago or so,
 we studied Vincent. 
But as the boys grow and can more deeply 
 understand  the facets of his life
and his true contribution,
we embarked on a study once again.


Product Details

Insight into the man? 
It's all here. 
THE quintessential guide.


Who doesn't love Mike Venezia's series?


Literally stumbling across a great artist's work, young characters
 track down its source and investigate  
the possibility that a family heirloom is a Van Gogh.
Very cute and intriguing.
I read snippets of it here and there while the boys were painting in his style.
(see # 5 and # 6... :)


Okay, you KNOW we are huge Whovians here....
THIS ep is unbelievably touching.
Just unbelievable.
Even if you're not into sci-fi, tune in and watch at the above link.
Or pick up season 5 right here.
Okay, yup there are monsters and such...
Buuuuuut, a peek into Vincent's psyche and 
a commentary of his maserpieces by a docent, albeit a fictional docent ?
Not to be missed.
 Awesome background and very emotional.
And believe me, you need a box of tissues alongside you while watching.
Do you love "Sunflowers?"
You'll love it even more after you watch this!
Seriously, tune in now.....


A little art background
First we discussed  warm and cold colors from a lesson in 
Teach Art to Children...
using gorgeous artwork within these picture books~

Owl Moon 


Arrow to the Sun


Then we attempted artwork  in Vincent's style:

"Starry Night" in progress~

And here's the  finished piece,
inspired by van Gogh's Sunflowers

For Timmy's version of Sunflowers,
 he used regular crayola paints.
Nothing fancy.
I recently bought that acrylic pad though, 
because the usual paint pads they've been using 
have allowed the paint to bleed through.


Please don't miss this:

Virtual Tour of The Musee D'Orsay

And here's a little more info on the Musee d'Orsay

Here are a few past 'Artful Friday' posts  in case you'd like to 
dust off something from the archives:

 ( knitting, winter crafts, the theater and piano)

Friends, as always,  
thank you for stopping over and 
spending some of your precious time 
here at my home on the web!

Have you signed up to receive my posts in your email inbox?
   If not, just enter your email address here
so we can be in touch regularly!

Enter your email address:

You might wish to follow on Facebook as well.....

Until next time,


Thursday, April 25, 2013

Theme Thursday ~ Sky

Hi there and welcome to my little spot on the web!
 I'm so happy to link up today with 
for her super fun blog hop,

This week's theme is SKY and boy do we have sky shots...
We've  snapped so very many.
I think the timeless beauty,
 whether from our own yard, 
the ball field or halfway across the country,
has us enamored.

Sunrise, a late June morning, 2012.
We're about to cross the
 Throgs Neck  Bridge
and head west for our trip cross country.
LI Sound on the right and (unseen) East River on the left

Interstate 90, somewhere in Indiana.
July 2012
My girlfriend took this shot and made it the cover picture
 on a photo album she complied for us for Christmas!
She went into my fb photo album and sent a bunch to Walgreen's 
to make us  a stunning book!
We're so lucky.
Everyone should have a friend like Lois.

A placid South Dakota sky,
a day later
July 2012

Skies over Yellowstone,
just an hour or so following  a huge thunderstorm
July 2012

and over the Grand Tetons.,
the same day.

Sunset over the prairie,
right off the interstate 
July 2012

Isn't the gorgeous blue behind the Washington Monument just perfect?
Aug 2009

One of my favorite pix ever...
sunset over a cannon on Gettysburg Battlefield,
right near the copse of trees where
Confederate General Amistad fell
A huge hero to me.
 His devotion to the cause.....?
It defines bravery

So because of where this shot was taken and 
because of the captivating sunset,
I just love this!
I almost didn't snap it because we were wrapping up a loooong day 
touring the battlefield with a 6 and an 8 year old
 and were piling into the car to head home.

But I needed just one more.

Over the soccer field
Autumn of 2010
I was so focused on Timmy's game and hardly noticed the
beauty overhead that gorgeous early Fall morning
 til my older son pointed out how unusual and pretty it was!

Just a lovely sunset .....
a December in late afternoon.
Taken from our front stoop

Thanks so very much, friends, for stopping in to glance at our "skies."
And thank you, Cari, for hosting!

Please come back tomorrow for a 
Quick Takes/Artful post 
on  highlights of our van Gogh study!
And please consider linking to my Memoir Monday hop....
You are very welcome to join in or to  
 come on over and read 
the reflections of the bloggers who've linked!

Have a lovely and peaceful day!
 Until next time,