28 April 2014

My thoughts on yesterday.

Yesterday, we added two new saints to the (extensive) list of Exceptionally-Holy-Heaven-Dwellers! I just read in History about Pope John XXIII. Apparently a lot of Catholics were unimpressed at his optimistic attempt to address the social problems in a new way. The results of Vatican II weren't as wonderful as he expected, but surely it had its benefits. We now have Mass in the vernacular, something a lot of people don't realize wasn't always the case. Novus Ordo is pretty much taken for granted now. How far we have gone.

Yesterday was also Divine Mercy Sunday. My family and I said the Divine Mercy Novena. It's always rather unnerving to me that the souls God loathes most are the lukewarm ones. Makes me wonder what exactly is the definition lukewarm in relation to religion.
Well, if you are ever in need of new wonder at God's omnipotence, look down at your hands. Only someone infinitely wise could have created something so impressive.

24 April 2014


After eating lunch and while I'm waiting for science class to start, I thought I'd blog.
I finished my essay on the Inferno. 
And I'm writing a very fun scene in my book!

Now. Time for something interesting.
The weather has been warm! Well, not very warm, but warm enough for a South Dakotan in April. (As in, 65 degrees. Lucky we don't have snow.)
Last year we had a nasty ice storm in April. I think the city was clearing up tree branches from that up until September or something. It was disastrous. You should have seen the mountains of tree branches.
But this year, it's warm! How nice!
I may be speaking too soon, though.
There's a possibility of snow up until mid-May, or later.
I'll enjoy the weather now.
Summer is on its way!

21 April 2014


Happy Easter!
I sang with some family members in the church choir for Easter Vigil on Saturday. The Litany of Saints gave me chills.

Yesterday, it was deliciously warm out so we took walks, played frisbee, and hung out in the sun. I actually took a nap on a blanket outside. We ate lots of chocolate, and had lamb for dinner. After dinner we watched an episode of Foyle's War. (Which is a very good show.)
A fairly relaxing day.
And now, the college kids have gone and  we're back to the school year.
But it's still Easter Season for a very long time! Imagine if we got all of Easter Season off. I think in the Latin Mass calendar that would be most of the liturgical year. Or at least a lot of it.

He is risen! Alleluia! (I'm having fun saying that in my head quite often now that it's not Lent.)

These are traditional Ukrainian Easter eggs that I know how to make! Only mine aren't nearly as pretty.

18 April 2014

Good Friday

Today is the second day of the Holy Triduum: Good Friday. (Also, almost the only day Catholics go to a "Church Service.") Fasting and abstinence.

My sister thinks Good Friday is depressing. I disagree. It's a celebration of the beginning of the reason Jesus came to earth: His crucifixion. (The rest of the reason is His resurrection.)

I won't go into a long and earnest discourse like yesterday. I think I pretty much covered the Crucifixion then.

Happy Good Friday!

17 April 2014

Holy Thursday

Here we are in the Holy Triduum. Holy Thursday.
In my opinion, Holy Thursday is the most beautiful Mass of the entire Church year. A Mass centered around God's great gift of Himself to us, all unworthy.
Think about it. God does the things He does for us for the sole reason that He loves us. Before He created the universe, He didn't need to create anything. He wanted to. He created us so that we would have the joy of being with Him in Heaven. He created the world around so that we would have the joy of earthly life.
He died to save us from our sins so that we can experience the bliss of His eternal presence in Heaven. God doesn't need us in Heaven. He wants us to be happy. He shares Heaven with us because He loves us. Because He loves us, more than we can ever know, He sent His only Son into our world. He took on the weak human form which He created, full of imperfections, but with the capacity to do great things. He didn't even announce His coming to the world. ("Hey, your Creator has become a creature for you, just FYI.") The Blessed Mother was the perfect human being. But Jesus is even more perfect. Why? Because He is not just human. He is, as He is completely and utterly human, completely and utterly God.
You're a God. Omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent. And because you love your creation so much, you decide to be like them. Limited. Flawed. Weak. It would be hard. And, on top of that, your creation doesn't believe you're its creator. Ouch.
Jesus was fully human in every way, except for sin. He was born of a perfect mother, and made her perfection even more perfect by crowning her, humble virgin Mary, Queen of Heaven and Earth.
In case that wasn't enough, God also decided to give us His very own Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity to consume. The very flesh of our Creator. We get to receive Him into our human bodies, our souls, so often that sometimes we don't realize how fantastic it is.
It's very fantastic.
Holy Thursday, the day we commemorate Jesus's giving of Himself in a physical way.
We thank you whole-heartedly, Lord.

15 April 2014

Faith vs Reason: The Inferno

For Literature class, we are reading Dante's Divine Comedy. It has been by far my favorite thing we've read this year. It's much less dry than, for instance, Plutarch's Lives, because it reads much more like a story. I finished the Inferno last week, and this week I'm writing an essay on it.
My essay involves how far one can get using Reason alone and when Divine Revelation has to take over. Virgil, being the embodiment of Reason in the Divine Comedy, leads Dante the pilgrim through Hell. He also guides Dante through part of Purgatory, but is obliged at one point to go no further and let Beatrice, a soul from Heaven who asked Virgil to guide Dante through Hell, lead him the rest of the way. This exchange illustrates the point that one cannot reach the Beatific Vision using only Reason. There are certain things about God and creation and virtue that require Faith, because they cannot be understood by the minds we were endowed with. God's revelations to Man help us to comprehend Him a little further, but we shall never be able to understand fully until we reach Heaven.
The Bible says, "Man does not live on bread alone, but by every word that comes from the Mouth of God." (Mt. 4:4) Without the wonderful things God reveals to us, we would have a much poorer Faith. The Bible itself was written through revelation from God to its  holy authors. There are many aspects of our Faith that can be proved through reason, such as the existence of God, but there are far more that are beyond human reason.
Virgil says goodbye to Dante the pilgrim and puts him in the care of Beatrice, the allegory of Divine Revelation. Dante the author is making a very obvious point here: reason alone isn't good enough to get into Heaven. Using the intellect is right and good; after all, God created it for us. But relying on the things of earth and not looking to the things of God (Faith, for instance) doesn't get us far enough. Even more telling is that Virgil is in Limbo--not really in Hell, but he is in the place where those who were virtuous but did not know God stay. As he puts it, they had the four cardinal virtues (prudence, justice, temperance and fortitude) but not the three most important theological virtues (Faith, Hope and Charity). God had not been revealed to them in life, and they were not permitted a revelation of Him in the afterlife. In Limbo, the souls are not in torment, but they live without hope of a greater place.

12 April 2014

Spring Fever

Yesterday, at co-op, we received our scripts for the musical we are putting on this summer: Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. Consequently, I am preparing to have the songs stuck in my head for the next three months or so. But we are all very excited! We were hoping the organizer would choose this musical, and she was able to rent the scripts for a good price. My piano teacher and her daughter are doing the accompanying, my voice teacher is doing the music and choreography, and my director from last year's Drama Camp is directing. We are going to have so much fun! It's going to be VERY exhuasting, with two weeks of rehearsals and several Wednesdays of music practice before that, but it will be worth it. 

Also, the play for Shakespeare Camp was cast! We are doing A Midsummer Night's Dream. We don't find out the cast until May, though, because that's when we get our scripts. Shakespeare Camp is pretty intense and majorly exhausting (as putting on an entire Shakespeare play would be for anyone), but it's usually the most fun I have every summer. Our practices start in the afternoon and go into the evening instead of in the morning, which is really nice because we don't lose sleep from waking up early. We see each other so much, by the end of the performance we're sick of each other! It's delightful. 

I'm SO ready for summer. We've had 70-degree weather lately. But, alas, we live in South Dakota, the land of unpredictable and COLD weather. Today the high is 69. Tomorrow the high is 39. Monday, it's 37. You see my point? We aren't guaranteed warm weather until late May, usually. And then there's the ever-present possibility of a do-over of last year, when we had an enormous ice storm in mid-April. ("Why, why?" she asked the sky. "Why must you torment us so?" The sky gave a low cackle and said nothing.) 


07 April 2014


On Saturday night my homeschool friends and I went to the annual spring high school dinner-dance, set up by the parents in the homeschool group. There were 53 people there!
We first went to get ready at the house of my friend who is in school, and we had lots of fun with hair, makeup, and talking, laughing, and expressing our opinions about the songs which came up on Pandora.
One of my friend's mom let us use her camera, so we took some pictures before we left. I don't have the ones of us getting ready; she hasn't sent them yet. But here are a couple:

From left: Susannah, Cecilia, Cecelia (yes, they have the same name), Ann, Maren, and me. 

We had lots of fun! I will post more pictures once I get them. 

02 April 2014

A Cool Thing from History Class

So in history class (which is taught by the author of our history book) we are learning about the First World War. We talked about Emperor Karl von Habsburg-Lotharingen, who is actually now a blessed on his way to sainthood! He was the ruler of the dual monarchy of Austria-Hungary--emperor of Austria, king of Hungary. He was the successor of Franz Josef, because the man who was supposed to be before him in line to the throne, his uncle Franz Ferdinand, was assassinated with his wife in Serbia. Due to an unequal marriage, Franz Ferdinand's children were excluded from the imperial line.
Karl von Habsburg-Lotharingen was the eagerest of the warring monarchs to begin peace negotiations All through the First World War. He accepted Pope Benedict XV's Seven Points for peace, while the other rulers rejected it.
Anyway, on to my point. Karl, while still archduke, was married to Zita, princess of Parma-Bourbon. The really cool thing is that we have footage of the royal wedding. So cool!
So you can pick him out in the video, here's a picture of him:
Look for him and Princess Zita--they come on screen toward the end of the clip.
Oh, and you can also find Emperor Franz Josef:

The video is around three and a half minutes long. I highly recommend watching it. I think it's so amazing that we can see footage from a wedding that took place more than one hundred years ago!