29 May 2014

It's been a while!

I can't believe how long it's been since I posted! I was going to on Monday...but that never happened. This week has been insanely busy because we started Drama Camp.
Anyway, here are pictures from Confirmation:
All the confirmati--there were eight of us.

With my sponsor, Mrs. Gerdes

At the reception afterwards with gorgeous friendies!
Later that day, we went to the graduation open house of a good friend, and had lots of fun! We got back to Brookings around midnight. The next day was fairly relaxing, but on Tuesday Drama Camp started, and let's just say I haven't gotten much sleep. Our musical is coming along nicely! We made a lot of progress today. Hopefully I can get some rehearsing pictures next week, as we will be practicing on the stage.
And I still have school to do! My science class has not yet ended, so I've been missing classes. I do the work when I can. Also, I have to finish the Paradiso and write an essay on it, hopefully before next weekend. 
And Tessie and I are playing/singing for a luncheon we were asked to do on Sunday. And Mom is going to a homeschool conference in Minnesota tomorrow. And we sent in stuff to get passports today.
And on top of that my body expects me to sleep. Go figure.

24 May 2014

My Confirmation

Today, after a sleepover and shopping with some of my friendies, I went to my confirmation retreat! I'm being confirmed tomorrow morning, and I'm sooooo excited! The retreat consisted of Father walking us through the rite and Monsignor and Father both talking to us about the importance of confirmation. Then we had adoration, confession and Benediction. It was short and sweet, and I feel good about tomorrow. Having a quiet afternoon for prayer was nice to sort of calm down from life and really prepare for such a wonderful sacrament.
Hopefully I'll have pictures of tomorrow to post soon! We are also going to a friend's graduation open house, so I'll see if I can post pictures of that, too.
The other day I was comparing medieval knighthood to modern-day Christianity. I've read that it's good to view the world as a fairytale sometimes, in a sort of black-and-white image so you can fight evil. Knights have a code of honor; Christians have the Ten Commandments and the Beatitudes, and all the Church teachings. Knights take vows of chivalry; being a Christian is a promise to follow God's Law. Knights fight for their lord; Christians fight for their Lord.
Soldiers of Christ.
In a very real way.

22 May 2014

Back in SD

I returned to South Dakota yesterday with a lovely smattering of cold symptoms. (A phrase which is not fun to say if you're congested.)
But we had a wonderful trip, and the weather here is nice! (I've been too busy sleeping to enjoy it at this point, but I will.) 
It was so fun to see relatives! And to go places I hadn't been to for years. 
I don't have any pictures from our trip to the zoo yet, but I will try to get some and blog them. We saw a baby lemur that was so tiny, it looked like a beanie-baby! It was really cute. 
Back to sleeping for me! Or maybe reading...

20 May 2014

Texas update

Today Grandma, Mom and I went out for some shopping and lunch. We ate at a French bistro, and had soup, salad, quiche, and mini-desserts. Yum yum!
Yesterday we visited my aunt's zoo in Gainsville, and Tessie went to uncle Dave's house and got to hold a barn owl.
And, of course, we've been enjoying delicious weather! It will be hard to go back north.

18 May 2014

A new college graduate!

This morning was Gus's graduation! His class had 340 people. The ceremony was held outside, and the weather was beautiful. The commencement speaker was George Weigel. 
Last night was the Mass and president's gala. It was also beautiful weather then. It was enjoyable, but now I'm very tired!
After the graduation today we all had brunch at the place my grandparents live. Then Dad left for a conference in Alaska. He'll meet us back in SD.
Congratulations, Gus!

17 May 2014

First morning in Texas

Here we are at Grandma's house! The plane ride went smoothly, and some relations took us to an Indian place for dinner. Yum yum! Today we will probably go swimming, and then we have a Mass and reception as part of Gus's graduation. À bientôt!

16 May 2014

Blogging from the airport!

We are in the Sioux Falls airport waiting to board a flight to Dallas! We are going to Gus's college graduation, and we will be gone five days. We'll also see my grandparents and some aunts, uncles and cousins! We're gonna have a blast! (I'm mostly doing this to try out the Blogger app in Mom's phone.)

Fun With Lettering

Recently Mom got me a lettering book, and I've been having lots of fun with it! I've always enjoyed lettering, I think because it combines words and art. I took the opportunity I had this May to try out some of the styles in the book on cards for people. (May is full of family celebrations, as you remember.) Here are the results!
(Sorry for the poor quality of the pictures; I wasn't using a very nice camera.)

Sadly, I couldn't save energy because I had to turn on the light to take the picture!

This is on my door. I went onto Pinterest to find quotes, mostly.

I need to work on attentiveness and patience!

French sounds much nicer. 

Here is the cover, and below are pages from the book.

My experimentation page.

I tried out some different styles for Mom's card...

And Dad's! I like how this lettering turned out.

13 May 2014

Happy Birthday, Dad!

Two days after the three-day celebration of birthdays and Mothers' Day, we come upon another celebration. My dad's birthday! he is 54 today! Dad travels a lot, but still finds time for all of us. He likes to take me to concerts. We used to have season tickets to the symphony, and we would go together all the time! I sometimes brought friends along, too.
Dad is always traveling to foreign countries, and every time he brings back little souvenirs for each one of us. He always puts lots of thought into these gifts and finds things that are exactly what we would like.
Dad is priceless! Happy birthday!
Me, Dad and Tessie at our first voice recital. 

10 May 2014

Happy Birthday, Isabel!

May is a month of birthdays for my family!
Yesterday was Claudia's birthday, and today is Isabel's birthday. She is turning 19 years old!
Isabel is in college right now at University of St. Thomas, studying music education. She and I have lots of fun talking about piano and other musical things. She is a great big sister, even though there's quite a large gap between us--four years. It's been hard without Isabel home this school year. Whenever she comes for college break, she stays in my room, and even though she tends to make her possessions explode all over the floor, we have fun and make the most of our limited space.
With Isabel at college so close (only five hours away!) we are able to see her a lot more often than the other college kids. Almost every time she comes, we go shopping! Recently we went to St. Thomas to see a concert of hers, and she introduced us to almost all her friends. I don't remember which ones I met...it was basically saying "hi" and then saying "bye."
Have a great 19th birthday, Isa! We are looking forward to when you come for the summer!
Tessie, Isabel and me when we went to St. Thomas last week.

09 May 2014

Happy Birthday, Claudia!

Today is the 25th birthday of my eldest sister Claudia. She lives in Morocco, so sadly we can't see her today. But maybe we can Skype with her. In August we are going to Morocco to visit her! And I think she's coming here in July.
Claudia is an amazing big sister. She is the most like me of all my sisters, which means she understands me well. Whenever she comes, we have long talks about all sorts of things, and when she's not here, it's always fun to chat on G-mail with her. Almost half my life, Claudia has not lived here; she went to college, then went to Morocco to teach English. But she still makes sure to come back once in a while, lest we forget her existence. I think we've known people who jokingly refused to believe she was real because they never saw her! We still love you, Claud.
Enjoy your birthday, Claudia! I miss you tons, and am looking forward to when you come this summer!
Me, Claudia and Isabel at Claudia's bridal shower last summer.

06 May 2014

The Little Old Book

Once when Claudia visited from Morocco, she brought me a book. It is a Latin Mass missal in French and Latin, for the Masses of Holy Week. It also has an anthology of prayers. This book is very old; it was published in 1911. It has very thin pages, discolored with age, and some of the things it says are no longer the case.
I told my French teacher about the book, because she had said she was having trouble finding prayers for us to memorize. I lent it to her, and she happily took lots of French prayers from it and used them in class. I actually think she scanned every page before giving it back to me.
From my book we have learned the prayers before and after meals, the angelus, the act of contrition, the prayer for a good confession, the ten commandments, the prayer before a crucifix, and more that I can't remember.  It has been so fun learning prayers in French! And it amuses me that there are so many from that one little book my sister found in a market in Morocco.
The cover says "Quinzaine de Paques."

Beautiful old binding. 
This is the very artistic inside cover.

The only illustration--the most beautiful Annunciation I've ever seen!

The Archbishop of Tours granted the imprimatur. If you look closely, it says December 2, 1911. 

The built-in liturgical calendar. It only goes to 1951.

01 May 2014

"You're smart."

People tell me I'm smart all the time. "How did you know that Latin word off the top of your head? You're so smart!" "Of course you wrote an essay in one sitting. You're so smart." "Where did you learn that curare is a poison? You're so smart!"
While being a bit tiring, people calling me smart doesn't bother me very much. What bothers me is the mindset it puts me in.
My sister once showed me a study someone did in which they gave a puzzle to a group of men and a group of women. The women, used to being called "clever," "bright," and other such things, gave up quickly when they couldn't figure out the puzzle. The men, usually being considered academically inferior, worked hard for a long time to figure out the puzzle, and succeeded.
I see a similar theme with "smart" people. If everyone around you considers you intelligent, bright, or clever, then you subconsciously have this idea that if you don't comprehend something right away, it's not your fault. Maybe it's impossible. Maybe it's a trick question. But you don't need to try harder.
When things come easily to me, I appreciate it and take advantage of that. But it gets me used to quickly understanding things, so when I try to do something that isn't my strong suit, I am less likely to keep trying so I can succeed. I give up quickly because it does not make sense. I see faults in other things, not in my lack of motivation. When you are good at a particular area of academics, you don't need motivation because you don't really have to try to do something well. But that takes the motivation to work hard away from the things you should work at.
Of course, I'm not saying that praising people is bad. I'm just saying that maybe if I hadn't been called smart so often I would be a better student.
Oh, that's another thing. Being smart and being a good student are different. 
A smart person gets good grades naturally. He may not try very hard and still get good grades, because it is easy for him to do well. A good student, on the other hand, is one who works hard to do well in school. You don't have to be smart to be a good student, because a good student works through the difficult things and pushes himself to do better. People generally call smart people good students, but that isn't necessarily the case. I, for instance, have an A in Latin, but I don't try very hard at it. I'm not a good student. I don't put tons of effort and time into doing well. I just do. Latin is easy for me. Someone for whom Latin is not easy can get an equally good grade if he does work hard. Such things are different for everyone.
When people call me smart, I often say to myself that if they tried harder they would be "smart," too. Good academic performance doesn't make you smart.
And now I'm off to finish the chapter I've been trying to get done for days! Happy May Day!