29 October 2014


Over the course of the month, I've done many things.
-Gone on fall walks on the nice days (of which there have been a joyous abundance).

-Learned to cable knit, which is easier than it looks, and started knitting a scarf for myself out of gray wool.

- Learned to make bread. Yum yum! My mom taught me on Friday because I was craving homemade bread.

-And of course, did lots and lots and lots and lots of school. I have midterms this week.

24 October 2014

French Midterm

This week was our French midterm. Instead of having an exam, we had to write a 3-5-paragraph composition en francais. It was actually rather fun! Here's what I wrote:

Les Voyageurs Visitent

J'habite en une île abandonnée avec mon frère. Nous sommes venus ici il y a huit ans. Nous voudrons aller ici après les mortes de nos parents. Je n'ai pas vue les autres personnes du tout sauf mon frère depuis trois années. Personne jamais vient ici. Mais un jour, mon frère courut à moi, disant qu'un bateau etait arrivé sur le rivage. Trois hommes ont debarqués et ils ont venus à nous. Ils dirent que leur bateau avait fait couler et ils avaient ramés ici rapidement. Ils eurent besoin de reparer le bateau.
J'offris cuisiner un repas pour leur. Passepartout, un valet, m'aide et le gentleman, Phileas Fogg, dit sure s'aventure : le tour du monde en quatre-vingt jours. Elle sembla impossible à moi, mais je n'ai pas parlée rien. M. Fogg avait fait un pari avec ses amis, et il etait parti à Londres le même soir. Mon frère a ri ; l'affaire etait ridicule ! Je crois que Passepartout etait d'accord. L'autre homme, un marin, dit du bateau et son fuite. Après ceci, je et mon frère disons sur nous-mêmes et notre vie. Nous sommes Americains, alors nous disons sur Amérique.
Après avoir mangeants le repas, mon frère montra leur l'île. Le valet Passepartout a été très fasciné, mais son maître, Phileas Fogg, a été assez impatient. (« Le calendrier ! » Il dit souvent.) Le marin etait ennuyé, je crois. Les hommes ne surent pas du tout sur la vie en une île. Nous leur montrâmes comme cueillir les fruits à les arbres.

Finalement, le jour prochain, une êquipe vinrent à l'île avec un bateau pour les voyageurs. Ils offrirent nous emmener aussi, mais nous avons declinés. Nous aimons notre île petite. Nous avons parlés « au revoir » à les voyageurs et fîmes un signe de la main pendant qu'ils sont partis. La visite des voyageurs etait amusante. 

18 October 2014

Quiz Bowls

Once again it's quiz bowl season! "What is a quiz bowl?" you may be wondering. Wonder no more.
A quiz bowl is a general knowledge tournament in which teams of four students compete by answering questions covering all sorts of topics. The teams are made up of people from a particular school (or, in our case, homeschool group). Each team has 20 seconds to collaborate and come up with an answer for their question. If they get it right they receive a point, otherwise the other team has a chance to answer the question. It may sound boring and academic, but really it's loads of fun.
We had the first high school quiz bowl of the year on Tuesday. My team got seventh place, another of our teams got third, and the third team got tenth. Our coach always makes sure to organize the teams so we work well together and each person has a different strong point in knowledge. There was one question about the 17th amendment this time that I knew because Thomas had told me about the day before, just in casual conversation! There are all sorts of random topics in quiz bowls, which makes it more interesting than if it were just math, science, grammar, and history.

That's about all I have to say about it  right now...we don't have another quiz bowl until November.

14 October 2014

The Threshold Guardian

This week in writing we are studying the Threshold Guardian.
Picture this. The Hero, with the Mentor's help, finally decided to go on the Journey. He's preparing to leave, brimming with excitement. Then someone steps in and says, "You can't do this." That someone is the Threshold Guardian.

The Threshold Guardian represents the obstacles standing in the way of the Hero achieving his goal. It can be a person (maybe a clingy girlfriend saying "don't leave me!"), an external force (bad weather, prejudice, etc.), or an internal force (doubt, fear, apathy, etc.). 
The Threshold Guardian's purpose in the story, or dramatic function, is to test the Hero, to see if he's really got what it takes to embark on the Journey. Because they test and don't antagonize, Threshold Guardians are meant to be overcome. They only block the Hero temporarily. 
The Hero has several options for overcoming the Threshold Guardian. He can face it head on, get by it sneakily, bribe it, or even make it an ally. The Hero learns from his confrontation with the Threshold Guardian-- he gains confidence, motivation, determination, and maybe some knowledge of his enemy. 
The Threshold Guardian is the first, but definitely not last, obstacle the Hero will have to face on his Journey.

13 October 2014

Rose Ensemble

On Saturday night Dad and I went to a concert at the Cathedral, part of the Sacred Arts Series. The group performing was the Rose Ensemble, a band of singers/instrumentalists who do all sorts of genres from St. Paul, MN. They came here three years ago and sang medieval music in honor of St. Francis of Assisi, which was breathtaking. This time their program was titled "The Sacred Roots of Bluegrass," and they sang early American folk tunes, Shaker hymns and gospel songs. It was a lot of fun, especially since there were several songs people knew and the singers had us join in.

It was lovely to have them back. They are really good singers and blend so well. You can tell they rehearse together a lot. And they sounded amazing in the wonderful acoustics our Cathedral provides.

12 October 2014


Fall has officially set in in this part of the world. The trees are turning (though many are still green) and it's getting cold. I have yet to make pumpkin muffins, but that will happen soon. We have made lots of afternoon tea already. I'm drinking chai right now. Also, we got out the coats and boots (though we have yet to need the latter, thankfully).
Yesterday Mom and I decided to go to McCrory Gardens (click here for details) for a fall-y walk, and she took photos of the seasonal color with her iPhone.
What a gorgeous color. God has good taste.

A section of this tree was a bit ahead of the rest.

We just had to stop by the little cottage,

Mom got some fairytale-like lighting.

Only a few flowers were still hanging on bravely.

There was a large patch of these plants, and from far away they looked like a cloud.

They were very soft.

I love the contrast of this tree against the clear blue sky.

09 October 2014

Something I read

This morning at Adoration I was reading The Friendship of Christ by Robert Hugh Benson. He was talking about how the seven last words of Christ pertain to us. The first, "Forgive them, Father, for they know not what they do," was the one I read today and here is some of what he had to say:

"It is impossible to say that men do not know, at least in part, what it is that they do. They know that the whole of European civilization rests upon Catholic foundations -- that the Church fed the hungry, taught the ignorant, befriended the outcast, and made life tolerable to the sufferers, centuries before the State dreamed of doing so, before, indeed, there was anything that could be called a State, to do so. They know that she has been the mother of ideals, of the noblest art and the purest beauty. They use to-day, in every country of Europe, for secular or semi-sacred purposes, buildings which she raised for her own worship of her God. They know that the morals of men find their only ultimate sanction in her teaching -- that where dogma goes down, crime goes up. And here, again, the only charge against her is that she is no friend to Caesar -- no friend, that is, to any system that seeks to organize society apart from God.
But, thank God! Divine Charity can still plead for men that they do not know the full horror of what they do, that they still think that to cripple and torture the Church of God is to do God service. For they do not know that she is His Darling, and the Bride of His Son; that she is the Eternal City coming down from God out of heaven; that, further, in these very sufferings of hers, she is accomplishing and applying Divine Atonement for the sins of those who crucify her.
They know that they are outraging human justice, that they are dealing with a world-wide community in a manner in which they dare not deal with any nation; that they are severing the branch which supports themselves. But they do not know that in this instance human justice is a Divine Right; that in this instance a Society is a Body which incorporates, not the lives of men, but the Incarnate Life of God; that they are slaying, not a Prophet or a Servant, but an Only-Begotten Son."

Don't you wish everyone thought like that? He is an amazing writer.

04 October 2014

The Mentor

In writing class this week we are talking about the Mentor archetype. The Mentor is the "wise old man or woman" who teaches and protects the Hero.
Usually, the Mentor prepares the Hero for embarking on his Journey. The Mentor may also help the Hero grow physically, emotionally, or spiritually. Usually he gives the Hero some special "equipment"-- a piece of advice, a weapon, a magical potion, a raggedy old book, a crucial piece of information. Often the Hero does not realize the importance of the gift the Mentor gives him until the climax, when it comes in handy.
The Mentor helps the Hero know more about himself. The Mentor can be a former Hero, still on his own journey, or a fallen Hero, but always has the necessary experience to help the Hero. There are, obviously, many different types of Mentors, but the most common is the "wise old man" figure. (Think Gandalf, Dumbledore, etc.)

Often the Mentor learns and grows in himself while teaching the Hero. (The best way to learn something is to teach it, right?)
The Mentor can be a Shadow (good? bad?) or a Shapeshifter (sometimes good, sometimes bad). Rarely the Mentor is one and the same with the villain, because the Mentor must be someone the Hero can trust. Who would take advice from their arch-enemy? Though maybe the Mentor can start out good and become evil as the story progresses...
There's a lot to know about archetypes. This kind of learning is fun!

01 October 2014

October 1, 2014

This morning I came downstairs to this:

Aren't I lucky? 

I just happened to pick a really awesome confirmation saint...

And the roses are one of my favorite colors!

St. Therese of Lisieux, pray for us. 

Thanks, Mom and Thomas!