Thursday, September 9, 2010

Why Thomas Aquinas College?

I am a bit behind in finishing the last newsletter from Thomas Aquinas College.  I thoroughly enjoyed that issue, as I do most.  It was wonderful (cannot think of a better word right now :/ ) to read of the graduates' plans for their future.  The world so needs these young adults now.  They are going to do great things.  They need our prayer support for their future, which well may include ours as well.......depending on if they cross our paths.  Perhaps as a priest, sister, doctor, nurse, teacher or soldier?

I just finished reading Mr. Brian Kelly's remarks to the graduates at the President's dinner.  It is worth a read, if just to see what it is TAC is doing and what good it will do the students and the world at large.

Also, it is worth a read if you want to know what Matthew will be up to for the next four years, God willing.



Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Haven Heartbeats

You know, sometimes there are just so many FACEBOOK statuses rattling in your mind, you might as well write a blog post!  ;)

Sometimes that need to write is just so overwhelming, you might as well just write a blog post.

Like I even have time for this......but, maybe it will clear my mind and I can get back to quieter thinking.....


I love watching my older kids look at their struggles...and then turn to God for help.....with prayers, novenas, lighting candles after mass.......even a novena of Masses......all on their own initiative.  I beg God to help them to keep their prayer life always active.....and to help them to be a light to others.


We have a somewhat busy day today:

There are three things that need ot be accomplished outside of our home and they are in blocks of time.

First, the girls need to get to Patty's for their math tutoring.  Patty is finally finished with all of her cancer treaments....with the exception of a few follow-up appointments.  Now, she can focus on the complete recovery and see what it feels like to have an empty nest, having just just sent her youngest off to college.  How did that happen??!!

Second, our sweet friend Louise is sponsoring a birthday party for Sheila's latest foreign exchange student.  The kids met the girl on monday and say she is quite sweet.  Her American name is Sara and she hails from Germany.  She will only be here through December.  We love to include Sheila's students in our we have plans for ballroom dancing and hiking.  But first, there must be this tea party for her birthday!  Louise found out on Monday that Sara's birthday had passed in the last week and she did not have a party.........of course, Miss Gifts-for-a-love-language (Louise) must make sure everyone gets their party.  :)

The girls have picked out a gorgeous skirt for Sara's that matches theirs and a few of their friends.  Malachy is busy painting a paint-by-number wolf for a gift.  I may see if I can find a sweet souvenir of our town.

And, thirdly, Garrett plays in his first soccer game of the season.  He was blessed to get his "first" favorite coach.  Alex was the best coach we had ever had for one of our kids....and we are so excited to be back with him.  Since then, the two younger boys have had some great coaches.  But, this coach started it all.  Unfortunately, he cannot be here today.  He has been called away on a fire.  And, his assistant is also, he called Marty.  Today, Marty will coach Garrett's team.  Should be fun.....Marty knows most sports well...but soccer is more on the surface.  I know he will do fine.  I better go charge up the camera batteries.  ;)

I also need to get to the charter school today to make a bunch of copies so the girls can get started on some of their school work.


Speaking of school.........I never had time to plan in June with all of that painting and decluttering........and then Matthew arrived home from Switzerland.....and he kept us pretty busy till we took him off to TAC and then we traveled another, I am desperately trying to get it all put together.  I have Maddelyn's and Sarah's all planned out........I just need to make a couple of more syllabi for things to work better and to make their check-off lists.  Then there are the boys.......I have a rough idea of what they are doing........I got Malachy started on his math.......and I will get Garrett started today.  I decided to just assume school for us would officially start with the second learning period on September 20th.  We will just limp by till that day.

Aha.......I will go put on a book-on-tape to get them started for the year:  The Adventures of Tom Sawyer is up on queue!  That's school and not very mom-intensive!  ;)


Our Mondays will be crazy, as fact, maybe more so!

Every Monday....
-the girls clean for two hours at Shawna's house
-all four of the kids have piano lessons
-I will lead a Junior IEW Writing Workshop
-and then I will lead a Senior Writing Workshop
-Malachy has a soccer game for the next two months
-eventually Garrett will have basketball practice
-and of course, we may also have Shakespeare Club....though we may move that to Wednesdays

No wonder I always answer no when they ask me to work on a Monday!

I am SOOOO grateful to be abusing Anne till she starts school!  She has been doing a lot of my driving for me so I can keep planning school.  It is such a relief to get to stay home.  Thanks, my dear!


The cooking going on at Hearts' Haven is Mmmmmmmm!!!

We have a had few new Italian dishes.......the girls made three cheese sauce & mushrooms with tortellinis and I made Asparagus & Lemon Risotto....both served with salads......delish!

Tonight, we are having a petite Lebanese feast........the girls have already made the tabouli, humus and cucumbers with laban.  We have pulled the perviously-made grape leaf rolls and kibbee from the freezer so we are good to go!  Oh, and we must throw in a little bit of khubs!...Olives......wonder if we have olives somewhere?  We must, with all of this Middle-Eastern blood around here!

Tomorrow night, the girls are cooking Indian food.  Looking forward to the new dishes!

For the tea party, Anne made some tea cookies.....all I know is they have fresh rosemary and pinenuts; they smell and look good!  They also made a special chicken salad for sandwiches.

Special prayer requests on our mind:

My friend Lucia's sister Angela has had a relapse of cancer & the news is grim.  We are all praying through the intercession of Sister Lucia of Fatima for a miracle.  One more miracle is needed for canonization.

Marc Berquist, one of the founder sof TAC and one of the tutors, has been diagnosed with lymphoma.  the kids and I are asking Giancarlo Rastelli for his intercession....for a miracle cure...and then it can out Rastelli closer to canonization. 

We are also begging Rastelli for a cure for Baby Tristen, who was born with a serious heart defect.  Since he was a pediatric heart doctor, it seems most befitting.  Babies with congenital heart defects are always close to our hearts.  Oh, and let's not forget St. John of God, the patron of heart patients!

We do not know any of these people personally.....but we know they covet prayers on their behalf.

Lastly, could you please pray for my mom?  She has some serious health problems right now....and a happy resolution would be appreciated!


Anne noted on Facebook that there was an "exquisite dusting of snow" on the mountain.  I had to read FB to find that out.......I headed outside, and there it was, with the first snow of the season.  And, today is a definite reminder that November is coming.  Ah, well....I saw some 78*s in the forcast for next we still have some time, yet!


Blessings on your day and mine!!

Love, chari

PS:  I doubt my mind is is mostly full of all the rest I did not write!

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Creating a World Literature Course for My High Schoolers....Can you help?

I am creating a World Lit course for a sophomore and is in place of British Literature....because they have read way too much British Lit to need a course.  :)

Below, you will find the definitions that I have found regarding World Lit......and then countries listed with some of the famous literature from that country.

I am looking for help in several ways:

Could you please tell me if they should NOT read any of these books, for whatever reason, for their age?

Could you please tell me what books I am missing?

Could you please help me fill in the missing countries?

You will find ancient literature missing because we cover it when we study ancient history.

Thanks so much! And then, with your help, this will be sitting here waiting for anyone else who needs it. :)


Definition of WORLD LITERATURE: Literature originally written in a language other than English or a book written in English about another culture outside of America or Britain.

While it would be generally assumed that America and Britain were part of the world, per se, there are already courses specifically geared to cover American and British literature.


Animal Farm by George Orwell

War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy

Father and Sons by Ivan Turgenev

One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich by Aleksander Solzhenitsyn

Les Miserables by Victor Hugo

Joan of Arc by Mark Twain

The Scarlet Pimpernel by Baroness D ‘Orczy

The Song of Roland by ?

The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexander Dumas

Journey to the Center of the Earth by Jules Verne

The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupery

A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens

Cyrano de Bergerac by Edmund Rostand

Doctor Zhivago by Boris Paternak

Diary of Anne Frank by Anne Frank

All Quiet on the Western Front by Erich Maria Remarque

The Tin Drum by Gunter Grass

Night by Elie Weisel


The Betrothed by Alessandro Manzoni

The Divine Comedy by Dante

Pinocchio by Carlo Collodi


Ivanhoe by Sir Walter Scott

Scottish Chiefs by Jane Porter

The White Company by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

The Black Arrow Robert Louis Stevenson

Gulliver’s Travels by Jonathon Swift

Sir Gawain and the Green Knight by Tolkien

The Fairie Queen by Spenser

The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

(These are added because they have not read these British Literature choices yet.)

El Cid by Racine

Don Quixote by Miguel Cervantes

Works of Saint John of the Cross

Works of Saint Teresa of Avila


The Good Earth by Pearl S. Buck


The Thousand and One Nights by (young version?)

I need to choose a version.



Poetry of Africa

My House by Nikki Giovanni
Rashomon by Akutagawa Ryunosuke
(Hoping a cousin might chime in on this book or any other recommendation?)
Kim by Rudyard Kipling

The Chosen by Chaim Potok

Exodus by Leon Uris




Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Praying for a New Saint!

This was a surprising find today! 

Doctor Giancarlo Rastelli

It turns out that the doctor who invented the procedure used  by Sarah's pediatric cardiothoracic surgeon to rebuild her heart is up for beatification  for sainthood.  What a fun connection!

I am looking forward to learning more about his life.  He died so young, at age 36 years.  He must have been a pious man at such a young age to be considered. 

His story reminds me of Dr. Moscati's story.  Have you read this?  His story is a great one for our modern times........especially for the boys.

Sarah's surgeon, Dr. Frank Hanley, may not be a saint, but he is one of the best surgeons on the world.  We found this out a few months after her first surgery.  In the last decade, he has invented a procedure for Tetralogy of Fallot.  It is pretty exciting. He will be known for this procedure forever.

Just wanted to share........and find a place to store the link so I could find it later.

St. John of God, patron saint of heart patients, pray for us!