Tag Archives: inspiration

Landon the Bug Whisperer

I’m not real fond of bugs.  I can kill a big spider if I need to, but if there’s another capable party, I’ll watch thank you.  Not so for Landon!

IMG_4515Before school in the courtyard, the second graders are pretty much all on an insect hunt!  It is obvious they are in the midst of a bug unit.  Though we have yet to complete two weeks of school, they are all about the bugs.  I find Landon in the courtyard with a HUGE CICADA on his shirt.  IMG_4512He is not screaming, not squirming, not chasing other children around with it, not doing most of the things I might expect an average second grade boy to do with a large scary looking bug.  Rather, he is calmly putting it on his shirt where others are getting close up to take a good look.  If it moves he gently picks it off his shirt and moves it to where he wants it.  As he pulls it off his shirt, I’m glad to see those little pinching gripping legs are not pull threads loose on his shirt.  I’m also working hard to look very calm and asking him to not let it crawl very far up toward his face, which he seems not to mind in the least.  Right after we took these pictures, Landon points up and says, “Look there,  a moth!”  IMG_4517It was way up on the roof of the awning; yes, he has a clear dose of love of the great outdoors and the Father’s little animals.

He is a Bug Whisperer of sorts.  Calm, draws them to himself without hurting them, he enjoys them.  I won’t go so far as to say the bugs enjoy him, as I can’t read the enjoyment level of a bug, but they sure are not scared of him, or that thing would have flown, ran, bit or scratched.

There’s pretty much a room full of Bug Whisperers in there.  I went in for the photo op this morning and asked who really likes bugs.  The hands shot up everywhere, so here’s a few of them in front of the themed bulletin board.  IMG_4519Clearly Mrs. Magnuson, too, is a Bug Whisperer.  Sister Mary Maximilian collected a few specimens at the Motherhouse for the crew, but she does not get the title of Whisperer, me either.  Nevertheless it is beautiful to see the Spirits gifts in others and in His creation appreciated by his children.  Well done, Father, Mrs. Magnuson, Landon and the whole lot of you!

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Our Lady’s Rosary Makers – Not What You Think

IMG_4401Sixth graders are on fire.  They have made hundreds of cord rosaries and it appears we are still early in the process.  Eighth grade Giana Girls are also engaging in the process.  Even some fourth graders have gotten involved.  Sister Mary Guadalupe is the main instigator, and she is willing to teach a new Rosary Devotee how to tie a knot any chance she gets.

This week a small group of sixth graders came to me with a charitable request.  IMG_4397One of our kindergartners has recently been diagnosed with leukemia.  The girls, some of whom have very close associations with leukemia in their own families, wanted to help that kindergartner and her family.  They’d like to market their rosaries for her.  I love how their hearts that are making the connection that we could do this to help another.  The boys will be helping, too, but this core group has a good dose of the feminine genius that we will fan into flame.  They have the green light from me to proceed with their plan.  They have a strategy for posters as well as a time and place to engage not only the school community, but also our parish and a couple other parishes.  Some have also begun to reach out to their family members.  The leadership ability of these young people is growing, as is their charity to those in need.

IMG_4402We have been communicating with the cord manufacturers to see if they, too, would like to contribute to our cause.  I’m wondering who they think is on the other end of the communique.  Sisters in their 80s are a grace for the Church (someday I hope to be one), but that is not the “Rosary Makers” of today, here at our school!

Just yesterday a few eighth graders proposed a project to promote solidarity and prayer for the same intention…more on that next week.  In the meantime, join us in prayer for that little one and her family.  Many of our children have “tied one on” literally.  May they tie Rosary knots for charity and the good of the Mystical Body with regularity throughout their lives.

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Only a Good Friend Tells Me There is Breakfast on My Face

A while back a few of the little people in my life were visiting with me after lunch.  I had some fragment of lunch on my habit.  One of the little ones said, “Sister you have something on your……on your……..on your altar.”  How do you not laugh at their comments! We all need a little chuckle especially during Lent.

In Baptism each of us is given a share in the priesthood of Jesus Christ.  My altar is the desk of my office, my pew in chapel, the dining room table, the kitchen, the garden.  From each of these I offer to the Lord a sacrifice of love.  Some are so easy to give, even a joy to give, others, well, not so much a joy, but probably even more meritorious to give.

If I had a child, or better yet children, in diapers, I would put a crucifix over the changing table.  Just high enough that the little one wouldn’t be able to reach it at the maximum size for that changing table.  That would be my place of sanctity, the best place to offer to God a sacrifice of love.  (I have yet to run into anyone who says, “I just love changing a good dirty diaper!”)  As a former student of mine who now has seven children said to me just this week,  “I’m counting on God’s grace for all the little things I do to keep our home running.  I couldn’t do them without Him, and I wouldn’t do them all if it weren’t for Him.”  That’s a woman becoming holy.  God be praised.  May we all be among the faithful becoming a bit more holy.  Where is your altar of sacrifice?

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Presents vs. Presence

When I was a little girl, each Christmas we received one new family game, encouraging us to play something together.  That’s a present that leads to presence.

Presence wins over presents very often.    How many of you that have a child in kindergarten or first grade came to the Christmas program yesterday?  Was it necessary?  Could you have simply told your child that you would have someone tape them singing and would watch it later at home?  Kids love to have someone come watch them…..What a joy to see their beaming faces in person and knowing that they are watching for you to watch?

Watching that program in person was a real treat.  (And I’ve seen lots of Christmas programs!)  I was present to see a couple little ones up front put their whole hearts into the songs.  I was present when “Mary” got up the courage to go back on stage after she had stage fright.  I was present to experience the utter delight of children and parents alike as the students held their elbows to the side for what seemed an eternity before they skyrocketed upward as they sang, “We………………………..WISH you a Merry Christmas!”  You wouldn’t have wanted to miss that program.  Yet, so often there are obstacles to genuine presence with those we love.

070Recently I was talking with a parent who said, “I’m quitting Facebook, I don’t use it much but every time I do, I feel like a rotten spouse and parent.  People only post their “A game” items.  Those don’t happen every hour or even every day.  We see their “A game” and feel like, ‘Aw, gee, I never make those cute little treats for my kids…..etc, etc’“  She said the technology was not helping her in the long run so she was finding ways to step back.  She is working on presence to those closest to her.

I’d like to follow-up with last week’s note and give a few more compelling reasons for stepping back from technology with young children.  Last week we noted the correlation between technology use and a decreased ability to self-regulate and an increase in tantrums and impulsivity.  Further reasons:

2) Delayed physical development likely caused by decreased movement which enhances attention and learning ability.

3) Sleep deprivation fostered by 75% of kids having technology available to them in their rooms.

4) Mental illness, specifically depression, anxiety, attachment disorder, ADD, and a host of others, associated with technology use.    Adolescents are experiencing a similar experience to the mom I spoke to in paragraph 3.  In summary they are led to think, “Look at all the fun things every other kid gets to do and here I sit at home……”  Little do they know what a blessing home is for them.  Kids need to learn to handle boredom.  Figuring out how to stimulate our minds or finding some activity which I enjoy, constitute essential parts of maturation.

I had better stop there as one can only handle so much of the quagmire.

Jesus stepped into our quagmire to pull us out of it.  He also sends grace to help us figure out how to make our way out.  May this Advent bring you the openness of heart to accept these gifts from our loving Father, for which He sent His Son to earth.

Thank you, children for bringing to life the joy of Christmas.  We could see joy and heartfelt love so clearly on your faces!

May His decision to be present among us enable us to be more present to each other in His name.

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Scourging at the CATERpillar? Catholic Humor

Rosary Prayer                        Rosary Prayers

One of our older students came to school with a delightful story from home.  With a huge smile hardly repressing the laughter she says, “The other night we were praying the rosary and Jamie, my four year old sister, was leading and at the Fourth Sorrowful Mystery, she says, ‘The Scourging at the Caterpillar!’  We practically rolled on the floor laughing.  My little sister didn’t get it at all and got pretty ticked off at us for laughing.”

I, too, thoroughly enjoyed the story, but my enjoyment went beyond the humor as I considered the situation.  Here we have a family that prays the rosary often enough that the four year old can not only lead, but knows the Sorrowful Mysteries!   That speaks to the consistency of prayer and formation in that home. (I’m not going to tell you how old I was when I learned the Mysteries.  My age had a 4 in it, and that’s about where the similarities end.)

I also delighted in the excitement with which the older sibling shared that scene from home.  She wasn’t afraid to let her peers know they prayed the Family Rosary, nor was she excessively proud.  That was the setting of the story and necessary background for understanding the humor involved.  It was as though the story was from something that happens everywhere.  The humor of the story made me happy on the outside.  Reflection on the story and all that happened in the making and telling of it also gave me joy deep within.  I am reminded of the Gospel Joy Pope Francis speaks of in his document by that name “Evangelii Gaudium”.

Your families continue to inspire and amaze me.  Thanks for the blessings.  We try to do a little of the same for you here at school.  May God bless us in the formation of our children!

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(Names in the story above have been changed.  It is shared with permission.  These beautiful kids in the picture at school are two years OLDER than Jamie in the story!)

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