Abstinence and Chastity Education, An Evolution

1979-1984: St. John Paul II’s Theology of the Body Audiences | Michael Waldstein’s Outline here

1995: The Truth and Meaning of Human Sexuality: Guidelines for Education Within the Family

1998: Chastity After the Sexual Revolution

Chastity Before Marriage: a Fresh Perspective

2003: Chastity education activist acknowledged

2011: What’s the difference between Chastity and Abstinence?

2012Chastity is For Lovers – The Difference Between Chastity and Abstinence

2013: Abstinence, Chastity, and Purity — Part One: Drawing Distinctions

Abstinence-Only Sex Education: A Caution

What Nino Read, April 2016

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101 Secrets A Good Dad Knows – learned how to multiply any number from 1-100 by 11
A Little History of the World (history spine)
Abner Doubleday (COFA)
Airplanes by Gallimard Jeunesse
Artistic Pursuits Book 1 (doing art lessons from this now)
American History Mysteries
Ang Paglalakbay ni Butirik (the English section)
Baltimore First Communion Catechism (religion lessons from this book now)
Bard of Avon by Diane Stanley and Peter Vennema
Basketball for Young Champions – he LOVES playing basketball and usually challenges Dad to a game when Dad gets home from work
Boats by Gallimard Jeunesse
Buffalo Bill (COFA)
Cam Jansen and the Ghostly Mystery
Cam Jansen and the Wedding Cake Mystery
Curious George Visits the Library
Days of the Knights: A Tale of Castles and Battles
For the Love of the Game: My Story by Michael Jordan
Fruit by Gallimard Jeunesse
Get Into Gear, Stilton!
Holes
How Science Works
Hurricane and Tornado (DK Eyewitness Books)
If You Lived At the Time of the American Revolution
Joseph by Brian Wildsmith
King David and His Songs
Knucklehead (Jon Szieszka)
Math Quest: The Planet of Puzzles
Measuring Penny
Money: A Rich History
Moses (doing narration from this book today)
Mr. Popper’s Penguins
My Amazing Book of Egypt
My Five Senses by Aliki
Papa’s Latkes
Physics for Every Kid (doing experiments from this book now)
Pirates Past Noon (Magic Tree House #4)
Prima Latina (Latin lessons from this book now)
Samuel F .B. Morse by Jean Lee Latham
Scientific Progress Goes “Boink”
Singapore Math 2A (almost done)
Space Station: Accident on Mir
Stories of Wonder and Magic
The Adventures of Tom Sawyer
The Bobbsey Twins of Lakeport
The Boxcar Children
The Camera by Gallimard Jeunesse
The Country Bunny and the Little Gold Shoes
The Glorious Impossible
The Hard to Swallow Tale of Jonah and the Whale
The Hardy Boys Detective Handbook
The Human Body by Gallimard Jeunesse
The Kid Who Only Hit Homers
The Ladybug and Other Insects by Gallimard Jeunesse
The LEGO Ideas Book
The Little Book of Whittling
The Magic School Bus on the Ocean Floor
The Magician’s Nephew
The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Can You Find It?
The New Way Things Work
The Polar Express
The Ring by Liza Maizlish
The Secret of the Caves
The Tree by Gallimard Jeunesse
The Triple Hoax
The True Story of the 3 Little Pigs!
The Twin Dilemma
The Two Towers
The Wishing Chair Collection
The World’s Best Fairytales
Tom Jefferson
Toto In Italy
What Do People Do All Day?
Yummy Yucky

What Nino Read March 2016

The Missing Chums
Geronimo Stilton and the Lost Treasure of the Emerald Eye
The Bungalow Mystery
Horrible Harry and the Ant Invasion
Cam Jansen and the Scary Snake Mystery
Chess for Kids
Popular Mechanics: The Boy Mechanic
A to Z (Sandra Boynton)
Crow Boy
The Kid Who Only Hit Homers
The Planet of Puzzles
Dolphins!
Ginger Pye (part)
The Haunted Showboat
John Muir (COFA)
The Ultimate LEGO Book
Brother Joseph The Painter of Icons
George Gershwin (Mike Venezia)
The Dangerous Book of Boys
Stephen Biesty’s Cross Sections Castle
Carnival at Candlelight
Pirates Past Noon
Children Just Like Me
101 Secrets A Good Dad Knows
The Boxcar Children
John, Paul, George and Ben
Scientific Progress Goes Boink
Clara Barton
Volcanoes! Mountains of Fire
David Macaulay The New Way Things Work
The Baker’s Dozen
Bionics by Judith Jango-Cohen

Spotlight on Clergy Abuse

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Important to understand:

1. Many claims of abuse are exaggerated.
2. Many claims are against deceased priests who cannot defend themselves.
3. The Church has already taken MANY steps, and continue to do so, to correct wrongs, and to prevent abuse from taking place, including child protection programs that involve laity. The responsibility for preventing abuse belongs to ALL of us.
4. The Church has done so much to prevent abuse from happening again that it is now one of the safest places to be.
5. Abuse in the Church is ONE symptom of the overall DISEASE that afflicts society. Abuse is EVERYWHERE — in our schools, in non-Catholic churches, in our families, in Hollywood, in day care, in sports teams, etc. There’s enough blame to go around, but it’s not surprising that the spotlight for the last couple of decades has been on the Church, because we tend to hold the clergy to a higher standard than we do other adults in positions of authority. Whether that’s fair or not, you decide.
6. Transparency and honesty are needed EVERYWHERE, not just the Church, if we are to stop the cycle of abuse.

In case it helps, some links:

- The Nature and Scope of Sexual Abuse of Minors by Catholic Priests and Deacons in the United States 1950-2002: A Research Study Conducted by the John Jay College of Criminal Justice:
http://www.usccb.org/issues-and-action/child-and-youth-protection/upload/The-Nature-and-Scope-of-Sexual-Abuse-of-Minors-by-Catholic-Priests-and-Deacons-in-the-United-States-1950-2002.pdf
- The Causes and Context of Sexual Abuse of Minors by Catholic Priests in the United States, 1950-2010: A Report Presented to the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops by the John Jay College of Criminal Justice Research Team http://www.usccb.org/issues-and-action/child-and-youth-protection/upload/The-Causes-and-Context-of-Sexual-Abuse-of-Minors-by-Catholic-Priests-in-the-United-States-1950-2010.pdf
- March 2015 Report on the Implementation of the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People
http://www.usccb.org/issues-and-action/child-and-youth-protection/upload/2014-Annual-Report.pdf
- Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors articles:
http://www.ncregister.com/tags/10540

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Humans + Animal Behavior: Offensive or Not?

The Internet seems to have lost its collective brain cells again, this time thanks to boxing superstar and pride of the Philippines Manny Pacquiao’s statement on same sex “marriage”, saying,

Common sense lang. Makakita ka ba ng any animals na lalaki sa lalaki o babae sa babae? Mas mabuti pa iyong hayop, [chuckle] marunong kumikilala kung lalaki lalaki, babae kung babae. O di ba?  Ngayon kung lalaki sa lalaki o babae sa babae, e mas masahol pa sa hayop ang tao.

Celebrities, politicians, and other netizens took to social media to express their disgust and disapproval…. and this is where it gets funny. People are so offended that Manny Pacquiao compared homosexual behavior to animal behavior, AND YET, they use ANIMAL BEHAVIOR to defend homosexuality! In fact, animal behavior was the number one argument they used.

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So let’s get this straight. When it’s Manny Pacquiao comparing them to animals, it’s offensive, because RELIGION… but when they compare themselves to animals, it’s not offensive, because SCIENCE?

Thus it is NOT that Manny Pacquiao compared them to animals that’s offensive here, oh no, it is that Manny Pacquiao DARED to point out THE TRUTH as consonant with his religious beliefs.

Let’s have a moment of honesty here, shall we, folks?

Following animal behavior defenders’ logic, Manny Pacquiao’s views on homosexuality would be ACCEPTABLE if only he didn’t express them from his point of view as a person of faith. If Manny Pacquiao were an atheist saying homosexual behavior is animal behavior, he would be embraced by the LGBT community for proclaiming exactly THE TRUTH that they use to defend themselves!

You know, there used to be a time when being compared to an animal was considered an insult. Parents taught their children civilized behavior. Table manners, learning to take turns and share, treating others as one would like to be treated… inside and outside the home we expect people to act exactly like they’re supposed to: like human beings.

We took pride in being CIVILIZED, EDUCATED, even WELL-BRED. Many of those behaviors that we call MORAL were/are part of the whole Judeo-Christian set of beliefs, though we rarely thought of them that way. But now we find it offensive when we are reminded to act like human beings. What have we become?

Besides the obvious cognitive dissonance, one can’t help but question the animosity displayed towards Manny Pacquiao. Everyone is proud of him, proud of him representing the Philippines at the boxing ring, but please oh please keep your religious beliefs to yourself because you then become a national embarrassment? Who’s discriminating now? Tolerance for all, but not for Manny or anyone else unless they (we) all buy into something that goes against their (our) faith?

For the record, Manny Pacquiao has apologized for his words. Indeed, it is not charitable, Christian behavior to compare people to animals, no matter how they act, precisely because we were created to be higher than animals.

God created mankind in His image; in the image of God He created them; male and female – He created them. God blessed them and God said to them: Be fertile and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it. Have dominion over the fish of the sea, the birds of the air, and all the living things that crawl on the earth. God also said: See, I give you every seed-bearing plant on all the earth and every tree that has seed-bearing fruit on it to be your food, and to all the wild animals, all the birds of the air, and all the living creatures that crawl on the earth, I give all the green plants for food. And so it happened. – Genesis 1:27-30

This is why we think, we reason, we love, we exercise self-control. We have intelligence far above animals, and we can put our instincts, our emotions, our thoughts, our desires, under the control of our will. We can make decisions on wrong and right behavior. We understand concepts like “common good”. We know that all our actions have consequences, and can therefore choose, time and again, to behave in a manner that neither hurts another person or ourselves, and that includes, whether we like it or not, sexual behavior.

What Nino Read, February 2016

Zita the Spacegirl
Legends of Zita the Spacegirl
The Return of Zita the Spacegirl
Little Catechism on the Eucharist
Hurricane and Tornado
Childcraft World and Space
The Hardy Boys Detective Handbook
Saint Martin de Porres
Star Wars The Yoda Chronicles
Airplanes and Flying Machines
The Rain Forest
Castles
Best Ever Paper Planes that Really Fly
Scientific Progress Goes Boink
My First Body Book
Pablo Picasso: Breaking All the Rules
Abigail Adams: Girl of Colonial Days
If You Lived at the Time of the Great San Francisco Earthquake
Gandhi by Demi
A Weekend with Wendell
The Moffats
Space Station: Accident on Mir
Who Were the Vikings?
George Washington Illustrated Lives
The New Junior Classics 2 Stories of Wonder and Magic
The World’s Best Fairy Tales Volumes 1 & 2
The Penderwicks
The Boxcar Children The Camp-Out Mystery
The 13 Clocks
Hopscotch, Hangman, Hot Potato, & Hahaha
The Secret of Shadow Ranch
Taggerung
Once Upon a Time Saints
Things I Can Make
Tomie de Paola’s Book of Bible Stories
The Great Juggling Kit
The Naughtiest Girl Is A Monitor
Charles Dickens: The Man Who Had Great Expectations
Days of the Knights: A Tale of Castles and Battles
Poppy and Rye
Scientific Progress Goes ‘Boink’
The Kingfisher First Encyclopedia
Great Cars
Peter Claver, Patron Saint of Slaves
The Ultimate Lego Book
A Gift of Gracias

Culture of Life Rising (Abortion Compilation) | August 2015 – January 2016

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I haven’t been able to blog much lately. Busy with several projects and expect to remain this busy until the latter half of the year. Also need to declutter my digital space badly, so for a while, my posts here will probably consist of compilations — articles I’ve read and saved on various notepads (by topic) and really need to process somehow. I’ve grouped them by sub-topic to make it easier to find them again when I need them. Hopefully my groupings will be helpful to you too.

Through the Eyes of Faith
Marching for Life, Mother Teresa, and Mrs. Clinton
Chiara Corbella Petrillo: 21st Century Witness to Love
Letter from a Pregnant Nun Who Was Raped
There is no equivalence
Laughing at dead babies and the avenging conscience
Pope Francis on Abortion’s “Innocent Victims:” “It’s Wrong to Look the Other Way or Remain Silent”

Conversions of the Heart
NBC’s Gifford Blames Abortionist Kermit Gosnell for Real ‘War on Women’
“The toughest part of a D&E abortion is extracting the baby’s head”
I Don’t Know if I’m Pro-Choice After Planned Parenthood Videos
Pro-choice, but with open eyes, heavy heart
A Tale of Two Baby Boys Slated for Abortion
A Millennial’s Take on the Culture’s Acceptance of Abortion

In the Year of Mercy
When my abortion is forgiven by the Catholic church, I will be free — Note that the sin of abortion has always been considered forgivable (as all sins are) by the Catholic Church, but its gravity is not in the same league as talking back to your parents, let’s say, and therefore someone confessing this sin would have had to receive extra guidance than would typically be available in the daily/weekly Confessional. In allowing the sin of abortion to be forgiven via regular channels, Pope Francis a requirement that was considered a huge burden by many (mostly from misunderstanding), but at the same time it also places a much larger responsibility on priests. If you don’t understand this, consider your child coming to you and confessing that he has murdered someone. What would you say and do, how would you react? THAT’S how heavy that burden is — there’s no way to take it lightly, not by the sinner, and not by the priest in the Confessional.
On Pope Francis and abortion: a reply to Fritzie Rodriguez
Pope Francis on reconciliation for abortion
Holy Year Gestures on Abortion and the SSPX: 12 Things to Know and Share

Non-Believer but Pro-Life
You Can Be An Atheist And Still Be Pro-Life

Hippocrates Who?
Abortion workers reveal disturbing facts about abortion industry
How the ‘abortion pill’ Mifegymiso could change reproductive health
Suppressing Awareness Regarding Breast Cancer
Since Abortion Was Legalized in the U.S., Women’s Risk of Breast Cancer Has Quadrupled
Abortion is the Primary Preventable Risk Factor for Breast Cancer
New Docs Confirm UMass Purchased Fetal Cadavers for Use in Humanized Mice as StemExpress Dumps Planned Parenthood
Boston Children’s Hospital Has Been Using Brains of Aborted Children in Research for Years
Why We Don’t Need Fetal Cells to Conduct Life-Saving Research

Surrogacy
Surrogate defies biological parents’ abortion demand

Tales of the Misled, Corrupted and Pseudo-Scienced
Woman charged with attempted murder in failed abortion
Herbal Abortion Experiences in the Philippines
Poll: More Than 40% of Women Having an Abortion Attend Church, 70% Say They are Christians
Catholic Colleges Collude with Planned Parenthood
‘Leftovers’ Star Amy Brenneman: Abortion is Being ‘Demonized’
Back to Science Class for the Science Guy
I am pro-abortion, not just pro-choice: 10 reasons why we must support the procedure and the choice

The Hard Cases: Rape, Incest, Life of Mother
Philippa Taylor: Abortion is no answer to children conceived through rape or suffering fatal fetal abnormality
Report from LTI speaker Jannique Stewart, on her debate at Florida Atlantic University with Dr. Ethelene Jones of the ACLU and former director of Planned Parenthood
Catholic Hospitals Are Right, Abortion is Rarely Medically Necessary

Culture of Life Rising
Pro-life activist heads to court to defend undercover videos
Closed Planned Parenthood Facility Purchased by Pro-Lifers Re-Opens as Pregnancy Center

It is increasingly clear to me that as the culture continues to degrade we are wasting valuable time trying to change the minds of college students. Unlike most HS students they have been fed a bunch of lies from their liberal teachers and pop culture for too many years. Also, HS students are not generally as sexually active as college students and, therefore, have not developed sophisticated coping mechanisms for defending immoral behavior.

On the other hand college outreach represents a good training ground for our staff, interns and volunteers because we get to respond to the party line pro-abortion arguments. – From From Mark Harrington and Created Equal

Meet The Pro-Life Millennial
Taking Back Our Pink
The Wall of Secrecy Is Crumbling…
#ShoutYourAbortion? How Could Anyone Shout Her Abortion?
I’m a Pro-Life Female Attorney, I Didn’t Have to Abort My Baby to Advance My Career
When Abortion Suddenly Stopped Making Sense
Can National Pro-Life Health Centers Become the Cure for Planned Parenthood?
Now hospitals are saving babies born at just 22 weeks: Medical advances raise new doubts on abortion limit
Planned Parenthood issue isn’t going to go away

Master Manipulators
The three types of men who support abortion
Reuters Agrees to Correct Questionable Abortion Statistic
Watch the Shocking Scene From ABC’s ‘Scandal’ That’s Being Lambasted as ‘Stomach Churning’ — and Listen for Song Playing in Background
Obama Administration Paid for Research Using Intact Human Brains From Aborted Babies
New Abortion Panel Bought & Paid For
Baby Development… and Murder
Liam Neeson and Amnesty International get abortion wrong
Obama Science Czar Hides E-mails
Woman: Planned Parenthood pressured me to ‘donate’ my aborted baby
Now We Know Why Reporters Won’t Cover The Planned Parenthood Videos

The Real War on Women
‘One Child,’ by Mei Fong
Naresh Patel, who attempted “abortions” on non-pregnant women, sentenced to 18 days
The Fashion of Abortion
Dr. Drew is Deluded: Blah Blah Blah

On Killing Abortionists
Killing Abortionists: A Symposium

Abortion Law
Supreme Court Review Puts Abortion At A Crossroads
Supreme Court agrees to hear biggest abortion case in two decades
The Surprising Ways Other Countries Think About Abortion

Wisdom for the Battle
4 Reasons Pro-Lifers Need to Stop Doing This
If abortion kills children, act like it.
The Surprising Ingredient To Creating A Pro-Life Culture
The Myth of the Pregnancy Rewind
‘We Are Ambassadors to the Pro-Life Cause’
What are The Best and Worst Biblical Arguments for the Pro-Life View on Abortion?
A Letter to Jennie

First Person
The Timeline Of What It’s Really Like To Go Through An Abortion
Archbishop Cupich’s Seamless Bulletproof Vest for Pro-Choice Politicians: An Open Letter to the Archbishop of Chicago on Planned Parenthood and Poverty

Religious Liberty
Southern Nazarene Universty v. Burwell

Abortion Survivors
Why Abortion Survivors’ Stories Should Be Heard

The Truth Will Out
UN Data Backs Pope on Abortion and Contraception, Climate Alarmists Disappointed

Voices of Sanity
I Should Be Able To Murder You In a Safe, Clean, Legal Way
Abortion Is The New Slavery
A Miscarriage of Humanity: A Brief History of Abortion Arguments
Wouldn’t More Women Die if Roe Fell?
Feminism and the Unraveling of the Social Bond

Folks, when are we going to learn that abortion empowers men and not women? There is an article on Slate about Jacqueline Smith, a woman who died in an illegal abortion in 1955 (link in the first comment). They are trying to use it to make the case for legal abortion of course, but it actually makes the case against it.

Jacqueline Smith was in College, away from her family. She found out she was pregnant and she thought her boyfriend was going to marry her but he told her that she was going to have an abortion. Sounds familiar? This is exactly what happened to me 21 years ago.This happens all the time. Men coercing into/forcing abortion on women who comply out of fear.

The difference is that Smith’s controlling boyfriend arranged for a butcher to come to his apartment and the botched abortion sadly claimed her life but the narrative is still the same. – Beatrice Fedor

What Nino Read, January 2016

Religion/History/Geography

The Time Traveller Book of Rome and Romans
Fun with Hieroglyphs
Davy Crockett (COFA)
Time/Life Millennium
St. Augustine and his Search for Faith
Martha Washington (COFA)
George Washington (COFA)
Stephen Biesty’s Cross-Sections: Castle
The Reader’s Digest Children’s Atlas of the World
Teddy Roosevelt (COFA)
Knights and Castles
Paul Revere (COFA)
Alexander Graham Bell: An Inventive Life
Albert Einstein: A Life of Genius
The Story of the USS Arizona
Secrets of the Mummies
New Catholic Children’s Bible
The Holy Twins
Martin Luther King, Jr.
Money: A Rich History

Sacramental Preparation:
Little Catechism on the Eucharist

Math
Mathemagic
Singapore Math 2A
Singapore Math 1B

Science

DK Eyewitness Astronomy
Tops Lentil Science
The Egg
Topps Primary Lentil Science

Literature
Nancy’s Mysterious Letter
The Cozy Book
The Phantom Tollbooth
Cam Jansen and the Wedding Cake Mystery
Taggerung
The Ghost at Skeleton Rock
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
Legends of Zita the Spacegirl
Zita the Spacegirl
The Moffats
Romeo and Juliet (Bruce Coville)
The Secret Garden

Miscellaneous
Chess for Kids
The Kingfisher First Encyclopedia
101 Secrets a Good Dad Knows
Large Print Word Hunt
The Pocket Dangerous Book for Boys
Spider October 2015
Spider November/December 2015
Extreme Machines
Scientific Progress Goes “Boink”

Intimacy Through the Lens of Fear (Part 2 of a Series)

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The fear of intimacy is neither rare nor new. Every person has this fear, though we experience it to different degrees.

Its root of course is a fear of rejection. As we raise our children, it is our constant challenge to love them unconditionally, so that they never feel rejected and don’t leave our home with so much emotional baggage that they cannot develop or sustain meaningful relationships as adults.

Thus it is beyond worrisome that so many of our young people today seem to be disproportionately afraid. While self-preservation is a natural instinct, taken to the extreme it can be debilitating and drastically affect our quality of life.

The fear manifests itself in myriad ways, and contribute to the crisis of humanity that’s our society today.

We have the crisis of manhood. (Thank you very much, radical feminism and misandry.)

We equate intimacy with sex, then compartmentalize and micromanage it to death. We depend on birth control and claim that we can divorce the act from the psyche, “no strings attached”. We resort to pornography and masturbation to get our physical “fix”. Anytime we need an emotional high we turn to one of our many virtual relationships. We delude ourselves into thinking we’ve unlocked the mystery of the other, but we often encourage falsehood and discourage authenticity.

We take shortcuts, choose efficiency via the swipe of a finger, except that efficiency and human relationships aren’t exactly a good mix. We insist on consent, as if consent frees us from being objectified and commodified. We use the terms power and winning in relation to sex, and ignore what we know in our hearts: that sex is anything BUT a game.

We get preoccupied with image, embrace worldly “perfection” and allow fantasy to grip us. We buy into the notion that we have unlimited time, unlimited health, unlimited number of people to have “relationships” with. We get sucked in by the illusion of control: hands on the keyboard, hands off reality. We convince ourselves that digital, ambient intimacy is good enough. Whereas there has always been a communication gap between the sexes where intimacy is concerned, technology has allowed us to widen that gap even further. In this age of Photoshop manipulation and Instagram filters, we wonder if we can ever truly bridge it. Still we shrug our shoulders and refuse to rock the boat, settling instead for status quo.

We go for superficial solutions, get comfortable with playing mind games, and wonder why the end result is still dissatisfaction. We feel used, abused, objectified, but we’ve distorted the language to describe what we’re going through, and the closest label we can find to summarize our experience is “rape culture”, so we go with that.

We welcome the attraction to distraction. Like birds that forget to fly south for the winter, we flit from tree to tree, seeking warmth where we can and failing that, comfort ourseves with the thought that there are billions of other birds just like us.

We end up desensitized, plagued with an inability to read each other’s cues. We get frustrated at being clueless about each other’s intentions and expectations, and yet exposing our authentic selves is just too emotionally taxing — who can afford to do that? So we decide we can’t talk about real needs and wants, and we either make hasty decisions, sweep problems under the rug, or we give up on dating/courtship/marriage altogether. (Or we marry a warehouse or a bridge or a robot, since real love and intimacy seem impossibly out of reach anyway.)

We hear the oft-spoken platitudes: love is not feeling, love is not emotion… but those ring hollow, because if it’s not those then what is it supposed to look like, sound like, feel like? We are told that love is a choice, love is a verb, love is self-sacrifice, and yet none of those ring true to us either, because we’ve made choices, we’ve done deeds, we’ve sacrificed our very bodies, yet we’ve come no closer to the truth.

We mistake intimacy as knowing what the other looks like underneath his or her clothes, when real intimacy is knowing what the other looks like underneath his or her fears. And we’re not sure we really want to know.

We look at married people around us, and see that they’re just as confused if not more so. If marriage is just more of the same, then why even bother? It’s scary enough now just breaking down these walls one brick at a time; how can marriage possibly be better?

More next time.


How a Culture of Distraction is Keeping Millennials from Marrying

Homeschooling First Grade Science (A Sample Curriculum)

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Posting this for my friend Madora who asked for a bit of guidance on how to homeschool Science with a first grader without the use of a textbook.

Prior to fifth grade and often even beyond, I rarely use a textbook. I find that living books very much fit our homeschooling lifestyle and personalities, so I will almost always reach for one whether I’m reading aloud to the kids or letting them read themselves.

This list of living books (plus other materials) isn’t meant to be comprehensive or match a specific state’s rubrics. At 6 years old, my first grader is still very much a sponge (thank God), so there isn’t much that he does NOT want to learn about, and I simply take cues from his interests, which I observe just from day-to-day interaction. Almost anything can trigger questions, so I do my best to pay attention to those and encourage further questioning and exploration.

In no particular order, these are my 6-year-old’s current favorites:

Microscope and slides
Seeds, any kind but bean seeds are great because they’re easy to grow, and grow quickly (almost instant gratification)
Paper, water, food coloring for random experimentation
Playdough – always nice to have colorful ones, but not necessary; whenever I make bread I give him a piece and it occupies him for at least a couple of hours if not more.
Recently he came home with some flubber from Trail Life.
Paper Airplanes
KidsGardening: A Kids’ Guide to Messing Around in the Dirt
Star Wars Yoda Chronicles (I don’t know that Star Wars = science, but hey, it counts as science around here)
Books by Gallimard Jeunesse, especially Dinosaurs and Airplanes
Mission to the Moon: (Book and DVD)
Star Wars Blueprints: The Ultimate Collection
Boys Life Magazines (you can usually find this at your local library)
Dinosaur!
Universe (DK Eyewitness Books)
The New Way Things Work
National Geographic Readers: Volcanoes!
Dk Eyewitness Hurricane & Tornado
Oh, Yuck! The Encyclopedia Of Everything Nasty

At this age, he’s very curious about body processes and functions, so jumping up and down on the couch or on the floor, or down from the tree, using the bathroom, turning cartwheels, are all opportunities for me to engage and answer questions or point things out about anatomy and the way our bodies work.

When it gets a wee bit warmer we’ll head out to the fossil park not far from here. There’s a good list of fossil park locations on Wikipedia, but anywhere where kids can hold a small trowel and do some digging is great.

It goes without saying that play outside is essential. If you live near the beach, a nature park, a zoo, a botanical garden, a space museum — take advantage of these resources. But even if you don’t live near any of those, just get outside and observe trees, leaves, bugs, grass, the sky, birds, the sun and stars, etc. The list is endless, because God’s creation is endless.

A couple of sentences I love to use when interacting with my child:

“I don’t know that one, should we look it up?” Usually the answer is an excited YES, and usually there’s already some book in the house that provides basic information to satisfy his curiosity. If not, we ask dad, or a sibling, or one of mom’s online friends. There’s always Google though caution needs to be exercised when you do a search with a little one beside you.

“Why don’t you try it and see what happens/tell me what you find out?” with some brief guidance on where and when to conduct the experimentation — the tub, outside in the yard, at the sink. If you forget to provide that guidance, don’t lose your head later if it happens on your couch or bed.

Every once in a while, we go on the Pinterest board that I put together for him, and check out some new things we haven’t tried.

There really are not enough hours in the day to answer all his questions, so I don’t worry at all that he might not be learning enough. If he ever stopped asking them, THEN I’ll worry.

I hope this gives you a good starting point so you can put together your own first grade science curriculum. Or, if you would rather have something already put together for you, a favorite of homeschoolers is Noeo Science, which we tried one year and liked.

And in case you need it, I’ve got more science ideas in my previous post, How I Didn’t Teach Science. There are also ideas in the comments section from friendly folks.

How I Didn’t Teach Science

A close friend and fairly new homeschooling mom recently asked, “How do you teach science?”

I told her the truth. “I don’t.”

There was a time, years ago, when I would have been embarrassed to say that, because I would have interpreted my own answer as an admittance of deficiency: “I’m not the homeschooling mom I’m supposed to be.” Those words were petrifying to me then. The future was still a big question mark, and I was afraid that the reply that would be staring me in the face would be F-A-I-L-U-R-E.

I still fear failure, but I’ve also gained gobs of trust — in my kids’ natural thirst for learning, in the experience of moms who were there before me, and yes, even in myself as a mom and teacher. It goes without saying, I trust in God’s plans. And so far His plans have worked out for us!

Science is not my strong suit at all. I can explain basic stuff like water boiling or the sun rising or caterpillars turning into butterflies, but please do not ask me to balance equations or explain or demonstrate physics principles. Forget it. Regardless, our 23-year-old still graduated cum laude in Culinology, so she knows her chemistry, and another child is going into engineering. So it’s probably safe to say now that I didn’t damage them all that much. It is now a trust thing. :D

How does this TRUST translate into the practical — the day-to-day? What did I actually DO?

1. I bought them books. A science encyclopedia, and then lots of picture books. We read and read and read. When the kids got older, I relied a lot on my friend MacBeth’s recommendations.

2. I did try a few experiments, but since they were mostly failures, I gave up. I didn’t stop them from experimenting though, even the silliest things that they made up. They did kinda like and tried some of Janice Van Cleave’s experiments. There’s this funny video we recorded 8 years ago, where I had the boys experimenting with some soda bottles plus I don’t remember what else. It was supposed to work a certain way, but it didn’t. It was a complete flop. I’d post it here just to prove that I’m a science klutz, but no idea where it is now. Suffice to say, whatever science prowess they have did not come from their mother.

3. I bought them toys: Lego, wooden unit blocks, K’nex, Erector sets, to keep their hands and minds busy. Some had lesson plans and even DVDs included, but uhm, I never used them though I promised myself I would. (Lazy, lazy, lazy.)

4. I let them watch videos: Magic School Bus even though I couldn’t stand that show, National Geographic, Kratt’s Creatures (now Wild Kratts), Discovery Channel, etc.

5. I took them outside, sometimes with field guides. We looked at birds and flowers and bugs and rocks and trees. We dug for fossils a couple of times. Every once in a while I took them to the science center or aquarium to assuage guilt. I encouraged nature journaling but it didn’t take, probably because I personally wasn’t enthused about it, though I still want to be!! Maybe when I’m old and gray and they’re homeschooling my grand kids, I can be a better example.

6. I taught them to cook. Kitchen science is the only science I know by heart. Cleaning squid was one of our most memorable lessons, and that student is now a chef and got As in her chemistry classes, so something must have worked, somehow.

7. I let them hang out a lot with Dad, since Dad’s an engineer. I figured they would learn stuff, because GENES. Maybe at least one kid did, since he will be studying how to become an electromechanical engineer in the fall.

8. I took them to the zoo. I suppose they learned stuff there too, though mostly they wanted to ride the train. :/

9. I bought a microscope and slides, science kits, binoculars, magnifying glasses, tools with which to observe.

10. I hung out with science people online, like MacBeth, and Kris; and others who loved to talk about science. I figured I could learn to be a better science teacher by just associating with them. Every now and then they’d post something sciencey on FB or at the forum, and I’d send the link to my kids. :D

Sorry. I wish I could offer more profound/valuable advice, but like I warned my friend, I’m not a science person!! :D And THIS (so far) worked for us. So I hope this helps her, and you.

Permanence and the Intimacy of Marriage

intimacy
A recent conversation with the 6-year-old alarmed me. He was sitting on the couch as I folded laundry and out of the blue he burst out, “I think I want to have a child, but I don’t think I’ll get married.”

I tried to answer calmly, “Why not?”

“What if she divorces me?”

So I hugged him, and gave a short, gentle explanation suitable for 6-year-old ears… that God designed marriage for having children, that children need a mom and a dad, that marriage is supposed to be permanent, that Dad and I are never getting a divorce, so in case he was worried, he needn’t be.

Goodness gracious. Here I was thinking that we’ve been able to keep him untouched by the brokenness around him. So much for innocence.

How do you reassure a child that if or when he gets married, his wife won’t divorce him? You can’t, so I didn’t.
Instead we talked a bit about marriage preparation, and getting to know someone really well before marriage, as lightly but as well as I possibly could. One doesn’t always have the proper (customized-to-a-6-year-old brain) words when these things come up, unfortunately.

“But what if SHE’S not prepared?”

“Well, you know how we pray for our children’s vocations and future spouses when we say our Rosaries? If God calls you to get married, don’t worry, we’re praying for her now, so hopefully her family is preparing her well too.”

He finally went back to drawing the cover for his next book. Whew.


In a previous post, I said that my hubby and I eliminated the word “divorce” from our vocabulary early on.  Back then, most of the people in our circle still came from intact families. Today, our children are surrounded by those who are products of divorce. Our normal isn’t theirs. So in an age where the permanence of marriage is no longer a given, how do we mentor our kids for it?

We should, of course, continue working on our marriages, and SHOW them what commitment, permanence, stability are all about. How we live our marriage will do so much more for our kids than anything we verbalize, and we need to go much further than simply telling them that marriage is a permanent and indissoluble institution.


My own concept of marriage is perpetually tethered to this one night embedded in my memory, when as a child I woke up in my parents’ bedroom — the family room, a similar practice we continued with our kids until they were ready to move to their own rooms — to conversation at perhaps two in the morning. They were discussing investments, disappointments, plans. Since I was little I didn’t understand much, but what stayed with me was the calmness of it, the respect, the natural flow of thoughts being exchanged, the intimacy… all before I even knew what intimacy was.

Surveys list a seemingly unending list of reasons for divorce. In the past it seems the major reasons were conflicts over the raising of kids, over in-laws, or over money. In more recent years, I’m guessing due to the rise of no-fault divorce, the list has expanded to include almost anything and everything under the sun, and yet looking at these lists, it is easy to see that so many of them can be traced to one main root, and that’s a lack of real intimacy.

What is intimacy? It is a deep KNOWING of the other, and comes from the Latin word intimus, or innermost.

There are close to 1500 instances of the word “know” in the Holy Bible. When the angel Gabriel visited Mary, to announce that she had been chosen to become the Mother of our Savior, her one question was “How can this be, since I don’t know man?” I’m no theologian or philosopher, but I do understand that even in Scripture, the word “know” is sometimes Biblespeak for physical intimacy. But it is also very much tied to certainty and trust, as shown in the other passages. Genesis of course is where we find God’s command with regards to the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, and we all know what happened with that command.

I will leave the deeper analysis to Bible scholars — but I think you’ll agree that we were designed, hardwired, to have this hunger to KNOW, and BE KNOWN. In choosing a spouse, that’s what we ultimately search for: someone to reveal ourselves to, and someone who will reveal themselves to us. So if the desire is God-given and natural, what are we doing wrong? And how does that make a difference in how we prepare our children for the permanence and intimacy of marriage?

More next time.


Love and Marriage Sound So Easy: Where Did We Go Wrong?
The 10 Most Common Reasons People Get Divorced

What Nino Read, December 2015

including rereads and partially read

Arts and Crafts:

The Little Book of Whittling

Literature:

The Sword in the Tree
The House on the Cliff/The Tower Treasure (Hardy Boys)
Get Into Gear, Stilton!
Curious George Visits the Library
The Case of the Mummy Mystery (Jigsaw Jones)
The Hardy Boys Detective Handbook
A Tale of Redwall: The Long Patrol
Madeline
The Aesop for Children
Redwall
The Bobbsey Twins of Lakeport
St. George and the Dragon
The Tale of Squirrel Nutkin
The Tale of Peter Rabbit
The Tale of Benjamin Bunny
The Tale of Jeremy Fisher
Tales from Shakespeare (Charles and Mary Lamb)
The Hobbit
The Missing Chums
The Magician’s Nephew
Mr. Popper’s Penguins
Nancy’s Mysterious Letter
Berlioz The Bear
Poems and Rhymes (Childcraft)
Simeon’s Gift
The Adventures of Tom Sawyer (Great Illustrated Classics)
Homer Price

Religion/History/Geography:

Buffalo Bill: Frontier Daredevil
Around the Year: Once Upon a Time Saints
Favorite Greek Myths
History Makers: Kings and Queens
Children Just Like Me
Brother Sun, Sister Moon
Albert Einstein (COFA)
Paul Revere
Samuel F. B. Morse
The Ghost at Skeleton Rock
Pablo Picasso: Breaking All the Rules

Math/Science

The Camera
Space Station: Accident on Mir
World and Space
Alexander Graham Bell: An Inventive Life
The Magic School Bus on the Ocean Floor
One Small Square: Cactus Desert
Engineering (Merit Badge Series)
Math for All Seasons
Where Do Sharks Cross Mountain Peaks?
First Encyclopedia of the Human Body
Albert Einstein: A Life of Genius
How Science Works
Singapore Math 1B and 2A

Miscellaneous

101 Secrets a Good Dad Knows
Scientific Progress Goes Boink
Marvel Ultimate Sticker Collection
Trail Life USA The Trailman’s Handbook
Time/Life Millennium

Reference:

obviouly he didn’t read the whole thing, but he learned how to use the DICTIONARY (Merriam Webster)
Large print Word Hunt

also finished 704-word story for NaNoWriMo including illustrated covers.
learning piano

Advent/Christmas:
The Cobweb Curtain
The Christmas Candle
Bambinelli Sunday
Saint Francis and the Nativity
Nutcracker (Maurice Sendak)
The Year of the Perfect Christmas Tree

Red Salad with Tahini Sauce and Pomegranate Dressing

redsalad

This is such a festive and yet simple salad that’s especially fitting for the holiday season when you’re likely to look for showy but not work-intensive dishes. The jewel-like pomegranate seeds that sometimes seem to be lit from within really liven up the dining table. That the individual components are easy to put together is just icing on the cake.

Radicchio is a cold season veggie, and has a touch of bitterness that pairs well with sweet salad fixings and dressings. It can also be grilled or pan-fried briefly in a bit of olive oil to take some of the bitter edge off, if you like. Pair with some scrambled eggs and you’ve got a healthy, scrumptious breakfast. Pile on those antioxidants!

To serve 3-4, you need

1 head radicchio, trimmed and separated into leaves, the leaves torn into smaller pieces if you like, rinsed and spun-dry
The seeds from 1 pomegranate
Tahini sauce
Pomegranate-Balsamic Vinaigrette

To make the tahini sauce, you need:

2/3 cup tahini (I like this one)
1/2 cup water
the juice of 1 medium lemon, about 2 tablespoons
1 clove garlic, mashed to a paste with a large pinch of salt (this is optional — I’ve found that the garlic doesn’t clash with the pomegranate in this recipe, but you can leave it out if you don’t agree)
salt to taste

A couple of notes on the tahini sauce: People seem to either love or hate tahini, as it’s such a strong flavor, especially if made with garlic. I love the contrast it brings to this salad in terms of flavor and color, but if you don’t like tahini sauce, you can leave it out altogether and the salad will still work.

Also, the recipe above produces a little over a cup of sauce, so you’ll have extra. You can either halve or even quarter the recipe if you don’t want that much sauce, or save for another use. Tahini sauce makes an excellent dip for crudites, and as a foil for grilled/roasted meats. It’s yummy especially on nightshades — tomatoes, potatoes, eggplants, peppers.

To make the vinaigrette, you need:

Equal parts pomegranate molasses and balsamic vinegar
Olive oil, equivalent amount to the molasses/vinegar combination
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

So for a cup of dressing, you’ll use 1/4 cup molasses, 1/4 cup of the vinegar, and 1/2 cup of olive oil. Run in a blender, or shake in a jar, or whisk in a bowl until combined well.

In a large bowl, toss the sauce and the dressing with the radicchio leaves and the pomegranate seeds, and serve.


Variations

You can also turn this into a coleslaw type dish and use red cabbage instead.
Roasted red beets would also make a great addition.