Discipline: Where does it come from?

What we do is never about us…

I was praying the joyful mysteries at Adoration. As I prayed, I was struck by the fourth Joyful Mystery, which is the Presentation in the Temple…and the fruit of this mystery, which is obedience!

Santa Maria della Salute (Venice) – Presentazione della virgine al tempio di Luca Giordano 1674

Earlier that day, I had received an email from a homeschool mom asking for advice about disciplining her children, having them listen to her, helping siblings to get along with each other, and dealing with family anger issues. 

In other words, she really asked about obedience!

However, why does obedience have such a nasty taste in our mouths?

Your kids taste it when you ask them to do their school work or chores, without complaint.  You taste it when you have to make dinner or plan a curriculum, or deal with siblings fighting, for the umpteenth time today!

But why does obedience have such a nasty taste when it is so closely tied to LOVE?

We all want and crave the good feeling of getting along and peace in our homes!

Furthermore, we are all wired for connectivity, and as such God placed us in families. 

On purpose, He placed us with the exact people in our unique family.  Without that beautiful desire to love each other, to want to get along, we would not know dying to self. He knew that suffering comes from love and we poor creatures have a really hard time making that connection. 

Back to that meditation…and the question:

Why is obedience the fruit of the mystery, the Presentation of the Lord?

Looking closely at Scripture, we see that it was out of obedience that Mary and Joseph brought baby Jesus to the Temple. It is the fulfillment from the prophet Malachi.

“Now I am sending my messenger— he will prepare the way before me; And the lord whom you seek will come suddenly to his temple; The messenger of the covenant whom you desire—see, he is coming! says the LORD of hosts”. Malachi 3:1

Similarly, in St. John Paul II’s REDEMPTORIS MATER, which is about the Blessed Mother and the life of the Church, he describes how the entire passages of Jesus’s announcement and birth, through to the presentation, is the story of Mary’s “obedience of faith.”

Simeon’s words seem like a second Annunciation to Mary, for they tell her of the actual historical situation in which the Son is to accomplish his mission, namely, in misunderstanding and sorrow. While this announcement on the one hand confirms her faith in the accomplishment of the divine promises of salvation, on the other hand it also reveals to her that she will have to live her obedience of faith in suffering, at the side of the suffering Savior, and that her motherhood will be mysterious and sorrowful.” 

I find that super hard to read and much harder to live!!

However, God gives us the answer!

Your family is the haven of peace and obedience He created. Let us begin to think of our homes as the domestic church God gifted us with and in it dwells LOVE, the author of LOVE, and the Mother He gave us to guide us.

Finally, St. John Paul II goes on… “The Mother of that Son, therefore, mindful of what has been told her at the Annunciation and in subsequent events, bears within herself the radical “newness” of faith: the beginning of the New Covenant. This is the beginning of the Gospel, the joyful Good News.”

Of course, we all want peace in our homes, and dare I say even in our homeschools. 

We desire obedience from our kids.  We set boundaries and hand out a family rulebook, BUT we need to do this only through LOVE and continually asking ourselves:

“What kind of obedience am I asking of myself and children?”

If it is to be an obedience of faith, like Mary’s, then expect to walk side by side in suffering.  Misunderstanding and suffering does exist in families.  We all want to do what we want, when we want! Yet, we all know, all too well, that for the good of others we love, we cannot get what we want, when we want it. Period.

Does this mean, there are no practical tips for gaining obedience?  Should we just suffer and give up? Absolutely not! 

When my kids were very little, we surrounded them with love and as such surrounded them with the love of Christ.  He is the center of our home and sits at our table for all our meals, guides our speech towards each other. We offered our day through petition at the beginning of each day by reading the gospel of the day, singing a hymn of praise and offered contrition and thanksgiving in each night’s prayers.  We immersed ourselves in the lives of the saints and lived the liturgical year. 

Were we perfect in our desire to live this Christocentric life?  Heck no! 

I lost it with my kids, slammed doors (broke that habit – thank God), and fought with my husband.  However, we had TIME…yes, TIME to work all these things out because we homeschooled our children.  We had to live with each other on a daily basis for many hours, learn from each other, and get along for the sake of the family!

The peace beyond all understanding.

There is no magic pill or miracle tip that will make it all better.

Yes, you should expect kindness.  Yes, you should expect immediate obedience (no counting to 3 please, it just delays obedience). Remember to be patient, as we are all a work in progress.  Be gentle with yourself, if you are often not patient or kind with family members. Sometimes it is best to remove yourself from the room, take a deep, long breath, and pray!

Recently at confession, our pastor said a lovely thing to me, “Leave the past to God’s mercy, and do not worry about the future, as it has not happened yet. Be present in the moment and give it to serving and loving Jesus in your family.”

Great reminder, right?

Here is another gem, a favorite verse that helps me refocus…

“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, shall guard your heart and mind through Jesus Christ.” Philippians 4:6-7

Thank you homeschool mom! You share your heart with your family each and every day, giving that LOVE of Christ to the precious ones in your care. Keep Jesus close because He will take your crooked lines and make them straight!

May God bless your family abundantly! With love ❤️ Paola

Now it’s your turn. Comment below to share with us your thoughts on obedience!

Got a friend or fellow homeschool mom who can use encouragement, who would feel loved and supported by this message? Please share this post!

Why Talk of Such Sadness? The Feast of All Souls

This past year we attended quite a few funerals, more than I can ever remember. I suppose in part it is due to my “getting on in years” as I am now in my late 50’s, in part though, it was because some very dear ones died way too soon.

I am especially missing some very dear soul sisters in Christ who were real heroes with unshakeable courage and a deep love of our Lord. 

But why am I talking of such sadness?

Call me crazy but I think it is not sad talk. As a Catholic I have come to understand suffering and death in its proper perspective.


Remembering that I belong to a very huge family of God comforts, heals and has sanctified my life.  I pray every day for those souls and their families. I ask them to intercede for my family and I have hope that perhaps some day we may all be united in the Beatific Vision.

November is the month dedicated to the Holy Souls in Purgatory, where we are asked by Holy Mother Church to remember all those who have died. We are asked to remember those poor souls in prayer in hope that they will rejoice in the glory of God.  We rejoice with the saints who the Church tells us have arrived at His heavenly kingdom and bask in His Glory. In fact the month is ushered in with All Saints Day, which we just celebrated yesterday.


After watching the movie Love is a Choice, the story of St. Gianna Molla, with my family, we were all moved deeply by the testimony of her husband, Pietro, who told the story of their son, only five at the time, who had seen his father crying several days after his wife’s funeral. He asked his father why he was crying.  Pietro told his son that he missed his wife so very much.  His son’s answer to this was simple and beautiful, “But Papa she is in heaven now.”


A beloved pastor of ours had once told us in an All Souls Mass homily, that his mom would call him about this time every year. It was to remind him to add the names of family members who died over the past year onto “the list.”

You see he keeps a list of everyone (and I mean everyone) in his family who has ever died since he was born! He keeps this list as a reminder to pray for them and remember them. This practice is much like our ancestors practice of lighting  blessed candles on the Feast of All Souls, one for each family member who died that year.   

The candles and Father’s “list” are visible signs that there is hope, peace, an eternal reward and that we are called to remember and pray.


Several years ago, at the Mass for All Souls, Larry and I were asked to each hold a small wooden cross with the name of a parishioner who had died that year. They asked us because no family member was present at that Mass to remember them. As we carried each cross to the altar, taking our our turns as each name was called, we were most grateful and honored by this small gesture of remembrance. 

It really hit home that Larry and I are members of a much bigger family than those who reside in our own home. We are members of the family of God. We belong to Christ Jesus, who laid down his innocent life so that we can have the hope in an eternity with God.

That’s really something to rejoice in.

A blessed All Souls’s Day….there is family waiting for your prayers!

“If we knew what may be obtained from God by the intercession of the Poor Souls, they would not be so much abandoned. Let us pray a great deal for them; they will pray for us.” –St. John Vianney

Questions for the Thinker Study Guides

By Fran Rutherford

Truly this is an answer to a prayer. Ordinarily I eschew study guides for they tend to limit discussion and understanding by providing ready answers! However, Questions for Thinkers Study Guides are very DIFFERENT simply because of the wonderful idea of listing questions for the student to answer as they read through key classical texts.

Questions for Thinkers Study Guides questions too are different in that they are thought provoking and lead the student to a deeper understanding of these difficult readings. The readings are ones they will encounter for the first time in high school, if they use a classical curriculum and then later explore at an even deeper level at college. Use of each guide  ultimately provides the student with their very own wonderful resource to take with them to college. The written answers also provide the necessary material needed to develop essays and papers on each of the books as well as guiding a student in the process of HOW to ask questions as they read, an important aspect of true understanding!

Vocabulary development, research topics and frequent “Questions for Further Thought” are some of the hallmarks of Fran Rutherford’s Questions for Thinkers Study Guides, and are included throughout. Each study guides contain every question found within the Student Book along with a complete answer key for mom. We encourage you to try at least one of these wonderful individual title study guides. This is a great way to see how remarkable Mrs. Rutherford’s guides are and how invaluable they will be to your student in helping them read for deeper understanding. (High School, .epub)

The available titles are as follows:††Confessions††Early History of Rome††The Aeneid††Anabasis††The Iliad††The Odyssey††The Histories††The Inferno††Purgatorio

Click here to obtain copies: Questions for Thinkers Study Guides

Family of God: Grandparent Interview Activity Kit

by Maryanne Patterson

This Grandparent Activity Kit is an additional kit from the author of Family of God that is a great way to sample her amazing history program as well as creating a treasure of family history.  In her words, “Living relatives are a treasure trove of information and memories. Their recollections are important, not just in the gathering of data, but in getting to know more about them and the lives they have lived. Grandparents and other older living relatives almost always want to share this information so that it can be passed down and enjoyed for many years.”

Family of God: Grandparent Interview Activity Kit  will help you keep those memories alive with your children. The purpose of this kit is to have the children send questionnaires to their grandparents (or extended older family members) and get them back in the relatives own hand.  Not only does this provide a tangible keepsake, Granny’s own handwriting, but it is so personal and to top it off they learn the art of writing letters, addressing envelopes and enclosing cover letters too!

Each kit contains interview questions that each child can choose from to ask their grandparents,  several blank templates that can be easily printed and used such as lined paper, cover letter template and clear directions for the entire activity. In addition, there samples from the authors own kids. Great add on for Family of God, which can then be added to a family history scrapbook or as part of your primary history education. (All ages, 12 pages, PDF)

Click here to obtain a copy: Family of God: Grandparent Interview Activity Kit

Our Holy Father, the Pope

Our Holy Father, the Pope:The Papacy from Saint Peter to the Present

by Don R. Caffery Illustrated by Emmanuel Beaudesson

After the historic visit of Pope Francis to America, it is fitting and fun to read together from this beautifully and richly, illustrated, hardcover book about the papacy.  The book takes the reader through the inception of the first pope, beginning at the Sea of Gallilee with Peter and Jesus as Jesus first calls Peter to be a “a fisher of men”,  to his giving Peter the “keys of the Kingdom.”

The language of the narrative is appropriate for even your young ones to listen along and engaging enough to keep everyone still while being inspirational and rich in the depth our our beliefs.   As we are lead to Peter’s life as the first pope we see the the connection today to our pope as well as the election of a pope.

The book journeys towards several notable popes to our present day Pope Francis.  It is complemented with a lovely prayer for the pope, as well as the official listing of all 266 popes throughout the history of the papacy. You can even extend the lessons taught in this inspiring book with the suggested Scripture readings listed in the back of the book. 48 pp. Hardcover. All ages.

Copies may be obtained here:

Ignatius Press - Catholic Books

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

Pride-and-Prejudice_Ignatias

Jane Austen is arguably the finest female novelist who ever lived and Pride and Prejudice is arguably the finest, and is certainly the most popular, of her novels.  A classic of world literature, its profound Christian morality is all too often missed or willfully overlooked by today’s (post)modern critics.  Yet Austen saw the follies and foibles of human nature, and the frictions and fidelities of family life, with an incisive eye that penetrates to the very heart of the human condition. This edition of Austen’s masterpiece includes an introduction by Professor Christopher Blum and several insightful critical essays by leading Austen scholars.

 

Young People’s Book of Saints

4623By Hugh Ross Williamson 

We use this book for our 5th to 8th graders especially for their Saint oral presentations. The details of these sixty three Saints of the Western Church from the 1st to the 20th Century are perfect food for thought and inspire discussion at this age level, with each story being several pages in length. Included in this anthology are such famous saints as Francis of Assisi, Dominic, Joan of Arc, Ignatius of Loyola, Teresa of Avila and also lesser known ones, such as Raymond Lull and Hugh of Lincoln. These beautifully written stories are presented chronologically.

Click here for an instant download: Young People’s Book of Saints

Creator and Creation

3212_Ceartor and Creation

By Mary Daly

What a great text and tool for your high schooler’s earth science curriculum!!  Instead of debating several difficult issues that are sometimes over our heads, the author presents the facts and then applies them to resolve the debate over such things as creation, evolution, Galileo, and Darwin.  The fascinating facts are clearly explained, such as glacial melting or potassium/argon dating.  This has a great balance for students who love science (they will use this as a springboard to further study- it has an awesome bibliography!) or for those who dread science (she pulls out scientific stories –not just facts- from so many diverse areas and weaves them into an interesting, epic of Creation).  What do you say to your creationist friends?  What do you think when they insist that you join them in defending the Bible by defending its first chapter as a science text? What do you say to your scientific friends? Is belief in God reasonable?  Is belief in Genesis reasonable?  Creator and Creation is a “science apologetics book”.  It addresses the creationist cosmology from a unified doctrinal, scriptural, scientific, and philosophical perspective. Designed to invite Catholics to be the good scientists that they have been throughout history, with no fear for the honest conclusions of secular science.

Creator and Creation has received a Nihil Obstat from the Diocesan Censor of the Sioux Falls Diocese of South Dakota.