Thursday, August 30, 2007


I have gotten off track with my reorganization projects! As usual, this time of the year I clean out our classroom. With the school year soon upon us, this is a priority which helps get me excited about teaching again. I always function better in a clean, tidy and well organized environment, and it makes starting classes a stress free experience for everyone. This year, however, I decided to compound the issue by cleaning and flipping the shelves, which are smiling under the weight of their loads. This has taken the reorganization to new heights, because it inspired a purge. Oh, the mess! Eleven years of homeschooling is a disaster. It is gratifying in one respect, but I'm starting to wonder if we are 'over the hump' and will ever see the house returned to order again.

Today I was put off track by my eldest dd and her dreams. She is designing a knitting needle case to sell to pay for some master's classes she wants to take. Of course I'm the one with the sewing experience, so I have to help. This project is taking all day! I think we finally nailed down the design and I wrote out all the construction details for her in steps. She's off to figure measurements and make a pattern. Then we will bring it to a knitting circle here in town for critiquing. This will be the second trip for a critique. I will keep you posted on her progress. There is already some interest in purchasing it, and someone wants to carry it in their ebay store! I think she will have much success with her endeavor, and hopefully be off to her master classes within the next two's that for a motivated teenager? I was never that motivated at 15!

Monday, August 27, 2007


Look what I learned to do, thanks to an anonymous comment to my question, from a new visitor to my blog! In July I wrote the poem, Soliloquy to Slumber, and didn't know how to do the blank lines to make the letters hang in the poem the way I wanted. I had used dots. This morning I woke to find a comment with instructions! So, here is the poem the way I intended for it to look. I also corrected the original!

Soliloquy of Slumber
by Lily A. Thorns

Sleep, an ever elusive delight
Sleep, why do you escape again tonight?
Sleep, you pass me hour by hour
Till morning finds me, a wilted flower.

Come, dear sleep, and let me rest
Come, let me slumber as your guest
Come, dreams, come, in a bevy
and let my eyelids become heavy.

Sleep, please evade me no more
Sleep, please stop barring the door
Sleep, sing your sweet soliloquy
Thank you! Finally!

Friday, August 24, 2007

8 random things

Today I was searching through the blog sphere and found a young woman named Anna who is 22 years old and lives an authentically feminine life! She and her blog, Anna's Musings About Home, Family Life and Womanhood, are both absolutely delightful! I would be proud if my girls grew into such self assured, strong and feminine women. Please, do go check out her blog, it is worth the visit.

One of Anna's posts is called 8 Random Things. Many listed theirs in her comm box, but I, selfishly (;-D) hoped to lure her and her readers here, though I'm afraid I don't post nearly as often as I would like. Being a homeschooling mother of a large family, a freelance writer, and a homemaker/housewife, it really doesn't leave me much time to blog.

8 Random Things about Lily

1. RED has always been my favorite color, now I'm liking Blue quite a bit as well

2. I have always loved CHOCOLATE. My preferences now lean toward dark chocolate, with flavors too, like this one:
Or a new discovery:
Citrus Sunset
3. My favorite season is autumn. I love the cool breezes and the foliage.

4. Two skills I've always wanted to master are gardening and knitting.

5. "Disguise of every sort is my abhorrence." (A GOLD star shall be awarded to anyone who can place the quote and name the speaker. It shouldn't be too difficult.) Much truth appears between those quotes, it is an accurate assessment of my sentiments.

6. I do not care for the tissues with the lotion in them. I prefer two ply sans lotion.

7. If I could do anything differently in my life, I would learn to dance. Maybe I will someday.

8. My dream vacation is to tour England. I will do that someday!

It is now time to go clean something!

I'm not going to tag anyone, but if you would like to participate, you can either leave your list in the comm box, or refer us to your blog so we can go and check out your random list.

[Edited Comment: Alexandra has been awarded the gold star for identifying the quote correctly!]

Thursday, August 23, 2007

The Golden Compass

When my husband and I recently went to preview Hairspray starring John Travolta, Michelle Pfieffer, and Zac Efron, we noticed a poster which grabbed our interest for The Golden Compass starring Nicole Kidman.

Anyone who reads my blog knows we are a Catholic family. Nicole Kidman is also Catholic. I was interested in her new film being marketed to kids, based on a children's book series, because it is fantasy. We have a fantasy fan or two numbered among the children in our household. There is also reference made to middle earth, so I figured (as the publicity people wanted me to) there was a connection with Tolkein somewhere. Apparently the only connection is the one the PR people want you to think exists.

Rather than replicate a fine job done by fellow blogger, Thomas Peters over at American Papist, I refer you to his research and review. The movie, coming out in November will not be on the approved list for the children in the Thorns household. Thank you Mr. Peters for your review. I had been planning to read the books to the children in preparation for the movie.

Click the title below to read the article posted by Thomas Peters.

The Golden Compass is pointing towards anti-Catholicism

Fans of A Thorn in the Pew

Good news! Congratulations to Thorny!

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Announcing, "The Latin Mass Network"

Announced today by Mary Alexander from Against All Heresies and Catholic Restorationists, is a new project started by a group of lay people, called, The Latin Mass Network.

Here is a picture of Mary and Bishop Rifan, taken at the time of the interview. This picture appears on the Latin Mass Network along with her article.


The first article on the homepage is an interview between Mary and His Excellency Bishop Rifan from Campos, Brazil. In an email Mary said, "For anyone who isn't familiar with Bishop Rifan, he is the superior of the Society of St. John Vianney of Campos Brazil. The diocese there never abandoned the Latin Mass in spite of being excommunicated, etc. In 2002 they were reconciled with Rome and given permission to remain Traditional."

Recommended reading on the topic is The Mouth of the Lion, by David Allen White. Originally published by Angelus Press, they described the book as "The inspiring chronicle of the fight of Bishop Antonio de Castro Mayer and his loyal group of traditional priests in the diocese of Campos, Brazil, to preserve the Faith. Bishop de Castro Mayer inoculated his priests and people against the ravages of modernism destroying the Church worldwide. His priests were banished from their churches, ostracized, and physically threatened, but yet they managed to build their own traditional churches, chapels, and missions, and continue their ministry to traditional Catholics." This book is now out of print and can be easily obtained through used book sellers online.

On the new website you will find Mary's interview with His Excellency Bishop Rifan, other interesting articles, and a very useful search engine to help find where Latin Masses are available. Please go and try the search engine. Report any missing Masses you are aware of or any errors you find to the address provided at their site. Considering the number of Masses expected to be added after the motu proprio, this is a tremendous service they've undertaken to provide. Please help them any way you can to make the directory accurate and complete.

Planned website features are news links relating to the expansion of the Traditional Latin Mass, blog entries, links to Papal documents, and saints of the day.

Congratulations for a job well done! Do go and check out this new site!

Friday, August 10, 2007

Too busy!

Ack! I'm too busy to post and write these days. I'm feeling neglectful! I have many ideas bouncing around in my head, but oh, to find some time. Perhaps now the summer schedule has slowed a bit for the kiddos. Being mom of a large family is affording me very little free time of late.

I could use some prayers for an intention, I've been really tested lately. Life has been throwing a few curve balls. When you have your head down during the ballgame, you are likely to get hit, and OUCH! It hurts!

That picture is from here. I have no idea about the guy's blog, I just looked for a pic I like :-) This pic really shows how I feel today.

Sunday, August 5, 2007

Mom Sense

For your entertainment. As the mother of a large family, I couldn't resist this. I think I've used all of it! Enjoy!

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Certain Degrees Now Cost More at Public Universities

This article from the NY Times (click the title) ran in both of the local papers this week from two different states. I'm thinking many papers must have picked it up nationwide. Perhaps I'm out of the loop, but I hadn't heard this before. This article raised some questions in my mind. I am able to see both sides of the issue, but which side I fall on is pretty clear. Obviously this is all just my opinion, for whatever that is worth.

“This is not the preferred way to do this,” said Patrick V. Farrell, provost at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. “If we were able to raise resources uniformly across the campus, that would be a preferred move. But with our current situation, it doesn’t seem to us that that’s possible.”

This statement is absurd and there are no answers to the questions of "What situation? Why is it not possible to uniformly raise tuition?" It seems only logical that raising tuition across the board would bring in more total funds for the universities. If my child were forced to pay more I would want to see something tangible for the money, such as better facilities in the journalism buildings. Telling me that the teachers require higher salaries than other fields would not fly with me; there are always professors who would accept lower pay. Journalism professors should never be paid more than their faculty peers in other departments. Out of all the majors, this one makes the least sense because journalists ought to be freelancing. More than what degrees they possess, because everyone these days has a degree, professional success is what attracts the universities. Teachers are to be accomplished and successful beyond academia. If they want more money, they should be writing. If I were the dean, I would require a certain number of bylines per semester from my journalism staff to keep teaching. Freelancing could make up the difference in salary, rather than passing it off to the journalism students by dividing up what is essentially a stipend.

The same argument could be applied to business instructors. They are more than theorists, they get teaching positions because they've been successful in the business world. They ought to give something back to the society that gave them the experience. If teachers are not willing to teach for the benefit of the common good, then they should be told thanks but no thanks. There is no single person who is so wonderful they cannot be replaced. Get other teachers.

This makes one wonder why private universities are not going the same route. Is it because they refuse to? Is it because the name of the private university looks so good on the teacher's resume they are willing to accept less pay? Is it because tuition at a private university is high enough to allow for 'big name' staffing without having the students pay a differential for their major? Perhaps it is because private schools recognize that fees based upon the field of study, at the university level, is ridiculous.

From the NY Times article, "Even as they embrace such pricing, many officials acknowledge they are queasy about a practice that appears to value one discipline over another or that could result in lower-income students clustering in less expensive fields."

Interesting to see administrators find a conscience here, but not enough of one to change the policy. Keep the lower income kids in the lower income fields of study and seal their fate as low income families for generations to come. Will the $250 -$500 fee make that much of a difference to low income students? Only time will tell, but fees have a tendency to increase over time. This is just the start of things. How high will the fees go? How fast will they rise? Iowa state has already said they intend to increase their rates by $500 per year for at least the next two years. What will university administrations do to hold back the demands of their professors?

Prior to this 'fee per major' system, how did professors earn more money? They worked the circuit of public speaking engagements, wrote books and articles, did consultation work, and kept active in their fields. Why must they pass the fees on to the students? Because the administration will not keep them in their place. If the teachers could get jobs at the higher paying universities they would. If they cannot get those jobs then they must accept the salaries offered. The fault lies with administrators trying to lure away more important names from private facilities. Who authorized that at the expense of the students?

On the other hand, maybe this will send society back to embracing apprenticeships. Maybe this trend will make the students who cannot afford to pay the stipends to their teachers avoid college. Out in the blogsphere, I've noted many fellow bloggers commenting on having expensive degrees, significant debt and they are working in mass market retail outlets (or somewhere else they are overqualified to work) just to pay off their bills.

The generation of 30 and 40 somethings are overeducated, underpaid, and many are not working in their field of study. Just one or two generations ago most people didn't have degrees. People graduated from high school, married their sweetheart and started families. Men advanced in their field through hard work. College degrees were rare. I remember my father going to college at night when I was in elementary school. Now we have the opposite situation where everyone has a degree and they are no longer a premium.

Women are all getting degrees and feel they must have a career to be fulfilled. We have a new phenomenon occurring in these women, most of whom are in my general age range. When we were in high school we were told we could have our careers and have babies later when we wanted to settle down more. Women were told they could put off having a family. Now, since this is the first generation of nearly all college educated women with a strong feminist influence and birth control readily available, we are finding women cannot reproduce on demand. Sadly, these daughters of feminism were sold a bill of goods that no one can collect on.

Coming back round to the original point of certain degrees costing more at public universities, depending on your point of view, it could be a good thing. If this premium price for education leaves some people refusing to pay, the premium of the time and money spent for that education could be restored. Society could see apprenticeships resume, and some family values restored. Parents need to guide their children into careers which do not exclude family life, workers need to demand family time, and companies need to realize that with the wages they pay their workers they cannot expect everyone to have a degree. The public paradigm is shifting and it could be very good for society as a whole.