Monday, March 23, 2015

Making Movies!

This is incredibly time consuming -- going through photos and videos -- but Max enjoys making these. He's talked about making a trailer for my novel when it is published and I love that my kids are interested in the work I do. The older they get, the more I can share with them. I still remember the days when they were just wee little kids and we'd write and *edit* together. Max drew cars on many of my notebooks and stories, Dagny flowers or babies. Oh, and parking lots! We used to joke about Max becoming a civil engineer because he would design elaborate parking lots on scrap paper. The kids would have hours of fun driving and parking their Hot Wheels cars. I reminisce too much. This is what he worked on all weekend:

This was the video he made the year before:

And the year before that, Max and Dagny collaborated on a book report of The City of Ember by Jeanne du Prau. Dagny did the storyboard and Max did all the shooting and editing. They had so much fun doing this project and they learned so much about the importance of storyboarding before shooting! When I did a series of writing workshops for fifth grade, I daresay this was the favorite.

Here's their movie!


As always, I learn so much from the kids. They are a wonder to me, how they dive into new projects, fearlessly. I love their confidence, their willingness to put in the hard work, their joy and their enthusiasm. Every time I get discouraged with my own lofty dreams, I remember what amazing things our children do, and I too remember the virtue of fortitude and perseverance!

Years ago, Michael made a movie of the kids doing a carwash. It is classic! I was taking a writing class at night and I'd return home at 9:30 pm to find the kids on the table, dancing, with the music turned high. It was rock and roll. If I ever find it, I'll have to post it here. This is one of the useful things about blogging. You can save stuff here that you want to remember. Left to our own devices, the archival system fails or we lose it or ... yeah, I might as well admit it, we're getting old.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Busy! Robotics, Retreats and More!


So it's been busy since this year began. Robotics took up much of the time for my guys, but what a blast they had. Something really kicked in for Max this year and I can say he owned it. There's such a huge learning curve and this year he was invested. He's also playing rugby. Dagny started playing lacrosse. Why, you might ask, do we keep so busy? Well, I find that our kids do better when they are physically active and mentally challenged. Home is too relaxing. We have intentionally made it so ... but maybe it has backfired. In any case, they are thriving.
A couple of weeks ago, I finally made a trip to the bookstore to see whether TEN EASTER EGGS was on the bookshelves but it wasn't :(  What a disappointment. But they will be ordering it. My friend, Amy's book, RED BUTTERFLY, wasn't there either, so I asked for it. Folks, you can help keep our books in the pipeline by asking for them at the shops or at the library. I saw some other friends' books and that made all the difference in the world! To see them in the wild!!!
Right now, I'm reading THORNBIRDS by Colleen McCullough. It's a re-read in honor of her death. I find it interesting to read it as a Catholic now and a grown up and as a writer! What a wonderful book with characters who burrow themselves into your heart, who are as real as the people you know.
So back to busyness. We had the wonderful opportunity to have a Lenten retreat at the very beginning with Fr. Mitch Pacwa. I will never read or listen to Isaiah 53 the same way. It cuts me to the core, how our blessed Lord bore everything for the love of us, wounded for us, to make us whole. The perfect sacrifice. The Jewish laws forbade human sacrifice, yet this was the only way, so I can only imagine how shocking this must've been to people Isaiah was preaching to. I could sit here and meditate upon salvation history and not understand why God loves us wretched creatures so, for even a mother does not love her child this much. I thought I knew what love was, but it pales in comparison. 

Michael and Max went to a men's conference. I am so glad they have opportunities like this to build Godly men for they have the responsibility to lead their families to holiness. Grace flows through them and if they abdicate their responsibilities, well, you can see the result all around you -- broken families, children going astray, loss of morals. We build strong men and we'll rebuild the family.  

We are halfway through Lent and that means lots more choir practice. I didn't post my usual picture with the mice torturing the cat ... but I've done very little spiritual reading aside from my daily Mass readings. I try to get to Mass as much as possible since when I'm busy, I need my Jesus the most. And I got to thinking, how funny we Catholics are ... we go to Mass, listen, and sometimes have terrible homilies, or none at all, but we go because we love to be present at Calvary. We are indeed at the foot of the Cross at every single Mass and if we are in the proper state we receive the Body, Blood, Soul, Divinity of Christ in that consecrated Host. What awesome power priests have been given. A priest's hands are like no other. Every time I receive the final blessing, I know it could be my last. And I go in peace to do the work I must do.
The math never adds up. It's a mystery.
My mood has lifted now that the weather has warmed up. The first few games I was freezing in my fat coat watching the kids play. But now, it's such a pleasure to bask in the sunshine. The kids are also better :) And although I've not been able to concentrate on the new book that's been percolating since I went to Storymasters, I am jotting down notes for it and working on shorter things. There is a time and season for everything. I have a difficult time working on a novel when my attention is scattered on many small things. The small things are important too. So for now, shorts. They are my comfort zone. Perhaps I retreat to this as a safety net.
I love all the new growth of spring. I know it's been a hard winter for many of you. May the sunshine warm your hearts and souls and bring you joy. And may your Lenten journey bring you great blessings.

I'll leave you with this beautiful hymn: Transfigure us, O Lord.


Friday, March 6, 2015

Ceramics Class

This picture cracks me up -- Max found some of our old cameras and is playing around with them. Oh, I hope he gets to be an NG photographer some day. Maybe he'll get to shoot a racing cars, or get to race them or design them. I'll never forget the time I was driving in Belgium and it was racing season and there were five red Ferraris zooming past me in my little white Opel. There were times I'd drive a 100 mph on those roads. I loved speed and my little car could handle it. These days I'm much more sedate and would prefer nothing else than being driven around, and Max is more than happy to oblige.

I love these pieces he made in his ceramics class -- so beautiful. The colors are gorgeous in the glaze and I wondered how he made all those curves. He said while the clay was wet, it was supported. I'm surprised it didn't crack during the firing process. 

I never learned how to do any of this, and this is why I am thankful to send my children to school. It's clear their aptitudes and interests lie in the sciences, but they've had the most wonderful teachers who've helped them to develop their artistic side. They've always come home with beautiful art projects -- drawings and paintings, collages and jewelry, dioramas and dolphins -- and taught me.