Header Photos

Pc1 has developed quite a gift for an eye behind the lens of a camera. I personally want to thank her for all the inspirational header photos we posted this past year on our family blog.

Thank you!

Healing Prayer at Bedtime

Lord Jesus, through the power of the Holy Spirit, go back into my memory as I sleep.
Every hurt that has ever been done to me, heal that hurt.
Every hurt that I have ever caused another person, heal that hurt.
All the relationships that have been damaged in my whole life that I am not aware of, heal those relationships.
But, Lord, if there is anything that I need to do;
If I need to go to a person because he or she is still suffering from my hand,
Bring to my awareness that person, I choose to forgive and I ask to be forgiven.
Remove whatever bitterness may be in my heart, Lord, and fill the empty spaces with your love.

Purity Prayer

This beautiful prayer was given to us by a dear Catholic friend. She recommended we pray it every morning when we wake up and every evening before we go to bed.... God Bless!
Dear Blessed Mother, I give my soul to your care. Let me always remember to be pure in thought, word and action. Protect my mind and my will so that all my thoughts and desires will be pleasing to God.
Hail Mary full of grace......
Dear Blessed Mother I give my heart to your care. May I love you with all my heart. Help me always to love my neighbor. And help me avoid friends who might lead me away from Jesus.
Hail Mary full of grace.....
Dear Blessed Mother, I give my body to your care. May I always be modest & pure in how I dress. Let me never offend God against the virture of purity.
Hail Mary full of grace....

Sporter Rifle Shooting

This year Pc2 advanced from BB rifle shooting to Sporter shooting. I wanted her to write up a post about this but her high school work has been too time consuming, so I will do my best.

Last year she joined a 4H shooting team. Since she was in 8th grade and had never shot a rifle before she wanted to start on the BB rifle team. Turns out she had a natural gift and she ended up doing really well. Her team ended up 6th out of 30+ teams in the State. Pc2 ranked in the top 20 BB rifle shooters.

Well this year since she has started high school she can no longer shoot BB so she has moved up to Sporter.  At this level, Pc2 was required to register with the CMP (Civilian Marksmanship Program) which basically means all her scores will be kept on public record. This form of shooting is a lot more common than the next level known as Precision shooting. Pc2 is hoping to move into this level by next year. Something we have to take slowly because it requires a huge financial commitment.  It is also at the Precision level that these kids can go all the way to the Olympics and or get scholarships into great colleges. Both of which Jill wants to make as her future goals in pursuit of a military career. Two of her current Precision shooting teammates are ranked in the top 20 nationally and one of the girls even attended the Junior Olympics!

A couple weekends ago Pc2 went to her first tournament for this year at the Montgomery Bell Academy in Nashville TN. She was the only Sporter shooter for her team. This was a high school invitational only so there were no BB rifle shooters, only Sporter and Precision. I won't go into details on all the difference between Sporter and Precision but you will see many in the pictures below.  This was my first time attending a shooting tournament.... and what an awesome experience.  (Click pixs for larger image).

Since this was a high school invitational she was placed on the Etowah High School team. No homeschool teams. They had a lot of JROTC teams though.

Here she is getting her equipment assembled before entering the gym.

Jill is now setting up her equipment for her first relay. They actually had two gyms open for this competition. This was at an all boys college preparatory school,that had been established in 1867....very beautiful!

Pc2 was in lane #57.

Coach Bobby, Coach Lamar and Dave aka dad (soon to be a coach for BB rifle).

Pc2 was the only Sporter shooter for our team that entered the tournament this year. I was told there were over 200 Sporter shooters and only 80 Precision shooters at the tournament.

First position during the relay was prone.

Here Pc2 is laying next to her team-mate, who is dressed in her Precision shooting outfit.

They had unlimited sighter (aka practice) shots and then 20 record shots per position. After they took their first record shot they could no longer take sighter shots for that particular position

The targets were 10 meters away. We needed binoculars to see how they were doing :)

Check out the Precision rifle... and outfit for that matter :) The rifle has a longer barrel, bigger CO2 cannister, and is a heavier gun.

Next shooting position was standing.

One advantage to the Precision outfit, is that it helps the shooter to maintain each position better.

Final position was kneeling.

Unfortunately during the standing position Pc2's CO2 canister ran out of air, so her rifle did not have enough power to shoot properly. Although she compensated really well, her scores were not very good. Fortunately her coach caught the problem before she started the kneeling position. Oh well we will chalk this one up to a good learning experience for her. We really are so proud of her and we truly look forward to supporting her on this journey in the up and coming years....

More Chastity Treasures....

In my previous two postings I have touched on topics regarding chastity and dating. Today I want to share a few more treasures that I have discovered and found invaluable while teaching and supporting my teenagers during these adolescent years. I plan on using these resources with both our daughters and our sons.

For a parent just entering into these years and wondering where to start and how to communicate these topics through a solid Catholic view point, we found these booklets "Mother's Little Helper" for daughters and "Listen Son" for sons, an excellent resource. We typically begin reading these to our children around 10 years of age. I have also found that starting around 'Instruction VIII' which is towards the end of Part Two, it is very helpful to read the material from the opposite booklet. This should begin when the child is around 14 years of age. My teenagers found it very insightful to see how their actions could affect someone of the opposite sex. Personally I like the wording in "Listen Son" better.

Another thing to keep in mind is that these booklets were written and published back in the 1930s. I still find the content very accurate and meaningful, but in this day and age and with our family's active lifestyle, discussing these topics only once or twice a year has become very unrealistic.

To begin filling in the gaps, say around the 9th grade, when several of these topics started arising during group social settings, we started using a fabulous book called "If You Really Loved Me" by Jason Evert. This book includes over 100 questions about dating, relationships, purity and chastity.

Now, this is *not* the type of book I would just hand over to my teenager and let them read; Jason does address several topics that my teenagers have not been exposed to yet. Another thing I discovered is that while the questions do not pertain to personal situations, the answers are still very educational, solidly Catholic in viewpoint, and have led into many wonderful and enlightening conversations.

So how do we fill in the gaps with this book? Well, what we have found works really well in our family is for me to go through and pre-read the questions ahead of time, then highlight pertinent information in the answers. About once a week or when situations arise, my husband and/or I sit down with our teenager and we read the question (if appropriate) along with the answer together then discuss the topic in detail. Jason Evert has a special gift for speaking and giving analogies that speak right to the teenager's heart. He makes it easy to have open conversations with your teenagers on these otherwise awkward subject matters.

I have to admit this particular book has been one of the best treasures we have discovered so far and I highly recommend it!

On a more educational level, (starting in 8th grade) I set up a thematic study (about 6 weeks long) using this fabulous book called The Joyful Mysteries of Life by Catherine Scherrer, to begin addressing these topics more formally. This book is another wonderful treasure and even though it comes from a Catholic viewpoint, many of our non-Catholic families have found it insightful.

Another book that Pc1 wanted me to mention that she really enjoyed this year and one she would recommend to her teenage friends (boys or girls) was "I Kissed Dating Goodbye" by Joshua Harris.