Thursday, December 18, 2014

Stunning photo of our own Winter Wonderland

A view of Brookings today from the top of the Campanile, taken today and posted on the official SDSU website. We were driving around campus looking at the views with Mom around that time!

Wednesday, December 17, 2014


We were expecting Sue & Dave and cousin Brenna, and then... in come... Mom! She and Grandpa Tom surprised us by coming with the Minnesota-bound family and, of course, I broke down a little. Who wouldn't? Tomorrow we shall have a nice meal and go to the Antique shop downtown...

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Book Released Today!

Many months ago Maureen Wittman of Homeschool Connections approached me about writing a chapter for this book. There were many subjects I could choose from, and Geography jumped right up. I was delighted to accept her invitation and the book is released today! Take a look!

Click here for a free PDF copy!

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Gaudete Sunday

We worked on our tree and Nativity today, as we have now done for many years. My little first homemade ornament brought me to tears. Being Home for Christmas has such huge meaning, and it increases every year.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Prayer Service for Erik Nielsen

Today we hosted and led a prayer service for Erik's soul, and also asking for the comfort of so many who mourn him. We did not take videos or photos, but I would like to share our service program. Thank You to old friend Fr. Brian Austin FSSP, who helped me compose it. Number Six did a beautiful job intoning/leading/soloing all of the chant. We had friends come from near and far and we were so thankful for the hope that prayer brings.

Friday, December 12, 2014

Poems of Olavo Bilac

Through an online group of Brazilian homeschoolers, I came across this video of a young recitation of a poem by Olavo Bilac. His poems are wonderful and I memorized many in Catholic school in Rio, and I remember both memorizing and reciting this one! 

Here is the text:

O Pássaro Cativo by Olavo Bilac

Armas, num galho de árvore, o alçapão;
E, em breve, uma avezinha descuidada,
Batendo as asas cai na escravidão.

Dás-lhe então, por esplêndida morada,
A gaiola dourada; Dás-lhe alpiste, e água fresca, e ovos, e tudo:
Porque é que, tendo tudo, há de ficar
O passarinho mudo,
Arrepiado e triste, sem cantar?

É que, crença, os pássaros não falam. 
Só gorjeando a sua dor exalam,
Sem que os homens os possam entender;
Se os pássaros falassem,
Talvez os teus ouvidos escutassem
Este cativo pássaro dizer:

Gosto mais do alimento que procuro
Na mata livre em que a voar me viste;
Tenho água fresca num recanto escuro

Da mata entre os verdores,
Tenho frutos e flores,
Sem precisar de ti!

Pois nenhuma riqueza me consola
De haver perdido aquilo que perdi ...
Prefiro o ninho humilde, construído
De folhas secas, plácido, e escondido
Entre os galhos das árvores amigas ...
Solta-me ao vento e ao sol!

Com que direito à escravidão me obrigas?
Quero saudar as pompas do arrebol!
Quero, ao cair da tarde,
Entoar minhas tristíssimas cantigas!
Por que me prendes? Solta-me covarde!
Deus me deu por gaiola a imensidade:
Não me roubes a minha liberdade ...
Quero voar! voar! ... “

Essas cousas o passaro diria,
Se pudesse falar.
E a tua alma, criança, tremeria,
Vendo tanta aflição:
E a tua mão tremendo, lhe abriria
A porta da prisão...

My own translation:
(I wasn't able to find one online. I will ask Number Six to work on a better, rhyming version, as the rhymes in the original Portuguese are so wonderful.)

The Captive Bird by Olavo Bilac

On a tree branch, you set up a trap:
Soon, a little, careless bird,
the wings aflutter, falls into bondage.

You give it a splendid residence:
a golden cage.
You give him seeds, fresh water, eggs, you give it all.
But why, having it all,
is the little bird silent?
Shivering, sad, silent?

This happens because birds cannot speak.
By singing, only, their pain they express,
and men cannot understand it.
If birds could speak,
perhaps your ears would hear
what this captive bird is saying:

"I like best the food I find myself
In the bush were you saw me flying:
I have fresh water in a hidden spot.
In the bush, amid the greens,
I have fruits and flowers,
with no need of you!

No richness consoles me
of having lost what I have lost...
I would rather have the humble nest,
built of dry leaves, peaceful, hidden
between the branches of the friendly trees...
Let me go to the sun and to the wind!

What right do you have to keep me in bondage?
I want to salute the glories of nature!
I want, at dusk,
to sing my sad songs!
Why do you keep me bound? Free me, coward!
God has given me, for a cage, the immensity...
Do not take from my freedom!
I want to fly! Fly!"

These words the little bird would say,
Were it able to speak.
And your soul, child, would tremble,
Before such affliction:
And your hand, shaking, would open for him
the prison door...

Here is one I also loved when I was young, again with my own translation. 

by Olavo Bilac

Para experimentar Octávio, o mestre
Diz: “Já que tudo sabe, venha cá!
Diga em que ponto da extensão terrestre
Ou da extensão celeste Deus está!”

Por um momento apenas, fica mudo
Octávio, e logo esta resposta dá:
“Eu senhor mestre, lhe daria tudo,
Se me dissesse onde é que ele não está!”

by Olavo Bilac

To put Octavius to test, the teacher
Says: "Since you know it all, come here!
Tell me up to what point of this earth's expanse
or of even of heaven's expanse, God is!"

For a fleeting moment, he is silent
but soon, Octavius gives an answer : 
“I, myself, teacher, would give you the world,
If you would only tell me where He isn't!"

Wednesday, December 10, 2014


Yesterday was a hard day. So many tears, and in the midst of them, Love, Faithfulness and Hope.

His friends posted this: