Friday, March 27, 2020

Inspired or Inspiration!

Yesterday, upon returning home, I was met by my daughter Teresa, who was bubbling over with excitement.  She walked me downstairs to show me what she had worked on throughout the day. She calls it her “Wall of Inspiration.” 

And there I stood. I found myself looking more carefully at what she had taped to the wall...and while I have not drawn in quite some time, I was inspired to want to pick up my drawing pencils again! 

You know how one item leads the mind to think of something else, which leads to think of yet another thing?  I was suddenly transported back to when Teresa was a young one and ALL she wanted to do was her work with her ‘pencils’ and carry around post-it notes. (She loved to stick them on the end of her kept her happy for hours!)  My thoughts lead to feeling inspired by the behaviors and impressions pressed upon us as we grow and mature...we are all taken on a journey to prepare us for what is to come. Dr. Montessori said, “The child is the builder of man. There is no man existing who has not been formed by the child he once was.” These days with our children are precious, no matter the challenge or hardship faced.  Our children will form the man (or woman) that is to become…Our children are the leaders of the future. 

Therefore, as you begin ‘spring break’ with your family, continue to take time with each other, being and praying together, playing together, laughing together, dancing together… These are the days they will remember, these are the times they will tell their own children about.  These times are priceless.

Enjoy a little inspiration from Teresa:

Enjoy a little inspiration from inside the homes within our community.


Gemma and Maible


Felicity and Maribel


Mrs. Salonek
Last but not least, enjoy a reading of the story On the Day You Were Born by Debra Fisher. 

As you enjoy this story, look for the tiger that Ms. Mary is holding in this picture. 

Thursday, March 26, 2020

We Are Called

On my way to school this morning, the song 'We Are Called" started playing in my mind (you can listen to it here). After listening to Governor Walz issue an order to stay-at-home, I could only think that we have more work to do...not only to provide distance learning to all students but also to not forget these unprecedented days are more then just about the distance learning.  We are called….

At the end of last year, I was blessed to be in the Atrium with upper elem students.  The presentation of the day was the Spiritual Works of Mercy which are:
  • To instruct the ignorant. (This work of mercy means all of us are called to share and teach the faith passed on to us.)

  • To counsel the doubtful. (This work of mercy reminds us how important it is to walk closely with people going through transitions, loss, or great trails, holding them up in prayer and companionship.) 
  • To admonish the sinner. (This work of mercy calls us to, with love and mercy, dialog with others about sinful behavior.)
  • To bear wrongs patiently. (This work of mercy calls us to endure wrongs and be patient with hardships.)
  • To forgive offenses willingly. (This work of mercy is inseparably bound with the patient endurance of wrongdoing….forgiveness takes time.)
  • To comfort the afflicted. (This work of mercy calls us to support those going through a hard time.)
  • To pray for the living and the dead. (This is prayer that seeks to unite us to God which changes the physical act of feeding the poor into a spiritual act that does good to another and gives God the glory.)

The students spent time discussing these works and how we could incorporate them more into our own lives.  I remember leaving that Atrium that day feeling humbled by the depth of faith these students already had at 4th, 5th and 6th grade.  These students continued to pray for the dying (and to my knowledge have never stopped)! A priest in Ireland, Fr. Philip Kemmy, who was inspired by a scene in the Diary of St. Faustina, has sent a request that we spiritually adopt victims that are dying alone from the coronavirus.  The full article is linked here.

Today, I ask that you join upper elementary and pray for the living and the dead by spiritually adopting a victim through prayer. Someday we will see the benefits and power of our prayers, but until then, we trust our faith to know that praying for the dying can have a powerful impact on salvation.

Blessings on your day! 

Today I share a story from my own home...a favorite of my 5 children called Chicka, Chicka, Boom, Boom by Bill Martin Jr. and John Archambault 

Would you share a favorite book from your home?  In the comments below, type the title of the book and who in the family claims it as their favorite. :)

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

The Gift of the Family

Good morning SJB!

As we listen to the media and all that is being reported about COVID-19, my mind takes me back to a time when I was little.

I grew up on a hobby farm, the third of six daughters. I wore hand-me-downs, only ate what we grew and for a time, had no running water nor electricity.
This is me (Mrs. W) of my favorite places
to play was with my goats.
Among the hardships, what I remember is the time we spent as a family, playing cards on winter evenings, sewing ‘clothes’ for our hand-made dolls or singing songs around an ill-tuned piano.  I remember the time our water pump froze by the barn and my siblings and I concocted a pulley system that would take 5 gallons buckets of water down the hill to the farm animals.
I remember the time my father returned home without his coat after taking a trip into Minneapolis. My mother inquired where it was. He responded that he gave it away to someone who needed it more than he did. I am reminded of the times when days were hard and my parents would bring us together and teach us about “offering it up” and the power/value of the family.  

I know my childhood is certainly different than times now, but those words, “offer it up” are timeless. Those words have stayed with me, though I do not think I fully understood their meaning until much later in life.  It was at this later time that I came to understand that while Christ suffered for us, He left room for us to unite our suffering with His.  His suffering brought redemption for all, and while my suffering seem significantly smaller in comparison, when times are hard, we can join those hardships with Christ’s.  He, in turn, can use our sacrifices for the good of those that need it. We can give the challenges and exhaustion we feel over to Him, offering these moments for the good of others, for those lying in hospitals at this very moment, dying alone.  We can take the moments we feel like we cannot do one more day of distance learning and offer it for those who will not even have the opportunity for such learning.  

While these days can certainly stretch us, the gift possibly unseen is truly the gift of the family....these days are a WIN for the family and for what we value so highly at SJB.

My heart swells with gratitude for SJB families that are in this community together, united in this journey.  I am grateful for our teachers who are working at home, bringing distance learning while parenting and doing distance learning themselves with their own families! I am OVERLY grateful (can one be overly grateful?) for all our support staff for their endless hours of caring for children still needing care and cleaning/sanitizing every square inch of the classroom environments and overall school.

Join me today on the Solemnity of the Annunciation of the Lord, saying 'yes' to the Lord, offering this day and the hardships within it for The Family.

Blessings on your day! 

And now...a story from Ms. Mary called Caterpillar, Caterpillar by Vivian French

And a few pictures from the FAMILIES:

McMerty Brummer Family working together

Hodgdon Family

Bird's nest find: Kilian Family

Leo's creations: Haggard Family
Nico and Rafael: Flores Family

Rafael Peter Flores and DAD!

Tuesday, March 24, 2020

A shout out to our teachers!

Last night I was helping a teacher friend with their distance learning plan. Through that conversation, I realized that I MUST give a shout out to teachers everywhere who are really accepting the challenge of distance learning and giving more time and energy than ever before. I am especially proud of OUR teachers and how they are working to adjust what they send home as they hear feedback from parents.

While this is definately a challenge and I am sure stretching parents (including me!) in more ways than one, you too, have risen to the challenge and are doing great with this distance learning. THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU!

For all those who enjoy "rest time" with Ms. Mary, here is a book for your children to enjoy (read by Ms. Mary) called: Home for a Bunny.

Another sneak peak into homes across the SJB community!
Take a look! :)

Travis: puzzle work
Brother and Sister game time!

Clara on the piano

Gianna caring for the Casa 1: Jemimah and Delilah

Emma working on the world!

Liam with "time" work
Ivy: Button sewing

Benjamin sewing

Leo making Irish Soda Bread

Iris tapping trees for sap

Mrs. Salonek: Practical life...folding baby laundry

Monica, Nicholas and Jack: outside fun
Tori working on spelling/reading

A fun way to continue with what happens in the classroom (young meteorologists)...I am personally hoping we have more days where SUNNY and WARM can be marked!

"It is through appropriate work and activities that the character of the child is transformed.  Work influences his development in the same way that food revives the vigor of a starving man. We observe that a child occupied with matters that awaken his interest seems to blossom, to expand, evincing undreamed of character traits; his abilities give him great satisfaction, and he smiles with a sweet and joyous smile."
-Dr. Montessori

Monday, March 23, 2020

Week 2: Over the weekend!

Sharing some exciting news this morning:  

St John the Baptist School has been selected for the 2020 Best of Excelsior Awards in the category of Schools...well done SJB Community!!

I imagine more of us are in the category of expereincing "firsts" then ever before.  Please share some of your "firsts"! Below are a couple from my own house:

  • After Mass (in what has been converted into an art studio), my husband asked, "Are we staying for hospitality?"  So we moved upstairs to the kitchen to enjoy some toast with peanut butter and a little cereal...nothing 'normal' about that Mass exeperience! :)
  • For those of you who know Dusty (especially the children who were in my class when he spend the year with us) know he is a big puppy.  This weekend, Dusty wanted desperately to be a part of our family game of Settlers of Catan and Tabitha let him join...who knew a Golden Retreiver, weighing 90lbs, could became a lap dog!

A few pictures from others:
Ms. RoseAnn enjoying time to put together a puzzle.

Ms. Louise making Banana Bread with her grandson.

Ms. Christa with Aaron

Ms., cleaning, cleaning!

Friday, March 20, 2020

The Living Stations of the Cross

Below are the Stations of the Cross as we say them at school (the reflection questions connect the child to the work in the Atrium). 
Join your fellow SJB families in praying the stations at home.


Opening Prayer

We will pray the Stations of the Cross, remembering all that Jesus has done for us.

Begin by making the Sign of the Cross.

“Jesus came with His disciples to a place called Gethsemane and He said to them,
‘Sit here while I go over there and pray.’…
He advanced a little and fell prostrate in prayer saying, ‘My Father, if it is possible,
let this cup pass from me;
yet, not as I will, but as You will.’”
(Mt 26:36-39)

 What was Jesus thinking about in the garden? Was He thinking about how much God loved Him? Was He thinking about how much He loved you?

(Pause to reflect.)


The First Station:
Jesus is condemned to death

 Leader: We adore you, O Christ, and we praise You.
All: Because by Your Holy Cross, You have redeemed the world.

“Again the high priest asked Him, ‘Are you the Messiah, the Son of the Blessed One?’ Jesus answered, ‘I am.’...At that the high priest tore his garments and said, ‘What further need have we of witnesses?’… They all condemned Him as deserving to die.”
(Mk 14:61-64)

Had Jesus done anything wrong?
What do others learn about Jesus
from how we live our lives?

(Pause to reflect.)


  The Second Station:
Jesus takes up His cross

Leader: We adore you, O Christ, and we praise You.
All: Because by Your Holy Cross, You have redeemed the world.

“Pilate said to the Jews, ‘Behold your king!’
They cried out, ‘Take Him away, take Him away!
Crucify Him!’...Then he handed Him over
to them to be crucified. So they took
Jesus carrying the cross for Himself.”
(Jn 19:14-17)

Why did Pilate listen to the Jews
instead of releasing Jesus?
Do I ever join in when someone else chooses
to make fun of someone or hurt someone?

(Pause to reflect.)


The Third Station:
Jesus falls the first time

Leader: We adore you, O Christ, and we praise You.
All: Because by Your Holy Cross, You have redeemed the world.

“The foolishness of God is wiser
than human wisdom, and the weakness of God
is stronger than human strength.”
(1 Cor 1:25)

Does Jesus ever ask me to do something
that is too hard for me to do?
When I fall, do I let Jesus help me get back up?

(Pause to reflect.)


The Fourth Station:
Jesus meets His Blessed Mother

(no picture)

Leader: We adore you, O Christ, and we praise You.
All: Because by Your Holy Cross, You have redeemed the world.

“Standing by the cross of Jesus were his mother
and his mother’s sister, Mary of Clophas, and Mary
of Magdala. When Jesus saw His mother and the
disciple there whom He loved, He said to His
mother, ‘Woman, behold your son.’ Then He said
to the disciple, ‘Behold, your mother.’”
(Jn 19:25-27)

How much did Jesus love His mother?
How much do I love my own parents?
Is Mary, Jesus’ mother, my mother too?

(Pause to reflect.)


The Fifth Station:
Simon of Cyrene helps Jesus to carry His cross

Leader: We adore you, O Christ, and we praise You.
All: Because by Your Holy Cross, You have redeemed the world.

“They took hold of a certain Simon, a Cyrenian, who was coming in from the country; and after laying the cross on him, they made him carry it behind Jesus.”
(Lk 23:26)

Did Simon want to help Jesus?
Are there people I can help?
Are there even some that
I don’t want to help but could?

(Pause to reflect.)


The Sixth Station:
Veronica wipes the face of Jesus

Leader: We adore you, O Christ, and we praise You.
All: Because by Your Holy Cross, You have redeemed the world.

“’Lord, when did we see You hungry and feed You,
or thirsty and give You drink?’...And the king will
say to them in reply, ‘Amen, I say to you, whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine,
you did for me.’”
(Mt 25:37-40)

How did Jesus feel after Veronica helped Him?
How would someone who is being picked on
feel if I would help them?

(Pause to reflect.)

The Seventh Station:
Jesus falls a second time

Leader: We adore you, O Christ, and we praise You.
All: Because by Your Holy Cross, You have redeemed the world.

“We had all gone astray like sheep,
each following his own way;
but the Lord laid upon himself the guilt of us all.”
(Is 53:6)

Do I ever get tired of doing what is right?
Have I ever wondered away from Jesus?
Is He searching for me right now,
wanting to carry me home rejoicing?

(Pause to reflect.)


The Eighth Station:
Jesus meets the women of Jerusalem

Leader: We adore you, O Christ, and we praise You.
All: Because by Your Holy Cross, You have redeemed the world.

“A large crowd of people followed Jesus, including many women who mourned...Him. Jesus turned to them and said, ‘Daughters of Jerusalem,
do not weep for me; weep instead for yourselves
and your children.’”
(Lk 23:27-28)

Will there ever be a time when tears are no more?
What will that time be like?
Is it worth waiting for and working for?

(Pause to reflect.)

The Ninth Station:
Jesus falls a third time

Leader: We adore you, O Christ, and we praise You.
All: Because by Your Holy Cross, You have redeemed the world.

“Strength is made perfect in weakness.”
(2 Cor 12:9)
“They who hope in the Lord will renew
their strength; they will run and not
grow weary, walk and not grow faint.”
(Is 40:31)

In what ways am I strong?
In what ways am I weak?
What does Jesus think when He
sees my strengths and weaknesses?

(Pause to reflect.)


The Tenth Station:
Jesus is stripped of His clothes

Leader: We adore you, O Christ, and we praise You.
All: Because by Your Holy Cross, You have redeemed the world.

“When the soldiers had crucified Jesus
they took His clothes and divided them
in four shares, a share for each soldier.”
(John 19:23)

The soldiers were making fun
of Jesus and humiliating Him.
Have I ever been made fun of or humiliated?
Does Jesus understand what that is like?

(Pause to reflect.)


The Eleventh Station:
Jesus is nailed to the cross

Leader: We adore you, O Christ, and we praise You.
All: Because by Your Holy Cross, You have redeemed the world.

“When they came to the place called the Skull,
they crucified Him...Then Jesus said, ’Father,
forgive them, they know not what they do.’”
(Lk 23:33-34)

How could Jesus forgive?
Are there people I need to forgive?

(Pause to reflect.)

The Twelfth Station:
Jesus dies on the cross

Please kneel for all of this Station.

Leader: We adore you, O Christ, and we praise You.
All: Because by Your Holy Cross, You have redeemed the world.

“At last Jesus cried out in a loud voice,
‘Father, into Your hands I commend my spirit;’
and when He had said this He breathed His last.”
(Lk 23:46)

Oh Jesus, what can I say to You when
You have given so much for me?

(Pause to reflect.)

The Thirteenth Station:
Jesus is taken down from the cross

Leader: We adore you, O Christ, and we praise You.
All: Because by Your Holy Cross, You have redeemed the world.

“When the soldiers came to Jesus and saw that
He was already dead, they did not break His legs,
but one soldier thrust his lance into His side, and
immediately blood and water flowed out. After this, Joseph of Arimathea, secretly a disciple of Jesus
for fear of the Jews, asked Pilate if he could
remove the body of Jesus. And Pilate permitted it.”
(Jn 19:33-34, 38)

Where were Jesus’ friends?
Were they afraid? Were they angry?
Joseph did what he could to help Jesus.
What will I do?

(Pause to reflect.)


The Fourteenth Station:
Jesus is laid in the tomb

Leader: We adore you, O Christ, and we praise You.
All: Because by Your Holy Cross, You have redeemed the world.

“Taking the body, Joseph wrapped it in clean
linen and laid it in his new tomb that he had hewn
in the rock. Then he rolled a huge stone across
the entrance to the tomb and departed.”
(Mt 27:59-60)

Mary and the disciples must have felt so alone.
Were they really alone?
Have I ever felt alone?
Was I really alone?

(Pause to reflect.)


 The Fifteenth Station:
Jesus rises from the dead
(Light candle if desired.)

Leader: We adore you, O Christ, and we praise You.
All: Because by Your Holy Cross, You have redeemed the world.

“Very early when the sun had risen, on the first day
of the week, Mary Magdalene, Mary, the mother of James, and Salome came to the tomb… When they looked up, they saw that the stone had been rolled back… On entering the tomb they saw a young man sitting on the right side clothed in a white robe...He said to them, ‘Do not be amazed! You seek Jesus of Nazareth, the crucified. He has been raised!’”
(Mk 16:2-6)

Thank you, Jesus, for the gifts you have given
to me, especially for the gift of your life.

(Pause to reflect.)

“Our Father…”

End by making the Sign of the Cross.

Extinguish Candle.

Celebrate Kindergartners!

May 20, 2020 Today is the day we celebrate our Kindergarten graduates!  Remember: School parking lot at 10:30AM  (bring some ...