I haven't had time to blog about a lot of things we've been up to lately. A week ago Friday we had our second teen discussion night. This month's book was Refuting the Attack on Mary by Father Mateo (published by Catholic Answers). This is a fascinating book, even though it gets a bit challenging in the second and third chapters (it gets a little easier again after that). Fr. Mateo argues against the writings of a particular Protestant organization that was attacking Catholic teaching on Mary. He covers topics like the Assumption, Mary's Perpetual Virginity and her unique motherhood for all mankind as shown in her relationship with St. John the Evangelist. One of the most interesting things he shows is that this anti-Mary position is not something that is traditionally Protestant. He shows through the writings of Martin Luther and others that a devotion to Mary isn't reserved only for Catholics. What a neat way to reach out and "open doors" to others. Lots of memorable tidbits and good humor round out a nicely concise text.
By the way, I discovered you can read some of the book on the Catholic Answers website. Here is the first chapter.
The discussion was quite a bit different from our Phantom Tollbooth one partly because there were so many people. We had six teens for that first discussion and one extra mom listening in. This time there were more like 13 teens and 5 moms participating. We didn't stick to the text quite as much but had some great discussions. The teens are going to follow up by summarizing a chapter each on their not-yet-regularly-active blog.
Tonight we had our first Shakespeare reading in over a year. We did Hamlet. Everyone who wanted to had a part (many had two) and it was a lot of fun. John and I were the gravediggers. Ria was Rosencranz (or was it Guildenstern?) and Gus was the Doctor of Divinity. Grandpa VH was the ghost (great sound effects!). Boy, it's a long play though.
Somewhere in between all that we've been remodeling our bookshelves. Today John picked up six massive bookcases that were being discarded from the company library (circa 1965!). Most were magazine shelving in a former life. They sport a wood veneer with huge doors on which you can rest a magazine or, of course, a picture book (that lift up to reach the cavernous shelves hidden behind). I think it will be a neat way to display (and strew) favorite books for the little ones as well as identifying the general subject area for each shelf. They're pretty imposing edifices, though. I think they may take some getting used to. Also, the shelves are so big that we ended up losing a few shelves in the process (our old cheap-o need-to-be-nailed-together variety were absolutely packed with shelves (and books!); I may or may not get around to posting before and after pictures at some point.) Oh yeah, the clincher was that these old monsters were being sold for $5 apiece. Who could resist?