Homeschool/SSPX/ Mantillas

I’m the kind of person who needs the structure of schedules.  Without them I tend to spend too much time on Facebook or going on impromptu hikes or adding things to my husband’s honeydo list.  Posts here at Catholic Exchange are one of those things I like to keep on a schedule, lest I realize that it’s been two weeks and I haven’t posted anything at all.

Sundays are one of my “post, woman!’ days.  So starting Saturday night, I begin the creative process.

Step One:  realize it’s Saturday night.  Freak out that it’s Saturday night, because that means tomorrow’s Sunday and there isn’t a single piece of sanctioned church clothing cleaned.  Allow the freakout train to progress down the track to “Oh no!  I need to post something at the Exchange tomorrow, too!  Laundry and blog post!”  Promptly collapse on the couch in a fit of panic.  Turn on ghost hunter shows to get the creative juices flowing.

Step Two:  Fall asleep on the couch 15 minutes later.

Step Three:  Sporadically contemplate a new post during the day on Sunday.  From time to time, turn to whichever family member is closest and ask them what topic should be covered.  Shake head sadly at the suggestions, and wonder how such a creative genius wound up surrounded by people with so few ideas.

Step Four:  Go to the Catholic Exchange website and see what’s been posted that day.  See what articles are under “most read”.  See what articles are under “most commented”.  Remember that “most read” and “most commented” equal “most money earned” and try and figure out how to tap in to the cash cow.

Step Five:  Notice that the most commented article is currently one about vaccines.  Realize in a stroke of genius that the next article just needs to be about a hot button topic, and voila! the money will roll in.

Step Six:  Brainstorm a list of possible controversial topics.  Here’s mine:

  • Why My Homeschooled Kids Are More Well Behaved Than Your Public School Kids

go outside to observe said “behaved” kids, who are playing in the backyard with the public school neighbors.  Notice that the public school neighbors are taking turns playing on the zip line, remember to put toys back before taking out new ones, and are able to work through disputes without screaming like banshees.  Notice that your homeschooled kids are whacking each other with nerf bats, are trying to make an 11 foot bow with which to shoot gigantic arrows at cars, and are in various states of undress.  Immediately scrap topic.

  • Why the SSPX Will Harm/Benefit the Church When/If It’s Brought Back Into the Fold

realize that in order to generate maximum comments on an article of this sort, one needs to be educated enough on the subject of SSPX to actually form an opinion.  Sadly admit that this would require more research and thought than you’re willing to put into a post and would probably result in attention from the sort of scary comboxers that you generally try to avoid.

  • Something about NFP.  Doesn’t Matter What.  Just Use the Phrase, “NFP”

scrap this one immediately, since other bloggers already did it/do it better.  (See here and here and soon to be here, just to cite a few.

  • Anything At All As Long As the Word “Mantilla” Appeared In the Title

I would totally do this one.  But I’m not going to, because I’m afraid the resulting combox bomb would crash the whole website, and Josh, my favorite I.T. guy in the whole world, would have to spend even more of his time fixing a mess that I created.  Josh, if you’re reading this, you’re welcome.

Step Seven:  Realize that you can take the extra super lazy way out, simply write about the creative brainstorming process, and never have to actually, you know, write something.  Just come up with a provocative post title.  Congratulate yourself on being extra crafty, write the post, order pizza for the night, and spend the extra time you earned watching ghost hunter shows on the TV.

Fall asleep by 9:00.  Repeat next Saturday.


Cari Donaldson


Cari Donaldson lives on a New England farm with her high school sweetheart, their six kids, and a menagerie of animals of varying usefulness. She is the author of Pope Awesome and Other Stories, and has a weekly podcast about homesteading at

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  • Dang it.  No scary comboxers yet!  Sigh.

  • so many things to love…

    And here I was thinking…MANTILLAS!  Yay!

  • Jessica

    I think our homeschooled kids are communicating telepathically. No arrows were created, but car bombs were thrown from the top of the rope swing while the public school kids quietly created a treasure hunt for the toddlers.

  • steph

    write about being pro-life….. its something I have been wanting to write about forever but am too scared to approach the topic on my own blog… have even thought about starting up an anonymous pro life blog (and anonymous because I too am scared of the comment box)  but if you did an article first and didnt get chewed up to pieces that would def. give me more courage…. so go forth and play my guinea pig… I mean broach a controversial topic and swim in vats of moola

  • Micaela

    Rant! Rave! Spew! Everything you have said offends me!

    Haha! Not. Thoroughly enjoyed this.

  • That’s because you are a troublemaker, Micaela.  If there were one word to sum up your lifestyle, it would be “controversial”.  

  • I’ve given thought to writing about the single training run that turned my heart from “personally opposed to abortion, but would never tell someone else what to do” to “pro-life, all life, all the time”.  A single training run!  What God can do with an imperfect heart that can at least manage to open the tiniest crack to Him!

  • What is it about homeschool kids and attacking oncoming traffic?  My current pet theory is too many living history books- they all think they’re fighting the Red Coats or something.

  • You’re a glutton for my punishment, you are.

  • I know.  I’ll have to post the article on some of those news digests that attract the combox trolls.

  • Loved it! 
    I think you should write about those ghost hunter shows.  Some of them are pretty hokey, but some have scared the whoo-ha out of me.

  •  Write it this very second!

  • You know those “Love Languages” books?  When Ken is talking MY love language, he’ll sit and have deep, theological discussions about those shows with me.

    Usually, though, he just sits on the couch and makes disparaging noises.

  • tracyanne

    love the public, homeschool comment; I have kids in both camps and yes, there are somethings the public school system has been able to accomplish in my kids that I haven’t!  Thought it was just me.

  • I’m considering paying the public school neighbors to come teach my hooligans the parts I’m failing on.  “Use of Indoor Voice” is probably going to be first on the list.

  • Jill

    provocative post title… check. i was thinking, how on earth is that all in one article, lol. 

  • chaco

    I don’t know if I’m the only male here or if it’s socially acceptable to mix genders in this format, but what the Heck – I’ll take a “Shot in the dark” anyway; Even if you didn’t come up with a topic and are just “Fritterring” your time away; I think your being “Real” (transparent)  &  the ease with which you convey that inner reality is entertaining enough – No, more than enough, it’s refreshingly stimulating. Maybe it’s just my fascination with God’s invention of woman  (It’s been said that He created man 1st because one always makes a rough draft before the final masterpiece) but I think there is a general consensus about how women are better equipped to “Put it out there / Lay their cards on the table” than us guys. That’s why I like a feminine voice in the arena of public opinion; it makes for less wondering about one’s integrity. [Just so there’s no doubt  here about my honorable intentions , my better 1/2 has given her imprimatur to this comment.]

  • Chaco, I’m always happy to hear from male readers!  The only men that I know who read me are related to me by blood or marriage, so you know that means they’re all crazy.

  • chaco

    Until I figured out some more gadgets on this computer whatchamacallit, I thought I might be getting “The Cold Shoulder” because I’m a “Combox Troll” .  [Or maybe I am and your just throwing the creature a morsel from the tenderness of your maternal Heart …. OOPS ! Are my vulnerable / self-worth issues showing ?] You can probably tell that I’m kinda new at this (think poking at  the keypad with 2 fingers) but my heart, like many others was SET ABLAZE by your conversion testimony. I’ve got quite a story myself; kind of a “St. Paul getting nocked down by a Heavenly light” story, but am still trying to figure out all the steps to sharing it (and perhaps improve my current 10 words per minute typing skills). My better 1/2 (Honey-Sweets) is quite adept but isn’t as fired up as I am to tell my story. Oh well, how’s that saying go;  “But for the Grace of God go I” ?  I’ll just try to follow God’s timing through it all. [I’ve learned that there are 2 kind’s of time; Chronos – chronological    &    Kairos – God’s timing.]     

  • Chaco,
    It took me a million years to finally get around to writing the conversion story.  I kept saying, “Ok, Holy Spirit, if you want it written, YOU’RE going to have to do it!” And He sent several very kind people to ask me specifically to write it when the time was right.

    When the time’s right to write your story, the Holy Spirit will have no problem overcoming your two finger typing style!

  • chaco

    OH !, You’ve met the Holy Spirit  too? (Duh !)  God Bless Sis’

  • Love this and GREATLY appreciate the shout out linkage. I read it 2 seconds after you published but you know how it goes with tyrants underfoot.

    I feel like a bad and uniformed Catholic as I didn’t know the Mantilla was so controversial — hmmmm. maybe hasn’t made its way out to St. Louis in a covered wagon yet?

    soon. And I’ll welcome the controversy with open arms and veiled face, guarant. 

  • chaco

    Whoa ! Things are heatin’ up ; Just B-4 I commented that I had a conversion story too, I had bounced it off my Honey-Sweets and she had fallen off into Golden Slumbers. I took it as disinterest, but when I came back to computer, she had left a note telling me to jot down the pertinent points. Do you think “something ” may have been concieved during her slumbering ?  Stay tuned for further updates. 

  • Deacon Tom Fox

    What am I? Chopped liver? 

  • Certainly not chopped liver, but I’d like a signed note from Dee that you’re not crazy.  😉