Sunday, May 22, 2016

Courage In Our Finest Hours

One of my favorite prayers is the Serenity Prayer. It's something I can say in a moment when I have no idea what to do next.
God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change.
The courage to change the things I can.
And the wisdom to know the difference. Amen
Courage is a virtue that is not typically natural but rather it is pursued. defines Courage as:
  The virtue of bravery in facing difficulties, especially in overcoming the fear of consequences in doing good. As moral courage, it enables a person to pursue a course deemed right, through which one may incur contempt, disapproval, or opprobrium. As physical courage, it is simply bodily or emotional strength to withstand opposition. It differs from fortitude in being more aggressive in undertaking, whereas fortitude is more patient in undergoing what is virtuous but hard.

As a child I looked to the adults in my life for examples of courage. In school we learned about those in uniform that protect us in our communities, and in my reading and watching I saw many super heroes. Often courage was about what I saw others doing on the news. It looked hard and sometimes unreachable for a gal like me. But as a young adult, after the Sacrament of Confirmation, it finally connected that I had a greater purpose and potential, talents that can touch the lives of others, and that I should seek moments to be courageous. That in the midst of our ordinary lives, with no background music, no grand fare, sometimes with no one watching - we can be courageous. Through the gifts of the Holy Spirit, there is no doubt that each one of us has the potential to make such an impact on the world.

I had the privilege to watch the movie The Finest Hours before it's release this week [May 24, 2016] in exchange for a review. The Finest Hours is a wonderful family film with an inspiring story of courage.  It is based on a true story of the greatest small boat rescue that happened in 1952 Massachusetts. Approaching the East coast was the worst winter storm, with the Coast Guard on full alert in their city of fishermen. That bitter cold February day, two oil tankers just miles away were in need of rescue. Previous experience had them settled that a rescue in this weather would bring imminent death to many if not all. 40-60 foot waves and hypothermia would welcome them their ocean grave. An order from their chief sent them anyway, with loved ones sitting on edge. Are they doomed to fail this mission, or could it be their finest hours?

The main character, Bernie Webber (Chris Pine), is an excellent example of someone who is courageous.  He sets aside his everyday ways of conformity to embrace the side of himself that is confident, hopeful and inspiring others to take risks. When I saw this great moment, when he realizes his full potential, it just brought on the goosebumps. When the Spirit stirs within your soul, will you respond with the courage to be whom God intended you to be? Oh, what a gift of grace there is in that moment!

Another well played character is the senior officer on board the tanker, first assistant engineer Ray Sybert (Casey Affleck). He's the humble guy who's really good at what he does. Ray also has a turning point where he steps up to lead, despite aggression and disapproval from a few on his crew. While you see the fear in the sweat on his brow, he takes bold initiative to engineer new solutions, inspires the crew to work together, and still takes the time to show personal care for everyone.

This story grabs at your heart strings
for the man who persists with his ingenuity despite opposition,
for the woman trying to be a lighthouse to her finance,
for the people ashore standing by to help,
for the team that volunteers in the face of terrible danger,
for the people trying to overcome fear in order to follow,
for the man who embraces his purpose and potential!

I'm certain many will be inspired by this story.  This film is certainly action packed, with a hint of romantics, that will be welcomed by your whole family. Great scenes and cinematography really capture you and bring you to this small town and out at sea. I was also impressed by the talented cast which had a few familiar faces.  If you're fortunate to purchase this DVD/BluRay, the backstory in the bonus features (not incl on a rental) is worth your time.  If your children are sensitive to tragedy, endangerment and suspense - perhaps they best wait until about 10 years old to see this film. I personally will be watching this again with my family, including my younger boys ages 4 and 7 who are no strangers to action films.

God bless your journey!

This heroic action-thriller is based on the extraordinary true story of the greatest small-boat rescue in Coast Guard history. In 1952, a massive winter storm strikes off the coast of Cape Cod, ripping a T-2 oil tanker in half and trapping more than 30 sailors inside its rapidly sinking stern. When word of the disaster reaches the U.S. Coast Guard, four men led by Captain Bernie Webber (Chris Pine) set out in a 12-seat boat on a daring mission to rescue the stranded men, braving freezing cold, 60-foot waves and hurricane-force winds, and guided by Webber’s vow that “We all live, or we all die.” Packed with thrilling, larger-than-life action and anchored in a belief in the strength of the human spirit, The Finest Hours is a triumph. 

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Blog Changes

I am so glad to have a way to share about our family's journey through homeschooling over these past 10 years. I've been trying to make it easier for my blog visitors to find the great lesson plans and activities I share randomly through my posts. It's been so random thus far, and if you know me - I'm all about organization.

So - If you haven't already, come see all the ideas at
I will continue to journal about our adventures here, and leave old posts where they are. However, all future activities will be rounded up onto the other blog site. You will be able to tell which site you are on, based on the web addresses (this is and the header images. On the HomegrownCatholics website, you'll notice that there may not be a lot of new posts, rather I add new things to posts with similar themes. So all the Lent activities are in one post, all the Marian activities are in one post, etc. It's a work in progress!
After you visit, please be sure to comment here what you think of the change - good or bad! I'm open to suggestions as I've just begun.
Also, it's still in the works, but I've opened an
Homegrown Catholics Etsy Shop
to share some of my projects and documents.

Many things I post are free to print, but a few I've added a small fee to make it worth the all the time I put into it - as you will find with other fellow bloggers. If you cannot afford a file, or wish to print multiple things, please contact me at and I'd be happy to work with you on a price or gift.
God Bless,
Bloglovin' Link for: StBrigidsAcademy  &  Homegrown Catholics



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