Friday, January 30, 2009

7 Quick Takes Friday - Vol 9

Welcome to another version of 7 Quick Takes Friday thanks to Conversion Diary.

1.

The homeschooling mother in me is struggling with a dilemma. Our annual Father-Daughter Ball is fast approaching. Each time one of the girls gets to be around 13, we sew a long dress for her to wear to the ball that year. This year I have a 13 year old that wants the dress (in fact, we've had the material since August so that we could sew it at a leisurely pace and not at the last minute :) but doesn't want to sew it. So what is a mother to do? Do I force her to advance her sewing skills and make her help me (a move that quite possibly could take all the fun out of it!) or do I sew it myself in peace and tranquility? After I pondered it a bit, I decided that I would sew it myself and then I could enter it in the county fair in the fall! At least then it would be a project that wouldn't be getting done at the last minute!

2.

We are having a tea party today for about 12 ten year-olds. This is something the girls all look forward to when they turn 10. We don't do any other friend parties except for this one, so it is an event which is much anticipated; even by the three older girls who have already had theirs. I look forward to it more each time because there are more enthusiastic helpers every time we do it. It's nice to see such sisterly love once in a while.

3.

The next one up to turn 10, however, is a boy. In his younger years he just couldn't understand why he couldn't have a tea party when he turned 10. I think he is now beginning to understand, thank heavens! I could just see those invitations going out to his friends...I was thinking that maybe a jousting party was more the order of the day for a bunch of 10 year old boys. You know, a good sword fight or two, eating some food with their hands and slurping juice from big mugs. I'm not sure I'll have too many enthusiastic helpers for that one...

4.

There are times when I really like the internet. Like when you are trying to think of the name of a movie that you saw about 15 years ago and you can't remember it so you go to the computer and type into Google, "a movie about a dead guy at a beach house" and the first entry that pops up is "Weekend at Bernie's". How cool is that!

5.

The other day over at Carmelitemom, Theresa's post was about whether or not we are too busy to notice beauty. It really is a neat story, so I'll send you to her blog to read it (check out the really beautiful picture she has in her header, too). If you are interested in the full story from the Washington Post, as well as a video, you can go here.

6.

I found another great quote to share with you from that awsome book "Jesus Our Eucharistic Love". According to St. John Vianney, "Martyrdom is nothing in comparison with the Mass, because martyrdom is the sacrifice of man to God, whereas the Mass is the Sacrifice of God for man!" Ponder that for awhile.

7.

And finally I was going to show you some pictures of these great scarves that we found at Wal-Mart. They're really big and very colorful and each of us girls has one. You can wear them in so many different ways, too. One mom I know said that her niece used it to cover up while nursing. So I was going to have pictures of each of the girls demonstrating a different way to wear these really nice scarves but then two things happened. 1. Three of my girls are not home at the time of this writing and once they are home, I won't be. I thought about putting them on the two boys but then 2. I realized that my husband took my camera today! UGH! Oh well, take my word for it, they are fun and versatile scarves and they are only $5. Such a bargain! Maybe I'll get it together for next week!

God Bless!

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

More on the Mass

I am finally getting around to reading that book that it says on my sidebar I have been reading for the past 3 months. I am only into the second chapter and already I am blown away. The chapter I am reading is about the Mass. As I have mentioned before, daily Mass is quite a struggle for us sometimes, especially now that it is winter and it has been snowing/sleeting/raining/icing a lot. We drive on country roads - roads that don't get plowed very well - roads that never get salted. Not to mention the fact that the older I get, the more fears I seem to be able to conjure up about driving in bad weather.

Quite often I ask my confessor about daily Mass and his answer always seems to be the same, "What would a saint do?" My answer has gotten to be the same, too, "A saint would walk backwards with no shoes on in the snow to get to daily Mass." He never tells me I'm wrong.

So I am reading this chapter on daily Mass and it says,

"...we must consider ourselves fortunate every time we have an opportunity to attend a Holy Mass. In order not to lose the opportunity, we should never withhold ourselves because it might cost us some sacrifice...Let us remember that St. Maria Goretti would travel on foot 15 miles to and fro to go to Sunday Mass. We should think of Santina Campana who went to Mass while she had a high fever. Think of St. Maximilian Kolbe who offered Holy Mass when his health was in such a pitiful condition that one of his brothers in religion had to support him at the altar so that he would not fall. And how many times Blessed Pio of Pietrelcina celebrated Holy Mass while he was bleeding and had a fever!"

Sure makes me feel a little lukewarm for not wanting to drive that 1/2 hour to Mass in the snow! Of course I have really begun to see that God is not outdone in His generosity. The graces that we have received by making the extra effort to get to Mass are innumerable; probably a lot more than I even know.

I would like to leave you today with some words of encouragement. If, for whatever reason, you find yourself desiring to go to daily Mass but can't seem to overcome the obstacles, please keep trying. Start out slowly by adding only one or two days a week. Eventually you will feel that you can dive in head first and tackle at least Monday thru Friday. For some people Saturdays are easier to get to Mass because their spouse is home, but for others (like us) it is hard to even find a Saturday morning Mass that is close. Here is another quote from the book "Jesus, Our Eucharistic Love" to encourage you on your journey.

"Wonderful are the saving effects which every Sacrifice of the Mass produces in the souls of those who participate. It obtains sorrow and pardon for sins. It lessens the temporal punishment due to sins. It weakens the influence of Satan and the untamed impulses of our flesh. It strengthens the bonds of our union in the Body of Christ. It protects us from danger and disaster. It shortens the punishment of Purgatory; and it obtains for us a higher degree of glory in Heaven."

God Bless!

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Holiness and Hormones Part II

When I was done with yesterday's post (which I will admit I put together Sunday evening - late Sunday evening:) I sat down in my comfy chair to read Saturday's meditation (always a day late and a dollar short) in "In Conversation with God" and wouldn't you know it, the title of the meditation was....Cheerfulness. Sometimes God just cracks me up.

Alright, I thought, let's just see what He has to tell me about cheerfulness after I just went on and on about not being able to control myself during certain days of the month.

"The closer we are to God, the greater our share in His love and in His life. The more we grow in divine filiation, the greater and more appreciable will our joy be. Is the way I usually behave a cheerful one? Is it positive and optimistic? Do I easily lose my cheerfulness when setbacks and disappointments occur? Do I often give in to gloomy thoughts?"

Of course, keep in mind that these meditations are written by A MAN, so there is no talk of being overcome by one's God-given hormones. "Do I easily lose my cheerfulness when setbacks and disappointments occur?" Only on days when I have had my emotion-control center hi-jacked.

Let's read on, shall we...

"The family is a particularly important sphere in which we need to sow and spread great joy. The outstanding characteristic of our homes has to be the habitual smile (even though we may be tired or worried), together with optimistic warm-hearted behavior which in its effect is like the 'pebble dropped into the lake', which produces a widening, expanding circle and then another still wider; we end up creating a pleasant atmosphere in which it is easy and natural for people to live in harmony with others, and in which, in a habitual way, a fruitful apostolate can be carried out with our children, our parents, our brothers and sisters..."

Most days I don't have a problem accepting and living the above quote. However, on days when I am struggling to regain control and be my normal self, I find it very hard to embrace the idea that I have to retain that "habitual smile". In fact, I don't even think about the fact that I should be smiling, so caught up I am in my miserableness. So I had a thought during Mass this morning that the best way to overcome this problem is with a pre-emptive strike.

In an effort to follow the above advise, I decided that I will take a picture of myself when I am smiling, photocopy it and enlarge it to lifesize and then tape it to a ruler. This way, when I am having a hard time remembering to smile, I will just hold up the picture of me the way I usually am so as to continue to create "
a pleasant atmosphere in which it is easy and natural for people to live in harmony with others".

Ha, I'm just kidding. The thought that did come to me during Mass this morning did involve a pre-emptive strike, but more in the form of a prayer, not a picture. I figure if I write out a prayer ahead of time and put it in a spot where I will see it, then all I have to do when I feel myself getting hi-jacked is to run to the card and do my best to pray my prayer. Maybe even pray it over and over again. I have no doubt that help will come to me, even if I have a hard time at first meaning what I am praying. The key here is to be ready ahead of time. There is no way that I could come up with this in the middle of a PMS day.

Therefore, I will call upon the aid of our Blessed Mother and beg that she sends me the grace I need to "make the way lovable for others, and easy, since life brings enough bitterness without our adding to it".

God Bless!

Monday, January 26, 2009

Holiness and Hormones

I have read a lot of good spiritual books in the last 14 years. I have heard many good spiritual talks. Despite all that, I have yet to hear or read anyone discuss how a woman is supposed to retain her holiness while under the influence of her hormones! I suppose it's because many of the talks I've heard are given by priests and they probably don't have a clue about PMS or the like. I just know that there have been many times over the years where I've been yearning for someone to tell me what role hormones play while trying to maintain my state of peace and joy.

For example, can I use them as an excuse for my behavior? I always feel contrite at the end of the day, but in the midst of emotional chaos, I find it hard to reign them in. So, do I have to confess my inability to control my emotions during those few days out of the month? How did the female saints deal with them? Have you ever read the biography of a woman saint that told about what she was like during a PMS day? I haven't. And why is that? I find it hard to believe that they didn't have them, so why is it never mentioned?

Now, before I go any further, I know that diet has a lot to do with how bad or how many PMS days a woman has. I know that my irrational behavior can be controlled to a certain degree with OTC or homeopathic medicines. What I want to know is this:

How HOLY does a woman have to be in order to control her emotions on a PMS day?

Does it require a couple of extra rosaries during those days? Or what about some extra adoration time? How about becoming a hermit? That way you get the extra prayer time and you're not forced to talk to anybody - a great way to lessen the number of offenses against the whole "Love Your Neighbor" thing and therefore, less to confess. The way I figure it, it takes a lot of extra holiness!

The thing I hate the most about PMS is the unpredictability of its appearance. One minute peace, love and joy can be oozing from my pores. The next instant I'm having an out-of-body experience; I don't even recognize myself. This happened to me last week during dinner and I just wanted to scream at my son, "Can I please sit on my own chair, by myself and eat my own dinner? And would you PLEASE stop kissing me and telling me how much you love me!!" (Don't worry, I shoved food in my mouth so the words wouldn't come out!)
My husband says he can tell when "it" shows up because it's like a shield that pops up around me and whenever he tries to come near me he bounces back across the room!

Every month this happens and every month I spend a lot of time pondering how to overcome it. I mean, I should be able to do something, shouldn't I? Retreating is not a viable option all the time, so in the face of wanting to scream irrational thoughts at my family, I have to ask myself, "What would a saint do?" Unfortunately for those around me, I have yet to figure out the answer.

God Bless!

Saturday, January 24, 2009

A Thought To Ponder

I received this in an email today. I'm not sure who said it, but I thought it was worth sharing.

It is indeed a very strange thing that in one previous century, we had a senator from Illinois who became president of the United States and challenged the supreme court's ruling that black slaves were not human. Now we have a black senator from Illinois who became president of the United States and does not believe that babies in the womb are human. To me, there is no clearer indication of our state before God that we have become the only world power founded on Christianity to completely abandon Christianity, and with it, all sanity. God help us.

God Bless!

Friday, January 23, 2009

7 Quick Takes Friday - Vol 8

Here we are again thanks to Conversion Diary!

1.

A conversation at breakfast - Tuesday morning:

Mom- Well eldest daughter (ED), I guess we'll be letting you go to the March for Life!

(ED) - Wow, really?? Great, yippee (or something to that effect)!

Third Dtr (TD) - Wow. Hey, don't get shot.

Mom- I did think about that and I'm pretty sure that if that happened (and it were fatal) she would be a martyr.

TD - Really? CAN I GO???

ED - Thanks a lot everybody!

2.

Someone emailed me this link to PewSitter so I checked it out and it looks like a good spot for Catholic news. They thought, and I agree, that it might be a handy sight to bookmark so as to keep tabs on what is going on in the world that might impact us as a Catholics.

3.

In case you haven't seen it, here is the text of a telegram that the Pope sent to our new President:

On the occasion of your inauguration as the Forty-fourth president of the United States of America I offer cordial good wishes, together with the assurance of my prayers that the Almighty God will grant you unfailing wisdom and strength in the exercise of your high responsibilities.

Under your leadership may the American people continue to find in their impressive religious and political heritage the spiritual values and ethical principles needed to cooperate in the building of a truly just and free society, marked by respect for the dignity, equality and rights of each of its members, especially the poor, the outcast and those who have no voice.

At a time when so many of our brothers and sisters throughout the world yearn for liberation from the scourge of poverty, hunger and violence, I pray that you will be confirmed in your resolve to promote understanding, cooperation and peace among the nations, so that all may share in the banquet of life which God wills to set for the whole human family (cf. Isaiah 25:6-7). Upon you and your family, and upon all the American people, I willingly invoke the Lord’s blessings of joy and peace.

Benedictur PP. XVI


4.

I really do hate blogger sometimes. Not only does it change fonts, but now I can't get this awful indent out of the way! Is there help out there????????????

5.

You just have to love people nowadays. An anonymous tipster in Texas called a social worker to report on a homeschooling family that sent their kids to bed "really early". I just don't understand.

6.

In my ongoing discussion (at least the one in my mind) about the Latin Mass (or I understand it can be called the Extraordinary Form of the Mass), I stumbled upon the thought this past week that the Novus Ordo mass does tend to put the focus on me and what I get out of it. I've also been hearing from others that in the Latin Mass, there is no leeway for the priest's personal style. To that end, a friend sent me a letter that a priest from Connecticut wrote on the subject. In it he says,

"If only more people understood that novelties and priestly creativity in the Mass take away from this transcendent reality, and suddenly the sacred act is profaned, taking on the mere personality of the priest. No! As Padre Pio says, "at Mass we are to humbly pray like St. John and Our Lady at the foot of the cross."

Hmmm. That image of St. John and Our Lady could start to bring things into a bit more focus...not a lot, but a little. I'm glad God is so patient with me!

7.

To change the topic completely: At dinner the other night, my sometimes belligerent three-year-old son was informing us that HE was in charge now. "Oh really?" we all replied.

"Yep. I am in charge of the children now and you (meaning me) are in charge of Daddy and his 'Prog Test'."

His WHAT? We thought of googling 'prog test' but were afraid of what we might find...Where do they come up with this stuff?


God Bless!

Thursday, January 22, 2009

My Pro-Life Journey

Growing up I certainly don't ever remember hearing anything about abortion. If it was mentioned in church, it was certainly never talked about in my family or anywhere else that I would have been. It wasn't until I was out of college that I actually started to hear about it. Before our first child was born I worked in a doctor's office. I remember a young lady (maybe in her very early 20s) coming in who had marked on her registration papers that she had had 5 previous abortions. She was very pretty and full of energy; not someone who appeared to be bogged down by her past.

One day the topic of this young lady and her number of abortions came up. There was a nurse assistant there who was pro-life and she expressed her opinion that this was wrong. Me, being the ignorant person I was on the subject, started asking her questions. It wasn't that I was pro-abortion, it was just that I really didn't have any opinion on the subject. After some further discussion she asked me how I could not have an opinion. I didn't have an answer for her. I went home and thought more about it. I will never forget the day that I bounced into work and told her, "Guess what, I finally decided that abortion is wrong and that the government shouldn't be allowed to say it's okay!" I'm not quite sure what I expected from her, but at least she was gracious and just smiled and said she was glad I had come to that conclusion.

Fast forward a few more years and two children later. I hadn't spent any time after that last conversation thinking much about the abortion issue. I was pretty much entrenched in my "2 kids only, I want a career" mentality.When my second daughter was about six months old, I had a very powerful conversion experience - one that left me convinced that anything related to an anti-life agenda was something I could have no part in.

I began to read and research my faith like a starving person looking for food. It was at this time that my husband and I started to wonder what this all meant for our family. We had to take a crash course in NFP so that we had some time to adjust to all of this new information and try to figure things out. A good friend of mine who was very instrumental to my conversion, suggested, among other things, that we sign up with the Living Rosary association. By signing up, my husband and I would each be assigned a decade of the rosary to pray every day for certain intentions in conjunction with others around the world. When I got my assigned decade in the mail, I wasn't too surprised to see that it was the third Joyful Mystery - the Birth of Jesus. We both agreed that God was calling us to more children.

In our opinion, God reaffirmed our ideas about increasing our family size, as well as cemented the thought that we were to be involved in the pro-life movement, by blessing us with our third child on January 22nd of the following year. We consider her our conversion child, and the one who got us involved in pro-life activities.

As time went on and our family grew, getting involved in things became more difficult. I was involved with our parish pro-life group and we did a couple of events throughout the year. Our biggest surprise was getting kicked out of the annual Kiddy parade held during the town's summer festival. They kindly asked us not to bring our political agenda to the parade (we used to do all kinds of obnoxious things like had out balloons and pencils and stuff)!

I used to feel bad about not being able to head up different pro-life events, or keep up with all the phone-tree alerts that I came across, but then it dawned on me that in our own way, we were still spreading the pro-life message. As our family grew and we made more of a scene every time we left the house, I found solace in the words of St. Francis: Preach at all times. Use words when necessary. Our willingess to be open to life was a big part of spreading the message! I know it's tough to raise a lot of children in today's world, but just remember the message that you carry with you to evreyone who knows you, or even just sees you (and no, it's not "You must be insane!).

So that is where we are at. We try to get involved in things whenever we can. Now that the kids are getting older, it's getting easier because we can get them involved even if we can't be. This past fall they participated in passing out pre-election flyers to local churches and, at the last minute, we sent our eldest on a bus to Washington DC for today's March for Life. A big step for all of us. I just pray that everyone returns home safely!

Our pro-life commitment is a big part of our family and our education. Even if you can't be formally involved in committees or planning events, you can still do a lot to spread the word. With the internet, it has become even easier. No more phone calls, just send an email. Pass on important alerts with the click of the mouse! Alleluia! And, if you can do nothing else, you can pray! Pray the rosary, pray novenas, offer up those late-nite nursings for the unborn. The possiblities are endless and the graces you receive will be abundant!

Our Lady of Guadalupe, Patroness of the Unborn, pray for us!

God Bless!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Post Inauguration Thoughts

I have been mulling over a few thoughts about what we saw yesterday during the swearing in and the President's speech. I had it all put together in my head until I checked my email and saw this video:



I think that says enough.

I would also like to ask that you join me in praying every day for the conversion of our new president. With his charisma, he could do A LOT of good. Watching him yesterday say, "So help me God" gave me chills. I feel it is our responsibility, as Christians, to pray for his conversion.

God Bless!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Inauguration Day 2009


Welcome to Inauguration Day 2009!

Last night I discovered that President Obama's Inauguration theme is "A New Birth of Freedom". According to the Inaugural website, "A New Birth of Freedom" commemorates the 200th anniversary of Abraham Lincoln's birth. The words, echoing across 200 years from Abraham Lincoln's Gettysburg address, express Lincoln's hope that the sacrifice of those who died to preserve the United States would lead to "a new birth of freedom" for the nation.

I also understand that President Obama is using Lincoln's Bible for his swearing in. With all this focus on Abraham Lincoln, we can only hope and pray that all of the novenas and masses that have been said will cause our new President to have a change of heart and truly embrace some of Lincoln's thoughts on freedom. We can also only hope and pray that the President's idea of freedom will encompass all people from conception to natural death.

If you would like to use a banner like the one above, you can go to the Catholic Information Network and check it out, as well as any of the other banners, pictures and information they have on this topic. You're free to use their images to help promote the message that Freedom should extend to everyone; even to those who have no voice!

God Bless!

Monday, January 19, 2009

O Glorious St. Joseph

Allison over at Totus Tuus had a wonderful post last week about picking a patron Saint for yourself, your family or even your blog, for the year 2009. She even volunteered to let the Holy Spirit lead her and pick one for you. I decided to see who she would pick for our family and I was so glad that she was led to pick a very dear friend and companion of our family. In fact, this saint has been the patron saint of our business for the past 11 years.

The wonderful and ever faithful St. Joseph. I can't tell you how many times the intercessory powers of this faithful saint have been called upon by our family. Many times we can even say that he sends us the answer to our prayers just the way we asked for them.

If you are not familiar with it, there is a wonderful prayer to St. Joseph from the Pieta prayer book. I've posted it before, but in honor of our 2009 Patron Saint, I'll post it again:

O St. Joseph whose protection is so great, so strong, so prompt before the Throne of God, I place in you all my interests and desires. O St. Joseph do assist me by your powerful intercession and obtain for me from your Divine Son all spiritual blessings through Jesus Christ, Our Lord; so that having engaged here below your Heavenly power I may offer my Thanksgiving and Homage to the most Loving of Fathers. O St. Joseph, I never weary contemplating you and Jesus asleep in your arms. I dare not approach while He reposes near your heart. Press him in my name and kiss His fine Head for me, and ask Him to return the Kiss when I draw my dying breath. St. Joseph, Patron of departing souls, pray for us. Amen.

I'm not sure if Allison is still picking saints for people, but you can certainly pick one for yourself. I think it is a nice idea to have a different Saint that our family can get aquainted with each year. It's like bringing new friends into the family - ones that will stay for a lifetime!

God Bless!

Friday, January 16, 2009

7 Quick Takes Friday - Vol 7

Here's another 7 Quick Takes Friday. Check out Conversion Diary for more fun!

1.

We've been working with our new split schedule (Mon/Thurs and Tues/Wed) for two weeks now and I have to say that it is not that bad. The little bit of change it gives us is nice, but it is still hard to remember what schedule we're supposed to be following. The only thing I miss is the 1/2 hour I would spend every day with each child going over things. The plus is that we are able to spend more time all together and cover more subjects. While I liked the individual time, that 2 1/2 hours every day was very hard to keep up with.

2.


I found a new Bible verse that I think I will make my own. I was reading my meditation from, you guessed it, "In Conversation With God" and the topic was how we can not let problems take away our joy. The author says, "A cheerful countenance attracts men to God, showing them what the presence of God produces within the soul. This is why the Holy Spirit gives us the advice, 'Do not be downcast or look troubled, for the joy of the Lord is your strength' (Neh 8:10)" What a good verse to carry around in your head when you come in contact with all of the struggles in the world today.

3.


It always amazes me how messy two little children can make a house when no one is paying attention. We've had a relatively uninterrupted week of school and boy did it show in my house. I guess it's a good thing, though: we were all so busy and intent on learning that no one cared how many things they had to step over just to navigate around the house. For those of you who enjoy seeing my house messy, you missed your chance (we cleaned it up last night!).

4.


My husband and I were out driving around the other day while it was snowing profusely and we got to talking about how we get so caught up in getting angry at the weather - how it makes it hard for us to get to where we need to go - that we don't stop and appreciate the beauty that it brings. It was nice to spend some time that day enjoying the snow covered landscapes instead of being worried or upset about how rotten it was to drive in it.

5.


A while back we went to our first Latin Mass and I have to say that I wasn't hooked and really have no desire to go back. Well, it seems that I might be wrong about not going back because lately, everywhere I turn, I'm either reading about how beautiful the Latin Mass is or running into people who keep encouraging me to try again. It seems that what we went to was the Low Mass and what we really need to experience is the High Mass. I can't believe how many times God has been hitting me over the head with this one in the last month. We'll see what happens.


6.


I haven't had a recipe up in awhile so since I've been reading about the wonderful benefits of fresh garlic, I thought I'd share this great garlic butter recipe with you. You can put it on pieces of bread and stick them in the oven for a few minutes, or slather it all over a loaf of bread, wrap it in tinfoil and put it in the oven for about 20 minutes. Either way, this stuff is great!

1/2 cup butter, softened
2 tbl grated Parmesan cheese
2 tbl minced fresh parsley
4 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/8 tsp garlic salt

In a small mixing bowl, cream the butter. Add the Parmesan cheese, parsley, garlic, oregano and garlic salt; mix well.

Enjoy!

7.


Some times you come across a prayer that just says it all so I thought I would share it with you. I have no idea where I first found it or who wrote it.

Lord Jesus, I believe you became man, suffered, died on the cross for my sins and arose from the dead. Jesus I come before you now, just as I am. I am sorry for my sins, I repent of my sins, please forgive me. In Your name, I forgive all others for what they have done against me. I renounce Satan, the evil spirits and all their works. I surrender my life to you. I invite you to be my personal Lord and Savior. Heal me, change me, make me into the kind of person you want me to be. Strengthen me in mind, body, soul and spirit.

Come Lord Jesus, cover me with your precious blood and fill me with your Holy Spirit. Holy Spirit, come and grant me your grace, the power of your love and your spiritual gifts. Help me to share your love with my family, my friends, those I work with and all those I meet. I love You, Jesus. I praise You, Jesus. I thank You, Jesus. I shall follow You every day of my life. Amen.

God Bless!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

The Mom Song

My niece sent this video to me and it was just too fun to not share with y'all. Boy is it an accurate portrayal of what I say on any given day. Hope you get a chuckle out of it like I did.



God Bless!

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Busyness

My husband and I got in a discussion this past weekend about how far "out" into the country we would be willing to move. For example, according to our area, we already live out in the country. What that means around here is that we live on 5 acres and the nearest small town is 5 miles away. The nearest medium/large town is either 20 minutes south or 35 minutes west. Not what a lot of people would consider "living out in the country".

My thoughts were that, as a homeschooling family, it would be difficult to live out where there aren't a lot of people. Let's face it, the less people there are around you, the less likely you are to find at least ONE other family that shares your values and ideals. I have always had other homeschooling families as friends and for support and I think it would make it much more difficult to not have that.

I figured the kids wouldn't want to live too far out there either because they are used to their clubs and activities, etc. Our schedule is usually rather hectic, which is a good thing and a bad thing: I like the social interaction but all the driving makes me nuts.

My husband, on the other hand, wouldn't mind living on some secluded acreage in some relatively unpopulated area. He figures that after we all detoxed from the busyness, we would start to acclimate to the solitude and take the time to learn how to do things like gardening, hunting, hiking and the like. You know, the stuff we don't really have time for now.

Since we've had this conversation, I've been thinking a lot about it. Would it be better to keep up the activity load and just live closer to where all the "action" is, or would it be better to lighten the load and stay out in the country? Of course, God didn't leave me to figure this out alone. To help me along, today I received an email from a group called American Decency which included this story out about busyness (author unknown). Coincidence? I don't really think so.

Give it a read and then think about it for awhile. I think you'll agree with me that it is a pretty accurate picture of life today. Trying to keep up the silence and the prayer time is quite difficult when my mind is racing and my body is trying to keep up. That "out there" country life isn't looking so bad after all.

SATAN'S MEETING: (Read even if you're busy)

Satan called a worldwide convention of demons.

In his opening address he said, "We can't keep Christians from going to church."

"We can't keep them from reading their Bibles and knowing the truth."

"We can't even keep them from forming an intimate relationship with their Savior."

"Once they gain that connection with Jesus, our power over them is broken."

"So let them go to their churches; let them have their covered dish dinners, BUT steal their time, so they don't have time to develop a relationship with Jesus Christ.."

"This is what I want you to do," said the devil:

"Distract them from gaining hold of their Savior and maintaining that vital connection throughout their day!"

"How shall we do this?" his demons shouted.

"Keep them busy in the non-essentials of life and invent innumerable schemes to occupy their minds," he answered.

"Tempt them to spend, spend, spend, and borrow, borrow, borrow."

"Persuade the wives to go to work for long hours and the husbands to work 6-7 days each week, 10-12 hours a day, so they can afford their empty lifestyles."

"Keep them from spending time with their children."

"As their families fragment, soon, their homes will offer no escape from the pressures of work!"

"Over-stimulate their minds so that they cannot hear that still, small voice."

"Entice them to play the radio or cassette player whenever they drive. To keep the TV, VCR, CDs and their PCs going constantly in their home and see to it that every store and restaurant in the world plays non-biblical music constantly.."

"This will jam their minds and break that union with Christ."

"Fill the coffee tables with magazines and newspapers."

"Pound their minds with the news 24 hours a day."

"Invade their driving moments with billboards."

"Flood their mailboxes with junk mail, mail order catalogs, sweepstakes, and every kind of newsletter and promotional offering free products, services and false hopes.."

"Keep skinny, beautiful models on the magazines and TV so their husbands will believe that outward beauty is what's important, and they'll become dissatisfied with their wives. "

"Keep the wives too tired to love their husbands at night."

"Give them headaches too! "

"If they don't give their husbands the love they need, they will begin to look elsewhere."

"That will fragment their families quickly!"

"Give them Santa Claus to distract them from teaching their children the real meaning of Christmas."

"Give them an Easter bunny so they won't talk about His resurrection and power over sin and death."

"Even in their recreation, let them be excessive."

"Have them return from their recreation exhausted."

"Keep them too busy to go out in nature and reflect on God's creation. Send them to amusement parks, sporting events, plays, concerts, and movies instead."

"Keep them busy, busy, busy!"

"And when they meet for spiritual fellowship, involve them in gossip and small talk so that they leave with troubled consciences. "

"Crowd their lives with so many good causes they have no time to seek power from Jesus."

"Soon they will be working in their own strength, sacrificing their health and family for the good of the cause."

"It will work!"

"It will work!"

It was quite a plan!

The demons went eagerly to their assignments causing Christians everywhere to get busier and more rushed, going here and there.

Having little time for their God or their families.

Having no time to tell others about the power of Jesus to change lives..

I guess the question is, has the devil been successful in his schemes?

You be the judge!!!!!

Does "BUSY" mean: B-eing U-nder S-atan's Y-oke?

Please pass this on, if you aren't too BUSY!

IF YOU LOVE JESUS, you know what to do...
[Taken from author unknown]

God Bless!

Monday, January 12, 2009

The Proclamation of Easter

Here we are just back into Ordinary Time and I'm already bringing up Easter? I'm worse than Wal-mart! Actually, according to the Church, I'm late with this announcement. In way back times when calendars were not as readily available as they are today, the Church would read this proclamation on the solemnity of the Epiphany so that the faithful would know well in advance the date of Easter and all the other important dates tied to it.

It's too bad that this proclamation is not still read today because I think it would help to build anticipation for the greatest feast of the year and it would make the connection between Christmas and Easter more prominent.

So, here it is, the official proclamation of Easter for the year 2009. This was sent to me by a friend, who quite honestly should have her own blog because I frequently utilize information that she sends me! Thanks Do :)

Dear brothers and sisters, the glory of the Lord has shone upon us, and shall ever be manifest among us, until the day of his return. Through the rhythms of times and seasons let us celebrate the mysteries of salvation.

Let us recall the year's culmination, the Easter Triduum of the Lord: his last supper, his crucifixion, his burial, and his rising celebrated between the evening of the 9th of April and the evening of the 12th ofApril.

Each Easter - as on each Sunday - the Holy Church makes present the great and saving deed by which Christ has for ever conquered sin and death.

From Easter are reckoned all the days we keep holy. Ash Wednesday, the beginning of Lent, will occur on the 25th of February.
The Ascention of the Lord will be commemorated on the 21st of May.
Pentecost, the joyful conclusion of the season of Easter, will be celebrated on the 31st of May.

Likewise the pilgrim Church proclaims the passover of Christ in the feasts of the holy Mother of God, in the feasts of the Apostles and Saints, and in the commemoration of the faithful departed.

To Jesus Christ, who was, who is, and who is to come, Lord of time and history, be endless praise, for ever and ever.

R. Amen.


God Bless!
P.S. Don't forget to participate in the novena and fasting for FOCA not to be passed. This is day two.

Friday, January 9, 2009

7 Quick Takes Friday

A little later than usual, but here we are again for 7 Quick Takes Friday, courtesy of Conversion Diary.

1.

Yesterday as I was trying to get my post up about spiritual communions, I have to admit I was struggling. I had to leave the house by 10:40. It was already 10:30, the post wasn't done, I had two children waiting to ask me math questions, another one with a science question, a little one wanting my attention and another daughter who had to leave with me that wasn't ready yet. AAHH. Was sitting there telling all of them to wait while I finished my blog post the right thing for a mother to do? I hope so, and looking at the comments I'm glad I persevered. Hopefully my children can forgive me :)

2.

In response to my post on our homeschooling plan, a friend asked me to mention that the most important preparation for the future is spiritual preparation. To that end, she recommended a website by the Cukierski family. They are a family that specializes in selling Catholic sacramentals. (hehe, when I first typed that I put sacraments instead of sacramentals. I'm glad I proofread!) They have a rather extensive list of items that might come in handy. Thought I'd give you the link in case you're interested. Besides, it's always nice to support a Catholic family business!

3.

We received three Christmas letters in the mail yesterday (the 8th of January, mind you) and I had to laugh because all three of them said the same thing about how it may seem late for a Christmas letter, but, you know, the Catholic Church celebrates Christmas for more than one day. God is so good to us, He even gives us a good excuse to use to cover up our procrastination :)

4.

I found this video about the periodic table. If you are familiar with the Pirates of Penzanz, you'll recognize the song. I showed it to my kids and told them that now they, too, had to learn all of the elements by memorizing and singing this song.




5.

After we watched that one, my daughter told me about The Saint Song. It is a song someone came up with to the same tune that names over 100 different saints. Try memorizing and singing this one, too.



6.

For any of you in the Chicagoland area, Miles Christi is holding their monthly Evening of Recollection tonight in Lemont, IL and tomorrow in Palatine, IL. If you've never been to one, or it's been a while, consider attending. It is a very beautiful and grace-filled evening.

7.

On a lighter note, if you need a good laugh check out this link. It made us cry we were laughing so hard! Have a good day.

God Bless!

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Spiritual Communions

Yesterday I mentioned that I've been trying to get through the book "Jesus Our Eucharistic Love" by Fr. Stefano Manelli. Since I haven't been able to get through it, one of my daughters has picked it up and started reading it. Last week she brought the book to me and asked me to read a section entitled Spiritual Communion.

To quote the book: "Spiritual Communion is the reserve of eucharistic Life and Love always available for lovers of the Eucharistic Jesus. By means of spiritual Communion, the loving desires of the soul that wants to be united with Jesus, its dear Bridegroom, are satisfied. Spiritual Communion is a union of love between the soul and Jesus in the Host. This union is spiritual but nonetheless real, more real than the union between the soul and the body, 'because the soul lives more where it loves than where it lives,' says St. John of the Cross."

What a beautiful treasure we have in spiritual Communion. Of course this Communion assumes that we believe that Jesus is truly present in the Eucharist and it implies that we would like to receive Jesus in sacramental Communion but we can't for whatever reason.

What is really neat about spiritual Communion is that we can make one as often as we would like, even "hundreds of times a day", or night for that matter. As I read on, I realized that many saints utilized this special treasure. Jesus himself told St. Catherine of Siena in a vision just how precious a spiritual communion is. St. Francis de Sales resolved to make a spiritual Communion at least every quarter of an hour!!!!!!!!! That one blew me away. I can't remember to do things I have to do, let alone remember every 15 minutes to stop, recollect myself and ask Jesus to dwell in my heart. That , I guess, is why they are saints and I am not (well, and also because I'm not dead yet).

Anyhow, since I've read this, I've been trying to remember to do this at least a few times a day. Asking my Guardian Angel to help me remember would also be a good thing to do. You can come up with your own words, but here is the spiritual Communion prayer from St. Alphonsus:

My Jesus, I believe that You are really present in the most Holy Sacrament. I love You above all things and I desire to poseess You within my soul. Since I cannot now receive You sacramentally, come at least spiritually into my heart. (Pause) I embrace You as being already there and unite myself wholly to You. Never, never permit me to be separated from You. Amen

God Bless!

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Too Many Books, Too Little Time

I was just updating some stuff on my blog and I noticed that my current reading section has been the same for quite some time. It's true, I started reading the book "Jesus Our Eucharistic Love" about two months ago and I am still on page 13.

Actually, I find that I am in the first 1/3 of about 3 or 4 different books. I'm not quite sure why none of them have held my interest long enough for me to finish them. They are all good books, but maybe it's just that I can't seem to sit down long enough to get through to the end.

So, in reality, my current reading list should look something like this:

"Jesus, Our Eucharistic Love" - More on this one tomorrow

"Render Unto Caesar" by Charles Chaput - I got this one at the beginning of December and it is very good, I just haven't finished it yet.

"There We Stood, Here We Stand - 11 Lutherans Rediscover their Catholic Roots" by Timothy Drake - this book was given to me by a friend in response to the Lutheran pastor issue. I love personal story kind of books; especially conversion stories.

"The Digital Photography Book, Volume 1" and "The Digital Photography Book, Volume 2" both by Scott Kelby. I got volume 2 for Christmas from my husband so I had to naturally go out and find volume 1. These books are great for people like me: the author tells you how to take different kinds of pictures, he doesn't waste his time telling you why you should do it that way. Personally, the why of f-stops and aperture never made sense to me anyway. And besides, I'm not very much of a why kind of person. Just tell me how and that's usually good enough for me.

So there you have it, all of the books that I am currently reading. In an effort to at least try to finish them, I have inserted a mandatory 1/2 hour of silent reading into our school day right after lunch. This way, I will hopefully be able to get through them in more of a timely fashion. Of course, once I get these finished, then I can start on the other stack of books that have been patiently waiting to be read, too.

God Bless!

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Our Homeschooling Plan

Well, we spent the first day of school getting organized because I just couldn't manage to get it done before that! I don't know if I should publicly announce that or not, seeing as how I lead workshops on organizing your life, but it just goes to show you that I don't always have my act together.

Anyhow, I managed to put some thoughts together about our next topic of study and actually organize a schedule for the next couple of months. I'm trying something a bit different this time around. I split some of our subjects into different groups to be covered only on certain days. For example, our unit study will be done on Tues and Wed, while more independent studies will be done on Mon. and Thurs. Friday is usually our catch-up and errand day.

I'm mainly trying this because our morning mass schedule varies from day to day and I never seem to have enough time to do all of the group things that I'd like to do. Since we go to mass in the evening on Tuesday and early on Wednesday (thus opening up more time) I'm setting aside a good portion of those two days to do our "together" subjects. I know it goes against my "Never have more than one schedule" rule, but I decided I had to try it. We'll see how it goes.

As for our topic of study, we seem to be coming across a lot of information lately about becoming a bit more self-sufficient. That magazine I was reading last week had a lot of articles about moving in that direction. I thought it would be interesting to learn about what it would take to keep our family afloat if food or other items became harder to get. Can we take advantage of things we find in nature? What are the basic nutrients we need to stay alive and healthy? What are some things we can do right here, right now?

First, we are going to start out learning the basics about our bodies. In order to know what we need to survive, we need to know about how our body works. After we have some background there, I'd like to move on to learning about herbs and "weeds" - how to look around our area and find out what is edible and what is not. We'll also look into gardening (again!) and possibly animals we might be able to raise.

As usual, I'm not sure of the exact path we'll take. I like to leave some room in my plan for God to direct us where He wants us to go. I find it is more fun that way. At least I finally have an idea of where to start! If anyone has some good ideas or book recommendations, I'd love to hear about them! I hope you're school term is off to a good start, too.

God Bless!

Monday, January 5, 2009

FOCA Novena

Happy first day back to school for many of you reading this! Since my time is limited today, I thought I would pass along this email that I received. Please consider doing everything you can to pass the word along and also to participate in the prayer and fasting so that we can fight the passage of FOCA. Thanks!

If you are opposed to abortion, please read the information below and join us in prayer and fasting January 11-19, 2009.

The Freedom of Choice Act (FOCA) will be signed into law if Congress passes it on January 21-22, 2009. The FOCA is the next sick chapter in the book of abortion. If signed into law, all limitations on abortion will be lifted, resulting in the following:

1) All hospitals, including Catholic hospitals, will be required to perform abortions upon request. If this happens, Bishops vow to close down all Catholic hospitals - more then 30% of all hospitals in the U.S.

2) Partial birth abortions will be legal and have no limitations.

3) All U.S. taxpayers will be funding abortions.

4) Parental notification of abortions on minors will no longer be required (regardless of age).

5) The estimated number of increase in abortions is 100,000 annually.

Just as important, the government will now have control in the issue of abortion. This could result in a future amendment that would force women by law to have abortions in certain situations (rape, Down Syndrome babies, etc) and could even regulate how many children women are allowed to have.

Needless to say this information is disturbing, but sadly true. As Catholics, as Christians, as anyone who is against the needless killing of innocent children, we must stand as one. We must stop this horrific act before it becomes a law.

PLEASE JOIN US IN saying a novena and fasting from January 11-19. For Catholics, the prayer of choice is the rosary for the special intention of stopping the FOCA. For non-Catholics we encourage you to pray your strongest prayers with the same intention for 9 consecutive days. We hope and pray this will branch and blossom to become a global effort.



Please do the following 3 things:

1) Pass this information on quickly (so as many as possible can start praying on January 11)

2) Say a novena from January 11-19, asking God to prevent the FOCA from becoming law in the U.S.

3) Fast at least 2 days during this novena (either a complete fast of bread and water, or a Lenten fast of no meat and meals limited to 1 regular meal and 2 lesser meals during the day).

Remember that with God all things are possible and the power of prayer is undeniable. If you are against the senseless killing of defenseless children, please join us in prayer and fasting.

God Bless!

Friday, January 2, 2009

7 Quick Takes Friday

The first 7 Quick Takes Friday of 2009!

1.

Yesterday, as you know, was the feast of Mary the Mother of God. Our priest told us that this is the oldest Marian feast day celebrated by the church. I didn't know that! It was decided upon at the Council of Ephasus. I just read a quote by St. Cyril of Alexandria about this. He said, "I am exceedingly astounded that there could be anyone who has any doubt as to whether the Blessed Virgin should be called the Mother of God. If Our Lord Jesus Christ is God, why should the Blessed Virgin, who gave him birth, not be called the Mother of God?" Seems pretty straight forward to me.

2.

Is this a sign of things to come? Did you hear about the family in Ohio that got raided by armed officers and held captive in their home for 6 hours because they operated a food co-op???? Here is the story from World Net Daily. Unbelievable!

3.

A moment of self promotion: Beginning this month I will be blogging at least once a month on the TORCH homeschooling website. TORCH is a national Catholic homeschooling group and its an acronym for Traditions of Roman Catholic Homes. My posts will center around family formation. You have to sign up in order to access the website, but if you're interested you can check it out here.

4.

For those of you who are Irish, here's a cute story: (be prepared for some wild font changes!)

A story from a person who recently visited Europe:
On vacation in Rome, I noticed a marble column in St. Peter's with a
golden telephone on it. As a young priest passed by, I asked who
the telephone was for. The priest told me it was a direct line to
Heaven, and if I'd like to call, it would be a thousand dollars. I
was amazed, but declined the offer.

Throughout Italy, I kept seeing the same golden telephone on a
marble column. At each, I asked about it and the answer was always
the same: a direct line to Heaven and I could call for a thousand
dollars.

I finished my tour in Ireland . I decided to attend Mass at a local
village church. When I walked in the door I noticed the golden
telephone. Underneath it there was a sign stating: "DIRECT LINE
TO HEAVEN 25 cents." "Father," I said, "I have been all over
Italy and in all the cathedrals I visited, I've seen telephones
exactly like this one. But the price is always a thousand
dollars. Why is it that this one is only 25 cents?"

The priest smiled and said,
Darlin', you're in Ireland now. It's a local call."

5.

The kids got some Barnes and Noble gift cards for Christmas so we took a trip there earlier this week. Our youngest was insisting that the name of the store was really Barnes and Bellyboots. We're not quite sure why he came up with this name. Just a three year old thing, I guess. When we pulled up in front of the store, someone inadvertently read the sign as Barnes and Bellyboots BookSmellers. Well this got us on a roll about how books really do have certain smells and that those smells can evoke strong memories. I insisted that Nancy Drew books have their own unique smell that remind me of my childhood. Tell me I'm not the only one who thinks this way???!! However, when we got home, they pulled out a Nancy Drew book and I have to admit that it didn't really have a smell anymore :(

6.

My three year old son has a very vivid imagination and has learned how to tell some very interesting and detailed stories. When he gets into this mode he gets very animated. His voice rises and his eyes get wide and his hands move around a lot. The other day he was in the middle of one of his stories when he told us about a sled that was heading BETORDS his cousin. Later on, the sled was FLEWING over his head. I love his creativity. Just so no one else tries to slip these kinds of words into their writing assignments!

7.

School starts again on Monday. Yikes. I'm still not ready. I guess it doesn't matter, though, since we have something that will take all or at least some of us away from the house every day but Monday! Oh well. So much for thinking that things would slow down after the holidays.

Check out Conversion Diary for more Quick Takes!

God Bless!

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Happy New Year and Feast Day

May you have a very blessed and safe 2009!

Happy Feast of Mary, the Mother of God!


God Bless!