December 18, 2009

Merry Christmas!

Yes, I know I am a week early (wow - only a week away??), but this next week will be filled with preparations away from the computer. So, I pray that everyone has a wonderful, safe and joyful Christmas.

And suddenly there was a multitude of the heavenly host with the angel, praising God and saying: "Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests." (Luke 2: 13-14)

December 8, 2009

Advent in our household

Now that Little One is a little older, we've made a more conscience effort to install Advent traditions in our household. We had an Advent calendar last year, and have one again this year. We also have an Advent wreath this year. Little One enjoys blowing out the candles, and it helps us focus on eating dinner at a slower pace (a nice side benefit).

Our crèche is set up on the mantel, but with only the animals in the manager. Mary and Joseph are moving toward them, as is the shepherd. The three wise men are wandering around on the nearby bookcase. And baby Jesus is asleep in a bowl on the mantel (really, he would get lost if I tried to move Him around the house). Little One wanted to know when baby Jesus (sometimes called baby God) gets to come out of the bowl.

I wanted to do a Jesse Tree this year, but I've been so tired lately (ok, for awhile, but that is another story). I did purchase a small children's book on Jesse Tree stories, so we do read that most nights. Maybe next year I can put up a tree.

Speaking of trees, yes, we did put up and decorate our tree. I do like someone's idea (sorry, don't remember who it was) of decorating slowing through Advent.

St. Nicholas Day was celebrated with chocolate gold coins, a peppermint stick, and a St. Nicholas holy card, all found in a pair of boots by the door. Even though I reread the story of St. Nicholas to her and tried to explain that she'd get some small candy in her shoes, I'm not sure Little One really embraced it. Perhaps next year we'll change it up a bit and just exchange some small token (like chocolate - chocolate is good!).

And of course today is the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Little One and I went to Mass. Yes, she wanted to go with me, even though it wasn't a church day. :)

November 24, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving to all. May you have a blessed day with family and friends.

November 18, 2009

Crock pot chicken broth

Mmm! Does this ever make the house smell good! I make it in the crock pot so that I don't have to worry about watching something on the stove all day (because I will worry).

I start by adding veggies to the crock pot, including carrots, celery and onions. The first time that I made this broth, I had collected vegetable parts in the freezer for awhile, so it was quite the mix. Next, add the leftover chicken with bones that I roasted for dinner (or more likely picked up cooked because I was working late and husband was sick), and place it in the crock pot. Add salt, pepper, garlic cloves, and a splash of vinegar (supposed to bring out more of the good stuff from the bones). Add water to cover, which equals about 6 cups in my slow cooker.

Cook on high (low is probably fine) overnight. Let cool. Remove and discard vegetables. Remove meat from bones. The meat should literally fall off the bones, but make sure you get all the bones out. Cool in the refrigerator, and then freeze in 1 or 2 cup portions in the freezer. I store mine in freezer bags marked with the date and the amount, freezing them first on a cookie sheet so that the bags are flat and store easily.

Use as needed, for instance in some yummy homemade chicken noodle soup.

November 16, 2009

You know you're Catholic when...

I took Little One to a reading of Fancy Nancy: Splendiferous Christmas at Borders this weekend. The woman reading the book stopped periodically to ask the kids questions. One question had me making an automatic response in my head: "And who is St. Nick?" As the kids answered "Santa Claus!", I was thinking "Well, he was a 4th century bishop who is the patron saint of children and sailors...oh, you mean Santa Claus."

If I didn't realize before how much I have embraced my Catholic faith, I do now!

November 10, 2009

Unscheduled break

My lack of posts lately started as work related (darn that pesky job...oh, wait, it pays the bills - never mind), but moved into accident recovery and recovering from illness.

On All Saints Day, Little One fell mouth first onto the floor, losing her first tooth (about 4 years early) and needing several stitches on her lip and gum. Poor thing! She is better now, sans tooth, but that day was scary! Lots of blood and crying. We took her to an urgent care facility. I've only been to such a place one other time, and that was to get stitches for my husband. I've ended up sick each time, perhaps coincidently, but still!

I don't think I had the flu, but I never went to the doctor. I felt quite bad for a couple of days, and the lingering sneezing and stuffy head suggests cold, not flu.

Anyway, that's my story!

October 19, 2009

For your listening pleasure (and education)

Great site for free Catholic MP3 downloads: CatholicIpod.

October 6, 2009

From the back seat

What I heard coming from the backseat in song the other day:

"There's no God like Joe! There's no God like Joe!"

Now, you may be wondering who "Joe" is. He would be a three-year-old's version of Jehovah.


I've been feeling pretty stressed lately - actually for awhile. Mostly around where to live and how to move (i.e. the housing market isn't great for sellers), job situation (or perhaps career), and general stresses. Burnout? Probably. Jennifer at Conversion Diary does a great job of explaining what it is and offers some great suggestions.

September 28, 2009

Catholicism 101

St. Mary's Catholic Center at Texas A&M offers a three year non-credit Catholic theology program for Aggies. Catholicism 101 is the first semester, and the first three classes with notes are online. How fabulous that this kind of program is offered and on a secular campus!

Noteworthy statistic on their site: out of the 44,000 students at Texas A&M, 25% are Catholic.

September 25, 2009

Little One's first confession

Well, not really since she is only 3. However, she did insist quite vocally that she wanted to go with me a few weeks ago. I explained that she had to be very quiet and that we would most likely have to wait in line (which is good since it means that there is a line to wait in).

So, off we went to church on a Saturday afternoon. Little did the others in line know that they would get minor entertainment while waiting their turn to enter the confessional.

And little did the priest know that he would be blessed with three-year-old advice. Something like:
Father: "In the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit."
Little One: "Mommy, say the 'Glory Be'." (I'm convinced she likes this prayer because it is short.)
Me: "Maybe later dear."

And this is what I remember for my penance: "Read and meditate on the Beatitudes. And then say one ..." Uh, oh, is that bad that I forgot which prayer he wanted me to say? I tried to compensate by saying one each Our Father, Hail Mary, and Glory Be.

September 18, 2009

You Shall Believe

Last week, I went with a dear friend to a talk entitled "You Shall Believe". Excellent! (Although the timing of the event did nothing for my s-l-o-w transformation into a morning person.)

Two gentlemen from Australia, Ron Tesoriero and investigative reporter Mike Willesee, spoke about their investigation and documentation of several miraculous events such as a weeping statue, a communion host changing to flesh, and a woman in Bolivia with the stigmata. The interesting angle is that they use science to prove the validity of these miracles.

I have not read it yet, but I did pick up a copy of their book Reason to Believe.

You can see a short video on Eucharistic miracles and a longer excerpt from a Fox broadcast on stigmata by visiting their site.

September 10, 2009

Healthcare in the UK

Posted on EWTN today, an example of how healthcare fails in the UK: Infant Left Untreated Because of U.K. Health Rules.

Doctors in England ignored a mother’s pleas for help and left her extremely premature baby to die because he was born two days before a hospital guidelines’ recommended cutoff age for providing medical treatment.

September 3, 2009

How not to succeed in becoming a morning person

I failed miserably last night. See, I get tired at the end of the day, often feeling as though I could go to bed at the same time as Little One (around 8 pm). But I don't, which can lead to trouble (like last night). It starts out innocent enough: check Facebook "for a few minutes, not long. I promise!"

But since I am already logged in, I have to take a few quizzes (I am a left-brained person who does well staying on task and prefers the government to stay out of people's business), maybe play a quick game or two (or five). Then I notice that a friend from college has posted a comment on someone else's photo. College was a bit of an alternative time for me (one that I would not repeat), so there is a certain curiosity on my part to check out what is going on in the lives of the not-even-a-handful of people that I have only kind of stayed in touch with.

(It looks like I'm the one who has changed. Or was I ever really that...alternative? Of course, thinking back, I can't say that I truly fit in with that group of people either. There was the whole "Which brand of cigarettes do you smoke so I know whether or not to bum one from you" incident. The girl was genuinely confused by my "I don't smoke" answer. Then there were the "oh, you are not into girls, are you?" questions. Uh, no I am not "into girls". But I digress.)

Anyway, by clicking on the link to the friend's comment, I see a photo of a girl from that group of people. In fact, now that I think about, I think she was the one who wanted to know my brand of cigarettes. This gets me thinking about the music that I used to listen to. Which leads me to searching for anyone that may have compiled lists from certain clubs of the time and place. Which I find and then have to search for on You Tube. After listening to a number of them and exclaiming "Wow, I haven't heard this song in 15 or 20 years!" to my husband (who takes the opportunity to point out that he is younger than me), I realize that I am really tired and that it is after 11 pm.

And this is how I stay up too late.

September 1, 2009

Blood Money

Watch the trailer for Blood Money, a movie about abortion and Planned Parenthood.

August 28, 2009

Making Marshmallows

Last night we (mostly me) made homemade marshmallows. Not the healthiest food in the world, but nonetheless, tasty and fun to make. And, as a side benefit, making marshmallows works as a science project for Little One: mixing solids and liquids and heating them changes the form of the matter, mixing in air changes the consistency. You can do your own search, but here is the recipe that I used:

Homemade Marshmallows

.75-oz unflavored gelatin (3 envelopes of gelatin)
1/2 cup cold water
2 cups granulated sugar
2/3 cups light corn syrup
1/4 cup water
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
Corn starch
Powered sugar

Line 9 x 9-inch pan with plastic wrap and lightly oil it. Set aside. (I used two smaller pans since I didn’t have the correct size. I also sprinkled the oiled plastic wrap with the powered sugar mix below.)

In the bowl of an electric mixer, sprinkle gelatin over 1/2 cup cold water. Soak for about 10 minutes. (I don’t have a stand electric mixer, so I used a large bowl. You do need a large bowl.)

Meanwhile, combine sugar, corn syrup and 1/4 cup water in a small saucepan. Bring the mixture to a rapid boil and boil hard for 1 minute. (Other recipes called for a candy thermometer, which I don’t have. Notice a trend?)

Pour the boiling syrup into soaked gelatin and turn on the mixer, using the whisk attachment, to high speed. Add the salt and beat for 12 minutes. After 12 minutes, add in the vanilla extract beat to incorporate. (To continue the trend, I don’t have a whisk attachment for my hand electric mixer, although I’m pretty sure I did at one time.)

Lightly grease your hands and the spatula. Scrape marshmallow into the prepared pan and spread evenly. Take another piece of lightly oiled plastic wrap and press lightly on top of the marshmallow, creating a seal. Let mixture sit for a few hours, or overnight, until cooled and firmly set. (Just like on the bottom of the pan, I sprinkled some of the powered sugar mixture on top first.)

In a shallow dish, combine equal parts cornstarch and powered sugar. Remove marshmallow from pan and cut into equal pieces with scissors or a chef's knife. Dredge each piece of marshmallow in confectioners' sugar mixture. (At the time of this post, I haven’t gotten this far. I read on another site that using a pizza cutter works great too.)

Store in an airtight container. Makes about 40 large marshmallows, depending on the size you choose to cut them.

Little One and I had great fun, especially scraping the bowl afterwards. Granted, we had to go straight to bath, but it was still yummy!

August 27, 2009

Writing books

Yesterday, my first book arrived in the mail. Before we all get excited (happy dance!), let me just say that this is a self published children’s book that would have to be revised prior to any actual publication. For more information on self publishing, try Blurb.

I learned several things. First, a lot of work, dedication and focus go into writing books. It took me several years to finalize a 30 page book (mostly due to finding the right illustrations – via photography – to go with the story).

Second, I’m excited even if the book is never sold anywhere. How cool is it to see a finished product like a book that you created?

I’m thrilled that Little One was excited to read the book and now wants to write a book too. How cute! There is much truth in the fact that children imitate what they see their parents do. They learn by example, by seeing and doing.

Final lesson: There is a reason editors exist.

August 19, 2009

Can a Night Owl become a Morning Person?

My husband falls asleep right away (despite drinking caffeinated sodas and playing computer games at night), and wakes up perky. I’m jealous. Our daughter seems to be following in his footsteps (thankfully). My father is a morning person and over the years has mentioned that my mother, sister and I are not. He states this fact in the nicest way possible (bless our hearts). My uncle (mother’s brother) is a night owl extraordinaire. So, see: it’s genetic.

Or is it? I really wish I could fall asleep right away and bounce out of bed. The few times that this happens, it’s wonderful! I feel rested, and I feel like I can get so much done. It’s not like I am staying up horribly late anyway.

In fact, I have a number of friends that feel the same way (maybe that’s the problem – my friends are night owls too). A quote in an article by Deepa Ranganathan sums up my feelings:

When I told my friends I had found a way to transform myself into a morning person, they responded in one of two ways. The night people leaned in as if I were about to reveal the location of a stash of pirate gold. The morning people simply regarded me with pity and wonder. "I just don't understand why it's so hard," said one friend, a Danish medical student. "I can get up anytime I want."

So, what would it take? Not Just Laura chronicles what she did and advised me to take small steps.

There are some obvious steps like setting and keeping an earlier bedtime. Except that, again, I don’t think 10:00-10:30 pm is all that late. Don’t eat big meals before bed (no problem) or drink caffeinated beverages late in the day (this I know not to do). Avoid alcohol (done), exercise (I avoid it completely most of the time), and mentally stimulating activities (hmm, that one is a little harder). Avoid too much light at night including TV and computers (I’m good some – but not all – of the time). Take melatonin four hours before bed (never tried this).

Morning requires consistency too, for instance, waking up at the same time (helps if you go to bed at the same time). Get out of bed and take a walk (now, wait a minute!). Just like we need to avoid too much light at night, morning light helps us wake up.

I’m sure that general healthy habits help the situations too. Eating well and regularly, exercising, avoiding stress, and actually getting enough sleep.

And last, but not least, pray.

August 17, 2009

Organic okra at farmers market

Every now and then, we drive out to a small farmers market in one of the suburbs. We don't go often since it is a 30+ minute drive and only has a couple of stalls that we go to (we can finish in 15 minutes - with browsing). But unlike the big city farmers market 10 minutes from our house, this one has a couple of organic farmers (vegetables, meats, cheeses, eggs).

This weekend was one of those weekends to make the drive. We picked up some wonderful fresh squash, bell peppers and okra. In fact, I may have to go back next weekend to pick up some more okra. Last summer I stored up a bunch after one of the daughters taught me how to freeze it. Wash, dry and slice. Place on cookie sheet and freeze. Remove from cookie sheet and store in freezer bags. We used it for months.

For those that shy away from okra, it's really quite good. And easy to prepare. Once sliced, add to pan with some olive oil, salt and pepper. Add garlic and chopped green onion if you like. "Fry" up until slightly crisp. Serve.

Bird Watching and Photography for Kids

No, we didn't take photos of birds. I give credit to my husband for the first activity for Little One: bird watching. Take two empty toilet paper rolls and tape together to make binoculars. Print out photos of birds and tape to walls and ceiling. Go bird watching with 3-year-old. Clearly this can be done outside with real birds. But it's a little hot, so there are not many birds about.

Since I come from a line of photographers and got a camera at a very young age, I decided to take a tour of the neighborhood with Little One and a small digital camera. She took to it quite nicely, and even got some good shots. Thankfully, digital cameras don't use expensive film. She managed to take 273 photos in 20 minutes!

August 4, 2009

Time for prayer

I have become a prayer slacker. I was doing so well for awhile, but lately I don’t seem to have the time or the drive to engage in active prayer and study. Oh sure, I still say the blessing at meals, pray before I go to bed and while at Mass, maybe a rosary here and there. But study the Bible or read a Catholic book? Not much since Lent. Pray the rosary every (weekday) morning? Not every day for sure. I’ve even let slip the morning prayer routine that I started with Little One.

Now, to be transparent, I’ve let a lot of things slip lately. I suppose I’m in a bit of a funk coupled with job worries and career stress plus inertia over where to live along with our recent miscarriage. Or maybe I am just having a mid life crisis. Ok, that last statement is a definite, but I digress.

Driving to work the other day thinking about why I’ve slacked off on my rosary praying on the way to work (but not, mind you, picking up my rosary and praying), I did come to the brilliant epiphany that I didn’t need to wait until I had time to pray the entire rosary. And this was before coffee (ok, I had a cup of tea before I left the house).

Praying means a lot of things. In this earlier post, I outlined the ACTS of prayer (adoration, contrition, thanksgiving, supplication). Prayer can be long or short, just as long as we pray. And listening is as important – if not more important – than talking.

I do find that the more I pray, the more peaceful I am. Who wouldn’t want a little more peace in one’s life?

July 10, 2009

Sacred Heart

Little One is fascinated by the Sacred Heart of Jesus. And with my desire to learn and pray more chaplets, I thought I would research and make a chaplet. In researching the prayers to be said for this chaplet, I have run across several versions, mostly regular rosary beads or chaplets with 33 small beads (and some number of larger beads). Most in red, which will make Little One happy since she likes red. A lot.

The chaplet starts with the Anima Christi prayer - one of my favorites:
Soul of Christ, sanctify me
Body of Christ, save me
Blood of Christ, inebriate me
Water from Christ's side, wash me
Passion of Christ, strengthen me
O good Jesus, hear me
Within Thy wounds hide me
Suffer me not to be separated from Thee
From the malicious enemy defend me
In the hour of my death call me
And bid me come unto Thee
That I may praise Thee with Thy saints
and with Thy angels
Forever and ever

One each large bead say "O sweetest Heart of Jesus, I implore that I may ever love Thee more and more."

On each small bead say "Sweet Heart of Jesus, be Thou my Love."

At the of each group say "Sweet Heart of Mary, be my salvation."

Conclude by saying "May the Heart of Jesus in the most blessed Sacrament be praised and adored and loved with grateful affection, at every moment, in all the tabernacles of the world, even unto the end of time."

July 9, 2009

The God bookstore

Little One's initiative to rename one of the local Catholic bookstores: the God bookstore. Very appropriate I think. The ladies in the store loved it. We purchased a nice illustrated book on saints that should last her awhile and a booklet on chaplets.

My latest creative venture (aka how to do something productive and/or creative with my little bit of free time) is to make rosaries and chaplets. I have the beads, but need to purchase middles, crosses/crucifixes, and medals. Little One wants a red one - she likes red.

More tomatoes

Silly birds (I assume) ate two of my four ripening tomatoes.

June 27, 2009

Tomatoes: the taste test

Wow! That was just about the best tomato I've ever tasted! Now I really wish we had a yard in which to plant a garden. Yum!

June 23, 2009


We have tomatoes ripening on our tomato plant in our container garden! I could have sworn that I bought a cherry tomato plant, but these are the biggest cherry tomatoes I've ever seen. We'll taste test tonight.

We had one strawberry before it got too hot here, and two banana peppers with more on the way. Mint is doing well, although now that it is hot (REALLY hot), I have to really keep up with the watering. Basil is once again hard to grow in Dallas, but does quite well down in Houston.

June 21, 2009

Out of the mouths of babes

Although we explained to our three-year-old that the baby was no longer in Mommy's tummy but in Heaven, I was a little surprised by the following conversation. I wanted her to understand why Mommy and Daddy were sad and wanted to make sure that she was doing ok.

Mommy: "Mommy and Daddy are sad because the baby isn't here. Are you sad?"
Little One: "No."
Mommy: "You're not sad? Why?"
Little One: "Baby is in Heaven with Jesus praying."

Well, there you go.

June 18, 2009

Our loss - and our gain in Heaven

Before Little One was born, we lost two other children through miscarriages. We recently lost another one. Yes, I struggle with "why", especially since I was on aspirin and progesterone (which worked once before). But I know this baby, along with two of his siblings, is in Heaven and that we as a family have three babies to intercede on our behalf always.

Prayer on EWTN from Mother Angelica:
My Lord, the baby is dead!

Why, my Lord—dare I ask why? It will not hear the whisper of the wind or see the beauty of its parents’ face—it will not see the beauty of Your creation or the flame of a sunrise. Why, my Lord?

“Why, My child—do you ask ‘why’? Well, I will tell you why.

You see, the child lives. Instead of the wind he hears the sound of angels singing before My throne. Instead of the beauty that passes he sees everlasting Beauty—he sees My face. He was created and lived a short time so the image of his parents imprinted on his face may stand before Me as their personal intercessor. He knows secrets of heaven unknown to men on earth. He laughs with a special joy that only the innocent possess. My ways are not the ways of man. I create for My Kingdom and each creature fills a place in that Kingdom that could not be filled by another. He was created for My joy and his parents’ merits. He has never seen pain or sin. He has never felt hunger or pain. I breathed a soul into a seed, made it grow and called it forth.”

I am humbled before you, my Lord, for questioning Your wisdom, goodness, and love. I speak as a fool—forgive me. I acknowledge Your sovereign rights over life and death. I thank You for the life that began for so short a time to enjoy so long an Eternity.

Because it was still early (first trimester), we had only told close family and Little One. Some may argue against telling a child, especially a small child. But we want her to know that every life is precious and cherished. And now she knows that the baby is in Heaven with Jesus.

We are doing ok. I'm a little nervous since I will be having surgery soon for the miscarriage, so please keep us in your prayers.

May 26, 2009

Bread and Butter

Wow, apparently May was a busy month for me. My apologies for the lack of posts. Awhile back, Aussie Therese asked for the soda bread recipe that I wrote about on April 1. So, ever on top of things, here it is.

Soda Bread Recipe

This recipe isn’t mine. I found it on the Internet, but didn’t save the link. My apologies to whomever this recipe belongs. I've add commentary throughout.

2 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups whole wheat flour
1 ½ teaspoons baking soda
¾ teaspoon salt
2 cups buttermilk
Grease or foil for baking sheet

Preheat oven to 450 degrees

Combine dry ingredients in a large bowl and mix thoroughly. Make a well in the center of the mixture. Add buttermilk to mixture. Mix with your hands and/or have your child mix with his/her hands until blended (dough will be sticky). Wash child’s hands. Turn dough out onto a generously floured surface. Knead lightly four to five times. Shape dough into an 8-inch round loaf (or in my case, two 4-inch round loaves). Place on baking sheet coated or covered (I don’t like cooking spray). Bake at 450 degrees for 15 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 400 degrees, and continue to bake for another 15 minutes or until loaf sounds hollow when tapped. Cool on wire rack.

This is totally me and why I don’t bake much: I apparently did something wrong because even though I baked two smaller loaves instead of the one loaf suggested by the recipe, it took a bit longer to bake. I’d say at least another 15-20 minutes. And then it turned out rather dense, although I know soda bread is a denser bread.


Salt (optional)

Find a container with a secure top. We used an old baby food jar, but that doesn’t make much. Something like a jam jar would probably work great. Fill jar half way with cream (as organic and close to raw as you can get). Securely close jar. Shake, roll, or otherwise agitate for 10-15 minutes. Make a game of it with your child (mine preferred that I do most of the work). The cream will change first to whipped cream and will be very thick. Keep shaking. All of the sudden, it will change to butter; you will hear the change first (since by this time you have stopped watching the jar while you shake it). Keep shaking a few more times. Pour liquid into another container if you want fresh buttermilk. Rinse butter in jar under cold water; rinse several times. Empty onto a plate and press (use the bottom of a spoon). You want to press as much liquid out as possible. Add salt to taste if you like. Enjoy!

April 27, 2009

One million rosaries for unborn babies

Please join in praying the rosary for an end to the surgical and non-surgical killing of unborn human persons. The Saint Michael the Archangel Organization is registering the number of rosaries that people are promising to say on May 1-3, 2009. Today, their site shows 27,374 registrations, and they are trying to get to one million.

April 8, 2009

Repeal of "conscience clause"

On today: "Christian doctors' group protests rolling back 'conscience' rule." The Bush administration reinforced a 30-year-old law in which health care professionals are protected from providing services that violate their morals, including performing abortions and providing contraception.

However, the Obama administration is expected to reverse the rule, opening up thousands of health care workers to potential religious discrimination.

April 1, 2009

Butter and Bread

I found lovely cream and milk that is as close to raw as can be in a store from Farmers' All Natural Creamery. Boy, is it tasty! It's from grass-fed cows, organic, non-homogenized, VAT pasteurized, no added hormones. The milk comes with cream on the top.

Needless to say, the milk and cream don't last all that long. Since the cream only came in a quart size (more than we can use in the ~5-6 days that it lasts), I decided to make butter with Little One. She found it mostly fun, although Dad and I did most of the shaking. It turned out great!

Next we made brown Irish soda bread. Quite easy to make and pretty good. My husband refused to taste it and commented on its density.

Fun projects to do with the Little One. She even chose to wear her apron - all on her own!

March 19, 2009

Solemnity of St. Joseph

Today is the feast day of St. Joseph, the husband of Mary. Given the current trying times, below is a prayer to St. Joseph, patron saint of workers (May 1 is the feast day for Joseph, the worker).

Prayer to Saint Joseph for Success in Work
Glorious St. Joseph, model of all those who are devoted to labor, obtain for me the grace to work conscientiously, putting the call of duty above my many sins; to work with thankfulness and joy, considering it an honor to employ and develop, by means of labor, the gifts received from God; to work with order, peace, prudence and patience, never surrendering to weariness or difficulties; to work, above all, with purity of intention, and with detachment from self, having always death before my eyes and the account which I must render of time lost, of talents wasted, of good omitted, of vain complacency in success so fatal to the work of God. All for Jesus, all for Mary, all after thy example, O Patriarch Joseph. Such shall be my motto in life and death.

March 17, 2009

St. Patrick's Day

Happy St. Patrick's Day! One of my favorite saints, along with St. Elizabeth Ann Seton and St. Francis of Assisi, St. Patrick was instrumental in converting all of Ireland. He used the shamrock to explain the Trinity. For more information, please go here.

St. Patrick's Breastplate (short version)
Christ with me,
Christ before me,
Christ behind me,
Christ in me,
Christ beneath me,
Christ above me,
Christ on my right,
Christ on my left,
Christ when I lie down,
Christ when I sit down,
Christ in the heart of every man who thinks of me,
Christ in the mouth of every man who speaks of me,
Christ in the eye that sees me,
Christ in the ear that hears me.

It's also my birthday. Despite it being a rather significant one, my anxiety stems not from the age number but from the economic turmoil that is catching up with our family. I know I should trust in God, but the selfish part of me wants to know why I can't have a fun and present-filled birthday. Deep down I am thankful that I have my family, my house, my health, and my job (at least for now).

I must remind myself to take a deep breath and pray. On that note, the Chaplet of St. Patrick is said on 12 beads (mine are green and include a Celtic cross at one end and a St. Patrick medal at the other end). The purpose of this Chaplet is that through the intercession of Saint Patrick, God Almighty will strengthen one's faith and grant the grace of faith to others.

Chaplet of St. Patrick
On the medal, say the Apostle's Creed. On each of the twelve green beads recite the Glory Be. Conclude with the Breastplate of St. Patrick (above).

March 15, 2009

Happy Birthday!

Happy birthday to my little one! I can't believe you are three years old. Your daddy and I love you very much. May you grow strong in body, mind and spirit, and be blessed always.

(Sorry this is two days late.)


March 12, 2009

Lenten Praying

My Lenten plan this year was to repeat what I so successfully did last year (pray the rosary daily, read/study the Bible, start a prayer journal) and add reading a couple of meaningful books. Last year's Lenten season was so rewarding to me, and although I slipped out of some of my Lenten prayer practice, I have retain others.

Except this Lent I don't seem quite as drawn to reading and studying the Bible. Or recording in my prayer journal. I want to be, but I am just not feeling it. And I feel horrible about it. Needless to say, these are the two practices that have slipped a bit since last year.

I will say that I am reading an excellent book: The How-To Book of the Mass by Michael Dubruiel. Very interesting and thought provoking.

Moderating Comments

If you've commented recently and are wondering why it takes so long for your comment to appear, I apologize. I am still getting the hang of the idea of moderating comments. Because of recent spam issues that many of us experienced, I turned on the "moderate comments" feature.

I really have to pay more attention to what I am reading in my emails since they clearly ask me if I want to accept, moderate, or delete your comments.

I've got to take a vacation (again).

March 11, 2009

Embryonic Stem Cell Research

Announced on Monday: President Obama signed an executive order that opens up federal tax dollars for embryonic stem cell research. Quoted on, Obama says,
"In recent years, when it comes to stem cell research, rather than furthering discovery, our government has forced what I believe is a false choice between sound science and moral values," Obama said at the White House.

"In this case, I believe the two are not inconsistent. As a person of faith, I believe we are called to care for each other and work to ease human suffering. I believe we have been given the capacity and will to pursue this research -- and the humanity and conscience to do so responsibly."
I don't really have an answer beyond the fact that this doesn't make sense to me. First, I understand that adult stem cells have shown far more promise (I don't have a link, but I've seen and heard this a number of times). Second, yes, I would love to ease all human suffering, starting with not killing people.

I'm a bit too tired to post a more thoughtful, well-written response, so I will go with this for now.

February 24, 2009

Lenten Fasting

As I've re-embraced my Catholic faith the past few years, I've struggled with fasting during Lent. I don't really have a diagnosed medical reason for not fasting, but I do have a relatively high metabolism coupled with eating habits (5-6 small meals a day) that make the fasting guidelines of "one meal, two small meals and no snacks" a bit difficult. In fact, last Ash Wednesday, I stumbled (mentally) through an early afternoon meeting and then started to see stars by mid-afternoon. At that point, and given past fainting spells, I decided to break the fast. My priest assured me that this would count as a medical condition since fainting while driving home would be bad. He also gave me wonderful input on other ways to fast, for instance, fasting from TV watching.

On a related note, I received this prayer from a friend:
A Lenten Prayer For Families

Fast from judging others; feast on Christ in them.
Fast from wanting more; feast on being thankful.
Fast from anger; feast on patience.
Fast from worry; feast on trust.
Fast from complaining; feast on enjoyment.
Fast from negatives; feast on positives.
Fast from stress; feast on forgiveness.
Fast from self-concern; feast on compassion for others.
Fast from fear; feast on truth.
Fast from discouragement; feast on hope.
Fast from gossip; feast on silence.
Fast from fighting; feast on peace. Amen.

Good advice for everyone, yet hard for most of us to put into practice. May this Lenten season bring you closer to God through fasting.

February 9, 2009

What's their problem?

Making the rounds on Catholic/conservative blogs last week were outraged responses to the House-passed version of the stimulus bill that bans money from being spent on facilities that allow religious worship.

I'm a little late to the game, but what's their problem? Isn't one of this country's greatest strengths freedom of religion? To me, that includes being able to discuss my religion in public places. I'm not saying that the government should pay for new churches. But if students want to meet on campus for a prayer group meeting, bible study or Mass, then I don't see how that violates others' rights.

Some exerpts from the article:

The provision bans money designated for school renovation from being spent on facilities that allow "religious worship." It has ignited a fury among critics who say it violates the First Amendment and is an attempt to prevent religious practice in schools.

According to the bill, which the Democratic-controlled House passed despite unanimous Republican opposition, funds are prohibited from being used for the "modernization, renovation, or repair" of facilities that allow "sectarian instruction, religious worship or a school or department of divinity."

Critics say that could include public schools that permit religious groups to meet on campus. The House provided $20 billion for the infrastructure improvements, of which $6 billion would go to higher education facilities where the limitations would be applied.

The American Civil Liberties Union also defends the constitutionality of the restriction, which they say has been the law since 1972.

February 1, 2009

Father speaks out against FOCA

In his homily this morning, Father spoke out against FOCA and the evils of the culture of death. He then asked us to fill out the fight FOCA postcards in the pews and hand them in during the collection, giving us a few minutes to complete the postcards. It was great!

Today is the feast day of St. Brigid of Ireland. I found this prayer and thought it worth sharing:
St Brigid, Mary of Ireland
Ask for us all today
The courage to do God's bidding
Whatever the world may say
The grace to be strong and valiant
The grace to be firm and true
The grace to be faithful always
To God, God's mother and you.

January 20, 2009

In the grand scheme of things

On this inauguration day, my husband’s call to let me know that the significant amount of change that he keeps in his car and the portable DVD player that was the family Christmas gift are now missing isn’t really that important in the grand scheme of things. Sure, it sucks, and yes, I have to resist the urge to say “I told you so” (please don’t leave valuables in the car). But, given that today our country swears in a new president who has made it clear that he is anti-life, the loss of some minor nice-to-haves pales in comparison. Besides, they left the car and with no damage (which, of course, means the car was unlocked…not saying a word!).

So, I humbly pray my rosary today – not for patience or such for myself, but for the new president to be guided by our Lord. And, no surprise, I really seem to be ok with this minor decrease in our property, so I receive patience anyway.

God bless our new president.

January 6, 2009

Embracing my Catholicism

While I was raised Catholic and have never thought of myself as anything but Catholic, it’s only been in the last few years that I’ve really embraced my faith. Despite going to Mass every Sunday until I left for college, I wasn’t confirmed as a child. So, as a part of my journey, I decided to complete the adult confirmation class and was confirmed a little over a year ago. The saint that I chose is St. Elizabeth Ann Seton, whose feast day is January 4th.

Typical of my analytical side, I spent a great deal of time researching and reading about various saints. I kept coming back to St. Elizabeth Ann Seton.

Elizabeth Ann Seton was the first native born American to be canonized by the Catholic Church. Raised Episcopalian, she became Catholic in 1805 after spending time in Italy. Elizabeth is credited with starting Catholic education in the United States and is the patron saint of Catholic schools. She also founded the Sisters of Charity, the first native American religious community for women.

I’m drawn to Elizabeth primarily because of her work around providing Catholic education, especially for girls. It doesn’t hurt that she was the first native born American saint. If I were more superstitious, I’d say it’s more than a coincidence that she was beatified on my birthday (March 17). And, there is also a statue of her in from of the school at my church. If we happen to park near the statue, I point her out to my daughter. Last Sunday, she told me that St. Elizabeth was her saint too.

Prayer by Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton
O Father, the first rule of Our dear Savior's life was to do Your Will. Let His Will of the present moment be the first rule of our daily life and work, with no other desire but for its most full and complete accomplishment. Help us to follow it faithfully, so that doing what You wish we will be pleasing to You. Amen.