December 9, 2010

Sad diagnosis. Prayers needed

My mother has been ill for a number of years. This week, she was diagnosed with Corticobasal Degeneration, a progressive degenerative brain disease that has similarities with both Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s. Unfortunately, what we thought were physical signs of OCD were mostly likely the early stages of CBD. She has declined rapidly over the past several months and is now getting significantly worse each day. I thought that our upcoming visit for the holidays (what will certainly be our last Christmas with her) could be used to discuss care for her because my father is close to not being able to care for her any more. But that day may come sooner than expected. What looked like months now seems like weeks – or less. This is a disease with no cure and from which patients die, usually of pneumonia or other disease associated with immobile, elderly people.

Please pray for my mother, my father and all of us.

December 7, 2010

Best prayer ever!

From Little One/Princess (I'm still transitioning her name) last night: "Make me a saint, Lord!"

December 6, 2010

St. Nicholas has arrived!

Our Little Princess remembered St. Nicholas from last Advent, so last night we set out our shoes by the front door. St. Nicholas kindly left chocolate candy in everyone’s shoes and left a small ornament and a book of Catholic prayers for Little One. We thanked God for all of His gifts and asked St. Nicholas to keep us always in his prayers.

For those looking for a way to start an Advent tradition, lighting our advent wreath and saying a small prayer with our dinner blessing reminds us of the true meaning of the season – and is easy to keep up! Another tradition that we tried to start last year and have been only partially successful with this year is the Jesse tree. We still don’t have an actual tree, but we did color some pictures (found here), cut them out, and made a small book.

And we’re participating in our parish’s angel program. This weekend, we purchased clothing for a little girl (still need to get a toy). I’m still struggling with how our daughter reacts to giving to others – or more specifically, buying for others. I know she is still young, but I have a guilty suspicion that some of her attitude comes from us (her parents). Am I too selfish? Too materialistic? Most definitely on both. I’m working on it!

Finally, our Nativity is in place on the mantel, complete with moving Mary and Joseph, wise men way off, and no baby Jesus (yet). Happy Advent!

November 10, 2010

Another Angel

We found out earlier this week that we lost another baby. We now have four little angels in Heaven praying for the rest of their family here. This one, like the second, never developed past five weeks (we lost the other two around eight-and-a-half weeks).

As it turns out, one can be “kind of” pregnant. Like most of the other times, I still have all the first trimester symptoms including being incredibly nauseas all day long. It makes it even more difficult to deal with the emotional loss while still feeling horrible.

But we will get through our sadness with faith, prayers and love. Once again, Princess (aka “Little One” – but she’s not so little any more) has the right attitude: she is happy to have an angel in Heaven.

October 20, 2010

10 Reasons I Like My Job

In this day and time, I should be happy that I have a job. And I am! As the current breadwinner of my family (hubby has gone back to school), I really need a good job. But sometimes, I feel less than happy when my company institutes pay cuts and lays off thousands of people. We are all asked to do more with less. I’m sure that’s not limited to my company. So, here are the top ten reasons that I like my job:
1. It pays the bills (although fewer than before)
2. I can work from home if I want/need to
3. Which allows me to at least save money on gas, tolls, and general wardrobe costs,
4. And lets me get dinner and laundry done sooner (since I am already home and don’t have to make the commute),
5. And sometimes means that I have time to go to daily Mass!
6. Since I’ve worked at this company for awhile, I have a number of vacation days
7. People know me and appreciate what I do, which can come in handy if I need to deal with some personal issues (doctor appointments, sick parents, child’s school function)
8. Did I mention that they pay me?
9. Company discounts on products
10. And I truly do like the people that I work with

Sometimes I have to remember to be happy, especially since I have a number of friends who have been out of work for months. And I am – I am truly blessed to have a job with such flexibility.

September 9, 2010

Celebrating my mothers' birthdays

Yesterday we celebrated Mary’s birthday with cupcakes. Unfortunately, they weren’t homemade (no time), but I suppose Mary doesn’t mind. No one in the family complained. This is the first time that we have done something like this for Mary’s birthday.

Today is my mother’s birthday. Happy Birthday Mom! We started praying our first family novena this week and chose the novena to St. Dymphna, patron saint of those afflicted with mental disorders. Why do I talk about our novena and my mother’s birthday in the same paragraph? My mother suffers from depression and OCD. We pray for her often.

Since she doesn’t believe in getting psychiatric help or counseling, there isn’t much we can do. Texas has very restrictive laws about having someone committed. Years ago, we did a family intervention and somehow got her to an emergency room where she was evaluated by the psychiatrist on staff. He agreed that she suffers from severe OCD, but she refused treatment. And since she wasn’t “waving a gun around” (i.e. threatening direct, bodily harm to herself or others), he had to release her. Friends of mine have suggested actions like leaving her to care for herself (the idea being that she couldn’t and would have to call for help). My father, sister and I truly believe that she would never seek help and instead just waste away.

It’s a very sad situation (and hard to explain if you are not around to see and interact yourself). St. Dymphna, pray for my mother. Blessed Mary, pray for my mother.

September 8, 2010

Building our marriage

We've all heard that marriage takes work, and that's true. However, working at a marriage doesn't mean yours is bad or that the work need be tedious. Spending quality time together (without the kids) can strengthen and renews your love and commitment to each other.

Hubby and I recently spent nine days (but who was counting exactly) without our daughter around. The house was certainly quieter! Little One spent time with her grandparents, and we were able to spend time with just each other. We also attended a marriage conference in Denton, TX: "The two will become one" (Ephesians 5:31). One thousand people (presumably 500 couples) registered for the event, and most were there. We listened to speakers Dr. Scott Hahn and Greg & Julie Alexander, ate lunch with other lovely couples, and had the opportunity for Adoration (which I had to explain to my Protestant husband). I highly recommend taking advantage of events like this going on in your diocese.

On another note, where does the time do? I can't believe over a month has gone by since I blogged about materialism. Surely that can't be right!

August 3, 2010

God spoke to me!

In recent weeks, we've been discussing materialism in our family (well, maybe it's just me). Personally, I've been struggling quite a bit lately with the desire for material goods. I fully understand and embrace the fact that I am blessed with a comfortable life: home, car, job, physical comforts, relatively healthy family. We are better off than 90% (or higher) of the planet. But it's when I compare myself to the other 10% that I start to feel down. Why can't we have a house with a yard? Why can't we just pop out and buy a new car? Why can't we go on a nice vacation?

But then I start to feel bad for focusing on material goods. Catholic guilt? Maybe. I certainly don't want to lose sight of the ultimate level of comfort: being with God in Heaven.

As if to reinforce the point, God spoke quite clearly to me this Sunday through the Mass readings (Ecc 1:2, 2:21-23; Col 3:1-5, 9-11; Lk 12:13-21). In case you missed it (and I hope you were there!), the theme was around the vanity and idolatry of focusing on material things. It's not that material things are bad. But when we focus on them, we are distracted from what truly matters: God.

June 25, 2010

Some things just seem so obvious... NOT handing out condoms to elementary school children. But the Provincetown, MA school district recently passed a policy (thankfully now under review) that would provide condoms to any student who asks for one, including children in elementary school. No parental consent needed. That's right: your 6-year-old first grader will have access to free condoms. Of course, the student has to meet with the school nurse first so that he or she has the right information. I'm not even sure what that means!

Scary. And just a little sick.

June 18, 2010


Wow, I can't believe how long it has been since I last posted anything! I blame it on my job (darn that job for getting in the way of fun stuff!). We've done some family traveling to visit both sets of grandparents, but there never seems to be enough time to really relax and enjoy the company. And on that note, we really thought that our prayers had been answered on where to move (stay in Dallas, or move to Houston or San Antonio where we have family): an opportunity to take over my late grandmother's house if we took out a loan to make repairs. Totally doable if that became our "mortgage" - as long as we could sell our current house first. But, just like that, this is no longer an option. So...back to praying about where God wants us to go. It still may be Houston, just not in that house.

Otherwise, we've planted cherry tomatoes, peppers, basil, sunflowers (birds ate those),and cucumbers (wow, do those get big!). But the birds and caterpillars take their share. I'm trying to be organic, so I don't want to spray.

Speaking of organic, we are trying to buy all of our meat and eggs from a local, free range, organic farm. You really can see and taste a difference! It's not cheap, but not really that different in price for organic meat from the grocery store (that may not be free range, local, etc.)

On that note, have a wonderful weekend!

May 7, 2010

Making the Big Money!

Since Little One turned four in March, she has been receiving an allowance. We discussed this concept for quite some time before hubby and I agreed on what an allowance means, how much, etc. Angie gave us a good outline from which to start our discussion.
First, her allowance is not tied to chores since she is expected to do her chores anyway. Neither will it be tied to grades in the future (a hot topic: hubby thinks it would have helped him in school to be paid for grades; I liked school enough that paying me would not have mattered). I believe that paying for chores (except perhaps something extra done by the child) or grades suggests that one should get paid for doing what one should do anyway.

We pay her on Fridays at 50 cents per year, so she currently gets $2.00. We require her to put 30% ($0.60) in the "saving" piggy bank, and give 10% ($0.20) to the church. The rest goes into the Hello Kitty bank to spend as she wants.

We've noticed several things since starting the weekly allowance. First, Little One is excited to put her two dimes, along with our Sunday envelope, into the collection basket at church. Second, she doesn't question the idea of putting aside some money for long term savings. And finally, we've been able to significantly cut down on the "gimmies " (from a Berenstain Bears book). All it takes to get Little One to stop asking for a toy is to tell her that she can use her money if she wants.

To me, the allowance is meant to teach fiscal responsibility, sharing with others (especially those less fortunate), and patience. She is still young, and it’s only been a few months, but I am pleased so far!

April 23, 2010

Bless us, O Lord

Kids say the darndest things Friday - April 23 issue

I am attempting to do a better job about why we pray a certain way, do certain things at Mass, etc. For instance, our daughter is pretty good at learning the prayers - and that is the first step, but I realized recently that she may not really understand some of the words or ideas.

In attempt to explain why we say a blessing before we eat, Little One and I had the following conversation:

Mommy: “Do you know why we say a blessing before we eat?”
Little One: “No.”
Mommy: “It’s to thank God for giving us food.”
Little One: “Actually, God gives the food to grocery stores and Whole Foods, and then we go buy it.” close.

April 9, 2010

Kids say the darndest things Friday - April 9 issue

Join us for Kids say the darndest things Fridays over at Mystical Rose Design.

From last week while discussing the meaning of Easter: "But I want to stay in Dallas!"

April 4, 2010

Easter through the eyes of a 4-year-old

Apparently a tradition was started last year when the Easter bunny left goodies on the front porch when we visited my family. So this year, we had to do the same thing. This works as long as we can get the basket outside before Little One opens the door.

On Good Friday, we went to the 3 pm veneration of the cross and communion service. Little One did very well during the long service. We also discussed what Easter really means: Jesus died and rose again from the dead so that our sins could be forgiven and so that we can go to Heaven to be with God. Little One's response: "But I want to stay in Dallas!"

March 19, 2010

Kids views on life

This is my first attempt at joining a blog hop (or whatever they are called). Lucy, over at Mystical Rose Design, is hosting (is that the right phrase? am I really that old that I don't know this???) a blog hop called "Kids say the darndest things Fridays".

And yes, Little One has come up with some interesting sayings and interpretations. One of my more recent favorites is "there is no God like Joe".

Head on over to some of the other blogs for other cute kids.

March 16, 2010

One more year

Happy Birthday to my sweet Little One! She turned four this past weekend (I can't believe it!). This is the first year that we gave a birthday party with kids. She had a blast!

My birthday is tomorrow. So far, this decade seems...less energetic...than the last. Women, note that your hormones really do start to decline in your late 30s to early 40s. Ugh - I have to get some energy back somehow!

And, of course, tomorrow is St. Patrick's Day! (Good thing I like the color green; lots of green birthday cakes growing up.) Little One and I will be discussing the Trinity (hopefully with a shamrock art project, but that depends on Mommy's energy level). Maybe we can say the St. Patrick's chaplet.

Have a great St. Patrick's Day, wear green, and pray for greater faith!

PS: We managed to make and decorate a shamrock yesterday. We talked about the Trinity -- and then Little One handed me the shamrock and said "Happy Birthday!" Apparently she and her father had already discussed making me a green card, and I confused the matter by making a green shamrock. :)

March 10, 2010

Lent at our house - How are we doing so far?

Little One found a way around the "fasting from shopping during Lent": visit the grandparents who acted as babysitters one night, fail to mention the family Lenten fast from shopping, get grandfather to buy stuffed animals and two DVDs - and then explain to Mommy the next morning that these weren't really toys but rather a stuffed animal and movies (because I must have explained it to her as "no buying things like toys").

Purchasing canned goods for weekly donations: not so well. But we will do this. It just may be in one lump sum.

Lighting purple candles: sort of, but we're running low on candles, which aren't really a necessity, so...back to our white Lady of Guadalupe candle.

Reading books on Lent, Stations of the Cross, and Easter: at least we have one success! We also started a book on the rosary and then said the introductory prayers using her rosary beads. How precious is that?

Hanging Stations of the Cross around the house: we haven't done this at all, and I had to admit this failure to Lucy in the comments section of Lent at our house.

February 17, 2010

Lent at our house

Little One will be four in less than a month (I can't believe it!), and we've tried to come up with some ideas for Lent that she can start to embrace. One thing that we are doing as a family (besides praying together) is to fast from shopping (except for birthdays and necessities). Now, I'm not saying that we buy a lot of stuff, but both my husband and I do have a tendency to buy little things here and there for our daughter - or for ourselves for that matter. I don't remember getting things growing up outside of Christmas, birthdays, and the occasional visit to grandparents (when we got to have "special" cereal and candy). So, this family sacrifice is both for Little One and us: how to have patience, learn self-control, and detach from material things.

I also purchased (yes, before today) several small books on Lent, Easter, and the Stations of the Cross that we can read during this time. We will be purchasing canned goods and donating them to our church's food pantry each week, and lighting purple candles at dinner.

Katie has some great ideas as well. I will attempt to make and hang pictures for our own Stations of the Cross around the house.

Praying that this Lenten season brings you closer to God.

February 11, 2010

It's snowing!

Yes, that is worthy of blogging about here in Texas. I don't think I have ever seen a whole day of snow falling! Luckily, I could work from home, which meant I could take a few breaks with Little One. She finally got to make her snow angels! And throw a few snow balls.

We will almost certainly be at home tomorrow as well, since the slushy roads are expected to ice over night (making it nearly impossible for Texans to drive).

February 4, 2010

Tim Tebow ad - and a opinion

On, Kevin McCullough provides an interesting perspective on the much discussed upcoming Super Bowl ad featuring football player Tim Tebow and his mother.

The fear and loathing coming from the pro-choice community over this ad has been intense. It’s especially intense given that none of the people coming forward to decry it have actually seen it!

February 1, 2010

Dallas visit of the holy relics of Christendom

For those in the Dallas area, please note that Holy Trinity Catholic Church (my parish!) will be hosting holy relics of Christendom:

The Holy Relics of Christendom to be exhibited at Holy Trinity Catholic Church in Dallas, Texas

For as long as there have been saints in the Catholic Church their holy remains, personal belongings, and even implements of martyrdom have been preserved as relics of their saintly life and a means of connection to them. In addition to the saints, the faithful have also venerated items believed to be associated with the death of Christ. Soon a collection of these relics, from pieces of the cross, the crown of thorns, and relics of clothing long believed to have been used 2000 years ago by Christ and his Mother will be on rare public display along with a large private collection of many centuries of saintly relics in Community Life Center of Holy Trinity Catholic Church in Dallas, Texas.

The relics will be on display the second week of Lent on Saturday February 27th and Sunday February 28th from 10AM until 7PM. Special guest speaker, Steve Landregan, historian and archivist from the Diocese of Dallas, will conduct a presentation at 10am on Saturday, Feb. 27. Large crowds are expected for both.

Pneumonia - really?

Little One was diagnosed with pneumonia last week. She was almost admitted to the hospital because her blood oxygen level was low. Luckily the office breathing treatment brought it back up. She had to have a chest x-ray, which showed that her lungs were leaking. Back to the doctor the next day for more x-rays. Thankfully, this time the leaking had gone away (otherwise she would have been admitted to drain the fluid). She is better now, but still on medication. Wow - scary times!

We had lots of family and friends praying for us and are thankful that she is on the mend.

January 22, 2010

Hi Jesus. We pray for an end to abortion

On the way to preschool and then onto work, Little One and I pass by (at the posted speed of 65 mph...ok, maybe a little faster) a Catholic church. We wave, say "Hi" to Jesus, and make the sign of the cross. Sometimes we add a short prayer. Today's was "We pray for an end to abortion."

Today is the 37th anniversary of Roe v. Wade. You can join virtually here. For some reason, the website keeps locking up on me, but I will try again in a bit.

January 21, 2010

Baby Blue Laces for Life

Here is a great way to show your pro life support. Proceeds from the sale of baby blue shoelaces with "Laces for Life" printed on them are donated to pro life organizations in financial need. You can order them from the group's website.

January 13, 2010

Praying for those in Haiti

Please say prayers for those in Haiti, recently struck by a 7.0 earthquake. The poorest country in the Western hemisphere has little resources to cope with this disaster. To help, you can donate via Catholic Relief Services or the American Red Cross.

January 11, 2010

2nd largest abortion clinic to open in Houston

Check out the video at Bound 4 Life. My lovely hometown - Houston - is soon to be the home of the second largest abortion facility in the world. That's right: the entire world. The facility is located in a former bank, which is being renovated by Planned Parenthood and will include equipment and space for late-term abortions. It will be located near my alma mater the University of Houston.

Dallas' March for Life is this Saturday, January 16.

January 4, 2010

Happy New Year!

Wishing everyone a very happy new year and many blessings in 2010. Our Catholic faith gives us a wonderful way to ring in the new calendar year with the Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God (January 1).

A bit of history: Mary is called Theotokos, meaning "God-Bearer". Since Jesus was fully God and fully man, we rightly call Mary the mother of God. In the early 400s, Nestorius, for whom the heresy Nestorianism is named, proposed that Mary only gave birth to Jesus' human nature (and not His divine nature). The Councils of Ephesus (431) and Chalcedon (451) condemned this idea.

And today is the feast day of Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton, one of my favorites!