Sunday, July 31, 2005

Do You Ever Feel Like a Mom Who's Always Saying "No!"?

Thanks Joe!!!

Seriously Addictive Geography Game

Someone sent me a link to a pretty cool site featuring an interactive geography game. Eric and I have been playing each other tonight, and he's "schooling" typically Californian fashion, my knowledge of anything east of Arizona is a little fuzzy. Wanna play? Visit and watch out if you're playing against my son...he'll beat you every time! For those who, like me, would prefer to keep their geographic ignorance a secret, there's a "play alone" option! Be warned, it's addictive, but you'll probably learn a thing or two.

Catholic Audio

Hey, did I share this already? I'm trying to get caught up on email!

Hi , I'm a Catholic mom of 3 beautiful boys and was reading Catholic Moms website, and came across your blog, in response to your wish for a Catholic audio series for kids: I have an answer, it's called cat chat ( awesome , so informative. I don't know how old your kids are but it's probably age appropiate for 0- 10 years, but my husband and I have recieved great formation from these cds, there is a series of five and they include a story with music and good solid catholic teaching. My kids absolutely adore catchat and the songs are catchy to boot, even i'm humming them, hope this helps, let me know if you liked them. Sincerely, kamala

Visit CatChat

Today's Gospel

When Jesus heard of the death of John the Baptist,
he withdrew in a boat to a deserted place by himself.
The crowds heard of this and followed him on foot from their towns.
When he disembarked and saw the vast crowd,
his heart was moved with pity for them, and he cured their sick.
When it was evening, the disciples approached him and said,
"This is a deserted place and it is already late;
dismiss the crowds so that they can go to the villages
and buy food for themselves."
Jesus said to them, "There is no need for them to go away;
give them some food yourselves."
But they said to him,
"Five loaves and two fish are all we have here."
Then he said, "Bring them here to me,"
and he ordered the crowds to sit down on the grass.
Taking the five loaves and the two fish, and looking up to heaven,
he said the blessing, broke the loaves,
and gave them to the disciples,
who in turn gave them to the crowds.
They all ate and were satisfied,
and they picked up the fragments left over--
twelve wicker baskets full.
Those who ate were about five thousand men,
not counting women and children.

Mt 14:13-21
This miracle is mentioned is mentioned in each of the four Gospels. The "boy" in this lovely icon is mentioned in John's Gospel, ch. 6. Thank you, Lord, for giving us all that wee need every day to be satisfied - thank you for your many blessings in our lives.

Join Me In a Prayer

I received the following note today:

Dear Lisa:
This morning the deacons in the Wilmington Diocese are celebrating their twenty-five years as permanent deacons. The first class was ordained May 31, 1980. Today the diaconate is a much needed service to the bishops in all diocese. May you and your group of mothers pray for all deacons everywhere that they may be a great service to the church through the years. Sincerely yours, John

Please join my family in praying for our beloved deacons and their wives and families as they work to share God's saving love in our world.

Thanks to Julie at for Jesus, the Sower

Friday, July 29, 2005

One Last Painting Post...

I just had to share this one last item on painting, and then I promise, I'll stop! Out of curiosity, I went to Catholic Online to look up the Patron Saint of Painters, thinking maybe I should invoke his blessings prior to our next project.

Imagine my happiness when I learned that the Patron Saint of Painters is St. Luke! St. Luke is also the Patron Saint of Physicians. For those who don't know, my husband Greg (a physician) took Luke as his confirmation name when he joined the Church a few years this is one thing I can't wait to share with him! Greg loves painting around our house and is a great painter!

Catholic Online shared the following tidbit on St. Luke:

A tradition that Luke was a painter seems to have no basis in fact. Several images of Mary appeared in later centuries claiming him as a painter but these claims were proved false. Because of this tradition, however, he is considered a patron of painters of pictures and is often portrayed as painting pictures of Mary.

Sprucing Up a Bit

We're expecting important VIP guests in mid August, so it's time for me to get my guest quarters in order!

Last night, Greg and I spent the night painting our guest room - we've discovered in the past year that we make an excellent painting team. I prep the room, take off all of the fixtures, move the furniture to the center of the room, and take down anything on the walls. He spackles, repairs and mixes and pours the paint. While he paints the ceiling and tight spots, I tackle the wide open expanses with the roller. As Greg finishes off the trim (I don't trust my eyes or the steadiness of my hand enough for brush work), I am typically curled up in a corner - ostensibly to give moral support in the waning moments of the project. In actuality, I'm usually asleep! He wakes me up and I smile with glee at the completed project.

We finished the guest room last night in about five hours. There's still a little touching up to be done today, but it's always amazing to me that a coat of paint can bring such new energy to a space. I used to let Greg do these types of projects alone, but I've discovered that I am at least semi-handy and that it's a great way to spend time with my husband. We talked about all sorts of interesting topics as we painted and the project got completed much more quickly than if either of us had worked alone.

We keep a running list of projects that need to be done - I'm sure you have one of those too! At this point of the summer, I always glance at the list and realize that I was overly optimistic about what could be accomplished. But at least this one is done, and we're ready to receive our VIP guests!

Helping Guests Feel Welcome in Our Homes

I've been doing a little browsing this morning on what makes a nice guest room and found the following article at MSN House and Home

* Think about who is most likely to use the room and determine the beds you'll need. A queen is good for couples, but if you don't have the room, consider twins, a daybed, or a trundle bed.
* Supply proper bedding for the season: lightweight blankets and sheets in the summer, and jersey or flannel sheets in the winter, plus extra blankets and a throw.
Stock the closet with a variety of bed pillows—soft, hard, flat, fluffy, down, synthetic—so guests can choose the one that's most comfortable for them.
* Top the bed with an array of throw pillows for a comfortable, luxurious resting spot.
* Treat a guest room as you would your own bedroom. Incorporate color, pretty fabrics, and accessories to give it a finished look.
* Always include an alarm clock and reading lamp, and make room for a bedside table or nightstand to rest them on.
* Make sure guests have place to store clothes and empty luggage.
* In warm months, add a tabletop fan to the room.
* Pay attention to window treatments and how light enters the room at different times of the day. If light is a problem, adjust the shades or curtains accordingly.

I always try to have bottled water and a few small snacks in the room. What else do you like to offer your guests when they visit? Have you stayed in an especially nice guest room? What made it feel comfortable?

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Taking the Long Way Around

I had a strange afternoon today. I was sitting in the absolute quiet of our parish offices this afternoon (after hours and the staff had gone home) when we had a power outage. I'm lost without an internet connection, and the phones were down also, so I packed up and headed home. We have these "rolling blackouts" on hot days in Fresno...when the afternoon temps go over 105, it's not uncommon for entire sections of town to go dark for a few hours. I'm always left hoping that those who require emergency medical devices have operating generators in their homes...

So I jumped into the car and headed home, but saw immediately that the stoplight at the nearest major intersection was flashing red. Normally, it takes me about six minutes to go from Church to home, but that involves going through several major intersections.

I decided, taking a page from the driving manual of my darling husband, to opt for a different route home. I actually took off driving in the opposite direction of home, heading down smaller streets with less traveled intersections. The trip took longer than usual, but was much shorter than it would have been had I gone the more direct route and encountered endless waits at each of the flashing red light intersections.

I had time to ponder on the way, and thought about how sometimes the most direct route to something isn't always the BEST route.

We talk a lot about this topic in my Weight Watchers group. Some group members become frustrated by the seemingly very slow rate of weight loss they experience. I frequently comment that perhaps this slow pace is the more effective (and healthy) long term solution. While losing slowly, they are learning and applying the healthy habits that will help them to maintain their weight goals in the long run.

One of the keys to this "long way around" scenario is, however, persistence. If you quit halfway to your ultimate goal, you may find yourself even farther than you were when you started. Detours are ok, if we keep our eyes on the prize and have the strength of heart and will to continue along the chosen path.

I have several life goals I'm pursuing. For some of them, I've chosen the speedy route. For others, I meander along hoping that I will have the persistence to get there some day. I don't intend to may just take me a little longer to get there.

Today, taking the long way home had an added benefit: by the time I got there, Daddy had cooked dinner, fed the boys, and washed the dishes. It's amazing what one night off from those chores will do for a Mom's spirit!

What Makes a Good Church Web Site?

As I've shared, I working part time for my parish, rebuilding our parish web site. You can see my work so far at - it's a labor of love and a work in progress. I've been trying to find examples of great church web sites to model ours after. If you love your parish web site, would you help me by emailing me the address of your site to or commenting below with the URL? Thanks, as always, for your prayers and support!

A Trip to the Zoo

With the waning days of July coming on, that panic has begun to set in ...summer's almost over! My kids go back to school August 22, and the days of rest and non-scheduled fun will come to an end Monday when Eric starts daily football practice. Yikes! We've had a wonderful summer so far, but it feels like it will be over in the blink of an eye.

I'm one of those moms who dreads the start of school - my friends all know I need an extra hug and a box of tissue at our back to school prayer service every year. I'm also notorious with the teachers at our school for dreading back to school more than my kids do! One year, I ran off to Chicago and let Greg deal with the First Day Of School issue...maybe I'll plan that again this year!

Anyway, while it's still summer we're trying to make the most of it, so we took a trip to our local zoo yesterday to see the new babies: lemur twins, a giraffe, and several ducklings. Adam's one of those kids who'd rather watch Animal Planet than we're regular zoo visitors. We spent twenty minutes watching the prairie dogs - he has a name for each of them! We petted the llama, watched the monkeys fight with each other like brothers do, and envied the sea lions cool looking water habitat. Our zoo is very small, but in a way that's almost better because you can visit each animal up close and personal. Adam has to check on each of them personally, pausing to converse with each by name. Eric's usually busy memorizing the information on the informational signs.

Have you been to the zoo lately? If not, take a trip and consider buying an annual membership. We've visited zoos all over the country using our local membership card. Have fun, and don't forget to name the animals!

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Lovely Images

One of my favorite sites to visit is Julie's wonderful , which is always an uplifting visit. Thanks to Julie today for sending me this lovely image. It is a great example of the type of art you'll find at Thanks Julie!

Monday, July 25, 2005

Mary Statue Survives Church Fire

This story reads like something out of a novel, but unfortunately it really happened early Saturday morning in Calais, near Bangor. In reading the story, the thing that strikes me is how "Church" is never really the building, but rather the community of people coming together to worship and to support one another. Let's all pray for this parish, although it seems that they will band together and become even stronger as a result of this fire. Click here to read the full story.

Funny Mom

Take a few minutes to read this fun humor column I just posted at by mom/comedian Sally Edwards. Sally always makes me giggle! Click here to read her latest. It's funny even if you're not a mom!

Inspirational Thought for the Day

Determine that the thing can and shall be done,
and then we shall find the way.

-Abraham Lincoln

via Beliefnet

A great thought for a Monday morning in my book...what are the things this week that can and shall be done...what are my priorities for the week? Write them down, organize them, and then find a way to do them!

Before adding something to my list, ask myself, "Can this be done? Is it able to be accomplished this week? Does it need to be done this week? Why is this thing important?"

Check in periodically (ie. each evening?) on my progress. Pray for the strength and guidance I need to meet each challenge along the path.

Do the things on the list...they don't have to be earth shattering items, but just the small everyday tasks that fill my life. Completing these tasks with a sense of purpose, all the while offering them as acts of love for God and in His service, gives them all of the importance they need in my little world.

Thanks Abe!

Music Inspired by the Angels

I don't think I shared this yesterday, but you can read my interview with the Mississippi Gulf Coast based Sounds of Light Productions by clicking here. If you like Angels, you'll love this CD.

Friendly Fast Food Roundup

I try not to eat fast food, but I would have liked to have had this list with me from Weight Watchers when we were on our road trip. It gives a pretty good overview of "better choices" when in the drive through lane. For those unfamiliar with WW, you want low points (think golf scores...). I receive the free WW newsletter every Monday and find it a helpful resource in keeping myself focused on my health goals.

Free Glory Stories Offer

Many people have shared with me their enjoyment of the "Glory Stories" products from Catholic World Missions. Right now, CWM is offering the first volume of the stories free - you pay only shipping and handling. I haven't used this project myself with my own children, but it comes highly recommended from some sources I trust. Click here for the details.

Sunday, July 24, 2005

The Real Mary Magdalene - A Fun Resource

This is a few days late, but I thought it was worth sharing. The Catholic Enquiry Office, an official agency of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of England and Wales, pulled together a web site filled with information about Mary Magdalene. I learned a thing or two from visiting the site and thought you might like it too. Click here to begin exploring. Bonus for exploring - free cookie recipe!

New at

Insomnia can be a good thing, right? The following new articles have been added this morning at I'm thinking that my insomnia is in solidarity with my darling husband, who likely got very little sleep last night locked aboard a submarine with a bunch of unruly cub scouts.

Click on each title to read the article:

Murder Mystery with a Catholic Flavor - my interview with the supremely talented Kathryn Lively

Things They Never Told Me - Lisa Barker always makes me smile

Moms Leave the House, but Never Home - Marybeth Hicks' take on mom leaving on a trip...I can relate!

Scrapbooking a Lifetime of Memories by Patrice Fagnant MacArthur - Speaking of scrapbooking, I've got a few pages to work on! Also, check out two new book reviews by Patrice. You'll find the links on the Home Page.

OK, off to have breakfast! Check back later today for additional updates!

Saturday, July 23, 2005

Half a family

Half of my family is out of the house tonight, sleeping on a submarine for a cub scout outing. No doubt they are having a wonderful time, as did the half that stayed home in Fresno today. I do, however, feel like one of my limbs is missing - I don't think I'm going to do well with empty nest syndrome...
They'll be home tomorrow, so I guess I'll just have to tough it out until then!

Resource for "Family Life" talks

In response to a reader request last week for resources related to discussing physical changes with 8 to 9 year old girls, one reader recommends "Mother's Little Helper", which can be read for free at EWTN.

WARNING: I have not screened this file and am not personally recommending it, but just passing along the information. If you have any additional recommendations, please email me at and I'll share those here.

Friday, July 22, 2005

Making Milkshakes

Last night, Eric (the almost 14 year old) and I set off on a walk to our local grocery store for ingredients to make milkshakes. I love taking walks with Eric, as I find it to be a time when he really opens up about what's going on his world. He'll reply to at least 63% of my incessant mom questions, when we're walking. This is as opposed to 17.9% response rate when I ask him a question while we're both standing inside the house.

Eric will only go for a walk if he has a destination and a specific goal. None of this ambling around the neighborhood looking at the sunset with a non-specific route...he needs to know where we're going and why. So I usually come up with some excuse to head to the market and savor the fact that I can still get him to spend time with me!

Last night's excuse was milkshakes...we needed the fixings, so off we went. The topic of conversation was related to his takes on a certain book he spent the last two days reading, which I haven't read yet. I love how excited he gets about the things he reads - it doesn't matter what the book is, if he liked it he wants to spend time discussing it with me. He usually wants me to immediately drop everything else and read the book too, so that I can discuss it from a more informed perspective.

So we bought all of the stuff we needed and raced home so that the ice cream wouldn't be soup by the time we got there. The boys decided they were going to make the shakes themselves. Half an hour later, there were glasses littering the counter and a massive argument raging about why the consistency of the shakes was so thin. Somehow I was blamed for telling them to put in too much milk...Isn't it usually mom's fault?!

An expert was called in to help with emergency milkshake management (EMM). Dad, ER doc and former college bartender, has mean blender skills! He sent the three of us packing and emerged five minutes later with three shakes of the perfect thickness. Although I took a pass, I did sneak a sip so I can attest to their tastiness! Lucky thing we have a professional living in the house!

Storm Weary

I received the following email, which really touched my heart and thought I'd share it with you for your prayerful consideration. For more information on Catholic World Mission click here

My diocese in the Yucatan Peninsula of Mexico was severely damaged by Hurricane Emily this week. When it hit us Monday, it was a Category 4 hurricane, and later in the week when it hit further north, it still had enough power to trigger 10 tornadoes as far away as Corpus Christi, Texas. Around 60,000 tourists were evacuated from coastal areas, roofs were blown off of hotels, and thousands of wooden huts, the meager homes of so many people here, have been completely destroyed by the winds and the rain.

As I write this, the full extent of the damage hasn't been calculated. We do know that the flooding and winds have destroyed so much that the poor people in my flock, mostly Mayan Indians who have nearly nothing to begin with, have months and months of recovery ahead of them.

We lost electricity along the coast here in Quintana Roo, and the authorities estimate that it will take until this weekend until some areas are only half restored. Ceramic tiles from destroyed roofs, piles of literally tons of branches from trees, rain-soaked garbage-all are laying everywhere you look. During the time it will take to clean up, disease will strike next, especially at the very young and the old.

I have already witnessed the many hardships that these impoverished families have been faced with, and it is heartbreaking to see these families lose what little they had. Little children have lost their homes and their parents have nowhere to turn to keep them safe, warm and dry. It is our mission, and our duty, to ensure that these people receive the healing physical and spiritual aid they so desperately need.

I will provide more information as my priests and lay missionaries return from the inland jungle areas where they are already ministering to the victims. In the meantime, I ask that you consider a generous donation right now so we can begin the rebuilding and healing. Also, could you please tell others who might help us: your friends, family, parish, anyone who can pray for us and provide us financial support during the aftermath of this disaster.

In Christ,

Bishop Pedro Pablo Elizondo, LC

Thursday, July 21, 2005

Reader Request

Help! One of our readers is looking for a good resource for discussing biological issues for eight to nine year old girls from an age appropriate and Catholic perspective. Does anyone have any good resources to suggest? If so, post a comment here or email me at Thanks for any insights you can provide!

For those who like taking surveys

I've joked around about this, but some surveys can actually serve a good purpose. I regularly take online surveys at which runs surveys on religious publishing. If you're interested in spiritual books and publishing, you might want to check it out. You can earn points for taking surveys, help a good religious publisher, and possibly eventually earn an Amazon gift certificate. I've taken three surveys with them, all of which took less than five minutes, and have had no spam from them (which is a happy thing!). They are currently surveying on audio books, which is one of my favorite formats since I love to listen while I walk or work out. Just thought I'd share this!

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Does this Ring True at Your House?

My husband will never stop to ask directions, so this cartoon from Joe S., now playing at, gave me quite a giggle! Thanks Joe!!! I love a dad who can laugh at his own kind!

Any Mom Can Relate

or at least I's enough to make me smile! Politics aside, my favorite takes on the SCOTUS nominee John Roberts were those dealing with the dance moves of little John. As a mom of two boys who were VERY active at that age, I could totally put myself in Mrs. Roberts' shoes...who knows how much notice she was even given that she and her two kiddos would be on national TV, and look how precious the kids outfits are! I just love this photo!

Holy Cards - The Exhibit

If you've read my interview with Barbara Calamari and Sandra Di Pasqua you know I'm a major fan of their work. One of my favorite books is Holy Cards - the stars of this beautiful books, the Holy Cards themselves, are now being featured at a special exhibit at the Pope John Paul II Cultural Center in Washington DC. Click here for more information about the exhibit. I'd give up my favorite St. Therese Holy Card for a chance to visit this exhibit!

Calling All Redwall Fans

We're sitting here watching something we ran across tonight at Barnes and animated movie of Redwall - The Siege

My boys are major fans of the Redwall series of books by Brian Jacques, so when we came across this they talked me into it. I don't usually do impulse buys on DVDs, so I'll let you know if it was worth the price. For those unfamiliar with the Redwall books, check them out. Although a tad violent in parts, the stories are very entertaining and filled with morals and values. We particularly enjoyed listening to the CD of the first book, Redwall, as a family last summer. We haven't been able to get the CDs for Mossflower yet from the library, but have them on our wish list. I'll let you know what we think of the movie...

Too much technology, too little time...

Hi one and all and sorry for the delay in today's blogging...I know all three of you who visit were on the edge of your seats waiting for today's installment (just kidding, I'm pretty sure there are at least ten!).
I was remiss in posting this morning, but I have a good excuse as I was attending our biweekly Parish Staff meeting. It's always an eye opening experience.

For anyone, like me, who's ever sat in a pew on Sunday and grumbled at the state of something in your home parish (the decor, the music, your pastor's sermon, the constant pleas for money), you should spend a day working in your parish office. I recently accepted a part time job at my church to help rebuild our parish web site. My duties include attending the staff meeting, so that's where I spent close to three hours this morning. I know most of our parish staff, but I guess I never really clued into what a hard working and dedicated bunch of individuals they are until I had a chance to see them in action. Our parish is blessedly huge - over 5,000 families, so we have a large staff. The work they put in, the issues they have to deal with, and the struggles they face are largely unseen by the average parishioner. They are overworked, underpaid, and incredibly dedicated to their jobs.

I've resigned myself to the fact that my pastor will likely never remember my name, but now I have a better idea of the demands he faces each week in his ministry, the many challenges (spiritually, emotionally, financially, and physically) in his path, and his tremendous love for his congregation.

I concluded this morning that I have not been praying hard enough for him and for the other priests of our parish. I'm committing myself to this goal and inviting each of you to pray for those who minister to you each week. Let's all lift them up in prayer, remember to publicly thank them, and look for ways to lighten their loads through the sharing of our time, talent and treasure.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Choosing Charlie?

Thinking about taking your kiddos to see Charlie and The Chocolate Factory? Here's a review from Steve at that looks at this movie from a parent's perspective. Have you seen it yet? Let me know what you thought...

Vanilla Lemonade????

Find this recipe for this, and other cool summer drinks by clicking here. Make mine a diet coke with lime please!

Younger students reading excels

Jim at People of the Book (great blog for Catholic book fans) shared this Yahoo article, which discusses the advance of reading skills in young students (9year olds) - I see this in my home...both of my boys love to read, and read at a much higher level than I remember reading at their age. It's a habit I encourage and support, despite the cost of books. We try to be good users of our public libary system.

Ephesians 5

A lovely post on that whole "wives submit" thing from one of my favorites, Danielle Bean. Click here to read Danielle's thoughts

Fresno in July = Purgatory

Someone jokingly informed me yesterday that Fresnans should get "time off" in Purgatory for spending summers in the Central Valley...but just when I feel like whining I read a story about this guy, who spent yesterday working on a Habitat for Humanity House in Southeast Fresno in the 108 degree heat. It brings to mind all the others who toil, despite this crazy weather conditions: the farmworkers in the fields, firefighters, construction workers atop roofs, our military men and women. All go about their jobs despite life threatening conditions. This is the time of the year when my ER doctor hubby usually appears on the TV news a few times fielding reporters' questions about how to survive the heat. It shouldn't surprise us though, we live through it every year! Is is hot where you live? How do you and your kiddos beat the heat? I'm thinking a trip to the movies may be in order for this afternoon!

Monday, July 18, 2005

Monday Already?

Why is it that weeks fly by so very quickly during summer vacation. I'm up early this morning for an early trip in to our Church office to put in a few hours for my part time job as our parish webmaster. If I'm lucky, I'll be home before anyone else wakes up!

Our visiting priest from India, Fr. Jerome, shared the most wonderful quote from Charles Reader during his homily on Mt 13:24-43, reminding us to sow the good seeds of God's word in our heart to reap the benefit of fruitful service to others. Charles Reader said:

Sow a thought, and you reap an act;
Sow an act, and you reap a habit;
Sow a habit, and you reap a character;
Sow a character, and you reap a destiny.

I plan to work today on sowing thoughts that will lead to acts...and hoping that I eventually evolve to the habits! A great thought for a Monday morning.

I had a great email from a really fun artist and I thought I'd share her web site with you. Dawn looks like a pretty cool chick - let her art perk up your Monday morning.

From Pope Benedict's Sunday Angelus this week come these inspiring words:

In the world in which we live, it is almost a necessity to be able to regain one's strength of body and spirit, especially for those who live in the city, where the conditions of life, often feverish, leave little room for silence, reflection and relaxed contact with nature.

Holidays are, moreover, days in which more time can be dedicated to prayer, reading and meditation on the profound meaning of life, in the peaceful context of one's family and loved ones.

Vacation time offers the unique opportunity to pause before the thought-provoking spectacles of nature, a wonderful "book" within reach of everyone, adults and children. In contact with nature, a person rediscovers his correct dimension, rediscovers himself as a creature, small but at the same time unique, with a "capacity for God" because interiorly he is open to the Infinite. Driven by his heartfelt urgent search for meaning, he perceives in the surrounding world the mark of goodness and Divine Providence and opens almost naturally to praise and prayer.

Maybe that's why I'd rather be on vacation...

See you later today!

Friday, July 15, 2005

Assorted Odds and Ends

OK folks, my keyboard is smoking and it's been a busy day at I wanted to share the following new articles, posted today at the site. Happy reading! I'm off to beat the heat with a dip in the pool!

Music Interview with The Carpenter's Son - If you're too busy to read the interview, at least treat yourself to the preview of their awesome Celtic inspired music!

Good Care, Painful Choices - My interview with Fr. Richard Devine looks at Medical Ethics from a Catholic perspective

Taking a Stand Can Be Scary - A review of a children's book dealing with peer pressure issues and retelling the story of Daniel in the lion's den. Did you know that one of those lions was named Lenny?

A word on those google ads...over there to the right: Your visits to the sponsors here and at my site help support my writing and the ever growing hosting fees for If you ever encounter an offensive sponsor, please email me. I earn a small (extremely small) percentage each time you click on one of those ads. I can't control who submits ads, but I can (and will) ban offensive sponsors if you send me an email with the URL. Thanks, as always, for your support and encouragement.

My Brother, the Daddy

Yesterday, the boys and I took the trek to Stockton to meet our newest little bundle of love, Patrick III.

In a family filled with Patricks, this one is a cherished and welcome addition. He was born on the Fifth of July to my brother Patrick and his beautiful wife Sokanha. I would have willingly gone to the ends of the earth for five minutes of baby snuggling, so the four hour round trip was well worth the effort.

I was prepared for the instant rush of love I felt when I first held Patrick in my arms and introduced his cousins to each of his tiny fingers and toes. I was prepared for the heart swell that rose in me when I fed him a bottle and he fell asleep in my arms. I was even prepared for the sadness I felt when I had to hand him over to his maternal auntie, who too had driven to visit him and wanted her turn to hold him.

What I wasn't prepared for was the pride and joy I felt in the company of my brother, who seems to be on target for next year's "World's Best Daddy" top five.

Patrick II (Patrick III's Daddy, not to be confused with my own Daddy, Patrick I or my lovable other little nephew, soon to be first grade Patrick), is my younger brother. The "middle child" of our family, he holds a special place in his older sister's heart. Patrick spent his formative years tormenting me by doing his obnoxious kid routine for my high school boyfriends. He went on to lead a colorful and larger-than-life young adulthood. With my family spread across the country, he's my only remaining relative in California. He's a great guy with a fantastic sense of humor. I'm so happy to see him settling into his new home and family life.

So anyways, I new that I'd love that baby, but what really amazed me yesterday was watching my brother. He is seriously already a great daddy, and after only a few days of practice! He changed every diaper while I was there (and yes, there were a few of those yucky ones), prepared the baby's bottle (which he does whenever Mommy's not nursing), swaddled the baby, tended the healing umbilical cord, and shone with pride each time he looked at his new son. In the backdrop of all of this were the words of his wife, my sister in law Sokanha, who lovingly shared what a big help he's been with a baby who appears to be working the night shift and sleeping during daylight hours.

Welcome to the world, Newest Little Baby Patrick, and congratulations on having such a great Daddy - but hey, that shouldn't be any surprise: my brother studied under The Best!

Thursday, July 14, 2005

Tempting Spam

I am the Queen of Spam. Every day, at least four times a day, I retire to my royal chambers for what's referred to in my house as the "Spam Festival". The only good news is that the eye-to-hand coordination required in the rapid fire hitting of the delete key may have some small benefits in staving off early senility...

Normally, I am 99.9% spam proof - I can spot it from a mile away. It's a finely honed skill. I'm always surprised thought that some people are tempted by spam. I'm constantly having to remind my poor mother that she really hasn't won the Lottery, doesn't have a long lost relative who's a royal duke in Nigeria dying of a dreaded disease, and won't be receiving that 78" plasma screen TV they're promising to send her.

That said, I am being tempted by the devil this week in the form of spam, and one in particular. For those who don't know me well, I'm a Weight Watcher. This July is my third anniversary as a Lifetime Member, which means that I've been able to maintain my desired weight for the past three years thanks to the beauty of counting "points". I love the program, because it has really worked for me. I also know that when I enjoy myself on a two week roadtrip, with stops at every fast food restaurant between Fresno and the midwest and back, I have to count points when I get home, to take off the excess weight I may have gained on the trip and get back to my desired Fighting Weight.

I'm doing pretty well this week, journaling my food intake, limiting my calories and spending time each day on my treadmill. I'm within one pound of pre-trip weight...but I'm weak! And it's all the fault of this stupid spam I've received no fewer than 50 times since Monday. The subject line looks like this:

Ben & Jerrys or Haagen-Dazs? Tell us!

The body of the email goes on to promise $100 of free ice cream to anyone willing to take their survey. Ok, I know this is a scam, but I LOVE ice cream and I'm particularly vulnerable this week, so I'm beseeching your prayers for my will power. So far, I continue to delete them and to ignore the two half gallons sitting in my fridge for the boys, but as the weekend nears, it's getting pretty tough!

If you struggle with temptation of any sort in your life, you know what I'm talking about - it's irrational sometimes, and you can fake yourself out pretty easily. You will turn your back on what you know is right and good, simply because you con yourself into thinking that, "It's no big deal. What's the harm in a little ice cream?" For me, it's not the ice cream itself that's the's the behaviors that accompany going against what I know is the right, good and healthy course for me to be following in my life.

If you have no idea what I'm talking about or why I'm rambling on about this, consider yourself blessed. If this hits home with you on any level, I'll make a deal with you: I'll pray for your strength and commitment, if you'll pray for mine! In praying each morning to turn my day over to the Lord, I try to offer each and every small activity of my day as an act of love to Him. So maybe there's some added grace in hitting that delete key this week...who knows! If, on the other hand, you want me to forward that Ben & Jerrys email to you, email me at - I may also be able to put you in touch with your long lost relative in Nigerea.

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

The "Betweens"

Pat Gohn may think she's stuck in the "betweens", but I think she's pretty great! Click here to read Pat's latest column at

Elyse's Mass Worksheets are now available for this Sunday - Click here! If you haven't tried these yet, check them out. I've even had notes from "grown ups" telling me that they're using them after Mass on Sunday...

Reader Quiz Question...

A wise,respected, and extremely cute reader sent me the following quiz question - Can you help me?

Quiz question:
Who said "Habits carry you when the will is weak---"?

What they never told you...

About being a Mom! Click here to read a great column by one of my favorite Catholic Moms, Lisa Barker (aka, Little Mom/JellyMom at

Moms of Seldom Sleeping Infants...Take Heart!

I just had to share the encouraging news that some day, you too will have a day when you rise from bed on a summer morning like I did today...not to the sound of plaintiff crying, but because you've had a full night's rest and you're not tired any more.

You'll have time to make (and drink) a pot of coffee, while sitting on the patio reading the paper with your husband.

You'll check email, do dishes, and start a load of laundry.

You'll make your "to do" list for the day.

You'll prepare and eat a sensible breakfast, sitting at the table no less.

You'll glance at the clock...and wonder if your children are ever going to get out of bed!

I've been to this Promised Land...take heart, I never thought I'd see the day, but it's arrived!

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

A New Take on Family Game Night

First off, let me say that I'm glad Anonymous (aka the world's best mom and nana!) has found her way to the new blog...her presence has been greatly missed! For any other anonymouses out there who'd like to post comments, all you have to do is click on the little link at the bottom of each post that says "O comments" (or another number, if I'm having a good day), leave your comment, click the button for anonymous, and hit "login and publish" ...even though this makes it sound like you're going to have to register or login, you won't have to and your comment will be posted. Still having problems with that? Email me at or one of my six other email addresses!

Look how good my boys are...they're helping me do my "work" and we're all having a great time in the process. Click here to read Eric and Adam's recent review of a fun new family video game, that even a mom can play. I'm not too swift with these things, but all that's involved is the up and down key on the remote control, and even I can handle that.

OK, time to go figure out what's for dinner (I wish sometimes there were magical elves who'd just appear and take care of that). My big guy has youth group tonight, so bye for now!

Monday, July 11, 2005

Two Talented New Friends

One of the highlights of having a web site is "meeting" new friends and sharing the great work they are doing to help spread the Word and be Light in our world. Tonight, I've just put the finishing touches on two recent interviews I think you'll enjoy - Click on the Names to read the full interview:

Cami Tapley

Cami Tapley is author of a wonderful work of fiction entitled Gibraltar. Those who know me best and love me (most of the time), know that I love great books with great stories. Cami's book is one of my new favorites. It's hard for me not to give away the surprise parts of the story (yes, I'm one of those who reads the last page first) read the interview with Cami and buy her book and then drop me a note! It's great to read uplifting stories filled with interesting characters. Click here to read my interview with Cami.

Chuck Stevens

Chuck Stevens is a Catholic dad of five, policeman, music minister, student in a permanent diaconate program, and songwriter!!! Does the man find time to sleep? I don't know, but I do know that he's written some wonderful music that's aimed at praising God and doing good work to help others. Profits from Chuck's CD, In Your Presence, go to support charities, churches and good works. Click here to read my interview with Chuck.

Hats off to Pattie in Omaha

Hooray for Pattie in Omaha, who came up with the words for the Ten Commandments song we all learned in first's Pattie's version:

First I must honor God
Second honor His name
Third honor His day keep holy
this will be my aim.
Fourth I must be obedient
Fifth be kind and true
Sixth be pure in all I say
And see, and hear, and do.
Seventh I must be honest.
Eighth be truthful in all things I say.
Ninth be pure in mind and heart
And all I do and desire each day.
Tenth I must be satisfied
not be jealous come what may
These are God’s ten commandments
These I must obey.

Off I go, humming to the tune, to play with my boys!

Homeschooling Stuff

A special thanks to reader Deanna, who shared the following thoughts on Homeschooling:

I started homeschooling our two younger children, 1st and 5th grades, starting June 13th. The boys didn't want until want until August.
We are having such a good time! our 10yr old had been asking to be homeschooled for a year, and it took me that long to believe that I was able to do it and for my husband to agree.

As well as a good 8 months to decide on what curriculums to use. I ended up using 3 main curriculums, and mixing it in with unit of study and ecclectic. So far, it's been a bit easier than I imagined, though I have to admit 365+ days of praying to the Good Lord for guidance had a major part in that I'm sure.

We are using alot of Catholic Heritage Curricula, some Robinson Curriculum and some of Charolette Mason Method. The boys have been were public school and attended St Philip's Pre School for 6 months each, so the study of religion has been their utmost favorite, and with the Catholic Heritage Curricula, they have parallel the chapters age appropriated, making it easier for me to move from one age to the other. The boys have also enjoyed the comprehensive reading on the saints, and both Faith and Life Series and mage of God Series of Relgion books and activies. Oh yes, the Pilgrim's of the Holy Family, simpler to Boy Scouts wil an awesome religious twist. The boys are so excited about it. Their book A Year with God and the Family Journal is a God Sent, as well as their Science Books and extra reading books.
Just wanted to share.

I'm happy to share you're homeschooling thoughts and experiences here, so email me at if you'd like to share.

Along these same lines, homeschoolers can blog for free at

Road Trip Hangover

We pulled into the garage at home somewhere around midnight last night and I'm now in full Post Trip Syndrome - you know it...the huge stack of laundry, the piles of mail, the messes you left waiting to clean up after the trip, the wilted plants...

I'm going to take some time today to get my home in order, but I wanted to check in to let you know that we arrived in one piece. I've got some wonderful things to share from the last two days of our trip, some reader comments and tips, and more. Please check in tomorrow for all this and more. Also, if I owe you an email, thanks for your patience...I promise to be caught up by the end of the week! In the mean time, who's the patron saint of laundry???

Friday, July 08, 2005

Down and Out in Omaha

Well, the rug's been rolled up for the night here somewhere in the outskirts of Omaha. We're officially headed back home and made pretty good progress on the road today. Most of the trip was passed listening to a book on CD called The People of Sparks

This is a sequel to a book we listened to on the way out called The City of Ember

Both books were very interesting and really kept our family's attention. Set in the future after a devastating worldwide disaster, they follow a small community's attempts to re-enter and live in the outside world. Listening to books together is a joy - we have so many wonderful discussions based on things that come up in the stories. I wish there were a series of great Catholic audio books we could listen to with the kids. Eric and I have passed some of the time mulling over storylines - maybe I will just have to write them myself.

Tonight, I'm suffering from the usual sense of "let down" that follows extended visits with my family. The joy of anticipating family gatherings, and the fun and love we share while visiting, are now a memory - until I start planning the next trip!! When I was kissing Evan goodbye this morning, I kept thinking, "Next time I see you, you'll be'll be'll be talking..." I hate to miss out on any of this growing up time! If you're lucky enough to live close to extended family, I hope you don't take moments like this for granted!

OK, time to log off and settle in for the night!

Thursday, July 07, 2005

The sweetness of being Auntie...

On the eve of our return trip home, I'm reveling in three days spent with my wonderful nephew Evan. Evan is a doll, bright red hair, thirteen months, and just learning to walk. The past few days have been filled with as much time as I can pack in with him - morning diaper changes, trips to the playground, long morning walks, feeding him lunch, putting him down for afternoon naps - you get it: just generally going about the course of his normal day and trying to spend as much time with him as I can. My own big boys have been very patient while I've spent all this time doting on Evan, just trying to hold and love him as much as I can in this too short a time.

In the mean time, back in California, my newest nephew, Patrick, made his arrival a few weeks early! I hoped to be home in time to welcome him into the world, but he was impatient and I don't blame him. He weighed in at 6'6", and is very healthy and totally adorable. His arrival is the only reason I feel in a rush to get back to California. I can't wait to hold him! Having family spread so far apart can be difficult emotionally, but I feel blessed to be able to travel and visit as much as we do.

OK, time to go get some rest in anticipation of long hours on the road during the next few days. Blogging may be sporadic - Our thoughts and prayers go out to all of the victims in London, and to those in the South who may be facing a big weekend storm. If you're traveling, drive carefully please!

Odds and Ends

First off, if you've emailed me lately, please be patient. I have this weird situation going on where I can receive email, but can't send it. Replies will be forthcoming when I return home next week...thanks for your patience.

Someone requests the following:
I was wondering if you might know the words to the Ten Commandments song that we learned in catholic school ..way back in the 60's?
it goes something like...first, i must honor God, second honor His name, third on His day keep holy this will be my aim, fourth I must be obedient...etc...i can't find anyone that knows the rest of the little song and i wanted to teach it to my class this year that is preparing for their First Holy Communion. Thanks for taking the time to read this.
yours in Christ...patti

If you know the answer to Patti's question, post a reply here or drop me an email.

Great new blog, suggested by the always wise Danielle Bean: Mum2Twelve

Cute new kids cooking site:

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Another Day, Another City

We just pulled into my sister's beautiful city home in Chicago and are awaiting her return from work...I'm actually more anxious to see my precious nephew/Godson, one year old cutie Evan! They should be home any moment! Time with family is the best thing in the world. I'm lucky to come from a big one (I'm the oldest of five), but unfortunately we're somewhat spread across the country, so these family visits are especially wonderful.

As we drove through Missouri and across the fields of Illinois today, I was struck by the varying landscape of our country. In the space of a week, we've been in deserts, plateaus, the Ozarks, farmland, and now the big spectacular that we are blessed to live in such a beautiful land, and that we have the means to travel through and enjoy it all.

Off to unpack and enjoy!

Monday, July 04, 2005

Happy Fourth of July

For some reason, I am wide awake at 5:30 this morning, and have the beautiful view of the lake and a quiet condo to myself this morning...So I'm taking a few minutes to attempt to get caught up on email (if I owe you one, please be patient, the task seems monumental!).

Fireworks filled the sky over the lake last night, although we had no sunset as thunderstorms threatened. It's so soothing to just sit and look at the water, especially at night when the boat traffic dies down a bit. I could definitely become a lakeside lady!

We have plans for a quiet day today, which is my favorite way of celebrating these types of holidays - just family and time to talk and enjoy my boys. Thoughts and prayers are go out to all of those serving in our military, and to their families missing them at home. We pray for an end to conflict soon and for their safe and quick return. We thank them for the sacrifices they make on a daily basis.

For those interested in the Beatification of Pope John Paul II, visit the new Official site at the web portal of the Diocese of Rome. It can be viewed in English and contains many wonderful facts and pictures.

I'm not cooking today, but if I were I'd visit the Food Network's Fourth of July site for lots of great ideas.

Wherever you're celebrating, I wish you a wonderful holiday - celebrate safely and take time to enjoy a special day with your family!

Sunday, July 03, 2005

Lake Life

The wind blowing across the bow of the pontoon boat, my kids swimming with grandpa in the warm lake water, the sun caressing my skin at just the perfect temperature...lots of reasons to give thanks to God for the beauty of his creation today!

We're here - we arrived at Lake of the Ozarks yesterday afternoon and it's been non-stop fun ever since. This being Fourth of July weekend, the lake is pretty crowded with all types of people, so there's great fun to be had just sitting on the balcony watching the parade of boats and humanity pass by. My in-laws have a wonderful condo perched on the top of a four story building - the perfect vantage point for watching the sunset over the lake. Surely heaven will feel a little like this (if I'm lucky enough to get one big toe in the door!).

Friday, July 01, 2005

Where's Waldo?

For those following the trek of one little Catholic family crossing the US by car, tonight we find ourselves in Springfield, MO - just FYI if you're planning on a car trip over 4th of July weekend, make reservations. We didn't, and thus we had a heck of a time finding a hotel room. So much for spontaneity!

One unplanned stop today was at "The Largest Cross in the Western Hemisphere", located outside Groom, Texas. I've never seen anything quite like it! I'm not usually one of those drivers who's suckered in by the barrage of recurring billboards that precede "must see" attractions along interstate highways, but this one I just couldn't resist...and since I was at the wheel at the time, I got my way. It was actually a lovely stop. I don't know anything about who's behind this project, but if featured 12 stations of the cross featuring life-sized bronze statues and a lovely "Divine Mercy" Jesus fountain. If you find yourself in Groom, plan a stop. I'd love to hear in the comments from anyone who knows anything about this place.

OK, it's late and I'm road weary. We're due to reach our destination tomorrow, so I'll (hopefully) report in next from the Lake of the Ozarks. Night!