Friday, September 30, 2005

Time Well Spent

When I have my act together, I spend Friday mornings at Church. This includes working in the parish office on our Church Web Site and taking a break to attend our Friday morning school mass with Adam. Thankfully, it's the type of school that encourages families to sit together with their children at the school mass, rather than relegating parents to the back pews.

Every week, when I'm sitting their in the company of 600 plus little saints in training, I thank God for the blessings He's showered down so faithfully on our family. Close to the top of the list is my children's school, which is truly a wonderful community.

Whatever anxieties may be troubling me when I walk through the door for Friday mass are left at the foot of the altar when I receive the Eucharist. I almost always emerge from that Mass feeling refreshed, renewed, in love with my children and their squirmy buddies, and appreciative of our teachers.

Why would I ever think of skipping?

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Obsessive Mom Learns New Hobby

OK, everyone's getting scarves for Christmas this year, so start placing your color preferences here....the Catholic Mom is learning how to knit!

Just what I need, another hobby...

A friend of mine has been bugging me for a month now to join a group of women who meet weekly at our local Catholic bookstore to knit together. I have informed her repeatedly that I'm craft impaired, but she kept after me assuring me that she personally would teach me.

Well today I went, and guess what - it was really fun!

Before the gathering, I stopped at Walmart and bought the cheapest knitting needles and the second cheapest thingy of yarn (it was a little cuter than the cheapest one), assuring myself that this too is a passing phase. I didn't want to invest too much money. (This is the same friend who ushered me into the rubbber stamp phase and now I've got at least $200 of stamps sitting unused in my craft room).

A really long time ago, my saintly grandmother taught me how to knit. I grew bored quickly and set it aside. But knitting must be one of those skills, like riding a bike, that stays with you. Within a few minutes, I remembered what to do and I actually have about an inch of a scarf to show for the hour and a half I spent this morning. I'm speeding up a bit, so I should have at least one half a scarf completed by the end of football season!

The best part of the morning was just sitting in the company of friends, old and new, and doing something creative while enjoying a lively and fun conversation. Yes, I have laundry that needs to be done and emails to answer, but it was nice to take a morning off. I will probably have to re-learn again next Wednesday and I may get another inch done next week - I'm going to try to keep the hobby in check and not get too obsessive with it (HAH!)

So if anybody needs a new, slightly irregular and very imperfect scarf for Christmas, place your orders now!

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Music Ministry

I've been working on music stuff today over at Catholic Mom. Click here to read my cool interview David Wang, lead vocalist of Critical Mass. My favorite song on their new CD is their great cover of Carry On Wayward Son - David Wang is one of those amazing people who seemingly have it all and do it all! He's a dad of nine, a university professor, and a rocker...I need to start sleeping less to keep up with people like him! Great music and a great guy.

Speaking of great guys, I had the following email from a guy name Gerard, from Mississippi. He's looking to spread the word about a song he wrote in response to Katrina. Take a minute to listen to his song and drop him a note to say hi and that sent you. It's such a wonderful thing to hear about all of the people who are using their talents and time to help others in response to the hurricanes.

I am a native of Grand Point, Louisiana, which is mid way between New Orleans and Baton Rouge in St. James Parish, but have transplanted to southwest Mississippi where we attend St. Ann's.

By candlelight, in the coolness of the morning, on September 2, 2005, the 3rd day after Hurricane Katrina hit, I wrote the words to this song. Being without power at my house, I drove 200 miles to my in-laws' house where I recorded it on my Digitech GNX4.

For 9 days, we were without power and water near Meadville, Mississippi, but I am thankful for the things I do have, among them, my family, my friends, a house and a job.

Click here to hear the song

Click here to see the words

I am trying to get this song "out there" so that others might hear it. Please listen and then forward this email. Through friend-to-friend emails, since September 6, this song has been downloaded over 1250 times! Web hits have come from countries all over the world, including Canada, the United Kingdom, Austria, Brazil. PASS IT ON!!! Let me know where it's going! Thanks, Gerard

Contact Info:
Gerard C. Faucheux, Sr.
1168 Myers Rd NE
Meadville, MS 39653

Words of Wisdom

I am lucky to have the world's best parents.

It came in handy as a kid growing up to live in a home filled with love and laughter. As a teenager and young adult, it was cool to have REASONABLE people for parents - they trusted, loved and didn't place too many restrictions on me. When I became a parent myself, I loved and appreciated them at a whole new level as the trials of becoming a mom myself began to kick in.

Well, the lessons continue and today I learned a big one from Daddy. You see, I have a fourteen year old living at my house...and he's being a fourteen year old. He's exerting his opinion about things, wanting to spend oodles of time on the phone and with his friends, and pushing his outer limits in search of more independence as he becomes a young man.

His mom, on the other hand, is reacting emotionally to the seemingly sudden emergence of this young man. I want him off the phone, at the table with his family, communicative about the emotions he's going through, and polite with his parents, his brother and other grown ups he encounters.

I don't think I'm asking too much.

Neither does he.

Sometimes lately, we're driving each other crazy.

Well, this morning I was talking on the phone to my parents, who are somewhere in the south working their way back to Gulfport. I was lamenting my current situation with the fourteen year old and Daddy said, "Are you being positive and loving with him? Are you building him up and telling him how wonderful he is?"

Silence on my end as I had a flashback to them doing that with me when I was a teenager...yikes! Was I as bad to them as I feel like he's being to me?

My answer to Daddy: "What if he doesn't deserve it?" (What kind of a terribe thing was that for me to say????)

His answer to me: "Then be twice as loving and positive to him."

Double yikes - he's right! So that's my task for today - to stop dwelling on my nit-picking criticism of every little thing that's driving me nuts and to start an intense focus on all that is good and wonderful about the young man who lives at my house. Those aspects of him far outweigh anything else - I am, indeed, a lucky (but somewhat weary) mom of a wonderful and loveable teenage son.

Thanks, Mom and Dad, for the lessons...If I can be half the parent you are hopefully my boys will do ok in this life!

Monday, September 26, 2005

The Sweetest Boy I Know

The sweetest boy I know has beautiful golden hair and a sprinkle of freckles across his nose and rosy cheeks and bright blue eyes.

He was born three weeks early and weighed only five pounds, fifteen ounces, but now he's five feet tall and has feet almost as big as his daddy's.

He loves to play with sticks, build things with legos and sculpt. He's not too into sports, preferring his art lessons and family time at home. He loves animals, especially his hamster Max!

The sweetest boy I know wakes up each day with a smile, gives me a hug every morning, and always says thank you when I give him breakfast. His hugs instantly put me in a good mood, which is a great way to start any day!

The sweetest boy I know can also turn cloudy...his temper can run hot and his patience can run thin - maybe being capable of being sweet also makes one prone to excess in other emotions too. Luckily for the rest of us, his sweet moments far outweigh his sassy ones.

The sweetest boy I know, my precious Adam, arrived on the scene eleven years ago today. I remember saying prayers with Eric the night before Adam's birth was induced, and wondering if a mom's heart could have enough love to spread between two little boys. The answer is definitely yes, but loving Adam comes easily!

Happy birthday Adam - I love you!

Saturday, September 24, 2005

On a Mission

We seek worldly knowledge, confident that the world exhibits coherence that reflects a Creator. We will train the intellects of our students, cultivate their faith and instill the virtues necessary for living a good life. We will strive to build a community generous to those in need and responsive to the demands of justice – strengthened by grace and guided by the command to love God and neighbor.

This is no easy mission. But its difficulty is not our concern; we did not create the mission, and we cannot change it. The word “mission” derives from the Latin root missus – which means “sent.” We have been sent – to seek God, study the world, and serve humanity.

If we are clear in our purpose, we will excel in our ideals.

From the inauguration address of Fr. John I. Jenkins, University of Notre Dame

Aw Shucks...

I don't usually toot my own horn, but this piece of email I received this morning was just too priceless not to share...notes like this make my head spin and make waking up way too early seem worthwhile!

Hi Lisa,

I am a mum in the Highlands of Scotland in the UK. I have been using your Gospel activities at our church now for several months, and wanted to let you know it has been a great way of getting our little people interested.

We are only a very small rural community, but we seem to be getting more and more families with little ones coming to our church and have now even managed to set up their own, regular "little church" for children up to first communion age to enjoy their own liturgy, before joining their families to celebrate the Eucharist. By using links from your page we managed to buy leaders' books which allowed us to do this and our priest, who is almost 90 years old, is delighted to see more and more families joining us every month.

The work which you and the others do to help mums like me to keep our faith alive is so wonderful and I know it has played such a significant part in helping our community of faith to grow in just a few short months.

God bless you all


The Black Isle

Friday, September 23, 2005

Cleaning out the inbox

It's a constant battle dealing with the swarms of incoming email at and Max the hamster has not been very much help lately. He seems to be eating and sleeping a lot hamsters hibernate in the winter? If so, I think he's getting ready to do so! I may have to put Frogdor the pool frog to work as director of spam! (Yes, he's still hanging around the deep end!)

Here's an interesting site for kids working on geography and country reports.

This looks like a great place for Catholic kids CDs, but I haven't heard them myself.

Check back later for more!

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Cool Couple

I'm featuring a three page spread this week at on Paul and Joan Plum, a couple who have been working for thirty years to write and publish catechetical materials for Catholic kiddos. Click here to take a look at the incredible work the Plums are doing.

Go Irish!

Last night, our local Notre Dame Club of Central California hosted Jazmin Garcia, Admissions Representative for the University of Notre Dame at a Notre Dame Information Night at our local Catholic high school. It was a great evening, bringing back lots of fun memories for Greg and I on our wonderful days at ND.

My poor boys...they are what you call "double legacies". Mom and Dad met, fell in love, graduated from and married at Notre Dame. That leaves Eric and Adam subject to expectations that they too may someday attend Our Lady's University.

The campaigning has been going on for years. Mom is ruthless - "It's either Notre Dame or ___!"(fill in the blank with the name of whatever local community college is cheapest).

Dad prefers a more understanding approach - "Whatever makes them happiest..." or something along those lines.

What could make them happier than four years in South Bend?!

Well, last night we had help from Jazmin, who delivered a presentation that was so compelling that even a USC fan might jump ship and apply to ND. Our family was in charge of set up and refreshments, so we got to meet her early and stay afterwards to visit with Jazmin and her parents, who coincidentally live in the area. Jazmin's dad reminded me of someone I know: he spoke with tears in his eyes about the day Jazmin received her letter of acceptance to ND. As his eldest daughter, Jazmin was the first in her family to pursue an education beyond high school. He beamed throughout her presentation - looking at him made me cry tears of happiness, since I know the hard work that went into sending Jazmin and later his son to Notre Dame, and I know and share his love for the University.

Football statistics aside, everyone should have the chance to spend some time at Notre Dame. It's a wonderful, spirit filled place overflowing with great minds and even greater souls.

I wish for my boys late nights with buddies in the dorms, walks around the lake, candles lit at the grotto, and maybe even fellow domers for wives. Granted, we've got a few years to go before they consider colleges, but last night they got one small taste of what it might be like to be a student and Notre Dame...and they loved it!

Saturday, September 17, 2005

Have a Heart

This morning, Eric and I woke up early again, for another great cause: our town's annual American Heart Association Heart Walk.

Heart disease is the #1 killer in America and it has been found that 1 in 3 women will die of heart disease. That said, it's not something that I ever considered too much before I became great friends with a special woman named Michelle.

Seven years ago, at the age of 28, my friend Michelle suffered and almost died from a major heart attack. The picture of health, this non-drinking, non-smoking college soccer player had no history of heart disease. She awoke in the middle of the night one night to crushing heart pains and was rushed to the hospital. She nearly died...and she was the Mom of a kindergartener and a two year old.

Now, seven years, one emegency triple bypass and a pacemaker later, Michelle is a walking "Poster Girl" for the American Heart Association. As a spokesperson, she tells her story and makes a great case for the fact that each of us should do all we can to fight and find a cure for heart disease.

So this morning, the cause that got me out of bed (on my one morning to sleep in) was my friend Michelle - a woman who never feels sorry for herself despite the fact that she's in constant risk of being placed on the heart transplant list.

I think Michelle honestly believes that she has been given this lot in life to help educate and inform others about the risks and prevention of heart disease. For me, she's a great role model not only for living a healthy lifestyle, but also for being a fighter - and one with a great attitude as well!

Michelle is one of the many heros in my life, so this morning as I jogged along watching my son's back as he grew smaller and smaller and the space between us grew greater and greater, I thanked God for the fact that I'm healthy enough to run two miles (albeit very slowly) and that my friend Michelle is healthy enough to walk two miles and teach us all about courage, determination and living each day to its fullest.

For more information about our Heart Walk team, click here.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Learning to Give

I spent this morning in the presence of several Saints-In-Training!

For the past two weeks, our school's student body has been led by their Student Government Leaders in a drive to raise funds to help rebuild St. Thomas School in Long Beach, Mississippi. This drive has personal meaning to me, as St. Thomas is the school home of my sweet nephew and Godson, First Grader Patrick. Patrick's school was devastated by Katrina, and now he's boarding with his cousins until his own school can locate and reopen in temporary quarters.

For every First Grader Patrick, there are thousands of other kids whose little worlds have been turned upside down. The scope of the tragedy is daunting and can feel overwhelming at times...

That's why I feel so lucky to be surrounded by this particular group of Saints - kids who recognize that they have the responsibility and the ability to respond to friends in need. In their own ways, the children of St. Anthony's School have opened their hearts and thought creatively about ways to reach out and raise needed funds.

They've held car washes, done chores, given up outings, and even asked for donations in lieu of birthday gifts.

They've raised pennies, quarters, paper money, and even some checks and have thanked and blessed each donor.

They haven't balked at the need - they've just done their best to reach out and set a shining example of Christ's lesson that we must each love our neighbors as best we can.

This morning, they rose before dawn and took to local corners to smile, wave flags and invite donations from passing motorists. Some drivers gave change, others gave bills - but all who gave were better off for their interaction with these young Saints-In-Training. I had the pleasure of watching my 14 year old son with pride and love as he did his own part. I'm one lucky mom!

If you'd like more information on how YOU and your family can help the students of St. Thomas School visit

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Where has she been???

I never promised to be a good blogger and sometimes trying to be a semi good mom gets in the way of being even a so-so blogger. The past few days have been filled with the mundane moments that fill most moms lives: driving places, overseeing homework, trying desperately to prepare and serve three semi healthy meals a day, cleaning too many toilets and the like.

Add to that a podiatry appointment and shoe shopping with Nana, a son turning 14 and the attendant festivities, a junior high football game, and a Sunday brunch at my mother in laws and you get a pretty clear picture of what I've been up to the past few days. The crying shame is that, mundane though they sound, most of these activities would make great fodder for blogging but I don't have the time to sit still and string two thoughts together!

I'm hoping things lighten up a little in the next few days, permitting me some "me time", but I'm not promising myself anything! For now, I've got to run Eric to altar serving practice, fix dinner and help Adam with homework - all in the next 45 minutes! Ah, the life of a Mom....

Friday, September 09, 2005

Pat Has the Answers!

I've always been partial to people named "Pat" and there's a special new one in my life. I'm not sure if she read my mind, but Catholic Mom Columnist Pat Gohn came to the rescue on my dilemna for looking to find CONCRETE things my family and I can do in response to Katrina.

Click here to read Pat's column. I'm off to mark my own calendar!

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Hooray for the Trash Truck!

I was talking with my Daddy this morning on the phone (yes, it's working and they have power and water too!) - he's back at their house in Gulfport to survey the damage and keep a watchful eye on my sister Brady.

He had just finished telling me about how he'd accomplished picking up and throwing out all of the roof shingles that had been strewn about their yard. I noted a distracted tone in his voice, and then he said, "I think I hear the trash truck!".

Sure enough, things are going well enough in their area of town that the garbage is being picked up. Daddy excused himself to run out and help the men with the mammoth job of picking up that heavy garbage can and to take them some water.

It gave me's amazing how much I take for granted. Since the trash and recycling at my house falls on Greg's "to do" list, I'm not very conscious of trash except that it miraculously goes away once a week without my lifting a finger.

Suddenly, things like having your refuse picked up on a timely schedule feels like a luxury - a blessing - and to the folks in Gulfport, I'm sure it feels like a minor miracle!

We out here in California continue to drive our SUVs to a Costco packed with excess, while there are people all over the South struggling to get their hands on the bare necessities. Yes, we're trying to do our share by contributing to relief funds and offering a welcome mat to "displaced Americans", but I feel as though we really have no concept of the tremendous daily struggles some people face each day.

I'm trying my darndest to think of CONCRETE ways to act in support of them, and to model this type of behavior for my children. Today's lesson, don't take anything for granted, including weekly garbage and recycling services.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

If I had a theme song

Do you ever play that game in your mind where you imagine who would play you in the movies??? Admit it, you've thought about it! I don't think that much about who would play me, but I do insist that my handsome husband Greg be portrayed by either Tom Cruise (sans scientology) or Dan Abrams...don't ask.

But if I had a theme song, I know for sure I'd pick Rejoice and Be Glad by Nancy Krebs, on her newest CD Songs from the Heart. If you click on this link, you can hear a "snippet" of this great song. I listen to it a lot when I'm on the treadmill - the entire price of the CD is a value just for the uplifting nature of this one song. You won't get to hear the best part of the song, but you'll get the general idea.

Perhaps I owe my optimistic nature to my Daddy, for whom every new day is the "Best Day of My Life!" It's been a bit tough to be optimistic this past week, but today I choose to look away from all of the suffering and towards the faces of all of those around me who are working as best they know how to help someone, anyone, and to make our world a better place.

I have an interview up and running with Nancy Krebs, who's been quite busy lately spreading joy through her music. Click here to read my interview with Nancy and be sure to check out my theme song!

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Masterpiece Mysteries

A new free movie series called "Masterpiece Mysteries" is now available for download at
The series is based on a talk given on sacred art at a Michigan conference. The movie files are in Windows Media format; they will walk you through how to read the symbols present in several masterpieces of medieval and Renaissance artwork.

Thanks to Steve for sharing this information!

More Holy Cards Stuff

Click here to read a wonderful article on, one of my favorite web sites, from The Tidings.

Canticle of New Orleans

Please pause and take a moment to read this lovely prayer, composed by Sr. Margaret Charles Kerry of the Daughters of St. Paul. You'll be glad you did!

Saturday, September 03, 2005

News from Angelina and Maria

One of my favorite Catholic Artists, Angelina Davis, is a Gulfport resident. I've been worried about her and her family all week, and was so happy to receive the following email from her Mom, Maria:

The Storm - Words cannot describe the devestation that Katrina has brought. During the storm I broke down twice when the winds just were unbelievable. I went through Camille in 69'. I was 10 years old. Eleven children with our parents rode out that storm in the middle of the night. Katrina began for us around 5:00 a.m. Monday morning. By 8:00 a.m. the winds were at least 100 mph. I have a great room where the walls are 16 foot high, 6-3 foot windows are located on one wall. That particular wall was moving in and out with the wind as if you were taking big breathes. I just knew the wall would eventually would cave in. Keep in mind our prayers never stopped. I have a Blessed Mother in my bedroom and a candle was lit in front of her. Mid morning, the winds began to pick up even higher, approximately in the 130- 150 mph. Trees were breaking, the r! ain was coming down horizontally, roofing material was flying in the air, some were hitting our house like bullets. We were blessed that not a one hit a window. I was still very concerned about loosing the wall when a huge explosion happened. I was unbelievably upset and made everyone move to a inner room in the back of the house. Later, much later, my husband and myself went to check on the generator in the back of the house and I noticed that there was furniture and objects all on the porch in a mess. The door leading into the garage was open and we felt as though we had just stepped out into the storm. Well, the garage door had been ripped off and was flying in and out of the garage hitting my car then out on to the outside of the house. The door was hanging by one cable. We were blessed in a way because when the garage door blowing out it relieved some pressure in the house to the point that th! e large wall stopped breathing so bad. It saved us from&nbs p;a lot of danger.

After the Storm - The storm battered us for 12 hours. We walked outside to finally see all the damage, looking at your roof is first priority. As neighbors venture out and look around in total disbelief, you yell over and ask, "how is everyone"? "Are you ok"? You thank God that it is over.

Total Destruction - Our home had minimal damage. Out of 250 homes in our neighborhood there was only two that did not have leaks from roof damage, ours was one of the two. Every other house had their roofs torn off to the bare plywood or blown out attics. Two houses across the lake blew apart. Insulation, asphalt roofing, wood and trees everywhere.

Venturing out to Downtown - Jim's Law Office and Angelina Productions is located downtown Gulfport, 13 miles south from our house. We were very tense and anxious to see if we had any business to go to. It took us about an hour to go 13 miles. The courthouse is located across the road from our business and that is where the Civil Defense and Emergency agencies are located. In a storm like this someone can be unscathed and the house next to you might be blown away to the foundation. We finally made it to the corner where our business is and yes it too seemed to be fine. We cried with joy. Once entering the building we did however have roof damage and water came in. Minimal though considering the attorney next to us has a "Moon roof" at his building now. No roof at all on the back side of his office.

My hometown - I've lived here on the Coast my entire life and have been through a many of hurricane including Camille, "Who was no Lady". Katrina left nothing her path. Houses and business that Camille left, Katrina took and more. The Coast is tucked between Mobile, AL and Slidell, LA (a suberb of New Orleans). The cities are located on the Gulf of Mexico and are as follows from East to West: Pascagoula, Ocean Springs, Biloxi, Gulfport, Long Beach (my hometown), Pass Christian, Bay St. Louis, Waveland, then you get into LA. We have only seen footage of the damage on T.V. because these cities are closed to the general public for "Search and Rescue" and emergency purposes, such as if you live there or securing your business. All I can say is that there is nothing left. It is everything you have seen on the national broadcast but 10 times more. I have had no contact with friends, family, all phon! es have been off, including cell phones. We finally heard from a neighbor that if we ventured out north on Hwy 49 to Jackson about 5 miles that we would get a signal. We did and was able to reach Jim's sister and aunt and uncle.

Long Beach, MS - My hometown is no more. The Catholic Church that was destroyed by Camille and rebuilt was destroyed again along with the Catholic elementary school behind it, the rectory and the parish life center gone. The Church and Parish life center is just outer walls, you can see right through them.

The Power of Water - Waveland and Bay St. Louis do not exist anymore. The church in Waveland is only a concrete foundation with 4 steps leading up to it. The Catholic elementary school is a slab.

Death - My son Chris (25) decided to leave his apartment in Bay St. Louis and stay with friends in a small community called Diamondhead, located north of I-10. He showed up on Tuesday in shock and disbelief. He said, "Momma, its gone, its all gone, there is no Pass Christian". Chris was the manager at an upscale resturant in Pass Christian. The boys were all 25 years old and had worked under Emril Lagasse. Their resturant was gone. Chris explained that all the scenic drive homes, some dating back to the 1800's were gone, ripped into debris. Then he said he saw 5 dead people in a ditch by the resturant being put into body bags and loaded onto a pick-up truck. He could barely speak. I hugged him and talked with him about keeping it in perspective. Pray and thank God you are safe and alive. Pray for those who lost their lives and those who are worse off than us. Believe that God wi! ll take us out of this just as he took us out of the storm. Always be thankful for what you have because there are so many that do not have anything left.

Communication - There are over 100 dead here on the Coast. We have no idea who they are because of notifing next of kin and we have no paper coming in, no communication except the local television reporting the utmost important information to us. I am worried about a few people I knew that stayed in places (homes) that were asked by the authorities to leave (mandatory evacuation). There just isn't anyway to find out about anyone except seeing your neighbors.

Your prayers - We sincerely thank each and everyone of you for your continued prayers and support through all this. It could be weeks before we get electricity. The authorities are saying maybe this weekend water. That would be awesome. We are taking each day as it comes and handling it accordingly. It has brought us all a little closer and we are reminded of the importance of the simpler things in life, the Love of God, family and friends.

God bless you all and please understand it might take some time between e-mails. Peace, the Davis', Jim, Maria, Christopher and Angelina

Chip Richter pitching in

All over the country, people are looking into their hearts and trying to come up with ways to help raise needed funds for those needing help. One of my good friends and her son, who are excellent bakers, are going to make up a basket of baked goods to raffle off with all proceeds going to our School's fund for St. Thomas school and parish. I'm planning to buy lots of tickets...home made bread and cookies, for a good cause.

Here's an email I received from Chip Richter:

I'm sure you, like me, have been watching and reading about the tremendous need and suffering of the folks in Mississippi and Louisiana after the hurricane. I want to let you know that for the next few months we will be donating 100% of the profits of CDs sold online to the American Red Cross earmarked for the relief effort. Sometimes in the face of such an overwhelming disaster as this it's hard to know how to help... for me this is an opportunity to make a small contribution. Please consider purchasing one or all three titles by clicking on the links below and you will not only be donating to the Red Cross, but actually get my CDs sent to you because of it!

"Designed to Shine"

"My Dad's Coat"

"Live at Lakeside DVD/CD"

Prayer Chain

Gods Gals have a beautiful prayer chain going...

I find myself unable to pray eloquently at this prayers are more like, "Thank you God for my washing machine, and for these dirty clothes - we have clothes to change into, and more than the shirts on our backs."

"Thank you God for my kitchen floor, which needs mopping, and for the roof over my head."

"Thank you God for my refrigerator and all of the food in it..."

"God, please be with my sister Brady and all of those working so hard to restore power and safety and to rescue the lost..."

I think God may be sick of hearing from me in the past few days...I've been pestering Him quite a bit, but at times like this, I can't help it.

Catholic Schools Nationwide Open Doors to Displaced Students

Catholic schools from across the nation are opening their doors to students displaced by Hurricane Katrina.

The Diocese of Shreveport, Louisiana, which has seven elementary schools, for example, enrolled more than 200 students in the days after displaced people from afflicted dioceses moved into the Shreveport area. Read More

Thursday, September 01, 2005

My Family's Church - St. Thomas the Apostle

These are photos of my family's church in Mississippi, St. Thomas the Apostle. This vibrant faith community is one of my very favorite places to attend Mass. I have great memories of holding my baby nephew (now a first grader at the parish school), as an infant during Mass so that his parents could have a moment of peace. We last visited the parish last Easter, around the time of the passing of Pope John Paul II. They have a wonderful Pastor, Father Louis...y'all are in our prayers! To donate, visit

I know that we, collectively, as the Body of Christ will respond to all those in need of homes, food and jobs. Please pray today for my brother in law, Matt, who is on the road from Atlanta to Gulfport to check on my sister Brady, and his own parents.

September Non-Fiction Book Club Selection

A special thanks to Julie Cragon, author of Bless My Child, for sharing the following letter to our readers.

Dear Catholic Mom Readers,

I am pleased and excited that Bless My Child will be featured for the September Book Club pick. I cannot express how awesome the response to Bless My Child has been from moms, dads, teachers and principals. It humbles me every time a parent comes into the store or sees me at school and shares a special moment they have been given because of a prayer from the book they have shared with a child or prayed for a child. I oftentimes wish I could take some credit but I have to say that I was given each and every word. Because of the wonderful examples of both my mom and dad, I have learned the power of prayer. I believe that if I start each day with prayer that God will give me the strength not just to get through the day but to enjoy even those which are most hectic. My parents taught us that through prayer anything is possible and since I know they'll never read this and I would never want to admit they were right about a! nything, I can freely say that they are right.

I was a very lively child and teen. Number six child of eight, I knew everything about how to get my parents' attention and every other adult in my life. I'm sure my parents wore some skin off their knees in St. Henry Chapel hoping and praying that some day I would "get it". My mom always kept her Bible, prayer book and journal on a table in her room. From their examples of prayer and faith, I have learned the importance of prayer. I have learned that parenting does not come with a manual but God did leave us a book to refer to for strength and He gave us one another. I have learned to pay attention instead of want attention. When I started having children of my own, I have to admit, it was almost a bummer to realize that it's not all about me. It makes me crazy to hear myself say to my children "offer it up" or "pray about it". Time finally let me stop worrying about becoming my parents and start bein! g grateful that my husband and I could be one tenth the parents they have been to me.

Bless My Child is definitely about praying not just for my children but for the teens that work with us at St. Mary's Bookstore and the children young and old who's parent's ask us to pray for them every day. They are prayers that developed through years of requests and encounters. My children are taught by the St. Cecilia Dominican sisters and I constantly tell them that, instead of "it takes a village", it will take the whole convent to raise my children.

With that in mind, may we all join as community and pray for the victims of Katrina. May Mary gather them in Her Mantle and our country join together to give them homes and food and all the many needs that will come from this catastrophe. May all the souls lost rest in peace. The calls have already come all the way to Nashville asking for openings in our Catholic schools for the children for this year. May we open our hearts and our doors to all. God Bless all us moms!
Julie Cragon

September Fiction Book Club Selection

A special thanks to Robina Williams, author of Jerome and the Seraph for sharing the following letter to our readers. Click here to read my Book Spotlight Author Interview with Robina Williams.

I am honored by the choice of Jerome and the Seraph as the September fiction read for the book club. It is a great privilege for me. I hope your readers find my book interesting and entertaining.

May I begin by explaining the title of the book? Brother Jerome is a Catholic friar—though, at first, ex-friar might seem a more apt description, as we meet Jerome when he unexpectedly finds himself in the afterworld following an unfortunate accident in the friary graveyard. The afterworld, he finds, is curiously lacking in cherubs, harps and fluffy white clouds. He’s rather disappointed with it, in fact, until his pet cat, Leo, turns up. Leo, however, isn’t the cat Jerome had thought he was. Leo’s real name is Quant, and he has some very special qualities, for he is a quantum cat.

Two cats—one theoretical, one real—contributed to the creation of Quant. I came across the concept of a quantum cat when I was writing an academic thesis and read about Schrödinger’s Cat that, because of the uncertain world of quantum physics, was both alive and dead at the same time. What a useful character for a book, I thought. Then, when I was living in an old stone house on a Welsh hillside, I was visited occasionally by a cat who came and went as he pleased, and was quite a mystery as, though he clearly wasn’t a stray, I never discovered where he lived. Schrödinger’s Cat and my mysterious Welsh cat combined to form my quantum cat, Quant—companion to Jerome (and looking suspiciously like a smaller version of the lion who had kept Saint Jerome company all those centuries ago). We see Quant in his true seraphic form at the end of Angelos, the sequel to Jerome and the Seraph. Angelos will be published in paperback in November 2005 by Twilight Times Books.

My M.Phil. thesis gave me the idea, too, of bringing paintings into the plots of my books. I was writing about the nineteenth-century English novelist Wilkie Collins, author of The Woman in White and The Moonstone, among many other works. Collins was a painter before he became a writer and was closely involved with the Pre-Raphaelite movement. I was struck by the painterly elements in his writings. When I began to plan my Quantum Cat series, it occurred to me that I might bring some paintings into my stories. Jerome and the Seraph is centered around Spencer Stanhope's Thoughts of the Past and Angelos around Holman Hunt's The Scapegoat; and other paintings play peripheral parts in the plots. I hope you’ll spare a moment to visit my website and read the illustrated articles on it about the paintings in the books.

Both books take a look at the nature of time, and Jerome finds that, despite his unexpected and initially unwelcome demise, he is still a member of his religious order—he has simply been transferred to the beyond-the-grave branch. Time, he finds, isn’t as linear as he had supposed, and is less a case of experiencing a sequence of events than of moving from one dimension to another—which is a comforting thought to those of us who have lost loved ones.

I am grateful to you, Lisa, for offering me this opportunity to talk to your readers. If anyone would like to contact me about my books, you’re welcome to do so at .

For more information on Jerome and the Seraph click here.