Monday, October 31, 2005

Big Week

Blogging may be extra light this week, as it looks like it's going to be pretty busy around our household this week. Tomorrow, we will be welcoming guests for three days, so today is going to be one of those..."Why did I let my house get to this situation?!!" types of days. Actually, I've been trying to slowly get ready for this, so it shouldn't be too bad, but the anticipation is always way worse than the actual deep cleaning.

The second round of guests, and the ones I CAN'T WAIT to see, arrive on Saturday. They're the easy ones...the ones who will understand if I have books stacked all over my office!

In the mean time, Happy Halloween to those who celebrate it and Happy All Saints Day to everyone! I love All Saints Day at our school - it's a very special time for the kids and we have costumed Saints running around all over the school grounds. Adam won't be costumed, but did have to prepare a report on St. Ephraim of Syria, so I learned something new this weekend!

Sunday, October 30, 2005

Playoff Victory

While the Irish were resting yesterday, the Memorial Panthers (Eric's team) won a first round playoff victory 31 - 0. The season continues. Eric had three sacks and four tackles. Strange as a mom how watching your son tackle someone brings on a whole different set of emotions than watching him get hit by someone else...
Practice, laundry and driving continue for at least another week, as the hope of a championship lives on.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Links to Share

Thanks to Barbara, for sharing the following links -

BK's Schoolhouse - great place for buying religious education and homeschooling supplies.

Ipsissima Verba - Barbara's husband's Catholic blog.

Take a peek! Thanks for sharing Barbara!

October Stuff

If you happen to have a pumpkin around your house, you might try the following, which I found in my email inbox today...sounds yummy to me!

Making Jack-O-Lanterns More Inviting

After you've cleaned and carved a Halloween pumpkin,
sprinkle the inside with cinnamon or nutmeg. Then put the candle
inside. When lighted, the heat from it will warm the area and the
fragrance will be dispersed. It will smell so good.

Also, one of our teachers at school passed this link along to me - it's a Saints Web Quest, and looks like a fun assignment for older students with access to the internet. Happy Questing!

Lovely Words of Inspiration

Thanks to my friend Mo for sharing the following, and allowing me to share it with you. I love this!

Nothing Disturbs You

Nothing disturbs you, Nothing frightens you,
Everything passes on, God does not change.

Patience achieves everything;
He who has God lacks nothing:
God alone suffices.

Raise your thought, to heaven it goes,
Let nothing trip you up, Nothing disturbs you.

Follow Jesus Christ with a proud heart,
And come what may, Nothing frightens you.

Do you see the glory of the world?
It is a vain glory.
In it there is nothing stable; Everything passes on.
Aspire to the heavenly, that which lasts forever.

Faithful and rich in promises, God does not change.
Love the One deserving infinite goodness.

But there is no elegant love without patience.
Certainty and lively faith will maintain your spirit,
For he that believes and hopes achieves everything.

Even having seen the fires of Hell,
He who has God shall laugh at Hell's furies.
Come disasters, Come crosses, Come disgraces,
With God as his Treasure
He lacks nothing.

Go, then, riches of life. Go, all you vanities.
Even should you lose it all,
God, alone, suffices.

Contemplative poem <> by St. Teresa of Avila (Santa Teresa de Jesús) , a doctor of the Church.
A contemporary translation by Maurice Cameron.

Congrats to David and Critical Mass

Great News from David Wang, who sent me the following press release. If you missed my interview with David Wang and Critical Mass, click here - Congrats guys!

Critical Mass wins Best Rock Album Honours at the Canadian Gospel Music Association Covenant Awards


Oct 22nd, 2005. Toronto -Critical Mass received Best Rock Album of the Year honours for their third release, Grasping for Hope in the Darkness, at the 27th annual Canadian Gospel Music Association Covenant Awards, which took place October 22nd in Toronto, Ontario. This is the second award for the band, which won in the same category in 2000 for their album, Completely. The song, Carry on Wayward Son, a cover of the classic Kansas tune, was also nominated for Best Rock Song.

"This is an incredible honour", says David Wang, the lead singer for Critical Mass, "The Canadian Christian music scene has been improving in leaps and bounds over the past 5 years and the quality of the nominees this year were better than I have ever seen". As a testament to that fact, artists that have received significant secular attention- Paul Brandt, Reliant K, Carolyn Arends and Thousand Foot Krutch- were also winners at this prestigious event, with Canadian icon Tommy Hunter receiving a Lifetime Achievement Award.

Grasping for Hope in the Darkness is a modern rock concept album tracing a man's journey from darkness back to redemption. Produced by Gemini and Juno nominated producer, Andrew Horrocks, this album is ground breaking in the manner in which it combines a storyline along with its lyrical content. A comic book for the album can be downloaded from the band website at

Critical Mass is made up of band members Luke Kupczyk on guitars, Lawrence Lam on keyboards, Scott McKendrick on bass, Tracey Doyle on percussion, Paul Kieffer on drums, Harvey Armoogan on the mixing console and David Wang on vocals.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

"Thanks Mom"

The power of those two little words..."thanks mom"...Especially when delivered at the right time, in the right place - They can turn me from an impatient, moody moron back into a loving human being...and when delivered with a smile and a hug, forget about it!

So why don't we say them more often?? I was thinking about the words just this weekend, as I sat at my kitchen table in front of my sewing machine. You see, I've been blessed to be the daughter of the world's best Mom, and little things in my life frequently remind me of that fact.

On Sunday, I was sitting in the kitchen sewing slip covers for the back seat of my Volkswagen Van (aka "Arnold") and I thought about how cool it was that my Mom took time when I was young to teach me the basics of sewing. I'm not claiming to be a seamstress by any means, but my mom made sure I knew how to thread and sew straight lines on a basic sewing machine. Each year, around this time, I thank my mom for that gift as I sew my children's costumes for Halloween.

The world's best mom taught me so many indispensable things - mostly about the value of family, fun and faith - which were then and are now the cornerstones of a wonderful life. She taught me that mothering is a vocation as she selflessly devoted her life to raising five kids. The amazing thing is that it continues to this day - she still carries her cell phone and answers by the third ring to respond to the daily "emergencies" that cause each of us to have need of her on a daily basis. Whether that's for hands-on help, like picking up a grandkid from school, or goofy stuff, like her recipe for "impossible pie" or philosophical dilemnas such as the parenting of a teenage son...she has always been, and continues to be, completely devoted to the art of Mothering. When in doubt, I frequently pause and ask myself WWMMD (what would my mom do?)...I've learned, in most situations, to go with her gut mothering instincts.

But I don't think I thank her frequently enough. Not only for the love and support she offers me now, but also retroactively, for those many times I surely drove her nuts.

For the times I forgot my homework and she bailed me out.

For the times I wore a pair of jeans for fifteen minutes and then threw them in the dirty laundry.

For the times she took me shopping for the perfect dress, or sewed it for me, despite my pickiness.

For the perfection, and inperfection, she exhibited in parenting and teaching us to be part of a loving family.

For the gift of Faith and the hope of prayer...

For these and all the rest that remains unsaid, I thank you Mom and I love you! And a big thank you to my columnist Sue Terbay, who never ceases to inspire me. Click here to read Sue's thoughts on the Moms in our lives!

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Frogdor's got a Girlfriend!

THIS IS ADAM SPEAKING TO YOU FROM MY MOM'S DESK! Well, I thought it would be cool if I posted a um... comment? Is that what they're called? Whatever. But anyways, on to why the title says what it does. Today we were all surprised to find that Fogdor has a girlfriend! We know it because we saw TWO frogs in our pool today. We have warmly accepted this new member of our family and I have christened her 'Priscilla'. I don't really know if she will make the cut to become secretary for CatholicMom.COM, but things look VERY bright for her. THIS IS ADAM SIGHNING OFF FROM MY MOM'S DESK!

Parenting in Progress...

Sorry for the lack of post today - I've been busy being a Mom! Please say a prayer for me and I'll do the same for all of you! Let's all give our kiddos extra hugs tonight and thank God for them, just the way the are...
See you tomorrow morning!

Monday, October 24, 2005

Links to some of this weeks activities

For anyone who happens to wander in here and is looking for links to this week's Mass activities, here's what's been posted prior to the service outage:

Mass Worksheet A

Mass Worksheet B

Word Search

Crossword Puzzle

Susan's Coloring Page

Max the Hamster's coloring page has not yet been added and can't be uploaded until the server is back online....sorry! He plans to spend the morning rearranging the bedding in his cage since he can't get any work done on the computer.

Technical Difficulties

Not sure if you've noticed, but all of my web sites are down today...which is bad news!!! I haven't been able to get through to my server host, as his sites are all down too, as is my email...let's pray that this gets resolved quickly. I have a feeling there are CCD teachers all over the place looking for coloring pages for this week's classes. Sorry for the inconvenience!

Saturday, October 22, 2005

A Date with the Boy with the Stick

Right now, one of the favorite pastimes of the eleven year old who lives in my house is his stick. He takes the stick (and yes, he has a lucky one) and ventures out on the front driveway for what he calls "practice".

His luckiest stick is actually part of an old curtain rod that was used in second grade as a crosier when he did his St. Patrick presentation. The curlicue thing at the top has been lopped off, transforming it from crosier to epee.

"Practice" involves a complicated series of moves, both one and two handed, where the boy swashbuckles around with the stick, fending off some unseen foe. I'm not sure why this kid, who is supremely self-conscious, feels the need to practice on the front driveway instead of in the back yard, where his battles would go unseen by the neighbors.

In the olden days, before a teenager lived at my house, I would have insisted on backyard practice. (I, too, am self conscious!). But somehow, the stick and all it entails seem to be preserving the "child" in that eleven year old - so practice continues out on the driveway (much to the dismay of the fourteen year old). At this point, I've decided I don't care what the neighbors think about the stick...that's a big step for me.

Well, this boy with the stick has been begging for fencing lessons since May and I've been putting him off, both because of time constraints and because I wasn't sure this was not another passing interest. But today, our local fencing center is having an open house with free introductory lessons, and the boy and I have a date to attend.

I'm taking a "wait and see" attitude with this. The boy may decide that the formal lessons are no fun and too disciplined, and may go back to his own sessions on the driveway. On the other hand, he may love the lessons and want to enroll - in which case we'll find the money and make the time...I've heard that Notre Dame has a pretty good fencing team!

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Knitting News!!

For those following my new knitting compulsion - great news: I learned to PURL! I told Greg that last night, and he thought I said "hurl"...he was not impressed, even after I cleared up the miscommunication.
Max the hamster's next scarf should be even more interesting.

More Great Tunes

Someone I know and love will want to read my interview with Catherine Benskin, posted today at Catherine is awesome, and she sings one of my favorites, "How Can I Keep From Singing?" incredibly!. Click here to meet Catherine Benskin.

Beautiful Music

One of my favorites, Lorraine Doan, has a beautiful new CD out...I haven't heard the whole thing yet, but you can click here to listen to excerpts of her lovely music. Good luck Lorraine!

It's Not Too Late to Help

I spent my early morning hours this morning preparing a report for our Pastor, who requested that I inform our diocesan CFO about our school children's recent efforts to raise funds for our "adopted" school, St. Thomas - it got me thinking about how the rest of us, those who don't live in hurricane effected areas, have "moved on" while the folks down there are really just starting to deal with the aftermath of Katrina. I thought I'd share my letter with you, out of pride for the great work out children did - but also in the hopes that we could all stop and say a prayer for the people in Mississippi and Louisiana who are trying to move forward with life. If you'd like to help St. Thomas School, click here and view their current list of needs.

Dear Mr. B:

On behalf of Msgr. John Coelho-Harguindeguy, Thomas Neumeier, and staff and students of St. Anthony’s School, I am pleased to report to you a donation in the amount of $15,022 to St. Thomas School in Long Beach, Mississippi for Hurricane Katrina Relief. These funds were raised by our students, staff and families in addition to the large amount of funds raised within the parish and earmarked for Catholic Charities Relief.

On August 29, 2005 St. Thomas School and the parish of St. Thomas the Apostle Catholic Church were devastated by Hurricane Katrina, completely destroying all of their parish facilities. My family knew firsthand of the devastation, as my nephew Patrick was a first grader at St. Thomas School and my parents, sister and her family are all parishioners at St. Thomas the Apostle Church. My brother-in-law Matthew, a member of the St. Thomas School Board, advised us immediately of the critical situation facing the school and parish. In addition to the demolition of the school, parish and newly constructed community center, many families were left completely homeless and some parishioners perished in the storm.

The students of St. Anthony’s School, led by our wonderful staff and their student government leaders, “adopted” St. Thomas School and began to raise funds to be sent for hurricane relief. Tirelessly and motivated by their wish to help fellow Catholic school students in need, the children gave and inspired others to give. The donations were raised in a spirit of Christian service. Children held car washes, donated funds that would have otherwise been spent on outings or toys, did chores, requested donations in lieu of birthday gifts, and came up with many other creative ways to raise needed funds. Our student government leaders conducted a roadside fundraiser on September 19, arriving at school at 6:00 am and raising over $1,000 that morning.

Through their generosity, energy, and compassion for others, our St. Anthony’s School students and staff raised a total of $15,022 which has now been delivered to the St. Thomas School relief fund. These donations will be put to immediate use, as the St. Thomas students returned to temporary quarters on October 3 and school is now back in session. Along with many pressing and immediate financial needs, the St. Thomas parish community and school are now discussing the total rebuilding of their church and school. I know that the hard work and love poured out to them by St. Anthony’s School is greatly needed, and also cherished and appreciated beyond measure.

Please feel free to contact me directly if I can provide you with any additional information on this donation or St. Thomas the Apostle Catholic Church and School. I appreciate your service to our diocese.

Lisa M. Hendey
St. Anthony’s School Parent

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Busy Watching My Son Grow Into a Man...

Remember that song from Fiddler on the Roof, Sunrise, Sunset ? I feel like I can hear that playing in the background around my house these days! Son #1, the fourteen year old, seems to grow and evolve every day. It's both scary and a blessing as we struggle to ascertain the proper limits and maintain those open lines of communication.

On Saturday night at his football game we had "Senior Night", which is one of those ceremonies where the players leaving the team this year are recognized. The boys hand their parents flowers and greet them at mid-field. I think of that red carnation as a symbol of thanks for the many hours spent driving, sitting next to fields, and laundering things that are too scary to touch with bare hands!

I brought the carnation home and stuck it next to the sink to remind me to have a good attitude this week, thinking it would be dead by Sunday morning and I could go back to my well-worn stressed out attitude...that darn carnation is still blooming this morning! Every time I look at it, it's a reminder of that hug and "thanks mom!" I got on Saturday night. With the season waning, perhaps those petals will stay red long enough to get me through the next few weeks...and then it will be basketball season!

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Greetings from the Black Hole...

It's really dark down here...but I'm trying to climb my way out! Too much "stuff" and too little time. I know my three devoted blog readers will understand and perhaps even say a little prayer for me as I slug through stacks of email, books and bills today. I'll be back tomorrow for a "real" post. In the mean time, click here to read Pat Gohn's latest column - another awesome one from one of my favorite writers!

Thursday, October 13, 2005

A Fit of Mommy Nostalgia

Perhaps this can be chalked up to hormones, but I'm having a "mommy mulligan moment" - one of those days when I wish I could have back some of those early years when my boys were babies and I spent too much time wishing they would grow up and get out of that "difficult" phase.

You see, I spent the morning reviewing and writing about a Baby Video on the story of creation and I found myself remembering back to those long ago days when my boys were babies.

We didn't have Baby Mozart back then (oops, now I sound like Nana who always wondered aloud how she raised five kids with no baby monitor!). So I made do with Fantasia and that obnoxious purple dinosaur. The teenager would die before he'd admit it, but he was a HUGE Barney fan!

I remember the days of popping in a video (no DVDs back then) so that I could rush to take a shower for ten minutes. Those video parenting moments were frequently a Godsend! They seem really far away now...

I think I spent too many of those early days stressing out about the small stuff rather than just holding and treasuring those babies. I know I raced around to way too many activities, but the friendships made with my fellow playgroup moms have stood the test of time and some of those moms are still among my best friends. Now we compare notes on books about parenting teens, rather than discussing potty training strategies.

It's fun to think about those "good old days"...if you're a mommy lucky enough to have a baby at home with you today, spend an extra moment snuggling with him for me, ok??? I'll have to wait until 2:50 pm to snuggle with mine, on the way to football!

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Show and Tell

My very first completed knitting project!!!!

Sorry, no posing hamster - he's napping!

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Patron Saint of Word Problems???

I need to invoke some prayers around here for child number two, who has a BIG math test today and needs some support. He's such a bright boy, but has been struggling somewhat with settling in to fifth grade. His quizzes so far reflect the fact that while he knows the concepts, he's rushing and not reading directions or paying attention to small details.

Mom and Dad have been working with him nightly on Math review, and I'm convinced he knows what he's doing. Last night, the eve of the BIG test, we did one major overview. Let me admit up front, I'm hopelessly bad at math! It's ironic, since my mother (the world's best Nana!) was for many years a Math teacher. I'm starting to fear that Adam shares my affliction: he psyches himself out when it comes to Math.

During our review session last night, I did all of the easy chapters with Adam, but then passed him over to Greg for the ultimate stumper - the chapter called "Guess and Check". "Guess and Check", it seems, is the trendy new name for WORD most dreaded elementary school math foe! I contemplated trying to review it with him myself, but then decided that I stood more of a chance of totally messing him up, so I passed him over to his wonderful daddy.

Greg has a quiet patience in situations like this that can be totally astounding. As they worked through each of the questions, he asked gentle, prodding questions - never once losing his cool. At one point, I think even I understood how to answer some of those questions!

I'm praying for Adam this morning - but no so much for a good grade (although that would be nice too, God...).

My prayer for him is for a sense of confidence, that he can remain calm and use the skills he has to do his best job on the task at hand.

Monday, October 10, 2005

Raisin Time

Before I lived in the valley, I didn't pay much attention to the agricultural seasons. Now I know I'm a true "Fresnan" because I'm praying for it not to rain for a little while - you see, the grapes are "on the trays". Here in Central California, we're known for our raisins! Amazingly, I never knew how a grape really became a raisin before living in Fresno. Click here to read the whole process.

As we drove out in the country on Saturday to yet another far-flung football game, we noted the tremendous beauty of our nearby vineyards. The leaves are changing color, and turning a luscious golden green. Between each seemingly endless row of vines are the "trays" - actually just thin sheets of brown paper - covered with a layer of grapes baking in the son. It's still amazing to me that there's not some higher tech process for this! Once you've witnessed it, you can figure out why the raisin farmers don't want rain during the time the grapes are on the trays.

So many of the past month's gospels have been set in or around vineyards - it's wonderful to live so close to the annual harvest, for an object lesson of the setting of so many of Jesus' parables. It may not be New England, but here in the Central Valley we have a beautiful fall festival of colors all our own, and great raisins too!

Corpse Bride - Our Take

The boys and I had a "play date" yesterday to see Corpse Bride, the new Tim Burton animated film. First of all, I have to ask, what is a "play date" called when it's between a group of junior high kids whose parents insist on coming along to the movie? In pre-school, that would have been called a "play date" at our house. I'm not sure what it's called in Junior High.

Anyway, someone picked "Corpse Bride" since it was one of the only kids film choices. The group, comprised of three moms, five 8th graders, a fifth grader and a fourth grader, roundly didn't like the movie. Two of the moms fell asleep (no, I wasn't one of them...I was too busy spying on my kids!). None of the kids liked the movie. I actually thought it was better than I'd expected, but I wouldn't pay to go see it again. I also think it would have been very scary for little children.

The best thing for me about the movie was the computer animation and the coloring/art of the film. Once you get used to her, the Corpse Bride is strangely beautiful, and you do find yourself growing fond of her by the end. That said, save your money and rent this one on DVD if you must unless you're a huge fan of Tim Burton.

Here's an interesting article I found on some of the lessons learned from Corpse Bride, written from a Christian perspective. I'm planning to share this with the boys and see what they think - maybe next time we'll go bowling instead!

Thought for the Day

From my e mailbox:

If you have made mistakes, even serious mistakes, you may have a fresh start any moment you choose, for this thing we call "failure" is not the falling down, but the staying down.
-Mary Pickford

What is the psychological thing about Monday that always makes it feel like such a gift, a fresh start? Are you like that? All the little trials and failures and shortcomings of last week are in the past and this week is a fresh start. It's a chance to redeem myself of the areas where I felt I didn't quite measure up or do my best. On Monday, it feels easier to "get up" after falling down - by Friday, I seriously contemplate the thought of staying down.

Here's to the hope of a beautiful Monday morning!

Friday, October 07, 2005

A Feast for Our Lady

Today's Feast - Our Lady of the Rosary. When you pray today, I ask you to remember a very special priest who loves the rosary with his whole heart and soul - for his health and well being - and for peace in our world.

I'm driving the eighth graders on a field trip today...maybe I should ask you to say a prayer for me too!!

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Help me out here...

I need help from the many moms (and dads, grandmas, etc...) wiser than myself who read these pages. Please take a look at the comments on this post and chime in if you can add any words of encouragement for this mom. The best mom I know raised five kids, so I'd love her words of wisdom on the topic. I wish I could come up with a way to have three more quickly...

So Sorry!

My apologies to any and all compulsive computer mah jongg players (you know who you are!). I did not mean to belittle your sharp eye and lightning quick clicking abilities. Maybe I should practice might help me deal with the daily onslaught of spam in a more efficient manner. Love to my favorite mah jongg junkie!

Mah Jongg

Twice a month, I gather with a group of friends to play Mah Jongg - no, not that dopey computer version where you click on pairs - the REAL, ancient game of Mah Jongg complete with chinese tiles, poker faces and lots of trash talking.

This particular group of friends is great for my cultural diversity, as I am the only non-Jewish lady in the group. We've been together for going on three years now and it's one of my favorite selfish pleasures. The game is truly difficult and fascinating, which keeps things interesting. I used to belong to a bunco group, but eventually dropped out because I thought the game was really dumb. (Sorry to all of you high stakes bunco players out there!). Unlike all the lack of skill necessary to succeed in bunco, mah jongg has serious strategy involved. The group of girls I play with are shrewd, competitive and very smart (I must be the "affirmative action, token Catholic chick" member!).

So every other week, I get a good catching up on news at the temple, recipes for things I can't pronounce, and what's happening in their church calendar. This is the season for high holy days, so it's a very special time in their homes and in their faith community. It's really such a wonderful education for me to learn firsthand all of the traditions and celebrations that are at the root of our own Church's history. I love gathering with these friends for the game, the support of good friends, and the many things I learn along the way. I'm always peppering them with questions - they are good natured and wonderful about explaining things to me.

There are a few groups of women at the Fresno Temple who have gathered for years to play this game, laugh, gamble and support one another through love and friendship - I can only hope that when we're old and gray (that is, even more gray than I am now), we'll still be gathering bi-monthly to talk trash over the tiles!

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

One of the top ten signs that you're a bad housekeeper...

In a cleaning frenzy, you whip the George Foreman grill from the counter to the sink to clean the residue of last night's chicken dinner...

you forget about the little thing that catches all the grease and gross stuff and it falls all over the kitchen floor...

you grab the closest dish rag, get it wet, and get down on your hands and kness to clean it up, forgetting that you're wearing white jeans...

you kneel in a huge pile of chicken gunk...

you forget you're not wearing your glasses while you're cleaning and you think you've got it all cleaned up...

you go to change pants...

you return to find the cat furiously licking the kitchen floor...

you make a mental note to mop - later - the whole floor, while wearing your stupid glasses...

Has anyone else had a day like this????

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Isn't it ironic?

As I'm sitting here blogging about using an iPod to help me through my housework, which I hate, my husband is upstairs running the vacuum cleaner. How lovely is that?!

iPod Momma!

I LOVE my iPod shuffle! I think it's one of the greatest inventions since the dishwasher and the laptop! Now as I do housework, I can listen to Vatican Radio and prepare for Sunday's Gospel. As I walk on the treadmill, I can tune in to Catholic Exchange's new "Rock Solid" with Mark Shea. While I'm washing dishes, I can rock out to my favorite Catholic musicians or listen to the Chronicles of Narnia read aloud.

I think every Catholic Mom needs an MP3 player, whether or not it's an iPod. To that end, I'll be sharing with you great news about the growing phenomenon of Podcasting and its place in evangelization and my own personal spirituality. Do you have a favorite Catholic podcast? Email me at lisa@catholicmom with you suggestions. Watch this space for upcoming reports on great Catholic Podcasts. In the mean time, if you don't yet own an iPod and want to support with your purchase, you can do so by buying your iPod through my Apple Store. I earn a small commission on your purchase, and you'll love your new toy! I know this is a shameless plug, but if you're buying one anyway...

iPod Store

Sunday, October 02, 2005

October Fiction Book Club Selection

A special thanks to Ellen Gable, author of Emily's Hope for sharing the following letter to our readers. Click here to read my Book Spotlight Author Interview with Ellen Gable.

Hello Catholic Mom readers,

My name is Ellen Gable and I am the author of Emily’s Hope. I am both pleased and honored that my book has been chosen for October’s fiction selection of the month for Catholic Mom. A three-year endeavor, this book was written mostly at night so that I could preserve my vocation as homeschooling mom to our three youngest boys. Writing the novel was an emotionally draining experience, but also spiritually enriching. I not only learned to appreciate and love the Catholic faith even more, I grew in relationship to God and in my appreciation and love of my wonderful husband of 23 years, James Hrkach.

James and I have five sons: Josh (18), Ben (16), Tim (13), Adam (9), Paul (6) and six babies in heaven. I love being a mom and I am very grateful to God for allowing me to experience motherhood from the time of being newly pregnant to watching one of my son’s becoming an official ‘adult.’

Although I have written my novel as fiction, Emily’s Hope is very much an autobiography and the fictionalized biography of my great-grandmother.

It is the story of a young woman’s journey from high school to middle age, through dating, engagement, marriage and children. Emily, who is a cradle, cafeteria Catholic, initially learns most of her morals from television but finds more substance in her life as the story progresses.

An alternating series of chapters tells the parallel story of Emily’s great-grandmother, Katharine, whose struggle with sexuality and relationship occur at a time when dresses were long, sex was not talked about openly and birth control was not readily assessable. The climax of the story finds Emily discovering that she and her great-grandmother have connections far beyond blood ties, connections which have deep and resounding spiritual effects.

I wrote Emily’s Hope, not just to share my story and my great-grandmother’s story, but to offer the truth of the Catholic Church’s teachings to all those who read it. I wrote it for those who may benefit from re-affirmation of the Church’s beautiful teachings and for those who have never been introduced to those teachings. I realize that not everyone will agree with the pro-life, pro-NFP, pro-chastity message the book presents, but I also consider it a blessing if some read it and simply enjoy the story.

It is my hope that high school religion teachers will find my book useful in introducing and explaining more fully the Church’s teachings regarding sexuality. I am currently working on a youth study guide for use with the book, which will soon be available via download from our website at

As well, it is my sincere hope that faithful Catholics will use the book to introduce the Church’s beautiful teachings to their family and friends who are “cafeteria” Catholics like Emily or perhaps fallen away Catholics and non-Catholics, those who would not otherwise be open to hearing these teachings.

My thanks to Lisa from Catholic Mom! Ellen Gable

Awesome Reading

Nothing like a great second reading at Mass to put your heart at rest and put things in perspective a bit:

Brothers and sisters:
Have no anxiety at all, but in everything,
by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving,
make your requests known to God.
Then the peace of God that surpasses all understanding
will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.

Finally, brothers and sisters,
whatever is true, whatever is honorable,
whatever is just, whatever is pure,
whatever is lovely, whatever is gracious,
if there is any excellence
and if there is anything worthy of praise,
think about these things.
Keep on doing what you have learned and received
and heard and seen in me.
Then the God of peace will be with you. Phil 4:6-9

Unsportsmanlike Conduct

Oh, for the days of kindergarten soccer, when we used to pray before games and run through "tunnels" afterwards, share snack, and not keep score.

I love football, but sometimes I hate football fans! Last night, we drove #1 son into a lovely nearby mountain community for an away football game. We dropped him off early and then went to have dinner with Adam at a hole-in-the-wall Mexican place (aren't those always the best ones?). The evening was going swimmingly until we showed up to watch the game.

My son plays on the "senior" team, so we arrived in the middle of the game before his. At that game, we were treated to a display of nasty sideline behavior that was so bad that the refs actually called a "sideline warning". Before you start thinking that this was an overzealous dad, guess what - it was a MOM!!! (No, not me...).

Things just got worse from there. The crowd on our side of the field felt they our team was being subjected to bad officiating, and they let the team of referrees know their feelings - loudly and crudely. It got so bad that I actually took Adam and moved to the end of the opposing team's sideline in the fourth quarter.

We lost the game in double overtime, thanks to a called back touchdown and some additional questionable calls, but by that point, the local sherrifs had actually been called to escort the officials from the field and remove one particularly nasty fan (no, not the MOM!).

At this point, I'm questioning my responsiblities as a parent. At the very least, I feel like calling our league president to discuss the reprehensible behavior of our fans. When did it become acceptable to stand and yell obscenities and have people laugh and think it's funny? Sorry for the rant here, but I'm "all shook up"! Maybe I should encourage #1 son to go back to the spelling bee team...spectators aren't allowed to talk during spelling bees!

Saturday, October 01, 2005

Why Feel Inferior??

This little pearl of wisdom landed in my e mailbox this morning and has me thinking:

Inspirational Thought of the Day

No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.
-Eleanor Roosevelt

I've been thinking to myself, "Do I feel inferior?" - Believe me, there have definitely been times when I've felt inferior, but somehow in the last few years those thoughts haven't played much of a role in my head.

Like everyone else, there are many things about myself that I'd like to change - bad habits, things I'd like to do better, stuff I'd love to learn - but I can't say that I've dwelt lately on feeling inferior. The last major inferiority complex I can remember followed my decision to become a "stay at home mom" (how many of those actually stay at home???), giving up a successful and lucrative career. That feeling of inferiority had something at its root: my job had become my identity and without that job, I wasn't sure what my true identity really was. Now, fourteen years lately, I still wonder that at times, but I'm not ever plagued that I made the wrong decision for my family. Any inferiority I might have felt in social situations was completely of my own making. And let me say that this is not a comment on the whole working vs. not-working thing - two of the world's best moms are my sisters, both of whom balance their vocation as mother and their careers ultra-successfully!

I've also had times of feeling physically inferior, perhaps due to weight issues or a lack of "style" - but maybe one of the blessings of being a forty-something is that a lot of that now feels unimportant.

I really think Eleanor was right on the whole inferiority thing...for me, my "goals" remain but I know that, as trite as it may sound, God made me just the way I am (big feet and all!) for His purpose. It's my job to ascertain that purpose and to make the most of each day, and dwelling on my shortcomings detracts from time better spent driving my boys, feeding my boys and doing all the other stuff that so totally fills each day. Sorry for the boring monologue, but I think I've worked this one out in my mind!