Thursday, December 22, 2005

Merry Christmas!

I will be taking the next several days to celebrate this wonderful time with my family, and will not be blogging again until the new year. I wish each of you the love of our Savior and a very special time with family and friends. See you in 2006!

Monday, December 19, 2005

What to get for the Pastor who has everything....

If you're pondering an appropriate Christmas gift for your family priest, you may want to read my interview with Fr. Stephen J. Rossetti, who offers a great insight on what our priests really want for Christmas. Click here to read the interview!

Prepare to Be Inspired

One of my favorite things about is that it affords me the opportunity to meet really cool women. While all of the media outlets have been busy with "best of 2005" stuff, I've been preparing my own mental list of all of the really awesome people I've "met" this year. I am truly blessed by each of them, and have learned so much this year!

One of my new cyber friends is the talented Catholic artist and mom of six Melissa Dayton. Please take a few minutes today to read my interview with Melissa (click here) and also treat yourself to a visit to her web site at

Melissa has generously offered a discount for readers: For 20% discount on all unframed prints, use coupon code: 252704

Melissa has a beautiful spirit and an incredible talent. I know you will love her work too!

I know we're all busy this week, so I'll be keeping you in my prayers and hoping you'll do the same for me!

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Must, Must Read...

The lawyer(s?) who reads this blog on her lunch hour is going to have to take five extra minutes today to read the latest column on from Pat Gohn. Three words of advice:

Have Kleenex Ready

Click here to read Pat's latest work of art!

Taking Off the Headphones

My gym buddy stood me up this morning, which was probably one of the best things she could have done for me today.

You see, we have this longstanding agreement that it's ok not to show up. We tell each other we'll be there, no matter what, so that the other workout partner feels compelled to go. If my workout buddy isn't there, I know it's because something important came up (like a sick kid or a hubby just home from a hunting trip) - no phone call is necessary. I say a prayer for her, and go along with my workout.

Most days, my precious, wonderful iPod is in my purse and I tune in and catch up on podcasts. But this morning, alas, it was still hooked up to my computer...

Plan B - read...oops, forgot the reading glasses! Strike two...

OK, this is the perfect time for the Rosary! But midway through, I became somewhat distracted by the sounds of a variety of conversations around me.

The first was of a woman telling her friend about the arrival home last Wednesday of her husband, who has been serving in Iraq for the past fifteen months! I felt like running over and hugging her, and thanking her for their sacrifice. Recalling the state of my personal hygiene, I refrained and offered a silent prayer of thanksgiving for his brave service and for all of our troops separated from families at Christmas.

When she yielded her treadmill, my attention turned to a heated discussion between two men behind me related to last night's execution of Stanley "Tookie" Williams. Each offered biblical references for his opposing opinion on the death penalty, while CNN silently played the details of the situation in the background. With a heavy heart, I offered a prayer for the repose of the soul of this man, for the victims of the murder, and for their families.

Life, and all of its trials and triumphs, is what's going on around me when I'm tuned into my own little world and its workings. There are so many in our world who need prayers and support that sometimes it can feel overwhelming.

I've been praying lately for a heart open to hearing Christ's invitation to serve others - I'm pretty sure I heard some knocking at my heart's door this morning on the treadmill...

And Speaking of Inspirational...

Great news that just in time for Christmas, one of my favorite books of this year is now available at Amazon for the book lover on your list...or yourself!

Click here to read my interview with Cami and you'll see why I loved this book so much!

Worth Your Precious Pre-Christmas Time

Hot off the press is my review of Hannah's Hope by Karen Kingsbury. I loved the book and would definitely recommend it as an inspiring way to spend a few hours during the hectic holiday season. Nothing like a great, inspiring story to help you feel wonderful about the true meaning of Christmas. Click here to read my review and I'd love your recommendations for other inspiring Christmas stories.

Watching Adam Shine

It's a wonderful thing when your child finds an activity he really LOVES doing! I find myself thrilled whenever I watch Adam don his fencing gear and take to the floor.

So great has been his enthusiasm that he's been taking advantage of the three beginning lessons offered weekly at our fencing center. This is my "non-sporty" kid, volunteering to be put through the thrice weekly rigors of stretching, jogging, "suicides", lunging and footwork drills for sixty plus minutes per lesson for the reward of half an hour of going crazy with that foil!

Whether he knows it or not, he's getting quite a bit of exercise. He's learned to jump rope, to "karaoke" (the step, not the singing), to stretch appropriately and to push himself even when he's very tired. But the best thing is, he's having a blast - and mom is too! Fencing is much less painful to watch than football - there aren't any coaches yelling profanities at my child while he hurls himself headlong at another player. It's warm and toasty in the fencing center, and they even have DSL (although I usually knit).

Adam's main partner is a sophomore in high school, and Adam's only 11, so he's learning the value of playing with someone who's better than's tough to lose most bouts, but he knows he's improving and learning when he goes against one of the younger boys and wins.

For now, I'm enjoying this new found love of Adam's, simply because I love HIM so much and it's incredible to watch him have so much fun. Who knows how long the enthusiasm will last, but for now, it's pure joy!

Monday, December 12, 2005

Rejoice - Check!

I have a long list this week - I'll bet you do too! This is "beat the clock" week. If we want things done by Christmas (i.e. cards sent on time, presents delivered across country, halls decked in boughs of holly), then this is crunch time.

But there's something special at the top of my list this week, and I put it there after I saw Father Blessing emerge in Bright Rose vestments at Mass yesterday: REJOICE!

Yesterday, Gaudete Sunday, we lit the third, rose colored candle on our Advent wreath. If you're like me, you didn't unearth the Advent wreath until midway through the week of the second Advent candle...a dreadful thing for a Catholic Mom to admit! But I told myself then, and I'm repeating it's not to late to make this the best Advent ever.

It's not too late to spend a few moments each day preparing my heart for Jesus. It's not too late to savor this season with my children, engaging in simple traditions they'll remember. It's not too late to look around me for Christ's invitation to reach out to others - the hungry, the poor, the lonely, those in need. It's not too late to ask what I can do to help make their lives better, and then to actually do it.

There's plenty of time this week to rejoice, to feel special gladness at the nearing celebration of the birth of baby Jesus. The rejoicing may not even be recognizable to others, but I'll know it in my heart:

When I take time to watch Adam for the 1000th time when he says, "Come watch this Mom!", I'll be rejoicing...

When I hug Eric and watch him tromp off to a day of life as a teenager...

When I smile at the saleserson who's been serving the unending line in front of me...

When I'm at work and a co-worker needs my ear or a shoulder to cry on...

There will be countless chances all week to turn ordinary moments into great moments of joy and to remember to thank God for the many blessings He's poured out so richly in my life, primarily the gift of my salvation through His Son, Jesus.


1 Thes 5:16-24
Brothers and sisters:
Rejoice always. Pray without ceasing.
In all circumstances give thanks,
for this is the will of God for you in Christ Jesus.
Do not quench the Spirit.
Do not despise prophetic utterances.
Test everything; retain what is good.
Refrain from every kind of evil.

May the God of peace make you perfectly holy
and may you entirely, spirit, soul, and body,
be preserved blameless for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.
The one who calls you is faithful,
and he will also accomplish it.

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Christmas Card Bloopers

I believe that there are many reasons that Moms should get a reduced sentence in Purgatory for "good behavior" and that one of the biggest arguments for this is the fact that we have to spend time each year orchestrating, producing and mailing the annual Christmas card photo.

Each year, when I line my children up for the annual holiday photo shoot, I give a silent prayer of thanksgiving for my own beloved mother, who managed to dress and pose five children for Christmas pictures in age prior to the invention of the digital camera. I heartily apologize to her for any times that I talked, goofed around, looked to the side, or made my siblings squirm. I'm sorry for that year when the best picture had my head cut off and a red bouncy ball in Patrick's mouth...I'm sure you needed a glass of wine after that one!

I only have two children, and both speak and understand English, so how can it be so hard to get both of them to quietly stand, smile and look at the camera at the same time?! I swear that it would be easier to pose the oet hamster for the Christmas card than to get a good shot of both of my boys simultaneously!

Do you have this problem at your house, or are your children like my precious nephews Justin and Patrick, who without argument don adorable complimentary Santa suits and sit with perfect smiles in front of the Christmas tree?

Well, the card is done and far from perfect, but I guess that's ok. It's the way life is these days...we do the best we can and we love one another for our imperfectness. My friends who only catch up with us through our annual holiday card will understand - perhaps they've experienced "Christmas Card Photo Angst" in their own homes.

For those on my Christmas Card list, stay tuned for this year's card which did manage to capture both children looking at the camera (well, kind of...) and smiling. Thank goodness for digital photography!

Thursday, December 08, 2005

'Tis the Season

I love my husband! As we draw close to twenty years of marriage, he feels like an extension of the me I can always remember knowing. I've known him and been married to him for almost half my life, and it's been a great half.

Part of that intimacy is taking great joy in the little "traditions" of our marriage...feeling the safety and security of his constancy in my life.

There are many aspects of this wonderful person that I could share, but this being the Christmas season brings one major one to mind: he LOVES Christmas lights. I think in a past life he was a Las Vegas architect.

At this time of the year, Greg spends several days implementing his lighting scheme for Christmas.

A simple strand of white lights along the roofline has never been sufficient. Greg's lighting concepts are akin to those of that crazy guy played by Chevy Chase in the Christmas Vacation movie. Hedges, trees, and columns find themselves draped in varying colors of lights. The boys' "fort" glows like an alien mother-ship in the backyard. My banana trees get special treatment, and the light they throw off gleams in the reflection of the pool. This year, he's even decorated Arnold, my 1974 volkswagen van!

We live on a street where no one else decorates for Christmas, so our lighting excess cries out to the neighborhood the minute you turn onto our street. It used to embarrass me (a bit like having a child with a stick playfighting in your front driveway), but I've learned to accept and now even to love the lighting overdose.

I'll likely have my little hissy fit in January when the electricity bill arrives, but for now, I smile and think of how much I love my husband every time I turn the corner of the street. Who cares what the neighbors think...the people who live at my house think we live with the world's best guy!

Friday, December 02, 2005

Hello, my name is Lisa and I'm a yarnaholic...

Is there a 12 step program for crazy women addicted to buying yarn? If so, will someone please send me the link, as I think I need to join.

Here's the situation:

Luckily, I am not a big shopper - it takes too much time I'd rather spend doing other things. But every once in a while, I find myself out, like today, in one of those "big box" stores.

Today's mid-day errand was to a fabric store, to purchase yardage to sew some sort of table cloth to cover our pool table and make it look a little better for the hospital holiday party we're hosting next week at our house.

Sounds simple right? Have you been fabric shopping lately? There are too many great choices! And the person who's job it is to cut the yarn is always some sweet, slightly older lady who feels compelled to have a full conversation, complete with advice, on the project each shopper is undertaking.

All I plan to do is buy the fabric and spread it over the table. There may be some masking tape involved if the edges need to be folded over to avoid unsightly scraggly threads hanging down. I do not need the advise of the precious yardage-cutting lady. Martha Stewart would be appalled!

The line is interminable. I whip my way through one decade of the Rosary, praying for the poor souls in purgatory and the poor souls in line.

I say the second decade, praying for patience, and then notice bright "sale" signs in the nearby yarn department.

Two Hail Marys into the third decade, I decide that I'll just check to see what's on sale...despite the fact that it will take me at least a year to knit all the projects I've got already lined up.

You guessed it...I leave the line, and prayers unfinished, head over "just to look".

And by the time I finished in the yarn section, the sweet yardage-cutting granny was ready and waiting for me! Good time management, right?!

So now I have two tablecloths to sew (granny talked me into buying some really cute edging stuff to put along the hems), and yet another knitting project!

Yarnaholics Anonymous, here I come!

If I were a rich mom....

I'd spend the $45,000, plus lots more, to get my hands on this Ebay Auction bonanza -

If there are any wealthy Catholic investors out there who want to buy this special collection and help the Sisters, you can leave the item at my house for safekeeping if you'd like. I promise to love and cherish them...

In the mean time, if you have Holy Cards that need a home, you can send them my way too!

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Things that made me smile today...

Happy December 1...a great day to dwell on the bright side of life and the joy that will fill our next few weeks. I've decided to take this positive approach rather than stressing myself out about all that remains to be done before Jesus' birthday.

Here are a few things that made me smile inside and out today:

Sleeping in 15 minutes

Waking up and finding a wonderful, complimentary email in my inbox (yep, gotta love that positive reinforcement)

Winning a hand at Mah Jongg!

Spending twenty minutes, all by myself, at Barnes and Noble looking at the Clearance Rack and finding this for 60% off:

Depositing my (miniscule) paycheck for working at Church

Getting back into my car, where I'd left a full cup of coffee, and being greeted by the astounding aroma of Starbucks!

Having my boys home, right after school, with no practices

Talking with my sister on the phone and hearing my nephew babble in the background

Two comments from my Daddy on my blog!

Taking a walk in the pouring rain to the grocery store to buy brownie mix for the kid who has to take 2 dozen to school tomorrow and stomping in puddles all the way - hooray for rain boots!

Putting on my pajamas at 5:30 pm

Who knows what the rest of the evening holds, but could it get any better? Happiness is finding joy in these tiny little details of life that fill my days. Thank you God!

WWND? What would Nana Do?

The lone red binder sits atop the kitchen table, its contents revealing last night's homework, painstakingly completed prior to the fencing lesson.

Do you bail child number two out of his late assignment penalty by driving back to school and walking the binder to class? The assignment will probably still be counted late, but he won't spend the morning fretting about what he did with his binder...

Or do you go about your business, leaving him to fret and thereby teaching him a life lesson about being responsible for packing everything in your backpack prior to heading out to the driveway to swashbuckle?

What would your choice be? What would the world's best mom, now known as Nana, have done?

I know what I'll be where did I put my car keys???