Monday, December 25, 2006

Merry Christmas!

My Christmas present arrived early this year. As a matter of fact, it was delivered to me right in the middle of Communion at Mass on the Fourth Sunday of Advent.

In the Hendey family, as in my family of origin, our tradition is to open our Christmas gifts on Christmas Eve. So, some of you may argue that my present was right on time, but Adam and I would argue the point with you. Adam asked yesterday morning to have a friend over after our 9:30 am Mass. I told him no, pointing out that Christmas Eve is a family day and that his friend's family likely had plans for the day.

"Mom, it's not Christmas Eve yet," Adam debated. "It's the fourth Sunday of Advent. It's not Christmas Eve until we go back to Mass at 4:00." Score one for my son's knowledge of the liturgical calendar and for his potential future career as a lawyer.

So back to my present...

This year, Greg and I made one of those "no present" pacts. These are, indeed, my favorite types of Christmas celebrations. We both have everything we need, and then some. So I knew that my name was not on many of the gifts around my tree. My biggest prayer as Advent was winding down and as we stood on the doorstep of Christmas was for the gift of peace. Peace in our world, peace in my family and my parish, peace in our Church, and peace of mind. I wanted a Christmas free of hustle and bustle, free of lists, and free of stress. As I approached the altar to receive communion on the Fourth Sunday of Advent (yes, yesterday morning!) this was my Christmas dream.

Santa delivered early.

I looked up at the altar and watched my son and husband prepare to receive the Eucharist. For those of you who don't know already, let me explain that my husband is a convert to Catholicism. He joined the Church a little over three years ago. For the past several months, he and Eric have joined the music ministry at our parish, playing guitar together for our 9:30 mass. Watching the two of them together at the Eucharistic table filled my heart with joy. They have transitioned faith into weekly service and have become part of the heart of our parish. People stop me all the time to compliment their music and the joy they bring to our liturgy. My joy in watching them play together, receive Jesus together and bring others closer to God, redoubles weekly. It's a gift that never gets old, but rather gets even more precious to me each week.

Nestled next to me in the Communion line was Adam, who had just returned from his "duty" of junior teacher at the Children's liturgy of the word. He, too, is a role model of service for me. Each week, he arrives at mass early to vacuum and prepare the room used for Children's liturgy. He shepherds the younger children to and from their liturgy of the word. He frequently has a more complete comprehension of the Sunday readings than anyone else in our family. Adam feels his part in our parish's Body of Christ - he can't miss...they need him!

As we walked towards the altar, our good friend Christopher began playing the strains of Ave Maria on his French horn. Chris is a music major, home from college and back playing at mass. I could hear the progress a semester of intense classes had made on his playing. His tone was even more sweet than ever as the sound of his horn filled the parish, lifting our hearts to Our Lady.

Kneeling after Communion, my heart filled with prayers for my parish friends and family as they walked past me on the way to receive our Lord. For years, my wish was to feel a part of my parish - not just someone in attendance on Sunday. Growing up, Church was a second home to our family - I wanted this same sense for my own little tribe.

They passed by me, members of my parish family, each a special blessing. Those I see weekly but have never met personally. Those I have lifted in prayer and petition. The young widow with four sons. The high school senior I'm praying will get into Notre Dame. The mom with six kids who never miss Mass even though Dad doesn't come. The man with dementia who shakes each person's hand on his way back from communion. Our school friends. The Sisters who work with me in the parish office. The good friend who instructed Greg during his RCIA journey and his sponsor. The ones I know, and the ones I don't...

They all brought me my Christmas gift - that peace for which I'd been praying. Sadly, my prayers for peace in our world will continue to be lifted for Our Lady's intercession. But in my own little corner of the world, in my parish, my family and my heart, peace was hand delivered by my community. "To do" lists may continue to beckon and my goals may continue to exceed my capabilities, but I am blessed beyond measure.

My prayer for those of you who may pass by this place in the next week is that you find it in your own hearts - that Christmas peace which at times feels so elusive. I will be away from my computer for the next week, vacationing with my boys and taking a small break from technology. I thank each of you for all you have given and shared with me in the past year. I thank the writers who contribute their hearts and souls to make all that it is. I thank those who visit and those who pray for me. I thank my faith community, who continue to inspire me to try to be a better person. I thank my family for putting up with a mom who'd rather type and program than cook and clean. And I thank God, for His many blessings and for the gift of peace. Merry Christmas everyone!

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Holiday Blues?

Most of us are scurrying around doing our last minute preparations for this weekend, but I know that there are many who suffer from depression and sadness during the holiday season. If you or someone you know suffers depression, you may want to visit the new blog by Therese Borchard "Beyond Blue" over at Beliefnet. Therese is an incredible writer and a very strong woman. I always enjoy her work.

Monday, December 18, 2006


You know that bad dream, the recurring one, where you wake up and you're late for your final? You've overslept and you're running through the halls of your school, looking for the classroom. You can't find it, because you've missed almost every class of the semester. You arrive finally to find the class handing in their're in big trouble!!!

I had that dream last night. I was the star, but it wasn't my final for which I was late - it was Eric's Biology final. In the dream, he was sick and I had to go take his final for him - the problem is that I've never taken Biology!!!

How much of a neurotic nutcase mom are you when you start having nightmares about your children's finals???!!!!

Today marks a rite of passage for Eric - his first high school finals. He has an easy schedule today: start school at 9, take two tests (Bio and PE - I can't believe there's a PE final) and be done by 12:15. He was actually pretty relaxed and prepared this morning on the way to school. Adam, on the other hand, was lamenting the injustice of Eric only having three half days of school this week when he has to endure a regular schedule through Thursday. I reminded him that while he was busy eating too many candy canes and doing "secret Santa" swaps his brother would be off studying for and enduring several hours of testing.

Quite honestly, I think I was way more nervous than Eric this morning. Perhaps that's because he's a much better student than I was in high school. He spent three hours with a friend this weekend, tutoring her for the English final. It was a joy to overhear their indepth discussion about the literature they'd read this semester. Eric is not only succeeding in high school - he is actually enjoying the process of learning, which is a thrill for his Mom.

Our morning prayer today was for Eric and all of the other students like him who face academic challenges this week - for their peace of mind, for the ability to give their best, and for bright futures. I know he'll do great, but tonight I'll probably be dreaming about that pesky Geometry test tomorrow!

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Catholic Networking

I finally got around to signing up over at Catholic Outpost, a new Social Networking site for Catholics. I've formed a group and signed up with Chuck Stevens and Sharmane Adams, since I'm one of their groupies! I'm still learning the ins and outs of it, but it doesn't seem to be too complicated. If you have a group there, let me know!

Peppermint Brownies?

I've just posted a few new great articles over at - one of them, "Santa's Peppermint Brownies" sounds particularly decadent! Thankfully, I also just posted two new Fitness Focus articles including "Six Week Holiday Survival Plan: Stay Fit and Stress Free".

Those two articles should counter-balance each other right? I'm pretty sure eating those brownies will help me stay stress free! Seriously though, I'm not a huge baker and I am going to try to schedule a bit of extra time this week for a long walk - with all of those "to do" items on the list, my workout is frequently neglected at this time of the year. I know it's a big part of my strategy for staying sane when things get too crazy, so I personally would rather go to the gym than bake those brownies.

But for those of you who LOVE to bake, feel free to send your spare Santa's Peppermint Brownies to my PO Box!

Take a Mini Advent Retreat

My cyber buddy, Catholic musician Chuck Stevens, wrote me this week to announce that he has entered the world of podcasting! This is great news for all of us who love both Catholic content and wonderful Catholic music, as Chuck's podcast contains both. Click here to download Chuck's premier podcast

Chuck's CD, Bethlehem Morn, is one of my Advent favorites. I recently reviewed it for Grapevine Magazine and have been listening to it a lot during the past few weeks to prepare my heart for Christmas. When you listen to Chuck's podcast, you will be struck by the soothing quality of his voice. I think he's a podcasting natural! Great job Chuck! When can I subscribe at iTunes?!

'Tis the Season

I know it seems like every time we turn around this month, we're being asked to donate to someone's "Annual Fund" or emergency appeal. I wish I had unlimited funds to donate to all of the worthy causes that come asking. So many of them do such wonderful work! I frequently have good intentions, but sometimes just don't "get around to it".

I've been intending for over a month to donate to the Rosary Army Fund Drive and I finally found time today to head over to Paypal and make my little donation. I know it's not much, but I do believe that every little bit can help - I know this from my own experience with When I receive a donation, regardless of the amount, I rejoice because that money goes back into helping my site to sustain and grow. Greg and Jennifer at the Rosary Army do wonderful work - both through their Rosary Making apostolate, and their wonderful Rosary Army podcast. I can't tell you how many loads of laundry they've helped me get through as I listen to their twice a week show. They are seeking funds to continue their work and for Greg to be able to devote full time to running Rosary Army and focusing on other SQPN efforts. I listen to SQPN shows frequently and have intended since November to make my donation - better late than never I guess!

Is there an organization you want to support this year? Before the year ends, in fact right now, grab your checkbook or paypal account and spring into action. The dollar amount doesn't matter as much as showing support and care for worthwhile organizations.


Do you know about Michelle, our new "freebies" columnist? She's been sending over freebies for the whole family, including free books and services and more. Click here to check out her latest finds. Thanks Michelle!

True Boy???

Can you help with the following reader query? If so, post a comment or drop me an email!

Dear Lisa:
I have just ordered a subscription to True Girl, a new magazine for Catholic teenage girls, for our daughter. I would like to order a similar Catholic magazine for our 18 year old son. Does Catholic Mom have any suggestions?

New AR Books

If your child uses the Accelerated Reader (AR) program at school, you'll be happy to know that several of author Max Elliot Anderson's books are now available for AR tests. Click here to read my interview with Max.

Max's books are great for reluctant readers, as you can't help but get pulled into the plot lines and characters. Check out Max's site for the new AR titles.

Free Christmas Music

Catholic musician Rafael Brom wrote me a lovely Christmas message this week, offering free downloads of his Christmas Carol mp3 files. Eric and I especially liked the xylophone effect on "O Holy Night", my favorite Christmas carol.

If you're looking for some music to enjoy online while you're getting in the Christmas spirit, check out Rafael's website.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Christmas CD Review

New out and just in time for Christmas is the debut CD Come to the Light by JoAnn Crichlow. Born and raised on the islands of Trinidad and Tobago, JoAnn currently lives in Canada and is the mother of five. Come to the Light goes beyond just being a wonderful Christmas CD – it is also destined to call attention to important social justice issues in today’s world.

Come to the Light opens with a djembe solo entitled “Following the Star” performed by JoAnn’s son Johnathan Crichlow. The entrancing drum beat is the first hint that this is not your typical Christmas CD. “My Ghosts of Christmas,” a fictionalized narrative by JoAnn Crichlow, is performed to lovely piano music by Anne Hurley. The story evokes the feelings of a young immigrant woman during the holiday season.

One of my favorite tunes on this disk is “The Virgin Mary Had a Baby Boy”. This traditional West Indian Carol, performed by Johnathan Crichlow and Armando Prinn filled my heart with Christmas joy from the first listening. Another wonderful musical interpretation of a standard carol is JoAnn Crichlow’s version of “Mary’s Little Boy Child”.

“For the Love of God” is a story devoted to Crichlow’s father-in-law and looks at the customs surrounding holiday giving in Trinidad and Tobago. It reinforces the true nature of how we should celebrate the birth of the baby Jesus. The “Trinity Children’s Song” calls each of us to seek Christ’s light during the holiday season.

If you’re looking for a refreshing departure from the old Christmas standards this season, you’ll definitely want to share “Come to the Light” by JoAnn Crichlow with your family. With a few classic favorites and some wonderful new tunes, this CD will have you singing along and dreaming of a sunny Christmas. For more information or to order this CD visit JoAnn Crichlow’s web site at

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Holiday Entertaining

Last night, we opened our home for Greg's annual Emergency Department Christmas party. We've hosted this event multiple times, and I'm always grateful for the opportunity. Those days of fierce cleaning and decorating pay off when I see our home filled with the ED Residents, doctors and their families. I can remember clearly the days when I was married to a young resident, living in a tight apartment with a young baby. A night out on the town with someone else preparing dinner was a real treat. The event also reminds me to count my many blessings - we have come so far and are so richly blessed with abundance in our lives. It's truly a treat to welcome and visit with such compassionate and talented doctors every year. Today, I'm sleepy and trying desperately to get caught up on work that's been put off the past few days, but the party has me in the holiday spirit.

Do you entertain during the Christmas season? I need to remind myself to invite friends over more frequently. It's always such a treat.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Recital Report

Every once in a while, every grown up should be forced to do something that makes you so nervous that your heart pounds, your palms sweat and your fingers tremble.

It's just not a great idea to play a violin in that condition...

Seriously, the recital was very fun. Thank goodness for my accompanist Eric, whose stellar guitar playing covered my mistakes well enough to make my "performance" better than I would have been solo. I was the only one to have accompaniment, thanks to the fact that I have my own posse of musicians at home. Eric and I played "Liberty" and then I performed "Ashokan's Farewell" with my quartet. The quartet performance was a breeze and so fun - definitely easier than standing up there alone.

I need to work on my "stage presence" a bit to lose that jittery feeling. I tried to do the old "Marcia Brady" trick of imagining the audience in their underwear, but alas, I was still very nervous. Maybe next time (if I subject myself to this again), it will be easier. We do have a video that Adam recorded, so if I'm feeling truly self-deprecating perhaps I will post it here later.

At the end of the evening, Patrick (my music teacher) thanked the parents for providing lessons for their children and for encouraging their practice and dedication. I thanked my boys for listening to and bearing with a mom who dreams to learn something really hard even though she's too old and a tad tone deaf. Patrick's closing statement made me pause and think about why I am willing to invest the time and effort into my fiddle lessons:

"We come here to learn about more than just music."

What have you learned this week? I've learned that I frequently ask my children to do things that greatly challenge them, and that I need to remember how tough that is. I've also learned that chasing dreams is worth the effort!

Our Lady of Guadalupe

Today we celebrate the feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe. I was too sleepy to get myself out of bed this morning for 5:00 mananitas at my parish, sadly. We have some resources for today's feast at

Patrice is Touched by Grace

Congrats to our columnist and friend Patrice Fagnant-MacArthur who is today's Touched by Grace columnist over at Catholic

Great job Patrice!

Monday, December 11, 2006

Stage Fright

Why should a 43 year old woman subject herself to standing on a stage, playing a fiddle badly in front of perfect strangers?

If the answer doesn't come to me by 7:00 tonight, I may let nerves get the best of me! Just kidding, I'm actually strangely looking forward to my first Violin Recital tonight. I know I won't be the best, and perhaps I won't be the worst, but I'm hoping to keep it fun. Eric is going to play my solo piece with me on guitar, so that helps tremendously. I know when he gets excited, he tends to play louder than I do...perfect strategy! I am also playing with a quartet of other "grown ups" and we've had fun practicing together the past few months. Last week, we told our teacher we were going to sneak a flask into the recital to sooth our stage fright...I'm pretty sure we were just kidding!

Today, I will be busy updating CM, fiddling, and preparing my home to host Greg's work party tomorrow night. Should be a great day. I will report back on the big performance (if I survive!). If you have a spare prayer around 7:00 pacific time, could you say it for the crazy lady with the violin?!

Sunday, December 10, 2006

They're Amazing

Sometimes you want to hit the "pause" button on life just to savor it's awesomeness - yesterday was one of those days for me. It really was just a normal day, but somehow my boys seemed even more wonderful than usual to me.

It was a big day for Adam - my sixth grader slept in until almost ten, and probably would have kept going if he hadn't been rudely awakened. Mom was the alarm, because Adam had a big test to take. He has been invited to test for a special summer program for talented students, a summer camp of sorts. Eric went three years ago - his brother would like to follow those footsteps, so off he went to take the test. Eric's test three years ago was your typical "fill in the bubble" version, but technology has advanced since then. Adam had to go to our local "Prometrics Center" where tests are given on the computer. My twelve year old marched in, registered himself, and sat down amidst electricians and medical professionals at a bank of computers to take his test. I watched some heads turn as he walked in the room, but he didn't seem to notice. He emerged after the test with a grin on his face, asking for Orange Chicken from Panda Express. He had done his best, given it his all, and was ready to move on. We'll see how things go, but in that moment I was incredibly proud of my son.

Eric, who is now solidly fifteen, spent the day with me. First he voluntarily helped me decorate the Christmas tree. Maybe this is typical for some of you, but for the past few years my sons haven't been too interested in decorating our tree. They've been known to join me for a few moments and then move on to other pursuits. Yesterday, Eric stayed until the very last ornament was placed. He asked about several of the handmade ornaments and laughed with me at our picture ornaments with their baby and preschool photos. Moms of toddlers should know that when a child helps you decorate a tree, you don't get that "Martha Stuart" effect - what you get are clumps of ornaments, especially on the lower portions of the tree. Perhaps not surprisingly, the clumps have moved a little higher up the tree (he's now taller than I am). I appreciate Eric's sharing this moment with me so much that I will likely leave them intact - he's old enough to notice if I start moving things around. Sometimes I wish for the Norman Rockwell type moment with our entire family gathered around the tree, decorating together - but I'll take what I had yesterday...a fifteen year old and his mom, with Led Zepplin and Santana playing in the background.

After decorating, Eric and I went off to the mall, but not to shop. In the car, we started listening to a CD Eric's been pestering me to listen to with him. He has joined me in becoming an avid podcast junkie, and has recently discovered a podcast version of Plato's Republic. I'm pretty sure that if I ever read it, it was only the Cliff Note version, so I told Eric I'd be happy to listen with him. We're midway through Chapter 1, and it's actually a very enjoyable listen. The narrator does an excellent job. As we pulled into the crowded mall parking lot, I reflected to myself that most of the fifteen year olds in that lot were probably listening to hip hop rather than philosophy. I gave my son a squeeze and said a silent "Thank You" to God for the blessing of my children. Eric went off to his mission - two hours of bell ringing for the Salvation Army. His student government friends decided to commit all day Saturday to this project, so Eric spent his afternoon at the kettle. loudly clanging away on his bell. When his shift was over, I took him to the food court for something to eat. "Do you have some money I can borrow Mom?" he asked. I rarely have cash, but I told him he could have the change from the sandwich we'd just bought. We'd passed three SA bell ringers on the way to buy his food. Backtracking to the car, he put an identical amount (down to the penny) in each kettle as we passed them. "It's not the amount of money that matters Mom - I was so grateful any time someone would stop, no matter how much money they donated." I think he learned a big lesson in his two hours with the bell - if each of us does a little to help those around us, the results can be wonderful.

My boys are amazing every day - they are precious gifts from God. It's up to me to stop, notice, and say thank you!

Friday, December 08, 2006

An Answer to Prayer

If you pray about something long enough, sometimes it happens! For several years, I've been pestering the Holy Spirit to get busy sending me a Homeschooling columnist. We have so many homeschool families that visit, and I wanted to do more to meet their needs. Well, apparently the HS, in his own good time, got busy and sent me one of the best: Maureen Wittmann! Maureen is the author of The Catholic Homeschool Companion (Sophia Institute Press) and A Catholic Homeschool Treasury: Nurturing Children's Love for Learning (Ignatius Press) and a homeschooling mother of seven. I'm so happy to be sharing her new column at - even if you don't homeschool, you'll still want to read Maureen's column for inspiration and edification!

Click here to read the first installment of our new Homeschool Companion.

OK, Holy Spirit, now could you please get busy on a Spanish Translator???

Family Stories to Warm the Heart

The holiday season prompts us to stop, recollect and share with our children stories from our own childhood. Each year, as I pull ornaments from boxes and place them on our tree, I recount their origins and special meanings. I love reading stories with my children, and especially those that were read to me in my youth. A hint of a Christmas song on the radio can bring back a flood of memories from my own youth and a tale of life in the 1970’s for my children.

This year, I’ve discovered two special books that capture the importance of family love, commitment and tradition. Both would make a lovely gift for any special child in your life, but will also be a heartwarming treat for the grown-ups who share them with children.

Making Heart Bread (Paulist Press, September 2006, hardcover, 32 pages) by Matthew Linn, Sheila Fabricant Linn and Dennis Linn is not a holiday book. But the themes of love, security and nourishment are very appropriate to this time of the year. In the book, a grandmother and her granddaughter share the experience of making two kinds of bread: tummy bread and heart bread. In making tummy bread, they share together the fun of baking and providing physical nourishment. Grandma then recounts to her grandchild the origins of making “heart bread”, something she learned as a refugee child in war. Without giving away the story, I want to share that “making heart bread” involves sharing with your child a time of quiet prayer and reflection at the end of each day, based on the Ignatian spiritual process called “the examen”. Making heart bread encourages you and your child to look back at the best and most challenging aspects of each day. This wonderful picture book, featuring delightful illustrations by Francisco Miranda, reminds us that a time of daily reflection with our children is both essential and blessed. Making Heart Bread is available at

Christmas Turtles (Purple Sky Publishing, October 2006, hardcover, 32 pages) by Sara Ann Denson is another wonderful story of a grandmother’s love and a special holiday tradition. In the story, with adorable illustrations by Tara McMillen, four young children engage in their annual tradition of enjoying Christmas turtles at Grandma’s house. Many families have these special, food related traditions. At Grandma’s farmhouse each year, the children race to find the turtle treats that they think have been magically prepared by elves. One year, they learn that it has in fact been Grandma who has lovingly prepared the treats, despite the physical pain she must endure to prepare the turtles. A wonderful “Christmas Turtle” recipe is included at the end of the book so that you can start the tradition of making this treat with your children. Christmas Turtles teaches that the best gifts are those given in the spirit of love. Christmas Turtles is available at

Take a few moments this holiday season to share a story with your children. Whether is comes from your memory, or from a picture book, this time together is a special gift to both of you!

Podcast of Readings

This is relatively old news, but in case you missed it, the USCCB now has a new Podcast of the daily readings. I've been a fan of Verbum Domini, so I'm not sure I'll switch to this, but I will definitely check it out when I get iTunes back up and running.

Click here for more information.

Charity Gift Boxes

Catholic Mom Sherry lives up in the Bay Area and is the hostess of a wonderful online Celtic and Nature Advent Calendar to which I've linked for the past few years. She wrote me this week about a wonderful new project she's created to give an emphasis to charitable giving during the holiday season.

Sherry shares:

This year I have added a new feature called Charity Gift Boxes. Eight gifts each symbolically represent a charity. When you click on a gift, you can read a profile of the charity and decide whether to visit that charity’s website to give time or money. I have selected a range of charities to reflect the wide interests of visitors to the website. You can visit Charity Gift Boxes at this link:

Sherry's reminder is very timely - there are many wonderful charities that rely on our giving at this time of the year to provide services to those in need year round. As you're giving gifts this year, contemplate a gift to a charity in the name of a loved one as an alternative to the traditional route - it's the gift that keeps on giving. Thanks, Sherry, for setting a great example!

Catholic Music News

Great news from two of my favorite Catholic recording artists! Treat yourself to a few minutes of music this morning, and support all of our Catholic Musicians.

Karl Kohlhase wrote this week to let me know that he is offering his new Christmas CD, "He is Born" as a free download over at his web site. Karl's talent, and his generosity, are astounding. Download his CD today and share it with your family for a special Advent treat.

In related news, the wonderful Gretchen Harris announces the release of her 6th CD, Sing to the Lord. Gretchen writes: It's full of beautiful songs sung TO God... gorgeous settings of well-known and loved tunes that touch the soul and lift the heart, including "Prayer of St. Francis," "You Are Near," "Shepherd Me, O God," "Breathe," and many more! This album also features three very special duets, with Matt Maher, Robert Kochis, and Carl Herrgesell! Visit Gretchen's website for additional details.

I'm hoping to feature new interviews with both of these great talents after Christmas, but wanted to let you know now about these new releases in case you're buying the gift of music for Christmas.

Immaculate Conception

This morning, I was blessed to attend Mass with our school for the Feast of the Immaculate Conception. It is such a blessing to gather with our school community. The children's voices, as they sing and pray, never cease to lift my spirits.

Lord, help me today to seek forgiveness for the sins that separate my heart from you. Like our Blessed Mother Mary, may all my responses to you be "yes" and may I live my life in service to others.

Click here to visit our Immaculate Conception page at

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Craving Silence

I'm not sure why, but this week I find myself craving silence - absolute, profound stillness.

It could be the crazy schedule I've been keeping, burning the candle at both ends with work and fun. It could be the fact that my goofy violin recital performance is next week and my songs keep running through my head in that slightly off key way I have been practicing them. It could be that my boys seem to have Spring fever in the middle of December - Eric has been busy writing and recording loud new originals and Adam seems even more talkative than usual. It could be the phone that keeps ringing, the meetings that need attending, or even the sound of the timer on my overworked dryer.

Whatever the cause, I recognize the symptoms. I'm longing for an hour of solitude - time spent in the Eucharistic Adoration chapel, a long walk under the stars, or even a soak in the bathtub. Time spent just doing nothing more that what Advent is meant to be - preparing my soul to rejoice at Christ's coming.

How are you preparing? Are you feeling the same longing I am for stillness and a sense of peace? How do you find the time you need each day to carve out prayer and meditation time?

Part of my plan for the week is to turn things off: the radio, the computer, the television. The second part is to tune in: to my boys, to my husband, to my friends, and to those prayers that remain deep within my heart.

Feast of St. Nicholas

For those who enjoy celebrating the Feast of St. Nicholas, we have some resources listed at

Sunday, December 03, 2006

First Sunday of Advent

Advent begins today! Please join me in prayers for a preparation of our hearts and souls and for peace in our world. Have a blessed Sunday! Lisa

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Confidential to J.O'R.

Tickets and parking - $107

Drinks at the Bar - $11

Wrought Iron Bisto Set - a bargain at $140

Making your wife smile and contributing to support for lives of countless unborn children all at the same time - Priceless!

Friday, December 01, 2006

Where Has She Been All Week???

For those who may have passed through here and wondered at the lack of posts this week, it's because the Catholic Mom has been running around like a Tazmanian Devil. I have so many projects, emails, writing assignments and web design chores my head is spinning. On top of that, a good friend and I are "hostessing" a table at the High School's Christmas Tea fundraiser on Sunday. I thought hostessing meant being gracious and pouring tea, but it really means designing and decorating a table, providing individual "themed" favors, and coming up with an adorable centerpiece to be raffled off. At times like this, I wish I were one of those moms who enjoyed shopping. But, to tell you the truth, I'd rather be at my keyboard!

Set up for the event is tomorrow morning and I have curling ribbon to curl, tea cups and china to clean and a big Right to Life fundraiser to attend in less than two hours, so I will limit this post. The amazing thing about this is that all of you are probably doing the same things. When I worried earlier today about my lack of posts, it occurred to me that most Moms have probably been too busy this week to even pop in here for a visit. This is a wonderful, but hectic, time of year.

As we anticipate Advent's commencement on Sunday, I will offer a prayer for each of you - for peace, sanity, and not too much scurrying around. Could you do the same for me?

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Contest Alert!

The folks over at Fun Play Dates are running another fun contest. Just in time for Christmas giving, submit your favorite playdate game, craft or idea and you could win Volume 5 of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.

I remember the turtles from my boys' younger days! Cowabunga, this sounds like a great contest!

Visit Fun Play Dates for more information.

New "To Teach" Newsletter

Are you subscribed to "To Teach" from USCCB? I receive this great online newsletter on a monthly basis and always enjoy its creative and timely ideas. This month's edition offers several excellent suggestions for truly celebrating the journey of Advent in your home or classroom.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Catholic Social Workers

Don wrote this week to share the good news about a very helpful organization - Catholic Social Workers National Association, a Catholic answer for social workers. Take a moment to view their web site at

"The mission of Catholic Social Workers National Association is to promote the implementation of Catholic social teachings in social work practice as we support competent professional social workers living out their baptismal call to be the hands and feet of Christ. "

For additional information, contact Kathleen Neher, PO Box 40124 Indianapolis, IN 46240-0124 or email

Cool Catholic T Shirst

Catholic Mom Lori wrote me this weekend to tell me about her web site, featuring "Catholic T shirts that show your Catholic pride with class." At only $10 and $12, these look like they would be fun Christmas gifts for the special Catholic someone in your life. Good luck Lori with your new site! Your models are adorable!

Cool and Helpful Web Site

Catechist Connection is a new resource for Catechists, whether they teach in the church or homeschool. The web site is essentially a huge forum for Catechists, connecting by grade level, topics, projects, and much more. Check them out at today.

Sharmane's New Web Site

One of my favorite Catholic musicians, Sharmane, has just announced the grand opening of her new website at Sharmane is beautiful, inside and out, and her music is simply wonderful. Take a peek at Sharmane's new site or listen to her music at

Reader Needs Your Help!

Can you help with the following? I've never heard of the song - if you have, email me or drop a comment here. Thanks!

Hello Lisa,
I am trying to find either a CD, tape--or even sheet music--on the children's Communion song, O Little White Guest for my CCD class. Can you help?

Do You Vote?

My local Fresno book club just completed our discussion of our November book pick, The Vote by Sybil Downing. We selected the book as our November pick in anticipation of the recently passed elections, owing to the fact that the book is a fictionalized look at the events leading to the passage of the 19th Amendment, the Susan B. Anthony Amendment, which states:

Section 1. The right of the citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex.
Section 2. Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.

The Vote is an interesting read, fast paced with a great story and compelling characters. Having its basis in historical events, it is however a novel. I learned quite a lot about the Suffragist movement by reading the book (I'm embarrassed to say I've taken my right to vote for granted and had never really known much about the movement). I've always been a committed voter, dragging my children to the polls with me and studying prior to voting. I only recently stopped taking Eric and Adam into the booth with me, as I fear they would be arguing with me about my selections. Reading this book has underscored for me the importance of exercising my right to vote responsibly, and never taking it for granted. I do believe my vote, my voice, counts. If you don't vote because you find it inconvenient or inconsequential, I challenge you to read The Vote and see if you change your mind.

Sunday, November 26, 2006


Has God really become a Trojan fan???

We're off to Church to face the Trojan faithful who vastly outnumber us at our parish. I know this is supposed to be character building, but it's getting old...

Oh well, there's always next year. For now, the Hendey family is hoping for a bid to, tickets for, and a victory at a certain California BCS bowl game.

Off to eat some crow...

Friday, November 24, 2006

Happy Thanksgiving

Congratulations Michael and Meg!

Dear Michael and Meg,

I know you're not reading this, as you're off celebrating your new marriage and tromping around on Mayan ruins, but I had to write you and let you know how much we enjoyed your special weekend. Travel issues aside, your wedding celebration could not have been more perfect.

It was so wonderful to meet Meg's family! Part of the joy of any marriage is the blending together of two clans - I knew we would love your family, Meg, because we love you so very much. Your parents are so special, and rightly very proud of you. It was also a joy to meet your brother, sisters, and adorable niece and nephew. I don't know when we will all gather again (perhaps at the Baptism of my first niece...) but I look forward to partying with the Stuarts again!

Friday evening was so much fun. I was amazed at your rehearsal - your composure and lack of nerves stunned me. I remember being an absolute mess at my own rehearsal. I know you felt nerves, but your grace under pressure was a testament to how ready the two of you are to join your lives together. The boys are still quoting from Uncle Michael's rehearsal dinner toasts and composing their own versions. Your wedding party was filled with awesome friends and family and your tributes to them were heartwarming.

Your wedding Mass seemed to zoom by so quickly - I wanted to remember every moment of it, since it seemed so perfect. From the music, to Fr. Hurlbert's comments, to the loveliness of the moment you pronounced your vows to one another, it was sublime. As Father stated, your preparation and thoughtfulness shone through in the beauty of the liturgy you prepared.

We should have all known that your reception would be a knock down drag out party - we haven't danced that hard in a long time! I smile every time I think of my adorable nephew Justin on the dance floor - I think his moves rival Daddy's! Greg has saved his fake mustache to wear at my niece's Baptism! Every little detail you planned was perfect. Meg, you "FUN" theme ruled!!

We're back home now with the memories of the fun we shared still warm in our hearts. We've been praying for you all week - for your safe travels and for many years of joy together. Thank you for allowing us the privilege of sharing your wedding weekend. We love you and can't wait to see you again soon!

With Love,
Greg, Lisa, Eric and Adam

Thursday, November 16, 2006

See You Next Week

We're off to Chicago for Michael and Meg's wedding, so I'll be back to blogging next Tuesday. Please say a prayer for our safe travels and for my brother and his new bride!

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Fr. Blessing Celebrates 25 Years of Priesthood

This is a video created to commemorate the 25th anniversary of Fr. Loren Blessing's ordination to the priesthood, which was recently celebrated at my home parish, St. Anthony of Padua. Fr. Blessing's name is perfect, as that is what he is for so many of us!

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

New on My Bookshelf - Busy Body Book

BusyBodyBook Personal & Family Organizer Weekly Engagement Calendar, August 2006-December 2007
by Joan Goldner

I have reviewed many personal planning systems both as a reviewer and for my own personal usage. Few come close to the Busy Body System for both functionality and style.

The key to the Busy Body System, the GRID format, allows you to customize the planner to optimize your own family's needs and specifications. Some may choose to use each of the five columns for individual peoples' schedules (i.e. kids sports, parents' meetings, etc). Others may choose to reserve some columns for other purposes: meal planning, finance tracking, project planning, etc. I found the grid system helpful this past year in tracking diet and fitness information.

The book includes week at a glance and recurring "3 months at once" views, as well as sections for contacts, removable "to do" lists, anniversaries and more. The heavy duty cover comes complete with two inside flaps for holding important papers, receipts, notes, etc.

This version of the BBB covers dates between August 2006 and December 2007 to ensure over a year's worth of seamless family organization.

New on My Bookshelf - When Ministry is Messy

When Ministry Is Messy: Practical Solutions to Difficult Problems
by Richard C. Brown, PhD

When Ministry Is Messy: Practical Solutions to Difficult Problems addresses the three major causes of conflict within parish ministry—natural personality differences, emotional illness and sin. With the help of Scripture, namely Matthew 23, and modern psychology, Dr. Brown offers solutions to conflicts so that pastoral ministers can free themselves from fear and anxiety in their daily work and bring peace to church ministries. Drawing from his extensive background in both psychology and ministry, Dr. Brown provides effective solutions that are both practical and spiritual.

New on My Bookshelf - Saints to Lean On

Saints to Lean on: Spiritual Companions for Illness And Disability
by Janice McGrane, S.S.J.

"Like Joseph Bernardin, people with illness or disability first need to resolve the ever-important 'Why?' question. Like Julian of Norwich, they need to find the spiritual meaning in living with illness. Also, they need to know the profound spiritual power of the redemptive aspect of suffering as Caryll Houselander so often stressed."— from the Introduction

Come find comfort in your time of need with eleven inspiring and faith-filled spiritual companions. These holy men and women, each from a different background and time period, suffered from an illness or disability, and through prayer found acceptance, strength and hope. Author Janice McGrane gives a biographical sketch of each spiritual companion and then shares how each companion faced adversity in physical, mental and emotional pain. As you journey through your own pain—or walk a difficult path with a loved one—you will want to look to these spiritual companions and their stories to find your own meaning in suffering.

New on My Bookshelf - Lilly, the Littlest Cricket

Lilly The Littlest Cricket
by Beth Ann Mammola-Koravos

Lilly is the youngest member of a loving and talented Cricket family. Although she is greatly loved and cared for, she struggles to find her niche in life, the thing that sets her apart from others. With her family's support and encouragement, she tries her hand at lots of different things, but struggles when she is unable to succeed at these. On the advice of her father, she takes time to talk with God in prayer and is led to something she truly loves. With practice and patience, she finally excels at her gift. Each of us have God given gifts and talents - some of us find them quickly and others of us search a lifetime for our gifts. Lilly, the Littlest Cricket is a wonderful story to share with young children. It teaches our children (and the adults who love them) to try new things, to strive to do our best, and to remember to turn to God and our families for support and guidance. Bold illustrations by Helena Bebirian accompany this captivating tale by Beth Ann Mammola-Koravos.

p.s. When you read this and discover Lilly's gift, you'll learn why I loved this book so much!

Holiday Entertainment

I'm happy to share the following from my cyber-buddy Sally Edwards, an awesome Mom/Comedian:

Standup Comedy Will Energize Your Holiday Party!
November 2006
The holidays will soon be upon us. Have you scheduled an event to remember? Clean standup comedy (with great music) is ideal for your parish or corporate event. New friendships form and everyone will leave with a smile on their face - Guaranteed! To learn more about Sally and her extensive experience in parish and corporate entertaining, visit her website!
Are you a Minivan Mom? Now that soccer season is over - take a break - laugh at all of the things that get you crazy. That is the best way to handle the stress of the holidays.

Visit Sally's website at
Is it really time to be thinking about Christmas parties already? That reminds me, does anyone have a good Christmas cookie recipe to share? I need one ASAP for an early cookie swap I'm attending.

My Reward

Several times a week, I receive emails from parents and teachers who enjoy using the resources that we are compiling over at Indeed, this "fan mail" is my pay - the encouragement that keeps me plugging away. I thought I'd share this email from a teacher and invite you to pray, with me, for her and her class.

Thank you so much for such a wonderful site!! I am not a cradle born Catholic, but I'm teaching my children's reconciliation class this fall and have been looking for help to guide me through the lessons. We have a small community parish with minimal funds for expenses therefore I've been searching for free activities that I can download. Your site is wonderful! I was afraid my students would not be able to retain much info if we just read from the book, but having the puzzles and coloring pages help a lot! I am also struggling with 2 young boys from the New Orleans area that were displaced from the floods of Hurricane Katrina and I'm finding that they are not able to read. Therefore the pages from your website help a great deal with their comprehension. Thanks again!

Camden, AR

Monday, November 13, 2006

Countdown to the Wedding

This weekend, on Saturday, we will be in Chicago celebrating the sacrament of Marriage with my baby brother Michael and my new little sister Meg. My head is spinning with all of the preparations that need to be undertaken in anticipation of our trip.

I was getting a little stressed out this morning, and then I stopped myself in mid anxiety attack to say a little prayer for Michael and Meg. I can barely remember the days leading up to my own wedding - I know they were filled with lots of nerves, a few tears, and great anticipation. I can only imagine what Michael and Meg are going through this week as they prepare to jump into their new life together.

I remember being stressed out about silly things - my shoes, the photographer, my hair... thank goodness my sister Erin came to stay with me for a few days prior, to ease my stress and keep me laughing. Greg and I were relative babies when we married - I was only 22!

Michael and Meg are much wiser than we were back then, but I'll bet they are feeling the same mix of euphoria and nerves we felt. I want them to know, this week and always, that nothing is more wonderful than being married to the love of your life. I want them to know that despite all the last minute details and planning, something is likely to go wrong during the ceremony, but that it really doesn't matter. I want them to know that their sacrament, their day, will be perfect just as they are perfect together. I want to remind them about all of the people who love them so dearly - those who are flying in from all over to witness the joy of their union. I want to encourage them to take time to treasure this week, to soak in the love they feel for each other, and the love showered upon them by family and friends. I want to assure them of my prayers, not just for their wedding day but for the start of their perfect new family together.

Michael and Meg, I can't wait to be with you - I'm counting the days!

GeoCaching in Broad Daylight

On this weekend's Geocaching adventure, Eric, Adam and I learned that some caches are better sought under the cover of darkness.
Most of our prior expeditions have been outdoorsy romps through wooded areas or off-road paths. This weekend, we decided to try our Urban treasure hunting skills. We went after two caches hidden in the midst of our busy big-box store megaplex. One of the caches stated that it was near "a preserve for Owls". I thought, "Great, this will be educational, but I didn't know there was an owl preserve near our Barnes and Noble..."
The GPS coordinates led us directly to the spot - a lamp post adjacent to...
Adam, my dear moralistic child, almost refused to participate since he's heard Mom rally against Hooters since it came to town. Once he was assured we weren't actually going to set foot in the restaurant, he rejoined the treasure hunt. Crashing through hedges and scouring the area near the lamp post, we were given a few strange looks including one from a parent at my kids school. I'm sure she was wondering what we were up to in those bushes!
Our perseverance led to success with both finds and we even had time to go to Barnes and Noble for a little visit, but I resisted Eric's request for Chicken Wings from you-know-where!

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Fencing News

Now, along with the football player who lives at my house, there is a Sabre Fencer. Adam's old fencing center is undergoing some transitions, so he has found a new fencing home. It's been almost a year since he started fencing. He began his career fencing foil, but has been begging to switch to sabre for the past several months. We discouraged it at the old center because we wanted him to get a good basis in foil before he made the switch.

Since we had to move to a new Fencing academy, we decided to let Adam try his hand at Sabre. For those, like me, who don't know very much about fencing, you may not understand the difference. Last night was Adam's first class at the new academy, and his first Sabre lesson. It appears to be a much more aggressive style of fencing, less controlled looking and more akin to trying to chop someone's head or arm off. I'm not sure if I like it yet, but Adam sure does. All of those hours of swashbuckling around the back yard seem to be paying off. He even won a few bouts last night. The new class he's in contains four other twelve and thirteen year old boys who, like Adam, seem to march to the beat of their own drummer. By the end of the class he had a huge smile on his face and was singing Monte Python tunes with his new Sabre buddies.

It's so fun to watch our children try and enjoy new things. Change can be difficult for kids like Adam, so when it turns out OK it makes a Mom's heart very happy.

A note to any bad guys who may be thinking about breaking in to the Hendey home - I'd think twice! You'll meet up with a football player and a Sabre fencer!

Heard It Through the Grapevine

Have you heard about Grapevine Magazine? Grapevine is the work of my good cyberfriend, Catholic Musician Susan Bailey. Grapevine is a completely free digital magazine all about the Catholic music industry. Several times a year, Susan and a team of writers put out a high quality, full color magazine all about our great Catholic musicians and the work they are doing to spread the gospel through their talents. I've written a few articles for Grapevine and have one coming out in the next issue featuring an incredible young group called Monday's Child.
If you haven't seen Grapevine yet, it's well worth a visit to the Grapevine website at and if you're a podcast fan, you'll also want to subscribe to Susan's weekly podcast, the Grapevine Minute. The podcast contains ten to fifteen minutes of news, music and more. Check it out and great job Susan!

This Could Get Dangerous

Close family members know of my love of old Catholic books. I am never able to pass a used bookstore without stopping to see if they have a copy of Story of a Soul or some old elementary school religion textbook I may need for my collection. (Need equals want in this context.)

I just received an email updated from - a site I visit too infrequently. It contains a wealth of information. I don't know why I never noticed their used book store before - lucky thing I don't have much time to surf this morning, or it could get ugly. I just love old books, and especially when they contain notes and inscriptions. My husband is so patient with this affliction. Do you love old books, and if so what's your favorite?

Gorgeous Art Free

I am so happy to share the following news from Prof. Julie Ann Brown. Julie's collection of Holy Card and Catholic art is absolutely stunning. If you take a visit to her site, allow yourself plenty of time because you'll be downloading left and right!

Chant Art Announces Victorian Holy Images Now Free

(PRLEAP.COM) Professor Julie Ann Brown, Founder of Chant Art, today announced she has decided to share a selection of her 10,000 high resolution archives of Christian Victorian and Edwardian graphics to visitors of For a limited time high resolution images are available for download at no cost. Once the archives are reorganized only low resolution images will be available for free on this web site and then high resolution images will be available for purchase at .

"My quest remains the same: to spare and share the beautiful holy images from those who have loved and lived before us," said the Catholic mother of two college students. Enjoy them now for your moments of picturing prayer or holy projects.

About Julie Ann Brown:

Julie Ann Brown has been archiving Christian images since 1996. Brown's collection contains hand cut and hand punched paper lace cards dating from the 1600s-1800s.

Contact Information:

Julie Ann Brown
Founder, Chant Art
805 988-3722

Put Me In Coach!

One of my favorite bloggers, Mike St. Pierre, has written with a very generous offer for Catholic Mom Moments readers. I recently mentioned that Mike has started a Life Coaching service. He shares the following:

I've just launched my own coaching ministry/endeavor and for the upcoming week, I'd like to offer a free coaching session to any of your subscribers. No strings attached, just something nice to do.

If anyone's interested, the topic would be "life balance" and the process would be for them to go to and they can contact me via email from there. A phone call would then be scheduled and voila!
I'll bet Mike could help me with my stacking problem! I understand the concepts of time management, but perhaps need a little accountability when it comes to follow through. I'm thinking about taking Mike up on his offer and will let you know how it goes! "Life Balance" sounds like a good concept to me!

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Showered with Love

They're done! No, those are not my hands, but they ARE my computer gloves!

This morning, I took a break from work and got together with my Knotty Knitter friends. I haven't been on Cindy's blog this week, so I didn't even know that she'd already finished and even blogged about my fabulous new fashion accessory. For some reason, I'm unable to post links today, so if you want to check out Cindy's blog head over to

I love my knitting friends, and they love me too! Today, I was teasing them about how much they truly love and give to me, both physically and emotionally. I walked away this morning with full arms and a full heart. Tracy had baked and cutely wrapped expresso cookies for each of us. When I complimented Cindy on the cute new bracelet she had on, she took it off and said, "Here, it's yours!" and would not take no for an answer. Nola gave me the best gift of all - her cheerful attitude and a big hug. I am blessed in so many ways, but particularly in the family and friends department.

Today, I have a warm heart and warm hands - today, I've been showered with love!

Scary Geeked Out Mom

I just paused for a moment to realize how truly geeky I have become. We have a new toy in our home - an iMac computer! My poor old Catholic Mom laptop is on her last legs and she keeps crashing, so I've been looking at alternatives for a few months. We ended up purchasing a desktop for family use, as it was much less expensive than the equivalent laptop. I'm still not fully converted to the Mac, so I'm sitting here at the boys' desk, working a bit on the Mac and a bit on the old laptop that is sitting right next to it. I have to share the iMac, so I'm under the gun to get a few things accomplished before the boys come home and take it over. I'm not sure how the "sharing" arrangement is going to work out long term. I've always been a bad sharer, and am especially so when it comes to technology. Also on the "geek" front - for any Mac Moms out there if you have iChat I'd love to hear from you. I want to test it out, but I don't want to chat with just anyone!
Bye for many computers, so little time!

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Getting College Connected

Today was my second day to volunteer in the College Connection office at Eric's high school. As a freshman parent, I'm looking for opportunities to get to know people at his school and it seemed like a great place to help out students and learn a lot that will benefit my son.

One of the major hurdles I have to cross is accepting that not all students simply want to attend the University of Notre Dame. It seems like a slam-dunk decision to me, but believe it or not there are even some who would rather go to USC! I'm finding that I have to curb my enthusiasm about the Irish! No, really, it's going to be a great way to help expose our family to other possible college options.

I am learning that Freshman year is the perfect time for Eric to start exploring and learning about colleges. If you have a student in high school, one of the best resources seems to be - Eric is already registered and getting regular reminder emails from them. I know these next four years will fly by in the blink of an eye, and I want to help Eric make the most of his future opportunities.

For those parents of teens, how are you helping your child prepare for his or her future education?

Don't Forget

Go Vote Today!!!

Friday, November 03, 2006

Topsy Turvy

Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans.
John Lennon

It's been another one of those wonderful weeks - the kind that skid by so quickly that you barely have a moment to breath and recollect. Today, in particular, was filled with fluid, moment-by-moment changes that sometimes drive me a little crazy.

Each week, on Monday, I spend about an hour having "table time" - a session at my kitchen table where I inventory mail, pay bills, balance the checkbook, look over the week's agenda, and generally try to obtain some semblance of ordered chaos in my life. Each morning, I consult our family calendar and lay out a general gameplan for the day. My planning incorporates the minutia that fills many moms' minds: who needs to be where, when, and in what clothing; what will I feed everyone and when; what "business" do I need to take care of throughout the day; and the like.

This week has been one of scattered and broken plans. We've had a few major shifts, evolutions, fractures and bloopers since Monday. For a control freak like me, living life on the fly and rolling with the punches of a goofed up schedule can be stressful. But rather than reacting with panic and anxiety, I am trying to react with patience, acceptance and flexibility. We have one major situation that is in flux right now, and until it is resolved I will continue to feel unsettled. But I've already prayed for the right answer and I know that God, in His goodness and according to His plan (not mine) will provide direction for the path that needs to be taken.

These types of weeks are good for me (as long as they only occur every once in a while...) since they help me to recognize the blessings of each moment of each day, even if they didn't turn out the way I'd originally planned them!

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Computer Mittens

It's officially fall in the workspace! I've broken out the space heater and heating pad on my desk chair in an effort to stay warm (yes, I'm a wimpy Californian who gets cold when the temps dip below 60!). Well, my knitting teacher Cindy has come to the rescue with these, a pair of mittens you can wear while knitting/designing web sites! I'm not good enough to knit them myself, so I've ordered up a pair - I'll let you know if you can actually type while wearing them! My knitting skills are limited to rectangular objects that can be made while watching Survivor or Lost! If you love to knit, you've got to visit Cindy's blog Yarn, Paper, Scissors, where she and her sister Carey discuss all of their super creative endeavors. It's nice to have crafty friends!

Irish Blog

If you're Catholic and you love Notre Dame, you'll want to pay a visit to the blog called Fighting Irish Thomas. You know it's a winner when the second you hit the page you hear the fight song playing (beware if you're surfing at work!). I discovered Tom's blog through a great article he had at Catholic Exchange last week called "Running the Rosary" which reminded me of the World's best Daddy!

A Huge Thank You

To the secret saint who purchased a large quantity of Children's bibles yesterday at Amazon through the site!!! Did you know that when you click through our Amazon link on the home page of, you make a small donation to! Every little bit helps to pay our everygrowing hosting fees as the site continues to grow!

More Book Buzz

Another of my favorite authors, Maria Ruiz Scaperlanda, wrote to share a column about her latest book The Complete Idiot's Guide to Mary of Nazareth - I haven't been able to read this book yet, but I've loved everything else Maria has written so I feel great about recommending it. Click here to read the review of Maria's book from the Archidiocese of Indianapolis.

Book Buzz

You might want to take a time out today to read my latest Book Spotlight interview with Catholic children's author Beth Ann Mammola-Koravos about her book Good Night God, Love Olivia. So many of us think that we're inspired by things our children say that could be turned into great stories. Well, Beth Ann is a Mom who actually acted on that inspiration. She's also the author of another new children's book about a little cricket named Lilly who learned to play the violin - you know I loved that one too!

Monday, October 30, 2006

Resting on the Sabbath

I always find a lot of inspiration in the writing of Catholic Mom columnist Patrice Fagnant-MacArthur. This week, Patrice's column looks at the concept of keeping holy the Sabbath. I admit to being a Sunday busybody. When we come home from Mass, I normally break my fast with a quick glance at the Sunday paper and then get busy around the house. My weekdays are typically packed to the gills, so Sunday becomes a "catch up" day. Greg is frequently gone working in the Emergency Room and the boys enjoy a day of hanging out while Mom scurries around putting away laundry, mopping, or generally moving stacks around.

Yesterday, we had a wonderful afternoon. Eric and I spent an hour "jamming" - him on guitar and me on fiddle. It seems I am going to "perform" in a recital in December. We'll see if I actually decide to participate, but he was helping me to practice my new songs. Next, the three of us (minus Dad) went on a little Geocaching adventure. The cache we found this week was an easy one, located in a large park near our house. The hunt was so simple that Eric and I decided to take the long route back to our car. We had a nice, thirty minute walk through crunchy leaves under a sunny sky. Adam prefers to walk thirty paces behind, scouting for sticks and taking the path less traveled. As I spent this time with Eric, talking about his week and generally getting caught up, I said a quiet thank you to God for the blessing of these precious boys.
I agree with Patrice that Sunday rest is essential to our spirit - I told her in an email that I'm going to read her column again Saturday night to give myself a boosted resolve.
p.s. can you spot the Cache in this picture? It was an easy hike, but for some reason it took us a few minutes to spot it! In fact, I almost walked right into it without seeing it - maybe it's time to start wearing glasses all the time!

Note To Self:

Dine Without Whine - Weekly Meal Planning In the future, do not skip lunch prior to posting Christine's new Dine Without Whine recipes at - those Pumpkin Pudding Squares sound pretty yummy!

Just In Case

In case you're still looking for activities for Halloween, All Saints and All Souls, we have some great resources, projects and recipes at I'm feeling a touch of the motherly blues this week leading up to Halloween. Adam is all ready for the big day with a new troll mask (wait until you see the picture) and lots of Daddy's old "troll like" clothing. Imagine being told that one of your favorite sweaters looks like something a troll would wear. The cause for my blues is the fact that big Eric, high school freshman, has officially reached the age where he'd prefer to spend the evening in the company of his friends than watching his younger brother roam the neighborhood. I agree that he is too old to dress up, but it breaks my heart a little that he's getting so independent. One of the moms is taking a group of them to our local corn field maze for a couple of hours. I remember those days with my boys when Halloween meant a week of parties, sometimes even multiple costumes (which later doubled as jammies) with playgroup friends, preschool classes and at Church. I remember sewing pirate costumes and dressing babies as pumpkins. I remember being able to swipe their candy without them realizing that suddenly all of the good chocolate stuff was missing. Watching my boys grow up before my eyes is fun, but sometimes a little bittersweet - today is one of those days when I wish God had blessed us with five or six little ones so I'd have someone to dress as a dinosaur tomorrow.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Spiritual Blindness

At mass this morning, our retired Pastor offered a wonderful homily on today's Gospel - now that I can no longer see to read without my glasses, I feel an even greater empathy towards Bartimaeus. How incredible it would feel to have perfect sight restored, especially after having lived a lifetime without vision.

Our homily this morning dealt with Spiritual Blindness. I walked away from Mass pondering Monsignor's words and asking myself a few pointed questions. Do I ask for healing from the moments of spiritual blindness that fill my life? I am spiritually blind when I neglect to stop and appreciate God's many blessings in my life. I am spiritually blind when I overlook those around me who are suffering through stress, pain, loneliness or other afflictions. I am spiritually blind when I envy my friends or covet material goods. Have I asked Jesus lately to have pity on me, to touch me, and to heal me from my spiritual blindness?

Opportunities to open my eyes and truly see God around me abound - Just as clarity comes when I don my reading glasses, I pray for a heart and mind open to see God's blessings in my own life and to reach out to those around me who may need me.

May I have open, seeing eyes and a heart to truly follow Jesus.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

I wish Chicago and Fresno were closer

Aren't these two of the cutest little boys you've ever seen? At least once a day, I lament the fact that my family is spread all over the country. Seeing this picture of my Chicago nephews, Evan and baby Tyler, makes my heart leap and sigh all at once. I can't believe Tyler is already six weeks old, and I haven't even been able to hold him yet. When I'm out and I see a mom with a new baby, I mentally compare the baby to Ty (of course, none of them are ever as cute!). Evan looks more grown up and full of spirit every time I lay eyes on him. I imagine what life might be like if all my siblings lived close to one another and we could gather my two boys and my five nephews all in one room on a regular basis. We'll have the chance next month at my brother Michael's wedding in Chicago, but I'm not sure I can hold out that long to cuddle this baby!

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

The Heart of Motherhood by Donna-Marie Cooper O'Boyle

I'm midway through the new book by columnist Donna-Marie Cooper O'Boyle entitled The Heart of Motherhood: Finding Holiness in the Catholic Home. I love everything Donna-Marie writes, so I'm not surprised that I'm enjoying this latest book so much. It may be a while before I get a full review posted, so I thought I'd point you to two reviews of Donna-Marie's book by Patrice Fagnant of Spiritual Woman and by Pat Gohn at her Write In Between blog.

Speaking of Pat, she celebrates a year of blogging this week - drop by and congratulate her! Any mom who can find time to write like Pat does "in between" is a stud in my book!

We have a new column by Donna-Marie Cooper O'Boyle today at if you'd like to sample some of her lovely writing.

Being More Organized

Whenever I lament the lack of time I have to get everything done in the too few hours that fill my day, I like to visit Mike St. Pierre's Notebook for a kick in the behind. He talks a lot about time management, getting things accomplished, and being organized. I especially liked Mike's post today about things that you can accomplish during a break. Moms frequently have small segments of time, spread throughout the day between other jobs like driving and cooking. I sometimes feel that if I have less than one hour to accomplish something, I might as well not start it. That's wrong - there are many things that only take a few minutes to do, if I set my mind to them. Each moment is a gift from God - I just need to remind myself to make the most of each of them!