Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Leading into Lent

Ever the optimist, I am looking so forward to the commencement of Lent and my Lenten devotions. Knowing that one of my fasts deals with weaning myself from a particularly nasty caffeine addiction, I've taken the past few days to taper off. It's funny how much this has made me look forward to the start of Lent. Usually, I approach it with a bit of a sense of dread and dismay, somewhat certain that though I have good intentions about my penance(s), I will likely fall short. Does anyone else do this?

This year feels different somehow. I am looking forward to some time in the desert, stripping away the various things that separate me from God in my daily walk. I do anticipate my usual stumbles along the path, but somehow this year I feel somewhat more gentle towards myself.

Another joy of this time is sharing the anticipation of Lent with my boys and talking with them about their own Lenten devotions and observances. My hope is that we, as a family, will use this spiritual springtime to grow closer to God and to one another. Lent provides such a wonderful opportunity to focus on the benefits of fasting, increased prayer and "almsgiving" or giving of our time, talent and treasures to those around us who may be in physical or emotional need.

Leading up to Lent I feel a quiet contentment, a heartfelt longing - each of you will be in my Lenten prayers, as you walk along your own journeys in the desert. What a glory it will be to once again celebrate our Easter salvation this year with hearts and souls renewed and brought closer to our Risen Lord.

Monday, February 27, 2006

Great Stuff!

If you find that the blog looks skimpy, head over and check out "What's new?" at CatholicMom.com

If I'm not posting here, it's likely because I have so much great stuff to share over there! This week is proof positive of that rule! Check out the following, shared this week by some of my friends:

Taking Breathers: Mental Pauses for Perceptive Goal-Setting by Michele Howe (Is this timely for me, or what?!)

Ten Year Old Author Danielle shares her faith (This child is a true inspiration!)

Everyday Blessings - a new CatholicMom.com column by one of my favorite authors, Donna-Marie Cooper O'Boyle

Author interview with JD Kamps, more great Catholic fiction and my interview with Joe

Music Spotlight interview with Catholic Mom and Rocker Janelle - she's awesome!

And much, much more!!

My Buddy Milo

"When God calls, He never gives you time to pack."

My buddy Milo and his friend Lisa Umina always get it right!

Too Busy!!!

For the past two weeks, I have been too busy... to busy to blog, to busy to shop and eat healthfully, too busy to get a good night's sleep, to busy to put quality time into my prayer and meditation rituals, and too busy to be a good friend to someone who needed me.

Do you ever go through these times? I do, quite regularly. I know that I'm overcommitted and underorganized, despite my best efforts and the wise counsel of experts like the Flylady (please don't email me recommending her - I'm too busy to read her emails! Just kidding!!!)

One day last week I asked myself why I couldn't be more like some of the other moms at school, who take time to lunch with girlfriends and go shoe shopping...who look great when they arrive to pick up their kids, not still sporting the smelly gym clothes they'd been wearing since the morning.

I'm not really sure what the answer to all of this busy-ness is - I've tried following friends' advice to cut back on a few things, but I don't want to! I think what I need to realize is that my busy-ness is just a part of being me, and that it's ok, so long as I keep things in their proper perspective. That morning prayer that fuels my soul is a mandatory component, as are my trips to the gym and efforts at eating and sleeping well. Above all are my duties to family - to my husband, my boys, my parents and siblings, and to my friends.

The other things I love to do, like blogging, fill in the crevices of my hours spent driving, cooking and laundering. Sometimes those slips of time are larger are more productive than others! I know that in a few years, there will be less cooking and laundering of dirty fencing pants, less packing lunches, and much less driving - and then there will be more time for everything else. For now, the balancing act remains a precarious dance - with God at my hand to help me balance, I think I'll be ok!

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

What's Your Dream???

Wow, great stuff all over the place today!!! PLEASE take time to read the latest Catholic Mom column from Sue Terbay, which is a lovely reflection inspired by Coretta Scott King.

What is your dream? I have a few, and people like Sue inspire me to keep reaching towards them!

Milo Moments

"A rose only lives a short time; given to someone special, it lives forever"

Over at the Catholic Kids section of CatholicMom.com, I am so happy to be sharing a new feature with the kids who visit. Author Lisa Umina and illustrator Meg Vrana have shared Milo and his wisdom in the new Milo Moments cartoon feature. Milo will be visiting weekly at Catholic Kids to share his wit and wisdom. Thanks to Lisa, Meg and Milo for helping me keep things in perspective!

Daily Dose of Health - Surviving the Chocolate Feast!

Weight Watchers has a helpful article for all of us who plan to indulge in a little chocolate to commemorate Valentine's Day.

I went from my own personal Chocolate breakfast feast straight to the gym for Cardio Kickboxing, where my teacher was especially tough on us today. Remember, if we indulge today, we don't give up our long term health and fitness goals. I'm taking time to celebrate with loved ones, but plan a walk with my boys this afternoon for a way to re-focus on where I need to be mentally and physically.

Most of you don't have the "all or none" problem that I do, so you will survive a day of candy with no problem. If you're like me though, it can really mess you up!

Here's to finding other ways, besides overindulging, to celebrate special times with our loved ones!

Happy Valentine's Day

Love and Kisses to each of you on this special day. It's always nice to be reminded to be extra kind and loving to the most important people in our lives! At our house, we celebrated with a candlelight "chocolate feast" before the sun had even come up all the way, to accomodate a hubby who has to head off to work in the ER all day and all night!

Here's some new stuff I've posted in the last few days at CatholicMom.com:

* Valentine's Day Resources - some articles, activities and recipes for you and your family

* Women's Health Topics - Hooray! Talented and prolific writer Michele Howe has graciously volunteered to become the new Women's Health Topics columnist at CatholicMom.com. You can find Michele's first column here. I'm so excited about this new feature.

* Do you have Olympic fever??? Take a minute to read about Olmpic skier and Catholic Mom Rebecca Dussalt and her quest for the gold - " to live heroic virtue and become a saint.”

* Sanctifying the World - Columnist Pat Gohn never ceases to inspire me with her perspectives on life. Click here to read another fine column by Pat that will touch your heart and soul.

OK, back to work!

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Look Who Came to Dinner

For some of you, the site of a fox sitting on your back fence watching you cook dinner may not be big news, but here in the Hendey household it sure is!

Our friend "Chickenhound", as he was christened last year by Adam, has been MIA since the last apricot season, when he was seen leaping into the tree and eating up all of our harvest. We haven't seen him since July, so it was great fun to have a fox alert - he must have heard we were having tacos for dinner tonight!

For those of you fortunate to have regular wildlife sightings where you live, please understand that our neighborhood is not your typical fox stomping grounds...we usually only get frogs!

Anticipating Lent

Although it's still a ways off, the dedicated teachers who visit CatholicMom.com are anticipating Lent and have been asking for resources. Here's a question that gave me pause - I'm wondering if anyone here has good ideas...

"Do you have any ideas for a prayer service to go wtih burying the alleluia??????????"

If your parish or school has a special tradition that you can share, I'd love to hear about it!

Happy Dance

Very few things make a Mom of school aged children as happy as having a BIG project completed and turned in, one day early for extra credit! I'm happy to report that this week we survived Adam's biographical report and speech on Benjamin Franklin and that today Eric will hand in his Science Fair project:

String Harmonics: Exploring the Inverse Relationship between Frequency and Wavelength

Somehow he and Greg managed to come up with a science fair project that examines the physics of how and why guitar strings work the way they do. Eric has spent hours on his project, testing, computing and producing his project board. I'm a proud Mom - proud of the finished products my boys accomplished this week, but even more proud of the time and effort they put into their work. It's amazing what our children can accomplish!

OK, I'm off to brush and floss!

Serendipitous Scheduling

I'll admit to being a touch superstitious, so I was very happy this morning to find that my dentist appointment today lands on the feast of St. Apollonia, third century martyr and Patron of dentists, toothaches and dental disease. I'm still not thrilled about going to have my teeth cleaned - does anyone actually look forward to dental appointments? But I feel as though I have powerful intercession on my side today to see me through.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

World Marriage Day

We'll be celebrating this at my parish this weekend, renewing our wedding vows. My husband will be fifty yards away from me, playing his guitar on the altar...I hope it still counts.

Contemplating World Marriage Day takes me back to the 70's, when my parents daily "dialogue" sessions for Marriage Encounter were inviolable. We children dared not interrupt those letter reading sessions and even once burned the house down to avoid interrupting Mom and Daddy! "Dialoguing" was when my parents would write each other very important letters and then lock themselves into their bedroom to read and discuss them. As a grown up, I think that sounds like a great idea, and a way to actually have an uninterrupted conversation with my husband. But alas, I'm pretty sure that I'd wind up taking a nap instead of dialoguing...maybe that's what they were doing way back then. Who knows, but whatever it was they were doing worked - they're going on 44 years together!

Here's to a weekend of celebrating our wonderful marriages and to many more happy years!

Daily Dose of Health - Low Fat Diet

I was hoping when I read the headlines in my paper this morning that this would be the permission I've been seeking to stop automatically computing the WW points value of every food I consume (NOTE: computing does not necessarily indicate abstaining in this situation!). I'm not sure what this study means for we women of a "certain age", but you may want to take a moment to read the article yourself and see what you can make of it. Click here for CNN's take.

Now I need to start figuring out how to get more olive oil into my diet...

Discernment for Dummies...

I am off to "work" at Church this morning, so I can't write for long this morning, but I had to share the "God moment" I had this morning...

Since yesterday afternoon, I have been feeling a little unsettled about agreeing to teach a computer class at Samaritan Women - my concerns range from my own nervousness over my qualifications and abilities, to the impact that it will have on my already overbooked volunteer calendar. I actually remembered yesterday to take time to pray over this, and to ask God to make His will clear in this situation.

God is good...He didn't send me an email divulging His will, but He did the next best thing. When I opened my Bible to do my daily reading this morning, the text for today in the New Testament is this: Matthew 25:31-26:13.

OK, I guess I can quit my second guessing and go to work! Don't you love it when you get such clear marching orders?

Tuesday, February 07, 2006


OK, somehow in the course of my meeting at Samaritan Women, I was gently persuaded to volunteer to teach a weekly, one hour introductory course on computer basics for the clients, who are women recently released from Prison and looking to re-enter the workforce. It sounds exciting, until I realize I have no idea what to teach them...

What are some very basic, essential things to teach a group of women who have little or no exposure to computers. Help me out here - post a comment or email me if you have ANY suggestion. I have a few weeks to get my act together...

Podcast Alert

OK, yet another reason to invest in an iPod, if you don't have one yet...new podcasts from Johnette Benkovic and Loyola Press. With all these great things to listen to, not to mention the latest CD from News at Eleven, folding laundry can become a spiritual experience!

Daily Dose of Health - National Burn Awareness Week

For parents, this is very important stuff! Click here for more information.

How is it already Tuesday again???

These weeks just fly by, don't they?! I'm popping online for a few moments to blog in between a grueling Cardio-Kickboxing class and a meeting with the Women's Prison Ministry I volunteer with to say hello and to let you know that I'm alive and well (although somewhat sore).

A few notes:

* Our friend Cami has a new and updated look at her wonderful website. Check it out!

* St. Richard of Lucca - This is the saint listed today in Daddy's Lives of the Saints book - I always enjoy reading about Saints who found their way to God through their Catholic parenting skills...I need all of the role models I can find!

* From my reading today in Imitation of Christ, this passage truly struck me:

As our intention is, so will be our progress; and he who desires perfection must be very diligent. If the strong-willed man fails frequently, what of the man who makes up his mind seldom or half-heartedly? Many are the ways of failing in our resolutions; even a slight omission of religious practice entails a loss of some kind.

Just men depend on the grace of God rather than on their own wisdom in keeping their resolutions. In Him they confide every undertaking, for man, indeed, proposes but God disposes, and God's way is not man's. If a habitual exercise is sometimes omitted out of piety or in the interests of another, it can easily be resumed later. But if it be abandoned carelessly, through weariness or neglect, then the fault is great and will prove hurtful. Much as we try, we still fail too easily in many things. Yet we must always have some fixed purpose, especially against things which beset us the most. Our outward and inward lives alike must be closely watched and well ordered, for both are important to perfection.

The version of the book I'm reading, edited by Clare Fitzpatrick, reads somewhat more "kindler/gentler" than this version and really gave me the kick in the pants I needed this morning. To the commenter who suggested that some devout individuals memorize this book, I am leaning towards trying to commit certain passages to memory. For today, it would be this sentence from the Fitzpatrick translation:

"The reolution of a devout man (mom?) depends more on the grace of God than on his own wisdom."

Now that is a good thing...!

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Speaking of Valentine's

Does anyone have any good craft or kids ideas for celebrating the holiday with a spiritual focus? I've been asked, and my brain is too foggy today to come up with any good ideas. Post a comment or email me at lisa@catholicmom.com if you're creative!

Looking for a Valentine's Day gift...

For that special Catholic Dad in your life??? Motherhood press is running a Valentine's Day special. Click here for more information and save $5 on this gift that keeps on giving.
Just FYI, if you're a man reading this, your wife might prefer something less practical!

Daily Dose of Health - Sore Throat Remedies

Tis the season around our house...I'm looking for alternatives, since I drained the bottle of ibuprofen yesterday. Here are some ideas - Cayenne Pepper??? Ouch!

Today's Saint - St. Brigid

Considered, after our beloved St. Patrick, to be patroness of Ireland, she's one of my personal favorites.

"Brigid was one of the most remarkable women of her times, and despite the numerous legendary, extravagant, and even fantastic miracles attributed to her, there is no doubt that her extraordinary spirituality, boundless charity, and compassion for those in distress were real."

Extraordinary spirituality, boundless charity, and compassion...I'd be happy to have on of those three! Here's to St. Brigid and all of those women in our life who serve as true role models of Christ's love and compassion.

Click here to learn more about St. Brigid of Ireland. Happy February!