Thursday, September 28, 2006

Toddler Survival Tactics

A reader has written requesting additional resources for pre-schoolers in Mass. Frankly, I'm out of ideas for ways to help keep a pre-schooler engaged while trying to get something out of the Sunday liturgy. I'd love to hear from those of you with young children - what resources would you like to see offered? What works well for you? How do you get your young children to participate in the Mass? Please comment below or email me at

Laptop Battery Recall

Maybe it's a good thing I can't afford to buy the new laptop I've been secretly coveting! Thanks to Interactive Dad for the heads up on yet another exploding laptop hazard!

Cheryl Dickow in the News

Wonderful author Cheryl Dickow who wrote Reclaiming Your Christian Self in a Secular World: A Woman’s Worth sent me a link to a write up about her book at the web site of The Michigan Catholic where they were also kind enough to mention

Cheryl's book is truly a gem! Click here to read my interview with Cheryl Dickow and I think you'll agree.

Getting Ready for Sunday

Have you read this Sunday's gospel yet? Here are some resources to help you make the most of Sunday's Liturgy of the Word:

* Read Sunday's Gospel online at USCCB

* Sunday Gospel Activities at - gospel coloring, Mass Worksheets, Crossword Puzzles and Word Search puzzles to accompany the Sunday gospel

* Sunday, Sunday, Sunday - a new and wonderful podcast from LifeTeen and the Bible Geek Mark Hart takes a quick and entertaining look at the Sunday readings - not just for Teens!

* Crossroads Initiative - Dr. Marcellino D'Ambrosio takes a look at this Sunday's gospel with his always-insightful perspective.

Do you have a favorite Sunday resource? I'd love to hear about it!

Holy Puppets!

Lisa M. is at it again! We've just posted a new puppet show over at entitled "Sin, Free Will, and Grace", which is a great resource for families and religious education teachers. Check it out at our Puppet Ministry page. In other exciting Puppet Ministry news, we have a very talented woman who is volunteering to translate some of our Puppet Show scripts into Spanish!!! I'd love to see a ton of Spanish language resources at some day, and this is just the start! I'll keep you posted when our Spanish scripts become available.

Tithing Online?

I've been speaking with the stewardship guru at my parish about the possibility of using an online resource for making donations to our parish, something like Parish Pay. At our parish, we currently have only the old "envelope" system for making our contributions. In an effort to go as paperless as possible, I'd love to have the ability to make my contributions online, using a credit card or online banking. Do any of you have similar online systems at your parishes for making contributions to Church? If so, would you comment here with a link or please email me at with the name of your parish and/or service? Thanks!

Congrats Patrice!

Congratulations to columnist Patrice Fagnant-MacArthur on the one year "blogiversary" of her Spiritual Woman blog! Patrice's place is one of my early morning stops for spiritual inspiration - I can't believe how quickly a year goes by these days. Patrice, thanks for a year's worth of uplifting words!

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Mike St. Pierre >> notebook

Mike St. Pierre >> notebook - I'm afraid to say that I answered "yes" to one of the Dysfunctional questions over at Mike St. Pierre's Notebook today, but I'm not telling which one!

Tyler Thomas Patrick Birks

Tyler Thomas Patrick Birks - Check out an adorable new photo of Tyler over at his very own blog. He gets cuter every day!

Ahoy Mateys!

In my non-CatholicMom life I belong to a local Fresno Book Club. It's a wonderful, eclectic mix of women who have been meeting for several years now. Members have come and gone and new perspectives have been lent to the group. We're getting ready to meet tomorrow for the first time this school year. I thought I'd share here a link to the interview I conducted with the author of the book we're reading.

Anne Bonney: My Pirate Story is the first novel by author Jeffery S. Williams. I feel compelled to warn you that this book contains what we refer to in the Hendey Household as "Adult Themes". But heck, it's a pirate story right? Interestingly, amidst all the piratey action there is a very strong "prodigal" theme. I loved the book at am looking forward to getting together tomorrow with my fellow wenches to discuss it.

Click here to read my interview with author Jeffery S. Williams.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Happy Birthday Adam!!!

Twelve years ago today, three weeks before your due date, you arrived on the scene and turned our world upside down! You've always been a "morning person", greeting me with your incredible smile from the minute your eyes are opened each day - never crabby - just anxious to get going.

My life is infinitely more blessed for having you in it. You teach me so much every day - everything from how to play and have fun to how to be a better, more caring and loving person. I love the fact that you still love playing out back, preferably with a stick! I love the way your imagination works, the stories you tell, and the facts that you learn and retain. I love watching you with your big brother or your friends. I love the way you love to snuggle. I love your voracious appetite for books. I love your sense of compassion and the way you exhibit concern and caring for those around you.

We've been celebrating for a week now, but that hardly seems like long enough to say "thank you" to God for His gift of such a wonderful twelve year old! I love you Adam, today and forever!

Monday, September 25, 2006

Marie Bellet's new CD

One of my favorite Catholic Mom Musicians, Marie Bellet, has a new CD out. Here's the description for A New Springtime from Marie's web site:

Often lighthearted, always thought provoking lyrics describe the details of our modern lives and enkindle hope in new beginnings. Outstanding Nashville musicians cradle Marie's voice in a light mixture of bluegrass, jazz and folk as she reminds us of our capacity to love. A New Springtime is dedicated to John Paul II and the new springtime he foretold.

Visit Marie Bellet's website for ordering information and to listen to song clips.

Reader Needs Your Help!

Reader Diane sent me the following note. Since I've never taught confirmation or had a child confirmed, I'm turning to you experts out there to help me give Diane a few suggestions. What did your child most enjoy during confirmation preparation? What works, what doesn't? What do you remember from your own preparation for Confirmation? Thanks for any suggestions you can offer Diane!

I am getting ready to start teaching Confirmation Classes at our church. I would appreciate any suggestions/ideas that have worked for others in class. There will be 15 students in this class. We meet for 1 1/4 hours, once a week. Thanks, Diane

Life Trumps the Blog

Are you sick of looking at that spinach? Has it really been almost a week since I last blogged? Oops, sorry about that!

My life is like most of yours - I wake up each day and hit the ground running. The past week has been full of blessings and adventures too numerous to recount, so we'll just jump right into the week ahead! I hope you had as much fun last week as I did!

I've been busy this morning posting new columns over at I hope you can make some time today to read the many inspirational thoughts shared by our talented columnists. It's funny, each week when I read and post their columns, I feel like I'm receiving my own private dose of parenting therapy! As I'm working this morning, my computer is tuned into XM radio and I'm listening to the new "Oprah and Friends" lineup of programming. As great as Oprah's "friends" are, I'll take the counsel and support of our columnists any day over that of the O-team!

If I had my own satellite radio station, "Lisa and Friends" would feature these great people:

Color Me Daring by Heidi Hess Saxton

Lessons from St. Therese by Patrice Fagnant-MacArthur

Murder, Mercy and Ministry by James Hahn

Not Your Ordinary Road Trip by Charla Belinski

Top Signs of Volunteer Burn-out by Lisa Barker

The Fine Line between Vices and Virtues by Michele Howe

Daughter's 'Cool' Advice is Lost on Geek Mom by Marybeth Hicks

Children and Family in Sculpture by Melissa Martz

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Handling Produce Safely

Hopefully, we all have fresh produce gracing the drawers of our fridges, but some of us may be a little wary given the whole spinach situation. I found the following article, which I thought was well written and very informative. I'm going to keep buying, cooking and eating fresh produce (perhaps not spinach for a while) because I know that it is very healthy and it's a huge part of the economy here in Central California. Are you worried? Have your stopped buying lettuce, fruit, or other fresh produce?

March 22, 2006

Handle fresh-cut produce safely
By Deb Botzek-Linn, University of Minnesota Extension Service

Fresh fruits and vegetables are important to our health and well being. And as we eat more of them, we need to know how to handle them properly to help reduce the risk of foodborne illness. Although low, the proportion of foodborne illness associated with fresh fruits and vegetables has increased over the last several years.

Fresh-cut produce is the fastest growing sector of the fresh produce industry, according to the Food and Drug Administration. Salad mixes, peeled baby carrots, broccoli floret, cut celery stalks, shredded cabbage and cut melons are a few of the many examples of fresh-cut products now available in the produce department.

Peeling, slicing, coring, or trimming fruits and vegetables removes the peel or rind, which serves as the natural barrier to bacteria. You can reduce the risk of illness from fresh-cut produce by following these safe handling practices:

Check that fresh cut fruits and vegetables like packaged salads and precut melons are refrigerated at the store before buying. Don't buy fresh cut items that aren't refrigerated.

Check to be sure that the fresh fruits and vegetables you buy are not bruised or damaged.

Rinse fresh fruits and vegetables under running tap water, including those with skins and rinds that are not eaten. However, packaged fruits and vegetables labeled "ready-to-eat," "washed" or "triple washed" don't need to be washed. (Lisa's Note: I don't believe this anymore!)

Rub firm-skin fruits and vegetables under running tap water or scrub with a clean vegetable brush with running tap water.

Never use detergent or bleach to wash fresh fruits or vegetables.
Keep fresh fruits and vegetables separate from raw meat, poultry or seafood in your refrigerator.

Throw away fresh fruits and vegetables that have not been refrigerated within two hours of cutting, peeling or cooking.

Discard the product when the "use by" date has expired.

Wash hands and clean all surfaces and utensils with hot water and soap, including cutting boards, counter tops, peelers, and knives that will touch fresh fruits or vegetables before and after food preparation.

Deb Botzek-Linn is a food science educator with the University of Minnesota Extension Service Regional Center, St. Cloud)

Tarek's New Enterprise

For fans of reality television (admit it...some of us do watch it!), you'll want to check out my interview with Tarek Saab, who was fired (I think prematurely!) on The Apprentice 5. Perhaps Donald Trump did him a favor, because now he's got a great new enterprise called Lionheart Apparel, a line of men's clothing with super-cool Christian and Catholic symbols.

Click here to read my interview with Tarek, and be sure to check out - I've already picked out shirts for my guys!

Monday, September 18, 2006

Another Great Bible Study

I've just posted an interview with Laurie Watson Manhardt, Ph.D., co-author of the wonderful "Come and See" Catholic Bible Study series. This latest installment, entitled David and the Psalms, sounds like another winner. If you've been considering starting a Bible Study group in your home or parish, Laurie is offering a limited-time promotion of free DVDs that accompany this study to help you get off to a great start. Click here to read our interview and learn more about the special giveway.

September/October Children's Book Club Pick

I'm thrilled to be offering Elizabeth Ficocelli's The Imitation of Christ for Children: A Guide to Following Jesus as the September/October Children's Book Club selection for children. I am a big fan of Elizabeth's writing. This book is truly a treasure. I'm slowly working my was through The Imitation of Christ during my morning reading and have found it to be an incredible book. I'm so happy to share the following letter to all our Catholic Mom readers from author Elizabeth Ficocelli. This is one book you'll definitely want to share with your children! Lisa

Dear fellow Catholic Moms:

I am delighted to learn that my latest children's book, The Imitation of Christ for Children: A Guide to Following Jesus, is being featured in the Sept./Oct. Children's Book Selection at

Being invited to write this book by my publisher Paulist Press was truly an honor and a pleasure for me. I have long been a fan of the original classic, The Imitation of Christ by Thomas a' Kempis, a book that is said to be the second most popular piece of Christian literature after the Bible itself. Yet, in six hundred years, no one has ever attempted to present the timeless teachings of this wonderful masterpiece to young readers--until now.

The book is targeted to children between the ages of eight and twelve, a time when most children have received their First Holy Communion and are working toward Confirmation. There is not much written for Catholics in this age group, although it is an impressionable time in their faith formation. I am pleased to have artist Christ Sabatino lend his talent to provide wonderful spot illustrations throughout the book to intice the reader further into the story.

Following the general layout of the original book, this chapter book is also divided into four sections. The first discusses why it is important to make Jesus the leader in our lives, giving practical and kid-friendly ways on how to do that. In this section, I discuss ways to talk to and listen to Jesus and how to apply the concept of loving one another as we are called to do.

The second section talks about ways to become a better follower of Jesus. Children are encouraged to reflect on their purpose in life, how Christianity calls us to positive attitudes and actions, and how to deal with everyday temptations.

The third section discusses ways to keep our faith growing with the rest of our lives through things like religious studies, reading the Bible, and discovering the treasure of the saints. It introduces the idea to the child about Jesus being our best friend.

Finally, the fourth section leads the reader to ultimate union with Jesus through Holy Communion. The book reviews what this sacrament means, how to keep it fresh and meaningful, how to prepare ourselves before, during, and after, and what the Eucharist really is calling us to do.

A special guide is provided at the end to give parents and teachers creative ways to use the book, including lots of activities and discussion questions.

Using contemporary language and situations, The Imitation of Christ for Children helps youngsters live out the gift of the Eucharist and find their unique purpose in life according to God's loving plan, while making them eager to continue in their life of faith.

My hope is that this book will inspire adults to enter into a lively faith exchange with their children and students, and perhaps experience the original classic, The Imitation of Christ, for themselves.

I hope you enjoy the book!

Elizabeth Ficocelli

Do you use a missal?

Reader T. wrote today asking about teaching children (ages 7-11) to use a missal in Mass. Does your family use a missal when you attend Mass? I tend not to use one, and have never really encouraged my children to use one either - what does your family do? Do you have a missal you love or a favorite children's missal? I'd love to hear from you in the comments or at

Patron Saint of Lost?

When I was reading Daddy's "Lives of the Saints" book today, I was fascinated by the commentary on St. Joseph of Cupertino, nicknamed the "Flying Friar". I don't remember ever having read about him in the past - I think I would have remembered the parts about him levitating. He is the patron saint of aviators, and also of students and test takers!

If Joseph were alive today, perhaps he'd be a huge Lost fan, like the Hendey family! We've been enjoying our new complete Lost Season 2 DVD in anticipation of the start of the new season. If you're a fan of Lost, you're probably like me: needing a fix! Greg and I just saw the Season 2 finale for the first time last night and now I can't wait to find out what will happen next! We kind of skipped around through some of the episodes, so I'm still a little confused about a thing or two - I need to find some extra time to get caught up with the rest of the shows I missed. If you haven't seen Lost yet, consider renting the DVDs and watching it that way - I prefer it to watching the show on TV. No commercials and you can just jump right into the next episode. I may blog a bit about Season 3 this year, so please bear with me if you're not a fan of the show! If you are a fan, I'd love to hear what you thought of the Season 2 finale, especially then ending with Penny!

Bringing Home a New Baby

These pictures of Evan welcoming his new little brother Tyler arrived on Friday and I thought it would be fun to share them here. I'm having to get to know my new nephew via emailed photos - they reminded me of when we brought Adam home from the hospital almost 12 years ago.

I've shared with my sister that the night before Adam was born, I went into Eric's room to tuck him in and say prayers. I knew that my labor was being induced the next morning, and I suddenly had that panicky feeling - "Is there room enough in my heart to love a new baby as much as I love Eric? How will Eric cope?! His little world will be forever changed!"

Well, I was right - all of our worlds were changed by Adam's arrival on the scene. We never could have predicted the blessings that he would bring, or the best friend that he would become for his big brother.

Those first few weeks with a new baby are so hard. You're sleep deprived, hormonal and still expected to cope with all of your motherly duties for your pre-existing kiddos, who may be experiencing some adjustments of their own. "What?! Share my Mom?! Are you kidding me?!"

I don't have any words of wisdom for my sister - I can barely remember those first few weeks with Adam. When I look back at pictures of Eric holding Adam in those first days, he looks so little to me. I remember thinking at the time that he seemed absolutely huge in comparison to the new baby! Every day, I pray for Erin and other new Moms and their babies - for their good health, their peace of mind, and a few hours of uninterrupted sleep!

Here's an interested article on preparing your toddler for a new baby. If anyone else has any words of wisdom, feel free to pass them along. In the mean time, I'll be enjoying photos of my nephew Evan getting to know his new best friend, Tyler!


San Joaquin Memorial - 0
Garces - 27

Notre Dame - 21
Michigan - 47

Ouch! My favorite SJM player started at left guard this week and played about a third of the game. He was alternating his spot with a much larger sophmore, since he was lined up against a massive guy. This weekend's game was the annual "Holy Bowl" where our kids play in multiple sports against Bakersfield's Garces Catholic High School. I'm not sure what they feed those boys from Bakersfield, but the sure do grow them big! We're looking forward to our league games, which should be a little bit more competitive.

No comment on the Notre Dame game, other than to say the atmosphere wasn't very friendly in my family room on Saturday afternoon. Somebody (and it's not me) gets grumpy pretty easily when the Irish have an off weekend. Hopefully we'll bounce back with a victory over Michigan State.

Friday, September 15, 2006

Interesting Ideas

From Harcourt's Faith@Home website - they seem to be clued in to what's happening around my house these days:

For September
Make time for each other, even when you’re busy. Reorganize your schedule to make more time for your home life.

• Schedule one night a week for a family home cooked meal.

• Having a crazy week? Create time for a meal together even if it is a take-out lunch.

• Not going to see a family member this evening?-- leave love notes, or notes of support and affirmation.

• Communicate with your children on their terms—email or instant message just to let them know you are thinking about them. Using a cell phone or pager works too.

• Mark your calendars—schedule an entire day together with no outside obligations even if it is six weeks away.

Thanks to reader Shelby for this great suggestion!

Now Out in Paperback

One of my favorite authors is Meredith Gould, author of The Catholic Home : Celebrations and Traditions for Holidays, Feast Days, and Every Day

This great book has recently been re-released in paperback. It holds a place of honor on my most frequently visited bookshelf. You can read about it over at - For less than $10, this book is a great resource for Catholic families.

Our Lady of Sorrows

Thank you to Sue Terbay and Fr. Jerry for forwarding the following reflection on today's Feast of Our Lady of Sorrows:

Reading I: 1 Cor 9:16-19,22b-27
Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 84:3,4,5-6,12
Gospel: John 19:25-27 or Luke 2:33-35

Today’s Reflection:Then he said to the disciple, “Behold, your mother.” –John 19:26

I am a mom. From the day the little one was first put into my arms, I took on the title. As I eased into the garment of motherhood, I found that Mom is not just a title, nor a role. It became a part of who I am, my very identity, how I look at the world. It’s an amazing adventure with so many unexpected joys! Somehow no one had the courage to tell me, though, as Simeon told Mary, that simply by being a parent one opens up the heart to be pierced. There’s the usual difficulties of being a kid. A little teasing here. Someone’s campaign poster defaced there. Gossip hurts someone’s reputation. It breaks a mother’s heart a little. It gives me an ever increasing respect for the way that Mary stood by in Jesus’ life.

Her flesh and blood was misunderstood, mocked, humiliated, beaten, and eventually killed. And she stood with him in it all. At the foot of the cross she stood to minister to him in her quiet presence and in her tears. Did she lay her palm softly against the man’s foot that was once little and cupped in her hand? He acknowledged her there. His own flesh failing, he took her under consideration, handing her into the care of his disciple. And in turn, handing his precious mother on to all disciples. Here she is. See her grace. Model after her strength and dignity and love. Blessed, sainted mother Mary, teach me by your example how to withstand the heartbreaks of parenthood, and of living, and deliver only love in return.

Peace in Christ,
Michelle Vander Missen

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Getting Ready for Sunday

If you'd like to spend some time preparing for this Sunday's Liturgy of the Word, take a look at the following resources:

* weekly gospel activities: We offer a coloring page based on the Sunday Gospel, Mass Worksheets for kids ages 7 - 14, crossword puzzles, and word search puzzles using terms from the Gospel reading

* This Sunday's Readings - read them online before Sunday's mass at the USCCB web site

* Crossroads Initiative - Dr. Marcellino D'Ambrosio offers wonderful reflections every week based on the readings. This week's reflection asks what we really mean when we say, "Amen!"

Do you have a favorite Sunday-prep resource? I'd love to hear from you in the comments below or by email at

This Week's DWW Recipes

I've just posted this week's new Dine Without Whine Recipes over at

Baked Potato Soup
Orange Coffee Cake
Cookies ‘N’ Cream Fluff

Suddenly I'm hungry for lunch! Do you know what's for dinner at your house tonight? If you're looking for meal ideas, check out our DWW recipes and consider subscribing to Christine's wonderful weekly service.

Congratulations Danielle

Congrats and best wishes to Catholic Mom extraordinaire Danielle Bean and her family on the birth of Daniel Jr. on September 10th! Can you believe she's already managed to post baby pictures over on her blog! He's a beautiful baby - no surprise with such a fantastic Mom!

Increasing Productivity

Squeezing more productivity out of each day is high on my list of priorities lately, with days packed full of fun stuff to do. This week, I'm enjoying the series on Increasing Productivity being run by Mike St. Pierre over at his Notebook. Mike's suggestions have been very helpful to me in prioritizing a few things in my own life. Take a look and I'll bet you learn a thing or two as well!

Baby Jesus' Mom!

My eldest just left for school sporting a Superman costume - it's Freshman/Senior Welcome Week at his high school and his senior seems to have a great sense of humor. I was trying to get him to let me take a picture and he said, "No Mom, you'll put it on your blog!" Boy, does he know me too well or what?! So I had to promise not to post the photo here. Rats!

Yesterday was "Dress Your Freshman as Your Favorite Biblical Character" Day. I dropped Eric off at 7:15 so he could be dressed by his senior. Since Moms aren't allowed to dally in the school lot (rules enforced by sons), I had to take off before seeing his costume. His senior had told him the day before that he would be dressed as the Baby Jesus. I would have loved to have seen him, but I didn't.

By the time last night rolled around, due to a crazy schedule, I still hadn't seen Eric. I was running the Notre Dame booth at our County College Fair. A young women sporting a Memorial (Eric's high school) tshirt came up to chat with me and I told her my son was a freshman at her school. She asked, "Do you know what costume he was wearing today?"

"He was Baby Jesus, but sadly I didn't get to see him in costume."

"Your son is Baby Jesus?! He was famous at school today! Everyone was wanting his picture - he had the best costume!"

Yes, I've been known as "Eric's Mom" for a long time - but now, for at least a day, I can add "Baby Jesus' Mom" to my list of accomplishments.

Monday, September 11, 2006


In this weekend's action:

San Joaquin Memorial JV - 6
Dos Palos - 12

The scoreboard showed a loss, but this Mom thinks our kids were winners. #64 started at Right Guard and held his own, going up against a monster sized sophomore.

Notre Dame - 41
Penn State - 17

What could be better than a huge victory on opening day at Notre Dame stadium? This blog will officially be used to further Brady Quinn's bid for the Heisman! Go Irish, beat Michigan!

Still in our prayers

I wanted to write a loving tribute to the victims and heroes of 9/11 on today's fifth remembrance of that day, but I find myself unable to move beyond the huge lump in my throat to find the words. I'll leave that to others today - but our prayers for the many families touched by that day continue.

For those who lost loved ones, for the heroes who saved so many that day, and for our military and their families, our prayers for you continue.

You may want to visit:

* Write In Between - Pat Gohn
* Open Book - Amy Welborn
* Happy Catholic

Fifteen Reasons to Love My Fifteen Year Old

This weekend, we were busy celebrating Eric, who turned fifteen on Saturday. Both of my sons celebrate September birthdays. With the addition of little Ty, it looks like September will be solidified as a favorite, and very eventful, month on my calendar.

Eric, I’ve been contemplating you for the past few days, thinking about the gift that you are in my life. The following are a simply a few of the reasons I think you are so very special:

1. You love to read – a recent trip to Barnes & Noble found you perusing Matthew Kelly’s “The Rhythm of Life”, a biography of Genghis Kahn, a book about classic rock songs, and a fantasy novel…since you were a little boy, you’ve swallowed up books and retained their contents – I love that!
2. You’re the world’s greatest big brother – I saw you out back this weekend, playing at a sword fight with Adam, and it made me smile because you’re so generous with the small amount of spare time you have in your life right now. Adam adores you, and he’s so wonderful because of the great example you constantly set for him.
3. You are respectful – you may not like our rules, but you play by them. Unlike many of your peers, you keep your pants pulled up and don’t use bad language.
4. You are a gentleman – you hold the door open, shake hands with grown ups, and consider the needs of others before your own.
5. You love classic music – you used the iTunes gift certificate your grandparents sent you to purchase “Creedance Clearwater Revival’s Greatest Hits” without even knowing the poetic justice of your purchasing decision. All I could do was smile, wipe a tear away, and sing along with you when you put it in the Tahoe’s CD player – those songs populate the soundtrack of my childhood – I love that you love them too!
6. You are great with little children – when I watched you playing with your three year old cousin Jake this weekend, I was reminded about how super you are with little ones. Your volunteer efforts at the Children’s Hospital this summer were a gift to the many little ones whose hours of waiting you made more fun and less worrisome.
7. You try your best at everything you do – You strive to give 110% in your endeavors, whether they are work or play. You make me want to try harder to be my best too!
8. You are a good friend – You listen to your friends (especially one of them), you care about them, and you are devoted to them.
9. You love to try new things – You live life with a sense of adventure. You love to go to new places, to take a stab at new experiences, and to exert your independence. You might be afraid sometimes, but you never let that stop you!
10. You like your food spicy – you like hot stuff, the spicier the better and you love to experiment with cooking. You like to try new foods. You put up with your Mom’s pedestrian efforts in the kitchen and love to try new restaurants.
11. You are tough and you don’t complain – I watch how hard you work, at school and in sports, and it exhausts me sometimes. In life, sometimes we have to “play through” difficult periods when we may not feel like taking care of our responsibilities – you take care of business in a way that is inspiring to your parents, coaches and teachers.
12. You make time for family – at an age when many of your peers would rather be dropped off at the mall, you will sit and watch a movie with your family, will go in the Jacuzzi and talk for an hour, or will play games with your little brother. When you’re gone, we miss you!
13. You are brilliant – I know, as your Mom I’m a bit biased, but your mind astounds me. You take after your Daddy in this respect – I’m glad you’re around to help Adam with his homework when Dad isn’t! Whether it’s Biology or literature, Spanish or Social Studies, you take it on with an incredible enthusiasm for learning that will serve you your whole life.
14. You offer your talents to God and to others – I am so happy to see you up in the Sanctuary each week, playing your guitar at Mass. You are a good example of what it means to be a “steward”.
15. You are a wonderful son – You always make me feel proud and lucky to be your mother. You are a miracle that Dad and I could never have anticipated – you changed our world forever, and you continue to make our lives better every day.

Watching you grow up is hard sometimes, because I love you so much and I know that the more you grow, the more you move into the world on your own. The pride and love that fills my heart when I think of you is difficult to describe – but I want you to know how much I love and respect you sweetie! Thank goodness you’re not sixteen this year: I still get to spend another year driving you around! Here’s to a great fifteenth year and to all the future holds. I love you Eric! Mom

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Tyler Thomas Patrick

Precious Tyler,

Now that you've arrived, the world is a better place! Through the miracle of email and digital cameras, I'm able to see your adorable little face long before I will have the chance to hold you in my arms. I thought seeing pictures would help me to keep from missing you too much, but instead it just makes me even more anxious to be able to snuggle you soon!

Your "big boy" cousins have been praying for you for months - secretly, they were praying you'd be a boy, another member of their dynasty! Your brother Evan must be so very happy to have a new best friend - he may seem a little confused right now about you and may not quite understand where you suddenly came from, but trust me: you're going to be lifelong buddies!

Tyler, you are the special miracle baby who enabled your Mommy and Daddy's hearts to grow even bigger, even more capable of love than they ever thought they could be. You are such a lucky boy, to be born to parents who will cherish and treasure you every day!

It's so fantastic that your Nana is there to welcome you into the world - get to know her: she's a pretty awesome person! Before you know it, there will be aunties, uncles, cousins and friends wanting to hold and care for you - you'll have to be patient with feels like we've waited years for the chance to know you!

OK little Ty, it's time for you to take a nap and to let your Mommy get some rest too! She's going to be busy with two little red headed guys filling her kitchen and her heart! Until I can hold you, kiss you, and see your precious face in person, my prayers for you and for your family continue.

I love you sweetie!
Auntie Lisa

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

It's a Boy!!!

My new nephew, Tyler Thomas Patrick B. arrived at 12:33 pm today!!! He is 6 pounds, 15 ounces and 19 inches long. Mom and baby are both doing well, so thank you for those prayers! I'd give anything for a plane ticket to Chicago today!

Welcome Tyler!!! We love you!!!

Maybe They Should Ban Parents

You may have seen the video that's been all over the news today of the Football Dad/Coach rushing the field and shoving the player who late-hit his son. This drama unfolded in Stockton, about two hours north of where we live. It was strangely reminiscent of some of the games Eric played during his Youth Football career. In fact, I even blogged last fall about my frustration with obnoxious parents at football games.

I don't know the solution to this problem, other than to expect the best of my own sons in the sportsmanship department and to set a good example for them with my own behavior. Hopefully they will throw the book at this dad/coach and all the others who ended up in the brawl following the game - perhaps that will provide some deterrent for others tempted to misbehave.

Either that, or they should just make parents drop their kids off at the gate and let the kids play the game free of catcalls at the refs, obscenities screamed at both teams, and fear of having a dad punch you out.

Maybe I should have had girls - I'll bet this kind of stuff never happens at ballet classes!

Baby Update

No baby yet - Erin's doctor is busy with other deliveries, so her scheduled C-section is running behind schedule. Keep those prayers coming!

Monday, September 04, 2006


At 9:00 tomorrow morning, or somewhere around that time, the world will welcome a new little person - my neice or nephew! My sister Erin is scheduled to have a C section tomorrow. She and her husband David and little Evan will welcome their new addition, whose gender is currently a mystery.

If she's a girl, she'll be the first female cousin in a family of boys. All of our siblings currently have male children. She will be the princess of the clan, undoubtedly spoiled by her Auntie Lisa with lots of pink clothes, adorable dresses and a Barbie or two (yes, I'll admit to loving Barbie!). She will take Irish step dancing classes, have long red hair like her Mommy, and will be force to be reckoned with I'm sure!

If he's a boy, he will be his brother's best friend and playmate. He will continue what my own son's refer to as our "Chinese Dynasty" - they are actually hoping for a boy. When I watch my own sons play together I know that Evan would be truly lucky to have a little brother.

In today's day and age, not knowing the gender and name of my newest little niece/nephew is very unique. It seems most people prefer to take the surprise element out of their pregnancies. I feel impatient for our newest family member's arrival - I will not sleep well tonight (Erin probably won't either) and will be on the edge of my seat until I hear that Mom and baby are both doing well. Thank goodness I'm not living in the olden days when news of nieces' births were delivered months later by pony express! I would die of suspense!

Please join me in praying for Erin, David, Evan and little baby - may the delivery be safe and healthy with no complications and may she/he live a life of happiness and joy, with a heart close to God and a world full of blessings.

Catholic Mom Sports Report

In significant weekend sports news:

San Joaquin Memorial JV - 3
Bullard High School JV - 7

Despite the final score, it was a moral victory for our boys, playing against a much larger and more experienced Bullard team. We lost our quarterback to a mild concussion early in the second half, but hope to have him back soon. Eric saw limited playing time, but at least got in for a few plays on the Offensive Line and didn't get smashed.

Notre Dame 14
Georgia Tech 10

Yikes, what a stressful game! We ended up with the win, so that's the good news! Next up, Penn State at ND - if you've never had the chance to go to a football game at Notre Dame, you've missed a slice of heaven on earth! Next weekend should be a blast for anyone lucky enough to have tickets.

Friday, September 01, 2006

Great New Resources

Can you tell I've been to visit my PO Box today? Two resources that I've been greatly anticipating are now in my possession and I can't wait to dig in and start exploring them. I'm particularly excited about the United States Catholic Catechism for Adults, which looks just incredible! It's size is a bit daunting, but I'm hoping to incorporate reading a small segment into my morning spiritual reading. I have to say if I could only afford to purchase one of these, my preference would be the US Catechism. My reviews are posted over at Amazon and you can view them by clicking on the titles below:

Now Out for 2007

One of my favorite devotional resources is the Sacred Space web site. For the past three years, Ave Maria Press has published an affordable paperback version of the SS meditations. The new 2007 version is out and has me excited for Advent already. Hey, if the can have Christmas decorations for sale at Costco, I can be planning for Advent!