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 http://www.cswna.org

"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 cswna@comcast.net.

Cool Catholic T Shirst

Catholic Mom Lori wrote me this weekend to tell me about her web site, www.thechurchbaby.com 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 www.catechistconnection.net today.

Sharmane's New Web Site

One of my favorite Catholic musicians, Sharmane, has just announced the grand opening of her new website at http://www.sharmane.com/. 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 www.comedybysally.com
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 CatholicMom.com. 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 www.gvonline.net 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 CatholicAuthors.com - 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 www.catholicdigitalimages.com. 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 www.archivalart.com .

"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 www.mondayqb.com 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 http://www.yarnpaperscissors.blogspot.com/

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 now...so 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 CollegeBoard.com - 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!