Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Notre Dame, Our Mother!

You gotta love Mark Hart, the Bible Geek! This morning, when I was whining about being cold when it's 40 degrees outside, I should have remembered those good old 8:00 am classes at Notre Dame!

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Planning Ahead

Three times a month, I spend time volunteering in the "College Connection" office at my son Eric's Catholic high school. Eric is a freshman this year and while college seems very far away, I know that it will be upon us in the blink of an eye. Volunteering with the counselors is helping me greatly understand some of the nuances in helping a student be prepared to apply to good colleges.

Today, as I was doing my work in the background, one of the counselors was reviewing the recently taken ACT-PLAN test results with a group of sophomores. This test is an early prediction of performance on other tests the student will take when applying for college. With one eye on my work, I was listening carefully to the information the counselor was sharing with the students about requirements for our local California colleges.

Times have certainly changed since I was accepted at and attended the University of Notre Dame. Students really do need to be planning as early as their first year of high school to ensure that they are taking all necessary courses. If you have a student in high school or junior high, consider making regular visits to the College Board web site , which offers many helpful resources. Also, volunteering at your child's school may be a great source of information and inspiration. I hope that both of my sons will have the opportunity to attend great universities. That being said, I consider it part of my job as a mom to help them prepare now to keep all of their options open. Just as we "grown ups" need to assess and work towards goals and personal aspirations, so do our young men and women. I feel fortunate that I have a very close relationship with our fifteen year old. On a recent walk, we spent thirty minutes discussing his possible future vocation (which seems to change once a month) and the steps he needs to be taking now to prepare himself. I don't want to put too much pressure on my son, but I do want him to know the sky is the limit if he works up to his potential.

Perhaps your child is the type who comes home from school each day and tells you everything that happened. That doesn't happen in my house. So volunteering at high school is a bridge for great conversations!

Happy Birthday Daddy!

Dear Daddy,

Happy Birthday!!! I wish I could be with you today to celebrate, but at least I have the wonderful memories of our time together at Tyler's Baptism still warm in my heart. As a 43 year old Daddy's girl, I continue to feel sorry for woman who's not your daughter - it's so wonderful to have the perfect Daddy!

For your inspiration, your patience, your compassion, the way you truly listen, and most of all for your dance moves, I love you with all my heart. Thanks for teaching me that it's always great to strive for our goals, whether they be spiritual, physical, financial, intellectual or emotional. Thank you for your gentle way and your great laugh. Thanks for teaching me that every day is the best yet, a gift from God. Thank you for teaching me how to love my spouse, my children, my parents and my siblings unconditionally.

I hope you have a wonderful celebration this year and many more in the future. You're the best!!!

I love you,
Your Favorite!

Monday, January 29, 2007

Just in Case

Just in case you're in the mood to shop over at Amazon, would you mind clicking through this link for the next few days?! I'm very close to the next commission level for the month of January and a few more sales could mean a bit higher commission and more money for Thanks!

For My Chicago Baseball Fans

This sounds like a really cool event:


Click here for more information or to reserve.

WHAT: Honor Major League Baseball Stars and Benefit “Champions of Faith” Project Juan Pierre, former Chicago Cub and current LA Dodger center fielder, and Jack McKeon, Former Manager of World Champion Florida Marlins, will be award recipients and speakers at the First Annual Champions of Faith Awards Benefit.

The Champions of Faith Project explores the intersection of sports and faith by profiling some of the most accomplished and devout figures in sports, both on and off the field. Its first tool – a high-definition video sports special – highlights the lives and careers of some of the biggest names in Major League Baseball.

This Chicago Awards Benefit hopes to raise awareness and funding in order to bring this powerful film to every school, Little League, church and men’s group in the United States. In addition to honoring two of the featured stars of the film, an engrossing, 10-minute sneak peek will be shown at the event, showcasing baseball as a powerful metaphor for life. Produced with the cooperation of Major League Baseball and music legend Bob Dylan, this inspiring production provides some of the biggest names in our national pastime with a unique forum to discuss faith, family, teamwork, sacrifice, leadership, humility and the many virtues and spiritual lessons they have learned from the game. “Champions of Faith – Baseball Edition” is scheduled for release at the start of the 2007 Major League Baseball season.

WHEN: Sunday, Feb. 11
1-2 p.m. – VIP Reception featuring meet-and-greet with All-Star center fielder Juan Pierre and legendary manager Jack McKeon of the 2003 World Champion Florida Marlins
2-4 p.m. – General Reception featuring keynote presentations, awards and live auction

WHERE: Cadillac Club at Soldier Field
1410 S. Museum Campus Drive, Gate 14
Chicago, IL 60605 (312) 235-7000

WHO: Patrick McCaskey, co-owner of the NFL’s Chicago Bears, is hosting the event. Featured speakers include Juan Pierre, Jack McKeon and former Chicago sportscaster John Morales, who is serving as Master of Ceremonies.

COST: Individual tickets for the General Reception are $65 in advance and $80 at the door on the day of the event. For the VIP Reception (limited to 200 people), tickets are $100 in advance and not available at the door. For more information or to order tickets for the Chicago event, visit or call (678) 990-9032.

Happy Baptism Tyler!

My Dear Precious Tyler,

I can't believe it's been a week since your Baptism and I'm just now finding the time to write you this note! I had such a wonderful time with you in Chicago and now I'm missing you like crazy!

What a special gift it was for me to be present for the celebration of your Baptism - you are our little miracle baby, a constant reminder that God loves us so greatly He can make all of our dreams come true. I want to remember what a special day we had for your Baptism - it really was perfect. You looked like a little angel in our family Baptismal gown. It seems like your big brother Evan was just wearing it yesterday for his special day. Although it was snowing outside for your Baptism, the Church had a warm glow inside. I remember being so proud of your mommy, my sister Erin, as she held you at the moment Father poured the water of Baptism over your little forehead. With such a wonderful mommy and daddy, you're sure to grow up filled with faith and love. Our celebration after the ceremony was so much fun too, the perfect ending to a perfect day.

Ty, every time I think of you it makes me smile. You have that bright, loving face that bursts into sunshine every time you look into someone's eyes. I love how you play and how you love watching your brother. I love your confident faith in your mommy and daddy - you know that they will always love and care for you. You are truly a wonder - I can't wait to come back and see you and Evan again soon. Thank you for sharing your special day with me. Darling babies like you are the future of our Church, and that's a very bright and hopeful prospect!

Happy Baptism Tyler Thomas Patrick. I love you!
Auntie Lisa

Friday, January 26, 2007

Catholic Poetry

If you enjoy Catholic poetry, you are likely familiar with the work of poet Pavel Chichikov, Poetry Editor at Catholic Exchange. Now, along with reading Pavel's poetry, you can listen to him read it online at his website, - his voice has a tremendously soothing quality and his work is always very spiritually relevant.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

New Edition of "To Teach"

One of my favorite "e" publications is the wonderful "To Teach" from USCCB. February's edition is now available and looks at the "heart of our faith" - love. Click here to read this great resource, directed at educators and parents.

The Business of Life

Yesterday, I spent the day traveling by plane from Chicago back home to Fresno. On one of the portions of my trip, I broke out my highlighted and underlined copy of David Allen's Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity to review. Seated adjacent to me was a young executive flying on business. My book caught his eye and he commented on it, asking me my profession. "I'm a Mom," I told him, giving my standard response.

The reality of my employment status is a bit too complicated to explain, so I prefer to state my vocation when asked. In truth, I run several web sites, am employed part time by my parish, write on a freelance basis and do design projects for small businesses.

I caught his sarcastic smile when he queried why I was reading a book about personal productivity if I was "just" a stay at home mom. Rather than give a lengthy response, I told him I worked part time and that I was interested in the topic of time management.

If I had been thinking straight, I would have referred to productivity guru David Allen's latest podcast, where he refers to "winning at the game of work and the business of life".

Indeed, for our work to be successful, it is crucial that we look at our home life as a well oiled machine. If my husband does not have laundered white coats fresh and waiting, he will not be properly uniformed to carry out his work as an ER doctor. If the brakes on my car don't function properly due to lack of service, I am unable to drive to my clients' offices for consultation. If I do not eat healthfully and exercise regularly, I am not in top form to manage the multiple professional responsibilities that demand my attention each day. You get the idea.

On the final flight home, I spent time working on a list of "next actions" that need to be taken care of today. However, when I returned home, I learned of the death of one of our parishioners and the fact that his funeral is this afternoon. My list will have to wait, as I feel compelled to honor and pray in thanksgiving for this special man and his well lived life.

Regardless of whether we are stay-at-home parents or partners in a law firm, personal productity and time management are critical to our missions and vocations and have great relevance to our lives, both at work and in the home.

Sometimes, the business of life trumps the game of work.

This post is also available on the Catholic Exchange productivity blog, CE on Time

Home Again

I arrived home from my trip to Chicago safe and sound. No missed connections made for a very smooth trip. I hope to post photos of my adorable nephews later today or tomorrow, but need to take care of a few things this morning and attend a funeral this afternoon. Thanks for all of those prayers for safe travels! They worked!

Friday, January 19, 2007


Sorry the cell phone photo is so bad, but that tiny blue dot behind the microphone is famous Catholic author and Speaker Matthew Kelly, who spoke at Eric's high school today. If you've never heard of Matthew Kelly, you don't follow the Catholic best seller list, at the top of which Kelly consistently resides.

Eric's Freshman religion teacher, a wonderfully enthusiastic and faith-filled teacher, arranged the Matthew Kelly visit. He spoke for about an hour and then gave each of the students a copy of his latest book. It was the first time I've heard Matthew speak, so I was thrilled to hear his talk. I risked facing the wrath of my son and joined the other moms who sneaked in to hear this wildly motivational young man.

Matthew Kelly's talk was largely based upon the tenants of his successful books:

* Spend at least ten minutes per day in the "classroom of silence"
* You are not too young to do anything. You are not too old to do anything.
* Your life changes when your habits change.
* Always work at becoming the best version of yourself

While Matthew's talk was clearly geared at the high school students in the gym, at least one 43 year old woman walked away feeling incredibly inspired and ready to look for opportunities to make a difference in our world. Thanks be to our God, who gives us a fresh opportunity each day to become the best version of ourselves. I'm still a work in progress!

Rethinking My Workouts

I knew this information already, but this article by our Fitness Focus columnist Lynn Bode has me rethinking the time I spend at the gym. Eric started back into football workouts this week, needing to report to school by 6:30 am Monday through Thursday. Do you think they'd just let mom come along for the strength training workouts, since I have to drive there anyway?!

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Travelers' Blessings

I'm off on a trip tomorrow, traveling to Chicago to witness the Baptism of my youngest nephew, Tyler. I will make the trip solo, leaving husband and sons at home with a list of activities and provisions to last until next Wednesday when I return home. I actually savor airline travel for the opportunity it gives me to get caught up on loose ends. I normally bring along interviews needing completion, book review notes and other design projects that require quiet and concentration. I'm one of those travelers who conscientiously arrive at the airport two hours early, so I usually have a good chunk of time to finish up a few projects. During one of my most recent trips, I found myself in Midway airport in Chicago for several hours. Having exhausted my laptop battery, I got in a good long walk and eventually wandered upon the Airport Chapel. The half hour I spent praying the Rosary in the solitude of that small enclave was actually one of the highlights of my trip. I now try to check my itinerary in advance to see if any of my stopovers may have a chapel where I can visit. To check out locations of airport chapels worldwide, visit the website of the International Association of Civil Aviation Chaplains.

This post can also be found on the Catholic Exchange on Time Blog.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Being an "After"

Many of us are focused on health and fitness issues in January, the month of resolutions. I found this article over at to be a great motivational tool. It seems that some of the concepts of goal setting and "baby steps" can be translated to other areas where I might be seeking to make some personal improvements.

If the concept of the overall change feels too daunting, it helps me to take baby steps toward achieving the main goal and to document those steps along the way as a means towards staying movtivated. One of my major goals for the next month is to get control over my home office. I'm tempted to post a picture here, just to let you know what a major challenge this is!! The idea of doing it all at once has caused my to procrastinate, because I never seem to find the time. My commitment here, today, is to spend ten minutes a day focusing on cleaning up the office. We'll see how long it takes me to accomplish this task. I'm not talking here about simply moving stacks around - I'm talking about coming up with some systems that will enable me to avoid the mess that now plagues me. That's going to take some time, but this has been a continual problem that's only gotten worse with time.

Do you have a goal this month? If so, what are your baby steps for achieving that goal?

Saintly Role Model

Words of inspiration came to me this morning at daily Mass, as our priest shared information about today's saint, St. Anthony the Abbot, of Egypt. This third century founder of monasticism was noted for his ability to motivate other to "hear the word of God and live it intensely." I found the following quotation in search for additional information on this zealous saint:

Anthony always told those who came to visit him that the key to the ascetic life was perseverance, not to think proudly, "We've lived an ascetic life for a long time" but treat each day as if it were the beginning. To many, perseverance is simply not giving up, hanging in there. But to Anthony perseverance meant waking up each day with the same zeal as the first day. It wasn't enough that he had given up all his property one day. What was he going to do the next day?

As I approach the start of each new day, a precious gift from God, do I wake with zeal for all I will do during the course of my day? This type of perseverance in the faith is what sets us believers apart from others seeking time management and personal excellence. With His mission before us, we seek productivity in our own lives so that we, and those with whom we interact, can possibly move a little closer each day to a true relationship with God.

Today I also posted this to C E On Time - A Guide to Personal Productivity.

Monday, January 15, 2007

The Best Laid Plans...

Irony often reigns in the life of a Catholic Mom. Today, I embark on a new journey as part of the advent of the "C E On Time - A Guide to Personal Productivity Blog" over at Catholic Exchange. While it's an honor to be invited to blog with the talented folks who've been lined up for this new project, today has left me feeling particularly unworthy of my invitation.

Things have been going along swimmingly with my babysitting gig - our 18 month old nephew Patrick has been with us since Friday evening. Last night, as I held him at Mass and collected comments on his excellent behavior, I should have known that something was amiss. Do you know many 18 month olds who will agree to be held quietly for the majority of an hour long Mass?

Well, this morning I discovered why little PIII was so compliant last night. He must have been coming down with something. We've spent most of today cleaning up vomit and doing lots of snuggling. I'm happy to say that the worst of it seems to be behind us. He managed to eat dinner and was just tucked in to bed. It's been at least 8 hours since the last tummy attack.

Personal productivity seemed the farthest thing from my mind today as I fretted over my sweet little nephew's well being. Thankfully, I had already planned a clear calendar for the duration of Patrick's stay (which ends tomorrow). However, it was an excellent reminder that sometimes, the most productive thing a parent can do is to lovingly hold and care for a child. Dishes may pile up and goodness knows there'll be lots of laundry (the yucky kind) waiting, but few things seemed more important - and productive - to me today than snuggling with a precious toddler.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Things My Auntie Lisa Learned Today

Hi everybody! Mom and Dad may think my bed time is 7:00 pm, but when I stay at Auntie Lisa's house, I get to stay up late and blog. I thought I'd take a minute to teach you some of the important lessons I taught Auntie Lisa today:

* If you want something, no matter how outlandish it may be, smile and look really cute when you ask for it. You will likely get what you want!

* Stop eating when you're full, even if there's still stuff in front of you. Then immediately get up and run around - you'll be in great shape like I am!

* It's never to cold to go outside and play, or to take a walk.

* My favorite part of Mass is any time Uncle Greg is playing his guitar. Auntie Lisa must think so too, because she smiles a lot when he plays.

* If you're at Target and there's something you think you can't live without (like a Buzz Lightyear with lights and talking noises), pick it up and walk around with it while you shop. Right before you leave, sneak it back onto the shelf. You probably won't even remember you wanted it by the time you get home and you'll save some money.

* Having a giggle fit while someone says bedtime prayers with you is an excellent stall tactic.

If you're lucky, maybe I'll be back tomorrow as a guest blogger. I'm supposed to go to the zoo with my cousins, so it should be a great day!

Love and kisses,

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Baby Report

Little Mr. Patrick III is down for a nap, so I thought I'd report that all is well in "Auntie Land" in case Mom and Dad happen to get online and check in. We had a full night of sleep (almost twelve hours for him! I kept waking up to check and see why he wasn't crying...). After a lingering breakfast (he loves to eat), we went out for Story Time at Barnes and Noble and to run a few errands. He's a joy to have around. Now I can see why grandmas love spoiling their grandbabies so much!
I should probably go make some productive use of naptime - keep up those prayers. They're working!

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Getting Ready for Patrick

Tomorrow afternoon, I will be welcoming a pint sized visitor - my 18 month old nephew Patrick, or PIII as he's known in these parts. He's coming to stay with us until Tuesday while his Mom and Dad take a business trip. I can't wait for him to get here! I'm counting on him for lots of play time stacking (and knocking over) blocks, playing with Thomas the Tank Engine and generally just getting into stuff. Our house is incredibly un-baby-proofed, so Auntie Lisa has some work to do to get ready to host a toddler. Blogging will be sparse to non-existent, probably until Wednesday, as I plan to spend most of the next few several days playing with playdough and stuff like that. I'm not sure how moms with many small children find time to do anything on the computer...this will be a reminder to me of life in the good old days when the most productive thing I hoped to do was take a shower and put on clean clothes that hadn't been spit up on.
I was planning to take little Patrick to the zoo, but it looks like we're going to have a very cold streak in Fresno. If anyone has a good idea for cold weather ways to entertain an 18 month old, post a comment for me. When my boys were this age, we would go to the park for hours on end to wear them out, but I don't think that's going to be an option this weekend. I can't wait for him to get here!

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Adam Drumming Update

A new video of Adam practicing on his drums!

Lighting Candles

Maybe it's because of my time at Notre Dame, spent in proximity to the Grotto, but I LOVE lighting candles for special intentions. For that reason, I was moved by the latest column by my friend Patrice Fagnant-MacArthur at Patrice's son David is having a difficult time adjusting to school. Take a moment to read Patrice's column and I think you'll agree that she came up with a wonderful way to support David in his concerns. Patrice and David, I lit a candle at Mass this morning for you and will keep you in my prayers! Thank you for reminding me of the power of simple, loving prayer during times of difficulty. God bless you!

Gadget Mom Wants This Next

I don't need it, but I really want it!

Give it a Try

Can you think of anyplace you go where they thank you profusely for coming the minute you walk in the door, invite you to lounge in a comfy leather recliner for twenty minutes, tell you NOT to exercise for the next 24 hours, hand you a free tshirt and then encourage you to eat twinkies/ding dongs and other sugary snacks for twenty minutes before you leave?

"Where is this magical land?" you ask. "Tell me, so I too can go there!"

Here's your answer: your local blood donor center!

At this point, if you're like most of my friends, you're compiling a list of why you can't donate blood. Even if you've been denied in the past, I would encourage you to check in and see if now you may be eligible to give. I just finished my one year "deferral" following our trip to Costa Rica and spent a lovely morning giving blood, the gift of life.

My best friend and I make giving blood together a special occasion. Every few months, we book a date, go together to donate, and then do a quick lunch afterwards. I'm not a big "going out to lunch" girl, so it's a treat to have this special time with Mara. In the mean time, I get a good assessment of my health (my blood pressure, pulse and iron levels are all very healthy). I walk out with the feeling that I've done something very worthwhile and that perhaps I've helped someone in tremendous need in the process. If you've never given blood and you're afraid, let them know when you walk in the door that it's your first time and you will be treated like a queen (or king!). My daddy introduced me to the joy of being a blood donor - I was so scared the first time I donated that I was sure I would pass out. I couldn't believe it when I was done in twenty minutes and there was so little discomfort involved.

Sure lots of people have valid reasons why they can't donate, but lots of us can! If my child were in an accident or had a disease that required transfusions, I would pray for lots of people like me to save my child's life. That may sound dramatic, but it's true. Believe me, the joy that comes from giving blood vastly outweighs any pain you may feel. If you need any more encouragement, or a virtual hand to hold when you donate, email me and I'll be there for you!

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Fr. Solanus

Now that the busyness of Advent and the holidays is behind, I am getting caught up on posting some wonderful resources at I recently had the pleasure of previewing the video of The Healing Prophet: Solanus Casey.

This documentary by GL Productions taught me so much about the life of Fr. Solanus, who was declared a Venerable by Pope John Paul II in 1995. He was a very humble and simple man, but he touched so many lives. For me, he is yet another role model - God uses each of us in our own way to share his light with others. Next time I'm in the midwest for an extended amount of time, I may trouble a certain Michigander I know to take me to visit the Solanus Casey Center in Detroit.

Click here to read my review and interview with filmmaker Audrey Geyer.

What's for Dinner?

Dine Without Whine - Your #1 Source For Online Meal Planning

Is one of your New Year's Resolutions to be a better planner when it comes to feeding your family? Then you may want to check out the "Dine Without Whine" section of recipes over at

This week, the featured recipes are Golden Pork Chow Mein, Carrot Pineapple Loaves, and Easy Chocolate Mousse. If you like these types of recipes, you should definitely consider subscribing to Christine Steendahl's fabulous Dine Without Whine - A Weekly Menu Plan & Grocery List Delivered To Your E-mail Box.

Every week, Christine emails me a weekly list of recipes including main dishes for every night, great weekend brunch ideas and some wonderful and easy to cook sweet treats. For me, part of the pain of cooking is not having the correct items on hand. Along with the recipes, Christine emails a complete shopping list for the week. It's so simple, and all of the recipes we've tried have been winners with my family. Do you know what's for dinner tonight? I do!

Monday, January 08, 2007

Happy Birthday Michael and Meg!!!

Dear Michael and Meg,

My baby brother and his bride celebrate their 30th birthdays this week!

Together, you enter a new decade of life together as newlyweds. Could it get any better?!

Watching Michael turn thirty makes me feel incredibly old. I was a teenager when he was born, so you can do the math yourself and compute that not only do I feel old, I actually am old (44 in June!)

Michael and Meg, I'm sorry I can't be with you this week to celebrate. But I do want to let you both know that I'm so happy for you - I'm happy that you enter what will be a wonderful phase of your lives with your best friend by your side. I know the year ahead will be filled with smiles, fun and also some stress and changes. I want you to know that you are always in my prayers and that you both have a room (yes, you can share one now!) waiting for you at our home if you want to consider becoming part of the California pod. I can't imagine Michael having found a more wonderful wife and soul mate than Meg - we are so lucky to have you as our new sister!

Have a tremendous celebration and save a hug for me when I'm in Chicago later this month. Until then, moose smoochies and lots of love. Happy Birthday!


Choosing Our Family's Way: The Wisdom of the Magi

They prostrated themselves and did him homage.
Then they opened their treasures
and offered him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh.

And having been warned in a dream not to return to Herod,
they departed for their country by another way.

Matthew 2:11-12

One of my spiritual resolutions for the year 2007 is to be a more active listener when it comes time for Sunday’s Liturgy of the Word. Perhaps some of you are like me – I have the best of intentions. I prepare in advance by reading and meditating upon the Sunday gospel prior to attending Mass. Upon arriving at church on Sunday morning, I pray for a heart which will be open to hearing God’s message for me and for my family. But more times than I’d care to admit, after listening to the Sunday Gospel being pronounced by my pastor or another parish priest, I find my mind wandering during the homily. Filled with thoughts of the week ahead, focused on the behavior of my children, or succumbing to distractions around me, I miss out on pearls of wisdom offered by priests who have spent time in study, preparation and prayer. I’ve even walked out after mass at times completely unable to recall the homiletic message.

Auspiciously, my favorite homilist delivered Sunday’s sermon on Matthew’s account of the visit of the Magi to Jesus. When Msgr. Myron Cotta, Vicar General of the Diocese of Fresno talks, I pay attention. As per usual, Msgr. Cotta’s comments on Sunday gave me pause to stop and apply the gospel message to my own life. I knew in advance that he would speak on the importance of Epiphany’s theme of giving our lives as gifts to the Christ child. But it was a small comment Msgr. Cotta made toward the end of his homily that has me thinking today. Had I not been in my new “active listener” mode, I likely would have missed it. Thankfully, I was taking notes and was actually fortunate to document his words.

The Magi, Msgr. Cotta shared, had just come from a tremendous encounter. He called theirs perhaps the “first pilgrimage”, a face to face meeting with Jesus Christ, in the presence of Jesus’ mother Mary. They were forever changed and were anxious to leave and return home, surely filled with zeal and ready to evangelize. And return home they did – but by a different route. Matthew’s account states that, “they departed for their country by another way.” They were forever changed – they couldn’t go home the old way. They left by a new route.

Msgr. Cotta reminded us that we too have just had an encounter with Jesus Christ as we emerge from our Christmas season. “After a conversion of mind and heart, you will want to walk a different path, have different goals,” he encouraged.

My family celebrated a wonderful Christmas this year. In the faces of my boys, growing into young men, I saw the spirit of love and giving that God shares with me unconditionally. As a family, we were moved to pray for peace in our world. Owing to the celebration of Christmas day on a Monday, our celebrations were largely centered on attendance at Church, with our spiritual community Рour little part of the body of Christ. We were kinder to one another than we usually are in day to day living, more patient, communicative and loving. We took time together as a family to travel, to play and to share meals. We encountered newborn baby Jesus in the cr̬che at church, and in our hearts at home. We were a changed family, renewed by the nativity of our Lord and refreshed by a break from the usual rat race.

School starts today, and we must emerge from our pilgrimage, our own encounter with Jesus during the Christmas season. We must return to our “country” – the work and school schedules that keep us a bit too busy. The question I ponder today, the challenge I give myself, is what “way” we will choose for our return. As a mother, it is a part of my vocation to lead my children along the path of their spiritual journey. I desire to encourage them to journey with me along a new, enhanced route. Buoyed by love for Jesus Christ and by his commission to share his good news with others, we set out on the next phase of our journey. Like the Magi, we are changed, converted, and better for having spent time in his presence. Like them, I hope we as a family can choose a new way, a path that eventually leads us and those we love to life with him forever in heaven.

Rosary Effort

“I look to all of you, brothers and sisters of every state of life, to you, Christian families, to you, the sick and elderly, and to you, young people: confidently take up the Rosary once again. Rediscover the Rosary in the light of Scripture, in harmony with the liturgy, and in the context of your daily lives. May this appeal of mine not go unheard!”
Pope John Paul II

A special thank you to my friend, columnist and the talented writer Donna-Marie Cooper O'Boyle. Donna-Marie wrote me today to share the following good news:

If you would like to donate used or new Rosary beads to be sent around the world in my ministry to promote the Rosary, please send them to me at: PO Box 773, New Milford, CT 06776 USA. Please do not send broken Rosaries at this time because I am presently not able to repair them. Please say a prayer for this ministry. You may also donate money (check or money order) for Rosaries to be purchased and to help pay for postage to send these Rosaries around the world. Presently I will be sending Rosaries to India. Thank you for your contribution to this ministry. May God bless you!

Click here to visit Donna-Marie Cooper O'Boyle's web site for additional information.

I'm superstitious about things like Rosaries. For whatever reason, I receive tons of mailings from various religious organizations. If they weren't from orders of saintly sisters, fathers and brothers, I would likely call them "junk mail". They often contain rosaries and other religious artifacts. I can never throw them away, so I have a large basket in my office and they are all there, being collected. Now I know that I can send those rosaries to Donna-Marie, and that they will go to a good home. Thank goodness!

Saturday, January 06, 2007

Last Weekend of Fun

My boys head back to school on Monday, so life will be back to the routine - driving, feeding, practices, lessons, homework and all of that fun. We've been spending the past few days goofing off, and we intend to continue doing so all weekend. Blogging has been light, and will continue that way until Monday morning. I expect to have a case of the blues- I always dread sending my boys back to school.

Yesterday, however, was a good reminder of why I can't homeschool. Adam and I are working on a science project he has for some extra credit. It involves growing a "crystal garden". Yesterday morning found the two of us huddled around the sink and stove, boiling and disintergrating minerals. There were measuring spoons, a kitchen scale, and rubber gloves involved. There was also a big mess, three spills and a spider carcass which accidentally fell into one of our solutions. We decided to leave the spider in the solution - Adam thought it would add some "coolness" and an added scientific effect to the experiment. The back of my sink is now covered with four containers, each holding a rock and a gooey liquid "solution". We do not, as yet, see any sign of crystals forming. Granted, it has not yet been 24 hours, but I'm anxious for science to begin occuring! Did I mention that I'm terrible at science? Dad, the doctor, truly should have been the one to oversee this process, but alas he was at work. Besides, he likely would have suggested removal of the dead spider.

If we homeschooled, we'd probably do all literature and writing and zero math and science. We'd likely stay in our PJs every day until noon, and we'd probably take too many video game breaks while mom/teacher checked her emails.

I'm not sure if we're going to get any crystals or gardens out of the goo, but we did have a fun time together yesterday morning. Stay tuned, and I'll let you know what happens!

Wednesday, January 03, 2007


There will be no second half of the Sugar Bowl Catholic Mom play by play...I have to go watch Adam's fencing lesson...
I'm hoping to come home and find my husband in a happier mood.
Go Irish!

Catholic Schools Week

Reader Tammy wrote to remind me that Catholic Schools Week is coming up - this year we'll celebrate from 1/28 - 2/3. She's looking for fun craft or game activity ideas for her Kindergarten students. Does anyone have any suggestions? Comment below or email me at to share your thoughts.

New Edition of "To Teach"

The USCCB's excellent online Catholic Education resource "To Teach" for January is now available online - it contains great ideas for both Catholic parents and Catholic educators. Click here to view.

Oh No!

The Tigers managed to score right before the end of the first half, which means we go into half time down by seven and my men will spend the half time grumbling! Let's hope for a better second half!

Irish Score!

With 2:25 remaining in the first half, it's nice to hear the strains of the Notre Dame Victory March as the Irish score to tie the score at 14!

Let's Go Irish!

I'm posting this towards the tail end of the first half of the Sugar Bowl, and it's not looking good for the Irish. I've broken out the laptop to try to avoid the tension that is going on in my family TV room - Dad and Eric are not happy campers now that the Irish are trailing 14 to 7 and not looking too sharp. I love my husband, but it's tough being in the same room with him when the Irish aren't playing well!

I've been scouring the crowd shots since my Daddy, sister Brady, brother in law Matt and nephew Patrick are at the game. So far, I haven't seen them, but I'll bet my Daddy's having a great time! There are very few things that are more fun than attending a Notre Dame bowl game...especially one where they win!

I have to admit that while I'm rooting for the Irish, it was wonderful to watch the "pre-game stuff" featuring the Sugar Bowl's return to the Super Dome. How remarkable it is to think that it's been just over a year since the horrific shots we saw of Hurricane Katrina.

OK, time to go back and watch a bit more of the game...let's hope things start clicking for the Irish!

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Apostolate Needs Our Help

Many of us are familiar with the wonderful work being done by Johnnette Benkovic through her Women of Grace and Living His Life Abundantly ministries. You may also be aware that her apostolate is going through some severe financially difficulties at this time. I know that you were hit around the holidays by all kinds of people asking for money for worthy causes, but if you have a bit of financial support and prayer to spare, visit Johnnette's web site and make a small donation. Her example of faith translated into action is a role model for all of us and she deserves our support.

Christmas Continues

Wait, before you start putting away those Christmas decorations (yep, it's on my list too!), remember that we Catholics are just in the middle of our lovely season of Christmas. In that light, please take a moment to read columnist Pat Gohn's latest, entitled Piano Lessons for Christmas. I've long believed in the power of Christmas miracles, and Pat's column is a heart warming reflection on the true blessings of Christmas. Thanks Pat and happy playing!

New Catholic Publishing Company

Congratulations to my cyber pal Cheryl Dickow for the recent article in the Tidings announcing her formation of a new Catholic publishing company, Bezalel Books. You may remember my recent interview with Cheryl about her wonderful book, Reclaiming Your Christian Self in a Secular World.

Cheryl's plans include publication of a Catholic fiction series for women and publication of other authors' Catholic fiction titles as well. You all know that I'm constantly stating we need more Catholic fiction, so Cheryl's work is to be commended and should be supported by all of us. Her first title, Elizabeth, A Holy Land Pilgrimage, sounds wonderful and will be on my must read list. Look for it at our Catholic Mom Book Club after it's publication in February.

Magazine for Girls

Rebekah and Bernadette of St. Maria's Messenger Magazine for girls have written me requesting that I remind you about their wonderful resource for young ladies. Being a mom of two boys, I haven't had occasion to read this magazine yet, but I've heard very good things about it. Congratulations to these two faith filled young Catholic women for the great work they are doing!


One of the world's best Mommies is probably having a stressful day today. She heads back to work after spending the past few months cuddling her second born son, nursing from sunrise to sunset with breaks to play with her active two year old.

This particular Mommy has a dual vocation as a lawyer, and she's a very good one. With the work she does, she makes her community and our world a better place. I'm sure when her alarm went off this morning (probably when it was still dark outside), she longed for another week (or month) of maternity leave. But she got up, hit the floor running, and likely had a hectic time getting herself and her family out the door.

I'm not worried about this particular Mommy, because I know she's one of those wonder-women who have the capacity, intellect and heart to do all that needs to be done. She may be doubting that this morning, as she sits amidst files, stacks of emails and calls that need to be returned. But I know her, and I know she and her baby are going to get through this day and joyously reunite for more nursing in not-too-many hours.

For this particular Mommy, and for all of us who face transitions, struggles, and challenges today, let us remind ourselves that God is good and that He loves us. Let's remember that He is there for us when we face times of difficulty and stress - turning to Him in a moment of quiet time may be just the answer when the going feels tough.

Don't worry Mommy, I'm praying overtime for you today!

Monday, January 01, 2007

Happy 2007!

Here in California, it's still officially New Year's Day, so I haven't yet broken my resolution to attempt to blog (however briefly) each weekday. I've heard from many who begin their workdays with a visit to Catholic Mom Moments or take a portion of their lunch break to visit this little blog. For you, and for me (because sharing my thoughts here has become therapeutic), I commit to making a better effort to write here most days of the week.

Has your year gotten off to a great start? Had I blogged at the beginning of the day, you might have gotten a laundry list of the Lisa Hendey Resolution List, version 2007.1. (Release of version 2007.2 anticipated around Ash Wednesday, February 21, 2007).

But since I've been so busy today, you get the pared down version of the New Year's post and a report that my 2007 is off to a wonderful start. Like many of you, I've used the occasion of a new calendar year to clarify priorities, to identify areas of focus in my spiritual and personal life that need refinement, and to reflect back on the many wonderful memories of 2006. When I take a peak back at my blog entries from the past year, I'm amazed at all of the fun and growing our family experienced in the past year. For better or for worse, my January 1, 2006 resolution blog post still rings awfully true to me. My goals and hopes haven't changed much from last year - perhaps it's a blessing that I'm optimistic enough to continue to believe that self improvement is worth the effort, no matter how long it may take!

My cheeks are rosy and burning from the cold night air - I just returned from my first long walk of 2007. It looked like it wasn't going to happen, as it was getting late, dark and cold. But I decided to bundle up and head out, and I'm glad I did. It gave me a few quiet moments to thank God for the gift of this day, my family and my life. Another example of "better late than never" and a reminder to me that a missed morning workout doesn't have to mean a skipped day of exercise (and the same relates to morning prayer, scripture reading, laundry duty or whatever else I haven't managed to accomplish at the appointed time).

If you are still contemplating how to make 2007 your best year yet, I would point you to a wonderful column at Catholic Exchange by my favorite Personal Productivity blogger and coach Mike St. Pierre. His cover article entitled "Catholicity and Balance: How to Stress Less and Achieve More" is a fantastic piece of motivation and inspiration. I make Mike's blog a daily stop in my internet travels.

Speaking of traveling, you may want to take a look at a new little web site I'm putting together for our family. I'm a proud new Mac owner, and I've been playing around with my new .mac account and have built a little family site. If you visit, you can see photos from our Christmas celebration and our camping trip to San Diego. That's right, we became the proud owners of an 11 year old 23 foot travel trailer and spent the past five days "camping" (if you can call it that when the campground has cable tv hookups!). After spending five days living together in 180 square feet, we are blessedly all still speaking! It was a great trip with no RV disasters and lots of adventures and fun.

Who knows what tomorrow holds, but if today's any indication, 2007 is going to be my best year yet! Hope yours is off to a great start too!