Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Lenten Reflection

I enjoyed the following piece which was shared last Sunday in my parish bulletin. Unfortunately, I don't have the author's name, so I am unable to fully attribute the piece. If anyone knows who wrote this, please reply in the comments below. This little reflection mirrors my own feelings towards this wonderful Lenten season:

Lent - 40 Days

If we were knives, Lent would be a time to sharpen our cutting edges.

If we were cars, Lent would be time for an oil change and a tune up.

If we were swimming pools, Lent would be time to filter the dirt out of the water.

If we were gardens, Lent would be time to fertilize our soil and dig out our weeds.

If we were carpets, Lent would be a time to get power-cleaned.

If we were VCRs Lent would be time to clean our head and adjust our tracking.

If were were computers, Lent would be time to overhaul our disk drive.

If we were highways, Lent would be time to repair our cracks and fill our chuckholes.

If we were TV sets, Lent would be time to adjust our focus and fine-tuning.

If we were batteries, Lent would be a time to get recharged.

If we were seeds, Lent would be a time germinate and reach for the sun.

Friday, February 23, 2007


I've had emails from a few concerned Moms who wanted to be sure that everyone knows about the Peanut Butter Recall - thanks to Pat Gohn for sharing this link.

Also, Donna-Marie reminded me to make sure everyone knows about the dangers of the Mr. Clean Magic Eraser, which has been found to cause chemical burns with some children.

I'm sure most of us have heard about these things on the news, but I thought I'd share these helpful links in case you were looking for more detailed information. With my precious little nephew Patrick III in the house, I need to be sure to hide the Magic Eraser (which, by the way, I have discovered in not very magical at all!).

Lenten Resource: OSV

The great "OSV4me" web site from Our Sunday Visitor has some terrific Lenten Resources available in their newly designed format. I was particularly moved by the Stations of the Cross for the Elderly.

Visit OSV's Lent: The Road to Easter

Pooling Our Catholic Resources

I received an email today from Caitlin, the editor of The Catholic Wiki Project. In the unlikely event that you are unfamiliar with the term "Wiki", Answers.com offers a simple definition: a collaborative website whose content can be edited by anyone who has access to it. Caitlin shared the following about the project:

"This brand new project is an experiment to see if the Roman Catholic community can come together to create a valuable resource on the Roman Catholic faith. This is your opportunity to help build a collective resource created by Roman Catholics on the Roman Catholic faith. The larger the community collaboration, the more accurate and complete the resources will be. Please keep in mind that is a brand new endeavor and that it will experience some growing pains. It is my hope that it will take off and become a thriving online resource on all aspects involving Catholicism. What do you know about Catholicism? This could be anything from aspects of the faith, the Liturgy, Saints, local Catholic customs or your local parish or diocese."

Visit The Catholic Wiki Project.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Avoid the Temptation to "Overdo" Lent

Yesterday, Eric and I had a long conversation about his chosen Lenten devotions. He described to me what he was planning to sacrifice (actually two things) and asked me what I thought about the ideas. I actually advised him to scale back on one of them, to make it a bit "easier" for him - my thinking was that he would likely not be able to remain committed to that particular fast and that he might experience guilt or remorse if he gave up on it. I tried to explain to him that I didn't think his fast needed to be punitive, and that it needed to be kept in the perspective of how sacrificing that particular item would ultimately bring him closer to Jesus.

I wish I would have had a copy of the new article I just posted at CatholicMom.com by our resident Dad, James Hahn - it expresses the exact sentiments I would have liked to share with Eric. I'll be giving him a copy this evening and would love it if you would take time to read this column too.

Avoid the Temptation to "Overdo" Lent by James Hahn

The Fun Begins

Nana and PIII (my little nephew Patrick III - 19 months) have arrived on the scene. This will be an extended visit, two weeks of fun and adventures. The CatholicMom.com corporate headquarters is now host to a "Pack and Play" crib, tons of diapers, and lots of baby stuff. I'm working in the "ancillary" CatholicMom.com facility (i.e. the dining room table) while the little one is napping this afternoon.

Since my site is primarily aimed at Mommies (although I know you Daddies out there are secretly reading this!), I think it's great for me to have this "real world" experience for a few weeks of what it's like for Moms of toddlers who are working from home. My kids were already older when I started my web work.

After less than twelve hours, I can see that I will need to be very organized and not waste time when I have the opportunity to get things done. Nap time seems to provide a good chunk of serviceable work time. Nana is here to do most of the baby duty - I'm just a helper - but I want to spend as much time with both of them as possible while still fulfilling my other responsibilities.

For those of you out there who work at home with little ones, I'd love your tips on what works for you, how you manage your time, and what pitfalls to avoid.

In the mean time, I'll be playing trains, going to the playground and cooking lots of finger food!

Reader Request

I received the following email from Stephanie and am wondering if anyone here may be able to help with information about this particular craft/activity idea for Lent:

I'm looking for a printable activity that a friend sent me ages ago and I don't have on my computer any more. It's a sheet with a crown of thorns printed on it and (I BELIEVE THIS IS HOW IT GOES) another graphic that is roses. I think the way it is used is that each child gets a crown and a batch of roses and with each Lenten sacrifice gets to color and put a rose on the crown so that by Easter the crown is covered with roses -- does this sound at all familiar to you? Thanks for your time!

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Getting It Right the First Time

I am "scurrying around" today, amidst my observation of Ash Wednesday, preparing my home to receive my mother and my 18 month old nephew, who will be visiting with me for the next two weeks. In anticipation of some scheduling irregularities, I've been trying to not only clean my house to meet the "mom" test, but also to take care of some web site related work.

The thing that has occurred to me today is that when I get in this "get everything done NOW" mode, I tend to make way too many mistakes. A mundane example of this is the rice I put on the stove, to prepare for dinner (planning ahead) - someone forgot to set the timer and then popped over to her MacBook to do some stuff. Thankfully, the good news is that I didn't burn the house down, but the bad news is that the rice is rather "toasted" and had to be started again from scratch.

Every time I hit the "send" button prior to proofing an email, every time I publish a page of my web site without double checking it, every time I blog without re-reading through my thoughts, I get burned worse than that rice. I need to constantly remind myself that time spent checking my work is a good investment - when I don't check I frequently have to re-do, thus resulting in a waste of my time and perhaps a bad impression of my work quality for others.

How many times I have to learn this lesson before it sinks in remains uncertain, but today, I've been reminded.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Getting Ready for Lent

As everyone knows, we begin Lent tomorrow with Ash Wednesday. I am hoping to find some quiet time today to truly meditate upon my Lenten journey and to think about my desired devotions, sacrifices and charitable giving opportunities.

If you are planning or contemplating your Lenten devotions, here are some resources that may be of help or inspiration to you:

Sleepy Head

For the past few weeks, I have been plagued by middle of the night insomnia. It's really becoming a pain in the neck. My friends and family know that I have no problem falling asleep, anytime, anywhere. But of late I seem to be waking up around 1:30 or 2:00 am, unable to get back to sleep. After praying the Rosary in bed, if I still can not fall back asleep, I just get up.

I'm not sure why this is happening (age, hormones, stress) and I can't seem to predict when it will happen. Today, I decided to embrace it and just make use of this extra time in my day. I've been asking for more time, right?

I'd love to hear from anyone who has suggestions for me. Just FYI, I know it's not caffeine, as I've been caffeine free for a year now.

Friday, February 16, 2007

Becoming Pizza Mom

I have the world's best Mom. There is no room for debate in my book. She raised (or rather, continues to raise) five of us with love, patience, and good humor. Now she's responsible for not only the five of us, but our five spouses (who also rely a lot on her) and several rowdy grandsons. My mom packs a well charged cell phone 24/7 because she's always on call. I think about her countless times each day, sending her good wishes and blessings, but also frequently thinking...

"WWMMD" - What Would My Mom Do?

Of her many talents and traits, one of the ones I respect a great deal is a moniker she took on when my youngest brother was in elementary school. She became "Pizza Mom" - the one who organized and implemented weekly hot pizza lunches at the cafeteria-less Catholic school Michael attended. Pulling off hot lunch for 600 plus hungry school kids on a regular basis should be something CEOs greatly admire on a resume. It should rank right up there with "excellent written and verbal communication skills" and "project management experience" as proof of someone who's really got their act together.

I'm not quite Pizza Mom yet - I have successfully ducked the duty of organizing a hot lunch at my kids' school for over ten years. But I'm in training - I always try to make myself available to help out, even when my schedule would be better served by remaining home and answering the ten zillion emails in my inbox. Taking time to hand out pizza or orange slices means getting to see and hug Adam in the middle of the day, saying hi and thanks to several hardworking Catholic school teachers, and being told "Thank you" over 400 times. Could there be time better spent than that? I don't think so. So today, I'm off to help my school's reigning Pizza Mom with whatever she needs.

Thanks Mom, for teaching me that being Pizza Mom is a goal worthy of my aspirations. You're the best!

The Week in Review

I'm asking myself how it got to be Friday again already! Due to a day off school on Monday of this week, my routine seemed to be a bit off kilter and some major items never got accomplished this week as they should have. On the bright side, I volunteered at my son's high school this week, entertained friends in my home, managed to gather my family at the dinner table for a meal every night this week and have a date scheduled with my husband for tonight. While a few things slipped through the cracks workwise, overall I'm happy with the way I spent my time this week.

David Allen of GTD and my favorite Life Coach Mike St. Pierre of the Daily Saint both advise a thorough weekly review to check in on items left pending at the end of each week. David Allen has made his weekly review format available for free download and customization to suit your individual needs . Owing to Eric and Adam's schedules on Friday afternoons, I find Friday morning to be a great time to do my weekly review. Having a sense of what actions remain open and a plan for next week helps me enter the weekend less stressed out about unfinished items on my to do list. With faith and family as my biggest priorities, time spent at Eucharistic Adoration or a special family meal on Valentine's day sometimes trump other items. What did this week hold for you, and what lies ahead next week?

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Kids Music

Replying to the request below, Maranda M. wrote to inform me that she and her first grade students use Kids Sing for Jesus. I haven't heard this particular CD, but have had it recommended to me a few times. It is listed on our CatholicMom.com page of Music Recommendations for Catholic Children.
I'd love to hear more suggestions if anyone has any ideas.

Monday, February 12, 2007

Reader Request

I received the following email request and am wondering if anyone has any ideas. If you can help with either topic, post a comment or email me at lisa@catholicmom.com

Dear Catholic moms, We are looking for catholic music for our 2nd grade class. We want them to learn our music that we use in mass. Please could you help us and if anyone knows a game called Teen Choice for older children. We lost our in a mover from the military.This is a board game.

New Book Blog

Congrats to author Max Elliot Anderson for the launch of his new blog Books for Boys. Max is the prolific author of many wonderful adventure books aimed at young readers ages 8 through 13. His books are the kind of fast moving action that young guys love. Both of my boys loved his books a few years back. Max rightly points out that his books are loved by girls too, but in the age of American Girl it's fun to see some stuff aimed at boys.

Fan Mail

I received the following email today, and I feel so sad that it came to me, instead of to its intended recipient. I'm pretty sure that this is an email destined for some hard working CCD teacher who handed out one of my activities to her class. Perhaps this student found my email address at the bottom of the page, and thought she was writing to her teacher. What's sad is that I have no way of knowing who this is supposed to be for so that wonderful teacher will never receive her fan mail. That being said, it's great that there are so many teachers of religious education who give of their time and energy each week to teach the faith to our children. For all of you, consider this note to be yours, from a student who loves you so much she doesn't want your class to end!

Hi From:Brianne J (in youre CCD class) Thank you in advanced for teaching me(veary well I might add)you are veary fun and at the end of the year I wont want to go.(by the way I'me on my mom's friends computor.)

New on My Bookshelf

Just in and waiting to be reviewed:

A Short History of the Mass - A look at the history and meaning of the elements of the Mass by Alfred McBride
A Book of Hours
- A gathering of writings by Thomas Merton, edited by Kathleen Deignan
- Fiction for adolescent readers by Barbara Yeager
They Shall Look Upon Him Whom They Have Pierced - Meditations on the Crucifix by James Hahn
Vinland Viking: A Saga - Fiction by Gary Doman

Fitting In Fitness

It's Monday, the day I normally wake up and recommit to leading a fit and healthy lifestyle. Today, my kids are off school, so I lingered in bed a bit longer than usual, lapping up the luxury of having teens who like to sleep in. Part of my mental wandering as I hit the snooze button was towards blogging, and how I want to start writing more frequently about trying to lead a healthy lifestyle.

Rising to a quiet house with still sleeping boys, I was tempted to hit the computer and do a quick google search on fitness topics to garner some ideas and then I had one of those "smack across the face" moments when I realized that I hadn't yet eaten breakfast or made any attempt at exercise and was yet readying myself to sit on my rear end at my computer for a few hours. Does writing about exercising burn calories? Not many!

So instead I tied on my walking shoes, grabbed my iPod and hit the door. It’s cold outside (ok, California cold…48 degrees!), and the menacing grey clouds almost sent me back in to my treadmill, but I persisted. Normally on Mondays I meet my exercise buddy at the gym first thing after dropping off the boys, but a day off usually preempts the regular schedule and exercise falls by the way side.

Fitting exercise into our busy schedules is a perpetual challenge. I know very few people who crave a cardio workout. Most of us can find a multitude of excuses for putting off physical activity. Yet, it is such an important part of our overall health and well being. Equally important for me are the spiritual, mental and emotional boosts I gain from taking time to sweat. A walk reconnects me with the incredible beauty of God’s creation and reminds me to thank Him for the bounty of blessings in my life.

So my erudite column on physical fitness will have to wait – perhaps until next Monday. In the mean time, have you had your walk today? Did you take the stairs to your office? Did you park in a remote spot in the parking lot at school or work and briskly walk to your destination? I’m working hard at looking for opportunities to work my heart and my mind throughout the course of the day. In my case, every little bit helps!

I found this great article from the May Clinic on “Fitting in Fitness” – it offers several simple pointers for increasing our activity levels during our day to day routines.

Friday, February 09, 2007

Catholic Kids Worship Music

Natalie Burt and those awesome kids over at Catholic Kids Worship are hard at work trying to put together their second CD. Right now they are in fundraising mode and are asking for your support. A small donation will help them reach their goal and you can even pay tribute to your favorite Catholic kid in the process. You may remember my review of their first CD, Your Grace Is Enough which ran last year in Grapevine Magazine and at CatholicMom.com. I love their music!

Can you help the kids?

Tennis Mom

I am slowly adjusting to my new role as "Tennis Mom", owing to the fact that Eric seems to have joined the Junior Varsity Tennis Team at his small Catholic high school. I say "seems" because I'm not definitely positive that he's actually on the team. Our school is small enough that most of the sports have a "no cut" policy, affording inexperienced players the chance to try out several sports in their early years in school. I was discussing this with a friend whose child is due to be a freshman next year at our local Mega State Championship Winning Public High School. As I was telling her about Eric's foray into Tennis, she was lamenting the fact that at her son's new school, you won't make a team unless you were identified by the "feeder system" around second grade. At that school, sports teams practice year round, making playing more than one sport next to impossible.

I think it's great that Eric, who has never played much tennis in his life, will have this opportunity to learn the sport. I'm just having a bit of an acclimation period with transitioning from Football Mom to Tennis Mom.

* Tennis Mom gets to pick her son and his tennis friends up after school every day and shuttle them to the private tennis club where they have practice (since our school courts are crumbling). Son and friends make polite conversation on the way to practice, updating Mom about their day and thanking her for the ride as they exit the car.

Football Mom never saw son as practice began immediately after school and study hall. Periodic cell phone conversations after school were mostly monosyllabic grunts and inquiries about what was planned for dinner.

* Tennis Mom needs to be sure to read the weekly notes home from coach, including schedule information and details on how to personally contact coach.

Football Mom was warned by son repeatedly that she was to have no personal interaction with coach, never to make direct eye contact with the coach, and it was better if she didn't even come in his vicinity.

* Tennis Mom needs to pay attention to the weather around 2:00 pm, because if it is raining, looks like rain, or is cold enough that puddles haven't dried, practice will be canceled and the schedule reverts to Plan B.

Football Mom knew that the only difference in the schedule on rainy days would be that son's uniform would be extra dirty and would require super-soaking abilities to remove mud stains.

* Tennis Mom needs to be at the practice facility for pick up promptly at 5:30, because that's when practice ends, on time.

Football Mom is used to waiting in the car in a cold, dark parking lot for long periods of time. She has pre-cooked dinner, which will be eaten by son as he works on late night homework. She knows that practice ends when the coach feels like having it end, and that coach doesn't really think family dinner is a priority.

I have to say that I'm sort of getting used to the cushy life lived by Tennis Mom. She probably does need some sort of cute outfit to wear as she watches son's JV matches, since she probably can't sport the same Notre Dame football sweatshirt Football Mom wore to all the football games. She'd also better get used to whispering, instead of loudly yelling "Block Him!!!" or "Great Hit!!!".

Tennis Mom would probably be better friends with Fencing Mom than Football Mom. But there's one thing she needs to remember:

Football Mom knows that practice goes year round, and that this reprieve from driving to 6:30 am weightlifting and conditioning is only temporary. Being a Football Mom is a year round job.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

New on My Bookshelf

In an effort to help spread the word about the many new books I receive, I am starting this new feature called "New on My Bookshelf". Here, you will find the titles of new books I've received, along with links to more information about these books at Amazon. Many of the books will be featured here or over at CatholicMom.com in greater detail, but at least this way you can hear about the many great books our Catholic authors are writing as soon as I hear about them.

New today:

Breastfeeding And Catholic Motherhood: God's Plan For You And Your Baby - by Sheila Kippley, this books comes highly recommended by our soon-to-be Catholic Breastfeeding columnist, Pam.

Where Did Grandad Go? - Children's book from Pauline Kids

Where Do Babies Come From? - Children's Book from Pauline Kids

Brother Juniper- A lovely picture book by Diane Gibfried featuring the traditional stories of Brother Juniper, who lived in the hills of Assisi with Father Francis.

Amazing Grace

Way back in October, I received a simple email from a CatholicMom.com reader named Laura.

It said: "How I love your site! I use it all the time and tell everyone how fantastic it is! I have some favorite activities that I would like to share with you that you are welcome to use."

Since October, Laura Grace has emailed me over 100 activities, lesson plans, puzzles and more related to religious education topics. For each Sunday, Laura emails me a Lesson Plan helper aimed at helping parents and religious education teachers find resources related to the Sunday gospels. In addition, she has prepared countless activities on topics such as the Liturgy, Sacraments, the Rosary and more. Laura Grace's lesson plans have quickly become one of the most popular features at CatholicMom.com and her generosity continues to amaze me.

Every time I receive an email from Laura (in my mind, her nickname is "Amazing Grace"), I say a thank you to God for sending me this angel to help me reach out to our children and share our love for Jesus. Laura is one of a tribe of angels who keep me going, giving me the drive to continue plugging away with my little web site. Laura lives all the way in Maryland, so I've never met her and don't know if I ever will. But she's one of my heroes: someone who is using the talent God gave her to share His love and glory.

If you haven't visited Laura's Lesson Plan page at CatholicMom.com, you need to go there now and check it out. You'll be amazed too! Thanks Laura, you're the best!

Global Fast 2007

You may have already heard about this project, but I wanted to invite you to join me in fasting for this cause on Ash Wednesday, February 21. Click here for more information on Global Fast.

Global Fast 2007, with the motto of “One Day to Change the World,” will take place Feb. 21 of this year. The charity project was created as a way to feed the poor, fight injustice and foster peace throughout the world.

The event invites people to “share their food” with the hungry, and to set aside a day of prayer for the world. Believing that faith, hope and charity can truly change the world, Global Fast creator Rich Halvorson hopes to grow an annual event with people from around the globe joining in a day of fasting and prayer. The vision of Global Fast is to unite people from across the world on one day to fight hunger, poverty and injustice.

“I wanted to create a simple thing, something that everyone can do that would truly make a global impact,” Halvorson said. “If we all give up our food together for one day, how many lives can we impact permanently?

“Charity is only half of it – the real key is the spiritual power of millions of us praying together. When we get caught up in the daily hustle, it’s all too easy for our prayer and faith to take a back seat. This is one day for the soul to really take priority.”

The charity aspect of Global Fast seeks to give everyday individuals a way to have “real impact” on the disturbing prevalence of global poverty. Each day, 852 million people are hungry and more than 16,000 children die due to hunger-related issues. As our world is torn apart by injustice, corruption and sin, there is a real need for charity, hope and spiritual renewal. Together, change can be accomplished through fasting and prayer.

Fasters are asked to donate to charity what they would have spent on food on Feb. 21 – which marks the beginning of Lent, a traditional season of fasting for Christians.

Click here for more information on Global Fast.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Book Talk

Last week, I posted several great new Book Spotlights over at CatholicMom.com and wanted to bring them to your attention here. My bookshelf is overflowing with great new titles, so be on the lookout here for lots of new reviews and interviews. Click on the title below to check out my comments and interviews for these books:

Elizabeth: A Holy Land Pilgrimage by Cheryl Dickow - I loved her non-fiction work and Cheryl's first novel is wonderful!

Growing in Faith When a Catholic Marriage Fails: For Divorced or Separated Catholics and Those Who Minister with Them by Antoinette Bosco - A must read interview with the author

The Perfect World Inside My Minivan -- One mom's journey through the streets of suburbia by Marybeth Hicks - Yes, it's the debut book from our CatholicMom.com columnist Marybeth Hicks

My Muslim Friend: A Young Catholic Learns about Islam by Donna Jean Kemmetmueller, FSP - Aimed at children, but grown ups will learn a thing or two as well!

Monday, February 05, 2007

Time to Unsubscribe?

In an effort to streamline the time I spend reading email, I've been casting a serious eye upon the various lists to which I'm subscribed. One such list, aimed at helping homemakers get organized, is notorious for sending out tons of email.

Yes, I have subscribed to the "digest" version of the list, but this morning as my "delete trigger finger" poised over this particular daily email, I stopped to ask myself, "When is the last time I actually read an email from this sender?"

Since I could not recall a single time in the last six months, I clicked into the email and quickly unsubscribed from the group. I know how to find that particular service again in the future if I am interested in re-signing up to be nagged about cleaning my sink each night before I go to bed.

I remain on some lists for the fact that even just seeing the email subject line is a good mental reminder. A case in point is my weekly Monday email from WeightWatchers.com. I'm a lifetime member, but don't frequently attend meetings, so that Monday email is a welcome reminder to start my week off on the right foot.

I also remain subscribed to some particularly heavy professional networking lists, for the value they provide in ideas and contacts. I don't always read each email, but I take time each day to scan the digest index.

Are you snowed in under virtual stacks of email? Some time spent prioritizing your inbox contents may prove to you that it's time to "unsubscribe" to a few outdated lists.

Monday is for Getting My Act Together

A fresh week always means a fresh start for me. I look forward to Mondays as a day to look forward to all that the week ahead will hold. I spend "table time" organizing, paying bills, checking off action items and planning my "to do" list for the week. I take extra time to work out. I post all of the columns for CatholicMom.com and get extra inspiration from the wise words of the wonderful women who share their thoughts in these columns.

One of my weekly Monday stops is to the fabulous blog of Mike St. Pierre. Mike's blog carries the tag line "Simple Ways to Keep Life Moving". It's an apt and fitting statement, as that's exactly the type of stuff you'll find on Mike's notebook. His articles are brief, concise and always relevant to the business of life. It's not surprising, since Mike is a professional Coach. But what makes his takes so special for me is that his faith is always at the forefront. He reminds me to not only get my act together, but to remember my faith and prayer life as top priorities.

Have you stopped by Mike's blog lately? If not, click here and treat yourself to a few minutes of reading. It will pay dividends in both your time management and your peace of mind...and be sure to tell him Lisa says hi!

Friday, February 02, 2007

At the Outpost

Have you joined Catholic Outpost yet? I try to remember to head over there a few times a month to check out the many great groups. Check it out and drop me a note if you form a group I should join!

Is it Summer Yet?

Gerald from Cat. Chat wrote me recently to share the great news that they are going live with their 2007 Cat. Chat Vacation Bible School, "Cool Kingdom Party". I'm a huge fan of the Cat. Chat program, so I'm sure this VBS will be a winner. It's so great that we're coming up with some wonderful Catholic VBS options. On the VBS front, Growing With the Saints has a new 2007 version called "Assorted Saints & the Virtues of Faith, Hope & Love".

Can you tell I'm ready for summer?!

Lent Resources

As I mentioned earlier today, Lent begins later this month with Ash Wednesday on February 21. The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops has many wonderful resources available for you, your family and your parish to make this the best Lent ever. I will be sharing many of these resources here and at CatholicMom.com, but if you would like to look now to begin to prepare for Lent, click here to view the 2007 USCCB Lent Resources.

Adoption Resource

Thank you to Pam for writing me to share information about her Yahoo group for Catholics who have an interest in international adoption.

Click here for more information on the Catholic International Adoptive Parents Group.

The following description is posted at the group's site:

Welcome to the Catholic International Adoptive Parents group! This group is for practicing Catholics who are in the process of completing an international adoption or have already adopted internationally. At least one spouse must be Catholic or in the process of becoming Catholic. Families that have blended biological and adoptive children are welcome!

This group's intent is to bring together the entire Catholic international adoptive parent community through fellowship and prayer.

Pope John Paul II's words from Evangelium Vitae (The Gospel of Life): "True parental love is ready to go beyond the bonds of flesh and blood in order to accept children from other families, offering them whatever is necessary for their well-being and full development."

Another Great Reflection from Chuck

One of my favorite Catholic artists, Chuck Stevens, has another great recorded reflection podcast now available on his web site. You can listen by clicking here. This particular podcast features two selections from Chuck's "In Your Presence" CD. Find some quiet time this weekend and grow closer to God with Chuck.

Cofidential to My Brother In Law David

I'm glad you're feeling better enough to be SASSY!!!

Girls' Weekend

It feels like I just got home from Chicago, and now I have another fun adventure planned. My buddy Mara and I will be driving down to Rancho Santa Fe, near San Diego, for the weekend. I will be attending our regional Notre Dame Alumni Association meeting. Mara is coming along for moral support (Greg is very grateful I'm not driving alone) and to enjoy the amenities of the nice resort I'll be staying at. I will be locked away in meetings all day, so I'm glad one of us will get to enjoy the place. I owe my wonderful husband a big thank you for letting me take off again so quickly. I'm hoping to be home in my PJs early enough Sunday to enjoy a certain football game.

Go Bears!

Flipping the Calendar

I have a few wall calendars in my house of one of my "habit resolutions" for this year is to get them flipped to the next month before the first week of that upcoming month has already passed. My favorite calendar this year is the one gifted to me by my sister, Erin. Erin's calendar contains the dates of all of our family birthdays, anniversaries and other special observances. Family photos grace each page, with my parents, my siblings and their children highlighting the various months of the year. This month we will celebrate my nephew Justin's birthday, so his adorable smile will grace my wall all month on the calendar.

Have you looked ahead to what February holds for you. Take a few minutes now to plan for the following:

* Family birthdays and anniversaries - you can write out those cards now and save them to send a few months before the event

* Holidays and Observances - Note to all of those husbands out there: Valentine's day is coming up this month. Plan now! I always tell my husband that I think a hand written card is much more romantic than flowers - the fact that he took time to write out his thoughts means the world to me. At our house, we celebrate Valentine's Day with our traditional "Chocolate Breakfast Feast", sending the boys off to school with a sugar high. Also this month, many school children will be off school in commemoration of national holidays. Have you planned special activities or alternate day care arrangements for those days when school is not in session?

* Our Liturgical Calendar - This year, Lent begins with Ash Wednesday on February 21st. It's not too early to start contemplating your Lenten devotions now. If you enjoy reading daily meditations or use special printed devotional materials, order those today so that you will have them in hand prior to the beginning of Lent. Investigate possible "alms-giving" opportunities in your community. This year, our family will be focusing upon "freeze relief" efforts being undertaken by our local Catholic Charities office.

A little time today spent planning the month will help you to make the most of the weeks ahead.

This post can also be found over at the CE On Time blog, along with other great ideas about time management and personal productivity.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Live in Pennsylvania??

It's kind of late notice, but I just heard from the Catholic Hernandez Family Singers that they will be doing a Catholic Schools Week concert tomorrow in Hanover. Here's the information Bernie sent me:

By the way, if you have any Moms in the Hanover/York area, please let them know our family is performing two Catholic Schools Week concerts this Friday, Feb. 2. K-2nd @12:35 and 3rd-5th @1:30pm. This is at St. Joseph School 236 Baltimore St. Hanover PA 17331. (717) 632-1335.

Geeky Gadget Auntie Say Thanks!!

Dear PIII,

I wanted to thank you and your Mommy for the awesome Target gift certificate you sent me! Most normal Aunties probably would have gone straight to the "Cute Valentine Decoration" aisle, but not me! I'm sorry to be the one to inform you that your Auntie is a total Gadget Geek (well, your Daddy probably already told you that!) I used your gift to buy myself a little toy I've been wanting for a while now - a new digital voice recorder!!

Next time you come to visit, we'll be able to record the sound of your delicious little giggle. Also, I used my new toy today to record my violin teacher playing the new song I'm learning. It will also come in handy for interviews and stuff like reminding myself to buy groceries and pick up your cousins from their various practices.

Thank you again for your generosity! You really shouldn't have, but I'm having lots of fun!

Love and moose smoochies,
Auntie Lisa