Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Chat with Heidi - Reminder!

Don't forget - this week we have the opportunity to talk with one of our favorite CatholicMom.com columnists, Heidi Hess Saxton, live on the Catholic Connection radio show! I will be at Grandma's funeral at the time Heidi is on the air, so I will not get the opportunity to call in, but I hope that some of you will do so.

Please tune in to Teresa Tomeo's "Catholic Connection" on Thursday, March 29 at 9:30 A.M. (E.S.T.). Heidi would love to hear from CatholicMom.com readers. Call in (toll free) at 877-573-7825. Can’t get EWTN Radio in your area? Listen on the Internet at http://www.avemariaradio.net/catholic-online-radio.php

Monday, March 26, 2007

Blog Break

Thank you to all who have offered prayers for my grandmother. Grandma Pattie died peacefully in her sleep last night. The last few weeks afforded many of her children and grandchildren the chance to be with her and to say goodbye.

I will be leaving town tomorrow to fly to the Midwest for her funeral Mass and will likely be away from the blog until Monday. Please join me in praying for the repose of my Grandmother's soul and for all those who have lost loved ones recently.

Friday, March 23, 2007

Book It!

OK, our spring break plans for a majestic camping trip have been set in stone! We'll be in Las Vegas for Easter Sunday mass, so if anyone has a suggestion about a great church/mass to attend that would be welcome.

Next, we're spending four days camping at this place near Zion National Park. I'm hoping we don't run into the man in the video, who reminds me of someone from the "RV" movie!

Our last night will be spent at one of my favorite spots from childhood: Calico ghost town! I can't wait to take the boys there.

We're still novice campers, so the spots all have full hook ups and wireless internet access - how's that for "getting away from it all"?!

A Classy Woman in the No Spin Zone

I don't watch The O'Reilly Factor, so I missed the recent appearance of Dr. Phyllis Zagano on that program following the Edwards blogging situation. I was thrilled when Dr. Zagano sent me the link to the video of her time on the program. What I loved most about her appearance was the fact that she so calmly and rationally asked for a certain level of civility in discourse that is greatly lacking on these types of shows. She eloquently reminded O'Reilly that he had a great responsibility to use his pulpit responsibly and with respect. Amen!

Getting Ready for Sunday

It's been a while since I reminded you here about the many activities and resources we offer at CatholicMom.com to help prepare your family for Sunday's liturgy of the word. Each week, we have coloring pages, crossword puzzles, word searches, Mass worksheets for two different age groups, and a complete lesson plan prepared by a super teacher. These activities are being downloaded and shared with kids all over the world. I also wanted to share a link to a wonderful column by Dr. Marcellino D'Ambrosio, one of my favorite theologians, who writes eloquently about Sunday's gospel passage.

Grandma Update

Thanks to those of you who have been praying for my Grandma and have written to offer your support. Grandma is resting peacefully in her home with Grandpa and surrounded by children and grandchildren. She does not appear to be in any pain, but has not regained consciousness. I would appreciate your continued prayers for my Grandma and for others who may be sick and suffering in our world.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Are You a Catholic School Principal?

Sadly, the principal of the most wonderful Catholic School on the planet has submitted his resignation and is moving on to a wonderful opportunity at our local University. I'm so happy for him and for the students he will be educating, but am feeling dreadfully sad over the loss of such a terrific moral compass and gifted educator for our school. He will be sorely missed!

If you happen to be reading this and are a Catholic school principal or teacher looking for an outstanding opportunity to build your career, take a look at our school's web site at www.sasfresno.com for the complete job posting. I may be a bit biased, but I think this would be a great opportunity for anyone. Our school is a faith filled community led by a Pastor who is firmly committed to Catholic education. We have the world's best teachers, tremendous facilities, a state of the art computer lab, a junior high laptop program, and a new gym and community center under construction. If you need additional information, feel free to email me at lisa@catholicmom.com.

While perusing my newspaper this morning, I shrieked like a teenage girl while reading the business section. My excitement bubbled over about a new store we're getting at our local shopping mall. Now I know how my friends felt last year when we got the Pottery Barn! I can't wait to hit the mall and emerge with a shopping bag from my favorite store!

No, it's not Nordstrom or Crate and Barrel. Ikea's not coming to Fresno (although that would be pretty cool too!). We still don't have a Tiffany store.

But we are getting a new Apple Store!

Ok, it's 100% confirmed that I'm a geek. I will admit to having a compulsion with visiting Apple Stores. I've been to the Apple Stores in such destinations as La Jolla, San Francisco, Chicago, and the granddaddy of them all - Manhattan! I'm not a shoe shopper, but give me an hour to spend ogling computer peripherals and I'm a happy woman.

Along with the products offered, my favorite aspect of the Apple Stores I've visited is the wonderful opportunity to sign up for a huge variety of training seminars. I expect to be a regular visitor and am thrilled that I will finally learn to use my MacBook to its full capacity.

Now I just have to find my way to the mall!

Monday, March 19, 2007

Mark Your Calendars

I just received word about the schedule for this year's Southern California Home Educator's Conference. The event will be held on June 23 in Chino Hills, California. for additional information on the conference, visit the SCCHE web site.

If it's Monday, I'm thinking about health and wellness. I'm planning meals for the week, allotting time for workouts, and general trying to take care of the body God gave me.

I've been hearing again lately about the "10,000 steps program" - the idea is that in order to meet the Surgeon General's recommendations for healthy exercise levels, we should strive to walk at least 10,000 steps most days of the week. I consider myself to be a fairly active person. I exercise at least three times per week at the gym and love taking walks. So I was relatively sure that I feel into the 10,000 step crowd, but wasn't sure.

Last week, while shopping in Target, I picked up an inexpensive pedometer for less than $6. I decided the first few days to just put on the pedometer and go about my normal schedule in order to see how I was doing.

I was pretty shocked with the results. I think, like most moms, I hit the ground running (or at least fast walking) from the minute I get out of bed in the morning. However, I've learned that being busy doesn't equate to being physically active. Much of my busy time is spent at the computer (sitting) or driving people places (sitting). One of the days, my pedometer measured less than 4,000 steps and I was truly surprised.

Sporting a pedometer has a wonderful, motivational effect on me. After those first few days of "observation", I kicked into gear. I'm now looking for opportunities throughout the day to walk and be more physically active. I love the immediate gratification of being able to look down at the pedometer and get feedback on my progress. I consider the $6 to have been a good investment. I'm not sure how long I will continue to wear the pedometer, but for now it is serving as a wonderful reminder to take greater care of my health and well being.

For more information on 10,000 steps visit these sites:

* PBS - America's Walking
* Shape Up America
* Walking at About.com

Friday, March 16, 2007

Dads Who Cook?

Marialisa, a writer for Catholic Digest, wrote me today seeking suggestions for an upcoming article she's writing for Father's Day. She is seeking names of Dads who cook for their families - if you know a gourmet dad, would you please contact Marialisa. Her contact information follows below. Then, please send the dad over to my house - I could use a break!

Marialisa Calta
312 West County Road
Calais, VT 05648
802 223 8921

Prayers Requested

Please pray for my Grandma who suffered a major stroke on Tuesday, and for my parents who are driving from Mississippi to Indiana to be with Grandma and Grandpa.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Need a Little Lenten Inspiration?

I wanted to share that I've just posted a great interview with Laura Wells, author of A Marian Bible Study: Bringing Scripture to Life for Moms

I'm constantly receiving emails from people looking for great Catholic bible studies. Laura's book will now be one of the resources I highly recommend to readers. I would love to gather with a group of my friends in my home and do this particular study.

Need a Laugh?

Sally Edwards, one of our funny Mom comedians at CatholicMom.com, wrote me today to let me know that her new parenting humor book is now available through Amazon. Sally is the queen of clean stand up comedy and always makes me giggle!

Check out You Know Your Kids Are Driving You Crazy When...

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Bagpipe Update

For the inquiring minds who want to know what happened with the Bagpipe shopping, we seem to have come to a bit of a compromise. Apparently, beginning bagpipers are taught using an instrument called a "Chanter". To me, from viewing it online, it looks a lot like Adam's recorder. I'm hoping that the sound output of the chanter is a little less than the full volume of a set of bagpipes. Our neighbors probably already think we're a little too musical as it is!
Our Ebay order has been placed, so I'll let you know when we've mastered a ditty or two. You may even be treated to a video!

In other "boy news" Eric and his doubles partner won their tennis match yesterday in a stressful tie breaker. He's still enjoying his new sport and seems to be improving every time he plays.

Pope Benedict XVI's Latest Document

Catholic sources all over the internet are posting resources today related to yesterday's publication of Pope Benedict XVI's apostolic exhortation SACRAMENTUM CARITATIS on the Eucharist as the Source and Summit of the Church's Life and Mission. I wish I could say that I've already taken the time to read the document in full, but I haven't. I hope to do so this weekend. In the mean time, here are some helpful resources for digesting this document:

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Coloring Contest

That cool cat Moses at Cat.Chat is having a Lenten coloring contest. You could win a Cat.Chat CD of your choice. I love the Cat.Chat recordings - they are educational, inspirational and lots of fun!

Doing the Next Right Thing

The following landed in my email box this week from one of my favorite authors, Matthew Kelly, in his March newsletter. Matthew is a frequent source of inspiration for me. In GTD, we talk a great deal about "Next Actions", so Matthew's encouragement to do the "Next Right Thing" clicked with me:

Just Do the Next Right Thing

Just do the next right thing. Whether you are struggling to overcome a pattern of defeat, yearning for inner peace, trying to create lasting happiness, wishing to succeed in your career, desperately trying to overcome procrastination, or are battling with an addiction, this lesson holds the key for you. Just do the next right thing. In each moment, just keep doing the next right thing.

You cannot think your way out or talk your way out of these problems. You acted your way into them and you must act your way out of them. You must act in the sense of action, not in the sense of pretense. It is purposeful action that will lead you to become a better version of yourself, and action is the key to progress.

When you get into a funk, just do the next right thing. And keep doing the next right thing. You will be amazed how quickly you work yourself out of the funk if you approach it in this way. Don't worry about next week, next month, or next year. Just do the next right thing and keep doing the next right thing, and gradually you will act your way out of destructive patterns... you must act your way out of it, one moment at a time.

One moment at a time, by simply doing the next right thing, you will move from confusion to clarity, from misunderstanding to insight, from despair to hope, from darkness to light, and discover your truest self.

~excerpt from Perfectly Yourself: 9 Lessons for Enduring Happiness

A New Addition to the Music Room?

Uh oh!!! I just spotted my boys crowded together around the iMac, perusing Ebay. When I walked up and asked them what they were shopping for, they gave me a rather funny look. I said, "OK, what is it?!" (with the assumption that it was some type of video game).

Their answer:


Stay tuned to this blog to see if the Hendey family quartet takes a foray into Celtic Rock.

Monday, March 12, 2007

How Welcoming Is Your Parish

I just finished posting a very thought provoking article by one of our CatholicMom.com columnists, Patrice Fagnant-MacArthur. Patrice's column, All Are Welcome Here, describes her experience with an acquaintance who has stopped attending Mass at her parish.

Reading this column made me question how people who attend my church must be feeling on Sunday. I think we are a pretty friendly bunch, but I've also been there for quite a long time and the pews are now filled with people I consider to be among my closest friends. How often do I look around me for new faces or people who may be in need of support, encouragement or a helping hand? Are there people in my parish who feel excluded, or worse yet, unwelcome? I certainly hope not!

Thanks Patrice, for reminding me to open my eyes and my heart next Sunday when I'm at Mass!

One moment of patience may ward off great disaster. One moment of impatience may ruin a whole life.

Chinese Proverb

I found myself in an extremely impatient mood today while waiting at my bank. In my hurry to obtain a cashier's check prior to picking up my son from school, I allotted ten minutes to run into my normally quite efficient bank. I waited behind one woman in line while the one teller who was on duty helped her customer. The customer was an elderly woman who appeared to be cashing in what seemed to be a lifetime supply of pennies. She had the pennies in various plastic bags - every time I thought she was nearing the end of her transaction, another ziplock full of copper would emerge from a hidden pocket or cranny of her oversized purse.

I felt my patience waining. I felt my blood pressure begin to rise and I consulted the clock on my cell phone numerous times, hoping to send a secret signal to the manager that she needed to put another teller on duty.

Apparently, the manager caught my body language, and a second teller soon appeared at her window. "How can I provide you with excellent customer service today?" she queried in lieu of yelling, "Next!"

When I told her what I needed, she indicated that she wasn't set up to do cashier's checks and that I would need to go stand in line again behind the penny lady.

I could feel my irritation rising, but I tried my best to give her a smile. I'm sure it looked more like a grimace! I stood behind the penny collector, praying for patience, for the tellers, and for this lady with so many pennies!

In our instant messaging, drive through, immediate gratification society, a wait of ten minutes can feel like an eternity. I learned today that I need to work on my patience - it is a virtue after all! Delays are sometimes unavoidable. There's no sense in letting my blood pressure rise over something as silly as pennies!

How do you remain patient while waiting? I could use some pointers!

Bragging Mom Alert!

Congratulations to my Adam, who did a great job at our diocesan Academic Decathlon competition this weekend! This is Adam's first year on the team since he is a sixth grader. He was feeling a bit of pressure following in the footsteps of a big brother who was last year's team captain.

Looks like all of that hard work paid off! Adam placed second in his individual category, Current Events, and his team won many awards too. He walked away wearing three medals and carrying a ribbon, with a huge smile on his face.

Adam has been practicing for this event since November and spent the last several weeks memorizing events and names. Current Events is a challenging topic since the content is constantly developing. I'm so proud of the effort Adam put into his preparation and was thrilled to celebrate with him and his team!

Video: Adam Wins

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Irish Gifts

Looking for a St. Patrick's Day gift for that special someone? Don't forget that your purchases at our CatholicMom.com Catholic Company Store provide a 20% donation to CatholicMom.com! It's also a great place to find wonderful remembrances for First Reconciliation, First Communion and Confirmation!

Great New Blog

Our CatholicMom.com Everday Blessings columnist Donna-Marie Cooper O'Boyle has a wonderful new blog up and running. Donna-Marie's words always inspire me, so I'm looking forward to becoming a regular reader of her new blog!

Check out Daily Donna-Marie

Do You Know a Catholic Hero

I thought I'd share the following, in case any of you know of people in your parishes or schools who would be potential nominees. I will be submitting a few names of some of my heroes!

CATHOLIC DIGEST magazine seeks heroes to be featured in our national publication


The Catholic Digest, a 300,000-circulation consumer magazine with approximately 2.5 million readers monthly, is currently gathering information for a cover package about "Catholic Heroes" that will appear in summer 2007.

We are hoping to gather stories of American Catholic laypeople who are working to better the lives of others in their community, their country, or the world — Catholics who've accomplished great good in their fields of expertise — in medicine, research, science, literature, education, law, etc.; Catholics who have put others before themselves.

Perhaps you know of someone who fits this description, a parishioner in your diocese, a volunteer in your community, a researcher who won an award, an educator, a spiritual guide, a politician, or a parent. We will be gathering these stories over the next several weeks so please send a quick note with your nominee’s name, contact information, and why you think he or she should be honored (include press clippings or Web links, if possible). We will get back in touch with you once we finalize our list. If we choose your nominee, your organization and its connection to this hero will be mentioned.

Please send an email, or give me a call if you prefer at 800-321-0411, ext. 181. I look forward to hearing from you.

Traci Neal
Copy Chief
Catholic Digest
1 Montauk Ave.
New London CT 06320

800-321-0411, ext. 181

Plan Now for August 2007

Mary Lou from Syracuse wrote to share the good news about a special event that will be taking place this summer in Liverpool, New York. The Sacred Heart Family Conference will be presented by the Sacred Heart Apostolate. The conference web site describes the event as follows:

Every family will be enriched and inspired ... Three exciting days of general sessions in the Convention Center led by spirit-filled local and national speakers as as seminar/workshops for men, women and priests. Partake in Eucharistic adoration and sacraments and enjoy a Holy Hour in concert and Saturday evening banquet -- excellent accomodations, food, music and friendship. Youth programs (under the tents) are packed with food, fun and friends.

To Teach: The Long Days of Lent

This month's To Teach Magazine from the USCCB offers a great look at "The Long Days of Lent" - we may have started off sprinting in February, but by the middle of March, many of us are dragging along. To Teach offers great tips for families, teachers and principals. One of the Family tips reminds us to receive the Sacrament of Penance at least once as a family during the month of March. Have you checked your parish bulletin to find out if a special Reconciliation service is being held?

Lent - A Time for Feasting?

One of my favorite resources, Dr. Marcellino D'Ambrosio of Crossroads Initiative, has a wonderful column this week on how this Sunday's gospels relates to the topic of fasting vs. feasting during Lent. Check it out!

Also on the topic, I always enjoy this fresh perspective on "feasting" during Lent:

Fast from judging others and Feast on Christ dwelling in them;
Fast from pessimism and Feast on optimism;
Fast from complaining and Feast on appreciation;
Fast from negatives and Feast on positives;
Fast from bitterness and Feast on forgiveness;
Fast from self-concern and Feast on compassion for others;
Fast from discouragement and Feast on hope and
Fast on thoughts that weaken and feast on promises that inspire.

Jelly Mom Contest

Jelly Mom columnist Lisa Barker is running a contest over at her site and the prize is an autographed copy of her wonderful book Just Because Your Kids Drive You Insane...Doesn't Mean You Are A Bad Parent!

Entering is quick and easy - click here to check out all the details on how you can win this very funny prize.

Interesting Column by Phyllis Zagano

Catholic author and academician Phyllis Zagano is now writing as the Catholic columnist for Religion News Service. You may have seen my interview with Phyllis at CatholicMom.com featuring her wonderful book On Prayer: A Letter to My Godchild.
One of Phyllis' recent columns addresses the Edwards anti-Catholic blogging situation that came up recently. I look forward to following Phyllis Zagano's writing in this new role, as I always think she has an interesting take on things.

Friday, March 09, 2007

Empty Arms, Sad Heart

I know most of you are probably thinking by now that I gave up blogging for Lent - well, it sort of feels that way. Sitting at the computer, pouring out your heart, requires a few essentials: time and inspiration. For the past few weeks, I was lacking greatly on the time element thanks to the fact that I had welcomed my Mom/Nana and sweet little Patrick/PIII into my home for two weeks. We were too busy playing, feeding, and just trying to keep PIII occupied for me to feel like spending much extra time at my computer. The visit was wonderful!

I said goodbye to Nana early Wednesday morning. My coping mechanism for saying goodbye is always knowing when I will see her next, which seems to be May. I think I can probably survive that long. PIII's Daddy, Patrick II, arrived Wednesday evening to whisk him away. The look of sheer joy that crossed that baby's face when he saw his Daddy was priceless. The love is unmistakable. I'm not sure what PIII's Mommy and Daddy have done to turn him into the perfect baby, but whatever they're doing, they should keep it up!

With an empty home, or at least one filled with only it's usual occupants, I should have been back to blogging yesterday. Sadly, it was the Inspiration element that was lacking at that point. I needed a day to mope, to embrace the empty hole that seems to have formed in my heart. My hip misses holding a toddler while working around the kitchen. My arms feel sadly light and airy with no one to pick up and snuggle. My ears miss hearing Nana's voice first thing in the morning. My heart is sad and a little lonely...

Since he's only a little tike, PIII likely won't remember the two weeks he spent at our house. But I have a treasure trove of memories tucked away to last me until the next time he comes for an extended visit. When he grows up, he will probably enjoy hearing about the things he did as a baby. My own boys love nothing more than hearing about their crazy exploits as toddlers (for example, the time Adam broke his arm trying to fly out of the wagon in a superman costume). I will tell PIII about his favorite things as a 19 month old:

  • Walking out to the front yard to check the mailbox
  • Listening to his "Greg and Steve" CD while eating breakfast, snack, lunch, snack, dinner, snack and more snack. And saying "Again!" after every song
  • How he strangely seems to love watching American Idol (I wonder who turned him on to that!)
  • How his face brightened every time he saw feet walking down the stairs in the hopes of seeing one of his big boy cousins
  • How easily he went down for his naps and how he always woke with a smile on his face
  • How he said the names of those who meant the most to him: "Man" (Nana), "Am" (Adam), Eck ("Eric"), and Geg ("Greg")
  • How much he loved his outings to places like the pet store to see the "Cheepy Birds", to the playground where he would put serious effort into filling his bucket with sand, and on walks in the stroller where he always needed his cup and some animal crackers
I woke up at 2:30 yesterday morning and was thinking about how lucky I am to have family I love so very much. I truly consider my parents, my siblings, their children and of course my own Hendey Men to be life's richest treasures. I'm happy that PIII is back with the Mommy and Daddy he missed and loves so much and I'm happy that Gramps has Nana back home (at least for a little while), but I will miss both of them!

Now I just need to get my hands on Patrick P., Evan and Tyler for a couple of weeks!!!