Monday, April 30, 2007

My Favorite New Podcast

Hey guys, you really have to check out "That Catholic Show", the new Catholic video podcast from The Rosary Army. You can watch it here on the YouTube feed, but do yourself a favor and go get subscribed. The video, just over five minutes, explores the various postures we Catholics use during mass. Host Jennifer does a great job of reverently, but with style and wit, relaying the information. It's so fun! Great job Greg and Jennifer!

Fitness Focus Monday - Playing and Praying

From my earliest childhood, I have memories of my father rising early in the morning to "do his exercises". This included a regimen of calisthenics, including those old Royal Canadian Air Force exercises. There was a lot of huffing and puffing, and a lot of praying. My Daddy always complimented his workouts with prayer. He still recites the Rosary, many other formal and informal prayers, and a litany of souls who have died while he works out each morning. The "dead list" is so long, I don't know how he remembers it, but I'm confident that if I predecease him my poor soul in purgatory will be prayed for daily!

Exercise and prayer go hand in hand - both are gifts from God! There are many great resources out there to encourage both. I love my long walks for the opportunity they provide to worship, praise and thank God for the beauty of his creation. I'll admit to praying for my aging knees whenever I make an attempt at jogging, which inevitably prompts me to pray for all of those suffering from physical infirmities.

I have two great resources to share this morning, in the hopes that they will motivate you to play and pray today:

  • Healthy Catholic - an incredible video podcast from Fr. Roderick and SQPN that focuses on fitness and faith topics. And don't worry, you don't need an iPod to watch - you can view these brief videos directly from the web site.
  • Running the Rosary - Be sure to read Tom's article and then take a look at his blog post on the readers' responses . Both contain many gems!
It's Monday - have you planned how you will fit exercise (and prayer!) into your week?

Friday, April 27, 2007

Today's Proud Auntie Moment

Sorry, but I really must say that my nephews are just about the cutest kids I've ever seen! Here are Evan and Tyler enjoying Disneyworld!

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Peace in the Pews

If someone could bottle a remedy for toddlers who act up in church, the could make a fortune. I think it would sell even more than those pills that help you to lose weight while you're sleeping. Just about every weekend, I receive at least one email from a mom who is at wit's end over the behavior of a two or three year old child. I know when my kids were that age I thought they would never learn to behave in Mass.

This week, I read one of the best articles on this topic that I can ever remember seeing. Peace in the Pews by James Hahn over at Real Life Rosary is a must read on this topic. Jim is the dad of four busy boys - if he and his wife can do it, so can you and I! I would say that each family has to look at what works for them - the Hahn rules may not work for every family, but they are a good model of what one family is doing. The main thing I tell moms who write me is...

Don't give up on taking your kid to church!!!


I will keep you and your child in my prayers!

I don't know if my prayers will help at all, but I always try to pray for the moms of toddlers I see in church and to offer them praise and encouragement for bringing these little ones to Mass. It can be so incredibly frustrating, but these little ones are the future of our Church.


Congratulations to Christine Trollinger who was the winner of the very first writing contest for Canticle magazine. Heidi has the good news posted over at her Silent Canticle blog.

If you are not already a subscriber to Canticle, please consider making the small investment to support this wonderful treasure of a magazine. Heidi Hess Saxton, Canticle's editor, has put so much work and talent into making this a really first class resource for Catholic women (and men too!). If you can't afford a subscription on your own, why not go in together with a group of friends and share one, or encourage your parish to subscribe for your parish library? I'm looking forward to reading Christine's story in this summer's issue of Canticle.

Our Lovely Donna Marie

Thank you so much to author, columnist and super lady Donna Marie Cooper O'Boyle for sharing this video clip. Donna Marie speaks with Earle from Standing Under the Sky about mothers and Mother Teresa. Please take a few minutes to enjoy and be inspired by this great little video! It's always so fun to see and hear my cyber-friends in living color!

More Fiction

Catholic author Thomas Root wrote me today to share information about his novel The Elixir - I have not had the opportunity to read this book yet, but it received good reviews and looks very interesting.

Author Thomas Root shared with me:

I believe that "The Elixir" is a strong affirmation of the Catholic faith, and would be the sort of book your readers would appreciate and enjoy.

If you're like me and are always looking for a good read, check out The Elixir. If we all support our hardworking Catholic authors, it will result in more great Catholic books on the market.

May Crowning

A reader wrote to ask about resources for May Crownings. I pointed her to my favorite resource at the University of Dayton's Mary Page. At our school, one of my favorite traditions is the kindergarten May crowning. Our youngest students have a special celebration in our school's Mary garden.

In my backyard, I have my own Mary garden. At the center of it sits a lovely statue that was given to me a few years ago by my Mom and my sister Erin. It is truly one of my most prized possessions. But poor Mary's garden is showing signs of neglect, so I hope to spend some quiet time this weekend gardening and praying for Mary's intercession for a little peace in our crazy world. Here's something I wrote a long time ago about my Mary garden, right after it was created. My, how time flies!

Catholic Moms

I received an interesting and thought provoking email today from a Muslim graduate student. She was writing to ask me about the role of mothers in the Catholic faith. I gave her my succinct response and invited her to ask me more specific questions, but I'm curious what others might have to say on this topic. If you'd like to share, contact me at or comment below.

Literary News

The past few weeks have been so filled with great stuff that I neglected to share here about a couple of wonderful books I've highlighted at lately.

Awaiting Orders by Farrell O'Gorman (OK...don't you just love that name?) is the April fiction book club pick at I had the pleasure of interviewing Farrell, who is a professor of American Literature at Mississippi State University. Awaiting Orders is one of my most favorite books of this year. Please take a few moments when you have time to read my interview with Farrell and check out Awaiting Orders if you're looking for a great, moving work of fiction.

In other book news, I have just posted my review of The Green Coat: A Tale from the Dust Bowl Years by Rosemary McDunn. Rosemary's book would be wonderful for readers from fifth through eighth graders and the grown ups in their lives. A work of historical fiction, the book shares the story of young Tressa, whose world is turned upside down by the circumstances her family finds themselves facing in their 1930's North Dakota home. If you loved the Little House books, this is a great book for you! I will admit to knowing absolutely nothing about the Dust Bowl Years. Rosemary's book intrigued me so greatly that I actually went and did additional research about this era in our country's history. The combination of learning and a great story is what makes this book a real winner. Read my review of The Green Coat and recommend this book to your child's teacher today!


The cooties have been working the way around the Hendey household. Adam started things off last Friday, staying home from school with a fever and a sore throat. To tell you the truth, when I decided to let him stay home on Friday it was mostly out of concern for his teacher who is 8+ months pregnant. Turns out, he really was sick though...

Mom woke up the next day with that tell-tale pre-sore throat feeling. I was out of commission Sunday and Monday, operating under a nyquil induced haze. I feel great today for the first time since Saturday.

Yesterday, it hit Greg. He does not have the same luxury Adam or I do and still had to go in and work his overnight shift in the Emergency Department last night. What is the wisdom of a sick doctor going in to take care of patients (not to mention a sleep deprived, sick doctor!)? After twenty plus years of being married to him, I still can't get a good explanation out of my husband regarding the fact that ER doctors can never call in sick to work. He is upstairs in bed now - hopefully he will stay there until he starts feeling better.

Eric, the last holdout, woke up this morning running a fever and complaining of a sore throat. He's stubborn, however, and didn't want to miss his last tennis match which will be played later this afternoon or the last biology class before a big test tomorrow. So he dragged himself from bed, took a long, hot shower, and marched off to high school. He's learned the grown up lesson that sometimes you have to work through illness - I think that's pretty sad. Our high school kids have so much pressure on them that the prospect of missing a day of school is quite stressful.

The good news about this particular strain of cooties is that it seems to run its course in three days, so I'm hoping my brood will be well again by the end of the weekend. Being sick, even just a little bit, makes me realized how incredibly blessed we are by the gift of health.

Friday, April 20, 2007

The Answer to My VA Tech Question from expert Mark Hart

Every once in a while, I have one of those totally cool moments when all of the hours of time that go into completely pay off. It happens when I get an email from a far away place telling me they use our coloring pages each week at their parish, or when a Mom emails me to say she was very touched by something I wrote.

It happened big time yesterday when I was lucky enough to speak with Mark Hart of LIFE TEEN and Bible Geek fame! I boldly emailed Mark and asked him the question that had been plaguing me all day - how to appropriately, lovingly, and faithfully speak with my boys about all that has gone on this past week. Not only did I receive an email reply from Mark, but I actually got to speak with him on the telephone!

I listen to Mark's podcast every week, and have all of his books, so speaking with him was just incredibly. My hands couldn't take notes quickly enough to absorb all of the great thoughts and ideas he shared with me, but I've done my best to recount them in a small article I just posted at Our conversation left me so inspired and motivated - my boys probably wondered what was up last night with their crazy mom and why she wouldn't leave them alone! If you've never been exposed to Mark's work and writings, I hope you will take some time to get to know him today. His feel for youth and his heart and passion for sharing our Lord's love are simply incredible!

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Catholic VBS Options Growing

I've just finished posting an article at about Catholic Vacation Bible School programs. There seem to be more truly Catholic alternatives this summer, which is great news for both our kids and our parishes. I remember sending my kids to our local non-denominational "mega church" for VBS one summer and being blown away by the quality of the program but saddened by the fact that they couldn't do this at our own parish. With these great programs now available and very affordable, Catholic VBS is a reality.

Are You Talking About It?

Last night, I went indoor rock climbing with a group of my girlfriends for a friend's birthday. During a break, a few of us sat on the floor and discussed the very sad situation at Virginia Tech. The horrifying video clips and photos of the killer had just been released and were airing all over the place. I told my friends about the many deep and interesting conversations our family has been having this week related to this tragic situation. Two of them said they are severely limiting their own exposure and that of their children to the story - that is avoiding reading the newspaper and viewing television coverage of the story. They told me that they were worried that discussing the story with their children would cause them undue fear and anxiety.

My own boys, ages twelve and fifteen, have been very outspoken on the events of the week. They don't watch much television, but they have heard me listening to the story on CNN in the car as we travel to our myriad of daily activities. We have prayed together, cried together, and discussed at length the week's unfolding of events. My discussions with Eric, the fifteen year old, have been much different than those I've had with Adam (my "baby", who is now officially taller than me). I find solace in Eric's teenage attitude about this event and in his righteous indignation regarding an entire generation of young men being branded by the actions of one mentally ill student. Most of all, although the subject is so pain-filled, I am comforted that my boys are so open to discussing their feelings about it with me. I need to pray, and to talk, a lot this week.

That's why I became concerned when my friends told me that they didn't want to talk about it with their children. My own boys are indeed a few years older than their kids, which definitely has an impact on my decision making. But their hesitancy suddenly gave me pause to consider their side and to second guess all the talking we've been doing about this. As a mom of young men, I feel as though my biggest duty is to raise them to be Christ's light and love to others in our world. And so I'm asking myself (and you) today, does talking about this situation lead us to that goal? Should we be discussing it, or should we just quietly remember these souls and their families in our prayers?

I don't know the answer...

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Zion Photos

For anyone who is interested in looking at photos from our wonderful trip to Zion National Park, you can visit our family web site to take a peek. Greg was right - the pictures don't do justice to the stunning scenery and amazing views the park has to offer. We were so lucky to have perfect hiking weather!

It's a trip I will always remember. Looking at these makes me anxious to hit the road again soon.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Do Something

This morning, I found inspiration in the heart of my 15 year old son. Eric is running for the office of Treasurer for his sophomore class. High school can be a tough environment, particularly for those who are not at the top of the "cool" crowd. Eric, the incumbent who served this year, finds himself running against a very popular classmate who is appears to be running a "fun" campaign. We've talked at length about the possibility of defeat (sometimes, the cool kid wins over the responsible kid), but Eric is determined to run. For this, he has the utmost respect of a mom who was never brave enough to stick her neck out on the line in high school.

This morning, I read the opening words of Eric's speech, which include the following quote from Albert Einstein:

"The world is a dangerous place, not because of those who do evil, but because of those who look on and do nothing."

Eric feels committed to running because he honestly believes in service to his classmates and to his school. He is convicted about "doing something" to make his corner of the world a better place. At a time when evil in the world feels pervasive and a person could easily question what difference she could possibly make, having the shining example of a son like Eric is a great motivator.

Today, let's not look on and do nothing. And by the way...

Vote for Eric!

Monday, April 16, 2007

Let Perpetual Light Shine Upon Them

My thoughts and prayers are with the Virginia Tech community this morning. As a mother of a teenager, I know I say a prayer each morning when my son steps out of the car that God will guard and protect him. I can't imagine how the parents of the victimized students must be feeling today. Saying goodbye to your child as they go away to college must be so difficult - you know their future is open and welcoming them, but things like this are a parent's worst nightmare. Please join me in praying for these students, their families and the Virginia Tech community.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Coffee with a Purpose

With the arrival of Easter, I celebrated over a year of being caffeine free! Last year for Lent, I recognized the ferocity of my caffeine addiction and kicked the habit. I still love a good cup of coffee, but now I favor decaf and have also discovered the joys of herbal tea.

Boake wrote me recently to introduce me to the Mission Grounds web site. Mission Grounds Coffee helps impoverished children and orphans around the globe through the sale of a gourmet coffee. They currently are helping children in New Orleans, Russia, China, Africa, Costa Rica and Venezuela.

Catholic Relief Services also has a wonderful listing of "fair trade" organizations who have committed to Fair Trade practices. Visit the CRS web site for a complete list of Fair Trade coffee vendors.

I am looking forward to learning more about the CRS Fair Trade program and finding a new coffee provider who will meet my decaf and fairness needs.

Another New Catholic Podcast

Susan Bailey has brought another great new Catholic podcast to my attention. The Catholic Spotlight podcast is being produced by The Catholic Company and will feature interviews with Catholic authors, musicians and other creative minds in the Catholic world. I'm looking forward to listening to their first podcast, which features the creators of the wonderful Domestic Church website who are truly an inspiration to me. I remember visiting that site frequently back before I ever started and still love checking out their great resources.

Hold Grapevine in Your Hand

One of my favorite magazines is Grapevine Magazine, the Magazine about Catholic Performing Artists. Catholic musician, publisher and podcaster supreme Susan Bailey has worked for several years promoting the Catholic music industry through Grapevine. In the past, the magazine was always available as a free online download in PDF format. I always wished that Grapevine came in hard copy format, as its production value and content was so wonderful.

Now, my wish has come true and I just finished ordering my copy of the very first Grapevine issue available in print. Although it hasn't arrived in my mailbox yet, I know that it's going to be great because everything that Susan Bailey does is always of the highest quality. She is truly one of my role models - someone who is passionate about her work and using her God given talents to spread the word about our wonderful Catholic faith.

If you think the cover price is a bit high, I would ask you to think about some of the ways in which you're spent $10 recently. You might have bought two fancy drinks at Starbucks, seen a movie that wasn't too great, or parked your car for less than an hour in a big city. With this $10 purchase, you will not only enrich your own life, but you will also be supporting an apostolate that is greatly needed in our Catholic Church.

News from My Favorite Comedy Mom Sally Edwards

Sally Edwards wrote this weekend to share some great information with our readers:

On Monday, I will be interviewed on WGN Radio about two more Catholic performances coming up this week in the suburbs of Chicago - Sarcred Heart in Lombard and St. Peter Damien in Bartlett. The reason they are interviewing me is to let Christian organizations know that 50% books sales profits for You Know Your Kids Are Driving You Crazy When... and You Know You're A Sexy Senior When... will be donated to charity when bought directly through me at performances. I believe this venture is for a very good cause. And the best part is that the books make people laugh while helping others.

Friday, April 13, 2007



Saturday, April 07, 2007

Roughing It

Is it considered "camping" if the wireless internet connection at the campground we're visiting is actually speedier than my broadband at home?

Today's blog post comes to you from a very nice RV resort somewhere south of the strip in Las Vegas. We are staying here overnight and will be attending Easter Mass at the Cathedral in Las Vegas before heading to Zion National Park in Utah tomorrow. I'm not sure what my internet access will be in Utah, so I thought I'd post today in advance of any potential blackout that may occur. Since I was away from home a good bit of the last two weeks for the funeral of my grandmother, I brought my laptop along with me hoping to catch up on a few things. We just had a lovely cookout lunch (lovely, in that my husband did the cooking on the grill) and now we're enjoying a bit of quiet time prior to heading out to do some sightseeing.

Today's technology is a bit of a double edged sword - while it is nice to be "in touch" and not have to return home to another onslaught of email, there's something messed up about sitting next to a campfire and having such a speedy wireless connection.

Do you check email while on vacation? I don't own a blackberry, so if I can't get an internet connection I'm out of luck, and maybe that's a good thing.

Here's an interesting article I found on workaholics checking email while on vacation. I don't think I fall into that category...yet!

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Praying for a Catholic Literary Revival

Thank you to Debra Murphy of the wonderful Idylls Press for offering the following information about a wonderful prayer opportunity for the Easter Season. I've been a huge fan of Idylls since its inception and am currently touting Awaiting Orders as this month's fiction selection for the Catholic Mom Book Club. If you're looking for an incredible read, pick up Awaiting Orders which is a fabulous representation of the treasures Idylls has to offer.

Part of the mission statement at Idylls Press is to contribute to a new Catholic literary renaissance. There’s a great deal of work to be done toward that end, especially in the often overlooked area of writing, publishing and promoting quality Catholic fiction, but nothing will be accomplished without the wisdom and grace of God. To that end, Idylls Press is asking readers to join with them in praying this prayer as a novena (once a day for nine days, or once an hour for nine hours in a day) to the Eternal Word sometime during the Easter Season,to beg God for a new springtime in Catholic literature.

God bless you all, and thank you for your prayers and support.

Pray for a Catholic Literary Revival

O, Jesus, Who said, “heaven and earth shall pass away, but my Word shall notpass,” You are the Living and Eternal Word through Whom all that exists wasmade and is sustained. You delighted inproclaiming the Good News of the Kingdom by means of stories.

Throughthe intercession of Mary Most Holy, St. Joseph (Your guardian, Mary’s chaste spouse, and protector of Christ’s faithful), St. Francis de Sales (patron of Catholic writers), Cardinal John Henry Newman (patron of Catholic essayists and novelists), Pope John Paul the Great (patron of Catholic poets, playwrights, and personalists), and all the holy men and women throughout the ages who have spread the Kingdom by means of good, true, and beautiful words, we ask You humbly but confidently for the graces we need to contribute to a new CatholicLiterary Revival for our times.

1. Our Father
2. Hail Mary
3. Glory Be

Jesus, we trust in You.
Most Holy Trinity, have mercy on us and on the whole world.

Our Wonderful Women

The wonderful women who contribute to are always busy and so generous in their support of the web site! I wanted to bring a few recent "media moments" featuring our awesome moms to your attention:

I have believed for a long time that the Holy Spirit has a fond place in His heart for moms, and particularly for the moms who contribute so generously of their time and talent to make the place that it is! Thank you to Heidi, to Lisa and to all of the mom-angels who make my life so rich every day!

Know Any Great Priests?

Can you help with the following request? If so, feel free to contact Dan directly.

My name is Dan Goulet and I am gathering information for a book about Catholic priests. This will be a book about the good things priests have done. I am inquiring to find out from you if you have a story about a Roman Catholic Priest helping you in your life. In the book all names will be anonymous. "In the Person of Christ" is being put together to help Priests become more dedicated and more passionate about their ministry. If you do have a story I would love to use it. I look forward to hearing from you

God Bless

Dan Goulet
7 Prince Path
Sandwich, Ma 02563

Do You Know What Your Kids Are Drinking

Thanks to Vicki Caruana for a truly scary blog post about teens and energy drinks. Luckily, my Eric eschews almost everything except water these days - a habit he picked up during football season. It's been over a year now (starting last Ash Wednesday) that I kicked the caffeine habit - it is truly scary the number of our children who are becoming addicted to these types of products. I love Vicki and Kelly's new Brain Food Blog, which puts the focus on living a balanced life and eating a balanced diet - what a concept!

Grace on the Go

Thanks to Barbara Bartocci for the heads up on an article on her wonderful book Grace on the Go: 101 Quick Ways to Pray which was the focus of a Catholic Mom Book Spotlight recently. This article gives a great overview of the book and some of the tips Barbara offers for finding time to pray, even when we are at our busiest.

Monday, April 02, 2007

A Celebration of Life

When I grow up, I want to be just like my Grandma! Having just returned from a weeklong celebration of Grandma's life, I am remembering her many wonderful traits and the sweetness of her personality. To those of you who sent wishes and said prayers for me during the past several days, thank you - they were surely with me as I traveled to be with my family for Grandma's funeral. At some later date, maybe I will share some of the details in this space, but for now I just want to savor the feelings of love and warmth that I brought home from Indiana with me.

My Grandma Patty was a remarkable woman. The matriarch of a huge clan, she was able to make each of us feel uniquely close to her in our own ways. Her funeral rites were a huge gathering of those who loved her most - her beloved husband of 67 years, her children, and oodles of grandchildren and great grandchildren. Grandma, who was happiest when she held a baby in her arms or spent time in the company of her sons and daughters, surely wore a lovely smile as she watched down from heaven. Since I've heard the stories about my Daddy as a young kid, I'm pretty sure Grandma was able to bypass any purgatory time for all of the loving patience with which she mothered her family.

We gathered on Wednesday at the funeral home for her viewing, reciting the Rosary and the Divine Mercy chaplet as she so often did during her own life. She and my Grandpa were daily communicants - their faith community, neighbors, and friends came out in droves to bid goodbye to Grandma. For five hours, we welcomed so many people who spoke so lovingly of Grandma that it made my head turn.

On Thursday, we gathered in the Cathedral where Grandma received every Sacrament of her life. In his eulogy, a "love letter" from Grandma to those of us gathered in the church, my Daddy paid such a loving tribute to his mother. As I sat looking around at all of us gathered out of love for Grandma, I thought about how well she had lived her life. I hope that someday when my days here are done, I will have loved even half as well as Grandma did...that would really be something!

I always regretted that the geographic distance between my grandparents and I was so great, but I never for a moment doubted the love and affection of my Grandma. We shared some very special memories during the course of my life.

I will remember my Grandma always for the greatest lessons she taught me - that faith is meant to be lived out every day, in every way and that the gift of family is truly the greatest blessing life has to offer.