Saturday, November 22, 2008

Join me in my new blog home!

Hi everyone! Join us over at the newly redesigned for my blog, podcast, and more great content for Catholic families:

I'm hoping that you will find the new site easy to use and that you will comment regularly to help keep me motivated! Thanks for your ongoing support - I'm hoping the end result will be a happy new home for all of us! Lisa

Friday, November 21, 2008

Free Catholic Bible Study DVD for Year of St. Paul

I'm so happy to share with you the great news that our friends at the Come and See Catholic Bible Study series have made another generous offer for our readers.

Take a look at my interview with series co-author Laurie Manhardt to find out how you can obtain a free DVD to help you begin your study of their new "Acts and Letters" bible study book.

As a side note, I've posted this interview over at the "currently under construction new site". Please know that this site is far from being ready for prime time, but I'm going to start posting content there so that it will be packed with great stuff once it's up and fully functional. The links and navigation don't work yet, so don't bother clicking on the sidebar links, but you can read all of Laurie's great thoughts on getting started with your own Catholic Bible study devotion! You can also leave a comment on the new site if you'd like to help me get started with testing our system.

My Favorite New Catholic Calendar!

This month, I was fortunate enough to receive a review copy of the calendar that will grace my office walls in 2009 - The Beauty of Grace 2009 Calendar of Indulgences from Bridegroom Press.

I’m thrilled to help spread the word about this particular product, since it is so much more than simply a way to keep track of appointments. First, a physical description of the calendar: it’s a heavy duty 12 x 12 calendar with lovely artwork from Murals by Jericho. The photos that grace each month’s page are absolutely lovely images that will look great in any room.

More importantly though, the content of this calendar far exceeds any I’ve ever seen - you could almost call this calendar a reference book. In fact, I know that the calendar will be hung very close to my desk, since I will be taking it down regularly to refer to the various features it offers. These include:

Lists all the indulgenced works of the Church on a month-at-a-glance basis,
Highlights the twenty-two special days when a partial indulgence becomes plenary to honor a day,
Color-codes the indulgences for easy identification
Has scholarly notes on the history of indulgences,
Contains the conditions for earning both partial and plenary indulgences,
Gives the complete text of over a dozen different indulgenced prayers,
Carries weekly reminders for Friday fasts and Saturday confession
Provides the Scriptural supports for one dozen different apologetics topics:

o The Eucharist
o Marian dogma and doctrines
o Redemptive suffering
o The divinity of Christ
o Apostolic succession
o The problems with contraception
o Reconciliation
o Purgatory
o Indulgences
o Divinization
o Church authority
o Catholic baptismal teaching

I’ve learned so much from this calendar already on the topic of indulgences, and I’m certain that my spiritual life will be enhanced throughout all of 2009 through the regular performing of indulgences in my own life.

I’ll be looking for opportunities to share these with you throughout the year. But if I were you, I’d head over to The Catholic Company today and purchase two - one for you and one as a gift for a special friend. The Beauty of Grace Calendar of Indulgences is the type of gift that keeps on giving!

This review was written as part of the Catholic book Reviewer program from The Catholic Company. Visit The Catholic Company to find more information on The Beauty of Grace Calendar of Indulgences 2009 Wall Calendar.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Jesus loves him...

Adam 11/20/08

Catholic Moments #79 - Bryan Murdaugh and Catholic Charities

This week, we share two interviews. Jody Hudson of Catholic Charities of Fresno helps us learn what we, as families, can do to reach out to the poor and needy in our communities. We also meet Bryan Murdaugh, a talented Catholic Dad, youth minister and musician. Deacon Tom Fox shares a reflection on being of service to others. Be sure to enter this month's contest - your chance to win two adorable Christmas Bracelets. To enter, email with “Christmas Bracelets Giveaway” in the subject line and be sure to include your complete mailing address. Enter by November 30, 2008. Share your feedback at 206-339-9272, comment here on the blog or email

Links for this episode:
Catholic Charities USA
Bryan Murdaugh
The Catholic Company
Lisa's Facebook Profile, Plurk, Twitter
Catholic Mom Logo Store

Click here to listen to Catholic Moments #79

Subscribe to the feed | Subscribe with iTunes

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Catholic Charities Named Top Provider of Social Services

I was so happy to read the headline today that confirmed what we already know - Catholic Charities USA is the top provider of social services according to Charity Navigator.

This morning, I headed downtown to our local Catholic Charities agency for an interview with Jody Hudson, who heads the agency's food bank, thrift store and many other important areas of community outreach.  I'm looking forward to sharing that interview on the next episode of Catholic Moments, but I wanted to share this article with you to remind each of you that the work we do to support Catholic Charities is reaching many lives.  At the Catholic Business and Professionals breakfast I attended last week, our local executive director of Catholic Charities stated that with a five dollar donation, Catholic Charities can purchase twenty boxes of cereal!  What a wonderful reminder that every little bit helps when it comes to feeding the poor and hungry.

Congrats to Catholic Charities USA and all of those who work and volunteer to carry out Christ's message of care and compassion.

Catholic Charities USA Named Top Provider of Social Services by Charity Navigator, Ranked #2 Overall in NonProfit Times Top 100 - MarketWatch

Monday, November 17, 2008

The Work of God

computer simulation of multiverseI haven't had time yet to read the entire article, but my good buddy Gerard Faucheux wrote in last week to recommend this article in Discover magazine which addresses the origins of life.  And while you're checking it out, listen to some of Gerard's songs here - one of my favorites is "How Can You Think of Me?"

Science's Alternative to an Intelligent Creator: the Multiverse Theory | Cosmology | DISCOVER Magazine

Spend some time with Donna-Marie

Now Released!In case you missed it last week, you can listen in here to Donna-Marie Cooper O'Boyle's appearance on Teresa Tomeo's show.  It's always so fun to listen in when the two of them are together!

Embracing Motherhood: Listen Here to Yesterday's "Mom's Corner" show

Book Walk! Your Chance to Win

ChristmasmosaiccoverjpgOur good friend Cay Gibson is hosting a book giveaway over at her lovely blog!  All you need to do is head over and comment for your chance to win two of Cay's wonderful books!  Easy as pie (or cake...!)

Cajun Cottage Under the Oaks: I Smell Something Baking

Friday, November 14, 2008

Why These Games Scare Me...

This article from CERC and the National Post are the reason I hate war related video games - thankfully, my boys seem too interested playing various instruments to pay much attention to them, but this tragic story of a 15 year old obsessed with Call of Duty 4 raises huge red flags for me.  I am praying for his parents, who surely thought they were doing the right thing by confiscating his game console. 

A Canadian teenager has been found dead after running away from home when his parents confiscated his Xbox gaming machine. Brandon Crisp, 15, was obsessed with the online Xbox 360 game Call of Duty 4, in which several participants in different locations fight wars alongside a squadron of others -- with whom they communicate over the internet using headphones and speakers. During the three-week search for the boy his mother said that the game was “his life right now”; she had taken the gaming system away numerous times.

Internet addiction expert Louise Nadeau, a psychologist at the Universite de Montreal, said that as a teenager her mother had accused her of being “a slave to TV”. “There’s something around being 13, 14 or 15 that kids find it easier to live through a screen,” she said. But internet games made it easier to lose touch with real life: “Our world becomes more and more foreign.” Nadeau added: “Addiction sets in when one feels responsible for what happens in the on-line world.”

Microsoft, the company that sells Xbox, offered a $50,000 reward for information leading to the boy, and “grudgingly co-operated with police who sought IP addresses” of those who played with Brandon, according to the Post. Future Shop, a chain of stores selling games, was launching a new Xbox game, Gears of War 2, at the time Brandon’s body was found. The chain cancelled parties outside its stores in Toronto and Vancouver out of respect for the Crisp family.
MercatorNet | Family Edge | Canadian Boy Lived In An Online World

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Catholic Moments #78 - Traci Matheu

Our guest this week is Traci Matheu, Catholic mom, speaker and author of A Survivor from the Lost Generation of Catholics on the importance of building a foundation of faith in our families. Deacon Tom Fox shares a reflection on the topic of Loneliness. Be sure to enter this month's contest - your chance to win two adorable Christmas Bracelets. To enter, email with “Christmas Bracelets Giveaway” in the subject line and be sure to include your complete mailing address. Enter by November 30, 2008. Share your feedback at 206-339-9272, comment here on the blog or email

Links for this episode:
Traci Matheu
Paul's Men Podcast
Amazing Hero Art
The Catholic Company
Lisa's Facebook Profile, Plurk, Twitter
Catholic Mom Logo Store

Click here to listen to Catholic Moments #78

Subscribe to the feed | Subscribe with iTunes

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

In the Mood!

I had to share this picture and video from Eric's big concert last weekend.

In the video of the Jazz Band from University High School, Eric is the cool cat in the shades. What a blessing to watch your child do something they love so much - you can see the big smile on his face in the video. He was having a blast.

During the course of the evening, Eric played with the wind ensemble, the Orchestra and the Jazz Band. One of the highlights of the night was the finale, where all 405 students from University High School took the stage to perform together. It was amazing!

Change can be a difficult thing, especially for mothers. When Eric decided to transfer high schools, I will admit I had a lot of fear and trepidation about the move. But watching him this weekend and seeing the sheer joy that he had being among his peers and making such lovely music, I am convinced we made the right decision. It's been a big change in the past year going from football pads to a tuxedo, but I'd say Eric is doing just fine with the transition!

Monday, November 10, 2008

Christmas Bracelets Giveway

I'm thrilled to announce our latest giveaway - your chance to win two adorable Christmas bracelets from the wonderful On This Day Designs.

1 winner receives two fun Christmas bracelets from On This Day Designs

How to Enter: To enter, email with “Christmas Bracelets Giveaway” in the subject line and be sure to include your complete mailing address. Enter by November 30, 2008

About the Product: Two wonderful cute stretchy bracelets to help commemorate the Christmas season: one has a tiny ceramic St. Nicholas with the words "St. Nick pray for us". It's the perfect reminder for a child that St. Nicholas is the true Santa. A wonderful gift to place in a child's shoe on December 6, the feast of St. Nicholas. The second bracelet celebrates the birth of our Lord Jesus. It's the perfect gift for a child to help remind them why we celebrate Christmas with such joy. Just the right size for a stocking stuffer! This giveaway is sponsored by On This Day Designs

Make Multiplication Magnificent

Multiplication Tables DungeonThanks to Vikki for sharing the heads up about a great tool for teachers and parents called "Timez Attack".  It's a great video game that will help your kids learn to love multiplication. 

I remember hearing this game mentioned on the Rosary Army and Greg and Jennifer gave it great reviews.  There is a free Base Version available online to teach your child 2s through 12s and to give you a chance to preview the product.

You can check out the game at  I really wish this tool had been available when my boys were learning multiplication!  If you've used Timez Attack, I'd love to hear your comments!

Multiplication Tables - Flash Player Installation

Workout Tips for Stay-at-Home Parents

I'm getting caught up on a whole bunch of backed up email today, so expect a few blog posts to be coming your way! With Nana here, I've been too busy having fun to blog!

One of my favorite daily emails comes from - this email today seemed to be a good one to share here:

Workout Tips for Stay-at-Home Parents

When you're running a household that includes young children and teens, it can be hard to get away for a workout.

If you're desperate for fitness but can't seem to find the time, all you need is some planning and a little creativity. Here are some tips for parents with children and teens:

1. Exercise with your kids. If your kids are old enough, let them bike while you run or rollerblade. Hiking makes for a fun family activity that keeps everyone shape. Or, create a fitness course in the backyard, complete with jump rope, jumping jacks, and pushup stations.

2. Purchase some exercise videos. Yoga, Pilates, low-impact aerobics, and kickboxing can all be done on your living room floor with little or no equipment. Before you buy, rent a few from your local video store or check them out from the library to see which ones you like.

3. Improvise. If you miss your aerobics class because of a marathon naptime, pop in an exercise video or do lunges in the backyard with the baby monitor hooked to your pants. Don't stress if you don't get that perfect workout in every time. With exercise, doing some is always better than doing none.

4. Most importantly, put exercise on your "to-do" list. Make it a priority. If that means getting up an hour early for a run, then set the alarm and go for it. You'll benefit in countless ways, plus you'll be a happier, more peaceful parent for your kids.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Catholic Moments #77 - Weight Issues and An Attitude of Gratitude

This week, Lisa shares double the fun with two interviews: Ruby Gettinger is the star of "Ruby", a new television show that chronicles her lifelong battle with morbid obesity. Sue Lundquist is the author of the I'm Thankful journal, a tool for helping our families build an attitude of thankfulness. Deacon Tom Fox shares a stirring reflection entitled "The Struggle of Parenting" filled with encouraging words for parents. Share your feedback at 206-339-9272, comment here on the blog or email

Links for this episode:
Sue Lundquist - I'm Thankful website, I'm Thankful Journal
Man's Search for Meaning by Viktor E. Frankl
The Catholic Company
Lisa's Facebook Profile, Plurk, Twitter
Catholic Mom Logo Store

Click here to listen to Catholic Moments #77

Subscribe to the feed | Subscribe with iTunes

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Mommy and Me

Nana arrives today! I always love welcoming my mom to town, despite the fact that somehow I am traditionally running around the night before she arrives, trying to make my home look halfway decent.

Her guest room adjoins my office, and is frequently the "spill over" space for all of my projects, books waiting to be reviewed, items to be donated and anything else that doesn't have a home. So on the eve of her arrival, I can usually be found moving stacks around, sorting, dusting and cleaning. It makes me happy to do these otherwise hated tasks in anticipation of her arrival though, because I want everything to be just right when she gets here (or at least not as chaotic as it usually is!)

So last night, I was running back and forth between cleaning and watching the events of the evening unfold. I thought John McCain's speech was very gracious, and I'm going to follow the marching orders he gave us in his words of concession:

"join me in not just congratulating [Obama], but offering our next president our good will and earnest effort to find ways to come together to find the necessary compromises to bridge our differences and help restore our prosperity, defend our security in a dangerous world, and leave our children and grandchildren a stronger, better country than we inherited."
As for the election of our new President Obama, I was inspired watching the crowds in Grant Park listen to his speech. I found the following section of his remarks to be the ones that will spur me to action:
The road ahead will be long. Our climb will be steep. We may not get there in one year or even in one term. But, America, I have never been more hopeful than I am tonight that we will get there.

I promise you, we as a people will get there.

There will be setbacks and false starts. There are many who won't agree with every decision or policy I make as president. And we know the government can't solve every problem.

But I will always be honest with you about the challenges we face. I will listen to you, especially when we disagree. And, above all, I will ask you to join in the work of remaking this nation, the only way it's been done in America for 221 years -- block by block, brick by brick, calloused hand by calloused hand.

What began 21 months ago in the depths of winter cannot end on this autumn night.

This victory alone is not the change we seek. It is only the chance for us to make that change. And that cannot happen if we go back to the way things were.

It can't happen without you, without a new spirit of service, a new spirit of sacrifice.

So let us summon a new spirit of patriotism, of responsibility, where each of us resolves to pitch in and work harder and look after not only ourselves but each other.

Coincidentally, after I voted and dropped Adam off at school yesterday, I found myself at Catholic Charities delivering our canned goods. Lined up in front of the door were families, desperate for the single free sack of food they receive from the organization. The reality of their situation tore at my heart as I recognized the broad cross section of folks there - no stereotypes, just people just like you and me who are feeling the weight of these tough times. It made me ask myself what I am doing personally, daily, to respond to Jesus' call to feed the hungry and to clothe the naked. I hope we can all respond to President Obama's call to "look after not only ourselves but each other" in as many little ways as possible. I hope that these can be words that not only inspire, but that more importantly motivate us to real action.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Have I RSVP'd? today's gospel passage, in the Parable of the Great Feast, Jesus shares the story of a master who threw a great dinner and invited many.  Unfortunately, when the time came, those who were invited came up with convenient excuses why they could not answer the call - "I'm too busy" or "My spouse won't let me" are modern ways to paraphrase the lame excuses given. 

So the master turned and extended his invitation to those who wouldn't have exactly been the first on his guest list, casting the net ever wider and swearing that the first invited guests would never taste a morsel of the fabulous dinner.

Every day, Jesus invites me to the heavenly feast of eternal salvation and to true Communion with God in the Eucharist.  How often do I make up excuses to avoid answering his invitation?  I want to go to the feast - but have I RSVP'd to Jesus lately that being with Him and replying to his call is my top priority?

Also today, we celebrate St. Charles Borromeo, the patron saint of bishops, seminarians, catechists, and catechumens.  Let's pray today for the shepherds of our Church and for those of us who learn from them - may our hearts be open to hear their teachings and to answer Jesus' invitation to the great feast!

USCCB - (NAB) - November 4, 2008

Monday, November 03, 2008

Serving without Repayment

I think Jesus might have been speaking to moms as well as Pharisees in today's readings when he said to those gathered:

“When you hold a lunch or a dinner,
do not invite your friends or your brothers or sisters
or your relatives or your wealthy neighbors,
in case they may invite you back and you have repayment.
Rather, when you hold a banquet,
invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind;
blessed indeed will you be because of their inability to repay you.
For you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous.”

How many times a day do we find ourselves serving those in our lives and wondering if they notice it or why they don't thank us?  If I'm being honest with myself, I have to admit to those small feelings of not being appreciated that bubble over into big feelings at times.  But today's readings should be validation for any mom that we are called to truly serve our families, to give them our very best, and to do so humbly.  In fact, in today's first reading today we hear:

"Do nothing out of selfishness or out of vainglory;
rather, humbly regard others as more important than yourselves,
each looking out not for his own interests,
but also everyone for those of others."

Most of us moms will never be missionaries, saints, or doctors of the Church.  But we're so very lucky that every day we have the opportunity in our own homes to respond directly to Jesus' call and to do so for the people we love most in this world. 

Lord, grant me the attitude today to serve my family humbly and, in doing so, to show you my love.

USCCB - (NAB) - November 3, 2008

Shopping Reminder

As we enter the Christmas shopping season, I hope you will consider making your online purchases through Please look for the links at or on the right sidebar here at the blog - your purchases at and The Catholic Company help pay the expenses for this site and enable me to keep dedicating my time to it. Thanks, as always, for your support and prayers!

Catholic Gifts at The Catholic Company

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Does Praise Add Pressure?

I'd love to know what you think about this article entitled Want to build your child's self-esteem from the fabulous CERC website. It's premise is that we, as parents, need to be very careful about the way we give feedback to our children to assure that we do not set them up for disappointment or low self-esteem if they do not measure up to all they think we want for them to be.

I fear I've fallen short a bit in this area, as one who's pretty regular at praising her sons for their accomplishments. The article suggests a more refined praise paradigm:

Praise, then and now


You're brilliant.
You're a great hockey player.
You're smart.
You're so talented.
You're a great colourer.
You're a good artist.


I really like the way you tried all different ways and found one that worked.
I'm really happy for you -- you worked really hard on the ice today.
I like the way you took on a hard task. I like the way you stuck to it.
You're stretching yourself. You're trying new things.
I like the way you used colours.
That drawing makes me happy. Tell me about it.

So what do you think? I'm fairly certain our parents praised us regularly, and I don't think my self-esteem didn't suffer too greatly.

p.s. Is anyone aware of the trend towards "potty-training parties" mentioned at the end of the article? I must have missed that one!

Book Resource:

Happy All Saints Day!'s readings remind us of the importance of living a life of purity, a life aimed at our ultimate goal - to someday see the face of God in heaven. We have such a vast number of saints who have gone before us, giving us wonderful examples of how to live this life towards that end.

I love it that our saints come in so many shapes and sizes: priests and popes, moms and daughters. Each of the saints walked his or her own path to sainthood, and some stumbled and fell along those paths just as you and I do. Knowing that, and knowing Christ's perfect love for me, helps me to pick myself up and continue my own journey on the many days when I fall so short of being all that the beatitudes call us to be.

“Blessed are the poor in spirit,
for theirs is the Kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are they who mourn,
for they will be comforted.
Blessed are the meek,
for they will inherit the land.
Blessed are they who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
for they will be satisfied.
Blessed are the merciful,
for they will be shown mercy.
Blessed are the clean of heart,
for they will see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers,
for they will be called children of God.
Blessed are they who are persecuted for the sake of righteousness,
for theirs is the Kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are you when they insult you and persecute you
and utter every kind of evil against you falsely because of me.
Rejoice and be glad,
for your reward will be great in heaven.”

USCCB - (NAB) - November 1, 2008

To Teach for November

My favorite resource from the USCCB, To Teach, is now available for November and December.  The online magazine offers suggestions for principals, teachers, and parents to bring faith into our homes and classrooms.  I love many of their suggestions for November and know you will too!

To Teach November 2008

Friday, October 31, 2008

What's for Dinner on Halloween

A Dinner Party for Allhallows Eve In case you're like me and don't have little ones to take out trick or treating tonight, I thought you might enjoy this article with ideas for a special themed dinner party.  It even gives me a good excuse to carve a pumpkin or two!  What are you doing tonight or this weekend to celebrate? 

A Dinner Party for Allhallows Eve - -

Catholic Charities Needs Us

For my Fresno friends, I want to share the following email I received which is a big call to action from our friends at Catholic Charities. For those living in other parts of the country, I'm relatively certain that your local Catholic Charities offices are likely in the same dire straights. Can you help out in your area with an immediate donation? Now, TODAY, is a great time to help!

I am emailing you today to enlist your support for two of Catholic Charities food drives. Without these food drives, Catholic Charities states that they cannot keep up with the demands that they are facing every day at the Fulton Street site.

Typically they feed 40 families a day; they are now feeding over 140 families. They have had to reduce hours of operation; otherwise they will simply run out of food. Catholic Charities serves all of those in need, regardless of their religion, race, etc. In fact, over 70% of those who walk through the doors are not Catholic- they just have a great need.

We have been asked to spread the word, come visit us, and more importantly bring canned goods to either of these events listed below- THEY NEED OUR SUPPORT.

The first event is this Saturday and Sunday Nov.1-2 at the corner of Blackstone/Shaw. The Catholic Charities truck will be parked there from 8:00a.m.-7:00p.m.

The next event Nov. 13-16 at River Park. A Mayflower Truck will be there for the 4 days, 24 hours each day.

They are working on securing a radio/tv station to broadcast live to build some excitement and awareness in the community. River Park has challenged all Fresno/Clovis High Schools to a Food Challenge. The High School that brings in the most canned goods during Nov 3-7 will be presented with a check for $1000, which will be given to them during our kick-off ceremony on Nov. 13th.

If you are looking to do something to help this a great chance to make a difference. Please spread the word and come out and support Catholic Charities. EVERY CAN COUNTS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Want a Text from BXVI? have text messaging blocked on our family cell phones, but if we didn't I might be tempted to check out this service from Catholic Mobile where you can receive daily text messages containing the words of the Holy Father.

If you're looking to use your cell phone as a spiritual tool, you may want to check it out. Somehow, I doubt seriously that Pope Benedict XVI even knows how to text, so I'm sure he has no involvement with this project, but I do love to see Catholics looking to use creative means to spread the faith.  The charge for this particular service is $4.99 per month. 

Catholic Mobile · Want to try?

Calling All Catholic Writers!

Catholic Writers to Hold Online Conference
World Wide Web--Writers, editors, agents, and other publishing professionals from around the world are gearing up for the second annual Catholic Writers’ Conference Online, which will be held February 2-9, 2009. Sponsored by the Catholic Writer’s Guild and the Extraordinary Moms Network, the online conference is free of charge and open to writers of all levels who register by January 15.

Last year’s conference drew over 300 participants and had more than 30 editors and writing professionals from all over the country presenting. Here's what attendees had to say:

"Gas prices are high. Writers' conferences are out of reach. CWC met my need! Write ON!" Jewel Sample, author of Flying Hugs and Kisses, and Flying Hugs and Kisses Activity Book (

"This conference … moved beyond practical concerns of writers and revealed the creative union between writing and faith, establishing it as a source of endless inspiration. As writers, we all want to feel good about what we write. The CWCO helped to show us how." Kate Wicker, “Momopoly” (

"If ever a newbie writer on the scene needed an added boost of confidence, input, and tips, the Catholic Writer's Conference Online was the place for them to camp out for the week. I learned so much and enjoyed being in an arena that was friendly for all who want to share the Catholic faith. Thanks for the great week of advice, information, and meeting new people." Elizabeth Weidner, “A Catholic Mum Climbing the Pillars”

“We were very happy with the caliber of publishing professionals who volunteered to participate in the last conference,” says event co-chair Heidi Hess Saxton, author and founder of Extraordinary Moms Network. “There was a nice mix of fiction and non-fiction as well as book and magazine publishing represented. Something for everyone … and you can’t beat the price!”

"On-line conferences cross economic and political boundaries. We can reach Catholic writers who normally wouldn't have a chance to meet, much less learn from, successful writers, editors and publishers. Plus, the faith-sharing is phenomenal," said Karina Fabian, author of the Catholic science fiction anthology Infinite Space, Infinite God and President of the Catholic Writers' Guild.

Early registration is recommended. Although the conference is offered free of charge, donations are accepted; proceeds will go toward future conferences. To register or for more information, go to

Quitting is for Wimps

I wanted to point you to a post I have up today over at Productivity @ Home where I share a fun video featuring someone who didn't quit when the going got tough - his name is Lance Armstrong.

It's very funny that I wrote this particular blog post on Sunday evening, not knowing how badly I'd need to read my own words today about not giving up.

I was at the gym this morning, for a light workout with my good friend Mara. I'm feeling pretty good after last week's biopsy, so an easy walk on the treadmill seemed like a reasonable workout. While I was there, I figured I'd try to do a few pushups (girlie style, of course!) and assisted pullups (with a lot of assistance). Dumb idea! With Coach Greg's help, I'd worked up a few weeks ago to being able to do quite a few of these. But I haven't done them for two weeks now, and the result today was pretty dismal.

I thought to myself, "Why even bother for the next month?" even though my small surgery is not scheduled until November 24th! Nice attitude Lisa! The point isn't doing pushups/pullups, it's putting things off until "it's more convenient". Do you ever fall into that trap?

Well, thankfully Mara my workout buddy was there and she has a tremendous ability to make walking on the treadmill fun for me - it's great to have someone to talk with when you're walking in circles! I took a few moments to remind myself to go easy on myself, but not to quit my trips to the gym entirely for the next month. Even easy walks and bike rides are great for me, both mentally and emotionally!

I'm not sure why I'm sharing this here, other than just to say that if you feel like quitting something today, no matter what it is, take a few moments to watch that Lance video and it might put a few things in perspective for you. It's often easy to put things off or to quit altogether, but it feels so good when you persevere and offer it all up to God, letting Him know you're doing it out of love for Him.

In today's first reading, we hear one of my all time favorite verses:

I am confident of this,
that the one who began a good work in you
will continue to complete it
until the day of Christ Jesus.

Remembering that I am continually a "work in progress" waiting to be completed is truly a blessing, and a good enough reason today not to give up!

Productivity @ Home: Never Give Up, Never Surrender

Thursday, October 30, 2008

As a Mom of teenage boys...

I have to thank Lisa Wheeler for bringing my attention to Skank-o-ween 2008: The Sexualization of Children by Kristen Fyfe. 

I've been complaining to my girlfriends about this topic for the past few years, so it's nice to have some well-written validation of my point.  Girls these days seem to be exposed to risque fashion at a younger and younger age every year - I applaud those moms and dads who are helping their children stay CHILDLIKE for as long as possible. 

The book referenced in this article is So Sexy So Soon: The New Sexualized Childhood and What Parents Can Do to Protect Their Kids
by Diane Levin.

Skank-o-ween 2008: The Sexualization of Children

Medical Update

Hi all! Just a quick note to say that I'm already home from my appointment this morning with the surgeon - you've got to love doctors' offices who get you in on time and out quickly!!

It was a good appointment. She feels that the best step at this point is to do an outpatient surgery to remove a small area, so we have that scheduled for the 24th. The surgery shouldn't be anything too difficult and I'm sure the hardest part will be fasting beforehand (does this get me out of Ash Wednesday?)

After the surgery and the resulting lab diagnostics, I will likely be meeting with an Oncologist for a consultation. Just to reiterate, this is not cancer, but rather sort of a pre-cancer diagnosis, so I'm optimistic that things should be resolved very soon and with great results.

Thanks to all of you for your prayers and support. Now let me know how I can pray for you to return the favor!

Inspiring Interview

Ruby300I had the most inspiring telephone interview this morning with Ruby Gettinger, the "star" of a new reality show on the Style Network based on her efforts to get healthy. I will be writing up a full review of the interview, and will also be sharing it on the podcast, but for now I just wanted to let you know a bit about Ruby and her show.

Ruby has weighed in as high as 700 pounds, and when the show started recording she weighed approximately 500 pounds. She bravely opened up her life and her journey to cameras, who have been documenting her efforts. The show will debut on Sunday, November 9th but I was lucky enough to prescreen the first episode.

It came to my attention through Mary Kochan of Catholic Exchange, based on Ruby's faith commitments. Although she's not Catholic, Ruby is a Christian with a strong faith that she's definitely called upon to see her through this journey.

The interview made me realize that this show truly has two purposes - the first is to inspire those who have been diagnosed with morbid obesity that losing a healthy amount of weight in a healthy fashion will save your life. The second, and perhaps as equally important, message of the show is that we should look at people for who they truly are, not what they look like on the outside. We, as a society, desperately need to stop judging and abusing people who struggle with addictions. As Ruby pointed out, those addicted to food wear their addictions on the outside, where they are obvious to others. They need our prayers, not our humiliating remarks or unkind stares.

I will keep you posted on the Ruby interview and my Catholic Exchange article, but in the mean time, feel free to head over to and start learning more about her. There is an active message board that is filled with all types of people and looks pretty inspirational.

Ruby - The Inspirational Weight Loss Journey on the Style Network

Medic Alert

I have an appointment today at noon with the Breast Surgeon. I will go off to her office, mammograms in hand, for a consultation appointment about the next step in this process - I'm hoping to hear that increased screenings are the most appropriate solution, but will keep you posted.

In the mean time, please say a prayer for the many members of our Catholic Mom family who are needing support, encouragement and uplifting this week. We are all blessed to have such a wonderful community of friends (even ones we've never met in person)!

Cool Video Alert - "The Saints on Halloween"

Over at Busted Halo, they are running a very cool video featuring Fr. Jim Martin, author of My Life With the Saintsfeaturing some very interesting saints in anticipation of All Saint's Day.

You really need to take a few moments and watch this video, which is a great way of learning more about living like a saint. Fr. Martin answers questions like how someone becomes a saint, what a patron saint is, and our devotion to saints.

I am looking forward to sharing this video with my teens and think it would be a great thing to share with any junior high or high school student. Fr. Jim just has a way about him of conveying information, but making it fun and interesting. Plus there's some cool imagery and creepy music to make things fun. Enjoy!

Busted Halo » Features » The Saints on Halloween

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Catholic Moments #76- Sr. Helena Burns, "Media Nun"

In this episode, recorded live from Chicago, Lisa chats with Sr. Helena Burns, FSP, the "Media Nun". Sr. Helena gives us an overview of Chicago's Pauline Book and Media Center and introduces us to her work in Media Literacy. Don't forget to help promote our great SQPN Catholic podcasters by voting every day in the Podcast Awards for your favorite SQPN shows! To enter our latest contest for your chance to win Story of a Soul: The Autobiography of St. Therese of Lisieux email by October 31, 2008 with the words "St. Therese Contest" in the subject line and your address in the body of the email. Share your feedback at 206-339-9272, comment here on the blog or email

St. Therese of Lisieux - Look for the "Email Me" button on the left side to enter contest
Sacrifice Beads - email Deacon Tom at
The Catholic Company
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Click here to listen to Catholic Moments #76

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Unity Awards

If you're a Catholic music fan, you simply MUST take a few minutes to visit Grapevine today and watch Gerard Faucheux's videos from this weekend's Unity Awards event.  I have said in the past how much I would like to attend the awards, and these videos gave a little sense of being there for some of the sights and sounds.

Great job Gerard and thank so much Susan for sharing these online!  Maybe I can go next year...

GrapeVine - Videos: Video Highlights from the 2008 Unity Awards

Congrats Donna-Marie!!

Three cheers for Donna-Marie Cooper O'Boyle who is celebrating the launch of two great new books. I've read both and they are terrific, definite must-reads for any Catholic Mom!

Donna-Marie has a fun post up about a recent book signing she did and how she was able to celebrate the moment with her children. It must be a true joy as a mom to celebrate not only professional accomplishments, but more importantly a great relationship with grown children.

Congratulations Donna-Marie, may many moms continue to be blessed by your work!

How Sweet!

Ask Sister JulieMy cyber Sister, Sister Julie at A Nun's Life, has some awfully sweet words about our recent meet up at Loyola Press on her blog.  If you're not already a subscriber of A Nun's Life, you definitely need to add it to your "must read" list.  Just as Catholic Mom Moments is not only for moms, A Nun's Life is definitely not only for nuns, or even "nun groupies" like me! 

Proud to be a Catholic Mom fan and friend — A Nun's Life

Children, obey your parents in the Lord...

Today's first reading makes me miss my Mom and Daddy!  Paul's reminder to the Ephesians that they honor and obey their parents is a good reminder for us kids of all ages. 

In today's video reflection at USCCB, we are reminded that in many cultures, it is considered an honor and a privilege to care for aging parents.  I hope that when my parents "age" (if they ever do), I will have the honor of caring for them to the best of my abilities. 

Paul also reminds parents (well, he says "Fathers" but I'm adding Moms into the mix too) not to "provoke" their children to anger.  Do you think Paul ever hung out much with toddlers, or with teenagers?  Yesterday, I had a long, luxurious conversation with Sue Peters, a terrific Catholic mom, Life Teen minister and musician.  Sue and I spent a few hours talking about all sorts of things, but one of the most important topics was the faith parenting of our children.  Sue's children are so fortunate to have a mother who "walks the talk" and does it with so much infectious joy.  Her music is tangible evidence of her love of her faith.  I'm sure she rarely "provokes"!  If you need a mini retreat today, visit Sue's Myspace and enjoy a few of her songs.  She will be featured on an upcoming episode of Catholic Moments, but I don't want you to wait until then to enjoy her art.

So today, I'm going to work on honoring my parents (even if it's from a distance), by praying for them and not provoking my children by being spiritually, physically and emotionally present to them.

I'm hoping for a great day!

USCCB - (NAB) - October 29, 2008

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Health Issues

I would like to ask you to join me in praying for someone close to me who is going through some tremendous trials in her health. I know she would appreciate your prayers and support as she deals with testing and treatment.

Speaking of health, I want to share what has been going on with me for the past few weeks. I've hesitated to blog about it, because I never want to attract undue attention to "me", but it's been sort of heavy on my mind and I'm thinking that maybe writing about this issue will help me to work through it. I'm beyond worrying about it at this point, but have noticed that my blogging is feeling a bit "blocked" and I think that's partially because I have yet to address this issue with you, my friends and family.

A few weeks ago, I went in for my annual mammogram as scheduled. I hate to report that it's been more than a few years since I had the last one, but I'm trying to remedy my procrastinating ways. The mammo showed some abnormalities, so it was followed up the next week with a second round and an ultrasound which showed an area of "microcalcifications".

I've been down this multiple mammogram route in the past, so I wasn't worried since previous bouts of anxiety have proven to be nothing but a waste of time. In this case, the second round led to a core needle biopsy procedure, which I had last Wednesday. The procedure is done in a Radiologist's office and took about two hours to complete - it wasn't comfortable, but gratefully I had local anesthesia and the resultant pain hasn't been too bad.

The biopsy results came in late Friday, and the diagnosis they have given me is "Lobular carcenoma in situ", which seems to be nothing more than a heightened possibility of cancer, but not cancer itself. Thanks be to God, that was great news! My doctor is now referring me to a breast surgeon, who will help me look at possible treatment options. Since I haven't met with the surgeon yet, I don't know what the outcome will be, but it's likely that we will just need to be more vigilant about regular screenings - which means an end to my procrastination! I don't know when I will be having the appointment with the surgeon - that process is still being worked out with insurance.

In the mean time, I have a few reasons for sharing this with all of you. The first, and most important, is to beg you moms out there to please be vigilant about scheduling and keeping your routine medical appointments. We often care for everyone except ourselves, and in doing that we do our family a disservice! Had this been something more serious, I would have felt very guilty about skipping appointments for the past few years!

The second reason I'm sharing this is that it's been keeping me from being my best the past few weeks - I've alternated between distraction, anxiety, and then pain and the recovery process. I've got lots on my plate right now, and adding this little medical situation into the mix threw me over the edge a bit. But now that I know what the situation is, I'm feeling much more calm and ready to get back to business.

Thanks for taking the time to read this and for whatever prayers and support you can offer, not only to me but to all of our fellow moms who carry crosses, large or small, this week. I'm blessed to have so many people in my life who inspire, support and uplift me every day!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Catholic Moments #75 - Margo B. Smith

On this episode, Lisa shares an interview with Catholic Mom, songwriter and musician Margo B. Smith including a special discussion on the beauty of spending time in adoration of the Blessed Sacrament. Deacon Tom Fox brings our month on the life of St. Therese of Lisieux to a close with his final installment of our St. Therese series. To enter our latest contest for your chance to win Story of a Soul: The Autobiography of St. Therese of Lisieux email by October 31, 2008 with the words "St. Therese Contest" in the subject line and your address in the body of the email. Share your feedback at 206-339-9272, comment here on the blog or email

St. Therese of Lisieux - Look for the "Email Me" button on the left side to enter contest
Sacrifice Beads - email Deacon Tom at
The Catholic Company
Lisa's Facebook Profile, Plurk, Twitter
Catholic Mom Logo Store

Click here to listen to Catholic Moments #75

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Saturday, October 25, 2008

Cool Video Podcast Resource for Kids your child a budding filmmaker?  Then you simply have to check out Meet Me At The Corner, a free video podcasting service where kids can take a "virtual field trip" or share their own corner of the world by submitting video and having it turned into a nifty video podcast for others to view online.

I must be needing a field trip, because I had a great time today visiting their website and watching many of the kid produced videos.  I think this would be a super resource for classroom, religious education teachers, or for homeschooling families who'd like to try a different approach to learning.  Why not hand the kids a camera and see what they can come up with?  It's free to register and they give very helpful tips on filming and uploading videos.


Resources for the New Evangelization

Congratulations to Stephen Officer and the folks at Catholic Media House for their wonderful new website featuring a cavalcade of resources for use in the "new evangelization".

If you're looking for mini movies, image backgrounds, or animated event countdowns, you will want to check out the rich variety of products available at Catholic Media House.  The products are highest quality and very inspirational.  As I make the foray into speaking, I'm thrilled to have access to resources such as these to help me share my messages.

Catholic Media House: Home

"Holy-ween" Party Idea

Thanks so much to Marie in Louisiana for sharing the following great idea with me this week in an email:

I wanted to share with you what we did at our children's Holy-ween party yesterday. We took the "Color & Pray the Holy Rosary" coloring sheet and made copies for every child. We gave each child a Ziploc bag with 6 skittles and 5 packs of smarties. On the bag, I place a note saying, "The Rosary is Sweet Music to Mary's Ears". They had the following instructions: Place Skittles on each Our Father and Smarties on each Hail Mary. When finished, gobble up the candy and color the Rosary. My children loved it and I got much delight out of seeing my children excited about something Holy. It presented an opportunity to teach about what a decade is and to go over the prayers of the Rosary.

Nun Costumes for Halloween? the approach of Halloween, my kids' social calendar is getting increasingly busy.  I know that Halloween can be a controversial topic these days, with many families opting to bypass the event in favor of All Saints Day celebrations.

For those who have children dressing up for either event, I thought you might be interested in a blog post by Sister Julie at A Nun's Life discussing the finer points of wearing a nun's costume for the holidays.

How do you handle Halloween and All Saint's Day around your home?  Will your children dress up, gather with friends, attend social activities or stay home?  

Wearing a Nun costume for Halloween — A Nun's Life

Friday, October 24, 2008

My "Pay" for Today

Earlier this week, Mrs. Karen Z. wrote me from St. Joseph's Church in Georgia to share the good news that her class is enjoying coloring with our gospel activity sheets during their Wednesday night classes. She was kind enough to send me a few pictures of her adorable class working on their projects, and the photos literally brought tears to my eyes. is often a labor of love - long nights and early mornings spent plugging away on my computer, wondering if any of it really makes a difference. Mrs. Z. and her class are living evidence that the hours are worth it and that with the help of the Internet, we are touching hearts and souls.

I want to publicly and repeatedly thank all who contribute their time and energy to Your talents in writing, creating, and spreading the love of Jesus are helping and impacting people around the world - I couldn't keep the site going without you, so I hope you take as much joy as I do today from the smiles of this group of children!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008


My biggest (and perhaps only) fan, my Mom, took me to task this afternoon for not updating CMM since Sunday.

Well, it's been kind of a goofy week, so although I have excuses I won't bore you with them right now. One major time situation that I can share with you, however, is the rebuilding of Along with a very talented designer, I'm in the process of a complete overhaul of our site, which was born back in November of 1999 with Microsoft FrontPage and a lot of dummies books. For years now, the infrastructure of the site has been completely out of control and I'm finally now trying to come up with the funds and the time to do a good job of bringing it up to date.

So if things seem a little quiet here and on, please know that I'm not sitting around eating ice cream and watching soaps (hey, that ice cream sounds good though) - I'm busy on my computer doing "stuff" you won't see for another month or two. I hope, when it's all unveiled, that you will find it worth the wait!

In the mean time, if you are dying to read a thought or two from me every day, head over to Faith and Family Live where I share my thoughts most days of the week in the company of some of the web's best mom bloggers.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Catholic Moments #74 - Book Talk

On this special Sunday edition of the Catholic Moments Podcast, I give an overview of the new books I received during my recent visits at Loyola Press and Ave Maria Press. Deacon Tom Fox gives us the third installment of our St. Therese series. To enter our latest contest for your chance to win Story of a Soul: The Autobiography of St. Therese of Lisieux email by October 31, 2008 with the words "St. Therese Contest" in the subject line and your address in the body of the email. Share your feedback at 206-339-9272, comment here on the blog or email

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Win Tickets to See Secret Life of Bees

The producers of Secret Life of Bees have given our readers the chance to win tickets for the movie. To enter, click on this graphic for your chance to win.

Get FREE Movie Tickets

Friday, October 17, 2008

Secret Life of Bees

You've gotta love taking a Friday afternoon off and going to see a chick flick with your best girlfriend! I just don't do it very often, so when I do it feels like a remarkably wonderful thing.

And it's even better when the film in question turns out to be wonderful!

Mara and I took in The Secret Life of Bees tonight. It's fitting that we saw the film together, since we read it for our book club a few years ago. From what I recall of the book, the movie seems to be very true to the original Sue Monk Kid story. The movie's chock full of stellar performances with Queen Latifah, Alicia Keys and Sophie Okonedo playing the Boatright sisters and Jennifer Hudson as Lilly's companion Rosaleen. Dakota Fanning, who I've loved for years, plays Lily Owens with such a vengeance that you forget she's only 14.

If you're interested in a Catholic review of the movie, check out the Bishops' website - I wish they would have addressed in greater detail the Boatright sister's devotion to Mary, as represented by the Black Madonna image in their home. I was moved to tears at several points in the film, but most especially at the closing scene of the movie when Lily writes of Mary - I don't want to ruin the film for any of you who haven't seen it yet, so I won't comment on what happens. But think of me when you do see it, and return here and share your impressions. I wouldn't call the film "Catholic" but would say that the womens' devotion to a loving and caring Blessed Mother Mary comes very close to my own feelings for Jesus' mother.

My only regret is that I didn't pack kleenex, as this film is truly one that stirred a lot of emotion - both smiles and tears. The film is rated PG13 and due to some of the difficult scenes related to the very real historical tensions related to the Civil Rights movement as well as the suicide of one of the major characters, it may be upsetting to young teens. Some will surely call the film "too sweet", but just like the honey that is at the center of this film, sweet can be perfection sometimes!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Catholic Moments #73 - Mountain Butorac and Sr. Julie Vieira

On this week's "car cast" (recorded live from the front seat of Lisa's SUV), we feature two great interviews. Mountain Butorac discusses Catholic travel and his great website The Catholic Traveler. Sister Julie Vieira, IHM shares on her life as a Nun and her work with Loyola Press and on her wonderful blog, A Nun's Life. Deacon Tom Fox shares the second installment in our look at the life of St. Therese of Lisieux. To enter our latest contest for your chance to win Story of a Soul: The Autobiography of St. Therese of Lisieux email by October 31, 2008 with the words "St. Therese Contest" in the subject line and your address in the body of the email. Share your feedback at 206-339-9272, comment here on the blog or email

Links for this Episode:
The Catholic Traveler
Loyola Press
A Nun's Life
St. Therese of Lisieux - Look for the "Email Me" button on the left side to enter contest
Story of a Soul: The Autobiography of St. Therese of Lisieux
Parish Media Liaison Kerry Madden - Spiritual Refreshment
Shrine of the Little Flower
The Catholic Company
Lisa's Facebook Profile, Plurk, Twitter
Catholic Mom Logo Store

Click here to listen to Catholic Moments #73

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