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
Lisa's Facebook Profile, Plurk, Twitter
Catholic Mom Logo Store

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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Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Pain in Perspective

Today was one of those days...

The events of the morning included the usual lunch making, shuttling both boys to school, an important telephone appointment, a funeral, a mammogram and an orthodontist appointment, all before 2:00 pm. In the midst of it all, I cleaned two bathrooms, did a load of laundry, and got caught up on email.

No wonder it's 4:16 pm and I feel like a truck hit me.

Seriously though, the day was quite thought provoking. The funeral/mammogram back-to-back combo kept things in perspective in a beautiful way for me. I was in attendance to support my good friend Tracy, who lost her brother in law to cancer suddenly and with little warning. Tracy and her husband Louis are special friends of ours from church, so even though I didn't know Louis' brother Stephen, I wanted to be present with them at Mass today to lend my prayers and support. I knew that I would have to sneak out early to be at the prescheduled mammogram in time.

Blessedly, I was able to be present throughout the Liturgy of the Word and for a wonderful homily given by Msgr. Ray Dreiling. A portion of Msgr. Dreiling's homily dealt with the gospel passage from John 4:6, in which Jesus shares the words:

"I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me."

Msgr. Dreiling spoke of this passage's reminder that sometimes the disciples who followed Jesus just "didn't get it" - they followed Jesus but still really had no clue that He was truly God. Sadly, Monsignor reminded us, you and I are often the same way. Sometimes, it takes occasions such as funerals to remind us that our God is a God who loves us unconditionally, without end, and forever.

Stephen Linney died too young, there's no question about that. He left behind a wife and two children, and countless relatives and friends, who are missing him greatly. I hope they were comforted a bit by Msgr. Dreiling's homily today - he reminded each of us that Stephen is in God's loving hands now and that those hands of God are also filled with love, dedication, and peace. Msgr. Dreiling likened Stephen's life to a book, whose story continues now with a whole new chapter that is just beginnning. Like a beloved book, Stephen continues to touch the lives of those he left behind, but his impact upon them is neither ended nor will it be forgotten.

Leaving the funeral to rush to my mammogram appointment, I was filled with a tremendous sense of peace and love. Normally, these types of things stress me out beyond measure, but Monsignor's reflection and the thought of Stephen's family gathered together in sacramental prayer left me feeling so wonderfully confident about the Body of Christ and the Communion of Saints that I saw no need for worry.

Life unfolds each and every day in countless little ways. Most moments are filled with mundane things like packing brown bag lunches or getting braces checked. But every so often, in the midst of Ordinary Time, we receive the gift of knowing that each and every one of these moments is truly an extraordinary gift from God.

So today was one of those days...

Monday, October 13, 2008

Greetings from Starbucks!

Hi all! Tonight, rather than dropping Adam off at his Fencing lesson and heading home, I'm here at Starbucks enjoying some quality time with my computer! (For a change, right?)

This weekend, I had the extreme pleasure of being a part of the Diocese of Fresno Religious Education Congress. My participation allowed me to give two presentations on topics related to family life and Catholic New Media. The first topic, "Raising Faith Filled Kids in Today's Technological Climate" looked at both the "blessings" and the "bewares" of allowing our kids to interact with technology such as texting, social networking and new media.

The second talk, "Nurturing Our Families' Faith Lives with 21st Century Resources" was a fun overview of all that's new and great in the world of Catholic New Media. I was so happy to share the good news about SQPN and to screen episodes of Grace Before Meals and That Catholic Show for those in attendance. Of course, they loved the videos!

I'm hoping that my talks convinced a few more faith-filled souls that there is great good to be done in using things like podcasting and social networking to help spread our faith, especially to the young people in our parishes. I want to send a special thank you out to my friend Cindy for not throwing tomatoes at me during my talk and for replenishing my soul with a fresh Starbucks gift card at the end of the day, when I was done with both talks - you're the best!

With these talks behind me and the Power Point Slides all prepared, I'm anxious to look for other opportunities to spread this good news. If you know of a speaking opportunity in your diocese or at your parish, I'd love it if you could drop me an email. I've got the bug!

In the mean time, over at Productivity @ Home this week I'm working on a "Time Budget". I'm looking at trying to make more time in my day to take on a big new project that I'll be unveiling very soon. If you have any pointers or tips for me, aside from telling me I'm crazy, I'd love your comments over there!

I hope your week is off to as a great a start as mine is! And I promise my Mom that I will try this week to do a better job of sharing with you here what's going on in my world. I know the rest of you probably don't miss me when I don't blog, but my Mom sure does and I need to keep her happy!

Mrs. MD good friend and columnist Kate Wicker has created the website I needed twenty something years ago when I fell in love with and married a man who would go on to become an ER doctor. Mrs. MD is a great new blog that's "Your Rx for a health and happy medical marriage". Kate's married to a Radiology Resident and has two lovely kiddos, which makes her an instant candidate for sainthood in my book. On top of that, she's a gifted writer and she and her fellow contributors have a great outlook on life as a "doctor's wife".

So if your spouse is a med student, a resident or even a doctor, check out Mrs. MD - I guarantee you'll find a smile and feel uplifted! Great job Kate!

Mrs. MD

Congrats Donna-Marie

Congratulations to my special friend Donna-Marie Cooper O'Boyle who is appearing this week on EWTN's Bookmark program to share the great news about her recent projects.  Visit her blog for program times and check out the EWTN site for watching the video online.

Donna-Marie's new book Grace Cafe is due to be released soon, but you'll want to visit her site to be one of the first to order an autographed copy.  I've read the book and it's simply awesome - a great tool for each of us and a super gift for a special Catholic Mom in your life.  I will be sharing a full review of the book soon, but please visit Donna-Marie's site and check out the special offer she is sharing with her readers.

Embracing Motherhood

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Catholic Candyland

Take a fun trip with my good buddy Chris Cash into the "Catholic Candyland" - the warehouse of The Catholic Company. The Catholic Company has always been such a supportive partner of - whenever you make a purchase there through our store, you make a donation to! I don't know if I'll ever get the chance to visit the warehouse in person, so Chris' tour is the next best thing. He shares a great reminder that the tools provided through The Catholic Company helps us share our faith in fun and exciting ways. Thanks for the video tour Chris and keep up the great work!

Monday, October 06, 2008

Live, from Chicago...

it's Catholic Mom Moments!

OK, I couldn't resist!! I'm actually sitting, perched high above the city on the 9th floor of the Chicago Public Library, enjoying a bit of free wireless internet access.

I've been here in the city since last Wednesday, when I arrived for a weeklong visit. It's been a fabulous blending of "business" and pleasure, mostly the latter!

I've been staying with Erin, David, Evan and Tyler, enjoying as much nephew time as I can possibly pack into a few days. On Thursday, I was lucky enough to be able to spend time with Sister Julie of A Nun's Life fame and to be treated by her to a tour of Loyola Press. While I was with Sister Julie meeting many of the staff at Loyola, I was teasing her that I should have brought my autograph book, as I found myself in the company of some of my favorite authors! What a treat! I'm so happy I had the chance to learn about Loyola Press' upcoming plans as well as Sister Julie's plans for her own writing. She is simply incredible and will be featured on an upcoming episode of Catholic Moments podcast!

Next up, Greg, Eric and Adam winged in on a redeye Friday morning and we headed straight to Notre Dame. While there, I was fortunate enough to have a meeting with Tom Grady and his staff at Ave Maria Press. Once again, it was a treat to meet in person with folks I've corresponded with online and admire greatly. Watch out for future updates on great books coming soon from both publishers!

While at Notre Dame, one of our major focuses was to introduce Eric to campus life at our favorite University. We attended an information session and had a great campus tour. We dined in South Dining Hall, tromped all over our old stomping grounds, and subjected the boys to a lot of our memories. The game on Saturday, a victory over Stanford, was the icing on the cake. While at the game, we spent the weekend at Erin and David's lakehouse in Michigan City and enjoyed meeting with Michael and Meg (and their new puppy Ollie) on Saturday.

Greg and the boys have now jetted back to "the real world" but I get to spend a few more days here in the City. Today, I had the treat of visiting with Sister Helena Burns of the Daughters of St. Paul at the Chicago Pauline Book and Media Center. While in the facility, I met up again with Sister Anne, who many of us know as "NunBlogger" on the net. When I was speaking with Sister Helena, I had this strange sense of familiarity and comfort. She is so passionate about the use of new media in sharing our faith - a passion I share greatly. For many reasons, I wish I lived closer to Chicago - if I did, I'm certain I would be a groupie of the Daughters of St. Paul. I hope to spend more time with them during future visits to the city.

Over at Faith and Family Live, my blog posts for this week will feature reflections from this trip. Head over there for a few of the happenings of the week. I'm not certain what the rest of the week will hold, but I'll be back home on Thursday and resuming some semblance of my routine.

Being here has been such a blessing in so many ways. The best thing in the world is being able to spend time with my family whom I miss so greatly when we are not together. My nephews are just about the sweetest, cutest kids around so it's a true treat to have time with them.