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Thanks for Calling

>> Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Today's guest post is written by Holly from FALLING UPWARD.
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My daughter is 21 months old now and is developing a particular attachment to all the “tools” I use in my day-to-day life. It’s interesting to see how her little eyes perceive what things define a person.  My keys, shoes, purse and sunglasses spend more time donning her little mop-top self than my own. 
 
I’m somewhat ashamed to confess this next little slice of our life.  She thinks my phone is actually called a “Holly” and not a “Phone.”  I gather this comes from the fact that I work from home and during business hours am answering the phone, “Hello, this is Holly.”  Either way, she picks it up and carries it around, calling it her “Holly.”  When the phone rings, her eyes light up,  her mouth falls open and she starts running in circles with excitement screaming, “Holly, Holly, Holly!!!”  I’ve tried replacing my phone with her Elmo phone, but after one or two conversations with Elmo, she’s back to wanting the real deal.
 
In some ways, it’s flattering to see her put on my sunglasses, my shoes and pick up the keys while she’s tossing the diaper bag across her body and saying, “Ok, bye bye, see you.”  She always does so with a smile and then puckers up for a goodbye kiss.  I’m not sure if I should be proud of the fact I must always leave the house with a kiss and hug, or if I should feel shame over appearing so very happy while I am LEAVING my home!
 

Like so many things do, witnessing this everyday brings me to a spiritual reflection.  Is this how I appear in the eyes of God?  Trying so very hard to impress him with my faith and knowledge as I stumble around, trying my very best to imitate the example He gave me as the perfect mother: Mary? 
 
The thought that the amusement I get from the sight of my daughter doing these things could be similar to how God views my attempts at faith, piety and prayer makes me blush.  It also humbles me, and warms my heart.  Child-like joy in beautiful.  I guess it isn’t so bad to entertain the possibility I could still possess it.
 
However, I look in the eyes of God, I will continue to “put on” Christ, because that is what I believe He calls me to do.  The way in which I so seriously do it may be a bit off the mark, but just like my daughter, I will do it with the best of intentions – and a smile.
 
I must always answer the call.  Oftentimes, it’s Elmo, but sometimes, it’s God. 
 
Have you ever thought about how you look in the eyes of God?

Holly can be found blogging at FALLING UPWARD.

photo by LuRoGo ®

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New Blog Roll Members: December 21, 2009

>> Monday, December 21, 2009

Welcome to our newest blog roll members!

The Magnolia Cul-de-Sac

Laborare Est Orare

Lest I Forget

I hope that all of our members have a very Merry Christmas! 

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Catholic Media Group

>> Thursday, December 10, 2009

I have recently heard about Catholic Media Group, and thought I would pass the information along, since many of our readers are bloggers, and some businesses.

Here is what Mark (the founder of Catholic Media Group) has to say about Catholic Media Group
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Our ad network is similar to how other ad networks work, but with some differences in the sense that we're really trying to make this a *Catholic* ad network -- and not just in the sense that Catholics our niche market.

We want to focus on giving a voice to groups with a mission of evangelizing the teachings of the Catholic Church and focus on sharing our earnings with faithful Catholic groups (we consider it a Catholic kind of profit sharing!).

For publishers like yourself we will be featuring the following:

- 50% earnings -- you get 50% of what advertisers are paying for the ads that appear on your website. The remaining 50% that we take in goes to cover our costs such as servers, network bandwidth, recruiting new advertisers, and most importantly, charity. At least 10% of our profits will be given away to faithful Catholic groups. So if an advertiser pays $2 for an ad and it runs on your website, you get $1 in earnings. That's more competitive than many ad networks out there. We want to make this worth it for our website publishers. Our goal is not to maximize our own revenue (which is every other ad network's mission), but instead to create a Catholic alternative to traditional online advertising networks. And being Catholic means creating a community that is fair to all involved.

- Payments to website publishers made monthly via PayPal (we're considering other payment options, but to start with will be PayPal only)

- Minimum of 10% of our profits donated to faithful Catholic groups. Your running of ads on your website using our ad network contributes to charitable giving to Catholic groups! How great is that?!

- We take the hassle away from you for finding advertisers that appeal to your audience (faithful Catholics). That's our niche!

- Website publishers who join early on will get a free ad to go into rotation on our ad network.

- Multiple ad varieties. You can choose what size ad to display and where it gets placed on your own site. It's as easy as copying and pasting a snippet of HTML for each type of ad you want placed on your website.

- No commitment. Stop running ads at any time.

- Advertisers and each ad go through a review process to ensure the advertiser and the ad/product/service being advertised are morally and ethically acceptable from the perspective of teachings of the Catholic Church. Our website publishers need not be concerned that ads they are displaying could be questionable. If there is any doubt, we choose not to run the ad or at the first sign something is morally or ethically unacceptable we immediately stop running an ad. This is an area we consider a competitive advantage over other online advertising networks.

- Each website that wants to run ads goes through a review process to ensure it appeals to our core audience of faithful Catholics. Our publishing network is very important to us to keep focused on our intended audience of faithful Catholics.

- Our initial launch will allow your web site to display a random selection of ads from our ad inventory.

- After the initial launch we are also planning on adding email newsletter advertising options and allowing advertisers to buy dedicated ad spaces on specific web sites.

Hopefully this sounds like something you might be interested in. Feel free to reply to me directly at with any questions as they come up.

I'll continue to post updates to our blog -- so keep an eye on that.

Have a blessed Advent season,

-Mark

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The Eleventh Hour

>> Sunday, November 29, 2009

Today's guest post is by Tima from Living Water


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Why is it that only when we are preparing to say “good-bye” we come to realize the true value of what we have?

Last week I managed to organize our storage area and get rid of some items we no longer need or use.  A few days later something came to mind that I feel compelled to share.

Among the pile of items we no longer use, we found an old favorite toy of the boys that we obviously forgot we still had. This toy had been put away for a few years (that’s how long it’s been since we went through our storage space) When we dug out the toy, we were discerning whether to donate it or sell it, but as all of you Mom’s know, our boys wouldn’t hear of separating from this toy, so they are now enjoying their reunion and playing with it again.

It struck me that at times we treat our faith the same way. Especially for those of us born and raised in a Catholic family. I have witnessed a few times, among my family & friends that only when they are facing the end of their earthly lives do they come to appreciate the faith that was instilled in them as children. Somewhere along their adolescent and adult life they felt their faith life wasn’t as important, but once they deal with a serious illness, or come face to face with their mortality they realize that clinging to God and preparing for heaven is much more important than any accomplishments they may or may not have had in their earthly life.

I am not meaning to undermine or insult anyone. In fact, I am so grateful for God’s mercy, that He allows us this opportunity to be saved, even at the 11th hour of our lives. I have come to also appreciate what it means to have a good death. A good death is when we are given time to prepare, when we are given time to reconcile with God and with our family and friends.

The sad part about this reality is those poor souls who are waiting for the 11th hour, but instead face their mortality suddenly. What of those who are not given the opportunity to reconcile with God and their loved one’s prior to departing from this earth.  We have to trust in God’s mercy, since He knows their hearts and the condition of their souls.

Are we waiting for the 11th hour to put things right with God and our family or friends?

In recent years I have to come to appreciate the value of a single soul. We look at the life of Christ and realize that many see His mission as a failure. The only time Christ’s mission can be seen as a failure is when a soul dies without Him. Then it’s like Christ’s blood was poured out for nothing.

Through my friendship with Christ, I know that Christ’s mission was not a failure. I know the peace I have found and the difference He has made in my marriage and in my family.

If you feel compelled, this is a great time to meditate on “The Good Thief” found in Luke 23:39-43

This has been written in loving memory of my family & friends who have gone ahead of us; I pray you are interceding for us from heaven.



More of Tima's musings can be found at:  http://livingwater-rcmom.blogspot.com/

photo by StarrGazr 

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New Blog Roll Members: November 23, 2009

>> Monday, November 23, 2009

Welcome to our newest blog roll members!  Please pick one to visit, and let them know how you found them.
















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Messenger: The Legacy of Mattie J.T. Stepanek and Heartsongs

>> Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Today's Guest Article is by Elizabeth from The Divine Gift of Motherhood.


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"Messenger: The Legacy of Mattie J.T. Stepanek and Heartsongs”, is written by Jeni Stepanek, mother of the hero of the book, with Larry Lindner. It includes a foreword by Maya Angelou. It was released on November 3, 2009, by Dutton, a division of Penguin Books.

Mattie J.T. Stepanek was this amazing kid who just happened to suffer from a rare disorder that later came to be known as Dysautonomic Mitochondrial Myopathy. His three siblings all died by the age of four of the same disorder, and his mother was diagnosed with the adult onset form after having given birth to them. They are the only five people ever diagnosed with this particular form of the disorder.

Told from the first person, Jeni is one of the main characters of the book, as the mother who cared for her son and supported his efforts, yet Mattie is the focus. She sees him as a gift from God and is thankful for the time she was able to share with him and her other children on this earth.

From the beginning you know that he is going to die at the age of thirteen, and the suspense of the reader in seeing how he is going to live his life in between crises, and when he is going to die, is a faint echo of what you know Jeni and Mattie lived through in real life time. Jeni is very descriptive of all that they went through, but the book is much larger than that.

From an early age, Mattie defied the doctors’ predictions, so that eventually they gave up saying there was no hope and just let him go the course. He taught himself to read and write, and was so far ahead of his age peers in school that homeschooling became the best option for him. By middle school he was attending a local college for his coursework.

By the age of three he was writing poetry, and became a bestselling author. He published six collections of Heartsongs poetry and one collection of peace essays. “Heartsong” is a word he coined for a person’s essence. He believed that everyone should share their heartsongs with each other to make the world a better place. His poetry and his life work were all for the purpose of spreading the message of peace and hope.

He was the National Goodwill Ambassador for Jerry Lewis’s Muscular Dystrophy Association for three years in a row, traveling along with his all his life support equipment to give inspirational talks to large audiences and appear on television programs such as Larry King Live and Oprah Winfrey. His final project was assisting Jimmy Carter in the writing of the book “Just Peace”.

The book features never-before-published essays and poems from Mattie’s journals, as well as e-mail exchanges between him and one of his best friends, Oprah Winfrey.

I had a few reservations about the book that I feel I must disclose to the Catholic reading audience. Jeni, herself a Catholic, chose to leave an abusive marriage; divorce is mentioned but not an annulment. Mattie’s best friends are also some of the more liberal celebrities. If you are not a fan of Oprah, you might get tired of reading all of her supportive emails to Mattie. You may not agree with the choices of books and movies Mattie enjoys.

There is one story on p. 203 that gave me pause. Someone asks Mattie if they can put a “Celebrate Diversity” sticker on the back of his wheelchair. When a nurse and close friend explains to him and Jeni that it is a “gay pride” sticker and that people might think he is gay, he chooses to leave it because “God’s love includes all people”. I understand his point of view, but Jeni goes further in stating in the book, “So many people who are antigay point to the Bible to support the opinion that homosexuality is a sin. But Mattie understood that the Bible had to be read with an eye toward historical and cultural context.”

Other than that, the book is profoundly pro-life. The doctors all begged her to get an abortion; she would not. They told her to put Mattie in an institution; she chose to be his mother. She chose to let him live his life as much as he could, and went to great lengths to allow him to see his vision through. When it came to the end of his life, she allowed him the dignity to take part in the decisions about heroic life-saving measures. She and others made sure that all of his wishes were carried out when he was buried. They honored his life through continuing to carry on his message to the world.

Dutton sent me a preview copy of the book in exchange for my honest review. I have to admit that, when I read the description, I was not too excited about it. It sounded like a depressing topic, and I usually like to read to escape reality for a while. But I took the assignment and was glad I did. Other than the reservations I have mentioned, I recommend this book as a tribute to a great young soul with a message of hope and peace.

For more about Mattie and his life see his tribute website.

For ordering information see Dutton Publishing at Penguin Books.

Today's guest article is by Elizabeth from The Divine Gift of MotherhoodElizabeth also writes as the columnist for The Long Island Motherhood Examiner.

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Have you blogged about Catholic themed crafts or projects?

>> Thursday, November 12, 2009

I am working on a project and would love to see your blog/website links to Catholic themed crafts or projects. Anything from May Day crownings to clover shaped St. Patrick's Day cookies to making mission rosaries to, well, who knows! But, maybe you know! So, I hope you'll leave me some links.

Thanks!

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New Blog Roll Members: November 8, 2009

>> Sunday, November 8, 2009

Welcome to our newest blog roll members!  Please take a moment to visit one or two of them and welcome them to our blog roll community.  Thanks!




















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Advertise on Catholic Mothers Online

>> Monday, October 26, 2009

We are about to add some paid advertising spots on the Catholic Mothers Online blog.  This could be for advertising a website, Etsy shop, product, or your very own personal blog!

They will be very reasonably priced at the present time (just $10/month or $25 if paying for three months at once), which will include a 125x125 pixel button spot near the top of the blog sidebar. 

We do reserve the right, however, to only accept ads that would be approriate for our blog and its audience.

Please contact Angie for more information.

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Non-Violent Halloween Costume Ideas

>> Saturday, October 24, 2009

Today's guest article is from Deltaflute from My Twisted Life's Journey
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Pacifism, I feel, is very much a part of our Catholic faith.  The Catholic Workers Movement and Pax Christi are two prominent organizations that “fight” against violence and oppression.  Jesus also speaks of “turning the other cheek.“  As a pacifist, Halloween is a difficult time of year for me.  Many of the Halloween costumes are equipped with weapons and blood.  The holiday is about honoring the dead; it’s not supposed to be about guns and guts.

I’m having a baby boy in January, and in the next few years, I’m going to have to talk about non-violence extensively.  Little boys enjoy violent fantasies.  Games like “bad guys vs. good guys” with imaginary guns are very common.  Many super heroes use violence as a means to “keep the peace.”  I won't allow violent figures or play weapons in my house even though my husband thinks that I‘ve gone too far.  I know that rough housing and drawing pictures of killing “bad guys” is perfectly normal, but I want to use those times to talk about resolving conflicts in non-violent ways.  I would be wrong to equate my son’s violent fantasies with real-life conflicts, so I think the best way to handle the situation is to give him latitude as long as he understands that these fantasies can’t happen in real life. 

I’m also concerned that he’s going to feel left out because I won’t allow him to choose violent characters for his Halloween costumes.  Play guns, play knives, and play swords are included in a lot of children's costumes.  I've tried to do a Internet search on costumes that are non-violent, and since I couldn't find a specific list, I decided to compose my own.  My list isn’t gender or age specific so I would suggest anyone who reads the list to keep this in mind.

Famous People: Elvis, the President, the Pope, Cleopatra, Hanna Montana, Jonas Brothers

Professionals: doctor, nurse, veterinarian, firemen, teacher, lawyer, librarian, nun, race car driver, sports outfits (baseball, soccer, etc), astronaut, pilot, rock n' roller

Cultural costumes:
Roman in toga, hippy, cowboy/girl without the gun (substitute a rope), Geisha, Native American, Pilgrim, disco, any country’s traditional garb

Traditional Halloween costumes: pumpkin, bat, cat, ghost*, skeleton*, angel

*note:  These costumes are common for the Day of the Dead.  I don’t condone turning them into something scary with gore or blood.

Funny costumes: clown, juggler, acrobat, magician,

Nature costumes:
pumpkin, flower, gourd,

Food costumes: cup cakes, (well any food really)

Animals: most pacifists would deem that all animals are acceptable even predators, I would stay away from fake blood, think cats and rabbits for girls, dinosaurs for boys

Myths: unicorn, fairy, good witch, wizard, gnome, alien, king, elf, hobbit

TV, Movies, Books: Bob the Builder, Harry Potter*, Dorothy, Madeleine, Nemo, Ariel, Jasmine, Sleeping Beauty, Snow White, Thomas the Train, High School Musical characters, Lightning McQueen, Scooby-Doo, Curious George, Super Why characters, Veggie Tales characters, Backyardigans characters, Cat in the Hat

*note:  While Harry tends to resolve his conflicts with a wand, he doesn’t use kill blows and casts defensive spells.  It’s up to the pacifistic mom or dad to decide whether Harry uses an acceptable way of defending himself in the face of imminent death or if he is still too violent.  Some parents may decide to leave out Harry because they feel uncomfortable about characters who use magic.  Harry Potter may be a better suited costume for teenagers who can discern the difference between defense and violence as well as real and fantasy.

I also have a few tips for those parents who want to avoid a fight with their child over Halloween costumes.  I know that I’m not a parent yet, but these are ideas I’ve given/received while working at a day care center.  Most day care centers do not allow play weapons. 

A good way to come up with non-violent costumes is to have your child choose his or her favorite book or movie. Then build a costume around their choice.  Most movies like Star Wars, Indiana Jones, Spider Man, Bat Man, Pirates of the Caribbean, and Transformers are rated PG or PG-13.  Most G movies don't have any violent content, so young children won't be given the option to choose a violent character.  Be careful about some super heroes in G rated movies or some books.  They do not tend to resolve their conflicts peacefully. 

Teens have to be given more freedom to choose their costume.  If they choose a violent costume, try having a discussion with them about alternatives.  Strongly discuss how disturbing the costume is and why.  If they still persist, you have at least talked to them about non-violence.  Many older teens aren't big into trick-or-treating anyway. They enjoy haunted houses which is an opportunity to discuss real violence vs. fantasy violence.  They also like handing out candy to young trick-or-treaters or taking younger children out to trick-or-treat.  Teens are better equipped to understand fantasy vs. real-violence and to learn about what Halloween is: a religious holiday.  However, I think discussing real violence vs. fantasy violence with teenagers is still important even though they probably know the difference.  Violent videos of teenagers beating each other up are being posted on the Internet everyday, so I don‘t believe the message is being spread
 equally. 

I hope that this article has helped you choose a Halloween costume for your child this year or given you a moment to pause and think about what Jesus felt about peace and non-violence.  Jesus is the ultimate super hero.  Wear reflector tape, carry a flashlight, and have a safe and non-violent Halloween this year.  God bless.  

View my blog "My Twisted Life's Journey":  http://deltaflute.blogspot.com

photo by  dchrisoh

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New Blog Roll Members: October 24, 2009

Welcome to our newest blog roll members!  Please drop by to say hi and welcome them to the blog roll!








 

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Let Me Tell You One Thing About Order

>> Friday, October 9, 2009

Guest post from Leila at Like Mother, Like Daughter 

 
So last time when I talked about Order and Wonder, did you get a kind of anxiety attack, as if you thought I was saying that something like thisis what I had in mind?

Don't be silly. :)Order means first things first. So... yes, of course, stuff like making sure the kids are fed and keeping things neat and tidy.

{Long ago we had a next-door neighbor who would come over (he was about the age of my parents) and first thing neaten up all the reading material on my coffee table, which was a lot -- magazines, mail, books, everything just thrown on there.

Since it wasn't like thisI thought it wasn't worth making look nice. (Not that I like that ugly thing.)

But he would make tidy stacks of all my stuff, and then sit down and chat with me. (He was a funny guy.)

You know what -- it made my living room look instantly better!}

Anyway, I was going to tell you a very important step towards getting Order and Wonder for your home and family.

You are probably already doing this, but maybe you haven't quite realized how important it is and will be in the future for your life together.

If there were one thing I would tell a young family --

one thing I would tell a family that was having trouble --

one thing I would tell a family on the brink of splitting up --

one thing I would tell a family that was worried about the teens --

one practical thing I would tell any family --


Make Sundays a day of rest.And only the mother can really make this happen, week in and week out. Only the mother can make it possible for the crazy activities to stop, for the family to worship together, and for the family to sit down together for a meal. The father can want all these things, and ask for them, but if the mother doesn't make the practical effort, they won't happen.

And if the mother isn't enjoying herself, no one is.

Anyway, we don't have a blog called Like Father, Like Son. We're talking to YOU.

So yes, it's another thing you have to do! But it's the best thing.

Even if Dad has to work a shift on Sunday, even if the kids have soccer, even if there is so much laundry that if you missed this day you would never be found again under a mountain of dirty clothes, do something to make the day -- at some point-- a real day of the Lord.Now, some Sundays that might mean a real old-fashioned Sunday dinner after Church with plenty of relaxation in the form of reading the paper, visiting with extended family, and playing games.Some Sundays it might mean an early Mass with the day spent burning brush and enjoying the sunshine after a long winter.Not to mention any families that might have spent a recent Sunday this way, and enjoyed every moment of it! {Note our two-toned house? One side a year, baby :) }You might have roast beef; you might have leftovers. You might have friends over, you might be "just us". It might be brunch, it might be a late supper.

But you all sit down together, light a candle or two, and take a deep breath. (You might sit down on a blanket after a hike and have a picnic!)

Correct your children's manners during the week, and try not to do too much correcting at the Sunday meal!

Try to enjoy.You might spend the whole afternoon visiting Grandma at assisted living or helping neighbors build their porch.I don't care what you do. I don't care if you don't have nice china. I don't care if this has to happen at 7 am or 8 pm to happen at all. I don't care if it's just an hour out of the whole day.The point is to make this day a day different from the others. And if you prayerfully do this, however modestly and humbly (well, of course you should do it humbly, but you know what I mean, I hope!), you will see God's blessings showering on you and your family.

Things you have been anxious about will become peaceful. Together you will make calm decisions about things that have been troubling you.

I promise.

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New Blog Roll Members: October 7, 2009

>> Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Welcome to our newest blog roll members!  Be sure to stop by and say hi to them.












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New Blog Roll Members: September 20, 2009

>> Sunday, September 20, 2009

Be sure to stop by and visit some of the new blog roll members!









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Trust in the Promise of Your Meal Blessing

>> Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Today's Guest Post is by Katie from Kitchen Stewardship.
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Mary sat at Jesus's feet and listened to Him teach. Martha hurried around the kitchen preparing a meal. I want to be both at once! The tension between when to be quiet and prayerful and when to bustle around and do many things is difficult for me. I want to do it all!


Often we feel tension when trying to make good decisions in the kitchen. Organic food vs. budget, avoiding processed foods vs. time spent in the kitchen...That tension is the motivation for creating Kitchen Stewardship. I hate that feeling, and I want to help you break free of the worries and do your personal best to give your family and God the best you can, one baby step at a time.




I offer you one tiny step in the process of releasing worry and integrating prayer into your kitchen. Today's tip is for everyone who feels crunched by their food budget but wishes they could spend more on "clean" food.



The Tug of the Budget




We are not all able to give our families the very best, perhaps, because of financial limitations. Many single-income families struggle with food purchases, especially when trying to eat nutritious, safe food. Organic food is expensive. Stainless steel water bottles cost a lot more than plastic. Avoiding pesticides may mean you have to avoid eating out or taking a vacation. Healthy fats cost way more than shortening. Fruits and vegetables - even the standard ones - make a bigger dent in the food budget than potato chips and processed bread. Organic food is expensive. (Have I said that one already?) Buying grass-fed meat and healthy eggs can make you feel like you ought to get insurance for your frozen food in case of power outage. Natural supplements and dishwasher detergents get into double digits pretty quickly. And have I mentioned organic (and well-raised) food is expensive?




I don't want you to think "eating healthy" means "eating organic". It's far from that. But purchasing foods that have LESS added to them - fewer preservatives, fewer pesticides, fewer chemical fertilizers, less processing, less sugar, less high fructose corn syrup - always ends up costing you MORE in the end. It's an unfortunate irony.

There's no way around balancing a budget and buying healthy food. Either you find places to cut and buy the expensive stuff, or you do what you can and purchase less than your idea in many categories. What are those of us to do who have already made budget cuts, who desire organic spinach but must grab the 10/$10 bag of pesticide-laden stuff anyway?

How to Make Up for Less than Perfect?




My friend has a way to compensate. She knows she can't afford organic, pastured chicken, for example. When she serves run-of-the-mill storebought chicken that ate God-knows-what under miserable conditions, she begs our Lord to fill the gap. She prays the meal blessing with her family and adds a codicil in her head: "Lord, I know this isn't the ideal meal. Please bless this food. I trust you to make up the difference in nutrition for my family. Protect us from anything in this chicken that might harm us. May we be healthy anyway." It's about doing your best, and then trusting God to fill the space that lies between the resources you have and what you'd like to serve. God saved Daniel from hungry lions, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego from fire, and Peter from shackles in a prison. Don't you think He can protect your family from a few pesticides if only you ask? "Bless US, O Lord..." Ask, seek, knock. "And these Thy GIFTS..." God knows how to give His children good things! "From Thy bounty..." All our food is from our God. "Through Christ, Our Lord..." Jesus will provide.

Important to Remember...




One reminder: please don't look at this as an excuse to buy whatever you want and hope that God won't allow the consequences of your choices to harm you. We are instructed not to tempt or Father. We all know we shouldn't go jump off a tall building and expect God to catch us so we aren't at all injured. We can't be irresponsible with our choices. Our purchases still affect the world at large. We must be sure to do what we can to reduce our negative impact on the environment and give our families the best with the resources God has given us. Someday we'll be in Heaven, God willing, and we won't have to think about what to buy, how to prepare it, and if it's going to hurt us.




But in the meantime, since we live out of Eden, pray a meal blessing at every meal, and super-charge it with supplication for holy supplementation!




Katie blogs at Kitchen Stewardship about being good stewards of our time, money, family's nutrition and the environment, answering God's call in the kitchen and sharing tips to help you find the balance and integrate prayer into your cooking.





photo by
United Nations Photo

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New Blog Roll Member: September 2, 2009

>> Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Make sure to stop by and visit some of our newest blog roll members!

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Status Update: September 1, 2009

>> Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Just to let everyone know, we have been so busy with quite a few things, and so I haven't updated the blog roll in about two weeks. I am hoping to have time to get to it within the next few days.

Thanks!

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A Slight Policy Change

>> Monday, August 17, 2009

In the past, all blogs that were able to support the JavaScript coding of the scrolling links for Catholic Mothers Online were required to have that on their blog, instead of just a button.

However, with the blogroll getting so long now (and constantly growing!), I have decided that it would be best for everyone to choose for their own blog if they wanted a button only or a button with the scrolling links.

If you currently have the scrolling links, but prefer to just have a button (without the links), just drop me an email (catholicmothers {at} comcast {dot} net) and tell me which picture you want, along with your current blog address. I will be going to your blog to verify that you currently have the blog roll on, so please do not delete it until after you receive the new coding (for the picture only).

(Please Note: the scrolling links will always be here at the CMO blog, and all pictures will have a link in the coding to come back here.)

Thanks!

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New Blog Roll Members - August 17th

>> Sunday, August 16, 2009

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Our Prayers Are With The Barrett Family

>> Saturday, August 15, 2009

Our prayers today are with the Barrett Family, who have just lost their 14 year old son Ryan to a drowning accident. (Here is a link to a local story about the accident. Here is another.)

Please keep their family in your prayers as well.

Tonight, our family lit two candles after Mass -- one for Ryan and his family, and another for all children and that especially when things are crazy in our household, that we never take for granted what a gift God has given us in our children.

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Sacred in the Ordinary

>> Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Today's guest post is by Judy from Daily Blessings and Ben Makes Ten
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Take a look around you...what do you see when you take in the panorama of your home?


If all that you see is the clutter, or the fingerprints, or the chipped paint and holes in the walls...LOOK AGAIN...Look....and SEE the SACRED.


If God is the center of your life, your marriage, your family, your home school...then by virtue of His Holy Presence, the items in your home become SACRED.


Take your bed, for instance. What were your thoughts when you made it this morning?


Did you really GIVE it any thought? Or, did you mindlessly tuck in the covers as you were already considering the five thousand things you needed to accomplish today? Well, then...consider this invitation: Tomorrow, when you make you bed, think of it as SACRED.


This place where you lie down each night next to the one with whom you have chosen to spend your life...this bed, where all of the worries and tasks of the day are laid to rest...this place of respite and relaxation...this place where God, the Creator allows you the grace of joining with Him in the creation of NEW LIFE...this place where quiet is shared, and warmth is given, where love is present...as you make your bed tomorrow, THINK OF YOUR SPOUSE...pray for him to have JOY and PEACE in his work that day...THANK GOD for him (even if things are not going well between you), treasure and cherish the hours that you spend here with one another...do not take it for granted...for it is a GIFT...and it is SACRED.


And what about your dining room table? Yes, it might be getting wobbly as the years wear on, the knicks and scratches show, and you are tired of explaining to toddlers that it is NOT a stage on which to stand and sing...but the next time you look at it...SEE the SACRED...this is your place of family unity...a place to break bread, such an intimate thing...a place to look into the eyes of those you love most in this world...a place to gather at the end of a busy day...to laugh, to share, to discuss, even to try to be heard over the endless chatter of Littles, a place to welcome guests, a place to serve and pamper, a place that reminds you that "things are good" in life...because you have food, you have family, and you have HOME...just a table? Or...something SACRED?


How many times a day do you use your water? How many of those times do you see it as SACRED...this fresh clean water, with which God has blessed you...to cleanse yourself, to nourish and refresh yourself, to clean the things around you, to cook, to water your plants, to bathe your babies, and even to play with in warm weather...The next time you go to wash your hands, or stop for a drink, say a prayer of thanks for your water...and SEE the SACRED.


Don't forget your SCHOOL...so easy for us to take for granted...or worse yet...to feel it as burdensome or something getting in the way...EMBRACE your school tomorrow...SEE in it the SACRED! God has allowed you to bring your children along-side you to teach, to influence, to share with, to nurture, to love...the books, the papers, the lesson plans, the assignments waiting to be graded...these are all reminders of HOW BLESSED YOU ARE to home school...these things are the font of learning in your home...they are the means by which you raise your children to know, love, and serve the Lord...they are the tools and instruments by which your children (and YOU) are enlightened, enriched, and challenged...you are FREE in your school to INVITE GOD into your classes...ordinary? NO! SACRED!


Family life is such a beautiful gift and blessing from God...His hand is upon you, and therefore all that is ORDINARY becomes EXTRAORDINARY...all that He has touched is SACRED!


Look around you with HIS EYES today...see your home anew! Give thanks for all that surrounds you and know that NOTHING is ordinary where GOD is present. See your home...and SEE the "SACRED" in it!


Judy is busy keeping up with the eight of ten blessings who are still at home with her, and you can visit her at
h
ttp://www.momoften.webs.com/ and http://benmakesten.blogspot.com/


photo by chynna67

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New Blog Roll Members - July 28th

>> Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Wow! Here I am updating the blog roll, and it's not the middle of the night! After a long day of park playdates and errands, it seemed like the whole family deserved to each use whatever computer or gaming device they wanted to for a while. So, here I am, updating the blog roll in the middle of the afteroon!

Our newest blog roll members:

Please take a moment to welcome some of our new members by visiting their blogs!

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New Blog Roll Members - July 20th

>> Monday, July 20, 2009

Welcome to our newest blog roll members! Please stop by and welcome them to the blog roll!

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I do it for LIFE

>> Monday, July 13, 2009

Today's guest post was written by Dessi from Life with Small Blessings
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One afternoon, while I was sitting outside watching my last brain cell fly away hand in hand with my last nerve call, my neighbor came by. She sat beside me and asked me the most-asked question of the century. She asked me why I don't send my kids to school. Well, with no brain cells left it was a hard thing to deal with. So I began to tell her my recorded speech. "We like the time we have together...they learn better...we have a wonderful support group."




Satisfied, my neighbor then asked the second most common question: "Why do you have so many children? Don't you know how to prevent it?" Sadly, the second question is posed by many well-meaning NFP catholics. So she asked me why I do everything that I do...what a deep question for a mother of four little ones with another on the way. Here I want to introduce the daily life of our family of little ones. Please do not sue me if you experience any trauma after reading this.

I start the day half asleep, half awake. I don't believe I have slept an entire night in 7 1/2 years. Anyway, early in the morning I am awakened by the inhumane screeching sounds made by my two beautiful sons. They have found something to fight about even before they fully awaken...that is genious!

I, their loving mom, fly out of bed, glamorous as always and in a loving tone of voice explain to them that I have a personal connection with the Gypsies. At that point the boys decide that they enjoy their company far better than the Gypsies' and they go downstairs haunted by my beautiful visage. By the time I get my teeth brushed, my youngest is in frantic search of his human bottle. I scoop him on my lap to nurse, and after a few grunts he is satisfied.

Soon I hear tiny steps up, followed by whispers and warnings of this sort: "Thomas, be careful! She'll hear you!" Or "Peter, come with me. I'm scared she'll look at me!" My boys have ventured up in front of me. The fear of the Gypsies had given in to a basic human need - hunger. I set the table in a manner befitting an "I Love Lucy" episode. After all, I am still trying to catch some sleep. Somewhere in between, my precious daughter has gotten up and is now informing me that if she was a fairy she wouldn't have to do schoolwork. Love of learning is a force that drives my fairy to tears. The table is cleaned, the boys are playing and fighting at the same time, the baby is walking around with a huge blob of oatmeal on his head. (I figure that if oatmeal is good for your skin then it mush also be good for your hair.) Left to beautify himself, the baby wanders off to somewhere in his sister's room. Where I am afraid to say because we have lost a kid or two in that ever engulfing mess!

I give my daughter her school instructions and just in time, because now I have a fight to stop. I put the pasta drainer (helmet) on my head, pick up my biggest pot lid (shield) and a wooden spoon (sword), and go after the two gladiators. To all of you out there, I can survive a fight between a Spartan and a Persian better than one between two boys before the age of reason. While I am washing the baby and now lecturing the boys in a loud voice, my daughter is having major bodily function failure. Her eyes are rolling back, her hair is standing up, her body is convulsing, all from the pain of writing the letter "P". See, if I was a fairy mom I would just have to put some fairy dust on her. But being a Catholic mom I run for the Holy water. I think I might need a priest. Or maybe I could just send her to an old-fashioned Mennonite school to put the fear of God in her.



Unfortunately, at this time I am interrupted by the doorbell. A lady from St. Louis is here to offer me some magazines. I change my cave woman look on my face (reserved solely for my kids) to a nice smile. I asked if she had any titles like "How to Sell Your Children to the Gypsies" or "Did Fairies Go to School?" or "How to Sleep While Awake." But unfortunately after seeing all my blessings behind my back, she runs off.

Now is lunchtime and I just found out that Marco Polo is so boring and Nicolas needs a new diaper. While I change his diaper (which could be used as a lethal weapon in war), I try to explain that Marco Polo isn't boring and that learning is always fun. The boys are starving already, Maria's eyes are permanently stuck in the back of her head, and I am cooking mac & cheese with a baby attached to my hip. Lunch flies by quickly and I mean that literally. There is macaroni stuck on my ceiling and by now the baby is wearing his lunch on his lap as a kilt. The boys are done fighting over who can eat faster, and I am told for the 100th time that Marco Polo is just no fun. As I try to clear the table, Nicolas is ready for a nap. With a loving voice, I tell the children that if they wake him up I will lovingly give all their toys away and then I go lie down to nurse Nicolas.

And so goes my life until my husband comes home from work. He opens the door cautiously. After all, he knows the dangers that lie behind it. Lego pieces, blocks, paper, shoes, and toys are all weapons, lurking everywhere trying to trip us. I then serve the grand dinner - hot dogs! Now my daughter falls into a seizure because we are starving her. She doesn't like hot dogs...at least not today! While we ignore our starving child, my husband and I scarf down our first meal of the day. Let me tell you, we are both very fast eaters! Before the boys' or the baby's tantrum (or whatever), which is usually about 10 minutes into dinner, we are both done. Knowing my Balkan blood, my husband quickly removes the kids to the nearest outside yard or bathtub. I can't talk, I am exhausted, and I don't remember what I did that day. Did I feed them? School? By all the chaos lying around it's evident that I did a lot, and yet nothing at the same time.

So why do I do it? For the evenings when I can snuggle my children, see them, hug them, and realize that I am the richest most blessed woman in the world. i do it for their smiles and their sleepy eyes. I do it for life. That is it. That is the answer to all of my neighbor's questions. Life. Choose life...that you may live!



Today's guest post was written by Dessi from Life with Small Blessings



photo by derPlau

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New Blog Roll Members - July 6, 2009

>> Sunday, July 5, 2009

Welcome to our newest blog roll members! Please go stop by a couple of them and welcome them to the blog roll!

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The Year of the Priest and Our Future “In Vestments”

>> Saturday, July 4, 2009

This guest post was written by Cassandra Poppe from Intercessories Family Ministries and Our Lady's Children
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Believe it or not, there are solutions to the Church’s declining vocations market. I was reminded of this recently when one of my friends bemoaned, “We need more priests!” She tossed her hands up and sighed, “But, hey. What can we do?” She shrugged it off as a problem beyond solutions, and turned to watch her children play on the swings. Her apparent helplessness startled me. Couldn’t she see? The solutions were right before her, as evident as the Kool Aid stain on her shirt. Two possible solutions! I myself have four. And my sisters also have two solutions, with another one on the way. Indeed, the only solution to the vocation crisis is our very own “nest eggs” – our children.

Please note, not every child was created to become a priest or religious. However, being Catholic parents and shareholders in the Church, we must be willing to make this sizeable donation to the Church, should God request it. To scoff at the thought of such a donation, or to deny Him what is rightfully His will hurt not only the growth of that particular nest egg, but will also drastically effect the overall profit of the Church and all its shareholders in the future. I love the Church and want to see it prosper, and the only way it will thrive is by willingly investing some of my own nest eggs in the process.

There was an article in the Rockford, Illinois diocese paper awhile back that stated a fascinating statistic. Over the past five years, one fourth of graduating Catholic homeschooled males in that diocese chose to enter the seminary over worldly educational institutions. That number, to me, is staggering! Any financial investor will tell you that a 25% return on an investment is excellent. Now imagine, with this rate of return, the wealth of vocations that could come if more Catholic families invested in their young nest eggs using strategies similar to the ones used for these young men. As an insider on this particular strategy, I will slip you a few tips on how to get in on this great investment plan.

Any parent interested in investing in the future of the Church should begin with prayer. Pray that the Lord open your hearts to His will, whatever it may be. Pray that all pride can be put aside, should the day come that your son, on the day he finds he is the first draft pick for a professional football team, says, “Forget it! I’m going to be a priest instead!” Could you accept his decision as a blessing from God? Would you realize the spiritual windfall God has given to your family through your son? Or would you be tempted to cling onto him and bury him in the ways of the world?

Show your children your respect for consecrated men and women. Get to know them so that your children can see the things that they do within their specific callings. Teach them to appreciate the nun’s habit and the priest’s collar. They are signs to the world that they have chosen something far better than the world. They have chosen God! Always speak of priests in awe, and remind your children that a priest is not just a man in charge of a big building. Bread and wine change into the actual Body and Blood of Our Lord through the hands of the priest!

Attend a weekday Mass for an increase in vocations. St. Michael’s in Van Buren, Arkansas actually has a Mass every Friday morning for this specific intention. Attending such a Mass shows your children that vocations are something very important to you and will prepare their hearts to say, “Yes!” if the Lord calls them.

Family time spent celebrating the faith is the greatest deposit you can make into your nest eggs. Pledge to make regular deposits of faith into their hearts. Live the liturgical year. Persist in family prayer. And allow the Lord to call the hearts of your children to Him, should it be His will.

I have put my money where my mouth is and this plan works! 25% of my nest eggs have steadily expressed a firm commitment to become a nun for five years straight. Please pray for her. 50% of my nest eggs are very open to the possibility, but are in no hurry to make a decision. And the other 25%? Well, he wants to be a pirate. Please pray for him as well. After all, with your prayers, he too could become a great future “in vestment”!

Thank you to Cassandra Poppe from Intercessories Family Ministries and Our Lady's Children for today's article!

photo by Catholic Church (England and Wales)

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New Blog Roll Members - June 28, 2009

>> Sunday, June 28, 2009

Welcome to our newest blog roll members!


Be sure and stop by to tell them hello!

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New Blog Roll Members - June 17, 2009

>> Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Welcome to our newest blog roll members!

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Please Help Support Catholic Mothers Online

>> Friday, June 12, 2009

One of the things that I pay for to keep the blogroll running smoothly (the form that people submit their information on) is about to expire. I have always paid for the license for this out of my own pocket, just as I have paid for the hosting of the blog roll (which could have been free, but it included that ads would pop up every single time anyone clicked on any of the links).

I was hoping that today, I might be able to come to you and see if even just a few of you might be willing to donate just a few dollars (even a dollar!) through Paypal so that running the blogroll doesn't continue to cost me money. It doesn't horribly expensive, but I am easily spending $40 - $60/year on it, as well as all of the time involved. The blogroll is not something that I want to make money on, but it's hard to know that it costs me money.

If you feel called to donate just a couple of dollars, please visit the Catholic Mothers Online blog and click on the Paypal button on the right sidebar.

If you would rather not donate, but you have a family friendly business and would like to talk about buying an ad near the top of the sidebar here at the blog, I would love to discuss that as well.

Thank you, and please know that I will not make a practice of these kinds of posts.

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Review of new book: Praying Scripture for a Change

>> Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Today's Guest Article is from Tara from Modern Catholic Mom.
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"If we want to hear God in our prayer the first step is reading well." p. 43


I had the opportunity to review ''Praying Scripture for Change' as a part of the review program the Catholic Company provides. 'Praying Scripture for Change' can be viewed and purchased here.

'Praying Scripture for change- An Introduction to Lectio Divina' by Dr. Gray is a phenomenal read about how to use Scripture to pray. Unfortunately my cradle Catholic tendencies have rendered my Bible reading pretty sad. It's not that I don't know the absolute importance of God's written Word, I do. It's more that I have never made the firm commitment to use Scripture as a means of prayer. (Making the commitment now!)

Besides all the amazing quotes placed throughout the book, Dr. Gray provides specific instructions about HOW to use Scripture as prayer. And Dr. Gray.... we need the HOW!

His instruction includes:

Lectio: Read well, slow down, ask who, what, where, and when

Meditatio: Meditate- digging below the surface, ask why

Oratio: Dialogue (inner), bringing the passage to God in prayer, how does it apply to our lives?

Contemplatio: Contemplation, 'a restful gaze upon the author of all beauty and wonder

Operatio: living out our faith with virtue

This book requires careful reading and processing. It requires the reader to take their time and to really understand what direction is being provided (kind of what Dr. Gray is telling the reader to do when reading Scripture). But the best part is it truly is written for the common lay person. I have picked up many a book that was WAY over my head. This book truly meets the reader at a realistic place. The book provides concrete examples of how to utilize the steps Dr. Gray provides. I love that Dr. Gray reminds the reader that Jesus is the one who teaches us to pray through the written Word. Christ had to teach his disciples 'how' to pray!

'Praying Scripture for a Change' is not just a book. It is an opportunity to spiritually mature in a way that incorporates Scripture. Other faiths really have a wonderful grasp on the importance and wonder of the Bible. Dr. Gray provides the Catholic with an opportunity to embrace Scripture and take it to heart. I highly recommend this book.

A few of my favorite lines:

"The reason anyone anywhere at anytime has ever been moved to prayer is because God, by His Spirit, was drawing him toward him." p. 7

" In short, God doesn't just teach us how to pray; His Spirit empowers us to pray". p. 8

"We must always keep in mind that prayer is God's invitation to enter into an intimate relationship of love and life with him. If we forget that this is what is happening when we pray, we start treating prayer as a simply an obligation, as a hoop that must be jumped through in order to avoid offending God and provoking His displeasure." p. 8

"Scripture is living and active, and so it ever remains God's Word spoken to whomever has the courage to pick it up and receive it". p. 16

"Scripture is a love letter from our Divine Bridegroom, and, like the saints, we too should eagerly and often read the Scriptures and hear there the voice our Beloved speaking to us". p. 17

Make sure to check out other amazing books and products at http://www.catholiccompany.com/

Tara makes the magic happen over at http://moderncatholimoms.blogspot.com.

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Catholic Business Spotlight: Hair Bows 4 Life

>> Sunday, June 7, 2009



Have you ever try to find something cute for your girl's hair but had no luck?

That was my story, with 3 girls with lots of hair, I needed to come up with something! So I started to make hair bows for the girls, and then I was inspired to sell these bows to friends and family.

But I just did not want a new business, I wanted to do something more with these bows. That is when Hair Bows 4 Life was started.

Hair Bows 4 Life aims to raise awareness and support for the unborn and sanctity of human life by giving back 10% of each sale into the Pro-Life Community. We have raised about $50, so far, towards the Pro-life in one month of operation. We have sent money to Birthright.

We have all types of bows, but one that seems to be a big hit are the Religious Bows, where we place a religious medal (of your choice) on the bow. In the past, we had done the Blessed Mother, St.Elizabeth Anne Seton, and Mother Teresa, just to name a few.

We also started a program called "A Bow for A Girl." For a donation of $5, we make and send a nice Princess Pink Bow to orphanage girls who live in orphanages run by the Missionaries of Charity, a Mother Teresa Order. These girls will have a sense of beauty not because of a bow but more because they are God's Little princess!

So, check us out at Hairbows4life.com. Thank you and God bless, Cecilia Escobedo

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New Blog Roll Members - June 4, 2009

>> Thursday, June 4, 2009

Welcome to all of our newest members! If you have a minute today, go greet one of the new members and let them know that you saw their link on our blog today!

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I'm a Bit Behind in Updates

>> Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Just wanted to let everyone know that things have been extra busy around here lately, and I'm behind in processing requests to join. Not horribly behind, mind you, but a bit farther behind than I want to be.

It's on my to do list for this weekend -- promise!

So, while you wait for me, why not take a minute to answer a fun question --

If you have one, what is your confirmation name?

(Mine is Martha.)

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Finally Understanding Married Life as a True Vocation

>> Friday, May 22, 2009

Today's Guest Article is by Deborah from Journey of a Soul


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Married women of this modern culture are encouraged to do everything we can to avoid the role of wife and mother. We add tremendous amounts of other "fulfilling activities" to our schedules in order to meet the expectation that "you can have it all!" Serving our families is considered demeaning work and we are encouraged to use all of our gifts and talents outside the home.



Modern women may be more educated, more liberated, and more independent than our counter-parts of 100 years ago, but in essence we are the same. Our predecessors had the same talents and creativity, the same drive and ambition. They had the same desires and the same fears. They may not have had as many options as women of today, but they faithfully raised the next generation. In fact, married women of 100 years ago put all of their gifts and energy into that one over reaching task and no one said, "You're too smart for that."



When my husband (a widower) asked me to marry him I freely chose to become his wife and a step-mother to his 5 and 8 year old sons. I was 30 years old and almost finished with my master's degree but chose to put it aside for a higher call. I said "yes" to marriage and to what I believed was God's will for my life.



For 14 years, I've tried to live out this gift of marriage and motherhood faithfully. I didn't let it bother me when other women (working full time), with whom I worked part time, seemed to be on the fast track to career success. I knew what I would have to give up in order to have a "full time career" and that was not my calling. However until these last few weeks, I wasn't truly aware of how special this gift of marriage and motherhood is. I've always respected other mothers and felt satisfied that I was sacrificing career for family but did not value the sacramental nature of marriage. Instead I would hear about a woman like Sarah Palin or a CEO of a major corporation who had a family and a career and think "Wow, now there is a woman who is truly successful!"



Since attending a recent vocations retreat, everything has changed in my understanding of marriage as a vocation. In addition, I continue to meditate on the whole concept of what makes an ordinary person into a saint. Through studying the life of St Therese, I've realized that the way to sainthood is not by being or doing what I see other women do. It's surrendering to the little way that God has put before me. It's the little "yes" I say all day long following the big "YES" I said on the day I got married. It's doing the dishes and folding the laundry. It's giving extra kisses and encouraging words to my husband and children. It's surrender and sacrifice as Mother Theresa said "doing little things with great love."



Today I've been thinking about what Mary did to earn the title "Queen of Heaven." Surely she was the greatest woman who ever lived and to think that I have been given the awesome privilege of having the same earthly role as the Mother of God! Mary's little way to sainthood was to completely embrace her role as a wife and mother. Why would I ever think that role is not quite as special as some other title like "Dean of Students" or "Governor of Alaska?"



All of that said, it's still a battle and I do need help because everything in our culture fights against this belief that Mary's Little Way is the path to sainthood and the glamor and excitement of other pursuits is forever tugging at my soul. So I will continue to pray and hide myself in Christ and trust that through the intercession of Mary and all the Saints, I too will journey faithfully to the end, joyfully surrendering my will to His.



Today's Guest Article is by Deborah from Journey of a Soul

photo by Crazybananas

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