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Showing posts from September, 2009

Feedback

I am noticing a trend in my life. One week I'll listen to several podcasts- following three or four shows specifically and leaving feedback. Then life gets busy, I don't listen as often, and the new episodes begin to back up. The last group of (relatively new) podcasts I've listened to and left feedback for were Catholic Vitamins , Catholic Pilot , Catholic Casa , and Catholic Foodie . I've discovered that leaving feedback (or comments on blogs) gives me a feeling of participation, that sense of community that Lisa and I trace back to the CNMC this past June . After winning a drawing for the Zatarain's Jambalaya Throwdown offered by Catholic Foodie , I started a friendly email conversation with Jeff about our jambalaya recipes. ( And I know I still owe you a post with the recipe I submitted.) Now, listening to his show is like hearing a friend chat about food, faith, and friends. So when he asked for feedback about our favorite coffee, I called to tell him ab

Giveaway Deadline

Just a reminder that today is the last day you can go to our book review on Bringing up Geeks and leave a comment to be entered into our drawing for a copy of the book. The link is on the sidebar or in this post. We're excited to find out the winner tomorrow!

Those Little Moments: On the Playground

Two years ago, when my oldest daughter started public school, she began learning more about other faiths. In Kindergarten, when she came home wanting to know why we didn’t have a menorah at Christmas like two of her classmates, I reminded her that they had celebrated Hanukkah, which is different from Christmas. Our discussion of the different holidays led her to then ask me, “What is Jewish and how are they different?” Another great question from my then five year old. While we talked about the differences in the Jewish faith and Christianity, I noticed tears forming in her eyes. I couldn’t imagine what I’d said to upset her. She tearfully asked me how anyone could not believe that Jesus was God’s son that He sent to us? I tried to gently remind her that not everyone believes as we do, and different people believe different things, especially about faith and religion. Then she smiled and said, “That’s ok mommy, I can explain it to them tomorrow on the playground.” In my he

Why Marriage?

This weekend I attended our cousin's wedding in another city and enjoyed being surrounded by a side of my family I don't see very often. While not a religious ceremony, the vows and words spoken during the ceremony were very poignant and moving. One reading in particular stood out as a beautiful description of why two people choose marriage. As it was being read, I found myself filled with love and appreciation for my own husband, remembering all the reasons I married him. Why Marriage Because to the depths of me, I long to love one person, With all my heart, my soul, my mind, my body... Because I need a forever friend to trust with the intimacies of me, Who won't hold them against me, Who loves me when I'm unlikable, Who sees the small child in me, and Who looks for the divine potential of me... Because I need to cuddle in the warmth of the night With someone who thanks God for me, With someone I feel blessed to hold... Because marriage means opport

Yoga is Like Life

My experience with yoga started with a VHS tape in my effort to get back my pre-baby body over 5 years ago when in between pregnancies. As a former dancer, I've always been flexible and thought yoga would be the perfect exercise for me.  For the last 2 years, I have been attending a weekly yoga class taught by a friend in my community.  What I believed would be a class full of stretching and relieving stress has actually become so much more to me.  Recently, I've become aware of many people expressing concern about the spirituality behind the practice of yoga and questioning whether it is in conflict with Christian or Catholic teachings. For me, yoga has never been a spiritual lesson in the sense the creators might have intended or  the detractors allege.  It has been a journey; a challenge in a physical, personal and spiritual way. When I started,  I had no idea it would be this physically difficult.  But, with that difficulty, has come amazing progress. I have found a st

Voter Registration

Every September 17, all institutions of higher education receiving federal funds are mandated to hold an event in recognition of Constitution Day . This Constitution Day, we heard from Leo Vasquez, Harris County Tax Assessor & Voter Registrar. Harris County is the nation’s third most populous county with four million residents across 1800 square miles. Harris County Voter Registration office has a goal, and that is to have every eligible citizen registered to vote. They take every opportunity to coordinate with existing resources to get their message out. For example, they have an agreement with apartment offices to distribute voter registration cards with every new apartment lease. Residents will also receive a voter registration card from the Texas Land & Title Association when closing on a new property. You may have seen voter registration drives while attending your favorite Houston sports events. During the last election cycle 40% of new voter registration came from th

Happy Birthday Lisa!

HAPPY BIRTHDAY LISA! I love you Sis. Hope it's a great day!

Planned Parenthood of Houston Responds to 40 Days for Life

As I posted last week, the 40 Days for Life campaign begins today focusing on peaceful prayer for the unborn and an end to abortion. My experience with the pro-life movement is of loving acceptance and guidance. The women I worked with at a Crisis Pregnancy Center were some of the gentlest souls you will ever find. They volunteered every week, not only to help stop abortion, but also to give assistance to women in real crisis. Being pregnant is supposed to be a joyous occasion, but the women who came to see us needed financial, practical and spiritual help. We offered them someone to talk to, answer their questions and give loving guidance, not render judgment on their possible decision. Volunteering with these counselors and meeting these women in crisis was truly a life changing experience for me. The most important thing we could convey to them was that they were not alone, help was available, and that God loves them. Knowing the people who give their time, energy and comp

Call for Vocations in NY

While listening to a new favorite SQPN podcast of mine, In Between Sundays , I discovered an amazing and inspiring video that I must share with you.  It gave me chills.    This new 90 second video for NYPRIEST.com of  Archbishop Dolan's first Ordination at St. Patrick's Cathedral was produced by Grassroots Films of Brooklyn NY .   Grassroots Films has worked hand in hand with the USCCB and the Archdiocese of New York to create several awe-inspiring films about vocations and the priesthood as part of the Archdiocese's campaign for vocations, "The World Needs Heroes" .   These movies are moving, inspirational and beautiful to watch. I pray that they accomplish their goal, " to build up a 'Culture of Vocations' in the Archdiocese of New York, to increase awareness of the diocesan priesthood and to draw young men whom God is calling to respond generously to service in the Church as Priests after the Heart of Jesus Christ. "

Clear Lake Town Hall with Rep. Pete Olson

Saturday morning I attended my first Town Hall meeting with Texas District 22 Representative Pete Olson . I’ve never been overly impressed by Rep. Olson for a number of reasons, partly because I believe he pays more attention to the Fort Bend GOP area of his district and partly because as a freshman representative, he really doesn’t have any influence beyond casting his vote. However, he is my Representative and even though Lisa & Mom attended his Ft. Bend Town Hall meeting a few weeks ago, I wanted to hear what he had to say about NASA spending on this side of the District. By my best guess there were about 250 attending (the theater wasn’t at capacity) and while a majority were 55 and older, there were a number of younger families, some with their children. National High School Hall of Fame and legendary former Clear Lake High School basketball coach Bill Krueger introduced Rep. Olson with a touching personal endorsement. Olson blushed a little and looked humble at the remar

Fatherly Love

Last night I caught a pure and simple example of Fatherly Love. Surely you know the story, it's gone "viral" around the internet today. Steve Monforto, attending a Phillies game with his young family , caught a foul ball. His three-year old daughter, Emily, reaches up for it and grinning, he hands it to her. In the next second, she throws it back onto the field. (I had a video here from YouTube, but it was pulled from YouTube for copyright issues by MLB. So please click on the photo and go to the MLB site to watch the video.) You can't hear the crowd, but you know that everyone around him must have audibly gasped or groaned, because the little girl immediately looks up at Dad as if to say Did I do something wrong? God has truly blessed this man. He scoops her up in a big hug and that look , that smile on his face... is so raw, it is pure Love . It brought tears to my eyes (and still does.) May we all demonstrate that raw, pure Love towards our own children

40 Days for Life Campaign Starts Soon

I received the below email this yesterday from a powerful organization, 40 Days for Life . They do such a beautiful job describing their work and success that I will let them speak for themselves. One week from today, on Wednesday, September 23, the largest 40 Days for Life campaign in history launches in 212 cities across 45 American states, 5 Canadian provinces, and Denmark. For 40 intense days, tens of thousands of faithful volunteers will be praying, fasting, holding peaceful vigils outside abortion facilities, and spreading the pro-life message through community outreach. Participation in 40 Days for Life is not always easy and can involve sacrifice. So why are you and I about to do this? They say a picture is worth a thousand words, so take a moment — right now — to look at this picture: That’s Baby David (don’t you love his name?) Last fall, on the third day of the 40 Days for Life prayer vigil in Sarasota, Florida, a nervous Hispanic woman went to the local Planned Par

Though Waters Roar

LibraryThing Early Reviewers program sent me an advance copy of Lynn Austin's newest book Though Waters Roar , scheduled for general release in October 2009. As twenty-year old Harriet Sherwood sits in jail, she ponders the irony that she has been arrested for transporting liquor at the advent of Prohibition, the very cause her grandmother has advocated for more than forty years. Lynn Austin skillfully weaves a multi-generational tale set between 1848-1920 introducing us to Hannah, Beatrice, Lucy & Harriet, their choices and the resulting challenges facing them throughout their lives. Set amidst the national themes of Anti-slavery, Civil War, the Temperance movement, and finally Women’s Suffrage, the attitudes and expectations of men toward women may surprise those unstudied in America’s history. Each woman’s attitude and reaction toward their situation is compelling and varied. The book is particularly powerful in its faith message of turning to and trusting in God durin

September Giveaway

Just a reminder to go over to our Review of Bringing Up Geeks by MaryBeth Hicks and leave us a comment during the month of September to be entered in the giveaway for a copy of the book. This is a Must Read book!

First day of CCE

CCE began this Sunday. I arrived at the church at least twenty minutes early to set out books, Bibles, pencils, folders, and all of the parent handouts. When students arrived, I stood smiling at the door greeting parents. My co-teacher looked very appreciative that I arrived early; she has more children to corral at home before she gets out the door, and my husband graciously offered to bring our daughters to the church in time for class so they didn’t have to tag along with me early. All of my returning students noticed we have the “big” room, meaning bigger desks, arranged in a circle conducive to learning. It’s a luxury after squeezing around two little pre-K tables last year. I love my co-teacher. I can already tell I’m going to learn so much from her this year. For an ice-breaker, she passed out a little velvet bag full of pennies and told the students they could take as many as they wanted, but they must take out at least one. Her eyes twinkled as one boy took out eleven penn

9/12 Tea Party Rally

For many months, Glenn Beck has promoted The 912 Project , which along with other groups, including FreedomWorks , have coordinated a grassroots movement culminating in a March on Washington, D.C., this past Saturday. Smaller 9/12 tea parties took place around the country at the same time. I couldn’t attend because my young daughter had surgery on Friday . Thank you everyone for your thoughts and prayers. She came through it fabulously and is on the road to recovery. Saturday, I sat glued to the TV watching the coverage of the DC rally. Wow is the word that comes to mind. I wish I could have been there. Crowd estimates range widely from “tens of thousands” by the television networks, 1.2 million by the Metro police and 1.5 million by Parks and Recreation. View the time lapse DC traffic camera and collections of 9/12 Rally pictures and judge for yourself which is the most accurate. Over the weekend I spoke to many friends about what we saw on TV and the internet about these

Project 2996: Joseph M. Navas

This is My commandment, that you love one another, just as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends . John 15:12-13 As we pause this morning to remember where we were eight years ago when our country was attacked, let us remember Port Authority Officer Joseph M. Navas, who truly lived Jesus’ commandment. Joseph Michael Navas, born on February 11, 1957 to Rosemarie and Joseph Navas, grew up in Paramus, New Jersey with his two sisters, Denise and Lisa. His school friends remember him as a playful practical joker who made assignments fun. Debbie Bogosian, an elementary school classmate remembers him as “the kind of kid that everyone took a liking too... that kind of easy going person.” After graduating from Paramus High School in 1975, Navas followed in his father’s footsteps working for the Port Authority, ultimately becoming a member of the Port Authority Police Academy Class of 1985. After graduation he worked at Newark Inte

A Personal Request

As I head off to bed this Thursday night, I ask for your prayers for my youngest daughter. We will be waking up early to take her for a relatively simple surgery, but surgery still the same. While our Birdie should come home tomorrow, we have been warned that due to her young age, there is the possibility the doctor will keep her longer for observation. Both of our older children have gone through the same surgery with the same doctor, so we are fairly confident everything will go well and her recovery will be uneventful. With all that said, my husband and I simply ask that you keep her and her Doctor in your prayers this Thursday night and Friday morning.

Moments Not On My To Do List

Even though the temperature gauge doesn't agree, our Summer is officially over. Gone are the lazy days of hanging out next to the pool, running errands, reading huge stacks of library books and eating dinner whenever we please. Summer equals no schedules, no pressing tasks, and no rushing around. But now the kids have been back to school for two weeks. And I miss the summer. My life is back to running around constantly, rushing from one thing to another and not being able to truly focus on any one thing to get it done. I find myself living by my "to do" list. Every little item in my life is written down on one of my several lists. If it is not written down, it can't possibly be important enough to do it today. My mind is in constant motion thinking and worrying about everything that needs to click into place before my head can hit the pillow at night. This weekend, while out on a spur of the moment nature walk with my husband and kids, we all stopped and listene

Throwdown with Bobby Flay and Grace Before Meals

If you are like me and love both your food and your faith, you must watch Throwdown with Bobby Flay on September 9th ( tonight! ) at 9 p.m. Eastern/8 p.m. Central on the Food Network. Bobby Flay has issued a Throwdown challenge to one of my favorite foodie priests, Father Leo Patalinghug from Grace Before Meals . You are probably familiar with Bobby Flay and the Food Network, but Fr. Leo of Grace Before Meals isn't quite a household name - Yet! Father Leo started his beautiful ministry in 2003, bringing families back to the dinner table by mixing food, faith and lots of personality. His original idea has grown to produce a book , blog , webisodes and even a television pilot . If you haven't seen Throwdown with Bobby Flay , you are in for a treat. The premise of the show has the chef surprising another chef or cook at their business or home and challenging them to a cooking throwdown. The suprised competitor usually has a signature dish that Mr. Flay has been practicing

Measure of a Life

Aside from celebrating two birthdays, we spent our Labor Day weekend laboring in the garage. In January 2002, my mother-in-law died very unexpectedly from sepsis following an attack of pneumonia. In the year following her death, all of her things were boxed and put into storage. After a year or two of this, we discontinued the storage and moved everything into our garage. Two or three times a year we set aside a day to work our way through her things. In the beginning it was just too painful, but very slowly we progressed, making decisions about clothes, shoes, purses, knick-knacks, framed photos, crafts, etc. After several failed attempts to do it by himself, my husband has put me “in-charge” of going through the boxes. That allows me to select items I think he or his brother will want to see or put-away, while sorting out items that need to go to Goodwill or disappear. If I didn’t do this, we might still be discussing the merits of keeping an assortment of guest bathroom soaps tha

Labor Day

As the nation celebrates the American worker, we have a different kind of celebration in our house. Ten and seven years ago I spent my Labor Day weekend in labor of a different kind, welcoming my two daughters into our family. While their birthdays haven’t always fallen exactly on Labor Day weekend since their births, it has become something of a tradition to celebrate as a family at that time. I hope everyone is having a lovely Monday, whether at work or at home.

Room at the Inn

One of the false criticisms of the Pro-Life movement is that we don’t support and care for the women who choose to carry their babies to term. While there are many wonderful organizations to highlight to counteract that accusation, this week I discovered another positive, supportive organization who continues to shatter that myth. Room at the Inn , in Charlotte, North Carolina, is a safe haven and source of hope for pregnant women and their babies. They are a Catholic 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation who serve women regardless of their economic, social, religious, racial, or ethnic background. In helping young families, they recognize the importance of assisting unmarried pregnant women , especially those college age women who struggle between becoming a mother and continuing their education. Their current services include Community Outreach Center , a College Outreach Center and a Residential Program , for mothers to live with 1 or 2 children for up to 24 months post natal. While the

Top Ten Reasons Catechists Volunteer to Teach the Faith

At our Catechist In-Service meeting the other night, our Elementary Faith Formation Coordinator told us her Top Ten Reasons Catechists Volunteer to teach the faith to children. #10 - Because we care about others. #9 - Volunteering fills our Need to be Useful, Helpful #8 - Provides a Sense of Purpose #7 - An opportunity for Socializing #6 - Feeling of Achievement #5 - Teaching is a Challenge #4 - Demands Creativity #3 - Develops Leadership #2 - Allows Self-Expression And the number one reason why Catechists volunteer is... #1 - Catechists are responding to a Calling . . . or an e-mail . Are you volunteering to serve to teach the faith as a Catechist? Below are a few resources to help you as a catechist. 

Teaching our Faith

It might come as a surprise to some of you who know me that I teach CCE. Believe me you can't be more surprised than I am when I realize this will be my third year as a catechist. In all honesty, the first two years I was the "assistant," helping the teacher and taking over when she was absent. But this year I'm "co-teaching," and I'm a little surprised how much I'm looking forward to it. My first year I assisted an enthusiastic first-year teacher, who brought great ideas from her day job as a public school elementary teacher. We worked really well together and had a real energy in the class. Last year I assisted a teacher who was completely opposite; quiet and with a lot more reading. I became frustrated, until it hit me one morning that God put us together for a reason. There must be something I have learn from working with her. After that revelation, I approached our time together Sunday mornings with a new perspective. Wednesday

Bringing Up Geeks & a Giveaway

As a mom, I’ve read my share of parenting books. I want to share with you one of the best I’ve read! In her book Bringing Up Geeks , MaryBeth Hicks tackles current parenting trends and issues with common sense, honesty, a little humor, real life examples, and every day tips while keeping the ultimate goal in mind: to raise a successful, independent adult. Amazon.com calls the book: A breakthrough parenting book that redefines the meaning of “geek”—and inspires parents to free themselves and their kids from the ‘culture of cool.’ As I read the first chapter of the book, where the author discusses people reacting badly to her label of “Geeks”, I didn’t understand what she meant. Now that I’ve finished the book I too have seen that look cross a friend’s face when I say I want my child to be a Geek. I laugh, then reassure them that it is a really really good thing. In fact, Ms. Hicks uses "GEEKS" as an acronym to say, Genuine, Enthusiastic, Empowered Kids . After an introd