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Showing posts from August, 2010

Take Control of the Information Flow

As a nation, people have grown complacent. Our everyday lives keep us busy, so we trust others to keep watch on the important things far away in the nation’s capitol. You might be aware that this Congress and President have been furiously busy passing massive, unprecedented legislation in the last 20 months. Some names come to mind – Stimulus, Healthcare Reform, Finance Reform. The questions to ask yourself is, “Do you know whether the massive changes in these new laws are taking our country in a better direction?” “Are you familiar with the details found in these new laws?” and “Do you comprehend how these new laws will affect your everyday life?” Most Americans probably only know the sound bites and bullet points they’ve seen on the mainstream media. However, I’ve noticed recently that the media reports on all things labeled “reform” or change as good and necessary, without honest debate addressing both sides of the issue. When staunch opposition to these bills come to light,

New school presents new challenges

Last week my oldest started a new school. The transition from elementary school to intermediate presented challenges, but as a full time working mother, one was more difficult to resolve. For the past ten years I’ve been fortunate to have a trustworthy daycare that offers infant-care through elementary after-school care, so I have never worried about my children being safe while I’m working. Somehow during all of the intermediate school orientations last April and May, I came under the impression that our neighborhood, our street, would be on a school bus route offering me a secure way for my daughter to come home after-school. Growing up, I rode a school bus to middle school, and we lived half-a mile closer than we now live to my daughter’s school. About two weeks before our vacation in early August, I learned that there is no bus. We just barely fall under the “two-mile” boundary that requires my child to be a walker or find other transportation. That panicky feeling spread over me

Mother Teresa's Legacy

Today we honor Mother Teresa on what would be her 100th birthday. We are truly blessed to have been witness to this Saint’s life in our own lifetime. Yet what did we learn from her? How can her life be an example and inspiration for our own? Mother Teresa’s amazing works in the slums of Calcutta are familiar to all. In a true calling, she looked at the poor and sick to recognize the suffering Christ reflected in their faces. Her mission of helping went beyond caring for them solely in the physical sense, she also offered and taught others to offer all people Christ's unconditional love. “Many people mistake our work for our vocation. Our vocation is the love of Jesus.” During her lifetime, she encouraged all of us to give ourselves fully to God. So that “he will use you to accomplish great things on the condition that you believe much more in His love than in your own weakness.” She recognized that, “In this life we cannot do great things. We can only do small things with gr

Be An Amazing Catechist is an Inspirational Read

Now that school has resumed, we are looking forward to our children returning to their CCE classes in September.  Across the country Catechists this weekend and next are preparing to teach children and youth about their faith using the Catechism.  For those who bless their parish community by teaching CCE, Our Sunday Visitor presents a new booklet to aid you in your ministry.  “Be an Amazing Catechist. Inspire the Faith of Children” by Lisa Mladinich speaks to experienced catechists, those new to the ministry, and individuals discerning the call to teach our faith.  This 32-page magazine style booklet contains great suggestions, resources and tips for teaching the catechism to children from preschool all the way to high school age.  Reading Be an Amazing Catechist , generates excitement about spreading the faith to the next generation.  Lisa prepares the catechist by giving starting points to enhance your catechism instruction.  The booklet instructs the catechist to understand

Neighborhood Action for Grassroots Election Effort

This upcoming election season should prove to be an exciting midterm election partly due to the rise of conservative grassroots groups in the last two years. For the first time in my memory, average American citizens are becoming more politically aware and active. If you've attended any of the Tea Party events, a Congressional Town Hall Meeting or other type of community rallies in the last year and a half, you have seen it for yourself. Further proof of this grassroots surge showed up on my parents doorstep last week, when they discovered a postcard on their door inviting them to join a Neighborhood Action Team. Individuals in their community have established an action group to get people interested in the issues facing Americans this November. Here is a copy of that postcard calling them to Action - *I've removed the personal contact information and website from this postcard. FB is not FaceBook, but their neighborhood. I love the idea of Americans not wait

New Beginnings

New beginnings are scary. Whether you’re sending your youngest off to Kindergarten or your oldest off to college, we are most often afraid of the unknown; the big changes in our lives. As school children across Texas and other parts of the nation return to school this morning, my oldest begins a new school. These last few weeks of summer were filled with shopping for school supplies and school clothes, learning about lockers and school bus schedules, and anticipating that shift toward new friends and new teachers. The night before starting a new school creates all the nervous anxiety and adrenaline of going up that first big hill on a roller coaster. Click…click…click…click… higher and higher… waiting to crest and fall into the ride. Last night my daughter tried so hard to show me that she wasn’t anxious or afraid, though she had a thousand questions about what it will be like, where to go, and what to do on a variety of scenarios. As I tucked her in and turned out her light, she ask

Paul Ryan's Road Map for America's Future

Representative Paul Ryan from WI stands out in a room of established politicians. He believes it is his responsibility as a Representative of the people to engage in an open and honest debate addressing how to pull our country out of this economic slump and prevent the impending fiscal crisis. As the ranking Republican on the House Budget Committee, Ryan has released a serious proposal taking on Congress’ out of control spending and the massive entitlement programs threatening to bankrupt the next generation. Available online as A Road Map for America’s Future , the plan proposes specific, detailed and difficult changes on a multitude of serious issues.  Megan McArdle from The Atlantic says of Ryan's Road Map for America , " it is the most honest attempt I've seen by a politician to grapple with the challenges ahead of us."  The Wall Street Journal writer Joe Rago editorializes on the Road Map by stati ng, " Mr. Ryan is really presenting Washington with a p

Now Is The Time to Register to Vote

As school children across the country are heading back to school and we prepare for football season to begin, now is the perfect time to make sure you are registered to VOTE .  You must be registered before showing up to Vote in November in most states.  For example, in Texas, you must register 30 days in advance of an election. Don’t wait.  The Midterm elections are Tuesday, November 2 nd in every state. I know you want a say in the direction our country is headed and how your elected officials represent you.  Voting is one of the best ways to voice your opinion. Remember, we are a “Government of the People, by the People, for the People.”  But the only way Lincoln’s words will continue to ring true are if we do our duty and vote!

Top 10 Things We Loved About the CNMC MMX

10. Living out the Body of Christ through faith and fellowship. 9. Connecting with CatholicMom Lisa Hendey, who welcomed us last year and continues to be a wonderfully supportive mentor in our blogging and writing journey. 8. Recognizing people we’ve come to know and follow online, meeting them in person and discovering another side to their personality, which makes reading or listening to them online take on a whole new depth and connection. 7. Exploring and marveling at Sacred Heart Italian Church in the North End, only to discover they have an even larger, grander “upper” church. 6. Experiencing a powerful moment where fifteen people in a loud, busy, tourist restaurant simultaneously pray aloud the Sign of the Cross and Blessing before Meals. 5. Discussing Faith, Politics and Catholic Activism with Thomas Peters, the American Papist . 4. Observing the fun antics of the SQPN Board as they playfully assist and support one another in the behind-the-scenes management of the week

How Do You Tuck In a SuperHero by Supermom, Rachel Balducci

Even though I only have one son, I have fallen in love with a book about raising 5 sons.  How Do You Tuck in a Superhero? And Other Delightful Mysteries of Raising Boys by supermom, Rachel Balducci will have you laughing no matter how many boys are in your household.  Rachel has put together a book of short stories surrounding her adventures with her 5 sons.  She appears to be a normal mom who has risen to this herculean task with humor, common sense, and lots of love.    She makes the seemingly impossible task of being a mom to so many boys not only seem possible, but downright fun and enjoyable through the personal stories of her family. My favorite section had to be, “Rules I Can’t Believe I Had to Make.” Included are such gems as “Don’t hogtie your brother and drag him across the yard on the back of your bicycle,” and “Never shut your brother in a refrigerator.”  This second rule also seemingly applies to all major appliances.  I found myself laughing but also wondering if I ne

CNMC 2010 in Review

It has been a week since Shelly and I arrived in Boston for the Catholic New Media Celebration put on by SQPN.  These last 5 days at home have been a whirlwind of getting caught up.  While Shelly is still off on the east coast for a family trip/work conference, I am posting about a few of the people we met in Boston.  We were thrilled to once again see Matt Warner, creator of FlockNote – a parish communication tool- and writer for the National Catholic Register and Fallible Blogma . We connected with Matt last year and regularly follow his online contributions. Check out Matt's  great post after the first night Meet N Greet with pictures of many attendees, including us . Lisa, Robyn, Danielle, Barb and Shelly We had the opportunity to chat with Danielle Bean and Robyn Lee, editors for Faith & Family , two amazing women who both contribute to exiting online content while putting out a fabulous magazine. Barb in Nebraska, as she is commonly known, was everywhere with h

Summer Fun 2010

I am a planner. It's just who I am. In preparation for summer, I made a spreadsheet of field trips and activities, daily chore charts, science experiments and even a daily schedule. Since school got out, we have been busy with swim team, hanging out with friends and crossing things off my "Summer Fun 2010" list.  Seriously, my list really is called Summer Fun 2010.  We've gone bowling, story time at the library, seen two  musicals, discovered an art museum, and much more.   Last week I was lamenting falling off our Summer Fun list, chore charts were a little behind and we were off our daily schedule.  There was no weekly run to Half Price Books for the $3 summer reading gift cards, only one day of workbook action, and a pile of over 60 books from the library not yet read.  I  was running behind on some contract writing and had to stay home to get it done before heading out of town for the CNMC .  It was killing me to be “wasting” valuable summer days keeping the kids

Your Voice: Coming this November

After the CNMC I had the opportunity to spend a day with my family in Philadelphia. Naturally we had to take a tour of the old Pennsylvania State House, now infamously known as Independence Hall. During the introduction, our National Park Service Ranger set the stage by outlining events leading up to the Continental Congress creating the resolution we know as the Declaration of Independence. I heard these words with renewed interest considering all that has taken place in the past 18+ months in our country. Then the Ranger mentioned how the dissatisfied colonists were affected by Parliament without having a voice, so they wrote a petition to the King complaining against the acts of Parliament and asking for the opportunity to govern themselves under separate Parliaments for each colony respecting the sovereignty of the King. King George III not only denied their request, but also ordered loyalists to put down their rebellious neighbors. As I’m listening to how the colonists had no v

Catholic New Media Celebration MMX

Sunday morning after a short Mass at St. Anthony's Shrine in Boston, Lisa and I sat in the lobby of the Omni Parker House reflecting on this years’ experience at the  Catholic New Media Celebration . For the past day and a half we met some incredible people who are called to spread God’s message through Web 2.0 via blogs, social networking, Twitter, podcasts, and Facebook among others. We struck up conversations “in real life” with people we’ve known virtually for the past year, connected with some in ways we didn’t expect, and made new friends we can’t wait to get to know better via new media. Shelly, Father Roderick and Lisa at CNMC Meet and Greet In Saturday’s closing remarks, Father Roderick noted that truly the Holy Spirit had come among those gathered here, evident by the abundance of our shared love, joy, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness and peace.    We truly felt the presence of the Holy Spirit during the CNMC and have been inspired to improve our "

I've Turned Into My Mother...

There are times I (Lisa) tell my husband, “I’ve turned into my mother.” While most people say this phrase with a tinge of dread or regret, I say it with pride. Shelly and I are blessed to have had such a positive role model. As a leader and volunteer, she demonstrated to us how to mend fences, get along with others, volunteer, be part of a community, and serve others. She has unbelievable planning capabilities as demonstrated on the numerous complicated trips we’ve taken together. Trust me, if you ever want to go to Europe for two weeks and visit five different countries, she is indispensible. Caravanning 1800 miles in three minivans with 15 people, including 7 young kids and an infant? Want to organize a national or regional conference for 100-1500 of your closest colleagues? She’s your woman everytime.  Mom has an incredibly engaging way with people, an enthusiasm for life that spills over to everyone she meets. She can strike up a conversation with anyone. When we were

Catholic New Media Celebration MMX

At the end of this week, Lisa and I will be heading to the SQPN Catholic New Media Celebration once again. After a rousing success in San Antonio last year, this year's sold-out event will be in Boston at the Archidiocese Pastoral Center in Braintree. In addition to renewing last year's friendships face to face, Lisa and I are excited to meet in person new online friends. We will be attending the blogging track, which is packed with an amazing list of speakers, and be on the lookout for new tips and ideas to better our writing. The Celebration also hosts a podcasting track simultaneously for those interested in being on the air. If you can’t join us in person and are interested in checking out what this "Catholic New Media" thing is all about, join us via live video streaming hosted on Ustream . You can find the broadcast schedule online here . I highly recommend you check out the two plenary speakers, Fr. Robert Reed , director of CatholicTV , and popular radio pe

A Call to Generosity

This past Sunday the readings and the Gospel warned us against vanity and avarice, keeping our eyes focused on heavenly things, not our earthly life. In the Gospel, Jesus told a parable about a man who stores up a treasure for himself; however, “ a man’s life is not made secure by what he owns, even when he has more than he needs .” Everything we have on Earth is a gift from God. He wants us to enjoy life, rejoice, and live life to the fullest. But he always wants us to be a people called to generosity, hospitality and openness to life, voluntarily sharing our God-given gifts with our fellow man. There are many forces that want to take over our lives, demand our time, our attention, our worship of objects as false idols. While working to achieve a level of comfort and wealth for your family is not wrong, we should be mindful that these things are not permanent. If it were all taken from you tomorrow, would you like the person you have become? Have you been generous to others? Have y

Student Arrested for Praying the Rosary

While praying the rosary outside a downtown Chicago Planned Parenthood facility, Joseph Holland, a graduate student, was arrested for disorderly conduct and violating a controversial  new city "Bubble Zone" ordinance , that even the ACLU was against before enacted. The law, passed in October, states that a person cannot approach within 8 feet of another person without consent "for the purpose of passing a leaflet or handbill to, displaying a sign to, or engaging in oral protest, education or counseling" within 50 feet from any health care facility. The video of Mr. Holland on the day in question clearly shows him quietly standing next to the building praying.  It does not show him approaching anyone or engaging anyone in discussion.  He denies approaching or speaking to anyone while outside the facility as prohibited by this new ordinance. Surprisingly, even though the ordinance does not have a jail penalty and is a fine only offense, this young man was arrested a

My Reading Challenge

Since leaving the workforce 7 years ago for full time motherhood, I will admit that my reading material has not been very challenging.  Let’s be honest, most of the articles written for a newspaper or magazine are at or below an 8 th grade reading level.  Depending on the type of book you enjoy, it may be about the same.  There is a part of my brain that has not been fully engaged while reading “Goodnight Moon” repeatedly or the most recent favorite fiction thriller. Truthfully, I didn’t realize how much I missed the challenge until I picked up a copy of The Weekly Standard .  This weekly current events magazine does not write for your average middle or high school reader.   This is not Newsweek or Time.  I am a little embarrassed to confess that it took me extra time to read the first few articles.  There were words I didn’t know and the sentence structures made me pause to think.  When I found my mind wandering, I had to go back and reread the last paragraph to fully grasp the aut