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Showing posts from March, 2011

Catholic Funeral Mass

Early last week I learned that the father of two boys in my daughter’s school died of a heart attack during spring break. Although he is ten years older than us, both of his sons are my daughters’ age, and for three of the last four years at least one pair of them has shared a classroom teacher. In this way I’ve come to meet and casually know their mom, who volunteers at the school and occasionally served as room mom. The funeral took place at the LDS church at the end of my street last night. A crowed of young and old gathered in the parking lot, creating a sea of black suits mixed with bright red shirts. (The deceased worked as coach for the University of Houston Cougar Swim Team and their school color is red.) That night I passed by the funeral gathering on my way to attend a class at my church, where I spoke with another PTA mom about this family and their plans. We also discussed what we might do in a similar situation. My thoughts went back to the LDS parking lot, all those peo

Prayer of Abandonment

I am humbled to be a guest blogger today over at Sarah Reinhard's site, Snoring Scholar , writing about my difficulty with the powerful  Prayer of Abandonment.  Are you familiar with it? Shelly and I met Sarah at the Catholic New Media Celebration in Boston last Summer.  In addition to her own blog, you can find Sarah writing at Faith and Family Live and .  She also contributes to several podcasts including Catholic Moments , Catholic Foodie and Faith and Family Live .  I am very excited about her new book arriving later in the year about the Advent season entitled, Welcome Baby Jesus. Thank you to Sarah for allowing me at Snoring Scholar today and can't wait to host her over here at Of Sound Mind and Spirit .  Head over to Snoring Scholar today to check out Sarah's work and my new post about  The Prayer of Abandonment.

Red-Light Lent

For weeks we were bombarded with messages about preparing ourselves for Ash Wednesday, Lent, and Easter. Maybe you really enjoyed the Mardi Gras party, but you’re still -not quite sure what all this noise is about fasting, giving, and praying. It’s easy to feel overwhelmed by a perceived pressure to be perfect in your faith. Instead of thinking it’s all too much to do and not do anything, take courage to make a small hesitant step toward something more. Use this time to honestly examine where you are on your very personal path to Christ. You don’t have to be perfect, you just have to be open to a change of heart, to let something be set in motion within yourself. My biggest obstacle is that I don’t think I have the time to devote to intense prayer. Then my pastor shared with us how he prayed that that we would all be able to find time to be still and know Christ’s love. He knows that many in his Parish are constantly busy with our jobs and families, but he prayed that we’d be able to f

How Do You Let Your Girls Dress?

Jennifer Moses has written a piece at the Wall Street Journal entitled, "Why Do We Let Girls Dress Like That?" that has everyone talking. It is an interesting article where she specifically asks the question, " Why do so many of us not only permit our teenage daughters to dress like this—like prostitutes, if we're being honest with ourselves—but pay for them to do it with our AmEx cards?"  That is an excellent and loaded question. If we are not guilty of doing this ourselves, we are bound to have a friend or two who parents in this way.   When Moses discusses this with a friend, the friend relates the trend to parents and specifically moms wanting to be their child's friend, rather than the parent.   "I  think it's a bonding thing," she said. "It starts with the mommy-daughter manicure and goes on from there." Anyone who mistakenly believes it is better to be their child's friend than their parent, those who are afraid their ch

Bittersweet Birthday

How well I remember that spring morning eighteen years ago waiting anxiously. The call came about 11 a.m. while standing at the Bookstop, ringing out the occasional Sunday customer. Excitedly, I darted into the hold books closet where I could momentarily talk and squeal with happiness at the newsthat my friend Becky had given birth to Nickalis and all was well. A photo arrived about a week later, showing Becky at home, sporting that should-be-stylish exhausted “new mom” look, holding a tiny Nick sprawled across her arms, wearing a onesie and little hand socks. Becky was the first of my high school or college friends to have a baby and by default Nick became “our” first baby too. I think he was just a few weeks old when I made it down to Houston to visit for the first time. I smile today remembering what an outing it was to push the stroller through her apartment complex to get the mail. We rejoiced with every milestone – first tooth, first words, first portraits, first Halloween, Tha

St. Joseph's Feast Day

Sicilians celebrate St. Joseph , the foster-father of Jesus and patron saint of Sicily, by building an altar upon which they laden decorative breads, food, wine, cookies, candles. Our mother has memories of her grandmother's home altar each March and the special breads and cookies she made, while I only remember seeing photos of that altar and a few tables as examples at Italian Festivals. Three years ago, my family participated in the Festa de San Giuseppe at St. Frances Cabrini church , a truly spectacular event. My daughters dressed as "Saints" - St. Agnes , the 13 yr old virgin martyr, and St. Elizabeth of Hungary , the princess who fed the poor and built hospitals for the sick during the Middle Ages. They processed into the church along with other children dressed as saints, Joseph, Mary, St. Frances Cabrini, St. Elizabeth Ann Seton, St. Francis of Assisi, St. Jude, St. Lucy, Blessed Mother Theresa, St. Therese of the little flower, St. Clare, and others. All of

Catholic Media Promotion Day

Catholic Media is everywhere these days, but many people still aren't sure of where to find it or which ones to choose. Enter the brainchild of Greg Willits of The Catholics Next Door . He has created Catholic Media Promotion Day to get the word out all the wonderful Catholic New Media out there. Shelly and I chose one favorite in each of the following categories to highlight for you. Favorite Blog or Website, Favorite Podcast, Favorite Book, Favorite Smartphone App, Favorite Catholic Media and a "Hidden Gem." After reading through our favorites, head over to the special FaceBook page for Catholic Media Promotion Day to find even more favorites and suggestions. Take a moment to write about your favorites on your own blog (if you have one), on FaceBook and leave a comment here sharing yours with us. Shelly's Favorites Favorite Blog or Website Choosing only one blog or website to highlight on Catholic Media is difficult! From my friendships on Facebook

The View for Catholic Women

There’s so much on television targeted toward women that sometimes it’s hard to know what to watch. If you’re a fan of the chatty morning show format, but often cringe at some of the crass, argumentative, approaches to gossipy topics, you will want to set the DVR or tune in to the Catholic View for Women. Promoted as “an authentic Catholic alternative to secular, self-absorbed women’s programming,” the Catholic View launches on EWTN this Friday, March 11 at 6:30 p.m. ET/5:30 p.m. Central. For half an hour, broadcast journalist and author, Teresa Tomeo, along with Janet Morana and Astrid Bennett Gutierrez, tackle women’s issues from a Catholic perspective. Six episodes taped last December are now scheduled to air once a month, on the second Friday, beginning this Friday (tomorrow) with an introduction. Future episodes address hard hitting topics such as vocation, feminism, contraception, and self-esteem. The show seeks to introduce women to the fullness, beauty, and grace of our fait

3 Pillars of Lent Prepare our Hearts for Christ

Preparing a lesson on Ash Wednesday and Lent for yesterday’s 3 rd grade religious education class clarified my own discernment for Lent this year. Growing up, Lent for us was usually about giving something up, like soft drinks, and abstaining from meat on Fridays. We were not aware of the other two pillars of Lenten observance, almsgiving and prayer. Looking back, I feel as if I missed so much potential spiritual growth during those teenage and college years. Teaching my 8 and 9 year olds yesterday in faith formation, I wanted them to realize Lent is more than saying no to dessert for 40 days. Lent is a time for us to change our lives and grow in holiness. Through fasting (giving up), almsgiving (giving to others) and prayer, we endeavor to develop a closer relationship to God. Our 40 days should be filled with reflection, service and prayer. Explaining Lent to my class and answering their creative questions made me ponder more deeply the things I have chosen to do in

How Much Does God Love You?

At times in our life, we face obstacles that seem too difficult. We label them impossible and in doing so, we limit our own potential to achieve greatness. In 1977, 15 year old Rick Hoyt, a spastic quadriplegic with cerebral palsy, asked his father if he could participate in a five mile benefit run. Though his father was not a long-distance runner, he ran the entire five miles, pushing Rick's wheelchair. Since that time, they have completed together over 1000 races, including marathons, duathlons, triathalons and six Ironman competitions. In 1992, they biked and ran across the United States - 3,735 miles in 45 days. Witness the love of this one father for his son and consider, if he would do all this for his son, How much does God love you?

175 Years of Texas Independence

Dodransbicentennial Demisemiseptcentennial Quartoseptcentennial Terquasquincentennial No matter how you try to say it, Texans across the state are excited about celebrating 175 years of Independence today. Last year we presented the basic facts about Texans declaring their independence from Mexico. This year we invite you to travel the Texas Independence Trail visiting Texas landmarks hosting upcoming events. The Texas State Historical Association provides a helpful list with links of event dates throughout March and April . No matter where you live in Texas, there will be an event, exhibit, lecture, or re-enactment. If you can't travel across our great state of Texas, you may be interested in taking a tour of the new online exhibit presented by the Texas State Library and Archives showcasing a dozen carefully selected documents honoring the people and events of the Texas Revolution including our own Declaration of Independence (pictured above). Pick up a copy of Texas Mo

Bond of Catholic Motherhood

When I joined my small MOMS group at my still new parish, I developed many expectations.  While working on our MOMS book study, we discussed and brainstormed great ideas of ways to support our fellow parish moms in the faith education of their children and their own spiritual life. Upon reaching the end of our study, I asked the ladies what should be our next step and did we want to open our group to other moms in our ever-growing parish.  Their answers surprised me.  The other women preferred continuing with just our current members, as a small group.  Each of them loved our small group and felt it was a rare thing that we connected with each other so well.  At our ending brunch next week, we will choose a new book to study and keep it just us. However, inside I was shaking my head, wanting to burst out and remind them of all the wonderful ideas we had about sharing our spiritual discoveries with other moms.  As my mind said, “No, we could make our group bigger and better and turn it

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