Saturday, September 29, 2007

Father Brown Mysteries for the Young

Are you familiar with the superbly written Father Brown mysteries penned by the late, classical author G. K. Chesterton? They are very deep, very thought-provoking, and very entertaining.

Now, Nancy Brown has taken four non-murder mysteries from these stories and simplified them into a chapter book for children ages 8-10. Look for the book, hopefully, in time for Christmas.

You can see the cover here at Mrs. Brown's blog. Makes me wish I still had young kids! Maybe I'll get it anyway.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Praying the Rosary from Your Computer

(Update added October 2011: Here is a great newer Rosary website I found recently. Come, Pray the Rosary.)

Have you ever gotten up in the night, worrying about someone or something?

Have you ever wanted to say some prayers when you were alone, perhaps in the early morning before everyone gets up, but thought you could keep your attention on your prayers better if you were sitting at your computer?

Enter online Rosary websites. Here are two that I thought you'd especially like, from among the many that I looked at.

If you would like someone to pray along with, Catholic Radio Dramas has a CD, which you can either buy or listen to for free online. (The link in the previous sentence will take you to the home page. From there, near the top, you can click on Online Rosary.) A male voice announces the Mystery and reads a Scripture meditation, and then leads the prayers, while a group of people respond. You can see masterpiece pictures depicting the mysteries. You'll need Real Player to listen on your computer. If you desire, you can also watch a video of Rosary pictures while hearing the prayers recited. For that, you need Windows Media Player, and a link is available to download it.

If you prefer to pray quietly at your own pace, but would enjoy visual aids, the other Rosary website provides traditional pictures, brief Scripture meditations, and little boxes to check off each Our Father, Hail Mary and other prayer that you recite. You can even print out the page, if you wish. This site is good for both those who've been praying the Rosary for decades but just want a little help keeping on track and those who've never said a Rosary before.

When I said, "Praying the Rosary for decades..." I wasn't trying to write a pun, but I had to smile when I re-read it. For my non-Catholic friends who might not know what I mean by a pun here, of course I meant that I've been saying the Rosary for 36 years, since becoming a Catholic...more than three decades of my life. But the Rosary is also divided into sections of one Our Father, ten Hail Marys and one Glory be (to the Blessed Trinity), while meditating on a Mystery in the Life of Our Lord. Each of these parts of ten is called a "decade". So I guess you could say I've prayed many decades of the Rosary for many decades. And that, by the way, is because it's such a beautiful, comforting prayer.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Free Catholic Printables

What a network of friends we have here! This afternoon I was preparing lesson plans for the upcoming one-afternoon-a-week preschool class at our homeschool co-op. I decided to write to my blogging friend Alexandra at Happy Hearts at Home to ask her where I could go to print out free Catholic coloring pages.

Her answer is here at her blog! If you have children, or work with children, or know someone who does, here is a wonderful list of resources!

Thank you, Alexandra!

Monday, September 24, 2007

Feast Day of Our Lady of Ransom

Many years ago, a great apostolic work was begun, at the request of Mary the Mother of Jesus, who appeared to St. Raymond of Pennafort. It was the work of ransoming captives. Many Christians were being captured by the Moors in Spain and on the seas. In order to ransom these captives from slavery, one of the heroic methods that some of these generous people used was to offer themselves in the place of the person they were ransoming. Can you imagine giving up your freedom? Knowing you may be severely persecuted, as well as made to work hard for someone else's benefit? Yet, they did it all for God.

A special order was begun within the Church and these heroic people, by various means, rescued hundreds of thousands of captives over the years. You can read more about this at the Catholic Culture website.

Dear Mother Mary, please help those who are even today in slavery in various parts of the world, and please help us to remember to offer our prayers for them. Please help all our loved ones, and all we've been asked to pray for, who are slaves to addiction of one kind or another. Please help us not to be slaves to sin but to serve your Divine Son, with the Father and the Holy Spirit, with our whole heart and our whole mind and our whole soul. Amen.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Summorun Pontificum Contact Database

What a great idea! Someone has started a database to bring together the laity who want the Tridentine Latin Mass and the priests who would like to offer it.

Hat tip to Nancy.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Peter is Going to Space Camp

If you're at an airport this weekend, and you see a whole group of blind or visually impaired kids, they just might be heading to Space Camp at Huntsville, Alabama. This will be their week!

Maryland is sending a contingent. Generous donors have provided the "scholarships", complete with travel expenses.

Please pray for Peter's safety and health (he got a doozy of a cold this week), and for all the kids, and the generous donors.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Rosary Companion

When I see something exciting I like to share it with you, even if I haven't had the time or money to try it out myself yet. I just discovered this one today, leafing through the pages of an old magazine..."old" by a couple months. Someone had given this magazine to me. I'd read the articles but hadn't really looked at the adversisements.

This Rosary Companion looks like a really neat idea! It is a small electronic device, which appears in the form of a Rosary ring, except instead of a hole in the center, there is a button in the center to push. What happens when you push the button? You hear the prayers recited by Carmelite Sisters. The mysteries are announced, each one accompanied by a Bible verse. What happens if you get interrupted and come back later? It remembers where you left off! Wow!

You can find out more, and even listen to the voices, here.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

"But I Don't Know Latin"

Have you perhaps heard about the Summorum Pontificum, which will make the Tridentine Mass more available, and thought: That's all very interesting, "but I don't know Latin". Not to worry. The Latin Missals have the Latin and English side by side.

Here is a an affordable Latin-English Missal that has just been produced by Roman Catholic Books. It doesn't include the full set of Sunday readings. But it does have the ordinary of the Mass for Sunday, and the full Requiem and Nuptial Masses. (For anyone for whom that last sentence was "Greek", the "ordinary" is the words and ceremonies that occur at every Mass, in other words all except the prayers that change with the Church year. A "Requiem Mass" is a Mass for someone who has died, and a "Nuptial Mass" is a Mass offered with a wedding.)

This book has 20 full-color illustrations by masters, and yet costs only $8.95.

Hat tip to Nancy Brown.

Dessert with a Friend

I can blog again now, because now that I can access my Yahoo, all is right in the world (Don't I wish it were that simple?).

Yesterday evening, I met a friend for dessert...a fellow blogger (Is "fellow blogger" correct, when one is speaking of ladies?).

It was fun, refreshing and uplifting to chat together with a delightful young Catholic homeschooling Mom! Her faith shines forth from her eyes and bubbles up when she talks. Driving home, saying the Rosary, I felt so much peace and trust in God. Thank you, Holly.

Yahoo, Where Are You?

Three and a half hours without being able to get into my Yahoo mail account! Anyone else have Yahoo and unable to "get in"?

Hopefully this is very temporary. In the meantime, if you want to write to me and make sure I get it today, you can use my Google mail: margmary53 at gmail dot com.

P.S. My Yahoo is back!!! Boy, do we get dependent!

Monday, September 17, 2007

Help a Family Save Their Home

A cause close to my heart. Actually, there are many of those. But this one caught at my heartstrings as I saw it today, so I had to share it with you in case you feel moved to help. I don't know this family, but I do understand a little of the feeling of concern that they must be feeling. The McGovern family has five children. They lost a child to SIDS a year ago, and are in danger of losing their home. They are saying that even a $10 donation would help.

Here's the story, as told by Regina Doman, author of the lovely children's book about the baby in the womb, Angel in the Waters.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

See Tony Melendez Play Guitar with his Feet

Have you heard of Tony Melendez, who was born without arms, and plays the guitar beautifully? I had heard of him, but hadn't heard him or seen him perform. Thanks to today's technology, I have now been able to do that, sitting here at my computer. You can too, by clicking here.

You can read a biography here.

If you'd like to read Cay's post that introduced me to the video, you can read it here.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

What Kind of Breakfast Are You? Quiz

You Are Toast

Old fashioned and a bit of a homebody, you totally go for comfort food.

You're the type who loves to cook for friends, and they love you for it.

You truly know what tastes good, and you can often pick out the best dish at a restaurant.

You don't fall for food trends. You stick with what's been food for a long time!

Hat tip to Jean

Friday, September 14, 2007

Summorum Pontificum Takes Effect Today

Today is the day that the Motu Proprio: Summorum Pontificum goes into effect! This evening my husband is singing at historic St. Alphonsus Church in downtown Baltimore where St. John Neumann and Blessed Francis Seelos were once pastors (at different times). I was hoping to be there tonight, but wasn't able to make it.

I wrote two posts on the subject when the motu proprio first came out. If you didn't read them then, you can find them here.

Sean P. Daily at his The Blue Boar blog has also written some of his posts today on the subject of the Summorum Pontificum.

The Tridentine Latin Mass is a part of our heritage, having been the Mass of the Latin rite Church for many centuries, offered and attended by countless saints, full of beauty.

Thank you, Holy Father. Thank you, Holy Spirit.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Speaking of Mother Teresa

If you have Windows Media Player, you can listen to Donna-Marie Cooper O'Boyle, in her recent radio interview with Teresa Tomeo, talk about Mother Teresa. Donna is a mother and Lay Missionary of Charity who knew Blessed Mother Teresa personally. The talk lasts a little over twenty minutes. Even if you can only listen for five, it's very worth the time! Or maybe you can wait til the kids get to bed (if you have kids underfoot), brew a cup of uncaffeinated tea, and relax and enjoy! Just go to the this blogpost and click on the blue clickable link at the end of the sentence that says "...Mother Teresa is being criticized by the secular media which is saying that Mother Teresa lost her faith." She didn't, of course, as you will see (or hear).

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Mother Teresa Book

Recently I spoke of someone being maligned for writing a book. Around that same time a national magazine article was maligning Mother Teresa of Calcutta because of a book that is coming out about her.

Fr. Benedict Groeschel says, in the First Things blog:
"The unfortunate publicity and distortions to the point of calumny that have surrounded the publication of the book Mother Teresa: Come Be My Light, edited by Fr. Brian Kolodiejchuk, M.C., the postulator of her cause, have caused confusion to many and much pain to the Missionaries of Charity and their close friends."

Fr. Groeschel goes on to explain the "dark night of the soul" that Mother Teresa suffered in the midst of her work as being comparable to that of St. John of the Cross and St. Therese of Lisieux. I would add: Perhaps it is comparable in some way to the feeling of Jesus on the Cross, when he cried out, "My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?"

Some of the greatest saints wanted nothing better than to suffer to save souls, and to be as much like Christ as possible. And there's a whole theological science to the "dark night" which God allows to some great souls. I felt I understood this some, after reading about the dark night of the soul of St. Therese of Lisieux in her autobiography, The Story of a Soul. I understood with my heart. But I don't understand it well enough with my mind to explain it. It's no wonder that the secular press doesn't understand. I'm wondering, too, if they read the entire Mother Teresa book, or just picked out a few sentences. I have a feeling that if we read the book prayerfully, we would understand a greater depth and generosity to the life of Mother Teresa than we even knew before.

Since I haven't read the book yet, I should probably stop talking now and let you read the book for yourself; and maybe you'd like to see the rest of what Father Groeschel says too. You can read his post by clicking here.

Hat tip to Jean.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Thank You for Blog Comments!

A question was asked a few weeks ago at the Moms Who Blog group about responding to blog comments. Does blog etiquette suggest that we should respond to comments at our blog? The answer that someone offered was basically no. Not that it isn't a great thing to do but that it isn't an "ought to do" type of thing.

Many bloggers have so many comments (sometimes a hundred for one post) that they would never be able to respond to it all. Some others only post sporadically, and there's a reason for that: their blog time is very they don't have time to respond to comments.

One question I've always wondered is how many people who leave a comment come back to see if the blog host or anyone else has commented on their comment or on the topic. I guess people do, because sometimes I myself wander back to someone's comment box to see what else has been said since I was there.

And I do enjoy responding to comments at my blog! However, I found out in the past few weeks, as I prepared for a new school year, that's it's not always something I can keep up with.

Please know that I love to have you comment at my blog. I might not always respond. But I read each and every comment lovingly. I think of you. I'm asking God to bless you. Thank you for your blog comments and keep 'em coming.

Monday, September 10, 2007

A Look at Life with a Disability

A friend who is blind along with other disabilities linked to this blog where a lady with Lupus explains to her best friend what it's like to live with her disability. (Was that sentence too complex?)

I thought this was an enlightening look - to help us understand others, appreciate what we have, and make good use of our time.

Sunday, September 09, 2007

To Write or Not...

There are times when the blog ideas and words flow...and times when they don't. This week has been one of the latter. Maybe it's because I've been focused on getting ready for school. Or maybe it's because I've been anything but focused. Are you confused yet? Now you have a glimpse into my current state of mind.

I've been trying to figure out if I should try (harder) to find ways to make money with writing. This morning I even wrote this to a good friend (and writer): "Or...maybe I should just decide writing is just my hobby, and just blog; and forget writing as a potential source of income." I can't believe I even said that!

And then I went to Mass, and as the priest began to talk, I remembered his words (actually Our Lord's words), from last week: "Seek first the Kingdom of God..." If there's something I feel called to write, or something I've already written and feel called to try to share, shouldn't I share that before trying to figure out other ways that I can make a little extra money for Christmas and for that extra gas for all the kids' activities? (It's great that we have activities now. We're finally getting settled in here!).

It's not all about money (even though it is a pretty necessary commodity), and most of all, it's not all about me being in control. God works in mysterious and awesome ways when we pursue His will. (Someone remind me to re-read that sentence next time I get up at 5 a.m. for no reason.)

My doubts of this morning remind me of a few years ago when I first discovered Melissa Wiley's blog. When I learned that she's a Catholic homeschooling Mom who has written books about the grandmothers of Laura Ingalls Wilder, I was SO EXCITED! I told my kids, "She's a Catholic homeschool mother and she's a writer! Like I used to be." One of my sons got really mad. "What do you mean? 'Used to be?'". He was right. And he's still right. I'm not going to put away my pen. I have to write, and I have to try to get published, but not for my glory, not for money; but for God and souls. Hey, I don't mean I won't take the money though!

Friday, September 07, 2007

"Living on a Dime" Offers Free E-Books

This friendly e-newsletter has appeared in my (e)mailbox for...probably...years now, containing lots of good tips and recipes. Tawra and Jill offer their print books and e-books for sale at their website but also lots of free information, even a debt calculator (I haven't taken the time to use it yet; or maybe I'm afraid I'll get depressed if I find out how long it may really take us to get out of the muddle).

At their site they also link to cooking guides and substitutions (scroll w-a-y down on the left). Oodles of good stuff here.

But right at the moment, on top of everything else, they are offering links to 37 free e-books! Just go here to see all the possibilities:

By the way, just in case you don't know, if you want to download an Acrobat Adobe (pdf) file onto your hard drive (rather than just print it out right then and there), you can right-click, then select Save Target As. Type in the name you want to know the file by, and download. To read the file another day, you will need to go to Adobe Reader in your computer, select the file you want, and click on it. If you try to open a pdf file from Microsoft Word, it will look like gobbledee-gook. Now listen (only if you don't know...and I said it like that because I just spent some time figuring this out myself!), if you don't have an icon for Adobe Reader on your desktop to click on, click on Start, go to Programs, find Adobe Reader, right-click and select Create Shortcut. Voila. Now, in the future, you can access Adobe Reader right from your desktop.

All this has given me another "job". I just realized that I should probably add detailed instructions like this for dowloading my Little Saint Therese book, in case someone wants to save it and read it or print it later on.

So! Have fun! Enjoy all the resources available for you on the web.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

In All Things, Charity

I know what it is to be denounced. I went from Protestantism to seeking Catholicism, seeing smiles of some old friends turn to scowls. I went from seeking Catholicism to a pseudo-Catholic cult. I left that cult to the tune of a public denunciation, followed by doors shut in my face, and heads turned from me. I later moved from a community where I was respected as a leader to a community where I was seen as the “liberal” one, where I was not quite shunned as I was in the cult, but where I felt like an “outsider” with little to contribute. I have come to a better place in my life, but I tend to get upset when I see someone “put down”. We called it “ranked” in public school.

And so, when I see someone using their blog to “rank” my good friend Nancy Brown, because she wrote a literary guide to a controversial book series (Harry Potter), I find myself asking some questions. Who is this person who is passing judgment not just on books (that she hasn’t read) but on persons (whom she doesn’t know)? And I find the blogger has no name; her profile isn’t public. Ah. Anonymous posters have gone from comment boxes to their own anonymous blogs. Well, when I slow down and breathe deeply, I realize that I’ve “been there, done that”…no, not with blogs, and not anonymously, but that there have been too many times in my past when I’ve passed judgment, times when I’ve been tuned to Channel N for negative and F for fear. Mea culpa. I learned the hard way that negativity and fear are not the way to peace, and that living that way is not the way to draw children and youth to holiness and heroism. I had to decide to change. And so I need to be careful not to judge those who judge or else I will, once again, be judging. I need to be patient with others.

You already know, I suppose, that St. Peter and St. Paul disagreed. But did you know that St. John Marie Vianney didn’t believe that Our Lady appeared at La Salette? After meeting one of the “seers”, he was convinced that it was not a true apparition. Finally, one day he prayed to Our Lady under the title of La Salette and received his favor, and ever after was a devotee. He later said, “I am a firm believer in La Salette….That boy and I did not understand each other. But I have asked heaven for signs to bolster my faith and I have had them.” (Source: A Woman Clothed with the Sun, edited by John J. Delaney, story by Msgr. John S. Kennedy.).

So what is my point? First, what my point is not, lest I be accused. I am not comparing the Harry Potter books to Our Lady’s appearances. I am simply pointing out that good people, many times saints and devout Catholics, have disagreed or had misunderstandings. There have been many cases of this throughout history. We don’t have to agree on everything. We aren’t going to agree on everything. But the second of the two great commandments is short and simple: Love thy neighbor as thyself.

I know that you, my dear readers, know that. But it makes me feel better to say it. So thank you for listening. God bless!

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Wait! You're in the Right Place

I just got tired of pink, that's all, so I changed to a blue template. Oh, I'm still gonna' love my pink leather jacket that the boys gave me a couple years ago (see profile picture). And I still enjoy my pink umbrella and pink water bottle. Living with a bunch of guys, you can imagine that having pink means that the items don't get borrowed and lost. Not selfish, am I? (You don't have to answer that one.)

So. Tell me. Do you like the blue or should I put it back to pink? I did save the code for the pink signature in case I want to go back. Maybe I could switch back and forth seasonally. Pink for spring/summer, blue for fall/winter?

And yes, I know this is not a significant post. And no, I'm not bored. I got a lot of lesson planning done today, and so I felt I earned the right to "play" a little.

Enjoy your week. God bless.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

New Label Category

A new label category I've devised for my blog is "Book Preview". This doesn't mean the book hasn't been published yet (although occasionally that is the case). It means I think the book is worth calling your attention to, but I either haven't read it yet or haven't finished it yet.

By the way, if you want to check out past posts by alphabetical topic, or just browse through the topical or alphabetical list of post topics, you can find links in my sidebar - below the pictures of books in my library. When you click on the link for either topical labels or alphabetical labels, you will go to a blog post which is a list of labels. Click on a label on that page and you will get all the posts I've written on that topic.

Just in case you have lots of time for browsing one day. Or like me at the moment, you wake up very early in the morning, unable to sleep...

Saints for Our Times Essay Contest

Do you have a teenager who enjoys entering contests? This essay contest for youth, ages 13 to 17, is sponsored by Barry Michaels, author of a new book Saints for Our Times: New Novenas and Prayers.

Contest deadline is November 1, All Saints Day. Three winners will receive a signed copy of the book, as well as a cash prize of ten, twenty or thirty dollars. You can read about the contest here.

You can read about the book and author here.

Hat tip to Jean at Catholic Fire.

Sunday, September 02, 2007

Where I'm At...

School starts Tuesday...NOT! I've gone from being behind on the grading to being behind on the lesson plans. So I decided a few days ago that this coming week will be my teacher's inservice days. This way the kids and I can start the following week with excitement and peace of mind.

In the meantime, this weekend our daughter Mary has come to visit! The D.C. Dulles airport was the best for her to come in, so yesterday we picked her up and went to Arlington National Cemetery, where we watched the changing of the guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldiers. Very impressive.

Have a wonderful Labor Day weekend!

P.S. If you happen to be a publisher or editor reading this, please know that I know that "Where I'm at..." is not good grammar. It's just a bit of dialect that I picked up from living in Kentucky for many years, which I felt suited today's post. (smile)