Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Happy Halloween

I love to bring you the best of the blogosphere, though I've been a little remiss of late. My choice as "best" may not always be yours, but I share those that I like personally, in the hopes that you might enjoy them too.

So, you might like to see what Sean at the Blue Boar has to say about Halloween. Sorry I didn't get this to you this morning, but I hope you enjoy it, even if it's past the day by the time you see it.


A few days ago I shared with you a few snippets of a conversation about my children, which began, "If you had known you had this gene, would you have given birth to your children?" (The answer, for those who didn't read that post, is "Absolutely!")

I wish I could share with you the article I've now written on that topic. But if I were to post it here, there would be no chance I could get it published in any magazine. Magazines want first serial rights, something we who blog might like to keep in the back of our minds as we write. It could be done the reverse way, though. If it gets published, I could post it as a reprint at some point. So hopefully I will share it with you eventually! Thank you for the encouragement you gave me, and now for your patience.

In the meantime, I just need to figure out how to make pictures available, and where to submit the piece (I do have one idea where to submit, but am open to suggestions as well).

I have another question for those readers who are in the know about writing: Would any of my readers have advice for a high school student interesting in writing fiction? (Not my own child, someone else.)

Have a wonderful Halloween, Eve of the Feast of All Hallows (All Saints). However you may celebrate it, may it be a happy and safe day and evening for you and yours. God bless you.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Life Out of Balance or "Are You Organized?"

First of all, I'm sorry I stopped writing (three whole days). Well, I didn't actually stop writing. I only stopped writing here. I haven't ever stopped writing for nearly fifty years; it's just a matter of what I write: letters, emails, lists, possible books, potential articles, and of course, my blog. That's right; I said "blog". See, I'm so behind and so ashamed, I'm trying to pretend I don't have four blogs, three of which I've largely ignored for at least a month.

Sometimes in life, it's hard to keep everything in balance...even if for you that balance doesn't always include writing, on a daily and sometimes hourly basis. At one time, we're lonely and bored. At another time, we have too much to do and think about, and are overwhelmed. Even though some of what makes "too much to do and think about" are wonderful activities and people, it sometimes means we take time away from something else or try to "do it all". Have you ever noticed how the pendulum swings? You know what's neat about asking questions on a blog? Some of you might actually answer.

Someone reading this might get the idea I'm disorganized, and then get the idea to try to help me get organized. You might not know that I already know most of the organizational systems and techniques that are currently known to man (that's mankind, as in women, men and children). Remember, one of the things I write are lists, and one of the things I do is plan. One of the things I do, too, is live too much in the future (and occasionally too much in the past).

If you want to get organized, if you want to do what I've learned, not what I do (does that sound like a good parent?), you can try the following for starters:

Website (free): Flylady

Book: Seven Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R. Covey

If you'd like to share tips with our readers for getting organized, you are most welcome! Just realize that this reader is pretty hopeless. But hey, I'm always open to new ideas. It gives me something to think about.

P.S. If you happen to be an editor, please know that I do meet life's deadlines!

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Praise God for My Children!

I think I feel a possible magazine article coming. So I want to go light on this post. But I just have to share with you what's on my mind tonight, my dear blog readers.

I attended a social event today with a friend. When my friend asked me something about my kids, I didn't want the other lady who was sitting with us at the table to feel left out of the conversation. So I explained to her that one of my sons became blind six months ago. After discussing this, she asked me a question.

"If you had known about this gene, would you have given birth to your children?"

Did you get that the first time? "If you had known about this gene, would you have given birth to your children?" I still can't believe that I didn't stand up on my chair and shout it out for the whole world to hear when I answered,

"Absolutely!" There was more to this conversation but I'm not going to discuss it for now except to say that I told her they have a lot to contribute! Let me just add,

Praise God for each one of my wonderful, beautiful, content, faith-filled children!

Praise God from Whom all blessings flow. Praise Him all creatures here below. Praise Him above the heavenly host. Praise Father, Son and Holy Ghost.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Comment on My "Debtors Beware" Post

A comment in response to my post “Debtors Beware” called for a rather long reply on my part, so I thought I would address it here rather than in the combox. If you’d like to read my reader's full comment, you can go to that post, scroll down, and click on comments.


Thank you for seeking clarification for my readers. No, I didn't mean that if you miss only one credit card payment, you might wake up with no access to your bank funds, and I'm sorry if it could be interpreted that way! I believe the problem was with a collection agency, so I think it would probably only happen if an account went into collection and still wasn’t paid. There are many reasons and adversities why someone's account might possibly go into collection (prolonged job loss, huge medical expenses), and your advice (from Dave Ramsey) to pay something on an account, however little, is excellent advice to share with many of my readers. I hope that is true. I'm sure it's true of most medical providers. While I have had creditors tell me that if I didn’t pay at least a certain amount (specified by them), the account would go into collection, perhaps they were only threatening me.

The following that you said was not true of the person of whom I wrote: 'If someone has changed his phone number and moved to get away from the calls and letters, they shouldn't be surprised when they get sued and attached with "no warning."' This was someone who had been exploited by others and left holding the proverbial bag; but then thought the bill had been paid in full through an escrow, and it apparently hadn’t (but she didn't know that it hadn't until a few days ago). In the meantime, she had moved a couple times, just in the course of life, thinking, as I said, that this bill was paid. I personally don't understand why someone's address can't be tracked down, especially if their account can be, but no, she wasn't informed, not in recent years.

Like you, I didn't think all this was possible, certainly not legal...until I read things like the following on the internet. It does look like you are right that it would have to be court-ordered, yet it doesn’t look like the person necessarily knows beforehand:

I do understand your concern about not scaring people, because it actually sounds like something I might have said myself, if someone else had posted what I posted, and I had read it. This type of thing probably doesn’t happen very often! And it's true that we can't spend our lives worrying about every possible thing that could happen! On the other hand, I think we can always learn from one another’s myriad difficulties. As I said in my post, I wasn’t talking about a creditor taking all one’s money permanently, just putting a temporary freeze on the account. My (almost) final point was the importance of trying to keep some cash on hand, which isn't always easy to do but would be a good thing in various emergencies. I think we would all be less "scared" about any possible economic surprise if we had some cash on hand. Just my opinion.

Thank you for visiting my blog and for sharing your thoughts!

Thrifty Homeschooler

Here is the ultimate support and resource for homeschooling…or for just living a frugal lifestyle. Maureen Wittmann started the Thrifty Homeschooler Yahoo group over four years ago. I've been a member for probably at least three of those years, and I still eagerly open my emails from Thrifty Homeschooler. It’s still going strong today, helping families to manage and thrive.

“The goal is to support homeschooling families, most living on one income in a two-income economy, by offering ideas and tips on how to save money in your home and school.”

This is not your ordinary list. It’s community learning with a difference.

Does the volume of emails from a group list fill up your inbox? Not to worry. Do you not want everyone to know your full name and your email address when you ask a question or contribute something? Not to worry. If you have a question, you send it directly to Maureen. She will include only your first name when passing your question on to the group. She then invites responses, sent directly to her, and gathers all the responses together into one email for everyone’s reading pleasure.

To join the more than 2600 people who are signed up to benefit from the Thrifty Homeschooler Yahoo group, you can go here.

You may also like to visit the Thrifty Homeschooler Blog. This is a different format, with different information, provided by the same devoted homeschooling mother and author, helping us out wherever she can.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

News about northern Southern California

I've been trying to get news about the fire in Santa Clarita near Magic Mountain theme park (where we have family living)...and figuring that hopefully "no news is good news" (I know if they'd needed to evacuate, they would have told us). Just now I went from the Los Angeles Times website to the Google interactive map. And there to my wondering eyes should appear a symbol of a GREEN flame. I clicked on the flame and saw that the fire is 100% contained.

Now we just have to keep on praying for all the people in the San Diego area and elsehwere in Southern California. At least the winds have died down, making the firefighters job a whole lot more effective.

Debtors Beware

Who, these days, isn't a debtor? If you're not, you're doing a great job and are very blessed. Well, we all are blessed. Just in different ways. Some are blessed with learning lots of lessons in trusting in God.

It's odd the things we learn as life goes on...things we wish we never knew. I just found out something from the experience of someone close to me (not myself, my husband or my kids). Did you know that if you owe a creditor, even if you think that bill has been paid but you're mistaken, that they can put a freeze on your bank account? Yep, it can happen. Do they warn you first? Oh no, that way you can remove the money first. So they catch you by surprise. It's a hold on your account so they can get you to call them and set up a payment plan. So don't panic if it we all did, because we didn't know. When someone puts a hold on your account, though, how do you buy gas to get to work or buy food for the baby while working it out?

You might ask: How did the creditor get the bank account information? The social security number. It's very simple. What's astounding is that it seems to be legal.

Are there any lessons to be learned from this, or anything we can do to prevent it? I know what some will say: Stay out of debt. All well and good, and a very good idea. And there are whole books written on the subject of staying - or getting - out of debt.

But since much of the population is 'in it' already, what about privacy? What about the sacredness of our bank account? Some answers to life's problems aren't cut and dried. You can have an account at more than one bank. Will they freeze both? I don't really know. I hope not. Perhaps you can be sure that everyone you've ever done business with knows whenever you move, so they can get in touch with you if they need to so you don't get surprises. Maybe you can skip direct deposit so that if someone attaches to your account, you will at least have some cash coming. Oh my. I've been preaching to one of my son's to get direct deposit, and we certainly have it. It's way more convenient than not having it, and also gives us free banking.

I guess most of all we should try to keep some cash on hand...for any emergency, how much depends on a lot of factors, including what we can afford to put aside and what we feel is safe to keep in a home. And we can keep on praying for ourselves and others in our crazy economy. Most of all, we can remember the lilies of the field and trust in the One who so arrayed them in glory like Solomon.

Editor's Later Note: The power of prayer is at work again! The person in this story received an expected but forgotten refund for something, on the very next day, which will buy them gas and food while they get this straightened out. Remember the lilies of the field!

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

California Fires Update

We have family in Santa Clarita, about a mile from Magic Mountain. They are doing okay, sitting tight for now, and sounding calm and cheerful. Apparently the fire is across the freeway (which to me, sounds bad, but to them, means there is a natural barrier). Also the wind is blowing the fire away from them. If they are told to evacuate they will, but so far they haven't been told. You can read about this fire here.

Thank you, Melissa, for providing the link to this blog which gives updates on the fires.

We are praying, of course, not only for our own family and friends, but for everyone in Southern California and anywhere who is affected by the fires. And may God especially bless the dedicated firefighters and their families!

Let's keep up those prayers!

Monday, October 22, 2007

Emergency Prayer Request

Please pray for the people of Southern California. The fires and weather conditions pose a very serious risk for many people. I just received an email from family there, telling us they are all right at this time. But the fires are raging out of control in many places throughout the region, "...we have had winds clocked at 108 mph, and are expecting gusts of up to 90 mph today. This is the longest drought on record in SoCal, and we are expecting temperatures in the triple digits today. In some areas, the fires are creating their own weather, in the form of twisters."

California is a huge, heavily populated state; and a large chunk of that area and population is being exposed to heavy smoke and serious concern for their property and lives, as ten fires range from San Diego to Santa Barbara.

Please pray for the firefighters, for their own safety and that they will be able to get the fires under control. Pray for the residents. Pray for miracles.

High School Math and Science at Home

"How do you homeschool high school math and science?" I've sometimes been asked. Some of those who ask this don't even realize that my own math and science are particularly lacking, with probably the equivalent of an 8th grade education in those two subjects. Yet our kids manage to get into college with honors!

Over the years, my answer has been pretty consistent: "I give them the tools for learning, by teaching them how to read well, and how to study and work independently. Then I find the best materials that we can afford, and they teach themselves." Dad helps them with math, when they need it, though his work hours are long. And now we have the Teaching Textbooks math program, which is more self-teaching than any we've had before!

But now my visually impaired freshman is having a bit of a struggle with Dr. Jay Wile's Apologia Biology, which is quite understandable, considering he has to listen to it on tape, or read it under a video magnifier...making it a little harder to skim and just look something up quickly. In schools, the teacher does (sometimes) actually teach (rather than just handing the kids books and assignments), so I suppose it's okay for me to help him through this course. But now I'm going to have to actually learn it with him.

Some day maybe I'll write an article about all this; but for now, I'm off to high school. Wish me luck!

Saturday, October 20, 2007

What Kind of Reader are You?

What Kind of Reader Are You?
Your Result: Obsessive-Compulsive Bookworm

You're probably in the final stages of a Ph.D. or otherwise finding a way to make your living out of reading. You are one of the literati. Other people's grammatical mistakes make you insane.

Dedicated Reader
Book Snob
Literate Good Citizen
Fad Reader
What Kind of Reader Are You?
Create Your Own Quiz

I don't know why I came out as an obsessive-compulsive bookworm. After all, I don't have my head in a book all day; some of the time I'm on the computer doing research or checking out blogs. And I don't read whole books at grocery stores, only a few pages...well, most of the time. If I have a reason to be there every day, I might read a few pages today and a few tomorrow until I've finally completed the book. I don't buy magazines at the checkstand; I just look for the longest line so I can read an article or two. When I receive book catalogs, I don't buy all the books, you know. I just read the "blurbs" so I'll know what the books are about and who is writing what. Naw, I'm not an obsessive-compulsive bookworm. Am I?

On the serious side: As a writer, I am fully aware that someone needs to buy the books and magazines! And I do buy some...according to my means and priorities. I wasn't telling you that you "ought to" read books and magazines for free. I'm just telling you that yes, I'm obsessive-compulsive about reading! And by the way, I put them back in the same condition I find them in. If I accidentally did something to injure a book, I would buy it without hesitation, even if I hadn't otherwise planned to buy it. As a matter of fact, I got one of my favorite books that way when I spilled a drop of hot chocolate within its pages at a Barnes and Noble.

Friday, October 19, 2007

The Father Brown Reader

Check out Nancy Brown's new Father Brown book for children! It is now available for pre-orders!

These stories are adaptations of four of G.K. Chesterton's famous Father Brown stories. Specially chosen for children who are approximately 8-12 years old, these particular stories are not murder mysteries, but instead are about stolen items and missing persons. Nancy understands thoroughly both literature and the children who read it.

Give your children something to think about in an enjoyable manner. Just in time for Christmas presents or for snuggling up on those chilly autumn days.

By the way, if you want to order an autographed copy from Nancy Brown, you can do that through her site, once she receives the book. Or you can get the special pre-order price of $7.99 from now until October 25, directly from the publisher, Hillside Education. The pre-ordered books will ship October 26, at which time the regular price will become $9.99.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

A Rosary Story...or is it a Car Story?

I think it’s a little of both. Today I spotted the perfect parking space at Target. I like to pull through so when I am ready to leave I can just drive straight out. If someone is with me, I may say, “I found a “pull-thru site!” the name based on old camping days, pulling a tent trailer.

So I pulled through to my perfect parking space in my blue-green Pontiac Transport…and found myself right next to its sister blue-green Oldsmobile Silhouette. Except for the black stripe on the side, they looked identical. The Olds even had a problem with its side-view mirror, just like my van does. And hanging from the rear-view mirror on each car was a rosary.

When I came out, I found both cars still sitting side-by-side. After getting settled into my car, I saw two men coming our way, one going to the passenger side and one to the driver side of the neighboring car.

“Twins,” I said to the driver through my open passenger window. We exchanged years and mileage (mine is a ’93 with 170,000 miles; his was a’95 with 130,000 miles). We discussed the side-view mirrors. Then I mentioned the rosaries.

“That was there when I bought the car,” he said, almost apologetically, and then rather proudly added, “and I didn’t have the heart to take it out.”

He said when he started cleaning the car, he found something wrapped around the rear-view mirror, unwound it, and found it was a rosary.

“I was going to take it out, but then I thought maybe the Good Lord wanted me to have it,” he said, smiling. “And I haven’t had any problem with the car!”

Of course, I don’t want to give my readers the idea that a set of rosary beads is a good luck charm. Tisn’t. But it seemed to me that he left it there out of devotion to God. In that case, like mine, it’s like a silent prayer hanging there. And quite likely God is blessing him for that!

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Behold This Heart

"Behold this Heart which has so loved men," said Jesus to St. Margaret Mary in the 1600's. It was a time when, in many cases, love had grown cold. There was a lot of emphasis on the fear of God, while men often forgot that He created us in love, redeemed us from the Cross in love, and sent the Holy Ghost to us in love.

When we open our hearts to the love of God, we are better able to love Him in return.

Dear Jesus, please bless us always with an awareness of Your great love for each of us and for everyone You created. Remind us often of Your Presence in our lives. May we turn to Your Sacred Heart for strength and consolation in our troubles, and may we turn to Your Sacred Heart with gratitude in our joys. Amen.

P.S. Yesterday was the feast of St. Margaret Mary, to whom Jesus presented the devotion to His Sacred Heart, but yesterday I wasn't yet ready to return to blogging. However, today is the feast day in the traditional calendar. Since I attend both the regular Mass and the Latin Mass, I figure I get to celebrate the feast of St. Margaret Mary two days in a row. How neat can it get?! If you already celebrated yesterday, you can join me again today, too, if you'd like.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

A Time to Mourn

"1 All things have their season, and in their times all things pass under heaven. 2 A time to be born and a time to die. A time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted. 3 A time to kill, and a time to heal. A time to destroy, and a time to build. 4 A time to weep, and a time to laugh. A time to mourn, and a time to dance." Ecclesiastes 3:1-10

Friday morning I posted a "Tribute to My Mother" who died about eight years ago. Friday afternoon, the day that would have been my mother's birthday, I received a call that a dear old friend of mine has died, a woman who was like a mother to me when I was a young adult. I began writing a "Tribute to 'Another Mother' ". But after I got involved in writing it, I could go no further. I realized then that this is not the time to put feelings into words. It is the time to mourn.

You might even see less blogging from me for a few days, as I take that time. Not that I won't be laughing and playing with my family. Not that I won't be working on homeschooling and working toward writing for publication. But I need a little time - where I can squeeze time in - a little time to think. I need a little time to let myself feel, a time to weep. I need to forgive myself for not keeping in touch more often or more recently. I need to think about who in my life I should be getting in touch with. I need to thank God for wonderful memories.

Unfinished Tribute to “Another Mother”

I lived in Los Angeles. I was 21 years old. I was far from my parents, both geographically and emotionally.

After my high school graduation, I had joined a cult. After leaving the cult, I had “free-lanced” in life: traveling, moving, taking a class here, a job there. Now I was going to settle down, rent a little travel trailer in a trailer park, and work as a medical transcriber in a doctor’s office.

I wasn’t really finished moving around, though. First I moved from the trailer to renting a room in a home. Then I moved from transcribing medical documents for $500 a month to teaching in a private Catholic school for a hundred dollars less.

It was a full, happy life - except that I was very lonely so very far from my family; and I was sometimes muddled, from having lived in a cult.

All that began to change when I met Dona. I met her first on the phone. I don’t remember how or why. I do remember that by the time we were done talking, I wasn’t lonely anymore.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

October 13, 1917

It was October 13, 1917.

Thousands of people had gathered at the cove in Fatima. The Blessed Virgin had come down from heaven, on the thirteenth of each month since May, to bring a message to three children, and through them, to the world. It was a message of prayer and peace. Pray the Rosary, pray for sinners, pray for peace.

This day there was to be a miracle. As the eager men, women and children stood in the muddy puddles with drenching rain pouring down on them, suddenly they saw the sun start a dizzy dive toward earth. People cried out in fear. They cried out to God in repentance for their sins. They cried out with trust in God's mercy.

As suddenly as the sun had left its spot in the sky, so suddenly did it return to its proper place and role. Everyone in the crowd was dry - and happy - and believing in a loving God.

Many miles away in a little town on a little Azore Island, south of the mainland of Portugal, a five year old boy saw the sun make its sudden way toward earth, saw it return again to its place in the sky. Much later, he became a priest. Still later, he pastored a Portuguese parish called Our Lady of Fatima in Laton, California.

I knew Father Lima and heard his story from his own lips when I was a young adult. Recently I told this to one of my sons whom I'd forgotten to tell. He said, "You mean it really happened?" Then he said, with a little embarrassment, "I mean, I know it really happened...but you actually knew someone who actually saw it?" I think I know what he means. You read about something in a book and you believe it, but somehow it seems like it was from another time, another place, another world. And of course, it was from another World. But that World lovingly visited ours.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Tribute to My Mother

I wonder. Do you think they celebrate birthdays in the next life? Today would have been my mother’s birthday were she living still: Columbus Day. Oh, I know, Columbus Day falls on a Monday; but it didn’t always. How well I remember the great “Columbus Day Storm” on October 12, 1962 in Vancouver, Washington (that’s southwestern Washington, not Vancouver B.C.). We calmly ate Mom’s birthday cake in the basement that night, while the roof was being torn off my grade school a half mile away.

I remember another birthday. I made her a dress. Oh, it was an awful tent dress, and it was in my favorite spring colors, off-white and lavender, while Mom always wore autumn colors, red-orange, turquoise, rust. Those realizations only dawned on me later. Of course she was gracious anyway.

My Mom and I weren’t as close as I would have liked, but I am grateful to her for so many things.

First of all, she gave me life, the greatest gift.

The second greatest gift she gave me was that of respecting people, regardless of race, nationality, special needs, or whether they were old or very young.

She gave me the love and tools of reading, first by reading books to me - with feeling – until I was able to read them to myself, and secondly by coaxing me to sound out every sign and label that I was curious about (and I was curious about every word I saw).

The fourth gift began in the fourth grade when my teacher said I was “a good writer”. Mom praised my writing, too, when she heard that. When I was an adult, she told me I should be writing for publication. I did that…once. And then I got very busy raising my children. For years I never really tried but once or twice to share what I wrote with the world.

These days, once again, I am making the effort to share what I have to say with others. Today, you can read my article in the Homeschooling channel at Catholic Exchange.

Thank you, Mom, for all your gifts. This one's for you. Happy Birthday!

Thursday, October 11, 2007

How to Help Our Girls

What can we do to protect our young girls from the incredible pressures of our society? Listen to Donna-Marie Cooper O'Boyle's insight on the topic during her Mom's Corner Radio talk with Teresa Tomeo.

If you would rather read her article at her blog on the same topic, you can do that here.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Your Library

Would a 50-book limit be a problem for you at the library? It was for Maureen Wittmann. Read why, along with how she solved it, and how you can best use this wonderful treasury - your public library - in her article at Catholic Exchange.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

The Praying Hands

Today's post at Holy Cards for Your Inspiration tells the beautiful, moving story of artist Albrecht Durer's famous masterpiece, The Praying Hands.

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Mathetes Award

I am humbled, overwhelmed, and honored.

Jean of Catholic Fire nominated me for this award, called a "Mathetes" award. I don't have the button, as I couldn't figure out how to load it onto my blog...even though I've done this type of thing before. Thankfully, this isn't a "technologically savvy award", or a "great memory award"!

Below is the original explanation of this award:

"Mathetes is the Greek word for disciple, and the role of the disciple (per the Great Commission) it to make more disciples. So the rules for accepting the award are such: Winners of this award must pick five other "disciples" to pass it on to, and provide links for (1) the originator of the award (Dan King of management by God), (2) the person that awarded it to you, and then (3) name and sites of the five people that you believe are fulfilling the role of a disciple of Christ."

There is no way I can limit that designation to only five people. And when I do pick five, I will probably be repeating myself because my favorite blogs are...well, my favorites.

Some of the bloggers who I feel are fulfilling the role of a disciple are way busy doing just that - through writing books, taking care of large families, or dealing with illness (sometimes all three) - and often don't take time for posting about, or passing on, blog awards that are passed around the blogosphere. So I'm not only going to leave a whole lot of deserving people out of my little list of five, but I'm also going to be a rebel (from the original directions), and say to those I do choose: I won't feel badly if you don't post about this or pass it on, unless you would like to and have the time and energy. I love what you're doing and I want you to have the time to keep on keepin' on.

But I want to pass the award on to them in case they have time, but mostly so my readers will know about these blogs and why I think they represent discipleship. And first, a word about my sponsor (I was trying to sound like t.v., but whoa does that phrase date me).

Jean of Catholic Fire, who passed this on to me, provides so much informative content. She posts about pro-life issues and events, what happened "on this day", biographies of saints, prayer intentions, and lots more each day. No matter what she's posting about, I can always come away each day feeling uplifted...and that's saying a lot for me, as I'm someone who often tries to avoid thinking about some of the political and other issues that she posts about. It must be her strong faith and trust in God, as well as her love, shining through her posts, that inspire me.

And here are a couple of blogs that have already been chosen, but I want to add my comments:

I think that Esther of A Catholic Mom in Hawaii has already received this award, but I want to mention her here anyway, because her posts are always so beautiful, both verbally and visually. Thank you for sharing, Esther.

Daily Donna-Marie: A Daily Dose of Inspiration was already given the award by Jean, too; but I wanted to mention again that Donna has written several Catholic prayer books, all encouraged and endorsed by Mother Teresa and blessed by Pope John Paul II. She's a gracious, inspiring woman.

Especially Heather
is a blog written by a young Christian mother who started her blog for this very purpose - to share her faith with others. Last year she helped host a different kind of blog awards, the kind where people nominate blogs and then vote for the ones they like best for a specific category. During that contest, Heather was found to have brain cancer. People all over the blogosphere began praying for her and visiting her blog. Her posts about her trials, her family, and her faith are often commented on by 50 to a hundred people, so I can't even imagine how many people she is reaching with her faith and love of God. Although her doctrinal beliefs are different from mine, her enthusiasm and courage inspire me!

2. Maureen Wittmann disciples at her blogs by sharing about her faith, family, and homeschooling, as well as how to manage homeschooling in a thrifty way. She doesn't want anyone to have to give up homeschooling because they can't afford it. She is also an incredible writer, with her newest book For the Love of Literature coming out soon. This book is the fruit of her homeschooling and writing efforts of many years, and will have something for all ages (including adult). If you had only this book, library privileges, and a math series, you could probably educate your kids very well!

3. Whether you homeschool or you just want to teach your kids their religion, whether you have kids or you don't and just want to learn your own religion better, you can find ideas, resources and insight from Alicia at Studeo.

4. Crazy Acres is a blog that shares one woman's strong faith, family life, and profound insights. I love how she shares from the heart, and she never ceases to entertain and inspire me.

No, no, no, not just five. On the other hand, I'm actually getting tired of writing, so I think y'all must be getting tired of reading. I hope not the latter.
Should I flip a coin, draw straws, or...hmm, I am a bit of a rebel, I think I'll do six!

5. In Happy Hearts at Home, Alexandra disciples by encouraging the stay-at-home mom with her tips and resources for learning about faith, cooking, gardening, and home educating, including a plethora of links to free online books.

6. Last but definitely not least - even added extra number to include you, Nancy (I had my list in random order and I can't count). Yes, Nancy Brown of Flying Stars is my next and last pick for today. Among other things, Nancy blogs about her faith and the faith-filled late British author, G.K. Chesterton. She has also written several books for and about literature for youth.

My apologies to ALL of the wonderful people that I left out. It wasn't intentional, I love your blogs, and God sees and rewards your mighty works.

And to my readers, if there are any blogs here that you haven't yet visited, I hope you'll give them a try.

God bless.

Saturday, October 06, 2007

Don't Take Your Daughter into a Strange Mall

...unless she’s there with you in person. Otherwise, when it’s time to go home, you think of calling her to ask where you came in, but of course she won’t know - because she wasn’t there, even though you could swear she was - because you were talking with her for twenty minutes while you walked in and around.

If you’re going to talk on your cell phone as you enter a mall, it does help to have a designated entry point. I always enter a mall through, or near, J. C. Penney, if there is one, or Sears if not. Thanks to that habit, it only took me an extra ten or fifteen minutes to find my way out of the mall.

P.S. I received different reactions to this story from my family. My daughter thought it was funny. But my sister pointed out that we should always be aware of our surroundings, for safety reasons. Thanks for the tip, Sis; I thought I'd pass it along.

What My Husband Does

When Ed isn't working or spending time with the family, he's practising his Gregorian chant. He sings often at the traditional Latin Mass at historic St. Alphonsus in Baltimore, where there has been an Indult for years now.

"Actually," says Ed, "the Mass is offered at St. Alphonsus every Sunday in both the traditional and the new rite, so nothing at all had to be changed with the advent of Motu Proprio."

At this blog, you can see pictures and scroll down to a video, where you can hear him and others singing at a Latin Mass at St. Rita's of Alexandria, Virginia, probably the first offered there since the Summorum Pontificum went into effect.

Friday, October 05, 2007

St. Francis and the Preschool Class

Whatever books and websites I find that I think might be interesting or helpful to you, I like to share with you. But you all know that I don't post about young children, right? After all, my youngest is a fourteen-year-old teen boy who looms over me. Well, this has changed. No, I didn't have a little one. (Yikes, what a thought for a woman in her fifties.). But yesterday I led a little preschool-kindergarten group for our homeschool co-op. I thought I would share with you what we did.

First we prayed a short prayer, thanking God and asking Him to help us to love him and to have fun. (Yep, I really did include that part about having fun.) Then I told them that it was the feast of St. Francis of Assisi and that he was very thankful to God for all the things He created. I said, "Do you know the most important thing that God created? You!" "So," I said, "I'm going to take your pictures today, and we're going to measure you to see how tall you are." Our hostess saw me measuring and brought me a bathroom scale! So we got them all photographed, weighed and measured. Then I read them a simple St. Francis book, encouraged them to draw things that God made, and gave them a picture of St. Francis and the animals to color.

Tonight I uploaded the pictures...too much sunlight on most of them; boy, was it bright and hot yesterday! But they will have to do, and at that tender age, hopefully they'll be happy with the pictures anyway (unlike teenagers would be). Next week I will bring the pictures back, affixed to a pretty sheet with a guardian angel looking down at them, along with their height and weight, and at the top, something like, "God made me," and "My Angel watches over me." That won't be our project for next week, just something for them to take home next week.

I hope you enjoyed my class. I can't share the pictures with you, of course, but let me tell you, these kids are SO cute.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

New Catholic Saints Prayer Book!

Donna-Marie Cooper O'Boyle has written yet another prayer book! She has previously written Catholic Prayer Book for Mothers, Prayerfully Expecting, and The Heart of Motherhood: Finding Holiness in the Catholic Home, all of which which were encouraged and endorsed by Mother Teresa, and blessed by Pope John Paul II.

She now offers a prayer book with biographies, quotes and prayers for 34 saints!

You can read more about it, and pre-order it if you wish, on this page at her site.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Target Becomes a Target

Did you see the news today about the lawsuit against Target? The National Federation of the Blind is suing Target for having a website that they say is not accessible to the blind.

I usually avoid commenting on the news, but I want you to know that my family is not represented by this kind of civil action. In the past, I've tried to avoid "going public" with my feelings about the decisions of this organization. There are many wonderful people within it, some of whom are my good friends. But then, it's not an organization where the people vote, so specific decisions do not necessarily represent their personal views either.

Well, do I think blind people should have access to websites? Of course, that's why we have screen magnification for Peter, and why Paul is getting a screen reader. Are some websites difficult for blind people to access? Some are, and there are ways that webmasters can get around it. For example, you can code a picture so that a blind person can hear a description of it (hmm, I'm thinking now that my blog is not accessible in that sense). I didn't see anything in the article - or at the NFB website - about what particular access issues there are with Target. I don't know what it would cost for Target to make their site accessible or why they haven't done it...or whether or not the NFB approached them with a request before threatening them with a lawsuit. I'm not saying that it's "okay" for a large selling organization to exclude a group of people from using their services, if this is what is happening.

But it seems that this world is lawsuit-happy. And I believe that often it is counter-productive. In this case, it's my personal opinion that a lawsuit might do more harm than good. What do we want for blind people? To be able to function as indepedently as possible in a largely-sighted society...and to have those sighted people recognize that they can! One of the biggest complaints I've heard is that people won't hire them. So, let's improve the image of blind people in the world. Hey, folks, let me tell you, people who are blind are just like you and me, only they can't see as well as you and I do. In some cases, an employer might need to spend just a little bit more money, on a short-term basis, for special equipment (such as screen magnification or a screen reader). But they may in turn have a very valuable, hard-working, loyal employee.

But is this the image conveyed by a class-action lawsuit being filed against a major department chain because of a website issue? I don't think so. Unfortunately, some sighted people might not know that the NFB is not the only blindness organization, nor that many blind people are not members of the NFB, nor that even the members don't have a say in the decisions.

One of my sons invited me to listen to Weird Al Yankovic's song, "I'll sue ya'". I laughed all the way through this song and I hope you might enjoy it, too. But, if you have children, and you don't like them hearing rock music, be forewarned.

Now, I have to say that at least the NFB vs. Target suit is for a more important issue than the ones Al sings about. I just don't think a lawsuit is the answer, nor that it represents all the blind people out there.

Just one woman's opinion.

P.S. Added next day: I just want to say that on this one, it's possible that I'm wrong. It's possible that this is the only way, or possibly even the best way, to get the job accomplished. I'm not saying it is! I personally have a big problem with lawsuits in general. I'm just saying that I'm not sure how much was done to try to get the site made accessible or how many companies don't have accessible sites or just what the answers are on this. It is important for people who are blind to be able to access stores online. What a huge service to be able to choose and order things without having to take a bus or cab to the store and then have someone describe them, but instead to have the freedom and ease to choose at home and then just have them sent to one's house! So it is important to have those sites accessible. Maybe it's something more of us need to think about. Hmm, wonder if I should learn how to label my pictures...

Scott Hahn to Speak in Northern Kentucky

If you live in the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky area...or anywhere within hailing distance, I hope you don't already have plans for the evening of Monday, October 8th. The Catholic Newman Club on campus has a great evening planned for you.

Scott Hahn will be speaking at Northern Kentucky University at 7 p.m. in Regents Hall.

If you do go, keep your eyes open for a young man with a white cane who's president of the Newman Club, my son, Paul Myers. Introduce yourself and tell him I sent you.

And enjoy the talk!

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

The Heaven Meme

Jean of Catholic Fire invited me to participate in this "meme" about heaven. Here is what she said about it:

St. Julian of Norwich describes heaven as a place of "eternal joy". She explains: "But we are not blessedly safe, possessing our endless joy, until we are all in peace and in love, that is to say wholly contented with God and with all his works and with all his judgments, and loving and content with ourselves and with our fellow Christians and with everything which God loves, as is pleasing to love."

This meme has one question:

How do you envision heaven?

My Reply:

Whatever happened to taking the time to meditate on heaven? In my fleeting moments, my thoughts of heaven are often more of relief than anything else. “In heaven, I won’t be worried about anything.” “In heaven, I won’t have doubts about what I should be doing on a day to day basis.” And on a lighter note, “In heaven, I’ll be able to sing on key!”

When I really stop to think prayerfully about heaven, it seems to me that it will be like spending time praying quietly before Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament. “Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened and I will give rest to your souls.”

At the same time, I think it will be like a big family gathering, where we will joyously sing carols, except that then when we sing them, the One to whom we are singing will be right there visibly, loving us. Of course, He loves us always; He loves us now, but we will be so much more aware of His love.

At the same time that my focus is on Our Lord and God, I think I’ll look over and exchange smiles with my loved ones, those who were near and dear on earth…and those who were dear but not so near, whom I only longed to meet. I think I will be welcomed warmly by Our Blessed Mother…and by my earthly mother, too, and we will understand each other perfectly.

I think we will be completely filled with love and peace and joy, of which we only get a foretaste here on earth.

I invite the following people to participate, if they have the time and desire:

Micki at Holy Cards for Your Inspiration
Alexandra at Happy Hearts at Home
Diana at St. Fiacre's Garden
Mary Poppins Not at Crazy Acres
Sean at The Blue Boar

Monday, October 01, 2007

What to Call the Summorum Pontificum Mass

Fr. John Zuhlsdorf has a poll going at his blog until October 4, if you'd like to head on over and register your opinion. The question? Whaddya call this Mass?
The choices:

Extraordinary form/use
Traditional Latin Mass
Tridentine Mass

As far as I know, this isn't something that's going to Rome or anything. But hearing others' ideas helps to give us ideas on how better to express ourselves. So far the one that's in the lead is the one I think easiest to explain to people what I'm talking about. Can you guess which one that is? Hop on over and see which one is leading by clicking here.

Hat tip to Sean at The Blue Boar.

Peter's Week at Space Camp

Interview with Peter about his week at space camp:

What did you do that was fun?
Most of it was fun!

What was the most fun?
Probably riding Space Shot.

What did you see that was interesting?
The shuttle stack they had outside was interesting. The orbiter, also known as the shuttle, was called Pathfinder.

What did you learn about the space program?
I learned that they're going to discontinue the shuttle program in 2010. In 2020, they're going back to the moon. They hope to go to Mars in 2050.

What did you like best about being at camp?
Having cool roommates.


I'd like to thank my readers for your prayers for the visually impaired kids who traveled to and from space camp last week from all over the country and the world. It looks like they all had a wonderful time! You can see pictures here.