Friday, October 31, 2008

Powerful Novena of Childlike Confidence - Praying for Our Country

This upcoming election time scares me for a lot of reasons...but hey, that's nothing new. I've lived over a half century and a lot of things have scared me. One wonderful thing I've learned in all that time is that God is always with us. And so far, in my 55 years, even when some things in the world go badly, it seems that other things improve...not always because of circumstances but because God brings good not only out of good, but God also brings good out of evil.


I am planning to say this nine hour novena some time over the weekend for the elections, for our country, for all of our citizens. I'm posting it here in case any of you would like to join me.


Novena to the Infant of Prague

This novena is to be said at the same time every hour for nine consecutive hours - just one day.

O Jesus, Who hast said, ask and you shall receive, seek and you shall find, knock and it shall be opened to you, through the intercession of Mary, Thy Most Holy Mother, I knock, I seek, I ask that my prayer be granted.

(Make your request.)

O Jesus, Who hast said, all that you ask of the Father in My Name, He will grant you, through the intercession of Mary, Thy Most Holy Mother, I humbly and urgently ask They Father in They Name that my prayer be granted.

(Make your request.)

O Jesus, Who hast said, "Heaven and earth shall pass away but My word shall not pass", through the intercession of Mary, Thy Most Holy Mother, I feel confident that my prayer will be granted.

(Make your request.)


Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Prayers for the Elections and for our Nation

Anyone who visits my blog may know that I don't discuss politics. But I do have concerns, like everyone else, about the elections...and about the general health, safety and economy of our country, now and for the future.

You can find a daily prayer for the elections at Maureen Wittmann's blog. For any of us who are just now getting to it, it may be too late to say the prayers as a nine day novena; however, we can still join in the prayers for the days that remain. The power of prayer is in the intention and in the love we put into it.

What great power of love will be flooding our country in the coming people all over the country pray! Whatever the beliefs or prayers may be, whatever the outcomes may be, God will surely bless in His own mysterious ways a country that is steeped in prayer.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Catholic Homeschool Co-op in Baltimore

Do you know any Catholic friends or family members in Baltimore who are starting to homeschool...or do you know anyone moving to Baltimore who is a Catholic homeschooling family? If so, you might like to let them know about our homeschool enrichment co-op. We are very economical (all you need are transportation to where we are and a willingness to participate). We are very democratic (we have a council form of leadership - which looks to the members to all decide together what activities we want to pursue).

At the present time, we mingle and grow friendships over lunch, board games, and projects (this fall the kids had fun making a rocket). Then we have a spiritual element, one week a Gospel reflection and the next week a Catholic apologetics quiz-type game. We follow that with P.E., led by a P.E. teacher who is now a homeschool parent.

We are blessed with resources. The kids love our old Catholic school building, complete with lockers (part of a current parish, which generously shares their facility with us). We have several classrooms, a fenced parking lot to play in, and our own arts and crafts supplies.

If you know someone who would be interested, they can get in touch with me at:
margmary53 at yahoo dot com

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Striving for Abundant Survival

I love being contrary. I mean, how can I put “survival” and “abundant” in the same sentence, right? And yet, I mean just that.

I am a survivor…and perhaps you are too. We survive many things in life: Childhood abuse at the hands of other children. Losing loved ones…some of them tragically. Watching our children suffer. Financial concerns. Maybe what you’re surviving is different from what I’m surviving. Maybe for you it was the premature death of a loved one, or a serious illness of you or a family member. But whatever the differences, we are probably both survivors.

I see that Merriam-Webster says of the word survive: “to continue to function or prosper”…so perhaps my putting the terms “abundant” and “survival” together into one sentence is not contrary, after all, if it means to prosper. We don’t have to “just barely” survive! We can survive fully – fully in love with life! As we “continue to function”, we can also “prosper”.

There are many ways to prosper. Even if we’ve had financial losses, we might prosper financially at some time in the future, if we practice delayed gratification today, and if certain things go our way. But there are other ways to prosper as well.

Abundance is defined as “marked by great plenty (as of resources)”. Our greatest resource, of course, is prayer. We also have love at our disposal, as well as laughter. We can find joy in a rose or a sunny, blue sky (or a rainy day if you happen to be from Washington State like I am). We can find joy in a hobby. Yes, some hobbies take resources that we don’t have, but any passionate interest can be a hobby of sorts, and some are free. Seeing a classical car cruising down the road still takes my breath away…and it doesn’t cost me anything. What do you enjoy seeing or hearing? We can grasp the little moments and enjoy them in the midst of difficulties.

We can also share our resources. I remember a tough time several years ago when I felt that I had absolutely nothing to give to anyone…except a smile. I didn’t smile because I was happy. I smiled because I wanted to give something. But while I was smiling in friendliness, I was feeling happier, if only for a moment at a time.

And so, I have at last found a theme for my blog: “Striving for Abundant Survival.” Come, strive with me. Smile with me. Laugh with me. And as David said in the 33rd Psalm, “O magnify the Lord with me, and let us extol his name together.”

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Catholic Prayer Book for Mothers

Beautiful enough for your coffee table, yet small enough for your purse, this little book is a treasury of uplifting thoughts - and prayers to lift us up.

Each page is beautiful, both in content and eye appeal.

Included are snippets of Scripture, wise words of Pope John Paul II, gems from Blessed Teresa of Calcutta, and brief quotes from other saints as well. The author speaks from her heart to inspire us to the beauty and wonder of motherhood and help lift our minds and hearts to God.

The author - Donna-Marie Cooper O’Boyle - was a friend of Blessed Mother Teresa. Mother Teresa gave her blessing to her writing of the Catholic Prayer Book for Mothers, which was published in 2005 by Our Sunday Visitor.

Donna-Marie has also written a number of other books, including Prayerfully Expecting, The Heart of Motherhood, and Catholic Saints Prayer Book. Her newest books are Grace Café and The Domestic Church.

To order any the books, or read more about them, you can visit her official website or either of her blogs, Daily Donna-Marie, or Embracing Motherhood. Scroll down and look on the left hand column to order any of her books.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Rediscovering Aldi's Food Store

Or: Recovering Our Grocery Budget

"Whatever happened to my budget for groceries?" I wondered recently as I suddenly became aware that my grocery expenditures had skyrocketed...paying at least a third more last month than what was in my grocery budget.

Was it the fact that working part-time, homeschooling a high schooler, and giving moral support to adult kids is taking up a lot of my time? Definitely this has entered in...especially along with being stressed by all the news going on around me. But does running to our neighborhood supermarket every day for an item or two, and instead picking up $30 worth of "stuff", really save me time? Nope. Not really. Does it really relieve my stress? Nope. Not really.

For years now, we've been shopping at three stores each Friday in order to get the best buys. (It's a family outing, with even my macho young men pitching in.) But adding those daily trips to the most expensive store was counter-productive. So I decided this was the first place to cut. One "extra" trip to a store for perishable staples per week should cover it (and help us "recover it").

Enter Aldi's. I began doing my "extra" trip at Aldi's, where I've been getting good prices on milk...and other foods. As I started my periodic evaluation of prices, I found out that I can pay considerably less at Aldi's now on most of the food items I've been able to get at our Wal Mart or Sam's Club stores. I hadn't realized how much food prices had gone up. Now I'm paying yesterday's Wal Mart prices at Aldi's. And the funniest thing is that my 15 year old, worse-for-the-wear minivan looks out of place amid the newer-model luxury cars and SUVs in the Aldi's parking lot.

I've been gradual about adjusting where I buy what items, and yet, already this past week, I was only five dollars over budget on groceries. Hurray! And we haven't even changed our basic eating habits.

I'd like to invite you to join me...not necessarily at Aldi's. Maybe you don't have one in your area. Maybe you don't want to try generic brands (in spite of the double guarantee). But it never hurts to re-evaluate our buying habits and the prices we are paying. If you do, I hope you have as much fun as I've been having.

P.S. You can read Maureen Wittmann's Ten Tips on Saving Money at the Grocery Store.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Franciscan Ecards

I have been having way too much fun! This is the month for birthdays: my sister, my two nephews, several dear friends...and a wedding anniversary thrown in for a bit of variety.

So I headed on over to Franciscan Ecards. I've been there many times over the years but Sr. Pat (from my home state of Washington) has outdone herself in renewing the site. The colors are so vibrant and the choices abundant.

After you choose a card, you get to pick a song, pick a poem, pick a stamp for the envelope. You can choose your own background colors, write a personal message, and change the font size.

In a hurry? Too many decisions? Then, you can just pick the card and put in the email addresses.

Either way, it's super easy to do. And the address is super simple to memorize, too. Just remember:

What could be easier than that?