Thursday, February 28, 2008

In The Spotlight!

Catholic Spotlight - Listen to our weekly podcasts!


Scott HahnScott Hahn
Listen Now

Scott Hahn began his career in ministry as a Presbyterian minister out to show Catholics the error in their ways, but his biblical and historical detective work led him to the conclusion that the Catholic Church was the historical church of the bible. In 1986, Dr. Hahn joined the Catholic Church and has since come to be known as ‘Luther in Reverse’ due to the large number of protestant pastors and bible scholars who have followed him on the journey home to Rome. The recording of his conversion story A Protestant Minister Becomes Catholic is one of the most circulated and listened to Catholic audios over the past 20 years.

In our interview, Scott talks about the legacy of John Paul II, his favorite Saint, and his new book, Reasons to Believe.

A Protestant Minister Becomes Catholic (CD)

A Protestant Minister Becomes Catholic

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Reasons to Believe - How to Understand, Explain, and Defend the Catholic Faith

Reasons to Believe - How to Understand, Explain, and Defend the Catholic Faith
Order Now

Kimberly HahnKimberly Hahn
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In this interview, Kimberly Hahn (wife of Dr. Scott Hahn) talks about her new catholic bible study book and DVD, Chosen and Cherished - Biblical Wisdom for Your Marriage. This book is an extension of the More Precious Than Jewels study that she did on Proverbs 31 over 16 years ago. Her new study is the beginning of a 4 part series that is intended to be published over the next 3 years, although there are no contracts setting a definite timeline. In the first study, Kimberly talks about the challenges of marriage and balancing commitments to our spouse, our children, and our Lord. She talks about fighting fair, dealing with children, forgiveness, and how to help your marriage not just survive, but thrive.

Chosen and Cherished - Biblical Wisdom for Your Marriage (Book & DVD Set)

Chosen & Cherished -
(Book & DVD Set)

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Dating and Courtship - A Catholic Perspective (CDs)

Dating and Courtship
A Catholic Perspective (CDs)

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Christopher WestChristopher West
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In this interview, Christopher West talks about his book The Love that Satisfies. He discusses how the teachings of Pope Benedict XVI are just an extension of the Theology of the Body taught by Pope John Paul II. He explains how Eros love is an essential part of Agape love, and he promotes a proper understanding of the Christian search to find the love that satisfies.

The Love that Satisfies

The Love that Satisfies - Reflections on Eros & Agape
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Theology of the Body for Beginners

Theology of the Body for Beginners
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Marianne RaphaelMaryanne Raphael
Listen Now

In this interview, Maryanne Raphael tells us about her personal experiences with Mother Teresa and the things that she learned from “Mother” during the time she spent with her. She discusses her time spent in Calcutta, and her trip to Rome for Mother Teresa’s beatification. She also tells many personal stories about Mother Teresa and shares ones that surprised her the most.

What Mother Teresa Taught Me

What Mother Teresa
Taught Me

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Mother Teresa - Come Be My Light

Mother Teresa - Come
Be My Light

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Jeff CavinsJeff Cavins
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We have been privileged to have Jeff Cavins as a guest for two interviews so far.

In the first interview, Jeff Cavins talks about Adventures in Revelation, the latest installment in the Great Adventure through the Bible series. Jeff discusses the church approved method for scripture study, the symbolism in the book of revelation, and his reasons for growing a beard. He also tells about the history of revelation and what makes Adventure in Revelation different from other Revelation bible studies on the market.

In the second interview, Jeff Cavins and Dr. Tim Gray Talk about Adventures in Matthew and Adventures in Exodus from the Great Adventure through the Bible series. This episode was inspired by listener feedback asking for more info on the Adventures in Matthew. The listener noted that this year’s readings are from cycle A, which focuses primarily on the Gospel of Matthew, and they wanted to have a good bible study to go along with the readings for the year. Jeff and Tim talk about Matthew being the teaching gospel and the catechism for the early church. They discuss how Matthew points to Jesus as the new Moses and the heir to the Davidic Kingdom.

Adventures in Revelation 10-Week Bible Study Series

Adventures in Revelation 10-Week Course
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Multiple Formats Available

Adventures in Matthew 24-Week Course

Adventures in Matthew
24-Week Course

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Multiple Formats Available

Greg and Jennifer WillitsGreg and Jennifer Willits
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Are you tired of the same old garbage on the morning radio? Well look no further because Rosary Army and SQPN are here to save you from the mundane morning drive. Check out their shows for an uplifting and faith filled way to spend you drive time, laundry time, or any time that you have to spare. They offer the best Catholic pod casts around. In today’s interview, Greg and Jennifer Willits talk about the creation of their online outreaches and several of their outstanding programs. You will also be treated to information on the brand new That Catholic Show DVD. That Catholic Show is a series of short programs on basic matters of the faith, however, it is not your typical Sunday school video. They draw stylistically from the Food Network (thanks Alton Brown), the Discovery Channel, and many other modern That Catholic Show DVD - Season 1 cultural influences to create a show that is fun, entertaining, and solidly informative about the Catholic faith. Topics of the faith are treated with the dignity that they deserve without loosing the attention of your Religious Education class with hours of talking heads.

That Catholic Show DVD - Season 1
Order Now


March 3 - Matthew Pinto about his new book Do I have to Go?
March 10 - Donna Marie Cooper-O'Boyle about her new book Catholic Saints Prayer Book.
March 17 - Patti Armstrong about her new book Amazing Grace for Families.


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Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Double Digits!

Hannah celebrated her 10th birthday recently. Here's the scoop on the party we threw for her:

Occasion: Our "Almost Sleepover" was a great compromise for Hannah, who wanted a sleepover for her 10th birthday, but didn't want narrow the guest list by excluding any of the girls in her class. It was also greatly appreciated by parents who prefer not to do "sleepovers."

Cut pillow shapes out of white cardstock and insert them into little fabric pillow cases for delivery. Make sure to tell each girl to come wearing pajamas and to bring a blanket and pillow.

"10 in the Bed" cake. A 9 x 13 inch cake serves as a "bed" and twinkies or any small oblong-shaped cakes make up the bodies of the slumbering guests. Large marshmallows are used as pillows, where vanilla or chocolate wafer cookies rest, decorated as the sleeping guests.


Make Your Own Slipper Socks-Colored socks and fabric paints are used to decorate the bottoms of the socks in a fancy no-skid design. Girls can take these home with them as a party favor. (*The same can be done for a Make Your Own Pillow Case and fabric stamps can be added).

Best Friends Forever Books-Each girl completes one page for all of the other girls' books. We divided the 8 1/2 x 11 inch papers into four quarters and used the following sentence starters in each:
  • My favorite thing about you is...
  • One song that makes me think of you is...
  • The animal that most reminds me of you is...
  • You are really talented at...
The answers can be illustrated as well. Then, all of the girls are given a cover made with cardstock showing a picture of them together at the party and the pages are attached to create the final book.

Spa Buddies-Stations are set up with glittery hand creams, child-friendly nail polishes and supplies for facial scrubs--including cucumbers--which can be kept chilling in the fridge (although after my husband bit into the irresistible slices at a previous party, you might want to label yours for safe-keeping!)

: We made sure to let the girls know that dinner would be served, but since they weren't spending the night we decided to opt for breakfast foods served for dinner instead! My daughter chose cinnamon rolls, pancakes and sausages and fresh fruit, but any of your favorite breakfast foods would work. We also set up a Hot Chocolate Bar-toppings included crushed peppermints, chocolate syrup, whipped cream, mini-chocolate chips and cinnamon.

: At our house. We cleared the floor in the family room to make room for all the girls' blankets and pillows. Extra blankets and pillows were available--just in case someone forgot.

Party Favors: The Dollar Store was great for lotions, bath sponges, shower gels, etc...which the girls took home along with their homemade slippers.

If you've got a daughter in the house, from tot to 'tween, this party will leave both the birthday revelers and their parents sleeping peacefully when it's finished!


Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Pilgrim Visitor

For the next few weeks, we have a special guest on the Ark.

A friend of mine graciously coordinates the pilgrimage of Our Lady of Guadalupe throughout homes in the area.

From the image coordinator:

What is the Pilgrim Image of Our Lady of Guadalupe?

The Pilgrim Image is an authentic photograph of the upper portion of the miraculous image of the Mother of God, which appeared on the tilma (cloak) of Juan Diego....The negative for the Pilgrim Image reproductions was providentially made by NASA during recent analysis.

Who provides the images?

A woman in Mexico donates these images. She gives the images to those willing to coordinate Our Lady's travels in thanksgiving for the intercession of Our Lady when her life and that of her son were saved from drowning in the ocean. In pleading to the Blessed Mother for her son's life, the waters miraculously calmed, and the boy was carried safely to shore.

Are the images blessed?

The images are blessed at the Basilica in Mexico before the miraculous image of Our Lady of Guadalupe on the authentic tilma of Juan Diego.

What started this Image to travel as a pilgrim to homes?

Inspired by John Paul the Great's motto "Totus Tuus" in consecration to Our Lord through the Immaculate Heart of the ever Virgin Mary and the miracle in 1981 saving her drowning son; the Pilgrim Image Apostolate is dedicated to the travel of Our Lady's images.

The image has taken a prominent place on the mantel in our family room, which is visible from the second floor as well. Each time I pass in front of the image, the voice of Our Lady, knowing my heart, beckons me with her words, "Am I not here who am your Mother? Are you not under my shadow and protection?" and, in turn, brings the peace of her Son to my heart and my home.

If you are interested in having the image travel to your home, leave a message in the comments.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Color Me Berry

What Color Sharpie Are You? (25 Different Colors) Updated Again!

Berry Sharpie
Element: Water
Sense: Taste
Gemstone: Alexandrite
Some Qualities: Courage and Healing.Fact: Alexandrite was named in honor of Alexander II, because it mimics the Czarist imperial colors.
Take this quiz!

Quizilla |

| Make A Quiz | More Quizzes | Grab Code

Of all the hundreds of Sharpie markers I've ever owned, I must admit--I've never owned a "Berry" one. Time to stop at the teacher store, I guess.

H/T SFO Mom for the link

Sunday, February 24, 2008

tagged me with this fun little meme. It's one I haven't done before. (Although I have another I still have to do...)

1. You have to post the rules before you give your answers.
2. You must list one fact about yourself beginning with each letter of your middle name. (If you don't have a middle name, use your maiden name or your mother's maiden name).
3. At the end of your blog post, you need to tag one person for each letter of your middle name. (Be sure to leave them a comment telling them they've been tagged.)

T-Thankful. I have been blessed beyond measure at every turn and I am so very grateful for all that God has given to me.

H-Horrible arm. Look up the phrase "throws like a girl" and you'll find my picture.

E-Early morning. I love the *thought* of the early morning--the quiet of the house, a hot cup of tea, sitting with my thoughts and my bible as the dawn breaks--those are the lovely thoughts I have of the morning while I am still nestled under my covers trying to will myself out of bed.

R-Reading. One of my most favorite pastimes.

E-Education. Life-long learning-one of my passions.

S-Strep Throat. The Achilles' heel of the Ark.

A-Adoption. Another one of my passions.

Here are my seven tags:

Anne, Eileen, Faith, Lisa, Stina, Jamie and Laura W.

On the Agenda

Starting tonight, our parish has the privilege of welcoming Father Larry Richards as our Parish Mission Retreat leader. The topic is A Reason for Our Hope!

For each of four nights, he'll cover topics such as Prayer, Reconciliation, Healing and Love of Others. There will be Mass, Confession, Adoration and Benediction. If you're in the area, don't miss this dynamic and captivating preacher. If not, you can still catch his radio show on Relevant Radio called "Changed Forever." He also has a few wonderful talks available for free from The Mary Foundation.
Rule of Thumb for Cleaning-revised

I had a friend in college who insisted that it was a waste of time to wash clothes. Not because she was unclean--far from it--but because of the splash of black coffee, glob of pizza sauce or smear of chocolate (C'mon it was college after all, what did you expect we'd be spilling? Beer or something?) that inevitably found its way down the front of a newly laundered white top.

As an adult, I think there should be an addendum to her theory. It would read something like this...

When having the carpets cleaned, it should be assumed, that the grace period for such cleanings is no more than 24 hours. Use the grace period wisely. Take pictures of freshly scrubbed, plush carpets for proof, if necessary. Because at exactly 24 hours and 1 minute, someone will throw-up on your perfect floorscape, and carpet conditions will rapidly deteriorate.

Trust me. I know.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Don't Take My Word For It

Listen to what she has to say in the debate to add the joys and struggles of (more) children to your family:

Parenthood is Worth the Risks--September 2, 1980

There's at least one in every crowd, the woman who doesn't want to bring a child into "this lousy, mixed-up world."
I met one the other night who said children were just ego trips for parents who like to see their own image staring back at them over the breakfast table. She added, "I can't come up with one reason for having them."
What a pity. According to my children, there were a lot of reasons I had them.
I needed a personal slave: someone to answer the phone, get my sweater, find my glasses, get my keys out of the door, unload the groceries, go to the store, let the dog out and move the hose.
I needed someone arouind the house to eat the leftovers the dog wouldn't touch.
I needed someone to shove out of the car to throw his body over the last picnic table while we found a place to park.
I needed a live-in who would assist in raising a younger brother and sister by taking them to the bathroom every five minutes and sitting with them for free on New Year's Eve.
I needed an excuse for my saddlebag hips and flabby upper arms.
I needed material for the Christmas newsletter and a three-times-a-week column.
I needed someone to mail letters for me when it rained.
I needed someone to practice medicine on. ("Turn down that record or you'll go deaf!")
I needed someone to spy on and make me feel important.

That's their story. Mine is even more biased.

I brought children into this lousy, mixed-up world because when you love someone and they love you back, the world doesn't look that lousy or seem that mixed-up.
I gave them life because they have the same right I was given to make up their own minds as to what makes a good or a bad world.
More than an image over the breakfast table, they are special to this universe now and will be long after I am gone.
Some people must take the risk of being a parent. If we don't, who will be left to listen to the young people who lament, "I don't want to bring children into this lousy, mixed-up world"?

This is the second post in a series on our choice to parent a large family.
Meteorology 101

Me: (to Naomi and Candace) Do you want to watch this DVD to learn about where rain and snow
come from?

The girls: Sure, but we already know.

Me: You do?

The girls: (grinning proudly) Yes! The rain and the snow come from God.
What really is the point, anyway?

Candace: What do you do at bible study, Momma?

Me: (carefully wording my answer so it is not too difficult for a four year old's brain) Oh, we read
the bible and talk about God's words and how they tell us to live a good life.

Candace: Right. And you eat cookies, too.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

One good reason to keep the kids awake tonight

won't be seen here for another three years. Don't miss it!

What she said:
"Can I have some of that purple lipstick?"

What I saw:
This seems to be a recurring theme around here.
Wordless Wednesday

Photo Credit: The Boy

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Defying Probability
(Subtitled: I Knew There Was a Reason We Had All These Kids)

The Boy came home early from school the other day, and being the lone "after-school" voice in the car, I heard slightly more than I usually hear while driving home.

The Boy: We had a problem in Math today and our family was the answer!

Me: (feeling slightly worried about where this was heading) Really? What was the question?

The Boy: It was about statistics and probability; you know, all that coin toss and 50-50 stuff.

Me: And...

The Boy: It challenged us to first, identify a family with six kids (NO PROBLEM!) and then, prove that one existed where it was not made up of three boys and three girls. I just looked at that and everyone else scratching their heads and wondered---what's so hard about this?

Me: (exhaling a sigh of relief) Oh! Good! Let me know if we can help with the multiplication unit...
Birth Order

The last chapter in our couple's bible study was titled the Work of the Spirit.

I have to admit, the third person of the Trinity is kind of like the middle child in the family, in my opinion. Not nearly as strong a presence, nor the obvious a choice for class president as the oldest child. Neither as demanding or persistent or IN YOUR FACE as the baby of the family. Rather, the Spirit's ways are those of the quiet, unassuming (dare I say invisible?) middle child, who when we stop and take the time to listen offers splendid insight into the ordinary that might otherwise go unnoticed.

Prayer to the Holy Spirit

Breathe in me, O Holy Spirit, that my thoughts may all be holy.

Act in me, O Holy Spirit, that my work, too, may be holy.

Draw my heart, O Holy Spirit, that I love but what is holy.

Strengthen me, O Holy Spirit, to defend all that is holy.

Guard me, then, O Holy Spirit, that I always may be holy.


-Saint Augustine of Hippo

Friday, February 15, 2008

Prayer Request

For the victims and their families, including the shooter, of this unspeakable tragedy that happened in our own backyard yesterday.

A Prayer for an end to Violence

God of life,

Every act of violence in our world, in our communities, between myself and others, destroys a part of your creation.

Stir in my heart a renewed sense of reverence for all life.

Give me the vision to recognise your spirit in every human being, however they behave towards me.

Make possible the impossible by cultivating in me the fertile seed of healing love.

May I play my part in breaking the cycle of violence by realising that peace begins with me.

St Ethelburga's Centre for Reconciliation and Peace London 7 July 2005

Goings On

Yesterday, I picked up a sick Boy from school early. We squeezed in choir practice before heading home for this traditional special dinner. Quickly, we cleaned up and Beulah and I ran out to pick up a few important items for this big celebration coming tomorrow. (We've got an "Almost Sleepover" planned, dontcha know!) We are also hosting our couple's bible study tonight, our Family Birthdays (the February edition) on Sunday and my women's bible study meets here Tuesday. Somewhere in here, I also need to get haircuts for 8 people, stop at the party store, attend a basketball game, do some house hunting, attend Mass (where Hannah and Beulah will be singing), prepare myself to lead both bible studies, and craft an art appreciation lesson for "Picture Lady" at the big girls' school on Wednesday. Oh, and take the Boy back to the doctor.

Looks like the schedule is light this weekend.

***And...because a few of you kind, caring readers have asked...with regard to this post--Hannah's ears checked out just fine. Praise God!***
Now, That's a Valentine!

"I have loved you with an everlasting love...Before I formed you in the womb I knew you...Even the hairs of your head are counted." (from Jer 31: 3; Jer 1: 5; Lk 12: 7)

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Catholic Carnival

Ebeth is hosting this week's carnival. It is a Lenten Reflection Carnival and full of some great thoughts shared by Catholic bloggers. Don't miss it!
Wordless Wednesday

This photo was just given to me this past week. It was taken after the Christmas Eve Mass where Beulah and Hannah sang with the Children's Choir.

Any good caption ideas?

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Holding Hands

"Mother Teresa always held a rosary in her hand, even when doing something else. People would ask her why she held a rosary when she obviously was not praying it. She answered that this was her way of reminding herself that she was holding Our Lady's hand, a hand she had never let go of since her vision of 1947."

Mother Teresa: In the Shadow of Our Lady, Sharing Mother Teresa's Mystical Relationship with Mary by Joseph Langford, MC.

Look for a giveaway of this book coming soon!

Monday, February 11, 2008

One Came Back

What is more powerful than prayer?

How about group prayer?

Or intercessory prayer?

Imagine your prayer being lifted up by so many across the world to Heaven for God to hear. Sound good? Well, then I recommend you visit One Came Back--a sort of online virtual prayer journal--full of prayers of the faithful AND the response, if known. What a glorious use of this technology we have! You can read the origins of the blog here or click on the button above (or in the sidebar) to access the site's home page.

Left Behind: The Adoption Version

If you decided to use the divide and conquer method during your adoption travels, allowing one parent to stay on terra firma with the *already home* kids, while the other took flight to bring the new ones home, what did you do to survive the wait?

A friend's husband is traveling right now (prayers, please!) to bring their preschool-aged daughter home from Ethiopia, and she'd like some suggestions for what to do during her week-long wait. Here was my advice:

First of all, they'll be here before you know it. Just keep repeating that to yourself. They really will be.

Second, obviously you have your hands full with other things this week already, but for distractions' sake, you could do something like cook and freeze meals, any major cleaning tasks (trust me you won't be getting to them for a while!), brush up on your new daughter's language (is there a site for that?), make "Welcome Home" signs for the airport or any other number of time consuming things.

But, if I was taking my own advice, I'd tell you that while those things will fill time, there is something intangible that is oh-so-more valuable during the wait. Don't let this time of waiting turn into sadness, use it to pray and contemplate all these things of your heart in preparation for the joy that is to come!

Okay, friends, what else do you recommend during the wait! Any and all suggestions are welcome...just not this one-no good comes of it, trust me!

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Crazy Little Thing Called Trust

Earlier this week, after much procrastination, Hannah finally went to have the long-awaited CT scan done of her ears. Due to her relatively newly diagnosed hearing loss, the ENT wanted the scan to rule out any other unknowns regarding her ears.

So, she and I trekked down into the bowels of our medical clinic where all of the clicking and whirring imaging machines are located. Much of our conversation walking in consisted of me trying to reassure her that a) this wouldn't hurt, b) it would be over quickly and c) it really wasn't all that different from the panoramic dental x-rays she had taken several months prior. As we sat in the intake room, where with a smile she easily responded to the nurse's questions, she was clearly relaxed and calm.

Then, as a second nurse appeared, we headed for the actual CT room. Being a mom, I (of course) followed her right into the slightly dark room featuring at its center a narrow white bed perpendicular to an oversized metal donut. Hannah hopped right up onto that little bed, as the kind nurse requested, while I stood with our belongings near the door. Now finished, the nurse headed in my direction, "You know, this is a very high radiation exam. I need you to wait outside the door." With my heart making its way for my throat, I glanced at Hannah. "Okay, I responded," with my hand on the door handle, "but if she asks for me at all--come and get me." And I walked out. The rest of the exam went as expected--if "expected" includes a grown woman glued to the outside of the exam room door--and we said our good byes and headed for home.

While we walked out, Hannah said to me matter-of-factly, "I was looking for you, but I didn't see you. I was a little bit scared when it started."


With a million apologies rushing through my head, and feeling like the winner in the Most Disappointing Mother category, I realized she was still speaking. "I was scared a little bit, but I remembered what you said. And then I wasn't scared anymore."

Suddenly, my daughter's simple act of trust spoke to me. Very loudly. Her ability to trust me came from the relationship we've worked so hard to form over the past 14 months and my words of reassurance to her. And in that time, she has been able to put aside all sorts of fears and doubts and be more courageous than either she or I might have ever believed because of it. Which begs the question--What about me?

It's been a lot longer than 14 months that I've been forging a relationship with my Father and His words of reassurance are spoken to me daily through His Word. Why then--is it so difficult for me to "have faith as a little child?"

To trust when I am scared?

To be brave when I can't see Him in the darkened room?

To know that His words are there to cast out my fears and doubts?

Next time I'm drowning in my own panic swamp, I'm going to remember the example my daughter has given me. That although the journey my Heavenly Father takes me on may be frightening if I try to go it alone, He is always there, standing right outside my door, waiting to come in if I call Him.

***Edited to add that Hannah's ears checked out perfectly fine! Praise God! Thank you all for caring so much about my little family. We are so blessed to be surrounded by such love and kindness.***

Thursday, February 07, 2008


The "newly named" Ark members--

The Boy
Baby T

They liked the idea of their favorite flower or gemstone, but since they couldn't all be named Diamond or Rose (yessir, my girls have champagne tastes!) we had to go back to the drawing board. Everyone liked the idea of choosing their favorite saint name, however, their favorite saint is the one for whom they were each named, so that didn't work. I really liked the idea of going "Old Testament" with the names, but the older girls wanted a real name, or so they told me. So, practicing the ancient art of compromise, (aka-Mom is finished with offering options. I have heard your demands and refuse to negotiate with terrorists. Here are your new names...) or something like that, we decided that Biblical names, with a focus on the Old Testament would best suit all of our collective needs. And, the initials used in older posts will still make sense with the new names.

Here are the explanations for each name:

Candace-English name derived from the Queen Mothers of Ethiopia. One of the Ethiopian candaces is mentioned in Acts when Philip baptizes the Ethiopian eunuch of "great authority under Candace Queen of the Ethiopians."

Naomi-Biblical name of the mother-in-law of Ruth.

Hannah-English name derived from the name Chanah, mother of the prophet Samuel.

Beulah-Hebrew name meaning "she who is married", found in Isaiah 62:4.

The Boy and Baby T will keep their names and ranks onboard the Ark. Thanks for all your help!

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Works for Me Wednesday: Online Shopping

I have to admit, if I've got shopping to do and I have a choice between loading up six kids, taking my map of all local potty stops, and filling the diaper bag with a mini-fridge worth of snacks or sitting in front of my computer, hot cup of coffee in hand, I'm going to opt for the later.

Unless, of course, it's Lent and I'm looking for a penitential experience for myself and my fellow shoppers.

But on my non-hairshirt wearing days, online shopping is a wonderful solution for this mom! My favorite *store* isn't really a store at all. With a large family to clothe, feed, and nurture (who have come to expect such things, the best online *store* for me are the coupon shopping sites.

Before I buy ANYTHING online, I stop by the Coupon Cabin, Current Codes, Dealcatcher, or any other number of bargain-hunting locations out there on the web. Often times, I can find free shipping, an additional percentage off or some other incentive not advertised directly on the store's webpage. If you're smart, you can usually combine a few bargains together--or take advantage of a known deal IRL--for even more savings online.

For example, if our Sunday inserts show a great sale on Levi's at Kohls (say $19.99--and, yes, that's for real!) and I have gotten one of their 15%, 20% or 30% coupons in the mail, I can go to one of these sites and find the online code for the maximum discount regardless of the discount I received via snail mail. If they're also offering free shipping for orders over, say $50, then I wait for when I can combine enough items to take advantage of that promotion, too.

Getting FOUR pairs of brand new Levi's--delivered to my door--for just over $50...Works For Me!

For other great online shopping ideas, visit Rocks in My Dryer today!
Repeating myself

This is a repost from last year's Lenten kick off, but the question bears repeating. Feel free to let me know if you have the answer...

On fasting days during Lent, when you sit down (insert maniacal laughter) to eat your breakfast at 8am but the cat needs to be let out, then you grab a bite, but the baby needs to be changed, so you wash your hands before you then you grab a second bite, when suddenly--the phone rings, followed by another bite, and, of course, the doorbell rings, closing the door as you're managing a quick swig of coffee, the dryer signals it's finished and you go to pull the laundry out and fold it, cramming the last bit of toast in your mouth, when you notice a distinct smell reminding you that the other baby needs to be changed, which requires an additional hand wash, completed with the downing of the last of the coffee; while as you check the clock you notice it's time to wash hands again in order to begin preparing lunch...

Have you *eaten* between meals?

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

This week's Catholic Carnival

is being hosted by Sarah at Just Another Day of Catholic Pondering. If you haven't given up blogging for Lent, make sure you stop by today for a simply wonderful Carnival.
One size does not fit all

Often I'm asked by people about the logistics of parenting a larger-than-average family or our motivation to do so.

Sometimes it's more of a gawking, freakshowesque onlooker query, "How do you even do that?!?"
It may be a rude cross-examination of, "Why on earth would you want all those kids?" (To which I've found this to be my favorite answer.) But more often than not, it's an honest inquiry from someone feeling that call, but not quite sure how to answer it, who is seeking support and encouragement.

To that last group, from my heart, I will always respond--as I truly believe--that if God puts it on your heart to parent your own amateur-sports team; then he will equip you for the task at hand.

Does this mean that you'll be living it up in a 10 bedroom home, Alice in the kitchen with dinner on the stove, a TV in every bedroom or even brand new seasonal outfits to suit up your budding team? Perhaps.

But perhaps, not.

Living out the life we are called to doesn't mean it will be without sacrifice. Our needs will always be met, God has promised us that, but our wants simply for want of them does not equal entitlement. Even as a mother of a large clan, looking around here on the Ark, my house and its abundances speak to me. And I know, ashamedly, there is plenty we could do without.

In order to keep this post down to a mini-rant, and neither fully answering the specific questions I've been asked nor touching upon all the angles of this multi-faceted topic, I'll follow up with subsequent posts later on.