Monday, June 30, 2008
The Catholic Carnival will be hosted here this week. Are you thinking about submitting a post? Well, then just send me the link via email at patjrsmom at yahoo dot com or use this handy-dandy little form. It's just that easy. It's a wonderful way to get connected to other Catholic bloggers and bring some new visitors to your own blog.
Act now, though--the deadline is midnight tonight!
Sunday, June 29, 2008
Check out this generous offer from the wonderful Holy Heroes company! And while you're over there on their site, don't miss the other fine Catholic offerings for sale. From the company:
Oops: we made a goof.
But, fortunately, there's a way for YOU to get some benefit from it.
Let me explain.
You see, in the "Triumph of Jesus" coloring book, we made an error of fact in one of the captions--one which I suspect your children will spot when they read it (or when you read it to them).
We've gotten such great feedback on the catechesis we've packed into the extended captions on the coloring pages, explanations of the Scriptural basis for the Glorious Mysteries of the Rosary. For example, we explain how King Solomon reveals that Mary is the Queen of Heaven, how her Assumption follows logically from the Ten Commandments, and so on.
So it's a shame that none of us here caught this error until recently, during preparations to record theCD.
Well, we have a lot of these books on hand and we'll correct it in the next printing, but in the meantime here's how you can benefit from our mistake:
Simply go to HolyHeroes.com and click on the button to 'Get a coloring book FREE!', then select as your free book "The Triumph of Jesus." When the book arrives in the mail, you'll see we've enclosed a form to send back to us. On the form tell us what you think the error is and also select what you'd like from the list of the rewards you can earn for your Catholic detective work. If you're right about where we're wrong, we'll send you the reward you've chosen.
Oh, and while you're on our homepage, don't forget to give us your personal list of the Top Ten songs every Catholic child should know by heart. Just take a few minutes to fill out the survey. In thanks, we’ll give you a coupon code to save on your next CD purchase.
This prayer request is for the pastor of Beulah's and Hannah's parish school. He is a Catholic convert from the Baptist faith and is a tremendous gift to us! He brings to his preaching a solid knowledge of Church teaching infused with a love and deep understanding of Sacred Scripture.
Here is the email I received with the news today:
Please pray for this holy man of God.
You might like to know that you can now download a free Island Party Planner from the editors of Disney's FamilyFun magazine. Just visit FamilyFun 's page on Amazon.com to find the link to your free party planner.
In the Island Party Planner , you'll find pages full of great ideas for throwing a fun island-themed party, with activities before and during the party that families can do together. Learn how to make a hot dog octopus, an island cake, a luau skewer, and much more.
Saturday, June 28, 2008
I emailed our agency yesterday in the hopes of finding out some information. You know...Were we assigned to a group? What is our court date? Is the case being expedited? What do you mean nobody knows the answers? Do I need to do everything myself? No, no...just kidding, but I was getting anxious for some information.
After a few emails from our agency's director and another member of the office staff, I knew little more than I knew to begin with, but--the director was self-reportedly out of the office so I wondered how much info she had access to while away. We left it that we would wait to hear from yet a third office worker (the one responsible for announcing group assignments and court dates) and that was that.
We figured it might take a while, but no one had counted on the prayers of our daughter's faith-filled godmother. (Yes, she has godparents here already who have been praying, along with their children, tirelessly on our behalf).
This morning, I awoke to find yet another email from our agency's director. She recommended waiting to *officially* hear from that other office person, but...I am simply too excited to not announce this here (and request prayers that all continues moving smoothly).
According to the agency's staff in Ethiopia, our case got filed with Group K. It is possible that the papers were even submitted yesterday!
It seems that our baby girl isn't going to have to wait through the court closure in Ethiopia, after all. Praise God! AND...it makes it all the more appropriate that we are heading out today to look at a larger vehicle for our family.
Friday, June 27, 2008
From FamilyCorner.com, check out these adorable and easy crafts and recipes for the Fourth!
Patriotic Rice Crispy Star Sparklers
Patriotic Cake Balls
Patriotic Water Bracelets
Patriotic Bubble Wands
And much, much more!
Catholic Exchange Presents...
A new site, devoted exclusively to the teachings of "Theology of the Body".
Here is the description of the site:
Catholic Theologians have just begun to study and fully understand this rich body of work left for us by John Paul the Great, but it is already bearing fruit in thousands of lives touched by the Divine "One Flesh" vision for men and women. Here is the loving answer of the Church to a society that devalues the human person and tries to pit male and female against each other.
Leading us in this exploration are over a dozen writers and teachers who will be regularly contributing to this channel as well as talented and thoughtful guest columnists.
A list of these outstanding authors can be seen by putting your cursor over the "Columnists" link on the on the white navigation bar at the top of the TOB channel. Coordinating the contributors to this new channel is Steve Pokorny. Steve has an MA in Theology from Franciscan University of Steubenville, received training from Christopher West, and will be completing his studies at the John Paul II Institute for Marriage and Family Studies in 2009.
Assisting him will be Kevin Whelan a business professional, who shares his personal reflection through the lens of a married man and demonstrates that the message of Theology of the Body is relevant to older men.
Columnist Fr. Thomas J. Loya will be known to many CE readers as a weekly host and guest on Relevant Radio. He offers a prospective of Theology of the Body from the rich tradition of Eastern Christianity. Another religious contributor is Sr. Mary Paul Friemel, OSF, who both teaches and studies theology at the Franciscan University of Steubenville. She brings a dynamic, young consecrated woman's view to the subject.
Monica Ashour and Annie Vining of the Theology of the Body Institute bring with them the experience of teaching this material to thousands of Catholics of all ages and walks of life. They join Dave Sloan, Christopher West, Dan Spadaro, and a number of other writers obeying the call of Pope John Paul to use the media to reach the world with the gospel of life.
Since this new channel will make Theology of the body accessible to all kinds of readers we have designed this channel to sort the articles according to various topics. Put your cursor on the "TOB for All" link on the white navigation bar at the top of the channel and a drop down menu reveals the rich selection of topics
- TOB for Consecrated Lives
- TOB for Men
- TOB for Spouses
- TOB for Women
- TOB for Young Adults
- The NFP Way to Love
- The Pornography Trap
Thursday, June 26, 2008
It was nearly 1 o'clock in the morning last night as I wrapped up my writing for this week's deadline.
Around 10:30 at night, everyone had finally headed off to bed and I picked up my notebook (yes, I'm a pen and paper writer at heart) and decided to sit up in bed and work. Thinking that I had waited until there was relative quiet on the Ark, I picked up my pen and my notes to begin.
Funny, how I had never noticed the annoying click-click-click-clack that our ceiling fan was making. Not to mention the very loud breathing of the person next to me. How had I ever gotten any sleep with that around? (Now I know the exact response of said loud breather, but I'm going to take my chances here.)
So, with a harumph of indignation, I picked up my things and headed downstairs. I spent about an hour getting my writing in order and decided to call it a night (or a morning, depending on how you look at it).
Climbing back into bed, for the second time, my head relaxed immediately upon touching the pillow. But, unfortunately for me, I suddenly couldn't sleep.
It was too quiet.
Fortunately, the fan was humming and the Captain's deep breaths next to me formed a pleasant melody carrying me off into a deep slumber. Thank God, I thought as I pulled my quilt to my chin, for the blissful quiet noise of my house at night.
Wednesday, June 25, 2008
10. The fact that there are 143 million children without a parent to kiss them goodnight has made you lose sleep.
9. You can't watch Adoption Stories on TLC without sobbing.
8. You spend free time surfing blogs about families who have experienced the blessing of adoption.
7. You have welcomed a social worker into the most private parts of your life.
6. You had no idea how you would afford to adopt but stepped out in faith anyway, knowing where God calls you, He will provide.
5. You have taken an airplane ride half-way around the world with a child you just met.
4. You know what the word "Dossier" means, and you can actually pronounce it!
3. It drives you crazy when people ask you about your adopted child's "real" parents.
2. You realize DNA has little to do with love and family and that welcoming a child into your heart and family is one of the most important legacies you could ever leave on this earth.
1. You shudder when people say your child is so lucky that you adopted them, knowing full well you are the lucky one to have him or her in your life.
Tuesday, June 24, 2008
Ebeth is hosting this week (in between the pool, movies and other fun summer activities). She has quite a nice collection of posts to read, make sure to stop by and take a look!
Next week, the Catholic Carnival is coming HERE to the Ark! If you haven't posted before, it's easy (I mean, they even let me do it, so how hard can it be?) Just pick a favorite post (yes, that means it can be one you have already written) and email it to me at patjrsmom at yahoo dot com by Monday evening, June 30th--or you can simply click here for a quick and easy submission form.
Sunday, June 22, 2008
Subtitled "Hey, it's still week three where I am..."
I've been so truly inspired by Suzanne's challenge. Her words inspired my heart to truly look upon this Ark as more than just a place to hang our hats and fill our bellies. The need to have home be a safe haven for our family, a respite from the weariness that some days can bring, has always been important. This challenge, however, has nudged me look for opportunities to use not only the emotional atmosphere, but the physical one as well, to glorify God in our surroundings. Below, Beulah and Hannah share pictures of the garden we've been working on, bringing a little bit of the beauty within our home to the outside.
Thanks to the beauty of Blogger's scheduling device, I've literally checked in once over the last week, while the Ark was doing it's live tour across the Northeastern US. We enjoyed several days visiting family and friends. Last night, the Ark finally landed back home, full of the bittersweet joy that returning home after leaving dear ones can bring.
Now it's time to get prepped for our summer routine and kick the prayers into high gear for our adoption group assignment. Of the group that was supposed to form last week, only one family has announced that they're in it! So, we're praying we might hear soon!
Look for lots of pictures coming this week (and perhaps a guest blogger--if The Boy's gracious hostess of a godmother is up to the challenge?) and I'm still going to squeeze in my Home Challenge-Week 3 post before this week is over!
It was good to visit, but as Dorothy said, There's no place like home.
Tuesday, June 17, 2008
No adoption-related news to report (except that a new group should be forming soon, of which we would LOVE to find ourselves a part!).
In the meanwhile, my new column is up at the Beacon-News today: Not All Weeds Need Pulling
Sunday, June 15, 2008
To my two favorite fathers...
Dear God, Thank You for the gift of our ! Our dads help us feel secure and protected as they guide us through life. Through laughter and tears, they understand and provide encouragement. Fathers young and old, we remember you all. Dear Lord, please bless our fathers with a renewed awareness that they belong to You; protect them, love them, and lead them, that they might find rest in Your embrace. May we enjoy our times together, neither regretting yesterday nor fearing tomorrow. Help our fathers succeed as the men you call them to be, and may they know the deep love of their family and friends. Encourage them and anoint them for their mission of loving and leading their families to You, the Father of us all, now and forever. In Jesus' name we pray. Amen.
Prayer courtesy of Autom
Friday, June 13, 2008
Busy days on the Ark over the next week or so. Don't be surprised if you don't hear from me everyday, which I know is just so heartbreaking for everyone. Let's not even speak of it anymore, shall we? I'll try to check in once or twice (and for certain if we have any BIG adoption news to share!), and you can try to find something to do to fill the 30 extra seconds you'll get back by not reading my blog.
Thursday, June 12, 2008
Two dear friends, young moms with small children, have recently been handed this diagnosis. The information below from this important meme by Stina is a must read. This meme is to help spread the awareness on the ‘Breast Cancer Awareness’ month of June. Please help our fellow women in passing on the importance of regular examination and early detection of breast cancer in order to catch this disease when it first erupts, maximizing the chance of survival and recovery.
Here are several facts on breast cancer that everyone should know about.
• The first sign of breast cancer usually shows up on a woman's mammogram before it can be felt or any other symptoms are present.
• Risks for breast cancer include a family history, atypical hyperplasia, delaying pregnancy until after age 30 or never becoming pregnant, early menstruation (before age 12), late menopause (after age 55), current use or use in the last ten years of oral contraceptives, and daily consumption of alcohol.
• Early detection of breast cancer, through monthly breast self-exam and particularly yearly mammography after age 40, offers the best chance for survival.
• Ninety-six percent of women who find and treat breast cancer early will be cancer-free after five years.
• Over eighty percent of breast lumps are not cancerous, but benign such as fibrocystic breast disease.
• You are never too young to develop breast cancer! Breast Self-Exam should begin by the age of twenty. (Ladies, this is important to teach your daughters when they hit puberty. If they get in the habit when they're young, it's much more likely they'll continue as they get older.)
Wednesday, June 11, 2008
Jay, from Living Catholicism, has structured this week's posts the way our Faith ought to be lived--through our everyday life. Whether you're interested in politics, family issues, or more--there's a post there just for you! Don't miss it!
courtesy of The Boy
My cold is slowly, because I consider the ability to breathe an improvement, getting better. I'm trying to motivate myself, however, (read: keep eyes open long enough and stay in a sitting position long enough to write the column whose deadline is tomorrow), but try as I might I keep falling asleep.
After naptime (mine, not the kids) yesterday, I sat groggily up on the couch to have The Boy--in full scholarly mode--explain to me why I was so tired.
Me: I'm so tired.
The Boy: It's your red blood cells. They're low.
Me: Still waking up...Speak slowly.
The Boy: You're sick, Mom, so your body is making white blood cells to fight off your cold. Since you always have the same total amount of blood, if your body makes more WBC, it has to make less RBC, which makes you tired.
The Boy: (walking off muttering to himself) I think I actually learned something in school this year.
And everyone else has been so helpful, too. Why, just this morning Naomi and Candace offered to get their own breakfast. When I saw them with handfuls of marshmallows, though, I knew I'd been had, but I just couldn't move fast enough to stop them.
Low red blood cells. Sigh.
Monday, June 09, 2008
that it wasn't just the homestudy that was approved (the typical *first* approval) but also the approval for our intended child (the typical *second* approval)! There can be several weeks difference between the two if they are processed separately, so this is very good news with regards to the court closure looming in the distance. Now, to
And, I managed to catch the first*** cold of the season. No wondering I'm feeling in the mood for hot tea...
***Some might think my cold is actually the second cold on the Ark. And that I caught this cold from the Captain, who has been sniffling and coughing for about a week. But they would be wrong--because the Captain--God love him--doesn't get sick.
One of the best things my mom passed on to me was her appreciation for a good cup of tea. As a little girl, my tea was more a white, watery mixture of milk and sugar with a splash of tea thrown in for good measure. Older and wiser, I came to value the cup of tea that could stand alone--minus the lemon wedges or sugar cubes. Pregnant and queasy with morning sickness, I developed a love of decaf teas, peppermint in particular, which made many a first trimester morning bearable. I've not yet gone back to the regular, caffeinated version of the tea of my Irish-heritage influenced mother, but I have found teas to celebrate all occasions.
I've also come to understand that it's not the caffeine quotient or flavor selection I'm savoring when I sit with my favorite hot, steaming mug. It's the memory of that shared moment with my mom, that as an adult still brings out the little girl in me. Even when she visits, and rises (as a mom always seems to do) well before the sun, she brews two cups of tea. Careful to pour a *leaded* version for herself and decaf for me, the warmth of that cup greets me when I make my way down to the kitchen. Occasionally, now, as I've joined the long-aproned line of dawn-seeing moms, she'll even let me fix the tea.
With my girls, in the grocery store this week, my eyes fell on a Stella Doro cookie display, and I was again reminded of the teas of my youth. Searching for the lovely Lady Stella variety, to no avail, I compromised with a similar selection of biscuits from our local Italian grocery. Cookies in hand, I walked into the Ark's kitchen and turned on the kettle. While one girl took several of our new, porcelain dessert plates to the dining room, another carefully arranged the sweet confections on a tray. A beautiful, floral tea pot filled with the lovely, steaming amber liquid rounded out the table. And for a half an hour, my daughters, baby T, and the periphery cookie-eater (The Boy) enjoyed a lovely teatime and one another's company while making memories for them as I entertained a few of my own.
To learn more about the Making Your House a Home Challenge, visit Suzanne's blog.
Sunday, June 08, 2008
Saturday, June 07, 2008
The kids added a new idiom to their repertoire yesterday. "Don't count your chickens before they hatch," I explained to them, "means not to plan for something happening before it actually does."
"Oh no!" exclaimed Beulah, "I was just telling Hannah how I was going to play with the chicks and hold them when they were hatched."
I reassured her that she hadn't created a self-fulfilling prophecy with her grand poultry-related plans. Instead, I had to tell them that life--even the life of 18 tiny chick eggs--is fragile and precious. Try as we might, the little bit of control we have (over the temperature and humidity in the incubator) is still not enough on its own to breathe life into something. It's no different with a human life, I reminded them. Each and every time a child is born into this world, it is nothing short of a miracle. Nowadays, it's easy to forget that. People schedule babies' arrivals, dispose of *unplanned* pregnancies in the blink of an eye and create children in laboratories with little regard to the wonder which exists when God allows us to partner with Him in creating life.
This lesson may not have turned out the way we had planned, but God used it to teach a valuable lesson--on the beauty of the gift of life--that won't soon be forgotten.
Thursday, June 05, 2008
After a busy first official day of summer vacation, I just now sat down to go through today's mail. Making my way, in no great haste, to the bottom of the stack, I discovered a letter whose return address was from DCFS.
There were no other distinctive markings on the letter that I could find as I turned it over and examined its back. It felt light--definitely too light to be any of the missives sent out by the agency regarding policy change or updates. Not postmarked as a bulk mailing, my eyes darted across the address label reading, what appeared to be, our type-written name. Could this be a letter mailed specifically to us? Could this be the one we'd been waiting...
Oh, for Pete's sake, just tell them already!
Our homestudy, yes that homestudy, has been approved!
Wednesday, June 04, 2008
This week, at Rocks in My Dryer, Shannon is hosting the "Mom I'm Bored!" WFMW edition.
In today's themed edition, I'd love to hear from you alll about how you combat this issue in your home. Give us all your general outlook on the subject, or provide us with a list of specific modes of entertainment you use--whatever you'd like.
Our summers on the Ark are usually pretty busy. Between swim lessons, family vacations, the library's summer reading program, park outings, (whew~I'm not sure I'm ready for summer yet!) and the like there's an awful lot happening, but there are also ample opportunities for down time, which is where the beast of boredom tends to meet kids head on.
Let me begin by saying that I truly believe that one of the best things for a child (okay--maybe not for his/her mother) but certainly for a child is to *feel* bored. Big white spaces on the calendar invite in creativity and adventure. Summer is a perfect time for secret clubs to form, for impromptu theater performances, for madcap neighborhood olympic games and for the blessing of uninterrupted time to explore the beauty of God's world on nature walks. In my opinion, there is nothing better to spark innovation than a bored child. Granted, my brother was a genius when it came to boredom and reveled in such inspirations as taking apart radios and toasters. Given this, you'll probably want to make sure that all of the brilliant ideas your budding Einstein comes up with meet with your approval.
But there will still be moments when the boredom monster rears its ugly head. To that end, let me share a little tip that worked when the bored child of summer was ME. Understand, of course, that this was in the late seventies, so our most high-tech gadget consisted of a portable tape player (Note to my children: yes, I mean the kind that played those rectangular tapes with the twisty circles in the middle and the funny brown tape running through it; and no, we didn't have CDs back then. Amazing, huh?) which we carried around with us one summer. The purpose of this audio endeavor was to record, literally, what we did that summer. And at the end of each week, we'd lie on the floor of one of our bedrooms, ears pressed up against the speaker, and listen to the antics we had created. It was a bittersweet end to summer that year as we knew that we wouldn't have as much time--read: be as bored--once the school year commenced. We held on to that tape and replayed it over and over until it finally broke, but although the tape is gone, the memories of that summer are not of boredom, but something far more precious.
For more Works for Me Wednesday, click here!
Sarah, from Just Another Day of Catholic Pondering, is once again the lovely hostess for this week's carnival! This time the posts are joined together by the ABC's of hosting. If you've ever considered hosting, or hosted once before but not for quite some time, her words will encourage you to give it a shot. Enjoy this cleverly themed carnival!
Tuesday, June 03, 2008
Monday, June 02, 2008
At least I can't say we didn't get an update on the status of our homestudy. It seems the sole woman in the entire state of Illinois who has the singular power (think the Wizard, from the Wizard of Oz) to approve our homestudy was on vacation all last week. Well, of course she was.
Honestly, I read this email update this morning and I simply had to laugh. I mean why wouldn't our homestudy wind up in her office the very week she was scheduled (probably several years ago) to be "away from her desk."
Dear Heavenly Father, you are a funny guy. In the midst of the wait, you sent such a ridiculous situation that it forced me to crack a smile. You remind me of my father here, who did such silly things to make me smile (like hold up his index finger and sternly instruct me, "Don't laugh at this finger. It's not even funny. No, no...I said 'Don't laugh!'" By that point, the giggles were too painful to hold in any longer and they erupted, blasting from my lips in hysteria over the absurd pointer finger of a loving--yet slightly comically-impaired--daddy.
His antics had my best interests at heart, though. He loved me enough to simply want to see me smile. Today, Father God, your own preposterous twist on the "finger trick" reminded me of your great love for me your daughter and left me grinning all day long.
I'm not sure that my work here is going to win any prizes, but for me, it's about changing my perspective on how I view our home. It's not just about keeping the house clean and tidy (although, trust me with eight people on the Ark, we do our share in that department!), but it's about simple ways that we can be good stewards of that which God has generously given to us. It's about creating a home that gives glory to God in all of the little nooks and crannies, not in big ways, but in deliciously small ones.
Here's my first itty bitty area on the agenda.
It's the little corner and backsplash behind my kitchen sink. Usually, it's a graveyard for things that don't quite fit in the sink. But not anymore! As I spend quite a bit of time at this location, I decided to make it a little more, shall we say, inspirational? I had the big girls fill a planter I had with African Daisies (how appropriate, right?) and then I grabbed a few lovely and divinely inspired items I had around the house for my eyes to rest on frequently.
The first is a statue of the Holy Family. I've written about this much loved statue on the Ark before.
Here's the attractive plaque given to me by one of my thoughtful friends, showing a most favorite scripture.
Coming next week...a frugal find on a set of dishes inspires me beyond the pale of paper plates!
Two bloggers (Suzanne and Michelle) have unique ideas for starting out this first of the Summer months.
Michelle, of Rosetta Stone, offers a clever spin on resolutions--starting a new, simple, attainable one at the beginning of each month! What a fantastic thought! So, with her inspiration and the challenge set by Suzanne to "Make Your House a Home" in June, my resolution came easily.
As time has gone on, I've better understood the vocation of motherhood and the very distinct role a woman plays in God's creation. Even for women who choose to work outside the home, their presence in the workplace presents an opportunity to bring a gentle spirit, a calming presence, and an solid understanding of God's prestigious role of women through authentic femininity. Not a lesser role, in which woman was created inferior to man, but a strategic role devised specifically by the Master of the Universe, in which the roles of women and men are stunningly complementary.
What is interesting, however, is that society has taken these two different--yet equally important--roles and assigned one great value and denigrated the other to a place far beneath its intended pedestal. Women, who are innately wired to be nurturers, designers, caretakers, artists of the finest level are told that those skills lack importance in today's world. They are told that the only true success is quantifiable in the forms of paychecks or promotions and attempt to align themselves to this vision as the only measure of their worth.
Don't misunderstand me, each woman is called to a vocation--some in the home, some out of it, some with children, some without, some married, some single--but in each of these roles, the call to be authentically feminine is constant.
With that in mind, and the help of my blogging sisters, my resolution was born. Although I have attempted, through my words and my actions, to show my children (both the girls and the boys) the importance and value of being at-home. I (s)lacked when it came to showing them the beauty, the actual physical beauty, which makes a house a home. Ready or not June, here I come.
***Photos from the first week's challenge can be seen here.***
Okay, let's give this a shot. I have a few things I'd like to do to prepare for it--like create one of those clever little buttons that links back here (Suzanne, how did you do that for your June challenge?) Plus, our first few weeks of June are, ummm, a little overscheduled, which doesn't help me to host a carnival of simple living very well. Perhaps a carnival of chaotic madness, but, I digress...So, I'm going to aim for the end of June for the grand opening. It won't be long now!