Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Prayers to Padre Pio...

This is probably not going to come as a shock to many, but I've been praying to St. Padre Pio that he intercede for us. My secret desire (or probably not so secret), and that of our only son, is to have another boy.
The Catholic book club I belong to at our neighboring parish just read about St. Padre Pio earlier this month. Reading about his fascinating life and then watching two movies about him, makes me love him and admire him even more. What an amazing Saint, and within our own century! I started to feel that I should pray for his intercession on this matter. I started praying toward the beginning of December for the intention that my husband would be willing to have another child. I tried desperately not to pressure my husband and resolved that I would not say another word about the subject until he brought it up.
Suddenly, while driving to our relatives house about a week ago my husband announced that he was willing to try. I didn't even know what he meant at first, but then he explained that our son had spoken to him earlier that morning about wanting to have a little brother and being sick of all the girls around. I guess that was the little whisper (or should I say whimper) that my dear husband needed to hear in order to have a change of heart. I believe it was St. Padre Pio's intercession that also touched my husband's heart. It had been about nine days since I started my prayers for the intention of his heart to change.
Now I need to be praying that we have a boy, so my son will have a brother. The prayers of children are very powerful, that is why I am going to have my children pray for this intention as well. If you would, please, join your prayers with ours that through St. Padre Pio's intercession we will have a little boy this time next year. Thank you and God bless you for your generosity in praying for our intentions. God's Will be done, not mine, though. Like I told my son, if it is God's Will that you only have sisters, he knows what you NEED far better than I.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Our other Christmas Parties...

This was one of our best Christmas' ever! I think because we prepared for it better this year. By that, I don't mean that I went shopping on Black Friday, bought tons of presents, or even made a mountain of Christmas cookies ahead of time. We prepared for Christmas by focusing more on Advent during Advent and waiting to celebrate Christmas during Christmas.

We had a wonderful day with Nana and Aunt Olivia on Christmas Eve. We all relaxed at home and opened presents slowly. We had time to put the "some assembly required" toys together and even play with them. The favorite toy from Nana and Aunt Olivia was a wooden kitchen set for the girls.

Christmas morning we found that Santa had brought each of the kids a present and a stocking full of goodies. We read our Christmas story out of the book The Lord Jesus by Father Lovasik and sang "Silent Night" as the kids placed their baby Jesus in the manger. The toys from Santa were all a hit. Mass on Christmas went very well! We were asked to take up the offertory and the kids were so excited to assist in this way at Holy Mass. The music was beautiful, the homily was rather safe, and the kids behaved almost like angels (notice I said almost!). I felt like this was a little reward for not getting so stressed about Christmas this year and really preparing spiritually.

We really tried to use the Liturgical Calendar my dear hubby created and the books In Conversation with God by Francis Fernandez. These really made a difference in helping me to focus on what was important. Making an effort to go to confession more frequently during Advent also helped. I hope that we can continue to go more frequently throughout the new year.

The last pictures are of the kids and their cousins at my brother and sister-in-laws home. We celebrated with my side of the family at their home the weekend after Christmas. Again, I was so pleasantly surprised by how well things went. There wasn't nearly as much drama as in past get-togethers. Even the homily at my brother's church was excellent, probably one of the best I have heard in a long time from a diocesan priest. As my son reminds me, today is the sixth day of Christmas, 6 more blessed days to go. Merry Christmas!

Monday, December 22, 2008

Our First of Many Christmas Parties...

I haven't blogged for a while(if that is the correct term) because of prepairing for and attending our first of many Christmas parties. We were blessed to be able to stay with my sister-in-law and her husband for the weekend. The kids had tons of fun and like always were really spoiled by their Grandma Mary.

The first of the pictures are my dear husband and his brother and sister. The two babies are my brother-in-law's twins, Collin and Hailey. We don't get to see them much, so this was a rare treat to visit with them. My sister-in-law is in the middle and she is the youngest of the three siblings.
The second picture is the collective clan of kids that these three siblings have been blessed by (so far) in their marriages. If you are counting, there are 11 total---five boys and six girls. They are all under the age of 9.

The third and fourth pictures are of the "sleep overs" that the cousins had. Of course the babies only had a mini-nap-time sleepover, but there are four of them in that little nursery. As predicted, when one woke up they all did. As for the big kids, I don't know how much sleep they got. They were up talking most of the night. I hated to shush them too much. I couldn't help but remember the holiday sleepovers with my cousins and that was, well, let's say a long time ago and leave it at that. (I don't want to go showing my age now, do I?)

Our Christmas party plans have just been simplified as of this weekend. We are no longer needing to travel on Christmas. A bit of a disappointment that we are not going to get to see dear Hubby's grandparents, but I am glad that we get to stay home all day after we attend Christmas Mass. This will be a first. The kids should be able to enjoy their gifts a little more by actually playing with them.

An update on our school year---my oldest finished her 3rd grade curriculum about a week ago. We recieved her grades via e-mail and she received straight A's. I am so proud of how hard she worked with the Seton books. They were a little challenging at times, but excellent. We ordered her fourth grade materials and they arrived a few days later. I looked over them this morning and I am excited to get started using these new books. Does that make me crazy? Or am I just a little weird because I like books so much?

My son is now half way through his 2nd grade year. He's a year ahead of his peers, but he still doesn't seem challenged at times. I'm not saying that to brag, but he just seems to be a really hard worker and enjoys school. I am so thankful for that.
Our middle daughter is enjoying our Christmas break. Since I am not doing full time school work with the older two, (just a little review every couple of days), she is getting lots more reading time with Mommy. Thankfully we got some new books for Christmas from Grandma Mary and she is really enjoying those.

Monday, December 15, 2008

My Little Readers:

The kids have been really good about reading everyday, and for some, nearly every hour of the day. My oldest is quite the book worm. If she isn't at her desk doing school work I can always find her curled up on a couch with a good book. I guess I shouldn't complain, but she tends to get lost within the book and doesn't always come when called.
Our youngest, has decided she wants to imitate the older ones and seems to pick up any and all books she can. The only problem is she still likes to eat them. The latest book she has tried to consume was my Mustard
Seed book. It is a condensed, little book that
describes the basic Truths of the Catholic Faith.
At least she has good taste! It is a nice book that summarizes the Faith well.

Our middle child, has recently joined the older two in becoming an early reader. She won't be 5 until January, but has already read about 45-50 books. Of course they are simple, early reader, and beginner books, but I am proud of her nonetheless. Thank God for Frontline Phonics and the Catholic Heritage Curriculum series called Little Stories for Little Folks. ( is where you can get the CHC series) We use both of these programs and I think the kids really enjoy them. After that we start to check out the Dick and Jane series from the library to work some more on fluency and sight words.
We also are doing the Pizza Hut Book-It awards program again this year. The kids and I set a goal of how many books they will read for the month. When they reach their goal, they receive a certificate for a free personal pan pizza at Pizza Hut. (You can sign up online at the Pizza Hut home page.) We then go on a week day, during the lunch buffet to redeem them. I pay for my lunch buffet (about $6), the youngest two get to eat free since they are under 3, and the older three have their free personal pan pizzas. It ends up being a really cheap lunch for 6 people (about $6 plus tip). They feel like they have been richly rewarded and I don't have to cook or clean up after them for one meal! Sounds like a win-win situation to me. I would highly recommend this program to all home schooling families who have little readers in their home.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Our Lady of Guadalupe

Today is the feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe. To celebrate, we attended Mass, gave Father a bag full of the girl's haystack cookies, and then made luminarios and St. Juan Diego's tilma.
We recently read the book Night of Las Posadas by Tomie Depaolo. (You can find this book at The word "posadas" means inn. This book is a wonderful story that tells about the Mexican tradition where a couple portraying Joseph and Mary pass through the streets looking for a place to spend the night. In Mexico they do this for nine nights in a row. Only on the last night do the couple find a place to stay. Part of the tradition includes little luminarios that line the road way marking where the couple will go. This is where I got the idea to make the luminarios for today's feast day. I thought they might also be a good way to remind the kids that we are preparing for the light of the world (Jesus) this Advent season.

Since the younger girls couldn't be trusted with the hammers and ice picks, they did the tilma craft which mostly involved coloring, cutting, and gluing. Before our craft we read again about St. Juan and Our Lady's apparition to him in Mexico in 1531.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

For Any Friend Who Might Need This:

On the 40th Anniversary of Humanae Vitae
Most Rev. Thomas G. Wenski

(Most Rev. Thomas Wenski, Bishop of the Diocese of Orlando, is Chairman of the USCCB Committee on International Justice andPeace. This originally appeared in The Florida Catholic.)

This past July 25th marked the 40th anniversary of Pope Paul VI’s controversial
and still little heeded encyclical, Humanae vitae (On the Regulation of Birth). Many
both within and without the Church – heady from the many changes initiated by the
Second Vatican Council – fully expected that the Church would change her clear and
constant teachings on human sexuality and procreation. Proponents of change then
argued that the development of the contraceptive pill made such change in teaching not
only possible but imperative. However, Pope Paul VI (advised closely by the then
Cardinal Wojtyla) realized that while much in the Church was rightly changeable (for
example, liturgical rites and languages had changed often in the Church’s two thousand
year history) no one – even the Pope – could change the received teachings of the
Church in matters of faith and morals.
In Humanae vitae, giving an ecclesiastical example of a profile in courage, Paul
VI reaffirmed the immorality of recourse to artificial means of birth regulation. While
Pope Paul VI and the Catholic Church practically stood alone in reaffirmation that the
procreative and unitive ends of the conjugal act could not morally be arbitrarily
separated, it is important to remember that up until the early 20th century this was also
the constant teaching of all other Christian ecclesial bodies – Orthodox, Anglican and
Of course, the Church is not against sexual pleasure as some of her opponents
allege; but, more importantly, we are for the happiness of the human person. The
fostering of that happiness requires understanding the gift of our sexuality as God has
intended it. Sex, in God’s plan, is more than just a “recreational activity”. As Catholic
feminist and philosopher, Janet Smith says: “…sex is for babies and bonding. If
people are not ready for babies and bonding, they ought not to be engaging in acts of
sexual intercourse.” And what are nuptials but the public expression of a couple’s
readiness to do just that?
A careful rereading of Humanae vitae – especially in the light of the “sexual
revolution” unleashed in society over the past 40 years –can help us appreciate how
prescient the Pope was in his warnings of the dire consequences that a “contraceptive
mentality” would have on society. The numbers of unwanted pregnancies and
abortions did not decrease with the widespread acceptance of contraception – they
increased. And the “pill” far from freeing women from male domination made them
more likely to be victims of sexual exploitation by men. The break up of families and
the epidemic of divorce in our culture, the increasingly high incidence of women
bearing children out of wedlock, the flight from adult responsibility and the extended
“adolescence” of men, all point to – in hindsight –the rightness of Paul VI’s and the
Church’s teaching on human sexuality.
(Continued on p. 2)
The Church condemns artificial contraception not just because of its bad consequences. She condemns
artificial contraception because it is intrinsically evil (and because it is evil it has bad consequences).
Contraception is evil because it violates the very purpose and nature of the sexual act – and in doing so violates
the dignity of the human person.
Pope John Paul II reaffirmed Humane vitae throughout his pontificate. His “Theology of the Body” has
sought to represent the perennial teachings of Church on human sexuality in an idiom more accessible to our
contemporaries. The sexual act, he teaches, implies self-giving, a self giving denied in the very act of
contraception. One’s “body language” should mean as much as one’s words do. Happiness and human
flourishing cannot be built on insincere language or lies. Contraception – like pre-marital or extra-marital sex -
is a lie because it denies the unconditional “yes” of one to another implied in the very act of love making.

To see this and other articles on this topic go to the following website:

Monday, December 8, 2008

Shopping For Christmas:

This year I am doing way more shopping online than ever before. I did a little the other day with Wal-mart's site to store deal. I now have my four nephews and four nieces marked off my list. Yeah!!! My favorite site right now is Land's End. Hear me out! Before you get ahead of your self, and think I am spending a fortune, just listen. They have been holding a St. Nick pick each day. It just so happened that the day I was shopping for a coat and boots for myself. They had a style from last year on clearance in the overstock department and then it was on sale that day. I also had a promotional code that made the shipping free. I was able to search through the overstocks and find the kids some really high quality shoes for the same price (if not cheaper) than I could find at Wal-mart! I was so happy! God had answered my prayers. I really had been stressing about how we were going to get the kids new shoes, since our clothing budget has been shot for the past two-three months.
Today, I received my coat, my boots, and the kids' shoes in the mail. I am really impressed with the quality. Land's End also sent along another promotion code to get $20 off my next order. Little did I know that the exact boots I was going to order for the kids are on sale today, $6.50 less than if I would have ordered the other day. And on top of that I will be getting the $20.00 off! I love that site. You have to check out their overstocks if you are looking to find a great deal. Happy hunting!

Saturday, December 6, 2008

St. Nicholas' Day

The orange things in the kids' shoes are carrots. They are for St. Nicholas' horse or reindeer, whichever he chooses to ride to deliver gifts. We read last year that the children in Germany traditionally leave carrots so the horse/reindeer have enough food to make the journey. Apparently, the kids didn't think that St. Nicholas has a car here in America either.

If you can't tell in the second picture, the kids received a holy card, a little flash light, and some candy in their shoes. They were very excited!

In discussing the feast of St. Nicholas, the kids came up with some interesting questions. The first one was, "Why do they call it a feast day? We don't eat a big meal that day?" Apparently, they were remembering Thanksgiving, because the next question was, "Is Thanksgiving a feast day?" The last question was far more difficult to answer, "How can St. Nicholas bring us gifts if he is dead?" That one came from my son. He is very practical at times. About the only way to answer that one truthfully was in a round about way and then quickly move off topic. I said that St. Nicholas died, but his soul is immortal ,so he now lives with Jesus in heaven as do all the saints. I quickly switched the discussion to naming other saints that we had been learning about over the past few weeks.
I just feel so sneaky some times. The kids didn't bring up the question again and all are kept in quiet belief...for the time being.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Planned Parenthood Gift Certificates!!!???!!!

I could hardly believe it when I read the following article in the Washington Times about Planned Parenthood selling gift certificates here in Indiana. I guess I shouldn't be surprised, this is Planned Parenthood. They murder unborn children. Nothing should surprise me about PP.

Planned Parenthood offers gift vouchers
Pro-lifers rap Indiana plan
Saturday, November 29, 2008

Indiana residents in need of a quick stocking stuffer this holiday season have an unusual option: Planned Parenthood gift certificates.
The group's Hoosier State chapter on Wednesday began selling gift certificates redeemable at any of its 35 facilities for any service provided -- from basic health screenings to birth control to abortions.
Betty Cockrum, president and chief executive of Planned Parenthood of Indiana, said the program was initiated in response to the state's ailing economy.
"Our patients are principally low-income women, and so, needless to say, those patients are more challenged now than ever," Ms. Cockrum said. "We find that when women are [financially] strapped, they're more worried about putting food on the table and gas in their car, and their health care is often put by the wayside."
Almost 800,000 Indiana residents don't have health insurance, she said.
Ms. Cockrum said the gift-certificate program is the first of its kind by any of Planned Parenthood's 99 affiliates nationwide.
Pro-life groups -- longtime opponents of Planned Parenthood -- have denounced the voucher program, saying it will lead to more abortions in the state.
"It's very typical of Planned Parenthood to pervert the meaning of Christmas, which is a time of life and selflessness and love and giving," said Katie Walker, a spokeswomen with the American Life League, a Catholic pro-life activist group.
Ms. Walker added that the gift-certificate program is "another money-making opportunity to continue [Planned Parenthood] assaults on families through abortion and through artificial birth control, through the sexualization of our children with their obscene sex-ed programs."
She also accused Planned Parenthood of targeting minority populations, saying that offering money or gift certificates takes advantage of the high rates of poverty in those communities.
"Planned Parenthood makes itself out to be this benevolent organization, but the fact is, they're receiving money hand over fist," she said. "It's very much a business."
Ms. Cockrum said that while the certificates may be redeemed for abortions, "I can't imagine that could happen."
"An abortion is a tragic and urgent situation in a women's life, and gift certificates don't lend themselves to that," she said.
Ms. Cockrum added that the vast majority of services provided by Planned Parenthood are for basic health care, such as Pap tests, which cost $58 at the group's centers.
"Even a gift certificate for $25 goes a long way toward what's potentially a life-saving but certainly just essential, basic health care for a loved one," she said.
The program has been endorsed by Dr. Judy Monroe, Indiana health commissioner, who called it a "really a meaningful gift."
The certificates, which come in $25 increments, work like cash and come with no restrictions and no expiration date. They can be purchased at many of the group's Indiana clinics and online, and can be used for some insurance co-payments and medication.
No other state affiliate has yet said whether it would accept the Indiana chapter's vouchers.
Ms. Cockrum said that while it's too early to judge the program's success, she plans to offer the certificates year-round.
Planned Parenthood affiliates operate more than 880 centers nationwide.

To see the article in it's original format go to:

Monday, December 1, 2008

Journey to Therese: What Kind of Catholic are you?#links#links

Here is one of the best short videos I've seen about being Catholic, really being Catholic, and not Catholic in name only! (CINO)

Journey to Therese: What Kind of Catholic are you?#links#links

Busy weekend:

The first picture is of the kid's opening night in the play "Butterfingers Angel...". They did very well. They were complimented by all who attended.
Besides having the family in to celebrate, Thanksgiving, we also celebrated our youngest's 1st Birthday on Saturday. We did a rabbit theme. I made a big rabbit face cake for everyone and a little bunny for the baby to devour. She had lots of fun and ate almost the entire cake! We also did pin the tail on the bunny, a bunny sack hopping race, and find the carrots (a hide and seek game). The kids had lots of fun and I think even the adults enjoyed themselves. It may sound cheap, but I gave the kids two quarters for a prize when they won a game. They were soooo excited to get real money. I think they liked it better than if I would have given them a toy. My little winners are already asking when they can go to the store to spend their quarters.

So Thankful for Thanksgiving Break:

My immediate family came to visit for Thanksgiving this year. All together we had my parents, my sister and her fiance, my oldest brother, my other brother and his wife, and their two kids. That made a grand total of 9 adults and 7 kids. Compared to some large families that's nothing. It felt like a lot more than that at times.
We had a wonderful buffet style Thanksgiving. It was so nice to attend Mass together and then have a nice relaxing lunch that everyone helped to make. I was really impressed with how much everyone helped out with the meal prep this year. It made for a really enjoyable time. Just like all large families, we had a kids' table and a grown-up table. The first picture is of my four oldest and their cousin (my brother's daughter). The second picture is of my sister-in-law, my Dad, my Mom, and my sister around some of the food.
After our lovely meal, my brother and I went for a walk with all of the kids, except my son. There is a cemetery about a 1/4 away. The kids like to walk there and then pray for the poor souls who might still be in purgatory (It is a protestant cemetery). The last picture is of my youngest who ran into a grave stone and scraped up her nose and eye brow. It sort of looks like she just had plastic surgery.