Friday, September 30, 2011

The Murphy Family Saint

This morning at Mass, I learned a little about St. Jerome and took a quick family poll of all family members who were in attendance. It was unanimous among me, myself, and I. St. Jerome is our new family Saint! When I was a little girl growing up in Brooklyn, I have some interesting memories of attending St. Jerome's Catholic School. It wasn't all full length gowns and marching around the street singing "Ave Maria." There were some dark times of nuns in full habits, rulers, and collecting pennies and nickels for the pagan babies (really...what were we thinking?) I didn't die and consider myself blessed to have survived Catholic education in the 60's. I think there are a lot of us who endured it and should have t-shirts and meetings. I bet the overwhelming sentiment would be, "wow, I wish our kids could experience that!" I mean, it couldn't fly now...rulers, pagan babies, praying on the streets...even St. Jerome himself would be too politically incorrect. An arrogant child blessed with wealth and brains, the classically educated Jerome made himself so unpopular in Rome that he had to leave in 3 years. He moved to Bethlehem, where he translated the bible for the masses.To the sarcastic Jerome, living in a cave, even if it was next to where Jesus was born, must have been a trial. However, if an arrogant, sarcastic, rich boy can become a saint...I think there is some hope for the Murphy's!!
google image of st. Jerome in his study...with a skull as a nod to the eminent season of Halloween :o) want to keep the kids interested!! It does lend him an air of interest, don't you think?

This weeks second reading is from Philippians's. St. Paul is telling them that they must always keep their minds on what is good, pure, and true. I think that is so important now, at a time when we are flooded with so much information. Last summer I read a book about the processed food industry. Prior to that, I suspected that there was a problem with processed foods. I had no idea that there were food monopolies running the industry...hell, practically the government. That there were genetically modified seeds and foods in our food supplies and the dangers to humans were so well documented that other countries...countries where health care was not privately funded....that refused to allow it to be sold. I do not live in a bubble. I read the news and go on the Internet, nothing. But once I was aware, it seemed like every where I turned there were other news sources, books, articles, and blogs on the subject. It is like that with all topics, though. If you are interested in it, all of sudden you will see it everywhere. That is what Paul wants for us. If we think about God, we will see him everywhere...If we turn our minds to everything that is good, pure, and true, that is what we will look for, and see. That is what we need to see.

Here is a worksheet to help your children with this reading...

Lord, help me to see what is good, pure, and true. Help me to know what is and focus on these things turning away from those that are not. If I am focusing on these things, it will naturally become that to which I point  my children. As a family, we will turn away from things of the world on which our minds should not linger...amen.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Archangels and Other Super-Heros

Today is the Feast of Michael, Rafael, and Gabriel. No...not the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles...the Archangels. The only angels that Sacred Scripture has revealed the names of. Why aren't more people aware of the angels? Are they unimportant? Hardly...they just aren't Dogma or official Catholic beliefs in which we are required to believe. However, the Catholic church has a long Tradition of belief in these beings.

I am no expert in church tradition or dogma. I try not to preach, in fact I often just relate things heard at Mass or on EWTN and then do some cursory research if I want to talk about it. So I don't forget is my motto! But I can tell you that these beings have been made a laughingstock by Hollywood and book writers for a long time. In fact, they are NOT bumbling humans trying to earn their wings in their after-life. In fact, humans don't turn into angels after death. Angels are beings created by God, to serve Him. Like us, Angels primary responsibility is to praise God. There is some who theorize that there are categories of The highest being the Archangels who's job is to praise God. Some of these highest level angels have sent messages from God and they have been named in scripture, such as Rafael, who announced Jesus's birth. Satan was one of these most glorious fact he was said to be the most beautiful angel of all. In his arrogance, he challenged the Lord; a created being challenging his creator. The Lord didn't even deign to respond himself, charging another archangel, Michael, to do his light work. Let that be a lesson to us all...the battle has already been won. If God created all of them, why would He let a lesser angel be in a position to triumph over him. He could smite us all. And has. But in His great love and wisdom He allows us to choose which side we want to be on. Knowing He created all the players and knows the outcome, which side to you really want to bet on. 

Sundays first reading is from Isaiah5 1-7. It tells a parable about a farmer who plants a vineyard and takes every precaution to ensure it will yield great fruit, even building a watch tower... but it yields wild grapes. The owner then plans to destroy it. He makes sure no rain can fall in it and leave it to go to weeds. I was listening to EWTN this week and a caller tried to tell the father who was hosting the show that the God of the Old Testament was different from the God of the New or Jesus. The caller could not understand how our God would ask Jewish soldiers to destroy whole cities; even the women and children. To not believe that, is to believe that our God is afraid to do what has to be done. Unlike us, God can look into the soul of small children, who are not innocent but born with original sin and a fully developed sin nature, and see what will be the fruit of this child. We cannot...the wildest child can, and history will bear this out, become a Saint. We cannot know this, but God can. He created us for one purpose...the Baltimore Catechism says he made us to know Him, love Him, and serve Him in this world, and to be happy with Him forever in Heaven. Not for his purposes but for ours. We cannot know His purposes, but we know that when He created us it was "good." And if He can look to the future and see that this one vineyard will produce no good fruit, then there is no need for it.

Not a fun topic for the kids, but they need to know we have biblical superheroes in the saints and the angels to help us in our journey which is not to be the best at school, best in sports, or even the best behaved child. It is to do God's work on earth and to praise Him. Yes, we can go to Hell and there is a purgatory. And the angels we talk about the most and have special prayers angels. Want to guess which of the seven layers they belong to? Yes, guarding the humans comes in at the bottom of the rung at number 7. We are last; praising God is first!   

Here is a work sheet to help you talk with your children about this weeks first reading.

Father, please help us as parents to prioritize according to Your will what is most important. Please help us to model that getting to Heaven is the most important thing in our lives, even when the living room is a huge mess and the homework is still to be done. Help us to always remember that even in the chaos of life here on earth, we need to keep You in front of us as a model of perfect parenthood. We need to teach our children to know You, to love You, how to do Your work on earth in order to gain Heaven and spend eternity loving and praising You...amen.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Best of the Week of September 19, 2011 and some giveaways!!!

Heart to Heart with HolleyHolley is a life coach and in this post she talks about what you can do when someone confides in you...who doesn't have this situation. Much better to have some plans in place for your friend who constantly loses her key or the one who is thinking about leaving her husband for someone she met on the internet! Don't be caught unaware!!

The Mother Huddle
Love is a link to a Little Critters storybook where grandpa and the kids make his award-winning blueberry cream pie along with a recipe for little blueberry cream pies...looks so yummy! And how fun is girls are going to love it (and I am sure all the boys too!!)

Picky Palate
The woman who makes the most amazing desserts and who is going to work for me when I am a zillionaire is have a give-away and contest for Jif PB ( like her already!!) and for a KINDLE!! Run, don't walk, and enter!!!

The Modest Mom
This is her fall reading lists...I love reading lists. I just save it in a file for when I don't have a "must read" in mind...

Raising Olives
Raising Olives is having a giveaway for a book in a new series about family; a family that is leaving behind the ways of the world and instead embracing God's ways. Looks good!!

Ok, and one more recipe...this one for salted carmel cashew bark...figured it would make a good gift for the holidays...yes its fall, y'all...that means christmas is like, tomorrow!!

She is Dallas
And for you local readers, its alpaca day in Flower about it here from Ms. Dallas herself!

Taking a Walk on the Wild Side...

So if you are a friend on facebook, you already know I got my first speeding ticket this month. Not only that, I got two in the same week. My renagade 15 year old said, "slow down, mom." My husband said, "stay home." I said it is some kind of mistake; I bought an old drugdealers car and I am being targeted and profiled and I'm not going to take it sitting down. I called my brother, a US marshall--a guy who has to taze himself on a regular basis and has permission to drive around with a machine gun in his van. A guy who told me when he gets stopped for going 115, he tells the cops, "well I'm late cause you people keep stopping me!" So my little brother tells me, "yeah, newer black suv's with tinted windows are always a target...but you need to SLOW DOWN!!" Wow.

So, I pull into the municipal office today and park next to a kid blowing smoke rings out the window. I see his friend walking over pulling his shirt off and he is just covered in tatoos. Great, here I am, middle-aged soccer mom having to hang out with degenerates, rapists and murders. I clutched my purse to myself and practically ran to the safety of the police station. Sure enough, I forgot my check book. I figured the low-lifes would be gone. As I hurried by, I saw that degenerate #1 had traded shirts with suspect #2, and was now contemplating his tatoos in drivers seat. Oh, Lord, help me...I jumped into my car and locked it, found my check book, and pushed the door open to run back in. BEEP BEEP BEEP...I had turned the alarm on. The alarm on my car has a mind of its own and we haven't figured out what exactly causes it to go on. Or how to quickly turn it off. I just kept pushing buttons until it stopped. I heard suspect #1 say, "Lord, you bout gave me a heart attack." I went over and asked if he needed me to call an ambulence. We were both laughing by now. My new friend said, "no, but thanks very much...I hate when that happens. You really did almost give me a heart attack."

As I pulled into my second city office to take care of ticket number 2, I wondered if my degenerate, tattoo-wearing friends had to go to two offices today to take care of their business. As I walked into my second office, I could feel "defendent" written on my forehead. Funny, the lady didn't notice. We don't always wear our sins on our sleeves or chests. Sometimes, we look like an ordinary soccer mom. I wonder what God was trying to tell me with my tickets...

In Sunday's gospel reading, Jesus tells a parable about two sons. One who was immediately defiant, but ultimately conformed to his father's wishes. The second, was compliant, but never carried through. Jesus wanted us to think about who actually did what their father wanted them to do.

Sunday's Gospel is here, from EWTN:
Matthew 21: 28 - 32


28 "What do you think? A man had two sons; and he went to the first and said, `Son, go and work in the vineyard today.'

29 And he answered, `I will not'; but afterward he repented and went.

30 And he went to the second and said the same; and he answered, `I go, sir,' but did not go.

31 Which of the two did the will of his father?" They said, "The first." Jesus said to them, "Truly, I say to you, the tax collectors and the harlots go into the kingdom of God before you.

32 For John came to you in the way of righteousness, and you did not believe him, but the tax collectors and the harlots believed him; and even when you saw it, you did not afterward repent and believe him.

Only God knows the heart. And we can't always know who follows the Father's will. Is it the toddler who snatched half the cookie away from a friend but intended it for another friend who had none. Is it the defiant boy who keeps his headphones half on but listens or the girl who looks like she is listening intently but is really doing her homework. Is it the middle-aged middle-class woman who looks like she has it all together but is really flaunting the rules because she doesn't think they apply to her. There is a difference between being polite and being right. Between being socially acceptable and following the rules. Sometimes, the soccer mom really is the defendent...
                                                                             (photo from Pintrest)

Lord, I don't like people to judge me or my loved ones. Please help me to always look beyond the exterior and at least get a glimpse of what is underneath before I make assesments. Remind me gently to not judge but to always treat everyone as I would like to be treated myself...amen.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Unshakeable Oxymoron?

I think it must have been amazing to have God walk among us. To see, touch, and hear the Son of Man, well, it must have been amazing. Don't get me wrong. I like that He holds us and carries us. I have access to Him at all times. Heck, I can't get the President on the phone because my dryer isn't drying well and I am backlogged 11 loads, but I can get God, the all powerful, all-knowing, creator of the universe at just a moments notice. But sometimes, having Him here with us would be nice. I guess its also nice to know that even when Jesus walked among us, we doubted. Makes us feel just a little better!

all scripture is from here at EWTN
1 Thessalonians 1: 5 - 10


5 for our gospel came to you not only in word, but also in power and in the Holy Spirit and with full conviction. You know what kind of men we proved to be among you for your sake.

6 And you became imitators of us and of the Lord, for you received the word in much affliction, with joy inspired by the Holy Spirit;

7 so that you became an example to all the believers in Macedo'nia and in Acha'ia.

8 For not only has the word of the Lord sounded forth from you in Macedo'nia and Acha'ia, but your faith in God has gone forth everywhere, so that we need not say anything.

9 For they themselves report concerning us what a welcome we had among you, and how you turned to God from idols, to serve a living and true God,

10 and to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, Jesus who delivers us from the wrath to come. ------------------------------------------------------------------------


I say all this because even those of us with a very strong faith can be shaken. An unexpected death can make even a man who has been unshakable in his faith for more years than I like to count lose hope...If you pray, maybe you could pray for my dad. He just lost, unexpectedly, his closest and much younger and healthier friend this morning. My dad has cancer and while he is failing very slowly, he is very old and in poor health. I think that this morning he faced his own mortality along with the death of his spiritual guide and very close friend. Pray for him and for the family of Sam Jennings...a good and faithful servant.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Feast of St. Matthew

Though I spent a lot of time at Catholic Retreats in high school, it was often just a social event. As far as past times go, it probably saved me from getting into other trouble...I was a magnet for trouble back then-- but it was not particularly beneficial spiritually. I began reading the bible seriously in the early '90's. I left my full-time job in anticipation of motherhood, working on my MPA,  and helping my girlfriend who was terminally ill with cancer. In helping Anne to die peacefully, I had to come to terms with my own beliefs and it drove me to the bible. After her death, I was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, and my search for answers continued. I was reading the New Testament and searching for more and I started at the beginning with Matthew. When about a year later, Shawn and I had the opportunity to pursue a private adoption, we explored names. When we knew the child was to be a boy, we found the entire process of naming a baby to be more complicated than we would have thought. We decided on Matthew because he was a wonderful and strong saint who immediately chose to do Gods will when asked, though it was vastly different from his own. We chose Martin as his middle name because Matthew would be bi-racial and we wanted to name him for the strong black leader and man of peace, Martin Luther King. Matthew also means "gift from God" which we totally believed him to be on so many levels. Matthew's birth mother made a difficult choice in allowing us to raise him and completely supporting us in the entire process. She is another gift that came along with being allowed to raise this child.

Even before he was born, we prayed for Matthew. We wanted a Saint. A man who would stand up for others, have the heart of Jesus, and be able to share that love. Tall order for a young boy. While he was an amazing quiet and compliant child, he began to show a back-bone of steel. I remember when we explained to him that the dentist was making us take away his beloved pacifier, mookie. He handled it well...until after the first few nights. Then he became angry. One morning, he grabbed the phone in a burst of energy that would soon become familiar saying he was calling the dentist. In his sweet little voice he said, "hello dentist, uhuh, uhuh, uhuh. OK. goodbye dentist." Curious, since I knew he could not actually call the dentist, I asked, "what did he say?" Matthew burst into tears and said, "the dentist said no more mookie!!"

That pattern has continued to play out as we head into adulthood--though not usually not so funny. Matt will turn 16 this year. As we prayed, he has a backbone of steel, a gentle heart and giving spirit, and strong loyalty to those he deems worthy. He will hurt himself to fight a fight he believes in, though his judgement in choosing his battles is not always as mature as we, the adults in his life, would like. I hope and pray that in the years to come, we will be able to watch him mature and fully support his endeavors. 15 is such a difficult age and you can really go any way...we will try to guide him carefully and pray that other adults in his life will nurture the positive traits that have been planted in him.

From the time he was a little boy, Matthew has been curious about abortion. When he was little, he stood in the narthex of our church and  stared at a pro life poster day after day...a poster depicting a tiny baby in utero, but slightly enlarged with his little hand held out. Eventually, the poster became worn and developed a hole. My heart almost stopped the day I saw him slide his own small hand in the plastic and, comparing his hand to the babies, and seemed to give him a hug. I was snapping pictures that day for our parish, and shot one off. It has since disappeared from my library :o( but I will never forget that amazing moment. As he grew older, Matthew began to support abortion. Like many teens, he questions his parents beliefs and is unsure when life actually begins, so he is still trying to work it out in his own mind. We continue to talk with him, but hope to let him come to this decision on his begins at conception, and that means even tiny embryonic babies still have the right to life. For now, we just pray...

I mention all of this today as I reflect on next Sunday's first reading from
Ezekiel 18: 25 - 28


25 "Yet you say, `The way of the Lord is not just.' Hear now, O house of Israel: Is my way not just? Is it not your ways that are not just?

26 When a righteous man turns away from his righteousness and commits iniquity, he shall die for it; for the iniquity which he has committed he shall die.

27 Again, when a wicked man turns away from the wickedness he has committed and does what is lawful and right, he shall save his life.

28 Because he considered and turned away from all the transgressions which he had committed, he shall surely live, he shall not die.

In PA, today, leaders are meeting to discuss abortion issues at 3:00. Senator Casey will be there, among others. Sen. Casey has a long history in politics, following his father, the former Governor of PA. Bob Casey was an amazing man of God, first, but also an outstanding father, and a strong politician. I witnessed much of this first hand at the aforementioned retreat house (yes, I am long-winded and boring, but there is usually a method...). His children, maybe in particular, his boys, have tried to follow in those footsteps. Possibly because of their early exposure to politics though spending the teen years in the governors mansion, they have held senior level positions when a more senior politician like Rick Santorum, also a strong man of God that I know from my earlier days (Penn State frat house; told you I would always find trouble!!) might have been able to stand firmer on hard issues. However, Pennsylvanians voted Mr. Casey in. His father was widely popular and loved--it carried over to his boys. But now there are some spiritual repercussions to these votes. Today at three, I will be praying for Sen. Casey. Yes, the fate of unborn babies are on the line. Other precious souls will be there as well. Souls who have the ability to make a decision that will impact hisor her eternal life. Only God knows a heart, but all of PA will see the votes. On this Feast day of St. Matthew, a strong man of God who walked away from everything to follow Jesus, save souls, and his own eternal soul, Bob, we are praying for you...

Father, it is not always easy or popular to do the right thing. You tell us that babies are alive from thier conception and that life is not a choice. Many believe that there are no absolutes and that we do not have the right to impose beliefs on others. That is not true. While only You can judge a person's heart, their actions can lead us to believe we know them, too. Please keep us from judging  others. Help us to be strong in our faith and beliefs. Please be with the babies that have been murdered. Help your children, both young and old...both powerful and powerless, to stand up for what is right and good...amen.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

The Bread of life Machine

"I have a moral dilemma." Not the best way to open the phone conversation with your wife when you are out with all the kids...But in this family...That is what Shawn said when I answered the phone last week. He was dropping kids off at football, karate, and checking out the garage sales. When we decided to eat healthier, the first two things I looked at making were bread and yogurt. Both are pretty easy, have machines that would make it even easier, and are items we eat a lot. We live in a pretty affluent area and have found amazing bargains at garage sales so I told Shawn to keep an eye out for bread machines and a yogurt maker. Shawn found a bread maker at a yard sale. He ran out to get cash and try to get back before they closed (most yard sales here close by noon when it gets so hot!) He ran back with cash and the seller told him, "you just made it but the good news is everything is now 1/2 off." Great bread maker, half off...where is the problem. Shawn gave her cash and ran off with the bread maker while she made change. When he returned, she handed him his change and said congrats on his great buy and don't you feel good...all proceeds are going to Susan B. Koman.

Moral Dilemma! Just last week I had to give up my Evian's because they were advertising a portion of each sale will go to Koman. After much inner turmoil, rationalizing and heart break...I really CAN taste the difference in the water-- I decided I would change the filter in the fridge and drink that water...sigh. But we cannot support that agency anymore because of its ties with Planned Parenthood that I discussed in this post. Shawn didn't know what to do about the bread maker. After some discussion we decided that he should keep the bread was already in his car and he had completed the transaction--but he needed to tell the women who were running the sale about his qualms. To say that they were shocked was an understatement. They thanked Shawn for letting them know about Koman's not very advertised ties to the abortion industry. So what about you? Do you think that foundations such as Koman has a responsibility to inform donors that they contribute heavily to companies that actually contribute to the disease that they are fighting to cure?

So, after all that, we finally fired up the bread maker. We didn't even know if it would work...we laughed about that, wondering what if we got a bread maker without a pan or a wire. We both agreed that even if didn't make a loaf of bread, the opportunity to evangelize and spread the word about Koman to others made it the best $12 investment we ever made and that tastes so good.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

The First will be Last...

When we adopted our sibling group of 7 almost 2 years ago, our children immediately formed groups. Depending on the day, they were all equal brothers and sisters. If there was any kind of dispute, they split up into the ones who were here first and the new ones. No longer just brothers and sisters adopted by Shawn and I, they made artificial parameters about who was more important or had more say in decisions based on what they believed was fair. OH MY, the arguments we could have. I am so glad that we don't always have to make decisions based on their immature reasoning and feelings and instead get to rely on more objective and impartial standards. Shawn and I just want what is best for all the kids...we have known all along that however long we have had the pleasure of parenting them, they are not our children. They are Gods and He is pretty impartial and loves all of us equally.

Sunday's Gospel gives us a glimpse of our Lord's reasoning for us as more superior to our own petty jealousies and concerns. Why do the laborers hired last who only worked a little get paid first and as much as the workers who toiled all day...Because the landowner wanted all the workers to get equal pay and enjoy the fruits of their labor equally. Does the worker who only worked an hour not have the same needs as the one who worked all day? God didn't create all of us at the same time, but that doesn't mean that He loves Adam and Eve more than Shawn and I. And I would not like to be judged against Mother Theresa, much as I think I would do OK against Hitler. God knows the state of each of our hearts and he doesn't hold it against us or love us more for it. As unbelievable as it seems, He can love each of us the same.

(all readings are from
Matthew 20: 1 - 16

1 "For the kingdom of heaven is like a householder who went out early in the morning to hire laborers for his vineyard.
2 After agreeing with the laborers for a denarius a day, he sent them into his vineyard.
3 And going out about the third hour he saw others standing idle in the market place;
4 and to them he said, `You go into the vineyard too, and whatever is right I will give you.' So they went.
5 Going out again about the sixth hour and the ninth hour, he did the same.
6 And about the eleventh hour he went out and found others standing; and he said to them, `Why do you stand here idle all day?'
7 They said to him, `Because no one has hired us.' He said to them, `You go into the vineyard too.'
8 And when evening came, the owner of the vineyard said to his steward, `Call the laborers and pay them their wages, beginning with the last, up to the first.'
9 And when those hired about the eleventh hour came, each of them received a denarius.
10 Now when the first came, they thought they would receive more; but each of them also received a denarius.
11 And on receiving it they grumbled at the householder,
12 saying, `These last worked only one hour, and you have made them equal to us who have borne the burden of the day and the scorching heat.'
13 But he replied to one of them, `Friend, I am doing you no wrong; did you not agree with me for a denarius?
14 Take what belongs to you, and go; I choose to give to this last as I give to you.
15 Am I not allowed to do what I choose with what belongs to me? Or do you begrudge my generosity?'
16 So the last will be first, and the first last."

Father, help us to tamper our petty jealousy and rejoice in every soul that  prepares to enter you Garden. Regardless of our actions and how much we love You, You love us all more than we can even imagine. Thank-you for allowing each of us to be first in your heart and the least of us to be greatest in your kingdom...amen.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Yesterday was the Feast of Our Lady of All Sorrows. This is my favorite Marian feast day, and not because I see her as a gloomy Gus!! I don't think she ever shirked from what was ahead of her; she must have known she had a tough road to walk right from that first angels' visit. I cannot believe the Holy Spirit kept her in the dark. Surely she would have pleaded for Jesus' life like her cousin did for John the Baptist. No, she knew he had a difficult future but she didn't encourage him to run away. From the beginning in a stable when he had kings and Shepard's alike come to pay him homage, she knew his life had a plan and she was committed to it. In fact, she pushed him into performing the miracle that began his mission when he clearly wasn't ready to begin. She knew it would lead to something scary, but she never hesitated. She knew that there is something better than what we have now.
The reason I like Our Lady of Sorrow is because it makes her more human, you know as human as a woman who is without sin can be! A mom, who loves her son, is afraid for him when he disappears on a family outing and watches cautiously while he is both adored by the crowds and hated by the Pharisees. A woman who was amazed as much bythe miracles her boy could do and and the strength he exhibited as she followed him on that long road while he staggered off to be crucified. A frightened mother who held her boy at the foot of that hated and feared cross after he died the death of lowest of the low...where had it all gone wrong. But through it all, she is

I have a fear...though I try to fear little of this world. I know that this is only a temporary home. I know that I have a much better place to be. I fear for my children...specifically, I fear they will die a dishonorable death. Isn't that crazy...but I do. How this woman, sinless and all, was able to watch her beloved son who did so much good be put to death on that horrible, hated cross is a witness to her faith; her certainty to that what comes next is better than this.

This Sunday's second reading talks about John wanting to be with Christ in that better place, but waiting to try and bring more people to the faith.

(all the bible translations are from
Philippians 1: 20 - 24, 27


20 as it is my eager expectation and hope that I shall not be at all ashamed, but that with full courage now as always Christ will be honored in my body, whether by life or by death.

21 For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.

22 If it is to be life in the flesh, that means fruitful labor for me. Yet which I shall choose I cannot tell.

23 I am hard pressed between the two. My desire is to depart and be with Christ, for that is far better.

24 But to remain in the flesh is more necessary on your account.

27 Only let your manner of life be worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or am absent, I may hear of you that you stand firm in one spirit, with one mind striving side by side for the faith of the gospel,


Father, please give me the confident heart of Mary that whatever trials I might face with myself and my loved ones, I am able to to meet them fearlessly. Please help me to pray tirelessly for my children that they know and love you. Protect them from unwise friends and their own anger. Help them to always walk in your path. Lord, if I ever face a trial with myself, a loved one, or one of my children, please hold me and keep me from despair. Enable me to model grace and serenity in all situations and remember that you have already won our battles for us...amen.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Our Job Description

I had my son load the dishwasher last night. He overstuffed it in a way that would not allow the bowls to get cleaned. Since I was a little annoyed about the way he left his room this morning, I didn't fix it quietly and get on with my night...oh no! To his chagrin, I was rather loud and effusive in my criticism. His only saving grace was that the soccer field in the backyard was empty at the time so none of his friends witnessed his "failure."

Am I always a dish washing perfectionist? I just expect him to do his best at all times :o) That is good, no...God gave us the commandments, 10, that He expects us to obey. At Mass this morning, the first reading from Timothy (1Timothy 3:1-13) tells us what is required of a man if he wants to be a deacon. These are only two examples of lessons or rules we are given in the bible regarding our behavior.
So why did I feel uneasy about my parenting moment last night. How was my response to my son's behavior inadequate.

My way is not Gods way. The Lord demands perfection from us at all times. This is mitigated by His immediate and complete forgiveness every time we ask for it. If I falter in my tasks, he can give me the strength to move on. He is really the only way we can even approach perfection and He is always willing to carry me through. I am unable to do anything without Him.

Also, our heavenly father has an advantage in that he is able to see our heart. He know if we made a sincere effort or were just trying to get by. That laundry list of rules for deacon's is something that many types of people would love to have, not to only to strive to be Holy and good, but because we think we can be perfect on our own, without the help of Jesus. We would make amazing Pharisees...

Next Sundays 1st reading tells us all of this and more. Gods ways are not our ways and he calls for us to be perfect...not something we can do on our own but only through his supernatural help...and then not on this side of heaven. But our way is not His, and He knows our heart...
(Sunday's readings are from

Isaiah 55: 6 - 9

6 "Seek the LORD while he may be found, call upon him while he is near;
7 let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts; let him return to the LORD, that he may have mercy on him, and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.
8 For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, says the LORD.
9 For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.

Lord, Help me to always strive to be perfect, like you, even when I am so far from hitting the mark. Carry me thorough, so that I am able to model for my children an imperfect soul who is trying...not a Pharisee who can quote rules but does not love...amen.

I know that my job is to raise saints, not perfect dishwashers, or football players, or even scholars. I remember reading that God can change things in our children's minds and hearts, even when we fail. I hope that my children remember that parenting is a very difficult job and I pray that they know my heart, which loves them very much and that I am always proud of them.

Click here for today's work sheet

Friday, September 9, 2011

Sad Day...

Up early to get all the kids to school. I think we have finally figured out the final pieces of the routes (thanks, Chris and are angels!) Will never take the bus for granted again...darn budget cuts.

But no hating today. I decided shortly after the day began, there is entirely too much hate in the world. After dealing with the school and permissions, I ran into Mass a little late, but still wondering about the abundance of motorcycles and action in the parking lot. A lot motorcycle dudes were putting up flags. The priest told us there was to be a funeral. A quick google search made it  clearer. A soldier had fallen, a church planned to protest, and these wonderful men wanted to honor him and his family by ensuring no one harassed them. Why would you want to harass a grieving family.

Anyway, I got into Mass and pulled out the missal and saw that it was the feast day of St. Peter Claver. He isn't a saint I was immediately familiar with, but one I will be learning about. According to our pastor, he was a Spaniard who was called to come to the Americas and work with black individuals who were captured for slavery and shipped over here to be sold. St. Claver working by himself baptised more than 300,000 individuals and gave many of them their last rites. What a ministry...

I was saddened by the events of my early morning, but a little angry as well. How can people be so blind as to commit such horrible acts against each other. Today's gospel talks about taking the plank out of my own eye so that I can see to take the splinter out of my brother's eye. For many times do I have to do that!!?

The Gospel Reading for the 24th Sunday in Ordinary Time
Matthew 18: 21 - 35

21 Then Peter came up and said to him, "Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? As many as seven times?"

22 Jesus said to him, "I do not say to you seven times, but seventy times seven.

23 "Therefore the kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who wished to settle accounts with his servants.

24 When he began the reckoning, one was brought to him who owed him ten thousand talents;

25 and as he could not pay, his lord ordered him to be sold, with his wife and children and all that he had, and payment to be made.

26 So the servant fell on his knees, imploring him, `Lord, have patience with me, and I will pay you everything.'

27 And out of pity for him the lord of that servant released him and forgave him the debt.

28 But that same servant, as he went out, came upon one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred denarii; and seizing him by the throat he said, `Pay what you owe.'

29 So his fellow servant fell down and besought him, `Have patience with me, and I will pay you.'

30 He refused and went and put him in prison till he should pay the debt.

31 When his fellow servants saw what had taken place, they were greatly distressed, and they went and reported to their lord all that had taken place.

32 Then his lord summoned him and said to him, `You wicked servant! I forgave you all that debt because you besought me;

33 and should not you have had mercy on your fellow servant, as I had mercy on you?'

34 And in anger his lord delivered him to the jailers, till he should pay all his debt.

35 So also my heavenly Father will do to every one of you, if you do not forgive your brother from your heart."
all bible verses from EWTN

God has the answer for all of our questions if we care to look. Sometimes, I must admit, I would rather feed the embers of my anger. But Jesus tells us the only way to have our own sins forgiven is to forgive others...over and over and over...I can do that, too. I have already prayed for the souls of the bigots who pulled young black men and women away from their homes and forced them to live in slavery. I even pray for the bigot's today who harass my children because they aren't the same color as most of the kids in the neighborhood. I will also pray for the people who think that because they don't believe in this war they have the right to harass the families of the soldiers who gave their lives to this country. I believe in big gestures...that is easy. Its the day to day forgiveness that I am asked to do that eats away at my soul...Yeah, I know you are in a hurry to get to work, but I didn't make this line--the school board did when they canceled our buses. Really, you forgot your lunch..again? Yeah, I know the laundry is still on the couch; did you notice the other three loads I put away?

Lord, remind me to yank the tree out of my own eye so I can see my brother. Help me to always feel compassion and love for him, whether he is is my child, my husband, or that lady in the big SUV who always tries to pull in front of me. I know that my faults number many and I know that You forgive them completely. Help me to not only forgive my brothers but to feel that forgiveness and always show the love that is due them...amen

Finally, Please say a prayer for PFC Michael C. Roberts, a 23 year old who gave his life for our freedom, his family, and all our military.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Happy Birthday to Blessed Virgin Mary

Today is the feast day of the Nativity of the Immaculate Virgin Mary. Happy Birthday, Mary. Mary is so loved because she said "yes" to God when she was asked to bear our Savior at great cost to her personally on so many levels. What a task for a young girl to take on, even one born without sin!!! I have to wonder, watching what her baby endured during the final days of His ministry on earth, if she was sorry for saying "yes"...

The reading that we are looking at today is not the one from today's Mass, but for Sunday's. It is very appropriate. It speaks of how we are to live of the Lord. Mary did just that.

Romans 14: 7 - 9


7 None of us lives to himself, and none of us dies to himself.

8 If we live, we live to the Lord, and if we die, we die to the Lord; so then, whether we live or whether we die, we are the Lord's.

9 For to this end Christ died and lived again, that he might be Lord both of the dead and of the living.

Looking back at my 16 years old self, I cannot imagine agreeing to what Mary did. Though I lived in much more liberal time, I would not have been willing to face the censure that Mary had to face. I was not a very obedient child. In fact, obedience is still something I struggle with :o( Even many of the "right" things that I did in my younger years were more about rebellion than doing what is right, like homeschooling my children. Little wonder I was never really successful at it though I believed it was the right and good thing to do. I did not discipline myself so my children were rebellious as well...Surprise Surprise!!
I do not like the parts of the Bible that allude to "the sins of the father being visited on the children"...seems unfair to blame a child for something the parent has done. However, I can see through my own children how they suffer for my disobedience. While the children have the luxury of choosing for themselves to be defiant or to follow the Father, it is much easier if they have been raised with firm loving discipline and seen it modeled...In my latter years, I believe I still struggle with being subservient to my husband and gracefully conceding to his wishes, but I think I have been getting better as I learn to try and hear my Heavenly Father's wishes and fall in line with them....That is how we ended up with 11 children! In order to help these children to learn to obey Him, I am trying, desperately to become more subservient to my husband. No one ever said saying "Yes" was easy...
Lord, As I go to Mass each morning and pray for you to order my day, please impress upon me Your will so I spend most of my energy there. And please give me the grace to accept my husbands will and make it in line with your own. Mary, please help me to be like you...a wonderful example to my children and a woman who wants only what the Father wants...amen.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

The Problem with Neighbors

All the readings are found at EWTN...

Sirach 28: 1 - 9

1 He that takes vengeance will suffer vengeance from the Lord, and he will firmly establish his sins.
2 Forgive your neighbor the wrong he has done, and then your sins will be pardoned when you pray.
3 Does a man harbor anger against another, and yet seek for healing from the Lord?
4 Does he have no mercy toward a man like himself, and yet pray for his own sins?
5 If he himself, being flesh, maintains wrath, who will make expiation for his sins?
6 Remember the end of your life, and cease from enmity, remember destruction and death, and be true to the commandments.
7 Remember the commandments, and do not be angry with your neighbor; remember the covenant of the Most High, and overlook ignorance.
8 Refrain from strife, and you will lessen sins; for a man given to anger will kindle strife,
9 and a sinful man will disturb friends and inject enmity among those who are at peace.

So, I am not what you might call a quiet mom. I would like to say that I had to learn to yell over all 11 children, but that would be a lie. I always yelled. I used to be a cheerleader. That is my way...

I have recently become convicted...could yelling at my children be a sin? I think that when I yell across the football field, "Go ANT!!" that might be perfectly acceptable, but yelling and screaming when my little girls are biting, hitting, and pinching each other is not so acceptable. I further have to wonder how much of their behavior is reaction to my repeated loss of....not so much control.

The first reading for next Sunday makes it clear that we must love our neighbor. In loving them, we must forgive the wrongs they have done to us. I think this might mean, also, that I need to let go of the misbehavior of my babies...even if they know they are not supposed to pinch each other....even if it is 106 degrees out....and even if we have been waiting in the car for almost an hour. Sigh...why doesn't it just say that.

Father, Help me to retain control at all times of my feelings and especially of my actions. Remind me that my children are always watching what I do and I need to model appropriate actions at all time because they are learning how to act through me. amen.

I made a worksheet to use with my kids regarding this reading. We are going to do it prior to Mass so they will, hopefully, pay attention more since they will recognize it. Also, we always discuss the reading after Mass at lunch so a little familiarity might lessen the blank stares.
A Week 24 Sunday 1st reading

      enjoy and God bless!