December 14, 2015

Bible Verses for Sundays in Advent

I'm sorry to post this so late!  I thought I already had.  Here are some lovely Bible verses for your children to memorize and color for each Sunday in Advent!  The Fourth Sunday of Advent and Christmas Day will be finished soon and posted here, too.

Blessed Advent!  O Come, Let Us Adore Him!  Enjoy!

1st Sunday of Advent - Manuscript
1st Sunday of Advent - Cursive

2nd Sunday of Advent - Manuscript
2nd Sunday of Advent - Cursive

3rd Sunday of Advent - Manuscript
3rd Sunday of Advent - Cursive

4th Sunday of Advent - Manuscript
4th Sunday of Advent - Cursive

Christmas Day! - Manuscript
Christmas Day! - Cursive

December 8, 2015

Happy Hanukkah!

Saint Pope John Paul II The Great once noted that the Jewish people are our elder brothers in faith.  What a strong and beautiful heritage!

Happy Hanukkah!

December 4, 2015

"George Bailey Syndrome" for Parents

Remember the movie, It's a Wonderful Life! ?  Every year at Christmastime, I watch that movie.  I know it by heart, and yet I never tire of it and still love every minute of it.  And the older I get, I love it even more!


Because, as a parent, I think it's very easy for us to get, "George Bailey Syndrome."  And not just at Christmas.  We look like this.  We feel like this.  We look and feel like George Bailey.  Dr. Taylor Marshall articulates it well here:

By the end of the movie, however, I look and feel like this!  I look and feel like George Bailey again, this time infinitely more mindful of the mind-boggling blessing that God has given me in the form of my life.

Though my life has been easy, I'm not Pollyanna (...okay, close, but not completely).  Sometimes, life can be hard work.  And dirty.  And tiresome.  Watching this movie never fails to remind me, however, that each of us has a role in life, many roles in life, specific roles and jobs and tasks to fulfill, some of which we might not even be fully aware right now, and certainly not the ripple effects thereof.

Watching this movie reminds me that life is about people first, then things.

Watching this movie reminds me that, believing in each other, we can move mountains together, or at least whole families and towns.

Watching this movie reminds me that things can always be worse, so be grateful when they are better.

Watching this movie reminds me that there always is something more you can do for just one more person who comes into your life.

Watching this movie reminds me that faith is essential to our lives.

This last reminder is one of the most important.  Remember, to Whom does George cry out on the bridge?  To Whom does he appeal for a better life for himself, his family, and his friends?

Who made George?  God made him.

Why did God make him?

God made him (and you, and me, and everyone else) to know, love, and serve Him in this world and to be happy with Him forever in Heaven.

So, why hasn't George learned this by now?

He's certainly lived it.  George has spent his entire life (which he views as wasted, at the time) in service to others, whether it's his parents, his father's community-serving business, the townspeople, his wife Mary, or his children.  Despite his determination to gallivant around the globe in a self-serving gluttony of travel and indulgence, George spends every day of his life -- every, single, day -- in service to others in his little hometown of Bedford Falls.

And that, Charlie Brown, is what Christmas is all about.  (...oh, wait; that's for another post...)

Most of all, watching this movie reminds me that, ultimately, God always has our best interests in mind.  Always.  And that I've still got a lot to learn.

November 30, 2015

Christmas Novena!

Allison H. over at, "Catholic Sistas," wrote a beautiful, succinct blog post last year about the St. Andrew's Christmas Novena, "where the theological truths of our Holy Faith crash like waves upon the rocky shores of our real lives."  You can read it quickly here:

Are you still praying your novena?  Remember, 15 times a day can seem overwhelming, so you always can break it up into five recitations, three different times throughout the day, etc.

Blessed Advent to you and those whom you love!

Hail and blessed by the hour and moment
in which the Son of God was born
of the most pure Virgin Mary,
at midnight,
in Bethlehem,
in piercing cold.
In that hour, vouchsafe, O my God,
to hear my prayers
and grant my desires,
through the merits of our Savior,
Jesus Christ,
and of His Blessed Mother.

Christmas Novena - START TODAY!

While a novena is normally a nine-day [or nine hour] prayer, the term sometimes is used for any prayer that is repeated over a series of days. The Saint Andrew Christmas Novena is often called simply the "Christmas Novena" or the "Christmas Anticipation Prayer," because it is prayed 15 times every day from the Feast of Saint Andrew the Apostle (November 30th) until Christmas. The First Sunday of Advent is the Sunday closest to the Feast of Saint Andrew.

The novena is not actually addressed to Saint Andrew, but to God Himself, asking Him to grant our request in the honor of the birth of His Son at Christmas. You can say the prayer all 15 times, all at once, or divide up the recitation as necessary (perhaps five times at each meal).

Prayed as a family, the Saint Andrew Christmas Novena is a very good way to help focus the attention of your children on the Advent season.

Saint Andrew Christmas Novena
Hail and blessed be the hour and moment in which the Son of God was born of the most pure Virgin Mary, at midnight, in Bethlehem, in piercing cold. In that hour, vouchsafe, O my God! to hear my prayer and grant my desires, through the merits of Our Saviour Jesus Christ, and of His Blessed Mother. Amen.

(source: by Scott P. Richert at

November 26, 2015

Give Thanks for Our Creator!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Here we are again, starting the Church's New Year (the first Sunday of Advent) immediately on the heels of a uniquely American holiday, Thanksgiving, a day specifically ordained for the cause of giving thanks as a nation to our Creator.  What a joyous union of our great country's secular and religious priorities!

To start off your Church New Year, I'd love to share with you a cherished novena, commonly known as the "Christmas Novena" or the "St. Andrew's Novena" (the former so named for its last day; the latter so named for its first).  This novena is to be recited 15 times per day (yes, you read that correctly -- fifteen times per day...I know, whew!) from Monday, November 30th (the Feast of St. Andrew) through Christmas Day (the Feast of the Nativity of Our Lord).

This is piously believed to be a powerful novena!

Think it's too much?

So, break up your recitations -- pray five at breakfast, five at lunch, and five at dinner or bedtime.  Maybe post a few copies of the prayer throughout your house (scroll down for a copy!), along with your Christmas decorations, praying it as you move throughout your day.  Maybe pray it as a family, assigning each person or child to pray it at least one, two, or five times per day to make a family total of fifteen.

Is it magic?  No.

Is it fool proof?  No.  (Remember, I'm praying it, too!)

Does it not "count" if you miss a day or miss a recitation?  Who knows.

No --I meant "Who" purposely with a capital "W."  God knows.  Only God knows.  Only God knows what's in your heart and mind this Advent and Christmas season.  Only God knows why you might need this novena and actually were inspired to click on this e-mail from that crazy lady in Savannah.  Only God knows the efficacy of our prayers.

Only God, the Creator of the universe and of YOU, came down from on high as a helpless Infant Child, specifically to rescue YOU from the insanity of life as a flawed human being.  Remember, He made you.  He made you to know, LOVE, and serve Him and to be happy with Him forever in Heaven.

He loves you.

Please join me in TRYING to pray this novena, TRYING to focus at least a portion of our increasingly busy December days on the Infant Christ, Who is to come.  He is coming to save the world -- to save YOU!

Hail and blessed be that incomprehensibly vast and singular moment of His arrival.

Please join me in prayer for a very merry Christmas, indeed!  Enjoy!  :-D

Saint Andrew
Christmas Novena

Hail and blessed be the hour and moment in which the Son of God was born of the most pure Virgin Mary, at midnight, in Bethlehem, in piercing cold. In that hour, vouchsafe, O my God! to hear my prayer and grant my desires, through the merits of Our Saviour Jesus Christ, and of His Blessed Mother.  Amen.

October 22, 2015

Keep Your Eyes on the Prize

A new homeschool mom recently contacted me and expressed her insecurity about getting it "right" or doing "enough" for her kids.  I thought she, like so many of us homeschool moms, was being a little hard on herself.  I know this is easy to say, but -- DON'T BE!  Any time you think you're not doing "enough" or not doing it "right" (even on days when your kids don't "want" to be homeschooled), remember:

Remind yourself of your original or core reasons for homeschooling.

Remind yourself of the cess pool of cultural garbage in government schools and be glad your kids aren't being corrupted by those influences.

Remind yourself that God specifically has endowed YOU, as YOUR children's parent, to be their best teacher!

Are you an expert on every academic subject?  No.
Are you an expert on elementary education?  No.
Are you an expert on child psychology?  No.

Are you an expert on YOUR children?  YES!
Are you capable of learning alongside your children?  YES!
Are you available to be your child's personal tutor 24/7?  YES!

So.  The next time you're "should - ing" on yourself ("I should be doing this," "I should be doing that,"), follow these simple steps:

Take a step back.
Take a deep breath.
Look up at God.
And smile!

There is SUCH an overwhelming wealth of academic and co-curricular materials available out there nowadays to homeschool families.  Neither you (nor ANY teacher) can possibly teach her child(ren) everything that's offered at every grade level.  But, that's one of the many beautiful aspects of homeschooling -- YOU get to choose your child's subject matter, focus, and interests.  It's not chosen by the least common denominator, Common Core, or teaching to the standardized test.

What freedom!

Remember, all things are possible with God!  He made us, right!?  And He made your kids and gave them to YOU, because He knew you could do it!

Remember, God made you to know, love, and serve Him in this world and be happy with Him forever in Heaven.  But, not just you.  Your children, too!  When you stand before the Lord, I don't think He will ask you how Jane did on her 8th Grade Algebra Test.

I think He will ask you, "What did you do with the souls I entrusted to you?"

Your answer should be, "I did my best, Lord, to bring them home to You."

The rest is just gravy.

October 16, 2015

Shutterfly - 101 Free Prints!

I just ordered a photo book from Shutterfly and they gave me this coupon for 101 Free Prints to pass along to friends.  With Christmas coming (what!? already!? yes, only 69 days!), I thought this might be economical and useful for anyone who likes to tuck a family photo into their Christmas cards.

Here is the link for you:


October 10, 2015

The Kingdom of Irrationality

"The Kingdom of Irrationality," St. Pope John Paul II wrote to a friend.

(Well, of course he was talking about motherhood, silly!)

Here's a lovely blog post to encourage every mother out there in the trenches, who is up to her eyeballs in the nitty-gritty of raising children.  The saints see, understand, and are pulling (and praying!) for you!

She's Not Done

Julie Walsh articulates so well the joys, sacrifices, and chaotic madness of love that is life in a larger family!  Enjoy her blog post "You Won't Hear Me Say I'm Done!"

Welcome Home to Rome!

Fox News contributor Kirsten Powers has announced that she is converting to Catholicism this weekend.  Congratulations Kirsten and welcome home to Rome!

You can read various relevant stories about Kirsten's conversion at these links:

The Deacon's Bench

Christianity Today

Wikipedia Biography

October 9, 2015

Homeschool Planner Pages - FREE!

There are SO many homeschool moms out there who are far more clever and creative than I ever will be.  Thankfully, they are generous, too!

If you're like me and are (slightly...heh-heh!) OCD about your planner or calendar, then you are going to LOVE these free, printable, Charlotte Mason-style homeschool planner pages brought to you by  She also has some links at the bottom of the page for Bible verses and hymns, too.


October 6, 2015

Think, Not Pink

A wise friend just sent me this letter, and I simply cannot say it any better.  Thank you, Betsy!

Since it is October, be prepared to be inundated with pink everything, along with requests for your hard-earned dollars to go to the Susan G. Komen Foundation, ostensibly to help prevent breast cancer.

It is a sign of the times that a foundation collects hundreds of millions of dollars to supposedly stop breast cancer, and then gives it to an organization like Planned Parenthood, which directly increases cases of breast cancer through abortion. Talk about feathering their own the cost of innocent babies' and women's lives.

I never buy anything with pink on it--not even sneakers.  Not yogurt, not M&M's, not Campbell's soup, NOTHING.  I refuse to participate in any way with an organization so closely linked to the taking of innocent human life.

If you aren't sure, please look at the following information about Komen from Georgia Right to Life:

Komen and Planned Parenthood: What's the Story?

Everyone would like to see breast cancer go away. No one is denying that a cure, just like for all the other cancers out there, would be a blessing.  But, giving to Komen is NOT the way to make that happen.

Let's remember October for whose month it REALLY is: Our Lady's!

October 5, 2015

And What Did We Learn?

Yesterday, I ran my first 5K race.  Ever.

No, please.  Hold your applause.  It wasn't pretty.

This wasn't some quest which I had long-dreamed to accomplish.  This was my husband's bright idea of "togetherness" for our family.  You know, an activity in which the whole family can participate!

Yay!  Right!?


My husband and eldest son regularly run 5K races, either for fun on Friday nights with a local running group or on the weekends in support of a good cause.  This weekend, he said cheerfully, let's all run the 5K -- you, me, the kids, everyone!  Yippeeeee!


You see, what my husband apparently didn't understand is that, while running our household, I normally run rings around anyone and easily qualify as Wonder Woman.  We're like the 1980 US Hockey Team on rocket boosters and I am the Air Traffic Controller (ATC) of the airspace.  (I struggle not to laugh in the face of people who actually wonder aloud how on earth homeschoolers get "socialization."  Have you seen our family's calendar!?)

As an individual, however, I'm rather a dull, average, ordinary person.  Really.

If you want an Executive Vice President of Domestic Management and Organization, then make an appointment with me.

If you want an expert on health and fitness and how to become Superman, then call my husband.  He is a Spartan warrior.  I am Gunga Din.

And I'm perfectly happy to be Gunga Din, water girl and "crew" for these 5K races, juggling H2O, race equipment, and temper tantrums for the physically hot and overwrought.

But, yesterday, it was not to be.

Yesterday, for the first (and hopefully last) time, I pinned on a bib (I know -- not that kind of bib; it was a number!), crouched into a starting position worthy FloJo, and when the starter yelled, "GO!" I took off, buoyed along on a joyous tide of runners, all smiling and anticipating the thrill and exhilaration they'd feel when they returned to cross the finish line.

The winner finished her race in a blistering 18 minutes, 45 seconds.

Wanna know what happened when I finished the race?

Dead last?

Well, let's just say that I was so far behind that my husband and eldest son actually went back out to find me.  When we approached the finish line, the crowd of race runners already were bunched in a group there.  With their backs to me.  As they posed for a post-race photo.


Now, I should mention at this point that I ran the race (...okay, walked most of it...) not entirely alone.  Remember how this was supposed to be for the whole family?  Well, of our six children, I had our four year old with me.  He had taken off like an arrow, but had pooped out early and now was riding somnolent in his stroller, which I (thank God!) had thought to bring along literally at the last minute.

And do you know what that lil' stinker did?

Just before we rounded the last turn approaching the finish line, realizing where he was, he sprang up and frantically clambered out of the stroller, so he could RUN up the last stretch of the race to receive the adulation and cheers of his adoring fans.

(Picture the Philadelphia Museum of Art steps and cue the "Rocky" music.)


You know.  Learning experiences usually are either painful or expensive.  At least this one was cheap.

What did I learn?

CARPE DIEM - For one thing, I learned that my four-year-old is a whole lot smarter than I am.  Fully aware we had been riding drag the entire race, he nevertheless squeezed what exhilaration he could from it by crossing the finish line running hard with a dazzling grin.  Seize the moment!  Seize the day!  Would that we all would so easily cast off our self-consciousness and rejoice in what we can do in such grand, happy, infectious style!

LOVE IS A CHOICE - My husband is a prince.  Hands down, he's finders keepers.  He turned his white horse around and rode back out to find and rescue me, giving me generous kudos and pointers as I grumbled along while we finished my race together.  Love is a choice.  Marriage is a partnership.  And my Leonidas staunchly was not leaving without me.  Awesome!
YOU CAN LEAD A HORSE TO WATER.... - But, running still is just not my thing.  Really.  Like, so not.  I knew it before.  I know it even more now.  I have great respect for those for whom running is invigorating and inspiring.  And if there had been a horse for me to lead to water and run in this race, then I'd be writing a different story.  But, we all have our roles.  Know thyself.  I am a groundling and I know I don't like running.  At all.  I took one for the Team.  Now, could I please just have my water bucket back?  Now?  Please?

HUMILITY - There is nothing more humbling than being last.  It somehow resurrected all the miserable feelings of playground team selections in my youth (Last.  Again. *sigh*).  Every other person out there yesterday ran harder, faster, stronger than I did -- even all my kids!  (Two of them took off like greased lightning and never looked back!  Woo-hoo!)  But, I finished so poorly it was assumed no one could possibly still be out there straggling along.  I'll never forget that mental image of a crowd of people at the finish line with their backs unwittingly turned toward me.  It's a useful image.  It's good for the soul to be vividly reminded once in a while that everyone else's life does not, in fact, revolve around yours.

God calls us to know, love, and serve Him in this world and be happy with Him forever in the next.

If nothing else this weekend, I learned that it's helpful to know thyself, to love (for better or for worse) those whom God has placed in our lives, and to serve others, especially past the point of personal sacrifice.

"Give until it hurts," Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta said.

Boy, she wasn't kidding.  Now, somebody please hand me the ibuprofen.

October 4, 2015

Respect Life Sunday

“Defend the lowly and fatherless; render justice to the afflicted and needy.  Rescue the lowly and poor; deliver them from the hand of the wicked.” (Psalm 82:3-4)

"Before I formed you in the womb, I knew you.  Before you were born, I dedicated you..." (Jeremiah 1:5)

September 29, 2015

Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati

Today, I would like to highlight the lives of two very remarkable people: Therese Lipscombe and Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati.

Therese is a senior in high school who suffers from cystic fibrosis, a life-threatening, genetic disease that causes persistent lung infections and progressively limits the ability to breathe. Thick mucus builds up in her organs, especially her lungs, preventing the release of digestive enzymes and clogging airways and trapping bacteria, leading to infections, extensive lung damage, and eventually, respiratory failure.

Basically, Therese can breathe right now about as much as you or I could through a straw.  Really.  Go on.  Try it.  It's not fun.

Walking from one room to another or eating a small meal causes Therese to be out of breathe and panting, as if she'd just run a 5K race in 20 minutes.

But, Therese keeps going.  She is joyful and outgoing, with a heart for service to others.  She is one of my favorite people and adopted niece!

I've never met a person who is more positive, more upbeat, more enthusiastic about LIFE in general than Therese!

Which is why I also want you to meet Blessed Pier Giorgia Frassati.

On 6 April 1901, Pier Giorgio was born in Turin, Italy into a prominent family, which owned the noted liberal newspaper La Stampa.  Though an average student, Pier Giorgio was known among his peers for his devotion and piety, works of service, and charity. He was active with Catholic youth groups and was a Third Order Dominican. He established the newspaper Momento based on Pope Leo XIII's encyclical, Rerum Novarum, and joined the St. Vincent de Paul Society in 1918, spending much of his time helping the poor.

He also vigorously enjoyed outdoor pursuits like rock climbing, skiing, and horseback riding.

His friends described him as “an explosion of joy!”

Frassati died in 1925 of poliomyelitis. His family naturally expected Turin's elite and Pier Giorgio’s friends to attend the funeral.  However, they were shocked to find the streets filled with thousands of mourners, many of whom he had helped directly during his brief life. 

The poor of the city petitioned the Archbishop of Turin to begin the cause for Frassati's canonization. The process was opened in 1932 and on 20 May 1990 St. Pope John Paul II beatified him.

After this, Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati's body was moved from the family crypt in the Pollone Cemetery in Turin and re-interred in the Turin Cathedral, at which time his body was found to be incorrupt.  His body remains there for veneration by the faithful today!

Joyful, outgoing, Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati, with a heart for service to others, needs only one miracle to become a saint.  Only one.

Just.  One.  Miracle.

Joyful, outgoing, Therese Lipscombe, with a heart for service to others, needs only one miracle to be healed.

Just.  One.  Miracle.

We believe that, if it is God's Will, Therese can be Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati's .... miracle!

Specifically, right now, as her condition is dramatically worse, please pray for Therese's miraculous healing, through the intercession of Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati!  And spread the word to others to beseech their prayers, too!

"O merciful God,
Who through the perils of the world
deigned to preserve by Your grace

Your servant, Pier Giorgio Frassati,
pure of heart and ardent of charity,
listen, we ask You, to our prayers and,
if it is in Your designs that he be
glorified by the Church, show us Your will,
granting us the graces we ask of You,
through his intercession,
by the merits of Jesus Christ, Our Lord.

+Maurillo, Archbishop of Turin

(sources:  Catholic Online and


September 28, 2015

Seton - 6th Grade Material

Here's a chart I made to track the graded material that was due for Seton this past year when one of my children was in sixth grade.  I made it blank so anyone can use it.

The "P" in a circle denotes that the item is parent-graded.

The column headers denote spaces in which to put a check mark for completion (the check mark), that the item has been uploaded to Seton's website (the little computer), and what grade finally was received (A+).

Hope it makes someone's else life a little more organized and easier this school year!

(, I just have to go design charts for this year for all my kids.  Oy!)  :-)

September 25, 2015

Coloring Pages!

Ooooo!  What a find!  And just in time for the beginning of the school year!

Too often, I grumble about religious coloring pages that are of poor quality or don't enlarge well to a standard page size.  But today, here are two mah-velous links for you, dahling, of Catholic and Biblical coloring pages!  As you visit each site, scroll down for even more choices!

Waltzing Matilda

Wow!  What a visual treasure trove for your little ones!  If you have any coloring page sites to recommend, please share them in the comments.  Thank you so much!

September 22, 2015

Meet Candy Carson

A dear friend recently sent me a copy of this article about Dr. Ben Carson's wife, Candy Carson.  I hadn't heard anything about Mrs. Carson in the media, and came away thinking what a positive, refreshing, and inspiring individual she is!

However, I recognized her immediately.  Through their work, both professionally and charitably, my parents made sure when we were growing up that their children were surrounded by women like Candy Carson.  Such so-called, "old-fashioned values," were what made our country great and gave Americans a steady, consistent moral compass.  In the recent words of Patrice Lewis at World Net Daily*, "[Men]
make the living, then return home to the person who is making the living worthwhile."

As Mrs. Carson shows, many women, in addition to raising their families, also accomplish great things outside the home.  But, as she also clearly understands, the wife or mother is the heart of the home.  And America is the greatest nation on Earth for women to have the choice and resources to achieve their greatest potential, either at home or in any other area they so desire.

I firmly believe gratitude is the mother of many other virtues.  Candy Carson is grateful for the many ways in which God has blessed her life.  What a privilege it would be to have a woman of such graciousness, a man of such integrity, and a couple of such strong faith in the White House!

God Bless America, indeed!

P.S. - Bonus articles!  Here are a few other (brief!) gold nugget articles to introduce you to the person Dr. Ben Carson is, the person the media seldom will fully convey:

1).  Pediatric Neurosurgeon - Water on the Brain Surgery

2).  Gifted Hands: The Ben Carson Story

3).  Quick Facts About Ben Carson
4).   Ben Carson's Official Website

September 19, 2015

On Mary

I've always marveled at why the Blessed Mother even gives us the time of day.  I mean, really.  We crucified her Son.  Would YOU be interested in befriending someone who did that to YOUR only child?

If you have children, then you understand the ultimate protective feelings engendered if anyone so much as threatens to look cross-eyed at one of your offspring.  And yet, despite what we have done to Jesus -- Mary's only Son -- in sending Him to the cross for crucifixion, Our Lady STILL nevertheless mercifully reaches out to us in our sinfulness, accepts us as her own, encourages us, and always points us toward Him, her only Son.


Is there any better example of selfless obedience, humility, and service to God?

Our Faith teaches us that we were made to know, love, and serve God in this world and be happy with Him forever in Heaven.

Mary teaches us HOW to know, love, and serve God in this world, so we may be happy with Him forever in Heaven.

Is there any greater gift of hope to the human race than the ongoing loving example of the Mother of God?

September 9, 2015

Church of the Savior on Spilled Blood

Today's inspiration for you:

Travel abroad vicariously for a moment and see the Church of the Savior on Spilled Blood in St. Petersburg, Russia.  It's a Russian Orthodox church built in the late 19th century under the direction of the Russian imperial family on the site where Emperor Alexander II was fatally injured in March of 1881.  Give all the glory to God!

September 7, 2015

Eucharistic Miracle In...1996!

"And the Word became flesh, and made His dwelling among us!" (John 1:14)

We pray these words everyday when we pray The Angelus at noon.

We profess this belief every day and every Sunday when we recite the Nicene Creed and receive communion at Mass.

We celebrate this moment, in which time itself is delineated between B.C. ("Before Christ") and A.D. ("Anno Domini," Latin for, "In the Year of Our Lord"), every year at Christmas.

Believe it!

Now, to inspire and renew your belief, here is a WONDERFUL (short) video that is completely worth your time, about a recent Eucharistic miracle involving our current pope, Pope Francis.  The video is simple, informative, amazing, and suitable for all ages.

Enjoy!!!  :-D

Ladybug, Ladybug...!

My husband made an interesting observation today:

He remembered that, when my father died, I was so devastated that I made the comment, half-seriously, "Why is everyone acting like nothing happened!?  How is it that the world is still just.... moving forward, going on, going about its business as usual?"

We feel the same stupefied shock when we consider the ongoing holocaust that is abortion today.  Even in the light shed by  revealing new Planned Parenthood videos, why have we all momentarily gasped in horror, then shaken our heads sadly and trundled on about our lives, business as usual?

And why is the Church doing that?

Wait a minute.  Let's back up a bit.

Several years ago, my husband and I saw a sign at the annual March For Life in Washington, D.C.  (which is attended by hundreds of thousands of people annually and has been going on for forty-three years!), which read:

"Every abortion clinic should have a sign out front that reads:

'This Abortion Clinic Open
By Permission of the Local Christian Churches.' "

Don't get me wrong.  I wholeheartedly believe in the power of prayer.  There are many things which God alone can do.  But, He welcomes our supplication.  Countless hours of dedicated prayer by untold numbers of people (including our family) in front of their local abortion facilities (like this woman, who was arrested for it) or on the Mall in D.C. on an ice-cold January day, are invaluable.

They save lives.  Literally.

Prayer and fasting are the gateway to the heart and mind of God, Who alone can change the heart and mind of...anyone!

So, the Bible says, "Pray without ceasing," (I Thessalonians 5:17).


The Bible also says, " without works is dead," (James 2:26b).


What works are we doing?
What works is the Church doing?


Remember the old nursery rhyme?

Ladybug, ladybug, fly away home.
Your house is on fire!  And your children are gone!
All except one and her name is Anne,
for she crept under the frying pan.

My husband noted that our moral house in America is on fire, good people.  And when your house is on fire, you don't stop to finish painting a room or sweep the floor or mow the lawn or put the dishes away.

When your house is on fire, you grab your kids, and you go.  You run.  You RUN out of that house!

The house of our human family in America is on fire today, and it is up to us to grab our children and run.  This includes the silent children waiting patiently to be born within the previously assumed safety of their mothers' wombs.

Everything else is secondary.


For me.  For you.  And for the Church.

The Catholic Church today is the single most powerful, worldwide, religious institution.  The Church, this "Goliath for God," MUST do every effective, tangible, practical thing to put real pressure on the abortion industry, so that abortion's killing fields come to a screeching halt and are put out of business.  Today.

I'm not talking about just continuing the individual (priceless!) efforts of indomitable old ladies offering their daily Mass.  Nor of courageous reporters revealing the revolting reality behind the scenes of abortion practices.  Nor of non-profit organizations like the March For Life who spend every day of the year beating the pavement to save every single life they can.  Nor even of our Christian brothers and sisters in other denominations, who join the Catholic Church in this almighty fight.

All of these are important!  All of these are actions that are supplications to God to end abortion.

But, I'm talking about the hierarchy of the Church.  I'm talking about the strong arm, the muscle, the official power.  The leaders.  The deacons.  The priests.  The bishops.  The Vatican.  The pope.

The Holy Father, Pope Francis, is about to visit the United States for the first time.  Is this the welcome mat that the Catholic Church in America is going to lay out for him?  Miles of film footage showing the evils of abortion, which we continue to allow in our country under the guises of, "freedom," "choice," and the profit of, "line items"?

Is that it?

There must be something more we can do, something more the Church can do.

I know the Church has pro-life offices.  I know the Church has always, "condemned," abortion (the history of which viewpoint Father William Saunders articulates excellently here).

But, abortion is a devastating fire.  It is a conflagration from the evil one.  We are the ladybugs.  And the Church has the potential to provide the shelter of the frying pan.  We must fly away home and rescue the children, drop whatever else is occupying us, and get them safely under the protection of the frying pan.

And then we must pick up a fire extinguisher, aim it well, and smother the life-exterminating blaze of abortion until it ceases to exist.

But, what will our fire extinguisher be...?

Forget the spaghetti dinners and flower sales and church gift shop.  All of that helps, yes.  But, we still haven't won.

What can we do to halt abortion?  Now.
What can the Church do to halt abortion?  Now.

Ladybug, ladybug, fly away home.
Your house is on fire!  And your children are gone!

Our human home is burning to death.  Abortion exists because, as human beings, we allow it.  We turn our backs on women in unintended pregnancies and allow the murder of organisms which unarguably can only be humans in their earliest nascent state.

Until abortion is stopped, until we put out the fire of this scourge on human life, every ounce of energy, resources, and column inches belonging to us and to the Catholic Church in America should be put to use eradicating abortion.

Without LIFE first, nothing else matters.  And abortion is a deadly plague.

Are we so ineffectual?  Is the Church?  Is there nothing more we can do in this country to protect LIFE so that abortion is recognized for the horror that it is!?  What am I missing?  Why is abortion still legal?

September 1, 2015

How to Play Cornhole!

Labor Day's right around the corner.  It's the last week of summer!  Here's a fun idea for your last hurrah of lawn games and picnics before autumn's chill sets in -- play cornhole!  The website below has complete directions on constructing your own cornhole set, which could be an excellent group woodshop and sewing project for homeschooling!  If you have other related sites for fun lawn games, please feel free to note them in the comments for everyone.

Thank you!  Enjoy!

How to Play and Make Your Own Cornhole!

August 27, 2015

Saint Peg Doll Exchange

For the second time, our homeschool group ventured into the territory of "Saint Peg Doll Exchange!"  What an absolutely fun odyssey!  Here's how ours worked:

An e-mail went out inviting anyone who wished to participate to choose a saint to paint for a peg doll exchange.  Once the number of the group and each person's saint was determined, the organizer ordered wooden peg dolls (here's what we used on-line from Woodworks, Ltd. at -- we used the 3"+ "Man Body" for male saints and the "Doll Body" for female saints), as well as a pack of inexpensive paint brushes and various flesh colored acrylic paint (the latter available for as little as $0.50 per two ounce bottle at Wal*Mart, Michael's, A.C. Moore, Hobby Lobby, etc.).  Our organizer later was reimbursed for this.

Our organizer hosted our gatherings, but anyone may host.  First, we all brought appetizers (the real reason for getting together -- good food in good company, right!?) and met one night at our organizer's lovely home to dispense the initial supplies and reimburse her.  Then we all sat around various tables together (20 women participated), kabitzing and snacking while we painted all 20 of our own saint's face and head flesh (this is usually the base coat; more on that in a minute).

After that, we collected our newly begun saints and supplies and trundled home to complete their details over the next four weeks with various paints we had purchased on our own.  We gave the pegs a final spray coat of varnish for protection, then got together (again!) to exchange them!

Easy!  Right...?  ;-)

You can do this!  Here's how it went down at my house:

I already had paints and brushes from previous projects, so I lined up my new naked peg dolls, ready to go!  Each detail on every peg doll will get painted at the same time (e.g. - paint everyone's eyes all at once, then all the noses, then all the robes, etc.).

Make a simple sketch on paper and choose colors and symbols which will make your saint readily recognizable.  For example, St. Therese the Little Flower wears a brown Carmelite habit and is holding a crucifix with roses, or St. Patrick wears green robes and is holding a shamrock, etc.

Stained glass windows and Eastern church icons are wonderful inspirations for saints' symbols!  There also are several artists on-line who create beautiful saint peg dolls, both as a hobby or professionally.  I'm not suggesting you steal their designs (that would be artistic plagiarism), but if you use them as a guide and your choices are informed by many it's called, "research."

Please don't be discouraged (as I initially was!) by the incredible detail and layers of dimension with which these talented artists on-line complete their peg dolls!  As you'll see from the diverse results of our group's exchange, what really matters is that this is an endeavor truly accomplished with love.

Paint your peg doll in layers, beginning with the lightest color and largest areas first.  Do not worry about the edges being perfect.  Think about it -- it's easier to paint a dark color neatly over the edges of a light or white area than it is to paint a white color successfully covering the edges of a dark one.  I always begin with the face and head (often lighter flesh tones) or any large area that's going to be white (in this case, for the Sacred Heart of Jesus, Jesus's tunic is white).

In this photo, the peg doll on the left has one coat of white paint and the peg doll on the right has two.  Depending upon the color and effect you want, two coats sometimes are needed for large base areas.

Ta-da!  ('s not a bib.  It's a tunic!)

Then I painted the base for the faces...

...and the robes.

For the robes, I normally would like to paint a dark undercoat of reddish brown (I use one called, "Rookwood Red"), topped off by some light dry-brushing of a bright red (which I did during the previous saint exchange on the St. Nicholas peg dolls shown later in this post).  But, this time, I decided that one coat of the bright red, leaving visible the natural grain of the wood, actually was a simple way to allow the wood itself to represent the folds and variations of his robes.

After you have painted the large areas of solid color, it's time to give your saints some personal details unique to him or her.  When painting these tiny details, I remove the cap to my paint bottle and just dab my paint brush right into the bit of paint in the cap, as opposed to pouring a blob of paint on my palette (just an ordinary square ceramic tile).  It wastes so much less paint and goes much faster!  Because I couldn't resist, I painted the Sacred Hearts first:

Oooo!  Pretty!

Then I painted the brown hair on the head and shoulders, two brown strands on the forehead (a distinctly, "Jesus," detail in iconography), and a chocolate donut beard (sorry, I'm not good at beards).

This was followed by the tiny black cross and crown of thorns, for which I used one of those positively ingenious paint pens (otherwise known as God's gift to artistically challenged people like me)!  I also used it for the center of the eyes.

Although it is tempting, DO NOT USE A SHARPIE for any details on your peg doll!  When you spray the protective coat of lacquer at the end, ink from a Sharpie will run down your peg dolls, completely ruining them (which I learned the hard way when I wrote black Sharpie crosses on all my St. Nicholas's white stoles last time...I had to repaint their fronts aaaaaaall over again....ugh!)

Back to our current guy!  When painting eyes, start from the bottom up or the outside in, depending upon how you look at it.  I painted increasingly smaller, concentric, pointed ovals or circles for the whites, the iris/pupil (which can be two separate colors, for example, blue irises and black pupils, but I just chose black for it all), and the glisten.  The glisten is SO easy -- just dab a tiny brush or the end of a toothpick in white and dot it on -- yet SO important for bringing the eyes to life!  Then I painted eyelids and eyebrows in varying shades of brown.

At this point, I realized belatedly I had not left enough evenings to thoroughly complete my 20 peg dolls before the exchange.  Yet, I still hadn't given them a nose nor ANY of the details on the body (except the Sacred Heart).  So, I had to sacrifice pride for punctuality and simply add the noses and a gold collar on the robe and call it a day, looking forward instead to the joy of exchanging saint peg dolls with other homeschool moms whom we love!

Thrilled to be finished, I lined up all my little Jesus fellas outside, ready to spray them with a protective coat of clear glaze.  But then...disaster struck!  The spray I used was from a can in our garage, which must have exceeded its shelf life.  As I ran the spray can lightly back and forth over my guys, a horrible, dappled, white mist appeared on top of them!  And it didn't go away!  Not even 15 minutes later.  ACK!!!  All my hard work for naught!?

The white sprinkling obliterated their hair, their faces, their Sacred Hearts...all the details, everything!!!  All my hard work, defaced.  Literally.  I went into my room and cried.  Then, I stood up, mopped my face, and determined not to give up so easily.

I got a damp terry cloth washcloth and carefully and meticulously wiped off and retouched up with paint all my little peg men, doing what the nuns in my youth had always said, "Offer it up!"  The peg dolls' hair and faces now restored, I got a brand new spray can of protective finish and gave everybody two light coats, spaced about two hours apart.  Whew!  Beautiful!

Because we were doing an exchange, each mom would wind up with a complete set of 20 DIFFERENT saint peg dolls, including one of mine, so I held one back for our family.  Before I gave my guy his protective spray coat, I set about giving him the details that I wish I had allotted enough time to put on all 20 of the peg dolls....

On his front, I added a dot of sparkly red and orange paint to the Sacred Heart, as well as two hands and, edging his robe, a row of six gold and white lace crosses, representing our six children.

On either side, his hands come out of the folds of the arms of his robe, which showed the cuff of his white tunic, a gold band on the robe's cuff, and shadows and highlights throughout the folds.  I used the same brown from his hair to outline the folds and bits of reddish brown and bright red to give the folds depth.

I wish I had been able to paint all 20 peg dolls with this level of detail for people whom I love so much!!!  But, after finishing this one guy, I looked up at the clock and saw it had taken me over an hour just to complete these details on one doll.  Sadly, with everything else our family has going on right now, I just didn't have several more nights before the exchange to spend at least 20 more hours painting....  :-(

For the completed peg dolls, we wrote our names, the saint's name, and the year on the bottom of the pegs with a fine point Sharpie marker (you can use a Sharpie on the bottom of the raw wooden pegs, because that doesn't get painted nor sprayed with the lacquer finishing coat).  Then everyone will gather at our organizer's home for another fun evening with faith-filled friends!  When I receive the new set of 20 peg doll saints, I'll post a group picture here.

For some of the women painting their peg dolls, the project became a delightful, solitary, silent, therapy late in the evenings after a busy day, with the wee folk in bed.  For others, it became a family affair, with moms painting the base coats and teens painting the teeny tiny details.  One mom, who painted St. Faustina, said she even found a shortcut by decoupaging a miniature paper cut-out image of the Divine Mercy onto the front of her saint!  She painted the bodies, one child applied the Divine Mercy decoupage image, and her teenager painted all the facial details.  How clever!

However you decide to paint your dolls, you have to look at it like cooking -- the main ingredient that matters is LOVE!  These wonderful women chose to give up some of their mornings, afternoons, or evenings to paint and then get together to exchange inspirational, old-fashioned, Catholic, wooden people.

For some of us, our saints will be lined up on a shelf in our schoolrooms, smiling reminders of what we ALL are called to be.  For others, a few treasured favorites will be distributed to our children, perhaps as a reminder of their patron or Confirmation saints.  And for others, our children will use them gently as sacramentals and as play things (as in the time I walked into the living room, so proud after my children had ardently quizzed me on who each saint was, only to discover the saints lined up in two rows facing each other, with my son chanting delightedly, "Red rover, red rover, we dare Padre Piiiiiio over!").

Regardless of your motivations, the real benefit is the renewed and shared love, affection, and faith, as well as the peg dolls, exchanged within your group!  After all, who made us?

God made us.

Why did God make us?

God made us to know, love, and serve Him in this world and to be happy with him forever in Heaven.

Those who are happy with God forever in Heaven are the saints.  Remember?  We say it every time we begin the Rosary with the Apostles Creed -- "I the communion of saints..."  Who better than the saints (who now reside in the actual presence of God!) can provide each of us with an instructive guide on how to become saints ourselves!?

Study the saints.  Learn from them.  They are our elder brothers and sisters in faith.

I saw a quote recently that said, "Every saint has a past and ever sinner has a future."  We all are both -- sinners who are called to be saints.  God will take you whereever you are, but He doesn't expect you to stay there.  He expects you, too, to take up your cross and follow Him -- all the way to Heaven forever!

Wow!  Ain't that great!!??


P.S. - Here's another GREAT blog post with step-by-step instructions, lists, and photos on how to paint a peg doll!  Enjoy!