Unless otherwise specified, all writing here on my blog is my own original work. If you refer to something I've written here, please be sure to give me proper credit.

COMMENTS ARE MODERATED: Please don't let that deter you from commenting, though. I LOVE to read your thoughts! I only ask that you keep it clean & respectful.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Catholic Company Book Review - unPlanned by Abby Johnson

"I have an ever deeper and firmer belief that nothing is merely an accident when seen in the light of God, that my whole life down to the smallest details has been marked out for me in the plan of Divine Providence and has a completely coherent meaning in God's all-seeing eyes." (St. Edith Stein)

I read this quote the morning after I finished Abby Johnson's book unPlanned. How fitting, as she described how God was leading her life. Have you heard of Abby Johnson? She is a former director of a Planned Parenthood clinic in Texas who changed sides & is now pro-life. How did she get from pro-choice to pro-life? What changed her mind?

When Abby was a junior psychology major at Texas A & M University, she was drawn to Planned Parenthood's table during a volunteer fair. After speaking to the representative, she found that she & the organization shared the same goal...helping women in crisis. Her one concern was abortion & the woman assured her that Planned Parenthood worked to make abortions rare, an ideal that Abby eventually found not to be true.

She started volunteering at the local clinic & on her first day, was shown how to meet & greet women as they arrived in their cars. The volunteers were to keep talking to the women about anything in an effort to drown out the pro-lifers on the other side of the fence.

Eventually, Abby accepted a job at the clinic & over the next eight years, worked her way up to director...all the while holding to the goal of reducing the number of abortions. This proved to be a difficult task, especially once Planned Parenthood executives started cracking down on the finances of their clinics. They basically told her that the money was in the abortions & that she needed to focus on increasing the numbers. Deep down, she knew that she could never do that & continued her goal of helping women.

The defining moment in her career came when she was asked to help during an ultrasound directed abortion. What she saw shook her to the core & that is what led her to the Coalition for Life offices near the clinic.

This book is Abby's personal story of being on both sides of the fence...pro-choice vs. pro-life. She explains what attracted her to Planned Parenthood & how she was easily manipulated by their ideals to help women. She talks about her inner struggles & how hard it was to leave...even after all she'd seen & been through. I admire Abby's strength & courage. It takes a lot to realize & admit that all you'd believed for so many years was wrong.

God has a plan for each of us & throughout her story, you can see how He is constantly orchestrating His plan for her life, even when she herself couldn't see it. I believe that part of His plan for Abby was to spend those eight years at the Planned Parenthood clinic so that she could learn firsthand the evil that really does go on behind their doors, despite their claims that they just want to help women & decrease the number of abortions needed. She was also able to show how easily one can be manipulated into participating in what is thought to be a noble cause. Now that she knows, she's able to write a book to educate the rest of us. We in turn can continue to educate ourselves & increase our prayers for an end to abortion.

This review was written as part of the Catholic book reviewer program from The Catholic Company. Visit their website to find more information on Unplanned. They are also a great source for First Communion & baptism gifts, as well as many other items.

Friday, January 28, 2011

How Our Screen Names Came About

My dear friend, Judy, asked how I came up w/ Casinodad's name for my blog...so I thought I'd do a blog post about all of our names for others who might also be wondering.

Munchesmom: When The Prophet was a baby, I had started calling him "Munchkin." At some point (not sure why exactly), I shortened it to "Munch." So, when it was time to come up w/ an email ID, I thought "Munchesmom" sounded kind of cute & different.

Casinodad: When I first started blogging, I just referred to him as "my husband" or "DH". Well, he decided that, since the munchkins & I had names, he should have a name too. He likes to gamble at casinos, so we thought "Casinodad" had a good ring to it. He is not addicted to gambling in any way & only goes once or twice a year. He is very good about his strategies & limits the amount of money he spends, only taking so much & not spending more than half.

The Munchkins: An extension of my screen name, when I refer to all the kids, I use the term "Munchkins." I came up w/ "The Prophet" & "The Archangel" when a former pastor of ours greeted them in the church office w/ those nicknames one day, based on their real names. "The Princess" came from Casinodad's dad, seeing as how she is the only girl. So, when "The Saint" came along, it was obvious to choose that screen name based on his real name.

Now, for my little dilemma...I refer to my dad on this blog frequently. He was feeling a little left out & was wondering if he could also have a screen name. I would love to come up w/ something cute & original, but am drawing a blank. He is a deacon, so "Deacondad" was one possibility, but it just doesn't grasp me the way our other names do. He would like me to have "dad" in there somewhere, but also something that would distinguish him from Casinodad. Any suggestions?

Thursday, January 27, 2011

One Hour Isn't a Lot to Ask of Us

I know there have been discussions on various websites regarding the lack of respect many Catholics have for Mass & the Holy Eucharist these days. I've seen it in my church & you've probably seen it in yours, too.

First, there is the issue of clothing! Imagine you are going to a banquet & the guest of honor is Jesus. Knowing that He was going to be there, you would do your best to make yourself presentable to Him. You wouldn't wear ripped jeans, muddy tennis shoes, a revealing blouse, or shorts that would make the Dallas Cowboy Cheerleaders blush...would you?

Well, going to Mass IS that banquet & Jesus IS the Guest of Honor, yet there are many people who show up for Mass each week in clothes such as these & even worse. I don't know how many times I've sat near teen girls (even women, for that matter) wearing a spaghetti strap top w/ regular bra straps showing...a bra should not be seen in public, girls!!! I've seen mothers wearing short skirts & very low cut blouses. What kind of image are they setting for their children...not to mention the temptation they are creating for our priests?

It's bad enough when the congregation shows up wearing inappropriate attire, but what about when you are an Extraordinary Minister of the Eucharist? You should take even more care in how you dress because you are presenting Jesus to the congregation. I've seen EMs dress in ripped jeans (holey jeans are not "Holy"), T-shirts (& not just any T-shirts, mind you...these had skull images on them!), & one lady didn't even bother to take off her winter coat & scarf!

Speaking of the Eucharist...There are people who receive Jesus' Body, but completely ignore His Precious Blood as they rush right by the Cup. Even if you are not receiving Jesus under both, you should still acknowledge the Cup as you pass by...pause to bow or take the cup in your hands & bow.

Then there are those who receive Jesus in their hands, toss Him back like they're trying to swallow a pill then wash Him down w/ a huge gulp of the Precious Blood. Do you not remember your training prior to receiving your First Holy Communion? That is Jesus that you are receiving, not a pill to be washed down w/ water!

Ladies, during the Homily is NOT the time to make your grocery list or clean out your purse! (Yes, I actually saw two separate women doing these things.)

And for goodness sake...turn off your cell phones! It is extremely rude & distracting to hear the latest Lady Gaga or Justin Bieber song during the Consecration or when the priest or deacon is sharing his thoughts on the readings.

"So you could not stay awake with me for even an hour? Be on guard, and pray that you may not undergo the test. The spirit is willing but nature is weak." (Matthew 26:40-41) One hour on Sunday...one hour away from cell phones...one hour focused on Jesus, not our to-do lists...one hour to dress modestly...one hour to strengthen our souls for God. Is that too much to ask? I think not!

God Bless & Strengthen You!

Small Successes


Danielle Bean says, "It’s important for moms to recognize that all the small successes in our days can add up to one big triumph. So on Thursday of each week, we do exactly that."

1) For about $35, I updated our decrepit couch. It was a 12 yr. old hand-me-down from my sister, so it's been through her four older boys & all four of our munchkins. At this time, we cannot afford to replace it completely so I improvised.

First to go were those torn, scrunched up back cushions.
See how they were ripped & pulling away from the back:
I replaced them w/ three floor pillows that I found on sale for $7.96 each (regularly $30 each). Then, I found a set of two throw pillows for $8. (Those spots are just from the camera.)
I finished off by doing some "behind-the-scenes" adjustments...a folded fleece blanket under the seat cushions to bring the middle up some and a couple of bed pillows & another folded blanket behind the back pillows (covered by yet another blanket). It is definitely much more comfortable & will get us by until we can purchase a new couch. I just love the splash of red!

2) I sewed something as soon as it ripped instead of throwing it in a pile to sit for several months until I would get around to it.

3) I started putting together a medical file for our family, something I've wanted to do for a while now. I've had everything in hanging files, but decided to create notebook w/ dividers for each of us & any articles I come across. It's a work in progress, but at least I've started it.

How are things going for you? Care to share? Faith and Family Live is the place to go every Thursday!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

A Thankful Woman's Book of Blessings

My dear blogging friend, Judy, over at A Thankful Woman's Book of Blessings, hosts this meme every Wednesday. Simply list five things (or a prayer or any thoughts) for which you are truly thankful this week. Voicing my thanks helps put my life in perspective & realize that, no matter how bad things might be, there is still MUCH good surrounding me.

As promised...here is the "I Love My Dad!" edition!

1) I'm thankful for the phone call from my dad a couple weeks ago when I'd had a tough day w/ The Archangel & his aggression. My mom asked him to call me & he took the time out of his busy schedule at work to listen & give me advice.

2) I'm thankful for all the household repairs my dad has helped us w/ over the years. He's installed a new kitchen faucet & sink, repaired light switches, taught me how to replace those cheap flaps in the toilet tanks, & MANY, MANY other things. We joke at times that the first number to call when there's a problem is 1-800-CALL-DAD!

3) I'm thankful that my dad chose to become a Deacon. (His 29th anniversary was this past Sunday.) He's been a great resource in answering the many Catholic related questions I've have over the years. I love the fact that he was able to baptism all four of the munchkins for us. He also could have married Casinodad & me, but I wanted him to just be my dad for that day.

4) I'm thankful that he was in the delivery room when The Prophet was born. It has enabled the two of them to have a very special bond over the years.

5) I'm thankful my dad pushed me to learn. When I had trouble w/ a math problem (or any schoolwork), he didn't give me the answer. He would point me in the right direction, so that I could find the answer on my own.

So there you have some of the MANY wonderful things about my dad. Thanks for being a blessing, Dad!

Friday, January 21, 2011

Catholic Company Book Review - Travelers Along the Way

Each of us is on a journey through life & along the way, we meet many people who have a profound effect on us. Fr. Benedict Groeschel, C.F.R., has written a book to introduce his readers to 34 of the many people from his life. In Travelers Along the Way we recognize some of those people right away (Cardinal Avery Dulles, Mother Teresa, Fr. Richard Neuhaus, & Mother Angelica), but he also includes others unknown to most of us.

In narrowing the number of people he chose, he decided to not write about the obvious...his relatives & numerous religious figures. He wrote of people from all walks of life: Catholics, Protestants, & Jewish, men & women, young & old, rich & poor. He didn't write full biographies of the people he mentions. This book is more like a memoir, showing how each person had an effect on his life. He did include a list of books towards the end for further reading.

At the beginning of each chapter, I had no idea what to expect. Some of his experiences were tragic (Chapter 8: Gary). Some were humorous. I found myself smiling throughout most of Chapter Five: Fr. Innocent Ferstler. Others gave me a different perspective on various issues (Chapter 13: A Trio of Glimpses).

This was a GREAT book...very easy & quick to read, yet full of Fr. Groeschel's wonderful stories & experiences. As I read, I started to think of those people who have influenced my life in some way or another. Someday, I would love to write my own memoir of "travelers" in my life.

I have only two complaints after reading this book, both of which require additions to my ever-growing list of books I long to read & finding the time to read them! The first is that I want to read more about many of those people he mentioned. (Thankfully, there is that list at the end of the book!) The second is astonishment on my part...why have I never read anything by Fr. Groeschel before?!?! If this book is anything like his others, I can't wait to read more!

This review was written as part of the Catholic book reviewer program from The Catholic Company. Visit The Catholic Company to find more information on Travelers Along the Way. They are also a great source for First Communion & baptism gifts, as well as many other items.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Our Daily Schedule Goal (2nd Post Today)

As I said in my Small Successes earlier this morning, I came up w/ a schedule that I'd like for our family. This is what it looks like. I'm sure we won't follow it exactly every day, but it is nice to have something in writing to use as a guideline or goal for each day.


5:30-6:30am Mom’s Quiet Time

6:30-7:00am Mom’s Shower

7:00-7:30am Mom’s Breakfast & Computer Time

7:30-8:00am Kids’ Breakfast / Mom – Laundry

8:00-9:00am Free Time-Kids / Mom’s Chores

(8:45am – Kids final call for morning chores)

SCHOOL DAY (Average 5 hours schoolwork)

9:00-9:30am Prayers, Read Aloud, Hymn, Stretching

9:30-10:15am Schoolwork (Core Subjects)

10:15-10:30am Morning Snack

10:30-Noon Schoolwork (Core Subjects)

Noon-12:45pm Lunch & Free Time

12:45-2:00pm Schoolwork

2:00-3:00pm Quiet Time for All

3:00-3:15pm Afternoon Snack

3:15-4:15pm Remaining Schoolwork


4:15-4:30pm Clutter Drill

4:30-5:45pm Free Time-Kids / Mom-dinner prep

5:45-6:30pm Dinner & Kitchen Clean-up

6:30-7:30pm Free Time

7:30-8:15pm PJ’s on & Bedtime Snack

8:15-9:00pm Evening Reading & Bedtime Prayers

(8:30pm – The Saint to Bed)

9:00pm Kids to Bed

9:00-10:30pm Parents’ Time

10:30pm Parents to Bed

Small Successes


Danielle Bean says, "It’s important for moms to recognize that all the small successes in our days can add up to one big triumph. So on Thursday of each week, we do exactly that."

1) I made up a schedule for our school days. It's not perfect & I know it won't be followed exactly every day, at least it gives us an idea of how our day can be.

2) I finally repaired a bunch of figurines & toys that have been sitting on our kitchen counter for months (shoved back in a corner). I had the epoxy out in an attempt to repair a broken toilet tank lid & figured I'd go ahead & fix the other stuff, too. (BTW - The lid would not stay together & actually broke into a third piece. Do you know how expensive just those lids can be? Average $75 when a new toilet can be less than $100!)

3) I've been trying to do better at not losing my temper w/ The Archangel when it comes to his aggression & schoolwork. It is extremely tough at times, but I know that losing my temper does not fix the problem...it only makes it worse.

How's your week been?

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

A Thankful Woman's Book of Blessings

My dear blogging friend, Judy, over at A Thankful Woman's Book of Blessings, hosts this meme every Wednesday. Simply list five things (or a prayer or any thoughts) for which you are truly thankful this week. Voicing my thanks helps put my life in perspective & realize that, no matter how bad things might be, there is still MUCH good surrounding me.

This is the "I Love My Mom!" edition!

1) I'm thankful that my mom will go out of her way for others. My neighbor's car broke down & because she is single w/ four girls, that was one of the worst things that could happen to her right now. My mom, out of the kindness of her heart, offered my neighbor the use of her car for the week...and they'd never met each other before Monday.

2) I'm thankful my mom was home last Thursday when I REALLY needed to talk to her. It was a super-tough morning w/ The Archangel & his aggression, so I called my mom to vent & cry. Thanks for listening, Mom!

3) I'm thankful for the time my mom gave me on Monday. She was already set up to watch the munchkins yesterday & after the meltdown I had last Thursday, she offered to give me some money for lunch & a few hours to myself.

4) I'm thankful my mom enjoyed her time w/ the munchkins on Monday & that they were very well-behaved for her. They practically begged her to teach them how to sew & she patiently helped them sew some buttons on pieces of felt. She even helped The Prophet make a person out of one of his socks.

5) I'm thankful for the purse my mom gave me. Last summer she bought me a really nice, hand-stitched leather one. Over time (& probably due to the fact that I carry WAY too much in my purse), the straps are starting to come loose. When I took her home Monday (because she left her car w/ my neighbor), she offered me the purse she was currently carrying because she had another she wanted to use.

So there you have it...five things about my mom for which I am thankful, although this list could go on & on. My mom is a wonderfully, beautiful person inside & out. I am so thankful that she's my mom!

(On a side note to my dad: Don't feel left out...you're next!)

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Small Successes


Danielle Bean says, "It’s important for moms to recognize that all the small successes in our days can add up to one big triumph. So on Thursday of each week, we do exactly that."

1) I decorated some boxes for the bookshelf in The Princess' bedroom: See Pictures Here

2) I've been getting up about 1/2 an hour earlier this week to spend some quiet time w/ the daily readings & mentally prepare for our school days.

3) I am "EMBRACING" the munchkins more...playing games w/ them, going outside in the snow w/ them, & just taking the time to listen when they want my attention.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

2011 Focus Word - Part 2 (2nd post for today)

Recently I wrote up the post on my focus word for 2011. My dad read it & brought something to my attention...something which I really hadn't thought of, but does fit.

This is the email I received from him:

Don't forget about "embrace", the noun. It's what you can give Casinodad & the Munchkins, and I don't mean just physically hugging them. Give them a spiritual, psychological, whimsical, heartfelt embrace as well. That means wrapping your love, your very self, around them, not merely your arms.
So how can I do this? The first thing that comes to mind is prayer! I can pray for them throughout the day...as I prepare their meals, do their laundry, clean the house, etc.

I can be there when they need me (& even when they don't think they need me).

I can laugh more & yell less.

Each night, before I go to bed, I check on the munchkins...making sure they are covered up, not too hot or cold, & sleeping in a comfortable position. (And if I go to bed before doing this, I can't fall asleep because I feel something is missing.) Sometimes, I linger a bit & say a little prayer for them. Last night, I gently placed my hand on each of their heads & offered a silent prayer of thankfulness.

And I can wrap them in a loving embrace each time I hug & kiss them.

So, I guess it really comes down to the fact that "EMBRACE" overlaps itself as a noun & a verb...both of which can be my focus for the upcoming year!

A Thankful Woman's Book of Blessings

My dear blogging friend, Judy, over at A Thankful Woman's Book of Blessings, hosts this meme every Wednesday. Simply list five things (or a prayer or any thoughts) for which you are truly thankful this week. Voicing my thanks helps put my life in perspective & realize that, no matter how bad things might be, there is still MUCH good surrounding me.

Today I'm focusing on the gentle reminders I have surrounding me...

1) I'm thankful for the post I wrote regarding my focus word for 2011. Since I wrote it, I've been trying to be more mindful of the munchkins when they ask me to do something w/ them. Instead of just saying, "Not now" or "Later," I stop what I'm doing & focus on them. I'm still not doing it as often as I should, but it's definitely a start.

2) I'm thankful for the rosary hanging on my van's rear view mirror & the pro-life bumper stickers on the back of the van. They are gentle reminders to be mindful of my actions & words when driving.

3) I'm thankful for the Mother Theresa quote I have on our kitchen chalkboard: "Live simply, so that others may simply live." It's a gentle reminder that I don't need a lot of "stuff" & that many of the excess we have can be given away so that others can have a better quality of life.

4) I'm thankful for all the wonderful Catholic images we have around the house. They are gentle reminders for so much...the love our God has for each of us, the nudge to make good choices, that He is watching all we do no matter where we are, etc. I could go on about all the reminders that come from these items!

5) Most of all, I'm thankful for the family God has given to me. He has placed them in my care & while I'm not always the model of a perfect wife & mother (who really is?), I know that they were chosen especially for my care. If ever I want to see the face of God, all I need to do is look into their beautiful faces & He is there!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

unPlanned by Abby Johnson

I am so excited to share this post w/ you, dear readers! Today, the book unPlanned by Abby Johnson is hitting the market. Have you heard of it? Abby was once a director of a Planned Parenthood clinic in Texas & in October 2009, left her job after taking part in an abortion.

From the book's description:

Unplanned is a heart-stopping personal drama of life-and-death encounters, a courtroom battle, and spiritual transformation that speaks hope and compassion into the political controversy that surrounds this issue. Telling Abby's story from both sides of the abortion clinic property line, this book is a must-read for anyone who cares about the life versus rights debate and helping women who face crisis pregnancies.
What an amazing story this woman has to share w/ us & I can't wait to read this book! The Catholic Company will have copies of unPlanned by Abby Johnson & your can order your copy today!

Friday, January 7, 2011

My Focus Word for 2011

My dear friend, Angela, wrote up a post on her blog (Pretty in Orange) about choosing a focus word for the year. When she first wrote about it last year, I'd thought about it, but never followed through. I've come up w/ one for this year, but first a little background to picking my word.

Last night, while I was rocking The Saint, I was thinking of & praying for the munchkins. I started thinking about the kind of memories I'm leaving for them & I wasn't too happy w/ what came to mind. While there are many times that I do focus on them, there are just as many where I tend to be selfish & less involved. And I always seem to have some excuse...I haven't slept well & am very tired, the house is a mess & needs to be cleaned, I'm stressed/worried about something, etc. Do I want my munchkins' memories to be of me as a tired, stressed out mom or a fun, loving, involved mom?

I have a tendency to not be "in the moment" most of the time. I'm always thinking ahead & while that is not always a bad thing, it can be when you're missing out on what's right in front of you. All my life, I've lived for the next big thing. At age 12, I started counting down to the day I'd turn 16 so that I could drive. In high school, I looked forward to the prom, vacations, or going off to college. It was always about what would happen next instead of enjoying the moment.

Things I currently tell myself include:

~ Once I get the house cleaned completely, I'll have more time to spend w/ the kids (but w/ four munchkins, the house will NEVER be completely clean & organized, will it?)

~ Once we get all our bills paid off, we'll be able to live more comfortably, move to a larger home further in the country, & not worry about finances (but then there's always something that comes up, isn't there?)

~ Once we get The Archangel's ADHD/aggression under control, then peace will reign in our house (but there will always be a new phase of childhood development that we'll need to focus on, won't there?)

The list could go on & on, but you get the point. I'm always looking towards getting through whatever situation we're currently facing only to find a new situation arise...many times overlapping the one we're currently in. Yes, I know...THAT'S LIFE, but that doesn't automatically change my way of thinking. I realize that I need to change that perspective & that's the first step in solving any problem...recognizing that there is one!

So, in an effort to be more "in the moment," I've decided that my focus word for 2011 is going to be EMBRACE.

Embrace, as a verb, means several things & the following are the ones I'm focused on:

~ to take or receive gladly or eagerly; accept willingly
~ to take in with the eye or the mind

I fully intend to EMBRACE the moments throughout this year. I know this will not be an easy task for me & will require much prayer on my part. If you could spare a prayer or two for me also, I'd really appreciate it.

Now, I'm off to EMBRACE some quality time w/ the munchkins. How does a game of Apples to Apples sound?

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Towards The Princess' Catholic Room

A few weeks ago, I mentioned in this post that The Princess wanted a Catholic room for Christmas. I decided to help her out by decorating some boxes w/ Catholic images. That way, she could still keep her regular toys in her room, but they could be "hidden" in the boxes.

My dad gave us four empty boxes from his church's bulletins.

I took each box & cut off the flaps.

Next, I covered them w/ wrapping paper. Michael's had their Christmas wrapping paper on clearance. I let The Princess decide between a solid red or a checkered, green one. As you can see, she chose the green.

I took our 2010 Marian calendar & let her choose eight images that she liked. I then cut them out & taped them to the shorter ends of the boxes. This way, she can rotate them when she wants to see a different image.

Finally, onto her new bookshelf they went.

She is VERY happy w/ her new storage for her bedroom.

Small Successes

Welcome to a New Year of Small Successes!


Danielle Bean says, "It’s important for moms to recognize that all the small successes in our days can add up to one big triumph. So on Thursday of each week, we do exactly that."

Well, despite the stresses & frustrations I listed in yesterday's Thankful Woman's Book of Blessings, I have managed to be quite productive this week.

1) On Monday, I cleaned out the fridge, freezer, & pantry...and they are STILL looking good!

2) I've made good use of the bookshelves from my in-laws. (They recently moved & gave us a bunch of things.) One went to The Saint's toy corner in the living room, one went to our bedroom, & the other is going to The Princess' bedroom later today.

3) I finally loaded into the back of the van the six bags of clothing & toys to donate. They've been sitting at the bottom of our stairs for over a month!

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

If You Have a Two Year Old Boy,

(especially one w/ older brothers), ANYTHING BECOMES A GUN...no matter how hard you try to not let it happen!

*a slice of bread
*the vacuum cleaner attachment
*their hands
*and yes, even the stirrups on the exam table at the doctors office!

(While waiting for the doctor to come in for The Prophet's well-child checkup, The Saint decided to pull out the stirrups & made blasting noises. HE. IS. A. BOY! What can I say?)

A Thankful Woman's Book of Blessings

My dear blogging friend, Judy, over at A Thankful Woman's Book of Blessings, hosts this meme every Wednesday. Simply list five things (or a prayer or any thoughts) for which you are truly thankful this week. Voicing my thanks helps put my life in perspective & realize that, no matter how bad things might be, there is still MUCH good surrounding me.

I'm going to take a different approach to this week's list. I'm having trouble finding things to be thankful for, so I'm going to list those things troubling me & find something in each to be thankful for.

1) Even w/ the newest medicine we're trying for The Archangel, he is still having at least one of his emotional meltdowns each day. (I think I'm going to do a whole post on what we've been facing w/ his ADHD & aggression.) We probably should have waited to start it after the holidays. I'm hoping that once we get back on a somewhat regular schedule next week that things will get better.

I'm am thankful that he is a healthy, active boy. He loves to learn & will often check out science & math related books at the library.

2) I am frustrated by my back pain. There is so much that I want to do (exercise, clean/re-organize the house, etc.) but the pain limits how much I can do at one time. I go to the neuro surgeon later this month & hopefully I'll be able to find some relief.

I'm thankful that it's not a serious issue & that I can still do most of my normal tasks...they just take a lot longer & I need to take more breaks. I'm also thankful that Casinodad has been so supportive & helpful.

3) The munchkins have been fighting so much the past few months & I can't seem to find a way for them to get along. Most of it is between The Archangel & The Princess...he can be so mean to her at times. I know a lot of it is due to his ADHD, but that does not excuse his behavior.

I am thankful that they are all healthy children & that when they do get along, they play very well together.

4) At two years old, The Saint still needs us to stay w/ him until he falls asleep. I know that of lot of this issue is our fault. All we have to do is leave the room & after a few days, he'll get himself to sleep, but it so hard to hear him cry.

I'm thankful that he finally sleeps through most nights (as long as he's not sick). And when he does end up waking often throughout the night, I'm thankful that he likes to cuddle!

5) I wish I had more time to deepen my faith life. I use The Word Among Us for the daily readings most days & I pray my rosary at least four times a week. I struggle trying to get up earlier though, especially after those nights I haven't slept well. In the evenings, once the munchkins are in bed, I'm so tired I can't seem to focus. And finding quiet during the day? See #3 above! I really need to start up our quiet time in the afternoons again, if only for 1/2 an hour-45 minutes.

I'm thankful that God knows my heart! He knows the struggles I'm facing & will not leave me. All I have to do is reach out to Him, if only just to say a quick "Thank You!" or "Help Me!"

Monday, January 3, 2011

Catholic Company Book Review - Raising Pure Teens

I just finished my most recent book to review for The Catholic Company...Raising Pure Teens by Jason Evert & Chris Stefanick. Now, I know some of you are thinking, "Hey, you don't have any teens yet. Your oldest is only 10 years old." And, yes, you would be correct, but that doesn't mean I can't prepare ahead of time! These days, children become exposed to sexuality at an earlier age & I would prefer to guide them along the right moral path sooner rather than later.

Jason Evert & Chris Stefanick are both chastity speakers. Together, they have come up with 10 strategies for talking to teens about chastity, incorporating the wisdom of the Church. Using statistics, real-life stories, humor, & metaphors, they give parents these teachings to implement w/ their teens. At the end of each chapter is a list a questions for further reflection. There are twelve pages at the end of the book that include a large variety of resources...texts, websites, & Church documents. Parents will realize that they are not alone. This book can give them the confidence to lead their teens to a chaste life in a sexually charged world.

This small book is packed w/ much valuable information for us parents. I wish that many of these teachings had been explained to me when I was a teen. Don't get me wrong...I feel my parents did an excellent job in raising my sister & me. But, when we were growing up, we did not have to face many of the issues teens do today. Everywhere you turn these days, you are bombarded w/ sexually oriented advertisements, clothing, TV shows, sexting, movies, books, etc. The strategies outlined in this book will be a great help to counter those issues & guide teens along the right track towards chastity. This is definitely a book that I will be returning to as my children grow into their teens. Many of the strategies I can start right now to protect their innocence...praying, for instance! And if you're already a parent of a teen, it's not too late to restore their innocence.

This review was written as part of the Catholic book reviewer program from The Catholic Company. Visit The Catholic Company to find more information on Raising Pure Teens . They are also a great source for serenity prayer and baptism gifts.


The munchkins voted between this background template & a quilted one. I really liked both & couldn't decide. So w/ their help, the snowmen won! I think they chose well, don't you?

Many blessings to all of my dear readers & their families. I hope you have a wonderful start to this new year. Thank you for the time you take to read my blog! I'm hoping to write more often this year.

God bless each of you!