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Preparing for Lent…Let’s clean house…..

I need Lent….no…seriously….no laughing… I NEED lent….


like a runner needs water….

like a tired momma needs her wine at the end of the day….

This momma gets worn out…

After the excitement of the holidays, I start to drag and evidentially end up in survival mode….

I go from “I should wake up early to workout” to “How long can I sit here until I NEED to make dinner?” I love my family but the daily grind of being a mom, housewife, and homeschooling mom can really wear on me during the cold winter days…..

IMG_7509  IMG_7326 IMG_7319

The Church, in her wisdom, knows that around February…this momma needs to work on her “inner house”.  At this point, it’s hardly liveable……It’s kinda like that junk drawer that you know you need to clear out, or the basement you think about as you just close the door behind you. The Church is like that dear friend that comes over to help you “clear out your closet”…..you complain and stress about her coming over, but then you feel so good as you tackle stuff together. It’s that love/hate relationship that we have with growth…..we procrastinate starting it…..cry and struggle through it….and at the end, we ask ourselves what took us so long to get started.

So….I’ve done the “procrastinating thing” all year or the “kicking and screaming thing” like the photo above with DDD. But…now momma’s ready to “clean house”. (Got my rag on it…let’s do this…haha)


Very similar to the cleaning of my physical house, I gotta work on the same things. The dust, and crumbs are replaced by….yelling and procrastinating. Scrubbing toliets and mopping floors….with being quick to anger, and lacking in kindness….and just writing them makes me feel terrible. However, like I tell the kids, you have to “own” your mistakes, be truly sorry, and ask for forgiveness. I’m not the mom that I should be. I’m not the mom God has called me to be.  And…..let’s be honest, I can read a billion blogs that will tell me that “I work hard enough” and that “being a mom is tough”, or that I “shouldn’t be so hard on myself, because we all fall short”. And those words, and those “voices”, stunt my growth. They are lies, that our society feeds off of……so that none of us “feel bad”.

But this morning, I also sat learning from myself…..somebody that I knows “gets me”. haha. I re-read some of my old Lenten blogs….You can delve into them yourself here and here. It’s somewhat humbling to read the blogs that I wrote last year or two years ago and I am still struggling with the same stuff. However, isn’t that what sin is? Struggling with the same vices over the over? As much as I would love to just “fast” from chocolate or wine, I know that the Church is calling me to a greater “fast” that only I can pinpoint.

This Lent I’m not running from my vices…I’m owning them. I desire change. Now whether or not I completely conquer my vices is not important…it is the daily effort that will change me. I desire to be a walking example of the mom I want to be and the person that others, who love me, deem that I am. So my 40 days begins, and the evolution starts.

My” tomorrow” starts today.

And just as the walk to Calvary was long and painful, I know this Lent will be too. I will need to increase my prayer time, and “arm” myself for the various situations that will present themselves this Lent.

May your embrace your vices this Lent and seek real change. My prayers are with you!



First Confession/Penance…making it meaningful

Next week my fourth child, Mini Me,  will make her First Penance. Other than her First Communion, this is the second best part of 2018 for her. I will confess that this same child has already tried several times to receive her first communion..haha. Thankfully the Holy Spirit had prompted me to look up, both times, and gently shake my head to the priest, as I moved her over to receive myself.

mini me and I

As I was going through my notes of what I need to plan to make this day special, I thought this might be a great way to link up with Kelly over at This Ain’t the Lyceum for 7 quick takes for this week.


Sit down and talk with your child about this big event.

Open communication is a great way to discover how your child is feeling about this big event. It’s a great time to answer any questions or displace any fears that you might not have known about. We recently sat down and had a little tea about my daughter’s first confession. We went through the ten commandments and did a little “examination of conscience”. I showed her how each commandment can apply to something in her life. She was able to see what sins she may be struggling with.

Place the Act of Contrition prayer in several places throughout the house to help them memorize it.

This weekend I will be taping a copy of the Act of Contrition in my daughter’s bathroom, in our downstairs bathroom, above her desk in our school room, and on the door of our refrigerator. As a young child, I would often work on memorizing a prayer that my mom had in our bathroom as I brushed my teeth or washed my hands. I didn’t even know that I was doing it. I figured the same concept would work for my little one.

My plan is to encourage her to read over the Act of Contrition prayer before bed, in the morning, and several times throughout the day.

You can find this photo below to print out here. 

first penance act of contrition

Spend time rehearsing the events of the day. 

On Sunday after Mass, I will be giving my daughter a tour of the confessional in our church. She is homeschooled so this is not something that we have done yet, although it is often covered in CCD, PREP classes, or Catholic school.

Children can often make an event scarier than it needs to be in their mind. Therefore, we will spend some time showing her how to go in and close the confessional door. I will explain to her how the priest will push the screen to hear her confession. I want her to feel comfortable with kneeling on the kneeler in the dark and being able to remember her sins.

We will then go through the motions of her finding a quiet place in the church to complete the penance that the priest gives her.

I think this is also a great time to share with your son/daughter that other members of the family (including yourself) will be taking part in this sacrament as well. It is important that we stress that we should take advantage of this sacrament when it is available to us. 

Allow your child to pick a special dinner spot.

My children pick their favorite dinner spot only several times a year…one being their  birthday, or a special occasion like this. It’s always nice to celebrate the uniqueness of each child in this special way and the other children look forward to the mystery of what dinner will be.

In the past, we have often gotten the child some vanilla ice cream for dessert to celebrate the purity of the Sacrament that he/she just received.

Take plenty of pictures to capture the day.

This picture is one of my favorites. It really shows how focused little Sweet Pea was on this special moment in her life.

first penance blog

This picture of the Fashionista just radiates her excitement of the wonder of being freed from sin. I remember her telling me “I can’t wait to now receive Jesus!”

penance kals

We make sure to get pictures of the child with their godparents, with our family, and often a picture of them holding their reconciliation certificate.

Try and select a small token gift that will have meaning for your child. 

first confession gift

This was a tradition that we started with our oldest, and has become a coveted tradition. We pick several symbolic gifts in a gift bag with this tag attached. The items change as does the symbols/virtues behind them so the children love to see what I have come up with. Additionally, we have also used white tic tacs to remind us that we are made pure as “white as snow”. You could also include a fun candy bar like “Mounds” of grace or “almond joy” of the sacrament.

Schedule confession on your family calendar, once a month, for the next 4-6 months so they can practice this Sacrament often. 

This is a huge goal of mine for this year. We have not done this in the past but have made a decision on a Sunday to attend our local shrine that has confessions right before Mass. However, this year I think it is important for the children to see it listed as an integral faith activity just like Sunday Mass.

Your child’s First Confession/First Penance is a beautiful day to cherish the graces of this sacrament.

I hope some of these suggestions will prove fruitful for you.


Happy Feast of St. Francis De Sales!!!!

When I was traveling abroad as a college student, I went on a trip to Ars, France. As I learned about the Cure of Ars, St. John Vianney, I was startled by a quote from this amazing priest.  It was once said to have been out walking when he saw a man walking his dog across the street.  It was said that he stated, “If only your soul was as pure as your dog’s.”


Needless to say, he was known for hearing confessions for hours.

As I continued my study abroad, my knowledge of the saints grew as I saw countless relics, birth places, shrines, and cathedrals to some of these amazing saints. I walked the same villages where they lived. I sat in the churches where they preached. I saw the fruits of the lives they lived.

Countless quotes spoke to my heart, that semester,  as I continued on my own faith journey.

As a young mom, I would open my old journal and often read through some of those quotes and allow them to speak Truth into my life.

My favorite quotes from St. Theresa of Avila and my favorite scripture verses adorn my bathroom mirror while I wash my face each morning.

So when I recently started the daily scripture readings with my children as part of their homeschooling curriculum, I thought it would be great to include some quotes from these saints on their feast days.

I share some of my favorite quotes of Mother Theresa here.

This quote by St. Francis De Sales spoke into my heart today:

st francis de sales

Such a beautiful reminder of how we can look for little ways to give in service of others for love of God.

How we love God is shown by how we love those he has given us in our life.

We love God by loving others. 

I love how my husband loves our children. They really are everything to him.

So when my son wanted to stop during our hike, and take a look at the huge drop off beyond this rock, I wanted to lose my mind.

Every fear for his safety surfaces.

You can imagine my peace when my husband grabbed his arm and said, ” I got you buddy. I won’t let you fall.”

It’s the little ways, like this, that we protect those around us.

The reassurance of a dad’s hand.

A mom’s comforting words after a rough disagreement with friends.

God calls us to walk this earth with “open eyes” seeking those people who need our help.

Showering our love in little ways that add up.



My beautiful sister-in-law purchased this book for me and I have been reading through multiple pages today.

It’s such a source of wisdom. You can find a copy here.

In the words of St. Francis De Sales:

” What we need is a cup of understanding, a barrel of love, and an ocean of patience.”


When the house of cards fall….

Linking up with http://www.Reconciledtoyou.com for their #worthrevisit…….
Here’s an old blog post worth looking at again.

Chasing time and Drinking wine

To say that things have been difficult lately, would be an understandment. It’s that time of the year….the homeschooling year is coming to a close and the “natives” are getting restless. One last three week stretch here of portfolios, testing, and finishing extracurriculars, and our summer will start.

But mentally,…..I’m done. Completely ready for the nearest beach, some sun, and always…a cocktail.

Add to that the recent health issues of the hubs, the struggles and pressure of having a traveling software sales husband, and all the extracurricular activities of the children, and I was completely overwhelmed. I was sitting amongst piles of laundry that beckoned, and food stuck on pots and pans that I had no energy to get to. For the first time in a while, no glass of wine or chocolate dessert was going to push me in the right direction.

For the first time, in a long…

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The gift of friendship…

I love when I find an old blog post in my “drafts” section that just NEEDS to be published….life gets busy and sometimes posts don’t get finished….so…here it is…..

The gift of friendship…



Today our family got to soak in the beauty of friendship and the joy of spending time with friends…

And it made me realize how much I miss the simple days of just hanging out with friends and family.

It made me realize how much I miss board games, and puzzles, and the simple joys of laughing with others.

I have realized, lately, how much I enjoy people. How much my heart yearns for fellowship and how much I enjoy loving people and sharing myself and my life with others.

I remember when my oldest was a baby, we used to spend countless weekends with our sister-in-law and her family. Pack n play stored in the trunk, we would set off for an evening of appetizers, and games. The little babies would each have their own bedroom in which we set up their pack n play until we snatched them up to go home. We played countless games of Charades, Passwords, Mafia, and cards.

However, as our families continued to grow, we overgrew the number of bedrooms needed, and our “get togethers ” became harder and harder with multiple children, schedules, and more siblings joining in.

I have fond memories of those times.

Today was such a gift to my family that I didn’t want it to end.

When I woke up this morning, all I could think about were the dishes that filled my sink , and were scattered around my counter.

The past two days had been a mess of quick meals, and long days of Godspell rehearsals and show times. The  house was beginning to show the effects of people who were still living there, but no one was cleaning up.

Reality check…I am not a super clean person. I don’t claim to be. haha.

To say it was overwhelming, would be an understatement.

After sending the kiddos off with their Saturday chore list, I hit the kitchen to tackle those dishes and mop the floor that was horribly overdue.

As I washed dishes, and blasted my Christian praise music, It was pretty relaxing to have a Saturday at home. It was nice to have a few moments of quiet while the kiddos worked diligently in the other rooms.

Then I got a quick text from a girlfriend who wanted to pick up a coupon that she needed.

Typically, I would just have one of the kiddos run the coupon out to her…however, I decided today to send a quick text back inviting her to hang out for a few minutes if she wanted.

What was suppose to be a quick “stop”, turned into a wonderful visit complete with a karaoke “sing off” with all the kiddos.

This afternoon was filled with laughter, and tons of smiles, and it was awesome.

It made me realize that I miss the simple days of hosting people.

Not the ” Pinterest success” type of hosting but the simple invitation for someone to come into your house and just enjoy your company.

I love that out-of-town friends will call and give me a “heads up” if they are in town. I love throwing a quick dinner date together for a college niece or nephew, and I love throwing a niece or nephew in my van for a sleepover or quick play date.

It’s not a sacrifice for me.

It’s pure joy.

It’s one of the ways that I love people. 

I cherish my friendships..and it’s something that I have clearly passed on to my children.

I love to see them walk with their arm around the shoulders of a friend.

I love seeing my teenager daughter laughing as she chats with her girlfriends on the phone.

I watch out the window as my son makes another nerf battle video with his neighborhood friend…and smile.

I love knowing that I have given my children the greatest gift in each other.


As I think about friendship, the ultimate friend is one who will lay down their life for a friend.

I think about how amazing it must have been to be one of the Apostles.

To sit in the company of Christ.

How much joy that must have brought to those tired and restless hearts….

To sit, eat and drink with Christ whose very essence was love.

To feel the peace that His Spirit brought about in their souls.

To neglect sleep, and work only to sit and soak up all that He was.

At one point today, I looked around and everyone was laughing watching one of the kids sing…..

There is a beauty in being with people who are so genuine.

People who you see that radiate the love of Christ.

We are God’s gift to each other.

The body of Christ, the community of believers, who seek His face in each other.

Today was a beautiful gift to my family.

It is a beautiful gift to me.

A faithful friend is a sturdy shelter. He whom has found one, has found a treasure. A faithful friend is beyond price, no sum can balance their worth.” – Sirach 6:14-15

Answering the call….

Music has always spoken into my life at the hardest and toughest of times.

It’s helped me calm my fears.

It’s spoken Truth into uncertainty.

I’ve driven with my radio blasting, and my hair blowing in the wind…rapping and dancing.

And I’ve sat in my van sobbing over how lyrics have perfectly expressed the words on my heart.

The Lord has used music to strengthen my faith, and armed me for the daily battle.

I love to blast my KLOVE radio station, and ask the Lord to really speak to me.

Boy, did he ever with this song….

I feel like I could have written this song. It speaks the words on my heart. It shouts the truth of what I want from my life.

The first time I heard it while driving in my van, it was like an arrow to my heart.

I had a hard ugly cry.

Then, I went home and looked up the lyrics and cried some more.

I want to live like that…and give it all I have.

So that everything I say and do…points to you…..

(Tears stream down my face). Yes, Lord…..

If love is who I am…then this is where I stand.

Recklessly abandoned, never holding back…I want to live like that.


That’s it….that’s the call.

I heard it loud and clear, Lord.

No more “I wonder if they will think this is weird”.

No more “it’s not my place to say this”.

No more “that person may find it weird, and wonder why I’m helping them”.

It’s not about who I am…it’s about who God is…and what I am called to do.

It’s all about you, Lord. It’s all for you. It’s about a love far greater than I can return. It’s about a love that I can’t selfishly keep for myself. It’s about sharing Christ with everyone.

It’s about being the hands, feets, eyes, ears, and mouth of Christ..in ALL THINGS.

Do I live like your love is true? Is there evidence that I’ve been changed, when they see me do they see you?

It’s about basing my worth not on my productivity, my financial success, or who I am in this world but on the fact that i’m loved by God.

It’s about sharing that love. It’s so simple…and yet so far from what our world looks like.

I want to show the world the love you gave to me.

Lately, I feel the Lord has been asking me to show His Love to others.

The Lord showed me that I was walking through life with blinders on. I was like a horse…I only looked straight forward at my thing to do list. I didn’t notice the young mom who could use a hand or the teenager who just needed to hear something nice said to them.

In my own attempt to be productive, I was missing all these people who God placed in my life to love and to be Christ to.

And I…I was selfishly hiding my light under a bushel basket.

I was going to bed every night from “taking care of business” and yet I had never asked the Lord what His “thing to do” list for me looked like.

When I sat down one night to do my bible study, I decided to ask God what he wanted from me.

I felt like He said to me…I just want you to notice more. I want you to share you…with everyone.

Let me give you…eyes to see…what I see.

As I drove back from bible study one Sunday, I asked the Lord to help me use my time in the van for His Glory. ( I oftened call girlfriends and family to “catch up” during my ride home)

I prayed, “Lord, what do you want from me? Who should I call?” The Lord placed the name of this person so crystal clear. I repeated the name out loud and said, “Ok, Lord”. I called and the number went to voicemail. “Huh?” I thought. “Why tell me to call someone who wasn’t even going to be available?”

She called back right away. The conversation started like this “Why are you calling me? Be honest.” “Ok…well, I asked the Lord who I should call tonight and He said you.” She burst into tears. “I’ve been sitting here crying for a while….feeling so alone. I’m just so upset. I told the Lord that if He really loved me…prove it. Have someone call me…and then the phone rang.”

Just confirmation for both of us.

Confirmation that the same God that spoke to the Apostles is speaking to us today.

The same God who we celebrate as we placed ornaments on our Jessie Tree in Advent hasn’t stopped talking to us.

The same God that spoke through Abraham, Isaiah, and John the Baptist to herald the news of the Christ Child wishes to speak to you.

Our God is personal, and He hears you.

God listens to you.

Soak that in.

The God of the Universe makes time for you. He treasures you. He longs to be with you.

However, he also asks us to share His love with others.

I want to show the world the love you gave to me.

It’s so simple.

A soft smile. A helping hand. A word of encouragement when it’s so easy to be negative.

It’s making a phone call and really listening.

Have you asked the Lord what He wants from you?….and listened?

Are you heeding the call?


Supergirls and halos…sign me up!

As the mom of four girls, I want them to dream big.

Not just…I want to one day be the President big…..but…I want to change the world big…

I want to bring others to know Christ in whatever way God calls me….that kind of big…..

Those are my dreams for my girls…..

To know that God has blessed them with gifts that are to be used for His Glory and His Purpose.

Every November, my four girls and my son, rummage through our basement dress-up trying to recreate a saint’s costume for the All Saint’s Day parade at our Catholic co-op.

We have our favorites….St. Kateri (our Indian costume has been repurposed multiple times for this) ….St. Elizabeth of Hungary (maybe it’s just the fact that they get to carry some bread)… St. Dominic Savio (my son loves him) and St. Joan of Ark.

St. Joan of Ark…..fearless, brave, courageous…….

When my youngest was around 4, she looked at me and said, “Mom…I want a saint who is really tough…and carries a sword like St. Michael…and I want her to be really brave”.


“Ok…I have just the saint….St. Joan of Ark”…

As I strapped that fake plastic armor breastplate around her little waist, I saw the look on her face change. She was proud as she looked at her older brother and said, “see…girls can do anything…even carry swords and fight battles”.

“Yes, honey,” I confirmed “but she also trusted God and His Plan for her life…and that is what has made her a saint.”

Isn’t that what we all want? To live our life trusting God’s Plan for our life? To be totally abandoned to God’s Will?

St. Teresa of Avila says:

“Let nothing disturb you,
Let nothing frighten you,
All things are passing away:
God never changes.
Patience obtains all things
Whoever has God lacks nothing;
God alone suffices.

This quote taped to the mirror in my bathroom is a personal reminder that God is in control of my everything. I’ve read that quote with tears running down my face, and with utter joy in my heart. She’s right. “Whoever has God lacks nothing; God never changes”.

St. Teresa of Avila’s words have been a source of comfort, and reassurance for me over the past few years.

When my children are struggling, I often used quotes from the saints or scripture to provide encouragement to them as well.

So when I was asked to give an honest review of the book Super girls and Halos by Maria Morera Johnson…I jumped right in.

Review a book about inspiring little saints?…yes.

A great book to recommend to all my homeschooling mom friends….yes

Boy was I wrong.

What I thought was a book for my children was actually a book for me.

Maria Johnson has done a tremendous job of immersing us, chapter by chapter, in this comparison of super girls and saints. She allows us to journey with her in discovering the beauty of such concepts as truth, courage, and virtue in light of these everyday women whom we emulate and their saintly counterparts.

This is a great read for all of those who want to be inspired by these courageous saints.

Every chapter focuses on a virtue such as temperance, fairness, or justice and then makes a comparison between a heroine from a movie, TV show, or super hero, as well as a saint who envelops that same virtue.

As I stated before, I happen to love St. Teresa of Avila. So when I came upon the chapter entitled “Paragons of Wisdom and Truth- Agent Dana Scully and St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross”, I couldn’t wait to see how she addressed this. Agent Scully had started my love of all good detective shows, and it was my introduction to the X-files that spiraled my love for shows such as CSI, Murder She Wrote, and Law and Order. After reading this chapter, I realized that what I loved about the X-Files was their search for truth. Maria had opened my eyes to my clear need for Truth. It was what I loved about Agent Scully…she continuously sought Truth whether it questioned the truths that she currently held or not.

Through this chapter, Maria introduced me to St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross and her love for St. Teresa of Avila. A saint who was convicted by her love for St. Teresa of Avila??….this chapter would be the one that would speak volumes to me. This chapter has inspired me to read more about the life of a saint I knew nothing about.

As a mother, wife, and daughter of the King, I, too, must find inspiration and encouragement for this journey in life. I, too, must dream big, not just for my girls, but for myself. What a gift to find a book, like this, that will inspire us to dream big about the virtues that are important in life.  To seek Truth and Heroic Virtue, as well as others.

I believe that the Lord has a plan for my life which He constantly unfolds each day.

Grab yourself a copy of this book..and be inspired.


Thanks…giving. Let’s be thankful…..

As I sit here on my couch smelling my turkey cooking, and watching the Macy’s Day parade in my pajamas, I have so much to be thankful for….

  • Thank you Lord for another day to love my husband, and share my time with my children. Thank you for my health…..
  • Thank you Lord for my husband’s tireless work ethic that keeps our family provided for and allows me to stay home and school my children. Thank you for his humor, his love, and his faithfulness to our marriage and our family.
  • Thank you Lord for my parents and the person they formed me to be. Thank you for their sacrificial love and the way they continue to love and support me.
  • Thank you Lord for my beautiful mother-in-law who is a true inspiration in her faithfulness and love. She has always made me feel like her daughter.
  • Thank you Lord for all my in-laws who are truly my best friends. I couldn’t have imagined the blessings they would hold for me.
  • Thank you Lord for the beautiful loveletters you sprinkle into my day to remind me how much you love me.
  • Thank you Lord for the amazing priests you have placed in my life to help me grow.
  • Thank you Lord for the faith-filled women in my Walking With Purpose bible study group and the way that they call me on to holiness.
  • Thank you Lord for the trials and blessings of this year which keep my family ever dependent on you.
  • Thank you Lord for my Franciscan University of Steubenville  family. Many of those friendships span 20 years, over multiple states and countries. I have prayed with many of you through tough medical crises, the loss of spouses and children, and financial hardships. You have been a constant reminder to me of the power of prayer and the strength of friendships centered in Christ. I will be forever grateful for how FUS changed me.
  • Finally, Thank you Lord for you……all of my faithful blog readers who read my thoughts, however inconsistent, and respond with such encouragement and love.

Praying that this Thanksgiving season will have your heart overflowing as you spend some time reflecting on God’s providence in your life. How truly great is our God!