Friday, March 24, 2017

The Catholic Baby Name Book is now available on Kindle!

Expecting a baby and aren't sure what to name the new blessing? Searching for a Confirmation name? Writing a story and looking to find the perfect name for your character? If so, you'll be happy to know The Catholic Baby Name Book is now available for Kindle. The print edition is also still available and makes a great gift!

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Charting Cycles Empowers Young Women

This article has been making the rounds on Catholic social media the past couple days, but I'm sharing the link in case you haven't seen it: What Happens When You Teach Fertility Awareness to Teen Girls

Every young woman should learn to chart their cycles. I didn't take a Natural Family Planning Class until I was 21. It was such an eye-opener for me. I had suffered from depression all of my teen years (still do), but had never associated it with PMS. I had short cycles which meant I had my period for a week, a couple days of fertility, and then two weeks of PMS with its corresponding mood swings. I remember thinking, "How could it be PMS when I just finished my period?" but that is exactly what it was.

Having that information was empowering. At least I understood why I was feeling so horrible. Just knowing that made a world of difference. It doesn't change the horrible feeling or take away the cruel recording in my head that tells me I'm worthless over and over, but I know that isn't the real me, that it's just the hormones talking.

This article explains how teaching girls to recognize their hormonal shifts can help them stay out of trouble due to anger and depression as well as avoid sexually irresponsible behavior.

While this article doesn't discuss it, it can also be useful when they do get married to help them know how to achieve or avoid pregnancy. It can also help when talking to health care professionals if something is going wrong with your cycles. You'll know there is an issue right away.

Sunday, March 19, 2017

The Triangle Quilt

This quilt took me a bit longer than usual. I've been working on it for over a year and a half, but I finished it today. My daughter claimed this one for herself as a cozy quilt to use while she watches TV on the couch in the morning. It is primarily a scrap quilt. I needed something to use up leftover fabrics from other projects. I have some scrapbooking to do the next few weeks, but then I get to start planning my next quilt project. It's hard to believe I've been doing this for the past 18 years!

Sunday, March 12, 2017

New Must-Read Book for Catholic Moms

In nine years, I’ve never gone into my Catholic Mom’s Bible Study / Book Club and said, “We need to read this book today,” but I did that with the latest book by Kate Wicker. 

If you are always perfectly fulfilled in your role as a mother and you have a group of well-behaved children who never try your patience, feel free to stop reading this review right now.  If, on the other hand, you struggle with your God-given vocation of motherhood and sometimes feel like a total failure, then you will want to put “Getting Past Perfect: How to Find Joy and Grace in theMessiness of Motherhood” at the top of your reading list.

In the Foreword, Rachel Swenson Balducci tells us that “Motherhood is not for wimps. . . .Being a mom is the hardest thing you will ever do and one of the most important. And that’s why, if we start thinking about things too much, we can get a little carried away.” We all want to be the best moms we can be, but at the end of the day, we need to accept that we are not perfect. Only God can make that claim. We need to find our center in “the loving arms of Jesus.”

Wicker describes motherhood as “the ultimate extreme sport.” It is, after all, a race with no finish line. Even when our children have crossed the threshold into adulthood, we are still their mothers. With the stakes so high, it’s easy to wrap our identity up in being a mom. Wicker wants to remind us that “motherhood is actually not [our] highest calling. Being a daughter of God is. . . The highest calling placed upon our lives is to know and love God with all that we have and all that we are.”
Each chapter begins with two contrasting quotes. One is an “Evil Earworm” that the world (or the voice inside our head) tells us. The second is an “Unvarnished Truth” giving us a much-needed dose of reality rooted in God. 

Wicker, a mom of five, offers refreshingly honest anecdotes from her own life to illustrate her points. She freely shares where she has gone wrong and how she could do better. She doesn’t have all the answers and describes herself as a “perfectionist in recovery.” She is in the trenches with the rest of us. Reading “Getting Past Perfect” is like sitting down with one of you best faith-filled girlfriends to have an honest heart-to-heart about life and motherhood. A Reading Guide is also included for use by individuals or groups. will be running a Book Club featuring this book. Find out more at:

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Good Advice on Evangelization and Catholic Apologetics

The following words of wisdom come from Fr. Joe Black and are from an article in the March/April 2017 issue of  The Catholic Mirror:

Right now, if a person were to develop an interest in the Catholic faith and got onto Facebook or Twitter to see what Catholics are saying, they'd see a whole lot of complaining and anger, but not much love. In my opinion, we are our own worst enemy.

A good Catholic apologist knows that love must be the only reason we engage in a discussion/argument about our faith. Share with those who ask out of genuine curiosity. Share with those who ask because they want to know. Walk away from the need to win and make sure you engage only out of love and/or because of love. . . .

Always, always, always remember that truth is a person: Jesus Christ. We do not want to abuse truth or use it as a weapon to bludgeon people who irritate us. If someone asks questions and sincerely wants to know, meet them in that holy curiosity and bring truth with you. Share what you have learned with joy and good humor.

Let God do the rest - it will blow you away.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Spend Lent with Pope Francis, St. Teresa of Calcutta, or St. Faustina

Lent starts next week! It is definitely time to choose a Lenten Resource to help guide you on your spiritual journey over the next six weeks. Here are three new ones that have recently crossed my desk:

The first is The Hope of Lent: Daily Reflections from Pope Francis by Diane Houdek. In the Introduction, Houdek writes, "Lent is a time to discover the extraordinary in the ordinary, to be surprised by God's mercy when we least expect it. As the season begins, think about the hopes you have for Lent this year. Think about what changes you want to see in your life, in the world. Let the words of Pope Francis guide you on a journey of bringing those hopes to fulfillment,"

This book is able to be used any liturgical year. Each day features a listing of the Scripture readings for that day. This is followed by a quote from Pope Francis and a reflection from Houdek that considers both the Scripture reading and the Pope's teaching. Reflection questions and a prayer from Pope Francis end the day's entry.

Pope Francis' very practical life-based theology resonates on every page of this book. Combined with Houdek's reflections, it offers much food for thought.

The second is Lent with Saint Teresa of Calcutta: Daily Meditations by Heidi Hess Saxton. St. Teresa of Calcutta and her Missionaries of Charity offer such an example of selfless love, of seeing Jesus in everyone we meet. Saxton writes, "As we contemplate Scripture and the life and teachings of St. Teresa of Calcutta during this Lent, we have a daily inspiration and opportunity in spreading Christ's fragrance to others. And whatever the future holds - pain or healing, uncertainty or assurance, dismay or delight - we can anticipate with great joy the glory of the Risen Christ at our journey's end."

This book is able to be used any liturgical year and includes a listing of the Scripture readings for each day. A short Scripture quote is included which Saxton then offers a reflection on, including stories about St. Teresa and her sisters as well as from her own life and experience. This is followed by reflection questions and a prayer.

St. Teresa and Saxton invite us to minister directly to those around us, to serve others, and to love until it hurts. Putting the teachings of this book into practice will help you cultivate a generous heart.

Third is Moments of Mercy by the Marian Fathers. This is a booklet perfect for carrying in your purse. Each day features a Scripture quote, a reflection, a prayer, and suggestions for further reading from Scripture, the Catechism of the Catholic Church, and the Diary of St. Faustina. An appendix includes St. Faustina's Way of the Cross, an Examination of Conscience, The Novena to Divine Mercy, and The Chaplet of Divine Mercy. This book is intended for use only during 2017. Available for purchase at the Marian website:

Monday, February 20, 2017

Love and Sacrifice

The following is part of the entry from February 20th in The Catholic Mom's Prayer Companion. This particular entry was written by Donna-Marie Cooper O'Boyle.

Mother Teresa pointed out that true love always hurts in some way. We can't run away from the pain that we sometimes encounter when caring for our family, but we can make a decision to embrace it and recognize it that it is within the mystery of loving sacrifice that miracles happen. God will grant us the graces we need to love with his love. We should ask for those graces often.

Dear Lord Jesus, please grant me the graces I need this day to love with your love and to offer my hurt to you so that you will transform it all into beautiful blessings for my family.

Your Idea Starts Here

I'm not someone who usually suffers from a lack of ideas. Actually I suffer from the opposite problem - too many ideas and not enough time and money to follow through on them. That being said, Your Idea Starts Here: 77 Mind-Expanding Ways to Unleash Your Creativity is an inspiring book for anyone who is creative by nature, suffering from a temporary creative block, or seeking to be a more creative person.

Art director Carolyn Eckert combines strong visuals with text that is both practical and encouraging. She also shares interesting stories about how various inventions came about. Be prepared - you are guaranteed to come away from reading this book with at least one new idea (and probably a whole lot more!)

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