Goodbye Zsa Zsa, hello Lent

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Why start in mid January what you can put off until Lent?

In addition to prayer, alms giving and fasting – I’m planning a resolutionary Lent.

I missed the opportunity to seize my few planned resolutions for the New Year since the kids and I were sick in bed the week before, during and after the clock struck midnight. Two weeks into January, I didn’t have the wherewithal to tackle the self-improvement tasks I had intended since I was in a semi-scramble trying to make up for all the lost time, deadlines, projects and whatnot that the flu dutifully mangled.

I’m all about Lenten sacrifices, and for some reason (like my personality), I continue to add sacrifices in the form of projects as the season progresses. And, I generally over-do it. In years past, I’ve gotten rid of 40 bags of stuff. Twice. Written 40 letters for life. Taken care of 40 menial tasks (the little fixes that never seem to get done) – all while leading a prayer group, doing Lenten activities with the kids and checking off “pray more” on my mental to-do list for the season.

No matter what, I feel like I end up conquering Lent. And here I am again: planning to add a resolution (or two or three).

I need to tackle these resolutions to yield a little more quiet time with the Lord for a more spiritually productive holy season. This approach is ripe with sacrifice for me since most of these improvements appear no where on my oh-isn’t-this-fun list. I am motivated to embrace these changes for the sake of his sorrowful passion. (Even though some I should be doing for my own well-being – I know my weaknesses and thank God for his strength.)

My most ridiculous resolutionary sacrifice is in the form of coffee. (No. I am not giving up coffee. I’m pretty sure I’m still called to function.)

Where's my coffee, Dahling?

Where’s my coffee, Dahling?

I am blessed to have a dear spouse who wakes me every day by bringing me coffee. (Yes. Pity me.)

Not too terribly long ago, I was a normal person who woke to an alarm. But over the past couple years, the protocol is that Richard makes me coffee (in a French press and with frothed milk, no less), and brings it to my bedside. As much as I appreciate this (and oh golly I do!), I really need to get up on my own and not be dependent on this glorious gesture. I need to seize the day – not be eased into it. He can still make me coffee (and I hope he does), but I need to re-learn how to get up outside of this ritual. There’s no consistency in the timing. Which I need. Some mornings, I’m awake and stay put in bed, waiting for that cup of coffee. I almost feel (gasp) entitled to that coffee in bed. Which is ridiculous. (Who am I? Zsa Zsa Gabore? “Thank you, Darling?”) Giving this up really is a sacrifice – because, I so love the sweet thought behind it. But it’s also a resolution – because self-improvement will come from this change. I don’t intend to go back to the practice after Easter, and I resolve to readily seize the day and offer the fruits it brings to the Lord.

A Johnny Whitaker Advent

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johnny whitakerAs our visiting associate pastor gave his homily on the first Sunday of Advent, I winked at my husband and whispered, “Wait. Did he read my blog?”

He reminded us that we have to renew our commitment to the season. That it shouldn’t just be the same old thing – unless that same old thing helps you prepare the way.

I don’t work that way. As much as I love tradition, I’m always looking for a little fuel to keep the lamps trimmed and burning, not just for me, but for our family.

Having recently completed a stewardship campaign with the children of our parish, my heart is still very much focused on our gifts: recognizing what we have received, and what in turn we give back to and in the name of the Lord.

That’s when Johnny Whitaker entered my mind.

Herman Munster welcomes Jody to Heaven just before they board the chariot bathtub to the shop of halos.

Herman Munster welcomes Jody to Heaven just before they board the chariot bathtub to the little shop of halos.

I loved the 1969 movie version of the story The Littlest Angel starring Jody (aka Johnny Whitaker) and Herman Munster (aka Fred Gwyne.). Okay, maybe I just loved Johnny Whitaker. But heck, Cab Calloway and Tony Randall are in it, too, and a crew of other celebs I couldn’t name when I was a tot.

So an endearing memory of 117 minutes of the worst green screen ever used in the made-for-TV movie of a theologically flawed but sweet tale has become our seasonal inspiration for our Simple Gifts (aka The Littlest Advent) activity.

fivehalos littlest angel

It’s already proven to be a big hit with the kids as they eagerly ask for our Littlest Advent time each evening.

I used a plain balsa wood box from Michael’s ($5) to create a simple treasure box. An old shoe box would do. Whatever works. I wanted to keep ours, so I invested a little in the box.

I bought three packages of colored craft sticks (enough to make it through the season and still fit in the box). (I bought 375 sticks, it came to $7 with a coupon.) You could use colored paper strips, too. (I chose colors to represent precious gems.)

We sprayed the box gold using a can of model paint we had on hand – to represent treasure. But we still kept it simple (fighting my temptation to glitz it up). My husband cut a slit in the top of the box so the kids could easily slip in the sticks. I put the sticks in a little basket next to the box, with color-coded examples.

fivehalos littlest angel-2

This is how I presented it to the kids … we talked about how Advent is a time for preparing for Christmas. As we eagerly await the celebration of Jesus’ birth and plan our gift giving to our family and friends, what simple gifts can we give to the Baby Jesus on Christmas? We had a discussion about God being the giver of all things and about us giving back to him from our hearts.

Then we talked about how we may offer our simple gifts to God through:

  • Prayer – whether praying privately or with others in mass or at reconcilliation
  • Glory – praising God (such as in song or at mass) or sharing his goodness and good news with others
  • Thanks – remembering to be thankful for what we have, thanking God, and thanking people who care for us
  • Help – offering our service to our parents without complaint, helping our friends when they are need, giving to the poor and lonely, sharing our gifts at church, etc.

Practical note: For us, each word had to start with different letters so the little ones would be able to recognize the words by its starting sound. (And they go to Montessori school, so we use cursive.)

Each evening, we say some appropriate Advent prayers as a family and then tell each other the “simple gifts” we’ve offered during the day. The children come to me, and I give them a stick corresponding with the gift. The little ones eagerly put them in the box. Our 15-year-old participates, too, appreciating how excited her siblings are over the process.

fivehalos littlest angel-3

You can see from the contents that the box is heavy on prayer. Which is great – but I’ve had to take to rationing those sticks to one for the each kids’ daily private prayer, one for community prayer, etc. Otherwise I’m hearing, “I prayed for the priestesses.” (That’s how Lillian says prays for all the priests.) I give her a stick, and she comes right back with, “And I prayed no one ever dies. And that people don’t get sick. And that people have peanut butter …” Expecting a stick with each one. I think I do a good job not morphing into a Stick Nazi with a harsh “No stick for YOU!” and instead just listen and send her on her on her merry way to think about the other categories.

Every day, I give Cliff a stick after he tells me he prays for our pastor with: “I prayed for Meaner Mike.” (That’s monsignor to you and me.) And “The Headless Horseman.” We went here, and the impact has apparently been profound. He wants God to help that guy to find his head.

It’s been a great opportunity to teach both little ones to better contemplate their petitions, because in addition to Meaner and the headless dude, Cliff’s added to his prayers children from school, grandparents and other family members and friends. Lillian’s prayer seems to have a broadened focus on death and dying for some reason, but her concerns are sincere.

This weekend, we will watch that gooey 1969 version of the story. (I know, I know: Judge me.) I bought the DVD for a whopping $4 online. I can distinctly remember being a kid and handing my mom the TV guide asking her to find when it was scheduled in the weeks leading to Christmas. i remember one year being perplexed and jdisappointed when she couldn’t find it. I wonder how many years it was actually played on network TV. It didn’t seem to have the staying-power some other Christmas specials enjoy. Two reasons: 1) no Santa, and 2) if you watch even some of it on YouTube, you can easily see why. Cutting-edge special effects it has not.

I am aware there is a newer cartoon version of the story, but I can tell by the images that it features a Precious-Moments-eque cartooning style that doesn’t meet my aesthetic. I’d much rather see Felix Unger singing while suspended in front of a groovy swirling tie-dye backdrop than big-headed soulless ink-eyed cartoons talking all cartoony.

A few days before Christmas, if we’re adventurous, we’ll work our way through the picture book of the story. We’ve read it a handful of times over the years. I find the text rather cumbersome to keep a three-year-old (and my husband — who does the reading) engaged. I love the story, not so much the language of the story.

On Christmas Eve, we’ll have the kids put the box by our small crèche. I would like to replace the contents with something meaningful – maybe related to guardian angels or similar – but I’m not quite sure what yet.

Of course, as Catholics, there’s a little bit of undoing that needs to be done surrounding this sweet story (just like It’s a Wonderful Life).

We are taught that when people die, they become saints in heaven, not angels. Angels are and always have been pure spirit. There’s a nice blog post on teaching kids about angels by Kate Daneluk at It’s not a new subject in this house, but one that’s always worth a little sensitive Catechesis. I say sensitive, because many are not well-informed in this teaching. The last thing I want is one of my kids to go to battle to correct a friend that dearly departed Aunt Tilly “ain’t no angel.” Instead, I want them to gently share the teaching about God (hopefully) welcoming her as a saint to share in the eternal banquet.

For me, neither the very loud theological hiccup nor the complete syrupy nature of the diminish the ultimate message of the tale and of our Simple Gifts activity: The best gifts are those that come from the heart – whatever they may be. After all, our hearts are a dwelling place for Christ. And a syrupy movie’s got nothing on the sweet purity of a little heart filled with the love of Jesus.

As we ready our match sticks for the rose candle and turn the calendar to the half-way mark of Advent, I like this little angel-infused lamp oil. It’s added just the right amount of new and renew for a fruitful season.

We're also still using our treasured Advent candles from a few years ago.

We’re also still using our treasured Advent candles from a few years ago.

Building the house of the Lord


My dearest and I – with another couple – are part of a leadership team for a big stewardship campaign at church. It’s a diocesan-wide thing, and we’re coming up with … (wait for it) … the children’s activities. The deal about this campaign is that all the planning and education has to happen in a pretty condensed period of time. So we’ve had to bust-a-move.

I’m excited. (Okay. I’m excited about everything.) The program is coming together, we’ve gathered some great folks willing to share their time and talents with the parish.

Yesterday, we delivered our first piece of the program for kids in the religious education program and those enrolled in our parish school: That’s more than 900 children.

We decided that the theme verse for our activities is “As for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.” Joshua 24:15. With that as the focus, we have come up with a few very tangible ways to help students learn about stewardship. The activity we introduced yesterday was for every child to build a little paper house. There was a short lesson plan – introducing them to the theme verse, the theme song (A rousing version of Rorey Cooney’s “We Will Serve the Lord”) and the idea that all our gifts come from God. There was also a little room for discussion.

Since time in the Religious Education program is at a premium, we designed the activity to be doable in 15-20 minutes.

I found a great house template at the most charming blog site: Just Something I Made. (One of my new favorites for creative ideas. Nice photography, too.) We needed something that was one piece, easy to follow, didn’t involve glue and was cute. (Okay, I needed the cute.) And after combing through what seemed like a mountain of examples, this template really fit the bill. I added graphics and some text, and we decided to print it on 11 x 17, 67 lb. cover stock. That made the finished house about the size of a pint Chinese takeout box and offered a little more durability since the children will be using these houses for activities the next five weeks.

The only decorating for the students was that they “cover” the house with their gifts and talents. For little ones, it could be drawing pictures, for older children, they could write them out. We made accommodations to the fact that the littles might not be able to actually cut out the houses. (Remember, time is limited.) They instead just drew on them while they were still one uncut piece, and students earning service-hour credits cut out the templates and assembled the houses for them. I’m sure they’ll be excited when next week they see their work put together as a house.

We will continue to use the houses throughout the program – I’ll fill you in more on that later.

I actually provided photos with instructions for the teachers for ease. Here’s a peek at a few:


There were a few more photos – just for ease. But you get the picture. It all seemed to go well. We used a portion of the paper to add a bookmark highlighting the family event that will be the culmination and celebration of all of these activities – it also gave the children something to take home related to the activity.

Stay tuned for more. Next week, the houses go with the students to mass for a special blessing.

If you need it, I’ll give you a Hahn


When I was five, I went with my family to the Shrine Circus. I don’t claim to recall much about the actual show, but I do remember that I didn’t like the smell. Our seats were behind the area where collected animal waste was scooped and swept. It wasn’t a familiar odor or sight, and I’m afraid the memory of it clouds any recollection of what actually went on under that big top.

As a souvenir, I took home a pale blue balloon shaped like Mickey Mouse’s head. Although I can’t picture a clown, trapeze, or animal trick from the event, I can clearly see and even feel that balloon. After getting out of the car  – and before getting my prized balloon into the house – I lost my grip on its thin white cotton string, and to my horror, I had no choice but to watch as Mickey headed for the heights. I remember shedding a tear or two and then just following it with my eyes. Trying to hold onto the image of that balloon for as long as I possibly could. It was so close to the color of the afternoon sky that at times only the reflection of the sun betrayed its whereabouts. There was a slight contrast when a cloud was its backdrop, but then it was gone again, and I’d have to hunt for it. I imagined and hoped that someone would find my sweet balloon and love and care for it as much as I did.

Blogger Brandon Vogt collected a list of some of the outstanding Catholic speakers and writers in the Catholic blogosphere and – after 82,000 votes – came up with a  top 100 Catholic Speakers in what he’s calling Support a Catholic Speaker Month. I voted for many that made the top 100: (Actually, everyone I voted for made the tops). But there is no speaker on that list that I quote more than Kimberly Hahn.

I think it was in 2004 when she was one of the speakers at an early Archdiocese of Detroit Women’s conferences. It was held locally at what would eventually become our parish – St. Joan of Arc. And wouldn’t you know it? I couldn’t go. I had to chauffeur daughters to ballet lessons and was on a looming deadline with two unfinished Halloween costumes. Thankfully, Ave Maria Radio was broadcasting the program live. And although my reception for the station was often spotty, for whatever reason, it was really clear that drizzling Saturday.

Prior to hearing her talk that day, I had read the book she wrote with her husband, Scott Hahn, Rome Sweet Home. It’s a very engaging account of their conversion story. After I read it, I read it again aloud to Richard when we were traveling on vacation. I credit that book with really igniting my husband’s desire to learn more about and truly live our faith. Which he has done, vigorously. I had also picked up Catholic Education Homeward Bound, which had some good homeschooling tips since I had begun to ponder that option. I had purchased her tapes – yes tapes – of her talk Women of Hope, Women of Courage, and was happy to hear her live – even if only through my minivan speakers.

The title of her talk was Life Giving Love. I can share that my sensitivity to the subject was profound, since I had just a few months before suffered loss through a miscarriage. I remember listening and crying. (Okay. More like sobbing.) I’m pretty sure I hung on every word. Oddly, like my circus encounter, I can’t actually tell you much of anything she said other than it was good, sweet, compassionate and truthful.

But there was one specific saying from her talk that I do remember and that I repeat all the time. If you know me, and if you’ve ever shared your troubles with me, you’ve heard it, too. I share it freely and always attribute it to Kimberly Hahn (and for all I know, she attributed it to someone else). So here it is: Give your troubles to the Lord like balloons – not kites. Let them go. Don’t keep reeling them back in.

I know it’s a simple sentiment, and her contributions to Catholic press and speaking are broader and deeper – but since I actually shared the saying with two people in this past week alone, and they both responded with an “a-ha,” that little nugget of wisdom is a gift that just keeps on giving.

Since that talk, I’ve read and listened to much more of what Kimberly Hahn has written and said and taken something wonderful from all of it. And, my husband and I regularly recommend so much of Scott Hahn’s work as required reading for those interested in learning about and growing in their faith.

But when I am holding tight to my burdens, I find comfort imagining my troubles floating away like that long-lost circus balloon. And when life sometimes finds me seated right in front of (or right in) a pile of stinky stuff, I feel fortunate that I can get on my knees and willingly unwrap the sweaty string I am holding – with a death grip – and just let it just slip away. And yes, although I might catch a glimmer of those woes now and then, I accept that it’s just a gentle reminder that they are being cared for with love, and it’s a comforting reflection of the Son.

Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest.
Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am meek and humble of heart; and you will find rest for your selves
For my yoke is easy, and my burden light. Mt 11:28-30

The black-eyed pirate who loves Jesus

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The resident pirate wearing a little faith scapulin from

After the first of the year, I decided to diminish my participation in music ministry at our parish. The main reason was Cliff. In an effort to spend as much time as I could working on his speech challenges, it meant that I really couldn’t spare the hours of weekly practices and commitments. The byproduct has been that without all the weekly commitments, we’ve branched out and enjoyed a few occasional trips to some of the beautiful historic churches in Detroit.

Today, we visited St. Josaphat’s. It was hot, and attendance was rather sparse. The homily was solid, and the music was good. The organist has a fantastic singing voice. The acoustics in church (oddly) aren’t that great, though. And he sings without a mic. Which I don’t quite get. He even announces the songs by sort of hollering them from the choir loft. And it’s hard to pick up what he’s saying. In part because he also tends to give somewhat extensive instructions (“We’ll sing all four stanzas of the song and only sing the refrain at the beginning and end”). That said, they’re always pretty familiar traditional choices and a joy to sing. One Sunday during Lent, he sang after communion John Stainer’s “God So Love the World,” and well, I thought someone was going to have to peel me off the floor. It was gorgeous, holy, meditational and spectacularly resonant, even with his back to the congregation as he played (beautifully, I might add) the organ.

We’ve gone to noon mass there a few times since March. The pastor is young and energetic and is responsible for that church as well as two neighboring churches. And when I say neighboring … I mean neighboring. One (Sweetest Heart of Mary) is barely more than a stone’s throw away.

When visiting St. Josaphat on Palm Sunday, I had to remove Cliff from the sanctuary and hang out in the vestibule. It had something to do with his pointing out all the many paintings and depictions of Jesus in the church and wanting to discuss them. In full voice. And since he is a boy with whom we do not want to discourage talking, it was just better to take his need for conversation elsewhere.

That’s when we saw it: A tomb with a life-size statue of Christ. Complete with crucifixion wounds. Cliff – at the time – would often say, “Jesus died on the boss.” (To which I would inaudibly come back with “and the E Street Band” before modeling the correct pronunciation of the word “cross.”) When he saw Jesus in the tomb, he declared, “Jesus died in a box!”

I did my best to try – in three-year-old terms – to explain what it was that he was seeing. That it was a statue, wasn’t scary and was for a display to help people understand the story of Jesus dying and rising.

His first instinct was to gently touch the wounds on the statue of Christ.

He couldn’t stay away from it. I quickly snapped the above photo with my iPhone. I was moved by my son’s compassion for a statue that I believe many three-year-olds would find a rather unsettling. When mass was over, he made sure Richard and the other children saw it.

On Good Friday, we visited Sweetest Heart of Mary. It  had a similar statue and a tomb as part of a rather elaborate display. We examined it with Clifford hoping it was a least a step in helping him put the whole Jesus-in-a-box experience in context. We ended up going back there during Easter so Cliff could see the empty tomb.

Richard shows Cliff that Jesus isn’t in the box any more.

I was surprised today at St. Josaphat when I saw that the tomb was again tucked under the stairs to the choir loft (or bell tower – I’m not sure where they lead exactly). I assumed it would be put away somewhere. However, instead of being exposed, the statue was covered with a white sheath of some sort, which to Cliff was very unappealing. He wanted to see Jesus again. I was grateful the statue was covered; it was easier to pry him away and take him into the church.

True to form, during mass (sometime after the Offertory and before he got a shiner from knocking his head on a pew) Cliff’s loud monologue about Jesus dying on the cross (which he pronounces perfectly, now) began.  He started to point out all the paintings and statues of Christ in the church. Finally, he motioned to the back of the church and announced in full voice that, “Jesus died in a bag. In the box. But he’s alive.”

We’re getting there. I think.

Black eye a la pew.

Scenes from a Sunday

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Sunday was a glorious day – in spite of a moment of complete failure.

Richard made breakfast. French toast, fresh fruit, sausage. And as always, he makes the best coffee. Perfection from a coffee press with bit of Godiva chocolate powder.

We headed downtown to mass at Sweetest Heart of Mary. Since I have tried hard to reduce some of my singing obligations, one of the by-products is that we can occasionally visit some other churches (although we miss our own when we don’t attend).

We decided to make it our mission to be sure the kids have an opportunity to attend mass at some of the old gorgeous still-operating Catholic churches in Detroit. We want them to learn a little of the neighborhood histories and about the folks who worshipped at them – especially in light the upcoming mergers, clustering and looming closures.

The pictures above are from Old St. Mary’s in Greektown.

But wait, you inquire (somewhat perplexed), weren’t you going to Sweetest Heart of Mary?

Let me just say that nothing says “you-Spring-ahead failure” louder than swinging wide open the huge center doors of a big old (full) church for 10:30 mass on a Sunday morning only to catch the eye of the celebrant as he recesses with his crew full-speed-ahead – to full organ music – right in your direction. Mass was over.

That’s when Richard looked at his phone and queried, “Why does my iPhone say 11:27?”

Don’t worry. It only took about .005 second for Richard and I to inhale the stench of our collective stupidity. A wide-eyed glance at each other, an about-face and a brisk walk of shame back to our vehicle made it almost seem like it never happened. The only breadcrumbs we left  behind were in the vapor trail of Lillian’s endless questioning (which I can only assume eventually dissipated).

By 11:32, we were headed across the freeway and closer to the river for noon maas at Old St. Mary’s in Greektown.

Mass was lovely. The homily fantastic. The priest used my favorite St. Augustine quote and said we were born with a hole in our hearts that can only be filled by Jesus. Two things I say in my St. Mom’s U program. So … it felt like Kismet. If you can call it that. (Probably not.)

The music — an a capella schola standing off to the right in the front few pews — was very nice. Some lovely voices, a nice blend and the acoustics were accommodating. Grant it, we were only four pews from the front so the sound was clear and full where we were. Kind of an interesting mixed bag of mass parts. But it was nice. So, as much as I was hoping to hear that beast of an organ, no such luck.

There are some interesting grotto spaces at the entrance to the church. I’m not going to lie: the kids thought they were creepy. Okay. And while, I’m being truthful: so did I. There are kind of scary statue heads of Christ and a few other less-than-settling images. I’m not sure if something can be equal in kitsch, charm and being the stuff of nightmares – but that’s where I’d put a few of the scenes in the grottos.

And, since going to one church and being completely embarrassed at another apparently isn’t enough for us, we also stopped at beautiful St. Joseph’s.

The organist was the only one left following noon mass, and he graciously let us in for a few prayers and photos. At our next opportunity, we’re going to go to mass there. It seems completely untouched by time. Richard and I are hoping to attend some of the Solemnity of St. Joseph Day activities on Monday if we can.

So, failings aside (which are always abundant anyway) all in all, our scenes from Sunday were sweet.

Raising strong boys

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I am a mother who swore no guns. But that changed, and I ended up buying a five-year-old Henry a toy arsenal when I surrendered to the fact that my disdain for guns and violence was not his.

Here’s a shocker. Boys are different than girls. And don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.

Both of my boys came out of the womb making blow-up noises and shooting me with their fingers, bananas, toast, sticks, you name it. They also came out loving and cuddly and sweet. Loving and full-body slamming are not mutually exclusive.

Embrace their spirit. Channel it for good. Help them become the protectors and warriors they are meant to be.

This is a great piece by Msgr. Charles Pope. Watch the video.

On fiy-aah

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I’ve been watching the progress of this for a long time and am so pleased the release is finally approaching. Fr. Robert Barron is very faithful, smart and media savvy. His site, has long been one of my favorites. Here’s the trailer for his remarkable The Catholicism Project. Chills, for sure.

40 deeds done dirt cheap


In addition to more prayer and observing church fasts, etc., some of my Lenten promises are

  1. to get rid of 40 bags of stuff around here (inspired by a post at Faith and Family Live).
  2. complete 40 tedious tasks –the stuff that doesn’t affect daily function, but needs to be done (like re-line the one kitchen drawer that needs it, fix the two-inches of peeled paint on a shoe molding in the bathroom, rotate children’s books, etc.). I know, it’s hard not to count the many tedious tasks of daily life in this, but apparently clothing and feeding my children actually affect daily life.
  3. Write 40 letters for life. The idea here is to send letters to corporations that have been tagged as donating to Planned Parenthood, and see if I can get their stories so we can make an informed decision about choosing not to purchase their products, etc. That has already been fruitful, and I’ve received several responses.

I’m not exactly sure how dirt cheap doing all this is. But I guess that’s the point of the sacrifice. I find it pretty much time consuming. Which takes me back to my idea of lentamente. And I’m wondering if I’m doing exactly what I didn’t want to do, and shooting myself in the foot.

The good part is, I do offer the darn tedious tasks and stuff-bagging as prayers. When I question what I’m doing, my heart does go back to Christ. In a round about way. But it makes it to him. I know I’m making my family’s life a little better, more peaceful, less cluttered,  and since my family is actually a product of my love for my spouse and our commitment to one another — through the sacrament of marriage — bound by God’s saving presence … I remember why I’m even tackling the task to begin with: it’s because I’m insane. And I know that even in my insanity, Jesus still loves me … see what I mean?

Yes I can!

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Here’s my first small success. I finally figured out how to get that button to appear on my blog!

Second, I convinced Lillian to wear socks, without counting, demanding, bribing, or threatening.

We started this day as planned with our Lenten morning offering, all together. Amen.