August 17, 2018

Letter Writing and Prayer

What a horrible, hard week it has been.

I read through much of the grand jury's report on the sex abuse scandal in the Pennsylvania, which really just showed us all how deep and dark and disgusting things have been. Over 300 priests abused over one thousand children and that is gross and heart breaking and horrible.

I have taken to prayer and letter writing and more prayer. I alternate between incredible sorrow and fury. And in the middle I have to keep living life and send the kids back to school and read library books and make dinner. It's such an odd place, this both / and life.

In the coming days and weeks I have things planned for my life online and off and I ask you to walk with me in the tension between living life with joy and love and working through the immense pain, disgust, and horror caused by the scandal in our Church.

In the meantime, I want to share a few articles that I have found helpful to me in this time, along with the Grand Jury's Report itself. Maybe you have seen these already but maybe not and maybe they will be helpful to you, too.

The Grand Jury's Report on the sex abuse in dioceses in Pennsylvania

What's a Faithful Catholic to Do by Jenny Uebbing

A Letter to My Bishop and A Letter to My Parish Priest by Molly Walter

New Allegations Surface Surrounding Archbishop McCarrick and Newark Priests by Ed Condon at the National Catholic Register

Truth Is Needed to Free the Church from Sacrilege of Clergy Scandal by Fr. Roger Landry at the National Catholic Register

Sacred Heart of Jesus, have mercy on us.

August 13, 2018

The Last Bits of Summer

This will not be a sentimental post. 

The weeks before the kids go back to school are super stressful and overwhelming to me with the overload of errands, appointments, paperwork, and more. The house is constantly messy, the kids are bored of the slip n' slide, there's all kinds of fighting, and I am just so tired of feeding them. They want to go back to school and I want them to, too. How did people do it for thousands of years? How do homeschoolers do it? 

To me this is not the end of summer. Summer basically ended on August 6th. I will get out my Fall decorations on September 1st -ish and this time in between is a purgatory of stress and heat and exhaustion. (As an aside, some people think I'm a bit dramatic but I just don't see it.)

I made a playlist to get me through these next weeks. You can see how badly I want to get on with my life in that I titled it "September 2018." Some of the songs are pretty new to me and so I cannot vouch for all the lyrics and content, but if you want to discover some new songs right along with me click over and check it out. There's some safe ones, too, like Ben Rector and Mat Kearney. ;)

School starts with a half day on Thursday, so here's a look the last bits of summer, the things that happened at the end of July and the first week of August. That is, the things that I want to remember.

Jofis celebrated his 5th birthday. He wanted a train cake and party and since his favorite color is green I was able to make all his dreams come true super simply. A few of his classmates and cousins came over, everyone played outside, and we ate wacky cake and drank lemonade. He got a bug catcher and water balloons and his life was made. 

I celebrated my birthday, too. I turned thirty-seven and to celebrate I got coffee with friends, went shopping at Target with Travis, bought a new dress, asked people to donate to baby Olivia's GoFundMe, found a few new grey hairs, and overall had a good day. 

We also celebrated Harry Potter's birthday. The kids listened to several of the audio books this summer and L read the whole series for the first time. They have watched several of the movies, too, so it was a lot of fun to surprise them with a table filled with candles, pretzel rod wands, and this birthday cake. They snacked in the candlelight while watching the first movie before bed. And just so you know, there's a bit of a back story for this cake and you can hear about it if you watch the You're a Bad Mom video here.

In other news, we were given a Days of Creation paper chain (which you can see here) along with a beautiful, giant floor puzzle from WeeBelievers. Both are super sweet but we especially love the floor puzzle because we are just floor puzzle people, people! I mean, look at how happy Tee is with it! The illustrations are so sweet, you guys. I really love it. But the best part is that it's two sided so it's two, two, TWO puzzles in one!

In other news, I caught this super sweet picture of Travis and Tee sleeping one morning a few weeks ago. I mean, be still my heart. 

And now I'll tell you all a secret: this summer we attended 7am daily Mass Monday - Friday. The vast majority of the time the whole family went: Travis, me, and all seven kids. We missed a few days, and occasionally some of us had to stay home but usually we were all there.

Now this was even feasible because:
#1 - we did not have a newborn / someone recovering from major surgery (like last summer)
#2 - Travis is a teacher with summers off and this summer his handyman jobs were all local so he was almost always around to attend with us.

The reasons I wanted to do it are:
#1 - For years Travis and I were daily communicants and I was really missing that Gift.
#2 - I knew that if we attended 7am Mass all summer long our days would still end around 8pm which meant we could keep the same bedtime and evening routine. I knew I wanted to have time with Travis every night and I hoped that the return to the school would feel less like a crash and burn this way.
#3 - I'm hoping it will inspire my boys to love the priesthood and I pray that one of them has been given that vocation.

I don't know what will happen next summer but I know that being able to attend daily Mass this summer was such a gift to me. Even when my kids complained. Even when MJ would not be contained to the pew and had to wander. Even when we had to sit in the cry room because we were so late. It was such a gift.

 Speaking of Mass, this seems like a good time to show you the preview copy of Ginny Kochis's new Mass Journal for Kids. Ginny sent it to me and I promptly passed on to my 10 year old, L. It's really lovely, you guys, and if you're looking for something you can either gift to your own children, godchildren, students or use as a family to prepare for or review the Sunday Mass readings I really encourage you to try this.

L and I were both really taken by the layout and feel of the book. It's big; has room for doodles, journaling, and note taking; and includes all the readings + reflections, quotes from the saints, and more. I also like that it goes by seasons - this one covers the Autumn months - so it's not too bulky nor too big of a commitment. If you're looking for a nice Back to School gift this would be a great one, I think.

One last note: the winners for the Sheenazing Awards have finally been announced! You can head to the original post to see who earned the top three spots in each category! Thank you to everyone who voted - over 1,100! - and congratulations to the winners! I hope everyone had fun along the way!

Alright, time to get a move on. See you soon, you guys!

WINNERS for the 2018 Sheenazing Awareds

Thank you to everyone who voted in the 4th Occasional Sheenazing Awards and Congratulations goes to the winners! 

The winners and two runner-ups are listed at the top of each category. If you see them around the internet please be sure to congratulate them on winning an inconsequential award and thank them for doing their part to honor God through their time online. 


Winner: Mama Needs Coffee

First Runner Up:Carrots for Michaelmas
Second Runner Up: Catholic All Year

Everyday Abundant
Team Whitaker
Blessed Is She Blog
Martin Family Moments
Not So Formulaic
Little Forest Oratory
We, a Great Parade
Never Give Up
Mothering Spirit
Seasons of the Heart and Home
Stumbling Toward Sainthood
In the Light of the Law
My Domestic Monastery
Small Things
This Ain't the Lyceum
Sweeping Up Joy
No Greater Love Blog
Something Pretty Blog
Hail Marry
Gloria in Excelsis Deo
Under Thy Roof
Sterling Jaquith
Do Small Things with Love
House Unseen
Laura McAlister
Wildflowers & Marbles
A Blog for My Mom
In the Heart of My Home
Better Than Eden
Clover Lane
I Have to Sit Down
Whole Parenting Family
Camp Patton
The Evangelista
The Merrier World
Like Mother Like Daughter
Adam's Ale
The Natural Catholic Mom
A Welcome Grace


First Runner Up: @kendra_tierney
Second Runner Up: @mary_scarpati



Winner: Fountains of Carrots

First Runner Up: The Catholic Feminist
Second Runner Up: Abiding Together

Word on Fire Show
Coffee and Pearls
Catholic Stuff You Should Know
While You Were Folding
Catching Foxes
The Jennifer Fulwiler Show
The Gathering Place - Blessed Is She
Ryian's Coffee Shop
The Show with Edmund Mitchell
Busted Halo
Among the Lilies
The Electric Waffle
Read Aloud Revival
FIAT: Faith In All Things
St. Joseph's Workshop
Girlfriends with Danielle Bean
Fr. John Riccardo
Hobo for Christ
The Patrick Coffin Show
Diapers and Disciples
Do Small Things With Love
From the Friars
The Chimney
Ask Fr. Josh
Pints with Aquinas
Thomistic Institute Lectures
Divine Intimacy Radio
Hello and Welcome


Ascension Presents
First Runner Up: Bishop Barron / Word on Fire
Second Runner Up: Emily Wilson

A Catholic Mom's Life
A Country Life
Catholic Home Life
New Catholic Generation
Kate and Mike Catholic Crusade
Athenas Musica
Tabitha Kelley
Gabi After Hours
Sensus Fidelium
Surprised by Marriage
Sterling Jaquith
The Rosary Workout
Mary Scarpati
Pray More Novenas
Steve the Missionary
That Catholic Couple
Fr Roderick
Lizzie's Answers 


Jennifer Fulwiler @jenfulwiler
First Runner Up: Tea with Tolkien @teawithtolkien
Second Runner Up: Sr. Miriam James @onegroovynun

Sr Helena Burns @SrHelenaBurns
Fr. Goyo  @FrGoyo
Joe Sales @joesales
Tommy Tighe @theghissilent
Novus Oreo Watch @novusoreowatch
C.C. Pecknold @ccpecknold
Ed Peters @canonlaw
Sr Theresa Aletheia @pursuedbytruth
Hail Marry Blog @HailMarryBlog
Courtney @catholichomegrl
Catholic Vote @CatholicVote
Kelly Mantoan @kellymantoan
Jenna Guizar @jennaguizar
Meg Hunter Kilmer @MegHunterKilmer
Gloria Purvis @gloria_purvis
Haley Stewart @HaleyCarrots
Patrick Madrid @PatrickMadrid
Carey Helmick @careyhelmick
Kyle Helmick @HelmickeyMouse
Fr. Dan Folwaczny @frrocketdan


These are sorted by type but in the end you can only vote for one, be it IG account, blog, YouTube channel, or podcast, and not one in each.

Winner: Sancta Nomina Blog
First Runner Up: The Real Katie Waldow IG
Second Runner Up: The Catholic Feminist Podcast






Winner: Ascension Presents YouTube Channel
First Runner Up: Blessed Is She Blog
Second Runner Up: Catholic All Year Blog

Mama Needs Coffee
Mothering Spirit
Like Mother, Like Daughter
Echoes From The Bell Tower
Seasons of the Heart and Home
No Greater Love
Blessed Is She Blog
Sweeping Up Joy
My Child I Love You
Messy Buns and Latin Chant
A Beautiful, Camouflaged, Mess of A Life
Do Small Things with Love
Finer Femininity
Everyday Abundant
Hail Marry
The Wine Dark Sea
Held by His Pierced Hands
Team Whitaker
Catholic All Year
A Catholic Convo
The Big White Farmhouse
Something Pretty
By Love Refined
This Ain't the Lyceum
Sweet Little Ones

Leah Darrow - Do Something Beautiful
Echoes From The Bell Tower
Hobo for Christ 
Word on Fire
Fountains of Carrots
Coffee and Pearls
Blessed is She- The Gathering Place
The Catholic Feminist
From the Friars
Upside Down Podcast

Social Media
@thismessygrace IG
@InHonorOfDesign IG
@Ordinary Lovely IG
@blessedisshe__ IG with a special shout out to Beth Davis' Teachable Tuesday
@PositivelyImperfect IG
@rakstardesigns IG
@mary_haseltine IG
@takeupandread IG
@Swissguardwife IG
@agentlemother IG
@whole_parenting IG
@allisonbenotafraid IG
@marylenaburg IG
@jenmackintosh IG
@onehailmaryatatime IG
@jenniferfulwiler IG
@RachelBalducci IG
@JamesMartinSJ Twitter
Ascension Presents  YouTube Channel with a special shout out to Fr. Mike Scmitz
Emily Wilson YouTube Channel
A Catholic Mom's Life YouTube Channel


Winner: Mama Needs Coffee Blog
First Runner Up: Pints with Aquinas Podcast
Second Runner Up: Word on Fire Podcast

Whole Parenting 
Like Mother, Like Daughter
Held By His Pierced Hands
Carrots for Michaelmas
Laura McAllister
Shower of Roses
Not So Formulaic
Sancta Nomina
Under Thy Roof
Between the Linens
Read Aloud Revival
Living With Lady Philosophy
Blessed Is She
Hail Marry
Grace Filled Mind
The Kavanaugh Report
Catholic All Year
Mama Needs Coffee
Fr. Z's Blog

The Counsel of Trent
Just One Small Thing Podcast
Pints with Aquinas
Thomistic Institute Lectures
Fountains of Carrots 
Word on Fire
The Gathering Place - Blessed Is She
The Catholic Feminist Podcast
Catholic Stuff You Should Know 

Social Media
Laura Fanucci @thismessygrace IG
Christina Jaloway @theevangelista IG
The Well Read Catholic @thewellreadcatholic IG
Jen Fulwiler @jenniferfulwiler IG
Take Up and Read @takeupandread IG
Blessed Is She @blessedisshe__ IG
Megan Hjelmstad @PositivelyImperfect  IG
Kaitlyn Faucista @TeawithTolkien  IG
Mary Scarpati YouTube Channel
Kathryn Whitaker @kwhitaker96 IG
Mary Lenaburg @marylenaburg IG
Nell @Whole_Parenting IG
Kendra Tierney @kendra_tierney IG
Brian Holdsworth YouTube Channel  
Breaking In The Habit YouTube Channel
The Catholic Feminist @theCatholicfeminist


Winner: Jennifer Fulwiler IG
First Runner Up: Tommy Tighe Twitter
Second Runner Up: Honeychild Forest IG

Mary Scarpati YouTube
Blythe Fike IG


Winner: Rose Harrington Art
First Runner Up: Brick House in the City
Second Runner Up: Chews Life Shop


Winner: Kathryn Whitaker
First Runner Up: Sr. Miriam James
Second Runner Up: Haley Stewart

To see the past winners and nominees click here.