Yes, my friends, I have finally joined the ranks of the organized! Okay, you've got me, I'm still not organized...but I'm working on it! This week I have been in an organizing frenzy (okay, okay, a "frenzy" for ME). I bought new toy tubs, reorganized the small toys in little boxes, and actually labeled them this time with...(da da da DA) new labelmaker!

After coveting labelmakers I've seen for my entire life, I finally decided it was a justifiable expense, and purchased the Dymo Letratag handheld labelmaker. I got it for $20 at Walmart. It looks similar to the labelmaker pictured above, but is a darker color and a appears to be slightly different from that model. Looking back, I wish I'd spent the extra money on the P-touch I saw at Sam's club for $30 that came with extra tape and could do a variety of sizes of labels. *sigh* But I like my label maker anyway.

I had so much fun labeling every thing in site. I labeled most of the lightswitches in my house (this house is a wiring nightmare, and there are switches everywhere...and not where they make sense), some of the new Lock & Lock containers I bought to organize my baking cabinet, all the plastic shoeboxes I'm using for toy storage, and a few drawers and shelves. Last night I was sitting in my chair, labeling to my my heart's content, when suddenly, the unthinkable happened....


It was horrible. It was unexpected. My heart sank. No more labeling? I was desperately trying to come up with a way to afford to buy more label tape, but alas, it will have to wait til Friday. Apparently, 13 feet of label tape doesn't go that far. I think my husband is worried that this will become an expensive hobby. But I assured him that once I had the entire house labeled (yes, I will label my whole house, lol) then my label tape "habit" should slow down.

So despite the current hold on my labeling activities, I'm still really excited to have a labeler. It just looks so neat and tidy and organized when things are properly labeled. :-)

Halloween: To Observe or Not Observe?


Next week is Halloween, a day most of us remember from our childhood as a time to dress up as our favorite character and roam the neighborhood in search of sweets. As I have always been a chocoholic, you can imagine how much I loved it. However, there has been a Halloween "backlash" lately among some Christian families, who consider Halloween to be un-Christian.

I have to say, I agree. There are a lot of reasons why, but a basic reason is that there is just something wrong with decorating your house and yard with skeletons, witches and gravestones, donning a demonic-looking mask, and going door to door demanding candy from neighbors who are forced to participate whether they want to or not. It's true that many children dress up as a princess or cartoon character, and that many families decorate with smiley pumpkins and friendly-looking ghosts, but I feel that it sets a precedent that can cause problems down the line. When the children grow up, will they want to dress as a princess or Buzz Lightyear? Or are they more likely to dress up as a French Maid, Freddy Kruger, or a demonic-looking madman with a fake axe buried in their skull? There is just an uncomfortably dark aura that surrounds the activities of Halloween. And though there are ways that some would say are "family-friendly" options for celebration, it's still something I'm not comfortable participating in with my family.

So what do we do on Halloween? Nothing. It is not a day of celebration for us. Now, I'll admit that because my family celebrated Halloween when I grew up, I often have to fight the impulse to buy a cute costume that I might see, or hang onto a flyer announcing candy giveaways at the local mall...but I realize that it is just nostalgia driving me, and I don't give in to such impulses. When Halloween night rolls around, I will be giving out candy (because I don't have much choice--if I don't either my house is egged or I am dubbed the neighborhood Grinch) but my children will be in the basement playing with their Dad. They will not be witnessing the ten year olds with demonic, blood-dripped rubber masks, or teenage girls with multi-color hair and an outfit that is more of a stripper get-up than a Halloween costume.

I won't be giving my children any candy on Halloween night. November 1st is All Saints Day, and as a major feast day (a day of religious celebration), this means the day before it is a vigil day--a day for prayer, fast, and abstinence (from meat) in preparation for the next day's celebration. Young children are not required to fast or abstain from meat. But to keep with the spirit of a vigil day, they won't receive candy, although that is my personal choice, not a mandate of the Church. They will, however, get candy leftovers the next day--but not a whole bagful!!

I don't know if Catholics of the New Mass observe All Saints Day as a holy day of obligation anymore or not. It's been a decade since I stopped attending the New Mass. But this is how my family practices, as my grandmother did and all her ancestors before her.

Ironically enough, there are many traditional Catholics who would disagree with me, and routinely celebrate Halloween. This is in spite of the urgings of the priests from the pulpit each year. Some people just can't (or won't) give up all the nostalgia of passing on the Halloween pasttime. They can't imagine letting even one opportunity for amusement pass their children by. But just as children can live without an Xbox (really, they can), they can live without trick-or-treating.

Many people are shocked when I say we don't celebrate Halloween, and some are rude enough to tell me to my face that I am "depriving" my children. Depriving? I think they'll live if they don't wander around the streets in the dark begging candy from strangers that at best will give them cavities, and at worst could be poisoned. My kids don't miss it, because they've never had it. They'll be having just as much fun playing with their dad and getting (minimal) leftover candy the next day...and we know where the candy has been. I haven't heard them complain yet. And since they will be homeschooled, they won't be aquiring the bad habit of whining, begging, complaining, and comparing what they "get" compared to their school friends.

I don't think people who celebrate Halloween (in a non-occultish way) are bad, I just don't agree with the choice. And I'm VERY against it if one incorporates anything of the occult or demonic, even in a "joking" manner. Occult "magic", death and mayhem are no laughing matter.

So if you come to our door on Halloween, you'll get candy and a (required) smile, but you won't be hearing "Happy Halloween" and you won't be seeing any witches, ghosts or gravestones. You will, however, get a lot of candy...I can't be trusted with a bowl of candy the next day! ;-)

Recording Online Radio Programs


There is a website online that some of you may be interested in. It is WFTS Radio. The programming consists of radio talk shows with priests on various traditional Roman Catholic topics, Gregorian chants, hymns, Sunday sermons, and a talk show with Dr. Donsbach on natural health. They also play an audio recording on Sundays of the Latin Mass, and talks given by a Mother Superior to ladies (but are often enjoyable to men as well).

There is a programming schedule every day. I think it plays 24/7, I'm not sure...but I think the programming repeats itself at night. You can download the programs for about $5. I think it's a little steep for 30 minutes of programming that most of the shows are, but I understand it is necessary to help with the tremendous costs.

However, you can also download Replay Radio for $30-40, which can record audio and/or video streams online. Then you can listen to the programs through your computer, or download them to your iPod or MP3 player. We just got Replay Radio, and so far we like it. It's pretty easy to use, it's kind of like TiVo (sort of) for your computer

If you do regularly record WFTS, I would suggest sending what donations you can to help them out. I really enjoy it, and their listening audience is growing by leaps and bounds. According to the radio host, people all over the world are now listening. It's very clean, extremely traditional, and enjoyable

Shopping Success!

Until now, I had used some of my own shopping suggestions at one time, but never managed to do all of them at once. But today I did, and what a difference! My itinerary included getting gas, stopping at the thrift store, picking up a few things at the health food store, a lot of shopping at Sam's Club, and gettting several things at Walmart. It was supposed to include a grocery store trip too, but it was late and I was tired.

Now, this trip still took a long time--almost five hours. But considering the number of stops, the amount of shopping being done, and the forty minute drive (each way) to and from the city where Walmart and Sam's Club is, I did pretty well. I actually remembered both Sam's freezer bags, paper and plastic bags, and my clipboard and list. I would have had a calculator, but all of ours are missing in action.

I used my grocery store shopping list, filled it out, and on the back I listed each store I was going to, in order, and the items needed at each store, in order according to the store's layout. I checked off each item as I went. I was organized! It was fabulous! And my buying went so much faster. I avoided the many sections in Walmart which are filled with tempting items to buy, and stuck (mostly) to my list. I didn't have to back track for missing items at all.

The only thing that did go wrong was I forgot the bag with the containers in it that I had planned to use at the health food store. I was bringing them with me to fill from the store's bulk section, where you can buy flour, sugar, grains, etc. by the pound. Next time I'll make a "bring with me" checklist, and check it twice--once in the house, and once in the car, right before I leave. I had my bag of containers ready next to my purse, but forgot it somehow.

I've solved the calculator problem by buying the coolest organization tool: a clipboard with a built-in calculator. I'd seen them before, but this one is better, because it's not just a flat's actually a clipcase. You can put papers inside it (like extra blank shopping lists--how organized!) and there is a carry handle. So cool! It was ten dollars.

Forgive the dim lighting in the picture...I need to add more lightbulbs to that list!

This solves another problem as well--my other clipboard was UG-LY! I was thinking of painting it, then I saw an organizing blog with an altered clipboard. Here are two examples: Decorative Clipboard and
Altered Clipboard

It can fit a paperback book inside, for reading in long Walmart lines. Couldn't figure out how to rotate the picture, but here's the inside:

All in all, it was a very successful trip. And my feet didn't hurt TOO bad...meaning I didn't have to crawl up the stairs once I got home!

Organize Your Grocery Shopping, Part 2: Shopping Lists


If you've ever gone shopping without a list, you know what a bad idea that is. Unless you've got a photographic memory or are buying only two things, you know something will be forgotten.

The most important thing you can do--and I think most of us do this--is to keep a pad of paper attached to the fridge for quick jotting down of needed items. I use a shopping list pad, which is attached by magnets to the fridge. I also like to use a magnetic clip with a pen clipped in it stuck on the fridge next to the pad. Write down anything you need as you use it up, or as you notice your supply is low.

Before you go shopping, make a menu for the coming week. Many people check the grocery store flyers first, and plan their menu around items that are on sale. Go through the fridge and cabinets, and figure out if you are in need of anything on the list. Also check for normal pantry items that you might be running low on. Don't forget things like pet food, infant needs, and household items. Then sit down and transfer the items from your list onto another piece of paper, organized into sections based on the arrangement of your store's aisles. For example, use headings like Pharmacy, Household Items, Baby, Dry Goods, Canned Goods, Ethnic Foods, Condiments, Dairy, Meat, Produce, etc. The headings should be listed in the order that they come in the store, according to your normal shopping path.

When you use your list in the store, be sure to check off or cross off items as you put them in your cart. This is why I always try to have a pencil on hand. When I try to just check the items off "mentally", I inevitably overlook something. Double check your list before you get in the checkout line. Even with a list sometimes I somehow forget something, and you don't want that to happen when half your cart is unloaded on the belt.

I always use a calculator while I am shopping. I am amazed how even going down the last two aisles in the store without adding up the items can put you way over budget. The thing I hate most is when I'm halfway through shopping, only to look down and realize my calculator shut itself off. AAAAARRGH!! I try to remember to push a button on the calculator at least once each aisle, preferably two times or more. If I'm comparing prices on an item for a while and not adding items in the cart, I will add "0" just to keep the calculator running. But a better way is to do a subtotal at the end of each section of the list, and write it down. That way, if your calculator turns off halfway through shopping, all you have to do is add up the subtotals from each section of the list, then add on the items you've picked up since your last subtotal was written down. Most of the time when I enter the prices on the calculator, I round the number up, for ease of calculating and because that way I know for sure I'll stay under budget. So a $4.66 item becomes $4.75. It leaves room for error...and with me, there's always errors!

In the next installment, I'll talk about the Master Grocery List.

Organize Your Grocery Shopping, Part 1: Be Prepared!


Grocery shopping used to be fun for me. No, really, it was! Back when I was single, of course. I would stroll leisurely through Walmart, stopping to check out the new stuff or page through magazines, comparing one item to another, with nary a though to the time. I could spend two to three hours there, and that's a lot for someone who only has one person to shop for. Even when I had only one child, it was fun, because my husband would watch the baby and it was my time away. Sometimes I would stop at a bookstore afterwards and sit for an hour and read.

Fast forward to today's reality. I hate shopping. I have so much to shop for, and inevitably I end up forgetting things, and criss-cross my big behind and aching feet back and forth across the humongous store, pushing the dead weight of a loaded grocery cart before me...and sometimes (a lot of the time) pregnant. And then standing in line...don't even get me started. Is it just me, or does every store in the world decide to hire new, inept cashiers right around the time I hit my eighth month of pregnancy?! Suffice it to say that my once beloved Walmart trips are now nightmares. And since Walmart isn't that close anymore, and there is a grocery store here in town that is pretty cheap on prices (and great on specials), I often choose the closer store. Here is how I have learned to prepare for my grocery trips (if I remember...hey, I'm a work in progress):

I always try to remember to have an insulated freezer bag in my car, preferably two. I bought these at Sam's Club, and they're more convenient than a cooler. This is a must for Sam's Club trips, as it is a half hour away, and otherwise the frozen food would defrost before I got through the mile-long checkout lines! I also have (finally, duh) started remembering that PRICE CLUBS DON'T HAVE GROCERY BAGS, so I carry paper and plastic bags saved from local store trips. I keep these inside the freezer bags. The trick is to put the freezer bags on top of my purse when I head out to Sam's or else I'll leave them in the car. Yes, I will, I'm that bad! I also have to remind myself that after bringing the groceries into the house, I need to bring the freezer bags back out to the car or I'll forget them for the next trip.

Next, I always have my list with me. After about a dozen times of losing my precious list in Walmart (either it fluttered out of the cart or I placed it on a shelf as I inspected some item), I realized that small scraps of paper are too "risky" for me. Now I have a full page printout that I like to take on a clipboard. Hard to lose a whole clipboard, even for me! I bring a pencil for crossing things off. You can clip it to the clipboard, but I suggest tying it with a string so you don't lose it or drop it constantly. It's also important to have a calculator, unless you're rich, or you're just that good with numbers. More on the grocery list and calculator in subsequent posts.

You should bring the weekly circular with you, or pick one up at the store if you don't have one. I didn't check mine often, til I started going to this local store that has incredible deals--both specials and store coupons. I've gotten over $25 worth of groceries free. It never fails that the week I forget to check the ads is when they have a fabulous sale. Although they are good about posting signs for sale items and re-stocking items through the week.

Finally--and you should know this one already--dress comfortably and EAT BEFORE YOU GO! And I don't just mean a snack, eat a meal. Once I ate before going to Walmart--just a small lunch--but I was in Walmart for so long that by the time I drove there, shopped my way through the main part of the store, and then got halfway through the food section, it had been hours, I was starving. Not a good idea! You will buy way more food (and more junk) if you're hungry.

The next installment I will discuss how I make up and use my shopping list, plus other shopping list suggestions.

Kitchen Tip: Dishtowel Trap


How many times has your toddler delighted in pulling the dishtowels off of your oven door? How often does your preschooler race through the kitchen, only to knock them from their spot five seconds after you re-hung them? If you're like me, the answer is "about twenty times an hour." I was soooo frustrated, tired of picking them up and re-folding and hanging them, and tired of going through extra towels because the clean one was knocked on the dirty floor. THEN I came up with a brilliant solution! (Okay, brilliant to me.)

I've seen those dishtowels with the crocheted tops that loop around a handle and button securely. I have a couple. But I don't care for the looks of them, and they are too small and get soggy too quickly. I prefer the microfiber towels I get at Walmart. So here is my solution: place the towel in the proper place (for me, the oven door handle), then take a LARGE safety pin, and pin it from behind. It must be from behind or toddlers will be determined to get it off. If you pin it carefully, so that just the smallest bit of pin catches the front layer, then it will not be easily seen. I was amazed that my younger son only tugged once or twice at it, and never tried again. Guess the game got old real quick!

It's not terribly convenient to have to change the towels if you do so more than once a day. I don't usually need to. I keep one towel for hand-drying and one for dish-drying. Why? My mom did it. The dish towel stays cleaner and drier, so I replace the hand towel more frequently. I tend to leave the front part of the towel hanging longer than the back, so I can lift the dish towel up to dry a dish (most of my dishes are done in the dishwasher). The way I tell them apart, in case you are wondering (you're on the edge of your seat now, I just know it) is that the hand towel is always a solid color, and the darker of the two. The dish towel is the lighter one, or has a print on it, and is always on the right-hand side.

One downside to this idea is that if your husband is tall and dislikes bending over to dry his hands, you'll need to put another towel in another location for him. I have dedicated the ugly crochet-top towel for this task, hanging it on a nail from the cupboard side, over the sink. Who does he think he's kidding...I've seen him use a half-dozen paper towels to dry his hands during the course of making a meal! 8-0 But it's his money, and who am I to complain if he's cooking? ;-)

Anyway, I hope this little tip helps. It works for me!

The Grocery Game?


Many blogging homemakers have mentioned The Grocery Game. It is a website that you pay to join, and somehow helps you with couponing for your local stores. It's supposed to save time and money. Many people have raved about it. Now, I'm not much of a couponer. Coupons have died slow, crumpled, lint-covered, long-past-expiration-date deaths in the depths of my purse. I just am not in the habit of using them, so they are often forgotten. So I question whether the Grocery Game would be worth my while.

Another thought is that in my experience, most coupons are for name-brand convenience items that I don't normally buy for my family. The point of these coupons is to get you to switch brands or try a new product. I am trying to stay away from convenience foods, and when I do buy them, I buy store brands most of the time. Is this the case with the Grocery Game? Is this only for coupon-proficient, brand-buying moms?

Anyone with experience joining the Grocery Game is welcome to comment, and tell us about their experience, good and bad.



WARNING: This post may fall under the category of "Too Much Information"...discussion of female problems to follow...consider yourself warned! ;-)

I've seen on many websites that many ladies are starting to sew their own reusable sanitary napkins. My first thought upon hearing about this years ago was "yuck". After all, I haven't been a pad kind of woman since I first discovered the convenience of tampons. However, things change. You know I've shown interest in trying to get rid of disposable products from my family's lives in order to not only save money, but be more healthy (I hate the chemicals in disposable diapers). But this is one area I just hadn't investigated yet. I'm thinking about it now because my needs have changed. Here's where a little TMI comes in...

Am I the only one who has an increased "flow" problem after four kids? I'm not sure if it's the number of pregnancies I've had, or the fact that they're so close together, or my age (mid-thirties), or the fact that they were c-sections, or the fact that I am obese. But after this last pregnancy, there's been a lot more flow, and your typical store-bought products aren't doing the job. Part of this I suspect is due to my larger size...most feminine hygiene products just aren't made for larger women. I don't want to have to buy every product on the market each month trying to find something that works.

I was really mad when I bought a box of panty liners this month that turned out to be so small I thought they were for twelve year olds at most! Although I miss the comfort of the products I used to use, I am now thinking of trying to find out where I can buy the giant sanitary pads they give you at the hospitals right after giving birth. It's better than shopping at Walmart, petrified there will be leakage, just like I did when I was in high school!

Okay, end of the TMI. ;-) So now I'm thinking of making my own sanitary napkins. I've seen a variety of styles. The type pictured above was the first style I've seen that is along the lines of what I had in mind. I found them at Homemade Mama's. They are outrageously expensive, although due to the materials and workmanship, and the "reusability factor", I can understand why. But I like the design, and I'm thinking of making some of my own.

So if anyone out there has experience in making their own products, post a comment and let me know how well you thought it worked. I'm particularly interested in the various ways the homesewn pads can be made to stay in place, and what materials can be used to prevent leakage.

And now, back to our regularly scheduled (normal) posts!

Enchilada Casserole


This is one of my husband's favorite meals that I make. I got the recipe from a lady I babysat for when I was in college.

1 lb. chicken, cooked (chicken breast okay, but leftovers of whole chicken is better)
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese (I use more)
1 package of flour tortillas (I tend to use 6-8 tortillas)
1 can of Rotel (10 oz. can of diced tomatoes and chiles)
1 can of cream of chicken soup (regular small size can)
1 soup can of milk
a little flour to thicken, as needed

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. In a large frying pan, put in Rotel, soup, and milk.
3. Heat mixture through, stirring.
4. Add cooked chicken, stir.
5. Line bottom of a 13x9" pan with tortillas.
6. Pour some of mixture in, spread evenly.
7. Sprinkle some cheese across it.
8. Repeat steps 5-7.
9. When all of mixture and cheese is used up, layer tortillas across the top.
10. Bake til heated through and a little browned on top, usually 20 minutes.

I usually get two full layers of the tortillas/mixture/cheese, then top with final tortilla layer. You could make three layers if the ingredients were spread thinner, but I like thicker layers. I like it even better reheated the next day (if there's ever any left over!) because it tastes even better. This serves my family (two adults, three kids ages 4, 3, and 2). For larger families you'll want to add sides or make two casseroles. The Rotel will make it a little spicy, but not usually too bad, if using the Original variety. If your kids hate spicy foods, you could use plain diced tomatoes.

Anti-Catholic Blogging

There is something I've had on my mind for a while now, that I would like to share. I have noticed more and more on some Christian homemaking blogs the tendency to bash Catholics or Catholicism. I've held my tongue, and refrained from commenting the myths and sometimes intentional slams that I've seen on these blogs, because I felt that it wasn't my place to confront someone about their opinions on their own blog. I have seen others do that, and I think it is rude. It is one thing to disagree slightly and express a different view or to ask questions, but to engage in an argument with someone on their own blog is very impolite, in my opinion. I think if someone strongly disagrees with you and just wants to rant, they should just leave your blog...otherwise, what does it say about you that you have nothing better to do than argue and name-call a stranger because they exercised their free speech on their own blog?

However, one blog I used to visit (but rarely anymore, due to this person's anti-Catholic sentiments) recently made comments about Catholics again that I just couldn't stomach. It wasn't an opinion, it was a slam against a particular person and against the Catholic faith, which was in my opinion completely misleading as to what Catholics believe. The comment was made about someone who was engaging in exactly the behavior I described above, harassing the blog owner for her opinions, and (according to the blog owner) resorting to name-calling and put-downs. Instead of dealing with the person privately, this person chose to give her readers a play-by-play of what was happening between her and the anonymous poster (nothing wrong with that, just not a choice I would have made). In the course of talking about the anonymous poster, the blog owner, in an apparent attempt to put down the poster, said:

"As the Lord Jesus Christ said 'By their fruits ye shall know them' I believe that the troll is a Roman Catholic, so she probably thinks she is getting into heaven by being a 'good enough' person, i.e. through good works."

Assuming the blog owner is giving an honest evaluation of what the poster has been writing to her over time (there are two sides to every story, and she screens her comments to that we can't see the original comments posted by anonymous), I have a problem...several problems...with her statement. She has described this poster as someone who is bitter, angry, and attempting to justify her own poor life choices by spewing venom at the blog owner for her beliefs.

1) She says "by their fruits you shall know them", then goes on to say the poster must be Catholic...because of her fruits? Because of the hateful remarks she made? Perhaps this is not the analogy the blog owner was trying to draw, but that is how it sounds. At the very least, she implies that Catholics think they can act any way they want and still get to Heaven by doing something nice once in a while. Not only is that false, but it is also a complete misrepresentation of Catholic doctrine.

Now, I'll be the first to admit there are Catholics out there who think they can do what they want and still get to Heaven by being "good enough"...but I've met plenty of Protestants, Born-Agains, Evangelicals, Jews, Hindus, agnostics, etc. who believe the same thing. Just because some people have a malformed conscience does not mean that all people of a particular faith do...nor does it mean that that person's beliefs are a true representation of what they are SUPPOSED to believe, according to the faith they profess.

2) She jumps to the conclusion the poster is a Roman Catholic. I am not privvy to the posts, but if the blog owner's evaluation of the poster's comments is accurate, I don't need to see them...the woman is NOT a faithful practicing Roman Catholic. I wouldn't even call her practicing. If she isn't attending Mass every Sunday and Holy Day of Obligation, receiving Communion and going to Confession at least once a year during the Easter season, and following the laws of the Church, she is not a practicing Catholic. Many, many people claim to be practicing Catholics when in reality, they are "sometimes" Catholics...which makes them Catholics by birth only, but not in practice.

There is, unfortunately, a trend today for Catholics to "pick and choose" what they believe. Why they don't just become Protestant is just beyond me. Then they could go "church shopping" for somewhere they felt comfortable. Why stay in a church when you don't believe what it teaches? If I did not believe every single thing the Church has ever taught, I would NOT be a Catholic. The Catholic Faith is not a buffet, it is a complete meal. There are a lot of things that have been allowed to happen in the last forty years within the Church, due to a weak (at best) heirarchy. The abuses in practice and preaching are unacceptable, yet they have continued unabated. This is why I became a traditional Roman Catholic: one who attends only the traditional Mass in Latin, who practices the Faith as it always was...the Faith my grandmother grew up in. I couldn't stand going to Mass anymore and watching a priest change not only the practices but also the beliefs...a man who gave clear evidence that he didn't believe in the Real Presence of Christ in the Blessed Sacrament. I had to find a Mass where things never changed and the Faith was retained in it's entirety.

But most Protestants (even most Catholics) aren't aware of the lack of proper teaching within the Church today. So when they hear that Catholics believe this or that, they accept it. It doesn't matter what anyone says--people lie or are mislead. It doesn't matter how any particular Catholic acts--we all meet people in life who do not act as they know they should. What matters is what is defined in Catholic doctrine...THAT is what Catholics--true Catholics--believe.

3) "...she probably thinks she is getting into heaven by being a 'good enough' person, i.e. through good works..."

The blog owner couldn't be more wrong, although she was probably mislead either by a pastor or by the current myths propogated by people who themselves are mislead or who actually know better, but continue to spread lies. The truth is, the Catholic Church has always taught you MUST believe in order to save your soul. Good works are merely an outward sign of this Faith. Good works without faith are meaningless, and you cannot save your soul through good works alone. However, if you should go your whole life long proclaiming to believe, yet never taking the God-given opportunities to do good works, then can you truly say to your Lord on Judgement Day that you were a true believer?

Catholic history is full of examples of saints who died before or shortly after baptism, yet are believed to be in Heaven. Reading the Acts of the Martyrs shows many such stories. St. Emmerentiana is just one example. She was a young girl who was stoned to death at the grave of St. Agnes because she was a Christian. The Church believes that she is in Heaven--not because of her good works, though I'm sure she performed many. Not because she was baptised--her Acts make it clear she was not. She is believed to be in Heaven because of her Faith...because she believed in and loved Jesus Christ so much that she was willing to die for Him.

It isn't my intention to debate with anyone whether "faith alone" is actually scriptural or not. I welcome anyone here to my blog. I don't want anyone to feel unwelcome or put down. I may not believe the same as some Protestants do, but I welcome them here, and want them to feel comfortable. However, neither will I pretend I am something that I am not, and by not ever talking about my faith (which I haven't up until recently), I think I was being unfaithful to myself.

It is also not my intention to put down the blog owner (who I will not name or link to, to protect her identity). It is her blog she is writing on, and she is free to believe and to write about what she wants. I did write a comment to her (only because I knew she screens them first and it would be a private communication unless she chose to post it). In it, I pointed out this recent comment on Catholics, that it wasn't the first, and that although I was assuming she didn't mean it to be, her comments were insulting to Catholics, and came across as put-downs. I was trying to let her know that if she wanted to change Catholics' opinions and get them to believe what she believed, then making comments that sounded offensive wasn't the best way to accomplish that. If she didn't care what Catholics believe, then I guess it doesn't matter how she phrases things.

I never received a reply from her. As of this writing, she hasn't posted my comment, or referred to it on her blog, which is okay by me. Probably just as well. It's likely she didn't believe what I had to say about the true Catholic teaching on faith and good works. To be honest, I'm glad she didn't respond. I was a little worried it would turn into a big debate, which is not what I wanted. I just wanted her to know, if she wasn't aware, that her comments were not being taken well by Catholics (I am not the first to remark about this particular blog). It is too bad. I like her blog in many other aspects.

I think some people don't realize how they come across to others. I'm one of them, I should know! ;-) I say the wrong thing all the time. That's why blogging is good. I can edit and re-read my posts before publishing. Less blunders that way. :-D

Read a Book Today!

Lately I've felt like I've been under a lot of pressure. My lack of homemaking talents and inability to keep up with the house has really started to get to me. I think a large part of the problem is that I feel that I have no social outlet. I have no family or friends nearby, and haven't been able to make any new friends. I also don't have any hobbies like I used to. When I was single, I really enjoyed dancing, singing, reading, and going to social activities with other Catholic singles. Now that I'm married, I don't do any of those things.

It's not that my husband doesn't want me to or won't let me. They've just all fallen by the wayside, especially since I became a traditional Catholic. I used to go to country bars and dance. I loved to dance. Now I just don't feel that it is appropriate...not to mention I would feel like a total cow trying to dance, at my weight. I used to sing in the church choir, but with four little ones under the age of five, that is NOT possible! I would love to find other couples to be social with, but my husband isn't very outgoing with people he doesn't know, and even if we knew of a babysitter we could trust (which we don't), we couldn't afford it. Kind of hard to make friends when people realize that inviting you over means inviting ALL your kids, lol.

So I've decided I need to somehow "find myself" again. No, not in a feminist way (ugh!), I just need to rediscover some of the things I used to like doing. So this past week I started by buying a novel to read. I used to love reading novels about true crime, especially if they had to do with forensics (this was way before the CSI craze). When I became traditional Catholic, I stopped reading these because it just didn't seem right...a lot of these novels had things in them that weren't that appropriate, or were graphic (in regards to violence) beyond what was necessary to tell the story. Before I got married, I just substituted many books on the lives of the saints, older Catholic novels, and sometimes other spiritual works, like "Humility of the Heart". But books like those, for me, take a lot of concentration...something a mom of four little ones doesn't have! Some saint books I've read are good enough to really capture my attention, but the rest take a lot of peace and quiet to read. (Insert laughter from all real moms here.)

So reading has completely fallen by the wayside. Instead, when I need a break, I use the computer. The problem is, I tend to lose track of time, and spend too long on it. Not a good thing when you already don't keep up with your household duties! So I bought a book that is fiction, but doesn't have bad language or get overly gruesome. It's an easy read. In fact, I can actually read it while spending time with my kids, which is a lot better than leaving them to play while I get on the computer in another room. It has really helped me cut down on computer time. My husband and I used to read in bed together, so I'm hoping we'll start that again (if the poor man can keep his eyes open--he's been so tired lately).

Granted, I'd feel a lot better about it if I were reading something more spiritually beneficial, but I'm hoping this gets me into a reading habit again so that I can concentrate better on something religious. I've been wanting to read the Acts of the Apostles, and a bunch of books on the saints that I have by my bedside. The only bad thing is trying to read while I feed the baby--she loves to try to tear up and eat paper!