I have never been able to stick to my Lenten promise. Literally, never. I have always "given in" and broke my promise. For years I stopped trying. I stopped giving up chocolate or ice cream or candy or social media or television. I just stopped trying.
This year, even though I am still nursing our almost one-year old daughter and technically could talk myself into thinking that I don't have to make a Lenten promise, I have. This year, so far so good. I have not faltered yet.
You're probably thinking "big deal, Ash Wednesday was just last week." But for me, I would have already broken my promise probably a day or two into Lent.
This year I am trying hard.
It isn't easy and in fact, I am tempted constantly.
I gave up chips, popcorn and sweets. Go big or go home, right?
I love salty snacks and white cheddar popcorn is my favorite. I eat a cup each day and really, really look forward to it. So, I figured giving up chips, popcorn and all sweets would be difficult but if I give them all up then maybe it would be easier.
Everything has gone great until I was checking out at the market this weekend.
An associate walked right up to me and said "Would you like two bags of FREE popcorn?" I stared at her like she was possessed. Two bags of popcorn, you ask. Why yes, yes I would LOVE two bags of popcorn. I looked at the bags, WHITE CHEDDAR POPCORN! ORGANIC!
“Get away, Satan!" (MT 4:10) I yelled!
LOL, just kidding. (Wouldn't it have been great if I did?)
Instead I said yes, please and took the bags, paid for my other groceries and left.
My husband said that I should have just not taken them, but he does not have said addiction to white cheddar popcorn and doesn't realize that the bags do not expire until September, 2020, which will give me PLENTY of time to consume them.
Speaking of my wonderful, handsome husband. He gave up all sweets this year, as his sweet addiction is like my salty snack addiction.
At my husband’s place of employment on the first Friday of Lent, a co-worker brought in FOUR boxes of donuts. And not just any donuts, my husband’s FAVORITE donuts.
My husband refused his temptation and I still have to ask him if he yelled “Get away, Satan!" at anyone or at least thought to.
This post is not just a humble brag but intends to be a witness that even people like me, who fail miserably at their Lenten promises, should dust off and try again.
Jesus gives us new chances and new beginnings. He loves us. He doesn't want us to give up something to draw us away from Him. He wants us to be united with Him.
Reading the Gospel from yesterday, the first Sunday of Lent, when Jesus is led into the desert by the Spirit to be tempted by the devil (MT 4:1-11) made me realize that my temptations may seem trivial. But to Jesus, they are important and will help make me Holy.
What Lenten promise did you make? How are you sticking to them? Share with us on Facebook!
As always, thank you for reading. God bless you and may the Blessed Virgin Mary be with you always!
Advent is a sacred time in which we await the birth of our Savior, Jesus Christ. While the secular world around me seems to be in full-swing Christmas celebrations, I, among other Catholics, am trying to focus on the birth of Christ, which is still weeks away, and to instead prepare myself and my home for His birth.
Sometimes I get sidetracked. Thinking of the menus for Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and if we should have a 12th Night Party; getting our home ready to be decorated; celebrating the many feast days of December; and shopping for loved ones. It can be challenging to remain in the season of Advent when our day-to-day to-do lists are already overflowing and adding all of the "get ready of Christmas" tasks can make things even more stressful and time consuming. For some of us, Christmas shopping can get in the way of truly enjoying the calm that the Advent season should bring us as we wait to celebrate Jesus Christ being born.
This year, I made it a point to shop with Christ as my focus, and when possible, to support Catholic companies or individuals. While our budget for Christmas presents is not large, I always seek to find meaningful gifts for those whom I love. The following are some of my favorite gifts this year and some great gifts I found while shopping that I wouldn't mind unwrapping on Christmas morning. The best part is that you can shop for all of these online! (Some gifts below contain affiliate links. Read more below.)
(Warning: family members and/or friends, do not read this list! Especially, you, husband!)
Silicone Rosary: https://chewslife.com
Book: "God Made Wonderful Me" by Genny Monchamp https://amzn.to/2LGHfQV
Book: "My See and Pray Missal" to help children understand the Traditional Latin Mass.
Wee Believers My Pop-Out 14 Piece Children's Mass Activity Set: https://amzn.to/36oneXf
61 Minutes to a Miracle: Fulton Sheen and a True Story of the Impossible Paperback by Bonnie L Engstrom
Roman Catholic Daily Missal by Angelus Press: https://amzn.to/2t7sLmR
Bracelets and Scarf from Trades of Hope: mytradesofhope.com/jennaaoyama
Coffee from The Benedictine Monks of Our Lady of Guadalupe Monastery: abbeyroast.com
Rosewood Lip Trio from Beautycounter: beautycounter.com
Be Not Afraid Engraved Keychain from Just Love Prints:justloveprints.com
(In Saint John Paul II's handwriting!)
What are some of your favorite gifts for Christmas this year? Either to give or to recevie? Please share with us on Facebook.com/CatholicMomRI. Have a blessed Advent and may God bless you.
Catholic Mom Rhode Island is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com. If you click though to Amazon from a link on this blog and make a purchase, I will receive a commission from Amazon.
The Feast Day of St. Nicholas is one of our favorite days to celebrate as a family! While we don't decorate much for Christmas during the season of Advent, St. Nicholas Day is a great "teaser" of what will come at Christmas which is only a few weeks away!
How We Celebrate
In the days and weeks leading up to St. Nicholas Day, I make sure that our festivities will be simple enough to continue to remain in spirit of Advent yet fun and educational enough that it will (hopefully) leave a lasting impression on our son. Here are some ways to celebrate the original Santa Claus: Saint Nicholas!
1. Book about St. Nicholas
We LOVE this book about Saint Nicholas by Ann Tompert. While we usually borrow it from the library, our son loves it so much that I bought it as one of his Christmas presents for this year! Click here to get your copy!
2. Leaving Out Shoes
My son can smell chocolate a mile away! I have to hide his chocolate coins really well in our house. Trader Joe's has yummy chocolate coins but if you're in a pinch, you can grab some from Amazon as well. We leave his chocolate coins and other treats like candy canes, oranges and trail mix in his shoes the night before! While we do tell him that mommy and daddy fill his shoes with the treats, he knows that it is because it is St. Nicholas day!
This year, I found this amazing and FREE printable on Instagram. Shower of Roses to make your chocolate coins more festive! Click here to get your free printable and make sure you check her out on Instagram, too!
This is the most important part of our yearly tradition! We try extra hard to get to daily Mass on the Feast of Saint Nicholas. If for some reason we can't make it, I read the daily readings to our son (who usually runs around or plays while I do so) and make sure to spend some extra time in reflective prayer during the day.
St. Nicholas (Jaroslav Čermák (1831 - 1878) - Sv. Mikuláš, Galerie Art Praha)
How are you celebrating Saint Nicholas’s Feast Day? Please share with us on Facebook!
As always, thank you for reading. God bless you and may the Blessed Virgin Mary be with you always!
Food shopping. The bane of my existence. Well, not exactly the bane, but close.
Now that I have two children, it is more difficult for me to get out of the house and shop for food.
I regularly remind myself how absolutely blessed my family is to be able to have the resources of clean, healthy and delicious food and that so many go hungry each day. Which is why organizations like St. Vincent de Paul Society (and countless others), which aid families in meeting basic needs, are so very important and need our support to continue to serve our brothers and sisters in Christ.
Also, Saint Gianna Molla said: "One earns paradise with one's daily task.”
Despite knowing my blessings and Saint Gianna’s advice, food shopping still continues to be something I don’t look forward to.
It wasn’t always like this. I used to enjoy food shopping with my son. We would go weekly, usually during the weekday while it was not that busy. We’d take our time, he would count the apples as he dropped them into the bag, get excited about picking out his favorite yogurt flavor (ah, to be a child again!) and when I was pregnant, I would show him the fruit or vegetable size that his baby sister was that particular week.
Now that said baby sister is here, food shopping has become much more difficult. Gone are the days where we can leisurely stroll through the market. Now while he drops an unknown number of apples in the bag, I am rocking baby sister in the baby carrier while frantically trying not to drop the shopping list for the twelfth time.
While as with other chapters in life, I know this is temporary and these precious, while frantic, moments are fleeting. One day there will be no little people with me food shopping and I will look back on these days and miss them. Hopefully, our children will look back on these days and remember the everyday moments with as much love and admiration as we do.
I have five tips to help make food shopping less stressful. While most of these tips seem like no-brainers, when combined, they really make the weekly task less of a burden, especially the fact that I have recently discovered I can make money while food shopping!
Before I list these tips, I’d like to note that I did not include the blessing which is Curbside Pickup for groceries. Two reasons: the first being that I never tried it and can’t give an honest, first-hand opinion; the second reason is that my son enjoys going food shopping, so we go. Perhaps I will try the pickup one day. For now, here are my tips to make food shopping less stressful:
1. Eat before you go.
No, seriously. Eat something at home. Do not go food shopping hungry. More importantly, do not let your children go food shopping hungry. Everyone eats ahead of time.
2. Menu and shopping list.
We eat one of three things for breakfast every day, so breakfast is easy. For lunch we usually have leftovers from the night before or turkey/cheese rollups or tuna on Fridays. For dinner, we have three nights out of seven where we eat meat and then the rest of the nights are meatless, with one night where we order take-out. After planning the menu, I write down exactly everything that I will need and I try to make my grocery list in order of the market. I start at produce and end at the frozen foods. So, group produce together, deli, meat, middle aisles, dairy, etc.…
3. Coupon if you must but Fetch rewards is MUCH better!
I like to make money while spending money. I love using Fetch rewards. I just upload my receipt and it gives me money on items that I’ve earned. Sometimes, I get money just for uploading my receipt. It’s free and it is easy to use. It's a free app that turns grocery receipts into rewards. Just scan any grocery receipt, and earn points towards awesome rewards. You'll earn at least 1% on all listed brands and products, and gain access to exclusive offers that earn you even more points. Just scan your grocery receipt, and get rewarded.
Use my referral code, VCYAK, during signup to get extra points just for signing up!
Download Fetch Rewards free here: https://bit.ly/2zwOdBK
4. Bag frozen with perishable.
I try to bag or ask the person helping to bag the perishable items with the frozen items. While we live relatively close to the market, things have happened (like my car getting stuck on the side of the road due to a faulty coil) and you don’t want your food to go bad.
5. Make putting food away a game.
Since my son was a much smaller boy, I have made putting the food away a game. I will give him some non-breakable items to put away and then tell him to see how fast he can do it. Usually it is just things like pasta, bread, boxes and cans, but he enjoys it. Any time I can give my children extra positive reinforcement for following directions and while ACTUALLY helping me is a win-win in my book!
Do you have any tips you can share? Please share with us on Facebook!
As always, thank you for reading. God bless you and may the Blessed Virgin Mary be with you always.
"Am I doing enough" is a question I have asked myself on too many occasions to count. When it comes to being a mother, the question is applied to things like "Am I reading to my children enough? Are they getting enough nutrients? Enough sleep? Enough love? Enough compassion? Enough of Christ?" There are many areas I am lacking and need to double down on. I am certain that if all parents took some time to think about it, they could come up with areas which they need improvement as well.
Today, "am I doing enough?" hit me like a ton of bricks when I was contemplating Matthew 18:1-5, 10, 12, 14. My focus kept centering on the last verse: "it is not the will of your heavenly Father that one of these little ones be lost." (MT 18:14) Now, the question "Am I doing enough" becomes more serious. Are my actions, words and deeds enough? Am I a positive witness for Christ? Am I leading my children on a path to holiness? Or am I leading them to be lost?
For example, when I am driving in the car with my children and I say something uncharitable about someone who cuts me off on the road or if I decide to forgo a prayer before a meal at a restaurant because we don't want to stand out or look "odd," or if I decide to partake in some "harmless" gossip in front of my children, or if I decide to miss Mass here or there because there are other "more pressing" matters to take care of.
Before you shrug your shoulders and reassure yourself that these things and similar instances are not a big deal, stop. Heed the warning of the children of Our Lady of Fatima. Hell is real.
At the request of the Bishop of Leiria, Lucia described the vision this way:
“As Our Lady spoke these last words, she opened her hands once more, as she had done during the two previous months. The rays of light seemed to penetrate the earth, and we saw as it were a sea of fire. Plunged in this fire were demons and souls in human form, like transparent burning embers, all blackened or burnished bronze, floating about in the conflagration, now raised into the air by the flames that issued from within themselves together with great clouds of smoke now falling back on every side like sparks in huge fires, without weight or equilibrium, amid shrieks and groans of pain and despair, which horrified us and made us tremble with fear. (It must have been this sight which caused me to cry out, as people say they heard me).
The demons could be distinguished by their terrifying and repellent likeness to frightful and unknown animals, black and transparent like burning coals. Terrified and as if to plead for succour, we looked up at Our Lady, who said to us, so kindly and so sadly: You have seen hell where the souls of poor sinners go. To save them, God wishes to establish in the world devotion to my Immaculate Heart. If what I say to you is done, many souls will be saved and there will be peace."
Now stop and really think about whether you are doing enough, if you could be doing more.
Enough and then more is what will shield our children from the onslaught of the evil one who prowls around the world seeking souls; the souls of our children. The father of lives does not rest and we shouldn't either.
I take and offer Pope Francis's advice to "be calmly vigilant against falling into spiritual mediocrity which corrupts us from within."
I promise and hope you will also do what is enough and then more. To attend Mass each week and days of Holy Obligation at minimum. To pray each day both alone and with family, children and my husband. To treat others with dignity and respect. To respond to those in need with time, talent and treasures. To shatter false gods and idols. To obey the law that God has commanded. To do the very best that I can and when I make a mistake to pick myself up, receive the Sacrament of Confession and try again.
Our children will never be lost if we continue to show them the way to Jesus in our words, deeds and actions. I pray, for you and for me, that when our children are grown and their hands no longer hold ours, He will open His hands and they will reach out and hold on tightly.
When it comes to our Faith, what do you do "more" for your children? Share with us on Facebook.
As always, thank you for reading. May the Blessed Virgin Mary be with you and may God bless you!
One of my favorite memories of when my husband and I were dating is the “good morning” text messages that he would send me on an almost daily basis. These sweet messages were not only a wonderful treat to wake up to, but they also reminded me that he was thinking of me upon waking up.
For the past decade or so, I’ve gotten into the habit of sending God a good morning message each day, often before my feet touch the floor for the first time in the day.
I simply say in my head “Good morning, God. Thank you for another day. I love you.”
This “good morning” reflection to God takes only a few seconds.
When I first started to get into the routine of saying good morning to God, I would name the alarm on my phone with “Good morning, God” as a reminder to do so. It only took about a week until it became routine.
Now, I say the reflection the moment I wake up and usually before my eyes even open.
This short and sweet good morning reflection is especially helpful on mornings where I don’t have time for my regular morning prayer and daily Mass reading. Whether our children haven’t slept well the night before, we’ve slept through the alarm or when we’re running late for whatever reason, I am never too late to send a quick message of thanksgiving and praise to God, which helps me build a positive foundation for the day.
I have found that by just thanking God for another opportunity to be alive for another day helps to put other stressors in my life into perspective. God has gifted me another day and another chance to make a positive difference in my life and the lives of my family members, friends and every person that I encounter.
I hope you will try it out. Spend a few seconds with God in the morning, it can change your life.
Do you have any morning prayer routines? Share with us on our Facebook page:
God bless you!
As I have been reaching the end of the pregnancy with our second child, a sweet baby girl, many have asked or have assumed that I “can’t wait for the delivery day.” It is understandable given the fact that pregnancy is especially difficult in the last few weeks and a women’s body is pushed to the limit: swelling, insomnia, back pain, joint pain, pelvic pain, heartburn, contractions and cramping, to name a few.
However, this 38-week pregnant mama is not ready and certainly not rushing to the delivery room.
I actually love being pregnant. Even through all of the symptoms that I had and currently have. I am enjoying each and every moment of this pregnancy. The good, the difficult and the painful.
Plus, babies don’t keep. It seems as though it was just yesterday that I was pregnant with our son and now he is already three years old. The saying "the days are long, but the years are short" is one I have continued to remind myself and one that can be applied to pregnancy as well. The days are long, but the months are short. Soon we will be holding our sweet girl in our arms.
Being pregnant with a girl has been especially special knowing that I am carrying potential grandchildren. "Every female fetus develops all the eggs she will ever have while that baby is still inside of her own mom." So, we all technically started out our lives inside our maternal grandmother's womb.*
My husband and I are especially enjoying the one-on-one time with our son before his sister is born and our worlds are changed forever. I think there are many other mothers, especially mothers who have more than one child, who feel this way. While we are overjoyed at welcoming our daughter into our family, we will miss this chapter of our lives and look fondly back at the memories we shared just the three of us.
So, for these last days as a family of three (with a blessing in my womb) we are savoring each, precious moment and remembering that the fruits of the Spirit are "love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness.” (Galatians 5:22)
There is no need to rush, baby girl. Take your time. Finish developing those lungs and keep practicing your reflexes. We love you so much and pray that your entry into this world is just as amazing as you are.
Please keep us all in your prayers and you can be assured that you will be in ours as well. Please do like and share our Facebook page. Facebook.com/CatholicMomRI God bless you!
Guess what fellow pregnant or nursing ladies? The Catholic Church states that we are excused from fasting or abstinence for Lent.*
Personally, I try to abstain from eating meat on Fridays all year, even when I am pregnant or nursing. Sometimes I am unable to, but I especially try to abstain from meat during Lent on the penitential days.
While you can certainly abstain from meat if you’d like to and you have discussed and gotten approval from your doctor, you should not fast, at all, period. Pregnancy and nursing are hard enough on a woman’s body and the Catholic Church recognizes that. We should listen to Her.
Just because we are completely, 100% excused from fasting or abstaining from meat does not mean that we can’t have a meaningful Lent. Since I am very pregnant (third trimester), will most likely give birth and nurse our daughter before Lent is over, I am sharing some ideas for myself to make Lent more meaningful:
Do you have any other ideas on how to have a meaningful Lent while pregnant and/or nursing? Share with us on Facebook. Please don’t forget to like and share our Facebook page: Facebook.com/CatholicMomRI
God bless you!
“Whatever God wants.” ~St. Gianna Beretta Molla
I’ve been saying this quote a lot lately. I am officially in the ninth month of pregnancy with our sweet baby girl and for some reason I’ve been saying and thinking this quote a lot lately. Perhaps it’s my way of surrendering to the upcoming changes that our family will go through as we lovingly welcome our newest member.
There is so much unexplainable joy and excitement about having another child, another miracle, another gift from God that we are somehow worthy of receiving. But there are also fears and trepidation that come along. Such as many other occurrences in life.
Many mothers and fathers feel the same joys and fears as the family grows and another cherished member is added. Instead of succumbing to those fears, which I all too often do, I am instead acknowledging the fears, thanking myself for being aware of them and trusting God that, in the end. whatever He wants is what is best.
The steadfast commitment to our Faith and to our family has gotten us through both. God is with us through both trial and triumph. While it is completely normal to feel fearful and anxious, reminding myself that “God has our back, and we, as a family, have each other’s backs,” keeps me at peace.
He has blessed my life beyond what I could have planned for myself. When in college, I planned that once I graduated, my goal would be to eventually move to and live in San Francisco as a newspaper reporter. God, marriage and children were the furthest things from my mind. If you would have told me then, that in present-time I would instead: come back home to Catholicism, live in my home state, be married, work from home, have two children (one of which on the way) and home-school; I would have laughed in your face.
Now, I couldn't have imagined any other life than this. I have my dream come true. I realized this today as I looked out our window at our toddler and my husband playing in the snow. As I watched them play, I was preparing some meals for a “30 day meal stock up” for when baby girl arrives, praying the Rosary and listening to Benediction chant music. This dream realized is one I never knew I wanted to come true. Thank you God, for giving me this dream and knowing what was best for me all along.
This Saturday is the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary, a feast day in the United States of America and a Holy day of obligation for Catholics to attend Mass.
Since this Holy day of obligation falls on a Saturday, it essentially means that Catholics must attend Mass twice in one weekend to satisfy both the Holy day and Sunday obligation.
This infographic provided by Old Fashioned Girl explains the various scenarios in which one would satisfy both obligations.
Unfortunately, there are those who gripe about attending mass twice in one weekend.
While I usually try to refrain from blog posts such as this, a reading from my 'Give us this Day' daily devotional sparked this entry.
I understand there are many people who do not gripe about attending Mass twice in one weekend and that there are many who attend mass daily.
(Also, there are those of us who want to attend mass each day but are unable to due to personal reasons.)
So who am I speaking of that griped about going twice in one weekend?
Before you start the canonical process to have me excommunicated, allow me to explain.
This pregnancy has caused some new, surprising and exciting (note: sarcasm) side effects. While the daily nausea has subsided, it was quickly replaced by carpal tunnel syndrome.
While the pain comes and goes, when it comes it is excruciating, debilitating and can't be alleviated. Leaving me to rely almost 100% on my husband and mother to accomplish the simplest of tasks.
When the pain subsides, it leaves a constant ache that, like the pain, can't be alleviated. Since I am pregnant, I am unable to take medications that will help reduce the pain and can only rely on ice and wrist splints that I have been wearing almost 24/7. More to come in a later journal when my hands hurt less to type.
So, when I recalled that this Saturday was a holy day of obligation, I griped.
Then, as usual, I was gently reminded to suck it up and deal. The gentle reminder came after I read about Saint Crispina, a Saint that I had heard about before but clearly needed a refresher on her history.
St. Crispina was a wife and mother of several children in Africa. She was arrested for being a Christian and in December, 304, she was put on trial before the proconsul of Theveste. During her trial she was ordered to deny Christ and worship false gods. St. Crispina refused.
“The proconsul told her she could either live a long life, or die in agony before being beheaded. Saint Crispina told him, “I would thank my God if I obtained this. I would gladly lose my head for the Lord’s sake, for I refuse to offer sacrifice to those ridiculous deaf and dumb statues.”
She was then “ordered to be executed by the sword.”
“Saint Crispina said, “Thanks be to God, Who has deigned to free me from your hands.” She made the Sign of the Cross and stretched forth her neck to the executioner.”
To read the full record of Saint Crispina (which I pray you will), please visit: https://oca.org
Saint Crispina is not the first, nor is she the last person killed for professing the Catholic faith. There are many, many people who have been persecuted and killed in the name of Jesus Christ.
Reminding myself of this makes the most severe carpal tunnel pain that I have endured seem like a scratch.
Here are just four examples of those killed or persecuted in present-day:
We are blessed in this country, beyond measure, to be able to attend mass whenever we please. We can attend mass each day at various times of the day.
So while I was ashamed at first about griping for having to attend mass twice in one weekend, I hope my humbling experience inspires you. I pray that Saint Crispina and the endless others who have died or been persecuted in the name of Jesus Christ inspire you to not only live out the Gospel but share the Good News with as many people as you can.
As, St. Pio of Pietrelcina said: "If we only knew how God regards this Sacrifice, we would risk our lives to be present at a single mass."
So, share that with someone you know. Invite them to attend mass with you.
As always, thank you for reading. Please visit and like me on Facebook! God bless you and may the Blessed Virgin Mary be with you always!
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.