Friday, April 29, 2016

The ?*%$# Problem With Every Movie From My Youth: and ten family movies that won't teach your kids to swear like a sailor

Ahhh . . . movie night. It's one of the most beloved parts of our family routine. Our kids don't watch a whole lot of TV, but we do plan on watching a movie together as a family just about every week. We started off watching mostly Disney animated movies, but as the big kids have gotten older, the husband and I were SUPER excited to share with them OUR favorite movies from when we were their age.

Perhaps you, too, have figured the kids were ready to share in the joy and wonderment of all your hip eighties movie favorites only dive for the remote while sharing horrified glances with your spouse. Goonies, Ghostbusters, Galaxy Quest, E.T., Indiana Jones, Beetlejuice, Back to the Future, Ferris Bueller's Day Off, Short Circuit, Harry and the Hendersons, all really awesome movies, obviously. But all with really significant swear words in them. Like . . . the BIGGIES. Perhaps you've resigned yourself to just giving up the genre entirely.

Or maybe you're thinking, what's the big deal? I all watched those movies as a kid and *I* turned out just fine. And that's true. I happen to think you're a perfectly lovely human being. And I can see that argument, really I can. Because bad language, in itself, is not a sin. Bad words are really just bad manners, inasmuch as they are intended to shock or make someone uncomfortable or offended. Perhaps if the use of bad language stems from genuine wrath, it could be sinful, but that's not how bad words are usually used in family movies.

The old Baltimore Catechism has a section on language to avoid, and the big four letter words aren't a part of the discussion.

In fact, the language that's actually most problematic for a good Catholic isn't even recognized as all that bad to begin with. We think of "swearing" and "cursing" as just synonyms for bad words, but really they aren't.

Swearing is a no no. When Billy Madison says, "I swear to God I'm sick! I can't go to school," that's potentially a mortal sin, because he calls on God to witness to his illness, but he's NOT really sick, of course. (He would have to know it was a sin though, and probably he doesn't.) 

Cursing (the calling down of some evil on a person, place, or thing) is quite specifically forbidden by the Catechism and the Bible. So this exchange in Hocus Pocus: "Billy: Go to hell! Winifred: Oh! I've been there, thank you. I found it quite lovely," is of concern on many levels, but it doesn't sting the ears.

Taking God's name in vain, is right there in the second commandment. We're against it. So when Cher says, "Oh my God! I love Josh. I am majorly, crazy in love with Josh," unless she means that as a prayer, valley girl though she is, that's not cool. But we're so used to hearing it we hardly even notice.

So, the four-letter words that shock us in those eighties movies are, actually, not as bad, Catholic-wise, as plenty of other not-so-bad sounding language. And it's going to be close to impossible to find a movie to watch without any swearing, cursing, or taking of God's name in vain.

So what's a responsible parent to do? 

Well, that's going to have to be your call. A few of the movies on that list above, we have watched with our kids. But most of them, we've decided to skip. The husband and I are, at this point, 100% potty mouth-free. So are our close friends and family members. Most of my weird unsocialized homeschool kids have never EVER heard those words, and I really think that's sweet. As fun as those movies are, I don't think they are worth ripping away that little piece of innocence. 

And even if they ARE just bad manners . . . I want my kids to have good manners. I really don't want to be the mom of a kid dropping four letter bombs at the grocery store or during Mass. If he doesn't know the words, he can't say the words. And that's only addressing the language part of the movies, there is also plenty of surprisingly sexual content in some of those PG movies, plus complicated family situations like divorce and remarriage and kids out of wedlock that really aren't a part of my little kids' frames of reference at this point.

But. I cannot give up the movies of my youth entirely. And we don't want to give up on all movies entirely.

So, here are a few that I remember fondly and my kids have enjoyed . . . that, to the best of my recollection, won't get your kid's mouth washed out with soap. (Linked movie titles will take you to Netflix.) We watch movies as a whole family, so even though most of these are more appropriate for older kids, our little kids watch them too. Our kids aren't particularly sensitive to scariness, and we don't have a problem with them watching war-type or cartoonish violence. If you're worried about stuff like that, you might want to preview these.

My kids LOVED this movie (Frankie especially), and the husband and I were impressed with how well the goofiness holds up.

There are two kinds of people in this world: those who have The Princess Bride memorized, and those that do not. I can only hope my children will follow me onto the right path. (You've seen THESE, right?)

The NeverEnding Story
My sister and I used to "play" NeverEnding Story by sitting on the ground with long skirts spread out in a circle around us. Good times. My kids loved Falcor, obviously.

If you're looking for something to get the Frozen soundtrack out of your kids' heads . . .

 If your kids have already seen and enjoyed Star Wars and Lord of the Rings, this is a good one.

Star Wars
If your kids haven't already seen and enjoyed Star Wars . . . what is your problem? Show them Star Wars for goodness sakes. The original ones, I mean. My kids love them. Unfortunately they also like the prequels.

And a few newer but still adventurous movies that big kids and parents can both enjoy . . .

Lord of the Rings
Very violent. And gory. And scary. But an extraordinary story of sacrifice and friendship and courage. Also very long and complicated. But in nine hours and eighteens minutes worth of movie there's not a single bad word.

 Reminiscent of the pack of kids movies from the eighties, but smarter and without profanity.

If Goonies and E.T. had a baby, it would be this movie. We watched it a couple weekends ago and really loved it.

My favorite resource these days for vetting family movies (and books) is Common Sense Media. I appreciate how detailed the reviews are, so even if they've given a blanket recommendation for or caution about a movie, I can look at the specifics and decide if their problem with the movie would be a problem for me.

Share your favorite hits and misses in the comments!

And that's my honest opinion. But this is a sponsored post.


Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Where Do Pets Go When They Die?

Mailbag time!

The Question:
Hello, my name is Mollie and I am a big fan of your blog. I lost my pet of 17 years this weekend and I am struggling with the thought of breaking the news to my seven year old son this afternoon. We have been preparing him for her passing as she has been showing signs that her end was near but I want to be sure we honor any questions our son has on "where do pets go when they die" in a good Catholic way. How do you explain the passing of pets to your children?

Image from the St. Joseph First Communion Catechism, with smart alecky additions by me.

 The Answer:

Mollie, I'm sorry for your loss.

First step, I think, is to not rush into answering questions your son doesn't ask. But, you are right to be prepared, just in case, of course. I would give him the facts about the where and when and how of the death, and comfort him and allow him to grieve and he can ask questions if he wants to.

I just listened to an autobiography with the kids, called Little Britches, about a boy growing up on a Colorado ranch. In the book the boy's dad says we only have to be sad about creatures who die without having fulfilled their purpose. Your pet was loved and taken care of and gave love and companionship for seventeen years. That certainly sounds like a purposeful life.

That might be enough for your son.

As for what the Catholic Church teaches, there isn't an official Church doctrine as to whether there are animals in heaven. Individual animals have an animating soul, but are not capable of choosing God in the way that humans are. The traditional teaching is that animals do not have an immortal soul and therefore, when they die, nothing remains of them. They just go out of existence.

St. Thomas Aquinas, for example, taught that . . .  
Thesis XIV.  Souls of the vegetative [plant] and sensitive [animal] order, properly speaking, do not subsist and are not produced, but merely exist and are produced as a principle whereby the living thing exists and lives. Since they depend entirely on matter, at the dissolution of the compound, they are indirectly destroyed.
Thesis XV.  On the contrary, the human soul subsists by itself, and is created by God when it can be infused into a sufficiently disposed subject, and is incorruptible and immortal by nature.
The news headlines a year or so back saying that Pope Francis had said animals go to heaven were a complete fabrication. The pope simply stated that the entire universe will be renewed, echoing a statement by St. Paul (Rom 8:21).

However, some people, including C.S. Lewis (not Catholic, but very very close, theologically), do think that animals could be in heaven. Not by their own merits, but because of their relationship with humans, just as humans can be in heaven through our relationship with God.
If, nevertheless, the strong conviction which we have of a real,
though doubtless rudimentary, selfhood in the higher animals, and
specially in those we tame, is not an illusion, their destiny demands
a somewhat deeper consideration. The error we must avoid is that
of considering them in themselves. Man is to be understood only in
his relation to God. The beasts are to be understood only in their
relation to man and, through man, to God. . . .

Man was appointed by
God to have dominion over the beasts, and everything a man does
to an animal is either a lawful exercise, or a sacrilegious abuse, of
an authority by divine right. The tame animal is therefore, in the
deepest sense, the only "natural" animal - the only one we see
occupying the place it was made to occupy, and it is on the tame
animal that we must base all our doctrine of beasts. . . .

And in this way it seems to me
possible that certain animals may have an immortality, not in
themselves, but in the immortality of their masters. . . .

It makes God the centre of the universe and
man the subordinate centre of terrestrial nature: the beasts are not
co-ordinate with man, but subordinate to him, and their destiny is
through and through related to his. And the derivative immortality
suggested for them is not a mere amende or compensation: it is part
and parcel of the new heaven and new earth, organically related to
the whole suffering process of the world's fall and redemption.
chapter nine  The Problem of Pain
But no matter what . . . 

There wouldn't be any problem in saying that IF it would make his happiness in heaven complete, certainly your son would see his pet again, because that's true. 

We would each have complete happiness in heaven, so anything that his happiness requires will be there. But most theologians would argue that the beatific vision of God and an understanding of the whole purpose of the universe and God's plan for our lives is all anyone would need for perfect happiness in heaven.

I like this way of looking at it, by Paul Thigpen:
God might choose to keep at least some animal “souls” from perishing after death, by granting them a privilege beyond their nature — what is known as a preternatural gift.

In any case, we know this much: Because animals can’t have sanctifying grace in their souls to receive the beatific vision, then if any of them do go to heaven, it wouldn’t be for the same reason that humans are in heaven.

What other reasons might there be? Perhaps it’s possible that God will allow the animals we’ve loved on earth to take part somehow in our heavenly life as part of our eternal happiness.

In fact, since God himself takes delight in all the good creatures he’s made, he might give at least some animals a life in heaven for the sake of his own pleasure.

We can only speculate; we won’t know for sure until, God-willing, we arrive in heaven ourselves.

Whatever the case may be, we can be assured that God loves every creature he makes. He loves them even more than we do.

That can be a comforting thought when we’re saddened to lose a dear pet or see some other living creature die. Because God loves them, we can entrust them to him.

Good luck!

P.S. The book Little Britches: Father and I Were Ranchers is an excellent read (or listen). It's like a more masculine Little House on the Prairie. My kids all really liked it. But be forewarned, it's a true story and in it there are some gruesome injuries to horses. And one mild swear word. And people die. My kids handled it fine, even the little ones, but it's probably one of the more intense books we've read together.

P.P.S. What ever you do . . .  do NOT watch the movie All Dogs Go to Heaven with your children.
60 reasons 'All Dogs Go to Heaven' is the most disturbing kids' movie ever made

Disclaimer: I am not a theologian, nor am I an official spokesperson for the Catholic Church. (You're thinking of this guy.) If you read anything on this blog that is contrary to Church teaching, please consider it my error (and let me know!). I'm not a doctor or an expert on anything in particular. I'm just one person with a lot of experience parenting little kids and a desire to share my joy in marriage, mothering, and my faith.

If you've got a question, please send it along to catholicallyear @ gmail . com . Please let me know if you prefer that I change your name if I use your question on the blog.

p.s. I am WAY behind on my mailbag. Like, a month behind. Maybe two. Between keeping up the blog, writing for Blessed is She (about the devil), the printables and custom work at the Etsy shop, the mugs and t-shirts and pint glasses at the Cafepress shop, the fixing up of the house we bought, and the general care, feeding, and education of my children . . . I am fresh out of time to respond to emails. But if you wrote to me to ask a question, please know that I got it. I read it. I composed an answer to you in my head. But I haven't typed it up yet. It is my sincere intention to do so sometime in the near future.


Tuesday, April 12, 2016

A Few Things I Love About Living In an Unfinished House

I have so much to tell you all! All the different projects in the works, how the renovations are progressing, what I think about all the newsy things, weirdo stuff Frankie's been doing . . .

But there's not much time to tell it, so today, you just get a peek at how it is living in the bottom left part of our new old house.

The whole upstairs, which is where all of our bedrooms will be eventually, is under construction, and cordoned off . . . as is the kitchen and breakfast room area. There's still plenty of room in the house, though, we just moved beds and clothes into rooms downstairs that will eventually be put to other uses.

Many, many people warned us how terrible it would be to be living in a house under construction. We are generally up for a challenge, so I figured we could handle it. What I didn't expect was to find that there are things I genuinely enjoy about our current non-standard living situation. So, let's go over them, shall we?

1. We have no toys.

A box of duplos, a bunch of books, a few stuffed animals for sleeping . . . that is it. And I LOVE IT SO MUCH. No toys means no toys to mess up, no toys to clean up, no toys to fight over. It's the BEST. The kids play outside almost all the time, because there's really nothing to do in here.

Dirty feet = a good day.

I would love nothing more than to load every box labeled "toys" right onto the St. Vincent de Paul truck and be done with it. But, fortunately for the kids, their father is the kind of person who believes that children should be allowed to have some toys. IN the house. So . . . we'll see.

But it's going to be a sad, sad day in Momtown when those boxes get unpacked.

2. We have no window coverings.

This should be a huge problem, right? I'm supposed to get those accordion shade thingies immediately upon moving in.

But we didn't, and it's been great.

I've always worked so hard to create a "sleep environment" for little kids that would get them the most sleep possible. In our old house, we had honeycomb blackout shades in the kids' rooms. They were totally dark. In this house we have . . . nothing. And TONS of windows. And ya know what? They all sleep exactly the same.

Frankie still gets up at the crack of dawn. Lulu still snoozes in. (Can you spot her?)

It has meant the big kids wake up earlier and want to go to bed earlier, which is excellent. The husband and I have been tearing through The Walking Dead on Netflix with all our newfound child-free evening hours. (We're in season five. What is with the hipster cannibals?!)

Mary Jane has been bunking in our closet, which is the only dark room in the house . . . and waking up super early. What gives?

3. We have very few clothes.

I have been ideologically on board with minimal wardrobes for kids for many years. But it's always so hard to keep it up. No matter how often I purge, it seems like we end up with more than we need. But, at least for now, we are down to a very manageable amount of clothing.

Each boy has one basket of clothes, plus half a basket for pajamas, and a few hanging items. It's all they need, and less to keep track of. Especially since they're doing their all own laundry. Yay!

4. We have a detached kitchen.

Living in a house without a kitchen was definitely supposed to be the worst part of this whole experience. And maybe it would have been. But my oh-so-handy dad cobbled together a makeshift kitchen for me out of pressboard and found appliances and it's pretty much the best thing ever.

This is the detached garage. The top is an apartment that my parents are staying in when they visit. It's excellent for giving speeches. The bottom right door is the kitchen, the rest of it is full of construction stuff and boxes. (The main house is over on the right. The doorway with no door is where the new kitchen will be.)

Everything we need, nothing we don't.

I can't take credit for the decorative spray paint. That was there when we moved in.

It's, um, rustic, but it's actually very efficient. There are benefits to all function and no form.

Here, let Gus and Anita tell you how great it is.

Anyway, I like that it's anything at all, especially when I was planning to have a fridge and a crockpot for the duration. (Those crockpot freezer meals have been a huge success for us. If you have any upcoming life upheaval DO IT.)

I also like that it's really set up to keep us from procrastinating. The washer/dryer is right there. So, I don't forget about loads of laundry and have to wash them again. We have no dishwasher, and that's another thing I've found to be surprisingly positive. I don't think having the kids wash, dry, and put away the dishes takes any longer than having them rinse the dishes and load the dishwasher, and this way it's DONE. No unloading the dishwasher later. (To be clear, it still takes WAY longer than it should. It just doesn't take any longer than it used to.) We need fewer dishes this way, too.

The husband says we're still getting dishwashers in the new kitchen.

But the best part is that there's no snacking or messing up the kitchen between meals, because the kitchen is ALL THE WAY OVER THERE. Sitting at my computer at night, I'll think how nice it would be to grab a little something, but the kitchen is outside, through the dark. I'd have to put on shoes. It just isn't worth it.

Maybe Martha Washington was onto something with her detached kitchen. Not that she did the cooking in it. But still. I like it.

None of this isn't to stay we're not full-stream-ahead on a new kitchen a various other improvements. But those will have to be shared another time.


Friday, March 11, 2016

Should Catholics Attend Easter Egg Hunts on Holy Saturday?

Mailbag time!

The Question:
Hi, Kendra! Thanks so much for your blog. I was hoping you could offer some advice on a question regarding living out the liturgical year with young kids. Our parish Easter egg hunt is scheduled for Holy Saturday morning and I don't know whether my toddler and preschooler should participate. On the one hand, I don't want to celebrate Easter before its time, especially since this is the first year I've introduced the concept of Lent to my preschooler. On the other hand, I don't want to become isolated from my parish community by being overly rigid about such things. (From my observations as a fairly new parishioner, I'm going to have to make this sort of decision a lot!)

Thanks! Meredith
Descent of Christ to Hell/Limbo - by ANDREA DA FIRENZE - from Cappella Spagnuolo, Santa Maria Novella, Florence               (Easter eggs added by me. ;)

The Answer:


I've totally been there, with just the concerns you expressed. And when my oldest kids were little, I'm pretty sure we did attend an egg hunt or two on Holy Saturday.

I know that what works for my family isn't necessarily what works for all families, and that God speaks to us in different ways. The Catholic Church is a universal church and there is a wide latitude extended to us, the faithful, on how we can celebrate feasts and fasts.

In the absence of an official Catholic teaching on a particular issue like this one, good Catholics are free to disagree.

But for our family, now that we make a point of observing Lent, and make the liturgical year a part of our home life, I feel very strongly against participating in an Easter egg hunt on Holy Saturday. ESPECIALLY at a Catholic parish.

From an ancient homily for Holy Saturday, on the Vatican website:
"What is happening? Today there is a great silence over the earth, a great silence, and stillness, a great silence because the King sleeps; the earth was in terror and was still, because God slept in the flesh and raised up those who were sleeping from the ages. God has died in the flesh, and the underworld has trembled."

A great silence. That's what Holy Saturday is. A day of preparation and longing.

Fasting is encouraged (but not required).

Paschales Solemnitatis, the main document governing the celebration of Easter, tells us:
73. On Holy Saturday the Church is, as it were, at the Lord's tomb, meditating on his passion and death, and on his descent into hell, and awaiting his resurrection with prayer and fasting.

It is highly recommended that on this day the Office of Readings and Morning Prayer be celebrated with the participation of the people (cf. n. 40).

Where this cannot be done, there should be some celebration of the Word of God, or some act of devotion suited to the mystery celebrated this day.

74. The image of Christ crucified or lying in the tomb, or the descent into hell, which mystery Holy Saturday recalls, as also an image of the sorrowful Virgin Mary can be placed in the church for the veneration of the faithful.
We are "at the Lord's Tomb, meditating on his passion and death." I cannot see how we can do that while popping jelly beans and sitting for photos with a giant bunny at an Easter egg hunt. I'm sure my children couldn't. I'm sure *I* couldn't.

Catholics aren't to celebrate ANYTHING on Holy Saturday, not even the sacraments. 

Good Friday and Holy Saturday are the only two days of the whole year when it's forbidden to celebrate marriages and baptisms except in danger of death. We don't even celebrate the Mass or consecrate the Eucharist. If hosts are distributed on those days, they were consecrated on Holy Thursday. Church bells do not ring. Altars are bare.

Paschales Solemnitatis says:
75. On this day the Church abstains strictly from the celebration of the sacrifice of the Mass.

Holy Communion may only be given in the form of Viaticum.

The celebration of marriages is forbidden, as also the celebration of other sacraments, except those of Penance and the Anointing of the Sick.
Update: thanks to Amanda for pointing out that this directive was changed in 1955. Still no Mass, no concecration, but Holy Communion can be offered.

It just seems unreasonable for a Catholic parish to choose that one day of all days to host an Easter egg hunt. Especially since there are FIFTY DAYS OF EASTERTIDE! FIFTY DAYS! FIFTY!

I'm sorry, was I shouting? Allow me to compose myself.

I understand that stores only care about the lead up to a holiday, because all they want is to sell you stuff. But as Catholics, in our places of worship, the lead up to Easter and Easter itself are very distinct seasons. It's no more appropriate to offer an Easter Egg hunt on Holy Saturday, as it would be to offer the Stations of the Cross on Easter Sunday. I don't mean to be too hard on parish liturgical committee members. I'm sure that all they want is to create community and fun and not interfere with family Easter celebrations. But for every thing (turn, turn, turn) there is a season . . .

Easter is a season. Any moment between the Easter Vigil and close of business on Pentecost would be just perfect for an Easter egg hunt.

From Universal Norms on the Liturgical Year and the Calendar:
22. The fifty days from the Sunday of the Resurrection to Pentecost Sunday are celebrated in joy and exultation as one feast day, indeed as one "great Sunday." These are the days above all others in which the Alleluia is sung.

23. The Sundays of this time of year are considered to be Sundays of Easter and are called, after Easter Sunday itself, the Second, Third, Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, and Seventh Sundays of Easter. This sacred period of fifty days concludes with Pentecost Sunday.
Joy and exultation! One great Sunday!

Even more, Easter is an Octave, so each day from the first Sunday of Easter to the Second Sunday of Easter IS ACTUALLY EASTER. Each day of that week is a Solemnity:
24. The first eight days of Easter Time constitute the Octave of Easter and are celebrated as Solemnities of the Lord.
The Saturday AFTER Easter is . . . Easter. Let's have Easter Egg hunts on Easter. Any of the eight days of Easter!

My kids know that we don't attend egg hunts on Holy Saturday. In our house, we dye Easter eggs, we tidy and decorate the house, we prepare our Easter meal. Some of the kids get to stay up late for the vigil.

We explain to them why, and they get it. If they notice an Easter egg hunt scheduled on Holy Saturday, we laugh with the little kids over how silly that is, and we (with charity) remind the big kids of the important reasons we wouldn't participate. We present it to them as part of our family culture, as a thing that makes us awesome. We are trying to do it right, that's why we do it our way. We are not going to celebrate Easter Sunday on Holy Saturday, but we ARE going to celebrate it for the whole of Eastertide. That's something they can support. We leave the plastic eggs out the whole time and let the kids hide them for each other again and again. It's a whole thing. They sometimes even put their Easter candy in there all over again.

So, tl:dr version: My family doesn't go to Easter egg hunts or any other celebrations on Holy Saturday, and, since you asked, I don't think you should either. But it's your call.


Here's more on how we observe Holy Week:

The "You Can Still Do This" Guide to All Things Holy Week


Thursday, March 3, 2016

It's Moving Day! -party horn emoji- dot dot dot -sobbing emoji-

Well, the day has finally arrived . . . moving day. Let's catch up on the goings on around here, shall we?


He absolutely insisted on getting TAPED into the box, and I was like, "Of course nawww . . . what am I thinking? Yes. Yes, I will tape you into that box," where he sat happily in the dark for a good half an hour. The dampness on the handle area is where Gus was handing him pineapple spears through the hole.


It has been a crazy week. I've been blogging less the past couple of months, in order to focus on the remodel of the new house and work on a couple partially completed writing projects that have been in the works for . . . years. And I was making a-bit-but-not-a-ton of progress on them, because packing/moving and remodeling decision-making/shopping is a gas. It expands to fill its container. Then, just when we were down to crunch time on the move, I was offered the chance to pitch a completely different book, that I had ALSO been meaning to write, but the completion level on that one was: Have-title-and-some-thoughts.

Great news, right?! Right. Very exciting. But the requested date for the proposal was March 1st. So, everything else came to a screeching halt while I hammered out an introduction, biography, annotated table of contents, sales pitch, and a 6,000 word sample chapter that was supposed to be 2,000 words. If it hadn't been leap year, I wouldn't have made it. But it IS Leap Year. So I DID make it.

The acquisitions editor accepted it with no revisions <phew>, and is going to advocate for it next week. So now we wait and see. With that out of the way, I was able to focus on packing and prep for the last couple of days, and the kids and the husband and the parents have all been hard at work. So, I think we're pretty well prepared. #famouslastwords


Speaking of Leap Year . . . if you're looking for a cheesy romcom perfect for Leap Year and/or St. Patrick's Day . . . the movie Leap Year is on Netflix now. I recommended it in my roundup of Irish movies last year, but last year it wasn't on Netflix, but now it is. 

Also on Netflix: Groundhog Day and Pee-wee's Big Adventure! The latter we watched as our family movie night on Sunday and the kids  L O V E D. Gus asked me, "Mom, do people think it's the best movie ever?" Um, probably? YOU seem to.

It holds up surprisingly well. Probably because the effects are meant to look cheesy to begin with. And Pee-wee's get-up hardly looks funny to today's eyes. It's like he was the original hipster in that fitted high-water suit. 


The other big project of the week was food prep. I have been concerned about my ability to feed us in the new house, more on that below, and I got it into my head that what I needed to do was just do ALL the cooking now for the six weeks until our kitchen will be done. The husband thought perhaps that was not a reasonable goal.

But once I have thought of something, I pretty much have to do it. So, I compromised and just did the cooking for a month.

I made 31 freezer to crockpot meals with recipes from Kelly at New Leaf Wellness. She is amazing and put all the recipes plus a shopping list into a free PDF. So cool. I'm very excited about it. I've done some meal prep-and-freeze before babies are born, but never on a scale like this. 

It took me pretty much an entire day, with breaks for feeding and putting kids down to bed, but I'm hoping it will really come in handy as I'm trying to do projects at the new house.


Okay . . . back to the move. This is happening.

Movers are coming today to move the furniture. We have already moved almost all the boxes ourselves, one load at a time in the big van.

Best comment on this photo on Instagram goes to Shannon of everyone's favorite chewable rosaries, who noted: "Contents may setting during shipping." Probably not, knowing these guys.


Gramblewood is NOT finished. But we knew it wouldn't be. 

What it has: New plumbing and electric, and, for the FIRST time, air conditioning, wifi (I hope. We haven't actually tried it yet), and outlets in the bathrooms (so novel). The new floor plan is in upstairs. Walls are moved, new bathrooms are installed, master bedroom ceiling is vaulted, walls are patched, most of the tile is done.

What it doesn't have: A kitchen, any doors or flooring upstairs, paint, any first floor renovations beyond plumbing/electric/HVAC.

How we're going to handle the above: My dad has spent the last couple of days setting up a makeshift kitchen for me in a little front room of the garage. I'll have laundry, a sink, two refrigerators, a cook top, a crock pot, and even some shelving and a counter top. It's much less of a kitchen than I have now, or will have in the future, but it's MUCH more than I was planning on having until my dad got ahold of the project. I have inherited my overdoing from him.

We are moving into the first floor while they finish the second floor. There are four bedrooms on the first floor, which will eventually become our TV room, playroom, school room, and guest room. But for now, they'll be the girls' room, boys' room, schoolroom/playroom/living room, and master bedroom. Once the second floor is done, we'll move up there while they work on the first floor.

Most of our stuff is going to stay in boxes in the garage until there's a place in which to unpack it.

It's not ideal in some respects, I know. But I'm actually looking forward to being there. There are a few projects that we are doing ourselves, like the painting and wall paper and furniture putting-together, and it will be easier to tackle that stuff from within.


Well. The practical part of me is looking forward to being there. The other part of me is wandering our current house, wistfully running my hand along the wall, staring off just past the camera, thinking of all the good times we had here. 

Seriously. Good. Times.

And it's orange blossom week in the back yard, which makes it even harder to imagine not living here. I have loved this house. I'm not sure I ever would have wanted to move if it weren't for Jack's school situation. 

I'm not a particularly sentimental person. Just ask my poor kids, who have learned not to ask me where something should go, because 90% of the time, I say, "in the trash." I think I was going to be able to leave just fine, but then Mary Jane was born IN OUR BATHTUB. And now I'm like, "How can I just move away from the most important bathtub in human history?" (Who gets that reference? Anyone?)

So, step one was the obligatory day-before-we-move in-the-bathtub-where-you-were-born photo-shoot:

And step two is this sweet bracelet, that a reader named Ginny sent me, so that I can always remember this exact spot in the world:

It has the latitude and longitude coordinates of the house, and on the inside, it has Mary Jane's name engraved. I plan to pass it along to Mary Jane when she grows up, but until then, probably she won't mind if I wear it. :)

Anyway, I really love it, and it's helping me detach.

I know you must also have a spot in the world that you want to carry with you, be it the home where your kids were born, or the spot where your husband proposed, or where you grew up, so I was really excited when Ginny offered to let one of you choose something from her shop as well. She makes all sorts of beautiful, personalized jewelry. 

One winner will get a $60 gift certificate to spend in the store. To win, just leave a comment on this post telling us what's the most important spot in the world to you. I'll announce the winner sometime next week, once the computer situation is sorted out at the new house.

Wish me luck! See you on the other side.


Monday, February 22, 2016

The Pope Francis Conversation . . . or, Go Talk to Your Father, it's His Feast Day

Hey Guys.

Today is the Feast of the Chair of St. Peter. In light of current events, it seems especially important to remember what we celebrate today.

According to Pope Benedict:
This is a very ancient tradition, proven to have existed in Rome since the fourth century. On it we give thanks to God for the mission he entrusted to the Apostle Peter and his Successors.

"Cathedra" literally means the established seat of the Bishop, placed in the mother church of a diocese which for this reason is known as a "cathedral"; it is the symbol of the Bishop's authority and in particular, of his "magisterium", that is, the evangelical teaching which, as a successor of the Apostles, he is called to safeguard and to transmit to the Christian Community. . . .

The See of Rome, after St Peter's travels, thus came to be recognized as the See of the Successor of Peter, and its Bishop's "cathedra" represented the mission entrusted to him by Christ to tend his entire flock. . . .

Celebrating the "Chair" of Peter, therefore, as we are doing today, means attributing a strong spiritual significance to it and recognizing it as a privileged sign of the love of God, the eternal Good Shepherd, who wanted to gather his whole Church and lead her on the path of salvation [General Audience, Feb. 22, 2006].

I went on a retreat over the weekend, at a hotel, with the baby.

And we are quite refreshed and renewed and resolved. The husband and kids did quite well without me, thank you very much.

But, it would appear that the Catholic side of the internet needs more supervision than it was getting, because things seem to have gone a little nuts in my absence.

Before I left, I saw that Pope Francis had said some words on an airplane. (Again.)

Here's what he said, in response to a question about the use of abortion and contraception in cases where couples are concerned about the Zika virus, which can cause serious birth defects:
Abortion is not the lesser of two evils. It is a crime. It is to throw someone out in order to save another. That’s what the Mafia does. It is a crime, an absolute evil. On the ‘lesser evil,’ avoiding pregnancy, we are speaking in terms of the conflict between the fifth and sixth commandment. Paul VI, a great man, in a difficult situation in Africa, permitted nuns to use contraceptives in cases of rape.
Don’t confuse the evil of avoiding pregnancy by itself, with abortion. Abortion is not a theological problem, it is a human problem, it is a medical problem. You kill one person to save another, in the best case scenario. Or to live comfortably, no?  It’s against the Hippocratic oaths doctors must take. It is an evil in and of itself, but it is not a religious evil in the beginning, no, it’s a human evil. Then obviously, as with every human evil, each killing is condemned.
On the other hand, avoiding pregnancy is not an absolute evil. In certain cases, as in this one, or in the one I mentioned of Blessed Paul VI, it was clear. I would also urge doctors to do their utmost to find vaccines against these two mosquitoes that carry this disease. This needs to be worked on. 
See the rest of the transcript here.

While I was away, those words began to cause many people to get giddy with joy/hurt and confused/full of despair. And a lot of those people, who were having those feelings, took to the internet to express them.

The mainstream media headlines were predictable in their overstatement.

Click-bait-y Catholic sites (that I won't link to) were also predictable in their preference for clicks over responsible journalism.

As I tried to sort through everything, a few posts in particular stood out to me as helpful and reasoned.

When the story was still new, Jenny at Mama Needs Coffee, made the very valid point that if you just look at the actual words of Pope Francis, there's not NECESSARILY anything to be upset about. I appreciated her take:
I’ve reread his remarks at least a dozen times now, and I can’t find the spot where he encourages Catholic spouses to oppose one another in their sexual embrace by means of contraception. I can, however, see where he alludes to NFP in the line “avoiding pregnancy is not an absolute evil.”
It sounds really familiar, actually. Because it’s a central message in one of Catholicism’s most essential texts on sexuality: Humanae Vitae.
So to sum things up: no, Pope Francis, in an in flight interview on a 747, did not just change the Catholic Church’s teachings on birth control (not least of which due to the simple fact that he can’t. He literally doesn’t have the power to change it.)
Read the whole thing here.

That's what I thought too, and I figured there would be a clarification and all would be well. The whole nuns in the Congo being given permission by Pope Paul VI to take contraceptives, it seemed . . . off. But, I did read this explanation by Jimmy Akin on the different moral issues involved, and it was at least comprehensible.

But then, Fr. Federico Lomdardi, who was with Pope Francis on the flight, made the following statement to Vatican Radio:
The contraceptive or condom, in particular cases of emergency or gravity, could be the object of discernment in a serious case of conscience. This is what the Pope said…the possibility of taking recourse to contraception or condoms in cases of emergency or special situations. He is not saying that this possibility is accepted without discernment, indeed, he said clearly that it can be considered in cases of special urgency.
D'oh. Not exactly what we were hoping for. (I can't find an original source for this in English. It's quoted all over, but not sourced. So it's possible that this is not an accurate quote.)

But. I'd like to point out, that this is NOT necessarily the "official clarification" we seek. When there was confusion and controversy surrounding condoms after the publication of a book of interviews with Pope Benedict, Fr. Lombardi issued a prepared statement, including the following:
Thus the pope is not reforming or changing the teaching of the church, but reaffirming it by placing it in the context of the value and the dignity of human sexuality as an expression of love and responsibility.
See it all here.

Fr. Lombardi's statement in the current case with Pope Francis, didn't feel like an official clarification, it seemed like he was simply confirming that Pope Francis did in fact say those words on the plane, as he was also on the plane, rather than saying that those words were without error, or that they were consistent with Catholic teaching.

Because it seems clear enough that there are inconsistencies.

Janet Smith explains the Catholic moral teaching at stake:
To suggest that some “emergency” or “special situation” would permit a person in conscience to use contraception does not align with Catholic moral theology. For spouses to use contraception is always wrong. How can any emergency or special situation justify what is always wrong? It is an improper use of conscience to use it to discern that it is moral to do what is intrinsically wrong in special situations. One job of the conscience is precisely to enable a person to honor moral norms in special situations. In emergencies or special situations we are not permitted, for instance, directly to kill innocent human beings even if great good could come from that death. Martyrdom is precisely a result of the refusal to do something that is morally wrong in an “emergency” or “special situation.”
Read the rest here.

And THEN Fr. Z, hallelujah, demonstrated VERY convincingly that Pope Paul VI NEVER gave permission to nuns or anyone else to use the pill:
[It] reads like a soap opera, the one hand. It reads like a vicious campaign of lies and disinformation designed to confuse the faithful and undermine the Church, on the other….

This whopper doesn’t pass the smell test. Paul VI told nuns they could use contraceptives… riiiiight.

Notice, the more you go back in time, the more “Paul VI” becomes, more vaguely, “Rome”. Dig deep enough and you will find that “Rome” turns out to be just an article published, you guessed it, in Rome, precisely by the magazine Studi Cattolici, n° 27, in the year of our Salvation 1961. Title: “Una donna domanda: come negarsi alla violenza? Morale esemplificata. Un dibattito” (A woman asks, how to subtract oneself from violence? Exemplified morals. A debate).

Yes, I can hear you yelling at the monitor. Paul VI ascended to the Throne of Peter only in 1963.

And now I want somebody to tell me, with a straight face, that St. John XXIII allowed contraception. Above all, I want them to show me where and when he did it.
Fr. Z also points out that Pope St. JPII similarly did not okay contraception for nuns at risk of rape, even though the same thing was alleged in the 1980s about him and nuns in Kosovo.

Read the rest here, if you can. Fr. Z's blog appears to have crashed from all the traffic, but keep trying. It's good.

So, thank goodness it isn't true. It isn't true that nuns in the Congo were given the birth control pill by Pope Paul VI and it isn't true that Catholic moral teaching would permit the use of the birth control by married couples concerned about birth defects. One problem solved. But we are still left with the problem of Pope Francis having said it. Which is a bummer, but not a particularly BINDING bummer. Because Pope Francis was NOT speaking ex cathedra, or "from the chair." THE chair. Today's chair.

I like how Jason Bermender summed it up:
He also says that the use of contraceptives is evil, albeit a lesser one. This is not new. It is also a principle of moral theology that one may not commit a lesser evil in order to avoid a greater evil, no matter how much worse it is, especially if a good action is a possibility. Thus, Pope Francis did not give permission to use contraceptives to avoid being pregnant with a child who might have a debilitating condition. Even if he did contradict Church teaching, he is human and makes mistakes like the rest of us. No big deal. Other popes have done worse.
Read the rest here.

I understand the having of feelings related to the things that Pope Francis said. As a person who spends some of her time defending the truth and beauty and consistency of Catholic teaching on human sexuality, and a lot of her time looking after the eight little fruits of that teaching, I understand.

I also understand wanting to take to the internet to question or vent or rage or despair. But I don't think that's a good call.

I have to agree with Micaela of California to Korea:
There are two types of people who challenge popes: humble and holy people like St Catherine of Siena and rather more rebellious people like Martin Luther. If you’re concerned with the way Pope Francis is handling things, by all means, send him a letter. Contact your parish priest, your spiritual director, or even your bishop for guidance on how to handle it.  But nailing your own personal 95 theses to a blog post is a recipe for rebellion and division, not renewal and unity. Be like St Catherine, not like Martin.
See her list of 25 things to do rather than complain about Pope Francis here.

Today is the Feast of the Chair of St. Peter. The man who sits in that chair deserves our respect and our patience. I want to be like St. Catherine.

Pope Francis is our Holy Father. If my dad were to say something incorrect to someone on a plane, even if it turned out to be a really big deal, and then people wrote about it in the newspaper . . . even THEN, I wouldn't take to Facebook to vent about it. I wouldn't want to air family disputes publicly. I might talk to my brothers and sisters, sure. But definitely, I'd call my dad up or send him an email. I'd explain how I was feeling and the facts as I understood them, and I'd let him know what I hoped he would do to fix the situation.

So that's what I did.

I wrote Pope Francis a letter. And since he doesn't have an email address, I wrote it on PAPER and I put it in an envelope and I addressed it and I put postage on it and tomorrow, I'm going to put it in a mailbox.

Here are some tips if you'd like to do the same.

His address is:
His Holiness Pope Francis
Apostolic Palace
00120 Vatican City

The proper salutation for a Catholic writing to the pope is: Your Holiness, or: Most Holy Father,

The proper closing for a Catholic writing to the pope is: I have the honor to profess myself with the most profound respect, your Holiness' most obedient and humble servant, or: I am, Your Holiness, most respectfully yours in Christ,

The postage from the US to Vatican City is $1.20 or three forever stamps.

Perhaps if a few of us write to him, respectfully, lovingly, like sheep addressing their shepherd if sheep could write letters, then perhaps we will get a more official clarification. And wouldn't that be especially cool in this Year of Mercy, from the guy in the Chair of St. Peter?

For more ideas on living the Year of Mercy, see

The Year of Mercy Family Challenge

For another quick and easy activity for today's Feast of the Chair of St. Peter, see

The Chair of St Peter


Thursday, February 18, 2016

The Year of Mercy Family Challenge

It's the Year of Mercy! But hopefully you already knew that, as I've been meaning to write this post since, um, November.

We've been making an effort to be mindful of the Year of Mercy in our home, and we came up with a Year of Mercy Family Challenge to go with it. Perhaps you'd like to play along?

Our neighborhood parish, where we attend daily Mass, just happens to be the Holy Door parish for this area, so it was easy for us to head through it, receive communion and pray for the intentions of the Holy Father, and get to confession within a reasonable amount of time. (Defined as "about twenty days.") Yay for plenary indulgences

We could technically get one plenary indulgence EVERY DAY, but since we are in the habit of getting the kids to confession more like three or four times a year, I think that's a more reasonable goal for us. 

One down, three to go . . . 

But we also wanted to figure out a way to, as Pope Francis has suggested, incorporate the Corporal and Spiritual Works of Mercy into our year.

We've already discussed how I think I'm getting a pretty good dose of that stuff as a stay at home mom. But I also hoped there might be a less tongue-in-cheek way to get our whole family aware of, and involved in the Works of Mercy.

Here they are . . .

 The Corporal Works of Mercy
  • Feed the hungry
  • Give drink to the thirsty
  • Clothe the naked
  • Shelter the homeless
  • Visit the sick
  • Visit the imprisoned
  • Bury the dead
The Spiritual Works of Mercy
  • Admonish the sinner
  • Instruct the ignorant
  • Counsel the doubtful
  • Comfort the sorrowful
  • Bear wrongs patiently
  • Forgive all injuries
  • Pray for the living and the dead
It's easy to read that list and think, "Yeah. I'm not going to be able to do any of that. I need to make dinner and get these library books turned in." Or, "I can't let my kids do that stuff!"

But, hopefully, it's all in how you approach it.  

Our kids range from six months to thirteen years old. We think our school-aged kids are old enough to really take ownership of the works of mercy this year, but even the little kids can become more familiar with them, and participate with help. The husband and I plan to participate too. Below you'll find some ideas for each of the works of mercy. Some might seem too hard, some might seem too easy. I'm hoping that there will be a "just right" in there for everyone, but of course, the lists are just a jumping off point. Flexibility is recommended. Some things we will do as a planned family activity, some things the kids will be on the look out for opportunities to do individually.

Much of the following is inspired by The New Saint Joseph Baltimore Catechism (No. 2) I highly recommend it, as well as the First Communion Catechism, and the Pink Catechism No. 1.

The corporal works of mercy are pretty straightforward, but most take some planning and effort. They put our focus on taking care of people physically. This is an important thing to do out of basic Christian charity, of course, but also, the corporal works of mercy set the stage for the spiritual ones. If people's basic physical needs are not met, they are unlikely to be particularly receptive to being admonished or counseled or even forgiven.

Feed the hungry:
  • volunteer at a soup kitchen
  • make sandwiches and hand them out to homeless people
  • bring a meal to a family with a new baby
  • bring a meal to a family having a difficult time
  • share food with a friend or sibling
  • make dinner for your family
  • throw a dinner party for friends you don't think could afford a nice dinner
  • don't throw a dinner party and donate the money you would have spent
  • eat beans and rice for a week and donate your grocery money
Give drink to the thirsty:
  • give water to someone working in your neighborhood
  • set up a lemonade stand and donate the money you make
  • give out water bottles at an event on a hot day
Clothe the naked:
  • clean out your closets and donate your unneeded clothing
  • organize a charity clothing drive
  • offer to help sort clothing at your local pregnancy resource center
  • do the laundry for your family
  • help a younger sibling get dressed
Visit the imprisoned (people can often feel imprisoned in ways other than being in jail):
  • visit an imprisoned friend or family member 
  • write a letter to an imprisoned friend or family member
  • visit an old folks home, or a lonely member of your parish
  • offer to babysit for a mother of all young children
  • offer to babysit a younger sibling for your mom
Shelter the homeless:
  • donate food or blankets to a homeless shelter
  • donate to disaster relief services 
  • take in a foster child
  • take in a needy relative
  • help an elderly neighbor with home repairs
Visit the sick:
  • visit a friend or family member in the hospital 
  • visit a nursing home
  • look after a sick member of your family at home
  • help an old or sick person with errands or chores
Bury the dead:
  • go to a funeral (yes, even kids)
  • visit a cemetery and put flowers on graves
  • learn about your ancestors

The spiritual works of mercy require less planning ahead but for that and other reasons, they are trickier to get right. Many of them require a relationship with the person you hope to help. Many require tact. But I think we can do this.

Admonish the sinner:
  • set a good example
  • remind a sibling or friend of the rules
  • offer to bring a friend or family member to confession
  • have a calm and loving chat with a person with whom you have a relationship about a particular sinful behavior
Instruct the ignorant:
  • teach a catechism class
  • share a helpful article or blog post in a friendly way 
  • lend a good book
  • be an RCIA sponsor or a godparent
  • help a sibling read a book or play a game or learn a prayer
Counsel the doubtful:
  • learn the teachings of the Catholic Church so you'll have the answer if you get asked a question
  • pray outside an abortion clinic
  • be there to listen to a friend and give good advice
  • reach out to a friend you think might need good advice
  • help a sibling or friend make the right choice
 Comfort the sorrowful:
  • visit a friend or family member who is having a difficult time
  • send someone a sympathy card or a care package
  • remember the anniversary of a friend's miscarriage or loss of a child or spouse
  • read a story or sing a song to a sibling who is feeling sad
Bear wrongs patiently:
  • don't get mad at other drivers
  • assume the best of people you encounter in real life and online
  • give up a toy that a friend or sibling wants to play with, even though you had it first
  • don't gossip about the bad behavior of others
  • don't tattle
Forgive all injuries: 
  • forgive a grudge you've been holding, even though it was the other guy's fault
  • call or write to an estranged friend or family member
  • give a friend or sibling a second chance
Pray for the living and the dead:
  • go through the Holy Doors to gain a plenary indulgence for a deceased love one
  • visit a cemetery, especially in November 
  • keep a list of prayer intentions
  • say a family rosary
I made up this free printable, so each member of the family can keep track of each of his works of mercy this year. Some will be pretty easy to check off once, but hopefully kids AND grownups will be inspired this year to practice mercy again and again.

As with all my printables, you are welcome to save the images to your computer for your own personal use. You may print the images and / or upload them and have prints made for your personal use or to give as gifts. First click on the image to bring it up in a new window, then right click on the image to save it to your computer. You may use my images on your blog, just please link back to my blog. If you would like to sell my images, please contact me first.

For LOTS MORE free printable prayers, check out my Pinterest board.

And for custom images, old favorites, and prayers, quotes, scripture, and catechism, available as high quality digital downloads, check out the shop!

The corporal and spiritual works of mercy printables are available for purchase in my Etsy shop in a higher resolution, without the watermark, in multiple sizes from 5x7 to 16x20, and also as print-at-home two-sided holy cards. You'll find them here. Thanks!

Year of Mercy?! Don't know what I'm talking about? Lemme esplain . . .

The Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy (Latin: Iubilaeum Extraordinarium Misericordiae) is a Roman Catholic period of prayer held from the Feast of the Immaculate Conception (December 8), 2015 to the Feast of Christ the King (November 20), 2016.

A few details:

Also called Holy Years, jubilees normally occur every 25 years. They feature special celebrations and pilgrimages, calls for conversion and repentance, and the offer of special opportunities to experience God’s grace through the sacraments, especially confession.
Extraordinary holy years, such as the Holy Year of Mercy, are less frequent but offer the same opportunities. The last extraordinary jubilee was called by St. John Paul II in 1983 to mark the 1,950 years after the death of Jesus. John Paul also led the last holy year, known as the “Great Jubilee,” in 2000.
The Year of Mercy called for by Francis is the third “extraordinary” jubilee since the tradition began 700 years ago.
There are Holy Doors involved. THE Holy Door is one particular door in St. Peter's Basilica:
Pope Francis will open the Holy Door in the basilica. Each of Rome’s major basilicas has its own holy door, which are traditionally sealed from the inside and only opened during jubilee years. The door usually is sealed with bricks as a symbolic reminder of the barrier of sin between human beings and God.
Those who pass through a Holy Door during this jubilee year will receive a plenary indulgence, which removes all of the temporal punishment for sins committed up to that time — provided the recipient also goes to confession, receives Communion, and prays for the pope.
Planning a trip to Rome with all the kids? Great! I highly recommend it. (See . .  here, when Jack had his First Communion with BXVI and again here, a near miss on the second shot.) Be sure to go through the Holy Door at St. Peter's. But, if that's not in the cards for you this year:

On Sunday, Dec. 13, five days after the opening of the jubilee, every diocese around the world is supposed to open a Holy Door. These doors can be in the local cathedral or other churches of particular relevance, such as a Marian shrine.
This will be a historical first, reflecting Pope Francis’ desire that the jubilee be celebrated on the local level and not just in Rome.
Several dioceses have registered their doors at the jubilee’s website, but thousands still have to do so so they will appear on an interactive Google map made for the occasion.
Wondering if there's a Holy Door at your parish? Check your diocese website, or just look around for the Year of Mercy logo.

Some folks are pretty weirded out by the logo, but I'm a big fan of the mosaics done by this same artist that we saw on our pilgrimage to Italy. So, I'm going to refrain from comment. :)

But, wait, there's more!
Beyond the opening of the four Holy Doors, there will be monthly events headed by Pope Francis aimed to shine a light on 14 “works of mercy,” acts that are intended to be both penance and charity.
These works of mercy are divided into “corporal” and “spiritual,” and they include feeding the hungry, visiting the sick, sheltering the homeless, instructing the ignorant, and praying for the living and the dead.
Get all the rest of the details here: Everything you need to know about the Holy Year of Mercy

AND if you're looking for a way to inspire your kids in this Year of Mercy, what better place to look than the lives of the saints? CCC of America is having a huge sale on their saint movies. This isn't a sponsored post, my kids just really like these DVDs and I have worked with CCC before, so I wanted to share the sale with you guys.

They are running a 30 day 40% sale on their entire catalog plus bundling the Marian Collection for $25.00 (that's 60% off retail) and their short films are on sale for $7.50, perfect for Easter Baskets! 

Click here to go through to their page, then click on "shop" on the top menu.

Now, get out there and be merciful!

This post contains affiliate links.

You might also enjoy . . .

Living the Corporal and Spiritual Works of Mercy in the Home. . . with Frankie


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