Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Happy Halloween!


Happy Halloween! Stay safe and have fun!

See post below for something on All Souls day coming up on Friday (as well as information about All Saints day and Halloween, too). Don't forget All Saints day tomorrow! It's a holy day of obligation. We need to get to Mass.

All Souls day on Friday


See the post below on Halloween, All Saints, and All Souls to see the added information about these days.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

The Golden Compass

It's certainly worth taking a look at this before taking your kids to see the movie, "Golden Compass" which will be out in December.

Radio segment on "Mom's Corner"


You can listen to my latest segment on "Mom's Corner" with Teresa Tomeo on "Catholic Connection" in case you missed it yesterday morning. We discussed Halloween, All Saints and All Souls days. Just click here.

The Heart of Motherhood: Finding Holiness in the Catholic Home


From Sarah of Just Another Day of Catholic Pondering:

The Heart of Motherhood, by Donna-Marie Cooper O'Boyle

This book came in a brown paper package a few months ago, and I saved it to be my hospital book (though it nearly killed me to see it sitting there so patiently on my shelf, waiting for the baby right along with me). What a book to read during those first few days with my new baby! As I savored the excitement of my new daughter, feeling much the way I remember feeling on the Christmas mornings of my single-digit years, Donna’s book reminded me about the hard work and the bright rewards of motherhood. She doesn’t gloss over the difficulty, nor does she make light of the responsibility. In this book, she does what she does so well – she encourages all of us mothers.


In the past few months, I’ve gotten to know Donna a bit, through her two blogs and some emails we’ve exchanged, and reading this book was just like talking with Donna. Each chapter ends with prayer, the kind that you’ll want to copy into your prayer book or post on your bathroom mirror. I felt the same sort of comfort in reading this book that I feel when I’m having a cup of tea with a dear friend. So go and grab a copy of this book and a steaming cup of tea. Donna has some words of encouragement for you!

***


Thank you, Sarah! I'm so glad that you are reading The Heart of Motherhood at a time when things are so near your heart!

God bless!

Monday, October 29, 2007

Halloween, All Saints, and All Souls day


I was on the radio this morning with Teresa Tomeo on our "Mom's Corner" segment and as usual we had a nice time chatting about our faith. We discussed Halloween, All Saints day and All Souls day coming up.

Halloween is such a controversial holiday especially for Catholics and Christians. Christian and Catholic parents may fear that they are supporting pagan rituals or superstitions if they allow their children to celebrate Halloween since Halloween stems from pagan practices way back when.

Others see no harm in Jack O'lanterns, innocent costumes, trick or treating and Halloween parties. As a matter of fact, my parish does an annual haunted house with the youth group and adult helpers. Two nights of fun are provided for the public for a small fee and the youth group usually raises a couple of thousand dollars for retreats and to give to charity!

My daughter, Mary-Catherine just recently volunteered to help run a safe Halloween party for kids in the community. She dressed up as a princess and wore a gown and tiara. The kids all had a lot of safe fun!

I have spoken with several Moms - some celebrate and some do not. Most see no harm in it when it is done in fun and safety. Some families focus on the Saints and Saint costumes and vow to not have anything scary or sexy worn by their children. One Mom said, "The reason we can enjoy Halloween is that the kids understand the difference between fairy stories and real life. and between good and evil." She also said she teaches them that through Jesus there is nothing to fear.

For Halloween safety - I feel that parties are a good idea, either private parties in your own home, or through your parish, homeschooling group, school or town. This way you know where your children are - off the streets - and what they are doing. Plus, you can help at the party as well.

One year my family participated in a progressive dinner party for Halloween in our neighborhood. The kids all dressed up and visited one house where appetizers were served, the next one where dinner was waiting, followed by another house for dessert. There were games and activities planned in advance at each home ending up with a safe movie at the last house. This was a lot of fun and you can get really creative with recipes or keep it very simple.

You can check out Catholic Culture at this link for ideas about Halloween.


I found a pattern by Simplicity for nativity costumes which you can use for Halloween or your Christmas pageant! There is an Angel. shepherds, Mary, Joseph, and the Kings. See all of the details here.

Check out the Catholic Mom.Com blog by Lisa Hendey who constantly brings great things to Catholic parents here and scroll down until you see the Simplicity pattern (picture that I have to the right) and read that post for more information.

Here is an article by Ann Ball about the Mexican celebration of Dia de Muertos (day of the Dead) which is very interesting.

Better Homes and Gardens has a very nice article about decorating pumpkins here.


The Food Network has some templates and pumpkin carving ideas here.

Also some tasty treat recipes and a family friendly Halloween party agenda here.




Costume ideas from Better Homes and Gardens are here.



Ultimately it is up to the parents to take control over their family's traditions and practices. Halloween can be celebrated with fun without paganism, but parents will guide their children in the way that best suits their conscience. Parents should naturally monitor their children and keep them safe at all times. If there is ever a question about safety - then use your best judgement and steer clear of things or parties that you are not sure of. And while enjoying your own good fun with your families, watch out for the mischief of others.

What are some of your ideas?


All Saints day


All Saints day is on Thursday, November 1st. It is a holy day of obligation so we must attend Mass. On All Saints day, the Church celebrates all Saints--canonized, beatified and also the multitude of those in heaven enjoying the Beatific vision (these Saints are only known to God).

During the early centuries the Saints venerated by the Church were all of the martyrs. The celebration was on May 13th. Later on the Popes set November 1st as the day of commemorating all of the Saints.

God our Father, source of all holiness, the work of your hands is manifest in your saints, the beauty of your truth is reflected in their faith. May we who aspire to have part in their joy be filled with the Spirit that blessed their lives, so that having shared their faith on earth we may also know their peace in your kingdom. Grant this through Christ our Lord. Amen.


Some things to do:


1) Visit a cemetery and teach your children that this practice is not scary, gloomy, or morbid. It is a good thing. While there you may want to say some prayers, clean up a headstone of a relative and add flowers.

2) Pray for the deceased during the octave of All Saints - November 1st to November 8th. By doing this, you will receive a Plenary Indulgence to be used for the souls in purgatory (on other days this would gain a partial indulgence).

3) Pray the Litany of the Saints with your family (found in many prayer books and on Catholic websites, I will post it on All Saints day).

4) Participate with your parish Mass in which the children dress up as Saints.

5) Read some Saints stories to your children or have them read them to you!

Visit Catholic Culture.org for a wealth of information on the Solemnity of All Saints.

Rev. George A. Kelly in his book, "Catholic Family Handbook" (Random House, Inc., New York, 1959) said, "On the feast of All Saints we commemorate the countless martyrs and others who cannot be honored individually because there are not enough days in the year to do so. It is an excellent occasion to discuss the possibility that all of us may achieve sainthood. Some children believe that saints lived only in ancient times; you might point out that many thousands of persons are leading lives of sanctity at this present day."

***


Make a fun craft with the kids. Alice Gunther has a nice reflection about the Saints and directions for a Saints craft at Catholic Mom.

Alice begins her reflection with, "As the vibrant greens of summer give way to glints of gold, the Church has blessed us with a bounty of saints' day celebrations, each one flickering like a candle in a long procession marching ever onward toward the great feast of All Hallows on November 1."

All Souls day


All Souls day is November 2nd. This day is the designated date to pray for the departed souls in purgatory so they may soon join the other souls in Heaven. It's great that these two special days - All Saints and All Souls - are back to back. The reason for this is to express the Christian belief of the Communion of Saints or union of all of the faithful on earth - The Church Militant, the Saints in Heaven - The Church Triumphant, and the poor souls in purgatory - The Church Suffering with Christ as the Head. We are bound together by a supernatural bond and can and should help each other. We are called to pray for the poor souls on All Souls Day and EVERY day. We can ask the Saints to intercede for us on All Saints day.

On All Souls day, every priest is permitted to say three Masses on this day. The faithful are encouraged to attend three Masses if possible, offering all of the graces for the poor souls in purgatory.

Things to do:


1) Attend at least one Mass if possible (not obligatory) and three if you are able to without neglecting your family or responsibilities.

2)Remember family and friends who have died and especially for all of the souls in purgatory.

3) Visit the cemetery with parish or your family and pray for the faithfully departed.

4) Pray the Lord's Prayer and the Creed at the cemetery and you may gain a plenary indulgance (under the usual conditions--Sacramental Confession eight days prior or after plus Eucharistic Communion on that day - AND pray for the Holy Father's intentions by offering an Our Father, Hail Mary, and Glory Be.

Again - November 1st through November 8th is the special octave of prayer- pray for the poor souls, make sacrifices, teach our children that the souls in purgatory will also pray for us when they get to Heaven.

Check out Catholic Culture for tips and information on All Souls day.

Summing Up


Teach your children why you visit the cemetery on this day.

Teach then why we pray for the souls (they NEED our prayers).

Teach them about the Communion of Saints (I mentioned the three branches above) - we are all in this together!

When our kids understand these things they will be able to carry them on throughout their lives and pass them down to their own children.

Keep those precious children safe on Halloween! Make sure you know what they will be doing and where they will be. It's so important to be sure that if your children are not with you, that they are with trustworthy individuals. You can never be too careful...watch out for the mischief of others, stay safe and have fun!

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Put that laundry down!


It's a day of rest (whatever that means to a mother!). Put that laundry down. Can't it wait until tomorrow? There's plenty of other things that need to be done in the care of the family. Today is Sunday and a day of rest. Turn the computer off! Let's see if we can put aside some time to enjoy the family.

May God bless your day!


PS But tune in bright and early tomorrow to my "Mom's Corner" segmant with Teresa Tomeo on "Catholic Connection" on Ave Maria Radio at 9:15 AM Eastern Standard Time. We'll be talking about Halloween, All Saints, and All Souls Day. I hope you tune in and perhaps call in. Here's the link to listen from your computer!

Friday, October 26, 2007

Feminists and legalized abortion...

Cardinal Nicolas de Jesus Lopez Rodriguez of Santo Domingo, responded to criticism by radical feminists this week who accused him of pressuring the country’s legislature not to legalize abortion, saying these groups do not represent the interests of women.

He said, feminist groups "do not fight for the dignity of women, but rather they bring women down with the help of some sectors of society. “Only an imbecile, a moron, someone ignorant of everything, could defend that position.” (see article about this here.)

Friends on Fridays!


Hello Everyone,


On Fridays, I occasionally feature works from fellow writers and bloggers. I invite you to submit pieces you have written or posts about mothering for "Friends on Friday." You can send them to: DMCooperOBoyle(at)aol(dot)com. Below is a piece from Sarah of Just Another Day of Catholic Pondering. Sarah shares her sentiments about her family, her mothering and her very new baby!

The Longest Days and Shortest Years


A week ago, I was ignoring the 90-degree weather and mooning over apples and longing for fresh, hot, homemade applesauce. In fact, I started to write down my memories of Grandma’s apple orchard and even considered snapping a picture of the old “Apple Acres” sign that hangs in my house.

And then, on Tuesday, my immediate interests changed a bit. I went from gratefully accepting my mother-in-law’s nesting help to being the mother bird. I went from that uncomfortable come-any-day-now feeling to bags under my eyes and joy in my arms. I went from pondering apples on trees to kissing apple cheeks.

In the midst of this week with the new baby, I’m getting a refresher on all those things that are so quickly forgotten: the frequency of things – feedings, diapers, sleep, repeat; the piercing bright-eyed looks; the tiny weight; the sound of my husband’s voice talking to a new daughter; the sweet smell of Dreft and clean baby and lotion; the feel of small fingers. Even though I knew about all these things, at some level, I still forgot – and it’s only been just over two years since I last walked in these shoes. I’m rediscovering all the things I never knew I should love about babies (having never been a baby person prior to the birth of my first daughter).

Though we’re getting out of the early babymoon phase and entering the twilight zone of sleepless nights and new routines, I can’t help but engrave a friend’s comment on my mind – “These are the longest days and shortest years of your life.” The reminder of the many blessings of my life is now in my arms. She’s here, with us. Apples just don’t matter, now that I have the sweet smell of Dreft and the baby that goes with it. I might feel a little beside-myself-with-exhaustion at times, and I might not get to all the things I’d like to get done. My time is not my own, in large part, and it’s so tempting to dwell on the limitations.

But in the midst of the long days are the short years. Already, the first baby is nearly three and a big sister. She’s jumped right out of the snuggle-and-sleep-in-my-arms phase into the do-it-by-MYSELF capabilities that will lead her right into the teen years and, too soon, adulthood. While I kiss the new baby, the feeling that this is all fleeting, temporary, gift is overwhelming. Just yesterday, it seems, my nieces were toddlers. Now they’re taking the Red Cross courses so they can babysit for me.

Yes, the days are long right now. But oh, the years are short!

***


Thank you, Sarah, for sharing!

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Can you help me?

Hi Everyone,

A Mom wrote to me who has an autistic child. She wants to know of any information on Autism from a Catholic perspective or about other Catholics who have dealings with Autism. I remember coming across a very nice blog or two of parents with Autistic children. Would you please leave a comment for me on this? It will be great to direct this Mom. Thanks so much in advance for your help.

I once wrote an article about Autism that can be found here if anyone is interested. Keep in mind that I wrote it a few years back and I'm sure there is more current research information available.

Thanks for your help!
God bless!

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Hey Catholic Moms!

Hey Catholic Moms! Do you want to peek in on the Catholic Dads to see what they're doing? I like what this guy said, "This is a site to help build community among Catholic Dads. Catholic moms rock when it comes to building community. We men...not so good. That is what Catholic Dads is all about. Here we can hang. Share stories. Debate the issues of the day. Give advice. Talk politics. Discuss sports. Share our faith. You know, guy stuff. So join the fun. Submit your blog and join in."

Check CATHOLIC DADS out here! And if you know a Catholic Dad that may feel inclined to do get involved, encourage him to join in with them. :)

Here I am, Lord...

"Here I am, Lord; I come to do your will," (Psalm 40) we read and prayed in yesterday's Mass readings.

Yes, here I am, Lord, I'm tired and my arms are sore from carrying around a fussy baby. But, here I am, Lord; I come to do your will.

Lord, here I am, I'm feeling unaccomplished as I run around the household trying to catch up with my tasks here. But, here I am, Lord; I come to do your will.

Yes, it's me, Lord, I'm happy and content within my vocation as a mother; I thank you for your many blessings and I come to do your will.

Lord, my child has gone astray and I am worn out and worried, however, here I am, Lord; I come to do your will.

Here I am, Lord looking at overflowing clothes hampers, a sink full of dishes and children fussing, but I am here to do your will.

Here I am, Lord, feeling unappreciated and invisible, but here I am, Lord; I come to do your will.

Lord, it's me feeling battered by outside criticisms from a society that puts down a mother's dedication and work in the home, but here I am, Lord; I've come to do your will.

Here I am, Lord; spending far more time in my vehicle than I would like. But, here I am, Lord; I've come to do your will.

Here I am, Lord, humbled and blessed in this marvelous vocation of motherhood, I come to do your will--knowing that you know all and have everything under control for all eternity! Yes, Lord! I've come to do your will - always and forever!

Please, dear Lord grant me the grace to recognize You everywhere and always in my life. Help me to see that as I care for my family, I am doing Your will. Each day is yet another opportunity to turn to You and ask for Your blessings and strength to carry out my mothering with grace. Amen

Monday, October 22, 2007

Lisa Hendey of Catholic Mom.Com spotlighted...

Our friend, Lisa Hendey of Catholic Mom.Com was recently spotlighted on The Catholic Company. Take a few minutes and listen in to find out about how Lisa got Catholic Mom started and Lisa's goals and other endeavors. Thank you, Lisa for bringing so much goodness to Catholic and Christian families! We appreciate it. God bless you!

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Isn't it pretty?


A bouquet of lavender hangs from my shelf - a gift from my daughter, Chaldea. She picked it from a lavender farm out west when she was on her vacation. Isn't it pretty? (you need to click on the photo for better view) It's the simple things in life...don't you think?

Now, be sure to take time out for family, fun, and rest today - Sunday being a day of rest and all. What's that you're thinking? "Rest," what's she talking about? Can a mother rest without guilt? I'm not sure, but I will attempt it! :)

Friday, October 19, 2007

Check out the new Catholic Mom.Com podcast


Lisa Hendey of Catholic Mom.Com has so much to offer Catholic families. Her newest use of the media is her great podcast in which she interviews a variety of people to get the news out to all of us. Lisa has recently interviewed me on her podcast at Catholic Mom.Com. She specifically asked me about my book, Prayerfully Expecting: A Nine Month Novena for Mothers-To-Be , how it came to be, as well as some of my future projects. You can listen to our conversation by clicking here. You can then scroll down and click on "direct download." Thank you, Lisa, for tirelessly working to light the way for others!

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Since this is Respect Life month

I am posting an article I wrote a while back for Our Sunday Visitor on Stem cell research here since October is "Respect Life" month. You can also see it by clicking on this link to my old website. Then when there, scroll down the left hand column and it is the first article under "Misc."

***


Adult cell research
continues to grow up

Doctor shares advances, advantages in working with this moral alternative that has been used to treat many diseases


By Donna Cooper O'Boyle
Our Sunday Visitor
September 25, 2005


"I am a practicing Catholic and try to integrate my faith into all aspects of my life. I have a strong commitment to working at the leading edge of scientific innovation in an effort to improve and preserve human life at all stages."
– Dr. Keith L. March, Director of Indiana Center for Vascular Biology and Medicine

(Photo Courtesy IU School of Medicine)

The degree of respect and value to be given a human embryo has always been a complex and controversial issue. Even more so now, since some researchers are experimenting with embryos and are diligently pushing for federal funding.
Some people believe stem cells can "morph" into virtually every kind of tissue, producing a potentially bottomless sources of human replacement parts.

But it is ever right to manipulate the building blocks of life itself with biotechnology? Is it OK to use embryos left over from in-vitro fertilization for research that could potentially hold cures for diseases and spinal-cord injuries?

Creating custom-made embryos in the lab for research raises more questions. This research has divided members of President Bush's own party as well as the scientific community with religious leaders. Pope John Paul II spoke out vehemently against embryonic stem-cell research.

But what about types of research, such as using stem cells derived from adults?

Seeking expert answers, Our Sunday Visitor interviewed Dr. Keith L. March, director of the Indiana Center for Vascular Biology and Medicine. March graduated from college at 15 with a dual degree in chemistry and biology in 1979. He received a combined medical degree and doctorate at 21.

As director of the center, he heads up a team that develops revolutionary medical therapies, devices, drugs and genetic interventions.

Our Sunday Visitor: What compelled you to become interested in stem-cell research?

Dr. Keith L. March: As a practicing cardiologist, my research interests have always focused on blood-vessel diseases. I wanted to find a way to use cells with regenerative capabilities that could be found in abundance and were taken from the patients' own cells, thus posing no risk of rejection and importantly, avoiding moral or ethical concerns with their use.

OSV: Do you find your fellow researchers receptive to pursuing other options of research besides embryonic stem-cell initiatives?

March: Many of my colleagues are actively pursuing stem cells from adult sources because of the track record of success with such cells.

OSV: What diseases are most likely to be helped with adult stem-cell research and why?

March: Leukemias, anemias and cancer are already being treated successfully with therapies using umbilical-cord-blood-derived stem cells. our center is currently conduction the only FDA-approved clinical trial using a patient's stem cells derived from bone marrow.

Stroke, Parkinsons's disease, spinal-cord injury, diabetes and cancer are other key targets for treatment. Intensive cell biology research is needed to learn about how and why this happens.

OSV: Why is adult stem-cell research more promising right now over embryonic stem-cell research? What are the advances in adult stem-cell research?

March: Adult stem cells are readily available, in some cases easy to procure, such as those found in the fat, skin and bone marrow.

They are not potentially subject to immune rejection, as cells obtained from the patient rather than an unrelated random embryo donor.

They are already somewhat specialized and are poised to repair disease within the body' embryonic stem cells are poised to create an embryo. No embryonic cell-based therapies have been demonstrated to produce results in patients.

Umbilical-cord-blood transfusions were initially used in the early 1990s to treat Fanconi's anemia in children, a life-threatening condition. These sources of stem cells have great potential to treat a variety of other blood disorders.

OSV: What role does your faith play in your research?

March: I am a practicing Catholic and try to integrate my faith into all aspects of my life. I have a strong commitment to working at the leading edge of scientific innovation in an effort to improve and preserve human life at all stages.

I am highly motivated to bring novel and effective therapies to patients as rapidly as possible, and equally committed to working with cell sources that do not involve human live at its embryonic stage.

OSV: Do you see a debate among your peers over the ethics of embryonic stem-cell research or is it a non-issue?

March: I think that the debate over embryonic stem-cell research is active among the scientific community as well as within the lay public.

OSV: What do you think the big push is for embryonic stem-cell research with some researchers over adult stem-cell research?

March: It is believed that stem cells from human embryos can potentially provide endless supplies of cells with desired characteristics. It is also believed that there are quantities of human embryos that are available from in-vitro fertilization clinics that would otherwise be frozen indefinitely.

Adult stem cells have already been used successfully. If efforts were focused on cells from adult sources, scientists would have an upstart on finding cures for life-threatening diseases.

OSV: Why do you feel the public isn't informed about the advances in adult stem-cell research?

March: Stem-cell research has become a lighting rod for controversy. People have taken sides. The lay public is mostly unaware of the differences between stem cells derived from adult sources and those for embryos. The media likes to fuel controversy, making it a political issue rather than a scientific one.

OSV: What do you think the public should know about stem-cell research?

March: There are distinct types of "stem cells" and distinct sources for their derivation. Adult stem cells have already proven effective in treating diseases. Their potential for treating a broader range of diseases is very promising, growing daily.

OSV: Do you think the continued success in the area of adult stem-cell research would essentially put an end to this major ethical debate by eliminating the need to research on embryonic stem cells?

March: I think that a group of scientists will likely want to continue to push research efforts forward on embryo cell fronts with the goal of finding cures no matter what is achieved in other areas.

I feel that adult stem-cell research is significantly advanced toward patients, compared with research using embryonic stem cells, therefore more likely to achieve results more quickly. Directing financial resources to support adult stem-cell research is one key way to accelerate success. The source for stem cells that proves most effective at treating patients will win the "race" to therapy.


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Donna Cooper O'Boyle is the author of "Catholic Prayer Book for Mothers" (OSV, $6.95). She writes from Connecticut. Contacting Dr. March
Readers interested in learning more about Dr. Keith March's work with adult stem cells may e-mail him directly at kmarch@iupui.edu, visit www.vascularbiomed.iu.edu or call (317) 278-0130.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Pumpkin soup anyone?


Looking for something to do with those pumkins or wanting to get festive? Here are a couple of very easy and surprisingly quick Pumpkin Soup recipes (these are courtesy of Rachael Ray). And they look delicious!


Pumpkin soup with chili cran-apple relish


Pumpkin and Black Bean Soup



Monday, October 15, 2007

Halloween is coming up...what will you be doing with your kids?


With Halloween coming up, what are you planning to do with your kids? Will you celebrate this holiday? Will you focus more on All Saints day and All Souls day? What are your ideas?

Happy feast day of St. Teresa of Avila!






St. Teresa of Avila said, "Christ has no body now, but yours. No hands, no feet on earth, but yours. Yours are the eyes through which Christ looks compassion into the world. Yours are the feet with which Christ walks to do good. Yours are the hands with which Christ blesses the world." Let us remember those words as we use our hands to care for our families, as we use our feet to go about doing good in the household, as we use our eyes to seek out the needs of others and then allow Christ to bless others through our eyes!


Let us also remember St. Teresa's words, "Let nothing trouble you, let nothing frighten you. All things are passing; God never changes. Patience obtains all things. He who possesses God lacks nothing: God alone suffices," as we thank God for the blessedness of our vocation of motherhood where we pray for the sanctification of our families!

Friday, October 12, 2007

Your lipstick may contain lead!

ATLANTA (Reuters) - Lipsticks tested by a U.S. consumer rights group found that more than half contained lead and some popular brands including Cover Girl, L'Oreal and Christian Dior had more lead than others, the group said on Thursday.

The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics said tests on 33 brand-name red lipsticks by the Bodycote Testing Group in Santa Fe Spring, California, found that 61 percent had detectable lead levels of 0.03 to 0.65 parts per million (ppm). (See entire story here.)

Important news about infant and small child cold medicines pulled off market

WASHINGTON (AP) - Drug makers pulled cold medicines targeted for babies and toddlers off the market Thursday, leaving parents to find alternatives for hacking coughs and runny little noses just as fall sniffles get in full swing.

The move represented a pre-emptive strike by over-the-counter drug manufacturers - a week before government advisers were to debate the medicines' fate. But it doesn't end concern about the safety of these remedies for youngsters.

Thursday's withdrawal includes medicines aimed at children under age 2, after the Food and Drug Administration and other health groups reported deaths linked to the remedies in recent years, primarily from unintentional overdoses.

A remaining question is whether children under 6 should ever take these nonprescription drugs.

Baltimore city officials filed a petition with the FDA - joined by the Maryland chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics and prominent pediatricians around the country - arguing that oral cough and cold medicines don't work in children so young, and pose health risks not just for babies but for preschoolers, too. (See entire article here.)

Speaking about our culture...

It's been hectic around here. Speaking of our culture lately, what happened the other day to our family was unbelievable! A kid pulled out a knife and held it up to my daughter on the school bus! Needless to say, we had to deal with all of that the last couple of days. Please say a prayer for all involved and for our kids these days. Heaven help us, please!

Thursday, October 11, 2007

My recent radio segment about young girls and our culture's pressures


To listen to the recent radio segment on my "Mom's Corner" segment on Ave Maria Radio, click here. Teresa Tomeo and I discussed the pressures on our girls on Teresa's show on "Catholic Connection."

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Our Culture's Pressures on Our Girls


Our “tween” age and teen age girls are being bombarded with an onslaught of demands. These young girls keenly feel the pressure from many sources which include school, their peers, and society. The support they so desperately need from their parents while they are trying to navigate the maze of unrealistic standards expected of them may be non-existent, because many parents just don’t understand the extent of the pressures. Parents may naively think that their daughters are too young to be feeling any stress or strain whatsoever. Life unfortunately, is not so simple nowadays.

The impact of our culture’s pressure on young girls recently hit home for me when I found out that a young girl I know is now in Rehab being treated for anorexia and drug abuse! Who knew? No one saw it coming. Her parents were totally unaware for a while. This victim of society’s horrid pressure—a sweet young girl from a Church-going family—hid any tell tale signs very cleverly. She had excellent teachers—the girls who led her down the wrong path also taught her how to cover up any evidence of her new lifestyle. Thank goodness her parents realized what was going on before it was too late for her. This girl is now counting her blessings and relieved that her parents intervened. She also revealed that she could have died at the rate she was going.

The everyday life of a teenager is tough enough with their hormonal mood swings—one minute exhilarated and the next minute immersed in a major trauma. Dealing with acne, worrying about boys, feeling that their parents don’t understand them, and emotional ups and downs add to their stress. But, our culture tops it all off with crazy expectations that can be utterly overwhelming to young girls. Because of this, sometimes life seems like a pressure cooker to them.

Young girls are vulnerable and take criticisms very personally and deeply. They feel intimidated by the “in crowd” and by the popular girls. They may think that they are fat or ugly. They can feel depressed. They deal with bullies who talk about them behind their backs which truly bothers them. They stress out about academic pressure which is high these days.

Body image and how these girls perceive themselves is a huge problem. It’s impossible to miss the standardized body image for girls, plastered all over the mass media from Hollywood, the runway, television, and glossy magazines. Basically, everyone should be a size zero according to the propaganda. Our young girls are brainwashed into believing that being a particular clothes size will bring them happiness and solve all of their problems in life. Most adolescents are also unaware that what is projected to them is impossible to achieve anyway because of the tricks of airbrushing that are used in the industry which further distorts a young girl’s perception of beauty. We need to somehow combat this obsession with body image.

In addition to worrying about their body image, the teens and “tweens” are consistently exposed to the pop stars in the news, glamorizing underage drinking and drug abuse. It’s pretty scary to think that these celebrities masquerade as role models for our children. Heaven help us! There are countless new pressures for our girls today. All of them affect their self esteem.

The “National Mental Health Information Center” reports that girls are three times more likely than boys to have a negative body image. The constant worry about their image can overtake other aspects of their lives, as well. The focus needs to be put on a girl’s real beauty—her talents, her mind, her heart, her spirit—and off of her body.

What can parents do?

Parents should start early to help build self esteem and a strong sense of self in their young girls to enable them to resist the battering of pressures later in life. One study revealed that 32 per cent of girls felt much loved by their parents. Imagine that, 32 per cent! This is alarming! Our children need to feel loved by us. A girl who feels loved by her parents and good about herself will still feel the pressures from our culture, but will better be able to deal with them.

The best role models for kids are the parents. Our example speaks volumes. We should never joke or comment about someone’s body size or weight. Our children look up to us and learn our behaviors. We should continue to show our affection toward them even when our adolescents may pull away at times seeking times of privacy. While we respect their occasional times out for privacy, we welcome and encourage them to partake in family activities and dinners, keeping the family unit intact. Prayers at the dinner table are not only wonderful but essential and set a valuable family tradition as do get togethers with relatives in their homes and ours—all helping to foster our family values and togetherness.

Parents should encourage their daughters to stay away from the cliques and to develop a good group of close wholesome friends which helps a great deal to combat the stress. There’s nothing like supportive girlfriends to help ease the trials and tribulations of teenager-hood! We need to keep a close watch on activities with our children, encouraging get togethers with their friends at our own homes, rather than away where we don’t have control. We have to know who they are hanging out with. We need to teach our girls not to worry about what others are saying or telling them to do and to be confident in their own shoes with their own friends.

Very clear and consistent boundaries need to be set by parents about what is acceptable and what is not. Kids absolutely need these parameters. They even want them, despite their attempts to rebel against them at times. The boundaries establish the safety net. Kids can use their parent’s rules as their excuse to their peers for not getting involved in a potentially dangerous situation. It’s a safe way out of trouble and a way that parents can suggest their children use, if need be.

Half the battle in helping our daughters is in recognizing and accepting that these young girls indeed experience all of these very real stresses and pressures. We have to open our eyes! Striving to keep open the lines of communication is critical. Hopefully this art form was established early on with our daughters and our continual encouragement to talk to us, to share with us—will reassure them that they can come to us at any time with their troubles. We can hopefully discover opportunities for open communication while out on a walk, driving in the car, or involved in an activity with our children when they are more likely to open up when they are not in a face to face situation with us.

Being aware of our children’s needs is crucial. To get them through these years safely, we absolutely have to show our daughters our love in an affectionate, understanding, and tangible way and be there for them—always!

***


I recently discussed the pressures on our “tween” age and teen age girls on the air with Teresa Tomeo on our “Mom’s Corner” segment on “Catholic Connection” on Ave Maria Radio. Teresa recommended a fantastic website and initiative by Dove called, the “Campaign for Real Beauty.” It’s a wonderful, interactive website packed with information; complete with self esteem building techniques, tips in talking to kids about body image and what it means to be beautiful, and so much more. There is also a very short and excellent eye opening video called, “Onslaught” showing the images that young girls are exposed to in the course of a day. Another very effective short film on the website is “Evolution.” Please watch them.

(copyright - Donna-Marie Cooper O'Boyle)

Editor's Note: The photo in this story is used to enhance the story and is not of anyone who is having trouble with anorexia or drug abuse. The picture illustrates girls having fun.

Monday, October 8, 2007

View From The Pews: Bloggers Praying For World Peace

View From The Pews: Bloggers Praying For World Peace

UNICEF is a sponsor to an initiative that supports legal abortion!

From Catholic News Agency:

"New York, Oct 8, 2007 / 10:53 am (CNA).- The United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) is a sponsor to an initiative that includes support for legal abortion.

The initiative, titled "Deliver Now for Women and Children," was launched in New York last week by various United Nations agencies and non-governmental organizations. UNICEF has persistently denied that it supports abortion in any way, shape, or form.

The "Deliver Now" campaign's stated objective is the improvement of maternal and child health. It lists a number of severe maladies that affect maternal health, concluding “most maternal deaths could be prevented if women had access to and could use professional care.” The campaign defines quality care as including “services before and during pregnancy, childbirth and the postpartum period, as well as safe abortion.” "Safe abortion" is often a synonym for legal abortion..." (See entire article here.)

Tune in tomorrow to "Mom's Corner!"


Tune in tomorrow morning at 9:15 AM Eastern Standard Time to hear the newest segment of my Mom's Corner" with Teresa Tomeo on "Catholic Connection" on Ave Maria Radio. We will be discussing a timely and urgent topic for parents regarding our "tween age" and teen age girls and the pressures on them from our culture. Join us and feel free to call in with a question or comment. You can listen in at this link from your computer!

Sunday, October 7, 2007

For all you bakers and chocolate eaters...

"Kraft Foods Inc. has recalled 288,000 packages of white chocolate baking squares on fears of salmonella contamination, the latest in a wave of U.S. food safety alerts and the third chocolate-related salmonella warning in the past year.

The Northfield-based food giant issued the recall late Wednesday for certain six-ounce packages of Baker's Premium White Chocolate Baking Squares.

The recall came after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration detected salmonella in some packages of Baker's Premium, Kraft said. Salmonella is a bacterium that can cause fever, diarrhea, and abdominal cramps, and can create life-threatening infections in people with weakened immune systems..." ( See entire story here.)

"If today you hear His voice..."

"If today you hear his voice, harden not your hearts.

Come, let us sing joyfully to the Lord;
let us acclaim the Rock of our salvation.
Let us come into his presence with thanksgiving;
let us joyfully sing psalms to him.

"If today you hear his voice, harden not your hearts.

Come, let us bow down in worship;
let us kneel before the Lord who made us.
For he is God,
and we are the people he shepherds, the flock
he guides.

"If today you hear his voice, harden not your hearts.

Oh, that today you would hear his voice:
"Harden not your hearts as at Meribah,
as in the day of Massah in the desert,
where your fathers tempted me;
they tested me though they had seen my works."

"If today you hear his voice, harden not your hearts. (Psalm 95)


***


Do we hear our Lord's voice today? Is He calling us through our spouses and our children? Is He speaking to us through our neighbor who wants ten minutes of our time (when we are in a hurry) to vent about a problem, hoping for a loving response? Is our Lord calling us through our duties in our household that sometimes seem to loom over us with a burdensome pressure? Is our Lord asking us for ten minutes of our time to retreat to our hearts to truly listen to Him? Is our Lord asking us to meet Him in the Blessed Sacrament where He waits for us; wanting to shower us with His love and blessings and tremendous peace? Is our Lord perhaps calling us to reach out to the lonely around us, allowing His love to shine through us to transform their hearts and bring them closer to Him? Where is our Lord calling us? Do we dare ask Him?

Friday, October 5, 2007

From "Our Sunday Visitor Footnotes"

The Twentieth Anniversary Celebration of Mulieris Dignitatem
By Donna-Marie Cooper O'Boyle

This is an exciting time for women in our world. Twenty years ago, our late Holy Father, Pope John Paul II, wrote the extraordinary letter, Mulieris Dignitatem, "On the Dignity and Vocation of Women." The Pontifical Council for the Laity is now encouraging the lay faithful worldwide to observe a celebration of this Apostolic Letter in the coming year of the twentieth anniversary by reflecting on the meaning of the document. Each continent has its own specific theme regarding the Apostolic Letter.

Pope John Paul II's Apostolic Letter (given on August 15, 1988) was written to encourage women in their vocations, to highlight the essential feminine genius that they provide to their families and the world, and to restore spiritual and physical motherhood to a culture that was quickly losing sight of the dignity of women and mothers.

Living in an era where the unborn baby may not be safe within his own mother's womb, with debates raging over the nature of marriage, and confusing messages directed at women about where she should find her place in society - all point to the timeliness of this observance.

The Pontifical Council of the Laity has asked the Catholics of North America to consider the document specifically in light of one overarching theme: The Dignity of Women in a Technological and Consumeristic Society.
Interestingly, Pope Benedict spoke recently about "the materialist ideologies that say: It is absurd to think about God. It is absurd to observe God's Commandments. It is something from a bygone era.... Only consumerism, selfishness, and fun are worth something. That's life." He said, "Again it seems absurd, impossible to oppose this dominant mentality with all its media and propaganda power. It seems impossible to think about a God who created man, who became a child, the real would-be ruler of the world."

The poignant words to women at the closing of the Second Vatican Council should compel us to do something to help better our understanding of a woman's role and dignity. "The hour is coming, in fact has come, when the vocation of women is being acknowledged in its fullness, the hour in which women acquire in the world an influence, an effect, and a power never hitherto achieved. That is why, at this moment when the human race is undergoing so deep a transformation, women imbued with a spirit of the Gospel can do so much to aid humanity in not falling."

We know that all of salvation history depended on the faithfulness of one young woman in Nazareth and her courageous "yes" to the Lord. Our Church has held women throughout history with the deepest respect, despite what our world might have us believe. Women of the third millennium have an amazing opportunity to reap the benefit of the graces poured out on them now for a clearer understanding of their dignity and vocation as they reflect upon Pope John Paul II's affirming and beautiful words for them. Women of our time "can do so much to aid humanity in not falling." It's time to open our hearts to God's message to women and act upon it imbued with the spirit of the Gospel, spreading love, understanding, and peace with our own "yes" to a world in desperate need.

A website has been created in order to provide a comprehensive resource for those interested in ways to reflect on this timely anniversary.
Dignityofwomen.com will point to the Apostolic Letter, Mulieris Dignitatem, relevant books, speakers, study guides, and other initiatives that will bring the beauty of this document to as many people as possible, while continually integrating suggestions, additions, as well as a bulletin board of events to access over the coming year. The website suggests ways in which to get involved with this Vatican initiative including: procuring a study guide and taking time to discuss the document, compiling book lists related to the document and discuss different aspects or topics relating to the reflection of these authors, planning a day of reflection in the parish or larger community whereby talks and prayers can bring to light the beauty of the Pope John Paul II's understanding of authentic femininity, and a larger project might be the creation of a congress or conference, in which the ordinary is invited to participate. This would reflect the collaborative nature of the Church: joining the hierarchy, or Petrine dimension, with the women, who image Marian dimension, and bear spiritual fruit by means of the spousal reality.

"Through prayer and discussion, women everywhere will reveal their feminine genius in the way they celebrate this anniversary - ultimately giving glory to God, Who delighted in creating women in His image" (from the Dignity of Women website).
You may send your suggestions or submissions of resources to the link provided at the website or to Donna-Marie Cooper O'Boyle at DMCooperOBoyle@aol.com. Please join with us in prayer so that this will be a very fruitful observance. May our Blessed Mother watch over this worldwide celebration for the dignity and vocation of women and bless us with her graces in all of our efforts to understand the richness of the feminine vocation.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Let us bring peace into our homes!


Make Me A Channel Of Your Peace

(Based on a prayer by St. Francis)

Make me a channel of your peace,
Where there is hatred, let me bring Your love,
Where there is injury, Your pardon Lord,
And where there's doubt, true faith in You

Make me a channel of your peace,
Where there's despair in life let me bring hope,
Where there is darkness - only light,
And where there's sadness, ever joy

Oh Master, grant that I may never seek,
So much to be consoled as to console,
To be understood, as to understand,
To be loved, as to love with all my soul

Make me a channel of your peace,
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
In giving to all men that we recieve,
And in dying that we're born to eternal life

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Beautiful Catholic Carnival at Sarah's...


Go on over to Sarah's place at "Just Another Day of Catholic Pondering" to see the beautiful Catholic Carnival that she has put together with the title, "Celebration of Life." I know what she's thinking about as she's soon to give birth! There are so many submissions and topics that you do NOT want to miss! You had better grab a cup of coffee or tea and plan to stay a while. :)

"Mom's Corner" Coming Up...


Hello Everyone!

I will be on my "Mom's Corner" segment with Teresa Tomeo on her "Catholic Connection" radio show next Tuesday, October 9th at 9:15 AM Eastern Standard Time. I hope that you will tune in and perhaps call in to the show. Our topic will be "Our Culture's Pressure on Our Teen and 'Tween' Girls." Feel free to leave me a comment if you'd like to tell me anything on the subject or to let me know what you would like answered on the air. The show is LIVE. You can tune in to Ave Maria Radio any time at this link right from your computer! Just click on the "Listen live" button at the top of the Ave Maria page. On Tuesday, I hope you'll tune in at 9:15 AM EST! :)

God bless!

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Tips on Tuesday


Someone posed a question to the Food Network:

Q: I like to make dinner earlier in the day, especially things like soup, pasta or one-pot dinners that usually taste better "the second time around". But I never know when to put them in the fridge for later. I have heard both that you should let food cool completely and then refrigerate, and that you should refrigerate as soon as possible. (Roseanne Powell, Auburn, GA)

A: Both answers are correct, strangely enough. It's often best to cool hot food as quickly as possible, and refrigeration is a great way to do that. The problem with immediate refrigeration, however, is that putting a hot pot of soup into the fridge will warm everything around it. The soup will cool, but it might bring the rest of the food in the fridge into the bacteria-loving danger zone between 40 and 140 degrees F. Leaving the food on the counter to cool isn't necessarily the best option either, as it will also remain in that temperature zone for a while.

Our recommended ways to quickly cool food to below 40 degrees F are:

• Spread the food out in a wide, shallow pan so the heat is not held in.

• Put a sealed double plastic bag filled with ice into the center of a hot stock, which also helps get rid of some of the fat (it sticks to the bag when you pull it out)

• If you've got a free sink, fill it with ice water and set the pot in the middle.

Refrigerate the food once it's cool.

***




My recipe for Quick and Healthy Apple Sauce!


3 Macintosh or Golden Delicious apples, peeled, cored, and quartered
3 of any other apples you like, peeled, cored, and quartered (It's good to combine 2 or 3 different types of apples for better flavor)
1 cup natural unsweetened apple juice
2 tablespoons butter or soy margarine (I use Earth Balance soy margarine)
one half teaspoon of pure vanilla
3 to 4 tablespoons honey (can use 1 teaspoon of molasses too, for added nutrition and heartier flavor)
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon (I usually throw in some more!)

In a microwave-safe container, (I use a glass bowl and a glass plate on top, opened slightly) Combine apples with all other ingredients. Close lid, leaving one corner of lid open to allow steam to escape. Microwave on high for 10 minutes.
(Be careful when you take it out of the microwave due to the hot steam) Use a hand blender or potato masher to blend the apple sauce to desired consistency. (you may want to leave it a little lumpy)

Serve hot immediately (Yum!) or chill for later use.

Monday, October 1, 2007

In the Spirit of St. Therese...


What matters in life is "not great deeds, but great love."


In the spirit of St. Therese of Lisieux today, let us strive to remain "little," to love in all things; especially to be dedicated to doing all of our "little" things with great love in our families. These "little" things, I believe are HUGE in God's eyes!

O Little Therese of the Child Jesus, please pick for me a rose from the heavenly gardens and send it to me as a messenger of love.

O Little Flower of Jesus, ask God today to grant the favors I now place with confidence in your hands...(mention your request)

St. Therese, help me to always believe as you did, in God's great love for me, so that I might imitate your "Little Way" each day.
Amen