Being Joyful in Marriage

This question was posed on Twitter by Mr. Jonathan Sullivan:

So how can couples make manifest the joy of the Cross in marriage?

Let me start by saying this is not going to be any sort of lofty theological post about marriage, but more of a common sense post about how to be joyful in your marriage.

1. The Sacraments. Frequent the sacraments of Confession and Communion.

  • The time between confessions should not be more than a month and make it a family affair. The whole family (those who have made their first confession that is) lines up to go to confession on say the first Saturday of the month. Our family goes every two to four weeks. We also stick around for the Vigil Mass afterward because of the distance our parish is from our house. Sometimes we go to dinner after, as a family treat.
  • As for Communion, that should be as often as possible. Daily Mass? Great! A few times a week, great! Weekly? Required. While the reception of Holy Communion is not required weekly, if you are in a state of grace there’s no reason to not receive. However, the attendance of Mass on each and every Sunday is required. (Of course there are reasons you can be excused, but being on vacation is not one of them.)

2 October 2004


2. Just be joyful. No it’s not always easy and there are sometimes circumstances that really do not allow for joy to be readily lived, however, we should to strive to do our best. Yes there are times when we are disappointed by our spouses, but those are times we should be offering prayers up for them and not walking around with pouty faces.

3. I heard this one before I was married and it is simple: Never complain about your husband to your friends and family. Even simple things like “he doesn’t put his socks in the hamper” can lead to cracks in the happiness of your marriage. If there are things that you cannot resolve together, seek the counsel of your pastor or a priest you trust, avoid going to your friends or family, as they have long memories and will remember things long past the time you two have forgotten.


My job as Joshua’s wife is to work to get him to heaven and his job is to get me to heaven.  Marriage is not easy, that’s why we need the grace from the sacrament to help us live the married vocation and why we need the help of the Church to lead us in that vocation.


Filed under: Catholic

Corpus Christi

Today we had a Eucharistic procession after Mass and it was beautiful, just beautiful.

Here is a picture taken by one of our fellow parishioners and shared on Facebook:


Following our Eucharistic Lord.
Following our Eucharistic Lord.
Filed under: Catholic

Ordination Weekend

Over the weekend, we were blessed to be able to attend the Ordination to the Order of Deacons of our good friend, Rev. Mr. Stephen Smith. We’ve known him since our time in Marion, Ohio and he has become a good friend to us. We had a great weekend beginning with the ordination at the cathedral in Columbus and ending with the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass where we got to hear him preach for the first time.





This picture was taken after Mass. I’m pretty sure Scholastica was still sleeping in Joshua’s arms, so she didn’t make the picture. I am glad I captured the banner in the background as well and as I said elsewhere: “I thought it was pretty awesome of Fr. Bob Penhallurick and the Parish of St. Brendan’s to make up those banners for the ordination. Not only does it help to support seminarians on their journey to ordination, but it also helps to encourage other discerning a vocation to religious life or priesthood. (Plus, what’s a sacrament without a banner? ;))” 

Filed under: Catholic

On Gossip

I had the mis-fortune of overhearing gossip this evening, prior to the beginning of the vigil Mass. It was the sort of gossip that was so stupid and really didn’t need to be said, let alone in the church, mere feet from our Lord in the Tabernacle, and just crushed the peace I had in my heart.

Therefore, not only must one not make an attempt on the life of others, but one must not even pour on him the poison of anger and hit him with slander, nor speak ill of him. And here we arrive at gossip. Gossip can also kill, because it kills the reputation of the person. – Pope Francis

I spent the remainder of the time prior to Mass, trying to process what I had heard, trying to pray those words out of my head, trying to not get upset because the person had moved on but was still talking and causing a disruption to the quiet in the church.

Respect for the reputation of persons forbids every attitude and word likely to cause them unjust injury. He becomes guilty:

– of rash judgment who, even tacitly, assumes as true, without sufficient foundation, the moral fault of a neighbor;

– of detraction who, without objectively valid reason, discloses another’s faults and failings to persons who did not know them;279

– of calumny who, by remarks contrary to the truth, harms the reputation of others and gives occasion for false judgments concerning them. CCC 2477

As I sat there, looking at our Lord on the Cross, talking with Him, I saw the ugliness that is gossip, the blackness that it causes not just in our souls, but in the souls of others.

The eighth commandment forbids misrepresenting the truth in our relations with others. This moral prescription flows from the vocation of the holy people to bear witness to their God who is the truth and wills the truth. Offenses against the truth express by word or deed a refusal to commit oneself to moral uprightness: they are fundamental infidelities to God and, in this sense, they undermine the foundations of the covenant. – CCC 2464

Our Holy Father, Francis, has spoken against gossip almost since the beginning of his pontificate. We should listen to him, listen to how an unkind word can hurt. Gossip hurts, regardless of how little it is, how innocent one thinks it may be, gossip destroys.


Filed under: Catholic

Macon Rhymes with Bacon

I’m going to lay it out here for you all, I don’t like living in South Georgia. Oh, you knew that? I thought I kinda sort of hid it pretty well. One of the reasons I’m not a fan of the area is the total lack of shopping options. I’m not talking about extravagant things, I’m talking about options for children’s clothing and shoes. I have a hard time finding clothes that are age appropriate that don’t cost an arm and a leg.

So, a few months ago, when a newsletter arrived from the Macon Museum of Arts and Sciences arrived saying they were having a Bug Day on June 14th, we made plans to go to it. Macon is two hours north of us, so we make a day of it when we go. This time we planned the museum, Burlington Coat Factory, Mass, a Greek restaurant, and Aldi. So, basically something fun, with shopping at places that we don’t have around here to get things we can’t get around here (or can’t get at a reasonable price.)

Joshua Facemyer looks over a collection of beetles from entomologist Jeff Burne with his children from left, Karol, 8, Caecilia, 5, Margaret, 7 and Benedict, 3, duri1ng Bug Day at the Museum of Arts and Sciences Saturday. JASON VORHEES

The museum part was awesome. The kids had a lot of fun looking at the bugs. I was creeped out. Who keeps cockroaches as pets? I kill them, die, die, die! We watched a show at the planetarium, dug for dinosaurs, looked at snakes and chased Black Holes. The kids had a great time and so did the parents.

After we left, we stopped for lunch at Firehouse Subs. I’ve never been there but I was pretty impressed. Scholastica really like it there.

I finally caught a picture of her laughing face!

Burlington Coat Factory was great and we found some great deals on shoes and dresses for the girls, as well as a sport jacket for Bene. I found some jumpers for the girls form the school uniform section that will work great for weekday Mass. (Don’t worry, there are a few styles and colors, they won’t look like they are wearing the same thing at every Mass.) I went with jumpers because I needed to simplify things a bit with clothes. I need to be able to say “Go lay out/get on a daily Mass outfit.” or “Go get dressed for strings” and have appropriate clothing put on. I also found some awesome dresses for them from Gymboree for $7! Woot!

After BCF, we headed to St. Joseph Catholic Church. I love that church. It is very much like a northern Catholic church, big, full of stained glass and it helps lift your soul to heaven. (Not to say that a little mission parish can’t do that.) We also get to sing out of the St. Michael Hymnal, something so little and something that some people don’t even notice, but I love having that little connection to St. Boniface.



St. Joseph doesn’t have padded pews, so my kids slide on them a lot. Caecilia as very concerned that she could not sit up straight without falling over. One more note about St. Joseph: They have a  prie dieu at the the foot of the sanctuary, placed there during Communion, so that those who want to kneel to receive our Lord, can, and those who prefer to stand may also do so. It’s a great compromise in my book.

After Mass we headed to a Greek restaurant we had heard about when were up there for the Greek Fest last year. I was not disappointed. After trying one of their falafel, I looked at Joshua and apologized for every under-seasoned not very good deep fried chick-pea patty I’ve ever served him. The owners are originally from Chicago and did not disappoint in their Chicago-Style Italian Beef Sandwich. It was like being in the Windy City.

Our final stop was to get a few things (right) at Aldi. We now have groceries (minus fresh stuff) for a good long while. That makes me happy. We also have enough wine that I’m now thinking we need a wine rack. So now, with the exception of milk and veggies, I won’t have to go to the store for other things for at least three months!




Filed under: Catholic, General Stuff

Catholics and Torture

Yesterday, I happened across a news article about Sarah Palin and her comments about baptism and waterboarding. Folks, if you are still a fan of hers, it is time to move on, especially if you are Catholic. We, as Catholics, cannot support those who support torture. The denouncement of torture is spelled out very clearly in the Catechism of the Catholic Church, paragraph 2297.

2297 Kidnapping and hostage taking bring on a reign of terror; by means of threats they subject their victims to intolerable pressures. They are morally wrong. Terrorism threatens, wounds, and kills indiscriminately; it is gravely against justice and charity.
Torture which uses physical or moral violence to extract confessions, punish the guilty, frighten opponents, or satisfy hatred is contrary to respect for the person and for human dignity. Except when performed for strictly therapeutic medical reasons, directly intended amputations, mutilations, and sterilizations performed on innocent persons are against the moral law.90

Paragraph 2298 goes on to state that Holy Mother Church has never supported these cruel practices.

2298 In times past, cruel practices were commonly used by legitimate governments to maintain law and order, often without protest from the Pastors of the Church, who themselves adopted in their own tribunals the prescriptions of Roman law concerning torture. Regrettable as these facts are, the Church always taught the duty of clemency and mercy. She forbade clerics to shed blood. In recent times it has become evident that these cruel practices were neither necessary for public order, nor in conformity with the legitimate rights of the human person. On the contrary, these practices led to ones even more degrading. It is necessary to work for their abolition. We must pray for the victims and their tormentors.


To support those who support torture is to support torture. Oh, I’m sure there are some saying “No it’s not!” but I ask, would you support a candidate who supports abortion? No, then why would you support a candidate who supports an evil that is also spelled out a being morally wrong in our Catechism?

I am going to take this one step further and ask how we can support political parties who have no problem with torture. To quote this article:

I regret having believed that Republicans actually offered a substantially different choice to voters (as compared to Democrats) instead of being the other side of the same filthy coin, minted by oligarchs, circulated by sycophants, and duly rendered to Caesar.  It’s becoming increasingly clear that we serious Catholics are politically homeless in this culture of death and destruction, and that both major parties only tolerate us as long as we’re willing to stifle our Catholic consciences and give them our votes. (emphasis mine.) 

Just some food for thought this Tuesday morning.

Filed under: Catholic, Social Commentary

Divine Mercy Sunday and a Two Pope Saints Party

Sewing the bunting the night before.

I love the second Sunday after Easter, also known as the Feast of Divine Mercy. Saint John Paul II gave us this beautiful feast (through Saint Faustina from Jesus, of course) in 2000, just a few months before I found my way back Home. When I was Confirmed in 2003, I chose the name Maria Faustina after the beautiful apostle of Divine Mercy. So we always do this feast day up pretty big anyway, but this year we even more reason to celebrate! 


Karol on the way home from Mass. (Poor kid and allergies.)

This kid’s patron was named a SAINT! Karol is named after Saint John Paul II (using his birth name) in honor of the great man who taught me (us) so much about life. Through the Theology of the Body, I learned to love (not just accept) the teachings of Holy Mother Church on sexuality. Through his gentle leadership, I saw a great witness on life. Through his death, I learned how to live and how to die with dignity. It seems obvious that my son would be named after such great a man.


I pulled out this book and found in it the prayer card from my great-grandfather’s funeral. Are you able to read the prayer on the back? Pray for poor souls!

To not leave out the second pope being canonized, I found this book among my things and while flipping through, looking to see if there were pictures, I found this prayer card. I told Joshua when I die, this prayer is to be used on the back of any prayer cards made up for me. Nothing fluffy, nothing poetic, just a plea to pray for my soul and the souls in purgatory!


The bunting hung up in the dining room.


It think that turned out better than I thought it would! We hung the bunting in the living room as well. And though flowers, aren’t they lovely? (With my camera-phone shot, it doesn’t do them justice, they are beautiful.)


The area dedicated to the Saint John Paul II. I also added a few Divine Mercy things as well as a book on Saint John XXIII.


Having a son named after a former holy father, you get a lot of pope stuff. Karol’s godmother gave him the picture and and statue at the far end of the table. A (now priest) friend of Joshua’s took the middle picture of the (now) great saint. (Quick side story, the “other side” of that picture was posted on Facebook and Twitter this weekend, it was pretty cool to see it from the Holy Father’s perspective.) Karol’s godfather sent him the statue of the holy father around the time of the beatification in 2011.




A Polish Pope-Saint needs a proper feast, (homemade) pierogi, Polish Sausage and sauerkraut.

Of course we had some good food and friends over to enjoy it with us. We also made two Italian Easter Pies as a nod to Saint John XXIII. 

And dessert.

What’s a party without dessert? I also made the Polish Cream Cake that is supposed to have been a favorite of Saint John Paul II, it was pretty good, if I do say so myself.


Scholastica after the festivities, she was tired.

The best part of the party was when we gathered together to pray the Divine Mercy Chaplet during the Hour of Mercy.

I cannot let a note of the day end without mentioning the homily at Mass. We had a visiting priest as our pastor was out of town, and our visiting priest knocked it out of the park. He mentioned the Feast, he mentioned Saint Faustina, he mentioned the two pope saints, he mentioned confession, he mentioned the deepness of God’s mercy. 

He also discussed why we have a hard time understanding the depths of God’s mercy for us. It is because we have such a hard time forgiving. We like to hold on to things, hurts, anger for a long time and don’t forgive people or don’t forgive ourselves. God is not like that. We confess our offences and God forgets them, they are gone!

I came away from the homily fed, full of hope and joy and with a mission. To let go of the things I won’t forgive myself for and to really, really, truly forgiving those who have “trespassed” against me.

Saint John XXIII, pray for us.
Saint John Paul II, pray for us.
Saint Maria Faustina of the Most Blessed Sacrament, pray for us.





Filed under: Catholic

Jacksonville Weekend

Over the weekend we went to Jacksonville for their Eucharistic Congress and had a great time. I will admit I was cranky when we hit the road and had to work hard to not snap at kids and Joshua. I could feel the devil attacking me, trying to get me to destroy the early morning peace. I also get this way when facing unknown situations and crowds. I worked hard and managed to only make a few snips at my family. 

When we arrived in Jax, our GPS sent us the wrong way twice (that didn’t do much for my nerves) and we finally arrived. The parking attended was badgering me to move when I was trying to get Benedict out of the van, and I snapped at the guy. Calm down, dude. Then we locked our keys in the van. I knew then that it was going to be a great conference and it was.

Waiting for the Congress to begin. They were super excited to see the Sisters.
Waiting for the Congress to begin. They were super excited to see the Sisters.

If you live anywhere near Jacksonville, Florida make an effort to go next year. We drove over two hours to go and it was totally worth it. God willing we will go next year as well. The morning started with a procession of all the parishes in the diocese followed by a Keynote address by Cardinal DiNardo. He was outstanding. I “live” tweeted it and I’m glad I did because now I can look back and read the parts that really stuck out to me.  He said lots of great things, but the part that stuck out the most was when he said the Liturgy in Heaven will be perfect. No more saying “What was up with the music?” or “Why did the deacon do that?”. He had on more example, but it was speaking right to me because most Sundays, I’m walking out of Mass thinking that. 

On the stage, if you look closely, you can see the speck of red. That's Cardinal DiNardo.
On the stage, if you look closely, you can see the speck of red. That’s Cardinal DiNardo.

Mass was celebrated after the address then we had lunch. We packed our own but there was a downpour for about two hours and we were too far from the van to even attempt a run to eat (you couldn’t bring food into the convention center). We went with a purchased lunch. Note for next year: Bring an umbrella and get there earlier to park closer.

Future priest?
Future priest?

After lunch we dropped the older three off at the “Children’s Track” and Benedict off at the childcare room. This was really a great treat for the parents, it really gave us the chance to hear the talks, visit the vendors, and talk with people we knew without having to keep eyes on the kids.

The afternoon talks were wonderful as well. What a blessing we have with the Eucharist! What a blessing we have to be Catholic!

When we picked the kids up from their area, we got to hear what a great time they had! “Mama, a man came in and sang ‘Lord, I Need You!’, I sang along quietly!” and “The bishop came to talk to us!” and “They brought Jesus to us and we knelt and prayed!” Benedict didn’t have much to report because he slept most of the time.

Joshua with the Vocation Director for the Diocese of Saint Augustine, trying on priesthood. (Joshua's company designed and sells that cut out.)
Joshua with the Vocation Director for the Diocese of Saint Augustine, trying on priesthood. (Joshua’s company designed and sells that cut out.)

When the Congress was over, we went to the house of some friends we had met last year at the ordination of Fr. John Paul in Birmingham. It’s always great to get to know better fellow Catholics who are very like minded (and grind their own wheat;)). We went to Mass with them in the morning at the Basilica of the Immaculate Conception in Downtown Jax. Just beautiful! 

We headed back to their house for brunch, our kids played, and we went to the backyard and checked out the bees. Oh, yeah, I’m definitely now thinking about keeping bees. Joshua can take care of them though ;). Then we packed up and hit the beach. It was Scholastica’s first time at the beach (on her BAPTISM DAY!) and she slept though most of it. The kids all played in the somewhat cold water and I stood in it, letting the waves soak the bottom of my skirt.

While standing on the beach talking, I noticed a group of men walking down the beach, one older man on the arms of two younger men and another man walking just off to the side holding a phone. When they got closer, I saw the older man was holding a rosary and the younger man was reading the prayers off his phone. What a beautiful site to see.

We then decided it was time to hit the road and head back home. First we had dinner at Chipotle, then stopped for a milkshake (it was Laetare Sunday and Scholastica’s baptism day after all, then home.

Thanks for the great weekend, Jacksonville, we’ll be back!

Filed under: Catholic

Celebrating Life



Nine years ago this week, we found out that I had miscarried our first baby. I wasn’t very far along and I didn’t know if the baby was a boy or a girl, but I was certain I was expecting a girl, so we named her Gianna Marie, in honor of the great St. Gianna and for Our Lady.

We were blessed to have her with us, even if for a few short weeks. Our kids know about the little baby who went to God and talk of her often. Karol is at the age when he wonders what life would be like with her here, but he knows it would be very different because he wouldn’t be here.

We celebrate her life twice a year, around the date I miscarried and again in November, on what would have been her due date. Sometimes I make a cake, sometimes we have ice cream sundaes, this weekend we did cookies, big fat cookies, scooped out with an ice cream scoop sized cookies, because really, she is a big deal.

Our goal as parents is to get our children to heaven, and while it was hard to lose a child (and it is still hard, I cry whenever I think of her), ultimately, she is in heaven, she’s with God, our job with her is complete.


Filed under: Catholic

Lenten Meal Plan

This year, I have been working on ways to make my grocery budget less of the “I have no idea what I’m spending each month” and more of the “I have $X to spend on groceries this month and this is what I did with it” type.

As we were nearing the season of Lent, I was thinking of meals we could have that would be simple, filling, nutritious, and inexpensive. I also had the realization that if I refuse to buy meat if it is over $3.50/pound (and that’s for a nice beef roast, I only buy on sale), that spending $9.99/pound on shrimp was not going to keep with the simple and inexpensive part of my plan.

Yesterday, I sat down with a calendar an now I have the next six weeks (plus Easter) planned out for our meals. My plan is (don’t hold me to it if I get caught up in the day to day) is to follow up this post with the recipes for the meals if the recipe turns out well.


  • March 6: Salad with shredded chicken, hard boiled eggs, and home made dressing. (This will be served with Ezekiel bread, a recipe I will be trying to day after I pick up the co-op order.)
  • March 7: Tuna casserole, served with a salad on the side. We have stations of the cross in the evening, so this will be made early in the day and reheated for after we get home.
  • March 8: Leftovers or burgers, if friends come to help work on the garage/barn roof. Burgers will be served with the usual toppings.
  • March 9: Burgers (fresh if we don’t have friends over, leftovers if they do, but done differently for a not-so-leftovers feel).
  • March 10: Cheesy potato casserole, with a salad side.
  • March 11: Spring vegetable soup, served with bread on the side.
  • March 12: Leftovers
  • March 13: Veggie and bean burritos.
  • March 14: Tuna melts on fresh bread.
  • March 15: Ham and beans made with the frozen ham juice/bone in the freezer.
  • March 16: Lemon swai and a nice salad.
  • March 17: Leftovers
  • March 18: Mexican bean chowder served with homemade tortillas
  • March 19: (Feast of St. Jospeh) Baked chicken, Brussels sprouts, fresh bread and a dessert.
  • March 20: Eggsketti
  • March 21: Egg salad sandwiches with fresh veggies.
  • March 22: Meatloaf, cheesy rice casserole, salad, birthday cake (it’s Scholastica’s first brithday!)
  • March 23: Lasagna
  • March 24: Leftovers
  • March 25: (Annunciation) Corned beef and cabbage, carrots, and potatoes, with a dessert.
  • March 26: Corned beef sandwiches (with an attempted rye bread made by me)
  • March 27: Minestrone soup
  • March 28: Leftovers
  • March 29: Dinner out to celebrate Scholastica’s baptism day (on the 30th)
  • March 30: Dinner with friends.
  • March 31: Potato soup with bread
  • April 1: Onion Soup with toasted bread
  • April 2: Chicken salad sandwiches with leftover soups.
  • April 3: Mac and cheese with a salad.
  • April 4: Tuna melts with fresh veggies.
  • April 5: Homemade pizza
  • April 6: Baked chicken, cheesy rice, salad.
  • April 7: Spicy tomato and chickpea soup
  • April 8: Leftovers
  • April 9: Fresh pasta with olive oil and cheese, big salad with chicken.
  • April 10: Eggs in purgatory
  • April 11: Egg salad sandwiches, cheese and veggies
  • April 12: Leftovers
  • April 13: (Palm Sunday) Burgers, chips, salad, dessert.
  • April 14: Leftovers
  • April 15: Tuna casserole with a salad
  • April 16: Leftovers
  • April 17: (Holy Thursday) Menu still being worked out, lamb being discussed. 🙂
  • April 18: (Good Friday, a day of fasting) Egg salad sandwiches, veggies.
  • April 19: (Holy Saturday) Clean out the fridge leftovers.

Breakfasts will be from a list of:

Eggs, toast, granola, yogurt, oatmeal, fresh fruits (Bacon or sausage on Sundays)

Lunch will be from a list of:

Cottage cheese, cheese, fruit/veggies, bread, Ezekiel bread,

Water (with lemon) will be the drink for most meals, with milk being served once a day.

Snacks will be offered twice a day, in the morning and in the afternoon and will be a piece of fruit or a vegetable (usually carrots).

Notes: If not listed, a salad will be offered for most meals as well as bread or Ezekiel bread.

* For those interested, Easter Sunday we may be eating Beef Wellington, maybe. 🙂

** I usually make enough food for leftovers and for Joshua’s lunch, leftovers sometimes take over my fridge, which is why we have them a lot. They are particularly helpful on Mondays and Wednesdays as the big kids have violin at dinner time.

***If you are looking for a cheap snack for your kids, carrots are the way to go. We go through five pounds a week.

****We also have chickens and get at least a dozen of eggs a day, that is why we eat a lot of eggs.

Filed under: Catholic, Food, General Stuff