Blogs I Know · Caritas

So sad and so much love.

 The anchoress shares one of those heart-wrenching stories of infant loss.

Personal sharing time. It seems like most the women I know are expecting right now. (Something in the water at Holy Rosary) a good number of them are older than me or have more children than me. I am seriously envious, yet I am seriously afraid to have another baby. I worried so much with Sarah that something would be wrong with her… yet here she is so perfect and healthy. I am sitting in stunned admiration of those who live and love and love life so much for such a short amount of time.

Blogs I Know · Caritas

there is no vocation crisis

 “… there is no vocation crisis, it is a crisis in response. Challenge the young men of your parish to respond, because they want and need the challenge.”

Father Kyle at “Called by Name” give us this gem. It is so true. “you’d make a great priest” spoken by a random parishioner to a young man can be just the thing he needs to hold onto to see what is possible. Don’t forget to encourage your young men, the boys in your parish, to think about the priesthood.



Mary Mary and Martha

Home economics

 My mother was actually able to take home economics as a course in high school. By the time I got to high school it had been renamed “personal finances and family life” and now it doesn’t exist in my daughter’s high school at all. They have a personal finances course and several business courses, but household management did NOT seem to be one of the high priorities.

A very good friend and I recently got into an almost argument over feminism. She views herself as a feminist and applauds the achievements of the women’s movement over the past thirty or forty years. I look at the feminists as rather a destructive force, not in touch with most women’s lives and I feel rather betrayed by a movement that claims to speak for all women yet really only speaks for liberal and career women. Case and point .. home-economics is dead in high schools (and don’t even think about let alone talk about something as archaic as a club like Future Homemakers of America.) And no I don’t think personal finance is a great substitute, while banking and money management are important there is a good deal more to household management then just that.

Having been in business I can safely say that a family is (from a financial and management point of view) a business. The Domestic Church, the family, in addition to being viewed as an Abbey in the spiritual sense also has many parallels to an Abbey in the business sense.

If you run your home financial matters as if you were running a business you will be far more successful in staying out of debt, living within your means and having the ability to deal with those expected and unexpected expenses that every family faces.

The three things that have helped our family the most in finances are: Budgeting, Menu Planning and Debt Cascading (snowball debt reduction). Each of these I will address in the future more completely

Budgeting is critical. It is boring, it is tedious… most people don’t do it. But only an idiot would run a business without a budget, and they wouldn’t be in business long. Budgeting isn’t horrible. If you don’t budget at all just spend the next two months tracking your spending. Write down everything that is spent by everyone in the family. This has the two part effect of figuring out where your money goes and curbing spending. For some strange reason most people are less likely to spend on small purchases if they are tracking them. A dollar a day on soda seems too small too count, but twenty dollars a month is 240 dollars a year. It adds up. Once you know exactly where your money is going it is much easier to make a realistic budget.

Menu Planning. Most of our expenses are fixed or only slightly variable. Of the variable expenses food is the largest expense. If we eat out, even at McDonald’s it sets us back the better part of twenty dollars. By deciding ahead what we will eat each day I can buy smarter, it takes the headache out of deciding what will be for dinner and we can have enough so that the oldest daughter and my husband can both have “take-with” lunches instead of “take-out”.

Cascading debt reduction is probably the most powerful little tool I have ever used to help our finances. After our fourth child was born we had a pile of debt. Medical bills were just pouring in. I was able to call and get payment schedules set up with every one of them. Then I used a Cascading debt plan to get out from the debt. I ordered the debts from smallest to largest (none of them had interest), put in a modest extra payment amount on the first, paid it off then took the amount I had been paying to debt 1 added it to the payment for debt two and paid debt two off in no time, then the entire amount goes to debt three.

These are just three little ideas to start. The big idea here: Run your home finances like a business and you are more likely to stay in the black.


Blogs I Know

Once upon a time this Catholic girl was LDS

I spent eight years in the Mormon(LDS) church. My first husband was LDS and just about the first thing I did when that marriage fell apart was leave the LDS church. A couple years later I finally convinced the local Ward that I was not interested in coming back, had no intention of coming back and that they seriously needed to leave me and my children alone. The threat of legal action was what seemed to do the trick.

When I was LDS I really, really wanted to believe it. I wanted that “burning in the bosom” that is “promise” if you are just sincere enough. And after leaving the Mormon church I found I was really very angry at the institution. I felt betrayed. Rightly so I think. There is something very evil about telling people that if they are sincere enough that they will feel the truth of something. The bright eyed young missionaries, the people in Fast and Testimony meeting, your friends… you want what it appears that they have and so you pray for more sincerity and a testimony and you latch onto the smallest little part and cave. You find yourself “bearing your testimony.” You feel like a hypocrite because you know you have overstated your belief, when you tell this to your Bishop you are told “That’s OK, baring your testimony helps it grow.” then comes the weird suspicion… maybe most of those testimonies have been over stated. Maybe some people want to believe so badly that they convince themselves that they do.

And finally something happens and you leave. Then you look back with some regret and then the anger sets in. It is so bitter to hear over and over again that your lack of faith was something having to do with you. A fault in you. A shortcoming in YOU. Not that the whole idea from beginning to end was hog-wash. Not that the Book of Mormon is a fraud and not a really convincing one at that. No… it was supposed to be you? So the anger is justified and very very common.

This week I happened upon another ex-mormon Catholic’s blog, mormon2catholic.  It is so interesting to see someone in the same place I have been. With so many of the same experiences. Even some of the same comments coming to her. Mormon double think never fails to amaze me and the comments she has received are like echoes for me from five years ago..


Mary Mary and Martha

Keeping the Home

This is the one area I struggle with the most.  I am not naturally ordered or neat.  It is an absolute monumental task for me to keep the house in any near state of order.  But it is also something that I continue to work on. 

I find that order is helpful to keeping things calm and pleasant. 

Here are a few random ideas.  This is more a stub to come back and work on more later, but I really want to get these out here now.

1. There are many great programs out there, but don’t feel like a failure if a particular program (cough cough Flylady cough) doesn’t work for you.  Try something else.

2.  Lists are very helpful to me they might be for you.  Check out The Grand Plan

3. Watch out for over accumulation.  It is much more difficult to keep up with the laundry, dishes, toys and books if you have too many of them to start with.  Pare down the amount of what you own and you cut your work load.

4.  Enlist the army.  Many hands make light work — big families make lots of messes, but there are more people to help keep it up.  Everyone who can walk can do something.  (I am serious there.. when I am picking up I try to have even the baby do a little bit.)

5. Make a plan and work the plan.  Only you can really decide what needs to be done when, but there are tools to help. has a nice little tool to help schedule things.  ( I will blog more on that later)

6 Go for simplicity in decorating.   Form should always follow function.  Yes, the stainless steal fridge looks great in the show room, but is it going to show every single fingerprint?

7.  Use a timer if you dread cleaning or get distracted easily.