a new Guest Post at the Catholic Blog Academy…

New Guest Post at the Catholic Blog Academy

Kicking Your Blog Up a Notch
by Brian Matt from DC Laus Deo

How would you describe your blogging in a 30 second elevator speech?
 
If you are blogging about serious things like faith or politics, you need to…
 …read the full post Kicking Your Blog Up a Notch
 

Do you have tips or tutorials for the Catholic Blog Academy?  Email Catholic Bloggers Academy for your opportunity to guest post.  We’re happy to include links to your blog!    

 

Year of Faith and October Saints Link-Ups and Resources

Join us at Equipping Catholic Families for the first ever Year of Faith Link Up!  Add your reflections, activities, Catechism teaching strategies and other Year of Faith posts here and help us build an awesome resource!

Do you have activities, crafts, celebrations or reflections on any of the awesome OCTOBER saints?
Please link your ideas at Cele-LINKY with the SAINTS: OCTOBER
and check out the ideas of other Catholic Bloggers!
Watch for a Cele-LINKY: ALL SAINTS Edition coming soon at Equipping Catholic Families.
Monica is a wife, Mom of 5+ kids, a designer, an architecture school survivor, an author and a crafter who thinks it’s cool to be Catholic! Check out the Arma Dei Shoppe for solid Catholic, fun teaching tools and gifts to celebrate and teach the Catholic Faith and subscribe to Equipping Catholic Families for family-building and Faith-centred crafts!

Guest Post: Help for Aspiring Bloggers

First Guest Post at the Catholic Blog Academy

Help for Aspiring Bloggers.

by James Pattrick

So, you’ve got a blog with some regular visitors who seem to enjoy your writing. What do you want to do next? …read the full post Help for Aspiring Bloggers

Do you have tips or tutorials for the Catholic Blog Academy?  Email Catholic Bloggers Academy for your opportunity to guest post.  We’re happy to include links to your blog!

Big Clicks Awards for September!

These are the Big Clicks Catholic Bloggers for the month of  SEPTEMBER!
Spread the word!! Let your friends know about these popular posts on the Catholic Bloggers Network and help promote Catholic Bloggers!
The new Monthly Round-Up for OCTOBER is up and running!
Make sure that you add your posts and visit often!!
You can also always revisit our Archives!

isn’t that a cool button?
Feel free to post it as a badge on your blog
…especially if you are one of our first Big Clicks Catholic Bloggers below
and have been awarded this prestigious award!

Announcing the Big Clicks Catholic Bloggers!!
In the category of…

Readings and Reflections,
 the Big Clicks Catholic Bloggers are:

A Prayer Corner for the post
He Beholds
and
Small Things With Love for the post
2 Years Today
 

Liturgical Calendar Crafts and Homeschooling,
the Big Clicks Catholic Blogger is:

Reasons For Chocolate for the post
Had to Share

Catechism and Apologetics,
the Big Clicks Catholic Blogger is
The Cloistered Heart for the post

 
 
Catholic Family Journal,
the Big Clicks Catholic Blogger is

Reasons for Chocolate for the post
Palo Duro Canyon, Texas
 

 

Catholic Review,
the Big Clicks Catholic Bloggers is
A Catholic Reader for the post
21 Ways to Worship

Random, the Big Clicks Catholic Bloggers is
The Breadbox Letters for the post
Blue Velvet Ribbons on Purple Cake

Don’t forget to link up to our Monthly Round-Up for the OCTOBER and keep clicking to discover other great Catholic posts and awesome Catholic blogs!

Tell your subscribers about the Catholic Bloggers Network and help us increase traffic and promote all these awesome blogs!  We have 337 awesome Catholic blogs linked up so far!

Check out our Catholic Bloggers Spotlight! and get to know our Catholic Bloggers!

 






Monica is a wife, Mom of 5+ kids, a designer, an architecture school survivor, an author and a crafter who thinks it’s cool to be Catholic! Check out the Arma Dei Shoppe for solid Catholic, fun teaching tools and gifts to celebrate and teach the Catholic Faith and subscribe to Equipping Catholic Families for family-building and Faith-centered crafts! 

How do you see God the Father?

How do you know Jesus?  Do you ever imagine what it was like, walking around with Jesus, listening to His Stories, receiving you with His warm Eyes, gentle words and loving smile?

I have often tried to imagine what a talk with Jesus would be like, face to Face.  I have compiled all of my favorite traits in the people I love and extrapolated them, in their most perfect form to build my profile of Jesus. I have had a few superheroes in my life to draw from.

 
How do you see God the Father? I heard once how our relationship and impression of God is influenced by our human fathers and our other human relationships.  I think as I have matured in my Faith, I have recognized that my default image of God was that of a Judge, keeping a list and checking it twice.  I have even expected a little rolling of the Eyes as I confessed the same sins and issues at each confession.

One time, I asked my spiritual director about this very same thing.  I said “What is Jesus doing, each time I confess the same sin or struggle…over and over.?” I think I suspected that the Lord must be getting as tired of this as I was, maybe shaking His Head a little bit, smirking or mouthing the words ‘again!?’

My priest friend just gently responded “smiling”.

 
YES!  That’s what we do, for the most part, with our kids, right?  Hopefully?

When our toddler climbs into the fridge to grab the pickle jar..for the gazillionth time?

(OK, after we save the pickle jar from crashing to the floor and pull the child out of the fridge and close the fridge door, hoping the suction in the door will just be a little too strong for him next time?)

 

When a toddler decides to draw with a marker on any available surfaces including walls, furniture and skin?

When a toddler decides to explore what his snack will look like if he tries to play it in the DVD player or computer?

When a toddler finds the chocolate cake that was reserved for tonight’s birthday celebration and decides to taste a handful?

When a toddler, drawn by the bright blinking light decides to turn off the computer, change the settings of the dishwasher or stereo?

Yes, each of these scenarios mysteriously sound like our 5th child Adam…

When a child must be extracted from some shiny thing in the Walmart aisle…

When you find the stack of dirty laundry under a child’s bed or his un-emptied lunchbox from Friday…

When a teenager forgets to call or neglects a chore…

When a teenager insists that she absolutely needs the latest release of her current favorite band…

OK, there may be a slightly less virtuous Prodigal Father response immediately, out of surprise, and looking at the fixing and cleaning attempts ahead …or rehearsing the familiar script of responsibility or materialism… but we don’t love them any less, despite our human response.
How much more loving, (thank God!) is our loving Father as he yearns to draw us closer to Himself, smiling at our efforts to overcome our struggles?
 
A beloved pastor once described how children would run to him after Mass and when he hugged them, they would be enveloped by his priestly vestments. 

I can still see my daughter scramble up into the arms of our beloved Fr. Dan, eagerly awaiting a word or a smile.

I see my two youngest kids, as they run to their Dad’s arms: a grand homecoming regardless if it followed a long day of work….or a 30-second trip to the garage.

 

I recall the words written to me on the inside of a favorite book:  “remember….you are unconditionally loved by God and sustained at every moment by His Grace.” 

Someday I hope to run into the Arms of God, to be received and completely enveloped by His Dazzling white robe-clad arms, with child-like Faith and confidence that I am His Beloved Daughter with whom He is well pleased.

 





Monica is a wife, Mom of 5+ kids, a designer, an architecture school survivor, an author and a crafter who thinks that it’s cool to be Catholic! Check out the Arma Dei Shoppe for solid Catholic, fun teaching tools and gifts to celebrate and teach the Catholic Faith and subscribe to Equipping Catholic Families for family-building and Faith-centred crafts! 
 

 

 

 

Catholic Blogger Spotlight {4}: Reasons for Chocolate

Come and visit our exciting Catholic Blogger Spotlight {4}

 

Discover what Patty has been up to and find links to her most popular blog posts and her favorite blogs to follow! Drop her a comment
…and tell her that you’re happy she’s in the Spotlight!

If you would like your blog to be showcased in the Catholic Bloggers Spotlight…
fill in the Catholic Bloggers Spotlight Questionnaire!
Don’t forget to post a Catholic Bloggers Network button on your blog and spread the word!

Catholic Bloggers Spotlight ((4)): Reasons for Chocolate

Catholic Blogger Spotlight ((4))
Introducing Patty from…
Reasons for Chocolate
How do you help Catholics through blogging?
If there were one thing I would feel comfortable saying about my blog is that I want others to learn it is okay to have fun with your faith, to relax, to enjoy while growing in wisdom. Life happens and life is too short.

What is your favorite Link-Up Party?
Advent Traditions – hosted by Jen at Forever,
For Always No Matter What.
A group of ladies gathered to share their family traditions for the Advent season. It was amazing to see so many wonderful ideas compiled into one place! A LOT of work went into that link up 🙂
Another favorite would be Celebrating Easter – hosted by Catholic Cuisine.

 
Who is your favorite Saint?

It depends on my hour of need! Saint Anthony never has failed me. Ever! Saint Jude has stormed the heavens for me on many occasions. Our Lady and Saint Ann inspire me on a daily basis to be a better mother and wife. Saint Gerard helped me through some very dark moments in my life. Saint Nicholas will always hold a special place in my heart.

What are some things that few people know about you?
I sleep walk. The more tired or anxious I am at bedtime, the more I walk in my sleep.

I “sing” opera to my baby when she is fussy. It ALWAYS gets her to stop crying and then laugh!
What are your three favorite/most popular blog posts?

A Twist On The Jesse Tree. This was an amazing project our homeschool group did last year.

Mind Your Own Business! Tells it how it was to grow up in a very large family. (One of my favorites!)
Twas The Night Before Vacation. In honor of my mother. I totally “get” what she meant when she would say, “I wish your father would take all of you on vacation for one week and leave me behind to have the house by myself.”

How long have you been blogging and why is it important to you?
I started in April of 2010. It has been so rewarding.
Blogging not only keeps me sane but teaches me to see all the good in my life and to really enjoy it.
Why do you find it important to blog?
For many reasons: personal record, I feel like I’m talking to another adult, growth in faith, new friends across the miles, and a good reminder of how blessed I am.

…and we’ve added a few more questions to the Catholic Bloggers Spotlight, so we asked Patty (Reasons for Chocolate)…

Who would you most like to meet in Heaven?
My children. My siblings. My grandparents. And to see my own father again.
What do you like most about being Catholic?
Oh my goodness! Our faith is SO tangible. It really uses all five senses. Most importantly though is the Holy Eucharist. How powerful and amazing is that!
If you could visit any place in the world, where would it be?
I must say that I love learning about my roots. My father was mostly Irish with some English in him as well. My mother is 100% Slovenian. She was able to visit her “homeland” twice, seeing the church and baptismal font that her father was baptized in! I would love to visit these places.
 
What have you learned from your kids?
Forgiveness and love of life.

If you would like your blog to be showcased in the Catholic Bloggers Spotlight…fill in the Catholic Bloggers Spotlight Questionnaire!


Posted by Monica @ Equipping Catholic Families
I am a wife, Mom of 5+ kids, a designer, an architecture school survivor, an author and a crafter and I think it’s cool to be Catholic! Check out the Arma Dei Shoppe for solid Catholic, fun teaching tools and gifts to celebrate and teach the Catholic Faith and subscribe to Arma Dei: Equipping Catholic Families for family-building and Faith-centered crafts! 


Big Clicks Awards for August 2012

These are the Big Clicks Catholic Bloggers for the month of  AUGUST!
Spread the word!! Let your friends know about these popular posts on the Catholic Bloggers Network and help promote Catholic Bloggers!
The new Monthly Round-Up for the SEPTEMBER is up and running!
Make sure that you add your posts and visit often!!
You can also always revisit our Archives!

isn’t that a cool button?
Feel free to post it as a badge on your blog
…especially if you are one of our first Big Clicks Catholic Bloggers below
and have been awarded this prestigious award!
Announcing the Big Clicks Catholic Bloggers!!
In the category of…

Readings and Reflections,
 the Big Clicks Catholic Blogger is:

A Prayer Corner for the post
Our Master’s Voice
 

Liturgical Calendar Crafts and Homeschooling,
theTHREE tied Big Clicks Catholic Bloggers are:

Tercets for the post
Monstrance Activities for St Clare

Reasons For Chocolate for the post
Bliss

and >sheepish grin<
Equipping Catholic Families for the post
Cataloguing the Family Holy Card Collection

Catechism and Apologetics,
the Big Clicks Catholic Blogger is
A Prayer Corner for the post

Catholic Family Journal,
the Big Clicks Catholic Blogger is
Sue Elvis Writes for the post
Andy Elvis Presley
 

 

Catholic Review,
the Big Clicks Catholic Bloggers is
Time for Reflections for the post
God’s Humble Servant

Random, the Big Clicks Catholic Bloggers is
The Breadbox Letters for the post
Portrait of a Saint

Don’t forget to link up to our Monthly Round-Up for the SEPTEMBER and keep clicking to discover other great Catholic posts and awesome Catholic blogs!

A Catholic Courtship Story

I recently read a lovely book called Come My Beloved: Inspiring Stories of Catholic Courtship. Since it was nearing our 9th wedding anniversary, this book got me reminiscing about my own courtship with my now husband. And, because reading/hearing about how God brings a couple together always inspires and uplifts me, I thought I’d share our story in the hopes that you will share yours. 😉

To begin this story, I have to back up a bit. As most of the people who know me, or who read this blog regularly, know that I spent a number of years discerning a religious vocation. I entered the convent after recently returning to the faith, firmly believing that I was called to religious life. Yet, there was an underlining <em>something</em>, a doubt that I suppressed. Like I said, I had only a couple years before returned to the faith and I wanted to do “something big” to show my love to the Lord. I thought it was to sacrifice family and become a religious sister.

Over the years, the signs that my vocation was marriage and to have a family firmly showed themselves, so during Holy Week 1999 I returned home. It was a bittersweet time. I loved the sisters but knew I had to live the vocation God was calling me to. I began to pray for a spouse.

My prayers weren’t answered until a couple of years later. I like to have a good time, but I’m no party girl. Doing the whole “club scene” or going to bars isn’t my thing. A couple of people tried to set me up but that wasn’t my thing, either. Then I started hearing stories of different couples who met online.

I wasn’t sure if that was my thing or not, but as a birthday present to myself, in 2002 I signed up for Ave Maria Catholic Singles. After filling out my profile, and doing the search, my now husband’s profile showed up. And then again. And then again. And then again. 🙂 Finally, I got up the courage to send him a message.

He promptly wrote back to inform me that he was currently discerning marriage with someone else. Okay, I thought, that door is closed. But, EVERY time I went to the singles site his profile would show up as a 100% match.

I started communicating with a couple other of people and tried to ignore Michael’s face every time he showed up. Several weeks later, I received a message from him. The relationship he was in didn’t work out and he wanted to know if we could chat. I said yes. 🙂

We started emailing through Ave Maria’s messaging system. We clicked right away in our emails and I had a good feeling about him. And the funny thing, the day after Michael and I started messaging the other guys I was communicating with dropped off the face of the earth. Literally. Our communications had been friendly and going well, but they instantly stopped writing, their profiles were gone, and I never heard from them again. It was as if they never existed!

A week after we started emailing, Michael asked if he could call me. I gave him my number and when he called we talked for over an hour. When we hung up, I said out loud, “This is the man I am going to marry.” I just knew. It was as if the Lord Himself was telling me this. Of course, I continued to pray about it, and every time I did, I had this “knowing.”

A week later, Michael asked me out on our first date. Our first date was May 1, 2002, the feast of St. Joseph the Worker. I have a strong devotion to St. Joseph, so I took this as a good sign. So much so, I was ‘dumb’ enough to let him pick me up from my apartment instead of meeting him at the restaurant!

What can I say? Our connection went deeper. We talked at the restaurant over two hours. Left the restaurant and we talked some more. A week later, we met each other’s parents. Six months later, on his birthday, Michael asked me to marry him.

His proposal was so special. He didn’t take me to a restaurant or to our favorite spot to propose. He took me to church. We went to the local church which had perpetual adoration. After we were praying for a while, he whispered to me to close my eyes. “Why? I don’t want to,” I said. “Just do it,” he said. So I closed my eyes and after a few seconds he told me to open them. He had placed the ring on the top edge of the pew in front of us. When I saw it I started trembling and I looked over at him. He knelt on the kneeler and said, “In the presence of God, Carol, will you marry me?” Obviously, I said yes. We prayed for a couple of more minutes before going to share the news with our families and continue to celebrate his birthday.

Nine months later we were married. Two years later we had Andrew. Like I said above, it hasn’t always been easy. But God has always been faithful. Both of us have grown and changed and we’ve been through some very rough times, BUT we trust in the Lord and know that the Lord has brought us together for His purpose and glory.

Your turn. How did the Lord bring you and your spouse together?

(Photo Credit)

Painted Wooden Saints…with a Purpose!

Over at Equipping Catholic Families, I have been looking for ways to
convert secular activities and board games to be Catholic! 

After finally painting little wooden peg dolls, I have found all kinds of ways to introduce them into family activities, integrating both family members and favorite patron saints!

A favorite is our Saints-2-Go travel pack! 
I think that these will be handy in our travels!
We’ve used the little characters in our favorite board games,
further integrating our favorite patron saints into our cast of family characters.
The possibilities are endless! 
More converted-2-Catholic Board Games



I am a wife, Mom of 5+ kids, a designer, an architecture school survivor, an author and a crafter and I think it’s cool to be Catholic! Check out the Arma Dei Shoppe for solid Catholic, fun teaching tools and gifts to celebrate and teach the Catholic Faith and subscribe to Equipping Catholic Families for family-building and Faith-centred crafts!