Feeding the Hungry

Wow! What a week it has been!  It was a blessing to go to the March for Life last week (has it already been a week since the March in D.C.?), but it’s always a challenge to get home from a short/long trip and get back into the routine.  I felt like last week I was playing “catch up” after I got home, especially since life never stands still when you go away for a bit!

This afternoon our homeschool group volunteered again with a local inner city homeless ministry.  Our homeschool group provides food and serves the food whenever there is a 5th Sunday in the month.  There are volunteers every Sunday at a well-known spot downtown and our homeschool group was blessed to be a part of the food preparation and serving today.  We had adults and children ranging from age 7 to teens helping out, including my three oldest “cupcakes” and myself.    After the preacher talked with the men, women, and children during an informal church service under an open-air pavilion, they were invited to eat a warm, home-made meal provided by many families and volunteers.

Today we made and served Southwest Chicken and here is the recipe (sorry I forgot to take pictures of this yummy and easy dish)

Southwest Chicken:

  4 chicken breasts
  1-2 jars of salsa
  2 -3 cups cooked rice
  grated cheddar cheese for topping (1-2 cups)

  The chicken can be cooked the day before in a crock pot or that morning on the stove.

Place chicken breasts in a crock pot and add 1-2 jars of salsa, enough to cover the meat and provide a bit extra. Cook on low for eight hours, until the chicken is done, then shred the the meat with two forks (very easy to do when the chicken has been cooking all day).
  Mix in 2-3 cups of cooked rice. Place in disposal serving pan, top liberally with cheese.
  Heat through, until cheese is melted.
This recipe is very forgiving. It was originally intended to be burrito filling. You can add in corn or beans, more rice or salsa… whatever you want; it all tastes good. You can also use any precooked chicken that you have- just chop it into small pieces first.

Some families also made Baked Apples which was also a hit! 

I am always impressed by how friendly and gracious the people are as we feed them.  Many of them thank us over and over again for our service.  As the volunteers, we are blessed in many ways also by serving in this ministry. 
Here are more photos from our afternoon of helping those who always look forward to a warm, home-made meal, a helping hand, and a friendly smile.

Matthew 25:35-40
For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you made me welcome
lacking clothes and you clothed me, sick and you visited me, in prison and you came to see me.”
Then the upright will say to him in reply, “Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink?
When did we see you a stranger and make you welcome, lacking clothes and clothe you?
When did we find you sick or in prison and go to see you?”
And the King will answer, “In truth I tell you, in so far as you did this to one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did it to me.”

No Ordinary Blog Hop


Capturing March for Life 2012 in My Own Words/Photos/Videos

A few days before leaving for the 39th annual March for Life 2012, I thought of this phrase…. 

Why do we March for L.I.F.E.?  
 Life Is For Everyone!

Last year my family and I attended our first March for Life and I blogged about this incredible experience HERE.  This year, my daughter, friends, and I joined a parish in Rocky Mount, NC and traveled to our second march on buses.  There were three large buses filled with 150 people from Rocky Mount and surrounding areas.

We left early Monday morning, January 23, 2012 at 6:00 AM from Rocky Mount, NC to our nation’s Capitol for the annual March for Life rally to protest the 39th anniversary of Roe v. Wade and the legalization of abortion. Our first stop when we arrived was the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception.

As soon as we got off the bus, I had a friend snap this picture of my daughter and me standing with Fr. Tim Meares, priest of Our Lady of Perpetual Help in Rocky Mount.  Fr. Meares has been on many marches and we were all blessed with this holy priest’s presence during our trip.

Here is most of our group with all the bright yellow scarves:

Each year there is a Holy Mass for Life for all the N.C. pro-lifers present at the march.  It is just so beautiful to see the many priests and seminarians and our two bishops from the Raleigh and Charlotte Diocese celebrate Mass with the packed church. 

Although I missed celebrating this march with my husband and other three children, it was very special to have my daughter with me to share such a powerful event.  It’s never too early to teach our children that life, no matter how small, is precious and sacred.

Down in the Crypt Church of the Basilica, I found Cameron Smith’s artwork (No relation to me). Cameron and his family are in our homeschool group and are dear friends.   He has incredible God- given talent and he did a painting on marble of Saint Maron and and Our Lady of Lebanon for the Maronite chapel and these beautiful masterpieces are located in one of the many side altars.  You can visit Cameron’s website HERE to see his other beautiful prints to view/purchase.

The weatherman called for 90% chance of rain in the afternoon and after we left the Basilica it was drizzling, but then it stopped during the march.  The sky was gray and gloomy, but the spirits were high which made the day much brighter for sure.

After our group gathered at the Navy Memorial, we marched with an estimated 300,000-500,000 pro-lifers. It’s hard to know the exact number, but based on previous year’s estimations, I’m guessing this many people might have attended this year’s march.   There were men, women, and children from all ages, races, religions, and walks of life joining together to stand for life one step and prayer at a time.  It was breathtaking, exhilarating, and powerful to walk among the masses.  There was a sea of love, as one friend put it.  There was no anger, fear, or hate in the crowds.  Rather, there was a feeling of security, hope, peace, joy, and love and all the young people present gave me hope for our future.
Here is a video clip I took while walking in the march.  The young people are shouting, “We love babies, yes we do, we love babies, how ’bout you!”
Here is the video.

Speaking of our young generation, here are a few beautiful teens that I know from my homeschool group.  They and about 13 others came to the march and are part of our local Teens for Life group. Not only are they shining witnesses for life, but they also love spreading the message of life with bright smiles and duct tape!  Awesome!    

Like last year, I love all the signs that float through the massive crowds  Here is a slideshow of some signs that I saw:

View slide show Here.

At one point while we were walking we noticed two businessmen watching from high above the crowds from their office windows.  We were waving at them to get their attention and they waved back. I wanted to be up there to witness from their vantage point the hundreds of thousands marching.   I was wondering what they were thinking?  Were they encouraged as pro-lifers themselves?  Maybe they were in awe of the crowd, despite being pro-choice?  Maybe they were wondering how the news media could continue to miss this BIG story about March for Life each year?  Maybe they were amazed that so many people could come together peacefully?  Whatever they were thinking or feeling, we as pro-lifers might have planted seeds in their hearts to always defend life!   

Here are photos of the crowds.  Like last year’s march, I never saw the beginning or the end of the march and I hear the numbers who attend gets higher and higher!

One of my friends from our group had this to say about the march. “We joined in the march at 2:00 PM. It was shuffle, shuffle, stop. Repeat. On the hill itself, it was so crowded that we had to make full stops about 7 times. From the bottom of the hill to the top where the route turns on First Street to the Supreme Court, it was packed. I didn’t see any gaps. We were like sardines. If you had claustrophobia, you would’ve felt it at the National Archives. The official end of the March came at about 4 PM with the fife and drum and bagpipe corps of the American Society for the Defense of Tradition, Family, and Property, who run the America Needs Fatima campaign, marching behind Our Lady of Fatima statue. They always bring up the rear.”

We stopped at the Congressional Building for a small reception and to listen to our NC Senator, Richard Burr, speak.  We also listened to Congresswoman Renee Ellmers.  Both gave the audience words of encouragement to keep marching on to defend life.

After we left the Senate building, we headed toward the Supreme Court where we listened to women tell their stories about how they had an abortion and how much they have suffered physically, mentally, physcologically, emotionally, and spiritually from their decision.  It was heartbreaking to hear their stories, but they share their stories to help others through a project called Silent No More Awareness Campaign

A few feet from where the women were speaking there were different signs that were being held up.  It didn’t even register in my mind that these signs were not like the ones I was blessed to see all day during the march.  No, seeing these signs made me sad…because these women’s stories were filled with pain, grief, sadness, confusion and even hope, but only a few feet away pro-abortion signs were being held up proudly.   I snapped a picture of signs that read “Keep Abortion Legal” and the pro-life signs that read “Defund Planned Parenthood” and “Face It….Abortion Kills a Person”.  My 11 year old daughter didn’t understand why anyone would want to keep abortion legalized.  She kept asking me “why?”  I told her I don’t understand it myself, but we need to keep standing up for life and praying for conversions so that all people will see that each human person is made in the image and likeness of God and each life, no matter how small, no matter the circumstance, is sacred and valuable. 

I conclude this year’s March for Life with this video and quotes by Mother Teresa:

“America needs no words from me to see how your decision in Roe v. Wade has deformed a great nation. The so-called right to abortion has pitted mothers against their children and women against men. It has sown violence and discord at the heart of the most intimate human relationships. It has aggravated the derogation of the father’s role in an increasingly fatherless society. It has portrayed the greatest of gifts — a child — as a competitor, an intrusion, and an inconvenience. It has nominally accorded mothers unfettered dominion over the independent lives of their physically dependent sons and daughters”
And, in granting this unconscionable power, it has exposed many women to unjust and selfish demands from their husbands or other sexual partners. Human rights are not a privilege conferred by government. They are every human being’s entitlement by virtue of his humanity. The right to life does not depend, and must not be declared to be contingent, on the pleasure of anyone else, not even a parent or a sovereign.” (Mother Theresa — “Notable and Quotable,” Wall Street Journal, 2/25/94, p. A14)
“But I feel that the greatest destroyer of peace today is abortion, because it is a war against the child – a direct killing of the innocent child – murder by the mother herself. And if we accept that a mother can kill even her own child, how can we tell other people not to kill one another? How do we persuade a woman not to have an abortion? As always, we must persuade her with love, and we remind ourselves that love means to be willing to give until it hurts. Jesus gave even his life to love us. So the mother who is thinking of abortion, should be helped to love – that is, to give until it hurts her plans, or her free time, to respect the life of her child. The father of that child, whoever he is, must also give until it hurts. By abortion, the mother does not learn to love, but kills even her own child to solve her problems. And by abortion, the father is told that he does not have to take any responsibility at all for the child he has brought into the world. That father is likely to put other women into the same trouble. So abortion just leads to more abortion. Any country that accepts abortion is not teaching the people to love, but to use any violence to get what they want. That is why the greatest destroyer of love and peace is abortion. ”
“Please don’t kill the child. I want the child. Please give me the child. I am willing to accept any child who would be aborted, and to give that child to a married couple who will love the child, and be loved by the child. From our children’s home in Calcutta alone, we have saved over 3,000 children from abortions. These children have brought such love and joy to their adopting parents, and have grown up so full of love and joy!”
February 1997 – National Prayer Breakfast in Washington attended by the President and the First Lady. “What is taking place in America,” she said, “is a war against the child. And if we accept that the mother can kill her own child, how can we tell other people not to kill one another.”
“Any country that accepts abortion, is not teaching its people to love, but to use any violence to get what it wants.”
“It is a poverty to decide that a child must die so that you may live as you wish.” 

Why do we March for L.I.F.E.?  
 because Life Is For Everyone! 

No Ordinary Blog Hop



This is where we post about Homeschooling, Crafts & Traditions…
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A NEW Link-Up for REVIEWS and GIVEAWAYS by Catholic Bloggers

Look what is NOW AVAILABLE at the
Catholic Bloggers Shoppe
another Link-Up!

Do you post REVIEWS or PROMOS about Catholic books, gifts, artwork or crafts?
Do you host GIVEAWAYS for awesome Catholic products
or other products/design services of interest to Catholic Bloggers?

Now you can NOT ONLY promote your e-storefront at the Catholic Bloggers Shoppe,
but you can promote your REVIEWS, special deals and GIVEAWAYS at this NEW Link-Up!
Link-Up and Check-In OFTEN!





New Catholic Bloggers Network Weekly Round-Up!

Add your posts for the next Weekly Round-Up!
So, we had 33 link-ups in our Weekly Round-Up for the last week
and 19 link-ups in our Catholic Bloggers 4 Life Link-Up.
Hopefully by next week, Monica will figure out how to post stats to see how many people clicked on our links. 
It’s a learning curve.
Have you added our buttons to your blog,
directing your readers to check out the Catholic Bloggers Network?
Have you heard about our upcoming Catholic Bloggers Network Blog Spotlight?
Have you invited all your Catholic Blogger friends
to contribute to this blog and to join us
Help us spread the word!

The Headquarters of Catholic Link-Up Parties!

I hope you enjoy the Catho-LINK LIBRARY, borrowed from Equipping Catholic Families.
Please add your own Catholic Link-Up parties, visit these links and add your own Catholic crafts, activities, celebrations and traditions to the various linkies!
Don’t forget to grab the Catho-LINK LIBRARY button for easy reference and place it on your blog, linking back to the Catholic Bloggers Network.  Scroll down to the bottom of this page for the button code. Thanks!




Ordinary Time





What does Choice REALLY Mean?


Catholic Bloggers 4 LIFE! 
What does CHOICE really mean?

If any of you blog about pro-life issues, here’s a great opportunity.Jill Stanek has offered to link any pro-life blogs to hers if you post about”Ask Them What They Mean by ‘Choice'”
today, Sunday, January 22  on the 39th anniversary of Roe vs. Wade.


“…But last year pro-lifers banded together on our blogs, their blogs, Facebook, and Twitter to cut through their ambiguous chatter with the disquieting question,
“What do you mean when you say, ‘choice’?”…”

How to Add Comments to Pages on Blogger

Welcome to the Blog Academy!

Problem:  So you set your blog up and added pages (not regular blog posts) but instead pages and created the nice row of tabs up top (you also have the option to place them on the side bar but you can’t seem to allow visitors to comment on these pages?

Solution:  Here is a step by step solution to adding comments to your pages on Blogger.:

1.  Make sure you are signed in (upper right-hand corner), if you aren’t do so now.

2.  Click on Design.

3.  Next click on Posting (upper left-hand corner of the tabs).  It looks like this:

4.  Click on Edit Pages.

5.  Underneath the title of each page you will see three options, select “Edit”.

6.  Now look at the bottom of the page, you will see the Orange “Publish Page” button, right above it, are the words, “Post Options” click on that.  It looks like this:

7.  Where it says, “Readers Comments” on the left, select: “Allow”.

8.  Then click on “Publish Page”.  You should get a confirmation that says, Your page was published successfully!”

9.  If you would like to add comments to other pages, repeat steps #1-8 above.  (You could also verify that this is working properly on your blog by clicking on, “View Page”.

If you run into any problems, please leave a comment below and we’ll get back with you ASAP.  We hope this little tutorial has helped you with your blog today.  Thank you for visiting us.

Erika @ Blog Academy Team

Take a tour of the Catholic Bloggers Network!

Welcome to the Catholic Bloggers Network!
We’re glad you have dropped by!
(1) The Link your Blog page offers the opportunity for all Catholic Bloggers to link their blogs and since it’s in the form of a Linky, the little thumbnail and title give clues to what the blogs are about.  Check out all the awesome blogs and leave a friendly comment!

(2) The facebook, twitter and Pinterest link-ups on the Network page, offer opportunities to link social media addresses, building connections between new Catholic friends and to strengthen the Catholic Social Media Community!

(3) Every week, the Catholic Bloggers Weekly Round Up will host opportunities to post favorite Catholic Blog posts, of special interest to Catholics!  There are even convenient categories, so that we can zoom in on what is of most interest to each of us and to discover other Catholic Blogs with the same interests!  Choose from:
Liturgical Calendar & Homeschooling,
Sunday Readings & Homilies, 
Catechism and Apologetics and
Catholic Family Journal.

(4) The Events page offers a venue to host special link-ups like our
 first ever “Catholic Bloggers 4 Life” Link-up
Share your pro-life posts before January 22 and let’s see the strong voice we Catholic Bloggers have!

(5) You’ll keep seeing these buttons!  These buttons link to pages of special categories of Catholic posts.  Catholic Bloggers will be able to send their posts directly to these pages through RSS feed.  OK, so I’m still not 100% sure how this is set up or how it works and it’s still UNDER CONSTRUCTION, but I think it’s going to be VERY cool!  You can comment on this post, if you are interested in being part of the RSS Feed…just tell us which category you fit best in, along with your blog address.  (Try to limit it to 2-3 categories!)

(6)  The Catholic Bloggers Shoppe is yet another link-up…for Catholic products created, sold or promoted by Catholic bloggers.  I think it’s about time that we string together a network of our little home businesses and apostolates and support and promote each other.  From a Catholic blogger who has officially made a grand total of 10 cents from Amazon and Adsense combined (I know! not doing so well!), my family apostolate’s Catholic training tools and gifts help to rationalize the vast amount of time I have spent crafting and blogging.

(7)  Check out all the Catholic Link-Up parties in the CathoLINK LIBRARY
Be sure to add you own Catholic Link-Up parties, where they fit!  If the collections are no longer open…just include the year in the title.

(8) More to come!! We still have more ideas of link-ups and resources to support and promote Catholic Bloggers. 
Subscribe to Catholic Bloggers Network
for updates and join in to our many link-ups!

Vatican encourages priests to use the Internet

The Popes message for the 44th World Communications Day will be published on the Feast of St. Francis de Sales, the patron saint of journalists. This message, which falls within the Year for Priests, has as its theme: The priest and pastoral ministry in a digital world: new media at the service of the Word. Jean-François Mayer, director of the Religioscope Institute, based in Frieburg, Switzerland, explained that the message is in part dedicated to the Internet and the Churchs reflection on its use.The Catholic Church, for some time now, has demonstrated a great interest in the Social Communications Media, to which the Internet has been included. In this regard, the Church has published important documents that reflect on the use of the Internet and the Churchs presence on the Internet.However, the Church does not simply survey the Internet and reflect on the possible uses of these new networks — from the Vatican to the laity, and including priests, she is equally involved. On the one hand, there are official initiatives: there is the very important Vatican website, which was developed on the initiative and encouragement of John Paul II, as well as diocesan websites. Likewise, there are many personal initiatives from different groups from within the Catholic Church, and from individuals — for example, the expansion of blogs that are run by priests.According to the Pontifical Council for Social Communications, this years message invites priests to consider the new media as a powerful resource for their ministry in the service of the Word and encourages them to address the challenges that arise from the new digital culture.