This blog's mission is simple--to encourage moms who are married to non-Catholics and raising their children in the Faith. If you know a mom who needs a little encouragement in continuing her efforts, I would be delighted if you would share Kathleen's Catholic with her. Thank you!

Friday, December 31, 2010

Most Fascinating Catholics of 2010

Check out Faith & Family's list of most fascinating Catholics of 2010. There are so many wonderful and inspiring people living and helping us in every day life!

Faith & Family : Features : Most Fascinating Catholics of 2010

God bless and Happy Epiphany!

Herod and The Magi

My pastor described Herod as a man who wanted to hear the wailing and crying of his people at his own funeral; of course, he wanted to hear this before he died. Imagine someone so selfish to bring such misery to his own people for his own pleasure and security in power. We have seen them before: Hitler, Mussolini, Stalin....

In contrast, the Feast of the Epiphany brings us the Magi, the scholars who searched the Heavens for God. They were drawn the follow the star. Their arrival to Christ marked a significant dimension to God's love and the salvation Christ brings to us. That is, Christ was (and is) meant for the entire world, not just the Hebrew nation, which had been prepared to receive the Messiah yet woefully had fallen into despair, Herod's kingship a clear indication of this.

The story of the Magi is a beautiful and awe inspiring story. Yet there is one more issue that I heard addressed the other day by a Sacred Heart priest--The Magi's science and astrology did NOT get it right. These methods brought them to Herod, not to Christ Himself. And this mistake led to a grave sacrifice and suffering--the slaughter of The Holy Innocents, all the baby boys under the age of two. I can only imagine the grief of the mothers and fathers as they watched in horror as their children were murdered before their eyes. Herod certainly must have been filled with evil happiness over the wailing and crying.

When I heard this, my first thought was, Don't we do this, too? In our earnest efforts to seek Christ, don't we sometimes apply worldly ways to the answers we seek? Even in their human frailties (wrought with mistakes) the three men were able to cast their eyes upon the Divine Christ, and their desire to serve Him led to their willingness to follow the instructions they received from God's messanger, to take another route home in order to avoid Herod.

Well, Dear Reader, my real intention today is to share with you Father Barron's homily on The Feast of the Epiphany. He has many beautiful insights. Please share this with your children, particularly your teenagers. Please click here. You can also enjoy his website, Word On Fire.

God bless and Happy Epiphany!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

From the Front Pew: The Shoes of Many, One in Christ

by Kathleen Blease

It only makes sense. Since I am a little claustrophobic, sitting in the front pew is my sure-fire way to enjoy (and get through) the entire Mass. It also gives me an opportunity to see things that most parishioners who sit farther back don't get to see, like the small crucifix that graces the altar so the priest can lay his eyes on Christ's suffering while consecrating the bread and wine.

During the Mass on the Feast of the Holy Family, it occurred to me that there are things I see each and every Sunday, things that only a family can gather into one place in such abundance and variety--Shoes!

After receiving Holy Communion, I returned to my pew as usual, knelt down, and stared at the floor while saying my prayers of petitions and thanksgiving. I couldn't help but notice all the shoes that walked in front of me. Sneakers, dress shoes, boots, geriatric shoes, and cool sports shoes, even Monsignor's black wing tips.

Each and every one of those soles reflected the souls who wore them. Some have a casual attitude, while others are more formal. Some are quite active, while others are perhaps nursing sore feet. Young. Old. Mother and Fathers. Little girls in mary janes and frilly socks. Boys in their soccer shoes hidden under their jean hems. Teenagers in skinny jeans poured into heavy suede uggs. The elderly using canes.

Only a family could bring so much diversity to one place, to one line, to receive One Christ in the Holy Eucharist.

I watched those shoes go by, two by two by two. They padded slowly in line, stopped to receive the Eucharist, then off they marched with purpose back to their pews. Indeed, only a family!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Karen Carpenter Sings Ave Maria

Who doesn't love the voice of Karen Carpenter? America lost her much too soon.

Have a blessed Advent and a Merry Christmas!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Skeet, Anyone? A Home School Field Trip

Some family fun, sporting clays.

Earlier this Fall, we visited Lehigh Valley Sporting Clays, which is a special course designed for skeet-style shooting.  But with this skeet, called "sporting clays," the clay birds fly in all directions. Some fly out from underneath you, others from far left or right, and still others fly directly at you. Sometimes two fly out: one from below right, next from high straight ahead. A real challenge, and our instructor was terrific in helping us enjoy our day. Sore shoulders notwithstanding, we had a great time!! And I actually took a few birds down. Yahoo! (Talk about an inventive home school field trip!)

Max was feeling the recoil, here! Our twelve-year-old was the sharp shooter of the day. Way to go, kid. (The man standing next to Max was our instructor. He watched, then said quietly under his breath, "Yeah, this kid's a shooter.")

Yours truly. I was trying to lean into that gun, so I wouldn't suffer the recoil like I did before. It was hard not to flinch, but I managed to forget about the forthcoming pain and take down a few birds. Oh, I was so sore after that day, but I had a lot of fun.

Big Ben takes aim!

The Blease gang. Tired but happy. Went out to dinner at Grumpy's for a big pile of ribs, lagers for the grown-ups and birch beers for the boys! (Yes, I am a country girl.)

God bless!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Do You Want to Read About Books I Don't Like, Too? A Note About My Book Reviews

by Kathleen Blease

It happened one day. I read a book that was just awful. If I would have been its editor, I would have rejected it. The author had a promising list of previous books he wrote, but he squarely missed the mark on this title. To explain quickly: His premise was this... If you want to communicate with someone, then you need to connect. Every chapter was the same, an argument as to why we need to connect in order to successfully communicate. By page fifty, I was getting antsy. I thought, Okay I'm with you. Now tell me HOW to connect. He broke the first and most important rule of all writers: Show, don't Tell. By page 110, I gave up and the book ended up on the donation pile. There was a whole lot of telling going on between those two covers.

Fortunately, all I really lost was some time. I participated in a program whereby a blogger received books for free from a certain Christian publisher if she would just give an honest book review. Once one book was finished and the review was posted, another book would be on the way.

This was my first title. And my last. My conundrum: I didn't want to publish a negative review. And since I wouldn't post the review, the publisher would not send me another title. My husband even approached me about this and made a good point. "Kath, if you don't give a tough review every once in a while, will people believe your positive reviews? Will they believe you if you post only positive stuff?"

Readers, do you believe me? The books I offer to you in my reviews are indeed as good as I believe them to be. I do not in any way contrive to gloss over glaring editorial weaknesses.

So why only positive reviews? I believe my blog is a "good news" blog meant to encourage others, so I offer reviews of only those books I believe to be of help to you, to lift you, to educate you, and to inspire you in Our One True Faith.  Albeit, it would also be helpful to you if I were to state which books to avoid, those that I believe to be unworthy of your investment in time and money. I have thought about that quite a bit. Believe me, I have read quite a few stinky titles, both children and adults, fiction and nonfiction, how-to and self-help, from Catholics and non-Catholics.

I think I would like to continue bringing you only positive reviews. (Click here to read some of my review posts.) However, I would like to know your opinion. Would you like to read about books I don't like, too? Please let me know!

God bless!

Friday, December 17, 2010

Homeschooling Gettin' You Down? It's That Time of Year When We All Need A Pick-Me-Up.

by Kathleen Blease

Well, now. If you started your homeschooling year in August or September, you have just completed the first semester. Besides the holidays peering at you from around the corner--gingerbread men who are crying to be baked and a sappy tree that's moping naked in the corner--it is homeschooling that had added to the mountain of work. Forgive us, Lord, but sometimes Your Work can be a little much for us dear-old moms....and we are getting, well, a little old.

Science fairs start in February and research papers are due in March. "Oh, that's far away," you say. "No need to put THAT on the pile right now." Ah, so you think. Don't forget to factor in time to research the history of steam locomotives and the transcontinental railroad, and time to purchase petri dishes and grow the mold. Then there's writing and editing the research paper, drawing the science poster, compiling the science report--hypothesis, objective, procedure, observations, conclusion, and "next time" (optional, but impressive). Tired yet?

Just about now, there are homeschooling moms across the country who are ready to cry "Uncle!" But I'm here today to tell you one thing: Don't give up. It's ALL for a good cause--the edification and education of the most important charges in your life, the wee ones.

Here's an oldie-but-goodie article about just one of the benefits of homeschooling. Maybe this will help put determination back into your bloodstream and boost you for the semester ahead. Click here, and have fun!

If all else fails, dear moms, remember this adage: This, too, will pass. (And our children will be out into the world all too soon!)

God bless, and Happy Advent!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

My Newest Writing Projects--Exciting!

My-oh-my, this has been one crazy year. Between my husband being sick, my son being couch-ridden for two months, and homeschooling, it seems that my writing projects have had nothing but little fits and starts. It's no secret, really, that even this blog hasn't been very focused, and I'm grateful that I have a handful of readers who are willing to stick with me. Thank you!

But what I'd like to tell you today is that despite my crazy life, Our Dear Lord has placed a few projects right in my hands, and I'm so excited about them!

I can't give you the exact details yet, but let me tell you about them in less than exact terms.

First, The Catholic Writers Guild, whose conference I visited over the summer, has asked me to serve them in a very special and honorable way. It's a role I cannot tell you about as of yet, in this public forum. To say the least, I am very humble that they invited me to take on this role. Of course, I accepted right away! Well, maybe after saying a few prayers, because (to be honest) I didn't think I was up to the task. But the Lord said, "I am giving this to you because I KNOW you can do it." So how could I refuse? I am indeed looking forward to it! And I will surely tell you more when I can.

Second, a well-known Catholic publisher contacted me about writing a book about observing Lent at home. It will feature prayers, crafts, recipes, devotions, and essays of encouragement from one Catholic mom (that's me!) to another. I'm truly looking forward to starting the project this Spring. Again, this is also in its infancy, and a contract has not be drafted yet, so I'm not able to divulge the details (publisher, price, etc.) as of today. But as soon as I can tell you more, you can count on lots of info forthcoming.

Phew. Suddenly, the year ahead looks very exciting. Will you give thanks with me? Just as I was thinking that my aspirations were too high for this time in my life, Jesus gave me a few opportunities to encourage and edify me. Praise the Lord!!

God bless!

P.S. I just might be asking you in the near future, dear Readers, to help me with my Lenten book project. Put on your thinking caps and brainstorm: Do you have any special traditions or devotions you would like to share? They can be prayers, crafts, recipes, or any other form of Lenten devotions. I would be delighted to offer you credit in the book's text. Or...perhaps you might have some questions about Lent, which I can answer in an essay. Feel free to contact me at Put "Lenten book" in the message line so I don't delete it by accident.

Monday, December 13, 2010

About Rose and Yarn

There was something special about Grandmom  Rose and her knitting needles.

I was sitting in the breezeway, pushing the glider back and forth. I was just eight years old, full of energy, and bored.


"Yeah, Grandma."

"I have something for you." Grandmom was making her way out her kitchen door, with a few items in her hands. With a line or two of introduction of materials, and a little lesson on patience, Grandmom began my first crochet lesson--the chain stitch. She then taught me to count, count, count my stitches, to hold the needle correctly, to keep my "hand" even...and how to read a pattern, which isn't always easy. And so it began. I was "hooked," so to speak.

The proprietor of Charles' Yarn Shop in South side of Allentown, Rose Charles taught literally hundreds of women to crochet and knit. She was also an accomplished seamstress--truly the daughter of a tailor and seamstress making their living in Brooklyn.

Today, knitting and crocheting takes me right back to those days of perusing her display of pattern books and leaflets, of examining her selection of needles--some almost as thick as my arm, and some so tiny their hooks seemed microscopic--and ah-ing over the crocheted jewelry in the glass case. I think of Grandmom whenever I work on a project, and I remember how most of our conversations took place over the clickety-clack of her needles.

My mother is also an accomplished knitter and crocheter, and so I feel I belong to something like a very special sorority whenever I pick up a pair of needles--or even when I just daydream about doing the gorgeous projects I see in knitting and crochet books. I am transported right back to the hospitable surroundings of Grandmom's yarn shop.

When our boys were little, I had a hard time working on needle projects, but now that they are teenagers, it's time for me to return to the enjoyment! I think lots of needlework will be in my future.

Here are a few pillows I just finished knitting. The herringbone (right) and the honeycomb (left) patterns can be found at Lion Brand Yarn. Click here for the free herringbone pattern. While I was downloading the pattern, I also visited Lion's stitch encyclopedia and found the honeycomb cable pattern, which is just a swatch. For the honeycomb pillow, I simply used the same number of stitches the herringbone called for, then made the pillow front from there; I then used the same back from the herringbone pattern.

Here's a sweater that I started to crochet (get this) twenty years ago! Before I even met my husband of 17 years, I managed to finish the front and back, which are both festooned with cables. Although I lost the pattern, I still had the wool, even after moving from three houses. This summer, I thought it was time to get it done, so I improvised the sleeves, cuffs, and waistband. It needs a little blocking to help straighten the stitches, and then it's ready to wear--after all those years! And, yes, it still fits. By the way, Lion Brand also has tons of crochet patterns and a crochet stitch encyclopedia. You can also learn various techniques (for beginners on up) at their website.

God bless!

Friday, December 10, 2010

Women Saints: A Nice Gift Idea for Mom

Here's a terrific book I discovered at the library, called Women Saints: Lives of Faith and Courage by Kathleen Jones (Orbis Books, 1999, paperback, 310 pages, ISBN 1-57075-291-5).

The book is divided into eight chapters:

1. Visionaries
2. Martyrs
3. Collaborators
4. Wives and Mothers
5. Penitents
6. Outcasts
7. Innovators
8. Missionaries

I just finished reading a selection from the Wives and Mothers, about St. Anna Maria Taigi (1769-1837), who lived a very arduous and difficult life. She lived in the poor quarters of Rome, and her husband was far from a reasonable and happy man. He was prone to many tantrums. Yet, while raising six children (she gave birth to them over a span of twenty years), she kept her eyes on Heaven and sought out Jesus' refuge. She offered her husband unending patience and guidance. In time, queens, clergy, and nobles sought her out, in her austere and humble home. One queen even offered her gold, which she readily refused, acknowledging the extraordinary gift of her faith. Her canonization was a long yet amazing process, during which her husband personally vouched for her strength in Christ. Since she was never a religious, documents were not available regarding her spiritual development, thus every detail was carefully scrutinized.

Author Kathleen Jones is Emeritus Professor of Social Policy at the University of York and an Honorary Fellow of the Royal College of Pyschiatrists. She has translated The Poems of St. John of the Cross and revised two volumes of the new edition of Butler's Lives of the Saints.

Women Saints includes only a few modern women: Katherine Drexel, Edith Stein, and Anuarite Nengapeta. I would like to see more included, but just the same, the book is beautifully written and well researched.

You can purchase Women Saints by just clicking on the book above, or by visiting Kathleen's Catholic Book Shop. It is wonderful, edifying reading. Perhaps it would make a nice gift for a mom in your life.

God bless!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

For Our Awe and Wonder, Made by a Magnificent Creator

Here is the Universe as we have been able to map it out thus far. What's even more amazing is how much we haven't been able to determine.

And to think the Creator of all this wants to be with us!

God bless!

Friday, December 3, 2010

Advent Wreath: The Wood of the Manger, Carpenter, and Cross

A few years ago, I was visiting my parents' home. On their dining room table sat a very simple yet elegant Advent wreath. Soon afterward, my father arrived at my home with two pieces of wood in his hands. "Here you go, Kathleen. I hope you like it." And I love it. Dad made one right away in his workshop. The above photo shows you the pieces of the wreath and how the two pieces of wood are fashioned.

It's a simple wreath, and I like Advent wreaths to reflect our time of waiting and preparation. While some people like to festoon their Advent wreaths, I am more of a purist. Each Sunday of Advent, a candle is lit, saving the rose candle for the third Sunday, called Joyful Sunday. It's a special day that reminds us to be attentive, the time is drawing near when His Light is about to enter the world.

I also like to add a white pillar in the center. This we light on Christmas Eve or Christmas Morning, and burn it throughout the Christmas Season. This year, I'm going to replace the spent Advent candles with bright red Christmas candles. Together with the white pillar, they will look very festive.

There's one more thing about this wooden wreath I particularly love: It reminds me of the stable, Christ's manger, Christ the carpenter (learning the trade at Joseph's side), and also Christ's cross, from which He redeemed the world. I am still amazed that our God came to us--in complete union with His Creation--as a tiny and helpless baby, born to a simple handmaid and carpenter. This is why Advent is so special. It's a time to deeply reflect on this and also to prepare for His coming!

Have a wonderful, blessed Advent!

God bless.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Remedy for the Bah-Humbug

Check out my new column at Click here to read about combatting the dreaded Bah-Humbug!

Have a blessed Advent!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Lidia's NONNA TELL ME A STORY: A Book Review and Recipes

Just in time for Advent and Christmas preparations!

by Kathleen Blease

At this month, I review a wonderful book by a chef from whom I've learned a great deal, Lidia Bastianich, who is well-known for her cookbooks and PBS series, Lidia's Italy.

Lidia's new book, Nonna Tell Me A Story is meant to bring family together, and it's especially geared toward our little ones, ages four through eight. It features bright and joyful art, as well as fifteen scrumptious recipes of holiday treats for your family.

So I don't give it all away right here, you'll need to click here to read the entire review at CatholicMom. Are you the aunt that bakes the Christmas cookies? Me, too! So I also include at CatholicMom one of my own favorite recipes--something new for the holiday tray.

To purchase your own copy of Nonna Tell Me A Story by Lidia Bastianich (Running Press Kids, Oct. 2010, $15.95, ages 4-8), you can visit Kathleen's Catholic Book Shop right here on this blog. Just look for the little red box in the right column and click on it. Then click on Kathleen's Catholic Book Shop For Kids. We're offering the book at the discounted price of $10.85.

Here's a sneak preview of the book's colorful and joyful art, as well as as two of its scrumptious recipes. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do!

Laura Logan's illustrations are bright and cheerful, setting the mood for the Advent and Christmas seasons.

Here are two recipes I'm looking forward to trying myself: Pine Nut Cookies and Sesame Cookies. They are printed here with permission from the publisher.

(Amaretti con Pignoli)

Yields: 3 dozen

1 lb. canned almond paste
1 1/2 c. sugar
3 large egg whites
1 c. pine nuts (optional)
1/4 c. confectioners' sugar, or as needed (optional)

1. Arrange one rack in the upper third of the oven and the other in the lower third. Preheat the oven to 350 F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.

2. Crumbe the almond paste into a mixing bowl. Beat with a hand held electric mixer until finely crumbled. Sprinkle the sugar over the almost paste and continue to beat unmtil the sugar is incorporated. Beat in the egg whites, one at a time adn continue beating unti lthe batter is smooth.

3. If using the pine nuts, spread them out on a plate. Pinch off a tablespoon-size piece of dough and roll between your palms to form a ball. Roll the ball in pine nuts or just place it on the baking sheet if you want plain cookies. Repeat with the remaining dough.

4. Bake the cookies until lightly browned and soft and springy, about 20 minutes. Remove and cool completely on wire racks before serving. The cookies can be stored at room temperature for up to 1 week and are delicious with or without the pine nuts.

Note: The plain cookies can also be dusted with confectioners' sugar before serving.

(Biscotti ai Semi di Sesamo)

Yield: 4 dozen

1 c. sesame seeds (or sprinkles)
2 large eggs
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1/2 tsp. salt
1 c. all-purpose flour
1 c. semolina flour
2/3 c. sugar
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
Pinch of ground nutmeg
1/2 c. (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature

1. Arrange one oven rack in the upper third of the oven and the other in the lower third. Preheat the oven to 350 F. Spread the sesame seeds out on a baking sheet and bake them on the lower rack until toasted to golden brown, about 8 to 10 minutes. Shake the pan once or twice as they bake so they toast evenly. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.

2. In a large bowl, whisk the eggs, vanilla, and salt until blended. Stir the all-purpose flour, semolina flour, sugar, baking powder, and nutmeg together in a mixing bowl until blended. With your fingers, work the butter into the flour mixture until the butter resembles small cornflakes. Pour in the egg mixture and mix well into a dough. Cover the refrigerate the dough for at least 30 minutes to let it firm up.

3. Lightly flour your hands and pinch off a nectarine-size piece of the dough and roll it out with the palm and fingers of your hands, using light pressure, to a rope about 1/2 inch in diameter. Cut the rope into 2-inch lengths and roll them in the sesame seeds or sprinkles to coat completely. Transfer the coated cookies to the prepared baking sheets and repeat with the remaining dough and seeds.

4. Bake the cookies unti golden brown, adn 15 to 17 minutes. Rotate the baking sheets from rack to rack and side to side once during baking so the cookies bake and brown evenly.

Don't forget to visit to read my complete review and print out my own cookie recipe.

God bless!

Monday, November 1, 2010

Precious Freedoms Lost in the Holy Lands

The story linked below is very sad. Over the years, Pope Benedict XVI has been addressing the issues that face the Catholic Church in the Holy Lands, issues which threaten its very existence. Many Catholics have feared for their lives and have left their homes in the Middle East. There are now very few left. This most recent attack, which took place in a cathedral (a house of God and love), will surely have serious ramifications.

Please pray for our dear fellow Catholics who suffer persecution and are in danger of losing their lives. Remember them in your daily prayers with your family, and be grateful for our securities here in the United States.

Our freedoms--which are not just nice to have and to take for granted but are all-together necessary--are very precious indeed and need to be defended. Don't forget to vote and practice your God-given rights. Perhaps as you pull the lever, say a prayer for our fellow Catholics in the Holy Lands!

Over 50 Catholics die during terrorist attack on Baghdad cathedral :: EWTN News

Monday, October 25, 2010

Some Fun in New York City: Wookiees, Storm Troopers, Editors, and Artists at Comic Con 2

Yes, folks, this is a bona-fide Wookiee with my Ben. He noticed Ben in the crowd and pointed at him, curling his pointer finger with a "come here." I pushed Ben. "Come on, come on! Stand next to him!!" After the picture was snapped, the Wookiee tapped Ben on the nose and spoke a few words. If my Wookiee translation was correct, I believe that he said something like "Be a good boy." Kinda like Santa Claus. And I felt like I was the kid for the moment. The trip was worth it, if only to get this picture!

Ben and I attended Comic Con 2 at the Javits Center in New York City. We met with Star Wars characters, editors from DC Comics and Marvel, and even an artist who works for Lucas Films. A great day, but a long one! Below are a few more shots of what we saw. Very cool, indeed.

Ben with a Storm Trooper. As you can see, my son was still recovering from his knee injury, which I wrote about in Opportunities Outside Our Kitchen Door at

RoboCop, of course.

An amazing Lego sculpture, one of many.

A chalk/pastel artist. He was drawing on a huge sheet of black craft paper. We attended on the first day of the conference, so we could see only its beginning. Photos of his other works lined his work space. They were amazing...vibrant! If you'd like to see the time-lapse video of the artist completing this chalk mural, click here. He was terrific with the people, too, talking with them as he worked.

And a writer or two were given a copy of these two guys, right from my son's comic book blog, Star Wars: The Elites. Click here to check it out.

We had fun! But when we were driving home, we were happy to finally turn down the road that bisected our neighbor's horse farm. Years ago, I commuted to the city from Pennsylvania on a daily basis, and it came back to me once again why I was happy to settle down and make my living right here at home!

God bless!

Friday, October 22, 2010

Ten Crazy Things About Me

Okay, blame this post on Celeste Behe at Perpetual Jubilee, who blamed hers on Danielle Bean at Faith and Family, who recommended this writer's exercise. And I'm just in the mood! Check it out: Ten Crazy Things About Me.

1. I grew up on a dairy goat farm that my mom owned and operated for about a dozen years. It was called Colanuka Farms, home to G.G.'s Goat Herd.  (Colanuka was the name of the creek that ran through the property. And G.G. is what we called our Great-Grandfather, at his insistence. "No need to waste time over the phone calling me Great-Grandpop," he said. "Wastes money!") I sometimes helped bottle-feed the thirty or so kids. One bottle in the left hand. One in the right. And two stacked between my knees.

2. I was a nut for Little House On the Prairie, and I watched it well into my twenties. My mom even purchased the complete video collection for me. I just now donated it to Goodwill.

3. I have been and always will be a slow reader. In elementary school, I struggled with reading comprehension, barely pulling a C. My former teachers would probably faint if I went back and told them that I became a book editor and writer.

4. Since I was a slow reader, I found TV much more interesting and watched it without ceasing. When my dad left the house in the morning, he would pull the cable connection at the box outside the house. But I found a way around it; ABC TV was at the end of the radio dial. This also meant that I didn't read children's literature. I learned who C.S. Lewis was only about ten years ago....and I have a degree in English literature! (I'm still catching up on all those years away from books...and loving it!)

5. I started college as an engineering major, even studied an engineering curriculum in high school for two years. It was Sister Aloysius O'Keeffe, of the Sisters of Charity, who changed my mind. I fell in love with literature in her world lit class, which all students were required to take. Who knew?

6. My first writing teacher told me to go back to engineering. My last writing teacher wouldn't grade my papers. Told me they weren't worth the ink he would use to grade them. Fooled both of them! My first job out of school? Editorial assistant at Times Books/Random House in Manhattan. I remember my first week on the job. Carol Schneider, director of publicity, introduced herself and said, "Welcome to the big time, kid!" That afternoon, Tip O'Neill stood right next to my desk. Then there was Robert Reich (I know, I know...), Lawrence Taylor, Joe Paterno, Mel Gibson, Jonathan Winters, and Latoya name a few. Oooo. I feel a blog post coming on here!

7. There lurks in my brain a dead spot for foreign languages, but I'm teaching my kids Latin. Go figure. Hey, for the first time I get it.

8. I am a lousy public speaker, but get me one-on-one, and I won't stop talking. My family complained for years that I talked way too much. I knew Roger was really in love with me when he told me that he actually liked listening to me yammer. First time I ever heard that!

9. My husband and I eloped. Ask me about it sometime. If you want the short version, ask me in public. But if you want all the details, get me alone, know...I can't stop talki....

10. I took cello lessons for three years, as an adult. I learned something new. I found out that I could... sing. Whatdaya know?! After three years with the bow in my hand, I could play only a few scales and the opening measures of The Swan from The Carnival of Animals. But I still love that cello.

God bless!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Beautiful Life

by Kathleen Blease

Dear Reader,
This post is similar to my recent article at, entitled A Very, Very Atrractive Man. For this reason, I hesitated posting Beautiful Life here. But after a little prayer, it occured to me that it was written to be read. It wasn't meant to be stored somewhere in the arhives of Kathleen's Documents. So here it is. God bless. Kathleen

There was a strange man in the driveway. I had never seen him before. He was thin and little bent over, and he was shuffling as he walked. His clothes hung on him a little and his demeanor was quite sad. Who was he? What did he want? Neighbors in this area are very much Pennsylvania Germans and are rather private people, so it is unusual for a stranger to stop by just to say hello. When he finally came closer to the house, at the end of the sidewalk, I recognized him.

He was my husband.

Before he made it in the kitchen door, I put down the dishes I was stacking and made a hasty retreat to the powder room where I had a good but silent cry. I splashed cold water on my face, then returned to the kitchen to greet my husband after his day at work.

This occurred last fall, and by that time my husband had been sick with protein-losing entropathy—a fancy way of saying that his body stopped absorbing protein all together—for about three years. Roger lost fifty pounds, most of his muscle mass, his straight posture, strength, and even some of his baby fine curly locks..

I had no idea at that time that it was about to get worse. The winter brought cold weather in eastern Pennsylvania, and Roger hadn't the strength to keep up his body temperature. His skin turned blue and he was ice cold to the touch. By this time, he had undergone every kind of medical test under the sun, at least the ones doctors hoped would bring answers. With each test, our hopes would rise. Then they were dashed when yet one more came back marked negative or inconclusive. It was an emotional rollercoaster.

As my husband grew weaker and still bluer and thinner, I prayed that he would last through the nights. Many evenings, I went to bed mentally preparing myself that he just might slip away during the night. (I only recently admitted this to my husband.) It was indeed rock bottom, and we were both very scared, praying with all our hearts.

We had family members pray. We had friends say rosaries. My sister-in-law called upon the Carmelites to put Roger on their list of special petitions.

By April, Roger had a little more spring in his step, but by May he landed in the hospital with a blood clot that began in his right neck. It developed in his jugular vein and ran down his arm an unbelievable twelve inches. It then came up the other side of his arm, making it a full twenty-four inches of clot. The doctors were very concerned, and they went into action trying to prevent a stroke—not a healthy prognosis for a man of just forty-five.

It was a difficult month, but we all pulled through, and prayer was at my personal center. St. Joseph guided me and offered me his comfort. I thought about him often. As a father living in a dangerous culture, he protected and provided for his family through the most difficult of terms. Of course, he would understand what Roger was going through. What a struggle for my husband to continue running his little company—which rest solely on his expertise—all the while providing for his wife and children who depended on his one income! Surely, St. Joseph understood, and I asked him to pray that my husband would be encouraged and inspired.

I also prayed to Mary, Mother of God. Surely she could help me as I watched my loved one suffer. A perfect mother, a perfect sole, the first could I go wrong turning to her guidance and intercession? Through her, I could see the suffering face of her Precious Son in my husband's, and I could see then that I could comfort Jesus, if only a bit, by comforting my husband. Back rubs were a welcomed gift, and asking, “Can I get you something to help you feel better?” were somewhat soothing. But the hardest task for me was actually to hold somethings back—they were, my opinions and suggestions. My husband will probably testify (if you force him) that I failed at this many times. The truth is, someone who is sick really is trying to do his best to get better. He doesn't need yet another home remedy or Internet-induced medical opinion. He just needs comfort and love. Better to find a sore spot and rub in silence. It does wonders for the spirit.

Throughout my husband's illness, each day Christ is present in our home. There in the face of the sick and needy is Jesus hanging on the cross, saying “I thirst.” He doesn't thirst for drink. He thirsts for you and me and all God's creation to come to him. Through Holy Communion, Christ is physically present, yet hidden, to give us grace to make it possible to live His will. Now my ailing husband was giving a face of my dear hidden Jesus. At first, I had a hard time coping with the daily sickness, and I prayed to Christ to ask him to heal Roger. But then my prayers became more of this nature: “My dearest Christ, please show me what to do for my husband. Your will be done. Show me your will.”

I know the Lord doesn't will my husband's illness, but by giving back to Jesus all that comes with my husband's suffering, Roger and I can join Him at the cross and personally witness His sacrifice and His devotion to His creation (that's us). Does that make sense? All I know is that it's a remarkable gift, this opportunity to witness His love in the unique way. It's not easy, but it is precious.

When I left my husband in the hospital in May, it was hard to walk out of his room and close the door. I remember feeling the cold, clunky door handle and thinking, I don't like this place. It's not home. And by the time I made it to the elevator, I was crying. I hated leaving him there in the steel and brick building. With all the beeps and clicks of the machines, with nurses who pushed computers from room-to-room, with food that showed up on black trays—with these I couldn't imagine leaving him. And I hated that bed. It made it impossible for me to reach my husband. The best I could do was lean against his bent knee and rub his legs. Not much hugging and snuggling there!

But something began to calm me during my drive home. There was lots of time to think, and I slowly realized that all this suffering Roger and I witnessed together lead to a truth I couldn't deny. It's this: We live a beautiful life. Jesus has been beside us all along, from the moment we met and married. But we can actually see Him, the Hidden Jesus revealed. How much more beautiful can life get?

God bless!

Post Script: Since this post was written, my husband has gained a little weight and strength, and he is under the care of an excellent hemotologist. However, the doctors are still no closer to finding the source of his illness. Nevertheless, I am thankful that we'll be entering the winter months with Roger a little stronger than he was last year. Please continue praying for him. This means a great deal to us! And realize that the face of Jesus is in each person who is suffering! Peace.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

My Interview with The Catholic Writers Guild

Just for fun, I thought I would post my interview with The Catholic Writers Guild. I've found the Guild to be very inviting and encouraging--something a writer needs in this world! I talked with Maria about this blog, my little gift book for dads, and the life of an editor.

God bless.


Kathleen Blease is a wife and homeschooling mom of two young teenage boys, and author of I Can’t Wait to Meet My Daddy .

Maria: Hi Kathleen, you are one of our newest members; please tell us, how did you stumble into CWG?

Kathleen: Stumble is the right word, and I found you all to be very welcoming—so different from where I came from, publishing in New York City. I can really appreciate the kindness everyone has shown me already!

Catholic writer Susie Lloyd, author of Bless Me Father For I Have Kids, sent me a quick note on Facebook and asked me if I would be attending the Catholic Writers Conference (We belong to the same home school co-op.) Of course, I said, “What writers conference?” And she sent me a link. I really knew nothing about the Catholic Writers Guild, but I've been praying about how to enter the Catholic publishing industry for a few years now, so it seemed like a good idea to put on a nice dress, pull together a few writing samples, and just go to the conference. My friend, Celeste Behe, another Catholic writer, went with me and showed me the ropes. It's been years since I've attended something like this, so I really appreciated how she helped break the ice. I really appreciated Susie bringing the Guild to my attention, too.

Maria: We are all happy to have you, especially knowing you were a previous editor. I think you are going to make a lot of friends at CWG! Can you tell us a little bit of what the day of an editor is like?

Kathleen: Thanks! I'm glad to be here. Well, the day of an editor is very much like that of a writer's. It's all about finding quiet time, sitting down, focusing and getting the job done. I worked mostly as a developmental editor and rewriter, so I didn't have the benefits of long lunches with authors and agents, which I would imagine would be a lot of fun. But I found ways to get to know writers one way or another, and that was important, because when I edited manuscripts I tried very hard to honor the author's unique voice and view point. I think that was the best part of the job, and I always enjoyed the challenge.

Maria: As an editor, what kind of writer do you look for?

Kathleen: Since I was never an acquisitions editor, I didn't had the luxury of looking for writers myself, choosing them according to their skills and outlook. But as a developmental editor whose job had always been to bring out the best in the writer and his/her manuscript, I was always happy to work with writers who had flexibility and a willingness to listen to suggestions, even when those things might be hard to hear or swallow. I've worked on a wide range of topics—from Irish Americans to business to fitness to refinishing furniture—and I can tell you that writers who were willing to re-write and re-think their manuscripts, even just a little, were a great pleasure to work with, and their enthusiasm affected me, too. This made me want to work as hard as I could to make their work shine.

Maria: What kind of writer do you dread?

Kathleen: Well, it's easy to guess which ones I dreaded—those who wouldn't budge an inch and wouldn't change a single word they wrote...or those who don't take deadlines seriously. By the time a manuscript got to me, the book was officially in production, and I was usually working against a strict deadline in order to meet the book's pub date.

Some writers think their job is done after the first draft, and this is common among nonfiction authors, who are often experts in certain fields but not necessarily professional writers. They find the writing process to be very difficult and they get very little joy out of it. I'm more than happy, though, to help them out, but they have to be flexible and realize I'm trying to help them work through their limitations. Sometimes, they take it all so personally!

Maria: You are also a published writer. Your book I Can’t Wait to Meet My Daddy is a little jewel. Tell us what it’s about and what inspired you to write it?

Kathleen: Thanks for your nice words about I Can't Wait to Meet My Daddy. It's close to my heart. I wrote it for my husband when we were expecting our first son. It was our unborn son's Christmas present to his new daddy. Roger was so taken with it, that he daydreamed for years about publishing it himself. First, I sent it to major houses, but they all declined. When Peter Workman himself sent me a letter saying how much he liked it and regretted that he couldn't use it, well, that's when my husband made up his mind. So he published it himself. It's a glossy hardcover with dust jacket. It's doing well, and we're so happy to be a small part of people's lives at a special time.

Maria: I imagine you’ve received notes from your readers; can you share a ‘reader’ story with us?

Kathleen: Sure. One letter in particular, from an expectant grandmother, really touches me each time I think about it. The lady purchased our book for her son. He and his wife were expecting their first baby. He thanked his mom and put the book in his briefcase, then headed out the door to go home. Little did he know that he would find himself at the hospital with his wife, who went into pre-term labor. She gave birth two months early. The new parents were in shock, and when all the doctors finally cleared the room, and the two of them found themselves all alone, the husband remembered the little book he put in his briefcase. They read it together and, according to the grandmother, it gave them a great deal of comfort. I get choked up each time I think of it, and I usually can't get through telling the story!

It's such a humble feeling to know that something I wrote can enter into someone's life at such a special time. I never did find out if the baby survived, but a little prayer goes out the family, and I think of them often. I guess you could say that I Can't Wait to Meet My Daddy has become its own little ministry.

Maria: You have other published books?

Kathleen: Even as a stay-at-home mom of two toddlers, I always found work. I co-authored The Fiske Guide to Colleges for several years with NYT Education Editor Ted Fiske, and I compiled a few gift books of classic poetry for Ballantine/Fawcett Del-Ray. Those gift books stayed on Ballantine's back list for a dozen years, which I never expected. I have to admit that I'm pretty proud of that. I also put together some books for painter Thomas Kinkade, and I recently found them at Barnes and Noble, repackaged and sold again. I really enjoyed those projects.

Maria: This may seem like a silly question, but do you think being an editor gives you an edge as a writer?

Kathleen: Oh, wow. That's not a silly question at all. The answer would have to be Yes in some ways, and also No in others.

After years of editing other writer's manuscripts, I've become very comfortable with working in all sorts of writing styles. Every writer creates a special texture to her writing, and a certain timbre and tempo. I'm very much accustomed to pulling my writing apart, and criticism really doesn't bother me. I also recognize that there are dozens of ways to communicate the same thought. It's a journey I happen to enjoy—taking my work apart and reshaping it. I tell writers to not be married to their writing, to try new avenues, which will make them stronger and better writers. So this is how editing helps me.

Now, to address how being an editor hinders me. Oh my, there is nasty little editor who sits on my shoulder and tells me, “Hey, kid. You ain't gonna write THAT, are ya? That sentence is horrible. Delete it and try again.” Then the next idea gets hit with the same admonishment, and then the next. Pretty soon, I've gotten so tangled up in editing while I'm writing that I actually forget what I am writing about. I've learned to send my little editor out for a very long hike while I write, then she's welcome back. Still, I really can't edit my own work entirely. It's impossible for me to have a fresh eye, which is so important to editing. I'm sure there are writers and editors out there who are looking at this right now and thinking, “Man, this editor needs an editor.” It really is impossible to wear both hats at the same time.

Maria: You are a wife, a homeschooling mom and an author. How do you do all of this?

Kathleen: That's really nice of you to compliment me in this way, but I really think I have quite a bit more to do! Still, there are times I look back and see how much has gotten done, and I'm pretty happy about that. My motto is: Keep things simple. I'm the exact opposite of my sister. Lisa can sew a quilt while making slipcovers and canning 90 quarts of tomato sauce—all while training for a mini-triathlon. She thrives on big challenges. As for me, I truly need to take things in small, simple steps every day. In the end, big projects seem to get done.

Maria: It seems I have little in common with you, yet I really like your blog. In one of your blog entries you consider changing the focus of your blog. Tell us a little bit about that, I think we have members who will be able to identify with you.

Kathleen: Hey! Thanks for visiting Kathleen's Catholic!! I have had a lot of fun putting it together. When I first started in January, I felt called to write about being Catholic in the modern world. Now, however, I can see that there's a special focus I'm called to address. You see, I am madly in love with my sweet husband who happens to be a non-Catholic. It's been a challenge for both of us to raise our children in the faith—and to nurture our marriage in the midst of our big differences--while addressing my sweetheart's questions and concerns, as well as the concerns of his family, who are mostly atheists. I posted a little column, called If Your Husband Isn't Catholic, on my blog as well as on, and I've gotten some very heartfelt responses to it. I'd like to spend more time addressing this. After sixteen years of marriage, I think I just might have a little something to offer, especially with the help of God's grace. I really do feel called to do this!

Maria: Ok, the only thing I see I have in common with you is bird watching! Love the bird pics in your blog. And the pic with your kitty next to the Christmas lights! Awh. What other hobbies do you have?

Kathleen: Oh, yeah, bird watching. They are amazing creatures! Well, my other hobbies are very domestic—knitting, crocheting, cooking and canning, home improvements, and gardening. I learned to knit and crochet at my grandmother's side. She owned a yarn shop and taught hundreds of women in her lifetime. It makes me feel very close to her just to sit and make something small. By the way, the photos on my blog—that is, the professional-looking ones—are my husband's handiwork. He is an excellent photographer.

Maria: What is your advice to other writers, especially homeschooling parents?

Kathleen: Oh, that's easy! Take it easy on yourself! We are not perfect. Take small steps each and every day, and you'll find that at the end of the year you will have accomplished quite a bit—both in your projects and the kids' school work. And don't forget to pray. Take everything to Our Lord. You don't have to say a thing. Just take your heart and place it in His hands. He will guide and inspire you with perfect timing, and He will provide you with everything you will ever need!

Maria, thanks so much for this opportunity to chat about the things I love. You know, coming from secular publishing, I've never had the chance to talk about editing, writing, and faith all in one conversation. It's a real pleasure! I'm truly looking forward to a terrific future with CWG. May God bless the work of each and every member. I'm so happy to meet you. Anyone can contact me—even just to say hello and touch base—at I would welcome that!

Monday, October 11, 2010

A Very, Very Attractive Man

When your spouse becomes ill, it changes your life and your marriage forever. In my new column at, here's one way it has changed our lives for the better, if just a little bit.

I hope you enjoy the column. Click here.

God bless!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Peace is Coming

From painter Jon McNaughton. All I can say is, "Beautiful!"

One Nation Under God

I love this image of Christ and our Constitution, from painter Jon McNaughton.

Take some time today to thank our Dear Lord for this beautiful country.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

No Turning Back: A Witness to Mercy--A Book Review

by Kathleen Blease

No Turning Back: A Witness to Mercy
by Donald H. Calloway, MIC
ISBN: 978-1-59614-210-7
paperback, Marian Press, 270 pages
Back of the book--Includes information about
The Congregation of Marians of the Immaculate Conception
and the Thirteenth of the Month Club

He was a parent's worse nightmare. Addicted. Arrested. A run-away. Criminal. Thief.  He was only fifteen, and things were about to get worse. But his parents never gave up.  Fr. Calloway tells his story with candor and humility. How does one go from drug addicted hippie high school drop out to a Marian priest with more than a few degrees?

It all started with the love of his parents, and...

One day, in a moment of boredom, he came across a book that would change his life forever. It was called The Queen of Peace Visits Medjugorje. He was sure it was some sort of cult guide to his parents' newly-embraced faith. But, he figured that his night was shot anyway, so he sat down to read it. At first, it was all Greek. But then, little by little, he was drawn into its beauty.

And the mercy of Our Lord, Jesus Christ, reached deep into his heart and hit him with what the author called "a divine 2 x 4." After that, there was no turning back. You'll need to read this for yourself--see chapters 10, 11, and 12. You will cry and laugh over his crass innocence (or ignorance?) and the joyful conversion of his soul, while he discovered the Mass and the Eucharist for the very first time.

Fr. Calloway depicts his entire life (and heart--hard as it may have been) with great candor and honesty. His book takes the reader on a journey that spans across time, lands, and spirit--all experienced by one young man. You won't soon forget his story! (Neither will the priest who heard his first Confession!)

I recall many years ago, I attended a retreat where a man who was terribly afflicted with an illness that took away his basic motor skills and speech stood in front of retreat attendees and told his story. In the end, he said, "If the Lord can bless a miserable thing like me, imagine what he can do for you!" The greatest glory of Jesus is indeed His mercy.

My boys, ages 12 and 14, both saw Fr. Calloway's book sitting on the kitchen table. The front cover caught their attention.

"What's a priest doing with a surf board?" my eldest asked.
"He's a priest and a surfer."
"Really?" He flipped the book over to the read the back cover. "Hey, I wanna read this."

As much as I would have loved to jump at my son's request, the mom in me had a second thought: better to read it myself first.

And I'm glad I did. This is truly a story I'd like my sons to read, without a doubt...just not right now. Father will probably agree that this book is not appropriate for two home schooled Catholic boys. He goes into a bit too much detail about his addictions to crime, sex, and drugs. It will raise questions that I know my husband and I are just not ready to address at this point in our young boys' lives. This is no way depletes the value of Father's remarkable story! In a few more years, I'll be happy to share it with my oldest son, if I think he's ready for it.

As a final note...

Scott Hahn says: "It's a page-turner, moving from a deliquent youth to an adult faith--and then on to the priesthood. It's a dramatic life, and Father Calloway tells it all with a compelling and manly literary voice. So if it's not a movie (yet), you may remember it as one. It's that vivid."

No Turning Back can be found at Kathleen's Catholic Book Shop in the right column of this blog. Just look for the little red outlined box.

Enjoy, and God bless!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Looking for a Catholic-Friendly Doctor?

Here's a quick post...

If you are in search of a pro-life and Catholic-friendly physician, check out One More Soul at You can find a doctor, including a specialist, in your area by simply searching your zip code.

Ladies, these doctors will not hassle you about rejecting contraception, and they will understand your Catholic and Christian concerns in regards to your health and the health of your family. I remember when our second son was born, my OB/GYN gave me such a hard time when I told him that I wouldn't be using contraceptions, even after I explained to him that I was Catholic. He pretty much told me that if I got pregnant again, don't blame him. Sigh.

Anyway, if you are in need of a Catholic-friendly physician, check out One More Soul!

God bless!

Monday, September 27, 2010

Going GF: Fudgie Brownie Cake, Mac-n-Cheese, and Pizza Recipes

A quick walk through a supermarket these days, and it's obvious that lots of folks have the same issue--gluten intolerance. Gluten-free chips, cereals, cakes, and even doughnuts! Gluten-free pasta, pizza, and lasagna. (Hey, did you know that good 'ol Fritos Corn Chips have always been gluten-free? I used to love munching on them, accompanied by a nice bowl of mom's tomatoe soup.)

So, if for whatever reason you have gone GF, too, you might want to check out a few of my new recipes, in Kathleen's Little Catholic Kitchen. These I concocted for my GF husband, but there's one thing I expect from all the GF dishes we try--our whole family must love them.

Fudgie Brownie Cake, Mac-n-Cheese (REAL mac-n-cheese), and Pizza: Delicious!!  So far, these are definitely our favorites. Give them a try and let me know what you think. Click here to check them out. Scroll past the Intro to the recipes.

God bless.

Friday, September 17, 2010

"Eyes up here, please!"

How many times do we say to our kids, "Look at me," so we know they are hearing what we're saying? Teachers often say to their classes, "Eyes up here, please," while to pointing to their own eyes.

Experts agree, too, that eye contact is very important while communicating with another--to get a point across.

Maybe, then, it's a good idea to look at Christ when we pray so we can hear Him. (Ah, I bet you thought that I was going to say that we should look at Christ so He can hear us!) It would be good to take away the distractions, gaze up at Him and let Him speak to us. Christ and His Dear Father in Heaven speak in soft whispers.

Recently, I've been carrying in my pocket a small chaplet with the Assisi crucifix. Even when I am washing dishes, I can quickly dry my hands and take out the chaplet, gaze on the crucifix and ask the Lord to help me through this one more task--to make it a small Yes for Him. I have become more and more dependent on Him to show me how to navigate the day by asking Him to show me His will. Yes, even in doing the dishes Jesus has a plan--perhaps to do it in good cheer, as an act of love.

This is the little chaplet I carry, from

It gives me peace, if but a moment, to spend time with Christ--moments that arise throughout a typical and oft times mundane day of chores, education, and caring for my family. Each moment is tiny, but they add up, and the next thing I know I'm placing my head on my pillow at night, realizing that Christ was with me through one more day. Or should I say, I was with Christ...because Christ was always with me and I was the one who wasn't paying attention. I just needed to look at Him so I could hear Him.

God bless.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Kathleen's Little Catholic Kitchen

Are you tucked into a small kitchen like I am? We once had grand ideas for an addition with a gourmet kitchen attached to a family room. But, it was not meant to be. We have decided to go with what we've got. And, you know, I'm starting to really enjoy this little space.

So, check out my new, updated  recipe page. And since we are now embarking on a gluten-free diet (otherwise known as GF), I'm planning on posting new GF recipes in the very near future--but only the ones that prove to be foolproof!

To read about my little Catholic kitchen, and to enjoy the recipes, click here.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Love Letters From Heaven

by Kathleen Blease

The beauty of God's Creation is designed just for you, out of His love. It's meant for your awe and wonder. St. Francis of Assisi is well known for evangelizing to all of God's nature, to reveal the beauty of the Eucharist to all of His marvelous Creation.

On this Labor Day morning, I'm sitting in our kitchen where I can admire the zinnia patch in the herb garden. The swallowtails and monarchs are feeding. An occasional hummingbird comes by, too. It occurs to me that our labors should be with Our Lord, in the glory and care of His Creation. I think St. Francis whole-heartedly agrees with that. I'm also thinking about Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta. She teaches: Let our labors be only out of love, and only out of love.

Happy Labor Day! And enjoy this new collection of Love Letters. God bless.

All photos copyrighted by Roger L. Blease.

Connecticut sunset

summer heat survivors

prickly pear

snake skin

Mystic Seaport

the road

lil earth mama

You might also be interested in other Love Letters From Heaven.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Catholic Athletes for Christ (CAC)

Did you know that John Paul II established the Vatican Office of Sports? It's really not all that surprising, considering the pontif's deep love for the outdoors and athletics--hiking, skiing, and soccer, for example.

If you are raising a little athlete, you might be interested in this website I came across, recommended in The Handbook of Catholic Moms: Nurturing Your Heart, Mind, Body and Soul by Lisa M. Hendey, founder of

It's called Catholic Athletes for Christ (CAC). Click here to visit. You'll find lots of testimonials from world class athletes. You can also investigate their Speakers Bureau. Perhaps you know of an event in need of a public speaker who will inspire the children. Or maybe you are teaching CCD and are in need of  a quick video or audio clip that will encourage your students to bring Christ to all parts of their lives. Then this just might be the right place for your search!

More and more, our children need this type of guidance in the sports arena. May God bless the work of CAC!

Before I sign off, here's one more quick note: You might want to read about The Catholic Sports Network, another terrific resource for Catholic moms and dads. Click here to read my article and learn more.

God bless.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Problems Are Really God's Opportunities to Show Love

 Have you read my article at, called Opportunity Outside Our Kitchen Door? Take a look. You never know when Our Heavenly Father is going to knock.

God bless.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

"Dad's not Catholic. So why should I be?"

by Kathleen Blease

I surprised our son one day. He was preparing for his Confirmation, and I felt it was important to have a heart-to-heart talk. I explained that while he will still need instruction in the Faith, that, in fact, it would become his responsibility to open his heart to the catechism and take it seriously. It was no longer just something Mom wanted. Confirmation should be something he wanted. I needed to know: Does he want to say Yes?

His first thought came out right away and I knew it had been looming for a few years: "Hey, Dad's not Catholic--and you love him--so why should I be? Dad hasn't said Yes, so why should I?"

Hmm. This was the question I had been dreading since my children were baptized as little babies. What would I tell them when they pointed out the obvious theological differences between their own parents? Over the years, I decided to let it be until the right time came to address it.

I thought on this a bit and Christ handed me the answer--simple and obvious.

I pointed out : "Ah, but Dad did say Yes!"

"What? No!! Then why hasn't he converted?"

"Oh, yes, conversion. Well, saying Yes to God's will is the first step, and Dad's been saying Yes since before you were born."

"Get out! He did not!"

Yes, indeed, my husband has been saying Yes since we first married sixteen years ago. I, however, was too driven to pray for his conversion that I didn't see his giant steps toward God. It was only when I was preparing my son for his Confirmation did I realize the truth. Raised without a faith in any way, my husband has been on a spiritual journey just as valid and blessed as my own. We were on the same path, just not in tandem.

My sweetheart said Yes to marrying in the Church, which included six weeks of pre-Cana instruction, something he embraced with a good attitude, happy to do the homework and to participate in the various exercises. He said Yes to baptizing our babies. He said Yes to all their preparations to receive the sacraments, and he said Yes to homeschooling them in their Faith each and every day.

He could have said No. As the head of the house, he could have changed his mind after our wedding ceremony and said No to raising our children Catholic. He could have said No to any of the Catholic traditions I was accustomed to through my Catholic upbringing. He could have said No to the Catholic items that are displayed in our home.

But my non-Catholic husband is indeed on a journey. He bought for me a statue of The Queen of Peace, he took me to the Vatican for our tenth anniversary, he cried at my grandmother's funeral when he listened to the priest's homily, and in little ways he became a defender of the Faith to his atheistic friends and family. These things he did quietly and without fervor.

"Yeah, your Dad said Yes. So, it's time for you to make the decision. It's all up to you."


Then he said the words every Catholic mom wants to hear.

"Okay, I'm in."

God bless.
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