Friday, February 26, 2010


Gospel Reading today The Beatitudes Mathew 5:1-12
"Happy are those who are humble; they will receive what God has promised." Mathew 5:5

This past week has been so challenging for our family. Being a baking family is similar to being a farming family. As the storm clouds brew upon the farm and the family fears of their crop being hailed-out, I was saying the divine mercy chaplet as I walked into the post office in prayer their was a check that we had been waiting for. We depend on nothing but faith to keep our business going. Through our life, I am reminded often of the pioneers. My ancestors who settled the ranch I grew up on. Even though life was tough, they were happy. They would pull up the rug on a saturday night and the neighbor played the fiddle while they danced into the wee hours of the morning. Last night was a glimpse of the past for me. After a long and grueling week, we all danced in the kitchen to country music and at that moment we were all blissfully happy. We don't have much, but we have love. After dancing and laughing, we all gathered around to pray the family rosary. We turn off all the lights in the house and lit a candle. We prayed and then I played the guitar. I am reminded that this is what life is all about. I am so thankful we have been given less so I can experience these blissful moments of Heaven on earth. Time stood still last night and I realized that "blessed are the poor in spirit, the Kingdom of Heaven belongs to them." As we have been spiritually poor this past week, we were given the Kingdom of Heaven last night.

As my Grandad always use to say when my Grandmother wanted a Cadillac "that will get you in trouble". I never understood what that meant until now. As we yearn for worldy goods, they truly will get us in trouble. Being happy and thankful with what you have been given, is living God's Kingdom on earth. As Father Patrick Peyton says "The Spirit of simplicity avoids extremes. Jesus lived a simple life. Do I?" Something to ponder on this morning....
All I use to care about while living a "christian life" was materialism....wearing couture clothing, having the big fancy home, driving the Lexus SUV...all that silly nonsense. I can honestly say, I do not want that anymore. Even someday if our business is blessed abundantly, I want to drive my ford and live in a sweet and humble home. This is the only way I will be able to be a net to catch souls....for the other will get me in trouble, but living a humble life before the Lord will catch souls for eternity. It is also crucial that our children witness this in us.

Have a blessed Friday and dance with your family this weekend! It is good for the soul!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010


Gospel Reading today Luke 11:29-32
"How demanding are the people of this day! They ask for a miracle, but none will be given except the miracle of Jonah." Luke 11:29

The first thought that came to my mind when I read the gospel today is how demanding our children are in today's times. What happened to children obeying their parents the first time and being happy with a big red juicy apple as a treat? Now children demand box juices, sponge bob fruit snacks, chips, crackers, movies, more and more toys...and the list goes on. My son, Benjamin, just started his T-Ball practice. I was amazed to hear all of the demands of these little 4 and 5 year olds. Needing a drink of their Gatorade after 10 minutes of practice and asking for a snack after practice. This is absurd if you ask me! Our children are accustomed to being doted on constantly. We are doing nothing but providing them a disservice in today's world. Children need to be happy to use the water fountain at baseball practice and okay with waiting to get home to eat supper on the dinner table that his mother so lovingly prepared. Enough with all of the handouts of needless fruit drinks and snacks at their beck-and-call!

As of late, I have stopped buying snacks. I load up on fresh fruit and vegetables and a source of protein for every meal. No juice....just water or milk at the Cooper household. I was sick and tired of my children going to the pantry to get full of snacks and then not eating their supper. Now they are delighted with a banana or apple slices. Not that I do everything right, I am still learning what works and what doesn't but I do know one thing, I refuse to have demanding, spoiled rotten children.

When, as mothers raising disciples of Christ, do we stop the nonsense? You all know I am a big believer in the old fashion way of doing things. I think if we continue to pick up their toys, give them everything they demand we are only raising children that will demand the life they want, not the life that is best for them...God's Will. We are teaching are children to be weak by giving them all of these excess, needless supplies of food, drink and "stuff". They need to toughen-up if you ask me! Less is more and teaching our children the simple ways of using the water fountain, a pay phone (do they have those anymore), making their bed, cleaning up their messes, setting the table, cleaning off the dinner table, less TV and more floor time of legos and baby dolls, less entertainment in the backyard and more use of their imaginations. Think about the old ways of our loved ones who have gone before us. Somehow, they enjoyed life and were thankful for each and every little thing given to them. More than likely it is because their parents didn't hand them everything they wanted. They either had to work for it or did without. Sure we want our children to have a wonderful childhood, but the less we dote, the more wonderful they will turn out. Enough with the demands of our children and let's demand some respect.

Blessings to you this Wednesday!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Mothers Share In The Passion of Christ

Gospel reading today Mathew 6:7-15
"..may your Kingdom come; may your will be done on earth as it is in Heaven."

This morning as I was meditating on the Passion of Christ while praying the Sorrowful Mysteries of the rosary, the thoughts were so clear of how mothers share in the Passion of Christ. (ofcourse on a much much lighter note.)

The first sorrowful mystery, The Agony in the Garden. How many of us have read that pregnancy test and fell to our knees in tears begging the Lord to not let this be....pregnant with a child that was not in your plan. Tears, fears, agony in the heart of what was to come fill your soul. But you look up with tears streaming down your eyes and you say..."not my will, but yours be done, Lord."

The Second sorrowful mystery, The Scourging at the Pillar. How many of us have painful and agonizing pregancies? Or Births? My pregnancies continue to get worse.....I have horrifying vericose veins in a place that will make you cringe! So painful I can barely walk all the while lifting up and caring for toddlers. This is a form of scourging at the pillar....when you walk daily in agonizing pain for the Lord's will to be done in in you. Or another example is the days where all of your children are screaming at once and you kneel to the floor and feel like you are being scourged (or that you think you might lose your mind!).

The Third sorrowful mystery, The Crowning of the Thorns. I came across a woman with nine children yesterday in the Donut Shop. She is devout Catholic and radiates love and peace. I have watched her for two years now as we cross paths around town. I couldn't help but think yesterday the mockering and judgement she must endure everyday. She might as well wear a crown of thorns for all of the laughs, snares and bad looks she receives daily. Her work is not of this earth, but only for the Kingdom of God.

The Fourth sorrowful mystery, The Carrying of the Cross. How many of us help carry one of our children's crosses everyday? From the moment we found out Ben had a hearing loss, I have helped carry his cross. I share in his suffering and frustration as I walk daily with him.

The Fifth sorrowful mysterday, The Crucifixion. I hope none of us reading this right now will ever have to witness one of our children's suffering and death. But for the mothers who do, they share in the crucifixion of Christ as their hearts are crucified with heart break. For the mothers reading this who have lost a child in the womb and had to deliver a baby who was born into Heaven, shared at that moment the crucifixion of Christ and the heart break Mary must have felt as Jesus breathed his last.

There is just no other work on earth like motherhood, that will bring us closer to Christ in so many different forms. The hard times of sharing the cross of Christ is nothing but a gift. For we are growing in holiness and there is no other virtue that is more pure and perfect.

Blessings to you this Tuesday.

Monday, February 22, 2010


Gospel Reading today Mathew 16:13-19
"And so I tell you, Peter: you are a rock, and on this rock foundation I will build my church, and not even death will ever be able to overcome it." Mathew 16:18

Today in the Catholic church we celebrate, The Chair of Peter, which is the Pope of the Catholic Church. As I read the gospel today, we are like the "Pope of our homes". Mothers are the ROCK of their families. We set the mood of our homes. We dictacte what goes on throughout the day while our husbands make a living. We walk with our children every moment of their lives from the moment of conception into our death or our children's death. A mother's job is to build a strong foundation upon where she builds up her family for the Kingdom of God. If the foundation is not good, her family will not be good and fruitful. So how do we make sure this foundation is solid? By Fathers and Mothers teaching the faith diligently to their children and raising them up to be soldiers of Christ. With a mother's presence in their lives day in and day out, we are slowly but surely building something beautiful for the Kingdom of God....SOULS! So as Pope of our home, it is important to discern what God's will is for our lives each and every day. What things in your day, while raising your children, are of this world and not of God? Too much television? Lack of discipline? A negative or cold environment? This is why it is so important to be in daily prayer so the world doesn't take the "chair of your home". It is a battle of the chairs and through prayer you will keep your seat of being the pope of your home. Someday when you are in Heaven, you will see the beautiful cathedral that you slowly, painfully built each and every day of your life the moment you became a mother. Don't let someone else take the reigns in building your Cathedral. They will do as builders do today, cut corners and build your Church on rocky ground. Stand up and be the Pope of your family today. Don't stand for anything less than the absolute best for your family. Make sure the ground is rock solid in faith and the tools to build your church are purchased from Heaven, not the hardware store of this world.

Blessings to you this Monday!

Friday, February 19, 2010

Motherhood: An Honorable Job In Heaven's Eyes

First Reading today Isaiah 58:1-9
"Is it not to share your bread with the hungry, and bring the homeless poor into your house; when you see the naked, to cover him, and not to hide yourself from your own flesh?
Then shall your light break forth like the dawn, and your healing shall spring up speedily; your righteousness shall go before you, the glory of the LORD shall be your rear guard." Isaiah 58:8-9

The first reading today reminds me of how holy motherhood is. We feed the hungry everyday by feeding our families, we clothe the naked everyday as we clothe our children. We have the Lord at our side who is our guard each and every moment....guiding us on how to love His children and take care of them the best we can. What an honor it is to be a mother.

I can't write much this morning, but before I go, I wanted to mention fasting today since it is friday. My entire life, I have had a hard time seeing the fruits of fasting up until this year. As my stomach growls, I feel my soul being cleansed. I also see things clearer on things I am discernng about. This might sound strange, but I just wanted to share that thought. As you want to dive into the peanut butter your children are eating, instead, lift up prayers for what is heavy on your heart. You will see much fruit from your fasting and our Lord Jesus will be pleased that you turned away from self and turned to Him.

Off to care for my little flock. Have a blessed Friday!

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Losing our life to our family is a good thing!

Gospel Reading today Luke 9:22-25
"And he said to all, "If any man would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it; and whoever loses his life for my sake, he will save it.For what does it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses or forfeits himself?" 9:23-25

The gospel reading today is very contradictory to the world's views. I hear more and more the saying "what's in it for me?" or "I feel like I am losing my self in the midst of motherhood." If you feel at times you have "lost" yourself, be grateful because you are actually saving your life as Jesus tells us. When we give up ourselves and our lives for others, we are saving ourselves from this corrupt and self centered world and gaining eternal salvation. However, it is important for us to take care of ourselves so we can take care of our family. Ways that I take care of myself is having an afternoon alone on sunday while my husband is home with the kids. I usually go to Borders and have a cup of coffee and look at books. Sometimes, I go sit in Eucharistic adoration and just "be" with Jesus. In the afternoons, we go to Lifetime Fitness as a family after I put dinner in the oven (around 4:30). I excersise while listening to podcasts such as EWTN, Father Robert Barron at or, which all help me grow in my faith. We get home around 6:00 and sit down as a family to eat dinner. This works really great for us now but I know it will change soon as my children get older.

What I don't get filled with is turning my time alone to shopping or self indulgences. We are told by our world we need to be at the spa because we need to take care of ourselves. Usually when I leave the Spa, I am not spiritually filled. It is instant gratification.....where it feels good at the moment but it does nothing for my soul afterwards. Not to mention it is a mere we don't have. Or only stresses me out because I have such a limited amount of time away. When I come home with a shopping bag, yes it feels good to have something new to wear, but I don't come home filled with peace and goodness in my soul. This is why to truly take care of ourselves in order to better take care of our family, we have to spend our time away nurturing our souls....refilling your vessels with life giving water. The next time you have "quiet time", go sit in silence in the church or Echauristic adoration. Take a good book and sit in silence at a park while you sip your coffee and read about the Saints. Prayer time in the morning is also vital in nurturing yourself. This is my Gasoline that keeps my motor running.

This morning I woke up and my body was beat to the core. From serving our families every day and losing our lives, it can be nothing but exhausting. However, doesn't the exhaustion feel good sometimes? Because we are doing work that is Eternal.....that has such meaning. I know someday I will have as much quiet time as I need. When my kids are off at school or someday gone to college. I hope by then, I will be filled with Thanksgiving of all of the times I served the Lord and lost my life in the chaos as I yearned for just one moment of quiet time. I hope to be filled with good memories and not regret. For I think the worst feeling in the world for a woman would be the regret of wishing she would have spent more time with her children or possibly spent more time growing in holiness instead of turning to world's desires. And hopefully by the time our children have children, we can still be their first teachers on how to balance the craziness of babies, toddlers, and quiet time.

Blessing to you this Thursday. Be grateful you that you are losing your life to your family in order to save it.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Hot Dog it's Lent!

Gospel Reading today Mathew 6:1-6, 16-18
"Make certain you do not perform your religious duties in public so that people will see what you do. If you do these things publicly, you will not have any reward from your Father in heaven. Mathew 6:1

Happy & Blessed Ash Wednesday to you all! I am so excited today is Ash wednesday because that means we have a new beginning! A fresh start in becoming holier and drawing closer to Christ during this lenton season. As of late, I have been down on myself about some of the things I have done and some of my interior thoughts and outer actions. However, this morning as I sat in Mass and looked up at the Crucifix, I was reminded of how merciful Jesus is and how he is constantly calling us to forgive ourselves. Lent is a reminder that we always have a fresh start through His mercy and Grace. What awesome news this day!

The gospel today reminds me that in motherhood, we are constantly fasting.....fasting from selfishness. The holy work we do and the humble sacrifices we make are hidden in our quiet (sometimes very loud) homes. We are not out on the side of the road with huge signs saying "look at me!"...."look at the work I do each day in raising these children!". We humbly offer our joys, works and sufferings up to the Lord each day as we do this very hard, selfless, exhausting task of motherhood. Our rewards are abundant in Heaven....Father John Corapi says mothers have the highest places in Heaven prepared for them for the work they do on earth.

So today, don't beat yourself up on trying to go serve in soup kitchens or trying to save the world during this lenton season. Remember you perform an act of fasting everyday. The other fasting you perform this lenton season, be it fasting on bread and water or from chocolate, can be an added bonus to help you grow in holiness. This lenton season I am going to try to do less complaining and more praising in the midst of this chaotic vocation called Motherhood. More smiling and less frowning, more laughter and less crying. More singing and less screaming. More dancing and less sulking. All for the Glory of God!

Blessings to you this Ash Wednesday!

Monday, February 15, 2010

Walking on Holy Grounds.....Your Home.

Gospel reading today Mark 8:11-13
"And he sighed deeply in his spirit, and said, 'Why does this generation seek a sign? Truly, I say to you, no sign shall be given to this generation." Mark 8:12

This morning as I prayed the gospels (the joyful mysteries of the rosary), I meditated on humility. The greatest gift to mankind was born of a humble servant. The king was born in the most humble of humble places....a barn that was adorned with smelly hay and animals. The earthly father of the King was a humble and poor carpenter who was overwhelmed with responsibilty of caring for Jesus, the son of man, and his mother that would someday be Queen of Heaven. This was the beginning of showing mankind that humility is the greatest virtue we can carry here on earth.....for our greatest teacher Jesus was humble from the very beginning of His life. After pondering these beautiful thoughts and life lessons, we arrive in our world today. A world filled with pride and arrogance. I am reminded how much we are all like the Pharisees, demanding a "sign" from the Heavens in order to truly believe and live a humble life. While waiting for the sign, we are consumed with chasing worldy, nice things, climbing the corporate ladder, exceptance, acknowledgement.....all things that are filled with pride which is the opposite of Christ's teaching, humility.

I believe motherhood is one of the most humble vocations on earth. We humble ourselves before the Lord and say "yes" to growing God's child in our womb and committing to God to raise His child the best we can to prepare her for eternity. Because it is such a humble duty where we lay down our lives for others (our family), so many women turn from the humble duties of motherhood to earthly desires and successes. In a world that continues to become more prideful, the humble vocation of motherhood starts to diminish. Mothers who humbly give themselves to their families are not waiting for a "sign" like the pharisees. We are trusting in God that our work that we do day in and day out is for a higher purpose. We are not living for this world, but living for the things above. We are humbling ourselves before the Lord each and every day crying out, "Lord, let your will be done in me." For this, we will have a special place prepared for us in Heaven. For we are humbly caring for God's flock and not chasing "things" that will waste away. We are chasing toddlers that will eventually become disciples for Christ and live eternally in God's kingdom.

So today, know the work you are doing is the greatest work on earth. Yes, it is a mundane monday but in Heaven's eyes it is a holy monday where you, as a mother, have been given a gift this very day. To be in the presence of Christ by being in the presence of His children. You are walking on Holy grounds.....the floors of your home....your "mini-Nazareth".

Blessings to you this Holy Monday!

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Weekend Post: The Other Baby (our bread baking business)

Here is the final four part of our story.....the other side of how God has strengthened my faith. You can catch up by reading part 1-3 from the past three weekends. Have a blessed weekend!

As days and weeks went on, the wholesale business continued to grow out our back door. Sales were easy, but keeping up with production in our tiny kitchen was tough. Hiring and training employees was exhausting. On top of that, Clint was baking, taking care of books, increasing sales and delivering bread. You name it, he did it all the while keeping up with production of the café. I will never forget one night our head baker that had been with us for 2 years didn’t show up for work. Clint then went on to work 72 hours straight. I knew at that point something had to change….Clint couldn’t keep going on anymore. The balance of the café and wholesale was taking a toll on Clint, our family and our business. The breaking point was when he was asleep on top of flour sacks one morning in the bakery kitchen. I knew at that moment we had to shut our retail doors. In June 2006, with heavy yet peaceful hearts, we closed our café doors. Clint moved excitingly forward with growing the wholesale business. Pregnant with our second baby, I was content to be at home with children and not have the stress of a retail café.

Growing the wholesale the past four years continues to be hard. There were times we thought we needed to close shop and move on. Everyone else getting paid but us continues to wear on us but we have gotten use to it. We have learned to be content in putting money back into the bakery and helping it grow. We have also learned that everything will work out, even when we haven’t received checks from our customers and we have no money to pay our employees. Somehow, someway, the check rolls in just in time and we take a deep breath and keep going. Keeping employees happy, keeping accounts receivable and payable balanced has been a struggle along with Clint continuing to work long hours. But we are hopeful that our business will continue to grow and succeed. The path has been and continues to be more difficult than we could have ever imagined. But we wouldn’t trade what we have learned and been through together for the world. We now have three healthy children who love to go see daddy at the bakery and get their hands on some dough. We take such joy in knowing everyday that thousands of people are eating our bread. That alone makes it all worth it along with knowing that no matter what happens, we have taken that road less traveled. Is it an easy road? NO! But is it a road full of memories, wisdom, growth, love and lots of tears and laughter? YES! And if we had to do it all over again, well at this point, probably not! We hope to continue to grow the business and touch people’s lives with what our children say is…”goooood bread!”

I like to say that we our pioneers of the 21st century. Clint comes from a long line of French family who settled in Louisiana & Arkansas. They loved to cook and hunt and this is our only explanation for Clint’s talents….it is strictly in his blood. He was given a wonderful legacy of good food from Louisiana ancestors and great duck hunting from his French ties in Arkansas.

I never knew my great grandparents who settled on the Texas Plains in 1904 and who gave me a wonderful legacy; however, I have come to know them in a strange way through our struggles of being entrepreneurs. Although the times are different now and not near as hard, Clint and I can relate to Granddad and Granny Venneman through the hard times of stepping out in faith and going for our dreams, just as they did over 100 years ago. They drove horses and a wagon with their baby girl across the Midwest to Texas. Granddad built a two-room house on the rugged plains for his family, where Granny made their clothes from the flour sacks she used for baking bread. She churned butter on horseback on her way to the mailbox, which was 10 miles away. They faced the dust bowl, where most people packed up and moved away because it was so horrific, but they persevered. Because they went for their dreams and didn’t give up, my family enjoys and holds dear to our hearts an amazing Texas legacy as well as a nice way of living on the 100 year old working cattle ranch. This is our hope for our little family. To give them something that is being lost in today’s times…..roots and a strong foundation. Hopefully our grandkids and great grandkids will look back at our hard times, struggles and perseverance and find inspiration and hope. This is the best gift we can give our children. Little did you know this all ties into baking bread for you.

Thanks for letting us share our story thus far. As the years go on, I will keep on writing……about a divine intervention, falling in love, chasing dreams, being flat broke, laughing at mistakes, and just being plain crazy.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Pray & Believe

Gospel Reading today Mark 7:31-37
"He even causes the deaf to hear and the mute to speak!" Mark 7:37

I just experienced a breath of Heaven on earth just now. We got 9-11 inches of snow and our busy street is deathly quiet. The trees are covered gently with snow....even the tiny little branches. The trees blend in with the gray sky as if we are one with the heavens. There is not a soul to be seen or a noise to be heard....just complete peace. I could have stood out there for hours. I pray every morning, as I lift up my intentions of the rosary, for world peace. I just experienced a bit of world peace today. It is in the little miracles each day that God proves to us He is listening and calls us to continue to pray and believe.

Today in the gospel I am again reminded to continue to pray and believe that my son, Benjamin, will be healed of his hearing loss. I am at complete peace with his impairment and know that God designed him perfectly. But that doesn't mean I can't pray for him to be healed of his impairment. This is why I take Ben to receieve the Sacrament of the annointing of the sick on occassion. This is why I include this prayer in my intentions with the daily rosary. I also want to take him on a pilgrimage to Medjugorie to be healed. Just as Jesus healed the deaf mute in the gospel, His power is still working in us today. Why couldn't Ben be healed if I pray and believe?

So this morning, whatever "impairment" you or your family member are facing, pray and believe firmly that you will be healed. What is faith if we can't ask for our innermost yearnings? Look for the peace of heaven in your midst today.....I bet you will find your child's eyes, in the new fallen snow, in your toddler's giggles....there you will find a little slice of heaven.

Blessings to you this Friday!

Thursday, February 11, 2010


Gospel Reading today 7:24-30
"Blessed are they who observe justice, who do righteousness at all times!" Psalms 106:3-4

It is loving the Cross that one finds one heart, for Divine Love cannot live without suffering.-- St. Bernadette

I can't write much this morning as my children are up extra early and wanting to build a snowman at 6:10 AM. Lord, help me get through this day!
It seems everywhere I turn, people are going through such hard times. I have come to realize there is just not alot you can say to console a person when they are in the "trenches". I think it really is between them and God. However, if you are going through a hard time right now, I encourage you to listen to I just listened to the recent post about why people go through hard times. Deacon Tim from upstate NY will explain some of the reasons people go through hard times and how to discern which reason might be causing you such grief. One of the thoughts that I thought was interesting, as we all chase worldly success, is that he said God might keep you from having a successful career to protect you from a deadly disease called Pride. We live in a world where the top self-help books are preachers preaching on "Live your Best Life", which is preaching that God wants you to be financially successful and God wants your life to be blissful. This is a dangerous way of thinking because it sets you up for feeling like a failure in God's eyes. All God cares about is your Great Conversion and getting you to Heaven. And alot of times, great conversions take place through hard times. Which means, through your hard times you are achieving eternal success. The only thing I have been told over and over by reading scripture and listening to amazing faith leaders such as Father Corapi and Father Robert Barron is that hard times produce great faith. This life on earth is so short and it really all boils down to your path to heaven. Hard times is when God is at His greatest work in you. That is why all of the saints suffered greatly....because through hard times, a person shares the cross of Christ which draws you nearer and nearer to Jesus. As you look back at the "old you", don't you see a "better you" through your struggles? This is proof that God is at work making your life more fruitful and prosperous in Heaven's sight.

Off to bundle my kids up to go play in the it only 6:30 AM?

Blessings to you this Thursday!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010


Gospel Reading today Mark 7:14-23
"It is what comes out of a person that makes him unclean. For from the inside, from a person's heart, come the veil ideas which lead him to do immoral things..deceit, indecency, jealousy, slander, pride and folly- all these evil things come from inside a person and make him unclean." Mark 7:20-23

If you think about it as mothers, we are constantly keeping things clean. In one day, we clean faces, wipe little baby bottoms, wash hands, clean tables, wash dishes, wash clothes, give baths, wipe toilet seats, sweep the floor (umpteen times), brush teethes, brush hair, and the list goes on of our daily "cleaning" duties. This is precisely why our work everyday is holy....for we are keeping the ones under our care CLEAN! As we think nobody ever helps us stay clean, we are wrong. Everyday, the Holy Spirit is helping us stay clean through the sacrifices we perform everyday for our family. Through the "dirty" work of motherhood, we are being cleansed. We are being made holy. There is no other work on earth that measures up to the cleansing of motherhood. A friend of mine has an aunt who is a nun and when she came to stay in her home, the nun told her that all of the work of a nun does not compare to the work of a mother. Powerful words for sure!!

As we are constantly keeping our little rugrats clean, today let's look deep in our hearts and find where we need to "clean house". What is keeping you from becoming more holy? Are you jealous of a friend's plush way of life? Are you bitter towards your husband? Are you consumed with the way you look? Are you consumed with materialism and wanting more? Are you consumed with being perfect? Whatever it is today, clean out those worries in your heart or idea of a better life. Look deep within and find Jesus and look at your family and realize at that moment you have everything you need. We have a jump start to holiness through motherhood. Nurture and tend to the holiness you perform everyday and strive to become more holy. The outcome will be far more than you every could think of or dream of. For you will be at peace and get a taste of living heaven here on earth. In turn, your children will yearn for holiness through your content heart and loving eyes.

"He is generous even to exhaustion; and what is most wonderful is, that He gives Himself thus entirely, not once only, but every day, if we wish it."
-- St. Ignatius of Loyola

Sound familiar? Thought she was talking about you? Funny how she is talking about Jesus and it relates so much to motherhood. Perfect example of the holiness in the work we is the Holy Spirit's best work and how blessed we are that it is through motherhood!

Blessings to you this Wednesday!

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Letting God Take the Reigns in Motherhood

Gospel Reading today Mark 7:1-13
"These people, says God, honor me with their words, but their heart is really far away from me, because they teach man-made rules as though they were my laws!" Mark 7:6-8

Do we get so caught up in rules that we completely miss the boat? Is Jesus and His disciples waving at us in the boat as we stand on the shore? How do we know what is right and wrong? I struggle with a few teachings of the Catholic Faith and I am sure anyone reading this of another denomination probably feels the same about their church as well. But I heard it put perfectly about the teaching of the Catholic faith....we are like young children not wanting to listen to their parents and think that we know better. This is true with our faith....our faith knows best just as our parents knew what was best in raising us. But do some of us get so caught up in the teaching of the faith that we aren't living the faith as best as we can? These are all just questions I have that I am throwing out there. As far as motherhood goes, do we look at the rules and regulations through books instead of looking to God to lead us the best we can in teaching and disciplining our children? I think we do get so caught up in man-made rules that we forget with have the most loving and wisest teacher right in our midst....our Heavenly Father. If only we call upon Him to help us and guide us in our vocation of motherhood, we can be more at peace each in every day by living out our vocation the best we can. I think sometimes we just have to "toss" all of these dad blame rules and look within our heart for the surest, most honest teaching. I know there has to be law of some sort in everything here on earth, but if we don't watch it, we can become so consumed with following the law that we really do miss the boat that Jesus is on. Let Him help us to take everything we hear or read with a grain of salt and ask the Lord to guide our hearts to truth and wisdom. I am going to do that very thing today with my life. I am going to step aside and let Jesus take the reigns in this task of motherhood. I am going to take back seat today and see what happens. (I am sure it will be alot more in control and peaceful for sure!)

Blessings to you this Tuesday!

Monday, February 8, 2010

Calling All Mothers to do the Technology Detox

Today's Gospel Reading
"And when they got out of the boat, immediately the people recognized him, and ran about the whole neighborhood and began to bring sick people on their pallets to any place where they heard he was." Mark 6:53-56

So much is on my heart this morning. Through fasting and confession last week, my mind has been opened and my heart cleansed at the clutter that has taken hold of my life as of late. As I have struggled with detoxing of technology and the craziness in my life, I read the gospel this morning and realize how bombarded Jesus must have felt from all of the people wanting to touch his cloak and be saved. Our children do the same to us...constanly tug at our "cloaks" and cry out to us to save them from their sibling, hold them when they are tired and nourish their minds and spirits through our touch. As we are such a "public figure" in our homes, Jesus was such a public figure here on earth and I am sure he felt very overwhelmed at times just like we do as mothers. How did Jesus differentiate what was from His father and what wasn't from his father? First of all, He didn't turn away from His children. He wasn't focused on cleaning fish or carpentry so much that He tuned them out. Jesus was available to His children. I believe that is how we discern what is from the Lord and what isn't is our availablity to our family.

I have realized alot this past week...mostly that technology in our culture can be a sickness if you let it. We all become immune of how addicted our culture is to technology but when you open your eyes to the sickness, you start seeing how tainted this sickness really is. This past week I have watched how everyone has their phone constantly in their hands, next to their plate at lunch with a friend, talking while driving, in their purse at church. A phone is what our culture clings to. Especially the young...if they don't have their phone right next to them, they are lost and feel naked. The computer is the other "bug" going around to cause such sickness. People are addicted to the internet. As a mother at home doing the mundane daily chores or breaking up fights, it is easy to get away from the mundane and nourish your wonder by surfing the web, checking email...but this is tainted I believe. Everything in moderation is key. I don't want my children to see me on the computer all of the time or on the phone and as of late it was getting out of hand. Therefore, the Lord opened my eyes and I am simplifying my life. I have unplugged my home phone, I have put up my laptop to only check email once a day during rest time. I put my cell phone in my purse behind my seat in the car. I might not respond to an email or return a phone call for days....but I will be at peace knowing my children and husband have my 100% attention. I am anxious to see if there is less whining and fighting and more giggles and laughter with my children having their mother "in tune" to them verses tuned to other things. Satan is very sly and his work is a slow rott. I believe technology can be a wonderful writing or reading a spiritual blog such as this one or finding a good recipe online to cook for your family, or keeping in touch with friends and family via emai. However, technology can be like a bad habit that you are addicted to. If we don't get a handle on this as mothers, it is going to slowly rott on our families. I urge all of you to do the Technology Cleanse and seek to live a more simple life. In turn, our families will be healthier for this. For we are their first teachers and if they see us talking on the phone all of the time or on the computer, they will do the same. Let's fight against this war on the family and one of the main weapon is detoxing ourselves and our family from the sickness of technology.

So all my dear friends who might be reading this, you might have to come knock at my front door if you really need to talk. I will welcome you with open arms. But I have a family to take care of and this is my first and foremost priorty. Answering emails and returning phone calls is just going to have to take back seat.

The little daily lesson: to keep soberly and quietly in His Presence, trying to turn every little action on His Will; and to praise and love through cloud and sunshine is all my care and study.

-- St. Elizabeth Ann Seton

Blessings to you all this Monday!

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Weekend Post: The Other Baby (our bread baking business)

Here is part three of the other side of my life. You can catch up on part one and two from the past two weekends.

After the hard times in Amarillo, we decided to treat ourselves to an upscale loft in the heart of the Dallas scene. We nurtured our marriage and had fun cooking gourmet meals and drinking lots of good wine at night. I was working for an interior design firm and Clint was plunging through learning the mortgage business. Not by choice, by necessity. After several months, the mortgage business started taking a downward turn. “Again”? I would ask myself? “His job is not working out, again?” As I was becoming a little bitter that my husband was not happy (again) with his job, I found Clint watching out the window one morning. He said, “look how cool that is..”. It was an Empire Baking Co. (who now is our competition) delivery truck unloading fresh bread to a café. I thought to myself “don’t you even think about it…”. A week or two later, he was on his way home in bumper to bumper traffic and called me and told me he can’t quite thinking about opening up a bakery. I was hesitant at first but then started praying for God’s will. Several weeks went by and I was on my way to install drapery and Clint was having troubles with his boss and it just hit me like a ton of bricks! What do we have to lose? I called Clint and said, “pack up your desk…we are opening up a bakery!”. He said, “seriously?” And that was all I had to say. Two months later, he was at the San Francisco Baking Institute and we were scheduled to open our very own bakery after his return. We had no idea what we were getting into. The saying holds true that ignorance is bliss. We had four things on our side. A dream, passion, hard work ethic, and strong faith.

We designed the bakery of our dreams and worked hard day and night finishing out the space, laying the hard wood floors board by board and staining the floors on our hands and knees. A 1940’s style bakery with butter yellow walls, warm wood floors, a carerra marble counter with fresh pastries displayed on crisp white platters. Black and white photos of our family from the 40’s adorned the walls along with schoolhouse pendants giving a light glow from the ceilings. Old framed menu chalkboards hung above the countertops with a list of all of our made from scratch baked goods. The smells of fresh bread bellowed out into the dining area from the tiny hot kitchen. Frank Sinatra was to play lightly as people sipped on their cappuccino and bit into their flaky croissants. The morning we opened our doors in March 2004, Clint had been up all night cooking and baking. We didn’t think we were ready to open but Clint’s dad said we would never be ready and we just had to do it. About an hour before we opened, I found Clint in the bathroom sobbing. He was scared to death. He looked up at me with tears streaming down his face and said, “what if we don’t make it?” I embraced him and told him he was already a huge success by having so much courage opening his own business to share his passion with others. I will never forget that morning as long as I live. This was the beginning of the seesaw of lifting one up while the other one was down through hard and grueling times ahead.

Weeks went by and we couldn’t keep the counters full of fresh baked goods. Long lines spilling out our doors for lunch made us excited and nervous at the same time. We were only a three-man show; Clint in the kitchen and me and one employee up front. How would we ever keep up was the burning question in our hearts. Clint was getting no sleep and we were both exhausted, working 16-20 hours a day. We lived in a tiny one-bedroom apartment where we were only there for a few hours to eat a large pizza in bed and fall asleep watching the Food Network. I remember, as Clint would get out of bed at 1 am to go start breads, my body would ache and my mind was full of worry. How in the world could he keep going?

Every morning in five short hours in the bakery kitchen, Clint would produce, all by himself the entire amount of product we would sell that day. From an assortment of artisan breads such as sourdough, baguettes, multigrain bread, batards, ciabatta, jalapeño cheddar to a variety of croissants done the right way…pain au chocolate & pain au jambon. These were complicated procedures of mixing, proofing and baking off just right. Fresh cranberry scones, bran and blueberry muffins, cinnamon rolls, granola, three different kinds of quiches would also be made from scratch at the same time. While this was all going on, Clint would have a large pot of chicken stock boiling for a homemade soup of the day. He skimped on no ingredients or procedures and that is why people couldn’t get enough of our product.

Many mornings I would be tying on my apron, walking into the back kitchen while the sun was coming up. I had already drank my coffee and said my fervant prayers, begging the Lord to get us through another day. I will never forget one morning when I smelled the strongest scent of my Grandma Fanny's kitchen as I was walking in. It brought me to tears and I knew at that moment she was with us, helping us get through the dog days of starting a business. For she knew hard times of being a farmer's wife in the dust bowl days. She worked endless hours on the farm and she was my strength many many mornings through the smell of her tiny farm kitchen. I would lift my teary eyes to the sunrise and say, "thank you, Grandma Fanny. I love you."

I felt my ancestors so strong through those tough times. I would sweep the bakery floors exhausted at night while I listened to old music that reminded me of the farm. I would stare at the 1940's pictures of my family and would get an overwhelming feeling of peace. For I knew they were with us, praying for us, and so very proud of us. I found such courage and strength through those photos, for I was reminded of the hard times they endured on the Texas Plains. I felt so blessed I had such strong and deep family roots. I realized what a gift that was and could only pray someday my grandchildren and great grandchildren would find strength and courage through mine and Clint's legacy of what we hope to leave behind. I also have a soft heart for the pregant women who have to work on their feet. I sometimes cry when I see a pregnant woman tired and working. I know exactly how she feels. I worked every day until I was nine months pregnant. Twelve hours on my feet was brutal. I will never forget falling into bed at 3 months pregnant so tired I cried my eyes out. In the afternoons when I was further along, I would sit on a chair and sweep because I just couldn't stand anymore. I would be bent over the kitchen sink washing stacks of dishes and praying that my baby was okay. I have such an apreciation of what the women of the past did...they cared for their families, grew babies in their wombs all while working hard day in and day out. They didn't have a choice, just like I didn't have a do what you have to do, period. This is the exact reason why the women before us were so much tougher and stronger...I saw this in my Great Aunt Clementine when she was dying. That woman was tough because of what she had to endure growing up in the Great depression. Nothing was easy for her.

We ran into several hurdles each and every day because of starting our business on a dime. We would be so tired and bogged down that we wouldn’t get our inventory list correct and would run out of product right in the middle of the lunch hour. As Clint would have more bread in the oven, we would have a line out the door and he would be dashing to the store to grab more chips and tomatoes. Then he would get back in a hurry and almost a heart attack and our sweet little 18-year-old employee would giggle and tell Clint we were out of ice. That might be one of the worst feelings….people standing there waiting for their drinks when you realize there are no more bags of ice in the freezer. This went on for two years. Somehow we were making money & every time we turned around there was another article written about our business. Things were going well but we were tired and getting a little burned out. We had NO time off…ever. Even on Sunday mornings we would nod off in church as we knew that might be our only tiny nap before we had to go directly to the bakery kitchen to take inventory, clean, and go to the store to get groceries for the week. In the meantime of all of the chaos, Clint had started a wholesale business out the back door of our bakery. Restaurants and delis had come to us needing good bread and we couldn’t pass up the business so that is how our wholesale business was born. On a hot summer day in July, I was riding around with Clint in our white Ford Explorer that had 180,000 miles on it delivering bread to restaurants and hotels in Dallas. I was due any day with our firstborn. I started going into labor while delivering bread and the next morning our son was born! Back at the bakery Jacque Braun and Lauren Hazledine, our sweet employees, came up with Ben’s BLT sandwich that was later one of our best selling items on the menu!

As the chaos of our lives continued, we needed more room with our growing family; therefore, we bought a home and renovated it. Clint would get home from the bakery and lay hard wood floors & crown molding as well as paint. We were doing only what we knew we had to do….survive. Balancing a baby and the bakery was extremely hard but we somehow plunged through and didn’t know any different. There is so much wisdom to be learned from the ways of the past. I came to know the reason why people use to live above their business. You live, eat, sleep, breathe a small business (especially a bakery). I still ran the front of the café with Ben in the back kitchen half the time and the other half he was passed around from customer to customer. One morning, I served 45 customers with Ben in a Baby Bjorn (a papoose type thing). No wonder I thought motherhood was not what it was cracked up to be! Everything I knew, was the absolute hardest way. Through these hard times, our faith and our marriage became rock Clint described it, "our roots were growing deep into the ground. And although our tree was new and small, it would be big and strong someday because of the deep roots that were presently growing through a cold and windy storm".
To Be Continued....

Friday, February 5, 2010


Gospel reading today 6:14-29
Psalms 119:9-16
"With all my heart I try to serve the Lord....I delight in following your commands more than in having great wealth." Psalms 119:10,14

The gospel reading today is about John the Baptizer's head being served on a platter.....that reading just baffles my mind every time. On a much lighter note, I decided to write the reflection for today on Psalms. Yesterday I had a nice conversation with Father Richard and he reminded me that the greatest work we do is serving our family. He was glad to hear that Clint and I go on dates regularly, for taking care of your marriage should be first and foremost priorty. He also said the best way to grow in holiness is in serving your family. He described how Jesus came into a messy world and He served gladly and died for us willingly. "We were worth saving!" he said with a smile. He said it is in the messiness of family life where the greatest work on earth is accomplished. Through our willingness to serve and to give our lives for our families, we are growing in holiness and paving our pathway as well as our husband and children's pathway to Heaven. There is no more important work than that!

I am also reminded in Psalms today, that in giving our lives for our families, we sometimes have to "give up" worldy pleasures and possessions ....the wealth of the world. But in giving up wealth in the world's eyes, we are gaining the wealth of wisdom and holiness. I would much rather have those two things in the "bank" verses the green paper that will eventually whither away. No wealth on earth measures up to the beautiful sacrifice of a mother laying down her life for her family. Just a sweet reminder today in the mundane of motherhood....

Blessings to you this Friday!

Thursday, February 4, 2010


Gospel Reading today Mark 6:7-13
"And if any place will not receive you and they refuse to hear you, when you leave, shake off the dust that is on your feet...."

There are very few times I read the gospel and have a hard time linking the reading to our vocation in motherhood. This one has been a little hard this morning.... As mothers, if our children do not hear us and refuse to listen, we can't shake the dust off our feet and forget about just doesn't work that way in Motherhood! However, I am reminded today through the gospel that our children can learn from us to "shake the dust of their feet" when someone doesn't treat them right or when they stand up for the truth. A person can not continue to be sugary sweet to someone when that particular person doesn't do what is right and treats you and your family with disrespect. We are called to stand up for truth and it is SO hard sometimes. Confrontation is not an easy thing to do. It is so much easier to look the other way and to not say a word. But if we are going to live the gospels, we are called to speak the truth and if the person doesn't listen we are to "shake the dust of our feet" and leave knowing we stood for the truth and they did not except. I have a hard time with this one because we are also told in the gospel to turn the other cheek and to be peacemakers. But I believe we have to stand up and speak out if there is someone who is disrespecting a family member. You never know through speaking the truth, if that particular person will "not listen" but internally is listening. We also have to show our love and devotion for our family members (even outside our nucleus family)by standing up for them.

We want our children to stand firm in their faith and by learning from us "to shake the dust off our feet" by standing for truth. We also need to teach them after speaking the truth to continue going about their business by not dwelling on the situation. This will teach them a valuable lesson in life....possibly a survival method in today's world.

Blessings to you this Thursday!

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Living the faith in your little "home" town

Gospel reading today Mark 6:1-6
"Where did he get all this?" Mark 6:1

The gospel reading today talks about how you can't be a prophet in your own home town. When Jesus went back to Nazareth to preach, everyone rejected Him. I relate the gospel today to Mothers and Fathers who don't live the faith yet send their children to Christian schools or Sunday school. They know deep down in their hearts that they need to be teaching their children about the faith, yet they want someone else to do it. So the parents are comforted when they know that their children are getting some what of a "christian foundation" taught by someone else. However, when the parents go to teach their children when it is too late about right from wrong, dark from light, the children might look to them as the people of Nazareth looked at Jesus and say "where did you get all of this? How can you tell me to do as Jesus did, when I hardly know Jesus?"

I don't want to place judgement upon anybody. This is simply the truth and reality. If the faith is not lived by the parents, the children will not come to know the faith. If you don't go to church on sunday yet send your children to a faith formation class during the week or send them to a christian school, they will not "digest" the message fully from their other teachers because their first teachers (their parents) are not teaching them. So as mothers, we want our children to not be "hometown onlookers" of being surprised in middle school when we try to teach them about Jesus and following the light. They will look at us like the hometown people of Nazareth looked at Jesus and say "who the heck our you trying to tell me about Jesus?"

So today, teach your children about living the faith in all that you do. Ask for forgiveness when you slip up and yell out in frustration. Show your excitement about keeping holy the Lord's day. Don't wait until it is too late to teach your kids about the faith and don't expect someone else to teach your children the most important lesson you could ever teach them....the foundation of their faith.

Blessings to you this Wednesday!

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

A Mother's Delicate Heart

Gospel Reading today Luke 2:22-30
"And sorrow like a sharp sword will break your heart." Luke 2:35

My 18 month old was up early coughing so she sat with me while I drank coffee and prayed the rosary this morning. As I watched how preciuos she was giving her baby doll a bottle and "talking" to her baby, I thought I wouldn't trade this very moment for the world. A perfect gift before my sweet, innocent, protected, delicate, and pure as heaven. As I meditated on the fourth sorrowful mystery of the rosary, Jesus carrying the cross, I was reminded of the image in the movie, The Passion of Christ, where Jesus falls down the second time when carrying His cross. Mother Mary begins running towards Him and has a flash back of running towards Jesus when he fell down as a child. As I looked at Anna Claire, I cherished in my heart that very moment and thought to myself how precious these times are before one day we have to help our children carry their crosses in life. As I help Benjamin, my four year old son, carry his cross daily with his hearing impairment, I know the struggles and heartache of helping your child carry their cross. And this is nothing compared to the big huge heavy crosses that my children might bear when they are older.

Just as Mary's heart was pierced by a sword at the death of her son, our hearts, too, may be pierced with a sword some day. That is why this time while they are little is SO precious. A time that is so sweet and blissful for their little souls. Relish in this time and let your heart embrace this season of your life, so if for some reason your heart is pierced, you will remember these precious times and know you enjoyed it and did not rush it away. You relished in it and did not wish for them to be older. You were present to them and did not hand them off to someone else to go and do bigger and better things. Your hands picked them up with each fall and they rested in your arms when they wered tired, sick or scared. Then, when you or when your child leaves this time on earth, you will know you did everything you could do to love them with every ounce of love that you had in your heart. And if your heart is pierced with a sword, you will have hope in Christ and the blood poured out of your heart will be only love and thanksgiving...not dispair and regret.

Blessings to you this Tuesday!

Monday, February 1, 2010

"Charity begins in the Home"

Today's Gospel Reading Mark 5:1-20
"...the man begged of Jesus, 'let me go with you!', but Jesus would not let him go. 'Instead', Jesus told him, 'go back home to your family and tell them how much the Lord has done for you and how kind he has been to you'."

I experienced something amazing on friday night. I was asked by the youth director of our church to speak to the teens at an over night confirmation retreat about my love for the Blessed Mother. When she asked, I immediately wanted to say no because I would be speaking around 11:00 PM. That is way past my bed time and I have to wake up and care for little ones early on saturday morning because my husband has to check on things at the bakery. As much as I wanted to say no, I remembered I had dreamed about being confirmed the night before she asked. So of course, I knew I had to be obedient to the Lord. I dreaded it all day friday and at 8:00 when my children were nestled in their beds, all I wanted to do was go crawl in bed with my hubby and snuggle and watch fox news or a movie. (i know that sounds boring, but crawling in bed is my favorite time of the day!) But I kept offering my sacrifice up as a prayer. So in a nutshell, the Holy Spirit was so present as I spoke and I was moved to tears afterwards. The youth gathered around the candle lit alter and the youth minister said the most moving prayer. As I watched these teens touched by the Holy Spirit, all I could think about was how I wished I could be involved in the youth ministry. However, I was reminded I have a family to take care of first. So my point this morning is linked to the gospel, when this man wanted to go with Jesus but Jesus said to spread the good news to his family first. As much as we yearn to be really involved in a ministry outside our homes, we have to remember our greatest ministry is being the care taker of our home and family. As Mother Teresa would say (i think it was her) "Charity begins at home". We will have plenty of time in our lives when our children are older to be involved with other ministries. A little here in there is great, but we can't leave our families to dive into something else.

So rest in knowing you are doing more than you can imagine for the Kingdom of God by loving and caring for your family. You have a full blown ministry right under your roof. Dive in and give it your all!

Blessings to you this Monday!