By My Own Free Will Catholic

I am, by my own free will, Catholic. Catholic among people who often see being Catholic as proof that I am enslaved.  I am Catholic everywhere and in every interest. It means that in areas of interest where the norm is secular, neo-pagan, or a hodgepodge of whatever the individual cobbled together for a personal religion, I stand rather alone in my adherence to Catholicism, with the deposit of faith given us by God, maintained by God through the Church, and properly interpreted for application by that Church and no other.

My husband asked me the other day why, when I so clearly enjoyed my time in a meeting of St. Vincent de Paul, why I spend time with the Society for Creative Anachronism? I found myself explaining that what I love about the group at the parish is our shared Catholicism and the work the group is doing to try and fulfill the commandments of Christ. We have that in common– and little else. Lovely people, but my passion for studying the history of the 10th century Eastern Romans eludes them. On the other side, those people in the SCA understand my passion for history, and a lot of other other geeky sorts of things, but they do not share my Faith.

So it is very nice to participate in a ministry at Church where being Catholic is understood properly and shared, but it hardly replaces having friends who share my interests.  If your interests are uncommon, you will find less over-lap between groups.  What is more, if you are a geek, many of the people who share those other interests will be uncomfortable the moment they find out you are Catholic.  Fear is the fastest response, fear that I am there to judge them or to try and force my religion down their throats, and leads to unpleasantness.

Usually the first unpleasantness will be a demand of one sort or another to deny some known aspect of my religion.  It would be unthinkable for any of them to demand that a neo-pagan give up any portion of their religious beliefs, but somehow it is essential that I be forced to give up mine.  My failure to deny any aspect of my religion generally leads to a anger, generally suppressed. I am not unaware of the undercurrent of negativity over who I am and I participate anyway.

This is the reality in the modern world.

Dear Lord, thank You for the many interesting groups out there and thank You for the joy of shared Catholicism. May I never take the later for granted. +Amen.


Snarky Comments

Snarky Comments need not apply. Our moderators won’t post them. Now, if you actually have something to say that might contribute to a discussion of such ideas as those attitudes of the Saints who treat all events in their lives as having the will of God in them, and thus leading to their really laid back acceptance of difficulties and utter trust in God, then your comment is likely to be posted.

Insulting comments won’t be posted either.

Comments coming from persons whose name link goes nowhere will not be posted–even if they are good ones.

Disagreement gets posted if it is civil and appears to come from a real person.  The moderators decide what is civil.

Dear Lord, please help readers to think before they comment. +Amen.

The Attitude of Saints

I’ve been baffled by the serene attitude of saints who, no matter how odd a turn their lives take, are all, “it is God’s will for me” and they are all happy about it. I mean, REALLY? Who can be all cheerful about your plans blowing up in your face? Or a week of setbacks followed by showing up for an appointment only to find the professional forgot to write you in? And yet, for some odd reason, I felt a glimmer this week of why the Saints are so zen about unexpected turns.

This past week has been one of setbacks. My days went badly and I didn’t get so much done. I felt fairly unhappy about it and in the past I would have been livid. Yet I found myself feeling bad without getting mad.

Then today I arrived at an appointment and the professional had actually forgotten to pencil me in when we made the appointment and I write it into my planner as we talked about how I liked using one. And I was OK with it, and took it as an opportunity to enjoy my book before my visit to the chiropractor.  I had my plan, it went awry, and the result was very nice.

Now, would I have been so calm if the result was NOT so nice? Probably not, it isn’t like I have developed that degree of virtue, but maybe if I can see a setback with a nice result as God’s will intervening in my plans, then I will eventually gain some sort of calm trust about it when it isn’t nice.

Dear Lord, thank you for the example of the Saints. Help us to lean on You and trust You when our plans get knocked off course. +Amen.

2016–so far

I read back over my blog posts from this year and think, “Wow, so much ambition, and so little accomplished.” This is only partly true. I haven’t lived up to my plan to blog more. Thought about it a lot but didn’t DO it.  I did a lot though, just nothing I’d planned.

We now have an American Heritage Girls Troop at our parish. This required a LOT of work by an amazing group of ladies who make up our ministry team. I’m honored to have spent this year working on this project with them. I have a lot of hope for the program. Although I am feeling quite over-whelmed by all of it. Our parish even added us to the page for Ministries with all the other youth scouting type programs.

Delegation has been a skill I have gotten to practice. I find I can be very happy delegating once I recognize that something will be better done by another person. I have my strengths, and weaknesses. Acting as the Troop Coordinator for TX1860 has been a good opportunity to grow for me.  I am seeing my efforts pay off in the girls beginning to work together better and better, the Unit leadership is settling into their roles, and the program gradually take shape.

My book languishes. I have the unfortunate super power of avoiding anxiety.  If I feel even a little twinge of anxiety I will avoid whatever is causing that emotion. Unfortunately this means I avoid many things I love because I have become anxious about them.  It hardly matters what caused the emotion, the result is avoidance and I am NOT happy about it. I am also at a loss as to how to face it down and win. I’m in a nasty cycle.

I’m also avoiding turning in an application for a substitute teaching position, and the same application marked for wishing to be considered for a full time teaching position–or part time if I get to teach theology! I feel anxiety and then I compulsively avoid even though getting paid to teach one of my favorite subjects in the entire universe is a dream job. Again, NOT productive, really stupid, and stuck.

Turning in applications and editing manuscripts are both acts of Hope, and I am meditating on and praying for an increase in the virtue of Hope, and here I find myself struggling.  The up side is I am aware of what is going on, which I used to not even SEE, but this isn’t correcting the condition!  I see that God is working on me. Forcing me to face where I do not live the virtue of Hope. I’m praying about it because I suspect I’m in need of supernatural help to overcome this difficulty.

I did get the bridge camera. Love it, and for some reason am so busy I am not finding time to use it. What is worse, I have not taken family pictures in ages! I need to do more photos and get some sent around to family. Perhaps I need to do a Christmas photo, in which case, I need to buy some red shirts and get someone else to hold the camera so we are all in one shot.

Goals: application in, book editing happening, and photos to share from my camera!

Dear Lord, Thank you for the new good things in our lives, and please help us all to grow in the virtue of hope and act on it. +Amen.


Works of Teresa of Avila 1515-1582

TERESA OF AVILA:(1515-1582) Institute for Carmelite Studies Publications
I recommend: THE COLLECTED WORKS OF ST. TERESA OF AVILA, Vol. 1: Book of Her Life & Interior Castle, Vol. 2: The Way of Perfection, Vol. 3: Foundations, and COLLECTED LETTERS OF ST. TERESA OF AVILA: Vol.1 and Vol. 2.  The Study Editions are good too but I prefer the basic collection for reading without a pre-conceived opinion.

I suggest beginning with the Book of Her Life, and then reading the Collected Letters 1 & 2 to focus on a woman religious’ view of her life and world. She was quite familiar with the visitations and the inquisition. And her books were not always available, some being surpressed at times. She had relatives who were conversos, and thus eyed suspiciously by the inquisition. She is now a Doctor of the Church.  Her letters and autobiography are, to me, of the most historical significance for understanding the time in which she lived.

To understand her advice to Abbesses, the Way of Perfection is the work she wrote for her nuns. She, who had mystical visions, was not one to be impressed by them. I love her practical advice to abbesses on how to manage a nun who was having visions.

Her book on prayer, Interior Castle, has been read and re-read by many, and I doubt anyone has plumbed the full depth of what she meant in it. It was one of her books most often supressed.

Foundations traces her work of founding Monasteries of both men and women religious, seeking to return to the ancient interpretation of the Carmelite order, thus founding the Discalced. I found it highly significant that she did not consider the Carmelite order she was in wrong, but that she wanted a stricter version than the softened version of her day.  During the time she was abbess over her original order, she did not impose her Discalced rule, but instead urged them and guided them to live their own rule better.  She was friends with Bishops who participated in the Council of Trent and I often wonder how much did she know of the documents created by that council.

I admire Teresa of Avila greatly. She shows how a woman of her time, with intelligence and ideas of her own, lived within the confines of her time and place.

Books! Catholic Fiction and Non-Fiction

After enjoying a lovely conversation on religion and history, I promised to send a write-up of the books I had mentioned. Maggie, this post is for you. 🙂

Catholic and fun and history.

So, I will begin with the works of fiction I thought she would enjoy.

Declan Finn writes wild action adventures, in modern settings, but often with historical roots and themes.

The Pius Trilogy is my first suggestion. These are: A Pius Man, A Pius Legacy, and A Pius Stand.

In addition are books such as Pius Tales which are background short pieces on some characters, and Pius History which is the history behind the trilogy. Read them AFTER the stories or you might spoil some of the fun. Also, there are a lot of characters and you might want to take notes as mysterious figures show up in the story and who saw them, who knows whom, etc.

The same author put out the books IT WAS ONLY ON STUN, HONOR AT STAKE, and CODENAME:WINTERBORN.  The first was hysterically funny once you sorted out the characters. The second is about vampires in the modern day who “do not sparkle, they burn.” The Third is a thriller that I have not yet gotten to read, but I think I will enjoy it too.

I recommend Karian Fabian also.  Her Nuns are in religious service–in SPACE. She has a Catholic dragon private eye named Vern. And Neeta Lyffe is a zombie hunter. LOVED them.  I would start with GREATER TREASURES, a Dragoneye PI story. Then jump into NEETA LYFFE I LEFT MY BRAINS IN SAN FRANCISCO.  I am eagerly awaiting DISCOVERY, her newest book, which is about her space-faring Nuns.

On a more serious note: CHAMPIONS OF THE ROSARY is a new book out about the rosary, its history, significant historical figures, and a section on how to pray it effectively.  I particularly enjoyed the history section where the author traces the development of the elements that eventually became our modern Rosary. There is evidence for various prayers in particular forms in use earlier in period in certain circumstances and for certain populations. Cool book.


“Infinite Space, Infinite God II,” by Karina Fabian

Twelve science fiction stories featuring great adventure with a twist of faith.


Summary: Twelve science fiction stories featuring great adventure with a twist of faith. Infinite Space, Infinite God II spans the gamut of science fiction, from near-future dystopias to time travel to space opera, puzzles of logic to laugh-out-loud humor and against-the-clock suspense. A great read for any science fiction fan; a must-read for those seeking something new in their fiction.

If you enjoy science fiction that recognizes faith, especially the Catholic faith, as an integral part of human society, you’ll love ISIG II. However, Karina has another surprise coming in September: Discovery, the first Rescue Sisters novel, starring the three sisters of the Order of Our Lady of the Rescue as they travel to the edge of the solar system to explore an alien spacecraft.

To get all the news, plus chances to win prized, writing tips and great articles and stories from all her worlds, join her newsletter, FabianSpace.


Excerpt: In the glasses, Rita saw the screen before them—the ship, the ginger-root-shaped asteroid two hours away, the star field beyond that. Jupiter, she knew, was somewhere behind and below. Overlaid on the scene was a targeting reticule of double circle and cross-hairs, and to the lower right, a legend. She had enough time to notice the asteroid was called Guangzhou and had a small, automated mining station before she heard Ann call “Heads-up” to activate her own display. Ann muttered a couple of commands, and the tracking reticule began to move, widen and narrow to the movement of her eyes.

Annie spoke. “Interface systems green. I have control of the tow line. Ready when you are, Tommie.”

“Roger. Moving in slow and oblique. Lady of Loreto, pray for us.”

Bio: Winner of the 2010 INDIE for best Fantasy (Magic, Mensa and Mayhem), Karina Fabian has imagination that takes quirky twists that keep her–and her fans–amused. Nuns working in space, a down-and-out Faerie dragon working off a geas from St. George, zombie exterminators—there’s always a surprise in Fabian’s worlds. Mrs. Fabian teaches writing and book marketing seminars, but mostly is concerned with supporting her husband, Rob Fabian, as he makes the exciting leap from military officer to civilian executive, getting her kids through high school and college, and surviving daily circuit torture…er, circuit training. Read about her adventures at

Buy Link:

Tweet: Infinite Space, Infinite God II expands the role of faith thru the endless possibilities of the sci-fi genre


Dear Lord, thank You for the Catholic Writer’s Guild and inspire the writers into great productivity and bless their efforts, and meet their financial needs through their writing. +Amen.

Lists, and LISTS

Lists, I have used lists, on old envelopes, scratch paper, post-it notes, calendar printouts, and many variations, and while all have the virtue of being useful, not one was consistent enough and all were too easily lost.  ENTER my new planner, which is proving to be a top flight choice for me. BUT….. you just knew that was coming didn’t you?

I can fill the monthly spread with everything I am thinking about attending so I know when and where things will be happening. This feature is working exactly as it ought to work, and I love it.

I can move what I decide I AM going to attend to the weekly spread, and include Tasks related to it in the space supplied. The times let me write things in where they belong and I can see both the flow of the week and the individual days on one spread. This to is working exactly as it ought to work, and I love it too.

What am I missing? Well, MORE space. Somewhere to expand my to-do lists.

So, whats with the lists?  I have a plain notebook I carry for taking notes, but that is TWO notebooks. Not very efficient, although it has worked–just not ideal– and then a friend suggested I look into Bullet Journalling. That will have to be still another post.

Lists copy

Meanwhile, I discovered the notepad at the back of my planner is good for notes. I’m starting to rely on it. I have three pages going currently, a Master list, where I brainstorm everything that needs done, a AHG page where I detail out items off the master list that are AHG related, and a Financial page which is helping me to keep a visual handle on our budget.  This aspect of the Franklin Covey, with its Subject and Date lines at the top, is shaping up to give me the longer lists I need–and it is already in my planner!

Dear Lord, thank You for planners. Please help us to keep our eyes and hearts on You as we use them. +Amen.

Planners and Journals

HOPE: I purchased a planner. A planner is an exercise in Hope. I hope to gain better control over my life and productivity. I hope to use this to keep everything in one place so I can feel less stress and anxiety. A new planner has so much hope riding on it.

My two-pages per week, FranklinCovey Compass planning system I purchased at Office Depot, is quite simple as far as planners go. I get to fill in the dates, so I was able to set it up to start in May. I went ahead and set up the first two pages per day spread for May 2.

This planner came with a nice cover, it has a magnetic snap for closing it, there is a notepad in the back with subject and date blanks in the header. I have an elastic loop for a pen, and room in the spine for a second one. I used a business card in the window pocket to identify this as my planner, and filled in the information in the front.  I added the moms from our AHG start-up to the address book.

Franklin Covery Planner-copy

This simple two pages per week Franklin Covey is serving me well so far. I watched a video on youtube about the use of the FranklinCovey. Here is the link: 25 years of Use   The concepts behind planners are fairly consistent, so while the video is focusing on the more complex planners with more pages and rings, the concepts still work for this planner which fits my life quite well.

Why do I need a planner?  Well, I struggle with executive function. I struggle to categorize; I struggle to prioritize; I struggle to remember everything that needs to go on my list so I can be sure to get it done. I lose lists all the time, so while creating lists on whatever paper is handy is flexible,  I wasn’t getting the degree of organization and planning I needed.

THEN, I added a couple of new things to my already full plate, and realized very quickly that without a planner I was going to sink fast!

Welcome little Franklin Covey Planner!

Dear Lord, Thank You for planners and the hope they bring to the organizationally challenged and the very busy. +Amen.



HOPE, a supernatural virtue.

Back in January someone suggested choosing a word for the year. I chose HOPE. Everyone knows the verse about Faith, Hope, and Charity and I realized that I needed to dwell a bit on Hope. Hope is a big part of Trust, and trusting God is essential for happiness and peace. I get anxiety so growing in peace would be very nice.

So I added the word HOPE to the insert that marks the weekly spread in my planner. It is in green, a color of growing things, and this urges me to be hopeful. It also reminds me to pray when anxiety rises up.

FullSizeRender-2 copy    I’m not exactly an artist, so the “oops” on my E, still, I picked a pretty paper to use and the clear tape protects it and keeps it on the plastic insert. I plan to add to the front edge for durability as soon as I have the supplies.

Exercising HOPE is a core reason to make plans. Doing what needs to be done today, with an eye to planning for the future and growing our family and lives into the future, this is an exercise in hope.

I purchased myself a new planner, a Franklin Covey, very simple, spiral bound, 12 months, two pages per week vertical columns, and Daily Tasks sections at the bottom.  I plan out toward the future with my monthly pages, and then move the items I am actually doing to the weeks I am setting up. I even watched a video done by a successful businessman, 25 years in his field, explaining how the use of his Franklin Covey planner is essential to his career. He showed his methods, and why he felt it worked so well. Inspiring!

Then a friend showed me HER planner. She called it Bullet Journaling, and that I should google the term, “Bullet Journal” and off I went, watching videos of people showing their planners and how they worked them–wow!  I am now playing with those concepts, learning to use my to-do lists the way the people Bullet Journalling do them.

And I purchased some Washi tape. Another exercise in Hope– to make pretty the planner I use.

Dear Lord, help each of us grow in Hope. +Amen.