Monday, May 18, 2015

Daybook :: Simply Spring

Outside my window ...
Spring has sprung in Minnesota! We have had a lot of rain, the grass is greening up and the flowers are blooming! Today is cool, though ...

Thanking God for ...
* His message and His messengers
* opportunities for growth and a reclaiming of my life
* a supportive and patient husband

Thinking about ...
The Lord recently spoke to me through this Scripture passage during a talk by Sarah Christmyer. It was like I was hearing it for the first time ... When we walk by sight, our eyes remain on our problems and those problems take up our entire field of vision. But when we walk by faith, we see beyond our problems to a more eternal perspective. Similarly, on retreat a few months ago, Fr. Caesar told me to look up, even on a cloudy day, and know that the sun is shining beyond the gray clouds. He encouraged me to not focus on the gray clouds but see the sun shining beyond the clouds. That is walking by faith, and not by sight! Thanks be to God for His clear message and for sending me His messengers!

Wearing ...
* Gray hooded sweater
* Jeans
* Favorite Bobs

Reading ...
* My Bible and The Bible Timeline Guided Journal by Sarah Christmyer. The journal guides you through the story of salvation history by reading the 14 narrative books of the Bible in 90 days (or as long as it takes you). I went through The Great Adventure Bible Study 10 years ago, and it was amazing! I have done some additional studies, too. However, I really want to read the Bible on a more regular basis and enter into Lectio Divina, praying with Scripture. This is slow-going, but I will keep pressing on!

* Fly a Little Higher by Laura Sobiech. This is a beautifully poignant book about a mother walking with her son Zach, as he lives with terminal cancer. It is a powerful message of surrender, trust and hope. She prayerfully gives her son back to God and asks Him to transform her sorrow into something good. The answer to her prayer is amazing, as Zach's life continues to influence millions across the world.

* Up next: Unleashed: How to Receive Everything the Holy Spirit Wants to Give You by Sonja Corbitt

I have set a reading goal on Goodreads: 15 books in 2015. I know it's not a lot, but I am working on small steps and being realistic in my real life. Are you on Goodreads? If so, let's connect!

Creating ...
* Summer plans
* A summer routine

On the table ...
* Simple meals for busy spring days

Plans for the week ...
* Last full week of school!
* Haircut
* Field day
* Cleaning out the garage

Praying for ...
* my husband
* my children (by name), as they end the school year
* peace and unity in the home
* for clarity

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Faith-based Ideas for a Fun Summer

One idea for staying connected to our faith during the summer months is to visit a local shrine or find one near your vacation spot. Here is my family at the living Rosary of the Grotto of Our Lady of Lourdes in Two Inlets, MN.

Two weeks from today is my children's last day of school. Summer is right around the corner. While sifting through summer camp brochures and swim lesson schedules, I wonder how to intertwine our Catholic faith into our summer plans. With a break from religion classes and youth group meetings, how can I help my family keep connected to our faith in fun ways?

I recently chose Catholic Youth Camp for my oldest daughter, and we are excited about it! But that is only one of six children and one of 12 weeks of the summer season. So, what are we going to do for the rest of our time?

Over at, I share seven ideas to keep our faith alive and active this summer. Perhaps some of my ideas will inspire your family. And please come on over and share your ideas, too!

Friday, May 1, 2015

Revisiting May Day

From the archives ... A repost from one year ago today ...

Happy May Day, friends! Today begins a month-long devotion to Our Blessed Mother, Mary. Around the Web and blogosphere, it is encouraged to honor Mary with pictures, quotes or reflections throughout the month! I plan on doing this, and I hope you will join me! If you do, please be sure to leave a comment, so that I can visit your post!

I think it is so fitting that today also is the Feast of St. Joseph the Worker, who was such an essential part of the life of Jesus and Mary.

Artist Unknown.

This is what Pope Francis (as Jorge Mario Bergoglio) said about St. Joseph:

What is said about Joseph can be summarized like this: accept the mission from God, let yourself be led by God, embrace the hardship and danger in order to save the Savior. Joseph saves Mary's reputation, the lineage of Jesus, the integrity of the Child, his rootedness in the land of Israel ... Joseph is also saved from an isolated life, from a life that would have been perhaps less turbulent, but that would have lacked the consolation of carrying God in his arms.

Here is our Mary altar from a couple years ago. It reminds me to dig out some decorations and recreate this once again! Having a Mary altar in the home this month is so simple and yet such a delightful space to enjoy. (And you can be sure it will put a smile on the faces of Jesus and Mary ... and Joseph, too!)

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Camp provides summer fun in a Catholic setting {Plus a camp discount for readers!}

As my children count down the days until school is over for another year, I am starting to look ahead to the months of June, July and August. Typically, I feel a sense of panic, as I wonder what I am going to do to keep six children of varying ages occupied for three months.

For the most part, my children are still young enough to be happy with afternoons running through the sprinkler and eating popsicles on the front porch. But the structure that swimming lessons and VBS provides is a good thing, too.

This summer, in addition to our traditional summer plans, we will embark on a new summer activity. A weeklong, overnight camp.

There are plenty of camps and summer programs available these days, but it was important to our family to find something that is not only fun but faith-based as well.

In Minnesota, we have a very unique summer camp that not only gives kids a fun week of outdoor activity, crafts and games. It provides all of that (and more) in a Catholic setting. It's called Catholic Youth Camp, and we're giving it a try this summer.

As we embark on this new adventure, I thought it might be nice to share a bit about CYC here on the blog, just in case other families are looking for a quality Catholic camp for their children. Even those who do not live in Minnesota, perhaps a quick Google search will help you find something similar in your area.

Here is a recent interview I conducted with CYC Camp Director Natalie King. In addition to giving us a great sense for CYC, Natalie has graciously offered my readers a discount on camp, too! See below for details.

Tell us a little bit about Catholic Youth Camp (CYC).
CYC is Minnesota's only Catholic resident camp. We are a traditional overnight camp in a faith-centered environment. Started in 1947, this will be our 68th summer. We are an independent camp (not part of a parish or diocese) and draw kids from all over the state and even outside of Minnesota. Campers range from seven to 14 years old, and we also have teen programming for 10th-12th graders.

Describe the camp setting on Big Sandy Lake.
CYC sits on 17 acres of land. We have 12 camper cabins that are rustic but perfect for kids looking for a traditional outdoor experience. Our main lodge is the biggest building in Aitkin county and houses our dining hall, main bathrooms and lots of common space. We have a beautiful sandy beach, a boating bay for canoes and kayaks, an archery/slingshot range, a great campfire circle, an arts and crafts barn, and a gorgeous chapel which was built in 1924.

What does a typical camp week include?
Camp runs from Sunday-Friday. On Sunday, kids meet the other 11 campers and two counselors in their cabin, take a tour of camp, select their activities for the week, go to chapel and end the evening with a campfire. During the week, cabins do many activities together, and campers get to sign up for individual activities to specialize in (i.e., archery, art, canoeing, fishing, dance, drama, sports, swimming, cooking, choir and nature). They divide up with other boys and girls in the same age group to do each activity for one hour each day. We also have morning and evening chapel, meals, rest time and evening activities. We celebrate Mass once per week. The days are busy but so fun! A typical day is detailed on our Web site.

What makes CYC camp unique from other overnight camps?
At Catholic Youth Camp, campers experience God in everything they do. CYC has so many fun activities but what makes us really special is our close knit community. There are a lot of great camps out there, but CYC is a place where kids will belong. They will not just have fun, learn new activities and make friends, but they will have the opportunity to grow in faith and get excited about their faith in a different way than they might experience in church or at school. CYC is the place to be if you love having fun and are excited about (or even just curious about) your faith. 

What is your favorite part of being the CYC director? How long have you been in this position?
CYC Camp Director Natalie King
I have been the director for eight years, and I love my job. My favorite part of camp is hearing feedback from kids and parents that CYC is a place where they feel like they belong. I love that we have a community that makes everyone feel welcome. I also love kayaking and of course eating s'mores!

Tell us about the volunteers and camp counselors that you recruit for camp.
Our staff members are 19 years old and older, and they love kids, the outdoors and their faith. Our staff is cool and fun. They love movies and music and sports, but they also are passionate about being Catholic. Often when we look at famous athletes, movie stars and musicians, it can be tough to find positive role models for kids. At CYC, our staff members are young, fun, cool, and they are positive role models. CYC staff members help kids see that being excited about their faith isn't just for adults, faith can be part of their lives, too.  

Is there anything else you would like to share with families who might be considering CYC this summer?
CYC is a small (averaging 70-100 campers per week) community that helps every camper succeed. You don't have to be Catholic; everyone is welcome. CYC is not a Bible camp, in that kids won't necessarily learn about the Bible or teachings of the Church. But kids will come home excited about prayer, curious about learning more about their faith and feeling positive about being Catholic. Also, they will have a ton of fun in all of the activities. They can sign up with a buddy and be in a cabin together, or they can come on their own and meet new friends.

How can someone register for CYC?
Visit our Web site for more information. We also are on Facebook, Instagram and Youtube. Feel free to call me at 651-636-1645, with any questions. If you decide to register, we are offering More Than Enough readers a $25 discount. When you register, create an account and sign up. When you check out, use the code MTE15 (the initials of the blog), you will receive the $25 discount.

Photos courtesy of Catholic Youth Camp.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Children's Book Shares the Easter Story in a New Way

It's still Easter! How do you continue to celebrate during the 50 days?

One simple way that we keep the hope and joy of the Resurrection alive is by reading the Easter story in various books.

God’s Easter Gifts by Brenda Castro is a delightful new children’s book that I recently added to our seasonal book basket. I had the pleasure of reviewing it over at Please click on over to read more about a wonderful new Easter book!
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