Monday, April 30, 2007

reader idea

Dear reader, Stephanie in Utah offered a great idea:

Do you find yourself struggling to stay focused in your housework or to be attentive to your children because of constant telephone interruptions? If you're anything like me, a phone call throws things off since it takes me a while to get myself back on track even after the call is over. I don't personally have too many phone calls during the day but I don't feel bad about not answering the phone sometimes. Steph is considering having her phone off all day and setting aside a specific time a couple times a day to simply check her messages, at HER convenience. It's interesting how our society always places phone calls as a top priority. Have you ever noticed how if you're being helped at a customer service desk and the phone rings, they almost always immediately answer it? Some have the courtesy to ask the callers to hold, but others simply ask YOU to wait and tend to the call. Maybe its the urgency or annoyance of the ringing that we feel the need to tend to immediately. At any rate, I've made it a priority in MY home, not to let the phone dictate the day. I don't answer it during quiet or napping hours. And we don't answer it during our meals. This is enough for us to have a controlled day. But some of you may have in-home businesses or such where you may need to regulate your phone time even more than that. All I can say is do what you need to do! Ask yourself what kind of atmosphere you want in the home and do what it takes to cultivate that. Stay tuned for my feelings on cell phones! ;o)



one of us :: 8:29 AM :: 0 Comments

stay the course

Don't get too discouraged when you are disciplining a strong-willed child. I know it sometimes feels like your efforts in vain. Some kids are just plain tough! The parents can be on them for every infraction and consistent every day but the child might just persist in naughty ways.

Please don't give up! One good thought I read in a James Stenson book is this:

By enduring through tough discipline stages, you are setting your child up for his/her future. A lazy, inconsiderate or angry boy will grow up to be a lazy, inconsiderate angry man. If those traits aren't corrected now, this man's wife will have to put up with them... and their marriage might not be able to take that strain. And divorce happens. And the woman wins custody of YOUR grandkids and moves across the country with only "2 weeks in the summer" visitation rights.

We are raising children. But we are also raising future adults... setting the foundations for strong marriages or spiritual vocations. People you've never met are praying that YOU are raising THEIR children's future spouses properly... I am. The impact of the "tough days" we go through now is long lasting. Stay the course. Love with a firm and gentle hand to the best of your ability, then surrender the rest to God.



one of us :: 6:57 AM :: 1 Comments


Wednesday, April 25, 2007

St. Mark the Evangelist

Today we celebrate St. Mark who wrote the shortest of the four Gospels. Today's Collect reading is as follows:

Father, you gave St. Mark the privilege of proclaiming your Gospel. May we profit by his wisdom and follow Christ more faithfully. Grant this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

one of us :: 1:08 PM :: 0 Comments


Tuesday, April 24, 2007

More than a trite phrase: Support our Troops

With the ongoing war, it's so easy to grow apathetic to the fact that men and women are risking their lives every single hour in Iraq and Afghanistan. Many of us have the cute yellow ribbon magnets on the car: "Support our Troops." What are we actually doing to walk our talk?!

Please consider supporting Soldiers' Angels... a non-profit group that is doing everything they can to make sure no soldier goes unloved. Many don't have wives or families to receive letters and care packages from... and these are the things that do more than ANYTHING else to boost morale. And anyone who knows anything about military warfare knows that troop morale is essential to efficient operations and well-thought-out choices on and off duty. Through this website you can adopt a soldier to correspond with and/or contribute packages in a material/monetary way. My close friend works with this group and she's testified to me all the great things they are doing. It also links to many other websites that are doing good things. Just two of note are the following:

Operation Take a Vet Fishing. This is a basic website designed where ANYONE, anywhere in the US can offer to spend time taking a veteran fishing. A simple gesture that may make a world of difference in letting our veterans know they are loved and appreciated.

Sew Much Comfort. This group makes adaptive clothing for servicemembers who've lost a limb or who need to be in some kind of brace or prosthetic due to war-related injuries. You can sign up to be a volunteer seamstress or help the financial costs related to buying fabric and sewing supplies.

Please don't forget what our servicemembers our doing right now! However you feel about the war is irrelevant in supporting THEM as individuals.


one of us :: 8:11 PM :: 1 Comments


Monday, April 23, 2007

St. George and fairy tales

Today is the feast day of St. George; all that we know for sure was that he was a soldier and a martyr. But there are many legends that are fun to entertain about him, especially his slaying of a dragon. We've honored this day by checking out a book called St. George and the Dragon by Margaret Hodges. Don't expect a particularly pious rendition of George's story, but this is a fairy tale in it's finest complete with lovely vocabulary and gorgeous illustrations. Never underestimate the greatness of fairy tales! (On that note, Andrew Lang has compiled some of the finest if you need a recommendation; his "colored" fairy tale books are wonderful!) They are traditionally filled with accurate conceptions of Good and Evil and help to foster appreciation for the virtues of nobility, honor and truth.

St. George pray for us!

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one of us :: 10:14 AM :: 0 Comments


Saturday, April 21, 2007

Anxiety. Haste. Stress.

All too often I'm reminded of how immature my faith truly is. What are the symptoms of a lack of faith or an immature faith? Anxiety, haste and stress. Ever feel those things? As mothers and as human beings it is natural to experience these sentiments. There is nothing wrong with that. What is wrong is when we submit to those feelings and allow them to overcome us and consume our thoughts. My husband was recently diagnosed with a chronic disease. Chances are pretty good that he is going to be medically boarded out of the Navy in six months. He is one who had his whole career in front of him if he wanted... making rank at impressive speed, his command's "golden boy." There was nothing he couldn't accomplish. And now the military is basically going to say "You're not any good to us anymore since we can't deploy you." So that life is coming to a crashing halt. Don't bother with comments of condolences or anything. We are both thankful for God's will.

I think at any other time in my life, I would be sick with worry and fear about finding a job and paying the mortgage and where we'll be when this all comes into fruition. But it's like an out-of-body experience I've been living; I watch myself, entirely delighted, as I don't feel any sense of fear or stress about this situation. This is so liberating! And it makes me realize that my faith is growing... and how far I still have to go. It wouldn't be right for me to give lip service to the Almighty while my stress is essentially telling Him that I don't trust Him and that I will be taking this into my own hands thankyouverymuch!

"Difficult graces of trial of faith often involving suffering, should be accepted by us with the awareness of the closeness of Christ. We should accept them with the belief that He will be victorious, that after Good Friday, Resurrection Sunday will come. There should be an unshaken faith within us, that He who is peace, power, joy, and the Resurrection, is with us even more so during our trials and suffering. Living by the present moment, sanctifying it as a moment of grace, is an expression of the dynamism of our faith and of our fight with the temptations of anxiety, haste and stress: 'Surrender yourself totally into the hands of the Merciful Providence, that is into the hands of the Immaculate, and be at peace,' wrote St. Maximillian to one of the brothers in the convent. Live as if this were your last day. Tomorrow is uncertain, yesterday does not belong to you, only today is yours. God does not want you to look back because then, most often, you succumb to those temptations of anxiety, haste and stress."

-Fr. Tadeusz Dajczer in "The Gift of Faith."

-Ellie: Oak Harbor, WA

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one of us :: 1:36 PM :: 1 Comments


Tuesday, April 17, 2007

What's YOUR false god?

One of my biggest struggles is moderating my time on our computer. While we are doing some work on our back rooms, we have this machine in our front living room which makes it a very prominent presence in my life.

I know I'm not the only one out there who spends too much time online. And it may be with the best of intentions. We research things, e-mail people, shop, get involved with various message boards or blogs etc. There's a lot to distract ourselves with!

I'm never one to spend hours at a time in front of the monitor but the big problem is when I get on for 5 minutes here or 10 minutes there all throughout the day.

My solution, when I am diligent to follow it, has been a godsend on my family life. You wouldn't think 5 or 10 minute intervals would disrupt things much until you actually go a day without it... and notice how much time you have to fold clothes or read a story book. Funny how that works. Anyway, since my mind is always zooming with a million things, I often think of things "to do" online whether it's research or e-mail or pay bills or whatever. And so I keep a little pad of paper by the computer and whenever I have an urge to go look something up, I just make a quick note of it. I allow myself less than an hour to do everything I need to do and then I shut the modem off, turn the computer off and that's the end of it. I see a HUGE difference in the orderliness of my days when I am strict about my schedule with the computer. I don't let IT run my day. But having little notes relieves me of the stress of trying to remember what it is I got online for in the first place... so I don't get TOO distracted until I take care of business first. This has been what my goal is anyway. (You may notice I'm posting this at 10 pm tonight so obviously today has been an off-day but the key word is "try.")

Moderation is an underestimated virture. The saints agree with me.

"Preocupation with sensual comforts is another block to devotion, because a person who indulges too much in worldly delights does not deserve those of the Holy Spirit." -St. Peter of Alcantara



one of us :: 9:55 PM :: 2 Comments


Monday, April 16, 2007


... for updated pages! All of our profiles are updated. So is our booklist and diaper page. Don't forget to check out our children's booklist; I am always thankful for good resource lists on kids books especially. There is even a link on that page where all the authors are listed alphabetically so you can have an easy print-out to take to the library with you.

I also put a perma-link on our sidebar to Hope's CD which you can purchase. It's awesome!


one of us :: 10:56 AM :: 0 Comments


Friday, April 13, 2007

Growing the Good

I have pride and I have anger. And I sometimes feel inclined to do what many other mothers do by putting on a mask of competance and benevolence in public in order to hide these negative qualities in myself. The devil rationalizes this to us, helping us think that what we are doing is for the greater good or necessary. And I admit that sometimes it's a good thing when one of my boys does something very unruly in public that I don't shout at him or spank his bottom-- it gives me pause to think and calm down in my own mind so I can approach the child in a peaceful way, not in a reaction to my anger. But this is all done to keep up the appearance of being a good mother to others. I want others to look favorably on me; I seek their approval. What a shame. The danger in putting on this mask in public... though sometimes beneficial in immediate dealings... is that it helps us to ignore the roots of the problem. Pride and Anger-- the bedfellows that are the most dangerous obstacles to parenting. Only when we really humble ourselves and pray to purge ourselves of these defects can we really begin to cultivate the good in our children.

Oftentimes we fall into the trap of thinking that raising kids is simply a matter of correcting their faults and disciplining their bad choices... as if their "natural good" will spring through if we are busy cutting down the bad weeds. This is a grave error. Children have original sin like the rest of us... you will constantly be chopping down their sinful weeds because they will always be there.

The way to truly nourish their goodness-- their wholeness of character-- is by cultivating the good inside of them. Make the ground fertile for this good to grow by focusing on it and tending to it and investing your energy in developing it. The way to build the character of a child in a manner worthy of the dignity Christ instilled in him is to cultivate the good, not vainly trying to destroy the evil. Of course, this doesn't mean being totally lax with your child or ignoring their faults (another form of abuse in my opinion!) but to only take naughtiness in proportion to the whole soul with which you've been entrusted. To really spend time enjoying your children, learning with them, loving them and encouraging the growth of the beauty, skills and "goodness" God has given them.

Doing this will not only produce beautiful "plants" (i.e. souls), but it will achieve the dual purpose in humbling us as mothers and avoiding our own sinful tendencies to rule over the children with pride and squashing badness with anger.



one of us :: 8:41 AM :: 1 Comments


Thursday, April 12, 2007

New Little Babe!

You may notice a name removed from our expectant mother list. April has given birth to her newest daughter... her name is Cecilia Alice. She was born on Easter Sunday at 7:20... an Easter babe who was almost born in the car! (Don't we all love the drama?)We thank you all for your prayers. She had a safe delivery and the baby is doing well. April is in the middle of moving, so hopefully she'll be able to get in a good rest despite the conditions of life right now. Please keep April's family in your prayers for a good recovery and transition.


one of us :: 12:25 PM :: 1 Comments


Monday, April 09, 2007

"Let me think about it."

A thought in between laundry loads:

I'll say upfront that I've learned this the hard way and in no way am I a parenting expert but it's lately occured to me how much precision and thought can be put into the phrase "I'll think about it." Whatever your disciplining method may be, I think the one thing we can all agree on is that a parent needs to establish his/her role as one of authority. No good can come of waffling on our decisions and we ALL know how unattractive a whining incident can be. How do we cure whining? By making our "Yes" mean yes -- our "No" mean no. Period.

Instilling the virture of obedience in our children is one of the very FIRST tasks with which we need to be concerned. This isn't for the feint of heart. There have been too many times when I want to get back to my book or back to my conversation with a friend and a begging child knows this, takes advantage of my exasperation, and begs for something or some privilege until I get so sick of hearing about it that I say "Fine!" And with that single word, I relinquish my authority. The child learns that he can get what he wants by simply persisting in the whine long enough until I break.

We need to be very diligent about choosing our words. If you don't want your child to do something, say no... and be prepared with a reason. This helps down the road when you forbid something and get stuck with the less-than-impressive cop-out "... because I'm the mom, that's why!"

And since I am sometimes overstimulated with things demanding my time or attention, I've learned to utilize the phrase "Let me think about it," in order to not be pressured into a quick or thoughtless decision. Whenever I have the presence of mind to say this, my kids have learned that I am giving careful consideration to what they are requesting (and hence, showing THEM respect) and they'll keep quiet about it for a while. In the meantime, it's up to us to actually take the time to think about it. And decide whether or not you want to allow what they are asking and reflect on your reasons why. Even when I do decide on a "No" answer, I am always careful to praise the child for asking politely (if he does so) so he doesn't receive a completely negative response.

When you state your YES or your NO, be prepared to stick with it. And do not react to the whining or begging that will initially ensue until they come to recognize your new tactics. Children can't be learning that crying, screaming or hitting will change your answer. When your word gets passed down to them, they'll respect it and recognize that you don't make arbitrary decisions.... simply by buying yourself a little time with a little phrase.



one of us :: 11:37 AM :: 2 Comments


Friday, April 06, 2007

Hot Cross Buns

Hot Cross Buns are usually thought to be a Good Friday tradition... the cross on top symbolizes the Crucifixion, but I always remember my mom making them on Easter Sunday for a quick breakfast before the early Mass. There are several recipes online you can use. I'll be making ours this Sunday with dried cranberries instead of the traditional raisins. The recipe I really like was made for a bread machine; I don't have one of those so I have a slight variation on the directions here. Don't let the length discourage you; these are worth your effort!

3/4 cup warm water
3 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon instant powdered milk
1/4 cup white sugar
3/8 teaspoon salt
1 egg
1 egg white
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon yeast
3/4 cup dried raisins/cranberries
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

(Egg Wash)
1 egg yolk
2 tablespoons water

1/2 cup confectioners' sugar
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 teaspoons milk

Mix the yeast, 1 cup flour, sugar, salt, and other spices in a bowl. In a separate bowl, mix the milk and water together. Combine the dry ingredients mixture, the liquid ingredients, and the butter in a large bowl. Beat for 2 to 3 minutes at medium speed. Add the egg and beat 1 more minute. Stir in the raisins, fruit, and enough of the remaining flour to make a firm dough. Knead the dough on a floured surface for about 5 to 7 minutes or until smooth and elastic. Use additional flour if necessary. Place in a lightly greased bowl; turn over to grease the other side of the dough. Cover and let rise in a warm place. After about 15 minutes, test the dough to see if it has risen sufficiently and is ready to be shaped. To test, gently stick two fingers into the risen dough up to the second knuckle... take them out. If the indentations remain, the dough is ready.

Divide the dough into 12 pieces. Shape the pieces into balls and place them 3 inches apart on a lightly greased baking sheet. Cover and let rise in warm place until almost doubled, about 45 minutes to an hour. Mix water and egg for the shine and brush on top of each roll. Bake in a preheated oven at 375º for 15 to 18 minutes, or until light brown on top. Remove from the oven. Place the baking sheet full of buns on a wire rack to cool. Prepare the glaze, then spread it over the warm buns. Let the buns continue to cool on the baking sheet. When completely cool, fill a cake decorating bag, fitted with a round tip, with icing. Pipe an icing cross on each bun. Or... simply spoon narrow stips of icing, in the shape of a cross, on each bun.

one of us :: 7:59 AM :: 1 Comments

"Here I come kiddies, with lots of chocolate!!!"

Does your family do the whole Easter Bunny schpeel?

one of us :: 7:56 AM :: 2 Comments


Thursday, April 05, 2007

Do not be afraid

I think a lot about this fearing the Lord- what does it mean? Fearing to hurt him is what I have heard and most of the time what I settle on... I would love to hear what our readers think of this gift from the holy spirit.

But most of the time when I find myself lying awake at night fearing, it is not of our loving Father but of his Arch-enemy, and his legions of fallen angels that are out to destroy our families, our children, our souls. I have been reading about Padre Pio- and loving him as I never have before. His spirituality both comforts me- because of his words and holiness, and kind of scares me- because he was so in tune with suffering, and I am not. Since childhood, he had frequent battles with the devil- even physical ones- and it is my opinion that he knew the devil better than any man of our times. However he spoke of the devil in a way that comforted me... he said do not be afraid of him, he is like a vicious growling dog or beast but on a short chain. He has only one door to us, and that is our will. He cannot come in without permission.

In addition though, he said that the devil is loud when he is unhappy with you, and the devil is quiet when he has you where he wants you. I don't feel like he is very loud in my life right now, but I hope that means he has given up and left me alone for the time... but it might mean that my habitual sins do enough damage that he is happy with my lack of spiritual progress.

That being said, I have been praying lately for protection. A recent conversation inspired me to daily pray for the Blessed Mother's protection- on myself, my husband, my children. She can hide us in her mantle, and clothe us in armor so shining and bright that it repels every creature of the darkness, even the prince himself.

-Hope writes from Fillmore, CA


one of us :: 7:53 AM :: 0 Comments


Tuesday, April 03, 2007

From the desire of being esteemed, deliver me Jesus.

After nearly a year of regular posting, we are shifting gears here at Coffee and Diapers. We are going to put this blog on the backseat of our attentions and post only when drawn to a reflection or thought through the course of our regular mothering lives. Hope, Sia and Ellie all have things going on, as do the rest of you, and we're beginning to realize that we've sometimes pushed out posts like cans of soup just to have something new each day. We'd rather not sacrifice the quality of what we do by forcing ourselves to think of something clever for Mondays or something interesting for Fridays. We understand that many of our regular readers will leave us altogether; this is the nature of the blogging beast. If you don't stay current, you lose your crowd. But we aren't here to "save our readers" so much as we are here to "save our children" and our families first. It's time to step back and live the life our Blessed Mother lived... one that is hidden and holy in the shadows of the Cross. We still plan on using this space as a place of reflection and practical tips. But we are giving up on trying to be on the ball all the time. We don't pretend to be holy or interesting enough to supply our readers with juicy thoughts every day. We also want to avoid any growing sense of false piety or self-importance that is almost inevitable in the blogging world and stay true to the purpose with which we originated: inspiring and encouraging women in their vocations. We are just simple moms, dealing with groceries, diapers and temper tantrums like the rest of you. But we are trying to deepen our OWN spirituality, and if this blog is cause for us to neglect that... no matter how lofty our "mission"... we have failed.

For those readers who do stay the course with us, remember that there are plenty of archives to browse at the bottom of this page, as well as many other great blogs out there to read. We also want to encourage you, once again, to send us any of your own thoughts or ideas for us to consider sharing with our readers. Thank you so much and we wish you very happy mothering...

True merit, like a river, the deeper it is, the less noise it makes.
-Edward Frederick Halifax


one of us :: 2:22 PM :: 3 Comments


Monday, April 02, 2007

they're not so far away...

One of the most damaging views people can have of saints is that they are dressed up, transcendental legends that are so far removed from our day to day lives. I wonder, how eerily and ironically the evil one works sometimes in the way he can weasel into our thoughts so that we THINK we have the right perceptions. One example is what I always call "pride in reverse", that being people who think they aren't good enough for God's love or aren't worthy enough for His mercy. To think that we could possibly sin bigger than what Christ's sufferings covered!! It's hogwash... or more articulately, it's the devil trying to tell us discouraging things to separate us from His UNDYING and ever attainable Love.

At any rate, it's occured to me that the devil may have even a hand in the way saints are portrayed. Of course they should be seen as notable people, worthy of emulating. But they should never be sugar-coated to the point where we imagine them as too perfect to be relevant to our sinful world. This is one of the reasons, Sia has always encouraged me to use alternative images or icons of the saints in our posts; the traditional images associated with many saints are often so syrupy-romantic that it is important to see different perspectives so we don't get stuck thinking they are so unreachable! Look at the picture at the top of the post compared to this one and consider which image, of the same man, is more relevant to you. The greatest infraction of sugar-coating is committed against Our Blessed Mother Mary. We see how distinct and exalted she is, so it seems impossible that we could ever follow in her footsteps... which lead us closer to Christ than anyone else can.

Robert Louis Stevenson nailed it when he simply said, "Saints are sinners who keep on trying." The men and women we've read about from our youngest years were human like you and me. They had annoying things to deal with and problems and sins to combat of their own. What makes them different? Their undying commitment to conform their lives to the will of God. It's that simple. Yet, this simple path is littered with all kind of confusion and trials that cause us to second guess ourselves. Details are so minor! The goal of this post is to inspire you to sainthood. It's not unreachable. It's what we are called to. So get on it! Go deeper.

"There is only one important, serious reality worth living for, that is God and His will." - Fr. Tadeusz Dajczer



one of us :: 6:55 AM :: 4 Comments