A Catholic Mom’s Prayer Companion Book #Giveaway! 3

Do you ever wish you had a little friend who’d sit on your shoulder and whisper words of affirmation, encouragement and hope into your ears throughout your days as a mother? Or maybe you’d like to spend more time in prayer but don’t know how or where to start? Maybe it’s hard to carve out too much time in the day for anything too long?

I’ve got just the book for you!

CM Prayer companion book cover

The Catholic Mom’s Prayer Companion, A Book of Daily Reflections is the perfect bite-size daily portion of reflection, prayer, and something to ponder on and nourish you throughout the day. Not too long, not too short, just enough to plant seeds of thought and prompt the soul to go deeper.

Whether it be a few minutes before everyone wakes up in the morning or before going to bed, during a short afternoon break, or while I sit in the van at school pick-up time, I’ve enjoyed all the reflections and I look forward to reading the next day’s.

I’ve been part of the CatholicMom.com community of writers since 2010 (I think?) and it’s been so fun to see how we’ve grown over these years. As I mentioned in my previous post, I’ve always dreamed of becoming a real true published author so even though I only contributed 4 daily reflections for the year (hence the 1.10% published author stat) I feel humbled and grateful to be a part of this book with so many other great authors and Catholic moms (and dads!).

I’ve read every day’s reflection so far since I received my book and am amazed at how the Holy Spirit works – every day, the reflection is about something I’m either currently struggling with or have been silently mulling over for some time.

Jeff Young (aka, ) reminded me that suffering with Christ is a whole lot better than trying to suffer alone without Christ.

Chaunie Marie Brusie (blogger and author of Tiny Blue Lines) challenged me to humble myself and accept my husband’s help instead of trying to do all and be all to everyone all.the.time.

Susan Bailey and Deanna Bartalini called me out and got me to stop focusing so much on my weaknesses and failures as a mom and wife and instead love myself and allow God and my husband and children to love me for my strengths.

I need this. I need these daily reminders that cheer me on and tell me –

“You’re doing a good job! Stay positive!”

I know motherhood is hard and your kids are driving you crazy and you feel like an awful ugly mother today but, truly, you love your family, they love you, and because of this you are a beautiful and GOOD mom. You CAN do this! 

I hope this book can become your “little friend” on your shoulder (as creepy as that actually sounds) cheering you on throughout your days and challenging you to go deeper, better, stronger as a mother and in your prayer life.

I’m excited to work with Ave Maria Press to offer a GIVEAWAY of one The Catholic Mom’s Prayer Companion, A Book of Daily Reflections to one blessed mom!!

You can order a book for you and then, if you win, give it to a friend! As an author, you can purchase the book with me for a 10% discount, just fill out this form or email me through my “Let’s Connect” page.

Blah, blah, blah, now for the Giveaway part!

To enter for a chance to win one The Catholic Mom’s Prayer Companion, A Book of Daily Reflections, simply enter this Rafflecopter Giveaway form below!

CM Prayer companion image

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Mary Mother & Queen of all Joy and Strife

Mary gothic statue from Pexels


We celebrated the Assumption of Mary on August 15 and her Queenship yesterday (August 22) and I’ve been “pondering these things in my heart” about Mary and why she is so important to me and all for the whole world.

One main thought I’ve had rolling around my head is this:

Mary has the full knowledge of ALL of the sufferings and ALL of the joys in the whole history of humanity.

She knows both the strife and the joyful triumph of life.

She has experienced pain personally but she is also in full knowledge of the meaning of her pain and of the whole world’s suffering.

This is what makes her the best Mother ever.

We can run to her with our skinned knees and our bruised and bleeding hearts and she will happily embrace us and comfort us. She will not wave us away or admonish us to “quit your whining and just trust in Jesus!”. She knows our pain is real. 

I used to be confused about Mary – if she was “without sin” how could her heart also be “pierced” by suffering? I was confused because I couldn’t understand if someone was “sinless”, why would they suffer? And why, if she truly “knew” God in such an intimate and pure way, why would she feel suffering and anguish? I guess, in a way like my Jewish ancestors of old, I thought only sinners experienced suffering.

But Jesus suffered too.

What I’ve come to understand better is that suffering, on its own, is not a sin. 

If you struggle, if life is hard, if you don’t always feel all happy and good inside – it does not make you a sinner.

It simply makes you human, living in the reality of this incomplete and broken world.

But this is why Mary is so important for us. She is a human, like any of the rest of us, conceived and born of human parents. The only difference is that God spared her the “stain” of sin. He didn’t just hide her from sin though.

Through Mary’s Immaculate Conception, God opened Himself to this one woman amongst all women and revealed Himself to her in His FULL “Be-ing” and Glory – Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

Like when Eve suddenly “knew” of the good and the evil too when she ate of the forbidden fruit, now Mary knew of ALL the GOOD in all its fullness.  God not only gave her a hint to how the story ends, He showed her the whole ending in a way that makes the “current” time not only make absolute sense but shows how our suffering is an integral part of the ending.

Because of this, Mary is fully aware of the suffering of the world but she also knows that our suffering has a greater meaning and purpose. Like a gentle and wise Queen, she shows us, by her perfect example, how we can embrace our current reality and not only “get through it” but how we can unite our lives completely with Christ so that we become part of the Great Story.

In Jeff Young’s (aka The Catholic Foodie) August 22 reflection in The Catholic Mom’s Prayer Companion (that I’m so excited to be a part of!), he encourages us to come to Mary with our pains and struggles and allow her to comfort us and then encourage us to get back on our feet and continue on this road because what we will find at the end will make it all worth it!

Mama Mary, you know what it is like to suffer with God. Please help me to accept my life as it is and to trust that Jesus is right here with me. – Jeff Young




(My personal Amazon affiliate links included in this post)


I’m a 1.10% Published Author!, Back2School, Time & Self Organization {7QT} 7

1. I’m a published Author! 

The Catholic Mom’s Prayer Companion, A Book of Daily Reflections comes out August 29th!

Wow, I’m still in giddy shock and disbelief that I can really say “I am published author”!  It’s been a dream of mine for so long. Although, I sheepishly admit that I feel a little strange saying it because technically I’m only a contributing author, writing 4 of 365 daily reflections so I’m really only a one hundredths (.0109…)published author. But hey, that still counts right? (If I can count correctly? Someone smarter can check my math.)

2. Say What? When Did This Happen?

We started this process back in 2014 so I had to put my excitement on hold for a while and go through a few other hard life events. When I went to the mailbox a few days ago and saw the book – the real book – in my hands the excitement practically jumped out of the box at me.

I was so excited, I had to take a few selfies (nerd alert) with my “1.10%” first ever published book!

CatholicMom's Prayer Companion 2

I think this captured my excited look pretty well. Can you hear the squeal too?

CatholicMom's Prayer Companion

Who her? A published author? (1.10%)

CatholicMom's Prayer Companion 4

With Lisa Hendey and Sarah Reinhard and over 80 other awesome Moms, Dads, and Spiritual Sages?!

CatholicMom's Prayer Companion 4
Mmmmmm, ahhhh. Yup. It’s real. (1.10%) I love the smell of a new book!

3. Want one?

Of course you do! For you, your mom, your sister or sister-in law and all your mom friends too. 🙂 Like I said, The Catholic Mom’s Prayer Companion comes out August 29th but you can Pre-Order your copy (copies) here:

Ave Maria Press – our super amazingly awesome publishers who support all CatholicMom.com BooksBarnes & Noble, Amazon (this is my personal affiliate link), or your local Catholic Bookstore.

*** UPDATE*** In my excitement, I jumped the gun and didn’t think about saying that you can also order the book directly through me!! I was trying to avoid shameful self-promotion but it’s only 1.10% self-promotion and the rest goes to Lisa, Sarah, and everyone else! I can offer group discounts (starting at 10% for 10). I want you to know that I DO GET TO KEEP A VERY SMALL STIPEND FROM THESE ORDERS SO IF YOU’RE THINKING OF ORDERING YOU CAN ORDER THROUGH ME AND FEEL GOOD ABOUT HELPING OUT A FRIEND TOO!

If you’d like to order through me, fill out this Order Form Here or send me an email onesimplemama @ gmail dot com. ***

OR! Next week, I’ll run a special GIVEAWAY of this Catholic Mom’s Prayer Companion for one lucky (blessed?) Mom out there so stay tuned in for that!

4. Hangout with the Authors

While I jest about how excited I am to be part of this book, it really is not my book, it is a beautiful work of art created by the whole CatholicMom.com community that I’m blessed to be a part of.

You’ve probably heard of Lisa Hendey and Sarah Reinhard, and I guess if you are reading this you know me (or do you???) but who are some of these other contributing authors? You can read all the Author Bios here.

Then, while we haven’t solidified any details yet, I’m hoping to get back into hosting the CM Hangout Podcast and bring on some of these amazing authors starting in September! So stay tuned for that also!

Ok, ok, enough about that (for now!), let’s move on…

5. School Resumes!

Well we got our three olders off and going for another school year this week! So far so good, ah if only the whole school year could be as easy and exciting as the first three days. We now have 7th, 4th, and 1st graders and our youngest will start his preschool in a couple weeks! On the preschool mornings, I will be without any children for a couple hours for the first time in…I can’t even remember! It seems like maybe I should feel a little sad about that but honestly I’m SO EXCITED!!

6. Time, time! What do I do with All this time?

After devoting most of my time and energies with the kids this summer and having zero time to focus on much else, I’m now in this strange interim between having no time to do anything I wanted to having too many options for what I could do.

I agonize over making decisions, especially about how to spend the free time I have when I get it because there are so many things I could do and probably a whole lot I should and need to do. And they are all good. But what if I spend my time doing this when maybe I should have done that? And then, before I know it, I’ve signed up for too many things and end up with no time again. It’s so hard living in my head.  You never want to be with me when I’m trying order food. (Ask my husband.)

7. Organizing Myself

When I have a hard time making decisions, it helps to try and organize my thoughts and options on paper. I have to do this every few months or so. I get out a piece of paper, or maybe use a note tool – I recently switched to OneNote vs. Evernote so maybe I’ll use that – and write out the different areas of my life I’d like to/need to devote time to.

Then, under each of those categories, I write out what I am already committed to or what I’d like to do more of/improve on.  I’m still trying to pick up the pieces and find a new sense of direction after my dad’s passing in December so I hope that by getting myself and my goals organized I’ll rediscover a sense of purpose and order to my life again. At least until the next crisis. 🙂

Speaking of trying to “find myself” again, today’s reflection in The Catholic Mom’s Prayer Companion by the lovely Deanna Bartalini hit the spot perfectly! (It’s like the Holy Spirit knew I’d need to read her reflection today even though she wrote it over a year ago.) Here’s a tiny excerpt,

The Holy Spirit lives inside of each of us and wants to help us and guide us toward seeing ourselves as the Father sees us…When we spend time praying with scripture or pouring our soul out to God, he strengthens us and reminds us he is with us.

Alrighty, that was fun. I hope everyone’s weeks went well and you can enjoy a relaxing/productive weekend!

Head over to Kelly’s for others exciting Quick Takes and Kelly’s soul-bearing thoughts on dealing with sadness and kids’ disabilities/challenges. (Another thing the Spirit knew I needed to read today!)

Cumin Toast, Conference stars, Colorado Beauty {7QT}

Hey it’s been a few weeks, time for a 7 Quick Takes Friday with Kelly to get me blogging again!

1. I made cinnamon and sugar toast for the kids’ breakfast yesterday except I accidentally grabbed the CUMIN instead of the cinnamon!  I realized my error only after I had already shaken it all over the toasted bread – which was our last three pieces! Thankfully, my son wasn’t paying attention (something I was grateful for this time) and didn’t notice my mistake. So I gave it to him and just played it cool. He ate a bit of it and then stopped and made a strange face – “This smells funny”…

“Hmmm, that’s odd,” was all I said. Then I drizzled a bunch of honey on his toast and he ate it just fine after that.

2. I had a fan-girl moment with one of my favorite authors (Something Other than God), bloggers, and Catholic media queens – Jennifer Fulwiler, at the Family Conference last weekend. She looked just like her picture and her voice sounded just like she does on her radio show.  And she was just as real and “normal” as anyone else. It’s easy to “celebritize” authors and bloggers and people that are well-known but it’s always good to see people in person and remember that we are all people like everyone else. 🙂

Some people just have longer arms and cooler blogs or radio shows than others. 😉

3. I also got to meet Dr. Christopher Kaczor in person at the same conference. We met last fall when I interviewed him for a book review of his book, The Gospel of Happiness.  I really enjoyed hearing his talk outlining the key parts from his book. This is a one-line take-away I got from his talk:

Happiness is what God wants for us, we all desire it, it is a good that we should all strive for and that we can all achieve.

4. Oh and! I met this really awesome gal, Lauren, who makes these beautiful hand-painted typography art prints that bring truth and beauty together with such loveliness! I think I’ve seen her work in a few places online and on the Blessed is She stuff so when I saw her work at one of the conference booths I was pulled in like a magnet. I love art and really wish I could do things like this. Yet, I know that this is just not the time for me to work on that type of art. It was helpful talking with Lauren knowing she is able to dedicate time to this art work now as a single person at this time in her life while I am called to cultivate other “works of art” in my own current stage of life. 

When Beauty Met Truth Mother Angelica

So I’ll just live out my typography art cravings through Lauren instead. Check out her When Beauty Met Truth Etsy store and blog!  I had to get a selfi with her too because I know she’ll be famous one day. 🙂

5. We returned from a ten-day vacation in Colorado last week and I’m still trying to get my bearings straight. I think we’ve got all our supplies and uniforms and such ready…although I’m sure I’m forgetting something. School starts next week so that gives me about seven days to figure out what bearings are and how to lay them straight.


6. We had such a wonderful and lovely time there visiting good long-time amazing friends and just relishing in the beauty of the land there. We went on several hikes in the Woodland Park area (close to the Springs), climbed up and down boulders in the little-known treasure of the Red Rocks Trail

I conquered my fear of heights and climbed onto a high boulder and stood up! (Instead of scooting around on my tushie.)

…enjoyed a family camp-out and 6+mile hike up the Crags Trail of the Pikes Peak mountain, took in the breathtaking beauty of the Maroon Bells, and even got to ride up a couple Gondola rides in Snowmass Village and Aspen.

Aspen wildflowers

There’s something so peaceful and soul-refining about being in the mountains, I came back feeling rejuvenated and transformed. If only we lived closer so I could go more often.

When Beauty Met Truth Mountains are Calling me

It’s like Lauren made this for ME! Isn’t it so beautiful?!

7. Lastly, my awesome husband was in photographic heaven in Colorado and captured some of the breathtaking scenes beautifully. Here are a few below and you can see what he has added so far in his Colorado album here on Flickr.

Maroon Bells Pano

It really DOES look this beautiful!

Mt. Sherman Pano

My husband got to hike a 14er, Mt. Sherman! What beautiful views. Go to the album for more of these.

Mt. Sherman Pano

Going Nowhere

I love this one! #mtsherman14er

The Princess Bride and my Shocking Confession (Please don’t hate me!) 4

The Catholic Community Cinema Society


Alrighty folks, our first movie pick for the The Catholic Community Cinema Society is none other than The Princess Bride!

The Princess Bride is one of those late 80’s movies that everyone loved so much then that they still reference today. As the CCCS’s founder, Joel, says in his post, When You Want to Be Inigo Montoya, but You Realize You’re Vizzini, the Princess Bride is “…the most quotable movie of all time…Seriously, what other movie even comes close to its impact on pop culture references? Monty Python and the Search for the Holy Grail is the only one I could think of.”

I’m an 80’s baby and grew up in the Princess Bride era and probably heard many references to it growing up but it wasn’t until my late teens/early 20’s even that I watched it.


My friends took pity on me when I finally admitted I had no idea what they were talking about and invited me over for a fun movie night.  Once we were there, I realized they loved this movie so much that they knew every.single.word of the movie line by line. I realized this because these two friends (who shall remain nameless but you know who you are!) of mine said every single line of the movie word for word from the beginning to end.

Inconceivable!  (I know, right?)

Needless to say, we spent more time laughing and giggling about their amazing talents rather than watching the movie so I didn’t really get to watch it for myself the whole way through until last fall with my twelve-year-old daughter. That time around, I really got to enjoy it better. My daughter loved it then so I didn’t have to ask her twice if she wanted to watch it again this week so I could carry out my duties as a member of the The Catholic Community Cinema Society.

If you’re in the mood for a fun and easy movie you can easily sit down and watch with your spouse or maybe even your whole family, the Princess Bride wont’ let you down. You’ll find yourself chuckling at all the witty commentary and all the awkward situations the characters find themselves in together are so inconceivable you’ll have to laugh.

As an early 30-something-year-old nostalgic for my 80’s/90’s childhood, the things I love about the movie are traits others probably wouldn’t even notice like the scenes in “Kevin’s” room (Fred will always be the Wonder Years Kevin to me). If you pay attention to other movies made during this time, notice the sets. Whoever did the sets back then knew what a family’s house and boys’ rooms really looked like compared to the modern-day home sets that look like…well like sets of an unrealistic family home.

And check out the moms hair!!

I’m sure my fellow member of the CCCS, Mary Big Hair, would have a few witty things to say about her hair so I’ll just stop there with that one. I loved the relationship between Kevin and his grandpa (Columbo!). Like Joel points out also, the “device” (that’s cinematic nerd speak there) of the bedtime story is pretty ingenious and makes otherwise awkward moments with kids funny instead.

Unlike Joel, I didn’t really read into the movie that much or think about which character I related most with. As far as favorite characters, I’d say Fezzik and Inigo are probably my favorites. With Inigo’s loyal determination and Spaniard courtesy –

I promise I will not kill you until you get to the top.

and Fezzik – the brute that is made to look like a big dumb ox but is really the one with the greatest conscience and big heart.

I just don’t think it’s right, killing an innocent girl.

Just goes to show you should never judge a character by their size, who they socialize with, or their line of work.

Then again, who can’t love Vezzini’s over-the-top villainism at least a wee bit?

Oh, and I also really liked Mrs. Witch Doctor.

This is  how I feel when kids (and grown-ups) lie. (And this is probably how my kids see me when I call them out for it.)

Now, I hesitate to admit who I least like because I’m afraid of what this admission will do to my relationships, not to mention the status of this blog and the CCCS itself. But, alas, a good movie review can’t be all fun and games now can it?

It may surprise you to know that I really dislike Princess Buttercup and Westley.

Don’t throw anything at me!!!

We are all wooed by Farmboy Westley’s smoldering “As you Wish” in the beginning but, when he comes back as the Dread Pirate Roberts, his submissive genteelness is replaced with a somewhat arrogant machoism that I found repelling more than charming.

At this point, Princess Buttercup may be wondering who this man is and what has he done with her dear Farmboy Westely.

Now, Princess Buttercup, irks me simply because she starts off as a somewhat strong female character – bravely jumping out of the ship to escape until she realizes she’s jumped into the eel-infested waters. That scene, and Vezzini’s “I suppose you think you’re so brave” comment lead me to think Buttercup might turn into a heroine later but no.

She plays the classic “damsel in distress” who can’t seem to do anything to save herself, not even reach up and take off her blindfold even though her hands are only tied together at the wrists and can only stand by and idly watch while her “beloved Westley” is attacked and almost eaten alive by the R.O.U.Ss. in the fire swamp.

Her naïve trust in Prince Humperdink’s promises and her suicidal mopiness just about did me in.

But, she redeems herself a little with her brave and graceful jump out the castle window into Fezzik’s big strong arms at the end.

So all in all, the Princess Bride is a fun movie filled with a generous amount of wit that the whole family can sit down and enjoy together.

Even with Princess Buttercups weak female character and Westley’s pirate arrogance, it’s a nice-and-easy love story – even if overly typical – with family-friendly adventure and swordplay to make up for the kissing and medieval romanticism.

Ok, you’re turn! Head on over to Joel’s blog post and share you commentary or link to your own blog post about what you love – or don’t love – about the Princess Bride!


Next up, in The Catholic Community Cinema Society’s movie line up for August is my husband’s all-time favorite, The Shawshank Redemption! I’m looking forward to watching it and this time, I’ll try and watch and blog about our August movie pick in August!

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