Free printable Catholic Advent calendars for a Christian Bible Christmas

The Catholic Christian season of Advent begins November 30, 2014 and goes for four weeks till Christmas. Many families follow Advent calendars. Some contain candy or prizes to countdown to Christmas. The Daily Mail, on November 24, listed even more lavish commercial Advent calendars prizes: nail polish, gifts, toys, jewelry, cosmetics, even beer!

While there's nothing wrong with a little treat, materialism defeats the Advent purpose: to focus on God. Constantly receiving teaches children (and adults) to be even more aquisitory than they already are at Christmas. If they're getting all season long, where's the magic of Christmas morning? Advent is about preparing for the coming of Christ with acts of charity.  Free printable Catholic Advent calendars for a Christian Bible Christmas

Don't let people's behavior keep you from doing what you know is right

I'm dealing with a situation right now where someone near and dear to me is acting very far and unloving. This has been an on-going situation stemming back decades. Things will go smooth--until that person determines they shouldn't Everything's fine, till he decides it's not. Then he turns into a hateful, horrible controlling monster. Are there mitigating factors? Meh. Sure. Crazy schedule, exhaustion, lack of family time, stress at work, smoking. Does that excuse it? No. Most of the factors he has no control over. But he does control how he acts.  Don't let people's attitude and behavior keep you from doing what you know is right

One in four West Michigan kids goes hungry, Kids Food Basket helps food insecure - Grand Rapids Holidays |

 Think holidays and what comes to mind? Food, feasting, family, gift exchanges, decorating, joy--did you list these? If you did, you're one of the lucky ones. Some folks, many of them children, worry about when they'll eat next. And Michiganders, believe it or not, we have a high percentage of those. A staggering 1 in 4 kids goes to bed hungry.One in four West Michigan kids goes hungry, Kids Food Basket helps food insecure - Grand Rapids Holidays |

Diwali 2014 kicks off Hindu Festival of Lights with Dhanteras

 Diwali--the Hindu Festival of Lights--kicked off for 2014 on October 20 with Dhanteras. The actual Diwali celebrations happen a few days into the festival--October 23 and 24, 2014, says West Michigan Hindu Temple. Diwali--or Deepavali--is the Hindu lunisolar calendar new year which begins with the month of Kartika (October or November in western Gregorian calendar). Sikhs and Jains observe Diwali light festivals too.Diwali 2014 kicks off Hindu Festival of Lights with Dhanteras - Grand Rapids Holidays |

Free Printable Advent Calendar Crafts for Kids

 Advent is a penitential season that starts four weeks before Christmas in +Catholic and +Orthodox-christian churches. As in lent (before Easter) we pray, fast and give alms to prepare our hearts for the "coming" (advent) of Christ (from the Latin "adveniat regnum"--coming of Christ's kingdom.) The first Sunday of Advent in 2014 is November 30.  Here are Free Printable Advent Calendar Crafts for Kids

Home Recycling Bin System Easy Green and Free

Recycling is very important in our family. We save just about every scrap of paper and plastic that we use. While I don't mind recycling, it can get messy and tedious. And I refuse to spend money buying special recycling organizers. Here's an easy green recycle bin organizing system. Just remember, recycled items kept in the house they will draw bugs if they aren't properly rinsed.

Recycling programs sort by glass, paper, plastic and metal. So each week we set out four containers:

paper bags or boxes for paper. Paper, junk mail, collapsed cardboard boxes (with plastic removed), school flyers, paper packaging, and scrap paper goes in. Remove inner plastic liners from cereal, pasta and cake mix boxes. Shake plastic liners outside (for birds) to remove crumbs. Place in plastic recycling. Magazines and newspapers go into a separate bag for school newspaper drives.

Recycled plastic bag (from grocery, shopping, cat food, toilet paper) for metal, glass and plastic. Rinse cans, remove labels and put with metal. Don't remove can lid entirely. To prevent injuries, flatten lid to inside of can. Nest cans by size.

Recycled plastic bag for glass. Rinse glass bottles, remove labels, place in "glass" bag. Put any broken glass or chipped glasses in separate plastic bag and then in glass bag. Metal lids and bottle caps go in metal bag.

Recycled plastic bag for plastic: toss plastic containers, bottles, pill bottles, cartons, outer plastic shrink wrap, plastic liners, plastic 'windows' from cardboard boxes or envelopes.

Larger plastic, glass, and metal containers (laundry jugs, coffee canisters) are rinsed and stacked in the recycling bin outside. Whenever possible, we use rinse water--laundry soap goes in wash. Food containers are rinsed immediately and rinse water added to whatever food is being used to make.

Keep a recycling bin upstairs. Once a week, sort into into main recycling. On trash day, gather the bags, tie closed and place in our recycling bin. This system has made recycling as easy as 1-2-3. For more on green living, visit me at

Free and Super-Cheap Romantic Dates for Busy Parents

Why are there so many divorces? Often, it's because couples don't tend their relationships. MSN Living lists lack of commitment as a top reason for divorce. We're often too busy and we disconnect. Especially if we have kids. Sad, given marriages aren't that hard to maintain. My husband and I have been married 27 years and ours is better than ever. Because we don't take marriage or each other for granted. We nurture it, spending quality time together. On that note, here are free and cheap romantic date suggestions from A to Z. Free and Super-Cheap Romantic Date Ideas for Couples


Free World Food Sampler at Church, Community Festivals

Husband and I took our daughter to Grand Rapids Festival of the Arts Saturday. This is the 43rd event of its type in Michigan's second largest city and we have been going for 26 years--since I was expecting our oldest. Festival features a world food sampling, prepared by civic groups and diverse ethnic communities and churches represented in Grand Rapids. If you're looking for a free to inexpensive world food sampler, try a church or community picnic. For World Food Sampler, Try Free Community Festivals

Best Party Host and Hostess Thank-You Gifts

You've been invited to a dinner, cocktail party, special occasion or event. Maybe it's for business; maybe just for fun. Whatever the occasion, your host or hostess has put a lot into preparations. It's customary to bring a small token of gratitude. I'm not talking large gift. You don't have to put her child through college. Just a simple, inexpensive thank you. But it should be nice--not some tchotchki that screams "made in Taiwan." Here's my no-fail list of affordable -- that's under $10 in layman's terms-- hostess thank you gifts. Top Party Hostess Thank-You Gifts

Mental Health Spring Cleaning: A-Z Mood Lifters to Beat Depression, Anxiety

Spring is here, so say birds, flowers, sunshine. Yet you slouch listlessly feeling depressed, wondering what the fuss is about. Where's that spring freshness and joy you're supposed to feel? If you can't see the light for the clouds, try these A-Z mood lifters. Beat the tar out of depression!Mental Health Spring Cleaning: A-Z Mood Lifters to Beat Depression

Top 10 Mother's Day Gifts for Your Special Mom

Mother's Day is a no-brainer for gifts, right? Just get flowers (but she's allergic and they die In a few days), candy (but she's on a diet) and a card (costing $5 which gets tossed). How about some better gift ideas for mom? These gifts range in price; some cost nothing. All will be loved by your special ladies.  Top 10 Best Mother's Day Gifts for Your Special Mom

Cinco De Mayo Cultural Celebrations and Festivities

 Cinco de Mayo is Spanish for "Fifth of May." It's a regional celebration in Mexico, commemorating the remarkable defeat of French forces by the Mexican army at the Battle of Puebla. It's probably more popularly observed in the US than in Mexico, except in the Puebla region.

Benito Juarez is popularly and mistakenly credited for the Mexican victory, but General Ignacio Zaragoza Seguin deserves the credit for victory at Pueblo. The Mexican army was outnumbered two to one, by the better trained and equipped French, but managed to prevail, on May 5, 1862. The United States was embroiled in its own Civil War and the Battle of Puebla victory was overshadowed by the North American confrontation. For more on this festival, click here Cinco De Mayo Cultural Celebrations and Festivities

Free Printable Holy Week Activities - Yahoo Voices -

Holy Week, the week preceding Easter, begins on Palm Sunday of the liturgical church year. Holy Week is the culmination of Lent. The Easter Triduum, consisting of Maundy or Holy Thursday, Good Friday and Holy Saturday bring christians to the highest point in the church year, Easter. Holy Week is also referred to as the Passion or Paschal celebration.  Free Printable Holy Week Activities

Jesus of Nazareth Better Lent Movie than Son of God

Try as filmmakers might to top "Jesus of Nazareth" for best gospel film, they can't. The latest attempt is "Son of God" (2014). I was shaking head and muttering "no, no, no" through the whole thing.The actor playing Jesus is too decorative. He's more like a televangelist. The show screams Hollywood. Jesus of  Nazareth is epic, captivating, accurate, spiritual, historical, Biblical. Robert Powell's Jesus is so real it's scary. Compare just the two images. Which one looks more like your idea of Jesus? In 36 years, Jesus of Nazareth is still can't be beat. I recommend watching this film during Lent. Best Movie for Lent and Easter: Jesus of Nazareth

Teach Generosity With Lenten Almsgiving Activities, Donations

 Catholics around the world enter into the penitential season of Lent on Ash Wednesday. From now till Easter, we practice Lenten virtues of prayer, fasting and almsgiving. We give up things in imitation of Jesus's temptation in the desert. We pray to draw closer to God. And we share with those in need. Here are 40 ways kids can give, one for each day of lent. Teach Kids Generosity With Lenten Almsgiving Activities, Donations 

George Zimmerman Gun Show Autograph Signing is Disgusting

I never say "that's as low as it gets" anymore because someone always proves me wrong. George Zimmerman just can't think of enough ways to desecrate the memory of Trayvon Martin (whom he shot in cold blood) and worse yet, capitalize on it. Zimmerman did an autograph signing at a Florida gun show recently. Zimmerman was acquitted of murder after shooting unarmed 17-year-old Trayvon two years ago. Picture shows the 'injuries" Trayvon was supposed to have inflicted and for which he received the death penalty from Zimmerman.  George Zimmerman Gun Show Autograph Signing Below Low

Octomom Nadya Suleman Pleads Not Guilty to Welfare Fraud--And Needs Acting Lessons - News - Bubblews

I know, enough Octomom!! But I just had to process with you, her court appearance for welfare fraud--you know the sorry saga--single welfare mom, six kids, has IVF octoplets, makes a masturbation porn video, gets busted for not reporting income to FIA. As you do.

What struck me was how affected she behaves and what a bad actress she is. Everything is for effect. She is fake from Brazlian Blowout treated hair, implanted lips (taxpayer funded) to the exaggerated coquetry. She simpers, rolls her eyes, stage whispers, smiles, leans in conspiratorially to lawyer, bats eyelashes, feigns hearing problems, pouts lips. Obviously takes her cues from TV.   Octomom Nadya Suleman Pleads Not Guilty to Welfare Fraud--And Needs Acting Lessons

From King Cake to Hurricane, NOLA Mardi Gras Isn't for the Faint-Hearted

Mardi Gras and New Orleans. The two have almost become eponymous. The 2014 season kicked off in February and counts down to the official Mardi Gras (Fat Tuesday), on Mar 4 . After this time, the Catholic Christian world enters into lent, a time of fasting, prayer and almsgiving. Well, everywhere except in New Orleans; there it's always feasting and never fasting. It's Carnivale perks without "lenten" works. But at the altar of St. Louis Cathedral, the penitent come, even in this sin-soaked city. From King Cake to Hurricane, NOLA Mardi Gras Isn't for the Faint-Hearted

Beware of Parsley Lingerie, Silliness to Make You Smile

This is just a silly post to make you smile. It's about how multitasking can come back to bite you. I write a lot about personal organization. Which is sometimes a case of the disorganized leading the also disorganized. You might laugh, seeing my my paperwork jumble juxtaposed with tips. Alas, I am a teacher. And you know that they say about us: those that can't, teach. Multitasking Dangers, Beware of Parsley Lingerie


Shadows of the Past? Freedom Riders Still Ride the Rosa Parks Bus?

I don't dabble with paranormal. I think it's fanciful nonsense. But if I did believe in ghosts, it would be that those who experienced suffering come back for closure.

I am writing a history mystery series and in it, I postulate a quasi-theory that scenes of intense emotion bookmark themselves. They create a historical vortex, or time-shift split, that living folk may stumble into. Jung alluded to this in his "collective conscience" paradigm.

But enough parapsycho-babble. The reason I posted was to share this photo I took on the Rosa Parks bus at Henry Ford museum in Detroit. See the fellow left, in shadow? Could it be the spirit of a former freedom rider? If ever spirits walked among us, I think it would be souls of slaves or persecuted civil rights protesters.

  Did I Photograph a Freedom Rider Spirit on Rosa Parks Bus?

Kick Winter Blues in the Rear with Cupcakes!

As I've mentioned, today is blue day for me. It started with arthritis, server issues, and payment problems. Then the funds transfer went through, the server gods smiled and my omega-3 kicked in. All good. But the blues, as anyone who struggles with them knows, can be persistent even in the face of positive.

That's when I realized what I was missing. Rainbow sprinkles. I decided, time to bring out the big guns, the Howitzers and flamethrowers and kick some depression butt. So...I baked cupcakes. And I multitasked. I listened and helped my youngest daughter process some problems.   When Life Gives You Lemons Or You Feel Like a Sourpuss, Make Cupcakes!

Move Over Chuck Norris, This Man Slaps Cobras

 Move over Chuck Norris, because there's a guy out there who slaps cobras in the face. Not only that, he grabs them, sorts them, tosses them and brandishes them. I was working late one night and heard kids cackling. I was hurried in to see this video on Youtube of a guy with more chutzpah that common sense. Read on Move Over Chuck Norris, This Man Slaps Cobras

Octomom Finally Charged with Welfare Fraud

Octomom Nadya Suleman trails ignorance and arrogance behind her like wake. I've been writing about her train wreck life longer than I care to remember. I know, we should just ignore her, not give her airspace. But she's such a good poster person for parent fail. Well, looks like she's finally going to have to pay the piper on welfare fraud charges.  Octomom Finally Charged with Welfare Fraud--It Took That Long?

Why Christians Celebrate Epiphany

We often use the word 'epiphany' to refer to a revelation or recognition of importance in our lives. Epiphany, in the liturgical sense, is a feast day celebrated in the Catholic and Orthodox faiths. Epiphany is the day Christians remember the visit of the Magi to the stable in Bethlehem. In the eastern or Orthodox rites of the Church, Epiphany is also the day which we remember the baptism of Jesus by John in the Jordan river. When John baptized Jesus, he also proclaimed Jesus as the Messiah, the Son of God. He said, 'Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.'
As the The Magi presented gifts to the Holy Child, many countries in southern and eastern Europe and also in areas of Latin America celebrate Epiphany, as the gift-giving holiday. Although Epiphany is a major feast day in the Christmas season, it receives almost no recognition in many western countries. The average American has never even heard of the feast of Epiphany.  Why Do Christians Celebrate Epiphany?

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