The CWR conference, and another Creighton training opportunity!

SO! I’m home from the fantastic, amazing, grace-filled Catholic Women Rejoice conference!  I got home around 1:30 this morning, so I have not been able to put together a post about the conference yet.  Let’s just say I thought it was going to be great, and it was 100 times greater than that!  300 women laughing and crying together, eating and praying together, helping each other with their babies,.  Mass was wonderful, some of the vendors were just outstanding, and I still have a sore throat from laughing and laughing and laughing at the Italian dinner afterward.  Sterling Jaquith, Lisa Ferry, and Heather Renshaw did something truly wonderful, and if you didn’t make it this year, this is a good time to start making plans for next year!

One of the women I was thrilled to finally meet in person was the lovely Caitlin Elder, who, in her abundant free time, ho ho ho, is helping to promote a Creighton Practitioner Educator Program in Vancouver, WA, near Portland, OR  There is a real dearth of Creighton practitioners in the Pacific North West, and women who are hoping to find fertility care must travel many hours to get it.  So if you have been thinking of becoming a practitioner, this is a great opportunity to fill a keenly-felt need!

The only catch is, the deadline is SOON.  They need to sign up three more people by October 1st, and applications are due Oct. 8.  

So even if you’re not up for this yourself, please pass the word on Facebook or on your blog!  It would be a real work of mercy if they could get enough people to do this class now.

Location: St. Joseph’s Parish, Vancouver WA

Dates: Nov 4th-11th

We need 3 more people committed by Oct 1st.

Applications due Oct 8th.

Contact person: Shira Wise, Program Director (509) 735-5380 3riversfertility@gmail.com

Or people are welcome to contact me with questions: Caitlin Elder caitlinelder25@gmail.com

Here is a pdf with the entire brochure for the Vancouver program.  (And if you can’t open the link because I’m a dope, just email Caitlin or Shira, or me at simchafisher@gmail.com).

Again, please share!  Thanks!


Seven Quick Takes, in which I complain about staying in a luxurious hotel while waiting for a roomful of people to applaud for me


I’m in Vancouver, WA for the Catholic Women Rejoice conference tomorrow!  There is still time to register.  Here is the schedule.   Looks like it’s going to be a GREAT day.  I’m really looking forward to meeting some of my Facebook and blog friends for the first time IRL.


Last night, I had a lovely seafood dinner overlooking the Columbia River (I think?) with Lisa Ferry and Sterling Jaquith, who have been coordinating everything, including putting together a lovely assortment of goody bags for the guests.  We were chatting away happily when I realized that, for the last twenty minutes, we’d been talking about dogs.  Not babies.  That is the first time I have ever gotten together with a group of Catholic moms and not immediately launched into an intimate gabfest about teething, diaper rashes, adorable tricks our kids do, and possibly some cervix talk.  But no, just dogs.  This is what you’ve done to me, Shane.

Oh, also, the waitress kept sitting down next to me in the booth whenever she came to our table.  It was the creepiest freaking thing I’d ever seen while eating salmon.  I finally figured out to put my big, fat purse on that side, which put an end to that.  What the heck!

Anyway, by the time we got to the restaurant, we were talking about babies.  And NFP.  And sending our daughters to college.  And a little bit about dogs.


The last time I got on an airplane, I was pregnant with my second daughter, who is now 14.  I was prepared for some changes, like taking my shoes off for security and not being fed anything but pretzels.  But I had completely forgotten that they will, with no shame whatsoever, charge you $12 for a bag of nuts and a pack of gum.  My husband agreed that airport prices are nutrageous.  He’s right!  I was nutraged.


So, hotel bath soap that’s shaped like a massager.


Ingenious, or slightly menacing?


Hold everything.  While I was searching for the image above, I came across this:

I stand amazed before the . . . whatever that was that made somebody decide to market these.  Whew!


Whenever I meet somebody I know in town, in the supermarket or wherever, they say, “Wow, out without any kids?!?!?” and I generally play along, like, “Lah di dah, here I am frolicking in the unheard of luxury of picking up some milk all by myself!”  And it’s true that life sure is a million times easier now that I can leave my little guys with my big kids and just do what I need to do, without the incredible hassle of finding shoes and buckling car seats and so on.

But you know what they says, “Too soon old, too late smart.”  There is no joy in being away from my kids.  I guess it’s because the older ones are old enough that I can see just how short our time together is — and also because the really labor-intensive part of child rearing is mostly past.  I still have little kids, but I have so much help now, and so much experience, and my husband and I work together so much better.

So, young moms who are dying for some time away from your little kids, go ahead and get it while you can, and don’t feel bad about craving some alone time or adult time!  But don’t be surprised when you realize, one day, that that’s the last thing you want.  I just hung up from a Skype conversation with Benny, and now I’m crying.  You working moms who have to leave your kids every day, I don’t know how you survive.


As for being away from my husband, I have decided we are this kind of couple.


This seven rays of sunshine have been brought to you by Simcha Fisher, who will definitely feel better with some breakfast.


Father Pavone praises Pope Francis’ approach

Thanks to Steve Jalsevac of LifeSite News for linking to this letter!

Fr. Pavone, the National Director of Priests for Life, says,

No, the Pope is not diluting the anti-abortion focus of the Church.

As the Director of Priests for Life, known worldwide as a ministry within the Catholic Church that urges more preaching, teaching, and action against abortion, I was asked by many alarmed and confused people these past few days about the reported comments of the Pope that the Church should not be “obsessed” with this issue, and that there should be “balance” and “context.

Is the pope saying we should talk less about abortion? Is he saying that the emphasis the Church has placed on this issue has been a mistaken emphasis?

When I first received these inquiries via emails and text messages, I was actually in the presence of Pope Francis, in the dining room of his residence. I had spoken just hours earlier, at the invitation of the Vatican, about the Church’s defense of the unborn child, and about the clear and strong position of the Church, expressed in many documents, that the right to life is our first right and the foundation and condition for all the others.

So the news came to me with more than a little irony, and I immediately began to tell worried pro-life warriors that they had no reason to think that the Pope no longer wanted the Church to focus on abortion.

 The Pope is, as I said myself, giving the world context for the pro-life movement.  The letter from Father Pavone is short, clear, and reassuring, and concludes this way:

This approach radically strengthens the Church’s opposition to abortion, because the Pope is saying not simply that it breaks the Fifth Commandment (“You shall not kill”), but that more fundamentally it breaks the First Commandment (“You shall not have other gods besides me”) and that to disrespect life is to abandon God himself.

Nobody should worry or think that the Pope is in any way diluting the Church’s strong and unchangeable stance against abortion, or contradicting all that has already been said and written, in documents like The Gospel of Life, about the urgent priority that this issue deserves. Some 50 million children are killed by abortion around the world each year. If we want to know how much we should focus on it, we only have to use human reason and ask what our response would be if 50 million adults throughout the world were killed each year by terrorism.

Long live the pro-life movement, and long live the Pope!

Hear, hear!  Thank you, Father Pavone.


Great little missal for kids

These booklets appeared in our pews a few weeks ago:

I will admit, I saw the cover and thought, “Ut-oh.  Glass-walled church, buncha laymen cluttering up the altar . . . this can’t be good.”  Well, the cover is the only ishy part.  The book itself is great.

The format is simple:  words of the Mass on the left, color coded explanations on the right.

They explanations are more than just the standards “sit, stand, kneel, listen to the priest.”  They explain what “epiclesis” means (I’ll admit, I didn’t already know), what “eucharist” means; why we make a cross on our forehead, lips, and breast; and when we are seeing bread and wine, and when we are now seeing the real body and blood of Christ.

It says “for kids,” but there’s no reason an adult couldn’t use this missal as a guide. I suspect it was designed as a way to stealthily catechise parents who are helping their kids follow along.  Altogether nicely written and designed, easy to follow, meaty and free of fluff.

The booklet is cheap – just $1.87 on Amazon — and rather flimsy.  This means, of course, that parishes would be able to afford buying copies for everybody.  I do wish they would put out a hardcover edition so we could buy them for ourselves, though.  Anyway, if you’re looking for a children’s missal with the new translation of the Mass, I’ve never seen a better one.  If you have the cash, you might consider buying a few hundred as a gift to your church.

Jennifer Fitz reviewed it here in 2011, and I’m glad to see she liked it, too.

You can order it on Amazon here.


Because my husband said I should . . .

Here is an excerpt from the chapter I’m contributing to a book about marriage:

Children give our bodies purpose.  I always have to laugh when people complain, “The Church treats women like baby-making machines!”  The truth is, the secular world is the one that treats women that way—and expends tremendous amounts of money and effort in trying to find the “off” button, often putting women through years of physical and psychological contortions with one kind of contraception after another.

The Church, on the other hand, teaches that the bodies of men and women are designed the way they are, reproductive systems and all, because they have a specific purpose in life.  What is that purpose?  Something huge:  to make love, literally — to create something, to bring new love into the world.  Sometimes this looks like physically bearing children (whether many or few); sometimes it looks like adopting; sometimes it looks like simply becoming aware that we are all here to love and to be loved.

When we can witness our own, familiar bodies actually doing this right before our very eyes – making something where there used to be nothing, bringing something new into the world – we are compelled to think about why we are here, and why God made us, and what it means to make love.

The book is by Our Sunday Visitor Press.  Will share more details when I get the green light!  It looks like it’s going to be a great project.


Worst! Pope! Ever!!1!

It’s true, Francis really is — as long as you understand that, as a Catholic, it is our duty and responsibility to read the words of the Holy Father only after they’ve been run through the MSM juicer a couple of times.


JoAnna Wahlund handily shreds “oh Lord, why are we being tormented by this dreadful, careless, foolish pope?” crowd as they rend their garments over what they see reported on MSNBC:

“Pope Reiterates 2,000-year-old Teaching of the Church” doesn’t make money; “Pope Declares that All Atheists Go to Heaven” does. Truth has nothing to do with it, and this type of misrepresentation for personal gain is something that’s been happening as long as the papacy has existed.

She give us a sample of all the times that the words and actions of  Benedict XVI and John Paul II were bizarrely twisted by the media.

And, lest we forget,  it’s not just a matter of misrepresentation.  Wahlund points out that, if you’re really desperate to find a pope who is ruining the Church, you could always fall back on:

  • Pope Stephen VI (896–897), who had his predecessor Pope Formosus exhumed, tried, de-fingered, briefly reburied, and thrown in the Tiber.
  • Pope John XII (955–964), who gave land to a mistress, murdered several people, and was killed by a man who caught him in bed with his wife.
  • Pope Benedict IX (1032–1044, 1045, 1047–1048), who “sold” the Papacy
  • Pope Boniface VIII (1294–1303), who is lampooned in Dante’s Divine Comedy
  • Pope Urban VI (1378–1389), who complained that he did not hear enough screaming when Cardinals who had conspired against him were tortured.

Etc.  Wahlund says,

We once had a Pope who was murdered while engaging in the act of adultery – and the Church survived! After that, can anyone honestly believe that the Church will be utterly decimated and destroyed simply because the current pope made statements about atheists that were deliberately misconstrued by the media in order to boost ratings?! If I was the Holy Spirit, I’d be insulted by the implication that my protection of the Truth was considered so weak and ineffective.

Maybe I have a soft spot in my heart for fed-up pregnant writers who imagine how they would feel if they were the Holy Spirit, but I loved the heck out of this piece.  Read the whole thing.  Rock on, JoAnna!