3 Arrow Prayers to Keep in Your Back Pocket

I was at the gym after just finding out we were pregnant with #4; this baby was a surprise, so I was feeling uneasy and anxious. My gym-friend came by to say hello and asked how I was doing. I told her the truth.

“We just found out we are pregnant with #4. We are happy, but honestly, I am also really scared. Will you pray for me?”

This friend is a special person. She is not like most people who say, “Of course! You’re in my prayers.” Nope. She stopped everything she was doing right there in the locker room and extended her hands over me while she prayed a beautiful prayer out loud for the whole world to hear. She finished by saying, “If I don’t pray over someone right when they ask, I always forget.”

Most people won’t do that. I have never done that. I am the one who says, “Yes! I will be praying for you!” And, not to toot my own horn, but I follow through. I used to forget. I used to tell people I would pray for them, and that was nothing more than a platitude. So, I had to come up with a better method.

These perfect prayer life hacks will be music to your ears. Never forget to pray for someone again! You organize every other part of your life; try organizing your spiritual life. | i love you |

I came up with three prayers that work in just about any situation where prayer is called for. I can quickly offer up these words for someone in need and do my merciful duty right on the spot. I mean, I can always pray more later, but at least I know I have put in a good word for that person already.

So, what are these three prayers?

Lord, have mercy.

Someone’s Facebook status is asking for prayers for her mom who just had a heart attack. A friend’s husband is being laid off. Another tragedy has taken place in the world. “Lord, have mercy.” This is a way for us to ask God to be kind and forgiving toward us and to help us in our time of need.

May perpetual light shine upon him.

Praying for the souls in purgatory is so important. They cannot pray for themselves. We need to do our duty to pray them into Heaven. Whenever I hear of a death (an acquaintance, friend of a friend, a celebrity, a world event), I offer up this prayer.

God is good!

And, it’s always important to thank God. When you or someone else is celebrating good news or an accomplishment or a blessing, let God know you recognize his goodness!


Now, can we always pray this way? Is this type of arrow prayer* a great substitute for thoughtful time with the Lord? Um, no. But, when we say these three short prayers with sincerity, we can assure that God hears us, and he honors those prayers. We can never forget to pray for one another!

*quick prayers we shoot up to God in the midst of our day

Fighting for Our Marriage: The Secret Weapon

Happy 48th birthday, Humanae Vitae! Read my thoughts along with Cardinal Dolan, Archbishop Chaput, Sister Helena Burns, Tommy Tighe, Sheila Liaugminas, and Janet Sahm Easter. A donkey among horses, I am.


Do you know what creates the tightest bonds? A common goal. Or a common enemy, if you will. My husband and I are on the same team fighting the same fight – and no, the opponent is not natural family planning. Instead, that is our weapon.

Every single day we must choose to stand together and fight off the culture of death in the media, in the people we know and in ourselves. We have to humble ourselves when we find out we are pregnant with our fourth after broadcasting that we wanted to take a break from having kids for a few more months.

Read the rest here.

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How to Make a Bike Flower Planter

Way back in the day, Mike and I used to ride bikes. Like, before we had to hook up trailers and baby seats and extra snacks and sips of water and favorite stuffed animals and all that. I had this cute little yellow road bike that Mike picked up somewhere, and we would just flirt around campus together. So cute.

That hunk of metal has been sitting in our garage for six years just rusting to bits now. And no, that is not a metaphor for our marriage. That is doing just wonderfully, thankyouverymuch.

I’ve been bugging Mike to help me turn it into a bike planter for years, and this year he finally conceded that no one was going to buy it, and I should just have at it.

Wire cutters, please.

Learn how to make a DIY bike flower planter on a Saturday. This project was so easy, and the payout was huge! I actually have people stopping by my house to take photographs of the bicycle.

It was so easy. The hardest part was just getting started. Once I was in it, I was IN it, baby. This was fun!

Want to make your own? Here is how I did it:

How to Make a Bike Flower Planter


Find an old bike that you like. This is a road bike, but you could use any kind you like as long as you dig the silhouette of it. Pay attention to handlebar shape, men’s vs. women’s styles, and other details you prefer.


Clean up that hunk of metal.


Get some sharp wire cutters and start clipping off everything that hangs. The breaks are really going to be the main job.



I also took off any tape or materials that wouldn’t look great covered in spray paint.


Then, I thought I could just cut off the rubber tires, but it turns out, on my bike, the tires had a metal rim inside the rubber. Instead, I just had Mike remove the entire wheel on both back and front, then removed the rubber afterwards.


Use plastic grocery bags and painters tape to cover any parts of the bike you do not want to paint.


I chose silver because I wanted the bike to have a cohesive and more neutral look. I love the idea of white, but white bikes are commonly used to pay respect to bikers who lost their lives on the road. I didn’t want that confusion. Another thing to consider: do you want just the frame to be painted while leaving the hardware silver? Do you want to paint everything to make it look like more of an art piece? Do you want to leave it as is for a “found” look? And, whatever paint you do decide on, make sure it is good for outdoor use. (And, obviously, at this point, we have reattached the wheels.)


Grab at least two baskets and line them with plastic bags. I poked holes all over the bags to create drainage. Then, fill the bag lined baskets with potting soil and the plants of your choice. I prefer plants that tend to creep and crawl and hang and get really big and out of control. It makes the whole thing look so lush!


Attach your baskets with zip ties. I added my baskets to the front and back, but I have also seen them added to the handlebars, crossbar, and wheels. Whatever look you prefer!


Baskets attached. Scored these at a garage sale.


To secure your bike, place it in its final location and use the kickstand to hold it up. You may need to place a flat rock under the kickstand to keep the bike from leaning too far to the side.


We used some U shaped metal anchors to secure the front and back tires into the grass. This bike isn’t going to withstand a tornado, but a heavy rain or a bumbling toddler shouldn’t bother it too much.


My raised beds are doing SO WELL this year. I mean, more than we could ever eat. The neighbors are sick of our salads. This pic is from right when the little seeds were starting to sprout. Aw.


I liked the addition of the herb pot next to it just to give a little balance.


El fin.


So there you have it: How to Make a Bike Flower Planter. It took us a couple of afternoons between disassembling, painting and drying, reassembling and placing it…and photographing the whole process…ahem. Without little kids underfoot and an entire day at your disposal, you could easily do this on a Saturday.

Let me know below if you have any questions. xx

Perinatal Anxiety: How do I know if I’m ready for another baby?

My most recent pregnancy was wretched. I didn’t have much morning sickness, I was just the normal amount of tired, the baby grew beautifully, and I had no medical complications. But I had perinatal anxiety, and that made everything suck, and it still sucks.

Perinatal Anxiety: How do I know if I am ready to have another baby? Observe women's mental health month by sharing this with a pregnant woman you love and care about.

It started in my first trimester with an increase in panic attacks. I normally get them a couple of times a year, but they started happening a few times a week. The doctors kept telling me that I was just anxious about having another baby, but I knew it wasn’t normal pregnancy anxiety.

As the weeks went by, I started having panic attacks so frequently that I was checked into the local hospital. I simply could not catch my breath in between the episodes as they were just compounding on top of one another. In addition to the panic, I was also having very depressing and suicidal thoughts. I knew I had no intention of ever killing myself, but the anxiety made me feel that I might be going crazy and eventually take my own life without my consent. It was such a dark time, you guys.

The hospital stay set me up with a new dosage for my anxiety meds as well as a therapist and a psychiatrist. I visited both of them frequently throughout the rest of my pregnancy, and I found a bit of comfort when my psychiatrist told me she would set me up with a women’s mental health clinic if or when we ever decided to have another baby.

Theodore Patrick was born on February 18, 2015, and almost instantly, my anxiety vanished. While it was reassuring to know that it was pregnancy hormones causing all of this (and not me actually going insane), it left me with the question: Do I ever want to go through this again?

We’ve always wanted a large family, and we still do. After our older kids were born, we knew we would get pregnant as soon as we were able again. But this time was much different. It’s not a given that I will go through the same suffering the next time, but I am at a much higher risk.

And that’s where we are right now. Do we want another child? We do. Am I ready to face that same type of pregnancy if God asks me to? I don’t know.

There are days when I am positively positive that I am ready for another. Theodore was so worth it, after all. But, the majority of days I am too scared to face the same fate again.

Our plan for now is to wait until the good days outnumber the bad days. And we pray. Lord, let us know what you are asking of our family. If you would like us to bring new life into the world, make it abundantly clear, and help us to feel peace in your request. We desire more children but fear the implications on my mental health. Thank you for all of the blessings you have already bestowed on our family. Help us to leave the future in your hands and to suffer well if you so ask it of us. Amen.


God brought good out of my story. He filled me with the Holy Spirit and enabled me to write a book filled with all of the tips and tools I use to manage my panic and anxiety. Check out 30 Days to Calm in my Etsy shop, and enter for a change to win one here.

To Enter: Follow me on Instagram (@callherhappy), and then comment here telling me that you did (or do). I will choose a winner June 6, 2016!


Share your story at Flourish in Hope or read more stories like this one.

Should Catholic Makers Share Their Business Secrets?

You put hours of work and research into your crafts, and then someone emails you with, “Could you share how you make your product?” What is the Catholic answer to this situation? It might be a little different than your instinct.

Like most things in life, I don’t think there is a prescriptive “Catholic” answer to situations like this. Womp womp. So, I decided to ask my husband, and he came up with some bangers.

You put hours of work and research into your crafts, and then someone emails you with, “Could you share how you make your product?” What is the Catholic answer to this situation? It might be a little different than your instinct. | diy | diy crafts | life hacks | etsy tips

photo credit | dollar photo club | nikolaydonetsk

So, Mike’s company makes parts for planes that are often used in combat. It is a top secret 007 facility, so they don’t share industry secrets because it is a matter of national security (much fancy). The processes of his company also create jobs for thousands of people, so sharing those things would eliminate the livelihood of tons of people.

Those reasons seem pretty obvious. If it is a matter of security or livelihood for your family or business, then, no, it might actually be wrong to share your secrets.

What about something with lower stakes like personal recipes? If a friend asked you for your recipe at a potluck, 99% of time you would share it. But maybe you don’t want to share your secret sauce because it is special to you – it makes you stand out. And that’s ok to keep it to yourself.

Is what you’re doing something very special to you that makes you unique? In this case, you can choose whether or not to share, and either way is equally fine.

Sometimes the info that you’re being asked for can easily be looked up; it might be public knowledge. While it may be annoying to have to answer these questions for someone when you took the time to figure it all out yourself, the charitable thing may be to share the information or point the person in the right direction to finding it.

Then again, the time that you put into research and development is part of the product cost. If the hours that you put into trial and error and picking and choosing is integral to the quality of your product, sharing might jeopardize that.

Think about the goal of your business. Is it to help humanity in some way? The CEO of Tesla, Elon Musk, put it this way: “If we’re all in a ship together, and the ship has some holes in it, and we’re sort of bailing water out of it, and we have a great design for a bucket, then even if we’re bailing out way better than everyone else, we should probably still share the bucket design.”

But maybe your goal is to make some extra money for your family. Is divulging information about your craft going to dilute the field and take away from your income? Or perhaps you just create for fun, and there is no consequence for giving up that knowledge.

In the end, whatever you decide, you do need to respond to inquiries in a Catholic way. It ends up being more about why you choose whether or not to share trade secrets and how you go about interacting with the person asking.

Has this ever happened to you? What was your response?

Check out my shop for your embroidery needs and anxiety remedies.

Fresh Love #ilooktoher

I was scrolling though the Gram the other day (my social media of choice since I had to physically block FB on my phone so I wouldn’t just delete the app and use Safari to get at my people…I have a problem.), and I was really struck by a photo and its caption.

Screen Shot 2016-02-08 at 1.46.52 PM

photo credit: @susana_starbuck

susana_starbuck of Little Flower Studios posted a snap of two delicious bouquets of fresh flowers – which she often does so you should follow her for a little extra beauty in your life. What was different this time is that she captioned the photo, “When I’m pregnant during Lent (which is like always) I have to get creative. This year I’m giving up fresh (and fake) flowers in the house. So obviously I had to stock up this weekend.”

How often does this gal (who also shares my love for hot lipsticks) have fresh flowers around that she can give them up for Lent? I want to have fresh flowers around so much that I need to give them up for Lent. What a beautiful life that would be!

If Susana’s life is anything like the gorgeous photos she takes, I want a little slice of that. I want me some fresh flowers.

Maybe you’re hopespecting some for Valentine’s Day. Or maybe instead of filling your house with mucho disorden, you can make it your new treat yoself gift. I like the latter.

I decided to treat my momma with some nice purples last week. She just got herself two new knees, and that warrants a little floral celebration.

While my mom is a huge flower lover, she was never much of a recipient this time of year. It’s not that my dad is a jerk (he’s totally the best dad ever), it’s just that my mom spent years working in a flower shop ON Valentine’s Day, so she wasn’t around to actually celebrate it herself. She worked for the sole purpose of sending my brother and I to private school. That’s it.

So, beauties for my mommy:

IMG_5391 IMG_5392 IMG_5396

I feel like Leslie Knope right now loving on these two beautiful women, and that makes TWO Parks and Recs references in one post. I wouldn’t have it any other way.

So, add a little fresh to your home with FTD just because, or celebrate your favorite lady this Galentine’s Day (three).

Color Me Prepared

disclaimer stuff: got a product, words are mine, etc.

The little Christmas tree the kids begged me to keep up until Candlemas (hello and goodbye…), is mocking me in the corner. It knows Lent starts next week. Next. Week. As in the 10th.

What are you going to abstain from? How are you going to make it meaningful? What are your grand plans for sainthood? I don’t know!

I do have the coloring pages covered. We all know coloring pages are code for “I don’t have my act together, but I want to live liturgically with my kids.” (p.s. I am working on a new book for families called The Lazy Liturgical. Keep your eye out for it.)

But what if coloring pages weren’t lame, and they were actually thebomb.com, or more specifically, illustratedchildrensministry.com?

The kids and I plan on working through An Illustrated Lent for the next 40ish days. Coloring is my jam, and my kids share the love too. It’s the one thing I do right as a parent. (And if you’re looking for over-achiever status, try the Family Edition package with easy and adorable devotion pages.)

And these suckers are HUGE. Check it out. There are nine of these bad boys:


2ft x 3ft x 2 cute feet

These nine original, meditative coloring posters each have a word in the middle to use for reflection, meditation and discussion. I can do that.

So, you just need to go over and get them now. Because Lent is next week. Next Week. And use the promo code CALLHERHAPPY for 20% off because I’m magic like that.



The True Cost of Your Closet

There are two truths that precede this post.

The first is that I am staunchly, whole-heartedly, unapologetically, no exceptions pro-life.

The second is that I understand documentaries have an agenda, but this particular film’s agenda lines right up with mine, so that made this all so very convenient. wink.

You look in your closet for this weeks outfits. Shoes, jeans, yoga pants - even lingerie. But, do you know the real cost of all of that fashion that ends up in your laundry room floor? Who is sewing your latest winter outfits from Nike or fall outfits from Urban Outfitters? Where does your maternity fashion or fall fashion come from and at what cost? Find out how you can be sure your closet is socially responsible while still being fashionable.

image via dollar photo club | saratm

Ever since Mike and I read The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, we have been looking at our consumer habits much more closely. We didn’t just donate a few things here and there. We got rid of almost half of our belongings, and we are attempting to keep it that way. We’ve noticed that, yes, we have regretted some of the things we gave away, but the freedom of having less has been much more worth it.

Even more worth it is our new outlook on consumption. For years, heck, my whole life even, I have gone through fits where I purged tons of “stuff” from my room or my apartment or house. I didn’t want all of these belongings, and I didn’t want to feel attachment to possessions. But, stuff kept creeping back in.

We all know why that happens. Products promise to fix problems in our life, but, well, they don’t. Instead we are left with more stuff to take care of (goodbye, time), and less money in our accounts. It’s what our society is built on. It’s really hard to get away from. I still struggle with this. I want all the stuff. This will be a lifelong process of unlearning my poor consumption habits.

What I’ve come to realize after our great and final purge (please, God), is that clothing is one of my weaknesses. Raise yo hand up if that is you too. After watching The True Cost, my resolve to fix this part of my life became firm…

But man, can I burn through Target tees and other cheap, expendable clothing. After all, it’s only meant to last for a season, right? But, where is all of that cheap clothing coming from? Sweatshops and poor working conditions are not foreign concepts to us, but they are certainly things that are easier to not think about than to put in the front of our minds when making purchases.

Cheap clothing has its advantages: people who are on a tight budget are able to afford new clothing at these cheap prices, and many people who come in contact with this clothing (from harvest to retail) are making money in the process.

Here is where my problems come in.

Do we accept the fact that workers are being paid pennies per day working in dangerous conditions so that we can fill our closets? Do we tell ourselves that these people need work otherwise they would have no money at all? Is it ethical to justify the abuse and sadness that these humans put up with day in and day out by saying, “well, they are lucky to have a job?”

Are there other alternatives? I can’t fix the garment industry on my own. But, there are ways we can make noise with our dollars. There are other places we can put our money. And yes, that may mean a worker from Bangladesh is not seeing work immediately, but it will also mean that companies are forced to change the way they do business. We cannot accept the fact that a mother must give up her child so that she can make less than a dollar a day in a garment factory where she plays the odds each day of whether she will die from a building fire or chemical exposure.

The alternatives to our shopping desires certainly range in price. We can always buy second hand. This is my favorite way to make sure no new manufacturing is taking a toll on humans or the environment. But, if you are looking for something new, you’re going to pay the price. You’re going to pay that person’s wage and healthcare and so on. Which means you won’t be able to buy as much. But it begs the question: do you need more?

It boils down to a life issue. With this knowledge of where your clothes are coming from and how they are made, can you be pro-life while supporting fast fashion industry that puts profit and quantity over human life?

I think not.

5 Tips for Shopping Smarter


A List of Better Alternatives

Please feel free to add more resources in the comment section. Or, if you know something about these companies that I don’t, let me know. I’m ready to learn!

Second Hand and Resale Stores
People Tree
Lands’ End (nevermind…)
American Apparel (Although I take issue with their marketing practices.)
C&C California
The Good Trade
Fair Indigo

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#5Faves: Ever

Maybe not, like, everrrr, but I had to do something every so slightly epic-ish for my very last 5Faves. Did you read on Monday? Ashley will be taking over while I take a step back in the blogging world to pursue other endeavors of the creative variety.

So, here she be.



Konmari: My house is still crazy awesome put together after Mike and I read The Life-changing Magic of Tidying Up. Still. And sometimes we just look around the house and smile at how clean it is. Do yourself a favor.


Seamly: After we completed Konmari, I decided to take a hard look at my wardrobe. Instead of buying a ton of cheap t-shirts each and every season, I wanted to fill my wardrobe with just a few well-made, classic pieces that withstand time. On top of that, I wanted items that were either made in America or made in an ethical manner. Hello, Seamly.


Embroidery Ring: Esmerelda is making me one of these beauties, and I CANNOT wait to wear it each and every day. It’s already my favorite.


Kindle Paperwhite: I am fairly certain I have mentioned this is many previous 5Faves. And Kindle lover or not, you can’t deny that owning one of these babies enables you to read so many more books. I do. I really do. If you’re thinking about buying one for the Christmas season, also consider buying it through this link. It would help me and my fam out with our Christmas shopping too.


Hoover Carpet Cleaner: I might have asked for one of these for my 30th birthday. And I got one. And I spent said birthday cleaning my carpets, and it made me happy. So there’s that.

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What are your favorite things ever? Tell me in the comments or link up your #5Faves (about anything!) below.  .

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