Sunday, September 30, 2012

Amazing Low-Carb Gluten Free Pizza

I got this recipe off of Pinterest and modified it just a bit, but the concept is amazing. Who knew that a simple head of cauliflower could yield four 9-inch pizzas?

Not only was the recipe easy, it was one of the best pizzas I have ever had! Not to mention it satisfied a craving that did not need to be met with a gluten free frozen cheese pizza, with just a few shards of cheese on top for $10. I think I spent all of $4 on four pizzas!

Give it a try and let me know how you like it:

1 cup cooked, riced cauliflower
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese (I also used a cheddar blend as I was low on mozzarella and too lazy to go to the store)
1 egg, beaten
1 1/2 t Penzy's pizza seasoning (or you can use oregano, salt and garlic)

pizza sauce, shredded cheese and your choice of toppings-I used fresh basil, tomatoes (from my garden), black olives, yellow bell pepper and cheese.
Remove stems and leaves from 1 head of cauliflower, and chop the florets into chunks. Add to your food processor and pulse until it looks like grain. Do not over-do pulse or you will puree it. (You can also use a cheese grater). Place the “riced” cauliflower into a microwave safe bowl and microwave for 8 minutes (may need to adjust according to your microwave). No need to add water.
One large head will produce between 2 and 3 cups of riced and cooked cauliflower. The remainder can be used to make additional pizza crusts immediately, or can be stored in the refrigerator for up to a week.
To make the pizza crust:
Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Spray a cookie sheet with non-stick cooking spray (or use a silicone mat, which is what I did). In a medium bowl, stir together 1 cup cauliflower, beaten egg and mozzarella. Add pizza seasoning (of oregano, minced garlic and salt), mix well. Transfer the mixture to your cookie sheet or silicone mat, and pat out into a 9″ round.
Bake at 450 degrees for 15 minutes.
Remove from oven and let cool awhile. This helps to make the crust more firm.

To make the pizza:  add sauce, toppings and cheese. Place under a broiler at high heat just until cheese is melted (approximately 3-4 minutes). *If you use meat, it need to be precooked since you are only broiling for a few minutes.

 I had enough cauliflower to make three extra pizzas, so I put them in the freezer for a busy day!

Please don't ask me how the pizza tastes the next day. I ate it all--and unashamedly so!

Friday, September 28, 2012

Racine couple experiences 'outpouring of love' Couple experiences outpouring of love

Written by Karen Mahoney, Special to your Catholic HeraldThursday, 27 September 2012 09:32

Restoring-America-2011-After-Amy-and-Dan-De-MatthewAmy and Dan DeMatthew are pictured in their newly renovated kitchen. (Submitted photos courtesy Paul Davis Restoration & Remodeling)

“If God brings you to it, He will bring you through it,” states the plaque above Dan and Amy DeMatthew’s fireplace. Since Dan’s bicycle accident in August 2009, that left him wheelchair bound and living with quadriplegia, the Racine couple has witnessed God’s hand nearly every step of their journey.

Although both were accustomed to years of volunteering their time, talents, and treasures to serve their community, St. Catherine’s High School, and their parish, St. Patrick Catholic Church, neither expected the outpouring of love from those wanting to serve them.

Touched by the couple’s positive attitude, courage and story, Paul Davis Restoration & Remodeling of Southeast Wisconsin was the latest to offer much needed assistance. Like a scaled down version of TV’s Extreme Makeover Home Edition, the company donated time, labor and materials to update the DeMatthew’s kitchen to make it easier for Dan to navigate in his motorized wheelchair.

The project included demolition of the kitchen and removal of cabinets, countertops, flooring, and preparation for installation and construction work. The project has a sustainability theme with recycled cabinetry from another residence going into the new kitchen, reuse of stone countertops and donating the DeMatthew’s existing countertops and cabinets to Habitat Restore in Racine.

According to Allen Degner, Marketing Representative for Paul Davis Restoration, the month-long project included reconfiguring the kitchen’s layout to make it easier for Dan to maneuver.

“We wanted to add a double oven so there was a lower one that Dan could use, and place a microwave within reachable distance for him as well,” he said. “We wanted to give him an accessible workspace and desk that he can wheel up to, and we wanted to give them a dishwasher to make cleaning up easier for him as well.”

After reading the DeMatthew’s story in Your Catholic Herald, Meg Boyle, one of the owners, as well as Vice President and Chief Financial Officer of Paul Davis Restoration thought it would make a good project for the company’s annual Restoring America Program. For the past decade, the program is an annual home improvement initiative designed to help those who cannot afford to or are physically unable to fix up their homes.
The DeMatthew family kitchen underwent a big transformation last year, thanks to the generosity of Paul Davis Restoration. With the renovation, Dan DeMatthew, who was injured in a 2009 bicycle accident, can more easily navigate in his motorized wheelchair. The original kitchen is shown above. (Submitted photo courtesy Paul Davis Restoration & Remodeling)
“Paul Davis Restoration & Remodeling of Southeast Wisconsin participates in ‘Restoring America,’ because we truly believe we can make a difference in the quality of a person’s life by making much-needed home repairs,” explained Boyle. “Once we chose the DeMatthew’s family as our recipients, we received commitments of labor and materials from our valued venders and trades people. They were all ready to help.”

Unlike their previous volunteer projects, renovating the DeMatthew kitchen took on a personal element for Boyle, who has fond memories as Amy’s classmate at St. Joseph Grade School in Wauwatosa.

“We have reconnected after losing touch for a while,” she said. “Amy comes from a large family and we kind of grew up together. From their parents, they all learned to embrace their Catholic faith, and have committed their lives to giving back to their church, school, and community. Their parents were so active in the parish and even though they have since moved to Libertyville, continue to give back to this day. I recently met up with Amy’s mom and I was touched when she showed me her prayer book that she has carried with her for years.”

Despite the connection to the DeMatthew family, Boyle knew their situation was perfect for the company’s belief in giving back to the community. Each year, the company’s philanthropic efforts touch the lives of families and non-profit organizations.

“I came across this story and whether I knew Amy and Dan or not, it was a heartfelt story about a couple who have gone through tragedy. They needed work done at their house to make it more accessible for their husband,” Boyle explained. “The side story was great because I knew Amy from my past. They are a great family and it was just for someone like this, that we want to be giving back—and it is a great feeling to be able to do this.”

While they are grateful for the help, the many volunteers working in their home are humbling to Amy and Dan. Nearing the two-year anniversary of the accident, the couple continues to be overwhelmed by the compassion of others.

“We have always been in the state that others need more than us and were used to being the ones to help others,” said Amy. “And like Dan has said, ‘we have been so fortunate through all of this.’ It’s incredible that there are so many people like Meg Boyle and her brother, Paul Davis, who are so giving and willing to help us out. We feel very blessed that people are doing stuff for us to make our lives so much easier.”

Since Dan’s accident, which resulted in cervical fusion, he underwent surgery to implant an intrathecal Baclofen pump to help with the chronic muscle spasms in his neck, as well as additional surgery to alleviate herniated disks in his lower back. Through physical therapy, acupuncture, yoga, massage therapy and chiropractic care, Dan has begun walking a bit with the aid of crutches.

“There has been a lot of gain, the back surgery set him back a bit, but he has become more independent with the pump and the surgery,” said Amy, adding, “He has an unbelievably great attitude. He wants to keep getting better and be less dependent on others.”

Since Amy has returned to her job as a physical therapist at Wheaton Franciscan Hospital, she has needed to rely on sons Joe, 29 and Jaime, 23, as well as other volunteers to assist Dan at home, and bring him to his medical appointments. With the addition of the remodeled kitchen, it gives Dan another step towards independence.

“He will be able to do some cooking, and dishes and just be more functional at home,” explained Amy. “He wants to work harder to live and work in a normal environment and live as normal a life as possible. This new kitchen will really help him to be able to do this and I can’t thank Meg and Paul enough for what they have done to help make this possible.”

With all of the abrupt changes in their lives, medically, emotionally and physically, Amy admitted she lost a part of herself for a while, but a crack in a piece of patio stone made all the difference.

“We have had so many people help us, with a wheelchair ramps, building an accessible patio, helping with the bedroom—all things to make Dan’s life easier. Dan is able to go into the garage and go outside to the patio in the backyard all on his own now,” she said. “But one day, I just felt like I wanted everything to go back to the way it was where we were the ones volunteering. I walked outside to sit on the patio and was so upset when I saw this crack in our beautiful new patio.”

Pondering the imperfection for a few moments, Amy suddenly realized perhaps the crack was a message from God telling her that no one and no situation is perfect, and all things can serve a purpose in life.

“I never want to get caught up in the material of anything and it is so easy to do that,” she said, tearfully. “A friend of Dan’s sent us a book called ‘Devotions for Every Day of the Year,’ and every single time I have opened this book, there has been an appropriate passage for me, Dan and even for our sons at the right time we needed it.”

Through their journey of tragedy, pain and disappointment, Dan and Amy continue to be cognizant of God’s work in their lives and the work He is doing in the lives of others through the help they have received.

“We have trusted in the Lord before and now that rough times have come, it has made us stronger and work harder,” Amy said. “Life isn’t always on an easy slope and we often get content with things. A little bump in the road wakes us up a bit and refocuses us on what is important. There are so many people willing to help us out—people often lose faith in humans, but there are some really good people around who want to help others and we are so grateful.”

Paul Davis Restoration staff and recipients are pictured at the DeMatthew home in Racine, the site of the 2011 Restoring America project. Pictured from left to right are Paul Davis staff members Kim Falvey, Jayme Lippe, Bob Janik, Victoria Maduscha, and Tim Guilette, and the DeMatthew family, Amy, Dan and Jamie. (Submitted photo courtesy Paul Davis Restoration & Remodeling)

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Cancer couldn't stop remodeling project by Karen Mahoney, Special to your Catholic HeraldThursday, 27 September 2012 10:08

DSC_0010A photograph of Lynn Steinle, who died from cancer on New Year’s Day in 2011, is displayed in her family’s remodeled kitchen in Elm Grove on Thursday, Sept. 20. In spite of the cancer diagnosis, Steinle went ahead with a kitchen remodeling project, hoping that it would be featured in the Kitchens for a Cause Walk. (Catholic Herald photo by Ricardo Torres).

When doctors told Lynn Steinle that she had stage four lung cancer, she decided to spend the time remaining doing stuff she wanted to do.

Unlike many people, she did not quit her job, travel to Europe, or take a cruise to Alaska. Rather, she did what she always did; she worked long hours as founder and co-owner of Strategic Employee Benefits Services, which is associated with Northwestern Mutual Financial Network,  took care of her family, volunteered at her parish, St. Mary Visitation in Elm Grove, and crafted handmade soap to give to friends and family.

If that were not enough, despite surgery to remove one of her lungs, she embarked on a massive project to remodel her kitchen; and she did it with such gusto, that in it seemed to be woven a personal legacy, left behind for her husband Tim, and children Jacob, 26, Daniel, 25, and Abigail, 22 to enjoy.

The kitchen remodeling was one of the final touches on the renovation project of their 1930s Tudor style home; the couple had already renovated the upstairs, including bathrooms. After five years of discussing what they wanted in a kitchen, Lynn and Tim were to sign papers on December 1, 2008 with Design Group Three as the architectural design firm, but instead of celebrating the beginning of the project, both felt a slug to the gut with the cancer diagnosis.

“I hated to tell her, but we just had to put the project on hold and she agreed,” explained Tim. “She was just 53 years of age and it was such a shitty diagnosis.”

Not long after the grim news, Lynn had surgery to remove one of her lungs and by summer of 2009, she rekindled the desire to revisit the remodeling project.

“She came up to me one day that summer and told me, ‘I don’t know what the Lord has in store for me, but I want my kitchen done,’” recalled Tim, a Milwaukee attorney.  “I told her, ‘Sweetie, I think this is a big problem, you had your lung removed and with the dust and everything associated with this project, I just don’t think it is a good idea.’”

Despite his objections, Lynn’s fervent desire to complete the project won out. And for months, the couple lived behind plastic curtains, and cooked out of the toaster oven and microwave.

“It was important to her to have a kitchen that she could entertain in,” said Tim. “We both love to cook. Lynn was a career woman and was very successful in her own business. We were both involved in raising our three kids, who are all adults now and we shared in the family cooking. Lynn really enjoyed the holidays and having people over for Thanksgiving and Christmas. In all those years, our house was filled with family, and every time we had a party, everyone naturally gathered in the kitchen. With a tiny galley kitchen, it wasn’t conducive for entertaining, and Lynn wanted a kitchen where everyone could gather together.”

While it was difficult living among dust, plastic and construction noise for the 9-month project, Tim admitted that he would do it again to make her happy. To her, the project seemed cathartic, a glimpse of the lives that would continue, no matter her personal outcome.

The project was completed by spring of 2010 and included removing walls, adding a large island equipped with electrical outlets to accommodate Tim’s computer and a 42-inch wall mounted TV.

“The kitchen is bright and beautiful, it has her all over it, and we had fun picking out a lot of it together,” said Tim. “She got to enjoy the kitchen through the summer and fall and then died on New Year’s Day, 2011, just two days before our 30th wedding anniversary.”

For 26 years, Lynn was involved with philanthropic efforts in Milwaukee, and the Elm Grove community, including the Christian Women’s Society of St. Mary Visitation Parish. It was her desire to feature the newly remodeled kitchen on the first annual Kitchens for a Cause Kitchen Walk in May 2011.

According to Lynne Miller, member of the Kitchens for a Cause Committee, Lynn Steinle wanted her kitchen included on the last kitchen walk, but it was completed too late to include it in the spring tour.

“This year we are honored to showcase our home on our tour,” she said. “Not only was Lynn an avid member of the Christian Women’s Society, she volunteered at all of our parish functions, and shared her time and talents with Marquette University High School and Pius XI High School. She taught us all many lessons on living life to the fullest and she is greatly missed.”

The Steinle home will be one of nine homes with newly remodeled kitchens, included on the walking tour, which will raise funds for new refrigeration equipment at Jesuit Nativity Middle School’s Camp Thunderhead.

It was Tim’s desire that this year’s efforts will benefit Nativity, as the school is the male counter part to the all girls Notre Dame Middle School. The school system is one that he and his wife have supported over the years.

Nativity is an independent Catholic middle school founded in 1993 to serve low-income Hispanic boys in grades six through eight. The school is run under the auspices of the Society of Jesus. Since the school’s inception, Nativity has graduated 256 boys, most of whom have gone on to attend private college preparatory high schools, and 75 percent of graduates continue on to post secondary education.

Each summer, Nativity students spend five weeks at Camp Thunderhead, a residential summer camp in northern Wisconsin. While there, the boys build on their academic skills while enjoying outdoor sports and camaraderie. The camp’s kitchen is in need of modern commercial refrigeration equipment and proceeds from the walk will help the school purchase these much-needed items.

“When Jean Kelly, (Co-President of Milwaukee Archdiocesan Council of Christian Women) came to me and told me about the kitchen walk and how all the proceeds goes to some form of education and asked if I would open my kitchen to the tour, and that they wanted to honor her, it was easy to say yes,” he said. “These beautiful ladies do all the work of the open house, and my daughter Abby will be coming home and Lynne’s sister Sherry will be involved as well.”

Last year 150 guests raised $15,000 in the Kitchens for a Cause tour to update the kitchen of Notre Dame Middle School and this year, the Christian Women’s Society hopes to double the number of visitors on the tour.

“This year we have a very unique group of nine homes,” said Miller. “In addition to our host home, we have a 1920s Tudor designed by Eschweiler featured across the street from a very ultra modern design nestled between two wooded glacial kettles, a 1937 Cape Cod home that was originally a goat farm, a fairy tale ‘Hansel and Gretel’ cottage style home build in the 1930s designed by architect R. Harold Zook, and a one story ranch that was completely overhauled to produce a spectacular two-story masterpiece. There are large kitchens that spill into beautiful family rooms, as well as smaller kitchens that maximize the space with their unique designs and appliance placement.”

Door prizes will add to the excitement of the tour. Each guest will receive a raffle ticket to apply towards a door prize, but additional raffle tickets will be available for purchase.

“We are hoping to continue this Kitchen Walk in Elm Grove for many years to come,” said Miller. “There are lots of neighborhoods with unique homes and beautiful kitchens in Elm Grove. The possibilities are endless.”

Although she cannot be physically part of the tour, Miller knows that Lynn would have been the first in line to purchase a ticket, and talked a dozen friends into attending as well.

“She was so generous with her time and talent, supporting charitable causes with beautiful raffle baskets, working the events and promoting the cause,” said Miller. “Her strong Catholic Faith led her to volunteer for many groups at St. Mary Visitation. She lived her faith in both her words and her actions, always helping others in our local community and the surrounding areas.”

Excited to share her sister’s legacy and vision, Sherry Dieringer-Wahlberg and the couple’s daughter Abby will be welcoming visitors to the Steinle kitchen.

“Abby will continue with one of Lynn’s traditions of soap making,” said Wahlberg. “Lynn used to make soap and gave it to everyone. Abby has continued this tradition and made a dozen batches, which amounts to a couple of hundred bars of soap, packaged and labeled it. She is going to ask for any donation in any amount and all the money will go to the cause. This would be typical Lynn. She would never sell it—but would ask for donations for causes, so this way we honor Lynn’s desire not to sell the soap, but to ask for donations to help others.”
The Steinle family’s kitchen in Elm Grove will be one of nine featured in the Kitchens for the Cause Kitchen Walk on Saturday, Sept. 29. Lynn Steinle died New Year’s Day in 2011, before it could be featured in the inaugural Kitchen Walk in spring. (Catholic Herald photo by Ricardo Torres)

Wahlberg is eager to share stories of her sister to inquiring visitors, giving them a rare glimpse into Lynn’s life, her home, her selfless actions, strong faith, and desire to leave the world a better place.

“She worked very hard, made a lot of money and gave a lot of money away,” said Wahlberg. “She was very dedicated to underprivileged kids and wanting those kids to get a religious connection.”

Despite her cancer diagnosis, Lynn never wavered from her faith, nor complained to others about her pain.

“She was incredible and always downplayed the pain she was in,” said Wahlberg. “You could see it in her face and in her movements, yet she always said she was fine. She was an example for anyone on how to handle a disease—she was just incredible all the way to the end. She loved her job so much, and Tim would have loved for her to stop working, go to Ireland and travel, but her passion was her job. She worked up to three weeks before she died. It was important for her to get dressed and go into the office so people cold see she was still functional.”

Tim agreed, and added that the suffering seemed to make his wife stronger, and remembers her telling him that it was better she died than someone else. For him, while he admits his faith isn’t shaken, he does have questions.

“I do have questions about why things happen, and philosophically, some questions,” he disclosed.

In the days and weeks after Lynn died, Tim remembers wanting to close his doors and stay in bed; but because of his three children, who were also grieving the loss of their mother, he knew that he had to continue as an example to them.

“I stay active, continue living and working and doing what I did before,” he said. “I am an outdoorsman and enjoying hunting, fishing and going to my summer home with my kids. I try to stay busy, but I tell you, I live alone now, and evenings are a very lonely time for me. I am happy to be part of this cause and think what they are doing is magnificent. I am honored by whatever they do and while I don’t understand things in this life—I do know that I will see her someday.”

Those interested in attending the Kitchen Walk should park at the Elm Grove Women’s Club on Watertown Plank Road. A shuttle bus provided by Pius XI High School will be running the route all day. The homes are all located off Circle Drive and the tour can be easily walked.

Tickets are $25 before the date and $30 on the day of the event. They can be purchased at Grasch Foods on North Avenue in Brookfield and the Parish Office of St. Mary Visitation in Elm Grove. Orders will also be taken by emailing

If you want to go

Kitchens for a Cause 
Kitchen Walk
Saturday, Sept. 29, 
10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Park at Elm Grove 
Women’s Club
13885 Watertown Plank Road
A shuttle bus, provided by Pius XI High School, will run the route all day. The homes are all located off Circle Drive and the tour can easily be walked.

Tickets $25 in advance, 
$30 day of event
Tickets available at 
Grasch Foods
13950 North Ave.,
St. Mary Visitation 
Parish Office
1260 Church St., 
Elm Grove

Thursday, September 20, 2012

At Tech Club, it is ‘cool to love God’

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On a balmy Thursday evening in spring, Jonathan Neustifter joined his fellow Tech Club members to rehearse for the group’s latest video.TechClubAnne Howard, a fifth-grader, operates the camera as seventh-grader Chloe Baumstark holds a religious phrase while producing a video during Tech Club. More photos can be viewed and purchased at (Catholic Herald photo by Allen Fredrickson)
Like most middle school students, he enjoys listening and moving to the latest popular music. Being in the Tech Club allows the Neustifter, now a sixth-grader from Racine’s John Paul II Academy, to blend his love of music and acting with strengthening his relationship with God.
“The club sounded interesting because acting is my profession and since I did a play at First Stage in Milwaukee last year, I was looking to get into something else,” he explained. “And I love computers, too. I was not really convinced at first, but Mom (Gail) convinced me.”
The group of 25 students in grades four to eight from John Paul II Academy and Our Lady of Grace formed the Tech Club with coordinator Richard Sosa as a means of sharing the Gospel. Since February, the group has met during the school year on Thursday evenings to pray and learn how to use cameras, lights and computers. To date, the club, with the help of Kevin Gordon, a teacher at JPII, has created six videos to evangelize the Catholic faith. The videos are posted on You Tube, and

Watch the Tech Club videos

“Since Good Friday, when the videos were uploaded to, they have taken off – over 50,000 views and counting,” said Sosa, a professional video producer and catechist.
“The videos have been seen all over the world and even some schools are incorporating the videos as part of their liturgical celebrations. Kenosha St. Joseph Academy played one of the videos on reconciliation during Stations of the Cross. The blessings that have come from this group are immense and still growing,” he said.
For Neustifter, the opportunity to pray with other students, ask God for guidance and create videos based on that prayer has deepened his faith.
“My faith in God has always been strong, however, Tech Club burrowed into my faith in a positive way,” he said. “I interact with God more often and I enjoy the prayer before and after Tech Club. I also have more friends because of the club because I have more opportunities to talk to other kids and we help each other. I don’t feel ashamed to reveal my faith to anyone.”
The videos, set to music, have themes such as “Prayer and Encouragement for the Suffering and Brokenhearted,” “Confetti Easter Eggs: How to Make Cascarones” and “My Catholic Show: Lesson on Gossip and Words,” and appeal to all ages.
For seventh-grader Madeline Sosa, daughter of Richard Sosa, and student at JPII Academy, Tech Club is not only fun, but helps her learn more about faith.
“We have lots of fun and goof around sometimes,” she said. “The Tech aspect is cool, too. I like learning how to take pictures using an HD (high-definition) camera. It’s very fun and I feel good knowing that we are bringing people to the faith. I love praying together with my friends because it makes me feel like we’re one in Christ.”
In addition to having fun and learning new technology, Madeline has gained confidence in her faith and the courage to share it openly with others.
“The videos we put online help us share the good news and that makes us more confident in our faith,” she said. “So, if I show kids who aren’t Catholic, they get more interested in it.”p.3-05-17-12-CHN_06Instructor Richard Sosa gives directions to Elizabeth Hokanson, now a sixth-grader, as she helps on a project recording messages that evangelize the Catholic faith at John Paul II Academy in Racine May 17. (Catholic Herald photo by Allen Fredrickson)
At Tech Club, it is cool to love God, explained Madeline.
“It’s cool that some of the older kids like seventh-and-eighth graders are hanging out with the younger kids in fourth or fifth grades,” she said. “It helps them because they will put God first and they will begin to know God more than they did before. They start to pray more often and they realize that you can honor God, you can praise God and it doesn’t necessarily mean it’s boring. Kids in Tech Club look forward to coming every week. We do a lot of cool things. I think the kids that are part of Tech Club never realized how much fun it can be to say yes to God.”
For Tonya Baumstark, now seventh-grade daughter Chloe joined Tech Club to learn how to operate cameras, lights, and learn editing, but after the first meeting, she realized it was so much more.
“She learned so much about herself, her deep love for our God, her desire to walk in God’s presence and to put God first – to know him, serve him and love him,” said Tonya. “I also believe that her being in the fellowship of friends and being able to share her hopes, her fears and beliefs has drawn her closer to God and to her friends.”
In observing her daughter and the other club members reflecting on why they love God, discussing the sacrament of reconciliation, and having fellowship has initiated Tonya in reflecting on her own journey to Christ.
“Am I putting God first? Am I doing enough to spread the Word of God to others,” she asked. “I feel really enlightened by all they have done and have begun spreading their work through social media and email to friends and family. I have been able to reflect and learn something from every video they have done. I am astonished by their love of God, their desire to evangelize and their simple love of each other.”

For more information on Tech Club

Contact Richard Sosa
By bringing the videos into the public eye, Tonya said the group is doing a service to young Catholics around the country.
“I think those messages become a little more clear when it comes from your peers or someone you can relate to on a different level,” she said. “They may be more apt to listen to the message coming from a peer rather than an adult. In this media age, I also believe it is being presented in a format that the kids can relate to and makes it something the kids really want to watch and are genuinely interested in.”
The popularity of the videos – some of them have had nearly 20,000 views each – and the Tech Club is edifying to Sosa, who is in awe of society’s fast paced lifestyle.
“Everything is available on the Internet and on TV when you want it,” he said. “Most of it isn’t good. If you want to reach young people, how are you going to do that? Where are you going to engage them? This is a direct result of John Paul II’s call for a New Evangelization.”
Sosa described the effort as a way to bring new life into the church and school.
“I didn’t really have a clue as to what effect this would have on our school. I just figured, ‘Do it, start it and let God do his work.’ Like Mother Teresa says, ‘I’m just a pencil’ ... God’s writing his truth, his Gospel, through us. So in reality, we had to put a lot of trust in God for what we were going to do. That’s not easy for a self-proclaimed control freak like me.”

Daring Greatly Book Review

Had a chance to review the book Daring Greatly by Dr. Brene Brown. In it, she offers a new twist on Theodore Roosevelt’s vision to embrace our own vulnerability and imperfections, to live wholeheartedly and live our lives in a courageous manner.

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; . . . who at best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly.” —Theodore Roosevelt

Dr. Brown  disseminates the core elements of vulnerability-this is not to say our weaknesses. On the contrary, allowing ourselves to be open and vulnerable will allow enormous creativity, connection and joy that would not otherwise be able to emerge within ourselves.

The book is based on her own experience and research, and will appeal to a myriad of individuals as well as experiences and lifestyles, including parenting.

Dr. Brown is open and self-disclosing in this book, revealing her own struggles and vulnerabilities and allowing the reader to find her methods both accessible and easy to relate.

She clearly demonstrates the problems that shame and the lack of vulnerability create and how they surfaced, so we can work to adapt our own behaviors and learn to live more fully, vulnerably and wholeheartedly.

Her welcoming and easy writing style is captivating and while the subject matter may be difficult, she engages you and helps you to painlessly change your life.

"This is a paid review for BlogHer Book Club but the opinions expressed are my own." 

Monday, September 17, 2012

Run with all your might


Well worn athletic shoes encompassing all of the colors of the rainbow. 
Matching jerseys representing the names of teams throughout the state of Wisconsin. 
Sun-rays cascading through multi-hued leaves, spreading across the lawn and beautiful campus of St. Lawrence Seminary High School. 
Voices shouting through microphones, bullhorns and loudspeakers directing athletes where to practice. 

Capuchin priests and brothers in habits chatting amid the crowds. 

Volunteers selling food, clothing and beverages. 
Children running, giggling and rolling down the hills.

This is the Hilltopper. 

This past Saturday, the annual high school cross country race brought together more than 600 runners to experience the school's grueling course of hills, valleys and the rustic potato patch. Embedded within the hundreds of feet clamoring to make it up 'Big Bertha," the main hill connected the upper campus to the soccer fields below was my son, Erin and his teammates. 

From the single shot of the starting pistol, we watched with eager anticipation at our children. 

Erin, mired in the middle was secretly pacing himself, allowing others to achieve early advantage. He seemed to run effortlessly to the halfway point of the 5K race. By the potato patch, he had picked up his speed, muscles ripping with pain, breath labored, sweat dripping into his eyes. 

I was not alone in craning to see my child run and prayed that he would win. As each second passed family members lengthened their statures in hopes to glimpse their child among the masses. 

Towards the end, we were all screaming. 

I remember yelling, "Run Erin Run--Run with all your might"

My husband snapped photos as I was too jumpy, and too excited--not to mention, I had my 3-year-old granddaughter on my shoulders!

First one crossed the finish line, then another, then another and so on, until finally I saw the gold uniform. 

It was him. 

He was beat red, pushing as hard as his body would take him. 

"Run Erin Run"

And he crossed the finish line--number 15. Good enough to medal. 

The rest of the SLS team came in afterwards, equally exhausted, in pain, out of breath, spent....
but smiling. 

They did it. 

They earned Third Place. 

They ran with all their might--and suddenly, the day seemed even brighter than it did the moment before.

Very proud of all of you--all of the sons of Calvary, each one--I fondly feel as if they also belong to me. 

Congratulations on a well run race!

This is Erin's last Hilltopper, as he graduates this year, but I am sure that he will run many other races in his lifetime. 

A huge thank you to the wonderful example of the Capuchin Franciscans at SLS for giving my son a quality education imbued with sound Catholic Moral teaching and examples. I will never forget any of you!

I especially wish to thank Fr. Dennis Druggan, OFM CAP,  for sharing the spirit of St. Francis of Assisi and serving as a living example of a moral life, filled with the mercy and grace of God to all. Erin looks up to you as do each of the boys on the hill. 

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Fighting for our lives--rebounding after Levaquin

Received another call today from someone given the drug Levaquin. It seems as if the calls are coming more frequently lately, and they all have a familiar ring to them. This one nearly broke my heart, as it was from an 82-year-old lady named Margaret, who was given the drug for a simple chest cold. She went from living as an independent, active woman, to a tearful, depressed and barely able to function disabled person.

The story was so similar to mine, that it gave me chills. Just 2- 750 mg pills of Levaquin and she was unable to walk, had shocks in her legs, swollen tendons, insomnia, depression, anxiety, digestive issues and more. Gosh, I hate this drug! Moreover, I have little use for the physicians who so readily prescribe this antibiotic and fail to realize the potential debilitating side effects. She, like me, and thousands of others, went to her doctor for help and was prescribed this poison, and then, when she returned to ask for help in dealing with the adverse side effects, was tossed off as crazy. I am so sick of this.

Just one quick read of the drug interaction literature accompanied with the fluoroquinolones they are prescribing would clue them in on the dangers of this family of drugs  and the potential harm for those who innocently take them, thinking that this pill will make them feel better.

It has been 9 months of hell for me and there have not only been days that I thought I was going to die, but days that I wished I would. Right now, I am going through a terrible relapse period that, among other things, has not allowed me much use of my hands--and being a writer, you can only imagine how damaging this is to my career.

If it weren't for the tremendous support I have received from thousands of others like me on a Facebook support group, I would not be here today. Through them and through a doctor I found, who specializes in integrative medicine, I have received emotional support as well as helpful guidelines in eating healthy, taking the correct supplements---as well as, what not to take to get through this horror.

Right now, there are thousands of us petitioning to get a class action lawsuit started to get this drug removed from the market. If you, or a loved one has been prescribed this antibiotic and have suffered side affects, please join us in filling out this form. It only takes 3 minutes of your time and has the potential to help millions.

Please consider signing up--and please pray for Margaret and all those suffering needlessly from fluoroquinolones.

ATTENTION: Fluoroquinolone drugs have been linked to numerous and widespread devastating and systemic side effects. Toxic side effects to the Central Nervous System, Peripheral Nervous System and the Autonomic Nervous System have been repor
ted. If you have taken Levaquin, Cipro or Avelox and experienced any of these or other side effects lasting longer than 3 weeks after discontinuation of the drug, please contact the FQ Lawsuit Registry. One experienced Southern California law firm would like to represent you regarding your adverse drug reaction. In order to be considered for compensation for your injuries, in this class action lawsuit, you must fill out the information form provided. No information will be shared outside the legal firm. This is time sensitive. Law firms gauge interest by numbers of responsive victims affected. These forms need to be submitted by Thurs Sept. 13th. Please take 3 minutes and register NOW in order to obtain financial compensation.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Missionary Image of Our Lady of Guadalupe comes to Kenosha

by Karen Mahoney, Kenosha News Correspondent 

A reproduction of the Image of Our Lady of Guadalupe, a 482-year-old religious treasure from Mexico will arrive on September 8 at St. Elizabeth Catholic Church until September 17, and will travel to Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Parish September 13-16.

The Missionary Image from the Guadalupe shrine in Mexico City is a gift of the Catholic Bishops of Mexico to the people of the United States and is visiting a number of cities across the country, as well as in the Kenosha area.

It is a digital replica of the Virgin on the “tilma,” or cloak of Aztec Indian Juan Diego, who on December 9,1531 reported that she had appeared to him on the barren hill at Tepayac, Mexico, asking that a church be built there to show her merciful love to all of her children. The cautious Bishop asked Juan to ask the Lady for a sign. Juan did so, and on December 12, Mary appeared again to Juan on Tepayac Hill and told him to pick the Castilian roses (from his native Spain), which miraculously appeared there and to bring them to the Bishop as a sign for him to believe the request. He gathered the roses into his tilma and brought them to the Bishop.

It is believed that after he presented the roses to the bishop, the pregnant Image of Our Lady of Guadalupe appeared on the tilma, where it remains to this day.

Catholics who honor Our Lady of Guadalupe believe her purpose then was to bring peace between the Aztecs and their Spanish rules and credit her with the conversion of 9 million Aztecs in the following years.

Our Lady of Guadalupe is a dark young mestizo woman with rich robes of indigenous design and color. Her hands are folded in prayer and she is surrounded by heavenly rays. According to Fr. Sean Granger, pastor of St. Elizabeth Catholic Church, tests have shown that this image is not a painting and the tilma shows no sign of decay after so many years.

“This is the only major image of Our Lady when she is pregnant and that seems to have been painted by the hand of God himself,” said Granger. “The image seems to be floating above the fabric and it is a miracle that the image could survive this long as the fabric, made by the threads of the maguey cactus should have decayed after just 20 years. There are so many miracles in the image itself; such as when technology caught up with the image and her eye was scanned to reveal the inverted image of three people standing there. The stars in the night are the same ones on her gown, and the shapes on her dress are like the mountain region from where she appeared. Her hands are joined in prayer and she pointed her finger to the cross at her neck, and she has sunrays from behind her with the presence of divinity. Not that she is divine, but who is within her is.  There are so many neat things. The image is a miracle of itself—it is absolutely perfect.”

That St. Elizabeth parish was picked to host the Missionary Image on the birthday of Mary is another coincidence, as well as the fact, that St. Elizabeth was Mary’s cousin and the mother of John the Baptist. According to Beverly Beyers, who attends the parish, the opportunity to meet Dan Lynch, the National Guardian of the Image, happened in 2010 at a Marian Conference in Chicago. She was there to sell her scripture art and had the opportunity to speak with Lynch about the Image.

“When I learned that no one had asked for a visitation during Our Lady’s birthday, I asked if we could host her here in Kenosha, and Dan said we could, if I found a parish to host it,” she explained. “Fr. Sean was gracious to tell me his story of being in Mexico to marry someone and his only opportunity to visit the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe to say a Mass was September 8. We both thought that was a special connection and he approved us hosting the Image.”

While there have been miracles associated with the presence of the Image, Granger cautions individuals to come not expecting a miracle, but because Mary directs people to Jesus and it is an opportunity to get to know Mary more.

“It is possible that coming to pray and see this image will increase the faith of Catholics as well as non-Catholics,” he said. “Many have traveled to Mexico and experienced something profound. We hope that those who come experience their own private revelation and get to know Our Lady’s Son more, as she directs everyone to Jesus.”

For more information on the Missionary Image, Fr. Granger suggests these books:

Handbook of Our Lady of Guadalupe by Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate
Our Lady of Guadalupe, hope for the world by Dan Lynch


If you want to go:

Sept 7-12--St. Elizabeth - 4816 7th Avenue     
Sept. 13-16--Mt Carmel -1919 54th Street

St. Elizabeth Schedule
Sept. 7    Holy Hour 7-9 pm
Sept. 8    Open 8 am – 8 pm
                Nativity of Mary
                Mass 8 am, 4:30 pm
                Birthday Dinner   4-8 pm
Sept. 9    Open 8 am – 8 pm
                Mass   8 am, 10 am
                Latin/Spanish Mass 4 pm -Bishop Hying -Procession follows
Sept. 10 Open 8 am – 8 pm
               Mass 8 am, Rosary 7pm
Sept. 11 Open 8 am – 8 pm
               Mass 8 am Rosary 7pm
Sept. 12   Open 8 am -8pm.
                Mass 8 am 
                Songfest 7 pm.
Sept. 16   6 pm – 8 pm
                Vespers 7 pm
Sept. 17   8 am – 12 noon.
                Mass 8 am
                Rosary of Thanksgiving