Examination of Conscience

We probably all have someone in our life that gets on our nerves. Folks who annoy us to no end. And there’s probably ONE person in particular. I certainly have that. And sometimes I cannot stop myself from focusing on their sin. I want to point it out. I want everyone else to be as offended as I am. I hold on to every one of their egregious actions—stewing about how they “get away with” such things.

This has really been bothering me and I had to do something about it. ‘Twas about time I spoke up about all of this. I needed to get all of this out of my system.

So I took out my notebook. I wrote down everything they do that annoys me. I wrote down why it’s wrong. And why I know it’s a sin. I did not hold back.

As I began to write everything down, my heart began to soften. I saw possible reasons—past traumas, insecurity, or just reasons beyond my knowledge—that would cause someone to do these things. Still, they’re wrong! There’s no excuse really. And I was pretty sure that’s not the condition of their heart when they do these things.

So, I didn’t fall for it. I did not relent. I got rid of all the fluff and the reasons I thought there might be behind the sin. I got down to the basics of all of it. No excuses. I wrote it ALL down.

I read the list. I read it again though I knew it by heart already. I was aware of every injustice that had been done. Still, I read it again.

Then I wrote across the top of the page: MY SINS.

This has really been bothering me. I had to do something. It was time that I head up to the nearest Confessional. I needed to get all of this out of my system.




I get up on Friday and I’m doing my own little “meat free penance” thing. Then I go about my day, doing my penance thing, and I think, “oh, I shouldn’t have a muffin today (even though it’s the only day I have time to swing by the bakery), it’s Friday.”

And then it gets on a little further into the day and I think, “Oh, I shouldn’t have chips with my sandwich, it’s Friday.”

And then later in the day I say, “Oh I should just have water, not this soda—it’s Friday.”

Later, maybe I shouldn’t turn the heat on in the car—and def not the radio—because, well, it’s Friday.

And during Lent, I have even more of these kinds of thoughts.

And anyway my Friday pretty much goes on like that until it’s Saturday.

Family Lenten Practices Calendar

I love this idea!

Traci Smith


So excited to share this family Lenten Practices calendar! (PDF HERE)  Each day there is either a prayer [P], service/almsgiving [S] or fasting [F] activity. The activities aren’t terribly time consuming and can be adapted for a variety of different ages. On prayer days, a word is given that can be a prompt for a prayer (either written or drawn). On fasting days, simple things are abstained from for a day to give the experience of sacrificing something to focus on God. On service days, a simple service activity is featured.

Looking for a simple daily devotional for adults? I wrote one available for purchase from Chalice Press!

Pastors and educators, please feel free to download this calendar and include it in your newsletter or bulletin. Happy Lent!

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Father Jerabek's Blog

In some corners of the Catholic news world, ever since the papal trip to the Philippines, there has been discussion about the desecration of the Holy Eucharist that took place at at least one of the large outdoor Masses that the Holy Father celebrated. (It is doubtful that anyone intended actually to desecrate the Eucharist – let us be clear that we are not judging anyone’s conscience – but the fact is, the profanation did happen; it is on video.)

We have a need to make reparation for our own offenses against God, as well as for those of others. Some people offend God without realizing it; others do so with some degree of knowledge that what they are doing is wrong and displeasing to him. Especially for those who are offending the Lord without realizing it – and for the many times that we ourselves have done so –…

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Witnessed this convo in the school lunch line today. Little boy came up for seconds– as long as they clean their plate, they are allowed seconds. He still had some spinach and strawberry salad on his plate. Miss Virginia told him he had to clean his plate first.

“Do I have to eat the strawberry?” he asked.

She nodded yes– half paying attention and half counting back my change. So he started to walk off. Being a persistent one, though, he turned back and asked again.

“Do I have to eat the strawberry? I don’t like strawberries, but I do like leaves.”

“Ok,” she answered, “you eat all the leaves and I’ll ignore that strawberry. Then you can have seconds.”

Leaves. I am officially that little boy’s fan.

Going to Las Vegas…

Dreamt that Ashley, Brett, Phillip, Chuck D from Public Enemy and I were taking a trip to Las Vegas. Rosa wasn’t there because she had to go to the symphony. Phillip had a friend there and she got us tickets to a show. We were going to drive out to Vegas where Phillip had gotten us rooms in a sah-wanky hotel. (Why couldn’t he spring for plane tickets? I don’t know.) In the dream none of us were coupled up, not even the B&A.

As far as I know, none of us knew Phillip’s friend in Vegas but in the dream she would regularly move from Vegas to his living room. In real life, only Saints can bilocate, but apparently in dreams anyone can do it.

So anyway, Brett and Phillip show up at my house one evening and ask if I’m ready. “No! I thought we were leaving tomorrow!” Nope. Tonight. So I scramble to pack and then magically we are transported to Phillip’s bachelor pad where we are all packing up. I realize that I’ve forgotten half of my stuff and I have to go home to get it. Like socks. I was very concerned about not having enough socks.

But in the middle of all of that we all went to dinner since we needed to eat before we left. I really really really wanted coffee but I knew that if I did, we’d have to stop on the way to Vegas for a restroom break. Everyone at the restaurant recognized Chuck D and kept asking for photos with him. I realized I didn’t have a photo with him and made a note to do that once we got to Las Vegas.

After dinner, I started panicking about all the stuff I had forgotten to pack. I told them all I’d meet them at our “taking off point” but then I looked at all of my suitcases that had started out as one carry on bag and all the striped sweaters hanging out of them. I thought of all the stuff I still hadn’t packed and I realized that I just could not make this trip as sad as I was not to be able to go. I told Phillip, the trip organizer, I was sorry that I couldn’t go and I’d miss them and maybe next time.

Then I ended up in this weird house and I think I was in a scary Halloweenie movie.

So, yeah. Part of that I guess is just my group that I run around with regularly. And part of that was probably sparked by a conversation I was having right before I fell asleep. And part of it is probably just how I feel right now—overwhelmed? And Chuck D? I have no idea.

Quick Vegetarian Picks

Someone asked me to share with him my top 5 or 10 favorite restaurants with vegetarian fare. True to my form– here is my “brief” reply:


Continental Bakery

Over Easy on Hollywood


Golden Temple



Organic Harvest


Marikarios (for dinner, too)





Chez Lulu

Tsoi’s Asian Bistro

La Paz


For breakfast I can go with a group of friends to Over Easy on Hollywood and order plenty straight from the menu, though I’d need to be a bit more vigilant if I were looking for vegan—plus they have the GOOD Royal Cup coffee!

Continental Bakery—downtown or in Mountain Brook is always a winner for anyone, meat-eater or vegetarian.

Golden Temple is a great place for lunch. They have a different daily special which I’d almost always recommend. The regular sandwiches are delicious, too. I don’t think a meat-eater would miss it, but there will be no meat on the menu.

Zoe’s has great vegan and vegetarian choices right on the menu and they do not feel like an after thought, which is always nice. Newks has a few good veggie items, though I think it would be quite boring for a vegan.

Organic Harvest in Hoover has a nice lunch counter. They are a bit slow but you know your food is fresh.

Bottletree is actually not my top favorite. The service is less-than-stellar and most of the time what I’ve eaten there I know I can make at home and I’d like it better. That said, I don’t always make it at home. Plus, they have a veggie dog with pimiento cheese that is worth dealing with the grumpy staff.

I like to go to restaurants for dinner where I don’t feel like I’m choosing from the two (or fewer) vegetarian options on the menu. Also, I like for everyone else to be able to order “normal things”.

DoDiYo’s will usually have plenty of vegetarian options for entrees and appetizers. The meals are definitely not afterthoughts, but very good stand-alone dishes. Seems a good portion of those dishes are also vegan. My favorite is the Imam Baldi, an eggplant dish.

While Jackson’s does not have a ton of vegetarian dishes, they do have at least one per category. I put it on the list because they have a great Portobello “cheese steak” sandwich that is very tasty. I had an unexplainable craving for a Philly cheesesteak one night and this fit the bill!

Nabeel’s is always a winner. Sometimes their nightly special will even be vegetarian, though rarely vegan. You can probably do some tweaking to find a vegan meal on the menu.

Chez Lulu always has great choices and, of all these restaurants, I’d say their wait staff is the most knowledgeable when it comes to asking vegetarian and vegan questions about the menu.

Highlands rarely has a single meat-free item on the menu, but they will make you anything with the ingredients they have that night—and that includes a lot of veggies.

For “ethnic” ideas, I think La Paz has some tasty veggie choices for a Mexican flair.

Tsoi’s Asian Bistro on Rocky Ridge has a bazillion tofu and/or veggie dishes. I like their spicy eggplant, General Tso’s tofu and their Tofu Panang.

Surin West used to be a big favorite of mine. I haven’t been in a while, but their Tofu Panang and Tofu Larb were my favorites.
Marikario’s on Southside has an extensive vegetarian Mediterranean menu.