ellA bday cake JOY

Sparkles turned 8 on May 18.  She had been planning her birthday party since she turned seven.  She went into full gear in January.  Papa and Nana got word of her plans and decided to make her wish come true.

birthday collage 

Sparkles invited a few friends and her cousins.  I had to significantly cut her long guest list.  I’m afraid that Papa and Nana would of needed to take a second mortgage on their home just to cater to Sparkles initial guest list.  She didn’t mind one bit.  Sparkles was beyond excited to be able to share her big day with others.

ella's beday pic

She worked on finalizing her invitations in February.  Sadly, they didn’t get out since we misplaced them.  That’s why I like waiting till the last min.  ;-)   She did managed to decorate the house.  The chalkboards were my favorite creations.

mary's heart

Here are the goodie buckets that she put together.


Sparkles even created her own cake.  She requested a chocolate cake with cream puffs and chocolate dipped strawberries.  I was delighted to fulfill her request since it reminded me of my favorite cake, Buddy’s Cream Puff Cake.


We headed to her requested destination.  The kids ate and played for two hours.  Oh, I almost forgot, they watched T.V.  It was the funniest thing.  The dinning room that Sparkles chose had a T.V. showing classic cartoons.  You could definitely tell that the girls do not get the average fix of TV viewing, they were glued to the screen.


The girls moved to the arcade area after lunch.  They had a whirlwind of a time.  The place was pratically empty.  That’s a perk of homeschoolig.


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Sparkles and her friends returned home for some free time. 

They opened presents.

presents joy

They jumped on the trampoline.

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They played charades.


They ate more pizza.

pizza collage

They sang happy birthday and enjoyed cake and strawberry ice-cream.

Sparkles was graced by her friend C’s joyfilled version of Happy Birthday.  

You have to listen to the video in it’s entirety.

Then they played outside some more.

 Search results for Ella's 8th Bday3 

The girls ate plenty of candy and ran all over the house throughout their various sessions of fun.  It was wonderful to see the girls enjoy their time together in the most innocent and joyful manner.


Dad informed me after the party that Sparkles even planned what he was to wear, his shirt of her beloved Our Lady Of Guadalupe.


 ella's 8  

  ella's 8 sitdown

Thank you GOD for adding some Sparkle to our lives.


A New Conviction

The new phase of my fitness journey has begun.  This is the phase that comes after I reached a plateau and lost motivation.  It’s the phase in which a new conviction is born.

I’ve been at this phase before.  The difference this time around is that I desire to do more than just drop the pounds and develop healthy habits.  I desire to grow spiritually and produce His fruits.

I am halfway there in regards to my weight loss.  I have already lost baby weight from Dragonfly and Papi.  I have two more babies to go, totaling 20lbs.  After that, I will set my next weight loss goal, as I am no longer sure what my ideal body weight should be.

Here are some of my commitments for this phase in my journey.

Plan of Action:

  • put the focus on the journey (spiritual and physical fitness) not the end result (weight loss).
  • ditch the all or nothing attitude
  • take it one week at a time.  focus on weekly goals so that i do not become discouraged.


  • 30 min exercise 3x week in addition to my running program
  • 2 races by the end of Aug. (any length will be fine with me)
  • 20 lbs loss by Aug.


  • no sugar!
  • eat small meals throughout they day – before i get into hunger mode.
  • only water. 10-14 glasses a day.

I have been dedicating each day of sacrifice to a specific intention.  You are invited to share your intentions with me.  I would be more than happy to pray and sacrifice for your intention.   You can be as descriptive or as general as you desire.  Leave your intention in the comments or email them to me at JOYfilledfamily{at}gmail{dot}com.

My primary goal is to glorify Him!


Do you not know that in a race all the runners compete, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it.  Every athlete exercises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable.  Well, I do not run aimlessly, I do not box as one beating the air; but I pommel my body and subdue it, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified.  ~1Cor 9:24-27


Fitness Friday


Our Lady of Bethlehem

We are starting a novena to Our Lady of Bethlehem in preparation for a spiritual and physical journey that we will be embarking on.  The novena starts on Thursday, May 26th and ends on Friday June 2nd,.  Please keep us in your prayers.

You are invited to join the novena to Our Lady of Bethlehem.


The Oldest Shrine of Our Lady on the West Coast of America

Prayer to Our Lady of Bethlehem

Dear Lady of Bethlehem, Virgin most pure, Mother of our Savior, may the memory of the cold on the night Thy Divine Child was born bring Thy powerful intercession to bear upon the world’s coldness towards the Babe of Bethlehem. Send down into the hearts of all people some warmth of the flames of love that Thy Immaculate Heart gives forth.

Do Thou who suffered such great loneliness when Thy Son was taken from Thee, look with pity upon the void in the hearts of those who know and love Him not. Bring Him to them and with Him His Angels and Saints that they too may be our intimate friends. Do Thou who journeyed wearily to Bethlehem look down with mercy upon humankind trudging along the way of evil, lost and confused. Do Thou guide us to the path of Thy Son and the habitation He had prepared for us.

Look down with compassion upon us, as we commend to Thy maternal care the needs of Holy Mother Church, our beloved Country, our families. We all place all at Thy blessed feet. Through Thy powerful intercession may God grant to us and to the whole frightened world the grace of mutual understanding and the sacred Peace of Bethlehem.

Do Thou also regard with favor our beloved Father Junipero Serra, who brought Thy image to this land and whose remains rest in peace in Thy sanctuary. May he who in life held Thee in such great honor and who first made Thy Son known on these shores, be found worthy to have his name entered on the list of those whom the Church calls Saints.

Our Lady of Bethlehem, pray for us now, pray for us in every need, and be Thou with us at the hour of our death. Amen.


You are the Life

JOYfilledfamily and MC JOYWe are in need of constant reminders of what is needed to reach our home.  Mostly recently, we were blessed with two wonderful opportunities for such reminders.   The first was a visit to hear Fr.Brian Kolodiejchuk, M.C.  The second was to celebrate the Missionaries of Charity First Profession of Vows.

These events are also ways which dad I believe are called upon us to better lead our gifts from God, our children.  We pray that both events will grow fruits within our family and provide us with grace to do His will, always. 

Without You I can do nothing. ~ Bl. Mother Teresa of Calcutta

Please keep Fr. Brian Kolodiejchuk & Sr. Maria Dolores and the entire MC family in your prayers



Reflections by one of her priests and the
Postulator of her Cause for Canonization,
Fr. Brian Kolodiejchuk, M.C.

fr brianRose and I traveled on Tuesday to hear Fr. Brian Kolodiejchuk, M.C.  He is the Superior General of the Missionaries of Charity Fathers and Postulator of Bl. Mother Teresa's Cause for Canonization.  He also edited Come Be My Light

Father shared his call to his vocation and his close encounters with Bl. Mother Teresa.  He knew Mother Teresa for twenty years. 

Father cited the two special gifts that mother received as a child, in addition to being surrounded by a good family and parish.

  1. Mother recalled that since she was a child, the heart of Jesus has been her first love.
  2. From the time she received her First Communion at the young age of 5 1/2, she had a love for souls.

He spoke of her simple ways, similar to that of her namesake, St. Therese of Lisieux.  Father spoke of Mother’s close union with God and the darkness that she experienced.  She accepted all that she encountered, for the love of Christ. 

Father went into more detail about Mother Teresa’s pure vision of faith.  She made a private vow five years after her final profession in 1942.  She professed this vow to be binding under mortal sin.

Not to refuse Him anything.  Give God everything I Have.  ~ Mother Teresa

She sasiated His thirst.

Here are some more quotes of Mother Teresa that Fr. Brian shared.

Love is not talking.  Love is living.  I can talk about love all day and not have loved once.  ~ Mother Teresa

Something beautiful for God.  ~ Mother Teresa

Her call was to…Love Jesus as He has never been loved before.  ~ Mother Teresa

Works  of love are works of peace.  ~  Mother Teresa

This was all wonderful food for our soul.  Rose and I were grateful for the time together and the wonderful example of humility that was shared with us.  Click here to listen to and read more mediations by Fr. Brian Kolodiejchuk, M.C.

(prayer dedication in my family’s copy of Come Be My Light)

For JOYfilledfamily,

May Mother Teresa be a light

of faith + love + help you be a

light to each other + to all you

meet + serve.

God bless you,

Fr. Brian, M.C.




st paul's catholic church joy

The entire family traveled over an hour to celebrate an event that only takes place in two places in the world.  It is a great blessing to be near to one of those locations.  This was the third time that we have been able to witness the MC profession.  The children are always touched by the joy that radiates from the sisters.  Dad and I were especially moved by the families of the sisters.  We felt their love and support for their loved ones as they confirmed God’s will. 

mc choir JOY MC Choir

Examination & Profession JOY Examination & Profession

presentation of the crucifix JOY Presentation of the Crucifix

You are the Life

the newly Professed sung in gratitude

You are the Life that I want to live

You are the Light that I want to radiate

You are the way to the Father,

You are the love with which I want to love

You are the joy that I want to share

You are the Peace that I want to sow

Jesus, You’re everything to me!

Without You, I can do nothing.


You’re in the Poor whom I want to serve

Yours is the thirst that I want to satiate

You are the One whom my heart loves!

Nothing can separate me from Your Love

You are the truth that I want to tell

You are my Spouse now and for life

Jesus, You’re Everything to me!

Without, I can do nothing.


Jesus gave Mary as a Mother to me

under Your Cross, Her love I will imitate

I want to echo Her fiat

Close to Our Lady, I’ll quench Your Thirst

A Victim of Love for You I will be

Jesus You’re everything to me!

Without you I can do nothing.


Mother Teresa ~ Ora pro nobis.

Jesus, you made Blessed Teresa an inspiring example of firm faith amtstairscroppednd burning charity, an extraordinary witness to the way of spiritual childhood, and a great and esteemed teacher of the value and dignity of every human life. Grant that she may be venerated and imitated as one of the Church's canonized saints.
Hear the requests of all those who seek her intercession, especially the petition I now implore... (mention here the favour you wish to pray for).

May we follow her example in heeding Your cry of thirst from the Cross and joyfully loving You in the distressing disguise of the poorest of the poor, especially those most unloved and unwanted.

We ask this in Your name and through the intercession of Mary, Your Mother and the Mother of us all.

{pretty, happy, funny, real}

{pretty, happy, funny, real}

~ Capturing the context of contentment in everyday life ~
Every Thursday, here at Like Mother, Like Daughter!



P5240063 P5240056

first profession of vows for 5 Missionaries of Charity sisters.


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we went on a field trip to the Apple store.   my GFG made an iMovie.  dad and i tinkered around the store while we waited with papi and dragonfly.  dragonfly used the iPod for all of 5 seconds before he found a way to detach the security cable.  he set off an ear piercing alarm.  it amazes me just how tech savvy the little ones are.



P5240029   P5240040 we stopped by the wharf for lunch before attending the profession.  sweetie was just about to feed the birds when she witnessed a seagull attack a tourist with a bread bowl of clam chowder.  she decided to stay clear of the birds.  she even hid her bread in her sweater.  she wasn’t about to share her freshly baked sourdough bread.


HS math joy   this is an example of the multi-tasking that sparkles and sweetie are always coming up with.  sparkles desired to be outdoors but had some math time left.  she created this math chart on the fence in our backyard.  now the girls get to jump on the trampoline while they learn.


round button chicken


 P5190855  My little guy turned 1 last week on May 17.  Sparkles birthday followed on May 18 so I stretched Dragonfly’s birthday out over 3 days.  I hope to get better organized by the time he gets old enough to care.

DSCF4973 DSCF4976

He had a great time on some rides at the impromptu party that Sparkles planned.

Dad and I had a simple (traditional) birthday date with Dragonfly.  It was an evening of fun on the floor, doing whatever Dragonfly proposed.  He couldn’t have been more thrilled.


Dragonfly had his first taste of cake!  He was all business.


Rose took the time to describe our precious 1 year old.











Dragonfly is in good company with saints whose feast day is May 17.

17 May Saints

Adrio of Alexandria     Andronicus     Antonia Messina    Aquilinus of Nyon    Basilla of Alexandria    Bruno of Würzburg     Cathan of Bute    Giulia Salzano    Heradius of Nyon   Ivan Ziatyk    Junias    Madron of Cornwall     Maildulf of Malmesbury      Maw     Pascal Baylon     Paul of Nyon     Peter Lieou     Rasso of Grafrath     Restituta of Carthage      Silaus of Lucca      Solochon and Companions    Thethmar of Neumuenster     Victor of Alexandria      William Panhausen

JOY Journal

Time has slipped away.  I haven’t posted in this blog journal since February.  I have, however, been recording my family’s JOY.  I plan to share some of their entries along with some of my current entries.  +AMDG+

    28 – forgiveness
    29 – new life
    30 – saints
    31 – Eucharist
    32 – Adoration
    33 – blanket
    34 – roof over my family’s head
    35 – opportunity for reparation
    36 – back to back birthdays
    37 – a safe car to drive
    38 – room (sparkles)
    39 – family (sweetie)
    40 – baby brother (the girls)
    41 – everyone in the world and the priests (sparkles)
    42 – house (rose)
    43 – park
    44 – wife (dad)
    45 – Jesus & Mary (sweetie)
    46 – EWTN for kids
    47 – skinny cows
    48 – Mary of Guadalupe (sparkles)
    49 – food that I’m served (sweetie)
    50 – crafty wife (dad)
    51 – daily mass (dad)
    52 – rubber bands (sweetie)
    53 – prayers (sparkles)
    54 – trampoline
    55 – rose
    56 – i can read and write (sparkles)
    57 – brother (papi)
    58 – Jesus rising (sparkles)
    59 – Dragonfly is 1!

simple times

 JOYfilled kids

  gardening with dad   gardening with dad papi the worm farmer

gio and gian 1 year


{pretty, happy, funny, real}

~ Capturing the context of contentment in everyday life ~
Every Thursday, here at Like Mother, Like Daughter!

round button chicken

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