Ink Slingers Martina Mom So Hard Series

The Beauty of Rote Prayer and a Good Planner

MOM SO HARD Finessing the Intricacies of Your Modern Catholic Family

Welcome to this installment in the series MOM SO HARD – FINESSING THE INTRICACIES OF YOUR MODERN CATHOLIC FAMILY, a series focused on taking a look at the Faith through the lens of being a Catholic mom. This series is going to–using a spiritual foundation as our starting point–walk with you and share candid and practical elements that make up our days. We will look at primary spiritual elements, recognizing that without God, nothing is possible. How do we start our day? How do we end our day? If God does not bookend our days (at a minimum), we can start to see how feeling overwhelmed or worse can creep into our day. Even the most mundane of chores and activities can be done to glorify God. So, grab some coffee, a notebook, and a pen, and let’s get started, shall we?

One summer, a local single teacher friend and I decided to go sit in on a local campaign by area non-Catholic churches to evangelize and witness to others. The idea was – through video clips and conversation starting questions – to get people talking more about Jesus and living a life of discipleship.

These programs were strategically held in homes in various neighborhoods, and we thought it would be a fun idea to sit in and talk and weave Catholicism into the conversations in meaningful ways. We were both very drawn to the apologetics side of Catholicism at the time and looked forward to hearing people’s questions about Catholicism. Having grown up in rural East Texas myself (in the heart of the Pineywoods!), I was pretty good friends–and still am to this day–with Baptists, Evangelicals, and Fundamentalists. Sometimes all three of those are the same thing, lol! I have heard all the typical stereotypes and misunderstandings about the Faith over the year.

One evening in the series at a neighbor’s home, the subject of prayer came up.

Rote prayers often tend to be seen as a Catholic-only thing among non-Catholic Christians. My friend went on to give a beautiful example of why rote prayers were so necessary and helpful, using a personal experience of her own to illustrate its purpose. I left there with a different take on rote prayer. Side note: The purpose of rote prayer isn’t the prayer itself, but rather, the intention of our will toward God.

What had she said that made me think differently?

Well, she called attention to a specific time in her life when prayer was hard. Ok, I can relate to that. Praying off the cuff had always been easy for her, but this difficult time made it hard for the words of prayer–adoration, contrition, petition, thanksgiving–to flow. It was then she realized the beauty and spiritual purpose of rote prayer.

After a long day of teaching, her mind wasn’t always 100%. And with health complications, it became easy to see how rote prayers became a staple of her prayer life. I wouldn’t really be able to relate to this until our own family suffered a series of crises. Spurred on by three consecutive miscarriages, extreme financial challenges, and hospital stays – my own being an emergency appendectomy – family life suddenly became extremely difficult. Things that seemed easy for everyone else to navigate were just compounded. Would things ever get better?

Soon, rote prayer became my friend. My husband and I were never far from a good St. Joseph novena. On and off over the years, we had often called on the Good Saint for his help, from selling homes, to work-related endeavors, our marriage, and our family. I joke now with friends that God broke our family so that we could be rebuilt in that time. Looking back, I see how He used those misfortunes to draw us closer to Him. And it was at that time when I really leaned into those rote prayers. Novenas became my staple. I loved how the daily prayers called to mind an imagery of Christ’s life and I felt a deep connection with God during an otherwise very spiritually dry time.

It was during this time that I contemplated walking away from creating the planners I had started in the summer of 2014. Life was too hard. There I was just days after my own appendectomy surgery in 2015 with my fresh stitches and stretchy yoga pants on, watching Fixer Upper when it was brand new and lamenting the endless storms that wouldn’t stop reminding me how depressing my life really was. And like a wild hair, I decided I was not going to give up on my planner. That others needed that tool – and gosh doggit – so did I! I let the remnant of pity run its course and then I got to work, friend.

I. ?Got. ? To. ? Work. ?

No more excuses.

I set out to put the planner together in record time, and in 10 short days I had created the new edition of the planner and got it ready to sell. The profit from that decision to move forward with selling the PDF version was enough to cover the expenses to FINALLY sell hard copies – the first of many of my goals for the planner was finally realized. ?

So, while I have never really publicly advertised the hardships our family endured, don’t for a moment think that I can’t relate in some small way or that I can’t empathize. I have a huge heart for my customers. For the people who understand that Catholic Sistas is not a business, not meant for selling products. Because you know I created a product that I believe 100% will help YOU. Because it first helped me. Because I was so dang picky about what my Catholic planner needed. Because I am constantly searching and seeking for way to improve it until it is 100% where it needs to be to function best for you…for me. And if you can’t afford one? You email me and I will get you a FREE downloadable version of DAYBOOK. That’s how much I believe in this planner and how much I know it will bless your everyday. It has been my great honor and pleasure to share it with folks in need, stateside and international.

For me, DAYBOOK functioned in a way that offered me the assistance that rote prayer did. It helped me plan and function at times when I truly couldn’t on my own. I found the planner to be a source of relief. Why? Because life goes on and things still needed to get done-even when things are at their hardest. Can I get an amen?

You want to know a funny fact? God has never, and I repeat NEVER, let me forget about rainy days. EVERY SCHEDULED PICK UP from the printer it has ALWAYS rained. As I write this, I am about to pick up the largest order of planners to date and guess what? The forecast for the past two weeks and continues to be forecasted the next 1.5 weeks is…? Yep. Rain. God, You so funny.


Let’s dig deeper. Did this post resonate with you? If so, please continue on below and consider starting a journal to jot down your answers. PRINT several copies of these questions to start your own journal based on different posts. 

  1. Do you recall a time in your life when you leaned in on rote prayer?
  2. How did that particular prayer help your life?
  3. What is one area of your life in which you feel you are managing with great success right now?
  4. What is one area of your life in which you feel you need to improve? (prayer life, domestic chores, parenting, marriage-if applicable, etc.)
  5. Where in the natural rhythm of raising children could you find natural times for prayer?
  6. What would need to be made possible in your life to get some independent time to pray?


CATHOLIC PLANNERDAYBOOK – “It’s the best first step you’ll take towards organizing a better tomorrow.” Martina Kreitzer, foundress of Catholic Sistas



The Beauty of Rote Prayer and a Good Planner


Colleen Giveaways Ink Slingers Martina Resources

The Official Catholic Sistas 2018 Christmas Gift Guide & Giveaway!

We are so excited to be sharing our SIXTH annual Catholic Christmas Gift Guide & Giveaway! As in the past two years, we are primarily featuring small, Catholic-run businesses. 

Here are some of our favorites – a list of 52 of our favorite small businesses, plus we are giving 4 GRAND PRIZE WINNERS a total of 22 prizes (a value of $832.17!) thanks to our amazing sponsors! You can find the giveaway at the bottom of this post; but first, the gift guide:

(Need more gift ideas? Check out the gift guides from 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, and 2017. See a repeat from a previous year’s gift guide? It means we double love it!)


This year we opted to do something a little different, creating an interactive Christmas Gift Guide, which allows you to scroll through and click on all underlined items listed. To view all the goodies featured – prizes and nominated products – click on the guide below to get started OR download the Catholic Sistas Christmas Gift Guide PDF version.


For our fantastic giveaway, we will have FOUR grand prize winners who will win a prize bundle from our wonderful sponsors!



DAYBOOK by Catholic Sistas

Saint Lucy print, notecard set, and prayer card set by Dovetail Ink

Print of Watercolor Painting of the San Damiano Cross by Luminous Moments by A

Handmade Pendant Our Lady of Good Counsel by BC Inspirations



The Stay Connected Journals for Catholic Women (Vol 1 – 3) by author Allison Gingras

Three 8×10 Simple Saint Prints by Catholic Box

ONE Leather scapular by Caritas Dei

Cable Beanie, Slouchy Fit Hat with Faux Fur Pom Pom, 100% Wool by Holy Knitters

4” tall Handmade Hand painted Wood Ornament of Saint Nicholas by In The Loft

Blue Agate Silver and Enamel St. Benedict Rosary by Sea Cottage Design



1 Modern Catholic Embroidery Pattern of winner’s choice! by Happy Nest Home Goods

Fishing for Saints + Fishing for Saints Prayer Book by My Catholic Kids

An 8×10 print of the Fruit of the Spirit pineapple & 1 set of five A2 size of Spiritual Bouquet cards by Sweet Little Ones

Miraculous Medal Cuff Links by Relics by Rose

Metal Stamped Rosary Cuff by Bay and Bees

St. Andrew’s Chaplet by Come Holy Spirit Rosaries



Mama Mary bleach dyed t-shirt by Pyconocline

HopeisanAnchorforMySoulJumboCoffeeMug by Grace & Grit Design Co.

2019 Liturgical Calendar by Telos Art & Design

DIGITAL PDF Marian Coloring Collection II AND  9”x12” fine art print “Mystical Rose” by Delphina Rose Art

One “Family Crate” by Catholic Family Crate

Everyday wear Leather bracelet by Mary with You




* Winners will be drawn randomly using Rafflecopter. CS will email the winners. Once they confirm they will be publicly announced on the blog. 
* Sponsor is responsible for contacting the winner of the prize they won in order to work out details of delivery.
* Eligibility: Prizes are available to residents of the U.S.A. only, unless otherwise stated.
* Catholic Sistas reserves the right to alter the giveaway terms or items at any time.
* This giveaway is not associated with Facebook.
* The companies who have donated these items are solely responsible for delivering prizes. We trust and have a solid relationship with each sponsor of this giveaway; however, sometimes things happen outside our control. We are simply hosting the giveaway and putting the winners in contact with the sponsors; it is up to them to follow through, and CS cannot be held liable for a prize not delivered.
* Giveaway ends promptly at 8:00pm CST on November 12, 2018.

Thank you so much for reading; this blog wouldn’t exist without YOU! Good luck!

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Celeste Crafts Ink Slingers

October Planner and Printables

Are you one for trends? I’m not much of a trend follower myself. But I do admit that I’m a bit head-over-heels for the planner and journaling craze that has taken over lately. I love a good planner to stay organized and help me to keep things going smoothly. It is a fun way to delve more deeply into the faith, as well. Since I’m using my planner daily, it is a great and convenient way to creatively journal and purposefully plan in a faith-based way. In fact, I’m quite taken with the idea of making it a Catholic “thing”. To be honest, though, the Church is way ahead in the planning department…and we, as the faithful community, should catch up!

The church recently, (within the last 50 years that is), made it so that during the Liturgical year(s) we cycle through the Holy Scriptures. We also have been given themes for each month of the year. (October is the Month of the Holy Rosary.) There are also permanent feast days, days when we have certain observances, and times when we focus on particular attributes like during the Year of Mercy. We have a built-in system of learning and growing in our faith if we can pay attention. Incorporating our faith into our life planning seems only natural. There are many faith-based and bible based planning and journaling websites out there that are doing a beautiful job of incorporating scripture in a fun and thoughtful way. My thought was that bringing into it a more purposeful Catholic theme, (with info about saints, feast days, etc), is one more step in which we can learn and grow. After all, the Church has such a deep, rich, and diverse way of enriching our lives and growing in love with Jesus. Just look at the different cultures of the saints, the different ways of celebrating Liturgy (ie, the different Rites), and the vastness of our faith-culture!

The Catholic Sistas DAYBOOK is a beautiful blank canvas for planning, journaling, and growing in our faith. I’ve whipped up some cute little printable items that can be used to help begin fostering that purposeful growth in our faith-life and Catholic Culture. But it doesn’t have to be a planner that you use. You could use a simple blank journal or notebook. I use mine because it is organized and convenient. I can look back and see everything in one spot, to include some Scripture from the daily readings that I may have felt pertained to my circumstances, or a saint that I learned about on a particular day who I felt had lived in a way I could learn from.

My hope is to have more fun and useful printable items for you in the future. It gives me a great sense of purpose to be able to use my talent and time to serve the community. These journaling printables are a lot of fun for me to create. If you have ideas for theme’s, or any ideas at all, I would love to hear them!

You can download the printables for your own personal use at the following link.

October Rosary Printable

Domestic Church Ink Slingers Martina

The Large Catholic Family Guide to Simple Living

Who doesn’t like the idea of simple living? 

I wasn’t counting on writing a post so soon after Baby Emmie was born because my plan was to write it well before she was born – you know, like any organized person with a large family would plan to do. 

Obligatory Baby Emmie photo


That didn’t happen this time. It also didn’t help that I ran through several other topics I thought I wanted to write about, only to hit dead end after dead end. 

I think it’s somewhat comical that the timing to write about this topic comes on the heels of:

  1. just having given birth two weeks ago and
  2. with a current case of chickenpox making its way through our home

Can you hear my stifled screams at that second point? No? Give it some time. :p 

One thing I’ve admired about friends with large families {and, no, for some crazy reason, I didn’t really consider six kids to be “large family” material. Not sure why, but that’s just me – what can I say? I’m weird} is this almost instinctual inclination toward being more organized. Personally, I didn’t grow up organized, or orderly, or neat. In fact, my kids’ rooms littered with food wrappers and soda cans most definitely comes from me as a kid. It is the bane of my existence and one we attempt to counter with mini marathons of Hoarders. 

What I’ve noticed over the years is that even if you are the most non-organized, least inclined toward living simple, or keeping your house decently clean kinda person, there is hope for you, because there has been a glimmer of hope for me. 

I am here to motivate you and encourage you!

Here are my tips for you that I’ve gleaned from others and learned for myself over the years:

  1. Your home is your sanctuary. I know, I know. You’re laughing. I can hear you. You are looking around at the clothing bomb that went off in your laundry room and the collateral damage that extends down the hallway and into bedrooms and bathrooms {and that’s without mentioning the toys, trash, dirty dishes, and upswept floors!} and you are shaking your head at the silliness of this point. But, it’s true. Your home IS your sanctuary. There is only one way to break through the frustration of the never-ending messes and it has to start with your mental approach to your home, even if/when it looks like the Tasmanian Devil and his crew tore through your house. What can you do? Close your eyes and imagine what your home would look like cleaned and straightened up. Don’t get caught up in the stress of making it happen. Just enjoy your mind’s eye for the moment. We’ll circle back to how later.
  2. Your bedroom is the apex of your home’s sanctuary. You’re still laughing, amiright? That’s ok. We’re still working on that mind’s eye. We won’t look at the random piles of whatever is distracting you from your private oasis – stacks of bills that you cleared off the kitchen counter, or frames that need to be hung or your own laundry bomb that is on your bed and floor. Nope. What can you do? Again, close your eyes and imagine your room and its potential to be inviting when straightened up and cleaned. 
  3. FLYLADY. Circa 2002, I was introduced to FlyLady by my mother-in-law. She kept talking about keeping her sink clean and empty. I thought that alone was impossible. I had two small children and the thought of keeping anything clean as a daily “thing” seemed unreachable. But…I went to the website and signed up for the email alerts. Not born to be domestic either, I was curious to see what kind of magic this FlyLady could work in my life. One thing I’ve learned over the past 15 years is there is no project that can’t be tackled with small, manageable daily goals. And that’s the key to unlocking a simple life. We aren’t focusing on the WHOLE house {the overwhelmingness of the WHOLE house}. We are breaking it down into small steps. What can you do? Visit FlyLady’s website and sign up for her alerts. Already signed up? GREAT!
  4. Customize your daily schedule. Now that you’ve been receiving FlyLady alerts and see how her approach works, don’t be scared to modify it to fit YOUR family. What I learned from FlyLady was the foundation for discovering what works best for MY family, AS my family grew. What works today may not work tomorrow or next month or next year – and that’s ok. FlyLady gave me the tools to use what works and shelve what didn’t. What can I do? Use FlyLady as your foundation and make notes of what works and doesn’t work for your family.
  5. Invest in a GOOD planner. Whether it’s digital or hard copy, having a large family doesn’t *have* to be overwhelming when it comes to knowing who is doing what on what day and whose birthdays are coming up. Three years ago, I put the idea of creating a planner in the prayer hopper and in the summer of 2014, I ignored my family for four straight weeks {only marginally kidding!} creating the Catholic Through The Year planner, which is now available as PDF download and as a paper copy. No matter your choice – digital or paper – make sure you have one that suits YOUR needs. You will thank me. What can you do? Buy a planner, hello! 😉 
  6. Live by the list. Get all that mental clutter OUT OF YOUR HEAD and onto paper or your notes in your phone. If you’re like me, you can easily get overwhelmed trying to “listify” your lists {ok, one for homeschooling, one for everyday chores, household, blog, volunteering, etc.}, but this just confuses things. What can you do? Pour yourself a good cup of coffee and do a brain dump each day for 2-4 minutes. This visual will help you stay focused. Knock out what you can and cross off what gets done. Enjoy the satisfaction of striking through your list. 
  7. Take magnesium. I’m no doctor and I’m not going to convince you that you *must* do this, but let me encourage you to do your own research about the benefits of magnesium with respect to stress and anxiety {even depression including postpartum depression}. After doing some reading, I discovered that a huge percentage of people are deficient in magnesium. After tiring of taking magnesium horse pills and not wanting to spend a lot on calming powders, I found that taking a few grains of Celtic Sea Salt and letting it sit on my tongue for a few seconds before drinking a glass of water several times a day was not only cost effective, but it contained far more minerals than just magnesium. When I was pregnant and in a very heavy depression-like brain fog, taking the salt lifted me out of that fog after a week of diligently taking salt and drinking water only. Ironically, I started taking the salt because a friend recommended it for my pregnancy-induced heartburn. I not only ended up with minimal heartburn {where I normally have heartburn so bad it hurts to eat anything}, I did not suffer any migraine headaches or any headaches of any sort and still have not since I started in July. What can you do? Because this is my own personal experience, I again encourage you to do your own research and come to your own conclusions. Moms of large families – we need our chill, yes? 😉 
  8. Create a financial budget. It’s rare to read about Catholic finances, but the reality is that part of being a good steward of the money that God has given your family {through you and your spouse’s talent} is knowing where everything goes and including a line item for important things like savings, paying off debt, tithing, charitable giving, gas, groceries, etc. As your family grows, it becomes even more paramount to have a solid financial plan in place. If you aren’t talking about money with your spouse, your life can’t move in the direction of simplifying. Ideally, you want to work together on this, but if you are like some couples and can’t, pray for your spouse to come around. It’s really important to know where your money is going and having small financial goals. It can go a long way in alleviating major stresses. What can you do? Pray before you talk about finances – individually and as a couple. Set small, reasonable financial goals. Look into Dave Ramsey. You can’t afford not to talk about money. ::you can purchase my Household Management bundle that includes a financial budget here::
  9. Love what you have. And toss out or donate what you don’t. This point builds on the first two of making your home and bedroom a sanctuary. THIS is how you start to get that sanctuary, friends. What can you do? Two particularly helpful tips from FlyLady that I incorporate even now is 1) you have a large family, so let’s put those bodies to work! Have them grab a plastic grocery bag each. Give them each one room to go through and toss trash away using those bags. This works in the backyard, too, with larger trash bags. They can pick up sticks, broken toys, and trash. 2) If you are in need of decluttering a room, you’ll need two boxes/bags, one that is TRASH and the other is DONATE. Again, you have a large family, so employ their help {in my case, I tend to bribe errm incentivize them with a trip to Sonic or a treat from our junk food closet – they all love ring pops!}. As bags fill up to donate, have runners take things down to the car so it is ready to be dropped off the next time you leave the house. Visit our Pinterest board Design.Home and Design.Organization for some inspiration. 
  10. I’ve recently taken a liking to door wreaths and found this perfect Catholic fleur de lis wood chip wreath over the weekend.

    Curb appeal and yard work on the cheap. This is one step that has always been a favorite as we head into springtime – in Texas, this happens soon! What can you do? I love heading to the local nursery and picking out some bright colored flowers and hanging plants in neutral planters or pick up some bold colored spray paint for your planters and plant some white flowers for balance.  When you have a lot of helpers, the phrase “many hands make for light work” could not be more true. You can follow me on Instagram here.

Order the Catholic Through The Year Planner {use coupon code LITURGICAL}  and Household Management {use coupon code HOUSEHOLD} bundle for 50% off these PDF files!

That’s all for this post on ways to simplify your life as a large Catholic family! Do you have something to add? I’d love to read YOUR tips in the comments. Maybe your tips will be the inspiration for another post. 🙂 

Giveaways Ink Slingers Martina

GIVEAWAY: 12 Catholic Through The Year Calendar/Planners!

GIVEAWAY: 12 Catholic Through The Year Calendar/Planners!

So, as it turns out, I have 12 copies of 2016 calendar/planners in my possession, friends. I know what you must be thinking, but I’m really not that much of a planner junkie! I don’t need them, so I want to give them away. I have five copies of the 5.5×8.5 and seven copies of the 8.5×11 planners. Need more details on the calendars? Look here for all the details or check out the gallery below! 


To enter, you MUST:

  • Leave a comment telling me which size you’d like AND
  • where you’ve shared this giveaway link {Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, email, etc.}.

That’s it!


12 lucky winners will win 2016 planners of their choice size. 


Giveaway will end at 10 p.m. CST on Monday, April 25, 2016 {comments will be closed upon deadline}. GOOD LUCK! 


* Winners will be drawn randomly. Catholic Sistas will email the winners. Once they confirm they will be publicly announced on this blog post. 
* Winner is responsible for contacting Catholic Sistas in order to work out details of delivery.
* Eligibility: Prizes are available to residents of the U.S.A. only.
* Catholic Sistas reserves the right to alter the giveaway terms or items at any time.
* This giveaway is not associated with Facebook.
* Giveaway ends promptly at 10 p.m. CST on April 25, 2016.