How I Share My Faith, Ordering A Pizza


So today was the first Friday of Lent and since I had blown it earlier in the day by accidentally making a grilled cheese with turkey on it. GAH! My kids had the day off from school and I just thought it was Saturday! #Loser

So I called Costco to order a cheese pizza for dinner to make up for my blow it move.

I got a chance to talk with Chuck.

I said “Hi can I pickup a “cheese” pizza at 5:15 please?”

Chuck “You can pick up a “cheese” pizza at 5:15″ I thought RATS, I should have said “May I pick up a cheese pizza”.

Then he asked for my name, so I spelled P as in Peter I.L.A.R.

Chuck asked “Does anyone ever call Pillar?”

I laughed and said “ALL the TIME!” I proceeded to tell him about all the crazy variations I’ve heard of my name over the years.

Pilar The Mar The Big Fat Peanut Bar (thanks Harry George in  1st Grade, you weasel)Rice Pilaf, Pillard (as if a mom would name her kid LARD) at this Chuck was laughing.

I said “My name isn’t some weird hippy name,my name is an old name that I only ever see in Spanish text books or its someones grandmas name” like Eunice, Mabel or Edith.

I was supposed to be a Paula, after my moms older sister.

Chuck shared with me that his last name is “Roucker” so you can imagine the grief and rhymes he heard as a kid.

I said “My maiden name is Anaya, which I recently found out is Basque and means “brother”. Well now I’m hearing all over for a little girls name and I think, Oh man your parents didn’t know what that meant did they, but it sounds pretty.”

Chuck laughed “Yeah know that’s true. parents name kids any old thing pops in their head sometimes. Then the kid grows up and realizes his name means Orange” I laughed so hard!

Me “It’s a serious business naming another human, it’s not like naming an animal”

He said “I don’t like it when people name animals with human names” I laughed.

Me “I get it though, sometimes they don’t have kids. I know a lot of Sophie’s and even a cat names “Frank” but he couldn’t be any other name”.

Chuck laughed and I could picture him shaking his head through the phone “A cat named Frank, I guess I could see that. Frank The Cat”.

We continued on talking about names and how they are important. I said my daughters are Isabella and Sophia which my husband thought were too old-fashioned and now everyone has those names. I can’t win for losing. Chuck was laughing.

I changed the subject.

I said “You might want to be prepared for a lot of cheese pizzas for the Fridays leading up to Easter” He asked why.

Me “Well Catholics don’t eat meat on Fridays during Lent leading to Easter, only fish”

Chuck “Only fish?, Hun at my church we’re fasting for the full 40 days and no meat at all”

I said “Oh man! That would be so hard! No fish, hun? Before I was Catholic I never understood why Wendy’s and McDonald’s would have “fish sandwiches” only certain times of the year. Now I know!” LOL

I said “My youngest is complaining about NO pepperoni but she complains when we have to go to Church on Sunday, because during the week (they go to Catholic School) the whole school goes to mass on Tuesdays”.

Chuck said “I can see that.” I said”But Tuesday is NOT a Holy Day of Obligation, Sunday is or Saturday night at 5 o’clock mass.

Chuck “A Holy Day of Obligation, that sounds SERIOUS” Dude it is!

See I tell her “God, gives you EVERYTHING, the least you could do is give him an hour a week”

Chuck said” ONLY an HOUR!? At my church one song could take an hour!” YIKES!

I laughed and said “Well we’ve had 2,000 years to get it down to just an hour. That and the readings from the Bible are printed up in the Missal a year ahead (don’t quote me on this). I’ve heard that if you attend mass everyday for 3 years, you will hear the ENTIRE Bible!”  Missal

Chuck “A year ahead?” he seemed amazed that it was planned out.

I said “Yeah so every weekend we all read the same scripture reading everywhere. It’s so cool, so every Catholic ALL over the WORLD is reading the exact same reading but in their own language! Like in China and Vietnam all of us are on the same page!”

Chuck was amazed. He said “I feel like I know you! You made my day” at which I laughed.

I said “Thanks! I’ve never met a stranger in person or on the phone!”

He said “You be sure to say Hi when you come in. You ask for Chuck in case I’m in the back”

I said “I will, I promise”.

So I picked up the kids, we ran into Costco and sure enough there was Chuck in the kitchen of the snack bar. He was looking out at the line expectantly and I gave him a big wave and yelled “Hi CHUCK!” His face broke out in a HUGE smile and he yelled “Hi PILAR!”

Chuck asked”Are those Isabella and Sophia?” and I said “Yep” and pushed them forward (we were in line) so he could see them. I said”Wave to Mr.Chuck”, they seemed surprised I knew him, but no too much.

Then I saw Tenille (Like the Captain and Tenille) and asked her how her new baby was, she said he was fine and how sweet that I remembered. Chuck said “Wait did you just order a chicken bake?!” I was laughing “I said NO, I was asking Tenille about her new baby!One day she is magically 8 1/2 months pregnant, meanwhile I’m in here all the time and never noticed!”

Tenille laughed and said”Yeah some people around here care Chuck!”

Chuck laughed too.

You see my kids, husband and friends are used to me striking up conversations with complete strangers who share their stories with me wherever we go.Sometimes these folks just pour their hearts put to me in the middle of a store aisle. Sometimes I offer to pray for them, other times, I just listen, while the kids fidget and look all around. I’ve told them God puts me where he needs me and you never know maybe that was God and he was testing me to see if I would help and do the right thing? You never know.

When I hung up I checked my phone to see how long Chuck and I chatted, 9 minutes.

In 9 minutes I shared my faith, my name and how the Church is universal and we read the Bible. Some faiths think we don’t read it, so I need dispel that MYTH. But also I want to share how beautiful and old my faith is.


Your friend,

Pilar The Papist Squirrel


Ashes to Ashes

Today is Ash Wednesday and I started a post about what it means and why we observe it as Catholics. But instead I want to share with you something more important.

Last night I received an email from our school principal informing me (and the entire school) that a student in my daughters class had lost his mother last night.

This little boy is one of the sweetest kids in the 6th grade, but I didn’t know his mom Kelly very well. But this doesn’t change the fact that my heart hurts for this little boy and his family.

During the mass today the family and Kelly were mentioned during the petitions of the mass, where we ask God to hear our prayers. I couldn’t help but cry and be afraid, this could have been anyone one of us.

Any one of us parents could be gone tomorrow and what would happen to our children and the HOLE that our death would leave in their lives?

As the deacon talked about the ashes we were about to receive and that we should ALL of us be reminded that we will return to ashes, from whence we came. I cried thinking one day this will be me too.

I am bewildered that in such a small faith community that we weren’t already offering up prayers for Kelly. I realize that her illness may have been sudden or a private battle the family was keeping to themselves. But I can’t help but feel that I let her down.

I let her down first by not praying for her, for her family or for her children. I let her down by not bringing a meal or organizing a Meal Train.

I have been the recipient of so many Meal Trains after various surgery’s that I have lost track. So I am always eager to return the favor, organize and make a meal to pay it forward and say thank you.

I am praying for Kelly now and the repose of her soul, but also for her young son , her grown children and husband. For all the friends of this little boy in my daughters class who are processing how this could happen to someones mom so quickly.


You see we have a very small Catholic School and as Catholics we pray for you no matter what! We pray for you when you need a job, when your grandpa dies, when you’re sick, when your marriage is in trouble, when your kid is struggling to behave, when you ask, we PRAY!

That’s what Catholics do! Prayer touches every single facet of our lives, even before a sporting event we pray for the athletes and their safety and that they would seek the ultimate goal to be with Jesus in the world to come.

We don’t need to know you personally to include you in our daily prayers. We just hear the call and the WARRIORS assemble and heed the call. We send up our SOS to God, Mary the Mother of Jesus and all the Saints we can invoke, remembering their special patronage.

Over Christmas break we went ice skating, I saw a man skating with a helmet on and thought he was a skate guard. He was that skilled and talented. Come to find out he is a parish member and he went on to explain that the reason he was wearing the helmet was because he had a horrific brain injury while stopping to help another motorist remove a downed tree, from the road way. Well the tree snapped back in a freak accident, hitting him so hard in the head he had a traumatic brain injury.

All of the sudden I said ” OH MY GOSH! I KNOW YOU! I prayed for you! You’re friends with the Taylors!” He smiled and said “Yes! I owe my recovery to all the prayers from my parish in Michigan and here from the St.Charles Parish”

For me he was like meeting a celebrity in a strange kind of way. Many times I pray for strangers that I know I will never meet yet I wish for all God’s blessing for them and their families. Here was one of these strangers, walking and talking after a traumatic brain injury nearly took his life! I was over come with Gods mercy and the power of all the prayer warriors I joined.

When my husband was 16 years old his father went into to the hospital to have a brain tumor removed (mid 1960’s) before he left he told my husband Chris, “You’re the man of the house and you’re in charge until I get back” at NO TIME did his mother tell him or his siblings how perilous this surgery was.

His parents decided together to shield the kids from any undue worry. His father didn’t survive the surgery, he died and left Chris and his family shattered.

Many families grow closer after a tragedy like this but some splinter apart into a million shards. This tragically is what happened to my husband and his 3 siblings. Even today at 62 years old they are not close.

My husband is still angry and hurt that his parents didn’t tell him the truth so maybe he would have been more prepared or he could have told his dad how much he loved him and would miss him if he died.

Sudden deaths rob us of the chance to tell people what they meant to us or a chance to say goodbye and I love you one last time.

For the families of slain police officers or fire fighters, this is a constant fear at the back of their minds. But in order to function the family member has to believe that their officer or fire fighter is coming home at the end of every shift no matter what. Otherwise how could you function? The same holds for service members deployed in harm’s way or killed in minor training accidents state side.

I know first hand because my mother is a retired Los Angels Police Officer. As a teenager raising my younger brother, this is how I coped. I pushed that fear down deep and acted like everything would be ok.

When I shared this news with my husband last night his first response was ” I think our school is cursed”

Let me explain, in the 7 years that we have been there,

  • The toddler age son of our 3rd grade teacher died of heart complications.
  • The not even 50-year-old husband of one our first grade teachers, died of a massive heart attack.
  • The close friend of our 5th grade teacher, was killed in a car accident.
  • Parents of staff, have passed away.
  • Cousins of students were killed in an automobile accident that left only one surviving sibling out of 3 very young children.
  • A mom was nearly killed when her van over turned in a one car accident.
  • One teen broke his neck in a surfing accident and is paralyzed from the waist down.
  • A father of a young family was diagnosed with Stage 4 cancer and died 3 months later, leaving his wife and young children behind.
  • My dear friend suffered a still birth at the almost 8 months.
  • A 2nd grade teacher developed and beat breast cancer.

All of these terrible things are just part of life. This is not a curse, it’s just LIFE!

But we grieve and pray together as family in this little faith community. We don’t hold back when we ask for prayers.

Maybe this is why Kelly’s death is such a shock to all of us. Never, not once were the kids asked to pray for her in class. I realize that the family may have wanted privacy or they may not have realized how very ill she was.

But I think I speak for all the families in expressing our grief, sorrow, shock and condolences at this awful time.

As a mom I have to wonder if she felt robbed of all the amazing memories she will miss with her youngest child, all the hugs, kisses and I love you’s he will miss from her. All the accomplishments he will achieve as he grows into a young man.

Not one of us could ever replace his mom, but I pray he knows one day that he is surrounded with love and families that are praying for him and want to see him reach his full potential through Christ Jesus.

So please if you will pray for Kelly’s family and her children as they struggle through this unimaginable grief.

Your friend,

Pilar The Papist Squirrel





I Wish I Could Freeze Time or Shrink My Family Into a SnowGlobe!

Because my girls are so close in age much of their toddler-hood is a blur to my husband and I.

If you have children or nieces and nephews you should understand.

But tonight around the table and on our frequent travels here and there, these little people share their inner most thoughts and stories with me. Always I am startled by the depth of the things they understand and are able to convey.

My youngest daughter is the spaz in our family, like me as a kid, she gets more wild and loud as she gets excited.

I TOTALLY get it!

I am still LOUD and OVERPOWERING in most social situations. But she is also very kind, tender and forgiving.

Above all she is forgiving, if we have had a tough day and I’ve yelled all day or she got in trouble and used her “weekly do-over” then, I try to ALWAYS apologize to her before she goes to sleep. It’s a tough thing to humble yourself to your own children and say “I’m sorry Mommy should not have yelled at you or I lost my temper and that was not a good example, I am sorry.”

But she never fails to say “I forgive you Mommy, it’s ok” and when she says it I know that she means it with her whole heart, which makes me feel even worse. But I get a glimpse of how God must see us, He forgives us no matter how awful our sin or transgression, because he LOVES us so much.

This humbles me to my core and I am awed with the great task of raising these little people.

My older daughter is the practical child, the one that pushes herself to always improve at school, sports, reading, etc. But she too is also kind, tender and responsible. She is always helping me with lists, reminding me where we need to be, who I am supposed to call, etc. She is like my little personal assistant.

She is also many times the keeper of the memories, in the blur of changing diapers and sleepless nights I forgot many little moments and she keeps them tucked away for us to reminisce about.

Like the time the lights through the “forest” behind our house scared her one night (they were street lights to another neighborhood, not the aliens she feared they were).

But because she was afraid and never really had trouble sleeping I took her for a late night milkshake and to show her the street lights that were worrying her. She may have been 3 1/2 and she still remembers this special field trip with me late at night.

My oldest is going through that strange phase where kids are breaking off and into subgroups. It’s so hard to just tell her NONE of this will matter in 20 years, I promise. I just want her to be kind and stand up for herself and others.


Sometimes my husband says I “tell” them too much. For example if I hear of some recent terror attack or shooting I know they will be praying at school for these victims most likely. I want to try explain why sometimes these things happen.

I’ve told them to NEVER forget that ALL good things come from God. Every single good and wonderful thing comes from the Lord and if you believe in God you have to believe in the devil. Every evil wicked thing comes from Satan.

Once we were listening to a Miranda Lambert song and the lyrics said “she’s been sleeping in the devils bed” my youngest asked “Mommy does the devil sleep?” I had to answer her truthfully and tell her “No sweetie, he never sleeps he just prowls the earth looking for ways to trip us up” At the time she wasn’t old enough to understand the concepts of sin.

This past Christmas Eve we made a nice dinner and tracked Santa on the computer. Isabella had a fever so we didn’t get a chance to go to Christmas Eve mass.

At dinner I asked my family to name one thing that they were grateful for.

Right away Sophia (10) said

“Can it be more than one thing?”


“Of course!”

Sophia wanted to go first so she said

“I am grateful for my faith and my family”

To which her sister said

“HEY I was gonna say that!”

This wasn’t about her not being able to come up with her own comment, it was just something she wanted to say as her own, too.

These are the times when I know I am doing something right. Or when I sit with my children in Church, I know in the most instinctive way that this is THE best and most important thing I may be doing all week!

As a parent I think we all second guess our daily choices.

Raising kids is NOT for the faint of heart. It is a serious undertaking full of pitfalls, perils and life long ramifications.



Sometime last year (5th grade) Isabella was told by a classmate that there was NO Santa. She came to me and asked I told her as long as she believed she would still receive.

I could tell that she so sad, that magic was snatched away before she was ready. She asked if the Elf’s On The Shelf, were real?

Have you seen these, little Scout Elves, that report back to  Santa every night about children’s behavior leading up to Christmas Eve. Meanwhile parents have to think of places to hide/pose or make shenanigans with these elves every night Dec 1st till Christmas Eve when they return to the North Pole till next year.

Somehow I thought this would be a great idea to have TWO, one for each girls.

WRONG, this just increased my stress each night as I was just falling off to sleep I would panic because I had forgotten to move the ELVES! A few times this season, my husband moved them and then we both forgot where we hid them.

So this year Isabella (11) told me “Mom there is NO Way those Elves are real.”

WHAT!? That was the last shred of magic I had left up my sleeve.

I explained to her, that this was something that MOST parents do for their children and pass along this tradition. To keep a small glimmer of magic in childhood.

So know that she knew she could help with all the “behind the scenes” “magic” that I had been doing alone every year.

So she helped with stocking stuffers, wrapping, shopping for gifts from “Santa” and best of all MOVING the elves and staging them each night I was too tired to. I think this was her favorite part.

But mostly she got a glimpse into all the little things that I had been doing every year to make Christmas special for she and her sister.

As my girls have gotten older they realize more each year how the “holidays” that we celebrate in Church are more about Jesus and his birth or resurrection then about Santa or the Easter bunny.

So this last Christmas I realized like at other stages in their lives so far that I just want to STOP time and keep my little family like this forever.

This is a bitter-sweet time, I will miss keeping the Santa magic going (I may have one more year with Sophia) but it’s been a wonderful time in being their mama.

So to all those moms and dads struggling through the terrible two’s or a first-born, cherish it! In your sleep deprived mind, remember these little firsts.

It will fly by in the blink of an eye and I know you don’t believe me because you’re just SO tired, but take it from this mama “You’re Gonna Miss This” (by Trace Adkins) pretty much sums it up.

You’re gonna wish for a time machine that could take you back to those sweet days or speed you past the sassy mouth teen years. Or a snow globe to shrink your family just the way it is RIGHT Now.

Your friend,

Pilar The Papist Squirrel

Snow Globe




“Sometimes” The Holy Spirit Bosses Me Around

If you know me in person you know that I am a SPAZ who appears to have 2 speeds Hyper or Asleep. With this said I also have a hard time staying on track when I tell a story (so many squirrels dancing in my head trying to get their ideas out FAST) is all I can compare it to.

With this disclaimer I want to tell you about the times that the Holy Spirit bossed me around and continues to. Even in my rattled brain I am listening and do what I’m urged (because it’s not a voice per se, but more nudge or a feeling).

Usually it seems to be reaching out via a phone call to people I haven’t seen in a long time and giving them a very specific message. Often times I don’t remember what the message was after I’ve passed it along, but I know that the person who received it was helped and that’s all I needed to d, was deliver the message at that moment.

For example, an old high school friend found out her mother was dying from cancer, she was worried about taking time off from work to see her mom. I said

“Go and see your Mom NOW, she is NOT getting better. No matter what she’s telling you. Who cares about this job, you can get another one. Your Mom is the most important thing!”

It was so hard to tell her this but I knew her mom was trying to shelter her, but I also knew that if I didn’t speak bluntly she would miss that last farewell and forever berate herself for letting her “job” keep her from seeing her Mom.

Sadly her beautiful Mom did pass away within a few months, I wanted to wrong in the worst way.

Another friend I called out of the blue, mentioned that his father whom he was long estranged from was dying, but had told him I never want to see you again. I said

“You should go and make your peace no matter what he says. It will be your last chance and you will never regret saying good-bye”.

A week later he called and thanked me for my random advice (I totally forgot we had spoken until he reminded me). He said a check arrived in the mail that day with just the right amount to fill his tank to make the round trip to say good-bye. With my random call he knew that God wanted him to make the trip and make his peace.

Another friend, popped in my head because I wanted to discuss an idea for this blog.

She shared that she had been going through a terrible time in her personal life, marriage and work. She mentioned that long forgotten childhood abuse had been recently stirred up and was causing just HORRIFIC nightmares.

All of this was news to me, because none of this trouble appeared to be happening according to Facebook. Also this friend has an amazing faith that is a beacon for others.

So when I heard all these terrible things were bringing her world into crashing disarray, I knew that the Holy Spirit was telling me to explain to her that she was under spiritual attack and that Satan was waging war against her.

At the risk of sounding completely INSANE! But what else could it be, any person of faith could see it plain as day.

I sent her a prayer for the Archangel Michael to protect her in battle and promised to pray for her.


All weekend I rebuked the devil and told him to stay away from her. I petitioned the Archangel Michael to protect her in this battle and left the rest up to God.

By Tuesday everything seemed to have settled down and the prayers are working to turn things around.

I told her I didn’t really understand or mean to call initially but I knew straight off that it was the Holy Spirit, bossing me again.

A few years ago, I had to run and grab a dessert for the end of year picnic at school. The fastest route would take me past the local abortion clinic which I try to avoid at ALL costs.

I had the strangest feeling that God was thumping me on the head and saying “You have to go there today, RIGHT NOW. I will NOT take NO for an answer”.

Like Jonah in the Bible I was trying to do anything to avoid preaching in Nineveh(at the Abortion Clinic)

If you’re not familiar God tells Jonah to tell the people of Nineveh to REPENT or all will be LOST! Jonah jumps on a boat to get away from this task. He is flung overboard in a storm and  he gets eaten by a whale, but God saves him (after spending 3 days in a whales stomach, GROSS) he gets the message out and the people of Nineveh listen and are SAVED! Surprise! Surprise! Surprise!(Not surprised)

So with my young daughter who was 5 at the time, I parked and approached the Pro-Life ladies. One in particular I know on sight because she is out there nearly every single day.

Rain, Snow, Heat or Cold.This woman is a Warrior for the Unborn.

I often stop and give her a few dollars when I can to help with her gas and expenses because she’s in the trenches and I’m avoiding this fight in person.

On this day, only one single pro-choice/Abortion protestor was out counter protesting this group of Pro-Life grandma’s.

I CAN NOT tell how much I did NOT want to speak to this woman. I mean I would rather have taken a BEATING then approach this stranger with what I was about to tell her.

So I walked up to her and asked quietly if I could have a minute of her time. She looked at me suspiciously but acquiesced when she looked at my little girl.

I mean how vicious or crazy could I be with this precious girl at my side.

I held out my phone and said

“This is a photo of my baby Mia Paloma who I miscarried at 13 weeks. She had a little dimple in her chin just like her sister here. Because of my age I can’t seem to get pregnant again, so this was my last chance”

I can’t remember exactly what she said, it was something like “I’m sorry”.

I thanked her for her time and walked away, shaking and holding back my tears.

My daughter Sophia had already asked me what was wrong with all those babies in the pictures and told her a half truth that they had a terrible accident.

As we walked back to the car, the Pro-Life ladies stopped me asked what I had said. I retold my brief encounter and added “If I can just change one heart, my baby’s death will not have been in vain”

You see, that was the only way I could live through that miscarriage. I had to believe with all my heart that her life had purpose and that God was and would use me as He saw fit to take up this cause.

I share my story often because it’s such a taboo, no one tells you when you lose a baby that you can deliver it, receive a death certificate ( just ask for one) and have a Christian burial.

We were guided gently by our doctor,nurse’s and then by our amazing priest Father Tom.

Every time I think I can’t share this story, it’s too painful, or it’s to embarrassing I realize that God is always with me and He always gives me the strength to endure.

I continue to pray for God to use me as He choses and to always let me share my faith and story with LOVE. He takes care of the rest with the help of the Holy Spirit.

Praying for an End to Abortion,

Your friend,

Pilar The Papist Squirrel

The Archangel Michael





Missiles and False Alarms, What Would I Want My Children To Know

Recently a false alarm was sounded all over Hawaii causing a state-wide panic. For several minutes, the people of Hawaii thought that a nuclear missile was heading for their paradise.

I read an article by a mother who said she instantly texted her 2 daughters on the main land and told them

“Check the News. Is there a missile heading to Hawaii?I love you.No matter what happens get your degree!Have a good life, be successful!And take care of your sister”

Which made me cry of course because what a terrible fright! The thought that a missile was heading for my town would be such an awful thing I wonder how one ever chokes down that fear?

But it flooded my mind with the things I would want my children to know in the event of my sudden death. Just off the top of my head,

I LOVE you both.

You were BOTH my biggest accomplishments in my life.


Stay strong in your FAITH!

DEFEND your faith with ALL your heart.

Love each other, ALWAYS!

FALL in love.

PROTECT your sister and always watch out for each other.

One day you may be mom’s I know you WILL be amazing and better than I could have ever hoped to be.

I am so PROUD of both of you.

Take CHANCES, it’s ok to make mistakes that’s how we learn.

I PRAY you have friends in your lives like I have had the honor of knowing and loving.

Marriage is WORK but it’s worth it.


I love you!

Know that I will be praying for you and I love you for ALL eternity.

RESPECT your flag, your country, veterans, and those who protect and serve our country.

ONLY God loves you more than me.

Be kind, the world is ROUGH and being kind makes you a BETTER person.

NEVER chase after a man, he should chase after you, ALWAYS.

NEVER  date a married man, he belongs to his wife. You deserve a GREAT man.

Remember INTEGRITY is doing the right thing even when no one is looking.

Do you know how much I love you? I love you to the moon and back and to the sun and back and around every single star God ever made or ever will make. Forever and ever and ever, that’s how much I LOVE you!


WORK hard and do a job you love.

You are STRONGER than you think, because you have Jesus with you EVERY moment.

Stay HUMBLE, God has you right where he needs you to be.

STAND UP for whats right even when it’s not what everyone else is doing.

The Church is always RIGHT in its teachings, even when it may seem unfair.

Credit cards are only for EMERGENCIES! Pay with cash whenever possible.

SAVE money for your retirement.

Good MANNERS will take you far in life.

TEACH yourself how fix stuff around the house like Daddy did.

Never be afraid to SHARE  your faith with others! Let your light SHINE for Jesus!

Don’t believe everything you hear or read, do your own RESEARCH.

TRAVEL, see the world and try new things.

Remember the lowliest person you may meet was once someones CHILD and God loves them.

Live your life with the goal of becoming the SAINT God wants you to be.

The DEVIL is real and spiritual warfare is a constant threat to the world.

Believe in MIRACLES, God grants them every day.

Remember that Mary is your Mother in HEAVEN.

The Saints are hanging out waiting to PRAY for you all day long, ask them to for help!

Remember to PRAY FOR ME and ask your sister in heaven to pray for you.

Help other people and VOLUNTEER when you can, it feels good.

You will know how much I loved you when you have your OWN children.

Be a GOOD friend.

Eat HEALTHY and take care of your TEETH.

Don’t worry about other people’s OPINIONS, they don’t matter one bit.


Be MODEST, you can still dress sassy without putting all your body on display.

Never let a man hit you, belittle you or separate you from family or friends. These type of men will NEVER EVER change!

You do not need to be PERFECT, I still love you and so does Jesus.

Adopt shelter PETS, remember a pet is for life.

Pay your bills on time to maintain your GOOD credit.

Say you’re SORRY, forgive when you can. Don’t allow people to mistreat you.

Listen to that little voice in your head, it’s trying to keep you ALIVE.

Hollywood LIES, movies are make believe.

BE CAREFUL about what you watch, listen to and read. Ask yourself would I watch this with Father Tom. Trash in equals trash out.

You are special there is NO ONE in the world just like you.

If you marry, MARRY a Catholic that lives their faith daily. You will be each others guide to SALVATION.

Marry an optimist with a great sense of HUMOR, life is hard and this will help along the way.

PRAY the rosary.

NEVER let someone talk you out of your faith!

Even though you may be small you are FIERCE, God is with you always.

Adoption makes families too, be OPEN to life and what God puts in your heart.

I could go on and on, but I hope that this list  could be a guide to what I would share if I had to leave instructions.

So what started as a false alarm in Hawaii, has led to this roadmap I pray would help in the event that my girls need it when I am gone.

Mary and jesus

Your friend,

Pilar The Papist Squirrel

PS You both made me a better person by being your mommy.






Little House On The Prairie Fail!

Do you remember the days when you were young and single and ready to mingle? Remember getting ready to go run amok on New Year’s Eve and partying till the sun comes up?

Some of you are saying YES! The few who are saying “No can’t say that I do” (A.You may have been raised in a very sheltered Midwest town or B. You partied so hard these are just vague recollections).

I remember getting ready to go out on December 31,1999 like it was just last year! I also remember many more misadventures involving Tijuana, but we’re NOT gonna talk about that.

Cut to me this year 2017, my social calendar was BOOKED! You know when you hit that stage and your kids are big enough to take to a party and let them entertain themselves? We had friends inviting us to last-minute New Year’s Eve parties and whatnot. It was gonna be totally RAD! Like a full on weekend of partying, food and friends!

But NO, the dreaded flu my mother-in-law had failed to mention she had, until we arrived at the annual Christmas Day Forced Together Day (Monday) had taken its hideous hold of our family……UGH!

I saw it happen, when Sophia hugged and kissed grandma. After I had explicitly said DO NOT hug grandma ONLY grandpa.

Then I spent the rest of the evening debating whether to make the kid take a “Silk Wood” radioactive removal shower or just wash her face? Because after all this kid still sucks her fingers at bed time and we joke that her immune system is strong enough to outlast The Zombie Apocalypse!

I kept replaying the recent doctor visit in my head, “Are you sure you don’t want the flu shot this year?”

Me “No thank you, yes I’m sure”.

Next day Tuesday, house looks like a bomb has gone off, paper, boxes, gifts everywhere! Pretty much like the contents of a shark’s stomach.

Patient ZERO had struck, Sophia threw up later that day and ran a fever for 3 more days.


Wednesday, “I think I got THE EBOLA!” I managed to croak to anyone that would listen. Because of my sketchy medical history, I automatically think worst case scenario. Which typically involves me in the hospital with some kind of kidney stone or inflamed appendix and emergency surgery follow-up. DANG!

Suffice to say I NEVER and I mean NEVER want to drink orange PowerAid EVER again in my life!I was like a scene from the Exorcist, my abs got a full body work out.

Since my husband tends to “shut down” (he gets even MORE quite and stands stalk still) when I get sick, it became Isabella my oldest daughters responsibility to take care of me.

From my deathbed I begged for saltines, a cold cloth, fan ON & OFF, water and sympathy. All the while instructing her to wash her hands and wipe every single door knob, light switch and ALL surfaces with a Clorox Wipe!

Thursday I had Isabella send an S.O.S message to my best friend Kara to please send much-needed humanitarian aid to our Quarantined Island from HELL!

Smoke Signal

Saint Kara of Oakwood, promptly suited up a lá HAZMAT and delivered (to our door step) gourmet chicken noodle soup, ginger ale, saltines and a bag full of every type of TheraFlu product available over the counter.Then left skid marks tearing out of our driveway (just kidding).


Friday, I feel subhuman like an 18 wheeler has run me over, so that night’s party is a NO GO! At this point I’m hoping to be better for a party that I made my friend Michelle organize, and scheduled for Saturday night. Since everyone has paid $35 a person and wine is involved she may just kill me if I duck out.

Saturday morning things are turning around, dishes have piled sky-high (like the taxes on Tara), not to mention laundry.

But I had let Isabella spend the night with her friend and attend Friday nights party as my emissary. The girl earned a night away from Quarantine Island.

I’m saving all my strength at this point for dinner out and this painting party. I do a little laundry and get back in bed. The kids are going crazy because it’s a freezing, snow-covered wasteland and no one can play outside, so much bickering and fighting ensues.

After much yelling from me, a Pax Romana falls across the kingdom. At the time of this writing I had to send them each to their rooms, to get any peace and quite!

Saturday night we make it to the painting party. I have a great time even though I look like death warmed over on toast. But we made it, narrowly avoiding any black ice patches and frost bite (note to self, next time make a u-turn on the street, NOT in an ice rink parking lot on a steep grade). EEK!


Ok Sunday is in the home stretch and looks like everyone is well enough to go to mass the next day and still attend our neighbors New Year’s Eve soirée Greek style!

NOT so Fast.

Isabella has now contracted the deathly insidious flu and is now unable to keep any liquids down and is laying lethargically in my bed. OH NO! This poor kid who picks up my slack and nursed me back to life is SICK!

I text my regrets to my neighbor Maria and excuse us all from what was sure to be an AWESOME party. Did I mention they are Greek?

Oh well there’s always next year and I start to wash mountains of dishes (3 loads in the dishwasher to be precise) and load after load of laundry.

For our spectacular New Year’s Eve feast I make sausage and pancakes. Breakfast for Dinner it’s a thing.

Back to the laundry at hand. As I’m toiling away I realize as “unglamorous” as this seems it’s ok. It’s actually kind of peaceful and soothing to take care of my family while all the rest of the world is reveling.

I’m folding sheets and it occurs to me that this is my vocation and my  heart is joyful. For the first time EVER I realize this is what it must feel like to be a joyful servant of the Lord. Saint Mother Teresa said “Not all of us can do great things. But we can do small things with great love.”

Here I am all grown up and my dreams have come true! I’m raising kids, folding laundry, scrubbing toilets and making art!

Monday,January 1,2018, we’re all on the mend and dishes are nearly all done. If you ever saw that movie “Signs’ by M.Knight Shyamalan, where the little girl leaves glasses of water all over the house (eventually this is what keeps the aliens at bay) then you have a sense of our house.

I decide it’s time to start cooking again, we can’t just live on toast. I start making 2 pots of chicken noodle soup. One for us and one for our neighbor who needs a meal.

Sophia wanders in complaining she’s hungry, so I whip up a grilled cheese on the griddle of my magical stove top. I am on a roll, why not bake a cake? I feel like an accomplished short order cook!

I dig out my lovely red Kitchen Aid mixer and whip up a cake from a box. I flour and grease the pans, pre-heat the oven. Spoon the mix into the pans, and plan to frost the cake once it cools.

Sometimes when I’m trapped in the house for the winter this kind of pioneer frenzy takes over (briefly) and I feel motivated to cook, bake, sew and clean. Then I get over it and binge watch TV.

The kids and I start playing cards, I get up to check the timer and clean up a bit. I go throw the “empty” egg carton away.

ARGHHHHHHHHHHH I’m screaming “I FORGOT TO PUT THE EGGS IN THE CAKE!” I fling open the oven door, NOPE. These are just gonna be flat weird little red velvet pancakes, instead.

See just when I feel all “Little House On The Prairie” style, this is the kinda of epic fails that happen to me.

This is when I sense God laughing, he laughs at me a lot. He laughs like I’m an “I Love Lucy” episode. But that’s ok since I know He loves me and He knows I’m a squirrel. So I’m cool with that.

Your “Pioneer Failure Friend” & “Ebola” flu patient,


The Papist Squirrel





Forced Family Fun & Strained Holidays

I think we can all agree that the holidays are fairly stressful. Maybe because we have this  idea of how it all SHOULD be and yet, in all our planning and prep we fall short?




If you are anything like me and grew up in some type of dysfunctional family, you try your hardest to make the family you have now, different and as “normal” as possible.

We all have some type of weirdness in our families. Sometimes you may think it’s just your family, but nope you’d be wrong. I say this a lot because it’s true. It seems to be a thread that runs through my blog.

Because I want you to know you’re not the ONLY one, in a sea of Pinterest worthy holiday scenes, struggling to create “normal”. I know I will NEVER have the Norman Rockwell picture of a family and that’s ok, that would be way too much work, and for the record I am a sloth.

For me I realize it each time I go to some event at school, so many families I know have close family near by. These grandparents, aunts, uncles and  cousins show up at the sporting events, school concerts, First Communions, etc. I love that about our school and community. But it points out in glaring contrast that our extended family is NOT close.

My mother recently drove through Ohio on her way Arizona after spending several months in Maine. Where she never once called to let me know she had arrived safely but that’s another story.

Suddenly out of the blue my Aunt called and said your mom is coming through town in 2-3 days call her. WHAT?! Wait why hasn’t she called me? Oh her phone is malfunctioning (again) this from a woman who has yet to set up her voice mail on a phone she’s had for years.

My mom is not old for the record she is only 67. Based on the friends I have in my Knitting Group this is NOT old. OK

In the end she skipped visiting her ONLY grandkids, because I would not let her dog stay at our home. To be fair she is always welcome but the dog is not and she knows this. Last time the dog stayed it chewed up the footboard of my daughter’s bed and my mom never even mentioned it. Like it *poof* never even happened. That and my only request was that the dog PLEASE not sleep in my daughters bed. #RagingAllergies but even this simple request was disregarded.

So my husband said the dog is NOT allowed in our home. He is a pretty easy-going guy, he doesn’t complain or put his foot down often, but when he does speak up I try to respect his wishes.

I found a wonderful kennel that my best friend uses but my mom REFUSED to kennel the dog. Choosing instead to skip seeing her ONLY (did I mention this) grandchildren.

I can take this kind of rude behavior, but I don’t let anyone treat my kids this way. As a parent it’s my job to protect them and teach them to set boundaries for themselves and others.

I realize I won’t always be around to “shelter” them and life is full of “hard knocks” but your own family, should be a haven and a place were you always feel loved, safe, welcome and cared for.

Tucked In

I’m not alone in this phenomenon I have other friends that refuse to let their children interact with the abusive, alcoholic, absent grandparents. This to me makes total and complete sense, but my mom isn’t like that, she is just incapable of growing up I guess?

I realized this last interaction that she is like a Land Mine in my life that drops in unannounced and reeks havoc on my life. For years I sheltered my children and wouldn’t tell them grandma was coming until we actually saw her face or knew she was up the road.

For a time she lived a mile down the road and the kids LOVED it. She said the cold here was too much for her and moved back to Arizona to care my elderly grandma and yet she spent most of last winter in a shack in Maine. Cold much?

She skipped a visit last Christmas to buy a dog instead. As in flew to Colorado to pick it up from the breeder and fly home rather than fly to Ohio to visit us.

Growing up, my mom and dad would make promises that were never kept. Especially my dad (he meant well I’m sure) but kids crave consistency, structure and rules.  My mother would say if you don’t expect anything from your dad you won’t be disappointed. I learned that she was right because she would do the same things, IOU’s for birthday gifts, not showing up on time when we expected her (being hours late), one year she invited me to Christmas at a friends in Temecula but gave me the vaguest directions.

I drove around for 2 hours (prior to cell phones) in the middle of the NO WHERE in such a rage, that when I finally did find her she just laughed it off. That’s her way you see to deny or deflect any criticism.

I didn’t realize these flaws until I had children of my own. Growing up my mom was my very best friend and I would have done anything for her.

She was my hero raising 2 kids as a single parent and being a police officer. She taught me many lessons about being self-sufficient, good manners, to look people in the eye and shake their hand with a firm grip, to love this country, to read, to clean, to negotiate with the utility companies when they wanted to shut off our power. Plus she always believed in me.

But things started to turn for us when she married her 3rd husband. No one in the family  liked him, he was from Germany (I’m sure he was an anomaly) where he left behind his wife and 3 children (why my mom let this HUGE character flaw slide I’ll never understand) and would complain to anyone that would listen how everything was better in Germany.

Consequently my mother and I didn’t speak for about 5 years. That is bad habit of my family to carry a grudge for so long. Stubborn Mules.

Eventually things turned so bad with this man that she divorced him, but not before he alienated her from the entire family.

When I had my own children I saw first hand what an enormous responsibility it is to raise kids. All the things I thought were “normal” or “quirks” growing up I realized were completely unacceptable behavior, poor moral choices and ridiculous behavior (like planning a trip when we were scheduled to move and leaving me to beg friends to help move our 2 bedroom apartment to a new rental house). Who does that to their kids?

I think it is common among most generations to strive to make each generation better than before. We want our kids to have the things we missed out on in our childhood. Like  providing more opportunities and to be better then our own parents if they were completely dysfunctional. This is what “normal” parents want.

I struggle with this because as a Catholic Christian, I want to honor my mother and father, I want to turn the other cheek, I want to forgive and be forgiven. But when is it too much? Where do we draw that line and refuse to submit ourselves and our children or spouses to this insanity? When do we need to share with our kids, why they don’t have a relationship with certain relatives?

Last year I received a devastating medical diagnosis regarding our family. My mother just brushed it off and said “I know everything will be fine” and NEVER not once brought it up again. Period the end, ostrich with its head in the sand.

This last episode was my tipping point and I had to tell my kids what was going on , why I was crying, why I was so angry and stressed out, because of my mom.

I had to explain to them that grandma is missing out on two awesome little kids who are such a joy to be around. They make me laugh, they drive me crazy, they show me what it means to be forgiven, they teach me about Gods love and I strive to live up to the awesome task of being their mama.

I kept this ugly secret from my children as long as I could but the damage was already done. They already disconnected. Out of sight out of mind for children. Children enjoy gifts but the time you spend with them is what they will always remember vividly. So I guess I can drop the charade.

But my heart hurts because these kids are my greatest accomplishment in my life outside my marriage. My mom once referred to them as her gift with purchase (if you ever worked in cosmetics you get that). My husbands parents are elderly (late 80’s) and live out of state but when they come into town they make an effort to see most of their 17 plus grandkids and 5 great grand children. So they make an effort but it’s not like my friend Bronne who tries to host a family dinner every Sunday. Or all my other Nana age friends who have weekly contact with their grandkids. Some even babysit their grandkids daily.

My oldest daughter said “Mom if you ever did this to me I would never speak to you again” meaning drive through town and not see her kids. I said “Honey, I want to live very close to you and your sister so I can see my grandkids (God willing) every single day!”


I can’t think of a more amazing way to spend my golden years. I want to be a help to my daughters and watch them raise their own families. My husband and I would like to travel, but I don’t want to ever be so far away that my grandkids don’t know who I am or how much I LOVE them!

So friends when you think everyone around you has it all figured out and their life is Pinterest Perfect, dig a little deeper and you will see we are all of us just treading water.

It is only with Gods Grace (plus my friends and family) that I have gotten this far in my life. Some days I’m everyone’s cheerleader but just beneath the surface I’m praying for constant intercession and help from all the Saints, Our Blessed Mother and God.

This Christmas season give yourself permission to relax, it’s ok if the cookies aren’t perfect, if  cards aren’t finished, just breath. Look around at your friends that are like family or your family that hasn’t pushed you over the edge and be grateful. Give yourself permission to avoid those people who cause you great sadness or stress at every turn.

This isn’t to say you have to hate them , not at all but if they cause you such distress that you are breaking out in hives and your family is miserable, just say “No thank you, we’re skipping “The Circus of Crazy” this year”and stay home with your little tribe of people who love you and encourage you.

I promise the world will not end.

Your “Epic Pinterest Fail” Friend,


Pilar The Papist Squirrel