#1 –  Go see my post today at the Register:  “Santo Commodius, Ora Ro Nobis.”

#2 –  Okay, this may be the stupidest contest ever, but here we go.

I had a bunch of ideas, but chose this idea among all the fabulous ones that set my mind aglow with whirling transient nodes of thought, careening through a cosmic vapor of invention.  As you may have noticed, my mind is a raging torrent, flooded with rivulets of thought, cascading into a waterfall of creative alternatives!

But I finally settled on this:


I found this bag at our house.  “What’s in it?”  I wondered.  I did not know.

I asked the kids, “What’s in this bag?” but they did not know, either.

I asked my husband, and he said, ” . . . Um, that terrible miso soup?”  So there’s your only hint:  it’s definitely not miso soup.  Because I ate it all, and besides, that came in little red envelopes.

Oh, and the prize?  The prize is actually the reason I wanted to have a contest, because it’s something that I believe more people should have.  I am giving away a TWO, count ’em, TWO year gift subscription to Faith and Family Magazine!  If you already have a subscription, you can either add this on as a subscription renewal, or give it away to someone else.  Maybe your local library, even.  And if you don’t win, you should get a subscription anyway.

I will be honest with you, when I first heard about this magazine many years ago, I thought, “Oh, yawn, another glossy ad for how to be a perfect mommy, with some token religious trappings stuck on the outside.”  But it’s not.  There is something good in every single issue:  something useful, something funny, something moving, something unexpected.  It’s accessible, but not fluffy; smart, but not snooty; upbeat, but not sappy.  Also, you can see my spring cleaning quiz in the upcoming issue, AND my “how to get your kid to sleep” article.  I think?  Or in an issue soon!

And it is beautifully put together.  Let’s face it, Catholics have something of a problem with putting out a nice product.  It’s partly because some Catholics seem to think, “Yes, but I’m delivering the TRUTH! That in itself is beautiful enough; why trivialize the message by using spell-check or making sure the photo is centered?”  Which reinforces the impression that Catholics are morons.

The other reason you see some less-than-professional Catholics products, though, is that that kind of thing costs money.  As you may know, Faith and Family went through a tumultuous time, and has recently changed ownership.  This kind of thing is hard on everyone involved, and it would be an excellent time to show your support for the magazine by buying a subscription.  It’s $19.95 for a  year’s subscription, $29.95 for two years, and $39.95 for three years — not bad!  The website, Faith and Family Live, depends on revenue from magazine subscriptions, so buying a subscription means you’re helping to keep the website afloat.

So here’s the plan:  Take a good look at the bag.  Think about what’s inside.  (Don’t pray; that’s silly.)  Just think about it.  And when you’re ready to make your guess, DON’T put it in the comments section — email me at

One week from today, I will open the bag and find out what is actually inside.  From all the correct guesses, I will randomly choose one, and will announce the winner on the blog.  If no one guesses right, I’ll pick the answer that seems closest.  I can’t give you any hints, because I don’t know what’s in it.

Okay, so again:

1.  Look at the picture.

2.  Send your guess to by Thursday, April 7.

3.  The contents will be identified and the winner randomly chosen and announced on Friday, April 8.

Pass it on!


  1. I sent a guess … and love your Register post today! However, I can’t be bothered to register at the Register to register my comment, so I’m posting my comment here, where I’m apparently already registered.

  2. I have to say, I wonder how many people will know today’s date before they read your post. I know at least one person who did not (and did not comment) but sent me the link. I set them straight.

    • Oh, not any more than anyone else, I don’t think – but other people certainly have the impression that Catholics are morons (they think we worship statues, are just mindless baby-machines, believe that rosaries are magic, etc.)

      • You are adorable in that you take every comment with such gravity. You have a way of reeking of irony with an inability to smell it elsewhere. It was just a funny supposition: “Which reinforces the impression that Catholics are morons.” But it is telling in the way you can just blurt a long list of misconceptions, obviously very close to your heart.

          • It gets worse. I’m aware of this blind spot,and constantly try to correct it. I recently told everyone that one commenter was obviously tricking us all, that NO ONE was really as crazy as this guy was pretending to be. Turned out he was a bona fide nut job, of the famous “shut up, Jew” line. That’s when I finally figured out how to block people.

            • See now, if you would all just pick more descriptive names, you would help me out a lot. Like, The Jerk. He is a jerk. So when he says something, you’re like, “Oh, he’s being a jerk – cool, I got it.” You could all help me out by being “The Sarcastic Guy” or “The Irrational Bitch” of “The Well-intentioned Dope.”

      • *My* Rosary is magic. Yours isn’t?

        You must have one of those defective ones produced by the secret Masonic cabal in the Vatican. Perhaps you should send it back to Rome for a replacement?

        • LOL. It’s sad, really – a friend of mine has gotten drawn into the whole Traditionalist Catholic worldview, where Masons are behind everything that went wrong with the world and the middle ages are expected to pop up out of nowhere again because, of course, this is the only valid Kingdom of God that could possibly be acceptable for us Catholics.

          At least he still thinks sede vacantists are “nut jobs”. I should probably just pray and be a good friend to him, and stop commenting about him behind his back.

  3. I have no idea what’s in the bag, I just want to say I love the picture because it looks like the desk I’m typing at. And we have that squirrel!

  4. Vanilla pudding mix. Add to cold milk and stir and use in thousands upon thousands of dessert recipes that look great and taste like laundry starch+powdered marshmallows. I answered here bcuz I don’t need a magazine subscription about raising kids. Mine are raised. I want to rip open that little bag and KNOW THE TRUTH so that I can be FREE.


  5. I’m going with some sort of dough.

    Do please let us know the method by which you will determine what’s in the bag. I’m a little freaked by it, myself…

  6. I have no idea what’s in the bag (but I’ll send a guess), but I had to de-lurk to say that, as a first-time mother of a 7-month-old, I REALLY want to know how you get your kid to sleep! Also, as an NFP-loving Lutheran married to a Catholic, I’m a big fan of your blog – great voice and perspective.

  7. Are you going to submit the white powdery substance to a reputable lab for analysis or are we all supposed to simply trust that you will be able to identify it properly? Cause I don’t know that it’s all that easy to separate “vanilla pudding” from “vanilla cake mix” after the thing has been sitting out for a year or so. For all we know, it’s been opened so long that it used to be chocolate.

  8. My dear spouse and I have been staring at it, tilting our heads like dogs hearing a whistle. Perplexing. LOVE the desk. Thank you for posting that photo. Makes me feel normal. Sort of.

  9. Does cake mix/vanilla pudding come in unmarked sealed bags? its too white to be baby formula or whey powder, so my guess is icing sugar.

  10. When I was a lowly intern working in the San Francisco General ER, a more-experienced resident showed me a glassine envelope he’d picked off an inmate in said ER and demonstrated how to tell the difference between crystal meth and cocaine.

    Let me just say I am very impressed that no commenter so far has said (in jest, I am sure) “COCAINE!”

    So I am going to guess rice flour, because it looks like that.

  11. It’s not just Catholics.

    In other faiths, too, there’s plenty of dreck that’s put out, and people are pressured not to criticize it, because we shouldn’t be so MEAN, and don’t we realize that these people have tried their best to do something nice FOR GOD, and really nothing’s truly good enough for God anyway…

    (I do think we Catholics still take the prize for selecting music to be used in actual worship that is best calculated to convince others that we are morons…though some happy-clappy Protestants can give us a run for our money there too, even despite the best efforts of OCP’s finest.)

  12. You strike me as the crafty type. I’m guessing it’s plaster of Paris from one of those kits to make handprints. 😉

  13. If you just added spilled banana yogurt to that keyboard it would look like a snapshot of my desk. And I’m at work!

    I vote Bisquick or plaster-of-paris. Or royal icing sugar from one of those all-in-one gingerbread house kits (no, we didn’t make ours either).

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