2014 CPA Book Awards Tuesday, Jun 24 2014 

Writing books takes years of research, writing, and rewriting, and it is rewarding when readers tell me the books made a difference in their life or when they are honored by my peers.

Both Saint Theodora and Her Promise to God and Young in the Spirit received Honorable Mentions in the 2014 Catholic Press Association of the United States and Canada book competition.

The awards are not First Place (or Second or Third) but meaningful to me because they were awarded by respected professionals in the industry and competed against significant publishers such as Ave Maria Press, Liguori Publication, Loyola Press, Orbis Books, Georgetown University Press, and Paulist Press.

This is the first year I entered one of my books in this contest. Young in the Spirit also received an Honorable Mention in the Great Midwest Book Festival competition.

Winners were announced at the annual CPA convention, on the CPA website, and in the publication, The Catholic Journalist.

Saint Theodora and Her Promise to God is my first published children’s book. It is about Saint Theodora, also known as Mother Theodore Guerin, who founded schools in Indiana and Illinois in the mid 1800s. One of these schools, St. Mary-of-the-Woods College, is the oldest liberal arts college for women in the United States and also offers co-ed graduate degrees. I received my Master’s of Arts Degree in Pastoral Theology from this school.

Young in the Spirit explores the impact of spirituality on aging and caregiving. It offers suggestions on ways to build on our faith during these times.

Saint Theodora and Her Promise to God was published by the Sisters of Providence of St. Mary-of-the-Woods, IN and Young in the Spirit was published by my little press, 3E Press.

Saint Theodora and Her Promise to God and Young in the Spirit are available on Amazon and my website: marykdoyle.com.You can see the entire list of winners on the CPA website at: Catholic Press Association

©2014, Mary K. Doyle

Little Chefs Thursday, Aug 1 2013 

When I was 12 years-old, I won 1st place in a cherry pie baking contest at my school that was sponsored by Northern Illinois Gas Company. I went on to a second bake-off to compete against the winners from other schools in the Chicago area. In that contest my pie won 4th Place – my essay won 1st.

I baked a pie just about every day the weeks prior to each contest. I’m thankful my parents allowed me to do that because I’m sure it was difficult for them to afford the ingredients. But that practice actually was an investment in mastering the skill of pie baking. Making the crust in particular can be intimidating for even adult bakers. Learning how to do that at a young age has allowed me to whip up meat and fruit pies all my life.

I wanted to share that ability with my six-year-old granddaughter. Kaylee is my son-in-law Steve’s daughter from a previous marriage, and I treasure the time I have with her when she is in town. She is smart, compassionate, and delightful and one of my favorite young ladies.

We decided on baking the pies in individual pans, and I was especially happy she chose to make cherry. While we baked we discussed safe food handling, the importance of each ingredient, and of course, the steps in making the pies. We also talked about our daily thoughts and concerns.

Kaylee is a quick learner and did an excellent job of measuring, cooking the filling, rolling out the dough, and sealing the pies.



The end result was perfect. Kaylee’s pies were as beautiful as they were delicious.


It’s never too early to introduce children to cooking and baking. The benefits are many. Young chefs learn to appreciate the time and money involved in food preparation. They are more eager to try foods they prepare. They also learn not be intimidated to cook later in life.

Best of all, we gain priceless time with them to exchange ideas and what weighs heavy on our minds. I thoroughly enjoyed the conversation Kaylee and I shared while baking. It’s a memory we both appreciate.

* * *

Cherry Pie

2 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup lard or vegetable fat (Crisco)
4 tablespoons Ice water

2 cans red tart cherries
4 tablespoons cornstarch
1 cup sugar
¾ teaspoon almond extract
2 tablespoons butter

Preheat oven to 350.

I. Drain cherries. Combine juice from one can, sugar, and cornstarch in a saucepan. Cook till thick and clear. Remove pan from burner. Add butter, almond extract, and cherries. Cool.

II. Mix flour and salt. Cut in the fat until the size of peas. Sprinkle ice water onto the flour mixture. Carefully add a little more water if needed. Gently form the dough into a ball. Cut the ball in half. Roll out one half of the dough about 1 inch larger than the inverted pie pan for the bottom crust. Prick the crust and lay it in the pie pan.

Pour the filling into the pie pan.

Roll out the top crust. Slit in the center. Dampen the edges of the bottom crust. Lay the top crust over the pie and seal.

Bake pie in 450 oven for 10 minutes. Reduce heat to 350. Bake about 30 more minutes.

©2013, Mary K. Doyle

Hats Off to the Grads Friday, May 10 2013 

Congratulations to all the college students graduating this month. Whether you progressed from high school right through college, or took the long road as I did (18 years from the start of an Associate’s Degree to graduation for my Masters Degree), the completion of a degree program indicates your determination to march on and follow through tremendous challenges.

College demands a significant investment of time, energy, and money. Class after class, we rack our brains to understand and retain mountains of information while maintaining an already full work and daily life schedule. We work on projects with peers who do not contribute their fair share. We endure boring lessons and professors. And we leave with a student debt that takes decades to repay.

So why do we do it? Why are so many middle-aged adults joining younger generations in pursuit of a degree? Because education is never wasted. It becomes enmeshed in our daily thought process, our point of reference. A college education is an investment in our personal-development, our future, and our family.

It opens doors to career opportunities and increases job satisfaction and earning potential. And believe it or not, a college degree lowers blood pressure and the risk of developing colorectal, prostate, lung and breast cancer, according to a study published in the Journal of National Cancer Institute.

So walk proudly, graduates. You worked hard. Congratulations and best wishes for a very bright future.

©2013, Mary K. Doyle

Blog of the Year 2012 Award Thursday, Jan 10 2013 

Blog of the Year Award 1 star jpeg

Blogging is a popular form of communication that has blossomed over the last decade. It is a fun way to pass on personal perspectives, ideas, and information.

I write two blogs, Midwest Mary and Saint Theodora/Mother Theodore Guerin (http://saint-theodora.com). Both were nominated for the Blog of the Year 2012 Award by 8 Kids and A Business (http://8kidsandabusiness.wordpress.com/). These nominations actually are for the first of a six-star award. Thank you very much, Terry, for these nominations.

My intentions for both my blogs is to raise readers’ consciousness and spirit to a more positive and gentler level. Midwest Mary covers a wide range of topics relative to everyday life, particularly in the Midwest. In addition to personal perspectives, I post recipes, product reviews, events, and informative pieces.

The other blog I write is Saint Theodora/Mother Theodore Guerin (http://saint-theodora.com ). Saint Theodora, more commonly known in the U.S. as Saint Mother Theodore, founded St. Mary-of-the-Woods College and the community of the Sisters of Providence in St. Mary-of-the-Woods, Indiana. She was a dynamic woman of faith who entrusted her life to God, and in doing so, overcame tremendous obstacles in bringing Christianity and education to the American wilderness in the mid-1800s. Her common sense-no nonsense approach continues to offer us guidance today. Please check out this blog, if you haven’t already done so.

One of the honors of accepting the Blog of the Year Award is the ability to nominate other blogs. There are so many writers who spend countless hours researching and writing as part of their ministry or mission. I nominate two of my favorites:

Sister Anne Flanagan’s Nun Blog http://romans8v29.blogspot.com/. Sister writes interesting and fun posts on the daily readings and life in the Church.


http://jgburdette.wordpress.com/. This is a well-written fabulous blog on history.

Congratulations to both.

And here are the rules for accepting the nomination:

1 Select the blog(s) you think deserve the ‘Blog of the Year 2012’ Award

2 Write a blog post and tell us about the blog(s) you have chosen – there’s no minimum or maximum number of blogs required – and ‘present’ them with their award.

3 Please include a link back to this page ‘Blog of the Year 2012’ Awardhttp://thethoughtpalette.co.uk/our-awards/blog-of-the-year-2012-award/   and include these ‘rules’ in your post (please don’t alter the rules or the badges!)

4 Let the blog(s) you have chosen know that you have given them this award and share the ‘rules’ with them

5 You can now also join our Facebook group – click ‘like’ on this page ‘Blog of the Year 2012’ Award Facebook group and then you can share your blog with an even wider audience

6 As a winner of the award – please add a link back to the blog that presented you with the award – and then proudly display the award on your blog and sidebar … and start collecting stars…

One Lovely Blog Award Thursday, Dec 20 2012 


Thank you to historical blogger J.G. Burdette  for nominating Midwest Mary for the”Lovely Blog Award.” The recognition, which really in this case means award, is humbling. Now that the badge is stamped on my blog I feel even more obligated to present positive, thoughtful, entertaining and well-written posts. Please let me know where I fall short and where I hit the mark. I’m also open to suggestions for future posts.

The award simply means that one other blogger likes my blog. But I especially appreciate this because of the outstanding blog J.G. writes. It also is fun to be recognized and allows my blog some exposure as it is listed in a post on not only the nominating blogger’s site but also all those who I nominate.

The Rules for accepting the nomination are that the nominee: 1. Thank the blogger who offered the nomination; 2. Post the One Lovely Blog emblem on their blog; 3. List seven random facts about themself; 4. Nominate fifteen other bloggers for the award. 5. Send a message to those nominees informing them of their nomination.

So, in keeping with the rules, thank you once again J.G. Burdette for the nomination. You will find the lovely-“Lovely Blog Award” badge on the left side of my blog. And here are seven random facts about myself :

1. I really, really, really love my family.

2. I could live on olives and cheese (and bread and salad and chocolate and tea and a little wine and. . . )

2. “Box Jumper” can be listed on my resume.

4. I love Hawaii (Who doesn’t?)

5. I won a cherry pie baking contest from Northern Illinois Gas Company when I was in 8th grade.

6. I’ve picked up quilting once again after more than twenty years and am enjoying it very much.

7. My middle name is Kathleen and my father used to sing “Take Me Home Again Kathleen” to me when I was little.

And here are the 15 blogs I nominate. You should check them out as well as J.G. Burdette‘s.

We Call Him Yes! Chef!

Life in Kansas

The Holy Ones

Maggie’s One Butt Kitchen

Mex Spice

Diary of a Quilter

EHS Safety News America

Frugal Feeding

Angela at Her Home


Canadian Hiking Photography

Redesigned by M

To Be Aware

So, … hear me

A Lot on Your Plate

©Mary K. Doyle

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