Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Sunday, July 25, 2010

I should know better!

I should know better than to promise an "update post" when we would be celebrating a family birthday and taking care of all of the logistics of getting all of the "ducklings" in a row to do so.

Today, we are celebrating, but I'll be back tomorrow, For sure! I hope!  God willing!

God bless your Sunday!



Thursday, July 22, 2010

New post - coming up!

It's about time for a new post. I've been inundated with stuff to do and some medical stuff too so I haven't been able to update lately. I'll do my best to catch you up tomorrow. How's that?

One thing I can tell you now though - I have a pile of books stacked on my desk waiting to go out to the winners of my Grace Cafe: Take Me Away contest. So, you had better check that out!

God bless your night!



Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Radio this morning: Tune in!

I'll be chatting with the wonderful Dina Marie Hale on Catholic Radio KBVM 88.3 FM TODAY, Tuesday, July 20th at 11:00 AM Eastern (8:00 AM Pacific). I hope you can tune in!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Summer Bliss or Summer Stress?

"Many Catholic moms all over are hoping and praying for a blessed, relaxing, happy, and holy summer. They’ve had busy years and are longing for some well-deserved rest and relaxation if that is at all possible. I’ve spoken to many moms lately and some have shared that they are a bit nervous and apprehensive about what might happen to their semi-structured days they’ve been accustomed to throughout the school year, knowing that the schedule and dynamics in the household will dramatically change once the kids are finished with their home-schooling classes or have completed their year at their schools.

What’s a mother to do to maintain some sort of balance for her summer days? Let’s talk about a few areas of our lives that we might have at least some control of and explore what we can do to make even some slight changes to help us accomplish our goal to have that blessed, relaxed, happy and holy summer we wish for. We can focus on the subjects of prayer, our “down” time or relaxation, activities for ourselves and our family, household chores, and summer outings...( my newest summer article is continued here at Catholic Exchange).

(Feel free to leave a comment here and at Catholic Exchange. God bless your summer!)

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Preparation for Total Consecration to Jesus through Mary begins today.

33-Day Preparation for Total Consecration to Jesus through Mary begins today!

Total Consecration to Mary, explains St. Louis de Montfort, "consists in surrendering oneself in the manner of a slave to Mary, and to Jesus through her, and then performing all our actions with Mary, in Mary, through Mary, and for Mary" (The Secret of Mary, No. 28). It is also known as "True Devotion to Mary," "Total Consecration to Jesus through Mary," and "Holy Slavery."

Here is the formula for the preparation to consecrate oneself to Jesus through Mary...

Initial 12-Day Preparation

Day 1

Purpose: Emptying Yourself of the Spirit of the World

Examine your conscience, pray, practice renouncement of your own will; mortification, purity of heart. This purity is the indispensable condition for contemplating God in heaven, to see Him on earth and to know Him by the light of faith. The first part of the preparation should be employed in casting off the spirit of the world which is contrary to that of Jesus Christ. The spirit of the world consists essentially in the denial of the supreme dominion of God; a denial which is manifested in practice by sin and disobedience; thus it is principally opposed to the spirit of Christ, which is also that of Mary.

It manifests itself by the concupiscence of the flesh, by the concupiscence of the eyes and by the pride of life. By disobedience to God's laws and the abuse of created things. Its works are: sin in all forms, then all else by which the devil leads to sin; works which bring error and darkness to the mind, and seduction and corruption to the will. Its pomps are the splendor and the charms employed by the devil to render sin alluring in persons, places and things... continued here.

Today's teens and our darkened culture

My writer friend, "Peace Garden Mama" shares a poignant story - so essential for today's parents...

"While at a family-friendly eatery with my preteen daughters recently, I was taken aback as two teen girls in a nearby booth began freely discussing intimate details of their dating lives.

Hoping my daughters wouldn’t hear, I watched in dismay as they began to tune in, eyes widening.
Let’s just say some of the appetizers went untouched.

My conflicted feelings were as much for the older girls, who I couldn’t help but feel have been unknowingly deceived by our culture’s “if it feels good, do it” mentality, a message set in motion 40 years ago that has wreaked havoc on our youth.

Back when I was learning about sexually transmitted diseases, it seemed like only a few existed. Now, despite “safer sex,” the list has grown to 25 different varieties. And it seems like the number of infected people is growing... (whole story here)."

Monday, July 12, 2010

Go on out and light the word! It needs it desperately!

One of my very favorite songs. I'm sending this out to my dear friend, Maria today! Enjoy it everyone! I hope it fills you with inspiration.

God bless and hugs,


Winners announced!

Hey everyone! I announced the winners today in the "Grace Cafe: Take Me Away" summer book contest!

Go on over and take a look. The announcement is in the comments section.

God bless your day!


Saturday, July 10, 2010

Catholic Writers to Hold Conference in Valley Forge, PA

Catholic Writers to Hold Conference in Valley Forge, PA

I hope I may see you there!

Keeping Prayer in Summer: A Mother's Strategy

What are your plans this summer? Below is my summer article for your enjoyment.

"One way to be sure that we remain prayerful this summer is to begin each day with prayer. This simple suggestion may seem like a no-brainer to a praying individual; however the busyness of mornings and preparations for summer outings of even the most well-intentioned "pray-ers" can cause prayer time to become lost in the commotion..."

The story is here on the front page of Catholic Online (left column). Actually, it is now moved from the left column. You can get to it by watching the flashing header on Catholic Online's website and when it says "prayer," click on that. :)

If you check the story after today, you can find the full story here at Catholic Online.

What are your prayer strategies?

God bless you and your family this summer!


Friday, July 9, 2010

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Jesus at Starbucks?

I had to bring my car to have the emissions tested today. I wasn't wild about the idea of going out because the temperature was over 100 degrees Fahrenheit with an extremely high humidity level today. It's been that way for a few days now - unrelenting - HOT and HUMID - with no relief in sight for at least a few more days. The weather man advised those who are "sensitive" to be careful since the air quality is very poor. But, I had to go out and pick up my daughter anyway, so I figured I'd get the car done too.

Upon arriving at the auto shop, the woman told me that there would be at least a 45 minute wait, maybe more - there were three cars ahead of us. Darn. My heart had started racing when I got into my car a little earlier so I knew the weather was not so good for me today (I have a heart condition). The AC isn't working well in my car either. The weather was just so oppressive and the waiting room there didn't seem very cool - at least not enough for me.

"We'll leave the car here," I told the woman," and we'll be back in a while. We'll just go out for something cold to drink. See you soon!"

So, where to go? Since my husband had met me there in his vehicle, we knew we could escape that car place for a bit. I also knew I had to get into a cooler area as quickly as possible, in hopes it would settle my heart racing. Starbucks was the closest place. It's funny, I had been to the drive-up window a few times for my older kids when they requested me to stop if we were out and about, but I had never been inside! Imagine that? It would seem I don't get out much (I'm usually so busy on the computer at work on my books or out at speaking events - not much time to sip a latte, at least not out of my office anyway!).

My daughter, hubby, and I went inside and ordered 3 iced green tea-lemon aids to refresh ourselves and sat together to chat as we killed some time while the car was in line to be checked out.

After a while, I saw a man waving to me from across Starbucks. I squinted a bit to see who it was and if he was indeed waving to me. Yes he was! What a sweet man, I thought, he remembered me. My heart soared to see him again! My husband and daughter wondered who he was, so I explained that I didn't really know his name but we knew one another. They wanted to know where we knew one another from. I told them that we sat near each other at a funeral reception a few years ago.

My husband then made a funny comment about how men are always waving to me. :) I responded that this man was special, he was very sweet! I then explained that since meeting at the funeral, we then bumped into one another at a hospital a year or so later and as he was about to walk by me, he remembered me, his eyes lit up and he came over to speak with me.

The three of us sipped our icy cold beverages and chatted some more about this and that until it was about time for us to leave. I was hoping that perhaps the timing would be right and I'd be able to "bump" into this friend again so that perhaps my daughter and husband would have the pleasure of meeting such a special person.

So, as we got up from our table and headed for the door, I turned my head and looked in the man's direction. Indeed it was the right timing! God's timing is always perfect! He was looking towards us - he smiled so broadly and waved again excitedly! He called out a few comments to us from across the room. I nodded, smiled and told him to be sure to "stay cool!" He nodded and smiled with such exuberance again, radiating love and joy. Others nearby seemed to look on with interest.

Heading towards the door I turned to my daughter and whispered "He's Jesus! Jesus in the distressing disguise of the poorest of the poor as Mother Teresa always said."

After leaving the doors of Starbucks and hitting the brick wall of heat as we headed to our vehicle, I explained to my husband and daughter that the reason I didn't know that man's name is because I couldn't understand him when he spoke to me. We had sat near each other at the funeral reception for about an hour a few years ago and I never actually understood what he was saying to me.

You see, his voice was extremely garbled as he tried to talk to me. This man was handicapped and didn't actually have a recognizable voice. At that time, I smiled at him and talked back to him, trying to respond properly to what he said to me. Somehow, it surprised me, but I knew what he was saying some of the time. At other times during our conversation, I strained with all my being trying to decipher what he was saying. I desperately wanted to know what he was telling me. I didn't want to be rude or do anything to cause him to feel inferior or inadaquate. For a few moments there I wished I had an interpreter. Yet, I really didn't need one, the message was so clear.

When I spoke with him at the hospital later on when we saw one another again, I didn't know what he said to me at that time either. But I talked with him and smiled. I knew without a doubt that he was Jesus in the distressing disguise of the poorest of the poor.

Today, I saw Jesus again. This time it was in Starbucks. He radiated love, joy, and peace in his simplicity - Jesus in the distressing disguise of the poorest of the poor!

Are we looking for Him? He's with us in so many ways and comes to meet us in our daily lives. Will we respond to Him in love in all we meet?

Fecal matter found in nearly half of fountain soda machines

Fecal matter found in nearly half of fountain soda machines

This may surprise you or make you want to vomit, but I think I need to let you know.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Happy feast of St. Maria Goretti!

"Asked if she forgave her murderer, she replied, 'Yes, for the love of Jesus I forgive him...and I want him to be with me in Paradise.'"~ Pope Pius XII

"One of the largest crowds ever assembled for a canonization—250,000—symbolized the reaction of millions touched by the simple story of Maria Goretti.
She was the daughter of a poor Italian tenant farmer, had no chance to go to school, never learned to read or write. When she made her First Communion not long before her death at age 12, she was one of the larger and somewhat backward members of the class.

On a hot afternoon in July, Maria was sitting at the top of the stairs of her house, mending a shirt. She was not quite 12 years old, but physically mature. A cart stopped outside, and a neighbor, Alessandro, 18 years old, ran up the stairs. He seized her and pulled her into a bedroom. She struggled and tried to call for help, gasping that she would be killed rather than submit. “No, God does not wish it. It is a sin. You would go to hell for it.” Alessandro began striking at her blindly with a long dagger.

She was taken to a hospital. Her last hours were marked by the usual simple compassion of the good—concern about where her mother would sleep, forgiveness of her murderer (she had been in fear of him, but did not say anything lest she cause trouble to his family) and her devout welcoming of Viaticum. She died about 24 hours after the attack.

Her murderer was sentenced to 30 years in prison. For a long time he was unrepentant and surly. One night he had a dream or vision of Maria, gathering flowers and offering them to him. His life changed. When he was released after 27 years, his first act was to go to beg the forgiveness of Maria’s mother.

Devotion to the young martyr grew, miracles were worked, and in less than half a century she was canonized. At her beatification in 1947, her mother (then 82), two sisters and a brother appeared with Pope Pius XII on the balcony of St. Peter’s. Three years later, at her canonization, a 66-year-old Alessandro Serenelli knelt among the quarter-million people and cried tears of joy." (From American Saint.Org)


My prayer to St. Maria Goretti from my book Catholic Saints Prayer Book (OSV, 2008):

Dear St. Maria Goretti, you were a brave and holy young woman who knew the importance of preserving your purity for the glory of God. Please help young people everywhere understand the importance of staying close to God so they do not give in to the deceptive allurements of the world. Pray that they have the strength and ability to discern what is of God and what is not, so they one day reach Heaven. Dear Maria, your powerful forgiving love converted your attacker's heart and soul. Teach us all to be holy souls and to be forgiving to all. St. Maria Goretti, pray for us and for all who invoke your aid. If it is God's holy will, please grant me (here mention your request). Amen.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Feel like baking or cooking something yummy?

Go on over to Catholic Cuisine and check out some wonderful recipes to make throughout the liturgical year.

Here's a recipe for bread pudding that looks scrumptious!

Oh, glorious summer!

(Mary's photo)

Wondering what to do with all of that fresh basil you're growing or that you can buy at the supermarket?

Try this delicious recipe from Mary!

Forgiveness: Mother Teresa