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Showing posts from November, 2015

Thanksgiving Top Ten!

     Top ten things I am grateful for this Thanksgiving: 1. Our Lord Jesus Christ, for calling me out of darkness and into his marvelous light! (1 Peter 2:9) 2. The freedoms we enjoy in this country, especially the freedom to worship our God in peace and security. 3. My husband who works tirelessly to support, protect and care for us!  He is truly a reflection of God the Father to me and our children and I know I don't express my gratitude often enough. 4. My children whose presence brings me the greatest joy and reminds me every day of God's love, goodness and mercy. 5. My parents, grandparents, and my brother and sister who have taught me the meaning of family and have dealt with me during the good, the bad and the ugly.  6. Books, books and more books. Oh how I love books!  Thank you Lord for the gift of books (and progressive eye-glasses which enable me to read all those books.) 7. Wine - one of the greatest pleasures God has ever created and the pe

7 Ways to Celebrate Advent With Your Family

Patient waiting. These two little words most accurately describe the tone and theme of the season of Advent. Patient waiting. No two words in the English language are more incompatible with young children. How do those of us with young children help them to celebrate the beautiful season of Advent without being overrun by the mad rush to Christmas morning?  Here are 7 ideas that our family has used to  make the celebration of the season of Advent a Christ-centered, prayerful and fun-filled family affair. 1. Advent Prayer Chain As a child I loved making paper chains - I think they appealed to the independent streak in me as I liked the idea that I could assemble what I considered to be a beautiful garland all on my own. That appeal has crossed over into my adult life and one of my favorite Advent family traditions is the paper-prayer chain. The kids and I assemble our chain together. As we create the purple and pink chain links, we write the name of a person (living or decea

Our Advent Book List

Years ago, Jessica at Shower of Roses  inspired me with her gorgeous Advent book basket -I imagined the joy my children would experience seeing a big basket of beautifully wrapped purple and pink books. The book basket did not disappoint and when my daughter saw this year's books all wrapped and ready to go - she jumped up and down and said "Mommy I can't wait for Advent!"  We unwrap the book of the day, snuggle on the couch and read it together every morning. Each year we add new books and weed out the ones that the kids have outgrown. Here's a picture our book basket:     Although Advent begins on November 29 - we begin reading from our book list on December 1:   December 1: While not an overt Christmas book, Neal Lozano's beautiful book Will You Bless Me?  recounts the story of the Annunciation through the Epiphany as told by the Blessed Mother to the Child Jesus. It is a beautiful introduction to the gift of blessing your children.    Dec

Home to Me

Memories of my Grandmother's house powerfully evoke all five of my senses . I can still hear the creak of the linoleum steps beneath my feet as I would ascend to her second floor apartment, the smell of simmering marinara sauce or some other Italian comfort food wafting to meet my nose.  Her greeting was always the same: a tight, warm embrace in her sturdy Sicilian arms followed by the lilt of her broken English: "Deborina...how's my beautiful granddaughter".   And the tastes... Dinner at Grandma's was always a feast for the palate.  She could transform a head of iceburg lettuce, a slab of mozzarella and a dash of oil and vinegar into the most magically delicious salad I have ever eaten.  This hung above my Grandmother's stove and now hangs above mine . I have the greatest memories of the days and nights spent as a child at her home: from sleepovers when I was allowed to stay up late and watch episodes of the Love Boat and Fantasy Island while she s

Inviting Christ to Be King of Our Hearts

This article originally appeared on Catholic 365. In 1925, in an encyclical entitled Quas Primas , Pope Pius XI instituted the Solemnity of Christ the King and decreed that it should be celebrated as an annual feast by the entire church on the last Sunday of the liturgical year, as “the crowning glory upon the mysteries of the life of Christ.” In the encyclical Pope Pius XI stated his hopes that the celebration of the Feast of Christ the King would serve as an “excellent remedy for the plaque which now infects society.”  He goes on to list the various ills that had befallen society in the early 20 th century: …”the insatiable greed which is so often hidden under a pretense of public spirit and patriotism, and gives rise to so many private quarrels; a blind and immoderate selfishness, making men seek nothing but their own comfort and advantage, and measure everything by these; no peace in the home, because men have forgotten or neglect their duty; the unity and stability of th

7 Lessons from Max Lucado's "You Are Special"

Max Lucado's children's book You Are Special is a favorite of mine and a beautiful story with many facets to it and much to be learned from it. It is a sad story of judgment; of pride and slavery; of sin and brokenness.  It is also a beautiful story of witness and hope - a story of intercession and prayer. Ultimately it is a story of love and the heart of God. Below are 7 lessons from the story that I shared a few years back with a women's group at our parish. Please note that I will include the main plot line as I go, so you should be able to follow along even if you have not read the book.  I do highly recommend that you pick up a copy for yourself  - it is a story whose message is ageless and timeless. --- 1 --- This is a story of judgement. The story opens with us witnessing a typical day in the life of  the wooden Wemmicks. These gangly wooden people spend all their time furiously giving each other grey dots or golden stars. The grey dots are placed on Wemmick

What's On Your Catholic Bucket List?

Bucket lists.   You know what I'm talking about right?  Bucket lists are those wish lists that we have tucked away in the back of our minds of all the crazy things we want to accomplish before we die.  Things like climbing Mount Everest, winning the Nathan's Hot Dog Eating contest, and going over Niagara Falls in a barrel. Anyone out there have those items on their short list?   Don't worry -  I don't want to do any of those things either.  To be honest, most of my bucket list items are pretty simple - making memories with my family and friends and living a life worthy enough to earn me the heavenly welcome of "Well done, good and faithful servant" when I die. (Mt 25:21) I do however, have a pretty specific Catholic bucket list that I would like to do and experience before I die.  I am blessed to have already checked off a few items on my Catholic bucket list - including a ten day trip to Rome which resulted in my conversion during the Jubilee Year of 20

7 Ideas for Giving Your Children a Vocations' Mindset

Fostering vocations in one's Domestic Church can feel like a daunting task for many Catholic families.  Here are a few simple ideas that our family has used to build of vocations' mindset in the lives of our children. 1.   Talk. talk. talk. In our family, talk of vocations, and the idea of God having a plan for our lives comes up regularly. Whenever we have discussions with our children about their futures, we always add the disclaimer:..."if that is God's plan for your life." Our lives are not our own and every baptized Christian is called to a vocation. We pray that by constantly keeping the "vocation conversation" open that our children will not view a vocation as a foreign concept or a way of life that is "for someone else". Our desire above all else is to teach them to seek God's will in their life - wherever he leads them. 2. Pray. pray. pray. Vocations are part of our family's daily prayer life in many ways.  We pray for