St Gabriel Windows

St Gabriel Windows

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Spiritual Summer

Maybe it is God's blessings upon us in the warm balmy breeze.....indeed, it has been a spiritually rich summer, like none I can recall before it.  I can't even begin to describe how many events have led our very souls to realize the Lord in a very tangible sense.  From the whisper that Elijah heard, to the quaking of the earth, our God is alive and well and actively seeking us.  There have been so many connective signs the warm healing days.....linking things together,  from messages at vacation bible school, to hymns, to connections of scripture and songs and events that just seem to seamlessly flow together harmonically, as if suddenly the orchestra is listening to the one director as they should. 

From the loss of jobs to the loss of lives of loved ones, life is a big brew of spiritual chemistry.  I know my heart and soul are deeply moved and touched this summer.  I can not even formulate into words the depth and breadth of it all, but I would like to share with you some small spiritual nourishment that will feed your soul with the truth and love of God. 

The Divine Office Liturgy of the Hours Christian Prayer, isn't just for priests and other religious, or just for Catholics.  You want to hear scripture "prayed" ? and fully used throughout the day and night?, then turn to the Divine Office and immerse yourself in the beauty of the Psalms and hymns and responses.  The app is available and so well worth it ~ I find so much peace in just listening to the beautiful articulate voices recite and sing the scriptures, and saturate me with God's healing and comforting Word.  You can find the Divine Office app for many devices; I'll share a couple here:  Divine Office Android, Google Play Store.  I purchased mine through Barnes & Noble for Nook, here: Divine Office, Liturgy of the Hours Christian Prayer. 

As summer is fleeting, and I cling onto every last warm and fading moment of it, I also cling to this scripture, which since 6th grade, has always been mine to stand strong on and cherish:

May God bless you with a spiritually rich remainder of the summer, and hold you in the palm of his hand.....

Saturday, July 25, 2015

End of VBS Week

It's been a while friends.  My month of July has been spent preparing for and orchestrating our church Vacation Bible School.  It ended yesterday; a week filled with the reality of God and his power.  So many beautiful little souls coming to enjoy learning about God through "Everest, Conquering Challenges with the Mighty Power of God."  The children learned SO much, but in a nutshell, they learned that God has the power to Provide, Comfort, Heal, Forgive and Love us forever.  That should help us make it through the sometimes tough journey of life.  We know Our Father awaits us in an eternity filled with peace and comfort and love, above all, love.

I am so proud of the leadership youth that step up and help with the younger students at our VBS.  It is such a great opportunity for them to be formed in leadership skills and work with younger children.  Do you know how many references and requests I get for college letters of recommendations and jobs from our teens, once they realize they actually did a substantial work, working in VBS leadership positions?  It is an excellent opportunity, and I am so joyful at how they genuinely want to serve their church community and give to the young children.  They add an energy and vibrancy to our youth program that otherwise just wouldn't happen. I am grateful to God for them and ask God's blessings on them.

In the same week, my own daughter, in what would be her last leadership role in VBS, was accepted for a job that she had interview for earlier in the week!  What a great way to end her VBS career, (since 7th grade she's been serving in it), and begin her new career and life as an adult in the work force.  God blessed her this week for sure -- and I truly believe the other jobs were a "no", and it made sense that when she gave unselfishly to her church community once again, her efforts were blessed beyond measure.

I will post some photos later when I get a chance.  I'm off to a somewhat busy weekend with VBS follow-up Summer is surely fleeting!  But what a beautiful July week it's been.  I hope it keeps up :)

Many blessings...

Saturday, July 04, 2015

July 4th: a different America

On this Fourth of July, in America, things have changed.....I can not express how important the strength of our Church and faith can be right now, how they must sustain the blows, standing strong and not swaying with the wind....."And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it."  Matt 16:18

"Therefore, when the typical modern American sees the Catholic Church he does not see a unified system of thought, belief, morality and lifestyle that has a global impact and has been established and growing dynamically for 2,000 years. He does not see an array of saints striding down the ages all unified in one church, one faith, one baptism, one Lord and Savior of us all.
He does not see the magnificent unity of thought, the clarity of expression, the depth of psychology the tenderness of human emotions, the soaring architecture, the splendid art, the exquisite music. He does not see the voluminous writings of Thomas Aquinas, the ancient thought of the Apostolic Fathers. He does not see the quiet intensity of the monastic life, the gritty hard work of the missionaries, nurses, teachers and preachers down the ages. He does not see the majesty and humility of the papal office or the unity between the clergy and the bishops and the people of God.

He sees just another church on the corner like umpteen other churches and wonders why Catholics think they’re so special.

What we must try to communicate in the present cultural crisis is that every part of Catholic belief, worship and practice is connected. Rules on marriage are connected with our anthropology, our social teaching, our pastoral care and our sacramental system and all these are connected with what we believe about God, heaven, hell and the soul’s salvation and all that is connected with what we believe about history, art, architecture, music, the sciences and all knowledge and all of it is connected with what we believe about the tragedy and triumph of the human race in the passion, death and resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth.

It’s connected and the connectedness is not simply an intellectual equation, but it is also a mystical experience, for it is in our worship, prayer and contemplation that one can not only glimpse the cosmic unity of Catholicism, but be plunged into it as a baptism of ecstasy in which I not only know that unity, but am part of it."~~Fr Dwight Longenecker

Sunday, June 14, 2015

A Birthday Celebration....

This very overdue sweet baby boy arrived 16 years ago ....

Through the years he has changed a lot .....and is still growing and changing into who God desires him to be:

It's a beautiful Sunday to enjoy a birthday with friends and family....

Flag Day.....

Today is Flag Day....
I saw a beautiful photo and post from a friend, whose family was outside in their front yard, hands on heart, saying the Pledge of Allegiance.  How wonderful.....paying due respect to the symbol of what this country stands for:  the land of the free....and the home of the brave....

May God bless you with continued freedom....

Tuesday, June 02, 2015

Summer Bliss

Although Summer has arrived, it's all but 55 degrees here today in my part of the midwest.  That is quite a dive from 82 a couple days ago.  

However, this does not stop me from enjoying the beauty that has bloomed around me.  The bright sunshine that is now ours most days, and the balmy breeze, with moisture clinging in the air at night.  On days like this I sit by my fire pit and enjoy the sound of the toads croaking their evening music...and take in the smell of the wood burning and the sound of its crackle.

Since May has left us, life has settled down a bit.  May was a whirlwind of activity; finishing up our church school weekends, First Communion and May Crowning, high school graduation and parties, the college graduation of my daughter.  All a blur now, but all sweet and comfortable in my memory.  

Both my sons that are still homeschooled have completed, or near completed their courses. The oldest is finishing up a history paper and science report.  The youngest has been finished since the end of May and is thrilled to be "on summer vacation."  I plan, for their next school season.  I think I have it all under control!

These recent days I indulge in my Young Living diffuser, switching between Stress Away, or an allergy bomb, the combination of equal amounts of Peppermint, Lavender and Lemon.  All the while listening to an audio (Nook) book of The Girl on the Train, by Paula Hawkins. To enjoy this version you need first, a Nook, and then to download the Nook Audiobook App.  I have had several Nooks since they  first arrived on the scene, and my latest one is a Samsung Galaxy 4.0 Nook Tablet -- which I'm just loving. 

Smelling the therapeutic aroma of the essential oils and listening to expert readers tell me the most engaging mystery story is such a blast of relaxation for me; long needed relaxation. 

I hope you are enjoying some small indulgences as summer unfolds......

Friday, May 22, 2015

Breath of Fresh Air - Making Progress

    So many amazing milestones have occurred in the last month alone, I just haven't known how to express them all, so I haven't been blogging them......I've been living them and savoring them.

   Today, I take inventory of the blessings in my life.  Although there are many unknowns at this time, which could leave so much stress, I am nonetheless ever so grateful for the progress my family has made over the years.  This year marks such successes, rather triumphantly I might add.  I am not one to just "do a thing", no, I want to do the best thing; it's in my nature to not be mediocre.  Maybe it's because I was raised by two US Marines?  I don't know, but I do know, if I'm going to do it (like educate my own children), I don't settle for anything less than high quality.  I see that paying off in how well my older children did at the college level, both having graduated now.  I could not be more proud of them.  

   The winter was difficult for my current teen son, yes.  But the spring pulled us out of the dark tunnel and onward into the light with refreshment of mind, body and soul. We took a couple new turns, made some changes, with some fantastic results.  I take comfort in the leaps I have seen happen in my family with my children; really amazing leaps.  Leaps that have given me such hope for them, hope for their futures.

    I am so proud that my children are growing into such fine adults.  So proud that we've been able to educate them with a quality home schooling program that really forms them and sticks with them through the tough times.  I'm thrilled that our home study program has added an uber special services section of on line courses for high school that will provide a high quality classical education at a pace they can manage; still helping them to feel a part of it all - with other students.  It will be my blessing for my youngest son with autism as he enters middle school and in three short years will be high school age.  I can not do it alone - nor do I think it's wise.  I draw upon my Lord first, and those with experience and intellectual property to share (and great home school program).  I believe because I have been submissive and humbled by letting others assist me, I have been greatly blessed.  

   And so as we enter Memorial Day weekend, I reminisce about my family and their roots; my children and how I have been so blessed to be able to educate them at home; my children that have graduated college, my pride and joy as I prepared them for it through an excellent high school path; and what is yet to come for them.  My teen son finishing a rigorous amazing 10th grade year even though he hit rock bottom in January & February; getting his driver's permit, getting more social than ever, and really participating in life more, now that he's over that horrible hump that stood in his way literally for so many years.  He is making such progress in all areas -- I am in awe and so so grateful.  He will have an exciting high standard of studies in 11th, and I'm thrilled I can be a part of it.

Have a beautiful Memorial Day Weekend

A Time for Everything

There is a time for everything,

    and a season for every activity under the heavens:
    a time to be born and a time to die,
    a time to plant and a time to uproot,
    a time to kill and a time to heal,
    a time to tear down and a time to build,
    a time to weep and a time to laugh,
    a time to mourn and a time to dance,
    a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
    a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
    a time to search and a time to give up,
    a time to keep and a time to throw away,
    a time to tear and a time to mend,
    a time to be silent and a time to speak,
    a time to love and a time to hate,
    a time for war and a time for peace.
Ecclesiastes 3

Monday, May 11, 2015

Blessed Weekend

There comes a time where all your hard work comes together in the culmination of one glorious memorable moment.  It's fleeting, yes, but it's depth and meaningfulness leave a lasting impression that lingers and is savored for many years to come.  Such a moment happened this weekend as my daughter graduated from college on Mother's Day weekend. 

As we have homeschooled all our children completely, K - 12th grade, without any extra educational tap-ins (i.e. post secondary, partial enrollment), it is a glorious and rewarding event that they went straight from home school into a strong four year college situation.  In other words:  yes, this mother who was not able to complete her own college degree was able to totally school her children 12 years right into college where they received excellent scholarships due to good college test scores.  I am not tooting my own horn here, because really I had little to do with it other than being an instrument in God's hands-- when I made the decision to subject myself to the will of God, and surrender in this area, He took over.  He guided me from day one, and eventually into a home study program integrated with our faith that is of quality and integrity, respecting each child where they are at and supporting the parent as primary educator.  It was and has been such a saving grace to me, giving me unique Catholic support and making up for any deficits I may have had. 

It is a huge accomplishment to have a child graduate from college in general; it is enormously more meaningful for a home school family to have a child that they entirely homeschooled prior to college, graduate with their degree from college.  

Having graduated a son and daughter into college and out of college now, where they make their way with their education and degrees, I can say, you can do it too.  Yes, you can.  It seems an overwhelming or impossible task, but truly it isn't. Let God lead you, take you by the hand.  Be humble, be open.   It's "you" that has to commit to it.  Commit to making a good quality education available to your children. It may be the only 12 years of education they have; maybe they will not be attending college -- then even all the more reason to make it the highest quality you can provide.  It means sacrifice, and not giving in to your own wishy-washy tendencies or whims.  It means staying home and really taking time with each child, each day. It means dying to yourself, so they can rise.  If you see it through with seriousness and uphold that child with respect, it will not come back to you empty, or with criticism. They will thank you later because they will see the value in what you did.  It will not always be easy, that goes with the territory, but it will be rewarding beyond what you can imagine.

I am tired.  Yes, I'll admit it right here.  I'm not only an older mom to begin with, but I'm a mom with a bad thyroid and I'm exhausted most of the time, compared to even five years ago.   So I look at the younger moms with awe and zeal for their mission -- they can do this no problemo!  They have still have youth on their side, and energy.  If I can do it, they can do it!....and likely even better.   Go for it!

And while I may be physically tired, my soul and the spirit inside of me is well invigorated and lighted with the power of God and His amazing blessings. 

So today, the day after the glorious rewarding weekend events, my heart and soul sing in gratefulness that only a mother can feel upon the accomplishment of her own child... 

..."my soul does glory in your love O Lord....for you gazed on your servant with compassion, and you reached out and took me by the hand....Luke 1:46-48

Mary's Song (Millie Rieth)

Friday, March 20, 2015

The Ten Commandments - TV movie

This movie is not for the faint of heart....and it is rated PG-13, (violence); but I will say it is the most realistic epic of Moses that I have ever seen in my lifetime thus far.  Dougray Scott does an excellent job portraying the man that "I am who am" talks to and directs to free the Israelites.  Really quite incredible, and the parting of the Red sea and journey through it is worth watching the movie for sure! It originally aired as a Hallmark presentation nearly a decade ago now, and it has haunted me ever since.  I re-watched it the other night (it is very long, 3 I watched half and half).  I am ever so awe stricken by this tale of Moses and his people.   I am again so impressed, I order five copies of the DVD!...yes, you heard it, 5, to give away to a few of our bible study couples and for Easter.   

You can find it here:  The Ten Commandments; with Dougray Scott as Moses

You can also view this movie, in two parts, by visiting: IMBd    Be sure to watch for part 1, and part 2 (over to the right hand side of the site).  It does have several commercial interruptions, but it is free for the viewing.