St Gabriel Windows

St Gabriel Windows
Photocopy c. 2013 Jamie Laubacher

Friday, December 26, 2008

He is Born!

It's indeed been a while since I've had the opportunity to blog; so much has happened! But the short of it will have to remain, the short of it :) We had a beautiful Christmas Eve Vigil mass at our parish; the early one is primarily all about children! Children everywhere, including the main choir. We had fifteen school age children singing with the adult choir, ten of which were the ages of 8-9. The children's voices were so beautiful -- together there were about 28 singers. Special songs included: He is Born (a French hymn - awesome, if you haven't heard it), Dona, Nobis, Pacem, and a special number on guitar with the children singing: Children, Run Joyfully. All was inspiring, and memorable - lingering on for a long time to come. If you go to this link, you can hear a snipet of the song, Children Run Joyfully.


I hope all my visitors have had and are continuing to have a wonderful Christmastide. May God bless you all abundantly in this beautiful liturgical season as it leads us on into the new year ahead!


Friday, November 21, 2008

Election Part II - Catholic Culture and the Election of Barack Obama

It is impossible to speak of a "Catholic culture" in America any longer. A whole segment of the populace who call themselves "Catholics" do not feel bound by any standard of Catholic orthodoxy or sanity. In fact, it is impossible to even speak of a Catholic culture in most parishes! At a recent "ministry faire" of a large Catholic parish in south Florida, the Respect Life ministry of the parish displayed its pro-life materials next to the table of the "social justice" committee of the same parish. Any commonality between the two ministries was simply in the space they shared. Their worldviews could not have been further apart, but they both call themselves Catholic.

In fact, the "social justice" people were positively aglow about the election of their new messiah, Barack Obama. Several of them were speaking of their plans to attend the Inauguration and were utterly unaware that there would be 100,000 people marching on the nation's Capitol two days later for the right to life of unborn Americans which they had just voted into irrelevancy by electing Obama to the highest office of the land. One of them even expressed shock at the provisions of the upcoming Freedom of Choice Act until he was confronted with the nasty little fact that his messiah had been a sponsor of that pernicious bill in the last Congress. True to form, he steadfastly refused to allow that truth to have any effect on his euphoria. His mind was made up, and he would not let himself be confused by facts. Needless to say, the orthodox, practicing, believing Catholic pro-lifers will not be attending the Inauguration.

How can these two groups sit side-by-side in the same pews and display their ministries in the same space at the same Catholic parish? Simply because this contradiction has been tolerated for years by those in charge of our Church. In this election season neither of these two groups received any guidance about voting according to Catholic principles because, as per usual, there was silence from the pulpit on the issue. The absolute failure of our church leaders to define for us what membership in the Church means - and then to enforce it - has led to the degradation of Catholic culture and the loss of meaning for things that are sacred. When Christ and Belial are considered equal partners in the sanctuary, then nothing in the sanctuary means anything any more and no meaningful standard exists to distinguish a true Catholic from a false Catholic.

The degradation of Catholic culture is largely, but not exclusively, the fault of the clergy. For four decades in the Catholic Church in America we have seen:

  1. Liturgical abuses run rampant, aided and abetted by those in charge
  2. Two or three generations of Catholics left un-catechized or taught with flimsy, Protestantized fluff passed off as Catholic education
  3. Sexual abuse by clergy excused and unaddressed by the hierarchy
  4. A blind eye turned to high profile dissent and political class heretics
  5. Wholesale attacks on sacred teachings that receive virtually no response from our pastors (and if it weren't for Catholic Answers, EWTN and the Catholic League we would have no defense whatsoever)
  6. The succumbing of our Catholic institutions of higher education to the ravages of political correctness, and the list goes on.

In the face of all this, should we be surprised that 54% of "Catholics" voted for Barack? Hardly.

The battle for Catholic culture begins with us, and there is no time like the present to don the armor of spiritual warfare. We either believe and practice what the Church teaches or we live as part of the shadow church, falsely trading on the Name Catholic for its benefits without at the same time shouldering the crosses that this entails.

There is, however, great hope for the future because the battle has already been engaged: new Catholic colleges are springing up to replace the old decrepit houses of heresy, new religious orders with abundant vocations and orthodoxy have arisen, home schooling families and strong lay movements are abundant now. Only when we take back our beloved Church from the false Catholics and clerics will our Church be able to stand up and rebuke the storm winds of paganism that are building faster than we care to admit. This project is not without its price, however. The cost of being a true believer will undoubtedly be much higher than ever before in our lifetime. Starting now and into the next generation we as Catholics will have to show the world not only what we believe but that we are willing to lay down our lives for it as a witness to the truth.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sincerely Yours in Christ,


Rev. Thomas J. Euteneuer,
President, Human Life International

www.hli.org

 

 

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Honoring the Saints, and our Dearly Departed

Wishing you all, on this beautiful first day of November a happy All Souls. I have little time to spend blogging these days, and I miss you all so much, so I am ever grateful when I "happen" upon something edifying without trying ;) And so it has happened!....Follow this link to a wonderful blog and read Charlotte's ideas on honoring our dearly departed. Her blog is simply beautiful and presents some lovely ideas for families:

Waltzing Matilda

God bless you, I'll be back!



Saturday, September 06, 2008

Family "Matters"


It's been quite some time since I can recall any presidential or vp candidate with a house full of children. With the McCain's seven children and the Palin's five children, including special needs baby, I think there is a strong "family" message here, which is so refreshing and encouraging - it's about time.

Friday, September 05, 2008

Catholics for McCain

Catholics for McCain,

We couldn't of asked for a better national convention!

Our country got to know Sarah Palin, who will serve as our first female vice president -- and a vocally pro-life one who has personally lived our message.

Our country heard a passionate speech by John McCain, and a very persona story of his time in Vietnam. He is an American Hero who also pledged to fight for a "Culture of Life."

Sam Brownback, the national co-chair of Catholics for McCain, got a prime-time speaking slot and spoke passionately of an America that protects the innocent unborn.

Now that the convention is over, we have work to do. We must convince Catholics around us to support McCain and Palin.

The best thing you can do is reach out to fellow Catholics and make sure they heard the speeches by McCain and Palin. If not, send them the links to the video below. If you haven't watched both speeches, watch them in their entirety.

-----------------------------------------
RNC CONVENTION SPEECH LINKS:

John McCain:
http://catholics4mccain.org/?p=147
Sarah Palin:
http://catholics4mccain.org/?p=142
Sam Brownback:
http://catholics4mccain.org/?p=148
-----------------------------------------

We will continue to keep you updated with the latest information involving Catholics and the race, and will keep you posted on our innovative projects at http://www.catholics4mccain.org

Keep up the fight, we are going to win this!

Billy Valentine

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Isn't it lovely?

What a beautifully befitting holy card to begin the school year with. You can see other very special beauties at The Windows Show it All.


God bless everyone as they begin the school season. May God bless you with a great year!

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Reflecting on economics and the state of things...

Interesting, after I responded to another friend's blog with a comment regarding my heartfelt thoughts regarding the Olympics in China, and those persons evicted from their homes for the sake of an Olympic park, coupled with the Democratic Convention, and the issues we are hearing over and over and know about firsthand (food prices, gas prices, joblessness), I come across this meditation at my Eucharistic Adoration holy hour:

(From In Conversation with God, Twenty-First Week Ordinary Time; Tuesday)

Pg 472, volume 4, section 77.3
"..The Church's Magisterium reminds us that the world of economics ought not to be thought of as independent and autonomous, but as subject to the overriding principles of social justice which correct the defects and shortcomings of the economic order by making allowance for the dignity of the human person [cf Pius XI, Quadragesimo anno, 15 June 1931,37]

..Social justice requires also that workers' living conditions are not left to the mercy of the market forces, as if their labour were merely merchandise to be bought and sold; [John Paul II, Sollicitudo rei socialis, 30 Dec 1987,34]; and one of the principal occupations of the State and of employers must be this: to give work to everyone [John Paul II, Address in Morumbi Stadium, 3 July 1980], as unemployment is one of the greatest evils that can afflict a country and is the cause of many other harmful consequences for individuals, for families and for society itself."

My mind particularly focused on:..
.."making allowance for the dignity of the human person" and that last statement...
..."unemployment is one of the greatest evils that can afflict a country...."

Dignity of the human person, ....I will remind my son of this passage as he studies Advanced Government and Economics this year, and uses Quadragesimo anno with his other texts.

So much to think about and consider this election. So much to pray about deeply and thoughtfully regarding our country and the world.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

School Year Traditions: Schultuete

This wonderful German custom has surfaced again at some of my favorite blogspots. Praying for Grace has a post on it, and I pulled up my post from a couple years ago to re-publish. I guess it's that time of year approaching: the first day of school.

My friend Cay over at Cay's Cajun Cottage has a neat idea to share. To visit, click on this title: Schultuete: A New School-Year Tradition.

In the meantime, here's a brief explanation and picture from the Wikipedia. (Cay has much better pictures with her children :)


The "Schultüte" (or in English The School Cone [even though the word "Tüte" translates more as bag]; alternative spelling: Schultuete) is a paper (and later plastic) bag in particular.

When children in Germany set off for their first day in school upon entering grade, their parents and/or grandparents present them with a big cardboard cone, prettily decorated and filled with toys, chocolate, candies, school supplies, and various other goodies. It is given to children to make this anxiously awaited first day of school a little bit sweeter. (For more on this follow the LINK).

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Saint Maximilian Kolbe


Courage, my sons, Don't you see that we are leaving on a mission? They pay our fare in the bargain. What a piece of good luck! The thing to do now is to pray well in order to win as many souls as possible. Let us, then, tell the Blessed Virgin that we are content, and that she can do with us anything she wishes.
Saint Maximilian Kolbe

Feast of the Assumption, upcoming



What a great message as the upcoming feast of St. Maximilian Kolbe and the Virgin Mary’s Assumption near; from Fr. Tom Euteneuer, president of Human Life International. Follow the LINK to the Spirit & Life section.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Pro-Life Action League response

For my readers who were wondering also. I am pleased (and I love this organization).


Dear Denise,

Thanks for writing.

The American Girl boycott ended December 26, 2005, when American Girl formally concluded its program in connection with the pro-abortion group Girls Inc. We have kept an eye on American Girl since then and find nothing in their activities to object to at this time.

That said, however, let me put in a plug for the Life of Faith dolls. These dolls came to light during our boycott of American Girl, when we were searching for alternatives.

They're every bit as nice as American Girl dolls -- perhaps even nicer. And each of them comes with a story book written from a Christian perspective, and with a tiny Bible, with one verse from each book.

So, you can shop at American Girl with a clear conscience -- in fact, if you do so, I encourage you to write the company and thank them for no longer donating to Girls Inc. But you might also want to take a look at Life of Faith:


http://www.alifeoffaith.com/


Thanks again for writing. Please let us know if you ever have any further questions.


Yours for Life,

John Jansen
Co-Director
Generations for Life
Youth Outreach of the Pro-Life Action League
(773) 777-2900
http://generationsforlife.org
http://prolifeaction.org
http://facebook.com/group.php?gid=22453415529

Cartooning anyone?


Today my husband and oldest son are spending time in Columbus at OSU's Cartoon Research Library. There is an exhibit of Bone by Jeff Smith currently on display. They are staying with my brother in law in that area, and also visiting an Aunt who lives there as well. This is so exciting for our son (the artist), as he also is meeting with Roy Doty who is near that area as well. Mr. Doty asked that Doug bring samples of his artwork.

This weekend brings a wedding for one of my nephews, as well as my husband's birthday. Things just keep moving along....

We will be formally starting school in September when we get up to full speed. I feel little pressure to start much before our local district starts. Homeschooling is efficient with that one-on-one tutorship quality which enables us to get our school year accomplished in about 32 weeks. I want the children to enjoy a full summer off (and mom too). Homeschooling through high school has been very rewarding and energetic with two high schoolers on board, but getting our oldest student ready for college this year is an exciting challenge of both work and joy.

Keep us in your prayers!
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Monday, August 11, 2008

St. Clare of Assisi


"Go forth in peace, for you have followed the good road. Go forth without fear, for he who created you has made you holy, has always protected you, and loves you as a mother. Blessed be you, my God, for having created me".
St. Clare of Assisi

Saturday, August 09, 2008

Fine Art

My friend Esther has some beautiful work posted at her blog showcasing Fra Angelico (my favorite!) To visit her, head to: Fine Art Friday - Fra Angelico

The "Great" Depression & American Girl



I realize this is old news, but sometimes old news is worthy of a refresher. In this case, it saddens me to even think of it. Maybe something has changed since the American Girl teams with Girls, Inc. story surfaced in 2005. Why am I even thinking of this? Well, because I found myself pulling our "Kit" American Girl books off the shelf recently to share The Great Depression era with our children. They are just that well written and documented. We love the stories, the facts, the authentic photos of that time. It made me realize how much we have loved American Girl in this home (with one daughter), and how sad it is that they have gone and done it -- you know, say it isn't so....they've teamed with a pro-abortion organization.

But, what we own is before the fact, and for the reason, while we don't currently buy into American Girl any longer, it doesn't change that we already own and have enjoyed lots of their products in this home. With tough economic times at hand, it was such a good reminder to the children (and myself) as to what "really tough times" were as we read Kit's (fictional) but all too true life of the '30's. And Grandma is living proof of the documentation as she looks at the photos and reads the captions of that era confirming reality; she reminds us of how carefully they used things to the last drop, did without a lot, and those things that could be used over and over and over and over and over again, were. How wasteful we really have become. With costs rising for food and household items (like laundry detergent, cleansars, you name it) I'm reminded to shop more carefully and use everything more carefully and to the last drop. I've curbed my own wants (that sometimes I think (I think) are my needs, when really I can do without much of what I think I somehow must have to run my life on. Ok, coffee might be the exception :) BUT, I'm not spending big bucks on coffee, that's for sure.

So, recently I've been deeply reflecting on how to discipline ourselves more and teach our children what many learned during the era of the Great Depression. Our home, built in 1925, is a constant reminder. I can imagine the family that built this home, resided here their whole lives, getting by on this same street (dirt then), in this same home (with an old model car in the driveway). While I don't by any means feel we are destitute, I do take more care in stretching my husband's hard earned money and with the hard economic times looming, it can be a challenging spiritual and practical pursuit of discipline and sacrifice.


Ok, back to the beginning, regarding American Girl. What a shame. While doing research for this little post I answered my own question: no, nothing has changed since 2005. I found more, updated for 2008 (see this). I'm really depressed, and no pun intended. How fragile the line of respect for human life and dignity seems to be anymore that it reaches even to those levels so innocent.

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Update: Oops, I posted a link in my comments, however I don't think it's working. So I'll just post the entirety of the information here:

http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1540304/posts


American Girl Tries to Restore Image, Pro-Life Group Declares Victory
http://www.earnedmedia.org/plal1214.htm ^ December 14, 2005

Posted on Wednesday, December 14, 2005 12:22:54 PM by Diago

American Girl Tries to Restore Image, Pro-Life Group Declares Victory

To: National Desk

Contact: Ann Scheidler of the Pro-Life Action League, 773-777-2900, 312-965-1030 cell, ann@prolifeaction.org

CHICAGO, Dec. 14 /Christian Wire Service/ -- "American Girl is trying to restore its wholesome image with pro-life families," said Ann Scheidler, executive director of the Chicago-based Pro-Life Action League. "Their efforts at damage control show how effective our protest and boycott have been."

"In contrast to American Girl's affiliation with pro-abortion Girls Inc, they have just launched a major ad campaign, designed to protect girls from growing up too fast," said Scheidler. "The sudden about-face is clearly a response to our boycott of American Girl during the Christmas shopping season."

The "Save Girlhood" ad campaign, the first ad campaign in the company's history, seeks to preserve girls' innocence and suggests wholesome, fun activities for girls and their parents. The campaign includes a new website, www.savegirlhood.com.

"The 'I Can' bracelet project which funded Girls Inc. abruptly comes to an end December 26," said Scheidler. "This new 'Save Girlhood' project proves that consumers can demand integrity from a company by refusing to buy its products when it betrays its consumers' trust."

"The League's boycott and the pickets have been highly successful. We are happy that American Girl is trying to win back our confidence. But we continue to be watchful," said Scheidler.

The Pro-Life Action League called for a boycott of American Girl on November 1, to continue through the Christmas shopping season. The League held pickets at American Girl Place in Chicago on November 25 and December 3, and at American Girl Place on Fifth Avenue in New York on December 10.

American Girl began de-emphasizing the "I Can" project within days of the League's first press release decrying the link with Girls Inc. Bath and Body Works, the only other outlet for purchasing the "I Can" bracelet, quit the project in late November. The League has distributed thousands of "You have betrayed our trust" brochures.

The Pro-Life Action League is the nation's largest activist pro-life organization. For further information please see www.prolifeaction.org.


P.S. I'm going to contact Pro-Life Action League for information on American Girl's status currently. This article does sound encouraging!

Thursday, August 07, 2008

I applaud President Bush for speaking out (in China) about their human rights (or lack thereof), while there for the Olympics. I would have been gravely disappointed had he gone and not mentioned this.

That China could evict 1.5 million of their own people from living quarters to build the Olympic Park is absolutely horrendous. And that mere mention of this is fleeting in the news and just spoken as "fact" -- as if no one is outraged about this? We should all be ashamed.


Blessed Mother Teresa, pray for us.

Friday, August 01, 2008

"This little light of mine..."



Okay, Mike, isn't that suppose to read: Denise and I? :-)
(visit: http://mikegphotos.blogspot.com/)

VBS: Mike and I leading campfire songs.

Space Case ;)

Okay, my husband just wants to be sure I'm posting valuable and useful information to my blog readers, so I accepted a contribution from him. Follow the link: Free Space Invaders.

Firefly Watch

This summer our son Michael joined with some of his neighborhood friends to report their backyards as habitats for firefly research. He was concerned that the fireflys are decreasing in number and apparently he isn't alone. You can help the Museum of Science do a study by registering and reporting your information. Follow the link: Firefly Watch.


Image courtesy of: Cirrus

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Summer


Summer is certainly fleeting as we begin our way into August. Although I adore Autumn and usually feel great peace as it arrives, I am desperately hanging onto the last days of summer this time around. We have had a good summer overall, there's been a lot going on; a lot of unexpected blessings and many new and special memories we can look back fondly upon as we return our thoughts to the summer of 2008. Some of us had better summers than others; our 9 year old son Michael has fought a middle ear infection most of his June and July. It got him down a few times, and it's just not like him to "be down", that's for sure. Still, he's had some very enjoyable times in between that sick feeling. Hopefully, he's "really" on the mend now.

We had a wonderful vacation bible school that produced some lasting fruit for which I am ever so grateful. And here I was worried this VBS wouldn't be as good as last years. Ha! This one definitely had all the charisma as last years, but better with more lasting value.....ah, but then that makes me a bit nervous about next year, doesn't it?!

Well, I'm glad that's quite a ways off. I'm still basting in the afterglow of this one. I hope this inspiration and satisfied feeling lasts a while and even moreso I hope it lasts deeply within those that participated and helped in any way.

What was so nice this year was that our VBS focused on "service" to family, friends, neighbors, community and Jesus (church). The participants brought money donations (small change) each day to donate in a special box, and on one day they brought food to donate to our local food pantry. (Did I tell you this already? If so, bear with me!)....well, the money collected amounted to $91, and was to be donated to a special cause to help the poor.

After discussing this with our pastor, we made the decision to sponser a child with the donated funds, and to continue collecting donations from our parish school of religion children each month to continue the sponsership.

What a great thing. Of course, the food collected was boxed and taken to our local food pantry. The children did such a great service. And they did it all joyfully and willingly. What a wonderful way to instill the Greatest Commandment in our young people.

Anyway, you know I can get very excited about seeing God's power in action. It was one of those monumental moments...

We are nearly prepared for our new school year to begin, I am glad to say. I'm still waiting for a couple book orders to arrive; the shelves are organized and stocked and a schedule is in place. With that out of the way, I can relax a little more through the remainder of summer and contemplate this year ahead. This school year will produce our senior graduate from our home school; our first one. That is both an accomplishment and a nervous ordeal :)

But God has been so good in His blessings to us, I depend on His grace immensely to see us through. I've already begun to fast and pray in earnest as I anticipate His guidance for this particular son.

God bless you all, until later.....

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Saturday, July 19, 2008

Reflecting Back...and Forward

I've finished work on our parish's vacation bible school, which will begin this upcoming Monday and run all week, and now as August is approaching, I begin to look toward preparing our home education year once again. As I blog this, our oldest son is off to a rising senior picnic at the college he wishes to attend the next year. He has been entirely home schooled with the help of Mother of Divine Grace. We have remained convicted to our belief that formation/education within the family is one of the best routes to take in battling against an anti-Christian culture. Especially while reading: Hold on to Your Kids lately, I'm convinced home education may not only be a viable choice of education, but might very well be necessary to preserve all that is good in our children; I agree with the book (mentioned above), that our children need to remain parent-oriented, and no matter how good a Christian school they may attend, there is still the strong pull toward peer-orientation.

While there is no perfect school situation this side of heaven, we feel we are doing what God has truly marked us to do in raising our children as our own and as His in this fallen world. I pray always for the grace to see us through this awesome responsibility.

I posted this next reflection a couple years ago, and I think it is a good reminder to look upon today.


"The family is the basic and most important unit of society, the one God looks upon as its firmest support. And it is perhaps the part of society most insidiously and ruthlessly attacked from all sides.....Many lost sight of the fact that parents have the right to educate their own children, and, in the face of excessive state intervention, have ended up renouncing an elementary right and this is due in part to these inhibitions - there are imposed certain kinds of teaching dominated by a materialistic view of man. In such methods the pedagogical and didactic approaches, text-books employed, schemes of work, curricular programmes and school materials deliberately set aside the spiritual nature of the human soul....."


In Conversation with God, Vol. 3 Eleventh Week, Friday

Christ Needs You

Christ needs you, and calls you to help millions of our fellow men to be truly human and to work out their salvation. Live with these noble ideals in your soul....Open your heart to Christ, to the law of love, without placing conditions on your availability, without fear of receiving noncommittal replies, because love and friendship do not vanish over the horizon. [JPII Address in Javier, 6 Nov. '82] They always main their plentitude, for love does not grow old.

St. Thomas teaches that we love someone when we desire the good of that person. If, on the other hand, we try to take advantage of the one concerned, either because it gives us pleasure or because he is of use to us, then properly speaking, we don't love that person: whatever we want, it is not his good. When we love, we desire what is the best for the other; our whole person is directed to this love, independently of our likes or dislikes or moods: the payment and the price of love is to receive more love. [St. John of the Cross, Spiritual Canticle, 9, 7]

In Conversation with God, Vol. 3 Twelfth Week, Friday

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Catholics for McCain



Love it. God bless him for this honor toward our Blessed Mother.

If you're on Facebook, you can find this group at:
Catholics for McCain (click the title to follow the link).

Monday, July 07, 2008



Happy 15th Birthday, darling daughter Jamie!
God bless you on this special day and always!

Love, Mom!

Friday, July 04, 2008


Happy Fourth of July! God bless you all!

And Happy 175th Birthday to my little town of Minerva.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Hold On to Your "Catholic" Kids

I'm so excited and grateful that one of my blog readers from Michigan, pointed out to me that there is a Hold Onto Your Kids (see book below, next post down), with the Catholic element being implemented. Still based on the principles of Dr. Neufeld's book, you can find this insightful blog at:

Hold On to Your Catholic Kids

They also have a discussion loop by the same name located at:


Thanks to Mary for the tip!

Blessings!
Denise

Sunday, June 22, 2008

1930s Marital Test

80

As a 1930s wife, I am
Very Superior

Take the test!



Oh my, my friend Esther scored 10 points higher than I! I guess God created me to be present during the 60s and now and not the '30s, for obvious reasons :) Alas, I love the 30s!

Thanks Esther for posting this.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Friday, June 20, 2008

Summer has come to the Village of Minerva...

So much has been happening and I haven't much time to blog these days, but all is well here with the family. We have wrapped up our homeschooling year and this new year brings with it preparations for college for our oldest son. I hope to keep you informed and report back later! :)

In the meantime, we have enjoyed God's blessing us with a seminarian at our parish for the summer. I share with you one of his excellent photos, up above, and two links to read his futher thoughts and see his wonderful photography. His life/vocation story are contained at his blogspot:

The Night is Passing!

and his photoblog:

Mike G's Photos

Michael (Mike) gives permission to use his photos as long as we link back to his photoblog, and I will tell you, his pictures are so wonderful, I had quite a time choosing one to sample at my blog! What is very nice is that you can see my church here in northeastern Ohio and some of it's great stained glass windows and outside features, through Mike's talented lens right at the homepage of his photoblog. Minerva never looked so good....

Thank you Mike!

God bless all my friends ~ keep me in your prayers, you are in mine.


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A gentle whisper....?

If you ever google ..."is God trying to tell me something?..", you will not be left unaided. Recently, I have felt more like I need to be listening, quietly, as if God is indeed trying to tell me something. I can't quite place my ears on it...but I'm trying. Somehow, documenting this notion seems to validate it as true. So, I googled....and I read umpteen entries on just this subject. I leave you with just this one to enlighten you ever so gently and quietly:

God's Trying to Tell You Something


"And after the fire came a gentle whisper” (1 Kings 19.11-12)

Saturday, May 31, 2008


Oh friends, I feel like I'm neglecting everyone! I just haven't had time to blog, I've been so busy with school (mostly high school, as my other children are done with school for the year). And the weather began to improve, and well.....

So, I leave you with my "hello"...Hope all is well for you and yours out there. I'll check back in when I have a little more time to devote.

God bless you all!

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Come Holy Spirit, Come!


A truly good article: The Dynamite in Prayer, by Peter Kreeft.


__________________________
The experience of the
Holy Spirit is for all Christians
not just charismatics.

__________________________

Thursday, May 15, 2008


Pretty exciting news for us regarding our oldest son, Doug. Follow the link to the story at our local on line newspaper spot: The News Leader


Tuesday, April 29, 2008

St. Catherine of Siena (1347-1380)



At sixteen, Catherine received a vision in which she was mystically married to Christ. She was a counselor to popes and heads of state. She is a Doctor of the Church.


"Everything comes from love, all is ordained for the salvation of man, God does nothing without this goal in mind."
St. Catherine of Siena

Friday, April 25, 2008

St. Mark the Evangelist


I have three sons and a daughter. My sweetest little son, now 4 years old, a golden haired, chubby little elfish child....is named Mark. Happy feast day to him. He is a wonderful blessings in our lives!


St. Mark the Evangelist (1st century)

Mark was the author of the earliest Gospel. He travelled with St. Paul and his cousin St. Barnabas through Cyprus, and with St. Peter to Rome. He founded the Church in Alexandria and was the bishop of the city for about twenty years.

Women of Faith, Women of Hope, Women of Love


"....Woman's soul is....fashioned to be a shelter in which other souls may unfold. Both spiritual companionship and spiritual motherliness are not limited to the physical spouse and mother relationships, but they extend to all people with whom woman comes into contact."

"Woman naturally seeks to embrace that which is living, personal and whole. To cherish, guard, protect, nourish and advance growth is her natural, maternal yearning."

Saint Edith Stein



Grace-Filled Memories

Ten years ago,(twelve now as I'm revising and reprinting this): a small group of eight mothers met one evening at our church, beginning what would become our Catholic mom's homeschool support group. We named it for St. Elizabeth Ann Seton, and our parish priest presented and blessed us with a beautiful statue of Mother Seton placed in our meeting room.

That first evening, and for many evenings thereafter, Kimberly Hahn led us in a "Proverbs 31 Woman" study, via audio cassette tapes. We were brought together by the common thread of Catholic homeschooling, and grew together beginning that evening in our God-given roles as women: wives, mothers, friends, learning to embrace more fully authentic femininity.

In more recent years we embarked on further enrichment which included a wonderful series of sessions utilizing the Johnnette Benkovic devotional book: Grace-Filled Moments. It is specifically written for women. It is doctrinally sound, challenging and spiritually directive. I highly recommend it for any Catholic woman for individual study and meditation, and Catholic women's groups of all varieties; it works for both individual and group situations. It would make a beautiful and treasured gift for a Catholic woman in your life.

This week we examine a small sampling of what it is God asks of woman. Follow along as the quotes from the various saints, religious and authors will speak for themselves. God bless you.

Poetry Friday Return

The Prisoner
by Elizabeth Barrett Browning



I count the dismal time by months and years
Since last I felt the green sward under foot,
And the great breath of all things summer -
Met mine upon my lips. Now earth appears
As strange to me as dreams of distant spheres
Or thoughts of Heaven we weep at. Nature's lute
Sounds on, behind this door so closely shut,
A strange wild music to the prisoner's ears,
Dilated by the distance, till the brain
Grows dim with fancies which it feels too
While ever, with a visionary pain,
Past the precluded senses, sweep and Rhine
Streams, forests, glades, and many a golden train
Of sunlit hills transfigured to Divine.



Let us remember, one of the
Corporal Works of Mercy is to "comfort the imprisoned."

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

St. Bernadette of Lourdes (1844-1879)

Over five months after her first Communion, Bernadette had 19 visions of the Virgin Mary. She joined a community of religious sisters, who often mistreated her because she was sick. Her body is incorrupt to this day.

“Nothing is anything more to me; everything is nothing to me, but Jesus: neither things nor persons, neither ideas nor emotions, neither honor nor sufferings. Jesus is for me honor, delight, heart and soul.”

– St. Bernadette of Lourdes

Life in Christ: Catechism #2218

The fourth commandment reminds grown children of their responsibilities toward their parents. As much as they can, they must give them material and moral support in old age and in times of illness, loneliness, or distress. Jesus recalls this duty of gratitude.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Happy Glorious Easter to All!



Victimae Paschali Laudes

May you praise the Paschal Victim, immolated for Christians.
The Lamb redeemed the sheep: Christ, the innocent one,
has reconciled sinners to the Father.
A wonderful duel to behold, as death and life struggle:
The Prince of life dead, now reigns alive.
Tell us, Mary Magdalen, what did you see in the way?
I saw the sepulchre of the living Christ,
and I saw the glory of the Resurrected one:
The Angelic witnesses, the winding cloth, and His garments.
The risen Christ is my hope: He will go before His own into Galilee.
We know Christ to have risen truly from the dead:
And thou, victorious King, have mercy on us.
Amen. Alleluia.


MAY GOD BLESS YOU ALL WITH HIS ABUNDANT GRACES THIS EASTER SEASON!
IN CHRIST,
DENISE

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

What an awesome video and endorsement for our Catholic heritage and faith; Catholics Come Home. I think this should air each evening during the national news!

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Palm Sunday '08


"....and they brought the colt to Jesus and threw their garments on it; and he sat upon it. And many spread their garments on the road, and others spread leafy branches which they had cut from the fields. And those who went before and those who followed cried out, "Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Blessed is the kingdom of our father David that is coming! Hosanna in the highest!" Mark 10:7-10


Thursday, March 13, 2008

What a difference a week can bring

Last I blogged we were in the midst of a terrible downpour of snow. An incredible snowstorm, it was! Awesome, powerful and beautiful all at the same time. It's hard to believe that was last Thursday into Friday and Saturday, while this Thursday my blog weather pixie reads: 57.2 degrees. Ah, indeed it does. It was a beautiful and hopeful day. Lots of sunshine. On this day, our oldest son enjoyed doing his dissection labs for biology with another homeschooler; they have more ahead, but it will be after Easter. We are also registering for the ACT, we are looking at colleges, we are entering formal driver's ed courses,(we have had our permit for quite some time) and we are looking for part-time employment. Of course, this is not "we", this is just our oldest son, but indeed it feels like "we"! I guess they grow up and I guess mom *really* feels like a guidance counselor and teacher and mom...and well, I accepted this role, didn't I? I will admit, I am very tired right now and this all seems very overwhelming. Lots of prayers and deep felt thoughts and feelings over raising this family and the responsibilities that go with it. It has given me much to think about for Lent. During one Lenten confession, a fine priest gave me these words of wisdom from the Desert Fathers: "Lord, as you will and as you know, ..have mercy on me", for those times that I can not make sense of things, or really know or see the road ahead and get weary of steering. Thank you Father Tom. I repeat that mantra several times a day. I am learning more and more to let go and trust God that He is doing the right things with us, with this family and through our vocations.

So, Easter season ahead is very welcome. Very welcome.

God bless you all this beautiful season!


P.S. I just noticed that my Avon calendar in the kitchen says for the month of March: "The best thing about the future is that it comes only one day at time."
Thank goodness!

Saturday, March 08, 2008

Winter Storm Watch

Yes, it's a snow storm of the century here. Wow, so much snow and at this moment freezing rain, and more snow to come. Our neighborhood grocery store is just down the street and across US Route 30, but it's not safe to pull the van out and attempt it. My poor husband is out working in this! I don't know how he does it, but boy our prayers are going up for him today. So, we stay inside and wonder what else will be canceled for this weekend.


The birds are still out and about -- they seemed to have appeared last week during the 40-degree spell we had. Amazing little creatures.


Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Lenten Litany


R. Because by your holy cross you have redeemed the world.


We adore you, O Christ, when we do not get our own way, R.

We adore you, O Christ, in the midst of day-to-day aggravations, frustrations, and annoyances, R.

We adore you, O Christ, when we live deprived of recognition or gratitude, R.

We adore you, O Christ, when dealing with others who exalt themselves and demean us, R.

We adore you, O Christ, in the face of worry, anxiety and fear, R.

We adore you, O Christ, when we forgive others and show them mercy, especially when it hurts, R.

(taken from Magnificat, March 2008)

More litany to follow another time.

Lenten Reflection

"In our prayer to-day, we can ask ourselves: Do I dedicate sufficient time to my religious formation, or do I allow myself to become absorbed by the other things that fill each day? Do I have a plan for reading, reviewed in spiritual guidance, which will help me make progress in doctrinal formation according to my age and background? Am I faithful to the Magisterium of the Church, knowing that there I find the light of truth rather than the contradictory opinions I often come across in matters of faith, social teaching, etc? Do I try to get to know the teachings of the Popes and to make them known? Do I respect them with piety and docility? Do I frequently rectify my intention, offering up all my actions to God, taking into account our tendency to seek applause, recognition and praise for what we do? Am I constantly aware that this is often where the deformation of one's conscience begins?

We need light and clarity, both for ourselves and for those around us. This is our big responsibility. The Christian has been placed by God as a lamp to light up, for others the way towards God. We ought to educate ourselves to face the rush of people who are going to press upon us with a specific and urgent question: 'Well then, what must I do?' [Escriva, Furrow, 221] Children, relatives, colleagues, friends, they all look to our behaviour and we have the responsibility of leading them to God. And so that the blind person's guide is not himself also blind [Matt15:14], it is not enough to have second-hand knowledge or mere hearsay. To lead our friends and relatives to God, a vague and superficial knowledge of the route is not enough; we need to have walked it ourselves........."


(from Lenten volume of: In Conversation with God)


Tuesday, March 04, 2008

 

Regarding Prayer

 

Prayer is indispensable for us, for if we neglect our dealings with God, little by little our spiritual life begins to languish.  If you abandon prayer you may at first live on spiritual reserves and, after that, by cheating. (St. Escriva, Furrow, 445)

 

 

Excerpt from Vol 2 In Conversation with God, Monday, Fourth Week of Lent

 

 

Sunday, March 02, 2008

Lætare Sunday

Rejoice, O Jerusalem...

The Fourth Sunday of Lent is called Lætare (Rejoice) Sunday, from the first words of the liturgy [Introit] above. Since it is in the middle of Lent, like Gaudete Sunday midway through Advent, Lætare reminds us of the Event we look forward to at the end of the penitential season. As on Gaudete Sunday, rose-colored vestments may replace violet, symbolizing, the Church's joy in anticipation of the Resurrection.

In England, this Sunday is known as Mothering Sunday, a custom that arose during the Middle Ages, because the Epistle for the day said, "But Jerusalem which is above, is free, which is the mother of us all" [Galatians 4:26]. The Church is "Jerusalem which is above."

On Lætare Sunday people went to Church where they were baptized (their mother church); and visited their own mothers, as well, often bringing gifts of flowers and simnel cakes (so-called because they were made with fine white flour, or simila.) There are many different recipes for this cake, but all are fruit-cakes covered with almond paste. Mothering Sunday reminds us of the American Mother's Day, although the latter is a holiday honoring mothers which was originated in the early twentieth-century, and though similar, it is unrelated to the Lenten tradition of Mothering Sunday.

Even if we don't celebrate this day as Mothering Sunday (or maybe just don't like fruitcake!) it would be appropriate, on the "Rejoice" Sunday, to have a special treat for the Sunday meal in honor of our Mother, the Church.

Saturday, March 01, 2008

Yesterday on approaching the Most Blessed Sacrament, I felt myself burning and I had to withdraw. I am astounded that so many who receive Jesus are not reduced to ashes.

 

St. Gemma Galgani

Friday, February 29, 2008

 

Pope’s Prayer Intentions for March

Vatican, Feb. 29, 2008 (CWNews.com) - The Vatican has released the prayer intentions of Pope Benedict XVI (bio - news) for the month of March 2008.

The Pope's general intention is: "That the importance of forgiveness and reconciliation between persons and people may be understood and that the Church, through her testimony, may spread Christ's love, the source of new humanity." The Pontiff's missionary intention is: "That Christians, who are persecuted in many parts of the world and in various manners because of the Gospel, may continue, sustained by the strength of the Holy Spirit, to bear witness courageously and openly to the Word of God."

 

The highest degree of meekness consists in seeing, serving, honoring, and treating amiably, on occasion, those who are not to our taste, and who show themselves unfriendly, ungrateful, and troublesome to us.

 

St. Francis de Sales

Monday, February 25, 2008

Bl. Maria Adeodata Pisani (1806-1855)

The daughter of a baron, Maria renounced her life of luxury to become a cloistered Benedictine nun. She was known for her love of the poor, her austere lifestyle, and her ecstacies.


"We always find that those who walked closest to Christ were those who had to bear the greatest trials." St. Teresa of Avila

Saturday, February 09, 2008

Reflections on Esther, re-visited

It's been a year since this appeared, and here we are another year later, involved in another Lenten season. Are my thoughts still the same as when I first shared this reflection? Moreso, and even more convicted, I would say. Do we need Lent more than ever? Most definitely. I pray you have a deeply moving Lent and in you God will make all things new.


In today's reading, Esther and her handmaids lay prostrate on the ground morning until evening....calling to God for assistance. Further on in the book of Esther, my Ignatius RSV bible, chapter 4, verses 16, 17, state..."and neither eat nor drink for three days, night or day...."..."I and my maids will also fast as you do"; even further along we read how Esther puts on the "garments of distress and mourning", covered herself with ashes and dung and prayed, prayed, prayed, fasting and mortifying herself for the next three days..... Quite seriously, she was preparing for a mission, that which Esther is well known for - overcoming her fear and approaching the king in order to save her people. And the God of Abraham, God of Isaac, God of Jacob answers this intensely sincere request.

While, I don't expect to see many people in ashes and dung these days -- nor fasting for up through three days, I do think there is much to learn from such examples. While the "missions" in my life aren't anywhere near as challenging as that of Esther, still, they are uniquely my own that God has given me and have oftentimes required getting over a fear, asking the Holy Spirit for "just the right words" and asking for a special grace to fulfill what is necessary. There are missions in my life that I will fast, mortify and pray in earnest for; I'm sure I'm not alone.

Here are some thoughts from Fr. Francis Fernandez (In Conversation with God, Lenten volume) with more scriptural references in regard to fasting:

"....Fasting .....one more sign of the spirit of penance that God asks of man. In the Old Testament we can find gradually developing with ever increasing richness, the religious sense of penance, as a personal religious act, which has as its end love for and abandoment in God. [Paul VI, Apostolic Constitution, Paenitemini, 17 Feb, 1966] When it is accompanied by prayer it can be used to manifest humility before God. [Lev 16:29-31) The man who fasts turns toward God in an attitude of total dependence and abandonment. In Holy Scripture we see how fasting and other works of penance were performed before the commencement of any difficult task [Jude 20:26, Esther 4:16], to implore forgiveness for sin [1 Kings21:27], to obtain the cessation of a calamity [Jude 4:9-13], to gain the grace needed for the fulfillment of a mission [Acts 13:2], and to prepare oneself to come face to face with God [Ex 34:38, Dan 9:3]."


Lord on the day I called for help, you answered me....(Psalm 138)

Friday, February 01, 2008

"Renew your joy for the struggle"
Sometimes you feel that you are beginning to lose heart and that everything is getting on top of you. This kills your good desires, and you can hardly manage to overcome this feeling even by making acts of hope. Never mind: this is a good time to ask God for more grace. Then, go on! Renew your joy for the struggle, even though you might lose the odd skirmish. (Furrow, 77)
There are many who repeat that hackneyed expression 'while there's life there's hope', as if hope were an excuse for ambling along through life without too many complications or worries on one's conscience. Or as if it were a pretext for postponing indefinitely the decision to mend one's ways and the struggle to attain worthwhile goals, particularly the highest goal of all which is to be united with God.

If we follow this view, we will end up confusing hope with comfort. Fundamentally, what is wrong with it is that there is no real desire to achieve anything worthwhile, either spiritual or material. Thus some people's greatest ambition boils down to avoiding whatever might upset the apparent calm of their mediocre existence. These timid, inhibited, lazy souls, full of subtle forms of selfishness, are content to let the days, the years, go by sine spe nec metu,* without setting themselves demanding targets, nor experiencing the hopes and fears of battle: the important thing for them is to avoid the risk of disappointment and tears. How far one is from obtaining something, if the very wish to possess it has been lost through fear of the demands involved in achieving it! (Friends of God, 206-207)
Courtesy of Opus Dei

Friday, January 25, 2008

Mid-Winter Slump........


It's true, I've been under the weather lately - maybe the mid-winter blues or slump or something. We have so much going on as a family; the schooling is keeping momentum, and we are seeing wonderful results in progress, and well, we are anxious for spring to arrive. I think I could use more sunshine - that's for sure. Being a born and raised southern Californian, this Ohio winter climate kind of gets to my bones after a while! I'm thinking of what helps are uplifting - you know, creating atmosphere - the special smell of a candle burning, a fresh scent of a favorite cologne or bath gel, some more comfort food.....a brisk walk, then a nice cup of just-the-right tea. I'd love to hear what your favorite things are for the mid-winter slump. Please share! I'll be back later to post some more of my favorite things.....

In the meantime, I'm grateful my husband and two older children arrived safely to the March for Life, in Washington D.C., and back home again. God protect and bless the unborn children!

Many Blessings!

Comfort, Joy and Soul Food

FYI: Re-posted from January of 2007, so some of the information contained herein is dated. (Don't you love this pooh and piglet image? One of my favorite!)


Here in northeastern Ohio we have finally had our first blast of real winter. I'm finally spying icicles hanging from our wooden awnings outside the kitchen window. The wind is fiercely blustery - nothing that Pooh-Bear or Piglet would care for in the Hundred Acre Wood....and the snowflakes are powdery and magical, falling in large doses one minute and lesser ones the next; even the sun pops out every now and then, but not to be mistaken, it is very cold out there! It's a day like this that makes me think of indoor comforts, cozy comforts....: an extra coat of Vita-Moist Facial Moisturizer (my favorite from Avon), to ward off dehydrated, sensitive skin, and a "mom-moment" with Seattle's Best Sleighbell coffee...And then: atmosphere: a warm glowing burning candle of Spiced Carmel or Buttercream Vanilla nestled near the stove, and my usual classical music station playing softly while I work up some comfort food in the kitchen. Just when I'm thinking of such soul food on a day such as this.....and really taking refuge and comfort in "home", I wander over to Meredith's blog to discover a Meal Planning Carnival starting this Saturday. How providential! Just when I was thinking of posting my favorite winter comfort meal for family and thinking of asking others for theirs. So you have it! Is the internet great or what?! Do all great minds think alike?! OK then..... my soul food for a wintry Ohio day .......


Cozy Chicken-Potato-Stuffing Bake

You've already baked at least 2 pounds of boneless, skinless chicken breasts and they are ready to be diced. Next, whether they are real mashed or boxed mashed potatoes, you whip them up (about 6 servings worth) and begin by spreading these mashed potatoes in the bottom of a 9 x 13 baking dish. Next, you layer the cut-up chicken on top of the potatoes. Now you take one can of Cream of Chicken soup, mix it with 8 ounces of sour cream, thin it out with just about 1/4 cup of milk, and spread it over the chicken. The final layer is stuffing -- lots and lots of good ole' bread stuffing - any kind you'd like to use - just make sure it covers the entire top nicely. Finally, you bake this casserole at 350 degrees for 30-40 minutes.

I usually serve this with a side of corn, and homemade Buttermilk biscuits. And to add some sweetness we finish with homemade brownies made with cocoa.

Piglet and Pooh image courtesy of: Parnell Brothers