St Gabriel Windows

St Gabriel Windows
Photocopy c. 2013 Jamie Laubacher

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Fearfully & Wonderfully Made

For you created my inmost being;
you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful,
I know that full well.

My frame was not hidden from you
when I was made in the secret place.
When I was woven together in the depths of the earth,
your eyes saw my unformed body.
All the days ordained for me
were written in your book
before one of them came to be.
(Psalm 139: 13 - 16)

Dear Sisters,

This week part of my family once again headed to Washington DC to be part of the March for Life. I am grateful to God for a country that allows us the freedom to participate in a peaceful demonstration of our principles and beliefs in the sanctity of life. I am grateful that our country does not impose a forced abortion law to control population. We join countless others in prayer that someday all life will be guarded from conception to natural death. After all, isn’t our God all about Life? …Creation?.. We have a beautiful hymn we sing at our church titled, Isaiah 49 (or I will never forget you my people), perhaps you have heard it:

I will never forget you my people,
I have carved you on the palm of My hand,
I will never forget you,
I will not leave you orphaned,
I will never forget my own…

Does a mother forget her baby,
Or a woman the child within her womb,
Yet even if these forget,
Yes even if these forget,
I will never forget my own.
(Rev. Carey Landry)

This week my thoughts have been focused on the life that God has given us and given through us: our children. Children are a blessing – the scriptures fully attest to that….”.4 Like arrows in the hands of a warrior are children born in one’s youth. 5 Blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them. They will not be put to shame when they contend with their opponents in court.” (Psalm 127)

I know many of us have special needs children that God has blessed us with and we have chosen to continue to home school them in a safe and loving atmosphere. Recently I was informed after several lengthy tests and evaluations, that my youngest son has high-functioning Autism; while this didn’t come as a surprise as we suspected something, it does come with the challenges of meeting educational goals and therapies for him. I have another son that suffers from an anxiety disorder (OCD) and while his educational goals are easier to navigate we still have appointments and therapy sessions for him -- 24 hours in a day sometimes doesn’t seem to be quite enough time! To say the least, these two children make life very interesting in the Laubacher household. :) They have certainly reinvigorated my personal goals as a home educating parent and recharged me with new life after 15 years of home schooling ~ perhaps God really does know what’s best! And so it is, I look to you Sisters for support and hope to encourage and support you on your journey.

I have selected several scripture passages in this letter that help us reflect on the blessing of life itself as well as children. Perhaps we can take some time to meditate on the words of “life” scriptures and praise our Lord for the blessings He has given us and the guidance we need to always make life giving choices.

“This day I call the heavens and the earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live” (Deut. 30: 19)

May the Lord’s face shine upon you!
Your Sister in Christ,

Denise Laubacher

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Do Not Be Anxious.....

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. (Phil 4:6-8)

January 20, 2011

Dear Sisters,

Welcome back, dear moms, to a new year! I hope this letter finds you refreshed and recharged after having a lovely Christmas season break. I hope you enjoyed a beautiful holiday with family and friends and will be blessed abundantly throughout this new year. Some of the highlights of our holiday season were spending the evening listening to the Checcs Christmas Choir Concert (and how beautiful it was!) and getting together with friends and family and our church community throughout the weeks; enjoying the company of our college aged son who happily had some time off to connect and rest up a bit….along with a lot of baking and eating ... Praising God all the while for His abundant blessings.

Perhaps it is at this time in the beginning of a new year you take inventory once again noting where you are in your courses and look to adjust and continue along the path that will lead you to satisfaction in completing the school year in the months ahead. Maybe you have very young children and the school year ends for you earlier in the spring (be grateful!); perhaps you have a large variety of ages you are working with but know the end will be in sight as it is every year bringing satisfaction, relief and reward (be grateful!). Maybe you have welcomed a new child into your home and things are a little topsy-turvy…(be grateful!)…or maybe you have some challenges, children who need more care and attention, perhaps they have some learning challenges or difficulty of some kind that makes it a little harder to complete a smooth year (nonetheless a smooth day)…be even more grateful! Maybe you and I are more alike than you think…While the responsibilities of home and family and education can make us somewhat “anxious”, above all, give thanks to Our Lord in all things, and “do not be anxious about anything…..” What sweet words to reflect upon.
~ ~ ~

…but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God…

As I return our home and studies to “normal”...I attempt to focus on how much we have accomplished so far – not: how much still needs to be done, although I know that is a reality, especially with a senior preparing to graduate. I ease back into our daily courses until we are once again moving full steam ahead. More deeply, I focus on how far we have come through the years, (the big picture!) and how the dynamics of my home have changed over those years and how once again the next school season will bring further changes. There are some years I wish I could have held onto forever….and some years I definitely wanted to pass quickly. I’m sure I’m not alone!

And so often I find that “anxious” feeling creeping in and sneaking up on me. It seems reasonable that home schoolers should sometimes feel anxious as we are doing “something different” than society dictates. And so this letter opens with the bible passage that speaks clearly about being anxious. Read the passage carefully! “DO NOT be anxious…about anything”, those are words for weary hearts. At times it may also seem like a tall order… However, I find great peace and strength in this scripture and I want you to also. No matter your place in life, no matter how joyful or desperate, alone or surrounded by people you may be….read this passage and allow it to enter your heart and live there.

While overall, home schooling is a joyful choice yielding many rewards, it can be at the same time a challenging and exhausting endeavor. We can become anxious in every sense of the word. Still, the benefits of home schooling are great. I hope and pray for you as this new year unfolds “peace” above all things. Peace in your hearts and homes and home schools. I am ever so grateful God led our family down the path of home education and to like-minded families; all of you mothers that strive to do the Will of God in your lives, pouring over into the lives of your families building in your children a Christian value system, one that focuses on the second part of the bible passage….: “whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.” Know that even with challenges that arise, He is always with you. He will continue to guide and lead you. He that is full of love and integrity and trust….He who is worthy of all thanksgiving and praise!

If you make any resolutions this year, make it part of your resolution to tell yourself daily: …do not be anxious…make Philippians 4: 6-8 part of a great year ahead.

Blessings to you and your families!
Your Sister in Christ,
Denise Laubacher

…whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things…

Tuesday, January 04, 2011

Memorial Jan.4, St. Elizabeth Ann Seton

Born into a wealthy and influential Episcopalian family, the daughter of a Dr Richard Bayley, Elizabeth was raised in the New York high society of the late 18th century. Her mother died when Elizabeth was three years old, her baby sister a year later. She married the wealthy businessman William Magee Seton in 1794 at age 19, and was the mother of five.

About ten years into the marriage, William's business failed, and soon after he died of tuberculosis, leaving Elizabeth an impoverished widow with five small children. For years Elizabeth had felt drawn to Catholicism, believing in the Real Presence in the Eucharist and in the lineage of the Church going back to Christ and the Apostles. She converted to Catholicism, entering the Church on 14 March 1805, alienating many of her strict Episcopalian family in the process.

To support her family, and insure the proper education of her children, she opened a school in Boston. Though a private and secular institution, from the beginning she ran it along the lines of a religious community. At the invitation of the archbishop, she established a Catholic girl's school in Baltimore, Maryland which initiated the parochial school system in America. To run the system she founded the Sisters of Charity in 1809, the first native American religious community for women.

For more on Elizabeth Ann Seton, follow this LINK to Patron Saint Index, courtesy of Catholic-Forum.

Prayer by Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton
Lord Jesus, Who was born for us in a stable, lived for us a life of pain and sorrow, and died for us upon a cross; say for us in the hour of death, Father, forgive, and to Your Mother, Behold your child. Say to us, This day you shall be with Me in paradise. Dear Savior, leave us not, forsake us not. We thirst for You, Fountain of Living Water. Our days pass quickly along, soon all will be consummated for us. To Your hands we commend our spirits, now and forever. Amen.