St Gabriel Windows

St Gabriel Windows
Photocopy c. 2013 Jamie Laubacher

Saturday, December 31, 2011

A New Beginning

The beginning of a new year. A new beginning. I'm reminded of St. Josemaria Escriva and his spiritual encouragement of "beginning again", when we are feeling very discouraged about ourselves. It is a point he repeats often. It is always possible for God's mercy and forgiveness, and for a new beginning. I love to hear that: a new beginning. It is my prayer for all my friends, and visitors that they will have that new beginning. That anyone they have offended will allow them to start again, be given another chance, as God Himself would graciously offer. We all fail somewhere, each and everyone of us, but we are not failures. We are all made in God's image and are brothers and sisters in Christ. When we clothe ourselves in Christ, inside and out, offences are more easily forgiven and as many chances as needed are given to those God places us in relation with. And so it is my prayer, my hope, my wish for you, for all good things in Christ to be yours, and especially for reconciliation and peace to reign in your hearts and actions, in your little corner of the world; and for you and yours a blessed and gracious new beginning. That "all debts will be canceled" and a fresh new beginning filled with abundant graces will be yours - and that you in turn will see this same new beginning for others as you truly reconcile any grievances that have occured and give others the new start that God wishes all to have through his mercy.

Be merciful and mercy shall be yours.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

The real Twelve Day of Christmas...Christmastide

I am so glad to be a Christian celebrating the fullness of the Christmas season and teaching my children the same. While the secular world is tossing out the Christmas decor and making a mad dash to the malls and stores for exchanges and the best buys of the year, we are basking in the graces of the best season of the year which start right now...on Christmas day and for the next week and a half up through the Feast of the Epiphany, the crowning jewel day on the Christmastide season. I am glad to be able to shut out the secular world's idea of Christmas which largely consists of materialism and secular songs and parties, and teach my children the real depth and breadth of a most beautiful liturgical season. Jesus, Our Lord and Savior born into the family of mankind, and the events of his early life and what those events mean for us.

One of the things I love the most about my Catholic faith is all the spiritual helps the church gives to the peoples to help them on their journey of faith in this life. The beauty and awe of the Christmas season is just one of those -- a strong message against a highly unChristian secular world that presses hard against us and our families.

So, please do check out the Twelve days of Christmas and know it is not simply a fun holiday song. It is a spiritual renewal of Christian belief and spiritual enrichment; a beautiful worshipful time in honor of our Lord and the life he gave for us.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas Blessings!

“It’s only in finding and living the eternal meaning of the Nativity that we can be truly happy, truly at peace, truly home.” —Ronald Reagan

Friday, December 23, 2011

Christmas Adam

"Christmas Adam", a phrase my 12 yr old refers to the day before Christmas Eve; get it now? Yeh, it took me a minute too :)

So indeed it is that day; a lot of hustle bustle for me....last minute details, baking, running to the church to sort through angels and shepherd clothing for the nativity choir....reserve signs on stands...our pastor peeking in at us....the church beautifully decorated. At some point I hope to pause and truly adore our King deeply in my heart; putting aside all the physical activity, even all the exhaustion......and just "be still." It may not happen when I want it to, but eventually I will recognize the moment, like the small whisper Elijah heard at mount Horeb (1 Kings 19:9).....

There is no mistake that, that whisper is the voice of God, so small like the baby we recognize him to be.

May God grant you pause, the whisper of his voice and the presence of his infanthood over this holiday season.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Holy Toast! Jesus face on toast

Thoughts of Comfort and Joy, Questions and Answers

So many possibilities lie ahead in this new year. I love to start afresh - don't we all? Last year was a more stressful year for myself personally and my entire family, including the family of my husband. Some years are like that, aren't they? But now, we can begin again in many ways...not necessarily with resolutions, however, they are good and sometimes essential motivators in our lives. But how about "changes of heart", "changes of attitude", "changes of betterment"?

I adore the gift given to me several years ago from a close friend - and I've mentioned it before: The Simple Abundance: Daybook of Comfort and Joy by Sarah Ban Breathnach. How I enjoy beginning at the beginning of that book each new year with the entry date: January 1st. The first entry for that day states:

"There are years that ask questions and years that answer." ~Zora Neal Hurston

I recognize that I've had such years. I recognize that currently I am now in the answering years for the most part, although some new questions have arisen. I'm grateful that I can even venture to blogging after the  several tough years with my 10 yr 12 yr old diagnosed with OCD (and my 8 yr old diagnosed with high functioning autism a year ago).. I haven't much time unto myself. It's a very disciplined life, not having time to oneself and instead giving each day for the sake of another's time and needs; not to be mistaken for the general wife, mother, homeschooling lifestyle. No, this is a call of duty that while a part of the aforementioned, is also a rise above the call of duty. It is exhausting, but also loving as it is part and parcel of what God has called me to in my family, and particularly with this one child that suffers from extreme anxiety.. But this morning, it's okay - I'm enjoying perhaps a fleeting moment of space that is mine. In this space I meditate on today's gospel, and while my Daybook of Comfort & Joy is at my side, and I love it very much, my Magnificat prayer book is most likely my true daybook of comfort and joy - but I find I need a lot to keep me focused and afloat these challenging days...years....

Comfort and joy....I wish for you this year, and an abundance of grace and peace to face all we humans must face with each new year. I hope for you that this year ahead will be a year of "answers" for you and positive transformations.

God bless you!

By the way, you can download as an e-book, the Daybook of Comfort and Joy at the link I provided (which I am very excited about now that I have a NOOK Color coming for Christmas) :)

Monday, December 19, 2011

Love a stash of Books under a Lime cover

There is no mistake I have a great love of books; I have nurtured this love into my family, and I find my children also have a great love of books.  So, I suppose it isn't any surprise that to have some reading at my fingertips at all times, and with as many therapy appointments I have to sit through, I should opt to find something modern and portable to suit my needs.  And so...enter...NOOK Color.  I don't just reached out and grabbed me!  It's on it's way for Christmas and I'm very excited to give it a try.  I also have a lovely cover to store it in and I'm set to go.

Isn't she lovely?

And the cover....all available through Barnes & Noble

NOOK downloads and stores so much media, and has capabilities to surf the web, email, Facebook and more.  And with an Angry Birds app, already installed...well, how could I pass up such a great deal...(including $50 off, and free shipping).  

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Favorite Things......

Wanted to share a few favorite things as of late.  

Starbucks House Blend coffee.....just seems, just right, for my morning brew;  I have also recently discovered this wonderful home grown coffee from Louisiana, Community Coffee...their Dark Roast is wonderful!

Smells and sounds....Celebrate Perfume from know it's subtle yet sparkly enough to add a little spirit lift on a drab winter day.   And the most intriguing sound of  this interesting band, Pink Martini...almost smooth jazz...contemporary yet traditional...go figure!  Their Joy to the World album for Christmas featuring cultural songs is beautiful.   And the wonderful tone of Michael Buble never disappoints, (his Christmas album is wonderful) and nor does the newer sound of Spencer Day, (Vagabond album) whom I hope to hear a lot more of.

And lastly, I've spent a lot of time lately venting frustration with Angry Birds!...I've played the classic first version and more recently the awesome Seasons' versions.  So fun, and the merchandise is kind of cute too!

More to follow in another segment......
You know, I do like Michele Bachmann's guts -- she's got em and she is not backing down.  She really is seeming very conservative... I like that she admits to being a Christian, out loud -- yes, while Newt Gingrich a convert to Catholicism hasn't said a word about his disappointing.

Thinking and considering out loud -- I'll be doing this a lot in the upcoming months.

Ten Days and counting....

Ten days to Christmas.  I do not think a year has gone faster for me personally.  This year has had incredible ups and very challenging downs -- in fact, I am still in the roller coaster of it all.  I have decided to begin a Novena to Blessed Marianne Cope, asking for healing for one of my sons and restoration of a more normal life in our home.  There is a lot of healing for each of us that needs to take place; some of us are taking it better than others, and some are finding it hard to deal with.  I pray for a great turnaround and to make much improved progress where this son is concerned.  I know with God, all things are possible. I truly believe in intercessory prayer, not just for those alive on this earth, but that the souls who are still alive (more alive than ever) in heaven...they can pray  for us to our Lord, as our friends would here.  And so I ask it of my friends in well as my friends on earth.

Is she not the most beautiful soul?  Blessed Marianne Cope

I pray for a better more excellent new year in our homes, among our families and friends.  I pray for my own personal strength and health - the discipline I need to lose another 15 pounds and get better control of my body weight and aches and pains.  

This year has marked such a change in the dynamic of our home life and home schooling.  I could not have imagined it.  Although we use the same program, there are different participants in the way of my children using it.  I hope it will create the excellent academic results it did for my oldest two, who at this point have now come home on break to stay for a month, having completed finals, and as it looks, retained their great scholarships and did very well both in their own regard.  One a junior, one a freshman.  Cheers to them!

As we finish out this week and do half a week next week, then break, I prepare my mind, heart and soul mostly for the celebration of the birth of our Lord and King.  Remembering He was born first into a family, and holds families dear ....with that I can rest peacefully this night.

Many blessings, on this the third week of Advent.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Daily Roman Missal, 7th Ed., Burgundy :: Scepter Publishers

Daily Roman Missal, 7th Ed., Burgundy :: Scepter Publishers

I adore my Daily Roman Missal from years ago, edited by James Socias and dedicated to St. Josemaria Escriva. It contains meditations (Stations of the Cross) and other writings of St. Josemaria and lovely artwork. Yes, it's pricey, but lasts for years and is truly a wonderful prayerful missal to pick up every day.

Wednesday, December 07, 2011

St. Nicholas...uh.. yesterday....

It has been so busy these days with holiday preparations, school, appointments....suddenly St.. Nicholas Day was upon us.  Happily I was prepared with something for all my children from ages 20 down to 8!...There was a St. Francis of Assisi, a St. Nicholas (for the very youngest), a St. Patrick (for the oldest), and a St Therese Little Flower (for the only daughter in the bunch).  I'm posting a couple pics of these lovely little items here -- found them at an Etsy Catholic store on line and they are hand made by the artist.  Just perfectly lovely.  The children adore them.

I'll post St. Patrick and St. Therese another time.