February 2, 2016

FREE Bible Study on the BVM

I received this offer from Scott Hahn's St. Paul Center for Biblical Theology.  It's a FREE offer for twelve, weekly, scripture-based, video lessons about the Blessed Virgin Mary, beginning on Ash Wednesday (next week...already!?).  I think there is a "complete" study that will be available later for purchase, but this is for twelve free video lessons from that full study.

I have not seen the videos yet, but even if they're just an "introductory peek," I thought this might be a nice perk for anyone looking to draw closer to Our Lady during Lent, as well as some stirring, scripture-based, Catholic, food-for-the-soul for the penitential season.

...and I don't know about you, but "free" is always within my budget.  ;-)

"Grow With Mary" - The Bible and The Virgin Mary

Enjoy!  May your Lent be blessed with His peace!

January 19, 2016

The Wedding at Cana

"Do whatever He tells you," (John 2:5)

I've always loved this part of the Wedding at Cana story! Mary, IS the ultimate mother. She knows her Divine Son like no one else. She knows He'll do SOMEthing to help their friends in need.

She also knows that WE need to be told what to do, too. "Just be obedient to Him," she reminds us as she simply says, "Do whatever He tells you."

I love it!

December 14, 2015

Bible Verses for Sundays in Advent

I'm sorry to post this so late!  I thought I already had.  Here are some lovely Bible verses for your children to memorize and color for each Sunday in Advent!  The Fourth Sunday of Advent and Christmas Day will be finished soon and posted here, too.

Blessed Advent!  O Come, Let Us Adore Him!  Enjoy!


1st Sunday of Advent - Manuscript
1st Sunday of Advent - Cursive

2nd Sunday of Advent - Manuscript
2nd Sunday of Advent - Cursive

3rd Sunday of Advent - Manuscript
3rd Sunday of Advent - Cursive

4th Sunday of Advent - Manuscript
4th Sunday of Advent - Cursive

Christmas Day! - Manuscript
Christmas Day! - Cursive

December 8, 2015

Happy Hanukkah!

Saint Pope John Paul II The Great once noted that the Jewish people are our elder brothers in faith.  What a strong and beautiful heritage!

Happy Hanukkah!

December 4, 2015

"George Bailey Syndrome" for Parents

Remember the movie, It's a Wonderful Life! ?  Every year at Christmastime, I watch that movie.  I know it by heart, and yet I never tire of it and still love every minute of it.  And the older I get, I love it even more!

Why?

Because, as a parent, I think it's very easy for us to get, "George Bailey Syndrome."  And not just at Christmas.  We look like this.  We feel like this.  We look and feel like George Bailey.  Dr. Taylor Marshall articulates it well here:


http://taylormarshall.com/2014/01/the-george-bailey-syndrome-gbs-why-parents-get-discouraged-and-how-they-can-find-joy.html

By the end of the movie, however, I look and feel like this!  I look and feel like George Bailey again, this time infinitely more mindful of the mind-boggling blessing that God has given me in the form of my life.

Though my life has been easy, I'm not Pollyanna (...okay, close, but not completely).  Sometimes, life can be hard work.  And dirty.  And tiresome.  Watching this movie never fails to remind me, however, that each of us has a role in life, many roles in life, specific roles and jobs and tasks to fulfill, some of which we might not even be fully aware right now, and certainly not the ripple effects thereof.

Watching this movie reminds me that life is about people first, then things.

Watching this movie reminds me that, believing in each other, we can move mountains together, or at least whole families and towns.

Watching this movie reminds me that things can always be worse, so be grateful when they are better.

Watching this movie reminds me that there always is something more you can do for just one more person who comes into your life.

Watching this movie reminds me that faith is essential to our lives.

This last reminder is one of the most important.  Remember, to Whom does George cry out on the bridge?  To Whom does he appeal for a better life for himself, his family, and his friends?

Who made George?  God made him.

Why did God make him?

God made him (and you, and me, and everyone else) to know, love, and serve Him in this world and to be happy with Him forever in Heaven.

So, why hasn't George learned this by now?

He's certainly lived it.  George has spent his entire life (which he views as wasted, at the time) in service to others, whether it's his parents, his father's community-serving business, the townspeople, his wife Mary, or his children.  Despite his determination to gallivant around the globe in a self-serving gluttony of travel and indulgence, George spends every day of his life -- every, single, day -- in service to others in his little hometown of Bedford Falls.

And that, Charlie Brown, is what Christmas is all about.  (...oh, wait; that's for another post...)

Most of all, watching this movie reminds me that, ultimately, God always has our best interests in mind.  Always.  And that I've still got a lot to learn.

November 30, 2015

Christmas Novena!

Allison H. over at, "Catholic Sistas," wrote a beautiful, succinct blog post last year about the St. Andrew's Christmas Novena, "where the theological truths of our Holy Faith crash like waves upon the rocky shores of our real lives."  You can read it quickly here:

http://www.catholicsistas.com/2013/12/23/vouchsafe-omg/

Are you still praying your novena?  Remember, 15 times a day can seem overwhelming, so you always can break it up into five recitations, three different times throughout the day, etc.

Blessed Advent to you and those whom you love!

Hail and blessed by the hour and moment
in which the Son of God was born
of the most pure Virgin Mary,
at midnight,
in Bethlehem,
in piercing cold.
In that hour, vouchsafe, O my God,
to hear my prayers
and grant my desires,
through the merits of our Savior,
Jesus Christ,
and of His Blessed Mother.
Amen.

Christmas Novena - START TODAY!

While a novena is normally a nine-day [or nine hour] prayer, the term sometimes is used for any prayer that is repeated over a series of days. The Saint Andrew Christmas Novena is often called simply the "Christmas Novena" or the "Christmas Anticipation Prayer," because it is prayed 15 times every day from the Feast of Saint Andrew the Apostle (November 30th) until Christmas. The First Sunday of Advent is the Sunday closest to the Feast of Saint Andrew.

The novena is not actually addressed to Saint Andrew, but to God Himself, asking Him to grant our request in the honor of the birth of His Son at Christmas. You can say the prayer all 15 times, all at once, or divide up the recitation as necessary (perhaps five times at each meal).

Prayed as a family, the Saint Andrew Christmas Novena is a very good way to help focus the attention of your children on the Advent season.

Saint Andrew Christmas Novena
Hail and blessed be the hour and moment in which the Son of God was born of the most pure Virgin Mary, at midnight, in Bethlehem, in piercing cold. In that hour, vouchsafe, O my God! to hear my prayer and grant my desires, through the merits of Our Saviour Jesus Christ, and of His Blessed Mother. Amen.

(source: by Scott P. Richert at Catholicism.about.com)

November 26, 2015

Give Thanks for Our Creator!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Here we are again, starting the Church's New Year (the first Sunday of Advent) immediately on the heels of a uniquely American holiday, Thanksgiving, a day specifically ordained for the cause of giving thanks as a nation to our Creator.  What a joyous union of our great country's secular and religious priorities!

To start off your Church New Year, I'd love to share with you a cherished novena, commonly known as the "Christmas Novena" or the "St. Andrew's Novena" (the former so named for its last day; the latter so named for its first).  This novena is to be recited 15 times per day (yes, you read that correctly -- fifteen times per day...I know, whew!) from Monday, November 30th (the Feast of St. Andrew) through Christmas Day (the Feast of the Nativity of Our Lord).

This is piously believed to be a powerful novena!

Think it's too much?

So, break up your recitations -- pray five at breakfast, five at lunch, and five at dinner or bedtime.  Maybe post a few copies of the prayer throughout your house (scroll down for a copy!), along with your Christmas decorations, praying it as you move throughout your day.  Maybe pray it as a family, assigning each person or child to pray it at least one, two, or five times per day to make a family total of fifteen.

Is it magic?  No.

Is it fool proof?  No.  (Remember, I'm praying it, too!)

Does it not "count" if you miss a day or miss a recitation?  Who knows.

No --I meant "Who" purposely with a capital "W."  God knows.  Only God knows.  Only God knows what's in your heart and mind this Advent and Christmas season.  Only God knows why you might need this novena and actually were inspired to click on this e-mail from that crazy lady in Savannah.  Only God knows the efficacy of our prayers.

Only God, the Creator of the universe and of YOU, came down from on high as a helpless Infant Child, specifically to rescue YOU from the insanity of life as a flawed human being.  Remember, He made you.  He made you to know, LOVE, and serve Him and to be happy with Him forever in Heaven.

He loves you.

Please join me in TRYING to pray this novena, TRYING to focus at least a portion of our increasingly busy December days on the Infant Christ, Who is to come.  He is coming to save the world -- to save YOU!

Hail and blessed be that incomprehensibly vast and singular moment of His arrival.

Please join me in prayer for a very merry Christmas, indeed!  Enjoy!  :-D




Saint Andrew
Christmas Novena

Hail and blessed be the hour and moment in which the Son of God was born of the most pure Virgin Mary, at midnight, in Bethlehem, in piercing cold. In that hour, vouchsafe, O my God! to hear my prayer and grant my desires, through the merits of Our Saviour Jesus Christ, and of His Blessed Mother.  Amen.

October 22, 2015

Keep Your Eyes on the Prize

A new homeschool mom recently contacted me and expressed her insecurity about getting it "right" or doing "enough" for her kids.  I thought she, like so many of us homeschool moms, was being a little hard on herself.  I know this is easy to say, but -- DON'T BE!  Any time you think you're not doing "enough" or not doing it "right" (even on days when your kids don't "want" to be homeschooled), remember:

Remind yourself of your original or core reasons for homeschooling.

Remind yourself of the cess pool of cultural garbage in government schools and be glad your kids aren't being corrupted by those influences.

Remind yourself that God specifically has endowed YOU, as YOUR children's parent, to be their best teacher!

Are you an expert on every academic subject?  No.
Are you an expert on elementary education?  No.
Are you an expert on child psychology?  No.

Are you an expert on YOUR children?  YES!
Are you capable of learning alongside your children?  YES!
Are you available to be your child's personal tutor 24/7?  YES!

So.  The next time you're "should - ing" on yourself ("I should be doing this," "I should be doing that,"), follow these simple steps:

Take a step back.
Take a deep breath.
Look up at God.
And smile!

There is SUCH an overwhelming wealth of academic and co-curricular materials available out there nowadays to homeschool families.  Neither you (nor ANY teacher) can possibly teach her child(ren) everything that's offered at every grade level.  But, that's one of the many beautiful aspects of homeschooling -- YOU get to choose your child's subject matter, focus, and interests.  It's not chosen by the least common denominator, Common Core, or teaching to the standardized test.

What freedom!

Remember, all things are possible with God!  He made us, right!?  And He made your kids and gave them to YOU, because He knew you could do it!

Remember, God made you to know, love, and serve Him in this world and be happy with Him forever in Heaven.  But, not just you.  Your children, too!  When you stand before the Lord, I don't think He will ask you how Jane did on her 8th Grade Algebra Test.

I think He will ask you, "What did you do with the souls I entrusted to you?"

Your answer should be, "I did my best, Lord, to bring them home to You."

The rest is just gravy.

October 16, 2015

Shutterfly - 101 Free Prints!

I just ordered a photo book from Shutterfly and they gave me this coupon for 101 Free Prints to pass along to friends.  With Christmas coming (what!? already!? yes, only 69 days!), I thought this might be economical and useful for anyone who likes to tuck a family photo into their Christmas cards.

Here is the link for you:

https://invite-shutterfly.com/x/p93JXT

Enjoy!

October 10, 2015

The Kingdom of Irrationality

"The Kingdom of Irrationality," St. Pope John Paul II wrote to a friend.

(Well, of course he was talking about motherhood, silly!)

Here's a lovely blog post to encourage every mother out there in the trenches, who is up to her eyeballs in the nitty-gritty of raising children.  The saints see, understand, and are pulling (and praying!) for you!

She's Not Done

Julie Walsh articulates so well the joys, sacrifices, and chaotic madness of love that is life in a larger family!  Enjoy her blog post "You Won't Hear Me Say I'm Done!"

Welcome Home to Rome!

Fox News contributor Kirsten Powers has announced that she is converting to Catholicism this weekend.  Congratulations Kirsten and welcome home to Rome!

You can read various relevant stories about Kirsten's conversion at these links:

The Deacon's Bench

Christianity Today

Wikipedia Biography

October 9, 2015

Homeschool Planner Pages - FREE!

There are SO many homeschool moms out there who are far more clever and creative than I ever will be.  Thankfully, they are generous, too!

If you're like me and are (slightly...heh-heh!) OCD about your planner or calendar, then you are going to LOVE these free, printable, Charlotte Mason-style homeschool planner pages brought to you by JessicaLynette.com.  She also has some links at the bottom of the page for Bible verses and hymns, too.

Enjoy!

October 6, 2015

Think, Not Pink

A wise friend just sent me this letter, and I simply cannot say it any better.  Thank you, Betsy!

Since it is October, be prepared to be inundated with pink everything, along with requests for your hard-earned dollars to go to the Susan G. Komen Foundation, ostensibly to help prevent breast cancer.

It is a sign of the times that a foundation collects hundreds of millions of dollars to supposedly stop breast cancer, and then gives it to an organization like Planned Parenthood, which directly increases cases of breast cancer through abortion. Talk about feathering their own nest...at the cost of innocent babies' and women's lives.

I never buy anything with pink on it--not even sneakers.  Not yogurt, not M&M's, not Campbell's soup, NOTHING.  I refuse to participate in any way with an organization so closely linked to the taking of innocent human life.

If you aren't sure, please look at the following information about Komen from Georgia Right to Life:

Komen and Planned Parenthood: What's the Story?

Everyone would like to see breast cancer go away. No one is denying that a cure, just like for all the other cancers out there, would be a blessing.  But, giving to Komen is NOT the way to make that happen.

Let's remember October for whose month it REALLY is: Our Lady's!