August 15, 2016

For a Worldwide Increase in Faith, Hope, Charity

Near the beginning of the recitation of the Rosary, many people traditionally offer the little group of three Hail Marys, "For an increase in the virtues of faith, hope, and charity." My husband humbled me greatly the other day, when leading our family Rosary, by adding one, simple word: "For a WORLDWIDE increase in the virtues of faith, hope, and charity."

It's a small thing, and the "worldwide" probably already was assumed.

But, for me, adding that one, little word now reminds me (and God, I hope, Who already knows -- but still loves to hear from us! -- our heartfelt desires) that the influence of evil is stronger and deeper and more devastating than ever in today's world.

God, however, is stronger and bigger and more powerful than any evil. So, we need Him. All of us. More than ever. And His mother always will lead every heart unerringly to Him.

It will take the concerted, prayerful, worldwide effort of Christianity, God and humanity, to combat the depths of today's evil. Together.

The great parliamentarian Edmund Burke stated, "The only thing necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing."

The great Capuchin saint St. Padre Pio de Pietrelcina stated, "Pray the Rosary, for the Rosary is the weapon against the evils of the world," and, in reference to his rosary, "Bring me my weapon!"

If you can't go to a pro-life march, travel on a mission trip, volunteer at a shelter, serve on an inter-faith committee, attend a conference on human trafficking, etc., you CAN pray your Rosary.

Right now. Any time. For a worldwide increase in the virtues of faith, hope, and charity. Together!

August 9, 2016

Saint Peg Dolls

Okay.  So I'm addicted to saint peg dolls.  It's not such a baaaaaad addiction. it?

For anyone who might be interested, there is a Facebook group called "Catholic Saints Peg Doll Swap" (just google that group name on Facebook).  The group facilitates long-distance saint peg doll swaps!  (Currently, they also are doing a "Jesse Tree Ornament" swap, but their primary interest is peg dolls.)

Even if you don't participate in a long-distance swap, the group does post some interesting tips and photos of other women's peg dolls to share tips and ideas.  One gal even posted instructions on how to make a PREGNANT peg doll.  (Yes!  Really!)
...I think I see a "Mysteries of the Rosary" or "Feast Days" peg doll swap in my future, with "The Visitation" now being one of them!

Through these "holy reminders" (as Mother Angelica used to say), may God bless all our homes with His angels and saints! Enjoy!

July 14, 2016

Just Get a Brick

Here in Savannah, it's just referred to as, "The Book."  John Berendt's well-written, reality-based novel, Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, is set in Savannah in 1981 and based on an actual murder.  The Book, arguably, put gracious, picturesque, historic Savannah back on the map as a popular tourist destination.

(And it certainly made the sale of stone girl lawn ornaments sky-rocket!)

The dust jacket describes the book as, "a hugely entertaining and deliciously perverse bracing and intoxicating as half a dozen mint juleps!"

To me, its romantic setting -- the picturesque, moss-draped oaks and cool, verdant, green squares of downtown Savannah -- is punctuated by John Berendt's pithy, observant narrative of the people involved in some of the seedier aspects of the city's life, the grit beneath the apparently genteel and generous skirts of upper crust, gracious, Southern Belle Savannah.

Beyond the sordid tale, however, I came away with one very important lesson:

How To Clean a Toilet.

In the book, the main character recounts the entire story in first person, told from the perspective of his being a newly arrived resident of Savannah.  As he attempts to clean up his crumbling apartment, the toilet, apparently, is beyond hope, its bowl encrusted irreparably with the local famously stubborn hard water deposits.

"What you need is a brick!" a local Savannahian tells him.


A brick.  He should scrub the toilet bowl with a brick.  Yes, an actual, run-'o-the-mill, ordinary, red, building brick (although in Savannah, the bricks are a tan color called "Savannah Gray").  A brick, it is explained, is harder than the hard water deposits, yet softer than the porcelain.


Yes, really!  It works!

Last week, I decided I was willing to sacrifice the possible permanent marring of one of our lesser-used toilets to experiment on the veracity of this advice (imagine the possibilities if it actually worked!).  I used a plain ole red brick (we had exactly one, discarded in the back yard; I smashed it to get a smaller piece) to scrub the inner bowl of the toilet, which previously had been utterly uncleanable ( that a word?).

And it worked!!!  It actually worked!

Here are my before, during, and after pictures to prove it to you.  Feel free to borrow this tactic and run with it.  ...just make sure you don't flush your bit of brick down the toilet.  THAT would be a whole 'nother kettle 'o fish...

Happy Cleaning!






Faith, Hope, Charity

Here's a wonderful new devotion that I just heard my husband pray on Saturday:

You know how on the first three Hail Mary's of the Rosary, we traditionally offer them, "for an increase in the virtues of faith, hope, and charity?"  Well, as my husband led our family in the Rosary on Saturday, he said, "for a WORLDWIDE increase in the virtues of faith, hope, and charity."

Such a simple qualifier.  Such a tremendous difference.

I am saying this from now on!  Perhaps you can, too.

Lord, make us instruments of Your peace...  Happy praying!

Funny Footprints

As a follow up to my last post, here's a bit of humor, too, from Jesus' perspective!

July 1, 2016

Help in Dark Times

When you are facing tough times physically, whether through age or illness, St. Theresa of Avila might be a good saint for you to appeal to for assistance, as she suffered ailments immensely and famously said, "Lord, if this is how You treat Your friends, no wonder you have so few!"  Also, St. Dymphna is the patron saint of nervous conditions, St. Lucy the patron saint of eye ailments, and St. Agatha the patron saint of breast cancer fighters.

The evil one is know to torment even more those who are getting CLOSER to God, so if you are facing dark times during which your struggle seems only to be getting worse -- be confident, be strong, be courageous, and know that Our Lord and His saints ultimately will not let you down!

Always call upon your family and friends here, too -- whether related by blood, faux family, or parishioners at your church -- for their help here in your physical and spiritual warfare!  You might feel overwhelmed and that you just can't do this, but with God nothing is impossible (Luke 1:37).

Appeal to Him constantly and re-read the poem below, "Footprints in the Sand," for it is in your darkest times that He will carry you.

June 23, 2016

Work the Lock, Don't Look at the Dogs

If you're a Child Of The 80's like me, then you might remember watching episodes of Magnum, P.I., a television series in which Tom Selleck provides private security at a wealthy Hawaiian estate.  Additional security measures at the estate include two guard dogs.  Two nasty, slavering, hungry guard dogs.  Doberman Pinschers.  Named Zeus and Apollo.

In the pilot episode, one of Magnum's initial security tests is to see if he can steal the estate's Ferrari.  As he attempts quickly to pick the lock, the ever vigilant Zeus and Apollo are seen in the background, rapidly sprinting around the corner, intent on eating Magnum alive.  Magnum forces himself to focus on the task at hand (breaking into the Ferrari) by murmuring to himself,

"Don't look at the dogs; work the lock.
Work the lock.  Work the lock!
Don't look at the dogs!"

You can watch the clip here:

At the last moment, however, unable to resist the lure of temptation, Magnum glances at the snarling dogs racing toward him.

"You looked at the dogs!" he exclaims, just as he springs the lock and jumps into the safety of the car, slamming the Ferrari's door closed behind him.

Whew!  That was close!

Think about it.  How often have WE done that?  Has this ever happened to you?

(No, no, no.  Not breaking into a Ferrari in Hawaii while being chased by Dobermans.  ...well, I don't know, maybe Heather?)

Have you ever been focusing so intently on a task that God has given you, but then, in spite of your absolute best determination to stay focused, you take your eye off your purpose.  You let your glance slide away, just for a second.

Only a second.

You look at the dogs.

Ever heard of the Hounds of Hell?

When God has given you a purpose, a task, a job, an assignment, no matter how small or how large, Satan would love nothing more than for you to loose your focus, stumble off track, and subsequently (yay, Satan!) abandon God's task altogether.

Look at the dogs, the deceiver says.
Go ahead, glance at them.
Just for a minute.
Take your eyes off your task and look.
Now you are focused on the horrible prospects threatening your success.

Have you ever done this?  Allowed negativity, nay-sayers, and challenges to dissuade you from staying the course and trusting resolutely in God's will?

Sometimes, in the face of everyday challenges or overwhelming odds (the rapidly approaching dogs), we have to remind ourselves to remain on task, to stay the course, and to renew our determination to fill our vision with God's will, not ours, nor the obstacles to fulfilling His.

We have to remember to work the lock.  Don't look at the dogs.

Work the lock.
Stay on task.
Remain focused on God's will.

Don't look at the dogs.
Don't panic at your own limitations.
Don't let your focus slip from seeking God's will to worrying about your own inability to fulfill it.

My dear friend has a plaque in her house, which reads,
"God doesn't call the qualified.  He qualifies the called."

You can do this.
God.  Picked.  You!
He is here for you.

Focus.  On.  Him.

Remember Peter, when he saw the Lord walking on water during the storm on the Sea of Galilee?  He asked the Lord to call to him, to prove His Presence by enabling Peter to walk to Him across the water.

And he did it!  Peter walked on water!

For a minute.

But then, Peter took his eyes off of Jesus.  He took his eyes off his task, his goal, his Lord.  He looked at the dogs.  Peter glanced down at the roiling water, let the Lord slide out of his field of vision, and suddenly could remember nothing greater than his 3rd Grade science lesson about buoyancy and density and will it sink or float.

Then, Peter began to sink.

Fortunately, Christ was there to save him.  Christ stretched out His hand (when Peter called to Him, but that's a post for another day) and grasped Peter's hand and hauled the panicked fisherman back to safety.

Christ is here to save you, too.
In any instance.
He is here even in the worst storms of life, stretching out His hand to you, to keep you focused, on task, with your eyes on Him.

On Him.

I'm not saying be oblivious and don't consider all reasonable aspects of accomplishing something God has put before you.


I am saying it does you no good to stray from His way and scatter your focus to stare instead in horrified fascination at the theoretical Doberman Pinschers gnashing their teeth and threatening to tear you apart.

Because if you do, they will.

Stop it.

Focus.  On.  Him.

He is stretching out His hand to you!


Because He loves you.

He loves you so much that He made you in His own image and likeness to know, love, and serve Him in this world and be happy with Him forever in Heaven.

And THAT's what it's all about!

So, the next time you have a task at hand (to work the lock), and you suddenly are faced with seemingly insurmountable odds (don't look at the dogs), remain resolute and focus on the task at hand.  Do not be distracted.  Seek God's will.  Call out to Him!  And you will find that you ARE strong enough, quick enough, clever enough, and able enough to elude perceived threats and ultimately leap for joy in the success of God's plan for you and the surety of Heaven.

Believe me.  It'll be even better than a Ferrari!

June 11, 2016

I Am

"Christ said, 'I am the Truth;' He did not say, 'I am the custom.' "
(St. Turibius de Mongrovejo)

May 12, 2016

On Laundry

The achievement of laundry depends upon WHEN you want it accomplished.  When I asked this exact same question of our homeschool group (72 families), these are the leading answers I received:

1).  WEEKLY - All dirty laundry gets sorted (e.g. - whites vs. darks) into the appropriate laundry cart or receptacle as it is discarded by the user, so it is ready to toss in the Magical Washing Machine on Laundry Day.  The loads then are run endlessly in the background on Laundry Day, say Wednesday (or whichever day), every week by whomever is available at that moment or a different assigned kid each week.  (Hint: Use timers so you don't loose track of loads being accomplished!)  Then, the NEXT day, the entire family gathers for one hour in the family room, the parents' bedroom, or wherever to dump ALL the clean laundry, sort, fold, and put it all away.  Voila!

BENEFIT:  "Laundry doesn't rule our lives.  Every.  Single.  Day.  It's only once a week and we actually talk and laugh a lot doing it together."

2).  DAILY - All dirty laundry (regardless of color .... let's be honest, it IS just mostly kid clothes) gets tossed directly into The Magical Washing Machine at bedtime at night.  In the morning, the washer and dryer are run by an assigned kid per day before and after breakfast.  After school, the assigned kid removes, sorts, folds, and puts away everyone's laundry.  Since this is done daily, it's only just one load.  (You also could have each person retrieve his or her own folded laundry and put it away.)

BENEFIT: "Laundry doesn't become a huge, looming 'To Do' mountain.  Once the kids get used to this pattern, it really is a quick and easy task.  The littlest ones apprentice and 'help' whichever older kid has been assigned to the task that day."

3).  LAUNDRY NIRVANA - Each child is assigned a day that is his or her Laundry Day.  That is the day on which s/he has the machines completely to his or herself to launder clothing.  If you snooze, you lose.  Feel free to barter with your siblings.  (This mom had seven kids, so each kid had the same day each week.  She also didn't implement this with each kid until the child reached second grade, so she still had the littlest ones help her do theirs.)

BENEFIT:  "The kids are doing their own laundry!  Helloooo!?  Ta-da!!!"

May 6, 2016

Mary's May Crowning

Here's a link to The Great Adventure series of (short!) articles on Mary, for your meditation during the month of May.  There are eight.  Maybe try reading and praying on two per week!  Enjoy!  😊

April 30, 2016

Spiritual Life is a Journey

"Denigrating the 'before' is common in the spiritual life.  After a conversion experience, one is tempted to set aside, downplay, or reject one's past.  In Thomas Merton's biography The Seven Storey Mountain, the former dissolute student turned Trappist monk largely characterizes his former life as bad, and his life in the monastery as good.  Of the 'old' Thomas Merton, he said ruefully, 'I can't get rid of him.'

"In time, Merton would realize how misguided a quest that is: there is no post-conversion person and pre-conversion person.  There is one person in a variety of times, the past informing and forming the present.  God is at work at all times."

(Jesus: A Pilgrimage, by James Martin, S.J.)

April 24, 2016

High Five for Mass

At our church, when the offertory gifts are brought up, the deacon receives them at the foot of the steps to the altar.   Usually, he raises both hands similar to an orans posture, but with his palms facing the family, and invokes God's blessing upon the family who brought up the gifts.  He then accepts the gifts and passes them on to an altar server.

But, last week was different.

When our (rather short in stature) deacon raised his hands to bless the family, the little girl at the front of the group -- she couldn't have been more than six years old -- broke into a grin, jumped up in the air, and enthusiastically slapped the deacon a high five.

God bless the deacon, he just smiled and kept praying.



I'd never seen that.  A child who was SO utterly excited to be participating in Mass that she simply burst with joy and high five'd the minister of God at the altar.


Thankfully, my first and most humbling thought was, "Wow.  Shouldn't we all be THAT thrilled to be here!?"

I take the faith formation of my children very, very seriously.  So, it sometimes is equally distressing to me to see an ostensibly Catholic child be oblivious of how to participate correctly in his or her faith, especially the Mass.

But, last week was different.

Last week, this exuberant kid taught me that sometimes you bend rules and leap for joy because... because... because God loves you!  And because you're here.  And because He lets you approach His altar with your humble gifts, often enough just the gift of your lil' ole self.



Shouldn't we all be THAT excited to be there!?

April 2, 2016

Divine Mercy Novena - Ninth Day

Intention: Today bring to Me SOULS WHO HAVE BECOME LUKEWARM, and immerse them in the abyss of My mercy. These souls wound My Heart most painfully. My soul suffered the most dreadful loathing in the Garden of Olives because of lukewarm souls. They were the reason I cried out: ‘Father, take this cup away from Me, if it be Your will.’ For them, the last hope of salvation is to run to My mercy.

Novena Prayers: Most compassionate Jesus, You are Compassion Itself. I bring lukewarm souls into the abode of Your Most Compassionate Heart. In this fire of Your pure love, let these tepid souls, who, like corpses, filled You with such deep loathing, be once again set aflame. O Most Compassionate Jesus, exercise the omnipotence of Your mercy and draw them into the very ardor of Your love, and bestow upon them the gift of holy love, for nothing is beyond Your power.

Eternal Father, turn Your merciful gaze upon lukewarm souls who are nonetheless enfolded in the Most Compassionate Heart of Jesus. Father of Mercy, I beg You by the bitter Passion of Your Son and by His three-hour agony on the Cross: Let them, too, glorify the abyss of Your mercy.  Amen.

April 1, 2016

Divine Mercy Novena - Eighth Day

Intention: Today bring to Me THE SOULS WHO ARE DETAINED IN PURGATORY, and immerse them in the abyss of My mercy. Let the torrents of My Blood cool down their scorching flames. All these souls are greatly loved by Me. They are making retribution to My justice. It is in your power to bring them relief. Draw all the indulgences from the treasury of My Church and offer them on their behalf. Oh, if you only knew the torments they suffer, you would continually offer for them the alms of the spirit and pay off their debt to My justice.

Novena Prayers: Most Merciful Jesus, You Yourself have said that You desire mercy; so I bring into the abode of Your Most Compassionate Heart the souls in Purgatory, souls who are very dear to You, and yet, who must make retribution to Your justice. May the streams of Blood and Water which gushed forth from Your Heart put out the flames of Purgatory, that there, too, the power of Your mercy may be celebrated.

Eternal Father, turn Your merciful gaze upon the souls suffering in Purgatory, who are enfolded in the Most Compassionate Heart of Jesus. I beg You, by the sorrowful Passion of Jesus Your Son, and by all the bitterness with which His most sacred Soul was flooded: Manifest Your mercy to the souls who are under Your just scrutiny. Look upon them in no other way but only through the Wounds of Jesus, Your dearly beloved Son; for we firmly believe that there is no limit to Your goodness and compassion.  Amen.

March 31, 2016

Divine Mercy Novena - Seventh Day

Intention: Today bring to Me THE SOULS WHO ESPECIALLY VENERATE AND GLORIFY MY MERCY, and immerse them in My mercy. These souls sorrowed most over my Passion and entered most deeply into My spirit. They are living images of My Compassionate Heart. These souls will shine with a special brightness in the next life. Not one of them will go into the fire of hell. I shall particularly defend each one of them at the hour of death.

Novena Prayers: Most Merciful Jesus, whose Heart is Love Itself, receive into the abode of Your Most Compassionate Heart the souls of those who particularly extol and venerate the greatness of Your mercy. These souls are mighty with the very power of God Himself. In the midst of all afflictions and adversities they go forward, confident of Your mercy; and united to You, O Jesus, they carry all mankind on their shoulders. These souls will not be judged severely, but Your mercy will embrace them as they depart from this life.

Eternal Father, turn Your merciful gaze upon the souls who glorify and venerate Your greatest attribute, that of Your fathomless mercy, and who are enclosed in the Most Compassionate Heart of Jesus. These souls are a living Gospel; their hands are full of deeds of mercy, and their hearts, overflowing with joy, sing a canticle of mercy to You, O Most High! I beg You O God:

Show them Your mercy according to the hope and trust they have placed in You. Let there be accomplished in them the promise of Jesus, who said to them that during their life, but especially at the hour of death, the souls who will venerate this fathomless mercy of His, He, Himself, will defend as His glory.  Amen.