Sunday, November 30, 2008

Happy New Year!

What? You may be wondering why I'm so early wishing you a Happy New Year.

Because today is the first Sunday of Advent, marking the beginning of our liturgical year. Today begins a new year of the Church calendar. This Sunday we notice that the priest's vestments are purple, which symbolize a penitential spirit as we begin to put away all worldly distractions and ready ourselves for the coming of our Savior on Christmas day. The purple color also represents royalty, as we remember that Jesus is Lord of Lords and King of Kings. How appropriate that last Sunday we closed the liturgical year with the Feast of Christ the King. Now we as we begin the season of Advent, we place our focus on the coming of Jesus, both in the historical sense but also in the present sense. Our readings for this Sunday reflect that.

First we read in Isaiah verses 63:16b-17, 19b; 64:2-7, the lament of His people who continually go astray, begging for Him not to leave them but to return. Isaiah speaks of the sinfulness of the people contrasted with the goodness of God's providence and mercy. Through the prophet Isaiah, we are reminded that God is the potter, and we are the clay. He shapes us through our experiences. Even in the times when we are sinful and turn away from Him, He is there and ready to help us turn back to Him if we only cry out and acknowledge our need for Him.

Then, in the Gospel reading, we hear Jesus tell His disciples, "Be watchful! Be alert!" He tells them to not let the Lord of the house return and find them sleeping. He exhorts again, "Watch!" This was a stark warning for them and for us. Jesus put emphasis on being vigilant and always ready. Jesus is telling them this parable of the gatekeeper and the watchman as a way to explain the need for people to prepare for His Second Coming. Each Sunday at Mass we recite these words of the Apostle's Creed, "He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead, and His kingdom will have no end." Let us not be caught "sleeping" on the job, so that when Jesus returns, He finds us alert and watchful.

I'm using Magnificat for my daily meditations during Advent. This is a wonderful publication which includes morning and evening prayers, daily Mass readings, the Saint of the Day, and a daily meditation. It is an excellent way to prepare our hearts and minds for the coming of our Savior.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Decking the Halls

I haven't decided if we are going to brave the stores today. I'm sure by now (9:30 am) that most everyone looking for deals are already out there shopping. I was thinking instead to dig into the closet under the stairs in the basement and pull out all the Christmas stuff. We were going to do that yesterday, but I was busy in the kitchen and didn't feel like going through all that stuff. Today hubby is working a 24 so we are on our own all day and evening.

If the weather is nice this weekend, maybe he can get the lights up. We only do the lower level because the turret and the peaks of the roof are way too high to reach safely. It would look so cool if we did it but without renting special equipment or a qualified person, there is no way we could do it. I really like the icicle look so we will be doing that again. The upper story has decorative soffit lights, so even without a string of lights in the peaks it has a very festive look.

Maybe this year we could get the reindeer out too. We have two animated reindeer that haven't been set up since we've lived in this house because this time of year we get some pretty strong winds and everything gets blown over. The last two years we put up a nativity scene with a spotlight, and when they stayed up it looked nice, especially lit up at night, but many mornings I would find them blown over. We couldn't figure out a way to keep them from sitting upright.

This year we are thinking of buying a white tree so that I can decorate it grown-up style. The "mom" tree, as I'll call it, will have a place in front of the window in the dining room. At Wal-Mart, there is a pre-lit one for only $35.00. We looked at other places (Home Depot, Lowe's, Michael's) and the trees are $199. The quality is better and the branches are slightly fuller, but I'm not sure it matters $164.00 worth of a difference. If I buy the Wal-Mart tree I have more to spend for the decorations. I love those department store trees with matching ornaments and coordinating colors, and would like to make my own theme tree. I'm thinking of doing a Victorian looking tree.

Our other tree we have had for over ten years and every year we say that we need to buy a new one, and every year we end up putting this same one together and setting it up anyway. This tree is for the kids to decorate with all our favorite hand made ornaments from the past and other old but well-loved ornaments. It is fun getting them out and unwrapping them and reliving cherished memories of Christmases past. By the time the tree is decorated, it looks very cute.

Each year, we add to our Christmas collection for decorating. This year will be the mom tree.

Last year, I bought two little four foot pre-lit trees for the upstairs windows in the boy's rooms. I set them up on boxes so that they could be seen in the window, and the funny thing is that from the outside they look much bigger than they really are. Both the boys have bay windows so it really looks nice at night time.

These candy canes looked really cute but they only lasted one season. They didn't stay up and we were constantly putting them back up, and this area gets flooded when it rains (see the puddle) so it's not a good place to string anything electric. We won't be putting anything on the pathway this year!

I love decorating the house for Christmas. I have a little over two weeks to get ready for BooMama's Christmas tours, and I know the time will fly by. I better get started!

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving!

We started our day by going to Mass this morning at 9:00.
Did you know the word "Eucharist" means thanksgiving?

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Plenary Indulgences

I did say I would write about these today. I thought that yesterday's post on Indulgences was getting a little long.

A Plenary Indulgence remits all of the punishment due to sin, so as you can imagine, it is a little more difficult to gain. There are conditions to be met, the same as for partial indulgences (baptized, in a state of grace, not excommunicated, intention to receive indulgence) AND for plenary indulgences, you must also be free from attachment to sin. What does that mean? It means that we are truly struggling against anything in our lives that we know is sinful in any way.

The Four Ordinary Ways to Gain a Plenary Indulgence are:
  1. Spending 30 minutes before the Blessed Sacrament

  2. Spending 30 minutes reading Sacred Scripture for devotional purposes

  3. Making the Stations of the Cross

  4. Saying a public Rosary. This includes saying a rosary in a religious group, in a family or if alone, in a church aloud or at least in a whisper
Each time we do one of these four works for a plenary indulgence, we must receive Communion, say some prayers for the intention of the Pope (an Our Father and Hail Mary). Also, we must go to confession within 20 days either before or after. This means that if we go to confession every six weeks, we can gain a plenary indulgence every day.

We may only gain one plenary indulgence per day (unless we are dying), which differs from partial indulgences, which have no daily limits.

When I read this information to my husband, he admitted that as a Catholic-schooled individual, he had NEVER heard of indulgences. I had heard/read about them but never really understood them. I think, like Purgatory, indulgences are not spoken of much. This probably has more to do with the trend today in not talking about unpopular things such as the existence of Hell, which I have maybe heard mentioned in a homily once or twice in the last 10 years. It is even a rare homily today that mentions the need for frequent Confession. Our generation of Catholics is very poorly catechized and we need to be our own advocates by taking on the responsibility of educating ourselves more than other generations have had to do. We have the benefit of many gifted priests and lay people who assist us in this way but we have to do our part by actively learning about the Catholic faith.

The way I see it, going to Confession often, striving to stay in a state of grace and doing charitable and spiritual works can only benefit us. In and of themselves these practices give us a tangible way to benefit ourselves and those around us. The Church takes it a step further in that through indulgences, we can have a way to spiritually benefit ourselves and others. Indulgences can be applied to the Holy Souls suffering in Purgatory, or for ourselves when we need them in Purgatory. I think the ultimate charitable sacrifice is offering these for the suffering souls, whereby they will be our most generous advocates upon entering Heaven. It is a win-win situation no matter how you look at it.

Information on this post came from the book, "The End Times: What Catholics Believe about the Second Coming, the Rapture, Heaven, Hell, Purgatory and Indulgences by Fr. Frank Chacon and Jim Burnham.

Here is a quick, easy to read online article about the Myths of Indulgences.

An Article on Spirit Daily about the Holy Souls and how they help us.

Recurring Dreams

The last few months, I have had a recurring dream. Usually I don't remember my dreams, but I always remember this one. The dream is not exactly the same every time, but it always has the same components. I am packing for a trip (somewhere) by plane and I'm running late. The dream always involves air travel, packing and lateness. This is what I think. The plane represents my soul, the packing is my spiritual readiness, the lateness a warning that I better get with it.

In my dream last night, I was going somewhere international (Heaven?), and at the last minute discovered that I didn't have a passport. Everyone knows you can't get a passport at the last minute. I was upset and wondering how I was going to get on the plane. I remember thinking I could still go as far as the farthest U.S. destination but not be able to travel on to the other country. (a stop in Purgatory?) My suitcase was still empty and the plane was leaving at 10:30. The clock said 10:15. I was panicking and trying to throw things together, still wondering what I was going to do about the passport and more importantly, how I was going to get there on time.

Well. If the passport is my "ticket" to Heaven, then it must represent whether I'm in a state of grace or not. Luckily, in the dream I do finally find my passport stuffed in an envelope, but when I pull it out, a bunch of wadded receipts and other unimportant papers fell out with it. If that is the state of my soul, I have some work to do. Those represent venial sins, possibly ones that I am not even aware of.

Being late to the airport could represent that I am not diligent enough in my spiritual efforts, such as just fitting them in when I can and if I don't have time then I don't get around to it that day. Such as the Rosary. I have been trying to be better at saying it daily, but it seems that always something gets in the way. The encouraging thing about the dream is that I had 15 minutes still. Maybe that represents the remainder of my life (however long that is) and I better get busy if I want to make that plane!

The dream included a friend who was also going on the trip and who was waiting on me. She was mostly packed and sitting around, but also not aware of the lateness. I remember telling her what time it was and then she jumped up and started grabbing her stuff. "We can still make it if we hurry! " The friend in my dream represents how each one of us is crucial to God's plan, and as the Body of Christ we constantly need each other's help in order to get to our destination.

I do think that dreams can communicate things to us, whether the message comes from our own consciences or from our Guardian Angel, or from God Himself. It is up to us to figure out the message and then to act on it.

I need to get going now. I have a plane to catch.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Homemade/Handmade Carnival-- Canvas Scrapbook Theme Wall Hanging

Antique Mommy is hosting a holiday homemade carnival! How fun! Count me in!

This idea can be adapted for use with any pictures. This particular project was originally done as a birthday gift, but this would be a fun gift any time of the year. To make a Christmas project, you could use your snow pictures or other holiday themed pictures.

First, I bought a canvas at the craft store. They come in varying sizes and they are not that expensive. I think this one was 4.00. The canvas can be left as is, or painted. I chose to leave it as is because I was covering most of it anyway.

The next step is to select the pictures you want to incorporate, along with coordinating papers, quotes, ribbon and embellishments. We made a beach theme out of it and used our pictures taken on this summer's houseboat trip.

After finding the pictures, embellishments, papers and quotes, I played around with various layouts and finally decided on the best one. Then, I glued it all down and attached a picture hanger on the back. It was a big hit at the party and something that will always remind them of a fun time shared with friends.

Here is the result:

There you have it! I hope you enjoyed my project, please check out all the other fun handmade projects, there is lots of projects and ideas to use for making gifts for that special someone on your holiday list.


When one thinks of indulgences, we might picture a nice big slice of chocolate cake, dripping with lots of frosting (at least that's what I think of!) In the Catholic world, indulgences have a different meaning. Over the weekend, I decided to read about indulgences and try to make sense enough of the topic to compose a post. So here goes.

First of all, what is an indulgence?

From the Catechism, the official definition of indulgence: An indulgence is a remission before God of the temporal punishment due to sins whose guilt has already been forgiven, which the faithful Christian who is duly disposed gains under certain prescribed conditions through the action of the Church which, as the minister of redemption, dispenses and applies with authority the treasury of the satisfaction of Christ and the saints (CCC 1471)

So what exactly does that mean? To explain, first we need to understand that there are two consequences of sin: Guilt and Punishment. When our sins are forgiven in sacramental Reconciliation, the guilt is removed but there still remains the punishment due from those sins. We can either expiate the punishment in this life, or in the next (Purgatory).

With that said, the next question would naturally be, how can we expiate the punishment of our sins in this life after the guilt of them has been removed? The answer to that is through indulgences. There are partial or plenary indulgences. A partial indulgence remits some of the temporal punishment due to our forgiven sins, where a plenary takes away all the temporal punishment.

To receive a partial indulgence, there are usually conditions that need to be met. We must be baptized, in the state of grace, and have the intention of receiving the indulgence. There is no limit to the number of partial indulgences we may receive. The Bible mentions several ways to atone for sins: Prayer, fasting, good deeds and alms giving. The three ordinary ways to receive partial indulgences are:
  1. Saying a short prayer in the midst of our daily duties. The prayer can be silent or aloud, it can be our own words or memorized. Examples include the Sign of the Cross, Morning Offering, Act of Contrition, saying five decades of the Rosary.
  2. An act of charity (corporal or spiritual works of mercy). Examples include: feeding the hungry, helping the sick, comforting the sorrowful, or instructing someone in the truths of the faith.
  3. Abstaining from some permissible good. Examples include: giving up a meal, a favorite TV show, a dessert.

Other ways we can gain a partial indulgence:

  1. Visiting Our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament for any length of time;
  2. Visiting a cemetery and praying for the poor souls in Purgatory;
  3. Devoutly wearing or displaying a crucifix, rosary, scapular or holy medal;
  4. Teaching or studying Catholic doctrine for any length of time.

So, as I'm reading this, I'm thinking that I do many of those things daily and/or weekly. BUT I am not gaining a partial indulgence only because I didn't state my intention to do so. The book says that to gain a partial indulgence we must express an intention to gain it (silently or vocally). Once we make an intention to gain a partial indulgence through a particular prayer or action, that intention remains for each subsequent prayer and action. This is so easy to do! If you are already doing these things, then why not gain the indulgence attached to them just by stating the intention!

Tomorrow I will talk about Plenary indulgences.

The information for this post came from the book, "Beginning Apologetics 8" The End Times: What Catholics Believe about the Second Coming, the Rapture, Heaven, Hell, Purgatory and Indulgences by Father Frank Chacon and Jim Burnham.

By the way, this book is fascinating and has a lot of great information. It was $5.95.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Wouldn't You Like to Be A Pepper, Too?

Remember that slogan? The "I'm not a Diet Coke, Pepsi, or Rootbeer, but an ORIGINAL, nobody's like me, Dr. Pepper?" Well, I'm noticing that there are so many "Dr. Peppers" out there in blog land. Every single day, I follow a new link that brings me to another fabulous blog. My favorites button has so many now that I can't just sit down and catch up on all of them in one sitting. My time reading has exponentially grown as I am so fascinated with each new 'find'.

There's a lot of Peppers out there. So many fun, original and creative writers of everyday life. As a matter of fact, I told my husband the other day how much all the bloggers that I read every day inspire me. For example, I told him that if "so and so" with the seven kids can homeschool, keep a clean house, and manage to do all she does in one day then it should be a breeze for me with only three kids (and no homeschool, and um, well, a semi-organized house.) And believe me, the idea that someone out there has it tougher than me really helps me keep going. Don't take that the wrong way or anything.

Well, it didn't make sense to my husband but it makes sense to me. I told him that reading blogs of other moms was a sort of self-imposed peer pressure for me. Hey, whatever works, right? If I am inspired to clean out my pantry and try cooking a new dish or whatever it is, then it's a good thing. I learn so much every day about being a mom, wife, sister, friend-- you name it--- and the best part is to know that whatever it is I'm going through that I am not alone. The blogosphere is full of lots of people who not only understand, but they've written about it for me to read!! There is such comfort in that. There are things that we may never share with our closest friends that we don't think twice blogging about, or commenting on someone's blog about. I love that about blogging.

I love to read, and blogging satisfies that. It is like having a new magazine article to read each day. I can't wait to see what's going on in the blog lives of my favorite bloggers. I am sad when sometimes for no apparent reason, a favorite blogger just stops blogging or they take an extended break because I really love going to their little place in cyberspace. When it isn't there or accessible it makes me sad. I wonder what happened and hope they are o.k. That is the only downfall of blogging, is that many times, those people never really know the influence they had on someone they will never meet.

So, we are all Peppers in some way, we are all unique, interesting, have something to say. It's just that we don't always know who's reading or listening. Maybe that is the magic of blogging. My son would say that if everyone were rich, then no one would be rich (the philosopher!) but I say that everyone is a Pepper. I just wish I had more time to read about them all.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Mother Angelica on How to Avoid Purgatory

No Bears Allowed

Last night, I was reading my son's band concert information sheet and this is what it said: "Students need black dresses, skirts or pants with white shirts. Black socks or flesh colored hose and dark shoes required. NO BEAR LEGS. I was cracking up reading that! Does that mean we have to leave the bears at home? Darn!

Monday, November 17, 2008

Some things in life ARE free

Like this pool table that was given to my husband recently-- all he had to do was pick it up, take it apart, transport it to our house, put it back together and find a spot to keep it while we advertised it for sale. A quick, easy $200. It would be there tops, two weeks we figured. Surely someone was looking for a great deal on a pool table and willing to part with a few hundred dollars for it, come and pick it up and everyone's happy. Sounds good in theory.

Except that's not what's happening. Now we have a pool table sitting in our garage in the spot where my husband used to park his car, and we are wondering if we can even give this thing away.

The mornings are getting colder and while the pool table is nice and snuggly warm, the car is very chilly. I guess we should have wondered why we were getting it for free. Now we know.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Would you rather be a Hershey Kiss or a Milky Way?

My middle son, age 10, is a budding philosopher. Yes, he ponders, he questions, he tries to make sense of things that just don't make sense. Isn't that the definition of a philosopher?

At the oddest times, he will blurt out a question for me to answer, such as, "Mom, if you had the choice between falling out of an airplane without a parachute or being eaten alive by flesh devouring bugs, which would you choose?" To which I usually say, "This is hypothetical, right?" Because how do you actually make a choice like that, anyway? The depth of his questions knows no bounds. During Mass he will lean over and whisper, "Hey Mom, if you had a choice between......" to which I answer, "shhhh, ask me later, ok?"

The really good questions happen right before we turn the lights out at bedtime. We say our prayers, I tuck him in, give him a hug and kiss and start to leave when I hear, "Mom, if you had a choice between having your arms torn off or your legs, which would you choose?" Ah, never an easy answer with this kid. I do wonder where he gets all these strange questions, what kind of thoughts are running in his mind for this to be what he is most wanting to ask. "Well," I say, "if I didn't have arms I couldn't hug you, so I guess it would have to be the legs. Definitely the legs."

He seems satisfied with that answer, so I leave it at that. Honestly, I hope I never find myself in any of the scenarios he asks me about, unless it was an easy one like whether I would rather be a lion or a tiger, or would I rather be a bullfrog? Oh wait, that's another story.

And just for the record, if I had to choose, I would pick falling out of an airplane without a parachute.

Because the bugs? They are a slow and painful death. Just in case you were wondering, that is.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

The Holy Seagull

Click picture for larger view
After years of seeing this seagull sitting there, and years of saying I wished I had my camera with me, I finally had a chance to take this picture. (Now I wish I had a zoom lens.)
One day a few years ago, when we were coming into the church/school parking lot for morning drop-off, we happened to look up and notice that there was a seagull sitting on top of the cross on the church. Without fail, each day we would look again and each day there he would be, sitting.
For some reason, this just tickled us to no end. We began to ponder what he might be doing. One theory was that he was beginning his day with prayer and sat there as a reminder for us to do the same. Maybe he was saying a Hail Mary, or the Morning Offering. The kids would come up with a new idea each day as to why the seagull sat there. Of course, it was always something related to God, as we imagined that this seagull was so thankful of God's Providence that he deliberately chose this spot to rest each morning just so that people might notice him, see the Cross and think about God at the start of the day.
Thus began the story of the Holy Seagull. We like to think of this as our little secret, between the bird and us. We don't know if anyone else sees him, because if they do, nobody is saying. This pious seagull has become for us a daily witness of faithfulness, a reminder of the importance of prayer in our day and a fun way to discuss God and the blessings He gives us.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

A Dachsba or a Roomschund?

Do you see any resemblance?

Hug a Veteran Today!

Why do we celebrate Veteran's Day on November 11?


In 1919, President Woodrow Wilson proclaimed November 11 as Armistice Day to commemorate the end of World War I. The end of the war happened at the 11th hour, of the 11th day, of the 11th month, so that's why November 11 was chosen.
Congress changed the name to Veterans Day in 1954.

A Veteran’s Day Prayer
Dear Lord,

Today we honor our veterans,worthy men and women who gave their best when they were called upon to serve and protect their country. We pray that you will bless them, Lord,for their unselfish service in the continual struggle to preserve our freedoms, our safety, and our country’s heritage, for all of us. Bless them abundantly for the hardships they faced, for the sacrifices they made for their many different contributions to America’s victories over tyranny and oppression. We respect them, we thank them, we honor them, we are proud of them, and we pray that you will watch over these special people and bless them with peace and happiness.

In Jesus’ name we pray; Amen.
By Joanna Fuchs

Please visit Mel's blog and say hi today.

Friday, November 7, 2008

First Friday Devotion

Our Lord appears to St. Margaret Mary Alacoque

Going to Mass on the first Friday of the month for nine consecutive months is a practice many Catholics participate in. They are known as the Nine First Fridays. This Devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus began when Jesus appeared to St. Margaret Mary Alacoque, who was devoted to Our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament, in December 1673. During the visitations, Jesus showed her His Sacred Heart in four visions. The flames that come forth from His Heart remind us of His burning love for us and His desire for us to love him in return. The crown of thorns reminds us of sacrifice to make up for sin. He told St. Margaret Mary Alcoque that He desired souls to make reparation for the many sins committed in the world daily against His Sacred Heart.

The devotion consists of going to Confession and attending Mass on the First Friday of nine consecutive months with the intention of making reparation to His Sacred Heart.
For those who spread this devotion, Jesus attached twelve promises.

The Twelve Promises Of Jesus
regarding Devotion to His Sacred Heart

1. "I will give them all the graces necessary in their state of life.

2. "I will establish peace in their homes.

3. "I will comfort them in their afflictions.

4. "I will be their secure refuge during life, and above all in death.

5. "I will bestow a large blessing upon all their undertakings.

6. "Sinners shall find in My Heart the source and the infinite ocean of mercy.

7. "Tepid souls shall grow fervent.

8. "Fervent souls shall quickly mount to high perfection.

9. "I will bless every place where a picture of My Heart shall be set up and honored.

10. "I will give to priests the gift of touching the most hardened hearts.

11. "Those who shall promote this devotion shall have their names written in My Heart, never to be blotted out.

12. "I promise thee in the excessive mercy of My Heart that My all-powerful love will grant to all those who communicate on the First Friday in nine consecutive months, the grace of final penitence; they shall not die in My disgrace nor without receiving the Sacraments; My Divine heart shall be their safe refuge in this last moment."

It's A Matter of Perspective

From the Tammy Bruce website, this cartoon:

Thursday, November 6, 2008

30 days for the Holy Souls

This book is a fantastic way to spend a November. There is a devotion for each day of the month, along with interesting stories about Saints and the Holy Souls in Purgatory.

For instance, did you know that one hour is as thirty years in Purgatory? There is a story about a priest who celebrated Mass for the soul of his departed colleague, not even an hour after his death. The departed appeared to the priest and asked him why it took 30 years for him to pray for the repose of his soul. The priest replied that the corpse was still warm and he had not been departed but an hour. If many souls spend up to 65 or more years in Purgatory, imagine how much time it would seem to them if each hour equalled 30 years.

This story underscored to me the need for constant prayer for the Holy Souls. Especially in this month of November, when we celebrate on November 1st All Saints Day, and November 2nd, All Souls Day.

It is a charitable practice to pray for the departed. Let us not assume our loved ones are in Heaven! Even though we hope for that, many will need to be purified in Purgatory prior to entering Heaven. This is a Biblical practice, to pray for the dead. In Maccabees, we see that they are praying for their dead. If they were in Heaven, they wouldn't need prayer, yet if they were in Hell prayers would not help them.

Purgatory is another oft misunderstood belief of the Catholic faith. It is not a second chance place. It is a place where those who have died in the state of grace are purified of all venial sin prior to entering Heaven.

Adoration of Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament

In an earlier post this week, I had mentioned that Adoration was going to be one of my top priorities. I decided to write a series dedicated to the practice of Adoration, as I believe it is one of the most accessible ways a Catholic has to be near to Jesus in prayer.

What is Adoration? It is the practice of spending time in prayer before the Blessed Sacrament, which is Jesus. Catholics believe that during the Consecration, the Host becomes the Body and Blood of Jesus. The Host is kept in a Monstrance, which looks like this:

    Our parish has Adoration on Thursdays. Some parishes have perpetual Adoration, where the Blessed Sacrament is always kept company by at least two people around the clock.

    The Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament are a group of religious women who have dedicated their lives to Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament. The Katharine Drexel shrine is the first place I encountered Adoration. This is a beautiful place and worthy of a post all of its own. (another installment, tba!)

    What do you do during Adoration? You can pray the Rosary, read devotionals, or just talk to Jesus as you would a friend. Or you can just sit silently. Many people do a combination of these. The most important thing to remember is that you are spending time with Jesus and His Real Presence in the Eucharist.

    Last week, as I looked around the Church and counted five other souls present, I was thankful that Jesus left us a way to be near to Him. I thought that if Jesus were standing there in the flesh, certainly I would not be able to get within miles of Him. But here, in the Blessed Sacrament, I can approach Him without the throngs of people who need visual evidence. My eyes of faith tell me that He is right here!

    (from the Medjugorje website:)

    Twelve Biblical Reasons for Spending Time in front of the Blessed Sacrament

    1. He is really there!"I myself Am the Living Bread come down from Heaven." (Jn 6:35)

    2. Day and night Jesus dwells in the Blessed Sacrament because of his Infinite love for you!"Behold I will be with you always even to the end of the world," because "I have loved you with an everlasting love, and constant is My affection for you." (Mt 28:20; Jer 31:3)

    3. The specific way that Jesus asks you to love Him in return is to spend one quiet hour with Him in the Blessed Sacrament."Where your treasure is, there is your heart...." "Could you not watch one hour with Me?" (Mt 6:21; 26:40)

    4. When you look upon the Sacred Host, you look upon Jesus, the Son of God."Indeed, this is the will of My Father, that everyone who looks upon the Son and believes in Him shall have eternal life. Him I will raise up on the last day." (Jn 6:40)

    5. Each moment that you spend in His Eucharistic Presence will increase His Divine Life within you and deepen your personal relationship and friendship with Him."I have come that you may have life, and have it more abundantly." "I am the Vine and you are the branches. Whoever remains in Me and I in Him shall bear much fruit because without Me, you can do nothing." (Jn 15:5)

    6. Each hour you spend with Jesus will deepen His Divine Peace in your heart."Come to Me all of you who are weary and find life burdensome and I will refresh you..." "Cast all of you anxieties upon the One who cares for you..." "My Peace is My Gift to you." (Mt 11:28; 5:7; Jn 14:17)

    7. Jesus will give you all the Graces you need to be happy!"The Lamb on the Throne will shepherd them. He will lead them to the springs of life-giving water." (Rev 7:17)

    8. Jesus is infinitely deserving of our unceasing thanksgiving and adoration for all He has done for our salvation."Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive honor, glory and praise." (Rev. 5:12)

    9. For Peace in our country!"When My people humble themselves and seek My Presence... I will revive their land." (2Chr 7:14)

    10. Each hour you spend with Jesus on earth will leave your soul everlastingly more beautiful and glorious in heaven!"They who humble themselves shall be exalted...." "All of us, gazing on the Lord’s glory with unveiled faces, are being transformed from glory to glory into His very image." (Lk 18:14; 2Cor 3:18)

    11. Jesus will bless you, your family and the whole world for this hour of faith you spend with Him in the Blessed Sacrament."Blessed are they who do not see and yet believe..." "Faith can move mountains..." " What is needed is trust... " "Behold I come to make all things new." (Jn 20:29; Mk 11:23; Mk 5:36; Rev 21:5)

    12. Each moment you spend with Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament brings joy, pleasure, and delight to His Sacred Heart!"My joy, My pleasure, My delight is to be with you." (Prov 8:31)

    Eucharistic Adoration By: Pope John Paul II
    I encourage Christians regularly to visit Christ present in the Blessed Sacrament, for we are all called to abide in the presence of God. In contemplation, Christians will perceive ever more profoundly the mystery at the heart of Christian life.
    Teach young people the value of Eucharistic Adoration.
    I urge priests, religious and lay people to continue and redouble their efforts to teach the younger generations the meaning and value of Eucharistic adoration and devotion. How will young people be able to know the Lord if they are not introduced to the mystery of His presence? Like the young Samuel, by learning the words of the prayer of the heart, they will be closer to the Lord, who will accompany them in their spiritual and human growth. The Eucharistic mystery is in fact the "summit of evangelization" (Lumen Gentium) for it is the most eminent testimony to Christ’s resurrection.

      Fall in Full Swing

      This little pile is from the whole yard.
      She's having so much fun! Daddy gathered these in a pile just so she could play in them!

      I like the contrast between the background trees and the leaf pile.

      Wednesday, November 5, 2008

      Good news and Bad news

      As disappointed as I felt last night when Barack Obama won, I know that the bigger picture here is that even though this election didn't turn out the way I wanted (and many others as well)-- I realized that as a pro-life Catholic Christian, there is a lot of work to be done out there. This should be seen as a wake-up call for all of us to pray harder, support pro-life organizations more and gather together for this uphill battle which just got a little more difficult. Honestly, I don't see how a practicing Catholic could in good conscience vote for Obama considering his stance on abortion. I did wonder about that, these past few months, as I would drive into our Catholic school parking lot and see Obama stickers on cars and kids wearing Obama bracelets. I knew then that things were pretty bad.

      I am disappointed that Initiative 1000 was passed. I am disappointed that Christine Gregoire was elected instead of Dino Rossi. I am disappointed that John McCain lost. That's the bad news.

      The good news? Even though I didn't vote for Obama, I do rejoice that we live in a country that can in just 40 years overcome insurmountable odds to make it possible for an African American to not only run for President, but be elected President. I can appreciate the historical significance of this day for all Americans. I don't dislike Obama for his color, after all. It's his socialistic politics and stance on abortion I don't like.

      Another piece of good news is that surprisingly (I am pleasantly surprised) California voted to ban gay marriage. I didn't see that one coming. It gives me hope that things can turn around in our country, baby steps at a time.

      In the meanwhile, I think it's important to remember that no matter what race, political party, or religion we are that we are all members of this great nation. We are Americans. That didn't change.

      And for the record, my dad who called me last night (gloating?) that I wasted my vote-- (I know you were kidding Dad.) It is a little hard to admit defeat, and I was feeling a little (or a lot) sad that it didn't go my way. So enjoy your victory dance and let's hope that in four years I'll get a chance to return the favor! I didn't waste my vote, I don't regret voting for McCain, and I will always think of him as an American hero.

      So, what needs to happen now?

      For me it means a stronger commitment to pro-life causes through action and financial support and not just expecting others to do the work. I am going to do my part to help. For another, it means praying the Rosary Every. Single. Day. Going to Adoration. Reconciliation. Putting faith in action by living it authentically and joyously. I try to do these things but I'm going to try harder and know that my contribution is making a difference. One hour in Adoration covers a multitude of badness in this world. One Rosary said devoutly is worth more than any amount of money. One Mass is worth infinitely more than we can fathom. So that's where I'm putting my priorities. Stronger devotion to the Catholic faith and knowing that no matter what happens in the world, there is another reality waiting for us in Eternity.

      For a spiritual kick in the behind, go to Spirit Daily.

      And pray like crazy for our country, our world, our future.

      Tuesday, November 4, 2008

      I'll have a tall one, please!

      Today, Starbuck's is giving out a free cup of coffee to everyone who comes in and says they voted. (while supplies last? Is Starbucks going to run out of coffee?) I've been listening to the election coverage on and off through the day, on my XM radio. Here, there are no long lines to wait in. I mailed my ballot a week ago. All of Oregon and most of Washington use a mail in system and I think it's pretty nice. No lines, no fussing with a machine that you can't figure out (that has happened to me, believe it or not!), no hanging chads.

      Not to brag or anything.

      I'll still have to wait in line for that coffee.

      Monday, November 3, 2008

      Fall Potpourri

      Our trip to the pumpkin farm!

      Corn is a nice backdrop for a cute face
      Last year's Gymboree outfit still fits!

      Before the maze

      During the maze... need a GPS!

      We did end up making caramel apples

      And she didn't get any on her uniform! That's unbelievable.

      Top of the pyramid photo op

      Pumpkin Launch

      Easy pumpkin decoration

      The Patriotic Rosary

      On the Priests for Life website. Can be downloaded here.

      Obama's Speech Writer Quits and Votes for McCain

      Keep on praying!! It ain't over till it's over.

      Halloween Pictures

      The Gang

      Jimi Hendrix

      Daisy's spooky snack

      Sunday, November 2, 2008

      What Not to Say

      You've heard of that show, "What Not to Wear"? How about "What Not to Say"? That's what came to my mind this weekend as we were preparing dinner, my sister was cutting the greens for the salad and guess what she said?

      I know, you can't.

      She said, "Oh no, I just sliced off my fingernail!"

      And then I thought to myself, "There goes my appetite for salad tonight!"

      She did assure me that she found the piece but since I just wasn't sure about whether it matched up to the half that was still attached, I decided to stick with the main course. (sorry, K!) .

      Other things that you shouldn't say?

      "When are you due?"

      "Don't take this the wrong way, but....."

      "Sure you can have a blank check!"

      "Boys will be boys!"