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Weeks ago, while we were in North Carolina, we found a rock. With the help of the rock's natural shape, a mountain had been beautifully painted on one side with the words "You Can Move Mountains." On the reverse side was painted "Denver Rocks Facebook."
My usual "in the know" self, I remarked, "What a cool rock!"
My kids, having heard of the "Kindness Rocks" phenomenon, groaned.
"Mom, don't you know what this is? It's one of those painted rocks that people hide so others can find them."
They were obviously thrilled to have found their first one, sparking a conversation of explanation and what-ifs. Suddenly, a lightbulb appeared over my daughter's head as she announced, "We should do this for the blog!"
Everyone agreed. Unfortunately, since school started immediately after that trip, the idea had to be put on the back burner. However, when our oldest came home from college for a weekend visit a few days ago (and the weather was perfect for an outside project), we decided to make time to bring her idea to life!
Above are our first attempts. Each rock depicts an image of our faith on one side with a scripture verse on the other. The back of the rock also contains our blog name so that hopefully people can report when they have found one. I know that this is typically a Facebook phenomenon due to the large number of participants and tends to be held citywide, but we thought we'd try it out on the blog to see if anyone would find our rocks and report them! We are going to hide some of them locally and hopefully we will get to see how far they can go. We will also make more to bring on any trips that we may take out of state to see how far we can spread the news that the "Catholic Faith Rocks!"
In all seriousness, though, it really is another unique way to evangelize with love and kindness. God may use one of the scripture verses to touch someone, and perhaps the "checking out" of the blog will bring someone in contact with the Catholic faith in a new way. In other words, we'll plant the seed, and God will make it grow!
We would LOVE it if you would like to join us on this journey! Over the next week, we will be making a new page just for the "Catholic Faith Rocks" project. If you make a rock and want to send us a picture, we will put it up into our gallery! In fact, if you want to put our website name on the back to see if anyone reports it, we will post any reports that come in on the page as well.
As soon as the page is ready to receive pictures of your awesome rocks, we will post about it right here on the blog, so be sure to check back!
God bless your awesome creativity!!!!!
And may our "seeds" grow to produce great fruit! :)
St. Joseph of Cupertino, nicknamed "The Flying Friar" after the 1962 movie The Reluctant Saint, has become a favorite saint in my family.
Incidentally, I know that this movie is older and considered a classic, but it really is a must-see! Well-acted and scripted, it would be just shy of impossible to come away from this comedic drama (yes, I did use these words together) without a newfound respect and affinity for this beloved saint and his comrades.
As we celebrate his feast day this month, Justina wanted to share this tutorial on how to make this adorable Chibi charm, equipped with wings to remind us of his patronage for aviators and flying. It is the perfect addition to your charm collection, a gift for a loved one, or the starting point for developing a new collection of saint charms!
If you have any questions or wish to see a tutorial of another saint charm, click here for a Chibi Saint Charm Playlist with tutorials on how to make Mother Teresa, St. Therese, St. Pope John Paul II and more!
Tomorrow is the 2nd Catholic YouTuber's Hangout! If you are Catholic and have a YouTube channel, feel free to join this growing online community that is seeking to increase clean and moral content online!
We all encounter them. Those times in our lives when it is not just raining...it's pouring. We raise our hands to heaven, shielding our eyes from the deluge as it torrents down upon us.
"A little help here!" we call out through the roar, waiting anxiously for an answer. Sometimes the sunlight, responding to our cries, penetrates the wave of chaos clearly, enlightening our paths. At other times we strain but can't catch a glimpse of the light we believe is beyond the deluge. As well and like a typical monsoon, we often see glimpses of light followed by an even greater torrent.
To say that confusion and anxiety and at least a bit of fear rise to the top of our emotional ladders during these times would be an understatement. I know some who claim that the existence of these emotions during turmoil means that our faith is weak, and this weakness proves that our faith is not strong enough to stand the storm. Still, while in an objective sense this may be true, it is vital that we realize that there are so many more levels of reality that surround these times of weakness.
You may know those who have spent years struggling to "regain" the faith they felt they had lost. I have watched people whom I would consider advanced on their walk to holiness stumble painfully as doubt in their faith clouded their ability to move forward.
Why does this happen? Theologians and students of humanity itself could supply myriads of answers to this question. But, if I were to find a common bottom line to all of them, I would have to zero in on one basic truth...we are all human, subject to the original fall of man. In other words, no matter our position on our walk to holiness, moments of doubt, our own "dark moments of the soul," can occur. It can happen to each of us.
If we encounter these moments, are we disappointed in ourselves? Do we punish ourselves for being weak in our faith? To be sure, I would suggest that the suffering that naturally comes with doubt and fear brings enough of its own punishment. Do we lose confidence in ourselves or in what we had believed to be true? Do we become overwhelmed with the sense of loss and purposelessness to the point that we want to give up?
I pose these questions purposefully because they point to devices used regularly by the evil one himself.
However, there lies the paradox, and this paradox brings us much hope and strength.
In his attempt to bring about a complete fall of faith, Satan is actually providing a breeding ground for an advanced faith to grow: a reinforced, renewed, bold, and stalwart faith to continue on the path to holiness, and one that often becomes so transformative that it contains even more power to spread the Kingdom here on earth.
In his desire to bring down the soul and its impact on the world, he, in fact, provides a chance for it to be lifted up higher than it had ever been, igniting in it a fire that can spread further than its original embers could ever have.
So, today I write this blog post to encourage you to never lose heart if and when you or your loved ones encounter moments of weakness in faith, or even periods of complete darkness of the soul. Just as we often hear the many stories and narratives concerning our God as the Potter or as the Refiner, we must be assured that its point is more based on reality than we could imagine.
Let's not be afraid to be refined and molded to be all that He created us to be. Yes, weakness is not fun. But our weaknesses have to be confronted to be molded and refined out of us. Praise the Maker Who is always there, especially in our weakness, as He carefully and craftily shapes us into who He intends us to be, with the eventual end of becoming perfect someday with Him and any doubt will have become a distant memory.
We have two winners for "The Case for Christ" video giveaway!!
Thanks to all who entered. Stay tuned for further future giveaways! :)
The hours are counting down for our "The Case for Christ" Giveaway!
The Drawing will be held at 3pm on Sunday, August 27th.
Carmel Communications is giving us TWO DVDs to give away...so don't be afraid to enter! :)
CLICK HERE TO SEE OUR REVIEW AND ENTER:
"THE CASE FOR CHRIST" GIVEAWAY
When I first heard about The Case for Christ, my first reaction was to lump it in with many of the other existing Christian movies that, although wholesome, fall flat in regards to script writing and acting and delivery categories. However, upon realizing the depth of the cast (Mike Vogel, Erika Christensen, Robert Forster, Faye Dunaway, L. Scott Caldwell, Frankie Faison and Jordan Cox), my interest was piqued. It wasn't until I read three pages of reviews by prominent Catholic endorsements, however, that I knew that I couldn't pass this one up.
The Case for Christ is based on the true story of Lee Strobel, an atheist and hard-hitting journalist who finds himself at a crossroads when his wife, also an avowed atheist, suddenly announces her new-found faith in Jesus. Horrified at the thought that he has lost his wife to a cultish and illogical form of thinking that is tearing his marriage apart, he sets out to change her mind.
Using the exceptional investigative skills that had propelled him to his recent promotion to legal editor at the Chicago Tribune, he pursues the biggest story of his life: debunking Christianity. What he eventually finds is not what he expects, resulting in a shake-up to the very core of all he had previously believed.
First, let me begin with echoing the words of Matthew Pinto, Publisher of Ascension Press.
"Conversion can be a challenging road for anyone, as evidenced in our own life experiences and through the characters in The Case for Christ. Balancing very real human emotions with the compelling hard evidence for Christ's resurrection, this movie takes viewers on an emotional odyssey that culminates in beautiful expression of Gods saving grace. Objective minds will be challenged."
For my review, I would love to point out several aspects of this movie truly caught my attention.
Number 1: The acting far exceeded my expectations. In particular, I found the relationship between Lee and his wife Leslie real and refreshing with a depth and feel for the characters that played out very well on screen. Mike Vogel succeeded in bringing the character of Lee Strobel to life, producing a seamless connection between his emotions and those of the viewers. I would, however, have liked to see a little more depth in Leslie's character and spiritual formation (through no fault of Erika Christensen), but with movie length limitations being what they are, it would have been difficult to develop this fully.
Number 2: The Catholic presence in the movie and the weight that the words of Father Jose Maria Marquez (played by Miguel Perez) bore on the transformation of Lee were surprising and refreshing. In today's world it can be challenging to find even an acknowledgment of the Catholic faith in many contemporary Christian films. However, the words of Father Marquez (one word in particular) became an actual pivot point in this film. I also loved the reference to Our Lady through the use of the camera as well as the attention given to the Shroud of Turin. (Although the viewer must remember that recent developments in proof of the shroud's origination was not available in the 1980's.)
Number 3: The climactic scene was delivered perfectly. Without giving anything away, I LOVED this scene for its simplicity, camera work, acting and ability to hone in on emotions necessary for its effectiveness and delivery.
All in all, I would definitely recommend this movie to teens and adults. Some semi-graphic images depicting a crime scene, a dramatic scene in which a child is choking, as well as marital arguments resulting in tears may make the film not suitable for children.
For those script buffs, you will find similar issues to other scripts created from already written works. However, I am pleased to say that these issues had little impact on the effectiveness of the film.
I truly hope you have a chance to check out The Case for Christ. I encourage you to click on the link to the trailer below to get a better idea of what all of the fuss is about!
And, this week only, you have a chance to win a copy of
The Case for Christ !! Just fill out the entry form below.
The winner's name will be randomly drawn on
Sunday, August 27th., 2017.
Enter your information below to win a copy of the DVD!!!
To check out the Case for Christ for yourself, visit its website at
So many of us do it. I mean, really, it's the Christian thing, right? A challenge pops up in our lives and we do what we're supposed to do...run to scripture. Jumping into the Divine Word of God, we hope to find an answer to our quandary by selecting a random verse or chapter in the Bible. If all goes well, we will come away with the guidance that we are seeking, knowing God is speaking directly to us in our situation.
I have done this MANY times.
Sometimes I have been left scratching my head.
Other times, I have come away astonished at how perfectly a verse has spoken to me.
There is beauty in knowing that God is always speaking through His word. However, it is important to be aware that there can be danger in "spinning the wheel."
First of all, why are we going to scripture in the first place? It is because we know we are literally taking in the Words of God - and I do mean the plural form of word. We can't go wrong with His word, because it is never wrong. However, interpretation of it can be.
Scott Hahn speaks famously in a way that makes a great case regarding the danger of interpretation:
A person blindly flips through the Bible and points at a passage.
"Then he went away and hanged himself." Matthew 27:5
The person quickly selects another passage, blindly flipping through and finger pointing to another passage:
"Go now and do the same."
I think the point here is clearly made! :)
If we are coming to scripture to get a good idea of what God is saying to us, it would be much better to approach scripture on a more consistent basis, not just on an "I need it now" basis. Coming to scripture consistently means that I am getting to know God. Just as when I can listen to acquaintances and inaccurately take away the meaning of their words because I don't know them well enough to understand, so as it can be with Bible verses.
In fact, it is even more likely that we will find greater meaning and guidance when those immediate situations occur since we will already know Him well enough to be aware of where to look, understanding each word to an even greater and deeper degree. We might never even have to open the Bible; the perfect verse might appear in our mind's eye, all because we have spent time listening to Him.
As always, it is all about developing that relationship with God. As the relationship grows, it will become easier to hear His voice through His word.
So, am I saying that we need to forego spinning the wheel of Bible Roulette? No.
But I do want to encourage others to NOT be discouraged when we land on verses that recommend that we hang ourselves. God is trying to tell us to keep digging. The more verses we land on, the more time we spend with Him. It really could be that He is purposely confounding our minds to that very end: He wants to work on that relationship with us.
Let's go to scripture every day. Let's get to know Him more and more so that when those challenges that require guidance and direction arise, we are better equipped to hear and understand His voice.
This way, when we land on verses like Job 19:17, "My breath is offensive to my wife; I am loathsome to my own brothers," we won't take it too personally. There is so much more that God is really trying to say!!
Photo attribution: https://www.flickr.com/photos/45378259@N05/6050121954
We couldn't wait to get this song up! Our third installment in the Sacrament Song Series, this song is sure to stick in your head as the kids sing about how the Holy Spirit saved the day 2000 years ago and today in the gifted sacrament of Confirmation! Again, this song is for kids, by kids, and will hopefully become a family favorite!
Enjoy and please pass this on to anyone and everyone! :)
"Ummm....it's a good thing I know your family!"
My friend attempted to hide a smile as she glanced at my eight-year old guy standing next to her in our driveway. She had just dropped him off after a play-date with her son for the day. Her quick look spoke volumes and I knew that my son had put his foot in his mouth...again.
"Uh oh...what did he say?" I asked, nervously.
"Well, we were eating dinner, and for some reason he looked up and said, 'Well, you know we are Nazis.'"
My mouth fell open in horror. "Nazis? What??"
My friend smiled and and chuckled in understanding like only she could.
"I didn't know what to say, so I asked him why he thinks you are Nazis. He said, "Well, we're German, so that means we are Nazis!"
I clapped my hand over my forehead and groaned. "Good grief!" was all I could muster for a minute as I joined in her laughing.
I wasn't expecting to have to explain the differences between evil factions and the history of part of my heritage, but I certainly did that night. I also made sure to cover the Italian and Hungarian side of my husband just to make sure my witty lad wouldn't branch out into these areas someday instead.
Awkwardness aside, our exchange did bring something to mind.
Just because I claim to be Catholic does not really mean that others should assume that I automatically live up to higher Christian moral standards. I may have been baptized into the faith, but if I am not attempting to live it out on a daily basis, I am not setting an example of Christian behavior exemplified by Christ, nor am I being a witness of His great love.
If I am not careful, my little world will stay that way - confined to my own life.
Truly living a Catholic life literally transforms the world, whether I realize it or not. This is true for the young mom raising children at home, the man balancing prayer and service to others in-between corporate meetings, and the elderly senior praying unceasingly for the world as he/she prepares to enter the heavenly kingdom.
Being Catholic Christians requires authenticity.
Let's not just say we are Catholic. Let's live our lives in ways that do not hide the candle of our faith under a bushel. In a time in history when we are often told to "own who we are," let us do just that.
May we constantly strive to be who God made us to be - His head, arms, and feet - to a world longing to be loved and set free.
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Be With Us, Holy Spirit!
Enjoy some songs to help us become closer to the Third Person in the Trinity!
If a song's title includes (family recording), please refer to the blog entry on 3/8/16 for info...
Hi! I'm a Catholic mom who loves to encourage and support others in their journey to live the beauty of our Catholic faith in a modern world. It can be a struggle, no doubt, but God has given us the tools we need! Join my family (both immediate and extended!) and me as we take on this incredible journey of our path to holiness.
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