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Seriously, if you haven't yet checked out Navis Pictures, you are missing out. Their pictures are so fun and informative, using only teens and kids to act out parts that would normally be for adults! Written and Directed by Jim Morlino, they teach us about our faith in such a humorous and fun way. Here is one of my favorites to celebrate St. Thomas Aquinas' feast day: a Youtube video that so beautifully illustrates the wisdom of St. Thomas Aquinas with interwoven humor - a MUST in their films.
When you're done enjoying this clip called "Higher Education," check out their other videos on their website http://www.navispictures.com .
God bless your day! :)
Today is the Feast Day of the Conversion of St. Paul. I love this feast!! I think my deep affinity for St. Paul comes from the fact that his story is shines as a beacon of hope for all of us.
Due to the craziness of life the last two days I wasn't able to get this onto the blog, but I would be remiss if I didn't get it on today! Here is a printable craft for kids illustrating his how Paul's blindness turned to sight - in more ways than one!
I hope the kids enjoy it...God bless you all!
Remember my post during Advent that discussed the crazy Saint names that exist out there? Well, when I looked at today's feast day and saw this particular one, I just had to look him up!
And yes, you did read it correctly. St. Lawdog is this interesting saint's name! It turns out that there is very little known about him, if anything, honestly. We'd be left with just his name EXCEPT for the not-so obscure fact that he has four churches in Wales named after him and he founded a monastery from which has come incredible minds that have gone on to heavily influence the intellectual world in both Wales and Scotland.
Pretty neat, huh? St. Lawdog is yet another example of how we are all called to change the world, even if our history may someday be forgotten. Our legacy will live on, no matter what.
Just thought I would give you some food for thought today.
Have a blessed one!
Aging is beginning to really have an affect on me. And, perhaps oddly, I am not referring to myself. I am referring to others in my life and those for whom I care about deeply.
The inevitable process of aging brings change, and since I struggle with this, it tends to be a challenge for me. I have a hard time admitting how our roles often change from the child - parent relationship to the opposite, and my heart breaks with the knowledge that this is now a fact that I must embrace.
The reason for this? It's a new encounter with a disease that many know more about than they would prefer: Dementia. For me, it is a word that up until recently conjured up thoughts about memory loss and forgetfulness, but now brings the realization of so much more.
My grandmother had Alzheimer's and passed away when my teens were young, so I have had some experience with neurodegenerative diseases. However, due to the extreme nature of my grandmother's experience, I had always mistakenly put the "two" afflictions into basically two categories: Dementia - not so bad, and Alzheimer's - the worst. I'm not sure why my brain automatically assigned them this way, but it did.
Recently, however, my view has begun to shift to a more realistic take on them. My father-in-law has been diagnosed with Dementia, and, although I was resistant to the fact at first, God has been gradually bringing this reality to light.
It's not like this news comes as a shock. As his family, we have all been aware that there have been times when his memory comes and goes. However, having just celebrated his 85th birthday, this just seemed natural. He also is 85% blind due to macular degeneration, so many of the visual cues that normally serve as reminders to aging people are not there for him. Forgetfulness and memory issues seem certainly par for the course!
However, despite his limitations, he continues to live by himself in an in-law suite attached to our house. Over the years many things have gone: his car, his sight, and some of his hearing. Even the stove dials have been removed for safety. And, as things have departed, new additions have made their appearance: walkers, wheelchair, talking books, daily aid visits, etc. One would think that adding one more change to our lives wouldn't be that big of a deal. Well, just try telling that to my heart!
Over the last three weeks, we've witnessed changes in behavior, mood swings, extreme irritability including irrational anger over the phone, obsessions, etc. It sounds crazy, but it almost seems like symptoms of the disease began to arrive on cue as soon as the doctor called to inform me of her Dementia diagnosis!
However, what a blessing to have received that call! In handling some of my father-in-law's outbursts that have occurred over the last week or so, I have found great relief in knowing that there is a reason. My brain was able to convert some of the irrationality and make sense of it in the light of dementia, and patience was so much more easily attained. In fact, I am already finding myself growing in more virtues than just patience.
God is absolutely using this time as a period of refinement, and His loving care for my father-in-law is becoming more evident by the day. Most days appear normal, and, unless one was with him daily, the dementia would hardly be noticeable. As is the way, though, those closest do experience the confusion, frustration and obsessive tendencies that accompany dementia and wish we could take them away. Although I imagine that we are really just in the early stages of this progressive disease, there has already been a bonus: our relationship with both God and Rod's dad is actually improving - what a gift!
During the first two weeks of sudden symptom changes, I struggled immensely with accepting what was to come. The spirit of fear was lurking at the door. However, after talking with Rod, and my own mother who took such impeccable care of my grandmother during her dealings with Alzheimer's, and through spending time in prayer, much of the spirit of fear has disappeared. I am reminded again how much love that God has for us as He prepares us for trials, supplying all of the grace that we will ever need.
Seeing God's new plan being revealed has been, in a way, like watching flower petals slowly open. I can only imagine what spiritual fruits are waiting for all of us at the end!
As this next chapter of life opens, I look forward to seeing all that God is waiting to show me. I pray that I will grow in desiring to serve at all times, meeting all of those in my care at every stage of life. And, may I never give into the spirit of fear and always embrace the refinement He has especially designed for my soul.
How great is our God!
Photo attribution: Unsplash; https://pixabay.com/en/man-guy-walking-backpack-knapsack-690642/
OK...now how about this for a really cool idea?
On a visit to a local nursing home with my daughter's Hospitality group, I met a mom of 8 who told me about the artistic creations that her daughters had come up with using Perler Beads. After asking (OK, maybe slightly begging would be more truthful!), she very generously shared a picture of the amazing saints that they had come up with.
HUGE thanks to Bernadette, Clare and Sara (and their mom, Julie!) for so generously sharing their hard work and talent with us.
Here are the names of the saints: Tip - Have your kids see if they can match up the saint names to the Perler saints above! :)
St. Agnes, St. Cecelia, St. Philomena, St. Helen, St. Patrick, St. Francis, St. Clare, St. Dominic,
St. Anthony, St. Elizabeth of Hungary, St. Joan, St. Elizabeth Ann Seton, St. Catherine La Bourne, St. Bernadette, St. Kateri, St. Francis Xavier Cabrini, St. Juan Diego, St. Therese, St. Faustina, St. Theresa of Calcutta
Another idea: If your kids try their hand at this, send us a picture so we can put it into our craft picture gallery!
Kids are something. They are adorable, trying, loving, challenging, giving, taking, forgiving, in need of mercy, etc. Basically, they are images of perfection, portals of grace and hot messes - all at the same time.
One revelation that has really hit home after 4 of them entered my life here on earth is how important they are for my own salvation.
I honestly shudder at the thought of where my life would be now if these amazing gifts hadn’t come into my home. What kind of decisions and choices would I have made? Would my thoughts be centered more on inflating my income than growing in my spiritual life? Would the thought of sacrificing well mean not mentioning that I skipped out on that cup of coffee instead of not complaining after a full day of schooling, work, laundry and running around?
Please understand that I am NOT proposing that having children is THE way to salvation and that the vocation to the single life is less than admirable. Actually, it really is the contrary. In truth, I’m admitting that I know my failings, and I am seeing with more clarity why God knew that I needed these 4 keys to heaven.
I lived a pretty self-centered life before my oldest came into view. Even the gift of an amazing spouse didn’t seem to be enough to open my eyes all of the way. Without a doubt, it was the sacrament of marriage that broke me free from some of those old chains of the past, but my wounds ran deep enough that God knew I needed more help.
It’s funny how time reveals things. Back when my children were being born, my limited viewpoint kept me focused on the thought that these children were given to me so that I could raise them well and give them back to God to further the Kingdom on earth. Obviously, this is certainly true, but the effect on my own soul was completely overlooked.
Now, however, I feel that more of the veil has been lifted. Because of my children, life itself has become deeper. Instead of treading in a shallow lake, I’m diving to the depths of the ocean. I have grown in every aspect: in love, compassion, humility, mercy, gratitude, empathy, sympathy…and the list goes on and on. As a consequence of this, I see more clearly just how far that I still have to go, but I know that with my family in my life, I have a chance at growth.
In fact, I have more than a chance. Opportunity is the name of the game when it comes to growing in virtue, and the opportunities that are afforded in family life literally never end until death itself arrives.
The unfathomable wisdom of the Divine Planner…how great are His ways!!
And how grateful I am that He loves each of us so much that He would give us a glimpse into the workings of His eternal design.
Perhaps today we can reflect a bit on some areas of growth that have occurred in our lives due to those around us. Let’s take note and praise the One Who made it just so!
Photo attribution: www.pixabay.com dandelion-1427045_1920
Here is a modern twist of the Feast of the Three Kings story...picturing what it might have been like if the Kings had wives who also felt called to give gifts to the infant King!
Their blind affection reminds us that all God really wants is our hearts, of course!
Continue to have a colorful Christmas season with our new Chibi coloring page - simple and focused - just right for younger ones!
This coloring page will get them ready for this weekend as we celebrate the Feast of the Epiphany, or Feast of the Three Kings.
When Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea, in the days of King Herod, behold, magi from the east arrived in Jerusalem, saying, “Where is the newborn King of the Jews? We saw His star at its rising and have come to do Him homage.” Matthew 2:1-2
Let us continue to do Him homage as we reflect upon this great feast!!
Photo attribution: Larisa Koshkina http://www.publicdomainpictures.net/view-image.php?image=27237
It's a good thing I'm not superstitious. Or am I? The last day of 2016 and first day of 2017 have been mixed with a concoction of unusual and odd circumstances. I couldn't even remember them all at this point, but there were enough eye-brow raising moments to conjure up thoughts like "Is this an indicator as to what this new year will be like?" to waft through my mind.
New Year's Eve had already been a bit nuts, but nothing compared to my wait in line at a local store. I should have known something about that particular line would be off when several customers in front of me were unable to have the tax taken off of their receipt for exemption purposes. The poor chashier had tried everything, finally calling over a manager to help, who was also unable to remedy the situation. Then the trend continued: products dropped off of the line, money fell out of the cashier's hand and she had to hunt for it, etc. until my turn came up. She picked up my peanut butter, ran it across the scanner and breathed out in frustration as the computer informed her that there was no such product at the store. Exasperated, she went to grab her information card that hangs above the register so that she could type in the code, but stopped when her hand reached the bare metal pole.
"Where's my card?"
"Seriously? Who took my card?" She looked at me, shaking her head. I couldn't help but chuckle. This whole normal checkout procedure was turning into a main event. Running over to the next line, she took note of the code, ran back and began to type it in. Probably because she was unnerved, she couldn't remember it completely, so she quickly ran back to get it again.
She continued on with the few products that I had when she scanned a frozen item and started to bag it. Suddenly, the scanner starting beeping, ringing up that same product 7 more times. She stared at me with her eyes opened wide. I couldn't take it at that point. I felt so sorry for her but could not stop the laugh that escaped me.
"Why are you laughing?" Instantly, I felt guilty, and I explained that I had to laugh because it was just too funny. To my relief, she started to laugh with me. She tried to ring up the frozen item again, only to find that she had to void 4 more scans.
"I think you have a phantom line," I said, knowing I wasn't telling her something she didn't already know.
"I really need to go home!!" she agreed.
We chatted about her crazy day so far as she went to reach for some of the final products on the line. As her hand reached to down to pick up a green pepper, she froze, her eyes the size of saucers. My eyes were probably the size of dinner plates as I looked at my once perfect pepper, now neatly sliced down the middle, both sides lying on belt.
"If I were you, I would leave right now and go home," I managed in a whisper.
"Yeah," was all she could say.
We finished up and I walked away, but not before I said a quiet prayer for her and her "phantom line."
I know that we all have strange days like that, but the odd and unusual continued to occur the next day, including the bizarre entanglement of my son's drone in my hair, as well as the highly unlikely event of an unexpected hatching of chicks in our coop as we were leaving to spend time with family for the day. After we had set them up in the house with heat, food and water, we left - late, of course.
As I said, thoughts of our upcoming new year kept passing through my mind, and I mentioned one of these thoughts to my daughter in the car, only half-joking.
So much for not being superstitious! Hearing my thoughts out loud, I felt embarrassed. Having just celebrated the Feast of Mary, Mother of God, I knew that all things that happen are known by our Great God, and all things have their purpose, even the weird and unexplainable.
Our beautiful Mother understands this all too well! Talk about going through weird and unusual things! I need to be more like her - docile to workings of the Holy Spirit, accepting and approaching all things in my life with the eyes of love and faith.
These last two days have been good wake-up calls for me. I hope I can remember this as the inevitable odd and unusual happen throughout the coming year! :)
And I truly pray that our Blessed Mother inspires you and our Great God blesses you in this new calendar year of 2017!!
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Prepare Ye the Way
Here are some beautiful songs just for Advent!
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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