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Finally! Another Teen Take Vlog!
Welcome: Teen Take Vlog - Jeopardy!
Trying to take this game of Jeopardy from @ 30 minutes down to 10 minutes was a feat, but we think it contains the perfect amount of questions for that "game show feel." See if you can get the answers to these Catholic faith questions quicker than the Teen Take Contestants! The questions range from easy to more challenging...can you beat the winner?
Image attribution: http://www.catholic.org/saints/fun_facts
New Lego and Craft Challenge:
St. George: Imperial Guard to the Emperor, Dragon Slayer, and Martyr
Read about or view St. George's exciting life and get those creative juices flowing!
Image Attribution: www.pixabay.com
Last week I was driving, in a hurry as always, to reach the next destination for that day. It was one of those days when your list of places is endless, and wild thoughts of "WHEN am I going to get the gift of Bilocation??" run through your mind.
Feeling a bit overwhelmed by the schedule, I turned on our local Christian radio station, hoping for a distraction. I actually caught the BEGINNING of a song I had never heard before that, within seconds, struck a chord in my heart. The music, a driving, forceful melody, caught my attention as these lyrics suddenly rang out:
Alarm clock screaming, bare feet hit the floor
It’s off to the races, everybody out the door
I’m feeling like I’m falling behind, it’s a crazy life...
I laughed out loud and thanked God for His humor. But then the song continued, and as the music cut out, leaving only a voice singing these words accompanied by a soft heartbeat rhythm, my smile disappeared.
Breathe, just breathe
Come and rest at my feet
And be, just be
Chaos calls, but all you really need
Is to just breathe.
God had made His point. And how did He do it? He incorporated 2 mediums: music…which makes perfect sense since I do tend to emphatically respond to it, and silence, occurring in the middle of the music, a necessity in communicating with God. He knew how to reach me, and for once, thankfully, I hadn't missed it.
This time of year is an extremely busy one for so many of us, myself included. Between winding down the school year lesson plans, preparing for end-of-the-year testing, making it to all of the kids' activities and culminating events for these and other ministries, caregiving, working at the store and getting ready for spring planting, it seems like there really is little time to breathe, let alone pray.
Do you know how many times over the years that I have literally told God, "I'll pray later…really! I just have to get this done and get so-and-so to such-and-such activity…then I'm all Yours!"
Hmmm….well, now just guess how many times I actually fulfilled that promise? It's so embarrassing that I can't even say.
However, a few promptings occurred during recent years that have truly helped me to keep a little more on track, and I thought I might share them.
1. I read The Four Signs of a Dynamic Catholic by Matthew Kelley. I will admit that although I have a GREAT love of reading, I have not been able to keep up with it during my "age of children." I did read this book, though, and was truly amazed at how easy prayer really is to incorporate into our day. He makes it so approachable, so doable…if you haven't read it, I fervently recommend adding it to do your "must do" list!
2. "Pray always in all ways." A holy priest gave me this really good advice during spiritual direction, explaining that truly everything has the potential to be a prayer. I know that this is a pretty popular expression, but don't let it's popularity dumb down it's incredible significance. EVERYTHING I DO can be a prayer. I don't have to stop and drop on my knees at the grocery store because I missed an earlier prayer time. Motioning for someone to go ahead of me in line while praying silently for a blessing on them opens the door for grace to enter in for the customer as well as for me. Wow! How cool! God has never limited prayer to verbal expressions and knees of steel, as important as these are. He expects us to communicate constantly, transforming all that we do into prayer.
3. Paying more attention in Mass, concentrating on each part as much as I can, and fully embracing the moment I receive Holy Communion. This can be hard to do, especially with young children, but at the very least, try to visualize the angels and saints watching as you walk up that aisle and receive Him. It can really transform the moment.
Busy, busy, busy….yep, that's us. But, as God reminds me so eloquently, we still need Him. Even more so, really.
As I "hurry" to write this blog entry, I first want to apologize for the lack of videos, due, of course, to the craziness of life right now. Thankfully, we do have footage now and are working on two Teen-Take clips that will be coming soon.
Second, I really do pray for you that you can take that time to just be, to just breathe.
Below is a link to the song Breathe, by Jonny Diaz, in case you haven't heard it.
God bless your day!!
We're moving' and groovin' now! Top Catholic Blogs has listed us on their front page - you've got to check it out!!
(Just scroll down a bit on the page and you'll find Catholic Conundrum on the left side.)
In case you've never heard of it, Top Catholic Blogs is a one-stop shopping place for Catholic blogs, including award-winning ones and other up-and-coming ones in just about every genre you can think of.
I highly recommend stopping by and taking a look; you might find a new favorite resource just waiting for your visit!
Thanks for all of the support that has helped us get here!
(Oh...and we're working on another Teen Take video...just as an FYI!)
Have a truly blessed day!!
Image attribution: www.slideshare.net
Considering that today is World Day of Prayer for Vocations, it seems very fitting to honor vocations this week! We would love to see your creations depicting any of the many beautiful vocations that God calls us to. See below for ideas, and pray for the increase of awareness and proper discernment of ALL vocations!!
Lego & Craft Challenge (April 17 - 24): Vocations
Sunday, April 17th is World Day of Prayer for Vocations. Each of us is called by God to serve Him in a particular vocation, whether it's marriage, the priesthood, the consecrated life (as a religious sister, priest, or brother), or as a consecrated single person. Create something related to vocations that shows something special about each one, or show someone living their vocation in action!
Images attribution: www.wikimedia.org
One of the awesome benefits of homeschooling (and teaching in general) is that I get to learn along with my students. The subject of History has been an astounding example of this.
After trying several history curriculums, our family encountered something called RC History, an amazing program designed to incorporate the Catholic faith throughout its studies using works of literature for all ages. All 4 of my kids embraced it wholeheartedly and it quickly became a family favorite as each delved into the assigned time period at his/her grade level.
What I love about this particular program is that it does not focus solely on the history of the Catholic faith throughout time; it takes our faith and puts it side-by side with history, illuminating the absolutely astounding role of the Catholic Church in the world of yesteryear as well as its vital influence on the world today.
I am not sure I could adequately relate how these studies have affected the way that I view the Church and my faith. Along with a deeper growth in my desire to continue the work that so many Christians have tirelessly devoted their lives to and for, I also gain an even greater appreciation of religious vocations, my love for those living out these vocations increasing with every turn of the page.
Blessedly, I have had the incredible privilege of meeting truly GREAT priests, brothers, monks and sisters, some of which have had a direct influence on many of my life choices. (Incidentally, I don't know if I have revealed this yet, but I had strongly considered becoming a religious sister before I met Rod and encountered my true calling. As it often happens, God's plans were not my own; I'm so grateful He helped me to see the need to follow His plans!) These astounding followers of Christ so captivated, motivated and encouraged my faith journey that I developed a longing to discern being a part of who they were....in other words, I wanted what they had. When I mentioned these thoughts to my friends? Snickers and looks of disbelief were the reaction and I found myself quite alone.
"You've got to be kidding me!" and "What???" are often the responses of kids to those who encourage discernment. Usually, they don't even know what it means to discern their vocation. My heart breaks to know that they will never experience the love, joy, and depth of thought and feeling that I was lucky enough to encounter during that time of searching.
Do you remember any of the amazing homilies and speeches on discernment during Pope Benedict's "Year of Priests"? There were some that were so good that I almost stood up and applauded before the end had been reached! That beautiful, Holy Spirit-inspired year bore great fruit among vocations as vocations again increased in 2015.
Even with the encouragement that those entering vocations enjoyed, the affect of the culture still played its part. In a CARA study, 48% of priests ordained in 2015 were discouraged from becoming a priest. Thankfully, the majority had great support, providing the reinforcement they needed to stay the course. I can't imagine what it would be like if all kids could have such support in discerning their vocation. It would only bring such good to the world as kids search out their true identity and grow in their relationship with God. This quote says it well:
"DISCOVERING VOCATION does not mean scrambling toward some prize just beyond my reach but accepting the treasure of true self I already possess. Vocation does not come from a voice ‘out there’ calling me to be something I am not. It comes from a voice ‘in here’ calling me to be the person I was born to be, to fulfill the original selfhood given me at birth by God."
--Fr. Thomas Merton, O.C.S.O. (1915-1968)
Since this weekend brings us to the "World Day of Prayer for Vocations," let's really pray for vacation awareness and increase. As history has shown, not only the fate of the Church but that of the world depends on it!
Here is the newest Lego and Craft Challenge, a theme with endless opportunities to create! We can't wait to see your submissions!
God's Amazing Creation: Spectacular Spring!!
What beautiful things God makes for us in the Spring! In gratitude for how He makes all things new again, build a nature-related spring scene, or pick something in particular that we see when spring comes such as a flower, baby animals, or something you are most grateful for in spring!
Wow...do we have an awesome God, or what? The sensitivity to His beloved is truly jaw-dropping. The Gospel that we just heard this weekend happens to be one of my favorite scripture passages, and, during this Year of Mercy, it holds even greater meaning.
There are an incredible amount of directions one could take in discussing this extremely deep revelation of the Word of God, and I was delighted to be able to hear several versions due to the need to attend various Masses this weekend.
I feel, though, that I absolutely must call attention to the incredible mercy that this loving, sensitive Savior has demonstrated so clearly through Peter.
Introducing...a brand new, hot off the press adaptation of a very familiar story!
Enter: From Denial to Affirmation - an Extremely Condensed Story in 3 Acts: (Note the obvious paraphrasing) :)
Jesus, looking intently at Peter: "By the time the cock crows, you will deny me three times."
Peter, stepping back in great shock: "What??? No way!! I will NEVER deny You!!!"
Peter denies Jesus, his best friend, 3 times around a charcoaled fire. The cock crows. Peter is distraught and internally tormented by his actions. Jesus forgives all, then dies on a wooden cross.
Jesus defeats death and rises to new life. He appears to His followers many times, including at a lovely beach-side scene, the smell of fresh fish wafting through the air. Around a charcoaled fire, Jesus gifts Peter with 3 chances to rectify each of his denials. Peter responds to His offers with the ardent words: "I Love You." Peter, empowered with his new freedom of heart, spends the rest of his life proclaiming his love for his best friend and Savior, Jesus Christ, to the world.
How great a God to give Peter the chance to make up for his actions! Believe it or not, God gifts us with these rectifying moments just as He did Peter. Yes, we know on a certain level that God has forgiven us. But, our humanness often calls out for physical manifestation of our repentance. And, although we so often don't recognize it, it is provided to us. Penance given to us during Confession is one of the most obvious forms of this physical manifestation and one of the reasons why it is so vitally important. But God offers these penitential moments throughout our day as well.
I can't wait until I get to heaven and His intervention in my life is revealed! I think that I will be "head-palming" myself non-stop when I realize just how many times He offered me opportunities to physically "make up" for what I had done.
From denial to affirmation: perhaps our lives are more like Peter's than we realize!
In the next week, see if you can pinpoint of moment of affirmation that God is placing in your life.
Where and when will God be gifting you next?
It's Divine Mercy Sunday! And yes, I know it's Monday. I pride myself on being fashionably late. (LOL)
Seriously, though, I'm so grateful for Divine Mercy Sunday for many reasons, not the least of which includes the fact I have found it necessary to camp out in front of the confessional due to out-of-the-blue bizarre problems with this blog site that neither the website provider, internet provider or we have been able to figure out.
If I didn't know better, I'd think that the "dark lord" is not too happy with this venture. With the incredible amount of things that keep coming up to prevent us from continuing with the blog, we have found our resolve strengthened and have made the decision (due to the strong support of our faith community!) to "fight the fight" and not give up on our little ministry.
It's strange, really. This blog is just in its infancy... a small blip in the internet world. Why would Satan care about it? To be honest, I really can't figure it out. But having been blessed to be involved with ministries that were often attacked by the "dark side," I know that he is not thrilled with anything that attempts to glorify God.
So, here we stand. (Or sit at the moment.)
Thank YOU for standing with us (well, odds are you are probably sitting too) and being willing to show Satan Who has our allegiance!
And so, after continuing my trend of digression shortcuts, we finally circle back to Divine Mercy Sunday and this amazing Year of Mercy.
Since this AWESOME gift of mercy is so paramount to our faith, I look very forward to reflecting on it often over the year ahead. For now, as I see that more computer issues are cropping up on my screen, let me just say that "mercy is as mercy does." Just think about it!
God bless you all....below is our latest Lego and craft challenge. It's theme is so obvious I won't even preface it! :)
Have a truly blessed one!!!!
Lego & Craft Challenge (April 3 - 9) -
Marvelous Mercy for Mankind!
What would we do without God's Mercy? We sure wouldn't be able to go to Heaven!
Create something related to the Great Feast of Divine Mercy that we celebrated this past Sunday - the Image of Divine Mercy, St. Faustina, or something showing God's Mercy in action!
Click on the button below for a really neat treat:
"When I grow up, I want to change the world. It's my dream!" Big words for a boy of only seven years.
"And just how do you want to change the world?" I asked.
"I'm going to make it better! I want to be so smart that I can make hover boards that really fly. And rocket boots too! And I want to make a computer screen that looks like a window so that you can see things behind it."
I had to burst his bubble a bit and show him an example of how this is already being created, which prompted an excited description about how his future house will be entirely adorned with computer windows, one for each of his 15 kids!
(At least his idea behind it was admirable - it not only would reduce clutter but limit arguing in the household as well!).
I attempted to direct my tech-driven dreamer to other ideas such as building equipment for hospital patients or engineering more geo-friendly farms in other countries. He jumped on it, nearly exploding with excitement as he explained how he would create a machine that would use lasers to create a small house in hours. "This would be perfect for the poor!" he said convincingly.
"What would the house be made out of?" I questioned.
"Metal, of course!" he responded, a bit annoyed at my obvious lack of intelligence. "The lasers will make the shapes, holding and cutting the pieces in the air at the same time. When they're done, the lasers will fuse them together into rooms."
I was quite intrigued at this point. "And when did you come up with this idea?" I asked.
"Well, some of it right now, but I've been planning it my whole life, Mom."
Hmmmm...I wonder what this idea will look like in 20 years??
The truth is, many of us want to change the world, myself included. Given the time, money and energy, we all have ideas that we would love to implement to make the world a better place.
For example, how many of us have detailed plans as to how we would use lottery winnings to bring change?
"If I win the lottery, I'll pay off my parish debt, build new mission facilities overseas and educate the poor, provide clean water sanitation in Tanzania, buy a goat and pig for every family in Guam, and if there is some left over give enough money to the local soup kitchen to provide enough food for 10 years!"
And then the dream cloud fades away as we remember just how likely it is that the winning numbers will ever be in our hands. We all know the odds - and they are not quite in our favor.
However, the odds are HIGHLY in our favor that we will wake up tomorrow with MANY opportunities to change the world. I promise you, the opportunities are there, no matter what state in life you may find yourself. So, why do we minimize this reality? We should be excited by it!! Why? Because what we do MATTERS. It matters to the world around us. It matters to our souls. But mostly, it matters to the One who created you for a purpose that only YOU can accomplish.
The truth is, changing the world is a requirement by our faith. If one were to look closely at the "fine print", Jesus, the only one in the history of mankind who can claim the "Top Dog" title of changing the world, has made this part of our job description as Christians.
For some, this requirement can strike a chord of fear and defeat before we even begin. Doubting questions like How could I do anything amazing enough to change the world? enter our minds. Be careful...Satan uses this exact tactic to overwhelm us. He strives to bring up our past defeats and failings in order to undermine any sparks that desire to grow into flames.
EVERYONE is called. Even the bed-ridden soul who is waiting to be called home. This is another reason why our God-given dignity never expires, even before death. When a patient smiles through the pain, attempting to comfort those who are trying to comfort him, it leaves a lasting affect on those left behind that will continue to ripple outward upon the world long after this beautiful soul has left the earth.
Changing the world for Christ takes place one step at a time. Author and Speaker Matthew Kelley makes an awesome case for this in his book Rediscovering Catholicism. Just as an athlete starts with manageable, short periods of conditioning and skill training to prepare for a marathon, we also start small.
Smiling in the long grocery line as others may grumble around you is that small step to changing the world. Praying as an ambulance goes by for those inside is another small step. Believe it or not, even reading a book that nurtures your faith takes that step.
The thing is, each small step leads to another, and as you begin to affect the world for good through these small steps, you are growing in virtue and preparing yourself for bigger steps. Eventually, you may find yourself called to join a ministry, assist someone in need, or gain the strength to close a negative door in your life.
EACH STEP CHANGES THE WORLD.
Look for the opportunities. They are everywhere!
It's time to get excited and believe - the world is waiting for YOU!!
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May your Lent be truly fruitful and fill you with longing for His Resurrection!
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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