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Images: Trey - Aplastic Anemia patient and bone marrow recipient/ Luca - brother and bone marrow donor
"It hurts, Mom. Every time I pray for him it hurts." Honest, heartfelt words from my 7-year-old boy.
Recently, we had learned about the story of the young grandson of a friend of ours who was diagnosed with Aplastic Anemia and was needing a bone marrow transplant. Praise God, his brother was found to be a match and the miraculous transplant took place on Sept. 28th. A continuing uphill battle is on its way for this blessed young boy, his beautiful brother, and their family, so prayers are desperately needed!
My kids, very touched by their story, have become quite the prayer warriors for Trey and Luca, and it has warmed this mother's heart. Still, I needed to talk to my little guy about why he felt that "it hurt" to pray.
"It could have been me!" was his response. "We're about the same age. I could be sick like that. It makes me sad that he's so sick and I'm not."
I understood. Boy, did I understand. I'm not sure I could count how many times I have felt that way towards others in my life that have and continue to suffer.
Sometimes, suffering can be almost as hard to watch as it is to be going through it. But, suffering takes on a mystifying yet incredibly important role in our lives here on earth. And, we, no matter where we are on the side of suffering, have our part to play.
As crazy as it may seem to a 7-year-old (and myself, at times!), God is using suffering to save us, to purify us, to bring us Home.
Due to the Fall of Man, suffering is now a part of the Divine plan for each of us, and only I can fulfill my part of the Plan…only I.
What can I do as a watcher of suffering? Although probably obvious and I KNOW that we've all heard it a million times, we must pray. God Himself has ordained this moment of encounter with suffering; it is no fluke.
What do we pray for? Healing. Seriously. DO it. I have met so many who are afraid to pray for healing because they have done so in the past and have seen no improvement. Please believe!
We can't forget that each of us needs healing in so many ways - physically, emotionally, spiritually, etc. God will not always show us where the healing is taking place because only He knows what that soul needs for eternity. Our prayers for healing NEVER - can I repeat that? - NEVER - are for nothing.
And guess what? Whether we are allowed to witness a healing is not the point. Sure, this is an amazing bonus when it happens, but it is not what matters.
What IS important is that we have participated in God's plan, fulfilled our necessary role in this great Divine Comedy, and have done what God has asked of us. When we do that, our soul finds itself one step closer to heaven, and the sufferer we are praying for one step closer to the Healer.
"Pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man has great power in its effects." James 5:16
PS…If you would like to read more about Trey and Luca, here's a link to their Go Fund Me Page:
Also, you may note that their Go Fund Me page has exceeded their goal. The family set a low goal so as not to burden others, but with the ongoing care for the upcoming months, their expenses will greatly exceed their expressed goal. Feel free to donate to give them a hand-up…they are a beautiful Catholic family with a great love for God and is overwhelmingly grateful for all of the support shown so far.
God bless your day!!
Calling all parents whose children have ever worn a Saint costume for All Saints Day or Halloween!
Sooo…I have a really neat idea that I want to propose to you! My sister came up with a really great way to provide inspiration and ideas for other parents as they consider saint costumes this year, and I just have to share it. Know why? Because her brainstorm involves YOU!
We were discussing the fact that my 3 siblings and I have developed quite the menagerie of saint costume pics of our children over the years, when she proposed making a video that included some of these pics as a way to share some of our ideas with others. Of course I loved her suggestion, but then she even went a step further. Why not ask our blog readers if they would be willing to share a picture or two of their children wearing saint costumes?
I jumped at the chance to collaborate with our blog readers!! We are all traveling together on this path towards heaven, and I know that you are so gifted with ideas and inspiration that you can pass on. I know that I, for one, would love to glean from them!
If you have a picture or two that you would be willing to submit to us, that would be awesome! There is a form below that will make it easy.
Don't forget to let us know to whom we can attribute the pictures! Or, if you would rather remain anonymous or provide a pseudonym, no problem! Just let us know in the comment section.
Thanks so much for collaborating with us! We just can't wait to see your pics! Hopefully, this larger platform will be able to provide lots of inspirational ideas for other parents and grandparents looking for that perfect saint costume this year.
Oh! And if your child is planning on wearing a saint costume this year, take a picture! We plan on making another video next year and would love to include it.
I would like to receive all photos by October 7, allowing us a few days to create the video and get it onto Youtube that following week. I want to make sure that viewing parents have enough time to put your ideas into motion! :)
God bless you all!
Photo attribution: https://pixabay.com/en/pray-cross-angel-faith-prayer-1492815/2016 Coffee
Ahhh....Vocation Day. Have you ever attended one? My family and I had the privilege of visiting a Vocation Day event put on by a local homeschool group just last week. A beautiful day like this always brings with it many promises of inspiration and enlightenment, and I have yet to attend one that has ever disappointed! :)
A Vocation Day event is one that provides an opportunity to develop one's view of their vocation, offering insight and inspiration to those who may not yet have put much consideration into the topic. The focus tends to lean heavily towards Priesthood and Religious Life, which makes sense considering that models of marriage and single life are much more readily found in our culture.
The truth is, so many of our youth (and ourselves, really!) have so much less exposure to priests, monks, brothers and nuns than we did even 30 years ago. To be honest, I haven't really stopped to think about just how true this is and what the effect has been on our culture - that is, until I attended the Vocation Day last week.
Listening to these particular priests and nuns talk about how God directed them to their vocations to serve Him in such an intimate way hit me differently than it had in past Vocation Days. An underlying theme, a theme that literally crossed the world through their stories, began to emerge - for me, at least.
For the speakers, this theme was no surprise; in fact, it had become a well-trod path.
What did each of these particular speakers have in common? Exposure to priests and those in the religious life were a very heavy influence in their lives as young people. Several had relatives or close friends who "cheered them on" so to speak in their pursuit of discerning God's will for them in this direction. Even those with one or more dissenters who remained close to them during their time of discernment could not deter them from their final calling.
Praise God, average numbers across the United States are increasing, most dramatically in the vocation of religious life for women. Still, we are far from where we used to be and still far from where the the Catholic Church in the rest of the world is presently.
But, the tide is changing. One priest stated that there is a statistic that shows that where one priest appears from a parish, there another will come. Interestingly, many priests come from the same parishes over and over again.
What are these parishes doing that set the stage for fruitful discernment? I am not sure. But, perhaps it has something to do with these young men and women returning to their home parishes every once in a while to encourage others to consider following in their footsteps. The more "normal" a lifestyle appears to be, the more it becomes accepted and attractive. (Sadly, we are seeing this daily as our culture rolls with the changing norms that are leading poor souls away from God; how good it is to know that this same process can be used effectively to bring God's Kingdom here and lead souls even closer to Him!)
And, even though a small percentage of seminarians actually take their final vows for priesthood, a much larger amount are re-entering the world with a deep-rooted love for God and all that the Church gifts us, ready to pass on this catechesis and knowledge to their families and those they meet.
They say that knowledge is power; I would say that the knowledge of God and the Church certainly holds a power that would be impossible to find anywhere else!
PLEASE, encourage any youth you know to discern his/her vocation. Support him/her if needed.
When young people do this, they will at the very least be drawn closer to the God Who has their life's design already in mind.
And how could anyone go wrong with that? :)
Announcing our newest addition to Justina's Chibi-Inspired Saint Charm series:
St. Padre Pio!
This episode joins her previous tutorials on how to make St. Mother Teresa and Mary, Queen of Heaven.
(Check out the Teen Take page to view these other tutorials or check out our Youtube Channel:
This episode includes added extras: special instructions on how to handle mistakes and flaws that inevitably happen when working with clay. These extra tips are a huge benefit when creating any polymer clay project, so be sure to watch the video in its entirety!
Have a fantastic time adding to your saint charm collection, and don't forget to say a prayer to St. Padre Pio!
Photo attribution: Statue of St. Padre Pio esposta nella chiesa del Santissimo Salvatore a Crotone
This week we celebrate the feastday of the modern-day saint, St. Pio of Pietrelcina, O.F.M. Cap, often lovingly known as St. Padre Pio. One amazing thing I love about this saint is that not only do we have photographs of his life, but we have actual footage as well! Click on the button below to see a clip of some rare footage of this incredible man of God.
Also, for a short video and a quick summary of his amazing life, click on the other link below!
We hope to see some inventive Lego or craft creations this week on this incredible saint. Click on the Catholic Challenge link above to send in your creation; we can't wait to see what you come up with to portray the great witness of St. Padre Pio's life!
Friar, Monk, Mystic, and Stigmatist, St. Pio was truly a living example of accepting God's plan without reservation.
May His deep love for Christ and devotion to His people inspire us in our own lives!
Check out Teen Take's new video:
Translator Mayem -
When Language Translation Goes Very Wrong
The team took a unique approach to the subject of portraying how choosing the words we use makes a difference. See how a translated letter from an international mission comes across to potential donors; it's a lively lesson on watching our tongues! :)
Although not considered a popular day of celebration like Mother's Day or Father's Day, Grandparents Day took place this past Sunday. This seemed to be a great opportunity to take time to focus on our grandparents or other very important seniors in our lives. Thus, the theme for this week's Lego and Craft Challenge!
We hope you can take some time to make a Lego creation or craft creation that shows how special your grandparents are to you. We'd love to see it...please take a picture and send it in to our gallery!
Just click on the Catholic Challenge Zone above to submit your creation.
May God pour special blessings on our Grandparents and our Grandparent Stand-Ins!
Image attribution: http://www.belmarrahealth.com/blurred-vision-causes-symptoms-treatment/
Have you ever found yourself looking at something but not really seeing it?
Perhaps you have shaken your head at a child who insisted that he could not find something he had been instructed to locate, only to point out that he had been stepping over it repeatedly throughout his search?
A different version of this concept occurred to me the other day. In fact, I was so astonished at my discovery that I would have sworn I was one of the unsuspecting victims of the 'Candid Camera' series!
That day, I was in a rush to get two of my children to concert band practice. (Although we homeschool, we are extremely blessed to be allowed to participate in a local Catholic elementary school band. The band director is so generous that he even has provided my oldest daughter the opportunity to intern under him as she prepares to study some form of Music Education when she leaves for college next year! Yes, I know how blessed we are!)
Anyway, after dropping them off, I realized that my gas tank was on 'E', so I proceeded to head off to the nearest gas station. As I picked up the gas nozzle, I turned to remove the gas-cap but my hand froze before reaching it.
Staring in amazement, my eyes followed a thin, golden pinstripe design across the side of the car, stretching from the front door, across and over the gas-cap all of the way to the rear of the car.
Normally, seeing a crisp-lined golden pinstripe would have been no big deal. The problem was, my car had NO such pinstripe!
"What is going on?" I wondered. Then my eyes widened. "No way...did I take someone else's car???" Unfortunately for me, these words made their way from my mind to my tongue, causing a wary look to come my way from a customer at the neighboring pump. Embarrassed, I laughed (gagged was more like it) to hide my reaction, then I hid behind the car that I had apparently stolen. Trying desperately to make sense of it all, I opened the door to check out the inside.
To my complete amazement, I realized that this car was indeed my own, and after a quick replay of the day, it came to me that my hubby must have put it on when he was "fixing the breaks" that morning to surprise me. A quick check of the other side of the car confirmed my suspicions: that side had no pinstripe, which meant that I had taken the car before he had had the chance to finish.
As I returned to my side of the car, relief and gratitude filled me. I stifled a laugh as I looked up and found my gas-pumping "neighbor" staring at me. No doubt, the fact that I was still carrying the pump nozzle coupled with my relieved grin were likely a concerning sight - and I could only imagine the tale he would be telling later on that day.
What is the point of this story?
ALWAYS make sure you are driving your own car.
Just kidding, of course!
In all seriousness, though, I can't help but be reminded of the times that God sends blessings my way; those that I see, hear, smell, taste, and even touch every day, yet of which I take little notice, if any at all.
Like missing that golden pinstripe when I had first driven off in the car, I know that I am missing these detailed moments of grace He is placing for me. And, still like the pinstripe, I wonder how many times I have rushed off, not giving Him a chance to finish a certain moment of blessing in my day.
Let's try harder to take notice of these special occasions of grace He puts into our lives. I don't know about you, but I really don't want to have to be taken by surprise like that again!
So, many people have not heard of St. Eustace, but he is known as one of the the patron saints of Hunters. In honor of his feastday on Sept. 20th, we made a quick video on a fun craft for kids: a homemade Nerf Bullseye Game!
Kids really enjoy it, and, depending on their age, can make it with little or no help. It also uses recycled materials and items from around the house, so it won't even come close to breaking the budget!
We really hope you enjoy this fun project. As long as the kids take care to adhere the duct tape well, it will be a fun game to last quite a while!
And, while you're at it, don't forget to say a quick prayer to St. Eustace! :)
Yay! Mother Teresa is now a saint!!!! Naturally, it makes sense to dedicate this week's Lego and Craft Challenges to this incredible example of being a servant of God.
Feel free to make a creation that depicts any part of her life - her early years as a nun, scenes of her service to the poor, her reaching out to the media in other countries to teach and inspire others to serve, etc.
The possibilities are endless when it comes to her life!
For a very cute 7-minute animated video on her life, click on the button below. It may get your creative juices flowing and inspire you - not only in regards to your creation, but also in regards to serving God!
To submit your creation, click on the Catholic Challenge Zone above!
Looking for our videos? Check out the Teen Take and Kid Korner tabs above!!
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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