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"It's all a bunch of bologna!" he muttered, his wrinkled face frowning in frustration.
I sighed. I had already guessed that he would feel threatened and upset when I brought up the subject of faith for the umpteenth time. However, my aging father-in-law just couldn't understand.
How could he know that I was compelled to do so? Of course it would have been so much easier to let it go. How I wished that I could! However, the stakes were too high. The entrance into heaven for two souls - his and mine - could be teetering on the edge. His downfall would be his rock-hard wall of pride he had built in defense to protect himself against feeling the many significant losses he had experienced throughout life. Mine would be turning my back on God’s personal call to bring Him to His child that I had gained as a father through marriage.
However, as it so often has a way of doing, time had began wearing thin. My father-in-law’s exit was nearing, and I had become desperate. The many moments that I had turned away chances to discuss faith because of my fear of being caught in the wake of his disgust and hot-headedness rattled in my brain like mexican jumping beans in a can.
Time was literally of the essence - and I was running out of it.
Part of me believed like so many others who had tried to open his heart to God’s saving grace, only to find themselves unable to compete against his iron wall. His conversion truly seemed like an impossible feat. However, years of hearing about the inspiring story of St. Monica and her unceasing pleas to God for the soul of her son, St. Augustine, surfaced as a battle cry, calling our family to pray every night for his conversion. This we had done for 16 straight years, but now felt compelled do with intense fervor. One of our children, in fact, actually took him on as her special petition project.
However, as crucial as this prayer battle was, I knew I had been called to do more. I needed to BE Jesus to this man. It seemed like such an easy statement, such an easy "call to arms." However, for me it was not. I had my own battle of pride to conquer, my own boulder to remove before I could ever truly be any kind of witness. Sadly, it was this boulder that would so often serve as an excuse to explain away my lack of action.
Yet, despite this and in the mercy that only a true lover of His creation could bestow, God Himself took the reigns. My father-in-law had just been taken to the ER for an episode of syncope. On the second day of his stay, he received a new bedmate. This bedmate would prove to be the catalyst for a new start for this resisting soul as he turned out to be one of our mainstays: our beloved parish deacon. That very day, our parish pastor came in to administer Communion and the Anointing of the Sick to his fellow servant and to anyone requesting the sacraments. My father-in-law recognized the St. Helen reference and asked Father if he knew my husband, to which he responded "Absolutely, I know him!" From there sparked a discussion that would change his life, although he did not fully understand its significance. Not only did he listen to Father, but he willingly received the sacrament of Reconciliation, Communion, and the Anointing of the Sick. I was completely flabbergasted! I went through the next few days in a bit of a stupor. Even the fact that my father-in-law wouldn't talk about his experience with me couldn't temper my hope and excitement.
As his health took a sudden and quickly deteriorating turn and the last week of his life shrunk to days, I was able to have a couple of discussions that gave me more encouragement. However, it was not until two nights before he passed that my husband and I truly believed that his dad might finally have won the battle to conquer his pride. Our parish pastor met us at the home where my father-in-law was receiving hospice care to administer viaticum and the Last Rites. An incredibly beautiful and touching scene, we watched as this once very strong-headed man received God's grace and attempt to make the sign of the cross. Although unable to receive viaticum, he acknowledged the grace that filled the room, and Father gave this long lost soul an apostolic pardon to remove temporal punishment. We were astonished at this unexpected gift, and amazed at the mercy of our Loving God.
I never would have believed that my father-in-law would have ever had the gift of being allowed a funeral Mass. In the end, in an astounding answer to the prayers lifted up for so long, he was given this gift, as were we. As the final taps were played at the end following the Honor Guard ceremony, my heart sung and I felt the triumph of a God Who will always fight for His people, for His children.
Most of us know people who have turned their backs on God or have refused to acknowledge Him in the first place. I share this incredible story as one who can honestly say that I still can hardly process that I will really be able to see my father-in-law again. However, reality is what it is. And this reality tells me that if anyone could have been given the best chances of heading home to heaven given such circumstances, it is my father-in-law.
With all my heart, I thank you, St. Monica, for reminding us to never give up. What amazing joy we will someday share together for eternity!!
It's a bird! It's a plane!
It's Super Peculiar Scripture Girl?
Dedicated to saving the world one scripture verse at a time, Super Peculiar Scripture Girl sets out to prove that there is a scripture verse for every situation...even the most peculiar ones!
Check out this video to see if you have ever heard of these less-than-famous verses from the bible!
It has been a little while since we have posted because one of the "grand-patriarchs" who has lived with us for 16 years has recently taken a turn towards preparing to enter his heavenly abode. We apologize if there are fewer posts in the upcoming weeks as nature takes its course, but we hope to keep up as much as possible.
For today, however, we wanted to shout out to All Catholic YouTubers out there who may be interested in registering for the Third Catholic YouTubers Hangout to be held on Friday, Oct. 20th.
You will meet a vibrant and growing community of Catholic YouTubers, share in prayer and participate in livestream talks and discussions.
We hope to see you there!!
Click here to register!
CATHOLIC YOUTUBERS HANGOUT REGISTRATION
Here it is: our unboxing video for "Scripture Stackers!" See for yourself what all of the fuss is about as we unveil and build their Nativity Set and 6 Bible Character Mini-figures !
We all know how partial our blog family is when it comes to Legos and building blocks. Well, this past week we were blessed to be able to do an unboxing video (we will post it soon) on a truly inspired type of building block (like Legos) called "Scripture Stackers!"
The makers from ourpicnictree.com say it best: Scripture Stackers are building block sets (compatible with all major brands, by the way) that bring your favorite Scripture Heroes and stories to life! Engage, play and teach your family about their lives, their triumphs and their faith! Our Premier Collection includes assorted Mini-Figures from the Bible & a 140 Piece Nativity Set!
Our kids, especially our eight-year-old, had a blast building the creative Nativity set and figures. Figures like Noah (which comes with a cane and sheep) and Moses (comes with a burning bush!) make it easy to create scenes from the familiar scripture stories that we share with them. I HIGHLY recommend this product to anyone age 5 and up. The quality is excellent, and the blocks fit perfectly with other Lego and name-brand building blocks (we tested this!).
To take a close-up look, be on the lookout for our unboxing video which will show the Nativity set (perfectly timed for Christmas!) and 6 of the figures.
Click on the picture below for a link to their website so that you don't have to wait! The creators of Scripture Stackers will give our viewers a 20% discount on your entire order (which certainly helps the pocketbook when planning for holiday shopping!). Just enter the code: FALL20.
Have a wonderful time adding the delightful element of faith while playing and creating at the same time!! Happy Building!!!
Sept. Challenge: Joshua and the Big Wall
To end September, we thought we would put out a new Lego/Craft challenge:
Joshua and the Big Wall! There are so many takes that your kids can come up with for this one. They can show the Israelites marching around a wall, depict a scene where the walls of Jericho have already fallen, etc. (They can even re-make a scene from Veggie Tales!)
Whatever they do, feel free to send us a picture! Just click on the Catholic Challenge Zone above to submit your creation: we would love to see it and put it into our gallery!
Life is crazy, right? No one would deny that. That is why friendship is so important. Of course, I'm not just talking about any friendship. I'm talking about the kind of friendship that the Bible refers to as "a sturdy shelter" and a "treasure." Anyone who has ever had this kind of friend knowns the immeasurable blessing that that relationship has provided. This kind of friend comes in all shapes and sizes too: familial connections, childhood relationships that have extended into adulthood, and any friendships that have been blessed enough to develop with Christ as its center.
Why are these friendships so important? How can we develop current relationships and make new ones that transform into those that can be defined as a "sturdy shelter" and a "treasure?"
Well, the answers can be easily found in a new book called The Friendship Project by Michele Faehnle and Emily Jaminet. And, even better yet, you can join the free Book Club at CatholicMom.com to share your experience in learning alongside this book with others! The Book Club provides reflections and discussion questions for each chapter, and you can join in the comments with others who are reading this book around the world to give your take on anything that you are coming away with.
I have been loving this book, and I personally am very excited to be a part of this particular Book Club! I have often remarked that I have too much going on in life to work on my friendships, but this book has caused me to pause and reflect on my lack of wisdom. There is truly much to be learned from The Friendship Project.
If you are able to take part in this delightful easy-to-read study, I know you will glean may useful thoughts and revelations that will continue to support your life of faith.
So please join us by clicking here: The Friendship Project Book Club.
Get ready to feel loved and encouraged, empowering you to make friendships that will last the "test of time!"
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!
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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