Wednesday, September 26, 2007


Myself and several friends were disappointed when suddenly "shut down" a few months ago, due to a number of difficulties. So I was thrilled to receive the following comment the other day on one of my archived posts:

Wanted to let you know the new version of this site (ProLife Search) is -- the old one shut down and this one is doing the same thing, except in an open and verifiable manner. Every time someone searches, 100% of the proceeds go to pro-life efforts. - Jim Nolan, Crossroads Pro-Life

So, what are you waiting for? Make it your new homepage now! And let the searching begin!

Friday, September 21, 2007

With Gratitude to Sylvia

Several months back, sweet Sylvia was gracious enough to give me The Blogger Reflection Award. And though she kindly left a comment and let me know, it took me until now to take the few minutes to actually get the image on my sidebar!

But even more touching than the award was the reflection she offered...

Ever since I first met Claire and found out about her ministry with the Rosa Mystica Modesty Movement, I have been astounded by her servant’s heart for God. She has such a beautiful outlook on life, and her speaking and writing on femininity has encouraged me over and over again. She has truly been using the gifts that God has given her to the best of her ability and He has touched many people through her.

Sylvia, though I may be a few months behind -- thank you! I am both honored and humbled!

As Jocelyn, the founder of the award, explained:

The reason for the title is because this award should make you reflect on five bloggers who have been an encouragement, a source of love, impacted you in some way, and have been a Godly example to you. Five Bloggers who when you reflect on them you get a sense of pride and joy... of knowing them and being blessed by them. This award is for the best-of-the-best so consider who you pick, carefully. This award should not be given to just anyone. If you're going to do the award don't just write a few words and slap it on your blog. Write real thoughts about these bloggers and what they've been to you, and if the bloggers you pick have already been given the award, don't be afraid to give to them again. They deserve it as many times as it's given.

All I can say is, what a neat idea and a neat award. And my five recipients are...

- My bosom friend and sister-in-Christ, Malori! It's fitting that I can offer my dear, longtime penpal and long-distance friend -- whose blog is titled "Ramblings and Reflections" -- the Blogger Reflection Award. Malori, I thank God for you and for the beautiful friendship we share. You have a heart of gold, and I'll be praising Him till the end of my days for the car trouble that brought us together back in '96! I love you! Kindred spirits forever...

- Mrs. Danielle Bean, who is one of my "everyday heroines". And whose blog is one of my daily (or near-daily) visits, even when I'm rushed. :) Happy, sad, touching, awkward, humorous moments of family life... she writes about with all, and with a candor and artistry that I know brings a lot of us back to her corner of the web again and again! A real-life Mom, with a real Mommy-heart, and who is benevolent enough to share it with us.

- One of my all-time favorite authors, Regina Doman. Though she hasn't had a blog for long, she's moved me powerfully through her outstanding fairy tale novels (by the way, a review of her latest will be up-and-coming!). Mrs. Doman, thank you for using your incredible gift to offer us a glimpse of reality permeated by living Faith. Your books have the potential to impact my generation -- and I hope they do.

- Alice at Cottage Blessings! I have yet to meet a more gracious lady... though I've never met this one in person, she's the picture of a selfless, smiling, creative mother who extends the same warmth to all who encounter her. Such mothers are the St. Gianna's of, Mrs. Gunther, thanks for welcoming me to your virtual "cottage", and for sharing so many blessings!

- Bethany, a young woman whom I know I'd love to meet, and who has my favorite Scripture verse (Phil 4:8) in her blog header! Her stunning photographs, often shared with just the right verse or quote, always inspire me -- as does her radiant joy as the fourth in a singing family of 13 children. Bethany, you may not know me, but you've blessed me. Thank you!

To read more about the Blogger Reflection Award or for instructions for the recipients, visit the founder's blog here.

May your day reflect the image of God that you are!

Out West in Photos, Part 1: Traveling, The Black Hills, and Mount Rushmore

Our gentlemen, cleaning the windshield midway :)

Sarah looks rather cozy, don't you think?? (It sounds better than "squished"!)

"Can you believe all this stuff?"

Driving the the US "Flatlands"... the little dots are cattle!

Enjoying the Black Hills... though the soil was red! We girls had fun taking photos...

...while the boys climbed, of course! :)

A picturesque mountain stream

We waded down it, enjoying simple pleasures

...And Dad had to gallantly retrieve Veronica's flip-flop before the stream took it away forever (tragedy!)

The water was c-o-l-d, but oh! So pretty.

"Sisters, sisters, there were never such devoted sisters..." ;)

A nice big rock-table that Dad and the kids climbed up to (I wasn't with them, but was down near a napping Mom while I kept up with my journaling...)

The hills really do look black from far away

"Somewhere, over the rainbow...

...way up high!"

Mount Rushmore, enveloped in fog! We were there near sunset -- which turned out to be the best time of day to be there. To watch a cloud settle right around the monument was something else.

But we were privileged to catch a glorious sunset, too (that was before the fog came, actually)

Enjoying Dad's treat of ice cream at the Mt.

One big cone: enough for two!

In front of the monument, beautifully lit...

Thursday, September 20, 2007

The Harvest is Plentiful...

I read a delicious poem and the story behind it over at the Bonny Glen the other day. The colorful words and scene pictured brought several things to mind...

The Solitary Reaper
by William Wordsworth

Behold her, single in the field,
Yon solitary Highland Lass!
Reaping and singing by herself;
Stop here, or gently pass!
Alone she cuts and binds the grain,
And sings a melancholy strain;
O listen! for the Vale profound
Is overflowing with the sound.

No Nightingale did ever chaunt
More welcome notes to weary bands
Of travellers in some shady haunt,
Among Arabian sands:
A voice so shrilling ne'er was heard
In spring-time from the Cuckoo-bird,
Breaking the silence of the seas
Among the farthest Hebrides.

Will no one tell me what she sings?—
Perhaps the plaintive numbers flow
For old, unhappy, far-off things,
And battles long ago:
Or is it some more humble lay,
Familiar matter of to-day?
Some natural sorrow, loss, or pain,
That has been, and may be again?

Whate'er the theme, the Maiden sang
As if her song could have no ending;
I saw her singing at her work,
And o'er the sickle bending;—
I listen'd, motionless and still;
And, as I mounted up the hill,
The music in my heart I bore,
Long after it was heard no more.

In many ways, I hope my life reflects that of The Reaper. A lass, laboring about her work, and singing "as if her song could have no ending". When souls "stop here, or gently pass", I hope they catch a glimpse of a working, maiden soul, a heart lifted in song; though not an eternally "melancholy strain", but a prayerful, joyous one. A life blended of work and song, the life of a laborer in the field. In some ways, solitary, but at the same time, surrounded by life. I shall say solitary in calling, but united in destiny.

And by the grace of the Lord of the vineyard, may those who pass by and see the maiden at her work be prompted to listen, perhaps "motionless and still", and as they continue on their way, the music in their heart be bore.

May the life, the work of this maiden be naught but one sweet, unending song, offered by a laboring heart and soul in the hopes of laying before the Master a bountiful harvest. Amen.

"The harvest is plentiful

but the workers are few.

Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore,
to send out workers
into his harvest field."
(Matthew 9:37-38)

No One Says It Like Father Corapi

And the other morning as I listened to him on Relevant Radio, I couldn't help but write some quotes down!

"The only way for you to become a saint - and, by the way, that's the only reason we're here, folks - is to do God's will."

"Our Lady led me to one place... to the Eucharist. If you piled up all the other goods of the Church over there, and put the Eucharist over here, that over there would be nothing in comparison... all other power - from preaching or teaching, or anything else, is a speck compared with the Eucharist."

"If we announced that Jesus Christ was coming to visit here tomorrow morning at 10, all the trafficways would be bottlenecked. Folks, He IS coming! If the Lord gave us Himself in the Eucharist, that means we need Him!"

"Why are Catholics who receive the Eucharist every week no different from the rest of the world? Because you receive only what you're ready to receive. The graces are infinite - but you have to be ready to receive them... If you begin to live the Gospel, your channel of grace will be widened."

"I'll tell you one thing that never wears off: the Blessed Sacrament. Get your priests to make a daily Holy Hour. When priests start living the only reason for their priesthood, the Church will turn around."

"Sometimes the last thing in the world we would choose to do is the very thing the power of God can choose to work through us... often the very thing we don't want to do, that doesn't come naturally to us, this is the very path that God chooses for our salvation."

"The lay state is not the absence of a vocation... it is a vocation."

What can I add? That's enough to meditate on for a while!

Sunday, September 16, 2007

A Quote I Love

“A set-apart young woman is one marked by the imprint of Christ, one italicized by a lily whiteness and punctuated by a feminine mystique that leaves the world about her astounded. Yet there is something more that characterizes her life. There is another gem that she possesses that causes her to sparkle like a princess-cut diamond amidst a world full of coal. She possesses a placid calmness. Like an oak tree in the midst of a raging storm, she remains unruffled and unmoved by life’s curveballs and cares. She possesses a confidence that is otherworldly. She smiles at trials, laughs at challenges, and is undaunted by the thought of dying. She cares not whether the world applauds her life; her ears are attuned heavenward as she listens for her Prince’s cheers.”

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Fighting for Life

There is an intense spiritual battle going on nearby...

A brand-new huge Planned Parenthood Clinic (said to be the largest in the nation) is scheduled to open next Tuesday, September 18th in Aurora, IL... and the pro-life response has been tremendous. Numerous Catholic, evangelical, and even non-denominational organizations and literally thousands of individuals have banded together, unified to fight against this fortress of death. On August 9th (40 days before the scheduled opening), an around-the-clock 40-day vigil was begun by the faithful. There have been special events, vigils, and rallies attended by hundreds of people and youth. This past Sunday a 7-day "Jericho March" (see Joshua 6:1-20) was begun, which will culminate this Saturday in a massive march of seven battalions circling the block! Tonight, Joliet's Bishop J. Peter Sartain will offer a special Mass at our Lady of Mercy Church in Aurora.

Because of being gone the last two weeks, we have not yet been able to physically join in the vigil, but by keeping the intention foremost in our prayers and family rosaries have been spiritually joining the battle. Tonight we plan to attend the Jericho March (7:00) and the Mass with Bishop Sartain (7:30). And we've been receiving email updates from from Eric Scheidler (son of longtime pro-life activist Joe Scheidler), whose Pro-Life Action League has been behind many of the efforts.

Just reading through the special website made for this effort has left me completely in awe. The way so many have banded together nothing short of an incredible testimony to God's grace bringing goodness even through the presence of evil. "The only way for evil to triumph is for good people to do nothing". Good people are indeed doing something, doing much; they have risen up in droves to join the fight!

And when I just saw on the site that from midnight to 8am next Tuesday (the scheduled opening of the clinic), husbands, fathers, and sons will keep vigil "in defense of their wives, daughters, and sisters," tears came to my eyes and goosebumps to my arms. What a witness. What a testimony to the truth of the pro-life movement: not degradation of womanhood, but defense of it. By our fathers and brothers and sons. By men of God. By all of us who realize with wonder how precious womanhood is, and how precious life is. And who are willing to fight and sacrifice to protect both.

If you are from anywhere near the Aurora/Naperville area, I encourage and challenge you to become part of the army! And actually... anyone can, near or far, by uniting in prayer, fasting, and sacrifice!

For more information, updates, action items, press releases, news coverage...

"Then the LORD said to Joshua, 'See, I have delivered Jericho into your hands...'" ~Joshua 6:2

*Note: Just a very tiny confirmation that this is, indeed, a heated spiritual battle was evidenced when I tried to publish this post. I hit "Publish", only to be greeted by an error page saying "something went wrong"... and when I clicked "back", the whole post was gone. A few months ago, this would have meant it was completely lost. But Praise God that Blogger has a new automatic save, which enabled me to recover this post!

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

No, I didn't fall off the face of the earth,

I just went "out West" for two weeks with my family!

Together at Glacier National Park!

The days before we left were a whirlwind of packing and preparing, and the few days since we returned home have been a whirlwind of unpacking and tackling the numerous phone messages, emails, and all the things that need attending to after being gone that long!

This week is a packed one for me, but I do hope to share (in increments) about our very memorable trip, as well as some of the many photos we took. Anyone care to guess how many?

In a nutshell, in honor of my parents' 25th Wedding Anniversary -- which was August 14th -- we did a "redux" of their honeymoon... driving 30 hours and 4,000 miles round trip to Montana and back, and enjoying incredible natural and spiritual wonders! I didn't break from my writing, though... in fact, I journaled the whole trip in detail -- something I've always wanted to do for a vacation but never had dedicated myself to yet.

So, except a "re-cap" of the blessings here soon!