Tuesday, December 08, 2009

What I'd Like to Say

...my goddaughter, Miss Rose, very articulately expressed a lot of what I'd like to say on the whole "Happy-Holidays-versus-Merry-Christmas" thing, as well as the "get-it-over-with-Christmas-starting-in-October-and-ending-Dec-26-rush". How's that for a lot of hyphens? :)

Anyway, take a trip over for some good thoughts.

Blessed Advent Week of Peace!

Monday, December 07, 2009

Advent Message from Papa Benedict

VATICAN CITY, NOV. 30, 2009 (Zenit.org).- As the Church begins Advent, Benedict XVI is recalling that it is a season to recall how God comes to visit us.

The Pope said this during a homily at First Vespers on Saturday, with which the Church began Advent and the new liturgical year.

The Holy Father reflected on the etymology of the word "advent" from the Latin adventus. "With the word adventus an attempt was made essentially to say: God is here, he has not withdrawn from the world, he has not left us alone," he explained. "Although we cannot see or touch him, as is the case with tangible realities, he is here and comes to visit us in multiple ways."

The Pontiff added that the expression advent also includes "visitatio, which means simply and properly 'visit."

"In this case," he said, "it is a visit of God: He enters my life and wants to address me."

Taking time
Benedict XVI acknowledged that we all experience "having little time for the Lord and little time for ourselves."

"We end up by being absorbed in 'doing,'" he said. "Is it not true that often activity possesses us, that society with its many interests monopolizes our attention? Is it not true that we dedicate much time to amusements and leisure of different kinds? Sometimes things 'trap' us."

In this scenario, the Holy Father said, Advent "invites us to pause in silence to grasp a presence." He continued: "It is an invitation to understand that every event of the day is a gesture that God directs to us, sign of the care he has for each one of us. How many times God makes us perceive something of his love! To have, so to speak, an 'interior diary' of this love would be a beautiful and salutary task for our life! Advent invites and stimulates us to contemplate the Lord who is present. Should not the certainty of his presence help us to see the world with different eyes? Should it not help us to see our whole existence as a 'visit,' as a way in which he can come to us and be close to us, in each situation?"

Advent is furthermore a time of joy, the Pontiff said. It is "the time of the presence and the expectation of the eternal. Precisely for this reason it is, in a particular way, the time of joy, of an internalized joy, that no suffering can erase. Joy because of the fact that God became a child. This joy, invisibly present in us, encourages us to walk with confidence."

And this joy, he concluded, finds a model and support in the Virgin Mary, "through whom the Child Jesus has been given to us." He prayed: "May she, faithful disciple of her Son, obtain for us the grace to live this liturgical time vigilant and diligent in waiting."

~from zenit.org

Monday, November 30, 2009

Straightening Out the "2012" Craze

I know that it seems like I've abandoned this poor blog. Not intentionally, to be sure, but that's just how things play out. One of these days perhaps I can play catch-up here.

In the meantime, I can't help but take a moment to share this very informative film review about 2012 from Fr. Barron. He clearly and effectively explains just what is askew with this extravagant movie.

Catholics, let's not put a cent of support towards such flagrant disdain for Holy Mother Church. And not only for Catholicism, but towards all Christianity. Kyrie eleison!

Monday, October 26, 2009

Not In Control

I'm a perfectionist. Anyone who knows me well will tell you I am detailed oriented. I try to be organized.

And the past few days have been the kind that makes one feel and look disorganized, despite one's very best efforts. Ever experience a situation when your best-laid plans get thwarted, and you exhaust your resources to remake them but it still doesn't work out?

In a nutshell, a much-anticipated event I'd planned for my R.E. program families to have tomorrow at a local nursing home was cancelled Friday morning by the Home's Activities Director. I had another prospective location that was to take us (hopeful "plan B"), but at 1:30 this afternoon they decided against it, too! I was left with 75 children prepared to come in saints' costumes with music and talks, and no where for them to give the program...

In this midst of this saga, our main computer officially froze up. AND for awhile the laptop wouldn't access the database of phone numbers I needed to notify the 48 families. (Thankfully Veronica was able to procure the file for me).

The temptation to get deflated and frustrated has definitely been present. I mean, Lord, when I'm trying to go the extra mile and more to serve You, why the dump of this stress? When it looked like the plan B location might work, both relief and excitement came in. "Lord, I can see now why the first place cancelled — this one will be better!" Then when plan B fell through today, and I was forced to come up with plan C (having regular class back at the school with kids in their costumes), I had to hold up my hands and say, "Okay, Lord, I truly don't see the better plan in all this, but I still trust You."

These kind of bumps and glitches are a raw reminder that I am not in control. Oh, most of us try to be. It's nice to feel like we are. But it seems to me that if we get a little overconfident, the Holy Spirit likes to stir things up to keep us in our place and to make us trust the One Who is in control.

As I sought out the meaning in all of this today, it came to mind how many times Our Lady dealt with bumps and glitches in her road. Things like getting woken mid-night and sent to Egypt with a newborn obviously were not her plan. Nor was traveling to Bethlehem at nine months pregnant, for that matter.

No, our Blessed Mother did not have it easy. I'm in good company. I'm just working on having her reponse — the one that made her full of grace.

Fiat. Be it done to me according to Your Word.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Friday, September 18, 2009

Music in Utero: The Smile of the Unborn

As both a pro-lifer and a musician, I find this article so beautiful. Here's a taste:

The footage was part of a recent PBS special, The Music Instinct:
Science & Song. The program was an exploration of, among other things,
music’s “biological, emotional and psychological impact on humans.”

Part of this “exploration” included how music affects babies. If we
are, as some scientists believe, “wired for music,” then babies are ideal test
subjects since their reactions are, by definition, instinctual.

Part of this research involved the effect of music on fetuses.
While we knew that mothers often sing to their unborn children, we weren’t sure
that the unborn child could hear them.

We are now. A segment of The Music Instinct featured Sheila C. Woodward of the University of Southern California, who has studied fetal responses to music. A camera and a microphone designed for underwater use were inserted into the uterus of a pregnant woman. And then Woodward sang.

The hydrophone picked up two sounds: the “whooshing” of the uterine
artery and the unmistakable sound of a woman singing a lullaby.

Then something extraordinary happened. Upon hearing the woman’s
voice, the unborn child smiled.

It was one of those moments that makes you catch your breath. The
full humanity of the fetus could not have been clearer if he had turned to the
camera and winked.

Apparently, fetal responses to music aren’t limited to smiling. They have been observed moving their hands in response to music, almost as if conducting. They have been soothed by Vivaldi and disturbed by loud tracks from Beethoven. They have even responded “rhythmically to rhythms tapped on [their] mother’s belly.”

Read the rest here. Thrilling...and powerful!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

On Marriage

A few weeks ago, a lady I know who writes for the Herald News called me to get some quotes for an article. It came out today, discussing a current "debate" on the ideal marriageable age for Christians. Although I'm not sure I get the title, I think she did a fairly good job covering the contrasting viewpoints on the topic. One stance says couples should delay marriage until they have finished college, paid off the loans, and established a career. This mindset seems to me to be rather inspired by our me-in-control, individualistic culture. Of course, I've known wonderful people who were called to a longer season of singleness before marriage (evidenced by the fact that they didn't meet their spouse until they were a bit older). But when a couple in their early 20's has been together for some time, truly know one another, and know they want to spend the rest of their lives together, delaying the commitment by a few or several years can usher in plenty of negative effects. Especially when the pair is striving to remain pure. Love desires union, and particularly the full marital union of husband and wife. Don't presume that you are strong enough to indefinitely wait (the key word there is "indefinitely"). Wait, yes! But I have heard plenty of wise couples advise against a long engagement for this very reason — so the passions don't run away.

I think it's no coincidence that another marriage-themed article also appeared in today's paper: 'Playing house' not a good idea. Finally, a reality check! The news? It's not healthy for your relationship to cohabitate before marriage. I find it both sad and amusing when "new studies" come forth confirming what the Church (and common sense) have known and taught for, well, at least the last 2000 years.

How unfortunate for a generation to go such lengths to get rid of moral standards, only to realize that "old-fashioned" values aren't such a bad idea after all.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Prayers For My Friends

The father of some friends of mine (and volunteer catechists for the RE program that I coordinate) was found dead in his bed this morning. He was a devout Catholic husband, father of four (ages 24-4) and history teacher at the local Catholic high school. Please keep his soul and his family in your prayers in their time of grief!

Monday, September 07, 2009

From Sweet Sixteen... to Sweet Seventeen

Dear Veronica,

I can remember — though I was only four — that day you were born: how can it be 17 years ago? What colorful years they have been! Your creativity, personality, and spunk have etched your invaluable place as the third child in our family.

"Sugar and spice and everything nice" always makes me think of you. Your dramatic demeanor has always made it easy for your family to "roast" you, yet you are usually quite gracious as the subject of laughter. ;)

Persistant and devoted, your gifts and talents edify not only your family, but so many others as well.

"His Little Butterfy", how utterly special that from our long-watched cocoon should emerge a gorgeous butterfly — on the morning of your birthday!

You live life with a passion, and though the combination of our assertive personalities has induced "clashes" at times, I love you lots and am so grateful to call this graceful, taller-than-me 17-year-old my sister.

In the spirit of your patron Saint Therese, keep growing as His little flower!

With love,

P.S. Thanks for letting me have so much fun taking birthday photos of you!

(Explanation for readers... the first few photos were snapped at Grandpa and Grandma's farm in WI when we were there yesterday, the butterfly photo this morning, and the rest this afternoon after I did Veronica's hair to match her 1930's Belles on Their Toes-inspired homemade dress. Isn't she too charming? And so photogenic...I wanted to capture every pose!)

By the apple tree

About to leave on her daddy-daughter date this afternoon

* * *

Happy Birthday, dear Sister!

Thursday, September 03, 2009

I Love the Duggars!

In an era that devalues the gift of life, I think the joyful Duggar family is a wonderful witness to the reality of this gift. Parents Jim Bob and Michelle are always so upbeat and positive, and I can never get over how stunning and youthful Michelle looks — just pregnant with number 19, she is more gorgeous and glowing than ever! It's both sad and interesting how many people are derogative about their openness to life. And I'm sure these critics are the very same who claim to stand for "tolerance" and "choice". Why should they be mad about a large, happy, Christian, homeschooling family that chooses life (and that lives debt-free in a home they built themselves)? These well-rounded children will each bring a valuable contribution to society. I also love how beautifully and femininely the ladies of the Duggar family dress — Michelle and all 8 daughters! This family stands for the kind of beautiful values that are all-too-rare today. Though the Duggars are not Catholic, I think it's great how Jim Bob quotes Mother Teresa in this recent video announcing baby #19:

And there are some very sweet photos in this one. See what I mean about a lovely mama? (At 42, she hardly looks older than her daughter-in-law!)

May the Lord continue to bless this family, and may their courageous witness inspire many to embrace the gift of life.

Wednesday, September 02, 2009


Thank you all for your prayers! I am doing better. I'd like to share a quote that was timely and encouraging...

Just as the butterfly must wait upon its maker to be transformed, so must we. God is His infinite wisdom has a sovereign and individual plan for the transformation of our hearts and minds. Psalm 27:14 says "Wait on the Lord; Be of good courage, and he shall strengthen your heart; Wait, I say, on the Lord!" Being transformed is a process, so do not loose heart. "For I am confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Christ Jesus."

~from a past issue of the Girlhood Home Companion (Volume 1, Issue 12)

Tuesday, September 01, 2009


I know my readers are pray-ers (if anyone is left reading this neglected blog by now), and I'm having an extraordinarily rough day, so could I please petition for your prayers for this tired soul? I can't go into all the detail, but a boost of grace would be a big help. Thank you so much.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

New Blogger; New Baby

I know I've been all-too-absent for all-too-long, but I need to pop in briefly to welcome my dear sister, Sarah (Princess, Pure and Brave), to the blog world! Her lovely web domain is here.

Today, I had the opportunity to (almost) be present at a friend's home birth! I was there for several hours in the morning, helping with tasks like heating and carrying water and preparing food for the daddy and the attendants. I had to leave for an appointment and choral rehearsal, but made it back in the afternoon to see the new baby boy 15 minutes after his arrival! So beautiful and amazing...the gift of life. Deo Gratias.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

The King's Castle

This morning's Joliet Herald News ran a beautiful article on what has been an immense but delightful summer project for me: organizing a Catholic Kids' Day Camp through St. Joseph Parish.

If you are visiting this blog because of the link mentioned in the newspaper article, welcome! This is actually my personal blog site; but the website of the purity apostolate mentioned in the article is www.rosamysticamodesty.org. If you are not attending the Camp, but are interested in receiving the children's coloring books mentioned in the article, you can email me at stjosephcre @ sbcglobal.net . net (remove the spaces).

If you're looking for information on the Camp, here is a summary...

Knights and Princesses in the Family of God
~ ~ ~

Not just your typical Vacation Bible School...4 days of Catholic immersion!

When: July 28-31 (Tue-Fri) • 9am to 12noon
For: Kindergarten-6th Grade

Cost: $35/child • Second child in family $15 • Third child free
Limited openings available until July 25 by contacting Claire:
(815) 325-7361 or stjosephCRE @ sbcglobal . net (remove the spaces)

I will try to post some photos after the event!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Planned Parenthood Exposed

Wow. Lila Rose continues her amazing pro-life work! I am very impressed by the tone of the reporter in this news clip. She actually calls us "pro-lifers" (instead of "anti-abortion activists"), and does not sugar-coat the case. In fact, she sounds like she may be pro-life herself! And how encouraging that the attorney general of the state is cued in and working for justice. Let us be ever vigilant!

Update: A commenter kindly notified me that the reporter is Laura Ingraham, which explains her authentic indignation at this story! It's been awhile since I watched an interview of hers; no wonder she looked familiar but I couldn't quite place her. :)

Thursday, July 02, 2009

Powerful Saintly Wisdom

"You may dazzle the mind with a thousand brilliant discoveries of natural science; you may open new worlds of knowledge which were never dreamed of before; yet, if you have not developed in the soul of the pupil strong habits of virtue which will sustain her in the struggle of life, you have not educated her, but only put in her hand a powerful instrument of self-destruction."

—Saint Rose Philippine Duchesne

HT: Saint Quote of the Day

Tuesday, June 30, 2009


A friend recently emailed me some questions on womanhood for a project she's completing, and I thought I'd share my answers here.

How do you feel to be a woman in today's society?
Being a woman in today's society is both a great challenge and a great opportunity. It is a challenge because our society has become a culture of death that does not understand what it means to be a woman. By attempting to eradicate (erase) the beautiful, God-given differences between man and woman, the movement of modern "feminism" fights not for womanhood, but against it. Our current society puts forth a very false image of womanhood, spreading around lots of lies and confusion. All this means that we have a most important call than ever to evangelize through our witness of authentic Christian, Catholic womanhood. As one adage so beautifully says, "The darker the night, the brighter shine the stars!".

What do you value most about being a woman?
I value most my call to bring beauty to the world by reflecting the perfect beauty of God, my creator and Father. And I value the feminine call to motherhood. As Pope John Paul so beautifully explains, we are granted special feminine gifts from God in order to fulfill this call to motherhood -- whether it be spiritual, biological, or both. I am grateful for the feminine capacity to love, to give and nurture life, and to respond to Divine initiation.

Do you have an ideal of what a woman should be like or is there a woman who is a model for you? Who?
When looking for the ideal woman, we of course need look no further than our Mother Mary. I often reflect on how perfectly she reflected the image of God. We are all created in His image, and are called to reflect it by purity and holiness. She did not merely reflect Him, however; she magnified Him! (Magnificat, Luke 1). She shows us what amazing things the Father can accomplish through us if we but surrender our lives and plans to Him. By giving all of herself as a joyful handmaiden, she became the Mother of the Messiah and of all mankind, co-Mediatrix of all graces, and the queen of Heaven and earth. Mother Teresa and St. Gianna Molla are also two big role models for me of beautiful, self-giving womanhood!

What do you think a woman can give to a man?
As women, we are able to give a great deal to man, both individually as a whole. I've learned from personal experience that if I am a real lady, it encourages men rise to the challenge of being real gentlemen. The creation account in Genesis so beautifully shows the Creator's mastery in creating woman as a helpmeet and partner for man. We are equal in dignity, but wonderfully different in design. Both man and woman have a unique call, special gifts, and the ability to complement and build up the other. We women have a "divine assignment": to give man a glimpse of the ultimate beauty and mystery of God through the beauty and mystery of our femininity.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Too, too sweet

Is this not the sweetest thing? An impromptu performance at Mayo Clinic, by a couple married for 62 years — and the husband just turned 90!

Monday, May 25, 2009


Yesterday, Dad and I went on our "Daddy-Daughter Date", a tradition he's done with his three daughters for at least the last 17 years. He takes us out for our birthday for a meal, and then to the nearby Poor Clare Monastery for Evening Vespers. My birthday was actually over two months ago, but we didn't have a chance to go out before now. :)

This time, instead of a restaurant, Mom and Sarah packed us a lovely picnic basket, which we took to a nearby greenhouse/botanical gardens sort of place. The outdoor beds seemed to be in a state of transition, so we found a sweet little bench inside the greenhouse and under a palm tree, spread the picnic cloth over our laps, and enjoyed our meal. We both agreed that it was the most fun yet!

When I was younger, I used to not realize just how privileged I am to have a father like this. In recent years, I have realized. And I was so strongly reminded of this tonight, when a few of us went on an evening walk and ran into a young girl trying to find a friend's house (which she'd never been to). In helping her locate the address, we got to know one another. At nineteen, this young girl had been through so many hardships. She mentioned leaving home at 15, and that her dad "was abusive and stuff". Just having enjoyed a beautiful afternoon of prayer and bonding with my father, I couldn't help but notice the painful contrast. And thank the Father for bestowing such gifts.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009


The Western Culture of Death is taking its toll. We need lots more devout Christian Catholic families with lots of children!

Monday, May 18, 2009


My poor blog has been rather neglected for a while. One can only keep up with so many things at once! I'll attempt at a bit of catch-up with some photo glimpses at the last two months...

My new profile photo is courtesy of Sis Veronica photography, taken on my birthday back in March. :) She also took the following photo, which I have to share: I woke up on my birthday morning to the dining room table covered with...me! Resourceful Miss V had gone through albums and computer files and found a photo of me from every year of life, most taken on my birthdays. How sweet is that?

The lovely red roses were a surprise delivery sent from my godparents — they lasted a full two weeks plus!

Also in March, my youngest and only brother made his Confirmation:

Then came Easter. I already shared a photo glimpse from that day, but here's one of the four siblings on Easter morning... Claire (21), Veronica (16), David (11), and Sarah (18).

Now for another food photo: the charming Easter "Challah" bread and butter lamb made by Sarah and Veronica. Darling, isn't it?

Our Spring tree bloomed (all too briefly), and Veronica carried out her "traditional" photo-shoot of David amidst the white flowering-pear blossoms:

Our yard is looking lovely, thanks in no small part to the efforts of the same young gentleman...

Since I didn't post anything for Mother's Day, this will fill in...I love you, Mom!

A few weeks ago, we thoroughly enjoyed a visit from friends (three brothers) when they passed through our area on their way home from school. 'Twas a merry time of music-making with piano, guitar, banjo, violins, cello, and voices, not to mention great devotions as a group, and plenty of contra and swing dancing in the living room! (Thank you, gentlemen!)

Last week, Sarah and I had the wonderful opportunity of traveling with our University Schola Cantorum to the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe in La Crosse, WI. Our family traveled up seperately to visit the Shrine and hear our concert! We were blessed with simply perfect weather. This is Dad and Mom atop one of the lovely bluffs:

The Shrine itself was absolutely spectacular! The main Church was just dedicated last July. It was absolutely thrilling to sing in it...such amazing acoustics! Being so newly-constructed, many of its paintings were recent saints, like St. Gianna Molla.

I cannot encourage you enough to check out the Shrine website, and to visit it if you have a chance! It is nothing less than a heavenly experience.

This past weekend, we were back in WI for Grandpa's 88th Birthday party. Still the farmer, he spent five hours on his birthday driving a tractor for the son who now runs the farm!

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Forces United

Wow, there is nothing like a big injustice to mobilize the faithful! The huge recent scandal of Obama being invited to speak at and receiving an honorary degree from Notre Dame has elicted an impressively emphatic and immediate response. In the span of just a few days, a number of websites have been created to voice opposition, including www.ndresponse.com. There is more than one online petition, most notably www.notredamescandal.com, whose petition has gathered more that 177,00 signatures in less than a week!

I very much agree that this invitation from a prestigious Catholic University is saddening, but I am also heartened by the unification and action we have seen as a result. Let's hope those 177,000 are on their knees petitioning heaven, too.

If you're not part of the throng yet, don't waste any time!

Great Article!

Pope Benedict Tells Youth: Church Counts on You
Urges Them to Be Envoys of God's Love

VATICAN CITY, MARCH 4, 2009 (Zenit.org).- Benedict XVI is encouraging young people to pray and live the sacraments, so as to be witnesses of hope and joy in a world that counts on them.

Recalling the 2008 youth gathering in Sydney, the Pontiff reminded the young people, "I urged you to let yourselves be shaped by [the Holy Spirit] in order to be messengers of divine love, capable of building a future of hope for all humanity."

He added: "Youth is a special time of hope because it looks to the future with a whole range of expectations. When we are young we cherish ideals, dreams and plans. Youth is the time when decisive choices concerning the rest of our lives come to fruition."

We ask ourselves, he noted, "Where can I obtain and how can I keep alive the flame of hope burning in my heart?"

The Holy Father observed, "Experience shows that personal qualities and material goods are not enough to guarantee the hope which the human spirit is constantly seeking."

He said, "If you find your sustenance in Christ, my dear young people, and if you live profoundly in him as did the Apostle Paul, you will not be able to resist speaking about him and making him known and loved by many of your friends and contemporaries."

Benedict XVI emphasized: "The Church depends on you for this demanding mission. Do not be discouraged by the difficulties and trials you encounter."

"Be patient and persevering so as to overcome the natural youthful tendency to rush ahead and to want everything immediately."

He added, "Following in the footsteps of the people of hope -- composed of prophets and saints of every age -- we continue to advance toward the fulfillment of the Kingdom, and on this spiritual path we are accompanied by the Virgin Mary, Mother of Hope."

These are just some excerpts. Read the whole thing here!

"Perfectly Relaxing Songs"

This offer is too good not to share! Hat tip to American Papist...

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

St. Patrick's Breastplate

Today is not just a day to celebrate being Irish. It’s about celebrating the great saint and bishop, Patrick, who brought the light of the Christian Catholic Faith into the great nation of Ireland 1600 years ago!

From the Catholic Encyclopedia at New Advent:

The beautiful prayer of St. Patrick, popularly known as "St. Patrick's Breast-Plate", is supposed to have been composed by him in preparation for this victory over Paganism. The following is a literal translation from the old Irish text:

I bind to myself today
The strong virtue of the Invocation of the Trinity:
I believe the Trinity in the Unity
The Creator of the Universe.

I bind to myself today
The virtue of the Incarnation of Christ with His Baptism,
The virtue of His crucifixion with His burial,
The virtue of His Resurrection with His Ascension,
The virtue of His coming on the Judgement Day.

I bind to myself today
The virtue of the love of seraphim,
In the obedience of angels,
In the hope of resurrection unto reward,
In prayers of Patriarchs,
In predictions of Prophets,
In preaching of Apostles,
In faith of Confessors,
In purity of holy Virgins,
In deeds of righteous men.

I bind to myself today
The power of Heaven,
The light of the sun,
The brightness of the moon,
The splendour of fire,
The flashing of lightning,
The swiftness of wind,
The depth of sea,
The stability of earth,
The compactness of rocks.

I bind to myself today
God's Power to guide me,
God's Might to uphold me,
God's Wisdom to teach me,
God's Eye to watch over me,
God's Ear to hear me,
God's Word to give me speech,
God's Hand to guide me,
God's Way to lie before me,
God's Shield to shelter me,
God's Host to secure me,
Against the snares of demons,
Against the seductions of vices,
Against the lusts of nature,
Against everyone who meditates injury to me,
Whether far or near,
Whether few or with many.

I invoke today all these virtues
Against every hostile merciless power
Which may assail my body and my soul,
Against the incantations of false prophets,
Against the black laws of heathenism,
Against the false laws of heresy,
Against the deceits of idolatry,
Against the spells of women, and smiths, and druids,
Against every knowledge that binds the soul of man.

Christ, protect me today
Against every poison, against burning,
Against drowning, against death-wound,
That I may receive abundant reward.

Christ with me, Christ before me,
Christ behind me, Christ within me,
Christ beneath me, Christ above me,
Christ at my right, Christ at my left,
Christ in the fort,
Christ in the chariot seat,
Christ in the ship,
Christ in the heart of everyone who thinks of me,
Christ in the mouth of everyone who speaks to me,
Christ in every eye that sees me,
Christ in every ear that hears me.

I bind to myself today
The strong virtue of an invocation of the Trinity,
I believe the Trinity in the Unity
The Creator of the Universe.


What a glimpse into the powerful spirituality of Patrick... too often we hear only a part of something like this, instead of the richness of the whole thing!

So, bind yourself today to Christ, in the true spirit of Patrick!

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Of Movies, Actors, and Real Men

So, my family watched The Ten Commandments for the first time this Lent (I know, we've had so many people say they can't believe we hadn't seen it yet!). Both Charlton Heston and Yul Brynner were simply incredible. I've enjoyed Heston immensely when seeing him before, and it struck me how thoroughly he takes the individual character of each role. The Heston Moses never came across as a Moses/Ben Hur mix! He was entirely the character in all its uniqueness. In my mind, this is a mark of a truly excellent actor.

Those of you who've read my blog for a while probably know that I'm all about who actors and celebrities really are...not just who they are on screen. And the more I've learned about the real Heston, the more impressed I am. Not only does he portray many upright characters; he was one! He served in the air force, championed the civil rights movement, was a friend of Martin Luther King Jr., and spoke out against abortion. Most significantly, he was faithfully married for 64 years to his bride, Lydia, whom he wed at age 20! Amidst the countless Hollywood scandals and divorces, this speaks volumes. He stands alone amidst celebs married two, four, five, and seven times...

In fact, I learned that my oft-repeated quote "Political correctness is simply tyranny with manners," — which and for some reason I thought was from Chesterton — was actually from Charlton Heston! (By the way, his actual name was John Charles Carter).

Check out this wonderful LifeSiteNews article from his passing almost a year ago (and check out the links at the bottom of the story!):

Larger than Life Hollywood Icon and Pro-life Advocate Charlton Heston Dies at 84

And check out this wonderful video clip of Heston on abortion. Powerful! (Don't forget to pause the music at the right). This is the introduction he gave to a video made in 1987 to raise awareness of late-term abortions.

A General Thank You...

I just wanted to express my thanks to those of you (particularly Lady Rose and Vicki) who have been kind enough to bestow various blog awards upon me on many occasions... even though I may have not always responded! Your commendation really does make my day. :) I've just taken the time to add them to my sidebar.

Any blog author who visits mine and who has not been awarded one of these can consider themself awarded. :)

Monday, March 09, 2009

I Am Blessed

My family, friends, and especially my goddaughters made my birthday so special! So did each of you, with your kind words, wishes, and prayers. I am both blessed and overwhelmed by the outpouring of sweetness. Thank you, all of you!

It's hard to believe we are two weeks into Lent already...I am trying to make the most of this truly beautiful season. Yes, it is a "desert", but because we are there with our Lord, there is beauty. We easily forget that this is a positive season. We are supposed to deprive our bodies in order to beautify our souls. That's right: Lent is beauty treatment for the soul!

I don't know about you, but I always have to resist the urge to take on everything during Lent. The same dozen vices and struggles assail me with ongoing persistance, and, perfectionist that I am, I want to tackle them all at once. Unfortunately, I am too often an all-or-nothing person. When a few of my good intentions slip, I too quickly lose hold on the rest of them. Being faithful in the little things, and targeting my struggles one or two at a time, are ongoing goals of my Lent this year. This is not to say I've been glamorously successful thus far...but I am glad to have 4+ weeks left to work on this "beauty treatment"!

Monday, March 02, 2009

Happy Birthday Claire...

21 years ago a beautiful baby girl was born...

1st birthday!

...the pride of her parents...

...a joy in their lives!

age 2 - what yummy cake!

The years passed on...

3 already!

As she continued to grow...

Birthday #4

5th Birthday
...In sweetness,

Smiling 6


7th Birthday

9 years old at Easter


Birthday #10!

...and Love.

11 - see that smile!

Before we knew it...

12 years old

14 years

Age 13 with Birthday bread (for Lent =)

Miss 15

She was a young lady!

Sweet Sixteen!


17 years

at her suprise 18th Birthday party

...and beautiful.

Her gifts and her talents amaze all who meet her...

19 - wow!

20 already

...As she continues to be...

...Christ's giver of LIGHT!

Happy 21st Birthday!

We love you, Claire!
Your Staff

Sunday, March 01, 2009


I hope the days come easy and the moments pass slow,
And each road leads you where you want to go,
And if you're faced with a choice, and you have to choose,
I hope you choose the one that means the most to you.
And if one door opens to another door closed,
I hope you keep on walking 'till you find the window,
If it's cold outside, show the world the warmth of your smile.
But more than anything, more than anything...

My wish, for you, is that this life becomes all that you want it to,
Your dreams stay big, your worries stay small,
You never need to carry more than you can hold,
And while you're out there getting where you're getting to,
I hope you know somebody loves you, and wants the same things too,
Yeah this, is my wish.

I hope you never look back, but you never forget,
All the ones who love you, in the place you left,
I hope you always forgive, and you never regret,
And you help somebody every chance you get,
Oh, you find God's grace, in every mistake,
And always give more than you take.
But more than anything, yeah, more than anything...

My wish, for you, is that this life becomes all that you want it to,
Your dreams stay big, your worries stay small,
You never need to carry more than you can hold,
And while you're out there getting where you're getting to,
I hope you know somebody loves you, and wants the same things too,
Yeah, this, is my wish.
~ "My Wish" by Rascal Flatts

Wishing the happiest of happy birthday's to my "Fairy Godmother" Claire.
May you be blessed with every happiness on your special day!

With lots of love from,
Your Goddaughter, Amanda