Monday, December 27, 2010

St. John the Apostle

Many events in my life I have not wanted to participate in but, prompted by an older sibling, have done and have never regretted. (I'm not saying everything.) Can't you just see these boys, James and John, in the boat with their dad, just having a typical day fishing and this guy Jesus comes along and says "Follow me" and they immediately leave their dad and go? I can hear James saying, "Dad, I'm gonna go. I feel in my gut it's the right thing to do." Maybe his dad says, "Well, take your younger brother" or maybe "I know son. I feel it's right too" and John just jumps on the band wagon, not wanting to miss anything. Or James saying, "Come on John. Let's go. He's calling us." Maybe John wanted to stay with his dad. Maybe John was a little tentative. But from the story we get that they both just jumped out and followed Jesus.
In his homily, our priest the other day mentioned what a great study it is to fill in the blanks of what we know and don't know of Jesus' life. We are told of his birth, of age 12 and age 30 to 33. I find it a wonderful study to think further along all of the stories we hear in the Gospels. Of course, I love to embellish a story but there must be so much more. These guys were just regular people yet they gave up everything and followed Jesus and preached the Gospel. They asked ridiculous questions and these two had a mom who asked for her sons to be seated high in the Kingdom. They didn't understand a lot of what was going on and yet they stuck with Jesus. John was even put in charge of watching over Mary after Jesus' death. (Or was it Mary watching over John?)
Through all we read, what we get from St. John is a dedication to Jesus and a Gospel of love. Two things this world could definitely use today.

Monday, December 20, 2010

The Greatest Acceptance Speech

I have sat through many acceptance speeches in my day but none so simple and to the point as this young girl's today. And I quote: Mary said,

“Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word.”

And the whole world waited.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

What's In a Name

"She will bear a son and you are to name him Jesus"

The Lord appears to Joseph in our Gospel reading today and tells him to take Mary as his wife and she will bore a Son and they shall name Him Jesus. Instruction given and followed.
I have heard others throughout my life tell of receiving a name for their children in a dream. I personally never had that wonderful occurrence. I think that would be neat to feel like God had spoken to me in a dream and told me to name my child such and such. But alas, I sat after each birth with a Lives of the Saints book in hand and after seeing our child, my husband and I would decide on a name. Our first, Catherine Elizabeth was named after 2 awesome Saints, Catherine of Siena and Elizabeth of Hungary. Sarah is my husband's grandmother's name and Christine was the name of the sister who taught me in first grade who became Mother Superior of her congregation. William Harlen is named with the first names of his grandfathers. Poor little Margaret Anne started as Monica until we told my father-in-law her name and he asked if we named her after Monica Lewinski (same year of Clinton scandal). We couldn't get off the phone fast enough and call records in the hospital and have the process stopped. Oh heavens, how humans can kill a name! St. Margaret Mary and St. Anne both awesome, strong women, are perfect for this daughter to emulate. Nicholas Allen seems pretty obvious named after St. Nicholas and my husband but we played with this for quite some time because one of our regular street people use to call Allen Nicholas all the time and we wondered if that would bother us throughout this child's life. St. Nicholas overpowers Paul the street guy. The name has been a perfect fit. And last but not least, we have Julia Marie named straight after her mother. My thought was that when I have a child in my 42nd year, I can name her whatever I think I can remember in my old age. And, she reminds me often that I'm much older than the mom's of all the other kids in her class. Payback for this one could be grueling but my father laughs with every Julia story and says, "What goes around comes around. You certainly deserve this one." Hey! I must say, we might as well of received each of their names in a dream, because so far they have fit each one perfectly.
Soon and very soon, there will be another birth and His Name, announced today, is Jesus. His Name given from above is above all other names and it fits Him perfectly.

Any child naming stories to share?

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Work as Prayer

Late yesterday I had a visitor at the bookstore who I had not sat and talked to probably since we were about 10 years old. A neighborhood friend, he stood and introduced himself to my husband and then blurted, "You know your wife and I should really be in jail. As kids, we hid in the ditch and threw rocks at cars." Of course my husband just shook his head. I had completely erased that from my memory. I guess the ridiculous things we really do not want our children or anyone else to know just seem to hide way back in nowhere land. We talked for an hour and a half, I believe. What a joy! He was telling me about interviews he had done for the Nashville Cursillo newsletter and I shared thoughts about prayer and family and work and my writing. He was genuinely interested in my spiritual life and a couple of times caught me off guard with an "Explain!" or a "Finish that thought!" or a simple "Tell!". He had much more energy than I did at 4:30 in the afternoon after running up and down the stairs at the bookstore for 7 hours. I did explain that my mind was much clearer at 5am than 5pm. However, one comment he did drag out of me that was worth sharing was about my "prayer form". When I mentioned my morning routine, my writing, my meditations, he jumped, "Is that your prayer form?" And suddenly the words spilled out, "Well, even my work here is a form of prayer for me. People come to the store, especially during this season and during these difficult economic times, not just to shop, but to share their story, their journey. I feel that the time I take with each person, the choices they may or may not make, the stories, are all part of my journey too. They are gift. They are my form of prayer." It has made me think this morning about the encounters I have with others in their workplace. Maybe I would be a little more respectful of their jobs and the work they do for me if I found them in the midst of a form of prayer in their work.
As we journey through this Advent Season and encounter others in their workplace, may we all share a little of our own gift. Maybe the gift of a smile or some laughter or a story or just a kind word could be shared as we work together in prayer. I know I was given a little of that yesterday afternoon, okay a lot of laughter, and I am grateful. May we be blessed in our chance meetings and may we in turn be a blessing.

Monday, December 13, 2010

St. Lucy - And the Eyes Have It

Because she is the patron Saint for eyes and eye trauma, this poor young martyr has been begged for intercession a couple of times in my family. My two oldest girls have both suffered eye trauma. First, the oldest was playing in a puddle of water near an old basketball goal (metal pole) and rubbed her eye and somehow stuck a rusty sliver of metal in her eye. A trip to the eye doctor and prayers to St. Lucy helped that time and again when she was practicing softball and running her hand along the fence in the dugout flicked a piece of metal in her eye. This was much tougher because she kept rubbing her eye and pushed the metal in somewhat deep. My husband brought her down to the store and I called Dr. Ducklo on a Saturday. He suggested we have her blink multiple times with her eye in a bowl of water. My mom happened to have a huge jug of Lourdes water at the store so I added some of that to the bowl and she blinked and blinked with no luck. We met doc at his office. He worked for an hour with a frightened young girl and her mom. It was difficult to help her keep her eye open. Many, many instruments were tried and finally after many prayers and some begging, Dr. Ducklo tried a mini drill with a tiny brush on the end. He held it in her eye for what seemed forever and the sliver flicked out the same way it flicked in. We were all exhausted by the end and all I could do was thank God, His Mother, and all the Saints and angels I called upon during the process.
Now let's not stop there. My second oldest daughter got hit in the eye with a clump of ice at that same softball field. I believe it was an accident and of course I had to be out of town but with multiple drops and visits back and forth to Dr. Ducklo and again many prayers to St. Lucy, she has full sight in that eye. She had to lay on her back as still as she could for a couple of days. Me being out of town made it awful for everyone. I wanted to see to believe, a little girl wanted her mom and a husband could have used some help. But again, after several days and many prayers I was able to thank God for His goodness and mercy to our family.
Dr. Ducklo suggests goggles for each of our children. At the time, we didn't think it was such a bad idea.
On this Feast of St. Lucy may all who struggle with their sight or any type of eye trauma be blessed in a special way. I am grateful for the belief in the intercession of Saints and today I am grateful for St. Lucy, patron of eyes.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Our Lady of Guadalupe

On the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe may we continually believe in miracles. May we persist in our Faith regardless of the pressures of the world in which we live. May we follow the path that leads to Jesus. May we pray to Our Lady to intercede for us. She is our Mother. She loves us to the point of coming to us with messages time and time again. She desperately wants us to pray and to fast and to ask pardon for our sins so that the world may have peace. Roses in December! Her image. Her constant beckoning. Today as we await the Birth of Jesus, may we wait in joyful hope. May we listen to our Mother and go time and time again and speak truth. May we hold our Faith close to our hearts, enfolded in our garments, so that when we open to one another, we are showered with truth and we come to believe. May Our Lady hold us in her mantle and fill us with her love as we wait for the Lord.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

St. Juan Diego

On the Feast of St. Juan Diego we are reminded that we are all called to carry the Good News. We are all called to respond to the simple wishes of Our Lady. We are asked time and time again to pray the Rosary for peace, to fast, to go to confession. Our Lady pursues us just as she did Juan Diego. Juan Diego showed great humility and persistence in his response to Mary and in his dealings with the Bishop. He is a wonderful example to us of continuing our beliefs through all sorts of adversity. He worried about many things but followed Our Lady's requests and she in turn took care of all his concerns.
Today may we, like Juan Diego, be persistent in our faith, be humble in our requests, simple in our lives and faithful to our God and His Blessed Mother.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Journey

"It is for those with a journey to make, and on it the redeemed will walk." Isaiah
“I say to you, rise, pick up your stretcher, and go home.” Luke

Today, Jesus calls us to journey with Him, to walk, to pick up all that burdens and weighs us down and be redeemed, saved, healed. Make the journey with Him. Pick up your stretcher. Come home.
As we venture toward His birth, as we prepare, may we allow ourselves to be cleansed and simply enjoy the journey.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Open My Eyes

"Those who err in spirit shall acquire understanding, and those who find fault shall receive instruction."
“Let it be done for you according to your faith.”
And their eyes were opened.

You just have to love the Old and New Testament readings for today. I have so much going on right now, as does everyone, and the world just keeps on coming. Today just makes me believe even more in the power of prayer, in the power of having faith. All I can think to say is, "Lord in my mistakes, help me to understand. In my amazing ability to find fault, instruct me. Help me to be strong in my Faith, to be faithful, to be faith-filled. Open my eyes."

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Multiply Those Loaves

Today, we find Jesus so compassionate toward the people who have been faithfully following Him and who have come to be healed. He just cannot send them away without something to eat. He knows they need food to sustain them. To get them back home. To nourish the journey. He knows we need that same food and we are fortunate enough to have that same food available to us every single day of the year.
Today I have to think about the times when I feel like I just cannot do one more thing. Like I cannot answer one more question or help one more person or cook one more meal. I have to think about the times when I am exhausted and just want to scream or to hide or to rest. And yet, I don't. I keep right on keepin' on and somehow the loaves are multiplied. Somehow, I continue the journey. Somehow, I answer the questions and help another person and cook and pick up and continue. Somehow, I'm better. Somehow, is all about Him. He sustains. He feeds. He helps me to continue and to hope and to love and to feed someone else. He multiplies those loaves and He leaves me with leftovers. He has compassion for us. He heals. He feeds.
Today, we are asked just to pass around all that He has given. He will fill the baskets. He will multiply. He will feed. He will heal. He will provide. All we are asked to do is spread it all around.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

St. Andrew Novena

Today is the Feast Day of St. Andrew. This powerful Novena has made incredible difference in my life.

Hail and blessed be the hour and moment in which the Son of God was born of the most pure Virgin Mary, at midnight, in Bethlehem, in piercing cold. In that hour, vouchsafe, O my God! to hear my prayer and grant my desires, through the merits of Our Savior Jesus Christ, and of His Blessed Mother. Amen.

(It is piously believed that whoever recites the above prayer fifteen times a day from the feast of St. Andrew (30th November) until Christmas will obtain what is asked.)

Friday, November 26, 2010

Remember Sr. Sally?

Remember Sr. Sally, Daughters of Charity? Well, she came by the store the day before Thanksgiving and was jumping out of her skin to tell us a story about the "Spirit of the Season". She came to the register at the bookstore and I immediately tried to help and screwed up her order for 10 minutes. Finally we got on the same page that she was trying to get a purple globe with 5 insert candles for her Sanctuary lamp during the Advent Season. I thought she was going for 3 purple and a pink for a wreath. Oops. Anyway, helped her out a little on the price because she had mentioned knowing it would "cost her" but they have an electric lamp and she just wanted the "real thing" during such a special season. I thing she'd always prefer the "real thing" and I agree. So she smiled and thanked me and said how much she loved the "Spirit of the Season". That morning a man had come to the Outreach Center, where she and Sr. Naomi hand out food and clothes for those in need, and asked if they needed anything. They had just started to tell people that they were out of meat so the man offered to go to Krogers and buy meat. When he came back, he gave $50 Kroger gift cards to everyone in the place along with a $20 bill. Sister said there was hoopin' and cheering like these people had won the lottery. During the uproar, the generous man slipped out sight unseen. Right on the verge of not having meat for Thanksgiving and along comes the "Spirit of the Season". I hope we all remember and appreciate our cities' Sr. Sallys.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

St. Andrew Dung-Lac and Companions

How appropriate to wake and read that today we celebrate the Feast Day of St. Andrew Dung-Lac and Companions, martyred in Vietnam between 1820 and 1862! May we pray for his intercession during these times of threatening war between North and South Korea. "You will even be handed over by parents, brothers, relatives, and friends, and they will put some of you to death. You will be hated by all because of my name, but not a hair on your head will be destroyed. By your perseverance you will secure your lives.”
God grant them peace!

Monday, November 22, 2010

My Mom The Artist

Check out my mom's beautiful new website. She's awesome!

www.JeanDortch.com

St. Cecilia

The Feast of St. Cecilia immediately brings to mind the 4 years I spent at St. Cecilia Academy. My high school years were full of good times and great friendships. We are fortunate to have an all-girl high school run by the Dominican Sisters of St. Cecilia. My 7th grader just attended a sleepover in the gym this past weekend with other 7th and 8th graders from around Nashville. What an awesome experience for her! But the Feast Day also brings to mind my lack of ability to sing or draw or dance or do anything else in the artsy department. You'd think with 4 years at this beautiful institution that I'd grab one ounce of talent from somewhere within it's walls. But, No! However, after reading the Gospel reading this morning and pondering, "she, from her poverty, has offered her whole livelihood" I wondered just what talent I had in my mind versus the talents God wants me to recognize and bring to their full potential. Maybe I too, in my poverty of talents could offer my livelihood. Let's think about that today. From our poverty, what do we have to offer?
In my Mother's Prayer Book, Bless My Child, I offer a prayer for our children to use their Full Potential: St. Cecilia, guide my child to reach her full potential in all her works. Teach her to use the talents that God has given her to make a difference in this world. As you sang to the Lord in your heart, guide my child to be pure in mind and heart, and to always pursue the will of God. Amen.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Can I Get a Witness

Last Saturday we had a new customer come into the store who had just moved to Nashville and was very happy and somewhat surprised to find a large Catholic Bookstore right in the heart of the city. (well, sorta). I introduced myself and he was very complimentary and kind. I allowed him to shop and actually forgot about another customer who had gone to the 3rd floor earlier. I walked up to the office moments later to find the newcomer speaking to the young man and talking about the catechisms. They said they were fine. I thought it okay and went back downstairs. A few minutes later the newcomer approached me and explained that the young man seemed to be interested in the Catholic Church and wanted to make me aware of an "opportunity". "He seems young and may limit himself to the more concise readings because of money so I would like to give you may credit card and after I leave, you tell him to buy whatever he wants." And so I did. I went to the third floor and spoke with him for some time and he explained being raised in a different religion but not really being tied to it because he felt the people around him to be judgmental of other religions. He felt excited about the possibility of finding the Catholic faith to be a fit for him. He was "worried about his soul". I told him of the man's offer and he flushed. He was more than humbled by the kind gesture and we discussed what it meant to be a true Christian. A Catholic Christian in this case. What an amazing experience for me to be in the midst of this witness from both men! As he checked out, I asked his name and when he shook my hand he apologized for his balmy hand. He was nervous. He was truly moved. He was so humble and grateful. I promised him I would let the gentleman know of his gratitude. His well worn cowboy boots walked him right out our door the same way they brought him in but he was definitely, already a changed young man.

Monday, November 15, 2010

I Was Meant to Hear this Twice

This morning I read an email that my mom forwarded me from my sister-in-law and of course I immediately thought "Cool" and let it pass. I did not paste it in my memory or think about it too much more. Then, I read the Gospel reading of Jesus curing the blind man and saying, “Have sight; your faith has saved you” and knew that these words were meant for me. These words although a little rearranged are for me to contemplate, to try to understand. In my blindness, I am to call to Jesus. In my weakness, I have to have faith, to follow. I am to listen for the sound He sends, the sound of His voice, the person.

Two Horses-Author Unknown

Just up the road from my home is a field, with two horses in it.
From a distance, each horse looks like any other horse.
But if you stop your car, or are walking by, you will notice something quite amazing....
Looking into the eyes of one horse will disclose that he is blind.
His owner has chosen not to have him put down, but has made a good home for him. This alone is amazing.
If you stand nearby and listen, you will hear the sound of a bell.
Looking around for the source of the sound, you will see that it comes from the smaller horse in the field.
Attached to the horse's halter is a small bell.
It lets the blind friend know where the other horse is, so he can follow.
As you stand and watch these two friends, you'll see that the horse with the bell is always checking on the blind horse,
And that the blind horse will listen for the bell and then slowly walk to where the other horse is,
Trusting that he will not be led astray.
When the horse with the bell returns to the shelter of the barn each evening,
It stops occasionally and looks back, making sure that the blind friend isn't too far behind to hear the bell.
Like the owners of these two horses,
God does not throw us away just because we are not perfect
Or because we have problems or challenges.
He watches over us and even brings others into our lives to help us when we are in need..
Sometimes we are the blind horse being guided by the little ringing bell of those who God places in our lives.
Other times we are the guide horse, helping others to find their way....
Good friends are like that...
You may not always see them, but you know they are always there..
Please listen for my bell and I'll listen for yours.
And remember...Be kinder than necessary-
Everyone you meet is fighting some kind of battle.
Live simply, Love generously, Care deeply, Speak kindly.......
And leave the rest to God!
FOR WE WALK BY FAITH AND NOT BY SIGHT!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

St. Martin of Tours

"For behold, the Kingdom of God is among you.”
The reading today goes right along with the story of St. Martin of Tours who is said to of come upon an almost naked beggar in the freezing cold and cutting his cloak with his sword gave half to the beggar to keep him warm. That night Martin had a dream in which the man wearing his cloak was Christ. This story today is a great example of the Kingdom of God being among us.
We encounter opportunities every day whether with children or adults, teachers or priests, in our businesses or neighborhoods to serve, to give, to sacrifice. Often, we do not know the effect of our response but someday, I believe, it'll all come back around and when it does I can only hope and pray I did more in the giving than in the taking.
Today may we all cut a little of our cloak for someone else in our lives or for someone we encounter. The Kingdom of God is among us.

Monday, November 8, 2010

What's It Like Being You?

As I was unpacking the van and setting up tables for this conference at Lake Barkley, I realized a couple of things I forgot that I bring each year. Now granted, I have three huge tables along with three sets of shelves and a floor book rack with four sides. Boy did I miss my husband while unloading the van! But as I set up the literally hundreds of items I brought, all I could think about were the few I forgot. This made me think about my brother who had to set up his booth of furniture in the Atlanta Merchandise Mart and have two different showrooms with his furniture displayed. He had to bring cushions for one couch that he had shipped (obviously without cushions) and was working like crazy right up until the show opened. The man from one of the showrooms asked him, "Just what is it like being you?" He was all over the place and that's about how I feel this week. But, let's think about it a minute. What is it like being you? I literally had to contemplate the question this morning. I can see a little bit of many of my family members in me. I often fly by the seat of my pants. I love having a great time but want people to take me seriously in my business. I way over extend myself and feel guilty not helping more in my children' school and at Church. I want people to like me. I'm a good Catholic wanna be. I love entertaining people. I'm always running a load of clothes, to the grocery, to work, at work, to school (okay, I'm always running). I often forget to take things out of the freezer for dinner. I love my life and don't want to give up anything but I'm always crazed. And I love talking about the Catholic Bookstore industry, retail, the Catholic Faith, books, authors and my family. Just what is it like being me? I am thinking about that this week.
So, how about it. Just what's it like being you? Do you see yourself in others or them in you?

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Cadiz, KY

I'm off to Lake Barkley for the first part of the week to set up book tables for the five Diocese conference that occurs there each year at this time. Another hand-me-down from my mother. She started working this conference twenty something years ago and I just picked up where she left off. It is the only time each year that I get to see some of my friends from Kentucky, Alabama, the Memphis Diocese and the Knoxville Diocese. It is a good three days but I miss my children and all the great happenings around my house during this time. All have started basketball so there will be a lot of running back and forth to practices. I love to watch their practices because I don't get to all their games during the season but I'll have to let go of that this week. The second half of the week, St. Mary's is attending Christmas Village, a Christmas show put on by the PiPhi Sorority which benefits Vanderbilt Childrens' Hospital. Another hand-me-down from mom. We are set up in a rather large booth from Thursday night until late Sunday at the fairgrounds. Again, we love to see the people every year. It's a tradition for many families and my sister and her friends come from Atlanta every year and we have a good time seeing their purchases and laughing at their encounters.
I hope everyone has a wonderful week and I also hope I get some much needed writing time at Lake Barkley between talks and exhibit times. May God watch over my family and the bookstore while I am away.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Don't Ya Love When That Happens

Michael moved to Nashville and came to work in our bookstore after we had to close our Atlanta location. He lived with us for a short period of time and worked in our shipping and receiving department. He called the women Sister so and so and the men Brother so and so but I was Mother Jules, of course, because of the children. A few years with us and he decided to go to seminary and is now a parish priest. A wonderful man, everyone who knows him seems to love him. For a few years, he's been looking for a nice Chapel Monstrance but we have been unable to find just the right fit. About two and a half weeks ago, an older woman and her daughter came into the store from the parish where Michael is pastor. It seems that the woman's husband had died and they wanted to buy Michael a Chapel Monstrance. One of our manufacturers had just put a few new Monstrances in our catalog and one of them seemed perfect. The woman proceeded to tell me about the care that Michael had taken with her husband. He referred to him as Brother Pete,(I was not surprised), and visited him faithfully. He was a true "gift" to her husband's last days.
That Monstrance came in last week and I set it aside to check it later. Yesterday! I remembered it and checked it and found it to be absolutely beautiful. The inscription on the bottom, "In loving memory of Brother Pete". I called the daughter and she said, "I'll send someone right away. My parents' 60th Anniversary will be tomorrow (today) and he is having Mass for them tonight. Perfect timing." It gave me goosebumps to hear her words and excitement. I thought about that Monstrance holding Jesus and having Brother Pete's inscription on the bottom. I love God-incidences.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Who's Your Favorite Saint?


This is one day I wish I had a large audience because I'd love to hear about other people's favorite Saint. If you have a favorite Saint or have read a great book on a Saint or have had a neat encounter with a Saint, I'd love to hear it. At the bookstore one year, we had a contest for 4th and 5th graders. They had to tell about their favorite Saint and how that Saint had affected their life in some way. We received incredible stories.
I personally have a difficult time choosing and wouldn't want to slight any of my friends above but today I think I'll choose St. Bernadette, strictly for her persistence despite the trials. I love her youthfulness, her simplicity, her obedience, her love and her faith. I can envision her digging in that dirt while everyone around her just stared in horror at her actions. I can hear her sweet, soft, kind voice repeating the words of Our Blessed Mother. She says she is "the Immaculate Conception."
If you have a blog, encourage those who read to come over and let us know who their favorite Saint or Saint book is for today the Feast of All Saints. I'd love to learn more.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Gotta Love the Little Guy

I couldn't help but think about my children this morning as the story about Zacchaeus was read. My eldest and second child late in their college years, small in this world, headed toward their life choices, their careers, their callings. My 6ft2 high school sophomore playing lacrosse for the first time, getting his feet wet, learning new skills and headed quickly toward ACTs and SATs and college decisions. My 7th grader struggling against the importance of popularity, her parents trying to keep her from rushing into growing up too quickly. My 5th grader, one of the smaller ones in the class, wanting to play every sport, wanting to make the best grades, always pushing himself. And the youngest, trying to keep up with it all, not letting anything get past her. I prayed as I heard Jesus speak to Zacchaeus, the least popular guy in the town and one of the smallest as well. I prayed that these children would seek Jesus no matter how difficult the challenge. I prayed that they would answer "yes" to His invitation to come to them, to dwell in their hearts. I prayed that no matter how much smaller they felt that they would do everything in their power to stick to their beliefs. Ya just gotta love the little guy. He doesn't just receive the invite and accept the forgiveness, but he promises to undo all the wrong he's bestowed on others. He works hard to get a glimpse of Jesus and all his hard work pays off. May all our children accept, repair, work hard and say "yes" to Jesus as they journey through this life.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

To the Mountain

Today we find Jesus choosing His twelve Apostles after spending the night on a mountain in prayer to His Father. This is a blatant reminder for us to pray before we make decisions, especially decisions that will effect many people all over the world for many years. In the first reading, we see that we are members of this family where He is the Head and the Apostles and Prophets are the foundation. These twelve men chosen by Jesus through prayer are the ones who laid the foundation for the Church. I say "thank goodness" He prayed all night and sought the help of His Father. When we read the Gospels, we learn that Jesus not only taught us to pray but He was a great example of the importance of prayer. I was fortunate enough to have the same teaching and example from my parents. As I look around at who we have for leaders today, I'm wishing there was much more "going to the mountain" and praying before decisions. We can teach prayer. We can be examples of prayer. As we make our choices each day, as we casts our votes, as we pick teams, as we decide who will be our friends and co-workers, as we listen to others, as we gather as family, as we work, as we learn and as we play may we all take time to go first to the mountain.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Relationships

"In any case, each one of you should love his wife as himself, and the wife should respect her husband." Ephesians 5:33
Most of the time I have a great relationship with my husband but I have to admit, it's not easy. I don't think God meant for our relationships to be easy. I think He wanted us to work at relationships just as we have to work at everything else in this world. I think He wants us to pray about our relationships. My husband and I work together every day. We are raising six children and running the local Catholic bookstore and in this economy, trust me, it ain't easy. When it's just he and I, all is well. But, there's all these other issues from the outside world that creep in and mess things up. We have to constantly push the ways of the world outside our relationship.

Friday, October 22, 2010

New Website

My awesome brother-in-law put together my new website and I must say, he did a wonderful job. I need to get on board and learn more about working on it to keep it up to date but he has done all the work to get it this far. It is beautiful.
Let me just say this. Monty came to us from off the beaten path so to speak and fits into our family perfectly. When my brother Phillip died many years ago, I hoped my sister-in-law would still come to all our family gatherings and bring my niece and nephew, and she did. She never missed a beat. After she married Monty, I hoped for the same. They come to everything, together or separate, and are as much a part of our family as when my brother was here. These two people are incredible and Monty is as talented on the computer as Amy is in the classroom. I thank God for our family.
Check out my new site

juliecragon

His cool website is

metro to mountain

Monday, October 18, 2010

Support in Prayer

I loved yesterday's first reading about Moses. Good ole Moses simply raised his hands and Israel was able to have the better of the battle against Amalek but as his hands dropped due to exhaustion, Amalek would begin to win against Israel. So, they prop Moses on a rock and Aaron and Hur support his hands and Israel wins the battle.

In this reading we receive a wonderful message about the power of prayer. When we are exhausted, when we are sick, when we can just no longer make it on our own, God gives us one another for support. On this Monday, on this first day of a brand new week, while we feel refreshed and renewed, may we say a prayer for all who have ever supported us when we have been exhausted or sick. If you are well, prayer for the sick. If you are employed, pray for the unemployed. If you have a home, pray for the homeless. Today, at some point, envision yourself holding up the hands of another and praying for them so that together we can defeat anything or anyone that stands between us and God.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Nothing Concealed

“There is nothing concealed that will not be revealed, nor secret that will not be known. Therefore whatever you have said in the darkness will be heard in the light,
and what you have whispered behind closed doors will be proclaimed on the housetops."

Well, today's reading can be a little scary for those of us who love to keep up on the "scoop" and for those of us who complain "in secret" about what others do and don't do. It's going to be said and evidently not just said but shouted. Great! My constant and continual, "I know every priest is tired of hearing", confession is that I talk about others. I can justify this all I want and say we're just joking around, no one gets hurt, I just vent, blah blah blah, but truth of the matter is that no matter what, it's wrong and it's an awful example to my children. I'm constantly on my girls about not talking about others. Well I wonder where they get that from? So, as I type this it seems familiar that I have had a similar post but I am going to continue to work on this because guess what? He's going to tell everyone eventually anyway so if I have something to say about someone, I might as well just tell them now. Save these priests some time and energy. As my mother would always say, "Keep your words soft and sweet, just in case you have to eat them." "If you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all."

I have to give one shout out to St Teresa of Avila on her feast day, a great woman, great writer and great reformer. We could use her today with all the reform that needs done around here. "Oh, my Lord! How true it is that whoever works for you is paid in troubles! And what a precious price to those who love you if we understand its value."

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Daughters of Charity

I learned quite a few things from the Daughters of Charity today. Sr. Sally and Sr. Naomi spoke at Colonna (Catholic Book Club in Nashville, my first day) and they were delightful and insightful. I had no idea that they renewed their vows each year. I had no idea that Sr. Naomi who I have waited on in the bookstore many times in the past had gone from house to house in North Nashville in the late 80's and reported back to the State about the poor and their life situations. (Could be East Nashville, I wasn't taking notes). Sr. Sally shared that this is the 350th anniversary of St. Vincent de Paul's death. In giving us 5 sayings of St. Vincent, she shared their mission.
1. The Poor are your Lords and Masters.
Sr. Sally told the story of a young man who came for a lunch and asked one of the people serving if he could have fruit instead of chips (or some substitute). The server answered, "Be grateful for what you get." Sr. Sally answered, "Of course, you may have a choice. What would you like?" We are given choices every day in our lives. Why can the poor not have a choice? We should give them what they want. We assume that we know what they need and oftentimes should just listen to what they want.
2. Leave God for God
Sr. Sally explained that their day is filled with Mass, Christian Prayer, rosary, etc. etc. but they are told to stop everything to serve another in need. In the middle of prayers, when someone knocks on the door for help, she sets aside her prayer to help. She leaves God for God.
***3. Be inventive unto infinity. Marked as my favorite story. They do not have a place to store furniture, only food and clothing and household supplies. They had a family with six children who had no furniture. One of the priest found them some furniture and connected the two groups for a smooth transition but on that day, no truck. So the priest went to his house and strapped his rowboat on the back of his car and transferred all of the furniture, in trips, via boat. Whatever it takes. Be inventive.
4. We hurt the poor more by our lack of organization than by our lack of charity.
Sr. Sally told the story of St. Vincent vesting for mass one day and hearing of a large family with many sick children and no food. Changing his plan for Mass, he spoke to the people about the needs of the family. After Mass, he gathered all he could and went to the home of the ones in need. When he arrived, he found that he couldn't even get to the door because of all the people who had come with baskets of food. That very day, he gathered the women and organized groups that would take charge of the needs of the poor so that food would not go bad or certain people would not have their specific needs go unmet.
5. "It is only because of your love, only your love, that the poor will forgive you the bread you give them."
Probably the hardest to understand, Sr. Sally explained that the poor are bitter that they have to be fed by others. St. Vincent says, "You will find that charity is a heavy burden to carry, heavier than the kettle of soup or the basket of bread. But you must keep your gentleness and your smile. Giving soup and bread isn't all that the rich can do. You are the little servant of the poor, the maid of charity, always smiling and in good humor. They are your masters, terribly sensitive and exacting as you will see, but the uglier and dirtier they are, the more unjust and bitter, the more you must give them your love."

I sat in awe listening to the fact that they care for about 9,000 people. I listened as she explained the wearing out of tires and lack of funding sometimes and the donations and the needs and the work. All the huge amounts of tireless work! God bless these women and all of the many, many groups and societies that help them.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Thank You Catholic Mom . Com

Thank you to Lisa Hendey at Catholicmom.com for recognizing my 2 new books and for the kind words here
Lisa Hendey at Catholic mom books

Our Lady of the Rosary


As I was looking for something I wrote on Our Lady of the Rosary, I found this that I had written a while back for a group prayer application. Sort of like it so...

The Rosary

Reflect: Lord, You call us to this place to learn more about praying the rosary. Through these meditations on the mysteries of Your life, fill us with Your graces and Your protection. As we further our devotion to the rosary and Your Mother leads us closer to You, help us in our daily lives and grant us peace.

Introduction: In the early Church, lay people were attracted to the 150 Psalms prayed and chanted by the monks. Because the Psalms were not readily available to everyone and many of the laity were unable to read, the practice began of praying 150 Our Fathers and eventually 150 Hail Mary’s in place of the Psalms. In 1214, Our Lady appeared to St. Dominic as he prayed for the conversion of the Albigensians in the chapel at Prouille. She taught him the complete rosary and attached the fifteen promises for those who prayed it faithfully. In 1460, the rosary was re-established by Blessed Alan, a Dominican Father, upon Our Lady’s request. In 1569, Pius V officially recommended praying an Our Father between each set of ten of the 150 Hail Mary’s after meditating on a mystery in the Life of Christ. In 1917, Our Lady appeared in Fatima, Portugal and during the sixth apparition told the three children, Jacinta, Francisco and Lucia, that she wanted people to pray the rosary daily. In 2002, Pope John Paul II added the Luminous Mysteries to include the public life of Jesus.

Clarification: The Rosary combines prayer and meditation which center on the events in Christ’s life. The Catechism of the Catholic Church explains that we pray in communion with Mary to “magnify” the greatness of the Lord. As we repeat the Hail Mary’s, we are led to rest in the gentle presence of the One who’s mystery we contemplate.
The Fifteen Promises to those who recite the rosary:
1. Whoever shall faithfully serve me by the recitation of the Rosary, shall receive signal graces.
2. I promise my special protection and the greatest graces to all those who shall recite the Rosary.
3. The Rosary will be a powerful armor against hell. It will destroy vice, decrease sin and defeat heresies.
4. It will cause virtue and good works to flourish; it will obtain for souls the abundant mercy of God; it will withdraw the hearts of men from the love of the world and its vanities, and will lift them to the desire of eternal things. Oh, that souls would sanctify themselves by this means.
5. Those who recommend themselves to me by the recitation of the Rosary shall not perish.
6. Whoever shall recite the Rosary devoutly, applying himself to the consideration of its sacred Mysteries shall never be conquered by misfortune. God will not chastise him in His justice, he shall not perish by an unprovided death; if he be just, he shall remain in the grace of God, and become worthy of eternal life.
7. Whoever shall have a true devotion for the Rosary shall not die without the sacraments of the Church.
8. Those who are faithful to recite the Rosary shall have during their life and at their death, the light of God and the plentitude of His graces; at the moment of death they shall participate in the merits of the saints in paradise.
9. I shall deliver from purgatory those who have been devoted to the Rosary.
10. The faithful children of the Rosary shall merit a high degree of glory in heaven.
11. You shall obtain all you ask of me by the recitation of the Rosary.
12. All those who propagate the holy Rosary shall be aided by me in their necessities.
13. I have obtained from my Divine Son that all the advocates of the Rosary shall have for intercessors the entire celestial court during their life and at the hour of death.
14. All who recite the Rosary are my sons, and brothers of my only son, Jesus Christ.
15. Devotion to my Rosary is a great sign of predestination.

Meditation: As we meditate on the Joyful Mysteries, let us contemplate the joys in our own lives.
The Annunciation - In the sixth month, the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a town of Galilee called Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man named Joseph, of the
house of David, and the virgin's name was Mary. And coming to her, he said, "Hail, favored one! The Lord is with you." But she was greatly troubled at what was said and
pondered what sort of greeting this might be. Then the angel said to her, "Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. Behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall name him Jesus. He will be great and will be called Son of the Most High, and the Lord God will give him the throne of David his father, and he will rule over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end." But Mary said to the angel, "How can this be, since I have no relations with a man?" And the angel said to her in reply, "The holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. Therefore the child to be born will be called holy, the Son of God. And behold, Elizabeth, your relative, has also conceived a son in her old age, and this is the sixth month for her who was called barren; for nothing will be impossible for God." Mary said, "Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word." Then the angel departed from her. Luke1:26-38

Our Father, 10 Hail Mary’s, Glory Be
"O my Jesus, forgive us our sins, save us from the fires of hell, and lead all souls to Heaven, especially those in most need of Your Mercy".

The Visitation - During those days Mary set out and traveled to the hill
country in haste to a town of Judah, where she entered the house of Zechariah and greeted
Elizabeth. When Elizabeth heard Mary's greeting, the infant leaped
in her womb, and Elizabeth, filled with the holy Spirit, cried out in a loud voice and said, "Most blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb. And how does this happen to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? For at the moment the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the infant in my womb leaped for joy. Blessed are you who believed that what was spoken to
you by the Lord would be fulfilled." And Mary said: "My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord; my spirit rejoices in God my savior. For he has looked upon his handmaid's lowliness; behold, from now on will all ages call me blessed. The Mighty One has done great things for me, and holy is his name. Luke 1:39-49
Our Father, 10 Hail Mary’s, Glory Be
"O my Jesus, forgive us our sins, save us from the fires of hell, and lead all souls to Heaven, especially those in most need of Your Mercy".

The Nativity - While they were there, the time came for her to have her
child, and she gave birth to her firstborn son. She wrapped him in swaddling clothes and laid him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn. Now there were shepherds in that region living in the fields and keeping the night watch over their flock. The angel of the Lord appeared to them and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were struck with great fear. The angel said to them, "Do not be afraid; for behold,
I proclaim to you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For today in the city of David a savior has been born for you who is Messiah and Lord. And this will be a sign for you: you will find an infant wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger." Luke 2:6-12

Our Father, 10 Hail Mary’s, Glory Be
"O my Jesus, forgive us our sins, save us from the fires of hell, and lead all souls to Heaven, especially those in most need of Your Mercy".

The Presentation - When the days were completed for their purification according to the law of Moses, they took him up to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord, just as it is written in the law of the Lord, "Every male that opens the womb shall be consecrated to the Lord," and to offer the sacrifice of "a pair of turtledoves or two young pigeons," in accordance with the dictate in the law of the Lord. Now there was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon. This man was righteous and devout, awaiting the consolation of
Israel, * and the holy Spirit was upon him. It had been revealed to him by the holy Spirit that he should not see death before he had seen the Messiah of the Lord. He came in the Spirit into the temple; and when the parents brought in the child Jesus to perform the custom of the law in regard to him, he took him into his arms and blessed God, saying: "Now, Master, you may let your servant go in peace, according to your word, for my eyes have seen your salvation, which you prepared in sight of all the peoples, a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and glory for your people Israel." The child's father and mother were amazed at what was said about him; and Simeon blessed them and said to Mary his mother, "Behold, this child is destined for the fall and rise of many
in Israel, and to be a sign that will be contradicted (and you yourself a sword will pierce) so that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed." Luke 2:22-35
Our Father, 10 Hail Mary’s, Glory Be
"O my Jesus, forgive us our sins, save us from the fires of hell, and lead all souls to Heaven, especially those in most need of Your Mercy".

Finding in the Temple - Each year his parents went to Jerusalem for the feast of Passover, and when he was twelve years old, they went up according to festival custom. After they had completed its days, as they were returning, the boy Jesus remained behind in Jerusalem, but his parents did not know it. Thinking that he was in the caravan, they journeyed for a day and looked for him among their relatives and acquaintances, but not finding him, they returned to Jerusalem to look for him. After three days they found him in the temple, sitting in the midst of the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions, and all who heard him were astounded at his understanding and his answers. When his parents saw him, they were astonished, and his mother said to him, "Son, why have you done this to us? Your father and I have been looking for you with great anxiety." And he said to them, "Why were you looking for me? Did you not know that I must be in my Father's house?" But they did not understand what he said to them. He went down with them and came to Nazareth, and was obedient to them; and his mother kept all these things in her heart. Luke 2:41-51
Our Father, 10 Hail Mary’s, Glory Be
"O my Jesus, forgive us our sins, save us from the fires of hell, and lead all souls to Heaven, especially those in most need of Your Mercy".

Discussion:
1. How are some of the ways we can relate to the Joyful Mysteries today?
2. What are some of the other appearances of Mary where she has asked us to pray the rosary? What were some of the other messages?
3. Are there any personal experiences you have had praying the rosary you would like to share? Are there any suggestions of incorporating the rosary into our daily lives?

Further Study: The Mysteries of Christ: A Scriptural Rosary, The Rosary Handbook,

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Maggie Valley, NC


Well this week I am in Maggie Valley, NC at a Diocesan priest retreat. Each year the Charlotte Diocese invites me to set up shop at the Living Waters Retreat Center (to reflect the Son deep in the heart of a mountain) and each year after setting up for 4 hours I am greeted and welcomed by a wonderful group of men, dedicated to their call to be priests. I have to admit that last night I was worn out and I sat down to blog about how cold it is up here on the mountain and how tiresome it is sitting all day waiting for customers between walks and talks and prayer. Then I realized, this blog is about hand me downs and my parents didn't pass on whining. Plus, it's awesome here and I should be grateful to have this opportunity and so I am...grateful. I recognize most of the guys from years past and I'd like to mention this one in particular. This priest seems to always be happy. He walks over to greet me, thanks me for being here each year and converses with me for some time about life. Actually, there are quite a few of the guys like this. This is not a business transaction, although that happens. It is a relationship. I love a good relationship. This entire experience has become a part of my life and their lives and we have formed a relationship. God has brought me to this place and has blessed me with this encounter and I am grateful. Hopefully, my husband will bring 4 of my children up today (fall break, I don't ever remember fall break as a kid) and they will help me break down tonight and we can travel to Chattanooga and visit daughter Sarah at UTC. God is good.

Friday, October 1, 2010

St. Therese of Lisieux

Life offers many reasons for unceasing prayer and many reasons for constant thanks. Life is both a challenge and a joy. God has sent us so many ways to offer prayer and thanksgiving. And we know that He finds importance in both because He has sent His Son and His mother and many others to teach us to pray. He also sends us the occasional sign that our prayer is answered and it seems the more answers we receive, the more apt we are to continue the prayers. God knows our very being. He knows how to get us back on our knees.

When I was younger, my mother would often, out of nowhere, ask, “Can you smell that?” We knew that meant mom had been praying a novena to St. Theresa and her plea had been answered. St. Theresa must have planted a garden of roses each year just for my mother. Mom always shared when prayers worked with outward physical signs we could understand. She knew if she had proof, there was a chance we’d try them ourselves in our deepest needs.

My grandmother, Rose Reginald Mary Claire Dalton Dortch, was an amazing woman. Another person in our lives who loved and lived her Catholic faith. My grandfather had a Baptist upbringing and my grandmother told me how she never pushed Catholicism on him. She invited but never pushed and eventually he joined the Catholic Church. She was gentle and kind and incredibly intelligent. Always offering but never unloading. Her pleasure in giving to anyone around her made her a constant joy to be around. We rarely went to her house that we did not leave with something from her cedar chest. “Come back in my room and let’s see if I have anything you want.” She’d open that big chest, always at the end of her bed, and offer us whatever treasure she happened to have at the time. The huge wooden box was always filled with surprises. She was constantly giving.

At the age of one hundred and two, with my grandfather long since gone, my grandmother moved to a place where she could have round the clock help if she needed. As I left Mass one day, a young woman approached me and introduced herself as one of the nurses taking care of my grandmother, Rose. She felt compelled to share that she had prayed a novena to St. Theresa for a desperate need and after the nine days was distraught not to have received a confirmation that all would be well. On that day, she was assigned my grandmother as a patient. So focused in search of a long stemmed flower or the scent of such, it took her some time to realize that St. Theresa had sent her Rose in a different way.

Life offers many reasons for unceasing prayer and many reasons for constant thanks.

"St. Therese, the Little Flower, please pick me a rose from the heavenly garden and send it to me with a message of love. Ask God to grant me the favor I thee implore and tell him I will love him each day more and more."

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Guardian Angels

This was a previous guest post at Why I Am Catholic.

A couple of years ago, a few of us at the bookstore were having a conversation about Guardian Angels. Catholic bookstore, spiritual conversations, pretty normal. I recounted something my mother taught us. She had told us if we said the Guardian Angel Prayer five times before going to sleep, our protector's name would come to us the next day. The employees and I laughed about the idea, but thought we would give it a try.

That night, before I lay my head on my pillow, I said a prayer to my Guardian Angel. I fell fast asleep. Around 2 a.m., I sat straight up in bed and the name Ferrell came into my head very clearly. And that was all. I lay my head down and the alarm woke me at 5 a.m. At 6 a.m., my mother and I drove to the airport to fly to Chicago to buy products for the Christmas season at our store. On the plane, I told my mom about the name in the middle of the night. She simply said, "Well, he's it." "He's what?" "Ferrell's your guardian angel. Now you can call him by name when you pray to him." Being a doubting Thomas, I needed more proof. I told my mom if one of the new angels in the Roman showroom, the company to which we were headed to buy products, was named Ferrell, I'd be convinced. My mom couldn't believe I was making it so difficult.

We arrived in Chicago and were driven to the showroom, where our sales representative was waiting to work with us. After buying for Christmas, we ate some lunch and continued through the huge showroom, meticulously looking at each item. As we were about to end our day, we walked to the front to look at the new Seraphim angels. I said to mom, "If one of these new angels is named Ferrell, then I'll believe. Our rep shuffled up to us and asked why we were talking about the name Ferrell.

I told him it was a long story I'd have to share with him later. He said, "I just asked because my middle name is Ferrell. It was my mother's maiden name and I don't hear it much. My full name is Jack Ferrell Carmody." I whipped my head around to my mother, who was already wearing that goofy smile and said, "Okay. Okay. I believe."

The Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches: "from infancy to death human life is surrounded by their (the angels') watchful care and intercession. Beside each believer stands an angel as protector and shepherd leading him to life. Already here on earth the Christian life shares by faith in the blessed company of angels and men united to God."

Angels work for God as messengers and are here for us to aid in our salvation. They guard and protect us from evil. They are spiritual beings, gentle souls who witness to God's commands. As protectors, we call upon them for our countries and our soldiers and our children and ourselves. Many of us learned as small children to speak to them in prayer and ask for guidance in our daily lives. May we never be too old or stubborn to ask our angels for help.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Isaiah

Last night as we dropped Isaiah off at the bus station, my son asked, "Well, are you gonna blog about this?" At first I laughed and said, "no" but then I thought, "this is about Isaiah and maybe others would like to pray for this young man".
I received a call around 6:30 (in the middle of the Boy Scout Spaghetti Supper I had bought earlier that morning and warmed up). A woman who had been in my sister's class growing up wanted to run over and give me a holy card order for her dad's visitation today and funeral tomorrow. How could I refuse? As I closed the front door, I told my husband that I would have to go to the bookstore and print the cards so they would have plenty of time to dry. My oldest son offered to go with me (15 year old 6'2" protection). He studied Calculus as I printed 500 cards. Didn't take but a hour and we were in the car by 8:00 and headed out of the lot. I opened the sun roof because it was a beautiful night. Suddenly this young kid comes running down West End and stopped to let me pull out of the lot, then starts with the "roll down the window" motions I'm so familiar with in this area of town. He walks to the car and I say "I can hear you just fine. What do you need?" He holds up a bus pass and says he's missed his bus. "If you want even a dollar I don't have one" and that was the truth. Mother of six, never cash, even though I blogged a week or so ago that I would try to keep a little on me for these such situations. "No. No. I'm not looking for money and I've never robbed anyone. (good to know) I need a ride to the bus station downtown." I saw his uniform. "Do you work at Wendy's?" "Yes ma'am." I rolled down the window. "Get in." The entire way to the bus, we got his story. He's been in foster homes his whole life and he's working at Wendy's, going to Nashville State, graduated from Antioch High School, trying to walk on the football team at Austin Peay or Western Kentucky. He catches the bus in front of Vanderbilt to the downtown terminal to catch the H Bus to go home. We saved him an extra hour and miles more running. We got him to the station and I found myself wanting to know him better. He was polite and kind and very grateful. My son asked on the way home, "Would you have let him in if I had not offered to come with you?" "No way. And although this was a good example of kindness, it is an awful example of not picking up any strangers, ever." "I know." We talked about Isaiah the rest of the way home. Mostly discussing his hard work and persistence coming from his background and how he is trying to rise above his situation. What a neat kid! We pray for Isaiah and all the thousands of kids like him. God Bless them all.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Street William

William came in the bookstore yesterday and the girls called me to the front because he requested, "You know, her." As I greet him, he's holding up an application for Amerigos and asks me to help him fill it out. I take the pen from his hand, thinking we'll never get through this application, and lead him over to the rosary display case and ask him his last name. I fill in the answer and he takes the pen from my hand. He writes his full name and informs me that he is junior. "Where should I put that?" "After William." So he continues. He can read and write and SOMEHOW HE HAS A DRIVER'S LICENSE. I'm thinking that all is normal until I comment that I didn't know he could drive and he goes on his run, "ATV's, SUV's, motorcycles, bicycles...do you know anyone with a truck for sale or a bicycle or a motorcycle?" I have to tell him to focus on the application. We are starting to get busy and the girls interrupt us several times to ask questions and William loses focus easily. I'm wondering why I am doing this when I know he will not get the job and yet, I stay with him because he wants to accomplish the task. He has finished high school and one year of Bible college. I wonder when things went wrong and what happened. He asks about the meaning of temporary and writes down the words busboy and dishwasher. No to drugs or arrests. He lists three references. We finish and he signs his name and I tell him it's time for him to go give the application to the person at Amerigo's. He shakes my hand and I hand him his bag with his box of moon pies then he proceeds to shake the hands of everyone standing at the front register, one woman twice and pops her in the arm like slug-a-bug. I have to get him to the door. I'm now worried I've done the wrong thing helping him fill that out, giving him hope. We walk outside and I try to move him in the right direction but he heads down West End the opposite way from Amerigos. I was glad to know more about the big guy, to spend a little time, to give him just a few minutes (well, many minutes). One day he waves a cane at me and speaks oddly and the next day he shares information of a normal life with parents and a home address and phone number and an education and I wonder what turned him and what might just turn him back around. I'm guessing we will probably do this again some day. God love William and bless all who care for him up and down our street and in his neighborhood.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Satisfaction

Our reading from Ecclesiastes today leaves me a little disheartened if I've read it correctly. Seems to me that there is technically no satisfaction to be found on this earth. What we do has already been done at some point and those who come after us can find no real benefit in anything we've left behind. Hmmm. Just two days ago a friend and co-worker sat with me while she ate lunch and confessed that she'd been thinking about what she was going to leave behind when she died. I had to admit that I'd never thought about it. Heck, I have some kids that surely might make some kind of imprint if they want to but I can't imagine we're raising any Nobel Peace Prize winners here. (I don't mean to x the possibility, they are pretty awesome kids, but let's be realistic) When we read the lives of Padre Pio and Mother Teresa we see that others found satisfaction through their lives of hearing confessions and feeding the poor and spreading the love of Christ but their satisfaction was not of this world. And maybe that is exactly what is being said to us today. This world cannot really satisfy. And if we honestly look around, we should be glad to hear that this world cannot satisfy. We can try for our own benefit to "leave something" but I believe all God expects is for us to love one another, really love one another and spread His Name so that others will love one another. Today, I hear Him say "Do not worry about satisfaction on this earth". Forget about the tangibles. He has something so much better waiting for us and we do not have to worry about leaving something behind. What's here is here. He alone satisfies. What about it? Ever worry about what mark you will leave here when called home?

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Take Nothing

"Take nothing for the journey, neither walking stick, nor sack, nor food, nor money,
and let no one take a second tunic."

Funny how these Gospel messages hit right in line with our lives sometimes. My husband and two sons helped his sisters and brother-in-law move his father into an apartment this past Sunday from his town home. Man is he excited to move into a place where he can go to a central dining area for meals and have people come in to help him with his laundry and his blood sugar levels (and insulin intake), etc. The more problems he has encountered due to his deteriorating sight, the more he has welcomed talking about looking for a place that can help him with his special needs. Wow, ya talkin' about leaving it all behind and not worrying about any of the "stuff"! He did it with no problems. How fortunate! Could have gone kicking and screaming about change or happy to welcome a new situation. Now, unfortunately, his kids will have to do something about the town home full of all his "stuff" but I think they are so grateful for his happiness that they don't really mind.

The big move has made me think and rethink about all the "stuff" we tend to accumulate and how much we need to simply our lives so that our children will not be left with having to deal with any of it when we are ready to be moved or for any other reason. And, after the Gospel reading today, I have been thinking about what I would take for my journey. Let's think about this. If Jesus showed up today and said, "Let's go. Oh, and you can only take 2 things", what would my two things be? At first my smarty response was to take my husband and my son so they could carry some "stuff" that I may need. Pretty clever. But seriously, what would the two things be?
What would you take if you could only take two things for a life-long journey?

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Happy Birthday Mom!


"I urge you to live in a manner worthy of the call you have received, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another through love,
striving to preserve the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace:
one Body and one Spirit, as you were also called to the one hope of your call;
one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all."

Today's my mom's Birthday and I know she would rather be paired with St. Luke as an artist but the luck of the draw is to share the day with St. Matthew. Actually, she constantly drops what she's doing to "Follow" Him so I'm not surprised by the match. She has put off so many things for her vocation as wife and mother and example to others and bookstore owner and all with humility and gentleness, striving to preserve peace. I love that St. Paul mentioned her attributes this morning. How perfect! I constantly hear from others, even our street people, "What a great mom you have!" and I agree. Love you mom. Happy Birthday!

Monday, September 20, 2010

Nothing Hidden

"For there is nothing hidden that will not become visible, and nothing secret that will not be known and come to light."
Working on some new writing projects I have really come to believe this Scripture passage for today more than ever. When we write for the public, all sorts of questions come from all sorts of people and before we know it, there's not a secret in the house. If I don't blurt it out, the kids do or a friend or another family member. Might as well just write the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, as well as we can remember, because the questions gonna be asked and the answer will be expected at some point. Now not that I'd expect anyone not to write truth but if you have any secrets, I suggest the fiction category. Of course the other lesson for today is to light that lamp and let it shine, so my prayer today is for that light to be the fire of the Spirit and the words that flow be guided by that same Holy Spirit. Because I tell ya, if my nothing is meant to be known, it best be guided from above.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Monsignor George Rohling


My friend and former Pastor Msgr Rohling was buried today at the incredible age of 97, next month 98. He was an icon in the Nashville Diocese and one of the holiest men I've ever known. He was all about God, the Church, the priesthood and the family. He was definitely a people person. He had a gruff voice and as people told stories of him at his wake last night, they imitated his voice as they shared his marvelous life. One girl in particular, a "married into the family" great niece, shared her wedding day. When she told Msgr that she was not Catholic, he said, "Just a matter of time." He told the couple that when they looked in the mirror each morning, there were 4 important things to think about each day of their lives. 1. What can I do to serve God today? 2. What can I do for my spouse today? 3. What can I do for someone else? 4. What can I do for my vocation? Then she went on to say he gave his typical "GooGoo" sermon. He told the husband that every now and then (maybe once a week) stop by the 7-Eleven and pick your wife up a GooGoo (amazing candy bar started in Nashville) and a Dr. Pepper. When she asks, "Honey, why did you bring me a GooGoo and a Dr. Pepper?" tell her "Because it's Tuesday."
Msgr. Rohling will be missed but his wisdom and his hard work to build and refurbish several churches in the Nashville Diocese, his love for the Church, his vocation as a Parish Priest and his humor will last forever in our hearts. He was an amazing man.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Our Lady of Sorrows


Today is the Feast of Our Lady of Sorrows, "dedicated to Mary's suffering and grief in union with her Son. In her compassion for the sufferings of her Son, she shows the depth of her love as Mother."(Illustrated Book of Mary) From Corinthians today we read, "Love is patient, love is kind. It is not jealous, love is not pompous,it is not inflated, it is not rude, it does not seek its own interests, it is not quick-tempered, it does not brood over injury, it does not rejoice over wrongdoing but rejoices with the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails."
Our Lady is the perfect example of this capacity of love. Mary, give us as mothers one ounce of your dedication, one ounce of your compassion, one ounce of your love.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Splinter in the Eye

The Gospel for today reminds me of my oldest daughter and her awful eye incident. When she was nine or so, she played softball. One Saturday while in the dugout, she was running her hands along the fence and something flicked into her eye. After practice, her father brought her down to the bookstore because she felt something in her eye and they couldn't seem to get it out. I called our eye doctor and he said to have her put her face into some water and blink her eye several times and see if the object would come out. Now I happen to have had some Lourdes water there at the store so I added that to the tap water and had her work with that for a while but nothing seemed to help. Our eye doctor met us at his office which was just down the street from the store and he worked and worked but could not seem to get that sliver of metal from her eye. Evidently, the rubbing had pushed it in deep so as a last resort he decided to use a tiny drill and try to flick it out the same way it came in. My eyes watered as I prayed to St. Lucy and Our Lady of Lourdes to please help remove that splinter and save my baby from any kind of eye trauma. The sliver was right next to her cornea and my daughter had a very difficult time sitting still with her eye open as all those instruments kept going toward her but the drill was almost the last straw. She knew she had to do it or go to the hospital so she braced herself and low and behold the darn thing did flick out the same way it came in. I believe he worked an hour and a half and just as it had been handed down by my parents, I prayed the entire time and then I thanked all of Heaven for that doctor's skillful, patient hands.
Lord, remove everything that keeps me from seeing You clearly in every situation.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

I Was Sure When I Left Here

I feel sure that when I left for Chicago early Wednesday morning there was fruit and juice in the fridge and granola snack bars in the pantry. I just arrived home after a short but wonderful visit (actually I worked) to find Mint Oreo Fudge Creams (whoa! good), Chunky Chips Ahoy, Garden Salsa Sun Chips and Dr. Pepper. Now don't get me wrong, personally I like it but what happened to trying to do better around here in the snack category? The minute I step out, the fun begins. There's no tellin' what I'm going to find at the bookstore tomorrow. I guess the old saying is still true, "When the cat's away, the mice will play." This reminds me of all the things we did when we were kids and our parents went out of town. I mean, how good we were. I can just imagine my kids' faces when their dad showed up with those treats. But, hey kids, I'm baaaackkkkkk!

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Blessed Mother Teresa

Today we celebrate the feast of Blessed Mother Teresa. As is my normal routine, after my daily reading I clicked to find a short story of Mother Teresa and decided to put a quote from her on my site for today. When reading through the lists, I noticed this quote and thought I might choose, "If we want a love message to be heard, it has got to be sent out. To keep a lamp burning, we have to keep putting oil in it."
As one who tells my children things over and over and over, I loved this message of refueling, of continual burning, of sending out. But, I passed over to read more choices only to find the exact same quote two or three spaces down. Now if that's not confirmation, I don't know what is. And so, today we have this quote from Mother Teresa, "If we want a love message to be heard, it has got to be sent out. To keep a lamp burning, we have to keep putting oil in it."
There is so much in this message from her today. She was definitely all about the love of Christ. She was all about His message to be heard and His love and His message to be sent out. She was all about not hiding her lamp under a bushel. She was all about refueling the lives of those she came in contact with and she was all about taking opportunity, living open to His call and loving and loving and loving. Today, spread the message of love. Light your lamps and keep them refueled. Burn brightly in the name of Christ and make a difference, if only to one person. And love. And love. And love.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Two New Books

We have received my two new titles at St. Mary's Bookstore yesterday. I am very excited because they turned out to be beautiful inside and out. I am so fortunate to have worked on this project. They will be available on our website next week.

From St. Agatha to St. Vincent de Paul, the lives of these 107 Saints are both informative and enlightening. Stories are told of men and women who emulate the love of Christ and the holiness of the Church. From the simple to the complex, these saints have walked the path of Jesus. Their stories are filled with examples many of us can follow.
Illustrated Lives of the Saints includes a page and a half on the life of a Saint, their Feast Day, their Patronage and the meaning of their name along with a beautiful picture of the saint from the Bonella line of Italian art.

“It is pleasing to God that we honor Mary. Her many different titles have developed from her personal life, her places of honor in the life of the Church, her role in the plan of our salvation and her intercession to God on our behalf. Devotion to her has not just come about because of the writings of the saints and the Church fathers but also due to the belief in Marian apparitions and the reports of miracles and healings. Because of her special role in union with God, when we honor Mary, when we pray the rosary and the stations and the many other prayers associated with her, we honor God.”
Illustrated Book of Mary includes a page with a prayer and a page and a half of the history of Marian Apparitions and devotions from Our Lady of Grace to Our Lady of Altagracia. There are 30 different Marian stories along with popular Marian prayers including the Rosary, the Litany, the 54 day novena, first Saturday devotion and a list of the feast days of Mary. The Illustrations included in this book are from the Bonella line of Italian art.
This book would be a wonderful gift for anyone who wants to know more about Mary, for new Catholics, for young people and for anyone who has a devotion to Our Blessed Mother. It is a beautiful book for Our Lady.

Please let me know what you think!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Nathanael

Not a whole lot to say here about good ole Nathanael. Philip tells him to "Come and see" and he does. Jesus says he's a "true child" and he has no "duplicity". Makes me believe that he was not one way and then another. He was pure in his beliefs. Jesus simply says that He saw him under the fig tree and Nathanael immediately believes Him to be "Rabbi", "the Son of God", "the King of Israel". Today, like Nathanael, we are all called to simplicity. "Come and see". Yes, Lord. "Be true. Don't be wishy washy." Yes, Lord. "I see you and I am calling you specifically." Yes, Lord. "I will show you great things." Yes, Lord, I am here. I believe.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Dem Bones

"Dem bones, dem bones, dem dry bones...dem bones gonna walk around."
I don't know! The reading from Ezekiel today reminded me of this old folk song and I haven't been able to get it out of my head. But as I finished the reading, I heard the words of Jesus refreshing my spirit and breathing life into my old dried up spiritual self. That's exactly what seems to happen to me. I get all dried up in my spiritual life. Stagnant. Boring. Often I need the breathe of His Spirit to blow through my dried up bones and get them walking around. Tying this into our Saint of the Day, St. Bernard who had 5 brothers, 2 uncles and about 30 friends follow him into the monastery and breathe life back into monastic life. How appropriate! Today, I'm led creaking and crackling to contemplate how to allow the Spirit to refresh my prayer life, my parenting life, my bookstore life. I need this renewal and I wouldn't mind dragging the brothers, uncles and friends along with me. Work dem bones.

Breathe in us, O Lord, and renew Your Spirit in us. Raise us up, that we may more fully do Your will.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

St. Joan of the Cross

I have not heard the story of St. Joan of the Cross and yet I was raised by one who could be her sister. Oh how we all think my mom is wasting all she has giving her money each morning to the street people who recognize her car at the bookstore. I couldn't believe that Joan (Jean) owned (owns) her own family business and took (takes) care of the homeless and the poor. They are rare these Joans. They seem to be able to make eye contact, hold hands with, pray for and pass on a little Jesus to the worst looking, worst smelling humans I've ever come across. She talks to them like they are her own and like they are listening. My excuse is always that I have no money but I think she puts money aside to take care of them. This St. Joan today has really made me stop and think about my attitude towards these children of God. And the matching Gospel reading makes me rethink my basic response also. "Again I say to you,it is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for one who is rich to enter the Kingdom of God.”
"The downtown areas of most major cities hold a population of “street people.” Well-dressed folks usually avoid making eye contact, probably for fear of being asked for a handout. That was Joan’s attitude until the day one of them touched her heart. Most people thought the old woman was crazy, but she put Joan on the road to sainthood. Who knows what the next beggar we meet might do for us?" from the Saint for the Day, St. Anthony Messenger

Saturday, August 14, 2010

St. Maximilian Mary Kolbe

What an amazing short life story in St. Maximilian Kolbe! Today I have to take a moment to think outside the story of this great man to figure out how to learn from his life and his death. I am realistic to think that God is not going to call me to martyrdom. I could be wrong but I can't see Him asking me to die in place of someone in order to share eternal life with Him. Or does Him? As I sit and think about this Saint's life, I realize that every day, God does ask me to die to self. He asks me to take the place of all that distracts me, of all that tempts me, of all that seems to give me anything better in life than to do for and spend time with Him. Like this incredible Saint, we are offered a crown of white and a crown of red, to be pure and to die (to self). Like this Saint, we can sing of the goodness of God in the face of daily trials and sufferings. We can simply do our day to day tasks with love. We can offer ourselves to others and remain nameless. We can perform acts of charity without recognition. (I tend to like to tell the world when I do something for others). We can be an example to others of what it means to truly follow Christ in His life, His passion and His death. We may think it's no big deal but following our call in life with a song in our heart and with a positive attitude and following all the way through each day is what He wants of us. God help me to persevere and like St. Maximilian, help me to do so with love.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Dorothy, We're Not in Kansas Anymore

For some reason yesterday, I decided to venture out with two of my daughters to get new school uniforms. I was totally opposed because we have several that fit okay but our shirts are extremely faded (my nieces who wore them previously are now 25 and 27) so off we went. As we cruised down to get on the interstate, a huge storm blew up all around us. It was scary. I had to pull off down a side street because limbs from trees were flying all around and the winds were causing the rain to pelt water against the car making it difficult to see. "Auntie Em! Auntie Em!" I pulled into a small condominium parking lot and found it impossible to park without being near a tree. We were close to my parents place so I told the girls we would go there. As the rain slowed, I pulled from the driveway back onto the main road and found that one block up, the road was blocked by a huge tree that had fallen. As I turned to round the block, another tree and branches. We moved along slowly, talking about God's protection and the timing of having turned into that lot when we did. We stayed with my parents for less than an hour, then ventured back out to go home to my boys. Back on the main street, we noticed that a tree had fallen right behind where we had turned into that lot. We rounded the corner and huge trees were down all over the back streets and neighborhoods. Had a tornado touched down? Thank You God for Your protection. My girls and I were petrified and as we turned to You, You brought us to safety. You stretched out Your hand. You calmed the storm. In You we found refuge. I love that my children immediately start peeling off Our Fathers and Hail Marys in times trouble. Forget new uniforms. We have hand-me-downs that work just fine, whether in the form of clothing or faith. Thank You God.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

In Our Midst

"For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.” This is just the right verse for me this week as I prepare my children to return to school. Four different schools means four different schedules so things around here are a little hectic. And, as the schedule changes here at the house so also for our bookstore. The school moms will be returning as the college kids leave and the transition is never quite as smooth as I wish it to be. But, I am fortunate to have all the craziness and I know it. Amidst the juggling of schedules, I feel the presence of God in our midst. Granted, when I'm tired I wish I could be holding onto that altar not allowing anyone to pull me back into the world as we read about St. Clare this morning. I long for some solitude and some quiet time but I know that will come and I will long to be back in the craziness of my life. Besides, who would truly wish the rough life of St. Clare upon themselves. She suffered greatly for Our Lord and she worked hard to bring the poor and the sick to Him. St. Clare, help us to remember that He is in our midst through all the scheduling and gathering and trials and worries. Teach us to bring it all to the altar and not to cling to the ways of this world. Watch over our children and help them to know that He is in their midst.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

God is Speaking

"Write all the words I have spoken to you in a book." I find this a very interesting request from God to Jeremiah. I try to constantly stay tuned into words in Scripture that come directly from God. Well, don't we all. These words were repeated to us Tuesday and I can't seem to get them off my mind. As if they were meant for me, and I believe they all are, I have wondered what I should be writing down and who is my audience. But the more I ponder, the more I realize that God does not say a thing about what or who, He just says to write all the words. I so often allow this world to crawl into that little space between me and God (what's the rule) and mess things up. The rules are so simple in His one liners but first I have to let loose of all that clogs my ability to hear Him. He's speaking to me. He says so right here and He wants me to write all the words in a book. As a writer wanna be, this is truly a gift from above. I want to do a shout out to every writer out there and say, "Hey guys, there's no such thing as writer's block. Listen. God has the answer. God is the answer. Write it down." All I have to do, literally, is to listen and to write. Maybe it's for this blog. Maybe it's for a book to be published. Maybe it's a simple prayer. Maybe it's for many or maybe it's just for a few. All these things I put in the way are all about me. The few things that He requests make life and words flow much easier. Listen to Him. He speaks.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Martha, Martha

I woke up a little before 4 this morning and began fretting about some work I should have finished a day or two ago. As I slowly fell back asleep, to capture one more minute, I actually had a dream about meeting with the person to whom I owe the work. I jumped up at 5:30 and knew I had to finish and send it off in an email. Then, His words appeared on the screen in front of me. I wanted to delve into work but I sat as usual with my Lady of Guadalupe mug of hot joe and I read the morning reading. "Julie, Julie, you are anxious and worried about many things. There is need of only one thing." Like clay in the potter's hands, He brought me back and transformed me. He tossed me back on the table and made me into someone completely different. He asked that I sit and listen before I rushed off to my work, just as He has asked me to do a million times with my children. He reminded me that, with Him, I am a different person. I have time to sit and to listen. I can choose the more important parts of life. I am relaxed and calm and He can use me more fully as His instrument. All will be well because we can say "Yes, Lord. I have come to believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God, the one who is coming into the world."

Monday, July 26, 2010

Mustard Seeds and Grandparents

I see we have the Feast Day of Sts. Joachum and Ann along with the Parable of the Mustard seed today and I can't help but make a comment on the importance of our children spending time around their grandparents so those seeds of wisdom can be continually handed down through generations. I'm noticing this morning as I'm reading this parable (as if for the first time) just how much Jesus wants us to realize that the Kingdom of Heaven is in our midst. Now, please understand that this is just my interpretation today for my growth at this moment. I get something different every time I read His Word. But for today, the Kingdom is here and I'm helping to plant these tiny little seeds so that my area can expand and I can just dwell. Happily. And then along comes the idea that past generations have also planted their seeds, some aiding in growth and others aiding in destruction and I see that we have a long, long way to go in this process. You know, to build the Kingdom of Heaven. Here, in our midst. Every single day I can look back, reflect, and see where I have planted and that huge plant has started to become the "largest of plants" and then I have stunted it's growth by a word or a deed and it has shriveled back down to the tiniest seed, so tiny I can hardly see it some days. Today I thank God for my grandparents and my children' grandparents who have purposefully helped in the planting and the cultivating and the watering. I thank God for the journey and the growth and the work of our hands. And, I pray that I can help more in the growth of the Kingdom, here, in our midst so that we may all someday dwell in the branches. There is much work to be done. For every generation.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

The Big 5-0

Since I'm probably half way through my life, I'd just like to take this brief moment to thank God and all He has put in my path thus far. Longevity's in the genes on one side anyway, so it's possible this is my half life birthday and I am so grateful for all I have and all I have been refused. I must admit, if God had given all I've prayed for in the past, I'd probably be in trouble by now. But, since He does know better and only gives what is good, well... Yes, there have been disappointments and yes, there have been tragedies and yes, there have been tough times but I am so fortunate to have someone who loves me despite myself. I have a wonderful husband (he won't read this) and awesome kids (they will) and incredible parents and siblings (they might). It hasn't always been great but I am grateful, not always smooth but we have sailed, not easy but we've moved forward. And, most of all, it's included faith and love and tons of fun.
From a card I received, the year I was born, 1960, included the filming of West Side Story and the premier of My Three Sons. The cartoons that were most popular were Peanuts and Lil Abner. A movie ticket was .69, a stamp .04, a home $13,725, a gallon of milk $1.04, and bread .20. And the fact I truly love since I just refurbished a 1963 convertible, Ford's new Falcon became the top selling compact. God is good!

Monday, July 19, 2010

Consequence or love

Today we get the direct hit from Jesus tying the Old Testament story to the New Testament. I want to say that He tells us today to stop looking for the signs of when the end will come and start behaving properly because it's the right thing to do. There are a million times in my life that I can recall where I straightened up my act because I was worried I'd get caught and not because it was simply the right way to act. And, here in this Book, God gives us many stories of people who do the exact same thing and yet He still has to send His Son to get the point across. If I go to Mass to follow what the Law commands, then I attend. But if I go to Mass because I love Jesus and I want to participate more fully in His love for me, then I live. If I go to Confession to free myself of sin, then I am temporarily free. But if I go to Confession because I love Jesus and want to try to sin no more, then I live. How would it be to live our lives worried about the consequences, always looking for the sign that it's the end of time? Wouldn't it just be so much more enjoyable to live a life of love for one another? Today, this passage would bring to my friend Jennifer's mind her favorite Walmart blip. She heard a mom yell at her child, "Can't you just understand these two simple words 'be have'?" Always makes me laugh. Jesus wants us to live in His love. He wants us to enjoy are time here and to be examples to one another and to live fully. He does not want us to live by consequence, but by love. He wants us to behave so we do not have to constantly be looking for signs.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Helping Dad at Work


In the grueling heat, my children came to the bookstore and helped their dad unload 3 pallets of candles.


This guy's arms were a little sore the next day but he was happy to help.


Because of the heat, only the candles that could be delivered immediately could go in the van.


So it took quite a while to figure out where to store the rest of the candles inside the building.


But the kids seemed to have a good time together even though they were hot and tired.

1 Thessalonians 4:11
Make it your ambition to lead a quiet life, to mind your own business and to work with your hands, just as we told you,

Colossians 3:23
Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men,