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


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, 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


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!