Monday, December 31, 2012

Radio Maria

I had the extreme pleasure of joining Ken Huck at Maria Radio for "Meet the Author" to talk about my new book "Jesus at My Side" as well as a few other titles. I wondered how I would ever fill an hour and yet time seemed to fly by as we discussed books and family and business. Thank you Ken!

Happy New Year!

Thursday, December 13, 2012

The Littlest Lamb

When our children get to fifth grade at St. Henry's, each December they are assigned a "Nativity Project". They are asked to create a nativity scene from items around the house (in our case with help from Michael's) and write a meditation from the perspective of one of the "characters" in the scene.  My children have chosen the star and the shepherd and the donkey and others, all special and well thought-out, each making me cry for a different reason; a memory, a connection, a love of the sensitivity. This year my youngest chose to make her nativity from clay and to write her meditation from the perspective of the littlest lamb.  How appropriate for the youngest to choose the smallest! I was moved by her excitement and creativeness, using cotton pads for angel wings, her Nike shoe box with bark on top for a stable and crayon tips for the kings' crowns.  But most of all, I loved the gifts from the kings.  The gold, frankincense and myrrh were a gold Hershey wrapper, coffee grounds mixed with paprika and crunched sugar pops. They looked great and I was all ready to blog about the great gifts the kings brought to offer to the sweet baby Jesus. But then, it happened on the day the project was due; this past Tuesday. The Gospel reading was about the Good Shepherd...the lost sheep...the leaving all to save just one. I was reminded quickly and blatantly of my child's meditation. I was reminded of her seriousness about her poor little lamb who followed this shepherd who was led by a star across fields he had never crossed, to a place where poor parents were huddled around a small newborn baby in a "hay-filled" stable.  This little lamb moved closer to the baby to offer him warmth. And days later as the kings presented their gifts, the little lamb realized that this child was special. He realized that although he had his own shepherd who led him to this place far from home, he now was in the presence of the true shepherd who would give everything to save even one, even the littlest one. This child who made gifts for royalty to present to the newborn king from coffee grounds and candy wrappers and sugar pops found the true gift to all of us in the story of the birth of the One who will shepherd us, who will lead us, protect us, carry us.  To her it wasn't about the gifts that were given but the gift that we received and we continue to receive every Christmas morning. It is all about that newborn baby, our Shepherd, our Savior, Jesus.

Monday, December 10, 2012

What Are You Willing to Risk Going Without Tomorrow

I read somewhere recently in a blog or a magazine or a book (I wish I could remember where so I could give the writer credit), "What if you only had left today what you thanked God for yesterday?" Now I realize that seems pretty obvious. We should be grateful and I believe most of the people I come into contact with during my day would say they are grateful for what they receive each day and for the people in their lives but think about the question on a more literal level. What if we happen to forget for one day to literally get down on our knees or sit on our couch or at our desk or our kitchen table and thank God for our parents or our children or our job or the house we live in or the school we attend, our clothes, our shoes, our mode of transportation, etc. etc? This has really made me pause each day and form sentences of gratefulness to our great God. Personally, I know I have a lot of "stuff" I can do without but there is also much I would never want to lose.
This Advent Season has been and still is one of specific, verbalized thankfulness for the people and the comforts in my life. This challenge, this question of gratefulness should make us stop and think about all we have and all we are willing to lose. I know, I know, God knows we are grateful just as well as we know our children are grateful for all we provide, but don't we think every now and then, every day of this joyful season, we could take the time to say the words? We know how much it means to us to hear those words of thanks for a good dinner or a new pair of shoes. Today and from this day forward, thank Him. Take nothing for granted. Say the words. Don't risk it. Be grateful.