Tuesday, July 18, 2017

CWBN Blog Hop: Keeping My Child Grounded In Our Catholic Faith

Happy Tuesday Readers,

The day after my last blog post, I had surgery on both feet. If you want to see pics, check my Instagram Account - @Mrsedavis99.  Suffice to say, it's been a long month.  Here's an example of what has gone on, since then.  I had surgery, less than a week later, our house sold. They called want to close before the end of the month because she's pregnant, and we agreed.  Then, we had no choice (because of my recovery) but to check out a few rentals and choose one so we could make this all happen. We had no time to look for a place to buy.  Did I mention the rental is half the size, and I am in surgical boots?

In the past three weeks, I have made lists, packed, given things away, tossed things out, canceled this, scheduled that... and managed to keep my sanity.  But I'm gonna tell you a little story.

By the morning of July 8th as I sat on the recliner downstairs crying and screaming at God in my head, on strong meds, unable to do for my family, worried about my son, my family, if we would find a place to live... angry with the past ten months, the death of my father, the three surgeries, deaths of friends, never having a mother in my life, just whatever I could muster up to be crazed about..... not having slept in a week, worrying about so much and not wanting to burden others.... I was a crumpled mess.... watching a show about the ocean and whale sharks...

It all started because - I have an issue with my student loan, and I have not worked in 12 years. The rental applications are all online, very impersonal and I was convinced we would not get a place. Seriously irrational mess.

What you may not know is, I have PTSD from the abuse I suffered as a child. And though I am mostly very rational and helpful and nice, on the rare occasions that I spiral - it is NOT pretty.  But let me tell you about our Lord.

I'm now upstairs that same day and a friend texted... and I answered in a somewhat ranting text... and she came to my home, came up the stairs (I had no idea she was coming) and gave me the biggest hug... and as I cried, she said she understood. She understood. And she basically told my husband we were going for a ride. We drove around for a while, talking, and also chatting with her sweet baby girl... and I felt better. Not so alone. It was the LIGHT I needed.

Ok - it helps that I finally picked up Who Does He Say You Are? by Colleen Mitchell and read the intro and cried and just realized how close God really is. But it goes on.

The next morning, I was reading the Magnifcat before Mass, and this is what I saw. I put this up on Instagram.


I went to Mass that day with my family, with two orthopedic boots on my feet, and wept the whole Mass. I listened to the Priest talk about how we are yoked to Jesus and one-another and that we all share a part in one another's burdens.

I felt so ashamed for a moment that I had doubted him more. But I think everyone who has been through so very much has at least one of those moments in their lives.. and they fight off the negative thoughts and God reaches his hand out and pulls them out of the darkness and back into His light.

So while I am in the throws of packing up my house of 11 years and struggling with my lack of being a great mom and wife because of my legs, I can tell you that God has never left me. Friends have come to help pack. Friends have come to bring meals. Friends have agreed to take our things that we can't fit or helped us find people in need.  God changed my heart that day. And I have a lot to say about it, and will over time.


So today, is the monthly CWBN Blog Hop. It's hosted by Allison Gingras @Reconciled to You. The link is here: CWBN Blog Hop. This month's blog hop is called, "What I am Doing Now In The Hope of Keeping My Kids Catholic".  I did not know until today that the average age people leave the Church is 13. WOW... it's really astonishing.

My son saw me in a heap y'all. And it opened up the best chance for me to talk to him about God's love in bad times... and we were up several nights in a row talking about positive affirmations and how we can make this move fun.  He has ASD (Aspergers) and he has lived here the majority of his life. He doesn't want to go to a smaller home or get rid of things... even if he hasn't touched them in ten years. LOL He just knows the comfort of this home.

It's been such a great couple weeks of really re-engaging in Religious Ed in a familial way, because I was at the brink of giving up on God. I felt I'd been through enough.  My husband and child knew it and they witnessed the bounce-back. And we have all talked and prayed about growth and purpose and just so many things.

I could list a million things you should do, in order to make sure your children stay in our Faith. I could tell you to read books, and to go to Mass, and to have family devotions, the Rosary and so many other things - and I mean them all! Do them all!  Find ways to NOT make it a task, but a loving and beautiful part of your days.

But my family's favorite thing to do is learn about the Saints. I would encourage you all to teach your children about the Saints, the real-life people who lived through good and very bad... and who gave their lives for the Lord and for His people.  Just about everything you have been through, a Saint has been there before. And there is nothing like a child having a tangible example.

Also - teaching about the Saints is also the same as teaching History. And if we don't know History, we make mistakes. Right? As a people, as a country, as a world, the direction we are heading in is scary. Gender fluidity? WHAT! Things like that are so scary and our children are going to be exposed to them. Right? We need to make sure they know how to answer others, how to love others in spite of their sins, and how to carry themselves in a way that will honor God, in this, our scary world.

Love them and do what you ask of them, in our Faith. And when they see you in a heap, tell them the story of God's love.  Help them not be bitter. Help them understand they aren't perfect and that no one is... AND that God knows we can't be because we are human. Keep them away from the kinds of Catholics who will say things like, "if you don't do ___ you aren't Catholic enough".  Help them understand that God is forgiving, and they must always seek Him, through his beautiful and loving Mother.

Teach them great manners and help them live virtuously. Teach them that life doesn't revolve around them and will be hard. Help them learn to love to do things for others.  Apologize when you are wrong. Bring God into every situation. But mostly - you tell them no matter what they do, God loves them, and you do too. They can always find a way back from any heap of mess they find themselves in.

One last thing - in every bad situation, find a hero for them to hold onto. Find the helpers. I believe Mr. Rogers said something like that. In our Faith, we have so many real-life Heroes. Here is one of my favorite saint quotes, and currently my FaceBook Cover Pic:

Owner of the pic is on the pic.
You see Mother Teresa. She is one of the best examples of how to live a Godly life. We need to be good examples for our children. They are watching.

Please go to the other blogs. I know their posts will be filled with great ways they hope to keep their children Catholic.  These women are fantastic and beyond talented. They are so strong and they don't know it, but I have relied on their words so much, of late.

I pray if you are having a bad time you will share with me or someone and let us pray for you.
I also pray that some of this made sense to you. I was not planning on participating this month, but God had other plans.

Humbling and lovingly, I wish you the peace of knowing GOD IS ALWAYS WITH YOU!

Emily

p.s.  - the next two weeks are moving into rental, cleaning up our current home and closing on our house. The 31st I go back to the Podiatrist and hope to get cleared to walk without orthopedic shoes. If you don't mind joining that prayer, I would so appreciate it.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

CWBN Blog Hop - Why I Love My Catholic Faith

Happy Tuesday!

Today I am joining up with Catholic Women's Bloggers to share with you our experience on how our Catholic Faith has shaped our lives in a Blog Hop titled Why I love my Catholic Faith.  The hop is hosted by Allison Gingras at Reconciled To You. And y'all, these women are super talented. I'm not sure why they let me hangout with them, but I'm thrilled they do.  Go check out their posts for inspiration and great stories.


Welcome back to my sorely neglected blog. Y'all, I'm in a season of neglect. The evil one has thwarted several attempts to draw closer to God, by seriously causing chaos - in my life and in my mind. I have so much to do, I do nothing. For example, I don't finish a Bible study. Why? Because I've taken on three, and  have so many other things on my mind, I end up not doing any.

Rest assured, this is a season. If you have not walked through something like it, you will. So know that you are never alone in anything you walk through. Currently, in our life season, my husband continues to travel, our house is up for sale. Our realtor is not great... I could give you a list, but in charity, I shall keep it to myself. My child is needy - because he can sense the tension and therefore, I don't get things done - like blog posts, card making, baking for friends catching up on reading, AND to top it all off, an old injury creeped up on me and I'm having surgery tomorrow.  I seriously feel like I may have lost all or part of my mind. HA

So many things have gone wrong, I actually said to my husband, "I give up. I can't do this anymore. I'm a good person. I thought God was on my side, but you know what - I'm over it all. Why do bad things keep happening?  God has forsaken me/us!" I thought to myself, "I never deserved the life I was given... the abusive mother and all that entailed, the miscarriages, the lack of money, etc. etc. etc." I was a very abused child, and made bad decisions in my life - and all of it came bubbling to the surface in an angry and emotional hour or so.  I could go into more detail, but I'm hopeful we've all had those moments and I don't really need to give you a bigger picture of my little hissy fit/breakdown, etc.

Before I go on, let me share with you the definition of Forsaken:


I looked it up because I wanted to prove to myself, you see, that God had in fact forsaken me.  And then I laughed and cried...  Do you get why?  I'll explain... staring at me from the page was ME! I was so frustrated, I actually said aloud that I was done with God - in that moment, I meant it because I was so upset. Sigh. Um - I'm the one who was forsaking Our Lord.

Reading the Magnificat the next morning, the first Bible verses was Jeremiah 29:11 (I've added 12 & 13 as well(:
Jeremiah 29:11-13:  For surely I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord, plans for your welfare and not for harm, to give you a future with hope. Then when you call upon me and com and pray to me, I will hear you. When you search for me, you will find me; if you seek me with all your heart.
The Psalm was #38. With this explanation: The penitential psalms very often speak of sin as a sickness brought on by the attack of enemies. Their vivid descriptions of the sinner's sufferings, remind us again and again that the misery of sin is not what God wants for His beloved children.

I could go into a long explanation of my Faith and why I love it. I could talk to you about The Rosary, Confession, Mass and the beautiful Prayers and hymns... I could tell you about the Body of Christ - both His body and blood He gave up for us, AND the Body of Christ that is His great Church. I could tell you about how I thought I was Catholic, and when I found out I wasn't I embraced Lutheran Faith, and how glorious and right it was when I finally came back and brought my husband with me. Our son was already Catholic.

However, what I want you to know is that every day, I am reminded how much God loves me. No matter what I have been subjected to in my life due to someone else's poor choices or mine, God loves me!  We live in a great time, where social media brings Faith to our inboxes; bloggers like this group of faith-filled  Catholic Women Bloggers, The Magnificat, and so  many other books - DAILY, minute by minute - I am reminded that God is all around me.

The Catholic Church has given me a zillion tools to hone my faith and be closer to God, whether I feel close to him every moment or not. I don't know why my faith is so immature sometimes. I wish I did. But I know that God always reminds me of His presence - and I am so thankful for that. Daily reminders y'all! <3

Personal Request:  Prayers needed. Things will be difficult in our home the next few weeks. I am having surgery on both feet. Let me explain. In the left ankle - an old fracture needs to be fixed, some bone spurs need to be shaven and arthritis cleaned out. Currently it's bone on bone. On the right foot, the big toe joint will be partially replaced, arthritis cleaned out and the bone shaved.

Through the weekend, I will be in bed, legs propped up and icing my legs one hour left, one hour right - only getting up to go potty and such.  For the following 3+ weeks, I will not be able to drive or do a whole lot - though I am allowed to walk. I will be on major meds - which I am not good at taking.   Soooo - In your charity, please pray for my husband as he endeavors to take care of me after surgery.  That the house runs smoothly and he and my child survive. I know they will. But I do everything, so it will be interesting. You know how it is, Mamas.

I hope you enjoyed today's post. I would love your feedback. And please, stop by the Original Post, and check out the others!

Oh and let me leave you with one last thought. Last night, I said to my husband, "I'm afraid. I'm afraid of the surgery and how much pain I'll be in and how you guys will do, etc."  I literally then opened my email, and this was there:


Ok, it's not a great picture, but you get my point, right?  God works fast y'all. There are reminders everywhere.

Photography by Emily Davis
One last thing - one of the best parts of the Catholic Faith, to me, is the study of Saints. They struggled, they went through awful things.. and they managed to serve the Lord in such glory they were canonized for it. Amen! Let's be like them.

Why I love my Faith, is because all day, every day, there are so many examples of how much God loves me and how blessed I am.

Pray for me - I'm praying for you!

Many Blessings, love and hugs,

Emily


Wednesday, May 17, 2017

CWBN Blog Hop - Far From Holy - But I Am On The Path...

Hiya Readers!

I pray your day is going well today. This May in Fort Worth has been ODD, weather wise. It was cooler than normal - THANK YOU GOD! But this week, it's hot (near 90) and rainy.  Mother's Day Weekend we had topsoil delivered because our ground is so hard and rocky here, and when we bought the house 11 years ago, we had no neighbors and lost a lot of our soil via deluges of rain. We re-seeded the lawn and when I woke up this morning it was a muddy mess. I'm sure our neighbors are so impressed. HA


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I am joining up with Allison Gingras and some fellow Catholic Women Bloggers for a monthly blog hop about one topic - and everyone gives you their opinions on that topic. This Month's Topic is: Holiness in Our Daily Lives, Different Ways to Pray. I've enjoyed being involved with these ladies. Lately it's the only day I blog. I mean - my poor neglected blog. Anyway - head on over to Allison's Blog and check out how these fellow Catholic Bloggers make time/find time to pray and are holy in their daily lives.


You know the time you had a whole post written and you did a little Bible Studying with a group and by yourself and felt compelled to re-write the post? SERIOUSLY!

It makes me laugh to think that my sarcastic brain (total defense mechanism) can settle down enough to be Holy. Y'all, I don't feel holy at all most days.  But I am reminded daily, and some days even hourly/moment by moment.. that God just wants me to do my best. When I fall, I get back up and try again... I have such great intentions. Sigh.

In our home, every room has God in it... represented by Artwork, Crucifixes, Books, Rosaries, Holy Water Fonts, etc.  We don't have them to show off to anyone how Catholic we are - OR - to make anyone uncomfortable. For me, they are reminders to think, to read, to pray. Here are a few pictures of the things we have around our home. Please excuse the mess in some places.

Living Area Altar.
Nook at Front Door
Coat Closet/Tornado Room.
Living Area.
Front room mantle
Living Area
Sink Altar Area (Above is a sign that says JOY and it lights up).
War Wall (I don't have a whole room)
My headboard.
Prayer book and Altar in my bedroom.
Wall behind my desk.
View over my computer.
To the right of me currently.
Those items (and more) are scattered throughout our home and so intertwined in what we see daily that we don't always notice them. Sigh. My point is, and I do have one, that if you have lots of things it's NOT enough. Do you know what rote prayers are? Do you know what ROTE means? It just means the ones we all know... the ones we memorized long ago that we say without thinking about the meaning. We know when to say them and we do.  Some of the items in my home became ROTE and I needed to revisit their meaning in my faith. I needed something more.

But there are days where I don't notice them in my rush to get things done. As a busy, stay home, homeschooling mom, with an active child (Karate, Guitar, baseball & football and piano starting in the Fall), life is busy.  Plus, I am an older mom (54 this year, thank you very much)... and I'm finally handling health issues that should have been handled long ago. Plus I volunteer...

I tell you these things because I KNOW. I know what you are up against, and I only have one child (on the spectrum) at home. You mamas with more children - my heart goes out to you. I'm jealous of you in many sincere ways... but your time crunch makes mine look mundane. I get it.

I mean... where do you find time for you to become holy, much less time for Bible study and prayer?

... when you can't go to the bathroom (or anything else) without interruption? Honestly when your child is young, you can't even sit through Mass uninterrupted. Right?
... when everything in life seems chaotic?
...when you have to much to do, you can't concentrate?
... when your spouse is always gone?
... when your family lives far away?
...insert your thoughts here...
In 2005, Transitioning to being a Housewife was hard on me. I was lonely, I missed my paycheck, and I was an angry and conflicted career woman, who had NO idea how to take care of a child and stay at home - successfully. There was not a lot of prayer during this time.... well, not meaningful. In fact, if I'm being honest... my life up until about ten years ago was so chaotic, that although I believed in God, and I prayed, the way I lived my life did not reflect a Christian, much less a woman striving to be holy. It's seriously an embarrassment... which I try to use for good.

As I came back to the Catholic Church, my prayer life picked up. I was really good at memorizing prayers. I prayed a lot... but they weren't DEEP prayers. You know? Meaningful, but not getting to my CORE the way they should.

In 2012 or 2013, I read Holiness for Housewives and Other Working Women. The premise of the book is to meet God where you are. So I set up al Altar above my sink and learned that maybe I couldn't get the whole Rosary in at one sitting, but I could do decades throughout the day.... even while I wash the dishes. Right? Since then I have read many books, and these days, I pray these ways and many more:
  • Going to Mass
    • Confession and Adoration - need to do more of. 
  • by starting a Catholic Bible Journaling group on Facebook.
  • by finding "My Tribe". Find your Tribe. Online, at your parish - wherever. Just find people who you know will pray for you when you don't even have the energy to pray... because you don't know where to start and are convinced, in your humanity, that Our Lord, Mary and all the Saints have long stopped listening to your silly prayer (ok, maybe that is just me). These people STEP UP!
  • by helping others.
  • by Praying the Rosary (Rosary Audio) while I put on my make up.
  • by Reading any number of books about prayer or about Saints, God, Catholic History... anything.
  • by surrounding myself with Faith and Faithful people. 
Life is about seasons. And Mama's I don't want you beating yourselves up if your dream prayer life doesn't seem present. God knows where you are. I don't do all of the above daily. I try to, but some days...

I leave you with this thought, from the Magnificat Readings today, May 17th.

New American Bible (Catholic Women's Bible) John 7:  37-On the last day of the greatest day of the feast, Jesus stood up and exclaimed, "Let Anyone who thirsts, come to me and drink." 38- Whoever believes in me as Scripture says; "Rivers of living water will flow from within him."

Here is what the author said, "branches severed, branches hanging tenuously from Christ the vine, wither. Branches firmly grafted into Christ the vine continue to be refreshed and renewed by the water of life, the Spirit of God, for whom all human beings thirst, knowingly or unknowingly."

The Gospel Reading is from John 15: 1-8:

Jesus said to his disciples: "I am the true vine, and my Father is the vine grower. He takes away every branch in me that does not bear fruit, and everyone that does, he prunes so that it bears more fruit. You are already pruned because of the word that I spoke to you. Remain in me, as I remain in you. Just as a branch cannot bear fruit on it's own unless it remains on the fine, so nighter can you unless you remain in me. I am the vine, you are the branches. Whoever remains in me and I in him will bear much fruit, because without me you can do nothing. Anyone who does not remain in me will be thrown out like a branch and wither; people will gather them and throw them into a fire and they will be burned. If you remain in me and my words remain n you, ask for whatever you want and it will be done for  you. By this is my Father glorified, that you bear much fruit and become my disciples." The Gospel of the Lord.

So that sounds daunting... but bear with me. The Meditation of the Day came to the rescue for me... I am going to share a picture in it's entirety so you can read it.


The paragraph that stands out is this:
It is not doing perfectly this or that particular work or exercising a particular profession that grafts us into union with the Church it is being so driven by Christ, wherever we are, that this small action of ours in the world is truly HIS!
I say to you... do what you can when you can. GOD knows... the rest of us and what we do... it's interesting, but don't get caught up in it. I won't judge you no matter what, none of us will... because WE GET IT!

Ladies, I do not claim to be holy, but I am on the path that I know will lead me there. Won't you join me. Tell me how you pray and what you do to make your lives holier.

You bless me so much.
Hugs to you,
Em

Thursday, April 13, 2017

It's Holy Thursday.....

... what are you doing?

I was thinking of the over-planned and disastrous Lent we have had here in the Davis household.
  • Christopher was sick for the first several weeks (flu/upper respiratory/strep).
  • Naturally he shared part of it with me and I was down for a week.
  • Marque has been out of town for probably 50% of it.
  • I have not kept up with the readings -- you know how you get behind and you never can catch up? Yeah, THAT!
  • Dealing with my father's will.
  • Trying to get all my calories and vitamins in.
I tell you - it's been a challenge.  I was so over the many things that went wrong this Lent, that the other day, I was in my office, screaming and crying. Scared my child. Sigh. I had to let it out... and I was wiped out and humbled after I was done. Of course - it sounds way more dramatic than it was, it didn't last long. No one has time for a big pity party... but a good cry - it's necessary sometimes.

Anyway - it got me thinking.  I really set myself up to fail sometimes. And I have to stop that. I over-volunteer, I have always been a "do-too-mucher". I'm still healing from major surgery, and learning how to manage all that it entailed. I need to be kinder to me. 

But that's not my point - the realization that NOTHING I have or ever will go through is as big as what Jesus did for us. I have many crosses to bear and He helps me carry them. Thank you Lord.

As we walk into the Triduum - Holy (Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, and the Easter Vigil Mass - the Washing of the Feet, the Veneration of the Cross and the Celebration that Jesus has Risen! None of the other stuff matters.... I can't let my beat up self NOT fully appreciate this weekend, because it's not what Jesus wants. He wants me there and present... not worrying about this or that. He wants me to take part in His Triumph over evil and darkness. And I want the Light... His Light! <3


The Triduum is a continuous event that lasts three days. Here is my simple explanation. I am not a Theologian, but I will also share some links to further feed your thirst for knowledge.

Holy Thursday - Celebrating the Lord's Supper. What always stands out to me is the washing of the Feet. When the Pope himself washes the feet of people in detention centers and poor people, he is symbolizing the small gestures that change people's lives and hearts. Jesus, OUR LORD, washed the feet of His disciples to humble himself and help all of us understand that our relationship is a meant to be a two-way street. Because the tables they sat at in Biblical times were low, feet had to be washed before dinner, because they were filthy from walking on dirt roads. Usually a lowly servant would do the job, but since there were none present, Jesus took on the job. It's just so moving to me, that our Lord showed us that He came to serve, not to be served. You know? It's a big deal! If Jesus, and the Pope are willing to do such tasks for others, we must humble ourselves to do that and more.

Good Friday - Jesus's Suffering/Passion & Death.  I always get overwhelmed when we venerate the cross. We will miss this, because my husband has the 2nd part of his Nuclear Stress Test right in the middle of Good Friday Mass. But Jesus knows my heart and I will be with Him in spirit.  We all know that Jesus came to reconcile the world with God. All of the suffering Jesus endures, the torture, the humility, carrying the heavy cross (our sins), it's almost too much for me, because I know my sins caused His pain. And the fact that He willingly died for all of our sins... endured all that pain for all of our sins - it's too much! He worked so hard for us. We must take responsibility and continually ask for forgiveness through Reconciliation (confession) and do our very best to make His continual/eternal burden lighter.

Holy Saturday is a quiet day of reflection... lamenting our Lord's death, spending time alone with our thoughts, and waiting for Him to rise again. Can you imagine what it would have been like that first Easter? Having witnessed all of the events we only read/hear about... having lost a dear friend and Lord that you knew - in the physical person that He was?  I can not imagine the pain they endured and questioning they did...  and the elation when He rose!

Easter Vigil (Saturday night or Sunday).YAY! We made it. We celebrate Our Lord's Resurrection and are reminded that we must be joyful. We are EASTER PEOPLE! We know Our Lord is always alive. We are so blessed. This is a time of welcoming converts and reverts and rejoicing with them as they join our Faith. It's a time of celebration.  We are so thankful.

Here are a few links that may give you more "meat":


If you want something child friendly to print out, check out the link HERE!

https://carfleo.com/2016/03/19/an-illustrated-guide-to-the-triduum/
I want to wish you all a very blessed Triduum and a Happy Happy Easter. I'm so thankful that you read my blog and am blessed by your comments.

Know that no matter what you have or have not done, Our Lord wants you there and present this weekend and every day. <3 I am but a lowly housewife... and if He wants me, he wants you too. Guaranteed!

Love, Hugs & Blessings,

Emily

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Book Review Wednesday - Simone of Cyrene and the Legend of the Easter Egg

Happy Book Review Wednesday!

Happy Feast Day of St. Teresa of the Andes. I love this picture of her. Read her story because she is inspiring!
Growing up in Chile, she always loved St. Therese of Lisieux and she took the name St. Teresa in her honor, when she became a nun at 19 years old.  HERE is her story!

The thing that strikes me the most is, it's lovely for young people to know that you don't have to have lived a long time or be old in order to be Saintly. We need our young people to know this.

Amen!

I hope your HOLY WEEK is going well. Now onto the book review.

One of the most beautiful things about being a writer is that you can take any given person, historical or fictional, and you can give them whatever personality or life that you want them to have.

Growing up, we all knew Simon of Cyrene as the man who helped carry Jesus' cross to Calvary. In the stories I've read or heard through The Gospels, it never sounded like it was something he wanted to do... like he was just a random person chosen by the guards. I had never heard that he was an egg merchant. And to be honest, I never even contemplated what he must have been thinking. Did he know that the man who's cross he carried was Jesus, his Lord and Savior? What did he think afterwards?  You have to wonder what was going through his mind.

The book is called Simon of Cyrene and the Legend of the Easter Egg, by Terri DeGezelle. Before I go into the review, I want to draw your attention to the Illustrator, Gabhor Utomo. He really brings the Simon to life, for me. If you want to see more of his illustrations, click on his name, above. I've provided the link to his website.

Like many Jewish people of the time period, Simon had heard of Jesus. So when he left his home in the countryside to go into the city to sell his eggs, I'm sure he never thought he would play a pivotal roll in the Passion of Our Lord. The soldiers selected Simon, at random, to carry Jesus' cross. I love the way that Ms. DeGezelle colorfully and in detail expresses how hard this was for Simon "the road to Calvary was long, and splinters from the wooden beam dug painfully into Simon's shoulder." This is such a great relatable phrase for children. Simon stayed on and interacted with John and Mary (our Blessed Mother), and listened to the stories the apostles told. He was there to witness that Jesus had intact risen from the dead.

The moment Simon met Jesus, his life changed. As he left, he picked up his eggs and returned home to his family, to tell them all about Jesus, and discovered his eggs were no longer white. He knew it was a gift from Jesus.  The last page of the story tells the meaning of the colors of the eggs. I love that part. It gives a parent the tools to speak about Jesus as we color our eggs.

I could not be more excited that this lovely book moves us away from The Easter Bunny and gives us such great tools for enjoying Easter in the right way, in our little Domestic Churches. Thank you Ms. DeGezelle for such an imaginative and relevant book to share with my son!

Pauline Books and Media provided me a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. By now you all know that I always seem to love their books. All must-haves for every Catholic home!

I hope you enjoyed this review.

Hugs & Blessings,
Emily

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Book Review Wednesday - Beautiful Leather Prayer Books.

Happy Book Review Wednesday!

Happy Feast Day of Saint Nicholas Owen!  "Nicholas was a clever builder and architect who used his skills to protect endangered priests. Without his help, hundreds of English Catholics would have been deprived of the sacraments. His gift for spotting unlikely places to hide priests was impressive, but more impressive was his habit of seeking support for his work in prayer and the Eucharist. If we follow his example, we may also discover surprising ways to put our skills to God’s service."

I love the Saints. But today, I want to talk to you about two beautiful Prayer Books I received from Pauline Books & Media to review. How lucky am I? These are not your typical storybooks. These are books meant to draw you closer to one or more beautiful devotions of the Catholic Church.

These two books are also so soft and easy to carry with you. 

The Holy Spirit Prayer Book, by Mary Mark Wickenhiser, FSP - is chock full of information and prayer. From EveryDay Prayers to the Holy Spirit Rosary - it really has everything you need at your fingertips. There is a chapter on Praying with the Holy Spirit, in Scripture. This book, I carry in my purse, because you just never know when you need His Intervention. I am older, and a convert and I really feel that this is a go-to source for me. From the Introduction to the Latin Prayers (which I need help saying and translating), it's beautifully written and so well thought out.  As a convert, I am still learning so much and my tongue gets tied! 

Here is the write up on they Pauline Books & Media Site (because I know I am not doing this little book justice in my words:

Deepen your devotion to the Holy Spirit through these beloved prayers honoring the third Person of the Holy Trinity, written and compiled by Sr. Mary Mark Wickenhiser, FSP, and including a small guide to lectio divina, praying with the Holy Spirit in Scripture. 
This beautiful treasury includes daily prayers, a novena for Pentecost, the litany of the Holy Spirit, the chaplet of the Holy Spirit, prayer for various occasions, Latin prayers and hymns, and suggested resources. Readers will discover the outpouring of spiritual gifts that the Holy Spirit wants to share with each one of them.
This is the perfect book for anyone looking to deepen their prayer life with traditional words handed down through generations of Catholics. 
Features & Benefits: 
  • Provides a handy comprehensive collection of prayers pertaining to a specific devotion
  • Makes a beautiful Confirmation present or gift for a couple getting married
  • Offers explanatory material on the devotions 
  • Provides a refreshed translation of the prayers 
  • One of very few prayer books pertaining specifically to the Holy Spirit
  • Beautiful elegant leatherette binding with gold edging on the pages
  • Section on everyday prayers: morning offering; acts of faith, hope, and love; the Angelus; the Regina Coeli; act of contrition; prayer of praise and thanksgiving; and more
  • Novena in preparation for the Feast of Pentecost
  • Praying with the Holy Spirit in Scripture
  • Suggested readings and further information

The second book is The Sacred Heart of Jesus Prayer Book, by Marianne Lorraine Trouve, FSP.  Again, starting with the Introduction and the explanations about the Devotions to the Sacred Heart of Jesus (and the Immaculate Heart of Mary), this is a very special book of prayer and devotion. The weekly devotions, the Novenas, the Prayers of the Saints - all so very beautiful. I have not spent as much time with this book as I am currently with the first one, but I know it is in my library and ready to help me, when I pick it back up. I love the thought of consecration to Mary and Jesus, through their Sacred Hearts. It's so beautiful.

Again, I will post the write up about this book from the Pauline Books & Media Site: 

Devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus is an ancient practice honoring Christ as the Merciful One who is Love. More than just a way of prayer, this devotion is based on the essence of the Gospel: to take on the heart of Jesus so as to live in his love and bring it to others. No matter what stage of spiritual growth you are experiencing, this book can help you grow more deeply in love with Jesus and experience the love of his Sacred Heart in your life.
The Sacred Heart of Jesus Prayer Book covers all aspects of this devotion, including its connection with the Holy Eucharist, Divine Mercy, the Precious Blood of Jesus, and the Immaculate Heart of Mary. Catholics of all ages will treasure this prayer book and find that it brings them closer to the Sacred Heart.
This unique devotion is all about love, growing more deeply in love and extending that love to others; these prayers will make all that-and more-possible in your life.
Written and compiled by Sr. Marianne Lorraine Trouvé, FSP, this soft leatherette edition will be a welcome companion to believers who seek the joy that comes from a deeper relationship with our Lord.
Features & Benefits: 
  • History of devotion to the Sacred Heart
  • Includes everyday prayers: morning offering; acts of faith, hope, and love; the Angelus; the Regina Coeli; act of contrition; prayer of praise and thanksgiving; and more
  • Prayers to the Sacred Heart of Jesus; novena to the Sacred Heart; weekly devotion to the Sacred Heart; chaplet to the Sacred Heart
  • Prayers to the Sacred Heart by some of our most beloved saints
  • First Friday devotion
  • Suggested readings and further information
These two books would make beautiful gifts for any Catholic from Confirmation to a "just because". I would buy one for yourselves too, because they are the kind of books you will pick up and use. I keep these types of books throughout my home because sometimes the Lord guides me to read a prayer when I am anxious or to share with a friend. I can't carry every book in my purse, because I have too many favorites... but I know these two books will be loved and used in my home.

I highly recommend them both.

Blessings,

Emily

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

CWBN Blog Hop - Confessions of an Over-Analyzing Mama...

Happy Tuesday All!

Happy Feast Day of Blessed John of Parma.



Today, I am joining up with Allison Gingras and crew for the CWBN Blog Hop. It's a monthly blog post geared toward a pointed topic. And It's awesome. This month's topic is My True Feelings About Confession. It's a loaded post ya'll! Please go to Allison's Blog and check out the other bloggers. There is so much talent. AND - if you like their posts, please let them know. Everyone likes to hear a compliment now and then. Likewise, if you have a question, please ask! ENJOY!

I planned on interviewing friends for this post and got some great responses about Confession, but it was not meant to be. The Holy Spirit said, "Google Scott Hahn on Confession". What I found has changed me (links later in the post). Here's the background of me and confession:

As a convert, it's always been hard for me.  In fact, I named my post, Confessions of an Over-Analyzing Mama, because I freak myself out so much before I get to confession, that it always seems like I didn't confess enough because I honesty am so nervous I can not remember what I say.  Sigh. It's scary to me and I know how undeserving I am.

How could something that is supposed to be as calming as this:


Really feel more like this:


As we are getting through Lent and my shortcomings are even more obvious, I can whole-heartedly say that Confession and I need to form a better relationship.

I am such an imperfect mom, wife, friend, sister, person...
  • I swear (not all the time, but when I do... oh ya'll).
  • I sometimes judge others and am impatient with them.
  • And I am so impatient with my child - who is just like me. But if he could do everything perfectly... Sigh (it's not that bad, but some days... MAYBE!).
  • I don't always do what I say I'm going to. I want to... it just doesn't happen.
  • I am way too self-conscious (as in egotistical, you know, everyone must notice how unclean my home is or how fat I am or how... WHATEVER... I drive myself crazy with thoughts of not being good enough....  NOT every day. But a lot of days.
  • I have dreams of being married to a man who picks up after himself - in total. Who never complains about being too tired after work. Who doesn't snore louder than three Harley Motorcycles. Who's in super good shape and who never struggles with money... 
  • Because I have been through so much in life, I tend not to trust easily...
  • I'll stop there, because my sins are way more involved than that. Sigh.
OK, I'm totally making myself sound bad, but I'm going out on a limb here. Please know, the flip side of the above is a loyal, loving, Catholic mom, wife, sister, friend, person... who would give anyone the shirt off her back.... and has done.  I'm just trying to be honest so another person like me will know they are not alone and that there is hope.

Let me tell you what happened the last time I went to confession...

The poor young Priest, Father Mike, here in Fort Worth. I walk in, kneel, say the Act of Contrition... and then I say, "I'm really not even sure where to start or what to say".... and I began to literally stutter. And I got so embarrassed, that I know my confession was not good enough. YOU know? He was very nice. And I did my penance. But I have to be honest, several things were crossing my mind:
  • How could this man possibly understand?
  • There is a HUGE line, I need to make this short, when really I could take, conservatively, well over an hour! Sigh. 
  • I am an idiot, stuttering through this. I wonder if I will make his worst confession list. (Yes, I know they don't make lists... I'm clearly irrational at this moment).
When my husband and I went through RCIA, Confession was not explained well. It just wasn't. I have read about confession, but now that I have listened to Dr. Scott Hahn's YouTube talks, The Healing Power of Confession, Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3I feel armed with the confidence I need to make a good confession and actually FEEL THE PEACE!  Please listen to these if you haven't. God really works through this awesome man as he shares his experiences on the subject.

The first thing Dr. Hahn says about confession is "The more you need it, the less you want it". So I know that my resisting this is a sin of pride/ego and I need to go more often.  I know this.
Logically, I know that examining my conscience helps me know myself better. It helps me uncover the things I need to work on (with God's help). I know that the benefits are overcoming sins/bad habits; bringing peace that only absolution can bring; helping us to behave more like Jesus and the Saints; and through the examination and confession - we become stronger people, more determined to  break our bad habits. Sigh. 

I want the peace that comes from confession and absolution. But ya'll... I'm not at peace when I leave.  I turn into the over analyzing person I am, and all I can think is - What did I forget? Did I say enough? I'm seriously THAT nervous. And I don't know why. Well, other than the evil one... he just does not want me to get it right. So I have decided I am going to Arm myself, like Dr. Hahn did, and get my relationship with this Sacrament sorted out.  Here are a few tools.

Prayer to the Holy Spirit for Confession:


Examination of Conscience:
This is the one I really love. There are others out there.


Act of Contrition:


One last thing... Dr. Hahn (in the 2nd YouTube video) tells a story about a beggar he meets in Italy, who used to be a Priest. You have to listen to what happens when this beggar (former Priest) ends up in a dinner with Pope John Paul II.  The Pope asked the beggar to walk outside with him, and he asked the beggar to hear his confession. And when this former Priests said, "I'm just a beggar, I'm not a Priest anymore, etc..." Pope John Paul II said, "So am I".  He reinstated the Priest and gave him an assignment... It's a beautiful and humbling story. 

Who am I not to confess my sins, if such a Holy Man confesses his sins. I love these Videos. They have given me confidence and changed my heart. And I will post about it when I get it right so that you will know YOU can do it too (if you aren't). 

Listen to all three parts, they are about 30 minutes each! 

I hope this post has helped or touched you. I can tell you that it made me very emotional. I would love to hear your comments too!

Love, Hugs & Blessings,

Emily


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