I recently had a chance to review the book, The Gift Box, A Story About the True Gift of Christmas, by Susan A. Vernick. This sweet little Christmas tale tells the story of two children, Joey and Natalie, as they learn about the value of faith and family.
I loved the strong feeling of family love and connection throughout generations in Susan’s book with a little surprise at the end. It is a salvation tale, thick with the message of the Savior, Jesus Christ, and what he has given us as the ultimate gift.
For my Catholic readers: This sweet story shows clearly the author’s love for Jesus and humanities need for salvation. (One line can cause a tiny bit of confusion, "It is that simple.") She explains our need to ask for forgiveness and accept Jesus in our hearts and lives, but there is no mention specifically of the sacraments of Baptism, Penance or Eucharist. Parents and grandparents could easily use this delightful story as a starting point for further discussion.
View Book Link Here >>
Am I Catholic? Is the title of Kendra‘s new book, as well as the question she goes on to answer. Her engaging style and energy will draw you in and keep you locked in, as you read through this entertaining book.
The author’s huge spirit jumps off every page, as if you’re sitting right next to her having a conversation.
As a catechist, I appreciated the way she interspersed each new discovery with true teachings of the Catholic faith! She also effectively provides resources that helped her in her journey and may help those struggling with theirs.
Her lively, brief writing style makes this book difficult to put down. Kendra’s story will resonate with many Catholics whether they are currently practicing or still struggling to find their place in their faith world.
This photo was taken by my daughters at www.puzzlepiecesphotography.com. It is a "cake smash" birthday photo. I decided to break out of my comfort zone and do something for my 56th birthday that reflected my personality.
My son, Vladimir (16), says that if I was a superhero I would be The Caffinator! I would shoot coffee from my fingertips (and when needed, directly into my mouth). My daughter, Anya (19), got me a pair of socks for my birthday that bodly state, "I love you more than coffee, but not before coffee." True dat. LOL.
I offered to give up coffee one year for Lent, but hubby said it would be a sacrifice for the rest of the family. If we are being totally honest, it is a vice, but luckily a pretty harmless one. I don't drink (alcohol), I don't smoke or overeat. I don't really cuss and so my coffee is the one habit I'm really attached to. It made me wonder... If you were a superhero, what would your superhero name be? How do others identify you? What habits, virtues or vices do others relate to you? I'd love to hear your thoughts.
Dear Potential School Shooter, Bomber or Bully,
I’m sorry that you have been treated badly. You are a child of God and you are worthy of love by your very existence. However, you do not have to see yourself as a perpetual victim of your circumstances and you do not need to create victims to be heard.
You wish others would be kind. Are you kind? You wish others would reach out to you in your loneliness. Do you reach out to others? You long for someone to understand the pain you feel. Have you considered for a moment that everyone is in pain?
That pretty girl that won’t even smile at you… she has an anxiety disorder and could barely get herself to school. The football player who purposely bumped into you as he walked passed… his dad hit him last night. The kid in the corner, wanting to be invisible… maybe you could reach out to him, instead of feeling badly because no one reaches out to you.
These kids are carrying their own pain and struggles. It is not their job to fix yours. You are responsible for you!
If you want to have a friend, be a friend first. Stop expecting everyone else to take your pain away. It doesn’t work that way. People do want to help, but you are responsible for seeking help and then participating in your own recovery. You think you are tough? Overcoming things is tough! Hurting someone else out of your own insecurities, not so much.
Instead of acting out, seek help. Instead of making others pay for your pain, help eliminate someone else’s pain. You want to be famous? Be famous for something great! Most successful people have overcome some huge difficulties to get where they are. Choose life! For yourself, for your classmates. Choose love, be love, give love.
We want to help. Turn to your guidance counselors, go to the hospital and ask for help, or find a church that can support you. We love you. It is not too late. Change your life for the better and then help to change someone else’s life for the better. God loves you and so do I.
I was bullied too
It began rough and got rougher...
It seems like this happens every Lent. The struggle is real, real tough that is. I am working hard to get my catechumens and candidates ready to enter the Catholic Church at the Easter Vigil and I fear that puts a bit of a spiritual target on my back. This Lent has been no exception.
A few friends and I have an expression that could be a T-Shirt slogan that most Catholics would totally understand. As the challenges get harder, we sigh and say, "Cuz, Lent!" No other explanation is necessary and we understand in that secret Catholic language way, that while we are treading water in the sea of struggles, it will all be used for good as we join it to Christ's suffering and to the sufferings of all those in the universal Church!
The most recent school shooting happened on a day when we usually celebrate love; Valentine's Day and Ash Wednesday. The image of the mom holding her child and crying, with ashes clearly visible on her forehead, is burned in my mind.
Late 2016 I wrote and article for Today's Catholic Teacher, about threats to our classrooms and how to keep them safe. I wish it wasn't necessary to revisit this issue, but it is. Hopefully, the article may empower and protect some along the way.
Our prayers, thoughts and future actions are with the families affected by this tragedy.
Safety article.... http://www.catholicteacher.com/safety-in-our-classrooms-2/
This year, Valentine's Day falls on Ash Wednesday. As someone who has been married for close to thirty years, I find this oddly appropriate. Many times in our marriage, we have been called to sacrifice for each other and for our love. One of the practices we have, is if one of us has to fast for a medical test or procedure, the other fasts as well. This Valentine's Day, we have decided to offer our Ash Wednesday fasts for each other. We can join this tiny suffering of inconvenience to add to the beauty and holiness of our love for each other. The goal and purpose of our marriage is to help each other and our children to get to heaven. This is the way we do it. One little offering at a time.
Lent is quickly approaching and we are challenged to renew our faith, join our sufferings to Christ and grow in holiness. This year, consider doing the Catholic Family Boot Camp, investigating how to begin your new life through The Three Things Divorced Catholics Need to Know, or focus on joy by Managing Stress with the Help of Your Catholic Faith and living with a Joy-Filled Broken Heart! Click the Books link above to order. I would love to discuss any of these subjects with my readers. Leave me a comment or email me through the contact link. God bless!
My family has a special devotion to Our Lady under many titles. Fatima, The Apparition that Changed the World, does a beautiful job of exploring one of her most important messages to us as, Our Lady of Fatima, based on the 1917 apparitions in Fatima, Portugal. Jean M. Heimann has done an incredible job of spelling out many of the important components regarding this apparition and the “miracle of the sun” witnessed there in October 1917.
I didn’t have to read far to recognize the unique way this book is laid out. A stunning blend of photographs and information, presented in an easy-to-read format. I loved being able to quickly understand the timeline of the apparitions, how different popes influenced the dissemination of information, and the history surrounding the events and people during and after the Fatima apparitions. Our Lady’s message to us is clear, we do offend the Lord when we ignore Him or choose sinful behavior over things that bring us closer to him. We must repent and return to loving the Lord Jesus with our whole hearts.
I look forward to rereading this book and using it as a resource in catechesis. I would highly recommend this book to anyone with an eye for art, history or Catholic teaching.