Friday, November 30, 2012

Putting The Focus On Christmas

I heard about the tradition of  'The White Envelope' on Catholic Radio today.  It's a great way for people of God to put the focus on Christmas.  I'll start this tradition this Christmas.  Do you have a special tradition of giving you'd like to share?

The White Envelope
by Nancy Gavin
Editor’s Note: This is a true story that is provided to us by the family of the author. Even though Nancy passed away two years after her article first appeared in Woman’s Day Magazine in 1982, her family continues to keep alive the tradition of the white envelope. This article has also inspired.
It’s just a small, white envelope stuck among the branches of our Christmas tree. No name, no identification, no inscription. It has peeked through the branches of our tree at this time of the year for the past 10 years or so. It all began because my husband Mike hated Christmas. Oh, not the true meaning of Christmas, but the commercial aspects of it. You know, the overspending, the frantic running around at the last minute to get a tie for Uncle Harry and the dusting powder for Grandma, the gifts given in desperation because you couldn’t think of anything else.
Knowing he felt this way, I decided one year to bypass the usual shirts, sweaters, ties and so forth. I reached for something special just for Mike. The inspiration came in an unusual way.
Our son Kevin, who was 12 that year, was wrestling at the junior level at the school he attended. Shortly before Christmas, there was a non-league match against a team sponsored by an inner city church. The kids were mostly black. These youngsters, dressed in sneakers so ragged that shoestrings seemed to be the only thing holding them together, presented a sharp contrast to our boys in their spiffy blue and gold uniforms and sparkling new wrestling shoes.
As the match began, I was alarmed to see that the other team was wrestling without head gear, a kind of light helmet designed to protect a wrestler’s ears. It was a luxury the ragtag team obviously couldn’t afford. Well, we ended up walloping them. We took every weight class. And as each of their boys got up from the mat, he swaggered around in his tatters with false bravado, a kind of street pride that couldn’t acknowledge defeat. Mike, seated beside me, shook his head sadly, “I wish just one of them could have won,” he said. “They have a lot of potential, but losing like this could take the heart right out of them.”
Mike loved kids – all kids. He understood kids in competitive situations, having coached little league football, baseball and lacrosse. That’s when the idea for his present came. That afternoon, I went to a local sporting goods store and bought an assortment of wrestling headgear and shoes and sent them anonymously to the inner city church.
On Christmas Eve, I placed the envelope on the tree, the note inside telling Mike what I had done and that this was his gift from me. His smile was the brightest thing about Christmas that year and in succeeding years. For each Christmas, I followed the tradition – one year sending a group of mentally challenged youngsters to a hockey game, another year a check to a pair of elderly brothers whose home had burned to the ground the week before Christmas – on and on… The envelope became the highlight of our Christmas. It was always the last thing opened on Christmas morning and our children, ignoring their new toys, would stand with wide-eyed anticipation as their dad lifted the envelope from the tree to reveal its contents.
As the children grew, the toys gave way to more practical presents, but the envelope never lost its allure. Still, the story doesn’t end there. You see, we lost Mike several years ago due to cancer. When Christmas rolled around, I was still so wrapped in grief that I barely got the tree up. Yet Christmas Eve found me placing an envelope on the tree, and in the morning, it was joined by three more. Each of our children, unbeknownst to the others, had placed an envelope on the tree for their dad. The tradition has grown and someday will expand even further, with our grandchildren standing around the tree with wide-eyed anticipation, watching as their fathers take down their envelopes. Mike’s spirit, like the spirit of Christmas, will always be with us.

Monday, November 26, 2012


Thank you dear Maryellen from Grandma's Musings  for nominating me for the Lumen Christi Award.  I'm honored.  I'm sorry for the delay in accepting your nomination.  Well here we go.....

There are three rules if you accept this award. You need to do these things:

(1) Name your favorite saint and why
(2) Name your favorite part of the Mass, and why
(3) Name your favorite thing about being a Catholic

1-  I have many favorite saints!  I would say Saint Gianna (10/4/22 - 4/28/62) is a saint that is dear to my heart.  She was a successful physician.  She believed the purpose for having children was to teach them to love and serve Christ in a culture where importance of looking good...having beautiful possessions and being financially successful was prevalent.  Even though she was a mother of three she stilled worked as a doctor.  She once said 'Whoever touches the body of a patient touches the body of Christ.'   When she became pregnant with her fourth child she and her husband decided that she would quit practicing and devote her time to raising her children.  However during her pregnancy she was diagnosed with cancer.  Her doctors urged her to take measures that ...while possibly saving her... would also result in the death of her growing baby.  Gianna refused.  She did deliver the baby but she died from complications within days afterwards.  Gianna was the first married woman of the modern era  to be declared a saint.  I pray to her for guidance in raising my children...for help in keeping God first in my life and for the end of abortion.

2-  The words of consecration is my favorite part of the Mass. Why?  During the mass when the priest transforms the gifts of bread and wine into the Body and Blood of Christ. It is heaven on earth.    I visualize myself sitting in the upper room with Jesus... as He says those same words to me.... as He said during the Last Supper. 

3-  My favorite part of being Catholic are to many to just pinpoint one favorite but I'll try to keep it short. 

I love the mass.   I'll admit at times my attention has fallen short but there have been times in my life when I would not have wanted to be any where else.  I've been inspired and have felt His presence there.  I have found clarity from participating in the mass and I have drawn faith from those times. 

The Catholic Church is not American and She goes back to the days of Christ.  She's rich in tradition. 

The Church teaches us that there is meaning to suffering. 

We are in communion with the saints and we pray for the dead.  

As a Catholic I can travel anywhere in the world and there is a Catholic church nearby.   On any given day I can attend mass...the liturgy is universal and I can receive the Holy Eucharist. 

I love the bells, smells, art and music of the Cathoic Church.  It is all beautiful inspiration and  created by faithful people.

I can go to confession and feel 10lbs. lighter!  

In turn, I nominate the following wonderful bloggers:

1.  Nancy of The Breadbox Letters

2.  Jenna of Caring Catholic Convert

3.  Monica of Little Jesus and Me

4.  Annie of Benedict Notes and My World Today

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving

To all of my dear friends that pop over to this tiny little blog....I'm thankful for your friendship.  May you be surrounded by the warmth of home...
the love of family & the company of good friends on this Thanksgiving day and always.

 A Thanksgiving Day Prayer
O God, when I have food,
help me to remember the hungry;
When I have work,
help me to remember the jobless;
When I have a home,
help me to remember those
who have no home at all;
When I am without pain,
help me to remember those who suffer,
And remembering,
help me to destroy my complacency;
bestir my compassion,
and be concerned enough to help;
By word and deed,
those who cry out
for what we take for granted.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Blessings - Laura Story

Below are the lyrics to one of my favorite songs and below the lyrics is the actual song sung by Laura Story.  Her husband suffers from a brain tumor.  She writes this song as a possible answer to life's difficulties.  I hope you can find some comfort in it also.

We pray for blessings
We pray for peace
Comfort for family, protection while we sleep
We pray for healing, for prosperity
We pray for Your mighty hand to ease our suffering
All the while, You hear each spoken need
Yet love is way too much to give us lesser things

'Cause what if your blessings come through raindrops
What if Your healing comes through tears
What if a thousand sleepless nights are what it takes to know You're near
What if trials of this life are Your mercies in disguise

We pray for wisdom
Your voice to hear
We cry in anger when we cannot feel You near
We doubt your goodness, we doubt your love
As if every promise from Your Word is not enough
All the while, You hear each desperate plea
And long that we'd have faith to believe

When friends betray us
When darkness seems to win
We know that pain reminds this heart
That this is not our home

What if my greatest disappointments
Or the aching of this life
Is the revealing of a greater thirst this world can't satisfy
What if trials of this life
The rain, the storms, the hardest nights
Are your mercies in disguise

Thursday, November 15, 2012

What next?  President Obama has been re elected for another 4 years and I've been wondering what next for the Catholic Church?

Catholic Leaders Threaten Obama With 100% Chance of Civil Disobedience


Via GatewayPundit:
Martin Luther King’s “Letter from the Birmingham Jail” (April 16, 1963) is one of our nation’s elegant testimonies to the political implications of our Declaration of Independence:
“One may want to ask: ‘How can you advocate breaking some laws and obeying others?’ The answer lies in the fact that there are two types of laws: just and unjust. I would be the first to advocate obeying just laws. One has not only a legal but a moral responsibility to obey just laws. Conversely, one has a moral responsibility to disobey unjust laws. I would agree with St. Augustine that ‘an unjust law is no law at all.’”
Indeed, there may be more theological letters written from the confines of jail cells in the near future, as the Catholic bishops quickly approach the end of a one-year deadline given to them by the Obama administration to obey the HHS mandate or face the consequences. Not a single bishop has signaled any other intention than to embrace the consequences with the joy of serving Christ.
Was Archbishop Chaput predicting the future in the interview when he concluded, “This has been the story of the martyrs through the centuries”? We know it has crossed his mind: At Chester Springs, he said, but only half-jokingly, “I don’t want to go to jail.”
If the election affirms the Obama administration’s HHS mandate, there is a 100 percent chance that there will be civil disobedience in the Catholic Church, led by its bishops. Whether jail will follow is anyone’s guess.


Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Something To Ponder

I saw this on a bumper sticker today.  I thought I'd share it with you.
I've noticed that everybody that is for abortion has already been born.
  ~Ronald Reagan, quoted in New York Times, 22 September 1980

Thursday, November 8, 2012

It's Not Time To Retreat

Waking up yesterday I felt sluggish...bewildered and defeated.  The nation's path has been chosen by the majority of this country.  I feel this path is based on individualism.  Regardless of last night's election results...the attacks on our Church and Christianity are not going away.  In fact they will only worsen.  We as Catholics have an important decision to make.   Do we take the side of secularism or do we take the side of Christ and struggle for the Lord with courage?  Our labors will not be in vain.  Through out the Church's history...many have tried to bring the Church down.  They have never succeeded.  It's not time to retreat.  We need to stay involved...pray for our nation but most of all be the light in a culture that is in the danger of forgetting God.

Since I know it is all for Christ's good, I am quite happy about "the thorn," and about insults and hardships, persecutions and difficulties; for when I am weak, then I am strong--the less I have, the more I depend on him.
2 Corinthians 12:10


Thursday, November 1, 2012


I've always had a special place in my heart for St. Therese de Lisieux.  When I was a little girl....I used to gaze up at the stained glass window of her in church.  My eyes would then gaze over and look to her statue.  I knew there must have been something special about her because the church honored her in a big way.  I  have learned over the years.... that her little ways were a means of showing great love and we can show love in that same way.   What an inspiration she is.
Universally... we are all called to be holy.  Sainthood is not only reserved for those that the church has deemed to be saints.  Our church has made these people saints for imitation and their intercession.  In our day to day life..... we too are all called to be saints.  We may not be recognized by the church in the same way but it's the way to get to heaven.   In studying the life of St. Augustine.... we can see that every saint has a past and every sinner has a future!  

Here's some pictures of future saints in the making!