Listen to God's voice at the foot of the crucifix." ~St. Gaspar del Bufaro~

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

St. Valentine "Socks of Love"

Just thought I'd share a St. Valentine "Socks of Love" service project idea that I'm heading up for our Parish Youth Group.  It would be a great service project for just about any group or even an individual family! 

I came up with the idea after hearing about the ongoing need for travel-sized toiletries at our local homeless shelter.  I had recently read about a similar sock stuffing service project over at Our Sunday Visitor's Teaching Catholic Kids for the Feast of St. Nicholas.  From there, I adapted the concept for St. Valentine's Day and coined the term Socks of Love, especially since  
~Spreading the *Love of God* is the Main Mission~
We are hoping it becomes an annual service project!

Essentially, a recipient receives a new pair of socks (one sock stuffed inside the other) with all the goodies they might need for personal care, including the love of God shared by compassionate hearts. 

[I've even thought about making a few extras to keep in our car for our children to give out when we pass someone in need standing on a street corner.]
After doing a little test sample, I discovered that about 12 items make the perfect fit!

We are also enclosing these {free} printable St. Valentine's Day cards from Crafolic.  They fold up to a perfect small size for the socks:)  Thank you for helping us share God's love, Jennifer! 

...Along with a St. Valentine Holy Card!
Sharing the love of God through scripture and prayer is a great way to love the less fortunate.  You never know when you might be holding out a lantern for someone else to see the light of Christ.

I put together a little flyer to help with soliciting donations for the project so hopefully it will be a success!
The tags and ribbon I picked up at the Dollar Tree;)

"Amen, I say to you, what you did for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me."
~Matthew 25: 40~

Monday, January 30, 2012

A Smile Is A Curve That Sets Everything Straight

Isn't this the cutest?
Well, I just had to pass it on since I've got my smile back!
The dentist fixed my mouth so you can barely tell that I have been kicked in the teeth:) I am truly amazed.

Praise God, my appointment today was an answer to prayer...Thank you all so much!  I am truly grateful for everyone who offered a kind thought or prayer on my behalf.

From the dental x-rays, my roots do not appear severed.  This means that the prognosis is good that my teeth will be saved.  Hallelujah!
I was really hoping and praying for this.
It looks like a root canal or 2 might be in my future but all will depend on how the healing goes in these next few weeks.  I'm not out of the woods but thankful for healing, thus far.

I shall not take a smile for granted!
I will spare you the "before" photo...But this is the "after."
You probably can't see the little brace over my front teeth but it's holding everything together quite nicely.  The pain is manageable with Motrin so I am also grateful for that as well.

Thank you again for your compassion and prayers!
Thank you Jesus, Mother Mary, St. Apollonia, All the Angels and Saints for blessings received. 
Here are a few smile quotes to smile about:)

"Peace begins with a smile."
~Mother Teresa~

A smile is a language that even a baby understands.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Sometimes Life Kicks You In The Teeth...Calvary or Bust!

Well our weekend started out with ultimate peace!  We got away camping with some neighbor friends and loved having our little lakeside campground all to ourselves.  What is classified as a very busy place in the summer months was nearly empty in January.  The quiet was deafening and just what we needed to reset the compass of our souls to the simple setting of God's creation.  As I sat back and enjoyed this beautiful sunset, it felt like a little piece of heaven.  I felt like I wanted to stay here forever:) 
The littles had fun running through the trees chasing wild bunnies...They were so cute with their white cotton tails:)
And scootering the hills...
We always play fun games when we go camping that we don't always make time to do at home.  
I love this about stopping to take things back down to the basics.

Nothing like a campfire! 

Do I look relaxed???
Well... this was right before life kicked me in the teeth!  Lest I think about leaving, the Cross beckons.

The next day we headed up the hill to visit one of my husband's Fire Department friends (his crew Engineer). He had invited us to his beautiful property up on a hill so people in our group could shoot their rifles and shotguns.  Their gun range overlooks the foothill mountains and it was a gorgeous day. We aren't regular gun users, nor are we hunters, but we respect those who are.
I hadn't shot any type of rifle since my Army days so I was encouraged to participate in this day's adventure...You know, homeschooling "domestic warrior" that doesn't get out much!

Long story short, when I held the gun up to my face and fired, the kick-back from the butt of a shortened gun KICKED me square in my 2 front teeth!!!  BAM...It actually felt more like a horse just kicked me in the teeth. I was literally stunned as I realized that both teeth might be gone. 
As it turned out, one of my front teeth was barely hanging on...It had been pushed back quite a bit from the blow and was very loose and bleeding.  The other tooth was also out of place and had chipped.  
Luckily, my dentist is a personal aquaintance and she has known our family for years.  I called her cell phone right away and she agreed to meet me at her office for an emergency check.  It was a blessing that we were only about an hour from home so a dear friend in the group drove me down the hill.

The sweet dentist proceeded to push my teeth back in place to stabilize them and but a little brace across the front, which acts as sort of a splint for the weekend.  I think I was in shock because I prayed a Hail Mary and headed back up the hill right away.  Though it felt like the hill to Calvary, I was eager to be with my family again.  

We proceeded to fish and I made a spaghetti dinner before we headed home... Denial maybe?
I was glad that I made it just in time to see my daughter's first fish!
In sharing this story, I realize I run the risk of judgement for participating in a risky activity that led to a significant accident.   Yet it is my humble opinion that sometimes terrible accidents happen when we are just moving a long through life.  I have been witness to that on more than one occasion!  My oldest son suffered a terrible bike accident and skinned up half of his face when he was younger, all while being properly supervised and wearing a helmet.  Yet I don't move forward by telling my other children that they shouldn't ride bikes out of fear that they "might crash."  I believe that even the best intentions don't prevent accidents...Sometimes "stuff just happens" and life kicks us in the teeth. If everything moved a long perfectly, we would never learn a thing. 
In fact, when things move a long smoothly, or we have great things happen in our lives, our pastor refers to these as "wow moments."  During his homily today he noted that these "wow" moments aren't going to carry us through life.  It's the trials and tribulations that lead us closer to God.  So here I am, closer to God than I was yesterday...Hallelujah for that!  

I even began my morning, before Mass, feeling anxious about the possible damage that will be assessed on Monday.  It's not the end of the world to have your teeth smashed yet it was still quite traumatic.  The first Mass reading was another special grace and consolation as it began with "Brothers and Sisters: I should like you to be free of anxieties." ~1 Corinthians 7:32~ This was just what I needed to hear...Together with the homily, and the Bread of Life, I am equipped to tackle another day. 

May I kindly ask for your prayers?
Tomorrow I'll have dental x-rays to find out where to go from here...Best case is that I'll need a root canal or two on those front teeth and get to keep them.  Worst case is that I'll lose a tooth and need oral surgery and a tooth implant.

I am also praying for the intercession of St. Apollonia, who is the Patron of dental issues.  She had all of her teeth knocked out as she was persecuted for her faith.  My goodness, my injury is nothing compared to hers!

Sometimes life kicks us in the teeth but we make haste to pick up our Cross and head back up the hill.  "Calvary or Bust", I say!  Thank you so much for prayers received:)

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

My Mama Cave

I love blogging because this little space is like my "Mama Cave"...
A cave of contemplation.
It is here that I can crawl into a little space as big as a box and pour out my heart.
It is here where I can share what the Lord has done for me in big and little ways, in hopes that maybe He will read my Thank-You notes, now and then.
{Sometimes I truly forget just how "public" this cave actually is}...
Nevertheless, it is here where I can express the gratitude for my sufferings in a way that makes sense to my soul, even when it doesn't make sense to me.
I can only hope that I may hold out a lantern for someone else who might be groping in the dark like I once was...and often still am in many ways.
What I'd love to say is...
C'mon inside and feel the warmth of God's love and let His grace reign down.  
I'd like to pull up a bench next to our creator and just gaze into his eyes, wouldn't you?

I sometimes feel inadequate because I'm not fancy nor do I write to please any particular readers.
Sometimes I don't even have a clue about who cares to read what I have to say.
I guess it doesn't really matter since I don't write for numbers or recognition... I only hope that my boss, that "big man upstairs" recognizes that.  
In a world where information is flying around faster than I can think, I am grateful for this place to sit and actually contemplate the wondrous ways that God works.  If I can share an idea for living  our one, true, Catholic faith, I am happy.  For it is only in giving that we receive.  I have received amazing and abundant blessings from my relationship with Christ, living and breathing through the church.  We are so blessed and that is meant to be shared!

I have made some beautiful friends here, many who inspire me to keep living, working, and striving for sanctity.  I am inspired by many bloggers who are real, honest, warriors for the faith. It is here where I come to gather new prayer intentions that give my prayer life real purpose and meaning.  
I am certain that I see saints-in-the-making all around me.  I see hope in this world through the windows of many faith-filled blogs.
WIth a sincere heart, I step into this cave and with conviction, I step out.
Now that is a cave worth crawling into!

Monday, January 23, 2012

Life Multiplies Love

 I grew up with this comic strip and I still love it, to this day!  Isn't this a good one?
I found it particularly appropriate for this day of prayer and penance for LIFE as we multiply our love, not only in families with children, but for one another as children of God.  All human life is sacred and deserves love.

I am thankful to be pro-life.
As I see it, it has always been about choice...
Being the child of a young teen-aged Mother, I grew up realizing what could have been my fate had my Mother had "the choice" of distinguishing my life.  I have always been deeply grateful that she did have a choice but it centered around life...allowing me to live, one way or another.  Keeping a baby or giving them up for adoption were the main "choices" of that time...Abortion wasn't legal. Though my Mother's  life took a difficult turn with marriage and a baby to raise at a young age, she has never complained.  I learned a lot from what she did and never said about her choice.  I  was later blessed by 4 more siblings:)

My husband was also a child of that same generation of choices.  Given the situation that she found herself in, my husband's birth Mother chose to give him up for adoption.  He went on to be raised in a loving family by parents who suffered from infertility.  They also adopted a little girl so my husband had the privilege of growing up with a sister.  The choice of life saved his life.
Years later, I met my husband after I had been tragically widowed and my son was fatherless.  He later told me that it was easy to accept my son as his own because he, himself, was adopted.  Being a father was not about a blood relationship, just as he had known and learned from his own father.  Love was the choice and the choice was love.  Much like the relationship that Jesus had with Joseph, his foster father, my husband has fostered with our son.  
Who better to model this choice for love than the Holy Family?
Getting back to the comic strip, what a blessing that love has not been divided in my family. This same oldest son recently wrote about this in his college autobiography:
 "We have grown into a large family circle where love abounds.  We are all different but mutual unconditional love is what we have in common."
 Just like the Family Circus, our love has multiplied with 5 other children that my husband and I have since shared, losing one through miscarriage but loving still the same.
After all is said and done, love is the greatest choice there is!

 I am praying for all of those warriors who are Walking For Life today in Washington D.C. and looking forward to watching coverage on EWTN:)
We were sad to miss the Walk For Life (West Coast) this year but I am reflecting on the post I wrote last year and the fabulous testimony that we heard first hand from Abby Johnson.

 Be sure to visit Jen's Adoption blog and her post about the Sanctity of Life.  She offers a great vidoe there and I love that she included some wonderful resources for women who might be suffering from an abortion.  I know many women who have been hurt deeply by their abortion and what a great grace to know that there is healing and mercy to be found.  God's unfailing love is only a choice away!
Novena to St. John Bosco
Please join us in praying for hope, life and love. The St. John Bosco Novena started yesterday.
You can sign up for handy email reminders to get the the novena prayers here:
Link up or read more articles on LIFE here!
Catholic Bloggers Network

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Animals, Art, and Hair That Sticks Out

I always enjoy hearing tid-bits about how other family homeschools operate.  Sometimes we can learn new things, just from a little detail here and there so I thought I'd share one of my discoveries.  Over time, I have found it most successful when we study our science and social studies, one subject at a time, over a week's period. (This would be instead of trying to do both subjects in the same week)

Our daily mornings include math and language arts, ideally finishing at lunch time.  Then we rotate weeks for science and social studies in the afternoons.  Sometimes I will also devote a week to a particular writing assignment if we need more time than our regular mornings.
This week was science week!
One of my sisters was visiting this week from Oregon.  Her husband was away on business so we got to spend some fun time with her and my niece, plus new baby on the way:)
One of my favorite things about homeschooling is the flexibility, not just with scheduling, but also with subject matter and curriculum.  For example, yesterday we combined an afternoon of science AND art.
Sound like an odd combination?
Hey, it worked and it was so much fun...even for this Mama who struggles with finding science much fun*wink*
This Wildlife Center has been on our "science bucket list" and our Princess (who loves animals) has been dying to check it out!
It's primarily a refuge for injured, sick, or abandoned wild animals.  
We met Bella, the Red Fox...
who quickly became a favorite!  She was quite lively and definitely interested in us. What a friendly fox:)
Skunkie the Skunk...
who UNkindly sprayed us with her stinky perfume.  Can you believe that got captured on film?  Look at that thick and smelly fog...P-U!  She didn't like us gawking at her one little bit:)

This was a beautiful barn owl...whose name I forget:(
But the highlight was Fizzle the Squirrel who rolled around in this plastic ball.  Everywhere we went, he'd follow us!  The littles got the biggest kick out of him:)
Afterwards, we headed home for an art project tying into our field trip.
It was perfect timing that we had recently re-discovered an art book that held instructions for drawing the same animals we had just met at the Wildlife Center.
The art came alive because of our personal encounter with the animals!
 Later on we also spent time looking into habitats and information about the animals we learned about here.

The latter part of the week was spent studying static electricity with the youngers and all of the fun ways that electrons work...Always Fun Good review for Mama too:)
Hair that sticks out is always a hit!
You should see MY hair in the morning...I don't even need a balloon to make it stick up or out, nor can science explain it!

Do you have any tid-bits to share?

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