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

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

A Peek Into Our Purple (Lenten) World

This year we are making more of a conscious effort to decorate our home with the liturgical color of Lent~Violet/ Penitential Purple, resisting any Easter decor until the Easter season actually begins!
(This Cross hangs in our stair well)
Upon being called to live out the church year more wholly in our home several years ago, I've been intrigued by the signs and symbols of our faith.  We have so many visuals within the celebration of our beautiful liturgy, made just for the "visual learner" in me!  As we have learned more about the liturgy, our faith has come alive for our family.  Bringing the signs and symbols into our home has made it more tangible, hands-on, alive, allowing us to better respond to the beauty and power of God.  
~This Lenten wreath was made last year~
Now I know very well that Catholic images and sacramentals do not make a Catholic home.  Over and above, we must live  the faith and radiate love in keeping with Christ's commandments and example.  However, at the same time, our homes are competing with the outside culture as our children are being bombarded by practices that are contrary to Jesus.  It seemed to us (my husband and I) that handing down the Christian faith boiled down to what's important to  parents becomes important to children. Transmitting our values and attitudes had to be transparent in our home, to include visible reminders.
Just a simple visual sign like the color purple (violet) helps our family remember that it's not Easter yet.  Though the secular retail stores try to sell us otherwise, we resist the temptation to celebrate too early. Prayer, fasting and almsgiving strengthens us on the road to Calvary...A road we must travel first, leading us to Easter and the hope of our Salvation.

Lacy (Catholic Icing) has also written a post a long these same lines about resisting Easter until Lent is over.  
Kara and Gardenia both inspired me with their grape vine (crown of thorns) wreaths so I put together the one pictured above.  Hobby Lobby is carrying these neat metal crosses in the shape of nails for only $3.99!  They aren't very big but they are a perfect inset for a wreath.

I found great purple pillar candles on Amazon...
During Lent, I love the symbol of sand that reminds us of Jesus' time in the desert and the time we also need in the desert to sacrifice and grow, praying for a new conversion of heart.  This is our family "Lenten Desert" table center piece this year.  
I changed things up a bit from last year.
By the way, Barbara also has a beautiful candle/sand display to see.

This year I even found a purple table cloth for our kitchen table for only $3.00 on Amazon.  Couldn't resist that! It was linen so I still can't believe the price!?

Our table fits a 90 inch round but there were others that were also surprisingly low in price...Just search Amazon for purple table cloths:) The color of mine was described as "egg plant" but I really love it. 

I've mixed up the shades of purple throughout our home so some things might not be the "perfect" or most accurate violet color but it's the thought that counts, right?
Our prayer corner table has a lavender covering right now...
(We use the same one for Lent and Advent)
Holly and I must think alike as we both created Lenten Mantels.  This is what ours looks like...
I found a great deal on the purple glass votives (candles sold separately) on Amazon, as well as this pretty purple table runner for our mantel for only $3.99...Another great bargain!

  It's been nice to light the votive lights in the evenings as a reminder of the ancient prayer traditions of our church. It's been a special addition to our Lent.  I bought the Calvary Crosses (pictured) at Oriental Trading Company a few years ago.

Our front door dons a Dogwood Lenten wreath.  Have you heard about the Legend of the Dogwood?  It's a beautiful Lent/Easter story to know and share.
  I added a purple ribbon (Hobby Lobby has the perfect purple colored ribbon on their wedding aisle) and this little crown of thorns door hanger that I found at Autom last year for $4.99.
Purple in the bathroom, maybe? After all, some of my best prayer time goes on here;) 
I told you I was a liturgical loon!

And finally, I couldn't resist planting a few (very early) purple pansies for our front entry.  We have had an unusually warm winter this year so I'm not sure what to expect in the coming months.  Will they survive?  I'm not sure but nevertheless, they are a perfect pretty purple for now!
+Thanks for joining us for a peek into our purple Lenten world+ ~ Catholic Crafts and more!
Catholic Inspired

Monday, February 27, 2012

Lent Is Like A Root Canal

Ok, maybe that's exaggerating things a bit to say that Lent is like a Root Canal...Or is it?
Ever had a Root Canal?
They stink!  
(And that's putting it nicely)

On the other hand, Lent really doesn't stink.  Yes, it can be a somber reflection on the death of Our Lord but it's also a sober reality of the price that was paid for our sin.  Lent has come to be my favorite time of year for tending to spiritual growth.  I love Lent so why the connection to something so dreadful?
*It has a lot to do with Letting Go and Living Lent*

In my case it begins with penance.  I tried, OH yes, I tried to "offer it up" as they numbed half of my face (all the way down my throat) and stretched that plastic balloon (or whatever it is) over my mouth.  Talk about feeling a little choked out and tied down for 2 hours, listening to that horrid grinding, scraping, and drilling. Sheer torture, I say!
I think I'd rather have 2 C-sections in a row than a root canal.  Ok, ok, maybe not 2.  
Some people might just think I'm being a big baby but it really was awful.  I've had several of them and each time I am reminded how much they stink.
I think God had a good chuckle as I proclaimed that I had made my full Lenten Penance after that;) 

Regardless of our penance, Lent is certainly a time when we need something stronger than ourselves to break through our pride and false sense of control.  Some of us...ahem...need a bigger knock than others.  I suppose I'll take it as a compliment that the Refiner loves me enough to have pity on me to keep working on my weaknesses, rooting out my sin that never fails to keep sprouting.  Fasting anyone?  Yep, He took care of that one too...Humble Pie is served!

Thankfully, I leaped up and grabbed my Rosary before they started the procedure.  I clenched it with white knuckles from beginning to end of the 2 hour ordeal, praying as many Hail Mary's that I could muster up.

All of my hopes and plans to begin Lent "my way" were quickly blown to the wind as I've struggled with tooth pain the week prior to the dreaded root canal and it continues post root canal today.  My Lent certainly began (and continues) with prayer...Just not the kind of prayer I had intended.  You know, 'quiet' reading somewhere?  Nope, didn't happen, nor did my Consecration renewal that I was looking SO forward to.  I'm still sad about this one and hard on myself that I should have persevered through the pain...

As I layed in the dental chair with my heart racing from the side effect of the numbing shots, the weakest part of me prayed for trust. 
Despite strong faith, my trust must be lacking...I truly needed to trust that God has things under control and I really don't.  Surrender, maybe? 

Regardless of what we have in mind for prayer, God always sees fit that we are redirected to the prayer that is best for us.  Lent is a time to be looking for these directions as we reprioritize or reevaluate our prayer lives.  If we pay attention, He always points the way.  We may not always like it and sometimes it takes a root canal to see, more clearly, the direction we need to go.  I am constantly re-learning the fact that things do not have to be "perfect" or go as we have planned to be GOOD for us.

This must be what God wills for me this Lent...All those things that I had in mind must not have been in the bigger plan...Not an easy thing for me to sink my teeth into (literally).  I suppose I needed something more to get my attention, something more that would pull me in closer.  Apparently I needed to be reeled in!

Well it worked. 
The pain continues in a forceful way and no relief in sight quite yet. 
However, Lent continues in a beautiful way.  Without going into detail, lets just say that God places amazing opportunities to go beyond ourselves in these circumstances.  He presents others who are in greater need than self...Practices of almsgiving have been presented in ways that I could have never planned myself.  Any plans that I had prior to Lent are new and not my own.  I am grateful beyond words.

Maybe Lent isn't really like a root canal but I do think that a root canal is good analogy of how God can work with us, refining us, sculpting us, making us new, even through our weaknesses...

I am constantly reminded that no matter the size of our daily challenges, amazing grace is there waiting to erupt through the groans of our human trials and pain.  In the case of Lent, it has been an epiphany for me that Lent isn't something we do but something we should live. We need only to do one thing here and now and that is to
*Let Go and Live Lent*

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Going Faceless

Is anyone else Unplugging in (some way) for Lent?
Facebook, Television, or Other?
Heading to the desert...?

This is a difficult thing to do these days as we are so accustomed to getting instant information and being connected to anything and everything.

I love the thought of simplifying our lives and homes...And also our souls for Lent.  I don't know about you but sometimes the input is more than I can bare.

I've been dreaming about UNplugging from some of my Internet usage ever since I read this beautiful article from our Holy Father about silence as an essential part of communication.  He delivered this message as part of World Communications Day, 2012. Here is how it begins:
On this "World Communications Day 2012, I would like to share with you some reflections concerning an aspect of the human process of communication which, despite its importance, is often overlooked and which, at the present time, it would seem especially necessary to recall. It concerns the relationship between silence and word: two aspects of communication which need to be kept in balance, to alternate and to be integrated with one another if authentic dialogue and deep closeness between people are to be achieved".

I've been holding off until Lent as it seemed like a natural time to make the break...
I don't Twitter or use Pinterest so I'm going "Faceless" as I've heard the term used for giving up Facebook.  

Having access to all of my favorite Catholic news sources and favorite blogs is definitely my favorite thing about Facebook. It still amazes me that we have access to such wonderful information but at the same time, I also find myself getting saturated with a little too much news and stuff to read.  Speaking for myself, it has become overwhelming, as of late, and time consuming, to say the least... 
I was thinking maybe it was "just me"... Until I read these
words of the Holy Father help to explain why this is:
 "The process of communication nowadays is largely fuelled by questions in search of answers. Search engines and social networks have become the starting point of communication for many people who are seeking advice, ideas, information and answers. ... Indeed, people today are frequently bombarded with answers to questions they have never asked and to needs of which they were unaware. If we are to recognise and focus upon the truly important questions, then silence is a precious commodity that enables us to exercise proper discernment in the face of the surcharge of stimuli and data that we receive".

This really spoke to me as I know that I have definitely felt bombarded with information that I have never thought much about before.  
This helped seal the deal...My brain needs a rest and so does my soul.

However, the questions I DO have about the "social" part of Social Networking never DO really get answered.  Do you ever get that notion? So I'm going out on a limb here, just like the tallest limb in that tree photo...

One of my questions is regarding the false friendships that exist in the Facebook world.  Don't get me wrong, I have some lovely friends but somehow they get caught up in the murky waters behind the ones that aren't so nice.  Do you ever just want to go through your list and hack away?

Is it just me or do you have a few friends (in real life) that act like you don't exist on Facebook?  I just don't get it.  These are people I know well, who live close by, but they just don't act like they know I'm there...They might even dance around me but just choose to ignore, even when you make a constant effort to interact with them.  What would you make of a "friend" like this?

Then I ask myself the question...Why wouldn't one of your "real friends" want to encourage you, support you? And most importantly,
why am I starting to wonder who my "real friends" are?  This is ridiculous.

Then there's friends that I haven't been in touch with for years who pop up out of nowhere on Facebook...I have one of those friends who I love dearly and I was so excited when I got her "friend request."  Since then, I've left her many notes and messages but nothing is ever returned, no reply, nothing, nada.  What's that supposed to mean?  
Doesn't "social networking" imply that you want to have conversation?

Obviously, I'm spending too much time thinking about things when I should be praying in silence somewhere and contemplating the important questions in life, as the Holy Father suggests.  I'm banning myself to the desert!

Yet how do we avoid these "other questions"?
I could go on with a battery of questions, trying to understand many aspects of social networking, while having a sneaky feeling that I never will.
Is all of this putting me in a place to sin?  
This is the part that concerns me...The constant test of charity can be draining.  Boy, this is starting to feel like Confession!

Well, our dear Holy Father must have seen me coming with my restless questioning of superficial interactions that are driving me crazy!
  "Ultimately, this constant flow of questions demonstrates the restlessness of human beings, ceaselessly searching for truths, of greater or lesser import, that can offer meaning and hope to their lives. Men and women cannot rest content with a superficial and unquestioning exchange of sceptical opinions and experiences of life - all of us are in search of truth".
 "Attention should be paid to the various types of websites, applications and social networks which can help people today to find time for reflection and authentic questioning, as well as making space for silence and occasions for prayer, meditation or sharing of the word of God. In concise phrases, often no longer than a verse from the Bible, profound thoughts can be communicated, as long as those taking part in the conversation do not neglect to cultivate their own inner lives. It is hardly surprising that different religious traditions consider solitude and silence as privileged states which help people to rediscover themselves and that Truth which gives meaning to all things. The God of biblical revelation speaks also without words: 'As the Cross of Christ demonstrates, God also speaks by His silence"
Meaning and hope...That's what I'm talking about! There you go, finally an answer to all of the questioning, regardless of what the questions are about. Making more space for silence and occasion for prayer is obviously in order.  He goes on...
 "If God speaks to us even in silence, we in turn discover in silence the possibility of speaking with God and about God. ... In speaking of God's grandeur, our language will always prove inadequate and must make space for silent contemplation. Out of such contemplation springs forth, with all its inner power, the urgent sense of mission, the compelling obligation 'to communicate that which we have seen and heard' so that all may be in communion with God".
How beautiful is that?
  "In silent contemplation, then, the eternal Word, through Whom the world was created, becomes ever more powerfully present and we become aware of the plan of salvation that God is accomplishing throughout our history by word and deed. ... This plan of salvation culminates in the person of Jesus of Nazareth, the mediator and the fullness of all revelation. He has made known to us the true face of God the Father and by His Cross and Resurrection has brought us from the slavery of sin and death to the freedom of the children of God. The fundamental question of the meaning of human existence finds in the mystery of Christ an answer capable of bringing peace to the restless human heart. The Church's mission springs from this mystery; and it is this mystery which impels Christians to become heralds of hope and salvation, witnesses of that love which promotes human dignity and builds justice and peace.

  "Word and silence: learning to communicate is learning to listen and contemplate as well as speak. This is especially important for those engaged in the task of evangelisation: both silence and word are essential elements, integral to the Church's work of communication for the sake of a renewed proclamation of Christ in today's world".

There is so much to think and pray about here in these powerful words of our Pope, isn't there?  The whole article just filled my spirit.  Yet I wonder... Where and how can I ever begin to heed his advice with all of my imperfections?Talk about a balancing act...  Once again, a restless question rises with an answer that must lie somewhere within... and not online. 

   I have a feeling that contemplation about all of this and stepping back a bit will be a good thing for me.  I need a little bit of work on those listening skills too so I think my Lenten work is cut out for me:)

I have to note that my blog posts are connected to my Family At The Foot of the Cross Facebook Page automatically.  I don't know how to disconnect those, even though I'm not logging on to Facebook?  They might continue to appear even though I'm not logging on.  I'm not going to worry about it too much as I will continue to blog right here in this little space.  I do find meaning and hope, here among friends. 

Peace for this restless human heart sounds perfect right about now!  Wishing anyone who visits here a blessed Lenten journey...May it be a fruitful period of reflection and spiritual growth for your precious soul.



Saturday, February 18, 2012

Got Lent?

Yay Lent!
OK, I'll admit, I'm a bit of a "Liturgical Loon":)  That's what you call a crazy lady like me who gets their toes ready for Lent! *grin*
Hey, it's a journey and these feet are 'made for walkin'!   
 Pretty purple toes and all, they've got me looking forward to trekking the Way of the Cross with so many of you who encourage me to persevere. 
I created a few Liturgical Page Tabs near the top of the blog that give ideas for how we celebrate the Liturgical Year.  Living Lent in our Domestic Church is one of the tabs.  (It also includes ideas for Holy Week) We are using many of the same ideas and decor, again this year, that have become traditions for our family.  Feel free to grab an idea or two if you need to!

As Patty from Reasons for Chocolate mentioned, we are also using this beautiful new Lenten book for the whole family.  It includes Fast, Almsgiving, and Prayer. Looking forward to it as it looks wonderful and something we can all do together each day!

I will also be reading Amon's Adventure to the younger children.  The same author has an Advent series that we originally heard about from Laurie at Catholic Baby Steps.  Our family LOVED it.  I can't say enough wonderful things about these books...Our kids are SO excited for this Lenten story and devotional...They can't wait!
Have you seen this neat Amazon Lenten best seller list?  Wow, good stuff here.  I ordered Matthew Kelly's Rediscover Lent for my adult son and I am contemplating the Sacred Space Irish Jesuit book or Simplifying the Soul, by Paula Huston for my husband and I.  Anyone have any feedback on either of these two?  Speaking of simplifying, Gardenia from My Little Flower has a neat Lenten challenge going.  I'm in!

Anyone else renewing or making Total Consecration to Jesus through Mary?  February 20th...2 more days!  I'm JOYfully joining Lena at JOYfilled Family with my 5th Anniversary renewal.  She has a generous invitation waiting:)

We are headed off for another little camping trip for a few days...Hopefully no more accidents to disturb the peace AND teeth like last time!  It will be nice to take our Lenten family "team huddle" on the road to a quiet place for contemplation. I'm praying for fruitful spiritual preparation before the big kick-off on Wednesday.
Got Lent?
+The journey begins+

Friday, February 17, 2012

Five Things A Bereaved Person Might Say

...My son at the grave of his father...

This is kind of a random post but it's a topic that's always on my heart.  I'm certainly no expert in the field of grief but I know there are some common threads that run through the rivers of loss.  It is my hopes that in sharing a few things, maybe we can minister to one another with a little more compassion and understanding.  I thought I'd jot a little post about these things since I DO bring it up every once in awhile, now don't I?  That's one thing that I think is fairly common in bereaved people...They like to talk about it and write about it.  As with anything, there are always exceptions but for the most part,
1. Bereaved people love to talk and write about their loved ones... It doesn't matter how many years go by...We still love to talk about the ones we miss and the memories we shared.  Only through the pain, through the Cross, can we find healing.  I have actually found writing to be extremely therapeutic so welcome to my "session."*wink*  As the years go by, talking and writing are ways for us to keep memories alive for as long as we survive without them, it's the salve on our wound...until we meet again and our mourning is turned into dancing.  
Please don't judge us unless you've walked in our shoes...

  It's no surprise to most of the readers here that I have lost a dear husband.  His name is Chris and names are important when you have lost someone.  A name becomes a musical note that plays the tune of love that never ends.  I think that's why it's so healthy to name our babies that we've lost to miscarriage.  
2. Never be afraid and never forget to mention a name to someone who has lost.  This is the greatest gift you can give...Even years later.  All those we love are never far from our thoughts.

I also bring up this point because some people might find it odd that I still miss one husband while being happily married to another man.  It's a very difficult concept to explain, I know.  The closest example I can give is that of losing a child.  After talking to friends who have experienced this loss in their lives, they know that they could never "replace" that child with another child.  That is why it's such a wrong thing for someone to say: "Oh, you can have "another one"...
3. Please don't ever try to comfort a grieving person by telling them they can "get another one"...whether it be a spouse or a baby. (Like you can run out to the grocery store and buy another!?)
Yes, you may have other children that bring joy to your life again, but that one missing human being is irreplaceable.  Well, in a nutshell, this is how I feel about losing a husband.  He was a dear and precious soul who was his own person, a spouse and a Dad that is dearly missed. It used to drive me mad when people would say: "Oh, you're young so you can still get married again."  Sure, I'll just get right on that!  Not.   I had no plans or a desire to remarry but God obviously saw things differently.  It is a miraculous blessing that He saw fit to bring me another wonderful man to share the rest of my life with. Being remarried brings me great joy that only a Sacrament can bring.   However, one person does not replace another.  You can still miss the past and love in the present, if that makes sense?.  Ultimately, it's very difficult to put all of this in words because it boils down to a matter of the heart.  That's one thing I do know how to put into words...your heart grows in it's capacity for love after loss
4.  Your love for a deceased loved one is not a threat to any living loved ones.  God fills our hearts with enough love to go to the moon and back!
I recently watched a new Christian movie called Courageous.  The pastor in the movie states things perfectly when he suggests that losing someone you love is like being an amputee...You are never the same again.  This is so true. However, with time, you are able to conquer the world in new and wondrous ways that you would never have been able to do without that wound.  The love I share for my husband now is deeper than an ocean of grief, only because of the ocean of grief.  It might be complicated for some people...Yes it's complicated, what can I say?   But for those who have experienced this loss, it makes perfectly good sense, it just does!

5. Suffering a loss never goes away.  The pain undoubtedly diminishes with time and we can certainly move forward with greater ease but speaking for myself, loss of a spouse stays with us all of our lives.  For the most part, I am a faith-filled person who undertands that my suffering has been a great gift.  I know for a fact that my anguish has made me a better Catholic Christian and it has bathed me in showers of mercy, opening the dam to pour forth forgiveness that was necessary in my situation.  Most recently, my personal grief has brought me to my knees in thanksgiving...Grateful for grace and hope that prevail. However, (there are lots of 'howevers' in grief;) there are days when I don't always sit perfectly well with it.  The ocean of grief ebbs and tides like the natural rhythms of life...It comes and goes with waves that are all shapes and sizes.  Hence, compassion and prayers are gifts during these times. 
A bereaved person would be thankful for this any day, any month, any year.

+++A special thank you to all who have offered prayers for me this year as I journey through another Lent, up that Calvary Hill to my own Good Friday.  I appreciate this more than I can express.  I will also be praying for all of you in return for your generosity+++ 

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Lent~The Cross Beckons

I heard a song on Christian radio this morning that talked about the Cross beckoning us.  Wow, this described just how I feel as we move closer to Lent...A week from today!

The Cross really does beckon us, reminding us of many things but ultimately that this earth is not our home.  

My heart is always heavy this time of year as I remember most vividly, the death of my late husband who was tragically killed on Good Friday.  If you've ever lost a loved one, you know that the death anniversary is forever the most difficult time of year, regardless of the years that have passed.  I can feel my physical mind and body bracing itself to remember as we slowly approach "that time."  There are still moments, after 18 years, that the painful memory is unbearable...
The Cross beckons me.  

I think it can be a similar feeling as we approach Lent, maybe more for some than others, I'm not really sure.  I do know that it can be a somber time of reflection.  Our hearts and minds prepare for difficult images and stories of the murderous death of Our Savior.  It is a stark reminder that life will end for all of us, here on earth.
The Cross beckons us.

There are many things spinning around my head as we move into Ash Wednesday.  I yearn to quiet myself and unplug from the noise of the Internet, I am eager to press the reset button and get back to more intimate prayer, and I am looking forward to preparing our Domestic Church for a new liturgical season.  Still there is one thing I desire more than anything else...
... That is re-fixing my gaze on the Cross.
The Cross is beckoning...

For it is casting our eyes on the Crucifix that we find answers, comfort and instant truth;
Mercy was designed right there for all of us, no exceptions;
Love raised up in glory;
Life ending on this earth turned the key to open the gates of heaven;
Sorrows became the bridge to joy;
Suffering became strength for the journey home;
The Cross beckons.

Despite any pain we might feel or the struggles we carry inside, it is certain that there will be reason to rejoice, if only we embrace the instrument of our salvation.  Lent is the perfect time to do this and I'm looking forward to it!  
Let us stretch out our arms and surrender...
The Cross beckons.

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St. Valentine And Beyond!

St. Valentine's Day was special since Dad was off this year...
This is SO exciting for a Fire Family!  We are always grateful when we have our Dad home on special days.  We never take them for granted since he works many, many holidays.
We had this fun breakfast planned as we had recently discovered the idea from one of our children's cook books.
Pop over to Catholic Cuisine for the easy instructions!  We called it Heart of St. Valentine Egg Toast:)
Did you see Holly's St. Valentine printables this year?  She shares so many neat things at her blog, Three-Sided Wheel.
Princess made a couple of Valentines for her friends with these printables and some construction paper.  What a great way to bring the "real" St. Valentine back into our celebrations...Thank you, Holly:)  She added a lollipop and holy card to the inside.
  I know many friends who make Valentines and take them to a local Care Home...We didn't get to this but what a beautiful idea!
We also re-purposed Holly's Valentines for another Secular-to-Sacred project. I found these cute boxes at the Dollar Tree.  They came with a clear picture window that fit the face of St. Valentine perfectly.  I only had time to make these 3 but I really liked the way they turned out...Maybe more next year?!

Beyond St. Valentine's Day...
Getting back to our routine is always difficult after a day full of fun and a little too much sugar...BUT furry friends sure help out!

Monday, February 13, 2012

Love Is Never Last Minute!

Boy, St. Valentine's Day has really snuck up on me this year!
I found myself scurrying around the house today having the kids help me make and put up last minute decorations.  Don't all kids love to decorate for special occasions? But love really isn't last minute, is it?  Or is it?
Love, coming from God, is always on time.  But are we on time with our Love for Him?
St. Valentine's Day is a day we focus on the love and charity that we should really have all year round.
I like taking a little time to reflect on God's love and how I can best show a little more love, a little more often.  This is a great day out of the year to think about that:)

If you are looking for an easy idea to decorate for St. Valentine's Day, remembering how God first loved us, think about His Sacred Heart.  After all the real St. Valentine knew this…He loved Christ so much that he gave his life out of love.  {If you don't already have the book about the life of St. Valentine, I highly recommend it!  It's a family favorite that we look forward to each year:)}

We just took a package of heart-shaped cutouts and made them into the Sacred Heart of Jesus.
AND some adding a little brown icing!
These were just store-bought;)
What an easy way to transform the secular to the sacred...
Even if it is last-minute decoration, love itself is never last minute!
This was the scripture wreath we made last year...
My favorite scripture quote about love is stenciled above our kitchen table...
"Beloved let us love one another for love is of God...
"1 John 4:7
Last night we completed our "Socks of Love" St. Valentine service project...It went great!
Our parish youth and their families helped fill up 70 pairs of socks with toiletries for our local homeless shelter...

What a great job they did in less than an hour!  
I should not be amazed but I WAS...God provided the perfect amount of supplies for the number of socks we received, including the exact amount of tags.
Nope, God's love is never last minute...It is perfect and right on time.  Amen!
Socks of Love were dropped off at the local homeless shelter on St. Valentine's Day...I am always filled with joy over the love of Jesus in the hearts of these servants!
"O St. Valentine, lover of Christ and of the Church, we ask your intercession that we may learn how to love God above all things, and to selflessly love one another.  O glorious St. Valentine, pray for us, that we too may have the steadfast faith of the martyrs."

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