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

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

College to Catholic ABC's

...Needless to say, we've switched gears around here!  Our college boy is settled in, happy, and doing well.  Though my heart is still heavy, time marches on in a busy household.  As I struggle to catch the tail of change, I find refreshment in the simple tasks.  What more can I say, Catholic A, B, C's has a grip on me!

Our youngest was more than ready to start doing a pre-school curriculum this year.  We are using Lacy's Catholic 
A, B, C,'s Preschool Curriculum book (from Catholic Icing) and I am way over due in my promise to her that I would review this awesome book.  It really is awesome!  I am a visual learner, myself, so it certainly meets all of my needs...It's colorful, color-coded and filled with bright and beautiful photographs to exhibit each lesson.

The neat thing about this book is that Lacy has designed a section for use in a group, co-op, or classroom setting, as well as a separate section for individual use at home.  She has choreographed the time with a detailed teacher script which makes it super user-friendly!  With a lot going on in busy homes, she has made it easy to teach and experience this wondrous time with our pre-schoolers.
I also love that the crafts are simple and do-able for each letter of the alphabet.  I didn't even plan this craft for our first day but found we had all of the materials on hand.
A is for Angel:)
Each letter is beautifully designed to reflect an aspect of our faith in a way that little ones can easily understand, including a saint of the week and bible verse. Coupled with a small unit study that follows the liturgical year, the faith is certainly fully interwoven into this program!
In addition, Catholic A,B,C,'s encourages lots of hands-on learning through finger plays, songs, and snacks.  We made this "Ants On A Log" snack for the letter A.  (Pretzel rod with peanut butter and raisins) Did I mention that she has a whole section in the back of master copies? She has included many templates and coloring pages to enhance learning.
All the way around, it's a fabulous program!  Thank you, dear Lacy:)

Monday, August 20, 2012

The Time Has Come...

Well, the time has come...The first little piece of my heart has left home and is officially "college bound." The waiting, anticipation and transition is over.  It's still hard to believe that it really happened, just a few short hours ago.  Can I just say that I have been a blubbering mess?  Gosh, it's tough!  Yea, yea, I know we give our children wings to fly but that doesn't come free of a little pain, nor does it come free of tears.  Can you pass me a bucket to hold them all? 
But as with any difficult challenge in life, God's grace always peeks through, just when we need it the most.  This morning was just one of those moments.  We got up early to attend daily Mass as a family.  Father M. surprised us and called our family to the altar to bless our son.  (This was a snapshot taken by a parishoner of the blessing he gave).  Though we were a bit embarrassed, we were honored at the same time. Grace showered down upon this Mama's aching heart!
It was also a special consolation and grace that today's college departure date landed on the feast of St. Bernard who was a Cistercian monk.  The University that our son will be attending has a special connection to a nearby Cistercian Abbey:)
I know I've told my story here but I don't believe I've ever mentioned that my late husband was killed in Texas.  Hence, you can imagine that it was a big deal for me when our son was discerning this college in Texas. My son was only a baby when his father died, so he had no memories of our life there. (Let's just say that I swore that I would never go back to Texas after my husband was killed) However, as most of us know, God's plans are often different from ours! In his abounding grace, the good Lord saw to it that I would survive going back to a state that I thought had left permanent scars on my heart.  Not only did I survive, but now I will be paying regular visits to this place that has brought me full circle with my grief...A place where pain and joy can finally sit nicely together.  As I know all too well, only with God's grace and none of my own doing.  As a Catholic Christian, a God-incidence trumps a coincidence so I don't believe it was an accident that my son chose this awesome college.  There must be more to the story, yet to unfold!
Please pray for these guys as they are out on the road! (I get to visit next month:)
One thing's for sure, I will treasure this final "back to school" photo for years to come!  Thank you to all those who have kept us in your thoughts and prayers...God love you and bless you.
"I have found the paradox, that if you love until it hurts, there can be no more hurt, only more love."~Mother Teresa~

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Assumption of Mary In The Home

This was such an easy Assumption centerpiece to make for our kitchen table as we begin our school year with Our Lady. It's all courtesy of Jennifer at Crafolic.  She comes up with some fabulous and do-able ideas:)  Thank you, Jennifer!
Wishing everyone a lovely celebration of Our Heavenly Mother. 
"O Mary, my Mother, be my refuge and my shelter.  Give me peace in the storm.  I am tired on the journey.  Let me rest in you. Shelter and protect me." ~St. Bernadette Soubirous~

Sunday, August 12, 2012


This is our life in a nutshell right now...Transition! I don't know about you but it isn't easy for me to transition, especially as I get older.  
Changing from one state to another takes a lot of physical and mental effort...It can be nothing short of exhausting.  I took a picture of this lovely word that was featured in our family guidebook for my son's new college.  I'm reflecting on it as we prepare to start back to our home school routine on Wednesday and our college boy leaves 1 week from tomorrow...the countdown is on!

With that being said, transition does have a way of being a good thing.  It definitely heightens the grateful sensors to assist in treasuring the present moments more than ever before.  In our case, a final family outing helped to herald in our particular transition.  We savored a fun day at the beach this past week and enjoyed each moment as time stood still just for a little while...  
A day of surf and sand has a way of easing that sharp turn around the bend!
Can you see the little sea lion swimming in the background? (Below) He/she was so cute:) And we saw dolphins too!
Something about the sea brings peace to the soul. 
 I believe we all felt it.
Though no words were spoken.
 Somehow the many blessings of this day has prepared me to dig in and face the transition ahead.  I will be remembering and cherishing this image in my mind...
As we closed out the day with a beautiful ocean sunset and dinner in the company of cherished friends, we headed home with strengthened spirits.  
I might be ducking under the wave right about now...
But when I rise up to scrape the sand from my face and wipe the salty tears from my eyes, I will surely see beyond the rough tide into a sea of hope.
(Underwater Christ statue, near Malta)
Afterall, when God gives us sand, we must build sandcastles!

Friday, August 3, 2012

The Beautiful Hands of a Priest

~Happy Feast Day of St. John Vianney, Patron Saint of Parish Priests~
What a great reminder to pray for our beloved priests.  Our family will be dedicating the month of August to praying extra prayers on their behalf.  There are 100 beautiful prayers for priests at this website.  Many of these can also be found on the iPieta App if you have an iPhone or Android.  (This App is one of my favorites)!
I found this poem on the iPieta that I just love:

The Beautiful Hands of a Priest
We need them in life's early morning,
We need them again at its close;
We feel their warm clasp of true friendship,
We seek them when tasting life's woes.
At the altar each day we behold them,
And the hands of a king on his throne
Are not equal to them in their greatness;
Their dignity stands all alone;
And when we are tempted and wander,
To pathways of shame and of sin,
It's the hand of a priest that will absolve us,
Not once, but again and again.
And when we are taking life's partner,
Other hands may prepare us a feast,
But the hand that will bless and unite us
Is the beautiful hand of a priest.
God bless them and keep them all holy,
For the Host which their fingers caress;
When can a poor sinner do better
Than to ask Him to guide thee and bless?
When the hour of death comes upon us,
May our courage and strength be increased,
By seeing raised over us in blessing
The beautiful hands of a priest.
We made these fun Priestly Brownies and posted at Catholic Cuisine!
I also wanted to share this great article from Cardinal Dolan on Priestly Assignments.
St. John Vianney, please pray for us and the beautiful hands of our priests.
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