Sunday, November 19, 2017

Giving Thanks

Photo courtesy of applemillbakery.com.
Try their tasty Thanksgiving treats!

We forget that Thanksgiving means "giving thanks." How many people think to go to Mass on Thanksgiving? Granted it is a civil holiday, but to whom are we giving thanks? There is not a day that goes by we don't have a reason for thanking God. Even when things aren't going our way, there is always something to be grateful for. St. Ambrose says: "No duty is more urgent than that of returning thanks." 

A grateful soul is a cheerful soul because it recognizes that whatever it is receiving, be it easy or difficult, is a gift from God. "All things work together unto good for those who love God." I think the holiday of Thanksgiving at the end of the year makes us reflect on all the twists and turns of our life this year and how God used everything for His work in the salvation of souls. If we struggle with finding things to be grateful for, then perhaps we are not praying enough. St. Alphonsus says: "He who prays most receives most." The more we give glory to God, the more He will bless us.

Thanksgiving naturally brings families together and makes us grateful for those God has placed in our life. After God, our family should receive the most of our gratitude for being by our side through thick and thin. It is a holiday that we celebrate through feasting because food has a special knack for bringing people together. 

I hope you and yours have a wonderful and blessed Thanksgiving holiday!

                                                                                     ~ Therese

Saturday, November 11, 2017

A Forgotten Holiday


It seems like many pass over the holiday of Veterans' Day with little to no thought other than the post office is closed, so things will have to wait another day. While Memorial Day is perhaps the more celebrated holiday and rightfully so for what it is, Veterans' Day focuses on our heroes who are still fighting the battle. 

For our Veterans must face life after their service, which can be such a challenging adjustment. They have returned from the war changed whether in small ways or large. And as they have changed, so may have the things they once knew. They have been away from their families, their homes, all that was near and dear to them. 

The obligation of gratitude we must show to our heroes is not a light one. They have made sacrifices for souls they never met....sacrifices that may be known only to that solider and God. He will repay them in a way that no human being can, but that does not lessen our duty to thank, pray, and support those who have served our nation.

I really like the site operationgratitude.com that provides ways to reach out to our military, including Veterans. While my business, Handmade Catholic Shop, mainly sends packages to our deployed Troops, I have often thought that I should send a package to our Veterans who have come home and also need our love and thanks.

Let us not undervalue the holiday of Veterans' Day that remembers our heroes throughout our country and always pray for each one during the whole year! THANK YOU VETERANS!

                                                                                    ~ Therese

Friday, November 3, 2017

Change



Change. Different. Adjust. Adapt. Amend. Modify. Revise. Revamp. Swap. Switch.

All words that have essentially the same meaning: things will not be the same as they were before. How do you handle change? Change can be good; change can be bad. The key is our reaction to the change. Do we take it in strides? Do we go with the flow? Do we realize that absolutely everything around us changes whether we realize it or not? 

We are not the same from one day to the next. A little older...hopefully a little wiser. The world is ever changing. Are our hearts rooted in God Who is unchanging? We kind of have to just keep our hand in His, knowing He's leading us because we can never know the future. Trusting in His Providence is the only thing that brings peace of mind to change.

If everything stayed the same, wouldn't we get bored? Let's face it, we need variety in everything. Clothing, food, activities, people (haha)....if we wore the same thing and ate the same thing day after day, sure it might make life simpler, but would that help us grow? I think the reminder that life changes helps us focus on the end goal. If we are made for eternity, then the present trifles will not satisfy us.

God remains the one constant in life, Who we can lean on through all the change. And hopefully in the midst of it all, we realize that it was good for us and brought us closer to Him.

                                                                                     ~ Therese

Friday, October 27, 2017

100 Posts and 16 New Products


Hi readers! Thanks so much for following my blog! Guess what? This is my 100th post! Hard to believe this blog has been up and running almost two years! Email me at theresejroberts@gmail.com to let me know what your favorite post has been. I'd love to hear from you! 

More exciting news....I expanded the chaplet section in Handmade Catholic Shop! To get ready for the upcoming holidays, what better products to add than chaplets that send prayers to God!

The 16 new items include: Franciscan Crown, Carmelite Crown, Seven Sorrows Chaplet/Dolor Rosary, St. Andrew Chaplet, St. Padre Pio Chaplet, St. Kateri Chaplet, St. Raphael Chaplet, St. Benedict Chaplet, St. Peregrine Chaplet for Cancer Patients, St. Lucy Chaplet, St. Gerard Chaplet for Mothers, St. Patrick/Irish Chaplet, Sacred Heart Chaplet, Holy Ghost Chaplet, Precious Blood Chaplet, and the Divine Mercy Chaplet--all with prayers included. View these products under our Chaplets/Devotions section. (Use code THANKS for 10% off!)

I am also working on a new book Act of Hope about a fallen away Catholic actor who receives a fan letter from "Hope" who may remind him of a few things he's forgotten. I hope myself this story is ready for the holidays! Last but not least, I may be starting a new job soon. (Like on top of being an author, entrepreneur, and blogger, right?) So prayers for that would be appreciated! 

Well readers, just want to say thank you so much for all your love and support over the last two years! It's been great sharing stories with you. Here's to another 100 posts!

                                                                           ~ Therese


Sunday, October 15, 2017

Let Nothing Disturb You


Well I honestly think this is the first time I missed a week of blogging! Life happens.....a lot! Things get away from you, leaving you wondering which way is up sometimes. The Church provides even for moments like this in such a marvelous way through her glorious line of saints. 

Today we have such a special one, St. Teresa of Avila, a great mystic and doctor of the church. But for all her special gifts and knowledge, her simple maxims are the ones that touch the heart. I love this one: "Let nothing disturb you; let nothing frighten you; all things are passing; God never changes; patience obtains all things; nothing is wanting to him who possesses God; God alone suffices."

There is nothing more simple nor more sublime than these words. The "one thing necessary" is God. God is our happiness in this life and in the next. St. Teresa found God in prayer but also among the pots and pans. God is not far from those who love Him and are closest to those who suffer. There is something so consoling in the thought that God never changes even when things around us do. 

Let us pray to St. Teresa today that she may inspire us with a deeper love for God and a greater zeal for souls. Her example encourages us not to settle, but aim for the higher things and our greatest dreams. Even though there is much to be said for being a "little saint", why can't we aim to be a "great saint?" What could be wrong in such a noble desire if we desire this simply to give God greater glory?

A great piece of advice I once received was if you aim for Purgatory, you might miss and end up in Hell. If you aim for Heaven and miss, you could end up in Purgatory. The key? Aim higher! Because if we aim for God, we can't miss!

                                                                                         ~ Therese


Sunday, October 1, 2017

Melt-In-Your-Mouth Blondies


Looking for a treat that melts in your mouth? If you eat chocolate and have to have more, this is the dessert for you! And guess what? It's gluten free....but you can't tell!

Ingredients:

1 cup vegetable oil
1 1/2 cups brown sugar
2 eggs
4 t vanilla
1 t baking soda
1 t salt
2 cups GF flour
1 1/2 cups chocolate chips (and sprinkle extra on top)

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine oil, sugar, eggs, and vanilla and blend until mixed. Add flour, baking soda, and salt and stir until well blended. Add chocolate chips and mix. Spread into a greased 7x11 pan and bake for 20-25 minutes (for gooey or chewy blondies) or 30 minutes (for more like a cake). Serves 15-20. Enjoy!

Sunday, September 24, 2017

The Gentle Saint


If you're looking for a master in the spiritual life who writes in a down-to-earth, understandable format, then St. Francis de Sales is your guide. It is remarkable that a priest with so many demands as St. Francis could write countless letters and treatises, but one could say this is how his apostolate reached more people. To this day, men and women in all states of life are benefiting from his invaluable advice and direction.

It is hard to pick a favorite work from a favorite author, but I really drew much from St. Francis' Introduction to the Devout Life. Perhaps because it is so varied in the practical sense....one could literally find advice about most any situation and how to grow in virtue. From the Sacraments, to meditations, to virtues and vices, to friendship, St. Francis has an encouraging word to say on every topic. His words are truly immortal because they are just as relevant today as when he wrote them.

One great quote from this work is about choosing to be "in the world" but not "of it" and adhering strongly to our devotion to God: "Never heed this blind world, then; let it cry out as it will, like a bat that would disturb the birds of day. Let us be firm in our plans, unchanging in our resolutions; perseverance will show whether we are in earnest in offering ourselves to God and leading a devout life. . . . Hypocrisy and true virtue have a considerable external resemblance, but they are easily distinguished, since hypocrisy does not endure, but soon vanishes like the rising smoke, whilst true virtue abides firm and constant. . . . We are crucified to the world, and the world should be crucified to us. It counts us as fools, let us count its votaries as madmen."

Other inspiring works of his include: Roses Among Thorns, The Sign of the CrossThe Art of Loving God, Consoling Thoughts (4 parts), Serenity of Heart, his Sermons, Treatise on the Love of God, and so many more! St. Francis de Sales is one of my favorite saints because he devoted so much time to writing as a way to really reach souls. People drew profit from his advice because it made the attainment of holiness seem possible. His life was a model of virtue and sacrifice, one example being his tireless efforts to convert the Calvinists resulting in nearly 60,000 people returning to the Catholic Faith. His last word of advice before his death was "humility."

One could write forever about the glories of this amazing saint. He is an ideal saint to pray to because one can tell by his writings how understanding he was of human nature--thus giving him the name of "gentle saint." St. Francis knew above all how to encourage souls in the pursuit of Heaven by carrying our daily crosses for the love of God. Take the time to read one (or many!) of his excellent works. It is well worth it! St. Francis de Sales, pray for us.
                                                                                  ~ Therese