Sunday, January 20, 2019

Praying for Life

Available at handmadecatholicshop.com

The anniversary of Roe v. Wade is approaching, and I wanted to share this beautiful devotion. During this time when we remember to protect life at all stages, we need to especially pray for all moms who are expecting, and the chaplet of St Gerard is a wonderful set of prayers for them!

St. Gerard is a special patron of mothers because of one particular story. Not long before his death, a young girl sought to return a missing handkerchief of St. Gerard's. The saint told her to hold onto it in case she were to ever need it. Long after St. Gerard died, the girl married and was expecting. She was close to losing her baby with an unexpected early labor, but pressed the handkerchief of St Gerard to her stomach and the baby was born healthy. 

Chaplet of St. Gerard: On the first three beads, pray one Our Father. On the second three beads, pray one Hail Mary. On the third three beads, pray one Glory Be.

Conclude with (for expectant mothers):
“Great St. Gerard, beloved servant of Jesus Christ, thou art a perfect imitator of our meek and humble Savior and a devoted child of the Mother of God. Enkindle in my heart one spark of that heavenly fire of charity that glowed in thee and made thee a beacon of love. Glorious St. Gerard like thy divine Master thou bore without murmur or complaint the calumnies of wicked men when falsely accused of crime and were raised up by God as the patron and protector of expectant mothers. Preserve me from dangers and shield the child I now carry. Pray that my baby may be brought safely to the light of day and receive the Sacrament of Baptism. Amen.”

Conclude with (for motherhood/special favors):
“Most Blessed Trinity, I, Thy child, thank Thee for all the gifts and privileges which Thou hast granted to St. Gerard, especially for those virtues with which Thou didst adorn him on earth and the glory which Thou imparts to him in Heaven. Accomplish Thy work, O Lord, so that Thy Kingdom may come about on earth. Through his merits, in union with those of Jesus and Mary, grant me the grace for which I ask (mention your request). And thee, my powerful intercessor, St. Gerard, always so ready to help those who have recourse to thee, pray for me. Come before the Throne of Divine Mercy and do not leave without being heard. To thee I confide this important and urgent affair. Graciously take my cause in hand and do not let me leave without experiencing in some way the effects of thy intercession. Amen.”

Sunday, January 13, 2019

Setting a New Standard


At the beginning of the year, we usually have those moments where we feel disappointed we haven't lived up to our goals. Some resolution probably fell off the list on January 2nd already. That's ok. It's more important to be realistic and optimistic than to set a standard of perfectionism. 

The standard we set for ourselves should be, were we pleasing to God today? Yes maybe things on our list didn't get done. Maybe we look at our life and see too much room for improvement. At the end of the day and the end of our lives, St John of the Cross says we will be judged on love.

It's good to have generally high standards, but not at the cost of losing ourselves in standards. God's standard for us is His holy will. If we are striving for that daily, then even when we have bad days they can still be good ones from trying.

Let's set a new standard that involves accomplishing small goals and doing more of what makes us and God happy.

Sunday, January 6, 2019

The Trust of the Three Kings


Little Christmas is one of my favorite days. I love the Three Kings. They inspire me with their trustful confidence in the sign of the star and their humble surrender and love at finding the King of Kings in the manger. 

I often think about royalty and fantasize about what that kind of life would be. Every girl romanticizes a Prince Charming of sorts on a white horse. Yet these three kings were so different from the modern fairytale.

They traveled long distances perhaps at great discomfort to themselves. Maybe they left families behind in search of the newborn King. They brought gifts of great price and sacrificed their time. They are called wise men and believed in God's message, falling down immediately to adore Him. 

Our Lord's manifestation on Epiphany revealed His governance over all earthly power. That manifestation as a little child should bring us great comfort, knowing that He wishes to reign in our hearts in all sweetness.

Sunday, December 30, 2018

A Year of Wishes



Looking back on 2018, there's so many goals that I could have reached if I had made better use of time. That is my New Year's resolution . . . to focus on time management. Time goes so quickly. I can hardly believe we are entering 2019 . . . that it's been nine years since high school, seven years since I discerned with the Carmelites, four years since I graduated college, three years since I published my first book, two years since I opened my shop, one year since I moved to my first place . . . 

What will 2019 bring? I want to make it a year of wishes. All the things that I wish I had done or didn't make time for in 2018 have become the goals of 2019. One of which being writing books again. There was so much change last year, I couldn't believe I didn't publish a book! I may be overambitious, but I have four . . .  (yes four!) . . .  books planned for 2019. Act of Hope (finally!) in the Spring, Amanda Case Files #3 in the Summer, and a two part novel (for Fall and Winter) that will be a fairytale romance. I am going to make up for my lack of writing with all these wonderful stories this coming year!

Let's not allow the present moment to pass us by! Let's make 2019 our year of wishes that do come true. Happy New Year!

Sunday, December 23, 2018

Believe

The Polar Express is one of my favorite Christmas movies. I grew up reading the story and feeling captivated by it's magic. When it came to the big screen, I was thrilled. It's such a simple book, but with a powerful message to believe.

Our world is permeated with doubt, despair, and discouragement. The Christmas season brings love, trust, and faith. The gift of believing means that God's love is more powerful than any kind of suffering.

Belief can mean a lot of things to people, but I really think it is strongly connected to hope. If we have faith in something bigger than ourselves, we have hope that every little moment of our lives has meaning. There is a quiet strength in our will to believe. It transcends earthly things and reaches into the eternal. 

In the words of The Polar Express, "Sometimes the most real things in the world are the things we can't see."

Merry Christmas everyone!

Sunday, December 16, 2018

DIY Advent Wreath


Looking for a way to redesign an Advent wreath? I was on a budget and looking to try something different this year. I always had trouble getting candles to fit correctly in the four-piece candle holders. I decided to experiment with getting candles that could stand on their own, or rather candles that came in glass containers. 

These candles were less than $2 a piece and will last for years on end because they're thicker. The plain wreath I found for $2 and discovered some clip-on ornaments of berries and pinecones ($1.50 each) to place on top. And what do you know? A decorative looking Advent wreath/candles on a festive table for less than $20!

Do you have great Advent ideas? What are some decorating tricks/tips you love?

Sunday, December 9, 2018

Sugar Cookie Houses


One of my all time favorite Christmas traditions is making sugar cookie houses. Gingerbread houses but made with sugar cookie dough. I grew up making these with my grandmother, who passed away when I was eight. I still remember her house, always with the sweet smell of something baking. The holidays were the best time of year at her place. 

We have a really neat cookie mold that has all the pieces for a little log cabin, including extras like mailboxes and bears. (Those never make it to my house because I always eat them while building!) It is exciting to see how unique everyone's house turns out. I believe they each reflect something of the maker's personality. 

Sprinkles was a main theme this year. "Sprinkles will change your life" as someone I know said. And why not? They're colorful (adding spice to your life), pretty (adding elegance), and whimsical (adding sense of humor). So, maybe that's a stretch :-) but all the same it spruced up my cookie house!