Thursday, December 7, 2017

Christmas Cheer for the NICU


Looking for a great way to spread some Christmas cheer? Apple Mill Bakery is sponsoring a cookie drive! If you've never heard of the NICU, it's the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, where premie babies have to spend a few weeks to a few months post-delivery, depending on the complications they may experience. 

My godson was a premie baby and I visited him several times during his stay in the NICU before coming home. It was a very moving experience to see such tiny infants fighting for survival (sometimes they're only 1 or 2 pounds!). They are connected to lots of tubes and sleep in an "incubator" with little human contact because they are so susceptible to germs. You have to "scrub up" sometimes to go inside the unit, and if you are allowed to hold the baby it is usually for a short time.

One of the hardest things to witness is how much the families go through whose child or sibling is in the NICU. The parents have to worry every day if their child will be able to come home with them. The baby can be in the hospital a long time, and they have to make daily visits to the NICU in order to be with their newborn. Worst of all, sometimes the baby doesn't make it. 

But YOU can help make their Christmas a little merrier! Visit applemillbakery.com and click on the listing for Christmas Cookie Drive for Children. Order a can of cookies and they will be given to a family with your name on it! What a special way to comfort parents and siblings of a little baby in the NICU.

Place your order now before Friday December 15th! The children will thank you.

                                                                                   ~ Therese


Saturday, December 2, 2017

Accepting Our Limitations

1st Sunday of Advent
Do you ever watch a superhero movie and think, gee that doesn't look so hard I could totally do that? . . . said no one ever. Some of us may be heroes in our own right like our servicemen and first responders, but we are all human. Being human means we will have limitations; we are not God, although some people think they can be. 

The Advent season reminds us of our human frailty and our need for a Redeemer. Our weaknesses do not serve as an excuse not to strive for sanctity and virtue, but they do remind us that sometimes there are goals we might not reach and achievements we may never accomplish. That should not make us sad, but joyful that we need to rely on God, and not only that we need to but God wants us to.

Our preparation for Christmas should not simply be decorations and food making. It is a spiritual preparation that requires a greater effort to receive the Sacraments, practice virtue, deepen our prayer life, and increase our works of charity. The reason for this is we are preparing for the solemn feast of the Incarnation, which surely must be the most profound mystery of our Faith that God would become man for our salvation.

Those moments when we most feel our weaknesses, we should look at the Infant in the stable. He understands the frailty of our nature and wants us to take comfort in Him. He doesn't ask for great deeds, but great love. St. John of the Cross said, "In the evening of life, we will be judged on love alone." By this he means love based on sacrifice, giving, and self-forgetfulness.

Let us make this Advent our best yet, by taking one day at a time and adding a little charity to those around us. That may be a smile, a prayer, or a hidden sacrifice known to God alone. Blessed Advent!

                                                                          ~ Therese

Sunday, November 26, 2017

Wonder

"Who gives you the courage to face the world?"
The movie Wonder makes you think. It makes you think about family, about life, about the things that really matter and the things that really don't matter. The story follows a young boy who has suffered through many medical issues and still manages to laugh at the end of the day. That makes you think too -- about how small your problems are and how we really have nothing to complain about.

The film takes you through different perspectives -- how members of the family and friends deal with the suffering in their lives. The virtue that seems to be glorified the most is courage -- courage to stand out, to be yourself, to face the world. The characters are real. They are relatable. You can feel what they are feeling and understand their various emotions. While there really is no climax to the film, there is a conflict and resolution followed by a happy ending.

Auggie is going to the fifth grade. He has to embrace a whole new world outside his home with a face that looks different from everyone else's. He's smart, funny, and truly adorable, but will he make friends? How will everyone see him? Can they see him for his personality? The viewer watches his sister, Via, struggle with being invisible to her parents and how despite her hidden sufferings she stands by her brother no matter what. You see what the parents have had to endure -- their worries, their sacrifices, their bond. 

Most importantly, you see how one person, how one family impacts the world around them. That was the message I took away from this film -- the importance of family, the strength of family, and the love of a family. While some may say this film is sad, I would say it was real. It follows a story that is believable because it's true, and the acting made it a moving story.

At the end of the day, your family is everything no matter what. Wonder makes that message permeate the film, and to have the courage to be yourself because "why blend in when you were born to stand out?"

                                                                               ~ Therese 

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