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


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!

Sunday, December 2, 2018

The Little Things

1st Sunday of Advent
I was standing in line at Subway in Walmart, on my way to buy some poinsettias for my front door entry. Ahead of me was a young solider in uniform purchasing his lunch. I smiled and he smiled back. I ordered a soft pretzel because they are just so soft and buttery. I anxiously waited for them to make one for me. I hadn't had one in a long time and was a little treat before I went to shop.

The solider beside me turned after paying for his meal and said "I hope you have a good day." I went to pay for my pretzel as they handed it to me, and to my surprise it was already paid for. I was so surprised because I didn't realize the solider had included my pretzel on his tab. There he was headed across the store. Should I try to go thank him? Or would it look like I was running after him? 

I decided to chance it and caught up to the young man. I thanked him for buying my pretzel and said he didn't have to do that. His response? "Just trying to do good things" with a smile. I thanked him for his service and shook his hand. He turned away and I went off to find my poinsettias. 

Little did he know how much that meant to me, a simple act of kindness on a hard day. Let's try to think of others this holiday season and remember that it's the little things that matter.

Sunday, November 25, 2018

St Andrew Novena Devotion

Chaplet available over at my shop!

This is by far my all time favorite devotion after the rosary. The St. Andrew novena is traditionally recited beginning on the feast of St. Andrew the Apostle (November 30th) until Christmas Eve. It is a beautiful devotion for the season of Advent in preparation for the Birth of Christ at Christmas.

Pray the following prayer fifteen times 
(either in a row or throughout the day):

“Hail and blessed by the hour and moment in which the Son of God was born of the most pure Virgin Mary at midnight in Bethlehem in piercing cold. In that hour vouchsafe, O my God, to hear my prayer and grant my desires through the merits of our Savior Jesus Christ and of His Blessed Mother. Amen.”

I love the simplicity of this prayer and yet how powerful the request is. We are asking God at the very moment of His Incarnation to grant the desires we so earnestly seek. What better moment in history than to petition our King from! He could show no greater love than His birth in the stable and His death on the cross. 

Let us make the most of this holy Advent season (which begins next Sunday!) to prepare our hearts for the Infant Jesus! Christmas will be here before we know it!

Sunday, November 18, 2018

Making the Most of Memories

"We didn't realize we were making memories, we just realized we were having fun." When you lose someone, you don't realize how all those moments you spent together become the best memories. At the time, you are simply enjoying each other's presence, but you forget that they can all too quickly become merely memories. 

I recently lost my Nana, who lived to a beautiful age of 89 and died so peacefully with receiving the Sacraments of the Church. While that is the greatest gift, it's still hard. Hard because that person is no long a part of your day to day in this life. You can't hug or kiss or smile. It will never be the same. 

I try to think of how she is an angel in Heaven watching out for me now. I pray for her, I pray to her, I know she still smiles at me from her special place with God. But those moments, those gifts of being with her will be engrained in my heart forever. 

I can still hear her laugh, I can picture her smile, I can feel her warm words of encouragement. She was a light in my life. We have to make the most of our memories and treasure those moments so that we will never let go.

Sunday, November 11, 2018

Molasses Cookies

Looking for an easy dessert to bring for Thanksgiving? Search no longer! This recipe is sure to be a hit and make it hard to eat all you desire on this delicious food and family day!


1 cup packed brown sugar
3/4 cup butter
1/4 cup molasses
1 egg
2 1/4 cups flour
2 t baking soda
1 t cinnamon
1 t ginger
1/4 t salt
3 T granulated sugar


Preheat over to 325 degrees. Mix brown sugar, butter, molasses, and egg until blended. Then add remaining ingredients except the granulated sugar. Mold dough into 1 inch balls and dip tops of the dough into granulated sugar. Place cookies on an un-greased pan, sugar up, 2 inches apart. Bake 12-16 minutes until cookies are set and look dry. Enjoy!

Sunday, November 4, 2018

The Pardon Crucifix

Pardon Crucifix available at
as a one decade rosary.

November marks the month of the Holy Souls in Purgatory in which we especially remember the faithful departed in our prayers and sacrifices. I recently discovered this beautiful sacramental through a friend called the "Pardon Crucifix." Granted by His Holiness, Pope Pius X to the Pius Union of the Pardon Crucifix, the aim of this devotion is to obtain pardon of God and to pardon one’s neighbor. This crucifix must be blessed by a priest to gain the indulgences.

1. Whoever carries on his person the Pardon Crucifix may thereby gain an indulgence.

2. For devoutly kissing the crucifix, an indulgence is gained.

3. Whoever says one of the following invocations before this crucifix may gain each time an indulgence: “Our Father who art in heaven, forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.” “I beg the Blessed Virgin Mary to pray to the Lord our God for me.”

4. Whoever habitually devout to this crucifix will fulfill the necessary conditions of Confession and Holy Communion may gain a plenary indulgence on the following feasts: the Five Wounds of Our Lord, the Invention of the Holy Cross, the Exaltation of the Holy Cross, the Immaculate Conception, and the Seven Sorrows of Mary.

5. Whoever at the moment of death, fortified with the Sacraments of the Church, or contrite of heart, in the supposition of being unable to receive them, will kiss this crucifix and ask pardon of God for his sins and pardon his neighbor will gain a plenary indulgence

I wanted to share this unique sacramental as an idea for the Poor Souls this month, but also the last one for ourselves when we may be in the hour of need! May we be diligent in obtaining indulgences to usher the departed into everlasting life.

Sunday, October 28, 2018

Christus Vincit

St John Newman Oratory in Birmingham, England
Today we traditionally celebrate the glorious feast of Christ the King. It is one of my favorite feast days because it reminds us of the reign of Our Lord over heaven and earth. The thought that we serve so great a Lord is such a comfort that He is concerned with all our affairs, large and small. It is one of the feasts that I least understand why it was moved with the new calendar. Pius XI instituted this feast and speaks of its placement in his encyclical Quas Primas (On the Feast of Christ the King):

"It is not necessary, Venerable Brethren, that We should explain to you at any length why We have decreed that this feast of the Kingship of Christ should be observed in addition to those other feasts in which his kingly dignity is already signified and celebrated. It will suffice to remark that although in all the feasts of our Lord the material object of worship is Christ, nevertheless their formal object is something quite distinct from his royal title and dignity."

"We have commanded its observance on a Sunday in order that not only the clergy may perform their duty by saying Mass and reciting the Office, but that the laity too, free from their daily tasks, may in a spirit of holy joy give ample testimony of their obedience and subjection to Christ. The last Sunday of October seemed the most convenient of all for this purpose, because it is at the end of the liturgical year, and thus the feast of the Kingship of Christ sets the crowning glory upon the mysteries of the life of Christ already commemorated during the year, and, before celebrating the triumph of all the Saints, we proclaim and extol the glory of Him who triumphs in all the Saints and in all the Elect.

"Make it your duty and your task, Venerable Brethren, to see that sermons are preached to the people in every parish to teach them the meaning and the importance of this feast, that they may so order their lives as to be worthy of faithful and obedient subjects of the Divine King."

Sunday, October 21, 2018

100 Items and a Feature

I am so excited to share that my little business now has 100 items for sale! Over the course of two and a half years, my shop has grown so much! There are 45 chaplets, 30 rosaries, 16 veils, 6 crucifixes, and 3 scapular options! I am so grateful to God for how He has led this shop for His glory. May these prayer items bring many graces to those who use them!

One of my veils was also featured by Etsy this past week in an email they sent to buyers. We also reached "super seller" status by quick shipping, number of sales, and five star reviews. Thank you to our customers for your support over the years! You are in our daily prayers. 

Sunday, October 14, 2018

Spinach Stuffed Shells


1 ~ 1 lb. ground meat
1 ~ 10 oz. package frozen spinach
1 ~ 12 oz. box jumbo shells
1 ~ 32 oz. container ricotta cheese
1 ~ 8 oz. package mozzarella cheese
2 ~ 24 oz. jars of tomato sauce


I browned a pound of ground meat in a saucepan and seasoned with salt, black pepper, red pepper, and garlic powder. Depending on your spinach, my box said to heat the spinach (within the plastic bag, weird right?) for 30 minutes in a pot. Then I boiled jumbo shells for 12 minutes, until soft. I mixed the ground meat (after draining) with the ricotta cheese, cooked spinach, and mozzarella cheese in a large bowl. Then I put tomato sauce on the bottom of the two pans (7 x 11"). I stuffed the cooked shells with the meat, spinach, and cheese mixture and then placed in the pans. I drizzled tomato sauce on top of the shells and then heated the entire serving for 15 minutes at 350 degrees, or until the cheese melts. Your spinach stuffed shells makes 35 pieces or serves 7. (More likely serves 5 because everyone will keep grabbing more)! Enjoy!

Sunday, October 7, 2018

Fifteen Promises of the Rosary

An excellent reminder for the feast of Our Lady of the Rosary! Check out the new gold rosaries available on! A variety of colors and centerpieces!

(Words of Our Lady)

1. Whoever faithfully serves me by the recitation of the rosary shall receive signal graces.
2. I promise my special protection and the greatest graces to all those who recite the rosary.
3. The rosary shall be a powerful armor against hell, destroy vice, decrease sin, and defeat heresy.
4. It will cause virtue and good works to flourish. It will obtain for souls the abundant mercy of God. It will withdraw the hearts of people from love of the world and its vanities and will lift them to the desire of eternal things. Oh that souls would sanctify themselves by this means.
5. The soul that recommends itself to me by the recitation of the rosary shall not perish.
6. Whoever shall recite the rosary devoutly applying himself to the consideration of its sacred mysteries shall never be conquered by misfortune. God will not chastise him in His justice. He shall not perish by an unprovided death. If he be just, he shall remain in the grace of God and become worthy of eternal life.
7. Whoever has a true devotion to the rosary shall not die without the Sacraments of the Church.
8. Those who are faithful to reciting the rosary shall having during life and at their death the light of God and the plenitude of His graces. At the moment of death they shall participate in the merits of the saints in paradise.
9. I shall deliver from purgatory those who have been devoted to the rosary.
10. The faithful children of the rosary shall merit a high degree of glory in heaven.
11. You shall obtain all you ask of me by the recitation of the rosary.
12. All those who propagate the holy rosary shall be aided by me in their necessities.
13. I have obtained from my Divine Son that all the advocates of the rosary shall have for intercessors the entire celestial court during their life and at the hour of death.
14. All who recite the rosary are my children and brothers and sisters of my only Son, Jesus Christ.
15. Devotion of my rosary is a great sign of predestination.

--> St. Teresa of Avila: “I would be willing to return to a life of suffering until the end of time to merit the degree of glory which God rewards one devoutly recited Hail Mary.”

Sunday, September 30, 2018

Staying Little

"If a little flower could speak, it seems to me that it would tell us quite simply all that God has done for it, without hiding any of its gifts." ~ St Therese

St Therese always had the goal of remaining little. She wanted to be a great saint, but by doing small things with all the love in her heart. She is such a heroic saint, but easily imitable. When you think about how difficult it is to be consciously offering each moment of our day to God, all the sufferings, joys, and events, you realize just how amazing St Therese really is.

St Therese is famous for her little way of "trust and self-surrender" which teaches us to give our wills to God and know that He will take care of everything. Her spiritual childhood is made up of "very ordinary things." We forget how powerful those ordinary things can be. She says "to pick up a pin for love can covert a soul." Picking up a pin? How simple that is and yet God looks only at the love behind it.

When our trials seem to feel heavy, it helps to remember God is only asking for our love and trust. He cares for us like a loving Father and will never abandon us, but carries the cross alongside, feeling all our pain too.

Sunday, September 23, 2018

The Sky Is Falling

"The Sky is Falling" are iconic words of Chicken Little but are an idea we adopt to mean our world around us is falling apart. A contrast to the peaceful look of leaves falling from trees in a quiet wood to show that all things are made new. Even though things are falling, we can have tranquil hearts that are stable in the storm.

I find that the sky often feels like it's falling when big decisions come around or tragic events happen in our lives. Why do those moments have to be so much more different than the simple parts of what make up our day? But they are. We can try to simplify them but they are going to be bigger and matter more. We can only change our approach to them. 

God gives us the grace at the time, not before and not after, both for the big and little things that matter as much to Him as they do to us. We just have to lean harder on Him when we are climbing taller mountains. If it is weighing on us heavily, perhaps we aren't praying enough. God is always right there with His love and care. 

Padre Pio says, whose feast day we celebrate today, "In this life, Jesus does not ask you to carry the heavy cross with Him, but a small piece of His cross, a piece that consists of human suffering."

Sunday, September 16, 2018

An Interview from A. J. Avila

Ever wanted to know what it's like behind the wall of writing? I was recently interviewed by fellow author, A. J. Avila! She wrote four supernatural Christian novels: Rain from Heaven, Amaranth, Cherish, and Nearer the Dawn. All net profits from sales of these books are donated to charity. You can visit her website here and her books are available on Amazon. A truly wonderful and generous new author friend! Here is the repost from her blog . . . interview questions from A. J. Avila to Therese J. Roberts.

What are you books about? 

I am both a Catholic fiction and mystery novelist. I have written four books, The Story of a Sailor, The Christmas Picture, and The Amanda Case Files No. 1 and No. 2. My next novel, Act of Hope, will be available soon, followed by the third installment in The Amanda Case Files mystery series. My Catholic books are stand alone novels and focus on characters in need of redemption, while my mystery series are lighthearted and fun puzzles that keep you guessing to the end.

Where do you get the ideas for your books? 

The ideas for my Catholic books I really believe are the fruit of prayer. I find inspiration before the Blessed Sacrament and ask my guardian angel to help me write! As far as the mysteries, I grew up reading the Boxcar Children and graduated to Agatha Christie, as well as followed Nancy Drew, Hitchcock, pretty much every Hallmark movie mystery, so I have had my share of inspiration to create my own puzzles and clues!

What inspired you to write your first book?  

I have been writing stories ever since I was eight years old. My love for writing grew over the years, particularly after studying literature at Christendom College. Once I graduated, I realized there was a real need for solid Catholic fiction that should be at the same time both enjoyable and relatable. Books have always been a major part of my life, and I wanted to write stories that encouraged readers in their own lives to go after their dreams.

How do you incorporate your Catholic faith into your writing?

In my Catholic stand alone novels, I like to create likable dynamic characters, who also have a great love for their Faith. There is always a character who is a priest, and you can find characters who pray and attend Mass. These novels focus on the big questions about what truly matters in this life and how that helps you reach eternal life in the next. At the same time, the stories are meant to be easy to read and applicable to anyone.

How did you come up with the main characters for your series?

Liz Henley in The Amanda Case Files has a brother and a sister, just like myself. Her father was a detective and my father was a police officer. I wanted a character who had a strong motivation for finding answers, as Liz's father mysteriously died while investigating a case --a question that carries through all three books. So as my father was also a cop, it makes mysteries more real to me.

Do your characters seem to “take over” when you write?

Definitely! I am never positive how the story is going to end and find that my characters usually decide that for me. As you compose dialogue, it is easy to imagine your characters as real, and coming up with how they will act starts to make more sense as the story progresses. A character will develop certain habits when you write and I am often surprised how that influences the outcome.

If you could spend time with a character from your book who would it be? Why would you choose that person?

I think I would choose Sam from The Amanda Case Files series. He is the main character's brother and is always good for a laugh. He tries so hard to help Liz with her mysteries, but more often than not can get in the way of investigations. At the same time, he is very dependable and likable, and loyalty to his family comes first in his life.

Which of your books is your favorite? Why?

The Christmas Picture is by far my favorite because it touches on important themes of family, life, love, and sacrifice, as well as addresses the question of suffering. This novel also flowed on the pages very easily, and the story seemed to write itself. The main character, Lucy Harris, is given the chance to go back in time and stop an event that caused her brother's death. Jim Harris, her loving brother, is a dedicated doctor, faithful friend, and staunch Catholic. He would be the type of person who would come through for anyone anytime. I think his likeableness is what makes the story so suspenseful as the reader can't put the book down before finding out what happens to Jim.

Thank you, A.J. Avila, for the wonderful opportunity to be interviewed by you!

Sunday, September 9, 2018

Introducing Teddy

Guess who just joined Therese? Hi, my name is Teddy and I love nothing more than laying in the grass outside or chilling on the couch indoors. Therese has a theory that I'm a mix of a flat coat retriever and border collie. My fur and shape is definitely a retriever, but I have different ears and white spots on my feet, as well herd my owner when she walks me. 

I really like chewing bones, tennis balls, ropes, rubber toys . . . and rugs and t-shirts. Don't be too hard on me though because I'm a rescue dog and was surrounded by all these crazy animals at PetSmart. I didn't belong there. I needed a nice comfortable home where someone would love me.

Then I met Therese. It's a little cheesy to say it was love at first sight, but there you have it. I saw her from my crate and she looked at me and said "Teddy!" and I knew we were meant to be together. Now I have a shiny blue color and leash and a black and white tag with my name on it (just like me!) 

I love other people and dogs and kids. I'm a real family dog and like to keep my owner company. She likes having me around when she taps those buttons on her square box. (She says she's typing up the end of the next big story, shh!!) Maybe one day that story will be about me!

Sunday, September 2, 2018

Top Five Things to Do in Pittsburgh

#1 St Anthony's Chapel

Little known secret is Pittsburgh houses the largest reliquary in the world after the Vatican! St. Anthony's Chapel has over 5,000 relics to treasure. Here you can light candles and pray before St. Anthony's tooth!

# 2 Duquesne Incline

Take a trip to the top of the city and see some of the most breathtaking views of Pittsburgh! The stunning skyscrapers, classic yellow bridges, and beautiful rivers are amazing. You may even find a souvenir or two to take home from the heights!

# 3 PNC Park

Home of the Pirates! If it's baseball season, you have to go to a game! A beautiful stadium with views of the city and the river, PNC Park is perfect to satisfy your sport needs. Watch fireworks go off with every home run, taste delicious refreshments, and enter a 50/50 raffle!

# 4 Point State Park

See the Ohio, Monongahela, and Allegheny Rivers come together at the gorgeous fountain "where the three rivers meet", a battle site of the French and Indian War. You can even ride a riverboat to tour the famous waters and see the Steelers stadium.

# 5 Klavon's Ice Cream

If you are looking for a sweet treat, this old time parlor is a must see! By far the best home made ice cream I have ever had with real whipped cream and hot fudge. You have to try the turtle sundae!

Thank you to my dear friends for showing me all of Pittsburgh! A trip to remember forever!

Sunday, August 26, 2018

Orange Leaf

On a recent road trip, friends took me to a delightful little gem called Orange Leaf. I never knew that frozen yogurt could taste so delicious! You can choose from 80 flavors, including classic vanilla, chocolate, and fruity tastes, as well as more interesting flavors like birthday cake, brownie batter, and cookies n cream. Then add toppings to your heart's content!

Having dealt with a tree nut allergy most of my life, a place where allergens are clearly labeled is a breath of fresh air. Each flavor's picture/caption tells you the ingredients and items to be careful of if you suffer from allergies. There are nut free, gluten free, and dairy free options! 

Plus, did I tell you that you can get free samples? Try a number of flavors before filling your cup! And it's self-serve, so there's no limit to how high your swirl goes in your container. (jk!)

I sure hope Orange Leaf opens a location near me soon!

Sunday, August 19, 2018

Marian Shop Design

It’s that time again, when websites need a little TLC. My shop is getting a new look and I’m excited to share it with you! What inspired this change? I’m looking to take the shop to a new level, bring additional items to the storefront, and reach more customers out there just in time for sharing Christmas gifts with your loved ones.

Our products are and will remain sacramental gifts of scapulars, rosaries, veils, crucifixes, and chaplets handmade just for you! The hallmark is knowing your special item was created for you as an individual and that you were thought of specifically and prayed for by name.

Every now and then a little change is a breath of fresh air. With crisp photos, easier navigation, and a more behind the scenes look, we hope this new design will be just that! So check out my happy place at Hope to see you there and send you a one of a kind gift!

Sunday, August 12, 2018

And Then There Were None

And Then There Were None is one of my favorite Agatha Christie stories. I prefer the way the movie presents the ending, rather than her novel, but both have their unique story-telling magic. And there is nothing like a good mystery!

If you are not familiar with the story, ten people are lured to a deserted island by a mysterious person to stay at a manor house. A record is played that accuses each person of a murder they were involved in. One by one the guests are killed off and everyone is trying to figure out who and where the mysterious person could be that is committing such crimes . . . or if it is one of the guests themselves. 

I find this story so unique and well crafted because of its originality. It is not your ordinary murder mystery. Usually you are trying to figure out one murder or one type of puzzle, but this plot moves so quickly and keeps you guessing that you can't seem to keep up with it to discover who is the murderer.

The cast of course is excellent and the dialogue witty. I also like how there always seems to be a flaw in the mastermind's plan, one of which being is every character truly guilty of the crimes of which they were accused? If you've never seen it, this film is a real classic!