Joy Battista

"Joy Battista" stands for the Joy of John the Baptist at the presence of Christ.

"And how have I deserved that the mother of my Lord should come to me? For behold, the moment that the sound of thy greeting came to my ears, the babe in my womb leapt for joy." Luke 1:43-44

This blog is dedicated to all who seek the Joy of Christ's presence in their own lives.
This blog is also dedicated to the unborn, for John the Baptist was an unborn when he leapt for joy at the presence of Jesus who was also unborn at the time.


Thursday, October 28, 2010

Saint Francis of Assisi, a Chosen Saint

Every evening for the past couple weeks I've been trying to get my husband and kids off the subject of football and jello at the dinner table. We seem to be able to hold fine conversations about the Nebraska Cornhuskers, our disdain for the Texas Longhorns and our bliss for having beaten Oklahoma State. Our family also has an inside joke about the topic of jello. It would not be worth my time to try to explain it to you but I'll have to admit it has caused me to giggle many times and has helped us bond through silly goofy humor.

But I have tried to get a little more serious at the dinner table as this is a sacramental year for Cole our 5th grader. He will be receiving the Sacrament of Confirmation in the spring and is in the midst of decision making and preparation. Several of these past evenings at the dinner table we have managed to sneak in a little saint talk. I have stopped those serious football conversations and silly jello jokes to ask Cole, "What saint are you thinking about choosing for your Confirmation name?" And then I couldn't help myself but indulge him with all my favorite saints that he could choose from: St. Augustine, St. Anthony, Padre Pio....and of course St. Francis of Assisi. Eric chimed in with St. Blaise who he dressed as for his saint party at school.

Cole couldn't seem to commit. Until...last Sunday evening because he had to fill in his saint sheet with the saint he had decided to choose for his confirmation name, it was due Monday. And......drum roll..........he chose.......St. Francis of Assisi.

I must say, with regret, I wasn't convinced that Cole put a whole lot of thought and prayer into this selection. I say this because the sheet he filled out asked a couple simple questions about the saint that Cole couldn't answer on his own. And I helped him fill it out so I feel because of this it was a last minute decision to choose St. Francis of Assisi. I hope I'm wrong though and maybe the Holy Spirit or his guardian angel whispered in his ear to choose him. I'm hoping Cole will find as the years progress that he indeed chose the perfect saint to lean on and emulate all through his life.

I couldn't be more tickled with his choice though. If you haven't read my previous October post on Saint Francis of Assisi please read it, you will enjoy that story I believe. If you have already read it you should know I recently made an edit to it, Saint Francis of Assisi is my husband Will's Confirmation name, not Padre Pio as I had written. I don't know how I got that mixed up.

Saint Francis is a great reminder to us about Peace and how to obtain it. If you haven't prayed his prayer for awhile I invite you to pray it now:

The Prayer of St. Francis of Assisi

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace;
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
Where there is injury, pardon;
Where there is despair, hope;
Where there is darkness, light;
And where there is sadness, joy.

O Divine Master,
Grant that I may not so much
seek to be consoled as to console;
To be understood as to understand;
To be loved, as to love;
For it is in giving that we receive;
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
And it is in dying that we are
born to eternal life.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

A Shopping Trip Adventure for Mother of Five

The following is a facebook post I read from my friend Karrie Seeman. I loved it so much I asked her permission to share it on my blog and of course she said yes! Enjoy.

The other day I took all five kids shopping at Walmart. Last time I did this I got looks from people and a checkout lady who seemed irritated with my bunch (and they were well behaved that day. ) I guess I forgot about that day until the looks started as soon as I went down the first isle.

Ok here we go..... By the second lane I spotted a man who was staring with somewhat of a disgusted look. I'm sure he was trying to avoid us but by the third isle there we were again, Facing each other this time. Just when I was about to ask him...."what? Do you own this store?" I stepped out of my situation and looked at us....Joe was on the bottom of the cart face and stomach down and his arms and legs hanging off the front and the back like superman, Gabby was walking along arm extended hitting everything on the shelves as we walked by, Maggie was in the top front of the cart singing a one word song she made up titled diarrhea , and Grace was 10 ft behind us with the fresh bread we bought half way up her nose still saying mmmm it smells so good. SO..... I guess it was a lot to take in for a single guy.

By the 5th isle the man smiled at us and when we finally made it to the front he said WOW you really have your hands full. Again I wanted to say " well we both made it up here at the same time" instead I thought about his comment..... And I DO have my hands full. THANKS BE TO GOD!!!!

I think by the time we got up to the front we grew on him. Who knows what his story was... We will never know but I know we made his day a little more exciting. Maybe his initial look was because he was just having a bad day and as the store time went on he enjoyed being a part of our energy or should I say on that day, circus.

I'm happy I took the time that day to enjoy my life in a big family! I'm thankful to God my hands are full even though some days It's not easy. When I think about that comment I realize that my hands are full and because of that so is my heart.

Needless to say the trip to the parking lot was a continuation of craziness. Joe dropped a gallon of milk and it spilled all over the parking lot and as we finally had a chance to pull away our side van door fell off in the parking lot. YES..... We were worth staring at that day!! It worked out because it gave my hero of a husband a chance to come out and save the day! When he showed up to help us the kids cheered like superman had just arrived and then we realized that in all our imperfections we have a beautiful family. We are so blessed. No need to worry when people stare.... Maybe they miss their family, maybe their having a tough day and maybe just maybe we are a sight to see!

God is Good!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Busy Busy Busy Mom......

Since the beginning of my blog I think this is the longest I have gone without posting my own article. My last post was an easy and fast post, a link to somebody else's article about Christopher Columbus. I hope you read and enjoyed it.

Like all work at home moms(we all work, whether paid or not)I have lots to do, therefore have put blogging on the back burner this past week.

I have been pre-occupied with other things and I hope you will stick with me now and in the future because I want to be here to give you inspiration, cheer you on and just be a friend and ally to you on your journey through life.

Here's what I have been up to though, just in case you wanted to know. As the President of the Confraternity of Christian Mothers at Church I have been preparing for our new member initiation and brunch which will happen next Saturday. This has given me some extra busy work, but I have enjoyed it. If you are a St. Teresa's mom and still want to attend, be sure to let me know! I'd love to see you there.

I have written three articles and am in the middle of a fourth one. The first was for the Fall Witherbee Neighborhood Association Newsletter. I took pictures of the St. Teresa's feast day parish family picnic and submitted them along with an article. I had a deadline for this and, hooray, made my deadline. For those of you who attended, newsletters will be in the vestibule of church soon. You or one of your children may be pictured. I also accepted a position on the WNA board of directors. I have enjoyed writing articles for them for the past year about St. Teresa's and definitely want to continue my involvement with them. So they had asked me to submit a profile and picture of myself to place in their newsletter to introduce me as a new board member. Again I wrote a little profile article and met my deadline, hooray. If you have any future article ideas for the Witherbee Neighborhood Association, let me know! And my third article was a Varicak Family description for the photo album our school is putting together. I put a deadline for that one myself so I would be done with it and wouldn't have to think about it again, hooray. None of the above was difficult, but it all kept me busy busy busy.

The fourth article which I am still working on is about Sue Kuoma Johnson, whom I interviewed for my blog. She will be the October feature of a successful home based business mom. Sue is the mother of five whose childhood dream of becoming an artist has come true. Sue now travels the country and sells her fantastic paintings. Watch for this article to be posted soon! You won't want to miss Sue's inspirational story.

On top of the articles, I decided to hold a Premier Designs Jewelry Show. I used to be a consultant for Premier several years ago. My friend Brenda just became a consultant, so to help her out I decided to hold a show. I also wanted to see the latest in offerings by Premier and try to earn some free jewelry by holding the show. This is an economical way of treating myself to something special and sparkly and do a little Christmas shopping at the same time. The show is in a week and a half and I have also been busy preparing for it. If you are reading this and you personally know me, of course you are invited. I gave Brenda about 35 names and addresses of those to invite whose addresses I had easy access to. So if you did not receive one just give me a call and I'll give you the details if you'd like to see the catalog or attend.

So now that you know some things that I have been up to on top of mothering four children and trying to be a loving wife, I hope you come back again because as I said before I aim to inspire you and help you along your life's journey through stories of success and adventure and love. I believe that giving of ourselves to the Church and Community as well as being a good friend are beautiful ways to teach our children how to be good Christians. So though we are busy busy busy with little and some big things we can strive to serve out of love.

St. Josemaria Escriva said, "Do everything for love. In that way there will be no little things: everything will be big. Perseverence in the little things for love is heroism."

To me all the things we do in our own lives that make us so busy are the little things that will make us heroes, IF, we do them out of love!

Monday, October 11, 2010

Honoring Christopher Columbus

Honoring Christopher Columbus

Click the above link to read all the historical facts about Christopher Columbus! He was a Catholic that discovered America and changed the world. He was a hero!!

One fact missing, that I learned at church today was that he was a third order Franciscan. If you read my blog post last week about St. Francis of Assisi you must know how cool I think this is.

Enjoy this article for a great true story!

Friday, October 8, 2010

Schedule God In and Love Lavishly

In every age, times have been serious. But it seems our time is one of the most serious where the devil has been unleashed on all of humanity in a thorough way through wars and abortions, immorality, false religions, family divisions, political problems and on and on. I heard at Mass this morning that we can keep the devil out of our hearts by loving lavishly. Loving lavishly was a recurring theme all week at St. Teresa’s Church at the daily children’s Masses.

Personally I can think of lots of ways to love lavishly right in my home. The ways would include: being there wholeheartedly for my husband and children, working hard to make my home a comfort for all who enter by cleanliness, a welcoming attitude and a smiling face. I can extend a hand to a neighbor or listen to a friend. I can be there for extended family and give alms to the poor. I can also do every little and big job with excellence for God (Excellence in all you do, happens to be a central tenent of the “You Can Become a Saint Study“ I‘m in). This list can go on and on too.

One of my favorite ways to love lavishly, above and beyond what I’ve already mentioned, is to simply love God through prayer and talking to him and acknowledging Him throughout my days. This to me is the BEST way to lavishly love God. If I can do this well then all the other items I do in my home, family, community and for the world will be all the more effective and true.

I’ve learned in my “You Can Become a Saint” Study that I should actually schedule God into my days. Writing it down makes it become more concrete and easier to implement. So far I have failed at writing anything down. But I have done a pretty good job of implementing a bit of a schedule. Two new items for me are to attend daily Mass every morning and get down on my knees and pray a rosary every afternoon.

I’ve always tried to get to daily mass but it has been hit and miss. I now have a renewed reason to consistently attend Mass and say an entire rosary daily. I have a couple of BIG special intentions on my plate. I’ve decided that since I haven’t done what I’m suppose to do by writing a schedule down for God, He has decided to give me some serious reasons to make sure I start a regular schedule of loving him lavishly. Some day I will share my reasons, but for now I can share that God is 150% obviously involved in my renewed purpose for going to Him and Mary on a scheduled basis!

How about you? How do you love lavishly? Has God inspired you to schedule Him into your days?

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Faith & Family Live! : The Rosary as a Family Affair

Faith & Family Live! : The Rosary as a Family Affair
To think about saying a family rosary, on this beautiful Feast day of Our Lady of the Rosary, click onto the above article. Read through it and scroll down to the comments where I posted a comment. Join in on the discussion if you are moved to do so. And PRAY THE ROSARY! God Bless You All.

Monday, October 4, 2010

A Personal Saint Francis of Assisi Story to Celebrate His Feast Day

I never really thought about peace before. Not very deeply anyways. The first time I felt really drawn to the word and its meaning was within the last couple years when I read an e-mail from a friend who signed it Peace, Jean. It struck me as extremely profound the first time I read it from her. And subsequent e-mails from Jean have been read with great anticipation for that final message of Peace.

Another girlfriend, Shane, whom I more recently began corresponding with also signs her e-mails with PEACE. My relationship with Shane is currently blossoming and I have found that she and Jean have so much in common. In short they are both very beautiful, kind and gentle souls. They are also very confident and serious about their Faith and Peace seems to flow from them.

For me Peace has been more elusive and I pray really hard to God to have peace in my heart and in my family. I’m going to make a confession about my worst habit that causes my lack of peace. It is that I am extremely impatient and I am a yeller to my kids and husband. I very rarely swear but I yell. I would be embarrassed for Jean or Shane to know about this problem. I guess if they read this my secret is out.

Well, I took my major lack of peace problem directly to God at my holy hour of adoration one Sunday evening. Earlier that particular day the children were fighting and I was yelling and not understanding why we as an intact family don‘t have more peace even after we pray together so much as a family and attend Church together regularly and talk a lot about how to treat one another. I’m sure any psychologist that came and studied our family could pinpoint the problem immediately. Now that I think about it we did consult a child psychologist a few times as a family and he told my husband and I as parents to discipline with as little verbal communication as possible. That explains it for me I just talk too much and yell too much. I know what to do but I’m having a hard time doing it. So I sought God’s intervention at my holy hour.

God never disappoints. One of the first things I did at my holy hour as usual was I wrote the names of my family down on the daily intention sheet for each day of the following week. At the end of our six names I wrote the word Peace. Then I prayed to God to give me something concrete to help me know how to obtain peace. I browsed the book shelf and came across a small devotional book on St. Anthony of Padua. I read through the entire book. My hour quickly came to a close and as I walked out of Church I saw another friend, Lucy, and I couldn’t help but to say “have a peaceful night.” While at Church I didn’t feel that God had answered my prayer about how to obtain peace. But I wasn’t disappointed because I knew this much, prayer and silence gave me peace for the time I was there.

When I arrived home and began to get ready to go to bed a light bulb went on in my head. The Saint Francis of Assisi prayer had been in the St. Anthony book I had just read at my holy hour. The prayer begins, “Lord, Make me an instrument of your peace…“ It occurred to me that God did concretely answer my prayer for peace! The prayer showed me exactly what I needed to do to obtain peace. I was excited and thought about that prayer all the next day. I quickly forgot about it after that though because of the hustle and bustle of my family life. But God didn’t forget.

The next Sunday evening at my holy hour I was seeking a magazine for which I wanted to get the address so I could submit an article. I sifted through a plastic box full of little books and devotionals looking for the small publication. I found it and wrote down the address, put it back in the box and attempted to return the box. As I tried to shove the box back into place something behind it had fallen making it impossible for me to put the box back. Of course, because I am impatient, I tried to shove it harder hoping it would finally go back in. It did not and I was frustrated so I pulled the plastic box toward me and grabbed a couple books out that had been in the way. I took a look at the books and one caught my eye. It was a memory book of a young woman I had heard of who had died several years ago. Her name was Francis Walsh.

Francis, who was 25 years old, had died suddenly in a car accident about a half mile from where I was sitting there in church. I knew that she was the little sister of a priest who had previously been in residence at my church and I was intrigued about her life. I had never talked to anybody about her but had read the accounts of the accident in the newspaper at the time of her death. Through the newspaper I did know that she had recently begun working at Catholic Social Services and her very large Catholic family, who was well known in the community, was very saddened at her passing. I had also thought very highly of her brother Father Walsh and had always enjoyed his sermons. Like I said, the book intrigued me and I was immediately drawn in to reading it. It was written by her father.

There were several highlights for me as I read the book. One was the account that Francis’s Father gave as to the origin of her name. The first thing was she was indeed named after St. Francis of Assisi. Mr. Walsh mentioned that he had known several people named Francis and all of them had difficult lives but because of his love for the Saint he decided to take the chance and still give her the name Francis. He did recall many struggles that Francis had in her short life. But she worked through them even earning a Masters Degree in Counseling. She remained Faithful to Christ her whole life and that seemed to be a great comfort to the family even though she had many struggles.

Another Highlight was that Francis was born on the feast of St. Wenceslaus. They sang good King Wenceslaus to her at every birthday. She seemed to get a kick out of it and it provided for many great memories.

Francis Walsh had a best friend and her name was Jean, the same Jean that I have referred to who signs her e-mails with Peace. I feel even more privileged somehow to have a friendship with Jean now. Jean had provided Mr. Walsh with a lot of material for his book including great laughs. But it occurred to me that maybe Francis Walsh had provided Jean with the inspiration to sign all her e-mails with Peace.

The amazing thing to me was that I stayed up until three o’clock in the morning to finish the book. I kept looking for my lesson, the reason God wanted me to read it. I couldn’t seem to get there so I kept reading and reading until finally at the very end of the book came the Prayer of Saint Francis of Assisi. I again had been given this prayer as a guide from God on how to obtain peace. And then I cried like a baby. First for the loss that Francis’ family endured and secondly at the thought that God really is always with me and answers my prayers. He keeps knocking at my door!

My story doesn’t end here because the next morning the Holy Spirit kept stirring in my heart to continue learning about St. Francis of Assisi and his Peace message. It occurred to me, as it also had while I was reading Frances Walsh’s memory book, that I had a deceased grandmother named Francis. I also realized that Grandma’s birthday was in the same month, April, that I was reading this book. I had to dig around my house to confirm that and as I did I came across a bookmark that had been made which on one side had the Prayer of Saint Francis written out and on the other side my Great Grandmother’s obituary write-up. This was Grandma Francis’s mother. I read about her and she and I had something in common and that is we were both involved with the Confraternity of Christian Mothers groups at each of our churches. The name of her church was St. Wenceslaus. What a coincidence!! Actually I don’t really believe in mere coincidences I believe in divine providence.

On top of all of that I realized my sister, Ann Francis, named her son Charles Francis when he was born on October 4th, 2008, which is also the Feast day of Saint Frances of Assisi! She had the name picked out way before his birth, and no it wasn’t a scheduled birth. HAPPY BIRTHDAY CHARLIE!

God’s divine providence has continued to keep St. Francis in my life. I shared my story with my friend Lucy, who I saw in church the first night I read the St. Anthony book. She told me that St. Frances’ life was very instrumental in her conversion to the Catholic Faith. Lucy also had read the Frances Walsh book!! The two of us figured out then and there that Lucy’s husband’s family and the Walshes were all Irish families from Gretna Nebraska. The Walsh’s had lived on Langdon Street which was Lucy’s last name. We were filled with the Holy Spirit at this revelation.

Upon further enthusiastic discussion about my story Lucy gave me a picture book about St. Francis which gave many stories of his miracles with nature. One such story was about how he used to sing with Cicadas. They actually would land on him and they would sing together. One of my first poems that I have written as an adult is called The Song of the Cicadas. At this additional providential discovery I began to feel more and more enamored with St. Frances and will pray to him for guidance in all my endeavors, especially when writing and spreading the word of God.

I had shared with Lucy that I couldn’t figure out why the St. Anthony book that started this whole story had the St. Francis prayer stuck right in the middle of it. She didn’t know either. A couple weeks had passed and I finally made the connection through coming across another children’s book that St. Anthony was also a Franciscan and had actually known St. Francis when he was alive. The book related the story that the Infant Jesus appeared to Anthony. It stated that, “Because of his love for the Infant Jesus, St. Anthony attracts children and young people, and helps them to preserve their purity and innocence in this world which is so full of immorality and sin.” (Saint Anthony of Padua, by Father Lovasik, S.V.D.) I must also pray to Saint Anthony to attract Children and young people to God through my writing.

Another Franciscan that has been knocking on my door is Saint Padre Pio. He has been popping up for me in various places. One thing St. Padre Pio did as a child was when another child would swear in his presence he would turn and run away as if he was fleeing the devil.

I think sometimes my children would like to flee from me when I yell. I truly know the path to peace. I’ll keep praying and persevering to obtain peace in my heart and family. For if I can then God can use me like he uses Jean and Shane and Francis…..

Friday, October 1, 2010

St. Teresa's Feast Day and the Story of a Cross!

Saint Teresa of Lisieux is the patron saint of my parish! Every year on October,
1rst a grand celebration is held by the parish with a Mass which is celebrated by the Bishop of Lincoln, NE. Usually the Bishop presides over an evening Mass but this year he was the main Celebrant of the Children's daily Mass which was held this morning.

Banners were placed throughout the Church with pictures of the life of St. Teresa. The pictures above and below are two of them. The banners will stay up the entire month of October bringing an extra feeling of warmth inside the church. They are a beautiful reminder of the Saint's journey on this earth. On the first of November they will be returned to the St. Teresa museum inside the rectory.

The school posted the cutouts below on the front of their entry way. What a great reminder to the school children of Saint Teresa's promise to shower down roses here on earth when we pray for her intercessions. She is a most powerful Saint who has the ear of Jesus. She is also a doctor of the Church.

A beautiful procession in and out of Church for the Feast Day Mass included 25-35 girls dressed as Saint Teresa. Below is a picture of a couple of the girls who dressed and had processed in the Mass.

I wish I could really express how wonderful this morning was and I didn't even capture the beauty completely in these few pictures that I've posted. But I can tell more about how great Saint Teresa the little flower is in a personal testimony below.

While my daughter Michaela was being treated for her leukemia our family prayed very hard for her. The kindness of the parishioners of Saint Teresa's came through in the most unexpected ways and places. These were some of the answers to our prayers!!

One totally unexpected blessing was a cross which was given to my husband, Will, one evening when he was at a holy hour. He thought he was alone in the Church when a fellow parishioner came up to him and offered him the cross that slides open and has a relic of St. Teresa inside. Will could tell that this cross was very special to the man who gave it to him. He could tell that it surely was a sacrifice to give up this cross. The man gave us the cross to help Michaela heal and survive her cancer.

Will brought the cross home and gave it to Michaela. She came to depend on this cross for every sadness, pain and worry that she had. She was 7-8 years old at the time the cross was given to her. Her cancer treatments ended when she was about 9 1/2. She learned to pray for herself and would sleep with her cross.

The cross has since made it's rounds. One day when Will was at work he started experiencing chest pains. A co-worker took him into the emergency room and he went through a battery of heart tests. The doctors decided to keep him in the hospital over night. Michaela didn't think twice to give her dad her cross. Will also slept with the cross. In the end his heart cathaterization showed an all clear. No heart problems.

The cross is now with Michaela's grandpa who battled cancer for a year. Two years after his diagnosis his cancer is in remission.

These kinds of stories are endless for people around the world! We are but one family who have been touched by this incredible Saint. If you don't know much about her learn about her. Her story is simple and powerful. She can be your friend too. You can google her name, look her up in a Catholic book store or talk to any Catholic priest or religious. They all know her. Don't delay...she can aid you in any way!