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.


Friday, November 26, 2010

All You Ordinary People, Simply Be Faithful!

Here is a preview of the Gospel reading and some commentary for the first Sunday in Advent! I pulled the following from a Mike Harrison e-mail I received. Hope it gives you some inpsiration!!

Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam (To the Greater Glory of God)

For: Sunday, November 28, 2010

1st Sunday of Advent

From: Matthew 24:37-44

The Time of the Second Coming of Christ and of the Last Judgment
(Jesus said to his disciples,) [37] "As were the days of Noah, so will be the coming of the Son of man. [38] For as in those days before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day when Noah entered the ark, [39] and they did not know until the flood came and swept them all away, so will be the coming of the Son of man. [40] Then two men will be in the field; one is taken and one is left. [41] Two women will be grinding at the mill; one is taken and one is left.

Vigilance. The Faithful Servant
[42] "Watch therefore, for you do not know on what day your Lord is coming. [43] But know this, that if the householder had known in what part of the night the thief was coming, he would have watched and would not have let his house be broken into. [44] Therefore you also must be ready; for the Son of man is coming at an hour you do not expect.

37-39. In a few strokes our Lord sketches man's perennial insensitivity and care-
lessness towards the things of God. Man thinks it is more important to eat and drink, to find a husband or wife; but if that is his attitude he is forgetting about
the most important thing -- eternal life. Our Lord also foretells that the end of the
world will be like the great flood; the Son of man's second coming will happen unexpectedly, taking people by surprise, whether they are doing good or evil.

40. It is in the context of the ordinary affairs of life -- farmwork, housework, etc.
-- that God calls man, and man responds: that is where his eternal happiness or eternal punishment is decided. To be saved, one does not need to meet any special conditions, or to be in a special position in life: one simply has to be faithful to the Lord in the middle of ordinary everyday affairs.

42. Jesus himself draws from this revelation about the future the practical moral
that a Christian needs to be on the watch, living each day as if it were his last.

The important thing is not to be speculating about when these events will happen and what form they will take, but to live in such a way that they find us in the state of grace.

Source: "The Navarre Bible: Text and Commentaries". Biblical text from the Revised Standard Version and New Vulgate. Commentaries by members of the Faculty of Theology, University of Navarre, Spain.

Published by Four Courts Press, Kill Lane, Blackrock, Co. Dublin, Ireland, and by Scepter Publishers in the United States. We encourage readers to purchase The Navarre Bible for personal study. See Scepter Publishers for details.

"Ignorance of Scripture is ignorance of Christ." -- St Jerome

"The Father uttered one Word; that Word is His Son, and He utters Him forever
in everlasting silence: and in silence the soul has to hear it.
-- St John of the Cross

Monday, November 22, 2010

Anima Christi

One of my favorite prayers that is said during every Mass at St. Teresa’s Catholic Church just after Communion is the Anima Christi:

Soul of Christ, sanctify me; Body of Christ, save me, Blood of Christ, inebriate me; Water from the side of Christ, wash me; Passion of Christ, strengthen me; O Good Jesus, hear me; Within your wounds, hide me; separated from you let me never be; From the evil one protect me; at the hour of my death, call me; and close to you bid me; That with your saints, I may be, Praising you forever and ever. Amen

I know many of my readers are familiar with this prayer because they too belong to St. Teresa’s Church. If you are not one of them, read it over a few times slowly and try to just take it in.

I’ve always thought this prayer could be studied and contemplated for a wonderful and insightful look at Christ and the Faith. I think each line could stand alone as its own prayer.

I would like to share my favorite lines of the prayer and then hope to hear from you what your favorite lines are and why.

The lines that stand out for me are: Within your wounds, hide me; Separated from you let me never be. The first, Within your wounds, hide me; feels so soothing, I think of it as a soft warm balmy place where I enter into the body of Christ. It is a place of safety for me and this is very comforting. It makes me feel like Christ has a special place just for me where I can escape to stay and be happy.

I have often gone to church and placed myself, in my mind, in the palms of Christ’s hands. His hands, cupped together, hold me and I again feel safe. This is similar to hiding in the wound of Christ. It is a wonderful place to be.

The other line I am most drawn to is, Separated from you let me never be. This really is one of those lines that can stand alone! I could say it all day as an aspiration to Christ. I think I’ll leave it at that and hope to hear from you as to what you feel especially drawn to in this prayer and why!!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

The Amazing Faith of a Three Time Cancer Survivor

Each month I’ve attempted to feature a home based business mom. I missed October so I thought I’d do an extra story for November. But I’m going to change the theme. I’d like to feature a mom with extraordinary faith who has followed God’s promptings without flinching!

I’m going to attempt to tell the story of Mary Koenig. I hope I can do it justice, it is so amazing. Mary spoke at the November St. Teresa’s Confraternity of Christian Mother’s meeting last Saturday. I’m going to tell you parts of her story from memory because I hadn’t planned on blogging about her and didn’t take notes. But her story resonated with me and I feel moved to share it with you.

Mary’s story started 42 years ago when she was adopted as a baby. She grew up happy and well adjusted in a large Catholic family. She had four siblings which included one other who was also adopted. It was a natural and easy thing for families to adopt back then and Mary always felt part of the family and very loved.

Mary met and married her husband Doug after two bouts of cancer as a young adult. She had non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma which was treated and temporarily held off by chemotherapies. Soon after the marriage, Mary gave birth to two beautiful children, a girl and a boy. About 10 years after her second diagnosis Mary again relapsed with her cancer and was treated for a large tumor in her body.

The next course of treatment would be the most brutal, a bone marrow transplant. The preparations for the transplant which included the highest doses of chemotherapy possible would immediately throw Mary into menopause, thus deeming her permanently infertile. Mary was completely at peace with this because her goal was to live and be there to raise the two children she had already been blessed with.

Mary’s grueling treatments and transplant were a success and soon after she began longing for another child. Discussions with her husband didn’t seem to favor her longing as she and Doug talked about whether this was prudent or fair to bring another child into the family with Mary’s fragile health. Doug knew and expressed his worries that it could become a reality that in the future he may be raising their children without Mary.

But Mary was resolute that since she was alive she wanted to live her life to the fullest. She simply had a true faith and confidence in her future and was willing to trust the plans God had for her family and Doug which included the adoption of a child. Since she had been adopted herself, it seemed natural and the right thing to do now that she had been given another chance at life. Though unconvinced by Mary’s words, Doug remained faithful to his prayer life and the weekly holy hour of adoration that he attended.

One week, while at his holy hour Doug had a vision from Christ. When Mary told the story she left it up to the listeners whether to believe it or not, but she said in a matter of fact way, “Jesus came down from the cross and told Doug to have faith in the adoption of a child.” Doug returned home to tell Mary of his vision and Mary was elated and the next day immediately began the process of adopting a child.

Mary described the process as if it were a pregnancy in reverse. The labor pains happened at the beginning of the pregnancy during the time of deciding which route to go to adopt and then filling out mountains of paper work, getting scrutinized and having deep research into their lives to determine their suitability for the adoption of a child.

There were three ways the family could go in adopting. One was by fostering first, another was through an international agency and a third was through a private attorney. They found that the fastest way to adopt and the best chance for a permanent adoption was the international route and that’s the way they went.

Once they made the decision to adopt internationally and completed the rigorous research they waited and about six months later received a call that a child was in need of a home.

To make a long story short, the “pregnancy” ended with a couple trips Russia to adopt a 24 month old girl they named Tatiana (Ana). When Ana finally arrived home she came into the house and immediately became a member of the family without any sort of adjustment. She never experienced any separation anxiety or mental issues regarding the circumstances surrounding her adoption. It was really amazing how easily Ana’s entrance into the Koenig family happened.

Mary’s longings to adopt continued but she faced the reality that her family was most likely complete. She still had some old paper work from an attorney that facilitates 3-4 adoptions per year. This attorney has written and passed many of the adoption laws in the State of Nebraska and keeps a file of potential adoptive parents on the off chance she gets a call that a child is in need of adoption. The paper work for her file is extremely short compared to the international agency. Mary described it as a two page application.

Mary had filled out the paperwork long before and happened to come across it tucked away in an envelope in her home, and decided that instead of her throwing it away she would send it in and let the attorneys office throw it away. She just knew they would never accept her application since she had a poor health history and already had three children. But with a stubborn streak Mary mailed it anyway.

Mary received a call about six months after bringing Ana home and got a message that a pregnant mother had reviewed her file and wanted to meet her and Doug. Mary asked the Attorney’s assistant, “Is this a joke?” The assistant had to convince Mary that this was no joke. And the process of adopting another child began.

Mary and Doug were told that the mother was seven months pregnant and the baby was going to be born with health issues. Again to make a long story short, the mother chose Doug and Mary and gave birth to Christiona. Christiona had severe health issues that kept her hospitalized for six months but is now perfectly healthy and about 5 years old. It was an open adoption and they continue seeing the biological mother every couple months. Mary once asked the mother if she ever feels she made the wrong decision and would like to have her child back. The mother was sincere in her joy that she placed her child in the perfect home, she said her daughter has everything she ever dreamed for her to have!

Mary’s longings for more children continued and with each child she has had discussions with Doug that were not in her favor. But Doug always became inspired to accept another child and they have since adopted two more daughters. The third adoption was a foster child that came to the Koenigs as a beautiful healthy five pound baby girl. The baby came to the family when Mary was in the throws of the flu. Alena was cared for by Doug for the first week. Mary became convinced that the baby needed to go back and that it was just an unfortunate time to take in another baby. Doug said, “no way Mary, I’ve become attached to this baby.”

The last adoption was another sickly baby that survived a couple open heart surgeries as a newborn before Doug and Mary became involved through the foster program again. Doug and Mary have officially adopted 16 month old Josephina. Mary admitted this child is delayed and will be taking her and Doug on a new and uncharted journey in their lives. But with unwavering faith they have accepted this baby with open arms and value her dignity as a child of God.

This story of amazing faith is extraordinary!! I know that Mary views it in a very humble way which makes it even more endearing. God has blessed the family beyond their wildest dreams. Though life still has many struggles for the Koenigs, just like every other family, their faith has sustained them and their love has expanded with each child. This family is a testament to how to follow the promptings of God and let him lead the way, for his way is the way of sacrifice and love.

Friday, November 12, 2010


Have you ever needed God to give you a nugget of His presence for a particular need? I think most would answer yes. And have you ever picked up your bible and just let it fall open to hear what God wants you to know or to fulfill your need? Again, I bet you have.

Well, I've been experiencing a sort of writers block and a busy life that has put my blogging on the back burner. I was on a roll when I began my blog last summer and into the school year but recently have fallen out of practice. I do hope you enjoyed Sue Kouma Johnson’s story, I left it at the top of my blog extra days, but now it's time to move on. When I sat down to blog this I had a blank thought in my mind as to what to write. So I picked up my Saint Josemaria Escriva book which was close by and let it fall open hoping the Holy Spirit would guide my thoughts for this blog post.

My book The Way Furrow The Forge fell open to the chapter on Friendship. I thought, perfect, this is a great topic for me because I have recently felt a real need for guidance on friendship. In fact just last night I woke up in the middle of the night thinking about life and felt a real sense of loss. I was in intense need of a certain kind of friendship. And the only person that kept coming to my mind was my mother. Oh how I wished my mother was around to confide in. But mom is gone and I wept last night because I would never hear her comforting words telling me everything will be ok. I was really needing to poor out my thoughts and worries and needs to her and feel her unconditional love for me no matter what I said to her. I’d like to ask you, is that possible in a friend?

My remedy, last night with nobody else awake, was my rosary. I was too distraught to read and I couldn’t sleep so I laid there and prayed. I was feeling extremely alone and sorrowful, so I chose to pray the sorrowful mysteries. When I got to the last decade, the crucifixion, I thought of the good thief hanging there next to Jesus asking him to remember him when he entered his kingdom. Jesus said, “Today you will be with me in paradise.” I thought if that good thief were to ask for something during Jesus worst time of suffering, I could do the same. So I asked Jesus while hanging up on his cross for my needs too. A short while after I had finished my rosary I realized my sorrow had completely dissipated. It was totally gone, I no longer had the lump in my throat and sadness for the loss of mom and I stopped thinking about all my worries. I know I have a true friend in Jesus and Mary and I’m sure my mom was also there with me too to reassure me that everything will be ok.

My goal now is to be the best mother possible to my children, because I know how important I am to them. I am their soft spot, the one to give them unconditional love and hopefully true friendship and comfort in all there anxieties, especially when they are adults. Some things that have gone on with Michaela were some of my worries last night. I have a renewed sense of just being there for her in all her times of need.

I also have a goal to be a better friend to others. All you friends reading this, I am a great listener and I will pray for you and I hope to be a better friend to you. Just give me a call or write me a note. Saint Josemaria Escriva said many things about friendship. Here are a couple of his counsels: #757 “Practicing charity means respecting other peoples way of thinking. It means rejoicing at their road to God, without trying to make them think like you or joining you. It occurred to me to put this consideration to you. These other ways are different, but parallel; each person will reach God by following his own way. Don’t get sidetracked in comparisons, or in wanting to know who is higher. That does not matter; what does matter is that we should all attain the end.” And #768, “Have recourse to the Blessed Virgin every day with complete confidence. Your soul and your life will feel comforted at once. She will let you partake of the treasures she keeps in her heart, for “never has it been known that anyone who sought her protections was left unaided.” I had to write this second counsel because I was so comforted last night after I prayed the rosary. She gave me Jesus and that unconditional love I was looking for.

I would love any comments on friendship that any of you have here! Do you give unconditional love to your friends? If so how?

(By the way, if you are not Catholic and would like to know more about the rosary, let me know. I want you to know Catholics don’t worship or pray to Mary, we pray the rosary which leads us to Jesus through Mary his mother. It is essentially a meditation of the gospels. Go to face book to leave me the message or comment here because I forgot my hotmail password, so embarrassing that I can‘t access it. I’ve tried to change it but need my password to change it. Go figure. I hope to get it changed soon.)
Otherwise God Bless You!!!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Life Long Art Dream Comes True for Mother of Five

Sue Kouma Johnson is a busy artist painting bright pictures of saints and symbols, nature scenes and roses. And her artwork has been beautifully framed inside silver charms designed by Sarah Long of Brown Dog Studio (Sarah was the September featured home based business mom).

Sue’s success has evolved after many years of education, discernment, motherhood, and some moments of failure. But Sue has fulfilled a childhood dream. She has known since second grade that she wanted to be an artist when she grew up. Now she has become successful at combining her love for the Catholic faith with paintings to fulfill that life long dream. Sue’s journey has been very colorful and inspirational for any other woman and mother out there who has a longing to make her dream come true.

Sue began her journey when she first enrolled at the University of Nebraska Lincoln in a fine arts program after graduating from high school. She was an art major for two years when she felt a calling to discern the religious life. Her deep faith already had her using saints in her art. But to explore her vocation she went to Immaculata, PA and joined the Christ the King Sisters where she spent the next two years discerning whether she was called to a religious vocation. She was able to discern that the religious life was not her calling and she returned to Nebraska where she resumed her art program at UNL.

Sue was introduced to many art forms while in college including those that she was interested in: pottery, sculpture, painting and print making. “I tried everything but after graduating with a degree in Fine Arts I kept painting. The painting was the easiest for me that did not require a lot of equipment,” Sue said.

Sue paints with a style all her own, “I love color and people are drawn to colors. A lot of religious art is toned down and mine is different for people.” Sue was drawn to icons and the modern art of Matisse and Chagall which provided her the inspiration of mixing fantasy with religious imagery which is bright and imaginative. Sue said, “My style developed from combining modern art with icons.”

Sue’s style and success, that she now carries with her to Catholic art shows and conferences all over the country, did not come about immediately after college. What happened immediately after college were a couple shows that Sue had at various venues in Lincoln, Nebraska including the Hayden Art Gallery, a coffee shop and the Rogers House. These were great but Sue got married and said, “I had five babies and the art went on the back burner.”

During the years of mothering small children Sue kept her art alive by sketching pictures of Saints each month that went on Holy Cards. They were handed out to people at Catholic Social Services. Meanwhile Sue said, “Caring for small children was fulfilling, I loved it and this was my art.” She home schooled her children which was very time consuming.

Eventually Sue needed to find work that was very flexible which could also help the family financially. She began doing jobs as a home helper to elderly and people in need of those services. The flexibility was great but Sue said, “I had a desire rising up in me over the years to do my art. An urge to paint and create came back as I got older so I cut back on my cleaning jobs.” Besides the desire Sue knew she could make more income with her art.

The desire became reality when a friend of Sue’s commissioned her to paint a picture of her daughters confirmation Saint about 4-5 years ago. This was such a positive experience that it prompted Sue to discuss with her husband the longing she had to cut back on the home helper work to focus on her art. With his support Sue began painting and now has a wide collection of Saints, symbols and nature scenes for people to choose from.

Sue began taking her paintings and prints to different art and craft shows. Through a years worth of trial and error Sue and her husband found that their niche for her type of painting is at Catholic conferences and art shows. She found that, “people who are intense about their faith like artwork that shows their faith.“ Along with her paintings she sells the charms that Sarah Long of Brown Dog Studio creates with her art in them. She said, “The charms are an added feature, they take no extra space for me and are special to people. People appreciate them because sometimes they don‘t have room in their home for art but they like my work, so buying a charm is great for them, and knowing the person that made the religious image has more meaning. Catholic women like things that have meaning spiritually.”

Sue has shown and sold her paintings, prints and charms in Catholic art shows and conferences in Lincoln, Omaha, Chicago and as far away as Canada just to name a few.
Sue usually travels with her husband John, or a daughter or two who help her set up, show and sell her art. John is very involved with Sue’s business by exploring the internet and booking her for the art shows and Catholic conferences. He also rents cars for Sue and books the hotels for her. In the month of October Sue attended four different weekends of conferences. She always enjoys these and even gets to attend many of the conference sessions in between the sales of her art.

Sue estimates that she works an average of 20-25 hours a week and uses part of her kitchen as her art studio. She intends to grow and expand her business by continuing to attend conferences and art shows, through her website at, on the internet at her Etsy site and by finding stores that will carry her art. Currently her art is already being carried at Gloria Deo, a book, gift and church goods store in Lincoln and also in a church good store out of State.

The quality of Sue's paintings are supurb and anyone who purchases her art will have art that will survive for generations. John purchased a good printer for the business and does all printing from home. They have transitioned into using archival pigments and papers which are meant to last for 200 years.

With two college age kids, one in high school and two in grade school now, Sue has a successful art business that combines her love of her faith with her life long art dream that keeps her busy and provides a really good part time income.

Go to to see all of Sue's art where they can also be purchased.