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.


Saturday, November 19, 2011

St. Agnes of Assisi | Saint of the Day |

I've been thinking about my mom a lot lately! And today is the feast day of her confirmation saint....St. Agnes. Since mom has passed away I can't ask her if this is "the" St. Agnes that is her confirmation saint. If it is though, it's not surprising that she is very tied to one of my favorite saints, Saint Francis of Assisi. Regardless if it's the same Agnes I hope my mom is having a great time up in Heaven with St. Agnes of Assisi today, celebrating. Click on the following link for a short bio of a wonderful contemplative, St. Agnes of Assisi.

St. Agnes of Assisi | Saint of the Day |

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Patrick Madrid - Why Be Catholic (When You Can Be Anything Else?)

I JUST HAD TO POST THIS ON MY BLOG. HISTORY IS HARD TO DISPUTE. THANKS PATRICK!! Click the above arrow to hear Patrick describe the history of Christianity.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

"Life is Not About What We Do but Who We Are"

(Please read this post to the bottom before watching the video.)'s been a while since I've posted anything on my blog. And again.....for GOOD reason.....I just haven't had much extra time.

As you may remember, I started a new part time job on September 1rst and it has been a huge change for me. I'm still in learning mode which takes a lot of my energy. But, at my work we just accomplished our biggest event of the year, the Annual WorkWell Wellness Award Banquet. WorkWell is a wellness council and a non-profit organization in partnership with the City/County Department of Health, and we promote worksite wellness. Each year we facilitate the Governor's award for companies who achieve high levels of wellness accomplishments along with individual awards for employees who have made major lifestyle changes that have improved their health. It was fabulous to see all the people at the banquet who are now wellness champions. One woman lost 120 pounds!

WorkWell invited Dave Dravecky, former MLB pitcher, to keynote the banquet. Dave developed cancer in his pitching arm at the height of his career. He was told he would never pitch again but defied the odds and returned to the mound 10 months later. Five days after his return he threw a fast ball and it snapped his arm in half. His cancer returned and he had to have his arm amputated from the shoulder down. He was devastated at the time but recounted in his speech what he learned through his experience.

The Director of WorkWell, my boss, arranged for WorkWell staff and their spouses, to have dinner with Dave the night before the banquet. We have a very small staff so Dave and three couples met at Lazlo's restaurant and had dinner. It was an honor to have dinner with Dave. I've posted a video here that gives you a better idea of his life and what he talked about in his speech at our banquet.

What I took from Dave's speech is that life is not about what we do but who we are. Also, life is about relationships. So all the wellness and health stuff we do is for us to be able to spend good quality time with our family, friends and co-workers. And sometimes God has a plan for us that can only be accomplished when we go through adversity. At the end of Dave's speech he said, "cancer has been a blessing." I've actually said that before regarding my daughter Michaela's cancer. She may not see it that way yet because it's sometimes hard to understand. I know though that it was the story of the cross of Christ? He had to suffer to redeem the world. We should all expect that our suffering can redeem ourselves and others as well......through Him!

Soon after Will and I arrived home from dinner at Lazlo's, Michaela showed me a facebook message that her friend had posted. Her friend is a 16 year old cancer survivor like Michaela. I thought the message was so profound, and timed so well after having just had dinner with Dave Dravecky that I'm sharing it with you.

Here it is:
God gave me the chance to stay here on earth but took the life of Brandon Hoersch today.. cancer has taken the lives of many,.no one knows why God makes the decisions that he does to take his angels back up into heaven. All I know is Brandon is in a much better place, a place that we all hope to be someday. Brandon was blessed because he got to go early. God has reasons for his decisions and sometimes its hard for us to comprehend. But I know that God gave us a special bond that we will have for a lifetime even though our bond took your life.. You will always have a special place in my heart now and always! Brandon, you are a true champion in my eyes and I will miss you forever! Please be my Guardian Angel! Love you with all my heart, from one fighter to another♥ Kylie
Brandon you gave it your all and you won your last match!

Brandon is the fourth child since last June that we have known that has died of cancer. All of those deaths in some way bring new life to others. All those that survive are doing the same. God, in his mysterious way, has a plan for us all doesn't he?

Be sure to go back to the top and watch Dave Dravecky's video. You will see that he uses a baseball card in his speech. My boss gave me the one he used at our banquet. I had Dave autograph it and I plan to frame it and take it back to the office. Also.....I showed this video to all my kids! Thanks to Dave for a good life lesson.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Thursday, August 11, 2011

This I know

The other day I had a conversation with a priest. He made this comment to me, "You really love Jesus don't you?" Of course I said yes.
I do, but sadly, some times I don't act like it and sometimes I don't feel like it.

But this I know!
Jesus loves me.

I have this little theme in life and its called perseverance. It's very biblically based. I actually started writing a book about perseverance a few years ago. I had started from the beginning of the New Testament and was looking for every instance of perseverance. I made a few comments on each passage. I managed to get through Matthew and Mark and was into Luke. Maybe some day I'll begin to persevere on writing my book again. Do you think you'd read it? Here are some of the passages I found:

My first passage was Matthew 4:1-2: "Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the desert to be tempted by the devil. He fasted for forty days and forty nights, and afterwords He was hungry." Wow, Jesus really persevered in his fast!

I found this one: Matthew 8:21-22 "Then Peter approaching asked him, "Lord, if my brother sins against me, how often must I forgive him? As many as seven times? Jesus answered, "I say to you, not seven times but seventy seven times." Wow, you really gotta persevere in forgiving...... A LOT. That's love!

Oh and in Mark 15:3-4 there's this one, "The chief priests accused him of many things. Again Pilot questioned him, "Have you no answer? See how many things they accuse you of." Jesus gave him no further answer that Pilot was amazed."
Jesus sure persevered in silence, maybe I could learn something from that. Maybe I could actually amaze somebody by being quiet some day. It's a thought.

And then in Luke 8:43-44 and 48: "And a woman afflicted with hemorrhages for twelve years, who had spent her whole livelihood on doctors and was unable to be cured by anyone, came up behind Him and touched the tassel on his cloak. Immediately her bleeding stopped. He said to her, "Daughter, your faith has saved you, go in peace." Ah....her long suffering was not in vain....her perseverance had meaning. Notice it didn't say she was healed, which indeed the implication is she was, but it said she was saved.

If our long sufferings aren't healed certainly our long faithfulness will save us. Stay faithful and you will be saved.

Persevere in Faith....Because This I Know.....Jesus Loves You Too!!

Friday, August 5, 2011

The Beginning of School Should Remind Us to Start Saying Some Special Prayers for Our Children!

I am the president of the Confraternity of Christian Mothers at my church and we meet once a month. Our regular meetings begin with Mass followed by a special set of prayers and then a breakfast and talk by a guest speaker.

Our July speaker was Shane Kennett, mother of seminarian Cole Kennett. Shane was a fabulous speaker and I think I can speak for all the women present at her talk, we hung on every word! Shane had so much wisdom to pass along and she was a convicted woman! Regretfully I didn't take notes at the meeting but I did e-mail her later to refresh me on the intentions she always says for her 4 children and I'd like to pass them on to you. This is such a good time of the year, with the start of school right around the corner, to start praying in a special way for our children.

Here is what Shane sent to me about our morning and what she prays for her children:

"It was quite a great to see all of you and your smiling faces. The three things I petition for while my kids are students are:

1. They have one really good friend and that they are a really good friend.
2. Someone at school fans the flame of their faith and they fan the fire of someone elses faith.
3. They discover what their gifts are so they can glorifying God with their gifts.

I also pray that they have a deep desire for Jesus, that they are evangelizers, that their faith is firmly planted and that they pass this faith down from generation to generation. I ask that if they ever leave the church or sin mortally that God changes their hearts. I ask that God helps us put them through college and on the path that He wants and where He wants. And finally I ask God to pick out really virtuous individuals for them to marry someday (if they do marry) or help them to discern what their vocation in life is. I ask God that if they do marry, that these inviduals will either be good Catholics or be willing to become Catholic. Oh, Jackie, there is so much to pray for."

God Bless you and may your school year start with prayer!

Monday, July 25, 2011

A Little Wisdom From the Saints

I love my Holy Hours of Adoration I do every Sunday evening at Church. It is a quiet time of reflection to adore, pray, read, and ask God for my needs. My Church provides a mini library of books to read and of course the bible is right there to pray with as well. Last night at my Holy Hour I came across several Saint quotes that I'd like to share. I loved the first one that I am sharing because I was at Church and had the ability to imitate this Saint's little piece of wisdom. Maybe you can benefit from his wisdom too.

"When tempted to despair, I have only one resource: to throw myself at the foot of the Tabernacle like a little dog at the foot of his master." St. John Vianney

I went into my Holy Hour last night looking for God to provide me with an answer to a big question. He didn't whisper the answer into my mind or provide some sort of direct response to my question but he asked me to trust in Divine Providence for my needs with the following:

"In building, we need not act as the people of the world do. They first procure the money and then begin to build, but we must do just the opposite. We will begin to build and then expect to receive what is necessary from Divine Providence. The Lord will not be out done in generosity." St. Alphonsus Liguori

"The more you abandon to God the care of all temporal things, the more He will take care to provide for all your wants; but if, on the contrary, you try to supply all your needs, Providence will allow you to continue to do just that, and then it may very well happen that even necessities will be lacking, God thus reproving you for your want of faith and reliance in Him." St. Jean Baptiste De La Salle

And Finally, "Cast yourself into the arms of God and be very sure that if He wants anything of you, He will fit you for the work and give you strength." Philip Neri

These quotes were from the book: "The Wisdom of the Saints." by Jill Hawk Adels pg 55-58

God Bless You and May You Trust in God!!

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Just Sharing!

I don’t know about you but sometimes I can really become desolate. I’ve had a dry spiritual feeling lately and I kind of know why but I haven’t really tried to make the necessary changes in my life to get the consoled feelings of God’s presence back into my life. My excuses are that it has been a crazy busy summer and it's hard to take the time for God. But I know I need to get to Confession, and I need to get to daily Mass more often. I was recently reminded by a friend that Mother Teresa lived with spiritual aridity for fifty years. And she didn’t have excuses like me, she got to daily Mass, did a holy hour daily, prayed her rosary constantly and gave her life to the poor. After hearing my friend remind me of this I realized how weak I am that I have to be consoled all the time. For heavens sake it has only been about a month that I have felt this way.

But anyways, last night I was lying in bed feeling completely desolate and wanting God’s help. I just laid there and prayed a couple times, “Jesus Help Me.” My prayers became, “All the Saints in Heaven Pray for me. Jesus, Mary and Joseph, Pray for Me, Help Me. Father, Son and Holy Spirit heal me.” I found myself praying very deeply. My acid reflux had flared up and I was having a serious bout of heart burn. It didn’t really burn though, it hurt, and it felt like it was deep down in my chest. It was my heart that hurt and I was worried. And guess what, after a few minutes of heartfelt prayers my pain subsided, I got a warm feeling all over and I could truly feel the presence of God. Then I laid there in awe and thanksgiving.

My previous desolation had come not only from a lack of a strong Sacramental life, but a recent scandal in the Church. The scandal of Father John Corapi has really bothered me. If you don’t know, he is a very Charismatic Priest that has fallen away from the Priesthood. If you want to know more I’m sure a quick google of his name will give you plenty of information about him. But my husband used to love to listen to Father Corapi as did thousands of others who really connected with his style of preaching. He indeed brought many into the Church and back to the Church doing wonders it seemed.

Well, I had started doubting, but miraculously God healed my heart in more than one way. Not only did I receive a physical healing but a spiritual healing. I know for a fact God is present, he has not abandoned me, he is here. And he is just a good heartfelt prayer away always.

This was a small thing for me to share…..and I share with trepidation because I don’t want to receive a bit of attention for it. In fact no need to comment about this post because through it I give all the Glory to God because it is He that is here to heal us all. I’d like to thank a good friend who encouraged me to blog about this, you know who you are, for it is the little things done with great love that God seeks of us. This blog is but a little thing I do for God and I praise Him for giving me the courage to share.

God Bless You and Know that God Never Leaves You, whether you feel his presence or not!!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

NEWS FLASH: 100 men pray at porn shop!!!!

Click on the link below for the incredible story of men standing up against our cultural scourge of pornography. This is POWERFUL. I hope it will inspire more men to do the same. Men you must fight in this way. Women encourage the men in your life to do this.

AJ's life in FOCUS: Father's Day and Porn Shop: "That title should grab some attention......My Father's Day Sunday started off with mass with my girlfriend who drove down (5ish) hours to su..."

Friday, June 10, 2011

Eric Emanuel Varicak, Happy 9th Birthday

Eric holding his cousin and sitting with Daniel

June 10th is always a big day in the Varicak house, it’s Eric’s birthday. So…..I’m going to take this occasion to give you my complete unbiased opinion, because I’m his mom, that Eric is a totally cool kid!! He and all his coolness have turned 9 today!

Here are some totally awesome things I can tell you about my third child Eric: He loves Nebraska Football, probably the biggest Husker fan ever. He plays the piano, and is pretty darn good at it. He had his recital pieces memorized! He is on a baseball team with mostly older boys and can keep up, he made a good play at second base last game. He is at camp with Michaela now and she texted me that he was able to climb to the top of a rock wall and is doing really well and getting along with everybody. He is an impersonator of Michael Jackson and wowed crowds by dancing in the last two year’s St. Teresa’s talent shows and was a hit. He loves to eat donuts, ice cream, candy, pizza and any other typical kids food, but donuts top his list of all time favorites. I could go on and on about my Eric!!

But those are things Eric does, here is what Eric is to me: a surprise! He was when I found out I was pregnant and now he is one of those calm quiet kids at school that gets good grades but excels quietly and unexpectedly. Don’t get me wrong, he’s not perfect, he has to go to speech therapy and all and he can really get on my nerves some days with his persistent need for whatever it is from moment to moment about things that he wants to accomplish that instant, but I never could have told you that he would, be totally excited about babies, be a big helper with a two year old cousin, and I mean reliably so, take advantage of going to Confession whenever he can, and have as his favorite mystery of the rosary the “Coming down of the Holy Spirit.”

It is Pentecost weekend and I can’t help but to remember all those repeated times that Eric would point our entire family to the Holy Spirit. We have, for several years now, said a decade of the rosary every night at prayer time. While we may only say a decade, which is 1 mystery and 10 Hail Mary’s, for you non-Catholics, we review all the Mysteries that are usually prayed for on that particular day. And every evening we let one of the children pick which mystery we should do. I would estimate that when Eric was about 4-5 years old, that for about a year and a half solid, he would request that we pray the mystery that he called the, “Falling Down of the Holy Spirit.” This is the mystery of Pentecost. We didn’t always all pray it but I would encourage him every night to pray that one himself.

Pointing our family to the Holy Spirit repeatedly is Eric’s spiritual contribution to our family and I pray that the Holy Spirit will fill his heart forever with his guiding presence.

May Eric’s Birthday be a Happy One at Camp today. We will surely celebrate more in the days to come!!!

As I contemplate my blessing of Eric on his birthday today I also wish you all a Blessed and Holy Pentecost!!! May the "Falling Down of the Holy Spirit" bring you much peace and joy at the Love between the Father and Son our Lord Jesus Christ!!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Repeated Messages

What is God saying to you? How do you know what he wants of you? Do you ever stop and think about it, pray about it or evaluate what it is that He wants of you? I’m always asking these questions but a lot of times fall short of stopping to listen, see or hear what God wants.

I have finally figured out the best way God gets my attention is that He speaks to me through repeating Himself in different ways. For instance, I have blogged repeatedly about St. Francis of Assisi because he has popped up in various ways and places for me and I just cannot ignore this Saint. The latest way God has pointed me to him is that my Parish will be getting a new Priest who happens to be a Franciscan. When I heard that I about dropped my jaw.

Along with St. Francis, another repeated theme in my life is the importance of the Priesthood. It is no wonder that God has combined my two themes by sending a Franciscan Priest my way. I continue to be reminded about priests every single day when my three year old insists that I play Church with him. And when we go to daily Mass or Sunday Mass he always wants to give a little hug to the Priest at the end of the service. Literally these desires of my small son have been going on for about six months now. I cannot ignore that he keeps pointing me to priests. It is so repetitive in an amazing way that only God could have designed it so that I take notice.

If you have taken the time to read this than you may want to evaluate the themes in your own life that God keeps repeating to you. And…….if you are a regular reader of this blog maybe God is repeating the same message to you about St. Francis and the Priesthood. If you take the time to read the life of St. Francis of Assisi you will be amazed at the similarities of his age and our own.

Since I have been getting various reminders about St. Francis I decided to read up on him. I have three different books about his life. The last one I read was suggested to me by a friend who has also been getting the same repeated themes pop up in her life. She has read the book twice now and it is called “God’s Fool, The Life and Times of Francis of Assisi.” by Julien Green, Copyright 1985. I would like to share some excerpts from this book and you will understand what I am talking about regarding the similarities of St. Francis’ time and ours: First you will read the condition of the Church in his time, then the condition of the people and finally a little of what he did to turn it all around:

“Francis’s filial love for the Church of Rome remains one of the most striking aspects of his character. From his youth till the day he died, his fidelity to it never wavered. He may have hesitated on the road to his conversion, but he had no doubts about an institution that Christ himself said was on the point of collapsing-an idea the young convert couldn’t understand. Paradoxically, his very faith resisted such a message. That San Damiano (the physical church building) might come crashing down was evident, but not the Church. That was unthinkable. It was there forever, until the end of time. The Church was the Church as permanently as the sky was the sky.

Yet he couldn’t have been blind to the facts. Any picture one draws of the Church in the year 1200 would have to be, by and large, very dark. There is no need to look for proof of this among the Church’s enemies; we have plenty of evidence from within Catholicism, beginning with the many papal bulls issued by Innocent III against the most scandalous abuses. But if the pope was worried about the general decay in Europe, his comminatory bulls could do little to stop the usury, the venality, the gluttony and sexual excesses of many priests, even in the monastaries. Scandal was everywhere. There was unheard of luxury in the Church, luxury and lust. People sang songs mocking lecherous monks. Defrocked clerics gadded about and burst into song, blasting church dignitaries…..
For all it‘s excesses the Church still had the power of the keys, to open the gates of paradise by absolving sins. Francis remained unshakably Catholic all his life.

There were plenty of faithful Christians, to be sure. Francis knew some perfect priests, but he was also aware that the Church was passing through a period of disturbances.”
(p 92-93)

“We have a hard time imagining the enthusiasm Francis stirred up in a country as spiritually weakened as Italy was in those days. Sensibility was paralyzing the flow of grace. People were often misled by a purely formal, ostentatious piety. The period also felt-thereby resembling our own era-a void that pleasure couldn’t fill, a hunger for something different, a restlessness of the heart. The Church had forgotten how to speak to the soul, because it was bogged down in the material world.

Then in the piazza or at a turn in the road, there appeared a man with bare feet, dressed like a begger and crying in a joyful voice, “Pace e bene!” One listened to him despite oneself. The fellow knew how to talk, and what he said was so simple that everything seemed new in his language, which had no hard words, those words that make thinking a muddle. No need to have studied to follow him-and they did follow him, first of all because he spoke as he went along, and especially because he believed everything he said. He believed it so strongly that they believed as he did and along with him. They felt that all the things they had learned as children and almost forgotten were now beginning to come true in a terrifying fashion.

He said that God was in love with us all. How did he go about turning them from love to uneasiness? By conjuring up before them in a flash the wall of black fire that cut them off from the heavenly garden and eternal bliss. 'Miser, throw your gold in the devil’s face, as if it were the most nauseating ordure, if you want to enter paradise. Libertine, drop all your women and all your pleasures that keep you from seeing death hot on your heels.'

They felt terror from the secret sins their lives were full of, without Francis’s having to tell them. But he told them anyhow, not with the trumpeting of righteous indignation, as the clergy did, or with their threats of fire and torment, but with an inconsolable sorrow and bursts of searing tenderness, as if he were about to lose his beloved children. And, no longer able to find the words, he began to gesture, his face streaming tears. What eloquence could match those hands stretched out to them? They felt like throwing themselves on their knees to comfort him and to promise him they would return to the Lord. There were women who did this at once, un-self-consciously, carried away by love of God, of heaven, of everything, no doubt including the preacher. Some of the men imitated them, the young ones especially; they were all moved.

Priests who happened to be passing by watched in silence.” pg 124-125

How did Francis know to do what he did, “Francis plunged deeply into prayer to ask God what he wanted of him and his followers.”pg 107 In so doing Francis, “Didn’t want to trim the Gospel, to be “reasonable.” (and for which he was persecuted towards the end of his life) He was one of those uncompromising people whom the world sooner or later breaks, so long as they’re on earth, but who win the victory on the other side of the tomb. Saint Francis of Assisi was never more alive than he is today, whereas the great personalities of his age have faded away. He wanted to save the world; in the end he saved hope.” pg 233

Thank God for St. Francis of Assisi!!! Thank God for Priests, may they follow and preach the Gospel as St. Francis did.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

"The angels surround and help the priest when he is celebrating Mass." ~ St. Augustine ~

The title of this post was chosen from a quote of one of the most well known Saints in the History of Christianity, Saint Augustine!! He and other Saints have left us with some great insights to the power of the Holy Mass. Mass is the greatest prayer there is. I'd like to thank my Seminarian Friend from Kerala, India for sending me these quotes via e-mail through facebook. If you are reading this please pray for him, his name is Sam Thomas Koonamplackil and he is studying for the priesthood. It is a priest that can give us the Mass!! Please read what he sent and then go to Mass ASAP:

Every Mass will go with you to Judgement and will plead for pardon for you.

By every Mass you can diminish the temporal punishment due to your sins, more or less, according to your fervour.

By devoutly assisting at Holy Mass you render the greatest homage possible to the Sacred Humanity of Our Lord.

Through the Holy Sacrifice, Our Lord Jesus Christ supplies for many of your negligences and omissions.

He forgives you all the venial sins which you are determined to avoid. He forgives you all your unknown sins which you never confessed. The power of Satan over you is diminished.

By piously hearing Holy Mass you afford the Souls in Purgatory the greatest possible relief.

Through Holy Mass you are preserved from many dangers and misfortunes which would otherwise have befallen you. You shorten your Purgatory by every Mass.

Through the Holy Mass you are blessed in your temporal goods and affairs.

When you hear Holy Mass devoutly, offering it to Almighty God in honour of any particular Saint or Angel, thanking God for the favours bestowed on him, etc., you afford that Saint or Angel a new degree of honour, joy and happiness, and draw his special love and protection on yourself.

Every time you assist at Holy Mass, besides other intentions, you should offer it in honor of the Saint of the day.

"The Mass is the most perfect form of prayer!"
~Pope Paul VI~

For each Mass we hear with devotion, Our Lord sends a saint to comfort us at death.
~revelation of Christ to St. Gertrude the Great~

Once, St. Teresa was overwhelmed with God's Goodness and asked Our Lord "How can I thank you?" Our Lord replied, "ATTEND ONE MASS."

The Blessed Virgin Mary once told Her faithful servant Alain: "My Son so loves those who assist at the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass that, if it were necessary He would die for them as many times as they've heard Masses."

"The Holy Mass would be of greater profit if people had it offered in their lifetime, rather than having it celebrated for the relief of their souls after death."
~Pope Benedict XV~

A great doctor of the Church, St. Anselm, declares that a single Mass offered for oneself during life may be worth more than a thousand celebrated for the same intention after death. St. Leonard of Port Maurice supports this statement by saying that one Mass before death may be more profitable than many after it.

"When we receive Holy Communion, we experience something extraordinary - a joy, a fragrance, a well being that thrills the whole body and causes it to exalt."
~ Saint Jean Vianney~

"The celebration of Holy Mass is as valuable as the death of Jesus on the cross."
~Saint Thomas Aquinas~

"If we really understood the Mass, we would die of joy."
~ Saint Jean Vianney~

"There is nothing so great as the Eucharist. If God had something more precious, He would have given it to us."
~ Saint Jean Vianney~

"It would be easier for the world to survive without the sun than to do without Holy Mass. "
~St. Pio of Pietrelcina (Padre Pio), stigmatic priest~

"When we have been to Holy Communion, the balm of love envelops the soul as the flower envelops the bee."
~ Saint Jean Vianney~

"The heavens open and multitudes of angels come to assist in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. "
~Saint Gregory~

"The angels surround and help the priest when he is celebrating Mass."
~ St. Augustine ~

"When Mass is being celebrated, the sanctuary is filled with countless angels who adore the Divine Victim immolated on the altar."
~ St. John Chrysostom~

Source: Theology Library

Please Pass On & Tell Your Friends about the importance of attending a Mass....

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart; and don't lean on your own understanding.
In all things acknowledge him, and he shall direct your way. [Proverbs 3:5, 6]”

Monday, May 23, 2011

Blessed Pope John Paul II Guides Us to Our Own Individual Mission and Tells Us How to Pray


Lines taken from JPII address prepared for youth rally held in Superdome, Sept 12, 1987

Dear Young People of New Orleans,
Dear Young People of America,

I know that you are very much conscious of having a special mission in the world, of being partners in the mission of the Church.

I know that in fulfilling your mission you are willing to give, you are willing to share, you are willing to serve.

Yes, dear young people, I too want to speak about your mission, the reason for your life on earth, the truth of your lives.

You young people are proud to live in a free country and you should be grateful to God for your freedom…only Jesus Christ can make you fully free through his truth. Dear young people the whole message of Jesus in the Gospels and through his Church helps you to discover who you really are, to discover all the dimensions of your lives.

Each of us is an individual…he has a plan for us…God became man to explain it to us.

…but we are also apart of a community…as persons we have responsibilities and that these are part of our freedom…man is defined by this (GeS,55)…to understand ourselves as persons responsible to others, is a great insight – an insight that is necessary for fulfilling our mission properly.

There is no room for selfishness (he says 2xs)…It destroys the meaning of life; it destroys the meaning of love; it reduces the human person.

Being open to others…we are actually talking about the whole world…you young people much change society by your lives…partners with Christ.

In order to accomplish great works…you yourselves must actually be living in accord with your own identity – according to God’s plan for your lives…living the Beatitudes…you are liable to be accused of being na├»ve. But the message of Jesus is clear: purity means true love, and it is the total opposite of selfishness and escape.

What is in accord with the truth of Jesus is fulfillment, joy and peace, even if it means effort and discipline. What is not in accord…disorder, sin, unhappiness, frustration.

The supreme theft in your life would be if they [sinful ways, actions] succeeded in robbing you of hope. They will try, but they will not succeed if you hold fast to Jesus and his truth.

The truth of Jesus is capable of reinforcing all your energies. It will unify your lives and consolidate your sense of mission.

These are the responses to the culture of death. The Church possesses light – the truth of Jesus Christ!

Prayer…communion with God…deeply personal between ourselves and God.

In prayer we express our feelings, our thoughts, our sentiments. Only God loves us perfectly, with an everlasting love. In prayer we open our hearts and our minds to this love of God. And it is prayer that makes us one with the Lord. Through prayer we come to share more deeply in God’s life and his love.

Jesus’ habit of prayer.

If you really wish to follow Christ, if you want your love for him to grow and last, then you must be faithful to prayer. It is the key to the vitality of your life in Christ. Without prayer, your faith and love will die. If you are constant in daily prayer and in the Sunday celebration of the Mass, your love for Jesus will increase. And your heart will know deep joy and peace, such as the world could never give.

But many young people tell me they do not know how to pray…how did Jesus himself pray?

Prayer is marked by the spirit of joy and praise…the Eucharist remains for all ages the perfect means of offering to the Father glory and thanksgiving and praise.

Yet there are also times of suffering…

Most important thing is not to stop praying, not to give up the effort

For true success of our lives consists in knowing and doing the will of Jesus (Mary to Jesus: do what ever he tells you). Realize when you pray it is not just asking God for something or seeking special help. But also prayer should be characterized by thanking and praise, by adoration and attentive listening, by asking God’s pardon and forgiveness. If you follow Jesus’ advice, and pray to God constantly, then you will learn to pray well. God himself will teach you.

Prayer can truly change your life. For it turns your attention away from yourself and directs your mind and your heart toward the Lord. If we keep our eyes fixed on the Lord, then our hearts are filled with hope, our minds are washed in the light of truth, and we come to know the fullness of the Gospel with all its promise and life.

Prayer also helps us to be open to the Spirit, the Spirit of truth and of love…It is the Holy Spirit who gives us the strength to resist evil and do good, to do our part in building up the kingdom of God.

Dear young people: my message is not new. I have given it before and, with God’s grace, I will give it again. And so, as long as the memory of this visit lasts, may it be recorded that I, John Paul II, came to America to call you to Christ, to invite you to pray!

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Passing Along a Short Powerful Prayer

This QUICK PRAYER was e-mailed to me as a chain e-mail. I'm not a fan of passing on those but I really liked the prayer and have said the prayer a couple times already!! I wanted to pass it along to you via my blog so that you can pass it on in your own way. Feel free to cut and paste it right off this blog and pass it along to all your friends and family!!
Here is what was e-mailed to me from a good friend:

"God, our Father, walk through my house and take away
all my worries and illnesses and please watch over and heal my
family in Jesus name, Amen."

This prayer is so powerful. Pass this to 12 people
including me. A blessing is coming to you in form of a new
job, a house, marriage, finances, or maybe an answer to
something (a prayer, a request) that you have been waiting
for. Do not break or ask questions. Does God come first in
your life? If so, stop what you are doing & send it to 12 people
now. Watch what He does!


Sunday, May 8, 2011

A Stab to My Heart

She is the Princess of my house the girl that rocks my world, she is beautiful, adorable, and kind and loving too. She's not the best at Geometry, Biology or Art but I'll never trade her in for a girl with all those smarts.

She may sometimes say she's not good at anything which is anything but true, and she may cry when life seems real unfair, I am amazed at what she knows.

She had acute leukemia, twice while she was young, which took away some things as the doctor's warned it would, she has been left with an acute awareness of what real life is all about. Her outlook is one of wisdom with humility, and a spiritual intelligence that only her suffering can provide.

Her wisdom seems that of an Angel and her hope that of a Saint. When it comes right down to the things that matter, I have no reason to complain for I know how much she prays.

But.....that acuteness, that wisdom and humility can be a bitter pill to swallow. And I was reminded again on Mother's day I cannot take a thing for granted.

I had a bad morning Mother's Day morning, did some crying of my own. I was feeling sorry for myself, mad about my house....Oh how ashamed am I now. I'd been so busy that my house became a mess and I woke up in the morning feeling tired and depressed.

I cannot blame anyone for my state of affair, I was enjoying motherhood and shouldn't have worried, cried or cared that my house wasn't perfect because I had plenty of time to spare. It is true I need to remember that when I get to do things like baseball games, volunteer activities, cooking and organizing events that I have indeed been blessed with being a mother and many women can't.

One young woman worries that she can't be a mother some day and her name is Michaela. We were headed out of church and when we got to our van the boys started competing for the middle seat coveted by all and Michaela was the winner of the spot. But the boys tugged and pulled hoping to move her. I intervened and said, "Boys let her sit in that spot it's mother's day and she'll be a mother some day." Her matter of fact response, "Yea, I'll be a mother some day...if I live long enough."

Boy was that a stab to my heart and didn't even compare to how I felt with my messy house. My biggest consolation is I can truly unite my suffering with Mary up in heaven, for her heart was pierced with the events of her life too. And, unlike me, she was full of grace as she suffered in silence. May we never take our motherhood and our children for granted for they have so much to teach us....they are all truly gifts from God.

Here are my four Blessings!!

Cole, Eric, Michaela and Daniel on Easter

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Happy Easter

It has been a beautiful Easter. I am writing this with only a few minutes available. It has been a joyfully busy day celebrating our Lord's Resurrection. I hope to have time this week to post a few pictures of our day. Until then I want to tell all you family and friends, Happy Easter!!

Monday, April 18, 2011

Let Peace Begin with Us, 10 Practical Tips

I was listening to Father Gene Jakubek on KVSS 102.7 Spirit Catholic Radio this morning and he gave 10 practical tips to gaining peace. As you know, if you've read my blog, I have been writing about peace a fair amount. Well, Father Jakubek gave me a gift that I am now passing onto you about the very subject. God rest Father Jakubek's soul!

Here are his 10 tips for peace:

1. Don't compare yourself with others, it causes depression. Use the talents God gave you.

2. Don't carry grudges. Just because you weren't invited someplace, or you feel slighted don't brood. Forgive and move on.

3. Don't live in the past. Don't worry about what you did. Jesus forgives and forgets.

4. Keep in circulation. Take initiative. Say hello first, be the one to call someone. Do things, move and walk (exercise).

5. Do something good each day for someone else. It will make you feel good. We need one another.

6. Don't let little things bug you. Don't let things trip you up that are really just miner nuisances.

7. Make the most of what you have, where you are and with the time you have.

8. Laugh more, get the oxygen into yourself, exercise your organs through laughter.

9. Make up your mind to be at peace.

10. Pray in gratitude for what you have.

I think I can do these things, how about you?
God Bless and Peace Be with You.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Why I Gave Up Pants

A neighbor, whom I don’t know, reminded me yesterday of why I gave up pants for lent.

It was a sad way to be reminded of what kind of a mother I want to always be!!
I haven’t shared with very many people, other than my family, that I gave up pants for lent. I decided I would only wear skirts or dresses for forty days. My real intention was to try and change my disposition, not my dress. My biggest challenge in life is to ALWAYS be a kind, gentle, loving and caring person towards my family and I thought that maybe if I would look more feminine I would act more feminine. This major wardrobe change has turned out to be an effective reminder every day, all day, of who I am and how I’m suppose to be.

I have blogged before about the fact that I can be quite the yeller to my kids. Usually I find myself yelling when I’m either in a big hurry and I have a slowpoke or two, or when I ask someone to do something or not to do something and they attempt to refuse. If something gets lost I may yell as the frustration mounts if we can't find it right away. These problems and behaviors can sure raise the pitch and volume of my voice. There are times that I find yelling is necessary and don‘t feel guilty for it. For instance when Daniel starts running towards the street I’ll panic and yell at him to stop.

But yesterday I was reminded in a hair raising way, why I gave up my pants for lent. I don’t want to be a mom like the one I heard yelling from a house that is diagonally across the street from mine. It was in the middle of the afternoon and her child, dressed in pink footy pj‘s who looks about two, had apparently escaped her ground floor apartment to the top of a set of stairs. To get the child back down the steps the mother screamed in a deep roaring voice, “COME DOWN HERE RIGHT NOW AND WE NEED TO BLOW YOUR F_ _ _ ING NOSE! I just shuddered. The child didn’t say a word and complied and headed back down the steps. I thought to myself that poor child is too used to THAT word. I hate that word!

If and when I do yell I keep my language clean most of the time. Very rarely do I swear but when I do it comes in waves where I have a couple bad weeks here and their when four letter words can slip out of my mouth in a fit of anger. I can’t think that I ever say that dreaded “F” word but I may substitute something very close. When these times happen I realize I’ve grown apart from God and I need to turn back to him and ask for forgiveness. I do this by going to confession and I always am reconciled back to Him and become a nicer person again.

This lent is teaching me that to be truly feminine I must cling to God and then I won’t need to wear skirts and dresses to be what he made me to be. But until Easter I’ll gladly suffer through, as He did for me. And I’ll unite my suffering to His and pray that my new neighbor can grow close to Him in order to respect and treat herself and her child with gentleness, kindness and love. And I’ll pray in thanksgiving for there by the grace of God go I.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

The Task for a Christian

Look around my blog. Scroll up and down, I've been adding new features to it. I've added some things that I think are important, deep, beautiful and that I just have got to share! Click on to anything that looks interesting to you from the labels to the archives to the most popular posts.

A new feature I have added is a quote from St. Josemaria Escriva that I have made as a permanent sideview on the blog and this is the quote:

"The task for a Christian is to drown evil in an abundance of good. It is not a question of negative campaigns, or of being anti anything. On the contrary, we should live positively, full of optimism, with youthfulness, joy and peace. We should be understanding with everybody, with the followers of Christ with those who abandon him, or do not know him at all. But understanding does not mean holding back, or remaining indifferent, but being active." St. Josemaria Escriva, The Furrow, op. cit., n. 864

I had read this from my "You Can Become a Saint" book by Mary Ann Budnik. I also had the privilege of discussing it with other women in my study based on the same book earlier this week. It struck a chord with all of us and we all agreed that it was powerful.

I feel it is a great quote to contemplate and live as we seem to be living in times of such religious, social, cultural, economic and political divisions. It is time we seriously work to unite for a more peaceful world. Let's do this by drowning out evil in an abundance of good. We can all do acts of kindness and good. Peace to You All!

Monday, April 4, 2011

The Holy Face of Jesus

The Holy Face of Jesus
(After the Holy Shroud of Turnin)

A number of years ago while at a holy hour of adoration a woman I didn't know came up to me and handed me a holy card with this picture on it. Some may think this is strange and some may understand but I melted with love as I gazed on the image. At another holy hour I came across the following and hand wrote it all out because it was so touching to me and I have printed it for you here.

Adored Be The Holy Face of Jesus

O Lord, show us Thy Face, and we shall be saved!
"By offering My Face to My Eternal Father, nothing will be refused, and the conversion of many sinners will he obtained." – Our Lord To Sr. Mary of St. Peter – November 1846

To Sr. Mary of St. Peter Discalced Carmelite Nun,
in favor of those who honor His Holy Face.
1. "By My Holy Face you shall work miracles."
2. "By My Face you will obtain the conversion of many sinners."
3. "Nothing that you ask in making this offering will be refused to you."
4 "If you knew how pleasing the sight of My Face is to My Father."
5. "As in a kingdom you can procure all you wish for with a coin marked with the King’s effigy, so in the Kingdom of Heaven you will obtain all you desire with the precious coin of My Holy Face."
6. "Our Lord has promised me that He will imprint His divine likeness on the souls of those who honor His most holy Countenance."
7. "All those who honor My Holy Face in a spirit of reparation will, by so doing, perform the office of the pious Veronica."
8. "According to the care you take in making reparation to My Face, disfigured by blasphemies, so will I take care of yours, which has been disfigured by sin. I will reprint therein My image and render it as beautiful as it was on leaving the Baptismal font."
9. "Our Lord promised me that all those who defend His cause in this work of reparation, by words, by prayers, or in writing, He will defend them before His Father; at their death He will purify their souls by effacing all the blots of sin and will restore to them their primitive beauty."

An Act of Praise and Reparation

Dictated by Our Lord to Sr. Mary of St. Peter

MAY the most holy, most sacred, most adorable, most incomprehensible and ineffable Name of God be forever praised, blessed, loved, adored and glorified, in Heaven, on earth, and under the earth, by all the creatures of God, and by the Sacred Heart of Our Lord Jesus Christ in the Most Holy Sacrament of the Altar.


O LORD Jesus Christ, in presenting ourselves before Thine adorable Face to ask of Thee the graces of which we stand most in need, we beseech Thee, above all, to grant us that interior disposition of never refusing at any time to do what Thou requirest of us by Thy holy commandments and divine inspirations. Amen.

O GOOD Jesus, who hast said, "Ask and you shall receive, seek and you shall find, knock and it shall be opened to you," grant us, O Lord, that faith which obtains all, or supply in us what may be deficient; grant us, by the pure effect of Thy charity, and for Thine eternal glory, the graces which we need and which we look for from Thine infinite mercy.

BE MERCIFUL to us, O my God, and reject not our prayers, when amid our afflictions, we call upon Thy Holy Name and seek with love and confidence Thine adorable Face. Amen.

O ALMIGHTY and Eternal God, look upon the Face of Thy Son Jesus. We present It to Thee with confidence, to implore Thy pardon. The All-Merciful Advocate opens His mouth to plead our cause; hearken to His cries, behold His tears, O God, and through his infinite merits hearken to Him when He intercedes for us poor miserable sinners. Amen.

ADORABLE Face of my Jesus, my only love, my light and my life, grant that I may know, love and serve Thee alone, that I may live with Thee, of Thee, by Thee and for Thee. Amen.

ETERNAL Father, I offer Thee the adorable Face of Thy Beloved Son for the honor and glory of Thy Name, for the conversion of sinners and for the salvation of the dying.

O DIVINE Jesus, through Thy face and Name, save us. Our hope is in the virtue of Thy Holy Name!

I hope this gives you a wonderful lenten reflection and I hope you are having a blessed lent. Jackie

Friday, April 1, 2011

A Holy Thursday, April 1, 1999, to Remember

April 1, 2011, was exactly twelve years after the day Michaela was first diagnosed with her leukemia. My memories of that day are as vivid as ever and I'd like to share with you what it was like and my reaction to it.

I took 4 year old Michaela to daycare that morning and told the provider I made a doctor's appointment for her because I found purple spots in her mouth and that I'd be back in the middle of the afternoon to pick her up and take her. I took her to the doctor about a week and a half prior to this because her nose had been constantly stuffed up, her eyes were dark and puffed up and her skin pale. She had also been running low grade temperatures for the past couple weeks. The Doctor diagnosed her with allergies and also started Michaela on an antibiotic for good measure. We tried the allergy medications and antibiotics but she was not getting better by the time the purple spots developed. The amazing thing was that she had not been sick enough to miss pre-school or daycare. But when the purple spots showed up in the mouth I knew things weren't right. She also began having a yellowish tone to her skin.

I called Holy Family Medical Specialties the day before and insisted that I get in to see our doctor the next day. The receptionist tried to hold me off until the following week because the medical practice was closing early for Holy Thursday, which was April 1rst of that year, and would not reopen until the following Monday after Easter. But I insisted and Michaela's appointment ended up being the final appointment of the day that Holy April Fool's Thursday.

It was a bright and sunny spring day and while at my part time job I had been working on a project that was completely organized in my office for which I showed a co-worker exactly what I was doing and what still needed to be done. It was kind of a strange thing looking back because I was completely planning to come right back to finish the project on my own. But I think the Holy Spirit or an Angel or something gave me the inspiration to go through my project in great detail with a co-worker, just in case...

I left my office, thinking I would be back in a little while, and went and picked up Michaela and took her to the doctor. When the doctor walked into our room I described everything that had been going on with her, this was a different doctor than the one who had previously diagnosed allergies, and he listened and decided to do one thing...order a CBC (complete blood count.) Michaela was very cooperative with the lab tech when she came in to draw the blood and it all went very smoothly, she was a gem of a patient...a precursor of how she would be in the future.

About 10-15 minutes later, Dr. Black, returned with a clear diagnosis from that one blood test....leukemia. A surreal feeling was my first reaction, I really didn't panic, I was just trying to make sense of it and I immediately thought this is cancer we are dealing with but I knew leukemia in children was curable. I remarked to the doctor right away that one time when I was a child some doctors thought I had leukemia but after a bone marrow test they found out I didn't. It was kind of a numb shock type of feeling I experienced and I knew that Michaela would be getting the same test that I once had. I then just felt sad at what Michaela was about to go through. I didn't at all doubt the results of the blood test though, I knew in my heart Michaela indeed had leukemia.

I then started receiving instructions on what to do next. Michaela was whisked away to the receptionist's desk to be entertained so that I could get these instructions and directions and then to make some phone calls. The most important phone call I had to make was to call my husband and give him the news. The trouble of it was that I could not for the life of me reach him. Cell phones were not common place then like they are now. Will was out of his regular office in a training session. The people I contacted at his work couldn't even get a hold of him for me. So I was left to temporarily deal with this situation on my own. When I called my work to inform them of the news it finally sunk in because I could hardly speak through my tears that Michaela had just been diagnosed with leukemia.

After receiving the instructions that I needed to go home and pack bags for a trip to the University of Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha, NE, which is an hour away, I scooped Michaela up and headed home to pack. I pulled up to the curb in front of our house and just could not take Michaela in without my husband there. I realized I had to take care of something a hundred times more important than anything else. I had to get Michaela to a priest to get her blessed and to have a prayer chain started on her behalf.

We arrived at the rectory and went in, thankfully Monsigor Nemec was there. We first encountered the Parish secretary who is connected to our family because her daughter is married to my brother. After I told her, I saw the tears well up in her eyes and I realized, wow, this is no small matter.

We were escorted into Monsignor Nemec's office and we told him about the diagnosis and he went to his book shelf and pulled out a prayer book and began praying over Michaela. I think this was the most profound thing, as I look at in now, that I did for Michaela to heal her of her leukemia and to heal me of a lack of faith. And it was the beginning of a whole new phase of my life. Previous to this, my wedding day, my mother's death and the birth of Michaela, were life changing events....but this has truly been a profoundly different type of life changing event. It has become a testimony to my Faith.

My testimony for this post is that I believe God wants me to spread the message of the beauty of the priesthood. It was a priest that began powerful prayers for my daughter on such a profound feast day in the Church...Holy Thursday. I will always remember this day when I think of Michaela's first diagnosis and when I say the rosary and come to the mystery of the Institution of the Holy Eucharist and the Institution of the Priesthood. This was the day that a priest began remembering Michaela's name at the consecration of the Eucharist at every one of his masses for the entire duration of her treatments...4 1/2 years. God Bless Monsignor Nemec and God Bless All Priests!!!!

By the way, very soon after Michaela and I returned home to pack our bags, my husband arrived home and we started a whole new adventurous journey in our lives.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Rosary for Peace

A group of women have begun a weekly rosary for peace. We have been meeting since January of this year. If you are from Lincoln, NE you are welcome to join us every Wednesday afternoon from 2:30pm-3:00pm at the Holy Spirit Adoration Chapel (Pink Sisters). We meet in the Aurora room which is to the right and left of the little book store located just inside the main entrance. Small children are welcome. We begin each weeks rosary with the prayer below which was composed by one of the women who attends regularly. This prayer will explain the mission of our weekly rosary. Won't you join us in person or in spirit?

We come before you, Lord, at the call of your holy Mother, as Christians united in prayer for peace, unable to bring this peace about on our own.

In our powerlessness, we surrender ourselves in utter completeness to our omnipotent Father. In our littleness, we surrender our minds to the omniscience of His Son. In our weakness, we surrender our hearts to the burning love of His Holy Spirit.

Our prayer is for peace that begins in our own hearts, spreads to the hearts of our families and finally ignites our schools, parishes and world with the Love of Jesus. We recall His words, “I have come to bring fire on the earth, and how I wish it were already kindled!” (Luke 12:49) May we be fodder for His fire of love, soldiers for his gospel of peace! Amen.

Monday, March 7, 2011

"Do You Wish Your Prayer to Fly to God?"

“Do you wish your prayer to fly to God? Give it two wings: fasting and almsgiving.” St. Augustine

Ash Wednesday begins lent this week and so I decided to dig out a story poetically written to show the real and effective power of fasting. This came to me through the long drawn out experience I had mothering a child with cancer.

Sacrificial Love.

It seemed so abstract.
Why in the world did I have to fast?
The Church has told me,
“Do it certain times of the year,
Ash Wednesday and Good Friday for sure.”

Such a challenge to me… why is it necessary?
Just offer it up, was what they would say,
like Christ did for forty days.
But I never understood the results of my efforts
until I did it for my child who suffered.

She was so incredibly brave.
She never had a choice but to behave
in order for her life to be saved.
She always did all that was asked
and soooooooo many times she had to fast.

She was stuck with hundreds of long thin needles.
Through her muscles and spine and veins went the chemos.
Whenever the doctors went in to the spine
she wasn’t allowed food or drink of any kind.
This was necessary to prevent a stomach ache
and most days she had to wait and wait.

Each time she went through these spine procedures
She was administered medicine to always keep her
perfectly still, all asleep.
This kind of a life I didn’t want to keep.
I agonized, I worried and I was pained
throughout all of these seemingly endless days.

But she stayed incredibly brave.
She never had a choice but to behave
in order that her life could be saved.

I supported her with all of my soul.
I wanted to watch her grow to be old.
But more importantly
I had to help her through what was happening
moment by moment and day to day.
At her side is where I stayed.

And when she was put to sleep for the second to last time
I really understood something I did which was kind.
Not only was it kind but I did it every time
to help her feel better in both body and mind.

It was to abstain from drink or food.
To support her, sustain her, I did too.
And so I wondered aloud one day, the second to last,
“Dear child does it really help you?” I asked.
She affirmed me so sure,
“Yes mom it helps me feel better.”
To me, these were words from God
that all my fasting helped her be strong.
It also confirmed my abundant faith.
There really is power to sacrifice in this way.

And the power goes beyond this child.
The world can be changed when we go the extra mile
Of offering ourselves up for others.
We’ll help the Lord save our sisters and brothers.
And when we sacrifice like Him willingly
we’ll be blessed with God’s love for all eternity.

Jesus mentions fasting in connection to the healing of a possessed boy. When His disciples asked Him why He was able to cast out the demon but they could not, he replied: “This kind can only come out through prayer and fasting.” Mark 9:28 ( This is a passage from the Book on Fasting, A positive Approach by Mark Neilsen.)

I hope you have a joyous Ash Wednesday and a happy lent praying and fasting and almsgiving for others!

Friday, February 25, 2011

Three Year Old's Vision, a Poem Printed in Honor of Her Deceased Family

Many years ago I wrote a poem called Sweet Jesus. I knew the time would come that I would want to print it here and have waited for just the right time. I felt I would probably print it after I had written about how God was so loving to answer my prayers for my daughter Michaela. Sometimes though, I have felt a little guilty about Michaela's survival of cancer because I have also known many parents who have lost their children and it is so hard to know how to address them or what to say. I am sure they probably prayed just as hard for their children as I did for Michaela. Why is it that some prayers seem to be answered and others don't? This is a mystery I have pondered often.

I am printing Sweet Jesus today in honor of the family of the little girl who is the subject of the poem. I do believe that God allows intense suffering so that he can bring about a greater good. The poem is a true story of an interaction I had with the little girl's mother when she had just found out that her child became terminally ill with her cancer. For me, showing others the love of Jesus was the purpose of the young child's short life.

I am printing it now because the little girl's entire family, including her mother, father and sister all died last week from an apparent house fire. The public has since been told the family died of unnatural causes prior to the fire. The police are not actively looking for a suspect but there is still an investigation going on and the specifics have not been made public. Many rumors have circulated. I am personally anxious to find out what happened but in the meantime I want to honor the family for their contributions to building up the faith by the mysterious way of suffering. That is what Sweet Jesus is all about.

Here it is:

Sweet Jesus

I was sitting there in the waiting room with my child
when out came a woman so meek and mild.
I recognized her immediately,
the mother of Jessica who was only three.
As the tears streamed down her tender cheeks
I could tell that the news was very bleak.
I had to say something but I didn’t know how,
so I said, "How is your child doing now?"
"We are having a bad day." she said,
"The news I was told is what I dread."

She had known for three weeks.
A mother just knows
that certain language God’s Spirit blows.

Jessica hadn’t been acting the same
and she told her mother that Jesus came.
Jesus made a visit to show He cared.
He spoke to Jessica so she wouldn’t be scared.
Jessica said to her mother
how He hugged her and loved her.
And He stayed quite some time.
She knew everything would be just fine.

Through those tears the mother continued along
with a message so tender and loud and strong.
Jessica told her Jesus smelled so good.
He smelled like some of her favorite food.
The mother asked her what it could be,
Jessica smiled and said, "why it was a cookie."

Sweet Jesus is He
Precious to behold, precious to see.
His light shines bright
through the dark dark night.
Nothing more shall we want.
Only with Him can we triumph.
We are drawn to Him so vibrantly
At 99, 51, 29 and even 3.

How could we want to keep such a child away from Thee
Who loves and hugs and smells just like a fresh baked cookie.

I pray that the entire Hindman family can rest in Peace with their little Saint Jessica up in heaven and that through the Mercy of God all their suffering is over.

Monday, February 21, 2011

I Have Been Drawn the Priesthood!

I have been feeling a very incredibly strong spiritual movement in my life that I am to follow the life of St. Francis of Assisi in his example of prayer, poverty (as I am able in my family life), gospel study/gospel sharing, charity and rebuilding
the church.

My main pull is to rebuild the church through fostering the priesthood. I feel my life and children have lead me to this vocational work through the power of the Holy Spirit. The Church itself is also giving me and you the wise counsel to promote vocations.

The front page of my diocesan newspaper in Lincoln, NE, The Southern Catholic Register, headlined this week’s title with, “Pope Urges Entire Church to Promote Vocations, Says This Marks the Vitality of Local Community.” The Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI was pictured with a caption that read, “The Holy Father, in a Feb. 10 message for the 48th World Day of Prayer for Vocations, which will be celebrated May 15, underlined the necessity for every member of the Church to promote religious vocations.”

I have come to realize that life is really oriented toward the priesthood which is an orientation toward Christ. Priests are Christ's representatives here on earth. In my life, like so many others, it was a priest that baptized me, gave me my first communion and all the following communions after that, a priest confirmed me, forgave me and still does over and over again, conferred the sacrament of marriage on my spouse and I, anointed my mother and daughter and so many others when they were sick and taught me how to live a holy life.

I have recently seen the workings of God in my life through becoming acquainted
with St. Francis of Assisi. One of his main missions in life was to rebuild the
church. The Catholic Church right now is growing in certain places and declining
in others. The times we are living in look very similar to the times St. Franics of Assisi lived in. I believe it is the devil's attack on our bishops and priests that has caused the current decline. He uses priests to attack the Church from within. But personally I have only had positive interactions and good thoughts of priests.

My mother, prior to her death, loved the priesthood. She did her part to serve
the priesthood by depending on them for her spiritual needs and then by feeding
them feasts and treating them with dignity and love. My father insisted that my siblings and I receive a Catholic education and while living in Lincoln we had the opportunity and availability of going to Catholic schools, and we did.

When my mother died, I knew she would get to heaven because she persevered in the Faith to the end. I watched her love God and be anointed by a priest on the last two days of her life.

It was a priest who taught my husband, just before we married, about the faith and then brought him gently into the faith. What a blessing it has been to share the Eucharist each week with my husband over the years!

When I became pregnant with my first child I protected her in the womb because I
knew the scourge of contraception and abortion was a sin against the fifth
commandment as taught to me by my Catholic Faith. Had I been using contraception
as the culture would have had me do, she most likely would not be here today.
It was not good timing for my husband and I to have a child, he was a full time
student. But I listened to my heart and a priest, and he essentially saved my baby’s life. I realized that her life was precious unlike so many other mothers.

After my baby was born, while I was still in the hospital, a priest brought me Communion. It was then that I truly understood how much God loved me. Through my child and a priest I found out that God loved me like I was his only child.

Then when this child became ill at the age of four it was a priest who I went to
for a blessing for her. The priest found out about her diagnosis before my
husband, through God’s divine intervention. And then throughout the 4 and ½
years of this child’s cancer treatments that same priest prayed for her just
before the consecration of the mass at every single mass he celebrated. My
daughters life, was spared in a large part because of a priest and his
persevering and continual prayers for her at the foot of the cross. He prayed
for Michaela at the foot of the cross over and over and over again. It was a
direct intervention.

There was a time when Michaela was in critical condition in the hospital and a priest anointed her. Soon after the anointing of the sick she bounced back and became better. God allowed this suffering so that someday I would understand that he was
pointing me to the importance of CATHOLIC priests!!!!

Now my three boys play priest and revere priests and love priests. This was not anything special that I did. Please understand, though I placed them in the position to be around priests at church, they took it upon themselves to dress up like priests and pretend. They drew me in and they continue to point me to the priesthood. I really believe the Holy Spirit has been using them for this purpose.

St. Francis, during his life on earth, had a mission to rebuild the church.
Through his intercession and guidance I now go forward in trying to also do my
part to rebuild the church. It is through priests, those men who act in
persona Christi, that the church will be strong. I must pray for them and act
for them. And I will!!

Please comment and share your testimony on how priests have affected your life. And then join me in praying for priests and promoting them for you will be rewarded in heaven!

Friday, February 4, 2011

John the Baptist-Humble, Upright and Austere, Paid With His Life for the Witness He Bore To Jesus the Messiah

I pasted and copied everything below, in honor of John the Baptist, the namesake of this blog!

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

For: Friday, February 4, 2011

4th Week in Ordinary Time

From: Mark 6:14-29

Opinions About Jesus
[14] King Herod heard of it; for Jesus' name had become known. Some said,
"John the baptizer has been raised from the dead; that is why these powers are
at work with Him." [15] But others said, "It is Elijah." And others said, "It is a
prophet, like one of the prophets of old." [16] But when Herod heard of it, he
said, "John, whom I beheaded, has been raised."

John the Baptist Beheaded
[17] For Herod had sent and seized John, and bound him in prison for the sake
of Herodias, his brother Philip's wife; because he had married her. [18] For John
said to Herod, "It is not lawful for you to have your brother's wife." [19] And Hero-
dias had a grudge against him, and wanted to kill him. But she could not, [20]
for Herod feared John, knowing that he was a righteous and holy man, and kept
him safe. When he heard him, he was much perplexed; and yet he heard him
gladly. [21] But an opportunity came when Herod on his birthday gave a banquet
for his courtiers and officers and the leading men of Galilee. [22] For when Hero-
dias' daughter came in and danced, she pleased Herod and his guests; and the
king said to the girl, "Ask me for whatever you wish, and I will grant it." [23] And
he said to her, "Whatever you ask me, I will give you, even half of my kingdom."

[24] And she went out, and said to her mother, "What shall I ask?" And she said,
"The head of John the Baptizer." [25] And she came in immediately with haste
to the king, and asked, saying, "I want you to give me at once the head of John
the Baptizer on a platter." [26] And the King was exceedingly sorry; but because
of his oath and his guests he did not want to break his word to her. [27] And im-
mediately the king sent a soldier of the guard and gave orders to bring his head.
He went and beheaded him in the prison, [28] and brought his head on a platter,
and gave it to the girl; and the girl gave it to her mother. [29] When his disciples
heard of it, they came and took his body, and laid it in a tomb.


16-29. It is interesting that the extensive account of the death of John the Baptist
is inserted here in the Gospel narrative. The reason is St. John the Baptist's spe-
cial relevance in the history of salvation: he is the Precursor, entrusted with the
task of preparing the way for the Messiah. Besides, John the Baptist had a great
reputation among the people: they believed him to be a prophet (Mark 11:32);
some even thought he was the Messiah (Luke 3:15; John 1:20); and they flocked
to him from many places (Mark 1:5). Jesus Himself said: "Among those born of
women there has risen no one greater than John the Baptist" (Matthew 11:11).
Later, the Apostle St. John will speak of him in the Gospel: "There was a man
sent from God, whose name was John" (John 1:6); but the sacred text points out
that, despite this, he was not the light, but rather the witness to the light (John 1:
6-8). More correctly, he was the lamp carrying the light (John 5:35). We are told
here that he was a righteous man and preached to everyone what had to be
preached: he had a word for people at large, for publicans, for soldiers (Luke 3:10-
14); for Pharisees and Sadducees (Matthew 3:7-12); for King Herod himself (Mark
6:18-20). This humble, upright and austere man paid with his life for the witness
he bore to Jesus the Messiah (John 1:29 and 36-37).

26. Oaths and promises immoral in content should never be made, and, if made,
should never be kept. This is the teaching of the Church, which is summed up
in the "St. Pius X Catechism", 383, in the following way: "Are we obliged to keep
oaths we have sworn to do unjust and unlawful things? Not only are we not ob-
liged: we sin by making such oaths, for they are prohibited by the Law of God or
of the Church."

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.

Please pray for this ministry and support it through this PayPal link. For other
options (check, money order, etc.) please contact the Listowner directly.

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


Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Making a Difference

I have a confession to make, one of my New Year's resolutions of exercising every morning has not happened for various reasons. But I have been getting to daily mass again after dropping the kids off to school on a consistent basis, which was my other main New Year's resolution. This week with two snow days I have missed mass twice which I am bummed about. But I know God understands and is happy with me for my efforts otherwise. Mass has indeed been my priority over exercising and I know that it is very very good.

I am excited to share with you the fruits of going to mass and praying and blogging and being open to the Holy Spirit. I have blogged in the past about my newfound discovery and love of St. Francis of Assisi. I actually feel that St. Francis has been stalking me (more on that in future posts I’m sure!). And I am happy to be stalked by him! And I am sharing this with you hoping to inspire you to start a relationship with St. Francis if you don’t have one. Or if not St. Francis, maybe there is another saint stalking you and you don’t know it yet or haven’t figured it out (see my archive, October 4th and October 28th, 2010 posts on examples of St. Francis stalking me). Or maybe you have a special Saint relationship but haven’t shared this with others. I beg of you… please share. Start a blog, facebook about it, share it over a cup of matter what, let the Holy Spirit help you to tell others the good news along with your special saint.

I received a phone call back in December from a reader of my blog who started reading because of our friendship on facebook. This friend was a lukewarm Catholic who had just been going through the motions of her faith. But something inspired her to begin reading the life of St. Francis of Assisi in the past year. She then started reading my blog and found a true connection and called to share it with me. She was overflowing with zeal and told me how a traveling statue of Our Lady of Portugal came to her home for a month last October. Because of Our Lady’s special presence, which sparked prayer in her home, she had a profound conversion back to the Faith. She reread her St. Francis book and she started attending daily mass and praying the rosary. This gave her the confidence and zeal to speak up to her children's Catholic school officials about truly living the gospel in the spirit of St. Francis of Assisi. She has courageously become outspoken about living and teaching others to live a Christlike life and to treat others in a Christlike manner. This woman is on fire and making a difference. And the difference is that she is speaking up and sharing the good news of Christ and the Saints and the Church to others, myself included.

Now our relationship is blossoming and we have connected with other friends to start a special Rosary for Peace. We have secured a place to meet and pray the rosary on a weekly basis every Wednesday, from 2:30pm-3:00pm. We’ll pray for peace in our hearts, homes and families, schools and churches, America and the world. Won’t you join us in person or in spirit every Wednesday. Mary, the Virgin Mother of God, has asked us, in her appearances throughout the world, to pray the rosary for peace and that is what we are gathering to do!!! (Praying the rosary is a meditation on the life of Christ through the intercession of Mary.) For more information comment here or e-mail me on facebook.

Do you have a special saint story you would like to share? Please comment here and make a difference!

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Big Birthday for Two of My Favorite People!

It's January 17th, Happy Birthday Michaela and Dad!

Sixteen years ago Michaela's noon arrival was met with tears of shear joy! I was thrilled with having a girl and she was so sweet. I wrote in her card that I didn't think this was her sweet 16th birthday just because it is fun to say, but that I really do think she is as sweet as candy! As a newborn she had this cry that my boys didn't have and the best way to describe it was that it was this sweet little squeel. I'll always cherish that about Michaela. She will always be my sweet baby girl! I am blessed indeed!

This picture was taken yesterday and is my dad, Michaela and niece Aspen who turns 4 on the 24th.

Today we celebrate my dad's 70th birthday which is the same day as Michaela's. Every year they get to share their special day together. I was so happy to give the gift of grandparent-hood to my dad 16 years ago. She was his first grandchild and our special bond continues!

Dad has been one of my best friends in the world. He has always made me feel special. When he see's me he often still calls me doll! To me, that says it all! I love you dad. Happy Birthday and here's to many many more.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

FUNNY Goldendoodle Dogs on A Swing

Ok, I'm posting a youtube video for fun. You'll see a couple of goldendoodles swinging. I enjoy this video on many levels, one being our family owns a goldendoodle. This video makes me smile and appreciate our dog more. Watch it and comment on why you might like it too! If nothing else, I can assure you it will make you smile! Enjoy.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Strong Faithful Women

I was taking pictures of my mom yesterday. The above is a shot that I took of her in a 3' by 4' black and white portrait that hangs in my family room. I don't have the original, which was taken by my aunt Jean (God Bless You Jean!), but it is my favorite photo of my mother and to post it I took pictures of the portrait on my wall. Because of my poor skills at using a camera the quality is lacking here on my blog but it really does look like a piece of art which graces my home. It is an accurate portrayal of her warm loving spirit.

Mom passed away suddenly on January 12, 1998. I can’t believe I have been without her for 13 years now. Though I am without her in flesh her spirit lives on and she feels very near!

Mom was 51 years old when she died of complications from the Epstein-Barr Virus which was found in her autopsy. EPV is common and often causes mono. She had been ill with what we believed was the common flu for about a week and a half before she passed. On the weekend she died she started having breathing problems due to a weakened heart. My dad took her to the emergency room on a Saturday morning and by Monday morning at 3:00am she was gone. We were told that the virus attacked her heart causing a condition called myocarditis (inflammation of the heart muscle) which became fatal for her.

Mom was such a strong woman. People were shocked at her death because she was so strong. But her strength came from her spirit. Her strong faith was her gift to her family. I am convinced she is a beloved of God because she loved God first and foremost all the way to the end of her life. In fact her final words were a song of prayer. She had tubes down her throat and could not speak but the last time I saw her conscious she was surrounded by family and friends who sang to her. She didn’t have a voice but she could move her lips and she followed along as the Doxology was sung, it goes:

Praise God from whom all blessings flow.
Praise God all creatures here below.
Praise God from whom all heavenly hosts.
Praise Father, Son and Holy Ghost. Amen

Mom was known to sing this song often, especially towards the end of her life. I remember vividly singing it with her one day when I was over at her house and trying to rock Michaela to sleep. Mom belonged to a group of women she called her Cursillo sisters. They were on fire for Christ and would live their faith very outwardly. She had always wanted to go into a restaurant with her Cursillo sisters and stand up and sing this song for all the patrons. She indeed did it before she died!

I could go on and on about my mother but I don't have time for that and you don't either but here are the qualities I admired most about her that I hope I can carry forward in my own life: Faithful to God the Father, fool for Christ, full of the Holy Spirit, undying love for family, strong work ethic, champion of the Church, loyal friend, fun loving personality, giving, joyful, generous, curious, prayer warrior to the end.

I know I have a long way to go…. God Bless You Mom!

Today is also the feast of St. Marguerite Bourgeoys and it struck me that what Pope John Paul II said about her in the final sentence of the following paragraph is what I think can also be applied to my mom!

In his homily at her canonization, Pope John Paul II said, “ particular, she [Marguerite] contributed to building up that new country [Canada], realizing the determining role of women, and she diligently strove toward their formation in a deeply Christian spirit.” He noted that she watched over her students with affection and confidence “in order to prepare them to become wives and worthy mothers, Christians, cultured, hardworking, radiant mothers.”

Though my mother wasn't a school teacher she was a teacher to my sister and I and she was a good wife, worthy mother, hardworking and radiant and a great example to all women whom she came into contact. I know she is not a canonized Saint like St. Marguerite. But we all know people who have died like her, people who lead lives worthy of Heaven. Mom in my mind is one of those!

It is so wonderful to have such great examples of strong faithful women to emulate!

Mom and St. Marguerite, Pray for Us.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Pope Benedict encourages faithful to resdiscover joy of baptism :: Catholic News Agency (CNA)

This is such a beautiful link about the feast of our Lord's baptism. It celebrates his baptism by John the Baptist, who is the namesake of this blog. I just had to post it for all to read. Enjoy!
Pope Benedict encourages faithful to resdiscover joy of baptism :: Catholic News Agency (CNA)

Friday, January 7, 2011

Need for better Catholic school books prompts mother to start publishing company :: Catholic News Agency (CNA)

Here's a link that I am counting as my January feature of a successful home based business mom. Now, the article does not say if she is actually running her business out of her home but it does say that her children and husband are all involved! On top of that she is fulfilling a need for Catholic children everywhere! This is inspiring and a must read article. Enjoy
Need for better Catholic school books prompts mother to start publishing company :: Catholic News Agency (CNA)

Monday, January 3, 2011

Early Morning Resolution!

I’m usually sleeping at this hour. It is 5:40am and I have only had a couple hours of sleep. I had one of those nights….lots on my mind!! So at 5:00am, not feeling sorry for myself because I know my dad has been up since about 2:00am or so, on his USA Today paper route, I decided not to let myself go back to sleep. I had my alarm set for 5:55am to get up and take Cole to serve mass at 6:30am. It is one of his weeks to serve masses every morning. So I rolled out of bed about 15 minutes ago and made a pot of coffee.

If you have been a regular on my blog you probably know by now that I can’t seem to blog about anything unless I mention God’s workings in my life and the life of others. Excuse me if I ramble here due to sleep deprivation, but I really do think, again, that God always knows what he is doing and I really try hard to pay attention to why things happen the way they do because He has something to do with it.

So allow me, again, to tell you what I think God has been up to for me….it’s 5:45am, it’s January 3rd, and all my adult life I have thought about how much more productive I probably would be if I would just get up earlier in the morning. My usual time is 6:45-7:00am on school days. Blush…7:45-8:00am holidays and summers. I can’t believe I just admitted that. I must tell you though that I don’t think I have slept through the night for the last 16 years, since children….Michaela turns 16 January 17th…and sleeping later in the morning has been a necessity. But…I’m going to buckle down and serve God and others…and not myself. I have got to use my willpower and mortify my own wants and needs and set the alarm and pop right up at its first buzz.

So maybe God is helping me with a New Year resolution to get into a good early morning routine. We’ll see…. I hope I can stick to this. I really need to exercise regularly and the mornings make the most sense in getting that accomplished. So I am publicly stating here and now that I will strive to get up at 6:00am to either attend mass and exercise or exercise, get the kids off to school then attend mass. This is one of my new years resolutions. These things, I hope, will be a bright beginning to each day.

Well, here it is 6:00am and Cole is up, dressed and ready to go. He literally popped right out of bed! What a great example to me.

Please share your new years resolutions……I really am interested!!!