Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Great Kids: Sugar Station!

It's been awhile since I've written about Great Kids on this blog, so I wanted to introduce the kids from the band Sugar Station: 12-year-old twins Ariel and Zoey, and their 10-year-old brother Eli! They are the stars of the hit 'tween musical variety television show, Ariel & Zoey & Eli, Too. Sugar Station writes, records and performs their original songs, and are as patriotic as they come: Ariel, Zoey and Eli spend much of their time supporting U.S. troops and military families through performances and visits, including a 2009 tour of military bases across the country called “Operation: Sweet Company.”

They have performed for the children of wounded troops at Walter Reed Army Medical Center and in April 2011 they were invited to headline the“Celebration of Our Military Kids’ Star Power” event at the U.S. Navy Memorial in Washington, DC., where children of National Guard and Reserve families received grants to participate in extracurricular and educational activities. They have even sung the national anthem at a Mets game at Shea Stadium and a sold-out Detroit Pistons game and have performed twice with the respected Ann Arbor Symphony. Watch their sweet rendition of "America the Beautiful" here.

On September 18th, 2011, Ariel, Zoey and Eli hosted a fundraiser for the University of Michigan Mott Children’s Hospital at Michigan Theater.

I've known their mom Caroline since we were children: close, close buddies playing dolls together in her basement and swimming at her lake in the summertime. We were goofy, silly, and yes, sometimes we did feel "left out," just like Olivia, as Sugar Station sings here:

You can watch Ariel & Zoey & Eli Too on THE COOLTV Monday through Friday at 4:30 p.m.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Little Therese Is Lifting My Spirits!

Dear readers:
I'm disappointed for two reasons.

1. I've been under the weather since Friday. There is a lot to do the week before Christmas, and I can't do many of the things I'd planned.

2. The book I agreed to read and review for St. Paul's/Alba House, A Call to a Deeper Love: The Family Correspondence of the Parents of St. Therese of the Child Jesus 1863—1885 (2011, $29.95), is almost over. Yes, it is that good. I read it every night before bed, these engrossing and uplifting letters of Zelie and Louis Martin (most of them are Zelie's) and I am despairing because I don't know what I will do when the book is finished! Have you ever felt like that when you were nearing the end of a good book? When I do finish the book in the very near future (sigh), I intend to write my review here on this blog, so stay tuned for that. Let's just say that I have developed quite a fondness and admiration for Blessed Zelie Martin. I've laughed, cried, and been touched by the letters she wrote to her brother, sister-in-law, and daughters Pauline and Marie away at boarding school. She is an amazing soul, a very holy soul, and had a great sense of humor, much like her daughter, St. Therese!

I get so excited to read the little anecdotes of daily life with Little Therese, who Zelie calls an "imp" but "very cute, high strung, and she remembers everything!" Oh, how Zelie loved that little girl, the very sensitive girl with a heart of gold!

I wanted to give you a little inkling of the amusing stories Bl. Zelie shares of her little Therese in this book. So here's one that made me so sad, but yet made me laugh out loud at the same time (does that make sense?):

"Two weeks ago Therese, finding Celine so happy to be sick and wanting so much to be in her place, came down as she did with a high fever and all the symptoms of measles. Thank God, at the end of four days she was cured...We asked Therese if she was happy to be sick like Celine, but no, her wish had passed. She said, 'I wanted to be sick as big as the head of a pin, but not like this.' And she said this to us while crying."

From the tales of poor Therese whacking her forehead on a table, to crying on the stairs, to curling up in bed with her beloved older sister Celine, to jumping up and down with glee upon receiving a box of chocolates, to the little child's thoughts on going to Heaven, I can't get enough of this book. At least I have something uplifting to read when I'm sick. But I'll be so sad when it ends!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Waiting Gratefully For Christmas

"What God has given me has always pleased me, even the things which appear to me less good and less beautiful than those which others had."
—St. Therese

Dear readers:
In these waning days of Advent, it is hard to be patient. Children especially can't wait until Christmas comes. The excitement has been building since before Halloween (which distresses me...way too early!) and sometimes it seems like Christmas will never come.

But it will come, and it always does.

In these last days of Advent, while we wait and hope and wonder, let's continue to use this time to think about how we long for the arrival of Baby Jesus on Christmas Day, how we anticipate him entering our hearts then, and how grateful we are for the wait.

It is difficult. There are presents to buy, plans to make, cookies to bake. Grandma's special butter-stained recipe cards from so long ago to go through. Decorations to hang throughout the house. These are all good things, certainly. But they pale in comparison to the true waiting. Think about how blessed we are to have this Advent time to prepare our hearts for His coming. The peaceful longing we have—not for presents in pretty paper under the tree, but for a Savior, the Prince of Peace, the King of Kings—is good for our souls: the waiting, praying, and preparing for such a Holy Gift.

Dear God: We're waiting for you. It is hard to wait, but You know this, because You know everything. We are grateful for the waiting. When Christmas Day comes, and the wait is over, and we open our presents, let us remember what St. Therese said so long ago (above). Let us be pleased with and grateful for what You have given us in Your generosity. There will many who will receive more than us this Christmas, and so, so many more who will receive much less. Let us remember this as we think of the real reason for this day. It is Jesus' birthday, not ours. Please help us to remember that the very best present we could ever receive is You. And the very best present we could give to this Little Baby Boy is peace and love to those around us, and our love and gratitude to You. Amen.

I wish you all a blessed Christmas, dear readers. Let us keep God in our hearts always!

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

St. Andrew Christmas Novena

November 30, the feast of St. Andrew, is the day to begin the Saint Andrew Christmas Novena. Try praying it together as a family. This novena is prayed 15 times a day until Christmas. It can be prayed all at once or broken up throughout the day. This novena asks God to grant our request in honor of the birth of Jesus.

Saint Andrew Christmas Novena

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

Monday, November 28, 2011

Preparing Children For Advent

"Preparing Children For Advent," from Creighton University's online ministries website

Preparing Ourselves First

The first, and most important thing we can do to prepare our children for Advent is to prepare ourselves first. After all, if we are impatient and crabby - pressured by all the busyness of this season - we won't be very good at teaching our children anything about quiet, expectant waiting. If they never hear us talk about what we long for from the Lord, how will they learn about this kind of longing? And, if they hear "the coming of Jesus" talked about at church, and perhaps at school, but never hear us talk about the meaning of the coming of Jesus for us, what kind of message will we be giving them?

Of course, our children will be watching us and listening to us - what we say and do, and what we fail to say and do. So, the first thing we can give our children is our own commitment to enter Advent as deeply as we can. We want to clear our own spirits so that we can be present to theirs. The graces we receive can be the graces we share with them.

Talking with Our Children

To talk with our chidren about our own religious experience doesn't mean we have to know all kinds of "theology" to "teach them," nor does it mean we have to "dumb it down" to ridiculously simple terms. We don't have to "burden" children with the burdens we have to bear in our adult relationship with God, and we don't have to make their world more unsettling and scary than it already is. We just have to find the right time and place to talk with them about our faith.

We don't have to criticize everything in our contemporary culture's preparation for and celebration of Christmas. But, what we tell them about Advent, will help temper the materialism and consumerism involved in the marketing of Christmas to children.

The Message
We can tell our children about Isaiah, the prophet. We can tell them that God has wanted to be the one who would lead and take care of his people. But they rebelled against God, and demanded kings, just like all the peoples around them had. So, God let them have kings. As it turned out, there was one bad king after another. And God sent prophets to the people and the kings to remind them of the agreement - the "covenant" - God made with them: I'll be your God and you be my people.

Now the way the people made someone a king was to pour a bit of oil on their head. The one who was "anointed" this way with oil became the king. Well, the prophets began to tell the people that God would send them "an anointed one" (the word they use to say "anointed one" in Hebrew is "Messiah.") In fact, they said that this Messiah would be called "Emmanuel", which in Hebrew means, "God is with us."

So, the message of the prophets was about a promise - that God would save his people from all that they were suffering. The prophets use such wonderful images to tell the people that they could expect and hope for a day when "every tear would be wiped away." It would be a day of great peace - "the lion would lie down with the lamb" and the people will beat their spears into hooks to prune trees with. And, the most unbelievable promise of all: "death will be no more."

We all know now that what God was preparing his people for was the coming of Jesus, the Christ (Christos in Greek means "the anointed one.")

Then, of course, we can tell them about Zachary and Elizabeth and about Joseph and Mary. We can tell them the story from Luke's gospel first. What is so surprising about the story is that he comes, not like a king, but in great simplicity and poverty. Our God is truly with us, as a little baby. He knows what is like to be a child - everything.

We can tell this story to our children in so many ways. We can let them tell us what it means to them. Through all this conversation, the message will come through. During these weeks of Advent, we want to look forward to celebrating his coming to live our life and to set us free - free from our sins and free from death itself.

We want to open up Advent for them, so that they can get ready for - look forward to - Christmas in a different way. We want to introduce them to faith-filled meanings for light/darkness, hunger/thirsts, and all the other images of Isaiah. We want them to really know the meaning of "the Christmas story."

Advent Activities

It would be great to create a Nativity "place" in our home. Before we just put a nativity scene there, we can let it be an empty space for a while. We can prepare for setting it up, by putting things in that place which represent the longing, the desire, the emptiness. Perhaps that place can begin with a basket. Children can place notes in the basket that express what they hope for, for each member in the family, for their friends, for people in the world. They can write special prayers for loved ones who are sick, for children in their school who are difficult. We can keep telling the children that it is into this special place of our longing and faith that Jesus comes. Then, when we set up the Nativity scene in that place, it can become a special place for the children.

We can involve children in preparing food for others. If there is a pre-Christmas party with friends or family, or even a "pot-luck" event we have to go to, we can involve the children in preparing something for the party. And, for Christmas dinner itself, we can tutor the children in making food for others to be happy and full and grateful. We can show them recipes they can make, and let them "in" on the big plans for the whole thing.

We can make plans to visit someone who is homebound or in a nursing home at this time. We can prepare our children for how to go there, how to be there, how to be grateful for the experience.

We can take an Advent or Christmas song, and copy it for our family reading - perhaps a prayer to be read, over and over. We can talk about what the words mean.

With older children, we might find a time to prepare food for a meal program for the homeless or go there to help serve and meet the families there. We may even be able to get them to tell the younger children about the experience, and why it fits so well with preparing for Christmas.

And, as we make these special family traditions during Advent, we will come up with others, that fit our family well.

Monday, November 21, 2011

First Holy Communion

Another beautiful image from Joseph Karl Publishing's free Pro-Life Image Gallery. Come and see it at http://godisatworkinyou.com/FreePro-Life_Images.html and feel free to share the images with others!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Common Sense In Retail? I Can't Believe It!

Bravo, Nordstrom!

I found out that Nordstrom is taking a stand against the holiday hoopla that seems to begin before we even carve our jack o'lanterns. Finally, some common sense in retail! Nordstrom, we are thankful for you! Let's hope other stores follow suit! Below is a sign found adorning the department store's door:

Friday, October 28, 2011

Is God Calling You? "God In The Streets Of New York City"

Be sure to click on "full screen." It's amazing, inspiring, and simply awesome to see Our Lord in the streets of New York City.

You will remember this.

Produced by Grassroots Films.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Please Pray For The Cause of Archbishop Fulton Sheen!

Dear Friends of Sheen,
We are in true need of your help. We need prayers as the Fulton Sheen Positio is being reviewed by the Theologians in Rome. Please pray for the discernment of the Theologians and for the Cause of our beloved Archbishop Fulton Sheen. You are our foot soldiers. I encourage you to forward this note to all your friends and have them join us in prayer and encourage them to become active participants in this great Cause. Let’s flood heaven with our rosaries, novenas, Masses and holy hours. We specially need prayer from 8am to 8pm tomorrow as the review begins at 5PM Italy time. I encourage you to pray as Sheen prayed. Please visit the Blessed Sacrament and as Sheen loved our lovely lady dressed in blue please pray many, many rosaries. Let us all take example from our Servant of God Archbishop Fulton Sheen and Pray! Pray! Pray!

In prayer with all of you,

Msgr. Stanley Deptula
Executive Director, Archbishop Fulton Sheen Foundation

“Prayer is helplessness casting itself on Power, Infirmity leaning on Strength, misery reaching to Mercy, and a prisoner clamoring for Relief.”

—Servant of GodArchbishop Fulton Sheen

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

"...Drive Out The Stranger From The Land..."

Do you realize that our youths are facing a darkness of epic proportions? Go to any bookstore and what do you see offered on the children’s/YA shelves? Darkness, the occult, evil. The covers are all black, creepy. Either that or the characters are in skimpy clothing. This is what our youths have to choose from today when they are in the mood for a good book. And some parents are so thrilled that their children are actually reading instead of texting or playing video games, that they either look the other way or bury their heads in the sand. It’s reading, after all. It can’t be that bad, right?

Wrong! If we want to teach our children about God, about values, about standing up for the truth and the precious gift of LIFE, then we need to give them the tools they need: Spiritual armor to fight the battle. Knowledge about our faith. The difference between good and evil. Instead, they are being sent out to fight the battle after reading about vampires, witchcraft and the occult, and stories that celebrate immodesty, disobedience, selfishness, pride, and teen sex.

As a publishing industry insider and award-winning children’s author for pre-teens, I see too often how our kids are being led into the darkness. Much of the material publishers are offering is unhealthy for their spiritual, emotional, and physical development. Harvey House Publishing was founded to provide our children with material worthy of their great dignity and also the tools they need to live joyful, happy lives of true Christian witness. Our precious youth need good, solid role models in order to fight the good fight: The Saints!

Children respond strongly to being introduced to St. Therese, a sweet, yet very powerful saint they can identify with and emulate, who can intercede for these youngsters and pray for them as they make their way through adolescence.

Olivia and the Little Way and its pro-life sequel, Olivia's Gift, are being used in Catholic-school curricula across the U.S., as well as homeschools , Catholic clubs and church groups. Pre-teen readers, teachers, and parents are raving about the series, and are eagerly anticipating the third book in the series.

"While Olivia's Gift is a Catholic story by nature, this is a story of the human spirit and the fact that teenagers and young adults are already experiencing their own profound stories of faith and God...It is a refreshing and realistic reprieve from what teenagers today are currently very distracted by—vampires,” says the Catholic Press Association.

A mom of two pre-teens writes, "I've searched so long for truly Catholic fiction for the preteen set: a fun story that teaches values. I have finally found it in these books! My children are now following the Little Way and love St. Therese. Thank you!”

The next time you are at the bookstore or library, take a good, hard look at what our youths have to choose from, and remember a quote from one of the greatest saints of modern times and Doctor of the Church, The Little Flower: "My sword is Love, and with it I must drive out the stranger from the land, and establish Thy kingdom in souls."

Thank you and God bless you,

Nancy Carabio Belanger
Publisher, Harvey House Publishing

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Delicious Autumn!

"Delicious autumn! My very soul is wedded to it, and if I were a bird I would fly about the earth seeking the successive autumns."

—George Eliot

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Welcome To Germany, Olivia!

Willkommen in Deutschland!

This week, Olivia and the Little Way and Olivia's Gift make their debut at the 2011 Frankfurt Book Fair! Olivia and the Little Way and Olivia's Gift are joined by other exceptional books (such as those from Joseph Karl Publishing) represented by the Independent Book Publishers Association (IBPA). Come and see the catalog here.

The Frankfurt Book Fair is the largest of its kind in the world, a meeting place for the industry’s experts. Be they publishers, booksellers, agents, film producers or authors - each year in October, they all come together and create something new. The Frankfurt Book Fair is the most important marketplace for books, media, rights and licences worldwide. It welcomes more than 7,300 exhibitors from 100 countries, 299,000 visitors, and over 10,000 journalists.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Saint Luke Productions to Celebrate 30th Anniversary of Bringing Sanctity to the Performing Arts

For three decades, Saint Luke Productions has led a renewal of Catholic culture through theater and the media by bringing professional theatrical and feature film dramas on the life of Christ and His saints to audiences of over one million people throughout the English-speaking world. The apostolate began in 1980, when founder and Shakespearean actor Leonardo Defilippis considered presenting the Gospel of Luke in a new form, as a one-man production that would tour churches in the Northwest United States for one season. He proceeded after being encouraged by Mother Teresa of Calcutta to “Do something beautiful for God.”

No expense was spared in the production. Audiences in more than one hundred churches were captivated by the powerful impact of Defilippis’ performances, and the life-changing effect and dedication to quality continues to this day. Saint Luke Productions has evolved into a professional non-profit company whose ten live productions have toured the United States, Canada, and Europe.

Productions are based on historical, scriptural, and modern-day stories that inspire audiences to a deeper desire for the Truth of Jesus Christ. Its films and live dramas have won numerous national and international awards, and have been aired for decades on cable and network stations. Saint Luke Productions also educates and encourages artists and young people by providing internships, workshops, and employment in their office and production company.

While Saint Luke Productions’ vision is Catholic, testimonials have revealed that people of all faiths have been touched, changed, and strengthened by the love of God manifesting itself through their work. Leonardo and his wife Patti, a screenwriter, director, and speaker, established the production company within the context of family. As parents of seven children, they understand that a renewal of the culture depends upon a renewal of family life.

Saint Luke Productions will formally celebrate its thirtieth anniversary October 18, 2011 (also the Feast of St. Luke), and plans to commemorate its extraordinary milestone throughout the next year. Leonardo Defilippis is grateful and humbled to have spent his life bringing sanctity to the performing arts.

"I could never have imagined," says Defilippis, "that this vision of creating dramas and films on the greatest lives of the human race, who have changed the course of history, would continue and flourish in a world where religious art is not appreciated, or in many cases, simply ignored. “

Leonardo and Patti Defilippis continue their mission of renewing Catholic culture for people longing for spiritual works of art that provide a personal encounter with Christ and His saints.

“When I think back on how we started and where we are today, I clearly see that God blesses those who step out in trust and take risks for His sake. This is the miracle of faith and creation itself," Leonardo Defilippis concluded.

Live Theatrical Performances: VIANNEY

While feature films have tremendous value because they reach a much broader audience, Defilippis is partial to the more personal nature of live theatrical dramas. The current Saint Luke Productions project, VIANNEY (vianneydrama.com), is in its third year on a nationwide tour. Based on the life of St. John Vianney of France (1786 - 1859), who has been recognized by Pope Benedict XVI as a model for all priests and laity, the production is one of the most popular one-person shows in America. Defilippis is passionate about sharing the valuable story of an ideal hero for our era, “A priest who, like Christ, pours himself out with complete unselfishness and who never gives up on a single soul.”

VIANNEY will continue on tour in the United States, Canada, and internationally through 2012.

“The play brings a message of hope during a time of great challenge for the Catholic Church, by emphasizing the importance of the priesthood, and the roles of the priest for the people and the people for the priest,” stressed Defilippis. “It’s a crucial time in society where there are a lot of misunderstandings and a lack of hope for the world,” he said.

Priests and seminarians have reported the experience led to a re-examination of conscience and of their priesthood, and to an awakening of their first love. Defilippis hopes the play also sparks new vocations. He sees signs of hope in the many youth who have approached him following performances with queries about the priesthood and religious life.

“Christianity cannot exist without the priesthood. Not to embrace the priesthood is not to embrace Christ. In the end when you die, you will meet the priest, Jesus Christ,” said Defilippis.

"Leonardo DeFilippis' portrayal of St. Vianney in the St. Luke Production, VIANNEY, inspired me to learn more about the saint's love for Jesus. In turn, my love for our Lord grew as I began to recite the St. John Vianney prayer and now I ask daily for the saint's prayerful intercession as I continue my discernment to the priesthood," said Gregory Piatt, seminarian for the Archdiocese of Detroit at Blessed John XXIII National Seminary in Weston, Massachusetts.

Tickets for the performance can be ordered through the locations where it will play. For more information, see www.vianneydrama.com or www.stlukeproductions.com.


Saint Luke Productions launched a feature films division, Luke Films, in 2000. Its most notable accomplishment is the feature film THÉRÈSE, the story of Saint Thérèse of Lisieux, which was shown in mainstream movie theaters for an unprecedented 70 weeks. THÉRÈSE was the first major motion picture distributed solely by an independent Catholic film company, and was funded entirely by donations. Now available on DVD, the film continues to inspire numerous conversions and vocations.

Other DVD productions include Maximilian: Saint of Auschwitz, Saint Francis: Troubadour of God’s Peace, John of the Cross, The Gift of Peace – First Six Chapters of St. Luke’s Gospel, The Passion According to Luke, Song of Songs, and Vianney Speaks.

Benedictus Moments

The beautiful new daily series BENEDICTUS MOMENTS, produced specifically for radio and the web, seeks to strengthen the understanding and insight of the Word of God and the rich legacy of sacred tradition through the teachings of the Holy Father, and to share his messages with an even wider audience.

The thought-provoking meditations come from Benedictus: Day by Day with Pope Benedict XVI (published by Magnificat and Ignatius Press) and are presented by Leonardo Defilippis. For more information about distribution, contact Saint Luke Productions (360-687-8029). Daily meditations can be accessed at http://www.stlukeproductions.com/benedictus.


Saint Luke Productions also hosts one-day acting workshops that build awareness of the powerful spiritual impact of live theater. The importance of the dramatic arts in the Church is also examined. Individualized instruction in voice, movement, and character development is also provided. Acting workshops are open to those 12 and older.

Leonardo Defilippis also presents Acting Like a Saint: Catholic Identity on Stage and Screen. In this entertaining multimedia production, Defilippis tells the story of Saint Luke Productions and includes inspiring and humorous stories from tour life and selections from his many performances through almost four decades as an actor. It runs between 45 minutes to an hour, and makes an ideal keynote address for events. In addition, Leonardo and Patti Defilippis are available to speak to groups on a variety of topics (http://www.stlukeproductions.com/contact-us).

Vianney Speaks Coming to EWTN

Vianney Speaks, a television program that depicts the inspiring sermons and prayers of St. John Marie Baptiste Vianney, was developed as a companion to the live dramatic production VIANNEY. The show promises to deepen viewers’ understanding of the Catholic Faith. By illustrating his human frailty, humility, and fervor, one will appreciate John Vianney’s great love for the souls entrusted to his care, and understand more fully how he converted an entire town and countless pilgrims through his personal holiness.

Vianney Speaks will premiere on ETWN’s Global Catholic Network October 14-15, 2011 and the program is now available on DVD at www.vianneyspeaks.com.

30th Anniversary Celebration

Saint Luke Productions will celebrate three decades of serving the Church through theater and the media with a festive evening of thanksgiving on the Feast of St. Luke October 18, 2011 in Vancouver, Washington. The event is open to all http://www.stlukeproductions.com/30Years. To share your memories in honor of the occasion, please visit: 30Years@stlukeproductions.com

The work of Saint Luke Productions continues to bear much fruit within the New Evangelization and to resonate Jesus' call for all of us to be the very salt and light to the entire world. For information about Saint Luke Productions and their products, including a list of their current, live performance locations for VIANNEY, or to bring VIANNEY to your area, visit stlukeproductions.com or call 1-800-683-2998.

God is at work in Saint Luke Productions!

Contact Information:

Saint Luke Productions
P.O. Box 886
Battle Ground, WA 98604-0886
Office: 1-360-687-8029
Toll Free: 1-800-683-2998
Fax: 1-360-687-8307
Office Hours: Mon-Fri 8:30am-5:00pm PST

Website Links:

About the authors

Michele Bondi Bottesi is an award-winning writer, psychologist, pro-life advocate at True Love Leads To Life, and publisher at Joseph Karl Publishing (www.josephkarlpublishing.com).

Nancy Carabio Belanger is an award-winning writer whose books, Olivia and the Little Way and Olivia’s Gift, are used in Catholic-school curricula and have been praised for their fun yet wholesome approach to the trials and tribulations of Catholic pre-teen life. Her website is www.harveyhousepublishing.com.

Paul A. Ray is a writer, public speaker, and creative director at Joseph Karl Publishing. Visit his blog, Tongues as of Fire! at http://www.tonguesasoffire.blogspot.com.

Images Copyright Saint Luke Productions. Used with permission.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Our Sister And Our Friend: St. Therese

October 1, the feast of St. Therese of Lisieux

St. Therese, O loving Saint, sister, and friend: You show us how to show our love for God by your Little Way. You teach us to do little things with great love. We love you and ask you to intercede for us. O Little Flower, ora pro nobis!

Be not a

You know well enough that Our Lord does not look so much at the greatness of our actions,
nor even at their difficulty, but at the love with which we do them.”

—St. Therese

Friday, September 30, 2011

Friday, September 23, 2011

St. Therese Nine-Day Novena

In my archives here on this blog, you can see a nine-day novena to St. Therese, leading up to her feast day on October 1.

You can find all of the days of the novena here.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Book Review: The Rosary Workout

"The Rosary is the best therapy for these distraught, unhappy, fearful, and frustrated souls, precisely because it involves the simultaneous use of three powers: the physical, the vocal, and the spiritual, and in that order."

—Archbishop Fulton Sheen

We are all busy people. Most of have good intentions, but sometimes it’s hard to do all that we want—and need— to do every day. Take a healthy exercise routine. Many of us talk about starting one, but then what happens? After a week or so, we’re back to our old sedentary habits. I know because I have been there!

And what about saying the Rosary? It is one of the things we as Catholics ought to do every day…but do we take the time? The truth is that saying a daily Rosary will bring you many graces from Heaven. Spending fifteen to twenty minutes a day with Our Lady, contemplating her Son with her, will protect you from evil and keep you holy. Just like physical exercise, this spiritual exercise will keep you healthy.

But what if there were a way to combine the two? I found out there there is, with the acclaimed book, The Rosary Workout, from Bezalel Books.

Truly an ingenious idea from fitness expert and devout Catholic Peggy Bowes, The Rosary Workout is filled with valuable ideas for a healthy and happy spiritual and physical workout by combining saying the Rosary with several workouts, from beginning to intermediate to advanced, depending on physical skill level. Don't worry about falling behind or getting confused: Peggy takes you step by step and will alleviate any frustrations you may have with her gentle advice and tips. She encourages you to journal as well, offering prayers, helpful web links, and ideas.

A little bit of information about this sweet, down-to-earth author: Peggy Bowes graduated from the US Air Force Academy in 1988 and served nine years as an Air Force pilot and Health and Wellness consultant. After leaving the military to raise a family, Peggy continued her education in the fitness industry by becoming certified as a personal trainer, Lifestyle and Weight Management Consultant and Spinning® instructor. She established a successful and rewarding business in metabolic and athletic performance (VO2) testing, with an emphasis on weight loss counseling.

Peggy is also very active in parish life. She has been a lector, CCD teacher, and Little Flowers Girls' Club leader. She also enjoys triathlons, hiking, adventure races, and other sports as she incorporates all the benefits and blessings of The Rosary Workout. Peggy and her husband and two children currently reside in North Carolina. She also writes a “Don’t Know Much About The Rosary” blog at http://rosaryinfo.blogspot.com/

“I know that The Rosary Workout works!” says Susan Brinkmann, OCDS, a staff journalist and editor of Women of Grace. “It’s the answer for anyone who feels they are too time-starved to fit both daily prayer and a regular workout into their lives. By combining the two, you not only accomplish both goals, but you give yourself two good reasons to get up and get it done: First, because you need the exercise and second, because if you’re like me, it might be the only time of day you’ll get to pray the Rosary.”

I highly recommend The Rosary Workout to everyone who wants to keep healthy spiritually and physically...to draw closer to Christ.

"If there were one million families praying the Rosary every day, the entire world would be saved."

—Pope St. Pius X

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

My Many Blogger Friends!

I just love when I get letters from kids and their parents. Many of those parents are bloggers like me, and they like to review Olivia and the Little Way and Olivia's Gift on their blogs, like Julie Musselman from the blog A Catholic Home Journal.

Julie kindly wrote to me telling me she loved Olivia and the Little Way (thanks, Julie! You're so sweet!) and wrote a blog about the book here.

Julie writes on her blog, "What I loved most about this book is that it gave real life situations a fifth grader would face. But moreover, it gave solutions to peer pressure and teasing and trying to fit in, that we can all learn from...My girls had so many questions about St. Therese that we started reading her autobiography Story of a Soul. I would never have thought to read this to them, even though I have read it before. But as I read the pages of Story of a Soul, written by St Therese who is a Doctor of the Church, it was so interesting to them they we are now slowly reading through a page or two a night."

I spent some time on her blog and really enjoyed it. I know it's a blog I will return to again and again! All of you bloggers out there: If you write about my books, please send me a quick link and I'll be sure to link to it here on my blog!

Sunday, August 28, 2011

"Get A Life!"

It was dusk, the sun starting to set on a beautiful late-summer day. People, young and old, stood before the proposed abortuary in Auburn Hills, Michigan. Many held candles as they sang and prayed. Cars drove by, honking their horns in support of the 300 or so who gathered in front of the building. Then a car full of men came along. A passenger rolled down his window.

"Get a life!" he shouted to the people.

Oh, the irony.

Get a life, indeed.

What does this young man, this former embryo, think the people were trying to do out there, as they prayed their rosaries, pleading for the lives of countless unborn children that could very well be snuffed out if the abortuary is allowed to proceed? Yes, they were trying to save a life, save lives.

If you don't know who Abby Johnson is, you should. A former employee of Planned Parenthood, Abby writes about her conversion in the incredible book, UnPlanned. For a moving and eye-opening account of the ultrasound that shook her to the core and changed her life forever, read the first chapter of her book here. You will never be the same after you've read it.

I am proud to be a board member of True Love Leads To Life, an unprecedented, global, and peaceful mission of love led by Jesus Christ, whose purpose is to sanctify each person on an individual level, combine our good works and save precious lives by ending legalized abortion and euthanasia, and to promote post-abortion healing to those in need.

People of all faiths are invited and encouraged to join us in praying, sacrificing, attending prayer vigils, fasting, offering up suffering, sharing information, attending Holy Mass, praying before the Blessed Sacrament, increasing in sanctity, educating, witnessing, writing...and most importantly by living morally and loving heroically.

Together, let us storm heaven with our collective good works and role-model an end to the colossal humanitarian catastrophe of legalized abortion and euthanasia.

"I don't understand: Why such hatered toward one's own child? A mother is supposed to protect her child at all costs!" wrote a pro-lifer on Facebook.

Get a life, indeed.

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