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!
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