Thursday, April 30, 2015

Fantastic Giveaway in 7QT

I know that I have been posting all week about the homeschool conference, this is the culminating and I promise, last post.  I am so thankful to get to share this discovery.

1

Meet Elizabeth, a beautiful, talented, and lovely young lady!  She has created a line of 18" doll clothes called Novel Designs, exquisite outfits based on classic literature.


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Once I saw her gorgeous creations, I could not stop thinking about them!  I had to buy one and by gum, I was going to find a reason why.   Then I thought of you, my readers, and my giveaways. Surely, one of these dresses was meant for one of you.



3

I am a doll lover!  My dolls were some of the best cared for creatures around when I was a child.  It was all I thought about. I still secretly dream of having a genuine American Girl of my own. (Mattel redesigning the dolls has tempered that a bit.) I can remember begging my mom for a Samantha doll...she said no...because I was 13 and the doll cost almost $100--which could buy a heck of a lot of things at the time.




I'm fairly certain that these lovely models are indeed the doll of my dreams.

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This dress is based on Ever After, one of my all time favorite films. If you haven't seen it, please do!


And then there is this beauty, the most charming doll dress, EVER! The photo does it no justice.


You know I have always thought that I would have a child with red hair, who loved dolls AND books. Perhaps meeting Elizabeth was just meant to be, after all there are no accidents, nor coincidences with God. It's all one, big, marvelous plan.

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Narnia, anyone?  Can't you just imagine one of these lovely gems wrapped up with a matching, hardbound classic. The perfect gift! So much beauty.


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Elizabeth and her sister also make Catholic Clay, well crafted, clay figurines of beloved saints. They are only $5 each and include a prayer card.


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Now for the giveaway....


One of my readers, will win The Jane Austen! Just comment below and tell me which dress is your favorite. Elizabeth can be reached by email here.

UPDATE:  Elizabeth now has an etsy store!!! Yay, Elizabeth!

Winner to be announced May 16th!

God bless!

Linking up with Kelly, again!

{p, h, f, r} Chaplet 2015


Pretty






This parish was absolutely gorgeous!  So much beauty.


Happy


I was happy to get to meet Kelly Mantoan at the conference.  She is absolutely lovely and down to earth. I was also happy to know that I'm not the only one who has family who doesn't understand this whole online blogger friends thing.  Can't wait for Kelly's new book Rosaries Aren't Just for Teething.  Some of the best bloggers out there all in one book!

Funny




So within the first hour of the conference, the spacious bag on wheels I had brought along was overflowing. I had to make a trip out to my car. Yes, I am a book addict aficionado.  They are my true weakness--so much so that my husband and I have banned ourselves from bookstores entirely!  Used book sales are where we get our fix, at least they only come up a few times a year.

I piled the books in my trunk, arranged artistically, and set up the shot.  Pretty funny, but all I could think is, "This can be my funny photo!"  Strange how blogging makes you think in terms of posts even when loading your trunk....lol

Funnier still, is the fact that as I was paying for the stack of books that put my load over the edge, I heard Kelly and Michelle Quigley conversing only a couple feet to my left. It was very hard to concentrate.  I was jumping with joy inside at the thought of two Catholic blogging giants standing within ear shot, almost close enough to touch them.  Breathe, Jennifer, breathe!  I thought of rushing over there and telling them what a great fan I am and asking for a photo and autograph, but that seemed so silly and childish.  It reminded me of when I went to a London pub with some classmates, one of which grabbed my arm and said, "Jennifer, just stay calm, act cool, don't freak out."  I had no idea why she was nearly hyperventilating. Found out when we got back to our flat, that the less than impressive guys who were sitting at our table were the then very popular band Oasis. How much happier I was to meet Kelly and Michelle!

Real




Real candles (oh, how I love real candles), Latin Mass, a quiet sanctuary to wrap up my prayers of the Novena. This Church was a real delight!

Linking up with Auntie Leila.  Please remember to enter the giveaway and come back tomorrow for another one!

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Homeschool Conference Five Favs

As I mentioned, I attended a wonderful homeschooling conference on Saturday. I have more to share about it, including a fabulous giveaway on Friday, but today I thought I would focus on my five favorite reasons to attend a conference.

1

Books, books, books, books, and more books!  There are so many resources out there and honestly, everything looks and sounds good in those beautiful curriculum catalogs. It is so nice to get to see and experience books before buying them.  Then, there is the used book sale--book lover's paradise.  It's a win-win, homeschool mom A makes a few bucks, homeschool mom B saves a bundle!  I found the entire Land of Our Lady history texts for $24, each book retails for that much!


2

Inspiring speakers encourage you to press on. By late spring, I am completely depleted and unsure of what I am doing or if I'm succeeding. Hearing encouragement, strategies, inspirational ideas, and validation that homeschooling really is a valuable choice helps immensely. Even if none of the information is new, experiencing it anew is so edifying.

Visit the CHAPLET channel on YouTube for more inspiring talks.

3

"Where everybody knows your name, and they're always glad you came."  So, they don't all know my name, but it is gratifying to be surrounded by people just like you. Even the most well connected homeschooler can feel isolated. Going against the tide continually is tiring. It makes me think of the first time we took the kids to a homeschooling conference. The first vendor asked Cowgirl how school was going, she immediately felt compelled to explain, "I'm not missing school, I'm homeschool. I did my homework in the car on the way down."  I leaned over and whispered in her ear, "Honey, it's a homeschooling conference, everyone here is homeschool."  Sigh...being just one of the crowd feels good.


4

Meeting the superstars of the homeschool world rocks!  You see their books, read their blogs, use their planner...build up in your mind images of homeschooling perfection and rocket scientist children who graduate at ten with three degrees, impeccable manners, and the first chair violin in the Philharmonic.  Then..gasp..they are standing right in front of you. While it is so wonderful to meet "celebrities," it's even better to realize they are normal homeschooling moms just like you.  

5

Did I mention the book sale?  Hello, my name is Jennifer and I'm a book-aholic
Actually, aside from all mentioned above, my favorite part of conferences is experiencing new entrepreneur who have such great and diverse ideas to share. Many of our favorite homeschool resources Have come from small, family businesses with big ideas and big hearts. On Friday, I will be featuring one such vendor and offering her absolutely stupendous product as a giveaway!  Please visit and enter.


Linking up with Rachel.

Joyful Penitence and a Homeschool Conference

This past weekend, I was blessed to attend the Chaplet Homeschool Conference. I have much to share about it and will be doing so in the coming days, but the great highlight for me was getting to hear TWO traditional Latin Masses in one day!



The morning Mass was a High Mass, a real treat, as I have not experienced a High Mass of any kind in quite awhile.  I can remember, as a child, regularly having High Mass in the Ordinary Form, however it does not seem to be as popular now.  There is just something so moving and holy about sung prayers. After all, the angels sing God's praises without end, and whenever someone is scripture is greatly blessed by God, they sing!  Perhaps that is where the saying, "Singing is praying twice." originated.

Before morning Mass, we walked a procession across the grounds of the parish, to a grotto with a large crucifix. As we walked, we sung the traditional Litany of the Saints.  Despite it being Easter Season, the priest wore purple and it was considered a day of penance.



I felt as if the sermon was written for me. I needed to here the words that penance and prayer can deliver us from evil. I needed to be reminded that invoking Our Blessed Mother and the intercession of the saints can turn the tide and triumph over darkness.  The words, "After all, it took only one person to save Nineva." spoke right to my heart. It was the Sermon that wrapped up my novena and slated any doubts of whether or not it had been a good idea.  It was the type of Sermon that I wish I could have recorded and played over and over.

I have decided to start praying the Litany of the Saints daily for triumph over evil. There sure seems to be a lot of darkness out there.  If you are interested in joining me, the entire litany in English and Latin is listed below, courtesy of Fish Eaters. God bless!

Litany of the Saints

Lord, have mercy on us. (Lord have mercy on us.) 
Christ, have mercy on us. (Christ have mercy on us.)
Lord, have mercy on us. (Lord, have mercy on us.) 

Christ, hear us. (Christ, hear us.)
Christ, graciously hear us. (Christ, graciously hear us.) 

God the Father of heaven, (have mercy on us.) 
God the Son, Redeemer of the world, (have mercy on us.) 
God the Holy Ghost, (have mercy on us.) 
Holy Trinity, one God, (have mercy on us.)
Holy Mary,
Holy Mother of God,
Holy Virgin of virgins,

St. Michael,
St. Gabriel,
St. Raphael,
All ye holy Angels and Archangels,
All ye holy orders of blessed Spirits,

St. John the Baptist,
St. Joseph,
All ye holy Patriarchs and Prophets,

St. Peter,
St. Paul,
St. Andrew,
St. James,
St. John,
St. Thomas,
St. James,
St. Philip,
St. Bartholomew,
St. Matthew,
St. Simon,
St. Thaddeus,
St. Matthias,
St. Barnabas,
St. Luke,
St. Mark,
All ye holy Apostles and Evangelists,
All ye holy Disciples of the Lord,

All ye holy Innocents,
St. Stephen,
St. Lawrence,
St. Vincent,
SS. Fabian and Sebastian,
SS. John and Paul,
SS. Cosmas and Damian,
SS. Gervase and Protase,
All ye holy Martyrs,

St. Sylvester,
St. Gregory,
St. Ambrose,
St. Augustine,
St. Jerome,
St. Martin,
St. Nicholas,
All ye holy Bishops and Confessors,
All ye holy Doctors,

St. Anthony,
St. Benedict,
St. Bernard,
St. Dominic,
St. Francis,
All ye holy Priests and Levites,
All ye holy Monks and Hermits,

St. Mary Magdalen,
St. Agatha,
St. Lucy,
St. Agnes,
St. Cecilia,
St. Catherine,
St. Anastasia,
All ye holy Virgins and Widows,
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All ye holy Saints of God, (Make intercession for us.) 
Be merciful, (Spare us, O Lord.) 
Be merciful, (Graciously hear us, O Lord.)
From all evil, O Lord
From all sin,
From Thy wrath,
From sudden and unlooked for death,
From the snares of the devil,
From anger, and hatred, and every evil will,
From the spirit of fornication,
From lightning and tempest,
From the scourge of earthquakes,
From plague, famine and war,
From everlasting death,
Through the mystery of Thy holy Incarnation,
Through Thy Coming,
Through Thy Birth,
Through Thy Baptism and holy Fasting,
Through Thy Cross and Passion,
Through Thy Death and Burial,
Through Thy holy Resurrection,
Through Thine admirable Ascension,
Through the coming of the Holy Ghost, the Paraclete.
In the day of judgment.
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We sinners,

That Thou wouldst spare us,

That Thou wouldst pardon us,

That Thou wouldst bring us to true penance,

That Thou wouldst vouchsafe to govern and preserve  Thy holy Church,

That Thou wouldst vouchsafe to preserve our Apostolic Prelate, and all orders of the Church in holy religion,

That Thou wouldst vouchsafe to humble the enemies of holy Church,

That Thou wouldst vouchsafe to give peace and true concord to Christian kings and princes,

That Thou wouldst vouchsafe to grant peace and unity to the whole Christian world,

That Thou wouldst call back to the unity of the Church all who have strayed from her fold, and to guide all unbelievers into the light of the Gospel

That Thou wouldst vouchsafe to confirm and preserve us in Thy holy service,

That Thou wouldst lift up our minds to heavenly desires,

That Thou wouldst render eternal blessings to all our benefactors,

That Thou wouldst deliver our souls, and the souls of our brethren, relations, and benefactors, from eternal damnation,

That Thou wouldst vouchsafe to give and preserve the fruits of the earth,

That Thou wouldst vouchsafe to grant eternal rest to all the faithful departed,

That Thou wouldst vouchsafe graciously to hear us,

Son of God,
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b
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T
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Lamb of God, who take away the sins of the world, (spare us, O Lord.)
Lamb of God, who take away the sins of the world, (graciously hear us, O Lord.)
Lamb of God, who take away the sins of the world, (have mercy on us.) 

Christ, (hear us.)
Christ, (graciously hear us.)
Lord, have mercy, (Lord, have mercy.)
Christ, have mercy, (Christ, have mercy.)
Lord, have mercy, (Lord, have mercy.)

[Our Father inaudibly] And lead us not into temptation (but deliver us from evil.)

Latin version:
Litaniae Sanctorum

Kyrie, eleison (Kyrie, eleison.) 
Christe, eleison (Christe, eleison.) 
Kyrie, eleison (Kyrie, eleison.) 

Christe, audi nos (Christe, audi nos.) 
Christe, exaudi nos. (Christe, exaudi nos.) 

Pater de caelis, Deus, (miserere nobis.) 
Fili, Redemptor mundi, Deus, (miserere nobis.) 
Spiritus Sancte, Deus, (miserere nobis.) 
Sancta Trinitas, unus Deus, (miserere nobis.)
Sancta Maria,
Sancta Dei Genetrix,
Sancta Virgo virginum,

Sancte Michael,
Sancte Gabriel,
Sancte Raphael,
Omnes sancti Angeli et Archangeli,
Omnes sancti beatorum Spirituum ordines,

Sancte Ioannes Baptista,
Sancte Ioseph,
Omnes sancti Patriarchae et Prophetae,

Sancte Petre,
Sancte Paule,
Sancte Andrea,
Sancte Iacobe,
Sancte Ioannes,
Sancte Thoma,
Sancte Iacobe,
Sancte Philippe,
Sancte Bartolomaee,
Sancte Matthaee,
Sancte Simon,
Sancte Thaddaee,
Sancte Matthia,
Sancte Barnaba,
Sancte Luca,
Sancte Marce,
Omnes sancti Apostoli et Evangelistae,
Omnes sancti discipuli Domini,

Omnes sancti Innocentes,
Sancte Stephane,
Sancte Laurenti,
Sancte Vincenti,
Sancti Fabiane et Sebastiane,
Sancti Iohannes et Paule,
Sancti Cosma et Damiane,
Sancti Gervasi et Protasi,
Omnes sancti martyres,

Sancte Sylvester,
Sancte Gregori,
Sancte Ambrosi,
Sancte Augustine,
Sancte Hieronyme,
Sancte Martine,
Sancte Nicolae,
Omnes sancti Pontifices et Confessores,
Omnes sancti Doctores,

Sancte Antoni,
Sancte Benedicte,
Sancte Bernarde,
Sancte Dominice,
Sancte Francisce,
Omnes sancti Sacerdotes et Levitae,
Omnes sancti Monachi et Eremitae,

Sancta Maria Magdalena,
Sancta Agatha,
Sancta Lucia,
Sancta Agnes,
Sancta Caecilia,
Sancta Catharina,
Sancta Anastasia,
Omnes sanctae Virgines et Viduae
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Omnes Sancti et Sanctae Dei, (intercedite pro nobis.)
Propitius esto, (parce nos, Domine.) 
Propitius esto, (exaudi nos, Domine.)
Ab omni malo,
Ab omni peccato,
Ab ira tua,
A subitanea et improvisa morte,
Ab insidiis diaboli,
Ab ira et odio et omni mala voluntate,
A spiritu fornicationis,
A fulgure et tempestate,
A flagello terraemotus,
A peste, fame et bello,
A morte perpetua,
Per mysterium sanctae Incarnationis tuae,
Per adventum tuum,
Per nativitatem tuam,
Per baptismum et sanctum ieiunium tuum,
Per crucem et passionem tuam,
Per mortem et sepulturam tuam,
Per sanctam resurrectionem tuam,
Per admirabilem ascensionem tuam,
Per adventum Spiritus Sancti Paracliti,
In die iudicii, 
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n
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s,

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Peccatores,

Ut nobis parcas,

Ut nobis indulgeas,

Ut ad veram paenitentiam nos perducere digneris,

Ut Ecclesiam tuam sanctam regere et conservare digneris,

Ut domum Apostolicum et omnes ecclesiasticos ordines in sancta religione conservare digneris,

Ut inimicos sanctae Ecclesiae humiliare digneris,

Ut regibus et principibus christianis pacem et veram concordiam donare digneris,

Ut cuncto populo christiano pacem et unitatem largiri digneris,

Ut omnes errantes ad unitatem Ecclesiae revocare, et infideles universos ad Evangelii lumen perducere digneris,

Ut nosmetipsos in tuo sancto servitio confortare et conservare digneris,

Ut mentes nostras ad caelestia desideria erigas,

Ut omnibus benefactoribus nostris sempiterna bona retribuas,

Ut animas nostras, fratrum, propinquorum et benefactorum nostrorum ab aeterna damnatione eripias,

Ut fructus terrae dare et conservare digneris,

Ut omnibus fidelibus defunctis requiem aeternam donare digneris,

Ut nos exaudire digneris,

Fili Dei,
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Agnus Dei, qui tollis peccata mundi, (parce nobis, Domine.) 
Agnus Dei, qui tollis peccata mundi, (exaudi nos, Domine.)
Agnus Dei, qui tollis peccata mundi, (miserere nobis.)

Christe, (audi nos.)
Christe, (exaudi nos.)
Kyrie, eleison. (Kyrie, eleison.)
Christe, eleison. (Christe, eleison.)
Kyrie, eleison. (Kyrie, eleison.)

[Pater noster silentio] Et ne nos inducas in tentationem. (Sed libera nos a malo.)

Monday, April 27, 2015

Winner of Giveaway #1

I have a few new posts that I am working on but I wanted to post our winner.
Congratulations, Becky D.!  I will be emailing you do I can send this out.  Stay tuned for an absolutely fabulous giveaway this Friday!


Friday, April 24, 2015

"There are so Many Stephen's"

Here is the wrap up of our novena in seven super quick takes!1

1

Please read what the Pope had to say about our Church's history of martyrs.

2

Just last month the Adminstrative Committee of the USCCB called for prayer and action in response to the widespread and bloody persecution of Christians.  Let your prayers not end with the end of this novena, please, please continue to pray!

3


Did you hear about the Bishop in Nigeria who had a vision of Christ?  Jesus handed him a sword and when the Bishop took it, the sword turned into a Rosary.  Prayer is our greatest weapon.

4

Then, There is the Bishop pleading for the world to notice and take action as Boko Had an (an Islamic extremist group that has joined forces with ISIS).  If you are wondering what you can do, make sure to read #3!  Also, encourage our leaders to acknowledge the tragedies occurring around the world. Ask your priests to have public prayer for the persecuted.  Find reputable charities to aid victims of persecution.

5

For Day 8 of the novena, please pray nine Memorare prayers, one Hail Holy Queen, and one St Michael Prayer. Please also pray the Mary, Undoer of Knots prayer for the intention of an end to violence.



6

Since I will be at a homeschooling conference tomorrow without internet access, here are the final prayers for tomorrow.

Please pray nine Memorare prayers, one St Michael Prayer, One Rosary, and the Mary, Undoer of Knots prayer for the defeat of enemies of Faith and humanity.

Please continue to storm Heaven for the end of this advancing evil!

7

Next week, I will once again sponsor a giveaway. In the meantime, please check out and enter Giveaway #1 that ends at midnight, and Giveaway #2 that ends next Friday. Thanks.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Novena Day 7

Sorry, but this is a super short post to just remind you to pray.  I wonder how many people are actually following along with this. Anyway, please pray for those who work to stop injustice and serve the persecuted.  Thank you.

Pray nine Memorare prayers, one Hail Holy Queen, and one St Michael Prayer. God bless.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Novena Day 6

I'm sorry this is so late. Please pray along with me for all the children who have been victims of this cruel war against Christians. They have witnessed and suffered horrors that no child ever should. May God grant them protection, peace, strength, joy, and hope. Thank you.

 source


Please pray nine Memorare prayers, one Hail Holy Queen, and one St Michael prayer. God bless!

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Novena Day 5

Thank you for once again coming to pray with me.  There is much to pray for, much sadness and darkness, but we are a people of hope. With faith, there is always hope and never true fear.  Like Moses at the banks of the Red Sea, we are lifting our arms to the LORD in praise and obedience.  The Israelites did not try to fight, they did not try to run, they did not abandon their quest for the Holy Land. They simply walked through a open piece of land with walls of water on either side and an army on their heels. Terrifying, right?  No, because they had God before them and behind them. There was nothing to fear, and terrorists only win if they create terror. So let us pray once more for their conversion and adoption of peace instead of war. We can never pray for our enemies too much, Jesus asked us to do so!  God we lift our hearts in praise that we can have hope and pray for our enemies instead of fearing them!



Please pray nine Memorare prayers, one Hail, Holy Queen, and one St. Michael Prayer. Thank you!


Monday, April 20, 2015

Novena Day 4: And Then There were None

On Facebook, the other day, there was a meme that stated, "If we offered a minute of silence for every victim of the Holocaust, we would be silent for eleven and a half years.  It got me wondering, if we offered a minute of silence for every victim of persecution and ethnic cleansing, would we ever speak again?



In college, I had the opportunity to spend six months in Austria to study political science and history.  As one of our study tours, we visited a small concentration camp. It is the only part of my three semesters abroad for which I have no photographs.  It seemed like too hallowed of ground to photograph. Also, I knew I would never forget being there-- twenty years later I can still feel the immense weight of sorrow that presses in on you and smell the stench of heinous deaths.  What struck me most, though, was the small strip of green grass that separated this place of horrors from a beautiful town.  Yards away people were eating and drinking, playing and building lives. They had to have known something was wrong.  Why didn't they stop it?  I'm sure some of it was fear, but I believe the true root of why the holocaust even occurred was indifference.  "They don't want me."  "That isn't in my backyard, let them take care of it themselves."  " I have my own life to live."

Surely not everyone felt that way, but without the general populace not objecting, it would not have progressed to such a scale.  The Holocaust was horrendous, we must never forget, but in our remembering, we must take note of where similar atrocities are being committed.  We must stand up for those in Sudan and Western Africa, for the Middle East and Southeast Asia.  Yes, it is far away, but if we do not stand up for them, who will stand up for us when it happens here.  (And it can happen here!)  Evil did not die with Hitler, and while in the 1940's there were many who could claim ignorance due to lack of communication technology, we have no excuse today.  The proof is everywhere, videos and photos, televised torture. We cannot deny it nor say it doesn't exist.

Let us please pray for the persecuted, that they may be delivered from their oppressors and that we may be willing to intervene in any way needed to save them

Please pray nine Memorare, one Hail Holy Queen, and one Prayer of St Michael.

Thank you and God bless.

**Don't forget about the two giveaways going on right now.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Novena Day 3

Today, please pray for our leaders both in government and the Church. Thank you.


Please pray the Memorare nine times, followed by Hail Holy Queen, and the St Michael Prayer. Thank you.

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Novena Day 2

Thank you all so much for praying along with me. Jesus said that wherever two or more are gathered in His name, He is there also.  Thank you for helping to bring Jesus into the midst of my blog.  Below are the prayers for today. Please pray for the intention of a return of America and the whole world to the LORD.  At the Name of the Savior every knee shall bend. There are many refusing to bend now, but in the end all will be forced to do so.  Lucifer challenged God, thinking himself too important to worship anyone else, even the Almighty.  St Michael threw him out of Heaven, and though he has been banished to an eternity of separation from God, he still must bend a knee to the LORD.  His demons who serve and follow him, must obey Jesus above all else. The Name of Jesus is that powerful. May we pray that more will come to love, serve, and worship the true God!  Jesus, mercy! Jesus, help!



Please pray the Memorare nine times:

REMEMBER, O most gracious Virgin Mary, that never was it known that anyone who fled to thy protection, implored thy help, or sought thy intercession was left unaided. Inspired with this confidence, I fly to thee, O Virgin of virgins, my Mother; to thee do I come; before thee I stand, sinful and sorrowful. O Mother of the Word Incarnate, despise not my petitions, but in thy mercy hear and answer me. Amen.

Then pray Hail, Holy Queen:

Hail, holy Queen, Mother of mercy, hail, our life, our sweetness and our hope. To thee do we cry, poor banished children of Eve: to thee do we send up our sighs, mourning and weeping in this vale of tears. Turn then, most gracious Advocate, thine eyes of mercy toward us, and after this our exile, show unto us the blessed fruit of thy womb, Jesus, O merciful, O loving, O sweet Virgin Mary! Amen.

Finally, pray the St Michael Prayer:

St Michael the arch Angel, defend us in battle. Be our protection against the wickedness and snares of the devil. May God rebuke him, we humbly pray, and do thou, oh Prince of the Heavenly Hosts, cast into hell, Satan and all the evil spirits who prowl the earth seeking the ruin of souls. Amen.

God bless!

Friday, April 17, 2015

A Novena and Giveaway in 7QT

1

The plight of the persecuted has never been more dire, yet most of the world has remained silent---a deafening silence!  My heart has been heavy with wanting to help those who are suffering the unimaginable.  They are constantly on my mind and in my prayers.  While I have tried hard to shield myself from the graphic photographs, just reading about the atrocities has flooded my mind with images that I can't forget.



2

Many nights thoughts and fears have consumed me. Perhaps fear is not the correct word. I do not fear, I know that the gates of Hell shall not prevail. I know that my God has already won. I know that Christ is risen, and in Him I shall never die. God always prevails and provides. However, the feeling of evil closing in around us has greatly saddened my heart.

3

The other night, the feeling of needing to pray hard and ask others to do the same would not let me rest. I kept remembering Mother Teresa's Flying Novena. Then I finally understood what God was telling me to do. A novena of Novenas was born.

4

Have you ever considered the true miracle in the fall of Jericho' s wall?  The true miracle is Joshua hearing the instructions of God, and saying yes.  Surely that wall was no obstacle for God, He did not require trumpets to blow for it to crumble. With a a mere word or thought, God could have vanquished the entire world for His people. Yet, He chose Joshua to lead the way. Joshua the great warrior of Isreal. Joshua the decorated war hero. Joshua the fearless defender of God's Chosen People. Joshua the leader of legions of well armed soldiers.  Imagine how Joshua wrestled inside as he announced his battle plan. Set aside the armour, lay down your weapons, walk away from the armoury; we will claim this city by walking in circles, prayer, and trumpet playing.  While Joshua certainly could have won this battle of his own might, he chose to say yes and attempt the impossible, because he knew that all is possible for the LORD.

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I have wrestled with doubt and hesitation about this idea. Does it really make sense? Will people think me crazy?  Am I just being paranoid?  Did God really lay this on my heart or was it my overactive imagination?  Why do I think this will even make a difference?  So many questions and a very busy day has led to a very late post that I actually began writing a couple days ago!

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So, here is the Novena, please pray and pass on.  Please, please pray with me and return tomorrow for the novena prayers of the day. God bless!

For the intention of conversion of our enemies and defeat of evil doers.

Say the Memorare prayer nine times:
REMEMBER, O most gracious Virgin Mary, that never was it known that anyone who fled to thy protection, implored thy help, or sought thy intercession was left unaided. Inspired with this confidence, I fly to thee, O Virgin of virgins, my Mother; to thee do I come; before thee I stand, sinful and sorrowful. O Mother of the Word Incarnate, despise not my petitions, but in thy mercy hear and answer me. Amen.

Say the USA Chaplet (This chaplet has the Nihil Obstat from the Church. You can learn more about it here.) 
1.  The Creed
I believe in God, the Father Almighty, Creator of Heaven and earth; and in Jeseus Christ, His only Son, our Lord: Who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary; suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died and was buried. He descended into hell; the third day He rose again from the dead; He ascended into heaven, is seated at the right hand of God the Father Almighty; from thence He shall come to judge the living and the dead. I believe in the Holy Spirit, the Holy Catholic Church, the communion of Saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and life everlasting. Amen
2. Our Father
3. Fatima Prayer:
O My Jesus, forgive us our sins, save us from the fires of Hell and lead all souls to Heaven, especially those who are in most need of Thy mercy
4. Glory Be
5. Hail Mary
6. Help for the Most Vulnerable: 
"Merciful LORD, please protect and save the most vulnerable; the unborn, disabled, sick, elderly, and those that know not Your Love and Mercy"
7. "Most loving Father, May Your Will be done on earth as in Heaven."
8. "Sweetest Jesus, for the sake of those that love You, by merit of Your Holy Passion, lift not Your Protective Hand from us and please bless the USA."
9. (Repeat four times) "Eternal God, United to the Perfect & Holy Passion of Jesus, we offer You our joys, sorrows, breaths, heartbeats, and tears to strengthen the faithful, renew the lukewarm, restore the fallen away, and convert the proud."
10. Repeat 7-9 four more times, for a total of five repetitions.
11. "Merciful Father, Whose tender Love has no bounds, Grant, in Your Goodness and Mercy that we always embrace Your Perfect Will in all things with a joyful heart. Please cover us with the Precious Blood of Jesus in which we trust and rely.  Send the Holy Spirit to renew our souls and our land that it may bring You honor and glory and we may, once again,be a nation under God! Bring us daily closer to the Sacred & Immaculate Hearts and increase our Faith that we may always strengthen each other, Jesus' Name. Amen.

Say the St Michael Prayer:
Holy Michael, the Archangel, defend us in battle. Be our safeguard against the wickedness and snares of the devil. May God rebuke him, we humbly pray; and do you, O Prince of the heavenly host, by the power of God cast into hell Satan and all the evil spirits who wander through the world seeking the ruin of souls. 
Amen



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I had planned 8 Fridays of giveaways and also wrestled with fulfilling that promise versus leading the novena. Then I visited Battlebeads for the prayers of the USA Chaplet and right next to it was a "Flying Novena" tenner.  God had a plan!  Mary at Battlebeads is not only one of my favorite shopkeepers for gifts, but a dear friend. She is a true inspiration and a saint here on earth. One of my blessed readers will win a USA chaplet in Czech Crystal and Flying Novena tenner. Please just leave a comment below. Winner will be chosen on May 1st.  


Linking up with Kelly.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

{p, h, f, r} Covert Operations and Request for Prayer

I am, once again, linking up with Auntie Leila.  First off, please, please, please, please consider joining me in a very special novena that begins tomorrow right here!

Also, don't forget to enter my toddler art prize pack giveaway!!!

Pretty Happy
The children and I have been up to some covert operations!! My husband has wanted a canoe for well, forever.  Four years ago, he put an application in for a dry dock boat slip on our lake.  He figured that by the time our number came up, he would have bought a canoe.  

Well, we hadn't and our boat slip became available this week!  In a totally impulsive reaction, I bought a used canoe as an early birthday gift.  It is also a very early Christmas gift for the kids. (I usually start shopping for Christmas around now, but this is the first time that I've given a gift this early.)  I called up my partner-in-crime  brother-in-law and we headed out to pick up the canoe.

I couldn't believe how big a 16 foot canoe is!!!! Thankfully, it fit on the car, and the seller threw in oars and five life-vests--sweet.



We have since loaded the canoe onto the boat slip, but my husband still doesn't know. We are making the big reveal tomorrow, the kids are ready to burst.


Funny
On the way to pick up the canoe, we passed a local creamery that makes its own ice cream and waffle cones.  I promised everyone a quick stop in on the way back.  We got a banana split with three scoops, three toppings, whipped cream and cherries. For only $6 it was a deal.  My brother-in-law then used the boat shaped dish to teach the kids some boating vocabulary.   Does that make this an educational field trip?  ;)



Real 
The last time I was at this creamery, I was pregnant with Ashley, my sister-in-law was ready to pop with my first niece, and my dad drove us all there.  Within two weeks, so much changed. I lost my baby and my father, but I also gained my beautiful niece.  So many memories. I hadn't been ready to go back before now, but I'm glad that I did!


Most amazing view---this was one of my parents' favorite spots.




Tuesday, April 14, 2015

A Flying Novena

Linking up with Theology is a Verb for Worth Revisiting:

It is very late at night and I can't sleep despite a busy, busy day. My heart is heavy with the plight of the persecuted and concern for my own country and family.  In Father Apostoli' s book Following Mary to Jesus  he describes how Mother Teresa prayed what she dubbed "a flying novena."  It consisted of nine Memorare prayers prayed in succession for urgent needs.

I am asking all of you, to join me in a Novena of Flying Novenas.  We will begin on Friday, so as to gather as many prayer partners as possible.  I will post the Novena each day along with special intentions, meditations, and prayers. Prayer can move mountains and nothing is impossible for Our God.  Please share this novena with your friends and family. Let us storm Heaven with pleas of deliverance.  If my blog accomplishes nothing else, I pray that it will spread this message to pray that God has laid upon my heart.



Do you remember Flight 800?  It was the jet that exploded over the Hudson river in 1996.  I had a ticket on that flight!  My dream from when I was very small, maybe 3 years old, had been to study in France.  I learned everything I could about the language, nation, and culture. I pleaded with my mother to send me to a boarding school in France, like my heroine Madeline.  I collected every Madeline book and trinket and dreamed of one day strolling down the streets of Paris.  When I was a junior in college, my chance finally came.  I was required to study abroad for my major. My father booked me a non-stop flight to Paris and a three night hotel stay in Paris, so I could live my dream before heading to school in Reims. I could not have been happier!!  Then, the Sunday before my scheduled departure, I had a complete panic attack like no other panic attack in history. I was up the entire night wondering how I could explain to my parents that I couldn't board that plane.  I didn't know why, I couldn't explain it in the least. I still planned to go to school but I just couldn't go early, I couldn't take that flight. My parents were furious, my father tried every ounce of his power to bend my will but I just couldn't change as much as I wanted to.

In a last ditch effort to bring me to my senses, my father told me that if I wouldn't board the flight he had booked me, I could pay for my own ticket over.  Despite my very limited budget and the headache of phone calls to book a new flight, that is what I did and I instead arrived in France a day late. But, I arrived!  My mother and I watched in horror as the news footage showed over and over the devastating crash.  It took me years to get over the guilt of walking away. I would constantly wonder, who took my ticket, who was in my seat?  Did he have children? Was she a wife?  After the survivor guilt began to wane, I realized there was another side to this.  God had spared me. No matter how many times I asked why the others perished, my true answer was He chose that I did not.  I have begged God to show me why, what is my purpose, what is my mission.  I still am searching, I may never fully know this side of Heaven, however, when God keeps me awake, I have learned to "trust and obey" as the children's Bible song says.

So, please join me on this mission.  It may be the one for which  I have asked for 20 years!  " Speak LORD, Your servant is listening!"

God bless!

Friday, April 10, 2015

7QT Giveaway week #1

Around Christmas time, on Facebook, there was a "pay it forward" challenge circulating. My sister posted an invitation to join the challenge and she would randomly bless you with a gift some time during the year. I signed onto hers and then posted the same challenge on my page...however, out of the ten people who should have volunteered to join on, only two signed up!  So, for the next eight Friday's, I will be sponsoring giveaways of some of my favorite things and highlighting some of my favorite businesses. This are simple giveaways to bless one of my readers, no strings attached and I receive nothing in return other than the pleasure of making one of you happy!  So, this is week one.

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I really, really, really like books.  So, my children have hundreds and I have read hundreds more from the local library.  I have a few tried and true favorites. Today I am going to share with you my new favorite series.

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Some of our collection
It's important to surround our children with beauty and goodness. In the board book department, I have found books that meet this criteria few and far between.  Then I discovered the Mini Masters series of books.  I purchased a stack for Little Man for Christmas, an extra couple just because, and then another for Easter. We now have most of the set, but I think that new ones have been released recently.

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When Cowgirl was a baby, Baby Einstein was all the rage.  Everyone wanted everything Baby Einstein. While I liked some of the products--particularly the Cds--most of it seemed to be missing something. I appreciated the inclusion of fine art, but there always seemed to be a disconnect between the pictures and the prose--or the lack of prose.  One of my favorite features of Mini Masters is how a dear little story is woven into the pictures of paintings. The pictures are tied together so well.


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I also enjoy that each book contains a wide array of examples of each artist's work. For instance, Monet' s book of course has the painting of the famous bridge and water lillies, but also includes his painting of turkeys. I never knew he painted turkeys!

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The books are well constructed and able to withstand whatever a busy toddler can throw at them, such as throwing them!  The pages are high gloss and easy to clean. All the features that a mom appreciates.

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Lastly, I must say that they are not just for young toddlers. I have used several in my preschool art class where the average age is 4.5 years. The children really enjoyed the stories and studying the various works of art. I feel that it made the art more accessible to them.

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Here's the giveaway! One of my blessed reader will win a box set of Mini Masters books, toddler crayons, and toddler markers.

Comment below for one entry
Share with friends for an additional entry (tell me where in the comments)
Sign up for updates from Veils and Vocations for a bonus 3 entries!

Contest closes April 24, 2015.

Linking up with Kelly, please keep her family in your prayers!

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Have a Blessed Easter!!!

From my family to yours, sincere wishes for a blessed and joyous Easter. God bless!



My favorite song for Easter morning.

Thursday, April 2, 2015

{p,f,h,r} The Holy Week 2015 Edition

Linking up with Auntie Leila.

Pretty
We had a very pretty tea, but also pretty quick.  With a wiley toddler, everything needs to move along before he gets into too much trouble. In fact, we ended up skipping rereading the Gospel passages because Little Man ate almost half the strawberries by the time we finished saying Grace.  Buddy is pretty funny. He waits all year for these wine spritzers They maybe have a tablespoon of wine in each glass, but he spends the rest of the year telling everyone that he loves wine....that can be REAL interesting.







Happy

Buddy was so happy to lose his first tooth. He has been trying to wiggle one out for two months ever since the dentist said that he would lose a tooth soon.



Funny
For how rascally that little guy is, he amuses himself well. We had an egg dying party on Palm Sunday evening with some of my husband's family.  Little Man lost interest in watching the eggs get dunked in cups, so he just sat down an looked through his books. He's been known to sit for a half hour just turning pages and looking at pictures. However, he won't let you read to him, everyone must have their own book and read to themselves...lol.



Real
I'm not sure why I thought scrubbing the kitchen on Wednesday would mean it would be clean for Easter. This floor has been swept no less than ten times since yesterday morning.  We won't even discuss the French door--fingerprint central!  I know someday, all too soon, I will miss having them around, but I don't think I will ever miss the endless mess they produce.  My favorite Facebook meme is "Cleaning a house with kids in it is like trying to brush your teeth while eating Oreos." So true!


Holy Thursday Liturgical Tea


A few years ago, inspired by Jessica, we began having a Holy Thursday Liturgical Tea.  It was surprisingly simple to pull off and made a real impression on the children.  I am busy preparing for today's tea and thought I would share some of our plans.

Each year, I set the table with a pretty olive-themed tablecloth and take out some special bowls and plates, just not the fine China.  I save that for Easter.  In addition to the symbolic foods, I include a few symbolic plates, a pewter player, green fish shaped plate the my mother-in-law made me, and my decorative Noah' s Ark plate.   The pewter plate represents the Sedar that Jesus shared with the disciples. The fish represents Christ and green is a traditional color for Holy Thursday.  Noah' s Ark represents the fulfillment of Old Testement prophecies.  

A glimpse at last year's tea.

Below is a list of what we usually have on the table for our tea:


  • Palms on the road-- In years past, I have made heart of Palm salad, and eaten the whole thing myself. In an effort to economize and simplify, I now just put the palms from Palm Sunday in a pretty vase as a centerpiece.
  • Costly Oil--I fill a shallow bowl with olive oil and flavor it with Italian seasoning, garlic, and a little onion powder. As a child, this is what we put on bread, never butter, of course that was only if there was no tomato sauce left to sop up.
  • Unleavened bread blessed and broken-- We are using broken pieces of Matzo crackers, but have also used posts cut into wedges, in the past.
  • The Blessing Cup--I make a special wine Spitzer that is mostly grape juice and water with a very little bit of red wine. The wine and water represent the blood and water that flowed from Christ's side.
  • Mount of Olives--A pile of olives. Any kind will do. 
  • Garden of Gethesmene-- Dried figs
  • Sleepy Apostles--Sleepytime tea
  • Thirty Pieces of Silver--I'm once again filling a bowl with thirty dimes that will then be donated to Mary's Meals. We have also used rice crackers, slices of carrots, and slices of string cheese.
  • Judas' kiss--Strawberries
  • The Cock Crowed Twice--I marinated some chicken cutlets, cooked them in a pan, and sliced them into strips. In years past, we have used rotisserie chicken, chicken salad, and mini chicken pot pies.
  • Peter's Tears--Salted sunflower seeds.  (I bought unsalted by mistake, oops!) 
  • Cloud of Heaven--Garlic mash potatoes, and yes, I use instant potatoes. I simply salute some garlic in oil and mix it in. The key is simplicity.

  • I will be back to post pictures in Pretty-Happy-Funny-Real.  Enjoy the day!

    Wednesday, April 1, 2015

    Holy Wednesday: A Day of Preparation

    Cowgirl recently commented, "I don't understand why they call it Holy Week, I mean it's not like it is "Glorious Wednesday" or anything. What's up with Wednesday?"

    Ah, good question.  In our diocese, Monday is set aside as "Reconciliation Monday" where every parish opens from 4-9 PM with multiple priests available simultaneously for confession.  On Tuesday, we always have reversal for our Children's Stations of the Cross. I've never been to the Chrism Mass, but hope to go someday. However, since the Chrism Mass is taking place at the Cathedral, there is nothing going on at parishes, so it makes sense to reherse on Tuesday.

    And then there is Wednesday, the breather between the hustle and bustle of the early part of the week and the hustle and bustle of the Tridiuum.  I think God realized we all needed a chance to catch our breath!  Holy Wednesday is a day to prepare so we can focus more on Christ the rest of the week. It's like a Martha day before a Mary long weekend.

    So, here is our plan for the day.  Wash the floors and windows! There was a time when I would do this Holy Saturday night after the children went to bed. I'm not sure how, it seems crazy, for sure!  Ready food for Liturgical Tea, tomorrow, and Easter.  Gather up outfits for the children for Holy Thursday Mass, Children's Stations of the Cross on Good Friday, and Easter Vigil on Holy Saturday.  Scrub table and chairs and pick out tablecloth for Easter brunch.  Double check that I have everything that I need for Easter morning and locate the box of Easter baskets in the attic, even though they won't come down until Saturday night. (I still decorate the house and set the table for brunch on Holy Saturday night.  I think waiting for Easter decoration until it's Easter emphasizes the celebration of the liturgical calendar, not the secular one. I do the same on Christmas Eve save the Christmas tree, outdoor lights, and nativities.  Anything that says "Merry Christmas," stockings, miscellaneous Christmas themed knick knacks all wait until after bedtime on Christmas Eve.)

    I'm trying hard to muster the motivation to wash my windows!  It's my least favorite chore and it is still so cold outside. We even got some more snow yesterday. We might have a white Easter even though we had a green Christmas.  At least the sun is shining, I'm hoping the temperature starts to climb.

    A look at the rest of the week:

    • Liturgical Tea tomorrow afternoon
    • Holy Thursday Mass followed by Adoration
    • Children's Stations of the Cross
    • Tenebrae Holy Saturday morning
    • Easter Vigil on Holy Saturday evening
    • Easter Brunch followed by holiday dinner at Hubby's Godmother' s home.
    Hope you are all having a blessed Holy Week!