Friday, February 17, 2017

POTUS at Boeing SC

I hardly ever turn on the TV but today was a very special day. Historic. Boeing rolled out its new 787-10 and President Trump came to celebrate it with us!!! The factory was shut down for first shift, both for celebration and extra security. Michael got to go as an employee and he said it was great. I got to watch and listen to the speeches on TV. One thing that struck me was how the two pastors, of Mother Emmanuel and of the Baptist Church in Columbia, thanked God for everything and asked for His blessing now and always. I love how God is not forgotten even as we celebrate the work of human hands.

I also appreciated the acknowledgment President Trump made to American engineering and manufacturing. Boeing is doing it right! We are so grateful to God for bringing us here and for all that He continues to do.

Here are some pictures I took for memory's sake. The kittens and I also had some playtime :)   





Monday, February 13, 2017

Doing the Nineveh 90

Last year, I read about Nineveh 90 on Fr. Heilman’s blog. Briefly, it's a 3 month program of intense physical and spiritual discipline as we strive for personal holiness and pray for special intentions.

I balked at the program because it *is* intense. I doubt I can do everything, especially that intense physical exercise. I can't even do a pushup without falling over. So yeah, I'm weak. And sometimes I get very sleepy at Adoration. Fasting is okay but we are a foodie family so it's always a struggle and there is CAKE that is tempting me right now. But God is so good. He gave me some help from Matthew Kelly. It's got practical suggestions for developing discipline, both physical and spiritual. For instance, every hour I say a quick prayer and offer up that hour's work for a person who comes to mind. This way my work becomes a prayer.  

With God's grace I hope to live Ephesians 6. It even  includes instructions for battling evil:
Finally, draw your strength from the Lord and from his mighty power. Put on the armor of God so that you may be able to stand firm against the tactics of the devil. For our struggle is not with flesh and blood but with the principalities, with the powers, with the world rulers of this present darkness, with the evil spirits in the heavens. Therefore, put on the armor of God, that you may be able to resist on the evil day and, having done everything, to hold your ground. So stand fast with your loins girded in truth, clothed with righteousness as a breastplate, and your feet shod in readiness for the gospel of peace. In all circumstances, hold faith as a shield, to quench all flaming arrows of the evil one. And take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

Nineveh 90 begins Feb. 13, 2017 and ends on May 13, 2017 (on the 100th anniversary of Our Lady of Fatima). We’ve been preparing for this all of January. I am so grateful to have a faithful partner right here at home. Yesterday was Septuagesima Sunday (the first of 3 Sundays before Lent so that we’re not caught unawares when Ash Wed comes along) and we had a lovely celebration for our newly ordained deacon with a High Mass with Byrd’s Mass for 3 Voices. He chanted the Epistle and Gospel so beautifully and I kept thinking how much we could use such a talented tenor in our choir!
Copied from CCW
Pray for us. I'm stepping away from unnecessary Internet use even though I enjoy reading about and sharing good books, movies, kitten nonsense, proud mama moments, photos and so much more. I'll miss it but I should probably be reading more of the Bible and Saints and less of the news. I leave you with this quote from St. Catherine of Siena: "If you are what you should be, you will set the whole world ablaze!" Thank you, Fr. Heilman, for organizing Nineveh 90 (this is the dedicated website).

Come Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful and enkindle in them the fire of your love. 



Thursday, February 2, 2017

Tough As They Come

I don’t typically gravitate towards books about the actual fighting in a war but the few I’ve read have stayed with me. And TOUGH AS THEY COME by SSG Travis Mills will too. He begins the book with the day he goes out on a routine mission that nearly killed him. I cannot even imagine living through something like this, but he not only survived (a great miracle), but is now helping other veterans who’ve been severely wounded to live theirs. I enjoyed getting to know this small-town young man; I have always loved small towns and he captures all the fun and closeness of living in one where football rules and boys grow up to be men. And become brothers in arms. The thing that impressed me most was how seriously he takes his role as a man, as a husband, as a father, and as a soldier. He is a leader through and through.

The fact that he was wounded so severely does not make him pitiful. Of course, he wishes he still had all his limbs, but he is moving forward, pushing himself. His courage and determination are infectious. I loved how he encouraged other soldiers who’d arrive at Walter Reed. And this memoir inspires me to never give up.

The bulk of the book describes his three deployments to Afghanistan with the famous 82nd Airborne Division. Until I read this book, I had no idea the how very dangerous it’s been for our men to fight the Taliban in Afghanistan where you couldn’t necessarily trust the Afghanis either. But here they were, fighting to give them a better life. And today we “sleep soundly in our beds because rough men stand ready in the night to visit violence on those who would do us harm.” Thank you SSG Mills and all the others who have served our country so fearlessly so that we might sleep in peace. God bless you!
Thanks to Blogging for Books for a review copy of TOUGH AS THEY COME. I highly recommend it to all who are 14 years or older.
When I read this book, I remembered Trent Reedy’s WORDS IN THE DUST, based upon his experiences serving in Afghanistan. He paints a picture of what it’s like to be an Afghani girl. I’m reading another one of his books, IF YOU’RE READING THIS, that I am enjoying immensely. And he has a new series of books of what it would be like if America were divided.
Right before I picked up TOUGH, I’d read Padma Venkatraman’s free-verse novel A TIME TO DANCE. The two books are completely different but what they have in common is the indomitable spirit of people who face tragedy with courage.
Happy reading, say Benny and Jules :) 

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Newbery, Caldecott, Printz and Other Winners!!!

What a thrill to see some of my favorite books on the ALA website!!! Congratulations to all the winners and my heartfelt appreciation for writing stories that make a difference. I'm looking forward to reading many of these with kitty in my lap!


Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Liked: whose approval are you living for? approval are you living for? by Kari Kampakis sounds like a book for teen girls that’s about using social media responsibly but it is so much more than that. Kampakis guides the reader to go to the root of how and why we interact online. Are we longing for attention? Love? Approval? She tackles different scenarios with Biblically based answers. It isn’t easy being a teenager nowadays where the pressure to present a perfect life to the world makes them feel like a fraud, where the number of “likes” determines their self-worth, and where a moment of poor judgment is recorded forever. Kampakis gives practical advice on navigating the online world, which can be horribly unforgiving, and asks her readers to dig deeper, to the truth of who they are, and why they are here, with a series of reflection questions at the end of each chapter. She reminds them continually that God loves them dearly, passionately, wholly, and to strive for Godly relationships at all times. I highly recommend this book for all teenagers (and grownups too – we suffer from some of the same problems in the quest to be liked online). This book is organized so that it’s suitable for use in teen youth groups. I will be giving a copy to our own. Thanks to HarperCollins BookLook for providing me with a review copy. Crossposted to Amazon. 

Wednesday, January 4, 2017


Adoration of the Magi by Bassano Jacopo and Francesco
A few people have asked me what Adoration is. The short answer is: worship. The  consecrated Host is Jesus, all of Him: Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity. And so we fall on our knees in adoration like the Magi did when they worshipped the new-born Babe.

The long answer is my personal experience: I anticipate this date a week beforehand. Like a lover, I think about what I might wear, what I might talk about, what He might reveal to me. The night before, I am excited. And when the day finally comes, I can't wait to finish my morning chores so that I can go meet Jesus. I dress nicely, bring my veil, rosary, some spiritual reading, and my notebook. I read, write, pray, just be. My biggest challenge is staying awake especially in the afternoon or night. I get very, very sleepy. I suppose I'm not a very good lover. But it is lovely to rest in the Lord.

I've been doing this now monthly for about 2.5 years, ever since St. Clare of Assisi parish on Daniel Island was formed. The pastor at the Anglican church has graciously allowed us to use their church for daily Mass and Adoration. Weekend Masses are at Bishop England. I pray that when we have our own church building that we'll have a perpetual Adoration chapel. All it takes is a willingness to commit to spending time with Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament, even if it's at 3 am. And it's so wonderful to be able to pop in for a few minutes. Even if Jesus isn't exposed, you can still visit with Him if the lamp near the Tabernacle is lit.

So I encourage my readers to go visit Jesus. You don't have to be Catholic or even Christian. Just sit with Him. And I can guarantee you that you will receive graces. Some illumination or insight into the spiritual world. Maybe even an epiphany!

Here's a directory.

During our conversion, I used to wonder why Jesus was all locked up in the tabernacle, but it is for His own safety. Many satanic groups will steal the Blessed Sacrament to desecrate it. I've even read stories of people in the satanic groups who can identify a consecrated Host from one that isn't. I find this amazing since even many Catholics have lost the sense of the Real Presence of Christ.

I still cannot wrap my head around the fact that the Lord of the universe comes to us in humble bread. This is why I love the hands of priests, because it is only through them we receive Jesus in a substantial way. One would have thought that Jesus couldn't do anything more humble than to come down to earth as a helpless baby, at the mercy of humans, to save us. Even one drop of His Precious Blood would've saved us all, but He loves us so much He suffers and dies for us. That's Passion!

The fruits of Adoration are many. The quiet time is a blessing. And there is something wonderful that happens being still. Many Masses, psalms and hymns come to mind but when I'm deeply in prayer, there are no words. It's heart to Heart. Last year I meditated upon the Hours of the Passion as recorded by Servant of God, Luisa Piccarreta. Having seen Mel Gibson's Passion of the Christ, many of the images that come to mind are from his movie (He based it on the visions of Bl. Anne Catherine Emmerich). It's amazing how many of the details match both of these saints, separated by time and space.

Well, these are just some of my thoughts on Adoration.  And here are a couple of quotes from a dear saint, Mother Teresa. 

When you look at the crucifix, you understand how much Jesus loved you then. When you look at the Sacred Host you understand how much Jesus loves you now.

Jesus has made Himself the Bread of Life to give us life. Night and day, He is there. If you really want to grow in love, come back to the Eucharist, come back to that Adoration.

Sweet Sacrament is one of my favorite hymns and I love both this particular arrangement and the pictures that Msgr. Pope compiled for this video. 

Friday, December 30, 2016

New Year's Word

My family will get a big laugh out of this. When I was little, everybody called me a chatterbox. And that nickname has persisted even though I am a quiet person. But there is also a desire to talk, to be heard, and in writing, I have discovered an outlet. But the writing itself can be very distracting from what I need to hear. I've had a couple of days alone to ponder and pray what it is I need to work on this year and it happens to be silence. Maybe I will fail spectacularly, but I have to try to cultivate more silence so that I can listen better. Listen to the still, small voice of God within my heart. Listen to the stories. Listen to my husband, children and friends. Listen.

Won't you share what you'd like to work on in the New Year?

Look at these furry friends of mine. How silent and alert they are, listening. I have much to learn from them.

I love this hymn: Let All Mortal Flesh Keep Silence

In previous years, my words have been: Trust; Courage & Clarity; Patience; Fiat. It's good to remember the progress I've been making over the past few years, as well as the pitfalls.