Wednesday, June 29, 2016

The Spiritual Warfare Answer Book

The world has gone crazy. There is so much evil in it and our own country, founded on Godly principles, has become more and more ungodly. From no fault divorce, abortion, gay marriage, and now the denial of even sex (that’s what gender ideology is all about) to promotion of euthanasia. The culture of death is running rampant. God is love and life; Satan is hate and death. He cannot create a single thing but he knows how to destroy and he is hell-bent on destroying us.
But we can fight! The Spiritual Warfare Answer Book by Dr. David Jeremiah is a book that can help. Written in a Q&A format, Dr. Jeremiah goes over why there is a need for spiritual warfare, understanding the enemy, and God’s armory.  
He cites much Scripture, but the basis is Ephesians 6. All of it is worth memorizing but especially these:
The Why:
Be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. ~ Eph 6:10-12
The How:
Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God. Eph 6:14-17
Dr. Jeremiah devotes several pages to each part of the whole armor of God. He has penned a morning prayer to remind us that we are Christian soldiers called to battle. This is a wonderful book for all who are wondering how in the world do we fight evil. Dr. Thigpen writes in an easy-to-understand style that is accessible even for children. It is no small feat.

My only criticism of this book is that he doesn’t include the various prayers (ex. Prayer to St. Michael, litany of the most Holy Name of Jesus and others) that are so powerful in warding off the evil one, along with help from the saints, particularly Mary and Joseph! For this purpose I think Paul Thigpen’s Manual for Spiritual Warfare far superior.
I'm copying this to Amazon as well and I thank BookLookBloggers for providing me with a review copy.

Monday, June 27, 2016

SCBWI Summer Reading List

Reading List coverCheck out the SCBWI Summer Reading List here. It is organized by region and category (PB, MG, YA, etc.) You can click on your region to support your local authors.

And lookie, Ten Easter Eggs is on page 92 in the Southwest section. Remember, we are an Easter people and every Sunday is a mini-Easter.

Friday, June 24, 2016

On Writing and Losing

Two years ago, I redesigned my blog and asked St. John the Baptist to pray for me and to bless the writing I do publicly and those who read it.

Since then, I've lost readers. I don't check stats often but at the beginning of this year I was not surprised to see the results. I write to share what I have, which is faith. I prayed for faith and received it. But as a mother, I have discovered that you cannot give to your children (or to anybody) what you do not possess. And once you possess the greatest Treasure, you discover you simply cannot keep it to yourself. It's not like any earthly treasure. So I keep on writing because it gives me great joy and if it helps even one person, all the effort has been worth it.

I am so very thankful for this space on the internet to share my thoughts. If I have hurt you with my writing, forgive me. I pray to God to guard my tongue and fingers, to never forget love. God bless you for reading. St. John, pray for us.

Fact: The Church typically celebrates the heavenly entrance of the saints -- their death day -- but only three people have the honor of their earthly birth celebrated. Jesus (the God-Man), Mary His Mother, and St. John the Baptist His cousin.

Today is the Feast of St. John the Baptist's Nativity! He prepared the way for our Lord.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016


The full moon was so gorgeous last night and Max vowed he would get up early to see the sunrise on the beach. Looks like I may have to discipline myself to do this once in a while ... the dog certainly looks very happy.

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Happy Father's Day

Scenes from early fatherhood. You see those hands? They serenade, they teach, they play, they hold, they love. It never ends. And it is how we know our Heavenly Father loves us. I know that Max and Dagny are growing up secure in this knowledge because of Michael. I attribute the loss of my faith primarily due to my terrible free will, but my choice to turn away from God was not just due to the problem of suffering, but also because my father was largely absent from my life growing up. We are mere humans and children especially need concrete evidence of their father's love and approval. His presence. And faith flows from the father, even if the mother is holier. It's an observation I've made of many families over the years and it's no mistake that we sing Faith of our Fathers.

Last night Michael picked out a movie for us to watch:  Good Intentions. Set in a rural Southern town, it's about dreams going up in smoke, crime, blackmail, and family values. It was funny and original and I loved the message about trusting your husband to take care of the family. 

I am so grateful that Michael has a steady job he mostly enjoys, but I know some days it's a grind, and other days it's no fun to deal with difficult people, yet he gets up early every day to go to work so that we can have a comfortable life. I've known this man for over 30 years now and he's always been a hard worker and I have followed him from a room rented in a glass workshop to an enormous house to our home here in Charleston. He's often too tired to do projects at home but he is still present to us. I love his hands and I love these old pictures. I used to have them on my static website but I've gotten rid of it and thank goodness I remembered to copy them. A lot of digital stuff is unrecoverable (or we don't know how to yet).

One of my favorite booklets is Favorite Prayers to St. Joseph. It has a variety of devotions and prayers and I never realized what a powerful patron he was until it dawned on me that he was chosen to be the head of the Holy Family. And so when we ask St. Joseph to intercede for us in heaven, Jesus listens :) And this is one of my favorite prayers. I love the part about kissing. St. Joseph, pray for all fathers.  And if you've ever wondered about his life as a humble and obscure carpenter in Nazareth, you will not be sorry to read the visions of Sister Maraia Cecilia Baij in Life of St. Joseph.

Wednesday, June 15, 2016


I'm loving these books. Still in the middle of ECHO because someone else picked it up in the house and I hate sharing bookmarks. Since I typically have several books going at once, I didn't mind but it's all mine again now. What a beautifully told fable-like tale, at once modern and yet timeless. Pam Munoz Ryan is one of my favorite authors and I have a feeling that when I finish this book, I'll want to go back to re-read the beginning. It's magical in the best way possible.

The Hired Girl by Laura Amy Schlitz is another amazing book that one just wants to go back and read over. It's in a diary format and I can only wish to write so beautifully in mine! Yes, I found myself jealous of a fictional character -- Joan. LOL. She's based upon the author's grandmother. I loved that she had the gumption to run away from home (her father is a mean man who burns her three treasures) and go after the dream. And does she ever! She providentially ends up working in a good Jewish home. And since she knows not a whit about Jewish people other than the Bible and Ivanhoe, it is interesting to see her learning about Jewish customs from a Catholic viewpoint. I liked that being religious was simply a part of who she was. The relationships with the various members of the family were richly drawn, and I especially loved the relationship between the older orthodox Jewish servant and Joan. And Joan, only 14 (but pretending to be 18) finally gets a bit of mothering and fathering that she is desperately in need of. This is a book I'll be reading many times. Ms. Schlitz, you've done it again!!!!

Monday, June 13, 2016

Boys State

Meet your future politicians! Max had the wonderful opportunity to go to Boys State. He had a fantastic time getting hands-on experience in how our government works. Since he is interested in many aspects, I don't think he got much sleep, writing speeches late at night, politicking during the day. He was so proud to let us know that he won his party's nomination for Mayor but lost to the opposing party by one vote.

He was on several committees to decide on party platform, policies and such. There were 1,100 boys, all rising seniors, the best from the state. I was quite impressed to discover that a SC student has won the American Legion scholarship the past 8 out of 10 years. Max applied as well. He was scrambling at the last minute to get signatures and things and it was a good lesson in not procrastinating. Of course, he didn't learn about this until a week prior, so it's another lesson to learn. When I was his age, I didn't even know about this. Neither did my husband. This is precisely why we feel he needs a solid, traditional Catholic liberal arts background. Nothing like learning from the giants of philosophy. 

ETA: I just read a wonderful article that I want to remember: Virtue before Leadership.

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Living a Mighty Faith

I loved Faith Like Potatoes so when I saw a chance to read Angus Buchan's daily meditations, I didn't hesitate to pick Living a Mighty Faith. I've not read all the meditations but many and they are simple and practical, dealing with the every-day challenges of being patient with a child, lending a hand to a neighbor, savoring the moment, turning to God, trusting Him. But what they lack is depth, that Aha! moment when something difficult is clarified or you transcend the ordinary. Still, as a daily meditation guide, it is useful because of the way it's organized, with a verse from Scripture, a meditation and then a short prayer. I especially enjoyed the passages where he shares some of his life as a farmer, father and husband. It is beautifully bound with a ribbon to keep your place. It makes a lovely gift as well. Thanks to BookLook for providing me with a  review copy.

Sunday, June 5, 2016

Meditation on Rich Man and Poor Lazarus

Meister des Codex Aureus Epternacensis 001.jpg
Lazarus and Dives, illumination from the Codex Aureus of Echternach
Top panel: Lazarus at the rich man's door
Middle panel: Lazarus' soul is carried to Paradise by two angels; Lazarus in Abraham's bosom
Bottom panel: Dives' soul is carried off by two devils to Hell; Dives is tortured in Hades
Taken from Wikipedia

This was a powerful meditation. You'll have to excuse the seemingly disjointed thoughts. By the way, some people think it's sacrilegious to write in church, but it's one of the things I do regularly. I figure if the Venerable Archbishop Fulton Sheen did so in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament, it's good for me as well :) And there's such a comfort to ask Jesus to write with me.

We are always being called by God to holiness. It’s a continual conversion. Pray to help begin again. To have good desires, deeper faith. There is a certain lethargy even if we are busy. We say things like when we get over this hump, or when the kids graduate, then I’ll have time to pray more, but the problem is, when we finish one thing, there’s another. Our time is taken up with things of the moment, new things, different things. It’s like hiking – there’s always another hill. We get older we feel more fragile. Our parents, our peers, they begin to die. What the heck is retirement? Life ends. We only are made in His image. Everything else reflects His beauty. So only we participate in His mysteries. To grasp the good and share it. At the end, we give an account to God for how we’ve used those gifts.
The parable of the rich man and Lazarus is one we cannot forget. When you die, it is too late. Life is finished and there’s a gulf between heaven and hell. Nothing can be done. We have the Law of Moses and the words of the prophets. Even if a dead man arose, people wouldn’t believe. A dead man did rise! Jesus. But how many believe?

Lord, help my unbelief!
The Holy Spirit does not force Himself upon us. The Lord will knock and waits for us to open the door. The Lord will never coerce.
When we take a class, students ask: Is this going to be on the test? It’s an important question because at the end of life, when you stand before the throne of God, you will have to answer. And the consequences are eternal. If it’s true, if Jesus is God, then our eternal life depends on it. It’s going to be heaven or hell. If it’s not true, why bother?
The Catechism says that upon death, we are judged according to our faith and works. How we lived. Our Lord is not trying to “get us” into trouble but always drawing us closer to Himself. See, for a person who hates Jesus, who does not believe in God, it would be hell for him to be in heaven, where it is all love. He couldn’t stand it. That’s why hell is an eternal separation.
So yes, you have to choose. We will be purged and purified. St. Augustine says the suffering in purgatory is greater than anything we can imagine but they are happier than anyone on earth because they know the purpose of suffering. They know they are on the road to heaven and so can endure this temporary separation from God.
Our Lord, Who always did good, dies as a criminal, abandoned by even his friends and betrayed by a close one. It is total devastation. But it turns into total victory because it is offered with total love for the salvation of the world.    
So make each day count in spite of our personal wretchedness. Our eternal destiny is to be with God, with all the angels and saints. Be a saint!
This is the Christian vision of life. Eternity. But we’ve lost this and that’s why we prescribe death as a cure. We euthanize. We abort. But this is false mercy. It is blindness. Everything that is not of God will pass away. Everything that is of God will endure forever.
Faith is a Person – Jesus Christ. The God-Man. It is a mystery of the Trinity. Jesus is sent by the Father so that we may get to know the Father by the help of the Holy Spirit. It is about coming to love someone. Not just a bunch of rules. Morality is the path to eternal life and love. To meet our Lord. In John’s first letter, he begins.  … we have seen, we have heard, we have touched. We testify. He wants us know Jesus so that our joy might be complete. That you may believe! He is an old man while writing this letter. He is one of the sons of Zebedee, sons of thunder because they were so full of fire. Jesus rebukes them but he is the beloved disciple. Doctrine helps us to understand who Jesus is.
I am just an ordinary woman, but I also need to write. It is an overflowing of the interior life. It is natural that I want to bring my greatest treasure – Jesus – to share. One of these days I will need to write my testimony in detail, not the shorty one I wrote for Catholic Digest. When I read the Purpose Driven Life, that is one of the important things Pastor Warren asks us to do.