Showing posts from February, 2014

"I Had No Idea" − Reaching Out, Raising Hope

Are you aware?'s "National Eating Disorders Awareness Week" (2/23 − 3/1/2014) -- a week dedicated to raising awareness about the seriousness of eating disorders , as well as to helping foster greater understanding and knowledge amongst us all.  "I Had No Idea" is this year's theme by the National Eating Disorders Association [NEDA], which aims at addressing misconceptions that might be standing in the way of receiving  help [or hope ] for any & all affected and still suffering.   The NEDA website, therefore, notes the following: ► Eating disorders are complex illnesses... CLICK HERE To Read More at The Way to Nourish for Life >>  Renoir [1905]

I'm in the final stages of writing Trusting God with St. Therese

The tomb of St. Therese in the basilica dedicated to her in Lisieux, France. This week I began bribing my kids to help me finish my book. They each start with $1, and lose 5¢ each time they interrupt me with discipline problems or goofing around during school hours. We’re doing lots of worksheets right now! I wrote my final chapter of Trusting God with St. Therese on Tuesday. Now I’m doing some final rewriting and editing. I hope to send it out to a few Beta readers in about two weeks. Then there will be one more round of editing and final formatting before I make it available to select book reviewers. If you have sent me an email lately and haven’t heard back right away, please know that I am not ignoring you. I am just really  focused on my book until this stage is complete. I will try to reply to as soon as I can. In the meantime, here are some links related to Trusting God with St. Therese that you might have missed. I have 4 Pinterest Boards related t

The Christian mystic

A Christian will undoubtedly experience moments in their secret or mystical journey, when they will come to know something of the height and depths, and the length and breadth of God's love. They may even come to experience what it means to be lifted up into what St. Paul calls the seventh heaven. It will certainly entail the Cross, for Jesus made it quite clear that unless we take up our daily cross we cannot be his disciples. All who pursue this spiritual journey will come to experience joy and sorrow, the agony as well as the ecstasy. But none of these experiences define the mystic. What does define a Christian mystic is the fundamental and single-minded commitment in faith, to pursue above all and everything else, the hidden journey into the mystery of Christ...and in, with and through him, to participate personally in God's plan to unite everyone with himself. This journey involves consecrating every moment of every day to God, not just for oneself, but for others too, p

God's Protection

I saw an interesting nature programme on TV the other day. A wolf cub had been injured in the wild and abandoned by its mother. He was all alone, frightened, hungry and defenseless. Left there he would soon perish. The TV crew and resident vet tried to capture him and send him to an animal hospital where he could be treated and looked after until he is strong enough to be released in the wild once again. Every time they approached the wolf cub he bared its teeth and attempted to bite his benefactors. Eventually, he was caught and taken to the hospital where, within weeks, he was well again. When things go wrong in our lives we too tend to behave like that wolf. We are angry, we’re concerned, frightened even - about the future and about what's happening to us. And we go on the attack. We believe that God has abandoned us, just like that she-wolf abandoned her cub. We blame Him for what's gone wrong, and we rebel against Him. When we behave like that, we shut off a

A Witness!

Lately I have been keenly aware of how influential my words and actions can be. Everything I say has potential to affect someone else's life. My children have a book written by Madonna called  Mr.Peabody's Apples . This book spoke to me the moment I read it. It is about rumours and how fast they can spread. Similar to the feathers in a pillow that has been torn open, a rumour is like the feathers, one can never get all those feathers back. I realised that my words are like tiny feathers and they are impossible to get back once spread out in the wind.  To Read more Click here.

At Candlemas

From the Presentation of the Lord, also called Candlemas. Here the priest is saying the Gloria (or the Collect, not sure when I took this). The Collect is a beautiful one: Almighty ever-living God, we humbly implore your majesty that, just as your Only Begotten Son  was presented on this day in the Temple  in the substance of our flesh,  so, by your grace, we may be presented to you with minds made pure. Thanks again to Melanie for including me here in the Association. I don't manage a blog post every day, but I am doing so this week, going along with Conversion Diary's "7 Posts in 7 Days" effort. All new photo posts, go see! .

Psst! Get The Word Out!

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Ash Wednesday ain't just for Catholics!

We all know that I am married to an atheist. Who gasped? Really, it's something that we work on in our marriage like anything else. Granted it was hard and there was arguing in the beginning. I even  ruined some tongs over it . A lot of it is a delicate balance of respect and a whole lot of  Holy Spirit intervention and trust! What does this have to to with Ash Wednesday ? It's a perfect example of that balance I wrote of earlier. We always try to compromise on the little stuff so it's easier to when the big stuff comes. Usually, when he compromises, I can tell, because he says funny things like "I accept you, and I love you", with a grin, especially when I come downstairs in the morning looking particularly groggy, or scratch my very dry legs while watching a basketball game, and even...burp! That last one doesn't happen often anymore. See, (tangent coming) I thought when you didn't let the burp out, no one could hear it. My husband finally fill

Sing the Joyful Mysteries of the Rosary wiith children

Back in Advent, Dan and I sang The Angel Gabriel from Heaven Came as part of our Evening Prayer. It struck me how perfect this hymn was for teaching children about the Annunciation. I conceived the idea (yes, that’s a pun) of teaching children the meaning of the mysteries of the Rosary through song. Here it was I came up with for the Joyful Mysteries. My primary goal in our Contemplative Homeschool is to teach our children how to grow in union with God. Christian meditation is a vital part of that process, teaching all of us to listen to God’s voice in the Scriptures, and to ponder His character in order to love Him better. The Rosary provides a bridge between the vocal prayers we learn as children and more mature mental prayer. Through the Rosary, we meditate on the most important mysteries of our faith. Many people have created ways to share the Rosary with children. In Singing the Rosary, I have the following goals: leading children to see the Rosary as a mea

L'Chaim! To LIfe!

I’m all about symbolism. So when we decided to give away copies of the newly released, 2 nd revised edition of All Things Girl: Truth for Teens, symbolism was bound to play a role! LOL! My decision on 18 copies is based upon the number representing “life” in Jewish teaching. That just resonates so deeply with me. I pray for great life for the book and for those who will read it. That is why we are giving away 18 copies of All Things Girl: Truth for Teens. The link to the giveaway is on the new Facebook page being administered by one of the amazing new contributors, Heather Renshaw. Heather is a blast. She’s a mother of five youngsters who somehow found the time to write a chapter on vocations in general and motherhood in particular. Because of her honesty and great sense of humor, I am convinced that her chapter will deeply affect the teen girls who read All Things Girl: Truth for Teens. If you’d like to enter the contest, visit the new Facebook page, like it, share it

Sharing in the sacrifice of Christ

As my first contribution to ACWB, I thought I would write of a woman who gave me everything in my life, and set me off on my own spiritual journey…my own mother. When my brother announced that he wanted to become a Cistercian priest, it meant that he would never return home again. My mother was proud that her son wanted to be a priest, but why oh why did he want to become a monk as well? She didn't know what to do, but fortunately she did know who to turn to. She turned to Gus, a friend since childhood. He himself had left home to become a priest and a monk and was at that time the Abbot of Belmont. He told her that a Mother only really fulfils and completes her Motherhood when her love is so great that she allows her child to both choose and follow his own chosen vocation in life, whatever that may mean. He told her that this was the sacrifice that Mary had to make when she had to allow her Son to go his own way and respond to the vocation that he had been called to. My M

About Christian Prayer: With David Torkington

I discovered a wonderful blog written by a man of prayer who considers it his life’s work to share the joy of true Christian prayer and to teach people how to pray.  He has also published countless books. In his own words David says,” All my writings try to promote the Christian way of prayer, and I consider it my life’s work.” David writes at   David Torkington: Journalist, Author, Speaker . Melanie:  Are you familiar with the Fr. John Main’s use of a Christian mantra, Maranatha, while meditating? . David : Yes I am. But I do not agree with his use of mantras for everyone, at all stages of the Christian prayer journey. To quote from my website:- The Christian mystical tradition continually asserts that any man-made means or techniques cannot attain true contemplation, which is a pure gift of God. The gift of contemplation is only given after years of practising prayer in the context of an ascetical life-style. There is

Lay Down Your Numerical Trophies!

I have been thinking a lot about a concept brought up in this past week’s Friday post on the FFF blog .  The guest author, Sheryl, admits openly and honestly that: While it is true that the main intent of breastfeeding is, of course, the nourishment of one’s baby, few women would admit to the almost selfish fact that, for them, breastfeeding is also a personal accomplishment.  Something to be proud of, a badge to wave around in playgroups, the number of months or years of EBF being a clear numerical trophy of one’s sense of accomplishment.  For women like this, failing at a project despite all the preparations is a crushing blow. I find these comments about nursing insightful, honest, and true!  I cannot count how many women have brandished their numerical nursing trophies in my face.  Even when the topic of conversation had nothing to do with nursing, several mothers I know work hard to throw in a comment regarding the number of months they nursed their child.  I didn’t

Dwell In Truth

I came across a statement in a Swedish book made by the Church Historian Adam of Bremen, who wrote in the 1070s, If I said more, I would be accused of coming with lies. It is better, as Saint Jerome says, to tell the truth clumsily than present with eloquence that which is not true. (Translation from Swedish by the author) St. Paul said, “ prove all things; hold fast that which is good ” (1 Thess 5:21). It can be understood along the lines of St. Jerome’s recommendation. Truth, as a moderator to speech, might make life less smooth, less safe and snug, but it gives a guideline, a compass, and finally a good conscience. It also takes off something of the sheen of eloquence but leaves something more stable and proved better. It takes the varnish off and leaves the pure metal. Prove me, O Lord, and try me; burn my reins and my heart. For thy mercy is before my eyes; and I am well pleased with thy truth. (Psalm 26:2-3) Christ the Pantocrator Truth is merciful. It should n

God Is Joyful But Images Of His Followers Are Not

Christians must have managed to transform God into a stern task master  who makes his slaves miserable because when I tried to find images of Christian monks or priests laughing, I could hardly find anything!  Yet, there are hundreds of images of Buddhist and Tibetan monks smiling, reflecting relaxed and joyful hearts.  . Don't we have even more to be joyful about? Christ himself lives within us! Thank goodness for Pope Francis, who lives in the joy of the Lord. Perhaps his example will help change our reputation in the media. It is interesting to note that truly holy people usually have a marvelous sense of humour. When my husband first visited a Trappist monastery about 30 years ago, it was the sound of loud, infectious, belly laughter echoing throughout the Abby that stuck with him  . Thomas Merton,(an American Trappist Monk) was once asked,  “How can you tell if a person has gone through inner, spiritual transformation?  Merton smiled,  “Well it is very difficul

Saying No to God

As Catholics, we make a lot of Mary’s fiat. Her “yes” to God. And rightfully so: we get how that “yes” gave us a chance at salvation. Unfortunately, in seeking to imitate Mary, we have almost crushed ourselves with consequences of a life filled with our own “yes” responses and have, ultimately, been saying “no” to God without often realizing it. Somehow we have translated Mary’s “yes” to mean that we ought to say “yes” to everything that comes our way—to every idea that pops into our head and to every opportunity to do something good; we’ve mistakenly believed that our lives are meant to be filled with fiats when, in truth, these fiats have often taken us away from God. They have filled our lives with obligations and busy-ness that may not actually be God’s will for us. I’m at the age where all my friends and acquaintances are caregivers of one sort or another. They are grandparents doing everything they can to help pick up the slack and they are volunteers at a variet

My Bells

A monastery bell is ironically consistent about one thing.  It always calls for change.  Time to stop one activity and begin another.  The sections of a monastic day are spoken into being by the bells.    Part of me hungers for such bells.  I find myself craving the insistent rhythms of their voices.  Predictable, familiar, reliable, steady bells that would insure my prayer and rest; bells that would regulate and balance the pieces of my life.  "Just as soon as we are familiar with one set of daily bells ringing," wrote one of you in the Parlor, "another set replaces them."   Don't we know the truth of this.  Seasons come and go, bringing school bells and wake-up alarms, church bells and wedding bells, baby cries and phones and stovetop buzzers.  They change with every passing year.... (continue)

Taking My Boys To Confession - One Way or Another!

As a single mom of five boys, challenges to raising my boys to become spiritual, godly men await at every turn, but God also provides ample opportunity for us to take advantage of His forgiveness and Love. His gift of confession is a one we don't take advantage of often enough, but when God presented me with the opportunity, I took it. What happened next was completely unexpected. I sat in the empty church pews swelling with Mama Pride as each of my four older boys took his turn at the Confessional - even if their reasons for going were not quite pure! I am reminded again of the many ways God uses our situations to build His kingdom and the many lessons He can teach me - even about my own false sense of Mama pride! Please read more...


In response to Melanie's request that we introduce ourselves... - I am new to the Association of Catholic Women Bloggers - I have been married for four years; both my husband and I are Catholic - I have one child who was taken back into Our Lord's merciful arms the night before our second trimester, plus two living sons: a two-year-old and a one-year old.  I'm also expecting another child, God-willing, in October (a daughter would be reeallllly nice!!!) - I am a stay-at-home mom - I'm not what you'd call a serious or dedicated blogger.  Weeks often go by without a post because I only blog when something strikes me as worth taking the time to post about. - My blog is Covered Catholic -  Thank you, and God bless!

Love thy neighbour - A Father Ignatius story by Victor S E Moubarak

In this story Father Ignatius teaches an important lesson about loving one's neighbours ...  “Jesus answered, ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the greatest and most important commandment. The second most important commandment is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as you love yourself.’ ” Father Ignatius stopped reading from the Gospel of St Matthew Chapter 22 and looked up at the congregation sitting there. “And that’s where the problem lies,” he said, “love your neighbor as you love yourself. “It’s almost too difficult for some people; and do you know why?" PLEASE CONTINUE READING HERE

'Love your enemies . . .' Sunday Reflections, 7th Sunday in Ordinary Time Year A

Gospel of St Matthew German Miniaturist, 1236-46 [ Web Gallery of Art ] Readings   (New American Bible: Philippines, USA)                                   Readings   (Jerusalem Bible: Australia, England & Wales, India [optional], Ireland, New Zealand, Pakistan, Scotland, South Africa) Gospel  Matthew 5:38-48   ( New Revised Standard Version,Catholic Edition , Canada) Jesus said to his disciples: “You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’  But I say to you, Do not resist an evildoer. But if anyone strikes you on the right cheek, turn the other also;  and if anyone wants to sue you and take your coat, give your cloak as well;  and if anyone forces you to go one mile, go also the second mile.  Give to everyone who begs from you, and do not refuse anyone who wants to borrow from you. “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’  But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray fo

Daily Lenten Reflections From Father Robert Barron - Learn How to Receive these in your inbox daily during Lent! Whew!

Hearts and Letters and Grilles, O My

Hi - I'm Nancy.  So glad to meet you!  I know that in the blog world I look a lot like a grille (not the kind you cook on, although if you have a nice filet mignon on hand, please feel free to throw it my way).  It's actually a pretty good likeness.  I'm kinda square, working toward becoming hole-y, trying to stop my habit of making Shamefully Lame Puns.  If you've checked out The Cloistered Heart, you might know what the grille means to me. I also do a blog called The Breadbox Letters .  There I share old paintings, writings (mostly from saints), and occasional stories about.. oh various and sundry things.  Like the husband I had when I was eight , and blue velvet ribbons on purple cake, and about the day I tried to get Sister Rita to put her shiny white pearls on over her habit.  You know, the usual.    When I'm not blogging, I love spending time with my family, spoiling my grandchildren, reading, and watching stacks of "undetermined accumulating

The Curmudgeon of all Saints: Saint Polycarp

I wrote this two years ago on St. Polycarp's feast day.  Learning about the saints is learning the history of our faith and church.  When you're feeling a bit cranky, you can tell people you're just following in the footsteps of this early saint. Polycarp (155? or 166?) is the curmudgeon of all the saints.  I say this with great confidence after reading this story and quote from him: Once on a visit to Rome, he had snubbed the heretic Marcion. "Don't you know who I am Polycarp?" he asked.  "Oh yes," said the saint, "I know the firstborn of Satan when I see him." OUCH! You can read more about this grouchy saint here .

Hello! (My little intro--as requested)

May I first confess,  though, that this really doesn't come that easily (naturally) for me, since I tend to lean more towards being an introvert, but here ei am (warning: please pardon my silliness at times)! ● ei am filled with gratitude daily for my husband (my college sweetheart) and for our 2 children (now teens)... ● ei am a dog-lover (greyhound-racetrack rescue) & cat-lover (barn rescue); and, like Melanie, an old-house-lover [though my house is only 110 years old:] ... ● ei am a music-lover, moved deeply by songs that mean something (especially to worship Him): and also think singing (or even dancing!) to music while doing the dishes is a must... ● ei am a registered dietitian, which means I have a degree in nutrition (BS); plus had to complete an internship & pass national exam; with ongoing credits required.   My w ork experience has involved acute care at a major medical center (to assess patients on various units, including cardiac & cancer); plus at

Prayer and Chasing the Faith

I didn't think I would post here again so soon, but I really wanted to share this with you. As a Lay Dominican in training, I have to complete and present modules on various topics. For now, I am working on prayer . I presented on the Laity in the Church and the life of St. Dominic previously.  I won't share all of my reflections as I usually do. I wrote quite a bit for my presentation. There is a nugget that I felt called to share. I felt it needed more sharing than the presentation I will give tonight *shameless request for prayers inserted here* I was asked to locate a specific psalm, meditate upon it for 10-15 minutes and write down my reaction to it, as well as any insights, thoughts, and resolutions I could have. In my initial read, I wrote that I have to to trust in the Lord and only in the Lord no matter what – He is my portion and my cup.  I read it again and my eyes stopped here:  Psalm 16:4 Those who choose another god multiply their sorrows; t

It's time for a new SOCIAL MEdia pledge

Catholic tradition holds us to three Lenten observances: prayer, fasting and almsgiving.     For most people though, it’s all about the fasting and the sacrifice. “What will I be giving up this lent.”   A new trend  that is gaining popularity is to give up Social Media, such as Facebook, for Lent.   This can seem like a worthwhile sacrifice, if we were to approach social media as if it were just technology and devices.     But the truth is social media is relationships.   I would no more give up my relationships for six weeks than I would give up church.     I do recognize that the problem for some is that they have gone to the extreme and thus neglect their face-to-face relationships.   For those folks it would be time to implement a Lenten Fast or a scaling back.   Just like our rules of fasting for Ash Wednesday or Good Friday We cut back to one main meal and the rest light meals.    Perhaps the same principal could apply. . To find out more click here         

Victor on the radio

Many years ago I presented a Radio Program entitled "Time for Reflections". If you have ten minutes or so to spare this short clip may be of interest. Please click HERE .

Hope's What We Crave

It's written on our souls... Hope Is What He Gave! Let us feast, then, upon Hope-filled words courtesy of our Saints & saints-to-be... “You have not suffered or do not suffer in vain… Succeed, therefore, in giving a Christian value to your suffering, succeed in sanctifying your suffering with constant & generous hope in Him who comforts & gives strength. I want you to know that you are not alone, or separated, or abandoned in your Via Crucis; beside you, each one of you, is the Blessed Virgin, who considers you her most beloved children.” –Pope John Paul II Plus more... [including words of hope from our Saints, a prayer to Our Lady of Hope, as well as song "Crave" by For King & Country] Click HERE to read more at The Way to Nourish for Life 

Accepting Miracles: Embracing Mystery

The modern world heaps scorn on those who have experienced the inexplicable This cynical attitude simply serves to coerce most legitimate eyewitnesses into silence; only quacks speak out. As a result, of course, society’s prejudice is simply reinforced. At least Catholics believe in miracles, although sometimes more in theory than in their day-to-day lives.The word “miracle” comes from the Latin word for wonder and, literally means “a sight to behold.” In fact Jesus promised us that His followers would perform even greater miracles than He did because in fact it is because we live in Christ and Christ lives in us that miracles occur.  The  Catechism of the Catholic Church , 547-50 tells that, Jesus accompanies His words with many “mighty works and wonders and signs,” which manifest that the kingdom is present in Him and attest that he was the promised Messiah, Thus encouraged,  courageously or perhaps foolishly, I have already written about two of the many miracles which ar

Not your Average Catholic

For my first post here at the Association of Catholic Women Bloggers, I thought it best to give you a flavor for why I write. Why I write Catholic, converted , unequally yoked , mother, Latina,  Dominican Spirituality with a smattering of funny. I try to apply what I learn at mass to what I see in the secular .  I started on Pinterest - which isn't very common. As a convert to the faith married to an atheist, I wanted a place that I could gather all I could about this wonderful, rich tapestry of faith while at the same time respecting my first vocation as a wife. In the dark, I could collect images attached to websites that spoke of scapulars, saints, the Virgin Mary, Third Orders, the Mass and the Sacraments. This would be my first schooling into the faith as it happened in real life - after RCIA.  The images turned into writing on a summer day last year and I write most every day. Some of my favorite posts are funny, revealing, controversial and deeply personal. The poin

Seeking the face of God in prayer

The Face of Christ by Claude Mellan (Wikipedia). Early versions of the new constitutions for the Secular Order of Discalced Carmelites defined OCDS members in part as those who ”seek the face of God in prayer” in order to be of service the Church and the world. I love this imagery. Seeking the face of God is the most important aspect of Christian prayer. It separates prayer from eastern meditation techniques and self-seeking under the guise of holiness. Pope Francis is fond of reminding us that the Christian life is an encounter with Christ. As important as morality is, it cannot take central place. Even such fundamentals as protecting human life and supporting traditional marriage cannot stand alone. Atheists can be pro-life. Muslims can support the traditional family. But only Christians truly encounter Christ. Created, redeemed, and destined for love The Apostle John summed up the Gospel in this manner: “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and o