31 May 2009

Time to Vote Again!

Another plea for votes...

I am below even the underdog this time around, so I have no delusions about winning anything! And yet, here I am asking you to take a moment to vote for me!

Catholic New Media Awards

This is the Catholic New Media awards, so this nomination means a lot to me. There are so many fantastic, well-done Catholic blogs out there! Catholics are talented people!!

I have a nomination in two categories:

Best Blog by a Woman
Best New Blog

The competition is fierce, and as I said, I have no delusions of grandeur! I'm up against the likes of Conversion Diary and Amy Welborn, not to mention some of YOU! That's stiff competition! But it's all good... I'm thrilled to be in such marvelous company!

Thanks for taking the time to vote for all your favorite Catholic Blogs (I hope I'm one of them!). I know I'll be voting for all my favorites!

Voting begins June 1!

Big Thank You,

Praise!

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"I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your young men will see visions, your old men will dream dreams. Even on my servants, both men and women, I will pour out my Spirit in those days and they will prophesy." Acts 2:17-18


1. Praise God for the gift of His Spirit who counsels, guides, corrects, changes and inspires our hearts.

2. Praise God for His completeness in all that He does. He is a flawless architect.

3. Praise God for the encouragement of friends and the comfort of loved ones.

4. Praise God for summer. (I'm saying that though I just don't feel it in my heart...remember I'm a winter girl! Just trying to see the good...)

5. Praise God for lazy sunsets and cool evening breezes.

6. Praise God for mornings when I get to sleep in.

7. Praise God for good wine and even better dark chocolate! Always chocolate!


I hope everyone has a fabulous Pentecost, and a wonderful week ahead. Give Mr. Linky another shot... I know it didn't work well last week. Hopefully its up and running today. Drop me a comment so I can come read your Praises! I so look forward to all of us sharing our Praise to God on Sundays... if I haven't told you so lately, thank you for doing this with me!


Bless you,


28 May 2009

Dream of Me

Does he dream? His eyelids flutter, and the faintest smile settles in
Just a moment and is gone again, with a sigh
My finger is a snug prize in his delicate hand
He falls deeper into sleep and deeper into my cradling arm
Quiet breath
I rock and sing
I am lulled and drowsy, yet transfixed on his face





Is he flying home in his mind? Dancing through his cosmic playground?
Is he calling the stars out by name?
What extraordinary things does he imagine?
Is any of this real? Is he really here in my arms?
How sublime and surreal!
He stepped into time and willed to be contained
In mortal flesh, on fleeting soil
My feet sink into the earth beneath me
Yet one glance at his face and I am raised to Heaven







No, I am the one who dreams
And finds my dream is fulfilled
Perfected
Heaven is mine to hold
I can scarcely stop my heart from pounding
My little Holy One
My tiny, Mighty God
How I adore You!



We are each the other's child
I am Yours
You own me completely
And now You are mine
I lavish a mother’s kisses on the tender face of God
Who could imagine such a thing?



My child, my King, my Love
My heart and soul
Tonight I hum a gentle lullaby
You sleep, and I stare in awe
Dream of me
Your mother, Your child
Dream of me




© 2009 Jennifer Hartline




27 May 2009

Good News! A Giveaway!

This is an auspicious moment on My Chocolate Heart...


my very first giveaway!



I know most of you are sometimes as frustrated and discouraged at the state of the American Catholic church as I am, and we need some good news. We need to hear that all is not lost, and there may yet be change coming... holy change. Hope is brewing, and the author of this book has the proof.


I stumbled across David's website, The Catholic Report, many months back, and I was delighted to see that his last name is Hartline! He is the only Hartline I've ever met that I'm not related to, though he and I have both come to agree that somewhere down the line, he is related to my husband somehow. There just aren't that many Hartline's around.

He has written this wonderfully encouraging book, The Tide is Turning Toward Catholicism, in which he documents the many ways in which good things are happening in the Catholic church in America and around the world.

In our time bad news and scandals abound, yet David presents a very strong case for optimism and hope that the tide is indeed turning toward, and not away from the Catholic Church.

I'm having a great time reading it myself, (chapter 6 is one of my favorites) and I'm learning a lot of encouraging things. David has his facts lined up well, and he's good at connecting the dots of cause and effect.

So, I'd love to pass this fantastic book on to one of you! David has generously given me a signed copy of the book to give away, so leave a comment on this post and tell me something positive about the faith, or your parish, or your favorite priest, or your favorite saint, or something! Just share some good news with me, and I'll enter your name in the drawing.

Then be sure to check back on June 5 when I'll announce the winner! (Winner will need to send me their mailing address!)

Blessings,

26 May 2009

Fun on the Radio!

Wow!

Tonight I was invited to be a guest on the Drew Mariani show on Relevant Radio. Drew was on vacation and his guest host, Wendy, asked me to come on and talk about my article on Catholic Online, "Are You Really Catholic?"

It was a brand new experience for me, and boy, was I nervous! But the Lord helped me not to fall flat on my face (at least I think so!), and Wendy was very kind and gracious, and she went easy on the new kid! It was great fun.

If you're interested in listening, the interview can be downloaded from their audio archives, I've been told. Go to relevantradio.com They'll send me a direct link soon, and I can post that when I get it.


5/27 Update: Here's the link they sent me! (My portion begins about 35 minutes into the hour, so skip forward.)
http://relevantradio.streamguys.us/DM Archive/DM20090526c.mp3

Still wired for sound,

24 May 2009

To Boldly Go To the Movie Theater...


I'm a Trekkie. (Surprised?)


I can't do the Vulcan "Live long and prosper" sign with my hand and I don't own a Starfleet uniform (thank heaven), but I am nonetheless, a Trekkie. Spock is the greatest character ever. Period.



Just came home from seeing the new movie. It was a great ride...thrilling, interesting, funny, shocking, and just very well done all around. Kudos to JJ Abrams for reviving Star Trek. He has taken many liberties with characters and storylines that will allow him to take the Enterprise crew in an entirely different direction, and it should be a very fun journey.


But, really, how can one guy get beaten up so much so often and still have an intact face? Kirk should not have an unbroken bone in his body! That guy gets hammered so many times in the movie it's unbelievable! But this new actor playing Kirk is terrific... actually, all the new actors playing my favorite characters are terrific. Extremely well cast. It was great fun to see a young Sulu kick some butt in this movie. Fencing! The young Scotty is a blast, and the guy playing Bones is absolutely perfect.




Now if only we could get our hands on a transporter and beam the heck out of this place... let's find a nice, quiet new planet and start over. Could be fun...


Praise!

After a roller-coaster week around here, I am so grateful for God's steadfast and tender love, and I'm humbled to realize how great His mercy is and how puny mine can be sometimes. We have a wonderful Father, and I am glad to be able to Praise Him!


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"Remember, O Lord, your great mercy and love, for they are from of old. Remember not the sins of my youth and my rebellious ways; according to your love remember me,
for you are good, O Lord." Psalm 25:6-7


1. Praise God for His gentleness in the face of human anger and pride. He woos and loves and speaks softly, melting the hardest heart.

2. Praise God for commitment...the "no excuses" kind.

3. Praise God for having spent some great time with my folks the last two weeks.

4. Praise God for the rest and relaxation my husband enjoyed this past week in Texas with his family... that boy sure needed some down time!

5. Praise God for some truly enjoyable weather and lots of time spent outdoors with my kids. Planting flowers, kicking balls, riding little tricycles, drawing chalk pictures, blowing bubbles...LOTS of bubbles!

6. Praise God for my awesome, totally fabulous big sister who is helping me with a very important project that I will tell you all about very soon! :)

7. I am thankful this Memorial Day weekend for all the lives given in defense of freedom,



for the families who grieve the personal loss, and for the courage of all those defending freedom this very moment in far away places. May God keep them safe from harm and bring them home soon.

8. And last, but certainly not least..... (drum roll please) Praise God for some chewy, chocolatey, totally yummy cookies and not the slightest bit of guilt while devouring them!


I hope y'all have had a blessed week, and I pray the coming one is chock-full of grace and goodness for you. Please link up with me and share your Praises!

Blessings,


21 May 2009

No Saint Here

It's official. I am so far outside the realm of possible sainthood it ain't even funny. Even the realm of barely remotely-possible sainthood is light years away. (sigh)


This is precisely what makes Jesus so amazing...that while in this utterly wretched and pathetic state I'm in, He loves me still. Loves me enough to have died for me, with no guarantee that I would ever crawl out of my wretchedness and learn to love and forgive. He died while we (I) were yet sinners.



If it weren't true, it would be unbelievable. If it weren't God, it would be impossible.

If I love Him at all, I have to choose to do better. I have to.

Let another piece of my pride fall away today, Lord. I want to love like You do. I need to sit in Your lap today.



19 May 2009

A Clear Voice in the Confusion


Archbishop Chaput is my hero...God bless him. We can all be proud of his leadership, his courage, his clarity, and his unflinching witness of Christ.












18 May 2009

The Question...

Are you really Catholic?

“Today more than ever, our nation is in need of Catholics who know their faith deeply and express their faith, with integrity, by their daily living.” Archbishop Raymond Burke


After reading His Excellency’s outstanding address at the National Catholic Prayer Breakfast and studying the current state of affairs in our nation, I’m prompted to ask a personal question:


Are you really Catholic?


Are you Catholic because your parents were Catholic, because their parents were Catholic because their parents were Catholic? Is it your culture or your faith? Is it your present choice or your history? Is it your conviction or a “hat” you put on for weddings and funerals?


The evidence clearly shows that too many “Catholics” in America are Catholic for reasons other than conviction of faith. And that’s just not going to cut it any longer. Our culture and our country are flying at warp speed into a black hole of godlessness, and I am increasingly flabbergasted at the sheer number of Catholics who are helping to fuel the descent.


Shamefully, the fact is that Catholics are largely responsible for electing our current government. That means that the majority of Catholics in America either don’t truly know their faith and what it means, or they don’t care, or they lack the courage to make their choices in agreement with their faith.



It’s pathetic that so many who say they belong to Christ are so easily beguiled and deceived.

The sacrifice of the Cross must not mean very much to many of us because we’re willing to sell it real cheap in exchange for the good opinion of those who would silence Christ.


Precious Blood was spilled for our sins. Today our leaders and our culture want to wash away Its saving stain, and the majority of Catholics are quietly watching them mop… even handing them a bucket.


Continue reading...




Your thoughts and feedback are welcome!

17 May 2009

Praise!

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"I am the bread of life.
He who comes to me will never go hungry
and he who believes in me will never be thirsty."
John 6:35




First Communion Praises this weekend!

1. Praise God for the joy of watching my oldest receive the Lord Jesus in communion for the first time. How can this be? Wasn't it just last week she was born?!? And now she's a big girl...

2. Praise God for the life He gives us, in so many ways, most especially in the Eucharist.

3. Praise God for His mercy and forgiveness.

4. I thank God for my family and the awesome blessing of being around them.

5. I thank God for my husband and his love for us.

6. I thank God for my daughter's joyful, happy heart and her gigantic smile that makes me smile!

7. I say Yippee! that after this special evening mass, we came home to a heavily frosted chocolate cake (made by me!) and we devoured it! Yummmmy! Thank you, God, for chocolate!!


I hope y'all have had a good weekend and that you have a long list of things to Praise God for...share them!

Bless you,

16 May 2009

Cannonball

With only one week left in the Cannonball Blog Awards, I have absolutely not a snowball's chance in the hot box of winning... that honor will go to LOLSaints.

However, I am thrilled to have at least made it to 10 votes! Wahoo! Thank you so much to everyone who cast a vote for me! There's still time... maybe you can get me to 15?? Maybe??

It's all good fun... the button is still on the left.

12 May 2009

Mary Can

More favorite thoughts about Mary...


If you have never before prayed to Mary, do so now. Can you not see that if Christ himself willed to be physically formed in her for nine months, and then be spiritually formed by her for thirty more years, it is to her that we must go to learn how to have Christ formed in us?
Only she who raised Christ can raise a Christian.


Fulton J. Sheen
Seven Words of Jesus and Mary


10 May 2009

Praise! Mother's Day

My apologies for posting Praise! so late today...but since it's never too late to give Praise to our God, I hope you can still join in. I promise next Sunday I'll be right on schedule!


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"Why am I so favored, that the mother of my Lord should come to me?" Luke 1:43


1. I praise God on this Mother's Day that the mother of my Lord is there for me, that her perfect love extends to me and her heart is tender towards me. I want to be like her.

2. Praise God today for my own mother, who has always been a Godly example, as well as a loving and devoted mother. God blessed me good.

3. Praise God today for all mothers who love their children and spend themselves generously caring for their families.

4. Praise God for smiling, happy, tender-hearted children who give me hand-crafted treasures in crayon that make me cry!

5. Praise God for a fantastic husband who makes a darn good steak for his wife for dinner.

6. Praise God for thickly frosted chocolate cake! (Oh - and the chocolate donut I had after church! Shhh!)

If you haven't popped over to Catholic Online to read my Mother's Day article, I hope you will! I think you'll enjoy it. I hope your Mother's Day was blessed and restful.

Bless you all!

09 May 2009

Queen of the Holy Ordinary

For my wonderful bloggy friends who are mothers, I offer you this article today at Catholic Online. I hope you can take a moment to read it... consider it my Mother's Day gift to you. Have a very blessed and happy weekend!


Mother. Wife. Homemaker. Maid. Cook. Chauffeur. Nurse. Teacher. Corrections Officer. Party Planner. Maintenance Worker. Domestic Engineer. I’ve used all these titles, especially the more humorous ones, to describe myself and my job. My favorite moniker by far, though, is this one:


I’m a lifetime member of the Queen of the Holy Ordinary club, established and approved by the King Himself, to be open to all women who have a home and a family they love and want to care for. “Be it known henceforth and forevermore that all who follow in the order of the QHO club shall be exceedingly and abundantly blessed, for the King has esteemed them and lavishly given them His own mother as their Queen.”


It’s hard to get excited about another load of laundry. It’s really hard to get pumped up about cleaning the bathroom again. I know the furniture needs dusting, but I just don’t have the slightest motivation to do it right now. I’m certain I washed the dirty dishes last night… how can the sink be full again already? My floor needs mopping. If someone needs a visual definition of clutter, just come on over to my house. Please try not to trip over the toys.


I’m a mother and a homemaker, and it isn’t glamorous. It’s tedious, monotonous, thankless, messy, germy, and it can be really hard on your manicure. It’s also the greatest job in the whole world.


Continue reading...(you'll be glad you did!)

07 May 2009

Mother




She was no longer simply Mary, no longer alone in herself. How astonishing is the news the angel has just given her! The God she loves above all else has called her name; called her to come receive the most splendid gift. He chose Mary, and she chose Him. And in an instant the God whom the universe cannot contain was safely tucked inside the darkness of her womb, growing and becoming. Gabriel had left her, and though she could not feel Him yet, she knew He was there. Not just in spirit now, but in her part of her as He’d never been part of anyone before.


Weeks pass…she looks no different, yet she is the vessel that now protects the Holy One as He grows.


Then one day out of the blue she feels Him! That first gentle movement that feels like bubbles… so slight yet unmistakably baby. How delightful and exhilarating! Mighty God now softly stirs with delicate arms and tiny legs. He formed the vast oceans and filled them with marvelous creatures, and now He floats quietly in the warm, pure sea created only for Him.


Soon He is kicking her, pushing her, and forcefully! He enjoys doing flips, His ears now hear the sound of her voice, and He is quickly taking up more and more space in her body. He has always occupied her heart, and now she looks down at her round belly, places her hand over the spot where He kicks, and she marvels at how He has taken her over. She eagerly awaits the moment when she can kiss His tiny face, count tiny fingers and toes, and hold Him close to her heart…the heart He already owns.



Finally, the blessed hour comes, and He who gives life to every man and creature now waits for His own birth. I AM the LIFE must be given His life by His mother. She must deliver her Redeemer. And suddenly, there He is in her arms. Eternity was cradled in her arms.



Surely words could scarcely describe what it must have been like for her to look down at His little face and realize the mighty and sovereign Lord she bowed down to was now wearing the skin of her own flesh and nursing at her breast! To be twice overcome with fierce and tender love; once as a mother for her child, and again as a servant daughter of her Savior.


What exquisite joy and affection she must have felt to smell the sweetness of His head, feel the softness of His new baby skin (all parents know there’s nothing better than baby skin), hear His baby sighs and snores, and snuggle His warm little body against her own in sleep. Heaven on earth – literally – and every moment was hers to savor. How glorious and sweet! No mother has ever known greater joy, nor ever will.





And how deserving she was of such an unspeakable gift, for she also bore the greatest pain of any mother on earth. She gave Him life, so that He could give us Life.



How happy are we all to be her sons and daughters and know her loving affection and her stalwart protection! Thank you, Mother! Most Blessed Mother!


©2009 Jennifer Hartline



05 May 2009

Something About Mary

Joining in with JMJ Totus Tuus in Something About Mary during this month of May:




"I wonder if it is not true that as the world loses veneration for Christ's mother, it loses also its adoration of Christ. Is it not true in earthly relationships that, as a so-called friend ignores your mother when he comes to your home, sooner or later he will ignore you? Conversely, as the world begins knocking at Mary's door, it will find that Our Lord Himself will answer."

Fulton J. Sheen
Seven Words of Jesus and Mary


Beautiful Mother, I love you! Thank you for giving us Jesus!

03 May 2009

Praise!

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"Give thanks to the Lord for he is good; his love endures forever."
Psalm 107


1. Praise God for the Refiner's fire. The Lord disciplines those he loves.


2. Praise God for His gift of mercy and forgiveness.


3. Praise God for friendship.


4. Praise God for every soldier, every Marine, every pilot, every sailor, every patriot who defends our country. May God keep them safe and bring them home. St. Michael, defend them.


5. Praise God for the loyal spouses who love and wait and worry and pray and hold down the fort while their hero is gone.


6. Praise God for those faithful people who are prayer warriors. We need them desperately.


7. Praise God for the exquisite gift of the Blessed Mother and this month of May to honor her.

8. Praise God for the fudgy chocolate brownies in my kitchen, which will soon be covered in chocolate ice cream! Come to Momma!


What's your song of Praise this week? Mr. Linky is ready and waiting! Have a blessed day everyone!

Jennifer


02 May 2009

Forgiveness

Forgiveness is amazing... when it's given. It's wonderful when it's received. It changes us.



But if thou dost continue to beat thyself up and weep bitter tears and cover thyself with sackcloth and ashes and eat worms...


well... you get the idea.


Thou must leave it all at the Cross and not pick it back up again.

(Hmmm...I think I've read this somewhere before... )


Mercy and grace and forgiveness are wonderful things, and I wonder if we even realize the things God can do when we sincerely extend mercy to each other.

Tough lesson -- yes.

Lesson learned.


(At least til next time.)

Humbly,
Jennifer

01 May 2009

Do Over


I wish I could do this day over so that I could choose not to do the clumsy and stupid thing I did that caused someone else pain.

Someone who was already in some of the worst pain imaginable. It doesn't matter that I never intended to hurt this person - the fact is, I did. It doesn't matter that my heart is broken now with sorrow for the injury I've caused - this person's heart is broken even more.


How I wish there were words that had the power to take away the pain caused by other words.


I wish the bell could be un-rung.


I wish I could do this day over. Instead, I will have to live with the sorrow I feel, and pray that God will heal the sorrow I've caused. I will beg the Lord to clean up after my mess, and repair what I have done so badly.

This is a tough lesson. It is hard when words we think are carefully chosen still come out wrong, and still do damage we never intended. I've been on the receiving end of words like that, and now I am on the giving end. Neither end feels good.



Tonight something unexpected has happened for me as a result. A few years ago I was the subject of a nasty and insulting rumor that attempted to scandalize me and my marriage. It didn't matter that it was absurd and false, the rumor spread until it was the talk on the playground among other moms.


I have said for years that I forgive the person responsible, yet my heart has harbored the hurt and nurtured the grudge. I have wanted desperately to let it go and just not care anymore, and release this person to God in forgiveness. But it has been a real struggle, because the nature of the slander was so vile.


I have tried to focus on the greatest definition of forgiveness that I've ever heard: In Jesus' name, I set you free. You don't owe me anything anymore." That is the essence of forgiveness -- you don't owe me anything anymore.


Tonight somehow, the struggle to forgive is gone, and I no longer have resentment toward the person who slandered me. Tonight I understand all too well the damage words can do, even though I did not desire to do damage.

I have no right to ask for forgiveness if I will not extend forgiveness.


I pray that the person I hurt today will forgive me. Why does it seem we have to learn at someone else's expense?


Is there someone you're needing to forgive tonight? I hope you will. Maybe you'll spare yourself the tough lesson.

Sadly,
Jennifer

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