31 July 2009

The Forge

Ora et Labora, this one's for you.

God bless the dear bloggy friend who recently introduced me to St. Josemaria Escriva. I never knew a little book called The Forge would be so powerful.


Just one little gem for today that has been very meaningful to me lately. I feel stuck in the middle of a very dry and inspiration-less season, and it has thrown me for a loop. I read these words last night and I clung to them:


"Seek God in the depths of your pure, clean heart; in the depths of your soul when you are faithful to him. And never lose that intimacy.
And if ever you do not know how to speak to him or what to say, or you do not dare to look for Jesus inside yourself, turn to Mary, tota pulchra, all pure and wonderful, and tell her: Our Lady and Mother, the Lord wanted you yourself to look after God and tend him with your own hands. Teach me, teach us, how to treat your Son."


Indeed... Mother, teach me how to talk to Jesus, how to listen to Him, how to love Him. Pray for me, most Holy Mother.


God bless your day!

30 July 2009

Home

Home from a wonderful trip to Michigan (where I realized that I really am a Michigan girl at heart), and now trying to settle into a home routine again, before the new school year begins.

My blogging has been scarce for most of July, and I missed it! It's good to be back home and be able to visit with all of you again.


What is it about summertime that sends the normal rhythms of life into total chaos? I need a predictable routine, I guess! (Just another reason why I hate summer!)

Five more months til winter... hold on, girl. :)


Blessings to you all,

26 July 2009

Praise!

A short list of Praises for me today because I'm on the road headed home... traveling for two days.

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"Let everything that has breath praise the Lord.
Praise the Lord." Psalm 150:6


1. Praise God that He is still on the throne. Eternally. Immovable. Unshakable.

2. Praise God for hope when everything seems so dark.

3. Praise God for a very sweet time with family and new memories to cherish.

4. Praise God for all the ones I love, and for His love that keeps me going.

Have a blessed day everyone! Remember to Praise God!

Blessings,

P.S. Please continue to pray for God's saving intervention in our nation. Contact your Reps and write letters. Next week could be very critical. Read the post below for more details if you're not aware. Pray, pray, pray... May God have mercy on us. Peace be with you.

24 July 2009

Stop the Abortion Mandate! Urgent!

Short and sweet, but urgently to the point:

Call, write, e-mail your Congress folks today and next week! Send them a letter by carrier-pigeon if you have to.


I listened to the nationwide webcast last night, and it was outstanding. We're quickly running out of time to stop this evil "health care" reform bill. The time to act is NOW.

The link above can help direct you if you don't already know how to reach your representatives.

You can click this link to read my summary of the information given in the webcast.

PRAY. Pray hard. This is a terribly critical hour in history for the U.S.

Lord Jesus, hear our cry and have mercy on us!

19 July 2009

Praise!

Coming to you live from Michigan where
I'm visiting my parents and many extended relatives...



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"Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows." James 1:17

I know I have dropped off the blogosphere for the last week, and I apologize. Bear with me. I'm having a marvelous time here, seeing my sister and brother for the first time in two years, and many other family members as well. Late nights playing cards, eating way too much ice cream, and laughing more than I have in years.

1. Praise God for laughter!

2. Praise God for goofiness among grown-ups! And Eucher! (Addictive game!)

3. Praise God for my big brother and big sister and the most fun I've had in ages!

4. Praise God that my kiddos are having a blast with their cousins and uncles and grandparents and are playing outside so hard every day they just fall into bed at night.

5. Praise God for the joy of being with those you love.

6. Praise God for delicious blackberry wine!

7. Praise God for gorgeous, cool summer weather, and summer thunderstorms. I love it!

8. Praise God for my wonderful family... despite our quirks and stumbles, I wouldn't trade 'em for nobody.


If I type real fast, I just might get this post up while it's still Sunday! Sorry for being late... been too busy having too much fun! I hope all of you are having good times as well, and I hope you'll share your Praises! to God! He is the source of all joy and life and love, and we are the object of His affections.

Have a wonderful week!

Blessings,

12 July 2009

Praise!

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"Be exalted, O God, above the heavens.
Let your glory be over all the earth." Psalm 57:5



Thanks to the nifty scheduling options of Blogger, I'm writing this Praise! post on Friday night to post on Sunday morning.

I'm on the road this weekend headed to Michigan for some time with my parents and my sister. Kids are with me, and we're excited about having two weeks of FUN!


1. Praise God for seeing family I haven't seen in ages, most of all my big sister! Yippee!!

2. Praise God for my momma, who flew down to make the drive back with me and the kids.

3. Praise God for the joy of knowing Him and loving Him... and may He draw me in deeper.

4. Praise God for the friends I've made in this blogosphere and the sharing of ideas, thoughts, encouragement, inspiration, and support among us. It sure does make the world seem a lot smaller when you've got "friends" all over the place!

5. Praise God for our incredible Holy Father and his plainspoken courage. He is a beacon of light and truth, and he doesn't edit himself for anyone. I love that about him. I pray that Obama learned a thing or two... I pray that POTUS listened to PETER.

6. Praise God for the road ahead... for being with me every step of the way... for lighting the next step... for carrying me when I am weak.

7. Praise God for the Backyardigans! Pablo, Austin, Uniqua, Tyrone, and Tasha will help pass the time on the trip and keep the kiddos happy. And I don't mind listening either! "We've got the whole wide world in our yard to explore..."



8. And praise God for chocolate! I have to thank Him for it! Thank you, God!


Have a fantastic week everyone, and let those Praises ring! God loves to hear it, and we need to say it.

Blessings,

08 July 2009

The Sin of ME

If you had to boil it all down to one word, how would you describe the problem with our culture today? How would you name the root cause of the myriad terrible ills that plague us?


Today that thought came to mind, and the answer was quick to follow: the word is ME.



We are suffering individually and collectively from the destructive sin of ME. You could call it pride, selfishness, narcissism, greed, ambition – all those things and more, certainly. I can best sum it up by calling it the great sin of ME.


Everything is about ME. Life is, and should be, about ME and what I want, what I decide will make ME happy, and get ME the most I can possibly get. Decisions made by other people must not make any requirements of ME, or place any restrictions on ME. If they do, I have every right to disregard them, denounce them, and demand change.


There is no moral code outside the one I write for ME. I have no obligation to anyone’s best interest other than mine. I work only for ME and I am still entitled to take from someone else what I feel I deserve but did not earn myself. I can make vows that suit ME today and break them next week or next year if they no longer suit ME or make ME as happy as I deserve to be.


If I feel something is right for ME, then it is right, period. No one else has any authority to tell ME otherwise, not even God. Because, after all, if God does exist, then He should want ME to be happy. It’s not God making all these moral demands, it’s man-made religion. And religion is definitely not for ME.


Welcome to the Age of ME, where each person is an autonomous god unto themselves. Welcome to the Age of the Child – and I don’t mean a person under age 18. I mean an era where adult maturity and reasoning has been thrown into the consuming fire of ME and it is deemed perfectly acceptable to live as though the universe revolves around only you – like your average toddler.


Continue reading...


Blessings,


05 July 2009

100

I had some unique jobs in my single adult life, like working for a Christian music missionary organization for seven years. I also spent a short time working as a receptionist for a high-end jewelry store in Portland, Oregon... that's a story in itself for another time. That job left me with psychological scars! (All better now.)

The "job" that left a permanent mark on my heart was the time I spent working as a chaplain at Loma Linda University Children's Hospital, one of the country's best for babies. (Remember Baby Faye?)


I was assigned to the neonatal intensive care unit as well as labor & delivery, and the mother/baby unit. If the patients were moms and babies, they were in my care, so to speak. It was an amazing experience.

I went through the hospital's Clinical Pastoral Education program, and became a resident chaplain. I spent my days visiting the patients and their families, offering support, prayers, a listening ear, and celebrating the many miraculous recoveries I witnessed.

I was also there for far too many deaths.

I have been rendered speechless by the weight and intensity of the grief of parents who have just watched their child take her last breath. I have cried with them and had my heart broken over and over and over... and I learned how sacred death is... how holy. God is there, my friends. Smack in the midst of that terrible pain, He is there. He gives life, and He is present when He takes it back.

I've held in my hands the perfectly formed little body of a baby who died in-utero at 18 weeks. I studied every centimeter of that precious child and marveled at the miracle of her, and felt the crushing grief of her mother and father over her death. Her name was Brianna. She fit perfectly in my palm. Perfect, delicate, tiny features... lips, nose, eyes, ears, fingers, toes... breathtakingly beautiful.

I was honored to sit in a rocking chair with a baby boy born with severe physical deformities. His heart was on the wrong side of his chest, his ribcage virtually missing so that you could literally see his heart just beneath his skin. His left arm looked as though it was backwards, and his internal organs were a mess. His distraught parents couldn't bring themselves to watch him die, so from the moment of his delivery, I sat with him, wrapped in a blanket, and rocked... and sang to him... and prayed. Oh, how I prayed.

For almost 45 minutes I held this little boy until at last, his heart simply gave up, and he went back home to the Lord. I will never, ever forget him or those 45 minutes. His name was Thomas. I tried my best to convince his parents to take my place in the rocking chair, for I didn't want them to miss those precious moments, but they simply couldn't do it, so I promised them their son wouldn't die alone on the warming table.


I kept a little book of all the babies I met and their parents. I wrote down their names and stats, if I baptized them, when they died, or when they went home healthy. Dozens of names and stories... many of them sad, but some miraculously joyful. It's just a small notebook, but it's one of my most treasured possessions now.
It's full of little people who changed my life and taught me so much.



Life is sacred. Life is amazing. It is a miracle only God can create. I was confronted with the stark reality that the babies I held in my hands, the ones I baptized and dressed in doll clothes so their parents could take a picture to remember them... they are killed every single day all over the country in "procedures" that are protected by law and called a "right."


It is incomprehensible to me. Satan has so corrupted our thinking and poisoned our hearts. He has convinced us, particularly women, to insist that we have the right to murder another human being if we so "choose." It is unspeakably evil.

This is my blog's 100th post. A milestone, I suppose. I mark the occasion by sharing a bit of my past experience, and honoring life and the memories of many lovely people this world never knew. I met them in their last moments on earth and watched them depart for heaven. Many of them I was blessed to hold in my arms. Thank you, God, for the awesome privilege.

Friends, let us work with every ounce of vigor and strength we have to end abortion in our nation. Let us defend LIFE and fight for those who are voiceless and defenseless. May God show us mercy and grant us victory... soon.


Blessings,

04 July 2009

Praise!

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"It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery." Galatians 5:1



Happy 233rd Birthday, America! I wonder if the time is coming for a new revolution... time for us to remind our government that they "derive their just powers from the consent of the governed." I don't know about you, but there's a lot going on in Government that I do NOT consent to!

For today, though, I want to give thanks for my freedom, remember the brave who have died to secure it, and pray for the soul of this nation that I still love. I pray that God will once again have good reason to richly bless the U.S.A.

1. Praise God for freedom! There's no other country on earth where I'd rather live.

2. Thank God for every soul who has died for this country. May God grant them all eternal peace and life. God bless their families with His peace and comfort.

3. Praise God for my own loving husband, an honorable American soldier. I am so proud to be his wife.

4. Praise God for the people who sacrifice every day in unnoticed ways to serve our country and are never thanked for it.

5. Praise God for the people who defend LIFE and work tirelessly to bring about the day when our laws will once again protect the innocent and defenseless -- the unborn, the disabled, the elderly, the poor, the unwanted... the many faces of Jesus in His distressing disguise.

6. Praise God for time spent with the ones I love, making happy memories and enjoying the blessing of each other.

7. Praise God most of all for Jesus Christ, who has set us all truly free. If the Son has set you free, then you are free indeed!


I hope everyone has had a wonderful holiday weekend! Please share your Praises! Nothing sounds better than God's people giving Him praise!

God bless you all and keep you safe in His hand this week. Pray for our country and our leaders!

Blessings,

01 July 2009

Who's writing this stuff anyway?

I am.


I'm Jennifer, owner of the world's biggest, deepest, most committed dark chocolate heart. There are others who think they are die-hard chocoholics, but they are amateurs...puffballs...lightweights. Ha! I say to them! Behold the true master... Chocolate flows through my veins, people.


I'm married to a wonderful man who happens to be a Major in the Army, which means I'm also married to the Army. We've been married eleven years and have moved 9 times already. You do the math. That's military life, and I'm hardly a pro at it. I know plenty of wives who put me to shame with their unflappable ability to handle the nonsense the comes with relocating your home and family every year or two. I take my notes from them and try to learn a few things. I'm getting there...


I'm a SAHM of three, and I'm profoundly grateful...there's nothing else in the world I'd rather be doing. I happen to think my kiddos are completely awesome. And funny. And gorgeous. And smart. And precious. And so sweet... I'm a very blessed momma.


I'm privileged (and honored) to be writing for Catholic Online (www.catholic.org) as a regular contributing writer, and you can find most of my CO articles here on the blog under Box of Chocolates. Please do read them and let me know what you think. Comments can be left directly at Catholic Online, as well as here. Feedback is wonderful for novices like me who pour their hearts into writing!

And please help me in the mission to spread the word about Catholic Online. It is simply the best Catholic website out there for complete news and information about the Church, our faith, politics, our nation and our culture. Top-notch stuff, folks. Visit often and stay informed!


Trivial information you don't need:

My favorite color is red.
I've never eaten sushi and never will.
I hate summer. Hate hot weather and hate bugs.
My Christmas tree goes up the day after Thanksgiving. (Okay, sometimes before.)
It stays up until after Epiphany... like it's supposed to!
I love to sleep.
I wish I could sing.  Really sing.


The important things:

I love my Jesus, and I hope that fact comes through loud and clear on this blog. I want to fall deeper and deeper in love with Jesus til nothing else matters but Him.

I love our Blessed Mother, and I want to be just like her. No one followed Jesus better. "Only she who raised Christ can raise a Christian."

I love the Catholic Church, despite her flaws and shortcomings.  There is no Plan B.  The Church is God's Plan A and the gates of hell shall not prevail!

I love my country and those in the military who protect us all and sacrifice so much.  May God help us not to take our freedom for granted, nor forget those who serve.  God bless the U.S.A.!!

Thanks for visiting... please come back often. Creating and writing this blog is a real joy for me. I hope you're blessed by it as well.


So now you know. Aren't you glad?

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