29 November 2009


It's technically still Sunday, so I still have time to post Praises! I'm very sorry for being absent today. 'Tis a shame not to sing God's Praise on this glorious first day of Advent!

So let's get on with it!


"Shout for joy, O heavens; rejoice, O earth; burst into song, O mountains! For the Lord comforts his people and will have compassion on his afflicted ones." Isaiah 49:13

Praise God for this most wonderful season! Thank you, Lord Jesus for coming, for becoming one like us, for pitching your tent among us. Thank you for being WITH US!

Praise God for incense and candlelight.

Praise God for evergreen and pine.

Praise God for twinkling lights!

Praise God for the anticipation of good things...

Praise God for Christmas music that lifts my spirits and sings His glory.

Praise God for artfully decorated cookies that are almost too pretty to eat.

Praise God for the joy of this season!

Praise God for hot cocoa, peppermint mochas, chocolate truffle cookies, and all things sweet!!

Though it's late, please feel free to link up below and share your
Praises to God!
Happy Advent everyone, and have a great week ahead.

24 November 2009

The Sounds of the Season

I officially cannot wait til Sunday to start listening to one of my favorites CD's of all time.

I can't say enough wonderful things about this album. For me, this is the soundtrack of Christmas. The melodies are beautiful, the orchestration fantastic, the arrangements are brilliant, the lyrics are powerful and moving and lovely. It's practically perfect.

(Practically, because truthfully I could do without track #5. It's just hokey. So I just skip that one. The rest are fabulous.)

"Song for the King" brings me to tears every time and there's not a word in the song. It takes me right to the side of the manger, in the hay, staring at the Newborn King in awe.

"It's a Wonderful Christmas" evokes so many visual images and cheery feelings... playing in the snow, decorating the tree, hiding a special present in a stocking, eating cookies in the middle of the night, candlelight, firelight... it's all in one song.

"Sing Noel, Sing Hallelujah" is one of the best. It says it all.

"All Year Long" makes me cry every time.

"Audrey's Gift" is just so precious and gentle and beautiful.

If you don't have this album, get it. You won't be sorry. (No, I'm not getting paid to say this. Smitty has no idea I'm promoting his CD.)

Ooooohhhhh...... it's almost here!!!! I can hardly stand it!!!!
Advent is coming!!!!

23 November 2009

Autumn Glory

I first published this post last year around this time. I just love autumn!

This is a perfect day. If I could create my own world, the year would be loaded with days like today. There's a bright blue sky above me, crisp, cold air on my cheeks, and the gorgeous colors of fall swirling around my head, compliments of the breeze.

The leaves are performing their autumn ballet, and I am a delighted admirer.

For me, there's never enough autumn in the year...I could never tire of this beautiful spectacle God creates. It's so rich with color and texture and flavor. Suddenly I crave hot chocolate and pumpkin spice...apple cinnamon...I'm under the spell of coziness. May the spell never be broken! My spirit comes alive in autumn, and the prelude to winter compels me to sing "Glory to God!"

21 November 2009



Surprise! Praise! is up a day early this week, and if nobody minds, I think it'll be published on Saturdays from now on. Here's my thinking... many people like to have an "unplugged" Sunday and I can certainly understand that. Plus, there are lots of other great memes going around that occur on Sundays as well (though, really, what can be better than Praising God, right? wink wink).

This way, people who want to participate with Praise! can do so either on Saturday or Sunday, since Praise! will be up most of the weekend. Okey-dokey?

I really enjoy doing this weekly post and I love hearing your Praises! to our magnificent God. Please help me spread the word so Praise! can grow!

It's been a busy but good week, and my heart is full of thanksgiving and Praise! to God!

Praise you, Lord, for this most glorious autumn day! I love autumn... the colors on the trees around here have been gorgeous, and I wish it would last much longer. But alas, the leaves are quickly falling and many of the trees are bare. But that's okay, because it means WINTER is coming! I love winter!!

Praise you, Lord, for successful baking this week. Santa Claus cake for the school auction, snowflake cookies, pumpkin-spice waffles with homemade whipped cream... it's been smelling fabulous in this house all week!

Praise you, Lord, for being our King! We have a gracious, loving, merciful, compassionate, kind, and accessible King!

Praise you, Lord, for your faithfulness when we are unfaithful.

Praise you, Lord, for being slow to anger when we are sinful.

Praise you, Lord, for giving us your sweet Mother to guide us and raise us up when we are low and lost.

Praise you, Lord, for your patience and the many good gifts You give us.

Praise you, Lord, for being our Provider. May we learn to be good stewards.

Praise you, Lord, for our freedom in Christ. And I'm thankful for my freedom as an American.

Praise you, Lord, for this Thanksgiving week. May our hearts truly be grateful and may we be generous in sharing.

Have a Happy Thanksgiving, everyone! Please join me in Praising our wonderful God, and let His Praises ring!



(Oh My! Do you realize what just happened?!? It just dawned on me this very second... I didn't Praise God for chocolate!!! GASP!)

15 November 2009

Faint of Heart Need Not Apply

While thinking about recent events, political, religious, and terrorist, I sat down and penned the following:

Our society is made of bendy, cowardly stuff these days. The travesty at Fort Hood last week is only the latest proof. We're in desperate need of a vaccination, alright, but not for the swine flu. We need a massive shot in the arm of courage to help strengthen us against this rampant virus of godless political correctness.

After this terrible, heartbreaking week, I think if I hear one more person extolling the virtues of diversity I'm going to throw up.

Click to continue reading...

Bless you all. Thanks for reading. If you feel so inclined, you can share your thoughts here or at Catholic Online. I always enjoy reading what others have to say.




"You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast, because he trusts in You." Isaiah 26:3

I find myself looking forward to this post every Sunday because it's good for me to sit down and really think about all the reasons I have to Praise God. It's good for me to remember who He is and that He never changes.

I am very thankful today to have a computer that's functioning. We had a complete crash -- a meltdown -- and I thought I might lose everything I had saved, including things I'd begun writing but hadn't finished.

My very smart husband found a way to salvage everything, but he had to ditch Windows completely and use a different operating system. Linux Ubuntu it's called, and so far, so good. Thank God.

Computers are a pain in the tushy.

I'm Praising God again today for our military families. My heart still hurts for the victims of the jihad at Fort Hood, and my thoughts are frequently with them. God bless them and carry them and heal them.

Praise God for people who are not afraid to speak the truth. Praise God for people with moral courage.

Praise God for the rain that fell, after the rain fell, after the driving rain came, after the showers that lasted for three days. We're soaked.

Praise God for the delicious loaf of banana bread I made last night. With a cinnamon-sugar topping that got nice and crusty on the top, it smelled like heaven. Tastes yummy, too!

Praise God for the start of my favorite time of year. Love it, love it, love it! Let the holiday baking begin!

Praise God for my very loving, patient, hard-working, and thoughtful husband. I don't deserve him.

Praise God for my wonderful daddy who turned 70 yesterday. I'm a blessed daughter.

Praise God for peppermint mochas.

Have a blessed week everyone. Share those Praises!

10 November 2009

Rest in Peace

We were stationed at Fort Hood in 2003 when the Iraq war began, and my husband deployed with the 4th Infantry Division. He spent many, many hours in the Soldier Readiness Building before he left.

While he was gone I had to get my ID card renewed and I'm almost positive it was done at the Soldier Readiness Building. I went there with both children and stood in a very long line on a very hot day.

The same building where a terrorist dressed in an American uniform decided to enact his own jihad and open fire on anyone standing in his way.

It's time to call this man what he truly is and call his act of violence what it really was. Terrorism. I've had it UP TO HERE with this cowardly political-correctness. The Army blew it big time and they should be ashamed of themselves.

What this means for every Army family is that we can no longer feel secure on our own installations. We're not even safe at home anymore. They can have fantastic security at the front gate and demand ID's until the cows come home, but it won't mean a damn thing if they don't have the guts to root out the terrorist hiding in an Army uniform.

What if the next guy decides to shoot up the commissary? Or the Exchange? Do I need to think twice before taking my kids grocery shopping with me? I worried about Chris every second he was in Iraq and lost a lot of sleep. Now I wonder whether he's safe at the office.

My heart grieves for the families... this slaughter was totally preventable. Shame on our government, shame on the Army. If they don't get over their PC sickness, grow a spine and start calling this guy what he really is, we can be sure he won't be the last.

14 souls ~ Pfc. Velez was pregnant ~ may they rest in the peace of Christ, may they know His endless mercy and love and live with Him forever. Amen.

08 November 2009

Thanks to Stupak and Smith

Want to join me in writing a letter (a real one, on paper) to Representative Bart Stupak and Representative Chris Smith (both Catholic) to thank them for defending LIFE during this health care reform nonsense?

They fought hard and never wavered in their commitment to the unborn, and I'm sure they'd love to hear from people who appreciate their efforts, even if we aren't their constituents.

Here are addresses for both of them:

Rep. Bart Stupak
2268 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20515

Rep. Chris Smith
1540 Kuser Road, Suite A-9
Hamilton, NJ 08619

Remember to keep up the calls and emails, now to your Senators. This ain't over by a long shot, and we have to keep praying and demanding protection for the unborn.



"I will praise you, O Lord, with all my heart; I will tell of all your wonders. I will be glad and rejoice in you; I will sing praise to your name, O Most High."
Psalm 9:1-2

Today I am
Praising God for the souls who defend my freedom and place themselves in horrible situations out of obligation, honor and loyalty. And I'm begging for protection for every one of them. Jesus, keep them from harm and bring them home safe and sound.

Also praying for the ones who were
killed at Fort Hood this week. Army families are hurting terribly. It's unimaginable that this could happen on our own installations. Jesus, bring Your calm and healing and restore our safety.

I'm also
Praising God for those legislators who had the courage to stand for LIFE in the House last night. Pelosicare was passed, but so was the Stupak amendment. Thank you, Jesus, for this victory. Have mercy on us.

In my own house, I'm
Praising God that whatever this stomach thing is, the girls are getting over it quickly and without too much drama. If this is swine flu, hey, no big deal. (Don't think it is, though.)

Praise God for a beautiful day outside yesterday. I love autumn!

Praise God for giving us His Son. Praise God for giving us His own Mother. Thank you, Jesus, for mercy and love and life everlasting.

Have a great week ahead, everyone! Share your Praises!

07 November 2009

Happy Birthday

Happy Birthday Blog!

My Chocolate Heart was born one year ago today.

My, how time flies.

This is the post that started it all:

I have struggled greatly with the reality of suffering as it relates to God. How can He allow it, why doesn't He help, why doesn't He protect, etc. This is a big hurdle for me in my faith life, but recently I've been able to make some small steps toward understanding...toward God rather than away from Him. This is only by grace, and I'm thankful for it.

I owe much to author Peter Kreeft and his book on the subject. Absolutely wonderful, and the best I've ever read. (Thanks, Beth.)

Today I also read a snippet of C.S. Lewis on the topic and he had something very revealing and provocative to say. "Indignation at others' sufferings, though a generous passion, needs to be well managed lest it steal away patience and humanity from those who suffer and plant anger and cynicism in their stead." Wow...

Truth is, I don't know what real suffering is. My life at this moment is practically perfect. My children are all healthy and whole, my husband is alive and home (no small thing for an Army wife to say these days), we have a home, food to eat, people who love us, and we are free.

I have friends who know real suffering... a seriously ill or disabled child, becoming a widow at 34 raising two young kids thanks to terrorists in Iraq...

these women live with suffering each day. I think the greatest show of respect I can offer them is to humbly acknowledge that I haven't a clue what real suffering is. If my day should ever come, I will have to ask them how it's done.

And in the meantime, I'll take a hint from Lewis and try not to rob them of the grace and blessing God wants to accomplish in their lives through their suffering. Yes, God uses every moment of our suffering and pain for glory...for holiness...for reconciliation...for peace. I believe that now. Nothing is wasted by our awesome God. And death does not have the last word.

05 November 2009

No Need to Fear

Today with St. Francis de Sales,

" The biggest mistake that most of us make about God, the one that most consistently undermines our peace of soul, is the idea that God demands a lot of us, more than fragile beings like ourselves could ever give.

Such a God is frightening.

But God in reality is content with the little we can give, because God knows ~ and accepts ~ the little that we have.

We need to do just three things:

Do the best we can to find and honor God in everything we do.
Do whatever ~ however little ~ we can to live this way.

Let God do the rest.

If we follow these simple rules, we will possess God. And possessing God we will not be disturbed, we will not be anxious, for we will have no need to fear a God who never asks of us more than we can give."

All Through the Day Today: God is content with the little we have.

03 November 2009

Act Today! Prevent Abortion Funding!

I listened to the Stop the Abortion Mandate nationwide webcast last night, and it was fantastic.

You can read my "report" here, and I encourage you to do so because the bottom line is this: today is the day to call and email and make some noise. Tomorrow may be too late.

It all comes down to the Rule. If Nancy Pelosi has her way and succeeds is getting a closed Rule, then the amendment we need will not even be allowed to be introduced for a vote.

We need our legislators to vote against the Rule. We need them to pass the Stupak-Pitts amendment. Nothing less will suffice.

Make those calls today! Send those emails today! MAKE NOISE TODAY!


02 November 2009

Be Who You Are... Again

This morning finds me at a place I've been before a lot lately...'tis the theme in my life right now, and it's a good one. Forgive me for the repetition.

From St. Francis de Sales:

The way to honor God, whose handiwork we are, is to be who we are as perfectly as we can.

It is enough to be what God wants us to be, rather than some perfect creature that God never had in mind.

Suppose you were the most perfect being you could possibly imagine. So what? If you were not the person God had in mind at the moment of your creation, what good would it do you?

It is also enough to do whatever it is that you can do being who you are, and where you are. Just do wholeheartedly what you know God is asking of you. Don't bother yourself about whether or not what God asks of you is important and grand. Whether your actions are insignificant or not does not matter, if they are God's will.

How could you be disappointed at even the smallest opportunity if you know that is is God's will -- born of His providential concern for you, and chosen for you in His eternal wisdom?

01 November 2009




A Blessed All Saints Day to all of you!

I'm sorry for being very late in posting my Praises today! No good excuses, it's just been a busier week than usual around here.

It was a trying week in many respects as well. Joy was hard to come by for some reason, and I was rather grouchy.

So, today I really need to Praise God for being who He is and for being our source of life and strength. He is already victorious and He will never leave us!

I'm also Praising God today for the rain outside.

And of course, for my precious family.

I choose to Praise you today, Lord, even though there seem to be so many reasons to be discouraged and anxious. I choose to Praise you, for you are King of Kings and no power on earth can defeat You.

Thank you, Jesus, for the love that changes me and sets me free!

I hope y'all have a blessed week ahead. May your joy be so full it just spills out all over the place! Thanks for sharing your Praises with me and the world! Our God is good!


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