Sunday, September 30, 2007

The Holiest Holy Hour

The Holiest Holy Hours are when I bring Christina.
Is it because she inspires me by her love of Our Sacramental Lord?
Weeellll . . . sometimes, but, more often, it's because she is busy wreaking havoc, and giving her mother precious opportunities to learn humility. Not that I volunteer for them, I avoid being embarrassed, and disturbing the prayer of others as best as I can. I assume, for example, that since where is a crying room, we are covered. This works, if we are alone, but tonight it filled up with devout elderly people, for whom Christina feels compelled to put on:
The naughty show.
Let me smile angelically into this lady's eyes, so I can sidle close enough to grab her hymnal. (She graciously smiled and struggled to recover it).

Let me run circles around the room, laughing (why didn't she do this when the room was empty?)

Let me get busy in my diaper( oops, Mommy left the diaper bag five blocks down the street!)

Let me play hide-and-seek, ducking under Mommy's long skirt, and keep checking back to see if the crowd is watching!

Let me chew on my mother's rosary beads, breaking them in half, and spitting them out on the carpet, till she recognizes the sound, and takes them away from me.

At the end of this hour of torture, er, prayer before the Blessed Sacrament, I was inspired that a blessing with Padre Pio's glove would provide her with enough grace to help overcome her naughtiness, I asked her sister Gabbi to wheel her in her stroller towards the front of the Church, while I waited on line for confession. I watched lovingly from afar, praying for them both with tears of joy springing to my eyes.
What I didn't notice from that distance was that: Christina pushed the wheelchair of the infirm lady in front of her, tried to kick the priest offering the relic for veneration, and laid hold of the skirt of a hapless passerby. All this while restrained in a stroller, so she couldn't race up onto the altar.
My dear Gabbi was getting a lesson in humility as well!

God is such a loving Father, to teach me that it's not important to look holy at Holy Hour.
It's important to be holy at Holy Hour, offering up these humiliations in the spirit if the Little Flower, as gifts for my precious Jesus hidden in the Blessed Sacrament. Especially when you are on your last thread of patience, hair askew, scapular flying, forehead beaded with perspiration, and in desperate need of that confession you are in line for.
That's when the graces really flow.
That's the secret of special motherhood.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

A New Blogger among us!

Be of Good Heart, is a blog by my friend and book contributor, Betty Whittman, happy Catholic and mother of 5 children. Go over and visit Princess Lucy, a beautiful girl with a little something extra.

Friday, September 28, 2007

William Tell Overture for Moms

Is up at Cause Nostrae Laetitiae. Go and see how much we say in a given day to our dear children!

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Poetry for Forty Days for Life

In honor of our prayer and fasting efforts for 40 days for life, which began yesterday,
my dear friend, Elizabeth Miller, has written a poem entitled "The Would-be Father", which focuses on the father of an aborted child. We often forget that abortion not only causes deep wounds in the mother, but the father as well, who often has no choice in what becomes of his child. Lumina is a ministry for post-abortive men.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

It's time for our youth to get busy writing!

One of the few disadvantages of homeschooling, is that our childrens' work is not given public acclaim. Unless, of course, their mom has a blog. My local diocesan paper, The Long Island Catholic is calling for essays on the daily life and faith experiences of high school, college students, and young adults. Here is the post.
I am excited about this, because when Catholic youth are given a voice, we can see that they take their faith quite seriously and the results are inspirational. Our bishop has had a number of youth rallies, (see my posts on Proud 2B Catholic and Youth 2000) focusing on the Eucharist, confession, vocations, fellowship, and solid Catholic teaching. At last week's rally at the Shrine of Our Lady of the Island, I reperesented 40 Days for Life . Mine and other pro-life programs received wide attention from the young people there. Particularly gratifying was their enthusiastic response to Fr. Roderick Ermantingers' video about the conversion of Eduardo Verastegui, which is a great story in itself, and his participation in the film Bella.
Faith and Family magazine also has a youth essay contest, whose instructions are here, it's for 6-8th graders, and the deadline is Oct 15. The theme is "Caught Being Good".
The March for Life will be posting the rules for the 2008 essay, poetry and artwork contest on their website here.
I hope that this will help motivate your young writers. Fr. Joseph Fessio, SJ, once head of Ignatius Press, and now at Ave Maria Univesity, once told a large crowd of families, gathered in support of bringing EWTN to Long Island that, "homeschooling will bring about the salvation of the Catholic Church in America". Since Gabbi was just a toddler at the time, I thought this was a bit overstated. The more I know of the fine young Cathoilc young men and women who are going off to college; their personal example of holiness, and their articulate defense of the Faith, the more I come to believe that Fr. Fessio was right.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

I'm going to be on Relevant Radio tomorrow

I'll be interviewed at 4:30 EST on the Drew Mariani Show by Fr. James Kubicki of The Apostleship of Prayer. Click here to listen online. Please say a prayer that I am calm and can communicate a clearly to parents of children with Down syndrome about The Dr. Jerome Lejeune Society.

BOGO Wines share the truth about stem cell research

Over at The Dr. Jerome Lejeune Society I have a post about BOGO wines, whose founder got his inspiration from reading Life is a Blessing, the biography of Dr. Lejeune, and uses his business to support adult stem cell research.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

The Fourth Down Syndrome Carnival is up

Go over to Team Hsu and enjoy the posts about our children and church.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

The Soul of a Writer

Heidi Hess Saxton's blog has a fantastic post about the deepest desires of a writer's soul coming from Our Lord. He is calling us to write, and when we obey Him, we see amazing results.
I have wanted to be a writer for as long as I can remember, but somehow suppressed that desire over and over again as it emerged relentlessly.I won a statewide poetry contest in high school for a poem I wrote about the coming of Pope John Paul II to New York in 1979. I published an article in Queen of All Hearts magazine on his visit in 1995. I wrote to Fr. Fessio of Ignatius Press about my desire to write Catholic children's books in 1997 (he promised to read my manuscripts personally, and I never wrote them!).
Finally, this time last year, I recognized, so late, but not too late, that this was planted in my heart from God, along with the talent to go with it, so I'd better get on with it. Perhaps it was the 25th Anniversary of EWTN Conference which spurred me on to trust God, and step out in faith. I saw firsthand the results of the faith of Mother Angelica, and, after reading her biography, saw how God acted so powerfully when she trusted Him, despite her troubled childhood and poor health. "If Mother can do it, so can I", I told myself.
So now, at 45, I'm finally a writer. I'm my truest self. A stay at home, homeschooling mom who writes. Life is incredibly full and my most far-flung fantasies are becoming reality. Last year, I floated the ceiling with joy, when I sold a piece to Faith and Family. Now, I'm having to write myself a flow chart, so I stay on top of my deadlines.
I have four upcoming articles, a book, two conference talks, two radio interviews, and a screenplay in process. I'm applying for a permit from the FCC to run a radio station to broadcast EWTN on FM radio. There is the Dr. Jerome Lejeune Society which is gaining momentum. Then there are the movie promotions (Bella and Mr. Blue Sky) the movie reviews and the pro-life activism. Did I mention I have four blogs?
For most of these projects, my girls are fully involved, like when they met Senator Brownback at Blogs for Life, or attended film premieres in Hollywood and New York. I plan to have them tag along to the Catholic Writer's Conference this which is to be held in a fun-sounding resort near Chicago. I'll get to meet my co-author Monica Rafie there. It embarrasses me, when I write all this, it looks like bragging, but just remember, I'm just a housewife with a keyboard. And a call from God. Is there any doubt now that all this is His doing and NOT mine?
In my recent article in Celebrate Life magazine, I end with the quote from Scripture:
"delight thyself also in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart."

Friday, September 14, 2007

Our Challenged Children at Mass

The editor of my diocesan newspaper, while discussing reverence at Mass in this column, shows an extraordinary amount of understanding that, in some cases, the children who are disruptive, have special needs, and that loving tolerance is called for. Bravo, Rick Hinshaw!
I was on my way home from my parents' home this evening, and had no time to drop the girls at home in time to make it to adoration, so I reluctantly brought Christina inside the Church, leaving her under Bella and Gabbi's care, while I entered the separate adoration chapel.

A few minutes later, remembering her past experiences of recognizing Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament, and knowing that adoration was about to end, I brought all three girls into the chapel. Within 5 minutes, Christina was becoming disruptive, but the leader of the Holy Hour, a saintly man, let me know that it was OK. The period of silent adoration had been anything but silent, thanks to Christina's pointing our the light, Jesus, and her sisters to those in the chapel. Finally, she decided to run up to the Monstrance, and, unwilling to risk what she might do next, I scooped her up, and sent Gabbi out of the chapel with her.
As we left for the evening, the dear gentleman said smiling tenderly, "is this the little baby you used to bring to adoration in her car seat?"
What a loving way for him to show his appreciation of my attempt to bring my special little daughter to the feet of Jesus!

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Review of Facing the Giants

It takes a compelling story to get a woman who has no interest in sports to sit through a football movie. I've enjoyed the occasional baseball movie, but football seemed too much to bear. To be honest, what I had heard about "Facing the Giants" didn't help. My daughters didn't like it. It was too didactic, too obviously Christian, said the reviews. But somehow, it seemed to resonate with audiences, so, out of curiousity, I decided to make myself sit through this film to see where the magic was. Did Christians just go see this out of loyalty to their faith or rebellion against the Hollywood trash? While I don't see anything wrong with these motives, they're not enough to make a film as popular as "Facing the Giants"was. This film, made by Sherwood Baptist Church in Albany, Georgia, surprised Hollywood.
The story begins with Grant Taylor, a Christian high school football coach, good man who just has his entire world caving in on top of his head; a losing team, meagre finances, a clunker of a car, and nagging home repairs. The only bright spot is his loving wife, Brooke, who doesn't join in the general consensus that her husband can't do nothin' right. Even though one of his failures is his inability to give her the child they both long for. So, what's a man to do?
Is there anyone reading this who hasn't been where this man has been, feeling hopelessly inept at everything that matters in life? Have you, like Grant Taylor, turned to God in surrender at this moment, offering Him your life?
I have, and what touched me about this film, is the Taylor's prayer, "Jesus, even if nothing changes, we love You, and praise You." That's grace under pressure; that's true Christianity. That is what moved me to tears, and got me involved, despite the football theme. People that faithful deserve answers to their prayers. But they're not the only ones praying. There's the man in the wheelchair who cheers on his insecure son, and prays for his success as he tries to turn his soccer kick into a football kick. There's the old man who comes by the school regularly, praying for revival.There's the unassuming school janitor who tells coach Taylor he's been praying for him. These prayer warriors are noticed in this film as they seldom are in real life, they are credited for causing the wave of faith which washes over Shiloh High School. Then there's the charity which Grant's revived faith inspires, as he chides one of his football players to show his father respect, the very man who was conspriring to have Grant replaced as the Eagles' coach.
This film teaches a solid, inspiring lesson about faith, that it isn't really faith till the chips are down, and you love God for Who He is, not for what He does for you. And courage isn't courage, unless you overcome that queasy feeling in your stomach, and face your fears head on.
There's precious little strength of character shown in films today. Characters prey upon one another, engage in meaningless relationships, and lose hope. Hollywood is dominated by so many films are pointless, cheerless wastes of time, that one can't help cheering for the Eagles as they face the Giants. So what if we can guess how it ends.
The only danger in films like"Facing the Giants" is that sometimes, the good people pray, and pray, and pray, and nothing changes. We have all experienced that, and it's as real as the positive outcome the Christians in this movie experience. We'll save that theme for another, deeper film. Enjoy this movie for what it is: a parable in a football medium. And what's a good football movie without cheering?
Reccomended for all ages. Including those who don't understand football. There is something here beyond football which is worth watching.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Friar Supplier Barbecue

The young, dynamically orthodox, Franciscan Friars of the Renewal and their co-order the Franciscan Sisters of the Renewal, are one of the reasons I am so hopeful about the future of the Catholic Church. I am fortunate to belong to a large organization of laymen who contribute to their food supply as well as their missions in Haiti, and Honduras. We have an annual barbecue at the home of Joan and Charlie Moran, a lovely couple who run the Suppliers. The volleyball, sharing and music are topped off by participation in evening prayer with the Friars. The peace that pervaded the formerly boisterous crowd of 435 was edifying, and gave us a taste of the beauty of their prayer life.

I was thrilled to meet friends, both new and old. Mayra and Regina, in matching striped outfits, spent some time getting to know us, and will be sharing their amazing story in my book on Catholic mothers. Sr. Mairead has a special relationship with Christina. Sister has just come back from a long trip to the new house they have established in Albuquerque, New Mexico. On her return trip, she was interviewed by Fr. Francis Mary on Life on the Rock. She said, "I was very nervous, Fr. Francis didn't tell us what he was going to ask us!" I saw the show, and Sister Mairead did wonderfully, the joy in her face says it all.
Go to Causa Nostrae Laetitiae to read about my conversation with Fr. Andrew Apostoli.

Saturday, September 8, 2007

Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary

Happy Birthday, Mary, Cause of Our Joy!
Click here to play "O Sanctissima"

Kimberly has the Litany of the Infant Mary up at Catholic Family Vignettes.

Image courtesy of Fotos Cofrades.

Friday, September 7, 2007

My Guest Post is up at the Dawn Patrol

Dawn Eden has graciously offered me a spot on her popular blog to introduce the Dr. Jerome Lejeune Society.

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Announcing the Catholic Down Syndrome Society

I have created the Catholic Down Syndrome Society to provide a support group for Catholic parents who are raising children with Down syndrome.
Here is our official blog.

If you are interested in membership, please email me at

Common Threads book avaible on discount from Band of Angels

If you're like me, you have wanted to purchase the beautiful coffee table book, Common Threads which features lovely photos of children with Down syndrome, but found the price a bit steep. All those pages of precious photos come at a price, it seems.
Here's your chance to get a slightly damaged hardcover copy (dog eared pages, damaged cover) for only $30.00 from Band of Angels press, the maker of this lovely calendar(see photo) and note cards featuring our gorgeous children.

I have posted here about how much Christina enjoys gazing at faces like hers. so I know who will be 'reading' the copy of Common Threads on our coffee table. Since Christina is an avid reader, but a bit hard on books, I might as well start out with a copy which is already a bit broken in!

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Third Down Syndrome Carnival

To those who missed the third Down Syndrome Carnival, there was a bit of a mishap, and it wasn't published. Sorry!

The good news is that now we have our own blog, and when I get the hang of multiple contributors, the Down syndrome carnival will be held there.
For this week the Third Down Syndrome Carnival will be at Team Hsu hosted by Ellen Hsu. Email her with your articles.

Pumpkin Picking Party for Families

It's harvest time, and has a special pumpkin picking party for parents of children with Down syndrome.
Bob and Patti Blakely at Numbers Thirteen Farm of Goldvein,VA (Fauquier County)are hosting it on Saturday October 6 from 1-5 pm. The Blakely family makes this wonderful afternoon available every year.
The schedule for the day is:
(Catering by ITT Advanced Engineering & Sciences)Welcome / Sign-In
Cake and Cookies
Face Painting
Pick Your Own Pumpkin
Horse Back Riding
Fire Station Static Display (invited)
USMC Static Display (invited)
Tribute to the Military
RSVP's are needed ASAP (on their website under "contact us")

Catholic Fire: Blessed Mother Teresa: My Favorite Quotes

Catholic Fire: Blessed Mother Teresa: My Favorite Quotes

Tenth anniversary of Mother Teresa's entrance into Heaven

Here is the portrait of her which hangs in our living room, entitled, "Contemplative in Morning Glory". It reminds me of how Mother Teresa called her Missionaries of Charity, "contemplatives in the midst of the world," meaning they were "seeing Christ in the distressing disguise of the poor".
I wrote a post about my visit to her convent in the Bronx, at her request. We will be watching a documentary on her life on EWTN today. Here are some links to learn more about this amazing saint of God.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Labor Day Camping Trip to Cedar Point

We took our first camping trip this year to Cedar Point Park in East Hampton, LI over Labor Day Weekend, and the weather was perfect! Here are some photos of our excursion to the Cedar Island Lighthouse on Sunday.
We discovered a bird whose beak was caught in a clam, and Gabbi rescued it by pulling gently on the clam till it was free. The freed bird quickly flew away, letting us know it wasn't harmed.

The lighthouse here was originally built of wood in 1834 to guide ships to Sag Harbor which was then a big whaling town and seaport. The lighthouse was rebuilt in stone in 1868, and served until it was decommissioned in 1934. The hurricane of 1938 built this causeway to the lighthouse, making Cedar Island into Cedar Point, jutting into Gardiner's Bay on the North Shore of the South Fork of Long Island.

It is an inexpensive haven for families in a beautiful (and expensive) part of Long Island.
We had a great weekend.