A Subtle Grace

Here’s my review of a great, new Christian historical romance novel:

a-subtle-grace-front-cover-nov20131A Subtle Grace is the long awaited sequel to Ellen Gable’s book In Name Only. Often in books, as well as in movies, sequels disappoint. I must say, however, that this sequel surely does not disappoint! It’s a page-turner with autonomy – It can be equally enjoyed either as a follow up to In Name Only, or as a first experience of Gable’s work. Ellen pays attention to every detail, masterfully crafting the plot, as well as some interesting subplots. The reader is drawn in quickly and comes to genuinely care about the characters – including the endearing protagonist, Kathleen O’Donovan. The story addresses Kathleen’s turn of the century struggles of life, love and faith in a way that is relevant and never “preachy.” Kudos to Ellen Gable! This novel is sure to become a Christian romance classic.

It is available at Plot Line and Sinker, or at Amazon.com.

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100 Things

100 Things that I am very grateful to God for – I’m challenging myself (and you) to see if we can come up with 100 things in 10 minutes or less! Here goes: 4:05 p.m.

1-Jesus
2-Mary
3-a caring husband
4-3 beautiful children and one in heaven
5-my parents
6-my brother and his sweet family
7-having great in laws – the whole super gang of them
8-my saint friends
9-my earthly friends
10-being pain free today
11-warm blankets and pillows
12-migraine medication
13-writing
14-music
15-my camera
16-the brilliant colors of the changing leaves
17-my daughter’s singing/happiness
18-always having food on the table
19-clean, readily available water
20-vaseline for my lips
21-Contact lenses so I can see
22-working appendages
23-a good brain
24-forgiveness
25-hope
26-trees
27-the beach
28-communication
29-music – classical, piano, 80’s, 1D
30-chocolate
31-beautiful churches
32-reliable transportation
33-shoes
34-barefooting in summer
35-baths and showers
36-the mountains
37-stars in the night sky
38-a walk in the woods
39-vacation memories
40-Christmas lights
41-electricity
42-having a song in my heart
43-gardening
44-kayaking
45-nail clippers
46-adoration chapel time
47-the Eucharist (I’m ashamed that I just thought of this one!)
48-silence
49-Mozart
50-piano music
51-Violin
52-peace
53-swings
54-wind chimes
55-God’s Word
56-making out of childhood with my sanity!
57-Thanksgiving holidays
58-Having a job that I love
59-Having a job period
60-snow
61-the sun’s warmth
62-flowers
63-roasted marshmallows
64-butterflies
65-birds on the bird feeder/birdbath
66-The Song “Middle of Your Heart” by For King and Country
67-Plumb
68- Audrey Assad
69-Cardinals
70-signs from God
71-St. Andrew the Apostle School community
72-the hope of heaven
73-REDEMPTION
74-being able to kneel
75-being able to walk
76-a roof over my head
77-a comfortable bed
78-clear nasal passages
79-windows
80-stained glass windows
81-the kindness of others
82-unexpected affirmations
83-surprise flowers from my husband
84-family outings
85-holiday – having family to celebrate with
86-my computer
87-Artists – especially Renoir, Monet, Michelangelo
88-restaurants
89-having a new Catholic bookstore open on the Northshore
90-meeting other people of faith – getting to share our faith
91-working at a place where I can talk about Jesus all day long:)
92- being able to sing (somewhat) – at least I enjoy it
93-being raised Catholic
94-ALL that my generous, loving parents do for me and for my whole family!
95-dentists and toothbrushes
96-makeup to hide my imperfections (my vanity is showing!)
97-babies
98-seashells
99- geckos that keep the yard roach population down
100-British accents -Irish too! Heck, I like them all!

I ended at 4:30 – Didn’t pass my own test – but had a great time thinking of all that I’m most grateful for!!!
Have a blessed Thanksgiving everyone!

P.S. I forgot hairspray – very important!

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A Great Program on the Apparitions at Garabandal

Garabandal video – You’ve heard a lot about the apparitions at Fatima.  What do you know about Conchita and the apparitions at Garabandal?

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Christ Our King

I grew up in Christ the King parish in Terrytown, a suburb of New Orleans. Our church was a very humble church parish – one that held mass in a cafeteria for quite some time, until a proper church could be built. Most Catholic churches are named after Mary or one of the saints. As a child, I did not realize the royalty of Jesus for whom our school and church was named. We had as our patron, the King of Kings!

You know, if you read the Old Testament, you see that God did not plan for Israel to be ruled by Kings. Because of the people’s obstiUnknownnancy, the Lord allowed a king to be named. After the rise and fall of a handful of these kings, Isaiah prophesied the coming of the ultimate King, the very Son of God. I suppose that people envisioned a grand King, with a dazzling, bejeweled crown and dressed in the finest purple fabric – someone who would be rich and powerful.

Along came Jesus, born in a cold stable to poor parents, on the run from those who wished to kill Him. He wore a tunic and sandals – no crown but a crown of thorns. He humbled Himself to share in our very humanity so that He could elevate and sanctify our very existence. He gave His life for our sins so that we may live with Him for all eternity. That’s the kind of King we have – not one who oppresses His people, but one who gives them free will. Truly, He is the King of all Kings!

“…He (God) has many different ways of finding man and even turning his wrong ways into right ways. The feast of Christ the King is therefore not a feast of those who are subjugated, but a feast of those who know that they are in the hands of the one who writes straight on crooked lines.” Pope Benedict XVI Praise God! Praise God!

Our King loves us so much and is so merciful! The only appropriate response to that great love is to make every effort to return that love, and to love others as He has loved us. The gospel today reminds us that whatever we do for others – listen to them, feed them, clothe them, care for them – we do for our King, Jesus.

I believe with all my heart that the answer for All the world’s problems is for families to truly make Jesus the King of their hearts and homes. When families are strengthened and filled with Christ’s grace, this strengthens society. “As the family goes, so goes the nation and so goes the whole world in which we live.” ― Pope John Paul II.

Happy Feast Day, King Jesus! Thank you for being the King of the Doyle home! We love you and submit all to Your most holy will.

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Reflections on the Readings of the Day: Sunday, November 16, 2014

Readings for Sunday, November 16

imagesThe first reading reminds me of my role as wife to my wonderful husband.  I have been so blessed with a man who always puts my well-being and happiness before his own.  I try to do the same for him. Regretfully,  I believe I fall short quite often.  I am blessed to be married to my best friend.  We have a love triangle!  Yes!  A triangle – God at the top of the triangle and Eric and I in the bottom two corners.  We consult God on everything in our marriage.  We both love God more than we love each other.  I believe that is key to our longevity – that and the fact that we believe our marriage to be a sacrament.  You cannot undo a sacrament.  If you have been baptized, can you be unbaptized?  No.  If you receive your first Holy Communion, can you take it back?  No.  Marriage is the same way.  With God at the helm of our ship, it is sure to stay afloat, no matter how choppy the waters may become.

In the second reading, we are reminded to remain alert for the Lord’s second coming.  I have read “The Great Battle Has Begun” and Volumes 5 & 8 from Anne the Lay Apostle- both concerning messages/prophecies about Jesus’ return.  I keep them close by and refer to them often.  Do I believe that Jesus will return soon?  Well, ever since Jesus ascended into heaven, people have believed that He would return in their lifetime.  We know from scripture that only the Father (God) knows the precise day and hour.  The signs of the times are pretty compelling however.  It does not lead me to panic.  I find that I do have to stay faithful to my prayer time to stay connected to Jesus – to keep peace.  The Lord does not want us to fear His return.  He will be coming back to make things right and good again.  Things will surely get worse though before they get better.  Jesus wants us to repent – to change our lives – to love Him in return – before it is too late.

Lastly, the gospel tells the parable of the talents.  The essential lesson is to be prudent not to waste what the Lord has given us – in terms of time, talent and treasure.  If He has blessed and entrusted us with much, much will be expected of us.  We need to use all of our resources – most especially our personal gifts and talents –  to show God’s love to our weary, faith – deprived world.  We should make it a practice to ask the Father often if we are doing all that He wants us to do.  You never know, He just may respond!  Asking that question is how I wound up teaching Religion instead of English and Science.  It is how I got started writing about my faith.

Do not be afraid!  If He brings you to it, He will see you through it!  When you follow God’s Will, you will always be your best, most fulfilled self.  More importantly, you may wind up drawing others closer to Jesus, hastening the coming of the Kingdom here on earth!

 

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Inquiring Minds Want to Know!

Do you want to know when/why my husband and I embraced NFP and decided to have a third child at 38 & 40?  Do you want to know why I stopped teaching fourth grade after 16 years and started teaching middle school?  Do you want to know how my children got their names?  Do you want to know why I moved to the Northshore? Do you want to know why I started writing? Do you want to know how to be more in tune with God’s voice in your own life?

 

41ZIE2E1bPL._AA160_God Messaging.  Will You Accept His “Friend Request?”

Do you want to know about my childhood ?  Do you want to know how I was able to forgive my abuser?  Do you want to know how to protect your own child or overcome your own childhood trauma?51LwqRytbwL._AA160_Hope for Healing from the Effects of Childhood Sexual Abuse

Do you want to know how to get peace in your home?  Do you know the 12 promises that Jesus made to families/individuals who honor His Sacred Heart?  (They are pretty awesome!)  Have you ever heard of Home Enthronement?  It can change your life!

51Qg5Ud6sYL._AA160_The Answer for Families

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Our Lady of Tickfaw

I awakened yesterday morning with a question on my heart, “Where is that place in Tangipahoa ( a parish in Southeast Louisiana) where the Blessed Virgin Mary was said to have appeared?” I’m not sure why that came to my mind.

Perhaps it is because this has been such a difficult week for me physically, mentally, and even spiritually.  I needed something to give me hope – perhaps some added grace – to keep putting one foot in front of the other.  I did an internet search for the answer to my question and found that the information was scant.  I was lucky enough, however, to find an approximate location – at least a street name and a zip code for the site.  We gassed up the car, picked up a picnic lunch and were off on a mini pilgrimage in no time.

What we found when we arrived, was an opened gate and an overgrown lot filled with statues, stations of the cross, a fountain and a little chapel.   Sadly, it appeared that part of the property still holding a small chapel and some pretty statuary may have been sold off, because it was fenced off and posted with a warning to trespassers.

This is what I was able to find out about the alleged apparitions:

“Alfredo Raimondo founded Our Lady of Tickfaw on a former landfill site he bought in 1987 after returning from Medjugorje, a shrine site in Yugoslavia. Considered a visionary and messenger, he began preparing for a gathering to pray and honor Saint Joseph two years later.
The message was, “Pray for peace, pray from the heart.”
Word went out and on March 12, 1989, an estimated 20,000 people showed up. A Mass, prayers, confessions and a candlelight vigil took place. There were reports of healings and visions.”  Taken from “The Daily Star,”  Sylvia Schon.  Monday, May 15, 2000

 

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Despite its state of overgrowth, I found the grounds to be a peaceful place.  No one bothered us as we visited each area at a leisurely pace.  I was able to spend a while in prayer before Our Lady of Tickfaw, the afternoon sun forming a halo around her head.

I would love to talk to Alfredo’s widow and hear the story of her husband’s mystical experiences firsthand. I would like to learn more about the great gathering that took place there in the Tickfaw field in 1989.  If Mary did in fact appear there, it would make me very sad to see the sacred place so abandoned.  Someone still cuts the grass on the property, but some love and elbow grease could easily restore it to its original splendor.  Wouldn’t it be wonderful to have a place nearby where people could make a little pilgrimage?  I am so glad that we went.  I know that I walked away feeling a renewed sense of peace.

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A Much Needed Afternoon of Silence

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On A Lighter Note:)

IMG_7393 IMG_7402 IMG_7398 IMG_7395 IMG_7394Today, I got a sudden burst of energy and decided to cook for the week ahead.

Here’s Moroccan Chicken stew in the Crock Pot.

 

 

 

Bread Pudding with Rum Sauce for dessert

 

 

 

 

Stuffed Grape Leaves, vegetable beef soup

 

 

 

and finally, stuffed Bell Pepper.

I’ve been coming home from work  exhausted, so I thought that this might ensure that we eat healthy this week (except for the bread pudding of course!)

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Reflection on Today’s Gospel, Sunday, October 26, 2014

Readings for Sunday, October 26, 2014

Those doggone Pharisees were testing Jesus again.  As always, Jesus had the perfect answer to put them in their place. I realize that this may not be a really popular view with many in the world today, but I believe that the order in which Jesus gave the two “greatest commandments” is significant – something that many working for  “social justice” these days sometimes forget.  Our good works must flow from a deep and sincere love of God FIRST.  If not, our charitable acts are impotent – hollow – devoid of real love.

I think that the Catholic Church in America has gotten these two commandments reversed.  At times, we seem to be more concerned with social justice than with worship of the Lord.  Caring for the homeless, the less fortunate, the sick, the dying, the unemployed… is critical.  We are called to do so through the corporal acts of mercy. We DO show love of God by caring for our brothers and sisters in Christ in our community, in our country and around the world.

Our priorities have to be carefully ordered, however.  Sadly, worship of God seems to be on the back burner, as though we can put it off to some more convenient time.  Our lives are busier than ever.  When we meet St. Peter at the pearly gates,  I don’t think that our schedules being “quite hectic” will be a sufficient excuse.

Many new churches are being built to look like giant barns.  In the old days, people weren’t more wealthy.  They were willing to give until it hurt – to sacrifice to build a beautiful church out of love for the Lord.  I heard a story about one of the founding members of St. Henry Church in New Orleans – of a couple giving their wedding bands to be melted down in order to make a gold chalice – a suitable vessel for Christ’s blood.  Would anyone be willing to do that anymore?

The songs we sing at mass are often about “we, we, we and us, us, us” instead of being hymns of adoration and praise of God.  We’ve got the focus reversed.  Instead of kneeling before our King when we go to receive Him at the altar, we nod our heads and take Him into our hands. We come to mass dressed in football jerseys so that we can go straight to the festivities after mass – and God help the priest if he runs over time!  People start to leave so that they don’t miss kick off.  The altar where the unbloody sacrifice occurs – where we are made present at the foot of Christ’s cross – used to be so sacred that it was partitioned off from the rest of the church.  Now people parade up and down it like it’s no big deal.  We say that we love God, but are we showing deep reverence and adoration by doing all of these things?

We say that we love God, but are we willing to carve out time each and every day to be with Him?  Do we read scripture other than at mass on Sundays?  The Word of God is His love letter to us.  If we love Him, we will want to know Him better.  We get to know Him better by reading His Word.  Do we pray as a family?  Have we truly made God the King and Lord of our homes, or is He only a guest from time to time?  Do we consult Him in every decision we make, or do we just run to Him after we try to do things our way, and it all falls apart?

These are things that I feel very strongly about.  Am I guilty of not putting God first at all times? – Most certainly.  Often, it is my fatigue that is my weakness.  I think that it is important to keep striving to do better though.  God knows our hearts.  I want Him to like what He sees when He looks inside mine.

We must care for our brothers and sister needs – both physical and spiritual – but we must put God first.  In putting Him first, we allow His grace to fill us.  When we then go forth to help those in need, His grace will flow through us to others.  In this way, not only will we be addressing their temporal needs, but we will be bringing Christ to them as well.

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