Memorial Day Prayer

 

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Heavenly Father,

On this Memorial Day, we pray for those who courageously laid down their lives for the cause of freedom. May the examples of their sacrifice inspire in us the selfless love of Your Son, our Lord Jesus Christ.

Bless the families of our fallen troops, and fill their homes and their lives with Your strength and peace.

In union with people of goodwill of every nation, embolden us to answer the call to work for peace and justice, and thus, seek an end to violence and conflict around the globe.

We ask this through Christ our Lord.

Amen.

(prayer reposted from the Roman Catholic Diocese of Providence, RI)

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Beautiful, Short Prayer to the Sacred Heart of Jesus

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Sacred Heart of Jesus, my light, my love and my life:  lead me to know you and to love only you.  May I live to you alone, in you, by you and for you.  Amen.

St. Madeleine Sophie Barat (1779-1865)

She founded the Society of the Sacred Heart in 1800 to make known the love of God revealed in the Heart of Christ.  You may click on this link for a good, short biography of her.

 

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Growing Lawns and Growing Faith

Please read my latest post at Nola Catholic Experience.  Thanks!

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Reflections on the Readings for Sunday, May 24, 2015

Readings for Sunday, May 24

Pentecost is from the Greek word ‘Pentekostos’, which means ‘fifty’. It’s the 50th day after the Sabbath of Passover.    It is also called the birth of the Church.  Pentecost takes place 10 days after the Ascension of Jesus, after which the apostles and Mary gather in the upper room and pray for the coming of the Spirit, the advocate, that Jesus promised.  They prayed for 9 days – this was the very first Novena! (novena means nine)

In doing a bit of research, I found two interesting customs related to Pentecost that you may not have heard of:

In Italy it was customary to scatter rose leaves from the ceiling of the churches to recall the miracle of the fiery tongues. In France it was customary to blow trumpets during Divine service, to recall the sound of the mighty wind which accompanied the Descent of the Holy Ghost. (www.newadvent.org)

The Holy Spirit has many titles.  One is the “sanctifier” – meaning “to make holy.”  Do you recall reading the verse in the bible that says that the only unforgivable sin is blasphemy against the Holy Spirit? (Matthew 12:31)   The reason that this sin is unpardonable, is that when we cut ourselves off from the Holy Spirit, we cut ourselves off from grace.  We cannot be sanctified without  God’s Holy Spirit.  As Revelation 21:27 tells us “nothing impure may enter heaven.”  (This is also one of many “arguments” for the existence of purgatory.)

Sometimes, I feel as though the Holy Spirit is the forgotten part of the Holy Trinity.  We should not neglect the Spirit!  He has so many wonderful gifts to bestow upon those who ask :imagesI have two favorite prayers to the Holy Spirit.  The first is from St. Augustine:

Breathe into me, Holy Spirit,
that my thoughts may all be holy.

Move in me, Holy Spirit,
that my work, too, may be holy.

Attract my heart, Holy Spirit,
that I may love only what is holy.

Strengthen me, Holy Spirit,
that I may defend all that is holy.

Protect me, Holy Spirit,
that I may always be holy.

 

The second is from Linda Kelly.  We say it everyday at our school:

Come Holy Spirit into our school.

Come even closer into our hearts.

Fill us with love for one another.

Fill us with love for You.

Be our guide throughout the day

That we may please God in every way.

 

 

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My Summer Bucket List

Beginning on Thursday, it will be 8 weeks and counting!  8 weeks to pack in all of the things that I would like to do during the school year, but don’t really have the time to do.  Summer used to be 3 months long – a long, long time ago!  So with only 56 days, I will have to get busy!!

imagesHere’s my summer bucket list:

Go barefooted a lot

Walk in the rain

Make a big puzzle

Read a good, inspirational book

Celebrate the feasts of St. Anthony (June 13th) and the Sacred Heart (month of June) with special food, etc.

make homemade ice cream and bread

try new recipes

take lots of photographs

Play Dance Game with the kids on the Wii

Go to mass an extra day of the week

Take the kids to adoration at St. Peter & to get snowballs afterwards

Go to Grand Isle State Park & see the Butterfly Dome

Pick Blackberries

Visit St. Patrick’s Church & take a street car ride on St. Charles

Visit the renovated Buccaneer St. Park

Catch up with friends I haven’t seen in too long

Destin Weekend

Gatlinburg with the Doyle Clan

Go see the UCM museum in Abita Springs & have lunch at  Mama D’s

Acadiana Park Nature Station Lafayette

Kayaking

Roller Skating in Slidell and visit the Old Town Soda Shop

Shrine of St. John Berchmans, Grand Coteau, Bayou Goula’s Madonna Chapel, St. Charles Borromeo Church

Movie Tavern Flapjacks and a Flick

Listen to Old Radio Show Podcasts

Read a great book together as a family

Exercise

weed the gardens

Check out the trail at Land- o- Pines Campground

Finish watching season 2 of “Eight is Enough”

Go to Texas de Brazil

 

The not so fun bucket list:

paint the den

clean out closets and cabinets

shop for school supplies since I forgot to turn in my order for a supply pack – Big sigh!

 

I’m sure that I’m forgetting something.  I guess I’ll just make it up as I go along.  That’s what is so great about summer!

 

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Reflections on the Readings for Sunday, May 17, 2015

Readings for May 17

In the first reading we see that Matthias is chosen to take the place of Judas, the apostle who hanged himself after betraying Jesus.  Not a whole lot is known about this (sometimes forgotten) apostle.  Here’s what we do know:

UnknownMatthias was born in Bethlehem and was a descendant of the tribe of Judah.  He was taught by Simeon, the one who received the child Jesus in the temple. He was a follower of Jesus from the very beginning His public ministry.  Matthias was originally Zacchaeus.  Zacchaeus was the short man who climbed the sycamore tree in order to see Jesus (Luke 19:1-10). He repented of his former life after Jesus went to visit with him in his home.

Here’s some lagnaippe, as we like to say in Louisiana – a little extra – a song to help you remember the original 12 apostles.  It’s to the tune of the “Happy Birthday” song we all sing at birthday parties.

Andrew, Simon, John, Jude

Philip, Peter, Matthew,

Judas, James Lesser and Greater

Thomas, Bartholomew!

In the gospel, we see Jesus and His apostles in the upper room.  He is praying for His apostles with His eyes lifted toward heaven.  He knows what is about to happen – His immense suffering and death, and yet, He is praying for His friends.  How He loved them and cared for them!  How He loves us- Blessed are those who have not seen, and yet have believed.  (John 20:29)  In the prayer, He mentions how we do not belong in this world anymore that He did.  We would do well to remember that – especially when times are tough or when this world disappoints us.  How many times do we expect the world’s recognition, admiration, and approval?  How many times do we expect happiness, fulfillment and satisfaction from the people, events and institutions of this world?  This is not where we belong.  We are not home yet.

Another thing I noticed about Jesus’ prayer was that He mentioned the word “Truth” a few times.  So many people in our world today believe that truth is relative – that what is true for you may not be what is true for me.  Relativism is poison!  It has completely corrupted the morals in our society.  Truth is not up for debate.  Truth is not individual.  Truth is not whatever floats your boat.  Truth has a name.  His name is Jesus Christ.

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I love the little 3 minute videos over at Young Catholic Minute.  Here is one entitled, “Isn’t Truth Relative.”  I hope you will watch!

I’m also attaching a link to a song by Building 429, Where I Belong.  I have it on my playlist…

“All I know is I’m not home yet.  This is not where I belong. Take this world and give me Jesus…”

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Teaching Advice

imagesMy niece will graduate this weekend with a degree in elementary education.  I am so proud of her, and happy to have another teacher in the family.  I have been so blessed to truly love what I do for a living.   I hope that my niece will feel the same about her teaching career, when she looks back one day.

I gave her some (unsolicited) advice based on my 26 years in the classroom:

1.  Don’t be afraid to PUT DOWN THE TEXTBOOK.  It is a tool.  Your whole class should not revolve around it.  They can pull in anyone off of the street to read a text to children and have them answer the chapter questions.  You have been trained to do more than that, so do it:)

2.  Try hard to learn the kids names before they come to you – even if you have to borrow a yearbook and study names and faces – this gives you an instant edge and connection.

3.  Be firm and consistent, yet don’t be afraid to have fun with them.  Learning should be fun!  It should inspire!

4.  On as many days as possible, greet each and every one of your students at the door.

5.  If you work in a Christian school, allow the kids to do intentions for prayers often, as it helps you to get to know what their concerns are.

6.  Try to write a “happy note” to each of them during the first nine weeks.  Accentuate the positive, and show them that you’ve noticed something good about them/their behavior.  That can go a long way!

7.  With regard to parent conferences, be patient with parents.  I told her that to a parent, their child is their whole world.  Try to put yourself in their shoes.

8. With regard to people passing judgement on inexperience –    It is not a “sin” to be young – or to not have your own children yet.  (I remember being upset when I was 23 and in my first year of teaching to have parents tell me that I couldn’t understand because I did not have children of my own.  I thought that was absurd – I had been trained, and had graduated with honors after all!   Of course, having my own children didn’t teach me how to teach, but it gave me a whole new perspective that certainly helped me to be a better teacher.)   It all comes with time:)

9.  Don’t give homework just to give homework.  Did you like doing hours upon hours of homework as a kid?  Of course not!  Try to remember what it was like to be a student, and don’t torture unnecessarily!

10.  Treat the kids with respect, and 9 times out of 10, they will treat you with respect.  Don’t yell.  Then, if you ever do have to raise your voice, they will really pay attention!

Here are some of my favorite quotes about teaching:

“IT IS THE SUPREME ART OF THE TEACHER TO AWAKEN JOY IN CREATIVE EXPRESSION AND KNOWLEDGE.”
— ALBERT EINSTEIN

“THE MEDIOCRE TEACHER TELLS. THE GOOD TEACHER EXPLAINS. THE SUPERIOR TEACHER DEMONSTRATES. THE GREAT TEACHER INSPIRES.”
— WILLIAM A. WARD

EDUCATION IS NOT THE FILLING OF A PAIL, BUT THE LIGHTING OF A FIRE.  – WILLIAM BLAKE

 

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Please Share

Are you tired of chaos in your home? Are you fretful over your children’s choices, their friendships, their relationships? Have you lost your motivation? Do your children treat each other disrespectfully or hurtfully? Do you wonder how you will pay this month’s bills? Do you feel angry or agitated toward your spouse? Do you feel depressed or despairing?  Is your family struggling to live out its Catholic faith?  If you have reached your limit, and you’re thinking to yourself, “That’s it! I’m done,” I ask you to give the Sacred Heart of Jesus a try. What do you have to lose? Your sadness? Your anger? Your frustration?

I cannot promise you that making Jesus King of Your Heart and Home will take away all of your troubles. Jesus’ life was marked with trials, struggles and suffering. When we follow Him, we take up our own personal crosses. The great news, however, is that you are not alone. Jesus wants to help you – to shoulder your burdens and lighten the load. He is true to His promise from the gospel of John, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give it to you. Do not let your hearts be troubled or afraid.”  This peace is life changing, and pervades all aspects of home and family. He alone can transform your family’s brokenness into wholeness, doubt into faith, anxiety into calm, sadness into joy, suffering into healing – darkness into light.   Sound hopeful?

Maybe things aren’t so bad in your house, but could surely be better.  Perhaps, you know a Catholic family who is really struggling.  Please share this information with them. Enthronement of the Sacred Heart of Jesus has really been a life changer for me.  I want everyone I know to know about it and benefit from it.  Click on the link to this website for more information.

Sacred Heart of Jesus

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“Couples and Families, “Behold Your Mother.”

Please take a moment to read a great MAY post on Mary Our Mother by Jason Angelette at NOLA CATHOLIC EXPERIENCE! 

Thanks!

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The Irony & the Sandwich

I finally know who I am.  I know where I belong – and where I don’t belong.  I’m comfortable in my own skin – even with its imperfections.  I’m secure in knowing what I’m good at, and what my limitations are.  In many ways, this is the best time in my life.

Ironically, just as I’ve become comfortable and secure in who I am, it all starts to fall apart – or at least fall – if you know what I mean!!  My hubby recently purchased a “Speed Abs” roller for the two of us to use.  The first time I (attempted) to use it was absolutely hilarious!  I needed a spotter to hold me by the waistband and help pull me up when I would roll too far down and couldn’t get back up – even with the special coil assist!  A couple of time, I literally landed flat on my face.  I’ve been at it for about three weeks now, and I’m up to about 15 repetitions – without assistance – but with a lot of groaning.  My children laugh at me and imitate the sounds I make!  Nice!

images-1It’s ironic that at the very time that we become comfortable with ourselves as adults and feel confident in who we are and what we can handle, life gets complicated again.  In our 40’s and 50’s, we become the “sandwich generation.”  Many of us who had children in our 30’s are still in the trenches with them – trying to help them through school and carpooling them all over the place.  It’s usually in our 40’s and 50’s that many of us have teenagers in the house.  That’s quite a stressful period for the whole family.  Thankfully with improved medical care and prevention, many of our parents are living longer.  They too begin to need help with day-to-day living.  What happens to the sandwich?  It gets smooshed in the bottom of a book bag, if we are not careful!

I really do think that things would be less stressful and far less complicated if we could go back to one spouse working and generations living together in the same home.  Unfortunately, it doesn’t seem that it is likely that will happen anytime soon.  It’s the way that the world and the economy operate now – God’s plan for families a distant memory

So what does Dana do?  (I surely don’t have all of the answers!)  Thankfully, my parents are still pretty independent.  I know that a time is coming when they will need me, and I pray that I can really be there for them.  With regard to my own children, I have had to limit their involvement in outside activities.  I’ve never had much stamina/energy, and I must work a full-time job.   I also wanted my kids to have some time each day just to hang out and relax – just to be.  I made up my mind early on that each child could only do one outside activity ( or none) at a time.  This helps things from becoming too hectic, and surprisingly they haven’t been scarred or deprived!

We eat dinner as a family nearly every day of the week – even if I have to use the Crock Pot or pick up a rotisserie chicken from the market.  This helps to keep us connected and grounded, and allows each member of the family to be heard.    We often pray as a family.   My personal “salvation and sanity” is spending time in the adoration chapel nearly every weekday.  There, Jesus truly restores my sense of peace and gives me the strength to keep going.  I also garden almost everyday, even if that’s just watering, pulling a couple of weeds or taking a walk outside to see what is ready to be harvested.  There’s something very therapeutic about it!

Shout out to everyone who is in the sandwich generation!  Hey!  We are in the same boat!  Take comfort in knowing that you are not alone!  imagesI can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.  Philippians 4:13

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