Learning to love a bit stronger on social media – Special Books by Special Kids

I’m am not very tech savvy and probably never will be, so I rely on my children to let me know when they discover something that just needs to be shared and that happened yesterday.

Have you discovered Special Books by Special Kids? What a living, breathing display of our need to promote life!

This powerful site and accompanying YouTube channel and Facebook page introduces you to children, young people and even adults with a variety of diagnoses, struggles and special needs. Hearing their stories, seeing their faces and realizing the love that God has for each and every one of them is a wonderful opportunity to learn compassion, love of neighbor and yes, even joy.

Perhaps you or your children encounter such special people in your regular lives, perhaps even in your own family. But, perhaps you’ve not had many such meetings. Watching these videos either alone or with your children (based on their age and tenderness of soul) will surely help stretch your heart. At the very least, it will introduce you to some new friends and families who can always use some extra prayers and happy thoughts.

I suggest you first watch the videos on the website as an introduction to Chris Ulmer (founder) and how and why SBSK got started and then dive in. With 100’s of videos, you won’t run out of smiles any time soon.

New Embroidered Polos

NEW LITTLE FLOWERS POLOS!

With our new Little Flower Logo we welcome a beautiful new Little Flower embroidered polo shirt! These beautiful white polos complement the Blessed Mother Blue sashes and vests perfectly! Your Little Flower Girls and Leaders will look awesome in them!

Still like the pink polos? Don’t worry, we still have plenty and they are on sale 30% OFF while supplies last! Due to high demand of pink shirts, especially in the fall when pink shirts are used as a symbol for breast cancer awareness, we are unable to keep a consistent supply of the same shirt. Our current supply varies slightly in shades and sizes and are discounted accordingly. Grab a bargain while you can!!

Shop now in our ONLINE CATALOG.

Happy Feast of St. Brigid

With a Brigid of my own, I have a real love for this holy lady. I was pregnant with her while on a family vacation to Ireland which was lovely. We visited castles, pubs and even kissed the Blarney Stone (where I was told I would have twins). During this trip Matt and I were struggling with names for our newest baby (she would be #6) when we passed a lovely, small Irish church dedicated to St. Brigid and the decision was quickly made.

Much of St. Brigid’s story is legend, due to the part to the fact that she lived prior to the establishment of the Catholic Church in Ireland and a reliance on their rich oral tradition rather than written records. Depending on where you look online you can read of her being able to turn bath water into beer and as the patron of the women’s priest movement (!!). There are sites galore on-line who will want to confuse the Catholic saint with Brigid as a Gaelic god of life so proceed cautiously if you decide to investigate more about her.

But, for us, we will remember her as a partner with St. Patrick to bring Catholicism to the people of Ireland under the rule and thumb of pagan Druids including establishing the monastery in Kildaire.

May she inspire us to let ourselves be used by God even when it seems we don’t have all the resources, education or support that we ought.

 

 

 

Please, please trouble the Teacher – It is what He is waiting for

I’ve spent today thinking hard about today’s reading, Mark 5:21-43, which has not one but two healings. First, we have the woman with the hemorrhages for 12 years but she still reaches out to be healed. Then, we have the healing of the Jairus’ daughter who died. She was dead by the time Jesus’ arrived at her side. And here we have, “why trouble the teacher any longer?” But here we have the words of Jesus, “Have faith.”

And what is hitting me is that too often I dwell too much on the words of criticism, “why trouble the teacher”, rather than on the promise of “have faith”.

Too often, so very often we get discouraged. Whatever we are enduring be it 12 years, or 12 days or even 12 minutes seem an eternity or what we see is clearly hopeless and we stop bothering the Teacher. We just stop praying to Him, or listening to Him or reading His words in Scripture.  I know I can get wrapped up in bothering Jesus, or get tired of saying the same prayers, asking for the same thing again and again or just get discouraged.

But we need to bother the Teacher – He is hoping we will, He is waiting for us to bother Him, waken Him from the nap on the pillow (Mark 4:38).

I am not smart enough to explain or even understand the whole theology of waiting on God or able to understand why the wait even exists, but I do know that Jesus is waiting to hear from me, from you. He loves being bothered.

And while I wait for answered prayers or resolved situations, I am keeping track of the prayers that are answered, the small lights of God I see in my children or the world and take real comfort from what I read in the Bible such as Psalm 61 and 2 Peter 3:9 where we are told:

“The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.”

Who knows, my prayerful, patient and hopeful waiting might just be the time God needs to bring someone (maybe even me) to come to repentance.

So, I’ll keep bothering Him and keep striving to wait well.

 

 

Doing good for God – as a Wife and Mom

Today is the memorial for St. Marianne Cope, one of my Top 20 favorite saints. It might be because she was one of 10 children as am I. Her family emigrated from Germany to make their home in Utica, New York while I grew up about 3 hours from there.

But, I know it is also because she came to the help and aid of one of my Top 10 saints, St. Damien of Molokai. Having married a Matthew Damian and having my own Damian Joseph, along with a Dad whose parents emigrated from Belgium; he has a very special place in my life.

St. Marianne was well-loved in the Syracuse area where in 1870 (1870!!!) she was made head administrator of St. Joseph’s Hospital (remember that little fact the next time someone tells you the Church doesn’t appreciate women, we had women hospital administrators in 1870.)

However, she willingly left that role when her order was asked to help with the lepers of Molokai. She said, “I am hungry for the work and I wish with all my heart to be one of the chosen ones, whose privilege it will be to sacrifice themselves for the salvation of the souls of the poor Islanders….” She willingly went to do good for God without knowing what the future might hold.

Oh, that I could create a heart that went willingly to see helping others as a privilege. If I could awake each morning and say as she did making the prayer more personal for my situation:

“I am hungry for the work and I wish with all my heart to be one of the chosen ones, whose privilege it will be to sacrifice themselves for the salvation of the souls of my husband and my children.”

Oh, how hard that will be. Too many days, I would be more eager to go help lepers than my own family. But, I have not been called to Molokai but to Elkton. I have not been asked to help the lepers beyond my prayers. I am a wife and mother whose vocation is fused as one with the sacrament of marriage. I have my mission, though on too many days the thought of Hawaii makes me yearn for a different life. But that is not the life I was called to.

Today’s gospel, Mark 3:31-35 tells me as much:

……”But he said to them in reply,
“Who are my mother and my brothers?”
And looking around at those seated in the circle he said,
“Here are my mother and my brothers.
For whoever does the will of God
is my brother and sister and mother.”

So, tonight I’ll will make myself content with thoughts of warm breezes, perhaps a listen to Israel “IZ” Kamakawiwoʻole’s version of Somewhere over the Rainbow or watch Lilo and Stitch with my kids and renew my commitment to going good for God by doing good for my family. I know St. Marianne Cope will approve.

 

 

Join us for the March for Life!

Join us on January 19, 2018 in Washington DC as Little Flowers Girls’ Club, Blue Knights Boys’ Club and Their Families MARCH FOR LIFE!

If you are interested in Marching with your group or family under the Little Flower banner, please meet us at the corner of 15th and Constitution Ave in the SE corner of the Eclipse (see map below) between noon and 1 pm. Look for these great Little Flowers posters (above) or the Little Flowers Banner led by the Kenney Family of Louisville, KY. (Backup location is at the base of the Washington Monument). If you are having trouble meeting up, please call Lorrie at 502-396-3824.

 

Don’t forget to look at the requirements for earning your St. Gianna Molla Pro-life badge whether you plan to march or not!

25th Anniversary Badge Contest!

In September of 1993, a group of moms and daughters came together for the first Little Flowers Girls’ Club meeting in the front room of a row house in Baltimore City. Rachel Watkins, mother of several of those daughters, had sponsored the new girls’ club after taking Fr. Lasances’ book “The Catholic Girls’ Guide” and adapting it under the patronage of St. Therese, the Little Flower. Soon, other moms wanted clubs in their area and through a Catholic homeschool network, these clubs started sprouting up throughout the United States and Canada.

 

The first “Leader’s Guide” was merely photocopied pages stapled together. Around 1997, Behold Publications, then a family-owned cottage industry known as Ecce Homo Press, asked to publish the program along with the Catholic boy’s program, the Blue Knights Boys’ Club.

The clubs grew almost as large of the Watkins and Stromberg families, who raised and homeschool 21 children between them while producing and distributing the program materials. Tens of thousands of girls and boys have found faith and friendship over the years through these programs.

 

Help us celebrate 25 years of Little Flowers Girls’ Club by designing a badge to commemorate the year! All club members are welcome to design a badge! Please make sure badge designs are submitted on the official form found here:

https://www.beholdpublications.com/wordpress1/wp-content/uploads/2017/12/silverjubilee.pdf

Changing up Ordinary Time with some new prayers

The poinsettias are gone from my church, the candles have returned to their usual spots on the altar and Fr. is wearing green. So, despite the snow on the ground which always reminds me of Advent and Christmas season, we are in Ordinary Time.

This first arrival of ordinary time is when I like to change up my prayer routine. I love learning new prayers that I can recall when my own words fail me, I enjoy discovering the history behind the great treasury of prayers our faith provides and I also can get bored easily.

Two prayers I discovered from the back of my parish’s missalette have found a place in my daily prayer rotation:

MORNING OFFERING:

Most Holy and Adorable Trinity, one God in three Persons, I firmly believe that You are here present; I adore You with the most profound humility; I praise You and give You thanks with all my heart for the favors You have bestowed on me. Your Goodness has brought me safely to the beginning of this day. Behold, O Lord, I offer You my whole being and in particular all my thoughts, words and actions, together with such crosses and contradictions as I may meet with in the course of this day. Give them, O Lord, Your blessing; may Your divine Love animate them and may they tend to the greater honor and glory of Your Sovereign Majesty. Amen.

and

GOD’S BLESSING OF ONE’S DAILY WORK:

O Lord, my God,
Creator and Ruler of the universe,
it is Your Will that human beings accept the duty of work.
May the work I do bring growth in this life to me
and those I love and help to extend the Kingdom of Christ.
Give all persons work that draws them to You
and to each other in cheerful service.
I unite all my work with the Sacrifice of Jesus
in the Mass that it may be pleasing to You and give You
glory.
I beg Your Blessing upon all my efforts.
With Saint Joseph as my example and guide,
help me to do the work You have asked
and come to the reward You have prepared.

I can’t share any history of these prayers however, Catholic.org has both of these accompanied by lovely videos at their site if you want to take a listen.

The part of the morning offering that really rings in my heart is “together with such crosses and contradictions as I may meet with in the course of this day” – crosses and contradictions! Aren’t those a guarantee in everyone’s life?

The prayer goes on to ask God to give them His BLESSING! A blessing from God for each cross, bump or hiccup I encounter throughout the day gives me real encouragement and strength. I hope it does the same for you.

 

 

 

 

 

Did you make any resolutions? I’m reading more –

The arrival of ordinary time has me re-thinking my resolutions. Yes, I am one of those people who usually makes a grocery list of resolutions of what I would like to change up, change out or include in my 2018 plans. In years past, my list has been over 2 dozen items and sometimes only 2-3. This year was I very ambitious and, as usual, by the arrival of ordinary time, today, I’ve come back to reality and realized what is actually possible.

One item that remains on every list, every year, on both the unrealistic list and actually do-able one, is to read more. This keeps out from under my laptop, away from a computer screen or TV and actually learning something new or traveling somewhere new in my own imagination. Throughout the year, I’ll flip back and forth between books for my younger ones, YA books for my older ones and books just for me.

This year, the first one I picked is for me – just me – and I’m reading Matthew Kelly’s, Resisting Happiness.

Matthew Kelly might be a familiar name to you, or you may know of his work with Dynamic Catholic. The first book I ever read of his was Rediscover Catholicism which was a wonderful book to recharge my soul’s cradle Catholic battery.

But, I’ve resisted reading Happiness specifically because I’ve always considered myself a bit of a Pollyanna – always joyful, always happy. But, in truth, this isn’t true. I’m prone to discouragement and struggle just like anyone else. While my default emotion tends more to joy than sadness, life can wear down even the most joyful person. And, I’ve very happy to say I’m finding real encouragement in Matthew’s easy to read and uplifting book.

Perhaps you want to consider getting one of his books (you can get them ‘free’ by only paying a shipping charge of $5.95, not bad at all considering the cost of most books can be over $10).

However, if the cost is a burden to you, see if your local library has a partnership with Hoopla which allows you to digitally download this book (and many, many others) on your tablets, computers, etc. using just your library card!