Ready for a shower of roses?

St. Therese of the Child Jesus, our very own Little Flower, has her novena starting – – now! Please find the time – perhaps as a family, or group – to intercede to our patroness for the needs of our country and the needs of all the Behold Publication families.

You have so many options including:

https://www.praymorenovenas.com/st-therese-novena

Or

https://www.ewtn.com/therese/novena.htm

Thank you for your prayers for both mine and Joan’s families and needs, and be assured of my prayers for yours!

Happy Feast of St. Matthew – where were you when Jesus called?

Having a husband named Matthew, along with a son, a brother and a nephew named Matthew and another nephew named Levi, I have a real fondness for this name. But more than that, I love the simplicity of Matthew’s call and his response to Jesus’ request to “Follow me!”

(Vocation de Saint Mathieu) James Tissot
Brooklyn Museum

Matthew 9:9-13, tells us he was there at the custom post (at his work) when Jesus called and he answered. It seems Matthew even had a party to celebrate his new job as apostle, “he was at table in his house, many tax collectors and sinners came and sat with Jesus and his disciples.”

This seems the perfect day to ponder where you were when Jesus called you. For so many of us, we were called first as infants, at our baptism. And, while being a cradle Catholic is a profound gift; we all have a time in our life when Jesus called us again, when we were old enough to answer for ourselves.

For some, it really was at their Confirmation when they took on the mantle of being ‘an adult in their faith’. But, for others it came later, and for most of us it has come again and again. With each of those calls from Christ, we have deepened our walk with Him.

I was baptized and confirmed in a small town in the Finger Lakes area of New York but also count a field in PA, in a town I cannot remember, at a Christian music festival whose name is long forgotten as one of my early moments. Just like in a cheesy Christian movie, I heard Jesus’ voice in my heart and I answered, ‘yes’.

But, I also call Steubenville, Ohio and Tampa, Florida among my own ‘custom posts’. There is Baltimore, MD for my first years of parenthood, and for the past 20+ years, Elkton, MD. Jesus continues to call me onward and upward to follow Him more closely and with greater intention.

What does your map look like? Where are your custom posts? Take a moment to give praise and glory to God for His mercy and love for these real geographical places where He was present before you. He called your name and you said, “Yes!”. May St. Matthew inspire all of us to follow as he did, until the very end of our days.

We’re looking forward to ‘meeting’ so many of you!

Our virtual kick-off party is just a little over a week away (Saturday, Sept. 26, 2020), and we are SO EXCITED!!

But, I’m starting to get bit nervous as I’ve never hosted so many folks at my house and I want to make sure everything is perfect and that everyone coming has a really good time.

Joan and I, along with our girls, are working on the badges and activities we have planned, the crafts and even some virtual games and songs.

I would like to ask all of you (even if you can’t make it) to intercede for us thru St. John Paul II; he is our special ‘guest’ as we honor his 100th birthday at our event; as well as through the prayers of the Blessed Mother and St. Therese, our patroness.

Please pray that the weather is perfect, the technology goes smoothly and that all of our Behold families – especially those on enduring the West Coast fires and the southern floods due to Hurricane Sally – stay safe and healthy.

See you soon!!!

(And, of course, it’s not to late to join us! http://www.beholdpublications.com/SummerCamps/ )

I’ll be talking Little Flowers on EWTN Radio tomorrow!

Tomorrow on More2Life with Dr. Greg and Lisa Popcak (10:00 a.m. EST, find the Listen Live button) the conversation will be about heroes! They will have a lot of good things to say about that, and eager to listen to your questions and stories –

Me? I’ll be talking about LF and how we hope that all of our young members (and their Moms) can come to see the life of virtue is a life of discovering superpowers. After all, saints are just superheroes with halos!

Our world is in need of some real live superheroes; people willing to be courageous in the face of adversity, supernaturally kind to those who are mean and diligent in their prayers against evil.

Maybe you can find time to take a listen –

https://www.ewtn.com/radio/shows/more2life

(I’ll even be mentioning our upcoming virtual camp! http://www.beholdpublications.com/SummerCamps/ )

Happy Birthday, Blessed Mother Mary….

or, Mama Mary as some of my kids are known to call her! With my own birthday just around the corner, I am left wondering “What do you get a mother who has everything?”

Well, we know how much she loves our prayers, our small acts of virtue, and our great acts of kindness all done with love for her and her son, Jesus Christ.

So, remember to do something lovely for someone else as a small gift to our Mother in heaven. Perhaps say a Rosary together as your family’s evening prayer or make a visit to a Church (even if it has to be from the parking lot due to restrictions). There are always the multitude of Masses to be found on-line – https://mass-online.org/ You can even go to Mass at Lourdes!

And finally, don’t forget to have cake or another sweet treat as a gift to your children and yourself. Our Mother in heaven knows well this vale of tears we are walking but her Son has conquered death and sin so we always have a reason to celebrate!

Lacking Focus?

Are there are some days (weeks, months) when you can lose track of your mission? Do the questions of “What am I supposed to be doing?” or “Where am I headed?” swirl around in your mind?

For me, I’m in the midst of planning my upcoming homeschool school year, starting Sept. 8, and our upcoming virtual kick-off party scheduled Saturday, Sept. 26! I’m also just being a wife & Mom with the dinners, driving, and laundry that come with that. Yet, in the midst of all of this work which should help reassure me of my own purpose, I still went to bed last night wondering about my place in the universe.

God – of course – had the answer; as He always does.

At Mass, I received my marching orders as it were:

“For we are God’s co-workers, you are God’s field, God’s building.” 1 Cor. 3:9

To help reclaim your own focus, remember whose you are. You are God’s. We are HIS co-workers. We are HIS field, HIS building. If we can remember this truth and dedicate all of our efforts, both large and small, towards God and His glory we need not worry about our worth.

The psalm of today says as much:

Blessed the people the Lord has chosen to be his own.
From his fixed throne he beholds
all who dwell on the earth,
He who fashioned the heart of each,
he who knows all their works.
Ps. 33

I am refreshed, again, by God’s own words. I hope and pray you are as well.

If you’d like to join us for the Kick-Off party, head here:

http://www.beholdpublications.com/SummerCamps/

Did you know we are having a virtual camp?

As has been said, more than once, and will be said again – nothing about this year has been easy or comfortable or what we wanted or expected. But, rather than sit around waiting for things to get better, we’re trying to bring some joy to your family and home with our upcoming VIRTUAL CAMP!

Perhaps you have always wanted to attend a LF camp but distance or time prevented you from doing so. Not anymore!

http://www.beholdpublications.com/SummerCamps/

Head over to our site and register you and your daughter, maybe your entire club, for a get together across the miles! You will get a chance to meet Joan and I as well as a few of our own daughters. We’ll be earning badges, making crafts, singing songs and praying together; not letting the distance or anything else stand in our way.

So, go and take a look at what we are planning – we look forward to meeting you (virtually)!

Image by S. Hermann & F. Richter from Pixabay

Are you homeschooling this year?

Whether you are a new homeschooler or an ‘old’ veteran like myself and Joan, you might consider finding the time to visit Homeschool Connections.

https://homeschoolconnectionsonline.com/

Director Maureen Wittman is a long-time, dear friend of both Joan and I. We’ve spent many a homeschool conference (back when we actually had those) laughing and sharing about the ups and downs of running a family as well as small, Catholic apostolate and homeschooling.

They have courses, taught by qualified instructors, available for almost all ages. Should you have a high schooler, you can arrange for dual enrollment with Franciscan University.

This Thursday they have “Jumpstart Your Homeschool – A Conference for Parents” planned.

You can register here:

https://events.catholichomeschoolconference.com/?__s=ackzzq4sevpdpipxp4vf

Maybe this is just what you need to get excited for what will certainly be an exciting school year!

Do you know how big our God is?

Greg Rakozy, Unsplashed

How’s life where you live? Here in the Wonderful World of Watkins (www) we are dealing with the ongoing stress of this 2020 world as well as a broken AC system (along with a 90 degree heat wave), overflowing toilets/sewer issues (eeewww) and my kids packing up for an adventure with their oldest sister in an attempt to give Matt and I an empty house for a few days. Our first empty house in 30+ years.

In other words, life right now is fairly typical of a large family life AND a life complicated by an older house that regularly breaks.

But our God is so big, nothing is beyond His concern and love. The toilet issue was solved by an amazing husband who got to Home Depot this morning at 6:00 AM, fixed the problem and was off to the train to DC for work by 8:30 am. He was assisted by my oldest son who was home and able to help only because covid has made his college plans go kaput.

I was able to get to Mass in a nicely chilled with working AC church and receive Jesus which not everyone can do. And check out the readings! Please – http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/073020.cfm

Fr. Dunn’s homily was a reminder of the need we all have to clean out our nets on a regular basis, “What is bad they throw away.” (Mt. 13:48). Check your own nets, he said, and see what you might be carrying around that Jesus wants you to toss in a bucket. And with today’s headlines, there seems to be more bad than good. I left Mass knowing what I’ll be meditating on this upcoming weekend.

Once, back at the house, everyone is helping each other with their laundry, their packing, the chores, etc. which allows me to sit here in front of a fan pointing only at me which makes the inside temp of my home of 86 mostly tolerable.

And best of all – in the midst of all of this – one of my daughters shares this:

While I am not really present on any social media and I’m not sure what I think of TikTok, this little boy’s confidence and assurance made my heart sing –

MY GOD IS SO BIG, SO STRONG AND SO MIGHTY,

THERE’S NOTHING MY GOD CANNOT DO!

I suggest we all start singing that song when faced with any problem.

Happy Feast of St. Martha

Christ in the House of Martha and Mary 1628 Jan Bruegel and Rubens, wikicommons

This sister in faith can often get a bad rap – she is after all remembered most for her attitude during one of Jesus’ visits to their (Martha, Mary and Lazarus’) home – “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and worried about many things.” (Lk. 10:41).

BUT, she was also the one who recognized Jesus’ authority upon His return trip to their home after Lazarus’ death – “She said to him, “Yes, Lord. I have come to believe that you are the Messiah, the Son of God, the one who is coming into the world.” Jn. 11:27

In other words, she is us. She forgot, as we do, that the most important thing for us to do is make some real time for Jesus in our day. She then has that moment of real clarity when she recognizes who Jesus is and what He is doing.

Together with her sister, Mary, she is our patroness for one of my favorite virtues, eutrapelia, which reminds us of the need to take time to restore ourselves body and soul. Their flower is the dandelion. These flowers (of a sort) are, at both times, a joy to see when they are in our child’s hand and a frustration when we are yanking them from our lawns! They remind us of the need for balance; the give and take between what we need to do versus what we want to do.

So, when you ‘are anxious and worried about many things’ (and aren’t we all these days?), take heart. Martha is always praying for us and reminding us to remember that Jesus is ‘the Messiah, the one who is coming into the world.’ Plan to take a moment from your worries today; spend some time with Jesus and restore yourself.