Back to Ordinary Time….A prayer for putting away Christmas

Perhaps your family waits until February to put away your Christmas decorations but my family took care of it this past Monday (following the Feast of the Baptism of Christ, Jan. 13, 2019). Matthew unexpectedly and wonderfully had the day off of work due to the snow storm that hit Washington, DC, so it was a real family event.

We then took advantage of his presence to really clean out and rearrange our storage room so Christmas was put neatly away (or mostly neatly as I discovered a rogue gingerbread man magnet this morning) waiting now for the next Advent season.

I am always a bit sad about seeing all the colors drained from our living room – no more gold, purple or red. Without the distraction of the creche, stockings and collection of St. Nicholas’ (and Santas) on the mantel, the orange carpet on the floor looks its age and the fingerprints seem to glow instead of the lights on the tree. Oh, well, life moves on – – –

So, I was just so happy to find this article from Tom Hoopes (Benedictine College) with a prayer for putting away Christmas ornaments! Who knew?!

Prayer for Putting Away Christmas Decorations

(My ‘Christmas’ birds are staying.)


Happy Feast of St. Leonie Aviat, OSFS – Union with God

St. Leonie Aviat died on this day back in 1914 after living a life that sought nothing more than a complete union with God.

She was often known to say she wished to “forget herself entirely” and “work of the happiness of others”. 

What a wonderful idea for ourselves! When we are able to empty ourselves of our own selfish needs and desire we make more room for God to move in and take over. We have no need to worry that our needs won’t be met or that we will be forgotten as God himself is watching over us.

“Above all, let your love for one another be intense, because love covers a multitude of sins. Be hospitable to one another without complaining. As each one has received a gift, use it to serve one another as good stewards of God’s varied grace. Whoever preaches, let it be with the words of God; whoever serves, let it be with the strength that God supplies, so that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom belong glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.” 1 Peter 4:8-10

Our faith in a nutshell


Today’s readings tell us the truths of our faith – simply and completely.

In the first reading from 1 John we get the powerful – “God is love.”

In the second reading which tells of Jesus walking across the water to his frightened disciples we have – “Take courage, it is I, do not be afraid!” 

What would our lives be if we could just remember those 2 absolute truths. God is love, He loves us unconditionally and without end and He calls us to do the same.

And we can’t or are afraid or feel lonely, scared, angry or worried, He is there walking across the water to tell us He is there with us and we don’t have to be afraid.

I am trying to keep these two simple verses on a loop in my brain – God loves me and when I feel He doesn’t, or what is happening doesn’t seem loving at all, I have to remember that He is with me and I don’t need to feel afraid. Repeating as often as necessary.

Remember – – you are loved and you are not alone.

A ‘new’ miracle of the flowers celebrating 682 years!


First, Happy Feast of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton! She is one our saints from Wreath Two. May she encourage us to greater perseverance in 2019!

Now, back to the reason I write – DID YOU KNOW ABOUT THE MIRACLE??

Miracle of the Flowers

And, while I certainly don’t know everything about flowers I thought I knew the miracles related to flowers – Juan Diego, Elizabeth of Hungary, and of course, the showering of roses from our patroness, St. Therese. I had no idea of this wonderful miracle involving a blackthorn.

Reading of it makes me wish I were able to add it to another wreath, but what virtue? In reading story, I am lead to think of protection which is not a virtue so much as an attribute of God and our Mother, Mary, who watch over all of us. Perhaps you might think of blackthorns the next time you feel vulnerable. The Blessed Mother will be there for you just as she was for Egidia Mathis.



Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! Any resolutions planned?


Today at Mass, my deacon asked about our New Year’s resolutions and how many, in just one day, we had managed to break. As we laughed, he reminded us that the only resolutions that really matter are those that help us get to heaven. He challenged us to take a look at what we hoped for 2019 and make sure a better faith life was on the list.

His suggestions are simple – pray a bit more, read Scripture a bit more and love a bit more. There are so many resources on-line, apps, etc. to do each of these so you probably don’t need any help but in case you do, here’s what we are doing.

We are replacing the Hail Mary with the Memorae in our evening prayers. Without wanting to cause scandal, its history is powerful and changing up our evening prayer routine keeps the everyone engaged a bit better.

Matt and I are reading just one psalm a night before we fall asleep. We’ve started at the beginning but I plan on skipping the sad ones, those that speak of abandonment, fears, etc. for awhile. I want to fill my spiritual tank with those reminders of God’s love and mercy first then we’ll start adding in those that speak of our human frailty and sinfulness.  With 150 of them, we’re covered for almost 1/2 the year planned.

As for the loving, I’m taking that one moment at a time trying to hold my tongue, count to five, breath deep and ask the Blessed Mother for greater patience (so far, so good!).

We’ll also be praying for you each day of 2019 that you and your own garden of Little Flowers and Blue Knights never forget God’s love for you.

(FYI – the photo is from my own creche resting on my fireplace; enjoy!)


Eutrapelia – I feel vindicated :-)

I know that when eutrapelia made our Wreath III list, a number of you scratched your head – whaaat is eutrapelia??

I even got a telephone call from a Mom who was convinced it wasn’t. I don’t think my sorry attempt, even name dropping Aquinas and Aristotle did little to sway her. I hung up feeling drained and down-hearted, the exact opposite of eutrapelia.

I know I did do the research, I spoke to several smarter-than-me people about adding it to our wreaths. It seemed perfect to have Mary and Martha illustrate the point that there is a time and place for everything from sitting at the Lord’s knee, to serving others, to playing! But, over the years, at times replaying the telephone call in my head, I would wonder.

Then this weekend I saw this:  We need more eutrapelia!  over at the National Catholic Register.

Seeing the title was enough to lift my heart and make me laugh! I felt vindicated. Author Kathy Schiffer’s words are perfect for the season. Hey, it might even inspire some folks to make New Year resolutions to bring a little more pleasantness into their lives or at least reduce the amount of coarse humor their eyes, ears and souls are subjected to through social media.

For me, it felt like a early Christmas present. I felt that old conversation’s painful memory loosen its hold and melt away. I felt as light as a dandelion’s puff floating through the sky. Thank you, Lord for the reminder – “A joyful heart is the health of the body, but a depressed spirit dries up the bones.” (Prov. 17:22)


The Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe

As you head off to bed, perhaps these words from our Blessed and gentle Mother will give the same peace they must have given to St. Saint Juan Diego Cuauhtlatoatzin

“Listen, put it into your heart, my youngest and dearest son, that the thing that frightens you, the thing that afflicts you, is nothing: do not let it disturb you, Am I not here, I who am your Mother? Are you not under my shadow and protection? Am I not the source of your joy? Are you not in the hollow of my mantle, in the crossing of my arms? Do you need something more? Let nothing else worry you or disturb you…”

Our Lady of Guadalupe, please pray for us!

Final Jeopardy Category? Catholicism — Do you know the answer?

The final Jeopardy category last night (11/29/18) was Catholicism and the question was:

A liturgical year begins on the first Sunday of Advent, which is the Sunday closest to the feast day of this “first apostle”?

The answer was, “Who is Andrew?”

While none of the contestants got the answer right, Alex was quick to point out that Andrew’s feast would be today! Pretty neat.

Happy Feast of St. Andrew, the first apostle!

In the gospel of today we meet those first apostles mending their nets (Mt. 4:18-22). In other words, they were taking the time to do the mundane, seemingly simple work of maintenance that would ensure the success of their endeavors. They knew that if they didn’t take time to mend their nets, taking a thorough look at the tools of their trade, checking for loose spots, closing the holes and so forth, their next trip out might be a disaster.

Do we ever take time to mend our nets? Check out what we use every day to ensure the success of our labors? I am not talking about our kitchen bowls or even the tires on our car. I’m talking about the real work of our lives – knowing, loving and serving God and sharing that love with everyone around us. What tools do we have to help with that?

Perhaps our prayers need a dusting off or a switch up? Maybe attending a different Mass time? Trying a Rosary via an app or youtube? Is there a book you’ve been meaning to read but keep putting off?

In other words, if you are feeling as your nets are coming up empty, check for some holes or loose spots and Advent is the perfect time to do this. Already, I’ve got some new ideas for how we’ll be celebrating Advent in the Wonderful, World of Watkins. I am thinking of retiring some too familiar practices (we’ve used the same Advent calendar for years) and focus only on a Jesse Tree which often gets neglected at my house.

Do you have any ideas you would like to share? How are the nets at your house? I know other Behold clubs would love some suggestions or links to help their efforts to be ‘fishers of men’ to be both effective and fun!

What are you thankful for? I have such a long list!


There is much to be thankful here at the Wonderful World of Watkins. Since I’ve last been able to post, our life has been full of much to celebrate.  Good friends and family members had babies and my sister and a best friend even got their first grandbabies.

We’ve even had a few minor miracles including the news of a healthy baby for one of our co-op families when there were worries of the opposite, and medical tests that came back with good news for a different family.

Most importantly, we were given the gift a major miracle when a daughter walked away from a car accident which the state trooper said she shouldn’t have. No one was injured and the only car lost was her own. With mere bruises and stiffness, she has learned a difficult lesson. Our prayers of praise and thanksgiving to God for His gracious blessing on her behalf continue each day.

On a much lighter note, my daughter Kathleen and her entire NET Team will be having Thanksgiving at my home! This will be an extra 10 mouths in addition to my own large family but I wouldn’t want it any other way.

There is also you, your families, your teams and all you are doing in the garden to raise the next generation of saints one virtue at a time! Many thanks for all of you.

Be assured of our prayers this Thanksgiving! As you go around your table listing what you are thankful know that I’ll be doing the same and thinking of you and your families.

(On a much more serious note: Please be sure to talk – one more time, to even your most stubborn children – about the real dangers of distracted driving.)