Category Archives: Prayer

Have Your Best Lent Ever

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I’m so excited about Lent this year!  We as Catholics are so lucky!  I just couldn’t imagine being a part of a church that did not observe Lent.  This year, I am going WAY deep.  Last year I was disappointed in myself and I really did not have a good Lent. I’m making up for it this year.  Let me share with you what I’m doing!

  • Daily Rosary (yep. this.)
  • I am not buying anything I do not need.  I have to Really need something to buy it.  I will not buy things I WANT.  Not things I desire.  I will not try to convince myself that I “need” art supplies, more planner supplies, more makeup, more clothing, more online art classes, more STUFF.  I do not.  Truly.  I do not.
  • Frequent visits our Adoration Chapel
  • Morning devotions.

There are several devotions that I’m signed up to receive via email.  I’m stunned at how many there are out there.  Many new organizations and programs have popped up on my radar!

  1. Matthew Kelly’s organization Dynamic Catholic is doing a series for Lent called “Best Lent Ever” I have admired Matthew for many years, read and listened to all of his books and teachings.  He’s amazing.

Join Matthew Kelly, the best-selling Catholic author in America, on a life-changing journey through your Best Lent Ever. Each week, participants will receive short videos and inspiration from Matthew that explain the genius of Catholicism and empower them to become the best-version-of-themselves. It’s simple and completely FREE, the only cost is your commitment to live better each day this Lent.

2. Chris Stefanick at Real Life Catholic is also doing a Lenten “retreat” series called “The Way Retreat.”  Sign up here   Click SUBSCRIBE in the upper left hand corner.  LENT.  IT’S WHAT JESUS DOES. (Love that!)

3. Father Robert Barron has his Daily Lent Reflections (they are good!)  SIGN UP HERE

4. Blessed Is She – this is a new one on my radar screen.  I’m still finding out more about this organization but I am very excited by what I see so far!  You can sign up for their newsletter by clicking the Subscribe button.  They also have a Facebook Group.   LOVE!

We are here to journey together in our Catholic faith. As a community of women: mothers, wives, single women, religious, we are all in this together. Let’s build our foundation on the rock that is this Church and His Word.

5. Redeemed Online is also new to me.  Oh My Word.  This is good!  Sign up for daily videos in Lent 2015 at bottom of the page.

Lent and #ShareJesus are here.

#ShareJesus – the biggest social media experience in the Catholic Church is happening now.

Let’s get to hashtagging people!

Now, how can you NOT have an awesome Lent with these resources?!  We are so very blessed!  Woot Woot!  Till next time…Blessings!  Michelle

 

Surrounded by Cardinals

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I love birds. I especially love cardinals. When I see a cardinal I know its my mom visiting me in spirit. I don’t know why but I just know its her. An instant calm comes over me and I feel her there with me. For almost 2 yrs now I have seen a cardinal almost every single day.

So…some of you know my father has been sick on and off since his back surgery April 11, 2013. Every month without fail my father has come down with the most intense shivers, chills, fever (101+) and sweats. Weakness, low blood pressure, faint, rash on face and dry skin, sick to his stomach, and some throwing up out of both ends. He has been in the hospital a total of 3 times not including the surgery hospital stay. So, 4 x in 4 months. Its been very tough on him. Every single time he’s admitted, they do extensive blood tests, MRI’s, Aspirations, never finding any infection or any cause of this fever. VERY FRUSTRATING. Imagine actually begging God for something to show up wrong so he could be “cured.” No one ever wants to pray for a disease or infection but it got to that point. We needed an answer for these crazy symptoms that came on once a month towards the 17th of each month. He will go through about 4-5 days of these symptoms (intense) and then low grade fever and then he’s better again but weak. It takes him a while to get back up to speed. Before this time he was doing so well. Out and about, grocery shopping and running errands. I was so happy for him.

BUT, It happened again this past weekend. We decided to take him to another hospital. In the ER an older, southern “good ole’ boy” took care of him. We all thought he was a doctor. He wasn’t – he was a Physician’s Assistant but he was as smart as they come. He had a great dry sense of humor, immediately put my dad at ease and he was really funny. We started chatting about what has been going on with dad these past months and offhandedly one of us said he’d gone Thursday to get his “EPO” (Procrit to help him make red blood cells as he’s anemic) shot and had chills that night and then full out sick Friday night etc. etc. You could just see the light bulb go off in this guy’s head. He said “this is presenting to me like serum sickness.” Never heard of “Serum Sickness” before and I’m not braggin’ – I know a lot of medical stuff. (through years of research with my mom.) He explained that he thought the Procrit shot was making him sick.

I have been fully convinced that the titanium that had been put in his back was the culprit. I thought my dad’s body was rejecting it. No one would listen to me though – they all though I was wacko. I didn’t care. The next step was going to be a special blood test and I was going to have it sent to the Melissa Organization for metal allergy testing.

Even though this is very uncommon, the doctors have agreed. The Procrit has to be the culprit….so what does all this have to do with Cardinals?

Dad was released from the hospital Wednesday night. I prayed all day Thursday for a sign that this was the answer. I prayed to see cardinals. I took my dog out several times Thursday and did not see one stinkin’ cardinal. I was devastated. BUT, throughout the day I did see my artwork “Pursue” right in front of me. I told God that just wasn’t enough.

Cardinal 1

Then in my hypersensitivity to cardinal spotting he showed me this one.

Cardinal 2

And this one…Cardinal 3 And this Cardinal 4one.

Cardinal 5Then I saw these two…

And then these.

Cardinal 6 Cardinal 7

And once again, I’m like…”Lord. These are all right in front of me. But if this is all you got, I’m going to trust you.”

Then around 7pm I got a phone call. “Michelle, what are you doing Saturday? Do you want to go to the Braves and Cardinals game? You need a break.” I said ABSOLUTELY and then a few minutes later…it hit me and it hit me hard. CARDINAL. CARDINAL!!!!! AHHHHHH holy crap! I was stunned.

I knew I had my signs. But our Lord just gives and gives and gives…He knows you have to “SHOW ME” many times. So today, after the doctor and visiting my mom at the cemetery, I took Jackson out. Wasn’t really looking for cardinals because I was bought in that I had my signs. Low and behold, 3 REAL ones were on the fence just staring at me. Not moving, making sure I saw them. Tears. Can you stand it???!!! True story. THE END.

Until next time…GO BRAVES (but I love my Cards too) Big weekend here in the ATL!!

Michelle

Our converts need our prayers…

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Especially NOW! 

It is so important for us to remember to pray and fast for our brothers and sisters who are about to come into full communion with the church on this Easter Vigil.  These days leading up to the Vigil are probably the most intense for them.

I have been blessed to sponsor a few amazing people into the church:

*Casey*  *Sheri *  *Denise*  *Michelle*

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…and I know from past experience that this is the time when the devil will start to discourage, rob them of their joy and mess with their heads.  Please join me in prayer for all of them!  Those you know personally, those entering from your home parish and those around the entire world.

And, while we are at it, let’s pray for the Church and our Pope.  With yesterday’s stunning news out of the Vatican, all I can think of is pray, pray, pray.

Happy Fat Tuesday everyone!

“Keep It Simple Sinner!”

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So…its been a little while since I wrote anything or shared anything about our faith. I’ve been so wrapped up with my business, my artwork and the new website that my writing seems to be centered mostly on those things. And honestly, my spiritual life and prayer life has suffered a bit.

Guess what? Ash Wednesday is this week. Can you believe it? It’s my absolute favorite time in the church liturgical year. I like it more than Advent and even Christmas. People often ask me why I always look so forward to Lent. Well, to me, its my time to “go deep.” My time to fast, pray and concentrate on discipline. To do penance and regroup.

This year I happened upon an article on Pinterest that really spoke to me. It was published by “Our Sunday Visitor.” The article is called Keeping it simple this Lent with Father Jim’s 1-1-1 Plan. To read this article click HERE.

Lent begins on Ash Wednesday, February 13, 2013

KISS – Here’s a helpful acronym to help you stay focused during Lent:

Keep • It • Simple • Sinner

(I LOVE that!)

I will be doing this 1-1-1 plan! Want to join me?

7 Quick Takes Friday (Volume 2)

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I can’t believe it’s Friday again, this week really went by fast for me!  Happy weekend everyone!  Enjoy it and have a great Superbowl Sunday…Go…???  Steelers?  Packers?  I am picking the Pittsburgh Steelers! Update, not rooting for the Steelers.  My dad says you can not be a true Cleveland Browns fan and root for Pittsburgh.  Guess that settles that.  Don’t want to be kicked out of the family!  And as always, thanks for reading my blog!  -Michelle

–1–

The other night I was getting something for my mom out of her nightstand and saw her stack of holy cards.  I pulled them out and saw one I’d never seen before.  On the front was a picture of Jesus, His hands raised so you could see his wounds. His Sacred Heart was exposed.  On the back was this beautiful prayer and thought I’d share it with you.  It has now become part of my nightly prayer routine.

Healing Prayer at Bedtime: “Lord Jesus, through the power of the Holy Spirit, go back into my memory as I sleep.  Every hurt that has ever been done to me, heal that hurt.  Every hurt that I have ever caused another person, heal that hurt.  All the relationships that have been damaged in my whole life that I am not aware of, heal those relationships.  But, Lord, if there is anything that I need to do, if I need to go to a person because he or she is still suffering from my hand, bring to my awareness that person.  I choose to forgive, and I ask to be forgiven.  Remove whatever bitterness may be in my heart, Lord, and fill the empty spaces with your love.  AMEN!

–2–

When my mom was so very sick almost 2 years ago Easter time, she was in the hospital for 15 days.  During that trying and scary time a very special man came to visit her several times to give her Communion.  He prayed with us, comforted us and just listened.  On Saturday, he is being ordained to the Deaconate!  We are so excited for both Deacon Bill and Meg!  We can’t wait to celebrate with you and hear you preach your first sermon!   Bill, you are a man after God’s heart!

“Lord, to whom shall we go?  You have the words of eternal life.”  John 6:68.

–3–

I had pretty much put the Obama speech at the memorial service in Tucson to bed.  I really hadn’t thought about it recently – Prior to the speech I decided that I was going to have a spirit of open mindedness about him and not automatically dislike what he says or does based on how I feel about him and the wall I have up with regards to him.  I put on my Facebook status that night that I thought he did a good job on that speech.  The discussion on my status update was interesting and people had plenty to say…most thought that the speech was decent but the atmosphere was more of a pep rally.  People disliked the clapping and hooting and chanting.  It was not suitable for a memorial service.  I agreed.  It is no secret that I’m not an Obama fan.  I think he’s the most liberal president we’ve ever had.  I know you can tell by my blog that I am definitely not liberal.  I found myself being very closed minded about him and I wanted to change that.  Give him a chance…but something didn’t sit right with me about the speech, I was left feeling empty even though the words he said were great.  When you say things that really don’t match up to your character, it really confuses people.  They don’t know whether or not to believe you or just chalk it up to “saying what people want to hear.”  I read my daily email from Catholic News Agency last night and one of the articles was entitled:  “THE PRESIDENT’S SPEECH; WHY I WASN’T IMPRESSED” by Bishop Tobin.  I’m linking you to it here. It explains my feelings exactly.

–4–

I am a huge fan of Mother Angelica. I believe that she will be a great Saint one day.  I listen to her “Live with Mother Angelica” podcasts a lot and just love her wit, insight and honesty.  These podcasts are classics, she doesn’t have her show any longer but it’s so awesome we can listen to them from years ago!  I have never been to the Shrine of the Most Blessed Sacrament before and now that I have a best friend living in Alabama I’m going to go and drag her to Hanceville with me!  Deva, be prepared for a road trip to the convent and shrine soon!  Check out their blog entitled Image and Likeness!  NUN BLOG

–5–

I’ve always been a lover of funny “NUN” pictures…like the one with the shotguns I used for this blog entry.  I’m not sure where this one came from but it is in my “gallery of pictures.”  Hope it makes you chuckle and brightens your day!  Absolutely cracks me up!  *This is a joke people.  Please don’t comment that I’m being disrespectful or sacrilegious.  🙂  Gotta have some fun don’t you?

–6–

My Pastor Rocks.  He REALLY does.  He’s the most awesome homily preacher I know.  Some people give him a bad wrap because he’s so passionate and his homilies don’t last the “acceptable” 10 minutes for our Catholic “old school” brethren.  He knows he preaches a long time but he just can’t help himself and he pretty much doesn’t care.  He has a lot to say and he lets the Holy Spirit speak through him.  I love that he knows he does this, but he doesn’t change what he’s doing.  That sounds strange but we need more than just a 10 minute “quickie.”  So many churches have boring homilies.  People complain about it all the time.  Some even leave the church because of it.  Ours are never boring.  They’re vibrant, emotional, there’s some yelling, some tears and I swear I’ve even seen Father close to levitating!  He delivers the goods every single Sunday.  Check him out HERE. Last Sunday after he was done, someone stood up and yelled “Thank you for preaching the truth Father Jack!”  Then the whole congregation erupted in applause.  That does not happen at my church.  Unfortunately that sermon has not been uploaded yet to the site.  But, be on the look out for Fr. Jack’s homily for Sunday January 30, 2011.  I’m sure it will be available soon!

–7–

GO FISH FRIDAY: Why do Catholics go to Confession?  Here is a 2 minute apologetics by John Martignoni, president of the Bible Christian Society. www.biblechristiansociety.com

“Receive the Holy Spirit. For those whose sins you forgive, they are forgiven; for those whose sins you retain, they are retained” (John 20:22-23).

Our Lady of Lourdes Novena Starts Today!

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Today we will begin our Novena to Our Lady of Lourdes. (9 Days of petitioning prayer) Mom and I have great devotion to her and to St. Bernadette. My friend Lynn sent me some holy water from Lourdes that we use every night to bless ourselves with.  The intentions for this novena are for continued healing and good health for my mom, dad, brothers and some special friends I’ve met online at  The Road Back message boards.  I invite you to join us!

Our Lady of Lourdes is the name used to refer to the Marian apparition that appeared before various individuals in separate occasions around Lourdes, France. The apparitions of Our Lady of Lourdes began on 11 February 1858, when Saint Bernadette Soubirous, a 14-year-old peasant girl from Lourdes admitted, when questioned by her mother, that she had seen a “lady” in the cave of Massabielle, about a mile from the town, while she was gathering firewood with her sister and a friend. Similar appearances of the “lady” took place on seventeen further occasions that year. Bernadette Soubirous was canonized as a saint, and many Christians believe her apparitions to have been of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Pope Pius IX authorized the local bishop to permit the veneration of the Virgin Mary in Lourdes in 1862.

Here is some information on Lourdes, St. Bernadette and Our Lady.

Our Lady of Lourdes
Novena Dates February 2-10, Feast Day February 11

O ever Immaculate Virgin, Mother of Mercy, Health of the Sick, Refuge of Sinners, Comfort to the Afflicted, you know my wants, my troubles, my sufferings. Deign to cast upon me a look of mercy. By appearing in the Grotto of Lourdes, you were pleased to make it a privileged sanctuary, whence you dispense your favors; and already many sufferers have obtained the cure of their infirmities, both spiritual and corporal.

I come, therefore, with the most unbounded confidence to implore your maternal intercession. Obtain, O loving Mother, the granting of my requests.

Through gratitude for favors, I will endeavor to imitate your virtues that I may one day share your glory.

Our Lady of Lourdes, pray for us. Amen.
(Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory Be.)

“Go Fish” Friday – What are You Doing?

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Why do Catholics make the Sign of the Cross on their body?

The Sign of the Cross is the most notable tell-tale sign that someone is Catholic.  We begin our prayers with it, we end our prayers with it.  We begin the Mass with it, we end the Mass with it.  And there are some other times Catholics do this,  depending upon how old you are and the traditions that were passed down to you.  Some do it when passing a Catholic Church where the Blessed Sacrament is, or hearing the Lord’s name taken in vain.  It is simply a sign of our Christianity.  “In the Name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.”  Acknowledging the Holy Trinity.  The Sign of the Cross is a prayer in itself.

It is rooted in the Old Testament and in the New.

Roman Catholics aren’t the only Christians to make the Sign of the Cross. All Eastern Catholics and Eastern Orthodox do as well, along with many high-church Anglicans and Lutherans, and a smattering of other Mainline Protestants. Because it is a creed that all Christians can relate to, it shouldn’t be thought of as just “a Catholic thing.”

“Let us not then be ashamed to confess the Crucified. Be the Cross our seal made with boldness by our fingers on our brow and in everything; over the bread we eat, and the cups we drink; in our comings in, and goings out; before our sleep, when we lie down and when we awake; when we are in the way and when we are still. Great is that preservative; it is without price, for the poor’s sake; without toil, for the sick, since also its grace is from God. It is the Sign of the faithful, and the dread of evils; for He has triumphed over them in it, having made a shew of them openly; for when they see the Cross, they are reminded of the Crucified; they are afraid of Him, Who hath bruised the heads of the dragon. Despise not the Seal, because of the freeness of the Gift; but for this rather honor thy Benefactor.”
— St. Cyril of Jerusalem, A.D. 315 – 386

Take a look at FishEaters and Wikipedia for more great information.

The Pope, priests and deacons will also make the Sign of the Cross over a person or the entire congregation to give us a blessing.

How do you do it?

Using your right hand, you should touch your forehead at the mention of the Father; the lower middle of your chest at the mention of the Son; and the left shoulder on the word “Holy” and the right shoulder on the word “Spirit.”

“In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.”

or…in Latin:

“In nomine Patris, et Filii, et Spiritus Sancti.  Amen.”  I’m fascinated with the Latin…I love the beauty of the language. We say some prayers in Latin at church and I really wish I had learned Latin in school.

My most favorite part of the St. Cyril of Jerusalem quote above is “and the dread of evils.” That is pretty powerful…The evil ones can’t stand the sign of the cross! I take comfort in that.

Until next time, go fish!

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