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Thursday, April 21, 2011

R is for Ressurrection

Easter Sunday is almost here. We are in the midst of Holy Week and Holy Thursday is today. We are about to celebrate Jesus' Resurrection from the dead. When the women then some of the apostles visit Jesus' tomb, they had no idea what they would experience. They expected to anoint his body, but instead found an empty tomb with the stone rolled away.  "Why do you look for the living among the dead," asked an angel.

Easter Sunday we will be celebrating these moments...and more. For it wasn't just His Resurrection, but his defeat of sin and death. This was the fulfillment of God's promise to redeem us and make us able to enter Heaven once again. God has found a way!

This Sunday - celebrate and thank Jesus for his gift. He gave us LIFE. Not just any life - but eternal life!


Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Q is for Queen of Heaven and Earth

The fifth Glorious Mystery of the Rosary is "Mary is Crowned Queen of Heaven and Earth".We see Mary as a "woman clothed with the sun", "crowned with stars" and "crushing the head of the serpent" in the Book of Revelation.  So, Jesus not only gave us His mother on the cross when He said , "Behold your mother" and "Mother, behold your son", but as the mother of our King, she is the Queen Mother. Bow blessed are we to have such  a humble, caring and loving mother who teaches us to "Listen to Him" (as she told the people at the Wedding at Cana).  Mary leads a great example, if how to say "yes" to God, to trust in Him, even when things seem they are at their darkest hours (just as they did for her when he son was on the cross) Let us all follow our Mother and Queen's example and always say "yes" to and trust in God's will.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

N is for Novenas

The Novena, a prayer repeated every day for nine days, is a rich Catholic tradition. We often pray them when we have a serious intention such as an illness in the family or community or to obtain special graces.

The first Novena was prayed by the apostles and Mary after the Ascension of Jesus into Heaven. He promised He'd send the Holy Spirit to strengthen the apostles so they could continue Jesus' mission. After the Ascension, the apostles and Mary prayed together in the upper room for nine days. After nine days the Holy Spirit descended upon them.

In addition to the Novena to the Holy Spirit, there are a great variety of Novenas now:  Novena to Christ the King, Novena to the Holy Name, Novena to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, All Souls Novena, Novena for the Holy Souls in Purgatory, and Novenas to different saints for their intercession.

Visit the EWTN website to view other Novena titles and prayers.

Friday, April 15, 2011

M is for Marta's Gargantuan Wings

Below is a book review I thought would fit well here. This great story is more than what meets the eye.

Marta's Gargantuan Wings


By: J. Aday Kennedy
Illustrated by: Eugene Ruble

Published by Guardian Angel Publishing
http://www.guardianangelpublishing.com/

Print ISBN 13: 978-1-61633-093-4; 1616330937
eBook ISBN 13: 978-1-61633-094-1; 1616330945

Blurb:
Reluctant readers will devour the humorous and thought provoking tale. A Pegasus that resembles a mule, a witty monkey that defends him and a hateful bird teach children looks aren’t important.What makes someone appear strange or different could be what makes them able to save the day.



Review:

Marta's Gargantuan Wings is a wonderful story about friendship and values. What is important in a person? Is it our looks, success, or beauty? Or is it more than that?
In this inspiring tale, Marta, a brwon, spotty pegasus with gargantuan sized wings, is hurt when Aljor, her beautiful blue friend insults her. Soon, the loveable Marta begins to believe what Aljor says about her. Her best friend, Stajon the monkey tries to cheer Marta up by going for a fly in the sky. But while flying they discover a fire - and Aljor is hurt and needs help.

This is a great story not only about friendship, but about values. Do we only help the people who are nice to us all the time and forget about the ones who hurt us? Or are we to be Christ-like and turn the other cheek, especially when someone is in danger.

The detailed illustrations by Eugene Ruble fit the story well and captured the characters.

This is a great read that many children will enjoy.

Get your copies here:

Guardian Angel Publishing

and

Amazon


About Jessica Kennedy

J. Aday Kennedy, the differently-abled author, is an award winning, multi-publishedauthor of inspirational/Christian articles and essays for adults and of children’s literature. As a ventilator dependent quadriplegic, she is making her dreams come true one story at a time. As a speaker, Aday entertains, instructs, motivates and inspires audiences of all ages. She has two picture books, Klutzy Kantor and Marta’s Gargantuan Wings, published by Guardian Angel Publishing. To learn more about her and her writing, visit her website and blog.

About Eugene Ruble

Eugene E. Ruble’s 40 years of art encompasses: graphic art and design, freelance illustration, and cartooning, working with publishers, corporations and individual clients. Ruble teaches caricature art, cartooning, painting and basic drawing classes at St. Louis community centers, public schools, YMCAs and colleges. He also illustrates children’s books. Look for his books at Guardian Angel Publishing. Eugene is a 30-year Distinguished Member of the St. Louis Artists’ Guild.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

L is for Lent

We are rounding the end of the season of Lent. It is a holy season in which we prepare for the celebration of Easter. We give things up (fasting), we enrich our spiritual lives, and we repent of our sins.  That is why we use the ashes on Ash Wednesday - to admit our sinful nature and our sorrow for our sins.  It is also a time to reflect on Jesus and his suffering for our sins. 

Here are some things, in addition to fasting and giving up something, to do to enrich your spiritual life this Lenten Season:

  • More spiritual reading - read about the saints, their lives, their writings. Read more of the Bible. Read more about your faith.
  • Go to Confession. Lent is a great time to confess your sins and seek forgiveness.
  • Do good deeds - offer help to someone in need, prepare a meal for a home bound person, do a chore for a family member
  • Pray more - add an extra prayer. Or take up a devotion such as the Rosary or the Chaplet of Divine Mercy.
Making the extra effort will make your spiritual growth flourish.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

K is for King

How would you treat a king? A king is deserving of honor, respect and obedience. An earthly king might even demand these things. However, as Christians we serve a higher king.We serve Christ the King. He is not just king of Heaven and Earth, He is King of our hearts. If we are to follow Him and be with Him in Heaven, we must follow His Law. Though He is the highest king, he does not impose himself on us. It is up to us - our free will- to decide to follow Him and His Law.

What is his Law? The Bible? The Ten Commandments? The Two Great Commandments? It is a mix of all these things. As He once said, "Be perfect, as your Heavenly Father is perfect." That's a tall order to live up to. But possible. Very possible. God gives us all the things we need. He gives us the Church. We have our priests. He gave us the sacraments. He gave us Himself on the cross.

When we go to church every week, we are there to not only worship our Heavenly King, but we are given the renewal of the strength to strive to be worthy of His presence through the sacrament of Holy Communion.  As always, He provides everything we need. We just need to say, "Yes God. I will serve."

What will you say to your King?

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

J is for Jesus

My middle child, who has a unique love for God and our faith,  had a special five-word sentence for this post. I wrote in my calendar that April 12th would be J for Jesus in my A to Z Blogging challenge. The words she wrote afterwards are precious: "Jesus is our only Lord." Out of the mouths of babes. So simple. So straightforward. So true.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

H is for Horatio Humble Beats the Big D

Horatio Humble Beats the Big D

I included this book review on my Random Thoughts blog because this is a great story about a boy in need who receives help from his parents and teachers.He also cares enough about himself to overcome this obstacle he has.  As Christians, it's our duty to help those in need - and it never hurts to have a good example now and then. Especially when we see what the outcome can be for those we help. 
Book information:

Horatio Humble Beats the Big D – dyslexia

(A rhyming picture book)

Print ISBN: 978-1-61633-101-6; 1616331011

eBook ISBN: 978-1-61633-102-3; 161633102X



Blurb:

As a teacher’s aide, I discovered that many children, especially boys, have dyslexia or other types of learning disabilities. I wrote this PB with those problems in mind.

Horatio is a smart boy who can’t read. The thought of special Ed. freaks him out. “NO WAY!” But go he does, and surprising results follow .

This is fun to read. It shows that dyslexic kids CAN learn to read. It also encourages parents to diagnose early and find help. A parent/teacher guide offers clues, plus helpful links to more informative websites.


Review:

Horatio Humble Beats the Big “D” is a humbling rhyming picture book about a tough topic. The “Big D” turns out to be Dyslexia, which is a common learning disability involving reading.

Author Margot Finke tells the tale with witty rhyme and illuminating words. In the picture book, Horatio runs into reading problems such as words clumping “into frightening herds” and his tongue jumbling “words without success”. This is just a sample of the wonderful mosaic of words Margot Finke presents in the story.

As a reader, I couldn’t help but get caught up in the emotions with Horatio as he dreaded the looming parent-teacher conference, learned what Dyslexia is and unwillingly attended “special class”.

Margot Finke handled the rhyming well in this smooth reading picture book. I barely noticed the rhyme as I rooted for Horatio to overcome the “Big D”. Horatio is a character I won’t soon forget.

I fully recommend this book for any child battling the “Big D”, but also for all children who can identify with reading problems. In addition to this wonderful story, more information and resources are listed at the end of the book on Dyslexia. As a parent and a teacher, I find this book a great addition to the bookshelf.


Watch the Trailer here:



Where to get Horatio Humble Beats the Big “D”:




Autographed copies (BUY My Books)


More information on the book:



G is for Gospel

The Gospel is the most known and most familiar part of the Bible to us. In it, we read, learn and appreciate Jesus' ministry here on Earth. It is another one of the most abundant gifts God has given us. Another pathway to Heaven, if we just listen.  It is even spelled out for us in my poem below.

If we live and follow Jesus' teachings, then the Gospel is certainly:

G od's

O wn

S ure 

P ath to 

E ternal

L ife

F is for Father

The Catholic faith has many uses of the word "father".

First, we often think of God the Father. He is our Creator and as such we are all His children. From the beginning He has taught us to be like Him and how to be good people. Like a parent teaches and molds their child, so God teaches and molds us. He does this first through his Law and the prophets in the Old Testament and then leads a perfect example through Jesus in the New Testament. Jesus taught us how to please the Father, love the Father and pray to the Father.

We also immediately think of our own father when we hear the word father. Our fathers are our biological and earthly fathers. They care for, nurture and protect us as we grow up. We are God's gifts to our parents who pass on the faith and Jesus' teachings to us.

Another common use of the word Father is the name we use for priests. Of course we do not mean this literally or as a replacement for the term we call God. When we call our priests "father" it is in reference to a spiritual father like how the early Christians viewed the first Christian teachers such as Peter, Paul and John. In fact many of their letters we read in the Bible address the Christians as "my children".  The priests today do the same: they lead us closer to Christ as a parent leads a child to safety. They teach us to remain in God's grace the way a parent teaches a child right from wrong.

Thank you God the Father for our fathers and our fatherly priests!

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Easter - The Victory over Death

Easter Sunday is fast approaching. Lent is more than half way over and in my parish choir we are diligently preparing for this great feast day.  Easter sometimes doesn't get the attention it deserves - especially being the first big feast day after Christmas. But Easter is bigger than Christmas. It's not just a day in history in which a few followers of Christ rejoiced. This is a day of celebration for all humans in all of human history.

"This is the day the Lord has made." It is the day Jesus defeated death. Not just physical death by rising from the dead, but He defeated our spiritual death. Without the events of Holy Week and then Jesus' Resurrection, we would not be able to be in Heaven.  Jesus'  "yes" and obedience to the Father's will saved us all from the sins of Adam, and subsequently, our own sins.

This Easter, let us stop and reflect in thanksgiving and praise for what He has done and endured for us. Our King humbled himself to be nailed to a cross just to save us. Thank you Jesus for being our Savior!

Daniel Sullivan, Monsignor

I chose a special topic today to blog about in the A to Z blogging challenge.  Daniel Sullivan. More specifically, Monsignor Daniel Sullivan. He is an engaging speaker, motivating priest and a servant of God on a mission.

Father Dan, as he is often called, began his ministry as a parish priest. After several years, and many inspiring experiences later, he began doing parish retreats. His words and stories move your heart and soul. They point out our humanity, and thus, our dependence on God. The experiences Father Dan shares with you will make you laugh, and some will make you cry. But it's just these emotions in which our own healing begins - and thus a miracle. His preaching is powerful and thought provoking.

But there is more to what Father Dan is about. He felt called to follow a visiting Archbishop to Sierra Leone, Africa where he learned the true horrors of war on all humans - but especially children. Father was so moved by the nightmares he saw, that he got involved. As he said at a recent retreat, "These are my kids."  Father Dan runs several projects to help his kids, which can be found on his website.

One project he's working on is collecting children's books. As a children's author this appealed to me. I am currently contemplating the most effective way I can help these children.  If you have a moment, I recommend you check out the link - http://www.monsignordanielsullivan.com/ and learn more about this inspirational priest and his mission. Be sure to look into his book Walking with Jesus as well, which can be purchased  here.

Monday, April 4, 2011

C is for Cecilia

Saint Cecilia is the patron saint of music and musicians. She was born a Christian in the second or third century and had a dedication to God. She vowed to God she would remain a virgin. Despite this vow, she was promised in marriage to a pagan named Valerian. During her wedding, it is said she heard heavenly music inside her heart. That night, she told her new husband of her promise and that an angel was guarding her purity. When Valerian asked to see this angel, Cecilia told him he would be able to once he became baptized. Valerian then saw the angel upon his return to Cecilia. The angel had two crowns - one or roses and one of lilies, and placed them on the heads of Cecilia and Valerian. At once the angel vanished, and Valerian's brother entered the room, curious about the floral scents. When he heard the story, he too wanted to convert and be baptized.

Shortly after the two conversions Cecilia's husband and brother decided to bury Christians who have been martyred. Cecilia went out teaching others about the faith and in turn converted 400 people. As a result, she was persecuted and sentenced to death. However, the first attempt was suffocation and was unsuccessful. When they tried to behead her, the execution ran off after the third attempt. She died three days later from her wounds.

She is the Patron Saint of Musicians due to the story of her hearing heavenly music in her heart after being forced to into marriage.

B is for Believe

"Happy are those who have not seen, yet still believe." These famous words from John 20:29 were said to Thomas by Jesus after Thomas doubted the apostles' claim that they saw the risen Lord. Unfortunately, the problem of disbelief was not only in Jesus' time, but is in ours as well. For whatever reason, many people - even fellow Christians or people close to us, fail to believe. This occurs despite the miracles Jesus performed, or all the miracles and mystical experiences the saints have shared. The fact alone that Jesus rose from the dead and ascended into Heaven should be enough for all humanity to believe not only in God but in his teachings and laws as well.

Why such unbelief? Is it that we haven't seen these events for ourselves? That we haven't seen enough evidence proving these events? The truth is, for the doubters of today, even witnessing these events might not be enough to rouse the belief. Belief starts with a decision. A decision to open our hearts to the Word of God. If our hearts are of stone, they can not be penetrated. We need to soften our hearts and let Jesus in. Once that happens, He will cure our blindness.

"Why is it important to believe," some have asked. "If God is real, He'll understand." These are some rationalizations I hear way too often. What people fail to realize that our belief is necessary - not only for this life but for the after life. Even the devil believes in God. He chose not to serve Him, but he believes.

This Lent, let us ask God to open our hearts to Him and to help our unbelief so that we can be happy now and forever.

 

A is for A to Z Blogging Challenge


I joined, albeit - a few days late- the April A to Z Blogging Challenge. I just learned about it and think this is a great way to blog more often than when the inspiration hits. The goal of the challenge is to post something every day on your blog except Sundays so that  there will be 26 April posts - one for each letter of the Alphabet. To read more about the challenge click on the side banner or visit the A to Z blog. I will be doing this on two of my blogs: Random Thoughts About God and my Author blog.

The Random Thoughts blog will be themed. of course, on God and the Church.  What a great mid-Lenten challenge!

My author blog will be themed on writing, writing for children, my books, book reviews, My Light Magazine and other similar topics.  Be sure to follow along and join in the fun! Don't worry if you're a day or two late - do what I did and roll up those sleeves and jump on in!