And a Child will lead them...

I heard this story, read by the deacon at the church in my hometown and I was so moved by it! Thanks to my Mom for finding a copy of it to pass on!

* * * * * * * * * *

We were the only family with children in the restaurant. I sat Erik in a high chair and noticed everyone was quietly sitting and talking. Suddenly, Erik squealed with glee and said, 'Hi.' He pounded his fat baby hands on the high chair tray. His eyes were crinkled in laughter and his mouth was bared in a toothless grin, as he wriggled and giggled with merriment.

I looked around and saw the source of his merriment. It was a man whose pants were baggy with a zipper at half-mast and his toes poked out of would-be shoes. His shirt was dirty and his hair was uncombed and unwashed. His whiskers were too short to be called a beard and his nose was so varicose it looked like a road map.

We were too far from him to smell, but I was sure he smelled.. His hands
waved and flapped on loose wrists. 'Hi there, baby; hi there, big boy. I
see ya, buster,' the man said to Erik. My husband and I exchanged looks,
'What do we do?' Erik continued to laugh and answer, 'Hi.'

Everyone in the restaurant noticed and looked at us and then at the man.
The old geezer was creating a nuisance with my beautiful baby. Our meal
came and the man began shouting from across the room, 'Do ya patty cake?
Do you know peek-a-boo? Hey, look, he knows peek-a-boo.'

Nobody thought the old man was cute. He was obviously drunk.

My husband and I were embarrassed. We ate in silence; all except for
Erik, who was running through his repertoire for the admiring skid-row
bum, who in turn, reciprocated with his cute comments.

We finally got through the meal and headed for the door. My husband went
to pay the check and told me to meet him in the parking lot. The old man
sat poised between me and the door. 'Lord, just let me out of here
before he speaks to me or Erik,' I prayed. As I drew closer to the man,
I turned my back trying to sidestep him and avoid any air he might be
breathing. As I did, Erik leaned over my arm, reaching with both arms in
a baby's 'pick-me-up' position. Before I could stop him, Erik had
propelled himself from my arms to the man.

Suddenly a very old smelly man and a very young baby consummated their
love and kinship. Erik in an act of total trust, love, and submission
laid his tiny head upon the man's ragged shoulder.. The man's eyes
closed, and I saw tears hover beneath his lashes. His aged hands full of
grime, pain, and hard labor, cradled my baby's bottom and stroked his
back. No two beings have ever loved so deeply for so short a time.

I stood awestruck. The old man rocked and cradled Erik in his arms and
his eyes opened and set squarely on mine. He said in a firm commanding
voice, 'You take care of this baby.' Somehow I managed, 'I will,' from a
throat that contained a stone.

He pried Erik from his chest, lovingly and longingly, as though he were
in pain. I received my baby, and the man said, 'God bless you, ma'am,
you've given me my Christmas gift.'

I said nothing more than a muttered thanks. With Erik in my arms, I ran
for the car. My husband was wondering why I was crying and holding Erik
so tightly, and why I was saying, 'My God, my God, forgive me.'

I had just witnessed Christ's love shown through the innocence of a tiny
child who saw no sin, who made no judgment; a child who saw a soul, and
a mother who saw a suit of clothes. I was a Christian who was blind,
holding a child who was not. I felt it was God asking, 'Are you willing
to share your son for a moment?' when He shared His for all eternity.
How did God feel when he put his baby in our arms 2000 years ago.

The ragged old man, unwittingly, had reminded me, 'To enter the Kingdom
of God , we must become as little children.'

Capucine - the master storyteller!

This has got to be one of the cutest things ever!

Capucine, age 4, knows how to weave a tale.
I dare you to watch and not be entranced :)

Once upon a time... from Capucha on Vimeo.

With the popularity of the video, Capucine and her mom have decided to fundraise for literacy in Mongolia. They've opened 2 school libraries already! Sign me up for the t-shirt with the hippo allergic to magic!

Capucine for Edurelief in Mongolia from Capucha on Vimeo.

Cup of Tea?

Cute anecdote being shared through email...

"One day, my mother was out, and my dad and I were alone at home.

I was maybe 2 1/2 years old. Someone had given me a little tea set as a gift, and it was one of my favorite toys.

Daddy was in the living room engrossed in the evening news when I brought him a little cup of 'tea', which was just water. After several cups of tea and lots of praise for such yummy tea, my mom came home.

My dad made her wait in the living room to watch me bring him a cup of tea, because it was 'just the cutest thing!' Mom waited, and sure enough, here I came down the hall with a cup of tea for Daddy; and she watched him drink it up.

Then she said, (as only a mother would know), "'Did it ever occur to you that the only place she can reach to get water, is the toilet?"

Brother Andre named a saint!

“It is with the smallest brushes that the artists paint the most beautiful pictures.”
~ Brother Andre

Having grown up only an hour away from Montreal, I was fortunate to make several visits to St. Joseph's Oratory over the years with my family. So many of us have been touched by the life of Brother Andre - a simple, humble man who didn't allow his own frailties to stop him from serving God. He may have been small in stature and considered a weakling by many, yet his tremendous faith in God and devotion to St. Joseph allowed him to be used as an instrument for healing for thousands.

On October 17, 2010, Brother Andre has been recognized by the church as a saint!

Brother Andre was born Alfred Bessette on Aug. 9, 1845, in St-Gregoire-d'Iberville, and orphaned when he was 12 years old.

Once he took his vows, he gave comfort to people who came to him at College Notre-Dame for solace, and many credited him with curing their illnesses.

Shown on left: Some of the crutches lining the walls at the Oratory of those healed by Brother Andre

He founded St. Joseph's Oratory in 1904, although it was a modest chapel and far from the grand landmark that looms over Montreal today.

He was named the Oratory's guardian in 1909.

Brother Andre died at age 91 on Jan. 6, 1937. During the six days and nights before his funeral, more than one million people filed past his coffin.

His heart still rests in a small shrine in the Oratory, where he was ultimately laid to rest.



Resurrection Mural by Ron Dicianni


I've come across wonderful artwork by Ron Dicianni in the past and just learned of this beautiful mural of the Resurrection that took him two years to paint. It's now displayed in the Museum of Biblical Art in Dallas, Texas. Dicianni even enlisted the help of four other prominent Christian artists as some of his models. Thomas Blackshear posed as Abraham, Michael Dudash as Isaiah, Morgan Weistling as David, and Chris Hopkins as John the Baptist.

Pictured from left to right:
Abraham, Isaiah, David, Moses, (an angel on either side of Jesus), Elijah, Noah, Queen Esther, John the Baptist, Daniel

"Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses,
let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles,
and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us."
[Hebrews 12:1, verse used for artist's inspiration]

-> Read more as Dicianni describes his painting and its inspiration...

Watch video!

Save the Sharks

Just watched Rob Stewart's award-winning documentary SHARKWATER which broke my heart and infuriated me. Although I already had developed a fascination for sharks, the film has increased my awareness to their plight of being slaughtered seneslessly with very few to stand up for these typically-hated creatures.

I was shocked to learn that due to the increased prestige associated with serving the delicacy of shark fin soup, 100 million sharks are killed for their fins annually.

The world's shark population has declined by 90%.

Considering that the sharks are the top predator of the ocean (2/3 of earth's surface), the consequences of their destruction is immeasurable. Case in point - phytoplankton converts the global warming gas carbon dioxide into oxygen. We get 70% of our oxygen from phytoplankton. If we eliminate sharks, plankton eating fish will flourish and this alone could be disastrous for all mankind.

"I think the problem is, that we don't understand what we are. In essence we're, uh, you know, just a conceited naked ape, but in our minds we're some sort of divine legend and we see ourselves as some sort of god, that we can just walk around the Earth deciding who will live and who will die, and what will be destroyed and what will be saved. But the fact is, we're just a bunch of primates out of control." 
~ Paul Watson, founder of the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society




Journey to the Father

St. Raphael's Ruins, photo by: Richard McGuire

This weekend, hundreds of high school students (and hundreds of volunteers) are gathered in St. Raphael's, Ontario for the 11th annual Journey to the Father Conference. My thoughts and prayers are with them in a special way since my daughter is one of the volunteers this year along with my mother who's helped out since its inception. I also realized that it was at St. Raphael's almost 30 years ago where I had a life-changing experience through a COR retreat held there and I sincerely hope that the participants this weekend will encounter the Lord's love for them in a powerful way as well.





St. Raphael's Ruins, photo by: Richard McGuire

The Colours of Canada

With today being Canada Day, I had this song in my head...

♫♪ ♫♪♪♫
"This land is your land, This land is my land,
From Bonavista, to Vancouver Island
From the Arctic Circle to the Great Lakes waters,
This land was made for you and me."

And it made me think of all the beautiful places
in this country of mine,
so I ventured on my own virtual tour,
collecting favourite photos of Canadian scenes.

Gray Monk Estate Winery, British Columbia

Upper Arrow Lake, British Columbia


Banff National Park, Alberta

Moraine Lake, Banff, Alberta

Saskatchewan

Coronach, Saskatchewan

Manitoba

Parliament Hill, Ottawa, Ontario

Rideau Canal, Ottawa, Ontario
(I get to enjoy this lovely view each Sunday
as I cross this bridge on my way to church)

Niagara Falls, Ontario

Georgian Bay, Ontario

Quebec City

Eastern Townships, Quebec


Hopewell Rocks, Bay of Fundy, New Brunswick

Fundy National Park, New Brunswick

Cabot Trail, Nova Scotia

& again... Cabot Trail, Nova Scotia
Orwell Cove, Prince Edward Island

Green Gables, Prince Edward Island

Prince Edward Island

Western Brook Pond, Newfoundland

Gros Morne National Park, Newfoundland

Whitehorse, Yukon

Firth River, Yukon

Blackford Lake, Northwest Territories

Nunavut

Baffin Island, Nunavut


I'm in awe of the beauty and splendor found in this country
and humbled by the majesty of God's creation!

For those mourning

For my dear friend Carollynn,


A rose once grew where all could see
Sheltered beside a wall,
And as the days passed swiftly by
Its branches spread, straight and tall.
One day, a beam of light shone through
A crevice had opened wide-
The rose bent gently towards its warmth
Then passed to the other side...
Now you who deeply feel its loss
Be comforted...the rose still blooms there
Its beauty even greater now
Nurtured by God's own loving care.


Heaven must be a little sweeter now
You & your family are in my prayers.

Gorilla Reunion

In the African jungle, conservationist Damian Aspinall searches for Kwibi, a lowland gorilla he hasn't seen for 5 years. Kwibi grew up with Damian at his Howletts Wild Animal Park in England. When he was five, he was released into the forests of Gabon, West Africa as part of conservation programme to re-introduce gorillas back into the wild. Now Kwibi's 10 years old, much bigger and stronger. Will Damian find him? Will Kwibi attack him?


Testify to Love


This is one of my favourite songs of all time. Sung by Avalon

The song Testify to Love is also featured in an episode called Psalm 151 in Touched by an Angel where Winona Judd plays the mom of a boy who has to deal with his terminal illness. Very moving episode!
You can watch it on Youtube...




All the colors of the rainbow
All of voices of the wind
Every dream that reaches out
That reaches out to find where love begins
Every word of every story
Every star in every sky
Every corner of creation lives to testify

For as long as I shall live
I will testify to love
I'll be a witness in the silences when words are not enough
With every breath I take I will give thanks to God above
For as long as I shall live
I will testify to love

From the mountains to the valleys
From the rivers to the sea
Every hand that reaches out
Every hand that reaches out to offer peace
Every simple act of mercy
Every step to kingdom come
All the Hope in every heart will speak what love has done

Food for thought

“You can safely assume that you’ve created God
in your own image
when it turns out
that God hates all the same people you do.”

Anne LaMott

The following taken from article found here at The Anchoress

There is a quote from Archbishop Oscar Romero
that both traditional and progressive Catholics love to latch onto, because each feels Romero was speaking for them:

A church that doesn’t provoke any crisis, a gospel that doesn’t unsettle, a Word of God that doesn’t get under anyone’s skin, what kind of gospel is that? Preachers who avoid every thorny matter so as not to be harassed do not light up the world!

In truth, Romero was speaking for Christ. His words are a challenge to all of us, from the happy-clappy-God-is-Love-so-let’s-not-judge mushes to the stern God-is-Justice-and-you’re-going-to-hell prunes. It is a challenge to look past our own comfortable and self-righteous sense that God thinks just as we do, and to let the Word dwell within us, shake us, unsettle us until it has reformed us–re-formed–in the image of God; holy as he is holy, perfect as he is perfect.

Read more...


Pentecost Sunday


"Through the Holy Spirit we are restored to paradise,
led back to the Kingdom of heaven, and adopted as children,
given confidence to call God "Father"
and to share in Christ's grace,

called children of light and given a share in eternal glory."
- St. Basil

'In the last days, God says,
I will pour out my Spirit on all people.
Your sons and daughters will prophesy,
your young men will see visions,
your old men will dream dreams.
Even on my servants, both men and women,
I will pour out my Spirit in those days,
and they will prophesy.
I will show wonders in the heaven above
and signs on the earth below,
blood and fire and billows of smoke.
The sun will be turned to darkness
and the moon to blood
before the coming of the great and glorious day of the Lord.
And everyone who calls
on the name of the Lord will be saved.'

Acts 2: 17-21

Celebrating the birthday of the Church!


Crazy First Dance at Wedding

This couple seemed to have a lot of fun during their first dance...bust a move!

Here I Am Lord


Here I am, Lord. Is it I, Lord?
I have heard you calling in the night.
I will go, Lord, if you lead me.
I will hold your people in my heart.
Song composed by Dan Schutte based on Isaiah 6:8 and 1 Samuel 3.
Sung by John Michael Talbot.


On Eagle's Wings


"Those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
they will run and not grow weary,
they will walk and not be faint."
~Isaiah 40:31

Life is precious


"I've noticed that everybody that is for abortion has already been born"...

"It is a poverty to decide that a child must die so that you may live as you wish."
~ Blessed Mother Teresa

"We must not be surprised when we hear of murders, of killings, of wars, of hatred. If a mother can kill her own child, what is left but for us to kill each other."
~ Blessed Mother Teresa

"Abortion kills twice. It kills the body of the baby and it kills the conscience of the mother. Abortion is profoundly anti-women. Three quarters of its victims are women: Half the babies and all the mothers."
~ Blessed Mother Teresa

I think all of us should have a respect for innocent life. With regard to the freedom of the individual for choice with regard to abortion, there's one individual who's not being considered at all. That's the one who is being aborted. And I've noticed that everybody that is for abortion has already been born. I I think that, technically, I know this is a difficult and an emotional problem, and many people sincerely feel on both sides of this, but I do believe that maybe we could find the answer through medical evidence, if we would determine once and for all, is an unborn child a human being? I happen to believe it is.
~ Ronald Reagan, quoted here

"Abraham Lincoln recognized that we could not survive as a free land when some men could decide that others were not fit to be free and should therefore be slaves. Likewise, we cannot survive as a free nation when some men decide that others are not fit to live and should be abandoned to abortion or infanticide."
~ Ronald Reagan


Lost Generation - not!

For those of us who jump to conclusions about the younger generation not caring about the world, I like the message of this video...

Footprints

I've been wanting to add this poem for a while...I remember it making an impression on me as a young girl and it has inspired so many people over the years.

FOOTPRINTS

One night I had a dream--
I dreamed I was walking along the beach with the Lord
and across the sky flashed scenes from my life.
For each scene I noticed two sets of footprints,
one belonged to me and the other to the Lord.
When the last scene of my life flashed before me,
I looked back at the footprints in the sand.
I noticed that many times along the path of my life,
there was only one set of footprints.
I also noticed that it happened at the very lowest
and saddest times in my life.
This really bothered me and I questioned the Lord about it.
"Lord, you said that once I decided to follow you,
you would walk with me all the way,
but I have noticed that during
the most troublesome times in my life
there is only one set of footprints.
"I don't understand why in times when I needed you most,
you should leave me."
The Lord replied, "My precious, precious child,
I love you and I would never, never leave you
during your times of trial and suffering.
"When you saw only one set of footprints,
it was then that I carried you."


Here I Am Lord

My father sent me this video which has reflections set to music of song "Here I Am Lord". I thought that it was worth sharing...


Adorable ads with animals

Found these ads posted at Cute Overload which always has such adorable & funny pics and videos of various animals. I love their amusing commentary too!

Makes me go ahhhhh...



I Can Only Imagine

If I'm posting my favourite songs on here, this one would have to be included! MercyMe definitely inspires with their beautiful song I Can Only Imagine.

Blessed


If you woke up this morning
with more health than illness,
you are more blessed
than the million who won’t survive the week.

If you have never experienced
the danger of battle,
the loneliness of imprisonment,
the agony of torture or
the pangs of starvation,
you are ahead of 20 million people
around the world.

If you attend a church meeting
without fear of harassment,
arrest, torture, or death,
you are more blessed than almost
three billion people in the world.

If you have food in your refrigerator,
clothes on your back, a roof over
your head and a place to sleep,
you are richer than 75% of this world.

If you have money in the bank,
in your wallet, and spare change
in a dish someplace, you are among
the top 8% of the world’s wealthy

If your parents are still married and alive,
you are very rare.

If you hold up your head with a smile
on your face and are truly thankful,
you are blessed because the majority can,
but most do not.

If you can hold someone’s hand, hug them
or even touch them on the shoulder,
you are blessed because you can
offer God’s healing touch.

If you can read this message,
you are more blessed than over
two billion people in the world
that cannot read anything at all.

You are so blessed in ways
you may never even know.



(Anonymous author as far as I can tell)

Awesome video of aquarium

I LOVE this video! It feels like watching an underwater ballet! I'm fascinated by the whale sharks, the manta rays and all the fish of various sizes swimming together. I also can't keep my eyes off the scuba divers along the bottom of the aquarium as the sharks swim past them without a care!

Best if watched in full screen!

I Cannot Pray the "Our Father"

I cannot say Our if my religion has no room for others and their needs.

I cannot say Father if I do not demonstrate this relationship in my daily life.

I cannot say who art in Heaven if all my interests and pursuits are in earthly things.

I cannot say hallowed be thy name if I, who am called by his name am not holy.

I cannot say thy Kingdom come if I am unwilling to give up my own sovereignty and accept the righteous reign of God.

I cannot say thy will be done if I am unwilling or resentful of having it in my life.

I cannot say on Earth as it is in Heaven unless I am truly ready to give myself to his service here and now.

I cannot say give us this day our daily bread without expending honest effort for it or by ignoring the genuine needs of my fellow men.

I cannot say forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us if I continue to harbor a grudge against anyone.

I cannot say lead us not into temptation if I deliberately choose to remain in a situation where I am likely to be tempted.

I cannot say deliver us from evil if I am not prepared to fight in the spiritual realm with the weapon of prayer.

I cannot say Thine is the kingdom if I do not give the King the disciplined obedience of a loyal subject.

I cannot say Thine is the power if I fear what my neighbors do or say to me.

I cannot say Thine is the glory if I am seeking my own glory first.

I cannot say forever if I am anxious about each day's events.

I cannot say amen unless I honestly say "Cost what it may, this is my prayer."



Divine Mercy


On February 22, 1931, Jesus appeared to St. Faustina Kowalska, bringing a wonderful message of Mercy for all mankind. Saint Faustina wrote in her diary:

"In the evening, when I was in my cell, I became aware of the Lord Jesus clothed in a white garment. One hand was raised in blessing, the other was touching the garment at the breast. From the opening of the garment at the breast there came forth two large rays, one red and the other pale. In silence I gazed intently at the Lord; my soul was overwhelmed with fear, but also with great joy. After a while Jesus said to me, 'paint an image according to the pattern you see, with the inscription: Jesus, I trust in You.'"

Some time later, Our Lord again spoke to her:

"The pale ray stands for the Water which makes souls righteous; the red ray stands for the Blood which is the life of souls. These two rays issued forth from the depths of My most tender Mercy at that time when My agonizing Heart was opened by a lance on the Cross....Fortunate is the one who will dwell in their shelter, for the just hand of God shall not lay hold of him."

For the sake of His sorrowful Passion,
have mercy on us and on the whole world.
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