Bragging about my daughter

I’ve never written a blog post like this before. But, why not? Moms have bragging rights. 🙂 I’d like to share a bit about my oldest daughter Chaldea. If you’ve read any of my books, you might recall that she was the teen ager who gifted me with that special secret gift on my late November birthday many years ago. It was the note in the envelope she left on my dresser. Remember that? She had placed inside her own babysitting money which she gifted to me to help with Christmas presents. I was a single mother at that time and I was moved so much by her big heart.
img_3994
I’d like to pass along a link to my daughter’s Etsy shop. https://www.etsy.com/people/chaldea My daughter Chaldea (aged 35) is an artist and has illustrated 3 of my books (The Heart of Motherhood, The cover of The Domestic Church, and all of the sweet baby illustrations in Prayerfully Expecting).
Chaldea’s work is very wholesome and family oriented. She is also an organic farmer with her feet firmly planted on the ground! In addition, she has a sweet and whimsical book she wrote and illustrated called “Farm House.”
il_570xn-514710613_4h87

 

 

Please pass along her Etsy website address to anyone you know who might be interested in ordering her artwork. Her greeting cards are amazing, if I may say so myself. Supporting her in her vocation of art helps to keep her at home with her one and a half year old son, Shepherd, my sweet grandson.

img_3138

 

I know I am bragging (but that’s what Moms do!).  While I am at it, I want to also mention that Chaldea is multi-talented. She is not only a sweet wife and mother, she plays many musical instruments, knits, farms, paints, illustrates, and works in many forms of art.

 

Take a look at her art here: https://www.etsy.com/people/chaldea She also sells her art at many week end festivals. She is known for her whimsical characters in her paintings and greeting cards.

Thanks for letting me share about my daughter. 🙂 I will also link her website to this website and my other one.

Christmas Joy amid challenge

It was a blessed and happy Christmas in so many ways. My grandson was here for his very first Christmas! I was surrounded by my five children, my husband, my daughter’s husband, and one daughter’s significant other–all coming together to celebrate in the heart of my home. Needless to say, I was extremely thankful. It was a whirlwind of crazy and blessed few days filled with so much activity and precious moments shared together.

Oh, wait a minute! Did I mention there was a brand new puppy too? One of my daughters has a new puppy and he came to visit too, romping around in Christmas paper!

There were so many beautiful moments, but I cherish the moment when I gave my little grandson one of his very first Christmas gifts. When he saw that it was a board book with bright and cheery pictures he smiled and pointed at the pictures and immediately turned his head to look into my eyes and smiled so wide he made me smile too. It was as if he was saying, “Grandma, I love this book! Thank you!”

That little precious moment warmed my heart.

IMG_2245

This is a different precious moment with a different book enjoyed first thing on Christmas morning. But I will always remember my darling grandson’s little angelic face smiling and looking into my eyes as he looked at his present from Grandma.

 

There were some challenges for me to endure this Christmas time, as well. I won’t go into them now. But, I think you’ll see as you read these stories that there are all sorts of challenges interwoven throughout all of this Christmas JOY. Amid the struggles are stories of joy and blessing, and even miracles too that warm my heart and cause me to praise God. I want to share a few of them with you.

Babies born at Christmas time

I’ll start with the babies. In recent days, I know of two babies that were born safely (one for whom I was praying while in utero which had a serious medical condition). One Mom lost a lot of blood in childbirth and needed additional prayers to recover. Her baby was born early and was having trouble nursing. I was keeping them strongly in my prayers and checking on them. I asked others to pray as well.

She emailed me to say, “God has used you so beautifully to bring us grace in this house and I do not know how to thank you Donna. Thank you for the best Christmas gift.” I was so humbled and blessed by her words. I felt deeply thankful that because of God’s grace, my simple desire to continue prayers for them had made such a difference in their lives.

The other baby was diagnosed before birth with Skeletal Dysplasia (Dwarfism) which can sometimes be fatal. When asking for prayers from me before the birth, the Mom explained, “At this time Doctors are telling us to be optimistic but prepare ourselves because they really do not know if she’ll survive. Her rib cage has not formed properly, the ribs are about half the length they should be, meaning they do not meet the sternum. We have been praying through the intercession of Blessed Francis Xavier Seelos for a miracle, that her rib cage will be healed.” She also expressed that no matter what, she would love and care for her baby.

Very recently I received a message from the Mom to say that she was in labor–to please pray for a safe delivery and a healthy baby, and to ask others to pray. I did just that and waited.

The precious baby girl was born just the other day. Her rib cage is fully formed! Thank God! This is truly miraculous and an absolute answer to prayer! The newborn is in the NICU but is doing well thus far. Let’s pray for this baby and family. The doctors are currently testing for another condition which could cause bone fractures. I pray that will be ruled out.

God’s perfect timing

Then there is the order of the 150 Miraculous Medals that I needed to send to a far off place to a woman who had requested them to give to homeless people. I tried to expedite the delivery because I wanted to ensure the package would be received in time for their Christmas festivities. But, even with careful planning and a “guaranteed” delivery time, it still didn’t seem that it was going to make it on time. Yet, I still sensed that somehow the medals would arrive in God’s perfect timing. I knew I had to leave it all in God’s hands because there was nothing more I could do. I sent an apologetic email about the possible late delivery.

A few days later, I received an email from the woman. “I wanted to let you know of how things worked out all in God’s perfect timing…First, the letter I helped compose, somehow didn’t get printed in time to go into the bags either, and the lady who runs the Soup Kitchen ended up going around individually talking with each person, holding their hands, and giving them the letter personally. How beautiful!” She said.

“And now, I am quite sure that this is what God wants of me too,” she explained. “It would be so much easier to just put the gift in the bag and not have personal contact, although the gift handed in person will obviously be so much more meaningful.”

The delayed delivery caused this woman to re-think the way in which she would gift the medals. She now planned to hand deliver each blessed Miraculous Medal to each homeless person who visited the Soup Kitchen.

The medals had indeed arrived on time. I smiled when I read her email about “God’s perfect timing.” Another bit of Christmas joy I thought! What a blessing!

Totally transformed by a kind gesture

Another story really warmed my heart too. Yesterday, I called my elderly ex-mother-in-law on the phone to see how she was doing. If you have read my memoir The Kiss of Jesus, you would know that we are still in touch on a regular basis. She is very dear to me.

Elizabeth just very recently transitioned to a long term medical facility and told me during our phone call that her roommate who is 97 years old had a very tough week and had almost died. A few days after her troubling ordeal, the woman seemed very forlorn. Elizabeth, feeling sorry for Arlene and seeing her so quiet, called out to her from her side of the room. But Arleen just sat there, hung her head and did not respond.

Elizabeth recalled to me that suddenly she had an idea. She decided to quickly pick up a photo from the table beside her bed to show it to her depressed neighbor. It was a picture of her great-grandson (my grandson!) with whom she enjoyed a very special visit on Christmas day.

She wheeled herself over in her chair and showed Arlene the sweet picture. Her roommate suddenly lit right up and started asking all sorts of questions about Elizabeth’s great grandchild.

“It was like she was totally transformed when she saw his smiling face,” Elizabeth told me over the phone. “It brought her out of herself and she was happy again!”

Elizabeth handed the photo to Arlene and told her to keep it because it seemed to make her so happy. I told Elizabeth that my heart was so warmed in learning about this very sweet exchange.

“You helped her so much by reaching out to her.” I told Elizabeth.

“Well, my little great-grandson helped her without even knowing it!” She said.

As we conversed I also told Elizabeth that I was very proud of her for the way she had transitioned into her new environment (which had come about very suddenly just about a month or so ago).

“And now you are even helping others to feel better!” I said. I wanted her to feel encouragement and affirmation.

Even more JOY…

Even as I write this reflection, I heard from a woman who reached out to me before Christmas begging prayers and feeling very scared. Further testing had been ordered for her after her mammogram had detected a mass in one of her breasts. She had said, “I just received some not so good news and I am really upset.” The poor woman had to wait until after Christmas to go back in to the doctor to check further. I promised my prayers.

I just got word from her that the mass is gone. She explained that the radiologist was very certain that there was no mass evident in the follow up testing.

The woman said, “I claim her [the radiologist] words as healing in Jesus’ name. Thank you Donna so much for all you do for all of us.”

As you can imagine, I am praising God!

God never stops working through our gestures of love and prayer.

Merry Christmas!

IMG_2300

Keeping Kids focused this Advent season

Kids-Advent-420
Are your kids making long Christmas wish lists? Are you trying to figure out ways to get them and to keep them focused on what’s really important?

It might seem like an impossible undertaking, knowing full well that the lopsided messages of the culture are constantly bombarding us. Kids know all about the latest gadgets and toys and exactly where they can be purchased!

Of course, there will always be Christmas wish lists. But, how about making another kind of list this Advent season as well? Sit down with your family and list some things you’d like to do to help others. A wonderful added bonus is that while you’re at it you’ll be growing in your faith life too. Doing Works of Mercy is indeed a win-win situation because when you are helping others you will earn graces for them and for you AND you will grow in holiness when done with a humble heart. God has it all figured out!

And, then, after you’ve made your list, endeavor to carry the acts of love and kidness out during this season of HOPE.

It helps a great deal to pause and take a moment to capture your young ones’ attention. Get them excited about giving and about making crafts and pausing to pray, asking Jesus to come into their hearts more fully this Advent season.

Have a look here for some simple coloring pages to the more elaborate yet not too complicated crafts you can do with your kids to keep them focused on Advent.

Do you have your Advent wreath out? It’s never too late. Well, actually it is if you take it out in February. 🙂 But, don’t worry if it’s not out yet or if you haven’t found replacement candles. Try to work on that as soon as you can. You might find the candles at your local Hallmark store (I have purchased them there) or at a religious store. You can also buy them online. You can have the kids draw a wreath or you can construct one from colored papers if you don’t have an Advent wreath and you can explain what the purpose of the wreath is.

You can take a moment each night all throughout Advent at the dinner table to pray as a family.

How about your creche? Do you have it out and decorated with all of the figurines? You can pause beside it each day to say a family prayer for Advent. Tangible items such as an Advent wreath, a creche, and a Jesse Tree will all help to draw your children’s minds to the holy and off of the secular, even for a time. All efforts to create a holy atmosphere in your home–your domestic church will surely help.

Here’s some wonderful information from EWTN about many Advent and Christmas traditions.

Here’s some information at Catholic Mom. And, some coloring pages here too.

The Catholic Toolbox gives lesson plans for Advent here.

baubleonly
I love this: Fifty Advent Acts of Kindness and how to orchestrate that in your own household. It even includes real cute stuff to print out and hang up to aid you on your journey of giving with the kids through Advent.

Again, I suggest that you make your own list! It will be a lot of fun to do with the kids. Just sit down and do it! Make your list–maybe not fifty things, but perhaps 25 or even 12. Just write them down and endeavor to do them. It’s as simple as that. Keep the kids focused on Christ’s love by doing charitable Works of Mercy all throughout this holy season!

Well, this was just a few starters for now to get you going. Please share your ideas about how to keep your kids focused on the Advent season and the real reason for this season in the comments below. I’ll also add some more ideas later. Right now I have to get ready to go on the radio and talk about this subject! See you later!

CYBER MONDAY SALES today (EXTENDED to ALL week)!

Take advantage of these CYBER MONDAY sales on a variety of my book titles on special sale TODAY and ALL week! Scroll down to see amazing savings. Get your Christmas shopping done today! By the way, there is more information about each book on the “Book” page of this website.

The NEW ANGELS FOR KIDS is 20% off today! It makes a wonderful Christmas present for children and adults alike.

Angels for Kids

Angels for Kids

Special discount paying button ($3.00 off per book!):

 

The NEW The Miraculous Medal: Stories, Prayers, and Devotions is 20% off today! It makes a wonderful and inspiring Christmas present.

3

Special discount paying button ($3.00 SAVINGS per book!):

 

Embracing Motherhood is 20% off today! Don’t let the cover fool you–this book discusses all ages and stages of raising kids today. It makes a wonderful Christmas present for any Mom or GrandMom, or Mom-to-be!

316361_10150333191666912_165250401911_8202101_215507781_n

Special discount paying button ($3.00 OFF per book!):

 

 

GRACE CAFE: SERVING UP RECIPES FOR FAITHFUL MOTHERING only $8.00 per book! That is a $7.00 savings per book! Wonderful Christmas gift for a Mom, GrandMom, or Mom-to-be!

Grace Cafe; Serving Up Recipes for faithful Mothering

 

Special discount paying button ($7.00 OFF per book!):

 

MOTHER TERESA AND ME: TEN YEARS OF FRIENDSHIP (First Edition) Great inspirational gift for Christmas gift giving!

Mother Teresa and Me: Ten years of Friendship

AMAZING LOW PRICE of $8.00 ($7.00 off per book!)

 

Special discount paying button:

 

CATHOLIC SAINTS PRAYER BOOK (Hard cover edition) Where else but here can you get a book of this quality (sturdy hard cover and beautiful illustrations inside) for only $5.00? Excellent for anyone on your Christmas list–child, adult, man, or woman. I have gifted this book to many a child and many an adult.

Catholic Saints Prayer Book

Inspiration and wisdom from 32 popular saints! Prayers, bios, patronages, and quotes

 

Special paying button: ONLY $5.00 per book!