On this Blessed Christmas morning, let us pause from the excited children, the tree, stockings, and presents, the hot coffee or cocoa, breakfast casseroles, just to remember what Christmas is all about. We wish you a very Merry Christmas.
The Christmas holidays abound with memories and traditions, many of them grown and based on the foods that bring us together and define us as family. Growing up Christmas morning meant Mom would prepare a brown-sugar, butter, cinnamon, ooey-gooey Bubble Cake for breakfast. An annual special treat that only appeared on Christmas morning, every childhood Christmas memory I have involves this sweet sticky concoction. Even though forks were encouraged, we commonly burned our fingers, picking at the hot melted sugar unable to wait for it to be cool enough to eat. In the years since I’ve become a mother, I’ve tried to find our own special breakfast, serving several “prepare-the-night-before” breakfast casseroles filled with egg, sausage, cheese, hash browns, or even French toast, but the one dish my children repeatedly ask for is Bubble Cake. In a nod to our Italian grandparents, Christmas dinner absolutely must include Italian sausage. The accompanying prepared foods are inconsequential s
There are several gifts under our tree this year that aren’t wrapped. The kids can’t pick them up and shake them, hoping to guess what’s inside. They didn’t cost us anything to purchase. But in giving these gifts, we not only gift the recipient, but ourselves and others as well. These are gifts for Christ Jesus. What do you give our Lord at Christmastime? It seems the whole world is at odds with faith these days. The news programs paint dire pictures of economic hardship while filling the space between segments with advertising for the latest technology, toys, clothes, or cars. Radio shows highlight stories about the “ War on Christmas ,” while the ACLU warns schools not to celebrate Christmas in the classroom . To help us discover and remember the real meaning of Advent and Christmas, our church held this "Gifting of Christmas" event, inviting families to “shop” at various booths for gifts. We didn’t need our purse, wallet, or credit card – everything available for purcha
Last night, my family attended the Houston Second Baptist annual Krazy Kids Christmas Show at their Pearland campus with friends. The show is a mix of dancers, live actors, and singing puppets, celebrating the message of the true “Reason for the Season”. The kids thought it was great, and I even caught my husband laughing pretty hard at the ZZ Top singing Wise Men. This fun, crazy, entertaining Christmas show featuring the Holy Family, shepherds, wise men, angels and some spitting camels, focused on the Birth of Christ was a perfect opportunity to share time with the family and a beautiful way to reach children with the Spirit of Christmas. In addition to spreading the Christmas message, the church uses the event for outreach and recruitment by offering multiple invitations for us to speak with their members about attending their services. They also requested all of our contact information, including birthdates, simply for attending their free children’s performance. While I
Earlier this week, after posting about how people are using Facebook for real-life labor and birth announcements, I went to Twitter to post the link. While there, I played around with the idea of how Joseph and Mary might have announced the birth of Jesus on Facebook or Twitter. My tweets looked like this: SoundMindSpirit : Wondering what Joseph would have put on FB status for Jesus' birth. OMG Mary in labor & we're stuck in a stable because no room at the inn! Social Media Birth Announcements? Can you imagine Joseph tweeting: Our Son Jesus born tonight in Bethlehem stable If Joseph tweeted: Jesus wrapped in swaddling & in manger now. HUGE star appeared overhead. Coincidence? Maybe not What do you think the shepherds would have tweeted?? Wise men?? But seriously - today's blog post at SMAS is about welcoming newborns this Advent, and how we spread news via Facebook. And in the cool way the interconnected world works, someone sent me the link to this video on
This has turned out to be a truly beautiful and joyful Advent season. As we spend time in prayer, preparing our hearts and souls for the arrival of the Christ Child, friends and family around me have prepared to welcome and given birth to their own babies. Though we are still “waiting” for Jesus, there is no more beautiful reminder of the promise of His redemption than in the warm, fragrant, gentleness of holding a newborn child. Within the past three weeks I have welcomed Parker, Anthony, Paige, and Henry, observing closely the new way that we, as a society, communicate with each other socially. News of their impending arrival began with a phone call or text message followed closely by a Facebook message. • Waiting patiently for Parker's arrival! Epidurals are the greatest thing ever invented!! • Please keep my sister and my nephew to be in your prayers. It looks like he is going to be born today. • BIG day today! • Today will be Henry's birthday...my water broke at midni
People always compare life and motherhood to a roller coaster. Last month, I had the opportunity to realize how true that statement is with my own children. On a Saturday my sister and I took our children to Sea World, San Antonio, where the older kids discovered they were tall enough to ride a roller coaster – the Steel Eel. Boy were they excited. After recently watching a tv show about the extreme thrill of roller coasters, they just HAD to experience it for themselves. Getting caught up in their excitement, I said I would take them on the ride. Shelly, my sister, seem surprised. After all, I am not a thrill seeker, extreme adventurer, or a roller coaster person. In fact, it’s been over fifteen years since I’ve been on one. Close up of this picture is below However, the only thing I could think about was how much my kids and niece/Goddaughter wanted to do this. Without my husband there, it was up to me to take them. Within ten minutes of agreeing, I found my
I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about babies. I suppose that’s not surprising considering the number of newborns in my life. My sister-in-law had her first November 24. A friend delivered her first on November 30. My other sister-in-law is delivering her third today, and my next-door neighbor is due with her second next week. At the Feast of the Immaculate Conception yesterday, the Gospel of Luke told us that the angel Gabriel appeared to Mary and said, “ Hail, full of Grace. The Lord is with you .” And then the angel told her that she would conceive and bear a son, who will be called Son of the Most High . I thought about the Christmas morning 12 years ago when I discovered I was pregnant with my first child. There was an incredible simultaneous mixture of happiness and fear. I’d never noticed it before, but the Gospel says that when the angel first appeared Mary “was greatly troubled.” In his homily, Father Mathew pointed out that Mary, raised in the Jewish faith, knew God as a
I was sent a copy of a sweet children’s Christmas story, Little Star, by the author Anthony DeStefano . With beautiful vibrant images, DeStefano uses the story of the Star of Bethlehem to convey the nativity story in a way small children not only understand, but will remember. My own children enjoyed the fun illustrations of the little star who gave everything he had to shine brightly and warm the baby Jesus. After reading it to her little sister, my eight-year-old daughter happily shared the beauty of the message contained in this simple children’s book with the rest of us. The author uses the birth of Jesus in the stable to help young people understand God’s Love and the importance of our love for another. With love, great things are possible, even from the littlest among us. Little Star is a beautiful children's story for this Christmas season.
Light of the World In July 2010, veteran journalist Peter Seewald spent six hours over six days engaged in an intimate conversation with Pope Benedict XVI. The carefully prepared questions along with their candid, thought-provoking answers are presented in Light of the World: The Pope, the Church, and the Signs of the Times. To say that this book is the most profoundly influential book I’ve read would be an understatement. When considering the text is put forward in a conversational tone, I expected this to be a fairly quick read. Instead I found myself reading and re-reading every question, every answer, carefully considering the meaning of each sentence - meditating on the concepts, the context, and the truths of what The Holy Father shared about our Church. As a “cradle Catholic” raised and catechized during the years when the “ prevailing mentality was that the Church must not be a Church of laws but, rather, a Church of love,” I grew up knowing clearly that God Loves Me,
If you are still working your way through your Christmas shopping and wondering what to get your favorite Catholic friend or relative (or even yourself), you might appreciate this list of Catholic gift items we've enjoyed giving and receiving throughout the year. 10. Good Deed Beads - Based on Saint Therese of Lisieux's belief in small personal sacrifice, these stunning prayer bracelets may be used to count the times each day either that a temptation is rejected, or a positive step taken toward becoming the person you were created to be. They are available for men and women, adults and children. 9. "Alive Again" CD by Matt Maher - This newest CD from rising Catholic Christian singer, Matt Maher, gives you the best of both worlds, beautiful songs with powerful lyrics that brings you to a closer relationship with God. One listen and you will be hooked. 8. Last Supper picture or wall plaque - What dining room is complete without a glorious picture of the