Sunday, December 28, 2008

Happy Feast of the Holy Family!


"Scripture tells us practically nothing about the first years and the boyhood of the Child Jesus. All we know are the facts of the sojourn in Egypt, the return to Nazareth, and the incidents that occurred when the twelve-year-old boy accompanied his parents to Jerusalem. In her liturgy the Church hurries over this period of Christ's life with equal brevity. The general breakdown of the family, however, at the end of the past century and at the beginning of our own, prompted the popes, especially the far-sighted Leo XIII, to promote the observance of this feast with the hope that it might instill into Christian families something of the faithful love and the devoted attachment that characterize the family of Nazareth. The primary purpose of the Church in instituting and promoting this feast is to present the Holy Family as the model and exemplar of all Christian families."

— Excerpted from With Christ Through the Year, Rev. Bernard Strasser, O.S.B.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Jesus in our neighbors and strangers...let's look for Him!

I am re-posting a radio segment with Teresa Tomeo. It is a "Mom's Corner" segment discussing Christmas traditions from last year. I also shared on our segment, a couple of experiences I had. One of them, I call, "Jesus at the Post Office." The other little story is about a woman I met in the grocery store a couple of years ago around Christmas. You can hear the whole segment by clicking here.

The woman I met has something to do with the Overnight Christmas bread recipe posted below this one. I hope you enjoy the segment.

Three days until Christmas!

God bless!

Donna-Marie

Overnight Christmas Blueberry-Pecan French Toast

Overnight Christmas Blueberry-Pecan French Toast

Ingredients:

nonstick spray
1 baguette, cut into 20 one inch slices
6 eggs
3 cups of milk
1 cup brown sugar
vanilla to taste
nutmeg to taste
1 cup pecans, toasted
2 cups blueberries, fresh or frozen

Preparation:

Coat a 9 x 13-inch baking pan with the nonstick spray and arrange the baguette slices in a single layer in the dish. In a large bowl, whisk together eggs, milk, three-fourths of the brown sugar, vanilla and nutmeg. Pour the mixture evenly over the bread.

Cover and chill the mixture overnight. There will appear to be a lot of moisture when the mixture goes into the refrigerator, but it will all soak into the bread by morning.

Just before baking, sprinkle the remaining one-quarter cup brown sugar, pecans and blueberries over the bread. Bake the dish in a 350 degree oven for 45 minutes to one hour (the recipe says 30 minutes, but I found that it takes longer, so check at 30 and be sure to have allowed for 45 minutes to 1 hour) or until golden and bubbling. Serve with maple syrup. For an added treat, heat the syrup with blueberries and have blueberry-flavored syrup.

Enjoy!

I love this recipe because you do the preparation beforehand and only need to pop in into the oven on Christmas morning 45 minutes to an hour before you'd like to serve it. I like to also serve fresh fruit with this "french toast," which can be washed and prepared on a dish in advance to save you the trouble on Christmas morning. I also like to serve fresh muffins - various kinds along with the fruit and "french toast." You may also use a whole grain type baguette in this recipe for added nutrition. You can put this dish in the oven Christmas morning, set the timer and go open your presents! So EASY - that's the idea - keep it simple and enjoy your loved ones!

Let me know how you like it if you decide to make it. :)

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Overnight Christmas bread coming up...

Sorry, Everyone. I've been busy, sick, praying, writing my book, and also trying to be quiet as much as possible during this holy season. I will try to get to posting that wonderful and famous overnight Christmas bread recipe really soon. If you're going out food shopping, pick up one or two baguettes (long) and eggs, milk, and some frozen blueberries. I'll give you the recipe soon. In the mean time you can go into my archives here at "Embracing Motherhood" to get it.

I hope your Advent is going well. There are so many people to pray for at this holy time of year. Please pray for someone I know whose unborn baby due to be born in a month or so has all of his or her organs outside the body. Please also pray for a mother I know who has stage 4 lung cancer and has very young children.

Thanks for your prayers for these people. God bless your Advent season. Can you believe that Christmas is in a few days? I can't! I'll try to post some snow pictures soon too. We got a lot of snow the past couple of days here in the woods of Connecticut.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

"Olivia and The Little Way:" book interview


I recently had the pleasure of interviewing a new author, Nancy Carabio Belanger about her very lovely book, Olivia and the Little Way.

Our discussion is below:

DONNA: Nancy, when and why did you decide to write this book?

NANCY: The one thing I've noticed about the Little Flower is that when she wants something done, she makes it happen! She is very powerful. I've always been a writer, but never fiction, mostly newspaper writing. I very shocked when I began to feel nudges from Heaven encouraging me to write a fiction book for children about a girl who tries to make friends in her new school and ends up becoming best friends with a saint. But I knew, deep down, that this was what God wanted me to do, so one day I sat down at the computer and began to type. I didn't even really know where I was going as I typed, only that God was leading me and Therese was helping me.

DONNA: Have you always liked St. Therese?

NANCY: I strongly believe that, by the time I felt an attraction to St. Therese, she'd already been praying for me for a while. I felt drawn to see the movie "Therese" when it came out. I left the theater with a strong sense of her presence. I knew at that moment that I had found someone special to me, a spiritual sister. I immediately read her autobiography, Story of a Soul, and was so inspired by her; I could hardly put it down. There was just this instant connection that continues to this day, and I pray it will always continue, because I love her dearly.

DONNA: What kind of research did you do to write this book?

NANCY: I reread Story of a Soul and some of Therese's letters to prepare for the writing of this book. I checked out every book I could find about her life. I researched all over the internet to find stories, little tidbits about her life to get to know her better. I prayed to her a lot to ask for her guidance throughout the project, and to ask her to pray for me.

DONNA: What age range is this book geared to?

NANCY: The main character is in fifth grade, but I think anyone ages 8-13 would feel especially connected to it. Although, I've had many adults tell me they are reading it and enjoying it, so I guess I can't really put an age to the book! I wrote the book for 'tweens especially, though, because it's such a hard age: you're beyond early childhood things and not quite into teenager stuff yet. It's an awkward time of trying to fit in, yet be yourself in the process. Olivia goes through that throughout the book.

My heart melts when I see children bringing me their worn, well-read copies to book signings. One time I saw a pair of girls seated, their noses in their books, happily swinging their legs as they read. I could've cried. So sweet. I just feel so blessed that I can provide this wholesome spirituality of St. Therese to children in fiction form of a girl named Olivia.

DONNA: What do you hope your reader will come away with?

NANCY: I would love for preteens to be entertained by the story of a fifth-grade girl who tries to follow the Little Way, of course, but mostly I would love for them to feel God calling them to a greater love for Him. Therese taught us that God loves us all, even with our many imperfections. Olivia had many and so do we all! God wants kids to talk to Him, to take their worries and concerns, joys and sorrows to Him. He also wants us to befriend the saints, who struggled as we do now.

DONNA: Can you tell us a little bit about the process of writing your book?

NANCY: The whole time I was writing it, I felt her working through my fingers at the keyboard, giving me ideas and direction with the storyline. My illustrator, Sandy Casali LewAllen, felt the exact same way as she sketched her beautiful drawings. We both felt Therese's and God's blessing on the project the entire time. There were many times I had doubts, and it was then I'd feel this incredible nudging telling me not to give up, that God wanted to see this book come to fruition, to be in the hands of children. It's amazing how, when I'd hit a dry spell, I'd feel hit over the head with a great idea for my story, and how it seemed to fit in so well. It happened so often that it made me start to laugh. I knew God and Therese would come through for me, and they always did. What a friend I have in Therese.

DONNA: Is there anything else that you would like us to know about your book?

NANCY: Making little sacrifices like Therese did, to show her love of God through her Little Way, is something anybody can do, young or old: not complaining when it's your turn to set the table, an offer to help someone when you're just not in the mood. These little sacrifices please God very much. It's the effort that counts. Don't worry if you fail; God doesn't expect you to be perfect when you do them. But in my opinion, I think He would love giving an "A" for effort!

Also, St. Therese is a wonderful and wholesome role model for kids because she believed in being childlike. Her very littleness is something kids can relate to: a little flower at God's feet. St. Therese is very approachable, very sweet and small, yet very tough in many ways, too. Kids are so bombarded with unhealthy messages from the media: be cool, be pretty, be sassy, disobey your parents, ignore God's laws. These messages take us further and further away from God and what He wants for us. Therese is such a good, moral example for kids to follow. She will listen to you and love you and take your concerns to God. My favorite quote of hers, is probably the most beautiful thing ever written, in my opinion: "...You will only have to tell me (them) in a whisper, and I shall hear you, and I shall carry your messages faithfully to the Lord...and I shall be near you, holding your hand." St. Therese will send you a shower of roses if you ask her.

St. Therese said that she wants to tell all little souls of the wonder of God's love. Through this book, my prayer is that, God willing, I do the very same thing! I am humbled and honored to have written this book for St. Therese and for God.

DONNA: Where can we buy your book?

NANCY: You can buy the book through my website, www.littleflowerbook.com. I accept PayPal and credit cards on the site. Or, you may send a check made out to Harvey House Publishing, P.O. Box 81841 Rochester, MI 48308. The book (non-Michigan residents) is $15.75, which includes postage for Priority Mail shipping. For MI residents, it is $16.70, which includes MI sales tax and postage for Priority Mail shipping. The book is also available at Catholic online stores and some Catholic bookstores nationwide; please ask if you would like them to order it.

DONNA: Nancy, thank you very much for your time and for telling us about Olivia and the Little Way! It sure seems like such an inspirational book. God bless you for writing it!

A few details about Nancy's book: The ISBN number is 978-0-923568-92-4. The book is 224 pages, softcover. The publisher is Harvey House Publishing.

This is really a lovely book, beautifully crafted with gorgeous illustrations. It's a book that children and adults will enjoy and maybe even together! I will be posting a review at some point in the future.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Discussing "Dignitas Personae," the new Vatican document

Here is my interview this morning on Sacred Heart radio with Brian Patrick. We discussed the new Vatican document called Dignitas Personae.

Just click here to listen.

God bless!

Donna-Marie

New Designs by My Daughter!




Have you had a chance to visit my daughter's ART BUG spot? She has some of her artwork there: greeting cards and prints for sale. She also has knitted Busker Mitts that she knits herself. They keep your hands toasty warm. Just what I need on these cold winter days and nights when I am working on the computer on my writing! Yes, and that's Chaldea modeling her newest Busker Mitts while playing her fiddle. :)

You may find something there for yourself or for a gift for a loved one. Take a look by clicking here. Have fun!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Discussing Dignitas Personae on Sacred Heart Radio and book give-away!

Updated with "Listen Live" link.

I was invited to join Brian Patrick tomorrow morning (Thursday) to discuss Dignitas Personae, a new Vatican document just approved by Pope Benedict, and how it applies to mothers and families. I'll be on at 8:50 AM Eastern time. I hope you'll join us. You can find out more by clicking here. YOU CAN LISTEN LIVE by clicking here and then the "listen online" button on the left side of their web page.
Here are some of the details:

Sacred Heart Radio
"Son Rise Morning Show"
with Brian Patrick
http://sonrisemorningshow.blogspot.com/
Cincinnati, Ohio

I hope you'll join us! They'll be giving away some copies of my books, too!

God bless!

Donna-Marie

Review of my book "The Domestic Church" at Catholic Exchange today


"I recently had the pleasure of reading a copy of noted author Donna Marie Cooper O’Boyle’s latest book, The Domestic Church: Room By Room, A Mother’s Study Guide. On this twentieth anniversary of Muleris Dignitatem: On the Dignity and Vacation of Women and this fortieth anniversary of Humanae Vitae: Of Human Life, Donna, presents us with an in-depth study guide on the vocation of motherhood. In this inspiring book, she instructs, guides, and encourages women to embrace the gift of motherhood and assists them in developing their vocations to the fullest by providing a personal /group retreat, enabling them to grow in holiness and share this holiness with their families.

In her warm, personal writing style, with gentle, loving care, Donna effectively draws women into a deeper understanding of their roles by taking the reader on a tour of the domestic church - the Catholic home - where each room unveils a beautiful new aspect of the mother’s vocation. In each room, she explores the truths of the Church as revealed through Scriptures, papal encyclicals, Church doctrine, and the teachings and words of Blessed Teresa of Calcutta, reflecting on the implications of each as they affect the daily lives of mothers and their families..." (Continued at Catholic Exchange today)

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

I have extended my contest...


I have extended my contest until 9:00 PM Eastern time tonight (Tuesday, December 16th) to give people a chance to enter. See this link for details about the contest to win both of my two new books in time for Christmas!


I also am running a great sale on my two new books. Check the website by clicking here to see all of my books and the sale on the new ones, Grace Cafe: Serving Up Recipes for Faithful Mothering and The Domestic Church: Room by Room: A Mother's Study Guide. You can't win if you don't enter. :)


God bless,

Donna-Marie

Monday, December 15, 2008

"Jesus at the Post Office" and tips for Advent pausing and prayer

In case you didn't get a chance to catch the "Mom's Corner segment with Teresa Tomeo and me this morning in which we spoke about tips for prayer this busy Advent season as well as "Jesus at the Post Office," just click here to listen to the segment.

Hopefully you will find time to pause and take a moment to make a difference in some one's life this Advent season!

Enjoy and REJOICE!!

God bless and hugs,

Donna-Marie
PS Don't forget to leave a comment to be eligible to win copies of my 2 new books. Every comment will be put into the drawing and the winner will be picked out of a hat by my daughter tonight. More details about the contest are here.

Overnight Christmas Bread

Stay tuned! I'll post that Christmas bread recipe later on that I spoke about this morning on Teresa Tomeo's show on our "Mom's Corner" segment.

Advent "Mom's Corner" this morning!


Here's the link you'll want to have to listen to my chat this morning with my dear friend and radio host, Teresa Tomeo on our Mom's Corner segment at "Catholic Connection." I hope that you'll join us!

God bless!

Donna-Marie

For Christmas gift-giving...


I have extended my launch sale for my two new books, Grace Cafe: Serving up Recipes for Faithful Mothering and The Domestic Church: Room by Room for Christmas gift buying. There's still time to get your autographed and inscribed books delivered by Priority Mail to you to arrive before Christmas.

Take a look at my website here and check out the book page to see all of the titles. The new books are displayed on the front web page as well.

Also, I will be running a contest today. I will be on Teresa Tomeo's show (click here) this morning at 9:15 AM Eastern time. For all of the listeners who visit any of my blogs today and leave a comment, you will be entered into a drawing to win BOTH copies of my new books! Just be sure to leave a comment at one of my three blogs by 8:00 PM Eastern time and say that you want to be entered into the contest to win the books. That's all you have to do! I will pick the winner tonight and announce it on my blogs.

I hope you get a chance to tune into the radio show this morning. Details are in a post below and right here with a link to listen LIVE from your computer.

May God bless your Advent season!

Donna-Marie

Friday, December 12, 2008

Look at the Moon!

"Mom, look at the moon! I've never seen it so bright" were the words I heard from my son a few minutes ago when he called me from his college. I'm glad he shared that with me. I was typing away on my book and oblivious to the wonder of nature outside.

Go look out your window. I hear that tonight the moon is the closest as it will be to the earth this year.

Speaking of the wonder of nature. An interesting thing happened today. Just as I wrote the words that a priest says at the consecration at the Mass when I was writing about the Mass, I heard a gigantic thud and crackling outside in the front of my house. I looked out the window to see that a huge tree had broken off and fallen and that the wind had picked up and was blustering all around. Is blustering even a word?

God bless your night!

Donna-Marie

Happy feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe!


"The feast in honor of Our Lady of Guadalupe goes back to the sixteenth century. Chronicles of that period tell us the story.
A poor Indian named Cuauhtlatohuac was baptized and given the name Juan Diego. He was a 57-year-old widower and lived in a small village near Mexico City. On Saturday morning, December 9, 1531, he was on his way to a nearby barrio to attend Mass in honor of Our Lady.

He was walking by a hill called Tepeyac when he heard beautiful music like the warbling of birds. A radiant cloud appeared and within it a young Native American maiden dressed like an Aztec princess. The lady spoke to him in his own language and sent him to the bishop of Mexico, a Franciscan named Juan de Zumarraga. The bishop was to build a chapel in the place where the lady appeared.

Eventually the bishop told Juan Diego to have the lady give him a sign. About this same time Juan Diego’s uncle became seriously ill. This led poor Diego to try to avoid the lady. The lady found Diego, nevertheless, assured him that his uncle would recover and provided roses for Juan to carry to the bishop in his cape or tilma.

When Juan Diego opened his tilma in the bishop’s presence, the roses fell to the ground and the bishop sank to his knees. On Juan Diego’s tilma appeared an image of Mary as she had appeared at the hill of Tepeyac. It was December 12, 1531." (From Saint A Day)

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Advent Mom's Corner on Monday Morning!


Okay, are you guys, I should say "girls" ready for this? What are you doing on Monday morning? I will be taking some time off from writing my book and our Advent activities and busyness to join Teresa Tomeo on "Catholic Connection" on our "Mom's Corner" segmen on Monday morning at 9:15 AM Eastern time.

We'll be talking a bit about this wonderful Advent season, family stuff, and I will be sharing another "Jesus at the post office" story. Last year I shared my experience of seeing Jesus at the post office. Before you run away, I am talking about seeing Jesus in the "distressing disguise" (as Mother Teresa used to say) of a homeless man and how he affected the people in the post office. I have been blessed with another experience this Advent season which I will share on the show.

So, tune in on Monday morning at 9:15 AM Eastern time to hopefully get your new week off on the right foot. We hope you'll join us and feel free to call into the show.


I hope you're Advent is filled with blessings and inspiration as you prepare your heart, your family, and your home for the coming of the Christ Child! Christmas is two weeks from today! Yikes!

And speaking of Advent, you may want to read a short article I wrote about HOPE over at Catholic Mom.Com.

If you'll be baking some cookies, go on over to Faith and Family Live to experience their cookie swap and find some new recipes from some of your favorite people! :)

Don't forget...Advent Mom's Corner on Monday morning - BE THERE!!

hugs,

Donna-Marie

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

St Juan Diego


Go on over for a visit to my blog, Moments of Inspiration With Your Favorite Saints to read a post about St. Juan Diego whose feast day is today!

Also check out this website Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe which has a purpose of inspiring children to emulate St. Juan Diego's virtues.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Happy Feast of the Immaculate Conception!


Today is a beautiful Marian feast day and a holy day of obligation. We must go to Mass today (or last night for the vigil)

"A feast called the Conception of Mary arose in the Eastern Church in the seventh century. It came to the West in the eighth century. In the eleventh century it received its present name, the Immaculate Conception. In the eighteenth century it became a feast of the universal Church.

In 1854 Pius IX gave the infallible statement: “The most Blessed Virgin Mary, in the first instant of her conception, by a singular grace and privilege granted by almighty God, in view of the merits of Jesus Christ, the savior of the human race, was preserved free from all stain of original sin.”

It took a long time for this doctrine to develop. While many Fathers and Doctors of the Church considered Mary the greatest and holiest of the saints, they often had difficulty in seeing Mary as sinless—either at her conception or throughout her life. This is one of the Church teachings that arose more from the piety of the faithful than from the insights of brilliant theologians. Even such champions of Mary as Bernard and Thomas Aquinas could not see theological justification for this teaching.

Two Franciscans, William of Ware and Blessed John Duns Scotus, helped develop the theology. They point out that Mary’s Immaculate Conception enhances Jesus’ redemptive work. Other members of the human race are cleansed from original sin after birth. In Mary, Jesus’ work was so powerful as to prevent original sin at the outset." (From Saint A Day, American Catholic.Org)

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Thursday, December 4, 2008

A Mother's Study Group!


(click on photo to enlarge)

Here is a photo of a brave group of women, "Mother's Circle" from St. Agnes in Sellersville, PA. posing for a shot of their study group. They are currently studying my new book, The Domestic Church: Room by Room: A Mother's Study Guide. They say that they are really enjoying the book and have some very positive feedback from their study.


I decided that I would enter each brave group who sends their photo in to me into a drawing to win a really nice prize! I'll keep you posted on that. :)

So, come on, don't be shy, send me your photos and show off your smiling faces and your spirit-filled camaraderie! Help to inspire others to gather together in homes and churches to learn more about the richness of our Catholic faith and how it applies to women and mothers! I will await your photos!

Remember...we are all on this journey together!

God bless and hugs!

Donna-Marie

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Lisa Hendey's video clip : First Week of Advent

Lisa Hendey has a new video clip for the first week of Advent. She also shares a bit about my two new books, The Domestic Church: Room By Room: A Mother's Study Guide and Grace Cafe: Serving Up Recipes for Faithful Mothering. It's a short clip. Have a look by clicking here.

Monday, December 1, 2008

An interactive Advent Calendar


NOW WITH FIXED LINK!
Here's something really cool that Lisa Hendey at Catholic Mom.Com just announced on her video clip. It's a interactive Advent calendar. Click on 166×125 CNM Advent Badge to go to the calendar. You won't be able to click on the picture here above.
Enjoy and happy Advent!!

Donna-Marie

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Fr. Tom's homily for the first Sunday of Advent

Wake up!


FIRST SUNDAY OF ADVENT, November 30, 2008:

“Be watchful! Be alert! Stay awake! You do not know when the Lord of the house is coming…May he not come suddenly and find you sleeping.”

Here is a quiz for you. Let’s say you are asleep and dreaming. In your dream, a big lion is chasing you. You try to run away from the lion, only to see a tiger coming right at you. You keep running in a new direction, but no matter where you turn, you find a ferocious animal coming after you. How can you escape? The answer is simple: Wake up.

By waking up you enter a whole new world of reality, different from that of the dream world. What was a huge problem in the dream world becomes a non-issue in the waking world. Dream world concerns lose their importance and new concerns take their place. For example, you discover that your problem is no longer how to escape from wild beasts but how to beat the morning rush and arrive early for work.

As we enter the season of Advent today, we can relate to the change that occurs between a dream state and consciousness. Advent hopes to wake us from or spiritual slumber; to effect a change so that we move from a state of being spiritually asleep to that of being spiritually awake, when the soul is awake and alert not to worldly realities, but to spiritual realities.

In today’s gospel Jesus admonishes and encourages... (Continued here)

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Advent begins tomorrow!


Can you believe that Advent begins tomorrow (with the vigil tonight)? I'm planning to go up in the attic to find my Christmas decorations so that I can find my Advent wreath! I go through the same thing every year... trying to figure out which box or bin I put the Advent wreath and candles in. You would think I would mark the box or bin. That would be the sensible thing to do, after all. I always mean to do that. Maybe I will be surprised and find a box labeled "Advent wreath!"

Speaking of Thanksgiving...


Recently, my dog Sweetpea was taking a nap when about 15 wild turkeys walked through our yard, which is a usual occurrence around here. I quickly grabbed my camera to try to capture it on a photo. What you see here is a sleepy dog, oblivious to the fact that big wild turkeys walked right up to her and checked her out and decided that she wasn't that interesting and went on their merry way.

Recently celebrating my birthday...


Recently, I celebrated my birthday and went out to dinner at a favorite spot with three of my children and my husband (not pictured because he was taking the picture). My other two were away at college. Even though I am smiling and very happy to be with my husband and three children pictured, I hate when someone is missing (and in this case, two of them).

Friday, November 28, 2008

My review of Prince Caspian


Go on over to my Daily Donna-Marie blog to read my review on Catholic Exchange today. Just click here

A Ray of Hope

If we didn’t have hope, what would we do? Without hope many would despair. We don’t have to look very far to realize that so many live without much hope. When I think of hope, I recall the virtues of Faith, Hope, and Love which we ask for on our first three Hail Mary beads of our rosaries. Hope becomes ours for the asking. Amazing! We have to remember to ask.

St. Clement of Alexandria wrote, “If you do not hope, you will not find what is beyond your hopes.” Hope makes me also think about trust and surrender, which go hand and hand with our belief and love of God. When we have hope in our hearts we will be putting our trust in Our Lord and will be able to put one foot in front of the other each day, serving Our Lord in the people He surrounds us with. To do this, we surrender our lives to God through prayer so that we grow closer to Him and deeper in holiness.

As we light our first Advent candle very soon, a flickering flame will represent hope. Let us pray that we can focus on preparing our hearts to open wider for Our Lord this Advent season. Let’s hope that we can do our best to turn to prayer at every opportunity during a great season of hope and promise.

Perhaps the craziness of the advertising frenzy that flashes around us is too distracting, and we feel that we cannot find peace to pray during a season that is meant to be quiet so that we can prepare our hearts for the Christ Child. The Liturgy of Advent emphasizes quiet, penance, prayer, but also hope, light, joy, and surrender. Let’s strive to find those things. Let’s delve deeper than the surface and also realize that God is in control of everything. We can find quiet even amid the hustle and bustle, by lifting our hearts to God with a great hope and faith that He hears us – that He knows our hearts – that He loves us more than we can imagine!

An awful lot can be accomplished if we allow God to work through us to sanctify our actions and prayers when we offer it all to Him in full surrender. Our Lord calls us to surrender our lives to Him – everything! Surrendering can be as simple as accepting our circumstances, whether it be our living conditions, our state in life, both little and big annoyances, sickness and suffering, being misunderstood, being criticized and belittled for our Christianity. God’s hand is mystically in it all. He knows what‘s going on.

Will we surrender to Him and allow Him to work through us and around us? He wants us to surrender our wills to Him and respond in love to all who are in our midst. Yes, even to love the one who has just stolen “your” parking space or the one who is constantly criticizing you. It’s not always going to be easy. Jesus never said it would be. However, they all need our love; a healing love that will give others hope.

Mother Teresa had said that “Calcutta is all over the world for those who have eyes to see.” Let’s open our eyes so we can minister to the needs of the people that because of God’s divine providence are near us in some way – our family, co-workers, friends and parishioners. Is there someone who needs our love?

When we learn to surrender our lives over to Our Lord, we will have lasting and true peace, and joy of heart. This joy and peace will radiate as a healing balm to others around us; offering them hope for their journeys. Let’s be that ray of hope by giving our hearts to God and allowing Him to work through us during this upcoming wonderful hopeful season of Advent and beyond!

(My article on hope just appeared at Barry Michael's Festival of Hope Yesterday. You can see my post below regarding the festival and winners of my books)

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving and book give-away!

Happy Thanksgiving!


Enjoy the day. Try not to strive for perfection, rather, BE with your loved ones and try not to DO so much! It's difficult, I know. However, you'll regret late in the day that you didn't stop to enjoy a game with the kids or a walk with the family because you were too busy trying to make everything PERFECT! There's no such thing as perfection on Thanksgiving day! It will all come out wonderful...take a breath...say a prayer and BE TOGETHER!!

Oh, and by the way, go on over to Barry Michael's special Festival of Hope when you have a moment to read my piece on HOPE and where he is giving out copies of my two new books, Grace Cafe and The Domestic Church. If you leave a comment, you'll be put in his drawing!

Check out Barry's Festival of Hope and introduction of my piece by clicking here

And the article I wrote on HOPE by clicking here.

This is from Barry's blog about his cool contest and giving away my books TODAY...

"Donna-Marie Cooper O’Boyle’s two newest books are Grace Cafe: Serving Up Recipes for Faithful Mothering and The Domestic Church: Room by Room. And they’re both going to one fortunate visitor this Thanksgiving Day. But feel free not to enter to win them, because we’d love to keep them in this house. I’m kidding, come get them, you’ll be glad you did. (Or one visitor will, anyway.)

To enter, leave a comment in this comment box of this post, naming one thing for which you are thankful today (of course!). As usual, you’ll have to include your e-mail address so that I can contact you if you win, but it will not be viewable publicly. The winner will not be chosen randomly this time; rather, my kids will pick the response they like best."

So, go over to Barry's blog (link above) and leave a thankful comment!



God bless your day!

Hugs,

Donna-Marie

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Keeping Thanksgiving sane, simple, and holy!


You can listen to my chat with Teresa Tomeo on the radio last year about Thanksgiving. Go get yourself a cup of tea or coffee and pull up a chair. Click here for our segment: "Thanksgiving: Keeping it sane, simple, & holy"

I hope you will come away with some tips and ways to take that stress level down at least a few notches by DOING a little less and BEING a little more.

Enjoy your preparations and don't work too hard. It will all come together. Take a breath..say a prayer...enjoy your family - that's what is most important!

God bless and hugs,

Donna-Marie

Monday, November 24, 2008

My interview on Catholic Spotlight about both my new books



When you have time to sit with a cup of tea, coffee, or hot chocolate, pull up your chair or rocker and click here to hear my recent interview with Chris Cash on the Catholic Spotlight talking about my two new books, Grace Cafe: Serving Up Recipes for Faithful Mothering and The Domestic Church: Room By Room

Watch out for the Gift Cards!

I recieved this information this morning. You can check it out and see if it's true. I really think it is true, that's why I am cautioning you.

Here's the information:

If you tend to give gift cards around the holidays, you need to be careful that the cards will be honored after the holidays. Stores that are planning to close after Christmas are still selling the cards through the holidays even though the cards will be worthless January 1. There is no law preventing them from doing this. On the contrary, it is referred to as "Bankruptcy Planning." Below is a partial list of stores that you need to be cautious about.


> Circuit City (filed Chapter 11)
> Ann Taylor- 117 stores nationwide closing
> Lane Bryant, Fashion Bug ,and Catherine's to close 150 stores nationwide
> Eddie Bauer to close stores 27 stores and more after January
> Cache will close all stores
> Talbots closing down specialty stores
> J. Jill closing all stores (owned by Talbots)
> Pacific Sunwear (also owned by Talbots)
> GAP closing 85 stores
> Footlocker closing 140 sto res mo re to close after January
> Wickes Furniture closing down
> Levitz closing down remaining stores
> Bombay closing remaining stores
> Zales closing down 82 stores and 105 after January
> Whitehall closing all stores
> Piercing Pagoda closing all stores
> Disney closing 98 stores and will close more after January.
> Home Depot closing 15 stores 1 in NJ ( New Brunswick )
> Macys to close 9 stores after January
> Linens and Things closing all stores
> Movie Galley Closing all stores
> Pep Boys Closing 33 stores
> Sprint/Nextel closing 133 stores
> JC Penney closing a number of stores after January
> Ethan Allen closing down 12 stores.
> Wilson Leather closing down all stores
> Sharper Image closing down all stor~s
> K B Toys closing 356 stores
> Loews to close down some stores
> Dillard's to close some stores

A few things that struck me as FUNNY!

Yesterday after Mass, as I walked through our Church hall, one of my son Joseph's friends (twenty years old) said, "Happy Birthday!"

I was surprised and asked, "How did you know that it is my birthday today?" I didn't think that Joseph had been in touch with this friend in a while because they were both very busy with studies and away at college.

He very nonchalantly replied, "I saw it on Face Book."

That seemed so funny to me! :) My, how the world has changed!

Another funny thing is that last night I had a dream that I was at Ebeth Weidner's house and she was making some sort of craft with chocolate and she told me that she would be visiting Sarah Rheinhard the following day, so if I had anything to give Sarah she would bring it to her for me. This may not strike you as funny, but I have never dreamed of Ebeth and Sarah before (both bloggers and writers), but it was fun visiting Ebeth!

Here's one more...this really happened. This morning 3 cars pulled up into my neighbor's driveway. Something looked a little fishy. This is an elderly neighbor woman who lives with her husband who stays to herself pretty much and doesn't get very much company except week ends when occasionally her children will visit. I knew that her husband was off at work and she was alone.

The guys got out of their cars and started to look around the outside of the house. One peered in the living room window then stepped back kind of quickly. I thought that they could be painters coming to do an estimate. However, their cars were ordinary with no logos on them. I decided to call my neighbor to see if she was alright. I got her phone number off my bulletin board and dialed the phone.

I said "Hello Bev, this is Donna, across the way, is everything okay?" She said, "Yes, why?" I told her I had seen the cars pull up and the men looking around the outside of her house. She said, "On no!" She didn't know they were there!

Then suddenly, it occured to me that Bev sounded a bit different and I asked her if this was Bev at such and such a number that I called. She said "No" and explained that her name was Bev, too, but the number was one digit off! I apologized profusely for scaring her and quickly called my real neighbor, Bev who was very appreciative for my call and said that they were going to have their house painted!! Better to be safe than sorry. We have to look out for one another, especially for people who live alone.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Happy Feast of Christ the King!


I thank God for the gift of His graces and blessings today at Mass on this beautiful Feast Day! God is so good - ALWAYS! I am humbled and blessed to be able to share in this great Feast of Jesus in a small way because today is my birthday. It was truly wonderful and such an inspiration to hear my very favorite of all Gospel passages read for the Gospel today - Matthew 25: 31-46.

I was very cognizant of graces and blessings today and very thankful to have the gift of the Mass and the gift of Jesus Christ! As the tabernacle door shut after Communion time and we bowed our heads in honor and adoration, I prayed, "Jesus, we love you...but not enough!"


Please dear Lord, watch over the poor around us who may be cold, or homeless, or lonely. And also those in danger of abortion this day and every day. Please bless their mothers and them. Please watch over the sick and all those who have asked for our prayers. Live through us, dear Lord, and administer to others through us, please dear Lord, so that we may truly live the gospel message in today's gospel of Matthew. Show us how to allow You fully into our hearts so that we may serve You in the others that You have placed around us. We pray that one day when we face You and You ask us if we have fed You and given You drink, that we will be able to say, "Yes, Lord" because we have taken care of those who You have put in our midst. And then You will call us home! We love You, Jesus, but not enough. May our love for You increase each day. Amen

May God bless each and every one of you and your families.

hugs,

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Two radio clips about my two new books!


If you'd like to listen to two very short radio segments with Chris Cash of the Catholic Spotlight about my two new books you can by clicking here for Grace Cafe and here for The Domestic Church: Room by Room.

Chris will post a much longer interview that is different from these two quick ones at his Catholic Spotlight website soon. I'll post a link soon.





God bless your weekend!

Friday, November 21, 2008

The Presentation of the Blessed Mother


Feast of the Presentation of Mary


"Mary’s presentation was celebrated in Jerusalem in the sixth century. A church was built there in honor of this mystery. The Eastern Church was more interested in the feast, but it does appear in the West in the 11th century. Although the feast at times disappeared from the calendar, in the 16th century it became a feast of the universal Church.
As with Mary’s birth, we read of Mary’s presentation in the temple only in apocryphal literature. In what is recognized as an unhistorical account, the Protoevangelium of James tells us that Anna and Joachim offered Mary to God in the Temple when she was three years old. This was to carry out a promise made to God when Anna was still childless.

Though it cannot be proven historically, Mary’s presentation has an important theological purpose. It continues the impact of the feasts of the Immaculate Conception and of the birth of Mary. It emphasizes that the holiness conferred on Mary from the beginning of her life on earth continued through her early childhood and beyond." (From Saint a Day)

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Thinking of an unusual, practical, and beautiful gift for someone?

Why not take a peek over at my daughter, Chaldea's art spot where she has some of her hand painted and very reasonably priced (only $16.00 per box for 8 cards and envelopes) greeting cards displayed. You can click here to visit.
Here are a few samples of her work. She'll be posting some newly painted ones shortly! So, check back again soon.

















(showing edge of card)



They come in creative natural brown boxes of eight cards and envelopes with deckle bottom edges. Some are in sets with other designs, so you'll need to check out the link I posted above to see all of the images. They're too beautiful to pass up! Order yours now at the introductory price. You can't get something like this at your local card store and you'll pay a higher price for a card that may be witty, but can't compare to a hand painted whimsical design!! Sure, I'm her mother and I am bragging about her artwork, but it's all true! :) See for yourself.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Monday, November 17, 2008

Would you please help the needy?

I'd like to share an inspiration I have and I'm hoping that some of you may be inspired to help with it. I hope you get a chance to view the little video clip below about the craziness of spending and running ragged during the Advent season. Please watch it because it happens to also mention the lack of clean drinking water for children and people in some places around the world.

I feel inspired to raise money for two projects. One is to raise money for a traditional well which would supply safe water for up to 150 people. In countries like Malawi, a traditional well just 60 feet deep can provide clean, safe water and save children from chronic diarrhea and other water-related diseases caused by bacteria, worms, and other parasites. The well would provide more than 600 gallons of fresh water every day which is enough for 150 people for years to come. The well cost $5,390.00 to have built.

The second thing that I want to raise money for is to open an Orphan Care Center. In Swaziland, thousands of children who have lost parents to HIV and AIDS lack adequate food, medicine, and shelter. They're often unable to go to school. We can help build a Hope Care Center for orphans, where children can receive food, health care, non-formal education, life-skills training, counseling, and take part in organized activities. Sanitary latrines and clean water will be provided which is vital help in an area plagued by waterborne diseases. The cost to build a Hope Care Center is $14,435.00.

I am thinking that if we all donate $5.00, $10.00, $20.00, or whatever we can sacrifice toward helping provide clean water and a Center for orphans, rather than spend that money on a sweater that no one is going to end up wearing, or on a silly gift we feel we HAVE to give, that we will be helping in a greater way. There are many places that a loving donation can be given to to help the needy. I feel inspired to help with these two right now.

Whatever you decide to do, I hope that you will at least try to slow down a little bit during Advent, a season that's supposed to be quiet and reflective, and pause to pray and listen to Our Lord. A gift of our time to those who need a listening ear or help in some other way is a valuable gift indeed.

The donations I am asking for would go to World Vision which can be checked out at worldvisiongifts.org. World Vision is a Christian organization serving all people regardless of religion, race, ethnicity, or gender for the past 55 years.

Let me know if you are willing to part with a monetary gift to be put towards these two endeavors so that we can make a real difference in these people's lives and perhaps even help save them from death because of their dire circumstances.

One way to donate is to write a check or money order out to me with the words, "World Vision donation" written on the subject line and send that to Donna-Marie Cooper O'Boyle, PO Box 773, New Milford, CT 06776. The other way is to make a donation using the Paypal button which I will install shortly. I will keep you all posted as to how much we raise.

Thank you for listening.

God bless you!!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

I will be joining Al Kresta tomorrow afternoon

I will be chatting with Al Kresta on his show "Kresta in the Afternoon" on Ave Maria radio tomorrow (Thursday) afternoon at 3:20 until 4:00 PM Eastern Standard Time. I hope you will join us LIVE tomorrow. I had the distinct pleasure of being a guest on Al's show earlier this year when I was signing my new saints' book, Catholic Saints Prayer Book at the Religious Booksellers Trade Exhibit (RBTE) near Chicago, IL. It was great to be with Al then and I am looking forward to conversing with him again tomorrow.

To tune in from your computer, just click here on the Ave Maria website and then click the "listen live" button at the top of the screen.

Talk to you then!

hugs,

Donna-Marie

PS Here's a bit about Al Kresta:

"Al Kresta is a broadcaster, journalist and author who is, first of all, a missionary. He draws upon his unique faith background to create what is, arguably, the most fascinating — and most spiritually constructive — talk show on radio today.

A 1976 honors graduate of Michigan State University, Al has also done graduate work in theology at both Catholic and Protestant seminaries. He became well known in the Detroit area for his program, “Talk from the Heart,” one of the top-rated Christian talk shows during the 1980s and 90s. When he began the program, Al was a Protestant pastor. The questions forced upon him as pastor, however, led him to return to the Catholic Church. His profound personal conversion to Christ and return to the Catholic Church is told in the best-selling anthology Surprised By Truth."

To learn more go to Ave Maria here and see more of his amazing Bio

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Listen Here to Yesterday's "Mom's Corner" show

Here's a link to listen to Teresa Tomeo and me on our "Mom's Corner" segment yesterday. We chatted about various Catholic and current topics including a prayer table I suggested to draw your family together in prayer in your domestic churches.

Teresa and I also chatted a bit about my new books too.

Just click here to listen.
Enjoy the show!

Donna-Marie

PS I will be posting my long segment with Dina Marie Hale from Oregon a bit later this week after I receive the CD or mp3 of the show.

Monday, November 10, 2008

A Prayer Table: A Place for Prayer in Our Domestic Churches


We can create a lovely prayerful place where we can pray to God and honor Mary as Jesus' Mother. We can make a prayer table and bring fresh flowers to our dear Mother or in honor of the saints.

The picture hanging on my dining room wall above my little prayer table once hung on my dear friend and spiritual director, Fr. Bill's dining room wall for many many years. The rosary on my prayer table was made for me by my dear brother-in-law, Luis. The photo is from earlier this year at springtime but re posted here today since I spoke about a prayer table with my dear friend, Teresa Tomeo on our show, "Mom's Corner" this morning. So, in this photo I have a few flowers that I picked from my yard; forsythias, daffodils, and bleeding hearts from a plant my son, Justin gave me years ago. I always bring my favorite flower, lilacs, to Mary as soon as they bloom in the spring.

You can also use a Blessed Mother statue to put on the table, however, I chose to have my table under beautiful picture I have of Mary. You can have the kids draw pictures of Jesus, Mary, and the saints and hang them above the table. A basket of rosary beads can be handy on the table and a basket of kid friendly spiritual books beneath the table in a bin for the children to look at.

As I mentioned on the air this morning, the prayer table grows with your family and is a place to come, reflect and to pray. Children can kneel or sit on pillows around the table as you read them Bible stories and teach them their prayers. I have a whole section in my new book, Grace Cafe: Serving Up Recipes for Faithful Mothering about creating prayer tables and prayer corners.

Let's be mindful of the importance of prayer in our lives - in our domestic churches where we raise up our children to Heaven. Let's use sacred images to draw our attention to the holy rather than the secular. Turn off the TV and Internet for a while, at least, and bask in the quiet to hear Our Lord calling to us. We can't hear His whispers to our hearts if we allow too much noise to take over our domestic churches - our little chapels of prayer.

Let's not despair over the craziness of the past few weeks with the election frenzy and an outcome we may not have favored. Let's do something positive and PRAY! It's a parent's first and foremost responsibility to care for their children - body and soul.

Let's continue to put one foot in front of the other moving forward - staying positive and offer reparation and prayer for our nation and our world. We have to start in our homes! We have to teach our children the necessity of prayer and it will then become as natural as breathing to them. Our Lord is calling to us. Are we listening?

God bless you!

Hugs,

Donna-Marie

PS I am extending my book launch sale price to benefit all of the listeners of the two radio shows I am visiting today as well as all of the visitors of my blogs and website today and tomorrow. Check that out by ordering through Pay pal.

Also, anyone who places a book order from my blogs or website today or tomorrow will automatically be placed in a drawing for a SURPRISE prize. I will announce the winner later in the week and show a photo of the prize on this blog. So, what are you waiting for?

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Free Books and TWO wonderful shows on Monday morning!


I think you'd better get a steaming cup of coffee or tea ready and give yourself a treat to listen in to some good Catholic stuff to get your Monday morning going!

Tune in on Monday morning TWICE! I will be interviewed by the inspiring Dina Marie at 8:00 Central time and for me it's 11:00 Eastern time.

I will also be doing my "Mom's Corner" radio segment with Teresa Tomeo on her show on "Catholic Connection" Ave Maria Radio at 9:15 AM Eastern time. It should be informational, inspiring, and lots of fun! It always is! Teresa and I are really like Lucy and Ethel and recount the story every once in a while about our trip to the Vatican congress earlier this year and all of the bloopers and blunders we experienced together - all good stuff! It was at that point that we nicknamed ourselves Lucy and Ethel. She's Lucy and I am Ethel.

As a matter of fact, one time Teresa surprised me when I was about to come on her show with the theme song to the "I Love Lucy" show. She's a riot! You can hear the segment by checking the archives I have posted on my blogs and website.

I hope that you will tune in to both shows! Did I mention that we are giving away books?? I will be giving away a lot of my saints' books, Catholic Saints Prayer Book on Dina Marie's show since November is a great month for the saints. We may be giving out some of my other titles as well. You'll have to tune in to find out. I hope you may be one of the fortunate callers who wins! :)

Who knows, I may give out some more books on Teresa's show, our "Mom's Corner" too! Tune in to find out!

So here are the details for the shows:

November 10, 2008, 8:00 AM (Pacific Time)
Catholic Radio
click here at “KBVM Live” (88.3 FM)
with Dina Marie Hale
http://www.kbvm.fm/
Portland, Oregon


Also November 10, 2008 9:15 AM Eastern time
"Mom's Corner" on "Catholic Connection"
with Teresa Tomeo
click here at avemariaradio.net


You can tune in LIVE to each of these shows by clicking on the links and then hit the "listen live" button on the websites.

Talk to you soon!

God bless!

Donna-Marie

Friday, November 7, 2008

Stay tuned!

I will be speaking to you from two LIVE radio shows on Monday morning! Stay tuned for more information later. I have to run off to give a retreat now, but will have more information about the two shows soon.

God bless!

Donna-Marie

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Jane's Roe's video of Roe VS Wade: Please watch!




From the Catholic News Agency:

CNA STAFF, Nov 4, 2008 / 11:26 am (CNA).- Norma McCorvey, the anonymous plaintiff in the Roe v. Wade case that legalized abortion 35 years ago, has released a video encouraging Americans to cast their ballot for a candidate who will appoint pro-life Supreme Court justices.

In the video, produced by Just ONE Judge, McCorvey emphasizes the importance of today’s election as the next president’s Supreme Court nominations will likely have far-reaching effects on life issues. “This is the first time I’ve felt really had a voice in what was going on in terms of really reversing the decision of the Supreme Court,” said McCorvey. “I’m proud to be pro-life now rather than pro-abortion.”

According to a press release from Just ONE Judge, McCorvey began speaking out against abortion nearly ten years ago after a conversion to Christianity.

Just ONE Judge, a non-partisan, non-denominational group, is working to educate voters and is asking them to support candidates who support the nomination of Supreme Court Justices who are pro-life. In McCorvey’s video, the group emphasizes the importance of each individual’s vote for life and encourages voters to sign an online petition which will be presented to the new U.S. president and Senate to demonstrate that citizens are passionate about life issues.

“I’m working as a catalyst to assist other pro-life individuals and organizations in their particular areas of expertise. Just ONE Judge is so important because it emphasizes how one person can make a difference. I know how important one person is and I want to do what I can to get 2 million individuals to sign the pledge,” said McCorvey.

The National Grassroots Director of Just ONE Judge, Joe Condit, also noted that today’s election is not just about politics, “but something far more important. It’s about preserving Life, from natural conception to natural death. And it is about redeeming America as a nation committed to life and liberty and justice for all.”

Mother Teresa's words on babies and abortion


"If Abortion becomes legalized in rich countries, those countries truly are the poorest in the world."

"Do not kill the children. We will take care of them. That is why our orphanages are always filled with children."

- Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta