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