Saturday, May 3, 2014

7QT about Books, Music, Prayer, etc.

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During our family trip to Colorado we stumbled upon a store I had never heard of. It’s called Family Christian. As the name indicates it is a Christian store they had all kinds of different things for sale. I ended up purchasing a t-shirt for our neighbor girl who took care of our animals while we were away. It is somewhat difficult to find Christian stores so I am excited to visit their website when I next need a gift or bible or anything really. Click the picture above to take you to their website. They have a reward program called 1:27 which references James 1:27 that calls us to serve orphans and widows. Here are some of things they have accomplished, it is pretty impressive.
http://www.familychristian.com/



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One of the perks of Family Christian is their daily $5 deals. While we were there I purchased a Matt Maher CD and found my new favorite song: All the People Said Amen. It’s upbeat and refreshing and makes sing at the top of my lungs alone in my car.




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Travelling back from vacation I finished one of the best books I have ever read. It is called One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp. It is an incredible story of learning to recognize and be thankful for the gifts that God gives us everyday. And how that leads to joy in the midst of the everyday craziness in our lives. I highly recommend it. I have begun my own gratitude journal and am excited to be more attentive to God's gifts in my life. The author blogs at AHolyExperience.com.
http://www.aholyexperience.com/


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Recently my husband and I started praying Vespers (Evening Prayer) together each night. We also found a beautiful prayer via an app call Laudate. The prayer is called Prayer for a Married Couple. It goes like this:
O God, we want to live our life together with you and always to continue it with you.
Help us  never to hurt and never to grieve each other.
Help us to share all our works, all our hopes, all our dreams, all our successes, all our failures, all our joys and all our sorrows.
Help us to have no secrets from each other so that we may be truly one.
Keep us always true to each other, and grant that all the years ahead may draw us closer to each other.
Grant that nothing may ever come between us and nothing may ever make us ever drift apart.
And as we live with each other, help us to live with you, so that our love may grow perfect in your love, for you are the God whose name is love.
This we ask for your love's sake. Amen 

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So while we were wondering around a mall with our daughter in Colorado, we stumbled upon something intriguing. There was a Catholic resource center and a chapel right there in a store in the mall.

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When you've been away from work on vacation for a while you never know what kind of pile of work you will return to. It wasn't to bad that first couple of days, however this week was a different story. Lots of different things going on this week including a huge project that we are in the middle of that required a lot of reporting and data collecting and meetings. Anyway, I came back refreshed and full of ideas again, which tends to happen when I'm not immersed in the day to day tasks that have to be done. So I am hopeful that I can keep myself focused enough to get some of those ideas implemented. We will see.

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I got my copy of Something Other Than God. I can't wait to read it. Obviously if you reading this from the Conversion Diary site you know all about it, but if you aren't it is the conversion story of Jennifer Fulwiler and her search for happiness. You can purchase it at many places, but this is the link to Amazon.
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1586178822/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=390957&creativeASIN=1586178822&linkCode=as2&tag=buttafly-20




 
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Saturday, March 15, 2014

{7QT} Mostly about Vacation

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We booked our tickets for our family trip to Colorado this week! Yay! I am so excited. It has been 4 years since we have been there, and you see that is where all of my family is. We live so far away from each other it just isn’t possible to travel very often. We will be gone for just under two weeks, from Thursday before Holy Week through Tuesday after. I will greatly miss being at my own parish for the Holy Week services and the Easter Vigil, but this trip is important and the timing works out for several reasons.

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One of the reasons it is good timing is that my baby sister and her family is also going to be there from Germany. I am so excited to finally meet her husband and her youngest baby boy. She and her baby girl were here with us in the fall of 2010 for a little while when her husband was oversees. The baby was only 6 months old. They then moved to Germany and had another child. I can’t wait to see them all.

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We will be staying with my step mom and dad and I am excited to get to spend time with them. I also can’t wait to spend time with my other sister and her kids. It will be good for all of us.

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I am also looking forward to catching up with a few friends from my childhood. One of them was one of my best friends. She doesn’t know it yet, but I’m looking forward to potentially attending Holy Week and Easter services with her and her family. You see I don’t think she knows that I am Catholic now.

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Recently my husband has come back to his Catholic faith. It has been an amazing thing and he has really shown me that he wants to grow in his love for God and learn more about the Catholic Church. He has been attending Sunday and daily Mass with me and it has been such a blessing for him and for us. He is prepared to attend Mass in Colorado with me which is something that we have never done before on our visits. I am looking forward to it.

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My son will be attending the Regional Robotics Challenge in Virginia in a couple weeks. He is excited about it, but I am little nervous about him traveling so far away from home. So he will be missing some school for that and then he will also be missing a few days for our vacation. Lucky for him that he is doing really well this year so when I spoke to his counselor, she wasn’t that concerned about him missing a few days. Unlucky for him, is that I may have just instigated some homework for him on vacation. Oh well, it is still worth it.

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How is your Lent going? I am hoping that you all are having lots of time for prayer and reflection. Like I said in my last post, I am praying daily for those I love, those I work with, those I worship with and those bloggers out there that I read, especially all of you that are expecting little ones. I haven’t done well with finishing reading the Pope’s exhortation or the Screwtape Letters, but I still have a little time. Wishing you all many blessing this Lenten season.

 
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Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Lent 2014

 
via

 
We begin 40 days of sacrifice, reflection, penance and prayer tomorrow.
These are my plans:
To read the daily reflection in “The Word Among Us”
Pray…often
Offering up a Hail Mary for everyone I love, everyone I work with, everyone I worship with, and all those bloggers out there that have come to be a part of my life
Attend daily Mass at my own parish on Wednesday evenings followed by Eucharistic Adoration
Finish reading the Pope’s Evangelii Gaudium
Try to finish The Screwtape Letters (that I didn’t finish last year)
 
I will probably do other things, but this is a good start.
 
 
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Saturday, February 1, 2014

St. Brigid of Ireland: February 1


St. Brigid of Ireland is my patron saint.

I choose her in 2002 when I became a fully initiated member of the Catholic Church.

I thought I would post what I had written 12 years ago about her.  See, two years prior I had just found my biological father. 

Here is what I wrote:

I choose St. Brigid because I have found some of my ancestors, including my great-great grandmother were from Kildare Ireland where St. Brigid was abbess of a monastery. Also one of here stories told that she settled with seven other virgins at the foot of Croghan Hill for a time. She took the veil in her youth at Croghan. 
My ancestors from Ireland are named Croghan.
 I felt a connection to St. Brigid when reading her stories.  I could picture an ancestor in her time seeing or experiencing God's grace through her, or even just running into her from time to time and sharing a smile or a hello.
 Her extraordinary spirituality and compassion are admirable to me and make me want to strive to be more like her.
I had wished that it was a daily Mass day today, but not this year.

Via
** Linking this up with equippingcatholicfamilies.com for their Celebration of Saints Linkup.

Equipping Catholic Families


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Friday, January 31, 2014

7 Quick Takes Friday: Where I Talk About Healthcare

 
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Some of you may know that I work in healthcare. Lately, I have been a little stressed out about the MANY government regulations and incentive programs that I will have to lead our organization in implementing this year. It really is overwhelming, but I had the opportunity to go to a conference last week with other practice managers and was lucky to have met some great people. We have been in contact and I look forward to future networking with them. For support and advice and just plain to vent to people who know what I am talking about. It relieved some of my stresses, but the fact is that all the work still needs to be done.

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Do me a favor, when you visit your doctor, keep in mind that all they really want to do is take care of you and your families. I know the perception is that doctors just want to make a buck, but in my experience, they have worked really hard to gain the skills needed to provider good quality care. At one time, they were rewarded for their hard work with great incomes like a lot of other professionals are. That has changed. I’m not saying doctors don’t make good money, but the reality is that the government has put so many requirements and regulations and programs into place that they have to participate in or their payments get cut. It has actually made it really difficult for them to focus on patient care when they are trying to remember if they selected the correct code, if they checked the right box in the electronic medical record or if they made sure to ask you what language you prefer and for God’s sake do not forget to send that prescription electronically, lest it count against them. Don’t get me wrong I think having programs that do look out for patient care and the quality of the care they are getting is important. But the enormity of and the amount of regulations and programs is just a bit overwhelming.

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There is a blog I read called Kevin MD. Dr. Kevin posts many blog posts that he writes, but also many guest posts by other physicians. Every now and then I find one that captures my attention. There are some really great, caring, and compassionate physicians out there. I thought I would share a couple recent posts that I liked.

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This first one is titled “The greatest miracle a physician is privileged to be a part of”. It is a beautiful story of how “A Country Doctor” is reminded of the miracle of pregnancy and child birth. I hope you enjoy it.

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This second one is post by a physician who began to understand what it is like for patients when they are faced with medical issues. She sees that there so much confusion and uncertainty in the middle of life changing illnesses. It humbled her and she has dedicated her blog to helping people understand how hospitals work, and what can be done for a better patient experience by everyone in healthcare. It is titled "Recognize the blessings that you previous overlooked".  The author blogs at "In White Ink".

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This one is really good and accurately reflects what we see every day at our practices. I have read other posts by Dr. Rob Lamberts before, he is an interesting guy. He blogs at "Musings of a Distractible Mind". Anyway, this post is about empathy and how he recognized how patients react and describe pain based on how they have been treated before.

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It wasn’t my intention to do a whole 7 takes on healthcare, but I might as well finish it off since I’m at #7. I am certainly not a politician, and I won’t pretend to know much of the ins and outs of the Affordable Care Act (AKA: Obamacare), but what I do know is that the simple fact that all people deserve healthcare, is not solved by the creation of health insurance programs. Having health insurance and getting healthcare are two completely different things. I’m not a fan.


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Saturday, January 11, 2014

Mary, My Mother


This is the actual statue in my parish.
My parish is a St. Mary’s parish.  Each Sunday, I look up at Mary as she stands protective over her precious son in the tabernacle. Our choir sings a beautiful rendition of the Hail Mary at the end of communion each Sunday; it is beautiful and pulls me into such a peaceful place as I pray having just received the body and blood of my savior. For a little while now I had wanted to do something to help me along the path of devotion to Mary.  I wanted her to show me that she is there for me as a mother.  I have mother issues and I really just wanted to know that I can turn to her when I feel like I need to know a mother’s love. 

In early November, the parish where I attend daily mass sponsored a spiritual exercise called Total Consecration to Jesus through Mary.  It is a 33-day self-guided retreat using one of two provided books throughout the thirty three days to prepare yourself to make an act of total consecration to Jesus through his mother Mary.  I was anxious to participate in this exercise because of my recent desire to be closer to her.   

The book we were given to use is by Fr. Hugh Gillespie, SMM which is the preparation according to St. Louise De Monfort.  We had another option, but this one struck me immediately and I felt like it was the one I needed to use. 
 

I went through each day’s reading with pretty regular devotion. (I think I only fell behind a couple days at one point, but I caught up).  The date set up to make the consecration was on December 12th, the feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe.  I prayerfully went through the thirty-three days in hopes that I would feel that my devotion to Mary was growing.  The thing is I didn’t really feel like it was. 

Through this time I was very drawn to praying the Hail, Holy Queen.  For those of you who might not know it, here it is:

Hail, Holy Queen, Mother of Mercy, our life, our sweetness, and our hope! To thee we do cry, poor banished children of Eve, to thee do we send up pour sighs, mourning and weeping in this valley of tears. Turn, then, most gracious Advocate, thine eyes of mercy toward us; and after this our exile show unto us the blessed fruit of thy womb, Jesus; O clement, O loving, O sweet Virgin Mary.  Pray for us, O holy Mother of God. That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.

I had met with the pastor for a few minutes earlier in the week and in the conversation had told him that I didn’t know if I was going to make the Act of Total Consecration because I didn’t feel I had made much progress towards Mary.  He said to me that he thought that was pretty normal and at the time I was having him bless my new rosary, he said if I keep using these, it would come.  He was right.

It took a little longer than the December 12th date, but I now have a much deeper devotion to Mary.  I am still working on it, but over the last couple of weeks she has shown me how much she is there for me.  I recently placed a request in her hands via praying the Memorare, and it became clear to me she is here for me.  The Memorare if you don’t know it:

Remember, O most gracious Virgin Mary, That never was it known that anyone who fled to thy protection, implored thy help or sought they intercession was left unaided. Inspired by this confidence, I fly unto thee, O virgin of virgins, my mother. To thee do I come, before thee I stand, sinful and sorrowful. O mother of the Word Incarnate, despise not my petitions, but in thy mercy, hear and answer me.

I continue in my search and want for a closer devotion to Mary, but I know now that I am on the right path.  I look forward to all the times to come when she will show me that she is there for me, that she will intercede for me to her blessed son Jesus Christ.


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Sunday, January 5, 2014

oooppppsss... I was supposed to give away my second copy of "The Four Signs of a Dynamic Catholic"



Back in November, I had mentioned that I had an extra copy of Matthew Kelly's The Four Signs of a Dynamic Catholic.  And somewhere between the holidays, I forgot. 

So today as I was still picking up and moving the furniture back into place, I realized I still had it. 

I put the names that commented on that post on a piece of paper and drew one.  The lucky winner is my step mom.  I will be getting it in the mail to you tomorrow, ok?

Sorry about the delay!

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