Wednesday, August 24, 2016

There and Back Again

A gorgeous Montana sunset... 
Hello friends,

I hope you are all having a good finish to your summer!  Earlier this month our family traveled to Montana again for the Abeamus Marian Conference at Corpus Christi Parish.  We went last year for the conference and had a beautiful time.  This year was amazing, once again.  We were very busy the entire trip and had so much fun.  The conference started Sunday the 7th, but we drove in on Sunday, so Monday was our first night at the conference.

I was so happy, excited, and honored that my sister and I were asked to sing along with two other ladies and two priests for the Masses!!!  It was a great experience and I learned new songs and Mass settings!  I wasn't thinking I would need my schola music since the priests sang last year, so I left it at home.  I guess I should never leave home without it! :D

After Mass on Tuesday, Jesus was exposed in the monstrance for the 40 Hours Eucharistic Devotion
 This is the second time I've witnessed this devotion.  It really strikes the heart with it's immense beauty.  I loved being able to just sit there.  It was just Jesus and I and I spoke to Him in the silence of my heart.  After the Eucharist was exposed, the priest, deacon, and sub deacon stayed kneeling in front of Our Lord throughout the dinner which was held downstairs.  I really appreciate the humility and devotion this took on the priests' part.

The elevation of the chalice at Solemn High Mass on Wednesday during the 40hrs devotion.
 I loved attending Solemn High Mass every day of the conference.  Even though some of the priests didn't know how to serve it or didn't have much practice, the Mass went off very smoothly.  That is a beautiful thing about the Tridentine Mass.  There is also so much beauty in the ceremony and respect for the Mass.  Look at how all the priests and servers are looking at Jesus!

Beautiful waterfall at Giant Springs Park
 On Wednesday and Thursday we had "Family Days" at the park on the Missouri River!  It was such a great place to talk, play frisbee, hike, and pray the rosary.

The Missouri River
Father went fly fishing on the river!

We got to have dinner and talk with the priests!
Each night after Mass we went downstairs to have dinner before the conference talk.  It was really nice to be able to talk with our friends, other families, and the priests!  

Prostration at the end of the last Mass during the 40hrs devotion.
I wanted to point something out here that really resonated with me.  During all of the Masses, ceremonies, and talks, the priests showed a wonderful devotion and reverence for Our Lord in the Most Blessed Sacrament and His Mother, Mary.  But at this moment, it was very special because even the main celebrant prostrates himself flat on the ground before his Lord and God in the Eucharist.  I realized it takes a lot of humility to do all the things the priests do: wear the vestments, chant the Confiteor, kneel before the Blessed Sacrament for over an hour, but most striking of all was this prostration.  It symbolizes our nothingness before our Lord and Savior, and also their total abandonment to God in their priestly vocation.  It really is amazing.

The Eucharistic procession to end the 40hrs devotion.
I really liked processing around, following Jesus in the monstrance around the parish as cars drove by in the neighborhood.

I love that they all wear cassocks. Yet another example of humility and abandonment to God in their priestly office!
Thank you so much to all the priests and the deacon who attended and participated in this years conference.  You are a true witness of Christ and His love for us.  Thank you for taking the time to come and share your gifts and wisdom with us.  The talks and homilies were inspiring and beautiful.  You have also given me a better understanding of Mary as our Mother of Mercy.  May God richly reward and bless you for all that you do and may He keep you safe.  May Mary cover you with her mantle.  You're in my prayers.

Here are the talks given by the priests for the conference!

Sunday Sermon, August 7 -- Mercy is incarnation, Mary is Mother of Mercy (Father Ryan Erlenbush)
Listen online [here]!

Sunday Conference, August 7 -- Behold your Mother, Fr Joseph Bergida (given by Fr Samuel Spiering)
Listen online [here]!

Monday Conference, August 8 -- Most Merciful Mournful Mother Mary, Fr Fredrick Gruber
Listen online [here]!

Wednesday Conference, August 10 -- Blessed Mary, Our Protection, Fr Joseph Previtali
Listen online [here]!

Friday Conference, August 12 -- Mary, Mother of Mercy and Queen of Families, Fr Garrett Nelson
Listen online [here]!

Saturday Daily Mass Sermon, August 13 -- Mary, Refuge of Sinners (Father Ryan Erlenbush)
Listen online [here]!

God bless!!

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Take Time to Smell the Roses...

Time is flying! Summer is almost over, school is upon us, there are so many things I'd still love to do, and things we have to do to prepare for the school year!  Days turn into weeks, and soon, fun events that seemed to have happened yesterday, become history and beautiful memories of past years.  

Have you ever noticed how much everyone seems to be in a hurry?  It seems we just can't wait for the next day, week, month or chapter of our lives.  Even since we were little, we played games pretending to be mommies, teachers, doctors, astronauts, and so many other  exciting and fascinating grown-up jobs that seemed far away in our futures.  We count time until Christmas and our birthdays, waiting for the next milestone.  Even now I can't wait to turn 17, take on my final year of school, and look to the future of my vocation.  Have you also noticed how companies want to sell you the fastest, most efficient, time saving products?  Consumers constantly look for faster internet speeds, speedier cars, quicker wait times at the DMV, and instant gratification.  But when I take a moment to stop and think, (inconceivable, I know!) I start to realize how much I take for granted.  Instead of thanking God for His marvelous gifts and blessings, I tend to press Him for the next thing.  

"What's your will for my life?" ... "Show me what you want." ...  "Now?!"  

God has blessed me and my family in so many ways.  So I need to take time to smell God's beautiful roses in my life.  You know that saying is so beautiful, since St. Thérèse said she would let fall a shower of roses by her prayers.  That's very special to me since she's my patron Saint, so I need to stop and "smell" the prayer roses that have been showered upon me.  I need to thank God and praise Him for all He has done.  I want to be like the 10th leper, in the Gospel of Luke (Chapter 17:11-19), who is cured, but comes back and bows down at the feet of Jesus to thank Him for His mercy.  

So let us take time to slow down and appreciate God's many beautiful blessings!  Let us thank our good Jesus for everything.  Also, it can really be nice just to look through old pictures, talk with your family about old times, read history books and imagine another time long past, and just think about the good (and not so good times) in our lives.  And finally, as I count my blessings, I count you, dear friends, twice.  Thank you ever so much for your friendship and taking time to read my blog.  You're in my prayers.

God bless!

Friday, August 5, 2016

Legends of Western Cinema Week: Fort Apache

Howdy y'all!!!

I'm all fired up to participate in my first Legends of Western Cinema Week!
A big Texas thank you to Emma and Olivia for hosting!

First off let me say, I know I'm not a huge cowgirl. If you know me and my style, I'm probably more of a princess, romantic, yuppie kind of girl.  But there are some westerns (books and movies) that grab me for many various reasons. And so, I'd like to share a new-found favorite, Fort Apache.

At Fort Apache, an honorable and veteran war captain (John Wayne) finds conflict when his regime is placed under the command of a young, glory hungry lieutenant colonel (Henry Fonda) with no respect for the local Indian tribe.

I believe this movie is filled with almost everything that constitutes a western; cowboys, indians, gun fire, horses, action, adventure, and even a bit of romance.  I really liked it because it was well rounded in all of these aspects.  I enjoyed the home-base feel that Fort Apache emits.  It's not just a bunch of tents and bachelors, but a home to soldiers, their wives, and children.  Even though they live in the uncivilized desert, the fort seems to have a sense of respect and courtesy.  

For instance, they host a festive dance party in honor of President George Washington's birthday!

When Philadelphia and Michael wanted to get married, her father, Lt. Col. Thursday, simply, politely, but firmly, forbid it. She obeyed her father respectfully.  I truly admire that.

The women respected and supported their men, through the good times and the bad.  They also supported and helped each other.  When Philadelphia needed necessities, she ran to the 'mother-hen' of the women who helped her so graciously to furnish her house.  All the women loaned one thing or another to help out!

Captain York was not only a good soldier but was also a good friend to the ones who needed him most.  He had a long time friendship with Cochise, the native chief, and treated him honorably and with respect.  He did not want to follow orders to trick the natives, but in the end was obedient to his commander.  Even after Col. Thursday's plans failed, Capt. York honored him as a brave leader.

And Philadelphia's costumes were beautiful.  I truly think women's dresses in the 'Westward Expansion' period are my absolute favorite.

Finally, this movie had an all around amazing cast!

From top to bottom: John Wayne, Henry Fonda, John Agar, and Shirley Temple

Some of the other wonderful actors included Ward Bond, Pedro Armendáriz, Victor McLaglen, and others.

I know these aren't your typical reasons to like a western, but I think its a fun way to look at it.  There are lots of other amazing elements to this movie and I'm sure the cowboys in our audience would enjoy the action and gunfire throughout the film!  It's a movie the whole family can enjoy!

I hope you get to watch this wonderful movie!  Have you seen it before? What did you think of it?

to enjoy some more rootin-tootin wester legends!  Enjoy!