Thursday, April 29, 2010

Getting Ready for May Day

I have scheduled posts ready for May, which is the month of Mary.  Each scheduled post has a little something about Mary- a quote, a video, a reflection, and so on. Here is my first one. It is a link to a wonderful website that gives parents ideas on how to celebrate the various Catholic Holy days, feast days, saint days, etc. It's called Catholic Icing.  She's written three posts so far on different activities for May day and Mary.  Her ideas are so cute, I wish I were home to do them!

Monday, April 26, 2010

Taking a Break

Today I shipped my last orders and now I am taking time to clean my neglected house and pack for Disney World.  As mentioned, I will not be able to start taking orders again until May 18.  I realize that this is probably pretty inconvenient for many since there are still First Communions, Confirmations and Mother's Day to boot, but with my two "bummer" beads, I, realistically, can't get my shop open any sooner.

Eric's father, who is the biggest Disney fan, is taking all his grandchildren to the "the most happy and wonderful place on earth" according to him.  I have never been, so we are all looking forward to it.  Liam, most of all, wants to ride the train he keeps hearing about at Disney World.  I am looking forward to time away with my family, no matter where we are!

Here are some pics of our yard in full bloom a couple of weeks ago. I was too busy to get them up when my yard was blooming, so here they are!
When we moved into our home in October, we had no idea what kind of trees were in our yard. Now that we see some blossoms on them in the spring, we are getting some answers. This is a type of Japanese Cherry Tree, but I don't think it's the kind that produces cherries :(  It brought so much pride and joy to our neglected backyard for the two weeks that it bloomed. 
Here was another nice surprise. It's a dogwood tree!  It's a little sickly, so we're doing our best to save this poor little tree.
Another surprise- a lilac bush! What a joy to discover this in our yard.  Again, in need of TLC, but still smells heavenly!
This one is a mystery. I'm hoping someone can help me out with identifying this and remedying the situation this poor tree is in (SEE BELOW)
That blossom was growing on the branch of this fallen down tree. It's the one that is sticking straight up in the middle of the photo.  I want to get rid of the fallen down tree, but I want to save the healthy branch and hopefully start a new tree from it.  Is this even possible? Your advice please!

Oh, and this is totally off topic, but, not really.   Today I thought of a great idea for a T-Shirt that I would like to own. It would say in big letters, "TREE HUGGER" then it would have a picture of a person hugging the foot of the cross.  If you have a talent for drawing, feel free to steal this idea--just give me a copy so I can make a t-shirt :)

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Egyptian Style

With the ancient Egyptian style of achievement in mind, I set to work for the second time on my Eucharistic Bead. 
As another mom said in my mom's group, "I give birth to my own slave labor."
This workers aren't "expendable" but they did try hard and were cute while they did it!
Look how great that bead looks. Surely, this one will turn out- especially when I tried it Egyptian style...
Well, it didn't! It must be the super soft green clay, so now I will have to buy a different kind of clay from the internet. I can't believe this happened to me- twice!! This has never happened before and I will try my hardest to make sure it doesn't happen again. I'm sorry for the inconvenience, but I have had to close down my shop until I can get a new bead made and for a vacation we will be going on in a few days.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

His Hands

As I work on a new Eucharist bead from the mess of yesterday's disaster, I am keeping in mind the prayer of St. Terese of Avila, which I saw on Julie Cragon's blog:

Christ has no body but yours, No hands, no feet on earth but yours,
Yours are the eyes with which he looks Compassion on this world,
Yours are the feet with which he walks to do good,
Yours are the hands, with which he blesses all the world.
Yours are the hands, yours are the feet, Yours are the eyes, you are his body.
Christ has no body now but yours, No hands, no feet on earth but yours,
Yours are the eyes with which he looks compassion on this world.
Christ has no body now on earth but yours. 

My hands are yours, Dear Jesus, let me do your will as I make a new Eucharistic Bead for many people to pray and remember you in the Eucharist. 

I keep thinking about how God's only hands are our hands, which also reminds me of this amazing song by Brandon Heath.  I could listen to it over and over again! Great lyrics and awesome musician!

Lord, let me be your hands as I do your work today. 

Friday, April 23, 2010

If At First You Don't Succeed...

It's a bad day for Clay Rosary Girl. Current Mood: disgusted. Sometimes, despite my best efforts, my clay doesn't cooperate and things like this happen.
Things started out really good. I was remaking the host and chalice bead like I've done many times before.
The shapes were great, but this white clay I used was rock hard. Sometimes, for whatever reason, the clay I buy is very hard. Usable, but hard.  This time, it was just the white. I should have tossed it and used different clay while I still had the frugality was my downfall...
Isn't she beautiful? The finished bead just like I've done many times before... except that the green clay was super soft and that white clay was rock hard.  I should have known this would happen...
Oh, Sadness! That white clay didn't want to budge, but everything else did, so this is what I got. 
What a waste! Back to work for me. 
I'm sure there's a lesson in all of this. Maybe this demotivation poster will help me see it.
The journey of a thousand miles sometimes ends very, very badly. 

WELL, that puts it all in perspective. Sometimes, it's better just to laugh it off!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Sixth Grade Rosary Pictures


A Sixth Grade Thank You

The sixth grade class at St. Joseph School in Dallastown, PA, sent me a package in the mail filled with thank you cards from each of them. It was a delightful surprise! I went to their school a few weeks ago to make beads and rosaries, talk about Mary, the rosary, and Our Lady of Guadelupe.  Here is a sampling of their beautiful thank you cards.

This card had me cracking up. She writes: I love Jesus! in smelly markers.
Unfortunately most of the smell rubbed off in the mail :(  The card is very sweet. Here is the rest of it.
It says:
Dear Mrs. Harkins,
Thank you for coming to my class and teaching us how to make clay rosaries.  The one you made for a boy in my class [one of the boys' families had purchased rosaries from me in the past], was beautiful! I will definitely go on your website and teach myself how to make clay rosaries [A little entrepreneur! I like it!] I learned a lot when you told us about Our Lady of Guadelupe. It was a fantastic story!! I will cherish the rosary I made. The rosary will be extra special because my pastor is blessing it. Thanks again for everything! Julia

I just love this picture Joe drew of me with a cross on my chest. It makes me look so holy :)

Finally, one last letter:

Dear Mrs. Harkins,
Thank you so much for driving here to show us how to make the rosaries. Also thank you for the clay! I had so much fun I wish I could have made more! I saw one of your rosaries and it was absolutely beautiful! I loved it! My rosary was pink and mixed yellow with black beads in between.  Also Father Charels is going to bless them! How exciting is that? [Pretty exciting, if you ask me!] I'm going to use mine to pray every day! [That is even more exciting!] Thanks again!
Sincerely, Brianna

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Sacred Heart Bead

This bead is finished a few days late due to the flu that has knocked us all off our feet.  I am now convinced that having to take care of sick children and a sick husband while being sick myself finishes second among the great sacrifices of motherhood- right after childbirth. You can bet I was saying, "Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, have mercy on us!" 

Here is the process of making the Sacred Heart bead.

Some day I would like to make an Immaculate Heart of Mary bead to complete the devotion. Speaking of devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, and the Immaculate Heart of Mary, this website is an excellent resource to learn more. 

"Consume me in the burning fire of thy holy Love, so that I may be so absorbed and transformed into Thee that I may no longer be but one with Thee. Amen. "
taken from, The Prayer To The wounded heart of Jesus.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Did You Plan This?

I don't believe in coincidences. I am constantly amazed at God's planning, even to the littlest detail. Sure, atheists can write off all the little ways God perfectly plans things to work out for our good--they call it "karma", but if you have faith, there is no doubt that God's hand is in everything.

I've borrowed a bunch of "boring" movies from my parents. I call them boring because I know they would never make it to the date night list. Eric would end up falling asleep for sure! I know they are good to watch, but let's face it, they just not that entertaining. Ghandi, Mother Theresa, Pope John Paul II, St. Peter, The Thirteenth Day (I was looking forward to this one), Queen Ester (this one ended up being a good romance movie), The Five People You Meet in Heaven..that's all I can think off the top of my head. I was really putting off watching St. Peter, but last night while I was working on a new Sacred Heart bead, something prompted me to put in the movie.  I was pleasantly surprised it was about what happened after Jesus' death. I have such a poor knowledge of Biblical history and Church history, so it was very good for me to watch how the new church got its roots. The part that I know God wanted me to see was about how St. Peter felt after he denied Jesus and how much he really did love Jesus in the end.

And wouldn't you know it, that's what Sunday's Gospel is all about! I sat in Church tonight with my mouth half open at the impeccable timing of God.   Father's homily helped me further to understand the implications of this Gospel reading for my life.  Jesus didn't ask Peter why he denied him (something I would have done), or lay into him about how terrible of a thing he did (something I definitely would have done)-- all he asked was if he loved him.  God doesn't dwell on our sins. He forgives and forgets. The only thing God is interested in is how much we love him.

Also very good timing that I am remaking the Sacred Heart bead.  Could this guy love us anymore??? Jesus' heart is on flame for us- and in the end, it's all about love.

Pictures of the Sacred Heart bead tomorrow... Have a blessed Sunday!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Gift Giving Part II

In my last post about "The Art of Gift Giving" , I was looking for some more good advice on how everyone else finds the perfect gift. A couple of you responded with some good ideas. Then I thought of a few more more, but I would still like more of your advice.  How do you find the perfect gift? Are there any online sites or stores where you find good gifts? What kind of gifts do you like to give?

Here are a few more pieces of advice that I try to follow:

  1. Plan Ahead.  Not always as easy as it sounds, but I almost always give better, more thoughtful gifts when I think about what the person wants about a month before I give it.  This is especially helpful when buying a gift online--which I like do.
  2. Include a nice handwritten note with the card. Some people from whom I have received gifts always give me such nice handwritten notes inside the card that I look forward to opening the card as much as I do the gift!  I try to follow in their example and write something personal to the recipient. It's not always easy to think of something to say, but just remember, anything is better than just a signature--even if the card seems to say it all.
What kind of gifts do I like to give? by far, I like to give religious gifts. I think anything to help the person gain a closer relationship to God is the best gift you can give.  My favorite place to find religious gifts is online where the selection is huge and the prices are fair.  One place to find very unique gifts of all kinds, but also religious gifts is a online store: . Everything is handmade, and therefore, one of a kind.  I recently found some pretty things for Mother's Day there.  I can't divulge any more details because I want the gifts to be a surprise :)

You're turn! I would love to hear a little piece of advice from a great gift giver as yourself!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Prayers for the Papa!

On Monday, Pope Benedict celebrates the 5th anniversary of his election!

Please help give him the BEST gift ever -- 1 MILLION PRAYERS FROM THE UNITED STATES – by urging your family and friends to join you in the nationwide
Easter Prayer Campaign for Pope Benedict! 
This prayer campaign has come just in time . . . the full throttle assault by the main stream media on the Holy Father is only getting worse.

No one is doing more than Pope Benedict to promote and protect our Catholic identity.  And yet the Holy Father “is systematically attacked precisely for what he does, for what he says, for what he is,” as one writer put it.

It is clear at this point that the enemies of the Church, in trying to pull down Pope Benedict, are striking at the Church herself. It is our duty as Catholics to
stand by the Church and the Holy Father, no matter the cost.
You can help make the Holy Father’s 5th anniversary a date to remember... with a spiritual bouquet of 1,000,000 prayers!

We are almost there, with more than 850,000 prayers pledged in less than two weeks.

Click on this link to add your prayer to the list: Cardinal Newman Society

Posted using ShareThis

The Art of Gift Giving

I wish I could entitle this post: "Sarah's Gift Giving Guide".  The truth is,  I need this advice just as much as anyone else! About this time of year, I start to agonize over giving gifts to the hardest people I give gifts to- my parents and my in laws.  Mother's Day and Father's Day- not to mention my Dad's birthday in April always put up a challenge to my thoughtful gift giving.  For this reason, I've been thinking a lot about how important gifts are and how it really should be thought of as an art, rather than a chore. In fact, I even found another blog that gave 10 good pieces of advice to help us out in "The Art of Gift Giving." You can check out her advice, but here I want to relay the few tips that I have found to be helpful in my quest for perfect gifts and hopefully you can add some of your best advice as well. 
  1. LOVE to Give Gifts-- Changing your perspective on gift giving can make all difference between a good gift and a bad one.  I love to give gifts usually, but sometimes it can be a chore. I definitely notice that when I look forward to giving, my gifts are more thoughtful, generous, and appreciated. 
  2. Learn from the Woman Who Gave Her Last Coin--Jesus appreciates our gifts so much more when we give from our need, instead of our excess.  Giving out of a generous heart doesn't always have to mean you spend more than what your budget allows.  When I find the perfect gift, sometimes I end up spending more than I wanted to, and sometimes I spend less.  The point is that the object of the gift is not about money.  When I buy gifts only according to a budget- it shows.  Gifts are an expression of the heart- generous or otherwise.
  3. Be a Thoughtful Gift giver--This means you always keep in my what the recipient of the gift wants or needs.   You may like the idea of giving a beer kit (ahem...Eric take notes!) but that's not being thoughtful.  Taking notes- mental or otherwise, is the best way to show you care.  When I lived with my in laws, I learned what they liked and didn't and was able to give some of the best gifts to them based on what I've observed.  Now I know to give my Father in Law homemade guacamole...and not a gift card.   Thoughtfulness goes a long way in giving good gifts. 
  4. Give a Little Luxury- Emphasize "little" because a little goes a long way especially when they know you can't afford a "big" luxury.  This goes along the lines of giving what the other person wouldn't normally buy themselves, but would like to!  Brand names, designer names, haughty boutiques: little things from these places and names- even if they are on sale or clearance!-- means you went out of your way to show you care.  A pair of luxury cashmere mittens compared to a cheap wool sweater is an example of something that probably cost the same, but is smaller, nicer, and more appreciated because I would never go out and by those luxury mittens myself.
Now your turn-- what are your best gift tips? Or what are the best gifts you've received and why? Or what is the worst gift you've received? (we won't tell!) 

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Sunday Snippets- A Catholic Carnival

Here is a way to share some other Catholic bloggers.  If you click on RAnn's link This, That and the Other Thing, you will see other Catholic bloggers who may be interested in reading. As a part of Catholic Carnival, I choose two of my posts from this week and list them here so that other readers can get a sample of my posts too.
Here are my contributions:

1. Why I Am Beginning to Like Christeasters (I've gotten a lot of good feedback about that one--even my family members told me it was a good one!)
2. What about MY Holy Week? (I know it's not from this week, but I thought it gave a good look into my life)

Divine Mercy Sunday

Divine Mercy Sunday is a day dedicated to spread the message of God's infinite Mercy told especially through the visions of Jesus to St. Faustina. If you have never read the Diary of St. Faustina, I highly suggest it. Here is a link to the book on It's includes all the messages that Jesus gave directly to St. Faustina, a polish nun.  Here are two excerpts from her diary:

March 15, 1937. Today, I entered into the bitterness of the Passion of the Lord Jesus. I suffered in a purely spiritual way. I learned how horrible sin was. God gave me to know the whole hideousness of sin. I learned in the depths of my soul how horrible sin was, even the smallest sin, and how much it tormented the soul of Jesus. I would rather suffer a thousand hells than commit even the smallest venial sin.

The Lord said to me, "I want to give myself to souls and to fill them with My love, but few there are who want to accept all the graces My love has intended for them. My grace is not lost; if the soul for whom it was intended does not accept it, another soul takes it." 

This one speaks directly about Divine Mercy Sunday:
Our Lord also said, "I desire that priests proclaim this great mercy of Mine towards souls of sinners. Tell My priests that hardened sinners will repent on hearing their words when they speak about My unfathomable mercy, about the compassion I have for them in My Heart. To priests who proclaim and extol My mercy, I will give wondrous power; I will anoint their words and touch the hearts of those to whom they will speak." (Diary, 50, 1521)  Easter Sunday is the best time to proclaim God’s mercy. 

Here is a link about how to celebrate Divine Mercy Sunday, from which I took the last quote.

The chaplet of Divine Mercy can be said using any rosary. Here is a link that shows how to pray it. 

There is so much more to be said about St. Faustina and Divine Mercy. Someday I will reread the Diary of St. Faustina and write some more posts on it.  If you are not familiar with this devotion, I highly encourage you to learn more about it since there is a treasure trove of graces that come from this devotion. 

Much Needed

While in Maryland for my rosary workshop at St. Joseph Academy in Dallas Town, PA (pictures will come soon!), Eric and I decided to stay an extra night with the grandparents so we could get in a date night. These 3D glasses were too hip to resist a photo opp and public attention.
Our first date night in 6 months!!! MUCH needed adult fun time was had :D

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Would you buy this?

My baby girl is walking! She's not very good yet and falls a lot- mostly on her butt.  But the other day, she fell smack on her forehead. OUCH! Soon after the incident, I was reading Parent magazine (in which I am finding more and more reasons to not renew my subscription).  Reading Parent Magazine, tends to make feel guilty about the little things I don't have for my children; or the things I sometimes shrug off as unimportant that they make seem like a life or death matter.  Here's an funny example.  An advertisement for a helmet just for babies who are learning to walk. Check it out:

Here is the description from Parent Mag: "Fall on a hard surface while learning to walk can be traumatic for both toddler and parent.  Thudguard protective helmet helps to protect your child by reducing the impact of falls or collisions and lessening the chance of head injury."

I thought, are you serious?? Why don't you just wrap your little one in bubble wrap, or even better, put them in a bubble? I thought it was pretty funny. Can you imagine a kid walking around in one of these at the park. Does your child have special needs? Onlookers would ask. Oh, no, I'm just afraid they might fall and hit their head...

Sorry, Parent Magazine, you're not going to make feel guilty this time :) Would you buy this?

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Saved, But Not Safe

Have you ever been shocked by someone who you believed to be impermeable to temptations, fall away from their faith? I think this experience has happened to most of us.  When I was at Franciscan, the Friars always warned us that when we get into the 'real world' there would be many and great temptations.  We heard that there are always those students who fall away from their Faith after they leave the coddled Catholic environment of Franciscan Univerisity.  Maybe it's because I'm a cradle Catholic, but it was hard to believe then, and it still hard to believe now. Especially when I see it happen to someone I knew or a friend I've had.

I am especially reminded of a close friend who was passionate about her Faith, saving herself for marriage and very pro life. She was so pro life, she joined Cross Roads- a summer long mission where college students literally walk across the entire country for the sake of the unborn, praying the rosary, offering up their suffering, camping in the country along the way, and stopping only to talk in Churches about being pro life.  From my understanding, she no longer believes in any of those things anymore. 

I am praying especially hard for her this week as I do the Divine Mercy Novena.  Her and I went to the National Shrine of Divine Mercy in Massachusets many years back.  Every time I look at Divine Mercy Jesus, I think of her.  I am blown away at how it could have happened to someone who knew really knew her faith.  I could not say how it happened to her, or how it happens to anybody.   There must be a million reasons why people fall away from their faith.  But I do know that not I or even you are safe from the same tradgedy if we do not rely on Jesus.  The moment I start to think I can do it on my own-- that is the moment I have made the same mistake Adam and Eve made when they fell to the temptation of pride in the Garden of Eden.

We are all saved by Jesus' death and resurrection, but none of us are safe from temptations from the devil.   The good news is that we can always turn back and His Divine Mercy will always be there to pick us back up where we left off.  Jesus' Mercy is bigger than any sin we could ever commit. God wouldn't have allowed evil, if he were not so powerful to bring good out of it (paraphrasing from St. Augustine).  We only have to lay down our pride and say, "Jesus I Trust in You" over and over again.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Why I Am Beginning to Like Christeasters

Christeaster, definition:  A Catholic who goes to Mass twice a year- on Christmas and Easter.

Poor Christeasters have been the butt of many a Catholic joke.  For devout Catholics, it's almost comical to see the church explode only two days of the year.  Where do these people come from??? Imagine if they went to every Sunday Mass- we'd need a church at least five times as big!

Maybe you don't experience Christeasters the way I've experienced Christeasters. Not every church has them in such great numbers that they literally have to turn away parishioners from entering the church on Christmas and Easter because they have reached the maximum capacity and it would be a fire hazard to squeeze in any more (seriously, this happened at my last parish).  Or maybe you've never had to watch the Mass on a television in the Church basement, or have had to stare at a wall (not glass) in the Church Entryway with fifty other people while standing throughout the entire Mass.  These experiences can be frustrating, no doubt, to the Catholic who really looks forward to celebrating these Feast days in the same sacred way they experience every Mass.  I've even heard one slightly bitter Catholic say everyone who goes to weekly Mass should be given a ticket and given higher seating priority than the Christeasters! I have to admit, after sitting through a few Christmas and Easter Masses in gyms, basements,  and in the back of crowded churches with Christeasters on their cell phones, being disrespectful about the Eucharist, playing video games and talking ALL throughout Mass, I have gotten quite frustrated with a few of them myself.

So why I am beginning to like Christeasters? I don't like that they only go to Mass twice a year, but I like them because they show a Church full of hope and possibilities.  They show me what our Catholic Churches could be like if ALL Catholics went to every Sunday Mass. Wouldn't it be a tremendously great thing if we had to build huge churches just to fit everyone in every Sunday?

On Easter Sunday, my family and I went to 10:30 Mass at the Expo Center. The place was packed full.  We got there a little late (the promise of good parking was not kept) and had to sit in the last row where we sat in probably the last three seats available.  Liam took out his spotting scope from his church bag to see the priest which was funny the priest really was that far away! The priest said he estimated about 3,500 people there! Amazing.  He also said that when he looks at all of us, he sees the Resurrection.  I saw it too, although I don't know if we had the same thing in mind.  I saw the possibility of what new life looks like. One study I've read showed that roughly 10% of all Americans are former Catholics.  That's about 30,000,000 people who are former Catholics in the United States alone and that's not even counting those who go to Mass infrequently.

I think it's exciting to think about Catholics returning home- even if it's only two days out of the year.  Who knows what they may experience during one of those Masses that may inspire them to come again.  It's our job to make sure their experience is as welcoming and loving as God's warm embrace.  We mustn't be like the other son in the story of the prodigal son who is annoyed with his brother who came back.  We must be thrilled with the possibility that these 'brothers' may be here to stay.
 Beware-- this kind of thinking just may lead to your Catholic Church becoming the next mega Church!

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Happy Easter!

Hope your day if filled with lots of this...

And this....
But NONE of these...scary bunnies...

May the joy of the Resurrection be with you and your family today and always! 
Happy Easter!!!