Evangelizing through the Catholic Arts

Ornamental Graces, by Carolyn Astfalk – Book Review

Ornamental Graces Ornamental Graces, by Carolyn Astfalk, is a wonderful story, with interesting, compelling and authentic characters that you immediately come to love. Dan Malone, a tortured soul with a troubled past, meets Emily Kowalski, a young woman with dreams unfulfilled. Throughout this story, we see God at work bringing these two souls together time after time, until one day their relationship blossoms. From there, we see these two characters traverse through the journey we call life, with all of its ups and downs. Will Dan ever come to grips with the mistakes he made? Will Emily ever fulfill her dreams? And, will obstacles deprive them of developing the relationship they seemed destined to live?

Carolyn Astfalk takes you on a Continue reading

Love Remembered; Love Produces Good Fruits

Love Remembered Mom and DadToday would have been the 71st wedding anniversary of my parents, if they were still with me today. The veil between heaven and earth divides us, but the love remembered between my father and mother, and their mutual love for me remains in my heart.

My parents married shortly after my father returned from World War II’s European front in 1945. From their love first came my sister Joan, now a mother to two children and grandmother of four children. Then came my brother Ed, father to three children, and grandfather to one child. Next, my sister, Susan arrived, followed by me.

I tell you this to demonstrate that this love, a love remembered, between two people, is responsible Continue reading

Greed Will Debilitate You; Fear is Behind All Greed

greed We continue with the fifth installment of our seven-part series on the seven deadly sins. Today we discuss Greed.

Greed, also known as avarice, will debilitate you because you’re dealing with a bottomless pit; an abyss. The unending desire for more money, power or fame, leaves a person feeling empty, insecure and unfulfilled no matter how much one tries to garner. There is no amount of money that guarantees security, for the fear of losing it all is ever-present. No amount of power garners confidence and self-assuredness, for the fear of losing control is ever-present. No amount of fame makes one feel like he/she “has arrived,” for the fear of being discounted and dismissed never goes away. Anyone who seeks Continue reading

My Heart Beats for Christ! For Whom Does Your Heart Beat?

Heart Beats I was recently at the doctor’s office for my annual visit. While sitting in the examining room, with nothing to do but wait, I read the ad on the door. It showed a picture of an older woman, holding a placard that said, “My heart beats for______.” She filled in the blank with “my grandkids.” She had a huge smile on her face. The ad promoted preventative health exams.

As I sat there looking at the ad, I asked myself, for whom does my heart beat? I hope my husband isn’t too disappointed, but my first instinct was to answer, “My Heart beats for Christ!” Sitting there in awe for a minute, I realized my response, as well as Continue reading

Anything For Love: The Self-Sacrificial Kind of Love

Utah 2

Some twenty years ago, when Nick and I lived in New Jersey, my banking career was drying up. All of the banks were merging together and therefore, banking jobs in New Jersey were scarce. Nick and I were both born and raised in New Jersey. Everyone we knew and loved lived there. As Divine Providence would have it, while I was unemployed, we were invited out to Salt Lake City, Utah so that I could be Godmother to my friend’s little girl. In July 1996, we traveled to Utah for the Baptism. While visiting, I looked around at the banks headquartered in Utah. I applied to a few and was actually offered a job.

New Jersey to Utah: For Love Continue reading

Charity to the Rescue

 

Charity 2Who is Charity Livingstone?

Charity Livingstone is only three years old, but she is spunky, loyal, and determined to get what she wants. She and her family recently moved into the neighborhood, where they met their next door neighbor, Mr. Gabriel. Charity really liked him, because he raises puppies!

Ever since Charity moved into her new house, she had her eye on getting a puppy, but Mama and Daddy said no, because there was too much going on with their new house. Well that wasn’t going to stop her from playing with Mr. Gabriel’s puppies. He said she could come by any time she liked. So she did!

One day, she snuck out of the house, and went next Continue reading

Remembering My Mother

Mom and Dad DuffyMy Mother: Virginia Duffy

Today would have been my mother’s 95th birthday has she still been alive. Virginia Christesen Duffy was smart as a whip, yet only received a high school education. She’s the only person I know that would dare to complete the New York Times Sunday Puzzle in ink! I fondly remember the time my parents took me to Europe for a vacation. I was 19 years old. I took French for three years in high school, and I was ready and anxious to use it! We were in a French café, one day, looking at a menu, and when it came time to order, it was my mother, who hadn’t taken French in 37 years, Continue reading

Love Endures All Things

Love Endures

Love endures all things” (1 Corinthians 13:7).

I have to admit that this well known passage on Love from 1 Corinthians is one of my favorites. At our wedding ceremony, my husband and I included this passage at our Wedding Mass some 36+ years ago. Little did I know then what this passage would mean over time. When you are young, you think you know everything as you enter the early years of adulthood. Yet, some 36+ years later, this passage continues to teach me what Love is all about.

I am married to a wonderful man. We have endured times of financial stress together, as a result of job losses and life’s overwhelming sharp turns. We have Continue reading