Father knows best

God the Father, Cima da Conegliano, Circa 1510-17.

God the Father, Cima da Conegliano, Circa 1510-17. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I consider myself to be one of the lucky ones.  My parents will celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary next year!  I never knew the pains of divorce.  I never even thought about it until I married my husband, who came from a divorced home.

As children, we take parents for granted.  They are just always there.  They feed us, clothe us, comfort us… A person never fully realizes the amount of self-sacrifice a parent goes through for their children until that person has a child of his or her own.

My father began practicing self-sacrifice as a child.  He was the youngest in a large family.  His parents were sharecroppers in the deep South. It was a hard life that was made even more difficult by the fact that my grandparents spoke only Cajun French.  When my Dad was in the eighth grade, his father suffered from a disabling stroke.  Because he was the only child left at home, my Dad quit school and went to work to support his parents who had aged prematurely due to their poverty and labor.

By eighteen, my Dad had bought his first house.  At twenty-five, he married my mom.  Together they raised four daughters and started a plumbing business.  My grandparents lived nearby and were always watched over by their youngest child.

Life was pretty routine.  Dad worked Monday through Friday.  Mom gave up a nursing career to stay at home and raise the children.  She cooked and cleaned during the work week.  Saturdays, Dad was fixing things, working in a garden; still not relaxing.  Sundays were different.  We all went to 10:00 am mass.  After mass, we visited Mom and Pop.  After the visit, Dad took us out for lunch.  When we returned home, Dad relaxed.  He took the seventh day off.

My Dad was the man of the house.  He expected his girls to be respectful of all adults and he made the final decisions of the household.  Of course his decisions were based upon my mother’s influence.  He was the disciplinarian.  We knew our place.  Our parents were the parents; we were the children.  If we were spanked or punished, it was with love and out of love for us.  In those days you just did not question your father!

I know my parents had times when they must have struggled.   I am sure my parents’ marriage had good moments and some not so good moments.  But they kept us oblivious to any stresses or concerns.  When times were really tough, we girls were unaware of any problems.  We were allowed to be children; care-free, filled with wonder and  faith. What a gift.

I can thank my earthly father for my relationship with my heavenly Father.  My Dad taught me to honor my Father and follow His guidelines and His good book.  I know that He created me.  He actually formed my soul and He has a plan for just me.  I know that all I have to do is surrender myself to His will.  There will be suffering and bad times in my life.  I have faith that these times only draw me closer to my Father, who only sends what I need out of love.  Loving my Dad made loving my heavenly Father so easy!

There are many children who are not as lucky.  For many different reasons, they are growing up with little time spent with their earthly father, or have no father at all.  These kids long for that father figure in their lives.  It is so important they find that connection with God the Father.  They need to understand His love and mercy for them.

1 John 3:10 “This is what love is: it is not that we have loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the means by which our sins are forgiven.” 

People very often take their heavenly Father for granted.  Worship can become routine.  We go church, say our prayers, call upon the Lord when we are in need.  Take a moment to really ponder the greatness of our God.  If one really understands all the wonderful things the heavenly Father does for each of us, then worship becomes true worship.  We can be care-free children, full of faith and awe.  We can face each day and each struggle with confidence and strength, because we know that our FATHER KNOWS BEST!

C’est Bon



the best things in life…

kidsYesterday I attended a talk given by Teresa Tomeo, author, host of radio morning show Catholic Connection, and EWTN co-host of The Catholic View for Women.  Teresa discussed her new book, God’s Bucket List.  It was an evening well spent, filled with laughs and thought-provoking conversation.

Just about everyone has a Bucket List.  I am sure most of our Bucket Lists have items such as trips, acquiring material goods, or landing that dream job.  But are these things really important in the end?  My favorite line from the talk yesterday was, “Do you want to go to Hawaii or do you want to go to Heaven?”.  Teresa’s book outlines the REAL path “to HAPPINESS in THIS LIFE and BEYOND”.  We have to learn it’s not about us – it’s about God.  Only when we are doing God’s will are we truly happy and fulfilled.

Think about it….When we are young, we are always looking to the future.  It’s always – some day the kids will be grown and I’ll get to do all the things I’ve ever wanted to do…I’ll travel, do fun things…. Life in the moment is filled with noise and stress. We do not take the time to stop and enjoy the little things, the little moments.

It is only when one gets older that one tends to start looking behind and reminiscing about those by-gone days and years.

Raising children is not an easy job.  God blessed my husband and I with three wonderful kids.  We now have two wonderful grandchildren as well.  Life always has its ups and downs.  Without the downs, the ups do not seem as special.  Now that my children are adults, I share in their up and down moments (so there are more of them!).  I have finally learned that this is life here on earth.  What we make of this life will determine how we spend our eternity.

I don’t have a Bucket List.  I do have a Wish List.  I wish for my children that they take the time to enjoy each day.  I hope they know that they are truly special and made in the image of God.  I hope they know that being their mother is the single most important job I could ever have.  Making sure they are on the path to Heaven is my single most important wish.

I now understand Mary’s love for us.  As our mother, she is calling us to take the path to Jesus.

October 13, 1996 – Mary to Nancy Fowler, Conyers, Georgia “Please open your hearts.  Begin to love God. Begin to love yourselves as God loves you and begin to love each other in this way.  Remember you ascend your heavenly steps throughout this life by self-sacrificing love.  Embrace your cross.  Unite all your suffering with my Son.”

Kiss your kids.  Turn the TV off and put the cell phone down. Take the time to play a board game, tell funny jokes, or just sit and chat.  Most of all, spend family time in prayer.  Let’s all forget about Hawaii and take that trip to Heaven!

C’est Bon





Health S(care)!

Obamacare Protest at Supreme Court

Obamacare Protest at Supreme Court (Photo credit: southerntabitha)

If you like your plan, you can keep it; if you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor.”

Oh wait, that was not exactly correct….and by the way, you can’t keep your moral convictions either!

The Affordable Care Act is proving to be (1) not so affordable and (2) not so caring.  Since when do we live in a country where you must choose between your religious beliefs and your government mandates?

I am seeing first hand the effects of this Health “Care” bill.  My daughter is one of the millions who lost their insurance policy.  A co-worker of my husband was told that his insurance no longer covered a needed medicine and his out of pocket cost would be in the thousands.  I read in the “National Register” that most of the exchange plans, in order to meet the law’s mandate on spending, have narrowed the panels of doctors and hospitals that are available to patients.  Many medical systems that have advanced care capabilities are being omitted.  This will result in diminished care for life threatening illness.

The HHS mandate was the show stopper for me.  I did email my state senators during the government shutdown.  Mr. David Vitter replied promptly that he has always been opposed to the mandate and was working diligently to try and make changes.  I received an email back from Ms. Mary Landrieu’s office that she was unable to respond due to the shutdown.  I did finally receive an answer from Ms. Landrieu last week.  According to Ms. Landrieu, she “was one of the voices who expressed concerns about the Obama Administration’s initial, ill-advised policy requiring women’s reproductive health benefits as a health insurance benefit option for policyholders.”  She goes on to say that as a result of her efforts, “the Administration made changes to its initial proposal…resulting changes better protect the religious freedom and liberty of churches and other religiously based institutions.”

The White House did offer a yearlong extension for religious nonprofits. During that time period, the government promised to amend the mandate to address religious-liberty concerns.  However, the government did not amend the mandate.  The only exemptions are applied to churches.  Religious nonprofits, such as EWTN, are not exempt.  EWTN filed a law suit challenging the mandate as unconstitutional and the state of Alabama has joined them.

In the meantime, how do we get health care coverage that does not contradict our beliefs?  There are Christian alternatives. Three major Christian medical sharing ministries are Samaritan Ministries, Christian Medi-Share and Christian Healthcare Ministries.   Members of these medical sharing groups make their own decision with their chosen medical professionals in how they treat life-threatening conditions.  None of these ministries share in abortion or care that is found to be morally objectionable.

I am not a Democrat.  I am not a Republican.  I am a Christian.  I was baptized in the Catholic Church and my religious beliefs are my life.  I am only one of many women who understand that pregnancy is not a disease.  Each child is a gift from God.  The important choice was made long ago when a young virgin said yes to God and gave birth to a Savior.  Choices happen prior to pregnancy.  Once a child is conceived – there is no “choice”.  There is only that gift of love.

If you feel like your beliefs are being trampled upon, speak out.

It’s getting Health Scary out there!!

C’est Bon



The sound of Cajun

English: Cajun and Zydeco singer and songwrite...

English: Cajun and Zydeco singer and songwriter Zachary Richard in Paris, France with his group : “Le Bayou des mystères”. Français : L’auteur-compositeur-chanteur et accordéoniste Zachary Richard à Paris (ORTF, salle 104) en 1976. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I grew up in Cajun country.  The sounds of my youth were very different from the sounds heard by others my age living in a different part of the United States.  Cajuns are descendants of the exiled Acadians from Canada.  Because they were exiled and living in a foreign land with a foreign language, the Acadians formed a tight knit family community.  For many decades, they held onto their French language and much of their culture.

I heard Cajun French being spoken quite regularly while growing up.  My father’s parents spoke Cajun French and very little English.  We visited them every Sunday and my parents sat down with them for about an hour speaking a language that I was never taught.  My father as a child began school knowing only Cajun French.  He was admonished for speaking this language.  He was taught that the proper language was English.  Cajun French was looked upon as the language of the illiterate.  My mother’s parents also spoke Cajun French, but also spoke English.  She grew up knowing both languages;  but like my dad, she also grew up realizing the stigma over the use of Cajun French.

The generation of my parents did not teach their children Cajun French.  It was a language that I was very familiar with; but could not translate.  It was often spoken by the grown-ups when they did not want the children to understand the conversation.  It seemed to me like a secret code for adults.  I knew that an adult would speak to me in English; but get a few of them around speaking to each other – and the conversation would go from English to Cajun French and back and forth!

The music I heard as a child was mostly a mix of Country music and Cajun music.  Cajun music began with ballads of the French speaking Acadians in the 18th century in south Louisiana.  Sounds of the accordion, fiddle, and strong Cajun- accent singing was the norm when Daddy turned on his radio.  At the time I thought everyone heard this music. I did not appreciate the cultural differences of this unique genre of music.

It is only now that I can appreciate the depths of the culture that I grew up in but not really apart of.  Of course I picked up on some French words and terms.  There are some Cajun classics that I love, such as Louisiana Aces, “The Back Door”.  But now many of the sounds of my youth are gone.

My grandparents have long ago passed away.  My Dad said the other day that he has not spoken French in such a long time, that he has forgotten many of the words.  Cajun French is just not heard in normal every day life anymore.  The music has changed and grown.  The pioneers of this new Cajun music were Beausoleil and Zachary Richard.  Contemporary Cajun music is played by Wayne Toups and others.  But there is hope…

I recently discovered a Cajun group – L’Angelus.  This group is comprised of one Louisiana family, the Rees family.   The four oldest children are expert musicians and are producing music that pays homage to the Cajun fiddle tunes, the swamp-pop, as well as some New Orleans R&B.  I recommend their CD, CA C’EST BON.  Everything I’ve heard from this family, I really like.  They have such a great vocal harmony.

So, I am currently learning to speak Cajun French.  I am researching these wonderful Cajun ancestors.  I want to be able to teach my grandchildren about the culture of a people who in the face of the worst adversity, held onto their faith, their family, and their traditions.  I need to pass on the sounds of my youth…..the sound of Cajun!

C’est Bon





Handcrafted Prayers


Rosary (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

rosary house  The Rosary House in New Iberia, Louisiana has been family owned since 1946.  The store features handcrafted rosaries, statues, Bibles, artwork, holy cards, and so on.  It is located at 200 Ann Street and there is a candle manufacturing facility across the street.  The founder, Robert Minvielle, saw a need for the Rosary House in this largely catholic populated area.

It is a favorite shopping spot of mine.  A baby is getting baptized – I go shop at the Rosary House.  A wedding – I shop at the Rosary House….

I know many people have questions about the Rosary.  They point to the fact that it is not found in the Bible.  They are wrong.  The rosary is centered on the mysteries of the life of Jesus Christ.  It is a prayer that invites us to look at Jesus through the eyes of the disciples and His mother.  The rosary consists of the prayers “Hail Mary”, which comes directly from Scripture, the “Our Father”, which appears twice in the Bible, and the “Glory Be”, which also appears twice in the Bible.

When we pray the rosary we are not praying to Mary, but through Mary and with Mary to Jesus Christ.  While praying the rosary, we meditate on the life of Jesus through the four mysteries of the rosary.

It is the most beautiful and powerful prayer that exist.  The rosary was a gift to all of mankind by our loving mother.  She intended it to be a prayer weapon for all people of all faiths.

For an indepth study of the power and meaning of this handcrafted prayer, I recommend “The Rosary” by Immaculee Ilibagiza, author of “Left to Tell”.  Her story of survival of the Rwanda genocide is an unbelievable account of evil and the power of forgiveness.

If you ever get down to south Louisiana, I recommend you stop by the Rosary House.  It is a spiritual adventure!

C’est Bon