Waiting with Hope

November 29th, 2009

Today begins the Advent Season, four weeks of hopeful anticipation as we await the birth of Our Savior. Several weeks ago, I met a young woman who really put a face on the meaning of “hope” for me and I think her story really reflects the meaning of Advent.
My friend, Karen, (of “Karen Eileen Designs”) designs the most darling baby tee shirts you have ever seen. I challenge anyone to find cuter! This particular young woman, who was looking at my selection of the onesies and baby tee-shirts, was “OOH’ing and AWW’ing” over their adorable designs when she stopped. She picked up a little onesie, just the right size for a newborn, and read aloud the inscription from the design on the front, “Hoped and Prayed For.”
“Oh! That’s the one I want!” she whispered. I could see the convergence of emotions on her face: excitement, joy, uncertainty, fear, sadness. When the dust settled from the stirring of all these feelings what remained, resting peacefully in her eyes, was hope; hope that this baby she had “Hoped and Prayed For” would happen. Her eyes were moist as she explained how much she wanted to buy the darling little onesie, “…but not yet.” “We have been trying very hard to have a baby. I will keep your card and call you as soon as it happens!”
Well, hope is infectious and I just couldn’t let her walk away because now she had me hoping too! I followed after her and handed her a Brown Scapular with the image of St. Pio on it. I explained it had been touched to a relic of the saint. I told her a little about this great saint and his reputation as a powerful intercessor for those in need of healing. I suggested she wear the scapular and together we would pray for this baby, that by now, we were both longing for her to have. She hugged me and we parted with teary eyes and the promise of hope for new life.
As Advent begins I can feel the infectious hope another young mother awaiting the birth of her first Child. Uniting my prayers with hers, together we will prepare for the birth of this Child Who is the Hope of the World.

Frank

November 16th, 2009

One of the aspects of my little business I most appreciate is the chance to meet new people. Because I sell religious items, many wonderful, faithful people cross my path. Every so often one stands out among them.
This weekend, while selling my wares at the Annual St. Bonaventure Craft Fair I met Frank, a delightful man, small in stature, stooped with age, who spoke with a thick Hungarian accent. His infectious smile seized me in the midst of my busy-ness. He looked upon my table of religious items like one who has been starved would look upon food. In his eyes I could see there was a story and slowly as he looked over each object a memory of his past unfolded. “St. Francis Statue? I am Francis! I was born in Hungary. My mother taught me my faith. I lived under the Communist. We would sneak into the Church in the middle of the night to pray. When I came to America in 1985 I was Baptized in this Church! I received my sacraments for the first time. I took the name Francis.”  “A Rosary? Oh my mother prayed the Rosary. Here is a card with Holy Maria! My mother was called Maria. I sat on her knee and she showed me the Bible. She taught me about God. She was afraid my brother and I would lose our faith because we could not go to Church. She prayed very hard that we would not. She was very beautiful.”
“I want to buy the St. Joseph holy card for my brother, Joseph. He is a good man. I love him very much. Our mother was a widow.  My father married her and adopted Joseph, then they had me. Joseph and I love each other very much. We are not half-brothers in our hearts.  He is a wonderful brother. He took good care of me’
“My father was a great man. He was Anthony. Do you have anything with Anthony? My parents never spanked us. If we were bad we had to kneel in the corner. We were very good because we loved our parents so much.”
” My mother had Alzheimer’s. I went home to Hungary for four years to help my brother take care of her. When I had to leave the house she would tell me to put on my coat and be home by dark so I would not get lost. I told her I was a grown man living 15 years in the United States on my own! She still worried when I left the house, just like when I was little.”
“Sometimes I smoke too much and I like Margarita’s. They taste so good! I don’t think my mother would like that, so I try to do better. I don’t want to disappoint her.”  Here I notice a little tear in his eye.
“I am Francis, My brother is Joseph, My father was Anthony. My mother was Maria,” he says again. He wants me to remember.
I hand him his treasures: a Rosary, a holy card of St. Joseph, a scapular with St. Anthony, a box of note cards with the image of the Blessed Virgin Mary, each a little remembrance of his past and a reminder of his future when one day they will all be together again.
I will not forget, Frank. Thank you for your testimony of faith, family and love. I will not forget.

What to write…

October 14th, 2009

Nothing is more intimidating than looking at a blank page (or in this case,  screen) knowing that you must fill it with something interesting. I have the same problem with cooking. What to put in the empty pan……??? Hopefully this will not result in the same miserable failures that occur regularly in my kitchen.  If so, accept my apology now and move on.

Why blog? Well, I have so much to say and my family just won’t listen to me. Also, it is no coincidence that my blog has the same name as my business www.saintlysweetsandgifts.com. I am hoping if I come up with something remarkable to say (Hey,  it could happen!) then you might be curious about what remarkable things I might buy to sell on a website. Then you might mosey over to my website and tell your friends about the remarkable things you found there. Eventually, you will be visiting my blog and website daily, hanging on my every word and gushing over the fabulous products I have to offer. My picture will be on the marquis in Time Square and I will be doing the talk show circuit to promote my book,  “Using Subliminal Suggestion and Mind Control on Blog Sites to Increase Your Internet Sales.” Oops, now I’ve gone and disclosed my strategy, which I was hoping to eventually apply to overthrowing the government.

Anyway, welcome to my thoughts.  For those of you who know me, none of this will seem strange or out of character at all. For those of you who don’t, I am not institutionalized…yet. Now head on over to  www.saintlysweetsandgifts.com. and check out all the great items for the Domestic Church. (I’m going to have to figure out how to make that suggestion subliminal before I write the book.)