“Be joyful in love, be firm in hope and be constant in effort.”
This is where my book flew open, when I prayed for guidance one day as I picked up a book in my office that I had never seen before. That quote became my mantra at work and at home. After reading it I signed up to compete in the longest Triathlon that I had ever done, the Malibu International Triathlon on September 16, 2017.
Training: One Our Father and Hail Mary at a Time
The most beautiful part of my training is that I paced myself with the Rosary. I would push a bit harder during the Our Fathers, and then settle into my rhythmic pace during the Hail Marys. The meditations allowed me to be mindful on prayer with every step. Praying helped me to keep going, to believe in my growing strength, and to trust. It also created this incredible sense of gratitude for my ability to train, swim, bike, and run, and my ability to reach beyond what I thought was possible.
When Race Day arrived, it felt different than any other one I’ve experienced before. We arrived in Malibu while it was still dark. As the sun began to rise and we were about to start the race with our swim, I glanced out among the waves to see a pod of dolphins. It was as if they were reminding us of all the ease and grace of swimming. In that grace and gratitude, we stepped into the cold water and began our swim. I had 1 mile to swim down the coast and I began to pray, my strokes and breath coming into alignment with the rhythm of my prayers and before I knew it I was passing the second (out of 6) buoy! As I swam and lifted my head to breathe, I caught the rays of the rising sun on the water and saw that its rays illuminated a school of tiny silver fish swimming right under me!
Continuing the Good Fight
As I finished the swim and put my feet on the sand I realized my legs were wobbly; I sank back in the water. I began to pray for balance and strength, took a deep breath, and tried again. This time my legs held me up as I slowly jogged to the transition to get on my bike. It was in that moment that I handed my race over to God. I simply asked for Him to allow me to finish. I was no longer racing, I just wanted to keep my legs from shaking and finish the next segment. I jumped on my bike and tried to clip in, it didn’t work and I almost fell over… now I was really shaking… I told myself: try again, get your balance, breathe, pray, and on they went, I was clipped in safely and ready to ride the 26 miles up the coast of Malibu! This is the part I trained hard for: this was between me, my strength and the hills! The Our Father became my go-to prayer, where I exerted the most energy to make it up those hills! As I neared the last mile of the bike ride, I noticed so many of my fellow racers began slowing down. I decided that this was my time to speed up! I told myself, “Race with all everything you have to the finish line, don’t stop early!” I was praying, pedaling and passing others… WOW! I got to the bike rack, put on my running shoes and the rest was home free.
The Final Stretch
It was just me and the road and finally time to pray my Rosary, and have fun! I was no longer trying to win, I just wanted to finish. Six miles seemed really far, but I took it in two mile increments and one Rosary at a time. I ended up praying two Rosaries and once again as soon as I saw the finish line I began to sprint, this time I did not pass anyone. Rather I cheered them on along with me and together we ran the race all the way to the finish line.
Crossing the Finish Line
I did it! I finished the longest race I have ever done and I did it as I was turning 50 years old! Thank you JESUS!!! I couldn’t help but reflect on the verse, “We can do all things through Christ who strengthens us!” It was a simple message to be joyful in love, firm in hope, and constant in effort. It spoke to me, challenged me to go beyond my comfort zone, and taught me the effort is joyful when done in love and prayer!
As I was leaving the race zone and the medals were being awarded, I heard my name being called. I was so excited that I ran up on stage, stood on that podium and raised my arms to heaven in thanksgiving.
Confident On My Own at QVC
“I got this one! It’s easy, just a 7 minute hit on prime time, live TV… perfect… I am good!” This was my attitude on August 11th. Yeah that’s a good name “HIT” because it did hit me like a freight train and I felt like I had fallen flat on my face. If anyone hears me say “I have it all under control,” from here on out, someone please come and rescue me from myself!
During those 7 minutes of prime time I was entrusted to deliver God’s love and I had started to think I could do it on my own. Wow, talk about PRIDE! Thank God that He is God! He loves me so much (as He loves us all) that He allowed me to fail so I could remember who really is running the show.
Lights Camera Action…
I heard the host ask me, “So tell the world about My Saint My Hero…” and that’s when I began to babble. There was such a complete disconnect from my heart. I felt no love, no connection. They were just words flying out of my mouth, sound bites with no heart that I fell flat on the screen. When those 7 minutes were up, I walked off the stage and felt like crumbling. It was then when it hit me! I was entrusted with a very important message and I just failed to deliver it. I failed to be a conduit of God’s love. I forgot to be His instrument because I got in the way!
I couldn’t sleep that night and during the entire 6 hour flight home, my heart felt so heavy. I got in my car and drove straight to Adoration to spend some time down on my knees, then home for a little family love and finally I took a plunge in the water. These things are my tools of faith: tools to help get my mind, body, soul and strength back in alignment. It was working slowly…my feelings of shame began to lessen and the next day I was able to face my coworkers at the office, my friends, and ultimately face my failure.
A God of Second Chances
The next morning I went to Mass and as I was praying, replaying the events in my head, I realized what happened. I did not go to Mass that day, I had forgotten to get a Blessing before going on air, I forgot to bring a prayer warrior with me, I forgot to ask for Spiritual Direction…I had tried to do it on my own. However, I realized that I am not meant to do it alone, not now, not ever. As I opened my eyes I gazed at Jesus on the cross and asked Him to help me remember, to forgive me and to please continue to use me as an instrument of His love.
As I was driving away from church, QVC reached out and asked me to come back. A second chance, another opportunity to be on set, but this time trusting God to lead the way. It was as if Jesus was inviting me to sit in His lap and to simply be a conduit of His love. I immediately reached out to my team of prayer warriors and asked them to come with me!
7 Magnificent Minutes
On my flight back on August 23rd after the QVC hit with Jane Tracey, I thanked God for 7 magnificent minutes. I had gone to church, had spiritual direction, I had gone to confession, adoration and I received the Eucharist. I clung on to my Blessing Bracelet remembering to breathe and make space for God again. I brought my sister, my prayer warrior, with me… and together we remembered, together we surrendered our will to God’s divine will.
And together we let God’s love light up the stage which He did! The wave of His love radiated out and we had the honor of doing so on Our Blessed Mother’s Feast Day!
Thank you God, for the second chance. Thank you for the lesson learnt and thank you for your GREAT LOVE. Thank you for allowing me to feel the difference and for teaching me I am not meant to do it alone not now, not ever.
This Sunday we celebrate the Transfiguration: the moment when Christ transformed or “transfigured” from human form to dazzling white right before His disciples’ eyes! Behold a miracle… behold a transformation from what we know to that which is beyond physical perception! I never quite got this significance or maybe I just didn’t understand until now. The time is NOW to fully grasp the moment… for then, for now, for what is. I hope this (as summarized and quoted from the August Magnificat) helps you to open up the horizons of your heart, soul, body and mind. Please read and share with your friends! A rising tide elevates all… may we together elevate each other and rise!!!
May I become what I behold so that my life will radiate the glory of God in grace and love.
When life gets hard…disgusted and a little defiant we fall into what may be the heresy of the 21st century: “that’s just the way I am”…
But the miracle of the Transfiguration broadcasts a luminous truth: things can change.. you can change… what changes us is a radiant face!
The real miracle in the transfiguration is not only the change in Christ as he became dazzling white… but the change in perception to see beyond physical vision and see the divine glory … they began to see beyond their limitations and seize the truth of Jesus Christ. – taken from The Magnificat, August 2017 edition
We, too, Can be Changed
Through the encounter with the One who shines on Tabor, we can be transfigured into beings bursting with love, eager to feed the hungry, clothe the naked, comfort the ill, and visit the imprisoned. As Simone Weil said, “God made it so that his grace, when it penetrates to someone’s very center and illuminates their whole being, permits that person to walk on water without violating the laws of nature”.
We, like the Apostles, must not stay on the mountain but come down and radiate His love to the world by our own transfiguration. Acts of wonder convince the world that God is real, that love heals and that prayer works. The time is now to behold who you are!
This is where my annual retreat into family, love and quiet happens. There on that small island is where family matters most, conversations linger and a warm embrace is truly felt. It is a place where my feet feel steady and I’m not jumping from one activity to the next. Coffee is served in a beautiful china cup and one is meant to stay at the coffee bar and enjoy it among one another rather than speeding off to consume it in the car or at the desk… a change, a shift, a remembrance … June is my month of renewal!
I sincerely pray that today be a day that you are touched by God’s peace and as you take a deep breath may you be renewed in His presence. I invite you to join me on a mini morning retreat… each night as you go to sleep ask God to impart to your heart the experience the gift of gratitude the moment you awake in the morning. When you wake and feel the sense of joy… take a moment to give thanks… to feel grateful for whatever it is this morning that you love or loves you. Let’s meet again in a few weeks and share the Gratitude Experiment!
While in Ischia and now back home in California, I’ve been wearing two Gratitude bracelets every day as tangible reminders to join you each morning in prayer and create this beautiful space of gratitude! I am grateful for you!!!!
PS. I love our newest Gratitude Bracelets as they give us the space to BE grateful.
“I give you my strength.”
These were the last words my father whispered into my ear as his breath became labored. A few hours later my dad passed from this world to the next and I sat in awe of the feeling of Heaven that filled the space. His transition was peaceful… and his last words directly to me mattered deeply. I give you my strength…. Those few words continue to echo in my heart. Whenever I feel completely weak and ready to throw in the towel, a strength starts to bubble inside and provides me the courage and inspiration to carry on…to be fearless, to be uniquely me and to find my own finish line to cross. My dad truly gave me his strength and Our Father provides the love and protection for me to be fearless.
This June as we celebrate all fathers I am grateful for all the men I know that live fearlessly in love for their family and God above all things!
Happy Father’s Day!
Be Fearless! Send me a picture of your father or hubby or the man in your life wearing FEARLESS
…I’ll start! This is my husband Anthony proudly wearing his.
Our Blessed Mother: My Peace
My daughter Caroline decided to attend university in Leeds, UK. When she shared this news with me, I ran to the Catholic Church in Leeds, got down on my knees, and prayed for my baby girl and for my heart. Did I do enough as her mother? Is she ready for college? How can I help her if something happens and she is in the UK? All these worries flooded my soul… Still on my knees I opened my eyes and looked up, and there right in front of me was a statue of Our Blessed Mother with her arms stretched towards me… she spoke to my heart… nurturing, loving, all present, and strong! I heard her say… “I’ve got her”… I AM her Mother and I will protect her, guide her and hold her close! Our Blessed Mother saw my heart, saw my worry and washed it clean with her grace and omnipotent love! She is everywhere -all the time- and she is the ultimate mother! I am safe to let my baby girl go because Mama Mary’s got her! I realize that I am simply her momentary mother during this short lifetime with my limited capacity, although my love for my children knows no limits. Our Blessed Mother carries our children when we cannot. I am grateful and I remain in awe of the supernatural peace this truth brings me. Thank you, Mama Mary!
My Peace…My Pieces
There are a few Blessing Bracelets that I never take off!
Why? Because I feel connected and grounded as I wear them. I feel the love that calms me and comfort in times of building anxiety. Each piece has a story, and each one reminds me of a love or a prayer that connects me to my friends and family. I wear a purple silver Blessing Bracelet in memory of my dear friend’s son and also for my 16 year old friend Katherine who is seeking a cure for her ALS. I wear a black silver Blessing Bracelet in unity with my husband in prayer for our marriage and for all marriages. I wear a tan Scapular Bracelet as a tangible reminder of my pilgrimage to the Holy Land and Medjugorje. I wear a Blessings in Faith in the spirit of community with our entire My Saint My Hero sisterhood and brotherhood of faith. I wear a taupe Breathe Bracelet as a prayer partner with Caroline. Goodness, I know this sounds like a lot… however I also wear a Chain Breathe Bracelet to pray for all our pieces made in China and lastly I am wearing our new PEACELinks in prayer for an end to human trafficking. That is my Litany of Prayer that I wear on my arm!
-Amy D’Ambra // Founder, President
A few months ago I called my sister who knows the celebrity world and I asked her how I should get in touch with some celebrities who are wearing My Saint My Hero and ask them for their story… Their testimony… She immediately responded, “Your company is not the type to pay or request “endorsements” allow it to unfold organically and authentically.” She went on to say, “Wait for the day that someone comes to you with an authentic inspiration to share your story.” That seemed like a far reaching dream yet in that moment Christine and I prayed for the right person to walk through our doors….
Fast forward 5 months and in walks an incredible celebrity… Truly I kid you not… She walked through our humble doors in San Pedro, California with the sincere inspiration to learn more about why her Blessing Bracelet has made her feel different. REALLY!!! YES!!! We hugged, we prayed and we shared together! She is the real deal with a real story about remembering the true light within and learning to Pray and Surrender one’s will to God’s divine will and that the Blessing Bracelets are a tangible tool of that renewal and awakening!!!! WOW! I stand in awe! At this point I know you want to know what celebrity I am talking about and I promise you will know very soon and you will see pictures too!!!! Wait for more miracle stories to come!
Please share with us… #miraclereport
Truth: Dream Big… And Pray Pray Pray! God imparts dreams upon our hearts… Pray with perseverance
“I tell you, all that you ask for in prayer, believe that you will receive it and it shall be yours” (Mk 11:24)
It wasn’t long ago when I questioned why we needed to sit with a priest in a box to ask God for forgiveness. “Why can’t I just go to the beach and take a walk? Or connect with Jesus in prayer and start listing my faults and simply ask Him myself? That is good too, right? And truthfully, when I sit with a priest am I really going to tell him everything? What if he judges me? He is just a man that wears a collar.”
Then I went on a pilgrimage where I had my first “General Confession” and holy moly – two hours later I left in a confession coma…
I woke up feeling washed clean. It was a mystical awakening. I truly went through my entire life up to that point walking into ever dark corner of my soul. Guilt, anger, judgement, greed, and all my actions out of those emotions seemed to come to the surface until I said them out loud and asked to be washed clean. As I was forgiven, I forgave myself.
Confession is therefore the practice of acceptance. The practice of accepting God’s love through it all. Through my shame, my faults, my weaknesses – I had to learn to accept and truly believe in God’s immense love for me. He sees both you and I without blemish, without flaw… Perfect and beautiful in His eyes – “You are altogether beautiful, my darling; there is no flaw in you” (Song of Songs 4:7).
And that guy in a white collar is not just any guy, he is a priest. He is the body of Christ here on earth. When Jesus left this earth, He gave us all the Holy Spirit inside of us. He then instituted the priesthood so that His mystical Presence might flow through the priest in the Holy Sacraments, such as in Confession. It is one of those mystical times when Jesus reveals Himself to love and forgive you.
Confession is a game changer. I pray that you are inspired to practice that sacrament today. Go, give it a try. Open your heart and share your story with us! I hold you in my prayers… Please pray for me!
A few weeks ago a customer came into My Saint My Hero looking for a specific necklace for her daughter. She asked for Claudia D. and so Claudia stopped what she was doing to talk with this customer who was asking for a Miraculous Mary medal. Since we do not have this medal on a necklace, Claudia immediately began to think, “What can we do?” So Claudia pulled out her own personal rosary and hanging as a charm was Miraculous Mary medal that Christine and I gave her after one of our pilgrimages. Claudia immediately took it off her rosary, got some chain and created a necklace for this customer. The customer was brought to tears over how Claudia cared so much to give her one of her very own medals. That is an extraordinary act of love out of an ordinary moment…
Sometimes we may get discouraged that our acts of kindness and love are miniscule and meaningless, however, it is little acts of kindness done with great love that make those moments extraordinary.
“Do not think that love in order to be genuine has to be extraordinary. What we need is to love without getting tired. Be faithful in small things because it is in them that your strength lies.”
― Mother Teresa
May we all choose love – recognize it, accept it, and share it with everyone we meet!
Claudia De La Torre is our Sales Order Clerk. She has been working with My Saint My Hero for almost 4 years. She has a loving husband and three beautiful children. During her free time she enjoys taking her three dogs to the beach and swimming in the ocean.