Sometimes it’s good to remember our story; to look back at where we started, how far we’ve come, and through it all, see God’s hand at work. Because despite the daily distractions, in the end, when all is said and done, it is for His Kingdom that we do what we do. Our mission makes no sense if we don’t do it all for Him, through Him, and in Him. The Holy Spirit was the inspiration which began My Saint My Hero, and we pray, He will always guide us in the light of truth, and that we will have the grace to be open and obedient to His Way.
Thank you Venture with Virtue for allowing Christine to share the My Saint My Hero story with your listeners! The interview will be live on their website for a few weeks, so head on over there to give it a listen!
In celebration of a personal milestone last year, I chose to walk a portion of the Camino de Santiago in Spain with my family. Along with my husband, our four children, a future son-in-law and daughter-in-law, and our family priest, we walked just under 100 miles in 7 days.
Just like life itself, the Camino de Santiago is a journey that can only be completed by taking one step at a time. When we began, it was hard to imagine reaching our destination…and along the way it was hard to recognize all the little blessings…but looking back we realize it is a journey we will never forget!
The greatest gift was the growth of our family, with Johnny’s fiancée, Ashley, and Elle’s fiancé, Joseph, along with the addition Fr. Jim, walking every step of the way with us. We never know what tomorrow may bring so thank you for sharing in today with us – you are a blessing in our lives!
A New Walk
As I begin a new walk in 2018, I know I will continue to draw from my experience on the Camino de Santiago. I believe that St. James will continue to work on my heart and keep guiding me and my family towards a closer relationship with Christ. In fact, I started this New Year in a different way. Instead of ringing in the new year at a party with friends, I sat outside of St. James Church in Medjugorje praying a rosary with my husband; offering many prayers for all those whom we had promised to take with us to this sacred place. As I walked into the church and saw the statue of St. James on the altar, I was reminded of his example to walk the extra mile to boldly share his faith. That’s what saints do, they set the bar a little higher for us. This year it is my prayer to follow the example of St. James to share my faith without hesitation and with great love!
Honestly my favorite gift for everyone is the Benedictine Blessing Bracelet because, like we hear over and over, “there’s just something about this bracelet” that makes people feel different, and they never want to take it off. I have no doubt that it is the prayers said by the women weaving these bracelets in Medjugorje along with all of our daily prayers at My Saint My Hero. Prayer is powerful and even though we can’t see what our prayers are doing, there is something about wearing a tangible reminder on your wrist that allows you to live in the belief that there is something more that we cannot see with our eyes but we can feel deep in our hearts.
Something for Everyone
Joe and Christine. Photo credit: Lizzy Rich @justahandmaiden
I love that we have so many versions of this bracelet to fit everyone’s style and it allows us to be able to share a blessing with everyone in our lives. My husband loves wearing the Blessings for Him, but all his friends prefer the One Blessing bracelet. I love giving the Blessing Bracelets with both the Gold & Silver medals…. and a new favorite gift for a special occasion is the Stellar Blessing Bracelet (I love EVERY color combination of medals and crystals that we offer-see below). Also, they are perfect for all ages, from a teenager to an aunt or grandma!
Everyone Needs a Blessing….
Everyone needs a reminder that they are not alone and that someone is praying for them… Everyone deserves to know that they are loved… and that’s exactly why there is no greater gift than the The Gift of a Blessing! TM
Tis the Season for love, family, gatherings and gift giving.
My favorite part of Christmas is gathering together as one giant family and spending days laughing and sharing. It is truly a time that we all treasure and hold sacred. A time to reflect on Christ born anew within our hearts and a time to love one another, and we all do our best to take the time off of work to dedicate to family. This Christmas is a very special Christmas for my family because we have two new babies to cuddle! I am a great aunt twice-over and I am in awe of how much love a sweet little baby can inspire and spark!
My Ultimate Favorite Gift to Give
When I think of gift giving, my favorite part of it is sharing a new discovery that has meant a lot to me and something I can’t wait to give. And EVERYONE gets a BLESSING!!! My family has a tradition of putting all the blessing bracelets in a basket at our Christmas Dinner table and everyone picks one with the intention of giving it to the person next to them (each person picks a partner to exchange blessings with). As they put the bracelet on the other, they say a little prayer or blessing for that person, and then the other person has their “turn” to give a blessing. My family loves to choose from the 10 medalBenedictine Blessing Bracelet, Serenity and Gratitude. We are united in prayer during our Christmas dinner and it carries a sense of being woven together that remains long after our Christmas time together comes to an end. I love looking at my blessing bracelet and feeling the love of my family.
My Favorite Picks This Year
In addition to Blessing Bracelets, a few items that I am excited to give this year is a set of lip gloss by 3 GRACES! They are made with amazing ingredients and each lip gloss has a bible verse and fun saying! Everyone needs a little lip gloss to make them sparkle!
I also LOVE my YETI 30oz mega cup, and that will be on my list for all my fellow heavy drinkers (water and coffee that is).
The true gift of being a part of the My Saint My Hero family is the opportunity it allows us to bring gratitude, hope and most of all love into the world. We are not only changing hearts one person at a time all around our country with our wearable blessings, but we are changing actual lives all over the world with the work you are all providing by your sales.
“When I was 4 years old I dreamed… when I grow up I want to make jewelry… That was a dream… and now it came true… thank YOU!”
-YOUNG GIRL RESCUED FROM HUMAN TRAFFICKING IN CAMBODIA AND NOW WEAVING PEACELINKS FOR MY SAINT MY HERO
You matter! You are making a difference in the world! We are so grateful for you!
Large families are a huge blessing, especially at the holidays! As the youngest of eight children I have many memories of waiting for family to arrive on Thanksgiving. I had brothers and sisters driving home from college and from their own homes (bringing my nieces and nephews that were like brothers and sisters to me as they were more my age than my siblings). The anticipation built in me as I waited for our quiet home to be transformed into hub of laughter, fun, singing, and lots and lots of sharing. When I was young I took all of this for granted, I don’t anymore.
Many things have changed since I grew from being the baby in the family to having a family of four children of my own. I realize now that the presence of one thing connects every thanksgiving I have celebrated over the last 50 years: PRAYER. Throughout the years there have been many different forms of prayer depending on the household hosting the gathering that year, but every meal has always started in a prayer of Thanksgiving for the food we were about to share, for all of our blessings, and a prayer of petition for all those that would not have all that we had that day.
I will never forget one prayer in particular as long as I live. It was the prayer my niece’s husband prayed at their home the year he found out he had A.L.S. There was not a dry eye in the backyard tent (like I said our family is large and most houses can’t accommodate all of us) as he read from the book of Psalms in his bible. The night ended with the whole family singing Hallelujah accompanied by another niece’s boyfriend on his ukulele and all I could think of was the multitude of prayers being sent to heaven for him as I was reminded of the saying, “singing is like praying twice!” Two years later he is miraculously still in amazing physical health despite his diagnosis. He has an army of family and friends praying for him and, whether his good health is due to these prayers or to modern medicine, EVERY day is worthy of thanksgiving prayers for him.
Thanksgiving This Year
Today I fly to Denver to be with a whole new family this year for Thanksgiving… the family of my future daughter-in-law. I am bringing along a bag full of Blessing Bracelets to share. My prayer is that every time we look down at these bracelets they will be a reminder of the love shared on this beautiful occasion and of being blessed, once again, as our family continues to grow.
Gratitude for me is a supernatural grace that raises my heart and soul above the pain of suffering and loss, to a place of love and peace. It transports me to a place where I feel I can join my heart with others and mutually lift the other up, a place where loneliness can be healed by friendship, compassion, family and new life.
Gratitude takes me to a place where I feel held in God’s arms, protected in the mantle of Our Blessed Mother, and reminds me that my Guardian Angel is with me. It reminds me to call on Archangel Michael to protect me.
Gratitude reminds me what a gift it is to be united with Christ and that His light reignites and illuminates. It reminds me that one day, by God’s grace, I will be able to sit at the banquet in heaven with all my loved ones around me. For me this is the place of gratitude- a place where I look around the table and feel loved.
This Thanksgiving we will have the grace to be surrounded by all our loved ones, some physically, and others spiritually when we close our eyes and connect our heart with all our loved ones who are either away or have gone before us, and feel the love flow in the rhythm of our unified heart beats.
This is us last year, preparing our hearts and setting the table for our Thanksgiving meal.
This Thanksgiving, I am incredibly grateful to be here! I am grateful to experience gratitude and to feel loved! This year our Thanksgiving tradition will include my immediate family and our dear beloved family friends as we celebrate a weekend of holy matrimony in addition to Thanksgiving! We will celebrate this couple’s love, and the gift of two new grandchildren in our extended family this year. This Thursday we will join together to feast, seated along the benches among the fields as my husband cooks up the turkeys, and we string lights between the trees. The feast will continue as we partake in the Holy Mass, Matrimony, and celebrations! From my family to yours I wish you a Thanksgiving filled with supernatural gratitude that overflows with love! Happy and Blessed Thanksgiving!
“May I stay in constant presence and intimate union with Christ” -St.Teresa of Avila
Imagine that! Words like these draw me into the lives of the saints and ignite my heart to want to know more, learn and imitate their devotion, their practice and their meditations.
The saints lived ordinary lives like you and me but with the passion to live this life on earth in constant union with Christ. What does that mean? To me it means surrendering my will to God’s divine will, allowing my daily life to flow and activate all that I am for the Glory of God.
It does not mean sitting in a cave and meditating all day (although there are many days that I dream of just that). To me it means being fully alive, being fully who I was born to be in the very moment. The saints teach me how to live fully and show me the tools to bring me back on the path when the “dark nights of the soul” hit hard. Yes, I just said “dark nights of the soul”. We all know those days that seem to consume us and we fall into bed and ask “Dear Jesus, please let me wake up feeling renewed and refreshed… press the restart button… What I love about admitting this truth is that we are not alone! You and I experience many of the same things and guess what… so did many saints! They had miraculous moments, amazing moments, flooded with love, but they also had those dark moments when they must have thought to themselves that they couldn’t make it one more day!
What they did during those dark moments is what intrigues me. They dove deeper into their devotion, they surrendered (didn’t try to fix anything), they were still in their suffering, confusion, anxiety and handed it over to Jesus on the Cross and then they sat. They allowed Christ to hold, comfort ,and eventually restore them. This is what I find transformational.
YES I love the Saints, YES I want to be a Saint and YES, you, too, are called to be a Saint. In the words of St. Catherine of Siena and St. John Paul II, “If you are what you are meant to be, you will set the whole world on fire”.
My Favorite Saint
Although I love them all, I am most inspired by the miracle workers and the mystics because they lived with one foot on earth and the other in heaven. With undeniable conviction they allowed God to work through them and became a conduit of light and healing. They performed acts of wonder that convinced many that God is real, prayer really does work and that love heals!
To name a few: St. Teresa of Avila would go into deep meditation and encounter Christ and her heart was literally lanced by His burning love! She taught all the sisters in the convent to pray with their heart and fall in love with the love of God! They began to live every day with greater joy, and could hear, yes actually hear, God talking to them and guiding their daily activities!
St. Padre Pio. I love that he lived in my lifetime and that he had the gift of bi-location! On many occasions he was in Germany guiding soldiers to safety and dragging them out of the wreckage while he was at the same time in his Monastery in Italy! He had the instant gift of speaking 4 or 5 languages so that he could hear confession and give absolution in their native tongue!
St. Francis De Sales. He left behind one of the most amazing tools, a book on how to live a devout life as a lay person.
I don’t know how many days I have here on this earth, I hope many, however, I believe in learning from others to expedite my goal to reach heaven. Learning from the saints is not just a stairway to heaven, I consider it my escalator!
I love that I am able to wear St. Benedict’s medal every day and that he has become one of our official heroes! St. Benedict taught us all to make God’s love visible through all that is true, good and beautiful, and he reminds us that beauty amplifies God’s love! St. Benedict also reminds us to “Ora de Labore”, to work and pray, that one’s prayer life is interweaved into their work life and there is no separation.
“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.