Six Easy Pieces

Recently, my friend Monica posted about the importance of art in her life.

When I commented that I do good to draw stick people, she reminded me that I bead jewelry and that, too, is art. She suggested I write a post about my jewelry creations, along with some photos and thoughts about them.

So, thanks, Monica, for the idea, and here goes:

Blue Shell Earrings by Debbie

1) I made these earrings on a whim. I wanted something flashy — more flashy than I’d normally wear! — so I fashioned them to dangle fairly long, almost to my shoulders. They feature a turquoise shell-like material and produce the most pleasant clinking sound when you move your head.

Shell Necklace by Debbie

2) This necklace is made from tiny shells. I like the way it says “beach vacation” and the fact that it goes with anything!

Black Earrings by Debbie

3) The two black crystal beads at the bottom of these earrings were leftovers. Three and a half years ago, I made my Dad a Rosary from these ebony beads for Christmas. He was in the hospital over the holiday, so we carried his presents to him and tried to make his day special. He died less than a week later, the last day of 2008. I keep the earrings in honor of him, but I find I can’t wear them. It still hurts too much.

Chakra Bracelet by Debbie

4) This bracelet is one I made several years ago, when I learned about Chakras. According to Eastern philosophy, we need to balance our mind and body based on seven energy centers that work together and independently. The seven Chakra colors are red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, and violet. I don’t know if this philosophy is against my Christian beliefs, but I can’t see how balancing one’s emotional, physical, intellectual, and spiritual energies is counter intuitive to good living. Besides, it’s pretty!

Domer’s Rosary, now mine by Debbie

5) I made this Rosary for Domer’s birthday last year. Notice it’s in Notre Dame’s traditional colors of navy blue, emerald green, and gold. Apparently he thought it looked too feminine or delicate or something, for he suggested I keep it. (He wasn’t quite that blunt, but he’s never been known not to speak his mind!). I was glad to take him up on it, since I wouldn’t have made something that time-consuming for me, and the sapphire color is my birthstone. An added plus? The emeralds remind me of “the motherland”!

Chandelier Earrings by Debbie

6) This is a pair of chandelier earrings with a leverback ear wire. They’re in hematite (the greyish color, said to be a good grounding stone) and faux white pearls. I love the look of chandeliers. They’re girly, without being over-the-top. But they take a long time to make, since they have so many tiny parts, and if you don’t get them just right, they can be heavy on your ears.

There you have it. Six easy pieces, all different, all significant. And to think I have BOXES full of this kind of stuff, just waiting to find the right people to love them!

Maybe I should post one special piece every week until the whole lot is out there??


I tend to think of myself as a praying person, but lately I’ve been wondering how well I pray.

There’s a difference, my non-Catholic friends tell me, between praying and praying.

Too often, Catholics are accused of reeling off mindless prayers. The Rosary, for example, involves recitation of the same group of prayers, over and over in a methodical pattern.

Silently praying the beads or even reciting them aloud in church causes my mind to wander. Something about the almost sing-song chants, the familiarity of the words, and before I know it, I’ve “lost” whole decades!

Not that I don’t love the Rosary. I do.

But “rote” prayers don’t make up my entire prayer spectrum.

Prayer — the kind where you read a portion of Scripture or a devotional and allow its message to slowly sink in and permeate your being —  well, somehow that seems a “higher” form of praying. After all, many times it leaves you rejoicing in God’s goodness, your heart singing or leaping with gratitude and peace, and often what you’ve read seems to address your particular needs right then.

So which prayer is more pleasing to God? Who can say?

Who also can say when is the best time to pray?

I’ve known people who set their alarms early so they can have an hour or so prayer-time before starting their day. Others do their praying in the evening, right before bedtime.

For me, most of the day is a prayer. That probably sounds odd, but I realized a long time ago that I’m unable to do anything good, anything of meaning, by myself, so I pray.

Didn’t St. Paul advise us to pray unceasingly?

But when does “unceasingly” become remote, mechanical, overkill?

Part of me wonders whether God doesn’t tire of non-stop prayers, whether He doesn’t want to say (as I occasionally did when my son was little), “Enough for now. Let my ears rest.”

Jesus’ friends faced a similar dilemma. They begged Him to teach them to pray, so He gave them the Lord’s Prayer.

What a wonderful pattern for prayer in general — beginning with praise, acknowledging God’s Will, making our request for this day’s bread, and asking forgiveness for our failings!

Perhaps all kinds of prayer are acceptable in God’s eyes. The little, quick prayers; the long, deep prayers; the recited prayers, the spontaneous, “made-up” prayers.

In the end, I think, it’s not the kind of prayers or the amount or the time of day. It’s that we pray, and pray often.

What do you think?

Divine Mercy Sunday

Tomorrow is Divine Mercy Sunday.

That’s a relatively new celebration on the Catholic Church’s calendar, initiated in 2000 upon the canonization of Sr. Faustina, a Polish nun, who said Jesus Christ appeared to her in the early 1930s with a message of Mercy for the world.

Recited upon the beads of a Rosary, the Divine Mercy Chaplet contains special prayers for nine days of intentions, beginning on Good Friday and ending on the Saturday before the second Sunday of Easter.

Among those prayed for are priests and religious, the faithful, those who don’t know God, the meek and humble, the souls in Purgatory, and those who have grown lukewarm in their faith.

Reception of the sacraments of Reconciliation and Holy Communion on that feast day grants a plenary indulgence, complete forgiveness of sins and the punishment they deserve. You’re washed 100 percent clean — how great is that?!

Now there’s plenty of controversy over this feast. Some claim that Catholics, by honoring the image of the Risen Jesus that Sr. Faustina said she was told to prepare, are in essence idolizing a graven image.

Sure, we Catholics have statues in Church, but we don’t worship statues. They’re there merely to remind us of the people (and good deeds) they represent. Everybody knows a statue, in and of itself, can’t heal or help anybody!

Others claim that the “pyramid” on the Divine Mercy image is Satanic, likening it to Freemasonry, Scientology, and New Age occultism. Seriously?

Sr. Faustina said she asked Jesus what the pale and scarlet rays emanating from His Heart meant; He told her they signified His blood and water shed while hanging upon the Cross to His Death. Hardly sounds Satanic, does it? Nor does it look like a pyramid.

Still others claim that praying the Chaplet upon Rosary beads somehow lessens the meaning of the Rosary itself, or that it’s one more example of Catholics mindlessly repeating prayers.

Sorry, those arguments don’t fly either. Most people who have devotion to the Divine Mercy Chaplet don’t fail to have devotion to the Rosary; they honor both. Nor do devout Catholics “mindlessly” repeat prayers, any more than devout members of other religions “mindlessly” recite Scripture or their prayers or perform ritualistic washing.

Say what you will — an opportunity like this comes around only once a year, and everyone who can should take advantage of it.

Just think: having every sin you’ve ever committed being completely forgiven by Jesus, and every punishment deserved for those sins to be completely put aside!