Thursday, April 4, 2013

CCE Catholic News Broadcasted LIVE for the first time !!!

I'm extremely happy... CCE Catholic News went LIVE just a few hours ago.

With a little help from my husband Patrick we broadcasted LIVE an event to educate Catholic voters from my parish The Church of St Thomas More Subang Jaya, on their rights as voters and what they should do to help the country have as clean and fair an election as possible.

I am so proud of a few Catholic priests who have been very vocal about fighting for social justice. Proud of our dear Fr Simon, of course. Cute and courageous.

It's late now, so I shall just end the post. Will update with more stories on our new LIVE streaming capabilities and the soft launch of our android app on PlayStore another day.

Just look to the right of this blog for footages of the recorded LIVE broadcast.

Over and out and have a blessed Easter!!!

P.S. Click to watch the video on the right side of the blog.
Prep For Elections Part 1 and Part 2

Thursday, March 28, 2013

It's Holy Thursday Already?

It's Holy Thursday!!!

Wow, time just flew by this year. I still remember Ash Wednesday like it was just a few days ago, and now we are here - Maundy Thursday.

Although it's a working day, I just can't focus on the work. I'm 100% "distracted" by God.

I feel so lost, torn between what needs be completed and how I just want to be left alone dwelling and feeling close to Jesus.

No words uttered, no actions done, just the thought of being with Him and knowing that everything else, all the cares of the world will be taken care of.

This conflict is painful to my soul.

What helped was somehow I was given a chance to be in His House awhile ago celebrating the funeral mass of a famous Malaysian radio DJ Alan Zachariah. I was happy for Alan, for God had called him home to have a super duper Easter celebration in the spiritual realm.

Now, in between work, I'm stealing time to just pen down my feelings of longing for my beloved Lord.

As a mother, I too am extremely happy as I discovered that my little four-year-old Mary Isabelle's power of comprehension has improved by leaps and bounds this year.

She now can follow a little more the stories behind the Gospel readings and this year during the Palm Sunday mass she was so excited waving the palms which I told her was like a reanactment of Jesus being warmly welcomed into Jerusalem.

I told her before she left for school this morning that this evening we shall witness another important part of the story. This time Jesus will have a last meal with his very best friends and He will also wash their feet.

Mary seemed eager to see all that later this evening.

Of course, knowing my daughter she would be most happy to chow down on the Hot Cross buns for sale. What can I say, she loves food.

Truly looking forward for the mass later for the songs chosen in our parish for this great day never fail to touch my heart deeply.

I feel so blessed. Amen.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

New logo launch

Today after so many months, I've finally taken some time to update this blog.

I have been busy living life in all its aspects.

Anyway, today I changed the logo of my blog. I designed it myself with my brand new S-Pen from my Samsung Note 10.1. A powerful machine indeed.

It may not win any prizes for design but it is done from divine inspiration.

That matters more to me...lol.

Well, the new logo is in the shape of an eye. If you look carefully, it consists of two Cs.
One is the normal C, which is the left side of the eye and the other is a flip side of a C for the right side of the eye.

Then the inside the eye is the eyeball E.

So it spells CCE for Cradle Catholic Eyes.

I've been using green all these while even for my old logo because green is one of the liturgical colours of the Catholic faith - Ordinary Time.

It is also the main colour of the natural environment which God has entrusted us with.

Visually I feel this logo now gives my readers a better impact of my blog title.

I redesigned these because I've been working on a project which will be launched very soon.

So please stay tuned my friends.

Have a superbly blessed Wednesday.



Friday, August 24, 2012

Quality time with my God daughter.

When I was growing up my Baptism Godparents were unknown to me. If you asked me how they looked like I can't even remember.

Perhaps, it's a Malaysian Chinese Catholic scenario. My first Holy Communion and even Confirmation was just a big deal during mass but after that there was no big family and friends gatherings to celebrate the event.

It is only after my marriage into a Catholic Malayalee family since 2001, that I realised what I've missed out all these years.

I discovered that all the Sacraments of the Church are celebrated afterwards with a big family and friends party either at home or in a restaurant with lots of pomp and splendour.

Mary Isabelle, my little three-year-old cradle Catholic, I'm so happy for you that so far you have had a great start.

I also discovered that many of my husband's family members have good to great relationships with their Godparents.

Compared to my almost non-existant relationship - it is to me, FANTASTIC!

Unfortunately, I have not been a very good Godparent. One reason, I think is we, Patrick and I, have too many Godchildren - both adults and children.

Doesn't help that my personality type is introverted and that I enjoy my own company the best.

However, this recent long Raya holidays, I've decided to start building relationship with at least one Godchild at a time.

So I made a date with Kimberly, one of our countless gifts from God, to go out and watch a movie last Tuesday.

It was a long overdue date which we were supposed to do for her birthday in January. As usual, things got busy and the date was delayed.

We watched The Wimpy Kid 3, a story about a teenager who was too much into video games and not into outdoor sports, a trait his dad wanted him to have.

It was funny and both of us laughed a lot. It also gave me the opportunity to explain some Americanised expressions to Kim.

After the movie, we had lunch at McDs and also her favourite dessert - ice shavings.

                                          Kim and I at McDonalds after the movie.



    
           Kim enjoying her favourite Sesame flavoured ice shavings after lunch...yummy.


But what I most treasured most was the moment she started to open up to me. Although it was just a few personal sharings about her life, but I was happy to be her listening ear.

I suddenly remembered what the facilitator of Mary Isabelle's Baptism told us, that Godparents play a very important role because sometimes when children find it hard to communicate with their parents, Godparents are the ones they can turn to.

Thank you Lord for that wonderful affirmation.

I was glad Mary Isabelle had some quality time with her Godmother that day too.

You see, Kim is my Godchild and Mary is Kim's parents' Godchild.

That itself is a story for another blog entry.






Wednesday, August 8, 2012


Yes, I know it's been a long time since I blogged. Apologies to all those who follow the rantings of this soon to be 40-years-young Cradle Catholic. Life has truly been an adventure.

Now in this post of mine, I just wanted to share a video made by one of St Thomas More's 11.30am choir members.

Her name is Marilyn and she hails from Philippines.

Talented in singing and music, she has really given a boost to our choir. Of late, she has contributed yet again through her initiative of creating videos of the songs we sung during mass, including the psalms.

I was really very touched by her efforts and I have nicknamed her the techno evangelist. From her actions, all the songs and psalms can now continue to touch our lives even after the mass has ended.

Especially during challenging times when we need the comfort of the Word of God in song. This is the first of her videos I am posting on my blog. Why?

Because one of our parishioners said some of the youths were very touched by this particular song when it was sung during mass last Sunday

Do take note, that Marilyn just used a tiny MP3 recorder/player to record the singing, so the quality may not be so good.

Marilyn is not the composer of the song. I just wanted to clarify as her name appeared below the song. I think this happened as she uploaded the song into Facebook and I just copied the link onto my blog. I wanted to clarify this to avoid any copyrights issues.

But you know God uses the simple and imperfect things and people to touch His people. Hope this post will bring a smile in your heart today.

Have a superbly blessed day,
Hazel

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Hail Mary by Mary Isabelle

For those of you who missed this Youtube of our almost three-year-old daughter singing the Hail Mary, here it is again.

Can't blame her proud Catholic parents for showing off her praying skills at this tender age. Today at Easter Vigil mass she sang the response to the Litany with all her heart and attracted a few stares.

Well, thank God those were stares of amazement and approval. I feel that in times when our Faith has somewhat been watered down as compared to a generation ago, my little Mary Isabelle represents a beacon of hope that the future generation of Cradle Catholics would once again know their Faith and live it with
great fervour. Happy Easter everyone...indeed Jesus is Risen! Alleluia!

Friday, April 6, 2012

Guess What it's Good Friday 2012 And It's Pouring

I was just finishing up some work in the office before driving home when I paused to think about the rain every Good Friday at about 3pm (plus minus).


At that moment I saw it was 3.30pm and believe you not, thunder started and the sounds of the rain hitting the roof of the building was resounding.

It was a moving feeling that perhaps only Catholics appreciate (yes, we the symbolic signs and symbol people).

If you noticed after the 3rd Week of Lent I kinda stopped blogging as life was really throwing me an enormous challenge with my daughter falling sick regularly and my husband was away for work many miles across the sea.

To add to that, there was the usual busy preparation of those involved in church ministry as Easter draws nearer.

I was just floored. That is when I realised that I am just so weak without God and it was only with His help and those He sent to assist me during those "lonely" times that I picked up the pieces.

I am happy to say that my desert experience has ended and I'm so excited to experience the Easter that is soon to be upon us all. May you all have a superbly blessed Good Friday, Holy Saturday and Easter.

P.S. I'm still so happy looking at the fax I received from the Vatican confirming our tickets for the Wednesday audience with Pope Benedict on 18 April 2012. Rome sweet home, here we come...

Saturday, March 10, 2012

A Time To Give

Tomorrow we will enter into the third week of Lent. I know, I know it seems like yesterday when it was Ash Wednesday... then again it seems like yesterday when it was Jan 1 and now we are at the first quarter of the year.

If you have been swept away by life's routine and haven't really quieten down this season of Lent, there's still time. You still have the whole of the 3rd week, 4th week and 5th week before Palm Sunday on April 1.

I know I myself am making a conscious effort despite so much noise and activity living in a fast paced city.

As I mentioned in my earlier posting, inner peace and quiet time with the Lord is a CHOICE. It can be scheduled in. For me my best time is early morning before the rest of the family wakes up and also just after my daughter Mary goes to kindy.

Of course, it is different for everyone. Some of you who are nocturnal creatures may find that the best time is when everyone else in the family has gone to bed at night and peace reigns.

Anyway, the pillars of Lent is fasting, prayer, abstinence and alms giving. I shall not go into what these are cos' if you are Catholic, you already know what they are, right? Opps, perhaps I am taking too much for granted. Maybe some cradle Catholic out there still wonder what exactly these are.

Well, you can check out this site and find out more.

My parish priest Fr Simon has been reminding us that during this time of fasting from food and all things we love too much, we would have spent less and the money saved from these efforts can then be donated to help the needy.

Now, I know most of you have your favourite charity or organisation to give to. However, this Lent I encourage you to expand your giving circle and consider the Church of St Thomas More, my parish.

Why?

Well, for starters besides still paying off our RM4mil loan from the Archdiocese for our building fund, we have started actively helping foreign immigrants to have a better life. For a new parish which is paying off a huge loan and serving a growing community made of young families, funding is always a help.

We have been fortunate that God has blessed us with many generous donors thus far in the initial stage of the building fund raising activities. That's how we are no longer worshipping in a badminton hall of a private school and now celebrate mass in a beautiful church.

After starting this blog and being involved in the parish fund raising activities, I created a PayPal Donate button just to see if people actually would donate online.

Well, one very generous Catholic from Singapore (a true loving thy neighbour story here) donated some. My friend Jimmy from the Finance Ministry of my parish and I was very encouraged by it.

However, since I slowed down on blogging, nobody else has donated online. Anyway, here's my appeal once again to the global Catholic community to send some over here.

Having said that, all Malaysians reading this post is most encouraged to charge your credit cards, (debit card or PayPal) and earn some extra points while helping us out.

In fact, there was an announcement in the Budget last year that the government may consider giving tax relief for donations to places of worship.Let's make them honour that soon...

Once again, I'm calling for action, just look at the right side of my blog and you will find the Donate button I'm talking about. Just click and follow the instructions and you would have helped us out immensely.

Thanking you in advance for your generosity this Lent. God bless you.

Monday, March 5, 2012

2nd Week of Lent 2012

As usual time passes really fast and we are already into the second week of Lent. I have been quite happy this year. It's a CHOICE. There have been many challenges to make me feel just the opposite. However, I CHOOSE happiness and inner peace.

My secret?

I focus on Christ and what He had to go through in the desert for 40 days and nights and suddenly all that has happened to me pale in comparison. I even seem extremely petty.

So to stop myself, I switch to gratitude mode. I decide to thank Jesus for all my blessings and instantly I feel happy.

I'm really glad my little cradle Catholic Mary is picking up this habit, as every night before she sleeps, we say our gratitude prayers together.

We start by saying thank you Jesus for everything... then I encourage her to list out what she is thankful for. Is always great to hear her say, I thank you Jesus for Mommy (me...*beaming*), Papa, Aunty Bee, Aunty Da, Ah Ma, Ah Kong (her grandparents), Gaby, Tia, Risqa (her cousins), Teacher Joanne...etc.

My heart sings to see that my little girl has her values in the right places as relationships with our loved ones are priceless.

At two plus she can recite the Our Father and Hail Mary pretty well (actually she sings the Hail Mary much better). She's proof that our Faith is caught and not taught.

In fact, because of her, I've developed a habit of saying grace before meals. However, she's sometimes shy in front of strangers. Guess she might have caught that one too. Opps, sorry Lord, I'm working on it.

I do pray that I do allocate more time for set prayers - the Rosary and the Stations Of The Cross this season. Please pray for me. It's a struggle most modern day typical Cradle Catholics go through. I can just imagine those super Catholics shaking their heads (in disapproval).

Anyway, I discovered a link Catholic Expert.com on audio Catholic prayers. You can check it out by clicking on the link.Perhaps it might help you. Do let me know what you think of it please. Whether it has helped you or not. I just love living in this information age. Everything I need including food for my soul is just a click away.

Dearest Lord, I pray you will continue to walk this journey of repentance and renewal. Thank you Abba, Jesus and the Holy Spirit. Indeed you are my beloved blessed Trinity.

Till we meet again, God's choicest blessings....

Saturday, February 25, 2012

First week of Lent 2012

This year Lent is special because now I have another strong ally praying for me in the heavenly realm. She's my grandmother Mary Fam who recently returned to the Lord this 4th Jan.

She has always been a devout Catholic and I pray that God will give me the strength to pass on the faith through the generations.

I'm very glad my little Mary is picking it up. I'm amazed how she can sing the newly revised mass ordinaries pretty well now and she's not even three.

I know I'm being ambitious trying to explain what Lent is to her in simple terms, but her disinterest tells me mommy is not doing such a great job yet.

Just wanted to thank my beloved Blessed Trinity for the little pockets of peace I enjoy in your presence despite my current hectic lifestyle juggling family, career and ministry.

Without You I would really lose it. Love you to bits for loving the sinner in me.


Your loving daughter,
Hazel

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

First post for 2012

After a looooooooonnnnnnnnnnggggg break! Here's a few words to break the silence. Wishing all of you a superbly blessed 2012.

For us in Malaysia, many of us are just going back to our offices and starting our work engines again.

I pray this year will have more time to share some stories from my life.

That's all for now.... tata

Friday, April 15, 2011

The Archibalds' pilgrimage to St Thomas More sites in London

It was definitely a miracle. I shall always have very fond memories of 14 April 2011 as it was the day I stepped foot on the very grounds my parish patron saint St Thomas More once lived merrily with his family in Chelsea.

Yes, we made it there and was given a tour through divine intervention. What would you call it when we turned up without an appointment at the Allen Hall Seminary and all the seminarians were at class (well almost all) and the lady at the reception said we had no chance of having a little tour of his former estate.

Okay, perhaps, I should rewind the story a little. Yesterday morning, we decided that the programme for the day should include as many Thomas More sites as possible. So I did some research online and our first destination was the Church of St Thomas More in Swiss Cottage.

When we arrived, we didn't see the church as the map on google showed, so we went to the Red Sky cafe - owned by the Trinty Church (Anglican) and asked them where the STM church was. Somehow they never heard of it. Thank God, the guy at the counter was very kind and used his iphone4 to google us the exact location - which was a short walk up a hillock nearby.

Poor Patrick, who was backpacking Mary Isabelle, was breathless by the time we got up there, but it was worth it as my heart skipped a beat when I saw the other STM church - in London - the birth place of  Thomas More.

It was about 9.30am then and we were in time for the 10am mass. Roughly 10 people, including us, mostly senior citizens and foreigners came. Mass was celebrated by Fr Stefan.

After mass I took some video and Pat some photos of the church and we waited to speak to Fr Stefan. He was really warm and friendly and took pains to show us how to take a bus from South Kensington underground station to Allen Hall Seminary - which is the grounds of  Thomas More's former Chelsea home.

So off we went. However, when we arrived at the South Kensington Tube station, we couldn't find bus stop D which the bus was supposed to pass that route. We walked for quite a while and decided to take the traditional black London taxi.

We told the cabbie we wanted to go to the Old Church at Cheyne Walk, as it had a nice St Thomas More statue outside the Anglican parish.

When we finally arrived at the Old Church, I was already very happy as I saw the beautiful monument of Thomas More sitting majestically - waiting for us.

The view which faced the embankment was gorgeous and I could imagine him taking a boat from Chelsea to London city for work every morning.

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We didn't enter the Old Church but instead took some photos at the Roper Garden just next to it and then headed towards Beaufort Street to Allen Hall.

Armed with plenty of hope as we didn't inform anyone we were coming to visit, we pressed on the door bell and prayed for the best.

A lady (ohhh I forgot her name) greeted us and then told us the bad news that since we didn't have any appointment, we couldn't see the grounds. She said visitors must make an appointment first and especially today when all seminarians are at their classes now. She told us that the seminarians are the "tour guides" when visitors come a calling.

My heart sank. Anyway, I thought to myself, Hazel, no worries always another time. So we asked if we could just take some photos within the reception area as there was a nice bust of  Thomas More and a figure of John Fisher I think. We also needed a short rest to recover from the shoulderache of backpacking Mary around.

So these we did and as we were packing up to leave, our angel came in the form of Bro Ivano (hoped I spelt his name right). He walked past the lady at the reception and she quickly asked if he could bring us around. He swiftly obliged and I was extremely delighted. My heart sang and I was floating from the amazing miracle that God presented to us.

So brother took us around a room in which some of his relics like the hairshirt he wore a day before his execution was kept, also portraits both originals and copies of himself, his children and his huge mansion.

Bro Ivano, who will be ordained deacon soon (sorry I forgot the date in all the excitement), also explained to us some history of Allen Hall seminary of how during the persecution of Catholics, many priests from this very seminary who were caught celebrating mass for the English, were executed.

Then he took us out to the garden area which was partly within Thomas More's Chelsea home, in fact he showed us parts of the wall that belonged to the More home. Touching it was as if I had touched a relic.

Before we knew it we reached the famour Mulberry tree. It is believed from the size and age of the tree that it lived since the day of Thomas More and that it must have provided shelter to him when he told those witty jokes and shared tender moments with his beloved family.

When we thought that was the highlight of the day, Bro Ivano outdid himself, by bringing us jam made from THAT Mulberry tree. He said this a gift so that some of the parishioners of our church can have a taste of it.

He is such a sweet guy and has a very nice way of calling our darling daughter - Maria Isabella with his cute Italian accent. Btw, he is from a place very near Lanciano and his sister works in a pharmacy just opposite the  church of the Eucharistic Miracle. That piece of information kinda connected us further as we have visited the Lanciano church in one of our previous DIY pilgrimages back in 2003.

We wanted to visit to Tower Hill and Tower of London after that but it was already late and places of interest close early in London.

After Allen Hall, even our short visit outside Buckingham Palace paled in comparison to the euphoria I felt earlier.

Thank you Abba Father, lord Jesus and the Holy Spirit. I know we wouldn't have experienced all these without your help.

P.S. Btw, Allen Hall is open to visitors to stay-in during the Summer Holidays (July-Aug) when the seminarians go home for their break. I got the prices of the rooms. Imagine, spending the night at Thomas More's home in Chelsea. Wow! Amazing!

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Location map of Church of St Thomas More, Subang Jaya, Malaysia

If you have been touched by attending mass in our church, we hope you will give back generously to help us settle the over RM4mil loan from our Archbishop. 

Please click the Donate Button like the one shown below, located on the right hand side of this blog. 

Thank you for your generosity in advance.

May God bless you always.






Friday, March 11, 2011

Learning my faith through technology

When I first got my iPhone 3Gs, I wasn't very pleased with it as it could not Bluetooth other mobile devices other than another iPhone. It was annoying, as I like exchanging photos with friends via Bluetooth.

Yes! I would tell most friends who wanted my take on whether they should get an iPhone or Blackberry and my answer would mostly be Blackberry.

It was almost toward the end of last year that my preferences started to change. Why? Well, it started with the fact that it had increased my work productivity. Now I could respond faster to certain urgent matters while away from my office.

All was needed was my PA's availability to research what I needed. Email it to me. I'll go through it and email my clients with it. Made me feel good.

Then with FB and Twitter apps I began making a few regular online Catholic friends, whom after a while became kinda like my online faith support group especially when we share how great the Lord's works are in our lives, especially during down times.

Recently, what I really enjoy most is my free Catholic radio station apps. Since then, I have access to Catholic Answers, EWTN programmes and many more.

Now, listening to Patrick Madrid, Patrick Coffin, Fr Benedict Groeschel, Fr John Corapi and other great Catholic apologists and priests is a norm for me. I have discovered many great and beautiful things about our Faith which I never knew.

It's great for me especially when I spent lots of time in the car travelling from appointment to appointment. It is a great way, especialy this Lent, to fill my being with Godly messages, teachings and insights, as I face life's many challenges.

So far, my favourite app for Catholic radio is iCatholicfm because of its clarity. If somehow I can't get clear connection I also turn to LivingBread, which is just as good, but somehow not as clear in sound quality on my phone.

Best thing is these apps are FREE!

Besides that, I've also purchased the Universalis app which has the entire year A,B,C, Sunday readings as well as Year I and II for daily readings. The Compendium of the Catechism of the Catholic Church is also another purchase I made.

I've also downloaded many other free Catholic apps for Rosary, Divine Mercy and Stations of the Cross (which is very timely for this liturgical season) into my phone.

The Laridian bible I bought from my previous hp PDA could be transferred to my iPhone without any extra charges.

Thank you Lord for making all my spiritual reference at the flick of my fingers (you know the flick of all touch screen devices that are so in now).

So for those who have an iPhone or andriod phones, you can access to all that I have mentioned. So if you are Catholic and have all these gadgets, you have no more excuses to have not brought your bible or missal with you again.

Have a blessed day folks....

P.S. For those who want these apps... just go to Apps Store and click Search and search for Catholic Radio, Universalis (there's the free version too), rosary, stations of the cross...etc...then download what you like.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

How To Make A Knotted Rosary Chaplet

Wow, seems ages ago I was on my blog. Guess this is divine intervention. For those following me I'm so sorry for being silent for so long. As you can see, my last posting was about going back to work after a year being a full-time mom.

Since then, life in the Klang Valley is always busy la as usual.

The divine intervention that brought me back to these pages is none other than Nicholas John Bosco from Sarikei, Sarawak. Although, he is only 18 years old, he is on fire for the Lord.

I'm so proud of him and his team who are organising a camp for youths soon. They needed to learn how to make knotted chaplet rosaries and that is how I'm back here today.

After failing to meet online, I took Nicholas' advice to make a video. I've never done one so I learnt it after googling how to. Nowadays you want to learn something, you google it.

So here are the videos. I hope they are easy to follow. Please forgive me if it is unclear. I did it at the shortest possible time with limited equipment - just my PC webcam and movie maker.

Anyway, Nick and team, hope this helps and may you bring the Lord into the lives of many youths this Lent.

Have a great Ash Wednesday everyone!!!! and may you rediscover Jesus this Lent. Amen!

P.S. Unfortunately, my video came a bit too late. Nicholas and gang had found a different source to make the rosary. Well, I know my efforts did not go to waste. At least I've finally learnt how to record video and hopefully produce better ones into the future.

The great thing is Nick gave me an excuse to finally update my blog after such a long time. As he said in his FB, if this Lent you can start by making the rosary - as a first step towards praying it.

Once again blessed Lent to one and all...may you find Jesus in the poor around you.


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Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Blessings From Abba

Since I started going back to active work about 3 months ago, I can really feel my heavenly Father's hand guiding and leading me.

If anyone has ever taken a year-long sabbatical from work of any kind, you will understand some of the adjustments I was and am still going through as I once again join the corporate world.

Abba, I just want to thank you for the new clients you have sent my way and for the understanding of my existing clients of my new found responsibilities as a new mom.

I feel that with You, I really can do all things that others deemed impossible.

You know Patrick and I have an ardent dream to fulfill within the last quarter of the year. We pray You will continue to guide and lead us through this exciting yet challenging period.

May You use us to be Your testimony of great Providence and Love.

Thank Abba, Lord Jesus and the Holy Spirit, Amen! BlogBooster-The most productive way for mobile blogging. BlogBooster is a multi-service blog editor for iPhone, Android, WebOs and your desktop

Monday, August 16, 2010

Mary Isabellle celebrates her first year as a Cradle Catholic

It has been a full year today since my beautiful daughter was baptised. It is also my husband's birthday today. So it's a double celebration of sorts.

She is indeed God's little favourite - as He has given her really great days in her life thus far. Firstly, she was born on 31 May 2009 - which happened to be Pentecost Sunday (the Church's birthday). It is also the yearly feast of the Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary - which explains why her name is Mary.

She came into our lives as our daughter on 7 July 2009 - my mother's birthday and became Roman (Cradle) Catholic on 16 Aug 2009, her papa's birthday. We didn't actually planned it. It was just the Sunday that Patrick's home parish sets for infant Baptism.

Although just 14 months old, she has been an active church going Catholic (no choice, or rather best choice as recommended by her parents), an active choir member (same reason as earlier one), attends regular BEC gatherings and seem to be a little celeb after mass when her weekend "fans" visit her for some cheek pinching or just simply to say "hi" to her.

Our challenge is now of course to teach her by example the reverance we offer to God during mass as our little toddler is learning to run. Thank God we had experience some success with the help of the Holy Spirit and our stroller for blocking her route to a free sprint down the church aisle. She also can be quite noisy - speaking especially during the homily. She seem to think our parish priest is having a conversation with her or something... hmmm. If you are or have been a parent of very young children, you'd understand what I'm sharing here, right? So please pray for us that we may soon find the best way to help her appreciate mass as a special time set aside for God and that we worship as a family in reverance.
My ardent prayer and dream is that she will change the meaning of what a Cradle Catholic would be into the future - a person who truly LOVES and UNDERSTANDS her Faith and encounters GOD in everything she does, and NOT the norm now which is generally a blur follower of Christ whose Faith is easily shaken due to lack of knowledge and understanding of our own Faith.

This blog was started with my Cradle Catholic eyes' view of my world. I see and feel that soon it will be shared by my little Cradle Catholic Mary Isabelle, whose eyes are oh so precious to us all and especially to our Lord.

Amen!

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Monday, August 2, 2010

First major St Thomas More Feast Day celebrations in Subang Jaya (2010)

A Man for All Seasons (Special Edition)
More in DVD
This year 22 June 2010 was special. How and Why? Well, it's the first time our parish celebrated in a big way our Parish Feast Day.

Although, we did it last year with Fr OC celebrating mass a day earlier on Sunday (as the actual feast day fell on a Monday on 2009), it was a Sunday mass. The homily was of course powerful as Fr OC himself, a qualified lawyer, had always been a fan of the saint.

My vivid memory was about the part when he said (Fr OC) - in not so many words that if it came down to it, we should "hate" even our family members if they will prevent us from loving our God. Sounds harsh right? Well, if you don't already know the story ... his most beloved daughter Meg begged her father Thomas More to take an oath that would declare an earthly king, head of the Church instead of Christ's appointed successor the Pope.

True to his Faith and conscience, Thomas More rejected even his most loved daughter's pleading request, and ended up with his head chopped off. How many of us can do this? Perhaps, (in shame) not even me, when cornered to such a point.

This year, again, we invited yet another lawyer Fr Michael Chua. He gave a powerful and long homily reminding us how important TRUE JUSTICE AND PEACE is, especially in Malaysia and that when we are challenged as Catholic-Christians (remember the hoax SMSes to take down your Rosary or risk having your windscreen smashed), we should remind ourselves how St Thomas More responded.

Apart from the resounding message from this saint which is absolutely apt for Malaysia today, we also treated our eyes to two beautifully painted Stations of The Cross by our very own artist Christie Das. In fact, all fourteen stations will be her masterpieces. At this point of the post Fr Simon Labrooy told us after mass that all 14 stations had been successfully sponsored as part of the church's fund raising activities.

For me personally, it was indeed a great milestone in my journey of being a parishioner of this church. Those of you following my blog would have read earlier that I've somehow gotten the job of script writer for a play which will be staged on the life of St Thomas More as part of the opening celebrations of our new church building.

After almost two months of research and writing, the script was finally completed just before March ended and auditions and rehearsals started early April. As there was another major play being staged, most of the talent pool had gone there...

Due to God's great providence, we still ended up with a team that would do quite a good job, we felt. Then, three weeks into the rehearsals, our Music Director whom, we depended a lot upon, due to his vast experience in this field, decided to quit the team due to personal reasons.

As this a volunteer project, his departure was beyond our control. In desperation, I prayed one night that God will truly help us out of this terrible situation as we needed a few very important songs to complete the tale of Thomas More in the next few days when the rehearsal resume.

The most remarkable thing then happened. It was about 11pm then. My husband, who was quite worried about the entire situation had retired to bed. Out of the blue, I felt like penning some thoughts down. And then it happened ... a tune for the St Thomas More theme song came to me. I know it is truly divine inspiration, cos' on my own strength - I have no such talent.

I then reflected his life and the different aspects of who Thomas More was ... to cut a long story short by about 2.30am I had the theme song roughly recorded. Then I looked at the other important part which needed to be expressed and it was that  heart wrenching moment when Margaret, fondly known as Meg to Thomas More, wrote to her father, begging him to change his mind and take the Oath of Supremacy.

That, my research showed, was one of the most, if not the most painful moment of Thomas More's life- that his daughter, whom he considered his kindred spirit, could not understand what she was asking of him.

And so from 2.30am to about 4.30am, Meg's Letter was composed. It was roughly recorded by 5.30am, by 6am I was so dead tired I slept. However, the moment I heard Patrick waking up, I was up, excited to share my new songs and yet not knowing whether he would approve of them (he's got high standards).

Somehow he felt the songs and we started calling friends who played the piano to play for us and thank God, Christine Das (yes, she's my earth angel) answered the call. Yes, besides being an artist, she is a great pianist. She brought the exact emotions to Meg's Letter.

What affirmed me that God had truly inspired the song, as some people later told me (including Christine) - the song reminded them of their relationship with their own father and it touched them deeply (some to the point of tears).

Back to the feast day... it was indeed a proud moment when my joint composition with God - Hymn to St Thomas More was played in church. What confirmed for me that it was from God was that it coincided with Fr Michael Chua's homily and it felt like it was a summary of what he had preached.

I really can't wait for the play to open when we move into our new home. As Erasmus (STM's best friend) would say, it would be my pleasure to tell the tale of my friend Thomas More.

Come join us spread this message of Thomas More to all Malaysians... May Allah's name be praised always!!! Amin!

(At this point of writing ... God has continued to send the right talent to help us ... slowly but surely. He sent us a really creative set designer who happens to be Christine's husband, a talented tailor, a swell sound engineer/technician, a fabulous choir master, a very efficient secreatary, a innovative creative designer, a very dedicated co-producer, who is also our backbone when we are busy with other areas. Dedicated cast who are internalising their lines and taking on important characters with an important message for all. Our team is getting better despite some minor hiccups along the way .... if you are reading this post, please continue to pray for us.... we definitely need it... Amen)

Monday, July 26, 2010

WOW! I can't believe this blog is a winner ... ;-)

I was really happy this morning to receive an email informing me that my blog is now one of the top 40 Catholism blogs of 2010. Seems unreal that my personal ramblings could lead to this...

According to Emma Lee of AwardingTheWeb, who initiated the award, winners were chosen through a scoring system led by internet nominations,which came from my reader base!

Well, I know from my blog traffic that I do get lotsa visitors and I sometimes wonder whether they do come back to read updates (which I must confess are few due to my crazy schedules these days). So this nomination and scoring thingy kinda gave me a little tap on the shoulder though I know it is also an advertising campaign (of onlinephdprograms - who may be one of AwardingTheWeb sponsors that keep what they do alive).

Whatever it is ... this has given me new vigour and energy to blog again (this post included). I've experienced so many God-led miracles since March and they are shouting to be told and heard, so watch out for them soon.

My only hope is that if you are my reader and hopefully follower too, please make it official by clicking on the FOLLOW button on the right. To me, it means a lot and is like a personal hello, I like your sharing, or I can identify with that.

I'm so happy that one of the other winner is a local blog for our young adult ministry STM Lifeline. Click this link to see who the other top 40 winners are: http://www.onlinephdprograms.com/top_catholicism/#Cradle_Catholic_Eyes

May God's choicest blessings be upon all of you,
Hazel

Sunday, February 28, 2010

What happened in January and February...

Firstly, a thousand apologies (in the slang of Ali Nadim of Mind Your Language, an old British comedy series I thoroughly enjoyed as a child) for not blogging so long and to break my promise that I would do so by mid February.
So as promised, the details which made January truly exciting was first - it was the beginning of the Gregorian calendar and to all people around the world, includng of course yours truly, a brand new start.

Then there was a brand new project which I was enrolled into for our parish fund-raising activities - to come out with exclusive commemorative items for our soon to be opened brand new church building ... the mere thought of it sends shivers through my spine due to sheer excitement.

Come on, how many people who belong to old and established churches ever experienced being part of its building process from scratch. I'm sure their very first memories of celebrating mass inside their church, whether as a child (Cradle Catholics) or an adult (Converts) was that the church building was already set up, with no memories whatsoever of how it was first thought of and then built.

That's why to me the privilege and blessing to see my new church building conceptualised from an artist's impression and slowly how the bricks, concrete and all other building materials used, start to rise higher and bigger with each passing month ... and also to be part of a team helping to raise funds for it.

I thank God for the entire experience, as it truly gives me an increased sense of ownership and belonging to my parish. For those who don't know and who just accidentally stumbled upon my blog, my parish has been celebrating mass in a rented badminton court in a private school for years. Every Sunday morning, extremely dedicated parishioners come as early as 6am to transform a bare hall into a beautiful church.

A Man for All Seasons (Special Edition)The other exciting event was when my husband informed me that Fr Simon Labrooy our parish priest has envisioned a musical to be staged for the opening celebrations of our new church and has entrusted the Music Ministry to produce it.

Somehow, I ended up with the responsibility of drafting a script for it. At first I was apprehensive because it seems like too daunting a task, especially when I'm a stay home mom with a baby and household chores. But like all things divine, God just opened up some time for me and inspired me during my research about Thomas More.

I'm so glad He did, that cos' now I know who St Thomas More is, to the extend I feel he is like a friend. Someone I can relate to him too well.

How? Well, firstly his simplicity in food and beverage - is really something I live daily. When I read how he would kinda pretend to drink wine, by just letting it touch his lips, or how he just drank very light beer or sometimes even pure water from a beer mug to socialise with his friends, hit home close to me.

Even, his preference for eggs, corned beef and milk  and other simple food instead of fine cuisine - is shockingly me. I used to have friends ridicule me cos' to them, I'm missing out in life, but too me I just say to them I don't need special substances or food to give me a high, I'm simply high on life.

I cherish the fact that he is a family person who spends time enriching the lives of his children through education and lotsa of time playing with them. As a stay home mom, it gives me encouragement when it gets tough looking after little Mary who is a bundle of pure energy, if you catch my drift....He has also given me hope that despite the extra effort, it truly is worth bringing up our children to know the Faith. And being a blurr Cradle Catholic, it gives me a push to learn more in order to teach it to her.

Please pray for me as I continue to write the script.... I know so much about him but to put it down as a story within a timeframe of 90 minutes is a true challenge for a person as interesting and as unique as Thomas More....

Writer's block is setting in especially after the long Chinese New Year holidays.

Bye for now....

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Truly exciting month

Before Jan ends, I just have to say it has truly been a busy and exciting month in my life as a Catholic. In short, I'm exhausted but happy.

Details will definitely follow at least by second week of Feb. God is indeed a most amazing being... my treasured Creator how I love thee.

Over and out for now...

Sunday, December 20, 2009

I've been a Catholic for 37 years...

I can't believe it. It's 37 years since I became a Catholic. I recently celebrated my Baptism anniversary on 17 December. In fact, it's the first time I ever did. No big deal. Actually I didn't even announce it to anyone except my husband Patrick.

To me, it was a day I remembered all things dear to me that my Faith had brought into my life.

There's too many to list - but definitely one major one this year had been Mary Isabelle Archibald - my beloved daughter.

Just a sharing - God really spoke to me through the 3rd Advent week and reassured me that barren women had a special place in his heart. One such reading especially was on the First Reading on Thursday of the 3rd Week of Advent (btw, 17 Dec 2009 was that Thursday).

Although that reading were not read in church as from Dec 17 till 24, because special masses are given and there are specially assigned readings read instead (well something I just discovered while reflecting the daily readings from the daily + Sunday missal - remember my new Liturgical Year resolution - for those following my blog), from that reading, I really felt that God wanted me to know that I'm special and he will love me even when there are times my husband seem not able to or when the "disgrace" of not being able to have my own children became too difficult to bear.

The readings through the Dec 17 to 24 period also that showed me that miracles do happen to barren women - one was the mighty and strong Samson's mom - Manoah's wife (19Dec - 1st Reading) and of course the other more famous one - St John the Baptist's mom Elizabeth (19Dec - Gospel).

These are messages of hope. And even if God has not awaken my womb as he did for these other people - he sent me and Patrick, Mary in the most amazing way (read my earlier post).

As time is running out as we are rush to go for mass (followed by a full day of fellowship and Christmas carolling in my BEC), I shall have to stop now.

My wish to all is to rejoice and have hope this coming 2010, blessed Christmas to one and all,
Hazel

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

The Misconception of the Immaculate Conception

Today marks the Feast of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary. A mouthful? Well, isn't that the signature or trademark of most things Catholic. And I'm beginning to love it.... yup, yup, yup.

Back to this post. Now I'm definitely NOT going to write volumes about what the feast day is about. You can easily google it. Instead, this feast brings back to mind a very funny memory from my teenage years.

I think I should be about Form 2 or 3, which means about 14 or 15 years-old. We were in our Catechism class in my school (sadly, a thing of the past. These days there are no more public missionary schools in Malaysia) and the topic of the day was Immaculate Conception.

Mrs Connie Chan (our teacher) decided to ask a class of cradle Catholics: "Who can explain what Immaculate Conception means?"

As usual, total silence (you can hear a pin drop, and girls start to look down in case they get called). What do you expect from a class of cradle Catholics. I think mostly the silence was because of indifference and of course ignorance. This round I think ignorance scored close to 100%.

Well, that day my friend Sophie Chen and I were feeling pretty brave, so she put up her hands and tried to answer. Out of her mouth came these words: "I think it is Mary becoming pregnant with Jesus, but she still remained pure (hehehe... think she was trying to use a word other than virgin, you know la, all girl-Catholic Convent school vocabulary in front of the teacher)."

Mrs Chan immediately said that it was not the answer. I did not know what spirit possessed me (I'm sure it was not the Holy Spirit, cos' it would have given the right answer) but I then blurted out that: "Mary was still a virgin although she had conceived Jesus."

And I could see some heads nodding in agreement but still silence loomed in the class, till Mrs Chan opened her mouth again, this time with a smile or perhaps even a little laugh.

What she said next I could not remember clearly, but this experience has definitely cured me of the misconception of what the Immaculate Conception is all about.

It is definitely not about Mary's virginity. Rather it's about Mary herself being conceived without original sin as she was already chosen to be Jesus' Mommy. So the Ark of the Covenant definitely needed to be a spotless vessel. That's what our Church believes and so should we.

And that's that.

Now why did I choose to share this embarassing blast from my past. Well, reason being many Catholics that I meet today still use the term Immaculate Conception to describe themselves or others getting pregnant without the presence of some sperms in the picture.

I do not know whether they do it because they were like me and Sophie many years ago or that they just came out with their own teachings (hmmm). Just kidding.

As a cradle Catholic myself I understand completely if you have been confused all your life about this or just know vaguely about most teachings of the Church.

However, having said that, perhaps this new Liturgical Year, you might CHOOSE to make a change? If your answer is YES, then great... I will have one more friend to journey with as I stumble upon many truths about this Faith I inherited from my grandparents and which now I cherish more with eash passing day.

P.S. Happy Birthday Marie... you are one Catholic who taught me much in my walk. Btw, she was named Maria Conception Valerio (hoped I got that right) - no brownie points for guessing why, right?

Time flies.... as always

I can't believe it. What seems to be a blink of an eye to me and already we have gone into the second week of Advent. I thank God, I'm still holding on to my new resolve to read the week day mass readings and reflect upon them (not just the Sunday readings - which we do as a team during our Music Ministry practice for Sunday mass).

This exercise for me has proven beneficial since it gives me a glimpse of heaven (especially from the first readings), a promise of things to come (amid the 2012 type of prophecy). A space where enemies on earth are friends on that plain... the new Jeruselam. Ahhh.....

I really needed this spiritual boost because of many reasons.

One is I have been suffering from this never ending cough and flu for the past week. The type that keeps you coughing till you're breathless. Worse, I can't enjoy most of the sweet smelling aroma from my neighbour's awesome cooking. Bummer,rite?

Well, that's why reading something uplifting like the Word of God and doing my best to prepare my heart for Jesus is my theraphy. I pray I can keep the momentum going (in the background now is Mary Isabelle wailing for some attention... hold that thought. Okay I'm back after putting her to bed.)

What I'm doing is to keep improving on my faith journey... willingly... without pressure from family or ministry, just my own freewill kicking in. It's the best way to learn....

Second, is it gives me the sweet assurance that after this life, we have a new and definitely much better one waiting for us. With so many people dying recently from disasters, accidents and diseases and old age, it's really good to know that heaven is a place call home.

Enough of rantings from me. For those of you who have popped by, pls do leave your mark by clicking FOLLOW or a comment. Just say hi or give me some feedback.

Looking forward to some of that for this new year, okay? Deal?

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Happy New Year Everybody!!!

New Year signifies new beginnings... a new chance at life. I'm so glad I'm Catholic cos' I can now start my new year resolutions and when they don't work out so well, I have another shot at them come 1 Jan 2010... just kidding.

Yes, today marks the new Liturgical Year. Ah huh, Advent has started. Turn your Sunday Missal to Cycle C and Daily Missal to Cycle II....if what I'm saying all sounds like Greek to you, no worries. It was to me till very recently (almost 4 years ago and I've been Catholic for 37 years. Btw, Greek is one of the languages of our Faith, so if you thought Greek, it's a good sign..*wink*)

Looking back at last year, I had my shares of blessings + misgivings which I'm sure are there to teach + test me.

Major blessings:
Expanding our family unit with the arrival of Mary Isabelle Archibald, our beloved daughter
Experiencing motherhood with all its joys + pains.
Having a once in a lifetime experience to help + see the building of a brand new Catholic Church - which is my own parish.

Losses:
Lost two local spiritual leaders and friends from Servants of Yahweh Covenant Community - one was Ralph Curzon, who passed away earlier this year and just a few hours ago Benedict Lye. May their souls rejoice together with the saints + angels in the presence of our Blessed Trinity.
Lost my dog Rusty girl on 2 Oct. She died of a broken heart (since Mary Isabelle came home).

There's much more I would love to share. My new dreams, hopes and aspirations, but it's getting late and I need to sleep before mass in the morning.

Once again Happy New Year to all my fellow Catholics wherever you are....

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Christmas With CrisKroz - A Family Heartbeat

Last year's Christmas Battle Of the Bands champion CrisKroz is once again making waves during this Yuletide season. This time, they are launching their very first album entitled A Family Hearbeat on 3 Dec.
The official launch will be held in Wisma MAA at 3pm.

In line with the spirit of season, the album showcases 10 tracks of Christmas songs, of which two (Emmanuel and Peace He Will Bring) are original numbers written by the band's vocalist and song writer Cecelia Biggs.

CrisKroz was born as a result of the members' decision to take part in the Christmas Battle of the Bands competition held at the Central Market open arena last year.

Besides Cecelia, the group consist of Ravi Kana, who is not only keyboardist and vocalist, but also her beloved spouse. Then there's Aaron Ravi, their son and guitarist of the band. Other members are Aloysius John, who plays bass and Christopher Felix on drums.

With the RM10k competition cash prize in hand, and adding some personal savings, the group embarked on this album project, which they have dedicated to all families (thus the title of the album).

After winning the Christmas Battle Of the Bands, CrisKroz had also performed live for the Church Of Divine Mercy in the Families United concert.

Known for their unique style of Christian Praise & Worship music, their genre is classified under Contemporary Christian Gospel.

Why You Should Own This Album

Firstly, it gives a fresh prespective or twist to some golden oldies. Guess that was the element that won them the championship last year.

Second, there are not many creative Malaysian Catholics who release albums. So when they do, support them so that more talent will emerge and we will have a great pool. For so many years we have been always buying foreign and Prostestants, right? Nothing against that, but Belilah Barangan Malaysia, especially Katolik Malaysia. Isn't it fantastic?

Third, they are promoting good family values.

Fourth and most importantly, they are also supporting some charities - especially since one of them is the St Thomas More building fund... ha... ;-)

On a personal note, I'm also proud to say that two of the members are parishioners of St Thomas More and in fact one of them - the cute drummer Christopher is from our Music Ministry (girls I'm not sure if he's still available though. You gotta do some research yourself - sorry).

I've seen Chris grew up from a little boy into a young man whom God has blessed with the ability to play several instruments (drums, guitar, bass, piano... to say the least).

Aloysius is also a good friend, whose life testimony on God's providence will shock you into the faith if not anything. Besides that Aloy is also another one who plays several instruments well.

I don't really know Ravi's family that well but I'm sure they too have a compelling Faith story to share with us.

So if you guys want to know more - first get the album and then perhaps one day they might have a concert in a parish near you.

To order the albums, email: hazelong888@gmail.com

If you are from abroad (outside Malaysia), you can pay through PayPal. You can either have it shipped to you or you can buy it for someone you know in Malaysia as a Christmas present. We can include a card with your personalised message for them.

With that said, it's off to my own Christmas mass practice soon, not forgetting mass for tomorrow.

To all of you Catholic Christians out there - Have a fantastic Advent and a wonderful Christmas!!!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

A challenge I can't resist

One-Minute Apologist
Click to order
My sister-in-law Bridget recently visited me at home and found on my sofa a book entitled "The One-Minute Apologist". She asked whether I could do a talk about Apologetics some day for her Sunday school students or something like that.

I couldn't believe my ears. Me to a talk on Apologetics? Well, I told her I've done testimonies and sharing about other topics but so far none on Apologetics though it is now my favourite Catholic subject.

So since it has become my new favourite topic, I told her that I'll take up the challenge. She said I might try to perhaps do some simple tracts on it for starters. I thought that it was a good suggestion.

Well, as long as God can use me as His instrument in any way, I shall be open to it. Please do pray for me....

Anyway, here is a link to Catholic Answers radio station and an interview with one of my favourite apologist Patrick Madrid.

Enjoy and learn...

With that I continue to pray for Pat's grandson Killian who's still fighting for his life - with God's help of course.

Goodnite my fellow Catholics and those coming Home soon... wherever you are.

(My all time favourite apologetic works. I'm a fan of Pat Madrid and Scott Hahn. Click below to find out more...)

Surprised by Truth: 11 Converts Give the Biblical and Historical Reasons for Becoming CatholicSurprised By Truth 2: 15 Men and Women Give the Biblical and Historical Reasons For Becoming Catholic. (v. 2)Surprised by Truth 3: 10 More Converts Explain the Biblical and Historical Reason for Becoming Catholic (v. 3)Rome Sweet Home: Our Journey to Catholicism

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Creative Catholics - that's the new name for my online shopping blog

Yes! A little advertisement for my other blog - which showcase creative Catholics with something interesting to offer.

So far, I've only managed to put up my own Cradle Creations knotted Rosaries, but very soon, we will have other things available for your Christmas shopping, I pray.

One, will be very beautiful crafts from a charming lady from my BEC. Won't reveal too much till I release it officially on Creative Catholics (formerly, actually very recently - known as The Creative Catholic Centre).

Second, I hope will be a new Christmas album by a group of brillant Malaysian Catholic musicians and singers, comprising both adults and youths. Proud to say I know at least two of them personally cos' they come from my parish (St Thomas More).

I'm extremely excited. Life is full of surprises. I'd never guess that one day, I'll actually be doing craft for sale and to top it off - one with a spiritual and religious twist to it. Guess God is teaching me creative ways of evangelisation.










(Spreading the Catholic Faith to the ends of the earth thru craft...cool, rite?)
Enough said for now, have to catch up on my sleep...

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Please pray for Killian Patrick - a very premature grandson of Patrick Madrid

Killian and His Daddy Timothy holding hands


Killian after the delivery


Before I blog any further, I just wanted to first offer a short prayer for Killian Patrick: "Abba Father, may you strengthen little Killian with his every breath. Heal him, build him up, this tiny cradle Catholic. May every single day of his life be a testimony of your amazing love for us. Amen!"

It has been ages since I had time to blog or read other people's blog, not to mention Facebook and Twitter after the arrival of my dear little Mary. However, I had to do some important thing on my other blog (Creative Catholic Centre) and that was when I chanced upon Killian Patrick's story on Patrick Madrid's blog.

As a premature baby myself (and so is Mary), Killian's continuing battle to stay alive touches me deeply. I thank God that both Mary and I were strong enough to breathe without the incubator.

You can follow Timothy Madrid's blog (Killian's dad) for the full story and updates.
http://timothymadrid.blogspot.com/2009/10/hopsital-update.html

Join me in prayer for this cradle Catholic. May he grow up to be a mighty man of God! Amen!

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Through The Eyes of a soon-2b-Catholic


Hi all, I'm so excited now. My two month old baby girl Mary Isabelle is going to baptised in the next few hours.

As a mom, I'm overjoyed. The greatest gift my parents gave me was that they baptised me into the Catholic Faith.

Now relearning and rediscovering what I misunderstood and now understand about being Catholic, I've already started imparting my faith to little Mary. It's just so much better knowing soon she'll officially join this great big universal family of ours.

Come back in a next few days and read about Mary's own account of her Faith journey. Yes, even as young as she is, she already has a grand tale to tell and share. I hope it will inspire you already full-grown Roman Catholics to be in awe of our Faith once again.

See ya soon. We got to get ready now.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Please welcome Mary Isabelle Archibald

It has been said that God works in mysterious ways ... actually in our case it was not so much the mystery but the many signs and wonders that have me in awe of Him - as always.

There have been many miracles in my life but the most recent one was how speedily and unexpectedly He sent my husband and I our beautiful and beloved daughter Mary Isabelle Archibald.

For those of you who do not know Patrick + I, we have been married for almost 8 years now. From the start we have been open to life, but of course, the first two years, we prayed that God will give us a natural honeymoon.

We were indeed happy that what we learnt during our BOM class proved helpful. Then our 3rd anniversary came, 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th... and we both felt that the honeymoon has been extended a wee bit too long.

I must say that I was even ignorant that the Catholic Church was against IVF till I attended a talk in St Ignatius Church, Kelana Jaya, perhaps about 2-3 years ago. I'm glad because I had to admit that I was seriously considering it as an option prior to that.

Even after knowing, the temptation was very great to give into to the persistent persuasion of many, including Catholics, who believed IVF, was one of God's ways of helping couples conceive.

I'm glad that after lots of soul searching, Pat + I very recently (about a month ago) resorted to the final Catholic channel of having children - that's through adoption.

The moment we made that decision, I felt peace in my heart. We then started talking to the various Catholic-run adoption centres and made known our desire. We were given the usual thick application forms that enquired many questions at length about our biodata and reasons for adoption.

Not only that, with it comes the usual script about waiting for a period of time before a child may be available for adoption. From many of them and our friends' stories, it may take up to years sometimes.

So in my mind, I thought it may be good, to help us prepare emotionally, spiritually and definitely financially. Also logistic wise and who will assist me in looking after the child and so on and so forth.

I remember sharing our decision to my mom one day and she said: "What if God suddenly bless you with a child and by Chinese New Year, you will join the ranks of parents who will receive angpows because they have children,". She was saying it in jest and as encouragement that things will work out for us. Little did I know it was indeed a prophetic message.

Patrick was really very very "rajin" (diligent) and meant business after our decision. He was the one who had actively gone to the many centres to collect their forms and let them know we want to adopt both in West Malaysia and East Malaysia (where we travel regularly for work).

Just two weeks ago, I received a call from him while he was in Miri saying: "Are you sitting down," I said yes and the next few words that he spoke sounded so unreal..."They have a baby girl for us.

I can't believed it because only two days prior to the call, Patrick walked into the Human Life Service in Miri and they gave him the usual thick forms and script about waiting....
To cut a long story short, wee hours of Monday morning (6 July) we flew to complete the paperwork to officially turn Mary Isabelle into an Archibald. We went for mass on Tuesday morning and by about 11.30am on 7 July 09 it was done. Her birth certificate with us as parents would be ready for collection next month.
Patrick + I were overjoyed. Then the moment came to meet her for the first time... yes, we adopted the baby without knowing how she looked like. We just trusted the Lord's providence and proceeded despite some initial concerns from family members who knew about our decision.
Indeed, the Lord knows what is best. I was pleasantly surprised to find a baby who looked similar to me when I was a baby. That is definitely no coincidence - just God's plan, and His Plan is perfect.

Other things that made us know God's plan is perfect are:

Mary Isabelle is supposed to be due on 10 July, but she decided to come out early, so that Pat could walk right through the door of the Human Life Service Centre and become her daddy.

She is also a premature baby just like mommy Hazel.
Mary Isabelle was born on Pentecost Sunday this year (31 May 09). Definitely, the Holy Spirit's work. What a great day to be born - on the Church's Birthday!
Her natural mother only wanted Catholic parents for Mary Isabelle. When Pat walked in to apply, there were many other parents who were in queue before us. Since the criterion was Catholic parents, HLS called down and discovered the Catholics before us had changed their minds for different reasons and other potential parents were non-Catholics. So Pat's name was next in line, leading to that surprise phone call just within 2 days of our application. Boy, am I glad to be Catholic!!!
Our application and approval of adoption was on 7 July 09 which falls on my mother birthday. So officially Mary Isabelle became an Archibald on grandma Gladys' birthday. According to my mom, it's her greatest birthday gift.
I must say the first night as parents really made me appreciate my mother and grandmother for their patience in bringing me up. Mary Isabelle was up from midnight till 4am before sleeping.
According to my mom, Mary Isabelle is just like me when it came to crying till she turned red and shivering whenever she urinated, passed motion and was hungry. She sure has pipes for a cantor in church... fortunately, there were no complaints from other guests about her consistent screaming cries throughout the night.
I'm glad the second night she slept more and last night was much better as she only woke up twice to drink milk, then it was off to dreamland. Thank you Lord, we sure needed the rest.
I pray that God will continue to give us strength and enough rest to get through the sleepless night phase.
I'm sure He will continue to equip us with the right skills to bring up Mary Isabelle as a mighty woman of God - just like the two women she has been named after (Mother Mary and St Isabel of France).
Do come back and check the blog for more updates of baby Mary Isabelle ... As of now here are some of the many photos we took of her (just click on the word "her" - will lead you to her photos.
For those who have prayed for us all these years and especially the last few days ... thank you very much. God indeed answers prayers.

(You may want to prepare yourselves by reading up on what adoption is all about. Below are some recommended reading...)
The Complete Adoption Book: Everything You Need to Know to Adopt a Child The Complete Book of International Adoption: A Step by Step Guide to Finding Your Child