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Special Lenten Message from Jaime 

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Special Lenten Message, From the Heart
I love the Lenten season. Until, I became Catholic, I never really paid attention to Lent and what it’s all about. Now, each year, I look forward to growing a little deeper in my understanding and practice of what it means to truly make sacrifices in my life.
 
Jesus spent 40 days fasting in the desert before entering into His public ministry (Mt 4:1-11). We imitate Christ by spending 40 days in spiritual discipline before the celebration of Christ’s triumph over sin and death (Easter). You’ve maybe heard the question “So, what did you give up for Lent?”.
 
 I remember my 1st year as a Catholic very well. I decided to give up coffee for Lent. I’m not a coffee drinker now, but I used to be totally addicted to the iced mocha’s from Moxie Java in Idaho. The best! And when I say I was addicted, I mean “I WAS ADDICTED”.  So I decided for Lent that I was going to give up my Mocha’s.
 
I know this sounds trivial but stay with me on this. Every day, on my way to work, I would drive by Moxie Java and crave that Mocha so bad. I could almost taste it. Several times I actually turned in to the parking lot, a rush of guilt would poor over me, and then I would drive right back out again. Phew!  I’d remembered the promise that I had made to myself, to sacrifice something that would make me think of Lent and why I was making this sacrifice. For the next few weeks, as I drove by that coffee shop, I would really imagine Jesus walking the road to be crucified, suffering on the cross, and sacrificing everything for me. Suddenly a peace would come over me and the craving for the coffee would go away. But was I really sacrificing? I mean Jesus gave up his life, and here I was giving up coffee? No contest! But the whole point of this is that I needed to choose something that would remind me, on a daily basis, what Jesus did for me, and the coffee is what did it that year.
 
I like to think that I’ve grown in my journey a little since that Lent (2007). And my sacrifices have become a little more meaningful each year. This year I chose to limit TV. The reason why is because I use television to escape reality. It’s the only way that I’ve found, to turn my brain off from work. Otherwise I’d work 24/7. Just ask my husband, Pete, who has to look over and say “seriously” as I pick up my laptop off the floor (next to my bed) at 11:30pm to jot down one more thing I have to do tomorrow.
 
So this year, I committed to not only turning off the TV, but I committed to start reading books (at least 1 per week during lent). For those of you who know me well, I am NOT a reader. WHAT? JAIME READ A BOOK, FOR FUN? NOOOOOOOO! I will read if I have to, but it’s certainly not something I choose to do for fun. To me it is work. Pete is a reader and I figure since he reads like 2 books a week, that he’s got that covered for the both of us. Too bad it doesn’t work that way.
 
I am happy to report that the TV has remained in the off position for most of the week and that I have been picking up Spiritual books instead. Jaime is growing. It’s never too late.
Whether you are Catholic or not, this whole giving up something or sacrificing something during Lent is a very good habit to get into. And remember, if what you give up, doesn’t hurt a little each day, then it’s not really a sacrifice.
 
I love how Pope Francis ended one of his homilies about Lent and I will end this message with his thoughts.
 
"During Lent, let us try to draw closer to the people who are going through difficult times:
close to them with affection, prayer and solidarity."

It’s not just about us. But it’s about how we can sacrifice and empty ourselves of selfishness, greed, jealousy, hatred and worldliness making room for Christ and His love; His love for us and for those around us.

“Love’s Work Is Never Done”
 
May you be blessed this Lenten and Easter Season. Thank you for your continued prayers and support.
 
Jaime
  

A Great Way to Start 2015! 

A Recap of January and February Events.
Thank you…
Anahuac TX, Beaumont TX, San Diego CA, Cottonwood ID and Pocatello ID for inviting me to come and share. I had such a wonderful time.  I pray that God continues to bless you in all you do for His Glory.

Happy Valentine's Everyone! 

“365 Days of Love” Challenge.
(SHARE & POST your Stories)

As we celebrate this feast day of St. Valentine (Feb 14th),
I encourage you to think about how love can be shared 365 days per year.
Seek out someone each day and help them to feel loved.

Pete and I were in Golden Corral Restaurant waiting to go thru line.
There was a homeless man in front of us whose sandals were broken and about to fall off.
I looked at his feet and then looked at Pete’s feet.
Yes,I was going to give away my husband’s shoes. LOL.
Luckily, there was a Fred Meyer next door and we walked over there
and bought this man some new sandals. We also bought his meal.

There is need all around us.
Sometimes it’s as easy as tossing a smile to someone who is
having a terrible day and offering some words of encouragement.
Don’t make it too hard. Don’t be embarrassed. Don’t be shy…

Now share your stories. (Click "leave a comment" below)

Happy January - Happy New Year 

We are almost through January and I hope you are enjoying 2015. The older I get, the faster time seems to fly by.  
Speaking of time flying by, I learned a very valuable lesson last year after losing a dear friend to cancer (2 weeks from diagnosis to death). Time goes fast enough. Don’t make yourself so busy that you can’t take quality time to spend with friends and family. None of us know what tomorrow will bring, and God surrounds us with friends and family for a reason.
 
New Years’ Resolution
I’m not much for New Year’s Resolutions, but since I am a “workaholic” and I struggle to pull myself away from my job, this year I am going to try to follow my husband’s advice.
                                                                   
“Pray hard, Work hard and Play hard”.
 
Life is just too short to have it revolve around work. And even though my job is a “ministry” I need to have time away from it to fill myself back up again. It’s not going to be an easy transition, but nothing worth doing ever is. I will let you all know how it goes.
 
New Christmas Project (praying about it)
And as I mentioned in previous newsletters, I am working on a budget for a New Advent/Christmas Project. I will keep you posted if that all works out. We will start recording that, in Nashville, this summer, if it’s “meant to be”. 
 
Thank you, for your continued prayers and support. I’d like to end with a recap of the Advent Tour that wrapped up 2014 for this ministry. Thank you to all of the wonderful people, parishes and pastors who made me feel so welcome during Advent. I pray you were blessed by the music and message.

Blessings,
Jaime

P.S. Daisy (Our Dog/Child with Degenerative Myelopathy) is still getting around on her own. We can’t believe it. We thought she would be in her wheelchair by now. This really shouldn’t surprise us though. She’s always been stubborn. Thanks for your continued prayers on that too.
  

Sanctity of Human Life Sunday - This Weekend 

January 18th, 2015 (Sanctity of Human Life Sunday)

It commemorates 42 years since the January 22, 1973 Roe v. Wade U.S. Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion in our country. 

Since then, more than 56 million abortions have taken place in the U.S. Not only have millions of babies lost their lives, but millions of women have been lied to and led into believing that abortion is the answer. Many of those women live with regret and pain.

Let us all continue to pray for an end to abortion. Pray that we will see value in human life. Pray that we will see the dignity of every human person, womb to tomb.


 

Happy Advent and Merry Christmas 

As I sit down to write this message, I am struck by the little miracles and small blessings of everyday life... I am surrounded by the few Christmas Decorations Pete and I have kept through the many moves (10) we’ve made in our 16 years of marriage. Our Charlie Brown Christmas Tree, a beautiful sculpture of the manger scene, the Snoopy Dog house that goes along with the Tree, a wreath and stockings hanging in the kitchen (where I imagine the fireplace would have been since the now closed off chimney is directly above it). The scent of our Pecan Pie Candle is wafting through the house and my precious dog, daisy, is sacked out at my feet after an exhausting game of ‘tug of war’ with her favorite dragon squeaky toy. I see the hand of God in all of this. I just love this time of year. 

Good to Be Home
I arrived home last Monday after a week of touring my Advent concert in Cottonwood ID, Boise ID and Caldwell ID.  The concerts were well attended and a huge blessing to this ministry.  I want to thank those who came out and supported me.  I hope you enjoyed the music as much as I enjoyed sharing it with all of you.  It was great seeing so many familiar faces. Pete and Daisy were so happy to have me back again and it was good to be home. I miss them so much when I’m on the road, but that is what we all signed on for. Awe… the life of a Christian recording artist.
 
Organize a Flash Mob Black Friday? But I want the week off! -LONG but WORTH THE READ
The Saturday before Thanksgiving, my sister called and told me a friend of ours (who just lost her little boy, 3yrs old, in a tragic accident several weeks before) called her and said she’d like to do a Flash Mob on Black Friday. She just felt that we needed to steer our focus back to what Christmas is all about and bring joy to our community on such a “selfish-push and shove” kind of day.
 
I must admit, my first thought was, “oh no! I can’t! I just need 1 week off from music. If I commit to helping and leading the music for this then I won’t get my WEEK OFF! I need a week off! (Stamping my feet inside my head)
 
Since I am the middle child (the people pleaser/peacemaker), I have a hard time saying “no”. So I told my sister I would help and I spent my ‘week off’ helping organize the musical part of the flash mob. I must confess, I grumbled the entire week about how I didn’t have as much time to rest. I had already committed to recording a music video for a local television Christmas program and just hated having more on my plate during Thanksgiving break.
 
We held 2 practices with 40+ singers and it wasn’t until after the 2nd practice that I started getting excited. My focus shifted off of myself and onto this hurting mom, who instead of thinking of herself and her heartache, thought of those around her and spreading the hope and joy we all need to feel around Christmas time.  
 
This was not only about helping the dream come true for a special mom in our town
who just lost her little boy, but about a town who needs joy and
to be reminded of what Christmas is about.
 
My “attitude” was changed. My excitement grew and the SCROOGE in me disappeared. I was giddy.
 
Unfortunately, I was unable to attend the performance of the FlashMob that Friday because my husband got sick, so I drove him home (1.5 hr drive) and took care of him. Thankfully, my cousin put a video together and so I was able to see how it went. It turned out AWESOME and I feel blessed to have grown up in a town that not only has wonderful voices, but is also full of wonderful people with such giving/ selfless hearts! 
 
Let us try to remember what this Advent/Christmas Season is all about. Celebrating the birth of our Savior, who humbled himself (with no complaining or grumbling) and came to us as a baby, was born of a virgin and became man. He came to plead for the salvation of sinners and to bring hope, life and joy to a hurting world. His life is an example to all of us. He came to love and to serve those around Him. And we are called to do the same.
 
There is a lot of hurt in this world and so many are struggling financially, emotionally as well as feeling the loss of loved ones. May God bless you as you do what YOU can to brighten the life of someone who needs it this Christmas.
 

VIDEO LINK To Flash Mob, Twin Falls, ID
http://youtu.be/ab7520ngeZo
The Video has had Over 221,000 views on Facebook and over 5,500 Shares. God is Good. May it bring a smile to your face.
 
 

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Merry Christmas from Our "Crazy" Family to Yours.
 Jaime, Pete and Daisy

November - A Time To Be Thankful 

Well, it’s that time of year again. On October 31st, the stores in our town took down Halloween and put up Christmas trees. WAIT! What about Thanksgiving? It seems like Christmas comes earlier each year. Why don’t we just make it CHRISTMAS IN JULY, for REAL! I have a sneaking suspicion we will end up there in a few years anyway if the trends continue. Why put off the inevitable. HAHA! 
 
Daisy Dog Update
Daisy got her wheelchair (Doggie Cart) so we are all ready to go when she is unable to use her back legs. She doesn’t like it because she can still walk. They say she won’t appreciate or use the cart until she has to rely on it fully. We’ve tested it out (which she disliked very much) but at least we know it fits. Daisy can still walk and play a bit. But she gets tired very easily so we use the sling to help her get up and down the stairs as well as help her in and out of the car. She is still in good spirits but she sleeps a lot more. Thank you for your continued thoughts and prayers and for those of you who helped us with the wheelchair.
For Halloween, this year, Pete came up with a brilliant idea for Daisy's costume
since she has a hard time walking. 
I have posted pictures of the last 3 years of costumes for you. 
(“Daisy”, “Daisy Duke” and this years “Driving Miss Daisy”). 
Poor dog. We really need children. LOL. 
Gearing Up for Advent Concerts
I’m excited to be doing several Advent Concerts in Idaho. Because of Daisy’s health, I wasn’t able to book as much as I would have liked, or traveled to different states, but hopefully next year will be much fuller (makes me sad to say that because it means Daisy will not be with us anymore).
 
I hope I can see those of you who live in the Treasure Valley or near Cottonwood/Grangeville area. The Concert/ Musical Presentation is a wonderful way to get into the Advent Spirit. See you there!
 
December 3rd  (Wednesday)  7:00pm      St. Mary’s Catholic Church                         Cottonwood, ID
December 4th  (Thursday)      7:00pm      Sacred Heart Catholic Church                    Boise, ID
December 7th  (Sunday)         6:00pm      Our Lady of the Valley Catholic Church     Caldwell, ID
 
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Happy Shopping!
A Grateful Heart
We have so much to be thankful for. I know that there is a lot of bad in the world. Heartache, Hate, Selfishness, Loss and Sadness. I don’t even watch the news anymore. But among all of the craziness and heartache don’t forget to look around and see the good. Believe it or not, it’s still out there and we still have a lot to be thankful for. This Thanksgiving, try to make a list of things you are thankful for and keep those things at the forefront of your mind.

       I Am Thankful For…
  1. I am thankful for my God who left His throne and came to this earth to save me from myself.
  2. I am thankful for my Husband, Pete. He is a true gift from God.
  3. I am thankful for my family, who in spite of my shortcomings, continue to stand by me.
  4. I am thankful for my puppy dog who, for 10 years, has shown me what Unconditional Love is.
  5. I am thankful for my friends.
  6. I am thankful for my ministry/job, the team of people that help to keep it going and the wonderful people who continue to pray for and support it.
  7. I am thankful that I live in a country where I can worship freely.
  8. I am thankful for the roof over my head.
  9. I am thankful for the food on my table.
  10. I am thankful that God gives me a little extra to share with those in need.
 
Happy Thanksgiving Everyone.

Jaime
 

October - Enjoying the Fall Weather 

I said I would touch base in September, but it’s already gone! How did that happen? Time flies when you’re having fun. Or in our case, busy as ever.
 
Getting Settled
We got all moved and are settling in nicely to our home and job in Pocatello. (See the August post on website if you missed the “move” update.) I spent 2 months fixing up the yard to the rental property we moved into. We had a hard rain the weekend after we moved and I refused to deal with a mud-pit (front and back yard) this winter soooo, I did a little work on the place. Let’s just say our landlord is very happy with us, but my lower back doesn’t like me anymore. lol. That being said, Daisy is very grateful to have a nice place to potty in her old age.
Thank You for prayers for Daisy
Speaking of Daisy, thank you for all of your prayers and support as she deals with this disease (Degenerative Myelopathy, similar to MS or ALS in people). She is doing okay, but each week we see a decline in the strength of her back legs. It looks like we may be less than a couple of months from the sling and the doggie-wheelchair. She’s in better spirits about it than we are. It’s so hard to see her go downhill like this. We went to the mountains on Saturday and let her limp around for awhile. Look at that smile! She loves the mountains.
I'm Volunteering at Mass
In addition to being Daisy’s Hospice caretaker, I have been busy helping Pete with masses at St. Johns Student Center, on ISU campus. Yes, he and Fr. Hugh recruited me to lead the Music Ministry Team each Sunday. It has been a privilege but also a huge learning curve for me as I have never directed/been in charge of the music liturgy at a parish before. I appreciate everyone’s patience as I continue to learn and grow in this new role. I am so excited to be able to work with the students over the next few months and to add more awesome musicians to the team at St. Johns. Go Bengals!!!
 
Advent Concerts on the Horizon
I have been booking Advent concerts close to home (with Daisy being sick, I’ve kept my travelling ‘long distances’ to a minimum). All of the Advent Concerts are in Idaho, so keep your eyes on the website calendar to see if I’ll be in your town.  I plan to put the Places/Dates/Times in the November’s newsletter and, of course, on the website. Keep checking back. 
 
If you would like me to do an Advent concert at YOUR Parish (must be in Idaho), please contact me through the website contact page. I have a couple of open dates.
 
Booking Concerts for 2015
-Lenten Musical Presentation (Available Feb 19-March 31)
-I have Friday evening open in Texas Houston Area (January 17th).  Email me if you want a concert in your parish.
 
I pray you all enjoy the Fall season. Thank you for continuing to support this ministry.
 
Jaime  

August - Transitions 

August. The month that most kids dread (summer is over) and one that most parents start to see that light at the end of the tunnel. Happy August everyone. I hope you had a great summer.

Moved Again?  Yes we are Gypsies
Although I’m not going back to school, or have children returning to school, Pete and I are enjoying our own little transition this fall.  As many of you know, this past June, Pete was called back into ministry. After much prayer, he accepted the position of Director of Campus Ministry at St. John’s Catholic Student Center on Idaho State University in Pocatello Idaho. That’s Right!  We moved…..AGAIN.  We are coming up on 16 years of marriage at the end of this month and we just moved into our 11th home. July 26th we loaded the truck and moved 1 ½  hours East of Twin Falls, to Pocatello, Idaho. 
We never thought we’d live in Pocatello. In fact, Pete at the beginning of his ministry said that he would go wherever God called him to go, with 3 exceptions.  He would never live in the Southern United States, he would never live in Utah and he would never move to Pocatello. Well, so far we’ve lived in Tennessee, Salt Lake City, and now Pocatello. Don’t tell me God doesn’t have a sense of humor. Pete told me that the next time he had this little chat with God, he’d say the following… “Lord I never want to live in Hawaii, Alaska or the Basque Country.” I will keep you all posted. Lol. But I’m pretty sure God will pick up on the sarcasm this time.
Pete is excited about this new adventure. I, on the other hand, am taking a little time to adjust. But you have to give me some credit because I only had 3 weeks to get used to the idea before we packed up and moved.  Not a lot of time for things to sink in.  We had just moved back ‘home’ to Twin Falls a year ago and I was just getting settled into enjoying being back Home.

Comfortable?
Maybe all of this moving around is a good thing because it prevents us from getting comfortable. And while all of this moving around may not be for everybody, it reminded me that as Christians we should always resist being comfortable in our faith. And we shouldn’t become comfortable in this world if we are truly followers of Christ. We are surrounded by injustice and hate. Comfortable should be the least felt emotion in this life. But we weren’t made for this life…we were made for eternal life with Christ.
 
And to quote Forrest Gump… “That’s all I have to say about that.”

Check out the website below for Pete’s new Job and a great article. I’m one proud wife. He’s so gifted and amazing. It’s so fun to see how God is working through him. I’m blessed to be married to this man and I can’t believe it’ll be 16 years August 29, 2014. Woohoo!
 
Thank You!
A HUGE ‘Thank You’ to all who helped us load the truck in Twin Falls and unload it in Pocatello. It was a great ‘send off’ from TF and and a wonderful ‘welcome’ to Pocatello. We couldn’t have done it without all of you.
Bye for now. I’ll touch base with you in September with more concert dates and ministry news.

Blessings,
Jaime

 
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