Tis the Season for love, family, gatherings and gift giving.
My favorite part of Christmas is gathering together as one giant family and spending days laughing and sharing. It is truly a time that we all treasure and hold sacred. A time to reflect on Christ born anew within our hearts and a time to love one another, and we all do our best to take the time off of work to dedicate to family. This Christmas is a very special Christmas for my family because we have two new babies to cuddle! I am a great aunt twice-over and I am in awe of how much love a sweet little baby can inspire and spark!
My Ultimate Favorite Gift to Give
When I think of gift giving, my favorite part of it is sharing a new discovery that has meant a lot to me and something I can’t wait to give. And EVERYONE gets a BLESSING!!! My family has a tradition of putting all the blessing bracelets in a basket at our Christmas Dinner table and everyone picks one with the intention of giving it to the person next to them (each person picks a partner to exchange blessings with). As they put the bracelet on the other, they say a little prayer or blessing for that person, and then the other person has their “turn” to give a blessing. My family loves to choose from the 10 medal Benedictine Blessing Bracelet, Serenity and Gratitude. We are united in prayer during our Christmas dinner and it carries a sense of being woven together that remains long after our Christmas time together comes to an end. I love looking at my blessing bracelet and feeling the love of my family.
My Favorite Picks This Year
In addition to Blessing Bracelets, a few items that I am excited to give this year is a set of lip gloss by 3 GRACES! They are made with amazing ingredients and each lip gloss has a bible verse and fun saying! Everyone needs a little lip gloss to make them sparkle!
I also LOVE my YETI 30oz mega cup, and that will be on my list for all my fellow heavy drinkers (water and coffee that is).
I love my comfy PJs by Cuddl Duds and Aragon MILK by Josie Maren…
Ok now you have my secrets! I’d love for you to comment below sharing your favorite gifts to give! Merry and Blessed Christmas, my friends!
Gratitude for me is a supernatural grace that raises my heart and soul above the pain of suffering and loss, to a place of love and peace. It transports me to a place where I feel I can join my heart with others and mutually lift the other up, a place where loneliness can be healed by friendship, compassion, family and new life.
Gratitude takes me to a place where I feel held in God’s arms, protected in the mantle of Our Blessed Mother, and reminds me that my Guardian Angel is with me. It reminds me to call on Archangel Michael to protect me.
Gratitude reminds me what a gift it is to be united with Christ and that His light reignites and illuminates. It reminds me that one day, by God’s grace, I will be able to sit at the banquet in heaven with all my loved ones around me. For me this is the place of gratitude- a place where I look around the table and feel loved.
This Thanksgiving we will have the grace to be surrounded by all our loved ones, some physically, and others spiritually when we close our eyes and connect our heart with all our loved ones who are either away or have gone before us, and feel the love flow in the rhythm of our unified heart beats.
This is us last year, preparing our hearts and setting the table for our Thanksgiving meal.
This Thanksgiving, I am incredibly grateful to be here! I am grateful to experience gratitude and to feel loved! This year our Thanksgiving tradition will include my immediate family and our dear beloved family friends as we celebrate a weekend of holy matrimony in addition to Thanksgiving! We will celebrate this couple’s love, and the gift of two new grandchildren in our extended family this year. This Thursday we will join together to feast, seated along the benches among the fields as my husband cooks up the turkeys, and we string lights between the trees. The feast will continue as we partake in the Holy Mass, Matrimony, and celebrations! From my family to yours I wish you a Thanksgiving filled with supernatural gratitude that overflows with love! Happy and Blessed Thanksgiving!
The Saints in My Life
“May I stay in constant presence and intimate union with Christ” -St.Teresa of Avila
Imagine that! Words like these draw me into the lives of the saints and ignite my heart to want to know more, learn and imitate their devotion, their practice and their meditations.
The saints lived ordinary lives like you and me but with the passion to live this life on earth in constant union with Christ. What does that mean? To me it means surrendering my will to God’s divine will, allowing my daily life to flow and activate all that I am for the Glory of God.
It does not mean sitting in a cave and meditating all day (although there are many days that I dream of just that). To me it means being fully alive, being fully who I was born to be in the very moment. The saints teach me how to live fully and show me the tools to bring me back on the path when the “dark nights of the soul” hit hard. Yes, I just said “dark nights of the soul”. We all know those days that seem to consume us and we fall into bed and ask “Dear Jesus, please let me wake up feeling renewed and refreshed… press the restart button… What I love about admitting this truth is that we are not alone! You and I experience many of the same things and guess what… so did many saints! They had miraculous moments, amazing moments, flooded with love, but they also had those dark moments when they must have thought to themselves that they couldn’t make it one more day!
What they did during those dark moments is what intrigues me. They dove deeper into their devotion, they surrendered (didn’t try to fix anything), they were still in their suffering, confusion, anxiety and handed it over to Jesus on the Cross and then they sat. They allowed Christ to hold, comfort ,and eventually restore them. This is what I find transformational.
YES I love the Saints, YES I want to be a Saint and YES, you, too, are called to be a Saint. In the words of St. Catherine of Siena and St. John Paul II, “If you are what you are meant to be, you will set the whole world on fire”.
My Favorite Saint
Although I love them all, I am most inspired by the miracle workers and the mystics because they lived with one foot on earth and the other in heaven. With undeniable conviction they allowed God to work through them and became a conduit of light and healing. They performed acts of wonder that convinced many that God is real, prayer really does work and that love heals!
To name a few: St. Teresa of Avila would go into deep meditation and encounter Christ and her heart was literally lanced by His burning love! She taught all the sisters in the convent to pray with their heart and fall in love with the love of God! They began to live every day with greater joy, and could hear, yes actually hear, God talking to them and guiding their daily activities!
St. Padre Pio. I love that he lived in my lifetime and that he had the gift of bi-location! On many occasions he was in Germany guiding soldiers to safety and dragging them out of the wreckage while he was at the same time in his Monastery in Italy! He had the instant gift of speaking 4 or 5 languages so that he could hear confession and give absolution in their native tongue!
St. Francis De Sales. He left behind one of the most amazing tools, a book on how to live a devout life as a lay person.
I don’t know how many days I have here on this earth, I hope many, however, I believe in learning from others to expedite my goal to reach heaven. Learning from the saints is not just a stairway to heaven, I consider it my escalator!
I love that I am able to wear St. Benedict’s medal every day and that he has become one of our official heroes! St. Benedict taught us all to make God’s love visible through all that is true, good and beautiful, and he reminds us that beauty amplifies God’s love! St. Benedict also reminds us to “Ora de Labore”, to work and pray, that one’s prayer life is interweaved into their work life and there is no separation.
“Be joyful in love, be firm in hope and be constant in effort.”
This is where my book flew open, when I prayed for guidance one day as I picked up a book in my office that I had never seen before. That quote became my mantra at work and at home. After reading it I signed up to compete in the longest Triathlon that I had ever done, the Malibu International Triathlon on September 16, 2017.
Training: One Our Father and Hail Mary at a Time
The most beautiful part of my training is that I paced myself with the Rosary. I would push a bit harder during the Our Fathers, and then settle into my rhythmic pace during the Hail Marys. The meditations allowed me to be mindful on prayer with every step. Praying helped me to keep going, to believe in my growing strength, and to trust. It also created this incredible sense of gratitude for my ability to train, swim, bike, and run, and my ability to reach beyond what I thought was possible.
When Race Day arrived, it felt different than any other one I’ve experienced before. We arrived in Malibu while it was still dark. As the sun began to rise and we were about to start the race with our swim, I glanced out among the waves to see a pod of dolphins. It was as if they were reminding us of all the ease and grace of swimming. In that grace and gratitude, we stepped into the cold water and began our swim. I had 1 mile to swim down the coast and I began to pray, my strokes and breath coming into alignment with the rhythm of my prayers and before I knew it I was passing the second (out of 6) buoy! As I swam and lifted my head to breathe, I caught the rays of the rising sun on the water and saw that its rays illuminated a school of tiny silver fish swimming right under me!
Continuing the Good Fight
As I finished the swim and put my feet on the sand I realized my legs were wobbly; I sank back in the water. I began to pray for balance and strength, took a deep breath, and tried again. This time my legs held me up as I slowly jogged to the transition to get on my bike. It was in that moment that I handed my race over to God. I simply asked for Him to allow me to finish. I was no longer racing, I just wanted to keep my legs from shaking and finish the next segment. I jumped on my bike and tried to clip in, it didn’t work and I almost fell over… now I was really shaking… I told myself: try again, get your balance, breathe, pray, and on they went, I was clipped in safely and ready to ride the 26 miles up the coast of Malibu! This is the part I trained hard for: this was between me, my strength and the hills! The Our Father became my go-to prayer, where I exerted the most energy to make it up those hills! As I neared the last mile of the bike ride, I noticed so many of my fellow racers began slowing down. I decided that this was my time to speed up! I told myself, “Race with all everything you have to the finish line, don’t stop early!” I was praying, pedaling and passing others… WOW! I got to the bike rack, put on my running shoes and the rest was home free.
The Final Stretch
It was just me and the road and finally time to pray my Rosary, and have fun! I was no longer trying to win, I just wanted to finish. Six miles seemed really far, but I took it in two mile increments and one Rosary at a time. I ended up praying two Rosaries and once again as soon as I saw the finish line I began to sprint, this time I did not pass anyone. Rather I cheered them on along with me and together we ran the race all the way to the finish line.
Crossing the Finish Line
I did it! I finished the longest race I have ever done and I did it as I was turning 50 years old! Thank you JESUS!!! I couldn’t help but reflect on the verse, “We can do all things through Christ who strengthens us!” It was a simple message to be joyful in love, firm in hope, and constant in effort. It spoke to me, challenged me to go beyond my comfort zone, and taught me the effort is joyful when done in love and prayer!
As I was leaving the race zone and the medals were being awarded, I heard my name being called. I was so excited that I ran up on stage, stood on that podium and raised my arms to heaven in thanksgiving.
Confident On My Own at QVC
“I got this one! It’s easy, just a 7 minute hit on prime time, live TV… perfect… I am good!” This was my attitude on August 11th. Yeah that’s a good name “HIT” because it did hit me like a freight train and I felt like I had fallen flat on my face. If anyone hears me say “I have it all under control,” from here on out, someone please come and rescue me from myself!
During those 7 minutes of prime time I was entrusted to deliver God’s love and I had started to think I could do it on my own. Wow, talk about PRIDE! Thank God that He is God! He loves me so much (as He loves us all) that He allowed me to fail so I could remember who really is running the show.
Lights Camera Action…
I heard the host ask me, “So tell the world about My Saint My Hero…” and that’s when I began to babble. There was such a complete disconnect from my heart. I felt no love, no connection. They were just words flying out of my mouth, sound bites with no heart that I fell flat on the screen. When those 7 minutes were up, I walked off the stage and felt like crumbling. It was then when it hit me! I was entrusted with a very important message and I just failed to deliver it. I failed to be a conduit of God’s love. I forgot to be His instrument because I got in the way!
I couldn’t sleep that night and during the entire 6 hour flight home, my heart felt so heavy. I got in my car and drove straight to Adoration to spend some time down on my knees, then home for a little family love and finally I took a plunge in the water. These things are my tools of faith: tools to help get my mind, body, soul and strength back in alignment. It was working slowly…my feelings of shame began to lessen and the next day I was able to face my coworkers at the office, my friends, and ultimately face my failure.
A God of Second Chances
The next morning I went to Mass and as I was praying, replaying the events in my head, I realized what happened. I did not go to Mass that day, I had forgotten to get a Blessing before going on air, I forgot to bring a prayer warrior with me, I forgot to ask for Spiritual Direction…I had tried to do it on my own. However, I realized that I am not meant to do it alone, not now, not ever. As I opened my eyes I gazed at Jesus on the cross and asked Him to help me remember, to forgive me and to please continue to use me as an instrument of His love.
As I was driving away from church, QVC reached out and asked me to come back. A second chance, another opportunity to be on set, but this time trusting God to lead the way. It was as if Jesus was inviting me to sit in His lap and to simply be a conduit of His love. I immediately reached out to my team of prayer warriors and asked them to come with me!
7 Magnificent Minutes
On my flight back on August 23rd after the QVC hit with Jane Tracey, I thanked God for 7 magnificent minutes. I had gone to church, had spiritual direction, I had gone to confession, adoration and I received the Eucharist. I clung on to my Blessing Bracelet remembering to breathe and make space for God again. I brought my sister, my prayer warrior, with me… and together we remembered, together we surrendered our will to God’s divine will.
And together we let God’s love light up the stage which He did! The wave of His love radiated out and we had the honor of doing so on Our Blessed Mother’s Feast Day!
Thank you God, for the second chance. Thank you for the lesson learnt and thank you for your GREAT LOVE. Thank you for allowing me to feel the difference and for teaching me I am not meant to do it alone not now, not ever.
This Sunday we celebrate the Transfiguration: the moment when Christ transformed or “transfigured” from human form to dazzling white right before His disciples’ eyes! Behold a miracle… behold a transformation from what we know to that which is beyond physical perception! I never quite got this significance or maybe I just didn’t understand until now. The time is NOW to fully grasp the moment… for then, for now, for what is. I hope this (as summarized and quoted from the August Magnificat) helps you to open up the horizons of your heart, soul, body and mind. Please read and share with your friends! A rising tide elevates all… may we together elevate each other and rise!!!
May I become what I behold so that my life will radiate the glory of God in grace and love.
When life gets hard…disgusted and a little defiant we fall into what may be the heresy of the 21st century: “that’s just the way I am”…
But the miracle of the Transfiguration broadcasts a luminous truth: things can change.. you can change… what changes us is a radiant face!
The real miracle in the transfiguration is not only the change in Christ as he became dazzling white… but the change in perception to see beyond physical vision and see the divine glory … they began to see beyond their limitations and seize the truth of Jesus Christ. – taken from The Magnificat, August 2017 edition
We, too, Can be Changed
Through the encounter with the One who shines on Tabor, we can be transfigured into beings bursting with love, eager to feed the hungry, clothe the naked, comfort the ill, and visit the imprisoned. As Simone Weil said, “God made it so that his grace, when it penetrates to someone’s very center and illuminates their whole being, permits that person to walk on water without violating the laws of nature”.
We, like the Apostles, must not stay on the mountain but come down and radiate His love to the world by our own transfiguration. Acts of wonder convince the world that God is real, that love heals and that prayer works. The time is now to behold who you are!
This is where my annual retreat into family, love and quiet happens. There on that small island is where family matters most, conversations linger and a warm embrace is truly felt. It is a place where my feet feel steady and I’m not jumping from one activity to the next. Coffee is served in a beautiful china cup and one is meant to stay at the coffee bar and enjoy it among one another rather than speeding off to consume it in the car or at the desk… a change, a shift, a remembrance … June is my month of renewal!
I sincerely pray that today be a day that you are touched by God’s peace and as you take a deep breath may you be renewed in His presence. I invite you to join me on a mini morning retreat… each night as you go to sleep ask God to impart to your heart the experience the gift of gratitude the moment you awake in the morning. When you wake and feel the sense of joy… take a moment to give thanks… to feel grateful for whatever it is this morning that you love or loves you. Let’s meet again in a few weeks and share the Gratitude Experiment!
While in Ischia and now back home in California, I’ve been wearing two Gratitude bracelets every day as tangible reminders to join you each morning in prayer and create this beautiful space of gratitude! I am grateful for you!!!!
PS. I love our newest Gratitude Bracelets as they give us the space to BE grateful.
“I give you my strength.”
These were the last words my father whispered into my ear as his breath became labored. A few hours later my dad passed from this world to the next and I sat in awe of the feeling of Heaven that filled the space. His transition was peaceful… and his last words directly to me mattered deeply. I give you my strength…. Those few words continue to echo in my heart. Whenever I feel completely weak and ready to throw in the towel, a strength starts to bubble inside and provides me the courage and inspiration to carry on…to be fearless, to be uniquely me and to find my own finish line to cross. My dad truly gave me his strength and Our Father provides the love and protection for me to be fearless.
This June as we celebrate all fathers I am grateful for all the men I know that live fearlessly in love for their family and God above all things!
Happy Father’s Day!
Be Fearless! Send me a picture of your father or hubby or the man in your life wearing FEARLESS
…I’ll start! This is my husband Anthony proudly wearing his.
Our Blessed Mother: My Peace
My daughter Caroline decided to attend university in Leeds, UK. When she shared this news with me, I ran to the Catholic Church in Leeds, got down on my knees, and prayed for my baby girl and for my heart. Did I do enough as her mother? Is she ready for college? How can I help her if something happens and she is in the UK? All these worries flooded my soul… Still on my knees I opened my eyes and looked up, and there right in front of me was a statue of Our Blessed Mother with her arms stretched towards me… she spoke to my heart… nurturing, loving, all present, and strong! I heard her say… “I’ve got her”… I AM her Mother and I will protect her, guide her and hold her close! Our Blessed Mother saw my heart, saw my worry and washed it clean with her grace and omnipotent love! She is everywhere -all the time- and she is the ultimate mother! I am safe to let my baby girl go because Mama Mary’s got her! I realize that I am simply her momentary mother during this short lifetime with my limited capacity, although my love for my children knows no limits. Our Blessed Mother carries our children when we cannot. I am grateful and I remain in awe of the supernatural peace this truth brings me. Thank you, Mama Mary!
My Peace…My Pieces
There are a few Blessing Bracelets that I never take off!
Why? Because I feel connected and grounded as I wear them. I feel the love that calms me and comfort in times of building anxiety. Each piece has a story, and each one reminds me of a love or a prayer that connects me to my friends and family. I wear a purple silver Blessing Bracelet in memory of my dear friend’s son and also for my 16 year old friend Katherine who is seeking a cure for her ALS. I wear a black silver Blessing Bracelet in unity with my husband in prayer for our marriage and for all marriages. I wear a tan Scapular Bracelet as a tangible reminder of my pilgrimage to the Holy Land and Medjugorje. I wear a Blessings in Faith in the spirit of community with our entire My Saint My Hero sisterhood and brotherhood of faith. I wear a taupe Breathe Bracelet as a prayer partner with Caroline. Goodness, I know this sounds like a lot… however I also wear a Chain Breathe Bracelet to pray for all our pieces made in China and lastly I am wearing our new PEACELinks in prayer for an end to human trafficking. That is my Litany of Prayer that I wear on my arm!
-Amy D’Ambra // Founder, President