In the News: Controversial Drug

There is much concern with this drug and its possible medical side effects in later years. Aside from that, the Catholic view is one of worry in that the vaccine may give young girls the wrong message: not only is it “okay” to be sexually active, but now it is also safe! Undoubtedly, the ultimate responsibility will rest on us parents. Check out the linked article below.

The Dangers of Gardasil 7/10/08

Travel for the Soul: Exploring the National Parks – Colorado

Colorado is home to the Rocky Mountain National Park, where you can drive on Trail Ridge Road, the highest continuous highway in the U.S.  It is also home to Black Canyon National ParkMesa Verde National Park, and Great Sand Dunes National Park.  We just returned from our trip to Colorado and totally loved it.  

Rocky Mountain National Park:

Rainbow Curve Overlook                                     Trail Ridge Road
Photo by CCPerez. Copyright © 2008 Connie Perez. All rights         Photo by CCPerez. Copyright © 2008 Connie Perez. All rights 
reserved.                                                                                      reserved.

Rocky Mountain National Park is located in the north-central region of the Colorado.  It features beautiful mountain views, lots of wildlife, and different climates and environments—from wooded forests to mountain tundra —and easy, moderate and strenuous trails.  The park is split by the Continental Divide, and it contains over 60 peaks higher than 12,000 feet.  The quaint town of Estes Park is at the eastern entrance of the park.

General information:;
                                     Estes Park –

Accommodations:    Solitude Cabins in Estes Park

Black Canyon of the Gunnison:

Painted Wall shows ancient lava flow.                Black Canyon’s wild flowers.                        
Photo by CCPerez. Copyright © 2008 Connie Perez. All rights       Photo by CCPerez. Copyright © 2008 Connie Perez. All rights  
reserved.                                                                                      reserved.

Black Canyon National Park is so named because of its steepness which makes it difficult for sunlight to penetrate very far down the canyon, and as a result, the canyon walls are most often in shadow, so this causes the rocky walls to appear black.  The Gunnison River is primarily responsible for carving the Canyon into that extreme steepness and depth.  This Park is the least visited of all National Parks, and on any given visit, it can feel and seem like you are the only one there.  You can see a vast variety of wild flowers there, as well as wild life.  The main attraction of the park is the scenic drive along the south rim. 

General info.:

Mesa Verde National Park:

Cliff Palace                                                        Mesa Verde Plateau
Photo by CCPerez. Copyright © 2008 Connie Perez. All rights      Photo by CCPerez. Copyright © 2008 Connie Perez. All rights 
reserved.                                                                                   reserved.

Mesa Verde National Park was established in 1906 as concern grew over the archaeological well being of its ruins.  The Park features numerous ruins of homes and villages built by the ancient Pueblo people known as the Anasazi, who made these stone villages their home in A.D. 1200s. The Park is best known for several spectacular cliff dwellings, these structures built within caves
and under outcroppings in cliffs.  One of these dwellings, Cliff Palace, is thought to be the largest in North America.  

General information:
                                 Inside the Park accommodations:                                 

Great Sand Dunes National Park:

View of the dunes from the Visitor Center      View from atop one of the dunes
Photo by CCPerez. Copyright © 2008 Connie Perez. All rights    Photo by CCPerez. Copyright © 2008 Connie Perez. All rights 
reserved.                                                                                 reserved.

Great Sand Dunes National Park contains the tallest sand dunes in North America.  They rise about 750 feet from the floor of the San Luis Valley, and cover about 19,000 acres.  The dunes, which are believed to be about 12,000 years old, were formed from sand deposits of the Rio Grande flowing through the San Luis Valley.  Over time, west winds picked up sand from the river and as the wind lost power before the range, the sand was deposited on the east edge of the valley. This process continues today, and the dunes are slowly growing.  The shape of the dunes change dailey because of the winds.

General info.:   


Worth Watching: Our Savior

        This video was forwarded to me by a friend (thank you, thank you).  It is an awesome dramatization.  And so powerful.  It hits home because it reminds me of how often God has rescued me when I’ve turned away from Him, or have been on the verge of doing so.  We face so many forms of temptation nowadays, it’s hard to stay focused and godly.  The Lord is always fighting for our souls because He doesn’t enjoy seeing us suffer the consequences of our sin.   It is only futile to turn away from God.  Seek Him with all your heart and soul, and you will be better for it.

Video Title:  Lifehouse Everything Drama


In the News: The Shroud going on display

The Shroud of Turin, which as you may know is believed by many Christians to be Jesus Christ’s burial cloth, will go on public display again in the Spring of 2010. Pope Benedict XVI made the announcement today at the Vatican. The Shroud was last on display in 2000. After many years and many scientific tests, it has not been proven that it is specifically the shroud of Jesus. However, what all that research has established is that the Shroud image cannot have been man-made using any of the techniques of art or science used throughout history, and that it does not have the makings of a phony or fake or imitation. Scientists cannot explain to date with any certainty how the images came to be.

Personally, because I believe in the resurrection of Christ, I choose to believe the Shroud of Turin is real, and that it confirms the Passion story. Imagine, this could mean that we have an actual picture of Jesus. Click on the linked article for more.

Pope announces new display of Shroud of Turin June 2, 2008
Source: Reuters    shroud-of-turin-face


Note-Worthy: Understanding Stem Cell Research

For a comprehensive explanation of the facts and controversies surrounding stem cell research, I recommend you look into the article linked below.

Understanding Stem Cell Research
February, 2008
Source: Knights of Columbus

Let me tell you something…

friends, in the words of (and a flashback to 80’s TV is needed here) Sergeant Esterhaus, “Hey, let’s be careful out there.”  Because it is a dangerous world we are living in.

        The more one reads or watches the news these days the sicker one gets.  While switching through the news channels last night, my hubby and I were talking about how incredibly bad things have gotten.  So many people, all ages, disappearing or being found dead, if they are found at all; kids, teenagers, being abused, assaulted, and so on.  No need for statistics here, it’s simply sickening.

        When it comes to the issue of safety, typically, with us, it has been the practice to keep our children at arm’s length at all times, and consequently why we usually travel in a pack.  Aside from the fact that we have always enjoyed our kids’ company, we feel a bit more relaxed when they are with us, under our blanket, if you will.  I realize this borders paranoia sometimes, but we can’t help it, we seemingly haven’t been able to “let go,” much to the criticism of some, but we like it that way.  So we’ve always thought ourselves as cautious parents, aware of our children’s surroundings and what have you.

        Then, last night while talking about some of the horrific cases we had watched while channel surfing, we flashed back to some of our hotel stays during our travels when we have sometimes let the kids go down the hall to fill up the ice buckets, and other times, although seldom, go up to the room by themselves to get something while we wait inthe lobby.  All of a sudden, panic set in upon the realization that what has seemed in the past like such a harmless and safe thing to do, can be so life-threatening nowadays. Let me tell you something:  we are NOT doing that anymore.  We can’t.  Particularly since during our long trips we often travel through many small and peculiar towns where we make stops.  Just thinking about that last night made the hair in back of my neck stand up.  I came out of the TV room and called them both to the hall and stood them there and said to them with the utmost level of urgency:  “Listen up kids, new rule in effect:  from now on neither one of you is to…… specifically when you go out or travel with someone other than us.”  I mean, when things are meant to happen, undoubtedly they will happen, but I don’t want to put ourselves in a position where we would facilitate these occurrences for the evil doers out there.  Not on our watch if we can help it, you know what I mean?

        It is unfortunate that we have to live so afraid for our children, for their safety and wellbeing.  But that’s the reality.  Some of you reading this have teenagers, who, as it turns out, are the hardest ones to educate and/or convince about this safety issue, as well as other issues, particularly the dangers they are exposed to through technology, i.e. the internet.  That, in and of itself, is a nightmare and something we must stay on top of constantly.  Don’t ever think that danger can’t reach out of a computer screen and grab your kids.  It most certainly can, just watch the news, namely last night’s segment regarding 8 teens accused of kidnapping and assaulting another teen, resulting from comments posted on MySpace.

       Often our kids don’t want to understand the restrictions we impose on them, be it social or intellectual.  They think they know everything and believe themselves invincible and immune to any of the dangers lurking about.  Be that as it may, we must educate them and open their eyes to what’s out there and help them stay safe.  Even when our children don’t live with us anymore, are away at college, or whatever the case may be, as parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles, we must not think twice about staying involved and drilling our kids on these issues.  No matter how repetitive they say we sound, it is critical that we remain relentless.

        Of course we pray, of course we trust God and put ourselves and mostly our children in His hands.  But at the end of the day, it is our responsibility to keep our children’s safety and wellbeing on the front burner, all the time. “Train a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” Proverbs 22:6.

        Let’s be conscious of this privilege, and duty, given to us by our Lord, and teach and train them well.  And most of all people, let’s be careful out there.

-by Connie Perez

Children miss nothing in sizing up their parents.  If you are only half convinced of your beliefs, they will quickly discern that fact.  Any ethical weak spot-any indecision on your part-will be incorporated and then magnified in your sons and daughters.  Their faith or faithlessness will be a reflection of our own.
Dr. James Dobson

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Travel for the Soul: A Different Kind of Farm

        We recently returned from a week-long stay in Peachtree City, Georgia, where we spent spring break with my brother and his family.  While there, we took a day trip to Conyers to visit, for the first time, the site where the Blessed Mother appeared 49 times on the 13th of each month from 1990 to 1998.  On our way to Conyers, I thought about what the place would be like.  For years, I read a lot of articles regarding the events occurring there, and so I had an idea of what to expect, but to be honest, it turns out I had imagined a place very different from the one I saw.

        We arrived at the site, which is on a farm, early that morning.  Initially, we thought we could be at the wrong place, because there was no one else there.  And I mean no one, as in deserted.  It wasn’t until a few minutes after our arrival that we spotted, making their exit, the only other people we saw there that day — a couple and their dog.  Typically, the Farm, as it is called, is visited the most on the 13th of each month, and during certain religious feast days.  Given that the day of our visit was neither, I figured we weren’t going to see a large crowd, but I didn’t think we would find ourselves there in total solitude.  This just added a level of eeriness to our experience, as later confirmed by my husband and kids when they said the place was spooky and freaky.  It was you know, but it turns out, in a special kind of way.

        As we made our way through the Farm, we stopped at various points of interest.  There’s the Statue of Our Loving Mother, a nine-foot marble statue which is visible as you first drive up to the Farm; there’s Rosary Hill, where meditation of the Mystery of the Rosary takes place; the Spirituality Center, where retreats and seminars are held; the Sacred Heart Grotto; the Blessed Well and Water, depicting the Biblical passage of the Samaritan woman at the well with Jesus; the Mother of God Catholic Church Sanctuary, a beautiful little church established in 1998, where visitors can confess, hear mass, and receive Communion; and there’s the Welcoming Center.  But out of all of the interesting spots found at the Farm, the one that really made an impact on us, and I suspect does on most people as well, was the Shrine of Our Loving Mother, where the “Apparition Room” and the “Divine Mercy Room” are housed.  In these rooms, housewife and mother, Nancy Fowler, experienced the apparitions of the Blessed Mother and of Jesus Christ between 1990 and 1998.

        When we entered the Shrine, I immediately felt an incredible sense of peace.  So did my family, they later told me.  And no, it wasn’t because we were the only ones in the room that day, it just felt different.  This room contains various holy statues, it is filled with flowers, informational pamphlets, and there are blessed medals and rosaries which one can take home.  But the most telling objects in that room are the baskets filled with the many written prayers and petitions of those who had visited before us.  We walked around both rooms observing, reading the literature, and commenting on some of the items in them.  Then at one point my son said, “What if she appears now?” and we all looked at each other with…..ah…..yeah that kinda frozen expression, and with nothing to say.  My daughter too, while we were in the Divine Mercy Room sitting in front of the crucifix where Jesus appeared, said, “If He pops up now I’ll die.”  Their comments may have sounded a bit childish to me initially, but in retrospect, I must say I was highly impressed by the way both of them behaved and how seriously and faithfully they took this experience.  The simplicity of their comments implied that they acknowledged the possibility of that actually occurring, and showed how much faith there was in them.  Besides, I’ll be honest, I was sorta having the same “what if” thoughts.  You couldn’t help it.  The setting was conducive to that.  What would you have thought?  

        Eventually, after some time, the four of us sat down to write our prayers and petitions and dropped them in the baskets along with all the other ones.  I felt such a strong and open connection with Jesus and Mary as I sat there writing, that it was just amazing.  Even more amazing was the feeling I got when I realized, as I looked around the room, not just where I was, but who was with me there sharing that moment.  When I glanced at my husband and children sitting there, engulfed in faith, writing in their little pieces of paper their own thoughts, I couldn’t help but feeling blessed.

        We made our way through the rest of the Farm that day and ended our visit at the church.  I felt a great sense of accomplishment and satisfaction.  Not unlike what I feel after visiting a new place when we travel, but this time with the added feeling of gratitude.  I couldn’t believe that the place I had seen in pictures always crowded with people, was on that day, all ours.  I was so taken by how quiet it was there and how alone we were, in the physical sense that is, not in the spiritual sense.  Because as my husband said after we left, “There was definitely a presence in that farm.”  Now, that was freaky my friends, and definitely special.  

        In that humble farm, a woman had visions of Mary and Jesus, and made public their messages.  Messages containing warnings, reassurances and hope for all of us, skeptics and believers alike.  Which are you?  In her last apparition, our Blessed Mother assured her faithful followers that blessings would continue to be given to all those who visited the Farm and prayed to her.  It is because of that, that I share my story with you; in the hopes that, if you haven’t already, you make some time to visit this holy site, so you too may experience this different kind of farm.

-by Connie Perez

The Farm                    &nbs
p;                                      Statute of Our Loving Mother
Photo by CCPerez. Copyright © 2008 Connie Perez. All rights       Photo by CCPerez. Copyright © 2008 Connie Perez. All rights
reserved.                                                                                    reserved.

Rosary Hill                                            Apparition Room
Photo by CCPerez. Copyright © 2008 Connie Perez. All rights        Photo by CCPerez. Copyright © 2008 Connie Perez. All rights
reserved.                                                                                     reserved.

Divine Mercy Room                                            Blessed Well and Water
Photo by CCPerez. Copyright © 2008 Connie Perez. All rights          Photo by CCPerez. Copyright © 2008 Connie Perez. All rights
reserved.                                                                                       reserved.

Mother of God Catholic Church

Photo by CCPerez. Copyright © 2008 Connie Perez. All rights

You may read all about the history and the apparitions at the Farm in Conyers by
going to

Worth Watching: Letter From Hell

        This video goes mainly to my teenaged CCD students.  They often feel apprehensive about expressing their belief in God because they are comsumed with peer pressure.  They don’t want to be excluded if they seem too “religious,” so they opt to stay silent about the Lord, and that can be so harmful.  Most of them don’t realize that for some other teenagers out there, they can serve as the bridge between nowhere and somewhere.  Especially a friend who might be on the edge.  Sometimes just a few words, the right kind of words, can mean a life-time transformation for someone.  I suppose it’s the same with us adults.  We don’t necessarily have to go crazy preaching, but we must certainly try to touch those around us, even if subliminally.  Although think we all know someone who “subliminally” won’t work for.  With that particular individual, we must be crystal clear when passing on the Lord’s message.

        Anyway, this video is a bit intense, but for all intense and purpose, it brings across the point.  I’ve added a couple of relevant poems below also.  Give them a read.

Video Title:  Letter From Hell

My friend, I stand in the judgment now
And feel that you’re to blame somehow-
On earth, I walked with you day by day
And never did you point the way.

You knew the Lord in Truth and Glory,
But never did you tell the story.
My knowledge then was very dim;
You could have led me safe to Him.

Though we live together on the earth,
You never told me of the second birth,
And now I stand this day condemned,
Because you failed to mention Him.

You taught me many things, that’s true;
I called you “friend” and trusted you,
But I learn now that it’ too late,    
You could have kept me from this fate.

We walked by day and talked by night,
And yet you showed me not the light.
You let me live, and love, and die;
You knew I’d never live on high.

Yes, I called you “friend” in life,
And trusted you through joy and strife.
And yet on coming to the end,
I cannot, now call you “My Friend.”

– Unknown


“Eternal Ink”

I dreamed I was in heaven
where an angel kept God’s book.
He was writing so intently
I just had to take a look.
It was not, at first, his writing
that made me stop and think
but the fluid in the bottle
that was marked “eternal ink.”
This ink was most amazing,
dark black upon his blotter
but as it touched the parchment
it bacame as clear as water.

The angel kept on writing,
but as quickly as a wink
the words were disappearing
with that strange eternal ink.
The angel took no notice,
but kept writing on and on.
He turned each page and filled it
till all its space was gone.
I thought he wrote to no avail,
his efforts were so vain
for he wrote a thousand pages
that he’d never read again.

And as I watched and wondered
this awesome sight was mine,
I actually saw a word stay black
as it dried upon the line.
The angel wrote and I thought
I saw a look of satisfaction.
At last he had some print to show
for all his earnest action.
A line or two dried dark and stayed
as black as black can be,
but strangely the next paragraph
became invisible to see.

The book was getting fuller,
the angel’s records true,
but most of it was blank, with
just a few words coming through.
I knew there was some reason,
but as hard as I could think,
I couldn’t grasp the significance
of that eternal ink.
The mystery burned within me.
And I finally dared to ask
the angel to explain to me
of his amazing task.

And what I heard was frightful
as the angel turned his head.
He looked directly at me,
and this is what he said:
I know you stand and wonder
at what my writing’s worth
but God has told me to record
the lives of those on earth.
The book that I am filing
is an accurate account
of every word and action
and to what they do amount.

And since you have been watching
I must tell you what is true;
the details of my journal
are the strict accounts of YOU.
The Lord asked me to watch you
as each day you worked and played.
I saw you as you went to church,
I saw you as you prayed.
But I was told to document
your life through all the week.
I wrote when you wre proud and bold,
I wrote when you were meek.

I recorded all your attitudes
whether they were good or bad.
I was sorry that I had to write
the things that make God sad.
So now I’ll tell the wonder
of this eternal ink,
for the reason for its mystery
should make you stop and think.
This ink that God created
to help me keep my journal
will only keep a record of
things that are eternal.

So much of life is wasted
on things that matter not
so instead of my erasing,
smudging ink and ugly blot
I just keep writing faithfully and
let the ink do all the rest
for it is able to decide
what’s useless and what’s best.
And God ordained that as I write
of all you do and say
your deeds that count for nothing
will just disappear away.

When books are opened someday,
as sure as heaven is true;
The Lord’s eternal ink will tell
what mattered most to you.
If you just lived to please yourself
the pages will be bare,
and God will issue no reward
for you when you get there.
In fact, you’ll be embarrassed,
you will hand your head in shame
because you did not give yourself
in love to Jesus’ Name.

Yet maybe there will be a few
recorded lines that sayed
that showed the times you truly cared,
sincerely loved and prayed.
But you will always wonder
as you enter heaven’s door
how much more glad you would have been 
if only you’d done more.
For I record as God sees,
I don’t stop to even think
because the truth is written
with God’s eternal ink.

When I heard the angel’s story
I fell down and wept and cried
for as yet I still was dreaming
I hadn’t really died.
And I said:  O angel tell the Lord
that soon as I awake
I’ll live my life for Jesus
I’ll do all for his dear sake.
I’ll give in full surrender;
I’ll do all He wants me to;
I’ll turn my back on self and sin
and whatever isn’t true.

And though the way seems long and rough
I promise to endure
I’m determined to pursue the things
that are holy, clean and pure.
With Jesus as my helper,
I will win lost souls to Thee,
for I know that they will live with Christ
for all eternity.
And that’s what really matters
when my life on earth is gone
that I will stand before the Lord
and hear Him say, well done.

For is it relly worth it
as my life lies at the brink?
and I realize that God keeps books
with His eternal ink.
Should all my life be focused
on things that turn to dusk?
From this point on I’ll serve the Lord;
I can, I will, I must!
I will NOT send blank pages
up to God’s majestic throne
for where that record’s going now
is my eternal home.

I’m giving all to Jesus
I now have seen the ink
for I saw an angel write my life
with God’s eternal ink.

– Rev. Craig F. Pitt


Flicks 2

Here’s the second post of suggested films. Click on them to read about them and view trailers.

The Lost City

Little Miss Sunshine

Children of Heaven

End of the Spear

Something the Lord Made

Freedom Writers

The Last Sin Eater

Stolen Summer

Facing the Giants

I Am David

The Ultimate Gift

The Maldonado Miracle

The Lives of Others


Discovering the perks in our routines…a New Year’s resolution?

        That customary, unvarying, habitual, everyday, familiar, same ole routine.  For people who crave change, that can be a dreadful thing.  Even for the methodically-inclined OCP types as myself, and who are typically comfortable with the mundane, it sometimes becomes a bit of a drag.  From the most elaborate and time consuming undertakings to the most simple of tasks, we moan and groan about the boredom from our routines.  For most of us, there just isn’t any other way around the repetitiveness in our lives.  Fortunately, most often than not, within the dragginess of our routines, hide some perks…because nothing happens in vain.  Recognizing them and taking advantage of them can turn them into blessings.

        Such was the case for me when the Spring of 2004 found me switching to a new job.  That was exciting indeed.  It also found me moving to a new parking lot.  And that was not.  Now I had to drive to Downtown earlier just to get a decent parking space at this place, and that did not sit well with me, especially since my new start time was half an hour later than before.  I found myself with over an hour to burn every morning and nothing to do except go through withdrawal symptoms from leaving my former workplace of 15 years.  So much wasted time in that routine I thought.  Then, coincidentally, or not (wink, wink), a month into this new job, one of my co-workers dumped a couple of interesting books on my desk, and so I thought I’d give them a read in the mornings.  Viola! I got re-acquainted with reading taking it up like a chain smoker, and soon thereafter it was my writing that resurfaced.

        So I set up camp at this quaint little table downstairs in my building, where most mornings I read and some mornings I write; where sometimes I’m joined by friends who pass by just to say hello or maybe share a cortadito; where I chat with the maintenance ladies, the FedEx office rep, or the shoe polish old man…come one, come all; and where I can also catch up on the phone with those I love.

        Although I’m mostly engulfed in my books or in my writing, occasionally I do look up while I sip my cortaditos (yes, plural, because two cortaditos taste better than one cafe con leche…don’t ask), and it’s usually then that I notice what goes on outside – – like the long-standing, never-ending marching protestors across the street, how can you miss them, with their bucket-drumming, bottle-shaking racket.  After a while your feet go to their beat like you have some uncontrollable twitch…not even the rain is a deterrent to these relentless souls.  And of course people on their way to work, walking off the Bayfront mover station, crossing left or right (because if you work in Downtown you either work at the Wachovia building or at the Miami Center; otherwise, you work in that other part, you know, near the buzzards, from where the rain always comes around lunch time), all adhering to their daily routines.  What perks, if any, have they discovered in them, I wonder?

        Sometimes, however, my staring out sees nothing really, as I sit in stillness amidst the distractions and try to feel God’s presence surrounding me.  Something I realize we don’t get to do much of during the course of our day, and which has turned out to be my favorite perk of this morning routine.  Undoubtedly, the one time dreaded morning routine, turned out to be anything but.  The reading, writing, friendly visits, people-watching, and most of all God-feeling moments, all serve to make up and enhance my so-called hour of sanity.

        May I then highly recommend as a new year’s resolution, whether you’re into those or not, that you maybe try to find the perks hiding in yours.  It’s like the sun rising, quite the routine in this universe, yet how many times do we really see the perks in that?  That with every one of them comes a new day, new opportunities to redeem ourselves, to hope, to grow in our faith.

        So look closely at your routines, some may be a pain in the butt, but others, others may hold the potential to offer you, among other things, God-feeling time.  Take advantage of that and make Him part of your routine, because we should, as someone once said, “Look for God, look for God like a man with his head on fire looks for water.”

        My friend, may 2008 find you looking like never before.

-by Connie Perez

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