Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Gearing up for our 20th Year!!! 1993-2013

Looking back is not always advisable. We are called by Christ to put our hands to the plow and not look back. In looking back, we risk taking our eyes off of Jesus and where would that get us?
However, being mindful of where we have come from and how far we have come can be a source of great grace. I can only imagine the thoughts Peter may have had while walking in Rome teaching and talking to the first Christians. How often did he wonder how he came to Rome from the shore of the Sea of Galilee.
We have the inspiring story of his fleeing Rome to escape persecution. During his escape, he encountered Christ himself along the Appian Way and asked his savior, “Quo vadis?” “Where are you going?” Christ replied, “Back to Rome to be crucified.” Realizing what Christ was willing to endure - again - for him, Peter turned around and went back to face his own execution.
Those are my thoughts as I reflect on the reality of Little Flowers some 20 years from its first small seeds. Not that Little Flowers has been a martyrdom at all but years and years of unexpected blessing!
But, rather I am thinking of Peter who was so far from his boat in Galilee. Did he ever imagine that saying ‘yes’ to Jesus would entail the miracles he witnessed or the adventures he undertook? He was an unschooled man, a humble fisherman raised to be our first Pope. I imagine, at times, that very thought brought Peter to his knees in both prayers of intercession and shouts of thanksgiving!
Back here, today, in 2012 and seeing 2013 approaching quickly, my own thoughts are similar. “Has it really been 20 years!? It cannot be 20 years!” However, the bit of gray in my hair and the reality that the first Little Flowers are now in their, mid-20’s make it clear it is indeed 20 years since the first meetings in a little rowhome in Baltimore City.
But, even more humbling is how far Little Flowers has come, how grand the garden has become. And it all began with such a simple question - “How can my daughters gather with other girls their age, have some fun, learn a bit about their faith and have some more fun?”
The gift of “A Catholic Girl’s Way to Life” by Fr. Lasance by a deacon, Charlie Heibler, at my parish during this time provided the beginning of the answer. Having a background in drama, camping, 4-H and other groups from both my childhood and college years, it didn’t take long for this small book to give me ideas to percolate into activities, into meetings and the first draft of a guide for others.
Throughout its beginnings (and to this day), I kept giving it back to God, the Blessed Mother and, especially St. Therese as I knew I could nothing without any of them. I hoped whatever I did - however small or little - would be pleasing to those watching from heaven. The idea of flowers was taken from the book and easy to use. “Growing holy - one virtue at a time” became the verse I repeat again and again. A little bit at time, a small way to God. Little Flowers would themselves become living, beautiful flowers in a garden around the altar of the Lord, the feet of Mary and the throne of God. And they have.
Little Flowers are now young children to older teens. We have families starting it with their first readers and some discovering it for the first time with their pre-teens. “Little” has nothing to do with age but everything to do with attitude. They hope as we do, that every Little Flower - regardless of age - would be “made humble and small in the arms of God, conscious of our weakness, and confident to the point of audacity in the goodness of our Father.” *
The team of ‘gardeners’ has grown from a few moms who met in my living room to moms across the country, the world. A dear friend, Joan, began to talk about publishing it formally; an idea my children embraced as they had long grown tired of standing in the aisle of Staples as I made photocopies to mail out.
Others came forward to write music, others designed crafts and even now many more willingly give their ideas to the leader’s loop on a daily basis. There are too many workers in this garden to name them all, but knowing that Jesus knows gives me reassurance as I offer daily prayers for you all.
I am not far from Baltimore as I still live in Maryland but how far Little Flowers has come. Twenty years ago, I had no idea or even intention that the small seeds sown would become an international landscape of gardens throughout the country, throughout the world! We have small gardens in homes, with larger gardens in schools and parishes. I can picture in my mind the beautiful English garden now in the United Kingdom and wonder what a garden in Australia might look like!
If I could catch up with Peter as he walked back to Rome, I would take his hand and shake my head, “How did we get here? How did this happen?” I can almost feel the strength in his hand as he squeezes it, “Does it really matter? You stepped out of the boat as I did, but if you keep your eyes on Christ, just keep working and let God take care of the details.”
I do not know what the next 20 years has to offer for Little Flowers. The headlines and the struggles we face make it seem daunting but it doesn’t matter. Jesus is there, the Blessed Mother is there and, always, always, St. Therese is there just asking us to plant the seeds with love for ‘love makes time eternal by giving divine value to every thing
.’** We all strive in the same manner,
“do everything as if it all depended on you, and leave the result to the Divine Master on whom everything really depends.”***
*Novissima Verba, p. 112, taken from “I Believe in Love” by Pere Jean du Coeur de Jesus D’Elbee, St. Bede’s, translated, 1974).
**I Believe in Love, pg. 10
***I Believe in Love”, pg. 55.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Little Flowers Featured on EWTN!

Women of Grace (EWTN) aired last week's program on Girl Scouting, its positions, leadership and direction. In the last segment on alternatives to Girl Scouting, Little Flowers Girls' Club was featured as a great alternative. Thanks so much to Susan Brinkmann and Johnette Benkovic for all their hard work and support!

View the program here:

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Sample Lesson Plan (Wreath I, Love of God)

Here is a sample of lesson plan that you may want to use when organizing meetings for your group. Many thanks to Teresa Rodriguez of Garland, TX for submitting these materials.

Love of God / St. Agnes-January 21/ Pink / Peony

Meeting Agenda: 11/15/10

Activities accomplished during meeting: (p. 17 of Member’s Guide: 1,2,3,5,9)

I. Opening Prayer: (3:35pm-4pm)

a.) Hail Mary
b.) Scripture Memory Verse (different verse chosen): “If you love Me, you will keep my commandments” (John 15:14) and “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength” Mark 12:30. (Activity #1)
c.) Act of Love/ short version (x3-for memorization): “O, My God, because you are all good I love you with my whole heart and soul.” (Activity # 3)
d.) St. Agnes, please pray for us and help us always to love God.
e.) Review of poster/ St. Agnes
f.) St. Agnes-Let’s get to know her! (story with props/ or dress up as St. Agnes-have someone else dress up. Make this FUN and entertaining-the girls will love it! ) (Activity #2)

II. Grace / snack / drink / discussion (4-4:15pm)

a.) Love of God is the highest form of love-read 5 ways that we can show God that we love Him. Can you think of any more ways that we can show God that we love Him? (Activity #5)
b.) Discuss: 10 Ways that God has shown us that He loves us (Activity #9)

III. Craft (4:20-4:35pm)

a.) Put together the “God is Love” (I John 4:8) cross-glue it to pink construction paper and attach a copy of the Short form of the Act of Love. (This can be used as part of the Love of God medal project award-“Build an Altar” on p.19)
b.) Color/paint/color pencil the pictures of St. Agnes

IV. Game--“The Golden Rule”: Loving God means keeping His commandments (4:35-4:50)
This game will help us to learn how to respect others(a way of putting our love for others in action) , which is one the greatest commandments of all. (Activity #5-one way to show God that we love Him is by loving others) *This was a free download off the internet. Google: The Golden Rule Game for children.

V. Closing Prayer (4:50-4:55pm)

a.) Act of Love (Memorized)
b.) Scripture Verse (Memorized)
c.) St. Agnes please pray for us and help us to love God and defend our Catholic Faith as you did. Amen.

VI. Sign out / bake sale reminder / change in day for next meeting reminder (4:55-5:05pm)


Wednesday, February 15, 2012

New FREE Webinar From LF Creator!!

Click on this link to view the free webinar by Rachel Watkins, Little Flowers' Creator, for history of the group, ideas for your group and new items in the works!

Monday, February 13, 2012

Badge Magic or Sewing?

Here's a post from a Boy Scout Mom about her experiences with Badge Magic and hand/machine sewing badges. The comments are interesting, too.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Wreath 3 Medal Projects Now Available!

Available now by popular request are all nine Wreath 3 medal projects! These beautiful, hand-crafted medals are made of brass and resin and show the lovely colored images of the saints from the Wreath 3 Member's Guides. These lovely medals will made a beautiful addition to your Little Flower's sash. Click on the medal project image below to order.