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Monday, April 30, 2012

Samson's Bad Hair Day

Click on the Gracenotes link above to hear this week's podcast.  Check back tomorrow for a new Gracieland.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Ask Ellen: What grades are Anthony and Gracie in? Sophie

Thanks for the question, Sophie.  We haven’t placed them in a grade in the webstrip.  I can tell you that Gracie is in her early elementary school years.  Anthony is slightly older than Gracie, probably about two years.

When the books are published I think you will be able to tell what grade Gracie is in.  In fact, write me again when you figure it out.  OK?

And thanks for following our girl.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Buzz Like A Bee

After the Book of Joshua comes the Book of Judges.  This was a chaotic period in Israel’s history.  The various tribes were often operating independently of each other.  God raised up Judges to restore order.  The Book of Judges tells of these twelve heroes.  An interesting side note, the Book of Ruth fits in this time as well.

Biblical Scholar Alert!!!  I learned this from Jeff Cavins’ Bible Timeline.  This book highlights the cycle of sin that Israel constantly fell into.  I’m afraid we do too.  It starts with a SIN.  Eventually we become addicted to the sin and experience SERVITUDE.  This causes us to plea for help.  This is a period of SUPPLICATION.  Often times God delivers us from sin and offers SALVATION.  Unfortunately, most times, our response to God is SILENCE.  This silence leads us back to sin and the cycle begins again.  Thanks, Jeff, for showing me this.

Israel was deeply entrenched in this cycle of sin when this week’s friend appears.  She is Deborah, a prophetess.  Deborah’s name means “buzzing bee” and was she ever.  Read Judges 4:3-5.  She judged Israel which highlights her issue, reliability.  The people knew they would find her under her palm tree and that she would solve their problems.  I think every mom should have her own palm tree.  Don’t you?

Anyway, Deborah delivers the enemy’s army into Israel’s hands.  How is that for reliable?  I love what she says to the leader of Israel’s army in verse 9.  Talk about the power of a woman!  This seems timely for us considering the Vatican’s discontent with American nuns.  Whether you agree with it of not, you can’t deny the power of women.  Deborah clearly knew this.

The enemy’s leader runs away like a coward and hides in the tent of a woman named Jael. Read verses 19-22.  Deborah’s prediction was correct.  A woman brought down the enemy.  Jael might get the glory but Deborah was the brains behind the operation.  Chapter 5 of Judges records the Canticle of Deborah and it is worth a look.

Deborah’s issue was reliability.  The dictionary describes reliability as “fit to be relied on, dependable, worthy of trust, responsible, constant, bedrock, impeccable, unquestionable.”

This is how we should be both at work and in our relationships.  The people relied on Deborah.  There are people who rely on you.  This week examine how reliable you are.  Ask yourself the following questions:

Do people rely on me?

Am I dependable?

Have I earned people’s trust?

Am I constant in my work and relationships?

How can I become more reliable?

What can I learn from Deborah?

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

It's The Thought That Counts

Click on the Gracieland icon on the bottom right of the home screen to see this week's webstrip.  To see all of the strips, please visit:

Tuesday Table Talk

Ask your child:

Why is Gracie freaking out?

Do you think Gracie's mom is right?

Why does Gracie want to go to the dollar store?

Where do you like to shop for birthday gifts for your friends?

Monday, April 23, 2012

Our Buzzing Bee

Click on the Gracenotes link above to hear this week's podcast about our friend, Deborah.  And check back tomorrow for a brand new Gracieland webstrip.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Spring Break

We are taking a much needed break this week on AGOG.  Check back on Monday for some new content.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Ask Ellen: What spiritual lesson can we learn from the battle of Jericho?

What spiritual lesson can we learn from the battle of Jericho?  Joe.

I saved this question until now.  I thought it would be appropriate since we are in the Book of Joshua.  The spiritual application that I see is the value of liturgical warfare.

The Israelites were up against a formidable opponent.  It was seemingly impossible to bring down the walls of Jericho and lay siege on the city.  Yet the Israelites triumphed.  They answered the battle call with liturgy.  They walk in unified motion, marching around the city.  They blew trumpets as a battle cry and united through music.  And they prayed.

This makes me reflect on what we do at Mass.  We also have a worthy opponent, the world.  Yet we join together with our motions, our words and our music to break down walls.  I think that is the beauty of liturgy.

I encourage you to think about this when you attend Mass this weekend. (especially during this joyous season of Easter).  Pray that you begin to realize the power you have been given through the Liturgy.  Pray that we all do.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Follow Me

We have met Miriam and the Talking Ass in the Book Of Numbers.  This week we move on to a book bearing our friend’s name, Joshua.  This book is important to understanding Salvation History.  It tells of the time when Israel was finally given the land they were promised way back when.

Read Joshua 1:1-9.  In this section, we see what it takes to be a leader in God’s economy.  I notice 5 key attributes that God uses to describe a leader.  A leader:

1- is firm.  The dictionary says this means “not weak or uncertain; solid, strong, mighty.”
2- is steadfast.  The dictionary says this means “firmly fixed in place; constant, dedicated, devoted, loyal, dependable.”
3- Does not swerve.  The dictionary says this means  “to turn aside abruptly from the course; fall off, deviate.”
4- does not fear.  The dictionary says this means “not apprehensive, does not expect harm; no anxiety, dread or panic.”
5- is not dismayed.  The dictionary says this means “not to lose courage or resolution: not frustrated, let down or discontent.”

How could Joshua be all of these things?  Simply by relying on God.  Look at what God promises Joshua in verses 3, 5 and 9.  What does God expect of Joshua?  Faith in God.  Joshua is told to uphold the Law and keep it always before him.  If he does this, God guarantees him success.  He offers us the same.

This brings us to Joshua’s issue, leadership.  Joshua is an effective leader because he does what God tells him to do.  We are given the same opportunity.  But many of us struggle with leadership for various reasons.  We might be a natural leader, but we become power hungry.  We want a position simply to better ourselves.  Or maybe we are inclined to lead, but we swerve all over the place due to our own insecurities.  Lastly, many of us undermine leadership.  Maybe we resent it or have had a bad experience with someone in authority over us.

God’s prescription for leadership cures all of this.

We cant be power hungry if we are seeking the position for God.  It actually leads to humility.  The goal becomes to make God more evident in the world.  We can’t swerve all over the place if we allow God to direct our leadership.  We find security in Him.  Finally, we cannot undermine leadership.  We must understand that God’s Kingdom is based on leaders.  He obviously places high value on them.  Just look at Joshua.  This was not a case of every man for himself.

This week take a look at the role leadership plays in your own life.  How do you measure up to the five things God outlined to Joshua?  Ask yourself the following questions:

Am I firm in my decisions?

Am I steadfast in my faith?

Do I swerve all over the place?

Am I fearful?

Do I lose courage when tested?

Do I rely solely on God?

Do I keep His Word?

Am I avoiding leadership roles?

Do I undermine authority?

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Because 40 Days Is A LONG Time

Click on the Gracieland icon on the bottom right of the screen to see this week's webstrip.  To see a collection of all the strips, please visit

Tuesday Table Talk

Ask your child:

Have you ever wondered the same thing as Gracie?

If you were Noah, which animal would have been your favorite?

What does Gracie mean when she says, "nobody wants to discuss theology anymore?"

Monday, April 9, 2012

Joshua and Leadership

What Makes a Good leader?

Click on the Gracenotes link above to hear this week's podcast. Don't forget to check back tomorrow for a brand new Gracieland webstrip.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

In honor of Holy Week, we will be silent for the next days.  

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Why Does Your Garden Grow?

Click on the the Gracieland icon on the bottom right of the home page to see this week's webstrip.  To see a collection of all the strips, please visit:

Tuesday Table Talk

Ask your child:

Which of the things that Gracie's mom is planting is your favorite?

Why is Gracie's dad surprised?

What hobbies do your parents have?