The Touched by Grace Blog


Merry Christmas!

Over two thousand years ago, a baby boy was born destined to rule his kingdom forever. He was born in a manger with his parents and shepherds on watch. Over the years, the celebration slowly but surely spread far and wide and in various ways. From simple family gatherings to grandiose banquets and maybe travels across the U.S. or the globe. The festive yuletide spirit has also morphed into a humongous commercial form in the shape of shopping and more shopping. Then Covid-19 s

On Christmas Gifts

Last year, our church group had an early December gathering, and we shared what our best Christmas memories were. Someone said that opening gifts as a child was one of her best memories. One of the guests said that she never experienced opening a gift on Christmas because as a child, she never had one. The good part is that she never felt she was missing anything. She said there was food on the table, and she had her family who had lots of love and laughter to share. May we n

On Celebrating Advent

Time flies. There are many things I wish I did when I still had a young family. Especially when it came to traditions, like during Advent. If I could do it over again, I would incorporate these Advent traditions to our family's. - Set up (and maybe decorate) 4 candles for the 4 weeks of Advent and have the children light a candle each Advent Sunday. - Bake more Christmas cookies. This time, not just for the family but for neighbors and people who could use some good and edib

It's December!

For some people, there's an extra reason to be happy that December is here. They can't wait for the year to end. 2020 has been filled with unimaginable set of events, and I don't blame some people for feeling the way they do. Covid, riots, political turmoil, fires, hurricanes, elections, and more civil unrest! Regardless of the events though, December continues to bring me hope and light in these times. A reminder that our journey to salvation has been set in motion. A remin

Modified Favorite Things

Two years ago, I wrote about my favorite things for Thanksgiving. With everything that's been happening this year, I thought an updated version is more in tune with the events these days. Basic needs workers, and nurses and doctors, Everyone helping in any way they can, Full trust in Jesus during times like these, These are a few of my favorite things. No coughing, fever, with taste buds all well, Face masks in place, and six feet apart, Working from home and staying in place

On Managing Emotions

Wouldn't it be wonderful if we always feel happy, good, loved, among many other positive emotions? Though emotions are only a part of us, it sometimes seems that it makes up our whole being, at least for that moment in time. That would be wonderful if we always felt good. But since that is not the case, we should learn how to manage our emotions and not the other way around. If we feel lazy, let us not give in to the couch. Instead, let us google and read inspiring stories

Checkbox Catholic

I missed our parish live mass, so I went to Mass-online.org. It was at St. Gerard Catholic Church in Omaha, Nebraska, and the celebrant was Fr. Mark. His homily was wonderfully insightful. From him, I learned that I am a 'Checkbox Catholic.' Rosary? Check! Divine Mercy Chaplet? Check! Mass? Check! I'm one who's had a "To-Do List" since high school, and the checkbox routine fits perfectly in my way of organizing things. Fr. Mark reminded me that though doing these things is he

Inspiring News!

Excited to say that yesterday, I published a YouTube channel of the same name TOUCHED BY GRACE TODAY! The TBG (Touched By Grace) videos are true stories that hope to warm and enkindle the viewers' hearts of God's presence in their lives. Best of all for the busy bees of this world, they're just 1 1/2 - 2 minutes long! Hope you get "Touched by grace today!" My name's Anna Maria. I publish a new post on my blog AND a new video on YouTube every Friday! Check out my website touc

A Reason for Everything

A few weeks ago, a cousin underwent brain tumor surgery. A mountain of prayers from family and friends rose to the heavens on the days prior, during, and after her surgery. The surgery went exceedingly well that she was out of the hospital in five days! A miraculous feat after a grueling major surgery. When I excitedly shared the wonderful healing story with a cousin-in-law, she asked, "So how does one get healed miraculously and another one not make it?" This much I know -

Musings on the Afterlife

Have you ever thought of what the afterlife would be? I know that heaven is the most beautiful place. I've heard and read about it. And what's interesting is that several people who died,came back to life, and wrote about their experiences in heaven mentioned similar things about it - the encounter with Jesus, the unconditional love, the angels, the blinding light. These are all mentioned in McNeal's To Heaven and Back, Eadie's Embraced by the Light, and Alexander's Proof of

Better to Have Loved...

There was a couple who after years of trying to have a child, finally decided to adopt one. They were very happy with their daughter who grew up beautifully in body, heart and spirit. One day, their young daughter had a seizure and died. The couple could not get over their loss. Someone posed them a question. What if God told them that He was going to give them a daughter, a child beautiful in body, heart and spirit whom they will love dearly. But there is one stipulation on

World Smile Day

This is a rare second post for the day. And it's for a good reason - It's World Smile Day! Have you noticed that when you smile, you can't really stay mad or angry? I think that maybe when one smiles, one opens one's heart to God's unconditional love. It is food for the soul. No matter what is going on in your life - the present state of the country dealing with the corona virus pandemic, the worst fires in the the states of California, Oregon and Washington, earthquakes and

Feast of the Guardian Angels

On today's Feast of the Guardian Angels, let me share a story with you. One morning, while driving on a nearly empty Alvarado Street in Los Angeles, I slowly changed to the lane of the only car behind me. The driver must have been having a bad day. He accelerated and tried to cut me off. As I slowed down to let him pass, he swerved aggressively in front of me. I moved to another lane to avoid him, but every time I changed lanes to get away from him, he would cut me off. Scare

On Padre Pio

Yesterday, September 23, was the Feast of Padre Pio. I was looking forward to celebrating Mass, where I expected the homily to be the miracles Padre Pio has been showering to this day. Instead, the priest looked into Padre Pio's life of pain and suffering with nary a complaint, lamentation, or self-pity. He must have been in such agony for 50 years, having the fresh wounds on his hands, feet, and side. Fr. Josh said that if we ponder deeply, following Christ means to undergo

An Encore on Birthdays

Today could be the birthday of a family or a dear friend of yours. We usually call the celebrant, greet and wish them many more years, and maybe send them a gift. Maybe it would be a lovely addition to let that person know how much he or she has influenced us and touched our lives. And thank them. Especially so during this year when people can use more positivity than ever. Today is a dear aunt's, a long-time friend's, and an elementary school classmate's birthday. All have m

Is Happiness the Goal in Life?

A celebrated intellectual said that happiness is not the goal in life. For if it is, then someone who has only known abject poverty will never experience happiness. Jordan Peterson proffers finding meaning in life as the goal. And he said that this meaning can only come from taking on responsibility. It is when parents sacrifice for the sake of the family. It is when we choose the harder path because it is what is right. It is when we carry our burdens daily. Doesn't that s


It's the 19th anniversary of 9-11. Over 3000 died and many more thousands followed from related illnesses and complications of the tragedy (CNN). That event led me to prioritize what are important in my life - faith, family, community and charity. Early this year, we were struck again, but with a different adversity. One that is unimaginable in magnitude and indefinite in its closure. To this day, there have been around 189,000 deaths and 6.32 million infections, also with c

On good luck and bad luck

A speaker shared this story. There were two neighbors living in the countryside. One day, Neighbor A's horse ran away. Neighbor B said, "What bad luck. Now you have one less horse." The following day, Neighbor A's horse came back, bringing 20 more wild horses. Neighbor B said, "What good luck! Now you have twenty more horses!" The next day, Neighbor A's son was training one of the wild horses, and the horse kicked him. Neighbor B said, "What bad luck! Now your son is disabled


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