Author Archives: tracybuasmith

How Beautiful…

By Contributor Tracy Bua Smith

This video was shared by a friend in my homeschool group. Enjoy the music, lyrics, and images as we remember Jesus Christ’s passion, death, and resurrection during Holy Thursday, Good Friday and Holy Saturday. And as we rejoice together when Jesus rose from the dead on Easter Sunday!

May your Easter be blessed!

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Holy Week means remembering Jesus and remembering family

By Contributor Tracy Bua Smith

Yesterday was Palm Sunday, the start of Holy Week, and it’s exactly one week before Easter Sunday. Each Palm Sunday, Catholic Churches hand out blessed palm branches to the congregation.  The above picture are palms from last year that we made into a cross.

Did you know that the ashes from Ash Wednesday come from the burnt palms from last year’s Palm Sunday?   About.com Catholicism states this about Palm Sunday, “Palm Sunday commemorates the triumphal entrance of Christ into Jerusalem  (Matthew 21:1-9), when palm branches were placed in His path, before  His arrest on Holy Thursday and His Crucifixion on Good Friday. It thus marks the beginning of Holy Week, the final week of Lent, and the week in which Christians celebrate the mystery of their salvation through Christ’s Death and His Resurrection on Easter Sunday.”

Here is a Palm Sunday collage video I wanted to share: (the resolution isn’t the best, but the messages and images are still beautiful)

The three holiest days of the Catholic church’s calendar are coming up on this Holy Thursday, Good Friday, and Holy Saturday. These three holy days are called the Easter Triduum.  This is a special time in our family’s life, not only because we remember Jesus’ passion, death and resurrection.

But also it was six years ago at the Easter Vigil Mass on Holy Saturday that my husband and his cousin, Sharon, entered into full communion with the Catholic Church.  Here we are just before this special Mass began.

My husband was baptized a Baptist, but he attended Mass with me while dating, when we were newlyweds, and when we had our three older children. His cousin, Sharon, visited many churches during her lifetime. After 50-plus years of praying and searching, she realized what she was missing all her life was receiving Jesus’ body, blood, soul, and divinity in the Holy Eucharist. (John 6: 48-68)

It was a blessing and a glorious day to see my husband and Sharon enter the Catholic Church at Easter in 2006! Sharon was a saint here on earth, and now she is in heaven since 2007 when her 5-year battle with lung cancer took her away to be with Jesus and Mary’s loving and awaiting arms.  Her son, Patrick, followed her seven months later.  We miss Sharon and Patrick so much, but we are comforted that Sharon is no longer fighting her cancer, and Patrick is running freely in heaven after being in a wheelchair because of cerebral palsy during his 21 years of life.

May you and your family and friends have a blessed Holy Week and Easter!

Wilmington Catholic Radio…and it’s not just for Catholics

By Contributor Tracy Bua Smith

With all the misunderstandings, assumptions and confusion so many have about the Catholic Church, our local Wilmington area is blessed with a resource to clarify church teachings and discuss relevant issues in our everyday lives.

No matter your faith background, Wilmington Catholic Radio, 92.7 FM is a guaranteed way to know exactly what the beautiful Catholic Church preaches and teaches.

Recently, I interviewed one of the founders of Wilmington Catholic

Wilmington Catholic Radio's logo. Photo courtesy of Wilmington Catholic Radio.

Radio, Bill Hamilton.  My questions are in bold print with Hamilton’s answers below each question.

What exactly is Wilmington Catholic Radio (WCR)?

WCR is a low power FM radio station. Low power means the Federal Communications Commission limits it’s broadcast power to no more than 100 watts. It is the first and only Catholic radio station in North Carolina and started broadcasting in July 2004.   Its primary mission is to provide an easy way for Catholics to learn and better understand their faith and for non-Catholics to learn the truth about what the Catholic Church teaches. The station also provides up-to-date information about what’s going on in the church and in the culture.

How did WCR get on the air?

If it wasn’t for the blessed Virgin Mary there would not be a Catholic radio station in Wilmington. While attending a wedding in New York, my sister happened to give me an audio tape about the apparitions of Mary. After listening to it, I wanted to learn everything I could about the apparitions. Over time, I developed a deep love for Jesus Christ and his church that I never had before. I had a great desire to help others learn what I had learned, and I was even thinking about trying to get a Catholic program on one of the local Christian radio stations. Then one day, I got an e-mail from the Mary Foundation which said if anyone wanted to start a low power FM station, they needed to contact Relevant Radio. Finally, after a year and nine months, the FCC construction permit was issued. The permit gave us 18 months to get the station up and running. If we did not meet the deadline, the broadcast license would not be granted. We met the deadline with about one month to spare.

How have you seen the Holy Spirit use WCR to change hearts?

WCR has done everything we have envisioned. One woman told us it has helped her learn more about her faith and the importance of going to confession. It has also encouraged her husband to once again go to Sunday Mass.
After listening, one non-Catholic approached a priest and asked him if he would hear his confession. Another non-Catholic said he learned Catholics actually believe in the Bible and Jesus Christ. Another man said he entered the seminary in large part due to listening to WCR.

I notice that as a drive through different sections of Wilmington, WCR does not come through clearly and I hear another station instead.  Why is that and will this problem be resolved in the future?

Being a low power FM station, we are only guaranteed solid local coverage of a 3.5 mile radius from the transmitter location which is near the intersection of Carolina Beach Road and Third Street. Anything beyond that is subject to interference. We have plans to move to a different frequency, hopefully this year.

What is WCR in need of currently?

What we need is intercessory prayers that we can obtain a better transmitting facility.

Here is the link to pictures of the station on our web site:
What does the station look like?

For more information about Wilmington Catholic Radio and for information about their show schedule and topics, please visit their website HERE.

Be sure to tune into Wilmington Catholic Radio, 92.7 FM and be blessed!

Capturing March for Life 2012 in My Own Words/Photos/Videos

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By Contributor Tracy Bua Smith

Last year, my family and I attended our first March for Life, and I blogged about this incredible experience HERE.

On Monday, Jan. 23, my daughter, friends and I joined a parish in Rocky Mount, N.C., and traveled to Washington, D.C. to our second march on three large buses with about 150 people.

Our first stop when we arrived was the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception.

Each year there is a Holy Mass for Life for all the N.C. pro-lifers present at the march. It is just so beautiful to see the many priests and seminarians and our two bishops from the Raleigh and Charlotte dioceses celebrate Mass inside the packed church.

Tracy Smith and her daughter posing with Father Tim Meares, priest of Our Lady of Perpetual Help in Rocky Mount. Photo by Tracy Smith.

Although I missed celebrating this march with my husband and other three children, it was very special to have my daughter with me to share such a powerful event. It’s never too early to teach our children that life, no matter how small, is precious and sacred.

The sky was gray and gloomy, but the group’s spirits were high, which made the day much brighter, for sure.

After our group gathered at the Navy Memorial, we marched with an estimated 300,000-500,000 pro-lifers. There were men, women and children from all ages, races, religions and walks of life joining together to stand for life, one step and prayer at a time.

It was breathtaking, exhilarating and powerful to walk among the masses. It was a sea of love, as one friend put it. There was no anger, fear or hate in the crowds. Rather, there was a feeling of security, hope, peace, joy and love, and all the young people present gave me hope for our future.

Here is a video clip I took while walking in the march. The young people are shouting, “We love babies, yes we do, we love babies, how ’bout you!”

Like last year, I love the signs that float through the massive crowds. (See slideshow.)

After we left the Senate building, we headed toward the Supreme Court where we listened to women tell their stories about how they had an abortion and how much they have suffered physically, mentally, psychologically, emotionally and spiritually from their decision. It was heartbreaking to hear their stories, but they share their stories to help others through a project called Silent No More Awareness Campaign.

Photo by Tracy Smith

A few feet from where the women were speaking, there were different signs being held up.

Seeing these signs made me sad because the stories these women were telling were filled with pain, grief, sadness, confusion and even hope, but only a few feet away, pro-abortion signs were being held up proudly. I snapped a picture of signs that read “Keep Abortion Legal” and the pro-life signs saying: “Defund Planned Parenthood” and “Face It….Abortion Kills a Person.”

My 11-year-old daughter didn’t understand why anyone would want to keep abortion legalized. She kept asking me “why?”

I told her I don’t understand it myself, but we need to keep standing up for life and praying for conversions so that all people will see that each human person is made in the image and likeness of God. Each life, no matter how small, no matter the circumstance, is sacred and valuable.

This is “who” we will be marching for at March for Life

In the bottom left hand corner of the above photo the text reads “2008 “March for Life”, Washington, D.C., Estimated 400, 000 – 500, 000 in attendance

By Contributor Tracy Bua Smith

Anti-abortion groups in the United States will mark Sunday, January 22 as the 39th anniversary of the Roe vs. Wade Supreme Court decision, which paved the way for legalized abortion in the U.S.

To voice opposition to abortion, an estimated 400,000 – 500,000  will come together from all walks of life, all ages, all religions, all races to march prayerfully and peacefully in front of our nation’s capitol to defend life and uphold the dignity of life in all its stages.

My family  participated for the first time in this March for Life in Washington, D.C. last year on  Monday, January 24, 2011.   There were  an endless sea of people marching for life, but our media will not talk much about this annual event.

I remember last year I looked to see if our local and national news stations had a story on the march, and I didn’t see one.  What a shame!

This year on Monday, January, 23, 2012, my daughter and I are making the trip to D.C. again with friends.  We are looking forward to standing for life with so many others!

Read this post of our family’s experience at last year’s March for Life posted on my personal blog, A Slice of Smith Life here.

Below is a slideshow of photos we took of some the signs in the crowd.

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Here is a beautiful video about “who” we are marching for…

Happy New Year 2012 with Mary and the Epiphany

By Blogger Tracy Bua Smith

In the Catholic Church, Jan. 1 is the Solemnity of Mary, the mother of God.  Many are not comfortable calling Jesus’ mother, the mother of God.  Dr. Marcellino D’Ambrosi has an interesting article titled, Mary, Mother of God?, which discusses how this title of our Blessed Mother came to be and the history behind it.

I always enjoy attending Mass on New Years Day as a family to set the new year off right. We went to the vigil Mass Saturday night, Dec. 31, at 5 p.m. since we knew we would be out late ringing in the new year with friends.  So we played Wii games with 2 other families and then rang in the new year with glasses of champagne and the kids had sparkling grape juice (out of real wine glasses!)   They loved it!

This weekend, our homeschool group will have our annual Epiphany party.  We have a get-together after the Christmas rush, and it’s nice to come together in fun and fellowship just before the second half of our school year begins.  I’ll be bringing the frankincense and myrrh that Anna-Marie at Life’s Adventures posted about and then she sent me some in the mail.  I look forward to bringing these nativity gifts to our Epiphany party!  For a great article about the Epiphany feast day be sure to read The Epiphany Revealed!

May you have a blessed 2012!

What are the 12 Days of Christmas?

By Blogger Tracy Bua Smith

Although the calendar says December 26 and the Christmas carols are no longer playing on the radio and in stores, it is still Christmas!  Christmas begins on Christmas Day and continues for 12 more days until the Feast of the Epiphany on Jan. 6, when the Magi visit the Christ Child and bring Him gifts.

So did you know that the famous Christmas song, “The Twelve Days of Christmas”, celebrates the beginning of the Christmas season, Christmas Day, in the liturgical calendar and ends on the Feast of the Epiphany?   Many mistakenly believe that the 12 days refers to the 12 days prior to the celebration of Christmas Day.

On our Christmas tree we have this beautiful ornament of a partridge in a pear tree that was given to my husband and me by an aunt who has since passed away.  We treasure this gift from our loved one and it wasn’t until I started researching about the song “The 12 Days of Christmas” that I realized that there is some controversy surrounding what the partridge in the pear tree symbolized, as well as the other items mentioned in the song.

christmas 2007

Image by paparutzi via Flickr

Several years ago, I read that “The Twelve Days of Christmas” has religious symbolism and according to Father Edward Dowling in the article, “The Real Meaning of “The Twelve Days of Christmas”, The Twelve Days of Christmas” was written to educate the faithful in the doctrines of the faith and yet not be obvious to the persecutors. The numbers are simply a mnemonic to help Catholics remember some basic facts. Recall the words of the song. “On the 12th day of Christmas, my true love gave to me: 12 lords a leaping, 11 pipers piping, 10  ladies dancing, nine drummers drumming, eight maids a milking, seven swans a swimming, six geese a laying, five golden rings, four calling birds, three French hens, two turtle doves, and a partridge in a pear tree.”

Father Dowling’s article then lists what each phrase of the song means as a way for Catholic Christians to remember the doctrines of the faith: “My true love” refers to God, “me” is the individual Catholic.
The “12 lords a leaping” are the twelve basic beliefs of the Catholic Church as outlined in the Apostles Creed.
The “11 pipers piping” are the eleven Apostles who remained faithful after the treachery of Judas.
The “10 ladies dancing” are the 10 Commandments.
The “nine drummers drumming” are the nine choirs of angels which in those days of class distinction were thought important.
The “eight maids a milking” are the Eight Beatitudes.
The “seven swans a swimming” are the Seven Sacraments.
The “six geese a laying” are the Six Commandments of the Church or the six days of creation.
The “five golden rings” are the first five books of the Old Testament (called the Torah) which are generally considered the most sacred and important of all the Old Testament.
The “four calling birds” are the Four Gospels.
The “three French hens” are the Three Persons in God or the three gifts of the Wise Men.
The “two turtle doves” represent the two natures in Jesus: human and divine or the two Testaments, Old and New.
The “partridge” is the piece de resistance, Jesus himself, and the “pear tree” is the Cross.
It wasn’t until I did a search on the internet about “The Twelve Days of Christmas” that I realized that the religious symbolism behind the song is thought to be fiction.  For example,Snopes states that the song was NOT created as a “coded reference to important articles of the Christian faith.”  Then Snopes goes into detail why some claim this to be false.  “The Twelve Days of Christmas”, according to many articles that I have read, might have been mixed up with another song titled, “A New Dial” which dates to at least 1625 and assigns religious meanings to each day of the 12 days of Christmas.

After reading many articles about the real meaning of “The Twelve Days of Christmas” song I’m not  sure if the song has religious symbolism or not since it appears there is no sound proof for it to be true or false.

What do you think?

Have you heard about the religious symbolism in “The Twelve Days of Christmas”?  Were you aware of the differences of opinions in whether or not the song was created as a type of catechism during a time of persecution?   I think this is a fascinating topic and would love to hear what others think about it.

There are many parodies that have come from “The Twelve Days of Christmas” song and I would like to conclude this post with 2 variations that you may have never heard, but I found them to be fun and entertaining.

The first video is titled “The Twelve Days of Homeschooling” which I found funny as a homeschool mom myself to my four children.

This second video is the group Straight No Chaser singing a creative and entertaining version called “12 Days of Christmas Medley”.

On this first week of Christmas, I wish you a Merry Christmas!

Decorating Jesus’ birthday cake – a Smith family tradition

By Blogger Tracy Bua Smith
This poster image for the 2010 campaign, Baby Scan Jesus, is from ChurchAds.org
When I put this photo on my Facebook page and personal blog last year and this year, some readers thought that I was announcing that I have been blessed with another precious soul to add to the other 4 blessings sent from above.
While indeed our family and friends would be excited to welcome a new child into our hearts and home,  this photo is announcing that a child more precious and more blessed than any that ever was born in the past, present, or future will soon be here.   This child, Jesus Christ,  came into the world to not only change history, but to change hearts.
In the Old Testament in Isaiah 9:6 it was prophesied  that “for unto us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”
In the New Testament, this prophecy was fulfilled with the Christmas story and the telling of Jesus’ birth (Matthew 1:18-25, Luke 2:1-14, Luke 2:15-20).  According to many historians, Jesus’ birthday may not have been on Dec. 25, but our family doesn’t celebrate whether the  birthdate is accurate or not,  but rather we celebrate who this day is for.
This year, as in years past, I will look forward to celebrating Christmas (Old English: Crīstesmæsse, literally “Christ‘s Mass“) with my family by attending Christmas Eve Mass which is always so beautiful with all the sacred hymns, candles, and bright red poinsettias.
Another tradition we do as a family is make a birthday cake for Jesus and sing “Happy Birthday to Jesus!” My children love this tradition as they decorate the cake with lots of icing and multi-colored sprinkles.
The tradition of the birthday cake helps our children remember that beyond all the secularism of Christmas there is a deeper,  more sacred meaning of Christmas which is the celebration of when “the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us” (Jn 1:14).  It has been a joy to keep Christ in CHRISTmas by continuing this family tradition!
As Catholic Christians, our family is called to give to God’s son more than what can be found at a store or put into a package.  Our faith calls us to give the greatest gift of all, our hearts.
Yes, the Son is on his way, the Prince of Peace, the Lord of Lords, the King of Kings, Emmanuel (“God with us”).  After four weeks of lighting our Advent candles and preparing for the coming of our Lord born in a manger over 2,00o years ago, it is almost  time to light birthday candles, celebrate the joy of the Christmas season, and announce to the world that the Son is here!

Celebrating Our Lady of Guadalupe

By Blogger Tracy Bua Smith

Celebrating Our Lady of Guadalupe

Every December 12 there is a special feast day celebrating Our Lady of Guadalupe.

If you are not familiar with this image and the story surrounding its origin, I encourage you to read here, where it explains how the Mother of God first appeared to a poor farmer named Juan Diego on December 9, 1531 in Mexico. ( If you click on the links above, they will take you to a summary for younger children.  I am sharing this link to share with my own children, but it also does a nice job of summarizing Juan Diego’s life changing experience in a simple and short way.)

The image above was what appeared on Juan Diego’s tilma when the bouquet of roses cascaded down from Juan Diego’s cloak as he was showing others who were skeptical about his story.

A few years ago our family went to Mass to celebrate this feast day at a church named “Our Lady of Guadalupe”.
The altar was filled with hundreds and hundreds of roses and was so beautiful.  When our Blessed Mother appeared to Juan Diego at the hill of Tepeyac, there was a field of roses where roses did not bloom naturally before or during the season of winter.  Hence, when people celebrate this feast day, many decorate their homes and churches with roses.

After Mass one year we went to a Mexican restaurant with 6 adults and 13 children!  (3 families total).  I brought a candle with the image of Our Lady of Guadalupe on it and burned it during our dinner to help celebrate such a special outing with family and friends.

We enjoy reading The Lady of Guadalupe by Tomie de Paola each year because Juan Diego’s story about how he was blessed by Mary’s presence is too miraculous not to share with my children.  When I read this book, I am always so impressed by the great faith and persistence Juan Diego had even when others doubted his story and experience.

We also watch the CCC video, Juan Diego-Messanger of Guadalupe, sometime between St. Juan Diego’s feast on December 9 and Our Lady of Guadalupe’s feast day on December 12.

The image from Juan Diego’s tilma is on display in Mexico and has not deteriorated since the 1500s when the image first appeared.  There are many other miraculous facts about this image.  To read some of these facts, you can read the post, “Little Known Facts About Our Lady of Guadalupe”.

You can also read “Our Lady of Guadalupe ‘completely beyond’ scientific explanation, says researcher“, which is an article that explains how researchers to this day say “there is no scientific explanation for the 478 years of high quality-preservation of the Tilma or for the miracles that have occurred to ensure its preservation. ”

Explaining the Immaculate Conception to Kids (and Adults): 2011

Colored by my daughter, Cupcake #1

Thank you Lacy at Catholic Icing for another great free resource about the Catholic faith!  Here is an explanation by Lacy about her beautiful drawing on the Immaculate Conception:   

Symbolism in this picture includes Mary in the womb of St. Anne (wearing her signature veil). St. Anne and Mary both have their backs turned towards the apple tree to visually state that Mary was conceived without original sin. There are 3 beams of light coming down from the sun that stand for the trinity. Also, the snake (Satan) is unhappy about what has happened here.

On  Dec. 8, Catholics around the world celebrate another beautiful feast day, the Feast Day of the Immaculate Conception.  What does this mean?  Many Catholics and non-Catholics mistakenly think that this day celebrates when Mary miraculously conceived Jesus, however this feast day refers to Mary being conceived without original sin.
There are so many great articles and resources to explain this doctrine.  One article I found, “Advent- The Immaculate Conception”, does a beautiful job on how to explain such a teaching to young children.  I include the link to the article for myself to refer back to for my children, but if you have time to read it, I hope you too will be blessed by it in some way.  Today also concludes the Immaculate Conception Novena that I blogged about HERE.

Here is a short video with a priest explaining the Immaculate Conception:


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