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When I began my internship, some odd things began to happen. From high school graduation up until that point, I had rarely gone to Mass. I only allowed God into my life when and if it was convenient and comfortable for me. Suddenly, He was making things way too easy for me to say "yes" to Him. I found it strikingly odd, and the timing couldn't be more bizarre as a brother of mine had recently given his life to Christ in joining the Jesuits as a seminarian. When I arrived at my internship, I found out the organization was housed inside an old Jesuit Seminary! Within our building, a common gathering space was in a former prayer chapel! I'd sometimes sneak in there and bask in the quiet and beautiful glow of the old stained glass windows. I'd feel His presence there, even though the Altar had been removed and there weren't any religious statues or a Crucifix. A bust of Shakespeare sat where the crucifix should have been. Just a few steps from my workplace was a parish where they celebrated daily Mass exactly when my lunch hour started. “Okay, God”, I thought. “I get it. I need you. It’s time I let you work on my broken life instead of me trying to fix everything on my own.” I began going to daily Mass and within the next seven months, my faith and my life changed dramatically.

I recently came across Dolls from Heaven: a wonderful ministry that celebrates and evangelizes our faith through beautiful little dolls! These little dolls are already making a big impact. I was intrigued, so I reached out to the Kiczek Family and asked if they'd like to be featured on our blog. They've graciously given us some great information on Dolls from Heaven and how you can be a part of their ministry. Enjoy!

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What is “Dolls from Heaven” and what part do you play in the ministry?

As a family and through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit we created "Dolls from Heaven", which is a doll company with a mission "To Inspire Children to Become Saints”. Currently, we have our first doll, St. Therese, completed. It will be available to be shipped out in December. These saint dolls will always come with a book based on the saint’s life. We pray that these stories will bring children closer to Jesus through the lives of the Saints. Everything we do for Dolls from Heaven we do as a family. As the father, I do most of the promoting and answering blog responses and interviews. I also help complete the final packages that go out. My wife does almost everything as well, including customer service and everything in between. Our daughters split up responsibilities such as promotional work, packaging, shipping, photography, artwork, and assist with the final designs and proofreading. Every member of the family has put all their effort into this ministry.

 

HolidayBake

Let's just get one thing out in the open. I LOVE SWEET POTATOES. They are so good, so healthy, and so simple to use! The best part is they are super sweet and don't need much to dress them up! I was having some fun in the kitchen the other day and created this special and sugar-free holiday dish. It is the perfect combination of ginger spice, sweet, and tart.

Like many young Catholics who head to college, I quit attending Mass shortly after I arrived on campus. I was consumed with classes, making new friends, getting involved in various activities, and Mass just wasn’t that important to me. Sadly, this was the first step toward me leaving the Catholic Church. You might be wondering what would go through my mind on Sundays. Did I have any guilt about not going to Mass? A little bit. But the minute I felt that pang of guilt, I’d quickly justify my decision by saying to myself, “I deserve to sleep in. It’s been a stressful week.” Or, “Why do I need to go to a building to worship God?” Or better yet, “I have a non-reliable car. I better not go. It might break down on the way there.” Ha. The way we justify our sin can be so ridiculous sometimes.

This pang of guilt would pinch a bit harder when I was home for the holidays and we’d attend Mass as a family. I felt like a stranger in the pew, yet surprised at how well my muscle memory remembered the Creed and the other prayers and movements throughout the Mass. Strangely, even when I'd been away for so long, it felt like I was coming home.

As I kick off this blog, I’d like to tell you a bit about my faith journey. I hope this post will give you a better sense of who I am and the small role I’m playing in God’s bigger plan. This is my re-conversion story and it’s long-winded, so bear with me! I’m going to break it up into smaller parts so it’s not too dense.

I am what you’d call a “Cradle Catholic”. I was born to a Catholic family and as I grew up, my parents made sure that every good Catholic milestone was achieved. Baptism, check! Reconciliation, check! First Communion, check! Confirmation, check! While I think these Sacraments meant a lot to them, for me they felt like items on a check list to be crossed off. I was totally passive and just accepted them like I would take my vitamins at breakfast, because I had no idea what they really meant but trusted that my parents knew what was best for me. I think many Catholics from my generation experienced this during their childhoods; where the Sacraments and going to Mass were just accepted as a part of life.