Friday, April 22, 2011


I am lousy at suffering.

But the Lord is calling me to mental suffering right now, the suffering of uncertainty about whether we can reach our dear baby before his counrty shuts down to international adoptions sometime in June.

A dear friend emailed me today and sent me these wise and comforting words:

I keep going back to what you prayed for at the beginning of the year.  Suffering. Your request has stayed with me in my heart because it touched me that you would ask Christ for suffering... God did make you suffer with some real ailments.... but to suffer for your child!  Heartbreaking!   but I wonder... 

How did God feel sending his Son to suffer for mankind?  How did Mary endure the passion of Christ ?  
Of course we cannot know God's plans for us.  He wants us to prosper!  He wants us to love!  He knows the plans He has for us!  He knows us by every hair on our head.  We cannot ask Why (is there this delay and doubt)?   If we do, then we shoudl be asking God 'why' when things are going our way too. (why are my kids healthy, why do I have a happy marriage?  Why do I have intelligence? Why has God graced me with the gift of faith?)

My advice is to stick close to Christ.  Rely and trust in Him.  If you find you cannot pray, which is difficult to do when we are upset, just vision yourself being held by Him.  He does hold you in the palm of His hand!
Also unite yourself to Mary.  Who better to ask than Jesus's sweet mother?!  She will help you.

Last night I visited 7 Churches and saw Jesus in the Eucharist sitting alone in the stripped bare semi-darkness...


Like my baby. Like me.

All I could do was pray along with Jesus, "Abba, not my will, but thine, be done."

And wait for the Resurrection, that is sure to come. In God's own time.

Sunday, April 17, 2011


A new challenge has appeared in our international adoption...

One which I have no control over...

And I don't like it.

Give me a problem I can attack and I am ready to roll.

Present me with an opportunity for horribilizing with little concrete action that can be taken, and I alternate between panic and terminal frustration.

Serenity is not my strong suit.

Yet, and perhaps BECAUSE of this trait, the Lord keeps calling me to imitate our Blessed Mother.

Courageous and strong...

And silently trusting.

Sure, she "showed up" to do the work she was presented with (for Elizabeth, for the apostles, at the foot of the cross)...

Sure, she suffered (how could she not, watching her precious son reviled and tortured and finally killed?)

But her trust in God never faltered, not for an instant....

Unlike the rest of us (me!) dealing with the fallout of original sin.

So my resolution is to "show up", do my work, pray a lot and suffer a bit (I will only be drinking water all of Holy Week until Easter Sunday morning)...

And invite Mary to be by my side all the way...

to teach me how to to trust.

Monday, April 11, 2011

On my mind about abortion...

I left the essay below in the combox of a fantastic blogger I have linked on my sidebar, Barefoot and Pregnant...

post is here, my comments are underneath both there and here....

I am an attorney (and mom of 6) and firmly believe that in 150 years abortion (and Roe v. Wade) will be viewed legally and morally as the same kind of atrocity that slavery (and the Dred Scott decision which allowed black people to be defined as "property" of whites) is viewed with today...

think about it, the same reasoning and excuses are used...

"well slavery is not pretty but we NEED it economically in the South"
"some slaves LIKE being slaves"
"some really wonderful people (like the Founding Fathers) own slaves"
"I wouldn't personally own slaves, but I am not going to tell someone else that they can't"
"don't tell me what to do with my property!"

sub "body" for property and I dare you to tell me we are not using the same arguments here in 2011 as we were in 1860 to justify something most people of good will and conscience KNOW in their GUT is WRONG!!!

On a personal note, my friend was coerced into an abortion at age 18 by her boyfriend and a "helpful" doc, she is still living with the psychological fallout today and would not wish it on anyone else...

so if we agree that abortion causes pain and carrying an unwanted pregnancy to term causes pain, how about we choose the pain that leaves us with a LIVING baby instead of a DEAD one???

Sunday, April 10, 2011


Today's Gospel reading was the detailed story of the raising from the dead of Jesus' good friend Lazarus....

Lazarus did not "rise" from the dead (that would imply he did this miraculous thing of his own power), but he was "raised" by the power of another - namely Jesus.

It struck me that one small way I can imitate Jesus is to help "raise" those around me...

While unlike Jesus, I cannot "make" anything happen by purely my own efforts, I CAN be a catalyst and encouraging force for those I love to overcome sin and to exert themselves along the paths of righteousness.

We women, especially we wives and mothers, are very powerful in this respect.

But it is not easy. It can be painful to us personally.

We should not be surprised. Jesus cried right before he raised Lazarus.

This week I resolve to RAISE UP those around me.

RAISE my husband to greater patience and peacefulness.

RAISE my ds#1 to the efforts needed as he finishes his Senior year and registers for junior college.

RAISE my ds#2 to avoid procrastination (wonder where he gets this trait from?)and dig in to work hard during the incredibly tough second semester of Junior year.

RAISE my dd#1 to greater obedience and less whining when she needs to pitch in for family responsibilities.

RAISE my dd#2 to calm when she is whipping herself into frantic activity.

RAISE my ds#3 to activities that nurture his mind and body rather than being attached to electronics all day.

RAISE my dd#3 to.... I don't really know...she just turned 2 and is amazingly cute right now...

Oh yes, her "Dora the Explorer" addiction...

RAISE my dd#3 to spend time in creative play with and without mommy and daddy and siblings instead of watching 8 Dora episodes per day...

I will need to RAISE my heart and mind in prayer all this week to Jesus in order to have any chance of doing any of these!

Monday, April 4, 2011

Following Mother Teresa

It was a good week last week...a busy week...a productive week...

a week of growing in holiness...

and then I screwed it up on Sunday, the Lord's day.

I felt "put-upon", blew up at few people in the household and generally threw a littler "temper tantrum"...

all while getting ready to leave for Mass!!

I need Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta at times like this!

This powerhouse of a soul visible to the world only in a quiet tiny plain package, serving the poorest of the poor...

so in love with Jesus, even when he was so far away from her...

so here are her words of wisdom I plan to focus on this week...

We must have a real living determination to reach holiness.
I will be a saint means I will despoil myself of all that is not God;
I will strip my heart of all created things;
I will live in poverty and detachment;
I will denounce my will, my inclinations, my whims and fancies,
and make myself a willing slave to the will of God.

Amen Mother.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Sunday Graces

I have realized that all our adoption related activities and keeping up with that blog will be taking up a good portion of time the next few months...

So if you would like to follow our adoption journey, please post your email in the comments or email me privately and I will send you the info...

I will still be posting here as well, but only on Sundays...

I do not want to neglect my walk with God, but "there is a season unto everything under the son"...this blog was INSTRUMENTAL in helping me pray through God's call, and I am already so grateful to have a record look back on to see more clearly how God was/is working in my life and in my family....

Like this entry...

Today I went alone to Church with my 17 year old son...

We sang the Kyrie in Latin and for a moment I could only hear my son, singing low and strong....

And I saw him all grown up holding the Host while singing the Kyrie....


I was in tears the rest of the way through communion.

He is a junior in high school and is busy working to take the ACT and investigating careers and colleges....

But maybe, just maybe, he is being called to the priesthood.


I promised the Lord I would specifically pray and sacrifice for his vocation in the coming years.

And maybe he will be an engineer or architect or designer...

Which would be great!

Maybe he andvhis wife will give me 10 grandchildren...

Awesome as well!

But maybe, just maybe, God is calling him, and my prayers and sacrifices will help give him the grace and strength to listen to that quiet call...and I will be able to show him this post someday....

St. John Vianney, pray for him!

Friday, March 18, 2011

The Unbearable Joy of Everyday Life

We had a lovely, music-filled evening tonight at the spaghetti dinner at my oldest son's high school...

He is a member of a co-Ed acapella singing group that is just awesome! We got to listen to them sing "somebody to love" by Queen while eating spaghetti (with meatballs for the little ones and without for the 14 and overs)... Then the jazz combo and larger group played, sounding much more like professionals than high school students...

We got home and the children scattered to the four winds, as they are want to do on Friday nights, and hubby settled into watching the Bulls game...

And I just walked around in awe of it all...

Praising God in my soul for so much more than many have or that I deserve...

A loving husband.

Children to love.

A home.

A Redeemer who died to save ME and those I love and who wants all of us to be joyful with Him forever!

I want to wrap myself in the joy of this moment.

I want to bring Henry here and wrap him in this joy AND my arms.

Jesus I thank you! Jesus I trust in you!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Adoption Blog Announcement!

I am working on getting our adoption blog up and running...

I plan on relating in detail the process to get out little one home from Eastern Europe and would love to have you all follow along!

This blog will also stay active and focused on the spiritual aspects of my journey...I never would have imagined that God had this great blessing in store when I gave Him my life to do His will in the coming year!

Please send me an email at if you would like and I will let you know the location of the adoption blog...I do want to keep this blog more private and not have any family/friends here, but you ladies are welcome... I trust all of you ;-)

Monday, March 14, 2011

WHO will we believe?

Hubby and I went alone to Sunday evening Mass at our parish last night. This is an exceptionally rare occurrence occasioned by the fact that too many children were throwing up on Sunday morning for us to get out. My oldest (who is 18 and has not yet succumbed to the "creeping crud") had gone to Mass earlier, so we were able to leave the sickies home with him as the vomiting had subsided by that evening.

It was so wonderful to sit by my sweetie and listen to the Gospel (as oppossed to stopping the 2 yo from running to the choir to greet siblings) and hold hands during the Homily!

It is amazing what spiritual insights can come when one is not picking up Cheerios while Father explains the readings!

The point he made was that the evil one knows where to tempt us for maximum effect...

I am well aware of that fact as previous posts have attested to...

But what struck me yesterday was the willingness of Eve to listen to and believe the serpent DESPITE her close loving relationship with God.

Think about it, the serpent told her that God LIED! And she believed that ugly reptile INSTEAD of the awesome Creator who gave her and Adam a whole beautiful life and garden and (almost) everything in it! She and Adam walked with and talked with God on a regular basis and she STILL believed the devil over her divine Father!!

What's up with that?!

The power of temptation.

Father reminded us yesterday that temptation itself is NOT a sin.

Thank goodness!

But temptation is SO powerful that Jesus himself taught us that we NEED to pray "Lead us not into temptation" because it is so very powerful...and we can be very weak...

Few of us are really confused about the "right" things to do, but still we don't do them (St. Paul included)!


Laziness, fear, the intense desire for immediate gratification and pleasure, pride, selfishness...

The list goes on.

But so does the grace that can be poured on us in moments of temptation through our cooperation with the infinite merits earned by Jesus' suffering and death.

Eve did not have that in her defensive arsenal, but we do!

While we strengthen up our "spiritual muscles" this Lent, let's remember that we cannot do it alone (which JPII notes was Adam's sin, leaving Eve to deal with the serpent alone)...

Let us call on Christ without ceasing, and remember that the glitter of temptation is but a momentary and counterfeit dross...

The real gold is found at the foot of the cross.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Living Prayer

A fancy post on prayer will not happen today (and obviously did not happen yesterday)...

Spent Friday from 1 to 5 am in the Emergency Room with 4 yo who could not stop vomiting...he has strep throat and a double ear infection and needed serious meds to stop the nausea and keep the antibiotic down...

About 2 hours ago today (saturday) 6 yo started vomiting and complaining of sore throat so DH is back at ER (I told him he at least got daytime duty)...

Oh, and it is my ds#2 17th birthday today! He wanted gyros for dinner and a cookie cake for dessert and his older brother and younger sister each got him a shamrock shake from McD so he could drink 2 (because whenever he is done with one he says, "boy, That was so good I wish I had another!")

So, how does prayer fit in to all this craziness?

Not in a long theological discourse for sure!

It fits in while sitting in an ER praying for the drug to work and stop my little one from vomiting every 15 minutes...

It fits in while watching the first news reports coming out of Japan in the ER and praying for all affected...

It fits into being thankful that DH is home to take 6 yo to the ER during the daytime hours...

It fits into being thankful we have health insurance to pay for sick children and their medicine...

It fits into spending a moment with the daily readings from today's Mass on an iPad while nursing a clingy 2 year old...

It fits into desperately entreating the Lord not to let the 2 year old get sick next...

It fits into spending a moment of thanksgiving for my birthday boy and asking the Lord to bless and protect him this coming year and to help him make the decisions and do the work needed for his future....

One can never say they do not have time to pray.

Prayer can be the fabric that the threads of our lives are woven throughout.

Lord, help me to pray without ceasing, no matter what each moment brings!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

The fruit of Lenten Fasting

During Lent our Mother Church wisely suggests we focus on three areas - Fasting, Prayer and Almsgiving...

I guess I talked about Almsgiving yesterday when I posted about Lera's fundraiser ;-)

Today let's talk about Fasting, as I did on the phone with my sister this morning...

she is giving up "sweets" and was surprised how many times yesterday she reached for or thought about getting a "little something" from the cupboard...but she admits she is still not very keen on the whole "fasting" idea and is not sure how it can help her grow spiritually.

I am giving up caffeine and alcohol... since I am "expecting" to adopt I am going to live like I am physically pregnant on the great suggestionsof my awesome friend J who is doing the same on her journey to adopt a child with Downs Syndrome....

As the caffeine withdrawal headache set in around 3pm yesterday, I will admit the discomfort did not immediately make me think of the sufferings of Christ...

but today, as I was bringing up the laundry baskets to put away the clean clothes (and feeling much better) I realized what a blessing it is to feel physically well and to be capable of doing the physical work of caring for my family (as opposed to only being capable of lying on the couch with an icepack on my head and moaning).

So at that point, about 18 hours later I sent up praise and thanksgiving with a grateful heart for the blessing of health, asked for God's healing for those I know who are sick, and realized just a bit that living under the shackles of ANY material attachment (including caffeine!) will eventually cause us pain and that God (and His Church) are seeking to FREE us this Lent, not to enslave us.

So watch several hours (or days) down the road to see the true fruits of your Lenten practice. Ask the Lord in prayer to reveal it to you....

and we will talk about prayer tomorrow...

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Fat Tuesday

We are moving as quickly as possible to get our documents and Home Study ready to submit for approval to bring our little guy home...

but until then there are so many families who have stepped out on faith to bring home children with Down's Syndrome and other physical and mental challenges from places like Russia and Eastern Europe.

One that has touched my heart is here. This family needs to go get their daughter Lera NOW! She has been transferred to a mental institution (where most unadopted children, whether physically or mentally challenged) end up.

Today is "Fat Tuesday." For Catholics that means a day of feasting before the fasting and penances of Lent.

Can you start your fasting one day earlier and give the money saved to Lera??

I was planning on a little "feast" with my 4 yo and 2 yo today for lunch....but I think I will pack some food and make a big "fat" donation to Lera's fundraiser instead.

Please prayerfully consider if you can join me!!!

Monday, March 7, 2011

What a Difference a Week Makes

On Sunday Feb. 27, I was in tears at Mass because I had given up to the Lord my desire to adopt since I was SURE my husband would never agree...

On Sunday March 6, I was in tears at Mass because my dear husband had said YES and was pushing even faster than me to get our little guy home!!

Miracles happen. Every day.
We need to PRAY with all our strength and OPEN our eyes and hearts in love and trust.

Friday, March 4, 2011

How it Happened

I was going to write a several installment story giving all the details of the brutal 72 hours between our Friday night dinner and the moment on Sunday night where DH agreed to the adoption....

I was going to give all the gory details including my tears, his emotional shutdown, and our hour-long knock-down-drag-out argument....

I was going to share my sinfulness and stupidity, which almost (but for the grace of God) cost me my heart's dearest desire....

I was going to talk about how less than 12 hours before DH said "yes" I fell on my kness before Jesus and offered it all to Him - admitting I was trying to do this all myself and realizing I could do NOTHING on my own - I gave it all up if it was His Will and relinquished my desires to control my DH and to get what I wanted when I wanted it (even if it was objectively good)...

but instead I will just say that we are now of one heart and mind to do whatever it takes bring our little guy home as soon as possible!

I was also going to say "Thank You" to my Jesus again....

and that I will do.

Thank you Lord.

Thursday, March 3, 2011


As if there was any doubt that our God can move mountains and carse so deeply about each and every one of us at every moment and that miracles can happen when you admit your powerlessness and give everything up to God....


After a traumatic weekend where we were both tested in fire and brought to our knees by our weakness, the Grace of God and the love of our Holy Mother showered down on our family and we are beginning the adoption process to bring a child with a disability home from Eastern Europe!!!!

It will take several posts for me to fill you in on the days leading up to this miracle of love and faith....

I am looking forward to it....

but for now I must work on getting passports and transferring money and.....

oh my goodness, he said YES to the deepest desire of my heart....

I get to be a mommy for the 7th time and a little guy will get a forever mommy and daddy and family....

thank you Jesus. For everything.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Random Friday....turned into 7 Quick Takes Friday #2

I suppose I could have done a "Quick Takes Friday" for this if I could organize my thoughts into any reasonable facsimile of 7 bullet points...

but the Dora video running downstairs is almost over, so here, in no particular order, is what is on my mind and heart today:

1) The old minivan my son drives broke down on the way to school yesterday...but depite our fears, the "Dirty Dan" (family nickname for the car) lives (with a $350 new alternator)!

2) Hubby and I are going out to dinner and I will bring up the adoption again, it has not been mentioned between us for weeks now, and I had hoped that my temporary job would have helped alleviate the "cash crunch" enough that he could consider the issue without a critical level of financial fear and worry, but.......

3) things just came up at hubby's work that we hope will resolve by the beginning of March, but they will make it very difficult for him to feel secure about committing to such a large financial obligation as international adoption, but....

4) friends of my husband's family started a charitable foundation for disabled children (in honor of their son Tommy who lived his whole life in a wheelchair with a developmental disability until he died 2 years ago at age 20) and the huge annual fundraiser for the charity we always attend is coming up on March 6....I had looked at the flyer earlier in the day and then ran out to Adoration later and while praying in front of Our Lord it came to me - "Ask for a grant for your baby!!!" Yes, the child I want to adopt has both a cleft palate and arthrogryposis and will likely need many surgeries, so he is just the kind of child the foundation was started to help!! I plan on bringing this up to hubby tonight so I can check into the process...

5) Another financial "incentive" to the adoption I just thought of is that my almost 2 yo would be eligible for the free state program preschool at ages 3 and 4 if we have a disabled child in the house (my 4 yo is eligible next year because we have more than 3 children living at home and my oldest has an IEP, but this will not count for the school year AFTER this coming one because my oldest will be in college). So adopting would SAVE us $400-$500 a month in preschool costs (preschool is pricey here in the Chicago suburbs)!

6) I also thought of how we could manage to go abroad for several weeks to get our sister who lives in Portland (with her hubby and 3 boys) usually comes into town around August for at least 2 weeks...but her boys are homeschooled, so she is very flexible...I could pay for her and her children to COME STAY HERE and run the household while hubby and I had to go overseas!! She would LOVE to snuggle and dress my 2 yo daughter in pink for that time whole time! My 4 yo son would LOVE to hang out with her big boys! She can take everyone all over the Chicagoland area visiting relatives and supervise the older kids as well! Making a note right now to bring this up to hubby tonight too....

7) Finally, a new microwave is being delivered any minute now, to replace the one that burst into flames a few weeks ago - new one covered by warranty! See the Lord always provides! Blessed be the Lord!!

Oh, well I guess I did manage to do a 7 Quick Takes Friday, I should go try and get the header....

7 quick takes sm1 7 Quick Takes Friday (vol. 118)

I got the extra time because baby came up and nursed to sleep on my lap while I typed ;-)

Peace to all and please continue your prayers for God's Will to be done in my family!!

Monday, February 21, 2011

5 Minutes

I stopped on the way home from work at the Adoration chapel at our parish.

Only for about 5 minutes.

The best 5 minutes of my day.

For me, 5 minutes in front of the Blessed Sacrament is worth more than hours on my knees seeking vainly to quiet the endless babble of my trivial thoughts.

Now, after years of doing Adoration BADLY (I used to read "O - The Oprah Magazine" in front of the tabernacle - I kid you not, I was THAT clueless back in 1998), I have been given the great grace to worship in a more fitting manner. To feel that all-absorbing feeling that God loves ME and was waiting for ME and is so happy that I am there....

the joy is amazing.

I have been weeping at Sunday Mass lately....not out of sadness, but out of pure exhiliration that God loves us SO MUCH that He died for us AND wants to stay with us until the end of time.

At a Sunday Mass a few weeks after the birth of my 5th child, I was trasported with love and amazement when contemplating the REALITY that in Heaven we will get to experience this Holy Banquet and intimate Communion with the Most High FOREVER.

I saw (briefly) my husband and children and I all kneeling together before the throne of the Lamb....postpartum daydreams or a grace-filled preview of joys to come??

All I know is that my heart is full and my mind is still in front of the Eucharist.

Today I spent 5 minutes with Love.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Two long weeks

My absence here has been deeply felt...but I have not let my faith slip these last two weeks, because I have been doing the Lord's work.

By making money.

I unexpectedly found a temporary legal job in downtown Chicago on a document review project and, after consultation with my hubby, decided to take it. He took a few days off work. Two sisters-in-law and a brother-in-law pitched in to help out. I have been getting the kiddies off to school in the morning, leaving about 9am after a relative comes by to baby-sit, starting work at 10am, then punching out at 6:30pm and heading for home.

I miss my little ones.

They are doing just peachy though. My almost 2 year old especially seems to enjoy having different people around each day and a variety of fun things to do, like outings with Daddy and playing with her 2 week older cousin when that sis-in-law comes to babysit. My 4 year old son is happy to have so much computer and electronic game time (I am not limiting it while I am gone so much). My big kids are really pitching in to help. My husband is really picking up the slack.

But this will not continue.

Despite my occasional stay-at-home mom fantasies about skipping off to work at a posh office, the reality is not nearly so glamorous. The law firm I am working at on the 23rd floor of a Chicago high-rise is gorgeous, with ivory marble walls and floors and frosted glass partitions everywhere.

All I can think of is Jesus talking about "white-washed tombs."

Most of the people working there seem either annoyed or cranky or just desperate and lonely. I see junior associates in front of computer screens, not talking to anyone, for HOURS on end. The place just feels "dead" to me. A money-making, soul-sucking factory.

I can't wait to take my money and back...

to being the mommy who makes my baby smile and dance when I walk in the room;
to being the mommy who makes healthy, delicious dinners we all sit down to at 6pm to eat and share our day;
to being the mommy and wife who keeps this busy ship of 6 children smoothly sailing so that when my hubby walks through the door in the evening, he can just enjoy the love!

I took this job to make money to prove to my hubby that God will always provide for us, that I am willing to do the hard work needed to keep the family "in the black", to show that the adoption I am praying he will agree to IS financially possible...

but what I really did is prove to myself that being a wife and mother is the BEST job in the world, and I want to keep it, and keep working at it, for a very very very very very long time!

Monday, February 7, 2011

The Realities of Spiritual Warfare - Part Deux

I have a killer crazy busy week or two coming up... I will be a full-time working downtowm mom on a temporary legal project. This should bring in some good money which I have been praying for to show DH that I am serious about wiping out a few pesky debts so we can pursue adoption....

that was the great blessing of the last week.

I will even add to that the blessing of being able to put together family care for my little ones at home (almost-2 yo girl and 4 yo boy) while "heigh-ho heigh-ho, its off to work I go" for about 2 weeks.

But now, let me get to the little traumas of the last two weeks that "you-know-who" keeps throwing out in order to cause my hubby to fear and worry (and for me to just be incredibly annoyed).....

1) heater on hot tub breaks completely unexpectedly (just put a new one in less than 3 years ago).... we have to fix because leaving cold water to freeze up in a hot tub during the Chicago winter is not a good thing...

2) pipe breaks in our laundry room causing flood in laundry room and sending WATERFALLS cascading through the basement celing, necessitating emergency plumber visit, can you say "KA-CHING"?????

3) dryer stops the middle of Friday mega-loads of laundry (after the flood we used every bath towel in our house)....internal switch had shorted out....another repair bill...

4) my 11 yo daughter got an orthodontic device placed on Tuesday afternoon that on Wednesday morning (when we were snowed in by 20+ inches) caused her mouth to become STUCK OPEN SO WIDE that she began to choke and vomit uncontrollably and could not breathe...after a minute or so of incredible panic, the appliance broke and she was OK.... we are going to the ortho Wednesday, 'nuff said....

5) on Saturday, right before probably the busiest work week I have had in over 5 years, our microwave CAUGHT ON FIRE!!!! Something caused a hole in the internal wall and SPARKS and FLAMES preceded the total shut-down of the incredibly expensive microwave/convection oven combo we just put in during our kitchen remodel in June! Repair guy coming Monday to see if repairable/covered by warranty (it had better be)! But I have no microwave the week I will be leaving teenagers home to get afternoon snacks ready and start dinner...

My husband is seriously crazed, any one of these would cause him to lose sleep, the combination is close to doing him in....

We went out to a fun "trivia night" fundraiser with some friends on Saturday...just as we arrive our second son texts that the baby just "threw up gyros and fries all over"....


She ended up being OK so we did stay, I got to confide in a friend about my desire and conviction to adopt a special needs child...she and her husband (both over 50)  just adopted 3 small children from Ethiopia to join the 2 bio boys (in their 20's) and their daughter who came from China (who is now 16).

Just when I was ready to throw in the towel...ready to say that "maybe I have enough on my plate and God wants me to just make hubby and children happy"...ready to fall prey to despair and worry....she told me -

"I can so see you adopting. You would be wonderful for those children. In fact, you should get 2!!"

I love P. She is just the most optimistic, energetic and loving woman!!

We are going to try and get together and and let her hubby "rub off " a bit on mine. He is a logical engineer (my hubby's type exactly) and tends to over-plan and worry himself but when he saw the poverty in Africa first hand on a mission trip they did two years ago he said,

"Retirement is overrated. Let's get some more kids."

So I soldier the silence...waiting on the Lord and hoping a precious child from thousands of miles away becomes the next best thing I get to worry about.......

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Baby steps

Last night, as I was cleaning up the kitchen, hubby came up behind me and squeezed me sweetly and whispered in my ear that he loved me and was really trying to think about what we had talked about the other day...

I kissed him and told him that I appreciated that and looked forward to talking more soon!

He sighed, a deep sigh and left the kitchen...

This is so hard for him, I am so asking him to step out of his comfort zone...

He spends so much of his day out in the "real world", talking with other guys about how expensive kids are and how much college costs and how someday they will be "free" to retire and do all the things they really want to do....

I am asking him to step out of this reality and into the REAL unseen reality...

Where at the end of our life Jesus will greet us with open arms and ask what we have done to love "the least" and feed the hungry and comfort the afflicted...

I just can't see him asking about the size of our 401(k) or where we retired to....

Please pray for my dear husband as I do every day...thy will be done my Lord.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

We serve a mighty (sometimes sleeping) God.

The wind howling outside as I write is loud and relentless. I cannot even tell how much snow has fallen because the wind is whipping some into sculpted drifts and smashing the remainder of the icy flakes into the window panes.

I live in the south suburbs of Chicago and we are supposed to have close to two feet of snow by the time the storm ends tomorrow afternoon. But we are all snuggled and warm in a house with electricity (still!) and plenty of food and snow days all around for all the childrens' schools.

It is ironic that this storm is turning my thoughts to the elemental power of God, while I sit warm and cozy in front of a computer with a wireless internet connection.

From time immemorial, weather events manifested the awesome majesty of God to peoples all over the earth, who would tremble at the power of the wind, snow, rain and oceans. Now we can forecast blizzards three days in advance and have plenty of time to stock up on extra hot chocolate and gas for the snowblowers (yes, I did get extra hot chocolate - no, I did not get gas as we do not have a snowblower, we have teenage boys to shovel powered by said hot chocolate).

But I still tremble.

I sat with a cup of hot (decaf) coffee and looked out the window in amazement at what the power of God hath wrought. I felt like the apostles on the fishing boat in the storm while Jesus slept. I want Jesus to wake up NOW and get my hubby on board with the adoption! I want to start the paperwork NOW! I want to start fundraising NOW! I want what I want when I want it and I want it NOW!!

But I need to wait on the silent Jesus in the middle of the storm. Just because He is silent does not mean that He is doing nothing. It does not mean that He is not all-powerful.

It does mean that I need to wait in trust during the awesome storm.

Wait until He does what He needs to do with ME. Wait until His will be done.

I will sit and watch the storm and wait in perfect trust for my beloved Jesus, who knows what is best for my soul, my dear husband's soul, and the good of my children.

I will strive tonight to hear His sleeping breath in the howling wind.

Sunday, January 30, 2011


Why does my little girl have the privilege of falling asleep nuzzling my breast on a warm comfy couch every night....

while another little boy has known only a rubber binky and a cold crib?

Why can I not stop thinking about the injustice?

At Adoration tonight I begged my Guardian Angel to go to that sweet boy and snuggle him close and keep him warm....

I wish I knew why....

but I only know it is so.....

and I so want to change it.

I did it! Now I need to give it up....

The subject of a special needs international adoption was broached at lunch yesterday.

I showed him the picture of the little guy I feel drawn to. I cried. I told him how we could borrow money and fundraise to afford it. I talked about how being a Christian needs to be more than just Sunday Mass, more than just being a "good person," more than striving for the American Dream, more than just saving up for family vacations and gettting our kids nice toys and the latest electronics...

Hubby looked completely stunned. Like a deer in headlights.

I am sure his dreams of Florida retirement and effortless parenting the next 16 years or so (since our youngest is almost 2) were flashing before his eyes.

He did not speak much the rest of lunch. I filled in the silence with neutral chatter.

As we finished and got ready to leave the restaurant, I gave him the folder I had printed out with blog entries, Reese's Rainbow information, and some biblical quotes on Adoption and asked him to read it and for us to pray about it.

and then, despite all my willful desires to the contrary, I did not speak of it again the rest of the day.

Oh, it was tempting. It IS tempting. The gospel of the day was the BEATITUDES for goodness sake!!!

But I stay silent. I helped the little ones make it through Mass (probably the best one in MONTHS for my 4 year old who just cannot stay still/silent for 1 hour every Sunday morning). I made a lovely breakfast after Church. I cleaned up the kitchen. I changed a stinky diaper.

He is sitting on the couch watching sports or the History Channel or HGTV....

I will stay silent.

I prayed at Mass today for those poor orphan children who are silent because they have realized their cries will not be answered. I begged our dear Lord who stays silent and hidden in the Eucharist to bring these littlest ones his love and mercy.

And bring His trust and peace to my dear husband's soul.

It will be His doing.

Because now I will be silent until the Spirit prompts me to speak again....

but I will pray in the deepest silence of my heart.

Friday, January 28, 2011

The Realities of Spiritual Warfare

Well, I had my 7 Quick Takes Friday #2 all ready to go, but my experiences yesterday and today urged me to table that one until next week in favor of a more serious subject....

Now I am not one to look for the boogy-man around every shadowy corner, but our Holy Mother Church makes it clear that the devil and his minions are REAL and that they roam the earth seeking the ruin of souls...

While our Lord Jesus Christ has won the war on our behalf, there are skirmishes still to be fought. And since the devil knows that he is ultimately the loser for all eternity, he works more desperately in the present moment to grasp at whatever smaller victory he can...

which is the damnation of individual souls.

We have free will. We can accept or reject Satan the same way we can accept or reject God.

But what I think people today do not realize is that the opportunities for acceptance or rejection come every single day in a hundred little ways. C.S. Lewis realized and expounded upon this in The Screwtape Letters. I saw an amazing theatre performance of the book in the Winter of 2008, when I was pregnant with #6. The Senior Tempter and the demonic minion who delivered his correspondence were the only characters and all the dialogue was straight from the book. It was very powerful to SEE and HEAR the sneering "Uncle Screwtape" giving advice to his "nephew demon" Wormwood on how to lead and tempt and seduce a soul closer and closer to hell.... bit by bit.... using the soul's own desires and yearnings (even the good ones!)... always seeking to capitalize on those sins that particular soul is most inclined to (pride, vanity, gluttony, etc.)

So I had decided earlier in the week that I was going to bring up the subject of Special Needs adoption to my dear hubby on Saturday. I would take him out to lunch after our morning Marriage Retreat at the parish (requred of parents whose children are in Religious Ed) and give him the picture of the little one I am feeling called to bring into our family.

I was getting more and more nervous as the week went on. This is the man I have been married to for almost 22 years and have had 6 children with, yet I was becoming overly concerned about his reaction, about if he would think I am crazy, about him rejecting the idea out-of-hand....

so on Thursday morning, while I was working my way through a mountain of laundry, I decided to call in the "big guns" - my own personal spiritual warriors, 5 very good and holy women who I can always count on for serious support and guidance.

I sent out an urgent email missive to my friends asking for their prayers for a matter I would be discussing with Paul on Saturday, and told them that I would be praying and fasting on Friday for this intention and asked if they would join me. They all replied in a short time with enthusiastic support and obvious curiosity for the subject of their petitions, but they graciously accepted that I would be able to share in the near future.

So I went back to "re-boot" the laundry - i.e. fold what was in the dryer, take out from the washer and put in dryer and then start dryer....

but the dryer just would would not start (even after calls to the company hotline and various troubleshooting tactics were tried).

It had been working all morning as I had gotten through about 3 or 4 loads, but it would no longer start at all.

And I knew.

I knew that when I sought and received the spirtual support of my holy friends before the altar of God, the devil decided to go for the jugular....and today the jugular was my dryer.

I knew that the evil one was hitting my dear hubby where he was most vulnerable,

In the "Oh my gosh we have so many unexpected expenditures we will never have enough money for all the kids we have now!!!" place where my so-responsible hubby goes when he is staring at a large and unplanned for repair (or replacement) bill.

Oh yes, he knows where he can get us.

He can get me in the "but I am a good person already, better than most really, I love God and my husband and family and mankind in general and isn't that enough so I deserve a cup of coffee and to sit and read a magazine" place.

The reality of Spiritual Warfare is that he can get us in so many places, places of our deepest sins, places of our silliest little habits, places of our ingrained vices....places where we don't let Jesus go.

So I let Jesus in. I opened the floodgates to prayer and fasting on Friday. Oh, and I threw in a little physical pain for good measure (offering up a really bad sore throat)!

I gave it all up to God today.

I now know that how I present the adoption doesn't matter, nor does it matter what the repair bill on the dryer is, or whether the atmosphere at the restaurant I pick for lunch is appropriate.

I now know that if it is God's will that we adopt that God will move my husband's heart.

I refuse to be afraid.

I refuse to let Satan "get me" (and those I love) in ANY place, either in my heart or in my laundry room.

Game. Set. Match. 

Take that Screwtape.

Monday, January 24, 2011

What Scripture Passage Helped You Through A Rough Patch

I promised Abigail a post on the above subject. I kept trying to find the proper erudite words to explain the depth and weight of several scripture passages which have served as "touchstones" in my life.

My bible from my Confirmation has many passages highlighted in neon yellow or outlined in red. I browsed through them, looking for the right one to inspire a post. And while they are all good and valuable and truly the words of Jesus, they were not THE passage.

THE passage was one I have said to myself over and over for the last 7 years....

"Fear is useless; what is needed is trust."(Luke 8:50, Mark 5:36)

I think this one sums up the Christian life; MY Christian life.

I can picture Jesus whispering it to me when I am making to-do lists and plans and machinations and freaking out about any one of the twenty things I do on an hourly basis.

In the midst of chaos and in the silence of a dark quiet house at 2 am, He tells me again and again.

"It is useless to rely on yourself. So many material things are useless. Trust matters. Love matters. Cast aside your fears and come to me, trust that I am all you need."

Thank you Lord for the constant reminder.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Reflections on January 22

I tried to get away for a few moments yesterday to write this post, but just could not. Baby woke up early. Hubby and ds#2 came back early from a lacrosse practice they could not get to because of a car accident on the freeway. I had clients over to execute their wills. I had a fabulous dinner from Culvers (burgers and onion rings and cheese curds, oh my!) with my family and watched "Biggest Loser"(DVR'd from last Tuesday) and "Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy" (taped off cable so the crude stuff could be fast forwarded through, but gosh I love me a Will Farrell comedy!) with my kiddies.

As I shared in my Faith History, I had a miscarriage on January 22, 2004. It would have been my fourth baby, conceived very much in love as my husband and I finally let the Lord into our fertility and our lives in a meaningful way. This baby was probably conceived on December 8, 2003 (the Feast of the Immaculate Conception) but I did not think I was pregnant becuase I bled on Christmas Day and the next several days after....

I also have a history of cystic ovaries, so when I began having abdominal pain the night of January 3 I chalked it up to ovulation pain......until the pain got so bad that I was lying on the bathroom floor at 4am and could not even think straight.....and then I started bleeding.... the pain had subsided a bit by daybreak, so I called my doc's answering service and he called back...

The doc asked if I could be pregnant and I said "No" based on my cycle history, so he did want me to come in but did not deem it an emergency to send me straight to the hospital....DH took the morning off and took me to the doc, who took my history and then did an ultrasound....

and everything changed.

I was pregnant.

And an ovarian cyst had burst.

I needed to go to the ER right now.

We were both in shock, but we held it together and traveled to the hospital nearest our home. I was admitted and given painkillers until the pain subsided from the cyst and the bleeding stopped the next day. I went home to rest and deal with the awesome news....

until I started to bleed again. Back to the doc from the hospital (was closer than my wonderful doc). Baby still there but HCG levels falling. they suggest a d & c. I decline. Bleeding stops the next day.

3 days later bleeding starts again. Back to doc from the hospital. HCG levels are up! They send me home to rest (ha, ha) and bleeding stops again.

3 days later bleeding starts again. Back for bloodwork again and HCG levels are down. They again offer a d & c and again I decline. Bleeding stops the next goes on like this for at least two weeks...

My husband and I are going crazy... are we having a baby or not?

Finally, on the night of January 21, 2004, I go to the 24 hour grocery store quite late (after everyone is in bed) and I start cramping and bleeding again, and I just know that this is it....

about 6 am I miscarried a very tiny baby.

Not a fetus. Not a product of conception. Not another college tuition. Not another burden.

A baby.

I named him "Duncan" and I buried him under a flowering bush in front of our house, in the beautiful blue soft padded box my wedding jewelry had been stored in, with Our Lady's Miraculous Medal blessed in Italy.

His name is in my family bible, with my other 6 children. I talk to him in heaven about how brave he was to give his life so that I could have the deeper conversion and love for Jesus his loss would help to bring about.

I can't wait to see him someday.

Mary, please hold all the aborted and miscarried and stillborn babies in your arms....

and let our Nation see the truth that the emotion of a mother should not decide who lives or dies.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Seven Quick Takes Friday #1 - MY FAVORITE SAINTS

I have been wanting to do this for a while and hopefully I have figured out how to do it properly (links and stuff are not my forte) So thanks to Jen at Conversion Diary (and apologies in advance if I made any boo-boos, I am still working on learning the whole "link" thing).

Today I would like to share seven of my best friends in heaven.

1) St. Therese of Liseux
2) St. Theresa of Avila
3) St. Pio of Pietrelcina (Padre Pio)
4) Blessed Teresa of Calcutta (Mother Teresa)
5) St. Gemma Galgani
6) St. Gianna Beretta Molla
7) St. Joseph

Now I love and admire many other Saints. St. Thomas More is the Patron Saint of lawyers (both hubby and I are attorneys) and our ds#3 was given the middle name Thomas. I have been learning more about St. Anthony the Abbott and cannot wait to read more of his writings. St. Catherine of Sienna was an awesome woman (a doctor of the Church for goodness sake!) and I hope to become more familiar with her spirituality in the coming years. I also encountered Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati recently - a 20-something Italian with the good looks of a movie star and an unshakeable devotion to the poor and the Eucharist!! What is there not to like!!!

But these Seven Saints above really mean something to me right now. They are like friends who live a bit a far away or who I only know through emails or blogs ;-)

I have never met them in the flesh, but their presence is REAL in my life and I love them and depend on them.

For the life of me, I just cannot understand what a good number of Protestants have against following the example and asking for the intercession of our elder brothers and sisters in Christ who have already "run the good race" and "fought the good fight" and who AT THIS VERY MOMENT are getting to see Jesus face-to-face for all eternity!!

Remember the old adage  - "It is not WHAT you know, it is WHO you know!"

We "network" here to advance our careers...why not "network" to advance our holiness??

It takes nothing away from Jesus' divinity and his sovereign position as Lord of the Universe to have a devotion to a particular holy man or woman (or their special way of living) because Jesus loves them even more than we do! By becoming full human himself, Jesus also completely understands that in this "vale of tears" we NEED real-life, tangible examples of how to live the challenging life of a Christian.

I will spend a little time each coming Monday talking about a Saint and why he or she means so much to me and what they have to offer the whole Church. St. Therese of Liseux is up first, since I have a lot to make up to her for, as you will see next week!

I think I will call it...

 Meet A Saint Monday

Until then, I will remember you at the altar at Sunday Mass (and at Adoration a few times if I can sneak out this weekend!) and I humbly ask you do the same for me and mine....

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Gobsmacked by God - Tempted by "you know who"

As my post Monday night testified (Seriously...) despite my attempts on Sunday to put all this "orphan nonsense" away in a tidy little corner of my comfortable suburban existence, handsome hubby and near-perfect children, my dear Jesus hit me over the head with spiritual 2 x 4's all day on Monday...

through blogs (A Perfect Lily; All These Reasons; Our Road to Adoption; HE adopted me first; It's almost Naptime, Running the Race, and most importantly Reece's Rainbow...

through scripture (Luke 12: 13-34, also verse 48 "When much has been given a man, much will be required of him. More will be asked of a man to whom more has been entrusted.)...

through the Saint of the Day, Saint Anthony the Abbott...

through a phone call with my mom...

through my children....

through the books RADICAL by David Platt (Catholics should just skip Chapter 7, but the rest of the book ROCKS!) and CRAZY LOVE by Francis Chan....

through prayer....

I could not sleep. I had to get to the computer after midnight (a modern-day Samuel moment) and document what He was telling me. I got it all out in that post. And then I slept.

And Tuesday was a normal day full of too much laundry and not enough help cleaning up the dinner table and too much TV and electronics, and a nasty little voice whispered, " won't be able to do this...last night did not mean anything...forget about it...go watch some TV, you deserve it...."



I went upstairs to my computer and did some work (that I have been procrastinating getting done) as a discipline and to show that I meant what I said on Sunday. I WILL fulfill my duties to the best of my ability. I WILL take fabulous physical and emotional care of my hubby and children. I WILL do my income-producing work even when I do not "feel" like it....

for now my immediate goal is to pay off a big debt by Feb. 28....and keep reading and researching....and soon (how soon Lord? let me know when and how to do this!!) present a plan to my dear hubby for how we can afford to rescue a child or two from a horrific existence...and push our family out of its suburban comfort zone....and show what being a Christian really means....and save our souls in the loving.

Monday, January 17, 2011


God, you want me to adopt?


From another country?


A disabled child?


Maybe more than one?


Even though my dear hubby says we should worry about paying for college for the ones we already have?
Even though I sometimes feel overwhelmed with the ones we already have?


But seriously....

my heart cries every time I go to Reece's Rainbow -

these children need mommies and daddies to LOVE them! Seriously!

Do I really need to color my hair? Seriously?
Do I really need a new car? Seriously?
Do I really need a vacation to Italy? Seriously?
Do I really need to watch hours of TV every week? Seriously?

Today is the feast day of St. Anthony the Abbott.... even 17 centuries ago, people thought he was crazy for giving up everything for the Lord... I don't even have to give up 10% of what I have in order to save the life and nurture the soul of one (or two!) of God's precious children who would otherwise languish in a desperate existence.... seriously desperate....

Please God, let me know how this can be accomplished.
You can do all things. I can do nothing without you. You will have to show me the way though, because I am so scared and clueless about where to start...

For now -
I will pray..... seriously.
I will perform my duties here at home with my husband and children... seriously.

Jesus, Mary and Joseph, most holy family, pray for me and mine at this moment and those to come.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Following Up

Just a few thoughts as another new week begins...

a) Regarding my pregnancy possibility as noted at the end of My Faith History, sadly such was not God's will at this time.

b) Regarding running the 1/2 Marathon in May, I have committed to do so (along with hubby and ds#2).

c) Regarding an income producing career possibility, something which looked SO promising only a few months ago will need to be put on the back-burner for 6-12 months (and possibly indefinitely).

d) Regarding what God's will IS for me at THIS time, I spent several days pondering and praying and feeling a bit confused. I have been reading such beautiful adoption blogs lately, especially ones about international adoptions of disabled children. Is this what the Lord is calling me to when I can no longer have children of my own? Do I need to wait years to find out?


Look at me!! See what I am doing!! Behold and admire!!

Due to these very real tendencies of mine, I am inclined to see my pull toward adoption as another way (albeit a very charitable way) of seeking to feed my ego. That was the reason I stopped my old blog, because I was getting too caught up in the "prideful" and "narcissistic" side of blogging. That is the reason I have resolved to remain essentially anonymous for this blog. Because in this my year of Living for the Lord, I need to sort out my soul in the quiet wilderness (thanks John the Baptist for reminding me in today's Gospel) and not look for the recognition of anonymous others or even the admiration of those I love.

For the next month (because I count time just as often in fertility cycles as calendar days), I have resolved to live quietly while fulfilling all of my wifely, motherly, work-related and Catholic duties to be best of my ability. Because God's will is found in the place and time where one is right now (thanks Fr. DeCaussade). And right now, I need to curtail my lazy/daydreaming/blog-scrolling tendencies and tend to the people God has given me to love and care for and perform my currently pending work diligently to make money to assist in caring for them.

Right now is where He has placed me and I have all the grace I need to do what I need to do AT THIS MOMENT...not 2 days, or 2 months, or 2 years from now.....but today, this minute, this moment....

Ego mos servo Deus hic quod iam.                 

I will serve the Lord here and now.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

My Faith History

Per Leila's invitation at the Bubble, I would be honored to share my faith and my story...

I am the oldest of 8 children (born less than 9 months after my parents marriage, oops!) and a cradle Catholic. My father's Italian family was extremely devout and my grandmother is still alive and living on her own at the age of 97, saying many rosaries a day. His brother is a priest who just celebrated the 40th Anniversary of his ordination.

My mother's family was also Catholic but did not seem quiet as devout in my childhood, although my grandfather had a wonderful voice and sang in the church choir and my grandmother bought me a Miraculous Medal necklace when I had to have 10 teeth removed at one time at age 10 - I am wearing that necklace now as I write.

I remember loving to go to Mass as a girl. Sometimes I would ask to go twice on a Sunday, once with my family and once with my Italian grandmother and/or aunts (my dad's 2 sisters never married and lived with my grandmother until they both died at a young age from breast cancer). I loved the rosary. I loved Mary so much I wished I could see her like the children at Fatima or St. Bernadette (the patron of my home parish and school). I loved religion class at school and reading the bible and memorizing prayers and singing the songs (boy do I sound like a nerd)! I loved the sacraments and vividly remember both my First Communion and First Reconciliation, which I was allowed to make individually and before the rest of my class (for a reason I do not remember). I went to elementary school in the 70's and experienced some of the "wacky" liturgical stuff and weak catechesis, but I think the school did a better job than most as I received a pretty solid and orthodox education. My parents took us to Church every Sunday and Holy Day but we never prayed at home, other than grace before every meal.

I went to a small all-girls Catholic high school in the early 80's - we still had several nuns as teachers and a principal. I loved my high school experience and had an excellent faith education, with lots of bible reading and faithful Church teachings. I headed to a Jesuit college and appreciated my 3 required theology and philosophy courses. I met my DH the very first day of school at our Catholic co-ed (sexes separated by floor level) dorm. He was Catholic because his Lutheran mom had promised to raise children in his dad's Catholic faith (even though Dad rarely went to Church). She faithfully kept that promise to DH (and his 2 older brothers), sending them to Catholic grammar schools and high schools, even though she never converted.

DH and I were inseparable from Day 1 and became engaged the middle of my junior year (he was 1 year older). We were both headed to law school and married in June after our first year (which we attended together because I was able to skip one year of college). My Mom had always been very open with all her children about the physical details of sex and the fact that she and dad never used b/c, but the only thing she told me before my wedding was to be sure that I did not have any babies before I finished law school because she would not be watching them while I skipped off to school each morning (my youngest brother was about 4 at that time)! My DH had brought home the super old first edition of CCL's "The Art of Natural Family Planning" but I don't remember why we did not decide to investigate further. Probably because the consensus of all our Catholic friends was that b/c was fine if you had serious reasons (like being poor and in school full-time) and you were preventing conception from happening in the first place. So I went in an started on the pill (never being told it was sometimes an abortifacient) several months before our wedding.

We went to Church almost every Sunday as we finished our last 2 years of law school together. DH had committed to join the Navy as a JAG officer after passing the bar exam and I was so eager to have a baby I just assumed he would pass on the first try and counted out 9 months from when he would be a Naval Officer (with a full-time salary and insurance, neither of which were present in law school) and threw away the rest of my pills right then! It took about 7 months for us to conceive and our first baby was due during his first duty tour in Seatlle, Washington and was born there (it was boy). Our second baby (also a boy) was born 20 months later in Maryland, during our second duty station.

DH then left the Navy for another government job and we moved back to our home city and were surrounded by family and even attending the same parish I grew up in. We wanted to have a bit more space before our next baby but I did not want to go back to the pill for health reasons, so we used barrier methods for a while.....until DH was diagnosed with testicular cancer at age 31 (our boys were 4 and 3). He underwent 2 major surgeries and a summer of chemotherapy and we were told we would have a 25% chance of having another child in 5 or more years (close to 0% anytime before then). We were both deeply disappointed and when he started feeling well the next year, we started to look into adoption. We were told that due to DH's cancer, we would not be able to adopt domestically. Since we had 2 boys, I thought we could go to China for a little girl.

But in September, almost exactly 1 year after DH finished chemo, I had a positive pregnancy test (had been feeling kind of yucky for the past week and thought I would eliminate the possibily before I went to the doc). I was ECSTATIC! I could not wait to tell DH when he got home from work! The most amazing thing was that when DH got home and we were sitting in the living room (and I was planning how to tell him the awesome news) DH suddenly blurted out, "On the drive home today I pictured you sitting in a rocking chair with a newborn, isn't that weird?"

OMG, I almost passed out! I almost burst into tears and told him God must have let him know that, against all odds, I was indeed pregnant! We were on cloud 9 the whole pregnancy and I had my little girl (at home!) finally, when my boys were in kindergarten and preschool.

So now everyone assumed we were done! And so did we! Asking the Lord about it never really entered our minds, despite the fact our kiddies were in Catholic school and we went to Mass every single Sunday! I did take the CCL NFP course when my daughter was almost 1 (I breastfeed exclusively and have experienced BF infertiflity from 9 to 18 months), but we continued to use barriers as a "back up" during the fertile times.

We moved to a much bigger house in another suburb when my children were 10, 9 and 4. We worked very hard to update this "Brady Bunch" looking 70's house. We had more money than we ever had before. And we were miserable. DH and I were fighting a lot (we rarely ever fought in the previous 12 years of marriage until then) and we could not figure out what was wrong. We went to see the Catholic speaker Matthew Kelly in our new parish, thinking maybe a faith perspective could help us. We spent another month or two still not getting along. Until on the night of December 8 (which I later realized was the Feast of the Immaculate Conception) I burst into the home office we shared where DH was on the computer.

"I think we need to have another baby!" I blurted out.

It was his turn to almost fall off the chair.

"Well that was what I had been thinking, but I thought YOU did not want one."

"I thought YOU did not want any more!"

THAT is what contraception does to a marriage, to the most intimate partnership we have in this world. It corrupts the communication and the bond and has ramifications so far beyond the bedroom I cannot even begin to tell you. Just trust me on this, I beg you dear reader.

That very evening we were open to life. And I conceived. And I lost the baby in a long protracted miscarriage that involved a ruptured cyst, a hospital stay, and the natural passing of my baby over 3 weeks later on January 22 - yes, the Anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the legalization of abortion, when I would have done ANYTHING to keep that precious baby in my body (I would not let my doc do a d&c). I was an emotional and spiritual mess. WHY? When we had finally "gotten it"? When we decided to be loving and generous?

Many bleak weeks followed. My brother and his wife were pregnant with their first at this same time and very kindly called to let me know when they would be announcing this to the family so I would not be surprised. The baby was due the same week as my baby would have been (and ended up being born on my birthday)! It was just not fair! I had several panic and anxiety attacks and had to stop working for a bit (I had a small law practice with my Dad). Finally, as I was crying out to God yet again, I read something about "redemptive suffering". I realized I either believed in it or I did not. Jesus either REALLY is the Son of God or he was not. Being just culturally Catholic made no sense at all. Either God is everything or He is nothing.

I decided God was indeed everything. And my life changed that day 7 years ago, which probably has a lot to do with all the graces being stored up by my aforementioned Italian grandmother and the thousands of rosaries she has said and hundreds of Masses she has attended!

3 more children followed (girl now 6, boy now 4, girl now almost 2). I am in my mid-forties and as I write this, I may be pregnant again. I am so full of joy waiting on the Lord and his plan for my life. He knows so much better than me what I (and my DH and family) need and will bring us true happiness and fulfillment in this life. My greatest hope is that my whole family (DH, children and all extended through the generations before and after me) will someday be joined together at the wedding feast of the Lamb. Nothing else really matters. Peace and blessings in Christ.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011


This is so very relevant to my journey. Thanks to its amazing author.

Thank you Lord for showing it to me tonight. Let me know the passion and purpose you have set out for me and let me do it completely and all for You.

If it is for me to be cloistered here at home, serviam.

If it is for me to make scads of money out in the world to share with your poor, serviam.

If it is to walk in the fog of faith for a while longer, serviam.


Spiritually Sluggish

I am sometimes very disappointed in the way the Architect of the Universe has set things up for us.

Case in point:


Starting in September of 2009, when my 6th baby was about 6 months old, I was going 3 mornings at week at 6am to a fitness "boot camp" where I got my sorry postpartum butt-kicked for 30 minutes. This lasted until Christmas, not because I quite but because the trainer running the camp moved to Colorado. Liking the results (I lost my last 10 pounds of baby weight and 5 inches off my waist!) and somehow staying motivated to get up freakishly early in the dark, cold, deadness of winter, I decided to commit to running a 1/2 Marathon in May. My hubby joined in the goal and training and my then-15 yo son usually went with us 3 mornings a week to the local cheap gym to get in some quality family bonding/treadmill time (since he plays lacrosse in the spring and joins his parents in getting a bit smooshy over the fall and winter). What a goal! What perseverance! We did it! We ran the 1/2 Marathon and I was fit and looking GOOD for being 40+ with 6 critters.

Then we fell off the wagon over the summer.... oh, it wasn't entirely our fault. A major kitchen renovation and me being bitten by a dog and a DCFS visit for our accident-prone 3 yo boy (due to the a misdiagnosis of an x-ray by the local urgent care center) all contributed. So I know I need to get back to running/regular exercise, both for myself and for my Lax-loving (but not self-motivated) son and my "needing to be fit for his law enforcement job" hubby...

but my inner child is rebelling.

I feel cheated.

I feel like I did this BEFORE I should get to be DONE with it FOREVER.

My spiritual life often works this way. I feel like I should get "credit" NOW for the prayers/sacrifices/devotions I have done in the PAST....

I said a Rosary yesterday, do I have to do it again TODAY????
*insert long sigh at end like my 11 yo daughter does when told to bring up her laundry basket*

I can be a real over-achiever...interspersed with long periods of pure sloth.

So I need to beg the Lord for CONSISTENCY...

think about it, to really "Live for the Lord" in 2001, I need to do it EVERY DAY, not just the days I feel good or well-rested, not resting on my laurels for past spiritual accomplishments but to see each day as standing on its OWN and do what needs to be done for that day.

I know I should not look ahead to all the days it will need to be done because that makes my lazy nature freak-out in anticipation of future pain without the benefit of the grace of the present moment.

Which reminds me, I borrowed the book "Abandonment to Divine Providence" by Jean-Pierre de Caussade and I should spend some time READING it (rather than the silly "What Not To Wear" guide I picked up at the library the other day)! Mother Angelica often talks about this concept of God only giving you the grace needed FOR the moment IN the moment, so we should not borrow trouble by our worry and dread of future events, but follow his Will in the NOW, where He will never abandon us, but always be right by our side, or indeed cradling us in His arms close to His heart.

I know that is where I need to be in 2011. So I will spend some time in Adoration and in quiet prayer and talking to my hubby (the graces of the Sacrament of Marriage make him an amazing source of wisdom concerning God's will for me which I have ignored in the past and vow to take full advantage of in 2011) about the 1/2 Marathon and spiritual practices (and whether my 4 yo should go to preschool - hey, God cares about everying!) and just how God wants me to spend this precious New Year!!

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Hail or Rejoice??

I was listening to Fr. Rocky on Relevant Radio yesterday and he was talking about different bible translations and some of the specific distincitions they can make in a theological sense.

He noted that one translation renders the Angel Gabriel's greeting to Mary as "Rejoice O Highly Favored Daughter" while Catholic theology prefers the greeting to be rendered into English as "Hail Full of Grance."

I think I would agree with Fr. Rocky and orthodox Catholic theology.

I can feel God loving me as one of his "favored daughters."

But only Mary, the Mother of God, is "full of grace" and merits a "HAIL" from an archangel.

This is not a mere semantic difference, it is of deep theological significance to us...

I cannot remeber if it was a Saint or Chesterton who noted that humility is the virtue that reminds us who we really are in relationship to who God really is. I need to remember this when I am making all my plans and schemes and schedules and 10-year-future-goals.

And every time I say the Hail Mary, it helps me to remember....
and rejoice!

All Before His Altar

I ran to Adoration at my local parish last night about 8:30pm, for a quick New Years Eve celebration with my Jesus. Our dates are usually like that, short (20 minutes or so) and spur-of-the moment (as in "Hey, #6 is playing in the basement with the other critters and hubby is happily ensconced on the computer, I should run to Adoration!").

Sometimes I have an Agenda to discuss with the Lord of the Universe, but mostly I walk in and kneel right in format of the Monstrance on the floor and spontaneously begin my praise or thanks or petition (or sometimes complaints, as much as I try to avoid this)...

I started thinking on this New Years Eve about what my "goals" should be for 2011, perhaps what "word" should guide my choices or decisions, how I could know God's will for me in this coming year...

what popped into my head was "Live for the Lord."


simple. yet so complex.

I moved to sit in my favorite chair and thought about what this really meant.

It meant that I could disregard whatever "fad" I read about and became convinced I should follow in detail for the next 90 days... It meant I could forget about pleasing other people or what others might think about me or what I do... It meant there was one clear standard I could look at for both my little daily to-do's and the great big decisions I face...

Live for the Lord.

Which of course includes service to others --- which means I need to take care of myself in order to do the above, but to be mindful of "dying to self" in matters of vanity, pride, laziness and self-indulgence.

So in a concrete situation, like trying to decide whether or not to run a 1/2 Marathon this May, I can look at how doing so would help or hinder me in "living for the Lord." I believe that the training and resulting fitness level would help me to keep up with the physical demands of my family life. I also know from past experience that having this focus usually makes me more organized and helps me to get motivated to get up earlier and go to bed earlier (when I am much more inclined to swing to the later side of mornings and evenings). I also have used (especially when training for the 2010 1/2 Marathon) the quiet running time for prayer and meditation, often working in a few decades of the rosary or quietly breathing invocations and short phrases in time with my cadence. One of my favorites was begun when I started running over 10 years ago when my #3 was a baby and I would fit in runs between breastfeeding sessions.....

"Hail Mary, nursing Jesus, Hail Mary, loving Jesus, Hail Mary, bring me to Jesus"

over and over, as my feet hit the pavement over and over as I had to breathe deeper and heavier to make it home....

so this is the Year I stop reading self-improvement books for anything more than organizing tips, this is the Year I stop trying to figure out what would get me more attention from the masses, this is the Year I stop trying to read my hubby's mind to discern what he really wants (instead of just ASKING), this is the Year I stop trying to "fit" God's Will into my own will...

This is the Year I Live for the Lord.