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.