Saturday, February 22, 2014

Speak Life …Everywhere…All the Time

It's difficult not to notice Pope Francis' exuberance for God, for Christ, for Mary, or for the Church.  He loves it all, and he wants us to as well.  He has spoken many times on showing the world our love for Christ and for the Church.

Infectious smile!


If we are to be disciples of Christ, as the apostles were, we are to go out into the world filled with the life of Christ pumping so hard through our veins that we just cannot contain it.  We don't have a choice.  This is what we are called to do.

Happy bunch right there, don't ya' think?



And I don't mean only sometimes…or to certain people...or when things are going well.  We must praise God in all situations - good or bad.  God has a plan for each of us and as disciples, we must completely trust in his love and care for us.  He has told us that we are more precious to him than the birds in the sky.  Don't they always find what they need - food, drink, shelter?  God takes care of us more than that.  He loves us more.

Beautiful …and cared for!


Every time we open our mouths or interact with other human beings, it is a chance to speak God's language - the language of LOVE and of LIFE.  We must listen to what others are saying, we must ask how others are doing, we must breathe love and life out of every pore of our bodies.  Every word that comes out of our mouths is either breathing life or slowly killing it.  There really is no in-between.  Think about that.  Do we not think that most of our words are benign?  A simple hello?, good-bye?, how much is that?, thanks?  Our words are not benign.  They are either life giving or life draining.




I'm talking about the attendants at the local fast-food joint.  Say hi. Compliment them.

They're making your food.


I'm talking about the nurses and doctors who are caring for you.  Realize they are overworked and would like a smile and an understanding heart.

He's saving your child's life.


I'm talking about your cleaning lady or your yard guy.  They are people with families whom they are caring for with the money earned from physical labor on your property so you can live more comfortably.  Offer them waters or food.  Most people do not.

Now add demanding owners, bugs, bad weather, animal excrement…you get the idea.



I'm talking about the cranky secretary at your child's school.  She is probably overworked and underpaid and is worrying about issues at home.  Bring her flowers or a bowl of cut-up fruit.  Sympathize with how hard she is working.

Yup, do something nice for her.  


I'm talking about the homeless person sitting at the exit ramp of the freeway.  He is God's child, and God loves him.  If you dare to open your window and give him your spare change, will you not then converse with him?  Tell him God loves him and you'll pray for him.  Watch his face change.

That's right.  God bless YOU! And Jesus does love all.


I'm talking about your children.  Were your words today ones that built them up or tore them down?

Were you down on her level today? Did you listen? What did your words sound like to her?


I'm talking about your spouse.  Did you tell him/her you love him/her at least five times today?  Did you kiss him/her?  What was your tone when speaking to him/her?  Were you understanding of his/her circumstances or difficulties?  Did you speak love and life to him/her … ALL DAY?

…that would be the language of LOVE.

I'm talking about every single person, all day long, every day of the year, in every circumstance.  Tall order to fill, but we kind of have to if we are disciples of Christ.

Will this make you stand out? Yes.  Will it make you seem weird to some? Sure.  Will people take notice? Yes.  People will want to know why you are so happy.  Happiness is contagious.  Spread it.  Spread words of LOVE and LIFE to everyone you meet …everywhere ...all the time!  Don't worry, thousands are behind you …

… definitely speaking LIFE!


and you only have to worry about following one.




Tuesday, January 21, 2014

God Didn't tell Moses "Except for Those in Utero" : Abortion Facts

As I sit here on the eve of the annual national March for Life, my thoughts are all over the map. I wonder how I went the majority of my life without ever even knowing the march happens every year on the anniversary of Roe v. Wade.  I think about all the people - so many youths - in DC right now praying and preparing for tomorrow's march in freezing temperatures and snow.  I think of all the women who have needlessly killed their tiny precious babies while nestled in their wombs. How those millions of women are hurting and stuffing their hurt down with prozac or a bottle of wine each night. Tell everyone you know that the March for Life is happening in our nation's capitol - you'll be surprised at the number of people who have never even heard of it.

News outlets don't think THIS is news-worthy. Incredible, huh?
(Follow the March for Life  HERE )

Roe v. Wade did nothing for our country other than harm.  It brought life-long hurts, both physical and emotional, to millions of women...and even death to some!  Are these the women's rights the feminists fought and continue to fight for?  Does this really make sense?  Really???  The law also brought a death sentence to 55 million lives - a genocide on our own people.  We are a "Nation under God", are we not?  All civil societies deem murder as a heinous crime.  "Thou shall not commit murder" is one of the Ten Commandments.  God did not tell Moses, "except for those in utero." Murder is wrong. Abortion is murder. Abortion is wrong.

Being pro-life is such a logical and easy argument, that it still continues to amaze me that I never saw it that way for so many years.  It amazes me that so many others still continue to not see it that way as well.  All it really takes is for one pro-life person to tell another pro-choice person the facts.  For me, I never knew the methods of abortion.  I did not know that abortion was legal in all 50 states through the ninth month of pregnancy (until recently).  It just takes one person to tell another person the facts.  When I was told the facts, I literally sat down on a curb in a parking lot.  Tears began streaming down my face, and I said, "If every American knew what you just told me, abortion would end tomorrow."

I personally know several women who have had abortions, and they are suffering silently.  Do not kid yourself, they are seated next to you in your church pews, they are your friends, mothers, sisters, aunts, cousins, and daughters.  Women face the choice of abortion when they feel desperate and pressured.  Carrying life inside your womb….well, there is just nothing like it.  The moment you are pregnant, you just kind of know.  You feel it.  You feel the life that is there already changing you.   I don't know one woman who would ever want that baby cut from their womb and ripped out.  It is the most un-natural thing on the planet as we are beings created by God to bring forth life in cooperation with Him.  Women do not go into abortion clinics gleefully.  There is extreme fear and regret.  It is a horrific decision and it should not be legal.  Other options must be made available to mothers and fathers.

We as a society must do better at promoting the programs and help that is out there to women in distress over an unplanned pregnancy.  We cannot just talk the talk, we must walk the walk.  Reach out to anyone you know who might have undergone an abortion and inform her that there is help.  Reach out to any man you might know who was the victim of having his baby murdered without any rights to his baby whatsoever.  Periodically, you might want to post on your Facebook page places for help.  People read Facebook, they just don't like to comment or "like" postings for fear of being exposed to one person or another.  Post the facts surrounding abortion.  Let's leave our opinions to the side.  I definitely have mine, but opinions really get us nowhere.  It is teaching the facts to our youth that will turn the tide on this matter.  We are already seeing signs of that in states like Texas and others.  Forty one years after Roe v. Wade, people are finally realizing abortion does not have to be a necessary evil.  It just doesn't.  It is not saving women's lives and it is definitely not saving the babies' lives.  It is destroying women, men, and families all around the globe.  It is a hurt that can only be healed with God's grace.

Spread the word.  Spread the facts.  Spread the help.  Let's put an end to this atrocity!

Need to find help in your area?  Priests For Life "Pregnancy Help Center Near You"
Need healing post abortionRachel's Vineyard Weekend Retreat Schedule by Date
Are you a man who has endured lost fatherhood because of abortion? Fatherhood Forever

Photos of fetal development all 9 months This is LIFE!
These are the abortion methods:  Suction Curettage, Dilation & Extraction, Partial Birth
Testimony of saline abortion:  Saline abortions in 2nd & 3rd trimesters
Gruesome photos of aborted babies all 3 trimesters Pray for these babies!

EVERY ABORTION KILLS AN INNOCENT PRECIOUS BABY

AT 8 WKS. (according to research we have today), THE BABY REACTS TO TOUCH

AT 20 WKS., THE BABY FEELS PAIN

ABORTION IS NOT A WOMAN'S BODY ISSUE - IT IS AN ISSUE INVOLVING 3 PEOPLE

ABORTION HAS BECOME A GENDERCIDE WORLDWIDE - SHRINKING FEMALE POPULATION

RAPE, POVERTY, DISABILITY, OR BEING UNWANTED NEVER JUSTIFIES MURDER

SUICIDE RATES ARE 6 TIMES HIGHER AMONG WOMEN WHO HAVE HAD ABORTIONS THAN THOSE WHO HAVE NOT. American Assoc. of Pro-Life Obstetricians & Gynecologists

WOMEN WHO HAVE HAD ABORTIONS ARE MORE PRONE TO DEPRESSION AND DRUG ABUSE

WOMEN WHO HAVE HAD ABORTIONS HAVE A 40% HIGHER CHANCE OF HAVING A PREMATURE BIRTH BEFORE 32 WEEKS WITH SUBSEQUENT PREGNANCIES
American Assoc. of Pro-Life Obstetricians & Gynecologists

WOMEN WHO HAVE HAD AN ABORTION HAVE A 44% HIGHER CHANCE OF HAVING BREAST CANCER New Study on Chinese Women (& 1child policy)

OVER 80% OF ABORTIONS ARE DONE FOR THE SAKE OF CONVENIENCE

PLANNED PARENTHOOD'S FOUNDER, MARGARET SANGER, ONCE SAID, "THE MOST MERCIFUL THING THAT A FAMILY DOES TO ONE OF ITS INFANT MEMBERS IS TO KILL IT."

PLANNED PARENTHOOD PERFORMS 300,000+ ABORTIONS EACH YEAR

55 MILLION BABIES KILLED IN THE U.S. ALONE SINCE JAN. 22, 1973

FACTS ARE FACTS.  THERE IS JUST NO GETTING AROUND THEM.

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Women: Put Down that Magazine and Climb Out From the Depths of Hell!

The other day I was in the checkout lane at the grocery store and actually without my brood, so I thought I'd reach out and thumb through a magazine.  Ahhhhh, that was going to be my one-minute escape.  Except that it wasn't an escape into celebrating womanhood, it was an escape into hell I think (hell would be full of liars, right?).  Anyway, my husband and I have been using the "Lose It" app since Christmas to shed a few unwanted middle-age pounds (and it is working by the way!), so I reached out for Redbook because it had a section on the cover related to choosing the right foods.

Upon opening the cover, I was hit with the letter from the editor saying how she wants, "SHE NEVER GAVE UP ON DATE NIGHT" on her tombstone.  Really? I don't know about you, but that's not really the way I want my family and loved ones to remember me….so many other things to put on a tombstone.  She proceeds to inform me that she and her husband are just too busy for their regular date nights, so she found a cute restaurant where they could enjoy breakfast together.  Cute idea, I thought.  But then she said she and her husband had to consult "phone calendars" in order to get this done.  Yuck.  This is where we're at as a society, I thought? And then she slapped me at the end with sending me to an article in the magazine about love stories - one of which included a woman who married an old college friend, got married, and then the college friend realized he was really a "she" on the inside.

Okay, so then I went back to the front and started thumbing through the magazine in its entirety seeing if there was anything redeemable in it.  Pretty much the only good thing between its cover was the one page article covering the food items and how to pick foods smartly - the reason I picked up the magazine.  More than half of the magazine was devoted to promoting make-up, skins creams, clothing, handbags, and shoes.  As I was thumbing through, I realized all the products I don't have or have never even heard of.  I have to admit, I felt a bit of a panic - like I needed to rush out and look for all those products that were going to erase my wrinkles, and smooth out any lumps I've accumulated from eight pregnancies. Yikes! Let's face it.  I am out of the loop!  I needed a new handbag - stat!  And probably one in every color like they suggested!

All of a sudden, it was like someone slapped me  - you know, like Cher slaps Nicholas Cage in "Moonstruck" and says, "snap out of it!"



I closed the magazine, placed it back on the rack and looked down lovingly at my five year old Vera Bradley diaper bag...and fell in love all over again…with that well-worn bag…and with my life.  That diaper bag has served two of my four children and it's still going strong.  It has housed changes of clothes for three children, drinks for three children, snacks for three children, a ziploc of diapers, wipes, and A&D, my wallet, phone, and lipgloss (God forbid it's the same awesome color I picked out all on my very own two years ago) - all at the same time.  It's a workhorse.  My husband even picks it up and carries it with pride when it gets too heavy for me to carry. I don't need more stuff to fill up my life or closets.  I don't need to consult my phone calendar to have a date with my husband to know he loves me.  I would imagine millions of women out there feel the same way I do.  These fashion magazines only serve to make women feel insecure about our looks, our bodies, our fashions, our husbands, and our sex lives.  (heck, one article in there told me I should pick cuter underwear).

Typical women's magazine cover

Your husband should be your best friend and partner in your life.  He should love you to the end.  If you choose right, he will be there to help you with the babies in the middle of the night when one is colicky and the other is vomiting and the others are just up from all the noise.  He will hold your hand and fight for you when you are sick and in the hospital.  He will support the home and the people in it.  He will pick up your handbag when it gets too heavy from transporting all the essentials you need for the life the two of you have created.   I'm sorry to shock so many, but he's NOT YOUR DATE ANYMORE once you get married.  You're not testing the waters and impressing him with the right shade of lipstick (which he never noticed while you were dating anyway - sorry).  Stop putting that pressure on yourself!  Many couples just cannot have date nights - for many different valid reasons.  But that doesn't mean you can't squeeze in some cuddle time every night before you doze off each night.  Let's face it, what better way to fall asleep than in the arms of the love of your life?


My awesome husband holding our 2nd son after an emergency c-section
Women must never forget a few things though.  Rejoice in all the moments and ways your husband IS  there supporting you - daily.  Don't overlook all the late nights he spends with you helping with the house or the bills or the children.  Don't overlook the times he runs to the store to get that one thing you forgot in your grocery store trip.  Don't overlook the fact that he is the one who will be by your side when you give birth cheering you on.  Don't overlook all the times he gets up early on Saturdays to take care of home matters or brings your sons to their ball games.  Don't overlook the fact that he gets up everyday and works hard at his job to ensure a financially secure life.  He is loving you in all those ways.  If you keep God at the center of your life, you will be hard-pressed to forget these things.

 Put the women's magazines down, throw them in the trash, and fill your home with literature that fills your mind with knowledge and nurtures your soul with love. Your husbands will thank you for it.  Your kids will thank you for it.  Women are so busy running around shopping for all the right items they think will fill their lives and keep their husbands attracted, that they are forgetting their husbands are already attracted and they're waiting on their wives to realize that. We need literature in the check-out lanes that encourage us to know we are great just the way God made us.  We don't need magazines to force-feed a habit of overspending on garbage that will never fill our lives the way God can.  We don't need magazines telling us date nights are so important it should be engraved on our tombstones!  Seriously, climb out from the depths of hell!!!  What women and couples DO need in their lives is God.  He is the ONLY ONE who can fill you - completely, wholly, to your core.  If you keep Him at the center of your marriage - at the center of your lives - you will stay centered on the important stuff in life.  One thing's for sure…the important stuff is not in a store, and I don't need a magazine to bring me to the depths of hell and lie and tell me that it is.


Our 20th Wedding Anniversary - five years ago



Thursday, January 9, 2014

Mary Would Shock GMA Too With Her Submissiveness!

Today, after I dropped off my 4yo son at preschool, my 2yo daughter and I walked over to our Church's outdoor nativity still set up.  I figured it would be our last close-up look of the year, and my kids love seeing the baby Jesus. How is it so simple for them and not for so many adults? But I digress. Anyway, it was chilly out today and drizzly - kind of like Seattle weather - and I stood there with my hair blowing in the breeze and frizzing up and thinking about how I wasn't very comfortable.  It was chilly, and wet, and windy.



And then, all of a sudden, my focus shifted to Mary.  There she was…kneeling next to her beloved son…the King of Kings.  The little shelter that was around the Holy family was breezy and chilly and rainy.  The wind was affecting the Holy Family as it was affecting me.  All of those people present in the Nativity story were affected by the elements.  I thought that perhaps the weather might have been like that at the time of Jesus' birth.  Whatever the weather was, it sure wasn't nice to give birth in a dirty stable possibly subject to the outside elements.

Mary was STRONG!!! Which one of us would like to take a donkey ride for miles while 9 mos. pregnant knowing we will definitely not be giving birth in a hospital with competent medical staff and the comforts of solid shelter, food, and a dry clean bed?  Yup, Mary was one strong momma!  She had to submit to God's will for her and accept the circumstances surrounding the birth of the world's savior.  She was okay with the King arriving into the world on some hay.

Interestingly, and often overlooked, Mary also had to submit to Joseph's advice and care for her.  Joseph lead the Holy Family to that stable in Bethlehem.  She trusted him as the head of their household to know best for them …and she submitted to it.  She didn't argue and pester Joseph…"Joseph, what do you know?  I'm staying put.  Are you crazy? You expect me to get on that donkey?  Have fun because I'll be right here."  How the world would be different without Mary's submissiveness - both to God and to her husband.

This brought my thoughts to a news story I read yesterday about Candace Cameron's remarks yesterday on Good Morning America regarding her "submissiveness" to her husband.  Women around the country, I'm sure, shrieked in horror!  Feminists everywhere (in my mind) wanted to storm the set and burn their bras on air!  Candace clarified her remarks by saying she uses that word in a Biblical sense.  Well, she might as well have been speaking Martian.  Most of our society knows very little about the Bible, much less the definition of a word that is in the Bible.  Candace Cameron has been happily married for seventeen years! Not a lot of people can say that.  Perhaps Cameron knows something most other modern women don't.  Submissiveness might not be such a bad thing.

Candace Cameron Bure and family

Being submissive within a marriage does not mean being a doormat.  It is "strength under control", as Candace said.  Marriage is all about give and take and sometimes submitting to what is best for the family even when it's not what our selfish heart desires.  Mary displayed strength under control, don't you think? She submitted to God's will and the will of her husband for the good of her family.  Can you imagine if Mary were a guest on Good Morning America in this day and age?  How she would shock the world with her humility, obedience, and submissiveness!  She would be trampled by news agencies everywhere - not to mention what feminists would do to her.  Ultimately, our own happiness lies in submitting our lives to God's will for us.  Mary knew that.  She was free from original sin.  It was not on her heart to stray from God's word.  It is in submission that we are actually free - for we do not have the earthly constraints holding us back.  Mary is the ultimate example of a wife and mother.  Mary showed us all what graces can lie before us when we submit.



Monday, January 6, 2014

Have Catholic Schools Become Our New Churches?

Have we moved so far away from the original intent of the American Catholic school? What would Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton say if she were alive today?  She was shunned by her family both socially and financially for converting to Catholicism.  She was so convinced in the need for Catholic schools for immigrant families that she sought financial help and did not give up until she got it.  What was her vision for the future Catholic schools of America? Was it what it is today?



It is said that humans are hard-wired to worship.  Without God in our lives, we seek something else to worship whether it be money, fame, youth, clothing, houses, cars, Hollywood idols, whatever.  I got dragged into a conversation today by two parents who were discussing their children's Catholic school tuition.  One was a practicing Catholic and the other was a non-Catholic (practicing nothing).  The non-Catholic was upset that the quality of education at this school did not match the hefty tuition cost, and he was upset there was a "discount" for people who "just belonged to the Church".

I have been actively involved with Catholic schools in our Archdiocese now for twenty years.  What I have sadly seen time and time again is hordes of well-intentioned wealthy parents pay for a Catholic education for their children because it is a "wholesome environment".  Many of these parents never attend mass or seldomly attend mass or send their children in their place.  The faith is not their number one priority in choosing a school.  Once their last child graduates from 8th grade…so long to Catholicism.

I cannot speak for Catholic schools all across the nation, but I would wager a bet that urban and suburban (of large cities) Catholic schools are very similar in this regard.  Perhaps the parents grew up attending Catholic school and they want to pass those "traditions" on to their children, or perhaps it's just a better alternative to public schools and they have the money to pay for it.  What I begin to see as the families go through the grades, is the list of complaints regarding the school begins to grow. The parents are upset that the Catholic schools don't "have" the "things" that the public schools have or that the elite private schools have.  They want all the tax-paid goodies, so they push and push and push until their wholesome Catholic school more closely resembles the local high-end public schools replete with all of its bells and whistles.

Unfortunately, administrators can fall prey to this kind of thinking as well.  The emphasis no longer is on our Catholic faith, but a top notch education in a wholesome environment…and oh yeah, by the way, we attend mass once a week.  Parents become obsessed with making their Catholic school into an elite private school or the best public school.  They talk and talk and talk about all the things they want to do for the school, but never do Church matters cross their lips.  They aren't upset that the pastor can't fix the air conditioning in the church due to low funds, but they sure can shell out thousands of dollars for the latest school fundraiser.  They also become obsessed with the school sports.  If you ever attend a Catholic middle school basketball game, you'd think you were watching the NBA.  The intensity of the fans is practically equivalent.  Coaches pace back and forth on the sidelines with veins bulging in their necks.  Parents sit on pins and needles at every shot, foul, and free throw.  Let's be honest, unless little Logan sprouts up about THREE FEET, he probably has no chance whatsoever at becoming an NBA player…or a college player.

The parents of today's modern Catholic schools have made the school their new Church.  Worshipping God has been replaced with worshipping their children's schools.  They must have the best!  No stopping!

Demand more and if we can't have it, we'll fundraise for it, and by the grace of God we'll get the money for it!  We're paying a hefty tuition bill each month, so we're owed it.

And it really irks them that those weird families who go to Church get a discount.  I am here to say that the Church families are not getting a discount.  The Church families are what the Catholic schools are all about - or should be about.  The tuition is set for practicing Catholic families.  Anyone else who is lucky enough to attend, but does not want to be a part of our faith community will have to pay a heftier price.  The most faith-filled school children I ever saw were in an urban Catholic school with very limited financial resources.  The halls were bare.  The doors were metal.  The classrooms were large with high ceilings and very stark.  The children were numerous (far too numerous by typical suburban standards).  The school staffed several nuns and the Catholic faith was number one there.  It was evident.  There was NO DENYING it was a Catholic school!  The children?…they were happy…REALLY HAPPY!

Parents must remember that happiness does not come in the form of more goodies and the best sports teams - it comes when our faith is number one.  Church is vital to a healthy family.  God is first.  Everything comes second.  Catholic schools must never forget their mission - to provide a Catholic education to Catholic children so that they may practice their faith in school as well as at home.  God is the source of truth, goodness, and pure love.  Children get it…why don't the parents?

Sunday, January 5, 2014

The God Who Gives and Takes Away

When I was out and about driving around town last year after my miscarriage, and my sadness would spontaneously well up inside me, it would seem this song would come on the radio…reminding me to praise the God who gives and takes away.  I hope this brings others some comfort as well.


Saturday, January 4, 2014

The Loss of a Fourth Baby, Humility, Mercy, and Rejoicing

So much has happened since I last wrote, so I will start at approximately the point at which I stopped writing.  I suffered a fourth miscarriage one week before my birthday in September - one week before I would be 3mos. pregnant - one week before we would joyfully tell all our family and friends of the impending arrival of a new baby.  We had already lost a baby back in the spring, and that was devastating for all of us.  That baby changed me in so many ways.  The loss of a second baby in one year was just, well... unbelievable.  It happened so quickly that I hardly had time to process it all.  If my husband had not been home, I might have died that day as I passed out from extreme blood loss and dangerously low blood pressure.  I remember waking up as the paramedics arrived shouting through our front door.  It was such an ethereal feeling.  I had been in such excruciating pain since the early morning - not being able to control the pain with meds we already had in the house - and yet, I woke up on my unforgiving wood bedroom floor without any pain at all.  I was completely numb.  It was as if time was at a standstill and I was watching from above all that was happening…paramedics, three young children at home, and one very concerned husband who had been unable to wake me.

I don't know what would have happened if my husband had not been home.  I shudder to think my children would have spent this last Christmas without their mother.

I spent that day in the ER and the next day on the cardiac floor.  I laid flat for so long just drifting in and out of sleep, a drug induced haze, my thoughts, and my prayers.  I slipped easily between tears, feelings of incredulity, and feelings of anger. I kept telling myself that God, in His infinite wisdom, knew that baby was not meant to be here.  In all the horror, He had spared my life.  I had been spared and given another chance.  All I wanted to do was go home and curl up in bed with my children and husband and snuggle the days away.  All I wanted was to see them, touch them, smell them.  For two days I lay in a hospital bed alone thinking only of going home and being with them.  Nothing in this life mattered more to me than being close with my family - like close enough that you feel your children's hair on your face and smell their sweetness flowing from their pores.

Of course there were times I really wanted to just have a pity party for myself in that hospital bed, but something took hold of me, and I rejoiced at life.  I can't explain it, other than to say I had an overwhelming sense of thankfulness. I rejoiced at all God had already given me, not what He had taken away.  In my pitiful state, I felt blessed beyond compare.  I was humbled, yet shown mercy.  I was alone, yet felt loved.  I was literally only half the person I had been two days prior, yet I felt whole and complete.  I was distraught over the loss of my fourth baby, yet I rejoiced at the four children I had at home waiting for me to come home.  God is the Almighty.  His wisdom exceeds anything we can ever comprehend.  I took comfort in that as well.  I left that hospital bed renewed in the gift of life He has already given me.  I was energized for what lay ahead of me…organizing my parish's Healing Mass in one week... speaking for my parish's women's retreat in one month…and organizing and moderating my Archdiocese's very first women's conference with Johnnette Benkovic as the guest speaker.  Of course, I would have to then fit in Thanksgiving, my 8yo's birthday, our 24th wedding anniversary, and Christmas by the end of the year.

It was all done.  Details will follow. I am happy to be in a new year.  Challenges will lie ahead for all of us in 2014.  May we all face them with courage and a humble and thankful heart.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Misery Loves Company

It is said, "misery loves company".  For the most part, I believe this to be true. We sure love to commiserate with each other, don't we?  When you're miserable, you just want everyone in your life to cheer you on in your misery. "Yeah, me too!" "That stinks!" "I hate my boss too!" "I wish I were single!" "Right on sister, husbands are clueless!" "That's right man, wives just nag, nag, nag!" "Kids are so ungrateful!" Have you ever heard these responses? They sure stroke your ego when you're upset.  Most people don't offer positive advice out of fear - fear of being different.  When we're the one who's down, we think we want someone to help us, but in reality we just want someone to egg on our selfish pity party and indulgent misery. It is much easier to complain than to actually acknowledge one might have to change part of him or herself.

Jesus calls us to be better than this.  Acknowledging we might have a hand in keeping our own misery alive is a difficult pill to swallow because it requires self-reflection (which might take you away from another self-indulgent activity), and *gasp* change (which might be painful).  Unhappiness can engulf any aspect of your life and leave you feeling like you're drowning... whether it is an unhappy marriage, unhappy work situation, difficult boss, difficulties with your children, feelings that are less than bliss when thinking of your pastor or parish, etc.  Sometimes difficult people come into our lives so that we can learn to love them, as we never would have otherwise.  If God is the Creator, then His face is imprinted on every human being - just as the parents' genetics are imprinted on their child(ren).  We are called to love as Jesus loved; to see the face of His Father in every person we meet.

When we feel that feeling of unhappiness or misery, we need to reflect and discern whether or not we can do something within ourselves to alleviate the pain, sadness, or weariness.  We should also pay heed to the people in our lives who are there giving us encouraging words and ideas. Don't dismiss one's positive outlook on your difficult situation as "impossible".  There might be some really great piece of advice you're overlooking.  Receive advice with a humble heart and you might be surprised how things in your life begin to change.  Do you REALLY want company in your misery? REALLY? Maybe for the moment, or a half hour, or hour...but that kind of company is fleeting and untrue.

Stay close to Jesus in prayer and in the Eucharist.  He loves you and He is REALLY present in the Eucharist.  He will give you answers you're looking for; maybe not that moment but they will come.  Pray the rosary and feel the Virgin Mary, our blessed Mother, sweep you up in her arms and hold you close to her heart.  Pray to your guardian angel.  Your angel is by your side standing vigil.  Don't forget that.  There is no need to remain in your misery when the life of Christ is coursing through your veins.  Visit our Lord in Adoration.  He is there and waiting for you.  He is the great healer - the great physician.


Thursday, July 18, 2013

The Pro-Aborts Will Continue to Be Vile While We Will Continue to See Beauty in All Life

Today, Governor Rick Perry of the great state of Texas signed a bill that bans all abortions after 20 weeks.  That is a huge win for the prolife side, and it was a very contentious fight.  The night of the vote had me on pins and needles as I stayed tuned through twitter and Facebook.  The pro-abortion side came to the Texas capitol in Austin armed and ready to fight - reportedly with a semi-automatic weapon, blood, feces, urine, tampons, pads, and their foul mouths.  There was a time in the night that the pro-life supporters of the bill had to be rushed out of the capitol or into safe areas for their own livelihood.

Sadly, I understand the viewpoint of the pro-abortion crowd because I once was there too.  For the most part, they feel they are fighting for the safety of women...and for women's rights.  Many are very uninformed.  They do not know the horrors of the abortion industry.  They do not know the methods of abortions or the statistics surrounding abortions.  They do not know that abortions do so much harm to the women they think they are tying to protect.  It's really just a reversal of the mindset.  When you begin to think of the innocent life growing inside the woman, and not just the woman's desires, you begin to shift your thinking.

We have become a throw-away society, which unfortunately includes our own children.  It has become easy to discard our own offspring if they happen to come along at an inconvenient time.  I will tell you that most babies come at inconvenient times.  It is rare that one plans for a specific time that a baby will arrive and nine months later, a perfect baby arrives right on schedule.  We are also consumed with perfection.  Our babies have to arrive perfectly. All of the testing done on our children in utero to determine illnesses, genetic problems, etc. has risen to an all time high and women are choosing more than ever to abort these less than perfect creations of God's.  We forget in our race to perfection that these children are not ours, they are God's. They were created by Him and will return to Him one day. Our job is to love them, give them the best opportunities in life we can, and teach them to love God.

Today, Steve Ray posted this video on his page regarding what it is like to have an autistic brother.  It is a great and moving video.  How would Spencer's life be different if he didn't have his brother, Mitchell?  All life is beautiful, all life has a purpose, all life is a gift, and all life is created by God.


Friday, June 21, 2013

Vision of the Christ Child

Many months ago, I had a vision that I was in a pitch black room watching a priest who had his arms raised up - like he was either adoring something or raising something up.  His face was pure light and peace and happiness.  He wasn't looking at me and he had no idea I was there.  His eyes were fixed on whatever his arms were raised to ( I know that's horrible grammar, but you understand). Anyway, I was so drawn in to his happiness that I wanted to see where his eyes were gazing.  I turned my head to the left and saw a small child suspended in midair.  This child was, I think, the most beautiful child I have ever seen.  I couldn't tell if it was a boy or girl.  At first I thought it was a girl with wavy short blonde hair and a long nightgown flowing in the breeze (?) - I know that sounds strange as it felt like we were in a black box, but the gown was flowing.  The gown was white and had a beautiful wide band of lace at the neck and wrists. The child was glowing - emanating light - and the arms were extended downward toward the priest.  I was absolutely captivated.  I stood frozen, staring at the child...and then the priest...and then the child... and then the priest.  The love and happiness was mesmerizing.  All of a sudden, I saw something catch my eye to the right, and it was a man dressed in black. He was sleek looking and I had a horrible gut wrenching feeling of evil.  He smiled at me - like "look and watch the havoc that's about to ensue".  I had to catch my breath because looking at him caused me to feel like I had been punched and lost all air from my lungs.  He was slowly walking towards the priest, and as I felt my insides yell, "No", I was immediately drawn out of my vision and back to my la-z-boy chair where I was nursing my daughter.  It took me about a month to realize I had seen the Christ child.  And because of the shame I felt in not recognizing Him immediately, I felt sad for many months.  I still think about what I saw because I don't know exactly what it means.  The closest images I have found online to what I saw have been an image of the Infant of Prague and an image of St. Anthony of Padua.  If anyone out there would like to comment, please do so. I would love to hear if you have "seen" anything yourself or if you know anything that could help me with what I saw.  God bless!  ~+
p.s. These images are not exactly what I saw, but the closest I could find. I wish I could paint -  I would paint it myself.  It truly was beautiful.