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.

Saturday, June 8, 2013

A Chance Meeting Turns to Friendship and Evangelization

Shortly after Christmas, I was at the park with my children and met a young mother with two children the same age as my two youngest.  Even though there was a big difference in our age, we somehow connected instantly - like long lost friends.  Have you ever met a stranger and thought, "Hmmm, so strange how easy it was to talk to him/her"? Well, that was the case here.  Even though I never do this, we decided to exchange phone numbers and we vowed to meet up at the park again and let our kids play together.  Believe it or not, I have been so busy I have only taken my children back once since then and it was a spur of the moment thing. So, I have not seen this mom again.  However, after getting home that day I noticed she had sent me a friend request on facebook.  I thought it was a little odd at first, but trusted my initial instincts about her and accepted the request.  We have stayed in contact via facebook.

I sometimes wonder if my posts on my personal facebook page irritate people to the point they don't want to be friends anymore. I am not obnoxious with meme after meme or political rants, but I do post Catholic news, anti-abortion news, all mixed with gardening posts, and photos of my kids.  I basically post all that I love: God, my Catholic faith, pro-life news, and my family.  I do, on the other hand, wonder if I am evangelizing to people who may not think the way I do.  I wonder if my postings might cause one of my friends to pause and think about their own stance on a particular issue.

Last week, I received a private email through facebook from that young mother I met at the park. She said that she has seen how involved I am with my parish through my facebook postings, and it has caused her to want to join the Catholic faith. Yes! You read that right! One for our side!  Anyway, she said she was baptized, but never received first communion or confirmation. She wanted to know how she went about signing up "for the program". I, of course, immediately wrote her back and told her how happy I was for her regarding her decision, gave her the contact information, and told her to please ask me if she has any questions at all.  I still become overjoyed just thinking about this.  How happenstance our meeting was, and how impactful it became.

The Holy Spirit has guided our Church into this New Evangelization period.  The Lord is calling His children home. If you have the means and/or opportunity, make sure you proclaim your faith publicly. It is scary at first, I assure you. It is a cross the Lord is asking us to take up and carry.  Witness to your faith in all aspects of your life.  You never know who might be watching and listening. I will say though that you will attract more bees with honey than with vinegar. If you go about your evangelizing with a pointed finger at the end of your hand, you will only turn others away. Show the world your zeal for the Lord and for the Catholic Church. People will sit up and take notice.  They will want to know why you are so happy. That is then the opportunity to unlock the door and give them the key to your happiness.  Jesus gave the keys to the kingdom of heaven to Peter to build His Church. The keys are inside the Church. Don't let your faith be locked away in your inner sanctum for no one to see. Reveal it and others will want to join.  God bless you in your evangelization!

Friday, May 31, 2013

Mary's Sorrow

I once knew a cradle Catholic who always seemed to be talking about the misery, pain, and suffering of Jesus, and particularly Mary.  As a convert, those topics still to this day, kind of make me want to tune them out - it's not comfortable.  As a protestant, we always liked to focus on the notion that God is love and on the glorified resurrected Christ...not the passion of the Christ...and certainly not of the seven swords piercing Mary's heart (or Our Lady of Sorrows).

So, every time this woman would talk about the seven swords piercing Mary's heart, I would get a little squeamish inside and try to look for a quick escape route!  Of course, I understand  - or try to understand - Mary's horrific pain from enduring the suffering and death of her beloved son, but I did not fully understand the devotion to it.  That is until a few days ago.

A teacher at a local Catholic high school was arrested over the weekend for having an ongoing relationship with a sixteen year old female student.  Of course he is on house arrest at this point, but the sherriff's department has a taped confession.  Sooooo, when I found out the news I was just so so sad.  I was sad for him because I knew he had just ended his life, I was sad for the girl because her childhood was robbed from her (among other things), I was sad for her parents and extended family, I was sad for the school and its reputation, I was sad for the school's administration as I know they must be working in a very stressful environment right now, I was sad for our Archdiocese because this makes all Catholic schools look bad...and then I just kept on feeling sad.

I knew I needed to pull myself out of my sadness, but I needed to find out why I was so sad.  And then it hit me!  I am a former middle school teacher.  I loved my students as if they were my own.  I could have never hurt them (at least intentionally).  I realized I was grieving for all teachers.  With the news of this teacher's heinous crime, I was grieving along with all other teachers.  We feel the pain of another's sins.  That is how it must be for our Lady.  As we are all her children, and she our mother, she feels the pain of all our sins.  I have a deeper understanding of Mary; she continues to beckon me on my journey towards her son.  I am now really looking forward to our annual women's healing mass on the feast of Our Lady of Sorrows.  It was truly divine providence that our parish's retired priest decided to start this tradition at our parish two years ago and have me and the Respect Life Ministry head it.  May you seek to comfort those who are in pain and sorrow.  God bless +

Link to info on the seven sorrows of Mary:

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Healing is Not for Wimps!

I recently went to see a well-known Catholic female speaker at a day-long women's healing retreat.  Truth be told, I was planning our Archdiocese's first women's conference and was scouting potential speakers.  I was very excited to hear this woman speak.  What I did not expect was that major healing took place.  What a day!  I remember something she said so vividly.  She said that if there was something for which you find yourself returning to the confessional, your problem is probably not that problem - but something deeper.  She said that either I had committed a greater sin that I wasn't confessing or someone committed a sin against me that I had not dealt with.  That's some heavy stuff, my friends.  Think about that for a moment.  How many times have you entered a confessional thinking, "Why can't I just get rid of this once and for all? Why do I have to keep confessing this?"

I had been praying for months for guidance on how to control my quick temper.  It just seemed like I couldn't control it.  I am generally a very mild-mannered person, but just the right thing or (let's be honest) just the wrong amount of sleep and I was like a ticking time bomb.  I knew it was some sort of anger that I was having trouble harnessing.  I realized in that instant that because of childhood instances, there was a general feeling of loss of control in my life.  So in order to compensate for that, I try to control things (I think we all do which is why priests are always telling us that God is in control). So when I felt like I was losing control of a situation - any situation no matter how big or small - anger would rear its ugly head.  That was big stuff.

Now, there are so many people who would read this and say, "oh yawn, you have problems, I have problems, we all have problems, get over it."  They're right, but how does one just "get over it"?  It is through God's healing grace that one can instantly wipe away years of pain or anger or what have you. Jesus is the ultimate healer.  He can heal you.  He has healed me many times.  Admitting to yourself that you are in need of healing is not something for wimps.  That is an heroic act.  It means you'll have to do some work...and it probably won't be pretty.  You might have to roll up your sleeves and pant legs and get in the mud.  You will probably be brought to your knees.  Humility is not easy.  All the people walking around you not admitting they need God's help or Jesus' healing touch are really the wimps.  They are burying their heads in the sand and continuing to think they are in control.  ...But you and I know better.  We are not in control.  God is.  The Holy Spirit is always guiding us in our decisions.  Listen to what the Spirit is telling you.  Listen.  Be still and ask why you find yourself confessing the same thing over and over again.  The Spirit will tell you.  You might find yourself back in a confessional ...only this time for something different.  Let the healing in.  Don't worry about what your family member /friend /neighbor /co-worker says or the looks they give you when you tell them you lean on God for support.  You are evangelizing with your life...a life that was a gift from God.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Unconventional Children Require Unconventional Parenting

I gave birth to the sweetest most loving little blonde baby boy four years ago this April 14th.  He was a big boy with an insatiable appetite for milk and mama.  He was a great sleeper and seemed to be like his two older brothers... until he turned four months old.  He began to have trouble sleeping.  He would wake up often in the middle of the night and had extreme difficulty going back to sleep. We did everything under the sun to get him to sleep.  We tried, rocking, singing, walking, nursing, and of course the dreaded, "Ferberizing".  That is the method by which the parent puts the baby or child in his crib awake, says "night night", leaves the room, and then listens to the child make sounds like a hyena has entered the room.  You're supposed to wait a few minutes, then go back into the room, verbally reassure your child, then walk back out and wait for the hyena to reappear.  The parent lengthens the amount of wait time in between reassurances until the child tires himself out and lays down and falls asleep. It's a little brutal, but it does work.  At least it worked with my older two sons.  It only took them three nights and on the fourth night, there was no crying at all - just a "night night" and lights out and that was that!  Well, Ferberizing did not work with my beautiful sweet third baby boy.   Once, he screamed for an hour and a half and the screaming got worse - never better.  His sleep habits finally got better when I gave birth to our daughter and we had no choice but to keep him quiet.  My husband slept on a camping mat on the floor next to his bed FOR A YEAR!  Unconventional? Yes.  Guess what? It worked.  He stopped waking in the middle of the night by the end of that year.  During that time, he would wake in complete fear (like a night terror) and my husband was right there to sweetly talk to him, reassure him, and calm him down.  Eventually, he began to sleep the night.

Baby Optimus!!!

When my husband left his room, our son began to wake again in what seemed like sheer terror.  I would run into his room, console him, and he would go back to sleep ~ sometimes.  I realized he wanted to be with me.  When I put him in bed next to me after a midnight wake up call, he slept soundly.  But I wanted to fix whatever was waking him and whatever was tormenting him.  My husband and I decided to have the house blessed.  Sheesh, could only help, right? Our priest came to our house and spent the evening with us, blessing each room, praying with us, and stayed for dinner.  It was a beautiful evening.  From that night on, our son stopped waking in fear.  At times, he would still wake up, but the screaming stopped.  Curious.

Caught stealing his older brother's cheeseburger!

He will still wake from time to time, but he gets himself out of bed, quietly tip toes to our bedroom, ever so quietly opens and closes our door behind him, gets in bed next to me, and falls asleep without a peep.  He wants to be next to me.  That's all he's ever wanted.  The other day, I remembered back to the morning after I had given birth to him.  He had spent the night with the nurses as I had undergone a c-section and needed my sleep.  I heard some wild screaming from down the hospital hallway and thought - now that baby's got a set of lungs!  Suddenly, my door swung open, two nurses rushed in with a wild exasperated look in their eyes, and one said, "He wants his mama.  We've been waiting to wake you to bring him to you.  We can't console him.  We've tried everything."  EVERYTHING.  Why didn't I see the signs way back then?  As the nurses approached me with my newborn son, I was mixed with emotions like, "Oh my gosh, give him to me, give him to me, give him to me!  But also....Yeah right, sure he'll quiet down with me.  What if that doesn't work and then I'll be a big fat failure?!"  Well, the second they placed him in my arms, and I mean nano-second, he stopped his crying.  He was silent and content - sooooooo happy.

Superman belt and binoculars to watch his older brother's soccer game - of course!

Now that he is almost four, he can still be a trying child at times.  He is as sweet as sweet can be, but I know it's trouble when his beautiful little face gets near mine and says, "I'm sorry mama," when I don't even yet know where the destruction has occurred.  He gets a wild period during the day - with a wild look in his eye - and I've tried everything to correct his behavior.  I have spoken nicely to him.  I have laid out punishments for him (and he laughed at me).  I have spanked him (and he giggled).  I have put him in time out (and he promptly begins to throw toys and try to escape and giggles).  Let me tell you, he is very smart.  He knows what I'm saying to him, he knows what he's doing, he just has a hard time calming himself down when he gets in these modes.  A few months ago, I was exasperated with him after I yelled at him for kicking his sister and he looked at me with such fear in his eyes that I realized I needed to do something else with him, and had exhausted all my apparent options.  Honestly, I was at my wit's end.  I have often said, "Thank you God, for sending this boy to me because he might have been abused in another family."  I prayed about what I should do with him.  I just wanted to correct certain behaviors and didn't know what else I should try.  It seemed to me that I had already tried everything.

Can't fall asleep at home, but the car seat, ninja mask, and blankie seem to be the ticket!

When he was in a calm state, I sat down with him and said, "When you get wild, I don't know what to do with you."  I proceeded to state the litany of things I had already tried. He listened intently.  I then asked him, "What should I do when you get wild?"  He looked up at me, and sweetly said, "You're supposed to hug me."

You're supposed to hug me.  Ooooohhhhhhh of course, why didn't I think of that???!!!

Let me tell you, it was a miracle moment.  I hugged him and told him I promised that's what I would do.  Guess what?  It works!  It has been working continuously.  He still gets wild, but I can stop him now.  Would that work for all children?  Absolutely not.  Most children respond to time outs or a stern look, but not this little guy.  I guess what I'm trying to say, is that we parents often try to make our children live inside a box that society dictates what the walls looks like.  And we fall prey to continuing on with "normal parental measures" that don't seem like they work, but darnit it's a battle of wills and we parents will win!  Parenting is not a game - it is a lifelong relationship with souls God has entrusted to us.  We are supposed to tap into how to best help those little souls along their path to adulthood.  Sometimes, we are being called to think outside the box.  God doesn't send us perfect children, and they certainly don't come with a set of instructions!  If you find yourself with a child who is a little higher on the maintenance scale, you may have to just calm down, pray about that child, and ask God what is the best parenting technique for that precious boy or girl.  It may not be anything you've been thinking of or anything that's inside a parenting book or magazine.

May God bless you and your families, and may you think of your children as daughters and sons of God who have been sent to us for our protection, love, and education.  All they want is our love and affection.  Keep them safe and show them you love them by giving them tons of hugs and kisses while honoring their unique personalities and characteristics.

Monday, March 25, 2013

The Bible, Noah's Ark, & the Apostles' Boat

I have been watching "The Bible" miniseries, and I have been enjoying it overall.  I'm sure you have your list of pros and cons.  Here is my list of pros and cons.
Here are the cons:
I did not enjoy the extreme violence of the Old Testament episodes.  Even though I am well aware life at that time was dicey, to say the least, I think the stories could have been told more eloquently with slightly less violence.  I particularly loved the portrayal of the story of Moses and leading the Israelites out of Egypt, but as soon as the Israelites were delivered, the violence escalated to a level that I was very uncomfortable watching.  I would not want my children to see those parts.  They are not child-friendly; at least not for the under thirteen crowd.  There were also some uncomfortably inappropriate mature scenes regarding David and Bathsheba, as well as Samson and Delilah.  Again, not appropriate for the under thirteen crowd.

The most troubling spot in the movie for me was that the portrayal of Jesus' impending birth was inaccurate in spots and missing rather important information.  For example, when the angel Gabriel visits Mary, he does not address her as, "Hail, full of grace", which is extremely important to identifying Mary's true identity as "full of grace" - as in sinless.  The movie also portrayed Joseph as a young man, similar looking age to Mary, which is obviously inaccurate.  Joseph is shown seeing Gabriel immediately after the Visitation, however, he does not see the glorious angel in a dream as stated in Scriptures, but in the middle of a town road amongst many townspeople.  It was an odd portrayal.  Then Joseph runs to find Mary who is being cornered by townspeople who are yelling obscenities at her for being pregnant (which is not in Scripture anywhere), and Joseph cries out, "I'll marry her!"  At this point, I just wanted to scream.  So many Christians do not understand betrothal and this was the producers's chance to explain it.  Joseph and Mary were already married.  They had just not begun to live together as husband and wife.

You can read about betrothal here:  definition of betrothal from Jewish Encylclopedia

This is a crucial and distinctive point to make as Mary asks Gabriel how can this be since she had not had relations with any man.   She knew she was married but had not had relations. It was an impossibility for her.  Her trusting in the Lord's decision and in Gabriel's message was paramount for Mary's depiction as sinless.  The movie, in turn, does not go on to show Mary visiting her cousin Elizabeth (who is pregnant with John the Baptist).  Again, a grossly missed opportunity.  That visitation is the basis of Mary as the "ark of the new covenant".  When Elizabeth greets Mary, the child in her womb (John) lept for joy - just as David of the Old Testament had lept and danced before the Ark of the Covenant.  Elizabeth then cried out (recalling her Levite ancestry as they cried out before the Ark), "Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb!"  For me, these accounts are paramount for describing exactly who Jesus is (the Messiah and New Covenant) and exactly who Mary is (a virgin who is sinless and "full of grace").  None of this was portrayed.

There were other sticking points for me, but the last one I will point out here was when Jesus seeks out his disciples and meets Peter for the first time, he calls him not Simon, but "Peter"right away. (sidebar: the depiction of meeting Andrew, Simon's brother, is not shown either)  Jesus changing Simon's name to Peter is so important for a couple of reasons.  The first is that there are not many times when God changed the names of man - for example, Abram to Abraham or Jacob to Israel.  This is significant.  Jesus is God incarnate on earth and He changes the name of the apostle whom He chooses to lead His future church.  Simon's name changes to the Aramaic, "kepha", which meant "rock".  Jesus tells Peter, "on this rock I will build my Church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it.  I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven."  Here, Jesus is consecrating Peter as the authority of His Church.  Peter is entrusted with the keys - not Andrew, not John, not James, not anyone else.  This is of course the beginning of the Papacy and his authority to hand it on to his successor.

Alright...I know it is a mini-series and only capable of fitting so much into a certain amount of time, but perhaps if they spent less time showing the slashing of throats and the gouging of eyes, they would have had more time to spend on accurately depicting Jesus, Mary, Joseph, and Peter.

The pros:
I am loving the fact that it is a highly rated show, which means large amounts of Americans are interested in the stories of the Bible, and most importantly the story of Jesus and our salvation.  This is wonderful news as it would seem that I am a dying breed these days.  It is hopeful for our future as a nation.  This movie is evangelizing to millions of people - which is always a good thing!  I think the sets are realistic and beautiful.  The acting is superb!!!  One of the greatest things about this movie is that all the actors are "unknowns"...and they outshine many famous actors who grace that red carpet once a year.  These actors are phenomenal - from the least peasant to the main characters - everyone!!!  I also love their choice for Jesus.  He is as mesmerizing as Jim Caviezel was in "The Passion of the Christ".  He is strong and bold, yet gentle and loving.  The movie is doing a fantastic job of drawing the audience in to the love His followers had for Him.  I want to jump off my sofa and yell, "Yes, I'll follow you too to the ends of the earth!  I will lay down my life for you!"

So, I am writing this blog a bit prematurely as the last episode has yet to be aired, but I thought I'd give my two cents as it has been on my mind.  It was a monumental and brave undertaking by seasoned Hollywood producer, Mark Burnett.  He has done a wonderful job overall - fitting the entire Bible in a five part miniseries.  It will be used in the future as a teaching tool for generations to come.  He should be proud of his success here.

I will leave you with one last thought.  As I was watching last night the scene of Jesus walking on water, it occurred to me the parallels between it and the story of Noah.  Didn't Noah gather up the future of the world into one boat and endure a storm at sea with complete faith in God?  God's future for the world was all contained within that one boat.  Noah's faith is what saved him.  Jesus sends his apostles ahead of him in a boat and they faithfully abide by his wishes.  They too endure a storm at sea.  The future of God's kingdom was also contained within a boat - the twelve apostles - and Jesus saves them.  Just something that occurred to me - any thoughts?  I would love to hear your thoughts on this miniseries so far.  God bless!!!

Monday, March 4, 2013

A Love Letter to My Seventh Child

To my precious baby,

I loved you from the moment I discovered you were growing inside me.
I loved the idea of getting to know you through every movement and hiccup over the next nine months. I loved that your soul would grow entwined with mine.
I loved how you challenged me to become a better mother by questioning how I am currently mothering and analyzing whether or not those methods would work for a fifth child in the house.
I loved how you challenged my truly pro-life stance - not that I ever wanted you to not be here, but because I am an older mom and my life is already so hectic, I saw how women unknowingly make the mistake of their lives by choosing what they think is a viable choice to keep their current living standards/lifestyles.
I loved how you challenged everyone we told of your impending birth. You challenged their belief that an older mom shouldn't get pregnant. You challenged their notion of what the ideal family looks like. You challenged them because they thought about their own lives and wondered what it would be like if they had had one more baby.
I loved how my belly was growing with your life inside - and your hormones wreaking havoc.
I loved how I turned to your daddy and told him, "I love being pregnant," all because of you.
I loved you for coming to our family and making your brothers and sister squeal with delight at the thought of you in our lives.
I loved how you made your seven year old brother kiss my belly every day and whisper, "I love you baby."
I loved how I dreamed of your big sister playing with you and "mothering" you - especially in those times when your two older brothers team up together and leave her out, and when your oldest brother is busy with homework.
I loved you for coming to our family to be your big sister's little sister or brother.
I loved you for nudging your daddy and me even closer - loving each other even more - because we knew our bond would have to be even tighter with five children in the house.
I loved you for encouraging your daddy and me to work together to come up with creative solutions to space issues in the house, whether or not to begin homeschooling, and our finances.
I love how you brought nothing but joy, hope, and love to our home.
I love how your due date was my birthday.
Most of all, I love how you pushed me to turn to Jesus for strength and counsel by attending daily mass - even with a three year old and two year old in tow.
I love how your tiny, fragile, and precious life caused me to visit Jesus in adoration and hear Him say, "Why does the number five scare you? You already were a mother of five.  You've already been a mother of five." I had already lost two before you.
I love how you pushed me to adoration to hear Jesus say not to be afraid - to completely trust in Him - completely.
I love how you, in the short time I carried you, completely transformed me and made me a better person.  I am forever grateful.
I loved you for the eight weeks I carried you inside me.  Your four siblings here and your two in heaven will always love you.  I will always love you.  Your father will always love you.  I miss you horribly.
I love that I will one day be united with you and your two siblings who went before you.
My love, my precious baby, I will love you for all eternity.
Thank you for loving me.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Celibacy and the Priesthood

When I hit forty, it occurred to me that I had childhood male friends that were still single.  It was so remarkable to me because at that point, I was a mother of three and had been married for twenty years.  I had been in touch with these guys on and off throughout the years and it just seemed to me they were still enjoying the single life.  My fortieth birthday was such a milestone that I began thinking of all my friends and all their lives.  That brought me to this group of guys I know.  I thought how strange it would be to not be married and having kids by the age of forty.  I figured, "Well, now that they're crossing the big 4-0, they'll begin looking for Mrs. Right more diligently.  Surely, they are feeling the need to settle down and begin a family.  Surely, they want to spend the rest of their lives with someone to love and be loved by."

That day still has not come for any of them.  Then it occurred to me....what if they were Catholic?  None of them are.  If any of them were Catholic, would they have considered the priesthood?  They are all manly guys, who hold down solid jobs, are hard workers, and are nice people.  I just thought how strange this phenomena is of more and more people opting to be single.  They are leading a sort of celibate life in a way.  None of them are womanizers.  With all the controversy surrounding celibacy, there are men out there choosing to live that life but not within the confines of the Church.  What a loss for us.  It is a massive loss to us that these men are unaware of Christ's mission here on Earth.  They could possibly be being called yet they either ignore the call or don't hear it because of the business of their secular lives.

If every one of us were following Christ's teachings, would these quasi-celibate men jump into Christ's army and enlist?  Would they know the truth of Christ's teachings so profoundly within their souls, that making the leap into priesthood would be an honor...and a relief of sort.  I say relief because their souls would no longer be looking and yearning.  They would find their brotherhood and camaraderie not amongst other quasi-celibate men who enjoy hiking and grilling on the weekends, but with strictly celibate soldiers for Christ setting parishes all across the nation on fire with their zeal for Christ's mission.  What a loss to our faith that there are men stumbling through life without faith and wondering where they've gone wrong.  We must continue to pray for the priesthood.  Without priests, we will no longer be able to receive Christ in the Eucharist.  What I see in priests - looking past their humanity and shortcomings - is their pure spirits.  Look closer at them.  They are souls sent by God to help save us.  We need them - these fishers of men.  The priesthood is of paramount importance.  Pray.  Please pray that men all over the world will hear the calling and submit.

"Are you free from a wife?  Do not seek marriage...Those who marry will have worldly troubles, and I would spare you that...The unmarried man is anxious about the affairs of the Lord, how to please the Lord; but the married man is anxious about wordly affairs, how to please his wife, and his interests are divided.  And the unmarried woman or girl is anxious about the affairs of the Lord, how to be holy in body and spirit; but the married woman is anxious about wordly affairs, how to please her husband."
~ Paul in 1Corinthians 7:27-34

Friday, January 18, 2013

Forty Years Out, I Grieve for the Women

This coming Tuesday, January 22nd 2013, will mark a very sad day in American history.  It is a day in our history that has directly caused the deaths of over fifty-five million Americans.  OVER FIFTY FIVE MILLION AMERICANS!  This has been an ongoing horrific genocide on our own people.  So what happened on that date forty years ago?  There was a judicial court ruling that stated that abortion on demand would be legal in all fifty states of America.  That day marked the beginning of legalized murder in this country...and most turned a blind eye.

When I was pro-choice, I was unaware of the facts...which is why I was pro-choice.  I always felt like abortion was a horrible alternative and one I would not choose for myself, but I didn't want to take that choice away from women.  It seemed a necessary evil.  What an oxymoron that is: "necessary evil".  No evil is ever warranted, much less necessary!  When I was shown the facts on abortion, I was horrified.  I remember thinking, "How could this be legal???!!!"  I wanted to put a billboard on top of my car and yell through a bullhorn while driving around the streets of Miami.  "Abortion is murder!  It is a gruesome murder of innocent children!  Babies are dying!  Mothers are dying in these clinics!  Mothers are being scarred for life - both physically and psychologically!  THIS is NOT women's lib!  This is an American genocide and it is a war on women!"

This year, as I will be walking in our local Walk for Life, my heart will be filled with sorrow for the millions of women who have endured the effects of this genocide.  We have generations of women who have been lied to and continue to be lied to about abortion. It is not by any stretch of the imagination a safe procedure.  It is not only done in the first trimester (as if this even matters because as we all know life begins at conception).  It is legal through all nine months of pregnancy in all fifty states.  The methods used during an abortion are cruel and disgusting and bloody and frankly, horrific. You can view them here:  Abortion Procedure Diagrams  I, myself, cannot bring myself to view these.  Every time I mistakenly see an abortion image, my gut wrenches and I feel sick, hot, and dizzy.  I would hope that would be the same response from every human being because this is sickening and horrifying.

The ruling from Roe v Wade was supposed to prevent women from dying from self-induced abortions or abortions done in back-alley clinics.  Guess what?  Women are still dying yearly from this heinous "procedure".  Don't believe me?  You can read about a recent case here:  Woman Dies After Second Trimester Abortion - PP Chicago  We owe the women of our nation an apology.  Can we get reparations?  How would that work exactly?  How does a woman pull herself from years of deep-seated depression or make a physical impairment from a prior abortion magically go away or come to life after dying in some disgusting "women's clinic"?  The only way we can make it up to women is by stopping this genocide on their babies, their wombs, and their souls.  No one would ever deny a woman her right to care for her own body or to protect her own body.  Nor would anyone ever deny a woman her freedom to make choices regarding her own life.  But a woman's right to her body is just that - HER body.  A baby growing inside her womb is not the woman's body - it is attached to the woman's body.  Abortion is not a procedure done to a woman.  It is a merciless, unsafe, horrifically violent end to a baby's life - a life placed in a mother's womb by God for protection, nourishment, growth, and love.

Innocent babies are losing their lives daily in a sacrifice given up by their mothers on the altar of a cold metal operation table at the hands of the devil.  Please join the human rights movement of our time and help stop this war on women and this genocide on our babies!

Friday, January 11, 2013

Take Stock in Your Life...Your Creator Has

Is it just me or did schools used to encourage the writing of lists and essays dedicated to our New Year's resolutions once we came back from Christmas break?  I never hear anyone mention this anymore unless it is in a joking way - like, yeah, I'll really stick to those resolutions!  What a missed opportunity to renew your life by reviewing your past and present while making some goals for your future.  I don't think God wants us to sit on our rears and watch tv for hours on end, for example, when we could be dong something so much better for ourselves and our families. If you do pick some things for your new year's resolutions, I suggest picking a small amount.  Otherwise, you will just burn out and give up.

What are my resolutions?  They might seem strange perhaps.  The first is to write - handwrite - a letter to someone once a month and send it via snailmail.  We, as a society, are losing our writing skills and our correspondence skills...myself included!!!  And anyway, who doesn't love seeing an actual letter in the mailbox rather than junk mail or magazines?  Secondly, I am going to keep my cell phone in my purse in the back seat of my car while I'm driving.  That darn cell phone is just too tempting to want to see what new email just came in and made my phone ding, or new text, or just to want to peruse facebook at a red light.  It is a perilous piece of equipment in the car, and I am responsible not only for my own life and the lives of the other drivers, but also the lives of my children as I drive them to and fro each day.  Thirdly, I will exercise more outdoors while with my children, whether it is walking with them, pushing them in a stroller, playing frisbee or soccer or basketball, or whatever.  That is some serious bonding time!  Lastly, I will visit adoration once a month.   What a precious gift the Catholic Church has.  No other church has this.  Jesus is there waiting for me; waiting for all of you in adoration.  I will visit him.  I will show up.  It's tough to get away when you have little ones, but it is not impossible.

My last thought is how cool that as Catholics, we will get to review our lives again during Lent.  The calendar year has many times of renewal - the New Year, Lent, the first day of Spring, the end of the school year, etc.  Of course, you don't have to wait until any of these times to begin anew.  Every day is a chance to begin again.  Take these opportunities to take stock in your own life.  It has been given to you as a precious gift by your Creator.  Find our why you're here.  What are your talents and gifts and are you using them for the glory of God? May God bless you all in 2013.  Cheers!