Thursday, October 4, 2012

Keep the prayers coming!!

Romney hasn't won yet.  Although last night was definitely a victory!

And Obama isn't going to shame himself twice.  Not now that he knows his opponent's ability to crush him.  He'll come back prepared.  He'll be schooling Joe Biden for the VP Debate as well against Ryan.  But this is America's comeback team we're talking about.  Keep praying for the underdogs, I can't believe how many people are STILL planning on voting for Obama.  Say what?!?!  I can't focus on those people, I would literally drive myself insane.  I have to focus on those who are wavering, unsure, disillusioned with the way Wasthington is going.  A LOT of cynicism on Facebook today.  "It's the same old line delivered by one more man who wants to get in the White House."  I'm hearing a lot of people convinced that there is no difference between Romney and Obama (Really?!?)  Is their disillusionment coming from ignorance?  No, not necessarily.  I think there is something to that.  But how do I spin that?  How do I show that there are significant differences in key policies between these two candidates?  How do I point out these differences without polarizing people who may not want to be that extreme?

Go Romney!  You won a key battle yesterday!  But this ain't over yet...

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Happy Feast of the Guardian Angels

I love this photo.  It has very special significance to me.  My husband and I were very involved in the Presidential race in 2008.  Not only debating and speaking on behalf of the unborn, but fasting, praying, attending extra Masses, confession, the Rosary.  We knew it was a spiritual battle.  We were never closer to the Lord in our marriage than at that point in our spiritual journey.  My son (at the time 5 y.o.) started having horrendous nightmares.  He said it was a hooded figure that was chasing him in his dreams and they got worse as time went on, the being behind the cloak was a ferocious demon.  His last dream he told me that the demon had cornered him, and had pulled a sword to kill him, but then a giant man came and stood in front of him and began to fight and defend him.  My son could only stand there and yell to the man "What is your name?"  The man turned a little and yelled over his shoulder "Michael!"  I had our Pastor come out and bless the house and give my son a special blessing.  He gave my son the above picture and my son, jumping up and down, exclaimed "Mom!  Mom!  That's him!  That's the man in my dreams!"  I still get tears when I think of this most special protector...

Thursday, September 20, 2012


...And so the journey continues.  I had almost given up on it.  On myself.  Again.  But somehow I made my way back into that ongoing venture towards health.  As in any journey, you have to take definite, decisive steps towards health or you will wander aimlessly until you lose heart, or you lose interest.

I didn't go to my 5K race.  My son had his soccer pictures at the same time as the start of the race, and his first game immediately following that.  My group went and did really well, one of the ladies I run with, the head of our group, came in first in her age category.  I was disappointed to be missing the race that I had looked forward to, but I knew I was in the right place.  My son needed me there to cheer him on, to support him.  I don't regret my decision.  It was just a difficult decision to have to make.

Two different situations happened this last week that made me realize I had to keep going, that I had to stay motivated to lose the weight.  A couple of my friends and I went out for a run on Monday night.  Nothing too complicated just some speed drills along the track for 30 minutes.  I had a hard time of it though, and when we finished up for the night, one of the two runners looked at me and told me that I was not ready, nor would I be able to get ready for the 10K I was moving towards in October (20).  While I couldn't be upset with him for speaking his mind, and I couldn't doubt his friendship with that kind of brutal honesty, it was still a slap in the face.  Not that he said it, but that he felt compelled to do so after we had been running.  It stung, and continues to smart a little bit.  I've worked harder this week to redeem myself than I have yet in this last year of attempting to lose weight.  And I've decided not to do anymore group runs until I feel I can adequately aid my fellow runners and not slow them down.

We had our insurance salesman from the Knights of Columbus out to the house.  My husband recently joined and he was helping us review our options.  He told me that my rates would be lower based upon my health.  When he asked for my weight and height, I could not even make it into the "average" category.  I was still 20 lbs above the highest weight.  And that was blow #2.  He couldn't change the chart, and it was obvious he wasn't trying to hurt me.  Just two different jolts of reality at two different points in my life to spur me on to get healthy.

What a nasty cycle its been.  This journey towards health has had me chasing my own tail!  I finally figured it out...I would gain weight.  Then I would beat myself up for being overweight and unhealthy.  Then I would beat myself up to lose the weight.  Then I would lose the weight and reward myself by letting myself get out of the routine of healthy eating and exercise habits.  And the nasty cycle would start all over again.  Enough!  Time to break that cycle!  Time to lose that routine!  As part of my healing with food, I need to look at my innermost needs and desires and to figure out what food has been helping to hide in me.  What has food helped me to satisfy, though not completely?  This is the question that I'm going to ponder as I continue along my journey.  The negatives to my eating habits must be replaced by the positives that have come upon me, through revelation and discernment.  I must make each pound a choice, a postive habit or thought must replace each pound that I have lost.  I think that's why weight loss is so hard.  Because it is so complex and intimate.  98% of weight loss is mental.  Because we're all afraid of letting go.  Of recognizing the enormity of change.  But I must change.  For the hurt I felt over being lovingly rejected by one of my peers is nothing compared to the hurt that will soon face me when I'm told I won't be able to have anymore children.  The anguish I feel in not qualifying for life insurance will be nothing compared to the feeling I have when insurance will no longer my obesity related illnesses (thanks be to God I don't have them...Yet...)  I must look for ways to replace the hurt, to heal those internal wounds that have affected me deeply.  To make my weight something other than a handicap.  To let my innner self image be more truly reflected in my outer appearance.  It's not enough that I can hide from the world through this plus sized clothing.  That I can put off other people's opinions simply because "they don't understand".  I don't want to hide anymore, because in all this time, I've only been hiding from me.  So please, my dear readers, bear with me as I hijack some of my blog space to really work through this area in my life right now.  I will travel through some deep hurts, some self projections, some hidden deep dark secret caverns of the heart.  Pray with me, walk with me, and help me to see that I'm better than what I've allowed myself to become, that I can heal and be whole.  That I can find that inner child and coax her back into the light.  I can regain what dignity I know I deserve that I inherited from a loving Creator.  That I can reclaim my role as child of God, and live in the fullness He wants for me.

...And so the journey continues...

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Requiem of a fallen city...

Emotions have their narrative; after the shock we move inevitably to the grief, and the sense that we are doing it more or less together is one tiny scrap of consolation.
Initially, the visual impact of the scenes - those towers collapsing with malign majesty - extended our state of fevered astonishment. Even on Wednesday, fresh video footage froze us in this stupefied condition, and denied us our...
profounder feelings: the first plane disappearing into the side of the tower as cleanly as a posted letter; the couple jumping into the void, hand in hand; a solitary figure falling with a strangely extended arm (was it an umbrella serving as a hopeful parachute?); the rescue workers crawling about at the foot of a vast mountain of rubble.
In our delirium, most of us wanted to talk. We babbled, by email, on the phone, around kitchen tables. We knew there was a greater reckoning ahead, but we could not quite feel it yet. Sheer amazement kept getting in the way.
The reckoning, of course, was with the personal. By Thursday I noticed among friends, and in TV and radio commentaries, a new mood of exhaustion and despair. People spoke of being depressed. No other public event had cut so deeply. The spectacle was over. Now we were hearing from the bereaved. Each individual death is an explosion in itself, wrecking the lives of those nearest. We were beginning to grasp the human cost. This was what it was always really about.
The silent relatives grouped around the entrances to hospitals or wandering the streets with their photographs was a terrible sight. It reminded us of other tragedies, of wars and natural disasters around the world. But Manhattan is one of the most sophisticated cities in the world, and there were some uniquely modern elements to this nightmare that bound us closer to it.
The mobile phone has inserted itself into every crevice of our daily lives. Now, in catastrophe, if there is time enough, it is there in our dying moments. All through Thursday we heard from the bereaved how they took those last calls. Whatever the immediate circumstances, what was striking was what they had in common. A new technology has shown us an ancient, human universal.
A San Francisco husband slept through his wife's call from the World Trade Centre. The tower was burning around her, and she was speaking on her mobile phone. She left her last message to him on the answering machine. A TV station played it to us, while it showed the husband standing there listening. Somehow, he was able to bear hearing it again.We heard her tell him through her sobbing that there was no escape for her. The building was on fire and there was no way down the stairs. She was calling to say goodbye. There was really only one thing for her to say, those three words that all the terrible art, the worst pop songs and movies, the most seductive lies, can somehow never cheapen. I love you.
She said it over and again before the line went dead. And that is what they were all saying down their phones, from the hijacked planes and the burning towers. There is only love, and then oblivion. Love was all they had to set against the hatred of their murderers.
Last words placed in the public domain were once the prerogative of the mighty and venerable - Henry James, Nelson, Goethe - recorded, and perhaps sometimes edited for posterity, by relatives at the bedside. The effect was often consolatory, showing acceptance, or even transcendence in the face of death. They set us an example. But these last words spoken down mobile phones, reported to us by the bereaved, are both more haunting and true.
They compel us to imagine ourselves into that moment. What would we say? Now we know.
Most of us have had no active role to play in these terrible events. We simply watch the television, read the papers, turn on the radio again. Listening to the analysts and pundits is soothing to some extent. Expertise is reassuring. And the derided profession of journalism can rise quite nobly, and with immense resource, to public tragedy.
However, I suspect that in between times, when we are not consuming news, the majority of us are not meditating on recent foreign policy failures, or geopolitical strategy, or the operational range of helicopter gunships.
Instead, we remember what we have seen, and we daydream helplessly. Lately, most of us have inhabited the space between the terrible actuality and these daydreams. Waking before dawn, going about our business during the day, we fantasize ourselves into the events. What if it was me?
This is the nature of empathy, to think oneself into the minds of others. These are the mechanics of compassion: you are under the bedclothes, unable to sleep, and you are crouching in the brushed-steel lavatory at the rear of the plane, whispering a final message to your loved one. There is only that one thing to say, and you say it. All else is pointless. You have very little time before some holy fool, who believes in his place in eternity, kicks in the door, slaps your head and orders you back to your seat. 23C. Here is your seat belt. There is the magazine you were reading before it all began.
The banality of these details might overwhelm you. If you are not already panicking, you are clinging to a shred of hope that the captain, who spoke with such authority as the plane pushed back from the stand, will rise from the floor, his throat uncut, to take the controls...
If the hijackers had been able to imagine themselves into the thoughts and feelings of the passengers, they would have been unable to proceed. It is hard to be cruel once you permit yourself to enter the mind of your victim. Imagining what it is like to be someone other than yourself is at the core of our humanity. It is the essence of compassion, and it is the beginning of morality.
The hijackers used fanatical certainty, misplaced religious faith, and dehumanising hatred to purge themselves of the human instinct for empathy. Among their crimes was a failure of the imagination. As for their victims in the planes and in the towers, in their terror they would not have felt it at the time, but those snatched and anguished assertions of love were their defiance.
© Ian McEwan, 2001

Thursday, September 6, 2012

I have to pass on the...

We had a nutritionist come and give a talk last night at our "Big Losers" meeting.  It was a great talk, and I must admit it could not have come at a more needed time in my journey...

I've begun running (I'll give you a minute to pick yourselves up off the floor to continue reading...)  I began doing the Couch to 5K program about a month ago.  One week into this program I was talking it up around a campfire with my friends and the help of some red wine.  My friends turned the discussion into their own training, for a half marathon.  I proclaimed how much I would love to do that, and one of my friends pointed out that marathons are typically run outside, in front of other people (I had been running on my treadmill up to that point).  I came home that night and realized that I wanted to do it.  I was further fueled by a very unfruitful attempt at encouraging other homeschooling parents to join me in starting a running club.  Wouldn't that look great?  To have run a full marathon on your resume?  The parents looked at me blankly and said "my kids play volleyball at youth group.  They don't need sports."  Very unfruitful...

So I continued on and approached my running friend again.  She was so supportive and encouraging.  We started a page on Facebook and have been organizing group runs for the past week.  My husband is running too, and is hoping to run in the half marathon as well.  I can't believe how much I love it, how stress relieving it is, and what a boost its been to my weight loss journey.  My half marathon training is using the Jeff Galloway running program.  It's challenging, but easy to maintain (you run on average 3 times a week, perfect for this homeschooling mom)...

...My challenge has been this...I am becoming overwhelmed.  I have a structured running regimen.  I have a structured diet regimen (1200-1500 calories a day).  And now that school is here, I am trying to implement a structured schedule too.  I am easily overwhelmed by that much structure taken on that quickly.  The nutritionist we had last night talked about Intuitive Eating, a way to get back to basics, to listen to your body and respond to it.  Every body is different, requiring different nutritional needs, that is why there is no one diet that works for everyone.  This way of eating (its NOT a diet) works by listening to your body's signals and responding to it.  Basically you discern when you are hungry and what you are hungry for, and then satisfying those requests.  One of my fellow weight loss attendees hearkened it to "eating like her toddler".  TRUE!  Kids won't eat when they're not hungry.  They won't eat what they don't like.  It's only as adults that we suppress those instincts, and as a country we're showing the devastating effects of that in the name of obesity.  I'm sure I wasn't the only one in the room last night who was both relieved to hear this talk and yet a bit overwhelmed.  We're a competitive weight loss group...Like the biggest loser...and here we are listening to how we need a gentle, affirming approach to our body's nutrition.  It's like telling a public school advocate about unschooling.  Or telling military personnel there are no more rules.  Yeah, it was a huge concept.

So I'm going to try it out.  One of the things I learned about myself last night is that I am an emotional eater.  I tend to use food to help comfort me when I'm depressed or guilty.  One of the first things I'm going to look at are my emotional triggers (what is causing the guilt and depression) and trying to develop some ways to deal with those emotions without relying on food.  Because even healthy food, when used as a crutch, can be harmful to your body.  Healthy snackfood is still just that: snackfood.

Another concept she looked at was that there's no such thing as forbidden food.  There really is no food that is "harmful" for you.  Even butter.  Even candy.  There are good things to be found even in these otherwise "off limits" groups.  She showed us the bad effects of "conditional eating" (I can't have that or I will be fat"  or "I can only have that as a treat after I've [insert condition here]").  We need to learn to "unconditionally eat", its a sort of way to make peace with food.  I found that to be really revealing.  It was like we were somehow transferring our poor self image into our food choices.  And then when we wanted to combat these poor food choices, we never dealt with that deeper issue of our self image, but rather cut ourselves off from those foods in an effort to change our physical appearance.  But the self image, while poor, was just tossed out.  We literally threw ourselves away.  Change in appearance can not just be physical.  It cannot be just a superficial weight loss.  We need to reconstruct our own self worth, our own self image, our internal appearance.  Not just affirming who we are as people, but coming to really know and love ourselves.  And yes...That's all linked back to food, and to the choices we make, and to the habits we build by eating.  Yeah, I'm not even going to start tackling that one yet!  LOL!

So where do I go from here?  Obviously there was a lot of good food for thought here (pardon the expression:), but I want to take on baby steps.  Journaling every day is what the nutritionist recommended.  Not just food choices but a journal reflecting how the day has been and how I was feeling...I'll start with this.  I also need to figure out what is causing this mental block in my running schedule.  I was running regularly and then all of a sudden this week I just don't feel like it.  I'm wondering if maybe all the stress from starting school, combined with an already hectic schedule is too much right now.  My first 5K (September 15) is coming up and I'm nervous about that too.  I don't expect to win it, not in the least, but I am going to finish it, and I just hope I make good time instead of making a fool of myself.  I know its coming up next weekend.  I know I need to prepare.  Then why can't I get out there and run?  I need to look at that too...

At the end of the day all we can do is the best we can.  That's not relative to anyone else, in any other situation.  That includes the other person of our past, or the other person of our future.  We can only do the best we can, in this moment that we have.  Anyone who struggles with this, or has had to cross this threshold, knows that this is not a cop out.  Every journey starts with a single step.  At this point in my journey I just need to keep moving...

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

And the seasons...

Here it is fall already.  What a whirlwind time in passing it has been.  With the ups and downs of life, I have not forgotten you, my dear readers.

It's been a hard summer.  Mike and I found out that we were expecting this past Mother's Day.  We lost the baby at 8 weeks after a very hard first trimester.  So many questions in my mind.  Such a sharp pain on my heart.  We had prayed after our last miscarriage (last year in August).  We had tried to take care of our health issues, to wait it out until I could heal from my last miscarriage.  We had waited on the Lord and trusted in His goodness to provide for us this new lovely soul.  I was thrilled when I found out that I was pregnant.  Even when I was sick and often found myself in bed, I took it as a blessing to have these waves of morning sickness.  I would lay there and pray over my unborn baby, just happy that he was there, present with me.  My womb is so lonely now...

I've gone in for testing.  I'm hoping for some answers.  I would not feel comfortable trying to get pregnant again without having something more substantial.  If that means in my discomfort I must trust the Lord for a miracle, as no answers are available, well...I'll cross that bridge when I get there.  We continue to try to get healthy as a family.  I've started running, which I never thought in a million years I would do.  What a great release it is from the daily strains of life.  I have a great group of friends, a great support network of loving and faithful people who have desired to see me grow.  It is so hard somedays.  Somedays it is all too easy.  But this journey is far from over...

I'm hoping with the start of this new schoolyear that I will be writing more.  I hope to see you on the blogosphere as well, my dear readers.  Please leave me a note and let me know that you're all doing well.

Friday, April 6, 2012

The glory of the Cross

1. Abroad the Regal Banners fly,
Now shines the Cross's mystery;
Upon it Life did death endure,
And yet by death did life procure.

2. Who, wounded with a direful spear,
Did, purposely to wash us clear
From stain of sin, pour out a flood
Of precious Water mixed with Blood. 

3. That which the Prophet-King of old
Hath in mysterious verse foretold,
Is now accomplished, whilst we see
God ruling nations from a Tree. 

4. O lovely and reflugent Tree,
Adorned with purpled majesty;
Culled from a worthy stock, to bear
Those Limbs which sanctified were. 

5. Blest Tree, whose happy branches bore
The wealth that did the world restore;
The beam that did that Body weigh
Which raised up hell's expected prey.

6. Hail, Cross, of hopes the most sublime!
Now in this mournful Passion time,
Improve religious souls in grace,
The sins of criminals efface.

7. Blest Trinity, salvation's spring,
May every soul Thy praises sing;
To those Thou grantest conquest by
The holy Cross, rewards apply. Amen.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Stabat Mater

The grieving Mother stood weeping beside the cross where her Son was hanging

Through her weeping soul, compassionate and grieving, a sword passed.

O how sad and afflicted was that blessed Mother of the Only-begotten!

Who mourned and grieved and trembled looking at the torment of her glorious Child

Who is the person who would not weep seeing the Mother of Christ in such agony?

Who would not be able to feel compassion on beholding Christ's Mother suffering with her Son?

Friday, March 16, 2012

Detox Week

Hubby and I are on a new diet.  We are currently on Transitions, which is a meal plan that follows the glycemic index, while providing an exercise regime, and utilizing behavior modifications.  I had joined another diet group last November (and lost 24 lbs), but with the move and other factors, I realized it was too far of a commute.  I've switched to this diet in the hopes the momentum will continue.

I started a weigh loss group in my home.  We call ourselves "The Big Losers", and we have a friendly competition going.  Whoever loses the most weight at the end of 10 weeks will win $100.  The pressure is on!  Not everyone in the group is on Transitions, but a majority of us are.  We had so much fun at our first meeting (yes, I just used weight loss and fun in the same context!)  We're surrounding ourselves with support and affirmation to go out into an otherwise hostile environment when it comes to health.

This first week of Transitions, hubby and I are on detox.  We're on an all vegetable/fruit diet.  No processed foods, no protein, no caffeine, no alcohol, no grains or starches, no sugars.  When we get hungry we eat, drink, and breathe vegetables.  The first day was really hard on me, as I was detoxing from addictions not only to caffeine but to sugar and carbs as well.  It was a rough day! Tomorrow is day three.  If we feel we must re-introduce protein, we can.

Isn't it funny how Americans must deprive themselves of food so readily available and taken for granted?  How almost shameful it is that we must pay to understand how to do with less?  How to take our bloated forms and make them healthy and viable again.  Jesus forgive me, and may I continue this fast for the entire week in small reparation for my many sinful acts of gluttony.

Please keep me in your prayers as this week will end next Tuesday evening, with our first weigh in.  I've been doing fine, but after all, tomorrow is St. Patrick's day.  And has been told in the story of St. Patrick, I'm beginning to feel like those sailors did when they turned to God in desperate hunger for any food.  No, I'm not that bad, but I'm beginning to relate!

Friday, March 9, 2012

If I had all the money in the world...

...I would help people.  I know that sounds so like a "Miss America" answer and all, but I mean it.  I love helping people.  Providing people with the things they need to live better lives.  Today I found an amazing deal for a dear friend of mine who recently started a home business selling cosmetics.  She's been doing an amazing job, scheduling appointments, doing makeovers, meeting with salon business owners, going to trainings, all the while homeschooling and keeping house.  Amazing!  I found her a "director's chair" and some lights, a makeup apron, and a makeup bag.  Nothing brand new, but all in decent shape and with "a lot of miles left".  I felt so good dropping my gifts to her house today.

You have to wonder if everyone has these best of intentions.  I mean, if you look at it, I'm sure Obamacare started with the best of intentions, just as Romneycare did and No Child Left Behind.  Just as the New Deal did.  Helping people.  But you know, that''s not the point of our government.  And the very organizations that exist in our country solely for the purpose of helping people are being hurt by our government's over-reach.  I think Obama, with his background in community organizing would have made an excellent philanthropist.  But he's not.  He's our President.  And the ways in which I see him disregard the Constitutional structure that our Founding Documents put into place is disheartening to say the least.  He is systematically dismantling the same Constitution he was sworn to protect.

But its Lent.  It's a time in the Church when we're supposed to be looking more at the sacrifices we can make to make lives more blessed around us.  Rice bowls, sacrificial giving, tithing and alms giving.  All of this is increased, or asked to be increased, in this rich time of dryness in the Church.  How can the Church promote a spirit of giving and goodness, and then reject the government's following suit?  Is it a double standard.  I really have to look deep within myself and wonder if, as a Catholic, I'm not developing a Messiah complex and insisting that I have to be a Catholic control freak.  Salvation can only be found in the Catholic Church.  But what about health care?  Faith and actions, they meet at the Cross.

Contraception is not birth control.  I appreciate the few cases of women that "need" birth control to hide their symptoms for their reproductive ailments.  Yes, I use my words carefully, for really that's what birth control does.  Taking birth control to help regulate the pain associated with endomitriosis is like taking aspirin to regulate the headaches that come with a brain tumor.  Artificial birth control does nothing to confront the real issue, to attack the disease.  There are treatments, holistic medical treatments that can help a woman in the long run.  Sadly, most women are on artificial birth control for so long that by the time they recognize these other treatments exist it is too late for these same treatments to be effective.  Women get duped and buy into the birth control lie, and they pay the price of years of pain when they might have had healing.  Even when its not intended to regulate births, the lie of birth control is being sold to desperate women nonetheless.

Politics has gotten brutal.  The name calling, the lack of respect to both men and women out there is terrible.  Friends have turned against friends, family members attack one another in the name of "being politically opposed".  Where is Christ in all of this mess?  Where is the love of Christ shown in the way we treat one another in the political arena?  Where are the ways in which we build one another up, where we leave one another in 'the peace of Christ'?  I can't believe the dishonesty and the brutal attacks on people from both sides.  It's shameful:(

If I had all the money in the world, I would help people.  But if I had all the money in the world, I know I couldn't help those people who just don't want to be helped.  I think often, when dealing with a liberal minded person, of those dwarves in the last battle, the epic end of the Chronicles of Narnia series.  They made it into Aslan's country, and yet they could not see the splendor of the truth that is around them.  All they could do was look in on the circle they had created during the battle, and continue to comment and be negative about their situation.  I sympathize with the Left in this regard.  How often have I been here in my Faith journey?  Seeing only the bleak points of life instead of the majesty that is this world that God created for us.   How do I reach these people?  Even through my own scrim of pain and intolerance.  How do I show them that life is beautiful and should be loved and accepted as a gift from our Creator?  Does my attitude make them want to live more or less in the light of Truth, in the light of God?

Lord, thank you for making me have no money that is solely my own.  Thank you for my poverty and my inability to control anything financial.  I see so much now within myself that I need to fix.  That I need to heal before I can become responsible for the many gifts you have waiting for me.  Lord, if I had all the money in the world, it would still be as nothing compared to the help, and the life, that you could lead all people too.  May I stop and wonder more often what I might do to help your kingdom here on earth.  Here in my own little way.

My son and I finished our first Fr. Lovasik book "My Day with Jesus" today with this prayer:

Jesus is my God

Jesus, my Friend,
Son of the Eternal Father,
make me His obedient child.
Son of Mary,
make me love her as my Mother.

My Master, teach me.
Prince of Peace, give me peace.
My Shepherd, guide and care for me.
My Bread of Life, feed my soul.
The true Way, lead me.

Eternal Truth, I believe in You.
Life of the saints, live in me.
My Judge pardon me.
My King, rule me.
My Hope, strengthen me.

My Redeemer, save me.
My Helper, protect me.
My Model, make me like You.
My only Joy, take me to You.

St. Frances of Rome, pray for us!

Monday, March 5, 2012

Ebb and Flow of Life

Lent is here.  I'm really feeling it this year.  No, we didn't commit to super huge prayers or sacrifices.  But the Lord in His goodness has seen to it that every day this Lent has been just a little more difficult for me.  Nothing catastrophic, just little humiliations and tests of my patience to remind exactly where I need to focus my virtual attentions:)  It's like that small headache that reminds you to get your eyes checked.  Or that bone itching ache that reminds your fractures to rest and heal.

We gave up Netflix.  I have to admit it was becoming a distraction.  The house would go post-explosion.  My poor husband would go hungry into work at night.  I would sit on the couch and watch Netflix with my kids.  "At least we're together." is what I reasoned to myself.  Sure, we were in the same room, but we were hardly connecting.  Every one of us was staring at the electric boob tube entranced, until it was bedtime and supper was still yet to be on the table.  While its harder, I feel this Lent has helped us to move away from our electronic distractions and grow closer as a family.  We craft a lot more (we've already made Lenten windsocks, sacrifice mice, and bookmarks) and we read and pray and talk more.  It's these times that I hope my children will remember...

We are praying the family Rosary at night again.  What a difficult and most beautiful habit to get into.  What a peaceful way to calm us all and remind us of what's most important before we retire for the evening.  It's about building habits.  And relying on those habits.  Yesterday we were running late for Church...Again...Rather than bicker with my husband the entire ride to Church I grimacingly said a decade of the Rosary.  And then when that was over we started battling again over the power struggle of who was at fault...So of course we both started in on another decade.  If you can't speak peaceably, then at least make an attempt to pray peaceably.  It did help.  It was a good change of habit for us both.  And it began with our Lenten practice of saying the Rosary as a family.

How to navigate the ups and downs of life.  If we continue to clean and cook and feed and dress and kiss and discipline and teach and sew and bathe and bandage, you would think a routine would develop.  But it seems to be the routine of the unroutine in this house.  I start everyday with the best of intentions and end every day with the firmest of resolutions.  At least when a family life is centered around public school you have the routine of a bus route to keep you up on time every morning and home at the same time every afternoon.  We don't have that so we slip into school and we slip out of school and it seems very amorphous between meals.  I would love to have a definite start time and a definite end time.  I wonder if I'm alone in look up nonplussed that all of a sudden its lunchtime and I'm not even done with my Kindergartener's first subject?  And how do we fit in the music lessons and the sports and the personal hygiene and the personal time and fitness for mom...And the laundry and the dishes and the floors?  And I want to start a garden this year and maybe some chickens next year...How do I keep it all straight?  At this rate I can hardly keep a straight face!

Prayers are yours my dear readers.  And I'm hoping as we reach into the desert journey together that we offer some small Lenten sacrifices and prayers for one another.  I'd love to hear of your family Lenten traditions too!

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Miscarriage Prayer

A friend of mine is struggling through this right now.  Please keep the family in your prayers.  Here is a beautiful prayer that someone posted for her on FB.  I thought I'd share in case any of you are in need of comfort or in need to comfort.

My Lord, the baby is dead!
Why, my Lord—dare I ask why? It will not hear the whisper of the wind or see the beauty of its parents’ face—it will not see the beauty of Your creation or the flame of a sunrise. Why, my Lord?
“Why, My child—do you ask ‘why’? Well, I will tell you why.
You see, the child lives. Instead of the wind he hears the sound of angels singing before My throne. Instead of the beauty that passes he sees everlasting Beauty—he sees My face. He was created and lived a short time so the image of his parents imprinted on his face may stand before Me as their personal intercessor. He knows secrets of heaven unknown to men on earth. He laughs with a special joy that only the innocent possess. My ways are not the ways of man. I create for My Kingdom and each creature fills a place in that Kingdom that could not be filled by another. He was created for My joy and his parents’ merits. He has never seen pain or sin. He has never felt hunger or pain. I breathed a soul into a seed, made it grow and called it forth.”
I am humbled before you, my Lord, for questioning Your wisdom, goodness, and love. I speak as a fool—forgive me. I acknowledge Your sovereign rights over life and death. I thank You for the life that began for so short a time to enjoy so long an Eternity. -- Mother M. Angelica

Read more:

Monday, February 20, 2012

HHS Mandate is not a "women's rights" issue.

If you've been on Facebook this past week, I know you saw this photo:

Every pro-"women's rights" guru, including some Catholic women that I know, were asking "What is wrong with this photo?"  Fueled by the vitriol that is Planned Parenthood, everyone wondered aloud where the women were at.

All I can say is, get real!  The testimonies of these religious leaders were for a specific purpose: religious liberty.  They didn't want to hear from pro-contraceptive women why birth control was "necessary".  They didn't want to hear from good Catholic women why contraception was bad.  The heart of the HHS mandate has really little to do with women.  It has everything to do with religious liberty, particularly for Catholic religious liberty, in the good old U.S. of A.

The bitter cynical side of me (most days my better half) would simply posit the question: can any of you who take issue with the above photo know of at least ONE woman who is a Catholic AND on birth control?  Do you know at least ONE Catholic couple who contracepts?  Do you know of at least ONE Catholic woman who has had an abortion?  If you can answer yes to even one of these questions, then you are totally off base with the tired "women's rights" argument here.  I am an ordinary American Catholic.  Not good.  Not bad.  Just trying.  And I know for a fact that I attend Church every weekend with just as many contracepting women as I would encounter at my local mall.  I could argue the moral implications here, but if you go to Church, you should know these teachings anyway, so I'll save my breath.  The point is, morality aside, these women have ready access to the contraception they're on.  There are multiple resources in our nation for any woman who wants access to contraception.  There are governmental agencies and funds available for any woman who supposedly "needs" contraception and also "needs" financial help to secure said contraception.  Even while its immoral, women have access to birth control, Catholic or not.

The fight doesn't end here.  40 years ago, the fight to secure contraception was meant to be between a woman and her physician.  "Keep your Rosaries off my ovaries" was a mantra chanted by those who "wanted to be liberated" from the confines of society and traditional marriage.  Well now, this same woman and her physician are turning on the collar.  Women and physicians who see the "moral good" in contraception are turning on the Church and attempting to force Catholics everywhere to pay for contraception.  Women like Kathleen Sibelius and Sr. Carol Keehan, both Catholic, are insisting that the Catholic Church go against its moral code and pay for contraception, sterilizations, and abortifacients.  "My body my choice" means there's no other option for the Body of Christ. 

I would just like to point out the irony here.  The birth control movement was lead by feminists who believed that birth control was the only way to empower women.  To make women free of the confines of motherhood and pregnancy.  To make women strong independent contributors to society like their male counterpoints.  And now the birth control movement is insisting that women need to be dependent on the government for their...Birth control???

No!  This is not about access to birth control for women.  This is about taking birth control and making it as morally acceptable as homosexual marriage has become.  As morally acceptable as cohabitation has become.  It is saying that sexual freedom trumps religious freedom.  We have to accept that women are going to contracept.  We can no longer accept that contraception is a moral wrong and that it is a detriment to civil society.  That is why this HHS mandate is so dangerous, and so very wrong.  That same little pill has been the elephant in the Catholic Church since Humane Vitae was written.  It has kept the Catholic Church out of a majority of Catholic bedrooms.   And it is now the Trojan horse (no pun intended) with which the government of the United States is riding in to conquer the Catholic Church in America.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

A new Blogger on the Block!

Hey All!

I just wanted to give a warm Blogospheric welcome to Father Nagle!  An incredible man and an incredible Priest, he's decided to put some of his profound thoughts down on...nope not paper...nope not the pulpit...For all of us, dear Readers on the web!  Woo hoo!!!

Check him out here.

Monday, January 30, 2012

The Great Scandal

So I was sitting in Mass on Saturday night when the Priest where I work got up and told us to fast and pray that a relgious exemption will be upheld and that the Catholic Church will not have to provide access to sterilizations, abortions, and contraception as part of their federally mandated employee insurance package.  Wow.  Look how far it has come.  And how fast.

I am fasting and praying on this.  I can't believe how blatant the Obama administration is in pressing 1/4 of the American population into compliance to a federal mandate, and against their Catholic conscience.  This is brutal totalitarianism that we sought to avoid when our forefathers made their way to America in the first place.  It was religious liberty that was the reason why this country began in the first place.  Escape from a nasty monarchy that was limiting the religious lives of every man, woman, and child who sought out and paid with their lives the very soil we stand upon today.  If Obama realizes what a crime against the Constitution he is making, he is showing that he simply doesn't care.

But you know, there's another layer to this too.  If I were sitting in any pew this past weekend as my Bishop's letter were read, and I were an average American Catholic, I would be beyond confused at what I was hearing.  I'd be downright dismayed.  It would sound to me like the Catholic Church is fine with any procedure that will, by worldly standards, enhance your marital life by artificially limiting the size of your family, but as a whole the Church will not be responsible for the bill.  I wonder if any of the liberal priests or the bishop himself got yelled at by the 98% of contracepting couples in our national diocese?  The same priests who either remained silent or spoke in support of every couple who struggled with the idea of being open to life and choosing to contracept, sterlize, or abort, rather than follow God's law or the Church's teaching.  The same Bishops seem chagrined to speak out against the President, I would be too if I were in their shoes, as it has been estimated that 80% of the Bishops voted that man into office in the first place.  And where was the Bishop, or at the very least, the Pastor of Kathleen Sibelius, she who claims to be Catholic on the teachings of the Church long before she penned a law blatantly against same said teaching?  Where are the men of the Church?  And if they are here now, where in the Hell were they UP TO NOW?!?

I'm looking back at those statistics.  98% of all Catholic women have at one time contracepted.  One in 4 Catholic women have had an abortion.  One in 2 Catholic men are sterilized.  Those numbers alone are scandalizing.  And yes, I choose my words carefully.  You bet I do.  The "great scandal" was not nearly of this proportion.  Less than 4% of Priests are accused of pedophilia, and that great plague has traumatized the Catholic Church across this nation.  It has single-handedly shut down Churches, ruined Dioceses, ruptured the relationship between a Bishop and his Priests, while withholding and manipulation the organic relationship between a pastor and his people.  Everyone is guilty until proven innocent.  Volunteers in the Church are no more, unless they want to give ALL of their personal information to some bureaucrat behind a desk.  4% of men ruined the Church by hurting children.  98% of laypeople contracept children out of existence and no one bats an eye.  That is a great scandal my friend.  And now, we must either turn into the biggest hypocrites of our time, and admit that we are no less than money changers in the Temple, or we must change.  We must regard human life as precious and relegated only in the Sacrament of Marriage, or we must admit that we no longer hold the Truths of Catholic Church, and stop hiding in the shadows.  Why proclaim in the light what we do not practice in the dark?  President Obama, and more directly Kathleen Sibelius, are only trying to get the Catholic Church to make a choice.  Either live the Faith that we profess or abandon it and embrace this law.

I fast and pray that we make the right decision.  Our religious freedom is now in danger.  And yet, what was being preached outside the field of view of the tabernacle has endangered the souls of almost every Catholic in America up until this point.

The best of both worlds...

Can anyone else feel the heat of this race to primaries?  I think the intensity and energy between the candidates far surpasses the primaries held before the 2008 presidential elections.

I like Newt Gingrich.  Let me just put that out there.  Newt is articulate, he has the backbone, he has presence, he speaks candidly and blithely about every issue that is at the heart of this election for me.  He is forthright and honest about his past, and while it was shady, I believe he has changed.  I hope for his Catholic soul that he has changed.

I also like Rick Santorum.  I believe that Rick Santorum would make a great president...Someday.  What I don't believe is that Rick has shown that he is consistently ready for the nod to lead out against Obama.  He is a gentlemen and a scholar.  I can't believe I'm saying this...He isn't the politician to go up against Obama.  I would love to vote for him, but I don't feel that he could secure enough of the nation to do the same.  And that is what scares me about Rick Santorum.

Ron Paul.  Where do I begin?  He is okay.  His fan base is absolutely amazing!  I wish we had that kind of love for any other candidate out there.  Boy we could sure use it.  He makes his way through every political point as the outsider.  That's refreshing.  That isn't going to work in Washington.  He's a little too isolationist for our times, we can not become a sleeping giant again, not without the Muslim world taking note.

Mitt Romney.  No way.  No how.  No sir.  No thank you.  He is a liberal in conservative clothing.  Let's just ignore for a moment the FACT that Romneycare was the script Obama's team used when crafting the national mess we find ourselves fighting state by state.  Not only does the Massachusetts mandate of health care for all state citizens strike at the heart of the civil liberties, it has ruined the Massachusetts' economy.  He not only vowed to sign into law same sex marriage, but he pushed it through almost single handidly by allowing civil unions of same sex couples even before that was written into law.  He has a long and gruelling pro death record.  No.  No.  No.

So here's my point folks.  We have some great conservative candidates out there.  Let's do all we can to rally behind those candidates so that we don't have to plug our noses and vote for "the lesser of two evils".  I'd like to point out that in 2008, a majority of voters claimed to have done just that.  And we've had 4 years of 'Destructocon' to show for it.  Let's not just look at this election as a chance to vote against Obama. Let's also build up the conservative voice, and get that man in office, so that we might have a chance to rebuild this great nation.  Let's not only look for a way to get that dupe out of office, but let's then replace him with someone who has America at heart.  Who is a true conservative.  Who will not only recognize but ABIDE by the Constitution.

And I finish by saying.  I still say that is Newt Gingrich.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Monday, January 16, 2012

Here I Am! Send me!

Hello all!  I'm not dead!  But I must say, we have come a long way baby!!!

First of all, I'd like to thank all of you my dear readers for your prayers and best...After almost 9 years of marriage...After 5 kids in 900 square feet...After selling off the home we had to live in a camper for almost 3 months...MIKE AND I BOUGHT OUR FIRST HOME!!!

God is good.  Let me start (and I probably could just end) there.  This house is perfect.  I mean, not by any stretch of the imagination here.  It's perfect.  Every detail of this house is perfect.  A quiet, dead end road for the kids to have a 1/2 mile on which to ride their bikes.  Near the water to allow us gorgeous views.  Five (you read that right FIVE!!!!!!!!!!!) bedrooms.  A kitchen that even inspires this Spagetio chef.  One of the bedrooms is just perfect for Mike's home office.  The other is a perfect school room.  Yes, ladies, I have a SCHOOLROOM!!!

Why did I worry?  Why did I even give in to doubt?  Why didn't I look forward and just know He would take care of us?  This beautiful family He gave us in the first place...

I even got a new to me camera around Christmas so I promise my dear and very patient friends, that pictures are forthcoming...

But for now, thank you THANK YOU, THANK YOU!!!!!!!! for all your prayers and for bearing with me these past 3 years now, as I've whined and moped, and pretended to be oh so courageous...;)  Thanks for the many needed warm thoughts and prayers.

Life is good.  God is better.

That's about all I can say about that.