It’s really hard to discuss miscarriage. It’s not that it’s taboo, exactly. It’s just that it’s not something that’s usually very public unless your pregnancy was already public. And, when you lose a baby early in a pregnancy, many people don’t even really consider it much of a loss. In fact, I was one of those people. I mean, there has never been any question that once you conceive, that is a life with a unique soul. But, I always thought, “If the pregnancy is lost early, how could you even feel very attached to that baby?” I truly did not understand because I did not have a frame of reference for that type of loss.
But, now I do. And, it has changed me.
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“Continue to pray the Rosary every day.”
(Our Lady of Fatima to Sister Lucia)
I don’t think there’s any practicing Catholic out there who would deny the importance of daily recitation of the rosary. The saints, the Popes, and even the Blessed Mother herself invites us to pray it on a regular basis, promising great spiritual wealth and growth as a result of it. And, I have no doubt at all that that is true.
But, for the vast majority of us, praying the Rosary daily is actually rather challenging. Or, maybe that’s just me. I am not sure if it’s that I lack focus or the ability to sit still that long, but when I am attempting to pray it alone (which, let me tell you, happens about 0.1% of the time of my life) or when I am driving (which is more realistic), I easily get distracted. I do much better when I pray it aloud with other people.
But, the only people I am with on a regular daily basis are these tiny human beings that I call my children. Which, hey, is GREAT! Because, praying the FAMILY rosary is possibly an even more beneficial and spiritually efficacious type of prayer than praying it alone.
Maybe efficacious isn’t the right word. Perhaps saying it’s a source of “great sanctification” is more appropriate. Especially when your prayer partners are 5, 3, and 20 months old.
There’s never a lack of tragic situations happening in the world at large as well in our specific communities, families, and churches. Sometimes, though, it seems like certain communities are hit really hard in relation to others.
One of my “circles” of people is my alma mater, Franciscan University of Steubenville. Being that it’s a university, my connections and friendships spread much wider there than some of my smaller, more personal circles. Though it is not a large university, there’s been a specific contingency of people (Catholic young families) overwhelmingly affected by hardships in the past year.
It’s taken me forever to find time to finally write a blog. But, here I am!! And, I wanted to write on a topic that’s been on my heart and mind a whole lot over the past few years, probably since my first child was born almost 4 years ago. And, in recent days, it seems to be a topic that keeps popping up over and over again in conversations and Catholic circles in which I run.
It’s been out there, hanging in the marital and family atmosphere since my son was born. When knew the days would come when he would be old enough to have to begin formal education and we would have to decide which route we wanted to at least begin with. And, when it’s your first child and you have no experience with any type of school one way or the other, it’s overwhelming to think about.
I went to all Catholic school, from kindergarten through college. Every minute spent in a school uniform (well, up until college), nuns as some of my teachers, retreats & Mass as a regular part of our curriculum. I was not homeschooled ever, though one of my sisters and one of my brothers both were for a short amount of time. Those same two were the only ones in our family who ever attended public school. I had some public school friends from work and activities that I did outside of the school, but not many.
I knew plenty of homeschoolers especially through our family prayer group. I went to college with A LOT of homeschooled people. In fact, I am married to someone who was homeschooled for a large part of his education (and, incidentally, who received his college education through the seminary).
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We’ve been going through a relatively challenging time in our family over the past several (almost a year) months. I say relatively because the challenges each of us face are different and are difficult based on our own family, lives and circumstances. So, comparatively speaking, the things that have hit us aren’t devastating or insurmountable. But, they have presented us with numerous opportunities to grow in faith & hope, rely on God completely to meet our needs, and to pray. Read the rest of this entry
In October of this year my wife, Liz, and I took a 10th anniversary trip to Florence and Paris. I’d been to both cities and was blessed to see many of the beautiful and remarkable pieces of art, faith, and architecture for a second time.
For the first time, we visited San Marco the home of the Italian renaissance painter and Dominican Friar – Fra Angelico. I had studied Fra Angelico’s work, and my favorite piece is his representation of the Annunciation (Luke 1:26-38). I had first encountered this piece of art nearly 20 years ago, but until this fall had never seen it in person.
When my wife and I climbed the stairs within San Marco and first laid eyes on the beautiful painting you see above, I was stunned. Though I had seen this work hundreds of times, I saw it as if for the first time again. And for the first time I saw the wings of the Archangel Gabriel sparkle. I’d always admired the colorful representation of the angel’s wings, but now I knew that these wings sparkled and shimmered in the light.
Saying yes to God, as Mary does in this moment, is always full of surprises. If you say yes to God, I guarantee that he has beautiful surprises in store for you. Even if you have studied and hoped for and anticipated your next move, if you make that move while saying yes and giving your life over to Christ, God will make it even more beautiful. If you have never said yes to God, I invite and encourage you to say yes, even in a small way, to God’s will for your life. If you do, he will make even a broken and painful life, beautiful.
On this the Solemnity of the Annunciation, I invite you to say one simple prayer – Yes. Say yes to God. Tell God yes. And let that yes be the beginning of a life of yes you give to God. I promise what he will do with that yes is greater, more beautiful than you can imagine
The Super Bowl was truly a family experience at our house this year. At 4:30 or so, we grabbed snacks and gathered in the living room to pick the teams we wanted to win.
Hubby and I are both fans of Peyton Manning – what a class act – so we chose the Broncos. Our 9 year old picked the Seahawks because he’s contrary like that. The 6 year old picked the Broncos because she wants a pony. The 4 year old was rooting for “the ones with the green shoes.”
The older kids discussed (not for the first time since their playoff loss) why the Packers aren’t in the Super Bowl this year, and my husband and I explained that this is the exact opposite of every other football game we’ve watched all year. They can talk as much as they want during the game itself, they have to be quiet during the commercials.
Then – kickoff. Each time the game went to commercial I sat, perched on the edge of my seat, remote in hand, ready to punch the off button or turn the channel at any sign of scantily clad and objectified women, wardrobe malfunctions, twerking, or even crude innuendo.
Surprisingly, I didn’t need to use it. From the positive family messages in the Cheerios spot
to the ad activism of Bank of America and Chevy,
the crude jokes, sexual innuendo and scantily clad women were kept to a minimum.
Then, the halftime show. Now, my kids do not know who Bruno Mars or the Red Hot Chili Peppers are (though my 6 year old said she recognized “Give It Away Now”), but they bought the pre-game and in-game hype 100%.
“The greatest concert of the year?! I can’t wait!” my son shouted at the 2 minute warning.
We tried to prepare them for the inevitable disappointment that goes with the Super Bowl Halftime show. My husband explained that while it *may* be the greatest concert of the year, the year has only had 33 days in it so far – so there’s not a lot of competition. I remembered the infamous “wardrobe malfunction” that had mothers screeching in horror everywhere and wondered if I should tell my son to cover his eyes just in case.
Lo and behold – it wasn’t all bad. Bruno and his gold lamé jacket squad were more Motown classy than pop star sassy. Boy does that kid have moves! The Red Hot Chili Peppers were in their head-banging glory and Anthony Kiedis (lead singer) even broke out his dress shorts for the occasion.
Both bands did what they do best, did it spectacularly, and didn’t need anything outrageous or controversial to put on one of the best halftime shows I’ve seen since U2’s 9/11 tribute and heart-shaped stage in 2009.
I know that many people complained that the ads and halftime show were as sad, pathetic, and boring as the game itself (that one touchdown the Broncos scored felt like an awful lot like pity points). But this mom is grateful that I did not have to answer any awkward questions from my young children.
It wasn’t perfect…Since when do threesomes save troubled marriages Butterfinger? And why is Uncle Jesse about to use your yogurt to trick a girl into oral sex Oikos? Oh and Sodastream…I’m sorry but using seductive straws won’t get me to buy your soda? Fortunately the worst offenders were after halftime and after my kids were in bed.
Despite a few hiccups, I want to issue a huge thank you to the NFL and Fox for a family-friendly Super Bowl experience!