Earlier this week, we celebrated our daughter’s 1st heavenly birthday.
My son decided that Seraphina needed “balloons & hearts for her birthday”
On May 2, 2016, our 2nd baby went directly to heaven, a miscarriage that yanked the rug out from under me and sent me into a tailspin for the following year. You can read all about our loss of Seraphina here. (And, our first loss, Gale, here.)
The time following pregnancy loss, specifically when you had seen your baby on an ultrasound, who’s heartbeat you heard and cherished, and who’s presence you shared with loves ones aren’t easy. And, you don’t move on from the physical pain and emotional & spiritual suffering, as quickly many people think or assume you do or should.
Your entire world is now operating from this point of reference. You’re carrying this burden around with you that is unseen by the world at large. You think about it daily, especially during the time when your body is recovering from the trauma it has been through. It’s a daily reminder that your child is now gone.
I have a friend who’s baby was born about 10 days before my miscarriage. I was due to bring them a meal and meet the baby (and was planning to tell them about our pregnancy). That was the first big hurdle that was in front of me. The thought of seeing that newborn and having to tell them of my own loss was too much for me at that time.
And, that was just the beginning of a very dark year for me. Read More
If you have children of a certain age range and you’re people who consume some amount of media, specifically on TV, then you are probably familiar with the Disney Channel. And, most specifically on the Disney Channel, you are familiar with the “Dream Big, Princess” commercial/songs/campaign. If you aren’t, I’ll indulge you for a moment here:
Now, listen. I love these little inspirational videos. I love that Disney has somewhat let go of the typical “princess” party line (you know – fancy dresses, crowns, jewelry, etc….although, those ain’t gone and you can pay big bucks at the parks to have your daughter all dolled up like a fancy fairy tale princess in the Disney parks if you want that). I think it was a genius idea to juxtapose girls of all ages, races, and abilities with all the different types of “princess” or female leads from their movies who are also of various ages and ethnicities. I love that they encourage young girls to be leaders, follow dreams, achieve great things, pursue whatever it is that they love, etc. The first time I watched one of these with my girls, I teared up because I was like, “Yes, my beautiful girls, I want you to be as individual and unique and strong as the Father in Heaven intended you to be!” Read More
Y’all, I’m literally to the point of feeling sick over this election.
Like, I’m reading things that are posted by family and friends (and even strangers) and I feel physically ill. I can’t take the arguing, the “fact-checking” back and forth, the he-said-she-said, the “who’s a worse person”, the “the Church says this, not that” and “the Church DOESN’T say this, it says that”, quoting from questionable sources, blogs, & opinions. Etc, etc, etc.
I’m over all the arm-chair politicians and moralists and theologians and philosophers of social media.
I’m tired of reading things and being surprised and saddened and shocked at what the people who I know and love are spewing that seem so out of character for them; that seem inconsistent with how I’ve seen them live and speak; that are just not well-thought-out before being spoken.
But, as my dear, fellow author recently posted on her Facebook, it’s basically like this every four years, with every election.
“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.
I just received word through the social media grapevine that a couple that I knew only distantly in college suffered a great tragedy – the husband was killed in a car wreck late last night and she is now widowed with 6 young children and a 7th on the way.
Tomorrow is the 1 year anniversary of death of another friend from college who was diagnosed, fought, and died valiantly from an intense form of cancer all in a couple of months time. His wife was also left widowed with 3 young children, pregnant with their 4th.
On Dec. 12, a lovely young mother here in town also died from cancer, after 6 months of fighting, leaving behind her husband and 3 daughters who are 3, 2, and 6 months old. She was only 32.
Poor Martha. She always gets such a bad rap for “being worried and bothered about many things” (Lk. 10:41). She was a doer, perhaps a slightly Type A personality (though, not all of us Marthas are actually complete Type As).
Though many people skip over it, previous verses indicate that “MARTHA welcomed Him [Jesus] into her home.” (emphasis added) Not “Martha AND Mary welcomed Him.” Just Martha welcomed him. She was the hostess who was presumably doing things like making the meal, setting out the food, filling drinks, keeping up with everyone’s things, cleaning off dirty feet, etc.
We Marthas know that we are worried and bothered by many things. We see the overflowing trash, the mess on the floor, the sink full of dishes, the dirty laundry, the toilet that needs scrubbing, the sticky fingers on kids. We are the ones doing the majority of the chores and keeping the household in order. We take action, get the job done, and our love language is most likely “acts of service.”
We’re also the ones who get stressed out when visitors are coming over to the house – not because we have an “image” to uphold or that we are trying so much to “impress” the guests. But, more because we want everyone to have a pleasant experience. We want the food to satisfy, the seats to be comfortable, the drinks to be cold, and the friends to feel at home.
But, we feel like we get a bad wrap thanks to this particular verse in Luke’s gospel. Read More
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.
Choosing schooling for our children.
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).
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.
Lent, and especially Ash Wednesday, is such an interesting thing in this era of social media and technology.
Back when I was young, Ash Wednesday was a big deal to us because, well, we are Catholic AND we went to Catholic school. Other than McDonald’s offering fish sandwiches on the menu, the rest of the world didn’t seem too clued in to what we over in our Alabama 1% Catholic community were doing.
When we would show up places after school, we were looked at funny or asked what was on our head. I don’t even really remember there being a lot of Ash Wednesday services at all the Protestant churches like there seem to be today.
But, now, social media is exploding with reminders of the beginning of Lent and Ash Wednesday. The hashtag #AshTag is trending on Twitter. There’s blogs upon blogs upon blogs suggesting ways to make the most of your Lenten season. There’s Instagrams left and right of people’s ashy foreheads (guilty!). There are even a few new and very cool apps out there that are specifically for meditation and reminders to pray daily and not to eat meat on Fridays during Lent.
It’s an incredibly interesting time to live.