Light After the Dark

Earlier this week, we celebrated our daughter’s 1st heavenly birthday.

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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

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How My Miscarriage Changed Me

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.

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But, now I do.  And, it has changed me.
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You Are Still Alive.

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.

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Ray Lewis is half right.

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“If God is for us, who can stand against us?” retorted Ray Lewis to a reporter’s question about how he won the Super big game played in a stadium shaped like a Bowl. Really Ray?! Honestly I was a little pissed. What a stupid thing to say. What bad theology. Do you really believe God picked you, Ray? Forget about Mr. Lewis’s well documented trouble with the law or his pregame hysterics. Put aside any personal like or dislike for the now retired linebacker for the Ravens.  It was this ridiculous statement that irked me and caused me to make that disapproving “tisk” sound through my teeth like a Midwestern grandmother.

The humor twitter account Unvirtuous Abbey may have tweeted it best:

Twitter Post

After my judgmental cacophonous noise making, I instantly thought about Jim Harbaugh, the losing coach of the big game. Following Ray’s line of thinking, the God of the universe pre-ordained John Harbaugh (coach of the winning Ravens) to defeat his brother Jim in a football game.  I’m not sure who is Cain and who is Abel in this, but the logic follows that Jim is God’s enemy and John is the righteous and worthy champion of goodness and light. Come to think of it, the entire 49ers organization must be fallen rebels, akin to Lucifer and his cohorts.  Who can stand against Ray Lewis and God? Not the 49ers, the devils they are.

Fully pleased with my exaggerated self-righteousness, and even more pleased that I kept it to myself and only privately judged this man and his words, I promptly turned off the TV and played Ruzzle for 45 minutes. But something wasn’t right. Maybe it was the nachos or homemade honey mustard sauce, or maybe it was that still small voice that speaks to the deepest parts of ourselves when we haven’t uncovered God’s full story, but something wasn’t letting me rest comfortably in my righteous indignation.

Finally I found it. Ray is half right. God is for Ray Lewis. God desires the absolute best for Ray. God loves Ray Lewis beyond measure. God is also for Jim Harbaugh, even though he didn’t win the shiny football trophy. God is for the 24,000 children who will die today from preventable diseases resulting from unclean drinking water. I have no doubt God will weep for them. God will also weep because we didn’t do anything to stop it.

God is for me. God is for you.

Ray is also half wrong.  God doesn’t love Ray more than Colin Kaepernick. God didn’t choose the Ravens over the 49s.

Fortune doesn’t equal blessing.

God doesn’t prove his love for us through worldly fortune. To believe that is to say God doesn’t love the poor, vulnerable, marginalized, abused, hungry, thirsty, or dying. To say that is stupid and bad theology. Quite frankly it goes against everything Jesus said and did.

God is for all of us and no one can stand against us, and sometimes we lose. God being for us doesn’t always look like winning. Jesus on the cross didn’t look like winning. God is for us, when it comes to what is best for us. Winning the Championship might not be what is best for us.

And here is the key; God has bigger plans for us than our earthly mini-battles.  God has bigger plans for Ray Lewis than football champion. I’m not talking about Ray retiring and becoming a minister or founding a youth sports organization or helping out families in Baltimore. I’m talking about forever.

God’s big plan for all of us is heaven. God being for us is only completed and perfectly experienced in heaven, forever. God is for us spending that forever with him in eternal praise and total bliss. God is for us experiencing the beatific vision.

God is for us going to heaven. When we choose God, nothing can stop us from spending forever with Him.

The Joy in the Tragedy

It’s been a week now since the tragedy took place at Sandy Hook Elementary school and I think I have finally gotten my thoughts together enough to write a cohesive blog about it.  I’ve been wanting to flush out my feelings on it all – about my outrage, about my sadness, about faith & free will, about the media, etc.  There’s been dozens of ideas and trains of thought running through my head and I haven’t been able to put pen to paper (so to speak) about any one of them.  I’ve started and stopped writing several blogs because there’s just too much to say about this one event.

The Holy Innocents

The Holy Innocents

Like everyone else, I was shocked and sickened by what happened to all those folks, especially those innocent little children.  I can’t say anything more than what’s already been said in hundreds of other blogs, messages, memes, Facebook posts & statues.  My heart aches for the families.  My soul prays for them and seeks meaning in it all.  I know the world in which my own children are growing up has, once again, been changed in a dramatic way. Read More

I’m More Catholic Than You

“It is dangerous to make everyone go forward by the same road, and worse to measure others by yourself.”  (St. Ignatius of Loyola)


Dear Fellow Good, Practicing Catholics,

Please stop trying to “out-Catholic” others all the time.

I get it, you know the faith really well.  You’ve read some (or maybe many) books and watched some faith-based shows and movies.  You’ve heard some great speakers and been on some highly spiritual retreats.  You’ve had deep encounters with God and maybe have a deep understanding of one thing or another.  Perhaps there’s someone in your family with religious vocation or you are good friends with a priest or a nun.

Maybe you are able to get to daily Mass.  Or have a daily Holy Hour.  Perhaps you serve the Church in some form of ministry.  Possibly you have a deep devotion to Mary or one (or many) of the saints.  Novenas might be a regular form of prayer for you or perhaps you never miss praying your daily rosary.

Uh-oh! I made a joke about holiness...i must not be very Catholic!

You might be an activist who stands outside of Planned Parenthood every Saturday morning to pray for the end of abortions.  Or, maybe you write letters to your congressmen on a regular basis trying to get laws changed.  Maybe you vehemently oppose all things secular or use Facebook as a platform to preach the word of God.

And, every one of those things are good and noble.  But, they don’t make you a “better” Catholic than everyone else.

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I ♥ Being Catholic! (And, Here’s Why…)

I love being Catholic.

But, if you are reading this blog, this shouldn’t be earth shattering information to you.  I’m writing a Catholic blog – a blog that’s pro-God, pro-Catholic Church, pro-life, pro-ministry, pro-family, pro-pro.  So, it should be pretty clear…

I love being Catholic.

I have never really explained why I love being Catholic, though.  And, to be honest, it would probably take years worth of blogs to explain all the things I love about the Catholic church, my Catholic faith, and my Catholic upbringing. Read More