What I Learned From My 2nd Miscarriage

(NOTE(WARNING:  This is a long blog!)

She was supposed to be our “rainbow baby” – the joy after the storm. 

IMG_2798When we found out we were pregnant again, 4 months after losing our baby Gale, I was excited.  The likelihood of miscarrying again, back to back, was very low.  My doctor had me come in within a couple of days of my initial call to check my HGC levels to make sure the pregnancy was strong.  I registered “low”, but passable and was put on progesterone supplements.  A couple of days later, my HGC levels were checked again and were soaring.

At 8 weeks, we loaded up the whole crew and waited to see the newest member of our family up on the “big screen”.  After waiting through a “full work-up” OB appointment for me, the kids running through halls and the staff being kind enough to put up with all the noise, we finally got to see the baby.  Her heart was beating like a champ, the kids were thrilled to discover they were going to have a new sibling (“Please, not another girl, Mom,” said our 5 year old, only son), and I felt confident that we’d be celebrating another birthday around Thanksgiving.  My doctor scheduled me for another ultrasound at 11 weeks “just to be sure of things”. Read More

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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Morality part 2 – Peer Pressure can be AWESOME

Note: This is part 2 of a 3 part series on helping empower teens to make moral decisions.  The series introduction can be found here, and part 1 can be found here.

As you’re probably aware of by now, I’m a Catholic.  It’s not just a fitting-in sort of label for me, like a 3rd generation 20% Irish-person around St. Patrick’s Day.  (Yeah, I said that.)  My being a Catholic is part of who I am, how I define myself, how I hope to portray myself.  I strive for it to affect literally every part of my life – the fact that I fail constantly is irrelevant here.  As I try to live out my faith and my identity as a Catholic, I am always on the lookout for that community of Catholics to share my life with – friends who share our faith, values and priorities.  I want to know I’m not alone in my challenge, and I can be there to support and lift up others who are trying to navigate the narrow road.  Having a community of Catholic men, women and families around us has been a humongous blessing & help to myself and my wife – and of course it is!

We all know how important friends are to teenagers.  This is the time of life when teens are beginning to break from their family.  They like to believe they are independent, but they are so, so far from real independence from family and parents.  (see part 1 for how important adults are)  A huge part of this break is the friends teens have.  Teens quite often list friends as more important than family.  This may or may not be the case – and that doesn’t really matter for this discussion – the apparent truth of it matters.

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Oversimplified morality – in 3 parts

Working in youth ministry with junior high and high school students over the past I don’t know how many years has given me lots of things.  First, it’s given me an incredible amount of failures.  It’s given me a lot of entertainment and laughs.  It’s given me gray hair.  It’s given me headaches and sleepless nights.  It’s given me countless privileges to walk on a faith journey with a young person.  It’s given me lots of tears, stress, extra hours of prayer, challenges, successes, awesome retreats… ok I could go on.

One other thing is that it has given me a little bit of insight into the heart and ind of a teenager.  I’m not claiming to have all the answers – I’m not claiming to be very smart – I’m claiming that my experience with teens over the last 12 years has given me a little bit of insight with teens.

I hope that isn’t too much of a stretch.

Ok, why all this?  Because, morality. There are so many well-meaning people at our parish, at other parishes, and from who knows where telling me we need to do more things to teach morality to our teens – but it all sounds and feels more like “you need to crack open their heads and brainwash them into thinking this one thing that I think is the end all be all issue and it needs to be this.”

And we do morality nights – on chastity, on obeying God, on pro-life, on stealing, on cheating… etc.  Do I expect a big turnaround in the life of teens based upon these nights?  Heck no.  It can start a discussion or get them thinking, but if convincing others of the truth were as easy as one 90 minute youth night, well, we probably wouldn’t have too many youth nights.

I’ve come up with a bit of a theory here – and it is that teens essentially need 3 things to really be empowered to make good moral choices in their life.  All three of these things are important, none of them is a quick fix, and they all take efforts from the teens, the parents and the Church.

So this, I guess, is a 4 part series – and you’ve just read part one.  Congratulations!  And I realize, this told you nothing more than – Hey, I’m writing a morality series!  Parts 2-4 will come out about every other day for the next week or so – so stick with me.

Again, I’m not claiming this is the end all – be all.  And I’m not claiming that this closes the book on teen morality – this is my discussion starter – based on my experiences loving, being rejected by, listening to, supporting, praying for, praying with and observing teenagers.

Social Media Activism…Does It Work?

I don’t know about the rest of you, but my Facebook and Twitter blew up yesterday.  It hasn’t been since Steve Jobs died that so many of my friends and followers were all posting about the same thing.  If you’ve been living under a social media rock (particularly possible if you gave up Facebook for Lent), then here’s the basics:

A non-profit activist group called Invisible Children released a campaign called Kony 2012 which is designed to increase awareness and drum up popular US support for the continued presence of US military advisors in Uganda whose aim is assisting the Ugandan army in capturing a nasty, evil warlord named Joseph Kony.  The video IC released has had over 2.1 million hits – it went crazy viral.

Within a few hours of the video making its big hit, criticisms of the video, the Invisible Children organization, and all those who were supporting it went viral as well.  I don’t want to get into all those discussions here (mostly because I’m still educating myself on the issue and trying to figure out the complexities of what those people really need), but there is one criticism I want to talk about:

This meme sums up the criticism I want to deal with rather nicely...plus it has Willy Wonka.

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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

Rethinking the Pro-Life Goal

In honor of the March for Life in Washington DC yesterday, I posted the following on Twitter:

No matter how you feel about the morality or legality of it, we can all agree: we NEED less abortions in our country.  #MarchforLife.

@Falsum, a Canadian grad student in Scotland, responded:

Glad to have common ground with a pro-lifer. Does this mean you support expanded access to contraception and comprehensive sex ed?

I knew there was no way I could answer his question in 140 characters because it’s so much more complicated than a simple “yes” or “no.”   We danced around each other quoting competing scientific studies, but not really getting anywhere – in part, I think because of the limitations of Twitter.  My thoughts on his question and this issue are way too complicated for Twitter.

It’s complicated because I think that when it comes to the issues of abortion, contraception, sexual morality, etc most pro-life advocates are missing the boat in a very fundamental way:  We’ve got the wrong goal.

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