Eternally Grateful

As we settled into the pew for Ash Wednesday Mass, I’d reminded my kids to “talk to Jesus” before Mass starts. At 11 years old, she knows the drill by now. Elizabeth leaned over to me as we both knelt in prayer, and she shared what had just happened.

Over the past few years, as my spiritual life has deepened, I have learned that sometimes God speaks to us through a Scripture that hits us a certain way, a poem, or a song lyric. Sometimes, He uses a more subtle approach, whispering into our hearts during time with nature or as we study beautiful art. So when she pulled me aside to tell to me about the connection she’d made, I was filled with a feeling of joy – joy for my girl’s discovery at what I am sure was the prompting of the Holy Spirit. So what was this sweet insight?

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I Am Not the Savior

I am not the Savior

I sat in his office, my body wracked with sobs. I went through quite a bit of Kleenex. Thankfully, he had a whole box. I couldn’t speak very clearly through my tears. Emotionally, physically, spiritually, mentally – I felt like I was drowning. My husband and I weren’t communicating well. Someone I knew was about to make a choice that terrible for her soul. A fallen-away Catholic, she also put me in the incredibly uncomfortable position of explaining to her non-Catholic spouse exactly why it was considered sinful, and now they were both angry with me. My sister was in nursing school and was struggling to get good sleep and good nutrition. Her health has always been a challenge, so this was a lot for her body to go through. My brother was in his sophomore year of college, and still struggling to adjust to college life. Another brother was going through teenage challenges. My life at work was difficult due to a lack of direction and poor communication. I was a wreck, and I knew it, so I’d finally made an appointment with my pastor. Which brings me back to the sobbing.

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Two Thousand Eighteen: A Game Plan

2018 goals

 

It’s the last day of the year, and we wanted to make sure to end 2017 with Confession and Mass. Experiencing the cleansing mercy of absolution, closely followed by the reception of Our Lord in the Eucharist, was just what my soul needed on a day when the temperature outside is dropping like a rock and the hours of the year dwindle to a close. We went to one of the only parishes in Houston that offers Reconciliation on Sundays – Our Lady of Czestochowa on Blalock. Would you just look at this gorgeousness?

Our Lady of Czestochowa, Houston

Without further ado, here’s where my head’s at we venture in 2018, knowing full well that the Lord is the one in charge and there’s no telling where I will actually be 365 days from now. Continue reading

Boomers, We’re Listening. Love, Millennials

The more I experience life as a wife, mother, sister, friend, and professional, the more I realize I’m clueless. Really clueless. As in, everything I thought I knew – and I thought I knew a lot – is challenged on a daily basis and I rediscover, for the umpteenth time, that when it comes to life experience, I’m a noob.

Growing up, I was the kid that wanted to sit with the adults and talk while my cousins rolled down hillsides and played with bubbles outside. I’ve long preferred the company of older, wiser adults to the company of peers. Even as an adult, I gravitate towards reading blogs and following social media streams of wives and moms who are older than me and further along their paths of marriage and family. I love to see their challenges and learn how they have grown from them, emotionally and spiritually. To see how they have navigated life crises and struggles, and hopefully learn from them as I encounter similiar waters in the not-so-distant future.

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That Time I Chose Life

Today is the 42nd anniversary of the landmark Roe v Wade Supreme Court decision, which made abortion legal in all 50 states.  My sister marches today with her Ave Maria University friends in the March for Life in Washington DC.  By the grace of God, my brother was born on this day 15 years after the decision.  Though it haunts him that he was allowed to live when tens of millions never were, our family is grateful for his life.  We remind him annually that he is a testament to the beauty and the sacredness of human life.  What follows is my own experience with a crisis pregnancy.  

That Time I Chose Life

My first experience in the pro-life movement was entering an essay contest in elementary school.  The topic was “Why I am Pro-Life,” and I had to go home and ask my mom what that meant.  I knew about the birds and the bees.  I did NOT know that our country sanctioned the killing of innocent babies every year.  When I learned the truth, I was horrified.  As I got older, I began attending the Pro-Life rally each year at the Capitol in Austin, and getting my local Junior Catholic Daughters court involved in the Life Chain events in Houston.  I attended the Human Life International conference when it came to Houston in 1998, and met pro-life hero Joan Andrews Bell (and got her autograph!)  I was passionately Pro-Life, and couldn’t imagine how anyone could ever kill their child.  When you’re 12, naive, and have no idea of the harsh realities of single parenting, teenage pregnancy, financial woes, or an abusive partner, you literally cannot fathom how a woman could feel so hopeless.   I prayed for abortionists, and I prayed for the moms of babies that felt they had no choice but to abort their children.  I studied Church teaching about sex and contraception, and vowed to not lose my virginity until my wedding night.  As my good friend went through her high school years and started seeing girls around her become sexually active, I steeled my will to save myself for my future husband.  I believed very strongly in the beauty of God’s plan for marriage, and that “The temple of God, which you are, is holy.” (1 Corinthians 3:17)  I began praying for my future spouse, whomever he might be, that he would feel God’s grace in his life and be safe and grow in God’s love.  I made a list of qualities I wanted in a husband, and decided I wouldn’t date anyone who didn’t meet the basic requirements: he had to be Catholic, pro-life, and be opposed to artificial birth control.  I didn’t want to waste my time with anyone who didn’t have these characteristics.

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