Sunday, May 31, 2009

Woodpecker











The woodpecker
knocking so insistently
on the tree branch,
reminds me of you, Jesus.

Just like the woodpecker,
you knock insistently
at my heart,
asking to be let in
so that you may
dwell inside.

Like the soft wood
of the tree, I will
open my heart to you, Jesus,
so that you may live
within me forever.

Amen.

Robins Nest-Final Visit



"This is the meaning of the cross: God is heartbroken love."

Fr. Robert Barron, Heaven in Stone and Glass


Do you ever feel like a failure? Do you ever despair because your best just wasn't good enough? I'm sure our mother robin feels this way.

Her last baby bird died today. It happened so quickly. One minute, his beak was open, hungry for worms, the next minute, he fell backwards with no life remaining. The mother removed the baby from the nest, and she has not returned. How could she? She has lost 4 babies in 4 days! She knows the meaning of the cross, she is suffering heartbroken love.

Any human mother would be overcome with grief to lose her children, why should a bird be any different? Even my own children are overcome with grief for the loss of this bird family who visited our home for such a short time.

The robin and her babies are a reminder to us of how fleeting life really is. We should never take anyone or anything for granted. All of life is a gift from God, even the parts of life that hurt.

Thank you God for the spring, for birds, for life. You have given it all to us through your gracious and generous heart and we give it all back to you. We give you our joys and sorrows, our successes and failures, our births and our deaths. It is all a part of your great plan. Like the birds, we can't understand it. We can only accept it and continue to do our best. We can only join you in your heartbroken love. Amen.

Praise-It's Time for Change

My fellow blogger Jennifer, at My Chocolate Heart, has a weekly Sunday Praise Column and she invites others to join suit. She has also been looking for signs of positive change in the Catholic Church, living symbols of what the Church is doing right. Inspired by the Holy Spirit on the Feast of Pentecost, I am praising God for all of the good in the Catholic Church...

1. Catholic Blogs-a great source of blessing and an opportunity to join with other like-minded Catholics!

2. Young adults who convert to Catholicism and are on FIRE for the faith!

3. Six men were ordained to the Priesthood here in Milwaukee this year, and I'm sure there were many more throughout the United States. Wondrous growth with more to come!

4. My children who each find their own way to the Lord. (When my 4th son was born, a woman from church came to visit me in the hospital and said,"You poor thing, 4 boys, they will all grow up and leave you." I said, "Maybe they'll all grow up to be priests!" Two of my four boys talk about it all the time!)

5. An increased interest in the rosary,adoration, daily Mass, and other traditional church practices.

6. Wonderful priests who are faithful to the Church and draw others to this same faithfulness by their happy, positive outlooks.

7. Large families with lots of potential vocations within them!

8. Archbishop Timothy Dolan promoted to the post of New York-here's a joyful man in a large Archdiocese where he will draw more and more people to the Catholic Church. (We will always miss him terribly here in Milwaukee-but its for the good of the church so we can endure anything!)

9. Summer vocations camps for boys and girls interested in religious life to give them a taste of what this life will be like.

Happy Feast of Pentecost! Veni Sancte Spiritus! Feel free to add your own signs of growth and goodness in the church and forward them to My Chocolate Heart as well!
http://mychocolatehart.blogspot.com/

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Favorite Quotes/Fr. Don Hying

A great Pentecost quote from a great priest...published in the May 28th Milwaukee Catholic Herald.

"When we, like the saints, set the sail of our life to the mighty wind of the Holy Spirit, we will find ourselves doing things that we could never have imagined, witnessing to Christ in ways that seemed beyond our abilities and engaged in works of evangelization, charity and service that seemed impossible. One thing is certain. When we give our lives over to the Holy Spirit, nothing will ever be safe or dull again. We will find ourselves blown out to the deep water and then Christ will bid us to get out of the boat."

Fr. Don Hying, Rector
St. Francis de Sales Seminary

Friday, May 29, 2009

Shattered-A Story of Pentecost


“Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you. And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, receive the Holy Spirit.” John 20:19-23

“There appeared to them tongues as of fire, which parted and came to rest on each one of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit.” Acts 2:1-11


A few years ago, I was undergoing a difficult time, struggling with a deeper conversion into my Catholic Faith. I was completely caught up in my thoughts and prayers and had a hard time focusing on my daily family life. I was deeply drawn to adoration and daily Mass and spending time in prayer at church. The priest who was giving me spiritual direction at the time wisely reminded me that my first and true vocation is that of wife and mother and that I could just as easily find God in my home as I could find him in the church. I told him that I so desperately wanted to hear the still, small voice of God and thought that it would only happen while I was in prayer at church. He lovingly teased me and said “Anne, I don’t think you will ever hear the still, small voice of God. For you, I think it will be the loud, booming voice of God!”


Pentecost Sunday arrived a few weeks after that conversation with my spiritual director. I was preparing a large Sunday breakfast for my family as usual. My son, Jack, was sitting at the kitchen table coloring pictures. He said, “Mom, I’m drawing a picture of a campfire.” “That’s nice”, I replied as I continued to stir the eggs. Then he said, “No, Mom, its not a campfire, it’s the flames of fire on the apostles heads!” Again, I distractedly murmured something about that being very nice, and went on with my breakfast preparations. Jack finished coloring, taped his picture to the kitchen cabinet, and our family went on with our breakfast and preparations to leave for Mass.

Jack’s picture stayed on the kitchen cabinet for several days and I really didn’t give it much thought. One evening, my husband took our five children over to the playground to have a baseball game, and I stayed at home to wash the windows. One of our kitchen windows was broken and wouldn’t stay open without a brace. I had forgotten about that in my still distracted state. I raised the window, and then turned to walk away, when the window came crashing down on my head, shattering into thousands of shards. As painful as that experience was, it was probably just what I needed to wake me from my dream state. As the window hit me, I was looking at Jack’s Pentecost picture. Suddenly, the words of my spiritual director came back to me “You will find God at home, following your vocation, and God’s voice will be loud and booming.”

Nothing could have been more loud and booming than a window shattering on my head! It was as if God woke me up out of my daze and said, “Look at that picture! Look what Jack drew! He drew a picture of Pentecost, your new spirit! Your life is in this home and in this family. Pay closer attention to your children, they understand more than you can ever know!”

That picture stayed on the kitchen cabinet until my spiritual director came over to bless it. Then I framed it and placed it in my prayer corner so that I would always remember that my Pentecost, my new spirit, is in my family and in my vocation as wife and mother. I will always find God in my home and I can hear his voice anytime, anywhere, soft and still or loud and booming. Happy Feast of Pentecost!

Robins Nest-Revisited


St. Francis of Assisi was known to have preached to the birds...

“He went right up to them and solicitously urged them to listen to the word of God, saying, ‘Oh birds, my brothers and sisters, you have a great obligation to praise your Creator, who clothed you in feathers and gave you wings to fly with, provided you with pure air and cares for you without any worry on your part.’…The birds showed their joy in a remarkable fashion: They began to stretch their necks, extend their wings, open their beaks and gaze at him attentively." ~From American Catholic.org

Yesterday was a miserable day. It was one of those days where I woke up on the wrong side of the bed after a bad dream,and the day was filled with little thorns throughout. It was nothing major, just those little things that kept pricking at me all day long, and I struggled to tolerate them. And its not that there weren't some roses strewn about, the best of which I was able to spend 30 blessed minutes in silent Eucharistic Adoration at the beautiful convent chapel. You'd think that would have healed all those little wounds I was feeling, but more were to come. As my daughter Mary and I were driving to the grocery store, the brakes on the van were causing problems and we were very grateful to God for our safe arrival. Then,while packing up our groceries, another customer in the store took my box, and when I tried to be assertive and tell him that the box belonged to me, he snarled at me and said "It's not your box anymore! I found it and I'm keeping it!" That rude comment was the last straw for me and I sank to the humiliation of crumbling into tears, right then and there in the grocery store. How I longed for the rude comments about my family size that I used to complain about!

Mary and I prayed (and I continued to cry), all the way home asking God for a safe arrival,which He generously granted, and when we walked in the door, my husband and sons greeted us with more bad news. It seems that our robin friend who was living on our sunporch window ledge and nurturing four baby robins out of their eggs was startled out of her nest by the boys' noisy arrival home from school, and when she flew from her nest, she knocked the nest off the ledge. All that my boys could find at the bottom of the rose bush was one baby bird and some broken egg shells. Justin lovingly picked up the nest, placed the tiny bird with its little feathers on the top of its head gently back into the nest and put it back up on the window ledge.

We watched closely all night to see if the mother robin would come back, and sure enough she did! She stayed with her little baby bird throughout the night, feeding it, keeping it warm and loving it like any good mother would. Seeing this mother from the animal world struggle with her problems, made me realize how foolish I am to sweat so many small things. After all,God is in charge, isn't He? After a glass of wine and a good night sleep, the world looks brighter today.

Now, I am inspired to listen to the wondrous words of St. Francis of Assisi and his sermon to the birds, and follow that same example in my own life. It is my obligation to praise my creator who has provided me with pure air, the very breath of the Holy Spirit, and who always cares for me. I will not worry!


Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Kenotic Love

“Though he was in the form of God, Jesus did not deem equality with God something to be grasped at…rather, he emptied himself and took the form of a slave.” Ph. 2:6-7

What does it mean to empty yourself? It means to give your all, to give when it hurts, to do things that other people might consider to be beneath themselves in order to show deep love. It certainly was beneath God to take on human form with all of the suffering that humanity entails. But this is exactly what God did in the incarnation of Jesus; he took on the suffering human form. So now, as Christians, we are all called to follow this example and empty ourselves to show our love for others. We are called to serve others even in ways that may be unpleasant. We are called to serve others in ways that we may dislike, in ways that may hurt us, and in ways that may cause us suffering. By serving others in this way, we are emptying ourselves and showing our kenotic love in our following of the incarnated Christ.

My favorite example of kenotic love is really quite simple. Kenotic love can be found in a dishwasher. When my husband Paul and I were first married, I read a marriage advice column where the columnist advised “If you really want to make love to your wife, do the dishes.” His point was that every day love wasn’t found in dramatic, romantic displays such as buying flowers or candy. Every day love was found in helping with routine chores, and in doing this simple activity of washing the dishes, however unpleasant that may be, a husband would be showing his love for his wife, and in return, she would be drawn closer to him in gratitude.

Now with children, it’s another story. Doing the dishes has become a dreaded and fought over chore. As evening dinner draws to a close and the nightly dish chores are assigned, we often hear a tremendous amount of groaning from the kids. Common complaints such as “I just did them last night!” or “I have dibs on drying!” echo around the table. Paul and I find that our kids hate doing the dishes so much that we have begun to assign it as our favorite punishment for misbehavior. “What? You got a “D” on your test? Dishes for a month! “You hit your brother again? Dishes for a month!” Of course the other kids catch on pretty quickly, and are thrilled when someone is given this punishment, because that means they are off the hook for a month. Sometimes, I suspect they look for ways to get each other in trouble just so they can avoid the chore for lengthy periods of time!

Recently, we invited a dear friend for dinner. It was his first time at our house. We know that he works really hard and we wanted to show him a relaxing time. No sooner was the meal finished, than he stood up and said “Well, now I’m going to wash the dishes!” Like Peter when Jesus wanted to wash his feet, we all protested in embarrassment. We wanted him to relax, not work! But it was too late, his sleeves were rolled up and he was running the water, and so, he washed the dishes! It actually was fun working together, freely talking and enjoying music. He said he enjoys doing dishes because it yields the satisfaction of a completed job, dishes put away in the cupboard and the sink shining. It was a good point in this world of loose ends.

By his simple act of washing the dishes, he showed gratitude for the meal and he set a good example for the children. But more than this, he showed kenotic love. He emptied himself to be of service to my family. It was such a humble and yet profoundly beautiful act. We will never forget. What a beautiful example of living the incarnation of Christ!

For Fr. Don with gratitude!

Ah, youth!

Today I saw my friend's 18 year old daughter standing at the bus stop in the rain. She was singing and dancing to the song that was playing on her I-pod. She looked so happy! I just had to smile! How I wish for those uninhibited youthful days of joy!

Holy Temple

Every time
that I look
in the mirror,
I am shocked
to see
an old lady
looking
back at me.

Dark circles,
wrinkles,
age spots,
and gray hair
are beginning
to define
my appearance.

Help me
to remember
that no matter
how I look,
I am still
Your Holy Temple,
Lord.

Savage Wolves


A reflection on today's first reading...

“I know that after my departure, savage wolves will come among you, and they will not spare the flock…so be vigilant and remember that for three years, night and day, I unceasingly admonished each of you with tears.” Acts 20:28-38

St. Paul’s words here could be any parents or teachers words, couldn’t they? Don’t we put our all into our children, hoping that if we train them well, they will be able to resist the savage wolves that most surely will cross their paths in life? How many parents are broken-hearted when their children disregard their parent’s advice and fall in with a wild crowd, or turn their backs on the faith in which they were raised?

I am an excessive worrier. I myself was one of those children who disregarded my parent’s advice and fell in with a wild crowd of savage wolves in my youth and it is only by the grace of God that I was able to turn my life around. But, knowing the struggles I went through in trying to return to a state of grace in my life, I would prefer to keep my own children from ever falling to the wayside. The only way I know of to eliminate my worry is to give it to God. So, I spend a great deal of time in prayer. When people ask me how my husband and I manage to raise such nice children, I always answer that I raise them on my knees-its my version of Paul’s unceasing admonishment with tears.

When my children began their elementary school careers, we found the cost of Catholic Schools to be beyond our reach. As a natural worrier, I fretted that my children would be lost souls without a Catholic education. My mother-in-law gave me some great advice. She said, “Any school can be a good school, as long as you’re involved.” So, I practically lived at the local public school that my children attended. Everyone knew me because I was involved in everything! My mother-in-law was right, the school was fine and my husband and I worked extra hard at home to instill our Catholic faith and values into our childrens lives. But still, even though the school was good, and I was as involved as I possibly could be, I couldn’t be with my children all the time, and there were moments when I had to leave them to fend for themselves in the world of savage wolves.

When Joe was in kindergarten, he took a liking to a little boy from a big family and a broken home. We knew that he didn’t get a lot of supervision and when he did, it was probably from a big sibling who wasn’t always loving or gentle. We’d hear this little guy using curse words as he walked out of the school doors at the end of the day and we’d be quite shocked. But Joe thought that he was the best guy in the world! We’d say, “Joe, Henry uses bad words. Can’t you play with someone else?”

Then one day, as I was standing with Joe before school waiting for the bell to ring, I overheard him tell Henry “Why do you use those bad words? Why don’t you say shucks instead?” I was at once proud and humbled. My little boy had a much better idea than I did! Instead of avoiding his friend, Joe tried to bring him around to the good side! It was then that I realized that if Paul and I continued our admonishments, and continued to put our trust in God, our children could be an influence for good in the world around them instead of being subject to falling into the wild ways of the world.

We will continue to admonish our children with tears, and turn to God with prayer, but if our faith is strong, we will put our trust in God wholeheartedly, knowing that his love is stronger than any savage wolves, and in the end, he will always keep our children close to his heart, and they will continue to bring God’s goodness to the world in which they live.

Favorite Quotes/Thomas Merton

"See who God is! Realize what this Mass is! See Christ here on the Cross! See his wounds, see his torn hands, see how the King of Glory is crowned with thorns! Do you know what Love is? Here is Love. Here on this Cross, here is Love, suffering these nails, these Thorns, that scourge loaded with lead, smashed to pieces, bleeding to death because of your sins and bleeding to death because of people who will never know him, and never think of him, and will never remember his sacrifice. Learn from him how to love God and how to love men! Learn of the Cross, this Love, how to give your life away to Him."

Thomas Merton
Seven Storey Mountain

Grey Decisions

A prayer for those times when we need help in making a choice...


My Dearest Father,

Every now and again, life hands me a choice. For most people, that choice would be no big deal-they would simply choose one and then live with it. But for me, the choices I have to make can become agonizingly difficult. I can see so much potential for good or for bad in either choice I make.

I need guidance God! Send your Holy Spirit and all of your strongest Saints to me to help me decide. Ultimately, whichever way I go, I want it to be Your way, the way that will lead me to Your heart.

Help me down from the fence, Lord. Assure me that whichever choice I make, I will be able to live with it and never look back. Give me courage and strength of moral character so that I will trust in you and never waver again.

Amen.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

The Gift of a Smile

I've been feeling very insecure lately. Sometimes a little sign from God can bring me reassurance...

There are times
When words are unnecessary.

We can convey all of our
thoughts and feelings
by the expression on our faces.
Our love, hopes, dreams, prayers, joys and sorrows
reflect out to the world around us.

Of course, the one expression
that everyone enjoys seeing
is a simple smile.

When the smile is genuine,
when it starts in our hearts
and spreads to our eyes,
when it is shared with another
in genuine gratitude and love,
it is the only thing that is needed
to raise the spirits
of the person with whom it is shared.
It has the power to bring
heart-warming joy
that will be remembered forever.

Thank you God for the gift of love
in a smile.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Favorite Quotes/Gina Loehr

"It is most laudable in a married woman to be devout, but she must never forget that she is a housewife. And sometimes, she must leave God at the altar to find Him in her housekeeping." St. Frances of Rome (1384-1440)

From Gina Loehr's Real Women, Real Saints

I was inspired by the great post on The Prodigal Daughter's Blog-Sanctifying Work, found this quote in my journal, and just had to add it to my blog!

Memorial Day Gardening

"You shall be like a watered garden." Isaiah 58:11

After praising the Lord and praying for all of this country's veterans at morning Mass and attending a Memorial Day Parade with my family, I join with many others in my community, and begin to plant my vegetable and flower gardens. My children, Justin and Mary enjoy getting right into the dirt with me, and after a long day, we can be proud of the accomplishments that will bear fruit and beauty all summer long. My dad had the ultimate green thumb and could produce a beautiful, lush garden from the most clay-baked soil. It will be 3 years this July since my dad passed away, and when I am in the garden, it is then that I miss him the most. He was a veteran of WWII's 8th Air Force, so I honor him today with this blog.

Life in a Garden

My dad and I were very different. He was extremely quiet, and I can’t stop talking. When we were together, I had nothing to say. He taught me that it’s ok to be silent. He taught me that love doesn’t have to be spoken, but it can be silently shared with actions.

He gave me a great gift. That gift is a love for God’s great earth. He was a lover of gardens and trees. It is there that he found peace from his many troubles.

Like my dad, I too find peace in a garden. There is nothing more peaceful than kneeling in a strawberry patch, smelling the sweet berries, watching my fingers turn pink as my basket fills with so many red treasures.

There is great strength in turning the earth and hoeing the weeds. There is extreme satisfaction in pushing a small seed into the dark, cold earth, and watching beautiful flowers grow from it. There is glorious joy in sharing the bounty of fruits and vegetables with friends and family.

This love found in gardening doesn’t require any words; it is also a silent love. But it is a deep, profound love. It’s no wonder that life began in a garden.

Thank you, Dad, for sharing this love of gardening with me.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Praise for my Husband

Paul and I celebrated our 18th anniversary on April 27th,(see My Favorite Date from the April archives). We usually get along very well, but lately, it seems we have been doing an awful lot of bickering. All those petty little complaints pile up and before I know it, I'm looking at him and wondering, what was I thinking when I married him? To be fair, I'm sure that he often thinks the same thing when he looks at me.

Now I've been following this wonderful blog, The Prodigal Daughter, and she has some beautiful posts about the sacramental life of the vocation of marriage. I am so grateful to her for bravely posting those stories, because they have caused me to really take a closer look at my husband and to see him for the wonderful person that he is. So in the spirit of some of my other fellow bloggers (My Chocolate Heart and Carmelite Mom), I am posting a list of praise for my wonderful husband, Paul...

1. He has been faithful to me for 18 years, even when my disposition is at its worst.
2. He is a homebody who prefers a quiet night with his family to a night out with friends.
3. He plays a mean game of basketball with our sons, even if its at the end of a long work day, and an even longer night at home carpooling the kids everywhere and helping to oversee homework.
4. I love it when he curls up on the couch with Mary, sharing cucumber slices and laughing at a corny magic show.
5. He is a fabulous chef and usually has a delicious dinner waiting for me when I arrive home from work.
6. His kisses (nothing more to say...)
7. He is a wonderful, devoted father, and spends hours listening to the kids MP3 players, deleting any objectionable songs, and also spends hours looking at the kids internet histories, deleting any objectionable sites. Then he follows up with appropriate discipline if needed.
8. He has a great sense of humor and can always make me laugh.
9. He doesn't complain too much about all of the time I spend reading, blogging, praying and going to church, even though he doesn't share my level of enthusiasm for these interests.
10. He loves me. He always has and he always will.

Thank you, God, for my husband Paul. Thank you for our 18 years of sacramental union in this holy vocation of marriage. Thank you for blessing us with five beautiful children. Thank you for loving us so much. Amen.

Happy Anniversary Fr. Carl!

Today my family was most blessed to attend the 40th anniversary to Priestly Ordination of our dear friend, Fr. Carl Last. Fr. Carl confirmed my husband Paul, presided at our marriage 18 years ago, and baptized our first three sons. We have known and loved him for the past 20 years. We know that priests today are super busy and are so grateful that we have been able to remain a part of his life even though our lives have changed so much.

Paul and I were married in 1991 at Corpus Christi parish. Shortly after we were married, Fr. Carl was transferred to St. Matthias parish. When Paul and I bought our house, it was close to St. Matthias, and the first time we went there for Mass, Fr. Carl greeted us with the following: "There you are! I've been waiting for you!" So, naturally, we quickly joined the parish! It seemed all too soon and Fr. Carl was sent to the Cathedral of St. John the Evangelist as rector and pastor. Within a few years, the Cathedral began a youth choir group for all of the children in the Archdiocese, called the Choristers of St. Francis Xavier. My children joined, one by one, and for the past six years, we have been blessed to once again be a part of Fr. Carl's life on a regular basis, even though we have remained parishioners at St. Matthias.

Today, my children had the honor of singing at his Anniversary Mass. Knowing how many lives he has touched in 40 years of service to God and His people, it really surprises me that he would still consider our humble family to be an important part of his life.

As we walked into the atrium for the reception after Mass, we were greeted by one of the Cathedral parishioners who told us to go directly to the table where Father Carl had a poster of pictures set up. We were so surprised to see our wedding picture with Fr. Carl on display for all to see! This is especially surprising because the Cathedral is a choice spot for weddings in the Archdiocese because it is such a beautiful church, and the weddings that take place there are often very extravagant. Yet it was our humble picture from 18 years ago at little Corpus Christi parish that he chose to display. Nothing could have made us more proud!

We love you Fr. Carl! Thank you for loving us and including us in your life! Thank you for your many years of faithful service to the church. Happy Anniversary, and many more!

Self-Forgiveness

"The past is past. Remember, God does not look at what you were but what you are and above all, what you want to be."
Rumer Godden
Five for Sorrow, Ten for Joy


Poisoned by Memories

Memories come back.
You thought they were buried inside,
gone forever.

Like a dinner poisoned by germs,
unable to be properly digested,
they come rushing back to the surface,
regurgitated.

They leave a bad taste.

Unless the memories are addressed
you will be left with a foul mess.

You must see to them.
You must resolve them
or you will only become
sicker and sicker,
until the memories
-like poison-
take your life.

I am so grateful for the sacrament of Reconciliation and the opportunity to clear my memory of my past sins and make my soul right with God. I am so grateful for the gift of Spiritual Direction and the opportunity to work through my struggles for holiness with a trusted friend. But even with these opportunities, some sorrows and regrets just won't go away. Sometimes, even the reassurance that God forgives me and that people I've offended forgive me, I continue to beat myself up over my past, unable to forgive myself for the things I've thought, said and done.

Jesus, remind me again and again that I am not the only one who has fallen into sin. We are all sinners, and you love us... you love me, not in spite of my sin, but because of my sin. You love me because I am your child. You know that I long for holiness and eternal union with you. Help me to let go of my poisonous memories. Help me to forgive myself and forget my past so that my entire being will be taken up with the work of drawing closer to your love instead of being consumed with regret over what was. Lead me to the peace of your love. Amen.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Ordination Day!!!



My son John, his friend Jerry and I had the great honor and pleasure of witnessing the Ordination of six beautiful and holy men to the Priesthood today at the Cathedral of St. John the Evangelist in downtown Milwaukee. The Cathedral was packed and the atmosphere was energized with profound prayer. Bishop William Callahan, OFM gave such a wonderful homily that stirred the hearts of all those present. He spoke of the priesthood as being a gift for the people. I am so very grateful to be a Catholic. I am so very grateful to have been present for this holy occasion! We were so honored to receive the first Priestly Blessing from Fr. Luke Strand (pictured in front receiving a blessing himself!) and left the Cathedral feeling lifted out of our sinfulness and brought into a holier state.Please join me in praying for newly ordained Fathers Angel, Sean, Mark, Aaron, Dan and Luke. Please join me in praying for more and more vocations to the Priesthood.

Sharing the Presence of God








Little sparrow pecking about near my feet,
where do you find your courage?
It must be a gift to you from God.
You are not afraid of me,
even though I am so much larger than you.
You must sense that my stillness
is a source of safety for you.
Maybe you can feel my prayer
and you know that God is with me
on this beach and I am resting in His love.
Stay and keep me company little sparrow.
I am honored to share
the presence of God with you.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Fifteen Minutes

I often complain that when I meet with a client, I’m only allowed fifteen minutes to complete the WIC certification process. Sometimes, if the client is disinterested, or in a big hurry, or has terribly unruly children who won’t be quiet and allow for conversation, 15 minutes can seem like a long time. I can struggle to pull information from a non-receptive client and feel that any nutrition guidance I want to share falls on uninterested ears, so those 15 minutes may shrink to 10 minutes that can feel more like 100 minutes.

But more often than not, when a client with whom I meet has some real concerns, whether those concerns regard nutrition or just difficult life issues, fifteen minutes never seems like enough, especially when I consider the fact that I may never see that particular client again. Our WIC clinic is large with a caseload of about 3200 clients seen each month. We employ seven nutritionists, only two of whom are full-time. So, more than the fact that fifteen minutes can feel more like five minutes when there is so much need in the lives of some of our clients, the really difficult part is the fact that we rarely see the same client twice. I may never know if the drug-addicted mother was ever able to quit using drugs once and for all. I may never know if the baby who struggled to latch on to his mother’s breast was ever able to get the hang of breastfeeding and grow to be healthy and strong with his mother’s breast milk. I may never know if the homeless family ever found shelter, if the abused women left her boyfriend, if the woman struggling with an unwanted pregnancy ever came to a happy acceptance of the life growing within her.

I shared these struggles with a friend recently who wisely reminded me that although I may never see the results of those fifteen minutes spent with my WIC clients, I can affect more good than I may ever know. She encouraged me by telling me that the people who Jesus helped during his years of ministry often met him in passing only. The many sick and suffering people that he cured never saw him again after the healing took place. But the fact remains that once Jesus touched their lives, they were forever changed for the better.

Fifteen minutes may not seem very long. I may not ever hear a “Thank you! Your words of encouragement changed my life and I am now eating better, feeling better and living better!” But I trust that I can and do make a difference without ever hearing those words of affirmation. In his book Mother Teresa’s Secret Fire, Joseph Langford writes: “Beyond whatever material assistance she gave to the poor, she made it a point to, first of all, sit, listen and comfort. She would spend time simply being present with the poor, face to face and heart to heart with those who had no one…No government program could give the gift of presence-only individual hearts. Only the human heart can communicate the heart of God.” So I can trust that as long as I am willing to listen with an open heart and to look for Jesus living within the people I meet each day, I will make a difference beyond nutrition counseling and healthy foods. I will bring the heart of God, however briefly, to the hearts of the suffering women and children I meet each day.

Favorite Quotes/Anne Morrow Lindbergh


"Writing is thinking. It is more than living, for it is being conscious of living." Anne Morrow Lindbergh

Deeper



Yesterday I was like a wisp of dandelion gone to seed. I was scattered in every direction. I was so concerned about what everyone else had and what everyone else was doing. I was stressed, worried and unhealthy.

I cried about my problems to a friend who told me “Instead of looking for something new, stay right where you are and go deeper.” His words were like sunshine coming from behind the clouds.

I don’t need the spiritual gifts that others have. The gifts that I have been given are enough for me. I am right where God wants me to be. Instead of looking out to my surroundings, I will look within, to my own heart and soul. That’s where God is.

I will send my roots deep into the gifts I have already been given: my family, my friendships, my home, daily Mass, spiritual reading and writing, and nutrition ministry to my WIC clients.

When I sink deep down into who I already am, I will find that the soil is rich and nourishing, full of promise and hope for a life in the constant presence of God. I will blossom into God’s beautiful, fragrant flower, rooted deep and strong in His love.

It won’t always be easy. The winds will buffet against me, the hot sun will bake into me, there will be many pests who will try to damage and destroy me. But deep inside, I will know who I am and who it is that God intends me to be, and I will draw strength from that knowledge. That strength will enable me to stand firm against many trials and temptations.

Through this deep dwelling inside of God, the God who is alive in my heart, I will know peace, joy and contentment right where I am, living the life that God has called me to live. I will be a sign for others of the beauty that is possible when we stay where we are planted and look deeper into the will of God that is already alive within our hearts.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Bridge to Forgiveness

Another prayer for those in need of the comfort that only true forgiveness can bring...




Jesus,

I am broken. I have separated myself from one of your children, and without that relationship, I am less than I was before. I am looking to be whole again, to be fulfilled in your love with the unity of your child from whom I am now apart. So, I cry upon your shoulder, and I lean upon your strength, because you have known this brokenness. I know that you understand my suffering. I ask you to lay down your cross for me, so that I may use it as my bridge to forgiveness. The slivers that may enter the soles of my feet will be as nothing compared to the pain that has consumed my heart from the disgrace that I have brought to you and your precious child whom you love.

Lead me, Jesus, slowly, across your bridge to forgiveness where joy and love wait for me. I believe that forgiveness will come to me, but until I reach it, remind me to walk softly, to speak gently and to pray deeply.

The wild river of pain and fear rages below me, but your cross will keep me above it all. You will safely lead me across the brokenness.

This bridge seems to go on forever, it takes so long to cross. The wind is blowing against my face and the sun is beating upon my body causing my progression to slow down. I understand that I cannot rush this process, because if I do, the peace of forgiveness will not be true or permanent, rather, it will be shallow and meaningless. What I want is a deep and lasting reconciliation that can only occur by taking one slow step at a time.

But I grow impatient for forgiveness! I hunger for it and the hunger burns in the pit of my stomach! There is nothing to nourish me and satisfy my hunger on this bridge. I can feel my hunger turn to bitterness. I am very afraid of this bitter feeling, I’m afraid that I will grow accustomed to it and begin to embrace it. I’m afraid it will move from my stomach to my heart and prevent me from ever loving anyone fully. I want my heart to remain soft and supple and loving.

I trust you Jesus, to bring me safely across this bridge, to overcome the pain and burden of this brokenness so that when I reach the other side, the glorious joy I will feel will be worth all of the pain that I have carried in my heart. On the other side of this bridge, a reunion awaits me, and you will hold our hands in yours so that we will never be separated again. Amen.

Ointment

For my fellow bloggers who suffer pain from loss of friendship and the need for forgiveness (both given and received)...

There was a fire
In my heart,
Burning strong.
But the fire went out
Unexpectedly,
With a fierce blow.
I am left with a painful scar.
It continues to burn and hurt
But it produces no light or warmth.

How could I have failed so miserably?
Why didn’t I see it coming?
Why didn’t I try to stop it?

I don’t know how
To relight the embers.
I don’t know how
To heal the scar.
It continues to throb,
A painful reminder
Of the sparks of love
That once existed there.

Jesus,
Be the ointment
That heals this open wound.
Amen.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Favorite Quotes/Etty Hillesum

"And when the turmoil becomes too great and I am completely at my wits end, then I still have my folded hands and my bended knee...it is my most precious inheritance...the girl who learned to pray. That is my most intimate gesture, more intimate than being with a man. After all, one can't pour the whole of one's love out over a single man, can one?"

Etty Hillesum
An Interrupted Life

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Favorite Quotes/Dorothy Day

"Being a mother is fulfillment, it is surrender to others, it is love and therefore, of course, it is suffering."

Dorothy Day
The Long Loneliness

Spirit in the Night

Dear God,

I thought that after I had spent the day working so hard in the garden, that sleep would be deep and easy for me. Not so.

After noisy thunderstorms and nightmares plagued with images of evil, I only spent the night tossing and turning, feeling pain and discomfort in all of my muscles and fear in my heart.

Then, I felt your spirit moving in the wind. I could hear you calling to me in the rustling of the leaves outside my window, reminding me that you are always with me, loving me, even in my fear. When I walked to the window, I could feel your spirit brush across my face in the breeze, but even more reassuring was the delightful fragrance that your spirit shared with me. The air hung heavy with your perfumed springtime scent and I was filled with joy and love.

I really enjoy our quiet times together in the middle of the night. I can feel you so close to me. I know you love me very deeply.

Although my body is tired and aching, my soul is very much alive and awake, filled with the life and peace of your quiet presence, your gift to me alone.

Amen.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Favorite Quotes/Fr. Robert Barron

"Fear is a function of living our lives at the surface level, a result of forgetting our deepest identity. At the roots and ground of our being, at the 'center' of who we are, there is the 'image and likeness of God.' When we rest in the center and realize its power, we know that we are 'saved'. Therefore, we can let go of fear and live in radical trust. Fear is the 'original sin'. Fear is the poison that was injected into human consciousness from the beginning.

Robert Barron
And Now I See

Spring Growing Pains








Dear God,

As your beautiful world
Comes to life in the season of spring
I realize that I, too
Am coming to life in the season
Of Your love.

Like the leaves on the trees
And the flowers in the ground
I am growing.

As an adolescent suffers pain
In his joints during periods of growth,
I, too, suffer pain during my period of growth.

Is it possible that the
Growth of spring
Is painful for the leaves and flowers, too?
Do they suffer pains to produce
Their beauty?
They must!

Pain produces new life and new growth
For everyone and everything.
Please God,
Be with all living things
As we reach and stretch
And grow.

Amen.

Marigold



Today is my Goddaughter, Marigold's 2nd Birthday...



Marigold

You are a beautiful flower in my heart.
You lift your precious smile to the sun and
Radiate light and love to everyone around you.
You are the cause of deep joy.
You spread love wherever you go.
You are a blessing.
You are love.

Thank you for growing in my heart.

Happy Birthday Marigold!

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Favorite Quotes/Bishop Fulton Sheen

"The very sense of loss you feel in this world is in itself a proof that once you were possessed, and possessed by God. Though your passions may have been satisfied, you were never satisfied...Start with your own insufficiency and begin a search for perfection. Begin with your own emptiness and seek Him who can fill it. But you must be aware of your loneliness and want and disappointments before you can want Him to supply it."

Bishop Fulton Sheen

Mary's First Communion

In this month of May when so many children receive our Blessed Lord for the first time, I want to share the story of my daughter Mary and her special day...

Mary’s First Communion

I thank God for the miracle that is my daughter, Mary. She gives a glorious witness to God in everything she says and does. I can see God alive in her. She has a way about her that allows her to draw everyone closer to God.

Last year, when she was in kindergarten, she longed to confess her sins and live in God’s peace. When I told her she would have to wait and prepare for the sacrament of reconciliation, she couldn’t stand it. “But mama, I have a lot of sins!” she complained. Thinking that she just wanted to visit with the priest, that she was trying to be like her parents and brothers, I asked the priest if she could come and talk to him and he agreed. How surprised and delighted he looked when he heard her begin to confess the things that were tugging at her conscience. How surprised and delighted I was, when I saw him give her absolution!

I shared this reconciliation story with our Pastoral Associate, who then said, “Sign Mary up for her First Communion. She’s ready!”

Excitement filled our hearts at the thought of our little Mary receiving Jesus while only in the first grade at six years old! We knew this was something really special!

Mary was so eager for Communion, that from that day on, when the family went to receive Communion, Mary joined us with her little arms crossed over her chest, to receive a blessing from the priest. She was always most reverent as she bowed before the bread and wine in a physical sign of respect for the presence of God.

Finally, after much preparation, the big day arrived! Mary looked absolutely radiant in her white dress and veil. She was so excited to finally be able to wear the white clunky shoes she longed for all winter!

Great joy filled out hearts as we witnessed Mary make a throne with her little hands to receive her Lord Jesus into her heart and her very body.

This day was a cause for great celebration! Everyone wanted to share in Mary’s joy! But, before we could join the party, we had to make a quick stop at the grocery store to pick up delicious chicken to feed to our guests. Have you ever seen a little girl in her First Communion dress pushing a shopping cart? She was so filled with joy that she bounced up and down behind the cart, and caught the attention of everyone in the store. Smiles surrounded her and her obvious witness to the love of Jesus.

Upon arriving back home, the party was already in full swing! The table was loaded with food, the little children were running about and stories and laughter rang throughout the house.

It was a beautiful day with our large family and many special guests including our Pastor and the Associate Pastor in attendance. By the time the party was winding down and the guests were leaving, Mary’s wonderful teacher, Sister Rita and her friend, Sister Doris arrived. We shared a quiet, peaceful visit with them. Mary and Sister Rita sat together on the couch and spent the longest time together quietly looking at the new Bible Mary had received, and sharing all the Bible stories that Mary had learned about in school. Later, Mary said that quiet time with her teacher was her favorite part of the day.

Little did we know that more excitement was still on its way. That evening, we received a phone call from a man asking to speak with Mary. As Mary was listening to the caller speak, I could see her face light up with happiness. I knew this call was from someone very special. When Mary hung up, she said the caller was Archbishop Dolan! He had called to congratulate her on her First Communion. What a great honor this was for Mary!

As our family continues to attend daily Mass, I find the joy to be continuing. Every day as we get in line to receive Eucharist, Mary turns to me and says “I’m so excited!” After she receives the Body and Blood of Christ, she practically dances back to her pew! When she gets back to the pew she throws her little arms up in the air in a physical prayer of praise and thanksgiving for the gift of Jesus within her. Everyone who sees her can’t help but smile at her exuberance. She is alive with the true Spirit of God. We should all receive Jesus with as much joy and delight as Mary does. Her happy nature is a gift from God and she gratefully returns it back to him. When Jesus said “Let the little children come to me,” this had to be what he meant. We would all do well to learn a lesson from Mary. We should all be filled with excitement, joy and wonder because we have Jesus inside of us.

What I Love About Joe

That poor middle child Joe. I guess he's just so misunderstood because both of his parents were the baby's of their families. Once again, he asked me to write about him on this blog. He's so sweet, how can I say no? So, if you enjoyed the May 11th Middle Child blog, here's another one you may like...

What I Love About Joe

The other morning, Mary came downstairs wearing Joe's ST. JUDE basketball shirt. When I asked her why she was wearing Joe's clothes, this was her reply: "I was scared last night and couldn't fall asleep. Joe gave me this shirt and told me that St. Jude would protect me. Then I fell fast asleep. He was right!"

The kids sang with the Choristers of St. Francis Xavier last night at the Cathedral. They were looking forward to sleeping in this morning, and when I told them that the boys were scheduled to serve at this morning's early Mass at our parish, Joe was quick to complain. After some time to think, he told me "Mom, I was mad about having to go to Mass twice in one weekend, but then I thought about Grandma and how she is suffering from cancer, and I decided that I could use this as an extra opportunity to pray for her."

Every time I walk into a room, Joe tells me that he loves me, he gives me a "high five" or he tells me that I'm funny. He tells me "You're cool mom, even if you do go to Mass everyday!"

I have no doubt that my middle child will make a name for himself in this world and he will be successful in life. But most of all, he has a special place in my heart and in God's heart, and he always will!

(By the way, Joe does not approve of this picture-he would rather have a picture of a basketball on my blog. Sorry Joe!)

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Sharing our Grief

I remember reading somewhere that whenever we cry, God is crying with us. That thought brings me great comfort.

“By the streams of Babylon we sat and wept when we remembered Zion.”
Psalm 137


Jesus,

Today I feel like sitting and weeping, and I wonder, do you feel the same way I do?

Let me hold on to you Lord, as we weep. Let us comfort each other. Sometimes weeping is the best way to get all of those unnamed bottled up emotions out. When I recognize and accept my inner emotions, I am recognizing and accepting your life inside of me.

Jesus, let us sit together by the streams of Babylon and weep. I imagine that it’s beautiful here. It’s a nice, shady spot with large trees, tall grasses, and beautiful, fragrant flowers. There is wildlife scurrying about: birds fluttering and singing nearby, squirrels chasing each other up and down trees, dragonflies gliding and hovering near the riverbank. The quiet rippling of the water brings a feeling of serenity. The blue skies with puffy white clouds that bring occasional shade from the sun all add to the perfection of this place.

Here we are, you and I, Jesus. We cling to each other in our sorrow. We hold each other up. Our tears fall on each others shoulders. Without words, we let out all of our pain and sadness. I could stay like this forever. I love you Jesus. Thank you for sharing this peaceful place with me. Thank you for sharing your tears with me. Thank you for sharing your love with me.

Amen.

Cherubim and Fiery Revolving Swords


A prayer when facing temptations:

“He stationed the cherubim and the fiery revolving sword, to guard the way to the tree of life.” Genesis 3:9-24

My dearest Jesus, my one and only love,

So many people and things try to make their way into my heart, they try to take your place there, and they want to push you out.

So often, Jesus, I am so weak that I allow others to have the space that belongs to you, I let them crowd you out. But Jesus, this is not what I want! I only want you!

My heart is the tree of life. It is the place where you live and grow. Help me to protect your life in my heart. Station your cherubim and fiery revolving sword outside my heart so your presence will always be protected inside of me.

Amen.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Grasshopper

"As the Father loves me,so I also love you. Remain in my love." John 15:9-17







The bright green grasshopper
hanging on the back door screen
teaches me a lesson.
If I hang on to God for dear life,
just like the grasshopper
hangs on to the back door screen,
I won’t fall off the path of holiness
even if someone slams the door,
because God will be
hanging on to me.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Idiot Box

Jack and Mary were in the living room
Gleefully banging on kettles
With wooden spoons.

The din was overwhelming!

Joe walked into the room
And turned on the television.

At once
The banging stopped.
The room was silent.

The din was overwhelming!

Lord,
Teach me to find the prayer
In loud noises.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Robin's Nest



Living Among the Thorns
A robin built her nest on the sun-porch window ledge, right behind the rose bush. We can easily watch her from our front window. Her homey nest is tucked into the corner with the branches of the fresh, green rose bush to protect her from the wind and sun, and other dangers such as fascinated children and neighborhood cats. Day and night she sits there, eyes wide open to any possible threats to her growing family.

I worry about that mother robin. Does she know that when that rose bush grows, it will crowd her and her family? Does she realize how sharp those thorns are? Will those thorns injure her and her babies as they go about their daily business of finding worms and learning to fly? I will be so disappointed if something tragic would happen to them, that I am almost sorry that they chose my humble window ledge to be their home.


Isn’t that robin just like all of us? She’s simply trying to eke out a safe and simple existence in this world filled with thorns. But there really is no escaping the thorns of everyday life. They will always be with us. We just need to learn how to cope with them, to work around them, to live with them. We all suffer from the thorns of overwork, stress, anger, jealousy, exhaustion and resentment. There are times when the thorns of hunger and want enter our lives. Many endure the pain of the thorns of rejection or abuse. We cope as best we can, don’t we? We lean heavily on God whenever we need him the most. We try to make a comfortable nest for our families and ourselves so that even in the midst of our thorns, we will have someplace safe and warm to return to when we are in need of rest.

I need to remind myself to listen to the wisdom of the words of Jesus: “Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your Heavenly Father feeds them.” Matthew 6:26. The key word is trust, isn’t it? God will take care of the robin family and God will take care of my family. It’s so easy for me to work myself into a panicked frenzy over all the activities that must be accomplished, over all of the bills that must be paid, and over all of the ups and downs of life. If only I could follow the example of that mother robin. Like her, I should keep my eyes open and watchful for immediate dangers and leave the rest of my worries and cares in God’s loving hands, trusting that He will always care for me and see to all of my needs. Instead of being fearful of the pain that those thorns can inflict upon my body and my heart, I should be reveling in the beauty of the fragrant roses that will soon blossom from the thorny branches.

I look forward to an interesting summer watching the robin family grow in front of my eyes. I know that God must also be interested in watching my family grow in front of His eyes as well. So even in the midst of the thorns of life, I will trust in God to always care for us and to meet all of our needs, and I will thank Him for scattering a few sweetly-scented roses in my path. I am thankful for the mother
robin that taught me a valuable lesson in faith, and I am thankful to God for using a simple bird to draw me closer to His heart.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Pilgrimage!


Everything Old is New Again
Latin Mass

I grew up in a post-Vatican II world and could never quite understand the passion of so many people who vehemently resented the changes instilled in the Mass by Pope John XXIII and the Vatican II Council. On the other hand, I also failed to understand the passion of so many people who insisted that the church did not change enough, did not become modern enough for their liking. I’m sure that the fact that I never attended a Latin Mass would go a long way toward explaining my lack of understanding of either position. I always thought, “What’s all the fuss about? What’s wrong with the Mass the way it is?”

This past weekend, I went on my first-ever Pilgrimage. Usually when you hear the word Pilgrimage, don’t you think of traveling to some far-off destination like Fatima, Lourdes or the Holy Land? Unfortunately, I am not a world traveler. I’ve never been on an airplane and it is highly unlikely that I ever will. So my Pilgrimage was not in an exotic location, however, it was beautiful nonetheless. Some of my sisters, nieces, my daughter Mary and I traveled across our beautiful state of Wisconsin by mini-van to the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe in LaCrosse. We chose the occasion of Mother’s Day weekend to make our Pilgrimage because it happened to be the tenth anniversary of my own mother’s death and we thought this would be a lovely way to honor her memory-and it was.

The Shrine is quite new, built within the last year. It is run by the Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate. Although the building is new and everything was absolutely beautiful, the atmosphere was definitely traditional. During this lovely weekend retreat, I was finally able to lift a portion of the veil that for so long hid the historic traditions of the Catholic Church from my eyes, and a part of the ancient mystery was finally revealed to me.

On Saturday, we participated in a beautiful May Crowning of the statue of Our Lady of Guadalupe. A father lifted his sweet little girl who was wearing a lace veil up so that she might reach high enough to place the floral wreath upon the head of our beautiful Lady. In fact, it was hard to miss the fact that most of the women and girls at the Shrine wore lace coverings on their heads. It was also hard to miss the fact that most of the families were quite large, with 5-8 children in most of them, and all of the family members were modestly dressed. The atmosphere was definitely reverent. Then everyone processed to the Shrine Church while praying the rosary.

The church itself was quite impressive! It was large with lots of marble. The sides of the church displayed portraits of many wonderful saints. The one which impressed me the most was a portrait of newly canonized St. Gianna Molla immortalized in a lab coat, holding a baby and surrounded by small children. I am so used to seeing Saints dressed in the habits of nuns or old-fashioned clothing, it was nice to see someone modern, and someone I could relate to. I think that St. Gianna and the glorious way that she witnessed to the pro-life cause by giving her own life for the sake of her daughter, makes her one of my favorite Saints!

When it was time for the Sacrament of Reconciliation, my seven year old daughter Mary expressed reservations for the first time since she received the Sacrament when she was in kindergarten. She receives the Sacrament regularly, at least every other month, but never behind a screen. My modern daughter has only received this Sacrament face to face. She bravely walked into the Confessional and came out beaming, happy to have had a new experience of the Sacrament that cleanses her soul.

During the Mass, we heard out first ever “Fire and Brimstone” homily. The message was strong and powerful, yet it was delivered in a very gentle manner in a quiet and humble voice. Quite impressive! The gist of the homily was that all families need to consecrate themselves to the Blessed Virgin Mary for the salvation of the world. I was moved enough by this homily to agree to praying the consecration prayer daily. Here's the link if you would like to join me in this prayer. http://www.catholic.org/prayers/prayer.php?p=438


Another first for most of our group was kneeling at the marble Altar rail and receiving the Body of Christ on our tongues. Mary later commented that it was weird and fun at the same time. My niece Jenny had a more beautiful way of expressing her experience. She said it was as if an angel came down from heaven to place the Heavenly Host directly on her tongue. I can almost hear beautiful opera voices singing "Panis Angelicus".

On Sunday morning, we returned to the Shrine to walk the outdoor Way of the Cross and pray the rosary. Then it was back to church for another new experience-Mass in Latin! While listening to the gorgeous Latin chants, I could feel the Holy Spirit moving in my heart. I loved the sound of the bells ringing during the Mass. Once again, I greatly enjoyed the reverence of kneeling to receive Holy Communion. But, I have to admit that the modern way of praying at Mass in English, where everyone can easily participate, and being able to see the priest and all of his actions as he faces the people has a definite advantage over the Latin Rite.


All in all, I am so grateful to have had this beautiful experience of Pilgrimage and Latin Mass. Although I didn’t travel to an exotic location, I did have an exotic experience of my faith. I absolutely love being Catholic, I love the Church and I love the Mass. I cannot imagine life without it! I am grateful for the Vatican II changes, but I love the history and tradition of being able to pray a Mass in Latin as well. In modern language, I would say that with or without disagreements, before or after change, the Catholic Church rocks! I thank God for this beautiful, meaningful religion. Now, if I could just find out what “The Secret Prayer” is and what is so secret about it, I would be very happy! It’s another veil for me to work at lifting aside! I look forward to learning the answer with great anticipation!

The Middle Child

My son Joe is the classic middle child, always looking for attention so he doesn't get lost in the crowd of five. To his credit, he is very clever. This year I admit that he did win the Best Mother's Day of the year card. In fact, I enjoyed it so much that I just have to share it! Enjoy!

SORRY, MOM
I’m sorry that you had to give up your career as a model.







I’m sorry you had to have 5 beautiful kids even though they rock.
(especially that Joe kid. He’s cool).







I’m sorry you had to give up so much of
your time for us to hold us in your hand.







I’m sorry you had to change your personality
from dating-with-Dad kind of mom to a watch-your-amazing-son-Joe-play-basketball-and-win kind of mom. Just Kidding.







Mom, I’m sorry for a lot of things but today is Mother’s Day so lets just forget about all of that and PARTY!







So there’s one more thing to say mom…………