Monday, September 23, 2013

My latest work....

I recently published a short story which is now officially available for purchase at  The story is entitled "A Life Imprisoned" and it tells the tale of a man who is convicted and given a life sentence for the murder of a dog..... 

Check it out here!

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Bl. Teresa of Calcutta (Confirmation prep post #2)

This week, would have been the 103rd birthday of Mother Teresa.  Next week is the 16th anniversary of her death, and her feast day.  This is the perfect time to share my 2nd post of preparing for my daughter’s Confirmation.  

About 4 years ago, I read my two oldest children a biography of Mother Teresa.  We all enjoyed the story and when it was finished I asked them each to write a paragraph about what a beautiful person Mother Teresa was.   My then-8-year-old son looked at me funny and made some comment about how she looked like a “shrively old woman” to him, not a “beautiful” person at all.  My daughter, 11 at the time, understood though that Mother Teresa’s beauty went much, much deeper than her wrinkled skin or stooped posture.  She could see, even at the age of 11, that Mother Teresa’s beauty came from within-- from her kind spirit, her obedient nature, her life of sacrifice, service, and love.

Not surprisingly, when asked to choose a Confirmation saint this past summer, Bl. Teresa of Calcutta was the first saint to come to my daughter’s mind.  She said that as she thought about it, she just knew it had to be Mother Teresa.  As soon as she shared her choice with me, I knew she had made the perfect choice.   

There are so many reasons Bl. Teresa is beautiful.  Her holiness, her simplicity, her love of the “least of our brothers”, her dedication to serving others all make her a wonderful Confirmation saint- even if she is not yet canonized.  

But, there is another reason I am convinced that my daughter made the perfect choice in her Confirmation saint.  

Mother Teresa was a symbol of goodness and holiness all throughout my childhood.  I remember hearing about her charitable works and her humble way of life in my C.C.D. classes and watching clips of her on T.V. as she served the poor and met with world leaders to promote a greater respect for the plight of those in poverty.  Mother Teresa was referred to as a “living saint” and, even as I child, I could see that she was.

When she died in September of 1997, I was newly married, just beginning my adult life.  And three months after Mother Teresa’s death, my husband and I joyfully discovered we were going to be parents!  My daughter was born just 10 days after the 1st anniversary of Mother Teresa’s death.  That means, of course, that Bl. Teresa entered eternal life just a few months before my daughter’s life began.   

How perfectly fitting, and how comforting to me as a mother, to know that Bl. Teresa has been watching over my daughter from heaven since the moment she was conceived.

And for more inspiration--here are a few quotes of hers that speak to her holiness better than any of my words ever could……

·         "Keep the joy of loving God in your heart and share this joy with all you meet especially your family. Be holy – let us pray."
·         "Yesterday is gone. Tomorrow has not yet come. We have only today. Let us begin."
·         "Like Jesus we belong to the world living not for ourselves but for others. The joy of the Lord is our strength."
·         Little things are indeed little, but to be faithful in little things is a great thing.
·         Everybody today seems to be in such a terrible rush, anxious for greater developments and greater riches and so on, so that children have very little time for their parents. Parents have very little time for each other, and in the home begins the disruption of peace of the world.
·         “God doesn't require us to succeed; he only requires that you try”
·         “We cannot all do great things, but we can do small things with great love.”
·         “If you judge people, you have no time to love them.”
·         "If you're too busy to're too busy"
·         "People are often unreasonable and self-centered. Forgive them anyway.
If you are kind, people may accuse you of ulterior motives. Be kind anyway.  If you are honest, people may cheat you. Be honest anyway.  If you find happiness, people may be jealous. Be happy anyway.  The good you do today may be forgotten tomorrow. Do good anyway.  Give the world the best you have and it may never be enough. Give your best anyway.  For you see, in the end, it is between you and God. It was never between you and them anyway."
Photo credit-- from Wikipedia

Monday, August 19, 2013

Our first of day of school!

            When I was a kid, I used to start anticipating the first day of school a few weeks before it was actually upon me.   My anticipation was not full of joy or excitement but instead, dread and anxiety.  I remember quite clearly, the butterflies that filled my stomach and the “what ifs?” that filled my mind as the day drew nearer and nearer.  What if I don’t like my new teacher?  What if I don’t have any friends in my class?  What if I can’t to rise to the standards of a new grade with greater expectations and a more difficult workload than ever before?
            I always did well in school.  I got good grades and I got along with all my teachers.   My fears were proven irrational and remained unsubstantiated year after year.  Yet, each new year, I fretted all over again. 

Following my graduation from high school, I thought that my first day anxieties were finally behind me forever.   And until this year, that has been true. 

I’ve home schooled my children fairly successfully for eight years now.  And like in my youth, I’ve anticipated the beginning of every year starting a few weeks before the first day was actually upon us.  Thankfully, I have anticipated each home school year with optimism and excitement.  Until now….

This year is the first year I have felt reminiscent of my old attitude towards the first day of school.  This year I have been nervous and worried about home schooling.  I have worried I could not rise to challenge again.  I have worried that my lingering feelings of burn out from last year would prevent me from being patient and motivated.  I have worried I just don’t have it in me to face third grade again, and fifth grade again, and seventh grade again, and pre-school (at home with me) and high school for the first time.

Today the first day is upon us though!  For weeks, I have been praying and praying and praying for this school year to be successful and peaceful.

In the past, like for New Year’s Day, I have made resolutions for the beginning of the school year.  This year, instead of resolutions, I am focusing on one word as a theme for our new school year.  My word for this school year is “balance.”  I will pray for and seek a balance

  • between structure –and- flexibility,
  • between projects and activities that are enjoyable and uncomplicated –and- hard work that challenges and stretches us,
  • between time devoted to and focused completely on educating my children –and- time for myself, to catch my breath, to sit in silence before the Lord and allow my soul to be fed, to do the things I enjoy (like blogging!). 

So far, so good!  Our first day went well.  We achieved our goals for the day and found the balance we needed today.   We'll tackle tomorrow when it comes.  :)  

             My plan is to take things one day at a time and to continue to rely more on prayer this year.  I’m very hopeful that, like in my youth, my anxiety for the past few weeks will prove completely unfounded and my worry-filled “what ifs” will never materialize.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Confirmation Prep-- post #1

             My daughter and I are embarking on a journey of spiritual growth and sacramental prep this year.  My daughter will receive the Sacrament of Confirmation sometime in the spring.  There seems to be a lot of varying opinions as to when it is best to confirm our young people and there also seemed to be a lot of emotions wrapped up in it all.  I guess I do see that there is some benefit to earlier Confirmation, but I’m not upset that my daughter wasn’t confirmed earlier.  I’m just excited for her to experience this beautiful sacrament and if this is the year our parish chooses- in ninth grade- than this is the year we will enjoy the blessings of the preparation and of the sacrament itself.

Since my **almost** ninth grader is my oldest, she is always the first to see me through new parenting hurdles.   Sometimes these firsts cause me a bit of anxiety.  The first time giving birth- I was terrified.  The first time I had to potty train- I was completely intimidated.  The first day of home schooling ever- I had no idea what to expect.  But this first- I am SO excited about.  

My own confirmation prep was… a bit disappointing.  It came at a time in my life (eighth grade for me) when I was first starting to question the importance of religion and whether I really believed what my parents believe.  It should have been the perfect time to ask all my questions and get some answers.  But, I failed to voice most of my queries and those I did ask were not always answered by people who really understood themselves.  Therefore, a great opportunity was missed in my life to really come to know and understand and appreciate my Catholic faith waaaaay sooner than I ever did.  

Thankfully, all these years later I have the answers I needed back then and I LOVE and appreciate my Catholic faith more than anything.  I’m sure the answers came in God’s perfect timing and there was a reason I didn’t understand it all back in eighth grade but I want to give my children every opportunity to see the beauty and the fullness of our faith NOW.  So I seek to teach my children everything I can about our Church and our beliefs and, if need be, I’m willing to learn new lessons and revelations along with them.  I feel privileged to be entrusted with this awesome responsibility.  Confirmation prep gives me a new direction to go in with my daughter and a whole new wealth of resources.

And there are SO many resources I’m finding.  The more I find, the more excited I am, and the more I want to share my discoveries….So, I’m planning to post about our experiences here over the course of the next few months.

First up, will be a post about my daughter’s discernment in picking a Confirmation Saint…...She picked the perfect one and I can’t wait to share!  And then I have to post about her Confirmation sponsor and then the Lighthouse Catholic Media C.D. I bought for her at a home school conference this summer and the article I found online this morning….etc…..

Monday, August 12, 2013

104 babies and 1 pre-schooler!

Last summer, we had two amazing encounters with sea turtles.  You can read about our turtle walk when we helped mark new turtle nests here.  And you can read about our experience, later in the summer, of watching the hatching of a turtle nest here.

After watching (and sort of helping) those adorable baby turtles get their start in life we told everyone we knew about it.  Our only disappointment (if you can call it that) was that it was so dark.  We could not see the hatchlings very well and could not take any pictures lest we disorient and confuse the baby turtles.  

Anyway--  My daughter’s best friend wants to be a marine biologist when she grows up.  So when she asked if she could come along for a turtle walk with us this year, we excitedly set up another date with the turtle walkers.  We knew there are never any guarantees of actually seeing turtles but my mom, who is friends with lots of turtle walkers, promised to do all she could to work something out to, at least, give us the chance.  She was successful!

So Saturday evening we arrived at the beach to witness a turtle nest excavation.  The walkers wait a few days after a hatching and then they dig up the nest and remove the marking sticks.  Each egg is examined and counted for the official records.  

We stood back watching intently as the turtle walkers began their work.   It wasn’t long before a live baby hatchling was discovered.  It had been left behind when the nest hatched as sometimes happens and it had been stuck there in the sand trapped without its brothers and sisters to help it dig to the surface.  

We ohhhed and ahhed over the little guy watching it scramble around in a bucket as the rest of the nest was excavated.   Before all was said and done another three hatchlings were found.  We took a ton of pictures of the cute little babies and wished them luck for their release which would come a few hours later after sundown.


In addition to the excavation, my mom had set up an early morning turtle walk for the our daughter and her friend.  They would accompany a turtle walker on her rounds to check the beach for evidence of overnight hatchings.  I decided after seeing the hatchlings from the excavation that I would sleep in and miss the morning walk on the beach.  There was more excitement to come though….

Early Sunday morning, before the sun even came up, a nest was found with a tiny turtle head sticking out of it.  They assumed the baby turtle had died and the nest had been drowned out somehow.  But as it turned out it was just a hatching that came too late in the night.  The babies stalled their digging mid-hatch due to the rising temperatures of the sand.  The only thing to do was to dig up the nest and save the babies in a bucket until sundown.  Otherwise they would likely die from dehydration or from an encounter with curious tourists.  So my daughter, her friend, and my mother got to witness a second excavation, this time resulting in the saving of about a hundred baby turtles.

Later, since the rest of the family missed the early morning excitement, we got to get a peek at the hatchlings sleeping in their bucket in the turtle walker's garage.  It is awesome to have so many connections in the turtle walking world!

As if all that wasn’t enough—we also celebrated my little one’s fourth birthday over the weekend.  She is officially four years old today!  Pre-school starts a week from now and I am full of mixed emotions as I realize how far from babyhood my baby is really getting.  Mostly, though, I feel incredibly blessed to be her mother and to watch her grow and change.  

My newborn baby back in 2009
And this morning at 4 years old!
One last point- really quick, as I know this post is going on forever- the irony of the situation with the turtles is not lost on me as I celebrate the anniversary of my fifth child’s birth (a child who at one point we feared may have serious health problems).  The lengths that are gone to to protect and save baby sea turtles while allowing and condoning and, at times, even encouraging the murder of thousands of unborn baby humans every day is INSANE.  I cannot help but wonder how things could get so mixed up in this country-- that animal life is valued but human life is disposable.  So, even as I ohhed and ahhed over those baby turtles, I also prayed and mourned the human babies lost to abortion.  Our world really needs it so-please, please, please pray with me!


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