Monday, December 29, 2008

I don’t understand suffering.

I read Paul's words rejoicing in his suffering for the Church, I gaze upon Christ crucified and well I just don’t get it. I’ve never had the sort of ah ha understanding I did when I read John 3:16 and I understood that Jesus’ mission was to repair the damage done in the garden.

Nevertheless, I am committed to Christ and willing to accept that my blind spot on this issue is just that, MY blind spot not a defect in the Church’s teaching. So fumbling along like an unsteady toddler trying to learn how to walk I’ve been trying to learn to “offer up” my suffering to the Lord.

So what constitutes suffering I ask myself?

Well, when my arthritic hip hurts that’s suffering.

Good, good. OK, every time my hip hurts I’ve thanked God and offered the pain for the conversion of the world.

And that feels like the most unnatural thing in the entire world. Odd in the extreme, but a funny thing has happened. My hip has stopped hurting. It wasn’t what I asked for when I prayed but it’s a pleasant side effect.

So now I’ve got another mission. I’m a bit of a glutton, bottom line, I eat way more than I need. Nothing much has convinced me to give up this vice, though I would like to. It’s something I’ve been wrestling with for several years. A bad habit that’s good and dug in.

Does suffering when I give up that chocolate crispy Santa count in God’s economy of suffering for the salvation of souls, or is that simply self indulgent wishful thinking? I’m really not sure, but I’m handing that suffering over to God to do with what he wishes. It’s a far greater motivator than anything I’ve ever tried.

So why babble on publicly about this topic I don’t quite understand? Well, because today I read this post about a pro-choice woman blogging with glee about her abortion. (H/T to The Raving Theist by way of The Curt Jester ).

Today as I suffer through the trials of not stuffing my face with everything I see I’m offering up that sacrifice to God and asking for this woman’s conversion. In fact I believe I’ll offer up the entire experience of breaking the gluttony habit to the salvation of the souls of anyone touched by abortion.

Forgive us Lord for not welcoming the little children. Amen.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Santa Clause is Coming to Town

I have always loved the Norad Santa Tracker system. Having a kid makes it even more fun. Check out the Santa videos too.

Speaking of which I’m not sure who is more excited, Hubby or the Boy. Hubby has a grand scheme to put a ladder up the roof and drop a 2x4 right outside the Boy’s room, then shake some bells and Ho, Ho, Ho through the yard. He was so excited about it this morning he had goose bumps. He had hoped to climb onto the roof and walk across for greater authenticity, which if we didn’t have a sheet of ice on everything would be doable. Mrs. Clause, not wanting to spend time in the ER on Christmas Eve put the kibosh on the whole mashugga affair.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Country Livin' Christmas Tour

I'm joining in Boo Mama's Christmas Tour, Hooked on Holiday House Tours, Rhoda at Southern Hospitality and A Soft Place to Land. It’s kind of a home tour a poloza. Come on in and have a look!

Welcome to the farm. We’ve got plenty of room for company and it’s always a good time to stop by.




Take off your coat and stay a while.



Come on in and sit by the fire. It’s cold out there!!




I’ve decorated the timbers up high in the air.






And Our Lady’s rosary room has a certain flair.





A little touch here and a little touch there.



After we visit I’ll get the table prepared. We’ll have something yummy to keep us all warm.


Before we head back out in the storm!


Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. Thank you for stopping by. May the birth of our Lord and his promise of salvation bring you peace.

7 Quick Takes - The Snow Bound Edition

Jen at Conversion Diary is hosting another Quick Takes Friday. Click on over and join the fun.

1

I don’t get Twitter. I feel like I’m at the tower of babble when I’m on their site.

2

I’m not a fan of old movies, but I watched The Bells of St. Mary’s the other day anyway. It was the longest two hours of my life.

Want to see the frantic increase in the pace of our lives over the last fifty years? Watch a half hour of an old black and white movie, or even a sitcom like Mayberry RFD, and follow it immediately by a half hour of say The Sarah Conner Chronicles.

Is it really all that surprising that ADHD is a problem? If the programming we watch is presented in ADHD format is it really such as surprise that kids respond to life in an ADHD way?

What I’m wondering is how much of the current frantic pace of our culture is media driven, how much is market driven, to what degree are we simply lemmings in the pipeline, and if in fact we are lemmings, in who’s pipeline?

Who exactly is setting the pace of my life, and if it’s a bit to chaotic how do I wrestle back control?

3

And speaking of media influence and the culture at large I loved this article by Cheeky Pink Girl Hanna Montana - Embryonic Kiddy Porn. I especially loved the photos she has of Marsha Brady and Hanna Montana child “icons” of their respective ages.

She points out that Marsh Brady looks like an awkward teen and Hanna Montana looks like a soft porn star. I’ve been mulling over the comparison ever since I read the article.

Seriously, would Marsha Brady have done a semi nude photo shoot for a men’s mag? I think not. Even if she had considered such a thing, at least Alice would have the decency to put a stop to it.

4

The boy (our recently adopted ten year old son) is making a play for a sibling. He thinks a boy around his same age would do the trick nicely. We’ve been scoping out the Adopt US Kids web site and have inquired about a few of the children. We’ve been cautioning him that it can be a very slow process, but he’s full steam ahead.


Raymond's (the boy pictured here) profile ends with this:

“Raymond says it is getting harder to keep hopeful about finding a forever family. Raymond has siblings that are adopted and hopes his new family will help him keep in contact with them.”

Put yourself in their shoes for a few moments this Christmas season and please remember to pray for children who are in need of forever families.

5

And along the adoption of foster children lines….

Home for the Holidays is airing its 10 anniversary episode on CBS next Tuesday at 8:00pm.

I watched two years ago and it is as cute a tear jerker as can be. I couldn’t watch last year, we had too many adoptions fall out and my heart was too broken.

I think we will all watch together this year. Who knows maybe we’ll find Chris’ sib(s) right on national TV.

6

I would like to become a gracious hostess, but I don’t exactly know how. I’m unsure of what is typical or customary in terms of food, or entertainment. I’m not sure how to bring people together to get to know one another, like say the neighbors I’ve lived next to for the last twelve years, only two of whom I’ve ever met.

Of course when I say next to I’m talking a quarter mile down the road or more, but still.

And what about business associates, do ya just throw everyone together in one room and sit there awkwardly? Are there any activities that are good ice breakers? How about conversation starters?

Hubby and I have been working non stop for the last couple of decades and well I’m ready for a bit of community.

So how do I get there from here?

7

I created a bucket list the other day:

1 Permanently loose 15 to 20 lbs. I’m sick and tired of being chubby.
2 Learn how to play piano.
3 Learn how to speak Spanish (properly).
4 Take one of Steve Ray's pilgrimages to Israel. Our Parish has one tentatively scheduled for January 2010, and I'm so there!
5 Learn how to garden in Michigan. It’s way different from California and I’ve never gotten the hang of it.


It’s a pretty short list, I should be able to do this stuff!!!




Well we’re crazy snow bound today so the boy and I will be baking up a storm this afternoon. Not so sure that will help with losing the baby fat, ah well it’s Christmas.

Merry Christmas Everyone!

Friday, December 12, 2008

7 Super Quick Takes – The Gratitude Edition

Jen at Conversion Diary is hosting another episode of 7 quick takes.

1

I’m grateful for orthodox Catholic bloggers that remind me that I’m not alone in a cafeteria of dissent.

2

I’m grateful for Hubby who’s been by my side in good times and bad for 18 years as of December 22nd.

3

I’m grateful for his conversion to Christ only a few months after mine.

4

I’m grateful for the blessing of our son. I had yearned for a child for so long I had almost given up hope, but 2008 was the year everything changed.

5

I’m grateful that our son still believes in Santa. This Christmas will be our best ever.

6

I’m grateful for the Christian school in our community, and I’m grateful for our Priest who suggested I consider a Christ centered Protestant school over the Catholic in name only alternative.

7

I’m grateful that there is another 4th grade boy from our Parish at our son’s school. They are quickly becoming fast friends and the warmth of parish life I recall from childhood is all coming back to me as our son and his friend carpool from school to CCD, see each other at Mass each Sunday and at Feast days and are planning to become alter servers together.

Thank you Lord for these and all the blessings you pour into my life.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Woman makes soap - Husband lives to tell the tale

Today is a great day to learn to make soap.

It’s sunny but cold. Can’t play outside.
Hubby is back home. He and the boy can play NCAA football all day.
The boy’s Rite of Acceptance was today. The countdown is on to the Easter Vigil and all three Sacraments of Initiation yippee.

Yep it’s a good day to begin a new hobby.

So I’m following along slavishly with Small Notebook’s Beginner's Guide to Soap Making and things are going well.

It’s time to pour into the makeshift mold I’m using and I need another pair of hands. I ask Hubby to help and he’s there in a flash. As he’s scraping out the pot he decides he wants to sample and the spoon goes up to his mouth.

“NOOOOOOO, I’m making soap,” I holler a little to late.

“Oh, I thought you were making banana bread or something, but I thought it was nasty.”

Next he’s dipping his hand into the sink full of water to rinse his mouth.

“NOOOOOOO, that’s the sink with lye dishes.”

“Man it’s a rough day to be in the kitchen with you.”

“Dude I just asked for help pouring into the mold, I wasn’t trying to kill you.”

He’s not kidding when he says it’s best for him to stay out of the kitchen.

Friday, November 21, 2008

7 Quick Takes

Jen at Conversion Diary is hosting 7 quick takes again. Thanks Jen!


-----1-----

I have a new favorite author. Taylor Caldwell's book, On Growing Up Tough was a great read. Published in 1971 her take on the culture wars is stunningly insightful and frankly prophetic.

“When I surveyed the hippies on the University of Buffalo campus recently, my first anger was suddenly dissolved into pity for them. They are the Godless, the abandoned, by parents and teachers and the clergy. Their youth made them even more piteous. For their parents and grandparents took away their holy heritage, in this age of materialism and affluence, and too many of the clergy have led them astray into secularism.”

Her book should be mandatory reading for high school as well as college graduation. She represents the conservative viewpoint very, very well.

------2------

I had the most vivid dream last night.

The setting was 16th or 17th century French provincial; I was in a church holding a sleeping four-year-old boy on my lap. I was sitting in a comfy armchair near the back, it was nighttime and the church was empty and dark except for votive candles and I was dozing off. Near dawn a man came and was lying in a fire in a fireplace near the statue of St. Joseph. He didn’t speak to us, but I woke the boy and told him it was near time for the Mass so we needed to go outside to get ready.

When we got outside it was dead of winter cold with the sun breaking over the horizon, the air was still, and clear, and there were several hundred people lined up waiting to come in for Mass. The boy seamed surprised. I told him we needed to go join the others for Mass, and that’s when I woke up.

It was one of those dreams that are clear as can be and the feeling you had when you woke up stays with you all day.

---------3--------

We have new additions to the family.

When you live out in the country people drop off their unwanted pets with great regularity. This week we have added three kittens and a dog.

We don’t usually keep the dogs but this one has stolen our hearts and well the rest is history.

--------4-------

Hubby has been on the road this week and I’ve found myself hitting the drive through for every other meal. I can’t seam to find the time to cook when he’s gone. I’m guessing that means he does a whole lot more around the house than I give him credit for.


--------5--------

Which leads to my next observation. How in the world do single parents manage? That’s a divorce buzz kill right there.

-------6-------

Which leads to the marriage plank of the culture wars.

Video: Christians run out of the Castro district in San Francisco

Text: Here's the back story from Michelle Malkin.com

And a little closer to home.

Video: Radicals distupt church in Lansing Michigan

Text: The Church's Info Page on the Incident.

Jesus said we would face persecution. Pray that we will be as strong as our brothers and sisters in the faith who’ve faced persecution before us.

St. Thomas More, St. Joan of Arc, all holy men and women, pray for us.

------7------


Katie at Just Another Catholic Mom http://justanothercatholicmom.blogspot.com/ (I can't get the link & text to play nice) was kind enough to nominate me for a blog award.

I'm so blogger challenged and can't get the icon to show up!!!

This award acknowledges the values that every blogger shows in his/her effort to transmit cultural, ethical, literary and personal values every day.

Thank you very much. I enjoy your blog too!!!

Friday, November 14, 2008

7 Quick Takes

Thanks to Jen at Conversion Diary for a cool Friday idea.

------1 ------

Mom to Son as he’s doing that kid on a mission asking over and over again about dinner plans thing.
“Give me a minute I need to finish and I can’t think straight.”

Son to Mom who’s a obviously a bit harried.
“Can you think diagonally, how bout side to side?”

Mom to son as he wiggles around trying to avoid homework (a behavior that’s been driving Mom to distraction all week)
“Not so fast buddy, there’s a new sheriff in town.”

Son to Mom with out missing a beat.
“There sure is, his name is Jack Welsh.”

The kid is a bit of a hoot.

------2 -------

The election blues are lifting. Alleluia.

------3 -------

My horse is back from MSU veterinary hospital and doing well. His surgery wounds are healing, his breathing is normal, and his energy level is good. The veterinarian (I’ll call him Dr. Kavorkian) who recommended putting him down seams to be amazed.

He was equally amazed that the horse improved dramatically after I went up to visit him on the day he recommended euthanizing him. I haven’t told him I had every confidence that laying hands on the animal, asking for St. Francis’ intercession and anointing him with Padre Pio blessed oil would help.

The horse's time will come, as it will come for us all, but I wasn’t going to take Kavorkian, DVMs recommendation with out asking our Lord to intervene first.

------4 ------

Air travel has gotten ULGY!!!!

Hubby was scheduled on a flight out of Detroit Metro to Sacramento yesterday evening to take the California contractor’s exam this morning at 7:15am. His 6:00 pm flight was canceled and their solution was to take a flight today instead. Not going to work with a 7:00am exam, they refused to help. He booked the last flight out of DTW on another carrier, got as far as Chicago and then had the leg to Sacramento delayed 4 hours with the caveat that it may not fly at all.

Hubby arrived in Sacramento at 3:30am, his rental car place was closed, didn’t open until 8:00am.

Buying a second ticket = $350.00

Cab ride to contractors exam = $65.00

Passing the exam after all night travel to get there = Priceless

------5 ------

My son is going with my dad to the game at the Big House tomorrow, (Michigan stadium for the uninitiated). It’s supposed to be spitting rain and snow all day tomorrow. Yuck, but they are both looking forward to it.

I was unsure how an adopted child would be welcomed into the family, but both Hubby’s dad and my dad have been great with our son, and I’m so grateful. Thank you Jesus for such wonderful men.

------6 ------

The boy is a big Michigan fan, came out of the box that way. It works. I’m an alum. He says he would like to go to school there. If he does he will be a fifth generation legacy. I was the first generation to bolt from Michigan for graduate school. I declined to follow my ancestors into the legal profession. I was a rebel, what can I say.

------7 ------

I’ve been working really hard to attend daily Mass for the last several weeks. It is such a blessing. The Grace our Lord pours out helps so much in the day in day out battles of life, which is a good thing because it seams that when we draw closer to God the battles multiply. Satan is such as pest.

Hi Everyone. Now bye. (From The Boy)

Sunday, November 9, 2008

It’s a Jungle Out There

The closer I draw to God the more I withdraw from the world. Not the day in day out world of my little fam and our business, but the world at large. I quit reading the paper, or news sites, I don’t watch the news on TV, and we watch VERY, VERY little TV of any kind. I found that the less I consumed of the culture at large the happier I am. Then came the presidential campaign and ….. GRUMPY ME.

It started slowly several weeks ago, a peekie pooh at Foxnews.com & CNN.com, a glance at the headlines, from time to time, a debate or two on the tube, just to see how the campaigns were playing. Soon I was checking in on the news sites ten times a day. I skipped the infomercial, my mind was made up early on, like from day one.

I noticed a curious thing as I began to take in more of the culture of the day. I got crankier and more cynical with each article read. I began to really look forward to the election being over and I’m glad that it is. Elizabeth Esther's blog hits the spot. The election is over, life goes on, and the holder of office of the President of the United States of America deserves our respect no matter which way we cast our ballot.

I awoke on election day in that groggy not quite awake state with a comfort from the Lord as clear as a bell, "Be Still and Know that I am God". Something we may need to remind ourselves of in the years ahead as we fight the good fight of faith.

Lord teach us to pray for you tell us that the prayers of a righteous man avail much. Amen

Friday, October 24, 2008

Eve What Were You Thinking?

For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

One of my horses is dying. He’s had labored breathing for several weeks and our local vet didn’t have a clue so we took him up to the veterinary teaching hospital at MSU in Lansing and they have confirmed a diagnosis of equine squamous cell carcinoma which they tell me is very aggressive. He is recovering very slowly from last week’s surgery and one of the vets is recommending immediate euthanasia.

Even though he’s only a horse his loss is painful. As I sat teary eyed hiding out in the bathroom at work after discussing the situation with Hubby I thought of Eve. Had she know how far reaching the pain caused by her sin, would she have made a different choice? Had she known the pain her choice would cause God, would she have made a different choice? She had been warned that she would die and that didn’t stop her, so perhaps not, which brings me to the subject of my own sin.

I’ve been struggling of late with the Lord’s instruction to: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven. And I wonder how far reaching my own sin, each of our sins may be. Surly if Eve had seen the consequences of her choice, to her children and for so many future generations, she would have sought the Lord’s guidance. But alas she did not, and that is where I want to learn from her mistake.

Sin hurts. It hurts us, it hurts those we hurt, it hurts God and it hurts our relationships with God and each other. In many cases it hurts across time and reaches those hurts into the future.

I don’t want to go there; I don’t what my legacy to be one of pain to anyone, although my actions don’t always live up to that ideal. In fact far from it, so off to the confessional I go seeking God’s grace which is sufficient for me. I can’t become the woman I want to be in my own power. It’s simply not possible, but we all have free will we can all make choices. I want to choose as Our Lady did to bring Christ to the world, and my only hope of joining in such a lofty ideal is living a life of Grace constantly seeking God’s guidance in the daily decisions of life, and asking his forgiveness when I fall short.

Lord, help me to follow you more closely, teach me to love as you do, give me a heart that beats in tune with yours. I ask this through Christ our Lord, Amen.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

“You’re Really Lucky”

On the list of things not to say to an adopted child. We had someone tell our son he’s lucky recently and it just did not sit right with me. I wanted to give her the benefit of the doubt and chalk it up to an awkward “I don’t know what to say to this child” fopaux, but she followed it up by telling me, “it gets better when they are 30 or so.” I was able to rally for that one and told her I’m really enjoying the process right now. If anyone else ever tells him he’s lucky I’ll be ready with, “No, really I’m the lucky one.”

I’m not sure why she would tell a child who was abandoned by his mother at two, beaten by his father so badly that he required two surgeries and was hospitalized for a week and has lost his siblings, grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins in the process he’s lucky, but she did. Of course she does not know his story, but still he’s nine, not an infant, it’s apparent he has a past.

He took it well, in fact I don’t believe he even noticed, but if he were lucky he would have been born into a family with loving parents who are married a house full of sibs and extended family nearby. What he got was a rough deal for the first nine years of his life. I’m this child’s seventh mother for Pete’s sake, that’s not what I would call lucky!!

We all have our crosses in life to bear and every life has sorrow and pain, he’s not any more unique that any other soul, but still he’s seen his share of difficulties at a very early age. I heard the song Alyssa Lies today and I can’t help but think that could have been our son. He tells me that he thought he was going to be killed, he tells me of the chair his birth father held over his head to smash on him and the mysterious way it was deflected and never hit him and I’m convinced his guardian angel intervened. Of course God can and will bring good out of the worst circumstances and he will work all things together for good for his purposes, but lucky the boy ain’t.

What he is, is an awesome kid. We are all getting settled into the routine of school, soccer, the social calendar of a fourth grader and homework. There is limit testing going on, there are challenges that come with the baggage of his past, but they are minor and it is a joy to watch him grown each day. Truly I am the lucky one, I’m sure that’s what she meant to say.

Give thanks to the Lord for he is good, his love endure forever. Amen.

Monday, October 20, 2008

IVF & The Godparent Dilemma

My SIL has a gorgeous baby son, Gabriel. The boy is a serious cutie born in August. The five other children conceived with him via IVF were destroyed because the cost of cryopreservation was not covered by insurance. I grieve for them every time I see a photo of little Gabe, Hubby and I would have loved to have adopted his brothers and sisters.

My SIL has asked Hubby and I to be his Godparents, and I am really struggling with this request. In addition to the IVF question, both parents have been married before and Gabe’s dad was married in the Church. No efforts have been made toward annulment other than determining that the cost and effort are prohibitive.

In speaking to our Priest he tells us that the standard is a “reasonable hope” that the child will be raised in the faith. I’ve sent her materials about annulment, and faith formation CDs from the Parish media center, but every time I ask about efforts toward annulment I get the brush off.

On the one hand I don’t want to upset the family apple cart by refusing to be his Godparents on the other I’m more concerned about offending Jesus than my SIL. They live over a thousand miles away and so our influence in Gabe’s daily life would be exclusively via prayer rather than daily example.

I’m looking for insights, HELP!

Friday, October 17, 2008

A Marriage Saved Through Prayer

My Brother sent me this e-mail. These people were classmates of my brother and sister as we were growing up. It's kind of long, but a strong testament to the power of prayer and submitting our cares to God, and the blessings that flow when we do! (I've changed the names for privacy)

Anne: I thought you might enjoy this email. Jim Bower was in Carly's class and Margo Bower was in my class.
xoxo JMCIII


From: Margo Bower
Sent: Wednesday, October 15, 2008 12:04 PM
Subject: MARRIAGE ALERT: One Saved!!

Over one year ago, on October 10, 2007, I sent out this email. I had no earthly reason to think that my marriage could be saved. Our divorce would be final on January 28th, 2008, the day before our 14th anniversary.

Four months after I wrote this email and asked for prayers, on January 29th, instead of divorced, Jim and I found ourselves at the University of Michigan hospital. On our fourteenth wedding anniversary, as we waited for Katie to get out of surgery, we were having dinner together in the hospital cafeteria,. Just the two of us. We were still married. From that day, the direction of our marriage changed. We began the journey back to each other.

What Jim and I have gone through has been an awakening and learning experience for us both. . We have been enlightened by our pain, we have traveled this road, separately, yet never truly apart.

We are continuing on the promises we made to each other almost fifteen years ago.

I am sending out this email as a testament to the miracle that we have been given. To what God can make possible when we walk in faith, hope, and choose to love. To the power of prayer.

Today, Wednesday, October 15th at 4:30 pm., Father Ken will be in our home to renew our marriage vows. It will be the kids, Father Ken, and Jim and I. Father Ken will then bless our home (don't know what this involves but we are interested to find out).

So, thank you for your prayers a year ago. Please continue to pray. To pray for us, our children, our marriage, and all marriages. To pray for all the couples that are tempted in believing that there is no hope. That they may continue to believe in their marriages and each day make the decision to love.

"Love is gentle, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not
boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking,
it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love
does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always
protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.....And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love." I Corinthians 13

May God continue to answer all of our prayers, through mercy and grace.
Mr. and Mrs. Jim Bower

----- Original Message -----
From: Margo Bower
Sent: Wednesday, October 10, 2007 12:49 PM
Subject: Marriage ALERT: Another one taken

I am asking for a prayer. I do not know what else to do. I hear that I should "give in, give up, it is not worth it", "You have done everything you could", "It is too late".

My story is not uncommon. Married 13 years, 3 children. My husband filed for divorce this summer. Lets just say. Its the oldest story in the book. If things go as they are, we will be divorced in January 2008, exactly 14 years from the month we stood on the alter and promised "until death do us part".

I know I would be fine. I know life would go on for our family. I know everyone would be fine. But I can't help thinking that, no matter what, a lose in faith in a marriage is nothing short of a tragedy. It has been simply the result of.....a lack of faith.

To clarify, our relationship was not abusive.

I have seen the devastation of divorce personally and throughout my life. It has become an everyday occurrence in our society. It is a human tragedy to all involved. Not only do children suffer but they learn in time that that it is a part of life, an acceptable outcome.

I am finding it hard to believe this is what God intends. That this is what God expects us to accept.

I believe God gave me this thought. I have heard we need to be specific in our prayers. I believe this is a thought (like so many these days) that he would like me to carry out.

Anyone who has been through a divorce knows how things are twisted. This simply email could probably come back to be used against me. That is, I guess, what God is asking of me. To have faith. To believe even when faced with my fears. At the risk of what people may say or think about me. I am going to do as He has asked. I am taking a leap of faith.

I handed this all over to God months ago. I am now handing it out to others. I ask that you look in your heart. Ask yourself what you believe in. To pray for my marriage. To pray for a miracle. If one marriage can be saved by the power of prayer and belief in Gods word, maybe we will all be strengthened.

I ask that you stop what you are doing right now and say:
one Hail Mary for Jim and Margo
one Hail Mary for our children
one Hail Mary for the marriage of your choice

If by some miracle, if my marriage is saved. I am hoping we will be able to tell our story. To share our experiences. To bring hope and strength to those who have lost faith in marriage, in relationships, in themselves, and in the power of prayer.

Please send this email on so to as many people as you would like, so that at the very least God will hear how many people still believe in Him!

I have copied some words of wisdom on the subject=)):

STANDING FIRM
by Charles R. Swindoll
1 Corinthians 15-16

I heard a statistic the other day that blew my mind. Anna Sklar, the author of a book called Runaway Wives, (published in 1976 per Anna Sklar the author) was a guest on a local talk show. In the course of the discussion, she cited that ten years ago, for every wife or mother who walked away from her home and responsibilities, six hundred husbands and fathers walked out. Today for each man who walks away, two women do.
Pause and let that sink in.

Understand, I’m not advocating either, nor am I taking sides. I’m just amazed at the unbelievably rapid rise in the number of women who choose escape as the favorite method of coping.

Contrary to our great American heritage, many of today’s citizens would rather quit than stick. That which was once not even an option is now standard operating procedure. Now, it’s "if you start to sink, jump, don’t bail" . . . or "if it’s hard, quit, don’t bother."

Every achievement worth remembering is stained with the blood of diligence and scarred by the wounds of disappointment. To quit, to run, to escape, to hide—none of these options solve anything. They only postpone the acceptance of, and reckoning with, reality.

Churchill put it well: "Wars are not won by evacuations."

No, battles are won in the trenches . . . in the grit and grime of courageous determination . . . in the arena of life, day in and day out, amidst the smell of sweat and the cry of anguish.
The apostle Paul, the man who bore on his body "the brand-marks of Jesus" (Gal. 6:17), was a living example of his own counsel: "Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your toil is not in vain in the Lord. . . . Be on the alert, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong" (1 Cor. 15:58; 16:13).
Giving thought to giving up?
Considering the possibility of quitting?
Looking for an easy way out?

Entertaining the idea of running away . . . stopping before it’s finished . . . escaping from reality?
Don’t! The Lord never promised you a Disneyland. In fact, the only time He ever used the word "easy" was when He referred to a yoke.

Every journey is accomplished one step at a time. Don’t stop now.

CHANGING CAN’TS TO WON’TS
by Charles R. Swindoll
Romans 12:21

Can’t and won’t. Christians need to be very careful which one they choose. It seems that we prefer to use "can’t."

"I just can’t get along with my wife."
"My husband and I can’t communicate."
"I can’t discipline the kids as I should."
"I just can’t give up the affair I’m having."
"I can’t stop overeating."
"I can’t find time to pray."

Any Christian who takes the Bible seriously will have to agree the word here really should be "won’t." Why? Because we have been given the power, the ability to overcome. Literally!
Any good psychiatrist knows that "I can’t" and "I’ve tried" are merely lame excuses.

We’re really saying "I won’t," because we don’t choose to say "With the help of God, I will!"

Now, go back and change all those "can’ts" on that internal list you carry around to "won’ts" and see how that makes you feel about yourself. Not very good, huh? It’s the same as "choosing" to disobey. Today you can choose to be an "I will" person.

An excuse has been defined as the skin of reason stuffed with a lie.

PLEASE PRAY THESE THREE HAIL MARY's FOR MARRIAGE
God Bless us all. Thank you for your prayers, Margo

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Vote for Life

The Catholic Vote

A site devoted to the issues in this election.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Mothering – It’s like being a tuning fork

I spent a lot of time thinking about what it would be like to be a mother, years and years of time. Does the reality match? Sort of. The physical day in day out stuff is what I thought it would be. Making sandwiches, washing clothes, schlepping here and there is what I expected.

It’s the emotional part, the relational part I didn’t have a framework for, at least not from a mother’s perspective. I think of the emotional aspects of parenting as acting like an emotional tuning fork. I find myself checking in on my son’s emotions and engaging him with a purpose. If he’s in a sunny mood, which he most often is, my purpose is to be playful with him. Just to connect and goof off, sometimes with stuff more typical of younger children like “This little piggy”, we have skipped some years together after all this 9-year-old boy and I.

When his mood is sour my purpose is to sooth his emotions. When I engage him it’s to hold his emotions from spiraling out of control and my purpose becomes to get him “tuned” back to more neutral territory. It’s a relational dance I often ask Our Lady, St. Anne and St. Elizabeth to help me with, and when he’s really out of sorts I’ll just place me hand on him and pray over him, once he calms down a bit I’ll pray a decade of the rosary over him out loud. I explain the mystery and he counts out the Hail Marys as I go. So far it really seams to sooth him.

My husband’s interaction with him is so very different. He’s much more physical, they rough house and well frankly there are often stinky bodily functions involved in their goofing off. What is it with men and gas and fingers?

I wonder what would become of our great nation if moms refocused on being moms. I see more and more families tossing the feminist presumption that women only have value if we are producing financially, but what would become of us if this were standard rather than the exception?

What if moms across the nation were setting the tone, acting as the tuning fork for their families rather than the media or peers or the ever-pressing demands of extra curricular activities? Perhaps NYT columnists wouldn’t be so baffled by God's design for humanity and perhaps our nation would be strengthened as our families are strengthened.

He settles the barren woman in her home as a happy mother of children. Praise the LORD. Psalm 113.9 I didn’t think it would ever happen, but you had a plan far greater than any I could have come up with myself. Thank you Jesus.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

It Is Well With My Soul

Jesus Calms the Storm

Then he got into the boat and his disciples followed him. Without warning, a furious storm came up on the lake, so that the waves swept over the boat. But Jesus was sleeping. The disciples went and woke him, saying, "Lord, save us! We're going to drown!"

He replied, "You of little faith, why are you so afraid?" Then he got up and rebuked the winds and the waves, and it was completely calm.

OK Lord, I’m ready for the completely calm!!!

My life, the life of my little family has been surrounded by complete chaos for months. It’s calm inside our little boat, but we’ve had wave after wave of chaos particularly in our business which is our sole livelihood. Every time a new wave of insanity hits I think of the disciples. Jesus was with them snoozing in the back, so I simply imagine him with us snoozing. If he’s at rest I suppose I should rest as well, but man it’s hard to relax when the attacks come from all sides.
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Even my poor horse is under attack, the animal has an obstruction in his airway and is on the verge of suffocation. It comes from all angles, from trusted employees melting down (three of them), to another having a mid life crisis and disappearing, to clients from hell, to OSHA hassles.
On Monday when the latest drama unfolded all I could think of this time was the lyrics to the song, “It Is Well With My Soul”…

“When sorrows like sea billows roll, thou has taught me to say it is well with my soul”.

And so it is, this world is passing and eternity looms on the ship's horizon, but it can be hard to keep that focus when the day in day out drama of life demands our attention. God always gives me guidance is short staccato bursts. Last week as I prayed for guidance in front of the tabernacle he tells me.

“I’m doing something new with the company.”

I see that Lord, and we’ve consecrated it to you, just keep reminding me that you are at the helm and not I, and I’ll keep singing “It is well with my soul”.

When times are good, be happy; but when times are bad, consider: God has made the one as well as the other. Therefore, a man cannot discover anything about his future. Ecclesiastes

Monday, September 8, 2008

Chatting with Our Lady

I searched high and low trying to get my son into a Catholic school. I traveled an hour away to visit Spiritus Sanctus and a half hour to visit the only parish school in our county. The options were drive 160 miles a day to one and 100 per day to the other. It just wasn’t going to work no matter how I sliced it. I decided to send him to the Protestant school in town.

As I was strolling through the halls of the Protestant school to enroll him I was telling Our Lady how sorry I was that she isn’t venerated here and that the Saints are ignored and that the richness and beauty of the faith isn’t taught and for the first time in my life she spoke back to me!!

Whoa.

“They love my son here, and you can teach him to love me.”

OK.

So we are working on developing a distinctly Marian focus in our family. One of the ways is St. Louis de Montfort’s 33 day total consecration to Our Lady, offered free by the Friends of Our Lady Apostolate.

We are also TIVOing Truth in the Heart on EWTN and watching Steve Ray’s Footprints of God series to supplement our nightly reading of My First Catholic Bible a really nice overview of the bible edited down to child size portions.

So we are pilgrims in a foreign land so to speak, but it’s a land we’re familiar with. After all he goes to “chapel” each week in the auditorium of the evangelical church we attended so it’s not as if we don’t know what we’re getting into. Still, I’m counting heavily on Our Lady’s guidance to teach our son to love her as she has instructed.

Oh Mary, Conceived Without Sin, Pray for Us Who Have Recourse to Thee.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Is It A Big Adjustment?

It’s the single most frequently asked question about our adoption experience.

It’s understandable. Hubby and I were childless for almost eighteen years so yes it’s an adjustment, but one of the biggest surprises has been how normal it feels. It almost feels like the first eighteen years were off kilter and now the ship has been righted.

I can recall daydreaming about what this situation or that would be like if we had children. Like getting up and out the door for school, or getting meals ready for a child or whatever, and the answer is it’s eerily natural. It’s shockingly normal to watch Hubby and our son play ball in the evening, or to run errands with a child in tow, or to adjust the menu with a nine year olds palate in mind.

The truth is I love it. I’m happy to adjust my day to accommodate his needs, especially his emotional needs, because no one else on this planet has been appointed by God with the responsibility of mothering this child.

I’ve always felt being a wife was my most important roll in life and being a mom feels like a really natural extension of that responsibility. Now I occasionally daydream about how large family life would operate. I doubt we will have a large family, but then again I had doubts we would have children at all so you never know.

Thank you Lord for the blessing of our son. Help us to raise him to know, love and serve you in this life and I pray that you will bring him home to rejoice with you in Heaven.

Friday, August 22, 2008

The Wedding Feast at Cana

Or Tacoma as it were.

My BIL, Hubby’s half brother, got married last weekend. As blended families go this one has some serious hot buttons and since it was a first meeting for his half sibs, the evil ex step mother and our son we were on high alert. If we were an airport we would have been under deep red caution for terrorist activity.

I found myself a bit more liberal with the libations in an effort to take the edge off and then it occurred to me. Perhaps Our Lady was simply trying to keep the peace when she asked Jesus to provide more wine at Cana. (Tongue-in-cheek alert.)

OK so probably not, but still this wedding of my ever so reformed Jewish BIL was on 16th of Av, 5768 per the program. Reformed or not the tie to Cana is an unbroken line across the ages. As I sat at this Jewish wedding, the first since my conversaion, I couldn’t help but think of Cana so many years ago. It was cool to imagine Jesus, Our Lady and the deciples listening to the same readings, and wishing the couple under the Chuppah well with a hearty Mazal Tov as the groom broke the glass at the end of the ceromony.

My BILs Chuppa was made from the Tallit he wore at his Bar Mitzvah and again it brought Jesus to mind. Could it have been that Jesus’ Bar Mitzvah gave him the notion it would be alright to stay behind at the temple “going about his Father’s business” when Mary and Joseph had to double back to town to find him? Once a boy is Bar Mitzvah he is accountable under the law.

There is comfort in the permanance of God’s covenants, in the continituty of God’s people through time, and joy in the knowledge that in Christ we are the decendants God promised to Abraham, decendants to numerous to count. As Christians we are grafted into the family line what an awsome blessing.

Lord help us to be ever mindful of the gift we have in you. Amen.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Big Oaks Ranch Home for Orphans

Hubby had always wanted to adopt. I wasn’t so sure, so I spent a great deal of time looking into all the angles, the options, the potential pitfalls, the success stories, the not so successful stories. I was very unsure of my ability to cope with an abused child’s needs so I dealt with the situation the way I deal with most such inquires, I read and read on the topic.

One of the most inspiring people I found is a man named John Croyle. He founded Big Oaks Ranch a Christian group home for orphaned and abused children. I read his book Bringing Out the Winner in Your Child and I am rereading it again. He speaks about the home in this brief interview.

This man has raised hundreds of orphaned and abused children and his parenting advise is simple – kids want boundaries – give them in a consistent and loving way, with discipline when they break the boundaries.

His story gave me courage to pursue adoption of an older child and I pray that I am able to have the same positive impact on our son’s life that he has had on the lives of the children at his ranch.

Lord lead and guide us on your path. Amen.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

On Becoming a Family

It’s a lot like falling in love, the process of bringing an adopted child into our home.

That first blush of excitement, the nervousness, the uncertainty and fear of the unknown, the time spent thinking about the beloved when apart, the drawing together then drawing away. I’ve re-experienced the whole dance of courtship in these first few weeks with our son.

When I met my husband I was immediately smitten, but the process of weaving our individual lives into a marriage was not always a rose strewn path. The same could be said of bringing our son into our home. He truly is a delightful boy – most of the time.

On those challenging days I have greater understanding of the temptation to lash out in anger against a child. I don’t condone child abuse, but I understand it.

On those challenging days I have greater understanding of the temptation to manufacture a child via IVF. I can’t help but wonder if a child who is flesh of my flesh would give me greater resolve to endure the hard times.

On those challenging days I wonder if bringing a baby home would have been a whole lot easier. Spouses come with baggage, and so do school age orphans.

Things are rocky when visions of Military academy dance through your head.

Then it occurred to me that Our Lady may have forgotten the sound of my voice, that I hadn’t been to Adoration in over a month. Bringing a school-aged child into the lives of people married for eighteen years requires some serious adjusting. I didn’t intend to walk away from my prayer life; I just got preoccupied with making lunch and schlepping to day camp, swimming lessons, doctor appointments, case workers, home visits….

So I picked up my rosary and scheduled time for Adoration, and through the miracle of Grace poured out in answered prayer this week has been much easier. Happy cooperative boy is back, crabby argumentative boy is gone, melt downs have been few and mild, good humor and goofiness abound.

Recently the case worker was early for a home visit and standing in the drive as we pull up to the house still soaking wet from an afternoon at the pool.

“Tell her we went to a goldfish convention”,
he quips.

The boy is kinda funny, a huge blessing, a delight and an occasional pain in the backside all in one. Yep, pretty much the same package I got when I signed up for marriage.

Lord thank you for bringing this boy to our family. Guide us on your path, teach us to love him as you do, and bring us all home safely to heaven when our time on earth is through. We ask this through Christ our Lord, Amen.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Fillet Mignon & Champagne or Big Mac & A Coke – The Choice is Ours

I spent time with my Cursillo group last evening catching up on the haps in each other’s lives. One of my friends is wrestling with “not getting anything out of the Mass”.

Sometimes we experience dryness in our spiritual life as Mother Teresa did, and sometimes we experience dryness in our spiritual lives as the prodigal did, but either way the Lord calls us to him as we walk in the desert. The only question is what will we choose.

The Mass is boring, I might as well be spiritual at home, she said.

How can the Creator of the entire universe humbling himself to feed us his very body and blood, allowing us to be present at the moment in time where he poured out his very blood and suffered for our sake, where he allows flawed and sinful men to bring him into the world really be all that boring?

Well I don’t plan to leave the Sacraments, she said.

But do you avail yourself of the Sacraments, do you accept God’s rich gifts? The gift of forgiveness, the gift of his grace to avoid temptation in the sacrament of reconciliation, or the gift of his very body and blood to heal and nourish you in the Blessed Sacrament? When was the last time you went to reconciliation?

I just talk to God to ask forgiveness, she said.

A fine place to start, but what Jesus both offers and requires of his people is to come to him in humility first in the confessional and then and only then with a contrite and clean heart to the feast of his body and blood, the sole source of eternal life.

Sometimes I marvel at the fact that I have any friends at all, I can be a little blunt.

I’ve been following with horror the desecration of the Blessed Sacrament by militant atheists. A topic Mark Shea covers at insidecatholic.com.

Yes, many of our Parishes are dry, the Mass can be boring, why is that? Why are evangelicals filled with a holy fire and we who consume the Lord’s body and blood ho hum about the matter? Is it any coincidence that atheists attack the Eucharist? Why not the bible that ALL Christians hold so dear?

The Lord lays before Catholics a banquet such as mankind has never seen, grace, peace healing and sweet refreshment for our souls. Satan lays before us pea pods left over after the swine have had their fill. If we aren’t able to see that perhaps we don’t have a proper appreciation of Heaven and Hell, perhaps we need a little reality check.

Fillet mignon & champagne or Big Mac & a Coke – The choice is ours.

Lord open the eyes of our hearts so that we may see you, love you, and appreciate the sacrifice you make for us each and every day. Amen.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

The Red Neck Games

It’s fair week in the country, and in my (red) neck of the woods that means race time.

For those who may not be familiar with the testosterone fest know as the Figure 8 race, it consists of boys of all ages living out their NASCAR dreams on a dirt track trying to avoid getting smashed up so badly the car is towed off the track. Oh yea, and vying for the trophy that comes complete with County wide bragging rights good for one full year.

Behold
Before the Race

The Obama - Oh No # 9 Car
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The Contestants
A Fine Field This Year
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Number One & Number Two
Across the Field to Shake Hands After the Race
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The Bus

Notice the Ladder for Top Deck Viewing

Thank you Lord for a safe race this year and for the trophy Dad won for his boy. Amen.


Tuesday, July 15, 2008

How Important is it to Hear the Bells Ring?

I have a huge dilemma, where do we send the boy to school?

Home schooling is not an option, I still work and we want the boy to have a wrap around experience of interaction with caring adults.

I thought we were all settled on the local “Catholic” school. It’s a school on the campus of an order of dissenting nuns who entertains speakers like Bishop Gumbleton and Sr. Joan Chittister. Less than ideal, but the only option in our town, and the school admin team was run by laity, until last week that is. There has been a turn over in administration and one of the sisters is taking the helm. Ut Oh.

The campus is beautiful, the school building is beautiful, there are crucifixes in the class rooms, the bells ring for Mass at the Mother House, and right outside one of the windows there is a sign for the Dominican Ashram. How’s that again?

When I go to Mass with the sisters I get a touch uncomfortable with the nuns reading the gospel and preaching the homily, and with the In the Name of the Creator, Redeemer and Sanctifier blessing at the end, but I soothed this discomfort with a reminder that the laity ran the school. When I spoke with the religion teacher today about how fidelity to the Magisterium was practiced and taught in the school her only response was that the school uses a curriculum approved by the Diocese. I was hoping for something a bit more enthusiastic.

The other option in my town is a Christian school of indiscriminate Protestant heritage. It has a pretty campus attached to a YMCA type family center with after school activities. The school and family center, like most things Protestant, have been stripped of all of the tactile beauty of the Catholic faith. This school has a high school and athletic programs unavailable with the dissenting nuns and the kids come out of this school with a complete working knowledge of the bible, and none whatsoever of the Magisterium.

As a Catholic revert I can say that the smells and bells, the tactile experience of the Catholic faith, was very important to my ever so limited formation as a child. So much so that as Hubby and I were attending a Retrouvaille weekend right around the time we were coming into the church the little bell they rung between sessions was like a little life line tossed out to my anguished soul. Such a little thing yet it echoed so deeply. Still, I never learned the bible as a child, that I began reading in my time with the evangelicals.

What to do with this school decision, I feel like Tevye in Fiddler on the Roof, pondering his daughter’s desire to marry someone of her own choosing. I wish we could send him to Spiritus Sanctus, but the gas to get there each day would be about triple the cost of tuition.

Do we stick with a Catholic flavor and hope the dissent doesn’t sink in, or do we go with the evangelical track of intimate bible knowledge and live the liturgical life at home?

How important are the cultural aspects of the faith? How important is it for him to hear the bells and know that it’s time for Mass as he commented recently as we were walking into the school’s day camp?

Lord show us your path for our son’s life, we ask this through Christ Our Lord, Amen.

Update: Retrouvaille correction in place!

Saturday, July 12, 2008

IVF – Does the End Justify the Means: A Study in Satan’s Ways.

Part Two

The evil of IVF is so deceptive because we hold the byproduct in our hearts and in our arms. Mother’s Day is always difficult for a woman who wants children and I’ve been wrestling with this post since May.

This year as I gazed across the brunch table into the shining faces of my two nieces conceived via IVF the ways of Satan became clearer to me. “The woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it.” Eve wanted the fruit because it was “good” and “pleasing” and “desirable”. Women want children because they are good. My nieces are good. God tells us to be fruitful and multiply, it’s one of a woman’s most basic desires, and that’s what Satan twists with artificial reproductive technology. The desire, which is good and the byproduct, also good is convoluted and manipulated. Satan is an expert manipulator, even masquerading as an angel of light 2 Cor 11:14.

Rather than being a gift of God, children become a marketable commodity, something to be acquired when “My husband and I would like to raise a family”, morphs into “I will manufacture a child.” Once that bridge is crossed the child is no longer a gift of God, the human experience of a married man and a women touching the sacred by joining with God in the act of procreation and uniting their lives in a permanent commitment to raise offspring becomes something else altogether.

Pandora’s box has been opened and for those seeking children the end often justifies any means. The abuses are well known and very real. 400,000 frozen children, thousands more intentionally flushed away by parents, children casually experimented on under the guise of scientific research to help humanity, i.e. stem cell research.

Where pray tell in this argument is the discussion of helping the embryo being experimented upon, how have these children been abandoned by everyone including their parents? Our brave new world of reproductive technology brings us organ harvesting, genetic screening, and the most recent gruesome development in this “important scientific endeavor”, human animal hybrid embryos. We humans aren’t properly equipped to take God’s place. Clearly we don’t value life as fearfully and wonderfully made, we happily create life for the purpose and with the intent to destroy that life.

I googled IVF & Satan just to see what came up. What I got was a whole community of lesbian women who are trying to become pregnant, or are parenting manufactured children and this on line community is a study in the social pitfalls of IVF technology juxtaposed against the heart and soul of one of the most basic instincts of authentic femininity, the desire to be a mother.

These women casually dismiss the basic needs of their children. The human need to know who we are and where we come from, a need met when a child learns his family’s history, the story of those who came before him in this world. The need to have our father’s influence in our lives, the lessons learned as we watch our fathers cope with the world, to see the world from a man’s perspective. Without access to our fathers, when dad is nothing more than donor number 2857 we’ve fragmented one of the basic foundations of a child’s sense of self.

I suspect it will be the generation of manufactured children who ultimately rise up to stand against this technology. Just as the young men and women born in the shadow of Roe v. Wade are giving voice to those of their generation lost to abortion, I suspect it will be those conceived in Petri dishes who speak up and say, “What about my brothers and sisters?”

From time to time we all think our siblings are swine, it’s the way of life, but how would we feel about our siblings actually being hybridized with swine, I suspect that will be a whole different story. I suspect when that realization hits these children they will have the common decency to put an end to this insanity, and IVF as we know it today will become an unpleasant part of American history in the way that eugenic sterilization has become a subject of scorn rather than something of which to be proud.

The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction. Proverbs 1:7

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

IVF – Frozen Chilly Children: A Study in Satan’s Ways

Part One

Two years ago I woke up one morning with only one thought running through my head. Frozen chilly children, frozen chilly children, frozen chilly children, stuck in my brain like the words to a song that stays with you all day. A conversation I had while getting my teeth cleaned got me thinking. The do you have any kids question came up and that led to a discussion of the hygienist’s friend who was going through a divorce and trying to decide what to do with their frozen embryos. My mind started going. Maybe this was the solution to the whole thing, if not these children then perhaps some others in the permafrost playground.

I did a little research and learned that over 400,000 children are cryofrozen in the U.S. Alive, but not living their lives, suspended in time and space like some sort of sci-fi movie. The pro life camp rightly sees this for the tragedy it is, the nay sayers dismiss the gruesome reality with the rationalization that these embryos are weak and most likely won’t survive under the best of conditions. Me? I just wanted to be a mom. Not much had been panning out for me and here are kids who obviously need parents. Like many things in life turns out it’s not that simple.

I contacted snowflakes, but I also began calling local cryo banks to ask about adoption of donated frozen embryos. I had been through one cycle of IVF so I wasn’t a complete babe in the woods, or so I thought.

My first call was to a cryo bank in Ann Arbor:

“I’d like to get information about adoption of frozen embryos.”

“Why?”

“Because my husband and I would like to have a family and would like to adopt them.”

“We only use them for experimentation.”


Stomach knotted and in my throat: “I see, can you refer me to someone who places frozen embryos for adoption?”

I’ve since learned that experimentation on embryos is illegal in Michigan, but apparently that’s not a deterrent to this particular cryo bank.

I called the second place and it went like this.

“I’d like to adopt donated embryos, who would I speak to about this?”

“Are you a patient of Dr. X?”

“No.”

“You could come in to speak with Dr. X, but he won’t consider transplanting donated embryos until after two cycles with donor eggs.”

“I see, thank you for your time.”


The bulb lit. For the doctors, it’s about the money first. So what we have here are people desperate for a child, and doctors with a financial incentive to manufacture a child. Potential for abuse, yea I think so. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. 1 Tim 6:10.

When I went through my IVF cycle, the doctor was insistent that she could get me pregnant, and the way to do that was with donor eggs. Human beings are the commodity in the IVF industry, and doctors are manufacturing the product as quickly as the factory can turn the conveyer belt. The child is no longer a gift of God, but a byproduct to be frozen, experimented on or swept away on the whim of those profiting from his fabrication, or worse yet by his parents.

Where does all of this insanity begin? The culture of death begins with contraception. Why? When sex becomes sport, the natural outcome of sex, babies, become an unintended and often undesirable consequence. When human beings become an unintended or undesirable consequence they are dealt with in the way that all such inconveniences are dealt with. They are eliminated, kind of like dandelions in a nicely manicured lawn.
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Once we are comfortable with elimination of the consequences of sex, the flip side of the equation is just a step away. Why mess with sex to conceive? The children in all of this become either a burden to be swept away, a commodity to acquire or both, and the humanity of the child is devalued every step of the way.

The Fruit of the Poisonous Tree



Printable Version at One More Soul

Our Lady of God Council, Pray for Us. St. Anne Patroness of Mothers, Pray for Us. St. Gerard Patron of the Unborn, Pray for Us.



Monday, July 7, 2008

Same Sex Parenting

Is Gay & Lesbian Adoption in the best interests of the child?

Heidi at Mommy Monsters Inc. has a great post about God’s plan for child rearing. Check it out at the link above.
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I see a lot of hand wringing and hear a lot of “well that’s just the way it is” when the topic of the deterioration of our culture comes up. Often people seem genuinely baffled, especially if they are members of what I’ve begun to call the Oprah set, folks (generally women) who see the world through the filter of Oprah Winfrey rather than through the filter of God’s word.

Marriage, by the design of our Creator consist of a man and women, when we step outside of God’s design we run into trouble. Sex by God’s design is so awesome that it’s intended to be exclusively the privilege of married men and women who have made a lifetime commitment to each other, when we step outside of this design we run into trouble. Children are the natural consequence of this activity, and when they are conceived outside of God’s design they often pay a heavy price and carry the burden of another’s sin their whole lives. Yet we wring our hands and cry aloud why?

I imagine that some of Lot’s neighbors may have asked the same question.

Lord open our eyes to your ways and soften our hearts to follow you. Amen.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

"Why Don’t They Go To Church"?

“Well son they go to a different church……in St. Louis.”

“We’re thinking of going to Jim’s church” chimes in my BIL last Sunday as I’m trying to think of a way to explain the fragmenting effects of the Protestant reformation to my son who’s exposure to Jesus body consists of four Masses.

I opted out of further explanation last Sunday but the question begs an answer.

Summers in my family are spent at the lake. My sister and her family come in from St. Louis, my brother and his family come in from Detroit and Hubby and I jog one county over to the piece of ground my dad calls “The Compound”. “The Kennedy’s have Hyannis, and we have The Compound”, he’s fond of saying. Hyannis is to Champagne as The Compound is to Old Milwaukee, but still, this gift to his children and grandchildren will bear fruit for generations as our family bond strengthens with each year that passes and every weekend we spend together.

Weekends at the lake are a glorious affair. Cousins everywhere, houses open dawn to dusk, lawn chairs for lounging all day and the grill going for family meals every evening. Friends and family come to visit from far flung corners of the globe, and the more the merrier.

Mass time for Sunday morning is decided Saturday evening and with all the bodies piling in the SUV(s) actually seams to make sense. We take up at least a whole pew, depending on who’s in town sometimes a pew or two. We are all prodigals or converts, raised in the Catholic Church or no church at all, but my family has come home to faith over the years and we worship together on Sunday morning with out fail. It usually hits me after communion, as we’ve returned to the pew and are kneeling together after receiving Jesus body. Fighting back the tears of joy, I still feel the void left by those missing from the celebration.

MFP (missing from pew) are my parents who show up to church only grudgingly for first communions and my sister who has abandoned the Church for a “full gospel” denomination. How full can it be if it rejects John 6 and 17 I’ve often wondered? Occasionally I wonder if we are all reading the same bible. The Catholic passages are so clear, keys to the kingdom, pillar of truth, binding and loosing, I will build my Church, I will be with you until the end of the age, and the gaits of Hell will not prevail, and on and on.

As an evangelical I would have felt compelled to site each of the passages above chapter and verse in an attempt to provide scriptural documentation of my claims. As a Catholic I can relax in the knowledge that Jesus is in command of the ship and with the faith and trust of a child I can rest in the bosom of my family confident of the prayers of the saints and angels on my behalf. I have responsibility, oh yes, to follow the Lord, not to run off half cocked trying to rewrite the roadmap to heaven to my liking teasing out sound bites of scripture to support my personal take on God’s word.

Jesus has made his intentions clear, he founded a Church, she is one, holy Catholic and apostolic. Those of us who’ve heard Jesus’ call have a vital mission, to live our lives with passionate devotion to the Lord and his Church and to know the faith well enough to be able to give an answer when asked the reason for our hope. That and to have a cache of reading material and CDs on hand for those times when the inevitable questions arise, then let the Holy Spirit take it from there.

St. Francis pray for us. Teach us to preach the Gospel at all times and when necessary pray that the Lord will give us his words. Amen.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Joy & Pain - Like Sunshine & Rain

I like to read the last chapter of books first. It drives family and friends nuts. I like to know how the story plays out it gives me insight to plot line development. When my SIL gives me a book to read she makes me promise to read it in the proper order – from beginning to end.

One of the things I like about Christianity is knowing how the story ends. I love knowing that everything on earth is passing away – that there will be a new heaven and a new earth - that every tear will be wiped away by our Lord – that his people will dwell with him forever – that he is preparing a place for us. It helps me keep perspective when the ship is knocked around by the storm.

Like when OSHA shuts down job sites in Alaska and Washington on the same day, the same day our insurance company is meeting with us and with the client from Hell to determine the legitimacy of his claim. The same day I heard the sad news of a woman who’s husband had died from a fluke accident – the same day I had to tell my son that the paperwork hasn’t come back from the state so he will need to spend a night in foster care. Yet all of these things both difficult and tragic are simply passing tribulations. Even in their midst, I can look with hope to the future confident in the promises of the Lord, and every now and then he gives me a glimpse into that future filled with joy.

Like the simple joy of spending the afternoon with our son, running errands or helping him make a snack (tuna and BBQ sauce sandwich are you kidding me) while I make dinner. Slowing down the busyness of life to simply be with this child. To just listen to him or watch him learn how to pogo, or hold him while he cries telling me that he wishes he could have met the Governor when he was in the Capital so he could have discussed this law she signed that forces him to leave us for a night every ten days.

It’s this time spent that reaches into the future, reaches all the way to eternity. The homes we build will crumble to the ground like so much dust, but my afternoon with my son, attending Mass and an ever so brief adoration, the quite time at home unplugged from the TV, the PSP, the internet and even the radio, these are the milliseconds that will resonate throughout time. This is where the joy of the Lord, the promises of the Lord, the painful echo of paradise lost, and the hope filled ache in the promise of the resurrection touches the earth and we see the shadowy glimpse of what is to come. This is where the love of God manifests in a tangible way and where we come to know that its all true. I’ve read the last chapter of the book it all turns out very well in the end.

Lord bless your people, be our shield and our guide. We ask this through Christ our Lord, Amen.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Love Your Enemies and Pray for Those Who Persecute You

A few weeks ago I was really angry with God. It was a new emotion for me. I’m young in the faith and I have all the immaturities that come with youth. Lack of experience and often I lack depth in my understanding of the Christian faith. In my short Christian walk I’ve been blessed to have most of my prayers answered in ways I can see and understand, until recently.

Hubby and I have a manufacturing business that supplies the construction trade. Our margins aren’t huge and when a client(s) stiff us it can have a big impact. For the last two years we’ve had a really bad patch of clients stiffing us. We’ve been shortchanged several hundred thousand dollars in the last couple of years. Sue them you say, we’ve tried. It costs more to do so than you get in the end, and besides the courts do what ever they want anyway, so it’s not very productive. We’ve had to let go of fifty percent of our work force to try to keep the doors open and pay what we owe our suppliers on these jobs.

Add to this mix the worst client we’ve ever had, period. We’ve been trying to complete this job for over two years. This dude is so nuts that on the day we have a crew of men flying cross country to complete his installation and a truck of materials for his job on the road headed to his job site, he spent the entire day obsessively calling everyone he could to attempt to turn the truck around telling all who would listen that he would refuse delivery. Just one small example of the insanity.

Hubby led the crew on this site because the situation was so volatile he felt he needed to be there personally and he was on the road for most of May. I prayed and prayed. I did two St. Jude novenas, and since the men were still on site I added the three day novena to Our Lady of Mt. Carmel. I fasted for the last three days the men were on site all the while asking for a miracle on this job. Praying that when we left the job we would be done with this guy and be able to move on with our lives. Praying that his dark countenance would not cloud our horizon ever again.

It was not to be. His wrangling and pot stirring of late includes impersonating us with our insurer in an attempt to have them reimburse him for the entire cost of the job, contacting the State of California in an attempt to have our licensure revoked, filing a claim against our bond, and pot stirring with his bank in an attempt to have the payments already made reversed and the all the money he has paid to date returned to him. Yes, this fella is a gem. Frankly the cost of defending ourselves against him, or if he is able to get the full cost of his job reimbursed could very well spell the end of our company. It’s a desperate situation. Ridiculous you say, so say the people of California about gay marriage, but look how that one turned out. Very weird things happen in business and in the courts.

For a while I was just plain mad at God, ticked off, really perturbed, ornery even. He can walk on water for Pete’s sake, drive out legion in an afternoon, speak and calm the waters, what’s one little Californian nut job to him? I dare say it may be the first no I’ve ever heard from my heavenly Father.

So what am I left with, a situation that is stretching me and challenging my commitment to this Christian walk. God appears to be mute on the matter, and my prayers for an end to this madness go unanswered. All I’m left with is faith in the unseen, faith that all things really do work together for good for those who love the Lord. I’m left with faith that God will fight this battle for me, faith that his justice will prevail. Faith that my feeble little prayers for the salvation of the souls of this client who is persecuting us will be answered, and faith that my sacrifices on their behalf and pitiful attempts at fasting for their salvation and for deliverance will be acceptable to the Lord. I'll let you know how it turns out.

St. Michael the archangel, defend us in battle.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

The Drunk Guy at Applebee’s and Christian Unity

Hubby and I went for a quick cocktail and appetizer at Applebee’s last evening. He had been out shopping for Tony Hawk bedding (how cute is that) for our son who is moving in for good TOMORROW, and he asked me to join him for a drink before we headed home. We’re thinking the quickie cocktail date on the fly may be a thing of the past for a while, so “OK I’ll meet you there”.

The place is surprisingly busy for a Monday evening at 9:00pm so we take a seat at the bar. Plus the bartender has met Jesse (she is related to one of the DHS people) so we wanted to give her some additional dish on developments. Anyhow, the guys sitting next to us are having an interesting conversation about religion, during which the lit up one slurs. “Catholics are the worst”, to which I laugh out loud and Hubby interjects, “We are hah”?

The sober one makes appropriate “nothing personal” noises, but the drunken one isn’t done.

“When my parents got divorced my mother had to make me a bastard in order to go back to Church, and the Church is full of hypocrites, and the Catholics are the WORST”.

I tell him he is mistaken, the Church did not make him a bastard (no he’s doing that all on his own I’m thinking). He rants off a bit more about religion in general and Catholics in particular and it occurs to me he is a man in some pain. It occurs to me as he rattles on about the hypocrisy of cafeteria Catholics that while he is not well educated in the faith he knows enough to know that Christians are called to follow the Lord in word and deed, and he’s been watching the Catholics around him. I realize Archbishop Fulton Sheen is right, people don’t hate the faith, they hate what they think they know, or they hate the Catholic people who have hurt them, or who knows what, but it’s not the Catholic faith they hate, they don’t know the faith, how can they hate it?

The same prejudices apply to Protestant attacks on the Church that tend to be based on ignorance of Catholic teaching, but mark my word, Protestants are watching the Catholics around them looking to see if we follow the teaching of the Church. Making their assesment of the Church based upon the way we live our lives.

People are in pain out there and they want to know the truth. My drunken friend on the bar stool wants the faith to mean something, he wants to cling to the Lord, he wants the witness of Catholics who have closed the cafeteria, he wants to come home and be reconciled to God. If he did not he would have nothing to say on the matter whatsoever, it would not even cross his mind. People are only angry when they care about something. Could it be that those who attack the Church really just what to know - is she who she says she is? Can she bring Jesus into the world, can I trust her, can anyone tell me this business of virtue and faith and healing and love is true, is she Christ’s body?

Is God there? That was certainly Jesse’s question last Sunday as we took him to his first Mass. We told him yes, and showed him the red lantern lit to let him know God was in the house. Now will we show him day in day out that yes, it’s all true, God is love, he loves you and wants you to live with him forever, will we teach him the faith, will he learn and internalize a loving relationship with Jesus so that when the storms of life come he has safe harbor strong in the knowledge that Christ weathered storms too, or will he be hurt by our hypocrisy and end up on a bar stool lamenting his disillusionment?

I pray we teach him that our failures are our own not those God and that we may fail a million times, but that Jesus forgives a million and one if we but repent and ask his forgivness.

Lord teach us to love others as you love us, teach us to pray for our enemies and those who attack us, have mercy on us and teach us to be merciful with others. Amen.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

What about you Mom?

It happened today. The day I’ve been waiting 18 years for, and it was caught on tape. Jesse was goofing off recording video with the cell phone and turned and asked, “what about you Mom”? I keep my composure, but when he and Hubby were occupied I watched the video about five times.

I’ve been called mom before, when I’m out with the nieces and nephews and people assume I am their mother, or when they’re goofing off they will call me mom, but until today I’ve never been called mom by my child.

As we were discussing the day Hubby teared up over the moment, not over being called Dad, which he was, over me being called Mom. My sweet husband watched the little snippet of video with me about five more times and he cried.

It tells me that all those years when he held me as I sobbed from the depth of my soul over the loss of our children, over the loss every twenty eight days of the dream of having a family, as he watched me wrestle with the dizzying array of choices on the path to motherhood he felt my pain. He was with me, holding my heart in his hands loving me in the way husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. 29After all, no one ever hated his own body, but he feeds and cares for it, just as Christ does the church Eph 5:28-29 well before either of us had a clue what that meant. What a blessing.

Thank you Lord for this little boy. Help us to model your loving kindness in our home. Guide us as we all learn to become a family. Pour out your mercy and love on his natural parents, open their hearts to the ocean of your love and forgiveness. I ask this through Christ our Lord, Amen.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

The Boy Likes Rap

So it begins, the parenting I mean. The kid hasn’t moved in yet, but I’ve spent several hours on line educating myself about Rap music, something I personally could care less about, until now. I suppose he identifies with the pain in this music, even Christian Rap is full of pain. I’m hoping we can redirect him to more hopeful musical messages.

He wants to change his name, first middle and last. It’s not uncommon for kids from abusive backgrounds to want to change their name, I’m told it helps them to feel safe, makes them feel like they won’t be found by their abusive families.

“What would you like to change your name to?”

“Soulja Boy.”

“I don’t think so.”

How would that play out fifty years from now? “Grandpa Soulja Boy, can we go to the park today?” Somehow I just don’t think so. “How did you get the name Soulja Boy?” “Well my parents let me change my name when I was adopted.” Ah, No.

It’s a very interesting thing to come into a child’s life – as a parent – midstream. It’s interesting not having any sense of his personality. What will be the best way to influence him? What are his likes and dislikes, aside from Rap music? How will we teach him about God? Certainly the child knows about sin and its destructive impact. Will he be open to Jesus’ healing, because ultimately it will be Jesus who heals this boys hurts, not us. I just pray that we are humble enough to allow him to work through us keeping in mind that we are just bit players in God’s plan of salvation. I’m hoping Hubby and I remember that WE need to cling to the Lord in the weeks and months to come because I have a feeling that like everything in life this ride could get a bit rocky from time to time.

Lord be our light and our guide, lead us by your path. Keep us from sin and protect us from all anxiety. Amen.