Thursday, June 14, 2018

A link to A Motherhood Reflection

For Posterity, here is a link to an article I was interviewed for:

Tuesday, June 5, 2018

Who will be a Witness?

I was asked to give a witness talk at our Parish's "Encounter" an evening of prayer and adoration.  I thought I might also share it on-line for anyone who would like to read it.  Praise the Lord for His many blessings!

A Reflection on the Transforming Power of Eucharistic Love
using Psalms 84 and 42

How lovely your dwelling,
O LORD of hosts!a
My soul yearns and pines
for the courts of the LORD.b (Psalm 84:1-3)

I grew up the oldest of 10 children in a loving Catholic family in San Diego.  My parents gave me the gift of life and of faith; the Catholic faith has always been an important part of my life.  Yet I grew up confused – what does it mean to be Catholic?  There seemed to be so many conflicting ideas and expressions of faith and I wondered – how does one recognize the Truth?  So many voices call away from the practice of faith; Why be different?  Why not follow the culture and live for the present moment?    The Lord called to me in whispers that I needed to learn to listen to and yet my whole being yearned for the message He had for me. 
As the deer longs for streams of water,a
so my soul longs for you, O God.
3My soul thirsts for God, the living God.
When can I enter and see the face of God?*b
4My tears have been my bread day and night,c
as they ask me every day, “Where is your God?”d (Psalm 42:1-4)

I was not particularly faithful in prayer but God hears even feeble prayers. I was accepted to a beautiful Catholic Liberal Arts College in New Hampshire.   Students were encouraged to attend daily Mass, a new experience for me at the time.  We were expected to be in the Church at least 15 minutes early to prepare for Mass.  On my first day of classes, a zealous upper classman adopted me and we arrived about 30 minutes early for Mass.  That extra 30 minutes of quiet time with “nothing” to do except sit there was torture.  I did not know how to listen and found it extremely uncomfortable to sit still for so long.   But Love is patient and over time Jesus taught me to sit quietly and listen so I could hear His voice and I came to love that quiet preparation time before Mass – it was a place of peace amongst the challenges, uncertainties and growing pains I faced as a student in College.    

4*As the sparrow finds a home
and the swallow a nest to settle her young,
My home is by your altars,
LORD of hosts, my king and my God!c
5Blessed are those who dwell in your house!
They never cease to praise you. (Psalm 84:4-5)

In the Eucharist Jesus – the Word Made Flesh - is Hidden Love, present, waiting for that moment when we are able to calm the clamor within us and hearken to His voice.   He was literally there for me 24/7 while I was in College.  In our dorm near the entrance we had a small chapel with the Eucharist.  At first, I would pass by with just a simple sign of the Cross; there was so much to do as a student!  Yet, daily He called me. I could not pass by. I was compelled to stay.    When I went home for Christmas, I missed living under the same roof with Jesus and so adopted the practice of stopping by the perpetual adoration chapel whenever I was in the area.  In adoration, in those quiet moments before the Lord, often reflecting upon His Word, I have found peace and the answer to so many questions.  

6Blessed the man who finds refuge in you,
in their hearts are pilgrim roads.
 (Psalm 84:6)

Since it is almost impossible to spend time with Jesus without being introduced to his Mother, I have also found Mary’s loving guidance indispensible in my desire to know her Son more fully.  Mary’s life so fully reflects Christ that whenever we draw near to her we experience Christ’s love and her yes gives us the Way to be fully ourselves as God meant us to be, living His life of Love. 

 I can concretely credit Jesus present in the Eucharist and His Blessed Mother with my first Job out of college – my dream job as a kindergarten teacher at a Catholic School (named Sierra Madre in honor of Mary); the call to go deeper and study theology through Ave Maria University & St. Mary’s Institute for Pastoral Theology; the job that supported me through graduate school: I was offered the perfect job right after leaving the adoration chapel to work for the Dominican Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Eucharist in their schools; my vocation to marriage– I actually met my husband for the first time in the adoration chapel at Christ the King Parish after corresponding on-line through “Ave Maria Singles” and my husband proposed to me in an adoration chapel at St. Mary’s Church.

 Time before the Eucharist is the well-spring that nourished my young adult life and has been the source of peace and strength in the challenges I face daily in my vocation as a wife and mother.  Jesus has guided me through every challenge as I left the home of my youth (with its beautiful weather), my family, and friends.  When Phil was discerning the diaconate, it was prayer before the Eucharist that helped us trust completely in God’s plan for our family – even when it meant moving, packing and living in 5 homes over the space of 1 year while welcoming our 4th child to our family.  Each step of the way God has blessed me and my family and our Blessed Mother has guided us in our desire to say Yes to God’s plan. 

11Better one day in your courts
than a thousand elsewhere.
(Psalm 84:11)

I have experienced God’s love abundantly even when I have had to leave behind things I thought I could not live without (like everything except the bare essentials when we first moved to MI).  When I trust all the little details that I would otherwise have to worry about to Him my anxiety and fear of the future melt away.    He has been with me every step of the way when the various Crosses – difficult pregnancies, challenges with homeschooling my children, trying to find a quiet moment to write down my thoughts for this reflection– have loomed before me.  God has enriched my life beyond my wildest dreams and fulfilled my every heart’s desire.  How grateful I am for my vocation to Marriage and the gift of Dcn. Phil’s love; our six sweet children, Phil’s vocation to the diaconate and a job he loves, our beautiful home and this Parish community where we are able to attend daily Mass only 5 minutes from home and be nourished in our faith.  I marvel at the many gifts God has showered upon me since those lonely confused adolescent years when I did know what I should do and life felt overwhelming as I questioned what it meant to be Catholic – I had to learn to trust God as the loving Father that He is and to know that He will always guide me and help me along the path that is best for me.  God delights in us as a Mother does her child, smiling when we take our toddling steps in faith, if we go astray he rejoices when we return to Him and He encourages us to become stronger until we can join Him in His life of Love which culminates in the Crucifixion and Resurrection.  

My Life has been blessed and made more fruitful by Our Lord present in the Eucharist and by following Mary’s gentle Guiding hand and I truly believe that nothing is more valuable than time spent with Him. My prayer is that we may we always trust in God’s plan for us and that we may bring His love to those we meet!    

The LORD withholds no good thing
from those who walk without reproach.
13O LORD of hosts,
blessed the man who trusts in you! (Psalm 84:12b-13)

Sunday, May 6, 2018

Some highlights - A Family Picture update January-May

I know it's been a while - what can I say...6 kids??  Life is joyful and very full - so many blessings!



 Father-Daughter Dance

Dad's building a new Bunk Bed for John Paul!
 Bowling for William's 12th Birthday!

Off to  Easter Vigil Mass at St. Joseph's Co-Cathedral

 Luke designed his own Holy Card for First Communion April 29th!
 A visit with the Sisters.
 Our New Van - we can all ride in 1 vehicle again!
 Chess tournament - Luke took 4th place among 2nd graders throughout the state
 Family pizza dinner to use Book-it certificates
 Happy Third Birthday John Paul!  April 10th

 Happy 10th Birthday Miriam on April 19th - we had an "Ordinary Princess Party with friends
 Happy Baptism Day William - April 22nd
 Luke's 1st Communion - April 29th

 Items collected for Joseph House outreach ministry.


 Special home school First Communion celebration
 Swim Lessons!